Monday, December 31, 2007

Old Firm postpone clash in memory of O'Donnell

Wednesday's Old Firm clash between Celtic and Rangers has been postponed as a mark of respect following the death last weekend of Motherwell captain Phil O'Donnell, the Scottish Premier League (SPL) announced on Monday.

Norman Hubbard: Worst players of the season... so far

While it is a comment that applies to entire teams, the half-term report card for certain players contains the unwanted words 'could do better'. The only consolation is that the second half of the season presents an immediate opportunity for improvement. But if not, it won't represent a year to remember for the following:

CASL 91 Elite defeats Chelsea at Disney Showcase

The team from Raleigh, NC pulled off an upset that the young players will remember for the rest of their lives with a 2-1 win over the world-renowned Chelsea FC U-16 team.

Americans in England: Rough Week for the Yanks USA's Matthew Braine runs down the happenings of the Americans in England this past week.

Figo Set For USA Move?

The Portuguese legend has reportedly signed a two-year contract with the Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) worth $3.5m a season.

Luis Figo and his wife Helena Svedin

Select EPL Weekend Reports

Another interesting weekend in England as Ronaldo's penalty miss allowed West Ham to knock United off the top of the table, Arsenal employed long-ball tactics to beat Everton, and Spurs and Reading provided a comedy of errors...

West Ham 2 - 1 Manchester United

Lethargic Reds

Everton 1 - 4 Arsenal
Gunners finding new ways to win

Tottenham 6 - 4 Reading

Berbatov nets four in schoolyard contest

Manchester City 0 - 0 Liverpool
Title chances fading fast for Rafa

Birmingham 1 - 1 Fulham
Bocanegra heads in a point for Hodgson

Wigan 1 - 2 Aston Villa
Villians drive toward Europe

The Insider at Stamford Bridge

Chelsea 2 - 1 Newcastle
When cheers turn to jeers

We may have come with the intention of issuing the last rights to Sam Allardyce's troubled reign as Newcastle manager, but a more accurate assessment of the day's happenings may be that this was the beginning of the end of Avram Grant's controversial reign as Chelsea manager.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Just some basics for the moment

I'm bouncing around enjoying my holiday at the moment. Boxing Day was wonderful as I managed to catch three matches at Mom & Pop Sanford's house on the flat screen in front of a roaring fire. Now that's a holiday! I'll be in New York this weekend seeing old pals and have to run to get there at the moment so I've just posted some basic catch-up articles, if you like, below. The derbies in Barcelona and Milan lived up to expectations (Baptista can score in big games) and ManU has taken over top spot in England.

Look for normal service to resume on Monday. Cheers, Sanford.

p.s. - Here's what Lawro thinks will happen this weekend in the EPL.

EPL Extra Time: Another case of the blues for Chelsea + Weekend Preview

How do you list the ways in which Chelsea saw its problems mount in a 4-4 draw with Aston Villa on an explosive Boxing Day?

Weekend Preview

EPL: Transfer Fever + Table

How Premier League clubs may move in the January transfer window

Premier League Table
December 28
Man Utd1945
Man City1935
Aston Villa1930
West Ham1826

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Inter Milan 2 - 1 AC Milan
Inter underline their superiority

Serie A
Inter Milan1713044328
Catania Calcio1756621-2
AC Milan14446189

Phil Ball in Spain

Barcelona 0 - 1 Real Madrid
White Christmas

Primera División
Real Madrid1713224123
Atlético Madrid179443112
Racing Santander1775526-2

Richard Jolly at the City of Manchester Stadium

Manchester City 2 - 2 Blackburn Rovers

City's stylish transformation continues

Barton refused bail, spends New Year in jail

The 25-year-old was arrested in Liverpool early yesterday following an alleged incident in the city centre.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Friday Thoughts From The Editor

It's a good day, then. The holidays are here and that means plenty of matches to keep our focus away from mundane issues like family and yuletide spirit and all that. And what a way to kick it all off: Barcelona vs. Real Madrid, Inter vs. Milan and Arsenal vs. Tottenham. In Barcelona the word is that Henry will be available. He’s been injury prone and inconsistent since his move to Catalonia, and I’m not sure how much he can contribute. Mind you, with Messi out and The Geri-Curled One a question mark these days (big losses for the neutral) Barca will need all the help they can get.

