Friday, May 20, 2011
The final week of the 2010-11 season brings us one, and only one, major question: Who will be the third relegated side? Up to six clubs have struggled for months, only to arrive to the very last date of the calendar with still 90 minutes of guaranteed suffering. Intrigued to know the answer to the puzzle?
Martin Lipton's Preview & Predictions
For one man in particular, this was a monumental moment. Raúl González Blanco said that reaching the final would have been the leche
Paolo Di Canio is to become the new manager of Swindon Town. The 42-year-old Italian is set to replace Paul Hart, who left three weeks ago, as the Robins prepare for life in the bottom tier of the Football League following relegation this season.
The Premier League relegation battle has always promised to go down to the wire and it could barely be closer with five teams separated by a solitary point. ESPNsoccernet looks at the permutations for those clubs battling to remain among England's elite.
15 - Wolves - 43 points
16 - Wigan - 42 points
17 - Blackburn - 40 points
18 - Blackpool - 40 points
19 - Birmingham - 39 points
From El Clásico No1 to FC United, via women's football in England and the Old Firm, here are half a dozen highlights.
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, 'Crazy' Jesus Corona headbutts the opposition manager, Arsenal spy on their players with a GPS tracking system, Diego Maradona is in it for the money at Al Wasl, daring Manchester United fans unveil a '19 times' banner at Anfield and the most ingenious set-piece routine of the season.
Thursday, May 19, 2011
With the league season ending on Sunday English football's big guns are in for a busy close season.
The England international came in for late-night abuse from a follower who taunted him: "Rooney ya fat whore ill smash ya head in with a pitchin wedge an bury ya with a ballast fork ya fat ugly lil n***e."
While Milan sealed the Scudetto after all their challengers fell away, the Champions League and relegation battle in Italy's top division seem set to go to the last week of fixtures. Superb seasons from Udinese, Napoli and Lazio have been in stark contrast to poor showings from Juventus, Inter and, most disappointingly, Sampdoria. With just one game left to play, we thought it would be a good time to pick the best starting XI in the league. There's a caveat: We limited ourselves to one player per team, so that we could recognise the outstanding contributions of players no matter where their teams happen to be in the Serie A table. So here is our Serie A Best XI:
Young, quick and French, Charles N'Zogbia appears a prototype of Arsenal recruits (although the cynical might argue that, with his end-of-season excellence, he would be an exception in the current crop of Gunners). Yet while N'Zogbia's scintillating performance on Sunday handed Wigan a lifeline and helped relegate West Ham, it should prompt Wenger to act in a very different way.Experienced, English and vocal, Scott Parker is everything the majority of the Arsenal team are not.
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
I was talking to an American recently who got into soccer as a result of watching Ronaldinho at his extraordinary best -- which seems a long time ago. Now he is not sure whether to feel angry with the player for spending so long betraying his own almost unparalleled talent, or grateful that for a few years Ronaldinho hit a peak of performance that few have ever matched.
It is a dilemma which will be familiar to fans of Flamengo, Ronaldinho's current club, and one which may be solved one way or the other during the course of the Brazilian championship, which kicks off this weekend.
Welcome to guardian.co.uk's review of the 2010-11 Premier League season. As the campaign draws to a close, we want you to help us find the most spectacular goal, biggest flop and best signing, as well as the winner in seven other categories. Our writers have nominated some contenders, but this is just the starting point for the conversation: we would like your suggestions so that we can compile the best into final polls that you can vote on. As the season obviously doesn't finish until Sunday afternoon, the nomination blogs will be open until later that evening, with the polls then open from Monday 23 May.
Porto coach Andre Villas-Boas has constructed a fluid, attacking side, built around a hard-working midfield, that romped to the Portuguese Liga title with a massive 21-point margin over second-placed Benfica and scored three or more goals on eight occasions en route to this European final.
Although she later deleted her comment, Mrs Doyle was unrepentant. She wrote that she was "so angry, what's the point of Twitter if your not allowed to write what you want on it". She later added: "Golf bag and clubs still for sale. Comes with one hung-over husband."
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
A collection of the worst football kits ever inflicted on the long suffering fans. It is no coincidence that most of these are from the 1990s, the decade that style forgot. There have been, of course, many change strips that were worse than the kits shown here but these are beyond the scope of this site.
Wenger has felt that Arshavin's mercurial genius can compensate for the negatives but his patience has worn thin.
Getafe's win over Osasuna provided relief but not redemption: they're one of six teams who could be relegated on the final day.
From one in nine to one in six: who is going down in La Liga?
The American, who credits U.S. coach Bob Bradley for his recent success, says he's happy in Turkey but considered a return to Major League Soccer in this exclusive feature.
Over-large suits, heavy petting on the pitch and lewd suggestions to journalists after crucial victories are about to come back into fashion: Diego Maradona has secured a return to management after agreeing a two-year deal with the Dubai-based club, Al Wasl.
Frankfurt were handily placed in seventh at Christmas but after Christoph Daum was appointed in March they picked up three points from seven games.
Eintracht Frankfurt taken down a notch for fourth time in 15 years.
Udinese close to 'paradise', but Sampdoria's despair offers a warning.
Plates and glasses were apparently broken in the brief fracas that followed, with a group of supporters running from the function suite out of the hotel, pursued by security staff.
Actors from EastEnders and The Bill tried to put on straight faces when they presented Scott Parker with an award after the fighting has stopped.
"One fan walked past Demba Ba and said, 'Can I have your autograph?' Ba turned round and said, 'I'm too tired'.
"That triggered the mayhem. The fan went berserk, shouting and screaming at Ba, hurling all sorts of racist insults at him - and Ba looked like he was about to lash out when Danny Gabbidon separated them.
So, by extension, the looming Gold Cup roster selection is critical, too. The announcement will land on or close to May 23, according to U.S. Soccer. (The same selections will also have a tuneup against Spain on June 4, three days before the U.S. opens the tournament against Canada.) Let the speculation begin ...
Wayne Rooney showed he was a cut above with the shave of the season.
Minutes after scoring a penalty to seal a 1-1 draw at Blackburn, which confirmed United as champions, Rooney posted a picture of himself on Twitter with '19' emblazoned in his chest hair.
Team-mate Michael Owen tweeted back: "None of us thought Wazza would send that picture! He is madder than we thought!"
Sometimes La Liga can drive you nuts. It's difficult to imagine any other country on earth putting on its entire league programme at 9pm on a Sunday, but as the old refrain goes, Spain is different. Football's a family game? Pull the other one. Match over by 11pm, kids tucked up in bed around midnight if you've been to the stadium, all well prepared for school on the Monday.