Saturday, March 15, 2008

Champions League Draw - it's a fix!

The legality of today’s Champions League quarter-final draw has been called into question after an internet forum predicted the ties two hours before the event. According to this had caused an erupting storm, though at present this storm seems to be limited to the web site.
Champions League ‘Fix’ Storm Erupts

Champions League Draw - in depth assessment

Lucky fuckers Chelsea, who played Olympiakos in the last round, now only have the face Fenerbahce for a place in the semis. Neither Arsenal nor Liverpool will be happy at drawing each other, though the Reds do have home advantage second. Both Barca and Schalke fans will be pleased - Barca for obvious reasons, Schalke because they've got the glamour team. ManU and Roma wont be so happy - last season's match will still be in the minds of the Giallorossi, while ManU fans will be ordering body armour for the trip.

David Pleat, ex-Spurs manager, TV pundit and dedicated kerb crawler, assesses the draw:
David Pleat's quarter-final guide
Avram Grant is a lucky bastard:
Chelsea granted chance to both make and bury history
ManU fans concerned:
Sir Alex Ferguson is hoping improved security will prevent a repeat of United fans being targeted in the Italian capital
Fan welfare of concern for Roma return
Rafa and Arsene big up their teams:
Arsenal hold no fears to confident Benitez
Arsene Wenger's statement of intent at Arsenal
Lilian Thuram was not willing to enter into the feeling of relief around Camp Nou:
Thuram Warns Against Complacency

Babel on the rise

From Marco van Basten to Henk ten Cate through to Rafael Benitez, the striker hasn't been short of advice
Babel adjusting to Liverpool's demands
Daniel Agger out for rest of season

Friday, March 14, 2008

Champions League Draw

Chelsea vs. Fenerbahce

Schalke 04 vs. Barcelona

Arsenal vs. Liverpool

Manchester United vs. Roma

Chelsea get luck of the draw

Honduras beats desertion-depleted Cuban team 2-0 in Olympic qualifying

This is really quite ridiculous

Martin Rogers explains

Italy: Serie A Preview + Top of the Table

The big match of the weekend features Milan at the Stadio Olimpico to face Roma. Elsewhere, leaders Inter will attempt to put the week's loss to Liverpool and the resulting chaos behind them as they welcome Palermo to the San Siro. And Juventus host Napoli. Preview

Played Points
Inter Milan2764
AC Milan2746

England: Premier League Previews + Table

Expect Manchester United to top the table by the time Arsenal take the pitch against Boro. United face a Derby side that most (including SSN's native-boy Alec) concede is the worst to grace the Premier League. Elsewhere, Chelsea should also have an easy go of it as they travel to Sunderland, Liverpool host a resurgent Reading, Fulham have a must-win at home to Everton where they'll hope the Blues have a European hangover, and Spurs are at Manchester City.

Fasteddy's Hot Tips
Lawro's Predictions

Barclays Premier League Table

Goal Difference
1 Arsenal 29 36 66
2 Man Utd 28 43 64
3 Chelsea 28 30 61
4 Liverpool 29 33 56

5 Everton 29 23 56

6 Aston Villa 29 15 49
7 Portsmouth 29 11 47
8 Blackburn 29 3 46
9 Man City 29 1 45
10 West Ham 29 -4 40
11 Tottenham 28 8 35
12 Middlesbrough 29 -17 30
13 Wigan 29 -16 28
14 Reading 29 -21 28
15 Newcastle 29 -26 28
16 Sunderland 29 -21 27
17 Birmingham 29 -12 26

18 Bolton 28 -14 25
19 Fulham 29 -23 20
20 Derby 29 -49 10

Spain: La Liga Previews + Top of the Table

Saturday 15 March 2008 (all times local)
20:00 Betis - Athletic
20:00 Recreativo - Murcia
20:00 Deportivo - Real Madrid
22:00 Valencia - Sevilla

Sunday 16 March
17:00 Villarreal - Zaragoza
17:00 Valladolid - Osasuna
17:00 Getafe - Racing
17:00 Espanyol - Mallorca
19:00 Almeria - Barcelona
21:00 Atletico - Levante

Real Madrid2720526235
Atlético Madrid2713954413
Racing Santander271278443
Sevilla FC27131134218

Stick or twist for Real?

