An Alonso own-goal and a second from Tuncay saw Middlesbrough earn a much needed 3 points today against Liverpool. It is Middlesbrough first win since their victory over Aston Villa on 9th November.
Liverpool remain 7 points behind Man United who did not play in the Premier League today, because of the Carling Cup Final tomorrow. Liverpool have now also played an extra game and lost second place to Chelsea took who are on an equal 55 points after their 2-1 win over Wigan.
Middlesbrough do seem to save their best performances for the games against the top teams.
Liverpool's title challenge seems to have petered out, before March. With Torres side lines, there is a lack of credibility about Liverpool's attacking options.
Has Liverpool's title challenge been ended today by Middlesbrough or can they still push United all the way? Will Liverpool finish above Chelsea and Aston Villa now? Will this affect Benitez's contract negotiations?
28 Feb 2009
An Alonso own-goal and a second from Tuncay saw Middlesbrough earn a much needed 3 points today against Liverpool. It is Middlesbrough first win since their victory over Aston Villa on 9th November.
Tottenaham are going to field the strongest possible team in tomorrows cup final after manager Harry Redknapp rested his big guns against Shaktar Donetsk. However, Carlo Cudicini, Wilson Palacios, Pascal Chimbonda and Robbie Keane are illegible, Jermaine Defoe is injured and Jamie O'Hara will have a late fitness test.
For Man Utd Sir Alex Ferguson has already stated that he will stick with his youth policy that has guided United to this final. Jonny Evans needed a pain killing injection to play Inter in the week so will likely not be risked. Gary Neville returned to training this week which means he may feature as Wes Brown and Rafael are both out with injury.
Brazillian Anderson played 45 minutes for the reserves in mid-week. Fabio also played in that match and was withdrawn early. Van der Saar has not played in the competition this season so Sir Alex will pick between Kuszczak and Ben Foster.
So likely line ups will be:
Tottenham: Gomes, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Bentley, Zakora, Jenas, Lennon, Modric, Pavlyuchenko.
Man Utd: Foster, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Vidic, Fabio, Nani, Gibson, Scholes, Ronaldo, Tevez, Wellbeck.
Anyone care to offer any predictions?
27 Feb 2009
Q. Which team plays soccer at Rugby Park?
26 Feb 2009
Rafa has insisted that he is not going to walk away from the Liverpool job and talks are continuing over a new contract.
Bookmakers yesterday stopped taking bets on Benitez's future just a few hours before Liverpool went out and beat Real Madrid 1-0.
Benitez is thought to want greater control over the transfer policy at the club and the warring owners are reluctant to allow that to happen. However, Benitez says the lawyers have been talking and that he feels the problems will be overcome.
We will have to take Benitez at his word. However, I have spent some time today considering who I would want in charge if I were a Liverpool fan, and Jose may fit the bill. However, if not why not make, what would be an extremely popular move for this man?
Liverpool have confirmed that Fernando Torres will miss "some games" after sustaining an injury to his ankle. Torres sustained the injury in the first half of last nights game with Real Madrid, but on doctors advise Benitez left the striker on the field and started him for the second half. Torres hobbled off on 61 minutes.
Torres will miss the Middlesbrough game this weekend, and it is unclear at this point when he will return.
Liverpool are light now in the striking department having sold Robbie Keane in January. Ryan Babel was brought on to cover last night, and Rafa also has David N'Gog, Dirk Kuyt and Nabil El Zhar who can play up front, though I suspect this will not fill Liverpool fans with confidence, though it might Middlesbroughs defenders.
25 Feb 2009
Just spotted this on the BBC website.
Peter Shilton has told Radio BBC Stoke that "I don't think he will catch my record. If he does, I will congratulate him."
Beckham equalled Bobby Moores outfield record of 108 caps already, but would need to feature in every game, including friendlies between now and a quarter-final at the next World Cup to beat Shiltons appearance record of 125 caps.
I think Shilton is right, Beckham will not make it to 125. What does everyone else think?
Chelsea 1 - 0 Juventus
Real Madrid 0 - 1 Liverpool
Sporting 0 - 5 Bayern Munich
Villareal 1 - 1 Panathinaikos
24 Feb 2009
Arsenal 1 - 0 Roma
Inter Milan 0 - 0 Man Utd
Lyon - 1 - 1 Barcelona
Athletico Madrid 2 - 2 FC Porto
Q. Which was the first British Soccer team to win the European Cup?
There has, for at least ten years now (probably longer) been something of a gravitational pull towards the Premier League of the very best and most special talents. There has been the odd exception that has bypassed England and found glory in Spain and/or Italy, possibly because of climate or culture; but we have been telling ourselves for sometime that overall we have the best league in the world. I feel the same, I think the Premier League is the best, and probably most supported league in the world.
