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The English Premier League is best on the planet and football fans are so fickle – just ask Robin Van Persie and Arsene Wenger!

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BY JOHN GUBBA

To all those fickle football fans out there who think one bad result or two is the end of the world, just take a look at the way Arsenal have bounced back from that 8-2 demolition by Manchester United.

Led by Robin Van Persie, the most outstanding striker of the season so far, Saturday’s remarkable 5-3 triumph at Chelsea was the Gunners’ eighth win in nine matches. So what do those ridiculous fans who were baying for the head of Arsene Wenger have to say for themselves now?

    Twitter-ific - Robin Van Persie is the Premier League's Top Gun

Twitter-ific - RVP's hat-trick at Chelsea took tally to 28 goals in 27 PL matches

When Manchester United crashed 6-1 at home to neighbours City it was one of the biggest upsets in the history of the Premier League. But does that make Sir Alex Ferguson’s men a bunch of no-hopers overnight? Of course it doesn’t – and that’s the point.

City boss Roberto Mancini won a lot of respect from United fans when he refused to crow about the way his side destroyed the Reds at Old Trafford. And the Italian knows only too well that there is a long way to go to win the toughest League in the world.

The truth is football fans in England are so lucky to have the Premier League – the most exciting and popular domestic competition on the planet. It will be fascinating to see if anyone can stop City’s mega millionaires becoming champions. But you can bet your bottom dollar there will be many more twists and turns before the destination of the silverware is decided in May.

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

Time for Terry to get the boot – and Capello can go with him

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John Terry's abuse of Ferdinand - link here to the video courtesy of The Guardian

John Terry's abuse of Ferdinand - link here to the video courtesy of The Guardian

BY JOHN GUBBA

Whether or not John Terry is guilty of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during Chelsea’s 1-0 defeat at QPR, it was not acceptable to see the England captain spitting venom at Rio’s younger brother in front of a worldwide TV audience.

Terry may be an inspirational figure to some of his team mates.But that does not make him fit to be a role model and captain of his country. How many times is the overhyped Chelsea skipper going to be allowed to bring shame on England? Fabio Capello made the mistake of reinstating Terry after he’d sacked him as skipper following the Wayne Bridge affair and ironically replaced him with Rio Ferdinand.

It will be interesting to see if Capello stands by his man now, whether or not Terry is found guilty by the FA. Personally I’d like to see Terry booted out for good – and he can take Capello with him. I’d rather see England lose than succeed with Capello and Terry at the helm.

Terry, who claims it has all been a “big misunderstanding” is in line to be recalled for Chelsea’s clash with Arsenal on Saturday after being left out of the midweek Carling Cup win at Everton. Meanwhile, the Metropolitan Police has announced it is assessing evidence from the incident after receiving a complaint.

Earlier, Ferdinand thanked fellow players for helping him cope with the situation.

“I’d like to thank players like Jason Roberts  for the support they have given me,” Ferdinand told the Telegraph. ”Not just professionals at other clubs but my team-mates at QPR. They’ve been fantastic for me. Having team-mates around you, like I have, is nice to feel and nice to see.”

http://youtu.be/5E-radfdIH8

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

Fireworks from Mario Balotelli as City prove too hot to handle – but how will Reds respond to worst ever Premier League defeat?

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gi9aew3Xw3w

Click to buy DVD

Click to buy DVD

BY JOHN GUBBA

When Mario Balotelli accidentally set his house on fire by letting off a firework in the early hours of Saturday morning the damage was minimal. But 24 hours later the unpredictable Italian striker created the kind of havoc that will earn him cult status among Manchester City fans.

Two opening goals from Balotelli sent City on their way to a crushing 6-1 defeat of Manchester United at Old Trafford that will send shock waves not just around the Premier League, but the whole of Europe. His cheeky gesture after scoring his first was to reveal a t-shirt bearing the slogan “Why Always Me?” that will only add fuel to the adulation that Balotelli cherishes.

Whatever the impact of a red card for Jonny Evans when United trailed 1-nil early in the second half, there was no avoiding the fact that City were the worthy winners on the day. And Roberto Mancini’s men have made a powerful statement about their ability to challenge United’s supremacy and win their first Premier League title. But let’s not carried away by one bad day for United.

Great Goals on DVD

Great Goals on DVD

The team that crushed Arsenal 8-2 only a few weeks ago when they also demolished Spurs and Chelsea have not suddenly become a bad team overnight. Neither have City – outclassed by Bayern Munich in the Champions League a short while aho – suddenly become world beaters.

It is results like these that makes football the most exciting game in the world,  and the Premier League the most watched competition on the planet.

The big question now is ‘How will United respond to this challenge for their title as Champions of England?’ Only at the end of the season will we have our answer.

But Sir Alex Ferguson – who conceded his side played “suicidal football” as they chased to get back into the game has already promised “there will be a response to that”.

