Friday, October 30, 2009

Vive le Foot!

The major non-event of last weekend was the cancellation of the Classico between Marseille and Paris SG. The supporters made up for it by rioting in downtown Marseille antagonizing locals and behaving like the idiots they are. Many arrests, mostly local fans when it seemed like the Parisians started it all…On some unrelated news, it was announced that Lyon was ending its partnership with 10 yr partner Umbro to close a deal with Adidas.

Marouane Chamakh
, Hull City's interested...

Call me superstitious but with 7 Ligue 1 titles and a legendary victory at Anfield, seems to me like a bad idea…

Montpellier could have been at the top of the table but their lack of experience prevailed and they are now facing an Auxerre side that started to score goals and came from behind twice to beat Lille.

Auxerre – Montpellier 2 - 2

Chamakh scored his first goal of the season in an easy win for the Champions last weekend but Saturday’s game. Things will be a bit more challenging tomorrow since it will involve a shot at first place for a serious Monaco side. Nene scored 2 goals in the last 4 minutes of his game at Boulogne and is the leading scorer with now 9 goals in ten Ligue 1 games. Solid.

Bordeaux - Monaco 3 - 2

Boulogne suffered a late loss in its Monaco home game last week while Nancy beat Grenoble in the last 15 minutes thanks to an own goal and a penalty. They face an Even Steven Nancy side (4 – 2 – 4, 15 goals scored + conceded) comfortably squatting the mid-table. Boulogne had a good start, but they need to win…

Boulogne – Nancy 1 - 2

Grenoble was firmly leading in its match last weekend but lost… Bosnian star coach featured in last week’s VLF will have to pay the price very soon. 10 games, zero points, the Guiness book of record’s been calling…

Grenoble – Lille 1 – 1

Lorient surprisingly lost at Sochaux slowing down their European pretensions. Lens is a bit of a sinking ship but I see them getting unlucky at home again…

Lens – Lorient 1 - 2

This should be a very good game between a very well rested OM and a Toulouse side that is slowly getting better. There will be goals, mostly in favor of Marseille. AND I am convinced of the following score

Marseille - Toulouse 4 - 2

This should be a heated derby considering Gomis is finally performing under the Lyon shirt after a very disappointing last season with les Verts…will he score? Will he celebrate?

St Etienne – Lyon 1 - 2

Nice simply destroyed Lyon in what has to be the biggest upset of the season so far especially considering that Les Gones had just gotten back victorious from Anfield. But I think it is way to early to speak of a recovery at Nice since Le Mans will be hungry after a crushing defeat at Bordeaux.

Nice - Le Mans 1 -2

Rennes atomized a Montpellier side that had a shot at first place and they are welcoming a courageous VA side that just got 3 points away and scores buckets of goals…I see a tight game but talent and coaching will prevail over generosity.

Rennes - Valenciennes 3 - 2

PSG didn’t play last week due to the flu that affected 3 of its players. I see another disappointment on the horizon with more goalscoring problems. Kombouare’s bigmouth and lack of result could be a very bad combination comes Christmas time…Sochaux is on a winning streak since losing Charlie Davies, who would have thought!

Sochaux - PSG 1 - 1

1 - Bordeaux 22 pts

2 - Monaco 21 pts

3 – Lyon 20 pts

4 – Montpellier 20 pts

5 – Marseille 17 pts

18 - Le Mans 8 pts

19 - Lens 7 pts

20 - Grenoble 0 pts

The Frenchman!

The Joy of Six: Classic Arsenal vs. Tottenham Matches

From Gazza's Wembley howitzer to an infamous off-field result, here are half a dozen memorable north London derbies.

MLS Friday Forecast

The Forecast reflects on Thursday night's 0-0 draw between Houston and Seattle before casting its eye over the remaining first leg ties on tap this weekend.

The Big Interview: Emmanuel Adebayor

Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor was interviewed on CNN International by the sports correspondent Pedro Pinto. He spoke about his early months at Eastlands, how they can get into the top four and why the attitude of former team-mates hurts.

