Senin, 31 Desember 2012

Premier League: Manchester City will not appeal against Samir Nasri's red card

Samir Nasri: Appeared to headbutt Sebastien Bassong

The France forward was sent off in the first half of the champions' 4-3 Premier League win at Carrow Road on Saturday following the incident with Bassong.

Manager Roberto Mancini was furious about the dismissal after the game and indicated that an appeal would be lodged.

But after further thought, the club have now announced there will not be a challenge.

Nasri will therefore be banned for three matches.

A statement from the club read: "The Football Association has confirmed that Samir Nasri will serve a three-match suspension, following his red card during the 4-3 win at Norwich on Saturday.

"Nasri will now miss the New Year's Day visit from Stoke City, the FA Cup tie with Watford (January 5) and the trip to Arsenal on January 13."

Wigan v Man Utd preview

Rafael: Expected to return from injury for United against Wigan

Phil Jones could also be available as United manager Sir Alex Ferguson once again prepares to rotate his squad.

Ferguson noted Michael Carrick was particularly tired after Saturday's win at West Brom, whilst top scorer Robin van Persie seems certain to be recalled.

The New Year's Day clash is expected to come too soon for Wigan's Antolin Alcaraz as he continues his recovery from a groin problem.

Antonio Lopez, Ben Watson, on-loan Arsenal winger Ryo Miyaichi and Albert Crusat are also absent with injury.

Both Ivan Ramis and Franco Di Santo are available for selection for the Latics after making their returns against Villa.

Jumat, 28 Desember 2012

Rafa won't rule out Reds return

Rafael Benitez: You never know what can happen in football

Interim Blues manager Benitez has been linked previously with a return to Anfield and will be a free agent again at the end of the season.

Sunday sees Benitez take a team to Merseyside for the first time since he was sacked by Liverpool two-and-a-half years ago when Chelsea visit Everton in the Premier League.

And asked if he could see himself returning to manage his former club one day, he said: "At the moment, I'm really pleased here.

"I want to keep winning and you never know what can happen in football.

"I have a very good relationship with the fans and the city but I'm a good professional and that means I will give 100% for this club."

Benitez's work ethic has helped him begin to rebuild his reputation as one of the most astute coaches around, the Spaniard having got Chelsea's campaign back on track in recent weeks.

However, his latest comments are unlikely to aid him in his quest to win over Chelsea fans who still see h im as the enemy due to his Liverpool connections.

He added ahead of Sunday's game at Goodison Park: "It is always something special when you go back to Liverpool.

"My connection with the city is very strong."

Those links continue, with Benitez's family home still on the Wirral near the city after he decided against relocating them when he joined Inter Milan or when he was appointed to the Chelsea hotseat.

He said: "When you have children, 10 and 14, they have their friends around and have been there for eight years so it is difficult to move the family and you have to do something for them.

"I have to move around on my own and then find a way to be there for Christmas dinner or whatever."

Liverpool have nosedived since sacking Benitez and are on their third manager in that time.

To compound matters, they have also been supplanted as the top team on Merseyside by Everton, who finished above them last season and ended the first half of the current campaign eight points clear of their neighbours.

However, Benitez was almost at pains to avoid discussing whether there had been a power shift in favour of David Moyes' men.

He said: "I cannot say this. What I can say is that Everton are doing well.

"I don't think it is fair for me to talk about one or the other one. I think it is fair for me to say that we are playing Everton and they are doing well.

"Moyes is doing a great job, they have good players and a good team spirit and it will be difficult for us."

Rodgers rejects Roy comparisons

Brendan Rodgers: Brushed off comparison with Roy Hodgson

Defeat at Stoke on Boxing Day meant the Northern Irishman has exactly the same points haul - 25 - from 19 league matches as that of the now England manager.

Hodgson did not make it past 20 league games as defeat at Blackburn in early January 2011 put an end to a difficult and much-criticised six months in charge.

Rodgers benefits from a position of greater strength as he was the choice of owners Fenway Sports Group in the summer and while his record may not be as good as predecessor Kenny Dalglish, he is working to a different set of objectives than those given to the Scot.

