Poggatetz Horror Tackle on Possebon

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Too Good Too Bad of Premier League this week 21.09.2008

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Manchester City vs Portsmouth (6 - 0) Premier League 21.09.2008

13′ [1 - 0] J.A.d.A.S. Jo
20′ [2 - 0] R. Dunne
57′ [3 - 0] Robinho
68′ [4 - 0] S.W. Phillips
78′ [5 - 0] C. Evans
83′ [6 - 0] G. Fernandes
90′ L. Diarra (yellow card)

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Chelsea vs Manchester United (1 - 1) Premier League 21.09.2008

18′ [0 - 1] J. Park
35′ P. Scholes (yellow card)
41′ R. Ferdinand (yellow card)
58′ G. Neville (yellow card)
60′ D. Berbatov (yellow card)
68′ J.O. Mikel
80′ [1 - 1] S. Kalou W. Rooney
86′ P. Evra (yellow card)
90′ C. Ronaldo (yellow card)

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Hull City vs Everton (2 - 2) Premier League 21.09.2008

18′ [1 - 0] M. Turner
49′ [2 - 0] P. Neville (o.g.)
73′ [2 - 1] T. Cahill
78′ [2 - 2] L. Osman
86′ M. Fellaini

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Tottenham vs Wigan Athletic (0 - 0) Premier League 21.09.2008

29′ E. Boyce (yellow card)
43′ V. Corluka (yellow card)
51′ J. O’Hara (yellow card)
62′ W. Palacios (yellow card)

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West Bromwich vs Aston Villa (1 - 2) Premier League 21.09.2008

27′ [0 - 1] J. Carew
29′ [0 - 2] G. Agbonlahor
33′ [1 - 2] J. Morrison
37′ J. Morrison (yellow card)
38′ P. Robinson (yellow card)
52′ B. Valero (yellow card)
68′ L. Young (yellow card)
76′ J. Carew (yellow card)
88′ A. Young (yellow card)

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Bolton vs Arsenal (1 - 3) Highlights Video & Goals 20.09.2008

14′ [1 - 0] K. Davies
26′ [1 - 1] E. Eboue
27′ [1 - 2] N. Bendtner
45′ K. Davies (yellow card)
62′ F. Muamba (yellow card)
76′ A.S. Billong (yellow card)
87′ [1 - 3] Denilson
89′ C. Fabregas (yellow card)

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Liverpool vs Stoke City (0 - 0) Premier League 20.09.2008

85′ M. Skrtel (yellow card)
90′ R. Fuller (yellow card)

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Blackburn vs Fulham (1 - 0) Premier League 20.09.2008

26′ K. Andrews (yellow card)
32′ B. Emerton (yellow card)
84′ [1 - 0] M. Derbyshire

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West Ham vs Newcastle (3 - 1) Premier League 20.09.2008

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West Ham vs Newcastle (3 - 1) Premier League 20.09.2008

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Sunderland vs Middlesbrough (2 - 0) Premier League 20.09.2008

82′ [1 - 0] M. Chopra
90′ [2 - 0] M. Chopra

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Pre-match Interviews of English Premier League 19.09.2008

Sir Alex Ferguson

Rafael Benitez


Keane on Chopra

Paul Ince

Phil Brown

Gareth Southgate

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Tottenham vs Aston Villa (1 - 2) Premier League 15.09.2008

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Fulham vs Bolton (2 - 1) Premier League 13.09.2008

15′ Gera
41′ Zamora
82′ Davies(og)

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Wigan vs Sunderland (1 - 1) Premier League 13.09.2008

15′ Bramble (og)
78′ Amro Zaki

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Portsmouth vs Middlesbrough (2 - 1) Premier League 13.09.2008

24′ Mido
59′ Defoe
86′ Defoe

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West Brom vs West Ham (3 - 2) Premier League 13.09.2008

2′ Morrison
28′ Noble
37′ Bednar(pen)
35′ Neill
83′ Chris Brunt

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Newcastle vs Hull City (1 - 2) Premier League 13.09.2008

34′ King(pen)
55′ King
81′ Xisco

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Blackburn vs Arsenal (0 - 4) Highlights Video & Goals 13.09.2008

8′ Persie
45′ Adebayor
81′ Adebayor(pen)
90′ Adebayor

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Man City vs Chelsea (1 - 3) Premier League 13.09.2008

13′ Robinho
16′ Ricardo Carvalho
53′ Frank Lampard
69′ Nicolas Anelka

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Liverpool vs Manchester United (2 - 1) Premier League 13.09.2008

Berbatov starts for the Red Devils away to Liverpool, for whom Gerrard and Torres are both on the bench.

3′ [0 - 1] C.A. Tevez
21′ C.A. Tevez (yellow card)
26′ [1 - 1] W. Brown (o.g.)
77′ [2 - 1] R. Babel
79′ N. Vidic (yellow card)
81′ Nani (yellow card)
90′ N. Vidic (2nd yellow, red card)

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English Premier League Goals of the Month August

Link: GolofAUG

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Stoke City vs Everton (2 - 3) Premier League 14.09.2008

41′ A. Yakubu
51′ V. Anichebe
54′ S.G. Olofinjana
63′ Phil Jagielka (og)
77′ T. Cahill

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Fowler teams up with Ince at Blackburn

Ex-Liverpool striker Robbie Fowler has agreed a three-month deal with Blackburn, according to their chairman.

“We have agreed in principle a three-month pay-as-you-play deal and we hope to have it tied up by the end of the week,’’ Blackburn chairman John Williams said yesterday.

“If we go ahead on that basis and get it registered, then if the manager wants him he would be able to be in the squad against Arsenal on Saturday.’’

The 33-year-old Fowler left Cardiff in the summer after rejecting a deal with the second-tier Welsh side. He has since been training with Blackburn, who are managed by his former Liverpool and England teammate Paul Ince.

