Lionel Messi over Cristiano Ronaldo, FA Cup semi-final the greatest atmosphere and Berbatov vs Liverpool the greatest goal, says James Chester

6 Aug

Aston Villa mark their return to the Premier League with a game against Tottenham.

It’s live on talkSPORT at 5:30pm as GameDay begins on talkSPORT, so Villa defender James Chester joined talkSPORT for a trip down memory lane in ‘My Greatest’.

He kicks us off by discussing Gareth Bale’s brilliance, something Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane would surely disagree with.

Chester plays alongside Real Madrid star Gareth Bale at international level
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Greatest team-mate: Gareth Bale

It’s a tough one because I’ve played with some really good people, but I think ability-wise I’d have to go for him.

Greatest trainer: Paul McShane

He’s just always putting in 100 per cent and training everyday like it meant something.

If you ask him to go for a coffee at 1.30pm, he’ll agree to meet you, but won’t be there until 4.30pm because he’s still in the gym.

Paul McShane was as dedicated as they come in football
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Greatest player of all time: Lionel Messi

Being a Man United fan it’s tough, but I’d have to go for him over Cristiano Ronaldo.

Sorry Cristiano, but Lionel Messi is the greatest player – and that’s coming from a Man United fan!
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Greatest game: Wales 3-2 Belgium, Euro 2016

The occasion was amazing, but to get the result was a really special night and probably the best feeling I’ve ever had on a football field.

It was an electric atmosphere in France during Euro 2016
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Greatest game watched: Between two

On TV it would be when Man United beat Bayern Munich in the Champions League final in 1999.

The greatest game I’ve watched live would be United beating Liverpool [3-2] at Old Trafford [in 2010] when Dimitar Berbatov scored a hat-trick – he scored an overhead kick and it was one of the best goals I’ve ever seen.

Chester was in the stands in September 2010 and says Berbatov’s overhead kick was one of the best goals he has ever seen
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Greatest moment: Promotion

I’ve been lucky to have a few – more than I’d ever imagined I would – and playing in the FA Cup final and scoring [against Arsenal in 2014] was special, but I think winning promotion with Hull City and Aston Villa have both been really special moments.

Winning promotion with both Aston Villa in 2019 and Hull in 2013 rank very highly for Chester
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Greatest kit: Aston Villa

The first time I signed for Aston Villa in 2016 and put the kit on. It felt special in that first season I was here.

Wearing the claret and blue of Villa was a pretty special moment
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Greatest atmosphere: Hull 5-3 Sheffield United, 2014

Crystal Palace away is always a good one as they make some really good noise and I recall the FA Cup semi-final against Sheffield United, too. I remember after one of their goals the noise was something I’d never heard before.

Playing in the high scoring Hull vs Sheffield United game at Wembley was a fantastic atmosphere
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Greatest stadium: Goodison Park

Emirates is pretty special from walking through the door to the changing rooms, everything about it is top quality.

One of my personal favourites, though, is Goodison Park because I love the feeling of the fans being on top of you, so for old school: Everton and new school: Arsenal.

One of the most exciting things about the opening day of the season is going to Tottenham as none of us will have played there and I’ve heard it’s really good.

Chester was amazed by the Emirates, loves Goodison and now cannot wait to play against Tottenham at their new ground on the first game of the season
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Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2 as we become your go to destination for all the Premier League action.

We’ll bring you LIVE commentary of Premier League games across all three time slots on Saturday – 12.30pm, 3pm and 5.30pm – delivering award-winning coverage to more GameDay listeners than ever.



 

Liverpool 2017/2018 vs Tottenham 2018/2019: The omens which suggest Spurs could win the Champions League next season

4 Jun

After not making a single signing in two transfer windows, Champions League glory for Tottenham in Madrid last week would have represented one of the greatest-ever feats in the history of the competition.

Sadly for Mauricio Pochettino and co that wasn’t to be, as Liverpool sealed their sixth European crown with a 2-0 victory against their Premier League rivals at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Mauricio Pochettino would love a transfer war chest to strengthen his Tottenham squad
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However, the north London side should not be too despondent after another impressive campaign – sealing a fourth successive top-four Premier League spot.

