Friday, January 22, 2010

Grant Wahl: In Angola, a volatile mix of soccer and politics

I've seen plenty of examples over the years when sports and politics mix, when the world's most popular pastime and the pursuit of power combine to turn fútbol into anything but the simplest game. But I haven't ever been in the middle of such a palpably tense situation like this one in Cabinda, a complex landscape mixing soccer and politics, fear and violence, nationalism and rebellion.

There's a lot more than just soccer going on here.

Carlisle: Dempsey not out, but U.S. down

Outside of the fact that Dempsey will not be going under the knife -- which no doubt is a positive development -- Fulham's release is so vague as to offer little in the way of additional comfort.

U.S. Men's International Friendly:
Saturday U.S. vs. Honduras Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif. 9 p.m. ET
TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Premier League Heroes: Juninho

With his jinking runs and mesmeric turns, Juninho consistently gave Premier League defenders nightmares during three spells at Middlesbrough, adding a touch of Brazilian samba style to one of English football's traditionally unglamorous outfits.

The Mill +

Friday's Rumours


The Joy of Six: Counter-Attacking Goals

From Terry McDermott's Scouse sonata to a Nigel Jemson gem, here are half a dozen blistering breakaways.

Freddy Adu Eagerly Anticipating Aris Thessaloniki Debut

The 20-year-old could make his full debut against Panathanaikos this weekend and Adu can hardly wait.

England: Premier League and FA Cup Previews & Predictions

Only one match in the EPL this weekend as Manchester United host Hull City. Rio is expected to make his long-awaited return. Preview is here.

Meanwhile, it's primarily an FA Cup weekend with Villa switching Cup duties to face Brighton, Chelsea traveling to Preston North End, Arsenal going to Stoke, Tottenham facing Leeds and Everton hosting Birmingham among other fixtures. Full weekend preview is here.

Lawro's Predictions

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Reigning champions Barca will be in buoyant mood for their trip to fourth-bottom Real Valladolid following yesterday's news that sextuple-winning coach Pep Guardiola has committed himself to the club for next season. Madrid are in action on Sunday, along with Sporting Gijon-Racing Santander, Tenerife-Valencia, Villarreal-Real Zaragoza and Espanyol-Real Mallorca.


Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Bremen host Bayern, Hoffenheim visit Leverkusen, and Dortmund face off against Hamburg in this weekend’s action.

Freiburg – Stuttgart

Hertha Berlin – Borussia M’gladbach
Mainz – Hannover
Nuernberg – Eintracht Frankfurt
Bochum – Schalke
Werder BremenBayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund – Hamburg

Wolfsburg – Koeln
Hoffenheim – Bayer Leverkusen

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

AC Milan coach Leonardo believes Sunday night's Milan derby could not have come at a better time for his side.

Roma and Juventus will both be rooting for Milan. They clash 24 hours earlier in Turin with third place up for grabs.

The Turin outfit are two points behind Roma and desperate to return to winning ways having lost four of their last five games.


Italian Serie A Preview: Internazionale Milan vs. AC Milan

When: Sunday, January 24, 2010, 2:45 EST.
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan, Italy
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel

Inter - Milan Best 11

Top 5 Games of the Past

Top 10 Things to Expect (Satirical)

African Nations Cup: Review Of Round Three

The pairings have already set up some truly interesting match-ups

with Egypt against Cameroon the most interesting of all, a replay of the final at Ghana 2008. World Cup-bound Ivory Coast and Algeria will take on each other, while hosts Angola will entertain last time's hosts Ghana. Nigeria will play surprise Group D winners Zambia for the first time in the tournament since their 1994 final which Nigeria won 2-1.

The Big Interview: Alberto Aquilani

Injury has ruined the Italian's first season at Anfield first season but he is back and so are Liverpool.

George Best is Drunk on TV

Which is bad, of course, but is the green suit worse...?

Tevez slams ''sock-sucker'' Neville

In another interview, broadcast on ESPN Radio in Argentina, Carlos Tevez has again lashed out at Gary Neville, calling him a ''sock-sucker'' and branding him a ''moron'' for his lack of respect in his pre-match comments about the striker ahead of the Carling Cup semi-final.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

From Los Angeles To Birmingham, Brad Guzan Eyes Glory For Aston Villa And The USA

Bradley Edwin Guzan – that’s Brad Guzan to the rest of us – is making his mark for Aston Villa this season and last night helped his team book a trip to Wembley in a thrilling League Cup semi-final second-leg encounter.

