Friday, November 19, 2010

Tom Adams: Rewind to 1919

On Saturday, Arsenal and Tottenham meet at Emirates Stadium in the latest instalment of one of English football's fiercest rivalries. But what lies at the root of this bitter North London dispute? The answer can be found in a sequence of events in the 1910s, and in a shadowy, legendary figure found deep in Arsenal's history.

Arsenal v Spurs: Six of the Best North London Derbies

When Arsenal meet Tottenham it is rarely dull. And, on occasion, the north London derby serves up something a little bit special.

North London Derby,
21 January 1934

From hate filled banners to pig's heads

North London derbies need no added ingredients to make them feisty encounters but Saturday's clash at the Emirates will have some extra spice in the return of William Gallas.

Gallas left Arsenal in the summer, only to go down the road to White Hart Lane to join Arsenal's arch rivals Tottenham.

The French centre-back is expected to get an unwelcome reception at best, but how does he compare to other controversial stars that returned? Sportsmail looks back on the players that went back and would not forget it in a hurry.

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

Arsenal can climb to the top of the Premier League table if they beat bitter North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur on Saturday lunchtime.

A triumph for Arsenal would put further pressure on out-of-sorts Chelsea as the Blues travel to St Andrews to face Birmingham City. Manchester United are also in action at 3pm as they welcome Wigan Athletic to Old Trafford with Wayne Rooney expected to make his comeback. Liverpool are involved in another Saturday evening kick-off, this time versus struggling West Ham.

Slayers of Liverpool, Stoke City, lock horns with West Bromwich Albion at the Hawthorns. Second-from-bottom Wolverhampton Wanderers seek to end their poor run when they travel to Blackpool.

High-flying Bolton Wanderers are in action versus Newcastle United at the Reebok Stadium and Blackburn Rovers' face Aston Villa at Ewood Park.

Following the aforementioned game is Manchester City's trip to Fulham.


Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Paul Merson's Preview
Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Tom Adams' Preview
Arsenal vs. Tottenham: Georgina Turner's Preview

Liverpool vs. West Ham: Dominic Raynor's Preview

Paul Merson Previews Sunday's Matches

Lawro's Predictions

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Eintracht Frankfurt – Hoffenheim
Nuernberg – Kaiserslautern
Borussia Moenchengladbach – Mainz
Schalke – Werder Bremen
Freiburg – Borussia Dortmund
Hannover - Hamburg
Bayer Leverkusen – Bayern Munich

Stuttgart – Koeln
St Pauli – Wolfsburg


Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter Milan coach Rafael Benitez goes into Saturday's game at Chievo feeling under pressure after his team's poor run of form.

The mood in AC Milan's camp is in stark contrast.

The Rossoneri host Fiorentina on Saturday on the back of three straight wins and top Serie A by one point from Lazio after 12 games played.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid are set to face a player they are reportedly keen on when they welcome Fernando Llorente and his Athletic Bilbao side.

Barcelona, who have won their last five league matches - one less than the run Madrid are on, are away to third-bottom Almeria this weekend.

There is already a gap starting to develop between the big two and the rest of the pack, and that could increase in the 12th round of action as third-placed Villarreal - who are five points behind Barca - meet local rivals Valencia, who are three points further adrift in fourth place.


Major League Soccer: 2010 Cup Final Previews

Steve Davis:
Dallas has the edge

Jeff Carlisle: Dallas has the edge

Five Reasons to Watch

Friday MLS Forecast

It isn't much of a surprise to see weather crop up as a point of discussion ahead of Sunday night's MLS Cup clash between Colorado and FC Dallas.

In some ways, it was always bound to happen. Placing the league's most important fixture smack dab in the middle a Toronto November guaranteed the meteorological outlook would capture a decent share of the attention in the buildup to the match. No one would bother to spend much time trying to divine the meaning of yet another sunny and temperate day in southern California, for instance.

FA faces £500,000 bill after Steven Gerrard is sidelined for a month

Fabio Capello's decision to persist with Steven Gerrard against France could cost the Football Association up to £500,000 in compensation after the Liverpool captain was ruled out for three to four weeks with a hamstring injury.

Dzeko back on the agenda as City plan clear-out

Manchester City have alerted football's top agents that they are willing to write off close to £100 million worth of players in the January transfer window. Joleon Lescott, Wayne Bridge, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Emmanuel Adebayor, Roque Santa Cruz and Jo have been earmarked either to be sold off at cut-rate prices or loaned out with the club willing to pay 50% of the players' wages. ESPNsoccernet has been informed that Adebayor is on £170,000 a week, with Bridge earning £90,000, Lescott £75,000, Santa Cruz and Jo both on £70,000 and Wright-Phillips on £65,000.

