Saturday, December 30, 2006

Would it hurt Mourinho at least to fake being polite?

Along with Hugh McIlvanney, Simon Barnes is the best sports writer in the UK. Well, according to me, TSB. He also writes expertly on ornithology, if that happens to be your thing. Here he is on Mourinho's lack of manners...,,8303-2521868,00.html

Friday, December 29, 2006

Bobbie's EPL Picks

Charlton 1 Villa 1
ManYoo 3 Pompey 1
Blackburn 1 Boro 1
Spurs 2 L'pool 2
Bolton 2 Pompey 0
Watford 1 Wigan 2
Chelski 2 Fulham 0
Hammers 2 Citeh 0
Everton 1 Newcastle 2
Blades 0 Gunners 3


Haddocks 2 Villians 1
Red Devils 3 Royals 1
Rovers 2 Boro 0
Lillywhites 1 Pool 1
White Men 2 Pompey 0
Glory Hornet Boys 1 Latics 1
Pensioners 2 Cottagers 0
Irons 2 Citizens 1
Toffees 1 Toon 1
Blades 1 Gooners 3

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Sympathy for the devil may contain at least two words too extreme for the circumstance, but there may not be a better way of summing up the uneasy relationship that one can feel with Lazio.

Di Canio: Unacceptable old face of the Lazio that makes the news.

The devil, they aren't, of course, and sometimes the by-product of the negative perception being spread around by those do not like the club and its fans can generate, in those who try to delve a little more into matters with disregard to appearances, a little bit of sympathy.

Captaincy debate goes on as Gilberto inspires

Gilberto Silva's commanding presence as Arsenal skipper has cast doubt on Thierry Henry's ability to lead from the front.

As Gilberto Silva reflected on Arsenal's latest successful result without Thierry Henry, he emphasised how much the team look forward to having the striker back. "We need him because we know how important he is," the Brazilian said. Most Arsenal fans would agree, despite a seven-match unbeaten stretch in his absence, but whether they all want Henry to reclaim the captaincy from Gilberto is a moot point.

How Anelka learnt to stop sulking and love the system

Nicolas Anelka finally understands Sam Allardyce's much-maligned system of play, and is reaping the rewards.

Nicolas Anelka has emerged from his induction period as a Bolton Wanderers player imbued with growing faith in Sam Allardyce's often controversial modus operandi. "Nicolas did struggle at first here but he is starting to believe in the system now," explained his fellow striker, Kevin Davies. "He's starting to run into the areas that the gaffer has asked him to, he's scoring goals and he's confident.

Injury to Adebayor opens door for Baptista

Let's see what The Beast can do up front!,,278-2520898,00.html

EPL Table


Man Utd2033









Aston Villa20-1



Man City20-8




Sheff Utd20-11

West Ham20-14



Half-time report - Top of the class

Class, it is often asserted, is permanent, while form may be temporary. Nonetheless, there are players at every club who, no matter classy, will be hoping to maintain their stellar level of performance for the rest of the campaign. They are the players leading the way for the end-of-season awards at their respective clubs. They are:

Charlton 2-2 Fulham: Pardew foiled at the death

McBride nets yet another as Fulham nick a point...

Injuries Leave Chelsea Vulnerable

Chelsea's newfound ability to ship goals may prompt Jose Mourinho to splash out this January.

The team that has it all has unexpectedly been found wanting. Chelsea, the double Premiership champions, have been struck with an injury crisis in defence that looks like undermining their campaign for a third successive title.

All signs point to the impending arrival of Beckham

The mystery of whether David Beckham will come to the U.S. to play for Major League Soccer has been beset by a lot of tangential arguments.

People get sidetracked into discussions as to whether such a move would torpedo the slim chance the famous midfielder might have to regain his spot on the English national team, whether such an arrival would do for MLS what Pele's once did for the North American Soccer League and whether Beckham would use such a transfer as an opportunity to launch a film career.

Signing David Beckham would be a coup for the Galaxy.

Left behind in the speculation is the central question: Is this going to happen?

Jay DeMerit: It's lonely at the bottom

Watford's American defender discusses his struggling side's fight to stay up...

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Opposites attract, apparently. Which of course would mean - if you forgive the personal note - that I should be attracted by those who use short, direct, simple sentences, and I'm not.

Opposites met on Tuesday evening in Bologna, in what was also a top-of-the-table clash in the Serie B.

Serie A Report: Ten-men Inter Break Lazio Jinx

Serie A Wrap: Inter March On, Roma Doesn't Give Up

Primera Liga Wednesday Wrap: Osasuna Make It Six In A Row

Recreativo Humiliate Real At The Bernabeu

A fabulous display from Recreativo Huelva saw them thump Real Madrid 3-0 at the Bernabeu, and doom Los Merengues to a very bitter and long Christmas break.

Nowak To Be Bradley’s Assistant

And who's the new D.C. United coach? Why Tommy Soehn, of course!!

