Friday, February 29, 2008

Lawro's Premiership Previews

Newcastle v Blackburn

Newcastle v Blackburn

I would love to know how much input Kevin Keegan is having to some of the appointments that are being made at Newcastle - the likes of Dennis Wise, Chris Hughton etc.

It is very, very strange. I look at some of them and think decisions are being taken in London.

If they give the job to Kevin then let him pick all the staff, otherwise what is the point?

People keep saying they are too good to go down but I'm not sure because defensively they are all over the place.

Blackburn have had a sticky spell but don't go too many games without winning and they have plenty of good players.

Verdict: 2-2


Marcela Mora y Araujo: Argentine Kids

Argentina has always produced top footballers, but now it's exporting them earlier than ever.

The next Messi -- just inked a deal with Valencia

The Joy of Six: Greatest Captains

Charismatic, calm, controversial or campaigning, these armband-wearing footballers can truly be regarded as the cornerstones of their sides.

Double D: Who else could keep the likes of Zidane, Thuram, Desailly, Lebouf, Barthez, et. al in line?

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Juventus host Fiorentina in the marquee match, Roma welcome Parma, leaders Inter go to Napoli and Empoli host Siena.

Italian Serie A

Inter Milan2561
AC Milan2542

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Atletico Madrid host Barcelona, Real travel to Recre to stop their "crisis" and Villarreal host Osasuna.


Primera Division

Real Madrid2556
Atlético Madrid2541
Sevilla FC2539

England: EPL Previews

Manchester United travel to Craven Cottage, Arsenal host Villa, East vs. West in London as West Ham welcome Chelsea, Everton and Portsmouth clash in a match with European ramifications and Bolton host Liverpool.
Team News

Goal Difference
2Man Utd274061
6Aston Villa271547
8Man City27344
10West Ham26840

Euro 2008 plans on track, say organisers

Euro 2008 plans are well on track with “all milestones fulfilled”, organisers said on Thursday as they marked the 100-day countdown to the event.

Starting XI: MLS MVP Candidates for 2008 USA named 11 players who they believe will be in the running for the league's Most Valuable Player award. Somehow, a certain Englishman didn't make the cut.

7. Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA) -- Despite his Herman and the Hermits coif, the kid's got the good to be the next Clint Dempsey.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Euro News

Euroland news isn't quite as interesting as yesterday. Sorry.

In the Balkans, football and politics make a combustible cocktail
Kosovo's political football
Sir Alex Ferguson's interest in Karim Benzema has prompted accusations that he's trying to 'destabilise' them
Lyon cry foul after Ferguson heaps praise on Benzema
Xavi popped up at the last minute to save Barca's bacon in the Copa del Rey
minute goal earns Barca 1-1 draw in Cup
Schalke told to forget about Europe
Schalke face concentration test against Bayern
Inter boss happy with draw
Draw with Roma is worth a win, says Inter's Mancini

Martin Rogers: Debating MLS’s top 20 players

The inaugural Yahoo! Sports 20, our list of the leading players in Major League Soccer on February 13, drew a huge response from fans and readers, with most of the feedback centering on a small group of players who split opinion across the board.


Only number 11, and not happy about it, apparently...

Phil Ball in Spain

A little late this week, but Señor Ball gives us his always enjoyable take on the last weekend in Spain...

Suddenly, a title race

Galarcep: Philadelphia the perfect location for budding rivalries

Philly will get its own MLS team in 2010.

The stadium?

Nowak calls up 24 players for U-23 training camp

The final roster could include players not in the Bradenton training camp, and will be announced prior to the team's arrival in Tampa on March 9, two days before the U.S. opens the qualifying tournament against Cuba on March 11 at Raymond James Stadium. The U.S. will then face Panama on March 13 at 8 p.m. ET and Honduras on March 15 at 7 p.m. ET.

GOALKEEPERS (3): Dominic Cervi (Chicago Fire), Tally Hall (Esbjerg fB), Chris Seitz (Real Salt Lake).

DEFENDERS (8): Maurice Edu (Toronto FC), Hunter Freeman (New York Red Bulls), Kamani Hil (Vfl Wolfsburg), Patrick Ianni (Houston Dynamo), Michael Orozco (San Luis), Mike Randolph (LA Galaxy), Nathan Sturgis (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto FC).

