Tag Archives: games

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Southampton 2 Chelsea 1: Rafael Benitez stays calm and insists there is a long way to go in race for Champions League qualification

There's a long way to go: Chelsea boss Benitez stays calm despite top-four setback

By
Mark Bryans, Press Association

PUBLISHED:

20:35 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

20:36 GMT, 30 March 2013

Chelsea interim manager Rafael Benitez maintains the race for a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League will run until the end of the season despite seeing his much-changed side slip to a 2-1 defeat at Southampton.

First-half goals from Jay Rodriguez and Rickie Lambert handed Mauricio Pochettino another prized scalp, with Chelsea briefly drawing level courtesy of a John Terry header.

The Blues have now lost three successive away games in the league and dropped below Tottenham into fourth place, with fellow London rivals Arsenal just two points adrift in fifth.

Undone: Rafa Benitez's Chelsea side were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at St Mary's

Undone: Rafa Benitez's Chelsea side were defeated 2-1 by Southampton at St Mary's

Despite the result Benitez, who was again the victim of jeers and negative chanting from the travelling Chelsea support, reckons no-one will be certain of a Champions League position until the very end of the campaign.

'It is the same situation, if we had three points more it would be easier,' he said. 'We still have one game in hand and we have to carry on and concentrate and move on and start thinking about Monday (FA Cup quarter-final replay v Manchester United).

'In the league you still have a lot of games and I think it (the battle for a top-four finish) will run for the rest of the season.'

Opener: Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball past Petr Cech to give Southampton the lead

Opener: Jay Rodriguez slotted the ball past Petr Cech to give Southampton the lead

Back on level terms: John Terry headed home from a corner to equalise for Chelsea

Back on level terms: John Terry headed home from a corner to equalise for Chelsea

This was Chelsea's first game in a run of six matches in a 16-day period and Benitez made no fewer than seven changes from the team that won against West Ham before the international break.

The former Liverpool boss said the fixture pile-up is something the Football Association needs to 'look at' in the future but did not regret rotating his players.

'We had to manage the squad,' he said. 'We didn't have many options in some positions so we had the players we had to use. You have to approach every game like it is the most important and we thought with these players we would be fine.

'I think that you could see that in the first half we didn't have the intensity we were expecting.

'We improved in the second half, made more chances, but still we didn't make the right decisions in the final third but at least we were there and made the chances.'

Sublime: Rickie Lambert scored a beautiful free-kick to put the Saints back ahead

Sublime: Rickie Lambert scored a beautiful free-kick to put the Saints back ahead

Pochettino, who has now won three, drawn three and lost three games since replacing Nigel Adkins as Saints manager in January was quick to defend his Chelsea counterpart following the game.

'I have a lot of sympathy (for Benitez's position),' he said.

'I fully recognise the job that he has done. For me he is one of the best managers in the world and he has my full respect for what he has achieved in football.'

Going places: Mauricio Pochettino believes his Southampton side are on the right path

Going places: Mauricio Pochettino believes his Southampton side are on the right path

The win against Chelsea follows earlier home successes against Manchester City and Liverpool and Pochettino believes beating some of the league's biggest names can only boost the morale around the club.

'Victories like those of today prove that we are on the right path,' he said.

'It is very important for the confidence of my players and especially the people surrounding our club – the technical staff.

'It is important that we believe we can achieve results as we saw today and we can continue achieving them in the future.'

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Sunderland axe Martin O"Neill after dismal run leaves them one point above the drop zone

Sunderland axe O'Neill after dismal run leaves them one point above the drop zone

PUBLISHED:

21:40 GMT, 30 March 2013

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UPDATED:

21:47 GMT, 30 March 2013

Martin O'Neill parted company with Sunderland after the Black Cats slipped deeper into relegation trouble.

The 61-year-old's departure was confirmed hours after Saturday's 1-0 home defeat by Manchester United, which left the club sitting just a point clear of the Barclays Premier League relegation zone with seven games left to play.

A club statement said: 'Sunderland AFC has announced that it has parted company with manager Martin O'Neill this evening.

Time's up: Sunderland have axed Martin O'Neill

Time's up: Sunderland have axed Martin O'Neill

'The club would like to place on record its thanks to Martin and wishes him well for the future.

'An announcement will be made in the coming days regarding a successor..

More to follow

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Sunderland Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole ruled out for season with injury

Fletcher and Cattermole ruled out for rest of the season in massive blow for Sunderland

By
Colin Young

PUBLISHED:

14:54 GMT, 27 March 2013

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UPDATED:

18:04 GMT, 27 March 2013

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill was this afternoon dealt a devastating double blow when it was confirmed that both Steven Fletcher and Lee Cattermole will miss the rest of the season.

