Friday, August 31, 2007

Weekend Previews For England, Spain, Italy and Germany

England: Roy Keene's return to Old Trafford is the big weekend story
Bundesliga action features Hamburg hosting Bayern Munich
Spain: Villarreal vs. Real Madrid is the mouthwatering clash on Sunday
Italy: Fiorentina's visit to Milan is the standout fixture from the second round

'I made a mistake', admits Materazzi

Italy's World Cup winning defender Marco Materazzi said Thursday he had made a mistake in sledging French icon Zinedine Zidane during last year's final.

Materazzi told Zidane that he preferred his "whore of a sister" to his shirt.

Hey, media, leave my club alone

Portsmouth fans have craved acceptance all their lives, but you should be careful what you wish for.

I was happier when I had nothing. As daft as it sounds, Monty Python's four Yorkshiremen sketch springs all too readily to mind when I consider my lot as a Portsmouth supporter these days. As we get stuck into our fifth consecutive season of Premiership football, having broken our old transfer record three times this summer, I should be more excitable than I imagine Neil Warnock may be after a nosebag of jazz salt. The dizzy heights of ninth place last term - our highest finish in 50-odd years - an owner that spends money, rather than talks a lot about it (that's you, Milan Mandaric) ... this brave blue world was once merely the preserve of those who'd consumed an entire sheet of blotter acid.

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Bolton v Everton

Bolton v Everton

It's an improving Bolton side against difficult-to-beat Everton.

A real doughty, northern derby, and I can only see one real outcome, a draw.

Prediction: 1-1

All of Lawro's Predictions

England: Transfer Ticker

From the BBC:

Rumour: Andrew in Stamshaw has pulled over to send us a text after a near miss on the road. "Driving round Portsmouth this morning I was cut up by a flashy 4x4 driven by none other than the volatile dandy himself, El-Hadji Diouf. He was in a hurry."

1029: Manchester City are set to sign the first Thai to play in the English top flight. Suree Sukha is a 25-year-old right-back.

1024: There is always the chance your club could sign a right chump today and Liverpool could be that club. Despite your rumours of a welter of wonderful signings coming to Anfield today, the Italian daily Tuttosport reports that Jean-Alain Boumsong will arrive from Juventus. Yes, that's the same Boumsong who blundered his way around Newcastle's defence from 2005 to 2006.

Arsenal get an oligarch as Dein sells his stake

Arsenal moved closer to becoming the latest Premiership club to fall under foreign ownership last night after David Dein, the former vice-chairman who relinquished the role bitterly in April citing "irreconcilable differences" with the board, sold his 14.58% stake in the club to the Uzbek steel magnate, Alisher Usmanov.

Takeover talk resumes as Usmanov pays £75m
· Board will fear any link-up with American Kroenke

Who is Alisher Usmanov?
Besides being one ugly mofo...

American Szetela Rejects Roma for Newcastle has learned that American starlet Danny Szetela has turned down an offer from Roma in favor of a move to Newcastle. Columbus Crew and U.S. under-20 midfielder Danny Szetela has rejected a four-year deal to join Roma before the close of the summer transfer window. Instead, according to a source close to the situation who spoke exclusively to, the 20-year-old New Jersey native has entered into an agreement to join Newcastle of the English Premier League on January 1. Profile: Lee Chun-Soo

With former European champions Feyenoord capturing South Korean international Lee Chun-soo, profiles one of Asia's brightest stars.

U.S. eliminated in Under-17 World Cup

Germany 2 - 1 USA

The Mill ++ +++

Friday's Rumours



Riquelme to Everton!?

Beckham's absence a crushing blow for the Galaxy

The sum of all fears came to pass for the Los Angeles Galaxy on Thursday with the news that midfielder and cash cow David Beckham will miss six weeks with a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee.

Beckham had an MRI on Thursday that revealed the full extent of the damage. A Galaxy spokesman refuted an earlier report that Beckham had also undergone arthroscopic surgery.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

2007 - 2008 Champions League Draw

Group A: Liverpool, Porto, Marseille, Besiktas
Group B: Chelsea, Valencia, Schalke 04, Rosenborg
Group C: Real Madrid, Werder Bremen, Lazio, Olympiakos
Group D: AC Milan, Benfica, Celtic, Shakhtar Donetsk
Group E: Barcelona, Lyon, VfB Stuttgart, Rangers
Group F: Manchester United, Roma, Sporting Lisbon, Dynamo Kiev
Group G: Internazionale, PSV Eindhoven, CSKA Moscow, Fenerbahce
Group H: Arsenal, Sevilla or AEK Athens, Steaua Bucharest, Slavia Prague

Champions League Qualifying: On to the Group Stage

Werder Bremen, thanks to Diego's two penalties, joined Arsenal, Celtic, Valencia, Benfica, Dynamo Kiev, and Fenerbache, Shakhtar Donetsk to advance to the group stage of the Champions League. Meanwhile, Ajax crashed out.

