Thursday, February 1, 2007

Owen Hargreaves not going anywhere

Today the winter transfer window already closed, and (as I predicted) the Owen Hargreaves transfer rumor will be closed too at least until the next transfer window. Of course it really surprising for a big club like Manchester United to end the winter transfer with no signing and only loan one player, H. Larsson for 2 and a half month.

It is totally different than last year where Manchester United signs 2 players, N. Vidic, and P. Evra. But what makes me feel sad is Owen Hargreaves move delayed until the next summer (if the deal accepted). I really think that Hargreaves presence in the midfield area will enriches Manchester United style of play.

Even Red Devil legend, Bryan Robson said that Hargreaves style of play is what Manchester United needs now. And his style of play is similar to him and Roy Keane.

Well if Hargreaves really moves to Old Trafford in the next summer, maybe we can see him wearing a captain-ban.

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Arsenal Future Bright

The combination of young guns and senior guns during December and early January really impressed me. Even though me as a Red Devil fan and Arsenal hater since 1998 because one of my friend who fans of the Gunners like to jerk each other.

What impressed me is of course the double beating Liverpool in the Carling Cup and the FA Cup and the dramatic victory against Manchester United. In that three matches, the Gunners never have the same 11 starting players.

The future I am talking about is not only in 1 or 2 sectors, but in every sector from the goalkeepers to the strikers.

GK sector:
The first goalkeeper, J. Lehmann is one of many best goalkeepers in Europe. He is the senior in here. Even sometimes makes blunder but he had experience that can be learned by the second goalkeeper, Almunia.

DF sector:
This is the youngest sector in average ages. They have 4-6 players who under 25 age and have some decent experience as starter in Premiership. And those players have a mentor like W. Gallas who had experience in World Cup Germany 2006.

MF sector:
This is the most promising sector. The Gunners is very lucky to have C. Fabregas on their side. This player is really promising. On his 19 years old he played very well in the last European Champion League. In that tournament, one of the most memorable moments of him is where he played against R. Madrid.

The Gunners also have G. Silva who the most senior and currently top scorer in MF sector. The other seniors like A. Hleb, and T. Rosicky also have some experience in the international level.

ST sector:
This sector is really lucky having T. Henry as their partner both in the practice match and in the real match. The trainees of course are T. Walcott, R. Van Persie, and E. Adebayor.

Walcott still have much to learn. Van Persie showing some good performance when T. Henry injured and E. Adebayor also proved that he is not only good in the air but also dangerous in finishing.

Well with that potential its not surprising if in the next English Premier League, Arsenal will be the most toughest rival for every teams who wants to top the English Premiership League.

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Manchester United still at the top

Manchester United took their time before turning on the style against Watford to maintain their six-point lead at the top of the Premiership.

The leaders ran out 4-0 winners over the rock-bottom Hornets at Old Trafford to keep second-placed Chelsea at arm's length.

United went ahead when Jay DeMerit conceded a penalty for hauling down Ole Gunnar Solskjaer 20 minutes in.

Cristiano Ronaldo showed all the confidence of a man with seven goals in his last seven games to send Hornets keeper Richard Lee the wrong way from the spot.

The leaders were far from their best and were gifted their second goal just past the hour mark when Lloyd Doyley headed Kieron Richardson's left-wing cross into his own net.

United turned on the style for their third and fourth, substitute Henrik Larsson exchanging passes with Wayne Rooney before finishing deftly.

Ronaldo and Rooney then combined in breathtaking fashion, the former's delicious lofted pass releasing the latter, whose outrageous chipped finish left Lee stranded.

Chelsea were almost equally comfortable in beating in-form Blackburn 3-0 at Stamford Bridge, re-establishing their five-point lead over third placed Liverpool.

The champions did not take long to open the scoring, Didier Drogba continuing his remarkable scoring form with his 23rd goal of the season six minutes in.

Put through by Frank Lampard, Drogba outpaced Stephane Henchoz before planting a low left-foot shot across Brad Friedel from 12 yards.

