Friday, December 07, 2007

English FA Interview Capello, Set To See Mourinho

There have been startling developments in the search for the next England manager.

A report in The Independent this morning claims that the FA have interviewed Fabio Capello for the job. And in a move that will excite many in England, Jose Mourinho has been invited to London for talks about the post.

England: Premier League Previews

Not too many mouthwatering clashes this week. Manchester City's trip to Tottenham is of note, while the Aston Villa/Portsmouth match could be attractive. Elsewhere, Bolton and Wigan battle it out at the bottom.

All The Previews

Different Previews

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

A rather quiet weekend in Italy as well...

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

No real biggies here either...

Saturday 9 December (all times local)
20:00 Osasuna - Valencia
22:00 Athletic - Real Madrid

Sunday 10 December

17:00 Almeria - Valladolid
17:00 Villarreal - Betis
17:00 Levante - Recreativo
17:00 Zaragoza - Espanyol
17:00 Racing - Mallorca
17:00 Sevilla - Murcia
19:00 Atletico Madrid - Getafe
21:00 Barcelona - Deportivo

Manchester United replicate 1958 kit to mark game of respect for Busby Babes

Not for the first time, Manchester United are making plans to wear a new kit, but, if such an announcement would usually rile parents from Stretford to St Ives and probably all the way to Singapore, this time it is different. The kit in question, to be worn in the derby match against Manchester City in February, will feature old-style baggy shirts and shorts to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Munich air disaster and, significantly, the club insist that neither they nor anyone else will profit financially from the exercise.

Lawro's EPL Predictions

Blackburn v West Ham (1600)

Blackburn v West Ham

West Ham are showing a bit of a tough streak which will stand them in really good stead for when some of their injured players come back.

But Blackburn at home under Mark Hughes are generally very good. He has a good squad that gets goals from all areas and they will be too strong for the Hammers.

Prediction: 2-0

All the Predictions

Drogba heads for clash with Chelsea over injury

Didier Drogba's desire to play in next month's African Cup of Nations may set him and his country on a collision course with Chelsea. The striker has a chronic knee condition which would benefit from surgery and, although he has played through the pain for at least 12 months, Ivory Coast fear that the club will press him to have the operation after the turn of the year when they are due to lose him anyway to international duty.

Fábregas injury hamstrings title push, says Wenger

Arsène Wenger has revealed that Cesc Fábregas faces a race against time to be fit for the Premier League clash with Chelsea at the Emirates Stadium on December 16. The Arsenal manager has ruled Fábregas out of this Sunday's trip to Middlesbrough, together with Alexander Hleb and Mathieu Flamini, and suggested that he may struggle for the game against Chelsea.

Small Talk With Kelly Dalglish

The Setanta presenter on her embarrassing Dad, why she's never dated footballers, and whether her mother can run faster than Janet Hansen.

US goalkeeper Hope Solo talks about World Cup fiasco

"Moreso, the moment I realized we didn't have the opportunity to win the gold medal, my world came tumbling down. I had nothing to immediately give back to my father. I was wound so tight emotionally, and the moment after the loss I broke.

"I had felt as though my childhood dream basically had been ripped away from me."

The Joy of Six: Great Football Books

2) The Damned United - David Peace

David Peace's evocative novel juxtaposes Clough's whirlwind reconstruction of Derby County, a club he led to the 1972 title, with his ill-fated attempt to shake up Don Revie's Leeds United team in similar fashion two years later. The bare facts of Clough's 43 days in charge at Elland Road are well-known, but what happened behind closed doors remains unclear; Peace's fictionalised account attempts to fill in the gaps, as cheap booze, truculent players and the ghost of Revie combine to make the surprisingly sensitive protagonist's situation utterly hopeless. A whisky-fugged Clough smashes up his predecessor's desk with an axe; Clough tries desperately to bond with an unresponsive Billy Bremner over whisky; Clough swills so much - yes - whisky that he spends the night on the floor of a hotel bar.

All Six Books

Quotes and Chants of the Week

Newcastle fans: "Shearer! Shearer!"
Blackburn fans: "Where did Shearer win the league?"
Banter at Blackburn-Newcastle. (Andy, England).

