Eredivisie wrap: Heracles 2 De Graafschap 0

Heracles continue to build on their reputation after a 2-0 win over De Graafschap in the Eredivisie on Friday.

The hosts extended their unbeaten run in the league to three games, with strike duo Glynor Plet and Luis Pedro netting at the Polman Stadion.

Plet opened the scoring on 12 minutes, but Peter Bosz’s team had to wait until additional time to seal the points through Pedro’s goal.

The win moved Heracles into eighth and three points adrift of RKC Waalwijk, who are in seventh. Heracles – whose Polman Stadium holds just 8,500 spectators – were a Eerste Divisie club just seven seasons ago, and struggled to preserve their Eredivisie status in the first few campaigns back in the top flight.

But they defied the odds to finish sixth in the 2009/10 season, backing it up last campaign with an eighth-placed finish and another Europa League playoff spot.

The loss leaves De Graafschap languishing in the relegation zone with just five points from their opening eight games.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Harry defends Arsene

Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has come out in defence of Arsene Wenger after criticism of the Arsenal boss.

Both managers face up to each other for Sunday’s north London derby with the Gunners struggling and Spurs on a high after beating Wolves, Liverpool and Wigan Athletic in successive games.

However, Redknapp has dismissed criticism of Wenger and says the Frenchman will be at the Emirates for many years to come.

“You know what it’s like in football. You lose a few games and suddenly Arsene Wenger’s a poor manager,” he told reporters.

“The man’s been a great manager at Arsenal and I am sure he will be for many years to come. God knows what people are saying about him on the radio.”

“They have had injuries. That has been the problem. I think the centre-half (Thomas) Vermaelen is top drawer. They have missed him. I think he is a fantastic player.”

Spurs have done well in recent derbies, coming from two goals behind twice last year to earn four points.

And Redknapp said he is backing his team to deliver again, although he said there was no way he would be underestimating the Gunners who have won their last three matches in all competitions.

“They’ll be difficult to beat but we are a very good team as well so I fancy our chances against anybody,” he said.

“I am confident in my own team. I just feel we have good players here. Scott Parker and Adebayor coming in have made a massive difference to us.”

“Sandro coming back from his long-term injury gives us strength. He’s a fantastic player so we look strong.”

The match on Sunday will see Adebayor come up against his former side once again after his infamous goal celebration when playing for parent club Manchester City.

But Redknapp said the incident should be forgotten before adding that he hoped the Togo international would not react in a similar manner this time.

“I’m sure he won’t overreact again. I think he apologised last time. He’s got a lot of respect for Arsenal still but he loves it here now, he’s a Tottenham player,” he added.

“I’ve never spoken to him about it. I hope he does score a couple of times. I hope he slides on his knees and celebrates.”

“I am sure he’s going to get plenty of abuse come the weekend but he has just got to get on with his game.”

“You can’t react to that. He’s got to get on with it. Fans are entitled to give players all the stick in the world so long as it’s in the bounds of decency.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Ibrahimovic wants more of the ball

Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes he can only score more goals if the ball is played to him more often.

Ibrahimovic is determined to prove the point against Juventus, who he played for from 2004-06, in the Serie A clash on Sunday.

The 29-year-old has only recently returned from an ankle injury and scored in his side’s 2-0 Champions League victory against Viktoria Plzen in midweek.

It was his third goal in as many matches this season, and Ibrahimovic said he can perform even better, but only if he gets some extra help.

“In the Champions League match I played in a position I really like,” he told Milan Channel.

“I can move back and forth a lot, even to help my team-mates.”

“I have more chances to do my thing and be more dangerous if I get the ball more frequently.”

Ibrahimovic went on to talk about this weekend’s clash against Juventus, , saying he is anticipating a close encounter.

“They are a really strong team, they have improved a lot when compared to last year, they have signed many players and appointed a new coach,” he said.

“And then there is our man, Andrea Pirlo, who is doing great. We should be careful, it will be very hard, just like every big match, but we must play our game because we remain favourites in Serie A, but also in the Champions League.”

Despite starting the match against the Czech side on Wednesday, Ibrahimovic said he was not yet fully fit.

“I am happy because I am feeling fine and for this I want to thank the people I worked with, but also my team-mates,” he added.

“Obviously I cannot be at 100 percent yet, but I am working every day to continue my recovery. In Wednesday’s game, I did not feel pain, but you never know what could happen.”

Meanwhile, Juventus defender Giorgio Chiellini sees Ibrahimovic as the dangerman on Sunday.

“When you play against a player as good as Ibrahimovic then you have to be prepared, not just individually, but as a team,” Chiellini told Juventus Channel.

“It will be great to play against a champion like him, even better if we win.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Wenger still aiming high at Arsenal

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger still has high hopes for the north London club.

