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Premier League's best youngsters are English

Tactics and Analysis 19 hours ago
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Oct 30, 2009

Molby's legendary strike finally revealed

This was the week in which Argentina legend Ariel Ortega was slapped in the chops, Kaka's clone took the pitch for Real Madrid, Bobby Zamora scooped Soccernet's miss of the season award, White Hart Lane sold its soul to the highest bidder and previously unseen footage of Jan Molby's legendary goal against Manchester United was finally released.

TV girl clouts Ariel Ortega - Friday, October 23

Having recently been recalled to the Argentina national team by Diego Maradona and then rolled back the years in the River Plate v Boca Juniors Superclasico, Ariel Ortega must have felt unstoppable, but a swift slap in the face from a TV shopping channel presenter managed to halt his impressive run.

The 35-year-old attacking midfielder made a somewhat unorthodox attempt to impress TV beauty Jezabel Yacuzzi at the Esperanto club in Buenos Aires but his advances were rebuffed in fantastic fashion.

Yacuzzi explained: "I was happily minding my own business at a party when suddenly a hand appeared where it simply didn't belong. So immediately I turned and socked whoever it was in the face. It turns out it was Ortega. What a turn up!"

The Argentine gossip columns have been full of stories of Ortega, who was treated for alcoholism back in 2006, making approaches to various Buenos Aires beauties after a few beers and according to rumour it is not the first time he has received a slap in the chops.

Kaka clone plays for Madrid - Saturday, October 24

Earlier this month scientists at the University of Murcia produced a clone called Kaka and now it appears he plays for Real Madrid. Okay, the bit about the clone, which is actually a pig, playing for Los Blancos is not strictly true but following another uninspired display in the 0-0 draw with Sporting Gijon at the weekend Marca mused: "It's either Kaká out there, or a perfect clone".

The problem is that the man who trots around the Santiago Bernabeu in an all white strip is barely recognisable as the player who used to run the show at AC Milan. The Brazilian was shunted about all over the pitch to accommodate the likes of Raúl and Karim Benzema in the early part of the season but against Gijon he played in his favoured role as a second striker and was still ineffective.

Maybe Real Madrid chief Florentino Perez is wondering if he should have spent his €68.5 million on the porker named Kaka over in Murcia, that was brought into the world using the same nuclear transfer technique that produced Dolly the sheep.

Zamora couldn't hit a barn door - Sunday, October 25

The Premier League Miss of the Season Shield, which ESPN Soccernet has just invented, is always a closely contested affair and on Sunday Fulham striker Bobby Zamora made an early bid to scoop the award with such a glaring miss against Manchester City that you could be forgiven for thinking he was Ronny Rosenthal (click here to remind yourself of the Israeli's miss).

With the ball on his favoured foot, the keeper on his rump and the goal at his mercy the hard-working striker, whose worth/lack of worth to the team is a divisive issue among the Fulham faithful, managed to sky a shot from the edge of the six-yard box over the bar and into the stratosphere.

His manager, Roy Hodgson, attempted to defend Zamora, although the Cottagers boss did admit it was a horrific miss, and said: "It's a pity as Bobby played so well. Unfortunately people who watch the match on TV will see the miss. But what they won't see is the 96 minutes and 45 seconds in which he was magnificent."

Unfortunately for Zamora it's not the only miss he is remembered for. His time in the Premier League has been so gaff-ridden that he has his own song - 'When you're sat in Row Z, and the ball hits your head, that's Zamora' - and we can expect to hear it again very soon.

The Naming Rights Stadium - Monday, October 26

What price 110 years of history? Well a few million quid should do it if Tottenham Hotspur's plans to sell naming rights on their new stadium are anything to go by.

Despite going to extraordinary lengths to get planning permission to build a new 60,000 seater ground next to White Hart Lane, Spurs have decided not to retain the name it has carried since 1899 and will instead chase a quick buck.

Arsenal went down the same route and the landed a £100 million, 15-year deal with Emirates to name their new stadium in 2006 and now Tottenham will roll the dice of fortune and hope the highest bidder has a reasonable brand name.

If the current shirt sponsors step up their investment it might end up as "The Mansion", which would probably be the best outcome the club can hope for. However, the multi-million pound showpiece stadium could also go the way of York City's Kit Kat Crescent or Colorado Rapids' particularly gruesome Dicks Sporting Goods Park or maybe even World of Leather Lane.

Hadjuk Split call in the cops - Tuesday, October 27

In a week when Fabio Capello claimed that Ultras run football in Italy and the Frente Atlético organisation warmly greeted Atlético Madrid's underperforming players at a behind-closed-doors training session, Hadjuk Split upped the ante in the bad behaviour stakes when they called in Croatian cops to protect their stars from furious fans.

The Hadjuk supporters have become so unhappy with The Whites' poor start to the season - the club are 10th in the league, 14 points behind leaders Dinamo Zagreb - that they have threatened to target players and management if results don't improve. And given the long history of violence it is a threat not to be taken lightly.

So while the biggest threat posed to the Premier League's players is having to wash their hands more frequently to avoid catching swine flu, Hadjuk's players have to contend with Croatian police patrolling their training sessions to protect them from their own fans.

Young Gunners getting too young - Wednesday, October 28

Arsene Wenger's Young Gunners® are getting so youthful that next season the Arsenal staff will be handing out super-powerful optical zoom glasses to enable the fans to see the amoebic stars of the future lurching around the Emirates, who, presumably, will still be good enough to beat Liverpool's second string.

Following Arsenal's 2-1 win over Liverpool on Wednesday night Aaron Ramsey unwittingly highlighted the rapidly depleting age of the team in his post-match comments. "We believe in getting the ball down and playing football the way we do," Ramsey said. "Arsene Wenger encourages that right through the youth systems and you can see tonight that some of the youngsters coming in play in exactly the same way as the first-team do."

Some of the youngsters coming in! Ramsey himself is only 18-years-old. Does that really make him one of the elder statesmen at Wenger's crèche?

Jan Molby's greatest goal - Thursday, October 29

Back in November 1985 Liverpool's Jan Molby ran from within his own half to smash home a 25-yard screamer against Manchester United in the League Cup and the Dane's strike has always been hailed as the greatest goal never seen.

The Milk Cup tie in question took place during a TV strike so there were no cameras at Anfield to record the event, or virtually none. According to legend, the only footage of the goal came from a police surveillance camera and the video tape was generously given to Molby after the game.

The goal has assumed mythical status among Liverpool fans and now Molby, along with LFC TV, have released the footage for public consumption, which you can now view here. The goal is still a great goal, and who knew big fat Jan had such pace, but if it hadn't been missing from view for 24 years would it still be hailed as such a legendary strike?

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