Friday, May 25, 2007

Serie A Weekend Preview

The final relegation place is the only issue to be decided in the closing round of Serie A matches on Sunday with five clubs including Parma in danger.

La Liga Weekend Preview

Barcelona can prove they have learned a lesson from their most humiliating defeat of the season when they host Getafe in the Primera Liga on Saturday. With three games to go there is no room left for slip-ups as the top four sides are separated by a mere four points.;_ylt=AofNn8ih7qNDmlEJekcO4pomw7YF?slug=reu-spainpreview&prov=reuters&type=lgns

Guillem Balague: Sevilla still knocking

Friday's Rumours from The Mill

ManU will give cash and Saha to Spurs for Berbatov...

Kevin McCarra on Liverpool's upcoming summer

A big transfer kitty may not be enough to bring Liverpool success with suitable players hard to find.

Ian Wright Talks

Do we really want to listen? He is riding a bike for charity so we'll give him the benefit of the doubt...

U.S. calls up 'foreign' dozen for Gold Cup

United States coach Bob Bradley has called up 12 foreign-based players into his 23-man squad for next month's Gold Cup.

The U.S., defending Gold Cup champions and hosts of the 12-team CONCACAF tournament which begins on June 6, will warm up with a friendly against China in San Jose on June 2 before its first group B match against Guatemala in Carson, California five days later.

EPL: A Summer of Transfer Traffic

With the final Premiership games of the season now over, attention turns to the movers and shakers in the summer transfer market. There are a plethora of clubs with a lot of money to spend in the coming months and it will interesting to see who moves where.

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Roberto gives his take on the Champions League Final...

Play-off for the Premiership: Derby County vs. West Bromwich Albion

This Monday at Wembley...

Michael Johnson, a veteran of seven play-offs campaigns, knows enough about local tensions to realise that he will be running for cover should Derby County leave the Coca-Cola Championship a week after Nottingham Forest failed to gain membership.

Matt Oakley is desperate to lead Derby County out at Wembley on Monday as he attempts to banish the memory of his biggest disappointment in football.

Beckham on brink of recall

If I were pulling for England, I'd be all for this. Regardless of tactics or positioning, Beckham is one of the few England players who gives 100% in every match and is able to maintain focus for 90 minutes. That alone is worth loads when it comes to England. -Sanford

Of course, Terry Butcher disagrees:

Arsenal show door to Baptista and try to offload Reyes

Arsène Wenger, the Arsenal manager, has been in discussions with Atlético Madrid about selling José Antonio Reyes. The Spanish club tried to sign the forward last summer, but he chose to go to Real Madrid on loan for the season. Real have not expressed an interest in making it a permanent transfer and Wenger has been touting Reyes to several other clubs because the forward does not want to return to London.

Angel Scores!

Juan Pablo Angel had two goals and an assist to lead the undermanned New York Red Bulls to a record-setting 3-0 win over the Chicago Fire on Thursday night. Teenage star Jozy Altidore also scored for the Red Bulls (5-1-2), who set an MLS record for the quickest two goals at the start of a game. And Altidore's goal -- which came just 55 seconds into the match -- was the fastest goal in franchise history.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sing the Troubled Beast

Julio Baptista will be handed his walking papers by Arsenal. It's unclear what this means for the status of Jose Antonio Reyes, who's largely disappointed after making his long complained about dream move to Real. He doesn't want to come back to England and Real don't want him. I'm sad that the Baptista loan turned out this way as I thought he'd do well in England. Unlike many continental imports his game was based as much on power as finesse and I presumed he'd fit right in to the English style (albeit Arsenal's more elegant take). Unfortunately it was not to be; while he never looked overawed and certainly seemed up to the challenge he just looked short of quality. Had he been able to do something with the chances he was given we may have seen a different outcome in the Carling Cup final, the FA Cup and the Champions League. My lasting memory of him will be taking a beautiful ball in stride, missing it completely and falling on his cultured Brazilian ass.

Arsenal are letting me go, insists Baptista

Ronaldo Lawsuit

I saw this photo in the Guilin airport and immediately some sort of bell went off in my head. "Ronaldo and lozenge and China...hmmm." Didn't he sue someone about that?" Turns out he did indeed. Back in January.

The ads are still up in this southern city and they're everywhere.

From Time Magazine's China Blog:
The lozenge maker invited him to a banquet in 2003 (and paid him a handsome sum for him to attend), but apparently never mentioned how all of the pictures taken that night would be used. (Danwei smelled foul play back in November 2003 when the ads first appeared.) But Ronaldo, alas, only learned about his purloined visage when another Chinese company invited him to become its spokesman and asked him to terminate his relationship with Golden Throat.,,1999564,00.html

Missing The Game

So I've been gone for a while. I had a fabulous opportunity to get to China for a month and I jumped at it. The wife was over there working for three months and we travelled for her final three weeks. Sadly, because of a scheduling SNAFU, we were uable to attend a match in Beijing or in Shanghai. I was pretty bummed but you have to look at the brightside when these things happen. We had great days doing other things -- they just didn't involve seeing any Chinese football. I was able to catch Milan's distruction of ManU on the TV in our Shanghai hotel room, however. Now that was impressive, and terribly enjoyable. It was a great hotel (we splurged) and I was kicked back on our bed in a terrycloth robe with a cold beer for the match. Our room even had a famous toilet (above). Anyway, I couldn't see the final since I was flying at the time, but after watching Milan in action I didn't give Liverpool a chance.

