The January transfer window has been closed for just over two weeks. Some might say (we're
looking at you Chelsea fans)Â that it's too early to judge new recruits, others argue
you've got to hit the ground running when you switch clubs mid-season. Wherever you stand on the
matter, we've taken a quick glance at the impact made by January's key signings and found most
The final day of the January transfer window unfolded unlike any other.Â There were twists and
turns aplenty â€“ enough to satisfy the hunger of every footy fan.Â But the biggest surprises of
the day were the ones that didn't necessarily grab the headlines.
Recession? Don't make me choke on my meat pie. The English Premier League once again
proved that itsÂ love affair with splashing the cash has in no way waned since the market crashed
several years ago.
This season's January transfer window turned out to be one of the most lucrative in memory.
Sky sacked presenter Andy Gray following new evidence of his sexist behaviour
came to light. Gray and presenter Richard Keys were warned over their comments
about female referee Sian Massey before last Saturday's Wolves v
The English Manager is a dying breed. We've touched on this topic before. First, the English
Manager was kicked out of the Top Four. Then, the English Manager was kicked out of the England
squad. Now, the English Manager is getting kicked out of the Premier League.
Manchester City fans have one player to thank for keeping their side in the hunt for
this season's title, Carlos Tevez. Despite Sheikh Mansour recently splashing out
millions of pounds on promising players from around the globe, Carlos Tevez remains
City's jewel in the crown.
"Maybe one day I'll come back and play here, but I've always said it will only be for
Manchester United." Barely three weeks after declaring his allegiance to the Red
Devils, David Beckham is on the verge of proving himself to be one of the biggest
liars in football.
During the past two MLS offseasons, in order to maintain fitness for the following
LA Galaxy campaign, David Beckham has signed a short-term loan deal with AC
After joining the likes of Serie A and La Liga, putting our feet up in front
of the telly and enjoying the mid-winter break, Footy Factor is back and looking forward
to another scintillating year of footy. Up next, who will be the first Premiership manager
in the New Year to get the chop?
Not many people outside of Bolton had heard of Stuart Holden before the
American bagged the winning goal against Blackburn on Saturday. Untested at club
football's highest level, Holden was plucked from Houston Dynamo of MLS
in January and has never looked back.
After another round of Premiership fixtures things couldn't be tighter at the top and
bottom. Arsenal, Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea are all
vying for first place as the season approaches the Christmas period. At the bottom, Avram
Grant seems to have taken West Ham as far as he humanly can while Wolves,
Wigan and Fulham could be following the Hammers south a division.
When Chelsea lost to Liverpool at Anfield at the beginning of
November, manager Carlo Ancelotti brushed his side's defeat off as a minor blip. One month
later and Chelsea's Â 'blip' has turned into a crisis.
Since falling to a Fernando Torres double, Chelsea have won just once out of
six matches in all competitions.
In one respect, statistics are the bread and butter of professional football. Millions of dreams
â€“ not to mention millions of pounds â€“ rest on how many points every team garners and how many
goals every team scores. But once you move beyond wins, losses, draws and goals, statistics have by
and large been consigned to the shadows of modern football.
Only a year and a half ago, Newcastle United owner Mike Ashley was the
laughing stock of English football. The Toon Army had just been relegated to the
Championship and Ashley was fighting tooth and nail to garner support from the
Since installing Chris Hughton as manager in the beginning of the 2009-10 season,
Newcastle's fortunes have sky-rocketed.
England experienced a cold front last week but by the time Saturday's fixtures kicked off things
were already warming up. Chelsea's draw against Everton sees manager Carlo
Ancelotti sweating like never before. But Ancelotti isn't the only manager in London
feeling the heat.
It's been a miserable couple of weeks for Carlo Ancelotti and his players. First they
lose to Liverpool at Anfield on the one day that Fernando Torres
rediscovers his scoring touch. Then they grind out a victory against London neighbours
Fulham, before subsequently getting thrashed at home to Sunderland and falling
victim to a severe dose of bad luck at Birmingham City.
Another critical week in the Premier League saw Champions Chelsea lose their
grip on top spot, Dimitar Berbatov finally justify his exorbitant transfer fee (?),
Spurs steal points late... again, and Wolves win but stay in the bottom
Next to Diego Forlan, Luis Suarez was the biggest star on a Uruguayan side
that reached the semi-finals of last summer's World Cup. The tough, compact Ajax
striker and captain is considered an ideal candidate to thrive in a league like the
Premiership.Â But a series of bizarre incidents now threatens toÂ maroon the young
Uruguayan's career before it really starts going places.
If you believe everything you read in the papers, then a crisis has befallen Chelsea
Football Club. After a blistering start to the season in which the team could not stop scoring
goals, Chelsea's superstars have been recentlyÂ shooting blanks. Three losses in four
games represent a crisis of sorts for any club, especially the defending champions.
