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Posts Tagged ‘ Roberto Mancini ’

Irish Keeper Called Into City’s Champions League Squad

lawlor

Ireland U-19 goalkeeper Ian Lawlor was last night promoted to Man City’s first-team squad for tomorrow’s Champions League visit to Viktoria Plzen, making him the only Irish player to feature in the tournament this season .

The 18-year-old had been due to face the Czech outfit in UEFA’s new youth version of the Champions League when he received the call from Manuel Pellegrini. Continue reading

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Manchester United Shouldn’t Celebrate Just Yet

Sir-Alex-FergusonAs Mark Halsey blew the whistle at Old Trafford on Sunday evening fans and journalists alike busied themselves with a proclamation concerning the end of Manchester City’s brief reign as champions of the Premier League. On the face of things, it’s hard to disagree. After all, United are 12 points clear at the top with Sir Alex Ferguson determined not to lose the title to the noisy neighbours for a second year in a row. And with Robin Van Persie still firing on all cylinders and continually proving that his last year at Arsenal was by no means the peak of his career, alongside the bolstering effect of Nemanja Vidic’s return at the back, it’s difficult to argue. If the momentum is with any team, it is with United. Continue reading

Irish Eyes Are Smiling

With Ireland fresh off the back of four straight victories it will be a long wait until our next competitive match in September. Such momentum would have been pivotal to carry into our next two crucial qualifiers that will determine our faith yet as the players take a break Irish News Review looks back at the highlights of a memorable season.

A is for Andorra. Ireland were pitted against the European minnows yet again en route to Euro 2012. 

B is for Bratislava. Ireland earned a point away to Slovakia but could have emerged with a win had Robbie Keane not missed a penalty on the stroke of half time. 

C is for Cox. West Brom star broke into Ireland team at the end of the season featuring in the final four games and scoring against both Northern Ireland and Italy. 

D is for David. Millwall goalkeeper Forde makes his debut against Italy at the age of 31, becoming the country’s oldest debutant in the post war era. 

E is for England. Possible friendly with the old enemy has been muted but as of yet no date has been arranged. 

F is for Fifty. The number of goals Robbie Keane eclipsed this season, breaking Bobby Charlton’s record in the north west corner of Europe. 

G is for Glasgow. The birthplace of James McCarthy whose international allegiance was questioned prior to him lining out in a competitive match for Ireland. 

H is for Hunger. Something Shay Given has never lost while sitting on the Man City bench all season. The Donegal native has shown no sign of decline in his performances despite Roberto Mancini`s constant refusal to pick him. 

I is for Ignorance. The FAI`s inability to reduce ticket prices has often led to a large number of empty seats at the 50,000 capacity Aviva.

 J is for John. FAI chief executive tried to appease fans by laying on trains and drink in Slovakia. 

K is for Kevin Doyle.Ireland will be hoping the Wexford native will be fit for September`s crucial qualifiers against joint Group B leaders Slovakia and Russia.

L is for Liege. Goals from Keith Andrews and Simon Cox ensured a famous 2-0 friendly victory over Italy in Belgium. 

M is for Macedonia. Back to back victories over the Macedonians leaves Ireland in a three horse tie at the top of the Euro 2012 qualifying group. 

N is for Nations Cup. Ireland swept aside Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland to win the inaugural Carling Nations Cup.

 O is for O`Dea. Ipswich star slotted in comfortably in the absence of both Richard Dunne and Sean St Ledger. 

P is for Pride. While some players have been questioned over their commitment to the cause, a new wave of talent is emerging that is hungrier than ever to wear the green shirt. 

Q is for Quality. While Ireland’s players are far from world beaters, the guidance of Trapattoni has gotten the best out of them. 

R is for Russia. The men from the Soviet Union taught the boys in green a lesson at the Aviva, a return date in September will define the group standings. 

S is for Seamus. Break out year for Everton star Seamus Coleman who has become a squad regular under Trapattoni. 

T is for Trickovski. The Macedonian star saw his penalty strike the crossbar in Skopje as Ireland earned a crucial 2-0 win. 

U is for Unbeaten. Great end of season form sees Ireland win four games in a row without conceding a goal. 

V is for Victory. To date Giovanni Trapattoni has a 46% win rate since taking over as Ireland manager in 2008.

W is for Walters. Stoke City striker pulls on the green jersey yet season ends in turmoil as he failed to show for end of season friendlies.

X is for X-Rated. Fiery Trap`s pitchside antics may not be too pleasing to parents ears. 

