Friday, March 30, 2007

Sanford's Premiership Predictions

Liverpool v Arsenal

My Uncle and I bet $10 every time Liverpool and Arsenal play. He’s got Liverpool, I’ve got The Gunners. I’ve been rolling in the green of late. In fact, I can’t remember the last time his Reds beat my Reds. I fear that will change tomorrow.


Bolton v Sheffield United

I don’t see any problem for Bolton here at the Reebok. United will stay up due to their away form, not their travels. Bolton haven’t won in a spell either and Big Sam will set them straight. Look for Anelka to bag one.


Charlton v Wigan

A real tough call here so I’ll wimp out and say it’ll be a draw. Both of these teams have ground out some crucial results of late and steadied what were rapidly sinking ships. They may still sink but they’ll go down fighting.


Fulham v Portsmouth

It’s hard for me to bet against Fulham at The Cottage, whether they’re playing ManU or Portmouth. Portmouth did all their hard work prior to Boxing Day and are now just riding it out.


Manchester United v Blackburn

This could be an unimportant blip on United’s march to the title. Blackburn have been strong of late and Sir Alex is fielding a wounded side. Sure, John O’Shea has proved he can stick a foot out and win a match but I like Rovers to get a result here. You know Mark Hughes will be up for it.


Newcastle v Manchester City

Two dreadful sides in this match-up. Newcastle boss Glen Roeder said this week that the Magpies have failure written into their badge. Ouch! But City have been so poor on their travels that I can’t see them claiming anything at St. James’ Park. An Obefemi goal seals it for Newcastle.


West Ham v Middlesbrough

Boro never inspire confidence and suddenly West Ham are playing with a certain verve. I like them to claim all three at Upton Park.


Watford v Chelsea

Yawn. Are you kidding?


Tottenham v Reading

Reading have to be one of the stories of the season but they won’t win at White Hart Lane. Spurs have been terrific at home and I see no reason for that to change here.


Aston Villa v Everton

A draw seems likely to me. Villa have toughened up and finally seem to be settling into Martin O’Neill’s tenure at the helm and with Mikel Arteta, Everton are always dangerous. If I had to pick one over the other I’d say a home win but something tells me the Toffees will nick one.


Phil Ball in Spain

It never rains but it pours. A cheap way of starting the article I know, but in Palma de Mallorca on Wednesday night it did look for a time as if the rain in Spain would fall mainly on the pain. Or to clarify the metaphor somewhat, it looked as if Spain's hopes for qualifying for Europe 2008 were going to bubble down the gutter along with the torrential downpour.

Agent dispute forces Riise into bankruptcy

Liverpool full-back John Arne Riise has been declared bankrupt by the courts for an unpaid debt of around £100,000. Riise, understood to earn around £50,000 a week, was declared bankrupt at Liverpool County Court on Tuesday.

U.S bereft of ideas against Guatemala

There is no question that somewhere out there, a World Cup qualifier lurks that looks an awfully lot like the slow-going squad seen Wednesday at Pizza Hut Park. Still, that fact is of little comfort to any U.S. Soccer fan who blew a couple of hours watching such a humdrum friendly, a 0-0 draw at Pizza Hut Park that everybody will simply have to view as something of an investment. Think of it as little something to sock away, then to withdraw later when the stakes are higher.

Weekend Previews for Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga and Premiership

Bayern Munich face leaders Schalke:

Serie A
AS Roma set to test Milan's ambitions:

La Liga
Sevilla crank up the mind games:

Premier League
Liverpool and Arsenal face off:

New Health Concerns as Maradona Enters Clinic

Problems with alcohol and Cuban cigars have put Diego Maradona back under medical supervision in the latest health scare to sully the retirement of the Argentina football legend.

Arsenal Lose One, Get One Back

Wenger rules out Van Persie for the season

Wenger relief at return of striker Adebayor

Friday's Rumours

Juan Pablo Angel to New York?,,2046618,00.html

Poland: Pole Position

Under Leo Beenhakker, Poland have a belief and a swagger they have not shown in a quarter of a century.

