Tag Archives: Roberto Mancini

Stephen Ireland continues to fall from great heights

Stephen Ireland enjoying his Christmas with his girlfriend a little too much. (Courtesy twitter)

 By Kevin Koczwara

Trouble and controversy follow Stephen Ireland. The Aston Villa midfielder stirred more controversy after his girlfriend posted a picture on twitter of him lounging, smoking and drinking shirtless on Christmas day. The once promising midfielder no longer seems to find himself in the headlines for the right reasons. Instead of making headlines with his play on the field, he makes the back pages for his inconsistency and poor choices.

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Manchester City’s Biggest Loss and Chelsea’s Savior: Daniel Sturridge

Daniel Sturridge has been Chelsea's best for much of the season.

 By Kevin Koczwara

Mario Balotelli and Kun Aguero set the pace for Manchester City against Chelsea on Monday, Dec. 13. Chelsea looked vulnerable and in trouble again, something not all too unfamiliar this season for the Blues. Then the ball skipped to Daniel Sturridge, playing to the right of Didier Drogba, and he carved past a fumbling Gael Clichy, crossed a beautiful ball across the edge of the six-yard-box to a surging Raul Meireles, who scored his first goal for Chelsea since transferring in the summer from Liverpool — and since getting that terrible haircut. The game was level again. Chelsea no longer found itself in a hole, thanks to Sturridge’s play.

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The Premier League’s Best of 2011

By Kevin Koczwara

It’s sad to see Blackpool’s “Tangerine Dream” come to a close this weekend. Ian Holloway’s side was one of the most entertaining and crowd pleasing teams in the English Premier League this year. Blackpool’s unknown players made a stamp on the Premier League this year, and hopefully the Seasiders find their way back up with Holloway captaining the ship again — it would only be right, and he is far more entertaining than Roy Hodgson, Roberto Mancini and Avram Grant added together and then multiplied by 1,000.

Birmingham did it’s best to stay up for a second time, but Alex McCleish’s no offense approach just couldn’t work for a second year in a row. It’s no surprise the Blues went down if one looks at the horrible goalscoring record the team had this year, 37 goals scored. That’s not a joke. In 38 matches, Birmingham scored a measly 37 goals, less than one a game. Hapless West Ham and Wigan scored more than McCleish’s team.

Speaking of West Ham, well, we all knew they were going down once they hired Avram Grant. Last year Grant lead a woesome Portsmouth team straight out of the Premier League, and he wouldn’t have needed the point deduction of the club going into administration to do it. He would have managed to lose those points anyways. He did get Portsmouth into the FA Cup final, but he lost that just he like he seems to lose every other cup final. If Grant is hired by another Premier League team next year, that one will surely go down as well, just as the Hammers did. It’s fate. I should be hired before he gets another job in the Premier League.

But enough with relegation. Let’s look at some of the best from a year that went by in the EPL.

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Manchester City has to wait for next season to challenge United for EPL

By Kevin Koczwara

Roberto Mancini had Manchester City in prime position to challenge for the English Premier League title, but he couldn’t find a way to shut down Manchester United and Wayne Rooney in one of the most anticipated derby’s of the season. The loss will ultimately be his team’s shortcoming in the race for the league. The league looks unrealistic now, even in the boldest of dreams for City fans.

Old Trafford was the place to make the mark. To settle the score. A chance to put league leaders United on the back foot. It was a chance to hand the Red Devils their second loss in a row after starting the year undefeated until a loss to Wolverhampton a week ago. City could have cut the lead to two measly points — Manchester United with a game still in hand — and delivered a devastating mental blow to United.

“I like to play this game. I like to play at Old Trafford because it is better to win there than at home,” Mancini told the press on Friday before the game. “Because when you win away in a derby it is more important for our head and our personality.”

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Derbys Not Bringing the Excitement Promised

Manchester City and Manchester United weren't the onyl teams playing an important local derby last week. Roma beat Lazio, 2-0, on Sunday, keeping their cross-town rivals from staying at the top of Serie A. (Courtesy wikicommons)

By Kevin Koczwara

Manchester United and Manchester City played to a 0-0 draw in what was hyped as one of the biggest games of the year because of the two teams close proximity and since City’s recent – and seemingly endless – spending spree. Not to mention, Sir Alex Ferguson and his club don’t care much for their “noisy neighbors.”

