Tag Archives: Manchester City

Manchester City see Champions League ban overturned

One of the biggest stories of the season so far has seemingly come to an end with Manchester City avoiding a two year ban from the Champions League, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport cleared them of any wrongdoing.

This has been a long debated topic of whether 5th place would qualify as a Champions League spot, with many people calling for a harsh punishment in order for UEFA to ‘make an example’ of City. They have been criticised for not being strict enough with FFP and this result has left its reputation heavily damaged.

What were City accused of doing?

In November 2018 a German newspaper, Der Speigel, published supposed leaked documents of Manchester City overvaluing their sponsorship deal – misleading football’s top European body.

It was accused that they lied about this valuation in order to mislead UEFA for FFP rules – making it seem as though they were breaking even and not in a loss.

In February, the CFCB, an independent adjudicatory body, claimed that City bent the laws by “overstating its sponsorship revenue in its accounts and in the break-even information submitted to Uefa between 2012 and 2016”.

They attempted to investigate but City refused to cooperate as they didn’t trust the CFCB and didn’t believe they were independent. The club were also punished for similar issues in 2014 and fined £49m.

It must be noted the owners always refuted the claims and were adamant they had not broken any rules.

What was the verdict?

The CAS claimed that the club were completely cleared of “disguising equity funds as sponsorship contributions”.

They did, however, state that Manchester City had failed to cooperate with the CFCB investigation and were still subject to a fine.

The original fine of 30m Euros was reduced to 10m Euros – a considerable drop. The two-year Champions League ban imposed on City has also been reversed meaning they will be allowed to play in the competition for future seasons.

What does this mean for FFP and this season?

Many fans have complained about the loopholes in FFP rulings as it allows bigger clubs who generate more revenue to spend more – whilst other clubs may struggle to grow due to financial restrictions on allowed losses.

Whilst the Premier League have different rulings to UEFA they still fall under the same umbrella terms, so the differences are minimal.

With its fractured reputation already, this decision has only exacerbated things for UEFA as people are calling into questions its legitimacy. After all, City broke similar regulations in 2014 and yet they haven’t been banned and have been given a reduced fine.

The failure to punish the richest clubs for breaking the rules means clubs will seemingly be able to get away with spending a bit more. If the fine is only 10m Euros like this case, then you can be sure many clubs would take that hit for success.

Where this leaves the ruling is yet to be seen, a reform in the system seems to be the most effective option, allowing smaller clubs to spend to help grow, whilst debt can be controlled to avoid clubs going into administration.

In terms of this season, it of course means that 5th place is no longer the golden ticket into the Champions League and the race for the top four will be even more intense now.

Whilst most people expected the decision to be overturned, it still offers up a very interesting end to the campaign as top four is absolutely vital. Whilst this damages Wolves and Sheffield United’s hopes of qualification; Manchester United, Chelsea and Leicester will all be fighting more than ever now in these last few games.

For further discussion on what Manchester City’s European ban being overturned means check out the video below:

 

Which Players Have Been Released From Each Premier League Club?

With the end of June fast approaching players across the country who haven’t reached an agreement to extend their contracts will be leaving their respective clubs and can sign for other sides on a free transfer.

Premier League clubs have already published their lists of players who will be released on the 30th June, here is a look at each of the twenty clubs and their departures this summer.

Arsenal

Only one players so far is set to leave the Gunners on the expiry of their contract and that is youngster Tobi Omole. The 20 year old defender has featured regularly for Arsenal’s U23 side but hasn’t made a senior appearance for the first team, despite signing his first professional contract in 2018.

Aston Villa

Relegation threatened Aston Villa will have a number of departures this summer, before their fate has even been decided. Fourteen players will leave the club, including James Chester, Andre Green and Callum O’Hare.

Chester and Green have taken up the option to extend their loan deals at Championship sides Stoke City and Charlton respectively. Academy graduate O’Hare meanwhile, who made nine appearances for the first team, played a staring role for Coventry in League One as they clinched promotion to the Championship.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Borja Baston and Ross McCormack were other high profile stars exiting the club. Hepburn-Murphy spent 15 years at Villa in their various youth ranks whilst Spaniard Baston was a January deadline day signing from Swansea who made just two appearances for the side.

