Friday, April 24, 2009

England Italia '90 team to re-stage Germany semi in aid of Sir Bobby Robson charity

Sir Bobby Robson is hoping to settle an old score after England and Germany players who contested the heart-breaking 1990 World Cup semi-final agreed to re-stage the epic game to boost his fund-raising efforts.

The Private Life of Rio Ferdinand

So I'm just about to interview Rio Ferdinand when he breaks off to take a call from Michael Jackson. Welcome to the world of the Premier League footballer.

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Manchester United host Tottenham, Chelsea go across London to West Ham, Liverpool are at Hull, Arsenal go up to Boro, Everton welcome Manchester City, Villa are at Bolton, Fulham have Stoke at Craven Cottage, West Brom clash with Sunderland and Blackburn welcome Wigan to Ewood Park.

Preview I
Preview II

Lawro's Predictions
Nick Webster's Predictions

Cesc Fábregas charged with improper conduct after Arsenal's FA Cup tie against Hull

"I always said we are always very open to co-operate with any investigation. I personally looked at the reports, at the video evidence and there is nothing in there against Cesc."

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid face a huge challenge in their bid for a third straight title as they travel to Sevilla without a host of stars. Meanwhile, Barcelona and Valencia clash.

The Fairytale Story Of The Flying Donkeys Of Verona

Subhankar Mondal recalls the fairytale rise of Chievo Verona, and hopes that it continues for many more years...

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho is counting the days until he captures the scudetto in his first season as a coach in Serie A.

The clash of the weekend is in Florence where Fiorentina welcome Roma. Elsewhere, Inter are at Napoli, Milan host Palermo and Juventus go to Reggina.

MLS claims $10m payout for Beckham loan

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has revealed they have been paid the full $10m payout they wanted for the extension of David Beckham's loan to AC Milan. Special: 10 Worst La Liga Transfers Of 2008-09

We've already looked at the 10 worst Premier League transfers and their Serie A counterparts. Now it's time for Spain.'s Ewan Macdonald looks at the nadir of the summer signings in La Liga...

Rafa's latest exchange: ''We're the better side''

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez has claimed he is the only one to have stood up to Sir Alex Ferguson and says that Liverpool are ''the better side'' in this year's title race.

Tony Cascarino: Gung-Ho Liverpool Gifting The Title To Manchester United

“The simple fact of the matter is that the Liverpool squad doesn’t possess as much quality as Manchester United’s. After all, drawing a third of your games suggests they are missing something of a cutting edge.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

The Bundesliga enters the key final phase with the destination of the title still very much unclear. There are some potentially vital points up for grabs at both ends of the table. previews all the weekend action in Germany.

Friday, 24 April
(all times local)
20:30 1899 Hoffenheim – Hertha Berlin

Saturday, 25 April
15:30 Bayern Munich - Schalke
15:30 Borussia Dortmund - Hamburg
15:30 VfB Stuttgart – Eintracht Frankfurt
15:30 Bayer Leverkusen - Karlsruhe
15:30 Werder Bremen – VfL Bochum
15:30 Hannover – 1.FC Koeln

Sunday, 26 April
17:00 Energie Cottbus – VfL Wolfsburg
17:00 Bor. Moenchengladbach – Arminia Bielefeld

Dell'Apa: Revs at the forefront of African scouting in MLS

Outside of North America, it's becoming apparent that Africa is producing most of MLS' new talent. In the past two seasons, the league has tapped into Africa more than ever before. There were 34 African-born MLS players last year, and there are 32 from 14 African countries this year, more than triple the number (10) of the 2003 season. The continent with the second-most MLS players is South America with 29.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mathieu Flamini Interview

Criticised by Arsene Wenger and characterised as a mercenary by many Arsenal fans, it seems everyone has had their say about Mathieu Flamini - except the man himself.

Oliver Kay: My alternative six-man Player of the Year shortlist

The Professional Footballers' Association will name their Player of the Year this Sunday, with Ryan Giggs the favourite among the five Manchester United players on the shortlist to see off a strong challenge from Steven Gerrard.

Critics hail 'a team called miracle' as Real evoke memories of 2007

Somehow Real Madrid's title hopes remain alive after two late goals brought them victory over Getafe.

Missed this yesterday...-Sanford

Pepe considers future in football after 'losing control' against Getafe

Pepe was shown a red card and had to be escorted off the pitch by team-mate Iker Casillas after twice aiming kicks at the prone Javi Casquero, whom he had just pushed over to concede an 87th-minute spot-kick. He also struck Juan Albin in the face.

Summer exit the 'best solution', says disillusioned Tevez

Carlos Tevez has decided that it will be the "best solution" to leave Manchester United after reluctantly accepting that Sir Alex Ferguson wants to persist with Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney as his preferred strike partnership. Tevez, who started on the bench against Portsmouth, has attracted offers from Real Madrid and Internazionale but the Argentina forward also said he would consider signing for another English club.