"Sven, Sven wherever you may be/You are the pride of Man City/You can shag my wife on our settee/If we win a cup at Wem-ber-lee."
Man City fans to Sven. (Jim Hall, Rainow).

"If they released a Titus Bramble bloopers DVD, it would be four hours long."
Adrian Chiles on MOTD2 after Bramble's latest mistake. (Kenny Lomas, England)

All The Fun

UEFA Cup: Spurs and Bolton survive Euro controversy

Anderlecht look set to face the wrath of UEFA after cigarette lighters and even an iron bar rained down on the pitch in the closing stages with makeshift Spurs defender Didier Zokora being hit on the head.

"I played four years in Belgium so maybe they hate me," said Zokora, a former Genk midfielder.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

U.S. Team on Adu’s Mind, Even in Portugal

“The first thing about being in Europe is that you would not survive at a place like this unless you pay attention to every single detail and work hard every day

McBride Suffers Knee Setback

Fulham striker Brian McBride has seen his return date pushed back to January after his comeback from a knee injury took a turn for the worse.

Brad Friedel remains keeper of the faith with his own principles

Brad Friedel, the Blackburn Rovers goalkeeper, has created what he terms football’s first self-help manual, which some may think is timely, given the misfortune that befell Scott Carson against Croatia at Wembley and Paul Robinson before him. In it the American explains how to combat your problems, how goalkeeping explains the world and his hopes for a more ethical future.

Blackburn player places a high value on ethics and a low one on the bling culture

Serie A Midweek Results + Table

Inter Milan 3 - 0 Lazio
Unstoppable Inter Thrash Lazio

Roma 2 - 0 Cagliari
Taddei brace keeps Roma on pace

Team Pts GP W D L
Inter Milan 34 14 10 4 0
Roma 31 14 9 4 1
Juventus 26 14 7 5 2
Udinese 25 14 7 4 3
Fiorentina 24 14 6 6 2
Atalanta 21 13 5 6 2
Sampdoria 20 14 6 2 6
Milan 18 13 4 6 3
Napoli 18 14 5 3 6
Catania 18 14 4 6 4
Palermo 18 14 4 6 4
Torino 15 14 2 9 3
Parma 15 14 3 6 5
Genoa 15 14 3 6 5
Lazio 14 14 3 5 6
Livorno 13 14 3 4 7
Siena 10 14 1 7 6
Cagliari 10 14 2 4 8
Reggina 10 14 1 7 6
Empoli 10 14 2 4 8

Newcastle rise to Allardyce's cause and peg back Arsenal

Newcastle 1 - 1 Arsenal

Sam Allardyce and Newcastle United may not be heading for imminent divorce after all. Instead this gutsy and increasingly gripping draw against the Premier League leaders could come to be seen as a watershed in their relationship, the night when Allardyce began to win his battle for the hearts and minds of players and supporters.

Marina Hyde on Big Sam

Toon spirit gets Big Sam out of big jam

UEFA Cup Result: Everton Reach Final 32

Everton 1 - 0 Zenit St. Petersburg

Opportunist Cahill profits from Zenit misfortune to send Everton through

It has been so long since Everton last ventured into Europe beyond Christmas that the competition in which they advanced no longer exists. The Cup Winners' Cup triumph of 1985 is the zenith of the club's achievement on the continent but new ground was broken here last night. For the first time in 23 years they can at least dream of emulating Kevin Ratcliffe's Rotterdam glory when winter recedes.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Serie A Midweek Previews

What: Serie A - Matchday 12 (postponed from 11/11/07)

Who: Inter (1st, 31 points) vs Lazio (15th, 14 points)
When: Wednesday 5 December 2007, 20:30 CET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

Who: Roma (2nd, 28 points) v Cagliari (18th, 10 points)
When: Wednesday, 5th December 2007, kick-off 20:30
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Roma


Chelsea Striker Drogba Admitted To Hospital

Chelsea and the Ivory Coast suffered a scare this week after star striker Didier Drogba was twice admitted to hospital with severe knee swelling.

