Friday, May 04, 2007

Champions League Musings

"Disrupting opponents like Milan is Rafael Benítez's specialist subject and could get him the result that United missed out on."
Why Benítez could succeed where Ferguson failed

To me this epitomises the problems with Rafa as a big club manager. He made his name at Valencia playing third fiddle to Real and Barca, and thus had to tailor his teams to beat those opponents. His ability to find exploit favorable matchups serves him well in cup competitions (see: Crouch v. Essien). However a matchup approach will only take you so far at a big club. Rafa has the quality in his squad to put out a winner every week but instead of focusing on finding his best lineup and letting his players get a feel for each other he juggles his team. Liverpool under Rafa have never displayed the kind of team chemistry that we've seen out of Man United, Chelski or Arsenal in the last 3 years and I think that until he changes his approach from focusing on his opponents weaknesses to focusing on his own team's strengths Liverpool will never find the kind of consistency they need to win the league.

"Should Chelsea and United consider sacrificing their war at home for victory in Europe?"
Fighting on two fronts draws the sting from United and Chelsea

Leeds Relegated

This one (and hopefully future) big club has seen things go from bad to worse after their ill-advised spending spree brought them first to the brink of the European championship and second to the brink of bankruptcy. Robber Baron Ken Bates swooped in to save them and for a while it appeared as if they'd soon be back in the top flight. Apparently not.

Leeds relegated after entering administration
Leeds have known humiliation but this is the deepest hurt


Last time around Lawro got SIX results right but NO perfect scores.
Lawro's Predictions

Bobbie's Picks:

Citeh 1 ManYoo 2
Everton 2 Pompey 0
Fulham 0 Liverpool 0
Newcastle 1 Blackburn 1
Reading 1 Watford 0
West Ham 3 Bolton 1
Wigan 1 'Boro 2
Villa 2 Sheff Utd 0
Arsenal 0 Chelski 2
Charlton 1 Tottenham 3

Premiership Previews

A Manchester United win in the derby in conjunction with an Arsenal win at home against Chelski will clinch the Premiership title for the Red Devils.

Aston Villa/Sheffield United
Manchester Derby
Wenger calls for fans to respect Cole
West Ham/Bolton

Rumors, Etc.

The Mill
Friday Gossip Column
Paper View: Real ready to raid for Carvalho
Gerrard opens talks over new Liverpool deal
One More Season, Confirms Maldini
Toni Heads Bayern Wishlist
Crespo Future Undecided
Sheva wants Milan Return
Jol will not sell Berbatov
Hammond in the frame for Arsenal job

Ligue 1 Preview

Ligue 1: Race for second hots up

Serie A Preview

"AC Milan would rather qualify for next season's Champions League as winners but they have a chance of securing a spot via Serie A on Sunday."

Serie A: Milan target Champions League spot

La Liga Preview

Lame Liga race draws to intriguing climax
Real in bullish mood ahead of Sevilla

Bundesliga Preview

"Bundesliga leaders Schalke 04 face a difficult tie at home against fifth-placed Nuernberg in a clash of the league's meanest defences."

Weekend Preview

England Turning into Italy?

I hope that we're not subjected to the morbid spectacle of the courts presiding over relegation and promotion. What's next, suitcases full of cash to whomever is playing a relegation rival next weekend and Peter Kenyon intimidating referees?

Whelan may sue West Ham & League
Six Clubs Are Ready to Sue
Pardew prepares for the worst

All Spanish UEFA Cup Final on the Books

Dominant Sevilla Eclipse Osasuna
Werder Bremen 1-2 Espanyol

Joey Barton is on the Lam

Joey Barton has earned a reputation as a hothead after clashes with opponents and his own teammates. His recent training ground assault on teammate Ousmane Dabo which left him hospitalized seems to indicate that shithead or perhaps psycho would be more apt monikers. Now he's holed up in a resort in the Algarve. I'm going to be there in a week; I'll be sure to post the photo my wife snaps just after I kick him in the nuts.

