Friday, November 05, 2010
It's taken a long time but, at 65, the Lazio coach Edoardo Reja - almost universally known as Edy - has finally reached the summit of Italian football.
During his varied coaching career of almost 30 years, which has seen him take charge at 21 different clubs, he's tasted modest success in the lower divisions but few would seriously have expected him to have guided a team to the top of Serie A, especially the perennial under-achievers of Italian football.
Manchester United welcome Wolverhampton Wanderers to Old Trafford in one of six 3pm kick-offs on Saturday. Everton will strive to maintain their excellent upturn in form when they make the trip to Bloomfield Road to face newly-promoted Blackpool.
Sunderland simply must respond from their heavy 5-1 loss at bitter rivals Newcastle when Steve Bruce's men host Stoke City at the Stadium of Light. Aston Villa have slid down the table of late, with Gerard Houllier's side now occupying 14th. The Frenchman will be desperate for his charges to respond when they make the journey to Craven Cottage to lock horns with Fulham.
Lastly on Saturday, Blackburn Rovers do battle with North West counterparts Wigan Athletic.
On Sunday lunchtime, Arsenal welcome Newcastle United to Emirates Stadium. At 3pm on Sunday, West Bromwich Albion face Manchester City.
John Carter Previews Bolton vs. Tottenham
Paul Merson Previews Bolton vs. Tottenham
John Ley Previews Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Schalke – St Pauli
Borussia Moenchengladbach – Bayern Munich
Eintracht Frankfurt – Wolfsburg
Hamburg – Hoffenheim
Nuernberg – Koeln
Freiburg – Mainz
Hannover – Borussia Dortmund
Bayer Leverkusen – Kaiserslautern
Stuttgart – Werder Bremen
AC Milan lie one point behind Inter and visit bottom-side Bari eager to return to winning ways after a 2-1 defeat to Juventus was followed by a 2-2 Champions League draw against Real Madrid, who equalised in injury time.
Juventus are decimated by injuries going into Sunday's match against Cesena. Fiorentina have to cope with the absence of goalkeeper Sebastien Frey when they host Chievo on Sunday.
Lazio vs. Roma: Preview
In La Liga, Pep Guardiola`s side are a point behind Madrid at the summit and two ahead of third-placed Villarreal, who will look to make it five wins out of five at El Madrigal this season when they host Athletic Bilbao.
A large crowd of 22,839 cheered on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena despite rainy 48 degree weather. The sloppy weather was reflected in the play as both teams were opened up on the wet surface, creating a multitude of chances.
Rather than use the state-of-the-art facilities at their Carrington training base, United have opted to use Nike's centre in Oregon, as much in a bid to get Rooney away from the constant headlines, which have dogged him since first news of his unhappiness at Old Trafford was raised nearly three weeks ago
Roberto Mancini cut a defiant figure in the wake of Manchester City's third successive defeat tonight though critics of the Italian might say he was in denial.
The 3-1 loss to Lech Poznan in Poland in tonight's Europa League's tie raises serious questions about Mancini's suitability as the long‑term manager of the world's richest club.
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, Wayne Rooney is to be burned on a bonfire, a US General 're-educates' some over-zealous Aston Villa stewards, the Rome derby is deemed too scary for an eagle and Rafa Benitez speaks more wibble at Inter Milan.
Thursday, November 04, 2010
Since Lazio bought a real, live American eagle named Olimpia over the summer, the club have gone on an incredible run, topping Serie A and going undefeated at home.
But with the rage and chaos the Rome derby usually features, authorities are worried that it would all be too much for Olimpia to do her usual three laps around the pitch before the match.
The former FC Dallas defender, who stands at a towering 6'4, spent the past three seasons in Norway with IK Start and recently represented the United States at the 2010 World Cup. The 28-year-old will join Brondby when the transfer window opens in January.
In light of Harry Redknapp's claim that Mark Clattenburg's decision to allow Nani's goal on Saturday was one of the worst he'd ever seen, ESPNsoccernet selects a First XI of terrible decisions.
