Tag Archives: atmosphere

Wilfried Bony West Ham transfer a possibility

West Ham move is a possibility, admits 12m-rated Ivorian striker Bony

By
Andy James

PUBLISHED:

07:05 GMT, 3 April 2013

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UPDATED:

07:05 GMT, 3 April 2013


Prolific: Bony has scored 27 league goals this season

Prolific: Bony has scored 27 league goals this season

West Ham target Wilfried Bony has admitted that a summer move to Upton Park is 'a possibility'.

The 12million-rated Ivory Coast striker has scored 27 goals in just 25 games in the Dutch top flight for Vitesse Arnhem this season.

Bony's goalscoring exploits have attracted admiring glances from across Europe, and he has admitted that a move to the Premier League appeals to him.

‘If I go to England, that would be perfect because of the competition, atmosphere, though Germany and France also appeal,’ he told Metro.

International: Bony has netted six goals in 18 games for Ivory Coast

International: Bony has netted six goals in 18 games for Ivory Coast

When asked about West Ham's well-documented interest, Bony added: ‘I know only by hearsay, nothing is concrete, but [a move there] is certainly a possibility.’

Bony made his name playing for Sparta Prague before moving to Holland in January 2011.

Capital One Cup final 2013: Fabrice Muamba to present trophy to Wembley winners

Guest of honour Muamba will hand Capital One Cup to winners at Wembley, almost a year after he suffered a heart attack

PUBLISHED:

10:08 GMT, 23 February 2013

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UPDATED:

10:08 GMT, 23 February 2013

Fabrice Muamba will present the Capital One Cup to the winning captain in Sunday's Wembley final between Swansea and Bradford.

The retired 24-year-old will be the sponsor's guest of honour for the day and will also watch the game from the Royal Box, as well as being introduced to the squads before the game.

The former England Under-21 international was playing for Bolton in an FA Cup quarter-final against Tottenham last March when he suffered a cardiac arrest and collapsed.

Guest of honour: Fabrice Muamba will be in the Royal Box at Wembley to hand the trophy to the Capital One Cup winners

Guest of honour: Fabrice Muamba will be in the Royal Box at Wembley to hand the trophy to the Capital One Cup winners

The midfielder's heart stopped beating for 78 minutes but because of the prompt treatment he received on the pitch he defied the odds to survive and make an incredible recovery.

Although he hoped to resume his career, he was advised against it by doctors and retired from the sport in August.

Retired: Former Bolton star Muamba was forced to quit football after he suffered a heart attack on the pitch at Whit Hart Lane against Tottenham in the FA Cup last March

Retired: Former Bolton star Muamba was forced to quit football after he suffered a heart attack on the pitch at Whit Hart Lane against Tottenham in the FA Cup last March (below)

Retired: Former Bolton star Muamba was forced to quit football after he suffered a heart attack on the pitch at Whit Hart Lane against Tottenham in the FA Cup last March

Capital One will also be making a
donation to the Hearts and Goals campaign, which is involved with aiming
to raise awareness and give communities across the country access to
defibrillators, as well as CPR and defibrillator training.

Muamba, who is involved with the charity, said: 'It's been such an exciting tournament this year and it will be a great honour to be presenting the trophy to the winners. I know it will be a very special atmosphere on Sunday.'

Didier Drogba arrives in Turkey with Galatasaray

Drogba arrives in Turkey to party atmosphere as ex-Chelsea hitman begins latest chapter with Galatasaray

PUBLISHED:

17:59 GMT, 8 February 2013

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UPDATED:

18:09 GMT, 8 February 2013

Didier Drogba received a warm welcome as he arrived in Istanbul having agreed to join Turkish club Galatasaray in the January transfer window.

Former Inter Milan playmaker Wesley Sneijder received a similarly rapturous welcome when he arrived in the Turkey last month, and Drogba expressed his delight at joining the Dutchman having left Chinese team Shanghai Shenhua.

The Ivory Coast captain's arrival was delayed by his participation in the Africa Cup of Nations.

New chapter: Didier Drogba held up a Galatasaray flag after arriving in Istanbul this afternoon

New chapter: Didier Drogba held up a Galatasaray flag after arriving in Istanbul this afternoon

But the former Chelsea striker's hopes of winning the tournament for the first time were scuppered when Nigeria put the Ivorians out.

Drogba stepped off the plane this afternoon and held up a flag with the club colours and crest printed on it before meeting up with head coach Fatih Terim.

