WILL OBI MIKEL FOLLOW BRIDGE?

This has been a very interesting season for John Obi Mikel. Before the start of the season, there were rumours everywhere that he would be on his way away from Chelsea.

A few clubs even placed a bid for him, but, none of those deals finalized. The 26 years old midfielder eventually stayed in London.

However, he was supposed to be out of favour at the club. It was believed that the new boss Jose Mourinho was not happy with his development and thus, he was not going to give him the opportunity to play that often during the season. Exactly the same thing happened for the first couple of months. Mikel made substitute appearances once in a while, but, mostly, he was warming the bench.

Towards the end of the last year, things started falling in place a little bit for him though. Being impressed with his brief substitute outings, the manager decided to give him a go in the starting line up too and the Nigerian player lived up to it. He put up solid performances starting the games and looked like going up the pecking order slowly.

But, now, it seems that his fortunes are changing again, especially if you look at the football betting at William Hill online.

A new, talented midfielder in the form of Nemanja Matic has landed at Stamford Bridge and he is expected to be given the starting opportunities right from the word go. It means Mikel would fall down the pecking order and he would certainly not like that.

Mikel had burst onto the scene through his performances at the international arena, but, he has failed to perform that way at the club level.

He is certainly not as innovative as some of the other playmakers around, but, the thing which makes him impressive is his expertise in passing. He is a brilliant passer.

Mikel has so far played 197 Premier league matches for Chelsea.

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WEST HAM STRENGTHEN

With just about every team not only in the Premier League but in the rest of the European leagues getting ready to make offers for potential new arrivals and signings for their respective clubs, West Ham United has a few targets of their own.

The head coach of West Ham United, Sam Allardyce has already made signs of being in search of a few players that can strengthen the squad as they are sitting on the last few spots of the Premier League and some fresh legs might help them escape from the drop zone.

Asamoah Gyan has been linked with a potential loan move to West Ham United but the player of Al Ain said that his club has the final say and voice on whether or not a transfer is made.

Gyan was speaking to Ghanasoccernet.com and said: “West Ham have made an offer for me, but it is up to Al Ain to make a decision. I have a contract with them. So I will remain focused on my work.”

The 33 years old Ghanaian forward has already scored 64 goals in just 49 appearances for the club he joined some years ago, his impact is not only being noticed by Al Ain but other clubs as well as with West Ham United who are keeping close tabs on the player.

Other players that are on the wish list of Sam Allardyce are Diego Forlan, Diego Milito, Jermain Defoe and the latest player that joined the list is Ishak Belfodil of Inter Milan.

Ishak already stated his dissatisfaction on being on a club where his chances on making the starting lineup of the coach is very limited and restricted which is why West Ham United can use this opportunity on signing him up and securing his services.

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READING EXCEL

The manager of Reading FC, Nigel Adkins, has lauded the forward of his team Pavel Pogrebnyak for putting up a great performance in the game against Doncaster Rovers yesterday. Reading won that game by a huge margin of 4-1.

Pogrebnyak looked in supreme nick against Doncaster. He made quite a few good moves and eventually found the net with a thunderous strike in the last minute of the injury time to extend Reading’s lead to 4-1.

The Russian striker hasn’t been a regular starter for Reading so far in this season, but, after the way he played yesterday, he might find himself in the starting line up in the next few games too.

After the game against Doncaster, when Adkins was asked about Pogrebnyak, he said, “Pavel ended the game for us in a grand manner. It was great to see him playing that way.”

“He has been putting in a lot of effort in training sessions and he is getting the reward for that now. He was just awesome in today’s game.”

“Our start was terrific. We didn’t allow them to settle down at all. However, towards the end, I felt that our intensity came down just a little bit, but, we got 3 points and that’s what we were playing for.”

Reading took the lead pretty early in the game with the goal of Danny Guthrie, but, they couldn’t remain ahead for a long period of time. Doncaster bounced back with Theo Robinson’s leveller.

The hosts got ahead again though when Adam Le Fondre found the net just before the completion of the first half.

In the second half, a couple of more goals came for the Royals and they managed to secure their 6th win in the ongoing Championship.

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READING NEED PLAYERS

Reading manager Nigel Adkins has revealed that he will not be interested in bringing players just for the sake of strengthening the squad. This action has resulted in many clubs suffering severe financial problems over the years, and Adkins does not want the same fate to fall on Reading.

The club was recently relegated from the Premier league, and they are one of the favourites to get promoted into the top division from the Championship this season. This is due to the significant amount of money they will get in the form of parachute payments, which will continue for the next three years.

