Tag Archive: Samir Nasri


By Tony Alvarez

Yesterday Scottish giants Glasgow Celtic were fined £12,700 by Uefa after a report from Strathclyde Police about the fan singing “some offensive songs” during the clubs Europa League tie againstRennesin November.

 I am not sure if I agree with this decision and think Uefa have opened a huge can of worms and should the governing body promote equality then pretty much every team should be fined in the near future.

I cant say I am pro offensive chanting and don’t know what the chants were that the Celtic fans were singing however I will be the first to admit that I have often joined in chants that would be of offence to some people and any Football fan that says they haven’t is almost certainly lying.

I was part of a crowd that repeatedly called former midfielder Samir Nasri a C*#t during Arsenal’s Carling Cup defeat toManchesterCityat the Emirates Stadium a fortnight ago.

Of course there are different severities of offensive chanting but by Uefa just saying the fine is for offensive chanting they are opening up the situation for fines to be handed out to almost every side.

Celtic do have a bit of a history of complaints against sections of their support for offensive chanting, during the sides defeat to Hearts earlier in the season the club were apparently inundated with complaints from their own fans about chants from other sections of the Celtic support.

As the above was not mentioned to Uefa it cannot by that the fine the club were handed yesterday was due to it being a second offence for the club.

Celtic’s greatest rivals Rangers were fined in the past for a very similar offence and both clubs can feel hard done by, if the chants were really off key then the severity of the fine should reflect that and so should the title of the punishment.

12,700 is a slap on the wrist when you consider the funds that these clubs bring in on a weekly basis, a slap on the wrist punishment would suggest a minor crime however if these chants were as distasteful as being reported then the punishment should reflect that.

Just to make it clear that the suggestion is the chants were pro IRA which I am by no means condoning I just feel Uefa could of made things clearer with both the punishment and the name of the offence.

It is a bit harsh on the club as by all accounts they are doing all they can to cut out the chants and remove the individuals or the section that were singing them, however once Uefa decide to punish they should punish with the severity that the crime deserves.

What are your thoughts? Does the punishment match the crime? How should Uefa of dealt with the crime? How can unacceptable or offensive chanting be cut out of the game?

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By Laurie Fitzgerald

The opening weeks of the Premier League season has seen plenty of talking points, from Arsenal’s struggles to plenty of high-scoring games.

But the biggest subject of debate has been the dominance of the two Manchester sides as they set the standard in these early weeks.

It says a lot when so much confidence is taken from a draw, but Fulham’s comeback from two goals down to earn a point against Manchester City needs to give belief to the rest of the league.

Those two points dropped at Craven Cottage were the first by either Manchester club as United marched on to their fifth straight league win with a 3-1 win over Chelsea at Old Trafford.

What has been so impressive, and so worrying for the rest, is the nature of the performances that have seen the duo make it five wins from five.

Both sides played out a brilliant Community Shield encounter at Wembley back in August, with Sir Alex Ferguson‘s team coming back from two goals down to win 3-2.

Since then it has been relentless, with a stunning array of attacking talent that has made them almost unplayable from day one.

United have began their title defence with wins over West Brom, Tottenham, Arsenal, Bolton before victory over the Blues on Sunday.

Meanwhile, City have also registered victories over Swansea, Bolton, Spurs and Wigan.

Not bad going; but it’s when you look at the results that makes you sit up and take notice.

United thumped Tottenham 3-0 and annihilated Arsenal 8-2, then followed it up with a 5-0 win at the Reebok.

City also gained eye-catching results with a 4-0 win over the Swans, a 3-0 win over Wigan and a stunning 5-1 triumph at White Hart Lane.

You don’t have to look too hard to see why United and City have been scoring goals for fun.

Wayne Rooney has been in sensational form having already bagged two hat-tricks this campaign, and has been ably supported by the brilliant Ashley Young, Javier Hernandez and Nani.

