Friday, January 04, 2008
There is still an aura of magic about the first Saturday in January, when the Third Round of the FA Cup is staged, even though the world’s oldest knockout competition has lost a little of its lustre in recent years under a succession of small but cumulatively significant cuts.
And the BBC's Match of the Day editor looks forward to the Third Round.
La Liga Returns
Saturday 5 January 2008 (all times local)
20:00 Mallorca - Barcelona
22:00 Espanyol - Villarreal
Sunday 6 January
17:00 Deportivo - Atletico Madrid
17:00 Getafe - Valladolid
17:00 Murcia - Osasuna
17:00 Racing - Athletic
17:00 Recreativo - Almeria
17:00 Valencia - Levante
19:00 Real Madrid - Zaragoza
21:00 Sevilla - Betis
It was once unthinkable that Liverpool would surpass Manchester United's 26 years without a title win. Now it looks almost inevitable.
...nobody seriously thought English football's most successful institution would ever embark on the kind of barren domestic run Old Trafford suffered between 1967 and 1993.
John Barnes and his short shorts celebrate Liverpool's last title in 1990.
Goal.com USA's Greg Lalas has several questions, including those surrounding Tottenham's prolific striker Dimitar Berbatov, the lack of anyone crushing on Avram Grant and the choices made by U.S. National Team head coach Bob Bradley for his January training camp.
That's a smile...sort of...
The halcyon days of wine and roses may be over in Dutch football, but suspense has made up for a lack of quality and success on the European stage. The last day of the 2006-07 league season was the most spectacular finale in national history as three clubs headed the virtual leaderboard at some point during the afternoon and, in the end, just one goal decided the title race eventually. The year 2007 had several of these ups and downs:
Thursday, January 03, 2008
The man was threatened with ejection and, by half-time, with his efforts to sing and shout having met calls to sit down and shut up, his enthusiasm had gone. He will know what one United supporter was talking about yesterday when he likened Old Trafford to “a police state”.
What is the best way to measure how good 2007 was for American soccer fans? Consider how easy it has been to forget the disaster that was 2006.
The U.S. national team crashed out of the World Cup, longtime stars Claudio Reyna, Brian McBride and Eddie Pope retired, and the subsequent search to replace departed head coach Bruce Arena turned into a fiasco. American fans were understandably concerned about what 2007 would bring.
The reasons players switch clubs are many. They might be unwanted, wanted by a bigger fish, or it may be down to their contractual situation. Gabriele Marcotti identifies 50 who could be packing their bags either in this transfer window or in the summer.
From Ronaldinho to Ronaldo, they're in no particular order.
Toon Army calls for the sack
Bolton 1 - 0 Derby County
Stelios strike in injury time a brutal blow for Rams
Blackburn 1 - 0 Sunderland
Keane's crew in trouble
The table -- Played and Points:
|West Ham Utd||20||29|
Wednesday, January 02, 2008
"I pledge to advance to the World Cup, which is the professional goal that we strive for," the players recited on Tuesday, according to the paper.
"We swear by death to kill along the bloody road of defending the honour of the motherland and realise our youthful dreams."
Sir Alex Ferguson described Old Trafford as having the atmosphere of a "funeral" when he spoke after Manchester United's 1-0 win over Birmingham City. Carlos Tevez's goal means the champions have won 10 league games in a row on their own ground but Ferguson was distinctly unimpressed with United's supporters, accusing them of letting down the team.
Arsenal are in it for the long haul, Tottenham still can't defend and Roy Hodgson needs to think up a decent half-time team talk fast.
Osorio did a solid job in Chicago, and his tactical style should suit main scoring threat Juan Pablo Angel. However, expectations will be high and Osorio will need a deep run in the playoffs to keep his paymasters happy.
Arsenal and Manchester United both won at home - 2-0 against West Ham and 1-0 against Birmingham, respectively - to maintain the order at te top of the Premier League. Everton got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory at Middlesbrough, while Portsmouth bounced back with a 2-0 win at Reading.
Green (West Ham)
Mellberg (Aston Villa) Dunne (Manchester City) Vidic (Manchester United) Clichy (Arsenal)
Ronaldo (Manchester United) Fabregas (Arsenal) Cahill (Everton) Elano (Manchester City)
Berbatov (Tottenham Hotspur) Torres (Liverpool)
MANCHESTER UNITED VERDICT: In his absence - for the majority of the match, anyway - United displayed why Owen Hargreaves is essential to add steel in the centre of the pitch. The more encouraging contributions were provided by Ji-sung Park and Nani, lively on either flank, though United could have benefited from either displaying a cutting edge. Ronaldo, prolific on the wing, failed to score as a striker.
Tuesday, January 01, 2008
Chelsea: John Obi Mikel (Nigeria), Didier Drogba and Saloman Kalou (Ivory Coast), Michael Essien (Ghana)
Your Guide to Today's Matches
Freddie Makes "Emotional" Return to Arsenal
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Chivas USA), Will Hesmer (Columbus), Matt Pickens (Chicago), Zach Wells (D.C.)
Defenders: Dan Califf (Aalborg, Denmark), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City), Ramiro Corrales (Brann, Norway), Todd Dunivant (Toronto), Clarence Goodson (San Jose), Drew Moor (Dallas), Michael Parkhurst (New England), Eddie Robinson (Houston), Marvell Wynne (Toronto)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Ricardo Clark (Houston), Brad Davis (Houston), Maurice Edu (Toronto), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Justin Mapp (Chicago), Pat Noonan (New England)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (New York), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Eddie Johnson (Kansas City), Chris Rolfe (Chicago), Taylor Twellman (New England), Jeremiah White (Aarhus, Denmark)
Monday, December 31, 2007
While it is a comment that applies to entire teams, the half-term report card for certain players contains the unwanted words 'could do better'. The only consolation is that the second half of the season presents an immediate opportunity for improvement. But if not, it won't represent a year to remember for the following:
West Ham 2 - 1 Manchester United
Everton 1 - 4 Arsenal
Gunners finding new ways to win
Tottenham 6 - 4 Reading
Berbatov nets four in schoolyard contest
Manchester City 0 - 0 Liverpool
Title chances fading fast for Rafa
Birmingham 1 - 1 Fulham
Bocanegra heads in a point for Hodgson
Wigan 1 - 2 Aston Villa
Villians drive toward Europe
Chelsea 2 - 1 Newcastle
When cheers turn to jeers
We may have come with the intention of issuing the last rights to Sam Allardyce's troubled reign as Newcastle manager, but a more accurate assessment of the day's happenings may be that this was the beginning of the end of Avram Grant's controversial reign as Chelsea manager.