Tag Archives: boxing

Alex Ferguson charged by FA over rant at Tottenham linesman

Fergie CHARGED by FA over blast at 'shocking' linesman who was 'never going to give United a decision'

By
John Drayton

PUBLISHED:

17:09 GMT, 29 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:42 GMT, 29 January 2013

Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged by the FA over his rant at the linesman during their draw at Tottenham this month.

The Manchester United boss could now be fined for misconduct after attempting to explain his comments.

Ferguson was furious that referee's
assistant Simon Beck did not flag for a penalty when Wayne Rooney was
challenged by Steven Caulker.

Fuming: Ferguson was furious with Beck for missing Caulker's trip on Rooney

Fuming: Ferguson was furious with Beck for missing Caulker's trip on Rooney

Fuming: Ferguson was furious with Beck for missing Caulker's trip on Rooney


Hot water: The United boss has been summoned before the FA

Hot water: The United boss has been summoned before the FA

By
claiming that United 'were never going to get a decision' from Beck and
'he gave them everything else', the FA believe that Ferguson may be
guilty of questioning his integrity.

An FA statement read: ‘The FA has
today charged Sir Alex Ferguson in relation to post-match media comments
made following Manchester United’s game at Tottenham Hotspur on Sunday
20 January 2013.

‘It is alleged the Manchester United
manager breached FA Rule E3 in that he implied that the match official
was motivated by bias.

‘Ferguson has until 4pm on Friday 1 February 2013 to respond to the charge.’

Earlier
this month Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini escaped punishment
when asked to explain a comment that referee Kevin Friend 'ate too much'
before the Boxing Day defeat at Sunderland.

On the same day, Ferguson angrily
confronted referee Mike Dean at half-time of United's game with
Newcastle but the FA took no action.

However, their legal team decided to
take the matter further on Monday after analysing his remarks following
the 1-1 draw at White Hart Lane.

'The stand-side linesman never gave us a thing all day,' said Ferguson.

'I think he had a shocking game. I'm
disappointed in his performance, I really am. We've got that history
with him. He never gave offside with (Didier) Drogba at Old Trafford
when he was three yards offside. Everyone remembers that. I certainly
do.'

The decision not to award what
Ferguson described as 'a clear penalty' proved costly for United when
Clint Dempsey struck in injury time to cancel out Robin van Persie's
first-half header.

Late twist: Ferguson was even more unhappy after Clint Dempsey (left) scored Tottenham's late leveller

Late twist: Ferguson was even more unhappy after Clint Dempsey (left) scored Tottenham's late leveller

United defender Rio Ferdinand backed
his manager saying: 'It was a 100 per cent penalty. I cannot believe he
didn't give it. The linesman didn't really help us on the near touchline
at all.

'He maybe wasn't going to put his flag up, but I'm disappointed that the referee didn't give what was a stonewall penalty.'

Ferguson has been banned from the
touchline on five occasions in the past, most recently in 2011 when he
was found guilty of questioning the integrity of referee Martin
Atkinson.

Ricky Hatton in Let"s Dance For Comic Relief

Former world champion Hatton to pull on dancing shoes for Comic Relief

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

00:01 GMT, 27 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

00:03 GMT, 27 January 2013

Ricky Hatton will swap the boxing ring for the dance floor when he takes part in Let's Dance For Comic Relief.

Fifteen contestants will battle it out in weekly heats before the 2013 champion is crowned in the grand final.

Former world champion Hatton retired for a second time after losing his comeback bout to Vyacheslav Senchenko last November.

Change of scenery: Boxer Ricky Hatton will dance for Comic Relief

Change of scenery: Boxer Ricky Hatton will dance for Comic Relief

He will be joined on the show by impersonator John Culshaw, ventriloquist Nina Conti and stand-up comic Tim Vine.

They will be attempting to emulate the success of television presenter Rowland Rivron, who wowed audiences with his routine to Fatboy Slim's Weapon Of Choice last year.

Host Steve Jones said: 'It's still the most fun I have on TV so I am ecstatic Let's Dance is back with a whole host of famous faces along with famous arms, legs, necks and fingers all attempting to dance for our viewing pleasure.'

Over and out: Hatton was beaten by Vyacheslav Senchenko on his comeback

Over and out: Hatton was beaten by Vyacheslav Senchenko on his comeback

Co-host Alex Jones said she was 'ridiculously excited' about the series, which raises money for the Comic Relief fund to help those in Africa and in the UK.

She added: 'We have some of our best comedians as panellists, and an unbelievable line-up of brave celebrities who are all prepared to don their dancing shoes to raise lots of money for this year's Red Nose Day.'

