Friday, January 12, 2007

Sanford’s Premiership Predictions

Watford v Liverpool (1245 GMT)

I expect the Reds to storm back to normal service in this one. Getting out of Anfield for a spell will help and Watford just can’t seem to score goals. They’ve given a good account of themselves this term but the Championship beckons.

Prediction: 0-2

Bolton v Manchester City

City seem to have righted the ship but it’s a tough job to bring home any bacon from the Reebok. That said, I like a bit of a surprise here and think Psycho can steal a point from Big Sam.

Prediction: 2-2

Charlton v Middlesbrough

Please don’t make me watch this match. I’m snoring already just thinking about it. If Charlton can’t win at home against Boro then they might as well throw in the towel. Well, throw in the towel. I’m glad Ben Thatcher signed with The Addicks just so I can see him go down come May.

Prediction: 0-0

Chelsea v Wigan

Still no John Terry to anchor the Chelski defense but I can’t see Wigan taking anything from the match. Perhaps if it were at the JJB but not at The Bridge. Paul Jewell is enduring some tough times and a trip to West London is not what he needs.

Prediction: 2-0

Manchester United v Aston Villa

The Villians will be without Petrov for their trip to Manchester and that’ll hurt. I’d like to think they can still nick a point but I have trouble betting against ManU, especially at the Theater of Dreams. Ronaldo and Co. are in fine flow at the moment and I think it’ll continue.

Prediction: 2-1

Sheffield United v Portsmouth

I like a home win here. United have impressed of late and Portsmouth are due a letdown. They’ve been flying high for a while but away from the coast they’ll come down to earth.

Prediction: 1-0

West Ham v Fulham

Luis Boa Morte looks to feature against his old mates and that spells trouble for Fulham in this London derby. It’s been up and down since Alan Curbishly took over at Upton Park but I see a home win in the crystal ball here. Although stronger on the road than in last year’s disastrous campaign, Fulham still rely too heavily on the Cottage Compound to provide their mid-table security.

Prediction: 3-1

Blackburn v Arsenal (1715 GMT)

David Bentley is suspended which means Gunner fans don’t have to worry about yet another former Gunner netting against them. Blackburn have been playing well but Arsenal look to have some wind in their sails after the Liverpool poundings. Adebayor’s return will invigorate them even more.

Prediction: 1-3


Everton v Reading (1345 GMT)

Tim Cahill’s return from injury will give the Blues a needed boost. He’s a scorer and a leader and will give Everton a bite that they’ve lacked in his absence. Reading have already proven their doubters wrong: they belong here and will stay up. They just won’t win this match.

Prediction: 2-1

Tottenham v Newcastle (1600 GMT)

Normally I’d say home win. It’s the only thing Spurs’ unfortunate fans have to look forward to – winning at White Hart Lane. But Newcastle are playing well and I think they can get something here. Martins is scoring and a few of their other key men are slowly returning from injury.

Prediction: 2-2

Clint Dempsey Talks Funny

Or I suppose we can just call him Deuce now. Here's an example of his jibber jabber:

"Its official yall heard right ya boy got the green light to go ahead. Its been a long time waiting but this move is a dream come true. Im looking forward to putting on the black and white jersey for Fulham. I appreciate all the support along the way and it goes to show grindin pays off. Im a represent to the fullest be easy and God Bless..."

Damn! Good to know that grindin pays off, yo! I'm looking forward to seeing my boy at Fulham. Is Ali G a Fulham fan? Probably more of a West Ham guy. Enjoy the picture of Deuce with his posse. -Sanford

Beckham's wages to dwarf other MLS stars

Living in America is Beckham's best option

Whether Predrag Mijatovic was mistranslated or not the writing was always on the wall in the Bernabeu dressing room. Any amount of scrabbling by Beckham's 'people' on Wednesday about contract talks being ongoing could not hide the fact that their number 23 was headed for the door marked salida.

James Richardson in Italy

As Serie A rubs the winter sleep from its eyes, Italian football has never been so unpredictable.

Interview: Alexi Lalas, Los Angeles Galaxy President

American soccer icon Alexi Lalas spoke to the day news broke of David Beckham's deal to join MLS side Los Angeles Galaxy. Lalas played for the Galaxy, and now he leads the club as its President and General Manager.

