YOU can only describe Didier Drogba’s career as a rollercoaster. He’s been sulky, wayward, stopped a civil war, been brilliant and of course, scored loads of ace goals. He’s also had rather suspect hair since forever, but we’ll let him off.
And now, Didier has dropped a hint that this season could be his last.
Transfer Balls: Chelsea, Manchester City, Liverpool And Arsenal Do The OK Koke For Manchester United Star
TRANSFER Balls: The Daily Express says “Barcelona ready to beat Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool with a summer bid for Koke”.
As ever, the Express aims to get as many big clubs as possible into its story. The aim – the fabled Full House – is to link a player with the top five English clubs.
Footy expert Bruce Archer tells readers:
…reports in Spain say Koke, along with Lars Bender, is Barcelona’s priority for the summer.
IN London: The Information Capital by James Cheshire and Oliver Uberti, the academics plotted London’s football clubs by popularity on Twitter for the 2013/14 season.
Each square represents 500m x 500m – and its colour indicates the football club with the most-tweeted hashtag in that area.
THE Premier League is good fun this season. Only Chelsea, of the so-called top clubs, play with any cohesion. Arsenal only go backwards to pull the bal from their net; Manchester United spray money at problems; Spurs are always building; Manchester City can’t defend; and Liverpool got lucky with Luis Saurez, whose departure exposed a batch of medicore, expensive individuals.
Paul Hayward is right:
No Premier League behemoth can say they have bought major defensive ballast, or supplemented individual world-class talent to the back line. City signed Eliaquim Mangala but after a bright start he developed culture shock. The less glamorous clubs can now see that Liverpool, Spurs, Arsenal and United are no longer hard to score against. Swansea (who are fifth), the so-called mini-Arsenal, made a policy decision to be tougher in their own third of the field, because they saw how much they could gain with a better balance between defence and attack…
The pressure to spray-spend £100m each summer is not yielding good results. It brings problems of balance and integration. It turns the heat on managers if the first 10 results are underwhelming.
And it plays to a delusion English football is increasingly falling prey to. The paranoia is that unless games are emotionally exhausting and aesthetically thrilling, rotten tomatoes will be lobbed by fans and pundits.
At the summit, Mourinho is showing Premier League clubs how to advance and retreat as a single fighting force. Chelsea are in another galaxy to the rest. Premier League campaigns are not meant to be over by Christmas, but this one threatens to be…
Looking at high-flying Southampton, what it adds up to is that the manager earns his corn. Would fans of Arsenal swap Wenger for Klopp, Liverpool fans exchange Rodgers for Koeman, Manchester United’s legions swap Van Gaal for Guardiola and Pelligrini for Everton’s Martinez?
WERE Liverpool cheated as they went down 2-1 to Chelsea in the Premier League? Let’s see what the local papers say:
The London Evening Standard: nothing. Not one word on the penalty not given.
They should have had a penalty in the 88 minute when Cahill stopped a Gerrard shot with his arm.
Such are the facts in the papers of record..
LIVERPOOL have been beaten by high-flying Chelsea 1-2 in the Premier League. Matt Law says Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers will never manage Chelsea. Well, that much should be obvious: back-to-back home league defeats against his former club have hardly made Rodgers look like Mourinho’s successor.
CHELSEA manager Jose Mouinho says the atmosphere at Stamford Bridge is like”Playing here is like playing in an empty stadium”.
He’s right. The modern Chelsea fan is a rugby-loving, glory-hunter for whom the match is a theatrical distraction between courses and ski trips. Young Henry and his banker dad are not alone. It’s like this at Arsenal, Manchester United, Spurs and more. The teenage fans who used to sing and go nuts can no longer afford to get in. Rocking up the match with a group of your mates is no longer an option. You arrived early to get your pitch. The atmosphere built as kick-off approached. Lost in the crowd, you sang. You all sang. Now the seats are empty as the middle-aged knobs queue for buns and souvenirs. Only the weathy or those die-hard adults who spend all they’ve got on the tickets can get in.
TO Chelsea, where, as the Sun reprots, “JOHN TERRY vows this week to speak to Chelsea’s board of directors about the sky-high ticket prices at his club.”
Good old JT, sticking up for the fans.
But the Chelsea players are hoovering up all that cash – “69 per cent of it [income] went on wages.”
THE Stephen Hawking biopic The Theory of Everything features a face familiar to fans of Chelsea FC.
The doctor is played by none other than Frank Leboeuf, star of such hits as Taking Sides (2001) and Le foot fait son cinéma (2003).
He tells the Radio Times:
In France I can’t audition because they still think I’m a footballer and don’t take me seriously. But in England they’ve given me the opportunity. I shot two movies here last year, Allies and The Theory of Everything. They give me a chance to show my new skill, and I’m thankful for that. People said very stupid things: they say, “Oh, every football player wants to act.” But there are only three really: Vinnie Jones, Eric Cantona and myself.
TRANSFER Balls: Anorak’s look at football speculation passed off as sensation and fact. Let’s see ehat the mesi has been saying about Sami Khedira and his move from Real Madrid to Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United, Manchester City or anywhere else.
It sesm that Arsenal need Khedira most, with former Gunner Perry Groves (he of the Perry Groves world) quoted in the Evening Standard:
“If Arsenal can get their injured players back while making sure the gap to the top doesn’t get too big with Chelsea and City then they have a chance to challenge for the title. If they can get to within six or seven points by the time the January transfer window opens and then sign Khedira, they could win it.”
