Friday, January 18, 2008

Friday Thoughts From The Editor

I’ll begin with the obvious. Why the hell is the African Cup of Nations only available via pay-per-view on my computer?! This tournament will offer some fantastic matches and plenty of free-flowing, dramatic, innovative soccer. But I won’t see it. Sorry, but I can’t sit at a computer and watch a match. Call me a luddite if you must. But I need a television. So it’s no Ghana, no Ivory Coast, no Cameroon. It’s a damn shame.

What’s also a damn shame is this clown Lassana Diarra. He bails on Chelsea because he’s not getting enough playing time. So where does he go? Arsenal. Funny, but he doesn’t break into their midfield either. So, in search of first team soccer, he leaves for Pompey. And then proceeds to tell everyone that it is only a stepping stone move and as soon as a “big club” comes asking he’ll move on. What an ass.

I’m going to see some jazz tomorrow night so I won’t be watching the USA/Sweden match. It’s all MLS and Northern Europe guys and it would be nice to see some of the new faces in action. But it’s not really terribly important so it’s fine to give it a miss. Perhaps I’ll enjoy it on the DVR Sunday.

It was sad to see Cookie resign from Real Sociedad. I like the guy, and hoped that he would lead them back to La Liga and be a savior and all of that. Not to be. Any club in England that needs somebody would be a fool not to snatch him up. What he did at Fulham was remarkable. If he were still in charge they wouldn’t be in the drop zone.

And speaking of saviors, welcome back Kevin Keegan. I have no doubt he’ll turn things around at Newcastle in the short term. I do doubt that he’ll be able to do any better than Sir Bobby or Souness in the long-term. Whatever he does, he’ll be entertaining and the side will be a lot more fun to watch. Geordies have to be excited about that. Until next week -- Sanford

The African Cup of Nations: Group Previews

Group A

Ghana, Morocco, Guinea, Namibia

Group B
Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Benin

Group C
Cameroon, Egypt, Zambia, Sudan

Group D

Senegal, Angola, Tunisia, South Africa

Joy of Six: African Footballers

From Black Panthers to ageless lions, The Guardian presents our selection of the greatest players to come out of Africa.

2) Rabah Madjer (Algeria)
Best remembered in these parts for scoring the opener in Algeria's sensational win over West Germany at the 1982 World Cup, but that was just one of the 40 goals he hit in 87 appearances for his country. He was also the star of the Porto team that won the 1987 European Cup, his outrageous backheeled winner in the final against Bayern Munich typifying his irrepressible brilliance. The following season AC Milan had a £4m bid turned down for him - had it gone through Madjer would have been more expensive than Gary Lineker, Mark Hughes and Marco Van Basten.

USA vs. Sweden: Bradley's men continue to find comfort zone

International Friendly

U.S.A vs. Sweden
Jan. 19
Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.
8:30 p.m. ET
Fox Soccer Channel

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter host Parma, Juventus welcome Sampdoria and Milan face a tricky test away to Udinese...


England: Premier League Weekend Action

Manchester City host West Ham, Liverpool welcome Villa on Monday while table-toppers Manchester United travel to Reading...

Fasteddy's Tips

Weekend Preview

Lawro's Predictions

Team News

The truth the soccerphobes refuse to face

Some Americans regard soccer as the devil's spawn. In reality it is as much a part of their nation as mom's apple pie.

Thornton returns to New York area with Red Bulls

Thornton, who played one game with the Colorado Rapids last season before being waived, will be returning to the New York area for a second stint.

Spain: Primera Liga Weekend Preview

The Madrid Derby dominates the fixture list for the weekend...

Saturday 19 January 2008 (all times local)

20:00 Getafe - Sevilla
22:00 Villarreal - Valencia

That's Sanford on the left, Bobbie in the middle, and Alec on the right...

