Tuesday Kickoff: Benteke hat-trick leads Villa rout vs. Sunderland; Wenger linked with PSG; and more

ChristianBenteke-Sunderland (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

Aston Villa might just have saved themselves from relegation to the Championship.

In a lower end of the table clash, Paul Lambert’s charges ran riot on Monday, defeating Paolo Di Canio’s Sunderland, 6-1, at Villa Park. Christian Benteke scored a hat-trick in 17 second-half minutes, his first such achievement in English soccer to give him 18 goals on the season, by far leading all Villa scorers.

Ron Vlaar and Andreas Weimann scored the opening goals for Villa before the Belgian international Benteke hit three past Sunderland goalkeeper Simon Mignolet. Gabriel Agbonlahor finished the match off with a goal two minutes from time to further embarrass the Black Cats.

Villa now sit on 37 points with three matches to go, five points clear of Wigan in 17th place, and tied with Sunderland on points.

Here are some more stories to get your Tuesday started:

ARSENE WENGER LINKED WITH MOVE TO PARIS

Arsene Wenger’s tumultuous season at Arsenal might be his last at the club.

According to a report in English newspaper The Telegraph, the Arsenal manager is ready to step down from his position despite having another year left on his contract, and become the newest manager of Paris Saint-Germain beginning this summer.

The report says that the Qatari ownership group of PSG has been telling their inner circle that they are confident the 63-year-old Strasbourg native will move to Paris come June. Even if Wenger saw out his contract at Arsenal, the group is still confident that he’d be working at the Parisian club come summer of 2014.

Wenger has endured one of his toughest seasons this year as Arsenal boss. Though his team currently sit fourth in the table, the Gunners were knocked out of England’s cup competitions by lower level opposition, before exiting on away goals against Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

It’s been a full eight years since Arsenal last won a trophy, however, in Wenger’s 17 years, he brought the club 11 trophies including three Premier League titles.

LEWANDOWSKI AGENT DISMISSES MOVE TO ENGLAND

Since last winter, Manchester United has been on the forefront of signing Borussia Dortmund forward Robert Lewandowski, with the English club constantly staying within the rumor mill in England and Germany.

However, the player’s agent Maik Barthel has responded to questions over his client’s future by saying that Lewandowski is interested in a potential move to the Premier League, but not at this time, fueling the speculation that the Poland international will be moving to Bayern Munich this summer.

“I can tell you only one thing – Robert is interested in the future coming to the Premier League,” Barthel told The Guardian. “The Premier League is very interesting for Robert. How long is the future, I cannot say to you. I think this summer is not the future.”

Lewandowski has had another terrific season at Borussia, scoring 35 goals in all competitions for the second-place side in the Bundesliga. He scored all four goals in last Wednesday’s stunning win over Real Madrid in the Champions League semifinals.

HAVELANGE RESIGNS FROM FIFA OVER ALLEGED BRIBES

Just hours after the release of FIFA’s ethics report over the scandal between the world soccer body and marketing company International Sport and Leisure, former FIFA President Joao Havelange announced that he had resigned from his honorary position with the organization.

The Brazilian was named in the ethics report prepared by Hans-Joachim Eckert and Michael J. Garcia as one of three people within FIFA who took bribes from ISL, to ensure that the Swiss company would win the rights to market numerous World Cup finals. According to the report, Havelange, son-in-law Ricardo Teixeira, and recently resigned Nicolas Leoz received a series of “bribes” or “commissions” from ISL between 1992-2000.

Despite the allegations of bribery, Havelange, Teixeira, and Leoz are not punishable by law for their actions, as it was not illegal to received bribes in Switzerland at that time. Current FIFA President Sepp Blatter, who took over for Havelange in 1998, was cleared of receiving any kickbacks from ISL or helping the South American contingent receive their bribes.

“I also note with satisfaction that this report confirms that ‘President Blatter’s conduct could not be classified in any way as misconduct with regard to any ethics rules’,” Blatter told BBC Sport. “I have no doubt that Fifa, thanks to the governance reform process that I proposed, now has the mechanisms and means to ensure that such an issue – which has caused untold damage to the reputation of our institution – does not happen again.”

QUICK KICKS

Queens Park Rangers owner Tony Fernandes has confirmed that manager Harry Redknapp will stay in charge of the relegated team in next season’s Championship. (REPORT)

The agent of PSG forward Ezequiel Lavezzi has said that the Argentine will not be returning to Serie A next season. (REPORT)

Manchester City forward Carlos Tevez has dismissed claims of a move to Boca Juniors, lamenting that the Argentine club can’t afford his current market valuation. (REPORT)

Juventus manager Antonio Conte has asked the club for an improved contract worth €5 million per year plus bonuses for Champions League qualification and advancement. (REPORT)

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What do you make of these reports? Do you see Wenger leaving Arsenal for PSG this summer? Do you believe he can be successful in Paris? Do you see Lewandowski moving to Bayern Munich?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in European Soccer, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

25 Responses to Tuesday Kickoff: Benteke hat-trick leads Villa rout vs. Sunderland; Wenger linked with PSG; and more

  1. Joe says:

    Jozy Altidore has been appointed by FIFA to a taskforce to help end racism in football:

    link to bbc.co.uk

    Is here OK?