The striker, who made his top flight debut with Liverpool in 1991, scored 128 goals in 288 appearances during two spells at Anfield.

Fowler joined Leeds in November 2001, scoring 14 goals in 30 appearances, before he moved to Manchester City in 2003. He made an emotional return to Anfield two years later, but was unable to reproduce the prolific form he showed during his first spell with the club.

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Zola out to thrill West Ham fans with attacking football

Gianfranco Zola (pic) said he wanted to excite West Ham United’s fans with attacking football as he prepared to be named manager of the east London club.

“This is an opportunity in the Premier League and an opportunity I didn’t expect, but it’s an opportunity I can’t turn down,” the Italian told yesterday’s Daily Mail.

The 42-year-old former Chelsea and Italy forward was expected to be appointed by West Ham later yesterday, according to British media reports.

“I only know one way to play — on the floor, attacking football, the way things should be done,” said the Italian.

”I want to excite people, that’s why we play isn’t it? This is a new era, a new chapter for me. I was an offensive player who only knew one way to play. That’s how my teams will always play.”

Asked what reaction he expected from fans of West Ham and Chelsea, he said: “I know there is a rivalry between Chelsea and West Ham, but that is not a problem. My playing career is in my past.

“This is a new adventure for me. I spent seven years at Chelsea and they were seven of the best years of my career.

“I loved playing there, but the fans must understand that I have a new career now and my playing career is in the past.”

Zola has been working with former Chelsea team-mate Pierluigi Casiraghi in charge of the Italy Under-21 team.

Zola flew to Italy on Tuesday after his side drew 1-1 in Croatia to win their European Championship qualifying group.

“The hardest thing was to say goodbye to those players in the dressing room,” Zola said.

“Everything has to be agreed with the (Italian) federation, but I am confident that it will be resolved when I return to Italy. There are still talks, but I am sure they will go well.

“The temptation to manage in England is too much. I love London, I love the lifestyle. Whenever I think of London, it has good memories.”

Casiraghi, meanwhile, insists he will not join Zola at Upton Park.

He said: “Will I go to West Ham? No. I want to stay and make the European Championships, these boys deserve that.”

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Eduardo targeting first-team return

Croatia hitman Eduardo has targeted a return to action with Arsenal by the end of the year.

The 25-year-old has been sidelined since suffering an horrific broken leg at Birmingham City in February - which proved to be the pivotal moment in a season which slowly unravelled for the Gunners.

"My leg is getting better all the time and I hope to be back playing again by Christmas," Eduardo said.

"It has been a long road to recovery, and there is still a lot of hard work left to do, but everything is going well and I should be back playing again soon."

Belated debut

The news of Eduardo's progress will be welcome for manager Arsene Wenger, who is hoping for a clean bill of health when the internationals start to return on Thursday.

Former Manchester United defender Mikael Silvestre is expected to be in contention for a belated debut at Blackburn Rovers this weekend after a thigh problem.

However, Samir Nasri - who has netted two goals in four appearances - may need treatment on a knee problem which forced him out of the France squad for Wednesday night's match against Serbia in Paris.

Midfielder Abou Diaby hopes to be available for the first time this season following a thigh injury, but winger Tomas Rosicky continues to be troubled by a long-running hamstring problem.

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Ferguson: My toughest decision

Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that axing Park Ji-Sung from his squad for last season's UEFA Champions League final against Chelsea was the "hardest decision I have ever had to make."

United went on to lift the European Cup for the third time following a dramatic penalty shoot-out victory in Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium on 21 May, but South Korean midfielder Park was forced to watch the game from the stands, sat in his club suit, after being omitted from the 18-man squad by manager Ferguson.

Having fought back from a serious knee injury to return to action last December, the former PSV Eindhoven star had appeared to have made himself a key figure as United closed in on a Premier League and Champions League double.

But the 27-year-old still missed out on a place on the bench in Moscow.

Ferguson, despite selling the likes of David Beckham and Ruud van Nistelrooy and ruthlessly dropping high-profile players such as Jim Leighton, Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce from FA Cup final teams during his reign as United boss, admits his decision to axe Park was as tough as any.

"It was a terrible decision to have to take," he said. "In many ways it was the hardest decision I have ever had to make because Ji-Sung had played such a great part in the previous games against Roma and Barcelona.

"But I had Owen Hargreaves for that game in Moscow because I felt he was the right one for that specific game. Then I had the decision of choosing our seven substitutes and which players could have an impact on the game.

"You look for a mix of defenders, midfielders and attackers and I opted to go with Nani ahead of Ji-Sung, simply because I think Nani has got a goal in him. That was the only distinction and why I finally chose to go with Nani."

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Post-Match Interview with Capello

Joe Cole - the player Fabio Capello is reluctant to include in his starting line-up - again spared his blushes as England finally overcame the minnows of Andorra in their opening World Cup qualifier in Barcelona's Olympic Stadium.

The Chelsea midfielder has not been in the first XI for the last four internationals but his contribution after coming on as a second-half substitute means he is in pole position to play against Croatia in Zagreb on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old had come off the bench to net a last-gasp equaliser in last month's final friendly international with the Czech Republic at Wembley Stadium.

But this was more crucial as two goals from the former West Ham player in the space of six minutes early in the second half eased the frustration of the players and supporters after an uninspiring first 45 minutes.

• Cole fires England warning

It was reminiscent of the way Steven Gerrard had almost single-handedly pulled England up by the boot laces after a similarly poor first-half display when the sides met in the same stadium 18 months ago.

There was an inevitability that England would eventually break through given that they almost entirely dominated possession from the first to the last whistle against opponents whose sole purpose was a damage limitation exercise.

But Capello will be aware England will have to play at a higher level when the qualification programme starts in earnest against Slaven Bilic's side, who ended their hopes of qualifying for the Euro 2008 finals.

Capello made four changes from the side held 2-2 at home by the Czechs, the most significant of which was to leave out David Beckham after starting him in the previous four friendlies.