Reading, though, have had a busy transfer window so far, as they have brought in the likes of Danny Williams and Wayne Bridge. However, the club had been linked with names like Charlie Austin and Gary Hooper only to see them sign for other clubs. If they had come to Madejski Stadium, then they would have cost in excess of £ 7 million combined. Even though manager Adkins has admitted that there is still work that needs to be done in the transfer window, he is not prepared to bring in players if the fee is not right.

The club will be hosting play-off finalists from last season – Watford – at home in the first match of the season.

“Conversations have been going on. We’re talking about different things, but we want to do things privately. I’d like to think we will bring some more players in. I want a strong squad. Every player that’s in Europe, we would have seen and made an assessment on. Then it’s a question of, is that player available and can we afford that player? We’re looking for next year as well. You have to look in advance of where you are,” said Adkins.

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BRIDGE JOINS READING

Wayne Bridge has been signed by the Championship club Reading FC. He is the first player to be signed by Reading FC this summer. The English left back has joined the Royals camp on a contract of 1 year.

Bridge’s former club Manchester City released him at the end of the last season.

Queens Park Rangers and Brighton & Hove Albion were also interested in signing Bridge, but, Bridge rejected their offers and opted to join Reading.

Bridge had played for Brighton on loan in the last season. He was quite consistent for them throughout the season. He featured for them in a total of 37 matches and found the back of the net 3 times.

Because of Bridge’s consistent performance in the last season, Brighton wanted to sign him on a permanent basis. But, they didn’t succeed in that.

Talking to the reporters after signing for Reading FC, Bridge said, “I am glad to be a part of Reading FC. I talked to Nigel Adkins yesterday and he told me that his main target is to earn promotion in the next season. I felt good after that conversation. He seemed to be quite positive about things.”

“Reading is quite a decent side on paper and if we live up to our potential, there is no reason why we can’t get promoted to the Premier League.”

The director of football at Reading FC, Nick Hammond, has also expressed his happiness over the signing of Bridge. Hammond said, “After the exit of Nicky Shorey and Ian Harte, we were looking for a left back. Wayne was on our radar as he had a great season with Brighton. I am happy that we managed to secure his services. He is a fine addition to the side.”

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STICKY PATCH

The Brighton manager Gus Poyet has seen his team go through a sticky patch a few months ago, as they were in real danger of missing out on the play-offs position. However, recent improvement in form has meant that they have climbed back into the top six of the table.

One of the main reasons for their recent form has been the striker Leonardo Ulloa, who scored a hat-trick in the recent match against Huddersfield Town. Ulloa arrived at the club in January and has already scored five goals in just seven matches. The manager Poyet has said that he is extremely delighted for the 26-year-old, who is on top form.

Poyet has said that it is difficult for any player coming to the English football to adapt immediately, and it is especially hard for the South Americans. The Argentine striker has also arrived in the middle of the season, which is even more difficult. The 26-year-old was signed for around £ 2 million from Spanish club Almeria, who are currently playing in the second division. Ulloa’s hat-trick for the club is also the first that has been seen at the Amex Stadium. Poyet has also praised his movement, heading abilities, and the ability to link up with others.

“I am delighted for him because the fitness side has been difficult for him. It is difficult for any player to come to England in the middle of the season and get the pace of the game. For a striker to score three so early in his career in England is fantastic. We need to make sure we keep him there. With him scoring goals, it’s easier. The fans now know why he is here,” said the Brighton manager. The club’s last defeat was almost a month ago against Sheffield United.

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BRIDGE RETURNING SOON

The Brighton and Hove Albion manager and the former Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet has revealed that the return of Wayne Bridge from the sidelines will substantially reduce the injury headache he has been facing in the last few weeks.

Brighton has suffered a lot in terms of injuries in recent weeks, which has also coincided with a poor run of form for the Championship club. They have just one victory in the last five matches, which has allowed them to slip out of the play-offs position. Getting promotion to the top flight is one of the main priorities for Gus Poyet this season.

He has said that the return of the Manchester City defender Wayne Bridge will be a major boost when it comes to team selection. The 32-year-old defender is currently on a season long loan deal from the Premier league champions. However, he has missed the last four matches due to an injury. However, Poyet has said that he could be back for the match against Charlton Athletic during the weekend. This is an absolutely must win game for Brighton if they are to keep any hope of challenging for the play-offs position come the end of season.

Despite this boost, Poyet has revealed that players like Adam El-Abd and Marcos Painter still continue to remain on the sidelines. “Wayne Bridge and Adam El-Abd were not ready (for the weekend’s loss to Crystal Palace) so I could not play them, then when we needed a little help from Orlandi he had to go off injured. We think he has broken his rib. Wayne has the best chance of being ready for Saturday so we need to hope that the medical staff can produce something special this week,” said Gus Poyet, whose team are in the ninth position in the table.

