Saturday, February 16, 2008

Usmanov keeps buying

The Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov has spent another £2 million on buying Arsenal shares.
Usmanov increases his stake in Arsenal

Owen Hargreaves interview

With players pushed to their limits, Owen Hargreaves wonders why 'the biggest league in the world' needs to expand
Man of the world Owen Hargreaves takes issue

We have the technology ...

Avram Grant will have captain Steve Austin at his disposal after a quicker than expected return from injury
'Bionic man' Terry defies doctors' predictions to make early return

Friday, February 15, 2008

Brian Viner Interviews Martin Keown

I remember this all too well. I was with my family in Italy and was unable to find a place to watch the match. We were out in the countryside and there really weren’t any bars or pubs around. The next day I picked up a Gazzetta dello Sport to find this photo on the cover and Serie A news relegated to the lower reaches of the front page. With my limited Italian reading ability I was able to deduce what had happened. The Italians were totally freaked and went on and on about how Keown was a madman and had completely lost the plot. They found it so totally outrageous and of course invariably linked it to the inevitable demise of the English game and the superiority of Serie A.

The former England defender knows all about the special tensions of games between Arsenal and Manchester United. As the teams prepare for tomorrow's FA Cup encounter he talks in detail for the first time about the infamous occasion when he turned on Ruud van Nistelrooy.
"I rang my wife after the game. She's usually very supportive, but she said: "I think you've gone and done it now..."

Bashing Beckham

There must be a hundred and one justifiable reasons for criticizing David Beckham, but accepting an interview with Salma Hayek surely shouldn't be one...
David Beckham wearing thin in Los Angeles

Match of the Week: Manchester United vs. Arsenal

The outstanding tie of the fifth round is Sir Alex Ferguson's 100th as manager of Manchester United.

The top two in the Premier League are also the most successful clubs in FA Cup history; United and Arsenal have won the world's oldest football knockout competition 21 times between them and have appeared in a combined 35 finals. This is the 35th time Ferguson will have come up against his opposite number Arsene Wenger. Of the 34 previous encounters United have won 11, Arsenal 13. Eight of the 10 other games finished level and two were decided on penalty shoot-outs; United won the 2003 Community Shield, and Arsenal the 2005 FA Cup final.Preview

Kevin McCarra on Il Fenomeno's Career

Ronaldo faces end of road after new injury blow.

Going Dutch

An instant hit at PSV Eindhoven, he scored 55 goals in two years, including four in a Uefa Cup tie v MyPa in 1995

The kid with braces in 1994 - BBC Images

England: FA Cup Previews

Holders Chelsea face League One (third division) Huddersfield Town for the second time in the FA Cup in three seasons. They have almost a full squad to chose from after the return of their players from the African Nations Cup and the return to fitness of Frank Lampard, John Terry and Andriy Shevchenko.
Team News

Liverpool vs. Barnsley
Rafael Benitez has a defensive headache after Martin Skrtel was ruled out with a calf injury. The Liverpool manager is still without metatarsal victim Daniel Agger and must decide whether to risk Sami Hyypia with one eye on next week's Champions League clash with Inter Milan. Fernando Torres is fit again after a hamstring injury but is expected to be rested, while Fabio Aurelio and Alvaro Arbeloa are available after recovering from thigh and stomach injuries respectively.

Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Roma's trip to Torino to face Juventus is the big fixture of the weekend...

Galaxy introduced to Camp Gullit

Martin Rogers on the strict physical regimen instituted by Ruud in L.A...

Becks and co. prepare for the the upcoming campaign...

The Real Heartbeat Of Manchester United

In Rooney, Manchester United can point to the source of their inspiration, and the heartbeat of the side. This state of affairs has seen the fiery Liverpudlian play just as big a role as the Red Devils flying winger in shaping United’s results, even though he has scored fewer than of Ronaldo's goals.

"In my day, we played without boots and we kicked around a bundle of socks...and we liked it!"

