Friday, February 09, 2007

Sanford's Premiership Predictions

Reading vs. Aston Villa

As much as the new boys (Young & Carew – sounds like a TV action show from the early 80s. “Tonight on NBC! The A-Team, followed by Riptide, an all-new Simon and Simon, and a very special Young & Carew that you won’t want to miss!") will help the Villians, I don’t see them winning this one. Reading have established themselves firmly in the middle of the table and they’ll stay there. A month ago Villa would have come away with nothing but this weekend I fancy a draw.


Chelsea vs. Middlesbrough

You’d like to think Boro could go to the Bridge and get something, right? Not gonna happen. Losing Ballack is a blessing for the Blues and they’ll roll forward now that Terry and Cech are back in the mix. Southgate’s charges have played some admirable football of late but they’ll fall short here.


Everton vs. Blackburn

The loss of The Gamst for Rovers is like a knife in the side with a twist. At Goodison they’ll struggle to unlock Everton and I like a home win here. David Moyes has got some of his lads returning from layoff and that’ll be a boost.


Manchester United vs. Charlton

The Reds are in full flow at the moment, diving twat or no diving twat. Charlton at Old Trafford has the makings of a joke. Sure, Pardew has managed to calm things down a bit at the Valley and instill some discipline and hope, but that’ll be worthless on their trip up north. This has 4-0 written all over it.


Newcastle vs. Liverpool

This is a curious fixture. Liverpool would like to think that they’ve gotten some consistency away form home under their belt, and Newcastle would like to think that they can put together a nice patch of form to round out the campaign. All of that has me thinking draw. I just don’t trust Liverpool to go to St. James’ Park and do the business. They were so woeful in front of goal versus Everton and there are only so many shots you can take form outside the area.


Sheffield United vs. Tottenham

Spurs can’t handle the truth. And the truth is they don’t have the cajones to fight and scrap when away from White Hart Lane. And the truth hurts.


West Ham vs. Watford

I really don’t know what Mr. Curbishly has going on at Upton Park and it has me all confused. Now Tevez says they don’t even speak?


Portsmouth vs. Manchester City

Citeh have been pretty weak of late and I wonder if Psycho’s appointment to the under-21s has upset the balance just a touch. A trip to Fratton is fraught with potential potholes and I think ‘Arry will have his lads up for it. Portsmouth have been quietly dropping points and they need a lift. They’ll get it here.


Bolton vs. Fulham

Bolton will do their standard bump and grind in this one. Fulham still have away troubles and the Reebok is not kind to those that can’t stomach a fight. Coleman’s men are so up and down and this is a classic day for them to be down. Bolton have been sliding of late but this will stop the fall.


Arsenal vs. Wigan

I simply cannot see Wigan getting anything form this game. Arsenal’s kids have gotten invaluable experience from the Carling Cup and now Wenger’s got a strong, deep, and somewhat experienced squad on which to call. The Gunners have still yet to lose in their new home and Wigan won’t change that.


Mexico Has No Class...The "New" Dirty Sanchez?

Perhaps we have a new definition of The Dirty Sanchez. Rarely will I agree wholeheartedly with US soccer commentators, but when Arena called this "classless" move he hit the nail right on the head.

If you didn't read Luis Bueno's piece that I posted yesterday, be sure to check it out. He outlines so many of the issues I have with the Mexican team. Why can they not bring themselves to shake hands with the US team after they lose? Why do they insist on making excuses time after time? They have not even scored on US soil since the Clinton Administration and yet there is always some reason, other than the fact that they just got their asses beat. It really pisses me off, but I can take comfort in the fact that we continue to have their number. Lando's goal (see link above) is so nice and you know it hurt them so bad. And that makes me happy.

When I went to the Mexico/Portugal match in Germany I really enjoyed giving all the Mexican fans stick about their ineptitude versus the U.S. But to a man (and maybe one woman?) they continued to insist that they are far superior to the USA and have in fact dominated us of late. They seemed perplexed when I explained that they could not beat us on American soil, and that the Azteca was their only hope for a win, as proved in 2002 when we ousted them. It was weird, to be honest. A permanent state of denial. Anyway, I rooted hard for Portugal...

Mexico? You suck. -Sanford

Beckham recalled to Real Madrid squad

Media storm ensues after China-QPR brawl

Quote of the Week?:

'What makes me really angry is they are not even able to win a fight never mind the game... Gao Lin should have be smarter, why didn't he secretly niggle his opponent or fall to the ground and roll around like Cristiano Ronaldo?' Li Chengpeng posted on

Workers scramble to ready Italy's stadiums

Workers scrambled on Friday to bring the San Siro stadium, Italy's most famous football ground, in line with security regulations to prevent this weekend's match between AC Milan and Livorno from being played without fans.