Judges for this year's Let's Dance, which starts on February 16 and ends on March 9, include Frank Skinner and Jo Brand. Viewers vote for their favourite performer each week, with the judges also choosing a runner-up to compete in the final.

Arsenal 5 West Ham 1: match report

Arsenal 5 West Ham 1: Giroud at the double as Wenger's side put Hammers to the sword

PUBLISHED:

21:47 GMT, 23 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

22:15 GMT, 23 January 2013

Arsenal kickstarted their Barclays Premier League campaign as they blew West Ham away with four goals in the space of 10 minutes at the start of the second half to run out 5-1 winners at Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners had slumped to successive defeats against Manchester City and Chelsea to leave them facing an uphill battle to regain a place in the top four.

Manager Arsene Wenger knew there was no more margin for error and despite falling behind in tonight's rearranged Boxing Day fixture to a fine strike from Jack Collison, his side found their form, equalising through Lukas Podolski's 25-yard screamer.

Brace yourself: Olivier Giroud scored two goals in ten minutes as Arsenal ran riot at the Emirates on Wednesday

Brace yourself: Olivier Giroud scored two goals in ten minutes as Arsenal ran riot at the Emirates

MATCH FACTS

Arsenal: Szczesny, Sagna, Mertesacker, Vermaelen (Koscielny 57), Gibbs, Ramsey, Wilshere, Cazorla, Walcott, Giroud (Oxlade-Chamberlain 73), Podolski (Andre Santos 70).

Subs Not Used: Mannone, Arshavin, Jenkinson, Frimpong.

Goals: Podolski 22, Giroud 47, Cazorla 53, Walcott 54, Giroud 57.

West Ham: Jaaskelainen, Demel, Tomkins, Reid (Diarra 62), O'Brien, Noble, Nolan, Collison (Potts 62), Taylor, Carlton Cole, Vaz Te (Diame 70).

Subs Not Used: Henderson, Jarvis, Joe Cole, O'Neil.

Booked: Vaz Te.

Goals: Collison 18.

Attendance: 60,081

Referee: Andre Marriner (W Midlands).

Olivier Giroud scored his first goal
in six games to put the hosts in front just after the restart, before
German forward Podolski tore the Irons apart, charging down the left to
set up Santi Cazorla, Theo Walcott and Giroud again as Arsenal romped
out of sight before the hour.

West Ham had to play the closing
stages with 10 men after what looked a serious injury to substitute
Daniel Potts, who was carried off on a stretcher following a clash of
heads.

The Gunners now head to Brighton on
Saturday looking to keep alive their FA Cup hopes, before next week's
visit of Liverpool will again put the character of Wenger's squad to the
test if they are to close back within striking distance of Champions
League qualification again.

Arsenal signalled their intent early
on as Walcott made a darting run inside West Ham full-back Joey O'Brien,
but his low centre through the six-yard box was behind the onrushing
Giroud.

Jack Wilshere needed treatment after he was caught on the ankle by West Ham midfielder Collison. The England man, who has just returned to full fitness this season after more than a year out, was soon able to continue.

Unconscious: There were 12 minutes of injury time at the Emirates after a collision involving Danny Potts

Unconscious: There were 12 minutes of injury time at the Emirates after a collision involving Danny Potts

Danny Potts

On 15 minutes, Walcott was almost
away again down the right, but Winston Reid did just enough to get
across as the England forward shot into the side netting.

At the other end, Matthew Taylor's 20-yard effort was deflected up and on to the roof of the net by Thomas Vermaelen.

Arsenal failed to clear their lines,
and from a second corner on 18 minutes, the ball was headed out to the
edge of the penalty area. Collison took one touch to set himself before
firing a superb strike through a crowd of players and into the bottom
corner.

On target: Santi Cazorla popped up with the third goal for Arsenal after 53 minutes

On target: Santi Cazorla popped up with the third goal for Arsenal after 53 minutes

Arsenal produced the perfect response
to level within four minutes. The ball was fed out from Wilshere to
Podolski on the left, some 25 yards from goal. The German promptly
stepped inside before unleashing a blistering low, left-foot strike into
the far corner.

Arsenal soon settled back into their
trademark passing rhythm. A quick one-two down the left through Giroud
and Kieran Gibbs played Podolski in on goal, but his snapshot was hacked
clear by O'Brien.