THE Daily Mail has campaign. It wants readers to:
Join Sportsmail’s Hands Off In The Box campaign by parading the logo at matches.
You can just see football fans holding up the Daily Mail’s logo with pride. To date, the only newspaper referenced at football matches is the Sun. Liverpool fans upset over the Sun’s Hillsborough coverage ask fellow fans not to buy it.
WHOEVER could Crystal Palace fans be talking about as their side hosted Chelsea in the Premier League?
The Palace fans’ banner declared:
‘Romans dirty money is a disease that has plagued our game’
TRANSFER Balls: Much talk about Sami Khedira, the Real Madrid and Germany player linked with a move to Arsenal and Chelsea.
The Mirror has news:
Chelsea have stormed ahead of Arsenal in the race for Sami Khedira – after it emerged that Real Madrid are looking to sign goalkeeper Petr Cech despite being linked with Manchester United’s David De Gea.
That entire story is based on the Daily Express. Yes, we know. The Mirror suipplies no link to the Express.
Transfer Balls: Manchester United’s Paul Pogba Dreams Of Arsenal, Wants Chelsea, Hunted By Liverpool But Moves To Manchester City
TRANSFER Balls: Is Paul Pogba heading to Manchester City. The Times says City are weighing up a move for the former Manchester United player, now with Juventus.
And he’s heading to the Etihad. Well, maybe:
Pogba, 21, has established himself as one of the top young players in Europe since leaving Manchester United for Turin two years ago and City are understood to have identified him as one of a number of possible midfield targets.
Ross Barkley is another option being considered by City, who inquired in June about the prospect of signing the Everton and England midfielder, only to be quoted a £50 million fee.
TRANSFER Balls: A look at utter drivel being passed off as football news in the mainstream media. The Daily Express has a question:
Chelsea lining up sensational £48m bid for Liverpool’s Raheem Sterling?
The cunning is to make a statement and end it with a question mark. But what to drive-by Liverpool and Chelsea fans actually learn?
The 19-year-old midfielder is currently negotiating a new deal with Brendan Rodgers’ side, but it is believed that the two parties are far from close to agreeing terms.
BY now you’ll be wondering what former Manchester United captain Roy Keane has been up. How’s the anger? Are the dogs well?
TRANSFER Balls: Can it be that the Gunners are going to buy Edison Cavani?
The Daily Express tells its readers today:
Arsenal are working on a deal to try and sign Edinson Cavani.
ARSENAL manager Arsène Wenger spoke to the Arsenal website after his side’s 2-0 Premier League defeat to Chelsea. This is what he had to say:
Yes, a point was in it. It was down to us not to make defensive mistakes and use the dangerous situations we had and I think we were a bit short on both sides. We made a defensive mistake at the moment when we couldn’t afford to do it, and also when it was 1-0 and we were all over them I felt it was important not to concede a second goal. We did produce a good performance and both keepers had no saves to make.
Well, sort of. The Arsenal goalkeeper had two saves to make, but, we guess, he decided against making them…
ARSENAL manger Arsene Wenger looked like he’d strike a blow for everyone who values sport over gamesmanship and win-at-all-costs when he menaced Chelsea’s charmless manager Jose Mourinho.
The newspaper react:
Arsene Wenger is hardly contrite about intimidating Mourinho.
No, what is there to regret after that? I wanted to go from A to B and somebody confronted me in between without any sign of welcome… B was Alexis, to see how badly he was injured…
I trust that you will teach me all the moral lessons over the next three weeks and I can accept that. But I’ve been in the game long enough to give it the right weight…
I can try to push you and when [I do] you will see what my [pushes are really like]. It was a little one…
The Mirror goes overbaord:
Oh, puh-lease. We all loved it, including one former Daily Mirroe editor.
SO. There was Arsene Wenger promising to do what so many managers, football fans and people who enjoy sport without the insessant charmless gamesmanship demand: lamp Jose Mourinho.
Sadly, like Arsenal, Wenger promised much but fell short on the Stamford Bridge touchline.
But good to see the niggling, spoilt bellend Mourinho looking unsettled.
He really is the face of the Premier League, the embodiment of all the greed, preening, self-aggrandizing and vanity it stands for.
When the football bubble pops and English football returns to what it once was, Anorak will rejoice. Until then, come on AFC Bournemouth. In the lower leagues, the sport lives on.
THE Sun has a kiss ‘n’ tells. News is that Chelsea’s new goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois “cheated on his long-term girlfriend with a £4-an-hour tapas bar waitress he met on the internet, The Sun on Sunday can reveal.”
The Sun says it is an “EXCLUSIVE”.
The tapas bar waitress is Jeny Sanchez, 25.
CHESLEA v Arsenal in the Premier League. And the Sun is, as ever, looking for controversy. The headline screams:
You’ve got Cesc on the brain - Hazard in Fab taunt to Wenger
TRANSFER Balls: The Guardian looks at Arsenal and a top player and wonders aloud:
Football transfer rumours: Arsenal to end Edinson Cavani’s PSG hell?
CHELSEA captain John Terry cries when he doesn’t win. Other footballers have cried, of course. But Terry is such a divisive character. His tears invite a reaction. And most football fans will point and laugh. He says:
“I was in tears over the Premier League last season, over throwing it away and not winning it, behind closed doors. It’s emotions, that is what I play for week-in, week-out.”