As a number of the most infamous decisions have been covered in the First XI World Cup blunders, errors from that tournament have not been included in the feature.
Chelsea cruised through to the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League with an easy win over Spartak Moscow, but Arsenal were undone by old boy Eduardo away to Shakhtar Donetsk.
Real Madrid snatched a last-gasp point away to AC Milan to go through from Group G as Auxerre kept their qualification hopes alive with victory over Ajax.
Bayern Munich are safely into the knock-out phase and Roma are favourites to join last season's runners-up, while Marseille enjoyed a record-breaking win and Braga overcame Partizan Belgrade.
Chelsea 4 - 1 Spartak Moscow
Kevin McCarra at Stamford Bridge
Dominic Fifield at Stamford Bridge
AC Milan 2 - 2 Real Madrid
Sid Lowe's Report
Shakhtar Donetsk 2 - 1 Arsenal
Jamie Jackson at the Donbass Arena
Basel 2 - 3 Roma
This weekend brings with it the first round of the FA Cup as those clubs outside of the elite begin to dream of giant-killing feats and a lucrative cup run. But only one club has won the FA Cup as a non-league side - Tottenham in 1901. Inspired by one of football's forgotten reformers, and spearheaded by a deadly striker, this is the story of how Spurs upset the odds over a century ago.
Wednesday, November 03, 2010
Wayne is being put to the stake as bonfire society reveal giant
granny-loving shrek lookalike as their annual Guy Fawkes figure.
Wayne Rooney effigy to be burned on bonfire in Kent
Two European giants collide when AC Milan take on Real Madrid at the San Siro, while Ajax travel to Auxerre and Roma visit Basel.
Cesc will stay home with his Grams instead of traveling to the Ukraine...
Elsewhere, Bayern Munich make the trip to CFR Cluj, MSK Zilina host Marseille and Partizan Belgrade entertain Braga.
AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
Chelsea vs. Spartak Moscow
McGeady ready for Chelsea
Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Arsenal
Jonathan Wilson on Shakhtar
Tony Adams, the former Arsenal and England captain, has become inadvertently involved in a bizarre controversy over the treatment of a caged bear in Azerbaijan.
The original article
Roberto Mancini, the Manchester City manager, has lost patience with Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wayne Bridge and is likely to sell them in the January transfer window.
Tottenham Hotspur exacted stunning revenge against UEFA Champions League holders Inter Milan as Manchester United moved to the brink of the last 16, but Rangers lost away to Valencia.
FC Twente claimed a first victory in Group A, while Lyon continue to lead the way in Group B despite losing to Benfica, while Schalke drew in Israel. Both matches in Group D finished all-square to leave FC Copenhagen and Barcelona as the favourites to go through to the knock-out rounds.
Tottenham 3 - 1 Inter Milan
Kevin McCarra at White Hart Lane
John Brewin at White Hart Lane
Phil McNulty at White Hart Lane
Five things we learned
The Italian Press Reacts
Bursaspor 0 - 3 Manchester United
Daniel Taylor at Bursa Ataturk Stadium
Valencia 3 - 0 Rangers
Copenhagen 1 - 1 Barcelona
Pep loses his cool
Werder Bremen 0 - 2 FC Twente
Batista, who was today given the job he had been doing temporarily on a permanent basis, selected Manchester City's Carlos Tevez and Pablo Zabaleta as the only Premier League players for the match in Qatar, while Valencia midfielder Ever Banega returns to the side.
The Manchester City skipper has had hours of intensive treatment on his troublesome right thigh in a desperate bid to regain full fitness.
In his absence, City have hit a slump, losing to both Arsenal and Wolves. Not since January have they won a Premier League game in which Tevez has not scored.