“The vision is to make this club the best club in the world,” Wenger said.

“It is as simple as that and I think to carry through the values we think are important in the game. I am very proud of the values that are different in our game and I will continue to do that.”

“It’s very difficult to put an order on memories, maybe the first victory of the Championship, but I never look back and testify on the satisfaction side.”

“I look always to what I could achieve in front of me.”

But Wenger will have to aim for the goals he has set this season without Belgian international Thomas Vermaelen, at least for the next few weeks.

The Belgian will miss Sunday’s clash with arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur and will still not have recovered from his Achilles injury until after the international break.

His absence will be a blow for Wenger, who indicated it was a straight shoot-out between Sebastien Squillaci or Alex Song, who played there against Olympiakos on Wednesday, for a spot in central defence.”

“It will be a fraction longer than expected (before Vermaelen returns). He will not be straight back after the international break. It will be one or two weeks later,” Wenger said.

“(Yossi) Benayoun and Squillaci are completely fit. Squillaci lacks match fitness, Benayoun does not.

“Squillaci will not be fit enough to start the game. If I am tempted (about playing Song in central defence) I can answer honestly ‘yes’. Will I do it? Honestly, I don’t know yet.”

“Koscielny looks to be definitely out for Sunday, it looks short for him. He couldn’t absorb any test today.”

Arsenal also have a number of absentees up front, with Theo Walcott and Gervinho both racing against time to be fit for Sunday’s clash.

But should they be unavailable, it could force Wenger to start Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain once again after the youngster found the back of the net in his last two outings for the Gunners.

“For Walcott and Gervinho a decision will be made on Saturday or Sunday. The most likely to be fit of the two looks to be Walcott,” Wenger said.

And on Oxlade-Chamberlain he said: “He is a possibility to be in the squad, I haven’t picked the team yet.

“When you are ready for the Champions League you are ready for the Premier League.”

“People want to make stars overnight in modern football but it is not like that.”

“What is very positive for me is that he has shown he has the talent to be a very good future player but that he also still has things to work on.”

“I have big hopes for him as well but I do not want to be impatient.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Kaka Never Wanted to Leave Real Madrid, Manchester United Targeting Dutch Starlet

Real Madrid midfielder Kaka insists that he never wanted to leave the club in the summer despite interest from several clubs including Tottenham Hotspur.

Since his €68.5 million move from AC Milan, Kaka has not found life easy at the Santiago Bernabeu. He has been plagued by injury and has not really found his form for Los Blancos until recently.

The Brazilian provided an inspirational display versus Dutch giants Ajax in the UEFA Champions League, which was by far his best performance of the season.

During a FIFA 12 promotional ceremony, Kaka told reporters:

“I am  indebted to Real Madrid. It would have been very easy to have left, but that is why I chose to raise my game. I have a dream of succeeding at  Madrid which I want to realise.

“Many reports have claimed that Madrid wanted to sell me, but he [Perez] told me  he wouldn’t and kept his word. I owe a lot to the president.

“Three parties decided [on me staying]. I did not want to leave, Mourinho  did not want me to go and the club did not want to sell me either.

“After the game [against Ajax, Florentino] gave me a hug and congratulated me. He has always supported us, even through bad times.”

The following report came shortly after Arsenal FC were reportedly linked with a possible move for Kaka in January. More recently, big spenders Paris Saint-Germain have also emerged as candidates to land the Brazilian.  One would think that PSG, who were bought by the Qatar Investment Authority in May 2011,  would be a better fit financially.

Stay tuned to Soccer News for updates on this story.

Manchester United Interested in Dutch Youth Sensation Ola John

Manchester United are reportedly tracking the progress of Dutch winger Ola John.

The 19-year-old winger has made 13 appearances for FC Twente in the Dutch Eredivisie, scoring one goal. Ola is one of the top talents in Holland’s youth system. He has unlimited talent and comes from a very athletic family. His brothers Collins, formerly of Fulham, and Paddy are also professional footballers.

“Manchester United and Arsenal wanted me but I think I am still young and can learn a lot at Twente. If you are that good, the opportunity will come again when you are older. Playing in England is my dream of course.

“It is too early to go to England and FC Twente is a good club so why would I want to leave?” — Ola John

Will Ola John be able to turn down Arsenal or Manchester United if they clubs make a formal bid for the player in January?

Surely not, or else that is what you would presume. The money and opportunity would simply be too much to turn down. Nonetheless, Ola John’s talent is undeniable. He’s got a world of potential and Old Trafford would be a great fit for any young developing footballer.

 

 

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Moyes praises Aussie Cahill

Everton manager David Moyes has praised Australian Tim Cahill in the build-up to Saturday’s Merseyside derby.

