Friday, August 15, 2008

Sanford's Soccer Net EPL Review Part Two

Here's 10th to 1st in SSN's preview of the the new EPL season. It even comes with a new added feature [also added retrospectively to yesterday's list]: 'Team Dickhead', just in case you were looking for one person to boo in every team. I was going to name the title 'Team Wanker', but for obvious reason went with 'dickhead' instead.

10th: Newcastle
It could be a dreadful season for the Geordie faithful. By which I mean on paper
Newcastle seems destined for mid-table mediocrity. How dull. What would satisfy fans of many other clubs would just bore the Toon army. That said, we are talking about Newcastle here, so the possibility of drama can't be that far around the corner. Keegan looks increasingly bemused [even by his standards], not to mention isolated, so the melodramatic walk-out is always a possibility. The Chairman, Mike Ashley, seems about as comfortable in the football world as Paris Hilton in a thrift store, so he could sell the club at any moment. And of course, in standard Newcastle tradition, the millions they've shelled out on a new central defender, in this case Coloccini, may turn out to have been better spent on a 51 yr old non-league player with a wooden leg. And if things get really dull there's always Joey Barton to liven things up by hitting someone [if we're lucky it might be Denis Wise].
Key player: Little Micky Owen
Player to watch: Barton [everyone likes to gawp at accidents as they drive by]
Young player to watch: LuaLua
Team Dickhead: Who else?

9th: Man City
Mark Hughes and Ronaldinho sounded like a marriage made in hell. So perhaps Ronnie's huge disappointment at missing out on his first choice, and having to settle for dreary old Milan, might be a blessing disguise. Who knows how the Citizens will do under Hughes? He's proven his ability as a manager but done so with functional players working in a functional system. Man City have far more flair players, and Man City fans demand flair from their team, so Hughes may need to change his MO. Convincing Dunne to stay means they'll have a solid defense, so Sparky has the perfect base to prove he can produce teams that entertain as well as just get results. The one big surprise is the whole Thaksin Shinawatra drama - who could have possibly seen that coming?
Key Player: Dunne
Player to watch: Shinawatra
Young player to watch: Jo
Team Dickhead: Shinawatra. Ireland is also a bit of a knob, but its hardly the Amnesty International level like his boss.

8. Everton.
You could read about Everton having won 8-0 and you still wouldn't get excited about seeing the highlights. There's not much to write about them except that they're a really solid outfit, have a really solid manager, have really solid fans and more than likely will have a really solid season. The one thing that would pep them up is a new signing, but that's the one thing they've not done. The one thing that might bring them down is the problems surrounding their new ground. But they're too solid to be upset by that.
Key Player: Cahill
Player to watch: Arteta
Young players to watch: Jack Rodwell and Joe Baxter
Team Dickhead: van der Meyde

7th: Portsmouth.
Harry could have a tough job on his hands at Pompey. After last season's success what would have been considered a good season in the past may now seem a bit disappointing. But a good run in Europe would easily be offset any dip in league form, and unlike Megson at Bolton, you'd expect Redknapp to take Portsmouth's Eufa Cup bid seriously. Hopefully any success in the Eufa, with its crazy draining format, wont over-stretch Pompey's squad. On the positive side Redknapp has done well in keeping hold of Diarra and Krankjer, and bringing in Crouch could result in an effective little and large combo with Defoe. On the negative, he's lost Muntari [though got good money for him], and still not brought in someone who offers genuine width. Sol Campbell's age would only be of slight concern were it not for the fact his back-up is Younes Kaboul, a walking disaster last season for Spurs. All told you'd have to expect Pompey to have another good season .
Key players: Diarra/James
Player to watch: Krankjar
Young player to watch: Sahar [on loan from Chelsea]
Team Dickhead: Defoe

6th: Tottenham.
At the beginning of the summer everything seemed to be moving forward swimmingly for Spurs. Okay they looked set to loose Berbatov, but they'd bought in two talented youngsters, Modric and dos Santos, and had sorted out their keeper problem. What's more they'd lined up Bentley from Blackburn. But then out of left-field Liverpool came in and snatched Keane. Now, even though the Bentley transfer has gone through, with Berba still set to leave, almost the whole front line needs rebuilding. No mean feat, even for a top manager like Ramos. He must be praying Darren Bent's fantastic pre-season form doesn't dry up. There must also be some concern at centre back. King and Woodgate are fine players but must be on first name speaking terms with half the doctors in London. It seems strange that Ramos hasn't brought in a back up. That said, it's obvious Ramos is building something of substance at Tottenham, and it could just be a question of time until Spurs start challenging the top 4.
Key Player: The Spurs physio
Player to watch: Modric
Young player to watch: Bostock
Team Dickhead: Every team requires a dickhead so Ramos has covered the chance of sulky Berba leaving by bringing in loud-mouthed Bentley

5th: Aston Villa
Watching Villa last season was great. Young, home-grown players centred around a midfield fulcrum, producing fast, attacking, entertaining soccer. When it worked it worked wonderfully and when the wheels came off the crash was a bit of a pile-up, and as a result they were almost always entertaining. Unfortunately, that fulcrum, Gareth Barry, might leave. Yes, they've brought in Steve Sidwell, but that's like bringing in Bob the friendly neighbourhood handyman to continue painting the Sistine Chapel. At the back they will also miss Mellberg, but here the replacement, Carlos Cuellar from Rangers, seems more substantial. Okay, being named Scottish player of the year has the air of a backhanded compliment, but by most accounts he's actually pretty good. Martin O'Neill has also done a great piece of business in landing Brad Friedel and understudy Guzan, meaning the Chairman will have a couple of people around who speak his own language. Players like Young, Davies and Abonglahor should continue to improve under O'Neill, but so much seems to hang on Liverpool's move for Barry.
Key Player: Gareth Barry, regardless of whether he stays
Player to watch: Young
Young player to watch: Young
Team Dickhead : Villa let the league down by having no outright dickhead, but they certainly have a wanker

4th: Arsenal.
The Gunners provide the most pleasing football on the planet but for me they have 3 main weaknesses. First: a lack of goals from midfield, once a massive strength. In this respect the loss of Hleb shouldn't be too great; he brought people into play but never scored. With luck Theo will finally come out of his shell [and keep Eboué on the bench] and Nasri will live up to his reputation. But Pires and Ljungberg they ain't. Last season I was surprised Wenger didn't buy Ribery, this season I'm surprised he's not gone for David Silva, a bit of a Pires clone. Second weakness: they still haven't replaced Vieria, more in terms of personality than anything else. Perhaps Wenger had hoped Touré and Gallas would fill this role. Instead, every time a lead was taken in crunch games last season the duo lost control of their senses like a couple of housewives at a Tom Jones concert. Third weakness: they need a back-up at central defense because Senderos certainly isn't good enough.
So why haven't these areas been strengthened? It seems like every year Arsenal fans say the same thing, and with justification: 'If we just went out and bought two really top quality players we'd beat everyone'. Either the Gunners really don't have any money and the claims of 'Arsene has £70 mil to spend' were bollocks, or simply the older Wenger gets the more utopian he becomes. Slowly it seems like he's possessed by proving to the world he can win everything with kids. And having watched a couple of pre-season games, and seen players such as Vela and Wilshere, it's easy to see why he puts such faith in them. What's more, Spain won Euro 2008 with a team of small, technically gifted players, playing with style. But the point is, they did so with two players of real experience and steal: Pujol and Senna. Exactly the type of players Arsenal lack.
I'd love Wenger to prove me wrong and win the EPL, not least because were Arsenal to have a poor season it could be Fabregas who's looking to leave next summer.
Key Player: Fabregas
Player to watch: Fabregas
Old Player to watch: Gallas
Team Dickhead: Now that Mad Jens has gone there's no out and out dickhead, though plenty of wankers on their day [van Persie, Eboué, Bendtner]

3rd: Liverpool
A five yr old Aborigine with no interest in soccer could tell you the Red's weakness last season was down the flanks. Considering this, Rafa's buying policy is a touch baffling. Getting Robbie Keane makes a degree of sense as it's easy to see he and Torres forming a good partnership. But it's still £20mil that could have been spent elsewhere. But £18 mil for Gareth Barry makes no sense at all. What's the difference between him and Alonso, other than Alonso has just won Euro 2008? There's no doubting Barry's quality, but couldn't the money be better used? At the back Benitez has brought in Dossena, but their full backs hardly match up to Arsenal's, ManU's or Chelsea's. For width up front they'll be relying on Kuyt, Babel and Pennant, who aren't going to win you the EPL. Barry can play left, but it's moving in field that's seen an increase in his value. I'm just a bit surprised that Benitez, like Wenger, hasn't gone for someone like David Silva, who has real quality and would solve Pool's lack of width in a stroke. At least he seems to have ended his policy of buying 3 or 4 mediocre players every summer, each costing around £4 mil, and each one being crap [Voronin, Pennant, etc]. Instead he seems to have gone the Arsenal route and decided to give youth a chance with the likes of Ngog and Plessis.
Liverpool will always be strong at the back [even more so with the return of Aggar], and down the middle, but something is still missing. Creativity, perhaps? No EPL then, but maybe one of the cups.
Key Player: Gerrard
Player to watch: Torres
Young players to watch: Plessis and Nemeth
Team Dickhead: Pennant