In-form Blackburn refused to buckle and it took until the 67th minute for Chelsea to double their advantage, Frank Lampard drilling a rising shot past Friedel from 25 yards.

Salomon Kalou wrapped up the points by sliding the ball home in the first minute of injury-time after Michael Ballack nodded on Wayne Bridge's pass.

Charlton moved level on points with third-bottom West Ham thanks to a hard-fought 1-1 at Bolton.

It looked ominous for the Premiership strugglers when Henrik Pedersen grabbed his first goal of the season six minutes in.

The striker netted from eight yards from Gary Speed's left-wing cross.

But it took just another six minutes for the visitors to level, Talal El Karkouri's free-kick deflecting off the wall, hitting Jussi Jaaskelainen's arms before squirming into the net.

An electric start ultimately earned Newcastle a 3-1 victory over Aston Villa at St James' Park.

The home side flew out of the blocks, going 2-0 up inside the opening seven minutes.

James Milner got the ball rolling five minutes in, picking up the ball midway inside the Villa half and charging at the defence before unleashing a fierce left-foot shot from the edge of the area.

Milner then turned provider, lofting the ball in from the right for Kieron Dyer to loop a header over Thomas Sorensen.

Ashley then cut the deficit on his debut, drilling the ball home from eight yards after a corner caused confusion inside the Newcastle six-yard box.

It took until stoppage-time for the home side to break Villa's resistance again, Antoine Sibierski sliding home after some trickery from the returning Damien Duff.

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Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Cristiano Ronaldo linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona

Cristiano Ronaldo has been in superb form for the Red Devils this season and Spanish giants Real Madrid are reported to have renewed their interest in the player even though Manchester United said that the Portuguese star is not for sale.

Sergio Alves, who claims to be a representative of the winger, told Barcelona radio station Onda Cera: "When Real and Barca are involved the future is always open, not closed.

"Given a little bit of time, the situation may change, let's see."

Ronaldo's future in England looked unwelcoming after he was made a scapegoat for England's World Cup exit to Portugal in the summer.

He overcame the early-season taunts to find his best form to date for United and is currently the second top scorer in the Barclays English Premiership with 13 goals.

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Liverpool permitted to sign Mascherano

Liverpool have been given the go-ahead from FIFA to sign Argentina midfielder Javier Mascherano from West Ham.

The deal with Liverpool was initially in doubt because Mascherano had already played for two clubs competitively this season - the Hammers and Brazilian club Corinthians.

The Argentinian has failed to make an impact at Upton Park, after joining the Londoners on the final day of the summer transfer window along with compatriot Carlos Tevez. The transfer itself was shocking football fans and it was thought that the MSI owner, Kia Joorabchian only want to made profit.

A statement from FIFA this morning read: "After due consideration of all aspects, the FIFA single judge ruled that 'upon registration for Liverpool FC during the present registration period, the player Javier Mascherano is eligible to play in official matches with the said club with immediate effect'."

The ruling by FIFA appears to take into account the fact that the Brazilian and English seasons do not run parallel, with the Campeonato Brasileiro beginning in April and ending in December - thus cutting through the close season in this country.

The FIFA statement continued: "Particular emphasis was given to the safeguard of the sporting integrity and the crucial element of overlapping sports seasons between associations, notably in cases in which a sports season starts prior and ends beyond July 1.

"Yet, the single judge made it clear that such permission can only be granted under very restrictive preconditions, such as they exist in the case at stake, yet never occurred in a case that was submitted to the attention of the competent deciding bodies at an earlier stage.

"In particular, he emphasised that a series of elements related, on the one hand, to the duration and the positioning of the relevant sports seasons as well as to the respect of the registration periods and, on the other hand, to the duration and respect of the employment contracts concerned, need to be cumulatively met."

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Premiership review on Tuesday

Dirk Kuyt and Peter Crouch combined to fire Liverpool to within two points of Barclays Premiership champions Chelsea as West Ham blew their latest chance to climb out of the drop zone.

The Reds duo both netted sublime goals in their 2-1 win at Upton Park which put the in-form visitors to within touching distance of second place in the table.

