Lampard expects to become a free agent
Frank Lampard has revealed he expects his 12-year love affair with Chelsea to come to an end this summer. The England midfielder is approaching the last six months of his contract with the reigning European champions and as of yet no negotiations have been scheduled to discuss an extension.
The 34-year old, who is Chelsea’s third highest goalscorer, with 189 goals in 611 appearances in all competitions, was an integral member of the Chelsea side in May, but has fallen out of favor this season as the Blues look to revamp their squad with younger stars.
“I’m a Chelsea player but at the minute nothing else has been said,” he said. “Talks about a one-year or two-year extension don’t exist because nothing has been said and nothing is planned, as far as I know. There have been no talks about anything or about an extension.”
Chinese side Guizhou Renhe are reported to be keeping tabs on the situation, as are clubs from Major League Soccer, in particular the Los Angeles Galaxy who are likely to step forward when he becomes available.
Wenger to be given funds to splash in January
Arsene Wenger will be given “considerable resources” to spend in the January transfer window, the Arsenal Supporters’ Trust has been told.
The Gunners had another disappointing result midweek crashing out of the Capital One Cup after a defeat by minnows Bradford on Tuesday.
Arsenal supporters wanted answers as to why Wenger had been reluctant to spend money on new players and 100 fans met with Gazidis to voice their concerns.
“There is plenty of money there,” said Trust spokesman Tim Payton. “That was the message that Ivan and his finance director were giving this evening.”
Arsenal, who are currently seventh in the EPL, are enduring one of their poorest starts to an EPL but the Trust believe Wenger should be given the chance to take the club forward if he spends wisely in January.
“Lots of people have asked me whether Arsene Wenger should go,” added Payton.
“He certainly needs to change and improve, spend the money he’s got, strengthen the set-up around him and the results will be the judge.”
Toure wants to end his days with City
Yaya Toure has revealved he would like to spend the rest of his playing days at Manchester City.
The 29-year-old midfielder has become a talismanic figure since joining from Barcelona for $38.4m back in 2010.
He scored the only goal in the FA Cup final in his first season to end City’s 35-year trophy drought and was a key member of the City squad that won their first league crown for 44-years.
“I would love to end my career here,” Toure, whose current contract ends in 2015, told the club’s official website.
“Nobody knows what the next step is in football and I believe that if you stop dreaming, you should stop playing football, but this is where I want to be.
“There is no other place I would rather finish with and I want to continue winning titles and trophies with City.”
Messi may not have goal scoring record
Last weekend Lional Messi scored two goals to bring him to 86 goals for 2012, surpassing the previous tally of 85 goals set by Gerd Muller in 1972.
However, Messi may have to score another 21 goals before the year is out is he is to be the undisputed record holder as the Zambian FA say on of their strikers, Godfrey Chitalu, scored a phenomenal 107 goals the same year Muller scored 85 back in 1972.
Faz spokesman Eric Mwanza told BBC Sport it has the records to prove Chitalu should be acknowledged for his goals.
“We want to make it very clear that it is not a question of authenticating, or trying to verify or see if he actually scored the goals – that is not in question,” he insisted.
“What is in question now is why has he not been recognized, and that is what we are looking at now.
“We are sending communication to the Secretary General of Fifa, Mr Jerome Valcke, to look again into the matter of Godfrey Chitalu.”
Previews and Predictions
|Arsenal v West Brom||2-0||2-0|
|Aston Villa v Stoke||0-0||0-1|
|Southampton v Reading||1-0||2-2|
|Sunderland v Chelsea||1-3||0-1|
|Swansea v Norwich||3-4||3-1|
|Wigan v QPR||2-2||2-1|
|Man City v Man Utd||2-3||1-2|
|Everton v Tottenham||2-1||2-1|
|West Ham v Liverpool||2-3||1-0|
|Fulham v Newcastle||2-1||2-1|
A correct result is worth ONE point, while a correct score earns THREE points.
Last week I got five correct results, with three perfect scores, giving me a combined tally of 11-points. 13-points is the record set back in week 14.
Let us see if I can better it this week.
Newcastle Vs Man City
The Magpies get us underway this weekend hosting Manchester City in Saturday’s early kick-off.
After enjoying a terrific year last season, Newcastle started this season reasonably well. However, a long list of injuries have contributed to them winning just one game in their last seven, leaving them languishing in 14th place just two-points above the relegation zone.
Manchester City lost their first game of the season last week, and will be hoping to bounce back with a win to stop a bigger gap opening up between them and their neighbors Manchester United.
City, like Newcastle, have not been in great form this season, and it seems only Roberto Mancini knows why Carlos Tevez can’t get in the starting eleven. The Argentine has perhaps been City’s best player this season, yet continues to find himself on the bench.