Roberto Mancini sends his City side out with seven defensive-minded players – four defenders and three holding midfielders– behind the ball and only three – more like two-and-a-half because James Milner is not a pure force on the wing – attacking players with the hopes that Carlos Tevez would be able to wreak havoc on the United defense with his skilled link-up play and ability to win the ball at any time on the field. The substitution of Tevez in the injury time for Emmanuel Adebayor was ludicrous. The £25 million striker was once one of the English Premier League’s most feared strikers when he was leading the charge for Arsenal, now he is a late substitution for Mancini to waste time in a derby he does not want to lose.

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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 23, 2010

Revolution midfielder Pat Phelan wins a header in the midfield over FC Dallas captain David Ferreira. Courtesy Revolutionsoccer.net

New England Soccer Today — Disappointment in the Big D — by Brian O’Connell

The New England Revolution looked to be on the verge of finally sealing the club’s second road win of the season and ending FC Dallas’s 14 game unbeaten streak, and then it all came undone like it has so many times this year. The Revs were able to survive with a 2-0 lead into the 80th minute when Dallas midfielder David Ferreira stepped up to the penalty spot for the second time in the game — he missed the net on his first try earlier in the game– and the Hoops captain banged in a goal for Dallas and brought the team back in the game. A last gasp goal from substitute Jeff Cunningham in stoppage time sealed a, 2-2, draw for Dallas and major blow for New England as the club tried to end its 10 game winless streak on the road.

The Telegraph — Manchester City hit by defensive worries ahead of Premier League clash with Chelsea

Joe looked at the struggles Roberto Mancini has had with his squad selection and keeping his high-profile players happy thus far, and things don’t look to be getting any easier for the Italian. Manchester City will have to take on Chelsea this weekened and City have only three healthy defenders going into the game against the most potent offensive squad in the Premier League. Mancini and City have shelled out millions of dollars on some of the biggest names in soccer, but they are missing quality depth in defense and maybe not so many big name stars, but maybe some more quality players who can fill in when the team is in a tight squeeze.

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This is What You Asked for Roberto

Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has his hands full with several unhappy players and a Premier League that may be as deep as every. (Photo Courtesy Paul Blank)

By Joe Meloni

Forgive me, please, if my only reaction to Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini’s plea with his players to keep their frustrations to themselves, was a loud, enthusiastic laugh. After backup goalkeeper Shay Given, who could likely start for at least half of the clubs in the Premier League, expressed hope to leave the Eastlands during the January transfer window, Mancini essentially went to the media to keep his players from doing so.

Hypocrisy at its finest. It’s funny that City – a club that spent more money than any other in Europe this summers – is demanding that its players stop making headlines for the wrong reasons. Essentially, Mancini wants his players to keep quiet because he thinks their complaints aren’t good for the time. In this regard, shockingly, Mancini is 100 percent correct. Still, the City players complaining most frequently – Given and striker Emmanuel Adebayor  – have every right to demand more playing time or ticket out of Manchester.
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What The Soccer Guys Are Reading – August 18, 2010

James Milner has finally sealed his lucrative move to Manchester City from Aston Villa. Courtesy vuhlser

Sky Sports – City Agree Milner Fee

The former Leeds United and Newcastle United player, James Milner, has secured a lucrative move to financial giants Manchester City from Aston Villa. Milner played an integral part in Villa’s 4-0 weekend thrashing of West Ham. Villa have been trying to stave off the big spending City but were unable too refuse a deal that sent the England international Milner to Manchester and Stephen Ireland and cash to Birmingham.

The Guardian – Craig Bellamy in debt to Roberto Mancini after fairytale Cardiff move – Stuart James

Manchester City banned winger Craig Bellamy from their training grounds over the weekend and now have finally offloaded the troublesome player to his hometown club, Cardiff City. The catch? City will still be paying the majority of Bellamy’s large weekly sum.The real shocker here is that Bellamy even goes so far as to wish the club and the manager good luck in the upcoming season despite the recent feud he has had with management.

