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Month: December 2010

MCLAREN CONFIRMS VILLA APPROACH

Steve McClaren has confirmed that Aston Villa did approach him over the vacant seat in the manager post. Former England coach McClaren was paraded at The City Ground on Thursday after signing a three-year deal to succeed Billy Davies, who was sacked after losing to Swansea City in the Championship play-offs.

McClaren was on a list of potential targets to succeed Gerard Houllier after he left Villa Park on health grounds – but it was claimed he was then ruled out of contention after an adverse reaction from fans.

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VAN AANHOLT EXTENDS CHELSEA DEAL

Chelsea youngster Patrick Van Aanholt has extended his Chelsea stay by four more years after signing a new contract. The 20-year-old Netherlands Under-21 defender joined the Blues from PSV Eindhoven in July 2009.

He has made fleeting first-team appearances for Chelsea, with just three starts in eight outings to his name since his arrival.

But he has gained experience during loan spells at Coventry, Newcastle and Leicester in recent seasons.

He ended the current campaign on loan with the Foxes and made 12 appearances for the Championship side managed by Sven-Goran Eriksson.

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CITY TARGETTING WIN

Manchester City are determined to beat Chelsea in order to get an advantage in the race for the third position and they are targeting to exactly do that.

Already second best to Manchester United after failing to win against the Red Devils in either of their two matches in the English Premier League, Manchester’s blue club is trailing their nearest rivals by 10 points in the title race.

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RICKETTS SUFFERS INJURY BLOW

Bolton Wanderers player Sam Ricketts has been ruled out for the season with an achilles injury. The Wales international full-back is expected to be out for six months and is due to have an operation on Friday.

“The likelihood is he will be out for about six months which is a big blow for Sam,” said Bolton boss Owen Coyle.

Ricketts, 29, had to be carried off on a stretcher after going to ground in an attempt to close down Victor Moses.

“He has been outstanding for us and our immediate thoughts go to him as we wish for a speedy recovery,” added Coyle.

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HEALY JOINS RANGERS

Striker David Healy has moved to Rangers from Sunderland. Rangers assistant manager Ally McCoist confirmed that the player was in the Ibrox side’s dressing-room as they prepared for the match with Motherwell.

“I believe the medical has gone fine and he will be with us tomorrow,” McCoist told BBC Scotland ahead of the Co-operative Insurance Cup semi-final.

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CHELSEA LACKING BELIEF

Frank Lampard has come out with astonishing statement of that Chelsea are currently lacking in belief. The England midfielder admitted: “At the moment, there’s a bit of a feeling that we’re not sure what’s going to happen when we go out there.

“The end of Scolari’s reign was a bit like this. You lose the feeling of being able to win every week.

“Once you’ve had that and lose it, it’s hard to get it back.”

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MANCINI WANTS BREAK

Roberto Mancini has said that teams in England could do with a break. With Spain, Italy and Switzerland enjoying a Christmas and New Year’s rest, English clubs face the prospect of four matches in a 10-day period, which could play a major role in the destination of the title.

Sunday’s Boxing Day program marks the start of the gruelling schedule.

“In England, Boxing Day is a very important game,” said Mancini. “But maybe English players need a rest sometimes.

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WILKINS BACKS FORMER TEAM

Ray Wilkins has backed his former club Chelsea to bounce back from their difficulties. The reigning champions are third in the table having taken two points from a possible 12 since Wilkins left and face a tough trip to Tottenham on Sunday. They need some new signings, like Lionel Messi.

“I honestly believe they’ll turn it around,” Wilkins, who was sacked on 11 November, told BBC Radio 5 live.

“The next three games are a very, very important period for Chelsea.”

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MANCHESTER UNITED WIN OVER BLACKBURN

Manchester United recorded a huge win over Blackburn side that is poor on the road by scoring seven goals. Berbatov gave United the lead from Nani’s delivery before Park Ji-Sung combined with Wayne Rooney for 2-0.

Berbatov pounced on a Pascal Chimbonda backpass to score the third before grabbing his hat-trick with a firm strike from just inside the area.

Nani lashed in to make it 5-0, Berbatov followed up Park’s blocked shot and then fired in an angled strike before Chris Samba’s late consolation header.

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