Tag Archives: Dimitar Berbatov

Wilshere thinks Arsenal can challenge Manchester United for English Premier League title

Jack Wilshere (right) believes Arsenal can catch Manchester United at the top of the English Premier League. If the Gunners are to catch the Red Devils, the team will need Andrei Arshaven (left) to step up. (Courtesy Jonathan Ross)

By Ryan Fleming

It’s been a while since I thought a handful of teams were actually capable of pushing by the often-fortuitous Manchester United or the pesky Chelsea to reach the top of the English Premier League. This season it all seems to be rather perplexing. The Red Devils are currently in the top spot, but with Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea and the loose-spending Manchester City all struggling to maintain momentum through any part of the season, the league’s title might just go to the team that screws up the least.

Arsenal midfielder Jack Wilshere told The Guardian that he believes United can be caught and his club can surpass them. I’ll go along with the youngster’s statement. After watching countless United games and being absolutely unimpressed with almost all of them, one has to wonder why the Red Devils are in first place to begin with.

Yes, they lead the league in goals scored and are second in goals allowed, but if not aided by the timely, yet completely random out burst of Dimitar Berbatov’s five-goal effort at the hands of Blackburn back on Nov. 27th, the Red Devils would be back closer to the rest of the league. Their performance as of late is of a mind-changing manner. Despite going 2-0-1 in their last three games, United have seemed rather lethargic and have made a rarity of awe-inspiring wins – often playing down to their competition.

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Rooney signs extension with United

After a turbulent few days regarding his future with Manchester United, striker Wayne Rooney signed a five-year contract extension with the club. (Photo Courtesy AtilaTheHun)

By Michael King

In an affair that’s become more bizarre than anything to hit the English Premier League in recent history, Wayne Rooney is staying with Manchester United. Is this just another example of manager Sir Alex Ferguson getting his way, or is Rooney’s commitment to the club genuine?

Answers to this question and others are far from evident. But is this behavior surprising from someone who has “Just Enough Education to Perform” tattooed on this right forearm?

Regardless of thoughts on anyone’s intelligence – or maybe emotional intelligence would be more appropriate here – the end of this saga should mark the return to brilliant soccer for Man U. Rooney’s alleged beef with the club surrounded its inability to secure enough talent to adequately complement his own. Certainly recent acquisitions Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling and Bebe don’t exactly refute Rooney’s claim that United is a club in decline.

But from Man U’s perspective, losing Rooney was the Armageddon scenario. Surely with its brand, resources and, of course, Sir Alex, United would survive and remain competitive in the long term. The decision to sell Cristiano Ronaldo to Real Madrid two summers ago for an obscene amount of money was driven by economics and the desire of the Portuguese international to play in his native Iberia.
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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 29, 2010

New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston was called into the U.S. National team's camp before the World Cup, but he was unable to solidify a spot on the team after getting injured. Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

MLSsoccer.com — 24 Under 24: First names are revealed

A great series by MLSsoccer.com dedicated to naming the best young prospects on Major League Soccer rosters. If the MLS can be a successful league in the future it will need these players to step up their game and fulfill the potential seen in them. The list starts off at number 24, Dax McCarthy of FC Dallas, and works its way to number 21, Kevin Alston of the New England Revolution. Philadelphia Union starlets Jack McInerney and Roger Torres are squished in between Alston and McCarty.

ESPNSoccernet — The Devil inside — by Kevin Palmer

Dimitar Berbatov’s expensive arrival at Manchester United from Tottenham was s surprise to many. The transfer of the Bulgarian striker broke the British record at the time and went against the red Devil’s policy of only signing players in their teens or early 20’s.  It took Berbatov a few years to settle into Manchester. This season, his third with the club , Berbatov has put the Premier League on notice and displayed just why Sir Alex calls him a “genius” and why the Scot spent £30.75 million on the player. a hat-trick against Liverpool that included a highlight reel goal that will forever be remembered are only a few of things Berbatov talks to Kevin Palmer about.

