Its Monday afternoon, and here is your headlines for the 17th February 2014. You know how this works, there’s the news story and then my opinions in italics. Lets get to it.
SERGIO AGUERO RULED OUT OF BARCELONA GAME.
Sergio Aguero is out of Tuesday’s big game against Spanish giants Barcelona with a hamstring injury. Aguero, who has 26 goals this season, has been out since going off at half-time against Tottenham Hotspur on the 29th January. He was expected to be out for a month. Fernandinho, however, is expected to start.
This is a huge, but expected blow for Manchester City. Aguero has been in spectacular form this season, almost singlehandedly dragging City to the top of the league with his 15 goals before his injury. It’s been telling how much City have missed him as Negredo has gone off the boil, while Dzeko and Jovetic haven’t been as lethal, despite the latter scoring on the weekend against Chelsea. Fortunately for Manuel Pellegrini, he would have expected this news as the Argentine striker was originally scheduled to be out for a month so Pellegrini will have a trick up his sleeve you would expect. The better news for Citizens is that Fernandinho is back in the centre of midfield. The difference when this man is in the side is easy to see, with Demichelis failing to impress against Chelsea in the Premier League game a few weeks ago, and Yaya Toure not being given the same license to roam forward. While Javi Garcia impressed on Saturday, I would expect Fernandinho to come straight into the side, giving Toure a chance to dominate the game against his former side.
WAYNE ROONEY SET TO SIGN NEW LONG TERM DEAL AT MANCHESTER UNITED.
Wayne Rooney is expected to sign a new five-and-a-half-year contract with Manchester United this week that will increase his wages to about £300,000 per week. The 28-year-old England striker is close to committing his future to the Old Trafford club until June 2019, with an outline agreement having been reached between club and player. His current deal runs until summer 2015 and is worth £250,000 a week.
This is a big surprise to me, as I expected Rooney to demand a summer move to Chelsea after United’s poor season. It is a nice surprise though, as it’s rare that you see players show loyalty to a side that are in transition, so Rooney should be commended for that. Don’t be mistaken though, I’m sure the extra £50,000 a week had a huge part to play in the decision. While the deal isn’t officially signed, I would expect it to happen over the next few days, signalling Rooney’s lack of Champions League participation next season perhaps. It’s interesting to note that when the new deal expires, Rooney will be 33 years old. That means that if another big move will happen for Rooney over his career, expect it to happen over next 2 years and for huge amounts of money.
WENGER: MOURINHO EMBARRASSED CHELSEA.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger says Jose Mourinho has embarrassed Chelsea by calling him a “specialist in failure”. Blues boss Mourinho made the remark after Wenger said other Premier League managers were playing down their title chances because they “fear to fail”.
Wenger said Mourinho’s words were “silly and disrespectful”. He said: “I do not want to go into that silly, disrespectful remark. I never spoke about him in my press conference and I will not start. The only thing I know is it’s more embarrassing for Chelsea than for me. I’m
embarrassed for him, honestly.”
Is this Wenger falling for Mourinho’s mind games, or delivering a huge blow to the Chelsea boss himself? It all depends on how Jose Mourinho responds. If he gets rattled and it affects Chelsea players, then Wenger truly would be the master of the mind games. However, if the opposite happens and Arsenal players are affected, Mourinho takes the title. I think it’s all a bit of petty nonsense to spice up the media more than anything, as the talking happens on the pitch with the tactics. Mourinho is in pole position to win the league, but what have Arsenal got up their sleeve as we head for the run-in?
SHAW APOLOGISES TO SAINTS FANS FOR CUP EXIT.
Southampton full-back Luke Shaw has apologised to the club’s supporters after the Saints bowed out of the FA Cup at Sunderland in the fifth round. Manager Mauricio Pochettino made six changes for the tie, but Shaw said the players were to blame for the 1-0 loss.
I think this is personally a bit silly. It’s all well and good that a player had the maturity to apologise to fans, but why should he apologise for a rare bad performance. Every side has bad days, but Southampton are doing well in the league. I get that fans will be upset that Pochettino made six changes, but each manager has a squad of 23 to work with in the league. Each of those players are good enough, and Sunderland are still a top-quality Premier League side. Pochettino rested a few players, but still put out a side to win the game. Fans sometimes need to understand that managers have to rest key players when possible to avoid injuries.
Blog by Kyle Dixon.