Friday, January 16, 2009

Amy Lawrence: Henry makes stand in face of Spanish inquisition to prove he is real deal

The explosive return to form of Thierry Henry at Barcelona is a timely reminder to Arsenal fans of the club's failings this season.

Why Nemanja Vidic is my player of the season

It is at this time of the season, just after the league has passed the halfway stage, that you start assessing potential candidates for the player of the season award. Who has been the outstanding performer in the first half of the season? It has caused some scratching of heads because so many of the expected candidates have either underperformed or been sporadic at best.

The Mill + ++

Friday's Rumours



The Guide: what we are looking forward to from this weekend's football

Here are the matches, moments and inevitable bust-ups around Europe that we'll be keeping a close eye on.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview


Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Some good fixtures this weekend as Milan host Fiorentina, Juventus go to Rome to play Lazio and Inter go to Atalanta...


England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

The Merseyside Derby at Anfield on Monday highlights the weekend fixture list. Elsewhere, Bolton host Manchester United, Chelsea go to Stoke, Newcastle face Blackburn at Ewood Park, Manchester City welcome Wigan, Arsenal are at Hull, Villa go to Sunderland, West Brom host Boro, Fulham head over to West Ham and Spurs host Pompey.

Preview 1
Preview 2

Nick Webster's Predictions
Lawro's Predictions

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Name game takes a mundane turn on the streets of Philadelphia

Americans are divided on whether to adopt a zany nickname for Philly's new football club – or simply nick names from Europe.

• Philadelphia Team Compassion

• Philadelphia Laser Rocket Cocks

• Philadelphia Zombie Sharks

• Philadelphia and Hove AlbionMu

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"I had a glass of wine with Alex Ferguson and we spoke for half an hour. I told him how Inter will play against United and he named his 11 players for the game."
The Special One reveals what he and Sir Alex didn't talk about after the Chelsea game.

"We made an offer and it was turned down. We offered Stoke-on-Trent."
Stoke boss Tony Pulis on the 'failed bid' to land Kaka.

"David Beckham is not bigger than the Galaxy."
Former LA manager Alexi Lalas shows off his astronomy skills.

"For those fans travelling on the away supporters' coach, please be advised that it has broken down."
Announcement at Aldershot v Dagenham and Redbridge, followed by loud cheers from the home support.

The Rest

FA Cup: Kinnear puts up more fight than his team as Hull breeze through

A very bad night for Joe Kinnear saw the Newcastle United manager dispatched to the stands once again before Daniel Cousin's late winner dumped his stuttering side out of the FA Cup.

Newcastle United 0 - 1 Hull City

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Italy did not let itself down in welcoming David Beckham to its desolate, cold shores.

All the expected cliches, silliness, frivolous analysis and a badly disguised sense of disdain, oddly coupled with unabated praise, filtered easily from the pages of newspapers and TV shows. However, one can hardly believe the mainstream media's view of a subject coincides with the general public's.

The Mill + ++ +++

Thursday's Rumours




Three Cans Of Beer Cost Barcelona €4,000

Barcelona have been hit with a fine by the Permanent Commission of the State Commission against Violence, Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Sport for allowing three cans into the game against Real Mallorca earlier this month.

Rooney's early exit exposes forward flaws in United

Berbatov and Tevez fail to fire in Rooney's absence as missed chances again threaten to hamper United progress.

EPL Report + Top of the Table

Manchester United closed the gap on Premier League leaders Liverpool to two points - with a game in hand - as they struggled to victory against Wigan.

Manchester United 1-0 Wigan

January 14, 2009 GP PT
Manchester United2044
Aston Villa2141
Wigan Athletic2131
Hull City2127
West Ham United2126

Barcelona Secure Comfortable Aggregate Win Over Atletico

Barcelona recorded a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou to secure a smooth passage to the next round of the Copa Del Rey, 5-2 on aggregate.

FA Cup: Chelsea Outclass Southend... Eventually

Chelsea produced a morale-boosting performance to come back from a goal down at Roots Hall, easing into the Fourth Round of the FA Cup after an entertaining replay against Southend.

