Friday, March 09, 2007

Henry Done for the Year

The injury crisis deepens as Arsenal lose their captain to injuies sustained in their loss to PSV.

Champions League Draw

AC Milan vs. Bayern Munich
PSV Eindhoven vs. Liverpool
AS Roma vs. Manchester United
Chelsea vs. Valencia

Roberto Gotta in Italy

As oxymorons go, 'meaningless derby' must rank among the best, and Milan's own confrontation among brothers, or cousins according to the Italian word used for it, on Sunday will surely be anything but devoid of meaning.

UEFA Cup wrap: Sevilla held, Newcastle thump AZ

Roberto Carlos to leave Real in the summer

'I'm not going to renew my contract. I think the moment has come for me to put an end to my time at the club and leave them to start a new project,' the 33-year-old told sports daily Marca on Friday.

'I'm sure about it. My time at Real Madrid has ended. After three years without winning anything I had to take a decision.'

FA Cup, Serie A, La Liga, and Bundesliga Previews

FA Cup
This season's two best sides in English football will be in FA Cup action this weekend when Premier League leaders Manchester United face Middlesbrough and League Cup winners Chelsea take on Tottenham Hotspur:

Serie A
Inter Milan's players have no time to dwell on their Champions League elimination by Valencia with the Serie A derby against AC Milan looming on Sunday:

La Liga
Arch-rivals Barcelona and Real Madrid have little time to brood over their painful European defeats as they go head-to-head at the Nou Camp on Saturday:

Bayern Munich must put Champions League success out of their minds if they are to beat Werder Bremen on Sunday and get firmly back in the Bundesliga title race:

Losing in style: how Arsenal discovered an ugly truth about the Beautiful Game

Arsenal: a nation mourns. They lost the Carling Cup final, despite playing better than Chelsea. They were knocked out of the FA Cup, despite playing better than Blackburn Rovers over two matches. They have lost all chance of winning the Barclays Premiership, despite playing better than Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. They are in danger of failing to qualify for the Champions League next season, despite playing better than all the clubs below them. And now they are out of Europe’s premier club competition this season, despite playing better than PSV Eindhoven over two legs and playing better than all eight clubs that remain in the competition.

Pressure builds on Pearce as City hope for Cup fillip

Stuart Pearce reaches the second anniversary of his appointment as Manchester City manager tomorrow, but, rather than a cause for celebration, the milestone hangs over the former England captain as he prepares for a critical week that seems certain to make or break his regime.

Xavi Lashes Gudjohnsen

Barca were dumped out of the Champions League by Liverpool this week, and afterwards Gudjohnsen said: "This team is missing companionship because we have to sacrifice more for each other.

Uefa urged to close 'rented' Alex loophole

Players' union chief complains to Platini -- PSV defender can play against Chelsea if drawn.,,2030021,00.html

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Last Night's Action

As expected, Chelsea were just too strong for Porto last night. Classic Chelski. Robben takes a speculative shot and Porto’s keeper Todd Helton spills the easy pick. Once they got that goal it was all over. Of course, Mr. Anonymous Mike Ballack got the winner. The only bloody thing he did all night. Robben also had a dive that would make Rodney Dangerfield proud. No shocker there. See below for the video.

Also as expected, Liverpool had Barcelona’s number. Sissoko was magnificent and both Jamie Carragher and Carlos Puyol made cases for current top defender in Europe. Excellent tactics by Rafa kept Messi, Ronny, Deco and Eto contained throughout. Ronny hit the post but Liverpool saw woodwork though Sissoko and JAR. They deservedly go through.

Roma were the surprise package of the night with their victory over Lyon. The French side continue to roll through Ligue 1 but cannot make the leap into Euro success. Perhaps Gerrard H. will give up and head to Australia. That’s what the rumors say, at least.

And finally, Inter and Valencia draw. It’s what I predicted, but I didn’t think there would be the mayhem at the end. See the video below. If Arsenal and Chelsea had a brawl, what was this? A bit closer to the truth, I think.

