Manchester United Beat Southampton To Claim League Cup

Zlatan Ibrahimovic shines as Manchester United Beat Southampton To Claim League CupZlatan Ibrahimovic scored a dramatic 87th minute winner as Manchester United beat Southampton 3-2 to win the English Football League Cup in a pulsating Wembley final.

Ibrahimovic had given United the lead with a sublime free-kick before Jesse Lingard made it 2-0 from the edge of the box after Marcos Rojo’s cut-back.

Southampton staged a remarkable fightback with two goals from Manolo Gabbiadini.

Ibrahimovic’s powerful header from Ander Herrera’s cross secured Jose Mourinho his first major trophy in his first season as Manchester United manager.

Everton Sack Coach Roberto Martinez

Martinez, EvertonRoberto Martinez has been sacked by Everton with immediate effect. The club officially announced this on Thursday afternoon.

The statement by the club reads; “Everton Football Club regrets to announce that Roberto Martinez has left his position as First Team Manager with immediate effect.

“The Chairman and the Board of Directors would like to place on record their thanks for the dedication and commitment Roberto has shown during his three seasons with the Club.

“Roberto has been a great ambassador for the Club, conducting himself, at all times, with the utmost integrity and dignity.

“He secured the Club its highest ever Premier League points total, a place in the last 16 of the Europa League and appearances in both domestic cup semi-finals.

“He has also played a key role in the development of several young players, managing their progression to the Everton First Team and International honours.”

The Toffees have picked up only four Premier League points since March 5 and the 3-0 loss to Sunderland on Wednesday stretched their dismal run of form to just one win in 10 matches in all competitions.

Although Martinez has led Everton to the semi-finals of the FA Cup and Capital One Cup this season, it appears the club’s poor league form has proved his downfall.

Everton are 12th on the log and, with only one match remaining, they are set to finish in the bottom half for a second straight year.

 

Mahrez, Vardy Dedicate PFA Awards To Teammates

Jarmie Vardy Riyad Mahrez PFA AwardsLeicester City players, Riyad Mahrez and Jamie Vardy have dedicated their English football’s PFA awards to their teammates.

Mahrez, who is an Algerian, becomes the first African player to win a Professional Footballers Association (PFA) players award.

The Leicester City winger beat teammate, Vardy, Tottenham’s Harry Kane and Arsenal midfielder, Mesut Ozil to clinch the award.

Scoring 17 goals with 11 assists, Mahrez has been one of the main reasons behind Leicester’s phenomenal rise to the top of the English Premier League, sitting eight points clear with three games remaining.

Vardy, who has 22 goals for the league leaders was also honoured by the PFA for becoming the first player to score in 11 consecutive premier league matches earlier this season.

Meanwhile, Leicester City fans in Thailand are confident the team would lift their first league title this season.

Hundreds of blue-shirted Thai fans watched the league leaders’ 4-0 win over Swansea City on live screens in Bangkok.

The fans believed it was time to do the unthinkable in their club history.

Manchester United Secures Mega Deal With Adidas

Man unitedEnglish Premier League side, Manchester United, have signed a major kit deal with German Sport Kit giant, Adidas, in what is believed to be worth minimum of £750million over 10 years from the 2015-16 season.

The deal is a welcome boost for the club whose performances on the pitch last season were hugely disappointing and they can now look forward to fresh investment as the staggering figure is more than double the amount they get from American sport kit company and current partner, Nike.

It would be the first time in 23 years that the German Sport Kit organization has made Manchester United strip in 23 years, since the 1991-92 season.

A club statement on Monday read: “Manchester United PLC has reached a 10-year agreement with Adidas for a global technical sponsorship and dual branded licensing deal for a minimum guarantee of £750m, subject to certain adjustments, beginning with the 2015/2016 campaign.

The Group Chief Executive of Adidas, Herbert Hainer, who was excited about the deal, believes the partnership with United would help to strengthen the kit company’s position in the world

“We are excited to team up with Manchester United, one of the most successful and most loved football clubs globally.

“Our new partnership with Manchester United clearly underlines our leadership in football and would help us to further strengthen our position in key markets around the world.

“At the same time, this collaboration marks a milestone for us when it comes to merchandising potential. We expect total sales to reach £1.5billion during the duration of our partnership”, Hainer concluded.

