Here’s a quick look at today’s main Premier League news:
- Chelsea deny ever approaching Marco Van Basten to take over as their new manager; the ever-reliable hacks at The Sun seem to think otherwise. Avram Grant was given full backing from Abramovich and Chelsea’s board; he will hope that these rumours are not true.
- As for Grant, he’s fast becoming a popular chap; Manchester United plan to oppose his quest to be granted dispensation so that he can manage Chelsea. The Red Devils hierarchy is firmly against this happening, although they did oppose Gareth Southgate and Glenn Roeder’s requests as well so it’s not exactly vendetta but a matter of principle (or so they would have us believe). Grant is likely to make the cut, special dispensation and all that.
- If you’ve missed watching legends like Zinedine Zidane, Gianfranco Zola and Alan Shearer do whatever they do on a football pitch, be excited – the Professional Footballers Association plan to organize a legends match. The likes of Roy Keane, David Ginola, Ian Rush and Marcel Desailly are also expected to feature, whilst Sven-Goran Eriksson and Terry Venables will manage the two sides.
- Deadline day signing Moustapha Salifou has finally been granted clearance to play for Aston Villa; they will be happy to have his services finally. He signed on the last day of the transfer window but was not given clearance till now, so had trained with former club FC Wil in Switzerland.
- More bad news for Chelsea; John Obi Mikel’s three match ban has been upheld, despite him receiving a straight red card for what seemed like a yellow-card challenge at best. The Nigerian will miss the Carling Cup tie against Hull as well as Premiership matches with Fulham and Bolton.
- Sorry, but Chelsea feature once again – Reading manager Steve Coppell wants to bring midfielder Steve Sidwell back to the squad after he left on a free transfer in the summer. Sidwell has made just two starts for Chelsea- one ironically against Reading, and Coppell feels he can convince him to come back.
- Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez speaks out; England are blamed for star midfielder Steven Gerrard’s poor form. Gerrard was played in the recent Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia, despite having a broken toe and Rafa feels this has affected his form for Liverpool. And it has nothing to do with playing Gerrard in the crunch game against Chelsea when he took injections, right?
- Arsenal released financial reports that showed them as the second richest club in the world a few days ago; now about £70 million will be provided to Wenger should he need it for signings. Wenger rarely likes to spend big though; so expect another Denilson, Diaby or Kolo Toure.
- On-loan midfielder Borja Oubina has been ruled out for six months with knee ligament damage; how much that will affect Birmingham’s quest to stay in the Premiership is yet to be seen. The Spaniard unfortunately suffered the injury just 13 minutes into his debut against Liverpool at Anfield last Saturday.
- Lanky Aston Villa striker John Carew has suffered the same injury as Oubina did; he will also be out for a lengthy period of time. The full extent of the damage will be known after he undergoes a scan today. Unlucky for Aston Villa who have benefited from Carew’s presence up front – let’s see how they cope with this setback and whether this pushes them to make a play for Defoe again in January.
Today on Soccerlens: