Friday, November 09, 2007

Friedel: We Will Stop Manchester United

“We go into games feeling we should get three points. If we don’t win, we’re very disappointed.”

Blackburn have thus far taken points off Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool, so they will not be in unfamiliar territory.

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Reading v Arsenal (2000 GMT)

Reading v Arsenal

I remember watching this fixture last season when Arsenal gave Reading an absolute lesson. It was sensational the way they played their football.

With Reading, they lose a couple of games and you worry they are going to sink and then they come up with a result. I think everyone now recognises that Reading is a real tough place to go and I think they will get a point here.

Prediction: 1-1

All The Predictions

MLS Western Conference Final Preview: Houston-Kansas City

Who will meet New England at MLS Cup 2007? USA's Pat Walsh takes a look at an intriguing matchup in Houston between one team known for their offense versus a side that hasn't been scored upon over the last three games.

Mourinho's Taunts Find New Arena - the Playground

Mourinho, who prior to his dismissal from Chelsea this season had said that he was more "serene" than ever, seems to have flown into a rage when his 11-year-old daughter told him about playground taunts that another boy had made, comparing her with her father. Isabal Simao, headmistress of St Peter's School, said that Mourinho appeared truly embarrassed and later wrote to the boy and the school to apologise for his behaviour. She said: "From what I know, Pedro told Matilde 'Your father is very good and you are ugly'.

The Special One poses with son Zuca and daughter Matilde. Matilde is the one who Pedro thinks is ugly...

Marcela Mora y Araujo in Argentina

Thanks to the efforts of Lanús and Tigre this season, the so-called big boys of the Argentinian league aren't having it all their own way.

Buenos Aires is renowned for being the city with the most stadia in the world, but a disproportionate amount of these are located within the central area known as capital, the city proper as it were. Beyond the confines of the busy centre, a vast expanse of Buenos Aires known as provincia reaches the delta where all rivers run to, marking the closest point to Uruguay amid small islands and wild vegetation.

Galaxy Appoint Gullit

The 45-year-old Dutchman will succeed Frank Yallop, who quit as coach of the David Beckham-led Galaxy on Monday to return to San Jose for a second stint with the Earthquakes.

Andrea Canales offers her opinion on Ruud arrival in L.A.

Revolution down Fire to advance to MLS Cup final

Twellman's dangerous play bicycle kick carries the Revolution forward...

New England 1 - 0 Chicago

Spain: Barca return to scene of Getafe 'fright night'

Elsewhere, Villarreal host Sevilla while Real Madrid welcome Real Mallorca to the Bernabeu.

Italy: Ronaldo Ready to Return

Elsewhere, Inter host Lazio and Fiorentina welcome Udinese...

England: Cech Out of Toffee Clash

Elsewhere, Manchester United face Blackburn while Manchester City travel to Portsmouth...

Me and me mates takes a load off, yeah? Innit? -Sanford

UEFA Cup: Viola call the tune against Elfsborg

Fiorentina romped to their first UEFA Cup triumph of the Group C campaign with a crushing 6-1 success at home to Elfsborg to go top of the table.

Bayern Munich 2 - 2 Bolton
Nürnberg 0 - 2 Everton

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Augustin Binya to apologise for Scott Brown challenge

Binya was sent off in Tuesday's Champions League Group D clash at Celtic Park after lunging at Brown in the closing stages.

Echoes of Chelsea's seasonal slide as back line feels the strain

Chelsea could be facing a bleak winter if Petr Cech and John Terry don't recover from injury soon.

UEFA Cup Matchday 2 Preview

Thursday 8th November sees the return of UEFA Cup action, with eight teams set to make their group stage debuts after having Matchday 1 off. Some of the big guns suffered shocks as they took to the pitch on the first day - what will happen this time around?

Nürnberg vs. Everton: David Moyes has appealed to ticketless Everton supporters not to jeopardise the club's European position when they descend on the EasyCredit Stadium here tonight. Fewer than half of Everton's estimated travelling support in Germany have an official ticket for their second Uefa Cup group game, in which victory would maintain a place at the Group A summit, and approximately 1,500 were caught out when home tickets purchased directly from the Bundesliga club were unsurprisingly cancelled on Uefa advice.