Saturday 20 January

17:00 Osasuna - Athletic
17:00 Zaragoza - Murcia
17:00 Levante - Mallorca
17:00 Almeria - Deportivo
17:00 Valladolid - Espanyol
17:00 Betis - Recreativo
19:00 Atletico Madrid - Real Madrid
21:00 Barcelona - Racing

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Keegan Anointed as Newcastle's Saviour

Kevin Keegan's second coming as Newcastle United's manager last night captured Geordie imaginations and succeeded in taking the football world by surprise. The once familiar refrain of "Walking in a Keegan wonderland" rang out again at St James' Park after Newcastle's 4-1 FA Cup third-round replay win against Stoke City as the club's new manager, who has signed a 3½-year deal, entered the dressing room to address his players.

KK's Newcastle Career in Pictures

Keegan wants fans to dream again

There's a resemblance...

African Nations Cup 2008

When the 26th edition of the African Nations Cup begins on January 20 reigning champions Egypt will face stiff competition as they seek to retain their title, not least from host nation Ghana but also from the likes of Nigeria and this year's favourites and the runners-up at the previous tournament, the Ivory Coast. Having sprung a few surprises in qualifying, the likes of Benin, Namibia and Guinea will also be in action and hoping to prove that they're not just there to make up the numbers; while some of the nations' lesser-known players will be using the competition as a shop window for their big move.

With that in mind, below is a team-by-team guide for the tournament, which culminates in the final in Accra on February 10.

Coleman resigns from Sociedad

Coleman brought the curtain down on his six-month tenure at the Spanish second division side yesterday when he and assistant Steve Kean announced their joint resignations.

Olympiakos Fan Stabbed To Death After Cup Match

Greek police say a fan of Olympiakos has been stabbed to death following Wednesday's game with Panathinaikos.

Marina Hyde on Liverpool

In urban slang - and a hilariously bad Jerry Bruckheimer movie - the phrase "coyote ugly" refers to the business of waking after a drunken evening next to a suitor so hideous that one would rather chew one's arm off than wake him or her, much as some coyotes will gnaw off their paw if it is caught in a trap.
Hicks gives Liverpool plenty to chew on

Havant full of hope and off to Liverpool

Havant & Waterlooville 4 - 2 Swansea City

The Conference South side eliminated Swansea City, the leaders of League One, on a fervent night in Hampshire, scoring four and making a mockery of the 83 league places that separate the two sides. The reward for the only semi-professional club left in the competition is a fourth-round tie at Liverpool.

H&W's Ground: A tad different from Anfield...

Feilhaber poised for potential move to MLS

The United States international Benny Feilhaber is poised for a potential move to Major League Soccer after being informed he can leave English Premier League side Derby County.

City Edge West Ham In Drab Cup Replay

Manchester City 1-0 West Ham United

Elano’s header was enough to give Manchester City a victory over West Ham in this FA Cup third round replay.


Bolton Sign Portsmouth's Taylor
Portsmouth Sign Arsenal's Diarra

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Mill ++ +++

Wednesday's Rumours



FA Cup Previews: Manchester City – West Ham, Newcastle - Stoke

What: FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
Who: Manchester City (7th EPL, 39pts) v West Ham United (10th EPL, 32pts)
When: Wednesday 16th January, 20:05 (GMT)
Where: City of Manchester Stadium, Manchester

What: FA Cup 3rd Round Replay
Who: Newcastle United (11th EPL, 26pts) v Stoke (4th Championship, 44pts)
When: Wednesday 16th January, 19:45 (GMT)
Where: St. James Park, Newcastle

Key FA Cup Results

Liverpool 5 - 0 Luton Town
Stevie hat-trick and Rafa standing ovation at Anfield

Reading 0 - 1 Tottenham
Spurs earn trip to Old Trafford

Bury 2 - 1 Norwich
Fairytale win for League Two strugglers

Ruiz joins Beckham, Donovan on Galaxy's roster

FC Dallas has traded leading scorer Carlos Ruiz back to the Los Angeles Galaxy, bolstering an offense that already has English star David Beckham and American forward Landon Donovan, the top scorer in U.S. national team history.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Americans in England: Relegation Blues USA's Matthew Braine runs down the happenings of the American players in England this past week.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Can wily Klinsmann go the distance with Bayern? It will be fascinating to see if Jürgen Klinsmann's style can work at a club that even Jose Mourinho has described as 'complex'.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Joke about La Liga's 'makemelaugh' gets unfunnier by the week. Incredibly, Valencia aren't the biggest shambles in Spain. Hell, Valencia aren't even the biggest shambles in Valencia. Levante are.

