Quiet Transfer For City

With the summer transfer window a few weeks away from concluding it has been a fairly quiet period of time for Manchester City who are well known for their willingness to offload huge amounts of cash in order to secure their targets but so far it seems to be a different story.

Bacary Sagna, Willy Caballero and the Brazilian midfielder Fernando are the players that will be joining the side of Manuel Pellegrini for the upcoming campaign as those 3 additions arrived to the Etihad Stadium with a combined transfer fee of €30 million.

Chelsea has so far played a huge role in the summer transfer window as Jose Mourinho signed Diego Costa as well as luring Cesc Fabregas to Stamford Bridge. Arsene Wenger has reinforced his own squad by signing Alexis Sanchez but Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City on the other hand remains fairly comfortable and confident about his spending spree thus far but a few changes are expected to be done.

Pellegrini said, “I don’t think the squad is complete yet but we have six weeks before the transfer window closes. Perhaps there is the option to bring one or more players in or maybe one or two will leave our squad but there is time for us to consider what is best for our team’’

Even without any major signings expected to be done or high profile players in the radar of Pellegrini, Manchester City are favorites of protecting and defending the Premier League which will be highly contested more than ever considering all the reinforcements that certain clubs have made in order to take away the trophy from the hands of Pellegrini and his players.

Hargreaves Happy With City Progress

Manchester City continues their charge for the Premier League title along with Chelsea and Liverpool as those are the teams which have turned out to be genuine title contenders in this season.

Even if City is unable of being crowned as the champions of the English league, Manuel Pellegrini’s debut in charge of the club has already seen him lifting a trophy as they defeated Sunderland and secured the Capital One Cup silverware.
In his first season at the head of Manchester City, Pellegrini managed to secure a major trophy as well as getting a Champions League spot for the upcoming campaign and according to Owen Hargreaves, they will only get better.

“Going forward you may see them play a little different tactically and I think they can get even better. They will look to go further in the Champions League next season. They made progress this year but will look to improve as any good team does. They have to control the game more against the best teams.
“In the Premier League they are so much better than most of the teams they are never really threatened but in the Champions League, you’re playing the best in the world.” Hargreaves said as he voiced his opinion about the future of Manchester City.

Hargreaves signed with Manchester City in 2011 but after only playing 1 league match all season, his time at the Etihad Stadium was limited as he was not offered another contract by the club. This is similar to what had already happened to him previously with Manchester United as he could only make 27 league appearances for United during his 4 years stay at the Premier League club due to consistent injuries.

FERGIE BACKS MOYES

Sir Alex Ferguson has once again provided backing to Manchester United manager David Moyes, who has come in for intense criticism in the last few weeks.

Moyes, who was appointed as the replacement for Ferguson in the summer, has been unable to achieve consistency with his results.

His tactics have also not been able to get wins when previously Manchester United have no trouble in doing so. This squad is currently more or less similar to the one Ferguson used to win the league title last season. However, they have now fallen to seventh place in the league following a run of poor results, and I’m not even sure tehey are worth even a Free Bets offer from Williamhill.

The prospect of even finishing in the top four looks doubtful with only 10 matches remaining for the competitors like Liverpool and Tottenham. United are also on the verge of going out of the Champions League after suffering a 2-0 defeat against Olympiakos in the first leg. They have already been knocked out of the FA Cup and the League Cup this campaign. Despite this, Ferguson has backed Moyes to become a success at United. He says that it is not possible to start performing immediately after replacing a manager who had been at the club for 26 years.

Ferguson says that Moyes will bring success with time.
“They (United) will be all right. It’s early days and there have been a lot of changes. He (Moyes) needs time. I was there for 27 years, so with a new manager, it takes time. But they’ll be okay,” said Ferguson, who managed to win an incredible 40 trophies with United during his time at the club. He is still one of the directors at United. Missing out on European football will have disastrous consequences for United, as it brings revenues of more than £ 30 million per year.

HODGSON LOOKS ON

The England boss Roy Hodgson was at Craven Cottage the other day to have a look at some of the England players who were featuring in the league game between Southampton and Fulham and he saw some impressive performances over there.

Three players who caught everyone’s eyes with their spark during the game were all Englishmen and that would have really pleased Hodgson.

Southampton was the eventual winner in the match. They won it by 3-0. The players who struck for them were Jay Rodriguez, Adam Lallana and Rickie Lambert. All of them did that in the second half and in grand style. Those were eye pleasing goals.