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


ACN: Thursday's Previews

Cameroon vs. Tunisia:

Indomitable Lions must win the game to guarantee progress

Gabon vs. Zambia:

Zambia eye last eight berth

ACN: Wednesday's Reports

Egypt 2-0 Benin:
The Pharaohs Finish Group Stage With Perfect Record

Nigeria 3-0 Mozambique:
Super Eagles Tame Mambas For A Comfortable Win

England: Wednesday's Premier League Reports, Analysis, Tabletop

Arsenal 4 - 2 Bolton Wanderers

Dominic Fifield:
Arshavin takes Arsenal top after fightback
Oliver Kay:
Rosicky inspires amazing comeback
Paul Hayward:
16 games for Arsenal's nerve to hold

Liverpool 2 - 0 Tottenham

Richard Jolly:
Determined Liverpool show signs of revival
Andy Hunter:
Kuyt scores twice to sink Spurs
Harry Harris:
Anfield remains epicentre of surprises
Phil McNulty:
Have Spurs got nerve for top four?
Overall Home Away
1 Arsenal 22 15 3 4 59 25 9 1 1 34 11 6 2 3 25 14 34 48
2 Chelsea 21 15 3 3 52 18 10 1 0 34 8 5 2 3 18 10 34 48
3 Manchester United 22 15 2 5 49 19 9 1 1 27 8 6 1 4 22 11 30 47
4 Tottenham Hotspur 22 11 5 6 42 24 7 1 3 26 8 4 4 3 16 16 18 38
5 Manchester City 21 10 8 3 42 30 7 3 0 26 14 3 5 3 16 16 12 38
6 Liverpool 22 11 4 7 40 26 7 2 2 28 11 4 2 5 12 15 14 37
7 Aston Villa 21 10 6 5 29 18 6 3 2 17 7 4 3 3 12 11 11 36
8 Birmingham 21 9 6 6 21 19 5 4 2 9 6 4 2 4 12 13 2 33
9 Fulham 21 7 6 8 26 24 6 2 2 15 6 1 4 6 11 18 2 27
10 Everton 21 6 8 7 30 34 4 5 2 16 15 2 3 5 14 19 -4 26

England: Carling Cup Report & Reaction

Aston Villa 6 - 4 Blackburn Rovers

Kevin McCarra: Ashley Young fires Aston Villa past Blackburn Rovers to Wembley

Allardyce cries foul after defeat

Oh, why do I loath this man so...?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

England: Wednesday Previews

Carling Cup Semifinal Second Leg:
Aston Villa vs. Blackburn (1-0 Aggr.)

Premier League:
Liverpool vs. Tottenham
The race for fourth continues at Anfield

Premier League:
Arsenal vs. Bolton
Gunners can go top by repeating Sunday's result

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"We know in football there's two things which happen to football managers: you
do well and you move on or you don't and you're moved on."
Owen Coyle after joining Bolton from Burnley.

"These stories have as much relation to the truth as an egg to a chestnut."
Racing Santander president Francisco Pernia finds an interesting way to scotch rumours that teenage star Sergio Canales is leaving.

"I had Micah Richards as a 16-year-old and he was a man then. I don't know what he is now, probably a bigger man."
Kevin Keegan at half-time during the Blackburn-Man City match on ESPN.

"Why is it that everyone who takes their shirt off during a football match is fat?"
5 live commentator during the Blackburn-Villa match.

"Fergie, Fergie sign him up!"
Manchester City fans to United rivals after Carlos Tevez scored twice in the League Cup semi-final.

"There's only one Gary Megson."
Arsenal fans to Bolton.

The Rest

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


ACN: Burkina Faso 0-1 Ghana: Black Stars Tame Stallions To Slip Into Quarter-Finals

The Black Stars made it to the last eight after racing ahead of the Stallions in a 1-0 nervy game.

Ricardo Clark Signs With German Side Eintracht Frankfurt

Houston Dynamo and U.S. international midfielder Ricardo Clark has signed a contract with Bundlesliga team Eintracht Frankfurt until the end of the season with an option for three more years.