Andrei Arshavin joins list of four-star shooters

Andrei Arshavin has become a member of an exclusive list of players to have scored four or more goals in a Premier League match, joining the likes of Andy Cole, Alan Shearer, Gianluca Vialli and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

Roy Keane takes charge of Ipswich Town

Roy Keane will be unveiled as Ipswich Town manager later today but already plans to restore the club to the Premier League and become a force in Europe have been put in place, with billionaire owner Marcus Evans ordering his new manager to produce attractive football “that Ipswich fans have come to expect”.

Pato's struggle to crack Dunga's Brazil squad

Despite topping the goal-scoring charts of the highest-scoring team in the Serie A, Alexandre Pato has yet to break into Brazilian coach Dunga's national squad.

Spain: Wednesday's La Liga Roundup

Real has won 17 of its last 18 league games in defense of the title to put some pressure on Barcelona, but the latter kept a six-point gap in the standings with an impressive performance at Camp Nou.

England: Wednesday's Premier League Reports

Manchester United 2 - 0 Portsmouth
Paul Scholes marked his 600th Manchester United appearance in trademark fashion, supplying the killer through ball that could eventually seal an 18th league championship for the Red Devils in a 2-0 win against Portsmouth.

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford

Chelsea 0 - 0 Everton
Chelsea's Petr Cech and Everton's Tim Howard took the plaudits on a night when both sides failed to make the most of their chances.

Leaky back fours concede in fours to leave managers in despair

Loss of form, injuries and a lack of defensive options have caused top clubs in the Premier League to leak a steady stream of goals in the title run-in.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Villa defender Laursen could be forced to retire

Aston Villa defender Martin Laursen could be forced to retire from professional football after latest checks on his knee injury were not encouraging.

Arsene Wenger's Top Five Arsenal Signings

Andrei Arshavin's incredible start to his Arsenal career suggests that Arsene Wenger's eye for a player remains as sharp as ever.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"I was a bit like Mel Gibson in Lethal Weapon II when he had to dislocate his shoulder to get out of a straitjacket."
Theo Walcott on his troublesome injury.

"Our intention was not to come for a point."
Bolton boss Gary Megson after the 1-0 defeat to Portsmouth. Job done.

"Jimmy knocked my screen and Drogba fell over."
Phil Thompson on Didier Drogba's diving after the Chelsea v Liverpool game. (Thompson was sat next to Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink on Sky Sports News.)

"I thought I saw a corner there, but I am very high."
Darragh Moloney commentating for RTE during Porto-United - after Porto were awarded a goal kick.

"These two legs have really opened up."
Jim Beglin after Frank Lampard makes it 4-4 in the game with Liverpool.

"We are the Potters, the rip-roaring potters, back in the Prem where Pulis got us, so come on everybody let's keep Stoke up, keep Stoke up, keep Stoke up!"
'Pottermouth's' Stoke rap to the tune of Eminem's Real Slim Shady.

The Rest

England: Wednesdays' Premier League Previews

Manchester United vs. Portsmouth
United must put behind them their FA Cup disappointment and, presumably with a near-full-strength team, put Pompey to the sword if their Premier League title ambitions are to be realised...

Chelsea vs. Everton
Chelsea go into this match chasing silverware on three fronts. But trailing Manchester United by four points in the Premier League table having played one more game, a Champions League and FA Cup double has probably now become their more realistic goal, with the first leg of the semi-final of the former, away to Barcelona next Tuesday. Everton are on course for a Europa League place, and will be sizing Chelsea up ahead of their end-of-season Wembley showpiece, which could result in a first FA Cup since 1995. Victory for the Toffees would see them replacing Aston Villa in fifth place. Both clubs would then have five to play.

Paul Scholes Hits 600-Game Landmark for Manchester United

The man Zinédine Zidane, a three-times Fifa World Player of the Year, described as “undoubtedly the greatest midfielder of his generation” will make his 600th appearance for Manchester United at home to Portsmouth this evening and, as he grimaces at the eulogies likely to come his way, it is fair to wonder if there has been quite so reluctant a hero as the English champions’ ginger pimpernel.

Highs and Lows of his Career

Spain: Tuesday's La Liga Roundup

Gonzalo Higuain's second goal of the night in injury time helped Real Madrid rally for a 3-2 win over Getafe in the Spanish league on Tuesday. Higuain ran into the area three minutes into injury time and sent a rising left-footed shot in for the winner, which came during a closing eight minutes that included four goals, a red card for Madrid defender Pepe and a Getafe penalty miss.

Can Real Madrid beat Barcelona without Pepe and Robben?

Inter Milan ready to sever Adriano's contract

Inter has already reached an agreement with Adriano's agent, Gilmar Rinaldi, and needs only to register the move with the league office, the Gazzetta dello Sport reported Wednesday.

English Premier League: Liverpool 4 - 4 Arsenal

Defensive frailties on display as Arshavin scores four and Arsenal and Liverpool draw in wide-open contest.

