Monday, April 7, 2014
Weekly Football News April 7 2014
English strugglers Norwich City have taken a massive gamble in the race for Premier League survival by dismissing manager Chris Hughton with only five matches of the 2013/14 season remaining.
Hughton led the Canaries to 11th position in the top flight last season but fans have become increasingly restless in recent home matches, with some sections demanding the manager's sacking during their side's 1-0 home reverse to West Brom on Saturday.
Even though Norwich are five points clear of the relegation zone in 17th place, they do face an uncomfortable run-in with games against 18th-placed side Fulham as well as champions-elect Liverpool, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal. A Norwich statement said: "The decision has been taken to give the club the maximum chance of survival."
Youth coach Neil Adams, who led Norwich to FA Youth Cup success against Chelsea last season, has been placed in temporary charge until the end of the season.
Arsenal's slump continues
At the other end of the table in England, Arsenal face potentially missing out on a Champions League finishing position after their late-season slump continued with a 3-0 loss to resurgent Everton.
Goals from Steven Naismith, Romelu Lukaku and an own goal by former Everton midfielder Mikel Arteta condemned Arsenal to another heavy defeat by a leading side following convincing losses to Manchester City, Liverpool and Chelsea.
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has led his side to 16 successive top-four finishes, but now admits that a place in next season's Champions League is under threat. Fifth-placed Everton are point behind Arsenal with a game in hand, although they do still have to play Manchester City and Manchester United.
"It is a massive worry to lose a game like that. We need to go back to basics," bemoaned Wenger.
"I wouldn't question the spirit of the team - they are focused and want to do well, they have just lost something on the confidence front. "It is difficult to identify if it is fear. The heavy defeats away from home have taken some of our charisma away. Is that fear, is that belief, is that confidence? Maybe a bit all together."
Bayern suffer shock league loss
Pep Guardiola has allowed having one eye on the return leg of the Champions League tie with Manchester United to deflect from league responsibilities, with Augsburg beating the new Bundesliga champions 1-0 on Saturday.
Guardiola fielded an experimental side ahead of Bayern's clash with the English champions on Wednesday, but his line-up failed their task, ending the Bavarians' 53-match unbeaten league run in the process.
"We tried everything until the end," Guardiola said. "But we have to accept that in football you cannot always expect to win.
"Now we have to prepare quickly for our big game against Manchester." Manchester United also rested some key players but still managed to run out 4-0 winners over Newcastle.
Maran humiliated by second sacking this season
A fifth straight defeat for former Cantania manager Rolando Maran has led to the coach being sacked by the club for the second time this season. Maran was originally dismissed in October and replaced by Luigi De Canio, who he subsequently replaced in January.
However, Cantania's seventh loss in the past eight games under the reinstated manager was enough to see him suffer the humiliation of parting company with the club for the second time in six months.
Maurizio Pellegrino, who managed the club in Serie C between 2001 and 2003, has been placed in charge.