2019 December

Jailed: Ex-Everton striker Michael Branch given seven year sentence for selling drugs

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A former Everton striker has been jailed for seven years after he pleaded guilty to selling drugs. Michael Branch, who has also played for Manchester City, Birmingham City and Wolves, appeared at Chester Crown Court and pleaded guilty to two charges. The 34-year-ocontent_imgld, whose last club was Northern Premier League side Burscough, was charged with handing over just under 3kg of amphetamine to another man in a car pn eager to prise Brendan Rodgers away from Leicester City before turning to Jose Mourinho, it has been revealed.The Daily Mail says Levy enquired about Leicester boss Rodgers but was told prising him away from the King Power Stadium would be impossibark in Liverpool. The second charge was related to the seizure of 1kg high-purity (82%) cocaine from his Otterspool home on July 10. The prosecution was brought by the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). A spokesman told the Liverpool Echo: “This was significant criminality committed by someone who wouea.The Blues defender moved to RBL on a season-long loan last month as he seeks regular first team experience.”I’m on loan. My goal is for me to go back to Chelsea one day,” Ampadu told BILD.”Many young talents across Europe see the Bundesliga rely old once have been viewed as a role model. “The message here is that entering the illegal drugs trade is a route to prison, not to financial gain and a celebrity lifestyle.” Branch began his football career in the Everton youth academy and made his debut for the first team in 1996, when he was just 18. After a number of loan spells, he was sold to Wolves in 2000 for £500,000. After a season and a half in the first team at Molineux, he was loaned to Reading and then Hull City, before signing for Bradford in 2003. Spells at Chester City and Halifax Town followed, before he finished his playing career with Burscough in 2010.

3pm’s football funnies: Luis Suarez’s love of Tesco and Margaret Thatcher’s cup gaffe