Report II

Player Ratings

Arshavin a rare deviation from Arsenal's path of youthful purity

Phil McNulty:
Downcast Benitez fears worst

Goal.commentary: Major League Soccer's Renaissance Men

For four veterans, the start of the 2009 MLS season has brought a welcome return to form after hitting rough patches in their careers.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

England: Tuesday's Premier League Preview + Table

Liverpool vs. Arsenal
Kick-off: Tuesday, April 21, 3:00 EDT. Anfield, Liverpool, England
U.S. TV: Setanta USA
Freshly dismissed from Europe, the Reds continue their push for a maiden Prem crown while the Gunners aim to bounce back from their own cup exit... Preview

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 31 22 5 4 71
2. 32 20 10 2 70
3. 32 20 7 5 67
4. 32 17 10 5 61
5. 33 15 9 9 54
6. 32 14 10 8 52
7. 33 12 9 12 45
8. 33 11 11 11 44
9. 33 12 8 13 44
10. 33 12 5 16 41
11. 32 11 8 13 41
12. 33 10 9 14 39
13. 33 11 4 18 37
14. 32 9 10 13 37
15. 33 9 8 16 35
16. 33 8 10 15 34
17. 33 8 10 15 34
18. 33 7 10 16 31
19. 33 6 12 15 30
20. 33 6 7 20 25

Manchester United fans round on Dimitar Berbatov

Lazy, unprofessional, infuriating. Not fit to clean Eric Cantona’s boots. Juan Sebastián Verón Mark II. They were some of the more polite barbs aimed in the direction of Dimitar Berbatov on fans’ forums yesterday when Manchester United supporters vented their spleen over the Bulgaria striker’s dire miss in the FA Cup semi-final penalty shoot-out defeat by Everton at Wembley on Sunday.

Wembley pitch to be ripped up after FA Cup scorn

The Wembley pitch that has drawn scorn as a national embarrassment from Arsène Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson is to be ripped up after the Football Association admitted that it was being forced to start again on the centrepiece of the £757 million stadium.

Kevin McCarra Column

Losing at Wembley was a calculated risk by Sir Alex Ferguson but defeat may sap Manchester United's authority.

Sir Alex Ferguson has put a heavier load on Manchester United by taking the FA Cup lightly.

Americans in the UK: FA Cup Glory

Everton stalwart Tim Howard saved two shots during Sunday’s FA Cup semifinal that went to a penalty shootout. The American stopped the first two tries from Manchester United and Everton never looked back, winning the duel 4-2.

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Goal-Getter Gooch

Oguchi Onyewu took on a rare goal-scoring role for Standard Liege against Excelsior Mouscron. The giant centre-back tallied a headed goal in each half to help lead his side to a 3-0 victory in the league and keep pace with leaders Anderlecht.

The Rest

Sid Lowe in Spain + La Liga Table

A religious pilgrimage has been followed by an upturn in Espanyol's form meaning their new stadium may not have to host second division football.

Divine intervention may yet ensure Espanyol keep their seat in La Liga.

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 31 25 3 3 78
2. 31 23 3 5 72
3. 31 17 6 8 57
4. 31 15 7 9 52
5. 31 14 7 10 49
6. 31 13 10 8 49
7. 31 13 8 10 47
8. 31 13 7 11 46
9. 31 12 4 15 40
10. 31 9 10 12 37
11. 31 10 7 14 37
12. 31 9 9 13 36
13. 31 9 9 13 36
14. 31 8 11 12 35
15. 31 8 10 13 34
16. 31 9 7 15 34
17. 31 11 0 20 33
18. 31 7 9 15 30
19. 31 6 11 14 29
20. 31 8 4 19 28

Raphael Honigstein in Germany + Bundesliga Table

Even the famous German sense of humour struggles to cope with injustice of Bayer's defeat to the league leaders, while Stuttgart's fine form continues at Köln.

Leverkusen miss the joke as Wolfsburg benefit from ref's comedy routine.

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 28 17 6 5 57
2. 28 16 6 6 54
3. 28 17 3 8 54
4. 28 16 4 8 52
5. 28 15 6 7 51
6. 28 13 7 8 46
7. 28 11 13 4 46
8. 28 12 9 7 45
9. 28 12 6 10 42
10. 28 9 9 10 36
11. 28 8 8 12 32
12. 28 9 5 14 32
13. 28 7 8 13 29
14. 28 6 10 12 28
15. 28 4 12 12 24
16. 28 6 5 17 23
17. 28 6 5 17 23
18. 28 5 4 19 19

Paolo Bandini in Italy + Serie A Table

Juventus expected praise for their 10-man fightback against Internazionale, instead the club is being castigated for the abusive chants its support directed at Mario Balotelli.

Racist chants overshadow Juventus's stirring comeback against Inter

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 32 22 8 2 74
2. 32 19 7 6 64
3. 32 19 7 6 64
4. 32 16 9 7 57
5. 32 17 4 11 55
6. 32 15 7 10 52
7. 32 15 4 13 49
8. 32 14 6 12 48
9. 32 14 5 13 47
10. 32 11 9 12 42
11. 32 12 5 15 41
12. 32 11 7 14 40
13. 32 10 10 12 40
14. 32 10 9 13 39
15. 32 10 7 15 37
16. 32 8 10 14 34
17. 32 6 9 17 27
18. 32 6 8 18 26
19. 32 4 12 16 24
20. 32 4 11 17 23