What do Roberto Mancini, Alan Pardew and Roberto Martinez have in common? Well, it’s clearly not league position, but potentially for the next month the trio will be losing players who have been in integral to their individual fights in the top flight. Mancini loses the indomitable presence of Yaya Toure in midfield, Pardew the goals of Demba Ba and calming influence of Cheik Tiote, and Martinez his hard man in the middle Mohamed Diame.
Monthly Archives: January 2012
The beauty of having cameras and microphones dotted around Premier League stadiums is not the fact we can get that glorious HD (and 3D) experience or smirk at the odd expletive or two that leaks out pre-watershed, but it is because we get to see the collective and individual mood of a team captured in the heat of the battle that can often be missed being at the game. It is because of these very cameras and microphones that the millions watching the Arsenal versus Manchester United game today could fully absorb the feeling of supporters and even team mates towards a certain Andrey Arshavin.
We will probably have to wait until the updated version of Paul Scholes’ autobiography gets serialized in a newspaper to uncover the moment Sir Alex decided to coax the midfielder out of retirement. Perhaps he spotted him drilling his long range passes around the Carrington training ground like it was 1997 all over again and with one look at that crippling list of injuries thought to himself, “Ah, that boy is a bit special. Even at 37.”
“I’ve paid real attention to the history of the club and the great players to have played for it.”
Prior to securing his season-long loan to Newcastle United, Hatem Ben Arfa revealed that he took a good look at the tale of the Toon before deciding to move to the North East.
It’s understandable that the 24-year old, who has yet to find a home for his unquestionable talent and often fiery personality, has given this move some thought. Ben Arfa surely need only look back fifteen years to the summer of 1995 when a long-haired left winger from France arrived on Tyneside where he would swiftly acquire a Geordie God-like status.
I’ll be honest; I never wanted to get into Twitter. The whole concept of it just didn’t appeal to me, and seemed like another way for people to tattle on about things that have no value or relevance to my life. Sure, the same thing can be said about Facebook, I’ve got an account, but that is slowly becoming a place to share photos with family that live on the other side of the world and not much more than that.
I can remember the first time I realised Dimitar Berbatov was a player cut from a different cloth compared to many of those plying their trade in the Premier League at the time. It was a 2007 FA Cup quarter-final against Chelsea. A Sunday midday kick-off, a sun drenched Stamford Bridge that distinctly felt more summer than the middle of Spring. Before the roast dinner landed in my lap I had the pleasure of feasting on yet another tantalizing display of open, attacking football that had become synonymous with a Tottenham side during Martin Jol’s tenure. Berbatov that day was at the thick of everything that was good about Spurs. He was everywhere to be seen, drifting left then right in the elegant manner he always appears to play on a football pitch.
Ah the Bosman, that rather major football ruling made back in 1995 that is now the bane of any manager trying to keep hold of their top talent, and for Football Manager/Championship Manager frequenters, a quick-fire way to get more quality into your first team squad if you can afford the wages (Taribo West anyone?).
Much has been made of Alan Pardew’s acquisition of Demba Ba in the summer, currently second in the Premier League goal-scoring charts and seemingly a shrewd bit of free business compared to the excessive fees currently hanging over the heads over strikers who are not really cutting it. Until the Senegalese striker’s rich vein of form leads the Geordies to some form of silverware or European qualification, his value for no money should be put on hold until the end of the season.