Whether this is a major statement of intent for the future by Capello will only become clear if the Los Angeles Galaxy star, who came on as an 80th-minute substitute for Frank Lampard, is omitted for the Croatian showdown.

In the stadium where Linford Christie had won Olympic gold in the 100 metres in 1992, Capello introduced his own super sprinter down the right flank in Theo Walcott.

Walcott looked hungry and relishing his first England start - more than two years after being a shock inclusion in Sven-Goran Eriksson's squad for the 2006 World Cup finals - but he faded after a bright start.

The atmosphere among the 10,000 England fans at kick-off time was in sharp contrast to the negative vibes aimed at Steve McClaren and his players when the sides clashed in the same stadium 18 months ago in a Euro 2008 qualifier.

But this mood had changed before the interval and the players left the pitch to a crescendo of boos and cries of ''what a load of rubbish'' from the fans in the top tier of the one stand - and it needed Joe Cole to change that with his one-two blast.

For all their possession, England had only a couple of half-chances to show for their efforts and failed to produce a single on-target effort in the opening 45 minutes.

Walcott found Wayne Rooney, without an international goal for 11 months, in some space just inside the Andorran box and he would have been disappointed not to have at least hit the target as his left-footed drive flew over the bar.

Lampard reacted quickly on the edge of the Andorran penalty area and his well struck shot on the turn flew only a yard wide with goalkeeper Koldo scrambling across his goal-line.

But that was the sum of England's first-half threat despite having 81% of possession against a side who operated with Fernando Silva as their only striker.

Too often they were guilty of some woeful crossing into the Andorran box with Stewart Downing a major culprit.

It was no surprise that he was replaced by Cole for the second half with Capello also bringing on Emile Heskey in place of Jermain Defoe to partner Rooney.

Silva was yellow-carded for bringing down Glen Johnson - and from the free-kick by Lampard, England broke the deadlock after 49 minutes.

Joleon Lescott was first to react to the ball into the box by the Chelsea midfielder and, when it was turned back across the box, Cole was ideally placed to volley home in clinical fashion.

Six minutes later Cole struck for the second time. Gareth Barry and Rooney were involved in the build-up before the Chelsea man's first-time effort beat Koldo's dive.

The tension had been eased and Johnson thought he had added a third with a fierce low drive only for Cole to have strayed offside.

# Cole fires England warning

England match-winner Joe Cole has warned that the Three Lions' next match against Croatia will be totally different to tonight's easy encounter with part-time minnows Andorra.

Although Cole said the conditions played against England, he warned his team-mates that the real test for the squad will be on Wednesday when they face the country that denied them a place in Euro 2008.

''You have to judge us on Wednesday's game. They (Croatia) are fifth in the world and we still have a lot to prove. We have to move on now and try and win the next game,'' he said.

''Tonight's game and Wednesday's game wil be two different animals. You can't compare them. They are tough games to play on a sticky pitch like this but Croatia is what it's all about.

''It was a tough game tonight. I know it's a cliche but they put 10 men behind the ball. We didn't move the ball as well as we'd like to have done. The confidence of the team was a bit low.''

When asked what instructions Capello had given him before sending him on at half time, the Chelsea midfielder said: ''He said 'just go out there and try and make something happen'.

''I think the game needed a bit of a spark and a bit of liveliness. They made it difficult, but we got the job done.''

Theo Walcott admitted Andorra had proved a tough nut to crack.

He said: ''They did sit back, marked very tightly and it can sometimes be difficult when a new team plays together, but it's all about the result.

''We got the result, it didn't matter how we played - if you play like that and get to the World Cup final it doesn't matter.''

Asked whether he thought he may now start the crucial qualifier against Croatia on Wednesday, Walcott added: ''I put myself about, I wouldn't expect to start but I will keep training hard as I have been doing.''

Boss Fabio Capello said: ''We had a lot of chances. I'm happy tonight because it's a very important three points.

''In the first half we played well for the first 15 or 20 minutes and had two chances to score goals.''

The Italian was asked to explain his decision to pick Walcott ahead of Beckham and admitted the Arsenal man's searing pace had been a factor.

''I chose the first XI and at this moment, against this opposition, it was better to pick Walcott,'' said Capello.

''He is dangerous, he is fast, he played well.''

Turning his attentions to the Croatia match on Wednesday, the Italian insisted there was no way he would set out to claim a draw, which would be a creditable result for England.

''Croatia will be another game, not like this,'' he said.

''We have to play to win, always.''

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Andorra vs England (0 - 2) World Cup Qual. 06.09.2008

48′ F. Silva (yellow card)
49′ [0 - 1] J. Cole
52′ M. Vieira (yellow card)
55′ [0 - 2] J. Cole
57′ A. Lima (yellow card)

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Ferguson sceptical over club ownership rules

Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson expressed doubt on Friday over the practicality of imposing regulations on club ownership.

UEFA has been investigating whether there should be tighter regulations on ownership, an issue that has been in the spotlight again this week after the takeover of English Premier League club Manchester City by an Abu-Dhabi based company.

“I don’t know how you can change that,” Ferguson told reporters after a meeting of top coaches at the Swiss headquarters of European soccer’s governing body UEFA.

“For instance, if a team is owned by one or two people and they want to sell it, you can’t restrict it. You can sell shares anytime you like at a loss or a gain – it’s the nature of the business.”

Arsenal coach Arsene Wenger said he was all in favour of tighter regulations.

“Basically football is the most popular sport in the world. It attracts money and that is quite positive,” Wenger said.

“But is down to the football world to regulate that influx of money well so that it makes the game better not worse.”

Without singling out City, UEFA general secretary David Taylor said the governing body had been considering the subject of club ownership for some time.

“We are obviously aware of what’s been going on and our president Michel Platini has for a number of months been raising this point about the involvement of other businesses in football,” Taylor told a media briefing after the coaches’ meeting in Nyon.

