Friday, April 23, 2010
Tottenham aim to make it a memorable hat-trick when they lock horns with Manchester United, Spurs' top-four rivals Manchester City head to Arsenal while Aston Villa tackle derby foes Birmingham.
Elsewhere, table-toppers Chelsea look to return to winning ways against Stoke City while struggling trio Hull City, West Ham and Burnley have home games against Sunderland, Wigan and Liverpool respectively.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham: Preview I
Manchester United vs. Tottenham: Preview II
Arsenal vs. Manchester City: Preview
Barcelona will hope to end a disappointing week on a high against Xerez as top plays bottom in La Liga.
All was looking rosy for Pep Guardiola's side this time last week but a goalless draw with Espanyol allowed second-placed Real Madrid to cut their advantage at the summit back to one point with five games remaining.
Roma host Sampdoria on Sunday night on the back of six straight victories.
Inter host relegation-threatened Atalanta on Saturday with all eyes set on the Nerazzurri's controversial striker Mario Balotelli.
Balotelli threw his Inter jersey on the pitch after coming on as a second half substitute against Barca but is set to play this weekend.
Milan go into the final four weeks of the season in third place and seven points behind league leaders Roma.
The Bundesliga’s European hopefuls all have fixtures against lower-ranked opponents this weekend, but no match will be easy.
Bochum – Stuttgart
Nuernberg – Borussia Dortmund
Hertha Berlin – Schalke
Borussia M’gladbach – Bayern Munich
Bayer Leverkusen – Hannover
Mainz – Eintracht Frankfurt
Werder Bremen – Koeln
Hoffenheim – Hamburg
Freiburg – Wolfsburg
Bayern Munich's lucky charm threatens Lionel Messi's status as the Champions League's stand-out player.
At their first World Cup four years ago, Ghana's campaign came off the wheels when Chelsea star and midfielder Michael Essien missed the second round clash against Brazil.
Even with him the Black Stars' hopes were slim but without a man whose group displays were heroic, those hopes were wafer-thin - as shown when Brazil won 3-0.
Now Ghana's World Cup dreams are being revised again with the news the midfielder may not just miss the last five months of Chelsea's season but June's finals as well, because of a nagging knee problem.
Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur have enjoyed some of the most exciting matches in Premier League history.
This weekend's opponents have thrilled their supporters with several barnstorming meetings. From incredible comebacks to last-minute equalisers, this game has rarely disappointed.
Goal.com UK looked back at the most gripping contests between the two sides...
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Vilnius. Perm. Sofia. Rome. Donetsk. Turin. Wolfsburg. Hamburg. It looks more like a list of destinations you could fly to for £9.99 on a low-cost airline, but it actually tells the remarkable story of Fulham's trailblazing adventures through Europe this season.
Right back: Branislav Ivanovic (Chelsea)
The competition here was so poor that, for a time, I was going to pick Carlos Cuellar, Aston Villa’s makeshift right back. Ivanovic, who prefers to play at centre-half, is no Maicon either and has had a few iffy games, but, in an unimpressive field – Bacary Sagna strangely below par, Glen Johnson inconsistent, Vedran Corluka not wholly convincing – the Serbia defender makes it by default.
Oops! Wrong Ivanovic. Sorry...
The South Coast club would have qualified to play in Europe next season after reaching the FA Cup final against Chelsea - who will be in the Champions League - but the club’s administrators have been told that any late application for a Uefa club licence will not be considered.
Portsmouth: The Great Betrayal
2. Kolo Toure & Joleon Lescott (Manchester City, £14 million & £22 million)
With money no object, Mark Hughes went shopping for defenders. And while John Terry eventually opted to stay at Chelsea, the former Manchester City manager had the opportunity to assemble an enviable back four. He produced a ridiculed one. Kolo Toure fared rather worse than his cheaper replacement at Arsenal, Thomas Vermaelen, while Joleon Lescott appeared, especially in the first half of the season, unnerved by the price tag and a rather lesser player than the man who excelled for Everton. And as Roberto Mancini has discovered, City's most reliable centre back is one who was already at the club: Vincent Kompany.
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Who: Bayern Munich vs. Lyon
When: 2:45pm EDT
Where: Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Paul Marshall: Lyon on road to success
Paul Doyle: Lyon's Lloris one of the best
John Terry gets called a lot of names these days and he’s getting used to it. Abuse and vitriol from opposing fans cascades down from the stands on the tainted Chelsea defender every week.
Terry’s failings and infidelities in his private life have spawned a wider examination of his on-field productivity, and in the closing weeks of the English Premier League season, he is failing the test.
Sunderland have blamed the notoriety of Manchester United’s travelling support for the decision to issue just 1,700 tickets to visiting fans for the May 2 fixture at the Stadium of Light.
Footballers who return to old clubs gamble with their legacy but the former Chelsea player is sure he made the right decision.
Andriy Shevchenko hoping for perfect swansong to career at Dynamo Kyiv.
The Cottagers' manager has taken the club from the brink of relegation to a remarkable Europa League odyssey.
