Friday, December 15, 2006

Sanford's Premiership Predictions

Charlton vs. Liverpool

There is no doubt in my mind that Charlton will be playing in the Championship next year. Replacing Dowie has done absolutely nothing and with a free-scoring Liverpool coming to The Valley I expect another lousy afternoon for the Addicks. It’s shocking to think how poor this side will be if Darren Bent leaves in January.

0-2

Arsenal vs. Portsmouth

‘Arry ain’t got no strikers and that spells trouble for Pompey. The Gunners have yet to lose at the Emirates and I can’t see that changing come Saturday. It’s a shame that Kanu can’t face his old mates, especially since he’s on song at the moment. Mendes will return for Portsmouth but Arsenal will do the business.

3-1

Newcastle vs. Watford

Suddenly Gaffer Roeder has the Geordie’s on the move. Former Inter man Obefemi Martins looked the real deal last weekend and if he continues to score frowns could turn upside down in the northeast. You’ve got to feel for Watford, though. They’re giving all they’ve got but it’s obviously not enough. Without goals, they’ll go down.

3-0

Reading vs. Blackburn

I can’t tell what’s going on with Blackburn – they’re all over the map. I do like Reading’s consistency and with Blackburn in action this week, look for Reading to ease to a home win. They’ve practically done enough to stay up, but as they should, they maintain a hunger that should see them finish comfortably mid-table. Blackburn have some classy lads but I fear their European campaign could land them in the bottom five come May.

3-1

Wigan vs. Sheffield United

Wigan were a bit unlucky not to take a point off The Arsenal at midweek and I see them winning handily here. United have had a nice run but Wigan are too tough for them, especially at the JJB.

2-1

Aston Villa vs. Bolton

What? A draw say you? I’d have to agree. Bolton have been playing their best football in years and Big Sam has his men playing well beyond their hoof it and run reputation. With Diouf in the mood and Kevin Davies poaching with aplomb, Bolton look destined for a European spot. But O’Neill won’t let it be easy and the Villains have perfected the art of The Point.

1-1

Everton vs. Chelsea

Normally this fixture would give those chasing the top two reason to hope, but with Everton’s injury list I can’t see them giving the Champions any problems.

0-2

Manchester City vs. Tottenham

It’s a classic case of home stronghold versus away woes. Citeh continue to do the business in their park while Spurs pull the Jekyll and Hyde and are very Hyde away from White Hart Lane. Mind you, Spurs have been on it a bit of late but they’ve done this sort of thing before…get on a roll and then revert to some astonishingly poor form. I see a draw.

2-2

West Ham vs. Manchester United

One of the surprises of the season for me is how consistent ManU have been so far. They’ve been extremely balanced and have dealt with some injuries quite well. West Ham will be boosted by Curbishly’s arrival, but even though this contest kicks off at Upton Park, I can’t see the Hammers getting a result.

0-1

Fulham vs. Middlesbrough

You’ve got to fancy Fulham at home here. They’ve been flying at the Cottage and Boro don’t exactly inspire fear on their travels. I worry for Boro and could see them fighting relegation come April.

2-0

Champions League: Last 16 draw

Barcelona and Liverpool, the last two winners of the Champions League, will face each other in the first knockout round of the this season's competition following the draw made on Friday.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=395479&cc=5901

UEFA Cup Wrap

Spurs win, Sevilla lose...

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-uefa_wrapup_1&prov=reuters&type=lgns

English Premier League news in brief

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-englandpreview&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Lehmann may follow Pires on the plane to Spain

I can just see the weekly "Lehmann es Loco!" headlines now... -Sanford

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,277-2506225,00.html

English Premier League Weekend Preview

Manchester United travel to Upton Park while Chelsea head to Liverpool to face Everton...

http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=191152

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/eng_prem/6164485.stm

Middlesbrough Tracking Aliadiere

http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=191147

Palestinian women claim their place in soccer, challenging tradition

No field, no money, no wins -- it's been tough going for the fledgling Palestinian women's national soccer team.

Yet the players, some competing in headscarves and extra long shorts for modesty, shrug off their setbacks. They say they love the sense of strength and confidence they get from the game, as well as the rush of claiming a once forbidden place in a society largely run by men.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=ap-playingforpalestine&prov=ap&type=lgns

La Liga Weekend Preview

Barcelona's trip to the Club World Cup in Japan will hand Sevilla the chance to go top of the Primera Liga on Sunday when they make the short hop across Andalucia to meet Recreativo Huelva.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-spain_preview&prov=reuters&type=lgns

American Style Playoffs For Serie A?

http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=191044

Serie A News in Brief

Palermo face Roma while Milan travel to Florence...

