Saturday, November 03, 2007

The New Gattuso?

Arsenal's French midfielder tells Daniel Taylor from The Guardian how determined he is to impose a Vieira-style authority:
Flamini revels in a renaissance after a word from Wenger

Friday, November 02, 2007

I'm Excited About Arsenal vs. Manchester United

In my opinion, this is the biggest clash on the EPL calendar. Whenever these two sides meet, the tension is palpable and you get the feeling that things could boil over at any moment. Traditionalists will argue that Manchester United and Liverpool have the greatest rivalry and that is probably correct. But in terms of the action on the field, Arsenal/ManU always seems to bring out the best. The Liverpool sides of the last 15 years have been too defensive in their focus to allow for the often wide-open affairs that tend to develop when United face their London rivals. And let’s face it, in recent history, United and Arsenal have ruled the EPL, Chelsea’s emergence notwithstanding. United’s treble winners of 1999 and Arsenal’s “Invincibles” of 2004 have set the gold standard for football in England. Yes, this is a fixture that all relish, knowing that the attacking football on display is guaranteed to please, while the threat of petulant fouls, anger, frustration and brilliant goals ensure that the minutes fly by before you know it. Get thee to a television set tomorrow to enjoy the best of the beautiful game. -Sanford

England: Premier League Previews -- But Mainly Arsenal vs. Manchester United

The spoils were shared in last week's crunch match between Liverpool and Arsenal. This week, the Premiership leaders face Manchester United, who stand second. We should look forward to a fiery and feisty game, which should also give us an idea of which of the sides could win the league.

Fifth-placed Blackburn face Liverpool, with both sides going into their own crunch match with a host of injuries. Can either side take advantage? And don't forget the Monday game, where Manchester City, who were crushed 6-0 by Chelsea last week, face Roy Keane’s Sunderland...

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger will go into this weekend's Premier League clash with Manchester United with no fresh injury worries.

Hleb revels in his rise from scapegoat to shining light at resurgent Gunners

Rebuilt Rivals Set For Battle

Phil McNulty: Fabregas Holds the Key
Alan Hansen: United Strength Begins in Defense

Arsenal v Manchester United

Emirates Stadium
Saturday, 3 November
Kick-off: 1245 GMT
Arsenal v Man Utd

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter's visit to Juventus heads the weekend's list of fixtures...

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Previews

Friday 2nd November (all times local)
20:30 Energie Cottbus v Schalke

Saturday 3rd November
15:30 Werder Bremen v Hansa Rostock
15:30 Bayern Munich v Eintracht Frankfurt
15:30 Bayer Leverkusen v Arminia Bielefeld
15:30 Nürnberg v Stuttgart
15:30 Hamburg v Hertha Berlin
15:30 Hannover v Borussia Dortmund

Sunday 4th November
16:00 Bochum v Wolfsburg
16:00 Karlsruhe v Duisburg

Hamburg – Hertha Berlin

Bayern’s closest challengers face Hertha Berlin at the HSH-Nordbank Arena. Huub Stevens’ side are currently riding the crest of a wave with nine wins in their last ten games and find themselves just four points behind Bayern Munich. They have also shown they are more than a one man team, as influential skipper Rafael van der Vaart has been missing since the international break with an injury although he is now ready to return. A 3-1 win over Freiburg on Wednesday has seen the Hanseaten advance to the last 16 of the German Cup.

Lucien Favre sees his Hertha side nestling comfortably in mid-table. Five wins have been mirrored with five defeats and a single draw. The capital club were sent tumbling out of the Cup in midweek by Wuppertaler SC, which was the big shock of the second round. Their recent home form has been better than their away form, so HSV should be confident of gaining another three points.


Spain: Valladolid 1-1 Barcelona + Weekend Preview

Barcelona lost ground at the top of the Primera Liga on Thursday after being held by lowly Real Valladolid. Joseba Llorente stunned the visitors with the opener after 17 minutes, but Ronaldinho replied shortly before the interval to spare Barca's blushes.