When the 34-year-old arrived at Galatasaray's training base, he told Galatasaray TV: 'I've met with the coach, but it’s not the first time we’ve met. He just remembered me from when Cote d’Ivoire national team played against Turkey.

Warm welcome: Drogba received a similar reception to Wesley Sneijder after he arrived in Turkey last month

Warm welcome: Drogba received a similar reception to Wesley Sneijder after he arrived in Turkey last month

'I’m really happy to be here for me as it’s a new challenge, a new part of my life. I will do my best to be successful for the club.'

Drogba will link up with compatriot Emmanuel Eboue, who joined the Turkish champions from Arsenal in the summer of 2011.

Another former Chelsea striker who took the same path from Stamford Bridge to China has also returned to Europe.

Nicolas Anelka joined Shenhua in January last year, but decided to transfer to Italian giants Juventus, making his move to the Serie A champions last month.

In the mix: Wesley Sneijder has already made the switch from Inter Milan to Galatasaray

In the mix: Wesley Sneijder has already made the switch from Inter Milan to Galatasaray

Paul Lambert thinks Aston Villa can be in Europe in three years

Lambert believes Villa can be challenging for Europe if they follow his three year plan

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 14 December 2012

Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa will be challenging the top six again in two years’ time.

Villa’s boss has echoed the thoughts of managerial colleague Brendan Rodgers by saying that he needs three full seasons to re-build the Birmingham club.

The Scot, whose side are at Liverpool today, has certainly given Villa a huge lift by reaching the semi-finals of the Capital One Cup.

Big plans: Paul Lambert believes Villa can reach Europe in three years

Big plans: Paul Lambert believes Villa can reach Europe in three years

But in the Premier League he has yet to orchestrate a similar upturn. Villa remain outside the relegation zone on goal difference and are the lowest scorers in the competition so far.

And while he sees the green shoots of recovery, he says that just like the Reds’ chief he is working to a three-year plan.

Asked whether that was a realistic turnaround time, Lambert said: ‘Yes, I think so. You have to progress, you can’t stand still. You have to keep going.

‘If you looked at Villa’s fans the other night, then they are desperate for us to move forward.

‘They created some atmosphere the other night. They are hungry for it, I want to do my best, but you can’t do it overnight.’

A sickness bug has swept through Bodymoor Heath this week. Stephen Ireland, Darren Bent and Enda Stevens have all been laid low by the virus.

Lambert confirmed that Bent will miss Villa’s Premier League programme over Christmas.

The England striker has received the results from a scan on his hamstring tear and Villa’s boss confirmed he will be missing for up to a month.

Out: Darren Bent has suffered a hamstring injury that puts him out of action

Out: Darren Bent has suffered a hamstring injury that puts him out of action

Lambert said: ‘He went for a scan on Wednesday and he has got a problem with his hamstring which will keep him out for a few weeks.

‘Is he out of the Christmas games Yes, probably, the way it is looking.

‘I think a few weeks. Maybe four weeks, I’d say, before we see him back.’

Bent will miss the clash at Anfield along with Enda Stevens, Ron Vlaar and Richard Dunne.

Stephen Ireland was also absent from training earlier this week but returned on Thursday and will be fit to travel to Merseyside.

Carl Frampton to fight Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Frampton out to finally nail down rival Martinez at the third time of asking

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UPDATED:

14:33 GMT, 12 December 2012

Hands up: Carl Frampton will bid to beat Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Hands up: Carl Frampton will bid to beat Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9

Carl Frampton will hope to make it third time lucky when he takes on European super-bantamweight champion Kiko Martinez in Belfast on February 9.

The Northern Irishman has twice seen a clash with the Spaniard called off, most recently in September when Frampton instead stopped Canadian Steve Molitor inside six rounds.

The 25-year-old is unbeaten in 15 fights and will also put his Commonwealth title on the line at the Odyssey Arena.

'He's pulled out on me twice so I
have a score to settle with him there,' said Frampton. 'It’'s a great
fight for the fans and one that I have craved for a long time. I had too
much for Steve Molitor and he was a step-up, so I am confident I can
beat Kiko and do so in style.

'Martinez
pulling out in September was a blessing in disguise really as I have
been able to mature and learn even more and on February in front of
another packed crowd at home, I’m looking to make another statement
ahead at the start of a big year.'

Martinez has not fought since July but is now working with middleweight world champion Sergio Martinez's promotional company.

