Tag Archive: Old Trafford

By Tony Alvarez
It’s been a debate that has been running since his less than convincing early season form, but there is new evidence to suggest Sir Alex Ferguson is not completely convinced by his big money Summer signing the young Spanish keeper David De Gea.
Although De Gea has been a lot steadier recently with a mistake against Basel in the Champions League being the only thing worthy of mention, he has too often for a goal keeper found himself warming the bench while Anders Lindergaard has been United’s last line of defence.
Rotating goal keepers for cup games is common practise to give everyone a chance and keep everyone in the squad content if not happy, however it is very rare to “rest” a keeper for a league game especially considering keepers don’t or shouldn’t suffer from fatigue.

Not only has Lindergaard kept a clean sheet in those last two emphatic victories but yesterday’s performance was his 6th clean sheet in a row.
Lindergaard himself believes he is challenging for the number one spot, “I hope I am giving the manager a problem…In 10 matches nobody will remember any of the saves, they will remember the statistics. I have played five games in a row without letting a goal in. That is a very beautiful stat and one I am very happy with.” (Statement made before his 6th consecutive clean sheet againstWigan)

You can also look back to the trends throughout Alex Ferguson’s reign at the Old Trafford club, never before has he rotated a keeper on such basis, could this suggest he is unsure about De Gea’s ability between the sticks.
Even through shaky spells you never saw the likes of Peter Schmiechel, Fabian Barthez or Edwin Van Der Sar rested for the odd game here or there.
Making things even trickier for Alex Ferguson to make his mind up and for David De Gea to completely nail down his place is the form of Lindergaard, in his last two fixtures the club have kept clean sheets and recorded 5-0 victories, one at home and one away.
I wont claim to of studied the history of Ferguson in depth and the tendencies he has however with him rotating his keeper so often it leads me to think the great Scotsman believes the jury is still out on David De Gea.

I have no doubt that Ferguson believes De Gea will progress into a top keeper I don’t think he has any plans of farming him back out the way he did with Massimo Taibi but weather he is ready for the cold winter nights he are playing in I am unsure if Fergie is convinced.

I think Ferguson will continue for this seemingly random rotation policy for a while whilst selecting De Gea for the big games but from what I of seen of both men on present form Lindergaard looks more impressive.

If De Gea faces a few weeks out at any point due to injury or suspension I think he could find it very difficult to reclaim his place in the side.

What are your thoughts? Who is the better keeper? Why do you think Ferguson is rotating them so often? Who would you pick between the sticks?

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

Tonight sees Crystal Palace rewarded for their excellent run in this season’s Carling Cup with a trip to the Theatre of Dreams to take on the champions of England Manchester United.

While many will predict the result to be a foregone conclusion, Dougie Freedman‘s men have had a habit over the past 12 months of defying the odds.

Having seemed destined for relegation to League One at the turn of the year, Freedman replaced fellow Scot George Burley at the helm of Selhurst Park and sparked a revival.

They secured their Championship status and even though they once again started this campaign as one of the favourites for the drop, the Eagles had an outstanding start, reaching as high as third place in the table.

However, the last few weeks have seen a slump in form, mainly due to the fact that the goals have dried up; Palace haven’t scored a goal in 485 minutes of league football, going all the way back to their 1-0 win at Ipswich in October – five Championship games ago.

While they have gone through a recent blip, they are still in 10th position and just a point shy of the play-off places, meaning there is still plenty to play for as the season progresses.

If there cup form is to go by then they shouldn’t be short of confidence going to Old Trafford. They have knocked out Crawley Town, Wigan, Middlesbrough and Southampton to get within touching distance of the semi-finals.

But this is their first trip on the road in this year’s competition, and they could not have picked a tougher game than against Sir Alex Ferguson‘s side.

United are set to put out a weakened team against their lower-league opponents, but don’t expect a lack of respect to be shown in what is a genuine chance for silverware for Fergie’s squad.