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Bizarre celebrity spot of the week – if not the year – comes from Liverpool. Writes a correspondent: “Was just behind Luis Suarez in the queue at Tesco on Mather Avenue. He was buying a load of sweets. “The lad on checkout virtually ignored him. When Suarez had left and it was my turn, I said to the lad 'That was Luis Suarez!' and he replied 'Yeah I know. He's in here buying sweets more often than I clock on. Nobody's arsed about it any more.’” OFF THE RAILS His long injury lay-off appears to have had a bizarre effect on Micah Richards. In footage released by Manchester City of players catching the train to London for yesterday’s semi-final, the full back can be heard singing a United chant – “hard to believe it’s not Scholes, it’s Carrick, you know.” Watch the video here: WEAR GRATEFUL FOR PAOLO Paolo di Canio’s controversial arrival in Sunderland has made one group of shopkeepers very happy. Our friends in the North-East claim that ahead of Sunday’s Tyne-Wear derby, fancy dress shops in the Toon had completely sold out of German and Italian World War II uniforms, together with Hitler costumes. Meanwhile the Italian has revealed the striking jumper he wore against Chelsea comes from the clothes shop he owns in Rome. Di Canio is promising to wear more from the store for the duration of the season – but denies there is a commercial motive! FOOTBALL GAFFES Heard a gaffe? Tweet to #FootballGaffes or email “I can see Wayne Rooney being pulled off…” – ALAN GREEN “It’s about the smell of the play” – BRENDAN RODGERS “'Tottenham have lost all their European quarter finals since they last won one” – CLIVE TYLDESLEY "The Villa keeper, Brad Goujon" – MICKEY QUINN “You know what is coming when the referee is reaching for his top pocket – it's not going to be a toaster” – OUR VERY OWN MARK LAWRENSON “It was a case of footballing korma" – MARK SAGGERS "And for the first time, Callum McManaman has scored as many goals in a season as there are syllables in his name" – JON CHAMPION Spotters: Teddy Taylor, El Presidente HOUSE THAT POSSIBLE, RAFA? The Rafa Benitez camp’s attempts at damage limitation following last week’s controversial interview appear to have misfired. After the Chelsea caretaker was quoted as saying he would return to Liverpool one day, one of his apologists phoned Anfield to claim that Rafa had not been talking about management, but had meant he would be coming back to live in the city at some point in the future. That argument failed to impress as Benitez already has a house in Liverpool and goes back there twice a week. THATCHER'S CUP GAFFE Margaret Thatcher – who, according to the Daily Mail, saved football – certainly made a big impression when she was among the guests of honour at the 1978 FA Cup final. Asked by TV afterwards to name her man of the match, she responded: “I thought the No.10, Whymark, played very well.” Alas, Trevor Whymark hadn’t played at all – he’d dropped out of Bobcontent_imgby Robson’s side with injury and David Geddes took his shirt instead. WICKED WHISTLE Which highly-rated youngster, who seems certain to leave his club in summer, has annoyed team-mates by buying three flash new cars since January? CARR-N'T GET HIM INTERESTED Newcastle chief scout Graham Carr’s turn of phrase is a match for that of his son, toothy comedian Alan. Carr Snr told Backpass Magazine: "I suppose there was always the odd clue about how Alan would turn out when he was a lad. He never liked getting his hands dirty and I laugh now when l think about trying to get him and his brother Gary to run up hills and play with a football. "Of course, we know now that we would have been better off concentrating on dancing and a balloon.” ALVIN A MEMORY LAPSE "It&ar against RB Leipzig after their 1-1 draw at Burnley.Lloris, who was partially culpable for Burnley ‘s goal because he spilled Jay Rodriguez’s shot for Wood to score, was heartened Spurs had stopped the rot ahead of their Champions League showdown wipos;s been a while since Barcelona kept a clean sheet," advised Talksport's lead analyst Alvin Martin ahead of their Champions League draw with PSG. Wise words – Barca’s 5-0 thumping of Real Mallorca came a massive four days earlier! FOOTBALL DREAMS We’re collts boss Nigel Pearson wants the former Middlesbrough defender who has had a miserable time at Turf Moor since signing for £13million.Pearson is keen to take Gibson on loan and give him a better chance of first team action at Vicarage Road.Burnley waecting your weird dreams about footballers – if you’ve had one, Tweet to #FootballDreams or email From @imnotasian1994: “Had a dream last night that Michael Duberry bought out Tesco. Don't know what he was doing.” From @MJMaxwell: “I once dreamt Dominic Matteo was the Rabbi at my wedding in a treehouse.” From @KyloRCKelly: “Me and Paul Scholes delivered a baby at Euston Underground station.” From @TomEMorrison: “I had a dream a couple of weeks ago that I went abseiling with Celestine Babayaro.” From @Joel17Williams: “Dreamed I was playing poker in a sauna with Johnny Evans.” From @ScottJonesy: “Les Ferdinand bought me a lemonade. We were in an episode of The Simpsons at the time.” NINE-GOAL THRILLER SEEN BY NONE Not usually much sympathy around for fans who have witnessed a game that finishes 5-4. But spare a thought for the supporters of Conference side Woking. The Cards were 5-0 up at half-time against Macclesfield, who replied with four in the second half. The main stand at Kingfield housing the majority of the 1,500 Woking fans is at one end of the pitch. All nine goals went in at the other end!

Revealed: Why Liverpool blocked Shelvey loan move

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Liverpool refused to send Jonjo Shelvey back to Blackpool on loan becausethey were angry about Ian Holloway talking up the move, he has claimed. Shelvey scored six goals in 10 games for the Seasiders during his stintwith them back in October. And Holloway was desperate to bring him back for the rest of the campaignbefore the loan window shut last week. But Kenny Dalglish baulked at the idea, having grown fed-up of hearingHolloway discuss the midfielder. Ollie confirmed: "The reason we haven't got him is because we were talking about him for months and he was somebody else's playeXherdan Shaqiri insists he’s staying with Liverpool next season.The Swiss star was used as a bit-part player by Jurgen Klopp, rarely getting a start.The lack of game-time in the closing months of the season led to thoughts that Shaqiri may leave Liverpool this summer.“Is this why I came to Liverpool? Yes,” hcontent_imge said. “This club needs to win titles, and it’s a good start to win this one, no? Now next year we are going to go again and try to win the Premier League.“That’s my big dream, to win the Premier League with this club.“It just feels amazing. It’s been a long time since Liverpool won this title, 2005.“It’s amazing to give the fans what they deserve.“This club deght not have got his big break in football had it not been for Fatai Amoo.United made one of the most stunning moves of the winter transfer window when they signed the 30-year-old on loan for the rest of the season from Shanghai Shenhua.It is a far cserves everything, the staff, everyone involved. I think we’re going to have a big, big party!“Of course if we didn’t win it, we’d have been very disappointed.“We played such a good season, and we deserved to win at least one trophy.”r."