Leading scorer Fletcher suffered ankle ligament damage on international duty with Scotland last week, and midfielder Cattermole had surgery on a persistent knee problem earlier today.

Cattermole, meanwhile, has not played
for Sunderland since the 1-0 home defeat by Arsenal on February 9.

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Agony: Fletcher was injured 90 seconds into Scotland's clash with Wales on Friday

Lay-off: Sunderland now fear their top scorer could miss the rest of the season after an initial scan

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The statement added: 'Cattermole
underwent an operation on his knee earlier today and Fletcher sustained
ankle ligament damage whilst on international duty with Scotland.

'It is not known at this stage if
Fletcher will require an operation, with the injury requiring further
assessment in the coming weeks.

'Both players will play no further part in the Black Cats' 2012-13 Barclays Premier League season.'

The news could hardly have come at a
worse time for O'Neill, whose side find themselves firmly entrenched in
a battle for top-flight survival with eight games to
play.

They face leaders Manchester United
at the Stadium of Light on Saturday desperate to end a run of seven
league games without a victory, which has yielded just three points and
left them only four clear of the drop zone.

Fletcher in particular will be a huge
loss as he is top scorer with 11 goals.

However, having scored five in his
first four games for Sunderland following a 12million move from Wolves, he has managed only one in his last
seven, with the supply lines having dried up alarmingly.

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Long-term absence: Lee Cattermole (left) has not played for the Black Cats since February

Miliband stays at Sunderland

David Miliband is to remain a member of the club's board despite stepping down as MP for South Shields.

The former Labour Foreign Secretary has announced he is leaving UK politics to
take up a post with the US-based charity the International Rescue
Committee.

However, Mr Miliband, who joined the board as vice-chairman and
non-executive director in 2011, will maintain his links with the club.

Chief executive Margaret Byrne told Sunderland's official website: 'David's knowledge and experience have been a tremendous
benefit to Sunderland AFC.

'Naturally we are delighted that he is to continue in his role at the
club, and we also wish him every success with this new chapter of his
life.'

The 26-year-old was injured just two minutes into Scotland's 2-1 home defeat by Wales in Friday night's World Cup qualifier at Hampden Park and was carried from the field on a stretcher.

If he does need surgery, player and manager alike will hope he can return in time for the start of the new campaign.

O'Neill at least has January signing Danny Graham, who has played alongside Fletcher in recent weeks, at his disposal.

Cattermole has been plagued by injuries for much of his time on Wearside and has managed only two senior appearances since the end of November.

He had an injection in his injured knee several weeks ago in a bid to solve the problem once and for all, although O'Neill admitted at the time that an operation was a possibility.

Having visited his specialist again, the decision was taken to perform the surgery and write off the rest of the campaign.

France v Spain – watch it live for FREE

LIVE France v Spain: Watch the crunch clash in Group I as Les Bleus take on the world and European champions

PUBLISHED:

10:23 GMT, 26 March 2013

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UPDATED:

16:15 GMT, 26 March 2013

Welcome to Sportsmail's coverage of what promises to be the game of the night as France take on Spain in Group I.

The French can take a huge step towards qualification for Brazil 2014 with a win over their near neighbours in Paris.

Victory would move them five points clear at the top with just three games to go and leave the reigning world and European champions staring at the prospect of a two-legged play-off.

The sides drew in Madrid last October and Spain followed that up by sharing the points with Finland on Friday night while Les Bleus eased past Georgia.

Sergio Ramos, on his 100th appearance for his country, captained Vicente del Bosque's side against Finland and led by example with the goal.

Karim Benzema, his Real Madrid team-mate, drew a blank in France's victory and will be out to make amends if he is given the nod after being booed by the home support for missing chances in the Stade de France.

***Full coverage will start at 8pm***

Live : France – Spain par ffftv

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Everton target Alvaro Negredo says he will play in England

Sooner or later I will be playing in England! Everton target Negredo encourages bids

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

07:15 GMT, 25 March 2013

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UPDATED:

07:15 GMT, 25 March 2013

Everton will be encouraged by the news that 13million rated Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo is open to a move to England.

David Moyes tried to procure the striker in the summer but could not match the La Liga side's valuation of their Spain international.

The 27-year-old hitman who has 15 goals
in 26 league games this season, claims that he likes English football and he
will play in the country at some point.

One day: Alvaro Negredo wants a move to England and Everton are interested in him

One day: Alvaro Negredo wants a move to England and Everton are interested in him

'It is a league that I like and sooner or later I will play in it,' he said.