Barton out of reach on the Algarve as Dabo talks to lawyers

Roy Keane at Sunderland

"With promotion to the Premiership assured this year, there is now the feeling amongst supporters that the 'yo-yo' tag applied to England's sixth most successful club of all time will become a thing of the past. And that comes down to having Roy Keane in charge."

Keane to snip Sunderland's yo-yo string

Thursday, May 03, 2007

RSL Coaching Change

Major League Soccer's all time leading scorer has retired from the game to take over the coach's role at Real Salt Lake. Not much good will come of this, methinks.

Ellinger Out, Kreis In

UEFA Cup Previews

Werder Bremen/Espanyol

Thursday's Rumors

The Mill
Toni to Chelski?
Say it ain't so Luca! Your partnership with Adrian Mutu has been electric this year and a top 4 finish next season is a virtual lock!

As the Management Carousel Turns

Boredom could bring Eriksson back to England
Newcastle are focusing fully on Allardyce

Alan Ball Funeral

Football greats turn out for Ball funeral

Mirror to Pay Sheva

Andrei Shevchenko has won substantial damages in a libel case brought against the Daily Mirror alleging dressing room stool pigeonry.

Shevchenko: Mirror to pay out

Will he use his winnings to buy a plane ticket back to Milan?
Shevchenko Milan link

Mourinho's Woe

The post-mortems for The Special One's Chelski career have begun despite the fact that they could still take home the FA cup this season.

Bleak outlook for boorish Mourinho
Abramovich's displeasure leaves Mourinho railing against his fate
Who's Next in the Chelsea Firing Line?

Milan Destroy Man United

Frankly this was a fantastic match. While the Chelski/Liverpool games epitomised everything about high-level European football that can frustrate viewer- overly cautious team selections, negative tactics, time wasting, etc, this series proved to be the opposite. Both sides came to play in both matches as evidenced by an aggregate 5-3 score line. The first leg showed how English fighting spirit can be enough to dominate the competition and the second leg saw a tactical masterclass from the Italians. Milan won this match on the strength of their midfield and the superiority of their full backs. Scholes' marking caused Pirlo to disappear from the match but largely took him out of the action as well, while Gattuso and Seedorf simply devoured Darren Fletcher and Michael Carrick. Seedorf had an especially outstanding match, assisting on the first goal and scoring on the second. Kaka turned in another dominating performance, making smart runs, spraying passes around and opening the scoring with an amazing piece of skill. If they can keep this form I can't see Liverpool meeting with any kind of success in Greece.

Milan 3 Man United 0
United Washed Away by Milan Tide
Milan Close to Perfect
Fergie Admits to Shortcomings
Ancelotti: We Played Perfect Football
Another Masterclass
The Fullbacks Were the Key
Fergie Blames Premier League
Seedorf Weeps

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Wednesday's Rumors

"Tottenham are going to push Chelsea all the way to £30m in return for Dimitar Berbatov's services"

The Mill

Honorary Chelsea VP Missing

Honourary Chelsea VP missing after copter crash

Man United/AC Milan Preview

This match should entertain a bit more than Chelski/Liverpool. Milan will attack as they need at least one and Man United will play to score as they always do. I expect Milan to pip them in a close one. Once again all eyes will be on the current darlings of world football- Kaka and Ronaldo.

CL Preview: AC Milan - Manchester United
"Milan go into this clash looking for a chance to win their 7th trophy, while Manchester United are craving for their 3rd, having underachieved in Europe by their own admission."
Fergie Confidant
Kaladze to Fill in for Maldini
Seedorf on Man Utd
United wedded to attacking tradition
Ancelotti proves a friendlier foe
"Sir Alex Ferguson and Jose Mourinho are separated by many things, and class and politics are two of them. "
Inzaghi: Portrait of a Dive Artist
"Pippo Inzaghi may be a figure of fun, but he'll laugh the longest if his goals beat Man Utd."