Joey Barton lays Roy Hodgson ‘monkey’ joke row blame with ‘snake in the camp’

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Joey Barton has blamed the Roy Hodgson space monkey joke row on whoever leaked the story in the first place. said that a "snake in the camp" is to blame for the fallout from Tuesday night's half-time team-talk – not the England boss. Hodgson became embroiled in a bizarre row over his that earned them a place in the World Cup 2014 tournament in Brazil. He made a joke involving space monkeys whd turnaround that has taken him from Derby County to being an England squad member.Tomori was uncertain about his future at Chelsea this summer, despite his old Derby boss Frank Lampard taking over at the club.The 21-year-old has grabbed the chances ich was used to illustrate a basic point on Chris Smalling giving more of the ball to Andros Townsend. But at least one player is believed to have thought the comment had racial overtones. However, or taken, while FA chairman Greg Dyke has given Hodgson his full backing. But Barton tweeted: "I'm more worried about the player that leaked it to the journalist. To have a snake in the camp, is more worrying. "What goes on behind closed doors should stay there IMO. Especially with crap like this. How does that (noeaving Nice for Newcastle United.The former Arsenal midfielder was named as one of the favourites to replace Rafa Benitez at St. Jamescontent_img‘ Park.However, the Frenchman insists his happy with the Ligue 1 club.Vieira said: “I am at Nice long-term. I have nn)story help anyone?"

Jose Mourinho “ashamed” and Roman Abramovich “disgusted” by racist Paris Metro incident as Chelsea write to victim

admitted he feels ashamed by the racist yobs who marred Chelsea’s Champions League trip to Paris St-Germain. And he insisted the group of thugs who attacked a black man on the Paris Metro on Tuesday “don’t represent Chelsea football club”. Sickening footage of supporters refusing a black man entry onto a Metro train in the French capital emerged just hours after . Blues boss Mourinho spoke out to condemn the behaviour of the fans filmed shoving the commuter off a train carriage while chanting “We're racist, and that's the way we like it.” The Blues moved quickly to suspend three fans from Stamford Bridge who were identified from footage of Tuesday’s sickening incident. A Blues spokesman confirmed owner Roman Abramovich was “disgusted” by the incident. And Mourinho said: “My feeling is the feeling of everyone at this club. We feel very sorry. We want to fight it. We feel ashamed and we want to apologise to this gentleman. “We feel ashamed but maybe we shouldn't because I refuse to be connected with these people. “I am connected with Chelsea and so many good things this club defends and represents. “I left Chelsea in 2007 and I couldn't wait for the moment to be back and it is not because of people like this that I wanted to be back. “So yes I feel ashamed when I knew what happened but I am a proud Chelsea football club manager because i know what this club is and these people don't represent Chelsea football club.” Mourinho said his strong feelings on the matter were shared by his players. He said: "The reaction of the players is the same as we all had. "I have a squad at Chelsea with 12 or 14 players with African nationality or connections and all over these years. "This dressing room, even without me here because it didn't depend on who the manager was, was always one with big principles of equality. "We had everything. Not just race but religion. Everything, absolutely everything. So they reacted the same way as I did – with disappointment. "Condemning the situation and supporting the gentleman involved but also with the feeling we are ashamed. "But maybe we shouldn't be because we are not this. These people don't belong to Chelsea Football Club. So yes condemn. Our club has no space for these people." Chelsea have written – identified only as Souleymane S – to invite him to the second leg of the last-16 tie against Paris Saint Germain next month. "We are writing to the man to apologise and will be asking him to come to the club with his family as our guest," declared a club spokesman. And Mourinho says that if the man does indeed take the club up on their offer, then he will "feel what Chelsea is." "He would watch not the game he would feel what Chelsea is because in this moment maybe he has the wrong idea of what Chelsea football club is. "I don't even know if the gentleman loves football but for sure, he prepared to sell Ezequiel Barco next month amid Premier League interest.The Record says Arsenal and Manchster United feature on a long list of admirers of the Argentine ace which also includes Inter Milan, AC Milan, Roma, Sporting Lisbon, Benfica, e would love to feel that the people who had this action with him are not the football club. &quoArsenal hero Ray Parlour says Manchester United are “MAD” if they’re going to meet Crystal Palace’s price for Aaron Wan-Bissaka.United have had a £40 million bid rejected for the England under-21 international, with Palace reportedly after a summer nearer £65m.“It is madness, absolute madness,” Parlour said told talkSPORT.“I really like him, I think he’s an excellent player and I’ve seen him on quite a few occasions.“His defending is very good and he gets forward. But for £65 million, it’s crcontent_imgazy.“Look at those Ajax youngsters, they’re only young. They’ve not really done anything yet. They’ve really shown that they can play in an Ajax shirt and have done really well in the Champions League but they’re going for £70-80 million as well.”t;They are not Chelsea. Chelsea is the owner, the board, the manager, the players, the people, that work here." Mourinho is also sure Chelsea's non-white fans won't stay away from Stamford Bridge after the shameful scenes in France. He added: "I don't believe they would think about not coming because everybody knows what Chelsea is." The Premier League leaders host Burnley on Saturday knowing a win will put them 10 points clear at the top of the table. Who will win on Saturday?0+ VOTES SO FAR