2nd: Manchester United.
If ManU had had a calm summer they'd be heavy favourites to retain the title. Okay, they've managed to keep the shackles on the slave Ronaldo, but they've lost Fergie's number two. Quieroz slowly seemed to be taking responsibility for everything, including running training, translating and the minor matter of tactics - he could well be sorely missed. Moreover, if ManU had any weaknesses last season it was their lack of a quality right back and a target man up front. Fergie seems to think Old Man Neville's return will solve the former, which is at best questionable. Berbatov seems the perfect solution up front, but insulting Daniel Levy could have scuppered that one. But they'll probably get their man. Obviously they'll remain a really strong outfit, capable of beating anyone, but they'll need to show in the opening months that they can manage without Ronaldo. If not, Chelsea could be beyond catching.
Key Player: Spartacus
Player to watch: Berbatov?
Young player to watch: Anderson
Team Dickhead: Jonny Evans

1st: Chelsea.
Last season Chelsea, despite having replaced The Special One with Mr Personality Bypass, came through to have a strong season. Unfortunately for their fans they came 2nd, at everything. Now with a manager of proven quality, some good signings [Boswinga should fix their glaring right back weakness, and Deco could be the signing of the summer], they look even stronger. Their one problem could be keeping everyone happy, especially in midfield now that Lampard is staying. Having coached Brazil, Scolari should have some experience in dealing with this problem. That said, it's not hard to imagine his most fluent sentence in English becoming 'No, really, playing in the Carling Cup is worth something, honest'. Above all, let's pray he gets his team playing more entertaining soccer; last season's main tactic appeared to be based around boring the opposition into defeat. The multiple second places of last season should provide strong motivation this time round. Champions for me.
Key Player: Terry
Player to watch: Deco
Young player to watch: Are there any young players at Chelsea?
Team Dickhead: Ashley Cole

England: Premier League Weekend Previews

Playing on Saturday
Arsenal v West Bromwich Albion
Bolton Wanderers v Stoke City
Everton v Blackburn Rovers
Hull City v Fulham
Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur
West Ham United v Wigan Athletic
Sunderland v Liverpool

Playing on Sunday
Chelsea v Portsmouth
Aston Villa v Manchester City
Manchester United v Newcastle United

Top teams still hiring as Premier League opens

Team News

Nick Webster's Previews

Lawro's Previews

More Team News's Previews

Americans in England Preview: The Premier League

In the second of a two-part series,'s Matthew Braine previews the season ahead for the Americans plying their trade in the best and most exciting league in the world: the English Premier League.

EPL Season Previews: West Brom, West Ham & Wigan

The Baggies play some pretty football, but that probably won't be enough to save them.
West Bromwich Albion

Boasting a host of talented but injury-prone and capricious attacking players, the only thing predictable about the Hammers is their unpredictability.
West Ham

Despite a lack of squad depth, a comfortable campaign ambling around mid-table is a realistic aim for Steve Bruce's side.
Wigan Athletic

The Mill(s) + ++

Friday's Rumours



UEFA Cup: FH Hafnarfjordur 1 Aston Villa 4

As large clouds enveloped the tops of the nearby mountains here last night, the future of Gareth Barry with Aston Villa at last became a lot clearer. Barring a last-minute change of heart, it would appear that he is staying with the club he has served for the past ten years. The projected £18million deal with Liverpool seems dead.

Gareth Barry hammers final nail into transfer saga

UEFA Cup: Manchester City 0 FC Midtjylland 1

If Mark Hughes was already fretting about the size of the task he has taken on at Manchester City, this embarrassing result left him grimacing as jeers filled the stadium at the final whistle.

Mark Hughes wearing haunted look after nightmare

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

The Bundesliga is set to kick off amid a destabilising dispute over television rights.