Meanwhile, in Milan, this could be one of the most lopsided derbies in recent years. Milan have been struggling while Inter just don’t lose. The Rossoneri are suddenly looking old and rely too heavily on Kaka. And you’ve got to give credit to Mancini for putting together a very balanced side. I’d expect a comfortable 2-0 win for Inter here. Speaking of Milan, Arsenal have drawn them in the Champions League. Again, if you ever want to draw Milan in Europe (and you don’t), this might just be the year. On the flip side, I cannot see Liverpool getting past Inter. Mancini’s men will be there at the end, I’m certain. Oh, and ManU can’t be too worried about facing a Lyon side that barely beat Rangers. No trouble here for the Reds.

Two things in today’s news really piss me off. First: Fulham sack Sanchez. Now, it’s not so much the action of sacking Lawrie that gets me, it’s the fact that they sacked Chris Coleman to begin with. He had them competing and staying in the Premiership year in and year out. How can you expect Fulham to be a top-10 side? You cannot, it’s that simple. They’ll have good years and bad, but Coleman was an expert at getting the most out of very limited resources. And they sacked him. Now they’re screwed and it’s a shame, especially since they’ve got three Yanks in the team. Second: Peter Crouch. What is he thinking? I can’t say anything more – just read the bloody article below. Alec sums up my opinion well so no need for me to repeat here.

Oh, and Everton travel to Old Trafford. That's not bad either.

Enjoy, Sanford

The North London Derby: A History

The rivalry between supporters and players at local derby matches often has its roots in the respective histories of the clubs and their communities. The North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur is no exception.

Internazionale Milan vs. AC Milan + Serie A Preview

AC seek to bring down unbeaten Inter
Serie A Team News

Barcelona vs. Real Madrid + La Liga Preview

Che cast shadow over El Clasico
Henry available for Barca-Real 'clasico'
La Liga Weekend Preview

Skint Scousers

Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr are checking down the back of the sofa...
Liverpool owners face cash crisis

King hurt, Ramos stressed

Tottenham coach bemoans six injured defenders with Didier Zokora to miss derby after appeal to FA against ban fails
Ramos short of options as King injured

Champions League Draw

Here's the draw for the first knock-out stage of the Champions League:

Celtic v Barcelona
Lyon v Manchester United
Schalke v Porto
Liverpool v Inter Milan
AS Roma v Real Madrid
Arsenal v AC Milan
Olympiakos v Chelsea
Fenerbahce v Sevilla

Champions League: Arsenal draw AC Milan
Last 16 guide

Fulham show Sanchez the door

The former Northern Ireland manager has left the London club after only seven months following a run of bad results. They should have shown more faith with Chris Coleman.
Sanchez sacked by Fulham

English Premier League Weekend Previews

Fasteddy's Tips
Lawro's Predictions
Team News

What a load of bollocks

This really is a heap of shite. According to Crouchy it's only those dirty conniving foreigners who dive and cheat. Perhaps he should check out his club team mate Steven Gerrard or England team Michael Owen. Of course when they go down too easily and feign injury it's considered being clever. Wanker.
Crouch lays into Mikel and blames 'foreign' fakers
Rise of the two-footed lunge

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Moratti On Calciopoli: I Want My Titles Back

Inter President Massimo Moratti says that the club were robbed of more than one Scudetto prior to the Calciopoli scandal last summer.

Vote for your football highlights of 2007

We've (The Guardian) selected our six best British football moments and personalities of the past 12 months, but which were your favourites?

5) Last-day relegation battle. Carlos Tevez scores at Old Trafford to complete an escape that was as improbable as it was controversial; meanwhile at Bramall Lane, Emile Heskey delivers an immense defensive performance and David Unsworth converts a penalty to relegate the team with whom he began the season. As drama goes, this beats the pants off Hollyoaks.

The night Wenger decided to let his young stars shine

Arsène Wenger's policy of selecting Carling Cup youth teams buoys his players and points to a bright future.

Milan happy to be away team for derby with Inter

AC Milan will be pleased they are the "away" side for Sunday's city derby with Serie A leaders Inter having failed to win at home in the league this season.