MIDFIELDERS (8): Arturo Alvarez (FC Dallas), Benny Feilhaber (Derby County), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Dax McCarty (FC Dallas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Sal Zizzo (Hannover 96).

FORWARDS (5): Freddy Adu (SL Benfica), Jozy Altidore (New York Red Bulls), Chad Barrett (Chicago Fire), Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake).

Where should Israel play?

If there's a better national logo than Israel's I'd like to see it

Age-old political differences matter, but for the average fan on the street World Cup qualification matters more
Time is right for Israel to return to its Asian roots

Fitness, Spurs style

Spurs fitness work in all its glory

Keeping Ledley King and Jonathan Woodgate fit will benefit their club's health as a whole say Kevin McCarra
Spurs not alone in tracking the fitness of Woodgate and King

EPL news

The EPL news is a touch more interesting than yesterday, but that's not really saying much.

Arsenal physio Gary Lewin has been credited with saving Eduardo da Silva's career after the striker suffered a broken leg against Birmingham City on Saturday
Quick-thinking Lewin's rescue act
Tottenham are considering a move from White Hart Lane - their home for almost 110 years - as they seek to build on their Carling Cup success and break the 'Big Four' dominance of English football
Tottenham Hotspur have sights on new ground
Liam Miller has been placed on the transfer list after falling out of favour with Sunderland manager Roy Keane
Keane loses patience with Miller's failed promise
The England defender's advisers told Manchester United that he will not discuss a new deal before the summer
Ferdinand delays United talks
The defender has undergone knee surgery, potentially ruling him out of England’s friendly match away to France
Richards faces up to month on sidelines

Usmanov sets his sights

Arsenal could still be the subject of a takeover with Alisher Usmanov targeting a 'blocking stake' in the club
Usmanov back in market

Rijkaard to replace Grant?

Since taking over at Barcelona, Frank Rijkaard has stood out by not standing out. Maybe he's just what Chelsea need
Rijkaard throws hat into ring for Chelsea job
Quiet man at the centre of Barcelona's revival

William the Mad

According to Michael Henderson of the Telegraph William Gallas could stop Arsenal winning the EPL. This seems a touch over the top, especially when one considers the goals he's scored this season, but the guy is a touch disturbed. Slowly but surely, Jens Lehmann's position as Arsenal'a nuttest player is under threat.
William Gallas may well cost Arsenal the title

Boro edge Blades

Blades fans want to kill Kenny

In an FA cup tie no one really cared about the home side sneaked into the last eight of the FA Cup thanks to a large slice of luck
Southgate profits from Kenny's nightmare

Steven Gerrard is angry

Don't cry Stevie

Dear old Stevie G. Here's sad and annoyed. Not to mention angry. Liverpool's culture of domestic underachievement has come under fire from Steven Gerrard , who has insisited that not even winning the Champions League would make up for another season without a genuine title challenge.
Liverpool league form irks Steven Gerrard

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Top Ten Tantrums

When it comes to throwing toys out of prams, the world of football can rival the unruliest of pre-school playgrounds
Football's Top 10 tantrums

EPL News


Here's the EPL News. It's pretty boring to be honest, I'd skip to the Euro News if I were you. Who wants to read about Gary Neville when there's police raids going off in Germany and vendetta's being sworn against golden boy Kaka? Not me.

Middlesbrough fans are starting to question whether Brazilian Afonso Alves is man or myth
Middlesbrough wait to get money's worth from overhyped Alves
Manchester United captain, out for 11 months, played for an hour in the reserves’ 2-0 defeat by Liverpool last night
United take heart from Neville’s progress
The Premier League have been forced into a climbdown in attempt to play fixtures overseas after pulling out of Fifa meeting
League chief sidesteps showdown with Fifa
Manchester City's transfer funds could swell if Thaksin Shinawatra clears his name in Thailand
Thai return could benefit City

Euro News

Here's the news from Euroland. Good stuff.

