Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Chelsea 2-0 Spartac Moscow


Saturday, October 16, 2010

New England Sports Venture (NESV) Take Over Liverpool


New England Sports Venture (NESV) have completed their takeover of Liverpool football club.

Liverpool's Commercial Director Ian Ayre confirmed the deal at 3.55pm this afternoon, meaning John W Henry replaces Tom Hicks and George Gillett as the owner of England's most successful football club.

John W Henry stated that he was "proud and humbled" to be the new owner of Liverpool football club.

However remaining in the background, something like a grey cloud, are the former owners threatening a £1billion lawsuit for "damages".

The American pair say they will "pursue every legal avenue" as they look to claim damages for what they believe is an "extraordinary swindle".

When asked about this Henry joked: "Why is it only that much?"

A statement on behalf of John W Henry said:

"On behalf of the entire NESV partnership, I want to express how incredibly proud and humbled we are to be confirmed as the new owners of Liverpool FC.

"We regard our role as that of stewards for the Club with a primary focus on returning the Club to greatness on and off the field for the long-term. We are committed first and foremost to winning.

"We have a history of winning, and today we want LFC supporters to know that this approach is what we intend to bring to this great Club."

Chairman Martin Broughton also stated that he would remain for the time being as Chairman in a "transitional role" until Henry and NESV create their own board.

The transaction values the Club at £300m and eliminates all of the acquisition debt placed on LFC by its previous owners, reducing the Club's debt servicing obligations from £25m-£30m a year to £2m-£3m.

NESV Chairman Thomas Werner said in a statement: "We recognize that Liverpool Football Club is an historic institution ultimately grounded in the community and the fans. Our first step as new owners will be to listen.

"We want to hear from the Manager and the players and those who are part of the daily operation of the Club. We will be visible at Anfield and will embrace and listen to those who have stood by this Club and who are the rock on which its future success will be built. We want to hear from the fans, local leaders and the local community.

"We want to hear from those who know LFC best, who have made it the best and share our desire to return to a culture of winning."

Jointly Mr Henry and Mr Werner both stated:

"We are eager to commence with our plan, spend time with the organization, its leadership, its supporters, and the local communities.

"We will take these steps alongside the Club's executives with a shared objective of stabilizing the Club and ultimately returning Liverpool FC to its rightful place in English and European football, successful and competing for trophies."

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chelsea Midfielder Yossi Benayoun Faces Achilles Surgery And Six Months On The Sidelines


Chelsea have confirmed that midfielder Yossi Benayoun will face a six month lay-off with an achilles injury.

The Israeli international midfielder sustained the injury whilst on international duty last week and will undergo an operation on Monday to limit the damage done to the Achilles tendon.

The injury presents a blow to the Premier League champions, as they look to compete on three fronts this season with the league, the cup and the Champions League all realistic ambitions.

Benayoun adds to the injury worries that already face manager Carlo Ancelotti, as both Alex and Saloman Kalou face spells on the sidelines with thigh injuries. Promising young cente-back Jeffrey Bruma is suffering from tight hamstrings.

Benayoun only joined Chelsea from Liverpool for a fee in the region of £5.5 million in the summer, with Englishman Joe Cole subsequently moving in the other direction on a free transfer.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Brazil & Santos Striker Neymar Reveals Interest In Chelsea Switch


Santos' teenage striker Neymar has revealed that he hopes to make a move to Chelsea.

The Blues were previously believed to have had bids of €19.5 million and €26.5m rejected, as the 18-year-old re-signed with the Brazilian club until December 2014.

At the time, the youngster maintained that he did not think it was the right moment to make a move abroad, but has now done a U-turn and hopes to carve out a move to Stamford Bridge soon.

"A player with a winning mentality like I have has to play in the best places like Chelsea," Neymar told The Sun.

"Santos is my club. I love it. But it is not at as high a level as the English Premier League."

Having previously drawn comparisons with stars such as Robinho and Pele, the young marksman maintained that his ambition is to be the best player in the world.

And he wants to do so playing alongside the likes of Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard.

Neymar added: "I want to go where I can become a world-class player. I have ambitions to be the best player in the world.

"But more than that, I want to play in the top tournaments and if I do well and I deserve to be voted the best, then that will be fantastic.

"I watch Premier League football all the time, whenever I get the chance, and I enjoy the speed of the game and that it is so straight-forward and direct. That is something which really appeals to me.

"Chelsea have some fantastic players like Didier Drogba and Frank Lampard and I would love to play with them.

"I don't know where I would fit in because that would be up to the coach. But I can play however they want me to. I'm confident in any position."

The Brazilian also insists that he will not have any trouble making a move away from his home country, and believes that he will not have any significant trouble adapting to life in west London.

He said: "I'm preparing to move. I will be in a better state of mind and ready for it next time.

"There are already Brazilian players at Chelsea, Alex and Ramires. I know of Alex because he used to be at Santos although it was a while ago.

"And I played with Ramires for the national team, but I haven't had a chance to talk with him about Chelsea yet. I'm sure we will though."

Chelsea 2-0 Arsenal


The inspirational finishing of Didier Drogba and the power of Alex produced the goals that decided the London derby and made it five straight wins over Arsenal.
They know all about him, they heard all the talk before the game but still they can't stop him. A first-half when both sides found space in the opposition half and saw chances come and go was drawing to an end when Didier Drogba converted an Ashley Cole ball from close range to score his 13th goal in 11 starts against the Gunners.
However if Stamford Bridge was expecting more of the same, even contest between the sides in the second-half it was disappointed as the away side took greater control of the game in a way that will have Arsene Wenger, if true to past form, claiming some sort of moral victory but their Achilles heel was exposed and they couldn't finish the pressure off.
Chelsea missed the chance to extend our lead near the hour-mark when Nicolas Anelka missed the type of chance you would put your house on him scoring but the Blues weren't made to pay, and we also suffered a couple of erroneous offside calls that prevented further goals.

Alex smashed in a free-kick with five minutes left on the clock and then it was the home team's turn to spurn openings. It was a Chelsea-Arsenal game with so much familiar about it, even with new players in both sides.
Carlo Ancelotti kept faith with the 11 that had started the defeat at Man City so Ramires tasted this London derby for the first time. Arsene Wenger made one change from his setback against West Brom the same day, Jack WIlshere returning to midfield with Emmanuel Eboue making way, and in a tactical tweak he pushed Abou Diaby into an attacking midfield role, and not without an impact.

Arsenal soon showed Chelsea would have to work hard for the three points by issuing a vigorous wake-up call after just 28 seconds.
Sagna crossed towards the penalty spot and Chamakh dived in front of Alex to head just wide. It didn't get any more secure for the Blues when the corner that followed flicked off Malouda and was headed over from just two yards out by Koscielny.
Drogba left Sagna on the seat of his shorts in his first physical contest and then fired a second-minute free kick well over.
Chelsea wee testing the new-look Arsenal rearguard with aerial balls. Malouda looped a shot over after their central defence dithered in dealing with a JT punt upfield.
It was true end-to-end stuff in the opening stages with Cech asked to save down low from Arshavin on seven minutes.
Drogba was looking very lively and popping up on the right, he skinned Clichy and belted the ball across to where Malouda lost out to Koscielny.
Then the Ivorian was only a yard or so away from finishing off a scintillating counter attack that was begun by Essien charging away from a foul challenge by Wilshere.
On 18 minutes the Essien-Drogba corner combination could have paid off again when the Ghanaian met the delivery with a thumping header but he diverted it wide.
A run of Chelsea chances came to an end on 27 minutes when Arshavin was afforded space to shoot from wide out on the left and Cech executed one of his saves of the season so far to tip the ball away from the top corner.Then Nasri cut inside Ramires and let fly as Terry slid in, but this time the attempt was off target.
On 34 minutes Essien and Drogba combined in open player, Drogba leaving his marker on the floor as he burst away onto a pass down the right-hand side of the area. The shot was accurate but a good height for Fabianski to save.
The breakthrough came on 39 minutes and goes down as Ramires's finest moment in a Chelsea shirt so far.
He won the ball deep inside the Arsenal half and after receiving it back off Mikel, drove a perfectly weighted ball through the Arsenal defence for Cole to run on to and strike a first-time ball in towards the near post.
There was only one way for Drogba to score and he delivered. Diverting it off his heel, where fortune had favoured Carlos Tevez last week, so it did Chelsea this time as the ball bounced off the inside of the post and in.

Drogba after running away behind the Shed End goal in celebration, pointed to the sky, presumably a sign of sympathy for his manager's bereavement. Ashley Cole in the Shed End/East Stand corner enjoyed the goal too.
Chamakh tried to con the ref into awarding a penalty as he fell over Cech's stationary body early in the second half, and Arsenal caught Chelsea napping and won a corner on the break, one of three in quick succession as they again were sharpest out of the dressing room.
The pressure kept coming as a Diaby shot deflected off Cole and dropped wide of the Chelsea goal.

There then came a tale of two penalty decisions. Koscielny won the benefit of the doubt when he took the ball and Drogba at the same time in the area and then Ramires made a goal-saving challenge on Chamakh and again referee Mike Dean waved play on.
Arsenal were well on top yet ironically this was the spell when Chelsea could have gone a long way to putting the game to bed.
Squillaci dawdled as he ran the ball back towards his own goal, Anelka picked the pocket of his compatriot and went wide of Fabianski in text-book style but then with the goal gaping rolled his shot just wide.
On 69 minutes, Ashley Cole rifled Anelka's pass into the net but the whistle had gone for offside. Replays showed the Chelsea left-back was level with the last Arsenal defender.
On 72 minutes there was a direct swap of Ferreira on for Ivanovic and shortly after Chelsea finally broke the shackles to threaten the Arsenal goal once more.

Mikel it was who brought the ball under control and then the excellent Essien found the run of Anelka. This time his aim was true and although Fabianski could only push the ball back into play, it evaded Drogba's charge into the box.
Referee Dean had allowed the game to ebb and flow by showing restraint with his whistle and let at least two fouls go without a booking that many refs would have punished, but finally brought out the yellow when Ferreira brought down an attacking Rosicky.
Chelsea had a big escape when Rosicky sent over a cross soon after and Chamakh headed wide from six yards before the home team had every right to feel aggrieved over an offside flag when Ramires was played clean through. He had been a yard behind the defensive line.
Arsenal were looking stretched at the back when the Blues could push forward and Kosceinly was booked after he dragged Anelka to the ground 30 yards out.
Alex and Drogba lined up behind it but it always looked likely to be the Brazilian's turn. On Tuesday he hit the post, today he first found the gap left by Malouda pulling out the wall and then the top corner with an absolute screamer.

