Sabtu, 31 Desember 2011

Arsenal youngster Frimpong joins Wolves on-loan for rest of the season

Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong will join Wolves on loan from January 1 until the end of the season, the north London club have confirmed.

The 18-year-old has forced his way back into the reckoning after a serious knee injury on the eve of the 2010/11 season saw him sidelined until April, when he returned for the reserves.

The Ghanaian-born player returned to the first team this season and has made 14 appearances in all competitions.

Frimpong will join up with Mick McCarthy's team tomorrow for the remainder of the campaign in order to get more first-team action.

He will be looking to make up for lost time which forced him to look on as the likes of Jack Wilshere, who he played with in the Gunners youth team, prospered and even forced his way into the England team.

Frimpong joined Arsenal as an 11-year-old and was a key part of the youth team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2009 and the Academy League title a year later.

He was first called up to the first team when he was named as a substitute in the 2008/09 Carling Cup aged just 16 but due to his injury last season, Frimpong did not make his full competitive debut until August 2011 in a 2-0 defeat to Liverpool.

While he has represented England at youth level, Frimpong is still eligible to represent Ghana at senior level although manager Arsene Wenger has urged the former to secure the player's services.

A statement from Arsenal said: 'Everyone at Arsenal wishes Emmanuel the best of luck during his time at Molineux.'


Chelsea striker Fernando Torres' lack of playing time could cost him a spot in Spain's squad when the European champions defend their title in June, according to coach Vicente del Bosque.

Torres has found himself relegated to Chelsea's substitutes bench, with Del Bosque calling the 27-year-old situation's "worrying."

"There are still five months until the European Championship and everything could turn around," Del Bosque said Saturday in an interview in daily sports newspaper AS. "But if the situation doesn't change, it will be hard for him."

Torres has made 88 appearances for Spain, and scored the winning goal against Germany in the Euro 2008 final to give the team its first major trophy in 44 years.

But Torres struggled as Spain won the World Cup last year and has scored just five goals in 24 appearances since leaving Liverpool in January. He has scored more Premier League goals in 2011 for Liverpool (4), than Chelsea (3), and was again a substitute Saturday as Chelsea lost 3-1 to Aston Villa to fall out of the top four.

"Fernando deserves respect for his record, and he has all of our confidence. But if he doesn't play ... then certain things are obvious," Del Bosque said. "If he plays and is in good form then he will go to the Euro."

Del Bosque said a February friendly will give a good indication of his Euro squad, with Valencia striker Roberto Soldado set to make the team if he continues his current form. Soldado is the leading Spanish striker with 16 league goals plus five in the Champions League. Soldado could also earn a spot with Barcelona striker David Villa recovering from leg surgery, and Fernando Llorente also injured. Alvaro Negredo also remains in the picture.

"Villa and Llorente are injured, Torres has not played much," Del Bosque said. "No one should doubt that I will try to be fair."

Neymar voted South America's best

Brazil's teenage striker Neymar, who won the Copa Libertadores with Santos, has been voted South American soccer's Footballer of the Year.

Uruguay's Oscar Washington Tabarez was named coach of the year for the second time in a row after steering his World Cup semifinalists to a record 15th Copa America crown in July.

Neymar, who inspired Santos to victory over Penarol of Uruguay in the Copa Libertadores final in June, succeeds Argentine midfielder Andres D'Alessandro of Brazil's Internacional in the annual South American poll conducted by the Uruguayan daily El Pais.

The 19-year-old took 130 votes to 70 for second-placed Chilean striker Eduardo Vargas, whose exploits in helping Universidad de Chile win the Copa Sudamericana and both domestic league titles this year earned him a transfer to Napoli.

Neymar's Santos teammate Paulo Henrique Ganso was third, while Universidad de Chile's Argentine trainer Jorge Sampaoli was voted second among the coaches.

Inter Milan join Tevez race

Manchester City's hopes of off-loading troublesome striker Carlos Tevez this January have increased as Inter Milan now want him.

A deal seeing the Argentine forward move to AC Milan has always been the best hope City have had of landing a deal for a player who has not featured since September.

Now though Italian newspaper La Repubblica suggest that Inter have not given up on signing the forward and the club will send one of its directors to negotiate with City officials next week.

Inter manager Claudio Ranieri is thought to be a big fan of Tevez and City boss Roberto Mancini will be keen for anyone to take the player away so he is not around to unsettle his title-challenging squad.

