Friday, November 30, 2007

Lawro's Premiership Predictions

Wigan vs. Manchester City

Wigan v Man City

I'm going for a shock result here - a home win for Wigan.

It's Steve Bruce's first game at home in charge, while Man City are not particularly good on the road - City have been great at home but they've only got five away points.

Prediction: 2-1

All the Predictions

The Joy of Six: Great Moments in Football Commentary

From Barry Davies to David Coleman, via the jingoistic rantings of Italy and Holland's finest, Scott Murray recalls famous moments behind the mic.

5) Jack van Gelder, Netherlands v Argentina, 1998

"Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Dennis Bergkamp! Uh-e-uh-e-uh!"

"I suddenly have the feeling that we will progress to the semi-finals," said Dutch commentator Jack van Gelder with two minutes left of Holland's nail-biting quarter-final with Argentina in the 1998 World Cup. Seconds later, Dennis Bergkamp took receipt of a raking long ball, switched feet, and swept the ball past Carlos Roa. Cue van Gelder going into nuclear meltdown: he screams "Dennis Bergkamp" eight times before launching into an incredibly strange Jimmy Savile impersonation. Pure jingoistic passion, and a stunning mix of prescience and lunacy. Compare and contrast to Jimmy Hill's pathetic pseudo-Brazilian "Gooooaaaalll!" as Gary Lineker smashed a hat-trick past Poland in 1986; we simply can't do this sort of thing. Nor should we try.

Marcela Mora y Araujo in Argentina

Juan Román Riquelme - footballer, poet, artist - is on his way back to Boca, to claim the shirt that is rightfully his.
Boca's 10 brings the poetry back

Weekend Previews For Italy, England, Germany and Spain

Italian Serie A
Two wonderful clashes on offer as Milan host Juventus at the San Siro (left) and Fiorentina welcome Inter to the Artemio Franchi.

English Premier League
Fasteddy's Hot Tips
Team News
Chelsea host West Ham at Stamford Bridge, Everton travel to Fratton Park to face 'Arry and Pompey, Arsenal face a tricky trip to Villa Park, and the Stadium of Light sees a bottom of the table meeting between Sunderland and Derby.

German Bundesliga

There's a derby on up north as Hamburg travel to Bremen while Stuttgart host Dortmund.

Spanish La Liga
The Barcelona derby is the big fixture as Barca travel to the Olympic Stadium to meet Espanyol, Valladolid and Villarreal square off and Real Madrid host Racing Santandar.

USA Men's National Team: Year in Review

Jeff Carlisle takes a look back at the Nats have progressed over the past 12 months...

A promising start for Bradley in his first season

Red Bulls announce changes to stadium redesign

The New York Red Bulls redesigned their stadium to cut the number of luxury suites by almost half, remove a concert stage and make sure every seat is covered by a roof, giving it a look similar to major European soccer venues.

US High Schooler Lands Serie A Contract

Good choice, Dave...

California High keeper David Bingham is living a dream as he has set to sign a contract with Italian top division side Cagliari.

Harry Redknapp is forced to give up dream of England job

Harry Redknapp has privately admitted that his chances of succeeding Steve McClaren as England head coach have been dealt a mortal blow by his arrest on Wednesday as part of police investigations into corruption in football. A source close to the Portsmouth manager described Redknapp as “devastated” and certain that the FA “will not go near” him now.

UEFA Cup Wrap

Spurs come back to win, Bayern have to wait, Atletico Madrid beat Aberdeen, Bolton draw...

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Redknapp Arrested in Corruption Investigation

The long-running investigation into football corruption stepped up a gear tonight when it emerged that Harry Redknapp, one of the favourites to take over the job of England football coach, was among five men arrested by fraud squad detectives. He was later released after several hours of questioning.

Raids strike at the heart of football like no previous inquiry.

UEFA Cup Thursday Preview

Spurs host Danny Califf and Aalborg, Bolton play Aris, Bayern play we care?

Champions League Wednesday

Liverpool got their vital win, Bremen beat Real Madrid, Chelsea rocked Rosenborg 4-1 to advance and Milan is also through. Eight of the final 16 teams will not be known until the last matches are played. A wrap of the action is here, various reports are below, and this is a nice breakdown of the tables and what certain clubs need to be do to qualify or top their group.

Celtic 2 - 1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Another late winner at Parkhead

Valencia 0 - 0 Schalke
Valencia out

Lazio 1 - 2 Olympiakos
Kovacevic comes back to haunt hosts

Werder Bremen 3 - 2 Real Madrid
Group C up for grabs

Benfica 1 - 1 AC Milan
Holders secure spot in final 16, Adu plays for a couple minutes

Richard Jolley at Anfield

Liverpool 4 - 1 Porto

Kop let owners know who's boss

Not the bloody Yanks, that's fer sure, innit?!

BBC Images

Beasley injures knee, could miss several games

The Kid thinks he damaged a ligament in the match against Stuttgart.