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

There has been a lot of talk about one of the newly-promoted teams that will grace the season soon to kick off, Hoffenheim. Maybe too much talk. (Wink, wink.) So let's talk about one of the other two. Because what has happened in the past ten years or so in Cologne is really an amazing success story. I don't mean the footballing side of it all, as that's rather been a roller coaster ride. I mean what has happened off the pitch.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Friday 15th August
Bayern Munich – Hamburg

Saturday 16th August
Schalke 04 - Hannover
Wolfsburg – 1.FC Köln
Bayer Leverkusen – Bor. Dortmund
Karlsruhe – VfL Bochum
Energie Cottbus – 1899 Hoffenheim
Arminia Bielefeld – Werder Bremen

Sunday 17th August
Eintracht Frankfurt – Hertha Berlin
Borussia Mönchengladbach – Stuttgart
Match Previews

General Preview

Shaka Hislop: Galaxy departures leave flagship team rudderless

Are Ruud Gullit's 'family reasons' for leaving the LA Galaxy for real, and was his brief tenure a success or a failure?

L.A. Head Honcho Confirms Interest In Arena

AEG head honcho Tim Leiweke admits Los Angeles would love to hire former U.S. national team coach Bruce Arena.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sanford's Soccer Net EPL Review Part One

At the beginning of every new EPL season the newspapers are full of team previews. But they suck. All of them. Mine also sucks, but hey, at least it has the authentic Sanford's Soccer Net seal of mediocrity running through it [not to mention poor selling, bad grammar, etc]. I've listed the teams in the positions in which I think they'll end the season: 20th - 11th today, 10th - 1st tomorrow. Lawro's far more professional preview can be found here.

20th: Hull
It's inconceivable that any team could be as woeful as Derby were last season, right? But unbelievably there are two teams this term that could maybe emulate them, Hull and Stoke. In fact one of the players brought in by Hull for their first time at the top table is Craig Fagan, a player who spent much of last season bench-warming at Derby. That, and the fact his strike partner will be the 176yr old pensioner Dean Windass, about sums everything up for the Tigers. Geovanni is an interesting signing, but unfortunately manager Phil Brown has failed to renew Frazier Campbell's loan from Man U. You have to think most of the entertainment at Hull this season will come from Windass - but probably for all the wrong reasons.
Key player: Myhill
Player to watch: Geovanni
Young player to watch: Windass
Team Dickhead: Brown [he's actually probably a nice guy, but his tenure at Derby was personally painful]

19th: Stoke
Stoke have at least signed a couple of players people may have heard of in Sorensen and Kitson, but they're hardly players certain to stop a team going down. Even worse, the Potters play the worst football imaginable - meathead manager Pulis seems to have two elements to his style of play: 1. kick the ball as high as possible and 2. kick the ball as long as possible. Only winger Liam Lawrence provides any real source of creativity. Stoke versus Bolton does not promise to be the highlight of the season. It's doubtful either Hull or Stoke will fall as far as the Rams, but they'll surely both fall back into Division One.
Key player: Lawrence
Player to watch: Kitson
Young player to watch: Shawcross
Team Dickhead: Pulis [Bristol City fans listed him as their most unpopular manager of all time and he was sacked for gross misconduct at Gillingham]

18th: West Brom
Unlike the other two promoted teams the Baggies at least have a whiff of quality about them. This comes mainly through their manager, Tony Mowbray. Despite being the most dour man ever in the history of mankind, his team certainly tries to play attractive football. With luck they'll continue to do so in the Prem and maybe do a Reading and stay up. But their lack of player quality means you wouldn't put money on it. What's more, for some mad reason they've sold their top scorer to Birmingham and their best flair player to Fulham. Who've they've brought in for the tough world of EPL soccer? Scott Carson and Abdoulaye Miete, that's who. Two signings which make you think they're already planning for life after relegation. It's hard not to see the three promoted sides going straight back down.
Key player: Carson
Player to watch: Brunt
Young player to watch: Worrall
Team Dickhead: Greening, so many people dislike him, I don't know why. Maybe its the Robbie Savage style hair.

