Friday, February 04, 2011
Chelsea: Blues fans must be delighted. Okay, there's an element of risk in paying 50m for a striker who's done little in the past year, but despite buying yachts, art and world cups, Roman still seems interested in Chelsea.
Liverpool: Replacing an in form Torres would be almost impossible, but he hasn't been happy for months and they got 50m for him. There's no guarantee Suarez and Carroll will work out, but they'll enable The Reds to move on.
Aston Villa: Sure, it's hard to say Bent is worth 24m without laughing, but he scores EPL goals, and that's what Villa need. Makoun and Bradley could be good buys and Villa fans will be happy Lerner is now investing. Martin O'Niell perhaps less so.
Bolton: They may have only signed Sturridge on loan, but Coyle managed to keep Cahill and Elmander.
Blackburn: No one has left, they've made a couple of promising signings and managed to avoid signing Ronaldinho.
Blackpool: They may get less for Charlie Adam in the summer, but he should keep them up.
Man City: Bought Dzeko.
Wolves: They don't have any money and it showed. Even Kenny Miller turned them down.
Everton: When your window highlight is keeping Phil Neville you know you're in trouble. Will miss Pienaar.
Newcastle: While they may have got top dollar for Carroll, they didn't have a replacement lined up. An 8 point buffer should be enough, but you need to score goals to stay up.
West Brom: It's hard to see how bringing in Vela from Arsenal will stop the free fall.
ManU: No damage done, but it's yet another window in which they haven't bought a top player.
Arsenal: Considering how their opponents are playing this season but preparing for next, the Gunners might not get a better chance to win the league. So, when even Huddersfield are taking advantage of your defensive weaknesses, surely it's time to do something. Would buying, say, Hangeland, have really broken the bank and ruined the youth policy?
Who Broke Even:
Stoke: As always, Pullis was pretty active during the window. He offloaded a couple of average players and brought in a couple of average players.
Wigan: Didn't strengthen but managed to hold on to N'zogbia.
Birmingham: Brought in Bentley but lost no one.
Fulham: Brought in Gudjohnsen but lost no one.
Sunderland: Lost Bent but got bags of dosh for him.
Who Lost The Plot A Bit:
West Ham: Buying seasoned EPL players seems a sensible way out of a relegation battle, but for a debt-ridden club to spend a fortune on the wages of Bridge and Keane seems a tad desperate.
Spurs: It's not difficult to sum up Spurs - really strong in midfield, could perhaps do with a top striker, certainly weak in defence. So what does Harry do? Brings in Pienaar and just misses out on Adam. Odd.
Barcelona have the chance to secure another spot in the history books then they host Atletico Madrid.
The defending champions are looking for a 16th successive La Liga victory.
Roma travel to the San Siro on Sunday evening to face Inter. The Romans go into the encounter on the back of a disappointing 1-1 draw against Brescia on Wednesday, which left them fourth in the standings, one point clear of defending champions Inter. A draw at the Giuseppe Meazza stadium would benefit Serie A leaders AC Milan, who square off against Genoa at the Luigi Ferraris stadium looking to return to winning ways.
Last June, in South Africa, there was one Italian club with rather split loyalties. It had sent no fewer than eight players to the World Cup, representing six different nations. Had this been a perennial Champions' League powerhouse, you might not be surprised. But it was little Udinese, hailing from a town of around 100,000, tucked away in the foggy (half the year anyway), northeast of the country.
This was not the way that the Spaniard had pictured it, nor the way he planned it. He didn't want to leave this way. Under different circumstances, he would have preferred not to leave at all. But the circumstances were what they were. They were not good. Liverpool was not what he thought Liverpool should be and he was not prepared to wait for the club to be once more. That, in a nutshell, is why he wanted to depart Anfield. In the end, the desire simply to leave -- and leave as soon as possible -- overshadowed all else.
Arsène Wenger has accused David Moyes of breaking the unwritten code of managerial conduct, as the row over the Arsenal captain Cesc Fábregas's behaviour in the tunnel against Everton on Tuesday night rumbled on.
Dominic Fifield: Fábregas risking his and Arsenal's reputation with petty battles
Gary Neville's decision to retire from football on Wednesday marked the beginning of the end of an era for English football, as the Manchester United defender became the first of the famed Fergie Fledglings to finish his professional career. This is the story of their emergence from the youth ranks at Old Trafford.
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, Walter Pandiani tells "arrogant" Cristiano Ronaldo he has a screw loose, Brazilian goalkeeper Saulo injures himself celebrating his goal, the Ankaragucu manager punches a fan of his own team during a game and Arjen Robben chokes Thomas Muller for being disrespectful.
Thursday, February 03, 2011
Real Madrid will play fierce rival Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final for the first time in 21 years after Spain’s biggest teams both recorded comfortable two-legged wins Wednesday.
Madrid beat Sevilla 2-0 for a 3-0 overall win, while Barcelona earlier defeated Almeria 3-0 to complete an 8-0 aggregate victory.
On Oct. 13, 2009, the life and career of U.S. striker Charlie Davies changed in the amount of time it took for the SUV he was riding in to crash on the George Washington Parkway near the nation's capital. Now it appears that Davies' recovery may take him back to Washington, D.C., this season.