MLS: Five Stories to Watch in the Offseason

Steve Davis takes a look at what's upcoming in the top American league...

EPL: Villa Beat Blackburn + Table

Blackburn 0 - 4 Aston Villa
O'Neill's stock rises as Villa continue their hot streak

Ryan Nelson was sent off in the 52nd minute but this is still a bit of a surprising result. Villa are looking strong -- they're up to sixth.

Man Utd1430
Man City1429
Aston Villa1427
West Ham Utd1319
Wigan Athletic148
Derby County146

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Robert Green is an Idiot

Robert Green is confused, or maybe just a moron. In discussing England's failure to qualify for Euro'08 he fingers video games as the culprit, but then goes on to imply that if everyone in England were as poor as various Latin American countries then the national team would be stronger. In an effort to further weaken his own argument he also seems to indict England's coaching setup-

"We have the players and the best league in the world. The way the game is played here is so different though. Watching the Premier League is like Formula One - it's that quick - and then you go to an international game and it's like a game of chess."

So which is it Mr. Green? Are England out because Lamps and Gerrard spent too much time playing Championship Manager when they were kids, or because they had too much to eat when they were younger, or because they kept taking the field with overly simple game plans which were easily exploited? And if it really is down to footballers needing to come from a background of poverty how do you explain the French, Italian and German teams continually showing up in World Cup finals?

Champions League: Wednesday's Previews

Wednesday will see a number of Champions League knockout stage qualification issues move closer to resolution in Groups A to D, with past European champions Liverpool, Porto, Real Madrid, Benfica, AC Milan and Celtic all involved.

Group A
Besiktas-Olympique Marseille (Inonu, Istanbul)
Liverpool-Porto (Anfield, Liverpool)

Group B
Rosenborg-Chelsea (Lerkendal, Trondheim)
Valencia-Schalke 04 (Mestalla, Valencia)

Group C
Werder Bremen-Real Madrid (Weserstadion, Bremen)
Lazio-Olympiacos (Stadio Olimpico, Rome)

Group D
Benfica-AC Milan (Stadium of Light, Lisbon)
Celtic-Shakhtar Donetsk (Parkhead, Glasgow)

Sun: City Bigger In China Than United

While Manchester United may be one of the biggest clubs in the world, Manchester City's Sun Jihai reckons that his club has overtaken the Red Devils in China.

Having spent a month in China earlier this year, I'd have to disagree with Sun. Based on my own terribly inexact survey (Citey kits viewed vs. United kits viewed) Sun's got it all wrong. The amount of Ronaldo, Rooney and Giggs kits was daunting, while I think I saw a handful of Sun City jerseys.

New Managers in the EPL: McLeish to Birmingham and Jewel to Derby

Quit Scotland for Birmingham City?

Derby: At least it's not Ince, eh?

Hopefully our resident Derby County expert (and native!) can weigh in on the Rams' appointment...Alec?

Champions League Tuesday

Inter, Roma, Sevilla, Arsenal, Manchester United and Barcelona are all through to the next round. ManU used a lovely freekick from Ronaldo to beat Sporting Lisbon while Sevilla ended Arsenal’s unbeaten run with a 3-1 win at home. Barcelona clinched to spot in their group with a 2-2 draw versus Lyon. A wrap is here and various reports below.

Manchester United 2 - 1 Sporting Lisbon
Rocket Ronnie's freekick seals it

Inter Milan 3 - 0 Fenerbahce
Inter Cruz into next round

Stuttgart 3 - 2 Rangers
Rangers still need only a draw to advance

Lyon 2 - 2 Barcelona
Barca top Group E without Henry or Ronaldinho

Sevilla 3 - 1 Arsenal
Unbeaten streaks ends in Spain
Wenger sent to the stands

Dynamo Kiev 1 - 4 Roma
Few problems for the Romans in the Ukraine as they progress

Americans on the Continent and in England and Scotland

Continent: Danny Szetela made his debut and Freddy Adu nabbed another goal.

England (and Scotland):
Beasley's assist key for Rangers.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Tuesday's Champions League Previews

Complete Matchday Preview

Stuttgart vs. Rangers Preview
Lyon vs. Barcelona Preview
Dynamo Kiev vs. Roma Preview
Manchester United vs. Sporting Lisbon Preview
CSKA Moscow vs. PSV Eindhoven Preview
Inter Milan vs. Fenerbahce Preview
Sevilla vs. Arsenal Preview
Steaua Bucharest vs. Slavia Prague Preview

Phil Ball in Spain

Phil addresses evangelical players in his round up of the latest goings-on in Spain...

Of Black Sheep and Goats

Tim Vickery in South America

Carlos Tevez's spot in the Argentina side is in question...

Richard Williams: Most foreign players here just pick up England's bad habits

The Premier League has reshaped the play of many of its foreign imports rather than allowing them to usher it into a new age of enlightenment.

FA Vs Fergie

The FA want to see Fergie, and who can blame them?