There were 85 minutes played. That was the game won, and Essien should have made Arsenal suffer further but their keeper saved one-on-one as the Ghanaian tried to chip over him.
The Pole had flapped once in the first half when he somehow pushed a ball from out wide back in front of his goal, but he did well again before the close when saving a powerful Malouda drive.
Stamford Bridge warmed up for one of those 'One Step Beyond' dances that follow our biggest home wins, but if there was anything that could put a slight dampener on the day it was more injuries.
A feature of the first half had been Arsenal players requiring treatment after seemingly routine challenges with some of Chelsea' strong men. But now it was Blues shirts leaving the pitch with neither Mikel nor Alex finishing the game. We were down to 10 men during stoppage time.
At least there is now a two-week international break for recovery, an interval we enter four points clear of the pack.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic (Ferreira 72), Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Mikel (Sturridge 88), Ramires (Zhirkov 82); Anelka, Drogba, Malouda.
Unused subs Turnbull, Van Aanholt, McEachran, Kakuta.
Scorers Drogba 39, Alex 85.
Booked Ferreira 79.
Arsenal (4-4-1-1): Fabianski; Sagna, Squillaci (c), Koscielny, Clichy; Wilshere (Emmanuel-Thomas 80), Song, Diaby (Rosicky 69), Arshavin (Vela 87); Nasri; Chamakh.
Unused subs Szczesny, Djourou, Denilson, Eboue.
Booked Koscielny 84.
Referee Mike Dean
Crowd 41,828.
Shots on Chelsea 6 Arsenal 5
Corners Chelsea 9 Arsenal 10
Fouls Chelsea 7 Arsenal 13
Offsides Chelsea 7 Arsenal 2

Chelsea 2-0 Marseille


Chelsea made it two wins from two in Champions League Group F with a comfortable 2-0 home win over Marseille.
The French champions made life tricky at times for the Blues, but an early goal from captain John Terry, his first of the season, and a Nicolas Anelka penalty inside the first half-hour put the game beyond the reach of our visitors.
Alex and Michael Essien both went agonisingly close to extending the lead in the second half, but Carlo Ancelotti will be content with getting back to winning ways after successive domestic defeats.
Marseille, led by former Chelsea midfielder Didier Deschamps, lined up differently to how they started their matchday one defeat against Spartak Moscow, with only six players surviving from that game.
Chelsea too were a little unfamiliar, with Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Yossi Benayoun still injured and Didier Drogba still suspended, there were starts for Yury Zhirkov in midfield and Gael Kakuta in attack, the 19-year-old lining up on the right of the front three, where Nicolas Anelka led the line down the middle.

Two minutes in it was the visitors who had the game's first chance, Lucho Gonzalez misfiring his shot, and the ball ricocheting wide off team-mate Loic Remy's heel.
It was a deflection at the other end four minutes later, from Florent Malouda's shot, which led to Chelsea's opening goal.
Kakuta took the corner from the right, swinging it into the near post area where John Terry had made his run, and the captain deftly flicked the ball just inside the post with the outside of his boot.

It was the perfect way to quieten, if not entirely silence the visiting support, which had been vociferous in its abuse of the French World Cup men during the first few minutes.
It certainly hadn't affected Malouda, who had flown out of the blocks. He nearly doubled the lead on 13 minutes after beating his marker Charles Kabore for strength and skill in equal measure, but fired hsi right-footed shot just over Steve Mandanda's crossbar.
Anelka than had his own chance, after Kakuta had threaded him through, but although powerful, his shot was angled straight at the goalkeeper.
His next chance would be rather more straightforward, coming from the penalty spot after Stephane Mbia was adjudged to have handled Michael Essien's right wing cross. Anelka stepped up, shuffled and calmly slotted it low to the static goalkeeper's left.

Marseille continued to search for their first goal of this season's group stages, Benoit Cheyrou twice went close while Alex had to block a powerful effort inside his own area, but there was no denying who was firmly on top come half-time.
Cheyrou once more, a Gabriel Heinze overhead kick and a long-range Brandao drive kept Petr Cech busy as the second period commenced, and then Lucho had a powerful attempt kept out by Ashley Cole's knee.
Back on the attack, Chelsea almost had a third when Alex's deliciously vicious free-kick came back out off the inside of the post before John Mike Obi had to block substitute Andre Ayew's low drive.
Marseille were getting closer, and Chelsea deeper, but with the two-goal cushion it hardly looked as though the result was in doubt.
Essien cracked a side-footer against the top of the post as the Blues looked to put it out of reach, but other than these isolated incidents a third goal was looking as unlikely as Marseille finding their way back into a game that had begun to drift.

Mathieu Valbuena worked Cech with a low bender and a Chelsea passing move ended with Daniel Sturridge miscuing wide before Josh McEachran replaced Mikel in midfield for the final few minutes.
The youngster started the move that led to Chelsea's final chance, which worked down the left and back inside to Essien, who hit the woodwork for the second time of the evening.
That was the last of the action as Chelsea's 100 percent record continued, in a game where we had shown enterprise in the first half, and resistance in the second.
Chelsea(4-3-3):Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Mikel (McEachran 87), Zhirkov (Sturridge 72); Kakuta (Ramires 61), Anelka, Malouda.
Scorers Terry 6, Anelka (pen) 27
Booked Mikel 81
Marseille (4-3-3): Mandanda (c); Kabore, Diawara, Mbia, Heinze; Lucho Gonzalez, Cisse, Cheyrou (Ayew 58); Remy, Gignac (Valbuena 58), Brandao.
Booked Mbia 26, Heinze 28
Shots on Chelsea 4 Marseille 5
Corners Chelsea 2 Marseille 2
Fouls Chelsea 14 Marseille 14
Offside Chelsea 8 Marseille 1

Manchester City 1-0 Chelsea


Chelsea's first League loss of the campaign came in a tense, close encounter decided by a second-half Carlos Tevez goal.
In a goalless first half with few chances at either end, Carlo Ancelotti's side did hit woodwork, and Nicolas Anelka tested Joe Hart early in the second half, but this was not the potent attacking machine seen in every game this season up to this point.
Trailing in the second-half, the Chelsea manager was not afraid to take off some of his major players this season who were underperforming on the day. Didier Drogba and John Mikel Obi were two to make way, and there was a late Premier League debut for Josh McEachran.
There were two changes to the side which lined-up against Blackpool, with Branislav Ivanovic returning to right-back instead of Paulo Ferreira and Anelka back instead of Salomon Kalou.
Michael Essien and John Mikel Obi were back in midfield following a midweek rest against Newcastle, while a young contingent of Josh McEachran, Gael Kakuta, Patrick van Aanholt and Daniel Sturridge took their positions on the bench.
Ancelotti selected his main attacking trio, with Didier Drogba flanked by Florent Malouda on the left. Anelka took up his position on the right.

Ramires started in midfield and was involved from the off, dispossessing David Silva with a neat tackle from the side before feeding Malouda on the left flank.
But it was the hosts who had the first shot when Carlos Tevez broke down the centre and drilled goal-ward, only for the ball to skim across the face of Cech's goal and go wide.
Our keeper was then forced to collect a hanging Silva cross, intended for Tevez, as City made a break down the left, and soon Zabaleta won a free-kick after colliding with Ivanovic.
The resultant free-kick went nowhere but Manchester City could boast the better of the opening exchanges.
The tables began to turn when Anelka twice sent searching balls into the box, the first landed for Drogba who couldn't find space to shoot, while the second was deflected from danger.

It was the Frenchman who would produce Chelsea's first real chance on goal when he curled a shot inches past the top right from just outside the box. That was with 18 minutes gone.
City retaliated well, hindered only by the accuracy of their final ball, but when Alex nodded a Malouda cross on for Ivanovic to head off the bar, the tempo of the game changed.
City continued to pressure but Chelsea looked a lot more threatening on the attack, and soon Ivanovic won a free-kick for which Zabaleta was shown a yellow 30 yards out from goal.
Drogba took the set piece, which was cleared from danger before City broke down Chelsea's right once more and Cole coolly put the ball out for a throw.
With 35 minutes gone the game was still 0-0. It was end-to-end football with Cech the more tested keeper.
After shots from Malouda and Essien both went astray, a tense first half ended 0-0 but City fans would not have been blamed for feeling optimistic.
Ancelotti made no changes before the second half and within minutes Chelsea were showing their intent once more when Anelka forced Hart into an acrobatic save to tip his 25-yard shot away for a corner.
Chelsea had control in the early stages of the second half, although Cech's quick reactions did come into play when Silva's left-footed strike towards the near post was pushed away for a corner.

But with 58 minutes gone, the hosts took the lead. When Tevez collected a Yaya Toure ball, he ran deep into Chelsea's half of the pitch, cut outside Cole and drilled into the far corner via the inside of the post.
It was against the run of the play for the second half and a well-taken goal by the Argentine, although he was gifted space as the Blues failed to close him down. It was the first time Chelsea had conceded the opening goal this season.
The visitors immediately tired to pull one back, with Ramires latching onto a Malouda through ball before being denied by Nigel De Jong.
Frustrations began to show as Gareth Barry collided with Ivanovic before Mikel was shown yellow for a late challenge on Tevez, resulting in the goalscorer briefly receiving treatment on his ankle.
Despite the deficit, and the noise from a buoyant home crowd, Chelsea continued the hunt for an equaliser, as Ramires edged further and further forward with each move. He wanted a debut goal.
Lifted by the support, City began to threaten further, while Mikel made way for Yury Zhirkov in midfield after 68 minutes on the pitch.
Essien then sent a ball screaming past the post from 25 yards before Drogba was replaced by Sturridge in the 74th minute. Anelka moved into the centre and the young number 23 moved out on the right.
Referee Andre Marriner then brandished yellow at Ramires for knocking Yaya Toure to the ground. It was the last thing he'd do in the game as McEachran came into midfield.
Emmanuel Adebayor was next to make an appearance, replacing Tevez while Yaya Toure took the armband for City. Jerome Boateng then replaced Dedryck Boyata with two minutes left.
City's changes made little difference to the remainder of the game. Sturridge looked bright on the right and teamed up well with Anelka but the host's tight defence denied Chelsea a path through.
By Christian Collison
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Mikel (Zhirkov 68), Ramires (McEachran 80); Anelka, Drogba (Sturridge 74), Malouda.
Unused subs Turnbull, Ferreira, van Aanholt, Kakuta.
Booked Mikel, Ramires, Alex.