'President Jose Maria del Nido received some offers in January, but decided not to consider them.

'We’ll see what is going to happen in the future.'

Bad times: Negredo could not help as Spain stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Finland

Bad times: Negredo could not help as Spain stumbled to a 1-1 draw with Finland

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Atletico Madrid open door for Fernando Torres return from Chelsea

Atletico open door for Torres return while Chelsea given encouragement over Falcao

By
Rik Sharma

PUBLISHED:

12:45 GMT, 23 March 2013

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UPDATED:

13:00 GMT, 23 March 2013

Atletico Madrid manager Diego Simeone has opened the door for Fernando Torres to return to his former side.

The Chelsea striker made his name in Spain before moving to Liverpool in 2007.

Simeone says he knows how important Torres can be for his side and that because of his roots he knows about what it means to play for Los Rojiblancos.

Struggle: Fernando Torres has not been able to find his feet at Chelsea

Struggle: Fernando Torres has not been able to find his feet at Chelsea

He told Spanish radio station Onda
Cero: 'Fernando Torres is currently playing for another team. We have to
wait for the season to finish and decide which of the available players
could come here and do a good job.

'Fernando knows about the club's history, what it means to play here and I don't need to speak about his ability.

'We were teammates. I know how important he can be.'

Chelsea want Atletico's Colombian striker Radamel Falcao as a replacement. He has scored 25 goals in 28 games for his club this season, including a hat-trick against the Blues in the Super Cup final.

He can be procured for 48million but the Blues would be interested in a part-exchange deal involving Torres.

When asked about Falcao's future, Simeone did not insist the player would be staying at the club.
Instead he reasoned that everybody makes their own decisions and Falcao deserves respect.

Simeone said: 'I'm not Falcao and I'm not his agent. I'm the manager and have the utmost respect for him, because he gave me so much at River Plate and has done the same here.

'He always gives his all and I really respect players who do that. But everyone makes their own decisions in life.

'Every person is different, and we have to respect each other. Those who stay are always going to be the best.'

Can't stop: Radamel Falcao is in absolutely lethal form for club and country

Can't stop: Radamel Falcao is in absolutely lethal form for club and country

Frank: Diego Simeone said that Torres knows the club and he would be an important player

Frank: Diego Simeone said that Torres knows the club and he would be an important player

Liverpool won"t sell Luis Suarez this summer

Suarez is going nowhere, vow Liverpool despite hitman warning he would 'welcome' talks with Champions League clubs

By
Charlie Skillen

PUBLISHED:

20:04 GMT, 20 March 2013

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UPDATED:

10:19 GMT, 21 March 2013

Liverpool have 'no desire' to sell Luis Suarez, according to managing director Ian Ayre.

Suarez’s future at Anfield has made headlines this morning after it was reported he would be willing to talk with other clubs following an interview in his native Uruguay.

Ayre has, however, played down any notion the striker may be about to leave the Reds after signing a four-year deal last August.

VIDEO: SCROLL DOWN TO WATCH THE LATEST LUIS SUAREZ NEWS

Club and country: Suarez (left) in Uruguay training under pressure from Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates

Club and country: Suarez (left) in Uruguay training under pressure from Liverpool teammate Sebastian Coates

Shaping up: Suarez admitted he would consider a summer move to a club in the Champions League

Shaping up: Suarez admitted he would consider a summer move to a club in the Champions League

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'You can read into the comments – it was given in his native language so I think maybe it was a bit lost in translation,' Ayre told BBC Radio Five Live.

'We’ve been consistent with Luis. Last summer he signed a new four-year contract and we have no desire to sell Luis. He is a fantastic player and a great contributor to our team.

'We’ve been very honest with him and he’s been very honest with us.
Suarez is under contract at Anfield until 2017, but in the interview hinted he could be tempted by a big-money move at the end of the season.

Disappointing: Suarez played in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by struggling Southampton on Saturday

Disappointing: Suarez played in Liverpool's 3-1 defeat by struggling Southampton on Saturday

'I am very happy at Liverpool but you
never know in football,' Suarez said ahead of his international side's
World Cup qualifier with Paraguay, as reported in the Liverpool Echo.

'If another team comes around with
more prospects of competing in international club competition games,
which is willing to have me, they are welcome.

'We would talk to the club, we would see if I want to go, if I don’t want to go.'