And should they open their cheque book this summer, the omens look very good, indeed.

Jurgen Klopp’s men were Champions League finalists in the 2017/18 campaign, eventually losing out to Spanish giants Real Madrid in Kiev.

They also finished fourth in the Premier League and reached the fourth round of the FA Cup – just like Tottenham.

Liverpool won the Champions League a year after finishing finalists in the competition
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LIVE ON talkSPORT

talkSPORT is your home of live football! Here's what's coming up on talkSPORT and talkSPORT 2...

  • Portugal vs Switzerland (Wednesday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • Netherlands vs England (Thursday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT
  • France vs South Korea (Friday, 8pm) – talkSPORT
  • Denmark vs Republic of Ireland (Friday, 7:45pm) – talkSPORT 2
  • Croatia vs Wales (Saturday, 2pm) – talkSPORT
  • England vs Scotland (Sunday, 5pm) – talkSPORT

The only other factor to take into consideration is that Liverpool splashed out a whopping £163m on four new additions the summer before all this happened.

Alisson, Naby Keita, Fabinho and Xherdan Shaqiri all provided valuable experience and proven quality during a season to remember for the Reds.

And if Pochettino, who has done an outstanding at White Hart Lane, is given the same sort of financial injection to strengthen his squad – then few would bet against Spurs challenging for European glory again next season.

LIVERPOOL 2017/2018 vs TOTTENHAM 2018/2019

Liverpool this time last year:
Premier League: 4th
FA Cup: Fourth Round
Champions League: Runners-up
Summer Spend: £163m

Spurs this season:
Premier League: 4th
FA Cup: Fourth Round
Champions League: Runners-up
Summer spend: ?

Former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino picks his combined team for Manchester United’s treble-winners from 1999 and Manchester City’s current day heroes

27 May

Tony Cascarino has picked his combined Manchester United and Manchester City team from their respective golden eras.

It is 20 years since United completed a remarkable treble by lifting the Premier League, FA Cup and then the Champions League against Bayern Munich.

Manchester United clinched the treble in 1999
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But the present day has seen rivals City usurp them as the best team in the country.

Since Pep Guardiola’s arrival in 2016, the Citizens have been the dominant force in English football and completed an unprecedented treble of domestic trophies this season.

But which side was better.

While it is virtually impossible to ever get a satisfactory answer, former Chelsea striker Tony Cascarino attempted to pick his combined City and United team alongside Georgie Bingham on the Weekend Sports Breakfast.

Scroll down to see who made the cut and who missed out on a place in the XI.

FULL-BACKS

Gary Neville and Denis Irwin were vital to United’s success at the turn of the millennium
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“Some of these United players were legends far after 1999 and some of them before.

“Denis Irwin; no-brainer, I always said Denis was up there with the very best I played with. Left or right back by the way!

“I think left back has been an issue for City all years because obviously Mendy got injured and they’ve put Zinchenko there and they’ve juggled Delph as part of that pack.

“The two full-backs were quite easy as they were Neville and Irwin of United.”

WINGERS

Ryan Giggs’ strike in the FA Cup semi-final is the stuff of legend
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“Well my toughest positions were the two wide men,” he said. “Because I had Beckham and David Silva and I was really torn.

“But I do think that David Silva was the more accomplished player. The icon of David Beckham is extraordinary and he played in an 11-year period.

“But City have had a player in David Silva who has been there – probably close to a decade now – who has been I think just the magician of their team.

“The Sterling one was tough because Sterling has scored 31 goals this year – he got 17 in the Premier League this year, 18 last year, two Premier League titles and he’s outscoring even on Giggs’ best season.

“I just couldn’t get away from the fact Giggs has won 13 Premier Leagues.”

DE BRUYNE?

When he is at his best, there are few better in the Premier League than Kevin de Bruyne
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“De Bruyne wasn’t easy because obviously he has been injured quite often.

“But I just think he has got the absolute lot for a central midfielder – attack-minded, creative and he will play a big part in City next year.

“He’s already done it in years gone by and I found it very difficult to ignore Kevin De Bruyne, but I felt he had to be in there.”

