Argentine FA To Appeal Messi’s Suspension

Messi Banned From Argentina Qualifying CampaignThe President of the Argentine Football Association, Claudio Tapia says the football body will appeal the four match suspension against Lionel Messi

The President was disappointed that Messi’s sanction was announced less than six hours before the kickoff of their last qualifier match against Bolivia in La Paz.

The five time world player of the year would play in only one of Argentina’s remaining five 2018 World Cup Qualifiers.

We Gave Game Away, Klopp Says After Bournemouth Beat Liverpool

Liverpool, Manchester United, man United, Jurgen Klopp, Jose MourinhoLiverpool manager, Jürgen Klopp, on Sunday admitted his side “gave it away”, as Bournemouth’s late comeback condemned his side to a first defeat since August.

Mr Klopp, however, insisted that he had no concerns over his goalkeeper, Loris Karius, despite the errors that contributed the hosts’ dramatic win.

Karius, who looked nervous throughout, spilled Steve Cook’s shot for Nathan Aké to convert from close range to complete a remarkable turnaround, as Bournemouth, inspired by their substitute Ryan Fraser, secured their first victory against Liverpool.

“We gave the game away, and the boys know that.

“Only because of us Bournemouth came back. It was our mistake to let them back in the game but, even when we were 2-0 up at half-time, I wasn’t happy because we weren’t playing too well.

“We were too static in our play and I didn’t like what I was seeing too much, so I told the boys that the game wasn’t over. We kept the ball too long at the wrong moments, passing it late, and, eventually, everything changed,” Klopp said.

Bournemouth had trailed 3-1 after 76 minutes with the visitors apparently in complete control, only for their defensive frailties to be exposed.

The victory had pushed the Merseyside club to third place, four points off the leaders, Chelsea, from whom Ake is on loan.

In other Premiership games, Everton got late equaliser to hold Manchester United to a 1-1 draw.

Middlesbrough Scuttle Arsenal’s Six-match Winning Run

arsenalArsenal’s six-match winning run came to an end against Middlesbrough but a point was enough to move them top of the Premier League table.

Manager Arsene Wenger – celebrating his 67th birthday – watched his side dominate possession but underwhelm in the final third.

The Gunners managed five efforts on target, but only one worried Boro keeper, Victor Valdes, when he pulled off a great one-handed stop to deny Alexis Sanchez.

Aitor Karanka’s side defended brilliantly and, despite conceding much of the possession to the home side, created the better chances.

Arsenal keeper, Petr Cech, blocked Gaston Ramirez’s header, twice denied the outstanding Adama Traore and also saved from Alvaro Negredo.

With A Bit Tired Legs

The home side briefly thought they had won it in injury time but Mesut Ozil’s effort was rightly ruled out for offside.

arsene-wenger
Arsene Wenger says the energy was a bit down today

Despite remaining in 17th place, Boro should be buoyed by the display and unexpected result.

In his post-match comment, Wenger said his team had the possession but with a bit tired legs. There was not enough left in our legs today.

For him, one remarkable thing was that the team made sure they did not lose the game.

In other matches, Scott Arfield’s 90th-minute winner gave Burnley their third win of the season in a match dominated by Everton.

Xherdan Shaqiri scored twice as stoke comfortably won at hull to move out of the relegation zone.

Nigeria striker, Ahmed Musa, scored his first goal for Leicester City, as the champions stretched their unbeaten home run to 20 games.

Winston Reid scored a late winner for West Ham to extend Sunderland’s losing streak to nine games.

Man City Sign Claudio Bravo From Barcelona

Claudio Bravo moves to man cityEnglish club Manchester City has announced the signing of Chilean goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo, from Spanish side, Barcelona on a four-year deal.

This is according to a statement on the club’s official website which said: “City are delighted to announce the signing of Claudio Bravo.

“The Chilean goalkeeper joins the Blues from Barcelona after signing a four-year-deal”.

On his decision to leave Barcelona, the shot stopper said he couldn’t refuse the opportunity to work with new boss, Pep Guardiola.

“I’m very proud to be joining Manchester City. I know the Club is building something very special and I hope I can be part of many successes in the coming years.

“I have followed City’s progress in recent years and obviously know some of my new team-mates from the Copa America, he said.

“It is not easy to leave a club like Barcelona where I had two fantastic years, but the opportunity to work with Pep Guardiola was too good to refuse.

