Chelsea won’t be offering John Terry a contract extension in the summer

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Chelsea defender John Terry recently revealed the club won’t be offering him a new deal to keep him at Stamford Bridge past the summer, and added that he could consider a move abroad to continue his playing career as he won’t join another English side. The veteran centre-back has been the cornerstone of Chelsea’s success in the last decade and more, but is deemed surplus to requirements by the club hierarchy.

“I was told last week before the Arsenal game that it’s not going to be extended. It’s my last run in the FA Cup so I want to make it a good one. It’s a big season for me and I want to push on – not just in this competition but in the Premier League as well. Mentally I’ve kind of accepted it. We just have to move on. “They said thing might change when the new manager comes in, but it’s a no at the minute,” the former England international revealed.

Terry has played a big part in Chelsea’s domestic and European success in the 2000s onwards, and while struggling for consistency at times this season, still remained an influential figure to have about the squad. The 35-year-old can certainly feel mistreated given the likes of Branislav Ivanovic has earned himself a new deal despite a woeful season in regard to form. But now Terry could follow in the footsteps of Fran k Lampard to the MLS.

“I couldn’t play for another Premier League club, so it will be elsewhere for sure,” he admitted. But (until then) my performance isn’t going to change – the way I train, what I give for the club. I want to give everything and finish on a high, on 100 per cent good terms with the club. Chelsea will move on. No player is ever bigger than the club. Ideally I would have loved to stay, but they-re moving in a different direction. No doubt they’ll sign one or two great centre-backs.”

It’s not the fairy-tale ending Terry admitted he wanted to have with Chelsea, but there is still a slim hope of a U-turn when the club make a permanent managerial appointment in the summer. But for a player who has achieved so much for one club to be left in the dark about his own future looks bad on Chelsea. There are tens of unwanted players on the Chelsea books that are being loaned out until the end of their contracts that have more job security than Terry.

Has John Terry been treated unfairly by Chelsea?

Manchester City finally picking up some momentum

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Manchester City booked their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup following an emphatic 4-0 win against Aston Villa at Villa Park, and look to have turned a corner after a sticky period for form. The Sky Blues have responded brilliantly with three wins and three draws in the Premier League, and such form carried itself into the domestic up too.

City manager Manuel Pellegrini described this month as “key” to the Sky Blues’ hopes of challenging on all four fronts, while also admitting talk about an unprecedented quadruple was “a bit unrealistic”, but his side are certainly playing like they believe they can still achieve the impossible. Pellegrini trusts his side to deliver, adding: “I trust in my squad and I am sure we will be competitive.”

While still three points adrift of Premier League leaders Leicester City, the 2013/14 title-winners are starting to get a run of form going, and it will see Arsenal and Leicester wary of City. “We must continue with the same optimism and more responsibility from the rest of the squad. We must continue playing with the whole squad if we want to be a competitive team,” said the Chilean.

After a very slow start to the season, Manchester City are now looking like genuine contenders in all competitions. As things stand, the Sky Blues have a Capital One Cup final clash, Champions League quarter-final clash, FA Cup fifth round clash and a title race. And despite so many absentees, The Sky Blues have been finding joy in recent weeks.

Pellegrini previously said Manchester City are a confidence-based side, and they’ve certainly been showcasing their best form when they have the wind in theirsails, but where will it see the club finish? Despite being points behind in the title race ahead of today’s meeting, City are favourites with the bookmakers to win the league.

“I’m very happy with the performance of the team because we made some important changes (against Aston Villa). We’re playing so many important games that I think we needed to rotate the squad. Secondly we were a very solid and consistent team. It’s very important to have different ways to play. We can’t press high every game because we have so many games it’s impossible.,” said the City boss.

So with Manchester City still on course to win all four major trophies this season, coupled with a real improvement of form in all competitions, are they back to challenge all four fronts?

Can Minnows Dispose of Premier League Big Fish in the FA Cup?

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The fourth round of the FA Cup is played this weekend, and typically this is the stage where shock results and upsets do occur.

What would it mean for four of the Premier League’s top six if they were to lose….would it be curtains for Louis Van Gaal?

Arsenal v Burnley

How seriously will Arsene Wenger take this competition? That is the question that will determine how well the Gunners perform in this match. Because be under no illusions: Burnley have the quality to cause an upset here.

Against Sunderland in the third round Wenger deployed a kind of ‘half and half’ team, with the likes of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers and Kieran Gibbs all getting rare starts alongside more established names like Petr Cech, Theo Walcott and Olivier Giroud. There was a also a berth in the starting eleven for young Alex Iwobi.