While City have had a front five of David Silva, Samir Nasri, Yaya Toure Edin Dzeko and Sergio Aguero – full of creativity, power and a prolific goalscoring platform (Aguero and Dzeko already have 14 goals between them.)

Many neutrals have been throughly enjoying the quality produced by the Manchester outfits.

However, it also leaves question marks on whether there is a gap between the two teams and the rest of the Premier League.

For years the Scottish Premier League has been a figure of mockery because of the dominance of the Old Firm, and La Liga is currently being dicatated by the overwhelming brilliance of Barcelona and Real Madrid, who seem to be racking up cricket scores on a weekly basis.

Now, with City’s billions and United the most profitable club in the land, Manchester has two sides that can go on and dominate in similar fashion.

So it’s up to the rest of English football to come up with answers mount a challenge. Otherwise the most unpredictable league in the world could end up becoming pretty straightforward.

So what do you think? Have the Manchester clubs opened up a gap between them and the rest? Or do the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal, Tottenham and Liverpool capable of making up the difference between now and the end of the season? Leave a comment and let us know your views.

Has Wenger got a trick up his sleeve?

By Tony Alvarez

With today being one of the most frantic days in English if not European Football everyone is looking ahead to who their club could sign, where they think there manager needs to add.

Although I have little inside info from the clubs themselves I do hear little bits of gossip and often hear of rumours before they hit the mainstream news.

I am going to look ahead to the 10 deals I think could very well happen by 11pm tonight, as I said there is no inside knowledge so I would not go out and bet your hard earned wages on what I say.

Gary Cahill– Tottenham

Boltonrealistically can not afford to lose a £10 million plus asset for nothing similar to the situation Arsenal were in Samir Nasri, due to this there valuation will of the player will drop from a reported £17 million to around the £12 million mark.

At this price many clubs would be interested in the former Villa man, although unsourced reports  are suggesting Arsenal have ended their pursuit of Cahill I still think they may have a say if his price is indeed dropped, however Tottenham tend to not haggle too much over price which could mean this would be Bolton’s preferred destination if any sale were to take place.

Whether it be to one of these sides or not I will be surprised if Cahill is aBoltonman this time tomorrow 

Someone big – Arsenal

For the first time in history I don’t mean someone big in size is needed after a deal for Per Mertesacker looks set to be complete. Arsenal have been linked with many big name signings since the clubs embarrassment at Old Trafford and the loss of star men Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri.

I think Wenger would like to get the fans on side by bringing in a big money signing.

If reports inGermanyare to be believed Arsenal yesterday had a 35 million Euro bid rejected forDortmundstarlet Mario Goetze which would tie in with my idea that Wenger is trying to bring excitement to the fans.

I expect this signing to be a creative midfielder, Wenger has travelled to France to commentate on the France Euro 2012 qualifier on Friday many are expect him to attempt to tie up this marquee signing whilst he is in France which is why he has travelled so early, if this is true expect bids for either Marvin Martin or Eden Hazard.

Peter Crouch– Sunderland or Stoke

I cant quite decide where I think Crouch will end up. his current manager Harry Redknapp gave an interview earlier today stating that it is up to Crouch if he wishes to leave and Tottenham are open to offers for the formerLiverpoolman.

BothSunderlandand Stoke have been actively seeking a striker as we have neared the end of the transfer window and have both been linked with Crouch.

Stoke have been more proactive in their hunt for a striker but it is believed Crouch is unwilling to go there. This should leaveSunderlandas favourites but money will talk I feel, being one of his previous clubs QPR enter the race to sign Crouch but I am unsure if new chairman Tony Fernandes will be willing to spend the quoted £11 million figure on a player who realistically will have no resale value.

If I had to put money on it I would say Crouch will end up atSunderlandeither way I expect to see Crouch leaving Tottenham today.