Redknapp: Champions League Is Boring

You can always count on 'Arry to tell it like it is. I could not agree more with his assessment. I think "plodding" is the most accurate adjective he uses here. But with all the money out there it'll be tough if not impossible for UEFA to go back to a shortened format. -Sanford


Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp thinks Europe's top club competition is in danger of losing its way thanks to the league format which, he believes, has made it "boring."
The Champions League is "fast replacing the Carling Cup" and the group stages have become "monotonous" and "plodding" in the opinion of Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp.

"Sexy" Gullit Reportedly in for L.A. Galaxy Job

"There certainly is interest in a high-profile, sexy type of candidate,” Lalas said. “Not simply because this is the Galaxy and this is Los Angeles, but because we are looking to bring in somebody who can do something different."

Champions League Wednesday Review: Arsenal and Manchester United Through to Last 16

Arsenal and Manchester United qualified for the Champions League knockout stages while Inter Milan took a big step towards the last 16 after fighting back from 2-0 down to beat CSKA Moscow 4-2 on Wednesday.


ELyon4-2Stuttgartvideo Report »
EBarcelona2-0Rangersvideo Report »
FMan. United4-0Dynamo Kyivvideo Report »
FSporting2-2Romavideo Report »
GInternazionale4-2CSKA Moskvavideo Report »
GFenerbahçe2-0PSVvideo Report »
HSteaua0-2Sevillavideo Report »
HSlavia0-0Arsenalvideo Report »

Marina Hyde: The day McClaren went missing in inaction

Steve McClaren turned a questionable scouting trip into a complete waste of time and money.

Chicago aims to stifle New England's offense

Just how important is momentum?
That is the question we will get an answer to on Thursday when the red-hot Chicago Fire face the tepid New England Revolution in the Eastern Conference final (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Can the Fire, a team that hasn't lost in 10 matches (including the playoffs), be slowed down by a Revs team that didn't win a single game in the month of October before barely knocking off a toothless Red Bulls squad?

Pat Walsh's Preview

Dominic Raynor's Column

Raynor says that Adriano is on his way out of Inter, discusses crazy Jens Problehmann's situation and thinks Schuster should shut up.

Europe's Brightest Talent Knows the Score

A quick scan down the statistics from the major European leagues reveals one thing: Experienced campaigners are no longer ruling the goalscoring charts. With a host of the games younger stars now topping the lists in the various competitions across the continent, gone are the days when relying on experience means the key to a successful season. With that in mind, here's a list, in no particular order, of some of Europe's finest (and youngest) players, based on their early season form.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Spurs consider groundshare in talks about stadium plans

Even West Ham United are pressing ahead with leaving Upton Park, a stadium that Tottenham supporters will be alarmed to hear they could be temporarily calling home after the club held a meeting with their rivals about a groundshare.

White Hart Lane, London, England

Rivals put on alert as Ronaldinho strives to retain superstar status

Some even coined a term, “Brazilian superstar disease”, which was allegedly afflicting Ronaldinho as well as his national teammates Adriano, of Inter Milan, who admitted to having a drink problem, and Ronaldo, whose allegedly ballooning waistline provided acres of newsprint in Madrid and Milan. The low point came a few days before Barcelona’s trip to Ibrox, when Ronaldinho was dropped for a league match after returning late from an international qualifier in Rio de Janeiro. According to local reports he missed his flight after staying out until 11am, a feat the 27-year-old achieved by bribing nightclub staff to stay open for him and his friends.
Gabriele Marcotti reports.

Beckham's £112m Leads Rich List

David Beckham's move last summer to LA Galaxy, where he earns £500,000 a week, has consolidated his position as the world's richest footballer, making him the first to have earned more than £100m from the game. The former England captain is said to have increased his wealth from last year's £87m - a fortune fuelled more by endorsements than by his on-pitch earnings - to £112m.

The top 10 players

1) David Beckham, 32, LA Galaxy - £112m
2) Michael Owen, 27, Newcastle Utd - £37m
3) Robbie Fowler, 32, Cardiff City - £30m
4) Wayne Rooney, 22, Man Utd - £30m
5) Sol Campbell, 33, Portsmouth - £28m
6) Andriy Shevchenko, 31, Chelsea - £25m
7) Rio Ferdinand, 29, Man Utd - £25m
8) Ryan Giggs, 33, Man Utd - £23m
9) Michael Ballack, 31, Chelsea - £18m
10) Steven Gerrard, 27, Liverpool - £15m

Wenger hits back at Ferguson in row over foreign players

It's almost comforting to have these two going at it again. It's just like old times. Now that The Special One is gone, Fergie and Wenger can get the animosity flowing again. I can't help but scoff at Sir Alex's comments, though. Anderson, Nani, Kuszczak and Tevez ( all purchased this past summer) aren't exactly England's finest. -Sanford

Resilient Crouch Earns His Praise with Double Effort

Peter Crouch's display against Besiktas should convince the doubters that his Anfield career is not over.