Reina Raided

Porsche, jewellery and stereo among items stolen from Liverpool goalkeeper's home

Burglars raid Reina's home

Liverpool Top Chelsea

Liverpool have again dumped Chelski out of Europe and unless the Special One can bring home the FA Cup it's not likely that he'll be at the helm next year. Ultimately I think it won't be a great thing for the club- Jose pretty much bottled the tactics last night, sending out a conservative side that lacked invention in midfield and was susceptible to crosses at the back. However his players seem to respond to him and if he's replaced they'll need at least one season to take to the new guy's system. If Jermaine Pennant had been more effective getting the ball to Crouch Liverpool could have won it 3-0 in regulation. Salomon Kalou brought a bit of pace to the table but saw none of the ball, Lampard was ineffective in a wider role, they had no width, etc. I could go on and on. Ultimately of the many things that anger me about Chelsea this season the worst is that they've got a player who's probably the best all-around midfielder in England in Michael Essien and because the squad is thin he's played at center back where his only role is to get out-jumped by Crouchygol. They got what they deserved.

Liverpool Vanquish Chelsea en route to Athens
Jose: We'll be Back
Mourinho the Deluded One
Benitez the Master of Europe
Reds Chief Mocks Beaten Chelsea
This is England
"The primitive football served up by Liverpool and Chelsea at Anfield was an appalling advert for the English game."
Kop may have been singing a farewell to the Special One
"The new Liverpool owners can already see the dollar signs in their eyes, but for Chelsea last night may have marked the end of an era.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Champions League Preview

Round 2 of the heavyweight battle of the blow hards, Rafa and Jose. These two are England's reigning kings of petty whining and I personally can't wait until the bullshit stops and the footie starts.

Rafa Pops Off
Liverpool Will Fear Drogba
Where are the "Chelsea will fear Crouchy" headlines?
Rafa Demands More
Scheva Out
Claude may have something yet to give
Papers: Dressing Room Row?

Monday, April 30, 2007

Barthez Quits Nantes

Is this it for the Fat Clown? Rumors from the French camp at last year's World Cup indicated that Barthez only played at Zidane's insistance. He came out of retirement to try to save Nantes. Will he come back for another season in Ligue 1? I think it's doubtful.

Barthez quits Nantes after attack

Benitez stirs up the hornet's nest

Pot:"Kettle- you are black."

Bundesliga Recap

Weekend Action

Big Sam Walks Out

Sam Allardyce has abruptly quit the Bolton Wanderers, claiming a lack of support. Rumors have him accepting the managerial post at Manchester City next season. This is a huge blow to the club as their success over the last 5 seasons is attributable to his leadership and recruitment skills. Odds of Nicolas Anelka playing somewhere else next season have tentatively been set at 1:50.

Allardyce claims lack of funds is the reason for his departure
Lee takes over at Bolton
Bolton Board takes a dim view of Big Sam's future job opportunities

Major League Soccer Roundup

DC United still without a point. LA spanks Chivas in the derby. Revs and Dallas can suck it. Chicago rules.

MLS weekend summary

Eredivisie Roundup

PSV win league on goal difference

La Liga Roundup

The title race stays tight with Real and Sevilla chasing Barca.

Eto'o strike moves Barca back top
Phil Ball on the title chase

Serie A roundup

Champions cruise, race for Europe heats up.

Serie A Round 34

EPL Weekend Roundup

ManYoo are one win away from claiming the championship after a remarkable comeback against Everton. Chelski blow it. Liverpool leave the stars at home and pay the price. Fulham flirt with disaster. A whole bunch of meaningless games for the mid-table sides, etc.

Everton 2 Man Utd 4
Chelsea 2 Bolton 2
Arsenal 3 Fulham 1
Middlesbrough 2 Tottenham 3
Portsmouth 2 Liverpool 1
Man City 0 Aston Villa 2
Blackburn 4 Charlton 1
Sheff Utd 1 Watford 0
Wigan 0 West Ham 3