Friday, April 29, 2011
Defending champions Inter's hopes of taking the title race into another weekend have been hit by a suspension to goalkeeper Julio Cesar and injuries to Dejan Stankovic and Ivan Cordoba but midfielder Thiago Motta may return.
Milan, eight points clear, are bidding to wrap up their first scudetto since 2004 with three games to go and owner Silvio Berlusconi has no doubts.
Team News & Predictions
Chelsea vs. Tottenham: Preview
Chelsea vs. Tottenham: Paul Merson's Preview
Liverpool vs. Newcastle: Preview
Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Preview I
Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Preview II
Arsenal vs. Manchester United: Alan Hansen's Preview
From Hibs' early foray to Dundee v Milan, via Leeds United's smothering of Barcelona, here are half a dozen great tales.
A stunning four goal show by Colombian striker Falcao saw Portuguese champions Porto come from a goal down to overwhelm Spanish side Villarreal 5-1 on Thursday in their Europa League semi-final first leg clash in Oporto.
Falcao's goals took him to a record 16 in the competition, beating Jurgen Klinsmann's total of 15 for Bayern Munich in the 1995/95 competition when it was the UEFA Cup.
With Porto set fair for the final in Dublin in May, they will be joined there by another Portuguese club, with Benfica holding a slight edge over Sporting Braga after beating them 2-1 at home also on Thursday.
The escalating feud between Real Madrid and Barcelona erupted into a bitter war of words on Thursday night after Uefa charged both clubs over their conduct in Wednesday's ill-tempered Champions League semi-final.
In the wake of one of the most acrimonious encounters between the two sides, Madrid urged Uefa to charge Barcelona over what they perceive as diving to con the referee at the Bernabéu, while their arch rivals said they would formally report José Mourinho over his claim that there is a conspiracy to favour the Catalan club.
This week, Napoli's wisdom for WAGs, Manchester United's Darron Gibson lasts just two hours on Twitter, Real Madrid have the last word on Hell Clasico, mascot Sammy the Tammy dons a cardboard tank to gun down fans and Icelandic side Thor Akureyri FC take pranks to a whole new level.
Gigi Becali: Supreme Prick
France manager Laurent Blanc has denied any knowledge of a controversial alleged proposal by the French Football Federation (FFF) to limit the number of black and arab players by introducing discriminatory quotas.
Reports that French football chiefs, including Blanc, had discussed and approved the introduction of a ceiling on non-whites emerged Thursday via Mediapart.
Thursday, April 28, 2011
Rather than a shed-load of cash, Racing's owner Ahsan Ali Syed has left a trail of broken promises. And his team are suffering.
From 'Ali the Saviour' to 'Ali Baba'? A cautionary tale from Santander.
Carroll was in the Spanish capital to watch the semi-final clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona. And the British record signing was joined by team-mates Pepe Reina, Glen Johnson, and Raul Meireles. Everton star Tim Cahill was also surprisingly invited along for the jolly, despite the fierce rivalry between the two teams.
Spain’s Villarreal is looking to thwart the Europa League trophy ambitions of three Portuguese clubs as four Iberian teams line up in the semifinals on Thursday.
At least one club from Portugal will make it to the final in Dublin next month as Benfica meets domestic rival Braga in one semifinal. Villarreal travels to Portuguese champion FC Porto in the other first-leg encounter.
Real Madrid 0 - 2 Barcelona
Sid Lowe at Santiago Bernabéu
Henry Winter at Santiago Bernabéu
Paul Hayward at Santiago Bernabéu
Tom Adams: Messi and Mourinho mask Barca shame
Spanish Press Reaction
On Thursday evening, Porto play Villarreal in the semi-finals of the Europa League. It is eight years since Porto became the first Portuguese club to triumph in Europe's secondary competition when Jose Mourinho announced himself to a wider audience with a dramatic victory over Martin O'Neill's Celtic.
Whenever footballers, managers or supporters suggest their club needs new players, it is tempting to point out that recruitment can make things worse, not better. As ESPNsoccernet's worst 10 signings of the season show...
Wigan paid six million for...?
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Who: Real Madrid vs. Barcelona
When: 2:45pm EDT
Where: Estadio Santiago Bernabéu, Madrid, Spain
U.S. TV: FX
David Bond: Clasico of Clasicos
Messi vs. Ronaldo: Majestic Maestros Ready for Game's No. 1 Face-Off
Real Madrid and Barcelona: Best of Enemies
“He’s the (expletive) boss, the (expletive) master and I can’t compete with him at any instant,” Guardiola said at the Bernabeu. “Off the field he’s already beaten me. I gift him this off-field Champions League prize, I hope he takes it home and enjoys it.
