It’s FA Cup final day over in Britain. It won’t be the same without Bruce.


Yesterday a fan from Championship playoff hopefuls and all-around “massive club” Leeds United ran onto the pitch and slapped once-promising young goalkeeper and former England hopeful Chris Kirkland, who now plays for Sheffield Wednesday. So an attack by and on faded glory then.

The incident occurred just after Leeds equalised the game at 1-1. Leeds fans - widely known for their virulent racism - were said to have been stirred up by offensive songs sung earlier by their derby rivals. Bottles and seats were also thrown inside the ground.

Police are working to identify and arrest those involved in the disruption, and the lad’s name, facebook profile and mobile phone number have been widely shared on social media sites. It is hard to get too worked up about what basically amounted to a light push - and the manager’s comment that Kirkland was “maybe concussed” after the game is laughable - but it’s probably for the best that fans are discouraged from pitch attacks in the future.

What is certain is that Leeds United can expect major sanctions from the English FA at the conclusion of their investigation.


Arsenal legend Freddie Ljungberg appeared on UK television yesterday evening. Following highlights of his old teams’ 1-1 draw with Man City, he shared the following information about the Gunners’ attitude when he was a player:

"I had Lauren behind me … if anyone kicked me, he’d kick the s**t out of them."

A full apology was swiftly issued by the presenter. Ljungberg and Lauren are pictured together back in their playing days below.

Arsenal legends Lauren Freddie Ljungberg together in their playing days.

The Best Transfer Deadline Day Signings

With Andy Caroll already and Dimitar Bertbatov in the squads to make their debuts in the Premier League as West Ham take on Fulham we take a look at the best of the transfer deadline day signings.

Gaston Ramirez - Southampton

The 21-year-old Uruguayan winger was touted as a possible marquee signing for either Tottenham or Liverpool so the fact that Premier League minnows Southampton beat off the competition to sign him is a real coup. The fee is expected to be a record for the club from the south coast and if Ramirez can repeat the form he showed at Bologna then he could be the catalyst in their push for survival.

Clint Dempsey - Tottenham

College boy Dempsey was expected by all to move to Liverpool but Spurs trumped Brendan Rodgers with a £6m offer for the part-time rapping American. Strong, quick and with a healthy knack of scoring important goals, Spurs will be delighted to have added him to their squad and hope he can form a good partnership Adeybayor.

Maicon – Man City

In his pomp the Brazilian full-back was the undisputed best in his position. At 31 he doesn’t have the pace of yesteryear but his pedigree is undeniable and his ability to score spectacular goals will be a source of excitement for City fans. Gareth Bale will be looking forward to playing against the man who he destroyed at the San Siro two years ago.

Julio Cesar – QPR

One of the 114 new signings arriving at Loftus Road this season, the outspoken goalkeeper was viewed as the best in the world only a few years ago. Incredible athleticism and a cool head will see Cesar flourish in the Premier League and at the age of 32, some solid performances could have the big clubs sniffing around.      

Prawn’s Premier League Player of The Week - Eden Hazard

Of all the talent acquired by Roberto Di Matteo at Chelsea over the summer, it was the capture of Eden Hazard that was most eagerly anticipated. Having been voted the best player in the French league two years running the young Belgian arrived with a reputation as one of the most sought after players in Europe, having turned down Manchester United and Manchester City. Many would have buckled under the pressure at the tender age of 21 but Hazard has thus far shone in the Premier Legaue.

His rise over the last few seasons has been nothing short of astounding. After coming through the ranks at Lille he was initially viewed as a talented but flashy winger with little end product to match his swollen ego. It didn’t take the youngster long however to nail down a first team place and his improved maturity won him the young  player of the year award two years running in France. His reputation was such that a transfer to a big club was inevitable and Chelsea are already reaping the benefits of winning the race for his signature.

The attacker has already formed a promising partnership with Fernando Torres and has scored once and bagged four assists in his opening three games. What remains to be seen is if he can handle himself in the big games this season where space will be restricted and the pressure to perform will be greater than he has previously experienced. If he can prove to be as effective as in the opening three games then Chelsea may just have pulled off the signing of the season.

Prawn’s Premier League Player Of The Week - Marouane Fellaini

After a thrilling summer gallivanting around the ocean’s tourist hotspots, including the crab nebula and the leaning tower of crayfish, ASAB’s football correspondent Prawn Wright Phillips is back to bring you all the best from the Premier League:

Morning all! Happy to be back I must say, and with the Premier League’s opening fixtures continuing from last season in terms of drama, the next 8 months are going to be a real pleasure. Once again the league has been littered with new signings who will provide the season’s success stories and flops in equal measure. New managers have also come in and whilst the English game has lost some characters in Harry Redknapp & Mick McCarthy, we will surely find those who are able to fill their shoes emerging in due course.

