Tag Archives: aspects

Juventus hope to sign Didier Drogba from Shanghai Shenhua

Drogba to Juventus Club director reveals plans to beat AC Milan to striker's signature

Press Association Reporter


18:32 GMT, 7 January 2013



18:39 GMT, 7 January 2013

Juventus director general Beppe Marotta has confirmed the Serie A club have enquired about the availability of Shanghai Shenhua striker Didier Drogba.

The Bianconeri have already made an approach to sign Athletic Bilbao striker Fernando Llorente on a Bosman free transfer in the summer, but with Arsenal loanee Nicklas Bendtner sidelined through injury, the Italian champions are eager to bolster their immediate options.

Quoted on calciomercato.com, Marotta told television programme Domenica Sportiva: 'Drogba We are always making enquiries and we have made one for him.

In demand: Juventus hope to recruit Drogba this month

In demand: Juventus hope to recruit Drogba this month

'We have asked about his availability and after that we will look at the financial aspects and talk to the coach.'

Juve boss Conte had previously ruled out any approach for the former Chelsea striker, but player recruitment is overseen by Marotta.

A person claiming to be Drogba's agent, Carlos Arino Bajo, had claimed Drogba had an option to end his two-and-a-half year contract in China, a claim later rejected by the London-based Sports PR Company.

Bajo had told tuttomercato.com: 'Didier
has a termination agreement with the Chinese club and I think he has a
lot of possibilities to move to Italy in January.

Instrumental: Drogba was the key player in Chelsea's Champions League triumph

Instrumental: Drogba was the key player in Chelsea's Champions League triumph

'There is real interest from Juventus and AC Milan, and it is the same from Didier regarding the transfer.

'There have been contacts with both clubs and next week we will hear
from them again. He would love to compete in one of the world's best
leagues, such as the Italian Serie A.'

But the Sports PR Company, who count Drogba and several of his former
Chelsea team-mates among their clients, responded through their official
Twitter account.

On his way: Llorente could also join Juve

On his way: Llorente could also join Juve

The company tweeted: 'Please note, these quotes are not correct. This
guy is not Didier's agent, his sole agent is Thierno Seydi (a
FIFA-registered agent based in Senegal).'

Drogba has been training with Chelsea, with whom he won the Champions
League in May, in the lead-up to the African Nations Cup which begins in
South Africa on January 19.

Mark Clattenburg returns for Liverpool v Fulham – Graham Poll on Premier League referee appointments

Clattenburg returns to the middle… and he'll be under extra scrutiny



07:30 GMT, 21 December 2012

Referees perform under massive pressure and very close scrutiny every weekend. I cannot think of another job where every single piece of work is analysed and rated with a mark.

There are two people who are in the stadium to assess and rate the team of match officials performance.

One acts as a referee observer and is usually a former top level referee who has the task of ensuring that the referee applies laws of the game as well as give feedback on the technical aspects of the four officials' performances.

The second is in attendance as a Professional Game Match Officials Match Delegate and they are former players, managers or administrators who are asked to look at the game from the ‘users’ perspective.

Back in action: Mark Clattenburg returns this weekend and takes charge at Anfield

Back in action: Mark Clattenburg returns this weekend and takes charge at Anfield

This weekend Simon Barker, Kenny Hibbitt and Iffy Onuora are among the former players and former manager Peter Shreeves are on duty.

They are supposed to give the referee a balanced approach; too lenient and the former referee will pull him up, too slavish to law and the former player will question the impact on the game.

It is an interesting system which I think applies too much pressure on an already beleaguered referee, who really just needs a friendly ‘coach’ who he can open and honest with.

They need to be able to develop their skill and overcome difficulties rather than two people there to award a mark, who will highlight deficiencies and will affect their grading and possible future appointments.

Ones to watch this weekend…

Tottenham Hotspur v Stoke City (Saturday, 3pm)
Referee: Lee Mason Games: 10, Yellow Cards: 29, Red Cards: 0.