Boca agree £13m Gago fee with Real Madrid

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Carling Cup: Newcastle 0-1 Chelsea

Yet another winner for Drogba...

Kevin Nolan column

Blame Dowie says Charlton chairman,,27-2470207,00.html

As another season comes to a close, where the domestic game in Argentina go from here?

If everything had turned out the way we all expected it to, December 10 would have been the final day of the Apertura season. Boca would have been champions and Horacio Elizondo, a referee now known the world over, would have retired after officiating his last match.

But football is never that simple. Boca lost their match at home and found themselves with the same number of points as Estudiantes de la Plata, who had won their last game. A midweek play-off would determine the championship and Estudiantes prevailed, coming from behind to win 2-1. "The coach always has to win and when that doesn't happen, he has to go," admitted the Boca coach Ricardo La Volpe as he left the stadium - and his job.

Rangers clamp down on sectarian abuse

Rangers have suspended a supporters' club for missile throwing and sectarian singing during their Scottish Premierleague game against Hearts last month.,,1977089,00.html

Marina Hyde Column

They may have had the rare distinction of prompting a Mourinho apology, but Everton's legal threats set a dangerous precedent.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Fiorentina Observed

I had the pleasure of watching the Milan/Fiorentina Serie A clash last Saturday and as a supporter of la Viola I thought I'd post some musings. The team had a slow start to the season but have picked up a lot of momentum thus far, and had they not been saddled with the undoubtably deserved but poorly explained 15 point penalty in the Juve scandal last summer they'd currently be standing 4th. This team plays in the English style, flat 442 and features a classic big man/small man forward pairing in Toni and Mutu, though Toni certainly does offer more touch, movement and vision than your typical Frankenstein target man. They're strong up the middle, they play wide and they seem to be full of confidence. I think they’d be a great matchup with any of the English teams in this years Champions league, had they not squandered this year’s entry through massive corruption and dishonesty. The Milan match was a striking demonstration of how both form and class have everything to do with getting results. Milan appeared to be a shambles with a makeshift back line, a midfield that seems to have lost its way, a target striker feeling the weight of expectation and a coach who seems petrified of bad results and has effectively neutered the swashbuckling aspect that can make this squad so good. The 2 headed monster of Gattuso and Seedorf seemed completely jumbled; they were constantly fighting for space going forward, not tracking back enough, not providing Pirlo the space he needs to pass the ball well and most criminally of all crowding Kaka too far forward to allow him to make runs. Most of the run of play favored Fiorentina who were able to move the ball forward very directly through Mutu and the underrated Montolivo and twice took deserved leads through Mutu, once from the penalty spot and once from a beautifully worked move that he concluded by firing home from well outside the box. Both times Milan were able to respond through moments of individual brilliance from Gilardino who was able to pounce on loose balls in the box but was otherwise starved for service. Once could say that the 2-2 result was flattering to Milan but to do so would overlook the fact that one of the advantages of strong financial backing is that the cabinet is stocked with players of such quality that they can save points from otherwise dismal outings (hello Chelski). Two final notes: First, while much has been made of the lack of fan support in Serie A this season, the Fiorentina Tifosi have continued to make their case as the most dedicated fan base in Italy. The Stadio Artemio Franchi has been packed to the gills for most of the season. Secondly, Fiorentina gaffer Cesare Prandelli seems to be fully in command of his squad and his supporters. Sporting a long greasy mane and a euro-trash leather motorcycle, he looks like he should be smoking cigarettes in a highway rest stop bathroom or perhaps asking the President for a billion dollars to fight global poverty. -RBS

Prandelli and Bono: Separated at birth?

Chants of the Year

"World Cup - and you ****** it up!"
All four sides of the ground during Everton-Arsenal game, including away fans, chanting at Graham Poll, who showed three yellow cards to the same player in the World Cup.

Liverpool - Arsenal Postponed Due to Fog

Rafael Benítez and Arsène Wenger were united in frustration last night as the postponement of Liverpool’s Carling Cup quarter-final tie against Arsenal left both clubs facing serious fixture congestion over the next month.,,27-2512629,00.html

La Liga Report: Virtuoso Vicente Vanquishes Mallorca

Primera Liga Midweek Preview: Tricky Return For Barcelona

A test of gigantic proportions awaits Barcelona upon their return from Japan, with a clash against bogey side Atletico Madrid on Thursday set to offer a dramatic culmination to this year's La Liga action. Before that, new league leaders Sevilla must contend with Deportivo, so Real Madrid could well snatch top spot if they can pip Recreativo at the Bernabeu.

Charlton fans turn on Reed in wake of cup humiliation

Charlton lose 1-0 at The Valley to League Two Wycombe Wanderers...,,277-2512731,00.html

Inter's Mancini returns to Lazio on cloud nine

Inter Milan coach Roberto Mancini returns to former club Lazio on Wednesday as the Serie A leaders look to extend their record nine match winning streak.;_ylt=AtAu5lxfuUYvOvzhciTJSl4mw7YF?slug=reu-italypreview&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Arrivederci, James, and thanks for the memories

As Bravo prepares to pull the plug on Football Italia, let's celebrate 14 years of James Richardson's unique coverage of Serie A.