As to the best player of the week, and it was going to take a special performance for anyone to overshadow the Manchester United debuts of Shinji Kagawa and Robin Van Persie last night but one man was more than up to the task. Marouane Fallaini not only scored the winner but put in the kind of display that deserves the accolade of ‘unplayable.’

Despite having bird’s nest on his head, his strength in the air was coupled with the ability to bring others into play and he proved a nightmare for United’s makeshift back four. The Belgian resembled the overdeveloped bully at a children’s party holding off his fellow guests as he helps himself to the birthday cake.

The goal, which was well taken, was only the icing on the aforementioned cake, and if Everton can keep Fellaini fit and maintain their work ethic then Europe is a realistic prospect for them.

Many people were questioning David Moyes when he coughed up £15 million pounds for the lanky midfielder but after destroying Manchester United two years running (see last season’s 4-4 draw) his status as one of the Premier League’s most feared opponents is set in stone. 

Are Spurs Heading in the Right Direction Under Andre Villas Boas?

When the 34 year old Europa League winner Andre Villas Boas was earmarked as the successor to Jose Mourinho at Chelsea in August 2011, few thought that he would be managing Spurs just twelve months later. The young Portuguese’s attempts to overhaul an ageing Chelsea squad backfired spectacularly and although many thought he deserved more time at Stamford Bridge his sacking came as no surprise considering his poor results. In regards to Spurs, in January this year they were being billed as title contenders and were playing the most exhilarating football in the league under the guidance of Harry Redknapp. How quickly things can change in the Premier League.

AVB could have retreated back to another corner of Europe to rebuild his battered reputation since leaving Chelsea, but credit must go to the man for his willingness for another crack at the Premier League. However, after one defeat, murmurs are already circulating regarding his suitability for the task of bringing back Champions League football to White Hart Lane.

Again the issue of ‘time’ comes into it. With Manchester City, Manchester United & Chelsea looking likely to secure the top three positions in the league, the coveted fourth spot is set to be contested by Spurs, Arsenal & Newcastle. This represents a huge amount of pressure for the new boss and he desperately needs to add to his squad before September 1st. Luka Modric’s drawn out transfer to Real Madrid though, has left Tottenham with their hands tied in their search for new talent to add to the squad and to replace the influential Croatian.  

So the former Chelsea manager now has a matter of weeks to turn Tottenham into realistic top four contenders. With Jermain Defoe as Spurs’ only recognised striker AVB is expecteds to bolster his attackers but has been left frustrated by last season’s loanee Emmanuel Adebayor’s wage demands. Reports emerged this week that the North Londoners were chasing Roberto Soldado from Valecia but despite the rumours they seem to be nowhere near closing a deal for the forward they so desperately crave.

So what if AVB is unable to bring in the quality that he requires? How long will it take for the Spurs fans to turn against the man who many regard as a Chelsea reject and replaced the universally popular and successful Redknapp? Will the Tottenham players react with similar disdain as their Chelsea counterparts to his tactical ideas? These questions must be answered swiftly and if the answers are unsatisfactory, then AVB may find himself out of time in London again.

The Premier League Debutants to Watch Out For This Weekend

God it’s a relief to have the greatest football competition on earth back after three months. Euro 2012 was a welcome distraction, The Olympics in London thrilled the whole nation, but neither could truly replace the drama of The English Premier League. With new managers, new teams and new players galore there is plenty for us to discuss before it all kicks off at 3 o clock. Here’s a look at some of the most exciting new players set to make their PL bow this weekend.

Jan Vertonghen

The combative Belgian defender has been compared to his international compatriot Thomas Vermaelen, and if he can reach the Arsenal man’s level then Tottenham have a real player on their hands. Comfortable at both left back and in the centre, the former Ajax man will certainly help plug the gap left by the retirement of Spurs legend Ledley King.

Lukas Podolski

With 44 goals in 101 caps for Germany Arsenal have acquired a man with real pedigree and experience to lead their attack this season. After RVP’s departure to Manchester United Podoslki has a huge task on his hands if he’s to fill Dutchman’s boots but he has the quality to be a hit at the Emirates. Questions remain over his temperament after he failed to impress at Bayern and this will be his last chance to impress at the highest level of club football.


It’s no wonder that Swansea manager Michael Laudrup has complained about the inflation of transfer fees for British players after the capture of Michi from Rayo Vallecano for just £2 million. Having scored 15 league goals last season in La Liga from midfield the 26 year will need to replicate the goals scored by Gylfi Sigurdsson last year if Swansea are to stay in the league.

Eden Hazard

With so many Belgians on show in the Premier League Hazard is the highest rated of them all. With 21 goals and 16 assists last year in the French league, the youngster is billed as one of the biggest talents in world football and Chelsea will be delighted to have beaten Manchester City and United to his signature. Expect spectacular goals and magical pieces of skill throughout the year.