Man City v Reading – Mike Dean G11, YC39 RC1
Newcastle v QPR – Kevin Friend G9, YC33, RC1
Southampton v Sunderland – Howard Webb G12, YC45, RC2
West Brom v Norwich – Martin Atkinson G14, YC57 RC0
West Ham v Everton – Anthony Taylor G11 YC20 RC3
Wigan v Arsenal – Jon Moss G8 YC23 RC1

Chelsea v Aston Villa – Phil Dowd G11, YC34, RC2

This weekend, the main focus will surely be on the holding and blocking ‘dark arts’ after the Marouane Fellaini head butt so where better to start than White Hart Lane.

Mason will be expected to do a better job at detecting and punishing holding at set pieces with Stoke City than Mark Halsey did last weekend.

Ryan Shawcross’ arms could be clearly seen across Fellaini’s waist as the Stoke defender held him from behind.

Making a point: Referee Lee Mason will have to keep on top of the 'dark arts' at White Hart Lane

Making a point: Referee Lee Mason will have to keep on top of the 'dark arts' at White Hart Lane

Halsey's ‘reward’ is to be fourth official at Wigan on Saturday and then drive to Carlisle United on Boxing Day!

I expect Mason to adopt the policy of delaying the taking of the kick from being taken while he warns players not to hold but that is proving ineffective.

Also, given that Stoke are the away team, it will be easier for Mason to award a penalty against them than if they were playing at The Britannia. I trust I don’t have to explain why…

Liverpool v Fulham (Saturday, 5.15pm)
Referee: Mark Clattenburg G8, YC31, RC4

Clattenburg steps back after two weekends as fourth official in which he failed to avoid controversy by reporting Gareth Barry for offensive language after the Manchester derby.

He comes back with a live game and will undoubtedly be under pressure to award Liverpool their first penalty of the season and will have to be on his best form to keep Luis Suarez out of his notebook.

The good news for Clattenburg is that however this game goes, he is appointed to another top flight game just four days later between Aston Villa and Tottenham… and that is another televised game!

Swansea City v Manchester United (Sunday, 4pm)
Referee: Michael Oliver G10, YC20, RC1

There will be plenty of interest in young Oliver's handling of Manchester United as he has unfairly been highlighted as one who favours them.

Although they lost at Wolves the first time he refereed the league leaders, he has refereed them three times since and they have won them all.

Nothing unusual there but with Oliver refusing to give a clear Fulham penalty in the 1-0 United win late last season at Old Trafford eyebrows were raised.

United stand: The spotlight will be on young referee Michael Oliver at the Liberty Stadum

United stand: The spotlight will be on young referee Michael Oliver at the Liberty Stadum

Then this season, Oliver gave United a penalty after a clear dive by Danny Welbeck in the home win against Wigan and rumours persisted.

It is really tough establishing yourself as a young official at this level and Oliver (who is an excellent referee) would like to lose this reputation, so he could do with an incident free game at The Liberty Stadium.

Papiss Cisse blames lack of Newcastle goals on no goat curry diet

Feed him goat and he will score! Cisse blames lack of goals on Newcastle canteen for taking his favourite curry off the menu

Colin Young


12:49 GMT, 15 November 2012



13:52 GMT, 15 November 2012

Newcastle United striker Papiss Cisse says he is missing the special goat curry which turned him into a goal machine last season.

Cisse led Newcastle’s unexpected charge to a fifth place finish in the Barclays Premier League thanks in part to a traditional dish from his native Senegal, called Yassa.

It was introduced to the Newcastle staff canteen by international team-mate Demba Ba, but it seems the special dish has been taken off the menu at Newcastle’s training ground Darsley Park.

Hungry for more: Papiss Cisse chewed up Premier League defenders after his arrival at Newcastle last season

Hungry for more: Papiss Cisse chewed up Premier League defenders after his arrival at Newcastle last season

Goat curry: Cisse's dish of choice

Goat curry: Cisse's dish of choice

Manager Alan Pardew even said last season that the curry might have helped the striker’s incredible scoring record of 13 goals in 14 games.

‘I think I need to ask the kitchen why they still haven’t done it yet,’ Cisse told Sky Tyne and Wear.

By contrast to last season, Cisse has scored just three goals in 14 appearances this term.

In April, Newcastle held an ‘African Day’ at their training ground in a bid to continue Cisse’s slow integration into other aspects of life at the club.

