Wednesday Kickoff: Chandler stays with Nurnberg, Grant backs Di Matteo & more

Chandler (Getty Images)

Timmy Chandler is staying put.

Despite months of speculation that he would be transferring this summer, Chandler signed a contract extension with FC Nurnberg that will keep him with the club through 2015.

Chandler's current contract still had another year on it, but as the final summer transfer window of that deal approached, the possibility of him moving elsewhere increased. Stuttgart, a team closing in on a UEFA Europa League berth, was said to be one of the teams that had serious interest in bringing Chandler aboard, but instead of moving elsewhere, the 22-year-old winger/fullback will remain with Nurnberg, which is set for a mid-table finish.

Here are a few more stories to get your day going:

GRANT: DI MATTEO DESERVES CHELSEA JOB

Avram Grant knows what it is like to be on the cusp of UEFA Champions League glory with Chelsea only to be shown the door by owner Roman Abramovich, and he hopes that Roberto Di Matteo does not suffer the same fate.

Grant told The Evening Standard (UK) that "Roberto deserves one more year, at least, because he has done a good job with this team. To come to the final with this team is unbelievable."

Di Matteo has been in an interim role ever since Abramovich axed Andre Villas-Boas, but after leading Chelsea past Barcelona and into the Champions League final, his case for the full-time job continues to get stronger. 

BOLTON SECURES 3 BIG POINTS

Bolton's chances of staying in the Premier League increased on Tuesday, with a come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Aston Villa at Villa Park.

After falling behind on a Stephen Warnock goal just after the hour mark, Bolton responded with two immediate goals through Martin Petrov and David Ngog in consecutive minutes to secure the three points and move within one point of safety with a game in hand on both Wigan Athletic and Queens Park Rangers. The loss puts Aston Villa back within three points of the drop zone with three matches to play.

American defenders Tim Ream and Eric Lichaj each went 90 minutes and picked up a yellow card in the match.

PIQUE RELEASED FROM HOSPITAL

After everything that unfolded at Camp Nou on Tuesday it's easy to forget the opening-minute collision between Barcelona centerback Gerard Pique and goalkeeper Victor Valdes that knocked Pique to the ground for several minutes. 

The Spanish defender stayed on for a few more minutes before it was apparent that he had to be subbed off, and after spending the night in a hospital, Pique has been released. It was suspected that he suffered a concussion on the collision. According to a team statement from Barcelona:

"Gerard Pique has been discharged from hospital after follow-up medical tests proved satisfactory. The Barcelona FC defender spent the night in hospital under observation after a heavy collision with Didier Drogba and Victor Valdes in the early stages of the match against Chelsea. The player will now rest for a week before being re-assessed."

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Happy that Chandler is staying with Nurnberg or would you have liked to see him go elsewhere? Think Di Matteo deserves to stay on as Chelsea manager now? Do you think Bolton stays up after Tuesday's win? Is Aston Villa in danger of relegation? Think Pique should have come off immediately after the collision?

Share your thoughts below.

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22 Responses to Wednesday Kickoff: Chandler stays with Nurnberg, Grant backs Di Matteo & more

  1. BSU SC says:

    Great news for Timmy Chandler. Nurnburg seems to be a perfect fit for him. He will be a huge factor for the USMNT leading into Brazil 2014.

  2. Hincha Tim says:

    It was totally irresponsible for Barca doctors to allow Pique back on the field. He was knocked unconcious for at least 30 seconds. In this day and age of concussions and the acknowledged problems associated with continuing to play after having received one, either Spanish medicine is in the dark ages, or they should be fired.

  3. Lost in Space says:

    Here’s hoping that both Bolton and Villa can find ways to stay up. I’m not a big fan of either team, but for the sake of the Americans on the squads I’m hoping that they can stay in the premier and continue to get top quality compition.

  4. wides says:

    Agreed… totally ridiculous and incredibly dangerous to Pique

  5. BrianK says:

    I wonder how much of post-collision football Piqué will remember? It definitely looked like a concussion to me. The impact of Valdes to Piqué was very violent. Hopefully all is well for him.

  6. NE Matt says:

    My ideal drop 3 would be Wolves, Blackburn and QPR. I hate the loud mouths on QPR (Cisse, Barton, etc…) and Roberto Martinez manages Wigan, and he is great. Villa and Bolton have to stay up though – for the sake of our Nats there.

  7. NE Matt says:

    Not necessarily an indicator that he stays with them. A lot of teams do this for “sign and trade” appeal of the player – Stuttgart will now be willing to pay more if they really want Chandler since they will no longer be able to wait one more year for him. Also, if Chandler develops into a superstar, he will be on the Nurnberg roster for the (potentially) next 3 years and thus they would benefit from any transfer fee in that interval.