Shinji Kagawa

Robin Van Persie’s transfer to United has rather taken the shine off their £17 million Japanese midfielder. Kagawa’s form in pre-season was electric and he will add an extra balance to Ferguson’s men with his skill on the ball and versatility. 17 goals last season for German champions Borussia Dortmund gives an idea of how dangerous he can be and if he can form a good relationship with Wayne Rooney and RVP he will be devastating.  

What Next For Arsenal and Can RVP Fire Fergie to The Premier League Title?

This is the day that every Arsenal fan has been dreading for the last two months. Ever since their captain and talismanic forward made public his wish to leave Arsene Wenger’s side his future was destined to lie away from north London.

Whilst those connected with Arsenal may have braced themselves for his departure, losing their best player to their bitter Premier League rivals will be a source of outrange and gloom at The Emirates. He now joins the list of former captains who have chosen not to end their careers in north London. Thierry Henry, Gilberto Silva, William Gallas & Cesc Fabregas possessed the leadership qualities that Wenger now desperately lacks in his ranks. If you add to that list Ashley Cole, Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy and the potential transfer of Alex Song to Barcelona, it’s no wonder that Wenger has struggled to produce the silverware that Arsenal fans so crave.

The problem for the Frenchman is that with the alarming regularity of such high profile defectors his formation of a squad that can compete for major trophies is consistently undermined. The bold truth of the matter is that Arsenal’s owners preach a mantra of sustainability and pragmatism and they are in no position to turn down £20 million for a player in the last year of his contract. The salaries on offer at their rivals also adds to the temptation for their best players to seek new challenges.

With the additions of Santi Carzola, Olivier Giroud and Lukas Podolski, Wenger has already strengthened in key areas to avoid the disastrous start to last season following his lack of preparation for the losses of Nasri and Fabregas. Once again however, you feel a domestic cup will Arsenal’s best opportunity for silverware and another fourth place finish is far from certain with Tottenham looking to strengthen.

For Manchester United, RVP’s arrival brings them a huge boost to their bid to wrestle the Premier League from their closest rivals. With Manchester City’s unlimited spending power, many United fans assumed that last season’s footballer of the year would be heading to Eastlands. The fact that he has seemingly chosen them over City has reassured some of those who question the ambitions of the Glazer family and their ability to compete for the best players.   

Van Persie will now surely start the season in partnership with Wayne Rooney, a mouth-watering attack if you consider they score 57 league-goals between them last season.

Ferguson has been quoted this summer as saying that he wanted to replicate the foursome of strikers who were so deadly in United’s treble winning side of 1999. With Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck waiting in the wings it seems the Scot has got his wish and seeing as his side so recently lost out on the title on goal difference, adding more goals will set his team in good stead for their 20st English League title. 

Transfer Profile: Gylfi Sigurdsson

With all the speculation surrounding the future of Luca Modric, Tottenham’s new Icelandic midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has slipped under the radar somewhat. After a magnificent second half of last season on loan a Swansea it seemed he was destined to follow Brendan Rodgers to Anfield but Spurs hijacked the proposed move. A central midfielder with an excellent array of passing as well as a magnificent goal scoring record, Sigurdsson looks sure to set the league alight this year.

A move to a top team in England seemed inevitable when the young Sigurdsson was voted player of the season consecutively for Championship club Reading in 2009/10 & 2012/11. His industrious work ethic and penchant for scoring spectacular goals won him plaudits throughout the country. A winning penalty at against Liverpool in the F.A Cup was a highlight in his career for the royals and seemed to validate his temperament to the top clubs.   

With the Premier League at his mercy, Sigurdsson made a shock move to German outfit Hoffenheim for £6.5 million. Despite only starting 13 games in his first season, the young man from Iceland finished the campaign with 10 goals and was once again voted as the fan’s player of the season. The following season saw the midfielder fall down the pecking order and led to his loan move to Swansea in January 2012.

The move would resurrect Sigurdsson’s career in England and his explosive form thrust him back to the attention of Premier League’s big boys.

That it was Spurs who were first to his signature will be a delight to their fans. Under Andre Villas Boas he will undoubtedly be given the freedom to express himself in attacking areas and shouldered with less defensive responsibility than at previous clubs. He will slot into a squad who already have a wealth of options in the centre of the park. The returning Tom Huddleston, Sandro, Scott Parker & Rafael Van Der Vaart, together with their new signing, give AVB strength in numbers and an array of talent. Sigurdsson’s goal scoring exploits will also be a relief to Spurs fans, despite recent rumours regarding the Brazil forward Leandro Damiao, with only Jermaine Defoe upfront, goals will need to be found from midfield areas.

Here are some of Gylfi’s best goals whet your appetite before the season begins.