All posts by Peter Stickney

Manchester United’s biggest fan shows off shrine of Sir Alex Ferguson (video)

Manchester United super fan Barry Shmeizer takes us on a tour of his consulting room in Johannesburg, South Africa, which is a shrine to all things to do with the Red Devils.

Shmeizer, a doctor, goes on to tell us about his first encounter with Sir Alex Ferguson and how his presence alone was enough to strike him into silence, but also explains why he holds such huge admiration for the Scot. We have seen an array of different responses from the news that the 71-year-old will retire as United boss at the end of the season, with opposition fans celebrating and supporters of United crying inconsolably.

Sir Alex has been in charge at Old Trafford for 26 years and is all that a lot of us know when it comes to the Manchester United helm, including myself.

He has amassed 38 major trophies during his time in Manchester and whoever takes over Fergie’s role will have one of the most pressured positions in world football. The incredible ask for any individual to replicate even half the success that Fergie succeeded would be a huge task to ask, but David Moyes will be fully aware of the expectations that will be set in stone.

3 players Arsenal need to get rid of to challenge for the Premier League title – statistics and videos

Arsenal now look certain to secure a spot in the top four this season, but with plans regarding a Premier League title challenge next season to exploit Manchester United’s loss of Sir Alex Ferguson, we look at three players that Arsene Wenger desperately needs rid of to stand a chance.

1) Andrey Arsahvin

The Russian has had a hard time in north London lately. His lacklustre performances have made him a bit of a joke and he has hardly hard a sniff at first team action the entire season. In his seven substitute appearances this campaign, Arshavin has created five chances, accumulated a pass success of 71%, won 38% of his duels, and picked up a yellow card.

Now at 31 years of age and his contract up in the summer, Arshavin needs to leave for the good of his own career.

2) Andre Santos

I bet some of you Gunners forgot that you had this monstrosity on your books, didn’t you? Santos was so woeful in his eight appearances earlier in the season that he was often the subject of abuse from the Emirates faithful and was then sent on loan to Gremio for the rest of the season.

The Brazilian full-back has two years left on his Arsenal contract but it is highly unlikely that he will see that out. In the Premier League this season, Santos created five chances, boasts a pass success of 89%, has a shot accuracy of 33% and swapped shirts with Robin van Persie in front of tens-of-thousands of Arsenal fans. Good going.

3) Gervinho

You don’t often hear about the performances of Gervinho, as Arsenal fans prefer to mock the size of his head and write him off as a player completely, which may seem a little unfair – until you see him play. He has scored five goals this season to be fair to the striker, but he could’ve had a lot more if he wasn’t so lethargic in front of goal.

In his 18 league appearances, Gervinho has created 15 chances, recorded a pass accuracy of 85%, won 42% of his attempted duels and picked up a yellow card.

The time has come for the African forward to seek pastures new, preferably somewhere he won’t be mocked for his appearance. 

3 signings David Moyes is likely to make as Manchester United manager – statistics and videos

With the news of Sir Alex leaving us to mourn his Manchester United departure, it is now time to look at who exactly the odds-on favourite to take over – David Moyes – will be looking to sign in the summer to help the Red Devils retain the Premier League table.

1) Leighton Baines – Everton – 28

Baines is now one of the most recognised left-backs in European football, and his reliability and ridiculous amounts of quality have seen him linked with a switch to Old Trafford on many occasions down the years. Now, with Everton boss Moyes widely expected to take over the Manchester United helm, the move is looking likely.

In his 36 Premier League games this season, Baines has scored five goals, created 111 (ONE HUNDRED AND ELEVEN!!) chances, has a pass accuracy of 85%, and won 62% of his duels.

2) Marouane Fellaini – Everton – 25

The fuzzy haired Belgian started Everton’s campaign on fire but has slowly gone off the boil since his sensational performances saw him linked with United and Chelsea to name a few. His strength and technical abilities in the middle of the pitch allow him to pull the strings without breaking sweat, and he has proved to be one of the most effective players in the league when it comes to headering a ball.

In his 29 games, Fellaini has scored 11 goals, created 35 chances, has a shot accuracy of 61% and has won 54% of his duels.

3) Cristiano Ronaldo – Real Madrid – 28

It has been on everyone’s mind this past week – Will Cristiano Ronaldo make a sensational return to Manchester United? Well, it seemed like that was the case until Fergie announced his retirement plans but reports are suggesting that Ronaldo’s agent has in fact met with United officials despite the change of management.

This season in La Liga, Ronaldo has played 33 games and scored an incredible 34 goals. He has created 60 opportunities, won 60% of his duels, has a shot accuracy of 63% and is said to be available for around £65m.

3 reasons why Manchester United need to sign imperial Bundesliga defender

With the entire country focusing on the retirement of Alex Ferguson and the potential departure of Wayne Rooney in the summer, Manchester United fans have a hell of a lot of topics to discuss. Here is another. Here are three reasons we suggest that the Red Devils should sign Schalke colossal Benedikt Howedes.

1) Domineering

Howedes is a giant in every sense of the word. His towering present allows him to get the better of anyone in the air, muscle people off the ball and simply control the backline with minimal fuss. Despite his dangly appearance he is surprisingly agile on the ball, allowing him to time his tackles to perfection and add to his impeccable positional sense.

In his 30 Bundesliga appearances this season, The 25-year-old had completed 67/75 of his attempted tackles, completed 22/26 of his attempted take-ons, and won a remarkable 80 of his 121 headed duels.