The season is over a third complete yet there are still no real certainties at the top or bottom
of the Premiership. Chelsea's problems continued in a defeat at St.
Andrews, a stirring comeback at the Emirates gave Tottenham the North London
bragging rights, Wayne Rooney returned to Old Trafford, while Liverpool
piled the pressure on Hammers boss Avram Grant.
Aston Villa confirmed yesterday that former Arsenal winger Robert
Pires has signed a six month contract. It was generally understood that Robert Pires
would retire from the game at after being released last summer by La Liga side
Villarreal. Not so.
Still no sight of Wayne Rooney, but we didn't even need him. Another week of
Premiership football jammed full of incident saw Manchester United narrowly avoid
losing their first match, cross-town rivals Manchester City yet again fail to score at
home, Spurs put their post Champions League lethargy to bed and
Liverpool prove they're still a long way from they're best.
Chelsea announced yesterday that assistant manager Ray Wilkins has left the
club with immediate effect. Wilkins joined Chelsea as a 17-year old apprentice in
1973 and became the club's youngest captain the following year. After a successful spell down
south, Wilkins joined ManchesterUnited in 1979 but returned to
StamfordBridge nearly three decades later in a different capacity.
Another game, another poor Manchester City performance, this time away to little known
Lech Poznan in the Europa League. We're nearly three months into the season and
we're still no closer to understanding the enigmatic Manchester City. Do they really want
to win anything this year?
We're barely a quarter of the way through the season and already the ground is beginning to give
way beneath a few of the Premiership's top managers. Here are managers most under scrutiny
and our odds for getting the sack by the end of the year.
Avram Grant (West Ham United) â€“ 6/5
It's only November, but West Ham are already digging in for a long relegation
Another weekend of Premiership fixtures offered up some shock results, an abundance of
jaw-dropping bravery, and the usual flurry of controversy. Wayne Rooney didn't play but at
least he's back in Manchester and we don't have to see any more pictures of his pasty body burning
under the Dubai sun.
Kaka is back! Well... sort of. After a five-month layoff, he played his first 15
minutes of top-tier football last weekend against Getafe. Â It's too early to say whether
Kaka has completely recovered, but during that brief appearance he looked sharp, lean, and
hungry.Â We'll be able to make a more accurate assessment once he gets a full 90 minutes â€“
although right now, it's hard to see when that might happen.
And another one bites the dust... Jamie Carragher is expected to be out for three
months after dislocating his shoulder in last weekend's match between Liverpool and
Tottenham. On the face of it, the injury is not a big shocker. The Liverpool
defender is 32 years old, playing in the most physical league in the world.
The arrival of the French national team on English soil would normally get the juices
flowing for most home supporters but the fact the fixture is only a friendly and lands awkwardly on
a cold Wednesday evening removes some of the sting. At least Wembley will have an
opportunity to take a glimpse into the future of the England team.
Here's a pretty damning statistic about the state of English football: Of the 314 goals scored
by clubs in the Premier League this season, only 51 have been scored by English forwards.Â
That's barely 16 percent.
Scour the list of top goal scorers and the only Englishmen names you'll find are players like
Kevin Nolan, Marlon Harewood, and Darren Bent.
The football establishment turned from confusion to blushes after it became increasingly
apparent that the yellow cards picked up by Sergio Ramos and Xabi Alonso during
Tuesday's Champions League group stages were part of a deliberate ploy by Real
Madrid coach Jose Mourinho.
FIFA's technical advisers yesterday published evaluation reports of all 11 countries
bidding for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups.Â None of them will be happy. Following four-day
visits to each of the nine bid teams over the summer, FIFA found significant fault with
every one of the potential hosts.
What do you get when you cross an eccentric, former footballer turned aspiring actor, with a
footy team whose glory years have long since been relegated to the history books? The return ofÂ
the New York Cosmos?
A new Frenchman has landed in the Big Apple and if past experience is anything to go by, he
intends to take the New York Cosmos to the top of the football ladder.
Only two Premiership fixtures survived the weekend's winter weather with the Top Four
seeing their clashes deferred to later in the season. While the snow delay proved much needed
respite for some, how Avram Grant and Owen Coyle might have wished their matches
too were postponed.
In the murky business of football agents Kia Joorabchian is a breed apart.
The Iranian-born Brit considers himself more of an investor than an agent. And in many ways,
it's true. He is not licensed to represent footballers, but came to power by peddling in the
"third-party" ownership of players and still exerts tremendous influence over his clients even
after the ownership rules changed.
Tottenham Hotspur manager Harry Redknapp has been involved in the game for
over 40 years. During that time you would have thought he had seen everything. Not so.
Tottenham's two most recent forays in the Champions League consecutive clashes
with reigning European Champions Inter Milan have left even the wily old wheeler-dealer
scratching his head in astonishment.