Beasley Considers Exit From Rangers

Beasley, who moved to Ibrox in the summer of 2007, has been used sparingly this season as several players have competed for a place on the left side of midfield.

Norman Hubbard on what's gone wrong at Chelsea

His appointment was supposed to signal a change of direction, but his team appear to have found reverse gear. He was brought in to transform Chelsea, to win the worldwide battle for hearts and minds as well as football matches; instead, the fundamental difference could be that, for the first time in five seasons, the title race is concluded without the Blues in the top two and possibly even the podium positions.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Europe Eyes Portuguese Production Line

When Cristiano Ronaldo first arrived at Manchester United in 2003, you could have been forgiven for thinking that a Portuguese player would not cut it in the Premier League. The precedents of Helder Postiga, Hugo Viana and Abel Xavier had not been great, but after taking time to settle, the newly crowned FIFA World Player of the Year has changed the perception of Portuguese players across Europe.

The forgotten story of ... the 1993-94 FA Cup

1993 - 1994:
There were giantkillings galore in one of the greatest Cup seasons of the modern era.

The Mill + ++ +++

Wednesday's Rumours




Ben Lyttleton in France

Gourcuff's reveals his brilliance for Bordeaux is Zizou-inspired.

Yoann Gourcuff is living up to his billing as the 'new Zidane'

Hotter than Zidane??

Italy, England, Spain: Cup Action

Inter beat 10-man Genoa in Italian Cup

FA Cup holders Portsmouth avoid upset + other results
FA Cup Replay: Southend shock could see off Scolari
Big Phil Drops Drogba

Copa del Rey Preview: Barcelona vs. Atletico Madrid

Manchester City 'make world record bid for Kaka'

Manchester City have offered AC Milan a world record 100 million pounds (150 million dollars, 110 million euros) in cash in a bid to land former World Player of the Year Kaka, newspaper reports here said Wednesday.

A four-man delegation led by chief executive Garry Cook met top officials at Milan's headquarters Tuesday, where they offered to make the Brazilian player the highest paid in the world on 15 million pounds a year after tax, the Daily Mail and the Sun tabloids reported.

UPDATE: He's refused the offer, or rather his agent Jesus refused it on his behalf...

EPL Preview: Manchester United – Wigan Athletic

Barclays Premier League
Who: Manchester United (3rd, 41pts) v Wigan Athletic (7th, 31pts)
When: Wednesday 14 January, 2009, Kick-off: 20:00
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester


Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

A week ago, there was an irate reader's letter in the Monday edition of Kicker magazine that scolded the publication for naming Franck Ribéry its Man of the Year. The logical choice, said the letter, would have been Ralf Rangnick.

Well, I concur with that.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

England: News

Maradona urges Tevez to quit United and Join Inter Milan

Henry Winter:
Is this the greatest Premier League season ever?

Did Bendtner leak Arsenal's lineup to a Bolton player?

Fergie fury at "Arsenal Fan" ruling on Evra ban

Turmoil at Chelsea

Kevin McCarra:
Chelsea squad needs a makeover

Eleven charged over Sol Campbell abuse

Football's Top 50 Rising Stars

25. Andre-Pierre Gignac (Toulouse)

Premier League clubs are tracking the progress of the tall forward, who is enjoying a breakthrough season: top scorer in Ligue 1 before the winter break with 12 goals in 19 games.

The Rest

The Mill + ++ +++

Tuesday's Rumours




Paolo Bandini in Italy

Carlo Ancelotti surprised everyone by giving David Beckham his first Serie A start, but it was Alexandre Pato who saved Milan.

Pato outshines old-timers as Beckham makes surprise bow.

Americans in the UK: Cold Weather Blues

Jay DeMerit, Watford

DeMerit was a part of some dreadful defending on Friday as Reading ran circles around Watford en route to a 4-0 win. Noel Hunt and Kevin Doyle scored two goals within two minutes midway through the second half, extending Reading’s lead to 3-0. Leroy Lita capped off the scoring with a late dagger.

The Rest

Sid Lowe in Spain

Sevilla's manager has the subtlety of a sledgehammer but is not flattening rivals.

Does Jiménez have the cojones for management?

