Tag Archives: FA Cup

Can Van Persie Follow In The Footsteps Of Cantona At United?

Eric-Cantona

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson recently compared Dutch striker Robin van Persie with United legend Eric Cantona.

Ferguson told Eurosport-Yahoo:

“He has a similar profile to Eric in terms of age and maturity. He came from one big club to another big club and he is an established international. All these things in his profile suited us perfectly.”

Van Persie has carried his outstanding form from Arsenal to his new club who are currently at the top of the Premier League table with a six-point lead over rivals Manchester City. Whilst, he has scored 15 goals already this season in all competitions, the £24 million summer signing is still someway away from achieving the success of Cantona. But the Dutchman looks likely to give it his best shot. He is only 10 goals off Cantona’s tally for his first full season at United back in 1993/94. The Red Devils won the league that season, along with the FA Cup and the Frenchman was named the PFA Players’ Player of the Year.

Cantona was 27 when he signed for the Old Trafford club from their fierce rivals, Leeds United for a fee of £1.2 million, but, at that time, it was considered a marquee signing by Ferguson. In his 5 years at the club, Cantona won four Premier League titles and two FA Cups. Van Persie signed a four-year contract with club this summer, he will be around 33 upon its expiry and well into the twilight of his career. For him to follow in the footsteps of Cantona, United would have to win the next four successive league campaigns – including the current one – and two FA Cups but for that Van Persie will have to remain fit.

Last season at Arsenal the Dutchman almost doubled the United legend’s best goal-tally in a season and he looks set to repeat it this term for United. There are some questions whether he can keep up with the pace and power of the Premier League as he enters his thirties, but there are no doubts that he has the class and quality to be a top performer for the remainder of his contract.

One thing Van Persie will never be able to emulate is the impact Cantona had, not only on Manchester United, but also on the Premier League and the world of football. The boldness and charisma of ‘King Eric’ is unmatched in football today and perhaps we may not see another Cantona for a very long time.

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Cristiano Ronaldo’s Ten Greatest Manchester United Moments

When Real Madrid came out of the hat as Manchester United’s opponents for the last 16 of the Champions League, the minds of all United fans everywhere switched to one man, Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Portuguese skipper will return to Old Trafford for the first time since leaving the club in the summer of 2009. He will return for the second leg of the tie and will be greeted with a huge round of applause and the customary ‘Viva Ronaldo’ United chants.

In our today’s Picture Specials, we have a look at Ronaldo’s ten greatest moments during his time with the Old Trafford club…

1.  Joins United from Sporting Lisbon (July 2003)

Joins-United

2. Debut vs Bolton Wanderers (August 2003)

Debut-Bolton

3. Goal vs Milwall in the 2004 FA Cup final (May 2004)

FA-Cup-Final-Goal-Millwall

4. First Premier League title (May 2007)

First-League-Title

5. Back to back PFA and FWA awards (May 2007)

Back-2-Back-PFA

6. Stunning freekick against Portsmouth (January 2008)

Freekick-Pompey

7. Winning the Champions League final against Chelsea (May 2008)

Champions-League-Win

8. Named FIFA Player of the Year (December 2008)

Fifa-Player-Of-The-Year

9. 40-yard goal against Porto (April 2009)

Goal-Porto

10. Transferred to Real Madrid for world record fee (June 2009)

Transfered-Madrid

Bradford City Shock Arsenal – Why Defeat Is A Huge Disaster For The Gunners?

Bradford-Arsenal

Bradford City pulled off one of the greatest League Cup shocks with a penalty shoot-out victory over Arsenal in front of an ecstatic home crowd.

The League Two side prevailed 3-2 on spot-kicks, to the delight of a capacity Coral Windows Stadium. Gunners skipper Thomas Vermaelen missed the crucial penalty on a difficult night for the Premier League side. Garry Thompson volleyed the hosts ahead, before Vermaelen headed home a Santi Cazorla cross at the back post with with only two minutes remaining of normal time. Defeat is a huge disaster for manager Arsene Wenger and his club, who last won a major title in 2005.

Why Defeat Is A Huge Disaster For The Gunners?

Arsenal had ridiculous amount of possession (63% to be exact) but the big problem for them is that the lack of ruthlessness. They had so much possession, so many shots, so many entries into the final third to put that final ball and I think that’s the difference between the likes of Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea compared to Arsenal. At the same time, the Gunners are going through an interesting phase in the season where they are finding it difficult to score goals. They have scored many in the Capital One Cup games this season but prior to last night’s match they had scored just four in the last five games. They have found it difficult to score goals in the last few weeks and that was once again visible last night.