Four more matches await tonight! Arsenal have all to do at home, Lille are still fuming at Manchester United, Celtic have a tough trip to Milan, and will Madrid’s lazy attitude in the last fixture cost them in Munich? Exhausting but fabulous. -Sanford

Wednesday's Champions League Previews

Arsenal vs. PSV Eindhoven
Gunners take gamble on Henry injury:,,2027997,00.html

Manchester United vs. Lille
Lille go on the warpath and accuse United fans of violence:,,2027996,00.html

AC Milan vs. Celtic
Strachan demands highest standards to spring Milan upset:,,2028122,00.html

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid
'It'll be bloody difficult!':,,2028367,00.html

Tuesday's Champions League Reports

Chelsea 2-1 FC Porto: Ballack caps comeback:

Lyon 0-2 Roma: French champions stunned:

Valencia 0-0 Inter: Brawl as Valencia progress:

Liverpool 0-1 Barcelona: Holders dumped out:

Richard Jolley at Anfield

Liverpool knock out the holders...

Inter and Valencia Mix it Up

Arsenal are the sole true heirs to Cruyff's glorious vision

The game between Arsenal and PSV will evoke total football, but not from the Dutch champions, says David Winner.

Richard Williams Column

Despite winning, Chelsea again failed to demonstrate any of the artistry for which Roman Abramovich yearns.

Derby County take a lead from Jones

Derby County effected the sixth change at the top of the table in 10 days with this victory last night, and it was their collective determination in coming from a goal down that suggested Billy Davies's team are in the mood to stay there.,,2028130,00.html

Robben's Dive vs. Porto

The Advanced Aged One scored a lucky goal and had this lovely dive to complete a memorable evening...

Gold Cup: U.S. to play Guatemala, T&T, El Salvador

The defending champion Americans play their first two Group B games in Carson, Calif., against Guatemala on June 7 and Trinidad and Tobago on June 9, CONCACAF said Tuesday. The U.S. team meets El Salvador on June 12 at Foxborough, Mass.

Two men jailed for killing Milan player's brother

A Georgian court sentenced two men on Tuesday to a total of 30 years in jail for the kidnap and murder of Levan Kaladze, the younger brother of AC Milan defender Kakha Kaladze.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Tuesday's Champions League Previews

Chelsea vs. FC Porto
First-Leg: 1-1

Valencia vs. Inter Milan
First Leg: Inter 2-2 Valencia

Liverpool vs. Barcelona
First Leg: Barcelona 1-2 Liverpool

Olympique Lyon vs. AS Roma
First leg: Roma 0-0 Lyon

Phil Ball in Spain

No prizes for guessing this week's topic. Sevilla, for reasons good and bad, have been the main soundbite in an extraordinary week here in Spain.

On Wednesday night in the 2nd leg of the King's Cup derby game at Betis, Sevilla's manager Juande Ramos was felled by a flying bottle (plastic, but filled with water) as he did a jig on the touchline after his side had gone ahead in the 57th minute. He then did a rather more worrying jig, staggering forward and losing consciousness. The game was abandoned, Ramos was taken to hospital (where he recovered) and the proverbial has been hitting the fan (not the one who threw the bottle) ever since.

Barca ignoring talk of failure

If Jose Mourinho feels the internal politics at Chelsea have become a little complicated in the last 12 months, he should try stepping into the shoes of his old adversary at Barcelona.

Doppelganger Gunners

Unlike many seemingly moderate middle-aged men, Arsene Wenger seems to relish all things new. Given a choice between the tried and trusted and the unfamiliar with unlimited potential, he invariably opts for the latter. It is easy, therefore, to label Wenger a neophile yet, if his prodigies appear familiar, it should be no surprise: the majority appear modelled on their predecessors in the Arsenal production line.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Hats off to awesome Alves as Sevilla blow title race wide open...Sevilla's Dani Alves is no ordinary right-back, something Barça found out to their cost in a thrilling showdown at the weekend.

James Richardson in Italy

Time to hail the magic of IbraCadabra...Zlatan Ibrahimovic is one of football's supreme Marmite tests, but the doubters are being won over.

