Tag Archives: English Premier League

Di Matteo Sacked – For the Better of Chelsea

I said it many times that Roberto Di Matteo was the right man for the right period. And I said too, that Di Matteo should not continue as manager because he gave all already and the team has become bigger than him. I guess that Abramovich finally listened and took the right decision.

In an official statement, Chelsea club has announced that “Club has parted company this morning with Manager Roberto Di Matteo.” (click here for the full news). AVB drove a ‘Fiat-like’ Chelsea like a Ferrari and failed, Di Matteo drove it like a Fiat and succeeded. Now that Chelsea is a Ferrari, Di Matteo is failing because he still thinks it is a Fiat and can not handle it like a Ferrari.

Who will be the next manager? Will it be Rafa Benitez? And if it is Rafa, will he be able to make Torres score?

chelsea sack di matteo

That’s the way out; thank you and good bye!


André Villas-Boas Should Stay

My first post for “It’s Round & It’s White” was about Chelsea and Andre Villas-Boas. Here it is:

When Roman Abramovich got hold of Chelsea FC, the world and the fans expected a revolution and an everlasting glory. He started spending millions luring the biggest names in the footballing world and chasing titles. Everyone was thrilled, and nowadays many other teams are getting the same treatment. However, if we look at Chelsea’s history in the Premier League and in Europe, we realize that it is a good club but was not among Europe’s Elite. So the question is: Why are we rushing everything? What happened to the joy of winning a cup or a title every couple of years?

Chelsea never stopped winning since the Abramovich era commenced, but times are changing and everyone is eager to win every day. However, for that to happen, the math is simple: Keep André Villas-Boas if reigning Europe is the ultimate dream. Shocking? Well, I was 100% behind the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti because I felt he was not improving the team but playing games to win points.

André Villas-Boas (AVB) is not “The Special One” and no one is. However, he is young, determined, and boosts a good CV. Abramovich will not care at a certain moment in time to sack him, even with his huge end of services benefits, but it is time for Abramovich to set a new tactic and mindset if he wants to win the Champions League.


Come ON! Give me time, Give me money!

AVB has a mountain ahead, but I can see hope as he is doing one good thing without making a big fuss about it or leading media attention to magnify it: Ending the Mourinho Legacy and starting a new, fresh, and a young one. The departure of Anelka, and soon Alex, Lampard’s new bench role, and Drogba’s rumors, are all good signs that AVB is trying to build a new strong team.

A rejuvenated Chelsea team should have a spine that AVB can build a squad around. Many agree that John Terry is beyond his best, and I can’t argue that. However, he is the leader and the first corner stone for a better Chelsea. Cech, Terry, and Lampard should be around to help newcomers adapt fast. Lampard already showed his class and professionalism by accepting a bench role in many occasions this season, and a professional like that is a must have.

My idea of a new Chelsea is:

  • Keep: AVB, and give him time, money, and support
  • Get rid of: Drogba, Kalou, Mikel, Alex, Malouda, and Ivanovic
  • Hold on to: Romeu, Ramires, Meireles, Mata, Torres, and Sturridge
  • Buy: Gregory van der Wiel, Krasic, Higuain, Jack Rodwell, Gary Cahill, Marcos Rojo, and Joao Moutinho
  • Expect: A fourth place finish for this season, a well-fought title race in 2012/2013, and a Champions League Title in 2013/2014

Chelsea must keep AVB even if he fails to win any silverware this season. Like him or not, he should stay, because he is heading into a new era of success. If you are not convinced, just think about this: How many managers did Chelsea have before him, and how many of those managed to win the Champions League?

Transfer Talk – Part 2

transfer talk - Premier League

As we continue to preview the transfers that might or might not happen in the January transfer window, and are discussing once more some other potential moves.

For part one click here.

Part 2 will cover England’s Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, and Liverpool:

Tottenham Hotspur

Figo29: The math is simple: a rich midfield and a scarcity in attack. Confirmed exclusive news by Les Ferdinand to says that Roman Pavlyuchenko will surely leave the club, if not this winter then by end of season as he “is a hard man to deal with and of a strange character.” Ferdinand also revealed that the club cannot afford Adebayor on the long term and there is no chance he stays by the end of the season. Rumor has it that Leandro Daimao is on the Spurs radar so is Nilmar. Giovani Dos Santos, Niko Kranjcar and Steven Pienaar could all leave as they are looking for regular playtime. Modric is still an uncertainty, and Manchester United will be happy to receive him.

TFS: As much as he denies it, Redknapp is a great dealer in the transfer market. Whether or not he can bolster his squad in January is another question. I do think they need re-enforcements. They’re very close to become serious title contenders, and the only two positions I believe they should improve are the left-back spot (Assou-Ekotto isn’t that great) and up front. They probably won’t buy a left-back in the January window as that isn’t a priority, but up front they need some alternatives. With Pavlyuchenko probably on his way out, I wouldn’t be entirely surprised to see a striker coming in. Someone with experience to support Adebayor – Amauri possibly?


Figo29: Arsene Wenger will make up his mind on Thierry Henry soon while Hugo Rodallega and Luka Podolski are on the Frenchman’s agenda. He is looking for cover upfront while van Persie is the only survivor. With Bacary Sagna, Carl Jenkinson, Andre Santos and Kieran Gibbs are all injured, rumor has it that Alex from Chelsea and Wayne Bridge from Manchester City are on their way to the Emirates. Arshavin and Chamakh may not last beyond the transfer window and Lassana Diarra or Lucas Biglia could help the Gunners into a Champions League spot.