Both Leeds and Aldershot were dispatched with clinical professionalism, and expect the likes of Dimitar Berbatov, Antonio Valencia and Ryan Giggs to potentially feature.

Michael Owen has also looked sharp throughout this year’s competition, but his thigh injury looks set to rule him out for another month.

So a boost for Freedman, but he will need more than one or two injuries to work in his favour. His young Palace side have been a breath of fresh air in the domestic game this season – but United’s quality and experience at home means it might be a step too far for the Eagles – Prediction: 2-0 United.

So what do you think? Will Palace make it to the semi-finals with one of the upsets of this year’s tournament? Or will United go one step closer to winning their fifth League Cup? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Sir Alex Ferguson celebrated an incredible 25 years in charge at Manchester United with a 1-0 win over Sunderland – his 837th win as manager of the club.

The 69 year-old was given a fitting tribute by the United hierarchy for his efforts in the last quarter of a century, with the north stand at Old Trafford renamed the Sir Alex Ferguson stand.

It’s easy to understand just why he is so renowned when you look at the trophies his teams have won during his time in charge; a staggering 37 of them, including 12 Premier League titles, five FA Cup’s, four League Cups and two Champions League triumphs.

Fergie’s success is all the more remarkable when you consider it was widely believed that he was going to be sacked way back in 1990 before they travelled to Nottingham Forest in an FA Cup third round encounter.

Many felt that defeat would have marked then end of the Scot’s reign, but a Mark Robins goal gave them a 1-0 win, they went on to win the Cup and the rest, as they say, is history.

What a history it has turned out to be – and now the biggest question that remains when looking back on Ferguson’s achievements is whether or not he will go down as the greatest manager of all time.

When measuring greatness within football management, one of the biggest factors seems to be where a club’s stature was when they took over to what it became under their guidance.

Bill Shankly took over Liverpool when they were bottom of the old Second Division, and built the club from top to bottom to create one of the biggest clubs in England, and a club now rightly regarded as one of the biggest in world football.

Sir Matt Busby had to do what no other manager has had to do and come back from the unimaginable tragedy of the Munich air disaster, and rebuild the heart of a club as well as a squad to guide them to become champions of Europe just ten years later.

Nigel Clough also took a club from the lower reaches and turn them into the best team in Europe, winning back to back European Cups with Nottingham Forest.

There are also managers that are made great in the trophies they have won to help create the history of a club that fans look back on with such pride.

The likes of Bill Nicholson, Herbert Chapman and of course Bill Paisley won many trophies with their respective clubs that makes them rightly hailed by supporters as great football managers.

Each era creates legendary bosses that either redefined or modernised British football for the better, and have all helped make the game that we love what it is today.

However, looking back on these greats of the game, many of them created one or two great sides that achieved the success that makes them so fondly remembered.

With Ferguson, he has created five or six sides that have won trophy after trophy and has never been afraid to change a team in order to create a new generation of consistent honours.

In 1995, Fergie sold the likes of Mark Hughes and Paul Ince and replaced them with ‘kids’ such as Paul Scholes, David Beckham and Nicky Butt.

These kids went on to win several titles, and it was a team that achieved European Cup success in 1999, the first time that they had been kings of the continent for over 30 years.

Ferguson took over the club with United struggling in the old first division, and the club is now regarded as one of, if not the biggest clubs on the planet.

He has also been able to move with the times; even in the era of modern day football where managers seem to be in charge of a club for about five minutes, Fergie quickly grasped an understanding of the modern-day player and has carried his success well into the 21st century.

For me and I’m sure for many other football fans, Ferguson will go down as the greatest manager that we’ll see in our lifetime. His continued success over such a long period of time is something that will probably never be repeated.

So what do you think? Will Fergie go down in history as the greatest manager of all time? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

By Tony Alvarez

Following bothManchestersides failure to win in the Champions League last night the English sides involved in the competition (Arsenal,Chelsea,ManchesterCityand Manchester United) record stands at played 6 and won just 1.