Mourinho says sorry for Johnson outburst

Wednesday's rumours,,565628,00.html

Football's forgotten mission for the poor

As more and more money flows into football, perhaps some of its millionaires should remember its pious beginnings as the game of the church.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Phil Ball in Spain

Christmas is coming, some geese are getting fat. Some others are getting thinner. On Wednesday La Liga plays out its 16th week, brought forward to allow the Yuletide festivities to take place over the next two football-free weekends, but it's a midweek event to which some sides will be looking forward more than others. The fifteen games played so far have begun to sort out the sheep from the goats, but only so far as the top three positions are concerned. The rest is still up for grabs - that is to say the league title, a Champions League place, a couple of UEFA places, the King's Cup, and relegation, of course.

Howard doesn't expect to return to Manchester United

Fulham 2-1 Middlesbrough: Cottagers on the up

Another goal for McBride...

Current crop of U.S. U-17s show promise

Ivan Campo Profile

You have to love Ivan Campo- while some footballers take care to meticulously groom their sideburns or shape and spike up their hair into an unmoving hipster mullhawk (Fletcher, Carrick, and unknowingly Hyypia), Senor Campo subscribes to the "free range hair" school of thought. This refugee from a brush seems to just roll out of bed in the morning and head in to work. He is also a refugee from the razor, a fact that when taken into consideration with the above grooming thoughts leads one to fairly question his other hygiene practices (tooth brushing, showering, fingernail trimming etc). He looks like the retired out of shape footballer who has let himself go and is content to lead a life of leisure (drinking gallons, eating all the pies, and Riviera romance with women half their age). Yet Ivan is even younger than me, and a perfectly fit, able player who in an unusual reverse migration has moved from central defense to central midfield. He only looks like a slob- he doesn't play like one.

At 32 the former Spanish international is in his prime, a goal scoring threat ( goal of the year contender against Spurs early in the season), a dangerous long thrower, and an able distributor who gives great cover. And he smiles when he plays. Like Ronaldinho he loves his job. He plays like he's got the best job in the world. You want player who plays with pure joy in your side. Players like Lee Bowyer seem to channel some of their inner hate on the pitch. It begs the question of how much longer Lee's police record would be if he were a bricklayer instead of a millionaire footballer. For Campo it's all roses out on the pitch- who says you can't be a tough, hard bastard and still like flowers, puppies, and white girls named Debbie too.

Ivan won the Champions League in 2002 with Real Madrid and then moved to the Northwest of England where he has not repeated this feat with Bolton Wanderers. Unlike a lot of glamorous foreign imports to the Premiership (C. Ronaldo, David Ginola, Shevchenko), Campo tops the list of solid professionals like Tugay, George Boateng, Dietmar Hamman and who do the business and play consistently at a high level without getting all the press. These are the players who make the Premiership the best league in the world. With them they bring new ideas and a more global outlook to England. Ivan Campo's teammates affectionately nicknamed him "Gyppo" for his perceived resemblance to a gypsy. -Patrick

Carling Cup QF Preview: Liverpool-Arsenal

Serie A Team Of The Week: Round 16

Primera Liga Team Of The Week: Round 15

Bolton aim to win the mind games

For Michael Jordan read Nicolas Anelka; for Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal read El-Hadji Diouf and Kevin Davies.,,277-2509693,00.html

Steve Coppell Interview

'We hope and pray Petr Cech will soon be back in goal'

"I've always said December is the biggest test for any football club in this country," Steve Coppell murmurs intently, "and while I don't want to wish my life away I'll be glad when we get through this month. The next couple of weeks, for all sorts of reasons, are going to tell us an awful lot about this club.",,1974916,00.html

Tuesday's rumours,,1975347,00.html

James Richardson in Italy

Despite being Italy's most reviled player last season, domestic and international success has made Marco Materrazi popular again.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Sick of the shambolic Calderón and aided by Spanish television's obsession with showing their team, supporters of Atlético have finally turned their backs.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Who's scarier?

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Roy Keane

Sanford's EPL Predictions Results

Bloody hell. Not a good weekend on the prognosis front. I only got three matches correct and had zero perfect scores. The only matches that went remotely according to plan were Liverpool’s cruise over Charlton and Newcastle’s win against Watford. But perhaps Fulham will win 2-0 so I can at least claim one perfect score.

It would have been an epic weekend had the top two lost but alas, it was not to be. But hey, one out of two ain’t bad and I’ll take it. I just continue to marvel at Chelsea’s brilliance. Just how many wonder goals do they have in their repertoire? An infinite number? It would certainly appear to be the case. Bloody hell. -Sanford

Drogba's Wonder Goal at Goodison

The Insider at the Emirates Stadium

There was a time when Arsene Wenger was the coolest man in English football.

