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Monday, February 13, 2012

Sessegnon plays down talk of summer switch to Arsenal

Sunderland striker Stephane Sessegnon has hinted that he would be open to returning to former club Paris Saint-Germain in the future.

But the in-form 27-year-old has played down talk of a summer switch to Arsenal insisting he is happy at the Stadium of Light.

Sessegnon has notched five goals since Martin O’Neill took over the club in December and he is only concentrating on adding to that tally.

"Interest from some bigger English clubs? I don't think about that so far," Sessegnon told L'Equipe.

"Above all I am thinking to score and assist. We will talk about my future again at the end of the season."

But of a return to Paris he is less certain, claiming he still loves the club.

“The club deserves to do great things and have big players,” he added. “Even though I left a year ago now, I always love Paris, and I still have friends there like Guillaume Hoarau, I regularly talk to him.”

Exclusive – PFA chief calls on ‘football family’ to unite and resolve Suarez – Evra debate

PFA chief executive Gordon Taylor has told talkSPORT the only way to resolve the situation between Luis Suarez and Patrice Evra is for the whole of football to unite and put a stop to it.

Liverpool striker Suarez rejected the opportunity to shake Manchester United captain Evra’s hand before the Red Devils’ 2-1 victory victory at Old Trafford on Saturday, a gesture that was seen as an admission of a lack of guilt on the Uruguayan's part.

The incident has reignited a feud between the two sides which saw Suarez given an eight-game ban for racially abusing United’s French defender in October last year.

And it now looks set to spiral out of control with Taylor insisting the only way to get the situation back under control is for football’s governing bodies to come together and ensure the progress made in stamping racism out of the game is not wasted.

“It needs all the football family to get round a table and sort it,” said Taylor.

“Racism can divide people and separate them and I need everyone in football to deal with it and move on together.

“From that point of view you can’t do it with separate bodies. It needs the FA, the Premier League, the Football League, the PFA and the LMA round the table with the consent of the clubs and to not let the great progress we have made be put aside for the sake of two incidents.”

Taylor also admitted he can’t understand Liverpool’s refusal to accept any responsibility for Suarez’s behaviour.

And he claims he doesn’t think the Anfield club could have handled the situation any worse than they have.

“I don’t like to see what is happening at Liverpool, the criticism they have had but on the other hand there is something that is plainly wrong and if that is plainly condoned then that is even more wrong.

“That’s why I don’t understand their reaction and I don’t understand with the ownership of the club and the management of the club and the players at the club, I can’t think how it could have gone worse.”

Capello in Russia for talks with Anzhi

Former England manager Fabio Capello could be set for a quick return to management with Russian side Anzhi Makhachkala.

Reports in Russia suggest that Capello is currently in Moscow for talks with bosses of the big-spending club who’s playing staff boasts Samuel Eto’o and former Chelsea defender Yuri Zhrikov.

And Anzhi’s vice-president German Chistyakov has confirmed that there will be changes at the club imminently .

“There will be changes in the club staff,” Anzhi deputy president German Chistyakov said. “We have serious reasons for those changes.”

Former AC Milan, Real Madrid and Juventus boss Capello has already been linked with a return to Italian football with Inter Milan, but chairman Massimo Moratti ruled that out this week.

While Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is also considering a move  for Capello’s services as he runs out of patience with Andre Villas-Boas.

Exclusive – Bull: Six teams are in fight to survive relegation

Wolverhampton Wanderers legend Steve Bull has told talkSPORT that six teams, including the Old Gold, are fighting it out to avoid relegation.

Two points currently separate the bottom five teams with West Brom sitting just five points away from the drop zone.

And as Wolves and the Baggies go head-to-head in a Midlands derby clash today, Steve Bull reckons race for survival will go down to the wire.

“I think there are six teams down there that are going to be fighting at the end of the season and I think West Bromwich Albion will be one of them,” he told Weekend Sports Breakfast.

“Anybody below thirty points at this moment in time are down there. I think QPR are coming through a sticky patch, Blackburn had a good result [against QPR] but they’re down there anyway, Wigan had a good result as well.

“I think it’s going to be a fight between about five or six of us but I think QPR, Blackburn and Wigan will be down there with us.”

Meanwhile Bull has reiterated his belief that Mick Mccarthy can guide Wolves out of trouble.

“I think Mick knows what he’s got to do,” he said. “He’s survived over the last four or five years with us and I think he’ll carry on doing it. He’s got good strategic plans.”

“I do think it will go to the wire but I hope Wolves aren’t there in it.

“I can’t put my finger on it. They seem to play the first 45 minutes like world beaters and of a sudden they can’t sustain it. They just seem to pull the odd result out again that get’s them up there [out of the relegation zone].”

Suarez refuses to shake Evra's hand

Luis Suarez has refused to shake Patrice Evra's hand before Manchester United's Premier League tie with Liverpool.

It's the Reds striker's first start since serving an eight game ban for aiming racist comments at the Frenchman during the reverse fixture last year.