“Now I will challenge the other great goalkeepers the Club has and together I hope we can win many trophies,” he stressed

Wenger Says February Results Important To Title Race

Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger, has outlined February as a crucial month in the Gunners race for the Premier League title.

The league leaders will travel to Liverpool on Saturday for a crucial game before a home match against Manchester United the following week, in a period that could go a long way to deciding the foremost Premier League side.

Wenger has also refused to rule the Anfield club out of the title race, suggesting that eight points isn’t too much of a gap in a season that has produced shocking and unpredictable results.

The Frenchman is focused on getting good results in the month of February to stay in a good position for the title race.

“We’ll have to wait until the end of February to have the exact idea of who will fight for the Premier League,” the Arsenal boss told Arsenal’s website.

“It’s an important month for many teams and maybe we will need a bit of patience.

“You always think about the psychological impact of the last result on the morale of the team, as well as the confidence and happiness of everybody.

“You think the only way to deal with it is to just focus on the next one and win it, then everything will be alright.”

EPL: Rodgers Intend To Retain Number One Status

Liverpool manger, Brendan Rodgers, says the Reds want to stay top of the English Premier League table till the end of the season and not just at Christmas.

The Reds’ 3-1 home victory over Cardiff City was enough to claim pole position on goal difference, after Arsenal and Chelsea played out a 0-0 draw on Monday night. It was just reward for the club, who have recorded an impressive four-game winning streak, which produced 17 successful strikes. Liverpool are on top of the table on goal difference over Arsenal with 36 points from 17 matches; their next opponents Manchester City are third with 35 points.

“Well of course we have been happy and content, but obviously always want to maintain it right the way through to the end of the season. I think from January last year we’ve shown that we can consistently now perform and we can, as I said we can win games on a regular basis. You know I think that we’ve shown we’re a very attack-minded conscious team. You know, we’ve got the most goals this calendar year of any Premier League team and I think the consequence of all the great work that the players have put in on the training field; they’re getting their rewards for. But you don’t get the rewards in Christmas; as I said, it’s a nostalgic time around this period for, for the country and people always want to know where a team is at (in the standings) around Christmas Day, which is great. And for us, of course, we want to be there, but we want to be there at the end of the season and for that, there’s a lot of hard work ahead,” Rodgers said.

Nice For Liverpool Fans To Dream

Rodgers also expressed appreciation to the fans for their support.

“Yeah it’s nice and listen, it’s brilliant for supporters. I’m not going to deny the supporters here at Liverpool from dreaming. You know, it’s nice for us all to dream. You know it’s been a hard period in this club for four or five years, in which this was probably a distant thought for them. So for us to be really focussed and all as one, as supporters, the team and city, then it’s, it’s brilliant, so they have to enjoy it,” he said.

Liverpool’s next game is an away fixture at Manchester City on Boxing day (December 26) and Rodgers is  looking forward to the match.

“We know it’s, it’s a tough place to go. Obviously this year Manchester City have won every one of their games at home; we’ve won every game at home bar one. So, as I said, they obviously have confidence at home. They score goals, but they concede goals, so it makes for a really good game,” the Reds’ boss said.

Osaze faces three-match ban

Super Eagle striker, Peter Odemwingie faces a three-match ban after he received a straight red card for kicking Sascha Reither in West Bromwich Albion’s 0-3 defeat to Fulham in the Barclays English Premier League on Saturday.

The score was 1-0 to Fulham at the time of Odemwingie’s misconduct after Dimitar Berbatov bagged his first goal for the Cottagers.

The striker, who scored on the opening day of the season, shocked all when he lashed out at an unsuspecting Reither leaving the referee with little option but to send him off.

Odemwingie, who will miss his club’s next three matches, has now apologised for his actions.

“I lost my temper. I’m a professional and should have kept my cool, but it happens,” he said.

He further revealed that he wanted to foul Reither without any malicious intent.

“I wanted to foul the player because I thought he was angry towards me. But I should cool my emotions.

“I’ve said sorry to the players and to the staff. It’s a lesson to learn.

“I am looking at the incident in a different way now.

“That moment went very fast for me, I felt a kick on my ankle and felt an injustice that the linesman was so close but nothing was given.