Manchester City (4-3-3): Hart; Boyata (Boateng 88), K Toure, Kompany, Zabaleta; Y Toure, De Jong, Barry; Silva (A Johnson 78), Tevez (c) (Adebayor 86), Milner.
Unused subs Given, Lescott, Vieira, Jo.
Scorer Tevez (59)
Booked Zabaleta, Boyata
Referee Andre Marriner
Attendance 47,203
Shots on Chelsea 4 Man City 3
Corners Chelsea 4 Man City 3
Fouls Chelsea 13 Man City 11
Offside Chelsea 1 Man City 2

Chelsea 3-4 Newcastle


Plenty of entertainment but plenty of mistakes at Stamford Bridge as a much-changed Chelsea side suffered a first home domestic cup defeat for two years.
Patrick van Aanholt, one of the four young starters revealed yesterday by Carlo Ancelotti, gave the Blues an early lead against the club he represented on loan last season, but we were 2-1 down by half-time.
Matters got decidedly worse after the break as Newcastle quickly scored a third and then two senior squad players were forced off through injury. Salomon Kalou's departure had required a third sub used as two changes were made at the break so when Yossi Benayoun was also forced off, Chelsea were down to 10 men for the final half-hour.
Still they fought back and first Anelka finished well from a good move before he converted the calmest of penalties inside the final five minutes.
Yet Newcastle, who had proved a physical test all game, finally won it from a set-piece, Shola Ameobi heading in a corner with two minutes on the clock.
There were mixed fortunes for young and old on the pitch, Ancelotti selecting juniors in defence and attack but an experienced midfield of Ramires, Benayoun and Zhirkov. It was Josh McEachran, a second-half sub, who impressed more.
Among the unused subs for the first time were 17-year-old right-back/right midfielder Billy Clifford and 15-year-old central defender/midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah who would, had he come on, have taken Ian 'Chico' Hamilton's record as Chelsea's youngest player.
Zhirkov's was the first shot of the game, after three minutes, hooked wide. The second Chelsea attempt gave Van Aanholt his first Chelsea goal.
Continuing the recent happy habit of early Chelsea goals, this one took just five minutes. Of all the young players starting tonight, the 20-year-old Dutch left-back was probably the least fancied to score but he robbed a dozing Nile Ranger, exchanged passes with Kakuta, and although shooting close to fellow Dutchman Krul, the Newcastle keeper's save was a weak one and the ball was diverted high into the net with Van Aanholt leaping away in triumph.

That should have settled some nerves but Sol Campbell from a corner wasn't too far away from a rapid equaliser.
Ryan Taylor, who would later make a more positive contribution to his team, was the game's first booking on 10 minutes when he sent Kakuta flying with a chop across the shins.
Chelsea's passing in the final third wasn't quite reaching its targets with Kakuta, perhaps trying too hard to impress, failing with a couple of difficult passes.
However on 24 minutes the 19-year-old struck the delivery of the game so far, from wide on the left and fired in with such velocity that Krul did well to push it away, Anelka poised to capitalise.
Newcastle equalised two minutes later in what was proving an open first half. It was a goal of several Chelsea mistakes, Ferguson allowed to advance from left back and hit a cross unchallenged that Terry couldn't head away. Van Aanholt was there at the far post but was unaware of Ranger just behind him, the young Englishman turning the ball in.
Ranger could have had a rapid second from a near identical position but kicked air. The Tynesiders needed only wait until the 32nd minute to take the lead.
Bruma was being tested by Ameobi and was booked for pulling back the striker. The free-kick was in a dangerous location and Taylor's strike was sweet and wide of the wall, although not heading for the very corner. Turnbull was beaten and Newcastle were suddenly looking strong.
Van Aanholt did well to slide and save a cross reaching near-certain scorers after Ameobi had powered away from Bruma and beaten Turnbull with his ball across.
The Newcastle man was then the next name in to the book for a wild challenge, his on Ferreira.
The Blues improved in stoppage time but were lacking control in midfield. Ancelotti had some work to do.

One of his changes was a planned one - Alex for Terry; Kalou for Kakuta was due a back injury obtained in Taylor's early foul challenge.
The response was not the one wanted as the Blues went 3-1 down just three minutes into the second half. This time it was the experienced Ferreira first at fault, carelessly passing inside. Ameobi latched on to it and although the shot was low, it was no rocket but still it beat Turnbull.
The bad news kept coming. Kalou, sprinting into the area clutched his thigh and dropped to the floor. It was a muscle injury bad enough for him to be carried off on a stretcher. Seventeen-year-old McEachran was the sub for the sub, and soon launched a 20-yard shot at the keeper.

On 62 minutes it was Benayoun's turn to go down, the Israeli instantly signalling his night was up. Chelsea would play on with 10 men.
Sturridge had earlier hit a free-kick into the wall and when another was won, Bruma had a go with the same result but Alex cracked the rebound and Krul had to save well.
Lovenkrands should have made it 4-1 after the Chelsea defence was outmanoeuvred but the former Rangers man shot wide and then Nile Ranger scooped over as Turnbull dived at his feet.
Chelsea's second, scored on 69 minutes was the goal of the game so far, the ball played down the left to Van Aanholt, a willing forward runner all game, who swept it to Anelka for a perfectly placed shot across the keeper.
Now it was the Blues on the front foot. McEachran, comfortable with the ball at his feet and making himself available, had given the team something they had been missing in the centre of the park.
Into the final 10 minutes and there was still much to play for, Sturridge slipped unfortunately as he chased a Ferreira pass into the area and then Turnbull blocked and then grabbed a Ranger header.

Anelka was next to show, drifting in from the left and testing Krul with a thunderous shot. How different that was from his penalty that levelled scores with five minutes to play. Alex, to Newcastle disgust, was judged to have been fouled by Williamson as he turned away from goal. Anelka simply rolled the spot kick gently into the bottom corner.
Extra-time looked inevitable but with 88 minutes played the Geordies won a corner and Ameobi, one of the few players who could beat Alex to the ball, did so to power a header in.
McEachran, with tight control, worked a shooting opportunity in the six minutes stoppage time played, but his effort went wide, although the real hearts-in-mouth moment came from a howitzer volley from of all people, Paulo Ferreira before Newcastle's winner.
Last year in this competition at Blackburn, the Portuguese was on-target late on to send a 10-men Chelsea (after another Kalou injury) into extra-time. This time it bounced off the outside of the post and we would go out of the Carling Cup.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Turnbull, Ferreira, Bruma, Terry (c) (Alex h-t), van Aanholt; Benayoun, Ramires, Zhirkov; Sturridge, Anelka, Kakuta (Kalou h-t) (McEachran 56).
Unused subs Cech, B Clifford, Chalobah, Mellis.
Scorers van Aanholt 5, Anelka 69, 86 (pen).
Booked Bruma 32.
Newcastle (4-4-2): Krul; Taylor (Tiote 63), Campbell, Coloccini (Williamson 63), Ferguson (Barton 90+3); Ranger, Smith (c), Vuckic, Gutierrez; Ameobi, Lovenkrands.
Unused subs Soberberg, Ben Arfa, Nolan, Carroll.
Scorers Ranger 26, Taylor 32, Ameobi 48, 88.
Booked Taylor 10, Ameobi 42.
See the full 90 minutes on Chelsea TV from midnight.
Attendance 41,511.
Referee Phil Dowd.
Shots on Chelsea 6 Newcastle 5
Corners Chelsea 1 Newcastle 3
Fouls Chelsea 7 Newcastle 9
Offsides Chelsea 3 Newcastle

Monday, September 20, 2010

Chelsea 4-0 Blackpool


helsea raced into a 4-0 lead by half-time with goals from Salomon Kalou, Didier Drogba and two from Florent Malouda, but for once the juggernaut slowed after the break.
The Blues back-line was made to work in a second period as Blackpool enjoyed their share of the chances and Chelsea's ruthlessness in front of goal deserted them. The momentum from a first-half in which the pace and counter-attack passing of home side had left the Premier League new boys trailing in our wake was lost while he teams in the dressing rooms for the break.
However a 4-0 win against any top-flight side is still a commendable one and it was a sure sign of Chelsea's strength of squad that such a win was achieved without Terry or Lampard, one watching from the stands with his twins on his knees, the other accompanied by his father. Terry's rib bruising, suffered a week ago at West Ham, was the reason for his absence.
Ivanovic and Alex were therefore the centre-back partnership with Drogba the stand-in skipper. Ramires was asked to take Lampard's place while it was Anelka's turn to be rested up front with Kalou coming in.
The element of surprise in Drogba taking a corner in only the second minute of the game may have gone following his success in the West Ham game last weekend, but that didn't prevent the delivery again proving unstoppable as Ivanovic flicked it on. It fell nicely for Kalou who with perfect technique, volleyed in at the far post for his fifth goal of the season. The Blues were beginning take off once again.
Drogba was denied by the offside flag when clean through without many more minutes played and then Essien rifled a shot just over the bar after Malouda had worked the ball out of a tight spot. It was already clear space among the visitors 4-1-4-1 formation was easy to find.
It was all Chelsea possession. Essien almost bundled the ball in from a scrum inside the six-yard area at the Shed End, but we only needed to wait until 11 minutes were on the clock for goal number two.
It came from a Chelsea break of breathtakingly swift efficiency. Kalou played the ball down the right-hand channel for Drogba to power into the area, and the square ball picked out Malouda for a straightforward finish.
Cech, with his best save of the season so far, prevented the Tangerines pulling one back when he dived low to tip Baptiste's 16th minute shot past the post.
Malouda skied a good chance as Chelsea threatened to make Blackpool pay for not marking Drogba at a throw-in, and on 24 minutes referee Clattenburg was unmoved when Cole collided in the Blackpool area with Eardley as he chased down a back pass.
Kalou was wrongly flagged offside after Drogba clipped a ball over the defence but the shot was saved anyway. There was no way this was remaining 2-0 for half-time.
It was Drogba who made it 3-0 on the half-hour, taking Cole's pass, spinning and shooting inside the area with the balance of a ballerina. It beat the keeper via a deflection off a covering defender.Cole had destroyed full-back Eardley to make the chance after Essien had pinged a ball 50 yards out to the left.
Within seconds Cole almost created a fourth as he rolled a ball right across the face of goal.
Drogba was booked for a frankly pointless pull of Grandin's shirt in the Blackpool half on 37 minutes before Eardley followed him into the book a minute later for shooting long after the whistle had gone.
Malouda made it 4-0 on 40 minutes with a sweet, low strike that gave Gilks no chance. Kalou had squared from the right after Drogba played the midfield general, winning possession in the centre circle and spraying the ball forward.
After four right-foot goals, Malouda now had two with his favoured left.
Drogba and then Essien weren't far away from adding a fifth before the break.
Ian Holloway put his right-back Eardley out of his misery at the break, replacing him with Taylor-Fletcher.
Chelsea were given a wake-up call three minutes after the restart when Campbell was played onside by Ferreira and managed to drill the ball through the legs of Cech but Ivanovic cleared off the line. Varney drilled the message home by volleying over the bar from a pass in behind Ferreira.
Vaughan was booked for Blackpool on 53 minutes for pulling back Ramires who was speeding past him as Chelsea flew forward on the break.
However the Blackpool chances kept coming and Cech needed to back-peddle fast and tip over a Taylor-Fletcher looping shot on 59 minutes.
There was little excuse for Kalou not scoring his second goal four minutes later after Essien won the ball and he and Drogba moved it forward fast, but Kalou's touch was too strong and the keeper saved, as he did from a bouncing Malouda shot soon after.
Kalou mirrored the team's overall display, excellent in the first half but tailing off in his effectiveness.
Malouda then hooked a shot wide on the turn but Blackpool continued to test the Blues at the back. Harewood looked certain to score on 71 minutes but smashed a close-range effort into the sidenetting.
Chelsea's first change was a return for Bruma after groin surgery. He came on for Alex. Ramires, who had shown plenty of running in a first Stamford Bridge start, was then replaced by Zhirkov.
A Chelsea fifth goal continued to prove elusive when Cole's shot was cleared from in front of a target it might have just been missing. Essien beat two tackles but his curler was blocked.
Benayoun was next to be added to the mix, coming on for Mikel, but the second half was summed up in the dying moments when Drogba skied a shot over the goal from eight yards, followed by some tongue-in-cheek mocking chants from the fans at that end.
Chelsea end the day four points clear at the top with Manchester City away and Arsenal home next to come in the league.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Alex (Bruma 71), Ivanovic, Cole; Essien, Mikel (Benayoun 77), Ramires (Zhirkov 74); Kalou, Drogba (c), Malouda.
Unused subs Turnbull, Kakuta, Sturridge, Anelka.
Scorers Kalou 1, Malouda 11, 40, Drogba 30.
Booked Drogba 36.
Blackpool (4-1-4-1): Gilks; Eardley (Taylor-Fletcher h-t), Keinan, Evatt, Crainey; Bapiste; Grandin (Ormerod 60), Vaughan, Adam (c), Varney (Harewood 60); Campbell.
Unused subs Halstead, Southern, Cathcart, Carney.
Booked Eardley 37, Vaughan 53.