Wednesday's Champions League Round-up

Arsenal 3-0 Sparta Prague (Arsenal advances 5-0 on agg.)
Click here for complete report...

Villa's new Knight arrested in drugs swoop

Knight, who joined his boyhood heroes Villa yesterday after completing a £3.5 million move from Fulham, was released on police bail.

Substances believed to be Class A drugs crack cocaine and heroin were said to have been seized at the house in Erdington, Birmingham.

Pachuca Claim First SuperLiga Title

As Abel Xavier's penalty kick sailed high into the night and wide of his target, so did the Los Angeles Galaxy's chance to salvage what has been a lost season by winning the SuperLiga Final.

Oh, yeah, and Beckham got hurt again...

The Mill ++ +++

Thursday's Rumours



Ricardo Quaresma from Porto to Chelsea for £8m plus Paulo Ferreira and Andriy Shevchenko going on loan to Dynamo Kyiv.

Barca's Eto'o out for long spell with injury

FC Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o will be out for at least two months because of a partial tear in his right thigh tendon, the club said Thursday. Eto'o was injured as he took a shot just two minutes after coming on as a substitute at the start of the second half of Wednesday's friendly with Inter Milan. Barcelona won 5-0.

My Munich agony: Why me? Why did I survive?

In the first part of The Times' exclusive extracts from his autobiography, Sir Bobby Charlton recalls the horror of the 1958 air disaster . . . and the question that haunted him.

On Second Thoughts: Emile Heskey

Emile Heskey may look permanently nonplussed and be erratically awesome, but it's about time the big man got some respect.

Martina Hyde: Hypocrisy needs a kick it out campaign

It would be typical if the FA's bark over the racism directed at Mido turned out to be an ineffectual bite.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Thousands pay tribute to Puerta at Sevilla stadium

Puerta, who won back-to-back UEFA Cups and the King's Cup with Sevilla, collapsed after jogging back towards his own goal 35 minutes into Saturday's game against Getafe. Although he was able to walk off the pitch he collapsed again in the changing rooms and had to be given cardiac resuscitation before being taken to hospital. He was treated in the hospital's intensive care unit but was unable to recover from the after-effects of several prolonged cardiac arrests.

Liverpool, Lazio, Rangers advance to Champions League group stage + EPL clubs Sunderland, Wigan and Derby knocked out of League Cup

Liverpool, which lost to AC Milan in last year's final, beat visiting Toulouse 4-0 as Dirk Kuyt scored twice in the last three minutes following goals by Peter Crouch and Sami Hyppia. Liverpool won the home-and-home, total-goals series 5-0 and joined English rivals Manchester United and Chelsea in the first round.

Paolo Bandini on the Serie A

The Italian season got off to a typically lively start, with 32 goals, 39C temperatures - and one manager hoofing another up the backside.

Lehmann considering his options as Wenger tires of German gaffes

Lehmann’s mood will not have been improved by Wenger’s words yesterday, with the Frenchman confirming that Manuel Almunia will play in tonight’s Champions League third qualifying round, second-leg tie against Sparta Prague and the goalkeeper’s shirt is the Spaniard’s to lose.

Beasley booed but not racially abused by Red Star fans

Before a crowd of about 50,000, Rangers advanced to the group stage of the Champions League with a scoreless tie in the third-round qualifier, winning the home-and-home series on 1-0 aggregate.

Pachuca the heavy favorites in the SuperLiga final

L.A. Galaxy vs. Pachuca,
Wednesday, August 29
Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
11 p.m. EDT

For a tournament about to conclude its first incarnation, the SuperLiga has plenty of reasons to hold its head high. The nascent competition has featured competitive matches, with the requisite amount of drama and nastiness, and for the most part, the games have been well-attended.

The tournament is still far from perfect of course. The Champions League it isn't, and questions abound about how seriously some of the Mexican entrants -- not to mention their fans -- took the SuperLiga. So it seems fitting that all of these traits define Wednesday's final between Pachuca and the Los Angeles Galaxy: imperfect, but still filled with plenty of reasons to watch.

Solskjaer the perfect professional: Phil McNulty on Ole Gunnar

No-one - inside or outside Old Trafford - can muster up a single bad word to say about the Norwegian whose boyish appearance won him the nick-name "The Baby-Faced Assassin."

Solskjaer has caused many a curse from opposing teams and supporters with his unerring eye for the target, or his uncanny habit of scoring the goals that win matches, and on occasion trophies.

But once partisanship is removed from the equation, Solskjaer will receive nothing other than praise or respect from every football fan.