Vidic on track after successful surgery

Manchester United have confirmed Nemanja Vidic has undergone successful surgery and will be back for the 2012-13 season.

There had been indications that Vidic, who ruptured three ligaments in his knee in the defeat to Basel in early December, would miss at least a year and may struggle to get back to his best as a result of the injury.

However, his agent recently suggested that Vidic could be back within just five months and, after undergoing surgery during the week, the club have announced on their official website that the centre-back is "on course to return to action in the 2012-13 season".

Sir Alex Ferguson said on Friday that the operation had been successful. "He had surgery on Wednesday and came through fine," he said. "They didn't remove anything at all, everything's clear, but it's a cruciate so it'll be next season."

Ferguson said, however, that both Tom Cleverley and Michael Owen are "nowhere near" ready to return, and was particularly unhappy with the absence of the former.

"Cleverley's a massive loss," he said. "He, to my mind, is probably the best midfield player in Britain, potentially. He has fantastic promise, so it's a loss to us."

Ferguson, who has also dismissed fears that Chris Smalling could be absent for three months, gave a more upbeat prognosis when questioned on Anderson and Fabio.

"Anderson's coming on great," he said. "He's showing great progress. He's trained well. We're just monitoring him because he still has to do a lot of work in the gymnasium but he's coming along.

"Fabio Da Silva's not far away - he should be back in maybe ten days. The centre-backs aren't long-term. They should be available in the next week or two."

Wenger: Henry can give heart and Sol

Arsene Wenger believes Thierry Henry could give Arsenal the same short-term boost provided by Sol Campbell when he returned to the club for a second spell in 2010.

The Arsenal manager has confirmed Henry, the club's all-time record scorer, will sign for the Gunners on a two-month loan deal if insurance agreements can be agreed with current club the New York Red Bulls.

And he hopes the deal will prove as successful as Campbell's 11-match stint two years ago when he filled a defensive void.

Wenger said: "Sol was fantastic when he came back. Sol is like Thierry. Once they are committed you know you can rely on them.

"I remember when we went to Tottenham, Sol was absolutely amazing for a guy who, three weeks before, you wondered if this guy can still play in the Premier League. He had such a capacity to fight. They have that pride. Now we have Thierry, it is a continuity of the special link with our former players."

Wenger, however, warned Arsenal fans not to expect the Henry of 10 years ago, even though he decided after one training session to ask the 34-year-old to rejoin the club.

Wenger said: "You do not find players on the planet of this quality who are available for two months.

"You can never take away from people what they have done, that will remain forever. Nobody expects him to be what he was 10 years ago.

"He is here to help out, not to suddenly be the leader, the main player in the squad. He and I are conscious that he is 34 years old, but he has not lost his class or his brain."

Wenger wants Henry, who is available until the MLS season restarts in March, to fill the supporting striker void which will be left when Marouane Chamakh and Gervinho leave for the African Nations Cup next month, although Arsenal is trying to delay their departure by two days to leave them available for the FA Cup tie against Leeds on January 9.

The Gunners boss insists Henry, who scored 226 times in 370 appearances for the club before moving to Barcelona in June 2007, needs two weeks to be fully match fit but in theory he could be available for seven Premier League matches, including key encounters against Manchester United and Tottenham as well as FA Cup ties and Arsenal's Champions League last-16 encounter against AC Milan.

He said: "The players are all happy that Thierry is coming back. You can always learn in life from people who have the knowledge like he has."

The man who Henry replaced as Arsenal's record scorer, Ian Wright, believes that Wenger should try and make the move a permanent one.

Writing in the Sun today, he said: "I don't like the fact that it is a two-month loan - it seems a bit weird.

"He could blitz Spurs in his final game then everyone would be on a downer if he left.

"So for this reason, Wenger should try to make his move permanent if he does superbly. Henry should finish his career at the club and then take a role behind the scenes, like Patrick Vieira has done at Manchester City.

News on England midfielder Jack Wilshere's ankle injury is also positive with a February return date a possibility.

Theo Walcott, who missed the draw against Wolves on Tuesday, has recovered from illness and is expected to return against QPR.

Defender Bacary Sagna (broken leg) is on schedule to return at the end of January along with fellow full-back Kieran Gibbs (stomach).

Carl Jenkinson remains sidelined with a back problem, while Brazilian left-sided player Andre Santos (ankle) is expected to be sidelined until March.

