I’m proud of Manchester United this morning. The club employ around 1,000 staff on matchdays but their Christmas match against Brighton has been postponed.
To make sure their staff did not suffer a shortage of cash before Christmas the club elected to pay all the staff despite them not working. The club also contributed food to local charities and flowers to a local hospice.
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A big-hearted festive gesture from a big club.
Who was robbed the most?
I was both amused and astonished when an Arsenal fan posted online a picture of a hamburger and chips which he bought at the Emirates Stadium. Why? Because they cost him £18! (That’s approximately 543 Nigerian Naira!)
Perhaps Arsenal are trying to get some of their money back…Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang earned £350,000 last week and is training on his own and unwanted because of bad behaviour. Who was robbed the most, the Arsenal fan who bought the burger or Arsenal for paying huge money for a striker who has let the side down?
What Harry Kane does with his hat-trick match balls
Harry Kane revealed what he does with the match ball which is traditionally kept by the scorer of a hat-trick. He said, “I take them home and put each one in a glass box and in the future I hope that they will motivate my children to always do their best at whatever they choose to do.” Nice touch Harry and I suspect there will be plenty more glass boxes on display during the next few years.”
Everton call emergency meeting
Rafa Benitez is currently under enormous pressure as Everton struggle to find the form which gave them a great start to the season only to slip down amongst the relegation battlers and on the receiving end of some heavy beatings. Everton have scheduled an emergency meeting to discuss the situation with Benitez. Chairman Bill Kenwright is to attend and Director of Football Marcel Brands has been called back from a holiday with his family in Holland. Owner Farhad Moshiri is also flying in. Benitez and his future is on the agenda however the club want to keep him despite the fans holding protests for a change at the top.
Klopp hopeful of keeping his stars for Chelsea match
Speaking this week Jurgen Klopp says he is hopeful of keeping Mohammed Salah and Sadio Mane in the UK for their match against Chelsea in the New Year. The players are due to play for their countries in the Africa Cup of Nations and the tournament begins on January 9th. Salah will go to Egypt and Mane to Senegal. Liverpool also expect to lose Naby Keita when Guinea name their squad. The competition ends on February 6th.
City sell Torres for £55 million
Manchester City have almost completed a deal with Barcelona to sell striker Ferran Torres for £55million. Torres has been out of action since October with a foot injury but he has wanted to leave City for several months.
Barca are paying £46.7 million with extras added on and the total amount is £55 million. Barca’s chief executive Ferran Reverter and director of football Mateu Alemany travelled to City’s training ground on Wednesday to arrange the transfer.
Conte getting the best out of his players
While Harry Kane is currently finding goals hard to come by his centre back Eric Dier has increased his value to Antonio Conte many times over. Under previous manager Nuno Espirito Santo, Dier usually played short passes and often square without making any significant progress.
Conte has spent time with Dier in training and redefined his focus to enable him to make accurate passes into danger areas moving forward. His play is more penetrating and these days he often plays a long ball out to the left where Son Heung-Min waits to continue the move forward into the penalty area.
Kane himself struggled at the end of the Santo’s management but again Conte has given him back the confidence to shoot more and against Liverpool last weekend he had six shots, scored one and made two clear chances for Dele Alli.
Conte is a manager who trains his teams to be ferocious and aggressive, he runs up and down the line encouraging the supporters to be more vocal and in training he makes his players work hard to the point of exhaustion. Tottenham have turned the corner and there is still much more to come.
Why was Chelsea’s bench so empty?
I was disappointed for Chelsea fans last weekend but I am at a loss to explain Chelsea’s almost empty substitute’s bench. The club would only say they could not put out a full bench quota due to Covid 19 and injuries. That is rubbish! I visit the Cobham training ground regularly and I know that 22 very good players are out on loan, the club has an excellent academy and a huge playing staff compared with most clubs.
Uefa devalue Europa League competition
I can understand why French club Rennes were annoyed that Tottenham called off their Europa League match. What I cannot understand or agree with is throwing Tottenham out of the tournament. Covid has devastated the Premier League and matches are cancelled on a daily basis. Tottenham wanted to play the match but such are the Covid victims manager Antonio Conte felt he could not put out a competitive team. The club asked for a postponement until they had enough players back to fitness but were turned down. They asked the Premier League to move their match against Leicester but again were turned down. I think the Uefa governing body have been very short-sighted because by throwing out Tottenham they have devalued their own tournament and whichever team eventually wins it cannot claim to have beaten the best in Europe because a huge club is now missing.
Anti-vaxers are wrong in my opinion
I cannot explain to you why 16% of Premier League players have refused to be vaccinated for Covid 19. To me they are wrong and their decisions put themselves and others in danger. That is why I believe that any player not protected against the virus should not be selected to play. The number of Covid cases in the PL has doubled in the last week and numbered 90 which is the highest since the Covid era began.
Willock feels loved at Newcastle
Joe Willock revealed why he turned his back on Arsenal and signed a six-year deal with Newcastle. The Toon paid £25million for Joe who said the possibility of playing in front of 52,000 fans excited him. He said, “When I left Newcastle in the summer, after a successful loan spell, I felt I had left a piece of me behind. I wanted to come back here and sign permanently. The main reason I came back here is because the club and fans showed me love and wanted me so badly. I felt that sense of homely feeling about this club. It was not easy to leave the Gunners who were my boyhood club since I was four and half. I am excited that we have new owners and the resources to progress forward and join the elite at the top of the table. Newcastle are the club to watch.”
Tuchel’s lighter touch for Chelsea
Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel reckons his team are much happier these days because he is someone who likes a lighter atmosphere than most managers. He might look stern and tough shouting from the manager’s technical area but behind the scenes he enjoys a good laugh and a joke and he has not imposed fines on players who arrive late for training which his predecessor Frank Lampard did. Lampard handed out fines up to £20,000 if players did not turn up on time. Tuchel says, “Normal guys like to play football. If we don’t laugh, who can laugh? We should be happy. I might have lost a bit of authority and maybe we have to change a bit to get back to our serious side. You should have seen me ten years ago, running up and down the line, calling over the fourth official and attacking him and also shouting at the bench and the referee. No one was safe. But I have calmed down a lot and it is better for the team and everybody!”
Ederson wants Champions League medal with City
Ederson says his main ambition is to win the Champions League and that is why he signed a new deal with Manchester City. He has won three Premier League titles under Pep Guardiola but success in Europe, like Guardiola, is his top target.
He said this week, “My main focus is to reach the final of the Champions League again, to be champions this time. We had the pleasure of playing a Champions League final for the first time and unfortunately we ended up losing. It was a very hard blow for everyone but it was also a great experience.”
Guardiola said, “He is perfectly suited to our philosophy here at Manchester City and his ability with the ball at his feet makes him fundamental to our style of play. Since we signed him he has added a new dimension to our game and has revolutionised goalkeeping in the PL.
Grealish fee increase Declan’s value
David Moyes says the huge sum paid for Jack Grealish has increased the value of Declan Rice and he hinted that the Hammer’s midfielder would now cost more than £100million. Rice has been linked with a move to Manchester United but Moyes says the 22-year-old is going nowhere if he can help it.