Friday, February 20, 2009

Look Alikes of the Week: Carlos Tevez & Anthony Keidis

Former junkie. Current pop star.

Former Hammer. Current benchwarmer.

Top Ten Hardest-Working Players

Who has been clocking up the hours in the Premier League this season? One or two names may surprise you, but others can always be relied upon.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Real Madrid's former Spurs coach Juande Ramos has been a revelation since joining the club, and is ready for Liverpool.

Ramos reminds the world of his class.

The Joy of Six: Great assists

From Redondo's twirl against Manchester United to Maradona's run and eye-of-a-needle pass to Caniggia, here are half a dozen classic footballing assists.

Cristiano Ronaldo facing £20,000 bill for Ferrari crash

The Portuguese star wrote off the £200,000 car as it hit both walls of the tunnel that goes under Manchester Airport. Now airport authorities have written to Manchester United winger Ronaldo via his insurers asking him to pay for repairs to damaged brickwork, buckled railings and a smashed exit door.

Brazilian goal celebration leads to a pitch brawl and seven red cards (video)

Seven players were sent off after a ferocious brawl sparked by a goal celebration in a Brazilian match.

The hilarious thing is that only seven were sent off...

Jimmy Bullard worth every penny, says Hull chairman

Hull City chairman Paul Duffen has defended the club's decision to invest a club record £5million on injury-jinxed Jimmy Bullard.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

The Barcelona Derby dominates the headlines this weekend...


England: Premier League Previews and Predictions

Villa's trip to Stamford Bridge tomorrow is the big match of the weekend. Elsewhere, leaders United host Blackburn, Liverpool welcome a wobbly Manchester City, Arsenal host Sunderland, West Ham travel to Bolton, Wigan go to Boro, Stoke host Pompey, Fulham welcome West Brom and Everton take a tricky trip to Newcastle. On Monday Spurs are at Hull.

Preview One
Preview Two
Preview Three
Lawro's Predictions

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Last weekend’s results saw Hertha Berlin claim top spot after their impressive home win over Bayern Munich - and Hoffenheim’s loss to Bayer Leverkusen. Four points now separate the top five so it promises to be a great weekend. previews all the action…

Friday 20 February (all times local)
20:30 Schalke 04 – Borussia Dortmund

Saturday 21 February
15:30 Energie Cottbus – Werder Bremen
15:30 Bayern Munich – 1.FC Koeln
15:30 VfB Stuttgart – 1899 Hoffenheim
15:30 Borussia Moenchengladbach – Hannover 96
15:30 Karlsruher SC – Eintracht Frankfurt
15:30 Arminia Bielefeld – VfL Bochum
15:30 VfL Wolfsburg – Hertha Berlin

Sunday 22 February
17:00 Bayer Leverkusen – Hamburger SV

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

No real tasty fixtures this week as leaders Inter head down to Bologna, Fiorentina host Chievo, Milan host Cagliari, Juventus go all the way south to Palermo and Roma welcome Siena...


UEFA Cup Wrap

Two-time champion Tottenham was on the verge of elimination after a 2-0 defeat at Shakhtar Donetsk, while Manchester City twice let slip a lead to draw 2-2 at FC Copenhagen. Udinese drew 2-2 at Lech Poznan.


Beasley escapes serious injury after vicious tackle

U.S. midfielder Beasley escaped serious injury in last night's Homecoming Scottish Cup win at Station Park after a shin-high challenge that forced him from the field and saw Smith shown a straight red card.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Martin Rogers: Serie A no longer playing second fiddle

The league that was the finest on the planet for much of the 1990s has struggled in recent years, having been pushed behind the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga in terms of importance and interest. Three years ago, a match-fixing scandal rocked Italian soccer and devastated its fans. That followed a period with a mind-numbing level of tactical negativity, earning Serie A the “boring” tag with many neutral observers.

European challenges turn to relegation blues in the north-east

After the European chases of recent years the north-east's big three are now more worried about the bottom end of the table.

Passionate people feel chill wind of change in north-east.

UEFA Cup Wrap

Defending champion Zenit St. Petersburg faces a tough passage into the last 16 of the UEFA Cup after Stuttgart snatched a crucial away goal as the Russian club clinched a 2-1 win on Wednesday.

Also among the 11 matches, Aston Villa recovered a 1-1 draw against Werder Bremen as Dynamo Kiev held Valencia by the same score.


Where Are They Now? Argentina’s 1978 World Cup Winners

The 1978 final will always be remembered for the ticker-tape celebration following Argentina’s extra-time victory over Holland at the Monumental thanks to Mario Kempes’ double strike. takes a look back at that winning side and sees what has happened to them since that glorious night.

