Tag Archives: shawcross

Michael Owen facing FA rap for throwing punch at Mikel Arteta

Saint Michael's halo slips with Owen facing FA rap for throwing punch at Arteta

By
Ian Ridley

PUBLISHED:

22:09 GMT, 2 February 2013

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UPDATED:

09:36 GMT, 3 February 2013

Michael Owen could face a retrospective disciplinary charge from the FA after attempting to throw a punch at Arsenal's Mikel Arteta in Stoke City's 1-0 defeat at the Emirates.

The former England striker, who had been brought on as a late substitute, reacted fiercely to a strong tackle from the Spaniard and aimed a right-hander – missed by referee Chris Foy – that connected only weakly with Arteta's shoulder.

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool
as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Flashpoint: Michael Owen loses his cool
as he clashes with Arsenal's Jack Wilshere after a heavy tackle by Gunners' Mikel Arteta

Owen then squared up to Jack Wilshere, who had rushed to the scene and the two players became embroiled in a pushing match.

The incident came amid a bad-tempered end to a match, in which Stoke contested Lukas Podolski's winner, between two clubs with a history of confrontation dating back to an incident when Aaron Ramsey broke a leg in a challenge from Ryan Shawcross three years ago.

Shawcross was again in trouble, receiving a yellow card that some will argue should have been red, as he slid into a challenge against Laurent Koscielny with studs up.

'I thought the Arteta challenge was a poor one but Michael shouldn't do that,' said Stoke manager Tony Pulis.

'That should be left to the referee.' Asked whether he expected Owen to be charged retrospectively, Pulis added: 'Let's see what they say. But I think it should have been a free-kick for us.

'If Michael has done what he has done and they look at it, they will deal with it.'

Pain game: This was the rash challenge that sparked the flashpoint

Stoking the flames: This was the rash challenge that sparked the flashpoint

Michael Owen and Arteta

Pulis was also aggrieved when Glenn Whelan was booked for a tackle that Stoke felt was not a free-kick and that Shawcross had needed four stitches in a leg wound after the challenge with Koscielny.

Jon Walters also required six stitches in a head wound after a clash of heads with Arsenal's 8million debutant Nacho Monreal. 'Glenn's was never a booking and when that went against us like that, it irritates you,' said Pulis. Arsene Wenger, meanwhile, felt that Shawcross should have been sent off.

'It looked it to me [to be a sending off] but I will have to look at it again,' said the Arsenal manager. 'I am maybe not completely objective with Ryan Shawcross, that is why I am cautious with my statement.'

Wenger had, however, not seen the Owen punch and so could not comment.

David Moyes wants Marouane Fellaini to be like Lionel Messi

Moyes urges main man Marouane to copy Messi and keep his cool

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UPDATED:

22:24 GMT, 31 December 2012

Marouane Fellaini has been urged to model himself on Lionel Messi as he prepares to make his comeback from suspension at Newcastle on Wednesday night.

The fiery Everton midfielder reiterated his apology for the headbutt on Ryan Shawcross that cost him a red card at Stoke and reassured manager David Moyes over his future by insisting he would not try to engineer a move away from Goodison Park in the January transfer window.

But while Everton will welcome him back after three games out for violent conduct, Moyes is taking steps to ensure there is no repeat of the costly loss of control.

Smile, be happy: Marouane Fellaini has been told to chill out by his manager

Smile, be happy: Marouane Fellaini has been told to chill out by his manager

Heads, you lose: It comes after the Belgian was sent off for butting

Heads, you lose: It comes after the Belgian was sent off for butting

‘If I was playing against Felli, I’d try and wind him up,’ said the former Preston centre half. ‘Anybody would. It’s what happens with good players, and I keep telling him he just has to get on with it.

‘The best person to look at for that is Lionel Messi. Every person targets him, everyone tries to kick him and stop him. They’ll do everything.

'He is the best in the world and he gets physically attacked every game, but all he ever does is get up and get on with it. That is the sign of a top player.

‘I feel as if Felli let us down at Stoke, but that is in the past. He has paid his punishment, as we have as well, but I don’t have any concerns about his character overall.’

Despite being targeted by Chelsea and Manchester United, Fellaini claimed he was in no hurry to leave Goodison.

