Category: Archive

Soccer Scene ‘ABU’ fan club are already biting their nails

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Joe Behan

Man. Utd. 3, Sunderland 0

When teams hit the top of the table too early on in the season the question arises: How long are they going to stay there? Manchester United is league leader and the ABUs (Anyone But United) are out already. The Red Devils are pumping goals in and after hitting six during the week Ferguson’s machine destroyed Sunderland, 3 nil, over the weekend.

Sunderland’s manager, Peter Reid, acknowledged his side didn’t really get a kick throughout the game. Reid went on to say that United are a team of quality movement and pace. Reid reminded all how easily they won the league last year and that he wouldn’t back against them this season.

Paul Scholes provided an impulsive finish from a typical David Beckham cross. Scholes hit a brilliant second this tim,e assisted by Beckham’s opposite, Ryan Giggs. With 14 minutes left, Teddy Sheringham, capitalizing from a bursting counterattack, toe-poked the ball home and finished Sunderland off.

Kevin Philips is said to be upset with the direction Sunderland are taking and the striker has expressed his love for Arsenal. Gunner’s manager, Arsene Wenger, is an admirer of the Sunderland striker. After only managing a draw against Bradford while missing yet another bucketful of chances the Londoners are desperate for a goal grabber. The Gunners really need more weapons up top to challenge Utd. The deadline set for FIFA’s suggested compromises to the complete abolition of transfers is Oct. 31 and Philips is saying all the right things. These days, once a player mentions boyhood dreams, transfers become a reality and Arsenal may not have to fork out that much with the new rule.

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"My dad was a Spurs fan and although he tried to get me down to White Hart Lane, I wanted to watch Arsenal, probably because they were the more successful side when I was growing up, winning cups and league championships," he said. "I look out for Arsenal’s result and Watford’s every Saturday, and to play at Highbury is still a big dream of mine."

Arsenal is without an away win this season and in all three away matches, Wenger’s men have been forced to fight back after conceding the initiative.

Leeds United was all over the camp when Irish fury lost control. Gary Kelly shaped up to his teammate for all to see and tempers continued in the dressing room after the game. Leeds is without the magic Harry Kewell and the Aussie’s creativity was dearly missed as Coventry held Leeds to a nil-all tie.

Leicester maintain

Who would have thought that Leicester would continue their respectful standings this early on in the Premier. Can they maintain it though is the concern? Glenn Hoddle thinks so and paid tribute to Peter Taylor the new replacement for Martin O’Neill.

Gerry Taggart notched Leicester’s winner against Southampton and put the blues in second place. Hoddle had Taylor on his national staff once upon a time and, of course, the ex-England coach would praise him. "I’m delighted Peter has made his way into the Premiership," he said. "He will take Leicester on to even better things." That’s all fine and dandy, Glen, but, eh, you’re one from the bottom of the table. Throwing flowers at opponents and criticizing refs may have to wait.

Leicester has yet to concede a goal in open play – an Ipswich penalty is the only entry in the goals-against column.

Leicester City manager Peter Taylor expressed fears after his side was ordered to play the second leg of their UEFA Cup tie with Red Star Belgrade in the Yugoslav capital. UEFA have ruled the game should be brought forward a week to Sept. 21 in order to avoid the potentially volatile general elections three days later.

"I honestly thought the tie would be switched to a neutral country," Taylor said. Welcome to European football, too, Mr. Taylor.

Dark horses Newcastle United drew 0-0 with Chelsea. The body language of respective managers said it all. Bobby Robson, the 67-year-old Carling Manager of the Month, was all composure while Vialli exposed a nervous demeanor with several angry gestures. That’s life at the top of the EPL and it isn’t easy. While Vialli is expected to win the title, a little much for the new coach, Newcastle is simply delighted to have the legendary Robson on Tyneside.

Real Madrid has made a £15 million bid for Toon skipper Alan Shearer. Robson blocked the move and told the European champions to keep their hands off. Real view Shearer as the man to boost their defense of their Champions League titl,e but Robson told the Spaniards, "If I sold him, it would be like selling the Tyne Bridge."

Liverpool 3 Manchester City 2

Blues good enough? Liverpool manager Gerard Houllier said that City are a handful and will have no problem staying up in the premier. Owen scored his seventh goal in four matches after 11 minutes.

City pressured Liverpool and had the Reds backpedaling when substitute George Weah and Kevin Horlock, penalty, evened things up but it was not enough as Liverpool prevailed.

Germany’s caretaker-coach, Rudi Voeller, taking notes on Michael Owen’s midweek hat trick, said that Owen is a better striker than he ever was.

While the concerned ABU’s begin to bite their nails the not-so-big clubs fight the real battle of survival. Bradford manager Chris Hutchings said he was delighted with the draw against Arsenal. He was pleased that after playing Chelsea, Manchester United and Arsenal, Bradford has taken five points from their first five matches. In Bradford’s situation anything against the top teams is a welcome bonus. Now we need to push on, Hutchings said, and pick up points against other teams.


Super Swedish international striker Henrik Larsson produced a first-half brace as Celtic won their ninth win in a row to pass Hibernian into top spot in the Premier League.

Substitute Mark Burchill added a third for the rampant Parkhead side which ended Hibernian’s unbeaten start to the season.

Celtic are without doubt becoming a team with much desire and for sure the Hoops are well worth a watch.

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