Friday, August 20, 2010

Edgar Davids completes shock move to Crystal Palace

The 37-year-old former Holland midfielder has come out of retirement to sign a pay-as-you-play deal with the Eagles.

Davids, who counts AC Milan, Inter Milan, Juventus and Tottenham among his former clubs, last played a competitive match two years ago for Ajax.

Gabriele Marcotti on Real Madrid

There are six new signings, five of whom are 23 or younger. They include teenager Sergio Canales, possibly the most exciting young forward in Spain since the days of Fernando Torres; Pedro Leon, one of the most underrated wingers in La Liga last year; Angel Di Maria, a versatile attacking midfielder who at 22 is a mainstay for Argentina; and Sami Khedira and Mesut Ozil, two of the brightest stars from the young Germany side that turned so many heads at the World Cup. Rounding out the group is Ricardo Carvalho, the kind of veteran defender who has been loyal and effective for Mourinho at Porto and Chelsea. He's 32, but by signing him to only a two-year deal, Real has limited the risk of a sudden decline in skills.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Making room for Ozil presents a problem for Real Madrid.

Bundesliga Season Preview - A Comprehensive Look At The 2010-11 Season In Germany's Clark Whitney takes a close look at each team contesting for the 2010-11 Bundesliga title.

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Newly-promoted Blackpool go in search of their second Premier League victory in as many matches, but their task will be far tougher than their opening day fixture as they travel to Emirates Stadium to meet Arsenal.

Elsewhere during the second round of encounters for the 2010/11 campaign, Tottenham Hotspur will aim for better form than their midweek European display when they head to Stoke City, champions Chelsea face already worrying Wigan Athletic while Fulham manager Mark Hughes locks horns with his former club Manchester United in the weekend's final clash.

David Hirshey Previews

Tom Adams previews Newcastle vs. Aston Villa
Jon Carter previews Arsenal vs. Blackpool

Lawro's Predictions

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast contemplates Nery Castillo's role in Chicago before sharing its Week 21 selections.

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Friday's Rumours


Raphael Honigstein in Germany: Bundesliga 2010-11 Season Preview

Expect plenty of goals, interesting characters and a healthy dose of Teutonic madness as the German season kicks off.

The Joy of Six: Childhood Football Memories

From Metgod's rocket to being covered in jam at a classic Uefa Cup final, Guardian writers recall some early football memories.

Soccer Made in Germany = my childhood football memories...

Schaerlaeckens: Will MLS rules hinder future growth?

Some day, when Major League Soccer's history is no longer counted in years but in decades, maybe we'll look back on the current transfer window as the dawning of an era -- a time when the league truly came of age. That things might have turned a corner for the league forever grappling for commercial traction was evident when the Chicago Fire hosted the New York Red Bulls on Aug. 8. With five well-known designated players (four of them recent signings) on the field, it was undeniable that MLS's on-field product, a focus of the league since its inception, had leaped forward.

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

The new season is upon us and Off The Ball will be scratching around the underbelly of professional football for the duration of the campaign to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Cardiff fans are so delighted to sign Craig Bellamy they're happy to have the wrong name on their shirts, Nicolas Anelka mocks the FFF "clowns", Mido scuppers the 11th move of his career just by turning up and the best of the Young Boys puns.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Who would want to be a young star at Chelsea?

Neymar, the prodigious young Brazilian striker whom Chelsea are so keen to sign, was put on the spot earlier this week at a sponsor's event in his homeland. Asked about the interest shown by the Premier League champions, the 18-year-old's reply identified an issue that may come to haunt Chelsea. "I don't know if I'll stay or go. But leaving the country to end up in the reserves doesn't interest me, it would be better to stay here."

With that comment the Santos boy hit the nail on the head – why warm the bench at Chelsea while Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka rattle in the goals, when he could be perfectly happy in the state of Sao Paulo?

Martin Tyler's Column

Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is back for the new season.

Every week he will be here to offer you statistical gems to make your day, impress your mates and, on occasion, to settle the odd bet.

Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.

Europa League Playoff Preview: Liverpool vs. Trabzonspor

Without the luxury of UEFA Champions League football this season, Liverpool have the group stages of the Europa League in sight when they take on Trabzonspor.

Fight Mars Copa Libertadores Final

After seeing his team lose the Copa Libertadores final 3-2, midfielder Marco Fabian De la Mora was punched by a man who entered the field to celebrate Internacional's victory.

The attack sparked a scuffle between players from both clubs and left Jose Luis Real — manager of the Mexican outfit — fuming.

Tim Vickery in South America

The prospect of the first Mexican winners of the Copa Libertadores flickered briefly on Wednesday night. In last week's first leg of the final, Chivas Guadalajara had been outplayed and beaten 2-1 at home by Internacional of Brazil. Few people gave them much of a chance in the return game. In front of their own fans in Porto Alegre, Internacional had a 100 percent home record.