EPL Weekend Preview

It has been a miserable week for Liverpool. Tactically out-smarted and dumped out of the FA Cup by Arsenal on Saturday, they were then dismembered by Arsenal's young reserves on Tuesday in the Carling Cup, and not only conceded six at Anfield for the first time since 1930, but also lost Mark Gonzalez for three weeks and Luis Garcia for six months.

EPL Table

Barclays Premiership Table

1Man Utd223454
10Man City22-629
13Aston Villa22-226
16Sheff Utd22-1223
18West Ham22-2118

Dan Wetzel on the Beckham Deal;_ylt=AoOhKwisWhU7XaODQE8KHygmw7YF?slug=dw-beckham011107&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

Serie A: Leaders Inter seek record win against Torino

Beckham - the Stateside reaction

On Thursday, Former England captain David Beckham signed one of the biggest deals in the history of sport. From August, he will ply his trade as a professional footballer in Major League Soccer with LA Galaxy. But what have the US press made of their acquisition of brand Beckham?

Italian Serie A Table

Italian Serie A Table

1Inter Milan182348
13AC Milan18620

Spain: Primera Liga news in brief

Culture shock awaits Beckham on his mission to create new 'sah-kurr' galaxy,,8303-2543555,00.html

Richard Williams Column

A perfect setting for the final scene of the Beckham family blockbuster. In signing for LA Galaxy David Beckham has made his smartest move yet.

Friday's rumours

Fading luminaries such as Christian Vieri, Roberto Carlos, Edgar Davids, and Clarence Seedorf may also follow Becks' noble lead.,,1989043,00.html

Comment: The Beckham Has Landed

Greg Lalas on the Big Move...

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Kevin Nolan column

When I heard about David Beckham's contract with LA Galaxy my first words were "how much?" I was absolutely flabbergasted.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Beckham joins LA Galaxy,,27-2542433,00.html

US international Dempsey joins Fulham from MLS

Midfielder Reyna set for Man City exit

Capello Dissects Real Madrid

In an interview with the Spanish press, Italian Coach Fabio Capello has spoken about the current changes that the White House is going through. The tactician balanced the well-known and much-published troubles with what he sees as steps in the right direction.

Baptista strives for permanent Arsenal deal,,278-2541414,00.html

Chairboys Check Unconvincing Chelsea

Chelsea endured a troubled Christmas, but it was Easter that gave them a troubled night in the Carling Cup - Jermaine Easter, who scored the equaliser as Wycombe Wanderers came from behind to hold the Premiership champions to a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the semi-final.

Liverpool's Garcia out for the season;_ylt=Ak5FnxiDQyqpjHSFMY9r1eMmw7YF?slug=afp-fbleurc1engpresp&prov=afp&type=lgns

Richard Williams Column

Disillusion and confusion bear the hallmark of Benítez. The many failings of the Spaniard were brutally exposed by Arsenal in a Carling Cup rout that could sour his time as manager.

Sunderland strike coup with signing of hot-shot Stokes,,435-2541318,00.html

Why are these men in a job?

As another sucker wastes good money on Jon Stead, we look at the strikers who are bought no matter how few goals they score.

Players convicted of on-field violence,,1688262,00.html

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Richard Jolly at Anfield

Liverpool 3 - 6 Arsenal: Young Gunners humiliate Reds

I almost didn’t watch this match. I had some tile to repair in the upstairs bathroom
and figured I should be a responsible homemaker and give the second Liverpool/Arsenal
cup clash in three days a miss. But it was the lure of the youngsters that convinced me t
hat I should let the tile sit and take in the mystique that is the Carling Cup. It was the
correct decision. Nine goals were fun to see. Even “Carling Cup Legend” Robbie Fowler
put one in. Or at least Martin Tyler thinks he’s a Carling Cup Legend. Anyway, Baptista finally found some rhythm, although he still had some dodgy touches and occasionally looked out of sorts. Regardless, I expect big things from him, especially if he’s allowed to play as a striker instead of out of position in the midfield. As he continues to settle, he'll only improve. His free kick was sick. Sick! I'll put it up once it appears on YouTube.