England Premier League Preview: Arsenal vs. Tottenham

Third host fourth in 162nd competitive clash between north London foes...

When: Saturday, 31 October
Kick-off: 8:45am EDT
Where: Emirates Stadium, London N5


England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Saturday lunchtime's North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur kicks off the latest round of Premier League fixtures.

The day of Halloween sees nine top-flight matches take place, including Chelsea's trip to Bolton Wanderers, Fulham versus Liverpool, Manchester United against Blackburn Rovers and troubled Hull City's clash with Burnley.

Preview I

Preview II
Preview III

Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Juventus are looking to end an impressive week on a high when they host Napoli on Saturday.

Third-placed Sampdoria expect to erase the humiliation at the hands of Juve and focus on maintaining their unbeaten run at the Luigi Ferraris stadium against Bari.

Promoted side Parma are determined to defend their fourth position in the standings when they travel to the San Siro to meet AC Milan on Saturday.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid midfielder Esteban Granero has urged his side to "turn the page" ahead of their clash against Getafe. "We have to turn the page and think of Getafe. We are Real Madrid and we have the club's prestige to defend. We are going to give it everything against Getafe."

Reigning European and Spanish champions Barcelona have no such concerns, and they go to Osasuna with a three-point lead over second-placed Madrid with seven wins in eight games.

I wonder if they've got Seger blasting in the locker room...

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Schalke host Leverkusen, Bayern travel to Stuttgart and Werder pay Nuernberg a visit in this week's action...

Borussia Dortmund – Hertha Berlin

Koeln - Hannover
Hamburg – Borussia M’gladbach
Nuernberg – Werder Bremen
Stuttgart – Bayern Munich
Wolfsburg – Mainz
Schalke – Bayer Leverkusen

Freiburg – Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt – Bochum

Cuauhtemoc Blanco to leave Chicago Fire for Mexico

"I had a great experience in the MLS, where they treated me very well, but at this stage of my career there were some clubs from the Mexican league that wanted me to come home," Blanco said on his Web site. "I will start a new stage in Veracruz, a place where I used to play and I promised to come back."

Paolo Bandini in Italy

The 5-1 win over Samp was an ideal start for Jean-Claude Blanc, who's wasted no time in seeking a club badge makeover.

Show of force from Juventus as their new president sees the stars.

Serie A: Inter Milan 5 - 3 Palermo

Inter Milan moved four points clear at the top of Serie A after winning an eight-goal thriller against Palermo tonight.

The game seemed to be all wrapped up when two goals each from Samuel Eto'o and Mario Balotelli gave Inter a 4-0 lead at the interval, but Palermo fought their way back to put the Nerazzurri under pressure.

MLS Playoffs: Seattle 0 - 0 Houston

Blood, noise, yellow cards and a disputed whistle outnumbered scoring chances as expansion Seattle made its MLS postseason debut with a scoreless tie against the more experienced and bullish Houston Dynamo on Thursday night.

Seattle couldn't take advantage of dominating possession, or the energy created by 35,807 fans at Qwest Field. It was the largest crowd for a conference semifinal playoff match in MLS' 13-year history.

Marlon King jailed for 18 months following club attack

Wigan striker Marlon King has been jailed for 18 months after being found guilty of groping a young woman in a nightclub and then breaking her nose when she spurned his "disgusting'' advances, with the Premier League club confirming they will now sack the player.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Gunners vs. Reds - Tracksuit Bottoms' Mini Match Report

I'd planned to write a full match report for the Arsenal vs Liverpool Carling Cup game I went to last night, but there's not much to write. For a League Cup fixture it wasn't a bad game at all, with two excellent goals and quality throughout. But most of the things I could write about either side have been written plenty of times before.