At the time Alan Pardew, who relies on Ba as translator to communicate with his No 9, told Sportsmail: ‘We had curried goat and perhaps it fuelled him up,’ said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew. ‘It was lovely and it probably helped him a little bit.'

Cisse was bought from Wolfsburg for 9million and has become a cult hero at St James’ Park.

Newcastle are fighting for clearance to allow Cisse to play this weekend.

The Senegal FA are disputing Cisse's back injury which forced him to miss their game this week.
Cisse was forced off at half-time in Newcastle's home defeat to West Ham and did not travel.

Pardew confirmed the club and Senegal FA are trying to clarify the injury with FIFA so he is clear to face Swansea on Saturday.

Meanwhile, midfielder Yohan Cabaye is out of their weekend clash with Swansea City. The France international suffered a groin injury last week which forced him to miss Wednesday's game against Italy.

Although Chieck Tiote is back from suspension for Swansea's visit to St James's Park on Saturday, captain Fabricio Coloccini is still banned. Jonas Gutierrez is also out.

Want to score like Cisse Here's how to make a delicious goat curry…


1 goat liver, cleaned and cut into chunks
400 g goat meat, from leg, chopped into chunks
1 tsp Jaffna curry powder
1 tsp roasted ground cumin
7 cardamom pods, crushed
1/2 tsp fenugreek seeds
1 stick cinnamon stick, broken up
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp chilli powder, or more to taste
2 tsp roasted curry powder
2 tbsp tomato pure
200 ml coconut milk
2 garlic cloves
100 ml vegetable oil
100 g onions, diced
2-3 green chillies, sliced
2 slices fresh ginger, peeled and chopped finely
10 cm piece pandanus leaf (rampe), torn
1 sprig curry leaves, picked from stalks


1. Place the chopped liver and goat meat
into a bowl, then add the Sri Lankan curry powder, cumin powder,
cardamom pods, a teaspoon of salt, fenugreek seeds, cinnamon, turmeric,
chilli powder, roasted curry powder, tomato paste and coconut milk.

2. Stir to combine and then leave to
marinade while you peel and crush the garlic with some coarse sea salt
using the back of your knife to make a paste.

3. Heat the vegetable oil in a pan until
really hot – check by putting a curry leaf in and it’ll pop and spit if
it’s right. Add the garlic, onion, chillies, ginger, pandanus leaf and
curry leaves. Stir and cook for a few minutes until the onions turn

4. Add the marinated meat to the pan,
swilling out the bowl with a little water to get all the remnants of
marinade. Mix to combine, bring to the boil and then turn down to a
really low heat.

5. Cook for at least 30 minutes until the meat is tender and cooked through, or longer for a really tender result.

Source: UKTV.co.uk

And here's what goat curry can help you do on the pitch!

Andre Villas-Boas hails Iago Falque after Europa League draw

AVB untroubled by Spurs' Maribor draw as he hails impact of young star Falque



21:38 GMT, 25 October 2012

Andre Villas-Boas believes Tottenham's Europa League campaign remains on track despite the disappointing draw with Maribor in Slovenia.

The Vijolicasti came into the match with a record of just two wins their previous 15 European games on home soil, but broke the deadlock three minutes from the end of the first half courtesy of Robert Beric.

Gylfi Sigurdsson lashed home in the 58th minute to ensure the north Londoners would not leave the Stadion Ljudski vrt empty-handed, but the goal could not hide what was a disappointing display by Spurs.

Points to prove: Andre Villas-Boas insists he has much to play for in Europe

Points to prove: Andre Villas-Boas insists he has much to play for in Europe

Asked if he was happier with the result than the performance, Spurs boss Villas-Boas said: 'Certainly on the running of the first half. The second half was extremely good, the first half was not so good.

'We came back into the game, which is pleasant to see again and it is good for us to bounce back.

'It is obviously not the full result we wanted bearing in mind the draw between Lazio and Panathinaikos, but certainly we will take a point.

'The group is completely open. What we face now is two games at home and I think we are in a good position in the group.

'We are in third position. We have three games to play, there are nine points to play for. You see the group – it is very tight. It is not a group where the leader has run off with points.'