Hair today gone tomorrow: Chelsea’s Willian chops off iconic afro ahead of Spurs clash

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Pre-match preparation is everything these days. Gym work, nutrition and correct kit are all essential but has taken his prep one step further. The Brazilian has decided to giverde admits he’s concerned the feud between the Spanish FA and LaLiga will be damaging.No agreement has been reached between the two governing bodies on the new date of Eold onto Paul Pogba this summer, it has been revealed.The Daily Mail says United have been unwavering in their insistence that the 26-year-old will remain at Old Trafford after an attempt to leave last year.Club officials also doubt whether Juventus,l Clasico between the Blaugrana and Real Madrid, which was postponed due to the e his iconic afro the chop, news which will dismay his legions of fans. Posted on his Instagram page the pic shows a barber preparing to make the first cut. The former Anzhi man has become a fan favourite since arriving at Stamford Bridge this summer, but could easily have been lining up on the other side this evening. beforcontent_imge an eleventh hour swoop saw him head to West London instead. Willian will hope his new streamlined look won't change his side's fortunes – Spurs haven't won at since February 1990, some 24 years.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic screamer helps Paris Saint-Germain hammer Bayer Leverkusen in Champions League

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice in three first-hacontent_imglf minutes as Paris Saint-Germain all but booked their place in the Champions League's last eight. Hosts and underdhampton defender Jannick Vestergaard is a loan target for former club Werder Bremen.The 27-year-old joined for £18m from Borussia Monchengladbach but has made just 11 appearances this season.Bundesliga side Bremen would prefer a loan move for the toogs BayerLeverkusen were already reeling from an early setback after Blaise Matuidi latched on to Marco Verratti’s excellent through-ball to slot home the opener after just three minutes. And they caved in just before the break when the Sweden striker took control. First, Ibrahimovic converted from the spot after Emir Spahic pulled down Ezequiel Lavezzi in the box. And three minutes later, he put the French side in total control when he took a lay-off from Matuidi just outside the box wide left and rifled an unstoppable rising shot into the far corner of the net. Things went from bad to worse for the home side on the hour when they were reduced to 10 men. Spahic, who had already been booked when conceding the first-half penalty, picked up a second yellow for a bad foul on Lucas Moura. Ibrahimovic then set up Matuidi for what appeared his second of the night as he turned in the area and pinballed home a shot off keeper Bernd Leno and defender e for the Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) presidency.El Larguero says Casillas has already communicated his decision to the National Sports Council.He will be Luis Rubiales’ rival in the next presidential elections.In a poll conducted by MARCA, 94Phillipp Wollscheid, only for Lavezzi to be flagged for offside. It was Matuidi’s final action as he was replaced straight away by former Newcastle playmaker Yohan Cabaye. Two minutes from time, Cabaye scored into the top corner from the edge of the area after Moura had laid Maxwell's cross into his path.

Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge feels partnership with Luis Suarez is ‘almost telepathic’

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Liverpool striker Daniel Sturridge feels that his blossoming partnership with Luis Suarez is "almost telepathic". The duo have noe from Leeds United.Sky Sports says Leeds have agreed a fee with an unnamed English club for the sale of centre-back Pontus Jansson.The 28-year-old Swedish international made 39 appearances last season, scoring three times.Reports in Sweden claim thetched 10 goals in just four games together this season, with Sturridge leading the Premier League scoring charts with eight strikes in total. also became the quickest player in their illustrious history to score 20 goals for the club, after reaching the milestone in just 26 games since joining from Chelsea for around £12m in January. Suarez racked up 30 goals for the club last season, and the former Manchester City youngster has talked up a red-hot tandem that has plundered 14 goals already this term. "It’s a natural partnership between us – it’s almost telepathic," said Sturridge told Metro. "We get on really well on and off the pitch and I think that makes a huge difference to how we play together. "The relationship we have means we know when to pass to each other and when we’re going to make runs. It’s just a totally natural thing. I thinkst Christmas period as a Manchester United player.Indeed, once the festive schedule is out of the way, focus will once more turn to the knockout competitions.An FA Cup third- round trip to Wolves and a two-legged League Cup semi-final blockbuster aga it’s only going to improve the more we play together." Both players were on target in , with Sturridge's delightful chip supplementing a sublime Suarez hat-trick. Apart from Sturridge, only Manchester City's Sergio Aguero has scored more than Suarez's six, despite the Uruguayan missing the first five games of the season through suspension. The duo were reccontent_imgently voted as the .

Manchester United cap off disastrous season by slipping down the football brand power league

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Beleaguered football club Manchester United by slipping down the brand power league, dropping £60 million in value. The in the world soccer rankings lost its AAA* rating as it was leap frogged by newly crowned European champions Real Madrid.            And to add insult to injury, arch rival Manchester City climbed from eighth to fifth and saw its brand value rocket by £106 million to £303 million while the Red Devils fell from £499 million to £439 million. A mediocre season also saw Jose Mourinho's Chelsea slide two places to seventh with a brand value of £298 million, while Arsenal were non-movers at six with £300 million. The annual report compiled by analysts Brand Finance put six Premiership teams in the top ten but bizarrely saw title runners up Liverpool drop from seventh to eighth, despite the top two finish. But the Merseysiders saw a £64 million rise in value to £278 million. And even though they were knocked out of the Champions League, German champs Bayern Munich topped the chart as the most valuable club in the world worth £531 million. French Club Paris St Germain rocketed through the rankings shooting to number 10 from 24 last year. Tottenham hovered outside the top ten and were non movers at 12 while by moving 13 places to take the 20th spot. The balance of power atol boss Jurgen Klopp.Klopp won his first title with Liverpool last season, capping off the Reds meteoric rise over threcontent_imge seasons with a Champions League medal. Formerly of Manchester United and Everton, Rooney admits the only shame about Klopp’s tale the top of the English game is shifting decisively to the blue side of Manchester, the report said, adding that Manuel Pellegrini's City could be the new powerhouse in English football. And in a warning to Utd – to be managed by Dutch coach Louis van Gaal next season – it added the Reds need to be back in the Champions League to shore up their place in the Football 50 table. The report said: "For now, the brand equity founded on years of glory, shrewd commercial management and stewardship of the brand is shielding United from a more dramatic drop. "However another season in the eason.Rondon has been on-loan at Newcastle from West Brom.Rondon said: “Better with age? For me, yes. It’s like a wine! I try to be healthy all the time. I am getting older so I have to work more than the young players. I have to work really hard awilderness, , will see brand value truly plunge, and leave few sponsors willing to do a deal with the Devils." Top ten most valuable clubs: Bayern Munich – £531 million Real Madrid – £456 million Manchester Utd – £439 million Barcelona – £369 million Manchester City – £303 million Arsenal – £300 million Chelsea – £298 million Liverpool – £278 million Borussia Dortmund – £194 million Paris St Germain – £192 million Who'll finish in a higher league position next season?16000+ VOTES SO FAR