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

No real mouthwatering stuff in Spain this weekend. Real travel to Seville to face Betis and could go 11 clear at the top. Barcelona face a tricky trip to Zaragoza. It's really about Champions League spots at this point...

Saturday 16 February 2008 (all times local)

20:00 Betis - Real Madrid
20:00 Espanyol - Sevilla
22:00 Zaragoza - Barcelona

Sunday 17 February
17:00 Levante - Osasuna
17:00 Villarreal - Racing
17:00 Almeria - Murcia
17:00 Valladolid - Mallorca
17:00 Recreativo - Deportivo
19:00 Getafe - Valencia
21:00 Atletico Madrid - Athletic

News: Henry struggling to adapt on the wing

UEFA Cup Wrap

Bayern Munich held by Aberdeen, Bolton beat Atletico Madrid, Spurs win...


Thursday, February 14, 2008

Nigel Winterburn Gets Us All Excited for Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Manchester United and Arsenal meet in the FA Cup for the fourth time in a decade on Saturday.

FA Cup fifth round
- Man United vs. Arsenal
Where: Old Trafford
Saturday 16 February

1715 GMT
Replay if required:
Wed 27 February, 1945 GMT

'Expect key battles all over the pitch'

The return of the Argentinian trailblazers

Foreign stars in English football are 10 a penny these days. But when Villa and Ardiles joined Spurs 30 years ago, it wasn't such plain sailing.
Marcela Mora y Araujo reports...

Hey Spurs fans! Buy this shirt here!

Giovanni Trapattoni - All The Facts

* Born March 17, 1939, Cusano, Milan, Italy.

* As an AC Milan player, wins two league titles (1962, 1968), two European Cups (1963, 1969), the Copa Italia (1967), and the European Cup Winners' Cup (1968). Leaves A.C Milan in 1971 for FC Varese before retiring having won 17 caps.

The Rest of Trap's CV

Ronaldo hurt as Milan held by Livorno

More on Ronaldo's injury in a separate post below...

European champions AC Milan missed the chance to go fourth in Serie A when they were held 1-1 at home by Livorno on Wednesday and their disappointment was compounded by a serious-looking injury to Ronaldo.

2007/2008 Italian Serie A
Inter Milan2217055633
AC Milan2210573717

UEFA Cup Wrap

PSV Eindhoven, Bremen, Everton win as UEFA Cup resumes after 2-month break.

Copa Libertadores: River Lose in Lima

Former Argentina captain Diego Simeone watched his new River Plate team lose 2-0 at Peru's Universidad San Martin in his first Libertadores Cup game.

Ranking MLS's Top 20 Players

Martin Rogers takes a stab at ranking the best who ply their trade on American (and Canadian?) soil...

The Top 20

Ronaldo Career Virtually Over

Forgive me, but I was under the impression that his career was virtually over years ago...

Ronaldo was immediately rushed to hospital where tests revealed that he had completely severed the tendon in his left knee.

Howard Content at Goodison

Now in his second season, the 28-year-old New Jersey native is the Toffees' undisputed No. 1 keeper and is tied for fourth in the Premier League clean sheets stakes.

Take away the so-called big four - Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and city rival Liverpool - and he leads the way along with Portsmouth's seemingly ageless David James.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clint's Goal for Ergotelis

This is what things look like at the bottom of the Greek Division. Mathis knocks one home to earn a point for his bottom-of-the-table club...

Giovanni Trapattoni appointed as Republic of Ireland manager

Good news, this. Ireland have gotten themselves a top man who is proven on the international level. And it'll fascinating if Capello and Trap end up squaring off. Let's see how the Irish progress.

Giovanni Trapattoni, the seven-times Serie A winner and former Italy coach, has been confirmed as the new manager of the Republic of Ireland.

"Hah Hah! Here come the Irish!!"

2008 Copa Libertadores - Shaping Up To Be A Classic

Another preview of the South American tournament, this time from Walter Townsend...

Americans on the Continent: Bradley Scores Again, Cletus Plays

Michael Bradley scores yet again and Clint Mathis notches his first tally in Greece...