QPR manager Neil Warnock has no fresh injury concerns.

The Rs came out unscathed from their 1-1 draw at Swansea, meaning Warnock could name the same squad for the short trip to north London.

Anton Ferdinand continues to miss out in defence with a hamstring injury, while Armand Traore, Matt Connolly and Jay Bothroyd will all be hoping to feature against their former club.

Mancini tells Balotelli to butt out

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has urged Mario Balotelli to stop smoking, saying he would 'give him a kick up the a***' if he was his father.

The Italian boss confessed to being aware of Balotelli's smoking habit, saying he smokes around 'five or six' cigarettes a day.

Although Mancini is keen for his striker to kick the habit, he says he is not in a position to be able to force him to stop.

When told of the Italian's habit, Mancini replied: "Yeah, yeah, I know this, I know he smokes."

"It's not okay but I'm not his father or his mother. If he was my son I would give him a kick up the a*** but he's not."

"I told him it's better you don't smoke. I'm against cigarettes, always. For this reason my son doesn't smoke."

"But I don't think he smokes a lot - maybe five or six a day. But I told him (he should stop)."

City currently sit top of the Premier League ahead of city rivals United on goal difference.

Despite his side's comprehensive 6-1 victory over United in October, Mancini is aware of the threat their rivals will pose in their bid for the title.

"If we want to win this title we will try to win every game because United are very strong," said Mancini.

"They are used to being at the top for a long time. But I don't think for us it makes any difference whether we are on the top or behind by one point."

"In the end it could be United are better than us, but we will be okay if we focus on the next 20 games and think positively in difficult moments."

"In every championship every team has a difficult moment. United have had only one, which was against us. But there will be difficult moments again for United, us and Tottenham."

United's injury woes have been well documented, and Mancini confessed his side cannot afford to have similar problems.

"United have four or five important players injured. If we were to get that problem it will be a big problem," he said.

"Probably they are better than us, but we want to win this title and we will do everything to win it."

Redknapp: King will stay

Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp says club captain Ledley King will be offered a new contract with the north London outfit.

The England defender has made just 11 appearances for Spurs this season and reports suggested he would need to make a minimum of 20 to earn himself a new contract, with his current deal set to expire at the end of the season.

But Redknapp has rubbished the reports, claiming the 31-year-old has become 'part of the furniture' at White Hart Lane.

"I’d always give him a contract - it wouldn’t be a question," Redknapp said.

"If it's me, it's not a problem, he'd be here forever - he's part of the furniture, he's a big part of this club and I'm sure the chairman as well will make sure he looks after him."

"I don’t see Ledley leaving here, he hasn't got to play 20 games. I felt that if he's not going to play that amount of games, from a playing point of view it becomes difficult."

"But if he plays 12, 14 or 16 I don't think anyone's going to go, 'Well you didn’t reach 20'."

"I think there’s enough goodwill towards Ledley here for what he's been and what he is. And if he only plays 10 games, the chances are you might win those 10."

Gerrard has no fear of City

Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is relishing a New Year trip to Barclays Premier League pace-setters Manchester City next week.

The England international scored on only his second appearance after two months out with injury as the Reds beat Newcastle 3-1 at Anfield on Friday night.

Now he has his sights set on Roberto Mancini's side as the two clubs face each other on Tuesday ahead of a two-legged Carling Cup semi-final.

And Gerrard said, having watched his side have the better of the 1-1 draw against City just over a month ago, the trip to the Etihad Stadium does not faze them.

"They are a fantastic team who have started the season really well but we've got nothing to fear," Gerrard told "We showed against them here a couple of weeks ago that we more than matched them.

"These are exciting games, we don't fear these and these are the games as a player you want to play in. I can't wait.

"We've been very strong on the road. It's at home that we haven't got the results our football has deserved but we will go to City full of confidence.

"We will give it our best shot and see where it takes us."

Paper Talk - 31 December 2011

The Times

  • Arsene Wenger has moved to allay supporters fears that Arsenal will finish below Tottenham Hotspur for the first time in his tenure.

  • Landon Donovan has marked the start of his second loan spell at Everton with an admission that he will face a battle to live up to the standards he set during his first stint with the Merseyside club two years ago.

Daily Mail

  • Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has revealed that controversial striker Mario Balotelli is refusing to give up a smoking habit thought to involve up to two packets of cigarettes a week.

