The chase is on

September 1, 2012





Ken Masters


Cautious types remind us that we are in a marathon and not in a sprint; there is a very long way to go. Nonetheless even those well in the thick of it are tempted to predict but I wonder if tongues are in cheeks and words are uttered for reasons of politics.


This from AOL Sport:Football after Manchester United had clinched the services of Robin van Persie from Arsenal for a mere £24m:

Roberto Mancini: Manchester United favourites for title. “Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini says neighbours United are favourites to win the Premier League – because they have two of the best strikers.”

Mancini thinks that Sir Alex will pair him up front with Wayne Rooney but will he? Rooney was relegated to the subs bench for the game against Fulham last week. Arsenal, on the other hand, have yet to put the ball into the back of the net. Van Persie will be a big miss in North London for sure.

 “Van Persie was the best striker last year,” Mancini said. “With Rooney they will have one of the best couple of strikers in the Premier League.”

And Mancini believes that history and experience gives Sir Alex Ferguson’s side the edge for other reasons.

“They have been playing for the title every year for 20 years,” he said. “We can’t change this situation in one year Any team that bought Van Persie would be better. I felt he was going to stay at Arsenal or sign for another team, but not us.

“We already have four strikers. It was impossible for us to sign another one.”

It is my view that Arsenal will also miss the services of Alex Song. Also on Sport : Football: “Alex Song: Medical passed. Alex Song has passed his medical with Barcelona as he puts the finishing touches on his £15millon move from Arsenal.”

Doctor Ricard Pruna said of Song on www.fcbarcelona. com “He has a very low body fat percentage and very good muscle quality. All the tests have come out satisfactorily and he is available to the coach.”

Interesting way of putting it but the understanding is that Alex Song is now a Barcelona player.

Back to Mancini and his view about the influence of strikers as far as winning the title chase. Clearly Emmanuel Adebayor is not one of them. Adebayor has completed a £5m move to Tottenham Hotspur.

The former Arsenal man revealed the news on Twitter: “Tottenham here I come! I’m hungry for goals. Get ready.” Adebayor had two years to run on his City contract, having been sent out on loan for most of the previous two seasons to Real Madrid and then Spurs.

“I am pleased to be signing for Spurs on a permanent basis after finally agreeing my departure with Manchester City,”

Adebayor added.

“It may have taken longer than expected but I am delighted to be back at Tottenham Hotspur. I really enjoyed my time here last season and I am hoping we can achieve great things together again.”

We shall see, but the influence of Harry Redknapp was immense at Spurs as was that of Luca Modric.

Sir Alex would not agree with Roberto that it’s all about strikers it seems and not all about big names either.

News came through on the web that Alexander Buttner set for medical ahead of Manchester United move. The left back, 23, says United had tracked him for a month and stepped up their interest in as the season got under way. This from Dutch football commentator Mark Van Rijswik speaking to BBC Radio 5 live:

“When the news came through about Manchester United it was a very big surprise in the Netherlands that he would make that kind of move. He’s decent but he’s nowhere near someone like Patrice Evra so no one really understood it.”

Buttner has spent his entire career at Vitesse and was included in the provisional Netherlands squad for Euro 2012. Sir Alex knows best!

Chelsea are off to a flyer and are out to make sure it’s not all about the two Manchesters this season.

Eden Hazard had no fear about becoming a target for English football’s hatchet men following his dream Barclays Premier League debut for Chelsea.

Hazard made a stunning start to life in England’s top division with two assists in the first seven minutes of the European champions’ 2-0 win at Wigan.

The Latics immediately resorted to desperate measures to stop the £32million man, with captain Gary Caldwell booked for a late challenge on him just four minutes later.

“I wasn’t aware I was the most fouled player in the match,

I wasn’t counting them.”

Good man.

So they think it’s all over. Not so, it’s only just begun and the chase is on.


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