I’ve been reading that some folks thought Song played well – I’d have to disagree.
He was by far the worst Arsenal performer for me, and on a night when a lot of lads
without much first-team experience got a runout, he looked like he didn’t belong.
Even his goal came from a bounce of his should about which he knew nothing.
Perhaps what was so glaring was the difference between the two clubs’ youngsters.
While Arsenal’s excelled and asked questions, Liverpool’s were dreadful.
In particular, the Argentine Paletta was simply atrocious, getting burned twice by
Aliadiere in the runup to two goals. He simply committed himself when it wasn’t
necessary – such a basic mistake. Gerrard’s goal was classic Gerrard: a sick high
volley that left Almunia with no chance. But other than that, this was nightmarish
night for Liverpool. Potentially long-term injuries to Gonzalez and Garcia must have Rafa wishing he'd just forfeited the damn thing. -Sanford

Stunned Benitez Can Only Apologise

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez surveyed the wreckage of Liverpoool's domestic cup dreams, torpedoed twice by Arsenal at Anfield in four days, and apologised to the club's fans.

Inter grab two-goal lead over Empoli in Italian Cup

Wright-Phillips snub for Villa as O'Neill turns next to Bellamy

...the Villa manager yesterday provided an indication of the considerable transfer funds at his disposal when he spoke about the possibility of signing up to "five players of the quality of Stilian Petrov".,,1986852,00.html

Carling Cup Preview: Wycombe Wanderers-Chelsea

Wednesday's rumours,,1987050,00.html

Smith back at Rangers, legal writ to follow?

Chelsea must try to hold on to Mourinho,,8305-2539547,00.html

MLS combine crop lacking in blue-chip prospects

"Lackluster" used to describe kids trying to make the cut...

Coastal storm brewing

Harry Redknapp, the great wheeler-dealer of British football management, has yet to make a signing in the January transfer window. The Portsmouth manager was supposed to have been given £30 million to spend on players this season by Alexandre “Sacha” Gaydamak, the owner, but his summer spending fell far short of that sum.,,277-2536412,00.html

Fans get the team they deserve

Liverpool supporters would not admit it, but their attitude may be helping to keep the club down.

Juventus interested in rescuing Heinze from Old Trafford bench

I still consider this guy to be a fantastic defender. I just think he needs time to recover fully from his injuries and rack up some minutes. That said, I'd much rather he rack up those minutes at Juve than at ManU. If ManU lose a world-class player then so be it. -Sanford,,1986883,00.html

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

The Zaragoza/Sevilla Bloodbath

This is just too funny. It's from the Zaragoza/Sevilla match this weekend. These guys have obviously been attending the Richard Simmons School of Boxing. In one corner you've got Diogo, the Brazilian Butcher. In the other corner, it's Luis Fabiano, the Uruguayan Eliminator. Diogo gets in one decent connection and then it turns into some sort of Broadway choreographed dance routine. I can only hope we get a Round 2 at some point. -Sanford

Phil Ball in Spain

Ex-Duke players join in purchase of D.C. United

Former Duke co-captains Brian Davis and Christian Laettner wore black and red soccer scarves instead of basketball jerseys Monday as MLS unveiled a new, minority-led ownership group that is paying a league-record $33 million for the operating rights to D.C. United.

League Cup Preview: Kuyt out for revenge after FA Cup exit

Liverpool host Arsenal yet again...

Capello Wants Ronaldo On The Block, Possibly For Sheva

It's ridiculous to think that El Gordo will got to Chelsea. He'd be totally useless at Stamford Bridge. -Sanford

Spain: Primera Liga Team Of The Week (Round 17)

FIFA assails World Cup players for faking injuries

Thank God - this was certainly one of the most annoying aspects of the competition and I can only hope this report leads to some changes. Forgive me if I remain skeptical...-Sanford;_ylt=AtwyM73tLwpqHGF1Zr9qv1gmw7YF?slug=ap-fifa-fakinginjuries&prov=ap&type=lgns

Alan Hansen's column

But the FA Cup, in all honesty, will never be what it was in the 1960s, 1970s or 1980s because the money in the Champions League and Premiership is now so huge...

