Friday, April 09, 2010

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast previews a record-setting Saturday and offers its picks for the extensive Week 3 slate.

The Joy of Six: Real Madrid v Barcelona El Clásico Classics

From an 11-1 shellacking to Johan Cruyff's high point in a Barcelona shirt, via the Alfredo di Stefano affair.

England: FA Cup & Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

In the FA Cup Semifinals at Wembley, Chelsea play Aston Villa on Saturday and Tottenham face Portsmouth on Sunday.

Six matches from England's top flight take place this weekend, including Hull City's crunch game with Burnley and champions Manchester United's trip to Blackburn Rovers. Elsewhere, relegation candidates West Ham United tackle Sunderland at home, fourth-placed Manchester City meet Birmingham City, Liverpool take on Fulham at Anfield, while Wolves face Stoke.
Preview I
Preview II

Lawro's Predictions

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Bayern visit struggling Leverkusen this weekend as Dortmund, who face Mainz, look to advance to third place.

Borussia M’gladbach – Eintracht Frankfurt

Hannover – Schalke
Hertha Berlin – Stuttgart
Hoffenheim – Koeln
Werder Bremen – Freiburg
Mainz – Borussia Dortmund
Bayer LeverkusenBayern Munich

Bochum – Hamburg
Nuernberg – Wolfsburg


Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

It is all shaping up nicely for Jose Mourinho's men who turn their focus back to domestic matters this weekend with another meeting against Fiorentina, this time in the league.

Roma host relegation-threatened Atalanta on the back of four straight wins and having extended their unbeaten run in the league to 22 games last weekend.

Milan, who trail three points behind Inter and are two adrift of Roma, will be hoping not to become Catania's next victims when the two sides meet at the San Siro on Sunday.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

All the attention is on the Real Madrid and Barcelona clash in a match that could decide the destination of the La Liga title.

Away from the Bernabeu there are two more potentially crucial matches in La Liga this weekend, one in the fight for a top-four spot and the other to avoid relegation.

At the summit, third-placed Valencia travel to fifth-placed Real Mallorca knowing a victory could all but guarantee them a Champions League berth.


Quotes & Chants of the Week

"He's PlayStation."
Arsene Wenger after Arsenal got themselves into another fine Messi at the Nou Camp.

"To call him PlayStation, as Mr Wenger did, is a great definition. I don't know what level he'd be at, though - three or even four."
Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola hails the virtual football played by his four-goal wonder kid.

"I am going to get drunk tonight."
Gianfranco Zola hits the bottle after his West Ham side showed plenty of it to snatch a point at Everton.

"I did nothing wrong. I didn't drop my trousers. If anything, I was being affectionate and tasteful!"
QPR boss Neil Warnock after showing his (clothed) backside to Leicester fans who mockingly asked him to give them a wave.

"If you've got any kind of wood, touch it now."
Swindon commentator while Town were 3-0 up against Leeds with minutes to go.

"Goal scored by Alison Desire or whatever his name is."
Dean Windass on Soccer Saturday after Alassane N'Daiye scored for Crystal Palace.

"King Kanu, Kanu,
He's older than me and you,
His real age is 62,
King Kanu, Kanu."
Sung at Fratton Park to the 'experienced' Nigerian.

The Rest

Premier League stars draw self-portraits for charity

That's actually not half bad, Rio...

The Rest

UEFA Europa League Wrap

Liverpool striker Fernando Torres will face former club Atletico Madrid in the semi-finals of the Europa League after both clubs advanced. Fulham's extraordinary European adventure will continue after a 1-0 win in Germany gave them a 3-1 aggregate victory over Wolfsburg.


Clint Dempsey Has a Thigh Injury

Couldn't really find any lengthy info on this, but he missed last night's victory over Wolfsburg and Fulham Gaffer Hodgson has been quoted as saying Deuce could be out for "some time." Hopefully it's nothing major -- Clint is a critical man for us if we're to do well in South Africa. I'll update when I can locate more details. -Sanford

Thursday, April 08, 2010

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Reports & Fallout

Manchester United 3 - 2 Bayern Munich
Kevin McCarra: Match Report
Richard Jolly: Bayern now kings of comeback
Paul Hayward: Ferguson's gamble falls flat
Oliver Kay: Robben's brilliance finishes United
David Pleat: Tactical Analysis
Sir Alex blasts "typical Germans"
Player Ratings I
Player Ratings II

Bordeaux 1 - 0 Lyon

Match Report
Oliver Butler: Lyon reach semis for first time
Player Ratings

UEFA Champions League: Robben's Goal

I can't get the bloody thing to embed so here's the link. The goal is at the 9:50 mark.