“We already have a regime of club licensing in place whereby clubs are required to meet certain standards but we are doing more investigation into whether it is possible and whether it is even desirable to regulate these situations even more than present.”

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Campbell hints at Man Utd return

Tottenham loan signing Fraizer Campbell says his move from Manchester United is unlikelyto be made permanent.

The 20-year-old striker moved to White Hart Lane for a season as part of the deal that took Dimitar Bervatov to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day.

But Campbell told BBC London 94.9 he is still in Sir Alex Ferguson's plans: "I've had various meetings with him and I'm in his plans for the future.

"Hopefully I can get some experience, come back and get a place in his team."

Nevertheless, the England Under-21 international is looking forward to spending the season with Spurs.

"It's an exciting time for me, it's a great loan move that I've managed to get on," he said.

"Hopefully I can get in the team and hold down a regular first-team place and score a few goals, but most importantly learn from the experience."

Campbell came close to re-joining Hull City, where he scored 15 goals in a loan spell last season, but that deal eventually fell through.
"I enjoyed my time at Hull and I'm thankful to all the people there but this is a new season and I have to concentrate on my new loan club," added Campbell.

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Controversial Di Canio wants top post at West Ham

Paolo Di Canio wants the vacant manager’s spot at English Premier League club West Ham United, the controversial Italian’s agent said on Thursday.

Di Canio believes he can pick up the mantle left after Alan Curbishley this week stepped down over a disagreement with the club’s management.

“We have made moves to talk to West Ham and advised them that he wants to be considered,” agent Phil Spencer told BBC Sport.

“He wouldn’t be putting himself up for the job if he didn’t think he was capable of doing it.

“He just wants the opportunity to sit in front of the decision makers at West Ham to tell them what he would do and how he would take them forward.

He added: “Unfortunately he can’t do that unless they invite him to do so.”

Di Canio signed for West Ham from Sheffield Wednesday in 1999, making 118 appearances over four years to earn legendary status with Upton Park fans.

“Paolo Di Canio had lots of support from fans that would like to see him, I think he is the fans’ favourite for the job,” added Spencer.

“But that doesn’t always mean anything so we’re hopeful that we will get the opportunity to at least speak to West Ham.”

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Riera determined to help Liverpool win trophies

Liverpool's newest signing wants the club to challenge for honours on all fronts, despite manager Rafael Benitez's warning the big-money takeover at Manchester City could upset the 'big four' hierarchy.

Spain winger Albert Riera was unveiled at the Reds' Melwood training ground yesterday and immediately set his sights on adding another chapter to the Merseyside club's rich history.

Benitez, who is believed to have paid Espanyol around £8million for Riera, hopes the 26-year-old can finally solve the Reds' problems on the left flank and make himself the latest favourite of a crowd who have been spoiled with wide men like John Barnes and Billy Liddell in the past.

But while Benitez will be pleased with his new charge's enthusiasm for the tasks ahead, Riera concedes the billionaire investors of the Abu Dhabi United Group may be about to make the hunt for silverware even more difficult.

'At Liverpool the most important thing is when you are on the pitch to think only about winning,' Riera said.

'It is important to fight for everything - to fight to win the Premier League, the Champions League and the two cups. I am sure we will enjoy fighting for all of these titles.

'We want to challenge for everything until the last minute of the last game. I want to be in finals and to challenge for the Premier League as well because for this club it is very important to challenge for the league.'

Benitez, though, is wary of a City side whose sensational capture of Brazil star Robinho for a British transfer record on deadline day signalled their newly lofty intentions.

The sudden emergence of the Eastlands outfit as major players - their new owners have already, perhaps fancifully, targeted the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas and even Liverpool's Fernando Torres - threatens to derail the dominance of the top four.

And while the Spaniard denied reports of a £50million bid for Torres, he fully appreciates the effect a handful of high-profile January arrivals could have.

'You cannot just win the title by spending money but Chelsea won for two years spending big, big money. Afterwards Manchester United won spending lots of money too,' Benitez said.
Albert Riera is hoping to win silverware with Liverpool

'If we are talking about spending money then maybe Manchester City will win the title this year. It is not just a question of money but if you have more money it is easier. If you don't have too much money, you must do the job as best you can.

'If we are talking now, maybe they (City) need time but if we talk in January, maybe they will buy five players... then you never know. But it is not just a question of 'I will invest more and I will win'. You cannot guarantee anything.'

Riera's only previous experience of English football came with City during a largely forgettable six-month loan spell, but the player is convinced he is now better equipped to make an impact.

'It was different when I was at Manchester City - I came in January for the second part of the season and we were playing for mid-table,' he added. 'Also I was 22 and now I have three years more experience, which is very important in football.

'I have played in a UEFA Cup final and I have played international football so now I am prepared to be at a big club like this.'

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Caicedo could still be shipped out by City

Manchester City will look to arrange a loan move for misfit striker Felipe Caicedo.

The Ecuador international has struggled badly since arriving at Eastlands last January and seemed set to relaunch his career in Germany with Bundesliga outfit Hertha Berlin.

However, the deal collapsed with an hour of the transfer deadline remaining as Hertha instead moved for Liverpool's out-of-favour Ukrainian Andrei Voronin.

It left Caicedo with little option other than to return to Manchester and a club who may be buoyant after their amazing takeover but where the 19-year-old no longer wants to be.

'We may look at a loan situation for Felipe again,' confirmed Hughes. 'There was a deal for him to join Hertha Berlin but in the last hour, they decided to go elsewhere.'

And Caicedo will be joined by Nery Castillo, who also failed to secure a deal elsewhere after enduring a miserable six months in the north-west following his arrival on a year's loan from Shakhtar Donetsk.

The Mexico forward has never looked at home in England and until late last week looked set to join Real Betis.

However, the La Liga outfit also pulled out, leaving Castillo to try to impress Hughes until he returns to Donetsk.