Moyes Unhappy With Howard

Owen Hargreaves column

Adu heads U.S. under-20 roster

Tim Vickery column

Two years ago Lionel Messi used the South American Under-20 Championship as his springboard to glory. The same tournament also threw up the Chilean sensation Matias Fernandez, who has just made his debut for Villareal, and Wigan's Luis Antonio Valencia. The 2003 version revealed Liverpool's Mark Gonzalez, Messrs Tevez and Mascherano, Daniel Alves, Daniel Carvalho and Dudo Cearense of Brazil, PSV's Peruvian striker Jefferson Farfan and many more.

Liverpool must look to shake the Houllier habit

Rafael Benítez must be allowed to spend big in the transfer market if he is to stop his team suffering a familiar slide.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Stokes sale spotlights Arsenal's loanees

Anthony Stokes, the 18-year-old who has signed for Sunderland, was not the only young Gunner trying to impress at another club.

Armed robbery takes shine off Tamworth's big day

Yeah, that'll take the shine off alright...,,1985864,00.html

Tuesday's rumours,,1986140,00.html

Monday, January 08, 2007

Highlights from Arsenal's win over Liverpool in the F.A. Cup

The Insider at Stamford Bridge

There used to be a football club down at Stamford Bridge.

The team wore blue shirts, rarely challenged for trophies other than those dreamed up by eccentric and departed chairman, Ken Bates, and always had ambitions way above their station. They were called Chelsea FC and even though they were located in one of the richest spots on England's property map, they were always among the poor men of London football.

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford

Manchester United arrived to praise their newest Scandinavian striker and departed celebrating the enduring ability of another. That Henrik Larsson and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer are extremely accomplished goalscorers is hardly breaking news, but a demonstration of their prowess is impressive nonetheless.

Reyna wants to quit Man City

Expect Captain America to show up in an MLS city soon. Red Bull anyone? -Sanford

Liverpool 1 - 3 Arsenal

Rosicky's double has patient Wenger wanting even more.,,1984951,00.html

FA Cup Reports

English FA Cup fourth round draw

Arsenal v Bolton Wanderers
West Ham United v Watford
Bristol City or Coventry City v Hull City or Middlesbrough
Chelsea v Nottingham Forest
Chester City or Ipswich Town v Swansea City
Cardiff City or Tottenham Hotspur v Southend United or Barnsley
Barnet or Colchester United v Peterborough United or Plymouth Argyle
Birmingham City or Newcastle United v Reading or Burnley
Derby County v Bristol Rovers
Sheffield Wednesday or Manchester City v Southampton
Crystal Palace v Preston North End
Manchester United v Portsmouth
Blackpool v Norwich City
Queens Park Rangers or Luton Town v Blackburn Rovers
Wolverhampton Wanderers or Oldham Athletic v West Bromwich Albion
Leicester City or Fulham v Stoke City

Matches to be played on the weekend of Jan. 27 and 28.

Spain: La Liga Reports

Gabriele Marcotti Column

A few years ago I went to see Sven Goran Eriksson, who at the time was the England national team coach. He showed me a power point presentation he had prepared, illustrating how countries in which there is no midseason break tend to underperform internationally. He was going to use it to persuade the English powers-that-be to introduce a winter break around the turn of the year (as is customary in most European leagues).;_ylt=AjtvQi2r0n6ACyoALr6Tia0mw7YF?slug=cnnsi-norestforthewea&prov=cnnsi&type=lgns

A long wait for fruit to ripen

Real Madrid's two prized winter signings — Fernando Gago, the midfield player, and Gonzalo Higuain, the striker — were in the squad who took on Deportivo La Coruña last night. The local press are describing the pair as a dynamic duo, who are set to jump-start Real’s season and restore Fabio Capello’s troops to the top of La Liga. Between them, the pair cost in excess of £20 million. These days, it is an eye-popping sum for two 19-year-olds who have started fewer than 100 professional league matches between them. But perhaps the biggest caveat is that they are Argentinians.,,27-2536256,00.html

Spain: Barca held at Getafe, Real lose 2-0 at Depor

Monday's rumours,,1985199,00.html

Chelsea unrest over Ballack

Players query German’s place as Mourinho exit fears grow.,,277-2534753,00.html

Reo-Coker will never be the next Robbie Savage

Now that Robbie Savage and Craig Bellamy aren't getting booed anymore, can Nigel Reo-Coker take over their mantle?

As Europe rests, the Brits rush

Bayern Munich are resting in Dubai, Milan are in Malta and Inter are in Bahrain. So why are English clubs still playing?