But, shortly before halftime, Chivas took the lead and leveled the aggregate score, with the talented Marco Fabian hooking home an excellent shot on the turn.

Brazilian nerves were jangling, and no wonder. Was the curse of the Libertadores about to strike once more?

Arsenal Fanshare: What Does it Mean?

What is the purpose of the scheme?

To provide genuine fan ownership and influence in the running of Arsenal as a means of safeguarding the club’s values.

Manchester United and Manchester City: Football's version of Liam and Noel

Believe it or not, there remains a healthy rivalry between supporters of Manchester United and Manchester City within the confines of the Mancunian city limits.

For all the jibes about ‘Bitter Blues’ and ‘Stretford Rangers,’ there is no divide within the city, no pub or particular area is a no-go zone for those wearing the wrong colours and, while the ugly stain of Munich chants continues to provide a blemish on the fringes, United and City actually co-exist quite happily in the same city.

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


U.S. National Team Announces Poland Friendly

U.S. Soccer announced today that the men's national team will face Poland in a return to Chicago's Soldier Field on Oct. 9. The match kicks off at 7 PM CT and will be televised nationally on Fox Soccer Channel and Univision. Furthermore, the match falls on a FIFA fixture date, meaning that clubs are required to release their players and both coaches can draw upon their biggest stars.

Norman Hubbard on Blackpool

There is something about the unlikely that captures the imagination. It is more pronounced in a world where status seems a direct product of material wealth and where unpredictability can be ruthlessly stamped out by those in the ascendant. It is scarcely surprising, then, that Blackpool's superlative start to life in the Premier League has attracted attention.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Henry Winter: Arsenal Fanshare should be adopted by all Premier League clubs

Ever since directors at a board meeting in early 1939 suggested the team should probably cancel their summer tour of Europe, Arsenal have always tried to act with a touch of prescience.

Renewed fears for future of World Cup stadiums

Too small for cricket and passed over by rugby, the stadiums that cost South Africa more than $1 billion for this year’s World Cup already appear to be turning into white elephants.

Mourinho snaps up Ozil as Chelsea and United miss out

Jose Mourinho has beaten his former club Chelsea and Sir Alex Ferguson to secure the signing of Mesut Ozil, the German playmaker who was one of the stars of this summer's World Cup, for his refashioned Real Madrid.

Manchester City are making a big mistake in letting Craig Bellamy leave Eastlands

Bellamy is exactly the sort of player Roberto Mancini should be trying to retain. The Italian has added a combustible character to the dressing room in Mario Balotelli and may not want Bellamy around to upset what could be a delicate balancing act in terms of keeping egos in check, but the Welshman is a proven Premier League performer. At times last season he was nigh on unplayable, and his pace, versatility and directness would be an asset to any top-flight team.

The Question: What is a playmaker's role in the modern game?

A creator not a scorer, who can play deep or interchangeably as a second striker, it is a position that's difficult to define.

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Wednesday's Rumours


Nicolas Anelka laughs at 'nonsense' 18-match French ban

Nicolas Anelka says he is "laughing" after being banned for 18 games by the French Football Federation (FFF) over his conduct at this summer's World Cup.

Arsenal step back from era of rich owners and offer fans a voice

Arsenal supporters will be invited today to buy shares in their club in affordable slices of the £10,250, which is the current prohibitive price of just one. The Arsenal Supporters Trust hopes that its scheme, Arsenal Fanshare, five years in the planning, will enable supporters to slowly build a meaningful stake and voice, and help preserve Arsenal as the only major Premier League club not owned by a single rich individual.

Edgar Davids could be as much educator as enforcer at Crystal Palace

Crystal Palace's attempt to sign Edgar Davids on a pay as you play deal may make sense for a club coming back from the brink.

MLS beginning to mimic NASL with talent imbalance, rapid expansion

Pele isn't dancing at Studio 54. The Cosmos aren't the night-life kings of New York. But suddenly pro soccer is starting to look a lot like 1977, with Major League Soccer morphing into the NASL.

Tottenham back from brink against Young Boys to keep dream alive

Young Boys
3 - 2

David Hytner at Stade de Suisse

'Arry blames the turf

Spurned Ballack targets titles with Bayer

While Bayern stars Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery were already adding a touch of star quality to the Bundesliga last season, the biggest name in German football is back on home soil, with Michael Ballack telling Soccernet that he is relishing his new challenge at Bayer Leverkusen.

Neymar following famous footsteps

To say that Brazil has a history of unearthing young talent would be considered quite an understatement. When a country counts the likes of Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho, Kaka and Robinho among its former teenage prodigies, you can rest assured that it knows a thing or two about developing young players.