BBC Sport – Real Madrid confirm signing of Germany star Mesut Ozil

Ozil has been rumored to be moving from German club Werder Bremen to Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City, but he ultimately sealed his fate with fellow German international and World Cup star Sami Khedira. The young German star has been one of the transfer markets hottest prospects after he impressed at the World Cup. Bremen were forced to show their hand this summer rather than next because the 21-year-old had not signed an extension on his current deal that expires after this season.

The Guardian – Arsenal offer ‘fanshares’ to dampen fears of takeover

The Gunners are offering their fans a chance to purchase 1/100 of a share (valued at £10,000 each) for the price of £100. Fans that purchase the shares will be able to attend general meetings and ask the board of directors questions. Arsenal are setting a new trend in the English Premier League as many clubs face backlash from their fans (Manchester United and Liverpool mainly) by including Gunners fans in the team’s finances. Will this scheme work out for the best or will it just make a mess of  the ownership system?

ESPN Soccernet – Spurs avoid Young Boys thrashing, Ajax held

Champions League play began with some surprising results. Tottenham looked dead in the water early against the Young Boys as they fell behind 3-0 in the first 30 minutes. The Spurs rallied back with two away goals but have an uphill battle to come at home. Ajax was unable to take advantage of Denys Garmash second yellow card in the 57th minute for Dyanmo Kiev, reducing the club to 10 men. The Dutch club does return to Amsterdam with an important away goal though. To get through to the next stage (the group stages) is a major financial boost for teams, so many of the teams competing now are dreaming of the big checks that come with a win next week.

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What The Soccer Guys are Reading – August 16, 2010

Uncertainty no longer looms over the move of Craig Bellamy from Manchester City. The 31-year-old will be soon celebrating somewhere else. (Photo Courtesy lfotbol)

The Guardian – Manager, player relationship will finally see Bellamy off – Daniel Taylor

The weeks of speculation surrounding Welsh international, Craig Bellamy’s departure from overcrowded Manchester City are all but ended after manager Roberto Mancini banned the striker from all participation with the club. Bellamy is most recently linked with Cardiff City, Sunderland, Tottenham and Celtic.

ESPN Soccernet – Seasiders start dream season emphatically

After a promotion to the English Premier League, Blackpool were picked by many pundits to finish last in the league. But after the Tangerines embarrassed Wigan Athletic 4-0 to start the season, the Seasiders have started off on the right foot while Wigan have to cope with a tough early schedule and internal player issues.

MLSSoccer.com – New singing sees Revs shoot up standings – Kyle McCarthy

The streaky Revolution are currently on a eight-game unbeaten streak currently due to new signing, Illija Solica’s goal that helped the Revs past the Houston Dynamo, 1-0. Coach Steve Nichol praised his newest signing and thinks that more hard work and effort could help the Revs build into a better team perhaps aiding them into the playoffs.

Irish Times – EPL, England need dream team to believe in – Michael Walker

England is still feeling the lingering effects of a World Cup letdown and with a league that already has the top spots guaranteed to only a minority of teams, Michael Walker writes that the league’s ratings could feel the brunt of this lack of excitement. A team from the outside, like Everton, needs to create some drama.

The Guardian – Magpies staying optimistic ahead of Man U date – Louise Taylor

Former Red Devils keeper, Steve Harper and Newcastle teammates maintain a level head before today’s clash against Manchester United. The recently promoted Magpies found some interesting ways to bind together and form a sense of camaraderie that they feel can help them through their trip to Old Trafford and the duration of their season.

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City’s Time Has Come

Courtesy S Parish

By Cameron Dickinson

Last season Tottenham finally broke the Big Four’s dominance over the Premiership’s automatic bids to the UEFA Champions League and, in the process, emerged as a potential force in the title race for the quickly approaching Premier League season.

Spurs’ title hopes are more than just a fading hope. They have a vibrant young team full of pace and skill up front, coupled with one of the best centre-back pairings in the league in Michael Dawson and Ledley King and, of course, they have the added pulling power that only top European football can bring.

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