Weekend Preview

Barça Ponder the Unthinkable: Life Without Ronnie

Sid Lowe: After his poor form led to him being booed by his own fans, Ronaldinho's days at the Camp Nou could yet be numbered.

Fire continue playoff mastery of United, advance to Eastern final

D.C. United 2 - 2 Chicago Fire

For Chicago, the playoffs effectively started with the final game of the regular season, when the Fire defeated a Galaxy team that needed a victory to clinch a place in the postseason. From that moment on, Blanco has shifted his game into a different gear. His experience of pressure situations and ability to carve out something extra when it matters were crucial in driving the Fire past United and a step closer to the title.

Baros Sets Record for Speeding in Ferrari

Olympique Lyon's Czech forward Milan Baros was caught speeding at 271 kph in his Ferrari, a club source confirmed on Friday.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

The Soul of Liverpool in 50 Moments

38 Dalglish resigns, February 22, 1991

Sir Alex Ferguson, with characteristic obscenity, says his greatest achievement is “knocking Liverpool off their f****** perch”. When Kenny Dalglish resigned as manager after Liverpool threw away a quartet of leads in the 4-4 draw with Everton in the FA Cup, the team were top of the league. Dalglish left, emotionally in tatters, another victim of Hillsborough. Manchester United filled the vacuum created by tragedy, that’s all. But expecting humility from Ferguson is too much. Grim years loomed ahead.

26 Liverpool 0 Everton 0, League Cup final, March 25, 1984

During the dark days of Thatcherism, a match in London was as much a political statement as a football trip. Thousands of ski-hatted Scousers, Blue and Red, disgorged from trains into Euston station singing in support of the Miners and Liverpool’s Militant Council. Scouse power in action.


Meet the American who could lead Iran

After an impressive start in charge of Tehran's biggest club, American citizen Afshin Ghotbi may soon be invited to manage his native country.

La Liga Wrap: Zaragoza Edge Almeria, Villarreal Hammer Levante

Real Madrid, Villarreal, Osasuna and Getafe all racked up convincing wins as the Liga's tenth round kicked off early on Wednesday night...

Wednesday 31 October (all times local)
20:00 Villarreal 3 - 0 Levante
20:00 Almeria 0 - 1 Real Zaragoza
20:00 Betis 0 - 3 Osasuna
20:00 Getafe 2 - 0 Athletic
20:00 Recreativo 0 - 0 Racing
20:00 Deportivo 1 - 1 Mallorca
21:00 Valencia 0 - 4 Real Madrid (Half-time score)
22:00 Atletico Madrid L - L Sevilla
Thursday 1 November
22:00 Valladolid - Barcelona
22:00 Espanyol - Murcia

Real Madrid hit four goals in a devastating first-half spell as they stormed to a 5-1 away win over Valencia at the Mestalla on Wednesday. A second-minute strike from Raul, a Ruud van Nistelrooy double and a superb shot from defender Sergio Ramos put Bernd Schuster's side 4-0 up after just 37 minutes while Robinho added a classy fifth midway through the second half.

Serie A Wrap: Roma win Derby, Fiorentina Scrape Past Napoli, Palermo Held By Parma

The big runs all managed impressive wins, but Livorno also managed their own historic victory on Matchday 10. Fiorentina, meanwhile, edged closer to the top with three vital points...

Wednesday 31 October (all times local)
20:30 Atalanta 2 - 2 Cagliari
20:30 Fiorentina 1 - 0 Napoli
20:30 Inter 4 - 1 Genoa (report)
20:30 Juventus 3 - 0 Empoli (report)
20:30 Palermo 1 - 1 Parma
20:30 Reggina 1 - 3 Livorno
20:30 Roma 3 - 2 Lazio (report)
20:30 Sampdoria 0 - 5 Milan (report)
20:30 Siena 1 - 1 Catania
20:30 Udinese 2 - 1 Torino

England: Carling Cup Wrap

On a night of potential giant-killings in the Carling Cup, there were no upsets - though Luton have taken Everton to extra-time and Leicester City gave Chelsea a fright, leading 3-2 before succumbing to two late goals to lose 3-4.

