Friday, August 17, 2007

EPL Weekend Preview: Anfield to test Chelsea's attacking intent

Jose Mourinho's new commitment to attacking football gets an early test on Sunday when his Chelsea side visit Liverpool in the season's first encounter between two of the "big four".

Saturday's Matches:
Portsmouth v Bolton Wandererstickets12:45Fratton Park
Fulham v Middlesbroughtickets15:00Craven Cottage

Reading v Evertontickets15:00Madejski Stadium

Birmingham City v West Ham Unitedtickets15:00St. Andrews Ground

Wigan Athletic v Sunderlandtickets15:00JJB Stadium

Tottenham Hotspur v Derby Countytickets15:00White Hart Lane

Newcastle United v Aston Villatickets17:15St. James' Park

Sunday's Matches:
Manchester City v Manchester Unitedtickets13:30The City of Manchester Stadium
Blackburn Rovers v Arsenaltickets15:00Ewood Park

Liverpool v Chelseatickets16:00Anfield

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Birmingham v West Ham

Birmingham v West Ham
This should be an interesting one.

The legal situation involving Sheffield United won't affect the West Ham players. As long as they carry on getting paid, they'll be fine.

But newly-promoted clubs are always difficult places to go early in the season when the mood is good and they're still trying their hearts out, so I'll go for the draw.

Prediction: 1-1

All of Lawro's Predictions Can Be Viewed Here

Italy: Inter's riches set to rotate for Roma clash

Champions Inter Milan are expected to bring back David Suazo, Luis Figo and Cristian Chivu for Sunday's Super Cup against cup holders AS Roma.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Patrick Vieira were among others rested for Inter's friendly tournament victory over AC Milan and Juventus on Tuesday but look set to play in the season's curtain raiser at the San Siro.

Under-17 World Cup Preview

It all kicks off this weekend in Korea. And surprise of surprises, Brazil (!) are favorites...

Brazil's performance in the South American Championships in March suggest the Samba Boys are again the main contenders. In Lulinha they possess one of the most exciting young talents in soccer. Comparisons with the likes of Ronaldinho are a little premature, but his goal-scoring feats in qualification suggest he could light up the tournament.

Landon Donovan, Cesc Fabregas and Anderson are just some of today's leading players who made their initial impact at the U-17 World Cup.

This year's tournament in Korea (which runs from Aug. 18 -- Sept. 9) again will provide a good indication of soccer's next crop of young talent.

The players will experience heavy rainfall during Korea's summer, but a couple of eye-catching performances could see them showered in the glory and wealth of the world's top leagues.

Curbs: Dyer, Bowyer Reunion is No Problem

I can't wait for this to flare up again...

Impressed Donovan Hands Becks Armband

'Landon asked to speak with me and I'm not going to say everything that he said because obviously it is personal,' Beckham. 'He said that it would give the team a big lift for him to hand me the armband and I am very honoured.

And Andrea Canales weighs in on the goings on for the Galaxy...

Bundesliga Weekend Preview: Klose Ready for Bremen Onslaught

Bayern Munich striker Miroslav Klose is bracing himself to run a gauntlet of abuse from fans when he returns to former club Werder Bremen for the first time on Saturday.

Klose left Bremen and signed for Bayern in June for 12 million euros, but there is still plenty of ill feeling towards the 29-year-old star among the Bremen faithful.

Fábregas finds new role as enforcer for a tougher Arsenal

Cesc Fábregas is revelling in his role as an unlikely hardman as Arsenal seek to show they will not be bullied this season.


Doesn't Schmeichel Jr look just like his dad?

He has the Scandinavian blond hair, the famous surname, the green jersey and, as Manchester City's centre-halves are rapidly finding out, he is not afraid to remonstrate with his more established team-mates.

Kasper Schmeichel might never achieve the career success of his father but the teenager has already shown himself to be a chip off the old block.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Ronaldo sees red to turn United drama into crisis

Everything about Manchester United is a drama, it seems, but by Sunday it will seem more like a crisis. The champions will go into the Barclays Premier League derby match against Manchester City not only without the injured Wayne Rooney but also Cristiano Ronaldo, who was sent off during last night’s 1-1 draw away to Portsmouth after appearing to head-butt Richard Hughes.