Schweinsteiger is piggy in middle of a sausage saga

Has Bastian Schweinsteiger taken the bratwurst in terms of player image rights with his recent court ruling?

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Lawro likes Liverpool over Arsenal...

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Rosicky, Czechs celebrate a loss the old fashioned way

I must admit that every time Thomas Ujfalusi's birthday rolls around I feel the same urges.

Vice captain Rosicky earns £25,000 fine

Euro 2008 round-up: Israel crank up the pressure

United States 0-0 Guatemala

Using six starters who had played fewer than six international matches, the United States played a 0-0 tie against Guatemala in an exhibition game Wednesday night.

McClaren defiant as supporters turn nasty

The vast majority of the 12,000-strong England contingent joined in choruses of 'You'll be sacked in the morning' and `What a load of rubbish' during the tepid, goalless opening period.

Reyes hoping to join Real permanently

Piturca says new Romanian team has been born

"We have played the best soccer in our group so far," Piturca told Reuters. "A new competitive Romanian team has been born. I just can't understand how it was possible to draw in the opening game against Bulgaria after we dominated that match for 80 minutes."

Mexico 4, Ecuador 2

Second-half substitute Omar Bravo scored the tiebreaking goal in the 84th minute and Mexico used a three-goal second-half barrage to beat Ecuador 4-2 Wednesday night in front of the biggest crowd to watch a soccer exhibition in the San Francisco Bay area.

Thursday's Rumours,,2045496,00.html

Relief in the end but fans' outrage provides the defining moment

Richard Williams: The first-half of last night's game was the worst in England's history, and the fans let Steve McClaren know it.

How sports lost its homo mojo

Team-mates used to touch each other all the time, so why are they now so afraid to express comradeship through physical contact?

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

USA: Guatemala game allows more experimentation

USA vs. Guatemala
Pizza Hut Park
Frisco, Texas
9 pm EDT ESPN2

Bradley has vastly improved his knowledge of the talent pool heading into a busy summer. All that's left is to punctuate a telling three months of observation and tinkering with a midweek friendly against a Guatemalan team that, in truth, should pose little threat if the manager can keep his assembled talent on message.

Donadoni and McClaren feel heat before qualifiers

Hargreaves left out as England decide to stick with Lampard


Lampard ruled out of Andorra game

Here's the we really care? -Sanford

Alan Hansen's Column

Alan says, "If I was England boss, no way would I drop Gerrard or Lampard"

Wednesday's Rumours,,2044591,00.html

2007 U.S. Soccer Schedule

2007 U.S. Soccer Schedule
All Times EDT

(Won 3, Lost 0)

Saturday, Jan. 20 - United States 3, Denmark 1

Wednesday, Feb. 7 - United States 2, Mexico 0

Sunday, March 25 - United States 3, Ecuador 1

Wednesday, March 28 - vs. Guatemala at Frisco, Texas, 9 p.m.

Saturday, June 2 - vs. China at San Jose, Calif., 8 p.m.

a-Thursday, June 7 - vs. Guatemala at Carson, Calif., 9 p.m.

a-Saturday, June 9 - vs. Trinidad and Tobago at Carson, Calif., 5 p.m.

a-Tuesday, June 12 - vs. El Salvador at Foxborough, Mass., 7 p.m.

b-Thursday, June 28 - vs. Argentina at Maracaibo, Venezuela, 8:45 p.m

b-Monday, July 2 - vs. Paraguay at Barinas, Venezuela, 6:30 p.m.

b-Thursday, July 5 - vs. Colombia at Barquisimeto, Venezuela, 6:30 p.m.

a = CONCACAF Gold Cup
b = Copa America

Super Mario really was something special

Mario Kempes might not have achieved superstar status, but he still deserves to be recognised as a great among Argentinian greats.