Saving the day: Gylfi Sigurdsson

Saving the day: Gylfi Sigurdsson

Villas-Boas, whose side are just two points behind Group J leaders Lazio, will be hoping for an improved performance when they return to Premier League action on Sunday.

Struggling new boys Southampton are the opponents and the Portuguese will be hoping to iron out some of the negative aspects his side displayed tonight and in last weekend 4-2 home defeat to Chelsea.

'The first half was poor in terms of possession,' Villas-Boas said. 'It is what we spoke about at the end of the Chelsea game. I think we committed the same mistakes.

'We kept on giving the ball away instead of being a little bit more calm and keeping the ball. The opponent was closing down the spaces well and we can't rush everything.

'We need to be a bit more patient in possession to find the right space to break through and I think we did it much better in the second half than the first half.'

A rare highlight for Spurs this evening was the performance of substitute Iago Falque, whose introduction at half-time had the desired effect.

Just 13 minutes after coming on, the Spaniard made a telling impact by providing the cross that allowed Sigurdsson to score during a penalty-box melee.

'He had an extremely good game,' Villas-Boas said of Falque. 'He had his first game against Carlisle.

'This is his second game against stronger opposition this season. He did extremely well.

'His performance made the link-up player better for us. He is a certainly someone we can count on.'

Tom Cleverley is key to England"s attacking options: Glenn Hoddle

Glenn Hoddle: Cleverley is key to England's attacking options



23:31 GMT, 8 September 2012

A Conference team would have given England a tougher game than Moldova did. The early penalty by Frank Lampard gave Roy Hodgson’s men a boost in confidence and deflated the Moldovan players and, just as importantly, the crowd.

The pitch was better than we were led to believe, certainly better than in 1996 when I began my England managerial career with a win in Chisinau. It was no surprise that England were able to dominate and win 5-0.

England's Frank Lampard (L) celebrates scoring a penalty against Moldova with Tom Cleverley

Master and the apprentice: England's Lampard could find himself playing behind Cleverley in England's new look formation

Nonetheless there were some really pleasing aspects of the performance that augur well for the rest of the World Cup qualifying campaign, not least on Tuesday night against Ukraine at Wembley, which will be a far harder contest.

In particular, I liked the way the three midfield players — Steve Gerrard, Lampard and Tom Cleverley — rotated. Instead of one remaining the pivot, the holding player, they all took turn to burst into the penalty area and covered each other at the right times.

Obviously, it’s much easier to mark one or two players rather than three. So the fact that Moldova didn’t know who would make the next burst forward made England extremely hard to defend against. It really caught my eye.

Cleverley is a young player I must confess I hadn’t watched that often before Friday night. I know Sir Alex Ferguson rates him highly but it was still a surprise when he was selected to start by Roy Hodgson ahead of Michael Carrick.

England's coach Roy Hodgson, center, shakes hands with player Tom Cleverley

Job well done: England coach Hodgson congratulates Tom Cleverley after dominant performance

The decision worked and I thought Cleverley did very well. I like the way he plays and moves; he creates space for himself and for others, which gives the team more options.

It will be harder to strike the right balance when you play against better teams and have less possession. I can understand why Roy might be tempted to bring Carrick in against Ukraine because he’s a good user of the ball.

I’d like to think he will be positive and keep Cleverley in the team alongside the experience of Lampard and Gerrard. Cleverley doesn’t seem a player who will spray 40 or 50-yard passes but he is an energy player, someone who can pass and move, which is important in international football.


New look England: The team now has a good blend of youth and experience

He did well when he was in advanced areas, not a position he has been that used to at Manchester United. Winning a penalty inside three minutes was the perfect start for him and after that he showed a lot of maturity, considering it was only his second international cap.

His ‘legs’ also allowed Lampard and Gerrard to surge into the penalty area on occasions. Lampard scored twice and while you always like to see Gerrard around the ‘D’ — he’s better running in from a deeper position — he’s not comfortable enough on the half-turn to be a natural No 10.

I hope against Ukraine that we have the belief to try to control the game. I felt at Euro 2012 that we had two banks of four who were so deep we could never get out and create opportunities.

