Friday, September 04, 2009

Argentina: Going Loco

But Maradona blindsided everyone. He called up Newell's Old Boys defender Rolando Schiavi, Estudiantes midfielder Rodrigo Braña (both recent Copa Libertadores winners - Schiavi was loaned to Estudiantes for the two-legged final as emergency cover after injuries decimated their backline) ... and Boca Juniors striker Martin Palermo.

Chelsea's Charge Sheet

Even before yesterday’s ruling, in the past four and a half years, Chelsea, their players and staff, have racked up around £900,000 in fines from the FA and Uefa.

Manchester United asks fans to help end vile chants aimed at Arsène Wenger

Manchester United are to ask their own supporters for ways to help eradicate the "disgusting" chants that are aimed at Arsène Wenger whenever Arsenal visit Old Trafford. Wenger was subjected to a chorus of "sit down you paedophile" during Arsenal's 2-1 defeat on Saturday and United are so embarrassed that the club's chief executive, David Gill, is to raise the matter as a lead item with a panel of influential supporters.

About Fucking Time...

The Joy of Six: Great Volleys

From Zizou's zenith to a Krankl cracker, The Guardian recalls some of football's finest strikes.

World Cup Qualifying Previews: United States vs. El Salvador


United States vs. El Salvador

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying

Saturday, September 5; 7 p.m. EDT


Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah

U.S. TV:
ESPN Classic, TeleFutura


Steve Davis:
Lineup decisions aplenty for Bradley

2010 FIFA World Cup: Weekend Qualifying Previews

Little more than nine months before the World Cup makes its first appearance in Africa, all but six of the 32 team spots are still to be decided. So far, Japan, Australia, North and South Korea and the Netherlands have captured places alongside host South Africa in the Dec. 4 draw at Cape Town, although several more teams are banging on the door.

The Planet:
Who can qualify?
CONCACAF: Mexico face tough test to continue revival
CONMEBOL: Argentina expect Messi to deliver against Brazil
UEFA: General Preview
UEFA: Trecker's Preview
UEFA Group Three: Slovakia vs. Czech Republic
UEFA Group Three:
Poland vs. Northern Ireland
UEFA Group Five:
Spain vs. Belgium
UEFA Group Seven: France vs. Romania
UEFA Group Eight: Cyprus vs. Republic of Ireland

Chelsea to appeal FIFA transfer ban to 2011

Chelsea will launch the "strongest appeal possible" after FIFA banned them from signing any players until January 2011.

Roman launches the strongest appeal possible

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Vive Le Foot!

Abou Diaby: Serbia attack's most dangerous weapon?

This upcoming weekend will be filled with World Qualifiers up until Tuesday so I will not comment much on Le Championnat from last weekend that saw a very disappointing 0 – 0 between Marseille and Bordeaux, a very convincing 3 - 0 win by PSG against Lille, St Etienne’s first 3 points versus a sad Grenoble and more Lyon magic thanks to Lisandro Lopez (ARG), Gomis (FRA) and Bastos (BRA)…Bordeaux, PSG and Lyon are at the top of the table with 10 pts followed by unbeaten newly promoted Montpellier “playing Hull”…

Les Bleus are playing 2 crucial games in the next 5 days and the mandate is simple: 6 points, in order to finish top of the group. Problem is France is on a streak of unconvincing 1 – 0 wins against lesser teams and even a defeat in a friendly against Nigeria.

One has to wonder why and how the French coach cannot make such a stellar cast play together, considering most players simply play for the best teams in the world:

Barcelona (Henry, Abidal), Real (L. Diarra, Benzema), Man United (Evra), Arsenal (Clichy, Gallas, Sagna, Diaby, Nasri), Chelsea (Anelka, Malouda) and…Bayern (Ribery)

This week Jean-Pierre Escalettes (FFF President), the very man who supported Raymond Domenech after the disastrous Euro 2008 distanced himself from the coach… Rod Fanni, the young French defender from Rennes caught that quickly commenting “while the president’s getting worried, the players are getting the job done”…barely…

The Serbs are talking a big game and they will want to win in front of their public but they will get nailed by Malouda on the break assisting Gignac while Gourcuff will score on a free kick. As for Romania, Ribery and Benzema save the day and Domenech becomes the best coach France has ever seen…until we tie Austria in Paris in October…