EPL Preview: Newcastle United vs. Arsenal

What: English Premier League
Who: Newcastle (11th EPL, 18/42 pts) v Arsenal (1st EPL, 36/42 pts)
When: Wednesday, 5 December, Kick-off: 1945 GMT
Where: St James' Park, Newcastle


Liverpool's thrashing of Besiktas linked to fix probe

Liverpool's record-breaking Champions League defeat of Besiktas last month is one of the games under suspicion of being rigged, according to a report in Germany.

Uefa announced on Saturday that it is working with Europol to investigate games which may have been fixed as part of illegal betting activity. The European governing body has received information that 26 games in the Champions League, Uefa Cup and Intertoto Cup may have been fixed since 2005 with Liverpool's 8-0 drubbing of the Turkish club at Anfield - the highest score in Europe's premier competition - among those allegedly involved.

Celtic celebrate progress despite defeat in Milan

AC Milan 1 - 0 Celtic

A strike by The Diving Twat wins it for the Italians but Celtic still advance thanks to Benfica's victory.

Jon Carter in South America

Tiny Lanús won the Argentina championship and are now one of only four teams in history to celebrate winning a league title at Boca's Bombonera. Meanwhile, in Brazil, giants Corinthians are going down...

Lanús rise as Corinthians fall

Sagna shows he has the right stuff for Arsenal's title push

After seamlessly slotting into the Arsenal back-line, Bacary Sagna is keen to display his qualities at the club.

Big Four First & Foremost Again

There's suddenly a sense of deja-vu about the top of the Premier League....

Arsenal, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

MLS needs to target the urban crowd

Steve Davis: Pro soccer works best in this country when it targets 20- and 30-somethings and ethnic audiences, influencers whose presence can create true happenings around game nights (over disparate cultures, no less). When it becomes "the thing to do," families and suburban singles will follow. That's the way our culture works.

Phil Ball in Spain

Phil on the dilemma of blooding local players in La Liga and the Segunda.

A lack of direction

Charged with making a decision that will shape the future of English football, Brian Barwick turned to the manager of Finland.
Dithering FA needs a leader

Newcastle Revolution

The Newcastle manager is apparently still to persuade his squad that his scientific methods will bring success to Tyneside.
Sam Allardyce faces revolt in the ranks


We should cherish Maldini while we can, whether against Celtic this evening or during his remaining Serie A and Champions League appearances in his farewell season. Football will not see Maldini's like again, says Henry Winter.
Cherish Milan's Paolo Maldini while we can
Gordon Strachan has a point to make against the European champions

Inter march on

After brushing aside previously fancied Fiorentina, Inter are on course to bag a hat-trick of back-to-back Scudettos. Signor Bandini reports.
Can anyone stop irresistible Inter?

Ronaldo gives lesson in art of goalscoring

Manchester United 2 Fulham 0: Ronaldo missed out on being European Footballer of the Year but he was crowned King of Old Trafford.
No marks for Rob Styles as two-goal Cristiano Ronaldo suffers for reputation
Richard Jolly at the Theater of Dreams

News from Germany

Germany are worried what Luka Modric may do to them at Euro 2008, given how well diminutive, foreign geniuses are faring in the Bundesliga. Herr Honigstein reports.
Franck, Diego and Rafael make Germans wary of Luka

Monday, December 03, 2007

Espanyol fights back

Barcelona would do well to remember that they aren't the only football team in Catalunya. Señor Lowe reports.
Espanyol hold Barça to claim a share in Catalanism

South America round-up: Cheeky ball control sparks Peru riot

Ancash were leading 2-1 when Viafara, who had scored their second goal, used his buttocks to bring a pass under control. This infuriated Universitario players who interpreted it as a mockery of their team.

AC Milan's Kaka awarded 2007 Ballon d'Or

Kaka, who won the Champions League with Milan last season, beat Manchester United's Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal and Barcelona's Lionel Messi of Argentina, who were second and third respectively.