Champions League Wednesday Taster: Groups E-H

Just two clubs in groups E-H retain 100% European records, both of them English. Manchester United and Arsenal will seek to retain their fine runs at all costs as Champions League Matchday 4 draws near. Inter can take nothing for granted at home to Fenerbahce as they lead Group G by a single point and, while Arsenal may have utterly thrashed Slavia last time around, they may find it a bit tougher away from the Emirates. Round-Up

Group E
Lyon - Stuttgart
Barcelona - Rangers

Group F
Manchester United - Dynamo Kiev
Sporting Lisbon - Roma

Group G
Internazionale - CSKA Moscow
Fenerbahce - PSV Eindhoven

Group H
Steaua Bucharest - Sevilla
Slavia Prague - Arsenal

Liverpool revives Champions League hopes with record 8-0 victory; Valencia loses at home

Liverpool struck for the biggest victory in Champions League history, beating the Turkish club Besiktas 8-0 Tuesday to revive the English team's hopes of the reaching the next round.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Mathias Sees Citey

Sanford's Soccer Net Technical Advisor Mathias Kolehmainen took in the Manchester City vs. Sunderland match last night. His report is below. -Sanford

Went to the Manchester City (called just "City" by the fans) game
against Sunderland last night. I took a taxi to a pub (The Plough) in
some town outside of Chester. There I met D and his buddy, Biddo.
They both showed me their City tattoos.  D has two.  D and Biddo
have been City fans all their lives. These guys are busy consuming as
much beer as they can before the bus comes. Great quote: "you have to
get pissed to watch City". Not wanting to stand out, I had a couple
of pints. Interesting fact: at the game, you are not allowed to bring
beer out to your seat.

The coach arrives (late), we board (10 pounds) and head towards
Manchester. This is a rented tour bus and on it are a friendly
assortment of very devoted City fans. They are of all ages, teenagers
to retirees, mostly men. These guys go to just about every game all
over the country. Recently when City was in the UEFA Cup, D
traveled to all the games around Europe. I expected non-stop singing,
but the bus ride was a fairly sedate affair.

Even though the bus was late, we arrived about 45 minutes before the
8pm kick off, so D and Biddo take me to a pub called The Manchester
which is across the street from the stadium. This place is run by a
well known ex(?) hooligan, who apparently drives a Bentley and is not
to be fucked with. The place was absolutely packed with mostly drunk
large English men. Most with bald or shaved heads, some singing very
loudly. Oasis is cranked on the stereo (apparently Oasis are huge
city fans
). Several odes to City are played, including a punk version
of Blue Moon (the official City anthem). It was a volatile
environment, but the strange thing was it wasn't scary or threatening.
D said that it sometimes gets a little unpleasant in there. At
some point a couple of police came in and the energy level went up a
little bit. We left soon after, and as we did we saw that a van full
of police was unloading outside. Not sure if they went in there or
not. We headed to the stadium.

The stadium is a very modern building maybe about five years old. It
is pretty impressive looking all lit up with blue neon. Inside, along
with food and drink vendors there are betting areas where you can bet
on the outcome, who will score, or the score at half-time.

The seats were great, probably about 10 rows back from the field about
1/2 way between the goal and center field. The great thing about the
stadium-- which they got all wrong at the Home Depot Center-- is that
the first row is literally about six inches off of field level. So
you are really very close to the field and you can tell. And what a
field. Really vibrant green with a light mist rising off of it.

In the stadium you could see many empty seats, but as soon as the
music switched to this sort of eerie Tubular Bells sort of soundtrack,
the place quickly filled up. The Who-esqe Premiere League anthem was
played and the players came out. The crowd was on their feet

City actually didn't play that well, but the did score a great goal

and that was all that mattered in the end beating Sunderland 1-0.

Roy Keane suffers sinking feeling as City show their liking for altitude

Manchester City 1 - 0 Sunderland
Hmmm, might want to work on that celebration, Stevie...