He is a long way from his position becoming under threat and insists progress has been made with plenty more to come.

"I don't think about them to be honest, it is not something I am overly worried about," he said of comparisons with Hodgson's record.

"I have been brought in here to do a job and the owners have been brilliant with me.

"The backing I've had from supporters has been incredible considering and that is the most important group really.

"They recognise what is going on, they understand like I would understand the frustration.

"Any comparisons I don't really focus on and it is difficult to compare the two groups because there is a lot of youthfulness in this group but yet still a lot of growth left in the team.

"There is a lot of progressing to do because we're 10th in the table and this is a club which wants to be at the very top but the only way you can do that is by reconstruction of the work and building the squad.

"That is what is going to take a bit of time. I always say it's like a good meal - I'm not a great cook but a good meal takes a wee bit of time but also to offer a good meal you need good ingredients.

"That is something we will do over time and hopefully put a nice meal on the table for supporters."

A deal for Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge has virtually bee n done while the club are still pursuing Blackpool winger Tom Ince.

However, club sources told Press Association Sport "to treat as rubbish" comments by Birmingham chairman Peter Pannu suggesting the club were in talks with Liverpool over goalkeeper Jack Butland.

"I understand there are talks with Liverpool, I understand that Everton might be interested, Southampton gave me an offer in the past, I know not whether they want him," Pannu told the Birmingham Mail.

Speculation has linked Butland with a move to Anfield for weeks but earlier this month Rodgers stressed he was not looking for another goalkeeper in January.

Only a fortnight ago second-choice goalkeeper Brad Jones signed a new contract and while rumours persist about Jose Reina's future it seems inconceivable Rodgers would let him go in January, if at all.

"We certainly won't be able to do everything in January that would help us, but we'll be able to make some additions that will h elp the group," said the Reds boss.

"We can look forward to that and then review it again in the summer.

"There are very few names we have actually enquired about, but we're hoping we'll be able to do something in January pretty early on.

"We need that wee bit more experience, especially at the top end of the field.

"We're hopeful we can do that and then we'll see what else January can bring for us.

"We won't be spending a great deal of money. It'll be between January and the summer time that we can look at progressing the group and then hopefully go again."

Norwich v Man City preview

Roberto Mancini: Aiming to bounce back after the Boxing Day defeat that saw City

Norwich's talismanic striker Grant Holt returned to action against Chelsea following his hamstring injury and lasted the full 90 minutes.

Andrew Surman (knee), Ryan Bennett (knee) and John Ruddy (thigh) are all likely to be missing for the Canaries.

Mario Balotelli could still be absent due to a virus, but Samir Nasri and Gael Clichy could return, while a cut to the head will not force Pablo Zabaleta out of contention.

Aleksandar Kolarov and Maicon (both knee) are still out along with the long-term casualties of Micah Richards (knee) and Jack Rodwell (hamstring).

Rabu, 26 Desember 2012

Jon Walters scores twice as Stoke defeat Liverpool 3-1 in the Premier League

Kenwyne Jones celebrates in style after heading Stoke in front

The well-deserved success for Tony Pulis' men lifted them above their opponents to eighth in the Premier League table, with Brendan Rodgers' inconsistent visitors now down in 10th.

There was an explosive opening to the final top-flight encounter of a busy Boxing Day with Ryan Shawcross rightly penalised for pulling Luis Suarez shirt by referee Howard Webb with barely 30 seconds on the clock.

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard took responsibility and made no mistake from 12 yards, firing low and hard into the bottom corner as the visitors picked up from where they left off having romped to a 4-0 weekend win over Fulham.

But Stoke were back on terms soon after as Martin Skrtel's costly slip in defence after a long ball forward allowed Walters to burst into the box and beat Reina with some style.

And the hosts were in front in the 12th minute as the Reds switched off badly at a corner, allowing Kenwyne Jones to advance to the far post b efore glancing a header home, with no marker or man on the upright in sight for Liverpool.

Reina then had to be at his best to tip over a searing drive from Matt Etherington, while Gerrard side-footed narrowly wide at the other end of the field after good work from Stewart Downing and Suso down the flank.