‘I have a contract with Everton until 2016, and, if the club want, I will see that out,’ he said. ‘I know I am hot, and I want to move forward one day, but I will finish my Everton contract if they want me to.

‘Normally I am an honest player but that was just frustration at Stoke. Shawcross was pushing and pulling me the whole game and, in the end, I just exploded. But I shouldn’t have, and I’m sorry for what I did.’

Get on with it: Lionel Messi takes his fair share of kicks and knocks, but stays cool

Get on with it: Lionel Messi takes his fair share of kicks and knocks, but stays cool

Fellaini, 25, revealed how he has become a target for unwanted attention off the pitch and has been forced to move away from Merseyside.

‘I am living in Manchester now, because in Liverpool, the women were crawling for me,’ he said. ‘It was too much. In Manchester, people don’t recognise me that much and tend to treat me in a more respectful way.

'I don’t want to be a star. I just want to play football.’

Moyes, who has secured Seamus Coleman’s long-term future on a new five-and-a-half-year deal, confirmed that midfielder Darron Gibson will be out for a month with a thigh strain.

‘It’s a big loss,’ he said. ‘It also limits our options, because Phil Neville is recovering from a knee operation. At least Marouane can drop back in and John Heitinga can step in, too, if need be.’

David Moyes could quit Everton if no Champions League

Champions League or bust for Moyes as Everton boss ponders future at Goodison

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UPDATED:

22:30 GMT, 29 December 2012

Everton manager David Moyes is seriously considering ending his 11-year association with the club after the season if they don’t qualify for the Champions League.

Having established his reputation as one of the best managers in England over a decade, Moyes feels this year represents his best chance of a top-four finish since 2005, when Everton were knocked out in the Champions League qualifying stages by Villarreal.

The Scot, whose side face Chelsea on Sunday, believes Everton must take advantage of a relatively weak Premier League to break into the elite, with Tim Howard, Phil Jagielka and Leon Osman at their peak.

Up in the air: David Moyes has six months left on his Everton contract

Up in the air: David Moyes has six months left on his Everton contract

He wants owner Bill Kenwright to back him with two new signings in January. But Moyes knows it will be hard to keep his squad together should they fail in their top-four quest.

‘It’s easier to attract top players if you are in Europe, particularly the Champions League. I think it would help to keep Marouane Fellaini. The only reason then for him to leave would be money. That’s why if you want to keep your best players you need to give them European football.’

Fellaini, who completes a three-match ban for butting Ryan Shawcross of Stoke, is being watched by Chelsea and clubs in the cash-rich Russian League, and failure to finish in the top four could see the likes of Fellaini, Ross Barkley and Leighton Baines go to balance the books and also leave Moyes seeking a new challenge, possibly abroad,.

Moyes has just six months left on his contract and has not had talks about a new deal. Regularly overlooked for top jobs in England, the only feasible opportunity left at home is at Manchester United, which would depend on when Sir Alex Ferguson chooses to retire.

Moyes is more likely to follow the route taken by former England manager Steve McClaren, who went to coach in Holland and Germany.

Heading out Marouane Fellaini has been linked with a move in January

Heading out Marouane Fellaini has been linked with a move in January

Moyes is a keen student of European football and knows it may offer a better route into the Champions League than he will get in England. He has already expressed a wish to manage in Germany. He is the third-longest serving manager in the Premier League behind Ferguson and Arsene Wenger.

Everton could leapfrog Chelsea into third place if they win today but Moyes accepts there is a huge chasm between the two clubs in their long-term prospects, particularly when Roman Abramovich can splash out 35million on an exciting young player like Belgium’s Eden Hazard.

‘We knew all about Hazard through (international team-mate) Fellaini but it was always going to be biggish cash for us. We’ve had a few like that, I can tell you,’ said Moyes.

‘Can you measure Everton against Chelsea I think there would be an unfair advantage somewhere in there. I don’t think we have spent as much here on players when you include outgoings as they have in pay-outs for managers.

Europe calling: Everton hope to gatecrash next season's Champions League

Europe calling: Everton hope to gatecrash next season's Champions League

‘Everton supporters realise we have a different model. Tottenham have proved that you can get into the top four. We had a nibble at it in 2005 but it’s not been consistent enough.'

