Transfer Deadline Day – Ozil and Ba for Arsenal?

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ARSENAL fans must be feeling like top transfers are a bit like buses today, after waiting all summer for a big name and then Mesut Ozil and Demba Ba come along.
Hopefully.
Rumours are rife that the capture of Real Madrid’s German international Ozil is all but a done deal, with personal terms and a 50m Euro price tag already arranged – smashing Arsenal’s previous transfer record by around £30m.
And now it is believed that Chelsea are in talks with The Gunners over a loan deal to allow Ba to move across London.
Exciting attacking moves for Wenger’s men.

Kaka could be marquee signing that Wenger and Moyes are looking for

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A FORMER World Player of the Year, a Real Madrid ‘Galactico’ no less, who cost £56m last time he moved – could Kaka be the midfield menace that both Manchester United and Arsenal are angling for this transfer window?
With the imminent transfer of Spurs’ Gareth Bale to Real, and the news that Mesut Ozil is staying put, Brazilian attacker Kaka has made it clear he wants to leave Spain, and soon.
The news has put top clubs around Europe on alert, and despite the rumours that AC Milan is a likely destination, it’s clear that two of the Premiership’s big boys, Manchester United and Arsenal, could do with his services.
Since joining Old Trafford, David Moyes has been linked, albeit sometimes ridiculously, with a parade of talent – Cesc Fabregas, Thiago Alcantara, Marouane Fellaini, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, even Bale.
What is clear from these rumours is that Moyes is in the market for a midfielder.
And at Arsenal, Arsene Wenger recapturing Mathieu Flamini, while a solid piece of business, is not the sort of transfer activity that the fans crave after a similar summer of disappointment.
With Kaka out of favour, hankering for a move from Real Madrid, the player should be within both’s budget, and there’s time to do a deal – could the Premier League have a new star player in the coming days?

Mourinho move for Willian sticks knife in both Real Madrid and Spurs

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OH HOW we’ve missed you Mourinho.
The Special One is well known for doing things his own special way, and that extends from the touchline to the transfer market, but this week’s work will take some beating.
Despite a medical being completed and a transfer fee being arranged between Anzhi Makhachkala and Tottenham Hotspur for midfielder Willian, an 11th hour bid by Chelsea this week saw the Brazilian winger change his mind and agree a move to Stamford Bridge.
This is despite Chelsea owning more attacking midfielders than you can shake a Oscar, Juan Mata, Eden Hazard and Andre Schurrle-shaped stick at – a strange move it seemed at first.
Rumours were rife that the swoop would allow Mata to become the bargaining chip needed to prise his top target Wayne Rooney away from Manchester United – which could still be a possibility.
But now it appears that Gareth Bale’s mooted £93m move to Real Madrid is on hold as Daniel Levy won’t let Bale leave without a replacement in the bag.
So the Willian move has messed with both Chelsea rivals Spurs and former employer Madrid’s dealings, and made his own business look much more likely too – talk about two birds with one stone, Jose.

Premiership Predictions – Relegation return for Championship hopefuls

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YESTERDAY I predicted a Chelsea Premier League win come the end of the season, and to be honest picking the winner was harder than an a tungsten carbide statue of Roy Keane.
At the other end of the table, it’s far more clear cut in my eyes.
The promoted teams from the Championship are, for me, in a different league. A lower one.
Or at least they should be – when you line them up alongside the likes of last season’s strugglers Sunderland, Newcastle, Aston Villa, Southampton and Stoke.
Of the three I’d back Cardiff City to put up the biggest fight, especially with their summer signings such as Caulker and Cornelius, but Hull City Tigers and Crystal Palace will need a miracle to turn over enough points to stay within distance of 17th and safety.
I can only see it going one way – meaning it will be the first time all the promoted sides have been sent straight back to Championship since 1998.