Meanwhile, City boss Roberto Mancini, who admitted “the sending off changed everything” insisted: “We have to continue to improve – we have only played nine games. There is a long way to go”

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How pathetic for Craig Brown to brand Team GB players ‘selfish”

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Craig Brown

Craig Brown

BY JOHN GUBBA

Forget the politics – it is time for England, Scotland, Ireland and Wales to join forces and get behind Team GB’s bid for glory at London 2012

Stuart Pearce – the Englishman appointed manager – is absolutely right when he says Britain’s top young stars will all want to take their shot at Olympic Gold.

The Olympics is a unique platform for the world’s finest under 23 players to shine. Remember it was the stage that launched Lionel Messi on the way to becoming the best player on the planet. And Messi was so determined to take part he was happy for Argentinia to take Barcelona to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in the argument over whether or not he could play at the Games.

That’s why the likes of Welshman Gareth Bale are expected to ignore pleas by the Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish FAs not to take part for fear of losing their national status with FIFA.

Let’s face it does anyone really believe that England, Scotland, Wakes and Northern Ireland will be forced to compete as Great Britain at the FIFA World Cup.

For former Scotland manager Craig Brown to say players who take part will be “selfish” is just pathetic.

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

Champions League success for Manchester giants United and City is only the starter before the main course at Old Trafford

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BY JOHN GUBBA

The biggest compliment you can pay Manchester City is that they are picking up good habits from their more famous rivals over at United – and Sergio Aguero’s stoppage time winner in the Champions League against Villareal is one of the most precious goals he will score all season.

Instead of settling for the paltry return of two points from their opening three Group matches, City crucially ended the night on four points and with qualification to the knockout stages back in their grasp courtesy of their dramatic 2-1 win. Neither Manchester club was at their best, as United needed second half penalties from Wayne Rooney to see off Otelul Galati in Romania and claim an equally precious 2-0 triumph that puts the Reds in second place behind Benfica in Group C.

But this was only the starter in a week where the main course is reserved for Sunday lunchtime at Old Trafford.

For both clubs there is the feeling that tonight was the lull before the storm as the countdown begins to the most intriguing Manchester derby in years. With City holding a two point advantage, the battle between the Premier League’s top two is the most eagerly awaited match of the season so far at a time when the Mancunian rivalry grows more intense with every meeting.

Whatever the outcome, it will tell us a lot about how the season is destined to unfold – and whether or not City have made any progress since being brushed aside 3-2 by United in the pre-season Community Shield at Wembley.

http://youtu.be/XNbHiYRzG2Q

where will Carlos Tevez will be on Sunday lunchtime?

What a difference a season makes - where will Carlos Tevez will be on Sunday lunchtime?

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

Gary Neville hits England where it hurts and admits Fabio Capello’s team are no hopers – with or without Wayne Rooney

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BY JOHN GUBBA

Gary Neville accepts the reality that England are short of quality

Gary Neville accepts the reality that England are short of quality

Since ending has career as the best right back of his generation, Gary Neville has established himself as football’s undisputed No.1 pundit.

There is no-one in the game who talks more sense than the tough talking ex-England and Manchester United hero who was grew up in the famous Class of 92 that produced David Beckham, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and his younger brother Phil.

He has already been a revelation as Sky Sports’ most dynamic expert analyst, a million light years better than the excitable Scotsman Andy Gray. And he has also made his mark as a columnist.

Writing in this weekend’s Mail on Sunday, Nev the Red put it simply for the fans when he explained why England do not have a prayer of winning Euro 2012 – with or without Wayne Rooney.

“The real issue is that the spine of the team is not good enough,” explains Neville, who won 85 England caps, in his assessment of Fabio Capello’s chances of winning next summer’s tournament.

“When I look at it coldly, a team that has John Terry, Gary Cahill, Scott Parker, Gareth Barry, Darren Bent and Rooney in its central positions is nowhere near good enough to take on the major nations such as Spain.

“I’m not having a go at individuals; there are some very good players among those names.

“Rooney aside, there is hardly any pace, very little invention and hardly any rotation of positions. Compare that with the spine of Spain: Carles Puyol, Gerard Pique, Xabi Alonso, Xavi, David Villa and Fernando Llorente.”

England take on Spain in a friendly at Wembley next month with Neville keen to see a number of younger players given a chance.

“Let’s be clear, England are not as good as Spain but you can’t just accept they’re better,” said Neville.

“You have to find a way to stop them, to disrupt the rhythm and to hurt them going forward – because England need to believe that, in a one-off, they can beat Spain.

“The rest of Europe is watching and if Spain do what most people think they will do and destroy us, just like France did in February 1999 at Wembley when they were world champions, then England will go into Euro 2012 thinking they have no chance.

“There are younger players – Chris Smalling, Kyle Walker, Phil Jones, Tom Cleverley, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Danny Welbeck – who are mobile, talented and not tainted by previous failures.

“Somehow, Capello has to mould those with the more experienced players into a team to compete with Spain because the team that played on Friday would be well beaten. It’s now time for Capello to be brave.”

http://youtu.be/UHyPsSbEEfY

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

Irish upset for the Wallabies is priceless for the Rugby World Cup

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Irish eyes smiling after one of their country's greatest wins in the Rugby World Cup

Irish eyes smiling after one of their country's greatest wins in the Rugby World Cup

 

The Official Tribute to Rory Underwood - click to buy

The Official Tribute to Rory Underwood - click to buy

BY JOHN GUBBA

Ireland’s stunning 15-6 win over Australia is just what the Rugby World Cup needed. And it is no more than the Irish deserved for producing a magnificent performance at Eden Park.