Yossi Benayoun – somewhere

As I write this Benayoun has just tweeted “I am supposed to fly in the morning toLondonto speak withChelseaand try to close a contract in one of the teams mentioned”

This does not help much as lazy journalists have linked him with pretty much every half decent side inEurope; he is a good player available on the cheap so journalists have had a field day.

One thing is for certain should the information he has given off via Twitter be correct then someone will be getting a very good squad player for not much money.

Reports/ bookmakers are touting Tottenham and Arsenal as likely destinations for the Israeli international; I would be shocked ifChelseawould let him leave to potential rivals however they could be making space in their squad and freeing up wages for an incoming star.

Craig Bellamy– Liverpool/ Tottenham

I am firmly of the belief Bellamy will leave City due to the club admitting he will be omitted from the clubs 25 man squad, Bellamy will be available on the cheap he just needs to find a side willing to cover his wage demands.

Bellamys former club Liverpool have been reported by the press as a likely destination for the Welshman as despite the undoubted quality of theLiverpoolsquad they do not have a speed merchant in attack.

Although the reports have been for Bellamy to become a Liverpool player I think Tottenham may make a late attempt to secure Bellamys service as Redknapp likes to do, at the start of the window Tottenham were crying out for a striker and secured one on loan in the form of Emmanuel Adebayor from Manchester City, however as Crouch is expect to depart it still leaves space for one more and Bellamy would give  a different option from anyone else at the club with his pace and direct running at central defenders.

I am aware there are transfers that are nailed on but I did not want to report the obvious, Scott Parker will go to Tottenham but you probably already know that, I want you to read this article having to consider something new and not just read the same old stories.

What are your thoughts? Are any of the transfers I mentioned above likely in your opinion? Are there any transfers you feel will happen on Deadline day? Who does you club need to sign leave a comment and let us know your thoughts.

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By Tony Alvarez

Following a disappointing Emirates Cup and a summer that’s almost void of the major signings the squad clearly needs and the fans have been screaming for, many of Arsenals following are calling for Wengers head.

Following a disappointing collapse at the back end of the last campaign which promised so much and finished with so little Arsenal fans were clearly left frustrated knowing that their side are only a few players away from potential greatness and with the board giving their usual “We have money to spend” line via a press conference with Ivan Gazidis, this was going to be Arsenals big summer.

It was simple in the mind of the fans Wenger had said at the end of last term he would get rid of the “dead wood” in his squad or words to that effect.

The “dead wood” would be replaced with top quality players and Arsenal would be all conquering again, so far this has failed to happen.

Of the perceived “dead wood” Almunia, Bendtner, Eboue and Squillaci are all still on the pay roll although a few of them names are close to moves away from the club, or so we are told.

 One moment of joy for many Arsenal fans would have been the departure of Denilson who was loaned back to Brazil.

The fans wanted the dead wood gone and replaced with quality and the current players of the quality they expect from Arsenal to stay put, of course we know things have been a very different.

Gael Clichy the clubs first choice and only globally known left back has departed to rivals Manchester City, Samir Nasri seems to be flirting with anyone with enough money to increase his salary and Cesc Fabregas wants to go back to Barcelona as he was done every year for the last three, however this time its different his absence in pre season shows the mans head has clearly been turned, I have a strong suspicion he will not be included in the official squad photo on Thursday.

Many rumours have come and gone of likely replacements for the outbound players or new additions.

A long saga involving Gervinho was played out before the club finally got their man, with other signings things have not run as smoothly.

 I am not naive and I am fully aware Arsenal conduct dealings very privately but if the very strong rumours are to be believed they have missed out on signings Joel Campbell. Ricardo Alvarez and Juan Mata to name just a few, with no bids been made for long time target Gary Cahill and at least one bid rejected for Everton centre back Phil Jagielka, Arsenal have been poor in the transfer market and even if the above rumours are untrue the club have been very slow in the market, with the campaign due to start in less than 2 weeks and only one first team addition coming in.

