Friday, January 14, 2011
Brilliant Barcelona have another record in their sights this weekend as they prepare to welcome new-look Malaga to the Nou Camp. Real Madrid are in similarly good form to Barca this season and they go to second-bottom Almeria having rattled off five successive league wins since going down 5-0 at the Nou Camp, including beating third-placed Villarreal 4-2 last weekend.
Phil Ball's Quiniela
A slip by Milan could see second-placed Napoli reduce their four-point lead at the summit. Napoli host Fiorentina looking to replicate the form they displayed in last weekend's 3-0 triumph over Juventus.
West Ham vs. Arsenal: Preview
Tottenham vs. Manchester United: Preview
Paul Merson's Sunday Previews
Alan Hansen's Merseyside Derby Preview
Wales striker Craig Bellamy was dogged by new controversy on Wednesday night when he was arrested by police investigating an alleged assault in Cardiff city centre.
The second half of the Bundesliga season kicks off tonight after one of the most entertaining winter breaks in memory.
Völler's verbals, Schalke left shivering and another Munich meltdown.
Ian Holloway's side – winners against Liverpool this week – have confounded expectation and precedent and need only 12 points from 18 matches to avoid relegation.
From there, a draft chalk full of quality defenders saw just one of them taken among the first five names called. See -- the next surprise is never far away.
The younger Rooney worked out for scouts last week in Florida, having signed with MLS, and was taken on by the Red Bulls today.
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, Wesley Sneijder attempts to sweet talk Jose Mourinho at FIFA's awards gala, Tuncay hawks his wares on Facebook, Edin Dzeko scores an own goal at Manchester City, FIFA bend over backwards for Qatar and the greatest goal in the world.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
David Bentley wasted his time with Arsenal, Norwich, Blackburn, Tottenham and England – Birmingham City may now find that joke isn't funny anymore.
1 - 0
Kevin McCarra at Portman Road
Jeremy Wilson at Portman Road
Five Things We Learned
The spending sheds light on how FIFA regulations—outlined in the two-page rules of conduct for World Cup host-nation bidding—left the door open for hopefuls to open wallets to exert indirect influence on international soccer's small circle of decision-makers.
Qatar also paid soccer-world luminaries—hailing from France, Spain, Argentina and elsewhere— who publicly endorsed its bid, according to Qatar bid committee documents and emails reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Some were paid more than a million dollars in connection with the endorsements, said a person familiar with the situation.
Despite all the harmony, Louis van Gaal seemed intent on causing a giant storm in the desert before the flight home. On Friday, out of the blue, he decided that substitute keeper Thomas Kraft, 22, will take over the No.1 spot from veteran Hans-Jörg Butt, 36, immediately. To say that the Bayern hierarchy was shocked by this decision would be a serious understatement.
Byrne's latest gig, however, may be his most fascinating of all. He has moved his family from London to the Big Apple to help relaunch the New York Cosmos.
On Sunday, Kenny Dalglish takes charge of his first home league match as Liverpool manager for 20 years when the club host Everton in the Merseyside derby. The Toffees also provided the opposition in the game that spelt the end of his first spell in charge of the club in 1991, and plunged the Reds into a crisis from which it is arguable they have never fully recovered.
Wednesday, January 12, 2011
David Beckham is prepared to swallow a pay cut of more than $100,000 in a final attempt to push through his much-desired loan move from the Los Angeles Galaxy to Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League. The 35-year-old midfielder already arrived in London and underwent medical examinations at Tottenham on Monday while being photographed in the club’s tracksuit and training gear. Beckham will only practice with Tottenham and return to California in early February without having played an EPL game unless a complicated financial arrangement can be reached between Spurs and the Galaxy.
Police are investigating after Royal Mail staff in Glasgow discovered a package containing bullets addressed to Celtic's Paddy McCourt – days after similar packages were sent from Northern Ireland to the Celtic manager, Neil Lennon, and player Niall McGinn.
The football club management has spent much of the past decade trying to pull itself into the elite of global sports clubs.
As well as scoring more goals on the pitch they hoped to convince Haringey, the local authority, to give planning permission for a new 56,000 seat stadium in one of the poorest wards in the country, Northumberland Park.
Those days are long gone. The league keeps growing and one byproduct is a significantly reduced margin for error in the annual January draft.
The room will be crowded with officials from 18 teams during Thursday's MLS SuperDraft in Baltimore. Teams have four minutes to select in rounds one and two, then three minutes for round three. Each club may call one five-minute timeout as it plucks from the college and amateur ranks.
New financial rules put the Uefa president Michel Platini on a collision course with many of the most powerful clubs in Europe.
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Roy Keane's dressing room alienation has stifled his managerial career, writes Richard Sadlier.
Cristiano Ronaldo bails out 'bad' Real Madrid with a stunning hat-trick to defeat 'fantastic' Villarreal at the Bernabéu.
Lucky Real Madrid win – and Cani throws water bottle at José Mourinho.
The season kicks off on my side of the Atlantic this weekend with one of the great hidden gems of the footballing calendar - the South American under-20 Championship.
Back in 1954, when it was first held, this was an out-and-out youth competition. It is stretching the point to say the same thing today. In contemporary South American football there are teenagers taking on senior roles with their club sides. This year's main attraction is Neymar, who, like Adriano in the 2001 tournament, is going to the under-20 Championship having already represented Brazil at senior level. Carlos Tevez was already a Boca Juniors idol when he played for Argentina in the 2003 tournament.
Napoli's top scorer grabbed an impressive hat-trick as a host of remarkable comebacks kept coming in Italy's top division.
Frantic Sunday sees Edinson Cavani fire again to flatten Juventus.
Vs. Lierse, 6-0, 79 Minutes; Away to KV Kortrijk, 2-0, Did Not Play
Sacha Kljestan played well in his 79 minutes for Anderlecht crushed Lierse 6-0 at home last week. He was then rested as Anderlecht coasted to a 2-0 win away to KV Kortrijk. With the wins they now sit six points clear atop the Belgian Jupiler League above Club Brugge with a game in hand.
Fandom is a bit more complicated than mere tribalism, though. Which team you support is the result of an intricate compound of ancestral, regional, social, and sometimes even religious loyalties. And, of course, personal choice. However, this map of London seems to indicate that geography is a major factor in fan loyalty.
Manchester City supporters reminded us last weekend how generous in spirit football fans can be.
The 30-year-old had also been linked with Gremio and Palmeiras as well as Blackburn Rovers but he ultimately chose to sign for the Rio de Janeiro-based side.
Monday, January 10, 2011
These are the top 10 storylines to keep an eye on in 2011 as Serie A resumes play:
Cristiano Ronaldo scored a hat-trick and set up another for Kaka as Real Madrid twice fought back to defeat Villarreal 4-2. On Saturday, champions Barcelona maintained their lead at the top of the Primera Division with a 4-0 win at Deportivo La Coruna.
Manchester United 1 - 0 Liverpool
Kevin McCarra at Old Trafford
Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Arsenal 1 - 1 Leeds
Tom Adams at Emirates Stadium
Stevenage 3 - 1 Newcastle
Paul Doyle at Broadhall Way
Leicester City 2 - 2 Manchester City
Stuart James at Walkers Stadium