MLS fixes Donovan snub to honor star

Landon Donovan benefited from some hasty rule-bending by Major League Soccer chiefs in order to be selected to the league’s annual Best XI.

Donovan was listed on the ballot for the award, which selects a goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards – as a forward.

Yet after the votes cast by players, coaches, general managers and the media were tallied, Donovan was left out in the cold, with his Los Angeles Galaxy teammate Edson Buddle and league top scorer Chris Wondolowski of the San Jose Earthquakes being named in the forward roles.

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

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, Zlatan Ibrahimovic auditions for the Karate Kid, Crisitiano Ronaldo has a tantrum after Nani ruins his wonder goal, Johan Cruyff and Pep Guardiola "should be in a mental asylum" and the miss of the century.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Pires pays tribute to Wenger ahead of Villa move

Pires, 37, will sign for Villa on a free transfer later this week if he successfully completes medical tests and agrees the finer points of his contract, marking an unexpected Premier League rejuvenation for a player who has spent the past four seasons in Spain with Villarreal.

Sid Lowe: La Liga gets it wrong with clásico

And so at last it's official: Barcelona versus Real Madrid, Spain's clásico, will be played at 9 p.m. on Nov. 29. That's MONDAY, Nov. 29. It will be the last game of jornada, or Match Day, 13.

It should still be, ya know, a classic...

Driver pleads in Charlie Davies crash

The driver in a crash that injured U.S. national team forward Charlie Davies and killed a female passenger pleaded guilty Tuesday to involuntary manslaughter and drunken driving.

Uli Hesse: Dedicated Followers of Fashion

The other day I was watching the Manchester derby. Those of you who've seen the game will know that it was the kind of encounter where you look hard for something - anything, really - that might grab your attention. That's how I came to notice the gooey spot on Dimitar Berbatov's shirt.

First XI: Golden Oldies

After Dickie Borthwick made headlines after turning out for Wyke Veterans on his 75th birthday, ESPNsoccernet selects some of the oldest players to grace the game.

The Fateful Life Of Jose Antonio Reyes

On one flank at the Bernabeu stood Cristiano Ronaldo. Opposite him stood Jose Antonio Reyes. Ronaldo was wearing the white of Real Madrid. Reyes donned the red and white stripes of Atletico, but as the Madrid derby progressed on Sunday night, it became increasingly difficult to shake off the feeling that he also should have been decked out in Real’s colours. Although both Ronaldo and Reyes were once regarded as two of the brightest young talents in English football, their careers have veered off wildly in opposite directions.

Mario Balotelli sick of racist abuse with Italy national side

The 20-year-old was the subject of abuse every time he touched the ball in the international friendly that was played in Austria, reportedly mostly from his own fans.

Ronaldo Tantrum After Nani Ruins His Goal

Nani says he's sorry

International Friendlies: Round-Up, Reports & Analyses


Argentina 1 - 0 Brazil
Louise Taylor at Kahlifa Stadium
Jonathan Stevenson:
Messi wins it late
Tim Vickery:
Messi trumps new-look Brazil

England 0 - 1 France

Phil McNulty at Wembley
Owen Gibson at Wembley
Kevin McCarra at Wembley
Richard Williams at Wembley
John Brewin at Wembley
Dominic Fifield: Five Things We Learned
Player Ratings

Portugal 4 - 0 Spain
Portugal Rout World Champions

International Friendly: South Africa 0 - 1 United States

Juan Agudelo had a dream debut for the United States national team as the 17-year-old scored the only goal of the game as the United States beat South Africa 1-0 at a sold-out Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. The win closed out the year for the U.S. but also gave hope for the future of the national team as five players earned their first cap.

Report I
Report II

Player Ratings

Martin Rogers: Agudelo's brilliance comes with pressure

Major League Soccer foolishly ignores the sport's American history

Last Sunday night, with one final smolder for the cameras, David Beckham conveyed his hairstyle off the pitch and out of the MLS playoffs. The L.A. Galaxy's 3-0 loss to F.C. Dallas—a game in which Beckham's slow-wilting sprout of a ponytail was an accurate meter of his side's fortunes—deprives the competition of its most telegenic team. It also sends unheralded Dallas on to face the Colorado Rapids on Sunday in the least obviously glamorous sports final since, oh, the 2010 World Series. Instead of mashing CTRL-V on Beckham and his teammate-turned-World-Cup-hero Landon Donovan, the marketing wing of MLS now faces the task of selling a championship game contested by two teams who don't even fill their own stadiums.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Martin Rogers: Passion trumps star power in West final

As the Los Angeles Galaxy’s title hopes collapsed amid a heap of red mist, the reality that star power counts for little in Major League Soccer has never been so brutally obvious.