Lazio in danger of being thrown out of CL after latest racism incident

Five Romanians were injured in clashes with Lazio fans and one remains in hospital after being stabbed in the side. Inside the ground Lazio's notorious right-wing element chanted racist slogans before and during the game. The rest of the home fans tried to drown out the chanting by whistling and booing their own fans but Uefa has launched its inquiry and could, in the worst-case scenario, throw the Serie A side out of the tournament.

The Mill

Thursday's Rumours


Elsewhere, Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's stock is plummeting faster than Danielle Lloyd's knickers at a mucky photo shoot. Leicester don't fancy him much anymore, and he's off to Cardiff.

15/08/07 - Barclays Premier League Review

Man U draw again, this time on the south coast, Chelsea overcome a stubborn Reading, Fulham take Bolton, Sunderland snatch a draw and more...

Champions League Report: Wednesday Round-Up

There were a few surprises in the qualification rounds this year, with some lesser-known clubs outdoing continental giants to put one foot in the group stages. takes a brief look at the first leg of the Third Qualifying Round of the Champions League...

Sparta Prague 0 -2 Arsenal

Late goals from Fabregas and Hleb grab victory on tough away night in Europe.

Toulouse 0 - 1 Liverpool
A sublime Andriy Voronin strike settles matters in stifling Toulouse.

Richard Jolly at the City of Manchester Stadium

Manchester City 1 - 0 Derby County

There was a tangible and distinctly unusual feeling outside the City of Manchester Stadium. It was a sensation that many City followers had forgotten for the last year: optimism.

Beckham Opens Galaxy Account

Los Angeles Galaxy 2-0 DC United

David Beckham enjoyed a dream first start for the Los Angeles Galaxy with a trademark free-kick goal and an assist to send his new team on the way to the inaugural SuperLiga final with a victory over DC United at the Home Depot Center on Wednesday.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Liverpool's Toulouse Task

Liverpool have twice reached the Champions League final under manager Rafael Benitez in the three years the Spaniard has been in charge of the club.

It is an impressive record but 85 days after their defeat to AC Milan in the final in Athens, Benitez's side face Champions League debutants French side Toulouse in the first leg of the third qualifying round on Wednesday.

CL Qualifying Preview: Sparta Prague vs. Arsenal

What: Champions League Third Qualifying Round 1st Leg Who: Sparta Prague (1st Gambrinus Liga 2006-07) v Arsenal (4th EPL 2006-07) When: Wednesday, August 15, 2007, Kick-off 19:45 (BST) Where: Toyota Arena, Prague, Czech Republic

And Arsenal's European Frustration...
It is 13 seasons since Arsenal last lifted a European trophy - the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup.

The Insider at White Hart Lane

Tottenham Hotspur 1-3 Everton

It has taken just four painful days for Tottenham's Champions League ambitions to be exposed in savage fashion. As Martin Jol's side took to the field at Sunderland on Saturday, they were being hailed as the new members of the Premier League elite, with a second successive summer of healthy spending apparently pushing Spurs ahead of the other pretenders and turning them into genuine contenders.

Ernst Bouwes in Holland on the Start of the Dutch League

I don't believe in the existence of heaven, but if it there is one I'd certainly like to meet my grandfather. For the obvious reason of kinship, but also to see the look on his face when I tell him what happened in Dutch football after he passed away in January 1967.

He was a big football fan, a season ticket holder at Ajax for several years and a regular visitor of the national team when it played in Amsterdam.

The North American Dream

MLS has one major selling point over clubs in Europe: Pounds and euros accumulated by would-be imports go a lot further here than in their homelands.

Keane blasts players controlled by their WAGs

Sunderland manager Roy Keane has launched a withering attack on 'weak and soft' players who are dictated to by their wives and girlfriends.

Adu makes European debut with Benfica

Freddy Adu made his European debut Tuesday, drawing cheers when he entered as a first-half substitute for Benfica of Portugal during its 2-1 Champions League victory over FC Copenhagen.
The 18-year-old American came on about 10 minutes before halftime after Copenhagen had tied the score 1-1 in the first-leg, third-round qualifying game. Adu's team travels to Copenhagen for the second leg.