 There has only been one defeat in these 6 fixtures which shows the English sides are not performing terribly but we are used to all four English sides strolling through the group stages usually at a canter.

The win of course came from Chelsea’s victory at Stamford Bridge over German side Bayern Leverkusen, whilst there have been draws for Arsenal in Dortmund, United away to Benfica and at home to FC Basle and a City draw at home to Napoli with the defeat being suffered my Man City away at Bayern Munich.

But the English clubs poor run in Europe goes deeper than just the Champions League, in the last round of Europa league matches not a single English side won, Championship side Birmingham lost out to Portuguese side Braga, Tottenham could only manage a draw in Greece against PAOK, Stoke could only manage a draw against Dynamo Kiev of the Ukraine and Fulham drew with Dutch club FC Twente.

All together that’s 10 matches and only one English win, its not panic stations for any of the clubs as its only the first round of group games but it does ring alarm bells when we’re used to our clubs being so dominant.

I am aware that some of the clubs were not at full strength and fielded weakened teams either due to injury or just as Europe is not their main priority, Tottenham are the main culprits of this ( I say culprits its not a crime and this is not a dig at Tottenham).

The record could get worse tonight as Chelsea face a very tough trip to the Mestella to face a strong looking Valencia side, those of you unfamiliar with Spanish Football will disregard Valencia as they have continually lost key players over the past few years but this time last week they drew with the mighty Barcelona and were sititng top of La Liga until a weekend defeat at Sevilla.

The club don’t really have any star names but with that comes no egos they are a good squad who work hard for each other, saying that the Chelsea back four will not want to take their eye of striker Soldado for too long as he is in a rich vain of form.

Arsenal face a much easier game on paper as the Greek side Olympiacos visit the Emirates stadium, Olympiacos lost at home to Marseille in their last Champions League fixture and look to be the weakest side Arsenal will face in their group.

Although I thinkChelseamay struggle I can see both sides winning and changing the fortunes of English clubs in the Champions League.

Despite United’s two draws so far I still see them winning their group with ease as no one in their group can worry them and after already visiting Benfica the hardest trip is out of the way.

Before the group stages I would of predicted Man City to progress into the last 16 but having watched both their fixtures I am now unsure, they were hammered by Bayern Munich and the score line could have been a lot worse, although City could have had a penalty early on which would of turned things round, Napoli proved they will be no pushovers and City will have a tough time in Italy and although Villarreal are under achieving they are no whipping boys.

Although I think its odd that English sides have only recorded one win of the last possible 10 in Europe I think its by no means a sign the gap is closing between European minnows and our clubs, a point away to Benfica is not a bad result for United although Basle earning a point at Old Trafford was a shock.

Dortmund are the German champions and Arsenal done well to get a point out there especially considering the turmoil they had been through following the mauling at Old Trafford.

City to be fair have been drawn in the group of death and whilst I expected a win againstNapoliit was no forgone conclusion.

What are your thoughts? Are the rest of Europe catching our teams? What’s behind the lack of English victories in Europe? Will Chelsea and Arsenal make amends for this tonight? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

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By Tony Alvarez

Following Stevenage FC (formerlyStevenageborough) impressive feat of recording back to back promotions taking their club from a Blue sq Premier side to League One the Hertfordshire side have impressed in their opening fixtures in League One and are looking like they could yet again challenge for promotion.

Prior to the season when I predicted how I thought the final table would end up I placed Stevenagein 20th, I thought there battling qualities would see them survive but they would have a real challenge to keep their League One status.

So far they club have looked to make my prediction look way off the mark currently sitting in 10th place and have given all their opponents a hard time which I frankly did not expect.

The club continued their impressive form so far on Saturday with a 4-2 win over struggling Rochdale at The Lamex Stadium thanks to goals from strikers Craig Reid and fellow front man Chris Beardsley grabbing a brace as well as an own goal from Rochdale defender Neal Trotman.

 Stevenagehave taken to League One like a Duck to water, they have only tasted defeat once in their opening six fixtures in the League.

