Friday, April 08, 2011

Barca bag Bieber

Sport prowess: Justin Bieber takes to the football pitch for a game in Spain today


Now for today's serious news. Not content with the youthful talents of Busquets, Bojan and Messi, Barcelona have brought in some really quality....
Bieber shows his talents

Friday MLS Forecast

US: Weather Today

MLS Preview
Head to Head match-ups

Anger is all the Rage in the EPL

Everyone is getting angry with everyone at the moment: why take responsibility for your failings when there's an official to blame?
Even Carlo the cool has been consumed by this age of rage
Terry: it feels like Chelsea versus everyone
Referees revolt against FA over Rooney charge
Neymar shown red card for wearing a mask of his own face

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Lawro's predictions
Martin Lipton's Premier League preview
Sky's EPL preview

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

The midweek Champions League results have brought us closer to a scenario dreaded by the Madridistas and relished by the Barcelonistas: unless one of the two squads lay a XXXL-sized egg in their respective second leg matches, the two biggest clubs in the country will play four derbies in just 18 days. If you're one of those who thought that the current duopoly wasn't much fun, now you're very likely to overdose on clásicos.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter Milan captain Javier Zanetti is wearing a brave face heading into this weekend's home game against Chievo while Udinese's Antonio Di Natale is looking forward to his reunion with Roma coach Vincenzo Montella in their Serie A clash
Inter Milan out to forget horror week
Di Natale anticipating Montella reunion

EPL Round UP

Ade allowed to leave City, Gerrard injury leaves Liverpool reeling, Gareth Bale may leave Spurs, The FA leave ManU cold, while Carroll is left clutching at straws...

Gerrard ruled out for rest of season
Mancini tells Adebayor he can leave City
Tottenham 'streamlining' may lead to Bale's departure
United blast 'FA amateurs'
Carroll banking on Spurs slip

Champions League Review: Things are Heating Up

Barca, Real and Schalke are on fire, ManU warms to the task, but Inter's shock defeat means the competition's champions are feeling the heat. Meanwhile, Abromovich's keeps on getting his fingers burnt. Inter burned by Champions League heat Cost of European failure What is the point of extra officials?

Thursday, April 07, 2011

We are not amused...

As so often with the club, there's an touch of pompous self-importance to the Arsenal Supporters' Trust's opinion of the team's recent results. But there's no doubting their statement's validity. Most generously they will reserve final judgement until the end of the season. But for the moment they are jolly well upset. Arsenal Supporters' Trust express 'considerable disappointment'

Is Abramovich's Midas touch set to continue with Torres?

Nine games into his spell at Chelsea £50million recruit Fernando Torres cannot buy a goal. But he's not the only expensive strike flop to have grace Stamford Bridge...
He just can't score! £50m Torres joins Chelsea's list of expensive strike flops
Ancelotti could pay ultimate price

The Perfect View?

Any time Michael Caine is smiling down on me, I'm happy...

All change at Tottenham?

After the humbling by Real, the future of several players is now in doubt...will they be making way for the new Didier Drogba?
Who may be leaving Spurs?
Spurs in pole position to beat Premier League rivals to £17.5m Lukaku

King James stakes King Kenny

Liverpool FC have confirmed that United States basketball star LeBron James has become a minority stakeholder in the club after signing a deal with club owners Fenway Sports Group
LeBron James buys Liverpool stake

FA ignore Rio and lynch, well ban, Rooney

Rio Ferdinand wants people to 'follow Wayne Rooney as a footballer' in the wake of Man Utd's win at Chelsea, but the FA, like Capello, ignore him, and uphold a two-match ban.
Rooney to sit out Cup semi with City as FA upholds ban
'Rooney is top quality - stop lynching him,' says Ferdinand
Wayne's simply a world apart... with fun as his new F-word

Stolica denies Whitecaps

Vancouver was cruising toward its second victory until New England's Ilija Stolica struck in injury time to make the lead disappear.
Whitecaps settle for 1-1 draw

