Friday, March 04, 2011
No game between these sides needs extra spice to make it special but the clash this weekend is also significant in the context of this season, as Sir Alex Ferguson's men look to recover from losing to Chelsea in midweek to get their title bid back on track.
Liverpool, meanwhile, will also be determined to bounce back from defeat to West Ham last Sunday and continue their upward curve under Kenny Dalglish.
Whichever group of supporters manages to secure North West bragging rights for the next few months, it promises to be the latest in a series of thrilling fixtures.
There have been so many classic encounters over the years that narrowing it down to the ten best of all time would be a mind-boggling exercise, so skysports.com is instead recalling some of the most memorable since the Premier League started.
‘It is because of where we are from; because when you grow up on the street you have to defend yourself. You have to fight; show your character.’
Manchester United's trip to Liverpool on Sunday takes centre stage but Arsenal can cut their lead at the summit to just a point with victory over Sunderland on Saturday. Manchester City will continue their pursuit of the top two with a home date against rock-bottom Wigan, while Tottenham can move above Chelsea and back into fourth if they overcome struggling Wolves. Birmingham must swiftly forget their Carling Cup success and return to the grit of a relegation scrap as they host Midlands rivals West Brom, while Aston Villa's line-up is sure to be scrutinised as they travel to Bolton. West Ham could scramble out of the bottom three if they can see off Stoke at Upton Park, Newcastle welcome a dejected Everton to St James' Park and Blackburn will be keen to arrest their slide down the table when they make the trip to Fulham.
Birmingham vs. West Brom: Paul Merson's Preview
Manchester City vs. Wigan Athletic: Preview
Liverpool vs. Manchester United: Preview
Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela
The Bianconeri go into the encounter at Turin's Olympic Stadium having lost four of their last six league games.
Scudetto contenders Inter will be hoping Juve win as they look to cut the gap on their city rivals.
Leonardo's men host Genoa looking to make it four wins in a row.
Napoli, who are one point behind Inter, will be boosted by a strong home record as they look to bounce back immediately from the disappointment at the San Siro.
Walter Mazzarri's men are unbeaten at the San Paolo Stadium since October 25, with eight wins from nine games.
They host relegation-threatened Brescia on Sunday.
Two men can't fight if one does not want to – and the man with the bloodshot eye and the melancholic gaze didn't Instead, there was a quick, silent shake of the hand, a wordless greeting, and the white flag was raised. No resistance, and no mercy. Last night Real Madrid tore Málaga apart, battering them 7-0. But Málaga's manager did not care; or said he did not. Cunning or cowardice, that was the question.
"It could be some kind of stimulant or dietary aid and that would tally with what I was told on Thursday night by sources close to Toure - who insists it was not deliberately performance enhancing or recreational.
"Given that Toure is a devout Muslim and is also teetotal and the fact he is regarded as a model professional and one of the quiet men of the Premier League, it seems to add up."
Arsene Wenger: "He wants to control his weight a little bit because that's where he has some problems and he took the product off his wife," said the Arsenal boss.
"He wants to control his weight a little bit because that's where he has some problems and he took the product off his wife," said the Arsenal boss.
There's a team in Europe that is still in the hunt to win every competition this season. A club which is dominating its league, ahead of its perennial archrival, which itself is having, statistically at least, a great season. Its numbers, across all competitions, are frighteningly good: Played 40, Won 33, Drawn 4, Lost 3.
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, Birmingham City's Craig Gardner thanks his lucky pants, Sao Paulo fans swim in the aisles of the club's Morumbi Stadium, an English club launches the most expensive season ticket in the world and Jose Mourinho takes aim at Real Madrid predecessor Manuel Pellegrini.
Thursday, March 03, 2011
The 21-year old conceded a penalty which led to Frank Lampard's late winner at Stamford Bridge.
But hours later he checked into a £2,000-a-night suite at the hotel popular with celebrities such as Lady GaGa and Paris Hilton, and partied until 4.30am.
The Independent's Football Correspondent Sam Wallace looks at the issues facing the title contenders and predicts how they will affect the run-in.
Two decades at the top makes Ryan Giggs a freak of the modern game. Even when casting back through the English game's history, there are none whose careers have lasted so long at such a high level. Sir Stanley Matthews may have been playing at 50 but was not a stranger to the Second Division.
If only the rest of us could gain an inner peace regarding the MLS playoffs as New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe has.
