Tag Archives: campaign

Robin van Persie signs for BT Sport

Van Persie joins BT Sport's dream team! United striker to appear alongside Bale in ambitious broadcaster's ad campaign

By
Brian Lee

PUBLISHED:

10:54 GMT, 26 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

11:19 GMT, 26 April 2013

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BT SPORT LOGO

BT Sport's list of big-name signings expanded again today as they added Manchester United striker Robin van Persie to their star-studded line-up.

The broadcaster, who will air 38 Premier League games next season, confirmed the news on Twitter that Van Persie will appear alongside Gareth Bale in ad campaigns for their coverage.

Van Persie leads the Premier League scoring charts this season with 24 goals to his name, one more than Liverpool striker Luis Suarez, and the Dutchman's hat-trick against Aston Villa on Monday night sealed United's 20th top-flight title.

BT have also snapped up Arsenal youngster Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Scroll down for video

Smashing signing: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will appear on BT Sport's ad campaigns

Smashing signing: Manchester United striker Robin van Persie will appear on BT Sport's ad campaigns

Dream team: Van Persie joins Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on BT's list of stars

Dream team: Van Persie joins Gareth Bale and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain on BT's list of stars

Great news! BT Sport confirmed Van Persie's signing on Twitter

Great news! BT Sport confirmed Van Persie's signing on Twitter

Oxlade-Chamberlain, who signed for the Gunners from Southampton in 2011
and has 10 England caps, will also become a BT Ambassador for the next
three years.

The 19-year-old winger said: 'I am very pleased to be named as a BT
Ambassador and to feature in the adverts and as a guest for BT Sport.

'As a young player, I hope I can bring some real insight into the Premier League, as part of the BT Sport team.'

Simon Green, head of BT Sport, said: 'We are thrilled that Alex has
agreed to sign up for BT Sport. Alex is emerging as an international
star, having broken into the senior team aged just 18.

'His hard work and dedication to improvement has already taken him to
great heights and serves as an inspiration to young football fans that
if you are good enough, you are old enough.'

Regular guest: Arsenal youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain will be appearing on BT Sport next season

Regular guest: Arsenal youngster Oxlade-Chamberlain will be appearing on BT Sport next season

VIDEO: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain joins BT Sport

As well as the rights to show 38 live games a season from the Barclays
Premier League, including 18 of the top picks, BT Sport has also secured
the rights to live top-tier matches from Serie A in Italy, Ligue 1 in
France, Brasileiro in Brazil and Major League Soccer in the USA.

And BT’s acquisition of ESPN’s TV channels business in the UK and
Ireland will bring the rights to show live games for the FA Cup,
Scottish Premier League, Europa League and the German Bundesliga.

BT Sport will also show up to 69 live rugby union games a season from the Aviva Premiership.

In
addition, BT has signed a deal with the Women’s Tennis Association
(WTA) to show up to 800 hours of live tennis, including the TEB BNP
Paribas WTA Championships.

I'm in: Spurs winger Bale has already signed for BT Sport ahead of their Premier League coverage

I'm in: Spurs winger Bale has already signed for BT Sport ahead of their Premier League coverage

And... action: Bale films an advert for BT Sport

And… action: Bale films an advert for BT Sport

Liverpool having better season than last year – Glen Johnson

No trophies and seventh in the league… but Johnson insists Liverpool have improved

By
Dominic King

PUBLISHED:

06:15 GMT, 9 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

06:15 GMT, 9 April 2013

Glen Johnson insists Liverpool's season has been 'clearly better' than the last campaign which ended with them winning a trophy and qualifying for Europe.

Liverpool, whose hopes of top six finish were dented by a 0-0 draw with West Ham, never threatened to repeat their exploits of last year in knockout football when they reached both domestic cup finals, winning the League Cup against Cardiff.

Bar a huge turn of events, it is almost certain they will miss out on a place in the Europa League next year, too, as they are running out of games to overhaul Arsenal, Tottenham and Everton.

Luis Suarez

Liverpool's Steven Gerrard

Woe: Liverpool failed to break down a dogged West Ham defence at Anfield last weekend

Johnson, though, is adamant that Liverpool – who are set to surpass the points tally of 52 they accrued 12 months ago – have made far greater progress under Brendan Rodgers than the Barclays Premier League table would suggest.

