Monday, 16 May 2011

Troubled Leicester Star Linked with Move Away

Rumours are circling the footballing world about the future of Leicester city star striker Andrew Manzano. The Columbian International has be linked with a number of Premier League clubs and it now appears that he is ready to move.

This follows an impressive year on the pitch for the foxes despite his off-field problems, the nineteen year old striker has score twenty-two goals this season coming close to helping Leicester make the play-offs despite a dreadful start to the season. City turned down a number of offers in January for the Columbian who is rumoured to be valued at up to eighteen million pounds.

Despite his on field form, Manzano has caused controversy off the field with his all night drinking sessions along with having an affair with the girlfriend of teammate Andy King. This incident put a strain on the squad which may persuade Sven Goran Eriksson to sell at a reasonable price. The nineteen year old has come through the foxes academy finally getting his chance this season which he emphatically took by scoring on his debut in the League cup win over Leeds back in August, he then went on to be named player of the month in December and March.

A number of Premier league clubs have stated an interest in the young including Arsenal with manager Arsene Wenger reportedly saying that for the right price he would be interested in the "talented, young Striker who knows where the goal is". Manzano would be ideal for the Gunners as he is natural goal scorer that would link up nicely with Robin Van Persie and with the supporters calling on Wenger to spend big this summer he may be persuaded to make a move.

Wherever the young Columbian ends up this summer he is sure to make an impact but the clubs management will have a major job on their hands to rein in the nightlife loving striker as well as sorting out his 'arrogant' attitude which fellow professionals have spoken out about. Maybe Wenger will be the ideal man to change that, only time will tell.

Manzano pictured at one of his late night parties

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Fernando Torres, Hero or Villain?

On the last day of this year's January transfer window, Fernando Torres joined Chelsea from Liverpool for a British record fee of 50 million pounds. But as we look back on Torres's Liverpool career the fans ask themselves, is he a hero or a villain?.

The story begins on the 4th of July 2007 when twenty-three year old Athletico Madrid captain Fernando Torres signs for Liverpool for around twenty million pounds, El Nino (the kid) decided to leave his boyhood club in search of winning trophies with Liverpool who had  just missed out in the Champions League final a couple months previous. During his first season at Anfield, Torres scored twenty-four times for the club which is more than other foreign player in a debut season, unfortunately despite reaching the semi-final of Champions League, there were no trophies and only a fourth place finish in the league.

Despite an injury plagued second season which included three hamstring injuries, Torres nearly helped Liverpool to their first ever Premier League title only to be edged out by fierce rivals Manchester United, again the reds failed to win a trophy making only the Champions League quarters this time around. The injuries took their toll on Torres that season which resulted in him only scoring fourteen goals that campaign. Last season was disappointing for Liverpool to say the least, a group stage exit from the Champions League in what looked a fairly easy group, a third round exit in the FA cup and fourth round exit in the League cup made for a poor first half of the season. In the second half they tried to turn it around but the damage was done and despite a semi-final appearance in the Europa League, Liverpool only managed seventh in the League which led to the sacking of then manager Rafael Benitez.

During the summer of 2010 Roy Hodgson was appointed manager, despite reports that Torres wanted to leave, he stayed for the start of the season which was disastrous to say the least. During Hodgson's rein, Liverpool looked more relegation contenders than title contenders (not to mention a messy take over by New England Sport Ventures). A noticeable feature of this period was Torres's performances, the Spanish number nine looked disinterested and a shadow of his former self. Once Hodgson had departed and Dalglish had came in, Torres seemed to regain some form and pick up a few goals along the way. On Friday the twenty-eighth of January, two days before the transfer window ended, Torres shocked the Liverpool faithfully by handing in a written transfer request demanding that Liverpool talk to Chelsea.

The Liverpool fans who had previously idolised the Spanish superstar, felt both angry and betrayed at Torres's request with some gathering outside Melwood training ground burning shirts with their former hero's name on them. Once Torres had joined Chelsea, he further upset the reds fans by claiming that Chelsea were a step above Liverpool which would have been hard for the Liverpool fans to hear after their former number nine pledged his desire to stay at the club only weeks earlier.