Josh Wolff, 1860 Munich (2. Bundesliga) vs.
FC Kaiserslautern, A, 1-2 win (83 minutes, 0 goals)
Wolff’s goalless drought continues. He is closing in on a full season without a goal. Luckily, 1860 weren’t in need of his services and were able to take care of Kaiserslautern on the road. Josh was rated at 4.5.

UEFA Cup Midweek Preview: Round of 32

Wednesday 13 February 2008 (CET)
18:00 Zenit - Villarreal
18:45 Galatasaray - Bayer Leverkusen
19:00 AEK Athens - Getafe
20:00 Brann Bergen - Everton
20:30 Werder Bremen - Braga
20:45 Anderlecht - Bordeaux
20:45 Marseille - Spartak Moscow
20:45 PSV Eindhoven - Helsingborg
21:00 Rangers - Panathinaikos
21:45 Sporting Lisbon - Basel

Thursday 14 February
19:00 Aberdeen - Bayern München
20:30 Zürich - Hamburg
20:45 Rosenborg - Fiorentina
21:00 Bolton - Atletico Madrid
21:00 Slavia Prague - Tottenham
21:45 Benfica - Nürnberg

Europe's secondary club competition resumes action tonight and there are still some strong teams involved. Preview

Update: Premier League Wants Global Games

I've been ignoring this story for a while because it's so bloody absurd. But, now that various national associations are offering their opinion, let's catch up on where it stands...

Asian Football Federation: It's not a good idea

Let's wait and see

No thanks

Norman Hubbard:
Global game has delusions of grandeur

David Conn:
Money-making attempts will hurt the Premier League

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Tim Vickery in South America

The BBC's Latin American expert looks ahead to the Copa Libertadores...

Boca versus the Brazilians is a good banner for the Copa Libertadores 2008

Quotes of the Week + Top Chants

"Ghana are finding it difficult to impregnate the Cameroon defence."
Eurosport commentator during the Ghana-Cameroon Africa Cup of Nations semi-final.

"Jim Bullard, Bullard,
He's better than Steve Gerrard,
He's thinner than Frank Lampard,
Jim Bullard, Bullard."
Fulham fans salute Jimmy Bullard

All the Fun

Hahnemann Demands Reading Steel

Reading goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann has urged his team-mates to stand up and fight as they bid to avoid relegation.

Teams of the Week in Spain and Italy

La Liga
Arjen Robben (Real Madrid): A stunning return to action! Los Merengues were supposed to struggle without Ruud van Nistelrooy, and after their defeat last week, but the Dutchman came into the side with nothing short of a miraculous effect. Goals, assists, step-overs, swerving runs, he produced it all for the Bernabeu faithful.

Serie A
Clarence Seedorf (Milan): He came as a substitute in the second half and changed the game in favour of Milan with some shots from the distance and, more importantly, with the precious assist to Paloschi.

U.S. to Play Poland and Spain in Friendly Matches this Spring

It'll be Poland on March 26 and Spain on June 4.

Both games will be on the road...

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

Phil Ball in Spain

Last week's column was based on the fact that I'd seen a whole host of games at the weekend, but arriving back in Spain on Sunday meant a quick catch-up on Saturday night's events and a few clips of the goals from the various summary programmes that proliferate on Spain's main football evening. No problem in coming to some conclusions though, the chief one being Almería's win over Real Madrid last week - the one that had supposedly opened up the league - was a theory found a little wanting, seven days down the line.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Arjen Robben has struggled with injuries all season, but he finally showed Real just what they'd paid €36m for...