McCormack’s ill fated spell was finally brought to a close with the expiration of his contract, four years on from his £12 million move from Fulham.

Third choice goalkeeper Matija Sarkic has agreed an extension to see out the current campaign, but will be released after it is concluded.

A number of U23 players are also leaving the club with Jack Birch, Anton Hooper, Dutchman Colin Odutayo, striker Dimitri Sea and New Zealand goalkeeper Jamie Searle departing.

Bournemouth

Another club who are involved in a relegation dogfight, the Cherries will let eleven players leave at the end of their contracts, including a number of big names.

Jermain Defoe, who has been on loan at Rangers since January last year will exit the club along with £15 million winger Jordon Ibe, who has flattered to deceive on the South Coast.

Ryan Fraser, who has been linked with a number of other clubs, rejected the chance to sign a short term extension to see out the end of the season, and so will leave Eddie Howe’s side on June 30th after making over 200 appearances for the club.

Youngsters Charlie Seaman and Tyrell Hamilton, who were both playing non league football this term, will also be leaving the club. Australian Brad Smith has extended his loan stay at Cardiff City, and will leave Bournemouth once the Championship season ends.

Long-serving midfielder Andrew Surman, and full back Charlie Daniels alongside back-up goalkeeper Artur Boruc have all accepted an extension to keep them at the Vitality Stadium until the conclusion of the current Premier League season.

Brighton

Brighton, who have impressed since their return to action after the enforced break due to the coronavirus pandemic, will let nine players leave the club, including a number from the youth team.

English trio Luca Cocoracchio, Archie Davies, Lewis Freestone, Welsh midfielder Jordan Davies and Finnish goalkeeper Hugo Keto have been released, alongside centre back Kacper Lopata and Serbian striker Bojan Samoukovic.

Beram Kayal who has been with the Seagulls since 2015, has signed a short term extension, having returned from his loan spell at Charlton in January following an injury. Ezequiel Schelotto has also signed an extension to keep him at the Amex until the end of this campaign having already played eight times for Brighton this term.

Burnley

Burnley, like Bournemouth, will allow a number of first team squad members to depart Turf Moor at the end of this month. Aaron Lennon and Joe Hart will move on, having played peripheral roles this term.

Irishman Jeff Hendrick, a key cog in the Burnley midfield, is also set to leave having rejected the offer to extend his contract for next season. Goalkeeper Adam Legzdins will also become a free agent, leaving Burnley having failed to make a single appearance in his three year spell at the club.

Tunde Bayode, Christian N’Guessan, Henri Ogunby (who signed a short term deal in January) and Joel Senior, all members of the U23 squad, will also be released.

Chelsea

Chelsea’s squad overall, which began last summer under Frank Lampard will continue, with big hitters Pedro and Willian set to leave the club having failed to reach an agreement to extend their contracts beyond the current campaign.

Pedro has already chosen to link up with Serie A side Roma for the 2020/21 season, whilst cult hero Willian has admitted he could yet extend his stay at Stamford Bridge despite interest from other Premier League clubs.

Other plays exiting the club include defender Josh Grant, who spent the first half of this season on loan at Plymouth, Marcel Lavinier, who has been with the club since the age of seven and Richard Nartey who made 25 appearances for League One side Burton this campaign.

Crystal Palace

No first team player will leave Selhurst Park this summer, in a huge boost for Roy Hodgson, as five members of the development squad have being shown the exit door.

Dion-Curtis Henry who spent time playing in the National League South this season, Kian Flanagan, who was the U23 Young Player of the Year last season and Jason Lokilo, who made his senior bow for the club in an EFL Cup tie against Ipswich in August 2017 join Jacob Mensah and Joe Tupper in leaving the club.

Everton

Carlo Ancelotti’s Merseyside rebuild will begin in earnest this summer, and the club has started by releasing some dead wood from their squad.

Back-up goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg will depart once the current campaign is over to join his former side Ajax, whilst Cuco Martina, signed on a free transfer from Southampton in 2017, will also move on.