And the 26-year-old intends to silence the home crowd and halt Frampton's planned march towards world honours.

'I
do not read much into Carl beating Molitor as he took the fight at late
notice and that’s his only fight of 2012,' he said. 'I will beat him by
KO – there’s no alternative outcome.

'It
is not my fault that we have not been able to do this fight so far.
There have been many circumstances around that but I know that the
Belfast fans will come out and support Carl as always and it will be an
electric atmosphere.'

Frampton’s
manager Barry McGuigan added: 'We’re pleased this fight is going to
happen. I’ve always said that Kiko is a danger from first bell to last
and I believe it’s a harder fight than Molitor. Styles make fights and
this one is going to be a barn-burner, and the team is confident that
Carl will win, and win in style.'

Meanwhile,
Martin Lindsay will lock horns with Lee Selby on the undercard for the
British and Commonwealth featherweight titles, a fight which was also
originally scheduled for September before Selby fell ill.

Jermain Defoe hails Tottenham attacking talent after Dempsey, Lennon and Adebayor chip in

Defoe hails Tottenham attacking talent after Dempsey, Lennon and Adebayor chip in

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UPDATED:

22:37 GMT, 6 December 2012

Jermain Defoe paid tribute to the architects of the three goals as Tottenham confirmed their place in the last 32 of the Europa League following a 3-1 victory over Panathinaikos at White Hart Lane.

Emmanuel Adebayor put Tottenham ahead just before the half hour, but the Greeks played the better football and deservedly equalised through Zeca just after the re-start.

Options: Clint Dempsey starred and Jermain Defoe paid tribute to Spurs' attackers

Options: Clint Dempsey starred and Jermain Defoe paid tribute to Spurs' attackers

Clint Dempsey – whose header hit the bar
before going in off keeper Orestis Karnezis – and Defoe eased a tense
atmosphere as they secured victory and sent Spurs through.

Aaron Lennon's fine run paved the way for Defoe to chip the goalkeeper.

Defoe has now scored five goals in as many games and he told ITV 4: 'When you play with good players they will always create chances for the forwards to score.'

He added: 'It's been good – not just me and Ade (Emmanuel Adebayor) – I think everyone played their part.

'Hopefully we can keep it going – it was a good victory. Everyone wants to do well in the competition – we want to win it.

'Now we've got an important game at the weekend against Everton, a great side.'

Adebayor added: 'We are through and very happy. We (me and Defoe) are trying to know each better. We have to look forward.'

Tottenham
boss Andre Villas-Boas admitted his side had 'felt a bit of anxiety'
during the second half as the Greeks continued to attack.

However, their recent scoring form gave cause for confidence.

He told ITV4: 'We've been scoring lots of goals. We have goals in ourselves and excellent people assisting and scoring.'

Easy does it: Defoe guides the ball home for the third goal

Easy does it: Defoe guides the ball home for the third goal

The
Portuguese's strong selections have been vindicated by their progress,
and he added: 'If we were sitting 13th or 14th you would have an
argument not to have us take this competition seriously.

'We proved that is the not the case. The motivation we will get from that is tremendous.'

AFC Wimbledon v MK Dons – an inflammable cup tie

Danger! AFC Wimbledon's trip to MK Dons is an inflammable cup tie and could ignite a crazy atmosphere

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UPDATED:

22:47 GMT, 30 November 2012

There is a buzzword going around AFC Wimbledon’s training ground in south-west London and everyone is saying it.

'It’s important that I don’t inflame this,' says Neal Ardley, the man who played more than 300 games for Wimbledon FC and now manages their spiritual successor.

He goes on to promise he will never take a job at Milton Keynes Dons, regardless of the money offered.

Careful: AFC Wimbledon manager Neil Ardley is one of many who don't want to 'inflame' the situation

Careful: AFC Wimbledon manager Neil Ardley is one of many who don't want to 'inflame' the situation

'I don’t want to inflame passions beyond where they already are for Sunday,' adds Erik Samuelson, the AFC chief executive who has been at the club since the day in 2002 when they were formed.

He says he will not shake the hand of Pete Winkelman, the chairman of 'sordid' MK Dons.

'I’ve been told I shouldn’t inflame anything,' explains the club’s commercial director, Ivor Heller, one of AFC’s founder members.

He describes MK Dons as both a ‘boil that needs lancing’ and ‘rotten, rotten, rotten’, and insists he will not spend any money if he can help it at stadiummk.