All smiles: Lukas Podolski equalised for the Gunners after 22 minutes at the Emirates Stadium

All smiles: Lukas Podolski equalised for the Gunners after 22 minutes at the Emirates Stadium

West Ham, though, were in again as
half-time approached when a long ball split the defence and fell to
Cole, whose chip was only part-blocked by Arsenal goalkeeper Wojciech
Szczesny and Aaron Ramsey had to scramble back to boot the ball off the
line.

In stoppage-time, Cazorla's curled
free-kick was heading to the top corner before Irons keeper Jussi
Jaaskelainen clawed it away. Arsenal were ahead just after the restart.

The Irons had been pressed back by a
series of sweeping attacks. Walcott clipped a corner towards the near
post, where Giroud arrived to drill it back past Jaaskelainen for his
first goal since a late double in the 7-3 win over Newcastle on December
29.

Before West Ham could mount a
comeback, it was 3-1 on 53 minutes. Walcott got away down the right,
before the ball was recycled back to the other flank, where Podolski
played a one-two with Giroud before squaring for Cazorla, who rolled in a
clever backheel.

Arsenal were flying and immediately
chalked up a fourth on the break inside 60 seconds. Podolski was set
away down the left, charging clear of a stretched West Ham defence
before clipping a perfectly-weighted pass across into the path of
Walcott, who smashed home first time at the far post.

Arsenal, however, were not finished
as Giroud added a fifth on 57 minutes, with Podolski again the provider
following another surging run down the left.

After all the high drama, the tempo
of the match dropped as fast as the temperature. There was a lengthy
stoppage with 18 minutes left as substitute Potts needed treatment after
a clash of heads, eventually taken off on a stretcher, covered with an
emergency blanket in a neck brace and receiving gas. As all had been
changes used, West Ham had to continue with 10 men – through some 12
minutes of stoppage time.

Sean O"Driscoll is the frontrunner for the Blackpool job

EXCLUSIVE: O'Driscoll the shock name for Blackpool job

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

21:31 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:33 GMT, 11 January 2013

Sean O’Driscoll has emerged as a shock frontrunner for the Blackpool job and could be confirmed as Michael Appleton’s successor in the next 24 hours.

After agreeing a compensation package with Blackburn for the loss of Appleton, who watched his new team from the stands against Wolves at Molineux, Blackpool were expected to move for Bradford boss Phil Parkinson.

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

Heir apparent: Sean O'Driscoll is being lined up for the Blackpool job. He was sacked from Nottingham Forest on Boxing Day after beating Leeds 4-2

But Sportsmail understands they have turned their attention to former Nottingham Forest manager O’Driscoll and are close to striking an agreement to install him as their new manager.

After being controversially sacked by Forest, despite taking them to the fringes of the play-off places, O’Driscoll turned down an approach from Barnsley, after speaking to Oakwell officials but deciding the job was not for him.

Taking the reins at Blackpool is viewed as a different proposition, though, and he looks to be on the verge of a swift return to Championship management, with Parkinson waiting in the wings, should the deal hit a last-minute hitch.

Enlarge

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn - he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Quick exit: Michael Appleton (pictured) has left to join Blackburn – he was only in charge at Bloomfield Road for just two months

Dereck Chisora applying for new boxing licence

Chisora applying for new British boxing licence and hopes to be back in the ring this year

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

17:07 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

17:33 GMT, 11 January 2013

Dereck Chisora is re-applying for his British boxing licence after it was revoked following his disgraceful brawl with David Haye in Hamburg last February.

The London heavyweight settled his differences with Haye at Upton Park in July when he was stopped in the fifth round of an entertaining grudge match.

That controversial fight took place under the auspices of the Luxembourg Boxing Federation but Chisora, 29, will now make his case to the British Boxing Board of Control (BBBoC).

Flashpoint: Chisora and Haye came to blows in Munich last year

Flashpoint: Chisora and Haye came to blows in Munich last year

If successful, he plans to make his return on the undercard of George Groves' clash with Mohamed Ali Ndiaye for the vacant European super-middleweight title. World champions Nathan Cleverly and Ricky Burns will also be in action on the same night.

Sportsmail understands that the BBBoC are yet to receive Chisora’s application and therefore cannot predict when a decision will be reached.

But after stripping him of his licence in March, the Board’s general secretary Robert Smith said: ‘There has been no set period when (Chisora) can re-apply for his licence.

'He no longer is a licence-holder with the British boxing board. Any person is allowed to re-apply at some point. Obviously the board will consider any application.

Down and out: Chisora lost the subsequent bout with Haye at Upton Park

Down and out: Chisora lost the subsequent bout with Haye at Upton Park

'What happens in the future, I do not know. But what we're obviously talking about is a few years.'

