Friday, September 21, 2007

Update: U.S. Players in the UEFA Cup

Michael Bradley scores twice to lead Heerenveen over Henrik Larsson's Helsingborg

Weekend Thoughts From the Editor

It’s not every weekend we get Manchester United vs. Chelsea, Roma vs. Juventus, and Barcelona vs. Sevilla. Toss in the women over in China against England and we’ve got ourselves quite a solid weekend of footie. Obviously, the ManU/Chelsea clash oozes with questions, most of them centered around The Special One’s departure. How will the Chelsea lads perform? If it’s true that many of them now want to leave Stamford Bridge, how will that affect their performance on the pitch? And how will the new guy (Avram Grant) lead out his charges? Over on the red side, will Rooney find his form? Will his teammates start scoring? Lawro says it’ll be 0-0 and I fear he could be correct.

Another big club that’s hurting is Juventus. Their visit to the Eternal City presents a real chance for Roma to put some space between the two clubs in the race for the scudetto. Camoranesi has been the Juventus sparkplug this year, and without him they lack ideas and verve. Nedved and Del Piero are well past their prime and Trezeguet relies on service to be effective. From where will he be served? As for Roma, Totti is scintillating at the moment and the Golden Boot winner has picked up right where he left off. I see a Roman Holiday here.

It’ll be a case of reverse fortunes at the Camp Nou when Seville arrive after their 3-0 defeat at Arsenal midweek. They’ll need to regroup quickly because now that Henry has scored for Barca, the bubble could burst. This should be most entertaining match of the three biggies, as both clubs like to attack and open things up. There will be plenty of goals on offer – miss it at your own risk.

To finish, let me just say that if the USA Women’s team loses to England I’ll be pissed. Our women are the best in the world. Period. And even if England’s star striker plays for Arsenal, I still like them only a hair more than the men’s team. And that ain’t much. Come on WomenYanks! Bring home the Cup!!

That’s it for this week. Have a good one. -Sanford

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Newcastle v West Ham (1330 BST)

Newcastle v West Ham

There has been criticism that Newcastle's football is a little bit dull, but you have to give new manager Sam Allardyce time.

After Monday's defeat to Derby I wouldn't have wanted to be a Newcastle player. To see Big Sam coming through the door during the week wouldn't have been a great sight - he'd probably be like a bear with a sore head.

After last season's relegation scrap, West Ham are looking in better shape this time round.

New players have come in and bedded down well, while Dean Ashton knits everything together nicely.

Just as encouragingly West Ham have a lot of players to come back from injury, notably Scott Parker.

Despite all that, this one is a home win for Newcastle.

All of Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Previews

Roma welcome Juventus to the Stadio Olympico for Serie A's mouthwatering weekend clash.

AC Milan, the other members of the big four, need to transfer their Champions League form into Serie A when they host Parma on Saturday at 1830 GMT.

Carlo Ancelotti's side have drawn their last two domestic games 1-1 but opened their European Cup defence with an impressive 2-1 win over Benfica on Tuesday.

Sunday's games kick off at 1300 GMT except for Sampdoria's city derby with promoted Genoa which starts at 1830 GMT.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Previews

Barcelona host Sevilla in the mouthwatering clash of the weekend.

Leaders Real Madrid, who are three points clear at the top after only three games, will be looking to extend their winning streak to five in all competitions, when they visit promoted Valladolid on Sunday.

Bernd Schuster's side have a 100 percent record in the league and beat Werder Bremen 2-1 in their Champions League opener on Tuesday.

Third-placed Valencia, and under-fire coach Quique Sanchez Flores, visit Real Betis.

L.A.'s Other Galaxy of Soccer Stars

It doesn't matter if David Beckham is playing or not. The Los Angeles Galaxy are still not the most star-studded team in L.A. That honor belongs to a club that plays most of its matches in front of no more than a handful of spectators, calls a worn and rented artificial turf pitch at a west L.A. private school "home" and has an official player payroll of zero.

A few of the lads on the squad:
Steve Jones
, musician (The Sex Pistols): "Big striker who terrifies defenders. Nicknamed 'The Shepherds Bush goal machine' after the area of London he hails from."

Anthony LaPaglia, actor ("Murder One" and "Without a Trace"): "Heartbeat of the club who still shows flashes of the ability that made him a professional goalkeeper in Australia in the late-1970s."