And there is talk of the secret banner he is preparing to unveil.

‘We have to tone things down in the build-up,’ added Heller. ‘Obviously, I’d like to say what we really think, but I mustn’t inflame things.’

MK Dons v AFC Wimbledon. FA Cup second round. The two sides meet on Sunday for the first time and it promises to be fiery.

Toned down: Ivor Heller says he can't say what he wants to

Toned down: Ivor Heller says he can't say what he wants to

Jack Midson is currently playing for his 14th club, but this one, he says, is ‘special’. When he joined in June 2011, one month after a fifth promotion in nine seasons launched AFC into League Two, he was told to sit down with the other new arrivals and listen to a history lesson.

‘It’s no secret that it is a sticky subject,’ said Midson. ‘This club is unique and we all know it from the start.’

Samuelson elaborates: ‘We do it every pre-season. It’s about making sure they understand where we came from, why we came from there, certain standards of behaviour expected and, if we are ever drawn against Milton Keynes, making sure they speak to us about what to say before talking to the press. We started planning a long time ago for playing them.’

The bare facts of what happened are well known. In September 2003, Winkelman, with the permission of the FA, relocated debt-ridden Wimbledon FC to Milton Keynes.

/11/30/article-2241196-16460E80000005DC-143_634x403.jpg” width=”634″ height=”403″ alt=”No man's land: This little FA Cup replica lies in Morden Library, rather than with either of the clubs” class=”blkBorder” />

No man's land: This little FA Cup replica lies in Morden Library, rather than with either of the clubs

SO, WHY IS IT IN THE LIBRARY

Click here to find out

AFC — ‘A Fans’ Club’ — started in the Combined Counties Premier League, the ninth tier of English football, and picked most of their first ever team from the 230 people who turned up for trials at Wimbledon Common on June 29, 2002.

What has followed has been one of the most heart-warming stories in sport, as the phoenix club, of which 75 per cent is owned by fans, stormed through the divisions with big crowds, reaching the Football League in 2011. Their progress is eerily similar to Wimbledon’s in the Seventies and Eighties.

‘This is a remarkable club,’ said Ardley. ‘We got a train home from Morecambe on Saturday and there were a load of Millwall fans.

‘I had a season there so we got talking. The brilliant part is when you hear Millwall fans saying what a brilliant club they think this is. You’d think they’d hate anyone local to them. We feel like there are a lot of people who want us to do well.’

Wimbledon FC, meanwhile, were renamed as Milton Keynes Dons in 2004. Some call them ‘Franchise FC’, others are less flattering. Samuelson reckons ‘only a handful, maybe 20’ of the Wimbledon FC fans who initially followed their team up the M1 continue to do so.

‘Over the years there has been a visible trickle of people who started there and came back,’ he said.

Snub: Chief executive Erik Samuelson and Co will not use using the MK Dons hospitality

Snub: Chief executive Erik Samuelson and Co will not use using the MK Dons hospitality

Winkelman has laid out his defence this week, claiming the club would have gone bust without his input and, somewhat provocatively, asking why AFC supporters didn’t buy the club when it was in administration.

In return, some AFC fans are expected to attend in radiation suits, claiming MK Dons are contaminated. Others say they won’t buy anything beyond a ticket as they don’t wish to hand over their money; many are boycotting the game altogether.

Ardley, who went to AFC’s first home game against Chipstead in the Combined Counties League in 2002, talks of how members of his coaching staff try to rile him by ‘saying I played 300-odd game for Milton Keynes’.

MK Dons manager Karl Robinson says his staff were told by AFC they couldn’t come to Kings-meadow on scouting missions.

Samuelson, for his part, will join the rest of the board by sitting among the fans and snubbing MK Dons’ hospitality. ‘Over the last nine years a lot of fans of other clubs have not gone to watch Milton Keynes because of what they feel was a wrong. So for us to say, “We’ll pop in, shake hands and have a prawn sandwich” would be a bit disrespectful to them.’

For all the hurt they struggle to conceal, the stated desire to ‘not inflame things’ is genuine.

Protest: Some AFC Wimbledon fans will wear radiation suits like this because MK Dons are 'contaminated'

Protest: Some AFC Wimbledon fans will wear radiation suits like this because MK Dons are 'contaminated'

‘We have reminded the fans how important it is we continue to represent ourselves in the best possible way, how easy it is to lose a reputation,’ said Samuelson. ‘We want to demonstrate to the world we are responsible and will be mature and dignified about this game.’