God returns to Anfield...
BBC Images

When Eduardo arrived at the Emirates from Dinamo Zagreb this summer he was hyped as the "new Thierry Henry". Still too busy lamenting their hero's departure, few Arsenal fans were convinced but the Brazilian-born Croatia striker undid Sheffield United last night with two goals even Henry would have treasured.

When Avram Grant promised that there would be more excitement at Stamford Bridge, this cannot have been what he meant. Twice Leicester led, Chelsea's second equaliser coming as late as the 86th minute, and it was deep into stoppage time before the holders confirmed their progress with a goal as chaotic as the game it decided. In the confusion Frank Lampard claimed the final touch, and with it a hat-trick. "I don't know who scored the last goal," said Grant, "and I don't care. Chelsea scored it."

Galarcep: History against the Red Bulls and D.C.

If you surveyed players in Major League Soccer, most would name RFK Stadium as the toughest place to win a playoff game. The boisterous supporter's section and normally potent D.C. United attack make for a troubling combination for any visiting team hoping to get a result in the nation's capitol.

Any team except the Chicago Fire, which has had more success at RFK than any visitor. The Fire's perfect playoff record against D.C. (4-0-1 after its Game 1 victory last week) is well-publicized, but their playoff record at RFK is more staggering. Two postseason visits to RFK (in 2003 and 2005) have resulted in two shutout victories by a combined score of 6-0.

D.C. United vs. Chicago Fire: Preview

On Second Thoughts: Kevin Keegan

The former Newcastle and England boss is one of this country's great managers, and it is about time he was celebrated as such.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NBA's biggest star shows interest in Spurs

The two-time Most Valuable Player in the NBA Steve Nash has expressed an interest in buying Tottenham Hotspur, though any potential involvement would rely heavily upon the Phoenix Suns player unearthing financial backers with whom to form a consortium to tempt the current regime into any sale.

I'm certainly no fan of the NBA and do not pretend to be an expert, but I'm fairly confident that Steve Nash is not its "biggest star." -Sanford

England: Carling Cup

Coventry 1 - 2 West Ham:
Cash-strapped Coventry had their Carling Cup dreams cruelly ended as Carlton Cole's injury-time winner for West Ham gave the Premier League side a 2-1 win.

Today's Matches:

Bolton v Manchester City - 20:00
Chelsea v Leicester - 19:45
Liverpool v Cardiff - 20:00
Luton v Everton - 19:45
Portsmouth v Blackburn - 19:45
Sheffield United v Arsenal - 19:45
Tottenham v Blackpool - 20:00

Walsh: Arena Doesn't Seem So Brilliant Anymore

With the U.S. National Team, Bruce Arena could often do no wrong. But now that he is back coaching in MLS, he hasn't built a dominant side that many people expected he'd construct, writes USA's Pat Walsh.

Spain: La Liga Midweek Previews

Valencia host Real Madrid in the marquee clash of this matchday...

Plaza de la Reina, Valencia

Untouchables are dead

Avram Grant says there are no longer any "untouchables" at Chelsea and only those who perform well are guaranteed a place in his side.
Grant spells it out: there are no 'untouchables' at Chelsea now

Der Kaiser puts das boot in

World Cup legend Franz Beckenbauer has compared England to a lifeless school team and pointed to a lack of spirit as the cause for their faltering Euro 2008 qualifying campaign.
Franz Beckenbauer: England like 'school team'

Italy: Serie A Midweek Previews

The Rome Derby highlights the midweek action while Fiorentina host Napoli and a faltering Milan side travel to Sampdoria...

United treble hero Stam retires after loss of 'motivation'

The former Manchester United defender Jaap Stam has announced his retirement with immediate effect. The 35-year-old, now with Ajax, revealed that he had taken the decision to quit due to a lack of motivation.

Ugly reality threatens World Cup in land of joga bonita

England may have "invented" football but the Brazilians define its soul and no one with a drop of romance in their veins can argue with the appeal of a World Cup in the land of the joga bonito. But yesterday's decision by Fifa, football's world governing body, to award the 2014 tournament to Brazil is, like that which sent the 2010 jamboree to South Africa, something of a gamble.