It wouldn't be a weekday if Marca didn't have Real Madrid plotting a swoop for a star player, and today's target is Luis Fabiano of Sevilla. But is such a player a worthy signing for the blancos?
Spanish Debate: Real Madrid's Striking Options

Adu sees US past Panama

A revamped lineup saw the U.S. U-23 team move one step closer to a semifinal spot in CONCACAF Olympic qualifying. Freddy Adu's goal was the difference in a 1-0 win against Panama
Adu scores as U.S. U-23s defeat Panama
Player Ratings

Smiles all round in Philly

Philadelphia's football fans are smiling like the cat that got the cream cheese after finally being given a MLS franchise
Look at us, we've got a perfect team!

Chelsea in the news

Reports on Tuesday appear to confirm that Didier Drogba is cheating to get to the top. No, not on the goalscoring charts, but rather interestingly, in terms of shirt sales
Drogba Cheating His Way Up The Table
Chelsea midfielder Frank Lampard has called for a conclusion to new contract talks at Stamford Bridge
Lampard: Speed up talks
Shevchenko has told Roman Abramovich of his dissatisfaction with life at Chelsea. Meanwhile wife Kirsten is apparently due in Milan this afternoon to view an apartment. Could a return to AC Milan be looming?
Sheva 'Fed Up' At Chelsea

Shoot me now

Are Derby County the worst team ever to play in the Premier League?
Derby desperate to avoid being 'worst ever'

I think I'll stay seated, thanks

Inter Milan’s internal problems go from bad to worse following reports that Luis Figo refused to come on as a substitute against Liverpool last night
Figo Refused To Come On Against Liverpool

Rangers and Sporting thru in Eufa Cup

The Gers somehow managed to sneak past Werder, while Sporting saved Europe the pain of having to watch any more of Bolton
Rangers And Werder Bosses Talk Miracles
Rangers’ resistance keeps Europe on agenda
Reality bites for Bolton

EPL news

Desire to join national side for training camp in Singapore angers manager Rafael Benitez, who feels he has been let down
Kewell’s days ay Anfield may be numbered
England's forgotten goalkeeper is finally ready for his debut for Sir Alex Ferguson's side, after nine-month lay-off
Gloves on for Foster in United battle
Chelsea defender Ricardo Carvalho wants to stay at the club and will put pen to paper on a new contract soon
Carvalho Set To Sign New Blues Deal

I'd like a ticket to Fenerbahce, please

Avoiding Barca is surely the aim of the other teams left in the Champions League. Barca themselves will be hoping to sidestep a trip to Blighty. You can almost hear the managers praying, 'give us Fenerbahce, give us Fenerbahce.'
British quartet keen to avoid Barcelona
Torres, Fabregas and Ronaldo a different class

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Cuban Defectors to Get a Shot at the Medium Time

5 players from the Cuban U23 side which drew the United States last night have slipped away from their minders in attempt to secure asylum, leaving the squad short of enough players to field a complete lineup. Miami FC, the enterprising USL team that briefly boasted Romario on their books last year, has decided to offer them all trainee contracts. You have to hand it to Miami FC; they know their market and they're not afraid to pander.

Champions Cup Update

DC United and the Houston Dynamo both picked up valuable draws on the road to CONCACAF rivals in the 2008 Champions Cup. DC went up early against Harbor View in Kingston, but leaked a goal in the last five minutes to earn a1-1 draw. Houston were happy with a 0-0 result against Municipal, the champions of Guatemala. Both ties will be settled next Wednesday night.

Arsenal seek to keep Flamini

For a long time it looked like bit-part player Flamini would leave Arsenal. But now, thanks to an exceptional season, he holds all the cards, as Arsenal try and get him to resist the clutches of Juve
Arsenal pressure to agree new Flamini contract

Under - 23s Update

Ives says that the U.S. team didn't understand the system and looked lost
Galarcep: Nowak's tactics all wrong

Seven members of Cuba's squad have gone missing after leaving their hotel
Possible defections leave Cuba's future uncertain

Canada and Mexico draw

Pain in Spain for Henry

Spanish sports daily Marca claims that Thierry Henry is growing increasingly disillusioned with Barcelona's 4-3-3 system, but the ex-gunner says, contrary to reports, that his private life is not having an adverse affect his game
Henry Demands 4-4-2 At Barça
Private Life Not Affecting My Game - Henry

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Roberto reports from amongst the fans at the San Siro during Inter's forgettable Champions League exit.