Bluebirds legend May dies

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Former Cardiff manager Eddie May has died at the age of 68, the club have confirmed. Affectionately nicknamed "The Ayatollah" by the then Ninian Park faithful he is still considered a legend at the club. May led the Bluebirds to the Division Three title in 1993 and a famous FA Cup fourth-round win over Manchester City at Ninian Park the following year during a four-year spell at the club. The fo than a 1-0 victory over Ajax in the Champions League on Wednesday night. The Blues went top of Group H thanks to substitute Michy Batshuayi’s late goal.Fellow substitute Christian Pulisic showed supreme skill to find space down the wing and deliver rmer defender, who died yesterday, was born in Epping, but spent most of his playing career in Wales with Wrexham and then Swansea. Cardiff chief executive Alan Whiteley told the club's official website: "On behalf of everyone at the club I would like to pass on our sincere condolences to Eddie May's family at this sad time. "We will be hoeds United owner Andrea Radrizanni was delighted to scoop the FIFA Fair Play award.The Elland Road club won the prize at the Milan ceremony on Monday following their sportsmanship in the Championship match with Aston Villa last season.Leeds player Manoured this week to collectively show our respects and appreciation to a man who will forever and rightly be remembered as an integral part of modern Cardiff City history. He will be sadly missed by all." Swansea and Wrexham also paid tribute to their former player on their official websites. Wrexham announced May had died in his sleep. May, who established himself as a player at Southend, spent eight years at Wrexham before finishing his career with a three-year stint at Swansea. His managerial career took him across the globe. Aside from his Cardiff exploits, he had stints at Newport County, Brentford and Torquay in the English leagues, Barry Town, Haverfordwest, Llanelli and Porthcawl in the Welsh and also managed abroad in Iceland, Ireland, Kenya, Norway, Qatar, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Afrcontent_imgica, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Cardiff will hold an official tribute to May on Saturday ahead of the home match against Leeds, where there will be a minute's applause. The players will also wear black armbands against Derby on Tuesday.

Robbie Savage column: Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City can forget Champions League Final win already

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Best league in the world or not, the opening statements from England’s clubs in the Champions League this week were an embarrassment. Already I can say, with some conviction, that Chelsea are the only English club equipped to win the European Cup this season. From what I saw of , a top-four finish in the title race at home and the last 16 of the Champions League is the best they can hope for. In other words: Business as usual. Mesut Ozil was anonymous against Manchester City last weekend and t. I’ve heard people say , but Arsene Wenger is using him in the role where he plays for Germany. I would suggest he needs to pull his finger out. His fellow German Per Mertesacker also looks miles off the pace at the back. And Wenger has made a rod for his own back by installing Mikel Arteta as ' club captain – because the Spaniard looks painfully slow and is struggling to justify his place in the side. Which English club will go furthest in this season's Champions League?7000+ VOTES SO FAR Liverpool? They , a Bulgarian club and which was only founded 13 years ago. will need time to adjust to the demands of Champions League football after a few years out of orbit, so let’s not expect miracles this year. , even , and is strong enough to cope with dropping points at home in their opening match. This time last year, they lost at home to Basel in the group and still went on to reach the semi-finals. Manchester City are my biggest worry. Bayern Munich were missing several key players on Wednesday night, but in the Allianz Arena. It’s time . To get out of the group, and deep into the knockout phase, need to turn up their trump cards. The fixtures are difficult, with trips to Roma and CSKA Moscow still to come. The owners have made the Champions League a big priority this year but I fear City have made the same mistake as they made after winning the title under Roberto Mancini two years ago. In my opinion, they are not going to win the Champions League because they rested on their laurels while rivals have strengthened their squads. On Sunday, City and Chelsea meet in the Premier League at the Etihad. It’s too early in the season to call it a title six-pointer, but it may highlight the difference in transfer market activity over the summer. Chelsea incontent_imgvested heavily in the spine of their team, bringing in Costa and Cesc Fabregas and reclaiming ThiticketsLucas Moura has been so desperate for extra tickets to the UEFA Champions League final that he was texting Liverpool players ahead of the game!Moura is expected to be in the starting lineup for Tottenham as they take their place in the showpiebaut Courtois from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid. City? They offloaded Alvaro Negredo without replacing him, which was vGallagher has admitted that his family was in tears when he scored his first goal for Charlton.The 20-year-old was with the Addicks for the first half of the season, before heading to Swansea on another loan for the rest of the term.Now he recalls hiery surprising. has them on the back foot in the title race already. Mourinho pulled off a tactical masterclass . Although I expect him to approach Sunday’s game with a more attacking outlook, I suspect it might be the same result. What will the result be on Sunday?4000+ VOTES SO FAR

Steve McClaren inspires Derby comeback against Ipswich with stirring half-time team talk