U.S. perseveres despite losing the midfield battle

Sometimes one can't help but marvel at how much the play on the field doesn't match a game's result. Wednesday night's 2-0 victory by the United States over bitter rival Mexico was a prime example of such an encounter. The visitors dominated for long stretches, yet the Americans came out on top, leading to the following conclusion: While the Americans' play has a long way to go, they have gotten so far inside their rival's collective head that not even Dr. Phil would be able to help Mexico.

Utah House OKs plan to help pay for Salt Lake stadium

Premiership Weekend Preview

Premiership managers have their hearts in their mouths during international weeks, with fingers crossed that key players return to their clubs unscathed for the weekend's domestic rigours.

Lehmann Set To Leave Arsenal

Here's the shirt for all you Lehmann lovers...
Oh, and here's the article:

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid have given their backing to beleaguered coach Fabio Capello but the Italian knows his position will become untenable if his team slump to a third defeat in a row when they visit Real Sociedad on Saturday.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

It has been almost 50 years since Schalke 04 won the German championship and the new Bundesliga front-runners are determined to defend their three-point lead when they host Hertha Berlin on Saturday.

Richard Williams Column

Tactical illiteracy is what McClaren gives to England -- Not since Kevin Keegan six years ago has an England coach got it so wrong.

Marcela Mora y Araujo with Argentina

I spent the early hours of Thursday chewing the fat with Argentina's players after they beat France. Here's what they had to say ...

James Richarson in Italy

Italian clubs have sucked up to their hooligan element for years, but now they have no choice but to get tough.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

An eerie silence will hang over many Serie A grounds when the championship resumes this weekend.

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

The Relegation 18-pointer

West Ham, Charlton and Watford
Saturday 10 FebruaryWest Ham v Watford
Saturday 24 FebruaryCharlton v West Ham
Saturday 3 MarchWatford v Charlton

Thursday, February 08, 2007

U.S. continues to dominate Mexico on home soil and related articles

Jimmy Conrad scored his first international goal, Landon Donovan converted a late breakaway and the United States defeated Mexico 2-0 in an exhibition Wednesday night, extending the dominance of its regional rival.

Mexico's 2-0 loss to the United States on Wednesday night should have served the same purpose as a cold, hard slap to the Mexicans' face. But instead, Mexican players to a man neither gave the U.S. credit for the win nor did they act like anything needed fixing.

Arena, Wynalda Rip U.S. President Gulati -- Former U.S. National Team coach Bruce Arena and former U.S. international Eric Wynalda had some choice words for current U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati on Wednesday night during halftime of the U.S. friendly with Mexico.

Serie A Returns On Saturday with Six Games Behind Closed to the Public

Here's how it stands:

1. Serie A action to resume on Saturday
2. Only stadia complying with regulations to be open to public
3. Matches open to public to take place during the day
4. Remaining games to take place behind closed doors.

Fans can attend:
1. Palermo-Empoli, 2. Roma-Parma, 3. Sampdoria-Ascoli 4. Torino-Reggina

Fans cannot attend:
1. Atalanta-Lazio, 2. Cagliari-Siena, 3. Chievo-Inter, 4. Fiorentina-Udinese, 5. Messina-Catania 6. Milan-Livorno.

Spain beats England; Germany, Argentina win

England booed off the pitch at Old Trafford, Ireland need late goal to edge San Marino...

Casey leaving Bundesliga to return to United States

Valencia defender Ayala to join Villarreal

Classic case of a club not honoring a loyal servant...-Sanford

Chinese Star In Hospital After Mass Brawl At QPR

The Chinese Olympic football team's London training programme plunged into chaos as a friendly match against Queen's Park Rangers was abandoned following a mass brawl between players that saw China's Zheng Tao knocked unconscious and taken to hospital with a suspected broken jaw.

And the BBC has video of the incident here:

Stan gets Ireland into another fine mess

The knives are out for Steve Staunton after Ireland's humiliating victory over San Marino last night, and so they should be.

Riquelme Returns To Boca

Juan Román Riquelme has agreed to return to Boca Juniors on loan for the rest of the current season from Villarreal, the Argentinian giants have announced.

And I actually found a picture of him smiling. Sort of. It's up for debate, really. He could simply be constipated. So here's my question: If Anelka is Le Sulk, what is JRR? El Triste? El Mal Onda? -Sanford

Chelsea silence dissident Chinese whispers

Marina Hyde says, "Never mind the Red Menace, the colour of authoritarian control is blue and its message is emanating from south-west London."