Arsenal had lots of pretty possession but the crab-like nature of their passing only
emphasised the importance of Fabregas. Liverpool fought hard and created a few chances, but their weakness up front only emphasised the importance of Torres. But considering these two were sitting things out and the age of many of the players, the quality of play was pretty high.

There was a nice sub-plot to the game: who was crapper, Bendtner or Voronin? Before the Dane's goal it was neck and neck. Voronin adroitly managed to avoid the ball for almost the whole game, unfortunately the one time he did touch it he gave it away for Merida's goal. Bendtner saw plenty of possession but seemed determined to fuck things up in increasingly annoying ways, including losing Insua for Liverpool's equaliser. He did redeem himself though with a neatly taken winner.

Merida's strike was a beauty, but probably outshone by Insua's. My Missus missed the second - asked how, she explained 'I was watching some of the fans bobbing up and down'. Errmm...

The Emirates continued the Highbury tradition of keeping the neighbours happy by not making too much noise. A few Japanese tourists did raise their voices when Gunnersaurus ran on the pitch at halftime, but otherwise it was noise free affair. Gunners fans need to try a touch harder though, if they're to reach Chelsea's heights. The last game I went to at Stamford Bridge felt like a wake rehearsal.

Ramsey stood out for the Gunners, as did debutant Eastmond, while Plessis looked sharp for the Reds. Aquilani didn't get enough time to make a real impression, though one sublime cross pitch pass will raise Pool's hopes.

Although not long in England Aquilani has quickly learnt how to insult the ref. -TSB

Henrik Larsson bids tearful goodbye after final match of his career

Striker Henrik Larsson bid an emotional farewell to football last night, admitting his decision to retire had left an "emptiness".

A class act who will be missed...

Arsenal v Tottenham: Arsène Wenger can relax after Robbie Keane's boast

Robbie Keane reckons Spurs have a better squad than Arsenal, which gives the Daily Bung a fair idea how Saturday might turn out...

I don't like Robbie Keane...

Carlisle: MLS postseason promises upsets among final eight

The MLS playoffs are an exercise in which lunacy often prevails. In the past five postseasons, the lower seeds have won their first-round series almost half the time. Top seeds have found the going especially rough, falling six out of ten times during this period. In fact, you have to go back to 2003, when Chicago and San Jose both triumphed, to find the last time that the No. 1 seed in each conference survived the first round.

MLS Cup Playoffs


Houston vs. Seattle
10 p.m. ET, ESPN2,

L.A. vs. Chivas USA
5 p.m. ET, ESPN2,

Nov. 5
RSL vs. Columbus
8 p.m. ET, ESPN2,

Nov. 8
Chivas vs. L.A.
7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2,

MLS Playoffs: McCarthy's Musings: Ranking the MLS Cup Contenders

Kyle McCarthy runs the rule over the eight MLS Cup contenders and assesses which teams are in the best spot to lift the trophy at Qwest Field.

World Cup Word On The Street: What To Do, What To See, What To Eat In South Africa

With the world writing about South Africa ahead of the 2010 World Cup, thought it was time to find out what people who actually live in the host country have to say.

We talked to three young, talented and passionate people who call the Rainbow Nation home.

Lucy Turner in Spain

While other clubs are fighting for silverware, worrying over bad results or wondering if they could do better, there's one team that is proving to be a revelation in the Spanish Primera División. Real Mallorca are reborn from the ashes and, with hardly any new faces, are comfortably in the top half of the table.

Italy: Serie A Wednesday Roundup + Table

Juventus moved up to second in Serie A after thrashing Sampdoria as AC Milan were denied three points by a dramatic comeback from Napoli.

AC Milan10442-116
Chievo Verona10424214
AS Roma10325-211

England: Wednesday's Carling Cup Reports

Arsenal 2 - 1 Liverpool

Arsenal's youngsters shine brightly again

Manchester City 5 - 1 Scunthorpe

Santa Cruz leads returning calvary

Chelsea 4 - 0 Bolton
Chelsea reserves thrash Megson's pussycats

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Brad Guzan the hero after Kenwyne Jones misses chance in spotlight

“His was a terrific performance,” O’Neill said of Guzan, who was standing in for Brad Friedel, his fellow American. “I think he’s a great goalkeeper in the making. He’s got everything in his locker and he’s as brave as they come. I can pay him no higher compliment than to say I expected him to make all those saves.”