Suarez drilled in a low shot from a tight angle which Asmir Begovic did well to block at his near post and as the interval approached Reina was quickly off his line to smother Etherington's shot following a deep cross to the back post.

The Uruguay international then clipped the outside of Begovic's post with a scuffed shot at the start of the second period as Liverpool looked to get back on terms, only to find themselves further in arrears in the 49th minute.

Walters showed superb technique to chest down Jones' flick on after a long throw into the penalty area before firing a first-time volley beyond the despairing dive of Reina.

The Reds goalkeeper needed treatment after a nasty collision with Dean Whitehead in the 70th minute as they contested a low ball into the box, but was thankfully able to continue.

Rodgers' side pressed in a vain attempt to get back into the game in the closing stages, but often looked more likely to concede on the break than find a way past Begovic once again, with the Potters No.1 turning away a long-range effort from Gerrard in the last minute.

Selasa, 25 Desember 2012

Brendan Rodgers: No one can demand where they play at Liverpool

Brendan Rodgers: Expects to do some business early in January.

The Chelsea forward is expected to move to Anfield when the transfer window opens and had a medical on Merseyside on Sunday.

And it has been speculated that Sturridge may have a clause in his contract stipulating that he will always be played up front, having been consigned to the wing on occasion at Chelsea.

But Rodgers said at a Christmas Eve press conference: "You can keep writing and saying these things but no one will come into this club and demand where they play, that's for sure."

Asked if there was any more news to report on the prospective signing, Rodgers said: "Nothing will be complete until we've signed a player at the beginning of January.

"Once we've signed a player, I'll have no problem in speaking about who we've signed. But, until anything is done on paper, there is nothing to say.

"We'll always do our business privately and in the way we want to do it. As you've seen over the last number of weeks, there are always going to be things written about players, clubs and dealings.

"We're confident we can get some business done early in January, which will really help the squad. Until that happens, there is nothing really to add.

"We don't want to make many (additions) in January but the one or two we do, I think can make a difference and help us. If we can do that, I think we'll have a good second half to the season."

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Owen targets goal against Reds

Michael Owen: Could feature against former club

Stoke striker Michael Owen has plenty of happy memories from his time at Liverpool, but does not look back too fondly on the occasions he has played against them.

The former England international enjoyed the most prolific days of his career at Liverpool, where he came through the youth ranks.

Since leaving the Reds in 2004 though, he has failed to score a single goal against them and Owen admits he has rarely had much fun when being on the opposing team.

The 33-year-old will be hoping the trend changes on Boxing Day when the Potters host Liverpool in the Barclays Premier League, a game in which he could make his first Stoke appearance since October 27 having overcome a hamstring problem.

Owen - who departed Anfield for Real Madrid and moved on to Newcastle and Manchester United before joining Stoke this season - told Independent Sports News: "It is a strange feeling really playing against your old club, especially one where you were there for around 15 years.

"Liverpool are a big part of my life and career and I had some of the best times of my life at the club.

"So certainly I have happy memories. I have not been so happy playing against them since; I have never scored and not particularly enjoyed it."

Stoke, currently ninth in the table, head into the clash with eighth-placed Liverpool in fine form.

Tony Pulis' men are unbeaten in their last eight matches and Owen is optimistic they can keep the run going.

"I don't see any reason why not," Owen said. "We had a really tough start to the season and we picked up points against some of the big teams.

"Then we went into a period of games where you would look at them on paper and say we had a chance of picking up points, and we have duly done that.

"We are on a nice run of form. Every game is tough in the Premier League, but there is no reason why we can't continue it."

While a maiden top-10 Premier League f inish looks a realistic prospect and a European berth is not beyond the realms of possibility, Pulis has continually insisted he will focus on no other target than reaching 40 points.

Owen shares his manager's sentiments on the matter, adding: "I think our ambitions are probably still the same.

"First and foremost everyone wants to survive in the league, no matter what team you play for, so you want to hit that magic 40 points before you start dreaming about anything else.