'They have both come back to the club,' confirmed Hughes.

'There were deals on the table we thought were going to be concluded but in the end they weren't.

'It is disappointing for both of them. We thought they were good opportunities but in the end it wasn't to be.'

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Chelsea's Rajkovic banned for a year for spitting

BERNE, Switzerland, Sept 5 (Reuters) - Serbia and Chelsea defender Slobodan Rajkovic has been given a one-year ban from all competitions after spitting at a referee during last month's Olympic Games.

World soccer's governing body FIFA announced the sanction on Friday, following a meeting of its disciplinary committee on Monday.

'The committee decided to suspend Slobodan Rajkovic for 12 months for spitting at the referee on 13 August 2008 after the Argentina v Serbia match,' FIFA said in a statement.

'This suspension applies to all national and international matches including club competitions.

FIFA said Rajkovic could appeal against the decision.

Rajkovic, 19, was signed by Chelsea from OFK Belgrade in 2005 at the age of 16 but remained on loan to the Serbian club until the end of the 2006-7 season.

He was then loaned out Dutch side PSV Eindhoven and is currently at Twente Enschede on another loan deal.

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Premier League now has 'big five' - Giggs

Ryan Giggs has admitted English football may have to start talking about the big five rather than its traditional big four.

Manchester City gatecrashed the elite quartet in spectacular style on Monday, spending a British record £32.5million on Brazilian superstar Robinho.

In one move, they gazumped Chelsea, who believed they were in line to sign the star from Real Madrid, and put the rest of Europe on alert that there was a new player in the market.

With the vast wealth of the Abu Dhabi-based United Group for Development and Investment behind them, City could now outbid anyone for any player they wish, and Giggs feels it will be very interesting to see how the situation unfolds.

'You just have to appreciate the money they have got,' Giggs told Key103. 'Signing Robinho is a big statement to football as a whole because he is a world-class player.

'With the amount of money they have got to spend, the next few years will be interesting and we will just have to wait and see what happens.'

Although many clubs, such as Newcastle and Tottenham in recent times, and Leeds beforehand, have spent big without achieving the type of success supporters envisaged, Chelsea are the obvious example of immense wealth bringing trophies.

Yet even Roman Abramovich suffered a false start at Stamford Bridge, firing Claudio Ranieri for not winning major trophies quickly enough, and Giggs does not believe the new-look City will be an overnight success either.

'You can't just buy a team - you need stability and a base to work from,' he said. 'But obviously major money can be a big influence because it means you can bring quality to your team.'

Robinho has already been heavily criticised for his decision to join City, legendary Brazilian Pele claiming the striker must need counselling to take part in such an amazing transfer.

United new-boy Dimitar Berbatov refused to even entertain the thought of switching to the blue half of the city and, as a one-club man, Giggs is happy to endorse the view not every player is motivated by money.

'There is money in the game but not every player goes for money,' Giggs explained. 'Players sometimes join a team they love or stay out of loyalty. It is a gamble sometimes. You have to notice the potential of the team.

'He might have thought the amount of money the owners are talking about means they have massive potential. We will have to wait and see if that is true.'

One thing is certain, Giggs' old Wales and United team-mate Mark Hughes is going to come under intense scrutiny.

Not that the 34-year-old is worried the City boss will find the strain difficult to cope with.

'It will be a tough job because with the money comes pressure,' Giggs added. 'But, having worked with Mark Hughes as my manager and had him as a team-mate, I know what he is all about. It won't faze him. He is a very good manager.'

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Fowler talks ongoing

Robbie Fowler is still in talks over a deal at Ewood Park

Fowler has been linked with a switch to Rovers all summer after linking up with the club on trial. Manager Paul Ince is keen to have his former Liverpool team-mate on board, but talks are believed to have stalled over the terms of his contract.

Fowler is able to join Rovers outside the transfer window as he is a free agent after leaving Cardiff City and chairman John Williams remains confident a deal will be struck.

Correct deal

"He can be signed outside the window and it's something we are looking at," Williams said.

"We are edging to a solution, it's just finding the correct deal, but discussions are ongoing."

Williams also revealed they are looking at other targets ahead of the January transfer window.

"We are looking at a number of players," added Williams. "We start the process now ready for January, but there is nothing imminent."

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Curbishley exit make Gudmundsson positive

The club have a lot to look forward to says West Ham United owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson

On Thursday, the Hammers will now begin the search for a fifth manager in seven years after Alan Curbishley's resignation . The position of Curbishley - appointed in December 2006 - had been under scrutiny for some time, although West Ham had opened the new campaign with two wins from three Barclays Premier League matches which went some way to placating the club's supporters.

Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson is positive about the future
"Our fans can look forward to many positive years"
- Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson

Hammers chairman and owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson maintains the east London club are heading in the right direction.

Sustained success

"In my first full season as chairman of this great football club, I can assure our loyal supporters that we are working hard to bring sustained success to West Ham United," he said.

"Everyone, including the chief executive and board, is committed to this common goal.

"We have a long-term strategy that takes into account all aspects of West Ham United's past, present and future and we will not be deterred. Our fans can look forward to many positive years on and off the pitch."

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Keegan resigns and leave The Magpies

Newcastle United have expressed their sadness and disappointment at the resignation of Kevin Keegan.

The club legend has stepped down after just under eight months in charge at St James' Park after failing to resolve differences with the board.

The Magpies have stressed that they did not sack Keegan and have issued a further statement making it clear they did not want him to go.

Practical suggestions

It read: "Newcastle United Football Club is sad and disappointed that Kevin Keegan has resigned.

"Over the last few days the Club has devoted itself to the discussions it has held with Kevin and as a result of those discussions had put together a set of practical suggestions for how to move forward.

"Today the Club made it clear to Kevin that if he had any outstanding concerns on its proposals, he should raise them with the Club.

"The Club regrets that Kevin has, instead of taking up that offer, chosen to resign."