Kaka's Top Five Goals Of 2008

As part of's series on the five FIFA World Player of the Year Nominees, we look at Kaka's top five goals of the year 2008 and invite you to vote for the best one!

Hexagonal Preview: United States

In our final preview of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, examines group favorite, the United States.

Lionel Messi's Top Five Goals Of 2008

As part of's series on the five FIFA World Player of the Year Nominees, we look at Lionel Messi's top five goals of the year 2008 and invite you to vote for the best one!

Szetela Enjoying Life at Brescia

For someone who's barely the drinking age, Danny Szetela is considerably well-traveled. He endured a three-year stint with Major League Soccer's Columbus Crew and played in the U-17 World Cup in Finland; the U-20 World Cup in Canada; and last summer's Olympics in Beijing, where he was enthusiastically cheered by many in the Szetela clan. His club career in Europe has seen the competitive midfielder move on loan from the coastal city of Santander in northern Spain, near the French border, to Brescia in northern Italy, a stone's throw from the chic -- and storied soccer history -- of Milan.

The sojourns don't make it easier to leave home, though.

Cristiano Ronaldo's Top Five Goals Of 2008

As part of's series on the five FIFA World Player of the Year Nominees, we look at Cristiano Ronaldo's top five goals of the year 2008 and invite you to vote for the best one!

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

Spain customarily devotes the first week of January to prepare for Wise Men night. In spite of Santa Claus' fierce, almost ruthless competition, most of us Spaniards still hold on to the original tradition of delivering our presents on the night of the 5th when the Wise Men visit each house. As far as we know, all trustworthy reports state that the Three Wise Men were present in Bethlehem to hand their gifts, so they deserve their credit, while that jovial, white-bearded chap was nowhere to be seen at the time.

Indeed the Wise Men arrived and brought us a brilliant football week and the biggest snow storm I can remember in Madrid.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Maradona's Havana of God

SOCCER legend Diego Maradona sparked a fire scare which gave Chelsea players a rude awakening yesterday — with a giant CIGAR.

The Mill + ++

Monday's Rumours



Politics in sport? Been there, done it, got fined for the T-shirt

On Wednesday, Frédéric Kanouté, the Seville striker, while celebrating a goal against Deportivo La Coruña, lifted his jersey to reveal a T-shirt that read “Palestine”. Note, it didn’t read “May my Palestinian brothers drive the Israelis into the sea” or “Hamas: More Rockets Please” or even just “Free Palestine”. Simply “Palestine”.

Fulham and Portsmouth may face Premier League sanctions over postponements

• Cancellation at Craven Cottage two hours before kick-off
• Portsmouth said frost too deep for their blow heaters

Richard Williams Column

The winger irradiated a spirit of invention that would have done credit to any of football's famous free spirits.

Ronaldo trickery leaves boys in blue looking like a mangled wreck.

Calcio Debate: Serie A - Poor And Desperate?

Why is it that Serie A clubs are suffering in the transfer market this season, and why is youth finding it so difficult to flourish in the Italian top-flight?

Italy: Serie A Reports


Beckham plays, does just fine in draw with Roma...

Spain: La Liga Weekend Roundups



More Messi heroics...

England: Premier League Wrap & Table

Rafa rants, Scolari scowls, Wenger whines, Fergie flies...


Team GP W D L Pts
1. 21 13 7 1 46
2. 21 12 6 3 42
3. 19 12 5 2 41
4. 21 12 5 4 41
5. 21 11 5 5 38
6. 21 10 5 6 35
7. 20 9 4 7 31
8. 21 7 6 8 27
9. 19 6 8 5 26
10. 21 7 5 9 26
11. 21 5 8 8 23
12. 21 7 2 12 23
13. 21 6 5 10 23
14. 20 6 5 9 23
15. 20 6 4 10 22
16. 21 5 6 10 21
17. 21 5 6 10 21
18. 21 5 5 11 20
19. 20 4 6 10 18
20. 21 5 3 13 18

The Insider at Emirates Stadium

Arsenal 1 - 0 Bolton
Bendtner's late show rescues Arsenal.

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford


Scolari must face up to another failure