Roy used a different system on Friday, one that gave England more attacking choices. /09/08/article-0-14E577DD000005DC-964_634x380.jpg” width=”634″ height=”380″ alt=”Frank Lampard celebrates scoring to make it 2-0 with Steven Gerrard ” class=”blkBorder” />

Golden boys: Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard will be used in more disciplined roles for England

And to those who question whether Lampard and Gerrard can play at the next World Cup, I’d answer it with two words: Andrea Pirlo.

He was the best player at Euro 2012 at the age of 33 and is still involved for Italy in the current World Cup qualifying campaign. We are not so blessed with young talents.

Things are looking brighter now with the emergence of Cleverley and hopefully the return of Jack Wilshere, who is the real deal. But young players need the experience of men like Gerrard and Lampard to help them develop.

Make no mistake, England still need Rooney

England ’s goal glut in Moldova might lead to people wondering if we can do without the absent Wayne Rooney at international level.


Still our star man: England will need Rooney back when they play stronger teams than Moldova

The answer is: No. During my England spell, I had Shearer, Sheringham, Fowler, Ferdinand, Collymore, Cole, Wright and a young Michael Owen to choose from up front.

It was an embarrassment of riches; but Roy Hodgson doesn’t have that luxury. So Rooney will still be integral to how we perform at the next World Cup — providing we get there.

Cristiano Ronaldo – It"s not about the money

It's not about the money! Ronaldo speaks out AGAIN over Madrid sadness



19:17 GMT, 4 September 2012

Cristiano Ronaldo has hit out at suggestions his recent declaration that he was unhappy at Real Madrid was part of a ploy to earn a lucrative new contract.

The Portuguese forward sent shockwaves round the world of football on Sunday when he revealed that he disappointed with certain aspects of life with the Spanish giants.

Ronaldo, who refused to celebrate his two goals in the win over Granada and limped off before the end of the match at the Bernabeu, was accused of planting the story to put pressure on club bosses who have so far refused to negotiate a new deal.

Uproar: Cristiano Ronaldo claims to be unhappy by aspects of life at Real Madrid

Uproar: Cristiano Ronaldo claims to be unhappy by aspects of life at Real Madrid

Uproar: Cristiano Ronaldo claims to be unhappy by aspects of life at Real Madrid

After the game the former Manchester United striker said: 'I’m sad – when I don’t celebrate goals it’s because I’m not happy. It's a professional thing. Real Madrid know why I’m not happy.’

Ronaldo's current contract – which has a 100million buyout – still has three years to run and sees him earn around 10m a year.

Since his outburst, there has since been a media backlash in Madrid, where the front page of 'Marca', the pro-Real sports daily screamed: 'Enough is Enough' and criticising Ronaldo for 'unsettling' the club.

However, on Tuesday night, the player released a statement on his Facebook page, dismissing claims his stance was money-related.

Smile free: Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals against Granada

Smile free: Ronaldo refused to celebrate his two goals against Granada

Beaten: Barcelona's Andres Iniesta beat Ronaldo to a top Euro gong

Beaten: Barcelona's Andres Iniesta beat Ronaldo to a top Euro gong

He wrote: 'I am accused of wanting more money, but one day it will be shown that this is not the case.

'At this point, I just want to guarantee to the Real Madrid fans that my motivation, dedication, commitment and desire to win all competitions will not be affected.

'I have too much respect for myself and for Real Madrid to ever give less to the club than all I am capable of.'

Ronaldo, bought from Manchester United for 80m in 2009, led Real to the title last season scoring 46 goals in 38 La Liga games and 60 in all competitions.

He has raced to 150 goals for the club at the rate of more than a goal a game but continues to be eclipsed in Spain by Messi's heroics at Barcelona. Some say the Messi factor eats away at him, such is his vanity.

Snooker: Ronnie O"Sullivan claims early lead over Ali Carter in world final

Three-time champion O'Sullivan claims early lead over Carter in world final



16:59 GMT, 6 May 2012

Ronnie O'Sullivan hit a streak of devastating form to surge ahead of Ali Carter in the World Championship final.

A total clearance of 141 in the final frame of the afternoon carried him into a 5-3 lead in their all-Essex tussle at the Crucible, a match O'Sullivan has revealed could be his last before retiring.

