Norwich City's Howson celebrates his goal against Stoke City with teammates during their English Premier League soccer match in Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke City 0-1 Norwich City: Howson strike bests Stoke at home (Video)

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Stoke City failed to score in their second straight home match, and Norwich City’s better first half and organized defending gave the visitors all three points with a 1-0 win courtesy of Jonny Howson’s goal.

Norwich started confidently, passing well through the midfield and sending in a few dangerous crosses.  Stoke will find themselves lucky to keep out the Canaries in the first 10 minutes, weathering a good corner that a sliding Ryan Bennett crashed into the underside of the crossbar.

That was the only real good chance in the first half hour, as both teams battled but produced little. Stoke slowly climbed back into the fight, but still struggled to maintain any lengthy spells of possession.

The home side managed their first shot in the 33rd minute, as Marko Arnautovic blasted a searching shot just past the top right corner.

Norwich responded immediately, as Howson found some space and fired a ducking shot from distance. It caught Asmir Begovic flat-footed and the ball found the back of the net for a deserved opener.

The Norwich domination of the first half was acknowledged by Stoke manager Mark Hughes, as the 49-year-old made two changes after the break bringing on Jermaine Pennant and Stephen Ireland.  The two immediately provided support for Kenwyne Jones, and the possession instantly improved.

source: ReutersDespite the cearly more dangerous attack for Stoke City, Jones could not manage anything worthy of a goal, and was replaced by the towering Peter Crouch.

Norwich winger Robert Snodgrass, who had a relatively poor match overall, had a bit of brilliance in the 80th minute to give the visitors a chance at going two-up, but his curling shot was saved well by a diving Begovic.

Only able to grab the lone goal, Norwich were forced to repel intense pressure in the final 10 minutes of the match, but they held firm down the stretch and in stoppage time to seal the win.

The win draws Chris Hughton’s Norwich level with Stoke on points with seven.  It’s a big result considering they have Chelsea, Arsenal, and Manchester City coming up in their next four fixtures.

Mark Hughes mentioned before the match that his side were working on creating more of an attacking sense, but it would seem back to the drawing board for the Welshman and his Midlands club.


Norwich City – Howson 34′


Stoke City – Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Walters (Pennant, 46′), Nzonzi, Wilson, Adam (Ireland, 46′), Arnautovic; Jones (Crouch, 66′).

Norwich City – Ruddy; Martin, Turner, R. Bennett, Olsson; Tettey, Fer, Howson; Snodgrass, Pilkington (Whittaker, 83′); van Wolfswinkel (Elmander, 76′).

Ancelotti rules himself out of Liverpool job

Carlo Ancelotti, Real Madrid CF
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Carlo Ancelotti will not be the next manager of Liverpool, if you’re not so cynical that you don’t believe Mr. Ancelotti himself, that is.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s PL coverage ]

Ancelotti, who this summer was fired one season after winning the UEFA Champions League at Real Madrid, has been widely reported a top-two candidate for the Premier League club’s vacant managerial position ever since Brendan Rodgers was fired on Sunday.

While he may very well have been one of Liverpool’s top choices, to hear Ancelotti tell it, he’s not interested in taking the job, nor any other job anywhere in the world this year.

[ MORE: “Super computer” predicts final Premier League standings ]

Ancelotti, speaking at the National History Museum in London on Tuesday — quotes from the Guardian:

“I enjoy my time now but, of course, I want to come back to manage – to work – because it is my passion. I want to take my time to rest, but next season I am ready.”

“Why not [return to Paris Saint-Germain]? I have very good memories of Paris, PSG, I have good relations with everyone, with Nasser [al-Khelaifi, the PSG president].

“But I’m thinking about other things and PSG has a very good coach in Laurent Blanc. I hope he will continue and shine in the Champions League.”

Of course, with Jurgen Klopp reportedly all but officially announced as Liverpool’s new manager, Ancelotti is probably doing two things by ruling himself out until next season: 1) saving a bit of face, given that he was pretty clearly not Liverpool’s first-choice candidate; 2) letting every Ancelotti-sized club know that he’ll be available come this spring and summer, just in case they’re considering firing their current manager and need a bit of assurance an elite candidate will be available.

[ MORE: Klopp expected to be named new Liverpool manager this week ]

For instance, the likes of Chelsea, Manchester City, PSG and Juventus immediately come to mind. A manager of Ancelotti’s quality will always have options and offers, and that’s something he clearly understands. Ancelotti has earned the right to enjoy a year-long sabbatical and to be picky when choosing his next job.

Report: FIFA provisionally suspends Sepp Blatter

Sepp Blatter, FIFA president

Sepp Blatter could, finally, be frozen out by FIFA.

The 17-year leader of world soccer’s governing body has reportedly been suspended for 90 days after FIFA’s ethics committee met on Wednesday to discuss allegations against both Blatter and his close ally Michel Platini.

[ MORE: Chung to sue Blatter ]

Reports suggest that the decision to suspend the Swiss official still needs to be formally ratified by the adjudicatory chamber of the ethics committee, but it is highly likely that Blatter will be suspended until January 2016.

Blatter, 79, has been at FIFA for over 40 years but under his stewardship the organization has been riddled with allegations of corruption as current investigations from both the U.S. and Swiss authorities continue. The longtime FIFA official is suspected of “criminal mismanagement or misappropriation” by the Swiss authorities after a payment of over $1.9 million is linked to Blatter and the current president of UEFA, and FIFA presidential candidate, Platini.

[ MORE: How will USA line up vs. Mexico? ]

Klaus Stoehlker, who formerly advised Blatter, has told Sky News that the ethics committee “made the ruling pending further investigations by the Swiss attorney general” and the verdict was “pending”  but that “no negative finding had been made against the head of world football’s governing body.” It is believed that the 90-day suspension is the maximum amount of time the ethics committee can suspend any individuals while an investigation is ongoing.

It has been reported that the head of FIFA’s ethics committee, Judge Hans Joachim-Eckert, has told Blatter of his suspension.

The leader of FIFA, who will stand down following the next presidential elections on Feb. 26, 2016, has been defiant in recent weeks despite growing pressure from corporate sponsors of FIFA for him to resign.

On Wednesday he spoke out and denied he will quit, while at the Leaders’ in Sport Summit in London another presidential candidate ,Chung Mong-joon, declared that he will sue Blatter for “at least $100 million” and believes the FIFA president and his “cronies” are deliberately sabotaging his own presidential campaign.