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-italypreview&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Kevin Nolan column

Our 4-0 defeat of West Ham saw them react with the dismissal of manager Alan Pardew.

I feel very sorry for Alan. Last year West Ham were a good side and were possibly unlucky not to win the FA Cup.

That earned them a place in European football this season but people forget how easily and quickly things can turn in football.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport2/hi/football/6179497.stm

Friday's rumours

http://football.guardian.co.uk/rumourmill/index/0,,1972918,00.html

Beware Lille

Even by French standards, Lille are a small club - but Manchester United won't have it easy against them.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/15/beware_lille.html

USA To Host Mexico In February

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=190856

Sir Alex hits back at Mourinho mind games

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has accepted Jose Mourinho's assertion that Chelsea could find a different level as the battle for the Premiership title hots up - he thinks they might get worse.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,291-2506762,00.html

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Barca Fan Misjudgement

It's a slow news day in Soccerworld. With all the journos wisely watching the cricket they've no time to make up stories. So all I've got to offer is this silly clip...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eEQcGvJkb7s

Comments

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Sanford

Richard Jolly at the JJB Stadium

Wigan Athletic 0 - 1 Arsenal

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=395617&root=england&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1&cc=5901

Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle

Didier Drogba climbed off the substitutes' bench to score the only goal of the game for Chelsea against Newcastle and cut Manchester United's lead at the top of the Barclays Premiership to five points.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/report?id=209439&cc=5901

English Premier League Table

P

GD

Pts

1

Man Utd

17

29

44

2

Chelsea

17

18

39

3

Arsenal

17

14

29

4

Portsmouth

17

9

28

5

Liverpool

17

8

28

6

Bolton

17

4

27

7

Reading

17

-2

26

8

Aston Villa

17

4

25

9

Tottenham

17

-1

25

10

Everton

17

3

24

11

Wigan

17

-2

22

12

Man City

17

-6

20

13

Fulham

17

-11

20

14

Newcastle

17

-4

19

15

Middlesbrough

17

-8

17

16

Sheff Utd

17

-9

17

17

Blackburn

16

-7

16

18

West Ham

17

-14

14

19

Charlton

17

-15

12

20

Watford

16

-10

11

Real Madrid win race to sign Argentine starlet Higuain

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=396190&cc=5901

A Breakdown: Possible Opponents in the Champions League for EPL Clubs

Metaphorically speaking, the Premiership can head to Nyon, Switzerland, for Friday's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw with a smug grin and its chest puffed out.

POSSIBLE OPPONENTS
Arsenal: Barca,
Inter, PSV,
Roma, Real,
Celtic, Lille • Chelsea: Inter,
PSV, Roma,
Real, Celtic,
Porto, Lille • Liverpool: Barca,
Inter, Roma,
Real, Celtic,
Porto, Lille • Man United: Barca,
Inter, PSV,
Roma, Real,
Porto, Lille
All four English clubs - the maximum quota allowed under UEFA rules - didn't just qualify for the knockout phase of Europe's elite competition, but secured their passage as group winners. A feat neither Italy, Spain nor Germany could match.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=395563&root=uefachampionsleague&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1&cc=5901

Hunt was a quiet pioneer of U.S. soccer

When Lamar Hunt was courting his wife, Norma, they stood on the terraces for a Shamrock Rovers match in Dublin. That trip to Ireland in 1962 also kicked off Hunt's interest in soccer and started him on a path toward becoming the game's most persistent financial backer in the U.S.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=394199&root=us&cc=5901

2007 MLS Cup to be held at RFK Stadium

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=395615&cc=5901

Convey Close To Running Again

http://www.soccer365.com/US_NEWS/Americans_Abroad/page_93_132885.shtml

UEFA Cup Wrap

A dramatic late Lucas Neill winner gave Blackburn a last-gasp victory over Nancy on Wednesday as doubles each from Pauleta and Bonaventure Kalou saw Paris St Germain safely into the UEFA Cup knock-out stages.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=afp-fbleurc3&prov=afp&type=lgns

Ronaldo accuses referees of showing favouritism to defenders

Cristiano Ronaldo has turned from the accused into the accuser by criticising the standard of refereeing in England and complaining that he is not afforded enough protection.