"Then once you have done that, you want to finish the season as well as you can and get as high as you can.

"The club were in Europe last year (in the Europa League after reaching the 2011 FA Cup Final) and that was a fantastic achievement.

"We know that is possible, but first and foremost it is about getting to 40 points and then we'll reassess from there."

It remains to be seen whether another of Stoke's former Liverpool players, midfielder Charlie Adam, will be involved on Boxing Day after he missed Saturday's 0-0 draw at Tottenham having been granted compassionate leave following the death of his father.

Minggu, 23 Desember 2012

AC Milan have ruled out moves for Manchester City's Mario Balotelli and former Chelsea striker Didier Drogba

Silvio Berlusconi: Ruled out moves for Mario Balotelli and Didier Drogba

Fresh reports over the weekend suggested Milan were lining up a 20million move to bring former Inter Milan ace Balotelli back to Italy.

Balotelli's future at Manchester City has been the subject of speculation for some time with the 22-year-old finding himself out of favour at the Etihad Stadium.

Milan are thought to be in the market for striking reinforcements with Robinho and Alexandre Pato expected to move on in January, but Berlusconi is adamant Balotelli will not make the switch to the San Siro.

"I can assure you that Balotelli will not arrive," Berlusconi told Sky Sport Italia.

Berlusconi also ruled out a move for former Chelsea star Drogba despite being an admirer of the Ivory Coast international.

Drogba is seeking a move from Chinese club Shanghai Shenhua, but Berlusconi believes the 34-year-old is too expensive for the Rossoneri.

"Drogba? He is certainly a player we really like, but I think at that cost only the Arab ian and Russian clubs can afford him.

"Who will arrive in January? I cannot say...

"Each time I talk about a player, the cost increases. Anyway there will be young players with perspectives for the future."

Sabtu, 22 Desember 2012

Martin Jol: Fulham outclassed by Liverpool

Jol: Unhappy with performance

The Reds were untroubled as they cruised to victory with goals from Martin Skrtel, Steven Gerrard, Stewart Downing and Luis Suarez.

Jol conceded Fulham had let themselves down.

"We conceded cheap goals and then we played against ourselves because there were too many disappointments," said the Dutchman.

"Overall it wasn't good enough."

Fulham have now won just once in their last 10 matches and this was their second successive defeat.

Jol could be forgiven for looking anxiously over his shoulder, with just five points separating the Cottagers from the drop zone, but the Dutchman is confident his side will steer clear of trouble.

"We're on 20 points and we have a bit of a cushion," he said.

"We've had a lot of injury problems, but once those players are back we will be fine. We played some very good football before and I'm confident we will do that again.

"But there's no doubt that we have to pick up the points and do better than we did today.

"The next two games are very important. We've got Southampton and then Swansea City; both at home, but we need to show more conviction."

Rabu, 19 Desember 2012

Hillsborough verdicts are quashed

96 fans died at Hillsborough 23 years ago

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge and two other judges in London have ordered fresh inquests following an application by the Attorney General Dominic Grieve.

Earlier on Wednesday, a new police investigation into the 1989 disaster was announced by the Home Secretary.

Former Durham Chief Constable Jon Stoddart will lead the new inquiry, which will focus specifically on the 96 deaths of Liverpool fans at the FA Cup semi-final.

The move comes after a damning report from the Hillsborough independent panel laid bare a cover-up which attempted to shift the blame for the tragedy on to its victims.

Home Secretary Theresa May said: "I am determined to see a swift and thorough response to the findings of the Hillsborough Panel to deliver justice for the 96 football fans who died and the families who have fought so hard on their behalf."

Mr Stoddart will be able to recruit investigators and staff to his team, but he will not be allowed to emplo y officers or former officers with any prior connection to the Hillsborough disaster.

He is also unable to recruit any officers or former officers who worked in the West Midlands, South Yorkshire or Merseyside police forces.

Mr Stoddart will also work closely with the previously announced Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) investigation into police conduct in the aftermath of the disaster.

He said: "I am aware of the great significance and personal responsibility which comes with leading this criminal investigation.