How football's intimate details become drowned in drink

Football's drinking culture stems from emotionally fragile men searching for a way to cope, not the macho notion of team-building.

Italian Stadiums: Taking The Pisanu?

The events in Sicily are still reverberating across Italy and many fans are faced with the fact that some matches will be allowed to be played in front of spectators – at a select few stadiums – while most will be played out behind closed doors. So how and why has this differentiation between venues come about? takes a look at the Pisanu law…

The Kevin Nolan Column

Is it just me, or does Mr. Nolan seem to answer the same bloody questions every week. Enough about The Godfather and ice baths already...-Sanford

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

USA vs. Mexico Previews

The match tonight is in Glendale, Arizona, and can be seen at 9 pm EST on ESPN2...

New coaches in the spotlight as U.S. prepares to face Mexico:;_ylt=Am3LmeGcGHLmkkfGDUGVxXkmw7YF?slug=ap-mexico-us&prov=ap&type=lgns

Motivated Mexico looks for revival against rival US:;_ylt=ArTvd5trAiD8rLy7tNAyTlomw7YF?slug=afp-fblusamex&prov=afp&type=lgns

Twellman still vying for a national team starting spot:

Portugal 2-0 Brazil

Uli Hesse-Lichtenburger in Germany

Uli weighs in on all the managerial changes in the Bundesliga...

Friendlies Roundup

South Korea beats Greece, Wales and Northern Ireland in drab draw...

Phil Holland on Why the Fans Will Support the US Investors Who Now Own Liverpool

And then there were three. Having spurned suitors from Thailand and Dubai, Liverpool have finally agreed a takeover and, after Manchester United and Aston Villa, become the third Premier League club to be acquired by American investors. Under the terms of the deal, which values the club at almost £220million, US sporting tycoons George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks are to replace David Moores as the majority owner of Liverpool and assume control of one of the most successful and famed clubs in world football.

Owen Hargreaves Column

The Bayern Munich midfielder and Manchester United target talks about his comeback from a broken leg and why he won't be lining up this evening against Spain...

Troubles in Lyon?

After dominating French football for a while, Lyon have suddenly gone on a bit of a losing streak. What's going on?

Reclining Ronaldo rules with diving right of kings

Liverpool should spend their megabucks on a world-class diver if they want to compete with Chelsea and Manchester United...

Correction and clarification: yesterday we misreported the Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz saying of Cristiano Ronaldo: "The kid has a divine talent. I have never seen a player with this level of ability." The quote should have read: "The kid has a diving talent. I have never seen a player with this level of ability."

Aragonés has Fine Overturned

My reaction exactly, Luis. This is a step forward for Spanish football. -Sanford,,2007717,00.html

Wednesday's Rumours

Henry to Inter and Ronaldinho to Milan...yawn - Sanford,,2007619,00.html

Glorious Ghana Trounce Super Eagles

London got a taste of the beauty, fun and mayhem of one of the world's great derbies last night as Ghana took on Nigeria.

Lawro and Hansen on the Liverpool Takeover

The two BBC "experts" give their take on the US invasion...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

International Friendlies and other stuff

There are some internationals today and tomorrow. Here's the list:

Tuesday, 06 February 2007
Australia v Denmark, Brazil v Portugal, Bulgaria v Latvia, Cyprus v Hungary, Ghana v Nigeria,
Greece v South Korea, Mali v Lithuania, Northern Ireland v Wales

Wednesday, 07 February 2007
San Marino v Rep of Ireland, Albania v FYR Macedonia, Algeria v Libya, Andorra v Armenia, Belgium v Czech Republic, China PR v Kazakhstan, Colombia v Uruguay, Croatia v Norway,
Egypt v Sweden, England v Spain, France v Argentina, Georgia v Turkey, Germany v Switzerland, Holland v Russia, Iran v Belarus, Israel v Ukraine, Malta v Austria, Moldova v Romania, Morocco v Tunisia, Slovakia v Poland, Slovenia v Estonia, Venezuela v Chile, Scotland B v Finland B, USA vs. Mexico

I'm not going to include any previews, with the exception of the USA/Mexico match. Look for that tomorrow. I always look forward to that encounter, for obvious reasons. Basically, it's never friendly. Otherwise, the friendlies are when I just pray my favorite players don't get hurt. I couldn't really care less about the results.

Moving on, I must toot my own horn over the Carew move by O'Neill at Villa. I said earlier that I thought it was the best deal of the window and so far Carew has lived up to expecations. He exudes a class that is rare in the EPL and he's already establishing a relationship with Ashley Young that could propel Villa into the upper parts of the table. All that and Milan Baros is gone. Brilliant.

