Welcome to Fergie Time, a roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points. You’ll like it, trust me.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE DRAW:
Old men were grabbing balls in Switzerland this morning, as the Champions League Round of 16 was drawn. Here’s who’s playing who:
Lyon vs. Real Madrid
Arsenal vs. Barcelona
Marseille vs. Manchester United
FC Copenhagen vs. Chelsea.
Inter vs. Bayern Munich
Valencia vs. Schalke 04.
Tottenham vs. AC Milan
Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
So a rematch of the 2009/10 final with Inter v. Bayern, Cesc Fabregas returns home for Arsenal vs. Barcelona (cue the transfer rumours!) and Gareth Bale returns to the flanks of the San Siro for Spurs vs. AC Milan.
Good stuff, and a reminder that even though the Champions League group stages are now mind-numbingly predictable, it’s all worth it just to get to the knockout stage. For your diary: first legs will be played on 15th, 16th, 22nd and 23rd February, and second legs will be played on 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th March, 2011.
I think I’m on Carlos Tevez‘ side. Yes, he’s paid a lot of money. A whole lot. But despite his rocky relationship with Roberto Mancini and his all-out fall-out with Garry Cook, Tevez has played – and played well – every time he’s been asked. He’s not joint second top scorer in the Premier League by accident.
So if was unhappy and wanted to leave, then handing in a written transfer request was exactly the right thing to do. There’s no sneakiness, no dropping hints via newspapers, just a signed piece of paper declaring his intent to go elsewhere.
Is it about money? I say no. Players who want more money don’t try and leave Manchester City. They try and join Manchester City. Just ask Edin Dzeko.
Besides, the alternative to being on Carlos Tevez’ side is being on Garry Cook’s side. And no one wants to be there.
It’s game week 18 of the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game, and we have a challenge for you. Those brave enough can play against Soccerlens in a private competition league this weekend. It’s $4.99 to enter, with a prize pot of $40. Just click on over to the league page here, and enter access code: q9CKs.
JUST FOR MEN?
Another week, another mid-table managerial sacking that makes no sense. Last week it was Chris Hughton at Newcastle, this week Blackburn’s new owners have shown Sam Allardyce the door, despite his saving the club from relegation in his first season, and keeping them comfortably in mid-table ever since, and all with a pretty average squad. Here’s how Venkatesh Rao explained the sacking:
“This is nothing personal against Sam, he’s a very sweet and nice person, but we want a younger and more energetic appointment. We want to improve the club and see it doing well.”
Couldn’t they have just given Big Sam some hair dye and a can of Red Bull?
Most insecurely attached attached hairpiece: Belongs to this linesman, who lost it during a game.
Most wanted Christmas present: The SoccerXizer, as sold by “the UK captain of the national team and the star of the Manchester Red Devils” Rio Ferdinand on US television. Not really, it’s a spoof. But a damn good one.
Most embarrassed defender: Has to be Bournemouth’s Stephen Purches, who was sent this way and then that so many times by Notts County’s Tom Ince, his legs buckled beneath him. That name sound familiar? 18-year-old Ince is the son of Notts County manager Paul, and is currently on loan from Liverpool. Enjoy:
GAME OF THE WEEK:
For me, it’s WBA vs Wolves. But outside the sunny West Midlands, I imagine most people will be watching Chelsea vs Manchester United on Sunday. United are in form, but Chelsea are at home. Here’s hoping it somehow comes down to a Rooney vs. Drogba penalty shootout.