Referee Mark Clattenburg.
Attendance 41,761.

Chelsea 4-0 Blackpool


MSK Zilina 1-4 Chelsea


Chelsea went within one goal of the 150 mark in the Champions League with a comfortable win over Zilina to start our European campaign tonight.
A Nicolas Anelka brace added to Michael Essien's opener before Daniel Sturridge made it four in the second half on a night when Josh McEachran made his debut.
It wasn't the best of performances in defence, as Zilina were gifted a goal in the second half, but plenty of early strikes meant they couldn't come back from a three-goal deficit.
Carlo Ancelotti had John Terry at his disposal, despite a premature ending to his weekend game against West Ham. He was the only player in tonight's line-up who took part in the last meeting between these two sides.
Frank Lampard, who played in the previous encounter, was still recovering from hernia surgery and like Ashley Cole didn't travel. The left-back was rested.
Yury Zhirkov replaced Cole at left-back and was one of three maiden starts in this campaign alongside Yossi Benayoun in midfield and Daniel Sturridge on right wing.
Having won the last eight opening clashes in the Champions League, Chelsea began this one with the usual zeal, although it was Zilina who threatened first when Zhirkov gifted Emil Rilke possession inside the box.
Chelsea retaliated with three chances inside the first 10 minutes. Benayoun's searching cross from the left was cleared before finding Florent Malouda, then Sturridge worked hard to release a pass in front of goal for the same man, again only for it to be cleared.
Benayoun forced the first save of the game when his corner was returned and the subsequent shot dipped towards the far right. Martin Dubravka was on hand to deny the Israeli.
Then, with 13 minutes gone, Chelsea took the lead when Nicolas Anelka made a ground-breaking run towards the box and pulled the ball back for Michael Essien at full sprint to smash home.
Cech was then forced into action, preventing a Robert Jez freekick from finding the bottom right while at full stretch.
An organised Zilina continued to push forward and Cech was called to make another save, preventing a Babatounde Bello header finding the net. It was end-to-end football.
Soon it would be 2-0. This time Anelka took his chance and drilled a left-footed, low shot into the net after Malouda fed his fellow Frenchman with a clever pass over the Zilina defence.
That was with 24 minutes played; four later it was 3-0. This time a Malouda corner found Terry, whose subsequent header ricocheted off the bar and into Anelka's path for our number 39 to easily tap home for his second.
Despite the scoreline, the Zilina crowd kept cheering, while the Chelsea representatives did the club proud in the corner, and with them spurring the side on, soon it was nearly four when Terry sent a brilliant pass to Zhirkov who in turn laid the ball off for Malouda, only for the shot to be deflected away from danger.
Cech's lightning quick reactions stopped an Admir Vladavic long-range effort from finding its target before a follow-up Bello header strayed wide just before half time.
There were no changes as the second half got under way and within minutes of the restart Sturridge, playing as central striker, broke through onto a superb Benayoun through ball to calmly slot past Dubravka.
We were well on the way to equalling our highest win in the Champions League, when we beat Galatasaray 5-0 back in 1999.
But then errors in the box gifted Zilina a goal. When Cech tipped a shot away and onto Ivanovic's head, the subsequent rebound fell goal-ward, and Oravec found the net. It was 4-1 after 55 minutes.
The goal spurred Zilina into further action and soon a Vladavic shot flew inches wide of a fully-stretched Cech.
With the four-goal lead established, Sturridge made way for Gael Kakuta on the hour mark while Zilina replaced Momodou Ceesay for Tomas Majtan.
The youngster got straight into the game and nearly set up Anelka with a brilliant run which cut straight through the Zilina back line. Unfortunately Anelka was deemed offside but Kakuta's intent had been shown.
Meanwhile, the Chelsea back line were struggling to deal with Zilina's attack. It was not the greatest performance from Chelsea's back line, although they were doing enough to keep the host's score at one.
With 78 minutes gone, Ancelotti brought 17-year-old Josh McEachran into the game for his debut. He replaced Benayoun in midfield while Zilina took Lubomir Guldan off for Stanislav Angelovic.
Dubravka failed to hold onto a screaming 30-yard shot from Essien, which resulted in a Chelsea throw-in. That in turn led to Malouda breaking into the box only to be cut down and appeal for a penalty, which wasn't given.
It was the last chance for Malouda because with two minutes left he made way for Patrick van Aanholt.
Zilina would have one more chance on goal with a freekick from 20 yards out before the final whistle, but the game ended as a comfortable start to our Champions League campaign.
By Christian Collison
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry (c), Zhirkov; Essien, Mikel, Benayoun (McEachran 78); Sturridge (Kakuta 61), Anelka, Malouda (van Aanholt 87).
Unused subs Turnbull, Ramires, Ferreira, Kalou.
Goals Essien 13, Anelka 24, 28, Sturridge 48
Zilina (4-2-3-1): Dubravka; Guldan (Angelovic 78), Piacek, Pecalka, Mraz; Jez (c), Bello; Rilke (Poliacek 57), Ceesay (Majtan 61), Vladavic; Oravec.
Unused subs Krnac, Leitner, Sourek, Vittor.
Goal Oravec 55
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers (Holland)
Attendance: 10,829
Shots on target Zilina 4 Chelsea 6
Fouls Zilina 6 Chelsea 7
Corners Zilina 3 Chelsea 4
Offsides Zilina 4 Chelsea 4

West Ham Utd 1-3 Chelsea


Two headers from Michael Essien and a Salomon Kalou goal, gifted by a Rob Green mistake, maintained the only 100 per cent record in English League football.
West Ham did become the first team to score past the Blues defence since mid-April when Scott Parker chipped the rearguard but by then it was already 3-0 to the visitors in this top v bottom encounter.

Chelsea have played better this season and had it not been for a bad miss by the home side there could have been trouble towards the end, but Carlo Ancelotti was able to make changes to his side on the back of the international matches without losing momentum, and give a full debut to Ramires who showed good running and promising touches as Frank Lampard's stand-in.
Ivanovic replaced Alex in central defence and Malouda was rested with Kalou given a start in the front three.
Despite their recent plight, the West Ham fans did their best to create a mood of optimism at kick-off with a rendition of 'Bubbles' but their dreams began to fade and die before two minutes of the game had even passed.
Chelsea won a corner from the first attack of the game and with Lampard watching from the stands, it fell to Drogba to take it. Any thoughts that it was strange to move the aerial colossus out of the area at that moment were soon forgotten as the ball was powered in to where Essien rose above them all, heading home with Rob Green grasping at air as Carlton Cole failed to head off the line. It the Ghanaian's first of the sesaon. It was a huge psychological blow struck.

There was no such problem for Cech soon after as he plucked an Obinna shot out of the air and Chelsea were able to consolidate.
On nine minutes, Ilunga, a problem for Chelsea in this fixture previously, cut inside and looked dangerous, but blazed horribly off target.
Upton Park was pretty quiet and it was soon plunged into despair after a howler from Robert Green of World Cup proportions.
Drogba was ambitious 35 yards out when he shot a free-kick towards goal and it looked straight forward for the former England keeper as he clasped it. He barely had to move, that was until he spilled the shot and as Upson tried to rescue it and hack clear, he smashed the ball into Kalou's ankle and the Chelsea man was an inadvertent scorer.
Chelsea fans in the stadium were enjoying themselves immensely, as strains of ' England's Number One' and 'Gianfranco Zola' filled the stadium.
Kalou could have made it three but shot wide having burst through a challenge.
It wasn't all plain sailing. A ball over the top of Ivanovic found the hefty Obinna in front of goal but with just Cech to beat, he shot wide to groans around the ground. The Nigerian went a lot closer on 30 minutes, powering into space and cracking a shot that swerved just past Cech' s post.
Two minutes later, Mikel, who had only just fired over in familiar fashion, came within inches of his first Premier League goal. A corner was played back his way and from the edge of the area he cracked a half-volley against the angle of bar and post. He wheeled away in frustration.
Ashley Cole was booked for a foul on Behrami as half-time approached. Parker soon followed him for a late challenge on Anelka.
A third goal before the break would surely have finished the game and Drogba was looking like powering his way through at any minute, but it was the home side who did put the ball in the net moments before the whistle when Carlton Cole was placed through by Boa Morte. The former Chelsea man was offside, and celebrations quickly ended.
Avram Grant made a half-time substitution. Dyer came on for Boa Morte.
Five minutes after the restart, Ramires showed shooting ability when he drifted into the middle and put plenty of oomph into an effort over the bar.
At the other end West Ham gave it a good go at getting back into the game for a 20 minute spell but Cech and Terry were exemplary in keeping them at bay, aided by West Ham's reluctance to send players up in support of Carlton Cole.

Kalou went close to his second goal with a curling shot after excellent Drogba play in the centre of the park had created a chance. Drogba then drew a save from Green with a powerful shot and Cech fielded a free-kick from Obinna, Ivanovic booked for the foul.
Drogba continued to cause problems with his set-piece delivery. On 70 minutes, Mikel challenged for a free kick and it fell to Ivanovic but Green snuffed out the danger.
There was a chance for Gael Kakuta with just over 15 minutes remaining. The young Frenchman replaced an older one with Anelka making way and the sub did slip one well-weighted pass forward that Drogba couldn't finish.
The game looked to be drifting to a 2-0 conclusion but then came a goal at each end in the space of two minutes.
First Essien headed his second of the game after Ferreira swung over an excellent first-time cross after Mikel had spread the play. That made it 3-0 on 82 minutes. Parker finally broke down the Chelsea barrier with a finish of quality - lobbing into the net after a decent Cech punch had cleared the penalty area.
It could have been pressure on Chelsea in closing minutes had substitute Piquionne not repeated his feat of missing an open goal in the Cup Final last May for Portsmouth. This time he hit the bar from a yard out after Chelsea had allowed a whipped-in ball to find a way through. Cole had come close to finishing it too.

