Matthew Upson

DEFEATS HURT

According to the Stoke City boss, Mark Hughes, the Manchester United players should be fearful of defeats.

Hughes was talking to the reporters in the press conference after his team’s historical win over Manchester United last weekend. That was the first time in the last 30 years that the Potters secured 3 points in a league match against the Red Devils.

When asked what Manchester United players should do to come out of the situation that they are in right now, Hughes said, “First of all, they will have to get afraid of defeats. They are playing for a very high profile club. So, they are under the scrutiny all the time. They are going to get criticized for each and every mistake.”

“They need to think like; we don’t have to give people any chance to have a go at us. At least, I used to think like that when I was playing for Manchester United.”

“United has been a great side over the years and that’s why people expect a lot from them which leads to pressure. But, it’s important for the players to learn how to absorb all that pressure and then come up with good performances.”

Hughes had spent a lot of years at Old Trafford when he was active as a player. He had in fact started his senior career as a Manchester United player in 1980. During his first tenure at United, he played 89 league games before moving to Barcelona in 1986.

The Welshman returned back to Old Trafford in 1988 and spent the next 7 years there featuring regularly in the starting XI under Sir Alex Ferguson. He made more than 250 league appearances for the Red Devils during his second tenure and scored 83 goals.

It would not be overwhelming at all to consider Hughes a Manchester United legend.

RUMOURS REFUTED

Matthew Upson has denied the rumours that he is thinking about announcing his retirement at the end of the ongoing season.

According to the veteran centre back, he is determined to guide his team Brighton & Hove Albion to the Premier League and he is hopeful that he will be able to do that.

Brighton’s position in the Championship points table at the moment is decent. They have managed to win 9 out of the 24 games that they have played in the tournament till now and they have got 36 points under their belt. They are at the 7th position in the table.

Upson is going to be 35 years of age in April next year and there have been speculations since the last few months that his retirement is around the corner, but, the former Stoke player seems to have other ideas.

When asked if he thinks that he can continue playing for one more season, Upson said, “Yes, off course, I think so. If I keep playing like this till summer and the club offers me a contract, I am certainly going to accept it.”

“The day I feel that I have not got the hunger to succeed now, I would not have any hesitation in acknowledging that.”

When asked about his experience of playing in the second tier of English football, he said, “It’s so far so good. To be honest, when I had made my way here in January last year, I was not sure what I should expect, but, I have settled down pretty well now.”

“I think we have a good chance of being promoted this season. We just have to continue playing the way we have been playing till this point of time.”

Brighton & Hove Albion sign Arsenal youngster

Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion have announced the signing of Arsenal defender Tom Dallison on a two and a half year contract, it has been announced.

The 17 year old Dallison had been a part of the Gunners’ famed youth academy for quite some time and his signing by the Championship club is seen as a transfer coup by many members of the club who believe the player has it in him to become a leading defender in the years to come.

The central defender was a highly rated player at his former club Arsenal as well as several other clubs, both in the Premier League and the Championship with several clubs trying to sign him during the summer transfer window as well. But it’s the South Coast club that has managed to nick the player from under the noses of several suitors and according to a source within the club, the Brighton & Hove Albion management think that they have a genuine star on their hands, someone who will raise the level at the back for the Seagulls with his calm headed approach to the game.

Dallison is extremely calm on the ball and unlike many English players, he is very adept at playing the ball out of danger and the manner in which the club plays, his style will suit them to the absolute T. however, it is still unclear whether the club has signed him as a future prospect or for the present considering both Matthew Upson as well as Gordon Greer are on the wrong side of 30.

However, whatever be the case, Brighton & Hove Albion have a genuinely good player on their hands and with their defensive woes sorted, they are now looking to land a striker in the next transfer window in January.

Upson signs for Brighton and Hove Albion

Championship side Brighton and Hove Albion have completed the signing of Stoke City defender Matthew Upson on a one year contract.

The 34 year old former Birmingham Cit defender spent the latter stages of last season on loan at the Seagulls and the Championship club has taken up the chance to offer him a new contract on a permanent basis following his release from Premier League Stoke City last month.

Upson was an immense success for the Amex Stadium side as he helped the club reach the playoff semi finals and also contributed to an air tight defense for the south coast side that conceded just 15 goals while he was there at the side. It was thought the departure of Gus Poyet, the man who brought Matthew Upson to the club as manager after falling out with the club board will have an effect on the player’s future at the club but that hasn’t turned out to be the case and the player has signed on a permanent contract at the club.