Robbie Keane marked a debut of his own with a goal in West Ham's vital 3-1 win over Blackpool, Damien Duff haunted former employers Newcastle and Tottenham did a smash and grab job on Blackburn.
A frenetic and always entertaining evening's football concluded at the Reebok as Bolton snatched a victory over Wolves thanks to substitute Daniel Sturridge's last gasp intervention.
Liverpool 2 - 0 Stoke City
Andy Hunter at Anfield
Birmingham City 2 - 2 Manchester City
Kevin McCarra at St. Andrew's
Best of the Midweek
Old Lady 'taken for a ride' as patience wears thin in Turin.
Cesena 1-1 Catania, Chievo 2-0 Napoli, Fiorentina 1-0 Genoa, Milan 0-0 Lazio, Palermo 2-1 Juventus, Parma 0-1 Lecce, Roma 1-1 Brescia, Sampdoria 0-1 Cagliari, Udinese 1-1 Bologna.
Gary Neville's announcement that he has retired from football will not be mourned on Merseyside. It will not be met with sadness by supporters all across the country who came to greet the mention of his name with a smirk or a sneer; this was a footballer who divided opinion like few others. However, it marks the end of a great career, and one that demonstrated just what can be achieved through application and determination. It should be met with sadness.
Wenger reveals Neville respect
Richard Williams: The finest right-back of his generation
An emblem for Manchester United's greatest years
Champions League: 1999
Premier League: 1996, 1997, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2007, 2009
FA Cup: 1996, 1999, 2004
League Cup: 2006, 2010
Wednesday, February 02, 2011
Tottenham's actions in the January transfer window were so chaotic that it came as little surprise when it emerged on Monday night they had tried and failed to sign Charlie Adam - a player they didn't even need - at the last minute.
Here, Goal.com UK takes a look at the A-Z of targets Spurs missed out on...
Following a busy January transfer window, there promises to be a number of fresh faces on display in Wednesday's top flight fixtures. Premier League bosses have spent the past few weeks scouring the market for top talent, and now is the time for those new recruits to be let off their leash. Among those on show in the latest round of midweek activity are Liverpool, who captured the headlines on deadline day. Title-chasing Manchester City and Tottenham are also in action, while Newcastle will be hoping to make a positive start to life post-Andy Carroll. At the bottom, West Ham and Wolves have the opportunity to get their heads back above water and clamber out of the relegation zone.
Juventus coach Luigi Del Neri goes into Wednesday's match at Palermo under pressure after last weekend's 2-1 defeat to Udinese marked their third defeat in five games.
Fiorentina will be bolstered by the return of Adrian Mutu when they welcome Genoa to Florence.
While the likes of Cagliari striker Alessandro Matri joined Juventus on loan and Real Madrid snapped up Man City's Emmanuel Adebayor for the rest of the season, here ESPNsoccernet looks at some of the top permanent transfers in January.
3 - 1
Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Paul Wilson at Old Trafford
Arsenal 2 - 1 Everton
Kevin McCarra at the Emirates Stadium
Tom Adams at the Emirates Stadium
Sunderland 2 - 4 Chelsea
Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light
Real Madrid are now seven points behind a Barça side that have won 15 straight in La Liga. Game over? Almost certainly.
Real Madrid suffer forbidden error at Osasuna as title hopes crash.
The Hamburg derby is due on Sunday, but the Social Romantics at St Pauli have their focus fixed on a longer-term battle.
Trying times at St Pauli as fans' faction fights to maintain values.
While Pazzini was busy rescuing Internazionale on debut, his previous club suffered another worrying defeat.
Giampaolo Pazzini an instant hit at Inter as Samp slippage continues.
Tuesday, February 01, 2011
If January's transfer deadline day was football acting in a deep recession, the mind boggles at what will unfold should the good times roll once more.
Two British record transfer fees within minutes in a blur of aircraft and fast cars travelling between Tyneside, Merseyside and London as Liverpool and Chelsea sent the markets into a frenzy.
And the catalyst for it all was the conversation Fernando Torres conducted with Liverpool late last week which culminated in a written transfer request only three days before the transfer window closed.
Monday, January 31, 2011
Arjen Robben does not appreciate it when his teammates moan about his wayward free kicks. When Thomas Muller gestured to express his disapproval of Arjen Robben's second half free kick in Bayern's 3-1 in over Werder Bremen on Saturday, Robben took exception.
Everton 1 - 1 Chelsea
Andy Hunter at Goodison Park
Southhampton 1 - 2 Manchester United
Joe Lovejoy at St. Mary's
Notts County 1 - 1 Manchester City
Richard Jolly at Meadow Lane
Arsenal 2 - 1 Huddersfield
David Hytner at Emirates Stadium
Fulham 4 - 0 Tottenham
Phil McNulty at Craven Cottage
West Ham United v Burnley
Notts County/Manchester City v Aston Villa
Stoke City v Brighton & Hove Albion
Birmingham City v Sheffield Wednesday
Leyton Orient v Arsenal
Everton/Chelsea v Reading
Manchester United v Crawley Town
Fulham/Tottenham Hotspur v Bolton Wanderers/Wigan Athletic
* Ties to be played on Feb. 19 and 20.