Instead the two-goal margin was maintained. The Blues head into Europe with spirits sky high.

Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira, Ivanovic, Terry (c) (Alex 81), Cole; Essien, Mikel, Ramires; Kalou (Malouda 83), Drogba,
Anelka (Kakuta 75),
Unused subs Turnbull, Zhirkov, Benayoun, Sturridge.
Scorers Essien 2, 83, Kalou 18.
Booked Cole 40, Ivanovic 64.
West Ham (4-diamond-2): Green; Jacobsen, Ben-Haim, Upson (c), Ilunga; Parker; Behrami (Piquionne 72), Boa Morte (Dyer h-t); Noble; Cole, Obinna.
Unused subs Stech, Tomkins, Barrera, Kovac, Faubert.
Scorer Parker 85.
Booked Parker 44, Noble 90.
Referee Chris Foy.
Crowd 33,014.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Transfer Updates


The summer's transfer window has closed and, despite the ongoing economic turmoil around the globe, some high-profile players have been on the move. The English Premier League's stringent new legislation on squad size has seen some of the league's top performers switch clubs while Italian teams were the busiest of any nation's during the summer. The top two in Spain continued to flex their financial muscles while the German Bundesliga welcomed, and waved goodbye to, a fair few star names.

Russia's Premier League showed its ability to attract star names and pay top dollar despite some underwhelming displays from its clubs on the continent. Meanwhile, Portuguese teams did more buying than selling while some surprising domestic transitions kept France's Ligue 1 ticking over. Turkey's wounded heavyhitters did their fair share of strengthening too. The World Cup provided a shop window for some of Central and South America's top talents and African representatives were also on the move. Moreover, European leagues turned again to Asia for talent. 2010-11 is shaping up to be more eclectic than ever; we'll bring you details of how all the new faces are settling in...

Top 5 buyers summer 2010/11 by gross spend

1. €146m - Manchester City
2. €81m - Real Madrid
3. €72m - Barcelona
5. €50m - Juventus
4. €48m - Zenit St. Petersburg*
Source used: Transfermarkt

*note: Zenit play a summer season - includes winter transfersEngland: No prizes for guessing which clubs proved to be the prime mover in the English transfer market. No club in the world spent more money than Manchester City, who welcomed a galaxy of star names, including David Silva, Mario Balotelli, Yaya Toure, Alexander Kolarov, Jerome Boateng and James Milner. City rivals Manchester United dipped into their depleting savings to sign World Cup star Javier Hernandez, as well as Chris Smalling and Bebe. Chelsea added Ramires, Yossi Benayoun, Tomas Kalac and removed Joe Cole, Michael Ballack, Deco, Belletti, Ricardo Carvalho and Miroslav Stoch, among others from their hefty wage bill. Arsene Wenger tweaked his Arsenal squad from a familiar source, adding Marouane Chamakh and Laurent Koscielny from Ligue 1. Sebastien Squillaci was also recruited. Le Prof also offloaded Eduardo to Shakhtar Donetsk. Liverpool may have lost Javier Mascherano but bought Christian Poulsen, Raul Meireles and Paul Konchesky, Danny Wilson and Jonjo Shelvey.

Other notable spenders were Sunderland, who brought in Asamoah Gyan as a replacement for Stoke City's Kenwyne Jones, while Tottenham Hotspur are still awaiting the results of a late swoop for Rafael van der Vaart. Spurs did manage to supplement their squad with Stipe Pletikosa and William Gallas. Moussa Dembele (Fulham), Mauro Boselli (Wigan) and Stephen Fletcher (Wolves) were also notable additions. Birmingham moved late, but moved well, supplementing the signing of Nicola Zigic with Aliaksandr Hleb and Martin Jiranek. Bolton Wanderers raided Real Madrid's cantera for Marcos Alonso and signed for Blanco Rodrigo. Martin Petrov could also prove to be good business.

Italy: AC Milan grab the headlines in Serie A with the acquisitions of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Robinho, along with other key signings, like Kevin Prince Boateng. Juventus are seeking to spend their way back to Calcio's top table and have brought in Leonadro Bonucci, Fabio Quagliarella, Armand Traore, Simone Pepe, Milos Krasic, Jorge Martinez, Marco Storari, Alberto Aquilani and Marco Motta to help them. Inter were quiet, finalising Philippe Coutinho and bringing back Jonathan Biabany. Roma's tight purse strings contributed to a lean summer but Fabio Simplicio, Marco Borriello and Adriano were recruited and money was lavished on Nicolas Burdisso.

Genoa had a successful summer, adding Andrea Rannochia, Luca Toni, Rafinha, Franco Zuculini, Miguel Veloso, Anthony Van Den Borre and Kakha Kaladze. Napoli welcomed Hassan Yebda, Christian Lucarelli and Jose Sosa. Lazio pulled off a coup with the acquisition of Hernanes, as well as Javier Garrido and Mark Bresciano and others. New boys Cesena were busy too with a number of players coming in for the long haul in the top flight. Fiorentina scaled back their spending; only Gaetano D'Agostino and Artur Boruc were purchased.

Top 5 buyers summer 2010/11 by net spend

1. €122m - Manchester City
2. €81m - Real Madrid
3. €47m - Zenit St. Petersburg*
4. €31m - Rubin Kazan*
5. €28m - Barcelona
Source used: Transfermarkt

*note: Zenit play a summer season - includes winter transfersSpain: David Villa gives Barcelona what would seem to be an unfair advantage in an attacking sense after his signing from Valencia; Javier Mascherano can play a bit too. Adriano was recruited from Sevilla but there were more outs than ins at Camp Nou, including Dymtro Chygrynskiy returning home to Shakhtar. Real Madrid conducted their customary summer overhaul; Sami Khedira, Mesut Oezil, Pedro Leon, Sergio Canales, Angel Di Maria and Ricardo Carvalho all joined Jose Mourinho at Santiago Bernabeu. Raul and Guti head the departures. Neighbours Atletico strengthened with Filipe, Diego Godin, Thiago and Fran Merida. Out went Jurado and Roberto to foreign teams, but Kun Aguero stayed.

Valencia were the big earners during the window, selling Davids Villa and Silva for huge profit; they outlaid some of that booty on Sofiane Feghouli, Mehmet Topaz, Roberto Soldado, Tino Costa and Ricardo Costa. Hercules made some intriguing moves, landing David Trezeguet and Royston Drenthe, as well as Haedo Valdez.

Beyond Barca and Madrid by far the biggest spenders were Malaga, who used their new-found investment to pay fees for seven different players, the biggest being Salomon Rondon from Las Palmas and striker Sebastian Fernandez from Banfield. Getafe made the fifth biggest net profit anywhere in Europe thanks to their funnelling of talent to the likes of Valencia and Real Madrid.

Germany: Bayern stayed quiet and crucially, lost no players in the window while the challengers to their crown spent significantly to bridge the gap. Wolfsburg bought Simon Kjaer, Arne Friedrich, Cicero, Mario Mandzukic, Nassim Ben Khalifa and Diego at some expense. Last season's runners-up Schalke made space for Real Madrid legend Raul and former team-mate Christophe Metzelder. Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Sergio Escudero, Kyriakos Papadopolous, Jurado, Hans Sarpei, Nicolas Plestan, Tim Hoogland, Atsuto Uchida, Ciprian Deac and Eric Jendrisek were also brought in. Michael Ballack adds experience to Bayer Leverkusen while Hanno Balitsch was purchased from Hannover; Shinji Kagawa and Robert Lewandowski head the arrivals at Dortmund.

Hamburg's defence was fortified by Heiko Westermann, who seemingly took the clean sheets with him from Schalke; Gojko Kacar looks an interesting signing for HSV as does Mohammadou Idrissou at Moenchengladbach. Werder Bremen offset the departure of playmaker Oezil with the signings of Wesley, Mark Arnautovic and Mickael Silvestre. Other clubs did decent business; Morten Rasmussen and Adam Szalai (Mainz), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Hoffenheim). Stuttgart left it late but snared Mauro Camoranesi to join Philipp Degen, Christian Molinaro and Christian Gentner, as well as Martin Harnik.

Top five summer transfers by price

1. €40m - David Villa ( Valencia - Barcelona)
2. €32m - David Silva ( Valencia - Man City)
3. €30m - James Milner ( Aston Villa - Man City)*
4. €28m - Mario Balotelli ( Inter - Man City)
5. €25m - Angel di Maria ( Benfica - Real Madrid)
Source: World Football Insider

note: €30m includes €9.7m valuation of part-exchanged Stephen Ireland
France: Champions Marseille lost Hatem Ben Arfa to Newcastle but managed to add to their ranks with Cesar Azpilicueta, Loic Remy and Andre-Pierre Gignac. Bordeaux were on the receiving end of another major domestic transfer with Yoann Gourcuff joining Lyon. Les Gones also grabbed Pape Diakhate and Jimmy Briand while Girondins spent on Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Maazou Moussa and Anthony Modeste. New boys Arles were hyper busy in the market while Auxerre brought in the classy Anthony Le Tallec. Dieumerci Mbokani and Pierre Aubameyang were among the new arrivals at Monaco. Nene and Mathieu Bodmer went to PSG while Rennes, now Gyan-less, and St Etienne were also busy.

Russia: The RPL welcomed its most expensive ever player in the shape of Bruno Alves, who transferred with Sergei Semak, Aleksandr Bukharov and Aleksander Lukovic to Zenit. Rubin Kazan were among Europe's biggest spending teams, adding Salvatore Bocchetti, Aleskei Medvedev, Obafemi Martins and Carlos Eduardo, amongst others. CSKA Moscow replaced Krasic with Zoran Tosic; Seydou Doumbia also arrived. Spartak Moscow prepare for life in the Champions League with the purchases of Aiden McGeady and Nicolas Pareja.

Top 5 sellers summer 2010/11 by gross spend

1. €84m - Valencia
2. €53m - Inter
3. €50m - Benfica
4. €45m - Barcelona
5. €38m - Liverpool
Source used: TransfermarktPortugal: Champions Benfica lost some of their stars but added Eduardo Salvio, Nicolas Gaitan, Roberto Gago and Franco Jara. Porto snapped up Sporting's Joao Moutinho; good thing as Meireles left for Anfield while James Rodriguez came from Banfield. Nicolas Otamendi arrived from Velez. Sporting got Alberto Zapater, Maniche, Diogo Salamao and others. Braga have Hugo Viana in their ranks ahead of a Champions League campaign.