Tuesday, November 02, 2010
On Steve Tanner’s display in a 2-0 defeat at West Brom in December 2008
Sneijder has since upped the ante, claiming: "We're gonna [sic] give you a football lesson in London." But Van der Vaart retorted: "I met your defence in Milan, it didn't look good. It was like cheese with holes in it."
Tottenham vs. Inter Milan
Tom Adams' Preview
David Hytner on the Dutchmen
David Hytner on Samuel Eto'o
Valencia vs. Rangers
Copenhagen vs. Barcelona
Bursaspor vs. Manchester United
La Liga is a two-horse race, again, as imperious Real Madrid and Barcelona crush the hopes of the also-rans.
Mourinho the resuscitator breathes new life into Benzema as Real stand tall.
Jürgen Klopp's second return to Mainz saw him leave with three points after a high-powered pressing game between two uber youthful sides.
Bubbly Borussia Dortmund pass the 'Pepsi test' with relative ease.
Rank outsiders two months ago, Lazio now look genuine title contenders after another gritty defensive display at Palermo.
The devil is in the detail as Lazio move four points clear in Serie A.
Defeat by Wolves is no catastrophe but Roberto Mancini is still struggling to find the right blend of personnel and tactics.
Let's face it, one of the hallmarks of English soccer culture is the excessive drinking that surrounds it. From the legions of lager-loving louts who travel by train up and down the country on game day to the after-hours bar brawls that are sport for players on their days off, it's as much as part of the EPL as diving, take-no-prisoners tackling and WAGs.
When Roberto Mancini casts off his black overcoat, things must be bad. When the Italian's trademark sky blue and white scarf goes the same way, it almost signals a crisis.
Mancini and Manchester City may not be at the tipping point just yet but the manager's impromptu striptease during the defeat at Wolverhampton Wanderers was a public sign of the stresses and strains pulling on everyone at Eastlands.
Three days after the devastating 10-0 rout in Eindhoven, Feyenoord faced relegation rivals VVV-Venlo at De Kuip. In the weeks before the PSV thrashing, Mario Been's side had also crashed out of the cup and the qualifiers of the Europa League, while also slumping to 15th place in the league. So how would Feyenoord's supporters react to the homecoming of their fallen stars?
Monday, November 01, 2010
The rules governing the format for the Major League Soccer playoffs take up 656 words and an entire page on the league’s website. If the “powers that be” simplified their formula into a more sensible model, the whole thing could be summed up neatly on the back of the business card.
MLS does plenty of things right, and its reputation internationally has never been better. But the playoffs are a clunking mess, full of unnecessary permutations and quirks, and could use a timely overhaul.
At the start of the season, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson was asked about the implications of Rafael Benitez replacing the Real Madrid-bound Jose Mourinho at Inter Milan.
"They favour Madrid, no doubt about that," was the characteristically blunt response from Ferguson.
Newcastle United thrashed Sunderland in the Tyne-Wear derby, Manchester City were beaten by Wolverhampton Wanderers while Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal all left it late. Tottenham Hotspur's 21-year wait for a league win at Old Trafford was extended as they were beaten 2-0 by Manchester United, whose second goal was rather controversial. Fulham secured their first victory in six attempts as Clint Dempsey's brace saw off Wigan Athletic at Craven Cottage. Yakubu Aiyegbeni scored his first Premier League goal since April as he fired Everton to a 1-0 success against Stoke City at Goodison Park. Lastly, the less probably said the better about Aston Villa's Second City derby versus Birmingham which saw the pair play out a goalless stalemate at Villa Park.
Blackburn 1 - 2 Chelsea
Richard Jolly at Ewood Park
Manchester United 2 - 0 Tottenham
Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford
Newcastle 5 - 1 Sunderland
Rob Stewart at St. James' Park
Bolton 0 - 1 Liverpool
Andy Hunter at the Reebok Stadium
Fulham 2 - 0 Wigan
John Ashdown at Craven Cottage
Arsenal 1 - 0 West Ham
David Lacey at Emirates Stadium
Few of us like Mondays 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 the past week in football.