Amid the most contentious of heated incidents, his ability to stay calm and make the right decisions infuriated old foes like Sir Alex Ferguson and ensured that Arsenal were capable of competing with the best in the land on a budget that shouldn't have allowed them to even get close.

Richard Jolly at Goodison Park

Desperation, inspiration and intuition form a fearsome blend. Chelsea called upon all three to salvage a memorable and unlikely victory at Goodison Park.

English Premier League Reports

Everton slam Mourinho and demand apology

Inter stun Barcelona to win Club World Cup


Werder are 'winter champs' after Wolfsburg win

Inter go seven clear after ninth straight win

Sevilla top La Liga as Barca play in Japan

Beckham should consider Bolton, insists Allardyce

Alan Hansen's column

Sir Alex Ferguson says you don't win the title in December and he's dead right - but you can lose it.

Winning the Premiership is all about pressure: how you deal with it and how much you can apply on your opponents.

Unquestionably, the pressure is right on Manchester United after the defeat by West Ham on Sunday, which means their lead is now down to two points.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Sanford's Premiership Predictions

Charlton vs. Liverpool

There is no doubt in my mind that Charlton will be playing in the Championship next year. Replacing Dowie has done absolutely nothing and with a free-scoring Liverpool coming to The Valley I expect another lousy afternoon for the Addicks. It’s shocking to think how poor this side will be if Darren Bent leaves in January.


Arsenal vs. Portsmouth

‘Arry ain’t got no strikers and that spells trouble for Pompey. The Gunners have yet to lose at the Emirates and I can’t see that changing come Saturday. It’s a shame that Kanu can’t face his old mates, especially since he’s on song at the moment. Mendes will return for Portsmouth but Arsenal will do the business.


Newcastle vs. Watford

Suddenly Gaffer Roeder has the Geordie’s on the move. Former Inter man Obefemi Martins looked the real deal last weekend and if he continues to score frowns could turn upside down in the northeast. You’ve got to feel for Watford, though. They’re giving all they’ve got but it’s obviously not enough. Without goals, they’ll go down.


Reading vs. Blackburn

I can’t tell what’s going on with Blackburn – they’re all over the map. I do like Reading’s consistency and with Blackburn in action this week, look for Reading to ease to a home win. They’ve practically done enough to stay up, but as they should, they maintain a hunger that should see them finish comfortably mid-table. Blackburn have some classy lads but I fear their European campaign could land them in the bottom five come May.


Wigan vs. Sheffield United

Wigan were a bit unlucky not to take a point off The Arsenal at midweek and I see them winning handily here. United have had a nice run but Wigan are too tough for them, especially at the JJB.


Aston Villa vs. Bolton

What? A draw say you? I’d have to agree. Bolton have been playing their best football in years and Big Sam has his men playing well beyond their hoof it and run reputation. With Diouf in the mood and Kevin Davies poaching with aplomb, Bolton look destined for a European spot. But O’Neill won’t let it be easy and the Villains have perfected the art of The Point.


Everton vs. Chelsea

Normally this fixture would give those chasing the top two reason to hope, but with Everton’s injury list I can’t see them giving the Champions any problems.


Manchester City vs. Tottenham

It’s a classic case of home stronghold versus away woes. Citeh continue to do the business in their park while Spurs pull the Jekyll and Hyde and are very Hyde away from White Hart Lane. Mind you, Spurs have been on it a bit of late but they’ve done this sort of thing before…get on a roll and then revert to some astonishingly poor form. I see a draw.


West Ham vs. Manchester United

One of the surprises of the season for me is how consistent ManU have been so far. They’ve been extremely balanced and have dealt with some injuries quite well. West Ham will be boosted by Curbishly’s arrival, but even though this contest kicks off at Upton Park, I can’t see the Hammers getting a result.


Fulham vs. Middlesbrough

You’ve got to fancy Fulham at home here. They’ve been flying at the Cottage and Boro don’t exactly inspire fear on their travels. I worry for Boro and could see them fighting relegation come April.


Champions League: Last 16 draw

Barcelona and Liverpool, the last two winners of the Champions League, will face each other in the first knockout round of the this season's competition following the draw made on Friday.

UEFA Cup Wrap

Spurs win, Sevilla lose...

English Premier League news in brief

Lehmann may follow Pires on the plane to Spain

I can just see the weekly "Lehmann es Loco!" headlines now... -Sanford,,277-2506225,00.html

English Premier League Weekend Preview

Manchester United travel to Upton Park while Chelsea head to Liverpool to face Everton...

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Middlesbrough Tracking Aliadiere

Palestinian women claim their place in soccer, challenging tradition

No field, no money, no wins -- it's been tough going for the fledgling Palestinian women's national soccer team.

