THE HALF DECENT FOOTBALL MAGAZINE

Premier League – More Merseyside misery for Mancini
Roberto Mancini's frustrations continued on Tuesday night, when they lost 1-0 to Everton. The Italian manager has never won in Liverpool, despite leading his teams to the city six times since February 2008, when his Inter side were beaten at Anfield in the Champions League. It is bemusing, then, that Mancini has admitted he took the game too lightly, particularly considering that City have won only once in 14 visits to Goodison Park since 1993. The defeat leaves City ahead of Manchester United on goal difference, while Everton have climbed to ninth.

Among the games in the Premier League tonight, Sunderland host Norwich City in a midtable battle. Sunderland are unbeaten at home under Martin O'Neill's management but they will face a Norwich side that has lost only twice in their last ten league games. Meanwhile, relegation-threatened Bolton and Blackburn face difficult trips to Europe-challenging Arsenal and Newcastle.

Championship ~ West Ham forget about defence
Ipswich Town became the first team to do the double over league leaders West Ham United with a 5-1 win at Portman Road. Sam Allardyce signed strikers Nicky Maynard and Ricardo Vaz Te, along with attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison, in the transfer window but was left bemoaning his side's defensive frailties on a cold night in Suffolk. The Hammers remain on top of the Championship, while Ipswich's first win in seven league games eases their relegation fears.

Middlesbrough will travel to big-spending Leicester City tonight hoping to move back into the play-off places. Tony Mowbray's Boro have slipped down the league after losing three in a row. They will face another tough test at the King Power stadium. Leicester have signed Wes Morgan from Nottingham Forest and Ben Marshall from Stoke City in the past couple of days, as they hope to mount a late play-off challenge of their own.

League One ~ Owls and Dons help all but themselves
Promotion hopefuls MK Dons and Sheffield Wednesday played out a 1-1 draw at Stadium:MK, despite neither side having a shot on target the entire match. MK Dons took the lead when Luke Chadwick's shot hit the bar, bounced off Wednesday keeper Stephen Bywater's leg and rolled into the net. The Owls were level ten minutes later, when Gary MacKenzie put the ball in his own net trying to clear a Chris Sedgwick cross. Both sides will rue the dropped points, especially as leaders Charlton Athletic needed an injury-time goal to draw at home with Bury.

League Two ~ Di Canio's Swindon on the up
Swindon Town jumped into the automatic promotion places with a comfortable 4-1 win over Southend United at Roots Hall. The result puts Swindon, who have won five league games in a row, in second place and ahead of Southend on goal difference. Paul Sturrock, the Southend manager, called it the "poorest performance I have been involved in on this pitch." Tom Hocking

Comments (2)
Comment by eighteen85 2012-02-01 16:12:38

"Promotion hopefuls MK Dons and Sheffield Wednesday played out a 1-1 draw at Stadium:MK, despite neither side having a shot on target the entire match"

Must have been the pressure of playing in front of such a football-frenzied crowd of almost 10,000. Well worth stealing an established football club when they can attract such bumper gates of whom, perhaps, 30 - 50% were there on freebies or heavily reduced priced tickets.

PS: surprised at such an esteemed publication as this referring to the Bletchley Stealers franchise as ** ****

Comment by Houdi Elbow 2012-02-01 16:27:14

There weren't 10000 there - 2400 Wednesday fans, but no way were there 7000 in the rest of the ground. The official stats (who does them?) under reported Wednesdays shots, plenty of efforts but lacking the accuracy that would get us automatic promotion. Franchise were poor and Robinson is a complete knob, returning to the pitch after the final whistle having been sent to the stands during the game and making gestures at the Wednesday fans.

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