"My first priority is to meet with as many of the families as possible and to establish a working open relationship with them throughout the investigation.

"I have held a number of meetings already and have been struck by the families' humility and steadfast determination to see justice delivered for their loved ones.

"My role is to ensure that we determine exactly what happened in the lead-up to and on the d ay of the disaster and establish where any culpability lies."

More to follow...

Senin, 17 Desember 2012

Brian McDermott says Reading paid for first-half display as they lost to Arsenal

Brian McDermott: 'A lot of home games to come which will be defining for us&

The visitors were 3-0 up at the break after dominating the opening period and although Adam Le Fondre and Jimmy Kebe offered a glimmer of hope, there was to be no miraculous recovery.

"In the first half they played very well and we diddn't get close to them. We changed shape in the second half and got better, got two goals but the fifth killed the game," said McDermott.

"We could have got tighter in the first half. Their three midfield players were excellent, but the second half response was good from our point of view.

"That game won't shape our season. We've got a lot of home games to come which will be defining for us.

"We have to do better than we've done. We play Manchester City away, then we've got Swansea and West Ham at home, which we're looking forward to.

"But we can't look too far ahead, we've just got to keep going. We're doing everything in our power to make sure we're in this league next season.

"It's a strong p ossibility that we can get players in and we'll try to do that.

"We'll see what January brings. We all know it's a tough window but we've been planning for some time now and that's what we'll be looking to try and do."

Minggu, 16 Desember 2012

Premier League: Chris Brunt pleased to see West Brom pick up clean sheet against West Ham

The Baggies ended a run of three successive defeats against the Hammers on Sunday, but were forced to settle for a share of the spoils in a goalless draw.

Steve Clarke's side will be concerned at having gone three games without troubling the scorers, but club captain Brunt believes they are heading in the right direction.

He told Sky Sports: "I think we were a bit sloppy in the first half. In the second half we put them under a lot of pressure but couldn't break through.

"To be fair they defended pretty well and at certain points we did come close to getting a result. A point takes us off that losing streak we were on.

"(A clean sheet is) very welcome. We haven't had too many recently so credit to the back four and Boaz (Myhill) as well. He's come in (for the injured Ben Foster) and done very well having been on the wrong side of a few bad results.

"It's a good clean sheet and a good point but I think we were a bit disappointed not to take all three in the end."


A stalemate on home soil prevented West Brom from closing on the top four, but one of this season's surprise packages have still taken 27 points from 17 games - and Brunt is more than happy with that return.

"At the start of the season we would have snapped somebody's hand off for it but I think we should be kicking on," he added.

"But it was important to get something today and hopefully that can help us going into the Christmas period."

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Steve Clarke says West Brom's draw with West Ham was right result

Albion failed to score for a third successive game, although at least they halted a run of three straight defeats and maintained their place in the Premier League's top six.

Clarke said: "I thought a draw was just about the right result. We didn't quite do enough to get the three points.

"As the home team, the onus is on us to try and win it. We tried to win it but nothing really fell for us.

"We spoke before the game about defending well, to aim for the clean sheet, which we got, which is good, because we haven't had one for a while.

"That is one positive aspect. It does stop the run of defeats which is another positive aspect and it's another point towards the totals we are trying to achieve.

"But there are not many questions to ask on that game are there!?"

Clarke admitted he had made a mistake with his 4-4-2 formation in the opening 45 minutes.

He said: "Maybe it was my fault in the first half because we went 4-4-2 an d it didn't quite click.

"But when we moved back to our normal system second half (4-2-3-1) we looked a little more lively."

Rabu, 12 Desember 2012

Guthrie handed two-week fine

Danny Gurthrie: Refused to travel with Reading squad for the game at Sunderland

The midfielder has not featured for the Royals since the 1-0 defeat at Liverpool in October, and is believed to have reprimanded by the club for not making the trip to the Stadium of Light.

The Royals crashed to a 3-0 defeat on Wearside, their fourth loss on the bounce which leaves them 19th in the table and six points off safety.