Winners List:
1956 - Stanley Matthews (England) 1957 - Alfredo di Stefano (Spain) 1958 - Raymond Kopa (France) 1959 - Alfredo di Stefano (Spain) 1960 - Luis Suarez (Spain) 1961 - Omar Sivori (Italy) 1962 - Josef Masopust (Czechoslovakia) 1963 - Lev Yashin (Soviet Union) 1964 - Denis Law (Scotland) 1965 - Eusebio (Portugal) 1966 - Bobby Charlton (England) 1967 - Florian Albert (Hungary) 1968 - George Best (Northern Ireland) 1969 - Gianni Rivera (Italy) 1970 - Gerd Mueller (West Germany) 1971 - Johan Cruyff (Netherlands) 1972 - Franz Beckenbauer (Germany) 1973 - Johan Cruyff (Netherlands) 1974 - Johan Cruyff (Netherlands) 1975 - Oleg Blokhin (Soviet Union) 1976 - Franz Beckenbauer (West Germany) 1977 - Allan Simonsen (Denmark) 1978 - Kevin Keegan (England) 1979 - Kevin Keegan (England) 1980 - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (West Germany) 1981 - Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (West Germany) 1982 - Paolo Rossi (Italy) 1983 - Michel Platini (France) 1984 - Michel Platini (France) 1985 - Michel Platini (France) 1986 - Igor Belanov (Soviet Union) 1987 - Ruud Gullit (Netherlands) 1988 - Marco van Basten (Netherlands) 1989 - Marco van Basten (Netherlands) 1990 - Lothar Matthaeus (Germany) 1991 - Jean-Pierre Papin (France) 1992 - Marco van Basten (Netherlands) 1993 - Roberto Baggio (Italy) 1994 - Hristo Stoichkov (Bulgaria) 1995 - George Weah (Liberia) 1996 - Matthias Sammer (Germany) 1997 - Ronaldo (Brazil) 1998 - Zinedine Zidane (France) 1999 - Rivaldo (Brazil) 2000 - Luis Figo (Portugal) 2001 - Michael Owen (England) 2002 - Ronaldo (Brazil) 2003 - Pavel Nedved (Czech Republic) 2004 - Andriy Shevchenko (Ukraine) 2005 - Ronaldinho (Brazil) 2006 - Fabio Cannavaro (Italy) 2007 - Kaka (Brazil)

La Liga Reports

Villarreal blew the chance to go top by losing to Valladolid while Hector Cuper is out at Betis after they slumped at home to Atletico Madrid. The Barcelona Derby was a draw.

Serie A Reports

Off the pitch Napoli, Juventus, Genoa, Inter and Lazio away fans were banned from attending matches. The bans will continue until ID cards are introduced later this month. Atalanta's north stand is closed until March. On the pitch Inter beat Fiorentina to remain unbeaten while Juventus and Milan failed to score.

R. Mehdi's Reports

EPL Reports

Keane red card as McLeish era begins with a win
Tottenham 2 - 3 Birmingham

Gunners pass another test
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Arsenal

Injury-time goal wins it for Black Cats
Sunderland 1 - 0 Derby County

Torres shines as Reds cruise
Liverpool 4 - 0 Bolton

Bentley brace heaps pressure on Big Sam
Blackburn 3 - 1 Newcastle

Things aren't going so well for Newcastle these days...

Southgate starts to blame McClaren
Reading 1 - 1 Middlesbrough

City subdued
Wigan 1 - 1 Manchester City

Pompey hold Everton
Portsmouth 0 - 0 Everton

Euro 2008 Draw

Domenech fury after France draw Italy in group of death

Group A: Switzerland, Czech Republic, Portugal, Turkey

Group B: Austria, Croatia, Germany, Poland

Group C: Holland, Italy, Romania, France

Group D: Greece, Sweden, Spain, Russia

Surgery for Beasley

Quite a blow, this. The Kid was just starting to get into the flow at Rangers and was getting a lot of minutes. It's especially sad since he was performing well in the Champions League.
Beasley to miss rest of the season

The Insider at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 1 - 0 West Ham

Drogba - The best striker in the world?