Luke Garbutt, who came through the Toffees’ academy system will also be allowed to leave once his contract expires, having spent the past four years on loan in League One and the Championship. Outcast Oumar Niasse, a £13.5 million signing from Lokomotiv Moscow four and a half years ago, is the fourth and final first team player to be released.

U23 players Morgan Feeny, Alex Denny, Matty Foulds, Manasse Mampala and Korede Adedoyin will all leave Everton along with Kieran Phillips, who will depart once he completes his loan spell at Huddersfield.

Leicester City

Long serving midfielder Andy King will leave the Foxes this summer, after 378 appearances during a 15 year spell with the club, which saw him win the Premier League in 2016. He has spent the past two seasons on loan in the Championship after falling out of favour but he will go down as a club hero among Leicester fans.

U23 captain George Thomas, first choice goalkeeper Viktor Johansson, Irish midfielder Conor Tee and Ryan Loft will also say their goodbyes at the end of this season. They join Rhys Davies, Ed Elewa-Ikpakwu, Justen Kranthove and Bruneian Faiq Bolkiah in leaving the club.

Liverpool

The Premier League champions will wave goodbye to Adam Lallana and Nathaniel Clyne this summer, two men who played a starring role in Klopp’s early years in charge of the Reds before injury derailed both their careers on Merseyside.

Lallana was offered a short term extension to his contract, to ensure that he can pick up a Premier League winners medal, although right back Clyne was not afforded the same luxury and will leave on the 30th June.

Third choice stopper Andy Lonergan has also been handed a short term extension to complete the season at Anfield.

Liverpool will also let Academy prospects Isaac Christie-Davies, who played against Aston Villa in the Carabao Cup earlier in the season, goalkeepers Shamal George, Daniel Atherton and Kai McKenzie-Lyle leave the club along with defender Jack Walls.

Manchester City

City’s big name departure is of course David Silva, who will bring the curtain down on his glorious ten year spell in Manchester once the current campaign ends, having signed a short term extension to see out the end of the season.

The Spaniard has won four Premier League titles, two FA Cups, five EFL Cups and Teo Community Shields during his time with the Citizens, as well as amassing over 300 appearances, scoring 58 goals in the process and going down as a true City legend.

His next destination remains to be seen as the 34 year old reportedly has offers from across the globe.

Claudio Bravo, City’s second choice goalkeeper is also set to depart the club this summer. After signing from Barcelona in 2016, the Chilean endured a difficult first season as the number one shot stopper at the club, before he was replaced by Ederson in 2017.

Since then the 37 year old has been playing second fiddle to the Brazilian, appearing predominantly in cup competitions. He has been linked with a host of clubs including Arsenal and Celtic, according to the Manchester Evening Standard.

Joining them in leaving the Etihad this summer are Ghanaian midfielder Ernest Agyiri and goalkeeper Thomas Scott.

Manchester United

United will wave goodbye to eight academy players at the end of the current season. Of those leaving, Cameron Borthwick- Jackson is the only player to have featured for the first team, making 10 appearances for the Red Devil’s. He has spent this campaign on loan with League One side Oldham Athletic.

Irish goalkeeper Kieran O’Hara will depart, after spending the majority of his United career on loan at lower league clubs. Nineteen year old Dion McGhee, Demetri Mitchell, who scooped the United Reserve Player of the Year in 2018, Englishmen Aidan Barlow and George Tanner, goalkeeper Alex Fojitcek and midfielder Ethan Hamilton have also been released.

Newcastle

Goalkeeper Rob Elliot will bring his nine year stay on Tyneside to an end this summer. The Englishman last made an appearance for the Magpies in 2017 having fallen down the pecking order at the club.

Jack Colback will also leave Newcastle at the end of the campaign, having spent the entirety of last season on loan at Nottingham Forest. Academy graduate Jamie Sterry joins him in departing, having made three appearances for his boyhood club.

Youth players Luke Charman, Victor Fernandez, Liam Gibson and Nathan Harker have been released after their contracts expired.

Norwich

Basement side Norwich will allow seven players to leave the club upon the expiring of their contracts this summer.