There is nothing more boring in sport than knowing who is going to win every match in the opening stages of a major tournament. And while we have had a few close calls for the favourites so far, this was the first upset. Where Wales failed to take their chance of upsetting South Africa in a thrilling 17-16 defeat last weekend, not helped by being denied a penalty that clearly went over the posts, there was no way the Irish were going to let the Wallabies off the hook.

Jumping for joy! Irish fans celebrate

Jumping for joy! Irish fans celebrate

Intriguingly, if Ireland can now win Pool D they will expect to play either Wales or Samoa in the quarter-finals and that will give them a great chance of reaching the final four for the first time.

Two penalties and a drop goal from Jonathan Sexton and another two penalties from Ronan O’Gara proved decisive as the Irish pack, and their scrum in particular, secured the of the great wins in the history of Irish sport.

“It was the performance we knew we had in us,” said jubilant Ireland captain Brian O’Driscoll, who was thrilled with his team’s performance and the amazing support of the traveling fans.  But the skipper insisted: “It’s just half the job done. As much as we’ll enjoy this, let’s not lose sight there are two more games.”

http://youtu.be/hjRkF4Zq8Hw

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

Sir Alex Ferguson: ‘They treat Man United like s***!

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Ferguson four letter word rant at FA

Ferguson four letter word rant at FA

For those of us in the UK who can’t afford the luxury of a Sky subscription, news that Sir Alex Ferguson has ended his ban on talking to the BBC has got to be good news.

The boss began his boycott of the broadcaster in 2004 following allegations made against his son, Jason, in a TV documentary. A statement said: “Sir Alex and the BBC have put behind them the difficulties which led to Sir Alex feeling unable to appear on BBC programmes.”

In his attack on the FA Fergie blasted: ‘They treat Man United like s***! United could have up to eight players called up for England duty next week by Fabio Capello and Ferguson is unhappy the organisation do not give his club more respect.

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

FIFA 12: WAYNE ROONEY BEFORE AND AFTER HAIR TRANSPLANT

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Wayne Rooney before and after hair transplant

#hairwego - Hats off to EA Sports for paying tribute to Wazza's new barnet

BY JOHN GUBBA

FIFA 12 is all about authenticity – but the guys at EA Sports have taken attention to detail  to a whole new level with a newlook Wayne Rooney.

In the upcoming release of FIFA 12, the makers of the world’s most famous football game have painstakingly upgraded Wayne Rooney’s hairstyle so his new hair transplant is plain to see. “Trust me this will be the best FIFA game ever,” announced Rooney on Twitter.

Wazza’s receding hairline is clearly visible in the old version. But you can see the difference in incredible detail in the new improved image of the Manchester United and England superstar, who films the commercial for the new FIFA game at the end of August.

If you want to watch the inside story on the Wayne Rooney treatment, check out the campaign to launch a revealing new documentary, The Bald Truth

INDIA’S ICONIC BATSMAN VIRENDER SEHWAG WON WORLD CUP AFTER HAVING ‘A WAYNE ROONEY’

Check out the amazing new gameplay features in action on FIFA 12

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CLASSIC GOALS from Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, Liverpool, Tottenham

HOW CITY’S STUBBORN BRINKMANSHIP SCUPPERED CARLOS TEVEZ SALE TO CORINTHIANS

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Tevez says he wants to return to South America to be closer to his family and his two young daughters.

Tevez says he wants to return to South America to be closer to his family and his two young daughters.

BUY NOW - Man City Match of the 70s DVD Man City Match of the 70s DVD - click to BUY NOW

UPDATE: 20 July 2011 – Is anyone surprised that City’s decision to move the goalposts scuppered the deal which fell through when the Brazilian transfer deadline passed. You can’t blame Corinthians for refusing to be held to ransom after City had announced the deal was agreed. Now Tevez and City are in limbo. Watch this space!

BY JOHN GUBBA

For a club boasting to be the richest in the world, it does appear rather unseemly that Manchester City are using Wednesday’s transfer deadline in Brazil to squeeze every last penny out of the sale of their skipper to his former club Corinthians.

On Sunday, City boss Roberto Mancini announced a deal had been reached for the 27-year-old -  City had previously rejected a bid of £39 million – with only personal terms still to be agreed. But 48 hours before the transfer deadline in Brazil, Corinthians revealed City had moved the goalposts and want more money for Tevez, who previously played for the Sao Paulo club from 2004 to 2006.

The truth is that City, accustomed  to getting their own way since Sheikh Mansour bought the club in 2008, are finding it hard to come to terms with the fact that that even their mega riches do not guarantee keeping their best player. It is a bitter pill to swallow and the Eastlands club  do not like the taste.

Tevez divided Manchester when he made the controversial move from United to City. But you can not fault the Argentine’s commitment on the pitch and he has proved value for money ever since he arrived in England and kept West Ham in the Premier League.