Talking about the current Arsenal team, there is a lot of individuality, brilliant technicians but when you look for the heart of the team, it comes from the youngsters like Jack Wilshere and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and doesn’t come from the experience players. The team overall is a bit soft and do they have strength in character? I don’t think so there is enough and that’s why they are just out of the top teams.

Wenger came out and said that the defeat is not an embarrassment, but to be honest its a big disaster. If you see, they have Swansea away in the FA Cup, that’s going to be a very tough game and can go either way. In the Premier League, they are already 15 points behind leaders Manchester United and its highly unlikely they will win it. In the Champions League, again there are a number quality teams in it and will be very difficult for them to go all the way to the final. And so, the Capital One Cup was their best chance of getting a silverware and if they go another season without a silverware that’s going to be a big blow for the club. Many players have already left the club and many more will leave at the end of the season.

Ten Greatest Manchester United Wins In The Sir Alex Ferguson Era (Videos)

Juventus-United-1999

On Sunday Manchester United take on their bitter neigbhours Manchester City, in what could prove to be an important fixture in the title race.

The Red Devils take on a City side which are unbeaten in the Premier League this season and haven’t lost a home game since December 2010, leading to Sir Alex Ferguson to insist that it would be ‘one of our best ever results’ should his side beat the reigning champions.

Should United win, it would surely be memorable, but will it be special like these victories? Below are the ten of the best Manchester United wins under Ferguson..

10 . Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea (FA Cup Final, 1994)

One of the greatest finals in the FA Cup history as United completely outplayed Chelsea at the Wembley Stadium. The Red Devils scored four times (Eric Cantona (x2), Mark Hughes and Brian McClair) as they went on to do the Premier League-FA Cup double. This triumph was the club’s eighth success in the competition, matching the record set by Tottenham Hotspur three years earlier.

9. Manchester United 4-3 Manchester City (Premier League, 2009)

One of the greatest Manchester derby ever. With the noisy neigbhours making more noise thanks to their Sheikh owners, a win was important for United as it would give them the bragging rights in the city. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring for the Red Devils early in the first half before Gareth Barry equalised. Darren Fletcher and Craig Bellamy both scored a brace in the second half and then in the sixth minute of injury time Michael Owen scored the dramatic winner to send Old Trafford into ecstasy.

8. Manchester United 3-2 Aston Villa (Premier League, 2009)

United came into this match on the back of a two-game losing streak and with star strikers – Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney not playing it looked like a tough task. The Red Devils took the lead early in the first half, but Villa came back and led 2-1 before Cristiano Ronaldo’s 80th minute equaliser and Federico Macheda’s injury time winner. The win knocked Liverpool off the top spot and United stayed there till the end, equaling the Reds’ record 18 titles.

7. Everton 2-4 Manchester United (Premier League, 2007)

United had gone three seasons without a title as Arsenal and Chelsea dominated between 2004 and 2006. In the 2006/07 season, United led the way by three points from Chelsea and with just four games left, a tricky trip to the Goodison Park turned out to be the decisive one. Everton went 2-0 up midway through the second half, but a stunning 4-2 win for the Red Devils saw them win the title that season.

6. Manchester United 1-1 (6-5 pens) Chelsea (Champions League Final, 2008)

United faced Chelsea in an All-English final at Moscow for the Champions League trophy. The Red Devils took the lead through Cristiano Ronaldo’s header before Frank Lampard equalised for the Blues. The game went into penalties and the rest as we know is history. The win gave Sir Alex his second Champions League trophy and also re-established United’s dominance in Europe.

5. Manchester United 2-1 Arsenal (FA Cup Semi-Final, 1999)

This win not only helped United to reach the final of the FA Cup in 1999, but also denied Arsenal a chance to win back-to-back doubles. Roy Keane was sent off, Peter Schmeichel saved a last minute penalty from Dennis Bergkamp, then Ryan Giggs scored the greatest goal in FA Cup history as United reached Wembley. The momentum helped them win the FA Cup final and also pip Arsenal to the league title by a point.