Greece: Panathinaikos added Jean Alain Boumsong, Sidney Govou, Luis Garcia and Damian Plessis while Olympiacos brought in Kevin Mirallas, Ariel Ibagaza, Francois Modesto, Dennis Rommedahl and Albert Riera from overseas. Papa Bouba Diop (AEK) and Stephen Makinwa (Larissa) were the other high profile arrivals.

Turkey: Galatasaray were busy but were still knocked out of Europe. Nonetheless Zvjezdan Misimovic, Emiliano Insua and Lorik Cana were among their most high-profile overseas additions. Rivals Fenerbance added Mamadou Niang, Issiar Dia, Joseph Yobo and Miroslav Stoch. Besiktas welcome Ricardo Quaresma, Guti and Mehmet Aurelio, among others.

Asia: Bunyodkor said goodbye to their stars Stevica Ristic (Amkar Perm), Server Djeporov (FC Seoul), Rivaldo and Denilson (both released). In Australia, Robbie Fowler opted to trade North Queensland Fury for Perth Glory. Gamba Osaka sold star forward Leandro to Al-Sadd for a sum verging on the eight figures. Also, Abdul Kader Keita joined Al Sadd for a similar sum: he and Leandro will be team-mates of Nadir Belhadj.
Top 5 sellers summer 2010/11 by net spend

1. €51m - Valencia
2. €40m - Inter
3. €22m - Udinese
4. €24m - Nice
5. €20m - Getafe
Source used: Transfermarkt Gabri and Mario Melchiot moved to Umm Salal. Ivorian pair Aruna Dindane and Baky Kone now ply their trade for Lekhwiya. Al Sailiya brought Moumouni Dagano and Yazid Mansouri to the club. Marcelo Bordon swapped Schalke for Al Rayyan. Fabio Cannavaro headed the arrivals in the UAE League, joining Al Ahli of Dubai.

Africa: Geddo was the biggest mover, from Al Ittihad to Al Ahly, for a fee of around $500,000, while South Africa saw plenty of moves within its PSL.

MLS: Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez (New York Red Bulls) were two of the major marquee signings in the United States. Also featuring in the MLS this season are Mista (Toronto FC), Nery Castillo (Chicago Fire) and Geovanni (San Jose Earthquakes). The biggest domestic trade saw Freddie Ljungberg swap Seattle Sounders for Chicago.

South America: And finally there was plenty of movement in South America, even though in many countries the season is long since underway. In Brazil, for example, Deco joined Fluminense, while Internacional sealed a move for Ilan. But key was who didn't move: Neymar and the now-injured Ganso are staying at Santos - for now - as two of the hottest prospects on the continent.

Chilean defender Waldo Ponce moved to Racing Santander from O'Higgins, while Jean Beausejour left Mexico's America for Birmingham City.

In Argentina, Estudiantes signed Hernan Lopez from Velez Sarsfield, Damian Escudero joined Boca Juniors from Villarreal, while River Plate made a number of key acquisitions, not least Betis' Mariano Pavone and former Boca man Jonathan Maidana of Metalist Kharkiv.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Chelsea 2 - Stoke 0


Chelsea 2 - Stoke 0

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Champions League Draw:Chelsea face Marseille Inter To Face Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United Draw Valencia, Barcelona And Rubin Kazan To Meet Again


The 2010-11 UEFA Champions League group stage is now set after the draw took place in Monaco on Thursday and it proposes some interesting match-ups and intriguing possibilities.

The trophy holders Inter have been dealt a tough hand in Group A as they will face-off against Werder Bremen, Tottenham Hotspur, and Twente. The likely group of death would seem to be Group G with Real Madrid, Milan, Ajax, and Auxerre.

Meanwhile, Barcelona in Group D will be relatively pleased to battle against Panathinaikos, Copenhagen, and Rubin Kazan.

Last year's finalists Bayern Munich also have a Germany - Italy duel versus Roma. Basel and Cluj round out Group E.

English giants Manchester United will take on Valencia, Bursaspor, and Rangers while Chelsea's Didier Drogba will visit his old stomping ground versus Marseille.

Chelsea Consider £8m Move For Monaco Striker Park Chu-Young - Report


Chelsea are considering a move for Monaco striker Park Chu-Young after he impressed for South Korea at the 2010 World Cup, according to The Sun.

The striker's representatives reportedly held talks with Blues boss Carlo Ancelotti ahead of their 6-0 win over West Bromwich Albion on the opening day of the new Premier League season.

Ancelotti is set to decide in the next 48 hours whether to meet Monaco's £8 million asking price for the 25-year-old, and the deal could help Chelsea make a commercial impact in the Far East.

Along with Manchester United midfielder Ji-Sung Park, Park Chu-Young is among the best known sportsmen in the Far East and could prove lucrative in shirt sales and other marketing ventures.

Saturday, August 21, 2010



Chelsea continued our emphatic start to the season with a 6-0 away win, but we didn't have it all our own way at the DW Stadium.
It took half an hour for the Blues to even register a shot on target, but as soon as Florent Malouda swept home Frank Lampard's parried effort, there was only going to be one winner, and five second half goals was the mark of a much improved showing from Carlo Ancelotti's men.
Nicolas Anelka claimed the first two, sub Salomon Kalou the next pair before Yossi Benayoun netted his first Chelsea goal in injury time.
It was a harsh lesson for Wigan, who for long periods in the opening half had dominated possession and stopped Carlo Ancelotti's men playing the football they so enjoy, but there will be no complaints that it was a deserved three points.
Chelsea's only change to the starting line-up was at right-back, where Branislav Ivanovic, now fully fit, replaced Paulo Ferreira who dropped to the bench.
Our last meeting with Wigan may have yielded eight goals, three points and a Barclays Premier League title, but Carlo Ancelotti was right to recall his first visit to the DW Stadium in September last year, when we were beaten 3-1 and eventually down to nine men.
It was the Italian's first defeat as Chelsea manager, but after last week's 6-0 win against West Brom and today's hosts' 4-0 home drubbing by Blackpool, he will have been confident of avoiding a repeat.
The Wigan side that started this game though looked a far more accomplished outfit than the one which appeared a week ago, and they were the more impressive side in the game's opening minutes. Left-back Maynor Figueroa tested Petr Cech's alertness with a long-range drive, and Hugo Rodallega then curled a free-kick at the goalkeeper in the 24th minute, both efforts before Chelsea had registered anything meaningful.
The Colombian sent another shot into the goalkeeper's arms shortly afterwards as the home side sought to convert possession and territory into goals before the inevitable Chelsea improvement, but they were out of luck.
On 33 minutes Chelsea put together the best move of the game as an intricate passing move eventually saw the ball come to Cole on the left, and when he pulled back to Lampard it looked as though the midfielder would score, but Chris Kirkland in the Wigan goal parried the ball back into play with a smart save.
On hand to tap in the rebound, however, was Florent Malouda, who netted his third Premier League goal in two games and gave the Blues a lead we hardly deserved.
Two minutes after half-time the advantage was doubled, and in sensational fashion.
Possession was well retained inside the Chelsea area, with Cole and Lampard working the ball to Mikel, who sent a 50-yard diagonal pass into the right channel for Nicolas Anelka to chase.
With the ball slowing as he approached, Anelka opted to shoot first time, and hammered it low into the far corner across Kirkland for his first of the season, and to more than likely put this game beyond Wigan's reach.
James McCarthy toe-poked just wide in response before Anelka grabbed his second in four minutes, nodding home from a yard out after Drogba had pulled Malouda's deep cross back across the face of goal.
Rodallega jinked his way past half the Chelsea defence before seeing his shot blocked, and then Alex performed a superb tackle on Charles N'Zogbia before the Frenchman could get his effort away.
Mauro Boselli's follow-up after McCarthy's deflected effort came back off the post was chalked off for offside, and then the Argentine headed straight at Cech when he should have netted.
Back on the attack Michael Essien forced Kirkland to save with his legs at his near post, and then Drogba dragged a shot wide moments after crashing a free-kick into the wall.
The Ivorian's next involvement was far more impressive, turning his man inside out and racing on towards goal, squaring for Kalou to tap home rather than trying to beat Kirkland himself as Chelsea made it 4-0 and 10 league goals for the season inside three hours.
With two minutes left Kalou was prevented from adding to his strike by a strong Emmerson Boyce tackle after showing skill inside the Wigan half, but a minute later he had his second of the game, flicking home Drogba's excellent cross from the left.
The scoring still wasn't complete, as sub Yossi Benayoun secured his first Chelsea goal, stroking home into the far corner from 10 yards to make it our best ever away win against the Latics, after another sub, Paulo Ferreira had supplied the perfect pull-back.
So two games, six points, 12 goals for and none conceded. Starts do not get any better than this.
Wigan (4-3-3): Kirkland (c), Stam, Gohouri, Alcaraz, Figueroa (Boyce 83); Thomas, Diame (McArthur 79), McCarthy (Watson 78); N' Zogbia, Boselli, Rodallega.
Chelsea (4-3-3):Cech; Ivanovic (Ferreira 62), Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien (Benayoun 78), Mikel, Lampard; Anelka, Drogba, Malouda (Kalou 69).
Scorers Malouda 33, Anelka 47, 51, Kalou 77, 89, Benayoun 90+3
Booked Ivanovic 36, Terry 60

Saturday, August 14, 2010



A Didier Drogba hat-trick, Frank Lampard among the goals, a mighty home win and Chelsea on top of the table. No it is not a reposting of the report from the final league game of last season, but happily the first one of this campaign.
Just six minutes of league football was played by Chelsea since the final goal against Wigan back in May and Florent Malouda netting the first against West Brom at the Bridge today.
The dodgy pre-season results were quickly forgotten and although the rest of the play between that Malouda strike and Drogba's first goal just before the interval was a little uninspiring, in the second half the Blues put the ragged Baggies to the sword, Drogba scoring a further two, Lampard opening his account for the season and Malouda wrapping up the match as he began it when he netted his second.
The afternoon had begun with good news with Lampard declared over his injury suffered on duty with England and he was named in the starting line up, as were Petr Cech and Alex whose recoveries came just in time for the 'big kick-off'.