'I wouldn't say it (has been) so close but so far,' said the England right-back. 'It is clearly a better season than last season. Brendan is looking to improve the squad and we have got a better squad than we did have. He will look to improve again in the summer.

'If we can nick the goals we need from games (like against West Ham), we will be right in amongst it (next season).'

When asked why he felt it was a 'clearly better season', Johnson replied: 'It's a few things. You look at the squad, the feeling that there is around the place, the football that we are playing – 8 times out of 10, we have been battering teams.

Past glories: Liverpool won the Carling Cup last season but will finish this campaign without a trophy

Past glories: Liverpool won the Carling Cup last season but will finish this campaign without a trophy

'That wasn't the case last season. We won a trophy last season and, of course, that was fantastic. Everyone wants to win. That's what we are in the game for. But in terms of getting Liverpool back where they belong, we want to be back in the top four.'

Johnson, who has been one of Liverpool's most consistent performers under Rodgers, believes it is vital for the club's critics to look at this season in isolation, as he is adamant there will be significant improvement when things are fully settled.

'Brendan was brought in to rebuild the squad and put Liverpool back into the places that it should be (as a club),' said Johnson. 'He wants to put us back in the top four but he wasn't asked to do that in his first season. This season has been a step closer to that.

Main man: Glen Johnson (centre) praised manager Brendan Rodgers for his impact at the club

Main man: Glen Johnson (centre) praised manager Brendan Rodgers for his impact at the club

'Everyone – players, staff, fans – would love us to be back in the top four but if we improve on last season then it is a step in the right direction. We are still pretty close to the top four. If we can start nicking games like West Ham, we are going to be right in amongst it.'

Meanwhile, Liverpool target Toby Alderweirled has stated that he would prefer a move to Anfield this summer. The Belgian defender is expected to leave Ajax and has been courted by a number of English clubs, including Newcastle and Everton.

'I do not want to play for an English club in mid-table,' said Alderweirled. 'Unlike Newcastle, Liverpool meets my criteria.'

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BT complain after SKY refuse to show adverts for new sport channel

Sky are a rottweiler and we are a newborn puppy! BT complain after rivals refuse to air their ads for new sport channel

By
David Kent

PUBLISHED:

11:48 GMT, 8 April 2013

|

UPDATED:

16:29 GMT, 8 April 2013

With all eyes on the Manchester derby a brand new Premier League rivalry is kicking off behind the scenes between rival networks Sky Sports and BT.

BT bosses have accused BSkyB of being a like a ‘rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy’ after the long-standing network refused to air BT’s new advertising campaign.

The adverts are for BT’s new multi-million-pound network to promote its coverage of the Premier League and other sports beginning in the summer.

Sky Sports

BT Sport

Rivalry: Sky refusing to show BT Sports' advert is like a 'rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy'

Signed up: Gareth Bale will be a pundit for BT once they get underway next season

Signed up: Gareth Bale will be a pundit for BT once they get underway next season

Jeff Stelling

Jake Humphrey

Famous faces: Jake Humphrey (right) will be presenting BT's content, rivaling the likes of Jeff Stelling (left)

BT have now lodged an official complaint with regulators Ofcom claiming that BSkyB have shown ‘undue discrimination’ against them by refusing to run the campaign of adverts.

John Petter, managing director of consumer for BT Retail, told the Guardian: ‘We are happy to take Sky’s advertising but they seem afraid of taking ours. It’s like a rottweiler running away from a newborn puppy.’

Host: BT will be home to some of the biggest games in the Premier League

Host: BT will be home to some of the biggest games in the Premier League

BT spent 738million to take 38 top-flight games next season after the channel launches in July and will also air Premiership Rugby and European Rugby.

But a key part of their strategy of growth is to raise awareness of their new channel by advertising on Sky Sports channels.

The broadcast code states that 'a radio broadcaster must not unduly discriminate between advertisers that seek to have any commercial communication included in its licensed service.'