The century, O'Sullivan's second of the session, followed his 92 in the previous frame.

Big clash: Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter in early action in the world final

Big clash: Ronnie O'Sullivan and Ali Carter in early action in the world final

That rush of heavy scoring from the
firm title favourite was barely in keeping with the earlier action,
though, because for much of the session the pair were engaged in safety

Carter had got the better of Stephen
Maguire on the back of high-precision snooker and intense focus, the
influence of Peter Ebdon shining through his play.

Ebdon is helping Carter with mental
aspects of the game from behind the scenes in Sheffield, and clearly
their relationship is proving fruitful.

A break of 56 steered O'Sullivan
ahead, after the pair spent almost 12 minutes engaged in a safety battle
before the first red dropped.

Looking good: O''Sullivan at the table in Sheffield

Looking good: O''Sullivan at the table in Sheffield

O'Sullivan's first century, a 117, was triggered by a fine long red and pushed him 2-0 in front.

When the 36-year-old Chigwell man missed from long range in the third frame, Carter punished him with a run to 84.

It was 2-2 after a battle of the
minds in frame four, with every red grouped around a corner pocket.
O'Sullivan had the first real chance but spurned it by potting a red
when attempting to knock in the black, and Carter seized his chance.

They split the next two frames,
before O'Sullivan found the form which carried him to earlier wins over
Peter Ebdon, Mark Williams, Neil Robertson and Matthew Stevens.

Papiss Cisse the new Newcastle hero

Goat, goals and a new Toon hero: Cisse is settling in at Newcastle



22:43 GMT, 1 April 2012

Feed him goat and he will score. But
it is not food that wins a Geordie's heart. As their new No 9 Papiss
Cisse will testify, it is goals.

Seven in seven to be precise.

While one former Newcastle idol
struggled in his first appearance in a red shirt at his former home,
Cisse's dream start to life in Newcastle continues.

He may not speak a word of the
Queen's English. He may have to rely on team-mate Demba Ba to translate
the wise words of his manager.

He's got punch: Papiss Cisse celebrates his first goal in the 2-0 win against Liverpool

He's got punch: Papiss Cisse celebrates his first goal in the 2-0 win against Liverpool

But Cisse is converting the chances that the No 19 and his pal from Senegal was taking earlier in the season.

He is relishing Newcastle and Newcastle is relishing him.

As one of the few January signings to pay off (Andy Carroll and Fernando Torres come to mind), he is pushing Newcastle to their long-awaited and unexpected return to European competition.

Newcastle held an 'African Day' at their training ground on Friday in a bid to continue Cisse's slow integration into other aspects of life at the club.

Red peril: Cisse fires home the second to kill off Liverpool

Red peril: Cisse fires home the second to kill off Liverpool

'We had curried goat and perhaps it fuelled him up,' said Newcastle boss Alan Pardew. 'It was lovely and it probably helped him a little bit.

'His English is not great and he has had only one English lesson since he came, I think, but his overall performance was probably his best for us yet and he gave Jamie Carragher problems all day.'

Cisse's two goals may have been created by the brilliance of Hatem Ben Arfa but still required his clinical expertise in front of goal.

It must have delighted Pardew, who paid Wolfsburg 9million 12 months after reluctantly selling Carroll.

Toon terror: Cisse (center) celebrates his brace as Newcastle push for Europe

Toon terror: Cisse (center) celebrates his brace as Newcastle push for Europe

Money had not been invested as quickly as supporters wanted, but scout Graham Carr has identified players like Cisse, Ba, Yohan Cabaye and Davide Santon for a combined 26m (about 100m less than Liverpool have spent).

The Geordie wearing Liverpool's No 9 shirt actually had a blinding opening nine.

But after he had tumbled, for whatever reason, as he circled Tim Krul, Carroll's head, mouth and impact went.

He had a rant at his former manager, long before he did the same with his current boss.

'I felt for Andy,' said Pardew, who had shook his head sadly at him after the striker had hurled several unpleasant profanities towards the Newcastle dug-out.

Sad end: Carroll trudges off and Pardew (right) said he 'felt sorry' for him

Sad end: Carroll trudges off and Pardew (right) said he 'felt sorry' for him

'Andy needs a game plan that is going to work for him and Liverpool struggle with the players they have.