They are all members of the U23 squad, with the majority having spent this campaign out on loan. Diallang Jaiyesimi, Mason Bloomfield, Timi Odusina, Saavas Mourgos, Alfie Payne and Billy Johnson played their football away from Carrow Road, whilst Tom Scully remained at Norwich in the U23 squad this term.

Sheffield United

The Blades, who have enjoyed a fairytale first season back in the Premier League, will see a raft of players leave the club this summer.

First team squad players Leon Clarke, Jack Rodwell, Phil Jagielka, Kieron Freeman, who have made a combined seven Premier League appearances this season have all signed short term extensions but are still likely to exit the club once those expire.

January signing Connor Leak-Blunt has also signed a short term extension, after impressing with the U23 side.

Mark Duffy, who has been at Bramall Lane since 2016, playing over 100 games for the club will depart this summer, along with Ricky Holmes, who has announced his retirement from football after a back injury.

They join youngsters Ta’Shae Andall-Gibbons, Keenan Ferguson, Oliver Greaves, Callum Gribbin (formerly of Manchester United), Harry Sheppeard, Samuel Ompreon, Reece York and Jake Young I’m waving their goodbyes to Bramall Lane.

Ben Heneghan and Nathan Thomas will also be released having spent this campaign on loan at Blackpool and Carlisle respectively.

Southampton

The Saints will allow long serving defender Maya Yoshida to leave Saint Mary’s, once his contract expires. The Japanese international has not been offered a short term extension and so will leave the club on 30th June.

Cedric Soares, has also left the Saints, joining Arsenal on a permanent deal, despite having failed to register a single appearance since his loan move to the Gunners in January.

Twenty-three year old Marcus Barnes, who made his first, and only appearance for Southampton in an FA Cup tie against Derby in January 2019 will leave along with U23 goalkeeper Alex Cull, defender Simon Kozak, midfielder Harlem Hale, Irishman Aaron O’Driscoll and forward Christian Norton. Goalkeeper Jack Rose, who spent time on loan at Walsall this year, will also be released.

Tottenham

Jan Vertonghen has signed a short term extension, to keep him at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium until the end of the current campaign, although his future at the club after that remains to be seen.

Third choice goalkeeper Michel Vorm has also penned an extension to see out the season at Spurs, but he is set to depart after it expires.

U23 quartet Rayan Clarke, Phoenix Patterson, Maxwell Stratham and Jonathan Dinzeyi have had their contracts extended until the end of the current Premier League campaign, with their long term futures still to be decided. Twenty year old defender Tariq Hinds has been released.

Watford

The Hornets, who are hovering dangerously over the drop zone, will allow up to eleven players leave Vicarage Road this summer.

Defensive stalwarts Adrian Mariappa and Jose Cholevas, along with back up goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes have signed short term extensions to help Watford in their fight to escape relegation.

Twenty-one year old midfielder Callum Whelan, who made his Watford debut as a substitute in the FA Cup game with Tranmere in January, before starting the replay a week later, has also renewed his contract until the end of the current campaign.

U23 captain Jamal Balogun, Jayden Bennetts, who also made his Hornets’ debut in the replay defeat to Tranmere, Kaylen Hinds, who scored Watford’s equaliser in that game, forward Micheal Folivi, defenders Lewis Gordon and Cameron Green and have all been released.

West Ham

Defenders Pablo Zabaleta and Carlos Sanchez, who have played 16 Premier League games between them this season, will leave the Hammers once their contract expires, with Zabaleta rejecting a short term extension.

Also departing the London Stadium are U23 players Anouar El Mhassani, Reece Hannam and Louie Watson.

Wolves

High flying Wolves will allow five players to leave the club once their contracts expire.

Jordan Graham, who has had five separate loan spells during his five years at Wolves has already left the club and is joined by Phil Ofosu-Ayeh who failed to make a single appearance in his three years with the club, young defender Connor Johnson, Irish winger Callum Thompson and Swiss midfielder Ming-Yang Yang.

Premier League agrees to allow five substitutions in post-pandemic restart

On Thursday, all the 20 member clubs of the Premier League gave the nod for five substitutions when the League resumes on June 17.

