Wednesday, November 24, 2010

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Preview

With a poor domestic season so far, Rafa Benitez will be looking to seal Champions League qualification as quickly as possible for Inter Milan. The Serie A side will face FC Twente at home on Wednesday, while Group A leaders Tottenham Hotspur will also face the same scenario when they face off against Bundesliga side Werder Bremen. Leading Group C, Sir Alex Ferguson's Manchester United will only need a draw against Rangers, who previously held them to a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford. Valencia, on the other hand, take on an eliminated Bursaspor, and will advance with the Red Devils should they win and Rangers lose.

Preview

Steve Davis: Increasing MLS playoff field is all wrong

When it comes to MLS playoffs and the tricky business of postseason design, every structure falls into one of two categories: "imperfect" or "even more imperfect." So it is with the new format being finalized. Commissioner Don Garber and the league's board of directors are adjusting the postseason structure -- the deciders just haven't quite decided yet on the final tweaks. One element that has remained pleasingly stable through the years is the number of playoff teams. It has always been eight, going back to the days when Kansas City was the Wiz (two rebrandings back) and Carlos Valderrama was anchored inside the center circle for Tampa Bay, a team that no longer exists and probably never should have.

Bill Clinton: A Perfect Match for 2022


This past summer I joined thousands of fans in the stands of the Royal Bafokeng Stadium in Rustenburg, South Africa, to watch as the United States faced a strong Ghana team during the round of 16 at the FIFA World Cup.

I had changed my schedule to attend the game, following an exhilarating U.S. win over Algeria in the first round. Even though Ghana defeated the U.S., I was proud of our team. They played well and fought to the very end.

I'm always amazed by the game's powerful, unifying force

CFR Cluj coach Sorin Cartu puts foot through away dugout's perspex in anger

CFR Cluj coach Sorin Cartu left viewers wondering what might happen in the dressing room at the final whistle on Tuesday night after the Romanian took out his frustration on a Swiss dugout during his side's exit from the Champions League.

Martin Rogers: Chelsea troubled on and off the field


This is not the story of a dramatic comeback or even the welcome avoidance of a horrifically embarrassing defeat. Instead, this is the story of how the most in-form team in Europe suddenly forgot how to play and stumbled into a crisis that threatens to ruin what looked with all certainty like a glorious season.

The best transfer deals in Premier League history

The signing of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is recognised as one of the shrewdest pieces of business in Sir Alex Ferguson's entire time as United boss. The £1.5million move looks like the type of deal that will be pursued this January as managers look for bargains in another potentially quiet transfer window.

The days of splashing the cash are over for Premier League clubs as breaking-even becomes a priority in the near future.

Here's the best of the Premier League transfers that worked.

Uefa set to investigate Real Madrid duo for 'deliberate' red cards

Uefa says it will study the match referee's report before deciding whether to charge Real Madrid players Xabi Alonso and Sergio Ramos for appearing to get intentional red cards in their Champions League match against Ajax.

Paul Wilson: An intentional red card is not that bad

Under article 5.1 of UEFA's regulations dealing with loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship both players could be charged and have their suspensions extended.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Round-Up, Reports & Analyses

Chelsea narrowly avoided being embarrassed by MSK Zilina while Arsenal were beaten away to Braga to leave their qualification in doubt. Marseille made sure of their progress from Group F behind Chelsea with a 3-0 victory over 10-man Spartak Moscow at the Luzhniki Stadium. Real Madrid secured top spot in Group G as they thrashed Ajax in Amsterdam and AC Milan join the Spanish side in the last 16 following their success away to Auxerre. Roma produced a stirring comeback to overturn a two-goal deficit and triumph 3-2 against Bayern Munich at the Stadio Olimpico in Group E. Basel are still in with a chance of stealing second spot following their narrow success at home against CFR Cluj.