Burnley have won four of their last five matches – scoring 16 goals in the process, although they are battling for automatic promotion and so may rest key personnel for the battle ahead. If he starts, the pace and trickery of Andre Gray – who just four seasons ago was playing non-league football – could trouble the Gunners.

Aston Villa v Man City

We all know of the contrasting fortunes of these two sides in the Premier League, and so how will the FA Cup play its part in their immediate futures?

It’s quite possible that of the four fixtures listed, this could be the one with the biggest chance of an upset. Aston Villa got to the final of this competition last season despite their poor league form, and they have shown a significant improvement of late.

With the news that Kevin De Bruyne will be out for up to ten weeks through injury, it is unlikely that Manuel Pellegrini will want to risk some of his other stars – the likes of Sergio Aguero, David Silva and Yaya Toure – with the league and Champions League likely to take precedence.

Keep your eyes peeled for a shock result here then.

Colchester v Spurs

Bottom of League One having conceded a whopping 65 goals in 28 games, and with eight defeats in their last ten outings, there is little to promote the cause of Colchester here.

Spurs needed a replay to see off Premier League leaders Leicester in the third round, but they put out a strong starting eleven that day and that shows the respect that manager Mauricio Pochettino is giving this competition.

It’s hard to see anything other than a Spurs win here.

Man Utd v Derby

Would winning the FA Cup save United’s season? That is the question that may determine Louis Van Gaal’s team selection here. Does he rest the likes of Wayne Rooney and David De Gea. Like Arsenal, they face a Championship opponent that is riding high in the division despite poor form of late. No mishaps will be accepted here.

The Dutchman came out fighting in his press conference, saying that reports of him offering to resign from his post were ‘awful and horrible’.

“You make your stories and people believe it,” he continued. “I am concerned they are believing it.

“It is the third time I am sacked and I am still sitting here.”

League distractions aside, the players will be able to deliver performances expected of them without the need for three points. Expect Van Gaal’s side to progress….but they might need a replay.

Could Banega bye-bye lead to Emery exiting Sevilla?

Inter have reportedly swooped on Sevilla to take Ever Banega for next season, the midfielder’s contract expiring and the Serie A giants picking up one of Europe’s most cultured midfielders for absolutely nothing. It’s a big loss but Sevilla suffer big losses every summer, and come back as strong as ever. 2016 might be different, though, as with Vicente del Bosque apparently set on retiring as Spain Coach, Unai Emery is in the frame to succeed him.

There are other possibilities than the Sevilla trainer to step in for Del Bosque. Paco Jemez, of Rayo Vallecano, has been touted and he has said he’d be interested, but it would mark quite the change in approach to go from the more conservative and vastly experienced Del Bosque to the younger, more radical Jemez.

Rafa Benitez would likely get a mention but there’d surely be little popular support after his Madrid tenure ended so quickly and in such acrimony, and Pep Guardiola has said he’s going to England, so that rules him out, not that he was ever a realistic choice at this stage of his career. Emery then has the right credentials – a big name with a track record of success, a style of play compatible with the squad he would inherit and, maybe most importantly, he’s not necessarily handcuffed to the bench at Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

Emery flirted with West Ham and Milan in summer 2015 before committing to Sevilla. If he was honestly tempted by the Hammers and the Rossoneri, a mid-table Premier League team and a fallen Serie A giant, it seems reasonable to assume he would be interested in the vacancy with La Roja. It’s not that simple, of course – Emery may prefer the day-to-day of working with a group of players, not the long periods of inactivity experienced by a national team boss, but it’s an opening that might arise at the right time.

Banega’s exit sees Emery lose a player with whom he has worked closely before, at Valencia, and with whom he has developed a bond. Banega thanked Emery and Sevilla sporting director Monchi for taking him to Nervion after May’s Europa League final, after the Argentine endured a torrid time at Mestalla. Banega specifically cited Emery as the reason he moved to Sevilla, but now he is leaving him behind. It may be a wake-up call to Emery – that however much he likes life at his current club, when there’s an opportunity it’s best to take it.

There are though a lot of moving parts. Del Bosque may yet be talked into staying on, or the Spanish Football Federation may have a new President – particularly if the long-serving Angel Maria Villar can’t explain his questionable loan to Recreativo Huelva. One of the many other sound candidates may be favoured – Ernesto Valverde or Quique Sanchez Flores, perhaps. But Emery might never get this chance again. And Sevilla will not only have to replace Banega, but Emery too. Monchi will have his work cut out for him.