It’s not that these three players played well only in that game. They have been consistently putting up such performances in the 2013-14 Season and it is understood that Hodgson had made his way to the venue especially to see this trio playing.
The trio has found the net 24 times together in the Premier League this season and that tells a bit about their form. It’s because of them that Southampton was in the top quarter of the league table a few weeks back.

The Saints are still in top 10 and can bring themselves back in the race for a Champions League place if they play well regularly from here on.

In the press conference after the match against Fulham, when Mauricio Pochettino, the man in charge at Southampton, was asked about Hodgson’s visit, he said, “It was vital for our boys to be at their best and score when the England manager was in the stands. However, Brazil is still quite a bit away, but, this performance would certainly help them in their claim for a World Cup spot.”

The Three Lions will take on Italy in their first World Cup match in June.

UP FOR THE CUP

FA Cup is the competition which sees probably the most number of upsets in English football. There can be various reasons behind it like the teams not taking it as seriously as the league or the players not putting in as much effort as they should, but, in every season, you will see a few smaller sides beating the heavyweights in the FA Cup games.

Owen Hargreaves believes that this season’s FA Cup is going to be no different. Some upsets are bound to be pulled off this season as well.

Hargreaves was in the BT Sport studio the other day talking about his FA Cup memories. He answered quite a few questions which were thrown towards him.

When asked about the biggest upset that has been pulled off in the final of the FA Cup so far, the former English player said, “It was in the last season when Wigan Athletic got better of City by 1-0. It was really unexpected and it shows that anything can happen in the game. Even a weaker side on its day can beat a heavyweight.”

When asked about the best goal that has ever been scored in the FA Cup, Hargreaves said, “The goal that Ryan Giggs had scored for United against the Gunners in the semis in 1999 is at the top of the pile for me. That was really a wonderful strike by the great man.”

When asked which team has the best chance of lifting the FA Cup trophy this season, Hargreaves said, “One of the top six sides should go on and win it but, you never know what’s going to happen in the FA Cup. There is always an upset around the corner.”

Manchester United has won the FA Cup maximum no. of times i.e. 11 times.

Hargreaves hits back at Ferguson’s for his comments

Former Manchester United player Owen Hargreaves has hit back at the club’s former manager Sir Alex Ferguson over comments he has made about him in his recently released autobiography, according to reports emanating from several media outlets in England.

The 71 year old laid into the Canada born former English international in his recently released book Alex Ferguson: My Autobiography where he stated that the player would always opt for the easy choices during training sessions and has branded him as one of the moist disappointing signings of his 27 year long career as the manager of the Old Trafford outfit.

However, according to Owen Hargreaves himself, anyone who knows him would vouch that professionalism has always been the strongest trait throughout his career and he went on to add that a lot of people who rang him since the release of the book were surprised made the comments.

He went on to state that he had one very successful season at Old Trafford but added that after the kind of treatment he had had to his injury during that summer, he virtually never played again for the club. He further admitted that the one regret he has was not approaching the manager but added that he didn’t realize the severity of it all until it was too late.

The former England international was signed by Ferguson from German giants Bayern Munich for a whopping fee of £ 17 million in the summer of 2007 as a partner for Michael Carrick in midfield and he went on to win the Premier League and the Champions League that season before injury shortened his career and his time at the club, forcing him to call time on his career after a brief spell at Manchester City.
Owen Hargreaves now works as a television pundit.

Nastasic out and Aguero in for Manchester City

Premier League giants Manchester City has announced Serbian defender Matija Nastasic could miss the entire first month of the new season of the Premier League after suffering an injury during the club’s pre-season tour of Asia.

With star striker Sergio Aguero scheduled to return for Manuel Pellegrini’s side after a long lay off with injury, things were looking bright on the injury front for City but the news of the young defender’s injury has left things gloomy once again.

Aguero hasn’t featured for City since Manuel Pellegrini was announced as the club’s new manager at the end of last month and his return is bound to be a welcome boost for the team in spite of adding more firepower up front in the close season with the addition of two strikers. However, the injury blow to Nastasic is sure to be a huge one for Manchester City as he would have definitely been a starter alongside skipper Vincent Kompany at the heart of the City defense.

The Serbian international defender hobbled off the pitch with an ankle injury during last month’s Barclays Asia Trophy match against Sunderland in Hong Kong in a pitch that was described as unsuitable for football. This means Pellegrini will have to once again tinker with the side and this is definitely good news for England defender Joleon Lescott who is sure to play a part in the Manchester City side that will kick off its Premier League campaign on the 19th of this month.