Paul Jewell convinced Derby County can be his pride and joy

Bottom of the league at Christmas? Many a manager would be more likely to reach for the Prozac than ProZone, but Paul Jewell is intent on using the second half of this season to get Derby County up to speed and ready to fulfill their potential.

Rafael Benitez sees red after Chelsea punish Liverpool’s off night

Chelsea 2 - 0 Liverpool

Semi-final draw

Chelsea v Everton
Arsenal v Tottenham Hotspur

First legs to be played week commencing Jan 7

Second legs week commencing Jan 21

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Manchester City Seal Nery Castillo Deal

Manchester City have got their man. Nery Castillo will join on a 12-month loan deal in January, leaving Shakhtar Donetsk behind.

The Ukrainian outfit paid over 20 million euros to Olympiakos this summer for the 23-year-old, who apparently helped wealthy City - bankrolled by Thai magnate Thaksin Shinawatra - pay for his signature.

(What's up with that body ink? Are those his parents? - Ed.)

Top Five Argentine Youngsters (Still In Argentina)

With a young generation of Argentines coming through the ranks - and fast conquering Europe - Nick Dorrington looks at the most promising youngsters (under 20) still in the country.

U.S. to Face Cuba, Honduras and Panama in Olympic Qualifying

The U.S. Under-23s, coached by U.S. National Team assistant coach Peter Nowak, will play three matches in a five-day span between March 11-15, with exact dates and times to be announced by CONCACAF at a later date. Group B will see Canada, Guatemala, Haiti and Mexico square off, beginning on March 12 in Carson, Calif.

The Pornography of Corrugated Iron Sheds

A celebrated poet, and football fan, on the joys of ‘groundtasticism’

Glebe Park, Brechin City
One of the most beautiful grounds I’ve seen; go there on a spring morning when the air is as fresh and crisp as only Scottish air can be and marvel at the only football ground in Europe with a hedge surrounding its perimeter. When I went there, a bloke was trimming it with a pair of clippers and I wept with joy. Groundtastic!

Jonny Evans Questioned Over Man United Rape Claim

The multi-millionaire players had booked out the entire four-star hotel on Monday night for the squad Christmas party. They told their WAGs - wives and girlfriends - to stay at home and invited 100 models and dancers, for what one observer described as a "drinking, lap dancing and gambling marathon". (Ummm...classy!!) -Ed.

But the party came to an abrupt halt at 4.15am yesterday morning when the police received a 999 call alleging that there had been a rape in the building.

And Tony Cascarino on Christmas Parties: Scrap Them

Wednesday Carling Cup Preview

Chelsea vs. Liverpool

Ballack and Essien back for the Blues

Allaying Fears of MLS Foreign Invasion

In theory, by increasing the number of foreigners allowed per team and permitting those spots to be traded, MLS clubs could field rosters entirely made up of overseas players. Such suggestions are bound to anger those who feel the only way forward for soccer in the United States is relentless promotion of home-grown talent, not importing players from elsewhere.

Ashley Cole set to face FA charge over gesture

Ashley Cole is likely to find out today if he faces a Football Association charge for aiming a two-finger salute at Arsenal fans.

The FA have confirmed they are examining all available evidence before deciding whether to take disciplinary action over Sunday's alleged incident.

Carling Cup: 10 Men Arsenal and 10 Men Spurs Advance

Blackburn 2 - 3 Arsenal
Eduardo strike wins it in extra-time thriller

Richard Jolly at Ewood Park

Manchester City 0 - 2 Tottenham
100% home record shattered by Spurs

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Lahm to Utd?

This guy is quality, but I can't see Bayern selling him.
Record profits may fund Manchester United move for Philipp Lahm

Eboue takes out Terry

Its amazing how many people hate Arsenal, and I am not just talking about Spurs fans. When you ask them why, more often than not the answer will be something along the lines of 'I like the way they play, but they're just so many dickheads in the team'. Well there seems to be another with Emmanuel Eboué. He goes down at the brush of a feather and moans like a spoilt child when things don't go his way. But above all he has a mean, vicious streak that should have seen him sent off against Boro and Chelsea. His snide, over the top tackle has put John Terry, who committed a similar tackle during the game, out for 6 to 12 weeks.
Terry faces up to three months out with broken bones in foot

Carling Cup goes all Harry Potter

The Blackburn boss wants his team to ignore Arsenal's mind games in tonight's quarter-final
Discount 'dark arts', warns Hughes

Borgetti Considering MLS Move

If he plays as well as he did at Bolton, he'll fit right in...