Barça smack down Donetsk

Rampant Barcelona almost certainly book semi-final showdown with Real by thrashing Shakhtar Donetsk, scoring another five goals at the Nou Camp. No doubt their semi-final against Madrid will be a low-key affair, with little hype and attention.
Guardiola urges caution despite mauling
Pique ready for Real after destroying Donetsk

ManU win Battle of Britain, Round One

Rooney strike leaves Chelsea's season hanging by a thread
Carrick's revival opens up world of possibilities for Ferguson
Furious Ancelotti blasts referee's 'character'
Chelsea v United: Player ratings from the Champions League clash

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

EPL Round Up

Pansil and Kalinic are set to leave their clubs, Agger and Johnson are set for a period on the Liverpool treatment table, meaning J Henry is set to get out the cheque book, while Obinna sets the record straight about the West Ham racism claim...

Liverpool squad depth a major issue says Henry
Agger out for rest of season
Pantsil admits Fulham exit is on the cards after losing favour with Hughes
Fed-up Kalinic in Blackburn quit threat as striker demands first-team football
Obinna says family was not abused

Eduardo hopes to achieve what his old team couldn't

Eduardo, the former Arsenal striker still held in high regard by many North Londoners, has become a firm favourite in Donetsk since a £6m switch last summer.
Barca beware! Ex-Arsenal hotshot Eduardo is Shakhtar's secret weapon
Barcelona's Villa eyes end to goal drought

Lampard aims to celebrate anniversary

Chelsea star set for 500th club appearance against United as he seeks elusive Champions League crown.
Lampard aims for 'special' achievement
Lampard: Pain of 08 can spur Chelsea on

Leonardo paints a sorry picture

President Massimo Moratti insists he still has faith...
Inter give Leonardo vote of confidence
Match report: Inter 2-5 Schalke

Berlusconi to Treat Ronaldo Like a Teenaged Girl

Silvio Berlusconi has hit upon the perfect plan to get out of his current predicament- he's been telling friends that he's planning to buy Chrisiano Ronaldo. There's no mention of throwing him private birthday parties with Mummar Gaddafi and George Clooney at his Villa or taking advantage of the distraction this will cause to have Parliment pass a bill giving him immunity from all prosecution; when Silvo's involved those things go without saying.

Lennon: "It's Not My Fault"

Tottenham winger Aaron Lennon has taken to Twitter to defend himself against manager Harry Redknapp's charges of dereliction of duty, claiming that he'd been sick for days and that he was unwilling to be Harry's scapegoat. Aaron, didn't you get the memo? Crouchie has taken goat duties by the horns! He can look forward to further defending himself on twitter after he's sold this summer for failure to play along with Harry's charming lies.

Crouchie Apologizes for Sending Off

Peter Crouch has apologized to his teammates for his pointless red card in yesterday's Champions League match in Madrid.

Fergie's Going Nowhere

The memory of how his father, Alexander, died 12 months after retiring from the shipyards has always stayed with him and was one he recalled when contemplating if the accomplishment of a second treble might just tempt him to make tonight's Champions League quarter-final first leg against Chelsea his last game at Stamford Bridge. "My father retired on his 65th birthday, and one year later he was dead," Ferguson said. "The worst you can do is put your slippers on. People say things like: 'I've worked for 45 years. I have the right to rest.' Not at all. One has the duty to keep active and in good shape."

John Terry Still Crying on the Inside

John Terry is haunted. Not by the faces of referees he screamed in, not by guilt brought on by being a serial philanderer, not by the failure to produce the goods in the England shirt, not by eating human babies every day. No, EBJT is still haunted by missing a penalty in Russia. Buck up JT, maybe hopping into the sack with Mrs Cech will help to ease the pain!

Coke Drops Rooney

Coca-Cola has terminated their relationship with noted English beverage enthusiast Wayne Rooney. Surprisingly the reason they cited is his since-since forgotten dalliance with trash Manchester hookers while his wife was pregnant and had nothing to do with his weekend profanity seminar. However nothing quenches the thirst you work up while kicking a dog while its down better than a Coke Zero!

Good Day!

Just the basics today as I'm on a brief holiday in the hot Florida sun. I'll be here for the Chelsea/United match this afternoon. If you're in the area, come on by and join me for a pint.


UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Previews

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

Phil McNulty: Drogba or Torres?

Barcelona vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

Jonathan Wilson: Will Shakhtar upset Barca?

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Reports & Fallout

Real Madrid 4 - 0 Tottenham

Inter Milan 2 - 5 Schalke 04

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sid Lowe in Spain

Real Madrid's defeat to Sporting Gijón ended José Mourinho's mind-blowing unbeaten home league record – and his title hopes.

After nine years, 151 games and four clubs, José Mourinho's record ends.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Previews

Real Madrid vs. Tottenham

Dominic Raynor: All pressure on Real Madrid
Sid Lowe: Ronaldo can make Real predictable
Phil Minshull: Can Real win it all?
Paul Hayward: Spurs feed off inferiority complex

Key Battles

Inter Milan vs. Schalke 4

Preview I
Preview II
Schalke fear Inter backlash after Derby defeat

Chris Birchall living the American dream with LA Galaxy

You could be forgiven for thinking there is only one English-born player currently turning out for Los Angeles Galaxy in the MLS.

Given that the player in question is David Beckham, arguably the most famous footballer of his generation, you can understand why.

But there is another, and it charts another remarkable chapter in the football career of Chris Birchall.

He made his debut for Port Vale at the age of 17 in a League Cup tie at Charlton in September 2001.

Since then, he has played for six different clubs in three different countries and also represented Trinidad & Tobago at the 2006 World Cup, despite growing up thousands of miles away from the Caribbean.

Is the Premier League the angriest in the world?

Everyone in the Premier League from managers and players to fans seem angry or miserable, irrespective of results. Just relax and be happy and your fortunes may change, advises Ralph Ellis.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

The 18-year-old's sensational goal against Hannover 96 brought tributes likening the attacking midfielder to Lionel Messi.

Mario Götze holds his nerve to calm Dortmund's title jitters.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Edinson Cavani's hat-trick for Napoli would have stolen the show in Serie A this weekend, but for Milan's 3-0 derby win over Inter.

Edinson Cavani answers Napoli's prayers as leaders Milan slay Inter.

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba confronts Chelsea fan after draw with Stoke City

Chelsea striker Didier Drogba was involved in a heated exchange with one of his own supporters at the end of a disappointing draw with Stoke City at the Britannia Stadium that effectively ended the club’s slim hopes of defending their Premier League title. (video)

Wayne Rooney swearing furore is damned by its double standards

There is a double standard to a game so capable of engaging and enraging. Where the great bulk of the audience is concerned, the match is served up to people who are at home or in a sociable pub. So it is that a Sky presenter has to beg pardon of the nation, even though we all understand that football rights are worth so much because the game provokes, excites and often forgets good manners entirely.

If Rooney is troubling, it is more because of his psychology. Here was a man who seemed to be taking revenge rather than pleasure in a contribution that flipped a 2-0 deficit into a 4-2 win. At his best Rooney can look a world-beater but his stance is that of someone who also has a score to settle with the entire planet.

Football's modern-day delinquents make me pine for George Best

It is not always just nostalgia that gilds the past. The 60s did, in reality, swing. The 70s did too, so eat your heart out if you missed them because there is no chance of their being matched, certainly not for the uncomplicated happiness they generated on football pitches, or heaving terraces.

And George Best at his dissolute worst was unarguably a sunnier presence at Old Trafford between 1963 and 1974 than another teenage genius who arrived there 30 years later.

It will be difficult to erase the image of Wayne Rooney's crazed snarl at the world through TV cameras after completing the hat-trick that rescued Manchester United against West Ham. Here, captured forever, was a beast of his age, angry for reasons it was hard to fathom at the time, and impossible for impartial observers to justify now.

Steve Davis on the USA

More than 10 years have passed since the last time a gaggle of fresh faces has caused such a fuss around the United States national team. Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley and other members of the first residency class in Bradenton, Fla., began spicing up the national team scene late in 2000.