As with 2010, the political choice is also the popular one, but the challenges are immense. The area bordered by Porto Alegre, Recife and Manaus, all putative hosts, is larger than that marked by Oslo, Lisbon and Istanbul, and lacks Europe's generally impressive transportation infrastructure.

Henry admits struggling to adapt at Barça

Thierry Henry has admitted he is frustrated with life at Barcelona's Nou Camp. The former Arsenal striker was clearly agitated yesterday after continued negative questioning from Catalan journalists, one of whom asked him if he was scared of playing for Barcelona.

"The only thing I am scared of is dying," he replied. "And the only time I am not happy is when I don't give anything to the team. If I don't score or give an assist I am not happy."

Phil Holland: For the good of the game?

While FIFA's decision to abandon its policy of rotating the staging of the World Cup might be good news for a possible England bid for the 2018 event, it is a bitter blow for North and Central America.

On Sunday Wembley Stadium played host to the first-ever regular season NFL game outside North America when the Miami Dolphins played the New York Giants. While the game itself was a little disappointing, days of pre-game hype, promotional razzmatazz and the Dolphins rather charming cheerleading squad provided plenty of good clean fun for the Limeys.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Americans Abroad

J.R. Eskilson and Zac Lee Rigg roundup the performances put forth by the Americans playing throughout several leagues in Europe outside of England. USA's Matthew Braine looks at each American players performance over this past weekend in England and Scotland.

Allen Hopkins: Best XI for the 2007 MLS Season

Sacha Kljestan, Chivas USA -- Better get used to his name as Kljestan is now officially on the radar. Finishing tied for second in the league with 13 assists is one thing, but putting together solid performance after solid performance is another as he has become one of the most consistent midfielders in the league. He has a great first touch and superb vision and is an accurate passer, fit and strong, and tough in and out of tackles. In short, Kljestan has all the tools to be a complete two-way midfielder for years to come.

The Entire Eleven

Teams of the Week in the EPL, La Liga and Serie A

Premier League

La Liga

Serie A

Paolo Bandini: Sluggish Rossoneri need injection of pace

Milan's belief that their Serie A campaign will improve betrays a naivety over the club's shortcomings.

Sid Lowe: Sevilla put faith in testicular fortitude

Manuel Jiménez's unfeasibly large gonads can't obscure the fact that replacing Juande Ramos is a massive task.

Raphael Honigstein: Amateurs rescue Stuttgart as goal drought grips Germany

A third-choice right-back helping out on the left salvaged a win for Stuttgart as this week's nine Bundesliga games returned just 12 goals.

Knee op rules Scholes out for three months

United boss Sir Alex Ferguson confirmed on Friday a first scan proved inconclusive - but a second examination today has confirmed ligament damage, meaning Scholes will now be out of action until February.

Brazil's long wait to host World Cup set to end

Brazil's long wait to stage the World Cup will end on Tuesday (1430 GMT) when it is named the host nation for the 2014 finals. Brazil is the only candidate to stage the world's largest and most lucrative single-sport tournament after its bid was approved by FIFA's technical delegation last week. By the time the finals kickoff, 64 years will have passed since the South American country hosted the World Cup for the only other time.

Gabriele Marcotti: Why Premier League would love New York

Audiences are global, so why not give them a taste of the product in the flesh? Clubs have been going on preseason tours for years, but, precisely because far-flung audiences are becoming savvy, they know that a midsummer friendly is, ultimately, a meaningless exhibition match. There is nothing like the real thing - when points are at stake – to satisfy the craving.

Alan Hansen's Column

The weekend is over and when we all get our breath back after some fantastic football we can all agree on one fact - simply that the Premier League is in great shape.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Alive and unchecked - a wave of anti-Jewish hate

'Spurs are on their way to Belsen, Hitler's gonna gas 'em again...' It's not a song you would expect to hear on a family day out at a Premier League game, but it is one of several anti-Semitic chants still heard at some top-flight grounds. While the message about anti-black abuse is in the public consciousness, campaigners say that anti-Semitism is alive - and unchecked.