England: Wednesday Carling Cup Previews

Arsenal vs. Liverpool

Chelsea vs. Bolton

Manchester City vs. Scunthorpe

Italy: Serie A Wednesday Preview

Luigi Del Neri believes Sampdoria's match at Juventus on Wednesday evening will provide a true indicator as to their potential.

Inter are set to welcome their top scorer Diego Milito back to the starting line-up for Thursday's game against fourth-placed Palermo with the Argentinian having shaken off a thigh injury.

Genoa and Fiorentina will battle it out at the Luigi Ferraris stadium with both sides looking to get their campaigns back on track.

FA to probe Oakwell trouble

The Football Association has confirmed they are to investigate reports of crowd disturbances in the clash between Barnsley and Manchester United.

There are reports that eight catering staff were trapped inside a food kiosk and had to barricade themselves in a store room for around 25 minutes as fans broke in and stole cash from the till and food from the shelves.

The till in question...

England: Tuesday Carling Cup Roundup

Manchester United bounced back from their weekend disappointment, while Tottenham, Portsmouth and Blackburn also reached the quarter-finals of the Carling Cup.

Paris Hilton: I Am Behind Real Madrid Star Cristiano Ronaldo’s Voodoo Curse

“I can’t stand it when someone is mean,” she complained to the weekly celebrity gossip publication. “I want a man anyway, not someone who runs about like a little girl. He’s a wimp!”

MLS: Top 10 Goals of the Season

From Landon Donovan's volley against New England to Claudio Lopez's strike against L.A., 2009 has seen a superb batch of goals.

Top 10 World Cup Goalkeeping Blunders

With the World Cup playoffs and draw just around the corner, Carlo Garganese looks at the Top 10 World Cup goalkeeping blunders of all time…

Real Madrid - From Embarrassment Of Riches To Pure Embarrassment

Google the word “AD Alcorcon”. Chances are the first thing you will notice is the glaring typo made by every football website across the globe. But there’s no typo. Alcorcon did beat Real Madrid 4-0 on Tuesday night.

Madrid name team worth £125m, with 465 caps and 95 honours - and are humbled 4-0 by third division Alcorcon

Freddie's Column: Enjoying life in Seattle

It was great to see the U.S. qualify for the World Cup and I think that's great for American soccer, but as a Swede, of course I'm upset that we couldn't qualify. Our biggest rival is Denmark and we knocked them out last qualification round and unfortunately they knocked us out this time.

And they are much more relaxed here in Seattle. It's been a total change from what I was used to in London. The people in Seattle just have a way about them -- they leave you in peace even if they recognize you. I can go out and walk my dog and it's a quiet neighborhood. It's just a great mentality.

Spurs spark a reserve revolution

A game against Dagenham & Redbridge at Spurs Lodge training ground last week saw a Spurs XI packed full of internationals take to the field eager for some much-needed match practice, but Redknapp has few qualms about the plight that established and highly-paid stars Bentley and Pavlyuchenko find themselves in.

Stoke City involved in mid-air plane scare

A private plane carrying the Potters back from Fratton Park was forced to make an emergency landing at Gatwick Airport after players became concerned by a burning smell in the cabin.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Please Sign This Petition Concerning ESPN

Stop the God-awful crawl ticker thingy during ESPN's soccer coverage. I'm tired of tying two scarves together and wrapping them around my television to block the crawl. Cheers to Jackie for passing this along. -Sanford

Stop the Crawl

Case in point...

Sid Lowe in Spain

Everyone knew Abel Resino was going to get the sack. What everyone didn't know was that Atlético would such a mess of it.