COMPLAINT FROM BT AGAINST SKY

Ofcom has opened an investigation following a complaint from BT against Sky under Ofcom’s Code on the Prevention of Undue Discrimination between Broadcast Advertisers (“the Code”). Rule 4.1 of the Code states:

'A television broadcaster must not unduly discriminate between advertisers that seek to have advertising included in its licensed service.'

Under section 319 of the Communications Act 2003 ('the Act'), Ofcom has a duty to set standards for the content of programmes to be included in television and radio services, in one or more codes.

Under section 319(2)(k) of the Act, one of the standards objectives Ofcom must secure through such codes is that 'there is no undue discrimination between advertisers who seek to have advertisements included in television and radio services'.

Paul Lambert calls on Aston Villa to battle themselves out of relegation trouble ahead of Reading Premier League clash

Lambert calls on Villa to battle themselves out of relegation trouble ahead of Reading clash

By
Neil Moxley

PUBLISHED:

19:06 GMT, 8 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

19:06 GMT, 8 March 2013

Paul Lambert says Aston Villa will need to play with 'courage' at the Madjeski Stadium tomorrow as he attempts to drag others into the relegation dogfight.

Villa's boss says he does not sense that his team is playing under pressure and believes that a good result against Reading this weekend, followed by similar against bottom-placed QPR next Saturday will ease the club's lingering relegation issues.

War cry: Lambert believes a couple of wins for his Aston Villa side will pull others into a relegation dogfight

War cry: Lambert believes a couple of wins for his Aston Villa side will pull others into a relegation dogfight

Scrap: Villa are four points ahead of basement club QPR

Scrap: Villa are four points ahead of basement club QPR

Lambert believes two positive results will leave others looking 'edgy' as the Premier League campaign enters its final two months.

'There are loads of teams who will be edgy,' he said. 'It will take courage tomorrow. We will need it all over the pitch. To go and play football and not get caught up with the occasion.

'We certainly don't look like a team that is playing under pressure. We were well in the game against Manchester City – we never allowed them to play their normal fluid game.

In the game: Lambert said his team frustrated Manchester City on Monday, with Gabby Agbonlahor (above) and Christian Benteke (below)

In the game: Lambert said his team frustrated Manchester City on Monday, with Gabby Agbonlahor (above) and Christian Benteke (below)

Christian Benteke

'I would like to think that everyone has fight in them to win a game – it's okay to be aggressive.

'But we need to play the game and not the occasion.'

Lambert has a few injury issues with which to contend. There was some positive news regarding Ron Vlaar who has come through a calf problem and is set to start.

But Fabian Delph's suspension and an ankle injury to Karim El Ahmadi might mean a first start for Yacouba Sylla, signed during the January transfer window from Clermont for 2m.

Aston Villa: (4-4-2) Guzan, Lowton, Clark, Vlaar, Baker; N'Zogbia, Sylla, Westwood, Agbonlahor; Benteke, Weimann.

Suspended: Delph

Injured: El Ahmadi, (ankle) Bent, (foot) Dunne (groin and hip) Albrighton. (toe)

Exclusive: Liverpool take Dulwich Hamlet striker Daniel Carr on trial

EXCLUSIVE: Liverpool take goal-a-game non-League striker Carr on trial

By
Sami Mokbel

PUBLISHED:

22:28 GMT, 5 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

08:05 GMT, 6 March 2013

Liverpool are set to invite non-League sensation Daniel Carr for a week-long trial.

The 18-year-old, who plays for south London side Dulwich Hamlet, has scored 23 goals in 23 games for his club this season.

He has been monitored by a string of Premier League and Championship clubs, and the Anfield side have made their move to secure the services of the promising teenager.

SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO

Daniel Carr

Luis Suarez

New partner Daniel Carr could potentially line up alongside Luis Suarez next season

Having impressed Liverpool spies during his impressive campaign, the top-flight club now want to take a closer look at Carr.

It will be a major jump in class for the youngster, who plys his trade eight leagues below Liverpool.

Speaking earlier this season, Hamlet boss Gavin Rose said: 'We'd like to hold onto our boys to give us the best chance of competing in the league, which is so tight.

Champion Hill stadium: Where Carr plays for Dulwich Hamlet

Champion Hill stadium: Where Carr plays for Dulwich Hamlet

Anfield: Where Carr could yet play in future

Anfield: Where Carr could yet play in future

'If someone comes in for them at the end of the season then we would give them our blessing as a club.