Moyes’ side travel to Anfield to face Liverpool in an eagerly awaited clash, with Cahill, who has scored five times in 13 derbies between the two sides, shaping as Everton’s key man after the transfer window departures of strikers Yakubu and Jermaine Beckford left the Toffees short up front.

The Socceroo has deputised as a striker in recent weeks and that role is likely to continue on Saturday, with Moyes taking the chance to speak glowingly of Cahill’s contribution to the club on Friday.

“I think since he’s (Tim Cahill) come to the club he has been a player who scores important goals,” Moyes said.

“Not just in games like this, but in other games. He’s lacking a little bit at the moment with his goals, but hopefully they will come.”

Moyes referred to the Aussie as a representation of the club and hailed his impact at the club as good as anything that has happened in recent years.

“He epitomises a lot of our spirit and what we do here. He’s been excellent throughout his time here,” he said.

“I think he’s as a good as anything that has happened to Everton. I think he was a really good signing and confident in the lower leagues, and made us confident of signing players from that level. And not only that, he has become a really important player for us.”

But Cahill may have never played for Everton if Moyes and chairman Bill Kenwright had not been so persistent to see him.

They went to see Cahill play for Millwall against Birmingham City but the crowd turned nasty, with abuse and even threats.

“It was Millwall-Birmingham and a play-off game, and Bill was driving me,” Moyes said.

“As we drove towards the ground, we got caught up in the crowd and they were battering the car on the way in, banging on the roof of the car, making a right racket and I said to Bill, ‘We’re going to get it here. It was lucky we didn’t turn the car around.”

“We came away and I said, ‘Bill, we’ve got to try and get him’.”

“Bill put an offer in the next week and we had the boy in his office and the minute he came in he lit the place up. He had that Aussie confidence saying ‘I want to do this, I want to do that’.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Gerrard urges Capello not to name him

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard has urged England boss Fabio Capello not to pick him for the Euro 2012 qualifier against Montenegro.

Gerrard has played just 25 minutes of football since returning for the Merseyside outfit after six months out of the game and believes other players should be selected ahead of him for the crunch fixture.

“I think everyone knows I’m still not 100 per cent match fit,” he told reporters.

“I have only probably had two 12-minute games. I’m not really sure how much I’m going to play against Everton so, in my opinion, it’s probably still a bit too early.”

“I don’t make the decisions. Those decisions are down to the England manager, whether he picks me or not.”

“I’m sure he’ll have a discussion with Kenny (Dalglish) and between them they can decide what the right thing is for me.”

“In my opinion there are other players out there who are match fit who are probably more suitable for that game, but we’ll have to wait and see. If I’m called up, I’ll deal with it.”

The 31-year-old will most likely start on the bench once more in Saturday’s derby clash with Everton, but understands that he should not be rushed back into action too soon.

“With experience I have come to learn about my own body and I haven’t been out for two or three weeks with a hamstring or a calf injury,” Gerrard said.

“I’ve had a reconstruction of my groin and it is going to take time.”

“To be fair to Kenny and the medical staff, they have handled me perfectly so far and I’m sure they’ll do the same in the coming weeks.”

“It’s important that I don’t force it, they don’t force it and we don’t push it too hard, but I am at the stage now where the only way I’m going to get my match sharpness, match fitness and get back to the form I want to play at is if I get game time.”

“But I also understand it’s got to be at the right time as well.”

Liverpool have had somewhat of an inconsistent string of results since the start of the campaign and currently find themselves in fifth place, and Gerrard believes his side need to take care during the derby match to not get caught up in the intense atmosphere.

“We need to play without fear. Sometimes in derby games you can get involved in the fight and forget to play. It becomes a battle and a tussle rather than us settling and playing our own game,” he said.

“We like to pass and move, attack quick and stay compact when we haven’t got the ball, so if we can settle really quickly into the game I’m really confident we can get the right result.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Coyle welcomes Villas-Boas encounter

Bolton boss Owen Coyle insists he is looking forward to facing Chelsea and his old friend Andre Villas-Boas on Sunday.

Both managers took their coaching exams together in 2007 in Scotland, with the Blues boss then a coach under Jose Mourinho at Stamford Bridge.

Villas-Boas carried on under the now Real Madrid man’s wing until 2009 before moving to Academica and then Porto in Portugal, before landing the top job in west London this summer.

Coyle says he could see the talents of the Portuguese coach when they were gaining their badges together and is not surprised with the progress the Chelsea boss has made.

“Ultimately he is a winner. I saw that when we did our pro-licence together,” Coyle told reporters.

“This is not somebody who thought ‘I’ll go to Scotland on a whim and do a coaching badge, and then I might come back a year later’.”