Yet the players, some competing in headscarves and extra long shorts for modesty, shrug off their setbacks. They say they love the sense of strength and confidence they get from the game, as well as the rush of claiming a once forbidden place in a society largely run by men.

La Liga Weekend Preview

Barcelona's trip to the Club World Cup in Japan will hand Sevilla the chance to go top of the Primera Liga on Sunday when they make the short hop across Andalucia to meet Recreativo Huelva.

American Style Playoffs For Serie A?

Serie A News in Brief

Palermo face Roma while Milan travel to Florence...

Kevin Nolan column

Our 4-0 defeat of West Ham saw them react with the dismissal of manager Alan Pardew.

I feel very sorry for Alan. Last year West Ham were a good side and were possibly unlucky not to win the FA Cup.

That earned them a place in European football this season but people forget how easily and quickly things can turn in football.

Friday's rumours,,1972918,00.html

Beware Lille

Even by French standards, Lille are a small club - but Manchester United won't have it easy against them.

USA To Host Mexico In February

Sir Alex hits back at Mourinho mind games

Sir Alex Ferguson, the Manchester United manager, has accepted Jose Mourinho's assertion that Chelsea could find a different level as the battle for the Premiership title hots up - he thinks they might get worse.,,291-2506762,00.html

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Barca Fan Misjudgement

It's a slow news day in Soccerworld. With all the journos wisely watching the cricket they've no time to make up stories. So all I've got to offer is this silly clip...



Due to the increasing amount of spam in the comments sections, I've been forced to change our settings. It is now necessary to sign in before making a comment. This is easy and will just take a second.

Thank you,

Richard Jolly at the JJB Stadium

Wigan Athletic 0 - 1 Arsenal

Chelsea 1-0 Newcastle

Didier Drogba climbed off the substitutes' bench to score the only goal of the game for Chelsea against Newcastle and cut Manchester United's lead at the top of the Barclays Premiership to five points.

English Premier League Table





Man Utd



































Aston Villa




















Man City




















Sheff Utd










West Ham














Real Madrid win race to sign Argentine starlet Higuain

A Breakdown: Possible Opponents in the Champions League for EPL Clubs

Metaphorically speaking, the Premiership can head to Nyon, Switzerland, for Friday's UEFA Champions League Round of 16 draw with a smug grin and its chest puffed out.

Arsenal: Barca,
Inter, PSV,
Roma, Real,
Celtic, Lille • Chelsea: Inter,
PSV, Roma,
Real, Celtic,
Porto, Lille • Liverpool: Barca,
Inter, Roma,
Real, Celtic,
Porto, Lille • Man United: Barca,
Inter, PSV,
Roma, Real,
Porto, Lille
All four English clubs - the maximum quota allowed under UEFA rules - didn't just qualify for the knockout phase of Europe's elite competition, but secured their passage as group winners. A feat neither Italy, Spain nor Germany could match.

Hunt was a quiet pioneer of U.S. soccer

When Lamar Hunt was courting his wife, Norma, they stood on the terraces for a Shamrock Rovers match in Dublin. That trip to Ireland in 1962 also kicked off Hunt's interest in soccer and started him on a path toward becoming the game's most persistent financial backer in the U.S.

2007 MLS Cup to be held at RFK Stadium

Convey Close To Running Again

UEFA Cup Wrap

A dramatic late Lucas Neill winner gave Blackburn a last-gasp victory over Nancy on Wednesday as doubles each from Pauleta and Bonaventure Kalou saw Paris St Germain safely into the UEFA Cup knock-out stages.

Ronaldo accuses referees of showing favouritism to defenders

Cristiano Ronaldo has turned from the accused into the accuser by criticising the standard of refereeing in England and complaining that he is not afforded enough protection.,,1971675,00.html

Marina Hyde Column

Like an annual visit from a tiresome aunt the tedium that is Sports Personality of the Year is finally behind us and we can move on to the business end of the awards season, namely Sports Personality Disorder of the Year. To plot yourself on the great matrix of sporting insanity, do take the test below, which has been compiled along the lines of those women's magazine staples that attempt to establish the degree to which any given respondent is an alpha female/high-functioning alcoholic/drain on their friends and society.

The Fiver

Alan Curbishley is considered one of the best home-grown managers around, which is odd considering he's not even the best home-grown manager in his own family. In over 30 years managing The Who, his big brother Bill has only lost Keith Moon and John Entwistle, a statistic that palls into insignificance compared to the £4.45m his sibling lost on Jason Euell. It's also worth noting that Bill wedged a bigger crowd into The Valley than Alan managed in 15 years, with Roger Daltry and chums attracting over 60,000 for a gig back in the days when The Fiver was riding around on a moped sporting a slim-cut Italian suit and a McClaren-esque quiff.,,415657,00.html

Thursday's Rumours,,1971922,00.html

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Ferguson United

A nice review of Sir Alex's years at ManU as he turns 65.