Prior to his bust-up with Haye, Chirosa slapped Vitali Klitschko at the weigh-in for their WBC world heavyweight title clash before spitting in Wladimir Klitschko’s face prior to the first bell.

It was at the post-fight press conference that he brawled with Haye, having lost to Vitali by unanimous decision.

Inside the ring, Chisora has lost his last three fights including a hotly-debated split-decision defeat to European champion Robert Helenius in Finland. He also surrendered his British and Commonwealth titles to Tyson Fury at Wembley Arena in 2011.

Should he be granted his licence, Chisora could target an all-British clash with David Price who faces American Tony Thompson in Liverpool on February 23.

Previous: Chisora slapped Vitali at the weigh-in before their fight in Munich

Previous: Chisora slapped Vitali at the weigh-in before their fight in Munich

Kieran Farrell forced to retire due brain damage following defeat to brain damage

Heartbroken Farrell forced to retire from boxing after suffering brain damage in title bout

By
Martin Domin

PUBLISHED:

23:53 GMT, 8 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:04 GMT, 9 January 2013

Kieran Farrell has been forced to retire from boxing after suffering brain damage during his English title defeat to Anthony Crolla in December.

The 22-year-old lightweight was rushed to hospital having collapsed after the final bell and was later found to have bleeding on the brain.

Farrell, who had won his previous 14 fights, was told by his doctor on Tuesday that returning to the ring could be fatal.

Fears: Farrell receives medical attention on a stretcher as he collapsed after the fight, he was later taken to hospital

Fears: Farrell receives medical attention on a stretcher as he collapsed after the fight, he was later taken to hospital

'I will never box again,' he confirmed on Twitter. 'The next punch to my head could be fatal & the BBBofC wouldn't licence me.

'I asked if I had a 4-year-long break would I be able to box He [his doctor] told me I have long term brain damage, once it's damaged it won't mend.

'I was expecting the worst but it's worse when it's told to you, I'm heartbroken. I need a few days to get my head round it.'

End of the road: Kieran Farrell takes a punch from Anthony Crolla in a fight that was his first professional defeat

End of the road: Kieran Farrell takes a punch from Anthony Crolla in a fight that was his first professional defeat

Toe to toe: Farrell and Crolla exchange blows

Toe to toe: Farrell and Crolla exchange blows

Farrell's promoter Dave Coldwell tweeted 'Can't really express how upset i feel right now. Boxing has been his life & we'll be there for him to help keep him involved.

'He put a brave face on things when we spoke earlier but there's going to be so much down times for him, he knows that but he also knows he's not on his own.'

Coldwell also revealed he plans to host a benefit dinner in April for the former Central Area champion.

Wayne Rooney injury latest: Manchester United striker to miss Liverpool

Rooney out for two more weeks and will miss Liverpool clash

By
Chris Wheeler

PUBLISHED:

09:59 GMT, 4 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

10:14 GMT, 4 January 2013

Blow: Rooney is set to be out for another two weeks after a training ground injury

Blow: Rooney is set to be out for another two weeks after a training ground injury

Wayne Rooney is set for two more weeks on the sidelines and will miss Manchester United's clash with Liverpool on January 13.

The England striker missed his team's 4-3 Boxing Day win over Newcastle, after he tore a ligament in the back of his knee on the training ground on Christmas Day, before sitting out United's next two festive-period fixtures against West Brom and Wigan.

The 27-year-old will now miss the Old Trafford battle with arch-rivals Liverpool as well as the FA Cup third-round tie with West Ham this weekend.

Ferguson said at a press conference on Friday: ‘Wayne Rooney is still injured. It’s a bit of a surprise because it’s longer than we thought. We expected him to be back in training but he’s not.

‘It’s nothing serious but it looks as though he’s going to be out for another two weeks or so. He won’t be set for Liverpool.

‘It’s nothing serious, he just got clipped behind his knee. We sent him for a scan and nothing really showed but he’s still feeling it.

‘So hopefully two weeks will sort it but nonetheless it’s a loss. Although we’re in great form you always want your best players available for games that are coming up.

‘We’ve got West Ham tomorrow, Liverpool next week and then Tottenham the week after that. And the FA Cup again hopefully after that.'

Out: Rooney will miss United's match against Liverpool on January 13

Out: Rooney will miss United's match against Liverpool on January 13

He added: ‘It’s a tough period and you always want your best squad available.

‘He’s not had a full season anyway so it’s not as though we can’t cope without him.’

Rooney is also struggling to be fit to face Tottenham on January 20 at White Hart Lane.

The former Everton man has scored
seven goals this season and played second fiddle to new-signing and
Premier League top-scorer Robin van Persie.