Y is for Yerevan. The Armenian capital where Ireland opened their Euro 2012 qualifying campaign. A Keith Fahey goal was enough to see Ireland take the three points 

Z is for Ze Hand. Thierry Henry`s cheeky handball that cost Ireland dearly hasn’t been forgotten, providing Trap with motivation to continue on until the 2014 World Cup as he has “unfinished business”.

Premier League Preview

This weekend`s fixture list throws up some exciting derby matches as the Premier League resumes following last week“s FA Cup third round matches.   

 

West Ham V Arsenal

 

With the backing of their tremendous fans, the Hammers may well pull off a result in what would appear to be Avram Grant`s last match in charge. However, Arsenal will be eager to avenge their recent results, with a 1-1 FA Cup Draw with Leeds and a 1-0 defeat to Ipswich in the League Cup semi final leaving Gunners fans aggrieved.

 

Verdict: Draw

 

Liverpool V Everton

 

This Merseyside derby always serves us a tense battle and Kenny Dalglish will be eager to get his first win as Liverpool manager over their arch enemies. He will have to do so without the services of the influential Steven Gerrard and Jamie Carragher. Dalglish will be hoping his side can improve on their disastrous midweek performance, where Blackpool came from a goal behind to beat the Anfield side for the second time this season.

Everton manager David Moyes will be hoping like Blackpool, that his side can do the double over Liverpool this season. However Everton may well struggle for goals as top scorer Tim Cahill is away on international duty with Australia. Expect the home side to edge this one with Fernando Torres putting his critics to shame.  

 

Verdict: Liverpool

 

Spurs V Man Utd

 

Man United travel to Spurs on Sunday for what should be an intriguing tie. United will find it tough against Harry Redknapp`s men and their unbeaten record in the Premier League this season faces a real threat.

 

Spurs will definitely frustrate the Red Devils, with a draw the most likely outcome.

 

Verdict: Draw

 

Chelsea V Blackburn

 

Chelsea host Blackburn Rovers at Stamford Bridge as they aim to put together a steady run of results following their desire form as of late. Roque Santa Cruz`s return to Lancashire will boost Steve Kean`s men and they will certainly be up for this match. However with their inconsistent form this season Rovers may just fall short.

 

Verdict: Chelsea   

 

Man City V Wolves

 

Roberto Mancini`s men will be aiming to crank up the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the table this weekend but they must not underestimate a Wolves side, who have beaten both Liverpool and Chelsea in recent weeks.

Mick McCarthy`s men will travel to Eastlands in a confident mood but the relegation candidates may well fall fowl to Edin Dzeko, with City`s new 27 million striker the catalyst for a title tilt.

 

Verdict: Man City   

 

Stoke V Bolton

 

Bolton travel to the Britannia Stadium this weekend hoping to maintain their push for  Europe. While the Trotters have produced some outstanding displays this term they may well come unstuck against Tony Pulis` men. A draw is the most likely result.

 

Verdict:Draw  

 

West Brom V Blackpool

 

Ian Holloway`s side will roll into the Midlands this weekend in confident mood after putting Liverpool to the sword in midweek. Blackpool have every reason to be confident ahead of this match as West Brom are on an alarming slide down the table after their early season exploits.

 

Verdict: Blackpool

 

Wigan V Fulham

 

Wigan will be eager to start putting more points on the board as they currently sit second bottom. A win over Mark Hughes` men may well move them out of the relegation zone but they must rely on results elsewhere. Fulham will provide stiff competition for the Latics as they are in a similar position. Should Roberto Martinez`s side win they will jump above the Cottagers but this match has draw written all over it.

 

Verdict:Draw

 

Sunderland V Newcastle United

 

Sunderland host their fierce rivals in the second Tyne Wear derby of the season, with manager Steve Bruce still smarting after the Geordies thrashed the Wearsiders earlier this season.

 

Sunderland may well fall short again with key players missing through injury and suspension. Newcastle are no different with Andy Carroll set to miss out yet they still possess the quality to to the double over their neighbours.

 

Verdict: Newcastle  

 

Birmingham City V Aston Villa

 

These two sides meet at St Andrews with only a point separating them. This season has proved to be a frustrating one for both sides as they languish in the bottom half of the table. For Birmingham, its been a case of lacking goals while for Villa it has just been one long slide under Gerard Houllier. Birmingham look set to appease their goal drought with the signing of Spurs striker Robbie Keane while Villa are in the market for some new players, with Jean Makoun of Lyon undergoing a medical at Villa Park.

The incentive is their for both sides but Alex McLeish`s men may prove too strong for Villa.

 

Verdict: Birmingham City

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