It is believed Adidas would provide training and playing kit to all the club’s teams and would have the exclusive right to distribute dual-branded merchandising products worldwide.

Nike had released a statement, saying that it decided to end its association with the Old Trafford club at the end of the 2014-15 season claiming that eye-watering figures were being demanded.

It brings an end to a 13-year association that United have enjoyed with the sportswear giants after signing a long-term deal with the firm in 2002. Manchester United unveiled their new home kit for the 2014-15 season which would be the last designed by Nike and the first to bear the logo of new sponsor Chevrolet.

 

I Will Honour Contract With Arsenal– Wenger

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger has once again said he will be honouring his contract with the Gunners.

This he said during a news conference while reacting to a speculation that the 63 year old Frenchman is in a contract romance with Paris Saint Germain (PSG) that he is likely to leave the English club saying he had no intention of leaving Arsenal.

“I answered that question already, no, I respect my contracts,” he said.

“Every football game excites me and football in general excites me and the love for this club as well.

“I want to stay if I do well, and if I consider and the club consider that I do well, that’s all. I want this club to do well, and that is my basic feeling.”

Arsenal’s move from Highbury to the larger Emirates Stadium while maintaining a place in the Champions League against clubs with huge transfer budgets has proved challenging but Wenger believes the club are now in a much healthier position for the future.

“We have gone through a period that was very sensitive, the club is coming out of it now in a much stronger position financially and I believe that the club is in a very strong position for the future. For the rest my own person is less important, what is more important is the future of this club,” he said.

With Manchester United already crowned champions and Manchester City seemingly assured of second place Arsenal are vying with Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspur and Everton for a place in the Champions League.

Chelsea are third in the final automatic Champions League spot with 65 points, one ahead of Arsenal who have one game less to play and three ahead of Spurs, who have the toughest run-in on paper as they visit Stamford Bridge on Wednesday in what could prove a decisive fixture.

Fourth is worth a Champions League playoff spot.

Wenger believes that the Gunners must maintain their focus to continue their good recent form.

“The most important thing is just not to lift your head, just focus on your job and continue our strong run. We have built up a strong run, put a strong run together and we want to use this belief in a very positive way,” he said.

Wenger pointed to Arsenal’s performance in the Champions League against Bayern Munich as a pivotal moment, after losing 3-1 at home they won 2-0 in Munich to lose out on the away goals rule.

“We’ve had to rebuild the team in the last two seasons, we lost some massive players and we have moved forward, for me, in the second part of the season considerably,” he said.

“We have gone out against Bayern Munich on away goal and they just thrashed Barcelona by seven goals so I have to consider that we have moved forward.”

Arsenal face a trip to already relegated Queens Park Rangers on Saturday as they chase a 16th consecutive appearance in the Champions League.

“We go game by game and every game gives you a different proposal that you have to sort out. We are highly focused on tomorrow’s game and on our performance and everybody’s really focused and wants to do well in tomorrow’s game, that’s what we of course want to achieve,” said Wenger.

It’s the end of the road for Lampard,Cole at Chelsea with Benitez as coach

Just two days into his new job as Chelsea manager, Rafa Benitez has started to break-up the Champions League-winning team by telling legends Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole that they are to leave at the end of the season.

Both players are out of contract next summer and Chelsea’s new coach said they won’t stay at Stamford Bridge beyond the end of the season.

Chelsea captain John Terry is already on his way out of Stamford Bridge with the European champions not prepared to renew his current contract.

Suarez is unstoppable – Liverpool Manager

Liverpool and Uruguay International; striker Luis Suarez has secured the backing of his manager Brendan Rodgers after he dismissed fears that the striker will be forced out of the English game by continuing criticism.

Since his leaving his former club Ajax for the English Premier League and Liverpool precisely in January 2011 the forward player has had to endure so much and with the last game played by the Reds, there’s no signs of them easing off.

Looking back, the Uruguay international was banned for eight matches last season after being found guilty of racially abusing Manchester United defender Patrice Evra, now he’s been accused of diving which from some quarters a sending-off from the game would have been the only option.

Former Liverpool striker John Aldridge expressed his concern the 25-year-old could walk away from the club because of the hard time he gets from opposition managers and supporters but Rodgers rejected that.

And according to Rodgers “I think he loves playing in English football,” said Rodgers of Suarez, who only signed a new long-term contract at the start of the season.

