Friday, October 29, 2010
Everything worked out like a dream this week: work, family, social and other forms of interaction. The last few days have been so utterly positive that I'm feeling enlightened, empowered, discerning, king-like, able to do no wrong.
Will this be the week? Will I get the perfect ten? The stars are aligned and I can't wait to start. As usual, it's '1' for a home win, 'X' for a draw and '2' for an away win.
Elsewhere, Aston Villa play out the Second City derby against Birmingham, Blackburn Rovers welcome champions Chelsea to Ewood Park and Arsenal host bottom-of-the-table West Ham United.
Bloomfield Road, Blackpool, England
Manchester United lock horns with Tottenham Hotspur while Liverpool make the short trip to Bolton Wanderers.
Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspur: Preview
Blackburn Rovers vs. Chelsea: Preview
Paul Merson previews Sunday's matches
Lawro & Robbie Williams' Predictions
Bayern Munich - Freiburg
Koeln – Hamburg
Kaiserslautern – Borussia Moenchengladbach
St Pauli – Eintracht Frankfurt
Wolfsburg – Stuttgart
Werder Bremen – Nuernberg
Schalke – Bayer Leverkusen
Bruchwegstadion, Mainz, Germany
Mainz – Borussia Dortmund
Hoffenheim – Hannover
This weekend includes tantalising tests between Mainz and Dortmund, Schalke and Leverkusen, and Wolfsburg and Stuttgart.
Real Madrid will look to avoid becoming the latest big gun to fall foul of Hercules this weekend while Barcelona host Sevilla. Fourth-placed Valencia will attempt to get back on track when they host bottom club Real Zaragoza, who are still searching for their first win in La Liga this season.
Estadio José Rico Pérez, Valencia, Spain
Juventus will face a stern test against second-placed AC Milan, who are two points behind league leaders Lazio and riding a four-match winning streak.
Red-hot Lazio, meanwhile, travel to La Favorita to meet Palermo.
Third-placed Inter take on Genoa at the Stadio Luigi Ferraris on Friday hoping to spark their campaign into life.
La Favorita, Palermo, Sicily...
Roma coach Claudio Ranieri will be under pressure to take a victory at home to Lecce. Fiorentina welcome back Adrian Mutu when they travel to Sicily to take on Catania.
Van der Sar joins the Premier League fortysomethings but the goalkeeper seems anxious to carry on making saves.
Newcastle's 'on-trial' manager is not about to be distracted, before the Tyne-Wear derby, by talk of his possible replacement.
Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.
This week, the Chilean miners lose a costly bet with the president, a red-carded footballer drives his 4x4 at the referee, Dynama Brest bring on a 56-year-old sub, a Paraguayan defender is duped by a fake kidnapping and they ink it's all over for Paul the Octopus.
Thursday, October 28, 2010
Carlos Tevéz has been given permission to return to Argentina for "three to four days" by Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini after being told he is likely to miss next month’s potentially-explosive Manchester derby due to injury.
The media no longer understand the concept – "footballer wants more money" – without recourse to an army of doctors.
The Manchester United striker admits age and injuries have taken their toll but he remains determined to go out at the top.
Michael Owen insists he's still good enough for Manchester United.
When the MLS postseason starts, one maxim serves as a guiding principle.
Expect the unexpected.
The well-worn phrase may appear a bit trite on the surface, but it pops up time and again as the eight chosen teams battle for the right to lift MLS Cup every year.
On Sunday, Newcastle and Sunderland meet at St James' Park to contest the Tyne-Wear derby. Eleven years ago, the same stadium played host to one of the most notorious incidents in the history of the North East's premier match as Ruud Gullit dropped his captain Alan Shearer. It was a bewildering decision that exposed the poisonous atmosphere surrounding the club, and led to Gullit's departure from Newcastle after they were beaten 2-1 by their local rivals.
Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Martin Tyler's stats and facts column is here!
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.
"I've got to play him, really, because I met him out shopping with his mum the other day. She was quite a big girl so I've got to play him. I wasn't going to mess with her, believe you me." Mrs Palacios ensures son Wilson is given a rare start by Spurs boss Harry Redknapp.
"People are going to make mistakes and to be a referee I think you have to be a masochist." Michel Platini conjures up images best left to the imagination.