Three relative newcomers around Bob Bradley's team have fans similarly stoked today. Young defender Timmy Chandler and even-younger striker Juan Agudelo notched their first U.S. starts against Paraguay. Agudelo held up fairly well; Chandler was nothing less than a revelation. Tim Ream, not exactly a newcomer but hardly a national team icon just yet, improved his standing with an impressive collection of peppy passes.

A 1-1 draw with Argentina and a 1-0 loss to Paraguay were all about prep for this summer's Gold Cup; the team won't gather again until training camp in late May for the regional championship. So while everyone buzzes about the new kids, here are other lessons from the pair of contests:

Steve Davis on MLS

Know your Major League Soccer -- Five things you should know about Week 3:

Uli Hesse in Germany

Was it really just two years ago that Hoffenheim were the only Bundesliga club apart from Bayern Munich everybody had an opinion about? This season, they seem to be the only team in the league nobody is even mildly interested in. If Hoffenheim's aim was to become an established Bundesliga club, they have achieved their goal faster and more thoroughly than they bargained for, because the club is now more than merely established - Hoffenheim have become so normal they are boring.

Phil Ball in Spain

What an extraordinary weekend here in Spain, where events in La Liga took place in a counter-intuitive fashion, and more or less set the seal on the destiny of the league title, give or take an improbable implosion of form at Barcelona FC over the next eight weeks. As the weekend turned out, Real Madrid were probably wishing that the strike over television rights had gone ahead after all. The 1-0 win by Sporting de Gijon in the Bernabéu was one of the most extraordinary results of the season for a variety of reasons, as if the gods of destiny had decided to have a fun weekend and spoil the party down below - for some anyway.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Michael Jackson Statue Unveiled at Craven Cottage

The Big Interview: Ricardo Carvalho

The defender has proved himself at Real Madrid to be a valuable member of a third José Mourinho side.

Monday MLS Breakdown

The premise appears perfectly suited for such a tongue-in-cheek day: a perennially unsuccessful franchise ships away its unsettled local star on a day best reserved for timely injections of humor. The April Fools Day blockbuster struck between New York and Toronto FC surely would have constituted a prank for the ages if it had not actually occurred.

Alas, cruel jokes often turn into saddening doses of reality in the tone-deaf world TFC inhabits.

Dwayne De Rosario departed for New York on Friday night to cap a sequence of events that included the seemingly requisite tomfoolery surrounding any major decision by the Reds – in this case, a series of incredulous reactions from beleaguered fans for mounting a major move on such a lighthearted day, a set of half-hearted afternoon denials from TFC coach Aron Winter and a dinnertime confirmation from both clubs.

Gabriele Marcotti: St. Pauli on the Other Side of 'Otherness'

No club in world soccer is perhaps as beloved by the cognoscenti as St. Pauli. To some, the smallish team from the Reeperbahn, Hamburg's red-light district, is a kind of anti-corporate utopia. St. Pauli celebrated its centenary last year, but it was in the 1980s when it became the darling of non-conformism in soccer.

Bundesliga game called off after St Pauli fans pelt linesman with coins, lighters and a cup of beer

Friday's German Bundesliga game between St Pauli and Schalke 04 was abandoned one minute from time after a linesman was hit in the back by a plastic cup full of beer thrown from one of the stands after he disallowed a goal for the home side.

Check 1:12

Ben Findon in Milan and Rome

Italian football in decline? Not on the evidence of Milan derby and Roma-Juve's Serie A meetings.

Assou-Ekotto is not your typical pro

None of the Tottenham players will be daunted by the prospect of Tuesday¹s eagerly-anticipated Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid. After all, three of its likely starting lineup have reached this stage of the competition before -- Heurelho Gomes (PSV), William Gallas (Arsenal/Chelsea) and Peter Crouch (Liverpool) -- while another six have represented their countries at major tournaments.

One of the latter group will be particularly relaxed: Benoit Assou-Ekotto never gets nervous before big games, only watches his future opponents in team meetings and has a bugbear about players showing too much emotion during matches (don¹t get him started on badge-kissing after scoring goals). He also admits that his peers take themselves far too seriously, and that he only plays soccer for the money.