4. Nottingham Forest 0-1 Manchester United (FA Cup 3rd Round, 1990)

United were on the brink of relegation battle and Fergie had failed to win a trophy in over three years at Old Trafford. Nottingham Forests were cup specialists that time and United the underdogs. Fans were calling for Fergie’s head and defeat would probably have seen him sacked, but Mark Robins goal bougth him time and the Red Devils went on to win the Cup that season.

3. Manchester United 2-1 Sheffield Wednesday (Premier League, 1993)

It was 26 years since United had last won the league and, trailing Villa in the title race and losing 1-0 at home to Sheff Wed, it looked like the wait would continue. But two headed goals by Steve Bruce – the second into injury time – took United at the top, where they stayed until the end, as Villa fell away.

2. Manchester United 2-1 Bayern Munich (Champions League Final, 1999)

This was one of the best comebacks in the history of the Champions League. With just three minutes of injury time left in Barcelona, United scored twice  (Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunner Solskjaer) to snatch the European Cup away from the hands of Bayern Munich, who had completely dominated the game and led since the eighth minute.

1. Juventus 2-3 Manchester United (Champions League Semi-Final, 1999)

This was the greatest win ever under Sir Alex Ferguson, even bigger than the above 1999 Champions League final itself. United came back from two goals down to win 3-2 in Italy against the best team in Europe and that to by completely outplayed them. This was the match that marked United as the worthy champions of Europe.

Top Ten Best-Paid Managers In The World

best-paid managers

Brazilian sports business consultants – Pluri Consultoria – have this week published online a list of the best-paid football managers in the world, by annual salary.

There is no surprise who heads the pack but there are some interesting names on the list. Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the top ten managers from that rich list…

10. ROBERTO MANCINI (MANCHESTER CITY | €5.9 MILLION)

Roberto-Mancini

When you are managing a club owned by oil-rich owners you are expected to be earning a huge annual salary and it’s no surprise to see the current Manchester City manager on the list, perhaps that he is tenth on the list is a bit surprising. The former Inter and Lazio boss has won the FA Cup and the Premier League during his time at Eastlands and is at the helm of Europe’s few undefeated teams in the league this season.

9. JOSE CAMACHO (CHINA | €5.9 MILLION)

Jose-Camacho

In order to catch up with the Asian heavyweights like Japan and South Korea, the rich Chinese FA searched in many parts of Europe – mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain – for an experienced coach, and appointed Jose Camacho. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach was given the job with objective of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Despite his huge annual paycheck the Spaniard failed and is now preparing for next year’s Asian Cup.

8. TITO VILANOVA (BARCELONA | €7 MILLION)

Tito-Vilanova

Taking over at Barcelona is not an easy job especially from the club’s most successful manager in history – Pep Guardiola. However, the former assistant is justifying his millions in his first top-flight job and currently has a win rate of 86%, which is more than his predecessor. The Catalan giants are 11 points clear of Real Madrid in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7. FABIO CAPELLO (RUSSIA | €7.8 MILLION)

Fabio-Capello

A CV boasting of five Serie A titles, one Champions League and two La Liga titles, it’s no surprise that the Italian is the best-paid international manager in the world during his current tenure as Russia coach. His current salary is a slight increase than what he earned during his time as England coach, where his contributions were a bit disappointing. However, the Russians under Capello are undefeated with five win in seven games and are at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

6. GUUS HIDDINK (ANZHI MAKHACHKALA | €8.3 MILLION)

Guus-Hiddink

Like Capello, the Dutchman has also enjoed a long and successful managerial career at club and international level. After failing to qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine with Turkey, Hiddink joined the Russian moneybags earlier this year. With Anzhi second in the Russian Premier League, the former Chelsea boss has announced that his current annual paycheck will be the last one as he will be retiring at the end of the season.

5. ARSENE WENGER (ARSENAL | €9.3 MILLION)

Arsene-Wenger

With his intelligent spending, innovative training techniques and brilliant ability to develop youngsters, the Frenchman might be the cleverest manager in the game and he gets very well paid for that. Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 15 consecutive seasons of Champions League football since taking over at Arsenal in 1996. Yet his willingness to sell Arsenal’s best players has been identified as a major flaw by the fans. With the Gunners virtually out of the title race, Wenger’s days may be numbered if his team fails to finish in the top four.

4. SIR ALEX FERGUSON (MANCHESTER UNITED | €9.4 MILLION)

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

The Scot has been at the same job – Manchester United – for over 25 years, which makes his annual salary seem relatively modest compared to ones above him in the list. The Red Devils were in deep trouble when he took over and has made them one of most successful teams in the world by winning 12 league titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and four League Cups. This season, Sir Alex’s side remain on course for yet another league title and have also reached the last-16 of the Champions League.

3. MARCELLO LIPPI (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE | €10 MILLION)

Marcello-Lippi

A manager whose resume boasts a World Cup, five Serie A titles and a Champions  League is expected to earn an annual salary in double figures. The former Italy coach joined the Chinese Super League champions in May this year on a two-and-a-half year contract worth up to €30 million. So far, Lippi has fulfilled the club’s expectations by guiding them to their second consecutive league title in October and also by winning the Chinese FA Cup in November for the first time evert in the club’s history.

2. CARLO ANCELOTTI (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €13.5 MILLION)

Carlo-Ancelotti

The Italian proved that getting sacked at Chelsea doesn’t put a dent to your managerial career when he signing a multi-million Euro deal to take over at Qatar-funded PSG last year. He took charge when the French side were at the top of the league, but failed to guide them to the title. Despite spending heavily during the transfer windows, he has yet to bring any silverware to the Paresians. However, the former Milan boss could turn things around this season, as PSG are third in the league – five points behind Lyon – and are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

1, JOSE MOURINHO (REAL MADRID | €15.3 MILLION)

Jose-Mourinho

The Portuguese takes home the largest amount each year and it is hardly surprising given his extraordinary record since guiding Porto to an historic treble in 2003. The Special One has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter. However, things aren’t going well for him in the current campaign, with Los Blancos 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. Such a margin is a bit too much in the La Liga and if Mou fails to bring the Champions League to the Bernabeu, he might get his marching orders at the end of the season.

Here are the remaining twenty managers from the 30-man rich list..

11. Frank Rijkaard (Saudi Arabia | €5.3 Million)
12. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich | €5.2 Million)
13. Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur | €4.5 Million)
14. Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers | €4 Million)
15. Jorge Jesus (Benfica | €4 Million)
16. David Moyes (Everton | €3.6 Million)
17. Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga | €3.6 Million)
18. Paulo Autuori (Qatar | €3.6 Million)
19. Abel Braga (Fluminense | €3.5 Million)
20. Luciano Spaletti (Zenit St Petersburg | €3.3 Million)
21. Antonio Conte (Juventus | €3 Million)
22. Cesare Prandelli (Italy | €3 Million)
23. Luxemburgo (Gremio | €3 Million)
24. Muricy (Santos | €3 Million)
25. Tite (Corinthians | €3 Million)
26. Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland | €2.6 Million)
27. Joachim Low (Germany | €2.5 Million)
28. Marcelo Biesla (Athletic Bilbao | €2.5 Million)
29. Martin O’Neill (Sunderland | €2.5 Million)
30. Roy Hodgson (England | €2.5 Million)

Hughes Sacked, Redknapp To Be Appointed

Queens Park Rangers have terminated the contract of manager Mark Hughes following a miserable start to the season and are set to appoint former Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp as the successor.

The 49-year-old Welshman only narrowly avoided relegation last season after taking over from Neil Warnock in January and has fallen out with his employers having spent heavily over the summer and failing to win a single game in the Premier League this season.

A statement on QPR’s official website read:

Queens Park Rangers Football Club has today (Friday) terminated the contract of manager Mark Hughes with immediate effect.

This decision has been taken after careful consideration by the Board of Directors, following numerous meetings over the last few days.

The Board of Directors wish to thank Mark for his commitment, hard work and dedication in his ten months in charge.

Mark has shown integrity and professionalism throughout his time here, but ultimately the circumstances we find ourselves in have left the Board of Directors with very little choice but to make a change.

The Board will now be working actively to put a new managerial structure in place as soon as possible.

Mark Bowen and Eddie Niedzwiecki will take charge of the R’s trip to Manchester United in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday afternoon.

The club will be making a further announcement in due course.

The sacking comes just 24 hours before QPR travel to face Manchester United at Old Trafford and if reports are to be believed then the former Portsmouth boss is on the brink of agreeing a deal at Loftus Road.

Harry Redknapp told Sky Sports News:

“I’m hopeful we can get it done tonight, there shouldn’t be any problems. I fancy getting back into the Premier League. QPR is a good club, with great fans and a great atmosphere. I am looking forward to it. It’s a big challenge. It will be a tough job to take on but I am up for the challenge.