As time goes on, it feels more and more likely that the very top players will at some point play in our league. Where as Zidane did not, Ronaldo has and Kaka quite possibly will at some point. Some players have been billed as world beaters, but faced with a Premier League Season been revealed as anything but.
Part of the progression has been that we have attracted superstars with the prospects of cash and trophys. When these superstars were eventually bettered, or perhaps passed their peak the Premiership' elite clubs have managed to largely replace and often supersede their outgoing talents. But the progression has always been forwards. When players like Thierry Henry and Ruud van Nistelroy left these shores, it could be spun that the leagues top billing had gone, but instead we have the seen Ronaldo turn into a goal scoring machine, we have Rooney who plays with his heart on his sleeve, we have the predatorial Fernando Torres, and the lethal Didier Drogba, to name but a few.
Superstar's may have left but the talent pool has continued to get better and better.
There is though, one small exception to this. When Jose Mourinho left Chelsea, and English Football, he took a little piece of English Football with him. The league lost one of the best and brightest managers in the World. He is, in fact one of only four managers to have won the Premier League. The Premier Leagues loss has been Serie A's gain. I want to see young English managers get a chance in the league, but I want them pitted against the best the world has to offer, and Jose is one of the best.
I hope that Jose does well with Inter Milan in Italy (though I hope Manchester United get past Inter Milan in the Champions League) but I hope also that come the end of the Season he is able to find employment back in the Premier League.
Here, because I know you have missed him too, is a little reminder.
23 Feb 2009
Q. On August the 21st, 1965, Keith Peacock became the first what in a football league match?
22 Feb 2009
I have put a new poll up, please vote in the poll to let us know where you think The Special One will be next season.
If you want to elaborate, you can do so in the comment form of this post.
The Poll about whether Great Britain should enter a football team in the 2012 Olympics in London has closed, attracting a very low response level, which in itself may tell a story.
Only 4 people responded, 3 in favour 1 respondent was not in favour.
21 Feb 2009
Q. Which European football club is nicknamed "La Vicchia Signora", which translates as "the old lady"?
20 Feb 2009
Q. At which ground did Sunderland play their home games prior to moving to The Stadium of Light?
Manchester United Captain Gary Neville has agreed a new deal that will keep him at the club until June 2010 according to ManUtd.com. Neville turned 34 this week.
Neville made his debut against Torpedo Moscow in 1992 and has been in the first team for 17 years. Nevilles deal follows on from Giggsy's extention signed last week.
Sir Alex Ferguson is quoted as saying "Gary is a true professional and I admire how he has overcome an injury which kept him out for over a year, returning as good as ever. He deserves this new contract and we are very happy to have him here."
I expect Man Utd fans will welcome the news that their captain will be staying on for another season.
19 Feb 2009
Hull City have confirmed that record signing Jimmy Bullard will miss the rest of the season through injury. Bullard has a cartilage tear and damage to his anterior cruciate ligament. It is not clear how long will be required but Bullard definitely will not return this season.
Bullard signed for Hull on a four-and-a-half year deal in January for a £5m fee. ullard left Fulham with 16 months remaining on his contract, but having sought and failed to agree improved terms and an extension.
Bullard spent 18 of his 31 months on the sidelines at Fulham with a cruciate knee ligament injury.
The news will come as a blow to Hull City supporters, who after a flying start to the season have been faltering and are slowly dropping into the danger area of a very competitive league table.
Q. Who captained the English World Cup winning soccer team at the final in Wembley in 1966
18 Feb 2009
Harry Redknapp has been venting about Tottenhams upcoming fixture list, where Spurs play six times in 17 days.
The there are a number of Premier League ties, as well as the Carling Cup Final, versus Manchester United. There is also the UEFA cup games versus Shakhtar Donetsk.
This crucial period could decide Tottenhams fate as they loom very close to the relegation zone still.
This may all be good news though for Darren Bent who is likely to feature in this spell and he has been very open about his desire to become first choice, or he will likely leave the club in the summer.