Police to investigate 'anti-Semitix' West Ham video

West Ham United's season took a turn from the shambolic to the shameful on Sunday when large groups of supporters were filmed chanting racist and anti-semitic slogans at half-time of the club's 4-3 defeat to Tottenham Hotspur. The Metropolitan Police confirmed that its football unit is investigating a complaint made by the Community Security Trust, an organisation that protects Britain's Jewish community from anti-semitism. Among the chants heard was one stating: "I'd rather be a Paki than a Jew".,,2027361,00.html

Rijkaard pulls no punches in showdown with Liverpool

With George Gillett Jr and Tom Hicks, Liverpool’s new American owners, taking their seats in the Anfield directors’ box for the first time tonight, the build-up to the club’s Champions League showdown with Barcelona lurched into heavyweight boxing territory last night when Frank Rijkaard, the visiting team’s coach, sent a series of caustic swipes the way of Rafael Benítez.

Tuesday's rumours,,2027633,00.html

Veron delighted to be back in Argentina set-up

Publishers give football a swerve after Cole’s autobiography crashes

When Ashley Cole heard the figure of 5,000, did he nearly swerve off the road? The figure does not represent the pay rise offered by Arsenal that the defender found so insulting, but the number of sales that Cole’s book has racked up. As Headline paid a reputed £250,000 for the defender’s story, My Defence, the publishers might feel that the figures — like the wage offer in the most infamous passage in the book — are “taking the p***”, especially as the serialisation of the book in The Times caused a sensation.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Quiet on the Spurs Rumor Front

How about that excellent victory last night?! The type of game Spurs usually drop. The silly rumor front, however, has been relatively quiet. Here are the links we've seen over the last two weeks:
  • 6’7” Nikola Zigic from Racing Santander
  • Sticking with Racing Santander: defender Ruben Gonzalez
  • NBA MVP Steve Nash to buy major stake in the club
  • Spurs will lose Berbatov to ManU
  • 16-year-old striker Henri Saviet from Bordeaux
Don't know anything about Racing or Santander, except that the city has a ferry link with Plymouth. Guess that's how half the team will get into the UK and make their way to North London. As for point two, pretty soon the entire Premiership will be owned by North Americans. Losing Berbatov to Lord Fergie would be a huge bummer. And, finally, a 16-year-old French kid? Who do we think we are, Arsenal?

Match Reports from the EPL, La Liga, and Serie A

English Premier League:
ManU steal another victory, Spurs comeback, Arsenal edge Reading...

La Liga:
Sevilla take Barcelona, Valencia win, Real Madrid draw...

Serie A:
Inter start a new win streak, Roma draw, Fiorentina romp...

Injury blow to Beckham's England hopes

David Beckham's chances of winning an England recall suffered a major blow when he picked up a knee injury in Real Madrid's 1-1 draw with Getafe.

Premiership: Title not over yet, insists Jose

Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has vowed to fight Manchester United until the bitter end in the Premiership title race. John O'Shea's late winner at Anfield gave United victory against rivals Liverpool and moved them closer to ending Chelsea's hopes of a hat-trick of titles, although Mourinho's men closed the gap to nine points with a 2-0 victory at Portsmouth later on Saturday.

West Ham squad 'out of control'

A culture of reckless high-stakes gambling is causing division within West Ham and rupturing morale to such an extent that the first-team squad, already riven by cliques, is 'spiralling out of control' - and the players, manager and directors already know that they can do nothing to stop the club being relegated. That is the damning view from inside the dressing room at the Premiership's most troubled club.,,2026092,00.html

Monday's Rumours,,2026909,00.html

Gerrard dives into a murky grey area

Fifa have been meeting in Manchester this weekend and when North-West managers were asked - by journalists, not Sepp Blatter - what positive changes they would like to see introduced, David Moyes came up with quite a good one. The Everton manager believes diving to be a major scourge of the modern game and would like to see offenders punished retrospectively by disciplinary panels viewing video evidence. 'We already do that for violent behaviour if the cameras have caught someone throwing a punch that the referee has missed,' Moyes argues. 'Why not simply extend that principle to cheating? If the cameras can prove something that the referee couldn't see at the time, the guilty player should receive a ban in the same way.',,2026057,00.html

Nervous Schalke wind up going for the sausage

A second straight home defeat has suddenly made things a little hairy for Mirko Slomka's side, who are in danger of throwing away another title.