Now that Robben is starting to physically look more like Zidane I suppose it's only natural that he score volleys like Zidane...


Wednesday, April 07, 2010

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Quarter-Final Second Leg Previews

Who: Manchester United vs. Bayern Munich
Where: Old Trafford, Manchester, England
When: 2:45pm EDT
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel
First Leg Result: 1 - 2
Preview I
Preview II
Kevin McCarra: Old Trafford can rouse United
Phil McNulty: United must find cutting edge
Five concerns for Ferguson

Bordeaux vs. Lyon
Where: Chaban-Delmas, Bordeaux, France
When: 2:45pm EDT
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Plus
First Leg Result: 1 - 3
Preview I
Preview II
Bordeaux primed for showdown

Martin Tyler's Column

I was at Old Trafford on Saturday to see Chelsea extend their impressive Premier League record against Manchester United. They have now scored 46 goals against United in the Premier League (more than any other team), won 12 games against them (more than any other team) and picked up 50 points (again, more than any other team). They also have the most Premier League points at Old Trafford with 22. It was not the first time Chelsea have done the Premier League double over United (the previous occasion came in 2004/05 under Jose Mourinho).

Referee Mike Dean demoted after Manchester United v Chelsea errors

The Premier League referee Mike Dean has been demoted to the Championship this weekend, as a punishment for his erratic display in Manchester United's 2-1 defeat by Chelsea at Old Trafford last Saturday.

Sid Lowe in Spain

After Lionel Messi's performance against Arsenal everyone agrees he's the best in the world - but what took them so long?

'Mythical, universal, the Lord's anointed one' - Spain hails Leo Messi.

First XI: World Cup Goalkeepers

While attacking players often take the glory, it's worth remembering that a number of World Cup goalkeepers have contributed more than those in front of them.

This week's First XI looks at the greatest World Cup 'keepers. Some are selected as much for their overall quality as their World Cup performances, others purely for their impact at a particular tournament.

The battle for South African football's future

To say that the chairman of South Africa's World Cup Organising Committee (OC), Irvin Khoza, and his CEO, Danny Jordaan, do not get along is a bit like saying John Terry and Wayne Bridge aren't the best of friends.

And last week, one of the World Cup's most enthralling sub-plots - a tale of power, greed, ambition, political connections and long-established rivalry - lit up like an exploding arms depot. The intrigue could give John Le Carre a run for his money.

Lee Dixon's World Cup Scouting: Defensive Midfield

If there is one area of the England team that has divided opinion in recent years, it is the midfield.

The perennial problem for the England manager used to be who would play down the left.

The main bone of contention then became whether Chelsea's Frank Lampard and Liverpool skipper Steven Gerrard could play together in the middle, but, thanks to Gareth Barry's success as a holding midfielder, that is no longer an issue either.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Reports & Fallout

Barcelona 4 - 1 Arsenal
Kevin McCarra: Match Report
Harry Harris:
Arsenal blown away by Messi show
Oliver Kay: Messi leaves Arsenal dizzy
Dominic Fifield:
Cheeky, Unplayable, Untouchable
Matt Dickinson: Messi among best ever
David Pleat: Tactical Analysis
Wenger admits to fearing "empty future"
Player Ratings I
Player Ratings II

CSKA Moscow 0 - 1 Internazionale Milan
Nick Szczepanik:
Sneijder takes Inter on easy ride to semis

Marcos Haydon:
Imposing Inter make it look easy

Player Ratings

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Quarter-Final Second Leg Previews

Who: Barcelona vs. Arsenal
Where: Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
When: 2:45pm EDT
U.S. TV: Fox Sports Net
First Leg Result: 2-2
Preview I
Preview II
Sid Lowe: Pep wary of Walcott threat
Matt Hughes: Victory would be Arsenal's greatest ever
Walcott aims to rattle Barcelona

Who: CSKA Moscow vs. Inter Milan
Where: Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow, Russia
When: 12:30pm EDT
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel
First Leg Result: 0-1
Preview I
Preview II

Italy: Serie A Best and Worst of the Week

The Best

The Worst

Champions League gets a breath of fresh air as England loses grip on elite

For the time being the English clubs are battling for no more than survival. This comes as a small surprise because at least one of them has featured in each of the past five Champions League finals. Indeed, there has lately been a cluster of these sides in the semi-finals. From the viewpoint of the continent, our representatives must look like bindweed throttling everything else in the vicinity.

