West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has provided a disappointing news for his team’s supporters after admitting that summer signing Diafra Sakho is a doubt for the weekend’s match against Stoke City. West Ham will be making the trip to Stoke looking to continue their good run of form, which has seen them win three matches on the bounce. The latest of their victories came against reigning champions Manchester city at Upton Park. Allardyce labelled this is the best performance of West Ham this season, but they would be aware that those three points would be meaningless if they lose against Stoke.
Many feared for West Ham at the start of the season after star striker Andy Carroll was ruled out for several months with a long-term injury. Allardyce was also under immense pressure to deliver attacking and beautiful football. Despite spending a huge sum of money, not many were positive about West Ham’s chances. Sakho was one of the names to come to Upton Park in the summer. Along with Valencia, has set the league on fire. He was one of the scorers against City last weekend, but Allardyce says that the player is struggling with a shoulder injury suffered against City.
West Ham recently got Carroll back from the sidelines, but he is still far away from full fitness. “Sakho is touch and go for Saturday. We will see what he’s like on Friday and make a decision from there. Andy has to go through what for him is the final part of a pre-season after recovery, and ease himself slowly into games. I’ve sensed the joy around the camp and the buzz that hits the day to day work around the team when you’re doing well. I think we’re surprised at how well we’ve hit the level of performance consistently,” said Allardyce.
Newcastle United are not expected to start the manager Alan Pardew despite a poor start to the season. Owner Mike Ashley is aware of the huge payoff that the club will have to give the manager in order to release him from his duties. Newcastle offered Pardew an eight-year contract two years ago. Since the contract still has six years to run, it will take a huge sum of money to part company with the former West Ham boss. Newcastle have been on a poor run of form throughout 2014. They suffered a 4-0 defeat against Southampton during the weekend that appeared to be the final straw for the manager.
Newcastle find themselves bottom of the Premier League after four matches in the season. They are still searching for their first victory, although they came extremely close to getting the same in the 3-3 draw with Crystal Palace had it not been for Wilfried Zaha’s injury time equaliser. Pardew admitted after the Southampton defeat the performances have not been good enough. However, Newcastle have undergone massive changes in terms of transfer policy over the last few years. After failing to sign any permanent player in the last few transfer windows, the club lavished on a number of new signings this summer.
Steve Bruce has been rumoured as the replacement for Pardew, but the Hull City manager refused to entertain such claims saying that it would be disrespectful. “It isn’t nice – it’s horrible for him and I find it very, very disrespectful that I’m linked with somebody else’s job when he’s still in a job. After what happened to me at Sunderland, which was similar to what Alan Pardew is going through now, I know how difficult the north-east is,” said Bruce, who comes from Newcastle but has managed Sunderland in the past.
Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who is the second-biggest shareholder at Arsenal, says that the club are set for a trophy laden decade after finally ending the trophy drought by winning the FA Cup last season. Arsenal went without a trophy for a period of nine years from 2005 to 2014. The drought that started with the FA Cup was eventually brought to an end by the same trophy. Usmanov has been trying to gain control of Arsenal for the last few years. American billionaire Stan Kroenke owns the biggest portion and as a result directly controls the club.
Kroenke and Usmanov have not spoken to each other until now despite being the two biggest shareholders at the club. The cold war between the duo, though, has not prevented Arsenal from finally lifting a major title. Arsene Wenger was extremely prudent during the last 10 years, as he attempted to establish the club financially following their move to the Emirates stadium. Even though main sponsor Emirates paid £ 150 million to the construction of the stadium, it put Arsenal under a lot of pressure. After having finally secured self-sufficiency, Arsenal have been spending big money in the last few years.
This has ultimately led them to a title and Usmanov believes that could be more in the future.
“I think we begin a new era for Arsenal where we win trophies. That is most important for football. The club is very well placed to succeed. The board and main shareholders chose the debt option at the time, which led to Arsenal going almost 10 years without winning a domestic title or the Champions League. The acquisition was financed with debt, which would be repaid through match-day revenues among other sources. I have not had any contact with Mr Kroenke,” said the Russian billionaire.