  • Tottenham are set to offer defender Ledley King a new contract.

  • David Beckham is set to make a dramatic U-turn by snubbing Paris Saint-Germain to sign a new contract with LA Galaxy.

  • Rubin Kazan are ready to bid £6m for Everton flop Diniyar Bliyaletdinov.

  • QPR will try to to sign Manchester City left-back Wayne Bridge in January.

Daily Express

  • Andre Villas-Boas has delivered a defiant New Year message that Chelsea can still compete with football's latest rich kids for the world's best players.

Daily Mirror

  • Liverpool are trying to gazump Chelsea's move for Bolton defender Gary Cahill.

  • Gareth Bale is the player Barcelona fans want as their star signing next summer..

Daily Star

  • Manchester City have offered Roma midfielder Daniele De Rossi a bank-busting £160,000-a-week deal in a bid to lure him to the Etihad Stadium.

The Sun

  • David Beckham has urged Frank Lampard to join LA Galaxy.

  • Newcastle and Southampton both want FC Volendam goalkeeper Robbin Ruiter.

  • Aston Villa are giving a trial to Nigerian defender Chibuzor Okonkwo.

The Guardian

  • Sir Alex Ferguson had a dig at Man City by saying Tottenham are the best team at the moment.

Daily Telegraph

  • Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger believes former captain Thierry Henry can still be a threat and will boost morale in the dressing room.

  • Sir Alex Ferguson believes Tottenham are the only team capable of prising the Premier League trophy away from Manchester.


  • Arsene Wenger has confirmed Thierry Henry will sign a two-month deal to return to Arsenal.

  • Sir Alex Ferguson believes Spurs are currently playing the best football in the Premier League. 


  • Inter Milan will battle rivals AC Milan for Carlos Tevez.

  • Bolton are leading the pack wanting Chelsea midfielder Josh McEachran on loan .

Inside Futbol

  • Arsenal and Stoke are watching Toulouse full-back Aymen Abdennour.

Footy Bunker

  • Norwich are lining up loan bids for Aston Villa striker Nathan Delfouneso and Arsenal midfielder Emmanuel Frimpong.


  • Gary Hooper will reject QPR and Sunderland to stay at Celtic.

Jumat, 30 Desember 2011

Championship: Southampton 0 Bristol City 1

Bristol City snapped Southampton's 25-match unbeaten run at home with a 1-0 win at St Mary's Stadium in the Championship on Friday.

League-leaders Southampton would have been confident heading into the match against relegation-threatened Bristol, but were instead outmatched by the visitors in a scrappy affair.

With the chance to move six points clear at the top of the table on the line, Southampton started better and had the best chance of the opening period through Rickie Lambert.

Steve De Ridder broke free down the right wing and cut the ball back to Lambert, but the striker failed to get his effort on target.

Albert Adomah has Bristol's best chance of the opening 45 minutes, forcing a smart save from Southampton goalkeeper Kelvin Davis after stealing the ball off Adam Lallana.

Bristol stepped up the intensity after the interval, and Nicky Maynard thought he had opened the scoring when he converted a rebound from Kalifa Cisse's parried shot, only for his effort to be ruled out for offside.

Stephen Pearson had a good chance on 73 minutes, but his weak effort failed to beat Davis.

The former Derby County man went one better five minutes later though, finishing from close range after Cole Skuse and Maynard both had their efforts blocked by Davis.

The goal was enough to secure the victory for Bristol, who move three points clear of the relegation zone.

Southampton remain three points clear at the top, but can be joined on 44 points by West Ham and Middlesbrough after they play on Saturday.

Gerrard inspires Liverpool to 3-1 win over Newcastle

LIVERPOOL: Craig Bellamy bagged a brace and Steven Gerrard was also on the scoresheet as Liverpool boosted their bid for a top four finish with a 3-1 win over Newcastle at Anfield on Friday.

Kenny Dalglish's side trailed to Daniel Agger's own goal midway through the first half, but Bellamy equalised soon after and the former Newcastle striker netted again from a free-kick in the second half.

England midfielder Gerrard, who has missed most of the season due to injury, capped a fine cameo performance from the substitutes bench with his side's third goal.

Liverpool are now in fifth place, level on points with fourth placed Chelsea, while Newcastle remain seventh after another failed trip to Anfield.

All eyes were on misfiring Liverpool striker Andy Carroll who has struggled for goals since completing a £35 million move from Newcastle last January.