Nine coaches in one day? And still Atlético blow it in most ridiculous way.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"I had come from Man United with the slippers, dressing gowns and heated floors. All of a sudden I was getting changed in a tent, chasing ducks off the training pitch and cleaning up their mess. And they leave a mess like dogs, believe me."
Steve Bruce fondly recalls the day he left United to join Birmingham.

"If I'm offered the job I'll say I wanted it, if someone else gets it I'll say I never wanted it anyway."
Tranmere's caretaker boss Les Parry hasn't applied for the permanent job…or has he?

"It's been a strange weekend in the Premier League - I've seen Berbatov sprint and Nikolas Anelka smile."
5 live's Mike Ingham during Liverpool v Man Utd.

"Where were you in Istanbul?"
Liverpool fans give Michael Owen a warm welcome on his return to Anfield.

"Once a Manc, never a Red."
Before ramming the message home.

"Dunne Dunne Dunne Dunne, Dunne Dunne Dunne!"
To the tune of Indiana Jones. Aston Villa fans welcome Richard Dunne.

The Rest

Tim Vickery in South America

South America is a million miles away from contemporary, cosmopolitan western Europe. Distances are vast, mass salaries are low, air travel is expensive. There has been little significant mass immigration to the continent in decades.

England: Tuesday Carling Cup Preview

The first set of fixtures in the fourth round of the Carling Cup take place on Tuesday night as holders Manchester United bid to avoid an upset. Elsewhere, there are all-top-flight clashes as Sunderland host Aston Villa, Portsmouth welcome Stoke, and Everton visit Tottenham in the quest to reach the quarter-finals.

Italy: Serie A Worst Team of the Week looks at those who performed poorly in the ninth round of action...


Onyewu, Davies Face Uphill Climb To World Cup

The length of time for both injured American players to recuperate for the World Cup is short.

Americans In The UK: Dempsey Stuns Manchester City

The Texas native scored his first Premier League goal of the season on Sunday, grabbing an equalizer in Manchester to give Fulham a share of the points.

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

Last Friday, Atlético de Madrid's supremo, Enrique Cerezo, decided to fire the rojiblanco coach, Abel Resino. Just like all things Atlético, Abel's tenure was an emotional rollercoaster full of expectations, disappointments and a significant amount of comedy.

During these intense eight months, any sharp observer would distinguish four very different phases. Let's take a closer look at them.

Kevin McCarra: Vulnerability of Premier League's elite makes for engrossing entertainment

The leading sides are no longer good enough to feel safe – and that makes the season more compelling.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

A time-wasting ballboy dared to cross the Stuttgart goalkeeper as the club suffered a fourth straight defeat.

Jens Lehmann aims ire at Hannover ballboy after Stuttgart hit 'rock bottom'.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

The former Italy defender wasn't the only hero for Milan at Chievo, but the other one would have been far harder to predict.

Milan saved by Alessandro Nesta's brilliance and an unlikely helping hand.

Hull fines Altidore for tweeting apology

"It's going to cost him a lot of money, unfortunately," Brown said. "That for me is information that stays in house. The reason he wasn't on the bench was our business."

Get fired already, will you...?

Phil Ball in Spain

A mixed week for Spanish fortunes, with the country's leading European lights (at least in statistical terms), both slipping up in the Champions League, although Sevilla continued to make it look like child's play with a 3-1 win at Stuttgart. Champions League? They're 'aving a laugh. Chelsea had one as well, predictably stuffing Atlético Madrid 4-0 and condemning their manager, Abel Resino, to the social security queue.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Manchester United are negative, Birmingham should be more positive and Phil Brown fans are braced for the worst.

"...this was the most spineless, lily-livered and unforgivable performance of Ferguson's 23 years at the club."

Riots in Marseille after swine flu leads to postponement

Frédéric Thiriez, the president of the French Football League, has defended his handling of the decision to postpone Marseille's Ligue 1 match at home to Paris St Germain because of swine flu.