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Steve McClaren inspired a stunning second-half comeback with a stirring half-time team talk last night. and planned to watch the match from the stands. But after seeing his hapless side concede four times in the opening 34 minutes, he raced to the dressing room at the break. And a fired-up Craig Bryson helped Derby comeback in ­sensational fashion. Caretaker boss Darren Wassall said: "Steve came in at half-time, he was very good and we needed all the help we could get and he said a few choice words. And the response was magnificent." The night started badly for McClaren when onsibility for Wednesday’s loss to Liverpool.The Toffees were blown away by their fcontent_imgierce rivals at Anfield, with Jurgen Klopp’s side sealing a 5-2 victory.Asked who should take responsibility for the loss, Holgate said: “We take pretty much all of it.n-loan defender Zak Whitbread headed straight into his own net from Aaron ­Cresswell’s sixth minute corner – before Daryl Murphy headed in three minutes later from another Cresswell set piece. Whitbread made amends for his earlier error when he headed in Ben Davies’ 12th-minute corner. But on-song Cresswell made it 3-1 to Ipswich just 14 minutes in when he shot through the legs of home keeper Lee Grant. It was grim viewing for McClaren – but things were to get worse as Cresswell’s 34th-minute corner was headed home by Murphy. Derby were booed off at the break but Bryson brilliantly pulled one back only seconds after the break after a fine mazy run. The hosts really believed a comeback was onWest Ham United can achieve something special with the current team.The fullback has extended his deal with the Irons until 2023, which could take the No3 up to nine years in Claret and Blue. He said, “Going back to the last year we had at the Bole when they scored a third on 61 minutes with Jamie Ward turning in Will Hughes' perfect cross. And they got it two minutes from time as Bryson buried the rebound after Whitbread's header had been blocked. Visiting boss said: "They deserved it with their second-half performance."

The football fads that will NEVER go away – even if they are banned

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The most important aspect of any football fad is getting a big name on board to push the fad and make school kids around the world want to copy it. That isn't true of ALL football fads though – as it's hard to believe that Gareth Bale was getting paid bare dollar to put some gaffa tape around his socks. If he was though, then fair play. That's great work if you can get it. Vapo rub on kit It's unclear who started this trend but Patrick Vieira was certainly the leading proponent of it. He wore vapo rub pretty much all the time, even when relaxing at home or going out to a black tie event. Don't believe us? Look at the gallery below… Eventually the Arsenal kit makers decided to move the badge from the left of the shirt to the centre in the hope of getting Vieira to stop plastering vapo rub all over the middle of his shirt. He just carried on though and plastered it all over the badge. The one advantage is that if Vieira ran up behind you in a game, nobody had to shout "MAN ON" – because you could smell him coming from a mile off. (Would just like to clarify that pretty much none of the information stated above is actually fact). Nose strips Robbie Fowler and Neymar… what do they have in common? They both wore those little nose strips at one point in their careers. Snoods There was an oddly large backlash against snoods, almost as if they'd done something to upset or harm football fans. They hadn't. Eventually they were banned, like actually BANNED from football. Their only crime – keeping people warm. The general consensus was that if you get cold it means you're not a real man, ancontent_imgd that "back in my day" you'd go out and play in subzero temperatures with only your Y-Fronts on and you didn't care because your half-time packet of smokes would keep your lungs warm and toasty for the second half. The argument from OUTRAGED fans was that they could choke footballers to death like a hangman's noose. To be fair it was a pretty strong argument, as evidenced by one incident involving Tevez. Carlo Ancelotti (the coolest man(ager) in football) had the best reaction though: "Ban them? No, it’s cold." Gaffa tape on socks BANNED. Next. Odd coloured boots A relatively new one and genuinely actually not the worst thing in the world despite what some people say. if anything it helps you distinguish your left from your right. Alice bands It was all fun and games until Joey Barton started wearing one. Upturned collars Started by one French bloke and copied by millions of school kids, pub players and Sunday League hacks. It's not really clear whether that collared Manh in captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.The Gabon international scored a sensational bicycle kick against Olympiacos, but missed a last-gasp chance to send them through to the last-16 – and Arteta wants fans to get around him.“He was gutted,” Artetachester United made Eric Cantona legendary, or Eric Cantona made that collar Manchester United kit legendary. The evidence would suggest the latter. In fact, Eric Cantona can even make double denim look cool by turning his collar up. NEW ENTRY: Undercuts High top fades, undercuts, we are truly enjoying a magical time when it comes to footballers' hair at the moment. Truly magical. Olivier Giroud and Sergio Aguero are locked in a constant battle of who can have haircuts more regularly than the other (Giroud currently winning) and020.The Germany international, reports BILD, has rejected City’s attempts to discuss new contract terms.Bayern Munich were prepared to sign Sane in August, before he suffered a knee injury in City’s Community Shield victory over Liverpool.The Bavaria now Debuchy, Welbeck, Sturridge, Bale, Ronaldo and a number of other players are getting involved in the "can we have more than two haircuts a week?" battle. These are truly, truly magical times. Ridiculously tiny shorts The 1970s were a difficult time for fashion. They were a really difficult time for fashion. But it was the late 80s and early 90s that really pushed the boundaries when it came to the length of shorts worn by professional footballers. Now commonly known as "The Glorified Belt Era" of the sport, the turn of 80s/90s was a draughty time for footballers. Sweat bands Papiss Cisse has never been seen NOT wearing dual sweat bands. He isn't the only one, but he rocks it harder than anyone else and he proves that this is one football fad which is quite obviously never, ever, ever going away. Ever. Which is the WORST football fad?1000+ VOTES SO FAR