That defeat came away at early pace setters and current league leaders in MK Dons, they lost 1-0 thanks to a Charlie Macdonald goal early in the second half.

Despite the clubs start to the league one campaign, if they intend to battle for promotion this season they will need to win more fixtures although the club have only lost once they have also only tasted victory once so far.

The club would settle for mid table safety this season and look to build next term and fight for promotion then, however Stevenage would almost certainly would have settled for mid table last season and ended up pushing on into the play offs and gained promotion via a 1-0 victory over Torquay United at Old Trafford thanks to a John Mousinho strike.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with Stevenage, their style of play and key men I will fill you in, they are a big side with height running all the way through the side and they know how to use it, I would not go as far as comparing them to Stoke but they style is not too dis-similar.

Unlike many clubs who are in League One Stevenage do not have any players in the squad that fans of Premier League Football and even the Championship would be familiar. Most clubs have at least one player who has had a career at the top and has dropped down the Leagues usually down to old age, however Stevenage are a squad of hard grafting players who have worked their way up. 

The club will look to build upon their victory over struggling Rochdale when they visit 15th placed Oldham who despite being 5 places behind Stevenage only trail them by two points meaning a victory forOxford would see them leapfrogStevenage.

Ones things for sure whether they win lose or draw Stevenage will never make it easy for their opponents, ifOldhamturn up not ready to battle they will see themselves going home pointless.

What do you think can Stevenage challenge for 3 successive promotions? Will they out perform my predicted 20th placed finish? What can the club do to kick on from their current position? Would you compare them to Stoke or is there another way you would describe the Hertfordshire club?

By Tony Alvarez

 Despite winning so many hearts during their maiden season in the Premier League Blackpool yesterday lost the battle that would of really matter to them, the battle for survival in the Premier League.

Blackpoolwere relegated after a 4-2 loss away at Old Trafford the home of the champions, however at times things looked so promising for the seasiders.

At one stage in the second half Blackpool lead 2-1 with Wigan only drawing and Wolves andBirminghamboth losing things looked promising for Ian Holloway’s men.

Blackpool who I’m sure many of you will fondly remember lit up the Premier League especially early on with their all out attacking mentality an at the turn of the year were sitting 8th in the table.

However a slump of all mighty proportions would go on to cost Blackpool dearly as they won only twice in 2011 teams became less threatened by their attacking style and instead realised the huge flaws in the clubs defensive ability.

No matter how you view Blackpool’s defensive frailties or their attacking no one can deny the side have performed remarkably above expectations, at the start of the season people were commenting that the seasiders could do worse than Derby who recorded the Premier League’s lowest ever points total a few years ago.

As painful as it will be the club can’t dwell on the past, so we have to look to the future and whereBlackpoolwill go from here.

Unfortunately I fear many of the players have turned the heads of bigger clubs this season and Blackpool do not have the financial power to keep hold of them, neither would manager Ian Holloway want to hinder a players career.

Charlie Adam will surely find himself in the Premier League next season with big clubs such as Tottenham and Liverpoolbe interested in the Scots man. As well as Adam who has been linked with a move away from Blackpoolfor much of the season top scorer DJ Campbell could interest a few clubs. He got 13 Premier League goals and finished 6th in the scoring charts in a side that got relegated which is almost unheard of.

Un sung hero David Vaughan has been quietly impressive all season whilst living in Charlie Adam’s shadow he has quietly and efficiently gone about his job in theBlackpoolengine room.

Another loss could be goalkeeper Matt Gilks although he has been injured for much of the season he has seemingly impressed enough in the fixtures he has played as he has frequently been linked with a move away from the club in many gossip columns.

 Due to the potential loss of players I can seeBlackpoolstruggling to regain promotion back to the Premier League next term, although due to parachute payments and the sales of the above players will bring in some big funds which could help “Ollie” improve his squad and with his man management anything is possible.

With the current crop of players minus the expected losses the club will struggle, however with the funds the club are expected to come into Holloway could build a new side and who knows it could better his current one.