The dilemma facing Pellegrini is, however, with an option to fall back on if either one of those two players were to get injured and the lack of a suitable and experienced defender in the team list and could prompt the City manager to splash the cash for a defender again.

Manchester United not giving up on Cesc

Premier League champions Manchester United have been relentless in their pursuit of Barcelona midfielder Cesc Fabregas and despite already having two bids rejected by the club who insist he is not for sale, will carry on their attempts to tempt the former Arsenal man to England well into this week.

According to several English newspapers, Fabregas is eager to link up with David Moyes and his squad by the time the summer transfer window slams shut on the 2nd of September to have another crack at the Premier League and United believe his silence amid speculation of an imminent transfer is something that plays things right into their hands.

New Barcelona manager was quizzed regarding the future of Fabregas in his first press conference after being unveiled as the boss where he stated that Manchester United want the player and if the club has already rejected two offers for the player, he will reject a third offer if it comes in and the player will be with the club come the new season.

United manager Moyes, however, is not losing sleep about the club’s pursuit of a player he has long admired and wanted to bring to Everton on loan during his stint at Arsenal and mentioned that they are weighing up their options and will consider what to do. It is being believed United, who have already had two bids of £ 25 million and £ 31 million are ready to offer an improved £ 36 million bid for the player who left for his boyhood club from fierce rivals Arsenal just a couple of seasons back.

And if Manchester United is unsuccessful in their bid to bring Cesc back to England, Moyes will turn to his former Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini as a backup option for the midfield role.

STRONGER IN 2006

Owen Hargreaves has said that the England team that had played in the 2006 World Cup was much stronger than the current one.
England had managed to make its way into the quarter finals in the 2006 World Cup.

Hargreaves’ performance in that tournament was brilliant. Although he didn’t score any goal but, his contribution in the midfield was immense.

Hargreaves played a total of 42 matches for England. He featured for his national side for the last time in 2008.

When asked about the current England team, Hargreaves said, “I think this team is not as strong as the team which had represented England in 2006 World Cup. That team was absolutely fantastic.”

“We had a lot of experienced players at that time. We were a settled unit. But, the current team is going through a transitional phase. There are quite a few younger guys in the team and they will take some time to settle.”

“Also, England had a great manager in the form of Sven-Goran Eriksson at that time. I am not saying that the current manager Roy Hodgson is doing a bad job, but, Sven was just fantastic. He was a top class manager.”

When asked if he is satisfied with England’s performance in the World Cup qualifiers so far, Hargreaves said, “I think we have played alright. There have been a couple of games which we should have won, but, as I said, this team is young and we can’t have massive expectations with it.”

“There are some good, young players in the England squad at the moment. Tom Cleverley, Danny Welbeck, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, they are all highly capable. But, they need some time. After 4-5 years, when these players become experienced, England will be a formidable side.”

BAYERN BEAT ARSENAL

Bayern Munich has defeated Arsenal in a Champions League match played at Emirates Stadium on Tuesday. Bayern Munich won the match by 3-1.

For this all important encounter, Arsene Wenger made a lot of changes in his team. There were a total of seven changes in the starting XI that had played the FA Cup match against the Blackburn Rovers.

Bayern gave the hosts the first blow pretty early in the match. In the seventh minute, Toni Kroos opened the scoring for Bayern. It was poor defending by the Gunners. A cross from Thomas Muller from the right should have been cleared, but, that didn’t happen. Kroos got the ball just inside the penalty area and he didn’t make any mistake whatsoever. A powerful shot by the 23 years old took the ball over the head of the Arsenal goalie into the net.

Bayern didn’t take much time in doubling its lead. In the 21st minute, Daniel Van Buyten latched on a fine corner kick and headed the ball towards the goal. The ball went straight towards Wojciech Szczesny, but, he couldn’t gather it properly.

He only pushed the ball at a short distance in front of him. Thomas Muller was there to capitalize on that rebound. He just tapped the ball into the net and took Bayern ahead by 2-0.

Arsenal managed to reduce the lead to 1-2 in the 55th minute. That goal came off a corner kick. Mikel Arteta’s shot went to Lukas Podolski who found the net with a slight deflection.

But, the Gunners again got trailed by 2 goals when Mario Mandzukic scored the third goal for Bayern in the 77th minute. It was Philipp Lahm who set up the goal with a low cross.

After that, it was an uphill task for the Gunners. They needed a couple of goals quickly, but, a tight Bayern defense didn’t give them that opportunity and they eventually lost the game.
Bayern Munich will again face Arsenal at the Allianz Arena on 13th of March.