17th: Wigan
There's very little to write about Wigan. Their best piece of business over the summer seems to be in holding on to Palacios and Valencia. Apart from Kirtland the rest of the team looks pretty sub-standard, which speaks highly of Steve Bruce's skills in keeping them up last term. Kapo is a pretty good buy and according to the manager new signing Zaki is the world's best [whatever you say Brucie]. What's certain is that Wigan need a good start to their campaign, otherwise a relegation battle looms. In fact, it probably looms regardless. Expect plenty mad Steve Bruce style buying during the mid-season transfer window. It has to be said if they do go down they wont be missed. Brazil could be their opponents with Salma Hayek doing a striptease before kick-off and Springsteen as half time entertainment and the ground would still remain half empty. I'd gladly see their place go to a team whose fans would appreciate EPL football like Wolves, Derby or Forest.
Key player: Kirtland
Player to watch: Palacios
Young players to watch: Zaki
Team Dickhead: King

16th: Bolton
It's tough to write about Bolton because I really don't like them. Any team that bores the hell out of everyone, but finally gives their fans a bit of joy with a European campaign only to field a 'b' team deserves fuck all. I'd like to see Bolton relegated, but more than likely they'll bore their way to a couple of spots above the relegation zone. They've made two questionable signings: £11 million for a guy from Toulouse, Johan Elmander, who sucked at the Euros [though playing out of position] and Mustapha Riga. Riga interestingly bought a $100,000 Hummer in the midst of a wage battle with his old club Levante, while claiming he wasn't earning enough to pay his rent, so he seems a man of real class. Allegedly he plays with a bit of flair, so expect Megson to have stamped that out by of him by Xmas.
Key player: Nolan
Player to watch: Riga
Young player to watch: Tope Obadeyi
Team Dickhead: Megson

15th: Blackburn
There's good news and bad news here. The good news for football is that an EPL team has signed a black manager. The good news for Blackburn fans is the manager they've signed looks to be pretty good: instead of doing it the easy way like others ex-players he's earned his stripes through lower league success. And the good news for Paul Ince is that he's got a job in the top league his apparent talent deserves. But here's the bad news: just as all those pieces of good news were falling into place Blackburn started selling their best players: Bentley to Spurs and Friedel to Villa. And they haven't even got that much money from the trades as a fair share of the Bentley fee has gone to Arsenal. If Santa Cruz goes they could be well and truly fucked. Okay Ince has brought in Robbie Fowler, but he'll probably prove more useful in finding accommodation for his team mates rather than finding the back of the net. Ince needs Samba to reproduce last season's form, Gamst Pedersen and McCarthy to start playing like they did two seasons ago, and for his only real signing, Carlos Villanueva, to show that being Chilean player of the year actually means something.
Key player: Rocky
Player to watch: Villanueva
Young player to watch: Treacy
Team Dickhead: Fowler [especially if you're late on the rent and he's called the bailiffs in]

14th: Sunderland
Roy Keane's management policy seems to run a little like this: buy a group of mediocre players and shout them into a team. If this doesn't work buy another group of mediocre players and try again. And this seems to be case this term, too. Malbranque, Chimbonda, and Tainio weren't deemed good enough for Spurs, so Keane, pouncing like tiger, fought off the multitude of other managers lining up to buy such average players, and spent millions on them. What's more, if the Sunderland's physio is really lucky Keane will also pay over the odds for Louis Saha. In fairness, if Saha stays fit, Jones returns from injury and Diuof decides he wants to play football [Diuof and Keane - not much of a combustible situation there], Sunderland could have a half-decent forward line. But the rest of the team just seems drenched in mediocrity. So expect a lot of ranting and raving from Keane throughout the season.
Key player: Jones
Player to watch: Jones
Young players to watch: Waghorn
Team Dickheads: Diouff and Keane [surely there can be only one winner,though Diuof is pretty good at spitting]

13th: Fulham
It would be nice to see Fulham do well under Roy Hodgson, a manager who's always encouraged passing football. Everyone's favourite player, Jimmy Bullard, seems to be both fit and staying, which is a big plus, but Brian McBride's move back to Chi Town will be a loss, especially as his replacement is Bobby Zamora. Signing Johnson looks a good move, especially as he seems like someone that thrives on playing week in, week out. As does bringing in Zoltan Gera and Mark Schwartzer. Ultimately everything could depend on what Hogson gets out of evergreen Danny Murphy and unknowns Hangeland, Stoor and Kallio. Above all they're unlike to be a dull outfit, so let's hope they do well.
Key Player: Bullard
Player to watch: Johnson
Young player to watch: I've no idea [sorry]
Team Dickhead: Davies

12th: Middlesbrough
Boro never seem to pull in a decent crowd, and when you consider the multitude of other attractions the town must have to offer, that can't be a good sign. This is what will happen this season at the Riverside. They'll finish mid table. They'll have some great results against some of the top teams. They'll loose some games heavily against some of the crap teams. Everyone will praise them for having the league's best chairman. Everyone will praise their youth set up, which constantly produces good players without ever really producing anyone of exceptional quality. One game Gareth Southgate will look like a young, quality professional who knows what he's doing, the next like Bozo the clown. For Southgate you could substitute Afonso Alves, Tuncay Sanli, Stewart Downing and most of the Boro team. Apart from the keeper, because they don't seem to have one at present.
Key player: Alves
Player to watch: Digard
Young player to watch: Walker
Team Dickhead: Mido [unless you're the local McDonalds owner]