"We have already talked to Kansas and Colorado, looking at what possibilities we have - anyway, I won't pick up the first offer that appears."

Phil Ball in Spain

Señor Ball is eagerly looking forward to this weekend's Clásico between Barcelona and Real Madrid...

Americans in England: Howard Helps Continue the Streak USA's Matthew Braine runs down the happenings of the Americans in England this past weekend.

Carling Cup Tuesday Previews

Spurs aim to end City's perfect home record...
Manchester City v Tottenham:

Wenger will once again look to his kids as the Gunners travel to Ewood Park...
Blackburn v Arsenal: Preview

England: Splashing the Cash in January

Updated: With time running out before the transfer window opens, clubs are already busy planning their shopping lists for the New Year. Speculation has been rife for the past month over who will end up where after Christmas, so here's a breakdown of some of the major transfer talk.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Burning down the Mestalla

After another crushing defeat for Los Che, Rubén Baraja's suggestion that unhappy fans should 'burn down Mestalla' looks like a red rag to a bull. Señor Lowe reports.
Valencia feeling the heat after Barça humbling

Italy: Serie A Reports

Inter extend lead as Roma are held by Torino, Juventus win at Lazio and Samp and Fiorentina draw...REPORTS

Spain: La Liga Reports

Barcelona have little trouble with Valencia while RVN leads Real Madrid to win...REPORTS

D.C. United better off without Veron

Martin Rogers on JSV's decision to stay in Argentina.

If the Cap fits...

Any interest in Capello? Well, if you've got a life, probably not. But if you do...
Fabio Capello to bring 'pride' back to England

Back to basics for Boca

After defeat in the Club World Cup final, Boca Juniors must turn their focus to more mundane activities - such as appointing a manager, writes Marcela Mora y Araujo.
Back to the drawing board for Boca

Richard Jolley on the Race for the Premier League Title

Jolley breaks down the chances of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool as we head into the congested winter schedule.

And then there were three...

Bavarian Blunderers

Ottmar Hitzfeld's tactical shortcomings with Bayern Munich are in danger of making him a lame duck manager. Herr Honigstein reports:
General struggles to inspire troops as Bayern flounder again

Milan takes the Cup, Maldini takes a rest

AC Milan's Paolo Maldini said shortly after winning the Fifa Club World Cup that he will retire at the end of the season.
Milan crush Boca 4-2 to win Club World Cup
AC Milan great Paolo Maldini to retire

EPL Table

Team Pts GP W D L
Arsenal 40 17 12 4 1
Man Utd. 39 17 12 3 2
Chelsea 34 17 10 4 3
Manchester City 33 17 10 3 4
Liverpool 30 16 8 6 2
Everton 30 17 9 3 5
Portsmouth 30 17 8 6 3
Aston Villa 28 17 8 4 5
Blackburn 26 17 7 5 5
Newcastle 25 17 7 4 6
West Ham 22 16 6 4 6
Tottenham 18 17 4 6 7
Reading 18 17 5 3 9
Middlesbrough 17 17 4 5 8
Birmingham 15 17 4 3 10
Bolton 14 17 3 5 9
Sunderland 14 17 3 5 9
Fulham 13 17 2 7 8
Wigan Athletic 12 17 3 3 11
Derby 6 17 1 3 13

ManU beat Pool in 90 minutes of shite

Fuck me, that was crap.
Alex Ferguson tightens grip on Liverpool duels
David Pleat:Liverpool lack cutting edge
Meeting eases Rafael Benitez tension
Player Ratings

Gallas goal gives Gunners glory

The first 45 minutes at the Emirates suggested we were going to see more of the crap served up by ManU and Liverpool, but not so. The 2nd 45 may have lacked a touch of quality - at one stage it seemed the teams were competing in a private miss of the season competition - but was not short on excitement. At the beginning on the season I said I thought the Gunners would rely a great deal on Gallas, but I never thought it would be through his goal scoring ability.

William Gallas delivers killer blow for Arsenal
Ghost of Jose Mourinho comes back to haunt Chelsea
Terry injury changes game and may sway Capello
Cole Could Face Disciplinary Action