  8. ted says:

    Its too bad we probably wont see the holden muamba partnership in the middle for bolton, was one o the aspects that made them a fun team to watch last year; hope they stay up and villa too

  9. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    I think its a great move for Chandler. Re-signing with the team and not looking to jump at the first opportunity shows he is mature and getting good advice. There’s plenty of years to more if he so chooses. Focus on getting better, stay with a competitive team and strive for WC2014.
    I don’t think NE Matt’s ‘sign and trade’ theory really applies here. This isn’t the NBA.
    Finally, although I’m a Barca fan and hate Chelsea, how could you not love watching them bunker down to stifle the best team in history? Turns out I’m more a fan of the game then of the team I guess. Great news that Pique is better. The fact that he was back on the field is incomprehensible.

  10. fischy says:

    Happy…Chandler? Funny how the subconscious works.

  11. JJ says:

    Couldnt have said it any better i agree with you 100% on every topic!

  12. Mig22 says:

    It is going to be very hard to justify ousting Di Matteo. Grant also did a great job but the somewhat insane Abramovich was not slammed for axing him because dear Avram wasn’t liked by a vocal segment of Chelsea’s fans. Di Matteo has rescued the season and has the backing of enough of the supporters. I hope he stays on.

  13. ManicMessiah says:

    More than a few Newcastle fans are hoping Villa go down based on how they treated Newcastle when they were relegated a few seasons ago.

    Personally, I can’t root for anyone to go down after having my team go through it.

  14. RedStateJim says:

    Did anyone notice how the trainers manhandled him while he was on the pitch? For the “best” team on the planet, they sure look like they could use an upgrade to their training staff.

  15. fischy says:

    The difference is that Di Matteo was real talent, who played the game at the highest levels. He has worked his way very quickly up the ladder as a manager, but no one has questioned his sophistication and understanding of the game at the highest levels.

    Grant was a guy who’d never played professionally. He went straight from his the youth ranks at an Israeli club to managing the youth team. He spent his career climbing the managerial ladder in Israel, enjoying great success, even with the national team.

    However, it was still just Israel. No one had any faith or sense that he appreciated the nuances and had any clue about managing at the highest levels in Europe.

    Grant at Chelsea was kind of like throwing Bruce Arena into that environment after coaching the USMNT, except that Arena did play the game at a higher level, and Arena even coached at the World Cup and did well there the first time around…Even with his background, no English team seriously considered Arena.

  16. Mig22 says:

    Oh, you are right that there were differences. What I’m saying is that the supposed fans were being petty simply because Grant wasn’t likeable. Hell, Mourinho had no professional playing career so if any group of fans should know there is no requirement to be an ex-player, it should be Chelsea’s fan base.

    It’s mostly a popularity contest with some people and the manager needs to fit their idea of what a gaffer should be and should look like.

    Cheers!

  17. NE Matt says:

    I understand that existing contracts are ripped up upon transfer, but the impact of the extension as far as upping the ante in terms of sale value still applies

  18. Jon says:

    If ai wasn’t already smashing Shakira, I probably would have pushed those guys off and requested an exam from Chelsea’s Lady Physio.

  19. Northzax says:

    Except that subs are so critical, teams don’t want to ‘waste’ them for a middling head injury the guy can just ‘shake off’. What I’d like to see is the ref having the ability/obligation to ban a player from the match after a head injury, and give the team a free substitution (as long as they have at least one remaining) to protect the player’s health. The player would be allowed to return to competition only after being cleared by a neurologist. North American sports are leading the way on this type of thing, it’s time for the rest of the world to follow suit. Not a joking matter.

  20. vik says:

    MLS has implemented something like this for this year right? There is an independent doctor on the sideline and in the video replay booth, and if they deem it was a head injury that might be a concussion, they require the player be brought off and given tests for concussion. Again, the results need to be verified by the independent doc. During this period, a temporary sub may be brought on, and if it’s not a concussion, the player can switch back in.

    I haven’t seen it yet this season, but isn’t this the rule in MLS at the moment? The couple of potentially concussive injuries i’ve seen resulted in immediate subs, so I’ve never seen any temporary subs get on the field.

  21. Air Jordanz says:

    Happened to Will Bruin (HOU) against Chicago, a few minutes before the game was called for the 2nd time due to lightning.

  22. Mike says:

    Didn’t see Villa/Bolton. How did Lichaj and Ream look? What was good/bad?