A roundup of today’s football headlines. A day filled with injuries, brawls, transfer wrangles and fears over Champions League qualifier venues. Not the best way to start a week…
Important things first though – the football carnival is in its second incarnation, and you can catch all the top posts from last week here.
Chelsea are hoping that Joe Cole’s knee injury is not as serious as they fear. Scans today will provide conclusive evidence but right now it looks like Cole could be out for almost 6 weeks – making him a non-starter until mid-September.
While this makes Mourinho’s job of picking a midfield a bit easier, it also turns the spotlight on Steve McClaren – will he accomodate Lampard by shunting him out left or keep the Lampard / Gerrard pairing and use Downing on the left?
McClaren is also planning to call up Dean Ashton for England’s friendly against Greece next week – Rooney is absent, so is Owen and that leaves Crouch and Defoe as the first choice pairing. The full squad will be announced on Friday, when McClaren will announce the new captain and officially make his first move towards distancing himself from Eriksson’s legacy.
If you didn’t know, Ashley Cole will be left out of Champions League qualifier against Dinamo Zagreb – with a deal for the fullback ‘expected’ to be concluded this week as Chelsea return from their not-so-successful United States jaunt. The quicker this ends, the better.
Manchester United fans will feel that they are in a perpetual nightmare. If an overpriced Carrick wasn’t enough, United now have to deal with an injury to Carrick that rules him out till September and potential bans to Rooney and Scholes. Add to this niggles to Neville, Heinze and Saha, plus Ferdinand’s ankle injury that could put him out of the Sevilla match and you have the potential of seeing Giggs and O’Shea continue where they left off in May – smack in the centre of the park.
Liverpool are still waiting for official confirmation on the venue of their Champions League match with Maccabi Haifa. If it helps, Dynamo Kiev’s president has already stated that after requests from Israel they have agreed to host the match if necessary. Liverpool will most likely be playing in Ukraine, but Israel are holding out as long as possible hoping that the local conflict ends and that football can be resumed.
Tim Vickery writes an interesting piece in BBC about how South American clubs are ‘exporting’ talent to Europe and elsewhere. One of the most interesting insights of the article is that with sound administration, this ‘export’ policy can be used to build a club from just middle-tier to a world-class club with excellent facilities.
Something to note for all those fans who blame their clubs for selling out?
Hernan Crespo is expected to sign yet another loan deal, this time to Inter. This could prompt a run for Carlos Tevez – interesting times ahead considering that United have been linked with Tevez (quite needlessly) this summer as well.
Other news of note – Sol Campbell is expected to join Portsmouth (and fade into obscurity) while the fans at the Tottenham vs B. Dortmund match clashed and the full-scale brawl that it turned into was not filmed. In this world of YouTube and Google Video, you would have thought that some idiot had the sense to make a bloody movie?