At some point on Sunday, a game will break out. MK Dons are piping hot favourites, having played some superb football this season under a promising young manager in Robinson. They are third in League One and have not lost in eight games.

‘They are exceptional,’ said Ardley. ‘The football they’ve been playing is the kind of football I’ve been trying to get played since I worked at academy level.’

Ardley is expecting a decent turnout from former Dons. ‘Stewart Castledine and Gareth Ainsworth will be there — maybe a few others, too,’ he said. He hopes on-loan Neil Sullivan will be cleared by Doncaster to play in goal.

His own prospects are not so great. AFC are one place above the League Two relegation zone and most at the club agree that next weekend’s ‘six-pointer’ against Barnet is the big one.

But there is no denying the magnitude of this match. It’s football’s youngest but most legitimate rivalry — and the result will not end the issue.

‘For me, it ends when they drop the Dons from their name,’ said Heller. Samuelson added: ‘There are two views on their continuing to use the name Dons. One is that it is an insult, the other that it is a reminder of their sordid origins.’

The touch paper has been lit.

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0 – match report

Chelsea 0 Manchester City 0: Poisonous welcome for Benitez as Torres draws blank

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UPDATED:

00:45 GMT, 26 November 2012

Dave Sexton, a good man, a fine coach and a servant of Chelsea to the last. Just when the mood at Stamford Bridge threatened to turn thoroughly poisonous, it was only the sad news of his passing at the age of 82 that restored calm.

Normally, a new manager, even an interim, would be paraded on the pitch to greet the supporters before the game. No doubt predicting jeers, there was no such ceremony for Rafael Benitez.

His appointment has been greeted with hostility around these parts and, while Benitez stayed in the safety of the bench area, the pre-match announcer cannot have whipped with greater speed through his name.

Unpopular: Rafa Benitez was taking charge of Chelsea for the first time since Roberto Di Matteo's sacking

Unpopular: Rafa Benitez was taking charge of Chelsea for the first time since Roberto Di Matteo's sacking

Unpopular: Benitez was taking charge of Chelsea for the first time following Roberto Di Matteo's sacking

MATCH FACTS

CHELSEA: Cech, Azpilicueta, Ivanovic, Luiz, Cole,
Ramires, Mikel (Romeu 79), Oscar, Mata, Hazard (Moses 71), Torres. Subs
Not Used: Turnbull, Ferreira, Marin, Cahill, Bertrand.

MAN CITY: Hart, Zabaleta, Nastasic, Kompany,
Kolarov, Silva, Toure, Barry, Dzeko (Tevez 69), Aguero (Balotelli 86),
Milner. Subs Not Used: Pantilimon, Maicon, Nasri, Javi Garcia, Toure.

Booked: Zabaleta, Kolarov, Balotelli.

Attendance: 41,792

Referee: Chris Foy (Merseyside).

This was the first match of new manager ‘Rafabenitez’, he garbled, without a pause in which fans could voice their opinion. They did so anyway, boos replacing the traditional fanfare.

'Ladies and gentlemen,’ said the announcer, struggling to be heard. ‘Please, ladies and gentlemen.’ He asked for quiet maybe five times before hurrying out the news of Sexton’s death, with the minute of applause to follow. He sounded desperate.

How long the opprobrium would have lasted had there not been a handy tragedy to restore order, who knows Even the sombre atmosphere did not stem the chants for deposed manager Roberto Di Matteo or prevent a show of support for him on 16 minutes, his shirt number here.

Frustrations: Fernando Torres endured another difficult day, with Vincent Kompany looking after him

Frustrations: Fernando Torres endured another difficult day, with Vincent Kompany looking after him

Frustrations: Fernando Torres endured another difficult day, with Vincent Kompany looking after him
TORRES WATCH

BODY LANGUAGE
Torres had been all smiles during the warm-up and was quickly looking for possession. However, following a couple of poor early touches, that confidence quickly drained and never looked like it would come back today.

Torres' afternoon was summed up by the expression when picking himself off the floor after being barged out of possession by City captain Vincent Kompany in the closing stages.

MOVEMENT
The Chelsea frontman covered plenty of ground, but often ran into spaces where the ball did not follow. When he did get a pass into feet at the edge of the City penalty area, Torres was slow to turn and soon hounded out.

