Category: Sports

94chelsea1104aNyon – Draw for the semi-finals of the UEFA Champions League made on Friday saw John Obi Mikel’s Chelsea pit against Atletico Madrid.

The other clash will see Real Madrid battle it out with defending champions Bayern Munich.

The first leg matches will be played on April 22/23, while the return leg holds on April 29/30.

Mikel has suffered less playing time in the Champions League, and the Nigerian has been linked with some clubs in Europe for a summer transfer.


b168cd3faabf1977713e2b0af4c1e9dfEnglish Premier League side Arsenal Football Club has revealed reasons the club scrapped plans to play a friendly match in Nigeria in July.

The Daily Star on Sunday attributed the scrapped plan over the fears of terrorism in Nigeria, where Boko Haram and its brother terror-group, Ansaru have killed over 3,000 people since they declared war against the state in 2009.

Arsene Wenger’s side were set to play the Nigerian national team, after cancelling a trip last year. Continue reading

ed7fd30b938c81aa1fa376e9118fb22dMartin O’Neill was sacked as Sunderland manager after his side’s 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United left them teetering on the relegation precipice.

The defeat at the Stadium of Light, the result of a Titus Bramble own goal, left Sunderland just one point above the relegation zone and without a win in eight Premier League games.

Before Saturday’s match Sunderland chairman Ellis Short called for all involved with the club to stand ‘shoulder to shoulder’ but he decided to act with just seven games of the season remaining. Continue reading

cazorla_1569453aTuesday, March 26, 2013 – Arsenal play maker Santi Cazorla is finding the Premier League ‘fascinating’.

The Spain international joined the north London club from Malaga last summer and has been among the stand out acts for Arsenal this season.

Speaking to FIFA’s official website Cazorla said: “It’s a really great experience which I’m finding fascinating.

“I’ve settled quickly and I’ve had a lot of help from my teammates and others. The fans here are incredible.
“Here you usually get more games that go end-to-end, and in matches like those it’s harder to close down spaces like they do in Spain or Italy.

“That makes it easier for central midfielders to play. I like the tempo of the game over here.”

Cazorla played for Villarreal and Recreativo de Huelva in Spain before joining Malaga in 2011.

Cazorla is currently on international duty with  Spain preparing for the must win World Cup qualifier tie against the Les Blues in France tonight.

steven-gerrard-englandTuesday, March 26, 2013 – Ahead of the crucial World Cup qualifier pitting England and group H leaders Montenegro, England Captain Steven Gerrard says the pre-match jibes from Mirko Vucinic will not in any way affect them in tonight’s crucial tie.

Gerrard has refused to be drawn into the war of words, claiming England will prove their mettle  on the pitch.
“They seem to be more interested in doing all the talking,” Gerrard said.
“But talking doesn’t win you football matches. I’m not really too interested in what they’ve got to say.
“With regards to his comments, it just shows we’ve got them exactly where we want them. I’m more interested in how the lads play when the first whistle goes.
“Going back to whether we play long balls, it’s important to have a good mix, to play a certain way but also have a Plan B where you can go more direct.”
Montenegro lead England by two points and could take an important step towards securing the automatic qualifying spot for next year’s World Cup with a positive result on tonight, but Gerrard denies the match is a must-win for his side.
“I wouldn’t say so. I don’t think the result is crucial,” he said. “Yes, it is very important and puts either side in control of the group who wins.
“But I don’t think it’s the end of the world if we don’t get the result we want. We are confident to do a job here. I think a defeat here would be very damaging to us. Let’s hope that is not the case. We are confident to get a result.”
Vucinic had taunted Roy Hodgson’s side as ‘very predictable’ with their ‘long passes’.


As you would expect, all the big names are there – Cristiano Ronaldo, Leo Messi, Yaya Toure. But there’s a few surprises as well.

Goalkeeper | Iker Casillas = €6m a year

Right-back | Philipp Lahm = €10m

Centre-back | Thiago Silva = €9.8m

Centre-back | John Terry = €9.5m

Left-back | Ashley Cole = €12.4m

Centre-midfield | David Silva = €13m

Centre-midfield | Yaya Toure = €13m

Centre-midfield | Franck Ribery = €10m

Right-wing | Cristiano Ronaldo = €10m

Left-wing | Lionel Messi = €15m

Centre-forward | Samuel Eto’o = €20m

Mancity-Fan+-Lasunpals.comA fan dressed in a full Manchester City kit tried to join the team for a warm-up session Saturday before the defending Premier League champion’s away game at Everton.

The man was escorted away by security staff, but only after he ran along the touchline as the team warmed up at Goodison Park and then attempted to join the players on the pitch.

The man’s identity was not made public. Everton says the man, who the club believes is from London, was arrested for pitch encroachment.

