Chelsea must win trophy this season – Ramires

Ramires: In search of silverware

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Chelsea midfielder Ramires believes winning at least one trophy is a minimum requirement this season.

Ramires has targeted victory in at least one of the available competitions after the Blues endured a topsy-turvy start to the season under new manager Andre Villas-Boas. Chelsea currently lie 11 points adrift of Premier League leaders Manchester City, but also have the Champions League and the FA Cup to fight for this season.

“Everybody is trying to get better all the time and with the new manager, that’s what we’re aiming for, Ramires is quoted as saying in the Daily Mirror.

“We will try to win all of the trophies. The minimum is one trophy. You must have that, but we are going to work hard for all three.”

The 24-year-old also suggested that although the squad had not significantly changed under Villas-Boas, there was a new philosophy starting to take effect at Stamford Bridge.

“The players are the same. I don’t think the team is better but there is an aim,” he said.

“The priority for [previous boss Carlo] Ancelotti was more to defend and Villas-Boas is more forward-looking, more to attack. It’s the Portuguese style.”

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew likens Fabricio Coloccini to Bobby Moore

Newcastle boss Alan Pardew likened Fabricio Coloccini to Bobby Moore after seeing his captain turn in a superb display for ten-man Toon in a hard-fought 1-1 derby draw at Sunderland.

“Maybe if Coloccini had stayed on, he would have seen that out. He was absolutely phenomenal today,” Pardew said. “If you want an example of a centre-half playing where you have got to head it, kick it, cover people, get in the right position and then have the calmness to play, that was your example.

“I come from a famous football club, West Ham, and that was like watching Bobby Moore today. He was terrific. You have also got to understand – and it sometimes goes a little bit under the radar – at the Premier League level, what is asked of you physically.

“If we had had 11, I think he could have made the game, but because we went down to 10, there was just too much work for him and both calves tightened up. But what a performance, seriously, one of the best he has given for me, for sure.”

Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill was relieved to have come away with a point after Demba Ba’s 85th-minute own goal denied the Magpies a derby-day victory.

He said: “Do you know what? When we equalised, it was one of the best moments, it really was, and to be accompanied by that noise… There’s an element of relief, but every derby game I have ever been involved in either here or in Scotland, there has always been an element of relief.In the second half, sheer pressure alone probably yielded us the goal rather than anything flamboyantly brilliant.

QPR manager Mark Hughes admitted his frustration that his side remain rooted to the bottom of the Premier League without a win this season after they were held to a 1-1 draw by ten-man Everton.

“The emotion we are all feeling is frustration because I think we showed today that our football is good and we try and play in the right manner,” Hughes said. “We try and get the ball down, try and get width and get our technical players to take people on. We have been doing that since the start of the season and we have had good performances, but haven’t been able to take that final step. The guys are in the dressing room really disappointed because this was an opportunity.”

Everton manager David Moyes was unhappy with referee Jonathan Moss’ decision to send Steven Pienaar off in the second half after the midfielder received a second yellow card after appearing to make little contact with Jose Bosingwa.

“[It was] very, very harsh to give someone a red card for that, incredible. I don’t even know if he touched him, I think the boy [Bosingwa] lifted his leg and it hit Steven rather than Steven hitting him so I think it was the wrong decision.”

A-League midfield maestros – Part IV

One current Qantas Socceroo and one former one make it into the top four as our countdown to the top midfielder in the history of the league heats up.

4.Matt Mckay (Queensland/Brisbane Roar)

The current Qantas Socceroo was a stalwart of early Roar teams in the Hyundai A-league and was a major star here before he secured what would ultimately be an ill-fated transfer to Scottish giants,Rangers.

McKay played just a handful of games for the club before ultimately pulling up stumps and heading to Korea.Though his transfer to Europe would ultimately be considered a failure his career in the A-League was anything but.

Twice the Player of the Year at the club,he led the Roar to their biggest triumph when they won the 2011 Premiership/Championship double,defeating Central Coast Mariners in the Grand Final after a tense penalty shoot out.

It was here that the steely demeanour McKay displays when controlling the midfield came to the fore,faced with the go-ahead penalty,after Michael Theoklitos had denied Daniel McBreen,McKay calmly slotted it home.