LINK-UP
Far too often, Chelsea looked to hit Torres with a long ball, bypassing midfield. When Juan Mata or Eden Hazard did get involved, they were more often than not on a different wavelength to the No 9, who spent most of the second half working the channels.

FINISHING
Torres was given little opportunity in front of goal in the first half, as Kompany kept him in close quarters. Just after the hour, he linked up well with Mata and Hazard for an opening, but blazed his shot over the crossbar.

Benitez has a thick skin, say those
who know him. He will need it. Whether his players have thick skins too
is debatable, but they will need to be equally resilient unless results
improve.

A dry spell tolerated when local hero — and Champions League winner, never forget — Di Matteo was in charge will now be met with fury under Benitez. The pressure at Chelsea has multiplied overnight with his arrival. Yesterday’s goalless draw with the champions was a fair result, but greeted with disinterest.

Roberto Mancini said the only way Benitez could be loved here would be to ‘win, win, win, win, win’, but that might not be enough, either. The best he can hope for is a grudging respect.

Booing a manager into a job does seem faintly ridiculous. It happened to Gary Megson at Bolton Wanderers, too. Yet the club were bottom of the Premier League when he arrived and finished 16th that season and 13th the year after. The supporters never took to him and he left during his third campaign amid another relegation battle, but he did a better job than expected; Benitez might, too.

His problem is that the very nature of his appointment — interim manager — marks him out as a stop-gap, a temp. The fans have no imperative to learn to love him and nor do the team. A player who does not enjoy Benitez’s methods can simply wait him out and hope he has a better relationship with his successor.

Trickster: The likes of Oscar and Juan Mata struggled to impress their new manager

Trickster: The likes of Oscar and Juan Mata struggled to impress their new manager

Trickster: The likes of Oscar and Juan Mata struggled to impress their new manager

A clean sheet, the first in the league since September 22, was the best of it for Benitez against a Manchester City side that tried Sergio Aguero, Edin Dzeko,

Carlos Tevez and even Mario Balotelli for six minutes (during which time he picked up another preposterous yellow card from referee Chris Foy for simulation after running into David Luiz).

The disappointment was that Chelsea had just one shot on goal in a home game. It is the first time they have failed to score here since May 2, against Newcastle United. The time before was March 24. Chelsea do not draw blanks here very often.

Try as he might: Benitez was animated throughout on the touchline, but couldn't inspire

Try as he might: Benitez was animated throughout on the touchline, but couldn't inspire

If Benitez has been hired to work magic on Fernando Torres, it was more like pulling teeth than producing a rabbit from a hat. Liverpool failed to score in his last two games there, too.

Torres hurried, scurried, but was too often beaten off the ball by City’s back line, with Vincent Kompany outstanding. Torres had a couple of bursts but was quickly reined in, and one shot with his unfavoured left foot that flew over from close range. He should have done better. You might have heard that before.

For City, this was two points lost. Chelsea are a very different side to the one that lost to Manchester United with Mark Clattenburg’s aid on October 28. Chelsea looked strong that day. Yesterday, they were damaged goods.

Rough and ready: Chelsea's defence were well-drilled, keeping City's attacking talent at bay

Rough and ready: Chelsea's defence were well-drilled, keeping City's attacking talent at bay

The fluid players expensively
assembled over two summers — Oscar, Eden Hazard, Juan Mata — now appear
unsure of their roles. Mata was played very wide to better supply Torres
(left), but only shone in the second half when he appeared to drift off
message. Hazard was substituted early, a shadow of his early-season
self.

His replacement, Victor Moses, set up
Chelsea’s best chance, a fierce shot from Ashley Cole that Joe Hart
tipped over, although he got no credit from Foy, who awarded a goal
kick. On the plus side, Benitez seems to have instilled greater
discipline in Luiz but it would be hard to instil less. Luiz recovered
from an early mistake — Cole rescued him by blocking a shot from Pablo
Zabaleta — to come on to a decent game.

City dominated the first half and
created good chances for David Silva (header, over), Zabaleta (one-two
with Dzeko, shot saved) and Aguero (poor header, straight at Petr Cech)
before half-time, after which Chelsea showed greater initiative.

Rough and ready: Chelsea's defence were well-drilled, keeping City's attacking talent at bay

Only late did City come again, a Dzeko cross intercepted by Cole by the line, one from Tevez that appeared to surprise Cech as he tipped round. In the last minute, Matija Nastasic rose to meet a corner from Silva, Cech doing well to keep out his header.