Didier Drogba was also handed a start following his appearance off the bench in the Community Shield.
Paulo Ferreira was rewarded for his pre-season form by retaining the right-back shirt so Branislav Ivanovic dropped to the bench. Salomon Kalou made space for Drogba in the front three with Nicolas Anelka moving wide right.
Before kick-off there was the expected and totally deserved warm reception for Chelsea cup final heroes Roberto Di Matteo and Eddie Newton (their manager in 1997, Ruud Gullit, was an on-pitch guest at half-time to similar applause).
The first shot of the game was from Di Matteo's team - sliced well wide by Morrison. Anelka was the first to let fly for Chelsea - his on target but straight at Carson.
That was on three minutes and less than two minutes later the former England keeper made a double save but still could not prevent Malouda from opening his account for 2010/11.
It was the same Frenchman who initially won a free-kick in a central position when his run was blocked by Ibanez.
Di Matteo's hopes that his side could survive an early storm on the pitch as the rain poured down from above evaporated when Drogba's attempt was pushed out to Mikel and although Carson intervened again, the ball fell to Malouda just two yards out. The chance was unmissable.
Cole, a persistent attacking presence in the early stages, flashed a dangerous ball across the area soon after before Cech made his first save to keep out Dorran's deflected shot.
Bednar had the ball in the net for West Brom on 18 minutes but the Baggies' lone striker was offside when receiving the ball.
The biggest supply of danger in the midway part of the first half was from the two keepers - both escaping when under-hitting clearances. Chelsea were failing to follow up strongly on the good start. With Malouda and Anelka tucked in behind Drogba - the shape looking more Yuletide decoration than genuine 4-3-3 - Stamford Bridge was looking a very congested pitch.
On 34 minutes Cole showed he is far more than just an attacking instrument in a narrow game when he was back with a timely intervention when West Brom threatened a break with Bedner found quickly.
Then the game became the Florent Malouda show for a four-minute period.

First he crashed a shot against the post as the flag was going up - a tight offside call. Then the number 15 was almost the beneficiary of an expertly-executed Lampard back heel but was strongly resisted by Jara's challenge.
Then Drogba was dumped to the turf and this time Lampard stung Carson's hands with a free-kick. It came Malouda's way once more but this time the opening goalscorer headed over.
Right on the stroke of half-time came Chelsea's third free-kick within shooting range. The rotation put Drogba back on strike and it was third time lucky for the Blues as West Brom's wall let Carson down badly by letting the ball straight through, giving the keeper no chance of making it.
The ball flew just inside the right-hand post at the Shed End. Last season's Golden Boot winner was off and running.

There was a spot of good fortune six minutes into the second half when Dorrans' deflected shot dropped a couple of yards wide after Ferreira had been caught in possession. Cech would have struggled had it been on target.
Any chance of West Brom getting back into the game was ended soon after when Drogba netted his second, gobbling up his chance from inside the six-yard box when West Brom missed their chance to clear, a Terry header having been stopped on the line. That made it 3-0.
With our run of good opening day results now certain to continue, Ancelotti began to change his team - Ivanovic coming on for Ferreira shortly after the right-back had collected the game's only booking.
Benyoun would soon follow on to the pitch for his home debut but not before goal number four. A Chelsea hatful without a Lampard goal is always unlikely and this was not to be such an occasion. Lamps took Cole's square pass after Anelka had made an incision and wrong-footed Carson before rolling the ball home.
Drogba completed his hat-trick on 67 minutes when he both tried and received his luck with a shot from 25 yards out - the ball taking a heavy deflection off Tamas on its way into the net.
Now one of the major tasks remaining was to preserve a clean sheet that an all-round solid defensive display deserved. Alex did his bit with a headed deflection on a shot with five minutes remaining, and then substitute Cox shot wide when well placed.
Then on 89 minutes at the other end a France combination ended the day - Malouda taking Anelka's beautifully-judged pass on the right and finishing off the inside of the post.

Chelsea had recorded our biggest top-flight opening day win.
Chelsea (4-3-3): Cech; Ferreira (Ivanovic 59), Alex, Terry (c), Cole; Essien, Mikel, Lampard (Benayoun 63); Anelka, Drogba (Kalou 69), Malouda.
Scorers Malouda 5, 89, Drogba 45, 55, 67, Lampard 61.
Booked Ferreira 57.
West Brom (4-2-3-1): Carson (c); Jara, Tamas, Ibanez, Cech; Mulumbu, Brunt; Morrison, Dorrans (Cox 67), Thomas (Barnes 83); Bednar (Miller 67).
Referee Mark Clattenburg
Shots on target Chelsea 13 West Brom 5
Corners Chelsea 3 West Brom 1
Fouls Chelsea 13 West Brom 10
Offsides Chelsea 2 West Brom 1

Friday, August 13, 2010



Chelsea Football Club is delighted to announce we have completed the signing of Brazilian international Ramires from Benfica on a four-year contract.
The midfielder was granted a work permit on Thursday and finalised his medical in London on Friday afternoon.
Ramires was delighted to complete the deal, and while he will not feature in Saturday's game against West Bromwich Albion, will link up with the rest of the squad for training next week.
'Every player in the world would love to play for Chelsea and it's a great opportunity that was given to me, I will give my best to repay this chance, and I am very happy,' he said.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti added: 'He is a fantastic player, a fantastic midfielder, he is very young and will be the future of the Brazilian national team, and I hope he will be the future of Chelsea.'
Ramires Santos do Nascimento joins us after one season with Benfica, in which he helped them storm to the Liga Sagres title, five points clear of Braga in second place.
During that campaign, the 23-year-old midfielder, born on March 24, 1987, made 26 league appearances, scoring four times including a last-minute winner against Vitoria Guimaraes on his debut.
Rio-born Ramires signed for Benfica from Cruzeiro, on the day he earned his first call-up to the full Brazil squad for the 2009 Confederations Cup, a tournament they easily won, and he went on to help them qualify for the World Cup.
Picked in Dunga's 23-man squad, he appeared in four of their five matches but was suspended for the 2-1 defeat to Holland in the quarter-finals after accumulating two yellow cards. His only start was against Chile in the first knockout round, and so far he has 17 caps, most recently against USA in midweek.
Comfortable in either the centre or the right of midfield, he spent just over two seasons in Belo Horizonte with Cruzeiro, whom he joined from Joinville in 2007, and became a state champion appearing in 61 league matches and scoring 10 times.

English Premier League Season 2010-11 Preview


Coach: Arsene Wenger since September 1996
Star men: Cesc Fabregas, Robin van Persie
Last season: 3rd
Season expectations: Champions League place
Ins: Marouane Chamakh, Laurent Koscielny, Wellington
Outs: Fran Merida, Pedro Botelho, Eduardo, Sol Campbell, William Gallas, Mikael Silvestre, Kerrea Gilbert, Francis Coquelin, Sanchez Watt, Philippe Senderos
If they were a pop act, they'd be: The Saturdays; Plenty of hits and attractive on the eye, but no sign of a number one

Arsenal were finally expected to splash the cash this summer after their centre back ranks were depleted and frustrations grew about the lack of a first choice goalkeeper. So far, the only major signings have been Koscielny and striker Chamakh. The most important piece of transfer news is undoubtedly their successful attempt to keep Fabregas away from Barcelona's clutches.

Aston Villa
Coach: Kevin MacDonald caretaker manager since Monday
Star men: Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor
Last season: 6th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Barry Bannan (loan return)
Outs: Wilfred Bouma, Marlon Harewood, Nicky Shorey, Andy Marshall, David Bevan, Stephen O'Halloran
If they were a pop act, they'd be: The Spice Girls; Years of success, but one high profile departure threatens to unravel the whole outfit

A quiet summer for the Midlanders exploded into life this week after manager Martin O'Neill dramatically quit the club amid rumoured accriminations about the impending sale of James Milner and a lack of transfer spending. If the England man seals his big money switch to Manchester City, Stephen Ireland is expected to travel the other way. More faces, and a new manager, are needed imminently if the club's push to towards the Champions League can continue.

Birmingham City
Coach: Alex McLeish since November 2007
Star men: Lee Bowyer, Nikola Zigic
Last season: 9th
Season expectations: Europa League qualification
Ins: Ben Foster, Nikola Zigic, Enric Valles
Outs: Christian Benitez, Gregory Vignal, Gary McSheffrey, Franck Quedrue, Colin Doyle, Artur Krysiak, Lee Carsley, Jake Jervis
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Editors; Surprise success story from the Midlands

The debate over how much money owner Carson Yeung actually has to spend has raged on all summer. After initially racing out of the blocks with the captures of Foster and Zigic, things have gone quiet. If the rumoured arrivals of Moussa Dembele, Mauro Camoranesi and Fabio Grosso come to fruition, another season of success could be on the cards.

Blackburn Rovers
Coach: Sam Allardyce since December 2008
Star men: Ryan Nelsen, David Dunn
Last season: 10th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Mame Biram Diouf
Outs: Yildiray Basturk, Steven Reid, Andy Haworth
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Seasick Steve; Rough, tough and bad looking

Manager Allardyce have endured a frustrating summer as he has chased replacements for his shot shy strikers. Manchester United's Diouf is so far the only arrival, but after scoring on his debut, big things are expected. If further additions can be made to boost a solid squad, then another campaign free from relegation worries can be expected.

Coach: Ian Holloway since May 2009
Star men: Charlie Adam, Marlon Harewood
Last season: Promoted
Season expectations: Relegation
Ins: Craig Cathcart, Elliot Grandin, Malaury Martin, Marlon Harewood
Outs: Ben Burgess, Daniel Nardiello, Alhassan Bangura, Hameur Bouazza, Stephen McPhee
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Tangerine Dream; Supporters need to pinch themselves that Premier League campaign is not fantasy

The shock promotion story of the past decade had looked to have turned into a nightmare already after Holloway was rumoured to have grown frustrated at the lack of transfer activity. After seeing repeat deals fall through to bolster his inexperienced squad, a raft of players were secured this week. More faces are needed if The Tangerines aren't to face a season of thumping defeats.

Bolton Wanderers
Coach: Owen Coyle since January
Star men: Gary Cahill, Martin Petrov
Last season: 14th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Martin Petrov, Ivan Klasnic, Robbie Blake, Marcos Alonso, Tom Eaves
Outs: Ali Al Habsi, Ricardo Vaz Te, Nicky Hunt
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Dave Matthews Band; Dull but refuse to go away

The 'Owen Coyle revolution' has continued at pace as the club seek to move away from the dark days of Gary Megson's reign. A serious of smart acquisitions have boosted a previously thread bare squad and given signs of optimism for the first time in several seasons. If the Scot can convince Arsene Wenger to lend him Jack Wilshere again, a punt at the upper reaches of mid-table can't be discounted.

Coach: Carlo Ancelotti since July 2009
Star men: Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard
Last season: 1st
Season expectations: Champions
Ins: Yossi Benayoun, Tomas Kalas
Outs: Michael Ballack, Deco, Juliano Belletti, Joe Cole, Jack Cork, Miroslav Stoch, Scott Sinclair, Ricardo Carvalho, Ryan Bertrand, Tomas Kalas, Rhys Taylor
If they were a pop act, they'd be: t.A.T.u.; Chart topping Russian heavyweight

Ancelotti's pre-season spending spree has taken a Samba touch after attempting to bring in Ramires and Neymar. After freeing about £20 million from the wage bill after the exits of some elderly stars, the Italian is determined to freshen up his Premier League champions. So far, Yossi Benayoun has been the star arrival but expect this to change in the coming weeks as the Blues attempt to finally land the Champions League crown.