The gifted playmaker now seems to have earned himself a permanent spot in Holger Osieck-s side as the Socceroos move towards Brazil 2014 and given what he was able to do over a large portion of his career in the A-League,that is no surprise.

3.Steve Corica (Sydney FC)

The man they call “Bimbi” wasn-t exactly a profilic goalscorer during his five Hyunda A-League season with Sydney FC,but Steve Corica was always about more than just finding the net.

Small,agile,with great close control and an eye for the killer ball,Corica was a born No.10.

After stints in the UK and Japan,Corica won the inaugural Grand Final in his first season with Sydney,linking up brilliantly throughout the year with striker Dwight Yorke in one of the most skilful attacking pairings the competition has seen.

His time with the Sky Blues was defined by his class on and off the field,and there weren-t many who didn-t enjoy watching Corica exploit the space between the lines to give his strikers the time and the ball they needed to score.

His final season with Sydney ended in frustration,as he limped off in the final game against Melbourne Victory,a torn hamstring keeping out of the finals push and ultimate Grand Final triumph against their rivals in Melbourne.But Corica-s ability on the ball and to bring his teammates into the game means he will always be one of finest midfielders to grace the A-League.

The views in this article are those of the author and not Football Federation Australia or the Hyundai A-League

Stoke Citys Andy Wilkinson charged with violent conduction after incident with Mario Balotelli

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Stoke City’s Andy Wilkinson is facing a three-match ban after being charged with violent conduct by the Football Association.

Wilkinson has been notified of the retrospective action from the FA after an incident involving Mario Balotelli at the Britannia Stadium last Saturday.

Referee Mark Clattenburg and his officials failed to spot the flashpoint when the Stoke full-back appeared to elbow the Italian international off the ball during the 1-1 draw.

Balotelli fell to the ground following the clash and required medical attention. Team-mate Gael Clichy can be seen in TV replays pointing out to Clattenburg that he believed Wilkinson had swung an elbow into the Italian.

The FA has subsequently taken the action to charge the 28-year-old after reviewing video footage.

A statement by the FA confirmed: “Stoke City’s Andy Wilkinson has been charged by The FA with violent conduct following an incident in his side’s game against Manchester City on Saturday 15 September 2012.

“Wilkinson was involved in an incident with City’s Mario Balotelli, which was not seen by the match officials but caught on video.

“Wilkinson has until 6pm on Wednesday 19 September 2012 to respond to the charge.”

Stoke manager Tony Pulis has been a long-standing supporter of Wilkinson and is mulling over what action to take in regards to the FA charge.

If found guilty he is likely to face a three-match suspension which will rule him out of Stoke’s trip to Chelsea at the weekend.

Wilkinson will also miss the home game against Swansea City the following weekend and will serve the third game of his ban for the game against Liverpool at Anfield on October 7.

Clattenburg’s handling had already been heavily criticised by City manager Roberto Mancini for allowing Peter Crouch’s goal in the game.

Mancini claimed Crouch’s goal was more like “basketball” than football and even the England striker admitted he had handled the ball in the lead up to his goal.

Norwich add to options with Javier Garrido loan

Norwich City have announced the loan signing of left back Javier Garrido from Lazio, subject to international clearance.

Garrido, 27, joined Lazio from Manchester City in 2010 for £2.75 million and is set to return to the Premier League with Norwich.

The Spaniard will become manager Chris Hughton’s fifth summer signing, joining Steven Whittaker, Jacob Butterfield, Robert Snodgrass, and Michael Turner.

Hughton told the club’s official website: “I’m absolutely delighted to be bringing in somebody of Javier’s quality.

“It gives us real competition in the squad, and for me an important factor was the fact that he has played in the Premier League before.

“He has played in La Liga, Serie A, and the Premier League, so he is a player of real experience.”

QPR boss Mark Hughes contemplates injury concerns ahead of Tottenham game

QPR will be without Anton Ferdinand, Fabio Da Silva and Armand Traore at Tottenham this weekend, with playmaker Adel Taraabt also a doubt.