2) Experienced yet youthful

Despite playing over 200 games for Schalke and earning 12 caps for the Germany senior side, Howedes is still only 25. He seems to have been around forever and his mature performances on the pitch also suggest that, but with around half of his career still left to play a club’s transfer fee would certainly act as an investment.

3) Shake up in United’s defence

Things are changing at Manchester United. With Sir Alex retiring brings a new era and the backline is sure to be freshened up in the summer. With Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic aging as quick as anybody in the league, it will be up to Phil Jones, Jonny Evans and Chris Smalling to fill their boots. With Howedes added into the mix there is potential for a world class back line.

Chelsea ready to offer big money for Rooney’s Manchester United escape

Chelsea bosses are set to offer Wayne Rooney a way out of Manchester United after the chubby striker has yet again revealed his unhappiness at the club, according to the Mirror.

With Alex Ferguson retiring at the end of the season, Rooney’s potential reunion with Everton manager David Moyes is something that the forward doesn’t want and has told his teammates that he will leave Old Trafford in the summer.

Ever get the feeling you are not liked, David?

Now, Roman Abramovich is said to want Rooney at Chelsea to replace the faltering Fernando Torres, and the deal is actually not that farfetched. With Torres being about as useful as Terry Wogan up front for the Blues at points this season, the club have been linked with a host of goal-gobblers to come in during the summer and help pull the Premier League title back to Stamford Bridge.

But where does this leave Fernando? Well, a move back to Spain may be the best bet for him and his mask. The slower pace of football may help his rapidly-aging legs and you never know, he could actually return to the player he once was.

One thing is for sure, if Rooney leaves for Chelsea then he will feel the wrath of Old Trafford when he returns. Once a blue always a blue, eh Rooney?

Arsenal turn attention to £9m rated Bundesliga talent (video)

Arsenal fans have heard enough about how their selection of goalkeepers are about as useful as the Chuckle brothers at times, but talkSPORT are reporting that the Gunners are set to make a move for Stuttgart goalkeeper Sven Ulreich in the summer.

Wojciech Szczesny has been the man Arsene Wenger has turned to for his first choice between the sticks, but after a combination of poor performances, injuries, and what Wenger described as a weak mentality, the Poland international found himself on the bench next to the likes of Andrei Arshavin, Gervinho and Tomas Rosicky.

Now, after rumours involving a move for Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina and Stoke’s Asmir Begovic both being quashed, Wenger has his beady eye on the former Germany U21 shot-stopper.

 Deutschland is known for its efficient, disciplined players and have produced some of the greatest goalkeepers in footballing history.  Think Oliver Kahn, think Sepp Maier, think Jens Lehmann. Gunners will remember the latter with heartfelt memories.

This season, 6ft4 Ulreich has made 32 appearances, kept 8 clean sheets and made one wily old Frenchman in north London purr like a house cat. He makes almost three saves per game (on average), has an almighty claim success of 92%, and has a distribution success of 63%.

But don’t worry Gunners, if the move doesn’t happen then you always have Vito Mannone as back up to Szczesny and Lukasz Fabianski…

Tottenham ready to make move for Barcelona midfielder (video)

Andre Villas-Boas has sounded out Barcelona midfielder Sergi Roberto as a high priority target as the young midfielder continues to be frustrated with lack of opportunity at Camp Nou. TalkSport report that a move for the 21-year-old is likely to happen in the summer, but whether or not they can manage to send Scott Parker the other way is yet to be seen. White Hart Lane has its fingers crossed.

Roberto, or Bobby as he will undoubtedly be referred to in the Spurs ranks if the move comes off, has found life hard fighting for a space in the Blaugrana midfield with Xavi, Iniesta, Sergio Busquets, Cesc Fabregas, Thiago, Alex Song… you get the picture. Anyway, he is said to have packed his castanets and is just waiting by the phone for AVB to call.

The La Masia product has so far played 10 minutes in La Liga this season, a substitute appearance against Zaragoza last month, and his sniff of first team action has made him wonder what life would be like if he got to play every week.

This is where Spurs come in. They are looking to bolster their midfield for next season’s fight for a Champions League spot, and with Scott Parker slowly turning into the Tin man and Mousa Dembele’s level of performances varying more than Benoit Assou-Ekotto’s haircuts, AVB is looking to implement some creativity into the team.

Koscielny wanted by Europe’s best?

If you are possibly the best club in the world you would surely be setting your sights higher than Laurent Koscielny if you wanted a new central defender, however The Metro are reporting that the Arsenal man is a target for the German Champions Bayern Munich. What is even further baffling by this story is that it is being indicated that Arsenal will rebuff the reported bid of around £19 million.

Now Koscielny has unquestionably been the Gunners best defender in recent times and his form is a key factor behind their what is looking likely run to the Champions League, however it is more than questionable to say that he is now a player who should be given a hefty price tag of 20 million plus. To be fair to Arsenal following years of endless defensive nightmares and failed centre backs you can more than understand their reluctance to want to sell when for now at least things seem to have clicked, however the money being talked about could be used to finance another couple of decent centre backs.

As for Bayern it is surprising to learn that they have targets outside of Dortmund, particularly in regards to defenders when their great rivals posses two excellent ones in Neven Subotic and Mats Hummels. Given their penchant of raiding from Borussia it would seem surprising that they are not looking at either of these two, when a whole host of other European clubs are likely to be.

That said it shouldn’t even matter who lines up centre back for Bayern given that the wonderful and rock like duo of Javi Martinez and Bastan Schweinsteiger sitting infront means that there is only a minimal chance of anyone actually reaching the centre back pairing so with that in mind even a pairing of Titus Bramble and a dust bin would like mildly solid representing Bayern.