Posts Tagged ‘Barcelona’

Football

Arsenal update: David Villa deal back on? Afellay targeted. Shaw going nowhere. Diaby back against City?

By Stefano on January 10th, 2013

Barcelona President Sandro Rosell may have told Arsene Wenger that he is not prepared to sell Spanish international striker David Villa in the window. But it seems that hasn’t put the Arsenal manager off. Caught Offside is reporting that Arsenal are still engaging with Barcelona in discussions about Villa and want to sign another of their players.

Long term Gunners target Ibrahim Afellay is apparently back on Wenger’s radar and the club are said to be very keen on the versatile attacker who is currently on loan at German side Schalke. Afellay struggled in his first season at Barcelona though his loan period – which has yielded four goals in 13 games – has been slightly more successful. The player was also a key man in Schalke’s recent Champions League victory over the Gunners.

There are very few hard facts on the Caught Offside story, so make of that what you will. But Afellay has been on Wenger’s radar for a while and could be picked up relatively cheaply. And as for Rosell’s pronouncements on Villa, how many times have clubs, especially Arsenal, gone back on their word when the right deal came along? We’ll have to wait and see.

Another of Wenger’s targets is happy to stay where he is for now anyway. Southampton’s highly rated left back Luke Shaw told the club’s website he is staying put.

“I’ve spoken with the chairman about a long-term plan for me at the club and just to end all speculation, I will be committing my future to Southampton.” 

“I’m not going anywhere. I think Southampton is the place to be for young kids like me.

“I’m playing in the Premier League in the first team and that’s what anyone wants to be doing and I just want to carry on doing that.

“If you look back, you’ve had Ads [Lallana] come through the youth system, and now he’s captain of the first team. Prowsey [James Ward-Prowse] has just signed a new deal and that’s what I want to be doing.”

Finally Arsenal’s injury-prone midfielder Abou Diaby played 65 minutes of the club’s most recent Under-21s league game without any reaction from his thigh problem. He may even make the squad to face Man City at the weekend.

Pic Wikipedia



Football

Gareth Bale – is he going to Real Madrid/Barcelona? And why Spurs might not miss him

By Stefano on December 18th, 2012

As Arsene Wenger has found to his cost, sell your best players and it becomes very hard to stay a top team. And that’s a dilemma that must be uppermost in the mind of one André Villas-Boas as he ponders the future of Gareth Bale.

There’s no denying the huge talent of the Welsh full back/winger/striker and there are no shortage of clubs keen to secure his services.

A few weeks ago Spain was being talked of as the most likely destination for Bale, if he does choose to move this summer, with Jose Mourinho apparently keen enough to fork out the £50 million or so it would take to reunite Bale with his old mucker Luka Modric. Though it should be added that Mourinho’s future at Real seems to be in some doubt.

For AVB then the decision is a tricky one. Sell Bale, and he’ll need the board to back him, and he has a huge war chest with which to build a new team. But if he does sell him he will run the risk of seriously alienating some of the fans.

The interesting bit though is the question – how useful has Bale been to Tottenham this season? This chart from our mates at Bantr illustrates that not only do Spurs not miss Bale, they have actually performed slightly better without him. Obviously there would be a huge hole were AVB to cash in on Bale but if the figures are similar at the end of the season surely the temptation to sell Bale to a Spanish club would be overwhelming.

So why have Spurs not played so well when Bale has been in the team. Any theories Spurs fans?

Infographic courtesy of our mates at Bantr. Bantr makes live football interactive by allowing fans to follow and vote on live football matches in real time, set manager and player approval and much more.

Our website is a hotbed of sparky football debate and offers exclusive statistics about the mood from the terraces. Whether you want to keep an eye on all the scores, vote on whether Rooney dived for that penalty or comment on the unique data that our website produces, Bantr is the interactive future of following the beautiful game.



Football

Barcelona has highest number of its players in European elite leagues – but you’ll never guess who is second

By Stefano on December 13th, 2012

A few years ago I wondered if Arsenal had the highest number of its ex-players in the Premiership. It seemed that every club had their own product of the Arsenal youth team whether they be a Sidwell, Hoyte or a Bothroyd.

However the latest figures of who has the most of its players (ok you can call some of them rejects) playing in Elite Leagues across Europe have been compiled by the always excellent Sporting Intelligence and you can guess who is top.

Yep those crafty Catalans of Barcelona have produced 38 players at top-flight clubs in either Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga 1 or France’s Ligue 1.

The post classifies the words ‘produced’ as

A player spent three or more years within the development programme of the club in question specifically between the ages of 15 and 21, which are considered a footballer’s most important ‘formative’ years.

The big surprise is whose academy is in second. Nope it is not Arsenal (a lowly 13th), United (5th), Bayern Munich (6th) or even Real Madrid (3rd,) but French side Olympique Lyonnais which has 31 players in the elite leagues. The list of their ex players is hugely impressive and you can see it here. I guess their high showing, along with the even more unlikely Stade Rennais who nabbed 4th, is because they not only ship out players to other French teams but also get their best players snapped up by English and Italian teams. Notable graduates from the Rennes academy include; Petr Čech, Stéphane Mbia and Jimmy Briand.

Aston Villa, Spurs, West Ham and Newcastle all make the 40, but there’s no sign of moneybags Chelsea and Man City.

Pic from PA



Celeb style, Sport

Pep Guardiola – the most stylish man in football. Here’s the evidence

By Stefano on November 21st, 2012

After winning a host of trophies with his beloved Barca Josep Pep Guardiola is currently in the middle of a sabbatical from the game, quaffing the Espressos, wandering the streets of Manhattan and pondering his next move.

With Roberto Di Matteo the latest manager to to be given the Siberian shoulder Pep is odds on favourite to take over the reins, if not now then at the end of the season. It isn’t just Chelsea who like the cut of the ex Barca man. Arsenal are also rumoured to have been courting Pep for a while with a view to working at The Emirates – though unless there is some deal that we know little off, with Arsene Wenger booted upstairs, it is unlikely that this is going to happen this year.

There is even the possibility that Spurs may soon be looking for a replacement for AVB while Alex Ferguson can’t go on forever.

Guardiola is known for two things. Firstly the brilliant Tiki Taka football which has confounded team after team both in Spain and in Europe.

Secondly for being the most stylish man in the game. Sure you can make a case for the Italians Di Matteo and Mancini and Newcastle’s Chris Hughton is clearly top of the English league in the fashion stakes – which isn’t actually saying a great deal.

But Pep certainly knows how to dress. Hi is immaculate in his grey suits always with a crisp white shirt and a narrow tie. He also favours the longer jacket look which kind of put his at odds with what was on the catwalk a few years ago and dominates the high street now – and quite frankly looked a bit of a mess on Daniel Craig in Skywalk. But this gives him a degree of individuality and it really suits him.

He also does casual too with Stone Island black jumpers and checked shirts teamed up with prefect skinny-ish jeans and Nike trainers.

He also gives great hope to balding men everywhere in that he keeps his hair very short and teams it with just the right amount of stubble.

Anyway hopefully Pep will be spotted shopping in and around Bond Street very soon.

Btw  he doesn’t always get it right.

Pep and Di Matt - twins? Di Matt clearly aped the Barca man style, and worked out how to counter Tiki Taka too

Picture 1 of 7
Picture 1 of 7




©2012 Shiny Digital Privacy Policy
-->