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POYET UNSURE ON BRIDGE

The Brighton and Hove Albion manager Gus Poyet has revealed that it is extremely early to consider whether the former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge will stay at the club beyond the current season. The 32-year-old former England international joined the club on a loan deal till the end of the season.

He has played very little football in the last few seasons after being frozen out at Manchester City by the manager Roberto Mancini. It is astonishing given that he was signed by the club for £ 12 million from Chelsea only in 2008. However, he has fallen spectacularly from the heights of being the deputy left back for England.

It is expected that the wages and the transfer fees of the 32-year-old will be the major stumbling block in getting the deal done by the Championship club. Due to the fact that he has only one season left on his current contract, Gus Poyet is not sure whether Bridge will be making Brighton his next destination on a permanent basis. When the former England international is available on a free transfer, Gus Poyet reckons that there will be a number of clubs interested in taking him. Due to the lack of first-team opportunities at Manchester City, Bridge has spent the last few seasons at West Ham, Sunderland, and Brighton.

“From the club point of view, it’s very easy. From Wayne’s it’s very difficult. We are trying to be realistic and wait. At the right time we will talk for sure because you can see he is different class. When the right time comes, slowly, we will probably get close to [whether Wayne staying is] a possibility or not. I think it’s a bit too early, especially for him,” said the Uruguayan. Brighton are currently eighth in the Championship at the moment.

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BRIGHTON SMASH WEDNESDAY

Brighton has defeated Sheffield Wednesday by 3-0 in a Championship match played at the Amex Stadium. This was the third consecutive victory for Brighton in the ongoing season.

The Brighton players are in amazing form and they just outplayed Wednesday. The Stadium was filled with Brighton supporters and they were thoroughly entertained. A record number of people watched the match. Not even a single seat in the stadium was empty.

The Brighton team has been in terrific form in the ongoing season. The team has won the last three games in a dominating fashion. The Brighton players have scored 11 goals in the last three games which is enough to suggest how well the team is playing at the moment.

Wayne Bridge was the stand out performer for Brighton in Friday’s match. The Englishman was in supreme touch. Brighton got a free kick in the 25th minute of the match. Bridge smashed a powerful shot which beat Chris Kirkland after receiving deflection from Rhys McCabe. At the half time break, Brighton was ahead by 1-0. In the second half, the Wednesday players made a lot of mistakes.

Mackail-Smith doubled the lead of Brighton in the 54th minute when he took advantage of the opportunity created by Bruno Saltor and tapped the ball home. This was the fifth goal for Smith in the last three matches. Will Buckley took the game beyond the reach of Wednesday by making the score 3-0 just a few minutes later.

The performance of Brighton was very poor in the last season, but, the team is turning it on this time around. The manager of Brighton, Gus Poyet, was overjoyed after the match against Wednesday. As per Poyet, the team didn’t put up these kind of dominating performances in thee last season, but, the boys are looking determined in the ongoing season which is wonderful to see. But, the players need to maintain their intensity till the end of the season.

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BRIDGE STAYS AT BRIGHTON

Brighton and Hove Albion defender Adam El-Abd has said that he is confident that the former Chelsea defender Wayne Bridge can have a positive impact at the club. The 32-year-old former England international arrived at the club on a season long loan deal from Manchester city.

He has played very little football in the last few seasons after being deprived of first-team football at Manchester city. He has spent time on loan at Sunderland and West Ham, but both have not been as successful. The Brighton and Hove Albion defender Adam El-Abd has said that Wayne Bridge has the ability to make a positive impact due to his experience with some of the biggest clubs in the world.

Adam El-Abd has also said that Tommy Elphick, who recently completed his transfer from Brighton and Hove Albion to Bournemouth, will settle at his new club without any problems. Bournemouth managed to capture the player for an undisclosed fee. Tommy Elphick has signed a three-year contract with the club. Due to the huge number of injury problems at Brighton and Hove Albion, Tommy Elphick has been unable to get regular first-team football, but Adam El-Abd says that he expects Tommy to impress at his new club.

“You don’t play as many games in the top flight as he has without having ability and class. It’s great to have him here and a part at Brighton. It’s a great move for Tommy. This time last year he was on the injury table with me and spent a year out. He’s got a three-year deal and is going to play some first-team football. It will be great for him to go and play some games. He came back well from a serious injury so we wish him all the best,” said Adam El-Abd.

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