“Mark Hughes is a top, top manager and a great guy as well. He was just unlucky and they just couldn’t get the results they needed. I’m ready to give it a go now and see if I can change their fortunes around. But it won’t be easy for sure.

“There’s some good players there and I have obviously got to find a way of picking a team that can win some games. They have gone 12 games without a win so you couldn’t have too many worse starts than that.

“It’s going to be a tough job to keep them up but it’s a challenge and I love a challenge. I am going to go in and give it my best shot and if it works it will be fantastic.”

“I will travel up to Old Trafford probably on Saturday and just sit in the stand and watch the game. If everything gets sorted, and I’m sure it will, I’ll be in on Sunday morning, have the team in for training, train Monday and then fly up to Sunderland.”

With the announcement of the new manager expected today, we ask whether the former West Ham, Portsmouth and Tottenham boss – Harry Redknapp is the right man for the job?

Yes!! He is available and he is the man who can work miracles. He is the man who is interested in getting the results now and not in the future and so if you are looking to set up the future of the club with youth policy and an academy then he’s not the man for you. He will come in to QPR, sign couple of players in January and get them out of trouble.

He did it at Portsmouth. He did a fantastic job there, won them the FA Cup and took over at Tottenham when they were bottom of the league. He took them to a respectable position in the same season and then secured Champions League football next season. He is the only candidate out there at the moment, who could step into the shoes straight away and do the job.

Rafa Benitez Named New Interim Chelsea Boss – Is He The Right Man For Job?

Rafael Benitez has been appointed as the new interim Chelsea manager till the end of the season just hours after Roberto Di Matteo was sacked for ‘unacceptable’ run of results.

According to some reports in England, the Blues made an approach to Pep Guardiola earlier this week but the former Barcelona manager insisted he will not be returning to work until 2013. Former Liverpool boss Benitez cut short his appointments in Abu Dhabi to fly to London for talks and he has been appointed as “interim” manager until the end of the current campaign.

A statement on Chelsea official website read:

Chelsea Football Club can confirm Rafael Benitez has been appointed interim first-team manager until the end of the season.

The owner and the Board believe that in Benitez we have a manager with significant experience at the highest level of football, who can come in and immediately help deliver our objectives.

The 52-year-old Spaniard is due to meet the players at the training ground in Cobham tomorrow.

The two-time UEFA Manager of the Year comes with outstanding pedigree. He began his managerial career in his homeland, most notably at Valencia where he built a reputation as one of Europe’s top coaches by winning the Spanish League twice and the UEFA Cup. He then spent six years at Liverpool and led them to their fifth European Cup and an FA Cup.

The Spaniard becomes the ninth manager under Russian owner Roman Abramovich and his first match in charge will be Sunday’s massive Premier League clash with league leaders Manchester City at Stamford Bridge.

Is he the right man for the job?

Yes

There is no compensation to pay, he is free, he is available at the moment so he can come in straight away. But the biggest thing is the fact he is an experienced manager. He has won two La Liga titles and a UEFA Cup with Valencia and then has guided Liverpool to Champions League and FA Cup glory during his five years at Anfield. Another good thing about him is that he doesn’t care about anybody’s egos, he doesn’t care how big a name they are. Nobody bothered him during his Liverpool days and so I guess he can handle the Chelsea players.

Fernando Torres has not at all hit his top form during his time at Stamford Bridge and he may well be the man who could get the best out of him. He is the same man who made Torres the £50million striker at Anfield and he could do the same again. Bringing him in is probably Abramovich’s last effort to get the goals out of his record signing.

No

Giving Rafa the job is not going to be a popular choice at all. The fans don’t like him for two reasons. He and them have a little history that goes back, but also the way his team plays. So he hasn’t got many fans to start with in the first place. But in football, if he can start winning a few games, especially the important ones, then the fans can turn towards you and support you. We will have to wait and see if that happens.

His selling and buying track record is not good at all. He made the move that was the beginning of Liverpool’s decline in 2009/10 when he sold Xabi Alonso to Real Madrid and replaced him by Alberto Aquilani – who was a complete disaster. He has also made some questionable signings during his Liverpool days like Jermaine Pennant (£6m), Ryan Babel (£11.5m), Andrea Dossena (£7m) and Robbie Keane (£19m), so it would be very interesting to see if he is given the money to spend on new players in January. Finally, can he cope up with the mind games of  Sir Alex Ferguson? He failed to do so during his Liverpool days and that costed them the title.