Houllier swelling pride of Lyons,,27-2499745,00.html

Things just work differently on planet Lehmen

What an edifying spat this is. Instead of keeping a low profile after embarrassingly falling to the ground as if taken out by a sniper during the Chelsea game, Jens decided to attack every English housewife's favourite, Frankie Lampard. For calling him names. Now Lamps fights back by telling us how crap it is when players "start talking about things in the media"... in his exculsive interview for the Sun newspaper. -TSB

Splashing the cash in January

Likely transfer activity for EPL clubs during the January transfer window.

Curbishley set to be unveiled as West Ham boss

EPL Preview: Chelsea vs. Newcastle United

EPL Preview: Wigan Athletic vs. Arsenal

Conflicting Reports Over Gallas Injury

Boothroyd Tips DeMerit For Skipper

Moores the merrier at Liverpool's new era

Liverpool claim their proposed £450m takeover deal will not rob them of their traditional values.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Phil Ball in Spain

I suppose it's in the nature of things these days to have two-horse races. There's plenty of money swishing around Europe's various football leagues, but only the privileged few can count on the megabucks that separate the thoroughbreds from the also-rans.

FC Sevilla
FC Sevilla celebrate after the final whistle at the weekend after securing victory over Real

It's a paradigm that people accept, and in a perverse sense the only thing that retains our interest, as neutrals, is the possibility that in some way, somehow, the duopolies of the European leagues (or occasional triopolies - now there's a word) can be broken. Hence the fuss when Napoli did it in Italy, Deportivo in Spain etc. There are other examples, but you're here to read about Spain.

Pardew Sacked by West Ham

From thoughts of the Champions League to the harsher reality of the Championship in a flash: that is the worst-case scenario for Eggert Magnusson. His £85million takeover of West Ham prompted, for the second time this season, suggestions that the Hammers could gatecrash the private party of the European elite.

Ben Radford/GettyImages
Alan Pardew: Left out in the cold after a poor run of games.

But just as the optimism that followed the signings of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano was swiftly drained, the sight of a demoralised Magnusson slumped in his seat at the Reebok Stadium was a sign that the precariousness of West Ham's position had sunk in.

Adu starts over in Real Salt Lake

The youngest player ever to sign with a professional sports franchise in the United States has left the team he started with. Major League Soccer player Freddy Adu was traded from D.C. United, his hometown club, and reunited with his former U-17 national youth team coach, John Ellinger, at Real Salt Lake.

Though D.C. won an MLS championship (2004), a Supporter's Shield regular season title (2006), and made the playoffs in every season since Adu first signed three years ago, it hasn't always been smooth sailing for him at United.

Tony Quinn/WireImage
It's no secret that Freddy Adu felt underutilized by D.C. United.

Lampard The Problem, Not Drogba, Says Lehmann

Jesn, Jens, Jens..are you aware that you are mentally unstable?? -Sanford

Prem Report: Villa & Blades Both Climb One Place

Sheffield United and Aston Villa produced an entertaining 2-2 draw at Bramall Lane Monday evening - an outcome that enabled both sides to climb one place in the Premiership table.

EPL: Best Eleven Of The Week

Serie A Team Of The Week

How Italy's match-fixing penalties were cut on appeal

Richard Williams Column

After watching last weekend's games from Australia the Premiership confirmed itself as the best league in Europe.

Everton planning move out of Liverpool

Everton are considering a move away from Goodison Park, their home for the last 114 years, to a new stadium outside the city of Liverpool.

FC Dallas hires ex-Gunner Morrow as new coach

Steve Morrow, who scored Arsenal's game-winning goal in the 1993 League Cup Final, was named coach of Major League Soccer's FC Dallas.

Mourinho's Blues need reshaping and restocking

Tuesday's rumours,,1970330,00.html

The Fiver

When West Ham sack a manager, it usually carries similar shock value to news that the Queen's whipped up her skirt and thrusted violently to the tune of LL Cool J's Mama Said Knock You Out. It just doesn't happen. After all, the Hammers have only had 10 managers in their history - fewer than any other English club.,,415657,00.html

James Richardson in Italy

Lazio coach Delio Rossi celebrated in the manner of La Dolce Vita as his side won the Rome derby.

Sid Lowe in Spain

No wonder José María Del Nido has a smile the size of his ego; his side have again proved themselves serious title contenders.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Essien's Goal

Here it is in all its glory...

EPL Report: Essien Stunner Denies Arsenal

Mourinho taunts cautious Arsenal

Oh, The Special One is such an ass. Unless I watched a different match, it sure as hell looked like Arsenal were trying to win the damn thing. I also neither saw nor heard anything to indicate that the Gunners are pleased with a draw. Playing a 4-5-1 at Stamford Bridge when you've got a depleted defensive unit doesn't mean you don't want to win. Arsenal controlled the midfield and went forward at every opportunity. We all know what it looks like when they want a draw -- the Hamburg match last week was a prime example. This match was the total opposite of that drab draw. Jose is just angry because he knows Chelsea won't catch ManU. And because they needed a dream strike to claim a draw. -Sanford

Serie A Report: Lazio Crush Roma In Derby

ESPN/ABC will televise 2008 Euro Championship

This is fantastic news! I practically broke the bank buying all the matches back in 2004. Being able to access all for free is the way it should always be. -Sanford

Inter equal club record with 3-0 win over Empoli;_ylt=AimB7LCKfGv2X0E7pb.Gsjkmw7YF?slug=reu-italy&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Primera Liga Reports

Sevilla down Real Madrid while a Ronaldinho goal leads Barcelona over Real Sociedad.