Inter fans curse their luck

EPL Round-up

It's hard to believe, but Derby actually scored a goal against a top team, and away from home, too. Unfortunately, at the other end they let in six. Villa scraped a draw against unlucky Boro, while Pompey built on Saturday's cup victory, putting four past Brum.

Frank Lampard scored four against Derby to close the gap on Arsenal and Man Utd
Lampard hits four as Chelsea backlash punishes Derby
The visitors were unlucky at Villa Park after dubious penalty cost them the three points
Villa suffer setback in race for fourth place
The Pompey goalkeeper paid back some of his new contract in advance with a superb display
Vintage James ensures fun times continue

Paying the penalty

English clubs didn't fare quite as well in the Uefa Cup as in the Champions League due the their traditional problems with penalties. Bayern lost but still went through, as did Leverkusen, Zenit and Getafe.
Juande Ramos commends Spurs lottery loss
Everton forced to pay penalty after brave fight
Bayern Through Despite Home Loss

You know what, I've changed my mind...

Roberto Mancini has reportedly told Internazionale president Massimo Moratti that he will stay for another season
Mancini makes dramatic U-turn and tells Inter he wants to stay


For many, the boil on the backside of the game is not referee howlers but Fergie's fits of unsporting pique
Nurse! Time for Sir Alex to have a little lie-down

Nigeria Focus

The once powerhouse of African football has been in poor form of late.

Andrew Hush looks at all the problems and controversy with the Super Eagles.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Jonathan Spector Interview

After surviving the pressure to avoid relegation last season, Jonathan Spector is eyeing a top 10 finish. The American Abroad spoke to Soccer 365’s Andrew Rogers about team goals, a move to Chicago and MLS, the many accents of England and more…

Champions League Reforms Spell Calamity

Martin Samuel says "the economic landscape that Uefa's prestige tournament is redefining across Europe is as uncompetitive as a Soviet election under Stalin. In many European countries, where Champions League entry is limited to one, perhaps two clubs, the wealth of the Champions League has created monopolies, super-clubs that are so powerful that the league is little more than a one-horse race."

Quotes and Chants of the Week

"We were at a bus stop when I saw a car go past with the driver wearing a Derby tracksuit. It came back and Robbie said 'Jump in!'"
Derby fan Mark Stevenson and daughter Lauren get a lift from Robbie Savage on their way to Derby's tedious 0-0 draw with Sunderland. Bet they wished he'd taken them to the pictures instead.

Bolton fans respond to Liverpool chants of "Going down!"

"You're just a fat Annie Lennox!"
Spurs fans to Dean Ashton during the West Ham game.

All the Fun

UEFA Cup Previews

PSV Eindhoven vs. Tottenham
Ramos Confident

Everton vs. Fiorentina
Moyes asks fans to raise the roof

Hamburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen
German Face-Off

General Preview

Champions League: Liverpool Oust Inter

This time it was Burdisso who was sent off for the Serie A leaders as Liverpool cruised at the San Siro. Cruz and Ibra were particularly woeful up front for Inter as the Reds' strength showed. And now Mancini says he's had enough. Will Rafa make the move to Milan? Or will it be The Special One?

Inter Milan 0 - 1 Liverpool (0-3)

Torres strike ensures passage
Mancini to quit Inter at season's end
Fergie: Premier League strongest in Europe
Zanetti: We gave it our best
Benitez: Master of Europe

England: Premier League Midweek Previews

Some midweek action in England as a few teams play their games in hand. Chelsea should have little trouble pulling themselves back within sight of United and Arsenal at the top of the table, while Birmingham face a difficult trip to Fratton Park to try to distance themselves from the drop zone. Elsewhere, Villa host Boro.

What: Barclays Premier League
Who: Chelsea (3rd EPL, 58/81 pts) v Derby (20th EPL, 10/84 pts)
When: Wednesday, 12 March, Kick-off: 2000 GMT
Where: Stamford Bridge, SW London


Positive Moves at Pride Park

What: Barclays Premier League
Who: Portsmouth (EPL 9th, 44/84 pts) v Birmingham (EPL 17th, 26/84 pts)
When: Wednesday 12th March, Kick-Off: 20:00
Where: Fratton Park, Portsmouth


What: Barclays Premier League
Who: Aston Villa vs. Middlesbrough
Where: Villa Park, Birmingham
O'Neill Dreams of Europe