Keegan rejoined the north-east club in January 2008 and oversaw 21 matches which brought six wins, six draws and nine defeats.

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Sheikh and Stir

Overnight, it seems, Manchester City’s new paymasters have upended the game.

Robinho’S career path is pre-ordained to have a natural course. If the necessity to leave Madrid arose, his next destination would have been either London or Manchester. As it turned out, the Brazilian made the switch from Madrid to Manchester – it is just that instead of playing in the red of United, he would be making his wholly unpredicted Premiership debut in the sky blue of City.
SAMBA BOYS ... Brazil’s Robinho, left, jokes with his Man City teammate
Jo about the Manchester weather. Rainy, isn’t it?

Last Sunday, the then Real Madrid star called for a media conference and pleaded — with pout and puzzlement — a smooth transition from the Santiago Bernabeu to Stamford Bridge. The next day, he is one of the highest paid footballers in the history of the sport with weekly wages reportedly between £110,000 to £160,000 — only that he was not in the employment of Roman Abramovich. The British record-busting £32.5mil deal had obliged the English media to run their fingers over the world map for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) — and that was the Abu Dhabi United Group Investment and Development’s intended effect.

Dr Sulaiman al-Fahim — who occupies the board seat of the other “doctor” Thaksin Shinawatra as the representative of the ruling Al Nahyan family — has been dubbed Abu Dhabi’s Abramovich, Donald Trump or Alan Sugar.

The 31-year-old property tycoon is the face of the group that purchased City for £200mil – small change for the powerfully wealthy sovereigns worth about £550bil. Al-Fahim wasted no time in warning that the Blues will no longer live in the shadow of their more established rivals in the city but the chill would have been felt more intensely in the boardrooms of Anfield and Emirates Stadium than at Old Trafford.

A flurry of bids for David Villa – the master marksman of Euro 2008 was valued at £40mil – Dimitar Berbatov, which was accepted by Tottenham Hotspur at £34mil, and Mario Gomez of Stuttgart for £10mil were tabled on the eve of transfer deadline day. Only Robinho had snapped at the plump bait in the end – and once the shock over his move to Manchester City and derisory laughter at Chelsea have subsided, we are left to ponder on the implications of this arrangement in the Premier League.

United and Chelsea have mammoth financial clout to withstand any onslaught to their superiority. Al-Fahmi’s boast that City would be bigger than United should be reserved for the future.

United are the wealthiest and most widely supporter club in the planet due to a combination of factors which stand apart from trophy-hogging tendencies. Chelsea have barged into global football by the sheer force of their purchasing muscle — in place of heritage and history — and the charisma and risibility of their former manager, Jose Mourinho.

The top two clubs in England and Europe would not be as perturbed as the other members of the Big Four and Al-Fahim’s claim that they had the option of holding a stake worth up to 25% in Arsenal and Liverpool cast darker doubts over the financial stability of both clubs.

The situation at Anfield does not need any graphic elaboration while that at the Emirates Stadium is one high intrigue. It is no secret that the Arsenal board are reluctant to accede control of the club to foreigner billionaires and it would be interesting to see how long they would hold out for a British investment package.

The reality of player trading in the close season had hit Arsene Wenger and Rafael Benitez hard and the latter almost walked away from Anfield before he was persuaded to complete the job that he had begun in such a grand fashion. He would have another reason to feel distressed: the lady who negotiated the City takeover on behalf of Shinawatra was Amanda Staveley who, as the more observant Liverpool supporters would recall, was also entrusted by Mohammed Rashid Al-Maktoum’s Dubai International Capital (DIC) since late last year to acquire the Reds.

Staveley delivered a trenchant thrust at Liverpool’s stubborn and selfish American owners when she remarked that Thaksin did not “want a repeat of the shenanigans at Liverpool” when he agreed to transfer his ownership to the UAE group for the betterment of the club.

Liverpool could be the real losers following this buyout at the Eastlands: they make £50mil less than Arsenal and United in league match-day takings every season and further delays over the building of their stadium at Stanley Park mean more millions in lost revenue every other week.

There were only small windows of opportunity for the Reds in the past to make up ground; they missed maximising their Premiership potential and committed the unforgivable blunder of selling their soul to the fake sheikhs of American sports rather than a state-owned investment fund such as the DIC. The ill effects are plentiful, from Liverpool’s ugly pursuit of Gareth Barry to the last gasp and compromised signing of Albert Rieira.

Unless they find billionaire benefactors son, Wenger and Benitez are destined to bank on their youth players coming through in the next few seasons to support their ambitions. This model of team management — sound so long they could still be a draw for players of calibre — will consume time to bring in the rewards.

Benitez has reached the Champions League Final twice in four seasons while his adversary at Old Trafford took 22 years to achieve the same feat. Wenger, meanwhile, has spent less to attain his summit in Europe and certainly not the £600mil that Abramovic had thrown at Chelsea to buy a final berth into the continent’s most prestigious competition.

The Frenchman has produced teams that are easy on the eyes – an achievement that has escaped Mourinho and Avram Grant and one that will weigh heavily on their successor, Luiz Felipe Scolari as well.

The financial equation will change if Al-Fahim and associates make good their promise of shopping at the Harrods end of the transfer market come January.

Liverpool would be incapable of attracting the next Fernando Torres while Arsenal could kiss goodbye their hopes of signing the likes of Samir Nasri, as the choices have been expanded from Chelsea and United to City.

The bar that was pushed way above Liverpool and Arsenal — though it was one that still visible — would have been raised beyond their sight when City’s transfer expenditure neared a staggering £77mil with the capture of Robinho.

There is a multifold increase of pressure now on the management teams of both Liverpool and Arsenal to conclude their search for partners capable of countering a second threat from Manchester. The debts that have been tied on to the clubs as a result of moving out to new stadiums are eating away at the budget that has been allocated for player purchases.