Moyes knows, if Everton can qualify for the Champions League, the long-term prospects for the club would alter dramatically.

He said: ‘Last January we needed 5.5m to turn it around. I would hope if we make it to the Champions League we will be getting far more than that.

‘It would help us for the next couple of years and that would help me keep Everton’s progress going. What worries me is keeping the progression going. If we are lucky enough to make the Champions League, we could try and make another step up the ladder. What would you get for getting into group stages 10m- 20m

‘That could change a lot that would happen here.’

Stoke 3 Southampton 3 – Cameron Jerome scores late equaliser

Stoke 3 Southampton 3: Late Jerome stunner preserves Potters' unbeaten home record

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UPDATED:

17:20 GMT, 29 December 2012

A stunning 90th-minute volley from Cameron Jerome secured a point for 10-man Stoke in a highly-eventful draw with strugglers Southampton at the Britannia Stadium.

The Potters looked like they would pay for uncharacteristically poor defending in the first half, but fought back and substitute Jerome had the final say with a thumping volley from 30 yards.

Stoke had conceded only four goals at home in the Barclays Premier League all season and boasted the best defensive record in the division, but shipped three in the first half.

Stunner: Jerome celebrates after his long-range volley

Stunner: Jerome celebrates after his long-range volley

MATCH FACTS

Stoke: Begovic, Shotton, Huth, Upson, Wilkinson (Whitehead 70), Kightly (Crouch 75), Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington (Jerome 57), Walters, Jones.

Subs not used: Sorensen, Palacios, Owen, Adam

Goals: Jones 16, Upson 67, Jerome 90

Booked: Jerome. Sent off: Nzonzi

Southampton: Kelvin Davis, Hooiveld, Yoshida, Fonte, Shaw (Fox 82), Puncheon (Richardson 85), Schneiderlin, Cork, Rodriguez, Do Prado, Lambert

Subs not used: Boruc, Steven Davis, Ramirez, Mayuka, De Ridder.

Goals: Lambert 10, Rodriguez 24, Wilkinson OG 36

Booked: Fonte, Rodriguez

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear)

Attendance: 26,391

CLICK HERE TO SEE THE LATEST PREMIER LEAGUE TABLE, FIXTURES AND RESULTS

MCaptain Ryan Shawcross and full-back
Geoff Cameron were both serving one-match suspensions for picking up
five yellow cards, with Matthew Upson and Ryan Shotton coming in, and
the reshuffle seemed to unsettle the Potters.

Poor defending allowed Rickie Lambert to open the scoring 10 minutes in
and, although Kenwyne Jones soon equalised, Jay Rodriguez was presented
with Saints' second in the 24th minute.

An Andy Wilkinson own goal in the 36th minute summed up a miserable half
for the hosts, but they responded in the second period and Matthew
Upson pulled one back in the 67th minute.

Steven Nzonzi was sent off soon after but Stoke kept pressing and got
their reward, sending Southampton back into the bottom three.

Defensive stability has been one of Stoke's key strengths and there were
signs the changes would have a big effect when Southampton scored in
the 10th minute.

It was the first chance of the game and would have infuriated Stoke boss
Tony Pulis as none of his defenders cut out Guly Do Prado's cross and
Lambert had the simple task of poking in at the back post.

The hosts should have been level inside two minutes when Nzonzi's shot
was deflected to Jones in space at the back post, but somehow he skewed
his shot wide.

However, the big striker made amends in the 16th minute in some style with a lovely backheel from Ryan Shotton's low cross

Flying start: The Southampton players celebrate Rickie Lambert's opener at the Britannia Stadium

Flying start: The Southampton players celebrate Rickie Lambert's opener at the Britannia Stadium

Stoke looked the more likely to add to their tally at that point but
they well and truly shot themselves in the foot to hand Southampton a
second goal in the 24th minute.

There did not look too much danger when Lambert swung in a cross from
the right but Robert Huth beat his goalkeeper to the ball and poked it
against the bar, leaving Rodriguez a tap-in.

The visitors had their tails up, with Jason Puncheon causing a lot of
trouble on the right, and he twisted and turned his way past Andy
Wilkinson before firing in a shot that Asmir Begovic pushed behind.