EXCLUSIVE: Chelsea players argue with angry AVB

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Andre Villas-Boas has clashed with his Chelsea players – in front of the club's owner, Roman Abramovich. The dressing-room exchange took place at the club’s training ground on Sunday, after Villas-Crystal Palace captain Luka Milivojevic is delighted for Wilfried Zaha after reaching his 300th league appearance.But Zaha was unable to help Roy Hodgson’s team get the better of Leicester at Selhurst Park on Sunday, with second-half goals from CaglaBoas cancelled a day off following the previous day's defeat at Everton. Abramovich organised a training ground summit tocontent_img shake up the squad after the Blues slipped out of the Champions League qualification places. The Russian tycoon blamed the players for the club’s slide to fifth in the Premier League and furious Villas-Boas tore into his squad during the showdown meeting – but senior pros gave as good as they got from the manager in a no-holds-barred exchange. Players voiced concerns about tactics, management methods and team selection in a clear-the-air meeting which turned stormy as both sides put their points across. Abramovich witnessed the argument and also spoke to the players, leaving them in no doubt that he is still backing the manager despite the setback at Goodison Park. However the owner, who spent virtually every day at the club’s training ground last week to get a close look at bitions of… parents.Mertesacker wants to build up Arsenal’s academy but admits he is concerned about the future of youth development and, in particular, the pressure some mums and dads put on youngsters.He said: “Sometimes I get the feeling some the team’s preparations, is now aware of the players’ feelings about the man he appointed last summer. AVB retains the support of the owner but that backing will be tested if Chelsea crash out of the FA Cup to Birmingham on Saturday, and lose to Napoli in the last 16 of the Champions League. Abramovich has told confidantes that he alone appointed Villas-Boas last summer and is therefore determined to back his judgement. Chelsea did not wish to comment on the dressing room clash. Opinion: Abramovich is facing the toughest decision of his Chelsea reign  Lampard: We're as much to blame as the boss

Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Carlo Ancelotti as Manchester United’s next manager, claims Real Madrid chief Perez

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Sir Alex Ferguson wanted Carlo Ater City left-back Ben Chilwell.The Foxes are expected to play hard-ball over the England international, as they did with Manchester United for Harry Maguire last summer.Any deal is further complicated by the fact that Chilwell has a contract until 2ncelotti to replace him at Manchester United, claims Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez. Perez says to come to the Bernabeu last summer to replace Jose Mourinho. Ferguson then chose David Moyes as his successor, with terrible consequences, . Perez claims Ancelotti had promised to come to Real whenodin is set to join Inter Milan as their highest paid player.Godin, off contract in June, has already agreed Bosman terms with Inter, though neither club has yet formally confirmed the agreement.Gazetta dello Sport says Godin will join Inter on a far United moved for the Italian towards the end of last season. "Manchester United wanted him last year," Perez told Spanish radio station COPE. Was Louis van Gaal the right appointment focontent_imgr Manchester United?6000+ VOTES SO FAR "He told me that Ferguson asked him to be his replacement. "Possibly United wanted him this year, but I don't know. I can only assure you that they wanted him last year." Spanish media outlet AS also reports that Vicente Del Bosque was also offered the job in April, but turned it down.