Will Ian Holloway be smiling come 6pm this evening?

By Laurie Fitzgerald

Tomorrow sees the climax to what has been an enthralling 2010/11 Premier League season.

Fans up and down the country have witnessed one of the most hard-fought campaigns since the inception of the league in 1992.

Going into the final day much has already been decided, with Manchester United winning their 19th title, becoming the most successful domestic team in the history of English football.

The top four has already been declared with Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City making up the English representatives in next season’s Champions League.

There is still the issue of who will grab the final Europa League spot between Tottenham and Liverpool.

However, there is no doubt what end of the league the biggest drama will come from this afternoon.

Five teams are separated by just one point at the foot of the table, as we await which two teams will join West Ham in relegation to the Championship.

Blackburn Rovers, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Birmingham City, Blackpool and Wigan Athletic will be fighting for their top-flight lives today.

With four games deciding the fate of those involved, there are set to be plenty of twists and turns over a frantic couple of hours.

Shouts from the stands looks at those trying to avoid the Premier League trap door at the final hurdle:

Blackburn – 40pts, Goal difference -14: Rovers go into the final day knowing they are the best-placed of those still in danger.

Steve Kean’s men travel to Wolves where three points will ensure their status as a Premier League club next season.

Not only do they have more points than most of their rivals, but they also have a far superior goal difference which could prove crucial.

The players have stepped up to the task in recent wins, with crucial draws at West Ham and at home to Manchester United, as well as a priceless 1-0 win over local rivals Bolton.

Those five points have put them in the driving seat, but Kean and his men will know that a huge test awaits them at Molineux.

Key Player: Christopher Samba – the giant centre-half has lived up to his stature in the run-in, constantly putting his body on the line and delivering some towering displays.

Samba produced one of the best defensive performances of the season against West Ham a fortnight ago, and another game like that today will go a long way to keeping Rovers up.

Wolves – 40pts, -19: Mick McCarthy‘s side face fellow strugglers Blackburn with destiny in their own hands.

They sit in 16th place knowing that a win against Rovers will guarantee survival whatever happens elsewhere.

If they perform anything like how they have in the last few games, then the supporters will have nothing to worry about.

Seven points in their last three games, including back-t0-back wins over West Brom and Sunderland, have dragged Wolves out of the bottom three.

One more big effort will surely secure their third consecutive season in the Premier League for the first time.

Key Player: Jamie O’Hara – The on-loan Spurs midfielder has revitalised a Wolves side that was in desperate need of inspiration at the turn of the year.

The 24 year-old has delivered some outstanding performances in the heart of the side to help push the Midlands club to the brink of safety.

If Wolves do go on to stay up, it will surely be only a matter of time before the club try and tie up a permanent deal for O’Hara.

Birmingham City – 39 pts, -20: If there is one team that can be deemed more vulnerable than the others at the wrong end of the table it’s the Blues.

Just one point from their last five games means Alex McLeish‘s side only sit outside the relegation zone by a better goal difference of just one goal.

Last week’s 2-0 defeat at home to Fulham showed how the players are struggling to cope with the pressure.

Their final game sees them travel to White Hart Lane to take on a Spurs side that have lost just once at home all season.

But Birmingham know that with tough away trips for Blackpool and Wigan, a point may just be enough to survive.

Key Player: Ben Foster – The former Manchester United goalkeeper has come of age since making his move to St Andrews last summer.

The 28 year-old has produced a string of fine displays to have filled the hole left by Joe Hart in the Birmingham goal.

With a difficult final game in store, it seems likely that Foster will be called upon during the course of the 90 minutes at the Lane.

The former England stopper (temporarily at least) could be the difference between City staying up or going down.

Blackpool – 39pts, -21: When you need a result to stay in the top-flight, the last fixture you want is at Old Trafford.

However, it would be a fairytale way of securing a survival that only dreams are made of.

Nobody gave Blackpool a chance of survival at the start of the season, but Ian Holloway has inspired his troops to go into the final day with a fighting chance.

