Zlatospheric - AFR Voice Episode 6

With what critics have been describing as the audio equivalent of a 30-yard bicycle Kung-Fu kick, we present your fortnightly of AFR Voice. This time around we’ll be kicking things off with all things Zlatan – the goal, the aftermath, and the big question – just what is he giving his wife for Christmas? We’ll also be picking apart Snoop Dogg’s new found Old Firm connection, and discussing how much magic, if any, will flow out of the FA Cup when MK Dons and AFC Wimbledon play each other for the first time in the competition’s second round.

Then it’s off around the Premier League where we’ll be trying to remember the last time that Chelsea won a league game in November, getting the Mark Hughes sacking sweepstakes up and running, as well as taking an in-depth look at the questionable eating habits of Andrei Arshavin; before embarking on a breakfast-based adventure with Reading defender Sean Morrison (#CerealQuest).

If that wasn’t enough for you then let us brew up some coffee, send some emails and get the photocopier fired up, as it’s now very much business time in the MLS – this means we’ll be looking at the Eastern and Western Conference play-off finals and getting jacked up for the MLS Cup as LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo fight it out for the second year running. Then it’s back over to mainland Europe where Juventus have continued their good run in Serie A, Rafa Benitez has been breaking hearts, we adopt a new team from the East of Berlin, and we swing by France where PSG have stuttered again and a rather interesting/violent piece of art has just been unveiled. Magnifique.

As always, if you’d like to get in touch then do tweet us @AFRVoice or drop us an email at afrvoice@gmail.com. You can also subscribe to the pod on iTunes and find us on Soundcloud.

Fulham’s Hangeland transforms from villain to hero within 5 minutes

Craven Cottage, Fulham v Manchester United, Premier League 22/08/2010 Brede Hangeland of Fulham celebrates with teamates after making the score 2-2 Photo Marc Atkins Fotosports International Photo via Newscom

By Dominic Vieira, writing from Portugal

In the 84th minute it appeared that Manchester United were going to scrape a narrow 2-1 victory at Craven Cottage after Brede Hangeland scored an unlucky own goal. The Norwegian centre back redeemed himself with the equaliser 5 minutes later.

Manchester United did not manage emulate their winning form at a ground they’ve struggled to win at in recent times. Their opponent was tough, organised and motivated side which made it a challenging an balanced match. But it was United who had the promising start with a Berbatov acrobatic finish superbly saved by second choice keeper David Stockdale. The young goalkeeper was in flying form and must have impressed Fabio Capello who was in the stands.

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Premier League Preview: Fulham vs Manchester United

By Dominic Vieira, writing from Portugal

In one hour’s time Manchester United will be playing against Fulham at Craven Cottage. After Chelsea thumped 6 past Wigan yesterday, the Red Devils don’t want to lose ground in the title race.

Alex Ferguson’s men were undefeated for 45 years at the Fulham ground, but that achievement was smashed last year as they lost twice within the space of 9 months. However, Roy Hogdson is no longer the manager of the home side and Manchester United do not have an injury plagued squad. Will their fortunes be different this afternoon?

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Mark Hughes accepts offer to become the next manager of Fulham

After Ajax refused to allow Martin Jol to leave his post in Holland, Fulham are set to unveil Mark Hughes as the next manager at Craven Cottage. According to The Guardian, the Welshman will be the man to succeed Roy Hodgson, who left in the summer to join Liverpool, and his appointment has disappointed Sven-Goran Eriksson, who had been under consideration.

With the Premier League season beginning in just a couple of weeks, this late announcement is a relief to all Fulham supporters. And perhaps a pleasant surprise, as the club will continue on with a British manager.

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Friday Flashback: When Mark Hughes was untouchable

Pundits this past week have been saying some ridiculous things, such as, “What if Gareth Bale was English instead of Welsh?” This, to me, seems absurd. Bale is from Wales, so he is Welsh. It’s the same as saying, “What if George Best (or Ronaldo) were English?” It’s nice to dream. Anyway, a lot of players (ahem… Xavi & Fernando Torres) have been praising England prior to this summer’s World Cup. “England Expects”, but really why should they? After all, it has been 44 years since England made the World Cup. So why such high recognition? Well some may say the Premier League, but I say that the competition from the other nations in Great Britain have pushed England forward. Legends have worn the England kit, but one of them that England fans wish they could have had is certainly Mark Hughes. Hughes, though controversially out of work as he was fired by Manchester City earlier in the season, was a revelation for Wales, inspiring the likes of Craig Bellamy to play without fear. Not to mention his brilliant years under Fergie at Manchester United. A striker willing to do the ridiculous, perhaps Hughes’ best international goal was against Spain in a 1985 World Cup qualifier. And doesn’t he still have that touch?

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"Hughes sacking is unacceptable" - Sir Alex Ferguson

Mark Hughes’ City axe leaves Sir Alex Ferguson fuming. [BBC Sport]

Hughes was sacked moments after Saturday’s thrilling 4-3 victory over Sunderland, with Italian Roberto Mancini immediately named as his replacement.

And the Manchester United boss criticised City chief executive Garry Cook’s handling of the affair.

"It was unacceptable behaviour. For some reason Christmas seems to bring out the worst in directors," Ferguson said.

"It doesn’t matter whether you have lost 20 games or two, there is a way to treat people," added Ferguson.

"I do not know how you can do something like that.

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