Vivian Campbell, musician (Def Leppard): "An Irish midfield general in the mold of his fellow countryman Roy Keane. Keeps things tight and organized."

All the Pundits on Mourinho, Grant, Roman, yadda, yadda...

Simon Barnes: Unquenched thirst for power brings down one-man show
Martin Samuel: Avram Grant appointment makes Chelsea no more than rich man’s plaything
Richard Williams: For Abramovich, success on its own will never be enough
Mark Lawson: A manager never outstrips the owner

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Previews

Bayern Munich find themselves at the top of the Bundesliga after five games, but have seen the chasing pack close the gap, after two draws on the bounce. This weekend could possibly see a change in leadership if the Bavarians fail to beat Karlsruher.

England: EPL Weekend Preview

Manchester United welcomes Chelsea in the banner fixture of the weekend

EPL This Weekend: Hot Tips’s exclusive guide to this weekend's Premier League matches for those who like to back informed hunches with a flutter for an extra dash of excitement and the possibility that the football results will deliver more than three points...

All The Previews for the Weekend

Women's World Cup: England Presents Challenge for USA

A day after beating Nigeria 1-0 to clinch first place in Group B and earn a spot opposite England in Saturday's quarterfinal in Tianjin (8 a.m. ET, ESPN2), weather delays related to Typhoon Wipha prevented the American team from leaving Shanghai as originally scheduled. But even as they waited out the effects of a very real force of nature, coach Greg Ryan and his staff were contemplating the challenge of taming the soccer phenomenon that is Kelly Smith.

Brazil Looks to Be The Strongest of the Quarterfinalists

Germany vs. North Korea
United States vs. England
China vs. Norway
Brazil vs. Australia

Quarterfinal Schedule:
Sept. 22
Germany vs. North Korea
Wuhan Sports Center Stadium, Wuhan, China
5 a.m. ET, ESPN2
U.S. vs. England
Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, Tianjin, China
8 a.m. ET, ESPN2
Sept. 23
Norway vs. China
Wuhan Sports Center Stadium, Wuhan, China
5 a.m. ET, ESPN2
Brazil vs Australia
Tianjin Olympic Center Stadium, Tianjin, China
8 a.m. ET, ESPN2

Altidore's game growing by leaps and bounds

Jozy Altidore could be the one.

It's almost sacrilege to think it, let alone say it out loud. But American soccer fans can't help but wonder just how good the gifted, soft-spoken 17-year-old can be.

Ronaldo faces police enquiry after alleged fan stamp

Lloyd, a 34-year-old joiner, said he needed hospital treatment following the incident with Ronaldo. Lloyd had been trying to retrieve the ball when it went out of play near where he was sitting.

"I've been in excruciating pain. I don't know if I'll work again any time soon," he told the Daily Post.

Wins for Bayern and Ajax in UEFA Cup, Spurs hit six

Former European champions Bayern Munich and Ajax Amsterdam started their UEFA Cup campaigns with 1-0 wins in Thursday's first-round matches.

Watched by a crowd of 64,000 at the Allianz Arena, Italy striker Luca Toni scored the only goal for Bayern against Belenenses, smashing the ball home from close range after a lob by Dutch midfielder Mark van Bommel in the 34th minute.

Everton 1 - 1 Metalist
Andy Johnson Missed Two Penalties

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Pure Class

It's hard to understand how Arsene Wenger could have let this class act slip thru his fingers.
Amii's hell with rat Kop star
Pennant Unrepentant After Red Card

Jose Mourinho Resigns

Jose Mourinho has astonishingly called time on a glittering three-year reign as Chelsea's manager by severing his ties with the deposed Premier League champions. Long-standing differences with the club's owner, Roman Abramovich, have re-emerged so strongly that they have forced him into the drastic step of leaving the club.

Kevin McCarra: Jose Mourinho brought plenty of success to Stamford Bridge, but his teams were not stylish enough for Roman Abramovich.

Chelsea's director of football Avram Grant has been named as the club's new manager
alongside current No2 Steve Clarke, following Jose Mourinho's shock departure from Stamford Bridge last night.

Martin Samuel: The Special One Gave Chelsea Fans Everything, But Failed When It Came to Abramovich's Simple Request: Win Every Trophy in Sight

The Special One to Run Portugal?