JAAP STAM?

Jaap Stam was a colossus at the back for Manchester United
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“I could do this team after a lot of these City players have retired and I could add more in,” he added.

“I might be adding Laporte in because, I go back to Jaap Stam and he was brilliant for three years and he was only at Old Trafford for three years before he went to Lazio.

“So he only left because of the problems with Fergie in his book where he said certain things and Fergie was prepared to let him go.

“But Jaap Stam played less than 100 games for Man United, but he was brilliant during the time he was there.”

MANAGER

Sir Alex Ferguson transformed Manchester United into serial winners
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“If I’m judging on Premier League, I can only go for Fergie because of his reign and for so long and all the ups and downs – he always had a way of producing.

“If I’m looking worldwide and going Barcelona and Bayern Munich, you could argue Pep.

“The two of them have just been extraordinary, but if you’re talking Premier League I’d have to go Fergie.

“Pep is in his third year so I’m not taking into the equation Bayern Munich and Barcelona.”

Tony Cascarino’s combined XI is dominated by United legends
buildlineup.com

FINAL TALLY

United (1999) – 7

City (2019) – 4

Manchester United had concerns about Sir Alex Ferguson ahead of 1998/99 treble winning season

23 May

On 26 May, 1999 Manchester United were crowned kings of Europe in dramatic fashion.

in doing so they did what no English side had ever done – win the Champions League, Premier League and FA Cup in one season.

Manchester United completed the Treble by defeating Bayern Munich 2-1 in the 1999 Champions League final
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The Queen then recognised manager Alex Ferguson’s greatness by making him a knight of the realm, however, the men in charge at Old Trafford had their reservations about him ahead of the 1998/99 season.

They wondered if he’d taken his eye off the ball – maybe he was more interested in horse racing than taking United to the next level?

“At the time we felt we’d slipped a little bit, having won the double two years before,” chief executive Martin Edwards told talkSPORT as part of a special documentary called ‘Football, Bloody Hell! How United won the Treble’, adding that Ferguson was even asked to return from his holiday early for crisis talks.

Arsene Wenger had arrived at Arsenal in October 1996 and, by 1998, had won the league and cup double in his first full season at the club.

Only one team could halt their quest for total domination and that was the Gunners. The threat was very real, though Fergie was outraged at the mere suggestion he had lost his drive.

And it would take more than that to rattle the determined Scot. He was made of the type of steel that would put any White Walker to sleep.

“That was shown by the way he responded,” Edwards added, explaining the club was right behind their manager and pointed to the significant backing in the transfer market that saw Jaap Stam, Dwight Yorke and Jesper Blomqvist arrive for a combined figure just shy of £30m.

“At the end of the day, these things happen in businesses and in football clubs, but as long as you come out on the right side it’s justifiable,” Edwards said.

Martin Edwards told talkSPORT there were concerns Ferguson had taken his eye off the ball in 1998, but the club backed the manager, who then led Man United to the Treble
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Fergie also happened to possess a group of players who demanded nothing less than the best, as Steve McClaren found out when he left Derby to become Fergie’s assistant midway through the 1998/99 season following Brian Kidd’s departure.

Speaking to talkSPORT, he explained nothing could have prepared him for life on the training pitch with Roy Keane, Gary Neville and Peter Schmeichel among others.

Dwight Yorke arrived from Aston Villa in 1998 for just over £12m
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“The first five months between January and May were the toughest five months of my life,” he recalled.

“The environment was tough, the players were tough – if a cone was out of place, if a decision was wrong, if a drill wasn’t right or training wasn’t going well, they’d let you know.

“They wanted the best. They wanted teaching, they wanted training, they wanted toughness, they wanted discipline, they wanted competitiveness – the players demanded that, it didn’t come from the manager.”

McClaren became Ferguson’s assistant during the 1998/99 season and said the first five months were the toughest of his career
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In the end Manchester United and Arsenal – two of the Premier League’s greatest rivals – fought a breathtaking battle for domestic superiority, which United won by a point on the final day of the season.