All square: Kenwyne Jones was in the right place to equalise for Stoke

All square: Kenwyne Jones was in the right place to equalise for Stoke

Puncheon played a key part in Saints' third goal after 36 minutes, with
his cross headed towards goal by Lambert before Wilkinson stabbed it
over the line.

Stoke started the second half brightly, no doubt responding to a few
choice words from Pulis, and Michael Kightly fired in a shot from
distance that Kelvin Davis comfortably held onto.

There was a worrying moment for Pulis when Huth and Wilkinson clashed
heads, drawing blood from both, but they were bandaged up and able to
continue, although Huth had to change his shorts as well as his shirt.

We'll take it: Lambert (far left) and Jay Rodriguez were celebrating after Andy Wilkinson's own goal

We'll take it: Lambert (far left) and Jay Rodriguez were celebrating after Andy Wilkinson's own goal

Pulis threw on a third striker as Jerome replaced Matthew Etherington,
and Stoke began to pepper the Southampton box with crosses.

It was not all about the hosts, though, and Saints really should have
added a fourth in the 65th minute as they split Stoke's defence open
once again.

Lambert played in Rodriguez, who was denied by a fine save from Begovic,
but the ball fell to Do Prado with the goal gaping only for the striker
to shoot wide.

Three an easy: Rodriguez (left) looked to have won the game for the visitors

Three an easy: Rodriguez (left) looked to have won the game for the visitors

And that miss looked very costly a minute later as Stoke pulled one
back. For once Southampton failed to deal with a corner and Upson
squeezed his shot under Davis, who should have done better.

The Potters then appealed vociferously for a penalty when Jose Fonte
appeared clearly to handle a cross in a challenge with Jones, but
referee Mark Clattenburg was unmoved.

And Stoke's hopes of getting something from the game were then dealt a
real blow when Nzonzi was shown a straight red card in the 71st minute
for a challenge on Jack Cork.

Cut up: Robert Huth was left bleeding after a collision with Stoke team-mate Wilkinson

Cut up: Robert Huth was left bleeding after a collision with Stoke team-mate Wilkinson

The midfielder caught Cork with a painful blow but it looked a harsh
decision and Nzonzi was clearly unhappy as he left the pitch.

Pulis made his final change, sending on Peter Crouch for Kightly,
meaning Michael Owen would have to be content with a return to the bench
after two months out of the squad.

Seeing red: Nzonzi is sent off by Mark Clattenburg

Seeing red: Nzonzi is sent off by Mark Clattenburg

Seeing red: Nzonzi is sent off by Mark Clattenburg

Jerome was booked for protesting that Maya Yoshida had handled in the
area as the hosts desperately sought a late equaliser, and when the
striker did put the ball in the net shortly after he was rightly flagged
for offside.

Jerome was not to be denied, though, crashing in a tremendous shot off
the underside of the bar as the clock ticked towards 90 minutes, and
Stoke might even have won it but Davis kept out a Crouch header at the
death.

Stoke v Liverpool live

PREMIER LEAGUE LIVE: Stoke v Liverpool – as it happens from the Britannia Stadium

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UPDATED:

19:33 GMT, 26 December 2012

Follow Sportsmail's coverage of the Barclays Premier League as Stoke's home game with Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium concludes the Boxing Day action. The Potters battled to a well fought 0-0 draw at Tottenham last weekend but face a Reds side fresh from beating Fulham 4-0.

STOKE v LIVERPOOL: KO 7.45pm

Stoke: Begovic, Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson, Kightly, Nzonzi, Whelan, Etherington, Walters, Jones.

Subs: Sorensen, Adam, Whitehead, Upson, Crouch, Shotton, Jerome.

Liverpool: Reina, Johnson, Skrtel, Agger, Jose Enrique, Gerrard, Lucas, Downing, Shelvey, Fernandez Saez, Suarez.

Subs: Jones, Cole, Henderson, Coates, Carragher, Allen, Sterling.

Referee: Howard Webb

7.32pm: Stoke are unbeaten at The Britannia this season from the eight games they have played at home.

7.30pm: Team news is in and for Stoke winger Michael Kightly returned to the Potters team as manager Tony Pulis made only one change.