Man Utd12


Man City12












Aston Villa11




West Ham11



















Champions League Tuesday: Liverpool on the Brink

Stats and Team News for Tuesday

What: UEFA Champions League, Group A
Who: Liverpool (4th 1 point) Beşiktaş JK (3rd 3 points)
When: Tuesday 6th November 2007, (20:45 CET)
Where: Anfield, Liverpool

What: UEFA Champions League-Group D
Who: Shakhtar Donetsk (6 pts., 2nd) vs. AC Milan (6 pts., 1st)
When: Tuesday November 6, 20:45 (CET)
Where: RSC Olympiyskiy Stadium, Donetsk, Ukraine

What: Uefa Champions League Group D
Who: Celtic (4th, 3/9pts) v Benfica (3rd, 3/9pts)
When: Tuesday, November 6, 2007, kick-off 19:45 local (BST)
Where: Celtic Park, Glasgow

What: Champions League, Group C Matchday 4
Who: Olympiakos Piraeus (2nd, 4pts) vs Real Madrid (1st, 7pts)
When: Tuesday 6th November 2007, 2045 CET
Where: Georgios Karaiskákis Stadium, Piraeus, Greece

Americans in Europe: Pearce-ing the Armor

Heath Pearce is back in the fold at Hansa Rostock after his first few months in the Bundesliga wilderness.

And in England, Deuce scores the winner for Fulham.

Arena Resigns as Coach of the Red Bulls

Things did not go as planned for The Bruce in New York...

And Martin Rogers says: Despite more reports citing more sources than you can shake a red card at insisting he had been fired, Arena was adamant he had left on his own terms. But hey, maybe everyone is wrong. Maybe this is all part of Arena's master plan. If he has somehow fooled everyone, then we will surely see him turn up in some high-profile coaching position over the next few months.

What is more likely, though, is that he will emerge with microphone in hand, ready to let rip with a stream of acidic comments from the sanctity of the television commentary booth. There, he will have the license to sound off all he likes and it won't matter.

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

I spent some time contemplating the option to write about someone or something completely immune to curses of any kind (such as Bayern Munich) or something that by definition doesn't worry about jinxes (such as statistics). Then it hit me. Why not write a column about people, if that's what they are, you WANT to put a curse on? And who would that be? Easy. Mascots. God, I hate mascots. In any sport, in any country. I'm willing to make an exception for the Phillie Phanatic, just because he's so thoroughly over the top and not even any recognizable being.

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Stadio Olympico, Torino, Italia

Last Wednesday, attendance at some of the midweek Serie A matches was so low all you could see from television highlights were empty sections. Only 670 fans bothered to buy a ticket for Siena's home match v Catania, which made for a cringeworthy 8,000 crowd once you add in season ticket holders in the small, town-centre ground, while Reggina-Livorno did not sound exotic enough to lure more than 857 souls away from their dinner tables. Juventus-Inter, though, was not one of those reruns, but it quickly gained the status of classic, as one of the best matches, if not the best match, of the season so far. The media anticipation had been so massive for a while that you had the feeling that the round of midweek matches was almost seen as a nuisance because it would obviously require newspapers and TV shows to momentarily focus on them instead of carrying on with the hype.

Phil Ball in Spain

When I was a kid, Sunday nights were ritually employed for baths and hair-washes, in preparation for the rigours of school the next day. The practice dies hard (well - I try to bathe more than once a week now, honest) but Athletic Bilbao v Revreativo de Huelva, my old mates, was just too hard to resist, especially given that Bill, my Scots friend, had been granted annual permission to fly over and indulge in some live La Liga action. I'd suggested he come over for this one, a game between Spain's two oldest clubs.

San Mames, Bilbao, España

Monday, November 05, 2007

Frankfurt cramp Bayern's style

Eintracht Frankfurt's draw at Bayern got Bundesliga statisticians all excited, even if the match somehow ended scoreless. Raphael Honigstein reports.
Keeper's crazy saving leads Bayern up the garden path

"Juventus don't quit, Inter don't escape"

Italy's biggest game of the season so far showed that while Inter are favourites for the Scudetto there's life in the Old Lady yet. Paolo Bandini reports.
Juventus make their point in engrossing Derby D'Italia

Moaning Madrid

Despite their misplaced moaning, Real Madrid did not lose to Sevilla because of the Catalan referee - they were simply outplayed. Señor Lowe reports.
Saturday night's all right for whining

Cesc Lets Rio Have It

Cheers to the Arseblogger for this gem. We caught it during the match but turning it into a loop is quite brilliant.