Thursday 19th February - Shahktar Donetsk (a)
Monday 23rd February - Hull (a)
Thursday 26th February - Shahktar Donetsk (h)
Sunday 1st March - Man Utd (n)
Wednesday 4th March - Middlesbrough (h)
Saturday 7th March - Sunderland (a)
The Times is reporting that Ian Watmore has been named the FA's new Chief Executive, taking over from Brian Barwick in June this year.
Watmore is a lifelong Arsenal fan, and has recent experience of national government, serving as Permanent Secretary for the Development of Innovation, Universities and Skills.
Top priorities will be England's 2018 World Cup bid and The National Football Centre in Burton.
Barwick, who left his role on 31st December 2008 will be remembered for his very public and very embarrassing failed attempt to secure Luiz Felipe Scolari as Sven Goran Erikssons replacement. He attempted to move past this calamity by hiring Steve McClaren as England Manager. History may redeem Barwick if Fabio Capello can bring that long sought after success that England Fans demand.
Q. Which footballer was known as ‘The wizard of Dribble’?
17 Feb 2009
Q. Which is the only country to have played in every World Cup since it started in 1930?
16 Feb 2009
Red & White Holdings Limited have upped their stake in Arsenal to 25%, just 5% below the stake that would require them to make a formal takeover bid under the rules of the stockmarket.
The holding company is owned by Russian Millionaire Alisher Usmanov and Farhad Moshiri. The investors confirmed that the move was in line with their previously stated position to protect their position in the club.
The holding company was formed after the departure of David Dein in August 2007 who sold his the 14.5% share in the club. Since then Usmanov has been upping his stakes gradually.
At present, the other members of the Arsenal board have a lock-down agreement in place preventing any short term takeover bid. But it looks like should the chess pieces shift, Usmanov and Moshiri will be in a prime position.
Football Banter asked "Who is the best Goal keeper in Premier League History?"
You have spoken, and your answer is Peter Schmeichel. 64% voted for Schmeichel who was synonomous with the award winning Manchester United side of the 1990's.
In second place was David Seaman, who lead the poll for a short time. David James came in third place.
No votes were cast for Peter Cech, Tim Flowers, Fabian Barthez or recent record breaker Edwin Van der Saar.
15 Feb 2009
Blackburn or Coventry vs Chelsea
Swansea or Fulham vs Manchester United
Cardiff or Arsenal or Burnley vs Sheff Utd or Hull City
Everton vs West Ham or Middlesbrough
To be played the weekend of the 7th March 2009
Q. Who managed the first English side to win the European Cup?
New Poll on the blog. Should Great Britain enter a Football Team in the 2012 Olympics?
Please register your vote in the poll, but you can elaborate in the comments field on this post.
14 Feb 2009
Q. Which English football team are nicknamed "The Potters"?
Q. In which year was the referee’s whistle introduced to football?
The proposed transfer of David Beckham from LA Galaxy to AC Milan has collapsed after the Galaxy did not receive what they considered an acceptable offer before the deadline imposed on the transfer by the MLS.
Becks returns in a few weeks to LA. LA Galaxy say they expect further discussions from AC Milan but feel they owe it to the team and the fans to not entertain any further discussions on the matter.
13 Feb 2009
Q. What was the number shirt did both Maradona and Pele say was lucky?
12 Feb 2009
Over at FourFourTwo, the strangest and funniest sackings of all time.
Worth a read.
Ryan Giggs will be playing for Manchester United next year having secured a one year extension to his present deal.
Giggs made his debut in August 1991 and is the only player to have scored in all 17 seasons.
Sir Alex commented on ManUtd.com:
"He is like a young boy in the way that he plays and, although he wants to be involved in every game, he understands that by using his experience when it matters is a benefit to him and the team.
"It would be easy for him to be complacent after all he has achieved but he isn’t and that speaks volumes of his character and explains why we wanted to extend his services and use that experience.”
Q. In what year was the first World Cup held?
Quiz rules here.
11 Feb 2009
Not a great performance tonight from England, largely they seem to have maintained some of the discipline that was showing late in 2008, but showed very little in the way of invention.
Spain did not need to go above third gear, and were assured in possession. They never really looked in any danger. They were hungry to be in possession and quite plainly are much more productive holding possession. England seemed rushed at times when in possession and just gave the ball away.
England were not dire, but there was an obvious difference in class that Capello will need to work on. The second goal for Spain will be played over a few times. England are much improved on the Steve McClaren era, but are nowhere near to the standard required to win a major tournament.