Robben rocks the Bernabeu as Valladolid are routed

England: Senderos gives Gunners room at the top

Arsenal 2 - 0 Blackburn
Gunners go five points clear

Premier League Table
February 11, 2008GPPT
Man Utd2658
Aston Villa2644
Man City2644
West Ham2537
This may be a new side but, with echoes of the Invincible team of 2004, it's the same old Arsenal
Forget poignancy, Arsenal prefer to deal in title significance

African Cup of Nations: Stars showcase their skills in Ghana

The African Nations Cup has showcased some of the world's best footballing talent over the past month. The likes of Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Samuel Eto'o are well known across Europe, but there have been some other stars to emerge from Africa's flagship tournament this year. As Egypt retained their trophy, the following players can be safe in the knowledge that they have impressed perhaps enough to earn themselves a big move in the near future.

Brian Brendell (Namibia)
In a Brave Warriors side playing in just their second-ever Cup of Nations, Brendell was an impressive spearhead. He found the net in Namibia's games against Morocco and Guinea and was a constant threat with his elusive running and movement. Indeed, had Brendell been a little more composed in front of goal, he could easily have added to his tally. However, at just 21, he has plenty of time ahead of him to hone his potential. That development is almost certain to come at a bigger club than the one for which he currently plies his trade, FC Civics of the Namibia Premier League.

African Cup of Nations: Plenty of positives amid negative press

Andrew Hush looks back at an exciting tournament that offered a bit of everything...

Monday, February 11, 2008

Harry fears losing Diarra

He's just brought Lassana Diarra to Portsmouth but boss Harry Redknapp has conceded he could face a fight to keep him at Fratton Park
Redknapp's Diarra fear

Can new star Alberto Paloschi cut it?

Eighteen-year-old Alberto Paloschi needed just 18 seconds of his Serie A debut to make his mark for the Rossoneri. But will the club keep faith in youth? Signor Bandini reports.
Can Serie A's latest new kid on the block hang tough with Milan?

Tonight's EPL game

"The team as a whole had a personality and a mental toughness from the beginning of the season" says Arsene Wenger
Wenger backs Arsenal self-belief
Arsenal v Blackburn

Collina unhappy

Top bald Italian ref is sad about the lack of hand shacking and other Euro news
Collina unhappy with Serie A referee

Marseille keep up good form

Marseille continued their run of good form under Gerets, this time with a win against Nice
Marseille end Nice home run with 2-0 win

FA sorry for ban

The FA has apologised for banning women's football for 50 years from 1921
FA apologies for 1921 ban

Werder tie with Bayern

The top of the table clash in Germany didn't disappoint, with two excellent goals, a missed penalty, a dodgy off-side and 1000s of yellow cards
Werder Bremen hold Bayern to 1-1 draw in Munich

Spain: La Liga Reports

Real Madrid banged seven past Valladolid. That, coupled with a draw from the Barcelona/Sevilla contest, means that the title race is all but over.


Fans fight back

The idea is fucked on some many levels it beggers belief. Where do you start? That it's driven by insatiable greed? That it's almost unworkable? That it's outstandingly insulting to other domestic soccer leagues?
Premier League's priorities are all wrong
Supporters threaten boycott of Premier League sponsors
Richard Scudamore reneges on foreign fixtures

Italy: R Mehdi's Serie A Reports

The weekend went fairly true to form as Inter squeezed past a resilient Catania side thanks to another goal that shouldn't have been, Roma dispatched Reggina, Milan beat Siena and Buffon kept Juve in it long enough for Iaquinta to grab the winner against his old team.


England: Premier League Round-Up

The goalkeeper produced a wonderful display to almost singlehandedly keep the home side at bay
James eyes World Cup role and Bolton won't argue
The Brazilian, Afonso Alves, made his debut but Jeremie Aliadiere grabbed the winning goal
Jeremie Aliadiere signs up for samba role
Newcastle Utd thrashed by Martin O'Neill's Aston Villa
Shades of '92 as Newcastle face up to fight for survival
Spurs are entering a crucial period when they will attempt to translate potential into prizes
Time for Tottenham Hotspur to show their bottle
The manager is warming to the thought that his side might yet be involved in the title race
Everton's David Moyes left in two minds
Robert Green may be "England’s No 6", but it is outfield players where national team has problems
Dull, overlong and no one cared for the ending