'It's the normal attention from clubs but we're trying not to focus on that and concentrate instead on the boy progressing.'

HOW THE TWO TEAMS ARE DOING

FA Premier League

1. Manchester United Pld 28 Pts 71

2. Manchester City Pld 28 Pts 59

3. Tottenham Hotspur Pld 28 Pts 54

4. Chelsea Pld 28 Pts 52

5. Arsenal Pld 28 Pts 47

6. Everton Pld 28 Pts 45

7. Liverpool Pld 28 Pts 42

Ryman League – South Division

1. Maidstone United Pld 32 Pts 66

2. Faversham Town Pld 33 Pts 61

3. Dulwich Hamlet Pld 29 Pts 60

4. Leatherhead Pld 30 Pts 53

5. Sittingbourne Pld 33 Pts 51

6. Crawley Down Gatwick Pld 31 Pts 50

7. Hythe Town Pld 30 Pts 50

VIDEO: DANIEL CARR – RISING STAR ON YOUNG PRETENDER

Daniel Carr scores for Dulwich Hamlet against Herne Bay

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Huddersfield 2 Middlesbrough 1 – match report: Danny Ward scores late winner to complete comeback

Huddersfield 2 Middlesbrough 1: Ward's late show completes dramatic comeback

By
John Edwards

PUBLISHED:

23:04 GMT, 5 March 2013

|

UPDATED:

02:12 GMT, 6 March 2013

Mark Robins could hardly have done more to engineer his first home win as Huddersfield manager after two of his second-half substitutes inspired a dramatic late turnaround at a mist-shrouded John Smith’s Stadium last night.

Middlesbrough looked primed to add a desperately needed three points to their faltering promotion campaign when Scott McDonald slid home a Sammy Ameobi cross at the far post just 12 minutes from time.

But Alan Lee equalised with his first touch, just seconds after going on in the 86th minute, and fellow substitute Danny Ward crowned a stunning fightback with a brilliant winner in stoppage time.

Hero: Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies celebrates with Danny Ward, who scored the winning goal

Hero: Huddersfield goalkeeper Alex Smithies celebrates with Danny Ward, who scored the winning goal

MATCH FACTS

Huddersfield: Smithies, Hunt, Peter Clarke, Gerrard (Wallace 66), Dixon, Clayton, Gobern, Norwood (Lee 84), Danns, Novak, Robinson (Ward 78).

Subs Not Used: Bennett, Arfield, Atkinson, Lynch.

Goals: Lee 86, Ward 90.

Middlesbrough: Steele, Smallwood (Rhys Williams 59), McManus, Hines, Friend, Leadbitter, Bailey, McEachran (Ledesma 58), McDonald, Ameobi, Miller (Main 68).

Subs Not Used: Leutwiler, Carayol, Haroun, Emnes.

Booked: Smallwood, Ledesma.

Goals: McDonald 78.

Att: 12,705

Ref: Stuart Attwell (Warwickshire).

SEE THE LIVE CHAMPIONSHIP TABLE HERE

‘I was proud of my players, and it is more pleasing than ever when substitutions come off,’ said Robins.

‘Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t, but it showed how the lads on the bench have been champing at the bit to get on.

‘That was the best we’ve played in my time here, and it has to give the players confidence to know they can pass the ball on what was a cabbage patch of a pitch.’

After squandering several clear chances, and being denied a penalty when Middlesbrough striker Ameobi poleaxed Theo Robinson with a kick in the face as he tried to clear, Huddersfield looked like paying the price when McDonald scored.

In retaliation, Robins sent on Lee and his big front-runner promptly pounced on a Peter Clarke header, from a right-wing corner, and toe-ended it past Boro keeper Jason Steele from point-blank range.

There was nothing scrappy about Ward’s winner as, just 12 minutes after going on, he gained possession on the right and cut inside before hammering a left-foot drive beyond Steele.

On course: Scott McDonald gave Middlesbrough the lead in the 78th minute

On course: Scott McDonald gave Middlesbrough the lead in the 78th minute

Reflecting on his side’s eighth
defeat in 11 games, Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray said: ‘When you
go in front late on, in a drab game low on quality, you hope you are
going to see it out.