At least one good thing has come out of Ronaldo's flop on Sunday. The new Diving Twat (Inzaghi has been usurped -- sorry Pippo) has the FA is considering punishing divers after the fact. I'm all for it. Bring it on. This should have been done long ago. At least in the EPL, it is always the same players that use this tactic and simple video review would deal with the problem.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to Israel to party with long-legged blonds and a bunch of Russians...-Sanford

Phil Ball in Spain

I recall reading the music magazine 'Mojo' a couple of years back, in which a new album by Neil Young was reviewed. The author gave the album maximum marks of 5 stars, and was rather over-fulsome in his praise. The next month, a reader wrote a short piece in the letters section asking the question: 'If Neil Young pissed in a bucket, would you give it 5 stars?' to which the editor, replying in italics at the bottom of the letter replied, 'We'd have to hear it first'.

US takeover of Liverpool set to be finalised

The £470million takeover of Liverpool by American tycoons George Gillett and Tom Hicks could go through today after further progress was made on their Monday offer.

Calcio could be back by the weekend

Hammers' hope looks to be fading fast

Eggert Magnusson has the sort of expressive face that renders him incapable of looking impassive. It is a reason why the camera pans to West Ham's Icelandic owner so frequently. Their worsening plight and inadequate results, coupled with his £19 million investment in the transfer window, are others. And when the picture is focused on Magnusson, his thoughts are betrayed by both his expression and his body language. They are rarely happy.

Arsenal Close To Signing French Prodigy

The Next Henry???

Premiership Rewind: Big Wins & Small Teams

Another week in the EPL, and what did we learn?

Ronaldo Dived, Says Lee

Yeah, well, duh... -Sanford

Spain: Primera Liga Team Of The Week

Five facts on Liverpool's new owners

Richard Williams Column

Tragedy must bring change to Italian football -- municipal stadiums, ticket prices and a slapdash approach to policing must all be tackled in Italian football's facelift.

Russia's lavish parties make headlines in Israel

Russian champions CSKA Moscow beat Spartak Moscow to scoop $1 million in prize money at a tournament in Israel last week, but the real competition seemed to be which billionaire could throw the most lavish party.

Back from England, Dempsey looking to spark U.S. against Mexico

Madridistas show white rag to another load of bull

When hankies wave, presidents get nervous and heads tend to roll. Which is why the end could be nigh for Fabio Capello in Madrid.

Wanted: strong leaders to fortify Jol's flimsy Tottenham

Martin Jol needs a talismanic figure to lead his Spurs pushovers back into European contention.

Tuesday's rumours,,565628,00.html

Monday, February 05, 2007

Riots in Catania Halt Matches Across Italy

The prime minister described the riots in the Sicilian city of Catania as a 'guerrilla war'. Hooded youths wielding metal poles and large firecrackers lashed out at police, as streams of fans fled down city streets to safety.

And here's some video of the mayhem:

Roberto Gotta in Italy

More than words needed to halt hooligans...

The Insider at The Valley

Charlton 0 - 1 Chelsea

Leaving your mucky finger prints all over the demise of two Premiership clubs in the same season is unlikely to do much for your reputation, yet Alan Pardew somehow seems to be fireproof.

Richard Jolly at the Riverside Stadium

Middlesboro 1 - 1 Arsenal

Change is afoot at Arsenal. The public face of it may be the youngsters who have qualified for the Carling Cup final, such as the precocious pair of Denilson and Armand Traore, or Cesc Fabregas, the personification of Arsene Wenger's ideals. But there may be a much more pragmatic revolution underway, borne of necessity.

Bradley opts for experience against Mexico

When training camp for the U.S. men's national team opened one month ago, it was as if interim head coach Bob Bradley had posted a sign that read "No experience necessary," such was the dearth of international appearances among the invitees. As the Americans head into Wednesday's "friendly" against Mexico, Bradley will probably choose a more tested crew, but there will still be opportunities for some young players to shine.

England: Premier League Match Reports

Liverpool and Everton draw nil-nil, yet another goal for McBride as Fulham take the Gooch and Newcastle, and ManU and Chelsea win.

Spain: Barcelona miss out as Sevilla and Real suffer

Sociedad hold Barcelona to a draw while Real Madrid lose again as Becks watches from the VIP seats...

Schalke move three points clear with win at Werder

Ronaldo's Dive? You Be the Judge

The Bayern empire is crumbling

Defeats on and off the pitch suggest that Bayern Munich's domination of German football is coming to an end.

Monday's rumour

Yes, Monday's rumour:,,2006289,00.html

Diving suspicions resurface as Ronaldo spikes Spurs

The United winger kept his head if not his feet to win the penalty that broke the resistance of the home side.,,2006104,00.html