Regular readers will know I am an avid Arsenal fan and personally I am not part of the Wenger out brigade, I am thankful for what he has done for my Football club in his time as manager. This is not blind loyalty however and I am happy to provide criticism where I think it’s due whether its him or the team behind him who have messed up this summer so far we are unlikely to ever know but it is clear they have messed up.

Such is his status with the club and all he has done for Arsenal it is highly unlikely he will ever be sacked but if Arsenal have another poor season the pressure from the fans could be too much for the board to withstand and Wenger could find himself without  a job or moved upstairs into a more executive role.

This comes with a warning, before you call for his head think who would you have in his place considering the lack of money the board tend to spend remember its not only Mr Wenger who is tight with the purse strings.

What do you think? Do you want Wenger out of Arsenal? Just what has gone wrong this summer? Who do you expect Arsenal to sign before the transfer window slams shut? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

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Luka Modric is doing his best to engineer a move away from White Hart Lane

By Laurie Fitzgerald

It’s a year ending in one, and with no major tournament involving and ultimately disappointing English football fans, the summer transfer sagas have taken centre stage.

The likes of Ashley Young, Phil Jones, Luka Modric, Jordan Henderson, Samir Nasri, Cesc Fabregas, Carlos Tevez and Stewart Downing have become embroiled in potential departures from their respective clubs, either successfully or ongoing.

Young and Jones completed their moves to Manchester United from Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers respectively, while Henderson’s move from Sunderland to Liverpool remains the biggest transfer of the summer so far at £20 million.

But if a few other players get their way, then Henderson’s fee will seem almost paltry in comparison to the potential deals in store by the end of August.

Spurs midfielder Modric seems to be spouting his hard luck story on a daily basis, painting a picture that club chairman Daniel Levy is holding the Croatian against his will – 12 months after signing a new six-year deal with the club.

“I reminded Mr Levy of the gentlemen’s agreement we made last summer…I mentioned that if a concrete offer of a big club comes in we will then look at the offer and agree the best solution for all of us,” said the 25 year-old.

If Modric was so concerned about this ‘agreement’ then maybe he should have asked his agent Nikky Vuksan to implement it into the legally-binding contract he was actually signing instead of using it to justify his recent actions.

As a Tottenham fan, it’s easy to be angered by the past couple of weeks. There’s no doubting Modric’s ability; his wonderful balance, excellent vision and touch, as well as being deceptively strong, would make him an asset to any team in the Premier League.

You cannot criticise someone for wanting to better themselves in any walk of life, and with the opportunity to potentially triple his wages at Chelsea and Champions League football, it’s easy to see why Luka’s head is turned.

However, if Modric knew he’d be so determined to get a bigger move in the short-term, then making such a long-term commitment was incredibly naïve, and the anger of the supporters is justified.

Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident this summer, with a raft of players seeming to forget the agreement they have in writing when something seemingly better comes along.

For the past 12 months, all we’ve heard about Cesc Fabregas is how the Arsenal skipper’s heart belongs to Barcelona, and how it always has ever since he was a boy growing up in Cataluna.

Fair enough. So forgive my perplexity that the Spaniard started to yearn for a move to the Nou Camp just a few years into an EIGHT-year contract at the Emirates.

It’s not just a foreign mentality; In May, Stewart Downing professed his joy at being at Aston Villa, with the England winger even talking about signing a new deal at Villa Park.

The 26 year-old claimed, “The important thing in football is, if you’re happy, then why change it? I know it’s been a disappointing season, but I can see the bigger picture.”

It turns out the bigger picture is a potential £18 million move to Anfield, with Downing apparently wanting to make the move just two months after expressing a desire to commit long-term.

You can’t help but have sympathy for Villa supporters that for the past three summers have seen their best players leave (Gareth Barry, James Milner and Young) and could be about to see another key player depart.

Other cases are more open to debate; Tevez has said he wants to leave England so he can be closer to a family that is unwilling to move to Manchester, while Nasri has reportedly told Arsenal he wants to leave, giving the club the option to cash in with just a year remaining on his current deal.