Benitez shrugged off his reception by claiming he did not understand some of the chants. He would have to be a fool, though — and he is not — to fail to get the gist. Wednesday brings Fulham to Stamford Bridge and, if Chelsea cannot win, not even the late, gentle Sexton will be able to shield him from the full force of public opinion.

Chelsea

VIDEO: GRAHAM CHADWICK'S PICTURES FROM CHELSEA V MANCHESTER CITY

Premier League referees: Graham Poll verdict for November 17 and 18

Sportsmail's expert guide to the refs in charge for this weekend's big games

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UPDATED:

13:31 GMT, 16 November 2012

Howard Webb once again takes centre stage this weekend, charged with looking after the north London derby in Saturday's early kick-off.

Webb's achievements on the world stage have given him supreme confidence in environments such as this, and it was interesting to see him maintain a perfect demeanour throughout Chelsea v Liverpool last week.

His calmness seems to transmit itself through to the players who accept his decisions even when they are debatable.

Hot seat: Howard Webb (left) takes charge of the weekend's biggest fixture

Hot seat: Howard Webb (left) takes charge of the weekend's biggest fixture

The season so far….

All the latest referee stats and facts in the Premier League

Pierluigi Collina, who is clearly
influencing Webb’s style, always said you would be considered a very
good referee when the players accepted your decisions even in the event
you were wrong.

Webb has certainly achieved that status now and deserves the big appointments on a regular basis.

Arsenal v Tottenham – Webb (G 7, YC 30, RC 1)

I refereed the first north London derby at Emirates Stadium, following the the Gunners' move from Highbury – a game they won 3-0 – and it was a superb atmosphere.

The bad blood and acrimony this fixture used to have in droves has all but disappeared on the field, with less and less local lads in either of the squads.

However, there is always plenty of hostility between rival fans, and referees are well aware how this can affect players attitudes. Webb will be looking to quieten the game down.

Also, it will be interesting to see how attentive he is at set pieces after missing Luis Suarez push before the Liverpool striker equalised at Stamford Bridge last weekend.

Webb has refereed both teams in away wins this season; Arsenal 2-0 at Anfield and Spurs 3-1 at Reading.

Tense atmosphere: The North London derby is always a stunning spectacle

Tense atmosphere: The North London derby is always a stunning spectacle

QPR v Southampton – Mike Dean (G 8, YC 27, RC 1)

It's very early in the season for a game to be 'must win', but the clash of the bottom two teams is just that. Dean will be well aware of the desperation for both sides to win.

This affects attitudes as tempers are lost quicker and Rangers, as has happened all too often, end up playing with 10 men.

Dean was having a quiet season in disciplinary terms but his eight cautions and the dismissal of Jack Wilshere in the Manchester United v Arsenal game a fortnight ago has pushed his average up to over three a game.

This is Dean’s first game with Rangers since their last day defeat at Manchester City, but he has refereed Southampton in their 2-3 defeat against Manchester United.

Big decisions: Anthony Taylor

Big decisions: Anthony Taylor

Norwich v Man United – Anthony Taylor G8, YC 14, RC 3

Manchester based referee Taylor is enjoying an excellent season and returns to Premier League action after a live Championship game between Leicester City and Nottingham Forest last weekend.

I thought he performed well, though he was lambasted by Foxes boss Nigel Pearson for a penalty decision which got Forest back into the game.

He is happy making big decisions as his three red cards show. Importantly, all have been correct.

Taylor refereed Norwich’s defeat at Stamford Bridge and United’s Capital One Cup win at Old Trafford against Newcastle.

Fixtures elsewhere…

Reading v Everton – Martin Atkinson G9, YC35, RC1

West Bromwich Albion v Chelsea – Michael Oliver G6, YC13, RC1

Manchester City v Aston Villa – Jon Moss G5, YC21, RC1

Newcastle United v Swansea City – Phil Dowd G6, YC18, RC2

Liverpool v Wigan Athletic – Kevin Friend G6, YC22, RC1

Fulham v Sunderland – Lee Probert G6, YC19, RC0

West Ham United v Stoke City – Chris Foy G8, YC14, RC0

Chris Kirkland says his family seeing attack was horrible

It's horrible to think my family saw fan attack, says Kirkland after yob assault

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UPDATED:

21:30 GMT, 20 October 2012

Chris Kirkland has spoken of his ‘shock’ at being assaulted when a fan ran on to the pitch as Sheffield Wednesday drew 1-1 with Leeds on Friday.

