January 26, 2011
Tottenham Hotspur are rumoured to be interesting in re-signing goalkeeper Paul Robinson, two and-a-half years after letting him leave for Blackburn. Robinson has turned in some impressive performances this season, most recently against West Brom, where he pulled off a string of impressive saves. He has helped his club move up to seventh in the Premier League
Tottenham’s current goalkeeping options are Huerelho Gomes and Carlo Cudicini, butbBoth have made high profile errors this season. Gomes was at fault for Manchester United’s second goal earlier in October, while Cudicini should have done better with Frabicio Coloccini’s goal for Newcastle in the 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Now Sky Sports reports that Harry Redknapp is interested in bringing Robinson back to the club after growing tired of Gomes’s liability to make errors in big games during his time at Spurs since signing from PSV Eindhoven in 2008.
However, those placing football bets believe that new Blackburn boss Steve Kean will be reluctant to lose his first choice goalkeeper having only recently taken over as manager of the club on a full time basis. Gomes is currently struggling with a minor injury, but is expected to be back in goal for Spurs for their upcoming FA Cup tie on Saturday against Fulham.
Tottenham currently lie in 5th in the Premier League and are in with a distant shout of winning their first ever Premier League title, although their primary target will be securing a top four finish to ensure a place in the Champions League next season.
Spurs have set alight European football’s premier club competition this season, most notably with a spectacular 3-1 over the reigning European Champions Inter Milan. Punters interested in football betting have backed Spurs to repeat their heroics of last season and secure a respectable position in the league, although they are 80-1 outsiders to top the league come the end of the season.
January 25, 2011
As they now head into a sixth consecutive year without a trophy Arsenal fans are getting increasingly restless.
Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has been patiently waiting for Arsenal’s finances to recover following their multi-million pound move to the Emirates Stadium in 2006. But that has meant limited funds for players in order to balance the books and results have subsequently suffered.
The invincibles side of 2004 now feels like a distant dream to Gunners followers, who have seen their title rivals clean up ever since. As anyone who follows football live scores will tell you, a lack of a cutting edge has been to blame for the side’s failures.
Many appreciate and indeed admire boss Arsene Wenger’s stubborn refusal to put the club’s future in jeopardy by spending irresponsibly. But it is when they are repeatedly told that money is available but Wenger refuses to spend it that they let their frustrations boil over.
But with FIFA’s financial fair play rules set to come into force next season Arsenal appear best set out of any club in England. Wenger’s prudent approach means they continually turn a profit and soon will be able utilise the full money-spinning force of their 60,000 capacity stadium towards inward investment, rather than paying off debts like many of their rivals.
All this means little to the fans though, who have grown increasingly concerned at the club’s relative decline. As promising as the future is, football is played here and now, and the fans crave success today.
Therefore the Carling Cup, despite being a much maligned competition, has taken on great importance for the Londoners.
A place in the last four of the Carling Cup against Ipswich and with Birmingham and West Ham in the other draw seems the ideal opportunity to break their duck and have something to cling onto before the FIFA financial revolution in a few years time.
It would also be a psychological boost by getting the increasingly heavy six-years-without-a-trophy millstone off their necks.
But in a performance typical of Wenger’s inconsistent young side they lost the first leg of the semi-final 1-0 to battling Ipswich Town this week. Although the result was a shock, anyone keeping an eye on the livescore wouldn’t have been too surprised by the way things turned out given the Gunners’ performance.
They are well capable of turning things around at the Emirates but a slow start and the nerves will creep in from fans to the players.
That step from nearly-men to champions is a small one but is often the hardest to make.
And for Arsenal that step is becoming increasingly harder to breach as each barren year rolls by.