Last year’s game between the two teams was held up when a man ran onto the field and handcuffed himself to a goalpost.

lasunpalsChelsea fans: isn’t this what a true leader looks like? Isn’t this the man you’d really like leading your team? Isn’t this a role model, someone to make you proud of your club?

On Sunday, Frank Lampard scored his 200th goal for Chelsea, bringing him to within two of the all-time record.

The number of goals isn’t particularly important, though it is an astonishing tally for a central midfielder.

As his detractors point out, he scores a lot of penalties – 39 in the Premier League alone for Chelsea (though that never seems important when talking about Alan Shearer, Ruud van Nistelrooy or other great goalscorers).

What the tally does show is Lampard’s sheer consistency. This is his 10th consecutive season with 10 or more Premier League goals. Do you know how many other players have done that? None.

Just for the sake of comparison, do you know how many times Steven Gerrard has hit double figures in league goals? Three times. Paul Scholes? Twice.

That doesn’t automatically make Lampard a better player, but it does indicate he has maintained an exceptional performance level in a way that the other two have not.

In a decade of turbulent upheaval (good and bad) for Chelsea, he more than anyone has been the constant; the steadying hand, the man to which the team turned in times of adversity.

Of course Didier Drogba, Petr Cech and other players have made defining contributions. But Lampard is the rock on which Chelsea’s success has been built. He is Chelsea’s true captain. Their totem.

Now, Early Doors has got this far without mentioning John Terry’s name.

That’s because Lampard doesn’t deserve to be overshadowed by the man who – inexplicably, has captained Chelsea and England for the bulk of their careers.

Clearly Terry has something about him – he has persuaded enough managers to make him captain to suggest he is somewhat armband-worthy.

But Early Doors just doesn’t see it. ‘Natural leader’ is a term often used to describe Terry – but what does that really mean?

The term tends to emerge from a peculiarly Anglo-Saxon view of leadership that values shouting and pointing a lot to fostering cooperation and mutual respect with your colleagues. It also defines bravery as putting your head in the way of a goalbound shot – as though that isn’t every player’s job.

As an aside, Luis Suarez’s infamous handball was braver than anything Terry has done. He knew it was a red card, he knew the scorn that would come his way, but he did the only thing he could to keep his team in the World Cup. Now that’s self-sacrifice.

Back to Terry, though – if you want to command the respect of your team-mates, you could probably stay away from their other halves.

If you want to be seen as an ambassador for your club and the game, you might refrain from using the words “f***ing black c***” under any circumstances whatsoever.

And you can realise that having a strong personality doesn’t preclude self-awareness or a sense of when to take a step back.

Take Roy Keane’s words in his autobiography after he missed Manchester United’s 1999 Champions League triumph:

“No matter how many people tell me I deserve that Champions League medal, I know I don’t. In fact, you could argue my indiscipline came very close to costing us the treble.”

Terry’s full-kit jubilation after sitting out last season’s Champions League final became such an internet staple he can currently be found somewhere in cyberspace celebrating the election of Pope Francis, and doing a joyful knee slide to mark St Patrick’s Day.

Lampard might not be the alpha male in the Chelsea squad, but he is their leader in every meaningful sense.

He plays more games than Terry, makes more telling contributions than Terry, holds his nerve better than Terry.

In the 2008 Champions League final, Lampard scored in normal time and again in the penalty shootout. Terry ‘had the guts’ to take the potential winning kick – but not to score or even get it on target.

In the 2012 Champions League, Lampard played superbly in adversity and again scored in the shootout. Terry watched, a victim of his own foolishness in the semi-final.

By the time he is done at Stamford Bridge – whether this summer or next – Frank Lampard will be remembered as the greatest goalscorer in Chelsea history.

In another, fairer universe, he would also be remembered as their greatest captain.

– –

QUOTE OF THE DAY: “He’s not that sort of boy.” Roberto Martinez reaches for the bumper book of football cliches as he defends Callum McManaman for his appalling tackle on Newcastle’s Massadio Haidara.

FOREIGN VIEW: AEK Athens midfielder Giorgos Katidis conceded the “stupidity” of his actions after he was given a life ban from all national teams by the Greek football federation on Sunday for making a Nazi salute to fans during a match.

The 20-year-old, a former captain of Greece’s Under-19 team, made the gesture in celebrating his winning goal in a 2-1 Super League victory over lowly Veria on Saturday.

Katidis apologised and asked to be dropped from AEK’s first team.

“I would like to confess that I am totally unacceptable and I feel terrible for those I upset with the stupidity of my act,” Katidis said in a statement.

“I made the mistake so I will be the one to pay for it, AEK is not responsible. So that is why I have decided to put myself out of the team because I have now realised how much I have offended the history of the club.”

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