I may be being a little harsh, Spain are the best team in the world at the moment and England were without Gerrard, Ferdinand, Joe Cole, and Wayne Rooney.
England, in my opinion are lacking credibility in a number of positions. Hopefully the emergence in the next year of Ashley Young and Gabriel Abonglahor will help address two such problems, aided in future squads with the impressive James Milner. Yes, England are likely looking to Martin o'Neil and Aston Villa for the next stage in the teams improvement. The return of the aforementioned big players and also, later in the year, Owen Hargreaves will offer a Capello a much improved squad from which to launch a bid for the World Cup.
Not a great evening, but at least I don't have to listen to another pointless McClaren post-match interview!!
Your views on England and Spain are welcomed.
Q. In which year was the first Artificial Pitch installed in by an English club?
Guus Hiddink says he expects to be in charge of Chelsea by next week.
Hiddink will be in London by the end of this week and will be present for the game against Watford, though will be there as an observer. He will lead training from next week and will select the team for the Aston Villa Premier League tie.
He will be with Chelsea until the end of the English season and both he and Chelsea will look again then at whether to make the deal permanent.
Hiddink has expressed it is hi wish to help his friend Roman Abramovich, who he feels has done much to greatly improve Russian football.
10 Feb 2009
Rick Parry has revealed that the Premier League has held discussions on the possibility of introducing a quota system in an effort to limit the number of foreign players appearing in the Premier League and boost the standard of English Players available to the national team.
The Top Clubs who are regularly qualifying for The Champions League already have to abide to a quota system for European games, and would not have much difficulty in adopting a similar system for League matches. The Premier League did produce an analysis that concluded a lot of the clubs would not have too much difficulty in complying.
The Premier League would be the body imposing the quota, and there is no word on how the quote would work. It might be that by "home-grown" the definition will extend beyond England, to UK, and possibly Irish players.
Are you in favour of a quota system being introduced to the Premier League, and do you think your favourite Premier League Team will be able to adapt if the quota was introduced soon? Do you think the quality of the Premier League will be affected?
Sky Sports reports that Sven Goran Eriksson is to be approached to be the new manager of Portsmouth.
The Telegraph says that Eriksson was not the first choice, as the board had Avram Grant in mind. However, they canvassed the opinion of some of the senior first team players and found that Grant would not be a popular choice, and felt he may not get the necessary respect that may be required to turn the teams fortunes around this season. David James and Peter Crouch are being named as very supportive in the approach for Eriksson.
Mexico are due to play the USA tonight, so an approach for Eriksson is not possible just yet, but is likely. Eriksson is likely to be above the wage demands that Alexandre Gaydamak was prepared to go to, but he may be tempted to spend a little extra and offer a large cash bonus for Eriksson especially if he is able to keep them in the Premier League.
Results have not been great for Mexico under Eriksson, so the Mexicans may be prepared to deal in return for some compensation.
Guus Hiddink has been made an offer to be Chelsea boss, according to the Times and Sky Sports. Chelsea were granted permission today to talk to Hiddink about a short term permission that will see him take control of Chelsea until the end of the season, as well as remaining coach of the Russian national team.
Hiddink has stated that he is not prepared to walk away from the Russian job mid-campaign, and previously held the job of Australian coach whilst managing PSV.
There is not much chance of Hiddink being in place for the FA cup game against Watford, so Ray Wilkins will remain temporarily in charge of first team affairs. But an answer is expected in the next few days.
Q. On a football Pitch, how many yards should the penalty spot be from the goal?
From Brits at their Best, Here.
9 Feb 2009
Chelsea's official website has a comment on the Scolari dismissal.
"Luiz Felipe Scolari has been dismissed as manager of Chelsea Football ClubSky Sports say that Chelsea have already compiled a two man short list of Hiddink, and the man Scolari replaced Avram Grant. They even raise the possibility that Grant could be asked to return again to his previous role upstairs as a Director Of Football, and have Hiddink take on the first team. Grant was previously Director Of Football at Chelsea when Jose Mourinho was manager. There was some animosity, at least on Mourinho's part towards Grant as he resented his influence on team affairs, and Grant is thought to have been offered a return to this post in the summer when he was asked to step down as manager.
today (Monday) with immediate effect.
"The Chelsea board would like to place on record our gratitude for his time as manager.
"Felipe has brought many positives to the club since he joined and we all feel a sense of sadness that our relationship has ended so soon.