De Bruyne Injury Rocks Man City’s Title Charge

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Manchester City’s title hopes have been dealt a cruel blow with the news that influential playmaker Kevin de Bruyne could be out for up to two months.

The Belgian reportedly suffered medial knee ligament damage in his side’s win over Everton on Wednesday evening after appearing to catch his studs in the turf and fall awkwardly.

Manuel Pellegrini remained positive after the match during his press conference, confirming that de Bruyne will go for a scan today. But he admitted that his medical staff had diagnosed a medial ligament problem at first sight – a condition that will keep him out for up to eight weeks.

When asked of the extent of the injury, Pellegrini replied: “We will see tomorrow. The doctor thinks he has a problem in his medial ligament but it is impossible to know before tomorrow.

“It is very difficult to know in this moment but I am optimistic he will not be out for the rest of the season.”

If the eight week absence diagnosis is correct, then de Bruyne will miss key Premier League fixtures including the Manchester derby and ties against Spurs and Leicester City, the Capital One Cup final against Liverpool as well as both legs of his side’s Champions League meeting with Dynamo Kiev.

Wednesday had been a good day up until that point for the 26-year-old: he had come off the bench to score one goal and create another in City’s 3-1 Capital One Cup semi-final win over Everton, but after an awkward collision with centre back Ramiro Funes Mori he was left writhing in agony.

De Bruyne has been in fantastic form for the Manchester side this term, notching 12 goals and 14 assists in just 31 appearances – and that run of form has kept his side firmly in the race for four trophies. Pellegrini and City’s supporters will be hoping the prognosis is better than first feared.

One player who was forced to apologise for his behaviour immediately after de Bruyne’s injury is Everton keeper Joel Robles, who tried to haul the Belgian to his feet after appearing to accuse him of playacting and time wasting.

The stopper took to Twitter after the match and wrote: “I would like to apologise to Kevin de Bruyne for my reaction to his injury. In the heat of the moment I didn’t realise he was badly hurt.

“I wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.”

Inter must bounce back from Coppa defeat

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Inter were under no illusions about Wednesday’s trip to Turin. “Juventus have recovered so many points in recent weeks and they’re definitely in great form,” Coach Roberto Mancini warned. “We’ll need to put the hard work in and fight.”

The tactician was eyeing a positive result in the first leg of the Coppa Italia Semi-final, although the Nerazzurri faced a side which had won all five matches in 2016, scoring 11 times and conceding once. This was in comparison to Inter’s New Year form, just two wins in five. Their Scudetto aspirations have taken a hit and thanks to Alvaro Morata, so too have their Coppa Italia hopes.

The Spaniard returned to scoring form in the first leg. He converted a first half penalty after Juan Cuadrado was felled and then smashed home his second past the hour mark. Paulo Dybala gave Juve a seemingly insurmountable lead with a late third.

Inter will have to score at least three times in the return to have any hope of advancing. But that’s been the issue this season. They have netted multiple goals only five times this term. To make matters worse, Mancini will go into the second leg without Murillo and Joao Miranda, his first-choice central defensive pairing. Both are suspended. Meanwhile, Andrea Ranocchia is set to join Sampdoria. So when it comes around there will be headaches.

They are hoping for a Derby della Madonnina in the Final, a first since 1976-77. Milan are on their way to Rome after defeating Lega Pro side Alessandria in the first leg of their Semi-final on Tuesday.

But before thinking of a Coppa Derby, the Milanese giants clash this Sunday in what is a pivotal Serie A encounter. You must go back to January 6 for Inter’s last League win, a run which has seen them slip to fourth, six points behind leaders Napoli. At one stage they looked likely Winter Champions. Danilo D’Ambrosio is looking forward to a shot at redemption. “The Derby is a chance for us to get going again but there’s nothing wrong with this squad. We’re humble and compact and we just need a couple of results to go for us.”

It’s important for Milan too. Sitting only two points outside the European places, Sinisa Mihajlovic’s team must build on their Coppa success. They’ll also be out for revenge, after falling in the first Derby.

With both sides back amongst Scudetto and European contention, this is poised to be one of the most intriguing showdowns in years. Inter must pick themselves up from what has so far been a disappointing 2016. If not, the early season promise may not be fulfilled.

Radamel Falcao enduring a season from hell at Chelsea

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Chelsea striker Radamel Falcao recently spoke out about his lack of activity with the Premier League defending champions this season, and somewhat denied his fitness woes were the reason he’s remained sidelined for months. The Colombian international has been out of action since October with an apparent thigh injury, but said on the matter: “I try not to destabilise myself. People talk a lot, but they also say positive things and I try to welcome those messages.”

