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.

Monday, December 04, 2006

The Insider at the Emirates Stadium

The Insider was on hand to see Arsenal win the first North London Derby at their new ground...

The Insider at Goodison Park

The Insider was also on hand to see an inspired Carlos Tevez fail to lead West Ham past the Toffees...

EPL Weekend Reports

Spain's Primera Liga reports

Real Madrid close in on Barcelona thanks to goals from the old Brazilian Guard...

Serie A Weekend Wrap

Palermo slips further off the pace in Serie A...

Germany's Bundesliga Reports

Gabriele Marcotti Column

Hernán Crespo believes in destiny. Ask him about the cruelest night of his career, when Liverpool staged arguably the greatest comeback in the history of soccer to wrest the 2005 Champions League crown from AC Milan, and Crespo has no doubt about what decided the game.

Liverpool draw Arsenal in FA Cup Third Round


• Blackpool v Aldershot/Basingstoke
• Barnet v Colchester
• Sheff Utd v Swansea
• Reading v Burnley
• Portsmouth v Wigan
• Mansfield/Doncaster v Bolton
• West Ham v Brighton
• Leicester v Fulham
• Derby v Wrexham
• Wolves v Oldham
• Bury/Chester v Ipswich
• Man Utd v Aston Villa
• Sheff Wed v Man City
• Tamworth v Norwich
• Salisbury/Nottm For v Charlton
• Cardiff v Tottenham
• Preston v Sunderland
• Liverpool v Arsenal
• Bristol Rovers/Bournemouth v Hereford
• Watford v Stockport
• Crystal Palace v Swindon
• Bristol City v Coventry
• Peterborough v Plymouth
• QPR v Luton
• Southend v Barnsley
• West Brom v Leeds
• Hull v Middlesbrough
• Birmingham v Newcastle
• Torquay/Leyton Orient v Southampton
• Everton v Blackburn
• Chelsea v Macclesfield
• Stoke v Bradford/Millwall

Henry facing month on the sidelines as fallout spreads

Thierry Henry is not expected to play again in 2006, ruling him out of Sunday’s big match against Chelsea and the busy holiday programme. The Arsenal captain has been forced to accept that he needs a break, perhaps for more than a month, because of a sciatic nerve problem that has affected his form.,,277-2485515,00.html

Wine, women and fun at Highbury

Here's a great quote from Perry Groves' book: "Cole? He's been a prat." Sums it up pretty well, I think...,,27-2485098,00.html

Monday's rumours

Poor Thierry Henry! Oh when will someone give the poor lamb the respect he so richly deserves? Hot on the heels of discovering you don't get anywhere near the Fifa World Player of the Year award simply by diving through a major international tournament "like a woman", or by failing to show up for any of the finals your teams qualify for, he now finds that Arsene Wenger doesn't fancy treating him like the second coming of Christ. Oh Arsene, how could you!,,1963595,00.html