Stoke keeper dismisses transfer speculation

November 27, 2010

With the January transfer window drawing ever closer, there is bound to be plenty of rumours flying around about where the future of certain players lies.

In fact, most football news stories will consist of transfer speculation over the next couple of months. Some of it will be complete rubbish, some will become reality. That’s probably why football fans are always so hooked on transfer gossip.

What has to happen a lot, of course, is the player in question has to come out and clarify his future. This has been the case with Stoke City goalkeeper Asmir Begovic who has revealed that he is happy at The Potters.

It was said that he became unsettled in August after the club dismissed an approach from Chelsea for his signature.
Things have gone well for him since then though as he has been playing regularly and managed to hold the No.1 shirt ahead of Thomas Sorenson.

This doesn’t mean his future is certain though as there are still rumours he could walk away from the club in January.

When asked about the possibility of him moving on, Begovic said: You’ll have to ask God, I’m very bad at predicting these things.

“I’m just going to enjoy the current games. I’m not even going to think about January now.”

This wasn’t exactly committing himself to Stoke, but he did admit that he is enjoying his football at the moment, so perhaps that will be the deciding factor for him.

However, it has to be said that if a club like Chelsea comes calling once more, the player’s head is bound to be turned.

There will be many Premier League players wearing new kits from January onwards, but will Begovic be one of them? I guess we will have to wait and see.

For now, he will be concentrating on keeping a clean sheet against Manchester City this afternoon.

Keeper contract shows Arsenal may have learned lessons

November 15, 2010

Although the news that Wojciech Szczesny has signed a new contract with Arsenal may have been met with uninterested dismissal by rival teams’ fans, it could well turn out to be a pivotal step in the long-term development of Arsenal Football Club.

Previous attempts to build a squad at Arsenal have failed to earn the club a piece of silverware and at times have even left the club struggling to earn a place in the Champions League. However, the main reason for this has arguably been the club’s inability to hold on to players who were previously playing a key role in the success of the club, with the obvious examples being Mathieu Flamini and Alex Hleb.

Both players left the club before the team and its fans would have liked, and both arguably left because Wenger and the Gunners board failed to act quickly enough to thrash out a contract that suited all parties.

However, with the club now showing that it is prepared to act early, as well as making sure that it is offering a competitive rate to its players to ensure that they are not attracted by larger wages elsewhere, Arsenal may finally be showing that they know what it takes to get to the top in English football. The football betting suggests they could win something this season, but they face a long, hard fight.

Should the Gunners hold on to the likes of Nasri as well as Szczesny, then they may well find themselves earning their first piece of silverware in what will seem to fans to be far too long a time. The Arsenal betting tips indicate they have every chance of doing so.

However, if the club fails to do so, despite the fact that they have managed to hold their squad together, then Wenger may be forced to change course and look instead to buying players rather than developing them.

Cech proves his worth for Chelsea

November 12, 2010

Goalkeepers love nothing more than making save after save in a game and truly proving to onlookers that they’re worth the millions of pounds sent in their direction with each passing year. However, the sad reality is that all too often goalkeepers only make the headlines when they make a mistake. Solid performances often go unnoticed and unacknowledged, with the press always keen to send the plaudits the way of the strikers in English football.

It doesn’t however, have to be that way. Step forward Petr Cech. Most of the press surrounding the Chelsea game last night has focused upon Michael Essien’s mixed night, with the midfielder scoring and being sent off upon his return from injury. However, the fact remains that Chelsea had Cech to thank for keeping Fulham at bay in an onslaught during the last quarter of an hour or so that could, and perhaps should, have seen Carlo Ancelotti’s men finish the fixture with the single point, or in fact a rare home defeat put down in the history books. Anyone who placed a football bet on Chelsea that night will have been very pleased with his performance.

Cech, so quiet for much of the game and a mere bystander for the duration of the first half, should be praised for his alertness as the second half progressed, with long-range shots from Clint Dempsey and Zoltan Gera forcing the Czech into world-class saves that owed much to his consistently decent positional awareness and the manner in which he retains concentration even when Chelsea are lighting up the stage in attack.

The 1-0 scoreline represented Chelsea’s ninth consecutive clean sheet at Stamford Bridge, a truly astounding stat that is a real testament to Cech. He has had his critics since fracturing his skull all those years ago but it’s difficult to argue with a statistic like that one.

If Chelsea do win the league this season, no doubt much of the attention will fall on the likes of Didier Drogba and Florent Malouda, but Chelsea fans know the identity of the man who has earned them many more points than the other players would care to admit.

Meanwhile, the Birmingham betting suggests they could be in for a tough season.

The side slipped to a 3-2 defeat against Stoke in midweek to leave them close to the relegation zone.

Arsenal face new goalkeeping crisis

November 5, 2010

Arsenal have had more than their fair share of goalkeeping crises this season, most of which have been documented with an element of smugness by certain tabloids. However, the Gunners may now be embroiled in a crisis that few would have perceived as being possible at the start of the season – they have too many goalkeepers on top form. Read more