M´Vila gives little away on transfer rumours

12 August 2012 17:15

Yann M’Vila says he is in no rush to leave Rennes despite chairman Frederic de Saint-Sernin confirming interest from England.

Arsenal have repeatedly been linked with a move for the France international, despite their manager Arsene Wenger having previously ruled out signing the 22-year-old.

M’Vila meanwhile has said he is happy to stay at Rennes, but refused to rule out the possibility of a move.

“For the moment, I am here, I am well, I’m not complaining, I play,” he said.

“I must play good matches. While I am here, I am (at) the disposal of the coach and I must do the best possible.

“The transfer window ends on September 4, so I will not lose my head.

“If I must stay another year or more, I will stay.

“If I must go, that’s life. But if I stay here, I will be 100 percent concentrated.”

Arsenal have already been active in the off-season transfer window, bringing in Lukas Podolski, Santi Cazorla and Olivier Giroud, although captain Robin van Persie’s future at the club remains in doubt.

Community Shield: Manchester City 3 Chelsea 2

12 August 2012 17:10

Manchester City produced a brilliant second-half display to beat 10-man Chelsea 3-2 in the Community Shield at Villa Park.

Roberto Mancini may believe Manchester United are favourites to win the league this season, but his City side were in fine form on Sunday, and dominated this feisty match despite falling behind to Fernando Torres’ 40th-minute strike.

Yaya Toure, Carlos Tevez and Samir Nasri struck three superb goals after the break as City took advantage of space in the Chelsea defence created by Branislav Ivanovic’s 42nd-minute dismissal for a studs-up challenge on Aleksandar Kolarov.

Ryan Bertrand grabbed a late goal back for Chelsea but City held on comfortably to complete a successful day following the news that they had agreed a fee with Everton to sign Jack Rodwell.

There was certainly nothing charitable about the traditional season curtain-raiser as fierce challenges flew in with almost the same ferocity as the rain pounding down in the west Midlands.

Nigel de Jong set the tone with a lunging foul on Frank Lampard, while City defender Stefan Savic was booked as he took out his frustration on Eden Hazard’s ankle.

Thousands of supporters arrived late due to traffic on the M6, but they missed little action of note in the early stages as the champions of England and Europe cancelled each other out in a congested midfield.

In the third minute, Tevez forced the first save of note from Petr Cech with a free-kick from the corner of the penalty area that curled over the wall but lacked the power to beat the Chelsea goalkeeper at his near post.

City looked rather uncomfortable defensively in the 3-5-2 formation deployed by Mancini but began to take control of proceedings, as Nasri came close but saw his effort from a tight angle smothered by Cech.

Hazard, the only off-season signing to start the match for either side, showed glimpses of his quality, taking the ball under pressure and using his skill to manoeuvre past the City defenders.

The 32-million-pound addition from Belgium is certainly confident in his own ability – but his first game on English soil is likely to be remembered for the moment in the first-half when he fell flat on his face when attempting a backheel.

On 28 minutes, it was Hazard who drifted inside and fizzed a low shot towards the bottom corner of Costel Pantilimon’s goal, the first shot in anger from a Chelsea player.

Against the run of play, however, the Blues took the lead in the 40th minute, with Torres making a clear statement of his intent for the new season after winning the Golden Boot at Euro 2012.

Ramires did all of the hard work for the Spaniard, taking the ball on the edge of the penalty area and executing a neat reverse pass. Torres’ finish was masterful, a perfect first touch with his right foot and a deadly clipped finish with his left from eight yards.

Yet Chelsea’s celebrations were short-lived as Roberto Di Matteo’s side found themselves reduced to 10 men less than two minutes later as Ivanovic was sent-off. The Serbian’s lunge on Kolarov was dangerous, reckless and completely unnecessary and the full-back will now be suspended for three matches.

The extra man told as City dominated from the whistle after the re-start and drew level eight minutes into the second-half. Toure, always the man for the occasion, collected a poor clearance from John Terry and swept the ball low into the corner from 20 yards.

In the 58th minute, City took the lead when Tevez collected the ball on the left of the Chelsea box, before smashing a missile into the top corner.

Nasri added the finishing touch with a first-time volley on his left foot to turn in Kolarov’s cross following a sweeping move.