With Uruguay striker Luis Suarez suspended, Carroll was charged with leading Liverpool's attack yet the 22-year-old had not found the net in a Liverpool shirt for almost seven hours.

Pressure had been growing on Liverpool after their failure to kill off teams at home threatened to cost them a top-four finish.

But they travel to leaders Manchester City on January 3 with hopes of securing a place in next season's Champions League very much alive.

Just as they did against bottom-of-the-table Blackburn on Monday, Liverpool were forced to come from behind despite making the brighter start.

Jose Enrique, another Liverpool player facing his former club, delivered a delightful low cross into Newcastle's six-yard area in the 16th minute.

Yet the home team's failure to make the most of their chances this season has been well documented and once again another opportunity went begging as there was no red shirt to turn the ball over the line.

Three minutes later Carroll's first serious attempt at goal cannoned off Bellamy who was standing in front of the Newcastle goal.

Charlie Adam fired high and wide before Stewart Downing, still without a goal since completing a £20 million move from Aston Villa in July, forced visiting keeper Tim Krul into his first save after good work by Bellamy.

Then out of nowhere, Newcastle took the lead in the 25th minute when Yohan Cabaye's flick, following Ryan Taylor's cross from the left, deflected off Agger's shoulder and flew past Pepe Reina.

It was Newcastle's first top-flight goal at Anfield since Patrick Kluivert scored in a 3-1 defeat in 2004.

Yet their lead lasted just five minutes as Bellamy seized on Cheik Tiote's half clearance to find the net from 12-yards after smashing the ball through a sea of legs.

Martin Skrtel then flashed a header narrowly wide before Newcastle were fortunate not to be reduced to 10 men after Cabaye's ugly challenge on Jay Spearing.

With more than half an hour to go, Dalglish sent on Gerrard and it was Liverpool's captain who proved the difference between the two teams in the end.

Within moments of his introduction he teed-up Carroll with a pin-point cross only for the striker to lose control of the ball after a shocking first touch.

But Carroll played his part in Bellamy's second from a 25-yard free-kick as Liverpool made it 2-1 in the 67th minute.

Newcastle defender Danny Simpson should have cleared the set-piece but only succeeded in getting in Krul's way, and with the keeper already unsighted by Carroll, the ball flew straight in.

Skrtel denied Demba Ba an equaliser before Carroll headed Gerrard's inviting cross against the woodwork.

But Liverpool ensured they rounded off 2011 with a win when Gerrard found the net from an accute angle from inside the area in the 78th minute.

Macheda set for QPR loan - agent

Manchester United striker Federico Macheda's agent claims the Italian is "95%" certain to join QPR on loan in the January transfer window.

The 20-year-old Italian has made just six appearances for United's first team this season and has been linked with a move to Wigan with Sir Alex Ferguson keen to give some of his youngsters as much exposure as possible.

Macheda's representative, Giovanni Bia, claims there is no chance of a switch to the DW Stadium and instead will in all probability move to west London on loan. Bia told "There was nothing concrete with Wigan. The club closer to Macheda is QPR."

He added: "I think at 95% that Macheda will go to London, because he needs to play, and this is the only suggestion of a transfer to date.

"He'll go on a simple loan for six months, because Sir Alex Ferguson believes in him and wants to take him back to United at the end of the season.

"The other five per cent of chance is that Macheda stays in Manchester."

Essien nearing return to fitness

Chelsea midfielder Michael Essien is two weeks away from a return to action, according to Blues boss Andre Villas-Boas.

It has been a frustrating time for Essien - a knee injury sustained during pre-season training has prevented the 29-year-old from playing any part in the current campaign.

However, Villas-Boas is confident the Ghana international will be available for first-team selection within the next couple of weeks.

He said: "I think mid-January. He will be introduced to first-team activity in mid-January and [in] contention properly - I think we are looking at three weeks for him to gain form and start competing to the level that the others are.

"It could take less time if we are positive about it and maybe in two weeks he can reach that level of form to come back for the team."

The fixtures are coming thick and fast - Chelsea's next two games are against Aston Villa on New Year's Eve and at Wolves on Tuesday - but Villas-Boas says Essien, and fellow absentees Branislav Ivanovic and John Mikel Obi, are not in his immediate plans.

He added: "I think Ivanovic and Obi are making good progress but will continue to be out of the game, these two fixtures that are coming, and also Essien the same."