Falcao was once considered the best natural centre-forward, but he’s never recovered from a serious knee injury picked up back in 2013/14. A season-long loan spell at Manchester United ended badly, and it was a big surprise Chelsea opted for a similar deal in the following campaign. He was used sparingly for the Blues prior to the alleged thigh injury due to poor form, but instead blames a lack of game time for his disappointing performances.

“I have recovered from my knee injury. The problem is since then I have not had the chance to play a whole season to get back my confidence and become competitive again. If I had had that regular football, you would not be saying this right now,” Falcao said recently. The 29-year-old has had a disappointing 18 months, and his season with Chelsea is one of the worst of his careers.

The Blues tried to send him back to parent club AS Monaco, who rejected the offer due to his fitness woes, so he’s an unwanted player at present. Chelsea also recently signed Alexandre Pato on a season-long loan from Brazilian club Corinthians so Falcao’s place as third-choice striker has now all but gone. For a player with the world at his feet only a couple of years ago, it’s been a monumental fall from grace since.

Having scored just five league goals in the last 18 months (Chelsea & Man Utd), Radamel Falcao will be desperate to move to greener pastures in the summer to turn his fledgling career around. AS Monaco are keen to cash on the high earner, so he will likely be available ahead of the 2016/17, given his fitness problems in the last two seasons, coupled with even worse form, it’s hard to see any stellar side come in for the South American.

Falcao is enduring a season from hell at Chelsea, suffering from poor form and injuries, but can he turn things around in the summer?

Can Loic Remy Be the Man To Fire Newcastle United to Safety?

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Having coffed up a rumoured £30 million to bring Jonjo Shelvey and Andros Townsend to the club, Steve McClaren and Newcastle United look set to launch a late transfer window bid for their former frontman Loic Remy.

The Magpies remain rooted in the bottom three of the Premier League table, and with just one win in their last seven matches it is clear that they are in dire need of intervention if they are to avoid falling through the dreaded relegation trapdoor.

While many Geordies suggest that it is defensively where their side needs to invest – they have already scored more goals than the likes of Crystal Palace and Stoke, and just three less than Manchester United – it is fair to say that an attacking quartet of Shelvey, Townsend, Gigi Wijnaldum and potentially now Remy could prove the difference between Premiership survival and other wise.

Chelsea have slapped a £12 million price tag on the Frenchman, although that is unlikely to deter cash rich Mike Ashley from splashing the cash to keep his investment in English football’s top flight.

Remy has rarely featured for Chelsea this term despite the woes surrounding Diego Costa – until recently of course, and with his playing time limited to fleeting substitute appearances it is little wonder the 29-year-old has appeared to struggle at times. Against Arsenal on Sunday he had numerous chances to either score or create opportunities for his colleagues, but some rather sluggish play suggests that the Frenchman requires more game time elsewhere to recapture his best form.

It’s a shame for him as he played a key role at Stamford Bridge last season, coming off the bench to score some crucial goals as the Blues swept to the Premier League title. But perhaps now is the time for the powerful forward to seek pastures new.

He will have good memories of Newcastle United and playing at St James’ Park of course; he netted 14 times in 26 outings for the Magpies in a decent spell at the club on loan from Queens Park Rangers, and now McClaren seeks a more permanent reunion in order to help his side stave off the threat of a costly relegation. Money, it would seem, is no object at the moment.

And the move makes sense for Remy himself what with Euro ’16 just around the corner. He will be desperate to score the goals required to catch Didier Deschamps’ eye in the run-up to squad selection, and with chances to do that limited at Stamford Bridge it makes sense for the 29-year-old to do the business at a club that really needs him right now.

Kevin Lasagna: quando i sogni si avverano

Serie B: Anticipo, doppietta Lasagna e Carpi espugna Vicenza

Il calcio è  ancora capace di raccontare storie bellissime che hanno i contorni della favola. Una di queste ha come protagonista Kevin Lasagna, attaccante ventiduenne del Carpi che con l’Inter ha segnato la prima rete in carriera in serie A, coronando un sogno che fino a pochi anni fa sembrava irrealizzabile.  E che rete: il suo sinistro ad incrociare al 92° a San Siro, nella Scala del calcio ha permesso al Carpi di uscire imbattuto contro l’Inter e di alimentare il sogno salvezza degli emiliani che hanno inanellato il quarto risultato utile consecutivo.