BBC Photo

Arsenal vs. Sparta Prague: Wenger confident Arsenal will guard against complacency

Wenger's side go into Wednesday's third qualifying round second leg with a place in the lucrative group stage within touching distance after winning 2-0 in Prague two weeks ago.

And Wenger explains why he refused the offer to bring Adriano to North London...

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

With the 2007/08 Bundesliga season as good as over (if you haven't followed the German media, let me tell you that Bayern have already won the league), it's about time we honour the coach of the year. No, it's not Ottmar Hitzfeld, despite leading the Munich giants back to the top of the heap and presumably also to triumph in Europe. (The German media is as yet undecided whether Bayern will certainly win the UEFA Cup - or just probably.)

The Mill ++ +++

Wednesday's Rumours



Adriano loan rumors, Chelsea and Spurs SWP/Defoe swap??

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Phil Ball and Sid Lowe in Spain

Phil Ball:
And what of Barça and their 'cuatro mágnificos', the phrase destined to be La Liga's soundbite-for-the-season? Gone are the galácticos, welcome to the magníficos. It's interesting, of course, that when Real Madrid instigated their policy of buying only the alpha males of the pack, this was seen by the mainstream Spanish press as exciting and wonderful, a phenomenon that proved that La Liga was the fat-cat of Europe. Now the same journalists have turned on Rijkaard for adding Henry to Messrs Messi, Ronaldinho and Eto'o, claiming that the four are tactically unplayable together.

Sid Lowe:
Forget the pre-season wisdom. As La Liga got under way, the best-laid plans went haywire.

Manchester United hero Solskjaer set to retire

According to The Sun, the 34-year-old - who has not appeared in any of United's matches so far this season - will finally admit defeat in his long-running battle with injury and call it a day.

And so the Baby-Faced Assassin fades into the late-summer Norwegian sun...

But not before The Guardian looks back at six of his greatest moments.

Beasley and Rangers Face Red Star in Belgrade

There is no doubt that Red Star supporters can be hostile at the Marakana stadium, but the club defend themselves against suggestions that racism is part of the unwelcoming atmosphere awaiting Rangers. DaMarcus Beasley and Darcheville were racially abused during Rangers' clash with FK Zeta in the second qualifying round.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

The little guys from Bochum and Bielefeld are managing to keep in touch with all-conquering Bayern, but how long can it last?

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Until Milan scored their first goal in surreal silence - in fact, you could hear their players celebrating - a pastime of most people inside the Luigi Ferraris Stadium in Genoa had been 'spot the rossonero'. There was an away fan ban for fear of a Genoese reprisal for the killing of one of their number back in 1995, but since most bans in Italy are respected as much as a 'no ogling' sign on a nudist beach, a trickle of fans were supposed to have made their way to the coast of Liguria.

The Mill

Tuesday's Rumours

The Monday MLS Breakdown: Starting the Fire USA's Kyle McCarthy gives credit to Juan Carlos Osorio and Cuauhtemoc Blanco for starting a Fire revival in Chi-Town. MLS Rankings

1. Houston Dynamo – Stop dropping points to lesser teams (1)

2. New England Revolution – Lucky pair of points will help as they try to hold off D.C. (2)

3. D.C. United – Not pretty, but effective in Toronto(4)

4. FC Dallas – Off week gives them time to rest and integrate Denilson (3)

5. Chivas USA – Could surprise some people in the playoffs (6)

6. Kansas City Wizards – Splitting home and home with Chicago is creditable (5)

7. Red Bull New York – Can’t give up points that were in the bag (7)

8. Chicago Fire – Looking like a playoff side at the moment (9)

9. Columbus Crew – Gutsy draw in Houston signifies team spirit (8)

10. Colorado Rapids – No credit for beating up a poor L.A. side, but there are signs of life (10)

11. Los Angeles Galaxy – Must shore up defense before next season (11)

12. Toronto FC – Cannot seem to score if life depended on it (12)

13. Real Salt Lake – Still terrible and that’s unlikely to change anytime soon (13)

Norman Hubbard on Everton

The official line is that funds have always been available to David Moyes. Yet he is known for his preference to conclude his business early in any transfer window and earlier signings were more in keeping with the stereotype of frugal Scots and Moyes' own reputation for astute acquisitions, often from the lower leagues. Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka, young and (in the case of the latter) versatile, seemed products of the same school of recruitment as Joleon Lescott and Tim Cahill.

Serie A Team Of The Week: Round 1

Morimoto (Catania): The 19-year-old has been compared to Ronaldo in Japan and after Sunday’s goal, few will doubt his qualities. He also set up Baiocco for Catania’s second goal.

La Liga Team Of The Week: Round 1

Pascal Cygan
(Villarreal): The Frenchman was solid as a rock against Valencia, who played some pretty spectacular football until David Villa got himself sent off in the 38th minute. After that, Manuel Pellegrini threw men forward, leaving him to keep it tight at the back.