The reasons for Torres's desire to leave were said to be a longing to win trophies, the same reason why he joined Liverpool back in 2007. If you look at it that way how can you blame him?. El Nino spent three and half years at the club but won absolutely nothing when Chelsea have been winning trophies left, right and centre. Yes maybe he could have handled the leaving a little bit more sensitively but he gave a good service to the reds over the three and a half years which shouldn't be forgotten.
So at the end of his Anfield Career, is Torres a Kop hero or villain?. Make your minds up.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Tigers Out For Revenge In Heineken Cup

Leicester Tigers are to face Irish side Leinster in the Quarter finals of Heineken cup following their 62-15 win over Italian side Treviso. The Tigers finished runners up in the pool behind French side Perpignan on the head to head record which now means that a tough trip to Ireland awaits.

On Sunday Richard Cockerill's men hammered bottom club Treviso in the hope of finishing top of pool five, unfortunately the Scarlets couldn't prevent Perpignan from securing a four try bonus point which left both Tigers and Perpignan on twenty-two points, due to the two results between the sides (one Perpignan win and a draw), Perpignan topped the group and with it, gained a home quarter final against Jonny Wilkinson's Toulon.

The result of final pool games means that there will be a rematch of the 2009 final where Leinster edged out the Tigers to claim their first ever European title. Leinster who topped their pool in impressive style which included a 24-8 win over French giants Clermont Auvergne, have had a brilliant couple of years in the tournament which has included a semi final appearance last season in a valiant attempt to defend their crown. Like Tigers before them, Leinster have now become a force in Europe and will be difficult to defeat especially at home. But Tigers have a history with backs to the walls wins in Ireland, in the 2006/07 season, Tigers became the first team in the Heineken cup to beat Munster at Thomond park knowing that they had to win the qualify. Two years earlier Tigers beat this year's opponents Leinster in the quarter final stage to secure another semi-final appearance.

On the news of the draw, head coach Richard Cockerill told the BBC, "The home side will be favourites to win, but on our day we are as good as any of those teams". This underlines the belief that both the team and management have in themselves, they know that they must play at their best in order to progress but they feel when the game comes along they will be up to the task.

Both teams have a winning mentality and know how to win the big games with plenty of bottle to boot. All these factors and more should result in a fantastic match come April ninth with two great teams fighting hard for a place in the last four of Europe's elite competition.   Alesana Tuilagi Brian O'Driscoll of Leinster is tackled by Alesana Tuilagi of Leicester Tigers during the Heineken Cup Final match between Leicester Tigers and Leinster at Murrayfield Stadium on May 23, 2009 in Edinburgh, Scotland.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Brian O'Driscoll;Alesana Tuilagi

Monday, 24 January 2011

King Kenny To Bring Back Glory Days At Anfield?

On Saturday the eighth of January of this year, Roy Hodgson's torrid rein as Liverpool manager came to an abrupt end, with Liverpool in the bottom half of the table and out of the League cup. So who was to be appointed to try and revive the reds fortunes?, club legend Kenny Dalglish.

Kenny Dalglish or 'King Kenny' as he's fondly called by the Anfield faithful, was a huge part of the club as both player and manager between the years of 1977 and 1991 winning major honors including numerous League and European trophies. He has now returned to the club to find it in a much different state to the one he left all those years ago. The glory days have long since gone at Anfield despite winning a fifth european cup six years ago , Liverpool have not won the League since the last Dalglish rein back in 1990!.

So what has Dalglish got to work with?, well he has arguably the weakest Liverpool squad since the fans can remember, his star striker who has been misfiring all season, does not look like his old self and with talisman Steven Gerrard not getting any younger, King Kenny has some real problems. Firstly with the wage bill being so high, Dalglish will be looking to offload some of the deadwood amongst the squad, with the likes of Ryan Babel, Milan Jovanovic and Paul Konchesky the most likely to be cashed in on. Secondly getting likes of Pepe Reina and Fernando Torres to stay will crucial for the future of the club, keeping the two players will be a statement to the rest of Europe that Liverpool can return to the big time stronger than ever.

With the new owners in and the current month being January, new signings are being heavily talked about with the likes Luis Su├írez and Charlie Adam being linked with the club, it is crucial that the squad is strengthened if the reds are going to head up the table and try to return to the glory days of the past. So after four games, Dalglish now knows the task he has in front of him and a huge one at that but if anyone can turn it around at Anfield, it is 'The King', Kenny Dalglish.
Kenny Dalglish salutes Liverpool's fans