EPL Daily, 10.9: Henk ‘so I’m the asshole?’ ten Cate, Bolton draws a giant

Henk Ten Cate held a press conference to say he wouldn’t be heading to Chelsea, but to no avail, the offer was too good to refuse. Ten Cate was given the go ahead to sever his ties with Ajax and head to Stamford Bridge to open negotiations. It’s not every day you see the Dutch powerhouses stamped upon and trampled over by a ‘bigger’ club or……………maybe they didn’t want to fight for ten Cate who has seen his grasp on the club slip along with Ajax’s form in European play. The bitter 1-goal Eredivisie championship loss to PSV last year was enough to turn many against the former Barca assistant. That’s not to say Ajax officials weren’t fuming…

“Henk presented it to us as a fact and we didn’t have any choice. We didn’t want to work with a coach who had his mind at Chelsea.Things should have been done differently. I don’t want to say more.”

Bolton, Tottenham, and Everton all found out their UEFA Group fates with Bolton grabbing a match-up against Luca Toni and Bayern Munich. Tottenham will face Anderlecht in a replay of the 1984 UEFA Cup final, while Everton will face Blackburn’s executioners, Larissa as well as Dutch big guns AZ Alkmaar. 

UEFA Group Draws

Group A
AZ Alkmaar
Zenit St Petersburg
Everton
Nurnberg
Larissa

Group B
Panathinaikos
Lokomotiv Moscow
Atletico Madrid
FC Copenhagen
Aberdeen

Group C
Villarreal
AEK Athens
Fiorentina
Mlada Boleslav
IF Elfsborg

Group D
Basel
Hamburg
Rennes
Dinamo Zagreb
SK Brann

Group E
Bayer Leverkusen
Sparta Prague
Spartak Moscow
Toulouse
FC Zurich

Group F
Bayern Munich
Bolton Wanderers
Braga
Crvena Zvezda
Aris Thessaloniki

Group G
Anderlecht
Tottenham Hotspur
Getafe
Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Aalborg

Group H
Bordeaux
Austria Vienna
Galatasaray
Panionios
Helsingborgs

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EPL Daily 10.5: Kroenke to start another EPL Cold War?; ten Cate to Stamford?

Henk ten Cate – Ajax boss – looks poised to join Avram Grant at Stamford Bridge in the capacity of assistant coach. Grant has already said he wants to improve the backroom staff – bringing in one big domestic target and a foreign coach who already backs the style Chelsea likes to play. ten Cate lost out on the Dutch Eredivisie Championship last year by one goal and the pinnacle of his career might have already passed as assistant coach to Frank Rijkaard at Barcelona. At he seemingly doesn’t want to budge from his position at Amsterdam ArenA after giving a press conference that states just that.

The big-bad American doesn’t look so bad after all as Arsenal Peter Hill-Wood has looked to American billionaire and Colorado Rapids owner Stan Kroenke to counter the questionably-intentioned Russian Alisher Usmanov. About 45% of the Arsenal shareholders have signed a ‘lockdown’ agreement to ensure the Usmanov and Kroenke don’t launch a takeover bid, but now Kroenke’s 12% share is seen as friendly instead of hostile. Can’t wait to see how this one pans out.

An England squad that has several surprises will take on Russia and Estonia in about 2 weeks. Michael Owen was included despite injury, Dean Ashton found his way back onto the shortlist, and Joleon Lescott will get a go at his first cap. Owen Hargreaves and Michael Carrick are the biggest injury disappointments (and you can’t help but feel a tad sorry for Sir Alex Ferguson on these losses).

Full England squad: Robinson (Tottenham), James (Portsmouth), Carson (Liverpool, on loan at Aston Villa), Richards (Man City), Brown (Man Utd), Ferdinand (Man Utd), Terry (Chelsea), A Cole (Chelsea), P Neville (Everton), Campbell (Portsmouth), Lescott (Everton), Shorey (Reading), Wright-Phillips (Chelsea), Gerrard (Liverpool), Barry (Aston Villa), J Cole (Chelsea), Downing (Middlesbrough), Lampard (Chelsea), Young (Aston Villa), Bentley (Blackburn), Owen (Newcastle), Rooney (Man Utd), Smith (Newcastle), Ashton (West Ham), Defoe (Tottenham), Johnson (Everton), Crouch (Liverpool).