Marcela Mora y Araujo in Argentina

Institutional cleanups and structural change are needed to halt boardroom battles.

River Plate's troubled waters reflect deeper woes of Argentinian football.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Lucien Favre's minimalist side have mystified the pundits by becoming the Bundesliga's latest leaders.

Unlike Kuranyi's 'sacking', Hertha's rise to the top is no joke.

Home and away...

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford + EPL Table

Manchester United 3 - 0 Fulham
United take full control

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 25 18 5 2 59
2. 25 15 9 1 54
3. 25 15 6 4 51
4. 25 14 7 4 49
5. 25 12 8 5 44
6. 25 11 7 7 40
7. 25 9 7 9 34
8. 25 9 6 10 33
9. 25 9 4 12 31
10. 24 7 9 8 30
11. 25 8 6 11 30
12. 25 7 8 10 29
13. 25 6 9 10 27
14. 25 8 3 14 27
15. 25 7 6 12 27
16. 25 6 7 12 25
17. 25 6 6 13 24
18. 24 5 8 11 23
19. 25 5 7 13 22
20. 25 6 4 15 22

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Mid-Week Musings

It’s a fairly quiet day out there. Manchester United’s match against Fulham is the big story in my opinion, with the Champions looking to go five points clear with a win. And we really can’t expect anything other than a win, can we? Arsene Wenger has weighed in on this latest version of Fergie’s Army by calling them “untouchable”. United great Peter Schmeichel agrees and says the defense is the best ever. With Ferdinand and Vidic in the middle you wouldn’t argue with his assessment at this point. Elsewhere, the UEFA Cup resumes but unless your team is involved (Villa, Fiorentina, Milan, Spurs, Valencia, Man City) there’s not really much to follow there. Any Lech Polzan fans out there? Didn’t think so. The Beckham saga continues but I’ve chosen to ignore it until something actually happens. Likewise, Landon Donovan. Bayern say they don’t want to keep him so he’ll return to SoCal but I’ll wait until it’s a done deal to worry about it.

It's raining here and that pretty much sums up the mid-week mood. -Sanford

England: Premier League Preview

Manchester United vs. Fulham
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester
When: 3pm EST
U.S. TV: Setanta

Wayne Rooney's return ominous for Manchester United's rivals -- Wenger calls United "untouchable".

UEFA Cup Action Kicks Off for 2009

UEFA Cup last 32

Dynamo Kiev (UKR) v Valencia (ESP), Zenit St-Petersburg (RUS) v VfB Stuttgart (GER), Olympiakos (GRE) v St Etienne (FRA), Aston Villa (ENG) v CSKA Moscow (RUS), Werder Bremen (GER) v AC Milan (ITA), Paris St Germain (FRA) v VfL Wolfsburg (GER), NEC Nijmegen (NED) v Hamburg SV (GER), Sampdoria (ITA) v Metalist Kharkov (UKR), Bordeaux (FRA) v Galatasaray (TUR), Aalborg (DEN) v Deportivo La Coruna (ESP), Braga (POR) v Standard Liege (BEL)

Lech Poznan (POL) v Udinese (ITA), Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) v Tottenham (ENG), FC Copenhagen (DEN) v Manchester City (ENG), Marseille (FRA) v FC Twente (NED), Fiorentina (ITA) v Ajax (NED)


Guus Hiddink to make impact at Chelsea with double changes

Guus Hiddink gave a clear indication yesterday of his desire to partner Nicolas Anelka with Didier Drogba as he took charge of his second training session at Chelsea, although problems at the other end of the pitch will most concern the interim manager before his first match against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Juve ready to gamble on Cassano

This time last year Antonio Cassano stormed off the Sampdoria pitch, bare-chested, red-carded and with tears in his eyes after throwing his shirt at a referee in a fit of pique. It was another blot on an already stained copybook for the controversial Italian striker and the subsequent five-match ban left his top-flight career in jeopardy.

Bowls, beer and the SAS won't work anymore

The Lions had it in 1997, Leeds used to have it, Jose Mourinho's Chelsea side had it then lost it — team spirit only comes with success.

More Fun With Serie A

Fiorentina's team bus runs over a Genoa fan...and he was all coked up.

Inter fans don't like banner...attack Milan fans.

Board Room Blitz

If fans thought Arsenal's season had been a tale of uncertainty on the pitch it is nothing compared to the evermore mysterious manoeuvrings of the club's major shareholders.