Those battling qualities have been demonstrated in their last two games with an impressive draw at Spurs followed by a thrilling 4-3 win over Bolton at Bloomfield Road.

With Manchester United set to field a weakened team on the eve of their Champions League final, the Seasider’s chances are greatly improved.

Key Player: DJ CampbellMan United have scored in every home game this season, so it’s likely Blackpool will have to score to get a positive result.

Thankfully, in Campbell they have one of the top-scoring English strikers in the Premier League this season.

Only Darren Bent has scored more than Campbell’s 13 goals in the league, and his efforts in front of goal have given the team a chance of survival.

The 29 year-old grabbed a brace in last week’s win over Bolton, and is set to play a big part once again this afternoon.

Wigan – 39 pts, -22: At 5pm last Sunday, Wigan were in serious danger of ending their six-year stay in the Premier League.

Two goals behind at home to West Ham, it looked like Roberto Martinez was going to be planning for life in the Championship.

But the Latics were given a reprieve thanks to a wonderful comeback inspired by winger Charles N’Zogbia.

The Frenchman’s two goals helped give Wigan a 3-2 win that relegated the Hammers and give Martinez and his players the chance to fight another day.

A tough trip to the Britannia awaits them as they take on a Stoke side still reeling from their agonising FA Cup Final defeat to Manchester City last weekend.

Wigan will feel confident with the knowledge that although their two closest rivals also have away games, it is to teams higher than Tony Pulis’ side.

Key Player: Charles N’Zogbia – Who else? The 24 year-old winger has almost single-handedly kept the Latics survival hopes alive.

Having scored four goals in his last three games that have given Wigan five points, N’Zogbia will be relied on to reproduce his recent magic once again at the Britannia today.

So what do you think? How will the final day of the season pan out? Who will avoid the drop and who will fall into the Championship? Let us know your thoughts.

By Tony Alvarez

  Due to the Champions League final between Manchester United andBarcelonabeing held at Wembley the League One and Two play-off finals will be moved from there traditional home and to Manchester United’s Old Trafford.

 This means that either Huddersfield or Bournemouth,Peterboroughor MK Dons in League one andShrewsburyor Torquay andStevenageor Accrington Stanley will miss out on the chance to play at the home of Football.

You may think that if the players get promoted they won’t care where it happens but I can assure you everyone wants to play at Wembley, when they started their careers they dreamed of playing in front of 90,000 people under the same lights that the likes of David Beckham, Wayne Rooney and Kaka have played under.

When Wembley was rebuilt costing all those millions it was meant to be the centre piece of English Football and few will argue there are many bigger games in English football than play off finals, no other games mean as much to a club.

Now I understand that the Champions League brings in big revenue for those at the FA which they may argue is reinvested into the Football Leagues so every club feels the benefit.

I am not against the final being held at Wembley I am not particularly for it, it just doesn’t bother me but there surely must be a way of having the play off finals as well as the Champions League finals there.

Given the chance to play at Wembley I’m sure the clubs involved would not mind playing a day earlier or a day later if it meant being able to say they played at the home of Football.

This isn’t a dig at out Trafford at all I’ve never been and I’m told it’s a good ground and views are decent, but it doesn’t have the same prestige and the same status that Wembley does, even if people still think of it with the towers rather than the arch, Wembley has a history within World Football Old Trafford cant boast that same status.

What do you think? Am I going over the top at the value of playing at Wembley? Will the players be bothered where the final is held? Is there a way they could of played the Champions League and the play offs at Wembley? Leave a comment and let us know your views

Ian Holloway has four games to try and keep Blackpool in the Premier League

By Laurie Fitzgerald

With four games remaining, Blackpool find themselves just outside the bottom three in their quest for Premier League survival.

Their 1-1 draw at home to Newcastle on Saturday, adjoined with Wigan‘s 4-2 defeat at Sunderland, means that the Seasiders went above the Latics due to a better goal difference of just one goal.

If you asked Blackpool fans if they would take being fourth from bottom at this stage of the campaign in August then they would certainly have taken that.