Investigators on Tuesday raided the offices of the German Football Association and German Football League
German FA, League raided in cartel probe
Premier League may boast of international support yet research shows Spain's La Liga league has more fans across Europe
Spanish clubs more popular in Europe than English teams
Italian Serie A club have issued a statement expressing their fear that Kaka's career will be ended prematurely by illegal tackling
Milan claim Kaka vendetta
French Ligue 1 club to take legal action against far-Right group who made Nazi salutes after being thrown anti-racist t-shirts
Metz struggle to ban racist fans after Nazi salutes
Punch-ups notwithstanding, Le Mans' defeat of Valenciennes suggests their European push should now be taken seriously
Le Mans bare their teeth to emerge from shadows of cars and pigs
Juventus could only draw 0-0 with midtable Torino on Tuesday despite dominating the Turin derby
Juve and Torino draw a blank in derby

Over the top tackling

What would have happened if the referee had followed the advice of some and not sent off Martin Taylor, asks Martin Samuel. The Times pundit tackles some of the bollocks said and written after the Eduardo horror show
Mike Dean’s action at odds with the tolerance of brutality

“rent a mob” hools

Gabriele Marcotti on hooliganism, Juve Vs refs and Nike spending loads of cash on Les Blues
A hooligan’s politics is the right to fight

Tough times for Avram, Henk and John

The renewed availability of big-names will test the leadership and judgement of Avram Grant. Perhaps if he didn't miss his coaching seminars, he'd know what to do. Meanwhile, new coach Henk ten Cate has been crossing swords with John Terry.
Grant struggling to cope with Chelsea's surplus of riches
Avram Grant misses Pro Licence seminar
Chelsea coach admits to John Terry fall-out

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Spurs, Spurs, Spurs

Cheers and a pint the next time I see SSN pal Pedro (and Spurs fan -- poor lad) in NYC for pointing this one out. It's so classic. Win the League Cup and claim silverware for the first time since the League Cup in 1999 and celebrate with a moronic drunken show.
And I thought Robbie Keane shedding tears over a League Cup was bad enough...

JJ oozes class as usual...

Carling Cup fallout

Terry's rallying role leaves Grant looking shy of influence
Chelsea players to hold crisis talks
Juande Ramos follows the Spurs stylebook

Eduardo out for 9 months

Arsenal have expressed hope that Eduardo will recover fully from the damage to his leg by the end of 2008. Meanwhile Martin Taylor has recieved death threats and the backing of Nicklas Bendtner.

Fears for Eduardo as Arsenal predict nine months out
Nicklas Bendtner backs Martin Taylor over tackle
Martin Taylor receives death threats over tackle

Deal or no deal?

According to The Times Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr are in talks with suitors from Dubai, though they are looking to maximise their profits. But The Guardian say the opposite. There's some charming spitting action mixed in, too.
Liverpool's American owners set to sell
Hicks determined to keep his hold on Liverpool

Man City brushed aside by Everton

Everton regain fourth place in the table after winning easily at Eastlands.
Man City surrender

Hat-trick hero Borrielo finally steps up

Marco Borriello is dreaming of a Euro 2008 call-up after a second hat-trick against Udinese, while Juventus were left fuming by another inept referee. Signor Bandini reports.
Borriello bang in form but Old Lady bitter about injustices

Sportschau a no show

Deteriorating standards of on-field behaviour have done nothing to protect Germany's much-loved highlights show from the axe. Herr Honigstein reports.
The Bundesliga reaches its watershed moment

Getafe on the up

Victory over Real Madrid reopened La Liga and underlined Getafe's progress under Michael Laudrup. Señor Lowe reports.
Nice-guy Laudrup puts Barça back in the race

Monday, February 25, 2008

Euro Round -up

Bayern fail to show a bit of bite as Hamburg take a point from Munich
Bayern need to rediscover ruthless streak at home
Roma reduced Inter's lead to nine points, winning 1-0 against Fiorentina as the leaders drew 1-1 with Sampdoria
Inter's lead cut to nine points after draw
In Spain Sevilla score 5, while Barca's win and Real's lose mean the difference at the top is cut to 2 points
Primera Liga reports
Crafty Getafe beat Real to blow open title race
Marco van Basten has agreed a four-year deal at the Amsterdam Arena which starts on July 1
Ajax appoint Marco van Basten