Round-Up

Braga 2 - 0 Arsenal
Jamie Jackson at the Estádio Municipal
Steve Tongue at
Estádio Municipal
Richard Parry: Wenger should have rested Cesc

Chelsea 2 - 1 MSK Zilina
Dominic Fifield at Stamford Bridge

Roma 3 - 2 Bayern Munich
Report

Ajax 0 - 4 Real Madrid
Report

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

The Funniest Football Chants

"Two Andy Gorams, there's only two Andy Gorams"
Celtic fans on Andy Goram after it was revealed the keeper was diagnosed with schizophrenia

"Deep fry yer pizzas, were gonna deep fry yer pizzas"
Scotland fans when in Italy


"He's blond, he's slick, his name's a porno flick"

Arsenal fans on Emmanuel Petit

The Rest

Kevin McCarra: Chelsea's old guard can still deliver for Roman Abramovich




It would be ironic if trouble in coping with a relentless domestic programme lets Blues fix their attention on the Champions League.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Previews

Arsenal can clinch their place in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League on Tuesday, while Chelsea are already through but still need to secure top spot. It looks a straight shootout between Spartak Moscow and Marseille for the second qualifying berth alongside Chelsea and the teams, currently level on six points, lock horns in an early kick-off in the Russian capital.

General Preview

Braga vs. Arsenal
Tom Adams: Gutted Gunners seek Braga response
Jeremy Wilson: Ideal time for Bendtner to do his talking on the pitch

AS Roma vs. Bayern Munich
Preview

Ajax vs. Real Madrid
Preview

Georgina Turner on the EPL


Tim Vickery in South America

A tragic, real-life soap opera unravelling in Brazilian football over recent months has been the story of Bruno, goalkeeper of Rio giants Flamengo, who is in prison accused of ordering the brutal murder of an ex-lover. Flamengo fans have found a way to extract some black humour from such horrific developments. Last year, Bruno captained the team to the Brazilian title. This season, they have struggled. And as they have slipped dangerously close to the relegation zone, the confidence of Bruno's replacement, Marcelo Lomba, has seemed to suffer.

In a crucial match on Saturday against Guarani, Lomba slipped up again. A packed stadium responded with a chant of "Free Bruno! Arrest Lomba!"

Sid Lowe in Spain




Junma Lillo is regarded by Pep Guardiola as 'the best coach' he's ever had - but after a record defeat he is again without a job.

Guardiola deals death-blow to his mentor as Barça hit eight in Almería.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany




The notorious open-door policy at Bremen has been taken to a new extreme. Now there is merely a vast thoroughfare.

Werder Bremen: the end of an era?

Paolo Bandini in Italy




Samuel Eto'o's headbutt and likely suspension may be the least of the problems facing Internazionale's beleaguered manager Rafael Benítez.

Rafael Benítez on notice after another disaster for Internazionale.

Americans in the UK: Rough Weekend

Mike Grella, Carlisle United

Vs. Walsall, 2-1, (90 minutes, 1 goal)

Grella signed a loan extension that will keep him at Carlisle until the New Year. Great news for both parties as the partnership has been going very well. Grella rewarded his club on Saturday, scoring the opening goal after 26 minutes as he followed up a Simek attempt with a smashing strike. Unfortunately, Matthews Richards tallied twice for Walsall while Carlisle could not find an equalizer.

Next Match: Tuesdsay, home for Rochdale, and Saturday, home for Tamworth (FA cup).

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Carlos Bocanegra Returns To Action

Michael Bradley, Borussia Moenchengladbach (Germany)
Vs. Mainz, 2-3, 89 minutes, Yellow Card

Substitute Sami Allagui scored two goals in 13 minutes to cancel out Monchengladbach’s Marco Reus’s own brace and snatch a rather deserved victory for the visitors. With all five goals scored in the second half, Mainz edged M’Gladbach in possession 52%-48%, but doubled their shot total with 16. Michael Bradley played 89 minutes for the home side, picking up a yellow card in the process. With the loss M’Gladbach drops to the basement of the Bundesliga with a paltry 10 points out of 13 games.

Next up: Away to Dortmund, Saturday, November 27

The Rest

Samuel Eto'o handed three-game ban for headbutting










Inter Milan striker Samuel Eto'o has been banned for three Serie A matches for headbutting Chievo's Bostjan Cesar.