Hodgson Looks to Eddie Johnson to Solve Fulham Striker Crisis

The American international striker Eddie Johnson spent yesterday in talks with Fulham as the club closed in on making him the first signing of Roy Hodgson's managerial tenure.

Liverpool's U.S. Dream Turns to Nightmare

Tom Hicks and George Gillett provided plenty of ammunition to sceptics of the American takeover of Anfield last February (of which there were precious few) with talk of franchises, Liverpool Reds and goal-tenders but it was their considered and frequent description of themselves as mere "custodians" of a £218.9m investment that resonated loudest with the club's support, even as the institution that is England's most successful club was heading for foreign ownership.

FA Cup Replays - Second Chance To Reach Fourth Round

Tuesday and Wednesday see the outstanding issues of the FA Cup third round resolved - even if penalty shoot-outs are required.

These days replays lack the immediacy of yesteryear, when they were held two or three days after the original tie rather than ten, but now as then they are given an extra dimension by knowing the identity of the next round’s opponents - a meeting with whom is the prize at stake.

Phil Ball in Spain

Top of the Class
Madrid's tally of 47 points from 19 games is the best since three points were introduced for a win in Spain (1995). Seven points ahead of Barcelona at the half-way stage - who would have thought? A year ago the club were immersed in a dual crisis of confidence and schizophrenia, unable to decide upon whom or what they wanted.
La Liga half-term report: Part 1

Coming in from the cold?
Valencia's wretched form continues, and the wonder of it is that they still lie seventh, in grasping distance of Europe if only they could get their season on-line. With lawsuits flying around the club like hospital superbugs, the atmosphere is hardly one of peace and harmony, and Koeman seems to have upset just about everyone apart from himself.
La Liga half-term report: Part 2

The Mill

Gloomy hamster-faced tactical whiz Gerard Houllier has told Newcastle "just call me and I'll take the job" according to the Daily Express - above an article, oddly enough, containing not a single Houllier quote. It's all in the eyes.

Tuesday's Rumours

Monday, January 14, 2008

Italian racism discourages Japanese, says Nakamura

Japan star Shunsuke Nakamura has blasted Italian football for its racism in an interview published on the official UEFA website. Nakamura played for Reggina for three seasons before joining Celtic in 2005, where he has established himself as one of the stars of the team.

La Liga Reports

RVP keeps Real Madrid rolling while Eto'o and Henry Lead Barca...


EPL : Weekend Reviews + Table

EPL Extra Time: Reeling Newcastle now national laughingstock


1 Man. Utd. 22 16 3 3 44 11 33 51
2 Arsenal 22 15 6 1 43 17 26 51
3 Chelsea 22 14 5 3 35 16 19 47
4 Liverpool 21 10 9 2 35 14 21 39
5 Everton 22 12 3 7 38 22 16 39
6 Aston Villa 22 11 6 5 40 28 12 39
7 Man. City 22 11 6 5 29 23 6 39
8 Blackburn 22 10 6 6 30 29 1 36
9 Portsmouth 22 9 7 6 31 22 9 34
10 West Ham 21 9 5 7 27 20 7 32
11 Newcastle 22 7 5 10 27 39 -12 26
12 Tottenham 22 6 6 10 42 40 2 24
13 Reading 22 6 4 12 30 47 -17 22
14 Middlesbrough 22 5 6 11 19 36 -17 21
15 Bolton 22 5 5 12 24 34 -10 20
16 Birmingham 22 5 5 12 23 33 -10 20
17 Wigan 22 5 5 12 22 37 -15 20
18 Sunderland 22 5 5 12 22 40 -18 20
19 Fulham 22 2 9 11 23 39 -16 15
20 Derby 22 1 4 17 10 47 -37 7

Italian Serie A Wrap

Ronaldo and Pato score for Milan, Ibra leads Inter, Totti hits for Roma and Del Piero gets a late penalty for Juventus...