The English top-flight is all set to restart their 2019-20 season on June 17th with Liverpool on top of the table, needing just two wins to secure their first championship since the 1989/90. 

The new decision comes as no surprise as the new rule is in the lines of temporary guidelines provided by the International Football Association Board (IFAB). The football body allowed the temporary amendment in order to facilitate the completion of the ongoing season.

 

There was approval to increase the number of players on bench from seven to nine by shareholders. The step is welcomed by managers and players as it will allow them to change their approach towards the game. It is also something that is approved by IFAB and Premier League, keeping the players’ welfare in their mind.

However, the rules also state that only three occasions will be provided for managers and clubs to make changes. This is a measure to avoid frequent disruptions during the match.

During the meeting, the clubs’ shareholders have also given their consent towards the neutral venue fixtures. Thought a vote has still to be held, the shareholders have agreed to host the games in a neutral venue if the situation demands.

For instance, one of the games that may be held at a neutral ground is the Merseyside Derby between Liverpool and Everton.  

It was revealed that discussions were also held regarding the promotion and relegation along with European qualifications if the season gets disrupted again due to the pandemic. However, no contingency plans have yet been finalised with the focus of the meeting being the resumption of the 2019/20 campaign. 

WSL Update: Chelsea’s title to lose?

The Blues took what appears to be a giant step towards the title against London rivals Arsenal last time out. 

New Australian signing Sam Kerr scored her first goal for the club as Chelsea scored three times in 20 minutes at the home of the defending champions on their way to a 4-1 victory.

Emma Hayes’ side now have a game in hand over their title rivals Manchester City and Arsenal and are just a point further back in third.

At the other end of the table meanwhile Liverpool finally got their first victory of the season to leapfrog Bristol City.

The reds secured a 1-0 victory over the West-Midlands side thanks to a 13thminute strike from their new signing, Rachel Furness.

Both the Manchester clubs also won, Manchester City kept their title hopes alive with a 2-0 victory over Birmingham City.

Ellen White scored against her old club in just the first minute of the match and midfielder Keira Walsh completed the scoring with a strike from the edge of the area.

Manchester United’s captain, Katie Zelem scored twice as the red devils got the better of Tottenham Hotspur, emerging 3-0 winners.

Elsewhere, Chloe Kelly scored a hat trick as Everton beat Reading 3-1 to secure their first victory in four matches and Alisha Lehmann’s two late goals helped West Ham come from behind to beat Brighton 2-1.

Matchday Previews and Predictions

Sunday 2ndFebruary

Liverpool vs Birmingham City (Kick-off 12pm)

Vicky Jepson’s Liverpool team have enjoyed a revival of late by winning three of their last five games in all competitions. They also secured their first league win of the campaign against fellow strugglers Bristol City.  They also put eight goals past Blackburn Rovers in the FA Cup.

Birmingham City by contrast have lost four of their past five games and are currently only a point and a place ahead of Liverpool.

The Blues however did win the reverse fixture back in October 2-0 thanks to goals from their captain Kerys Harrop and Lucy Staniforth.

Prediction: Liverpool 2-0

We fancy Liverpool to continue their recent impressive run and secure their second victory of the season. 

Brighton & Hove Albion vs Everton (2pm)

Everton have won their past two games in all competitions after suffering back to back 3-1 defeats against both Arsenal and Manchester City.  The Toffees currently sit fifth in the table and just goal difference separates them from Manchester United above them in fourth.

Brighton meanwhile could certainly do with a win to ease their regelation concerns, Hope Powell’s team are currently only three points off the bottom. Since beating Liverpool 1-0 at home at the start of January the Seagulls have lost their last three league matches.

Prediction: Brighton 1-0

The Seagulls are under pressure to get a result and we think with home advantage they have what it takes to cause an upset. 

Chelsea vs West Ham United (2pm)

The Blues are flying at the moment, having beaten the defending champions Arsenal last time out they have also secured their place in the Continental Tyres Cup Final by beating Manchester United in the week.

