In preparing to face the threat of Danish dangerman Christian Eriksen in the World Cup play-off, Martin O’Neill believes his players are entitled to take encouragement from how they coped in the recent past with other standout stars like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gareth Bale and the Bosnian duo of Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic.
Eden Hazard scored twice as Chelsea battled to a 3-3 draw with Roma to stay top of Champions League Group C. Chelsea had surrendered a two-goal lead to trail 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining after former Manchester City striker Edin Dzeko’s quick-fire double.
When Roy Hodgson was asked recently to contrast the centre-halves England have brought to France (John Stones, Gary Cahill, Chris Smalling) with the choice Sven-Goran Eriksson had at World Cup in 2006 (Sol Campbell, Rio Ferdinand, Jamie Carragher and John Terry), he couldn’t quite bring himself to dispute the gulf in quality.
Goals from Cristiano Ronaldo and James Rodriguez left Roma ruing a host of missed chances as Real Madrid moved into the quarter-finals of the Champions League 4-0 on aggregate with a 2-0 win last night.
On the evidence of what we saw on Friday night in Zenica - when the fog wasn’t making it impossible to see anything at all - Ireland now have a big chance of qualifying for next year’s European Championship finals by beating Bosnia & Herzegovina in the Aviva Stadium tonight.
Edin Dzeko tried to be diplomatic, even if he didn’t try too hard to think. After the Bosnia and Herzegovina striker spent a few minutes talking about how Ireland’s many absent players wouldn’t negatively affect Martin O’Neill’s side, the 29-year-old was asked which opposition players had impressed him.
Manchester United’s transfers aspirations suffered a double blow yesterday as Bayern Munich chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge declared Thomas Muller priceless while Rafael Benitez claimed he is “100%” sure Sergio Ramos will stay at Real Madrid.
Manchester City 2 Leicester City 0: Manuel Pellegrini lives to fight another day as manager of slumping Manchester City but the unconvincing nature of this victory, courtesy of goals from David Silva and James Milner, raised more questions than it offered answers concerning the Chilean’s ability to lead the club to the heights desired by their billionaire owners.
Manchester City 5 Newcastle United 0: THE prospect of facing mighty Barcelona - Messi, Neymar, Suarez et al - will presumably offer Manchester City more concern than this perfunctory five-goal thrashing of Newcastle but so schizophrenic are the mood swings at the Etihad Stadium these days that captain Vincent Kompany is relishing the prospect.
Chelsea made the only big-money signing of a surprisingly low-key transfer deadline day as they brought in Fiorentina winger Juan Cuadrado for €30m; but in a sign that perhaps Financial Fair Play is beginning to bite, even they had to sell Andre Schurrle before signing the cheque.