English Premier League Reports

Pantomime villain Cole shows his emotional side

Booed by the Arsenal fans and cheered by the Chelsea crowd, Ashley Cole's first game against his old club saw him booked but not beaten.

'Pipi' is caught short for Cottbus once again

While Bremen got over their Champions League exit in style, comedy keeper Tomislav Piplica was at it again for Cottbus.

Monday's rumours,,1969576,00.html

Friday, December 08, 2006

England: Premiership Weekend Preview

Two massive local derbies dominate this weekend's Premiership schedule. The action get underway in Manchester at lunchtime on Saturday when another massive Old Trafford crowd will tuck into the spectacle of United versus City. There is always a huge amount of civic pride at stake in these clashes but Saturday's showdown will have extra spice because United, six points clear of defending champions Chelsea at the top of the table, will be determined to make that nine before Chelsea take on London rivals Arsenal at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

Roberto Gotta in Italy

While getting my weekly fix of the Premiership on Saturday, with first the north London derby then Portsmouth v Aston Villa, I made the mistake of switching to another Sky Sport (Italy) channel and I was immediately plunged into the football equivalent of the Dark Ages.

While a throbbing, passionate, vociferous Fratton Park was willing Pompey to victory - which ultimately did not come - a full Serie B programme, minus Genoa and Juventus plus another couple who will contest the Monday night football match, was going on in half-empty stadia, with an almost non-existent atmosphere.

Mourinho chides Wenger ahead of Bridge meeting

Klinsmann withdraws candidacy as U.S. coach

Bradley to be named interim U.S. coach

The U.S. Soccer Federation on Friday will name current Chivas USA coach Bob Bradley as U.S. national team coach a source close to the negotiations confirmed to on Thursday. But the hiring is only temporary.

U.S. forward Wolff signs with 1860 Munich

Sunderland investigate sex film claims

What is it with footballers and sex tapes? How stupid are these guys? Very stupid, I suppose. Perhaps they're trying to one-up Kieren Dyer. Anything you can do I can do better? -Sanford,,1966698,00.html

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

It is a massive weekend in Spain in the context of the title race, with second placed Real Madrid facing a trial by fire at the Sanchez Pizjuan on Saturday, where third place Sevilla lie in wait. Valencia host Deportivo in another cracker, while Villarreal visit Celta as they vie for European berths.

CONCACAF To Meet South America In World Cup Playoff

England's plutocrats set the gold standard in Europe

The English clubs performed well to all finish top of their Champions League groups but they must be wary of the Spanish.

England: Premier League news in brief;_ylt=AqsPLnLdWfzjXMh0GaGPz6wmw7YF?slug=reu-england_preview&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Gabriele Marcotti Column

Maybe they should just rename it The Big Three Plus Three. Three big leagues and three big clubs, and that's it. The Champions League group stage has revealed, once again, that the gap between the rich and not-so-rich in Europe is growing and it isn't going to get better.

Wenger the peacemaker as Gunners fans aim at 'CAshley' Cole

Kevin Nolan column

Friday's rumours,,1967711,00.html

Perrotta: Roman Derby As Exciting As World Cup Final

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Bloody Setanta!

Did anyone watch the Porto/Arsenal match? These announcers that have been covering the Arsenal matches are terrible! I thought they were awful during the Hamburg match but last night was pretty poor. They’re quite negative and seem to enjoy focusing on everything that is wrong with the game they are viewing. Every weak cross is greeted with an audible groan or sigh. It gets really annoying after a while.

From the outset last night it was obvious that both teams would play for a draw yet the commentators thought that to be insane. They were criticizing both teams for not attacking enough. Hello!? A draw gets both through to the next stage! If you want to criticize something, criticize the bloody system that UEFA has put in place, not the players! They’re just doing their job, and if that means a boring draw with little offensive output, so be it. That’s the way it’s been set up! The players are only doing what is necessary to ensure safe passage and more money for their club. At one point the play-by-play guy described the match as “torture.” Well, apologies to you sir. Sorry you had to fly to Porto to commentate on the game. Wankers. -Sanford

Cashly Cole Banknotes

Since most of us won't be at the match come Sunday, we can print these, cut them out, and use them on our arses...