David Burke, who serves as the head of the club’s football operations, stated that the club is delighted that Upson has decided to come back to the club and it also shows the club’s desire to succeed having signed a player of the pedigree, caliber and experience of Upson. He added that it is not like Upson is a new signing because he has been at the club for six months and knows what it is about.

Burke added that Matthew Upson also brings stability as well as continuity to the defense and that is something the club was looking for and it bodes well with having a strong defense at the back as it was seen last season when the club reached the playoff stages of the Championship.

UPSON ON THE RADAR

The former Stoke City defender, Matthew Upson, is on the radar of a couple of Championship sides after being released by the Potters at the end of the last season. Those sides are Brighton & Hove Albion and Leeds United.

Upson had featured for Stoke only a couple of times in the last season. One of them was the Capital One Cup match against Swindon Town, while, the other one was the Premier League match against Southampton.

Upson’s performance in those two games wasn’t that good and he didn’t get any more playing opportunities.

At the start of the second half of the season, Upson was placed on loan to Brighton & Hove Albion. The English centre-back showed great form for the seagulls and put up quite a few match winning performances for them.

Upson’s consistency helped Brighton qualify for the play offs in the Championship. They didn’t go on to win the title though and lost the semi final against Crystal Palace.

Upson featured for the Seagulls in 18 matches and scored one goal. That goal came in the match against Blackpool in April. Brighton had won that match by a huge margin of 6-1.
According to some reports, the manager of Brighton, Gus Poyet, is quite impressed with Upson and he wants to sign him on a permanent basis.

Leeds United is also looking to secure the services of Upson. The Whites didn’t have a great last season. They finished 13th in the Championship points table.

The Leeds manager Brian McDermott is looking to rebuild his side. He wants to sign some experienced players this summer and Upson is at the top of his list.
It would be quite interesting to see which of these two clubs eventually succeeds in signing Upson.

PLAYOFF DREAMS

It looked only a few months ago that Brighton would not be able to finish in the play-off position despite the good start they made to the season.

However, the arrival of the striker Leonardo Ulloa during the January transfer window has changed since significantly for Gus Poyet and his men. The team are extremely close to finishing in the top six of the championship, and there are only a few matches left in the season. Leonardo Ulloa has managed to score eight goals in just 11 matches, as he has put Brighton on a path to the top six.

However, the manager Poyet has revealed that he would still like to add another striker to his squad in the hope of maintaining the strong form of recent weeks. The absence of strikers like Ashley Barnes, Will Hoskins, and Craig Mackail-Smith through reasons like suspension and injury has been one of the main reasons for Poyet's search for a new striker. He has said that the team is currently taking a lot of risks with only Ulloa up front. If the South American does get injured or suspended during this period, then it would spoil all the good work done in the season.

The club are seventh in the table with only around eight matches remaining in the season. "I have to because it's a big risk. Imagine if we do well in the next three or four games and then something happens to Leo. Then I'd have to get changed into my number 45 shirt, and we cannot take that risk. Something will come up. Everyone is waiting until the last minute, but by a week on Thursday I will make sure we get the best player we can," said the former Tottenham assistant manager. Brighton's next match will be against Nottingham Forest.

STOKE LOSE TO CHELSEA

Stoke City has been defeated by Chelsea in a Premier League match played at Britannia Stadium on Saturday. Chelsea won the match by a big margin of 4-0. This was a great performance by the visitors, but, the home team also helped them by making some poor mistakes. This was Chelsea’s 12th victory in the ongoing Premier League. This victory took them ahead of Tottenham Hotspur in the points table. Chelsea is now at no. 3 with 42 points in 22 matches.
Chelsea was defeated by Swansea City in its previous match and as a result, Rafa Benitez made quite a few changes in the starting XI. Oscar, Ross Turnbull, Fernando Torres and Gary Cahill were left out and on their places; Ryan Bertrand, Petr Cech, Demba Ba and Frank Lampard were brought back into the starting line up.

On the other hand, Stoke City made just one change to the starting line up that had played against Manchester City. Matthew Etherington made way for Cameron Jerome.

In the first half, both the teams failed in capitalizing on the chances and there were no goals scored in the first 44 minutes. Just a few seconds before the half time break, Chelsea took the lead with the help of an own goal from Jonathan Walters.

Chelsea’s lead got doubled in the 63rd minute and it was Walters again who helped Chelsea with his second own goal in the match. The Irish striker tried to direct the ball towards the goalkeeper, but, his placement went wrong and the ball went into the bottom corner of the net. Walters looked perplexed after that goal.

Just after a couple of minutes, Chelsea earned a penalty and Frank Lampard converted it easily with a powerful shot to make the score 3-0 in Chelsea’s favour. Stoke City got into big trouble when they conceded another goal in the 73rd minute. This time it was Eden Hazard who found the net by latching on the pass of Juan Mata.