Premiership Predictions – London to reclaim title from Manchester

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THIS season, more than any I can remember anticipating, is a hard one to call.
The top three teams from last season, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea, all have new men at the helm.
Arsenal underperformed last season – but then, Arsenal have underperformed for a good few years now – while Spurs and Liverpool could both be facing up to life without their star men next season.
I can’t see any other team seriously breaking into the top four, but which of these six elite squads will is a hard call.
There’s my disclaimer out of the way.
But neck on the line I find it hard to see past Mourinho’s Chelsea for the title.
His team has a strength in depth matched only by Manchester City, with some real creative talent in the form of Hazard, Mata and Oscar – plus if anyone can hit the ground running it’s the Special One, a manager adept at settling into new clubs, with the benefit of having been here and done it before.
It’s this that gives him the edge over Pellegrini’s star-studded legions of Manchester City, who I’m placing second come May.
Last season, Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal gave themselves a mountain to climb, and they climbed it admirably during the second half of the season. If they come out of the traps in the same form as they finished last time around, I can see them overhauling David Moyes and Manchester United’s defending champions, who’ll have to settle for fourth place.
Liverpool and Spurs I see missing out, without the depth in their squad to maintain a season-long campaign – although I will tip the Lilywhites’ new boy Roberto Soldado for the Golden Boot.
Tomorrow, I’m going to have a look at the other half of the table and predict who’ll be relegated…

Premiership Predictions – the result

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MANCHESTER United won the Premier League – check.
Manchester City second – check.
Chelsea and Arsenal qualify for the Champions League – check.
Spurs pushing them close – check.
Smug face – check.
Liverpool pushing for Europe – errr…
Nevertheless, this has undoubtedly been my best ever year for Premier League predictions, and to prove it click here to see my punditry from last August.
I’ll be milking this one over the close season, I can tell you.

‘Spurs should miss out on Champions League’

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ARSENAL and Chelsea should pip Spurs to the Champions League places for next season, say surfers of this site.
A few days ago, Goaltastic posted a poll to ask which of the three sides currently contesting the two Champions League berths alongside Manchester United and Manchester City should miss out.
And after a huge number of votes in just a couple of days, an overwhelming majority (61.98 per cent) feel that Tottenham should finish fifth, rather than Arsenal (18.23 per cent) and Chelsea (19.79 per cent).
Of course, the reality of the situation may not match the results of the poll – but whatever happens it should be an exciting run in this season.

Arsenal, Spurs or Chelsea – vote for who you want to lose race to Champions League places

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CHELSEA, Arsenal and Spurs are currently locked in one of the closest races in Premier League history.
Sadly for the trio, it’s not the title at stake, but to secure Champions League football.
Anyone who says that Germany has now eclipsed England and Spain as the top league on the continent should cast an eye at the strength of the squads vying for third and fourth places – with World Class talents like Juan Mata, Theo Walcott, Gareth Bale, Eden Hazard, Santi Cazorla, Jermain Defoe and more facing off for the right to represent England over the next few weeks.
And sadly, one of these squads – all of which could arguably challenge for the European crown next season – will miss out.
It’s a hard one to call – but you can vote for who you think should miss out with out vote below…

Who should miss out on Champions League qualification?

Is Bale the best player in the Premier League?

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ANOTHER Spurs match, another win dragged from the jaws of disappointment by Gareth Bale.
The Welsh flyer scored an exocet-like strike from range at the death tonight – after scoring earlier in the match – to see off a spirited West Ham away from home 3-2.
They now sit above London rivals Chelsea and Arsenal in third place in the Premier League.
Is there any player this year that has single-handedly pulled their team up the table as Bale has done, and with such style as well?
It surely has echoes of Robin van Persie for Arsenal last season, and arguably Bale has more importance to Spurs than Van Persie to Man Utd, Messi to Barcelona, Ronaldo to Real Madrid etc.
Getting Champions League football will be one hell of an achievement for Andre Villas-Boas, given the strength of competition from the likes of Everton, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool this season – but by god, keeping hold of Bale will be a bigger battle this Summer.

England! Three Lions! St George! We’re gonna win the World Cup! Yeah!

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THAT sound you heard last night, that clicking sound, that was the sound of England clicking into place.
Now I know in my heart of hearts that we’re not going to win the World Cup in Brazil next summer, but last night England did go tantalisingly close to giving back a glimmer of hope to the nation’s fans.
Because not only did we beat Brazil, it wasn’t an undeserved result.
England, with close to a full strength first team that you could only imagine Roy adding one of two players to if he had an injury-free squad, outplayed Brazil, who may be under-par by their standards but should still be the match of any team on the international stage.
The goat-like figure of a frustrated Neymar and an impotant Ronaldinho unable to pull the strings contrasted to the English midfielders’ performances such as the bustling Jack Wilshere and quarterback Steven Gerrard.
We had pace and penetration, but also patience and probing play. Sure we wobbled at the back and let Fred in, but overall we played our way to victory over the 90 minutes.
So for now Rule Britannia, God Save the Queen, etc.
Until the next friendly, that is…