I also managed to catch some of the relegation matches in the EPL but the minutes I saw involving Charlton and Wigan were quite dour. Ditto as expected the Chelsea/ManU anti-climatic league match that I saw most of at my Uncle's place in Thailand.

I was in Xi'an for the FA Cup final and managed to stay awake until extra time but beyond that I had no patience. I'm pleased that I decided to hit the sack at after midnight instead of staying up for another 25 minutes simply to see Drogba score. In the end, ManU get the title and Chelsea get the FA and League Cups. Jose and Roman must be pretty damn upset. And that makes me quite pleased. I watched at a pleasant guesthouse called 7 Sages, but I seemed to be the only person interested in the proceedings. Perhaps the real punters were at other bars. I've got a photo somewhere -- once things are sorted I'll post.

Over in Spain, it would seem that Barcelona are falling apart and Real Madrid are now in the catbird seat. How this is possible I have no idea, but I suppose they've been the best of the worst. The UEFA Cup runs of the other upper-tier Spanish teams have taken their toll, I suppose.

And it was nice to see Stuttgart claim the Bundesliga, although I feel for the Shalke fans. They do have to live in Gelsinkirchen, after all.
Oh, and I watched Goal! on the flight home. What a dreadful film! I would say, however, that Shearer, Zidane and Raul should join Becks in Hollywood because their acting is sensational.

A special thanks to Alec and Bobbie for keeping things up and running in my absence. Hopefully over the summer we can streamline things a bit and increase commentary to go with the links. Now we can look forward to a summer of transfer rumors, MLS, regional competitions for the US National Team, and other various fun topics of discussion.

AC Milan Win Champions League

AC Milan 2 - 1 Liverpool:
This time there was to be no miracle escape and no sixth European Cup. Even though Dirk Kuyt's last-minute header raised the prospect of a comeback equally as memorable as the one Liverpool produced in Istanbul two years ago, ultimately only a Greek tragedy was awaiting Rafael Benitez as his side fell victim to AC Milan's Champions League revenge mission in Athens' Olympic Stadium.

(It's difficult to tell if The Diving Twat has just scored, or if he was "fouled")

Richard Williams offers his assessment:

And of course, there were problems outside the ground...
Chaotic disturbances outside the ground soured the evening, as fans with tickets were turned away and sprayed with tear gas by riot police.,,2087123,00.html

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Once More With Feeling

For all of you hoping to relive the glory/agony of Istanbul '05 before today's match, Enjoy

The Mill

Wednesday's rumours

Retail Therapy

Let’s go shopping

Champions League Final

AC Milan v Liverpool Preview
Milan hope Kaka will bring redemption
Gerrard calls for heroes
Ancelotti hails Milan's fortitude
Maldini the fulcrum of Milan generation game
Two famous clubs united by darkest days
Liverpool supporters foot large bill for Athens
Milan could have landed a double, says Gullit
The Big Questions

Simon Barnes on Liverpool

Why the gods will smile on Liverpool only as underdogs

Eto'o staying put

Eto'o pledges his future to Barcelona

Bale Kaboul Sidwell Adebayor

Bale and Kaboul to Tottenham, Sidwell to Chelsea

Scottish Cup Final

Miller craves Cup chance

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

The Mill

Tuesday's Rumours


Moreno's powers on the wane
11 players for Bradley to keep an eye on


Morgan snaps up Wolves for a token tenner
Arsenal join in the pursuit of Bale
Owen wooed by Allardyce


Stuttgart's stunning youngsters snatch title from Schalke
Stuttgart finally earn their star


Madrid: one half happy, other half humiliated
Rijkaard still confident

Simon Barnes praises the world's most underrated defender

'Probably the best Scouser in the world'

Champions League Final Tactics

The Telegraph's Henry Winter says :Liverpool must gang up to stifle Kaka flair

But The Times' Tony Cascarino says : Hit Milan where it hurts by playing two strickers

Champions League Final

Benitez targets Eto’o for Anfield revolution
Hicks the cereal buyer enjoys Anfield honeymoon
Gattuso must lay ghost to rest
Ambrosini makes Milan so much better
Cafu’s team talk : defender gives an insider’s view of teammates
Mascherano relishes his return to the big stage

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Mill

Monday's rumours

Bex back?

Beckham’s form makes a return for England possible

Bundesliga round-up

Stuttgart clinch the Bundesliga title

La Liga round-up

Late winner keeps Madrid on course for Spanish title

Champions League Final

Ancelotti gives Milan's stars a rest
Marcel Desailly: Gerrard Vs kaka
Tiger's revenge
The loophole that allowed Milan to take Athens road

Ins and outs at Utd

United get their man with £17m Hargreaves deal
Heinze misses the bus

Simon Barnes on Wembley

Wembley fit for its new heroes

FA Cup Final: Chelsea 1 ManU 0

Chelsea's Mourinho in dogged mood
Drogba's inspiring words followed by performance to match
No fun when winning Mourinho's way
Sad United move on to raise bar