January 21, 2011
Kasper Schmeichel once again showed his huge potential with another quality performance against the Arsenal attack in Leeds’ brave 3-1 loss in their FA Cup third round replay at a packed Elland Road. The comparisons between Kasper and dad Peter are pretty obvious; from the shock of blond hair, the constant ‘vocal encouragement’ towards defenders, the running up field in the last minute, all down to the sort of world class saves that make you drop your cup of tea. Read more
January 18, 2011
All season long, football pundits and journalists have spent both time and ink lambasting Arsene Wenger for his failure to bring a new goalkeeper to the club. Wenger has refused stubbornly to budge on this point, which has allowed the club’s young Polish goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny to get his chance between the sticks for the title-chasing Gunners.
Although the Gunners have failed to light up offensively in recent games, with the exception of the match against West Ham, there have been a few noises emerging on the terraces which hint that the Arsenal defence may now be able to deal with difficult situations at the back with the talented youngster in goal, an opinion confirmed when the Gunners goalkeeper made a fantastic save to keep his team’s lead intact against West Ham. Of course, the football odds suggest they would have won that game anyway, but it was still a great stop.
Although Szczesny may be at least a short-term solution to the problem, the fact that there is a problem needs to be accepted by Wenger. With Wenger a man who often chooses to keep faith in players despite their obvious deficiencies (see Bendtner as a classic example of this), any decision to keep Szczesny in goal will no doubt be a hard one for the Gunners boss to accept. The football predictions suggest Arsenal should be challenging for the title every season, and to do that you need a world-class stopper.
Despite this, Wenger knows that he has to find a way to make the Gunners defence a little more resilient if he is to have any chance of ending the continuing trophy drought that leaves the Gunners open to criticism and the butt of jokes from their rival teams. If the Gunners are going to bring an end to this, the decision to drop the unpredictable Fabianski is one that Wenger simply needs to make.
January 5, 2011
As an imposing figure standing in the goal mouth, hollering at defensive slip ups; many could be forgiven for thinking they were in a time warp, taken back to the days when Peter Schmeichel ruled Old Trafford.
Edwin Van der Sar has done what most presumed to be impossible; if not usurping the Dane as King of the Old Trafford goal, then doing more than justice to his legacy in a position where plenty of decent keepers have fallen before him.
This is not to suggest they have similar keeping styles, far from it. Van der Sar is an agile shot stopper to Schmeichel’s bullish, imposing blocker. Both different, both clinically effective. Van der Sar represents a success in the Ferguson transfer policy of steering clear of marquee signings, although it took thirteen keepers before Van der Sar entered the fray.
One area that the Dutchman does have over the red-nosed Dane when it comes to wearing his Manchester United shirt is his longevity. It is nothing short of remarkable that Van der Sar entered his 40th year on this planet still one of the, if not the finest goalkeepers on earth. Young pretenders such as Joe Hart and Pepe Reina may be the future, but for now it is the United keeper who rules the roost. It was him, after all, who was crowned the best keeper in Europe in 2009.
But there is a blip on the horizon. Although showing no signs of ageing, Van der Sar looks set to hang up his gloves at the end of the season. Who on this earth could replace the man who Sir Alex Ferguson himself considers the best since the great Dane? Ferguson does have options; Gianluigi Buffon would be a fine replacement, but only a temporary one, the Italian is 32 himself and will not be in the game much longer himself.
Another option for Ferguson is Inter Milan’s Brazilian keeper Julio Cesar, once again an excellent keeper also with not much longer in the game; although if both were to emulate Van der Sar’s longevity then Sir Alex would be more than pleased. But with the boss reluctant to spend in the January transfer window and keen to find a long term solution to the problem, he may look to a younger model who would be cheaper than the two established stars. Finding a replacement is a headache Ferguson could have done without at a time where United find themselves in a state of flux.
The greatest challenge isn’t necessarily having the ability to play in goal for United, but to take up a mantle that is fast becoming as precious as the number seven shirt worn so illustriously down the years by United men. Edwin Van der Sar has done nothing but cause problems for United, they could have down without the headache of having to find the replacement for the man who filled Schmeichel’s boots; the man who has won almost everything; sympathy must lay with the next thirteen who try their hand at it.