But for fans not only of those clubs affected this summer, but for almost any supporter out there, it seems loyalty has finally disintegrated once and for all.

Supporters turn up week in week out and show adulation for those out on the pitch due to the players seeming to show their commitment off it – only to find their backing was misguided.

It’s disheartening for fans to see a key component of a developing squad leave when they think their team has a chance of progressing.

No doubt the likes of Modric, Fabregas and Downing will get the moves they crave, but the worst part is that none of this is a surprise anymore in modern day football.

We’re all used to it by now.

Sources: Daily Mail, BBC Sport, Birmingham Post

So what do you think? Do the likes of Modric, Fabregas and Downing deserve criticism for forcing moves away from their clubs? Or is it another setback for supporters that put their faith in modern day footballers? Let us know your thoughts.

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By Tony Alvarez

Despite many threats not much has actually happened in the transfer market in the past 7 days, at the time of writing Cesc Fabregas and Samir Nasri are both still Arsenal players whilst Luka Modric and Charlie Adam remain at Tottenham andBlackpoolrespectively.

 One of the biggest moves that has gone through has French left back Gael Clichy’s move to Manchester City for some where in the region  of £7 million.

Its funny how time changes things in Football, 2 years ago almost to the day the aforementioned Clichy had this to say about Man CityI really believe if you are a player who thinks only about money then you could end up at Manchester City. You have to think if you want to play for a big club and have your image or if you want to play for a good club and earn big money. When you ask someone to move for something like £300,000 a week it is just crazy”.  2 years on you can argue now City are a have won the FA Cup they are a bigger club than they were when Clichy made the comments, however I would argue that with the money City were throwing around a Cup was inevitable at some point.

I for one hope that in the next few days or wheneverClichyis official unveiled as aManchesterCityplayer a journalist puts this quote to the former Arsenal man to see his response.

 Else where in the transfer market in the Premier League all that seems to have happened is the media have drummed up stories and fans are getting excited/ disappointed by them, I suppose we need something to make the summer exciting if your not a fan of the Woman’s World Cup, but the media making rumours up is getting pretty tiresome. Just yesterday for example one of the more reputable Sports news broadcasters Sky Sports News reported that Modric was in talks with Daniel Levy about his Tottenham future. Now even as I am an Arsenal fan I can admit Modric is a good player but I certainly didn’t realise he had the power of being in to places at once as the Croat is currently on holiday and not due back until Thursday.

In other transfer news Carlos Tevez has confirmed that he wishes to leaveManchesterCityfor the good of his family and to be near his kids who can’t settle inManchester. In one of the bigger events of the summer so far (as it’s actually confirmed) Tevez had taken up a lot of column inches, no one can begrudge a man wanting to be near his family although I doubt this will stop many Football fans.

 This could potentially cause huge problems for free spending Manchester City, no matter how much they have spent in the last two years Tevez has always been not only their talisman but their star man and the player which the attacking part of the side is built around.

 Reports are suggesting the likes of Tevez fellow Argentine Kun Aguero, who knows if he is the answer to be honest I don’t know if anyone can fill Tevez boots in the City side.

Another debate is who will sign Tevez due to his high transfer fee and probable wage demands, you would assume he wants away from England, Barcelona if to be believed have no spare money available for transfers, Inter Milan have ruled themselves out and AC Milan will be unlikely to want to upset notorious sulkers Robinho and Ibrahimovic

This leaves Real Madrid as the only viable option but with their quite public pursuit of Brazilian ace Neymar for a fee reported to be in excess of £40 million as well as yesterdays £25+ million signing of Benfica left back Coentrao money must be tight for the Spanish giants.

Again this is not questioning Tevez ability its just the list of potential employers is seems to be a very short one.