The Football Association launched an immediate investigation and have already spoken to both clubs to seek information. They will receive the referee’s report in the game imminently.

Police have identified the assailant, whose brutal attack came just after Leeds had equalised in a Championship game broadcast live on television.

Scroll down for video

Disgrace: The fan attacked Chris Kirkland

Disgrace: The fan caught Sheffield Wednesday keeper Chris Kirkland flush in the face with a sickening assault

Disgrace: The fan attacked Chris Kirkland

Disgrace: The fan attacked Chris Kirkland

VIDEO: Chris Kirkland is punched in the face by a fan…

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Kirkland said: ‘I was gutted with
conceding and had my head down after I kicked the ball down the field so
we could restart the game.

‘At first I was staring at the ground but when I looked up, I caught a glimpse of someone coming towards me on the pitch.

‘I thought he was going to give me some abuse but then suddenly he came at me with both hands and I was stunned.

‘I felt the full force and I was just shocked because you never know what could have been in his hands.’

The ramifications could be
wide-ranging and the immediate fall-out has been as acrimonious as a
poisonous atmosphere in the stadium, where rival supporters traded
tasteless chants.

Vicious: The fan savagely accosted Kirkland

Vicious: The fan grimaces as he goes in to attack Kirkland

Vicious: The fan savagely accosted Kirkland
Twitter reaction

Rio Ferdinand ‏(@rioferdy5)
Wow, watching the Sheff Weds vs Leeds game….that fan is a disgrace. Shocking. Been a good game too.

Gary O'Neil (‏@Gazoneil)
Wow what have I just seen on my tv! Absolute disgrace. #leedsfan

Kyle Walker (‏@kyle28walker)
The fan could have had anything on him great goal ruined but a silly man. These things should happen anymore

Phil Neville (@fizzer18)
Can't believe what I've just seen in the Sheffield wed vs Leeds game!

Matt Taylor (@Official_MattT)
Absolute disgrace what that Leeds fan did tonight. I could not believe my eyes. Kirkland did well not to retaliate #noplaceforthatinfootball

Wednesday manager Dave Jones has
called for Leeds fans to be banned from away games. There were 5,000 at
Hillsborough and Jones — himself a subject of taunts — said those
chanting were ‘vile animals’.Leeds manager Neil Warnock has condemned
the ‘moron’ fan and called for him to be jailed. But he also sent his
players to applaud the travelling fans after the game, an act that
enraged Jones.

Jones said: ‘I really am fuming he
sent his players to clap them. For what Wrecking a stadium Beating up
my goalkeeper They need to clean their house and get it in order. And
they should be banned from every away ground until they sort it out.’

Kirkland required medical treatment on
the pitch but was able to complete the match. ‘I was sore and really
shocked at what happened,’ he added. ‘My mind then turned to the
possibility of winning the game because we had played ever so well and
there were still 15 minutes to go. The rest of the game flew by and
then, after the final whistle, the adrenalin goes and you reflect on
something like that. It was scary.

Pain: Kirkland holds his face after the incident

Pain: Kirkland holds his face after the incident

‘I thought of my family watching something like that and it was not a nice feeling to think my daughter saw me assaulted.

‘I want the authorities to look at
what happened and take the appropriate action because, sooner or later,
we could be talking about something even more serious.’

The hooligan was not named by police
but was widely identified within minutes of the incident as 21-year-old
Aaron Cawley, who is already the subject of a football banning order and
therefore not allowed to enter any football ground in England. The FA
condemned the assault as ‘deplorable’ and urged the relevant authorities
to act now to enforce the legal banning order through the courts.

Treatment: Leeds fans chant and jeer while Kirkland lies injured

Treatment: Leeds fans chant and jeer while Kirkland lies injured

Detective Inspector Mark Monteiro, of
South Yorkshire Police, said: ‘With the public’s assistance we have
clearly identified the offender who ran on to the pitch and who is
suspected of assaulting the Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper.

‘We are also using CCTV footage from
around the ground to identify suspects who may have been responsible for
other offences before, during or after the match.’

Leeds said in a statement: ‘Leeds
United would like to publicly apologise and condemn the action of the
fan who came on to the pitch and attacked Sheffield Wednesday goalkeeper
Chris Kirkland.

Ripped down: A sign is torn from its berth at Hillsborough

Ripped down: A sign is torn from its berth at Hillsborough