United are currently seven points clear of city rivals and defending champions Manchester City in the Premier League title race.

January transfer window is open for business: Who will your club buy?

Open for business! As football's manic month begins, Sportsmail looks at the possible movers and shakers in January

|

UPDATED:

08:46 GMT, 1 January 2013

While the January sales may have started on Boxing Day on high streets up and down the country, football clubs have had to wait patiently until the first of the month to begin their spending spree.

But finally the 31-day transfer window is officially open for business and clubs all over the country look set to ‘splash the cash’, ‘open their chequebooks’ and ‘break open their war chests’ (as well as other outdated methods of payment) in a bid to challenge for the Premier League, grab a European spot or avoid relegation.

The names most likely to attract the most interest are Arsenal’s hat-trick hero from the weekend, Theo Walcott who is out of contract in the summer, just like Chelsea’s match-winner from Sunday’s game against Everton, Frank Lampard.

Scroll down for our comprehensive club-by-club guide to the window

Will he stay or will he go Theo Walcott could leave Arsenal this month

Will he stay or will he go Theo Walcott could leave Arsenal this month

Franks for the memories: Chelsea are prepared to let Lampard leave at the end of his contract and he could leave this month

Franks for the memories: Chelsea are prepared to let Lampard leave at the end of his contract and he could leave this month

Liverpool have long been admirers of Walcott while a move abroad looks to be the most likely option for Lampard, unless of course he fancies helping his uncle Harry (Redknapp) out down the road at QPR.

One transfer that should be concluded early on, is Daniel Sturridge’s move from Chelsea to Liverpool after Rafa Benitez revealed the striker had a medical on Merseyside last weekend.

Where will he go Demba Ba can leave Newcastle for 7m this month

Where will he go Demba Ba can leave Newcastle for 7m this month

Demba Ba’s imminent departure from
Newcastle looked to be one of the most straight forward moves of the
window when it was revealed that his advisors were in talks with Chelsea
on Sunday. Those talks broke down, however, and now it seems those people charged with helping him look
like making the Senegal striker’s move anything but straight forward.

The Football League has been the breeding ground for many Premier League stars in the past, and clubs could look to boost their squads with another star of the future.

Wilfred Zaha

Will Hughes

Young stars: Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and Derby midfielder Will Hughes could be on the move

Crystal Palace winger Wilfried Zaha and
Derby’s England Under 21 midfielder Will Hughes could be two names looking to
make the step up. Manchester United are among Zaha's admirers while Fulham and Tottenham are just two of the clubs keen on Hughes.

Clubs will also look overseas to try
and snap up a bargain, and two of the biggest names in European football
could be heading to the Premier League, with Inter Milan midfielder
Wesley Sneijder and Barcelona striker David Villa both available for
moves.

Heading to England Wesley Sneijder could be on his way out of Inter Milan

Heading to England Wesley Sneijder could be on his way out of Inter Milan

London calling: David Villa is attracting interest from Chelsea and Arsenal

London calling: David Villa is attracting interest from Chelsea and Arsenal

Spurs and Liverpool are believed to be keen on Sneijder while London duo Arsenal and Chelsea are keeping tabs on Villa, who could be in line to link up with Spain strike partner Fernando Torres at Stamford Bridge.

Money will be spent and players will
come and go, but anyone hoping for a repeat of the January window of two
years ago will be left disappointed.

Fernando Torres

Andy Carroll

Be warned: Not all January moves go to plan, as Fernando Torres and Andy Carroll found out in 2011

In January 2011, a record 225m was
spent with moves that included Torres swapping Liverpool for
Chelsea at a cost of 50m, Aston Villa signing Darren Bent for 18m,
Edin Dzeko making a 27m switch to Manchester City and, perhaps most
remarkably, Liverpool replacing Torres with Andy Carroll for 35m.

There are bound to be some surprises
in 2013 winter window, but it is unlikely there will be any as big and
as costly as Carroll.

DON'T LEAVE IT ALL TO THE LAST DAY AND JIM WHITE'S WITTERING

White off queue: Sky Sports News presenter Jim White (left) offers his transfer deadline day 'insight' with Natalie Sawyer, Dave Bassett and Iain Dowie

White off queue: Sky Sports News presenter Jim White (left) offers his transfer deadline day 'insight' with Natalie Sawyer, Dave Bassett and Iain Dowie

WILL YOUR CLUB BE BUYING OR SELLING

We assess the potential arrivals and departures at each of the 20 clubs in the top flight.