Saturday: FranceRomania 2 - 0

Tuesday: Serbia - France 1 – 2

Henry and Ribery are not 100% while Benzema will come off the bench if goals are needed so the expected starting line up is:

Lloris (Lyon)

Sagna (Arsenal) – Escude (Sevilla) - Gallas (Arsenal) – Evra (Man U)

Toulalan (Lyon) – Lass Diarra (Real)

Anelka (Chelsea) – Gourcuff (Bordeaux) – Malouda (Chelsea)

Gignac (Toulouse)

Not bad, but two defensive midfielders seem a bit much when you need goals…Diaby for Toulalan anyone?

-The Frenchman

Jan the man for Tigers

Hull City have signed former Celtic striker Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.

The Dutchman has signed a two-year deal at the KC Stadium after passing a medical and agreeing personal terms.

More competition for Jozy...

FIFA gives Chelsea 1-year transfer ban

FIFA says it has banned Chelsea from signing any players for the next year because it encouraged a French player to break his contract and sign for the club.

Trecker: South America World Cup Qualifying Preview

Is Diego Maradona about to go from Argentine icon to just another coach who got fired because a World Cup campaign flopped?

It's almost inconceivable that Argentina is facing the possibility of having to fight for fifth place -- and the South American playoff spot -- on the road to WC2010, but this week Maradona's team must collect points or its qualifying campaign will be in serious disarray.

Trecker: U.S. must punish opponents to ensure World Cup place

Déjà vu? Nope.

The USA is really gearing up for another two-game stint against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tobago.

Back in late March, the USA struggled to a 2-2 draw against El Salvador at Cuscatlan, with Frankie Hejduk nicking a late point after a sloppy game. The Americans followed that up with a bludgeoning 3-0 win over the Soca Warrior islanders in Nashville.

Seattle wins U.S. Open Cup final 2-1 over D.C. United

Freddy Montero and Roger Levesque scored to lead Seattle to a 2-1 victory over D.C. United in the Open Cup final Wednesday night, giving the expansion Sounders their first trophy.

Marina Hyde: Chanting cretins need to be silenced

Arsène Wenger has been the target of vile chants for more than a decade – it's time the authorities cracked down on the culprits.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"It's not about money."
Sol Campbell insists his move to Notts County was all about the challenge.

"An English player would be nice, because I think we have enough foreigners. Someone like Andy Reid?"
Stoke fan on the radio, speaking about Sunderland's Dublin-born midfielder.

"This new ball is going quicker than ever - it literally explodes off the player's foot."
Jamie Redknapp reveals the secret technology behind this season's new footballs.

"Oh Big Brede (Hangeland), Whoah big Brede (Hangeland), He jumps so high (Hangeland), You know that's no lie (Hangeland), He's so rock steady (Hangeland), When you see him on telly (Hangeland), Oh Big Brede (Hangeland), Whoah big Brede (Hangelaaaaaand)."
Fulham's tribute to giant Dane Brede Hangeland - to the tune of Black Betty.

Celtic fans: "Shall we sing a song for you?"
Arsenal fans: "Shall we score a goal for you?"
At the Emirates.

The Rest

Argentina vs. Brazil: Old rivalry heating up

It's one of the fiercest rivalries in world football. Two giants of the game who have never seen eye to eye, don't like each other and cause a heated atmosphere whenever they meet. No, not Argentina and Brazil; but Diego Maradona and Pelé.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Richard Williams: Power in football is drifting away from English shores

La Liga and Serie A performances point to a shift in European football's power base.

Ranieri appointed new Roma coach

Former Chelsea manager Claudio Ranieri says he is ready to give Roma's players a shock to the system after agreeing a two-year deal to be their new coach.

England: Club by Club Transfer Guide


Chelsea spent much of the summer promising a marquee signing, but their inability to deliver one reflected both Roman Abramovich’s reduced largesse and the manner in which Real Madrid have changed the rules of engagement in the transfer market. Yuri Zhirkov was the club’s only significant signing.

N Matic (MFK Kosice, £1.5m), D Sturridge (Manchester City, subject to tribunal), R Turnbull (Middlesbrough, free), Y Zhirkov (CSKA Moscow, £18m).