James Richardson in Italy

The Italian manager is a man under pressure as he prepares for a battle with Scotland.

Richard Williams: Allardyce is best suited to step into McClaren breach

Big Sam has the experience, know-how and no-nonsense attitude needed to succeed in the hardest job in English football.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Scotland's 2-1 win over Georgia on Saturday could not have put more pressure on Italy coach Roberto Donadoni's shoulders, simply because there could hardly be any room left. Even before the Hampden Park match, the encounter in Bari had been labelled as a last chance for Donadoni to leave his mark on the national team after an indifferent start to his career leading the World Champions to the 2008 European Championships.

Ernst Bowes in Holland

Strange as well for the Romanian football fans when they watched the line-up of the home team before the start. 'Gosh, no Van Nistelrooy, no Van Bommel, do they have even better players over there?' Two hours later they knew the answer: no.

The Orange machine has temporarily stuttered to a halt.

Tottenham: A case of déjà vu?

Norman Hubbard says Spurs need to keep Berbatov if they need Berbatov if they are to avoid a case of deja vu.

Roeder: Failure is ingrained at Newcastle

Glenn Roeder has claimed Newcastle are so used to underachieving that it has become 'stitched into the badge'.

Steve Davis: Donovan's performance ranks with the best

Where does Donovan's hallmark performance rank on the list of all-timers around the U.S. senior men's national team? Let's look:

Resident Paisan: Ranieri's Refreshing Return

Parma’s newest coach, Claudio Ranieri, has his work cut out for him. But as the Resident Paisan points out, the former Valencia and Chelsea manager has the chance to take the team – and himself – back to new heights.

All hands on deck for United as Neville prognosis worsens

End of an era for Athletic Bilbao?

Athletic Bilbao are a legendary name in Spanish football but their historic status as one of only three ever-present members of the Spanish first division is in grave danger.

Tuesday's Rumours,,2043892,00.html

Risk-averse McClaren should try giving Bentley a spin

Richard Williams: Steve McClaren should have responded to Saturday's near-debacle by picking up the phone and dialling David Bentley's number.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Even with a two-goal and one-man advantage at home to Denmark on Saturday, Spain almost contrived to bottle it yet again.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Euro 2008 Roundup

Donovan embraces the challenge against Ecuador

To Landon Donovan's many critics, Sunday's 3-1 victory over Ecuador proved nothing. Meaningless friendlies, even ones that contain hat tricks like the one Donovan notched, are easy to dismiss. But when you combine Sunday's performance with his play last month against Mexico, you begin to get the feeling that perhaps the American captain has emerged from last summer's World Cup funk, and is now truly ready to lead the U.S. national team to better things.

Goals from USA/Ecuador

Donovan's third is a cracker...

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

This being a global website, I don't know which of the many, many internationals that were played on Saturday you have watched on television. But it is highly unlikely that you have seen a match as good as the Czech Republic versus Germany. Or, for that matter, a team as good as the Germans.

Deliver us from Steve McClaren

If Steve McClaren has achieved one thing in his lamentable reign as England manager, it is to justify one of football's sillier clichés. There are no easy games in international football. At least, there are not for teams managed by McClaren. A failure to beat Israel away is not as damaging as an inability to overcome Macedonia at home, but their most arduous task in justifying that theory is still to come: can England fail to overcome the might of Andorra on Wednesday?

I received death threats in Togo - Adebayor

Crowd trouble mars Bosnia win in Norway

Television pictures showed flares hitting players and setting fire to an advertising board and fans smashing seats, forcing English referee Mike Riley to order the players off the pitch.

Richard Williams Column

McClaren lacks tactical wit and wisdom to hit the right switches...Steve McClaren's decision to keep Aaron Lennon on the left and Frank Lampard on the pitch may have cost England a place at Euro 2008.

Monday's Rumours,,2043174,00.html