Royals boss Brian McDermott confirmed afterwards that Guthrie had refused to travel and is planning on holding talks with the 25-year-old.

"He made a decision that his head wasn't right to travel," McDermott said.

"Everyone has got to be going in the same direction, that's really, really important for me as a group, and we have had that for a period of time.

"You have to put yourself up to be selected in each and every game, and that means every player.

"Any player has to be part of what we are about. We can't deviate from what we have been about over the last three years.

"We are very much a bout the group - we have to be. We all have to pull in the same direction. It's probably not a conversation for this evening, but it's something that we need to address in the week."

PFA backing five-game ban

Gordon Taylor: Backing five-match ban for racist abuse

The sanction is one of a number of proposals being discussed by the game's ruling bodies, but has yet to be agreed by the Football Association.

Chelsea skipper John Terry was given a four-match ban for racially abusing QPR defender Anton Ferdinand, while Liverpool's Luis Suarez received an eight-match suspension for his abuse of Patrice Evra.

The PFA said on their official Twitter feed: "The PFA have agreed proposals with @FA that 'racist abuse' should carry a minimum five-match ban."

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor said: "We are not opposed to it. We want there to be some consistency and to illustrate the seriousness of our approach to this issue."

The PFA also want all players and managers coming to England from overseas to have "cultural lessons" to make them aware of rules on discrimination under proposals to tackle racism. Until now only apprentices have been given such courses.

Meanwhile, FA independent director Heather Rabb atts insists the game must to respond to damning criticism of the handling of the Terry and Suarez cases.

Kick It Out chairman Lord Herman Ouseley has claimed there is "very little morality" at the top clubs, a lack of leadership and "a moral vacuum" in the game.

Rabbatts, appointed as an independent board member earlier this year and a potential candidate to be the next FA chairman, said Ouseley had raised important issues.

She said: "The issues that Herman Ouseley is raising are hugely important issues for the whole game and it has to respond to these challenges.

"There are a number of members from different parts of the game being consulted and we all have to rise to the current challenge.

"Despite the huge progress that has been made in tackling discrimination there is a need for renewed energy."

Selasa, 11 Desember 2012

Sunderland boss Martin O'Neill saluted Steven Fletcher after 3-0 win over Reading

The Scotland international has made a quick recovery from an ankle problem and helped lift Sunderland out of the bottom three on the back of only their second home win of the season.

Fletcher scored the second goal of the game with an audacious flick from Danny Rose's cross in the 28th minute.

O'Neill said on Tuesday night: "Fletcher had done absolutely no work whatsoever. When you were talking to me yesterday, I genuinely wasn't sure that he could play in the game.

"He came out this morning just to do a bit of a loosener and thought he wanted to give it a go.

"I personally thought if he could see it to half-time and just slightly into the second half, he would do great for us.

"He has been terrific for us, really terrific. You just feel that he is likely to get you a goal in there.

"Danny Rose did very, very well, but when it came in, he turned it into a goal for us and it was great.

"I didn't want people starting to get carried away with it.

"I just want to try with all my might to put a team together here that not only can compete, but that a team that people would look forward to seeing play."

Sabtu, 08 Desember 2012

Chelsea boss Rafa Benitez writes open letter to Premier League club's suppporters

Rafa Benitez: Chelsea boss has written an open letter to the club's supporte

Benitez has endured a testing baptism to his time in the Blues hot-seat and has been jeered by some supporters unhappy with his appointment in the wake of Roberto Di Matteo's sacking.

The former Liverpool boss saw his new charges claim their first Premier League win under his tenure at the fourth attempt against Sunderland on Saturday just days after their Champions League defence was brought to a shuddering halt at the group stage.

The Spaniard has highlighted the relentless schedule of matches since his appointment, with the Sunderland game their fifth in a fortnight, and was keen to pay tribute to the Chelsea fans who have been in touch to offer their support.

Benitez told his personal website: "From the moment I accepted the offer to join Chelsea, my team and I have worked towards improving the results and getting the wins that we all want - no matter what hours we have to put in and the effort and sacrifice in order to achieve this.< /p>

"As you can imagine from what you may have seen, we have been immersed in the tasks ahead and since the change in my work situation it has been a cycle of training and matches with virtually no time to do anything else.