Champions League Review: Arsenal, Rangers, Barca win while Inter lose

Sporting Lisbon 0 - 1 Manchester United: Ronaldo Scores on Homecoming

Rangers 2 - 1 Stuttgart: Adam Leads Fightback

Arsenal 3 - 0 Seville: The Insider at the Emirates

Fenerbache 1 - 0 Inter Milan: Deivid Stuns Inter

Roma 2 - 0 Dynamo Kiev: Totti in Inspirational Form

Complete Wrap: Henry Bags His First Goal For Barcelona

Uefa Cup: The English Challenge + The German Angle

The first round proper of the hybrid endurance course that is the Uefa Cup gets under way tomorrow night, with four English teams embarking on a journey that will be both complicated and arduous - but also highly rewarding - if they make it all the way to next May's final in Manchester.

Rabotnicki Kometal v Bolton
Kick-off: 1900 BST (20:00 local)
Venue: Gradski, Skopje, FYR Macedonia.
Would not want to miss this match-up!! What a clash of titans!! -Sanford

A review of German squads in the tourny...
Litex v Hamburg is the cracker here.

Liverpool bereft as Agger and Alonso suffer broken metatarsals + more Owen woe?

Rafael Benítez was dealt a major setback to his Premier League aspirations last night when he learned that both Xabi Alonso and Daniel Agger have suffered broken metatarsals which will sideline them for six weeks.

Michael Owen seems destined to have yet more surgery after reliable sources last night insisted that the England striker requires a hernia operation which will sideline him for up to six weeks.

Arsenal Focus

Jonathan Wilson's Column:
Arsenal, the New Ajax?

In dismantling Sevilla, Arséne Wenger's men showed they may finally be balanced enough to succeed at Total Football.

Arsenal playing "on a different planet"

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Spot of Humor For Your Wednesday

Cheers to Pedro for this one...

Champions’ League Matchday 1 Preview: Groups E-H

The 53rd edition of Europe's top club competition kicks-off this week with 16 high-profile matches across the continent and 32 sets of fans, players, coaches and directors all harbouring dreams of an assignment in Moscow next May when the showpiece final is staged.

Inter Confirm Vieira Absence
Wenger Hails Fabregas Vision
Manchester United to Unleash Modern Version of "Holy Trinity"

Group E = Barcelona vs. Lyon and Rangers vs. Stuttgart
Group F = Sporting Lisbon vs. Manchester United and Roma vs. Dynamo Kiev
Group G = Fenerbahce vs. Inter Milan and PSV Eindhoven vs. CSKA Moscow
Group H = Arsenal vs. Sevilla and Slavia Prague vs. Steaua Bucharest

Champions League Review: Chelsea and Liverpool Held, Real Madrid and Milan Win

Chelsea 1 - 1 Rosenborg
The lowest Stamford Bridge attendance for four years witnessed the Norwegian champions go away with a deserved 1-1 draw

Porto 1 Liverpool 1

This was Liverpool’s worst performance in Europe since their previous brush with Portuguese opposition

Complete Wrap: Milan Open Defense in Style with 2-1 Win Over Benfica

BBC Images

Women's World Cup: USA to Face England

Nigeria 0 - 1 USA: Fastest Goal in History?

The United States got the result it needed Tuesday to win Group B in the Women's World Cup and avoid Germany in the quarterfinals. Just as importantly, it showed flashes of the kind of attacking soccer it will need to beat Germany and other contenders down the road.

Typhoon Derails Schedule
Smith Hails England Spirit Ahead of Clash with USA

Results and Schedule:
Tuesday, September 18
United States 1, Nigeria 0
Sweden 2, North Korea 1

Wednesday, September 19
Australia vs. Canada at Chengdu, 5:00 AM
China vs. New Zealand at Tianjin, 8:00 AM

Thursday, September 20
Norway vs. Ghana at Hangzhou, 5:00 AM
Brazil vs. Denmark at Hangzhou, 8:00 AM

Saturday, September 22
Match 25: Germany vs. North Korea at Wuhan, 5:00 AM
Match 26: United States vs. England at Tianjin, 8:00 AM
Nigeria vs. USA Highlights

Walsh: Dempsey is Raising the Bar

Clint Dempsey might be doing more for American soccer right now with his goal-scoring in the English Premier League than David Beckham is doing stateside with the L.A. Galaxy, writes USA's Pat Walsh.