 

What do you think? Was Clichy correct to go against his own statement? Are City now considered a big club? Are you bored of all the unfounded speculation in our newspapers/ online daily? Will Tevez struggle to find a club? Where can you see him plying his trade next term? Do you sympathise with the reason he wants to leave City? Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts

By Tony Alvarez

 There are various minor stories in the World of Football at the moment without much that us a truly headline grabbing story. Many of the things in the sport section of your papers could materialise into a major story but as of yet nothing leaps off the page.

Due to this I am going to take a brief look at the biggest stories in Football at the moment.

 Is Nasri on the move?

First off has to be Samir Nasri apparently using the media to flirt with Manchester United, the French man who had an impressive year at Arsenal has only a year left on his contract and is believed to not be willing to accept the offer Arsenal have made to renew his contract due to the wages not being high enough.

Some sections of the media are reporting that the Frenchman wants parity with Arsenal’s top earner and captain Cesc Fabregas, if this is true its ludicrous on Nasri’s part.

Fabregas has arguably been Arsenal’s star player for the last 4 years and has been a fixture in the side since 2004, Nasri to be blunt has had one unbelievable 6 month spell in three years, Nasri quite possibly does have the ability to become a player of Fabregas importance but one 6month spell does not prove that your worth as much to the side as any one else.

My personal opinion is that Nasri will sign a new contract after a long protracted summer of will he wont he leave that Arsenal fans have become accustomed to, him or his agent are just pressing for more money that he know clubs with a looser wage structure would pay, it is believed Arsenal have offered Nasri a mere £90,000 a week with the French man wanting £110,000 I believe a figure will be agreed but who will win the battle of wills usually in these circumstances…..The player.

 Is a winter break the way forward for the Premeir League?

In another story that seems to come about at least once a season but is now gaining more weight is the call for the Barclay’s Premier League to have a winter break due to fatigue suffered by players come the end of the season including any major international tournaments we may be involved in.

As many of you will have seenEnglanddrew 2-2 withSwitzerlandat Wembley on Saturday and after the game manager Fabio Capello and a section of the players blamed fatigue for their low level of performance. Starlet Jack Wilshere also pulled out of the under 21 squad for the upcoming European Championships after providing medical reports showing that an injury was near due to fatigue.

 Year after year this debate comes about and year after year it gains more and more support with nothing ever being done at FA head quarters where it matters.

The difference this year is that the plan seems to be backed by more players as it has done in the past, just yesterday Arsenal winger Theo Walcott and Tottenham target man Peter Crouch both added to the argument with Walcott saying “it will have to come at some point it cant do any harm” and Crouch saying “all the players and managers and coaches would be behind a winter break, without a doubt

I can’t say I’m particularly for a winter break however if it makes the quality of our league and national side better I would not sign any petition to get in its way. The problem is it doesn’t seem like the FA are having the needed meetings to make a decision either way.

A meeting and decision from the FA whatever it may be will put the issue to bed for the next year at least.

 Hiddink the right man for Chelsea?

At the time of writing this the odds of Guus Hiddink to become Chelsea manager have been slashed to 1/8 on, in what seemingly looks like the worst kept secret in Football, Hiddink will become Chelsea manager following his and the clubs break for summer holidays.

Hididnk of course had a six month spell in charge of the west London side two years ago winning the FA cup in his time in charge.

It was initially thought that Hididnk did not want the job as he was too old for day to day management of a club side and was more than happy with his current role asTurkeyboss, however it is now circulation the Turkish press that Hiddink is on his way withChelseahis destination.

But is this a good news, initially all indications would point to yes and some people may think I’m mad for even questioning the probably appointment of the Dutchman.

The issue I would have with this appointment is the one mentioned above if the man himself worried about his ability to run a club on a day to day basis without actually doing it and being under the pressure it brings then what will he be like when the chips are done and he has a somewhat mad chairman on his back after a bad run of results (in Abramovich terms that means one bad result).

I am not questioning the quality of Hididnk’s management skills far from it, he has proven himself to be a top class manager in every job he has ever had.