The London side also find themselves in prime position for the WSL title with a game in hand and their two title rivals playing against each other this weekend.

The Hammers’ form has been very up and down in recent weeks and they have also never beaten their London rivals in four previous encounters.  They did however manage to get a 1-1 draw in the corresponding fixture last season.

Prediction: Chelsea 4-0

We anticipate another comprehensive Chelsea victory.

Manchester City vs Arsenal (2pm)

This is certainly the game of the weekend.  The match also marks Nick Cushing’s final game in charge of Manchester City before he heads off to become Assistant Manager of New York City FC.

The sides met in mid-week with Arsenal emerging victorious in their Continental Tyres Cup Semi-final 2-1 to secure a place in the final against Chelsea at the Nottingham Forest City Ground at the end of next month.

Not only is it the Manchester City manager’s final game in charge, this match certainly has huge ramifications for both teams in terms of their title chances.

Prediction: Manchester City 3-2

We are just giving the edge to Manchester City due to home advantage and the fact that it is their manager’s last game in charge.  Anticipating an open game with plenty of goals.

Reading vs Manchester United (2pm)

Both of these sides have suffered two defeats in their last three games.  Manchester United in particular have gone out of two-cup competitions in the space of a few days to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.

The Royals meanwhile have lost their last two league games against Arsenal and Everton, however they were both away from home. They did win their last home match against Birmingham City 1-0 thanks to a goal from Amalie Eikeland.

The Red Devils secured a 2-0 win when the sides met back at the end of October.

Prediction: Manchester United 1-0

We think that Casey Stoney’s Manchester United will bounce back from their recent disappointments in this one. 

Tottenham Hotspur vs Bristol City (2pm)

The final match sees Spurs hosting bottom side Bristol City.  The London side won emerged victorious in the only encounter between the sides earlier this season in a hard fought 2-1 win.

Bristol City’s form has improved in recent weeks as they have won three of their past five matches including a 1-0 win against Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspur however have lost three of their past four games, but their one victory did come at home against fellow London side West Ham.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1

We believe that Tottenham will come away with the three points. 

 

 

Should the FA Cup replay’s be scrapped?

Following the New Meadow 2-2 draw with Shrewsbury and Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp stated his first team players, nor himself, would appear in the replay back at Anfield.

Image result for shrewsbury town v liverpool
Shrewsbury’s Jason Cumming’s scored the equaliser on Sunday to take the tie back to Merseyside.

Since Klopp’s arrival to the Premier League he has shown no happiness towards the busy December period and the replay format of the cup, it seems he believes the players are requested to play too often, hindering their physical capability and lack of recovery time. Despite this, his team way ahead at the top of the Premier League do not seem to be suffering on the whole. A factor which is potentially being interpreted as ignorance when their competition is from the lower leagues who play more games than those in the top division with remarkably less money and resources.

A recent discussion on BBC Radio 5 Live heard how Great Britain hockey star Samantha Quek argued the FA Cup replay’s should be scrapped and the format should be changed to two separate pots of Premier League and Championship teams and another of the lower divisions. A disgruntled Tranmere fan was on the phone to explain how much the FA cup meant to a lower league team, not just financially but sentimentally, and rightfully so.

The FA Cup ties and replays are renowned for bringing extra revenue to smaller clubs which can become a vital input for changes that Premier League clubs do not have to think twice about. Shrewsbury manager Sam Ricketts explained how the money from the return trip to Anfield would allow for improved drainage of the pitch and cameras for analysis to be used in games. Something Premier League regulars may take for granted.

The FA Cup allows for extra distribution of money which is circulated within English football, vitally this money can reach the lucky lower league teams who make it through the rounds. But it is also the importance of sentiment that the cup brings. For a supporter, the FA cup can be a magical occasion and allows for that chance to visit a Premier League ground to watch their team play against some the world’s greats. Similarly for a player, who may have finished a day working, to then take to the stage lined up against world famous players, a great euphoric feeling which can’t be replicated.

Yes, the Premier league may be tasking for players who play a higher standard week in week out, but they are professional. Their clubs, if anything out of respect, should participate thoroughly in an FA Cup game as if it was any other game.