Magpies’ playmaker Hatem Ben Arfa is doubtful, having suffered a reaction after making his comeback from a hamstring injury.
Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany is a doubt after picking up a groin injury during last weekend’s Manchester derby, while midfielder Gareth Barry is serving a one-match ban for verbally abusing a match official after that game.
Newcastle are on a horrible run and have already lost three games at home this season. However, the Magpies back by the home crowd always up their game when the big sides visit, and I expect no different from them on this occasion.
Liverpool Vs Aston Villa
Liverpool continued their good recent form with a fine away win at West Ham last week, and have now only lost one of their last 10 games.
The Reds have slowly found their feet, and look a lot stronger in midfield now that midfielder Lucas Leiva is back after a long layout through injury.
Aston Villa are slowly improving in the League and got a good win midweek in the League Cup, but really need to get a win in the League if they want to escape the relegation dogfight.
Liverpool will welcome back striker Luis Suarez who missed out last week’s win through suspension.
However, Aston Villa striker Darren Bent misses out having picked up a hamstring injury, and does not look likely to feature again for Villains in 2012.
Aston Villa may slowly be steadying the ship, however, I doubt they will be able to weather the storm they will encounter at Anfield.
Manchester United Vs Sunderland
Manchester United opened up a six-point gap at the top last week with their last minute winner away to neighbors Manchester City.
The Red Devils took their chances well, and should have been 3-0 up before being pegged back by City. They were perhaps a tad guilty of sitting deep and keeping what they had and it almost cost them. But once again keep up with one of their trademark last minute goals to take the spoils.
Sunderland got a much needed win against Reading midweek, and seemed to be playing more like they were last season, with real urgency and tempo.
Johnny Evans looks set to miss out for United having injured his hamstring in last weeks derby win, but Manchester United will be boasted by the return of their captain Nemanja Vidic who is expected to make his comeback after a three-month absence with a knee injury.
Sunderland pair Adam Johnson (dead leg) and Danny Rose (ankle) are doubts, though Steven Fletcher should be available despite nursing an ankle complaint.
Sunderland may have got back winning ways midweek, but I can’t see them leaving Old Trafford with anything. United have not been at their best season, especially defensively, but they have an arsenal of attacking options and always seem able to find the goal.
Tottenham Vs Swansea
Both these teams were involved in dramatics games last week, Swansea lost a 3-4 thriller at home, while Tottenham surrendered two goals in injury time to go down 2-1 way to Everton.
Swansea bounced back midweek to take them into the League Cup semifinals for the first time in their history, and their win against Arsenal a couple of weeks back was further evidence of their continual improvement under new coach Michael Laudrup.
Tottenham looked like they had gained a vital three points away to Everton last week, but squandered their lead at the death. They played well, but evidently missed the quality of star player Gareth Bale—the Welshman creates and scores goals from nothing—and Spurs will be hoping he brushes off the hamstring injury that kept him out of last week’s loss.
Scott Parker could return among the substitutes, but Benoit Assou-Ekotto is not fit enough to be considered.
Swansea captain Ashley Williams is available after serving a one-match suspension midweek, but Pablo Hernandez is still out with a hamstring injury.
Both these sides play attractive attacking soccer and if both teams play to their potential we could be in for another thriller. Swansea’s Michu just cannot seem to stop scoring and I wouldn’t be surprised if he nets once or twice on Sunday such is his form. But Spurs have been pretty good at home so far this season and I think they might just shade this game.
Reading Vs Arsenal
When these two met in the Cup a month back we were treated to a 5-7 thriller with Arsenal the victor, while it would be great to have another 12 goal thriller I very doubt it will happen, though you never know with soccer.
Reading have been involved in a few high goal scoring games this season, and if they could tighten up at the back they might be higher up the table because they don’t seem to have too much trouble finding the net.
Arsenal lost midweek in the Cup and everyone is saying they are in a crisis, yet for all their troubles they still only lie five points off of third place Chelsea. They looked good against West Brom last week, with the link-up play between Wilshere, Arteta and Carzorla looking particularly promising.
Abou Diaby and Laurent Koscielny will once again miss out through injury for the Gunners, while Theo Walcott is still a doubt, though Oliver Giroud should return after recovering from an injury.
This game could be another thriller as both teams seem to be leaking goals at the moment, but I think Arsenal’s greater class will see them come out on top.
|Newcastle v Man City||1-1|
|Liverpool v Aston Villa||3-1|
|Man Utd v Sunderland||4-1|
|Norwich v Wigan||2-2|
|QPR v Fulham||1-2|
|Stoke v Everton||0-1|
|Tottenham v Swansea||3-2|
|West Brom v West Ham||2-1|
|Reading v Arsenal||1-2|