Arsenal also have severe problems when they try to get the ball wide. Robin van Persie is on a great scoring run and his link-up play is excellent, but he is far from an aerial threat – it does not even come naturally to him to get into goalscoring positions when the ball is out wide. The introduction of Marouane Chamakh, wildly out of form this year, did not solve the problems, and Arsenal finished with a cross completion rate of 0%, from 27 attempted crosses.
Real Salt Lake fans are set to serenade their team Wednesday night when it plays four-time Mexican League champion Monterrey in the second leg of a home-and-home CONCACAF Champions League finals. Granted, this is not Manchester United vs. Real Madrid. But if RSL can hold its own again against Monterrey, it will get a chance in December to prove itself on the world stage. The champion of CONCACAF - the soccer group made up of North and Central America and the Caribbean - will head to Japan at the FIFA Club World Cup.
Tuesday, April 26, 2011
Who: Schalke 04 vs. Manchester United
When: 2:45pm EDT
Where: Veltins-Arena, Gelsenkirchen, Germany
U.S. TV: Fox Soccer Channel
Kevin McCarra: United can expose Schalke
Phil Thompson: United must be wary
John Duerden: Karimi could rise to the top
Duncan White: Raul enjoying Indian summer
Raphael Honigstein: Five reasons why Schalke may shock Manchester United
Dan Roan: The key to Schalke's success
Schalke 04 Player Guide
Steve Cherundo lead Hannover as its captain from his traditional right-back position as they beat SC Freiburg 3-1 on Thursday. DaMarcus Beasley was not included in the squad.
The keeper stunted Hernandez in the 25th minute with a brilliant save at the right near post. He stopped another effort by the Mexican thereafter as both sides headed into the lock room empty handed. Later in the match, the New Jersey native tipped over a Wayne Rooney free kick and stopped yet another Hernandez shot. However, the striker was finally rewarded for his gusto six minutes from time when his header sailed past Howard.
Sampdoria had to beat Bari on Saturday to keep their fight against relegation alive, and responsibility fell to one man.
Opportunity knocks for Nicola Pozzi to save Sampdoria's season.
Kaiserslautern are one win from safety after victory over a Schalke side who were clearly dreaming of Manchester United.
Kaiserslautern win 'semi-final' as Schalke have one eye on theirs.
Monday, April 25, 2011
When Jose met Pep is the compelling tale of a former middle-ranking employee versus a beloved scion of the Barcelona establishment, a tale of crossed paths and crossed swords.
The Arsenal manager once showed English football the future – but now the dramatic effects of his philosophy have waned.
Arsène Wenger is threatening to become part of Premier League's past.
Forget Ronaldo v Messi, the midfield collision of Xabi and Xavi is set to decide a dazzling Champions League semi-final.
Duel of the X-men at heart of Real Madrid passion play with Barcelona.
Brian Mullan will miss multiple matches for his reckless challenge on Seattle's Steve Zakuani, but the exact length of his suspension will likely depend on past precedent.
Disciplinary committee faces challenge as it contemplates Mullan suspension.
Manchester United 1 - 0 Everton
Kevin McCarra at Old Trafford
Tottenham 2 - 2 West Brom
David Hytner at White Hart Lane
Chelsea 3 - 0 West Ham
Kevin Palmer at Stamford Bridge
Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
Liverpool 5 - 0 Birmingham
Richard Jolly at Anfield
Bolton 2 - 1 Arsenal
Richard Jolly at The Reebok Stadium
Daniel Taylor at The Reebok Stadium
Team of the Week
Best of the Weekend
Five Things We Learned
MADCAP MARIO BALOTELLI has notched up nearly £10,000 in parking fines and had his luxury car impounded 27 TIMES, The Sun can reveal.
The Manchester City star has left liaison officers at the club tearing their hair out as they have had to go back time and time again to reclaim his Maserati.
The £100,000-a-week Italian striker has had an average of three parking tickets a DAY since he signed for the Premier League club last year.
Mayhem threatens almost every match in Argentina, whether the perpetrators are individual fans, police or hooligan gangs. In a nation with a proud soccer tradition, little is being done about the deadly blight on the game. Grabia and others say the reason is a web of connections that touches hooligan gangs, soccer officials, police and the nation's highest-ranking politicians.
"It is impossible to combat the problem here," Grabia said. "The violence is committed by people deeply involved with the clubs, politics and unions."