“But now I think it was my fault. I lost my temper. I’m a professional and should have kept my cool, but it happens. It’s not my habit.”
Meanwhile, the WBA manager, Steve Clarke has refused to criticise the 31-year old Nigerian.

“We’re all human – we have emotions. Peter felt he had been fouled, felt it was a free kick and reacted in the wrong way. The red card is there and he has accepted the punishment, we all have to accept it and move on,” he said.

Robin Van Persie will remain a Gunner – Wenger

Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger made his stand known to those bidding for his star striker Robin van Persie that the Dutchman is not going anywhere as he is keeping him as he admitted the 28 year old is one of the best strikers in the World.

Italian Serie A Champion, Juventus, EPL champion Manchester City are the top bidders for his signature as Manchester United boss Alex Ferguson joined the bidding race on Friday to have him at Old Trafford, a bid which is believed to around £30 million.

Van Persie’s deal at Emirates Stadium expires next summer and he is presently unsettled at the club due to Manchester United’s joining the bid for his signature.

Van Persie won both Professional Footballers’ Association and Football Writers’ Association player of the year prizes in recognition of his phenomenal 36-goal contribution for Arsenal in the 2011/12 campaign.

Van Persie we learnt will not travel to Asia later today on Arsenal’s pre-season tour, although the Gunners were keen to stress his non-involvement was due to the striker having only trained for four days since returning from holiday.

The saga is shaping up to be a carbon copy of those that saw Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri both sold last summer – something which dragged on towards the tail end of the transfer window.

But Wenger is convinced that Van Persie will continue to give his all for Arsenal – regardless of whether he leaves the club.

But in case Van Persie leaves Arsenal, the clubalready signed two new strikers in Lukas Podolski and Olivier Giroud but are also said to be lining up Spain star Fernando Llorente.

Arsenal postpone pre-season game against Super Eagles

Arsenal Football Club on Wednesday announced it is reluctantly postponing its proposed trip to Nigeria this summer.

The Club on its website said it took the decision as a result of complexities linked to the planned game against Nigeria on Saturday, August 5 in Abuja.

Arsenal marketing director Angus Kinnear said: “Bringing a top-level club to an international market is always complicated and logistically challenging. With the proposed match in Nigeria planned for early August, we could not get comfortable on everything needed to satisfy our requirements, so we have reluctantly taken the decision to postpone the team’s visit.”

Kinnear continued: “We have a huge and loyal following in Africa, and we are sorry that the team will not be visiting this summer. However, we have a long-term commitment to Nigeria and we are already making plans for a visit next summer.

“In addition, we also have some exciting forthcoming activities planned with our commercial partners in Nigeria – Emirates, Airtel and Malta Guinness, which will kick off in the next few weeks.”

The divisional senior vice-president, corporate communications of Emirates said: “Emirates shares Arsenal’s disappointment that the team’s visit to Nigeria has been postponed. We look forward to working with Arsenal to bring the Club closer to its loyal Nigerian fans through new initiatives over the coming months.”

A UK Football promoter, David Omigie of DanJan Sports had last month announced that English Premier League side Arsenal will on August 5 play the Super Eagles of Nigeria in a pre-season match in Abuja.

The London club traditionally hosts an annual pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium, but they opted to postpone the event for a year because of the 2012 London Olympics.

The visit to Nigeria would have concluded Arsenal’s pre-season after tours to both China and Malaysia in July.

Man City go top with draw at Stoke, Spurs hold Chelsea

Yaya Toure’s deflected equaliser gave Manchester City a 1-1 draw at Stoke City on Saturday to reclaim top spot in the Premier League but two more away dropped points handed the advantage to Manchester United in the title race.

Toure’s long-range blast, which deceived keeper Asmir Begovic after flicking off Ryan Shawcross, rescued his side after Peter Crouch’s magnificent volley had given Stoke a 59th-minute advantage at the Britannia Stadium.

Manchester City joined United on 70 points but edged top on goal difference although the champions will go three points clear if they beat Fulham at Old Trafford on Monday.

Chelsea drew 0-0 at home to Tottenham Hotspur – a result that left the Stamford Bridge club five points behind their fourth-placed opponents and eight shy of Arsenal who consolidated third spot with a 3-0 defeat of Aston Villa.

Kieran Gibbs, Theo Walcott and Mikel Arteta secured a seventh consecutive league win for Arsenal.