    • Shane says:

      Now when the racism continues in European soccer, Blatter and FIFA , can blame Jozy and Boateng

      • Joe says:

        I like the fact that this is an opportunity for Jozy to grow as a person, which will inevitably help him grow as a player. It also shows Altidore had earned some respect in the football world.
        Finally, I believe DeMarcus Beasley was involved in an anti-racism campaign during his time in Europe, as well.

    • WiscFan says:

      It’s good to see some stands may be closed. The fines were barely a slap on the wrist.

  2. kev says:

    AV might be saved from relelgation.

    whose your player of the year for the club? Guzan or Benteke?

    • Aston Villan says:

      It’s got to be Benteke. Don’t get me wrong, Guzan has been amazing this year, but Benteke is just on a whole different level. I mean he just broke the single season goal scoring record for Villa. Not a bad year for the young man.

    • GW says:

      Benteke.

      By a small margin. Great as he is Guzan is a keeper.

      Keepers can preserve a tie but ties won’t keep you in the EPL. I suppose 38 ties would get you 38 points and keep you in the EPL but that doesn’t seem very likely.

      Keepers can protect your lead thus making your win stand up and that will get you the points you need but someone else has to score to get that lead.

      That someone else is Benteke.

  3. csa says:

    if I were Lewandowski I’d leave for Man U or Juventus or AC Milan.

    i wouldnt move to Bayern. whats the point?

    • Anthony says:

      You’re kidding, right? Bayern Muchen might be the scariest team in Europe right now and they are destined to become better. He would part of the next greatest Dynasty in Europe for the next 5 years. As great as Man Utd is, Bayern is better.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yeah, other than a massive pay raise and playing on probably the best team in the world for one of the best managers in the world (next year), i just can’t think of anything.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      yeah, other than a ma$$ive pay raise and playing on probably the best team in the world for one of the best managers in the world (next year), i just can’t think of anything.

      edit: *sigh* to avoid the totally unnecessary moderation.

    • SBI Troll says:

      No chance. He’s staying on the best young team in Europe.

    • GW says:

      Both managers are great.
      I’m sure the money is equally good in both places and both clubs are equal in stature.

      Maybe Lewandowski likes living in Germany better. He would be far better acclimated to the culture that’s for sure.

  4. DC Josh says:

    If Belgium qualify for the World Cup, watch out. Their players are in sizzling form at the moment.

  5. ed - houston says:

    Arsenal does need a change. Wenger has been good for the club, won trophys, overachived many times, underachived too. It’s time.

  6. bottlcaps says:

    FFIA will have to do a lot more than appoint abused footballers to a commission. There are several distinct facets to tackling. Individual players (like Surarez) who facilitate racism by taunts or threats, and then you have the fans. FIFA must crack down on the clubs and national federations by asking clubs to monitor fan groups that tolerate or encourage racist behavior by it’s members or followers. Den Bosch had TWO fan groups that openly taunted opposing teams with racist chants, before the Altidore incident, and the club did nothing about it and by it’s toleration, encouraged this behavior. You also have institutionalizes racism in some former eastern-block countries like Serbia. Whose clubs outright encourage racism.

    Let’s not hope by appointing this commission, FIFA feels it has done enough to address the problem and this commission is just a “band-aid” to silence it’s critics.

  7. Sly says:

    If Newcastle gets relegated I can see Liverpool, Arsenal and united decimated their roster. Ben Arfa, Cisse, Davide Santon, Coloccini, Chiek Tiote, Sissoko, Cabaye, Mbiwa.

    Why pay large transfer fees when theres a relegated club that will have to trim rosters.

    On a side note how come a team with such quality is in the running for relegation.

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      They are poorly managed. The team has no identity. Instead of buying players who fit certain roles of need, the club bought players from the bargain bin who, don’t get me wrong, are great players in their own right, but throwing a bunch of great players together does not always make a great team.

    • Nic D "The TX 2 Stepper" says:

      They should have never lest Chris Houghton go! I think they should go down just because of that and that Mike Ashley is a straight up S C R U B!

  8. Jason says:

    Anyone think Arsenal would try and lure Henry to come back as manager if Wenger leaves. Thierry has said he dreams of being the manager there someday.

    • GW says:

      The next Arsenal manager will be expected to win something.

      That is a lot to ask of a guy who has never been a manager at any level.