The Red Devils' captain offered his hand to the 30-year-old but he bypassed Evra and went straight to goalkeeper David De Gea.

Evra did not accept that and attempted to grab Suarez's arm to complete the formalities, but the striker shrugged him off. Rio Ferdinand, next in line to De Gea, then refused to shake Suarez's hand.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Tottenham 5-0 Newcastle: Classy Spurs stun Magpies

Harry Redknapp was given five more reasons to reject the overtures of the FA and continue in his quest to lead Spurs to Premier League glory as they demolished Newcastle 5-0 at White Hart Lane.

Redknapp has emerged as the unanimous choice to replace Fabio Capello as manager of the national team after the Italian’s shock resignation this week.

But a 5-0 victory against Alan Pardew’s organised and impressive Newcastle side underlined the potential of a Tottenham team that are now just five points behind league leaders Manchester United.

On-loan Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor played a starring role, having a hand in four goals and scoring the other as Newcastle were taken apart in style.

Benoit Assou-ekotto got the hosts off to a flier, tapping in Adebayor’s pass in the fourth minute, before Louis Saha showed Spurs fans what he is capable of with a quick-fire double on his home debut.

Niko Kranjcar clinically fired in a fourth in the 34th minute, scoring from a rebound after Adebayor saw his shot saved.

And Adebayor finally got on the scoresheet himself in the 64th minute when he volleyed home to complete the rout and compound the visiting fans’ misery.

Newcastle end the day in sixth, just one point behind Arsenal in fourth place.

Wenger rules out taking England job

Arsene Wenger has ruled himself out of the running for the England job.

Wenger has been strongly linked with the position after Fabio Capello announced his shock resignation on Wednesday night.

Although Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is the clear favourite to take over from Capello, Wenger has also been talked about as a possible replacement for the Italian coach.

But the Arsenal manager is adamant he is not interested in the England job and is focused on doing his best for the north London club this season.

Wenger said: "I have never really been tempted by the national team job because for me it is a completely different job.

"I am a little bit in a marathon job inside the club and the national team job is a sprinter's job. I am more interested in a day-to-day basis job. Believe me I have ruled myself out of many national team jobs.

"England is a big football country with over 65 million people who have a big passion for the game. I love England and I want England to do well. Therefore I let the FA to deal with that problem.

"I will speak to Capello at some stage, I don't have his opinion at all. I spoke with him on Saturday before the Blackburn game and he didn't look like somebody talking to me who was about to resign. That is why it was a big surprise to me.

"I do not know what happened behind the scenes and that is why it is difficult for me to come out on that. In principle, the manager chooses the captain. What happened behind that, I don't know, and in fairness at the moment I have other worries than that."

Villas-Boas: Everton defeat was Chelsea's worst performance of the season

Andre Villas-Boas has admitted he made mistakes during Chelsea’s 2-0 loss to Everton.

Goals from Steven Pienaar and Denis Stracqualursi were enough for the Toffees to secure a win against the Portuguese’s side.

And the former Porto coach claims his players could not have put any more effort into the match.

“I’ll reflect hard on my preparations,” Villas-Boas said. “I’ll take full responsibility for the defeat.

“The players did everything they could to try and get the result. Maybe I need to look retrospectively at what I did and think about the preparation.

“It was our worst performance of the season. We just couldn’t be ourselves and express ourselves.”

Wenger hails Arsenal's 'exceptional quality' on the bench

Arsene Wenger has credited Arsenal’s victory over Sunderland to the exceptional quality on their bench.

The Gunners trailed Martin O’Neill’s in-form side 1-0 before substitute Aaron Ramsey equalised from the edge of the penalty area.

And when two more subs linked up to score the last-minute winner, Andrey Arshavin crossing for Thierry Henry to head home, Wenger hailed his options on the bench.

“Sometimes it works [my substitutions],” he said. “You have to accept that but it has more chances to work when you have exceptional quality on the bench.

“When the opposition is tired and players of that quality come on then of course they can make a difference.”

Wenger also highlighted the resilience and spirit shown by his side to fight back against a Sunderland team which had lost just once in the previous 11 games.

“We had to work very hard against a Sunderland side that was well organised, resilient, fought very well and exploited every opening on counter attacks,” he added.

“The pitch was difficult as well and in the end we won it through exceptional resilience and spirit.”

Suarez apologises for not shaking Evra’s hand

Liverpool striker Luis Suarez has issued an apology after refusing to shake Manchester United captain Patrice Evra's hand before the side's game on Saturday.

The Reds went on to lose 2-1 and Suarez has been roundly criticised for his actions since, with United boss Sir Alex Ferguson branding him 'a disgrace'.

But now Suarez has issued a statement of regret and insisted he wants to put the whole matter behind him.

He said: "I have spoken with the manager since the game at Old Trafford and I realise I got things wrong.

"I've not only let him down, but also the club and what it stands for and I'm sorry. I made a mistake and I regret what happened.

"I should have shaken Patrice Evra's hand before the game and I want to apologise for my actions.

"I would like to put this whole issue behind me and concentrate on playing football."

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