Paranoid press put Collina's kids under the spotlight

Paolo Bandini: Italy's inexperienced officials had been getting glowing reports, but that changed when a few penalty decisions went against Juventus.

Sid Lowe in Spain: Betis have become weirdly normal

With uncharacteristic dignity, Betis boss Manuel Ruiz de Lopera has helped changed the image of himself and his city - but his team is still rubbish.

The big debate: Can any club win a league and European double?

Manchester United old boy Paul Parker and conditioning expert Roger Spry argue whether any club can achieve league and European glory.

Backs to the fore as teams rediscover art of defending

A glut of promising young English defenders have appeared as Premiership teams tighten up at the back.

When footballers can't lie straight in bed

Stephen Ireland's confusing fibs to the Irish FA were nothing new, footballers have always been terrible liars.

How do you look your granny in the face when you've told the world she's dead just to get out of a football match? Even worse, how do you look your granny in the face when you've told the world she's dead but you're not that bothered because she wasn't the one that you really liked anyway?

How soccer became a weapon in the War in Iraq

The battle for hearts and minds has taken on a sporting dimension, but the US army has found soccer is more than just a load of balls.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Champions League Matchday 1 Preview – Groups A-D

The 53rd edition of Europe's top club competition kicks-off this week with 16 high-profile matches across the continent and 32 sets of fans, players, coaches and directors all harbouring dreams of an assignment in Moscow next May when the showpiece final is staged.

Torres Finally Gets His Chance In Europe
The Special One Expected By Roman to Win Twice in 10 Years...And To Do It In Style



Real Madrid-Werder Bremen

AC Milan-Benfica
Shakhtar Donetsk-Celtic

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger and Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Uli: Six or seven weeks ago, I kindly asked you to support the Bundesliga - if only because we are, all things being relative, the good guys in that morality tale known as the people's game in the corporation's age. Hoping you'll understand the difference between hubris and self-irony, I'll now add: It looks like my campaign is bearing fruit!

Raphael: Secrecy, coded discussions and arguing team-mates are dominating the German football agenda.

Jonathan Wilson in Eastern Europe

Shakhtar Donetsk:
The big-spending Ukrainian side with Brazilian flavour have raised expectations of Champions League success.

The Top 50 Managers of All Time

Choosing the 50 best footballers of all time? That is easy. You simply take your pick of Diego Maradona or Pele and work your way down the list. But the 50 greatest post-war managers from around the world? That has been a fearsomely difficult challenge. No doubt some of the selections that follow will be regarded as highly provocative.

36. Louis Van Gaal. Not even Clough had Van Gaal's belief in himself and his own methods. They brought him great success at Ajax, where young players followed his orders, but he managed to upset the whole of Catalonia while at Barcelona. How they will have laughed when he failed to reach the 2002 World Cup finals with Holland.

Disgraced Japanese player set for German move

Kikuchi admitted to having sex with a high school student in a car in May and was arrested after the girl reported the case to the police.

Serie A Team Of The Week: Round 3 provides a brief list of those who deserved a place in the sun after the Serie A Round 3 action. As every week there were more players who deserved a place than places available...

Cesar (Inter): Seems like the Nerazzurri have recovered an important element for their season as the former Lazio player produced an incredible performance against Catania which will surely please Roberto Mancini.

Usmanov ups Arsenal stake

Russian businessman Alisher Usmanov has increased his shareholding in Arsenal after his investment company Red and White Holdings Limited raised their stake in the club to 21%.

Uzbek billionaire Alisher Usmanov becoming the second largest shareholder could have huge repercussions for Arsenal.

Derby County 1-0 Newcastle: It's Miller time

It was a tale of two strikers at Pride Park as Kenny Miller put England's Euro 2008 qualifying hero Michael Owen in the shade with a stunning winner to sink Newcastle and lift Derby off the bottom of the Premier League table.

Mexican national team changes jersey colors

Mexico will ditch its traditional green jersey, as coach Hugo Sanchez has claimed players are struggling to distinguish it from the grass on the field.