The latest round of fussing and debating over the postseason structure commenced last week when the league announced a belated, revised format for 2011. This one was a double whammy. Not only were some of the unpopular elements retained, but the postseason for the 18-team league also was expanded to 10 clubs.
Brian Moore: Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson typical of a game that fails to respect officials
The pulsating Premier League game at Stamford Bridge on Tuesday showed much of the best and worst of football.
Villarreal beat Napoli 2-1 in the Europa League Round of 32 a week ago, and though it was hardly a match that gripped the whole of Europe, the result will reverberate around the continent for many years to come. With Napoli's loss, Italy slipped to fourth place in UEFA's league coefficient ranking and will be able to send only three teams to the Champions League in 2012-13. The Bundesliga, now third in the rankings behind England's Premier League and Spain's La Liga, will pick up Serie A's vacated spot, meaning Germany can once again send four clubs to Europe's premier competition after having to make do with three since 2002-03.
Wednesday, March 02, 2011
Hands up, at the start of the campaign who really thought Blackpool would be four points outside the bottom three with 10 games to go?
In fact, who thought any of the promoted sides would be clear of the bottom three?
It’s been a totally unpredictable season in the Premier League which has seen a relegation battle have more twists than even Chubby Checker could handle.
But as we enter the time of season which Sir Alex Ferguson would call ‘squeaky bum time’, Sportsmail is willing to put its head on the block and give its verdict on the winners and losers in the battle to beat relegation.
An injured owl that was kicked off the field by a player during a match between Colombian soccer clubs has died from shock.
Veterinarian Camilo Tapia said the owl went into shock Tuesday after it was taken in for treatment two days earlier.
Every week he will be here to offer you statistical gems to make your day, impress your mates and, on occasion, to settle the odd bet.
Sky Sports' voice of football and his back-up team of experts are here to answer your questions and queries on all things statistical and historical from the beautiful game.
It was the night of the Academy Awards and the red carpet was rolled out, ready. Everyone was waiting, there was little over an hour to go and the excitement built. "That was the performance of his life. I'm sure they'll give him an Oscar tonight."
But this was no film critic praising Colin Firth. This was Fernando Llorente talking about David Navarro -- a footballer from Athletic Bilbao talking about a footballer from Valencia. Only Navarro is also, it turns out, a heck of an actor. And on Sunday night, he played his role to perfection, a role he had been practicing for years, one that's second nature to him -- the role of sinister, malevolent bad guy.
David Navarro Video
2 - 1
Henry Winter at Stamford Bridge
Kevin McCarra at Stamford Bridge
Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
Richard Williams: Chelsea ride their luck
Dale Johnson: Arsenal winners of Bridge battle
Paul Hayward: United up for the fight
Fergie fury at the ref
Tuesday, March 01, 2011
A positive young manager, a bond between players and fans, and an improving team could save Levante from the drop.
Unity may well be salvation for little Levante, La Liga's Expendables.
The 3-1 win in Munich was so definitive that Bayern officials and players were queuing up to congratulate the champions-elect.
Borussia Dortmund brilliance ends any lingering Bayern title hopes.
Never been in a riot? Get yourself out to a Sofia derby.
Napoli's expectations were sky high heading to San Siro – but a 3-0 loss suggests it could be a Milan-Inter duel for the Scudetto.
Napoli fire a blank as gunslinging Milan stay in charge at the top.
Henry Winter: Ashley Cole and Wayne Rooney incidents a reminder of FA's weak stance on English elite
Welcome to England, land of elbows and shotguns. Welcome to Stamford Bridge tonight when Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United collide with Ashley Cole’s Chelsea to restage the Glorious 12th. The shouts will be of “duck” and “shoot”.
Ryan Giggs was 17, wearing a shirt that seemed slightly too large for his skinny frame. Manchester United 0 Everton 2. The team were on a run of seven league games without a win, almost a quarter of a century since their last title. It was an inauspicious debut. "The thing that sticks out is Dave Watson coming through the back of me," Giggs says. "It was 'welcome to the big boys' league'. I had a big cut on my knee for ages after that." Otherwise, he cannot remember too much apart from Ferguson shouting at everyone in the dressing room.
The Europa League has so far managed to keep a low profile in my house, the reason being that Thursday, like Monday, seems the wrong day for football. I can't quite rationalise or justify that feeling, but it's there nevertheless. Besides, when it comes on the heels of a glut of Champions League stuff, it seems like lesser fare by default, stuck onto the fag-end of the week's viewing as if it were of minor importance - to watch if you have nothing else pressing to do.