Ryan Shotton made way with midfielder Charlie Adam returning to the bench after compassionate leave following the death of his father.

Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers named the same side which beat Fulham on Saturday, meaning young Spaniard Suso kept his place ahead of Raheem Sterling.

7.25pm: Both Stoke and Liverpool are level on 25 points in the table with the Reds ahead on goal difference. Both teams will hope a win can move them closer to the European places.

7.20pm: Good evening and welcome to the final of the Boxing Day fixtures, it has been quite a day so far and you can read all of the match reports and reaction for the games so far – here

Conclusion: Stoke host Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium to bring a climax to the Boxing Day action

Conclusion: Stoke host Liverpool at the Britannia Stadium to bring a climax to the Boxing Day action

Andre Villas-Boas left to rue dropped Tottenham"s draw against Stoke

Villas-Boas left to rue dropped points as Spurs start festive season with a whimper

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UPDATED:

19:15 GMT, 22 December 2012

Andre Villas-Boas was disappointed to see Tottenham drop below Arsenal after his team were held to a goalless draw by stubborn Stoke at White Hart Lane.

Tottenham would have moved ahead of Chelsea into third had they won, but they ended the afternoon in fifth after their north London neighbours and Everton both recorded victories against Wigan and West Ham respectively.

Villas-Boas' men threw everything at the Potters, but they could not find their way through a defence the Tottenham boss had described as one of the best in Europe during the week.

Frustration: Andre Villas-Boas saw his side held at White Hart Lane

Frustration: Andre Villas-Boas saw his side held at White Hart Lane

The Staffordshire side showed exactly why they have the best defensive record in the league as Robert Huth, Ryan Shawcross and Asmir Begovic all put in towering performances to keep the likes of Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale and Emmanuel Adebayor at bay.

Villas-Boas, whose side face Aston Villa on Boxing Day, was not happy at seeing his team slip below Arsenal on goal difference.

'No one enjoys being level on points with Arsenal at this club,' Villas-Boas said. 'I have experienced this rivalry for the first time this year and I have spoken very highly about it before.

'It is an extremely healthy competition between both teams, but we have to continue now. Today was a difficult game. Stoke are an extremely competitive and physical team who are difficult to break down.

'I want to be extremely positive as the players really tried hard.'

Adebayor and Defoe both had half-chances either side of the break, but Begovic was not really tested until injury time when he saved Gylfi Sigurdsson's header from close range. Stoke have built their eight-match unbeaten run around their solid defence, who have kept nine clean sheets this term.

Getting shirty: Gareth Bale has his shirt pulled by Stoke's Andy Wilkinson

Getting shirty: Gareth Bale has his shirt pulled by Stoke's Andy Wilkinson

Spurs had to resort to long shots for most of the match and Pulis was very happy with his team's shut out against one of the quickest attacks in the league.

'We are delighted. That's nine clean sheets now,' Pulis said. 'We look solid defensively. They had a few shots from outside box and that one great save from Asmir so we are very pleased with how we played.

'We talk about the two centre-halves and the goalkeeper, but I think all the players work so hard on organisation and discipline. It's a great point at a great football club.'

Referee Lee Mason had a busy afternoon, dishing out seven yellow cards – five of which came for the away side. The game threatened to boil over at times, particularly in the second half when Adebayor appeared to square up to Shawcross as they grappled in the box.

The issue of grappling in the box is a hot topic in football, and Villas-Boas thinks referees need to be more consistent.

Clash: Ryan Shawcross and Emmanuel Adebayor may be not be swapping Christmas cards this year

Clash: Ryan Shawcross and Emmanuel Adebayor may be not be swapping Christmas cards this year

He said: 'You have to take out the law (that punishes grappling) as if you pretend to be blind you have to take out the situation and move on.

'We had some given for us when Stoke were attacking but none in their box that could have given us a penalty. Those decisions are very hard to take, and maybe those ones are the stepping stone for people to start learning.'

The officials were at the centre of another controversy in the second half when Bale, who has been booked four times this year for diving, went down easily looking for a foul just outside the box.

Pulis launched an angry tirade at Bale from the sidelines when he went down, but the Stoke boss refused to be drawn on the matter afterwards.