"My official presentation as Chelsea manger took place on Thursday November 21 and I came straight from Abu Dhabi where I was giving a lecture. We literally walked straight off the plane into running my first training session in Cobham. After two sessions we faced my first match in charge against Manchester City and then just a further two sessions before facing Fulham in a local derby.

"Two massive league commitments in just three days. We had a couple of conditioning workouts with referrals and then another London derby against West Ham United. We rested on Sunday and then the same timetable again, Nordsjaelland and then Sunderland.

"The team's win against the Danish side (6-1) was the biggest home win of the season for C helsea but was not enough for us to progress in the competition. The results of previous matches of the group stage and the results that occurred on the night in other games left us without options. We would have liked to be able to offer our fans another ending to this story, to offer our fans another Champions League win but we now look forward to the Europa League.

"We are now challenged with the Club World Championship in Japan and it will not be easy - I tell you this from the experience of two previous participations with differing results. This team is willing to give everything to try and return with a new title to bring home to the fans.

"But let's get back to why I am writing this letter and the basic purpose of trying to give a full account of my new situation and feelings before I seize this exciting new challenge of coaching at Chelsea FC. It is on that basis of the challenge I accepted the offer that was made. With the same faith, the same honesty , with the same loyalty and dedication I put into each of my previous projects.

"That said, thank you all for your support, to those who have sent messages, emails, letters... To those who have called, who have tried to contact by any means possible... To all, I sincerely thank you for your support. We're going to Japan right now to fight for the FIFA Club World Cup spurred on with all of your support."

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Selasa, 04 Desember 2012

Chelsea agree deal to sign Brazil defender Wallace from Fluminense

Wallace: Deal agreed to join Chelsea

The Blues have long been linked with the 5million-rated 18-year-old, who will officially become their player when the transfer window opens but remain with the Brazilian club until the end of the season on loan.

Chelsea reportedly already owned a 40% stake in the player as part of the deal that took Deco to Fluminense in 2010 and his capture swells the number of Brazilians at Stamford Bridge to five.

Wallace made his senior debut this year at the age of 17, going on to appear 18 times in the league for Fluminense's first team, helping them to the Brazilian league championship, the Rio State League and the Guanabara Cup.

A Brazil Under-20 international, he was part of the squad that won the South American Under-17 Championship last year, and helped his country to a fourth-placed finish at the World Cup in Mexico at the same level, playing alongside new Chelsea team-mate Lucas Piazon.

David Luiz, Ramires and Oscar are the other Brazilians at Stamford Bridge.

Senin, 03 Desember 2012

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew delighted to beat Wigan and end run of four successive league defeats

The Magpies started the evening seeking their first win in all competitions since 28 October and hovering two points above the drop zone.

But a brace by Demba Ba eased the pressure as they brushed the Latics aside 3-0, although their cause was aided by the disputed red card for Maynor Figueroa for a shoulder barge on Papiss Cisse.

Ba's subsequent penalty opened the scoring in the 13th minute and was the perfect tonic for a team struggling with form and injuries.

"It's been difficult for the players and staff," Pardew told Sky Sports. "We've had so many knocks with injuries - game after game - and it was nice to get a break and it was a break.

"We've had to work very hard for that win. It's been four defeats in a major football city and that puts a lot of pressure on us."

Shane Ferguson, winger Sammy Ameobi and, in particular, midfielder Vurnon Anita received most of the praise.

"It's been difficult for the young players, " Pardew added. "They've come in when the experienced players haven't been playing so well.

"Anita was outstanding. I have to pay credit to him. He hasn't seen too many wins at this club and he's been terrific and will be important for us. It's nice to see him play so well."

Pardew admitted the Europa League commitments had been a real headache with the congested fixture list, but insisted the tournament was still a good thing for the club.

"We've enjoyed it," he said. "These Thursday and Sunday games have made it very difficult though.

"However, we're looking forward to the second phase and hopefully give our fans some away trips and something to cheer about."