‘The equaliser was particularly
disappointing because you expect your big players to get the first
contact when a corner comes in.

‘They made changes near the end to try to get back into it, but you have to adapt and cope with that.’

Adverse weather: The match was played under heavy fog at the John Smith's Stadium

Adverse weather: The match was played under heavy fog at the John Smith's Stadium

Fog

Liverpool 3 Zenit 1 (agg 3-3): match report

Liverpool 3 Zenit 1 (agg 3-3): Reds bow out on away goals at Anfield despite Suarez's free-kick brace

PUBLISHED:

21:56 GMT, 21 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

21:56 GMT, 21 February 2013

Liverpool's Europa League campaign ended on Thursday night despite a spirited effort in their attempt to score the four goals needed against Zenit to progress.

Jamie Carragher's error allowed Hulk to score a priceless away goal for the Russians in the 19th minute and give Liverpool a mountain to climb.

A free-kick from Luis Suarez followed by a goal from Joe Allen gave Liverpool a 2-1 lead at half-time, but they still needed two goals without response in the second half to progress.

But, despite Suarez scoring a second free-kick early in the second half, Liverpool couldn't force a fourth goal.

More to follow

Beauty: Luis Suarez curled in a free-kick in front of the Kop to put Liverpool 3-1 ahead on the night

Beauty: Luis Suarez curled in a free-kick in front of the Kop to put Liverpool 3-1 ahead on the night

Beauty: Luis Suarez curled in a free-kick in front of the Kop to put Liverpool 3-1 ahead on the night

MATCH FACTS

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Carragher, Agger, Jose Enrique, Lucas, Allen (Shelvey 59), Downing (Sterling 84), Gerrard, Henderson (Assaidi 59), Suarez.

Subs not used: Gulacsi, Coates, Suso, Wisdom.

Booked: Shelvey.

Goals: Suarez 28, 59, Allen 43.

Zenit St Petersburg: Malafeev, Aniukov, Luis Neto, Lombaerts (Criscito 46), Hubocan, Witsel, Denisov, Shirokov, Danny (Faitzulin 46), Hulk, Semak (Rodic 84).

Subs not used: Zhevnov, Bruno Alves, Bukharov, Kerzhakov.

Booked: Denisov.

Goals: Hulk 19.

Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)

Latest Europa League results, fixtures and stats

Nike advert from 2011 features Oscar Pistorius as "the bullet in the chamber"

The bullet in the chamber: How Nike advert described Blade Runner Pistorius in 2011…

By
Mike Dawes

PUBLISHED:

13:14 GMT, 14 February 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:00 GMT, 14 February 2013

A Nike advertising campaign has emerged which describes Oscar Pistorius as ‘the bullet in the chamber’.

The advert is believed to date back to 2011 but has re-emerged on the morning the Paralympic gold medallist, one of the most famous athletes on the planet, has been charged with murder following the death of his model girlfriend.

The 26-year-old allegedly shot Reeva Steenkamp, 30, who died of gunshot wounds at his home.

Advert: The Nike poster with Pistorius and the slogan

Advert: The Nike poster with Pistorius and the slogan

Pre-Paralympics: The advert dates back to 2011The advert dates back to 2011

Pre-Paralympics: The advert dates back to 2011

Neighbours called the police and arrived to find paramedics trying in vain to save her life.

Pistorius is due to appear in a Pretoria court tomorrow morning when police said they would oppose a bail application.

Another Nike advert shows a picture of the athlete and reads: ‘I was born without bones below the knee. I only stand 5ft 2. But this is the body I have been given.

'This is my weapon. How I conquer. How I wage my war. This is how I have broken the world record 49 times.

'How I become the fastest thing on no legs. This is my weapon. This is how I fight.’

Police spokeswoman Lieutenant
Colonel Katlego Mogale said police were called to Pistorius' house in the
Silver Lakes district at around 5am local time (3am GMT).

The call
came from a neighbour.

A 9mm pistol was recovered and the woman’s body was removed from the scene.

Pistorius was arrested at the scene as investigations began.