The global credit crunch has limited the shortlist of potential financiers for Liverpool and Arsenal and this could lead to undervaluation despite the heavy windfall in the Premiership and Champions League television revenue. The response from the sharp suits at both clubs would, in light of the situation at City, redefine their fortunes in this campaign.

We now wait to see whether there is room for a Big Five or if a review of the Big Four membership is warranted.

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Robinho and Ronaldo - Interview

Hear what Robinho and Ronaldo says form the interview.
The next Brasilian for manchester city - ronaldo?

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Robinho eyeing the Premier League title for Manchester City

LONDON: Manchester City’s new Brazilian forward Robinho has already set his sights on the Premier League title, he told the club on Tuesday.

“I want to help the manager and the team to win the Premier League, that’s my ambition here,” the £32.5mil (US$58mil) signing told the club’s website (www.mcfc.co.uk) in his first interview since the deadline day transfer.

“I knew that Manchester City are a very big club, there’s is a great team there already and this is an exciting project.”

The former Real Madrid player looked to have been set for a deadline day move to Chelsea before City, backed by new investors – the Abu Dhabi United Group for Development and Investment – stole in to sign the Brazilian international on a four-year deal.

Robinho joins Brazil team-mates Jo and Elano at City, who finished ninth last season.

“I play with Jo and Elano in our national team, they are my friends ... Having such great players at City was one of the reasons why I decided to come here.”

The 24-year-old arrived in London on Tuesday to meet new manager Mark Hughes and hundreds of fans have already purchased ‘Robinho 10’ replica shirts.

“That makes me very happy, and I want to repay this excitement by performing on the pitch, and scoring lots of goals for the fans.”

Robinho has flown to South America for Brazil’s 2010 World Cup qualifiers against Chile and Bolivia.

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Gerrard on course for United clash

LONDON: Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is on course to be fit for his side’s clash against Premier League rivals Manchester United later this month.

The 28-year-old was expected to be sidelined for two weeks as he recovers from a groinoperation, which has ruled him out of England’s World Cup qualifiers with Andorra and Croatia.

But Reds manager Rafa Benitez revealed the midfielder is making good progress and is hopeful he will be back in time for the Anfield fixture on Sept 13.

“Steven is okay. He’s started with bicycle work and will start jogging, so I think he will be ready soon,” said Benitez.

Benitez admitted Liverpool have yet to hit peak form but he is convinced they will improve once he has a full squad to pick from.

“Javier Mascherano, Lucas and Ryan Babel arrived late (due to the Olympics) and I am sure that in a few weeks’ time it will be better,” Benitez said. “We need to have better possession and work on having a higher tempo.”

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Curbishley leaves West Ham

Alan Curbishley has resigned as manager of West Ham United, the club has confirmed.

Curbishley had overseen an encouraging start to the season with two wins from three Barclays Premier League matches.

The former Charlton Athletic manager took charge at Upton Park in December 2006, when he succeeded Alan Pardew.

Best interests

A club statement said: "We can confirm that we have accepted Alan Curbishley's resignation as we feel it is in the best interests of both parties.

"We wish Alan all the success in the future. A shortlist of candidates is being drawn up and an announcement will be made in due course about the new West Ham United manager."

While the Hammers search for a new manager, reserve team coach Kevin Keen has been appointed caretaker manager.

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Showman Berbatov likely to be perfect fit for the Red Devils

LONDON: A few maverick showmen have found a natural home at Manchester United and Dimitar Berbatov can become a worthy successor to those who have graced Old Trafford before him.

The 27-year-old Bulgaria captain, who joined United after two memorable years at Tottenham Hotspur, should instantly win over United fans who have previously worshipped strikers like Denis Law, George Best and Eric Cantona.

Of more immediate concern is how Berbatov will gel with Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez in United’s attack.

But he has so much skill and intelligence that the likelihood is he will do so easily in whatever combination of forward players manager Alex Ferguson deploys.

Berbatov has outstanding balance and control, is capable of devastating finishes and boasts the deftest of touches.

He displayed all those qualities in Tottenham’s thrilling 6-4 Premier League win over Reading last December when he scored four times.

Among his goals was a superb shot on the turn, executed in a way that made it look simple when it was anything but, and he blasted home another shot that nearly took the net off its supports.

In last season’s League Cup final against Chelsea , he equalised with a penalty that left the world’s best goalkeeper Petr Cech helpless.

The pressure on Berbatov to score was intense, yet he was the coolest man in the stadium and ended the afternoon wildly celebrating as Spurs won their first trophy for nine years.

Although his 46 goals in 102 matches made him a crowd favourite at White Hart Lane, Berbatov sometimes struggled to hide his frustration at playing in what was basically a mid-table side.

He often looked sulky and was clearly upset at having to sit out matches as first Martin Jol then his successor as coach Juande Ramos rotated their front lines.

Manchester United showed interest during the winter transfer window, which seemed to unsettle him further and the champions were repeatedly linked with Berbatov again over the summer.

His agent Emil Dantchev let it be known that Berbatov would relish the chance of Champions League football again, something he experienced at his previous club Bayer Leverkusen but was unlikely to get at Spurs.

AC Milan were also interested but although Spurs originally attempted to keep him by valuing him at £30mil, United were not to be deterred and Berbatov’s presence should only enhance their already formidable attack. – Reuters

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Robinho eyes success under Hughes

Brazilian forward Robinho has revealed his ambition is to help bring the league title to Manchester City.

The 24-year-old met manager Mark Hughes for the first time on Tuesday following his shock British record move to City just before the transfer deadline on Monday.

"I met with the manager and it went very well," he said. "I know that he was a great player and I think that will be a big help to me. I want to help the manager and the team to win the Premier League, that's my ambition here."

He added: "I knew that Manchester City is a very big club, there's a great team there already and this is an exciting project.

Mean feat

"I liked the project, and when City made the offer to Real Madrid, I decided to come here. I liked the plans that Manchester City have and I want to succeed with them."