Sir Alex Ferguson rules out chances of Wayne Rooney starting against Bayern

The United manager this afternoon, however, suggested that Rooney has "no chance" of returning from injury, an outcome that appeared likely after the player did not train with the rest of the United squad this morning.

Americans On The Continent: Captain America

In a rather lackluster week for Americans on the Continent, Steve Cherundolo donned the captain’s armband as Hannover battled to a 0-0 draw away to Hamburg.

The Rest

Americans In The UK: Maurice Edu Wins One For Rangers

Edu had it going early, storming out with an attacking sense of purpose. The midfielder nearly scored within the first few minutes, but his 35-yard effort rattled the post. However, in the 11th minute, the American gave Rangers the only goal of the game when he slotted home an effort from seven yards out. Despite the hosts’ early exuberance, Rangers could not build on the lead. Rangers are locked in to the Scottish Premier League title, sitting 10 points ahead of second place Celtic.

The Rest

Can promotion bring the good times back to Newcastle?

Newcastle United's promotion has brought the good times back to Tyneside, just 11 months after relegation sent shockwaves reverberating around St James' Park.

Stuart Holden eyes Bolton return after fractured leg

United States midfielder Stuart Holden hopes to play in Bolton's last two Premier League matches against Tottenham and Birmingham.

Tim Vickery in South America

Reading Phil McNulty's blog after the Arsenal-Barcelona game, I was struck by the number of people who went out of their way to criticise the performance of Lionel Messi.

It is indicative of the enormous pressure the young Argentine will be under in the World Cup - the same pressure that broke his friend and former Barca team-mate Ronaldinho four years ago.

People are expecting circus tricks and something special in every game. It is the dilemma of the big name star in today's football.

The overkill of the marketing industry means that there is more focus than ever before on the top individuals - at a time when the physical and tactical development of the game makes football more collective than ever before.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Once again, the Etnei were galvanised by the occasion of the Sicilian derby. Palermo were only weighed down by it.

Maxi makes the earth move for Catania.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Louis van Gaal's side are filled with confidence. But have they set themselves up for a fall?

Self-congratulatory Bayern Munich reclaim top spot.

Sid Lowe in Spain

The Chilean striker's recent heroics mean his nickname Paquirrín is now seen in a different light.

Humberto Suazo: the fat boy who helped transform Zaragoza's season.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Martin Rogers' Weekend Review

4. Keep an eye on …

Edson Buddle. The Los Angeles Galaxy striker took his season tally to three goals in two games with a double in a 2-0 victory over local rival Chivas USA. Any American forward who is scoring regularly has some chance of forcing his way into the World Cup squad, given the shortage of in-form American front men right now.


Newcastle close in on promotion but will there be a rude awakening?

Chris Hughton has united a divided dressing room but the Magpies won't find their imminent Premier League return easy.


Song ruled out of Barcelona clash

Rooney may be back in time for Bayern clash

Robben may be back in time for United clash

England: Premier League Review & Reports

It is advantage Chelsea in the Premier League title race with five games remaining after they beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, but Arsenal continue to hang on in there following a late win over Wolves.

Elsewhere, Manchester City climbed into fourth after their humiliation of Burnley capitalised on Tottenham's thrilling loss at Sunderland, Liverpool stuttered once more, West Ham battled back for a big point versus Everton while Aston Villa and Fulham both got back on track.


Manchester United 1 - 2 Chelsea
Kevin McCarra at Old Trafford
Oliver Kay at Old Trafford
Daniel Taylor: Berbatov wastes his chance

Everton 2 - 2 West Ham
Harry Harris at Goodison Park

Burnley 1 - 6 Manchester City
Richard Jolly at Turf Moor

Arsenal 1 - 0 Wolves
Kevin Palmer at the Emirates Stadium
Alyson Rudd at the Emirates Stadium

Birmingham 1 - 1 Liverpool
Richard Jolly at St. Andrews

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

Inter Milan remained in pole position for a fifth successive title as Serie A's top three all won on Saturday.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

Both Real Madrid and Barcelona won their games, which means the former will start next week's El Clasico on top of La Liga.


Monday MLS Breakdown: Old Bond Leads Pena To New Home At D.C. United

The friendship between Jaime Moreno and Juan Manuel Pena laid the foundation for yet another Bolivian connection at D.C. United. Kyle McCarthy discusses Pena's arrival in the Monday MLS Breakdown.

England's Fifth Official: Rafa's tactical masterstroke

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a five-star weekend.