(Armando Franca/Associated Press)

SuperLiga Roundup: Pachuca eliminates Dynamo, Becks to Play Tonight

Rafael Marquez Lugo made the winning penalty kick as Pachuca defeated the Houston Dynamo 4-3 in a shootout after a 2-2 tie in a semifinal of the SuperLiga tournament Tuesday night.

David Beckham said he'll play for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Wednesday night vs. D.C. United. The English superstar practiced Tuesday for the first time since joining the team a month ago. He appeared to move well laterally and got off a few long kicks toward the end of a scrimmage.

Wednesday Premier League Previews

CL Report: Rangers Late Show Gives Them The Edge

Beasley started but came off for Novo who ended up notching the winner...
Rangers 1-0 Crvena Zvezda

Wenger Explains Gallas Decision

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has explained that choosing William Gallas to be club captain was the right decision, however he still respects Gilberto. Profile: Wesley Sneijder

Real Madrid has just broken the Dutch transfer fee record by securing the services of the talented midfielder for 28m Euro’s. Being as comfortable playing as a holding midfielder as much as his preferred attacking role, profiles the man who embodies the fluid Dutch coaching system…

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Red Star's Serbian Surprise Keeps Smith Guessing

Walter Smith has admitted Rangers face a step into the unknown when they host Red Star Belgrade in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying stage tie tonight, and not just because the famous club is now called Crvena Zvezda.

The Joy of Six: Memorable 0-0 Draws

From England's Roman conquest to a little-known Bundesliga belter, The Guardian picks some of the more exciting stalemates.

2. Arsenal v Real Madrid, Champions League last 16, Highbury, 08/03/06

With attacking line-ups out of fashion and safety-first counter-attack in vogue, most Champions League stalemates are less worth revisiting than the leftovers of last night's chicken doner.

The Mill ++ +

Tuesday's Rumours

A new season, but the same old stories. Yup, flick through the papers and they're all here - Wayne Rooney knacking his metatarsal, Arsene Wenger naming a grumpy Frenchman who wanted to leave a week ago as his new captain, Chris Evans getting married to someone half his age. What next, Curtis Davies to Tottenham? Eh? Oh.



Separated at Birth?

Liverpool and Ukraine Front Man
Andriy Voronin

Twisted Sister Front Man Dee Snider

Glory in reach for struggling Sarajevo

A team that spends as much in a year as John Terry earns in a month are on the cusp of the Champions League group stages.

Jonathan Wilson reports...

Lawro's Mid-Week Premiership Predictions

Last time around Lawro got FOUR results right but only ONE perfect score.


Tottenham v Everton (2000 BST)

Tottenham v Everton

It was a bit of a non-performance from Tottenham when they lost at Sunderland at the weekend.

Spurs have plenty of good players, there is no doubt about that, but it looks like they might need time to gel.

There is a big expectancy at White Hart Lane and Everton won at the weekend, so I'm going to go one each.

Prediction: 1-1

Alan Hansen's Column

It is a very important week for the British teams trying to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. Rangers, Celtic, Arsenal and Liverpool are in action. Hansen looks at their chances... Exclusive: Fact-Finding Mission In Major League Soccer

The Major League Soccer in the United States of America is not as popular as some of the renowned European leagues like the English Premier League, Spanish La Liga or Italian Serie A. However since it’s inception in 1996, there has been a steady growth over time. African players have also contributed significantly towards this trend.’s Africa Editor Ibrahim Dabo traveled to Columbus, Ohio, on a fact-finding mission with one of the MLS clubs, Columbus Crew, and gives a summary account of what he found.

Arrest warrant issued for City owner Shinawatra

The former Thai Prime Minister, who has been living in self-imposed exile in England, took over City in the summer and installed ex-England boss Sven-Goran Eriksson as manager.

U.S. to play Brazil Sept. 9, replacing Mexico match

The U.S. soccer team will play South American champion Brazil in an exhibition game Sept. 9 in Chicago, replacing a match against Mexico that was called off because of financial problems.

The Americans had been scheduled to play Mexico at Azteca Stadium on Sept. 9 in a rematch of the Gold Cup final. The game was canceled because of what the U.S. Soccer Federation said were "contractual and financial considerations."