Internazionale Milan 3 - 1 Barcelona
Roberto Gotta at San Siro
Kevin Buckley at San Siro
Matt Hughes at San Siro
Richard Williams: Inter add style to substance
Barcelona ran 10k less against Inter than against Arsenal
Balotelli criticized by teammates after tantrum
The first leg of this rearranged journey to the Vicente Calderón and the Europa League semi-final first leg is an eye-opener for all concerned. For the cosseted millionaires of Liverpool Football Club, there is the rare taste of public transport. For the rest of us – the accompanying party of 20 journalists – it is the rare experience of first class without hiding in the toilets when the ticket inspector appears. And free drink.
Thierry Braillard, counsel for Govou, told the media: “My client wishes to assert the he is not remotely related to any pimping network. This affair wounds him deep because it affects his family and their honour.”
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
What: Champions League Semi-Final First Leg
Who: Inter Milan vs. Barcelona
When: 2:45pm EDT
Where: San Siro, Milan, Italy
U.S. TV: Fox Sports Net
Richard Williams: Mourinho faces toughest test
Roberto Gotta: Inter's date with destiny
Mourinho has little sympathy for Barca travel woe
Guardiola the Conqueror
The Making of Mourinho
The former Liverpool winger, who has not played since December, expects to return for his club Galatasaray this weekend but has only four games in which to prove his fitness before the end of the league season.
Barça's neighbours waited 13 years to have a stadium of their own again, and it hasn't taken long to settle in.
Espanyol make their new home a fortress to derail Barcelona.
The Bundesliga could soon witness the disconcerting spectacle of an English manager with a fake German accent.
McClaren and Houllier in the frame to resurrect slumping Hamburg.
Hauling off two club idols left the manager in danger of being pilloried, but his gutsy changes kept Roma top.
Courageous Claudio Ranieri's tinkering pays off for Roma.
"I know Drogba is a world-class player, but he could play world-class volleyball on that evidence."
Bolton boss Owen Coyle gives a verbal volley to Didier Drogba, after the Chelsea striker's handball went unpunished.
Coyle wonders whether John Terry is actually Inspector Gadget in disguise.
"He put youths who hadn't even trained with us before on the bench, along with
me. I was the nanny."
Ex-Rangers player Jerome Rothen claims Walter Smith turned him into the Mary Poppins of the squad.
David Pleat: "I know Modric's dentist. And his dentist thinks he's a super, super guy."
Commentator 2: "You can tell a lot about someone from dental records."
One of the most bizarre pieces of commentary I've ever heard from the Spurs-Chelsea match!
"I expect Manchester to win."
Cristiano Ronaldo's Sky Sports exclusive Manchester derby preview.
"Que sera sera,
Wherever we'll be, we'll be
We're going to Wem-berlee.
Que sera sera."
Portsmouth fans after seeing their team beat Spurs in the FA Cup semi-final....at Wembley.
"Adebayor, Adebayor - he scores more than Berbatov, who cost a lot more."
Quickly followed by...."Adebayor, Adebayor, but when we sign Torres he's out of the door."
Manchester City fans.
Lichaj scored his first English goal on Saturday, aiding his team in their League One survival push.
There has been a lot going on this week, quite apart from the double whammy of league fixtures and their consequences for the final gasps of this campaign. The Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) called off a possible strike for this last weekend - although it never really looked as though they were serious - and then actually did some good for the game, instead of arguing about whether super-rich foreign players should pay a bit more tax or not. The meeting ended with greater guarantees for the players of Segunda 'B', increasing a fund to pay players' salaries when their clubs cannot, or will not, pay up.
|Deportivo La Coruña||33||12||8||13||-9||44|
Liverpool 3 - 0 West Ham
Richard Jolly at Anfield
|West Ham United||35||31|
Monday, April 19, 2010
Edson Buddle scored twice to hand Los Angeles a fourth consecutive victory and increase his season tally to seven. Buddle's early-season form presents a difficult choice for U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley, according to Kyle McCarthy.
To watch Pique in this gifted Barça team is to see not a junior player but one who takes initiatives. To hear from his colleagues is to recognise that his combination of self-belief and leadership spreads easily from pitch to dressing-room.
We had become accustomed to the top three losing a total of between 11 and 16 matches a season. This season Chelsea, United and Arsenal have lost 21 and there are three matches each to play. This is partly because of relative financial constraints and partly the improvement of the chasing pack (although neither Manchester City nor Aston Villa have yet had full value for their investments).
Tottenham leave egg on our faces, Wenger sums up Arsenal's plight, Arteta takes inspiration from the Three Stooges, Mancini brings an old joke to mind and that kiss was just wrong.
In a story of north v south and hero v Mourinho, Roma's Claudio Ranieri is on the verge of an extraordinary triumph.
During the day the police made 20 arrests, including 10 for public order offences and one for breaching a banning order. When the teams met in the Carling Cup semi-final in January, police searches at the gates led to golf balls and darts being confiscated from the United fans. On this occasion no weapons were found.
Torres's absence for the closing stages of the campaign is the latest blow for Liverpool in a season which has been beset by injuries to key players and poor form as the expected push for a first title since 1990 petered out early on.
The first leg had been in doubt because of the cloud of volcanic ash that has drifted from Iceland and grounded flights across Europe.
Uefa is expected to announce later on Monday whether Liverpool's semi-final against Atletico Madrid will be played on the same night in Spain.
Inter Milan held off the challenge of a courageous 10-man Juventus to move back to the top of Serie A thanks to a 2-0 win on Friday night. Roma restored their one-point lead over Inter Milan at the top of Serie A after overcoming city rivals Lazio.