E pensare che nemmeno due anni fa, Kevin sgomitava sui campi della Serie D a caccia di un futuro che avesse il pallone come centro di gravità. Cresciuto a Suzzara, nel mantovano, ha esordito in Promozione con la Governolese, vincendo il campionato. Nell’estate del 2011 arriva la chiamata del Lumezzane di Davide Nicola, allora in Prima Divisione, ma, dopo un periodo di prova, la società bresciana decide di puntare su prestiti di giovani provenienti da vivai di Serie A.

Sfumata l’occasione, il ragazzo non si scoraggia e riprende a lavorare con passione, disputando un altro ottimo campionato con la Governolese. Al termine della stagione il trasferimento in Serie D al Cerea e, infine, il fortunato passaggio all’Este dove sigla 21 gol in 33 partite.

La svolta della sua carriera si chiama Cristiano Giuntoli. Profondo conoscitore di campionati minori, Cristiano nota nel ragazzo delle caratteristiche fisiche e tecniche rare e lo porta al Carpi in serie B nel 2014. Velocità supersonica, mancino al fulmicotone e un’incredibile predisposizione al lavoro ed al miglioramento, lo fanno presto un pupillo del tecnico Castori ed un idolo della tifoseria che lo ribattezza KL15, riprendendo le iniziali del più famoso CR7 Cristian Ronaldo. Grazie alle 5 reti messi a segno diventa uno dei protagonisti della cavalcata trionfale del Carpi in serie B.  Tutto questo sembrava già il massimo per un ragazzo che fino a due anni fa militava nei dilettanti. Invece il bello doveva ancora venire.  La sua storia è uno splendido messaggio a tutti i sognatori del pallone, un invito a prendere in mano il proprio sogno e coltivarlo, con lavoro e fatica, magari sognando, proprio come Kevin, un gol a San Siro.

Le difficoltà dell’Inter di Mancini

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Il pareggio con il Carpi ha fatto scivolare l’Inter a meno 6 dal Napoli certificando il momento di difficoltà dei neroazzurri che hanno raccolto solamente 5 punti nelle ultime cinque partite.  Gli uomini di Mancini sono stati in testa  per otto giornate, frutto delle cinque vittorie consecutive iniziali e hanno abbandonato la vetta nell’ultima giornata del girone di andata a seguito del ko con il Sassuolo.  Da li’ è iniziata la parabola discendente dell’Inter, impietosamente fotografata dai numeri: 5 punti nelle ultime 5 giornate con una sola vittoria, peraltro stentata, nella trasferta di Empoli e ben 3 passi falsi casalinghi perché tale è il pareggio contro il Carpi dopo le sconfitte con Lazio e Sassuolo. Cosa sta succedendo alla squadra di Mancini che ha perduto il filo dei risultati dopo aver lasciato spesso dubbi sul piano del gioco?

La carenza di gioco per l’appunto è uno dei problemi principali. Quella mandata in campo contro il Carpi e’ stata la 20° formazione diversa su 21 presentata da Roberto Mancini in campionato. Avere tante frecce al proprio arco rappresenta un vantaggio e un’opportunità, ma se dopo cinque mesi di stagione il gioco ancora fatica ad avere una fisionomia precisa rischia di diventare un boomerang. Continuare a stravolgere la formazione, alternando gli interpreti, non può che destabilizzare una squadra che sta perdendo riferimenti e meccanismi acquisiti a fatica. Così facendo, anche la solidità difensiva – la base dei tanti successi di misura, coadiuvati dall’affidabilità di Handanovic – sta crollando. Lazio, Empoli, Sassuolo, Atalanta e Carpi hanno dato la sensazione di poter colpire in svariate occasioni.

La mancanza di un gioco armonioso si traduce in una scarsa capacità offensiva. L’ attacco dell’Inter produce pochissimo solo 26 gol segnati  e se Mancini punta il dito contro Icardi (8 goal per lui in tutto) sarebbe interessante capire chi altro la butta dentro: Jovetic, autore di tre gol nelle prime due partite, è fermo a quattro, Ljajic e Perisic a due, Palacio a uno per l’undicesimo attacco del campionato. È altrettanto vero che nelle ultime sfide è mancata un po’ di lucidità negli ultimi metri, ma anche l’incompatibilità tra l’argentino e Jovetic, che pian piano comincia a passare inosservata, pone degli interrogativi. È altresì bizzarro che una squadra piena di saltatori, ad oggi, abbia fatto un solo gol di testa.

L’impressione è  che la squadra di Mancini sia andata oltre i propri limiti ad inzio campionato sfruttando le false partenze di Juventus e Napoli e solo ora stanno venendo fuori i valori in campo. Viste le ultime stagioni, la qualificazione in Champions sarebbe comunque un grande traguardo.