ARSENAL

Manager Arsene Wenger is looking to strengthen across the board to breathe fresh life into Arsenal's push for a top four finish. A striker tops Wenger's shopping list, with David Villa a possible target.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Marouane Chamakh, Andrey Arshavin, Andre Santos, Johan Djourou, Sebastien Squillaci.

ASTON VILLA

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert spent 23million during the summer, placed his trust in youth and fielded the youngest ever Premier League side this season with an average age of less than 24. Manchester City's 20-year-old striker John Guidetti is a possible loan target while Dnipro's 2million-rated midfielder Derek Boateng is also on Lambert's radar.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Darren Bent, Charles N'Zogbia.

Darren Bent

CHELSEA

Interim manager Rafael Benitez has all but confirmed Chelsea are trying to sign a new striker but it remains to be seen whether they will spend big on the likes of Radamel Falcao or look for a cut-price alternative, such as Demba Ba, David Villa or Alvaro Negredo. A new midfielder could also arrive.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Daniel Sturridge, Florent Malouda, Yossi Benayoun.

EVERTON

Financial constraints mean David Moyes does not expect to be busy in the window but he would ideally like to add some more firepower if he can and has been looking at Paris St Germain striker Kevin Gameiro.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

John Heitinga.

FULHAM

The departures of Mousa Dembele and Clint Dempsey late in the summer window have left Fulham light, meaning a central midfielder and centre-back are vital additions.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Pajtim Kasami, Brede Hangeland, David Stockdale, Csaba Somogyi and Mickael Tavares.

LIVERPOOL

Manager Brendan Rodgers has admitted he does not have much to spend in January and a deal for Chelsea forward Daniel Sturridge, which is virtually done, will take up the vast chunk of his budget. Blackpool winger Tom Ince is the other signing the club are hopeful of wrapping up early on while Rodgers continues to be linked with Birmingham's Jack Butland despite saying he would not be signing a goalkeeper in January.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Joe Cole, Stewart Downing, Jordan Henderson, Sebastian Coates.

Joe Cole

MANCHESTER CITY

Roberto Mancini has repeatedly played down speculation he could dip into the market but it will not go away and there is a feeling fresh blood could add impetus to City's title challenge, although some high earners might have to be moved on first.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Mario Balotelli, Edin Dzeko, Kolo Toure, Joleon Lescott.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Sir Alex Ferguson says he is happy with his squad and January is not a time when he does a lot of business. But don't discount a new signing, even if the actual player does not arrive until the summer.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Angelo Henriquez, Federico Macheda.

NEWCASTLE

Alan Pardew knows he needs at least one, if not two or three additions to a squad ravaged by injuries during the opening half of the campaign with Marseille striker Loic Remy, Lille full-back Mathieu Debuchy and FC Twente defender Douglas among his major targets, although much will depend on whether or not Demba Ba remains on the books at the end of January.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Demba Ba, Xisco, Nile Ranger.

NORWICH

Norwich could look to add another striker to their squad as they have managed only 20 goals so far in the league. A move for a goalkeeper is a possibility with England international John Ruddy sidelined following a groin operation.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Elliott Ward, Marc Tierney, Simon Lappin, Steve Morison.

QPR

Where do we start QPR's miserable season is due in no small part to their completely unbalanced squad. Nicolas Anelka is being targeted to fill the large void in attack, while central defence is another area requiring improvements.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Jose Bosingwa, Esteban Granero, Hogan Ephraim, Rob Hulse, Jay Bothroyd.

Jose Bosingwa

READING

The realisation at Reading that they failed to strengthen sufficiently during the summer may have come too late. Manager Brian McDermott is looking for two to three players with top-flight experience. Expect Andrey Arshavin to be one of them.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

None.

SOUTHAMPTON

Saints' defence may have improved recently but a centre-back is still a high priority. A new goalkeeper could be a wily addition, while more attacking options would not go amiss with survival in mind.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Danny Fox, Tadanari Lee, Danny Butterfield, Steve de Ridder, Sam Hoskins, Ryan Dickson and Jonathan Forte.

STOKE

Boss Tony Pulis has made it clear he has no intention of letting any of his key players – such as skipper Ryan Shawcross or goalkeeper Asmir Begovic – leave in January, while indicating he will be looking to “bring one or two in”.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Wilson Palacios, Cameron Jerome, Rory Delap.

SUNDERLAND

Martin O'Neill has made no secret of his desire to strengthen further in January. Striking a permanent deal for on-loan Tottenham full-back Danny Rose could be a focus, and he has also been linked with a move for Genoa defender Andreas Granqvist, while extra physicality in central midfield is something he feels he needs to add.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Titus Bramble, Matthew Kilgallon, Fraizer Campbell, Ji Dong-won.