The Guardian — Arsène Wenger thinks Arsenal’s Lukasz Fabianski will be ‘great keeper’

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has received much criticism for his unwillingness to spend money on the transfer market to buy a true number one goalkeeper, something many fans and pundits believe is holding Arsenal back from winning the English Premier League. With the injury to Arsenal’s usual number one, Manuel Almunia, Wenger had to start back-up keeper Lukasz Fabianski in the club’s Champions League, 3-1-, win over Partizen Belgrade. Wenger always has faith in his reserve players, and Fabianski is no different. The French coach thinks his Polish keeper has a bright future ahead of him if he can stay confident and not waste the chances he gets. Fabianski will be Arsenal’s keeper this weekend as the Gunners take on Chelsea on Saturday.

Telegraph — Wayne Rooney presents Fabio Capello with England striker dilemma for Euro 2012 qualifier

The Wayne Rooney saga seems to never die. Now, the England and Manchester United forward will miss plenty of playing time because an injury. that’s not good for England as the team tries to qualify for the 2012 Euros because there is a real shortage of strikers on the bench with Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe also sidelined. Fabio Capello has some interesting choices to make in the Three Lions upcoming qualifying matches regarding his line up.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 20

Holland international Rafael van der Vaart caught on quick to how important the Tottenham and Arsenal rivalry is to the players and the fans. Courtesy Paul Blank

Sky Sports — Rafael issues Gunners taunt

Tottenham’s new boy Rafael van der Vaart wasted no time in joining in on the Spurs rivalry with Arsenal. The London clubs face off this week in a Carling Cup tie, and van der Vaart already knows the importance of the Spurs and Gunners match. This is for the right to boast about being the better club in the city, something every fan and player wants to be able to do. The Dutchman has issued his warning, calling Spurs “the bigger club,” after Spurs 3-1 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Guardian — Roma lacking testicular fortitude as press gets under Ranieri’s skin — by Paolo Bandini

Roma was many pundits favorite club to challenge Inter Milan, and even dethrone the five time defending champions. Doesn’t look like Roma will be mounting a surge anytime soon if they continue to play like a bunch of aging stars with no heart. Claudio Ranieri decided to have a temper tantrum this weekend before Roma’s match with Bologne, and it didn’t do him much good because his squad didn’t back up his word. Instead, the team threw away a two goal lead late in the game and is still searching for its first win of the season.

BBC — Berbatov exposes Liverpool decline — by Phil McNulty

The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry has been well documented, and Sir Alex Fergusson, United’s manager, even went so far as to say that the match-up is the “most important fixture.” Roy Hodgson and Liverpool must not have thought so– except for maybe a few of the players– because the team didn’t really show up until the second half, and even then they just strolled along at a snail’s tempo while United’s Bulgarian hitman, Dimitar Berbatov, was scoring a hat-trick and leading the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over the Reds.

ESPNSoccernet — Back in the big time — by Phil Ball

Xabi Alonso grew up a Real Sociedad fan. He played for the Basque club before being swiped up by Liverpool. He still carries a fan membership card for the club, but now he wears the hated Real Madrid jersey and had to face his old club for the first time this past weekend. Alonso and Madrid got lucky with a 2-1 win. The game should have gone to the hosts and Madrid should have gone home licking their wounds, but Sociedad missed its chances and Madrid made its count. Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho said this fixture would be Madrid’s toughest of the season as they entered into a hostile stadium against last year’s division two champions, and he was right. It was an impressive performance by the Basque club, but theysquandered too many chances.

Evening Times — No yearning for marquee signings as Anthony Stokes displays his intent… — by Thomas Jordon

Celtic fell behind early to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Hoops latest signing, Anthony Stokes, earned a penalty kick,  Daryl Murphy slotted it home, and scored the game-winning goal as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Stokes wasn’t Neil Lennon’s first choice signing during the transfer window– Lennon was looking to bring in either Robbie Keane or Craig Bellamy, but was unable to. Yet, the Irish International could be a bargain for Celtic and Lennon, and just the type of player the Hoops need to overtake Rangers and claim back the top-spot in the SPL.

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Cattermole and Cana Can

By Kevin Koczwara

Lee Cattermole played under Steve Bruce at Wigan last year. This year, he plays under Bruce at Sunderland, and he is thriving as the holding midfielder for The Black Cats.

The 21-year-old center midfielder was a hot commodity this summer transfer window with the likes of Liverpool rumored to be interested in the England U-21 International. But, Bruce got his man. Snapping up the youngster for a reported £6 million (Wigan made a £2.5 million profit), and in getting his man he has got a skilled, ambitious and strong midfielder.

What else did he get this summer in the signing of the youngster?

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