Galaxy's season might hinge on SuperLiga

Mexico's super club of the moment, Pachuca, joins three MLS sides for the SuperLiga semifinals, which begin Tuesday in Houston and continue a night later at the Home Depot Center outside Los Angeles.

Monday, August 13, 2007

A Weird Weekend

Whew! I’m beat. I suppose that should be expected after EPL Kickoff Weekend, but I always seem to forget how much the opening slew of matches can take out of a man. Of course, over in Germany the Bundesliga got rolling too, but all I know is that Bayern Munich won with Klose and Toni contributing, and also that some of the promoted sides did well. I’ll have to catch up on that later, because England dominated my personal headlines.

Some weird things happened over the last two days. I won’t even bother scoring my picks from Friday because I was so off the mark. Derby scored as many as Pompey, ManU didn’t score at all, and Sunderland beat Spurs. Newcastle played attractive, positive football on their way to notching three goals and instead of just fighting back to a draw after surrendering an early lead, Arsenal grabbed a late victory. With an Alex Hleb goal, no less. See? Pretty weird. Before I go any further, however, click this link to see the goal of Matchday One. This’ll be right there come May for goal of the season candidate, I can guarantee:

For some reason youtube has all their footie videos down. I think some lawyers filed a motion or something. Anyway, I was glad I could track this down. It’s very, very nice. Sadly, I had my eyes on the West Ham/Manchester City match-up and missed the live version. The yell that went up from the Toon supporter next to me almost made me lose my coffee.

Speaking of Man City, what a difference a few months makes. Sven’s charges certainly looked up for it, and played with a cohesion I did not expect so early in the season. Over on the other side of town United’s campaign got off to what could be termed a disastrous start, with a draw at home to Reading and the loss of Wayne Rooney for at least two months to yet another foot injury. I can’t tell you how many times over the years I’ve seen United grab that late winner deep into injury time. I can’t tell you the joy I felt watching time run out and that goal go begging.

News on the Adu front is that he could make the bench for Benfica’s Champions League match midweek versus Copenhagen. I’ll be rooting for him and Benfica to have a successful run in Europe. But only if Sporting win the league. Oh, and Beckham didn’t play and he’s still hurt and yadda, yadda. Just let me know when he’s healthy and I’ll try to care a little bit.

The beauty of the beginning of the season means it’s like Christmas in August: loads of matches. We’ve got Tottenham and Everton at White Hart Lane tomorrow and another slew of games on Wednesday. Reading will try and hold another giant; this time it’s Chelsea, while Manchester United travel to the south coast to meet with Portsmouth. And in the Champions League Arsenal entertain Sparta Prague while Liverpool travel to Toulouse. Just don’t make me watch Middlesbrough and Wigan. -Sanford

English Premier League Best Eleven Of The Week: Week 1


Tony Warner (Fulham)


Nicky Shorey (Reading)
Paul McShane (Sunderland)
Jamie Carragher (Liverpool)
Ross Wallace (Sunderland)


Shaun Wright-Phillips (Chelsea)
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Elano (Manchester City)
Olivier Kapo (Birmingham City)


Obafemi Martins (Newcastle United)
Roque Santa Cruz (Blackburn Rovers)

Adu could debut for Benfica in Champions League

"Adu has only had seven days of training, but he has enormous potential and he is available," Santos said.

Tevez to take over Rooney role

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed Rooney will be out of action for two months, meaning he will miss eight Premier League games - including the September 22 showdown with Chelsea - United's opening two Champions League group fixtures, as well as England's crucial Euro 2008 qualifiers against Israel and Russia next month.

Not too bad when you can replace a Rooney with a Tevez...

Furious Sanchez Slams Arsenal 'divers'

Sanchez's frustrations in the aftermath of a galling defeat were understandable, but his accusations weren't backed by TV evidence.

Replays suggested that Arsenal were not guilty of gamesmanship and Fulham were fortunate to avoid conceding a 20th-minute penalty when Alexander Hleb was felled by Steven Davis.


Man-eating shark season morphs into Sven's moment

The arrival and renaming of the Premier League has come as a surprise, especially since people seem to like Sven again.