Sir Alex Ferguson has been charged by the Football Association with "using abusive and insulting words towards an official" following his half-time altercation.
Sir Alex Ferguson faces FA charge

It's grim up north

Who's smiling now?

The outlook is gloomy in the north-east as Sam Allardyce, Roy Keane and Gareth Southgate face up to the prospect of a harsh winter.
All paths leads to failure in the north-east

AlbinoLeffe on the charge

Despite a tiny squad and an average home gate of just 2,707, AlbinoLeffe top Serie B. But will their remarkable story have a happy ending. Signor Bandini reports
Can AlbinoLeffe write the greatest fairytale of all?

A new Atléti

For two years the rojiblancos have bored anyone stupid enough to set foot in their shambolic stadium. This season there is no better place to be. Señor Lowe reports:
Atlético come alive with comedy comeback at the Calderón

Monday, November 26, 2007

J-Lö's No2 stirs things up

It was a bad week for Oliver Bierhoff, as Germany's football community indulged in a bit of spirited in-fighting. Herr Honigstein reports...
Maltese Bierhoff loses his German identity

Soccer in Iraq

Finally something the English FA get right:
FA helps Iraqis forget past of prisons, whips and Saddam

Cashley returns

Cole believes the jeers Chelsea’s England squad received at Derby will be nothing compared to those he anticpates at Arsenal
Ashley Cole eager to make fans at Arsenal eat their words

Stadium callapse in Brazil

Eight people were killed and dozens injured after a section of the stands gave way at the Fonte Nova football stadium in northeastern Brazil last night.
Brazil stadium collapse kills eight people

England Job

Why the hell would you not want the England job? Okay you might have to put up with a bit a abuse for a while, but you can be utter shite and still walk away with £2.5 million.

Van Gaal invites England offer
Jose Mourinho in running for England job
England's problems are all in the mind, insists Capello

EPL Round up

This is what happened in the EPL over the weekend:

Everton performed a miracle in scoring 7 goals in one game, rather than the 3 months they usual require:
Keane hit where it hurts as leaky Sunderland plumb the depths
Fergie fliped out but somehow managed to stop his red nose from exploding:
Sir Alex Ferguson irate at Bolton grit
Fulham fucked up a lead for the 901st time:
Sanchez men again show frailty
Derby had a legit 'goal' disallowed after dominating Chelsea [ok, only the 1st part's true]:
Chelsea paint picture of serenity at Derby
Gallas proved he's the Gunners best forward, again:
Gallas proves he's the right choice
Spurs were robbed:
Green's penalty stop caps Spurs' sense of injustice
Brum helped Redknapp on road to the England job:
Unbeaten Portsmouth strengthen Redknapp's cause
Sven again showed England fans that they should have been grateful for what they had:
Eriksson can chuckle after Man City win
Boro helped remind England fans of who they'd like as manager:
Villa march on but Boro, whisper it, could end up back with McClaren
The Reds reminded England fans of a lucky escape:
Owner Mike Ashley stands by under-fire Sam Allardyce

Adios Rafa?

"Oi Yanks, give me some more dosh!"

According many the Liverpool manager will not survive the power struggle at Anfield and could be dismissed sooner rather than later
Rafael Benitez end-game draws near

Derby Ditch Davies

What's that Marx said about history repeating itself, first as tragedy, then as farce? Well it's farce all the way with Derby County. I'm no great fan of Billy Davies, as I find his style of play functional at best. That said, sacking him [which is what Derby have effectively done by refusing to back him financially] is a joke, and above all unfair. It seems written in the DCFC constitution that to become a board member you must prove yourself to be an idiot at the earliest possible chance, preferably in your dealings with the manager. It started with the sacking of Brian Clough many years ago, and has been a Rams tradition ever since. The last set of idiots got rid of George Burley when he was doing a good job, the newly appointed head wanker, obviously in a dumb-arsed show of power, has now got rid of Billy Davies. Ultimately Davies has been the victim of his own success - given 3 years to win promotion he did it in the first. But with a team that had no chance of competing in the EPL. The Derby chairmen could invest in a time machine and bring back Cloughie, but The Rams would still be relegated with this team. He should have invested in some new players, and ultimately Billy Davies.

Davies leaves Derby
A Ram to the slaughter

England: EPL Review

Bolton beat Manchester United, Fulham draw again, Arsenal overcome Wigan resistance, Everton put seven past Sunderland, Newcastle humbled at home by Liverpool...


Man Utd1430
Man City1429
Aston Villa1324
West Ham1319
Wigan Athletic148
Derby County146

World Cup draw pits political foes together

The qualifying draw for the 2010 World Cup on Sunday began the countdown to the event in South Africa, the first World Cup to be held in Africa.

FIFA, soccer's world organizing body, insists that politics and sports should not come together. It might be difficult to separate the two after this draw.

Richard Jolly at St. James' Park

Newcastle United 0 - 3 Liverpool

Sam bears brunt of St James' wrath