The athlete will appear in court tomorrow morning charged with the murder of his girlfriend

Charged: The athlete will appear in court tomorrow morning charged with the murder of his girlfriend

Double amputee Pistorius made history last summer by competing in the Olympic Games for his country, becoming the first amputee sprinter to do so.

He competed in the 400m and 4x400m relay at the Olympics and won two gold medals in the Paralympics in London.

The Johannesburg-born athlete, who was born without fibulas in his legs and had the limbs amputated below the knee when he was 11 months old, had to win a legal battle over his blades with the International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) in 2008 for the right to run in able-bodied competition.

Manchester United squad among best in English football history

Marching towards history: Fergie's United have more points now than Shankly's Liverpool, Wenger's Invincibles and Clough's Forest… and they are on course to become the greatest EVER team

-1355Projected: 95

NB: In seasons when two points were awarded
for a win points tallies have been converted into today’s equivalent

*42-game season

The Busby Babes, featuring Duncan Edwards and Dennis Viollet, had the equivalent of 49 points from the opening 22 games of their 1956 championship-winning campaign while Sir Matt Busby’s next famous side, starring the ‘Holy Trinity’ of George Best, Bobby Charlton and Denis Law, secured just 44 points from their first 22 games of the 1966-67 season – the year before they won the European Cup by defeating Benfica 4-1 at Wembley.

But it is not just the great United sides that Ferguson’s squad is seeing off in their seemingly unstoppable pursuit of a 20th Premier League title. They have equalled the points haul amassed by a Jack Walker-funded Blackburn in 1994-95 and are three points better off than the Arsenal Invincibles were at this stage of the 2003-04 season.

However, Jose Mourinho’s 2005-06 Chelsea team – who share the record with United’s 1999-2000 side for the highest final points tally over the course a 38-game Premier League season with 91 points – are the only side in the Premier League era to better the standards being set by this United team, having gained 61 points from their first 22 league games.

But should United continue to gather up the points at the same rate as they have done so far this season they will be on course to beat that record for the most points gained during a Premier League campaign, with a projected 95 points at a ratio of 2.5 per game.

When we delve further back in time it is revealed that United’s haul of 18 wins from the opening 22 games has only been matched or bettered on four occasions – by Preston in 1888-89, Sunderland in 1891-92, Tottenham in 1960-61 and Chelsea in 2005-06. Kenny Dalglish’s Liverpool only secured 17 wins from their first 22 games of the 1987-88 season, but five draws saw them on to 57, two points better off than United today.

Record-breakers: Chelsea amassed 91 points in 2005-06

Record-breakers: Chelsea amassed 91 points in 2005-06

This places this much-maligned United squad in a better position than all but one of Liverpool’s championship-winning sides, and comfortably sees off the points hauls secured after 22 games by Don Revie’s title winning teams at Leeds and Brian Clough’s league winners at Forest.

Teams to have won at least 18 of their opening 22 games of the season:

Team
Season
Won
Drawn
Lost
Points
Chelsea
2005-06
20
1
1
61
Tottenham
1960-61
1921
59
Preston
1888-89
18
4
0
58
Sunderland
1891-92
19
0
3
57
Man United
2012-13
18
1
3
55

It seems difficult to believe that this United side is comfortably seeing off competition from some of the most celebrated sides in the history of English football.

United have already conceded 29 goals, leaving them on track to break the club’s worst defensive record in a single season in the Premier League era – the 45 goals conceded in the 1999-2000 title-winning campaign.

Class of 2000: Ferguson's sixth title was won at a canter

Class of 2000: Ferguson's sixth title was won at a canter

Doubts remain over the goalkeeping position, with David de Gea and Anders Lindegaard being rotated once again this season, while question marks hang over the defensive capabilities of full backs Rafael and Patrice Evra with Nemanja Vidic still being eased back in after long-term knee injury.

Further forward, many spectators still believe United to be short of a player with the drive and determination of a Roy Keane or Bryan Robson in the centre of midfield, while on the wing, Nani has fallen out of favour and Antonio Valencia has failed to produce anything like his best form for some time now.