Although health is very often put into question with Football managers due to the likes of Alex Ferguson being seemingly fit and well despite being 69 years old, the recent scare for ex Villa and Liverpool boss Gerrard Houllier has made fans sit up and take notice of the pressure of such a high profile job on people who would be retired in any other walk of life.

What do you think? Is Nasri flirting with other clubs just to get more money out of Arsenal? Will he be an Arsenal player in September or will he be sporting another clubs kit?

 Is there a need for a winter break? Would England be more of a threat at international tournaments if he had one? Do you think a winter break will be installed in time for the new seasons?

Is Hididnk the right man for the Chelsea job? Is his age going to cause a problem? Will he become Chelsea manager? Is there anyone else you would prefer to see in charge at Stamford Bridge?

Leave a comment and let us know your thoughts on any or all of the above issues.

Arsene Wenger has had some less than gracious moments with fellow managers in recent weeks

By Laurie Fitzgerald

It seems that Premier League managers have found it difficult to be gracious to one another at the end of a match in recent weeks.

The traditional handshake of managers at the final whistle has come under considerable scrutiny after some heated confrontations.

The chief culprit seems to be Arsene Wenger. The Arsenal manager has seen observers questioning his respect for his fellow peers.

The Frenchman refused to shake the hand of Liverpool manager Kenny Dalglish following the Gunners‘ 1-1 draw with the Reds on Sunday, while he gave a less than impressive handshake with Spurs manager Harry Redknapp following the 3-3 thriller at White Hart Lane on Wednesday night.

There’s no question that the 61 year-old is an outstanding manager. However, it’s difficult to argue that he’s less than graceful when his side do not get the result he desires.

While Wenger seems to be the manager most guilty of this, he’s not the only one to have issues with other bosses at the end of a match this season.

Following Manchester City’s 1-1 draw with Fulham in February, Roberto Mancini and Mark Hughes showed there was no love lost after the Italian took Sparky’s job last campaign.

At the final whistle, there was a quick handshake that Hughes finished off with by letting go violently as Mancini stormed down the tunnel.

Not all managers are going to get on with one another. But the issue surrounding this is the example that it sets for their players.

Samir Nasri has made it clear that he doesn’t intend to shake the hand of William Gallas whenever he comes up against him due to the disdain he has for his former Arsenal team-mate.

But the handshake isn’t about that; it’s about setting the tone of respect before a game, and for the managers to shake hands after, it signifies that despite having battled to beat one another, the respect is still there.

A refusal of handshakes can create the belief that being ungracious, whether its in the heat of the moment or a sign of a bitter feud, is acceptable.

Maybe the introduction of punishments, even if it’s a fine for the guilty party, will ensure that more is done by those involved to put petty squabbles aside and ensure that the respect in the game is maintained at the highest level.

So what do you think? Should there be punishments introduced for a lack of respect shown at the final whistle? Is it unfair to expect people to put differences aside for a mere handshake? Have the recent incidents been a storm in a teacup? Let us know your thoughts.

By Tony Alvarez

Following the release of a 6 man shortlist for the Players Football Association player of the year award many fans have been angered at the omission of Manchester United Portuguese winger Luis Nani.

Nani has been pivotal to United’s charge on all fronts this term which currently sees them top of the Premier League table, in an FA Cup semi final and with a slight advantage in a Champions League Quarter final.

The wing wizard is leading the Premier League assists table with 16 and has 9 Premier league strikes to his name which is equal to or better than anyone else that’s nominated for the PFA award except for Carlos Tevez.

The Candidates who have been shortlisted in favour of Nani are Arsenal’s Samir Nasri, Blackpool’s Charlie Adam, as mentioned above Manchester City’s Carlos Tevez, Nani’s team mate Nemanja Vidic, Tottenham’s Gareth Bale and West Ham’s Scott Parker.