Monday, February 28, 2011
Meanwhile, in the Premier League, Wigan eventually capitulated to Manchester United, West Ham rolled over Liverpool and Mark Hughes returned to Eastlands and his Fulham side earned a draw with Manchester City. The two dropped points put the nail in any title hopes for City. Once again, the media is having a field day with a handshake incident. Sparky's undies got all bunched up because Mancini didn't look him in the eye upon the clasping of the hands. Really? Who the fuck cares? The whole post-match handshake thing is great but not worthy of any debate or discussion. If a manager want to shake hands then fine. If not, then fine. Fist bump? Great. Whatever.
Ashley Cole brought some sort of pellet gun to Chelsea's training complex and shot an innocent bystander. You can't make it up with Cashley -- he's in a league by himself. Also, Louis Saha wrecked his Ferrari.
In Spain, Lionel Messi scored his 1,425th goal of the campaign as Barcelona extended their lead at the top of La Liga. Since Real Madrid couldn't score one goal (Karim Benzema anyone?) at Deportivo La Coruña that title looks to be settled before March. Also settled is the Bundesliga where Dortmund went to Bayern Munich and came away 3-1 winners, their first win in Munich since 1991. It leaves them 13 points ahead of their nearest challengers.
There's a big match in Italy this afternoon as Napoli head to San Siro to face AC Milan. A win for Napoli would put them on level terms with Milan at the top of Serie A. You can catch that one at 2:45pm EST on FSC.
The Fifth Official's usual Monday column, Wayne Rooney's elbow and a tribute to Dean Richards -- who passed away at the age of 36 -- round out today's big stories.
It was not the sort of rejuvenation Chelsea need. Instead of regaining his youth, Ashley Cole merely behaved like an adolescent. In fact the description is an unwarranted slur on countless teenagers who know better than to point an airgun at someone and pull the trigger. The defender backed a hunch that it was not loaded.
Louis Saha, the Everton striker, has narrowly avoided serious injury after his Ferrari sports car crashed on a busy country road on Sunday, police sources said.
Louis with his pre-accident 458 Italia...
Saturday saw the tragic passing of Dean Richards, the former Bradford City, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Southampton and Tottenham Hotspur centre back, who had been battling a long-term illness. Aged just 36, the news has come as a complete and utter shock to all those within the footballing community.
Alan Hansen: Rooney's elbow could have cost United the title
Sam Wallace: Rooney's moment of madness is indefensible – but referees are working with flawed system
Two goals in the final 20 minutes from Wesley Sneijder and Samuel Eto'o earned Inter Milan a 2-0 win at Sampdoria. The result leaves Inter just two points behind table-topping city rivals AC Milan, though they have played a game more. Palermo coach Delio Rossi insisted he will not resign despite his side suffering a humiliating 7-0 home defeat to Udinese. Substitute Abdelkader Ghezzal fired a late equaliser for rock-bottom Bari to deny Fiorentina a second away win of the season.
Mihajlovic is not pleased...
Manchester United issued a statement of intent with an emphatic victory over Wigan, while there were other big wins for Wolves and Aston Villa in the Premier League this weekend. West Ham gave themselves hope of avoiding relegation following a 3-1 home success against Liverpool, Everton beat Sunderland and Manchester City were held by Fulham.
West Ham 3 - 1 Liverpool
Dominic Fifield at Upton Park
Manchester City 1 - 1 Fulham
Daniel Taylor at Eastlands
Aston Villa 4 - 1 Blackburn
Ciaran Cronin at Villa Park
Five Things We Learned
Arsenal 1 - 2 Birmingham City
Kevin McCarra at Wembley
Phil McNulty at Wembley
Richard Williams at Wembley
John Brewin at Wembley
Martin Rogers: Wenger failed to fill Arsenal's holes
Rob Kelly: Defeat outlines Arsenal's mental barrier
Chelsea and England full-back Ashley Cole accidentally shot an intern at the club's training ground with a .22 calibre air rifle, according to a report. The News Of The World reported that Cole was "larking about" with the weapon, which he brought to the state of the art complex at Cobham complete with a muzzle and nightscope, when he discharged it from a distance of five feet.
Carlo under fire as shooting probed