Man United, Arsenal, Porto, Lille reach 2nd round of Champions League

Champions League: Who Progressed, Who's In The UEFA Cup, & Who's Eliminated Altogether

Champions League Best XI (Round 6)

EPL Wrap: West Ham Replace Newcastle In Bottom Three

Newcastle have moved out of the bottom three in the Premiership with a 3-2 win over Reading, and they've been replaced by West Ham Unted, who lost 2-0 at home to Wigan Athletic.

Fergie backing best of British for glory

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson believes a British club can win the Champions League this season.

The Red Devils joined Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea and Celtic in the knockout stages after a 3-1 victory over Benfica at Old Trafford in their final group match.

Nicky Campbell Column

Campbell looks at chants, the prospect of an NFL game in London ("Nail-biting, isn't it? Shall we send them Watford v Charlton in return?") and passes on the following supposedly true story... -Sanford

An alleged true story from an Arsenal season-ticket holder: his position last year was an absolute plum, halfway up Highbury's main stand, close to halfway. After the first few games of the season it became apparent that despite all home games being sell-outs, the two seats on his left were always empty. This continued until just after Christmas, when a guy and his young son appeared. Asked if he knew why the seats had been empty, he said: "Tell me about it. It was a lovely present. The wife bought me and my son season tickets - and gave them to us for Christmas.",,1966109,00.html

FIFA sets date for 2010 World Cup

Mark your calendars!!! -Sanford;_ylt=Aq5m2lXoOhKqAsCHnRcxkTUmw7YF?slug=afp-fblfifarsawc2010&prov=afp&type=lgns

Milan have never been this bad, says Ancelotti

AC Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti criticised his team after a 2-0 defeat to Lille in the Champions League on Wednesday saying they had never played so badly.

Soulless, goalless Arsenal go through

Spector: I Turned Down ManU Deal

Shevchenko: My Game Doesn’t Suit Mourinho

Tony Cascarino on ManU/Benfica

How disappointing were Manchester United until they went a goal behind? Very. At times it was excruciating to watch. Plenty of pretty football, plenty of one-touch stuff, plenty of clever interpassing. But where did it get them? Nowhere.,,762-2491631,00.html

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ronaldo's Dive vs. Boro

Sanford's EPL Predictions Results

Another solid week as I got five correct and four incorrect, with two perfect scores.

The perfect scores were easy enough, with Villa and Pompey in the mix and Sheffield United winning 2-1 at home versus an anemic Charlton. I’m most pleased with my call on the Everton/West Ham clash – barring the late goal that would have been another perfect score.

Sadly, Wigan let me down when I thought they had the goods to hold Liverpool at the JJB. Liverpool took care of their away woes on the back of inspired work by Stevie G and Craig B.

And I came close to calling the draw at the Riverside but ManU’s ability to bounce back got them the deserved three points. I also read the Reading/Bolton fixture quite well. Bolton really get up for the big games but have been lacking against lower opposition. Reading deserved their win at home.

Finally, Arsenal proved me wrong with authority, or was it Spurs that did the same with an authoritative collapse? They were spineless and disorganized – a true Tottenham showing.

This weekend sees the Manchester Derby and Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Phil Ball in Spain

There seems to have been a lot of chit-chat this week surrounding this year's golden balls, accompanied of course by a lens that has focused generally on La Liga and specifically on Real Madrid. The main talking point has been Fabio Cannavaro, and should he or shouldn't he have been awarded the big prize?

Rafa favourite hoping to down United

If Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had got his way, Simao Sabrosa would have been a key member of his team by now.

Yet it is the red of Benfica and not the crimson of Liverpool that he is currently excelling and Manchester United may be regretting as much after Wednesday's crucial Champions League showdown at Old Trafford.

Champions League Matchday 6 Preview: Groups A-D

Some of Europe’s biggest clubs are staring elimination in the face this week, as they prepare for Matchday 6 of the Champions League.

Manchester City 0-0 Watford: Battle at Eastlands

Man, this was an ugly encounter. Driving rain, no possession...a classic early winter battle. -Sanford

Tuesday's EPL Previews

Charlton v Blackburn: Preview

Tottenham v Middlesbrough: Preview

Blatter aiming for revolution with switch to summer game,,27-2487015,00.html

Battle of the Bosphorus stokes passions in heat of the night

The atmosphere of the Istanbul derby between Fenerbahçe and Galatasaray is sampled at close quarters in the first of a series examining the most explosive matches in football.,,27-2486937,00.html

Henry: Fleetness of foot and thinnest of skin

King of the hissy fit?,,27-2487037,00.html

Why Germany really needs a Bayern-Bremen duopoly

It might sound counter-intuitive, but in order to be more successful abroad, Bundesliga clubs needs a little less competition back home.

Tuesday's rumours,,1964245,00.html

James Richardson in Italy

If their latest disappointing result emphasised anything it was that the Rossoneri's biggest problem is their anaemic transfer policy.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Bushy moustaches and a unique tradition may not be enough to save Athletic Bilbao from their first ever relegation.