"Unfortunately the results and performances of the team appeared to be deteriorating at a key time in the season.
"In order to maintain a challenge for the trophies we are still competing for we felt the only option was to make the change now.
"The search for a new manager has already started and we hope to
have someone in place as soon as possible.
"While that continues assistant coach Ray Wilkins will take charge of the team on a temporary basis."
Scolari has also released a statement where he revealed that he regrets that he did not have more time to get things right with Chelsea, and rather revealingly worked in the fact that he intends to stay living in London, which sounds like a "come and get me" call to Europe's big clubs.
There is also a popular demand from some Chelsea fans that I spoke to today that a Zola/Clarke dream team could be tempted across London from West Ham. However, it is unlikely that Abramovich will go for Zola as his experience is limited to his time at West Ham and a spell with the Italian under 21's.
Sky have it that Scolari has been sacked by Chelsea. I will follow up later when we have details.
Your opinions, and suggestions for a managerial replacement are invited.
Sky Sports is reporting here, that Tony Adams will be sacked by Portsmouth today.
Only last Monday, Peter Storrie, the Portsmouth Chairman had issued a rallying cry that Adams retained the confidence of the board calling on the club to pull together.
The departure of Harry Redknapp has also seen the slashing of the wage bill with some of the clubs biggest earners following Redknapp out of the door.
Alan Curbishley was being linked with the club on Friday, and will probably be the bookies favourite to take over.
8 Feb 2009
Keane Starts for Spurs
Arsharvin on the bench for Arsenal
Arsenal team: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Eboue, Song, Denilson, Nasri, Adebayor, Van Persie.
Subs: Fabianski, Eduardo, Ramsey, Djourou, Arshavin, Bendtner, Gibbs.
Tottenham team: Cudicini, Corluka, Dawson, Woodgate, Assou-Ekotto, Lennon, Jenas, Palacios, Modric, Pavlyuchenko, Keane.
Subs: Gomes, Bale, Zokora, Huddlestone, Bent, Taarabt, Chimbonda.
Referee: Mike Dean
Feel free to leave your score predictions in the comments box.
7 Feb 2009
Chelsea earlier today drew, at home with Hull 0-0. Hull, who got off to a flying start early in the season have more recently reverted to form more associated of a recently promoted team. Yet Chelsea, in their once fortress of Stamford Bridge could not find a goal today. Their Premier League Challenge looks, probably over.
Aston Villa went third today, two points above Chelsea and just three point behind Liverpool with a convincing away result, a 2-0 win at Ewood Park. If Arsenal win their game in hand, they will be just 3 points behind Chelsea, and the prospect of not qualifying for the Champions League could haunt Chelsea's run into the end of the season.
I would like to hear from Chelsea fans in particular as to what you feel has and is going wrong of late, and what you think needs to be done to get your respective challenges back on track. Other fans opinions of course welcome, please let us know your team when stating your point of view. Did Big Phil get it right in the January Transfer Window, is he the man to turn things around?
Q. Which English Player signed for Grampus Eight in 1992?
Q. In what year did Hungary roll up at Wembley and beat England 6-3?
I have missed a deadline on one of my Fantasy Football teams this year, and I am not doing well in any of the three that I have entered. I am a little disappointed as I tend to do fairly well with Fantasy Football and I have won a few mini-leagues that I have taken part with in the past.
Anyway, trying to juggle 3 Dream Teams is too much. I keep forgetting who I have in each team, so when it is hard to remember to make changes or relate the football results to my Dream Teams.
So from next season, I am aiming to enter just one Dream Team. However, I do not know which Dream Team to do.
So I am asking for your advice. Which competition should I enter next season?
I like the competitions whereby there is the availability to make transfers. But I don't want to have to log in every single week to keep making transfers to be competitive. I don't mind paying a small amount to enter, but obviously like the the competitions that are both free and offer a cash payment. I don't like having to pay extra for transfers.
One of the dream teams I am in this year requires a password that is published in the paper - I want to avoid that again, but the same competition allows me to add the dream teams of a famous manager and a famous pundit into the same mini league.
Mini leagues are a must. (We could have a football banter mini-league next season.)
So, which Dream Team Competitions can you recommend? Which ones do you play and like? What do you like about certain Competitions that others do not offer?
Also, I have never met anyone, who has won anything, ever, through this type of competition. Have any of you ever won any money or prizes?