At the other end of the table, Wigan Athletic gave their survival prospects a boost with a shock 2-1 win at Liverpool who have now won only twice in 11 league games.

Gary Caldwell’s 63rd-minute strike handed Wigan their maiden victory at Anfield.

Bolton Wanderers earned an emotional 2-1 triumph over fellow relegation candidates Blackburn Rovers in their first match since midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a cardiac arrest at Tottenham in the FA Cup last Saturday.

Victory for Bolton, secured with two goals from defender David Wheater, lifted them out of the relegation zone above Queens Park Rangers who had striker Djibril Cisse sent off in a 3-1 defeat at Sunderland.

Wolverhampton Wanderers remained bottom after a 2-1 defeat at Norwich City while Swansea City lost 2-0 at home to Everton.

Manchester City have won all 15 home league games this season but their mediocre away form is threatening to deny them a first top-flight title since 1968.

GOAL OF SEASON

They have won only two of their last nine on the road and it could have been even worse on Saturday after Crouch stunned them with a contender for goal of the season.

Cushioning a dropping ball on his left foot 30 metres from goal, the out of favour England striker dispatched an unstoppable volley high over the diving Joe Hart.

Manager Roberto Mancini introduced Carlos Tevez from the bench after 73 minutes but it was Toure three minutes later who brought the visitors level when he let fly from 25 metres, his shot glancing off the head of Shawcross before evading Begovic.

Crouch, who scored for Spurs in 2010 to deprive Manchester City of Champions League football the following season, said he hoped his goal would nudge him towards selection for England’s Euro 2012 squad.

“It’s probably the best goal I’ve ever scored,” he told ESPN. “I always enjoy a volley but they don’t normally fly in like that.

“When I joined Stoke I said if I’m scoring goals then I’d have a chance to play for England again. I hope I get a chance and I’d grab it with both hands.”

In the lunchtime derby at an unseasonally warm Stamford Bridge, Chelsea wasted a chance to cut the gap on Tottenham to two points.

The closest they came to breaking the deadlock was Juan Mata’s free kick against the post while Tottenham would have claimed a first win in the fixture since 1990 if they had taken their opportunities.

Rafael van der Vaart and Emmanuel Adebayor should have scored for the visitors while Gareth Bale thumped a header against the crossbar and also forced a fine save from Petr Cech.

“It was a big point for us and it keeps them five points behind us,” said Redknapp whose side have picked up just two points from the last 15.
“We had some great chances and their keeper made some great saves.”

Counterpart Roberto Di Matteo argued Chelsea could have been awarded a couple of penalties.

“There was a clear penalty shout for us when (Benoit Assou) Ekotto pulled down Ramires at the far post,” he said. “But we didn’t create enough clear chances to get the goal we needed.

“It won’t be easy (to reach the top four) but we’ll try until the end.”

REUTERS

Tevez inspires City to win as Chelsea, Liverpool and Tottenham slip

Carlos Tevez marked his Manchester City return by setting up Samir Nasri’s late winner in a vital 2-1 home victory over Chelsea on Wednesday that kept the pressure on leaders Manchester United in the title race.

The Argentine, an outcast after falling out with the club in September, came off the bench with City trailing 1-0 to Gary Cahill’s deflected shot and his moment of class in the 85th minute lifted City to within a point of their local rivals.

Sergio Aguero had levelled from the penalty spot for City who have won all 15 home league matches this season.

Tottenham Hotspur drew 1-1 at home with Stoke City in their first game since the FA Cup tie against Bolton Wanderers was abandoned on Saturday following Fabrice Muamba’s cardiac arrest.

Rafael van der Vaart scored a late equaliser for Spurs to end a run of three league defeats but they fell below north London rivals Arsenal who won 1-0 at Everton to climb to third.

Thomas Vermaelen’s first-half goal secured rejuvenated Arsenal’s sixth successive league win which took them into the top three for the first time this season.

United have 70 points from 29 games with City on 69. Arsenal have 55 points to Tottenham’s 54 and Chelsea, who host Tottenham on Saturday, are out of the Champions league places on 49.

Liverpool suffered a late collapse in west London, throwing away a 2-0 lead to concede three late goals and lose 3-2 at struggling Queens Rark Rangers who moved out of the relegation zone above Muamba’s Bolton.