SWANSEA

Swansea manager Michael Laudrup is keen to bring in a striker to allow top scorer Michu to return to his favoured attacking midfielder role. Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas and Sporting Braga's Ederzito Lopes are thought to be at the top of the Dane's wishlist.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Danny Graham, Luke Moore, Mark Gower, Leroy Lita, Jazz Richards, Alan Tate.

Danny Graham

TOTTENHAM

Manager Andre Villas-Boas says he will not be active in the transfer market, but he only has two recognised strikers and could therefore make a move for Shakhtar Donetsk forward Willian, Athletic Bilbao's Fernando Llorente or Loic Remy of Marseille.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Carlo Cudicini, Heurelho Gomes, David Bentley, Jermaine Jenas, Danny Rose, Tom Huddlestone.

WEST BROM

Baggies boss Steve Clarke has constantly made it clear he is happy with the squad at his disposal for the remainder of the season after climbing into the top six of the Barclays Premier League and any additions are likely to be only loanees.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Chris Wood.

WEST HAM

Manager Sam Allardyce has already been linked with big-name players such as David Beckham and Nicolas Anelka but knows the club's wage structure could scupper such deals. A loan move for an attacking player could go ahead following Yossi Benayoun's return to parent club Chelsea.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

None.

WIGAN

The January transfer window is a welcome arrival for Wigan boss Roberto Martinez, who has been contending with an injury crisis. Midfielder Roger Espinoza's transfer from Sporting Kansas City has already been completed while a loan deal for Manchester United striker Angelo Henriquez is almost a done deal. The Latics have also been linked with former Chelsea striker Salomon Kalou, now at Lille, and Manchester City midfielder Abdisalam Ibrahim.

POTENTIAL DEPARTURES

Franco Di Santo.

Roberto Mancini praises Sergio Aguero and Edin Dzeko

Not so soft anymore! Mancini talks up fire power of Aguero, Dzeko and Tevez just days after slating City's strikers

|

UPDATED:

00:33 GMT, 31 December 2012

Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini is in no doubt his strike trio can fire the champions towards the Barclays Premier League title again.

Edin Dzeko was recalled to the starting XI at Norwich on Saturday and repaid his manager's faith with a quick-fire brace to put the visitors 2-0 up inside four minutes.

Argentina forward Sergio Aguero was also on target in the 4-3 win, which was achieved despite the dismissal of midfielder Samir Nasri and kept City seven points behind leaders Manchester United.

Clinical: Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's third against Norwich

Clinical: Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's third against Norwich

Carlos Tevez was left warming the bench at Carrow Road, but could come back into contention for the home game with Stoke on New Year's Day.

Mancini believes the ability to switch between such a potent frontline will be key for the battles ahead.

'We changed against Norwich because we played three games in six days and needed to have fresh players, but we are sure that all of our strikers can start to score like they did here,' he said.

'We have won games with Carlos and Aguero, Edin and Carlos, Aguero and Edin; all these three players, if they work hard like this, they can score important goals for the season.'

The Italian had slated his strikers, and labelled them 'soft', for failing to score against Sunderland at the Stadium of Light on Boxing Day.

Mancini insists the current seven-point gap to United is 'not a problem', bearing in mind the position from which City went on to beat their fierce rivals in the dramatic conclusion to last season.

Lethal: Edin Dzeko scored twice to add to Aguero's chip

Lethal: Edin Dzeko scored twice to add to Aguero's chip

Slammed: Roberto Mancini's criticism of his strikers clearly paid off

Slammed: Roberto Mancini's criticism of his strikers clearly paid off

And Dzeko believes 'nothing is finished' after feeling he went some way to proving a point against Norwich.

The Bosnian, who has often been utilised as an impact player from the bench, was unfortunate not to have sealed his industrious display with a hat-trick on 67 minutes, when his shot hit the post and then went into the net off the back of Norwich goalkeeper Mark Bunn.

'It is not the first time, but the manager gave me the chance to play and I think I paid him back,' Dzeko said. 'We will see what the future brings.'

Open: Mancini (left) believes City can claw back the seven points to catch Manchester United at the top

Open: Mancini (left) believes City can claw back the seven points to catch Manchester United at the top

Where do Aston Villa and Paul Lambert go from here?

After their drubbing by Wigan, where do Aston Villa and Lambert go from here

|

UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 30 December 2012

[headerlinks

There would be few prizes for guessing the topic of conversation as Aston Villa’s decision makers gathered for a summit meeting yesterday.