Philosophy: Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement his possession-based style at Liverpool

Philosophy: Manager Brendan Rodgers has tried to implement his possession-based style at Liverpool

However, Suarez also recognised
Liverpool's strengths, including manager Brendan Rodgers' footballing
philosophy, which he hopes to see propel the club further next year.

Rodgers won plaudits for his Swansea
side's passing style last season, and has attempted to implement the
same structure at Anfield.

'A player’s ambition is always there, the ambition of wanting to play in elite teams is always there,' said Suarez.

'I’m in a world-class team, an elite team like Liverpool.

'We have to realise we have a new
manager who is imposing a philosophy and a way of playing that the
players are adapting to as best we can.

'We hope that it will bear fruit next year.'

Watch the latest Luis Suarez news

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Max Whitlock: European Championships in April is the first stage on the road I hope to take to the 2016 Games

Max Whitlock: European Championships in April is the first of many stages before the 2016 Olympic Games

team-mate and boxer Anthony Joshua” class=”blkBorder” />

Close friend London 2012 team-mate and boxer Anthony Joshua

I loved watching the BBC Superstars programme a few months ago and it really inspired me – I’d absolutely love to do something like that and try out the different sports. I was watching it and wishing I could be on it, but I’d like to think I could have given Anthony Joshua a run for his money. He won it so easily!

I haven’t even tried some of the sports they did but I think I’d be alright at some of them. I’d like to think I’d be okay at the swimming and now I’m used to a bit of running so that would be okay, but I’ve never sat in a kayak so that might be a bit tough!

I’ve got some more competitions coming up so am busy preparing for those now. I’ve had the A category World Cup event in France last weekend and then the British Championships in Liverpool at the end of the month. That’s a trial for the European Championships which take place in April in Moscow, so that’s the next big competition to aim for.

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Arsenal suffer a blow as their target David Villa is offered a new Barcelona contract

Arsenal blow as target Villa will be offered new Barcelona deal

By
Thom Drake

PUBLISHED:

13:42 GMT, 17 March 2013

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UPDATED:

12:06 GMT, 18 March 2013

Arsenal could miss out on signing David Villa after Barcelona have offered him a new contract.

The striker is due to be a free agent in 14 months time, with several English clubs sniffing around to see if they can get him for a reduced price.

However, Barcelona feel he still has a very important role at the club and staying in Spain may be his best chance of competing for a place in the national side.

Natural: David Villa scored in Barcelona's 4-0 win against AC Milan

Natural: David Villa scored in Barcelona's 4-0 win against AC Milan

Arsenal's striking problems have been well documented of late, with Arsene Wenger allowing Theo Walcott some time up front before switching back to Olivier Giroud for the most recent games.

Forward Marouane Chamakh is currently on-loan at West Ham after failing to convince his manager that he has much of a future at the club.

As for Villa, Spain's record goalscorer has been out of favour at the Nou Campafter returning at the start of the season from eight months out with a broken leg.

Rival: Alexis Sanchez is Villa's biggest competition in the team

Rival: Alexis Sanchez is Villa's biggest competition in the team

The 31-year-old joined Barcelona from Valencia in 2010 for a fee of 35million, and is reportedly on a deal worth 7m a year.

If first-team football is what Villa wants, then he may wait until the summer and consider his future before signing any new contract.

Record: Villa is Spain's top goalscorer with 53 goals in 86 games

Record: Villa is Spain's top goalscorer with 53 goals in 86 games

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Manchester United 1 Reading 0 – Match report

Manchester United 1 Reading 0: Rooney grabs winner against managerless Royals

PUBLISHED:

19:21 GMT, 16 March 2013

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UPDATED:

19:37 GMT, 16 March 2013

Wayne Rooney's 16th goal of the season was enough to propel Manchester United 15 points clear with just nine games remaining in the Barclays Premier League title race.

Rooney's deflected first-half effort saw off a dogged Reading outfit, who worked hard but lacked the class to fashion an equaliser.

The Royals now look certainties for relegation, sliding seven points adrift of safety with one game fewer than United to save themselves, their decision to axe Brian McDermott akin to shuffling deck chairs on the Titanic.

Jumping for joy: Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring for Manchester United against Reading

Jumping for joy: Wayne Rooney celebrates after scoring for Manchester United against Reading

MATCH FACTS

Man Utd: De Gea, Smalling, Ferdinand, Vidic, Buttner, Welbeck, Giggs, Anderson (Kagawa 85), Young (Carrick 74), Rooney, van Persie.

Subs Not Used: Lindegaard, Evans, Valencia, Hernandez, Powell.

Goals: Rooney 21.