Another week, another update on Chelsea and the financial health of Roman Abramovich, and the latest reports make uncomfortable reading for the Russian.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Bullard to Undergo Knee Operation

Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard will have surgery on his troublesome knee injury in the United States on Wednesday.

Tottenham’s Roman Pavlyuchenko has no taste for England

“I don’t like English dishes,” said the goal-shy Spurs striker, describing the food in north London as “modest” and when asked where the better looking women come from, saying a little too emphatically: “Russia, of course – there can’t be any comparison.”

It's what's for dinner...if you're Roman...

Tim Vickery in South America

Why do Brazilian coaches struggle in Europe?

Stupid Cupid: the streaker who ended Coventry's chance for romance

Stupid Cupid, as he has been dubbed, 'celebrated' Valentine's Day by running onto the pitch during Coventry's FA Cup tie with Blackburn.

Teams of the Week: Serie A, La Liga, Bundesliga

Serie A

La Liga


Not one of Liverpool's top 50 players...

The 50 Greatest Liverpool Players

31 Sammy Lee

295 appearances

It must have been easy to underestimate Lee. Short, chunky with a boyish face, it was hard to see how he could find a place in one of Europe's best sides. As it happened, he turned into one of the most vital cogs in the red machine. Always available to receive the ball, always scurrying and closing down the opposition, Lee did the donkey work in midfield and allowed the more obtrusively talented players to strut their stuff. If any testimony is needed to Sammy's greatness, ask Paul Breitner. The German didn't think much of Liverpool after Bayern Munich secured a 0-0 draw at Anfield in the first leg of the European Cup semi-final in 1981. He was expecting to rule the roost in midfield back in Bavaria but Lee, charged with a man-marking job, made Breitner's life a misery and Bayern were never in it.

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Miracle Bradley

Just days after leading the U.S. to victory over continental rivals Mexico with two finely taken goals, Michael Bradley did the business again on Valentine’s Day, rescuing a point for Borussia Monchengladbach against fellow strugglers Werder Bremen.

Richard Aikman in Italy

The Italian press can't see anyone catching Internazionale after last night's derby win over Milan.

Adriano's arm puts Inter all but out of reach in title race.

Sid Lowe in Spain

The team from the Costa del Sol were frustrated by Valencia this weekend but have already surpassed all expectations.

Málaga transformed from yo-yo club to Champions League contenders.

England: FA Cup Report

Eduardo wipes away the pain with tears of joy as return inspires Arsenal
Arsenal 4 Cardiff City 0

Cahill proud of progress but torn by tragedy back home

Everton's star Australian says the deaths in bush fires have led him to question the importance of his chosen profession.

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

The summer of 2008 will never be forgotten by Spanish football fans. After a seemingly eternal 44-year spell since its last victory in a meaningful tournament, the national team won Euro 2008 with a fantastic display of classy football. Spain managed to beat Russia twice, Sweden, Greece, Italy (in a penalty shootout!) and Germany in the final, to achieve European glory and win the tournament in convincing fashion.

New Identity for the Armada

Monday, February 16, 2009

Carrick's pass mastery stakes an eloquent claim to the centre ground

The Manchester United player is at last coming out of his shell to offer the midfield vision England so sorely need.

Is it time for the Czech Fury to check out?

Since his arrival from Lazio in 2001, Pavel Nedved has been a fixture on the Juventus left wing every week.

Despite being advanced in age, he has been one of Juve's better players since their return to Serie A last season as Nedved put off retirement and committed to the Old Lady for one last season this year. It was a move that was applauded by the Juve faithful.

Spain: La Liga Wrap

Barcelona draw but lead Real Madrid by 10 points...


Raul is now Real Madrid's all time leading scorer...

FA Cup Preview: Arsenal - Cardiff City

Kick-Off 19:45 GMT
Monday 16 February
Emirates Stadium
Ashburton Grove
London N5

Arsenal have a tough assignment against high-flying Bluebirds in this rearranged fourth round replay.

Angel Re-Signs With Red Bulls

The Red Bulls leading scorer last season has re-signed with the club, with financial terms not disclosed, as per club policy.

England: FA Cup Wraps

Manchester United bust out the style to roll past Derby County, an Anelka hat-trick inspires Chelsea and a bunch of other draws...

Saturday Wrap

Sunday Wrap

Italy: Serie A Report + Wrap

Inter Milan 2 - 1 AC Milan

Adriano's hand guides Inter towards Scudetto

Roma crushed by Atalanta, Fiorentina and Genoa in thrilling draw, Juventus continue to struggle...

FA Cup: Richard Jolly at Goodison Park

Everton 3 - 1 Aston Villa

Running on Reserves