Premier League Replay: The Good, The Bad And The Ugly

Andrew Discenza spotlights what was best and worst about the weekend's action in the English Premier League.

Richard Jolly at The Riverside Stadium

Tottenham and Middlesbrough showed why they remain at the foot of the table...

The Insider at Emirates Stadium

There was a time when a clash between Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger was hailed as the ultimate showdown in Premier League football. Like Ali v Frazier or Connors v McEnroe, the managers of Manchester United and Arsenal spent much of their early years together in direct competition for all the top prizes in the game, with the articulate Frenchman getting the better of Ferguson more than anyone else in recent years.

Hutchings gets the axe

Well Chris Hutchings can't really complain. He was given a fair amount of time to prove himself as a top flight manager - a whole 12 EPL games. Moreover, he had a terrible start to the season, only winning 2 out of his first 3 games. And you should be expected to win your home games against minnows like Chelsea. Wigan's chairman, Daven Whelan, always seemed a bit of a loud-mouthed wanker, but in past he had backed his managers. Not any more.
Hutchings out as Wigan's patience ends

Super-Sub Camoranesi Rescues Juventus

Juventus 1-1 Inter

Mauro Camoranesi came off the bench to rescue a point for Juventus in a fiery Derby d'Italia against Inter at the Stadio Olimpico.

Euro Roundup

Barca and Villarreal move closer to Real, Bayern let the chasing pack gain some ground, Milan misfire at home again and Nancy lets her hair down in France...
Barca and Villarreal close in on Real at the top
Frustration for Ancelotti as Milan's home fire fails to spark
Mancini Laments Step Backwards
Raul And Sergio Ramos Remonstrate Over Sevilla
Bayern squander chances
Nancy celebrate her anniversary

Manchester City v Sunderland Preview

Kenwyne Jones a hot shot despite the cold
Unsettled Bianchi eyes January exit from City

MLS play-offs review

According to Steve Davis at soccernet at playoff time, the little things really are the big things. So in that spirit, here are 10 things you may have missed during a dandy first round, during which both No. 1 seeds went down:
10 things about the first round

Beckham waves coach goodbye

David Beckham is reported to be awaiting the appointment of a new club manager after Frank Yallop resigned as coach of Los Angeles Galaxy just six months after the former England captain joined the club.
Yallop quits as coach at LA Galaxy

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Arsenal 2 Manchester United 2

The highly anticipated top of the table clash may have failed to deliver in the first half, but things certainly picked up in the second. Arsenal probably deserved more than a point against Liverpool last week, but against ManU, a team far better equipped at exploiting space, they were perhaps a touch lucky. ManU, who seem to get stronger by the game, will be kicking themselves.
It's difficult to assess Arsenal. As against Pool, Adebayor looked light up front [he is only 23 in fairness], and as Bobbie said on the blog a couple of days ago, Rosicky is a passenger at the moment. Wenger will be looking forward to the return of RVP. Patrick Barclay points out below that Arsenal also look weak in the air. That said, there's a real steal to the Gooners - coming back from behind against Liverpool and ManU in the space of a week is no mean feat. Despite people writing them off at the start of the season they're top of the league, beating the weaker teams, taking points from their rivals, but still have areas where they can improve. Hardly the worst situation in which to be.
Performance wise ManU have really turned things round from the beginning of the season. Hargreaves is excellent at protecting their defence, Rooney is on top form, and being able to bring on player like Saha is a real bonus. They have a variety of player which enables them to change style and tactics as needed, and are understandably the bookies favourites to win the league.
Arsenal's young pupils pass United's examination
Arsenal were stronger at the end but United look to have the greater staying power
Defence's aerial weakness a barrier to Arsenal

Fuming Fergie

What a shocker to see Fergie blame the referee after the match. His complaint about a possible foul on Evra before the Arsenal is a joke - it took place months before the goal. A great manager, but ever the miserable twat.
Fergie fumes at referee, home fans - and own players

Anderson makes mark while Hargreaves mocks

Anderson's midfield performance against Arsenal suggests he can be the cornerstone of Alex Ferguson's exciting new generation. Meanwhile Hargreaves believes Arsenal aren't the only team playing beautiful football.
Anderson wields a small spanner in finely tuned works
Hargreaves gives short shrift to Arsenal's beautiful game