Reading: Taylor, Kelly (Morrison 88), Pearce, Mariappa, Shorey, Karacan, Leigertwood, McAnuff, Robson-Kanu (Le Fondre 70), McCleary, Hunt (Blackman 70).

Subs Not Used: McCarthy, Gunter, Harte, Akpan.

Booked: Hunt, Kelly.

Att: 75,605

Ref: Lee Mason (Lancashire).

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Thirteen points will do it for Sir Alex Ferguson's men to clinch a record 20th championship – and given one of their remaining games is against nearest challengers Manchester City, they might not even need that.

Yet taking maximum advantage of City's defeat at 10-man Everton earlier in the day was not the biggest talking point.

For that revolved around Rio Ferdinand, who rolled back the years to turn in another marvellous performance, which included claiming the assist for Rooney's winner.

The will he-won't he debate over Ferdinand's international return may not be answered for certain until Monday night, when Hodgson's squad are due to report at St George's Park.

However, there can be no doubt why Hodgson has been willing to go back on all those previous indications that he had 'moved on' from the 34-year-old.

Quite apart from the vast experience that would make Ferdinand such an unflappable presence in that vital World Cup qualifier in Montenegro on March 26, the former West Ham man also possesses an assurity in possession that few Premier League defenders of any nationality, let alone English, can match.

They all count: Rooney's shot took a deflection off Reading defender Alex Pearce before nestling in the net

They all count: Rooney's shot took a deflection off Reading defender Alex Pearce before nestling in the net

He created United's first chance for a
start with an elegant crossfield pass to Ashley Young, which the winger
controlled on the edge of the area before drilling a cross-shot just
beyond Robin van Persie, and more importantly, the far post.

Ferdinand's next incursion was the crucial one.

Nipping in to intercept Garath McCleary's poor pass, Ferdinand advanced into the open space and nipped round a static Mikele Leigertwood before feeding Rooney just to his left.

No joy: Robin van Persie tries his luck with a free kick but United failed to build on their slim advantage

No joy: Robin van Persie tries his luck with a free kick but United failed to build on their slim advantage

The striker took aim and once his
shot flicked off Alex Pearce, former Manchester City goalkeeper Stuart
Taylor had no chance of keeping it out.

Ferdinand's part was acknowledged by
the Stretford End though, along with a non-too-subtle hint that he
should reject the chance to extend his 81-cap international career.

Either side of Rooney's goal, Danny Welbeck went close on a couple of occasions and Robin van Persie tried his luck from 20 yards.

Battle: Rio Ferdinand vies for the ball with Noel Hunt as United edge to victory at Old Trafford

Battle: Rio Ferdinand vies for the ball with Noel Hunt as United edge to victory at Old Trafford

These are not the most productive of times for the Dutchman though, who has now scored once in his last 10 games.

After being thrust into the spotlight
following McDermott's controversial dismissal earlier in the week,
Eamonn Dolan became the 15th manager, including caretakers, to face the
Red Devils in their first Premier League game in charge.

Most have lost. And whilst Dolan was
not quite accepting of his fate, he seemed to have settled on a policy
of damage limitation despite Reading's position becoming even more
perilous due to earlier triumphs for Southampton and Aston Villa.

My ball: Nemanja Vidic and Noel Hunt battle during United's victory which takes them 15 points clear

My ball: Nemanja Vidic and Noel Hunt battle during United's victory which takes them 15 points clear

Only once did the visitors truly
threaten before the break, when Hal Robson-Kanu let fly with a shot
David de Gea would not have reached if it had been on target.

They should have had a chance to
equalise immediately after it though when Nemanja Vidic shoved Adrian
Mariappa over inside the box. Reading appealed for what TV replays
showed to be a clear foul but referee Lee Mason was unmoved.

United failed to profit from their good fortune, with Welbeck and Young going close either side of a wild effort from Van Persie that flew out from a throw-in.

Blow: Ashley Young's evening was cut short by injury but United held on to beat Reading at Old Trafford

Blow: Ashley Young's evening was cut short by injury but United held on to beat Reading at Old Trafford

Van Persie's loss of form seems to
have crept up unnoticed. His free-scoring ways earlier in the season are
a mere memory now, with Taylor repelling a well-struck free-kick to
keep the former Arsenal man out.

Whilst Rooney did fire over from long-range, the hosts gave Reading enough hope to believe an equaliser was possible.

It did not come though. And as certain as it appears United will end the season champions, Reading looked destined the finish it in the Championship.

In charge: Careataker manager Eamonn Dolan watched his Reading side suffer a narrow defeat

In charge: Careataker manager Eamonn Dolan watched his Reading side suffer a narrow defeat