Carling Cup Report & Fallout: Manchester City 2 - 1 Manchester United

Kevin McCarra:
Tevez surge leaves United reeling

Richard Jolly: Tevez proves his worth

Neville risks FA wrath over gesture
Tevez grabs his chance to make Sir Alex squirm

Player Ratings

Injured Dempsey given World Cup boost

There were fears that Dempsey had suffered cruciate ligament damage after picking up an injury during Fulham's 2-0 defeat at Blackburn Rovers on Sunday, but a scan has revealed that he does not require surgery to fix the problem.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

U.S. World Cup Hopes Take a Hit

With Oguchi Onyewu and Charlie Davies both having suffered serious injuries, Bradley can barely afford any kind of fitness setback. The loss of Dempsey, though, would be felt more severely than that of virtually any other player in the squad.

Carling Cup Semi-Final Previews: Manchester City vs. Manchester United

In more than two decades at Old Trafford, Sir Alex Ferguson has been accustomed to looking upon Manchester City with varying degrees of bemusement, derision and pity.

Distaste has been a recent addition, since those “noisy neighbours” gained the hauteur of lottery winners. So it must have been through gritted teeth yesterday that he found himself acknowledging the threat that they suddenly pose to Manchester United.

Mancini to Offer Ferguson Peace and Pizza

The Mill + ++

Tuesday's Rumours



Sid Lowe in Spain

If Athletic Bilbao beat Madrid partly thanks to Fernando Llorente, they mainly won thanks to the goalkeeper in the midfielder's kit.

Real Madrid repelled as Gorka Iraizoz emulates the Squid.

Tim Vickery in South America

Tournaments are like time speeded up - teams can suddenly come together, or fall apart.

Each tournament has its own dynamics, so it would be unwise to draw definitive conclusions for the World Cup from a competition taking place six months earlier.

But if the Africa Cup of Nations is a good opportunity for five World Cup-bound teams to get some competitive match practice, it is also a great chance for their future opponents to do some reconnaissance.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

By achieving results much better than the quality of his squad warrants, Michael Skibbe's ambitious outlook has been validated.

Eintracht Frankfurt enter 'taboo zone' and keep punching above their weight.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Working out how best to combine his forwards may prove a headache for Claudio Ranieri, but he's unlikely to be complaining.

Luca Toni begins to repay Totti's faith as Roma eye Champions League berth.

Sullivan and Gold seal West Ham takeover

David Sullivan admits West Ham are in an 'incredibly bad situation'

• Purchase 'makes no sense commercially', admits Sullivan
• Club had needed to raise £20m by summer without takeover

Affican Cup of Nations: Updates

Round Two: Review

Knee injury knocks Essien out of tournament

Mali cry foul as Algeria and Angola progress

Cameroon 3 - 2 Zambia: Cameroon stay alive

Current Standings

Phil Ball in Spain

How wonderful it is when a player suddenly arrives on the scene and lights up a league in such an unexpected way, in such an unexpected place. Which is not to say that Santander or the Cantabrian region has never produced players of quality - far from it - but there was an air of decline about the Sardinero this season that has suddenly been replaced by the sort of smiles of renewal that a new-born baby can bring to the household. Let's not over-emote, but all you have to do is to watch a few minutes of Sergio Canales on YouTube to realise that this is no false prophesy.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Italy: Serie A Weekend Round-ups

Inter Milan came from two goals down to rescue a point against Bari, while Cagliari thrashed Livorno 3-0.

AC Milan closed the gap on Serie A leaders Inter Milan as the pressure increased on Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara following another defeat

Dempsey injures knee in Premier League game

Clint Dempsey faces a long layoff after injuring a knee during Fulham's 2-0 loss at Blackburn on Sunday, the latest blow to American preparations for the World Cup.

England: Premier League Weekend Review + Special Reports

In this season of swift conclusions by the media, one must be wary of predicting any side's fate for often fortunes can be flipped on their head in the next round of matches. That said, it does appear England's top-flight crown will head to either Chelsea, Manchester United or Arsenal after a seven-point gap between third and fourth opened up.

Everton 2 - 0 Manchester City
Richard Jolly: Robinho not working out at City

Chelsea 7 - 2 Sunderland
Kevin Palmer: Sorry Sunderland collapse at the Bridge

Bolton 0 - 2 Arsenal
Harry Harris: Fabregas fires Arsenal title bid