“I speak with Luis regularly and he loves the passion and excitement of the game over here.

“What he is a player who is mentally very strong – as you can see from his time here the amount of stick he has taken.

“It is actually a driver for him. It really motivates him and he loves being at Liverpool: he loves the city, the club and the supporters so I can’t see that (being forced out) happening.”

Suarez answered his critics, and more pertinently David Moyes with a sarcastic dive at the Everton manager’s feet after his deflected shot brought the opening goal in Sunday’s Merseyside derby draw.

Rodgers has been impressed by the way the South American has shouldered the burden of being the club’s only fit senior striker and insists it is a privilege to coach him.

“I thought he was outstanding (against Everton). He is a breath of fresh air with his enthusiasm,” added the Northern Irishman.

“He is our only fit senior striker here and he was tireless against Reading and then we had to play a strong team against Anzi (in the Europa League).

“People maybe thought the condition of the team and him in particular would waver but the condition of the group, and particularly him up front, was amazing.

“He is a wonderful talent who will always provoke comments both positive and negative but the bottom line is he is a fantastic player.

 

“He is goal scorer and his goals to games ratio this season is fantastic.

“He is really inspirational for the group because he works hard every day and he is quality at that top end of the field: he genuinely is a world-class striker.

“It is a privilege to work with a player of that quality every day.”

After three tough games Suarez is likely to be given the night off tomorrow when Rodgers’ former club Swansea visit in the Capital One Cup.

Liverpool, the defending champions, came through the last round with a 2-1 win at West Brom having fielded a team with an average age of 24 years 10 days, while seven of the 13 players used that night were under 22.

The Reds boss has admitted league performances are his priority and so the side he puts out in this competition will be shorn of first-team stars and tomorrow is no different.

But he intends to pay every respect to the club he left in the summer, insisting the close relationship he had with Swans chairman Huw Jenkins remains strong and that actually helped when he went back to buy midfielder Joe Allen.

“It improved the Allen deal as I was able to speak to Huw and ask if there was a market for Joe and he came back to me and told me there was a possibility he could be sold,” he said.

“We became close both professionally and personally there and our relationship is still strong.

“Leaving there was sad but I knew I was coming to one of the biggest clubs in the world.

“We are not in contact as much – we would have spoken every day and had many great football conversations – but there is still that respect there and an admiration for the work they do.

“I always like to leave on good terms. There is no problem there.

“But we want to get through and nothing will get in the way of that.

“No sentiment gets in the way of wanting to progress to the next round.”

Sports Palava: John Terry’s exit from the Three Lions

Alex McLeish sacked by Aston Villa for poor season

Aston Villa management has sacked manager, Alex Mcleish at the end of his first season as a manager of the club barely 24 hours after the end of the season.

Club officials confirmed his exit from the club on Monday.

Though, he avoided relegation this season with Aston, the first fight against relegation before being appointed as Aston villa coach was with Birmingham which almost got relegated last season.

This was responsible for the unhappiness showed by Aston Villa fans on hearing of his appointment this season as manager of the club.

The Scot was not able to save his job as manager as his win-less run stretched to nine matches in a row, with Villa finishing just two points clear of the drop.

The Chairman of the club; Randy Lerner said the kind of game and results that will instill confidence in Villa fans and club management is no longer present as he wants to be candid with fans and drive home his point as immediate action is needed to raise the standard bar of Villa and carefully look at the options they have to bringing a replacement of the present manager who will see the club potentials and expectations.

Chief executive Paul Faulkner thanked Alex for his hard work and efforts throughout the season before he commenced on the plan laid down for the club in the coming season which will involve a new manager for the club and the board and for the long term objectives of the club too.

“Our focus now will be driven by these imperatives and we will update when appropriate.” he concluded.

Aston Villa’s tally of 38 points in finishing 16th is actually one less than when McLeish was relegated with Birmingham at the end of last season.

Villa has also encountered their worst season in their history in terms of their home record in registering just four wins.

McLeish had to contend with slashing the wage bill, which he described as “astronomical”, and was deprived of several key players through injury or illness.

The likes of record signing Darren Bent, key defender Richard Dunne and skipper Stiliyan Petrov have been side-lined for lengthy spells and McLeish has had to put the accent on youth. McLeish always stressed it would be a season of transition after replacing Gerard Houllier last summer, but it was still a surprise that Villa only made sure of survival last weekend.