Manager Mark Hughes said he would “have to move people around” to deal with the defensive crisis as he looks to build on the encouraging point won at home to Chelsea last weekend.

“We’ve got a number of injuries at the back,” Hughes said. “Anton Ferdinand is not going to be involved. Fabio isn’t available – he’ll be out for a number of weeks. To compound that, Armand Traore is not available either. We’re going to have to move people around to accommodate for that.

“Adel Taraabt didn’t complete the training session today, so we’ll have to check him tomorrow. He felt a little bit of tightness so he may not be available tomorrow.”

Meanwhile, new signing Stephane Mbia may have to wait for his debut after Hughes revealed that he was unlikely to feature at White Hart Lane.

Disappointed Stewart Downing targets new Liverpool deal

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Stewart Downing is “disappointed” with Brendan Rodgers’ recent claim that he needs to show more “fight and commitment” to earn back his place in the Liverpool side, but has vowed to see out the remaining three years on his Liverpool contract.

Downing has become a fringe figure at Liverpool after a much maligned first season at the club during which he failed to score a league goal.

Since Rodgers’ arrival as manager Downing has found himself behind Raheem Sterling, Fabio Borini and Suso for the wide positions this season, and he was even switched to left-back for a Europa League game with Hearts.

Rodgers recently said of Downing’s situation in the Guardian: “The big challenge for him now is that commitment to the cause – to fight – because he has the qualities. Talent alone is not enough. You have to work hard. You have to fight for the shirt. I will keep private the discussions Stewart and I have had but he is under no illusion that he has to fight.”

Downing has candidly expressed his disenchantment with Rodgers’ assessment of him, but insists he will show the Liverpool boss he was wrong.

“I was disappointed by what was said but if that’s the way the manager sees it I have to take it,” Downing said in the Liverpool Echo. “That’s fine. I’ll fight, I’ll fight every day.

“The only thing I can do is keep working hard and when the chances come make sure I take them. I’ll fight for a place here. My aim is to get back in the team and prove the manager wrong.”

Asked if he had thought about leaving Liverpool when the January transfer window arrives, Downing said: “I haven’t even considered the idea of leaving here.

“I’ve still got three years left on my contract and I intend to see that through. In fact I want to stay even longer than that. I love playing for Liverpool and it’s a great club with great fans. I don’t want to leave and I don’t want to play for anyone else.”

Spurs warned over 60m-rated Leandro Damiao

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Internacional president Giovanni Luigi says Tottenham must meet the €60 million buyout clause in Leandro Damiao’s contract in order to snare the striker.

Damiao, who will compete for Brazil in the London 2012 Olympics gold medal match against Mexico on Saturday, has been linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months.

However, despite expecting offers to flow in following his showing at the Games, Internacional claim they are in no rush to sell the 22-year-old.

“I think it’s very hard for the transfer to happen unless Tottenham pay the €60 million (£47m) buyout fee that is included in his contract,” Luigi told O Jogo.

“Leandro Damiao has four more years on his contract. He is a very well paid player and has nothing to complain about. And we don’t need to sell. We are a rich club with an enviable structure.”

Meanwhile, vice-president Luciano Davi has confirmed Spurs are yet to place a formal bid for Damiao this summer.

“Right now Leandro Damiao is the only player that worries us but we have received no official offers for him,” Davi told Lancenet.

Liverpools Stewart Downing arrested on suspicion of assault – report

Stewart Downing scored his first Liverpool goal in the FA Cup third round against Oldham

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Liverpool winger Stewart Downing has been arrested on suspicion of assault, according to reports on Sunday.

Downing, 27, was alleged to have been involved in a confrontation with a former girlfriend in a pub in Yarm near his home town of Middlesbrough in the early hours of Sunday morning.

“Police were called to an incident at a pub on Yarm High Street shortly before 1am on Sunday, January 8,” Cleveland Police said in a statement.

“A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of assault and a 32-year-old woman has also been arrested on suspicion of assault. Both are in custody and inquiries are ongoing.”

Downing, who has 32 caps for England, was left on the bench for the 5-1 win against Oldham on Friday night but came on and scored in the second half.

Liverpool have not offered comment on the reports.