'When we had him here we were probably more direct than we are now. He was magnificent and he will be again. It is just a question of getting that right.'

Few players influence and guide a team as much as Newcastle's captain Fabricio Coloccini, who could be out for a month.

And after they surrendered at Norwich without him, Pardew must have been worried about Carroll's long-awaited return, particularly when he saw another former Toon favourite, Craig Bellamy, line up against unlikely left back Jonas Gutierrez.

But after a lively opening, both disappeared. And that had as much to do with Newcastle's efficiency as Liverpool's incompetence.

James Perch and Mike Williamson understand the work ethic.

'It is not a surprise with James,' said Pardew. 'He has that professionalism to do the best he can do.'

Work ethic: James Perch (left) caused Liverpool plenty of problems

Work ethic: James Perch (left) caused Liverpool plenty of problems

He could have meant any Newcastle player.

Cheick Tiote put in another 'exactly what it says on the tin' performance and with former Liverpool trainee Danny Guthrie, destroyed the few scraps Steven Gerrard, Jay Spearing and Jonjo Shelvey created.

Cabaye has found his passing range again and Cisse and Ba are relishing the freedom they have to terrorise Premier League defences.

But of all the star performers, Ben Arfa stood out.

Fleet of foot, with an array of passing and tricks that can win matches l ike this, Chris Hughton's 5m signing is another maverick Frenchman who, like David Ginola and Laurent Robert, is adored by Newcastle fans.

Stood out: Ben Arfa (left) produced a solid display

Stood out: Ben Arfa (left) produced a solid display

And he can make his manager despair and delighted in the same game.

Pardew added: 'I am very pleased with him. Players with a special talent sometimes look at you because they want to play, but he wasn't match fit.

'He was not really sure of how we played, where he should and shouldn't be. But he has listened to me and my staff, taken it all on board, and he has been very diligent.

'Nothing would give me more pleasure than to see him make the French squad for the Euros.'

Harry Redknapp says Tottenham cannot lose another game

Redknapp warns Tottenham they cannot afford to lose another game



22:52 GMT, 20 March 2012

Harry Redknapp believes Spurs cannot afford to lose any of their remaining 10 games if they want to secure qualification for next season’s Champions League.

Tottenham are still hanging on to third place but three straight defeats in the Barclays Premier League have left Redknapp’s side just four points above fifth-placed Chelsea.

Emmanuel Adebayor is ‘doubtful’ for Wednesday's clash with Stoke City after picking up a hamstring injury, while winger Aaron Lennon has not yet recovered from a hamstring strain.

Warning: Harry Redknapp (left) said Tottenham cannot afford to lose another game

Warning: Harry Redknapp (left) said Tottenham cannot afford to lose another game

Redknapp said: ‘We need to win. It’s a massive game for us. We can’t afford to lose any games; we’ve got to be ready to play.

‘We have had a run of not good results, but they have not been bad performances.

‘If we don’t win, then things are really getting a bit tight. It has closed up and you have to make sure we try to pick up three points.

‘It will be a very tough game and we need to be ready to play. If we are not, then we will be in trouble with Stoke, that is for sure.'

Meanwhile, Stoke City chairman Peter Coates has reminded Tony Pulis’s players that their season is not over following their FA Cup exit at Anfield.

Out: Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to miss the game through injury

Out: Emmanuel Adebayor is likely to miss the game through injury

He said: 'It is vital for us to have a good end to the season and pick up as many points as we can. If we finish in the top half the financial aspects would be attractive and important to us in terms of our running of the club.

'And we should not under estimate the achievement of finishing in the top 10 if we can especially after such a long season and with such a large workload of fixtures.'


Tottenham (4-4-2): Friedel, Walker, Kaboul, Gallas, Assou-Ekotto; Van der Vaart, Parker, Modric, Bale; Saha, Defoe.

Stoke (4-4-2): Begovic, Wilkinson, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson; Pennant, Whitehead, Whelan, Etherington; Crouch, Walters.

KO: 7.45pm White Hart Lane
TV: Highlights MOTD BBC1 10.45pm
Referee: Mike Jones