“This is somebody who knew exactly how they wanted to plan their future development, to go from one year to another to progress.”

“That emphasises how meticulous he is in his preparation, and that goes for everything.”

Although just 29 at the time, Coyle insists that everyone believed his counterpart at the weekend was going to go far, adding: “I think all of us on the course could see that.”

“As a group we all liked him, we all took to him, and I certainly felt he was somebody driven to succeed, very good at what they do and obviously wanting to progress.”

“And like anybody else, because we all crave the same thing, if an opportunity did arise then I felt pretty sure he would take it, and he has done. He has become an outstanding manager.”

Coyle also spoke of the Chelsea man’s modesty: “He is an absolute gentleman. Under Jose he had a fantastic set-up to learn, but when you sit down with him as well, you find he is a gem.”

“He is somebody whose company you like. You could sit and chat with him all night about football, and any other topic, because he is a very intelligent man as well.”

“And what a lot of people might not know about him is he has a very good sense of humour.”

“He joined in with the banter, gave as good as he got, and we liked that about him. He didn’t take himself too seriously.”

“If you give a bit of stick you have to take some as well. We all did that openly with a big smile on our face, and he was a big part of that.”

“I became very good friends with him on the back of that, and he is somebody I’ve a lot of time for, and because of that I’m looking forward to Sunday.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Mancini in defiant mood over Tevez

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has denied suggestions that the past week has been his toughest in football.

City lost 2-0 at Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Tuesday, leaving them with just one point from two matches, meaning qualification – which is viewed as essential given the money the club has spent – for the last 16 is now in doubt.

But the result was overshadowed by the antics on the substitute bench, as Carlos Tevez allegedly refused to come on while Edin Dzeko rowed with Mancini after being taken off.

Reporters were told not to ask about Tevez’s future, with the press conference beginning with a statement from club spokesperson Vicky Kloss.

“It’s not normally our approach to put restrictions of limitations on press conferences, but I need to make it absolutely clear that questions in relation to Carlos Tevez in general, in relation to his alleged conduct on Tuesday evening, or ramifications of that conduct, and questions in relation to his future at Manchester City, are strictly off limits and will not be answered,” Kloss said.

The journalists in attendance managed to sneak a few indirect questions through, which led to Mancini dismissing the claim that he had endured a tough week.

“Why is it difficult?” Mancini said.

“Some situations can happen in football, in your job. It’s important that the past is finished.”

“I don’t have any complications. Only one complication that we had two days ago is that we lost against Bayern Munich, only this.”

“We started very well (and) we can do a fantastic season, I don’t have this problem. It is normal that one player is not happy to leave the pitch in an important game or to stay on the bench, it’s a normal situation for every manager.”

Mancini was quizzed on what responsibility he had in relation to the Tevez saga, but the Italian brushed his hands of any future involvement with the Argentine.

“It is finished,” he said.

“I am the manager, our focus is regarding the Premier League, the Champions League and the FA Cup. Other things – it is not my problem.”

QPR manager Neil Warnock also weighed into the debate, suggesting Tevez should leave England as soon as possible.

“I think the sooner he leaves the country the better,” Warnock said.

“When something happens like that and it poses so many problems for a manager, then I’m obviously on the manager’s side.”

“I can’t see it being sorted by him staying. And I would imagine he is already looking down the line of his next move and within a few months he will be kissing another badge.”

Fri 30 September, 2011
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Almunia joins Hammers on loan

Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia has joined Championship side West Ham United on a one-month emergency loan.

The Spaniard moves across London to join the Hammers as cover for the injured Robert Green who is having an operation on Friday on his damaged knee and will miss six weeks.

Almunia follows Henri Lansbury in moving from the Emirates to Upton Park, after making 175 appearances for the Gunners over a seven-year period.

The shot-stopper had established himself as the number one with Arsenal, but has since been replaced by Wojciech Szczesny and Lukasz Fabiankski as Arsene Wenger’s first choice goalkeepers.

West Ham manager Sam Allardyce, speaking to the club’s official website, thanked Wenger for allowing him to bring Almunia in and said he hoped his experience would prove beneficial for the Hammers.

“We’ve been hot on the phone and secured an excellent signing in the short term,” Allardyce told West Ham TV.

“It’s a big thank you to Arsene Wenger and Arsenal for allowing us to get such a high-class and experienced goalkeeper to come and fill in for Robert for the time being.”

David Gold tweeted: “Sorry to inform you that Rob Green is having an operation today and will be out for 6 weeks and we wish him a speedy recovery.”

The 34-year-old will now be in line to make his debut in Saturday’s clash against Crystal Palace.

Fri 30 September, 2011
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