Out: B Sahar (Espanyol, £1m), R Bertrand (Reading, loan), J Cork (Coventry City, loan), S Cummings (West Bromwich Albion, loan), F Di Santo (Blackburn Rovers, loan), M Mancienne (Wolverhampton Wanderers, loan), J Mellis (Southampton, loan), F Nouble (West Ham United, undisclosed), M Nielsen (Alkmaar, nominal), C Pizarro (Werder Bremen, undisclosed), L Sawyer (Southend United, loan), A Shevchenko (Dynamo Kiev, free), S Sinclair (Wigan Athletic, loan), T Taiwo (Carlisle United, loan), S Tejera (Mallorca, nominal).

The Rest

Gabriele Marcotti Column

Where would Tottenham Hotspur's second XI finish in the Premier League? You be the judge. I've got: Cudicini - Naughton (or Hutton), Dawson, Woodgate, Bale - Bentley, Jenas, Bostock, Kranjcar - Pavlyuchenko, Crouch.

Is that better than Liverpool's second XI: Diego - Degen, Agger, Kyrgiakos, Fabio Aurelio - Lucas, Plessis - Benayoun, Voronin, Babel - N'Gog? (I'd say so).

U.S. Open Cup Final

D.C. United vs. Seattle Sounders
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
When: 7:30pm EDT
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Kyle McCarthy's Preview

Home field squabble adds spice

Gunners set to appeal Eduardo's "diving" ban

Angry Arsenal look set to launch an appeal against UEFA's decision to hand striker Eduardo a two-match European ban for diving to win a penalty against Celtic in a Champions League qualifier.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Lookalikes of the Week: Arjen Robben and Eliot Spitzer

The Transfer Window is Closed

A bit of a snooze-fest today. Unless you're jazzed about Teemu Tainio moving from Sunderland to Birmingham, that is. Here is a list of the day's dealings...

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Diving is impossible to referee, Portsmouth are fading fast and Chelsea are not quite as good as you think they are.

Americans In The UK: Altidore Opens His Account

Hull striker Jozy Altidore scored against Southend United during a Carling Cup fixture and in the process helped the Tigers punch their ticket to the next round.

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Settling Right In

Sochaux snatched a 1-0 victory over AS Monaco as former Boston College forward Charlie Davies continues to impress for his new club. Winning a penalty and generally terrorizing the Monaco defense, Davies endeared himself to the home crowd with his all-action performance.

The Rest

Luciano Spalletti: I Have Resigned From Roma

The Italian has quit his position as coach of Roma, and Sky Sport Italia claim Claudio Ranieri will replace him.

Italy: Serie A Worst Team Of The Week looks at those who performed poorly in the second round of action, and Milan take centre-stage...

A bit of a no-brainer...

Sid Lowe in Spain

Madrid were promising rather than perfect, wobbly rather than woeful, and a little disjointed rather than disastrous.

Real Madrid's new galáctico era has arrived. Well, sort of...

Paolo Bandini in Italy

The self-styled Special One is now a 'phenomenon' thanks to his team's 4-0 drubbing of Milan.

Inter's demolition of Milan has vindicated Jose Mourinho.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Bayern Munich's attacking double-act of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry will take some stopping this season.

Get set for the 'Baylacticos' as Robben and Ribéry prove deadly.

Tim Vickery in South America

Argentina traditionally stage their matches in Buenos Aires, in River Plate's Monumental stadium. It makes economic sense - it's the biggest ground available to them. But in their current situation - Argentina are by no means certain of making it to South Africa - Maradona has decided that it does not make footballing sense.

"The stands in River's stadium are 50 metres from the pitch," he said recently. "You can shout yourself hoarse and the noise only reaches the area behind the goal. So there are players who feel that they will get more support in Rosario."

The Mill + ++ (Final Edition...for a while)

Tuesday's Rumours



Arsenal Fight to Clear Eduardo's Name

Notwithstanding the potential to set a dangerous precedent, Arsenal are perplexed that Uefa has effectively condemned Eduardo with video evidence while it continues to refuse to use it to help referees to arrive at their decisions. The case will be judged on the basis of written submissions from both sides. Eduardo is on international duty with Croatia.