After a cat-and-mouse first half, barely 12 seconds had lapsed after the restart when Liverpool scored, Kuyt rifling the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.

It was not long before the lead was doubled, a brilliant flowing move matched by Crouch's controlled finish from John Arne Riise's cutback.

Liverpool looked completely in control and should have added to their lead before substitute Kepa Blanco marked his Hammers debut by pulling a goal back 13 minutes from time.

Some sloppy play from the visitors allowed Nigel Reo-Coker to feed Bobby Zamora into the inside-left channel, the forward squaring for Kepa to net with ease.

But, despite piling on the pressure, the home side were unable to force an equaliser and are now seven games without a league success.

The Hammers' evening could not have been in sharper contrast to that of relegation rivals Sheffield United, who beat Fulham 2-0 to move seven points clear of danger.

United bossed the first half at Bramall Lane and were rewarded 23 minutes in when Jon Stead netted his first goal since signing from Sunderland this month.

Vincenzo Montella gave the ball away in a dangerous area, allowing Nick Montgomery to find Stead, who rasped home a left-foot drive off the bar from six yards.

It got better five minutes later, Ian Pearce failing to clear Stephen Quinn's left-wing cross, allowing Michael Tonge to convert from close range.

The only bright spot for West Ham was that fourth-bottom Wigan slumped to their ninth straight defeat in all competitions after Reading came from behind to win 3-2 at the Madejski Stadium.

The visitors got off to the best possible start when, three minutes in, Emile Heskey latched onto a long ball from Josip Skoko, and finished with aplomb on the volley, left-footed.

Reading eased their way back into the game and drew level when Latics goalkeeper Chris Kirkland found himself in no-man's-land, allowing Ivar Ingimarsson to glance a header into the net.

More awful goalkeeping allowed the Royals to take the lead, Kirkland punching a Glen Little cross straight onto the head of Stephen Hunt, who headed it goalward for Shane Long to nod in from point-blank range.

Kirkland completed a hat-trick of howlers in the closing moments, beaten to the ball by Dave Kitson, with the resultant deflection finding Leroy Lita, who could not miss.

Denny Landzaat pulled a goal back for the visitors in the fifth minute of injury-time - but there was no time for them to find an equaliser.

Elsewhere, the Fratton Park faithful were left disappointed for the second straight home game as Portsmouth were held to a goalless draw by Middlesbrough.

Following the shock 1-0 defeat to Charlton 10 days ago, Pompey were looking to reignite their European push but they were thwarted by a stubborn Boro display to remain sixth in the table.

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Monday, January 29, 2007

Ronaldo goes to Milan

AC Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani is confident Ronaldo will be wearing the Rossoneri's colours in the next few days.

Galliani will travel to Spain on Monday to meet Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon in the hope of completing the signing of the Brazilian forward.

"I have a meeting at 5pm on Monday in Madrid with the Real Madrid president," said Galliani.

"Only one million (euros) separates us from reaching an agreement. Hopefully, we will reach an agreement and Ronaldo can train with his new team by Tuesday."

Milan have made a six million euro offer for the former Internazionale striker, but Real will not sell him for less than seven million.

Although the deal has yet to be completed, Ronaldo underwent a medical on Friday at Milan's headquarters and Galliani was satisfied with the player's form.

"He is in good condition," said Galliani. "Better than what doctors had expected."

This transfer also supported by AC Milan Coach Carlo Ancelotti who really like to played the Brazilian player.

The 30-year-old is expected to complete his transfer to the Rossoneri later on Monday in a reported 7million euros transfer.

The former Internazionale forward has been out of favour at Real Madrid and his imminent move to the Rossoneri has met with mixed reactions from supporters who claim he is far from his physical peak.

"Ronaldo is not fat," Ancelotti said.

"He is a very robust player. I think his problem is the fact that in recent times, he has not had much motivation.

"From a physical point of view, he hasn't trained much because he has been excluded from Real Madrid's team and he has lost motivation in training.

"But he remains a great player. In the last five years at Real, he has scored almost 100 goals. No one in the world has done that."

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