Richard Williams: Berbatov pulls out all the stops as players seek to impress Ramos

He may fit Spurs' proud attacking history but Juande Ramos has a host of problems to address.

Late Adu goal lifts 10-man Benfica to second

Looks like Freddy is starting to settle. Good News.

Spain: La Liga Wrap + Table

Henry and Messi lead Barca, Real Madrid Cruise...

October 28, 2007GPPT
Real Madrid922
Atlético Madrid917
Racing Santander915
Real Zaragoza914
FC Sevilla812
Athletic Bilbao910
Real Betis98
Recreativo Huelva98
Deportivo La Coruña98

Richard Jolley at Anfield + The Insider at Stamford Bridge

English endeavour and Spanish silk cancelled one another out as the last two unbeaten records in the Premier League were preserved. As the dominant figures in their respective sides, it was fitting that Steven Gerrard and Cesc Fabregas were the scorers at Anfield. In a clash of styles, their individual approaches epitomised the differences between the two teams.

Removed for crimes against entertainment would be the best way to reflect on Jose Mourinho's departure from Chelsea.

BBC Images

Phil Ball in Spain: Steak, Eggs and Juande Ramos

I was out with my mates last Friday night in the local greasy Joe's (well - the owner's called José Mari actually), and after downing a fine round of 'filete con las obras' (steak with the works) - the works consisting of chips, red peppers and two fried eggs, we were just about to tuck into a plate of cheese and quince when the mobile rang.

Liverpool Versus Arsenal

While another form of football was boring the pants of spectators at a muddy Wembley, the real game of the day in England was taking place at Anfield.

The match proved without doubt that Arsenal are the real McCoy. Liverpool, who badly missed Agger and foolishly risked Torres, were lucky to get away with a point. But for the posts and a fear of open goals Arsenal would have taken all three. Worryingly for rest there are areas where Arsenal can improve. Uncertainty at set pieces is still there, they could learn how to hold a wall, and Adebayor still blows hot and cold. Yesterday he was woeful: his first touch was comical, his passing pitiful [most notably ruining a fantastic length-of-the-pitch run from Toure], and he was offside more often that Pipo Inzaghi. This was perhaps a game where Wenger deep down missed Henry. There's no doubting Adebayor's talent, next week he could score three against United, but he does look more confident with a partner. Wenger would never do it, for a whole host of reasons, but I'd love to see that formation with a player like Eto'o or Ibrahimovic leading the line.

The biggest plus for Arsenal the season, other than Fabregas scoring goals, has been the change in Alexandr Hleb. He seems to have finally bought into the Wenger system. After two seasons of still thinking he was in the much slower Bundesliga he's now adapted his game. Before he would hold up the ball as Arsenal were counter-attacking, destroying momentum. Now he lets the ball flow in the middle of the park, holding it up instead in the final third of the field, thus bringing midfield runners, most notably Fabregas, into goal scoring positions.

Next week: Manchester United at Emirates Stadium

Gerrard shares the glory with Fabregas
Arsene Wenger’s men stick to their principles
David Pleat's chalkboard

Henry the second - Adebayor interview

Italy: Serie A Reports

Drab Draw For Genoa and Fiorentina

Roma beat Milan while Juventus are toppled by Napoli and Inter held by Palermo...

R. Mehdi: There was a conspiracy in favour of Juventus during Moggi's crooked reign now I would suggest, for this season at least, there is a conspiracy against them. That sick feeling most Juventus supports have in their stomachs right now, that's how it feels to be cheated. Juve host Inter next Sunday and if they line-up with this defence they'll get absolutely destroyed. Can't bloody wait.

MLS Weekend Wrap: Lower seeds are poised for upsets

Steve Davis: With a trio of upset wins in the first leg, seedings were once again proved irrelevant in the MLS playoffs.

England: Premier League Wrap


Sun 28th October 2007
Bolton1-1Aston Villa13:30
Derby County0-2Everton14:00


Sat 27th October 2007
Birmingham3-2Wigan Athletic15:00

Chelsea6-0Manchester City15:00


Man Utd4-1Middlesbrough15:00


Portsmouth0-0West Ham