Coach: David Moyes since March 2002
Star men: Steven Pienaar, Tim Cahill
Last season: 8th
Season expectations: Europa League qualification
Ins: Jan Mucha, Jermaine Beckford, Joao Silva, Magaye Gueye
Outs: John Ruddy, Dan Gosling, Carlo Nash, Anton Peterlin, Lukas Jutkiewicz
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Simply Red; "Money's too tight to mention" but the Toffees continue to perform

Moyes has again returned with empty pockets after asking chairman Bill Kenwright for funds, but this hasn't stopped him adding to an already impressive squad. Beckford and youngsters Silva and Gueye have add to the Scot's occasionally shot shy striking options. Importantly, there have been no high profile exits to match last summer's Joleon Lescott saga to leave the Toffees in rude health on the pitch if not off it.

Coach: Mark Hughes since August
Star men: Clint Dempsey, Brede Hangeland
Last season: 12th
Season expectations: Europa League qualification
Ins: Philippe Senderos
Outs: Chris Smalling, Erik Nevland, Elliot Omozusi, Toni Kallio, Andranik Teymourian, Wayne Brown
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Billy Joel; Recently dumped for a more attractive option

After the euphoria of last season's Europa Cup final run was dampened by Roy Hodgson's exit, the Cottagers have been attempting to hold the fort. With Mark Hughes freshly installed and armed with a reported £20 million transfer kitty, another push for Europe can't be discounted. They will do this without their only major signing of the summer after Senderos was ruled out for six months with serious injury.

Coach: Roy Hodgson since July
Star men: Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard
Last season: 7th
Season expectations: Champions League qualification
Ins: Danny Wilson, Christian Poulsen, Joe Cole, Milan Jovanovic, Jonjo Shelvey
Outs: Albert Riera, David Martin, Yossi Benayoun, Philipp Degen
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Rolling Stones; Big name but no smash hit in England for two decades

After a season to forget, change has been afoot at Anfield with Roy Hodgson drafted in for Rafael Benitez. Smart moves in the transfer market have seen a weak squad strengthened with Danny Wilson, Milan Jovanovic and Christian Poulsen, while Joe Cole has added some much needed star quality. The biggest 'deals' have been Hodgson's ability to persuade Fernando Torres and Steven Gerrard to stay on Merseyside and a push up the table towards the Champions League is on the cards.

Manchester City
Coach: Roberto Mancini since December 2009
Star men: David Silva, Carlos Tevez
Last season: 5th
Season expectations: Champions League qualification
Ins: David Silva, Jerome Boateng, Yaya Toure, Aleksandar Kholarov, Robinho (loan return), Jo (loan return), Joe Hart (loan return)
Outs: Valeri Bojinov, Martin Petrov, Benjani, Sylvinho, Javier Garrido, Ben Marshall, Adam Clayton, Gunnar Nielsen, Nedum Onuoha, David Ball
If they were a pop act, they'd be: P Diddy; Flashing cash like it is going out of fashion

The biggest spenders in the division have kept up the act this summer as Mancini tries to craft a squad capable of lifting a major trophy for the first time in 34 years. World Cup 2010 stars Silva, Yaya Toure, Baoteng and Kholarov have been brought in, with James Milner and Mario Balotelli believed to be on the way. An impressive roster has been established, now the pressure is on to turn the pound notes into silverware.

Manchester United
Coach: Sir Alex Ferguson since November 1986
Star men: Wayne Rooney, Nemanja Vidic
Last season: 2nd
Season expectations: Champions
Ins: Javier Hernandez, Chris Smalling, Bebe, Tom Cleverley (loan return)
Outs: Ben Foster, Zoran Tosic, Craig Cathcart, Matthew James, Mame Biram Diouf, Daniel Drinkwater, David Gray, Tom Heaton
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Take That; Manchester juggernaut that remains one of the biggest acts around

Groans and moans about a lack of spending from the Glazer family continue, but fresh faces have been in supply at Old Trafford. Smalling will boost a defence that fell apart through injuries last term, while Hernandez and Bebe add more bite in attack. The chase for Mesut Ozil continues and if he - or another star name - can be added, an assault on the sport's top prizes cannot be discounted.

Newcastle United
Coach: Chris Hughton since November 2009 (permanent)
Star men: Andy Carroll, Kevin Nolan
Last season: Promoted
Season expectations: Survival
Ins: James Perch, Sol Campbell, Dan Gosling, Xisco (loan return)
Outs: Nicky Butt, Fabrice Pancrate, Jonny Godsmark
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Lady Gaga; Erratic, out of tune but highly entertaining

Gone are the days of the Magpies being one of the biggest spenders. With chairman Mike Ashley forcing a new found prudency, manager Hughton has gone about his business in a demure fashion. Solid signings Campbell, Perch and Gosling won't set pulses racing but give the side a chance of avoiding another painful drop into the Championship.

Stoke City
Coach: Tony Pulis since June 2006
Star men: Kenwyne Jones, Ryan Shawcross
Last season: 11th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Carlo Nash, Kenwyne Jones
Outs: Amdy Faye, Steve Simonsen, Andy Griffin, Rodney McDonald, Ibrahima Sonko, Diego Arismendi
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Metallica; They may not be pretty but their powerful hooks have struck the right chord in the Premier League

A quiet summer burst into life this week as months of frustration ended with Pulis breaking his transfer record to land Jones. The powerhouse striker is the perfect fit for the Potters and will provide an excellent focal point for Glenn Whelan's passes and Rory Delap's throw-ins. With more cash to spend, a tilt at the upper reaches of the division isn't out of this world.

Coach: Steve Bruce since May 2009
Star men: Darren Bent, John Mensah
Last season: 11th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Cristian Riveros, Simon Mignolet, Marcos Angeleri, Nedum Onuoha, Titus Bramble, Ahmed El-Muhammadi
Outs: Marton Fulop, Nyron Nosworthy, Daryl Murphy, Lorik Cana, Roy O'Donovan, Jean-Yves Moto, Kenwyne Jones
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Elvis Presley; Up and down success over the years with a mystery American in the background pulling the strings

Bruce has been ruthless in re-moulding his squad, with players coming in the front door as quickly as others have been pushed through the exit. South American duo Riveros and Angeleri look set to impress, while Onuoha and Bramble should help firm up a leaky defence. With Manchester United's Danny Welbeck set to replace Jones, the ex-Wigan Athletic boss looks set to anchor the Black Cats in mid-table.

Tottenham Hotspur
Coach: Harry Redknapp since October 2008
Star men: Jermain Defoe, Gareth Bale
Last season: 4th
Season expectations: Champions League qualification
Ins: Sandro, Giovani dos Santos (loan return)
Outs: Eidur Gudjohnsen, Jimmy Walker, Adel Taarabt, John Bostock, David Button, Oscar Jansson, Dorian Dervite, Sam Cox
If they were a pop act, they'd be: N-Dubz; London stars set to make breakthrough into Europe and beyond after success in England

The excitement building at White Hart Lane is set for breaking point as the final Champions League qualifiers set to kick-off next weekend. After successive summers of big spending, Redknapp has yet to flash the cash with Sandro's deal set-up last season. The Spurs supremo never goes through a transfer window without making a splash and a few astute buys could keep the north London outfit in the mix for domestic and foreign success.

West Bromwich Albion
Coach: Roberto Di Matteo since July 2009
Star men: Pablo Ibanez, Chris Brunt
Last season: Promoted
Season expectations: Survival
Ins: Boaz Myhill, Nicky Shorey, Pablo Ibanez, Steven Reid, Gabriel Tamas (permanent deal)
Outs: Filippe Texeira, Robert Koren, Borja Valero, Andwele Slory, Andwele Slory, Kayleden Brown, Marcus Haber
If they were a pop act, they'd be: The Yo-Yos; History repeats for the Baggies as bounce back and forth from the Premier League and Championship

Since the Midlanders were promoted back into the top flight, Di Matteo has been a man on a mission to stop the cycle of relegation and promotion. The Italian has bolstered his squad with smart buys such as Ibanez, Shorey and Reid. A lack of a cutting edge up front still hangs over the club and this must be corrected if another spell in the Championship isn't too occur.

West Ham United
Coach: Avram Grant since July
Star men: Carlton Cole, Scott Parker
Last season: 17th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Pablo Barrera, Thomas Hitzlsberger, Frederic Piquionne, Tal Ben-Haim, Winston Reid
Outs: Ilan, Guillermo Franco, Matthew Fry, Josh Payne, Daniel Kearns
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Madness; London-born owners David Gold and Sullivan having a Premier League knees up

The memories of a disastrous previous campaign are slowly being swept away as a series of exciting signings have been brought into Upton Park. With Avram Grant at the helm, Mexico World Cup 2010 star Pablo Barrera is set to be given the platform to shine, while Hitzlsberger has just returned from captaining Germany while on friendly duty. If the club can continue to resist bids for Parker and Cole, last season's battle against relegation can be consigned to the past.

Wigan Athletic
Coach: Roberto Martinez since July 2009
Star men: Charles N'Zogbia, Maynor Figueroa
Last season: 16th
Season expectations: Survival
Ins: Ronnie Stam, Mauro Boselli, Antolin Alcaraz, Ali Al Habsi, James McArthur
Outs: Marcelo Moreno, Antonio Amaya, Jason Koumas, Cho Won-Hee, Olivier Kapo, Vladimir Stojkovic, Tomasz Cywka, Tomasz Kupisz, Mario Melchiot, Richard Kingson, Paul Scharner, Titus Bramble
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Paul Simon; Calls on sections from each corner of the globe to forge an eclectic mix

The Latics' well travelled scouting department have been racking up the air miles once again to forge a team capable of keeping their head above water in the Premier League. Argentine hit man Boselli has been banging in the goals in pre-season, while Alcaraz played the star role for Paraguay at the World Cup. Boselli must continue this form if Wigan are to avoid the dreaded drop.

Wolverhampton Wanderers
Coach: Mick McCarthy since July 2006
Star men: Kevin Doyle, Matthew Jarvis
Last season: 15th
Season expectations: Mid-table
Ins: Steven Fletcher, Steven Mouyokolo, Stephen Hunt, Jelle Van Damme, Adlene Guedioura (permanent deal)
Outs: Jason Shackell, Chris Iwelumo, George Friend, Daniel jones, Andrew Surman, Kyle Bennett, Sam Vokes, Stefan Maierhofer
If they were a pop act, they'd be: Snow Patrol; Predictable and uninspiring but still residents in the top 20

McCarthy has plundered the remains of last season's relegated trio to snatch his star summer signings. Fletcher showed enough in an otherwise dismal Burnley squad for the Irishman to splash out £6.5 million, while Mouyokolo could be the break out performer at the back. Relegation shouldn't be an issue for this smartly assembled squad and the safe surroundings of mid-table should be well within the Midland outfits reach.