http://football.guardian.co.uk/News_Story/0,,1971675,00.html

Marina Hyde Column

Like an annual visit from a tiresome aunt the tedium that is Sports Personality of the Year is finally behind us and we can move on to the business end of the awards season, namely Sports Personality Disorder of the Year. To plot yourself on the great matrix of sporting insanity, do take the test below, which has been compiled along the lines of those women's magazine staples that attempt to establish the degree to which any given respondent is an alpha female/high-functioning alcoholic/drain on their friends and society.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/14/can_you_do_the_bosss_job_take.html

The Fiver

Alan Curbishley is considered one of the best home-grown managers around, which is odd considering he's not even the best home-grown manager in his own family. In over 30 years managing The Who, his big brother Bill has only lost Keith Moon and John Entwistle, a statistic that palls into insignificance compared to the £4.45m his sibling lost on Jason Euell. It's also worth noting that Bill wedged a bigger crowd into The Valley than Alan managed in 15 years, with Roger Daltry and chums attracting over 60,000 for a gig back in the days when The Fiver was riding around on a moped sporting a slim-cut Italian suit and a McClaren-esque quiff.

http://football.guardian.co.uk/fiver/0,,415657,00.html

Thursday's Rumours

http://football.guardian.co.uk/rumourmill/index/0,,1971922,00.html

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ferguson United

A nice review of Sir Alex's years at ManU as he turns 65.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/main.jhtml?xml=/sport/2006/12/10/sfnpb110.xml

Houllier swelling pride of Lyons

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,27-2499745,00.html

Things just work differently on planet Lehmen

What an edifying spat this is. Instead of keeping a low profile after embarrassingly falling to the ground as if taken out by a sniper during the Chelsea game, Jens decided to attack every English housewife's favourite, Frankie Lampard. For calling him names. Now Lamps fights back by telling us how crap it is when players "start talking about things in the media"... in his exculsive interview for the Sun newspaper. -TSB

http://home.skysports.com/list.aspx?hlid=434896&CPID=8&clid=8&lid=2&title=Lampard+slams+Lehmann

Splashing the cash in January

Likely transfer activity for EPL clubs during the January transfer window.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=395414&root=england&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1&cc=5901

Curbishley set to be unveiled as West Ham boss

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=395545&cc=5901

EPL Preview: Chelsea vs. Newcastle United

http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=189238

EPL Preview: Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal

http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=189083

Conflicting Reports Over Gallas Injury

http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=189733

Boothroyd Tips DeMerit For Skipper

http://www.soccer365.com/US_NEWS/Americans_Abroad/page_93_132816.shtml

Moores the merrier at Liverpool's new era

Liverpool claim their proposed £450m takeover deal will not rob them of their traditional values.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/13/moores_the_merrier_at_liverpoo.html

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Phil Ball in Spain

I suppose it's in the nature of things these days to have two-horse races. There's plenty of money swishing around Europe's various football leagues, but only the privileged few can count on the megabucks that separate the thoroughbreds from the also-rans.

FC Sevilla
DenisDoyle/GettyImages
FC Sevilla celebrate after the final whistle at the weekend after securing victory over Real

It's a paradigm that people accept, and in a perverse sense the only thing that retains our interest, as neutrals, is the possibility that in some way, somehow, the duopolies of the European leagues (or occasional triopolies - now there's a word) can be broken. Hence the fuss when Napoli did it in Italy, Deportivo in Spain etc. There are other examples, but you're here to read about Spain.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=395427&root=europe&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab2pos1&cc=5901

Pardew Sacked by West Ham

From thoughts of the Champions League to the harsher reality of the Championship in a flash: that is the worst-case scenario for Eggert Magnusson. His £85million takeover of West Ham prompted, for the second time this season, suggestions that the Hammers could gatecrash the private party of the European elite.


Ben Radford/GettyImages
Alan Pardew: Left out in the cold after a poor run of games.

But just as the optimism that followed the signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano was swiftly drained, the sight of a demoralised Magnusson slumped in his seat at the Reebok Stadium was a sign that the precariousness of West Ham's position had sunk in.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=395394&root=england&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos2&cc=5901

Adu starts over in Real Salt Lake

The youngest player ever to sign with a professional sports franchise in the United States has left the team he started with. Major League Soccer player Freddy Adu was traded from D.C. United, his hometown club, and reunited with his former U-17 national youth team coach, John Ellinger, at Real Salt Lake.

Though D.C. won an MLS championship (2004), a Supporter's Shield regular season title (2006), and made the playoffs in every season since Adu first signed three years ago, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for him at United.