6 Feb 2009
Q. At which club did Stanley Mathews begin his career at?
Sky Sports is today following on from their recent announcement of having secured 4 of the 6 Premier League TV packages for UK broadcasting, by announcing that that they have now won a 5th Package. Setanta, who currently have 2 packages, will only have the Saturday Evening Package (Package D) for the 2010/11 to 2012/13 seasons.
That means that Sky will have 115 of the 138 televised games.
The total value realised by the auction is £1.782bn (5% up on last deal) and Richard Scudamore commented that this puts in place stability for the Premier League clubs and allows them make their plans.
Setanta will be disappointed in losing 23 Premier League games, but they do have the England Internationals and the FA cup coverage.
I had also blogged previously that the BBC recently announced they had retained the rights to host Match of the Day until end of the 2013 season.
5 Feb 2009
UEFA President Michel Platini has said he is keen to meet with FIFA to open a debate regarding the future of the Transfer Window.
The debate is more about tweaking the system rather than scrapping it.
Do Football Banter Readers prefer the current system - or should more wide ranging changes be made?
Q. In what year was Barcelona FC Founded?
Q. Which transfer was the first to exceed £10m in value between two English clubs?
4 Feb 2009
David Beckham's lawyers have opened talks today with LA Galaxy and the MLS about the possibility of making his move to AC Milan permanent. Though Milan and Beckham want the move, they are realistic in their expectations that the chances are slim and the cost would be high.
Beckham has performed well for Milan, and helped them up to second place in the league, trailing local rivals Inter by 6 points. His loan deal is due to expire on 9th March, and Beckham has publicly stated that he would like to stay, but the deal will only be possible with the blessing of LA Galaxy. Milan would be happy just to keep Beckham until the end of the Italian Season.
Did Beckham make a mistake in negotiating terms with The LA Galaxy before big European Clubs were alerted to his availability?
Q. How many players from England’s 2006 World Cup Squad, were also in England’s 1998 squad?
This is the first question for the quiz series. Level 1 so 1point on it.
Q. In which country was the 1986 world cup staged?
Harry Reknapp has confirmed to Sky News that Robbie Keane will be handed the captains armband for the big match against Arsenal this weekend.
Ledley King is sidelined with injury, so Keane will get a run of games as captain. King will remain club captain for now.
Redknapp says "I said to Robbie that if I brought him back that I would like to make him captain. I think it was important to him, to come back and lead the club.
"They [the squad] are all pleased to have him back, and they know what he can do."
"He is a leader and has the personality to be a captain of Tottenham."
Some Tottenham fans have had mixed reactions to the return of Keane, and those who were not happy will be less so with this announcement.
The derby game may be missing Arsenal new boy Andrei Arshavin as he needs to prove his fitness to manager Arsene Wenger to be included in the big game.
3 Feb 2009
OK Peeps, here's the deal. A few of you have told me that you would like more quiz questions and now that the January Transfer Window is out of the way I am happy to oblige.
So here is what I am going to implement....
I will begin posting quiz questions on the blog, starting from tomorrow (04-Feb-09). I will head them up as before with Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3 to indicate how tough a question it is. I will then also keep track of the correct answers for all those who participate, and I will add a leader-board to the side of the blog.
Level 1 Questions will typically be worth 1 point, Level 2's, 2 points and Level 3's, 3 points. I may offer bonus points on follow ups, or additional points for more than one answer. (Entirely at my discretion)
The first person post to the comments the correct answer wins the point(s). I will only take a persons first submission. The leader-board will be updated to accredit the name on the answer, so don't use multiple names or you points will be split across different identities. I would, in fact suggest to anyone who might want to submit regular answers that you get a google sign in (click here, takes 2 mins) - so that your identity is unique. Answers posted by "anonymous" will not be considered.
You have 3 days to post an answer, we will use the date and time stamps on the blog posts and on the comments form to monitor this. Correct answers outside this time will not score points. Only the first correct answer will score the points.
There will be no set times or dates for me posting questions, so check regularly not to miss out. I have the functionality to add 8 more email addresses to an alert system in the blog, which will email you when any post is added. If you would like to be added to this service, please email firstname.lastname@example.org and tell me which email address you would like added to this service (one email address per person, your email address will in no circumstances passed on, sold on, or published; first come, first serve) - do not add to the comments field unless you want the whole world to know it.