Barcelona 3-0 Sporting Gijon: Ibra Nets In Routine Win To Start Blaugrana Title Defence

Barcelona top the Liga table after a none-too-strenuous win over Sporting Gijon in the opening match of their new Primera season.

Adu joins Belenenses on one-year loan

After spending most of the offseason looking for a new club, U.S. midfielder Freddy Adu has secured a move away from Benfica.

I've been to their ground. Crappy stadium. Great location. Tiny club. Good luck, Freddy...

Steve Davis: More U.S. soccer fans need to enjoy the journey

I got into a spot of trouble a few weeks back with friends who will be traveling to next weekend's important World Cup qualifier outside Salt Lake City, where the United States will meet El Salvador. Bob Bradley's team is heavily favored, but an upset could seriously imperil its entire South Africa 2010 quest.

Sept. 5

U.S. vs. El Salvador
Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
7 p.m. ET, ESPN Classic

Sept. 9
U.S. vs. Trinidad & Tobago
Hasely Crawford Stadium; Port of Spain, Trinidad
7 p.m. ET, ESPN Classic

Phil Ball in Spain!!

Hello there. Nice to be back from the deserts of Arabia, although mentally speaking the whole La Liga thing never really went away. You can attempt a de-tox from Spanish football, but I'm not really sure that it works.

Our favorite writer returns!!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Nothing Given

Although I'm an Arsenal fan, I try to keep SSN as neutral as possible. This is not an Arsenal blog, and there is no agenda here, other than to provide quick access to the most important articles of the day. That said, I must post this clip from Saturday's match at Old Trafford.

Luka Modric suffers broken leg and misses Croatia's qualifier with England

Tottenham's midfielder Luka Modric will be out for at least six weeks after suffering a broken leg in yesterday's win over Birmingham. The news means that the Croatia international will miss the World Cup qualifier against England on 9 September.

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours


Thieves Raid Homes Of Inter Stars Patrick Vieira & Sulley Muntari, Steal €1Million Of Goods

Goods reportedly worth €1million have been stolen from both men's houses in Milan, according to reports in Italy...

Monday MLS Breakdown: Constant Changes Unsettle Earthquakes Defense

San Jose built a rock-solid defense in 2008, but hasn't enjoyed the same defensive success in 2009. Kyle McCarthy talks with Earthquakes coach Frank Yallop and defender Chris Leitch to figure out why one of the league's most consistent units has struggled in 2009.

He scored a goal...

Spain: La Liga Weekend Reviews



Italy: Serie A Weekend Round-up + Team of the Week

Juventus were far too strong for Roma in Sunday's top clash in Serie A, while elsewhere Lazio, Sampdoria and Genoa all maintained their 100 per cent starts to the new campaign.


Team of the Week

Diego appears to be just what Juventus needed...

AC Milan 0 - 4 Inter Milan

Italian champions Inter confirmed they are the team to beat in Serie A with a 4-0 win against Milan in tonight's Derby della Madonnina.

Italian Champions Thrash Sorry Ten Man Rossoneri In Derby.

Player Ratings

Milan need new players

Gattuso's gestures to Leonardo after he's sent off are priceless...

England: Premier League Review + Table

The first meeting of the season between members of the Premier League's Big Four did not disappoint, while Liverpool got back on track, Tottenham maintained their 100 per cent record and Chelsea continued their dominant start.


Club Played Points
Tottenham Hotspur412
Manchester United49
Manchester City39
Stoke City47
Aston Villa36
West Ham United34
Wolverhampton Wanderers44
Hull City44
Wigan Athletic43
Blackburn Rovers31
Bolton Wanderers30

Manchester United 2 - 1 Arsenal

It is not often that the losers get to patronise the victors. Then again, Arsenal are a far from conventional club and the manager, Arsène Wenger, duly rummaged for some gracious words about Manchester United. "They have won a game today they should not have won, so that is a quality as well," he said.

Wenger: Manchester United played anti-football

Player Ratings

Phil McNulty: Life in the old dogs yet
Nick Webster: All that matters is the result
Richard Williams: United lack playmaker

Wenger to get sending off apology

Richard Jolly at The Reebok Stadium

Bolton 2 - 3 Liverpool

Gerrard strikes a familiar pose

Kevin Palmer at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 3 - 0 Burnley

Burnley given rude awakening