TFS: Arsenal have always had the same problems in recent seasons after the New Year. Lots of injuries, some players going to the Cup of Nations, and a lack of depth in the squad. They need to add some numbers in the squad, as well as get rid of some. Coming in: talk of a Thierry Henry returning could materialize, but is that Arsenal’s solution? In the short term, with Gervinho and Chamakh off to Africa, then yes. But given that Van Persie’s only cover, Chamakh, is quite rubbish, they need someone to help him up there. Podolski has been mentioned and would be a good match for Wenger. The wing-backs are also a problem, so despite Wayne Bridge being touted for the move, I do expect Wenger to go for someone unheard of or for someone with more experience like Jan Vertonghen of Ajax who is a versatile defender. Going out: Arshavin has surely got to leave now and the previously mentioned Chamakh – both, for simply being pretty useless.


Figo29: The best signings for Liverpool are already concluded: Return of Steven Gerrard and a rejuvenated Maxi Rodriguez. However, the suspension of Luis Suarez will leave a lackluster Carroll alone, and some probable alternatives are Marouane Chamakh, Bobby Zamora, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar or Amauri. In the meantime, Cheick Tioté or Sami Khedira can add some strength in the absence of Lucas, while Raul Albiol might take the advice of Xabi Alonso and join.

TFS: A striker. That’s all Liverpool need. Suarez is getting done for 8 matches. Carroll couldn’t score if his life depended on it. And Liverpool’s missed chances are akin to a midget trying to punch a 6ft5 bouncer. It’s just not happening. Given Liverpool’s recent transfer activity of signing British players, I wouldn’t be surprised if someone like Darren Bent joined them.

Part 3, coming soon…

Transfer Talk – Part 1

transfer talk - Premier League - 01

Few days left before Pandora’s Box is open again. Come January, the transfer window will send its billions flying all around Europe and many footballers on to new roller-coaster rides. The transfer rumors are intensifying and some deals are almost done, but won’t be unveiled until the 1st of January – or so we’re told. and have joined forces to discuss the rumors, speculations, and give a little analysis regarding the potential transfers and will both publish a series of posts regarding Europe’s biggest names.

Part 1 will cover England’s Manchester clubs and Chelsea:

Manchester United

Figo29: If I were Sir Alex, I would sign an experienced defender, a central holding midfielder and a creative midfielder. He should break all the rules and salary caps and structures to sign Wesley Sneijder. If Sneijder is still an impossible transfer, my options for the Sir are either Henrique Ganso or Adel Taarabt. As for the defensive/holding midfielders, Lassana Diarra or Sami Khedira from Real Madrid may be good loan deals, but the real deal may come in the name of Lucas Biglia. Rumor has it that his agent is already in talks with the Red Devils. On the Nicolas Gaitán news, I do not think he will sign for the team; at least not this season.

TFS: There’s always room for improvements at United. A versatile defender, on a loan perhaps, wouldn’t be a bad idea given that Vidic’s gone for the season. The same could be said about the midfield and while the calls are usually for the creative midfielder, I’d say it’s the midfield spoiler that United lack. One name comes to mind for me and I’d love to see him in United’s colors – Sheikh Tiote of Newcastle United. With Fletcher gone for a long period, not only would he provide cover there, but his arrival would definitely bring out the best in whoever plays alongside him. However, historically, Ferguson is not very active in the January transfer window – so I wouldn’t expect any signings until the summer.

Manchester City

Figo29: Mancini says he needs to sell before he buys. I guess it is one of those rare moments where he is talking sense again. Carlos Tevez, Nedum Onuoha and Wayne Bridge are on the way out, and I do not believe that Manchester City needs replacements. However, given the blank cheques by the Arab owners, Mancini will be tempted to sign someone to cover for the Toure brothers while they are away on a three week mission to win the African Cup of Nations. No one will refuse City’s call, and I will not be surprised if Gary Cahill makes a shock move to the blue side of Manchester.

TFS: The only transfers that should happen during the January window are the exits of Tevez and Bridge. If they buy any more players, it will be for marketing purposes and not to bolster the strongest squad in the league. With the Toure brothers bound for a stint away during the Cup of Nations, there’s a perception that Yaya will be missed dearly – though we often forget that Nigel De Jong, one of their best players last season, is waiting to grab his chance. I expect only outgoing transfers.


Figo29: In short, I believe they need to buy a new team around Luiz-Ramires-Torres. Yet, the January transfer window is not the ideal time to buy the ideal players, and big money transfers or big changes should wait till the Summer. Anelka already left, Alex will leave soon, and Drogba is rumored to be on his way to Anzhi Makhachkala. A dream move would bring Javier Saviola, who lost his starting 11 spot in Benfica, to Chelsea. Bolton already gave the go-ahead for talks with Gary Cahill, and Jack Rodwell is in advanced talks to join the London side. If these two join Chelsea, I will not ask for more signings before the Summer. Milos Krasic, whose agent is already talking to Chelsea, will also be a great option. Big money signings will arrive at The Bridge this Winter.

TFS: No transfer window these days goes by without some sort of activity by Roman Abramovich. With Terry’s potential racism charge on the cards, as well as Alex’s exit, a defender is a must. It has already been confirmed that discussions for Gary Cahill are at an advanced stage, so that should be done and dusted soon. Anelka’s gone to China and Drogba will be at the Cup of Nations soon – so the call for a striker is looming; but with Torres, Sturridge and Lukaku, I’d be surprised if one was signed. One defender and possibly a move for a midfielder as well are likely – with Krasic rumored to be on his way, though I don’t see why they’d add another attacking-minded midfielder, knowing they’ve got Lampard on the bench.



Part 2 will be published in the coming days.

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