The Mexican national team will wear white jerseys for home games and red while playing on the road.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Brazil: Cruzeiro win seven-goal derby, seal dribble sparks brawl

The Belo Horizonte derby was marred by an ugly brawl near the end after Cruzeiro striker Kerlon performed his trademark dribble in which he runs past opponents bouncing the ball on his head. Nicknamed the seal dribble, it infuriated Atletico's players who saw it as provocative and defender Coelho was sent off for hacking him down.

The Fab Four: Tea with Dixon, Adams, Bould and Winterburn

Arsenal’s Back Four: an enduring phenomenon that stayed stubbornly intact for 11 memorable years, defying the fickle tides of form and opinion to provide an unbending backbone for three Arsenal managers. Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Steve Bould and Nigel Winterburn — it is difficult to imagine four players more in tune with each other, more committed to ensuring the job was done right.

Why the sexiest referee on Earth had to blow the whistle on himself

Being a referee means being above suspicion – especially if you are Italian. Integrity and impartiality are two of the qualities that transformed Collina from a 17-year-old who thought that it would be fun to go on a refereeing course into the man who officiated at so many important matches that he finds it hard to pick his favourite.

Champions League: How opponents of British clubs fared

Sporting vs. Manchester United -- Wednesday, 7.45pm

The Lisbon club warmed up for their tie against United with a 2-0 win at Amadora. Striker Liedson put them ahead and Simon Vukcevic scored another. It was Sporting's third win in four league matches this season.

Americans in England: Deuce on the Loose USA's Matthew Braine wraps up the weekend that was for the American players in the English Premier League.

Galarcep: Osorio revamps Fire into a playoff contender

Chicago Fire players and fans knew a change was coming, but they never could have known just what sort of change was in store when a new coach and trio of players showed up to help salvage a season that once looked lost.

The arrivals of head coach Juan Carlos Osorio and standouts Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Paulo Wanchope and Wilmer Conde have helped the Fire climb back into the Major League Soccer playoff race and post a 4-2-1 record since the MLS All-Star break. The team's 1-0 victory against Columbus moved the Fire into the final MLS playoff spot with six matches remaining in the season.

Women's World Cup Updates

The quarterfinals will be set in a few days for the Women's World Cup. One thing is already very clear. New powers are emerging in the women's game, and Brazil and North Korea are two of them. Neither has won this tournament, which has been dominated by the United States (two titles) and European teams -- Germany is the defending champion and Norway won in 1995.

Denmark still reeling from spying allegations

England 6 - 1 Argentina

USA vs. Nigeria Preview
Tuesday, September 17, 8 am EDT, ESPN

Germany: Schalke Hold Bayern in the Bundesliga + Table

Weekend Reports

German Bundesliga Table
September 16, 2007GPPT
Bayern Munich511
Arminia Bielefeld510
Eintracht Frankfurt510
Borussia Dortmund59
Hertha Berlin59
Bayer Leverkusen58
Schalke 0457
VfB Stuttgart57
Hamburg SV57
VfL Bochum57
Hannover 9657
Werder Bremen57
MSV Duisburg56
VfL Wolfsburg54
Energie Cottbus52
Hansa Rostock50

Italy: Udinese Down Juventus in Serie A + Table

Weekend Reports
R. Mehdi's Reports

Italian Serie A Table
September 16, 2007 GP PT
Inter Milan37
AC Milan35
Catania Calcio32

Spain: Barcelona Can't Score

Phil Ball's Column
Weekend Reports

EPL Reports and Table

Manchester City 1 - 0 Aston Villa: Richard Jolly at Eastlands

EPL Reports: Liverpool and Portsmouth finish scoreless, ManU snatch late win, Dempsey scores again for Fulham, Rovers steal point at Chelsea...

English Premier League Table
September 16, 2007 GP PT
Man City612
Man Utd611
West Ham510
Aston Villa57

The Insider at White Hart Lane: Burying the Ghost of Henry

Tottenham Hotspur 1 - 3 Arsenal

There were those who believed the departure of Thierry Henry would signal the beginning of the end of Arsene Wenger's Arsenal's dynasty, yet the truth seems to be far more encouraging than the theory.

The Monday MLS Breakdown: Carving Their Own Niche USA's Kyle McCarthy kicks off his weekly wrap of the weekend that was in Major League Soccer by praising Chivas USA, a team that is thriving despite a lack of attention in Los Angeles.