Regular viewers will have seen that earlier in the week Shouts From The Stands wrote an article looking into who we judged as Player of the year, our shortlist of four included four of the names above an omitted Charlie Adam, Scott Parker and Nani which got me a lot of negative response from Manchester United fans.

To view our Player of the Year article please click on the following link: https://shoutsfromthestands.wordpress.com/2011/04/01/who-should-be-named-player-of-the-year/

You will be unable to see the comments from United fans moaning at me for not including Nani as they were on BBC’s 606 forum.

I came to the conclusion that the candidates are not always the 6 best players in the league but the ones who are most influential to their sides.

Only one man can be the most influential man to their side which made it a choice between Vidic and Nani, for my decision it was tough but I think Vidic is often over looked and has held the team together no matter who he has been partnered with at centre back this season.

It seems the shortlist makers made the same decision many United fans were calling for both to be included on the shortlist but as the shortlist has been decided upon on influence and not all round performance Nani was overlooked for the likes of Charlie Adam and Scott Parker, which I can see perfect sense in.

What do you think? Have they got the shortlist correct?S hould Nani of been chosen over Vidic? Should the shortlist of included 2 United players? Is it wrong that the award is being chosen on influence and not performance? Leave a comment and let us know

Holden was in brilliant form for Bolton before his injury

By Laurie Fitzgerald

We have reached the stage of the season where football fans across the country begin to consider their players of the Premier League season.

The likes of Samir Nasri, Nemanja Vidic, Andy Carroll, Scott Parker, Carlos Tevez and Gareth Bale are likely to get several mentions for potential nominations for the PFA Player of the Year.

However, there will be players that have had excellent campaigns for their clubs but will not get spoken in the same bracket as the players aforementioned.

With this in mind, I’ve looked at those players that deserve recognition for their consistency throughout the season, but probably won’t get a look-in at the end of season awards:

Matt Jarvis (Wolves) – His recent call-up to the England squad may have come as a surprise to many, but the former Gillingham player has been one of the best right-wingers in the league this season. The 24 year old has performed consistently well despite Wolves’ struggles this campaign. His four goals and four assists in the league don’t do justice to the constant problems he has caused for opposition defences.

Stuart Holden (Bolton) – Having sustained an anterior cruciate ligament injury from THAT tackle by Manchester United’s Jonny Evans, the American midfielder’s season has come to a cruel and premature end. But what should be remembered is how good Holden was throughout the campaign; The 25 year-old created boundless energy in the Bolton midfield, and was brilliant in retaining possession when he had the ball. Let’s hope he makes a full and speedy recovery so we can see him continue to blossom into a top-class midfielder.

David Vaughan (Blackpool) – While many will have been impressed with Vaughan’s second-half performance for Wales against England on Saturday, Blackpool fans will not need telling how impressive the midfielder has been in their debut season in the Premier League. The 28 year-old had never played in the top-flight before, but you’d never have noticed. While Charlie Adam has got most of the acclaim for the Seasiders, Vaughan has been the engine of the midfield, and played a big part in giving Blackpool a chance of clinching survival and in the process a magnificent season.

Peter Odemwingie (West Brom) – Talking of debut seasons in the Premier League, the 29 year-old Nigerian has made a real impact from moving to the Hawthorns from Lokomotiv Moscow. He already has double figures for the Baggies in the league, and although he hasn’t made the same impact as when he initially joined, the forward has given West Brom the cutting edge going forward that has given them a better chance of survival in comparison to their previous years in the top flight.

Phil Bardsley (Sunderland) – Under Steve Bruce, the former Manchester United youth graduate has started to fulfill the promise seen in his younger days. Bardsley has become an integral part of a solid Sunderland defence, having gained a reputation of becoming consistent and reliable at full-back. He has also worked his way into International recognition, having earned his first cap for Scotland this season. You won’t find many more defenders deserving of more praise this season than the 25 year-old.

So what do you think? Do you agree with these choices? What players do you think should get more acclaim for their efforts this season from your club or other clubs? Let us know your thoughts

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