City boss Roberto Mancini, who said Tevez would never play for the club again when the striker refused to warm up in a Champions League match in Munich six months ago, called the Argentine off the bench in the 65th minute with the home side desperate for a way back into the game.

This time Tevez needed no persuasion to join the fray as he was given a rousing welcome by City’s fans.

After 78 minutes Michael Essien was adjudged to have handled a shot from Pablo Zabaleta and Aguero stayed cool to beat Petr Cech from the penalty spot.

Seven minutes later Tevez showed why he used to be such a hero at the club, playing a cute reverse pass in a crowded area to Nasri who tucked away City’s winner.

“I’m very happy because he did well,” Mancini told Sky Sports. “I don’t think he’s fit 100 percent but he knows football.

“We deserved to win the game. We won because we had the desire to win. This was more than three points this game.”

Chelsea’s caretaker manager Roberto Di Matteo, who gave a rare start to Fernando Torres after his two goals in the FA Cup against Leicester City, looked on course for a fifth consecutive win since stepping in for Andre Villas-Boas after Cahill’s 60th- minute shot deflected in off Yaya Toure.

He said the penalty that got City back on level terms was the turning point.

“We were defending well until that point,” he said. “It was a bit harsh. It was a handball but I don’t think he could have disappeared because he was very close to the ball as well.”

Tottenham fans sung the name of Muamba at White Hart Lane, scene of the dramatic events on Saturday when the Bolton player’s life was saved by medics and doctors on the pitch after he collapsed in the first half of the FA Cup tie.

Muamba is recovering in hospital in the intensive care department of a London hospital and Spurs manager Harry Redknapp was hoping his side would get back to winning ways against Stoke after three defeats in a row.

Cameron Jerome’s tap-in gave visiting Stoke a surprise lead in the 75th minute before Van der Vaart, one of the players clearly distressed by Muamba’s collapse, headed his side’s late equaliser from Gareth Bale’s cross.

“It was a game I thought we would win and we’re disappointed to only take a point but it might come in handy at the end of the season,” Redknapp, whose side now face a scrap for a top-four finish, said.

Goals from Shaun Derry, Djibril Cisse and Jamie Mackie in the final 13 minutes at Loftus Road gave QPR a remarkable victory over Liverpool.

“We’ve come back from a situation where we looked dead and buried,” said QPR boss Mark Hughes. “I thought the crowd were fantastic as they never lost faith in us. Once we got a little bit of momentum they drove us over the line.

 

Arsenal’s Van Persie double Sinks Liverpool

Arsenal captain Robin van Persie scored twice, including a stoppage time winner, to secure all three points for his side away at Liverpool this afternoon.

The first chance of the match fell to the visiting Gunners in the seventh minute. Mikel Arteta picked out Theo Walcott with a 60-yard pass, but the England international’s shot from a narrow angle was held by Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina at the second attempt.

Despite Arsenal’s early domination, it was the home side who broke the deadlock in the 18th minute. Luis Suarez exchanged passes with Dirk Kuyt, before being brought down by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny inside the area. Kuyt took responsibility from 12 yards, but the Polish keeper made amends by saving Dutch international’s effort, before getting up to parry away the rebound.

However, Liverpool did get themselves in front with 23 minutes played. Jordan Henderson’s cross from the right failed to find a teammate but Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny sliced the ball into his own net.

Henderson almost doubled his team’s tally moments later, but Szczesny palmed away his effort, while Suarez struck the post from the rebound.

Liverpool’s failure to score a second was punished in the 32nd minute when Van Persie headed his first of the afternoon following a cross from Bacary Sagna.

The home side hit the woodwork again in stoppage time as Kuyt turned Charlie Adam’s cross against the post in the 70th minute.

Martin Kelly had Liverpool’s best chance after the break, but he failed to make contact with Kuyt’s cross from six yards out.

Just as the match looked to be heading for a 1-1 draw, Van Persie latched onto a lofted through ball from Alex Song to volley past Reina at the near post.

The defeat was Liverpool’s first of the season at Anfield.

Responding to questions from a SkyNews correspondents after the game, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said “In the second half we had chances; the problem was the first half when we were not in the game. We were fortunate it was 1-0 at half-time because we could have been two or three down.
“But when you see the ball landing at the feet of Van Persie you know he can deliver a special goal. He did that today.”

Wenger said that players of Van Persie’s quality are invaluable to a club.