As Javier Hernandez establishes himself as Manchester United's latest young talent, Rory Smith looks at six other promising players coming through the ranks at Old Trafford.
No sooner had death's tentacles slackened their grip on Paul's squidgy body than the first conspiracy theory concerning his demise emerged like a cephalopod from a crevice.
Not everyone, it seems, is prepared to accept the news that the "psychic" octopus – who made such a splash over the summer by successfully predicting the results of World Cup games – passed away on Monday in the comfort of the German aquarium he called home.
Michael Owen has suffered a fresh hamstring injury and will be out of action for "a few weeks".
Owen has been out with a groin injury after being substituted in Manchester United's 0-0 draw with Sunderland on October 2. He was back in training last week but picked up a hamstring strain ahead of Tuesday night's Carling Cup win over Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
With not a single English name on it, the 23-man Ballon d'Or list will induce many a wince around Premier League clubs
With a talented group of youth talent added to astute signings, there doesn't seem to be an end in sight for Villarreal's miracle.
Out of Villarreal's old orange grove grows 'the perfect football eco-system'.
|Deportivo La Coruña||8||0||4||4||-11||4|
His side rock bottom and a victim of Mainz's success, Zvonimir Soldo got the axe. But the buck shouldn't stop with him.
Köln in meltdown as Zvonimir Soldo is shown the door.
The Romanian is in difficulties again at a time when Fiorentina need him to bolster their injury-depleted attack.
Fiorentina need returning Adrian Mutu to help them through a bruising time.
On-loan striker Mike Grella started for Carlisle on Saturday, scoring a fine goal which inspired his squad in their match against Charlton Athletic.
Magpies manager Chris Hughton has identified Donovan as an ideal replacement for Hatem Ben Arfa, who is not due to return to action until March after suffering a double leg break against Manchester City earlier this month.
Donovan, 28, is also desired for his versatility as he can play as a striker or in midfield and Hughton is desperate to strengthen his attacking options in January to provide support for Andy Carroll.
According to documents released to Companies House last Monday, Mansour purchased 37,547,169 new shares in the Eastlands club on 30 September, each costing him £2.12. It amounted to £79.6m of fresh investment. The sum is small change for the Abu Dhabi billionaire, but it raises fresh questions about City's capacity to meet new regulations coming in to force from next season.
Paul the octopus, an unlikely star of the 2010 World Cup who 'predicted' the outcome of eight matches, has died at an aquarium in Germany.
Thus the details are hazy, though St Pauli's recent centenary exhibition says the year was 1987 and circumstantial evidence has me presume that's correct.
What happened that spring was that a punk rocker known as Doc Mabuse passed through the famous Hamburg funfair called the Dom on his way to a St Pauli game and somehow arrived at the ground with a pirate flag in his hand. (These days, he sometimes says he actually paid for the flag, but that's far-fetched.)
Monday, October 25, 2010
Both of these knuckleheads are known for playing and scoring in leagues well above their talent level.
According to Corriere dello Sport, Mutu’s representatives Nino D’Avirro and Michele Ducci said: “Mutu reacted to a series of repeated and serious racist insults and the threat that he would end up like the Romanian nurse who was killed by a punch in the Rome metro.”
Arsenal overcame 10-man Manchester City to climb to second in the table, Liverpool claimed a much-needed win but remain in the relegation zone while Javier Hernandez helped Manchester United to an away day triumph at Stoke City. In light of City losing to Arsenal, Chelsea extended their advantage at the summit to five points as they saw off Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-0 at Stamford Bridge. Off the back of their dramatic UEFA Champions League tie at Inter Milan, Tottenham Hotspur played out a 1-1 draw with Everton at White Hart Lane. West Bromwich Albion continue to operate in the heady heights of the table following their fourth top-flight three-point haul of the season. The Baggies rose to see off Fulham, although the victory came in controversial circumstances.
Manchester City 0 - 3 Arsenal
Richard Jolly at City of Manchester Stadium
Kevin McCarra at City of Manchester Stadium
Tottenham 1 - 1 Everton
David Lacey at White Hart Lane
Kevin Palmer at White Hart Lane
Chelsea 2 - 0 Wolverhampton Wanderers
Dominic Fifield at Stamford Bridge
Stoke City 1 - 2 Manchester United
Stuart James at Britannia Stadium
Liverpool 2 - 1 Blackburn
Andy Hunter at Anfield