They kept Alan Shearer quiet to wrap up the FA Cup final and saw off both Inter and a very strong Juventus team en route to the Champions League final – the first time an English side had reached European football’s most prestigious match in 14 years – before staging a dramatic stoppage time comeback to beat Bayern at the Camp Nou.

The message was clear: nobody puts Fergie in the corner.

A special documentary called ‘Football, Bloody Hell! How United won the Treble’ featuring contributions from Teddy Sheringham, Andy Cole, Steve McClaren and Martin Edwards will be aired on talkSPORT at 9pm on Thursday 23 May

How United won the treble

Under Sir Alex, Man United ruled at home and abroad

PREMIER LEAGUE – WINNERS
Played: 38
Won: 22
Drawn: 13
Lost: 3
Points: 79

CHAMPIONS LEAGUE – WINNERS
Group D: Runners-up to Bayern Munich
Quarter-finals: Inter
Semi-finals: Juventus
Final: Bayern Munich

FA CUP – WINNERS
Third round: Middlesbrough
Fourth round: Liverpool
Fifth round: Fulham
Quarter-final: Chelsea via replay
Semi-final: Arsenal via replay
Final: Newcastle

The best moments from Manchester City’s Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup trophy parade

20 May

The 2018/19 season has been a memorable one for Manchester City which has seen them break a number of records.

One that really sticks out is the fact they’ve won the Premier League, FA Cup and Carabao Cup, making City the first English club to win the domestic treble.

City completed their domestic treble with an FA Cup triumph over Watford at the weekend

The Citizens’ 6-0 thrashing of Watford at Wembley on Saturday ended their brilliant campaign in sensational style.

So, unsurprisingly, City took to the streets of Manchester to parade their trophies to their adoring fans, as well as the Community Shield which they won last August.

Below you can see the best pictures and videos from an evening that will live long in the memory of all City supporters.

The City fans wait for their heroes
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Manchester band Blossoms got the crowd warmed up at the main stage before the players arrived
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We get our first glimpse of the Manchester City team
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Sergio Aguero drinks out of the Carabao Cup while Raheem Sterling holds the Premier League trophy
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DO NOT try this at home!
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Departing captain Vincent Kompany holds the Premier League trophy aloft
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The ‘Fourmidables’ are greeted by their adoring fans
Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva make final preparations to the Premier League and FA Cup
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The Community Shield was included for good measure
Another season well done for Pep Guardiola
Fabian Delph, Kyle Walker, John Stones and Sterling share a joke
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Manchester City says goodbye to one of its greatest ever players
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Danny Murphy clashes with journalist who asked Pep Guardiola about Financial Fair Play after FA Cup triumph

20 May

Danny Murphy has criticised journalist Rob Harris for quizzing Pep Guardiola about a Financial Fair Play investigation immediately after Manchester City completed a historic treble.

Guardiola was clearly incensed when asked by Harris if he has ever received off-the-book payments from City following the club’s 6-0 FA Cup final victory over Watford.

The Spaniard said: “Do you know the question you’re asking me, if I ever received money for another situation, right now, today?

“Honestly, do you think I deserve to have this type of question happen, on the day we won the treble, if I received money from other situations?

“Are you accusing me? Oh man.”

The build up to the final was dominated by reports City could face a year-long ban from the Champions League.

Harris joined talkSPORT to defend the timing of his question, which Murphy described as ‘attention seeking’ and ‘ego-driven’.

You can listen to the debate above.

Raheem Sterling offers funny explanation for FA Cup final rollicking from Pep Guardiola

19 May

Manchester City completed a historic domestic treble whey they beat Watford in the FA Cup on Saturday.

Having already won the Premier League and Carabao Cup, City ruthlessly thumped Watford 6-0 at Wembley, not that you could have told from Pep Guardiola’s reaction.

Guardiola was seen speaking with Sterling

Despite Raheem Sterling scoring a brace and turning in another all-round impressive display, the England star was seen, minutes after full-time, being lectured by an animated Guardiola.

The passionate discussion was caught on camera and Guardiola appeared to be making a point about something he was unhappy with, as Sterling listened intently.

Afterwards, Sterling made light of the conversation, as he jokingly wrote on Twitter; “He just said I shouldnt have tried to steal that first goal.”