Adu
Tony Quinn/WireImage
It's no secret that Freddy Adu felt underutilized by D.C. United.

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/columns/story?id=395451&root=us25&cc=5901

Lampard The Problem, Not Drogba, Says Lehmann

Jesn, Jens, Jens..are you aware that you are mentally unstable?? -Sanford

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=188752

Prem Report: Villa & Blades Both Climb One Place

Sheffield United and Aston Villa produced an entertaining 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane Monday evening - an outcome that enabled both sides to climb one place in the Premiership table.

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=188530

EPL: Best Eleven Of The Week

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=188448

Serie A Team Of The Week

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=188366

How Italy's match-fixing penalties were cut on appeal

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-italyregginascandal_factbox&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Richard Williams Column

After watching last weekend's games from Australia the Premiership confirmed itself as the best league in Europe.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/12/magic_of_the_english_league_pu.html

Everton planning move out of Liverpool

Everton are considering a move away from Goodison Park, their home for the last 114 years, to a new stadium outside the city of Liverpool.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=afp-fblengpreverton&prov=afp&type=lgns

FC Dallas hires ex-Gunner Morrow as new coach

Steve Morrow, who scored Arsenal's game-winning goal in the 1993 League Cup Final, was named coach of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=afp-fblusamlsfcdallas&prov=afp&type=lgns

Mourinho's Blues need reshaping and restocking

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/12/mourinhos_blues_need_reshaping.html

Tuesday's rumours

http://football.guardian.co.uk/rumourmill/index/0,,1970330,00.html

The Fiver

When West Ham sack a manager, it usually carries similar shock value to news that the Queen's whipped up her skirt and thrusted violently to the tune of LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out. It just doesn't happen. After all, the Hammers have only had 10 managers in their history - fewer than any other English club.

http://football.guardian.co.uk/fiver/0,,415657,00.html

James Richardson in Italy

Lazio coach Delio Rossi celebrated in the manner of La Dolce Vita as his side won the Rome derby.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/12/the_problem_with_ball_bags_in.html

Sid Lowe in Spain

No wonder José María Del Nido has a smile the size of his ego; his side have again proved themselves serious title contenders.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/11/why_sevilla_have_the_credentia.html

Monday, December 11, 2006

Essien's Goal

Here it is in all its glory...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C0ORbZcBtYY

EPL Report: Essien Stunner Denies Arsenal

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=187770

Mourinho taunts cautious Arsenal

Oh, The Special One is such an ass. Unless I watched a different match, it sure as hell looked like Arsenal were trying to win the damn thing. I also neither saw nor heard anything to indicate that the Gunners are pleased with a draw. Playing a 4-5-1 at Stamford Bridge when you've got a depleted defensive unit doesn't mean you don't want to win. Arsenal controlled the midfield and went forward at every opportunity. We all know what it looks like when they want a draw -- the Hamburg match last week was a prime example. This match was the total opposite of that drab draw. Jose is just angry because he knows Chelsea won't catch ManU. And because they needed a dream strike to claim a draw. -Sanford

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=afp-fblengprchelseaarsenal&prov=afp&type=lgns

Serie A Report: Lazio Crush Roma In Derby

http://goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=187770

ESPN/ABC will televise 2008 Euro Championship

This is fantastic news! I practically broke the bank buying all the matches back in 2004. Being able to access all for free is the way it should always be. -Sanford

http://soccernet.espn.go.com/news/story?id=395111&cc=5901

Inter equal club record with 3-0 win over Empoli

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news;_ylt=AimB7LCKfGv2X0E7pb.Gsjkmw7YF?slug=reu-italy&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Primera Liga Reports

Sevilla down Real Madrid while a Ronaldinho goal leads Barcelona over Real Sociedad.

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-spainreports&prov=reuters&type=lgns

English Premier League Reports

http://sports.yahoo.com/sow/news?slug=reu-englandreports&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Pantomime villain Cole shows his emotional side

Booed by the Arsenal fans and cheered by the Chelsea crowd, Ashley Cole's first game against his old club saw him booked but not beaten.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/11/pantomime_villain_cole_shows_h.html

'Pipi' is caught short for Cottbus once again

While Bremen got over their Champions League exit in style, comedy keeper Tomislav Piplica was at it again for Cottbus.

http://blogs.guardian.co.uk/sport/2006/12/11/sechsy_football_how_bremen_got.html

Monday's rumours

http://football.guardian.co.uk/rumourmill/index/0,,1969576,00.html