'I will leave that. It's Christmas,' Pulis said.

Tony Pulis makes Marouane Fellaini complaint

Pulis makes Fellaini complaint as Everton midfielder is only given three-match ban for headbutt

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UPDATED:

22:36 GMT, 21 December 2012

Tony Pulis has made a complaint to referees’ chief Mike Riley over the leniency of the punishment handed out to Everton’s Marouane Fellaini.

Stoke City’s boss was upset that the Belgium midfielder was given a three-match ban following a series of incidents involving Ryan Shawcross.

Fellaini was caught on camera headbutting the England centre back as the pair jostled prior to a corner.

Headbutt: Fellaini was given a three-game ban for this challenge

Headbutt: Fellaini was given a three-game ban for this challenge

The Everton man was retrospectively handed a three-match ban for violent conduct. But two other clashes between the pair were highlighted after the final whistle.

Pulis was upset at referee Mark Halsey’s report and wrote to Riley arguing that one of his players would have been given a lengthier ban had they acted in the same manner.

Fellaini, who has been fined 150,000 by Everton, will be forced to train as normal by manager David Moyes during his ban, including on Christmas Day.

Stoke midfielder Charlie Adam has pulled out of Saturday’s match at Tottenham following the death of his father.

Complaint: Pulis is not happy with the FA's decision

Complaint: Pulis is not happy with the FA's decision

Meanwhile, Everton striker Kevin Mirallas will miss the festive fixtures with a hamstring problem that has led to him being sent to see the renowned Dr Hans Muller-Wolfhart in Munich.

Mirallas has only played for 45 minutes since he pulled up lame against Sunderland on November 10.

‘I am worried, yes, especially as he is a quick, fleet-footed player,’ said Moyes, who will recall Phil Neville following knee surgery.

Martin Keown"s boot room: Marouane Fellaini headbutt was wrong but sly Ryan Shawcross has no defence

The boot room: It's not defending, it's tag wrestling! Fellaini headbutt was wrong but sly Shawcross has no defence

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UPDATED:

22:57 GMT, 21 December 2012

What Marouane Fellaini did to Ryan Shawcross last weekend was wrong – there is no place for headbutts on a football pitch. Everton manager David Moyes was quick to make that point, too.

Fellaini's reaction was that of frustration, a retaliation to almost an hour of being manhandled by the Stoke centre back at every set-piece. He felt Shawcross was cheating time after time and so the anger built up. It wasn't right but something needs to be done about the style in which Shawcross marks people.

It's not defending, it's tag wrestling. He's not bothered about the ball, just the man.

Mario Fellaini headbutts Ryan Shawcross

Mario Fellaini headbutts Ryan Shawcross

I have been watching Shawcross for long enough to know he's been regularly grabbing attackers, putting both arms around them like a bear hug.

He's not alone in doing this in the Premier League but he's the best at it, disguising his clear fouling from the referee. He collars his opponents, targeting people like Fellaini who are so good in the air. He does it exceptionally well but he oversteps the mark.

As a defender you always need to have some contact with the man you are marking at set-pieces but there are boundaries.

There will always be shirt-pulling in the box – sometimes it's just a natural instinct when a player runs away from you. You use it as a brake to slow down an attacker, it's part of your armoury. I did that but I never put two arms around an opponent like Shawcross does.

I was on the receiving end of a player like that, too. It was a game against Lazio and Alessandro Nesta was wrestling me to the ground at every free-kick and corner. I tried to tell the referee but I got no help from him. He did nothing. So I decided I would stop him by barging into him at every set-piece, running violently into him. I started acting like a crazy guy. He could see the look in my eye which was telling him not to do it again or it would all go off.

So I can understand what Fellaini must have been feeling, even though he was wrong to let it get the better of him. When Shawcross was headbutted by Fellaini it must have been painful. But I have been headbutted and punched and I know it's a choice whether you go down or not. Most of the time it happened to me, I fought back.

But when Nigel Spackman punched me in the back of the head, I chose to go to the floor so the referee would notice it and would send him off. He did. No doubt that was in Shawcross's mind as he hit the deck.