However, the reality of the situation shows that on current form, there isn’t anyone in the battle against the drop that is on a worse run of results than the Tangerines.

When Ian Holloway‘s side beat Liverpool 2-1 in January, they moved into ninth place with games in hands over the rest of the teams in the division, as well as seven points clear of the drop.

But they’ve gained just one win in their last 14 matches, and need to arrest that slump in the remaining four games to prevent what has been a dream first season in the Premier League from becoming a nightmare.

Holloway has rightly earned praise for the style of football that his team have maintained throughout the season, with the emphasis always on attacking football.

Anchored by the excellent Charlie Adam in midfield and DJ Campbell leading the line up front, scoring goals has not been a problem.

Out of all the teams in the bottom half, only West Bromwich Albion have scored more  than Blackpool’s 48 goals this year.

However, with that attacking policy comes the danger of leaving yourself exposed at the back, and Blackpool have been unable to cope defensively.

Their recent disappointing run has seen them concede 37 goals, and in the 70 in total that they have leaked, it comfortably makes  them the worst defence in the Premier League.

Holloway now has the last few weeks of the season to tighten the defensive unit and rediscover the attacking fluency that made them so revered in the opening half of the season.

It is difficult to see too many points from their final away games; a trip to Champions League-chasing Tottenham, and on the final day, a journey to Old Trafford to take on Champions-elect Manchester United.

But hope springs eternal in their two home matches, as Stoke and Bolton have to come to Bloomfield Road, and there is a chance that 40 points may just prove enough to survive.

Blackpool have already defied the pre-season critics that they were in the top-flight to make up the numbers following their outstanding promotion last May. Now they have the chance to prove the doubters wrong once again.

So what do you think? Will Blackpool stay in the Premier League? Can they turn their recent slump around in the final few games? Let us know your thoughts.

By Tony Alvarez

Following the midweek exit from the Champion League at the hands of Manchester United there has been much speculation about the future ofChelseamanager Carlo Ancelotti.

The defeat at Old Trafford left it very unlikely that Chelseawill win any honours this season, Chelseafailed to make a mark in either the FA or Carling cup and currently lie 3rd in the Premier League table 8 points off leaders Manchester United with only 6 games left to play.

Despite winning a league and FA cup double in his first year in charge of theWest Londonclub fan have become restless as the clubs poor performances this term.

It is also well known that Chairman Roman Abramovich has his sights firmly set on the Champions League, Ancelotti’s failure to bring the trophy back toStamfordBridgecould cost the Italian dearly.

Since the failure in the Champions League quarter finalsChelsearecorded a 3-1 win away atWest Bromhowever this has not muted any of the rumours about Ancelotti’s sacking and indeed his replacement.

Many of the reports are suggesting that Guus Hiddink the man who guided the club to FA cup success in 2009 in his half a season in charge could leave his post asTurkeymanager and come back to theChelseahot seat.

With Turkey issuing a hands off warning Chelsea may have to look elsewhere if they do want to get rid of Ancelotti, various names are flying around but it have to be a man willing to work underneath Mr Abramovich who will take charge.

So desperate is Abramovich to win the major European trophy he interferes in team matters more than many people believe a chairman should, the loss of fans favourite Jose Mourinho is believed to be down to Abramovich not giving the manager the freedom to do his job.

It is also widely believed that the 50 million pounds January signing of Spanish international Fernando Torres was the wish of Roman Abramovich and not a transfer that was in Ancelotti’s plans and we all know how that deal has turned out so far.

My personal thoughts is that Ancelotti will be relived off his duties come the end of the season but I aim unsure who will replace him, I think first choice would possibly be Hiddink but if he is unavailable as reported then its anybody’s guess who will come in and lead next years trophy charge.

What are your thoughts? Will Ancelotti be Chelsea manager at the start of the 2011-2012 season? Is Abramovich too involved with playing matters? Who would you like to see in the Stamford Bride hot seat should Ancelotti depart? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

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