The MLS Cup dreams of David Beckham, Landon Donovan and the league’s most famous club didn’t just drift away on Sunday night, they were blasted into orbit by an FC Dallas side short on celebrity but packed with passion.

Henry Winter: Jay Bothroyd proved at Arsenal he is hard work - but so is England's farce with France

The French are in town but it’s England laying on the farce. John Terry, Ashley Cole and Gabby Agbonlahor yesterday pulled out of Wednesday’s friendly at Wembley while Carlton Cole, Stephen Warnock and Gary Cahill were drafted in.

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Chelsea and Manchester United are no invincibles, Johan Elmander is actually pretty good and in praise of goalless draws.

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analyses

The Premier League season that keeps on giving in unpredictability again delivered as Sunderland beat champions Chelsea at Stamford Bridge. Arsenal played prior to Chelsea's slump as they travelled to Everton and won 2 - 1. Despite Manchester United drawing at Aston Villa, the result turned out to be a point gained by the Red Devils - although they again left it late. Liverpool's improvement in form was halted as Stoke City ran out 2-0 winners at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday evening. Tottenham Hotspur earned their first win in five attempts as they saw off Blackburn Rovers in a hugely entertaining encounter at White Hart Lane. The pressure continues to build on Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini's shoulders after his side played out a goalless draw against Birmingham City. Wolverhampton Wanderers and Bolton Wanderers played out a cracking match-up at Molineux which the latter won 3-2. West Ham United failed to defeat newly-promoted Blackpool as the game at Upton Park finished goalless, despite there being chances aplenty for both teams. Wigan Athletic edged their meeting with West Bromwich Albion 1-0 to lift the Latics out of the relegation places following a first win achieved in six matches. Lastly, Newcastle United and Fulham played out a third goalless draw of the weekend.


Chelsea 0 - 3 Sunderland
Kevin McCarra at Stamford Bridge

Aston Villa 2 - 2 Manchester United
Kevin Palmer at Villa Park
Paul Wilson at Villa Park

Manchester City 0 - 0 Birmingham
The Insider at Eastlands

Stoke City 2 - 0 Liverpool
Tim Rich at Britannia Stadium

Everton 1 - 2 Arsenal

Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
Richard Jolly at Goodison Park
Phil McNulty at Goodison Park

Tottenham 4 - 2 Blackburn Rovers
David Hytner at White Hart Lane

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

Real Madrid returned to the top of the La Liga with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Sporting Gijon. Lionel Messi struck twice as Barcelona overcame an unjust offside decision to beat Villarreal 3-1.


Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Review

Borussia Dortmund pulled further clear at the top of the Bundesliga as two second-half goals saw off Hamburg. Bayern Munich climbed above local rivals Nurnberg into sixth in the Bundesliga with a 3-0 victory in the Bavarian derby. Kaiserslautern and Stuttgart remain just outside the relegation zone after the home side came back from a three-goal deficit in the second half to snatch a draw. Wolfsburg and Schalke also shared the spoils with a dramatic 2-2 draw at the VW-Arena. A late goal from Renato Augusto earned Bayer Leverkusen a narrow win at St Pauli to consolidate third place, the Brazilian striking nine minutes from time. In the day's late game, Sergio Pinto's 44th-minute goal was enough to give Hannover a 1-0 win at Mainz, despite the visitors playing the last 22 minutes with 10 men following the dismissal of Steve Cherundolo.


Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

A solitary goal from AC Milan striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was enough to beat city rivals Inter Milan 1-0. Lazio had earlier temporarily climbed to the summit after easing to a 2-0 win over Napoli. Juventus and Roma had to settle for a share of the points in a lively 1-1 draw at the Stadio Olimpico. Fiorentina moved up to ninth thanks to a 1-0 win over struggling Cesena.


Major League Soccer: Conference Finals Reports

Jeff Carlisle: Hartman key to Dallas win

USA Squad For South Africa Friendly Full Of New Faces

GOALKEEPERS: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Dom Cervi (Celtic, Scotland).

DEFENDERS: Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), Eric Lichaj (Aston Villa, England), Clarence Goodson (Start, Norway/Brondby, Denmark), Jonathan Spector (West Ham, England), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA/Tigres, Mexico), Tim Ream (New York), Gale Agbossoumonde (Miami/Braga, Portugal).

MIDFIELDERS: Brian Carroll (Columbus), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Eddie Gaven (Columbus), Mikkel Diskerud (Stabaek, Norway), Alejandro Bedoya (Orebro, Sweden), Logan Pause (Chicago).

FORWARDS: Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Teal Bunbury (Kansas City). Juan Agudelo (New York).

The Fifth Official: Mancini's tactical masterstroke

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.