Arsene Wenger does not even want to hear the name of Andy Carroll these days – when the name of West Ham United striker popped up in the press conference of the Gunners boss pre-Crystal Palace match; he was irritated to the bits.
He has just not sunk in the fact yet that Carroll was allowed to carry on in the previous game versus Arsenal in spite of committing that big foul which, in his eyes, should have seen the 27-year old sent off straightaway. read more …
Leicester City managed to remain at the top of the table following a 2-0 win against Liverpool.
It was one of the impressive results of the season for the surprising team. Leicester were expected to be in a relegation dogfight, but to be leading the table with only two months of action left is rather surprising. Many expected the club’s title challenge to wither after Christmas, but there has been no signs of slowing down now that striker Jamie Vardy is in full swing once again. Despite the positive, manager Claudio Ranieri continued to downplay the title ambitions of the club.
Ranieri says that there are still several of matches left for his team and they are not considering taking a relaxed step just yet. One of the biggest challenges will come in the form of a match against second placed Manchester City at the Etihad stadium on Saturday. Leicester have a three-point advantage over City, but they will be aware of the opposition’s prowess in front of their own supporters. Ranieri downplayed Leicester’s title hopes, but he maintained that Arsenal and Tottenham are strong favourites. The North London outfits occupy the third and fourth positions and are not too far behind. read more …
Antoine Griezmann has long been in the shadows of players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
He continues to do so, but there has been a substantial improvement in the form of the Atletico Madrid forward. The player recently scored his 10th goal of the campaign in the 2-0 victory against Celta de Vigo. His first campaign provided an impressive return of 22 goals in all competitions. It looks like the Frenchman may struggle to match this tally in his second season, but a slight reduction was always on the cards after an impressive debut.
Griezmann now has 10 goals in 19 appearances for the Spanish outfit just in the league. However, fans have been able to witness the best of the 24-year-old in the Champions League. He has scored an impressive four goals in the six group matches. An overall record of 15 goals in 25 appearances for the Spanish outfit is good. His firm may be a reason behind Atletico moving to the top of the table just as the winter break came upon the la Liga. Even though Barcelona have played one game less than Atletico, a two-point advantage will feel like a confidence booster for the team from Madrid. read more …
One of Manchester City’s most expensive signings, Raheem Sterling claims that he is watching the videos of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in order to improve his game. The winger finally appeared to come away from the shackles and perform much more freely.
He scored two goals in the recent Champions League win over Borussia Monchengladbach. It is expected that this performance will be the springboard that could see Sterling back in the headlines once again. The former Liverpool winger was one of the finest players of last season, but he has struggled to hit the same heights at his new club.
His form towards the end of his Liverpool career would not have given the player a lot of happiness, but Sterling says that he has been trying hard to improve. When the former QPR trainee was breaking into the Liverpool first-team, the opposition were not aware about the tactics to adopt in order to stop a player like Sterling. Once the defences got cleverer, the 21-year-old has found the going tough. He has also not been helped by the drop in confidence. Kevin De Bruyne has been getting all the attention this season, but Sterling wants to be a key member of the City team regardless. read more …
Former Chelsea and Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti has rejected suggestions that he could follow Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich. Even though the Spaniard is currently in charge of the German club, his future is coming under increasing speculation since he has only a short time left on his contract. There are also no signs coming from Guardiola’s camp that he wants to extend the deal. It is widely believed that the former Barcelona manager is happy with his achievements in the Champions League with the German outfit. European competitions were especially his forte during his time with Barcelona.
Guardiola has also been linked with the managerial job at Manchester City and Manchester United. This would leave Bayern Munich with very few options to replace him if he indeed leaves on a short notice. One among those alternatives will be Ancelotti, who is currently out of work after having left Madrid at the end of last season. A manager with incredible reputation, Ancelotti will command instant respect from those around him. However, he has already stated that he will take a 12 month-long sabbatical before returning to the game. read more …
Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand will be witnessing his former club take on Leicester City, who are top of the table, in an unusual clash at the King Power stadium. Leicester were expected to be in the middle of a relegation battle, but they have been fighting for the title in the opening 12 games of the season.
One of the reasons behind this impressive form is striker Jamie Vardy, who is on the verge of breaking a long-standing league record. Ruud van Nistelrooy remains the only league player to have scored continuously in more than 10 games.
FIFA president Sepp Blatter, who is seen as one of the most controversial figures in football right now, says that he is confident that Russia will host a great World Cup 2018. The nation has been awarded the right to host this tournament and there is a lot of scrutiny upon Fifa and Russia. This is due to the inconsistencies that have plagued the competition over the last few editions. Apart from the 2006 World Cup in Germany, Fifa have been unable to get most things right in the last two editions. The World Cup 2014 was especially plagued by a lot of construction issues.
Fifa has also been caught up in a corruption scandal. Blatter has once again been in the headlines after making a U-turn on his decision to step down from his presidency role. He has been the Fifa president since 1998. Even though the organisation has been immensely praised for the way it has transformed aspects like women’s football and under 20s football, aspects like the failure to adopt technology in the top-level game and allegations of corruption have hit them quite hard. The qualification stages will take place from next year and the groups are announced in a few weeks.
“Today is an important day in the long and winding road to the World Cup 2018. We are on track, Russia will be a fantastic host. It will be a wonderful moment for Russia, the rest of the world and for football. Hundreds of thousands of visiting fans will come to Russia for the first time in their lives and will be met with warmth, friendship and real Russian hospitality. We say ‘yes’ to Russia. Our support is especially important during the current geopolitical situation,” said Blatter. Many countries have opposed to Russia hosting the tournament due to the perceived racism in the country.