11th: West Ham
Everything at the Irons looks a bit messy. It's as if one board member suggested using Portsmouth as a template but was out voted in favour of using Newcastle instead. One minute they're being relegated, then they're staying up, they're in a player registration affair, they're spending crazy money on mediocre talent, they're strapped for cash, they love Alan Curbishley, they hate Curbishley. What the hell is going on? Not only are things being run a'la Newcastle they have plenty of ex-NU players: Dyer, who's always injured, Bowyer, who's always a thug and Bellamy, who's a bit of both [this summer he hit a charity worker - classy]. But they do have some real quality in the team with Green, Ashton and Parker. Added to which the promising Faubert is back fit. But for me they lack direction under Curbishly, who could be the first manager to get the chop.
Key player: Parker
Players to watch: Ashton and Faubert
Young player to watch: Sears
Team Dickhead: Bellamy and Bowyer will battle it out over the season for the title

The Mill + ++

Thursday's Rumours



EPL Season Previews: Sunderland & Tottenham

Seventh from bottom, or perhaps eighth, is unlikely to satisfy all the ambitions on Wearside for now. But it's probably where they'll end up.

Spurs are blessed with a plethora of attacking talent, and if they can keep their defenders injury-free, they could be unlikely title contenders.

Lampard signs new contract to become league's top earner

The England midfielder will earn close to £140,000 a week, some £9,000 more than the previous top earner, his club-mate John Terry, who extended his stay at Stamford Bridge last year. It is believed Lampard's wages will drop slightly in the final 12 months of his deal, though, a compromise he accepted in return for such a lengthy contract.

College fund no longer an issue...

Champions League Reports

Standard Liege 0 - 0 Liverpool

Reina saves blushes

FC Twente 0 - 2 Arsenal
Not pretty, but Arsenal get the job done

Barcelona 4 - 0 Wisla Krakow

Stroll in the Camp for Barca

All The Scores

Goal.commentary: US Coach To Blame For Lack Of Discipline

The United States Olympic team had a golden opportunity to surprise the world and advance from tough group.’s Noah Davis breaks down what went wrong.

Keller Set To Sign With Seattle On Thursday

The former US international goalkeeper is returning to his hometown to join Major League Soccer's newest club.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

The Mill + ++

Wednesday's Rumours



Why Wenger and Benítez no longer pose a threat to top two

Kevin McCarra:

Neither Arsenal or Liverpool have the strength in depth to challenge for the title

Spanish Debate: Can Villarreal Fight On Both Fronts?

Villarreal managed a second-place finish in the Liga last season, but can they go one better this time around while also competing in the Champions League?

Paul Macdonald investigates...

EPL Season Preview: Stoke City

While most will have sympathy for the predicament the league's skewed economy has put them in, few will have sympathy for Stoke's style of play.

Stoke City

Champions League Third Qualifying Round, First Legs

FC Barcelona v Wisla Krakow

When: 21:45 CET - Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona

Standard Liege v Liverpool

When: Wednesday, August 13 (2105 CET)
Where: Stade Maurice Dufrasne, Liège

Juventus v Artmedia Petržalka, (Slovakia)

When: Wednesday, August 13, 20:45 CET
Where: Stadio Olimpico, Turin

FC Twente v Arsenal
When: Wednesday 13 August, Kick-off 19:45
Where: Gelredome, Arnhem

Everything Else

The Premier League Managers - Part One

The Premier League season kicks off at the weekend with every club hoping for a decent campaign but everyone knowing that for some, hard times await. The managers have spent the summer doing their best to assemble the squads they feel can help them reach the objectives they have set. But they all know that if it goes pear-shaped, they will be the ones left carrying the can.

Graham Lister takes a looks at the managers, in alphabetical order, in the first of a two-part article…

Nigeria 2-1 U.S.: Obinna Winner Dooms U.S.

You just knew something like this would happen after our kids surrendered the last-minute goal against the Dutch. It's a shame because there was some real potential in this squad.


Americans in England Preview: The Championship

In the first of a two part series,'s Matthew Braine previews the season ahead for the Americans plying their trade in the Championship, England's second division.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008