Man Utd v the best teams in history (all points totals are three for a win):

Team
Season
Points after 22 games
Sir Alex Ferguson’s Man Utd
2012-13
55
Don Revie’s Leeds United
1973-74
54
Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal
2003-04
52
Brian Clough’s Nottingham Forest
1977-78
49
Bill Shankly’s Liverpool
1963-64
47
Brian Clough’s Derby
1971-72
40

Injury and sluggish showings have hindered Wayne Rooney’s season this time around, with the striker having scored just eight goals, compared with the seventeen he had this time last year. Fellow England forward Danny Welbeck may have impressed with his work rate and pace against Liverpool on Sunday but he must improve on his solitary United goal so far this term.

In spite of all the frailties, there is
no doubting the integral contribution being performed by Michael Carrick
in midfield and Van Persie, of course, up front – while Tom Cleverley
and Javier Hernandez have also been in sparkling form.

More to come: Rooney (centre) has been far from his best this season

More to come: Rooney (centre) has been far from his best this season

And whatever this United squad may lack in quality, they make up for with their strength of character and determination to win – a trait undoubtedly drilled into the squad by Ferguson. United have beaten Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea away from home and Liverpool and Arsenal at Old Trafford – edging all five games by the odd goal – demonstrating their ability to find a way to win a match.

United’s intensity will surely have been heightened after the heartbreak of losing the title to Manchester City last season – and it is a testament to Ferguson’s management that he is driving this squad to such record-breaking heights.

Bryan Habana joins Toulon

Habana joins Jonny and Co at Toulon as South Africa star pens three-year deal with French side

By
Chris Foy

PUBLISHED:

13:54 GMT, 11 January 2013

|

UPDATED:

14:01 GMT, 11 January 2013

Bryan Habana's move to Toulon has been confirmed with the World Cup-winning Springbok wing joining a host of other Galacticos on the Cote d'Azur, on a three-year deal.

The 29-year-old, who has amassed 83 caps, has scored 47 Test tries along the way in establishing himself as one of the most prolific finishers in the world game.

He was named the IRB Player of the Year in 2007, after being at the forefront of the Boks' successful World Cup campaign in France.

Catch me if you can: The South Africa star has joined Toulon on a three-year deal

Catch me if you can: The South Africa star has joined Toulon on a three-year deal

His career has taken him from the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls to Cape Town, where he has played for Western Province and the Stormers in Super Rugby.

Now, after years of being linked with a lucrative move to Europe, he has agreed to add his name to the stellar cast list at Toulon, alongside the likes of Jonny Wilkinson, Matt Giteau, Carl Hayman and Juan Martin Fernandez Lobbe.

Here's Jonny: Wilkinson will be joined by Habana at Toulon

Here's Jonny: Wilkinson will be joined by Habana at Toulon

'I would like to thank everyone at Western Province for their support throughout my stay in Cape Town,' Habana said.

'I've had three great seasons in the Cape thus far, and I am looking forward to finishing off on a high before taking on a new challenge overseas.'

In the past, such a move would have removed a player from contention to be picked for South Africa, but that restrictive practice has been relaxed, which leaves the path clear for Habana to aim for a century of international appearances.

'Playing for the Boks is a huge part of my life and I would never turn
my back on my country,' he added.

'I will never stop giving 100 per cent on the field for any team I play for, and
if the Springbok coach picks me, I will be there. It's a wrench to
leave my home, even if only for a short while, but the chance to test
myself against different opposition in a new environment was difficult
to turn down.'

What Toulon will have at their disposal is a player renowned for his blistering pace, having reportedly clocked a time of 10.2 seconds for the 100metres. Such was the fixation with his raw speed that Habana was once pitted against a cheetah in a race.

Having made his Test debut against England at Twickenham in 2004, he soon established himself as a lethal try-scorer and equalled Jonah Lomu's World Cup record tally of eight at the 2007 tournament.

Four years later, he broke the South African record for international tries when he struck against Namibia in a pool match.

Toulon coach Bernard Laporte was in charge of France during the 2007 World Cup and he has made a strong push to recruit the Springboks who evidently caught his attention during that event across the Channel.

In addition to the previous signing of Bakkies Botha, Danie Rossouw is due to arrive at the club shortly, when he has finished his final season in Japan, while ex-Bok skipper John Smit has agreed to join Toulon from Saracens at the end of this season.