Samir Nasri out for a month following knee surgery

Arsenal have confirmed that Nasri requires surgery and that the midfielder will now miss around four weeks of the season.

Americans Abroad: Michael Bradley shines, while Tim Howard flops

After all the hype and speculation surrounding a major transfer for Michael Bradley in the aftermath of the World Cup, the 23-year-old New Jersey native stayed put at Borussia Monchengladbach, and the Bundesliga club couldn't be happier to have him.

Why Arsenal are so wrong to dismiss importance of winning FA Cup or League Cup

It has become not so much a monkey on the back of Arsenal but a great big strapping ape.

Arsenal have not won a trophy since 2005 and, as the new Premier League season prepared for the big kick-off last week, it was not just the supporters and media who were relentlessly noting this fact.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Aiden McGeady: I had to leave Celtic for Spartak Moscow because death threats and abuse got too much for me

In a searingly honest and hard-hitting interview, McGeady tells of his life in the public eye where he was the victim of death threats and constant abuse that soured his view of his home city and threatened to turn him into a paranoid wreck.

Americans On The Continent: Early Goings

With most of the major European leagues just beginning their grueling seasons, there were few highlights to report from the weekend. One bright spot was USMNT and Borussia Monchengladbach center midfielder Michael Bradley’s performance in Germany’s cup competition, the DFB Pokal. Bradley opened his side’s scoring in the 38th minute and played for 90 minutes as he led his team to a 3-1 victory over FC Erzgebirge Aue.

Stjarnan Roll Out Yet More New Celebrations v Haukar: Swimming & Rowing

Stjarnan came to prominence last month with their wacky celebrations and are now so well known globally that there is now quite a large worldwide media presence at their games.

Getting kinda lame...

Barton vows to keep his moustache until Newcastle win

The longer they go without their first victory, the hairier it could get for Newcastle in this season's Premier League - in more ways than one.

Spurred on by a challenge from team-mates, midfielder Joey Barton has grown a moustache, which he refuses to shave off until the Magpies win a game.

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


England: Monday Night Football Reports

Manchester United 3 - 0 Newcastle United

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

Marcela Mora y Araujo in Argentina

Rebuilding the sense of team after the painful World Cup exit, and following on from the discharge of Diego Maradona, was never going to be easy for Argentina.

Only a handful of Argentinian press travelled to Dublin, to cover the 1-0 friendly win against Ireland on last Tuesday, which marked the international soccer launch of the new Aviva stadium, as well as that of Sergio "Checho" Batista's interim appointment to the adult men's squad.

Steve Davis on Major League Soccer

Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things to take away from Week 20:

Spurs Target Euro Elite

It is very early in the season to be throwing around footballing clichés like "do-or-die", "make-or-break" and "win-or-bust" but Tottenham's Champions League tie with Young Boys of Berne can be described as all three.

At stake over two legs is a place in the group stages of the prestigious competition, promising riches, glamour and glory to all those clubs who make it.

And having waited 48 years for a return to Europe's top table, Spurs cannot afford to let the opportunity slip through their fingers.

Match Preview

Tim Vickery in South America

Robinho is in footballing limbo. He sat out Manchester City's opening game of the Premier League campaign and although he might be in action in midweek in the Europa League, or possibly playing his football somewhere else before the end of the month, he needs to sort things out fast because this is a huge season for him.

Manchester City agree Milner fee

James Milner's protracted transfer to Manchester City has finally been agreed, with Stephen Ireland moving to Aston Villa as part of the deal in a package worth about £26m. Milner was heading to Manchester this afternoon for a medical, having already agreed personal terms with City on a lucrative long-term contract that will see him more than double his salary at Villa Park.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Monday Night Football: Manchester United vs. Newcastle United

Both Manchester United and Newcastle United go into the new season with something to prove. Sir Alex Ferguson's 11-time Premier League champions are desperate to regain the title and have looked in imperious form during pre-season, while Chris Hughton is aiming to consolidate his side's status as a top-flight club on the Magpies' return to the big time.

Martin Rogers: There’s no more ‘I’ in Didier

The new English Premier League season started much as the last one finished, with Didier Drogba scoring goals.

Lots of them.

Three months after putting the finishing touch to Chelsea’s 2010 EPL title with a final-day hat trick against Wigan Athletic in May, the Ivory Coast striker was up to his usual tricks again on Saturday, knocking in three more goals in a 6-0 rout of West Bromwich Albion.

Same old Drogba, right? Perhaps not.

The joking is over, it's a new reality for mega-rich Manchester City

For many years City have been regarded as something of a frivolity but there is a sense that that is about to change.

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Monday's Rumours


Respect still tops Andrew Cole's agenda

For a man who yearns so earnestly for respect, it must dismay Andrew Cole that he has found himself defined by the disrespectful.