Various causes for the Galaxy debacle

The Galaxy are certainly victims of some bad luck, cracked to the core by injury. But injury alone can't account for the depth of this mire. In many ways L.A. is the unquestioned architect of its own undoing, starting with a roster of dubious assembly.

Four days to go: who Premier League clubs are targeting as the transfer window swings shut,,2157267,00.html

Aston Villa

Targets Curtis Davies (West Bromwich Albion), Jose Boswinga (Porto), Jermain Defoe (Tottenham Hotspur)

Possible departures Shaun Maloney (Celtic)

In Nigel Reo-Coker (West Ham, £8.5m), Marlon Harewood (West Ham, undisclosed), Scott Carson (Liverpool, season-long loan)

Out Liam Ridgewell (Birmingham, £2m), Gavin McCann (Bolton, £1m), Jlloyd Samuel (Bolton, free), Aaron Hughes (Fulham, £1m), Lee Hendrie (Sheffield United, free), Steven Davis (Fulham, undisclosed), Chris Sutton (retired), Mark Delaney (retired), Eric Djemba-Djemba (contract terminated)

United need more of the best from best vintage

Most of Sir Alex's golden generation are still to the fore at United, and he needs them to shine now more than ever.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Americans Across the Pond

DaMarcus Scores for Rangers

The Update on Yanks in England

The Update on Yanks in Germany

(BBC Photos)

Catania coach faces fine after kicking rival in backside

Catania coach Silvio Baldini will be fined by his club after kicking Parma boss Domenico Di Carlo in the backside during Sunday's 2-2 Serie A draw. Baldini, in his first game in charge of the team, gave Di Carlo the boot during a touchline row and was sent to the stands by the referee.
(This is priceless...)

Barcelona's Fantastic Four flop in dismal start + La Liga Reports

The Catalan club, denied a title hattrick by Real's final day success in June, left French striker Thierry Henry on the bench to begin with before allowing him a half hour to impress after replacing Leo Messi.

But Barca's "Fantastic Four" strikers had left their shooting boots at home.

La Liga Reports

Germany's friendliness is an example to all

The friendliness and humility shown by the German national side showed up England's arrogant superstar culture.

Arca gives Boro spark to silence bigoted Geordie fans

Football's simultaneous ability to enthral and appal was encapsulated on an afternoon when Julio Arca's bewitching passing could not quite erase the depression imposed by the moronic behaviour of some Newcastle fans. Listening to them persistently subject Mido, Middlesbrough's new Egyptian striker, to vile and ignorant Islamophobic abuse detracted from a compelling game that was dominated by Gareth Southgate's gloriously creative side.

Italy: Serie A Match Reports

Calcio is back and that means our favorite reports from soccer-europe. Who will be this year's first "diving twat?"

English Premier League Reports

ManU claim their first win, Chelsea and Liverpool cruise...

Sun 26th August 2007

Man Utd1-0Tottenham16:00

Sat 25th August 2007

Aston Villa2-1Fulham15:00


West Ham1-1Wigan Athletic15:00

Derby County1-2Birmingham15:00

Arsenal1-0Man City15:00



Premier League Table
August 26, 2007GPPT
Man City49
Man Utd45
Aston Villa34
West Ham34

Richard Jolley at Old Trafford

Manchester United 1 - 0 Tottenham

Quite what did the Tottenham Hotspur board think they gained by fatally undermining their manager? By attempting to sound ambitious, they merely came across as ungrateful. By belatedly showing support, they only served to highlight the predicament of their most successful manager of the Premier League era.

The Insider at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal 1 - 0 Manchester City

It has taken just two short weeks for Manchester City fans to rediscover the lost sensation of optimism.

Premiership Big Match Reflections: North London v Manchester

GEORGE TSITSONIS takes a look at two matches this weekend in’s Premiership Big Match Reflections. It was a weekend in England that pitted two of London’s finest against the very best that Manchester has to offer. Who impressed? Who didn’t? And which clubs seem better off now that the weekend is complete?

Germany: Bundesliga Match Reports

Luca leads the way for Bayern while Bochum oust Hamburg...

U.S. U-17s dig deep against Belgium and advance to face Germany

After playing poorly during consecutive losses to open the U-17 World Cup, the U.S. finally put together a complete performance, won its first game and got the help it needed to advance to the knockout stages.

Are The Gunners Ready To Step Up?

After a largely disappointing season, a summer of turmoil and disruption behind the scenes, and the departure of one of the Premier League’s greatest ever players, have Arsene’s talented ‘youngsters’ moved any closer to fulfilling their obvious potential?'s Jamie Obertelli analyses Arsenal's prospects...