Owner Randy Lerner, chief executive Paul Faulkner and manager Paul Lambert would have but one subject in mind: where on earth do we go from here

Oh, to have been a fly-on-the-wall at Lerner’s converted farmhouse in the north Warwickshire countryside as the latest depressing episode in Villa’s history was dissected.

What now It was a case of it never rains but it pours for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert as they slumped to a dire 3-0 defeat by Wigan on Saturday

What now It was a case of it never rains but it pours for Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert as they slumped to a dire 3-0 defeat by Wigan on Saturday

Fifteen goals conceded in three matches. The heaviest defeat in the club’s history at Chelsea. Back-to-back home reversals to Spurs on Boxing Day and relegation rivals Wigan Athletic on Saturday.

In 2010, as Gerard Houllier fought with Villa’s senior players, Lerner was backed into a corner and stumped up 18million with 6m add-ons to purchase Darren Bent and guarantee Premier League survival.

Twelve months ago the situation was not as desperate. But Alex McLeish still asked for, and received, temporary assistance in the shape of Robbie Keane. Villa limped over the line to safety, the club damaged by the bitterness surrounding a misguided managerial appointment.

After a change of policy to bringing in young and hungry players under Lambert, the club once more find themselves at a crossroads.

Several senior players are currently sidelined through injury. Another clutch of first-teamers have been marginalised at the manager’s discretion and there is a third group whose top-flight experience extends to half a season. The situation is crying out for decisive action.

Rock bottom: Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) and Chris Herd don't know where to look as Wigan take control of the match

Rock bottom: Villa's Stephen Ireland (left) and Chris Herd don't know where to look as Wigan take control of the match

Bizarrely, it is little more than two weeks since Villa won 3-1 at Anfield. It was in the week building up to that game that Lambert’s team defeated Norwich City to confirm a spot in the League Cup semi-finals against Bradford City. Incredibly, Wembley beckons.

But so, on the form of the past week, does relegation.

Of course, Lambert can do little about the series of injuries that have befallen key players.

Ron Vlaar, Gabby Agbonlahor, Charles N’Zogbia and Darren Bent are all on the treatment table.

The problem for Lambert is that these absences are recent. Villa were hardly pulling up any trees in the Premier League with their help.

And Bent finds himself in two groups. First, among those senior players who are missing through injury. However, he can also count himself among those who have been marginalised. When Lambert arrived, he did so with a promise to get the club’s star striker firing again.

Grim outlook: Some embarrassed faces on the Villa bench as they lose to Wigan

Grim outlook: Some embarrassed faces on the Villa bench as they lose to Wigan

He promptly made him captain.

Suddenly, Bent was dropped. Not just from the team, but from the squad. What happened

Lambert had tried to replicate what he had done with his previous club, Norwich City. When the former Champions League winner (as a midfielder with Borussia Dortmund) arrived at Carrow Road, he identified Grant Holt as the man who could keep order in the dressing room and set a good example.

When Lambert asked Bent to do the same at Villa, the club’s manager was disappointed with the response.

He was then faced with a dilemma. Should he allow the England international to continue in a role to which he clearly wasn’t suited Or does he exert his managerial authority and teach Bent a lesson

Too easy: Wigan's Ivan Ramis celebrates opening the scoring after three minutes

Too easy: Wigan's Ivan Ramis celebrates opening the scoring after three minutes

With so many young professionals, Lambert chose the second option. Bent is now recovering from a hamstring injury. And the Scot is under severe pressure. His honeymoon is over. The issue remains.

In fairness, Villa supporters have bestowed the most generous of mandates on Lambert to produce winning football.

‘We’ve had some really heavy defeats,’ said Brett Holman, who is as straight-talking as his Australian background would suggest, ‘we are in a dip.

‘People might say we lack Premier League experience, but they weren’t saying it after we beat Liverpool at Anfield.

‘It could help if you have a couple of players who have 200-300 league games behind them.’

Just a dip: Brett Holman (centre) defended Villa's young team

Just a dip: Brett Holman (centre) defended Villa's young team

And so to yesterday’s meeting. Lerner is reluctant to keep footing the bill for huge losses but appreciates he may need to dig deep to avoid a relegation battle once more.

Lambert wants an experienced centre half, an energetic, ball-winning midfielder and another striker. All preferably with Premier League experience.

But which player, of any experience and quality, is going to see Aston Villa as a good career move

Of course, Villa could always do nothing. Tough it out.

But with three cup-ties in January, not to mention home games against fellow relegation candidates Southampton and Newcastle, it would be a bold gamble.