Talking tactics

Flexibility is the new coaching buzzword but 4-4-2 is not heading for extinction just yet
Shape of things to come

EPL round-up

Sir Alex Ferguson’s splendid team demonstrated ability that veered towards the poetic
Kevin Keegan faces a hard slog on the Tyne
Another impressive performance from Ashley Young helped Villa to three points and plunged Reading into trouble
Villa's Young guns beat Reading
The Spaniard scored a hat-trick as some woeful defending cost the impressive Teessiders dearly
Torres has a ball in saving Rafael Benitez’s day
Paul Jewell's team rode their luck for an hour before Scharner and Valencia scored from close range
Paul Jewell dishes out home truths to Derby
Nolberto Solano grabbed the winner in controversial circumstances, the ball going in off his elbow
Solano nudges Fulham closer to relegation
Benni McCarthy's brace of penalties helped Blackburn to a thumping win over Bolton
Bruised Bolton rage at referee
Sunderland loose away again, as Harry marches on to Europe
Keane blames his players

Pain all round for Arsenal

It has to be said that Arsenal are pretty good at bouncing back when they've taken a knock. Well after this week, they're going to have to do it again.
It's difficult to fully judge their performance against Birmingham as it was clearly over-shadowed by the Eduardo injury. That said, there were a few worrying signs for the Gunners.
In a game like Saturday's you want your captain to step up, instead Gallas acted like a petulant spoilt brat. If there was ever an occasion where the result should be secondary to other events it was Saturday, but Gallas acted as if someone had just shot his mother. Obviously Clichy's error lead directly to Arsenal only picking up a point, but Almunia again failed to convince, and Adebayor needs to get his priorities right. His miss against AC was lazy but excusable, but on Saturday TV clearly showed he looked up, saw he had an easy pass to Bentnar which would have wrapped up the game, but choose to shot himself. With Eduardo now out, either Wenger has to sort out the partnership or switch to just one up front. For me they still really miss players who can open up a defense and score, and so could do with Rosicky and van Persie coming back. Eboue is penetrative but can't score, Walcott can but can't open up a defense. Hleb certainly has the ability to do both but seems to be being paid not to shoot.
Hopefully they'll bounce back against Villa next week, but it's looking like a make or break game.
Hurt Arsenal vow to win title for Eduardo

Eduardo horror tackle

Only Martin Taylor will know if he intended to hurt Eduardo. That said, some of the comments made after the tackle were pretty thoughtless. On the one side there was Wenger calling for Taylor's head - an opinion he's at least retracted. On the other there were plenty of people, Alan Hanson among them, saying because the tackle wasn't two-footed it wasn't really intended to hurt. The extent of the injury itself proves that you don't need two feet to do some real damage [it's Taylor's hitting Eduardo high on the leg with a locked knee that proved so destructive], so surely the number of feet used is irrelevant.

A grisly picture of the foul can be seen via the last link - I wanted to spare our faint-hearted readers, not least our lily-livered editor who cries like a lost baby at the thought of a needle.
'All I remember is...'
Wenger admits criticism was over the top
Hansen on Eduardo's injury
Kovac blasts 'brutality' of tackle on Eduardo

Spurs beat Chelsea to lift Carling Cup

Although Avram Grant has done better than perhaps expected at Chelsea question marks remain about his tactical ability in bigger, tighter games. Making a poor call, as in fielding Anelka on the wing, is one thing, failing to recognise the mistake is another. Chelsea were screaming out for Joe Cole but he wasn't brought on until it was too late. Playing Lampard instead of Ballack, who has been in excellent form, also proved costly. Ramos, on the other hand, read things a bit better, replacing Chimbonda with Huddlestone, switching Lennon to the left and bringing Spurs back into the game.
Not only was it was nice to see a team outside the big four win something, but it was especially pleasing to see Chelsea's brand of boring-at-all-costs football beaten by a team that sought to entertain.
Woodgate winner signals Spurs' new dawn
Grant curses his luck at being unable to match Mourinho's start
Ramos retains his steely front while players melt in euphoria