The goal he was referring to was the second of the match, when Gabriel Jesus had tapped the ball past Hornets goalkeeper Heurelho Gomes, only for Sterling to smash it in on the line.

The goal was similar to David Nugent’s debut strike for England when he tapped in a goal-bound shot in the 93rd minute to seal a 3-0 win over Andorra in March 2007.

Manchester City 6-0 Watford: Ian Holloway ‘horrified’ by Hornets’ suit and trainers combo at FA Cup final

19 May

Ian Holloway says he was ‘horrified’ by Watford’s suit and trainers combo at Wembley on Saturday.

The Hornets lost 6-0 to Manchester City in the FA Cup final as Pep Guardiola’s men won a first-ever domestic treble.

On their way to the dressing room before kick-off, Watford stars donned a black jacket, black trousers, white shirt and white trainers.

Watford were thrashed by City

And former Crystal Palace and QPR manager Holloway was not impressed.

He told talkSPORT: “I think the classical look at a Wembley final is quite important. I was horrified.

“I’ve seen clubs come out with tracksuits on. I don’t think that’s formal enough. It didn’t look smart. Dark suit, lovely white shirt… and then you’ve got trainers on. It doesn’t look right.

Watford were outplayed by Manchester City on Saturday
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“It looks like someone’s marking the road on the way to Wembley and they’ve accidentally gone over their shoes.”

Holloway also took aim at the Watford players’ short trousers and socks, which left their ankles on show.

He added: “This sock thing, those tiny little ones, I couldn’t wear them. My Chihuahua would wreck them, he’d chew on them! I was shocked and it looked appalling from where I was.

“I’m still a traditionalist. I don’t want to see those trousers again. Someone’s having a laugh saying that’s fashion.

“Why are they so high up above your ankles? It’s so uncomfortable.

“I can’t understand how anyone can [wear them], there’s nothing worse than someone’s ankles – hairy ankles should not be on show!”

Manchester City kitman hilariously celebrates FA Cup victory over Watford in his underpants

19 May

Manchester City certainly enjoyed becoming the first men’s team in English history to win the domestic treble.

Having already won the Premier League and Carabao Cup, Pep Guardiola’s side added the FA Cup to their trophy collection, with an emphatic 6-0 win over Watford at Wembley.

Man City won the FA Cup beating Watford 6-0
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Raheem Sterling and Gabriel Jesus both scored twice, while David Silva and substitute Kevin De Bruyne also netted.

As expected, City celebrated their historic win, but it appeared one man savoured the result slightly more than the rest.

Wearing just a flimsy pair of black underpants, City’s kitman Brandon Ashton ran into the changing room and jumped on Ilkay Gundogan’s back waving a sock around.

He then jumped into the dirty laundry basket and was flipped over by captain Kompany, before spraying the players with champagne.

After being encouraged by Raheem Sterling, Ashton then belly slides across the soaking floor.

Just a day after lifting the famous cup, Kompany announced he will be leaving the club after 11 years at the Etihad.

The 33-year-old will leave City to become player-manager of Belgian club Anderlecht this summer.

Pep Guardiola snaps after being asked about UEFA’s Financial Fair Play investigation after Manchester City complete historic domestic treble

18 May

Pep Guardiola seemed to snap after being asked for his thoughts on UEFA’s Financial Fair Play (FFP) investigation after Manchester City completed an historic domestic treble.

City demolished Watford 6-0 to lift the FA Cup at Wembley, completing an unprecedented domestic trio of titles in style.

Pep Guardiola poses with the FA Cup after the win over Watford
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But when asked if he has ever received payments from Manchester City’s owners for services other than his managerial role, Guardiola vented his frustrations.

He said: “Do you know the question you’re asking me, if I ever received money for another situation, right now, today?

“Honestly, do you think I deserve to have this type of question happen, on the day we won the treble, if I received money from other situations?

“Are you accusing me? Oh man.”

Talking generally on the FFP investigation into City, Guardiola added: “Well I said yesterday we are not guilty.

“I listen to my chairman, my CEO, they give me arguments, and I trust them.

“When they tell me we did absolutely follow the rules, I’m sorry, I believe them.”