The Abu Dhabi United Group have announced grand plans for City to become the world's biggest club, which would be no mean feat, not least because neighbours Manchester United, who have a claim on that title already, are English and European champions.

Robinho has bought into their ambitious plan, though, and is enjoying the response to his signing by the City fans, who have been buying up tickets and club merchandise throughout the day.

"That makes me very, very happy, and I want to repay this excitement by performing on the pitch, and scoring a lot of goals for the fans," he said.

Link: sevenload.com

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Mask option for Kilbane

Kevin Kilbane may have to wear a protective mask for the Republic of Ireland's match on Saturday.

The 31-year-old suffered a fractured cheekbone in Wigan Athletic's 5-0 victory at Hull City at the weekend, and underwent surgery to repair the damage the following day.

However, in a move which has hugely impressed Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni, Kilbane reported for international duty with the rest of his team-mates and is ready to play against Georgia in the World Cup qualifier.

Big example

Asked if the defender will wear a mask after he put his players through their paces in Malahide on Tuesday, Trapattoni said: "Maybe. He will go with our doctor. He has told me, 'I am okay, I am ready like this', but maybe it is better if he has a little bit of protection.

"But what is important is his mentality. He said to me, 'I want to be in the team, I want to play', and that is a big, big example to all the Ireland players because that is a very important mentality.

"With that mentality, I am confident we will go forward. He will have another check, but I am not worried, I am sure he can play."

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Cahill on road to recovery

Everton have been handed a boost with the news that Tim Cahill has returned to training.

Cahill has been out of action since May after undergoing surgery on a troublesome metatarsal injury.

The Australian international has now been given the green light to step up his recovery and is pushing for a return to action.

"Tim's back in full training," Everton head physio Mick Rathbone told the club's official website. "He's been training the last couple of days in fact.

Touch wood

"He got the go ahead from his surgeon in Sydney, who we sent the latest batch of X-rays to a week or so ago. He's emailed us back having reviewed them and he's delighted with the progress of the repair.

"He's trained brilliantly and he looks in very good shape. He's excelled at all the conditioning exercises and he's been champing at the bit to get back involved.

"All players want to play and he's had a lot of problems with that foot. But hopefully it's sorted now.

"The previous surgery hadn't really solved the problem but this was advanced, almost revolutionary surgery, and - touch wood - it looks good."


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Berbatov after trophies not money

Manchester United new boy Dimitar Berbatov says trophies mean more to him than money.

United smashed their transfer record to sign Berbatov, the £30.75million deal finally being announced at 12.40am on Tuesday morning, 40 minutes after the transfer deadline expired.

It concluded a long-running saga and ended a dramatic day, with Manchester City looking at one stage as though they were about to step in and hijack the deal.

Yet, while the waiting world may have wondered whether the 27-year-old was ready to abandon United in favour of City, and their new-found wealth, Berbatov confirmed he had never wavered in his desire to join the Red Devils.

"I don't play for the money," he told the club's official website.

"Those who know me; my really close friends, know that I play for enjoyment and to entertain the fans.

Really big

"If I want to play for the money, I will accept the Manchester City offer or Chelsea.

"But the red shirt is a really big thing for me. I want to play for the biggest club in the world. That is why I am here.

"Hopefully I will play my part in the team and we can win lots of trophies as well."

Indeed, Berbatov feels so strongly about United that he is already talking about staying at Old Trafford for the remainder of his career.

Certainly, no matter how long the Bulgaria striker is around for, he expects to improve.

"I know I can develop here in the way I always wanted," he added. "That is the most important thing for me.

"I am 27 now. I am at the biggest club in the world and maybe this could be the last step in my career."


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Alves targets Golden Shoe

Middlesbrough striker Afonso Alves has set his sights on the Golden Shoe after opening his account at the weekend.

The Brazilian's superb free-kick set the Teessiders on the way to a hard-fought 2-1 home win over Stoke City on Saturday as the club's record signing reminded the fans of his enviable reputation.

Alves scored 34 goals in 31 appearances for former club Heerenveen in 2006/07, but did not reckon in the race for the title of the Continent's top scorer.

He told the club's official website: "The goal I scored against Stoke City on Saturday was my first in this season.

The prize

"That's just the start. I am setting my targets high.

"I will be fighting to win the Golden Shoe this season. I almost won it when I played in Holland.

"The only reason I missed out was that UEFA doesn't rank goals scored in the Dutch Eredivisie as highly as those scored in some other European leagues.

"My goals are worth more here in England, and I feel I can snatch the prize this season."


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Newcastle: Keegan not sacked

Newcastle United have released a statement stressing they have not sacked manager Kevin Keegan.

Varying reports claimed both that the 57-year-old had been dismissed, and that he had resigned in the wake of meetings held following Monday night's closure of the transfer window.

But the club released a statement on Tuesday evening which read: "Newcastle United can confirm that meetings between members of the board and manager Kevin Keegan were held both yesterday and today.

"Kevin has raised a number of issues and those have been discussed with him.

Keep progressing

"The club wants to keep progressing with its long-term strategy and would like to stress that Kevin is extremely important, both now and in the future.

"Newcastle United values the effort and commitment shown by Kevin since his return to St James' Park and wants him to continue to play an instrumental role as manager of the club.

"For the avoidance of doubt, the club has not sacked Kevin Keegan as manager."

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Saha: I'm the man for the job

New signing Louis Saha says he can provide the necessary firepower to help Everton to success.

The French international completed his move from Manchester United on transfer deadline day, and has signed a three-year deal that involved a pay-as-you-play arrangement with the champions.

Saha admits he "cannot wait to form a partnership with Yakubu" and immediately hailed his new club's aspirations as a key factor behind his decision to move to Goodison Park.

Very hard

"I am very happy to be here, this is a big club with big, big support and I cannot wait to get going," said Saha.

"I think this is a club which is trying very hard to reach the top and I hope I can help."

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