WhatsTheScore

Christian soldiers on

Bang-on Benteke

Christian Benteke has been a revelation for
Aston Villa, with eight goals already this season in all competitions. Can he become the first Villa player to score 20 goals since Juan Pablo Angel in 2003-04

11-12 . Darren Bent 10
10-11. Darren Bent 9/Ashley Young 9
09-10. John Carew 17
08-09. John Carew 15
07-08. John Carew 13
06-07. Gabriel Agbonlahor 10
05-06. Milan Baros 12
04-05. Juan Pablo Angel 9
03-04. Juan Pablo Angel 23

Christian Benteke is an absolute revelation. He has some of Didier Drogba's pace and power but whereas Drogba would fall to the floor with a broken eyelash, Benteke is harder.

He reminds me of former Chelsea striker Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who was a fearsome opponent. You didn't make him angry because you'd be worried what he'd do to you and the same can be said about Benteke.

The harder you hit him, the harder he hits back. The Belgian is dominating everyone he faces – I haven't seen any defender master him yet. He's caused problems for Manchester City, Manchester United, Spurs and Liverpool to name but a few.

He has fantastic feet and technique and they complement his confidence and strength. He will keep getting better, too.

Match Previews 2

Match Previews 1

David Moyes calls on referees to address grappling issue

Moyes calls on referees to clamp down on penalty area grappling issue

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UPDATED:

11:49 GMT, 21 December 2012

Everton manager David Moyes has called on referees to make their mind up on grappling in the area and to remain consistent on the issue.

Moyes said: 'It's not part of the game. But the only people who can stop it are the referees. If they think that it is OK, then they have got to tell us.'

Midfielder Marouane Fellaini is facing a fine of up to 150,000 after David Moyes confirmed Everton will not be contesting his three-match ban.

Stamp it out: Moyes has called for referees to take action

Stamp it out: Moyes has called for referees to take action

The Belgian midfielder was found guilty of violent conduct by the Football Association yesterday after they took retrospective action following his head-butt on Stoke defender Ryan Shawcross.

Fellaini, however, can consider himself fortunate that he is not facing an even greater suspension as referee Mark Halsey confirmed he saw two other clashes between the 25-year-old and Shawcross during the 1-1 draw at the Britannia Stadium.

The Toffees have also thrown their support behind the Hillsborough charity single which is on course to become Christmas No 1.

The single has been released to raise funds for the families of the 96 Liverpool fans who lost their lives in the disaster in April 1989.

Heads up: Fellaini has been charged by the FA over his clash with Shawcross

Heads up: Fellaini has been charged by the FA over his clash with Shawcross

Moyes said: 'It's great news for the families. When I heard the news a couple of months ago, I was outraged that the police would do that and fabricate the evidence. I’m delighted for the families.

'But (for the song) I think some credit should go to Bill Kenwright. On the night (of the Newcastle game) he was wondering whether to play “walk on” but in the end he decided for 'He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother'.

He felt that was more fitting. It should not go amiss that he chose the song. Let's hope that it raises some (significant) money for the families.'

Model pro Fellaini was recently handed the player of the month award

Model pro Fellaini was recently handed the player of the month award

Maroune Fellaini wanted by Everton

He's the Fella-ini for us! Chelsea target 20m raid for Everton midfielder

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UPDATED:

14:53 GMT, 17 December 2012

Chelsea are planning a 20million raid for Everton midfielder Marouane Fellaini when the January transfer window opens.

Fellaini has been one of the Barclays Premier League success stories this season afetr a run of eight goals in 16 appearances for the Toffees this season.

Wanted man: The Everton midfielder is being tracked by Chelsea

Wanted man: The Everton midfielder is being tracked by Chelsea

But he hit the headlines at the weekend after head-butting Stoke's Ryan Shawcross in an off-the-ball incident at the Britannia Stadium.

This has not deterred the Blues who want the Belgium international to shore-up their midfield, according to the Evening Standard.

Head boy: Fellaini has landed himself in hot water over this incident

Head boy: Fellaini has landed himself in hot water over this incident

Fellaini signed a new five-year deal at Goodison Park a year ago, but could be tempted away by an offers from Stamford Bridge.

The 25-year-old joins Radamel Falcao and Theo Walcott on the Roman Abramovich's shopping list to ensure the club's already faltering season doesn't totally collapse.