There are no prizes, though there is kudos to the winner. (However, should I either win a substantial amount on the Lottery, or if this blog suddenly starts getting 100,000 hits each day, and I am getting some ad revenue, I may review this, but not before either of those eventualities)
I reserve the right to change the rules as I see fit. Though, any rule changes to the above will be enacted after a separate post has been posted so you have notice.
Rules come into effect after first question is posted, so leave any feedback and/or suggestions to the comments.
Andrei Arshavin has finally sealed his move to Arsenal fro Zenit, both clubs have announced today. The saga has been drawn out through much of January, mostly because of Zenit's demands on getting the whole transfer fee, £15m worth, upfront.
Arshavin will lend some creditability to what is at the moment looking like a light-weight, injury plighted Arsenal midfield. The prospect of seeing Arshavin, Fabregas and Walcott in the same midfield will have Gunners salivating and the signing may be the impetus on the squad that is needed to secure that vital fourth spot in the league.
The deal was done Monday, but the Premier League could only confirm all of the paperwork was completed, approved and filed today after an extension was granted on clearing the administration after poor weather conditions hampered negotiations for players, club reps and agents as they struggles to get around the country. Many of the Premier Leagues own staff were absent adding to last day pressures.
2 Feb 2009
Chelsea have signed Ricardo Quaresma on a loan deal until the end of the season.
Quaresma had been linked strongly with Spurs, with Jermaine Jenas and David Bentley thought to be on Jose's shopping list.
Quaresma has not played much this season under Mourinho and has been omitted from Inter's Champions League Squad for the rest of the campaign. Quaresma will fill in for Joe Cole who is out with a long term injury.
David Moyes strengthened his striking options today when he signed Jo on loan from Man City.
Jo arrived at City for £18m in the summer, but has only started 12 games returning 3 goals.
With Yakubu and Vaughan likely to be out until next season, and Saha nursing a hamstring injury Everton are in need of a striker to fill the void.
Jo is cup-tied, so will be unavailable for the game against Liverpool on Wednesday.
Robbie Keane has returned to Tottenham after just 6 Months with Liverpool, the club he grew up supporting.
The fee is thought to be around £15m, but has not been confirmed.
Robbie Keane has told TottenhamHotspur.Com the following, "It was a difficult decision to make to leave Tottenham in the summer. It proved not to be the right move for me. I know some Spurs fans will feel I let them down by leaving but I can assure them I shall be giving my all for this Club - this Club has terrific fans and I want to repay them for all their support. We've got to get on and fight our way up that league table."
Keane is the Third player to return to Tottenham in this window following Jermain Defoe and Pascal Chimbonda.
Liverpool fans will now be hoping that Fernando Torres retains his fitness in the run in, as an injury to their main striker will likely spend the end of their pursuit on the Premier League and Champions League.
1 Feb 2009
Shay Given has completed his move to Man City for an undisclosed fee and has signed a four-and-a-half year deal. Initial bids of £3m and £5m were rejected, so this improved bid will be in excess of those figures.
Given signed for Newcastle from Blackburn in 1997 and has made 450 appearances for the club. Newcastle have continued to underachieve for a club of its size and Given failed to win the trophies that he, and so many other players have sought when moving to the Magpies. Steve Harper, long time deputy will now get his chance of a regular run in the first team between now and the end of the season.
In a statement to City's official website, Hughes is quoted as saying "I have said for a long time that we need the experience of a keeper like Shay. I am delighted that we have been able to acquire such an accomplished keeper, and one is so highly regarded by everyone in the Premier League."
"We are getting a very good keeper, and the experience he has will help the two outstanding young keepers that we have here in Joe and Kasper. I am looking for them all to grow as a group, and it's important that we have that influence of a senior keeper."
"I have had a good talk with him about where we expect to be in the future. From a football point of view, and a club point of view, it's an easy thing to sell because we know we are going in the right direction. Players want to be part of that."
The first ever poll on Football Banter has closed, and the overwhelming opinion of this blogs readers feel that Man Utd will win the Premier League. 10 People voted for Man Utd, giving them slightly over 90% of the vote, and 1 person voted for Arsenal giving them slightly over 9% of the vote.
Nobody voted for Liverpool, Chelsea or Aston Villa. I will leave the poll up for another day or so.
We have a new poll up already asking who is the best Goalkeeper in Premier League History. Early voting is showing that this may also be a two horse race with all the votes so far being cast for either David Seaman or Peter Schmeichel. This vote will close in two weeks.