Stoke City failed in scoring any goal in the remaining time and lost the match.
Stoke City’s next match will be a FA Cup clash against Crystal Palace on Tuesday.

STOKE NET WIN

Stoke City has defeated Newcastle United in a Premier League match played at Britannia Stadium on Wednesday. Stoke won the match by a close margin of 2-1. This was only the fourth win for Stoke in the League. This victory took Stoke to no. 9 in the points table. Stoke currently has 19 points in 14 matches.

Newcastle United was ahead by 1-0 till the 80th minute of the match. But, in the last 10 minutes, the Stoke players played amazingly and scored a couple of goals to turn the match on its head. This was Stoke’s third victory in the last 4 matches.

Newcastle United took the lead in the 47th minute of the match. It was Papiss Cisse who scored the first goal for Newcastle. Demba Ba’s long ball was deflected beautifully by Cisse into the bottom corner of the net.

Stoke City had a chance to score the equalizer in the 79th minute of the match when Matthew Etherington gave a wonderful cross to Kenwyne Jones. Jones jumped and headed the ball towards the goal post, but, he didn’t get the placement right. The ball went straight into the hands of the Newcastle Goalkeeper, Tim Krul. However, that lost chance didn’t cost Stoke that much and just after a couple of minutes; they managed to score the leveller. Jonathan Walters was the one who scored the leveller for his team. He capitalized on the cross from Michael Kightly and headed the ball past the Newcastle goalkeeper to make the score 1-1.

Stoke got ahead by 2-1 in the 85th minute of the match with the goal of Cameron Jerome. Jones got a long ball and he controlled it beautifully before passing it to Jerome who blasted it past Krul to give his team the lead.

Stoke City will play its next match against West Bromwich Albion on 1st of December at the Hawthorns.

STOKE DEFENDER WILL SHINE

The former Stoke city player Gordon Banks has said that he is extremely confident that the Stoke city defender Ryan Shawcross can establish himself as an England international. Gordon Banks is regarded as one of the best players to have played for England, and he reckons that Ryan Shawcross can follow in his footsteps by becoming the next player from Stoke city to establish himself as an England international. The 25-year-old was recently called up for the England national duty by the manager Roy Hodgson. It is expected that the former Liverpool manager will be building his team around young players like Ryan Shawcross ahead of the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

England will be taking on San Marino at the Wembley, while they will be facing Poland away from home a few days later. The recent retirement announced by the Chelsea defender John Terry has caused the lot of selection headache for the England manager Roy Hodgson. Once again, the Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand has not been called up for the squad. In his place, Hodgson has decided to bring in the former United defender Ryan Shawcross who joined Stoke city for around £ 1 million a few seasons ago.

"Ryan has done really well. I don't know what the manager has in mind, but he might play him because San Marino are a side that England ought to beat. That doesn't mean he will take a lot of chances, but he could give Ryan the experience while using more experienced England players around him. But if he doesn't play, I don't think it matters too much because I think he has a good chance of staying in the squad," said the former England international Gordon Banks. Shawcross could become the first player since 1984 to win an England cap.

ENGLAND MUST AVOID BRAZIL

Roy Hodgson has said that he is hoping that England avoid the probability of being grouped into the group F at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He has said that he is extremely confident that the 2014 FIFA World Cup will be held in paradise, but due to the enormous size of the country, there will be a lot of travelling involved for the teams in group F.

Even more than the travelling, Roy Hodgson is concerned about the difference in temperature and difference in the conditions of between various cities of Brazil. It is quite possible that the teams in group F could be facing matches in the cities of Porto Alegre and Manaus.

The former is extremely cold even in summer, while the latter is extremely hot even in winter. This coupled with the presence of a lot of mosquitoes in the latter means that England have to be very prepared for it comes to the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Roy Hodgson has said that he is confident that England can qualify for the World Cup in the best style possible. Hodgson was speaking ahead of the start of the World Cup qualifiers. England will face Ukraine and Moldova in the first two matches.

“There’s no doubt that the team that gets a game in Porto Alegre and one game in Manaus will have problems because the temperature differences are quite enormous. If you’re down in Porto Alegre, you’re going to need a fur coat because it snows and temperatures reach single figures. If you find yourself in Manaus then you won’t be sunbathing but you will find 45-50 degrees of heat and plenty of mosquitoes,” said Roy Hodgson. Roy Hodgson is likely to be without Wayne Rooney, who was taken off on a stretcher in the 3-2 win over Fulham.

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