Chelsea substitute Bertrand grabbed a goal back for the Londoners in the 78th minute as he turned in a rebound from close range when Pantilimon made a mess of his attempt to save Daniel Sturridge’s shot.

Zeman wants wider Conte ban

12 August 2012 17:06

Zdenek Zeman says Antonio Conte should not be allowed to coach his players after receiving a touchline ban for failing to report corruption.

Juventus coach Conte, 43, will serve a 10-month ban after being found guilty of failing to report instances of match-fixing during his time at Siena.

The suspension only applies to the dugout and dressing room on match days, for which he has been replaced by Massimo Carrera.

Roma coach Zeman however believes his Serie A-winning counterpart should not be allowed access to his squad at any time.

“A suspended player can train, but I think a coach with a long ban shouldn’t be able to train his team,” Zeman told a press conference.

“I haven’t read the full verdicts of the betting trial, but if people want to weaken this phenomenon then they have to be more decisive.”

Zeman praised new Roma signing Mattia Destro, who scored a hat-trick in a 6-0 victory over SC Liezen, and is happy with how his team is shaping up ahead of the new Serie A season.

“Am I satisfied with the decision to sell Fabio Borini and bring in Destro? Yes, we made this choice based on technique and I think Destro is a more technical player than Borini,” he said.

“I already have a basic idea of my starting XI. I have a squad that covers every position with two players. Then it depends on their fitness levels and my decision on which ones I use.”

Scottish Premier League: Hibs 1 Hearts 1

12 August 2012 16:48

A first-half equaliser from Hibs’ Leigh Griffiths ensured the Edinburgh derby against Hearts ended 1-1 at Easter Road on Sunday.

Hearts took the lead through Andrew Driver, however Griffiths tucked the ball past oncoming goalkeeper Jamie MacDonald to level proceedings on the stroke of half time.

His goal earned Hibernian their first point of the 2012/13 Scottish Premier League campaign in a fierce encounter, which saw six yellow cards handed out.

The visitors went into the match full of confidence after trouncing Hibs 5-1 in the Scottish Cup in May and beating St Johnstone 2-0 on the opening weekend of the SPL.

And they pounced on a horrendous Alan Maybury error in the 28th minute to hit the front.

Maybury attempted to play the ball back to Ben Williams but his header fell short, exposing the goalkeeper and allowing Driver to slot the ball home.

Hibs came close to drawing level six minutes before the interval through Griffiths, however his strike on goal ricocheted off the post.

Griffiths did eventually net the leveller in the final seconds of the half.

Midfielder David Wotherspoon played in the on-loan Wolves striker and he slotted the ball through the legs of MacDonald.

Both teams were unable to find the back of the net in the second half, meaning Hearts join St Mirren atop the table and are now unbeaten in 12 Edinburgh derby fixtures.

Schmid not scared of MLS rivals

12 August 2012 16:15

Seattle Sounders manager Sigi Schmid said his side does not fear any team in the MLS, despite their 2-1 loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

An uneventful first half on Sunday gave way to an exciting final 45 minutes, as San Jose took the lead late through Simon Dawkins, only for Seattle to respond soon after with a Fredy Montero equaliser nine minutes from time.

The sides were set to share the spoils before Steven Lenhart headed home in stoppage time to extend the Earthquakes’ lead in the Western Conference to five points with a game in hand.

Schmid was undeterred by the defeat, insisting his side were capable of beating anyone in the American top-flight.

“We’ve just got to keep going,” Schmid said of his third-placed side in West.

“I think we’re right there, I don’t think there’s any team in the league that we have to fear.

“We’re starting to get (Christian) Tiffert integrated into the team, I thought he did alright tonight. He was dangerous, he had some good set pieces which helped connect our play.

“Hopefully we’ll start to get a bit of a rhythm in terms of not having to play every weekend and mid-week which will help us build a bit of rhythm and train a little bit as well.”

The loss was Seattle’s first since falling to the Portland Timbers 2-1 in June, but Schmid said he was proud of his side’s performance.

“We’ve played a lot of games but at the end of the day I’m proud of what we did and I’m proud of our ability to come back,” he said.

“There were times when we gave them territorially a little bit more but I thought at the end when you look at good, clean chances we had as many clean chances as they did.”

The Sounders next host the Vancouver Whitecaps on Saturday.