England: Monday's Premier League Report + Table





Sunderland 2 - 2 Everton


Report




CLUB PWDLGDPTS
Chelsea149141928
Man Utd147701328
Arsenal148241326
Man City14743825
Bolton14572622
Tottenham14644222
Sunderland14482220
Stoke14617019
Liverpool14545-119
Newcastle14536118
Blackburn14536-118
Blackpool14536-618
Aston Villa14455-517
Everton14374116
Birmingham14374-216
West Brom14446-916
Fulham14284-314
Wigan14356-1314
Wolves14239-119
West Ham14167-149

Phil Ball in Spain

With friends like that, who needs enemies? This may well have been the phrase most resonant in Juanma Lillo's head at full-time on Saturday night, when his Almeria team had just equalled the worst home defeat of all time in the history of La Liga. Pep Guardiola, sitting glumly on the bench as the eighth Barcelona goal went in, realised that he had condemned his friend and erstwhile teacher to the dole queue, just as Lillo had settled down nicely in his little house in the tiny fishing hamlet of La Fabriquilla, in Cabo de Gata, one of the hippest places still standing in the far south of Spain.

Monday, November 22, 2010

English Premier League title race: Key moments in most open campaign for years




As Manchester City and Tottenham emerge as genuine contenders to win the Premier League, Telegraph Sport looks back at key moments this season that have contributed to the title race becoming the most open it has been in years.

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend






Arsenal and West Brom need a win, Kevin Davies keeps learning new tricks and Blackpool continue to amaze.

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analyses

Arsenal capitulated in the North London derby, champions Chelsea lost again while Manchester City scored goals against former manager Mark Hughes. In light of Arsenal and Chelsea's slip-ups, Manchester United took advantage to go level on points with the latter at the summit. The Red Devils overcame Wigan Athletic 2-0 at Old Trafford albeit in unconvincing style. Bolton Wanderers continued to impress as the club gave Newcastle United a hiding at the Reebok Stadium. Liverpool returned to winning ways after they beat West Ham United 3-0, with the Hammers offering, in truth, little resistance at Anfield. Stoke City made it three wins on the bounce as the club defeated West Bromwich Albion 3-0 with all of their goals at the Hawthorns coming in the second half. Blackpool sealed a first win in four matches as the club saw off struggling Wolverhampton Wanderers 2-1 at Bloomfield Road. Lastly, on Sunday, Morten Gamst Pedersen's brace helped Blackburn Rovers to a 2-0 scalp of Aston Villa at Ewood Park.

Review

Arsenal 2 - 3 Tottenham
Kevin Palmer at Emirates Stadium
Kevin McCarra at Emirates Stadium

Birmingham City 1 - 0 Chelsea
Stuart James at St. Andrew's

Liverpool 3 - 0 West Ham
Richard Jolly at Anfield

Manchester United 2 - 0 Wigan Athletic
Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Review

Borussia Dortmund extended their lead at the top of the Bundesliga thanks to a 2-1 win at Freiburg in a dramatic match at the Dreisam Stadion. Both Bayer Leverkusen and Bayern Munich lost further ground on the runaway league leaders Dortmund as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the BayArena. Cologne got a crucial 1-0 win at Stuttgart to move out of last place and go level on points with their opponents. St Pauli and Wolfsburg split the spoils in a hard-fought 1-1 draw which does little to help either team.

Review

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

A fantastic Zlatan Ibrahimovic strike saw AC Milan edge four points clear at the top of the table with a 1-0 victory over Fiorentina. Samuel Eto'o may find himself in trouble after he was filmed headbutting Chievo defender Bostjan Cesar as the defending champions suffered their second successive defeat with a 2-1 loss to heap more pressure on manager Rafael Benitez. Lazio lost ground on leaders AC Milan after being held to a 1-1 disappointing draw at Parma on Sunday. Two goals from Marek Hamsik guided Napoli to an emphatic 4-1 victory against Bologna to move up to third. Juventus moved up to fourth thanks to a 2-0 win at Genoa.

Review

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

Barcelona leapfrogged Real to go top after an 8-0 victory at lowly Almeria. Pep Guardiola's side raced into a 5-0 lead before half-time in a hugely one-sided contest which saw Lionel Messi score a hat-trick. However, Barca's time at the top was short-lived as Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick as Madrid inflicted a 5-1 defeat on Athletic Bilbao. Unfancied outfit Espanyol moved into the Primera Division's top four after dispatching Hercules 3-0 on Sunday evening.

Review

Eto'o Headbutt

Major League Soccer: 2010 Cup Final Reports


Colorado Rapids
2 - 1
FC Dallas


Report

Steve Davis: Colorado grinds its way to first title

Grant Wahl: Five Thoughts

Colorado finally pays attention to the Rapids

The Fifth Official

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.