Fasteddy's Tips

U.S. U-23s held to a tie by resilient Cuba

Despite Freddy Adu's best efforts, the U.S. soccer team could only manage a 1-1 tie against surprising Cuba in the first round of Group A play in the 2008 CONCACAF Men's Olympic Qualifier on Tuesday.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Champions League Preview: Inter Milan vs. Liverpool (0-2)

Venue: San Siro
Tue 11 Mar
Last 16
1945 GMT
Depleted Inter seek miracle against Liverpool
Torres will sink Inter, says Stevie G
BBC Preview

Americans on the Continent: The Soccer Gypsy

A rundown of the American players over in Europe who aren't plying their trade in the UK.

Heath Pearce, Hansa Rostock (Bundesliga)
vs. MSV Duisburg, A, 1-1 (12 minutes, 0 goals)

Pearce replaced the injured Christian Rahn in the 78th minute, a move that seems to prove the incident between him and his coach that occurred during Winter Break is forgotten. His U.S. National Team career may depend on his continuing to get minutes in the first team. Rostock are now 14th in the table. Up next: Hertha (Bundesliga), 3/15

Sid Lowe in Spain

Four coaches in under two months, disenchanted fans and too many men at the top have left last season's entertainers flirting with relegation.

Why are Real Zaragoza so rubbish?

Connolly: Hall Snubs Shouldn't Have Happened USA's Marc Connolly, a voter for the National Soccer Hall of Fame, cannot believe that Jeff Agoos and Earnie Stewart, amongst others, didn't get the nod by the Hall on Monday.


Paolo Bandini in Italy

Claudio Ranieri may have matched pre-season expectations by guiding Juve to third, but now fans are unhappy the team isn't involved in the title race.

Ranieri struggling to satisfy Old Lady's unreasonable desires

Police ponder jealously for brawl that injured 83

"This is one of the theories," said Diego Cardona, secretary for sport for the city of Cali, where the brawl occurred. "But when you have so many people drunk, drugged up and looking for a fight, sometimes it's hard to find out what really started it."

Nowak's U-23 roster choices a surprise

U.S. Olympic team head coach Peter Nowak has never been one to care much about reputations. This is a man who in 2004 resisted the siren call of throwing Freddy Adu immediately into the deep end of MLS. And with the release of the Olympic team's roster Sunday, that point was driven home once again.

Phil Ball in Spain + Table

Our dual-favorite hack in Spain discusses Barcelona's slip, Real's European nightmare, and Raul's 200th goal...More grey required

Spanish Primera División
March 9, 2008 Played Points
Real Madrid2762
Atlético Madrid2744
Racing Santander2744
Sevilla FC2742
Athletic Bilbao2733
Real Zaragoza2732
Real Betis2732
Deportivo La Coruña2731
Recreativo Huelva2729

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Ede Becker's overperforming Karlsruhe may have done themselves a favour by losing to Bayern this weekend, says Raphael Honigstein.

Classy Karlsruhe avoid provoking Hoeneß's ire

Monday, March 10, 2008

Nicolas Cage lookalike takes Real Madrid for a ride

A prankster pretending to be Oscar-winning American actor Nicolas Cage fooled Real Madrid into thinking he was the real thing and enjoyed red carpet treatment at this week’s Champions League match against AS Roma.

Italy: Serie A Briefs

Siena upset Fiorentina while Milan, Inter, Roma and Juve all win...


Spain: La Liga Briefs

Real Madrid go eight clear as Barcelona are stunned at Camp Nou by Villarreal...


Soccer brawl in Colombia leaves 78 injured, 18 with stab wounds

A stadium brawl at a soccer rivalry game left about 80 people wounded in the Colombian city of Cali late Saturday, 18 of them with stab wounds, emergency officials said.

Clashes broke out among America de Cali’s “Red Baron” fan club in the 82nd minute of the match with Deportivo de Cali and spread onto the field and around the Pascual Guerrero stadium.

Americans in England: Coming on Strong USA's Matthew Braine runs down the happenings of the American players in England this past week.

Nowak Names 20-Man U.S. Roster for Olympic Qualifying Tournament

Jozy Altidore and Freddy Adu highlight the squad list for this week’s group matches with Cuba, Panama, and Honduras.

And Rooney is picked as well...

England: FA Cup and Premier League Reports

Barnsley 1 - 0 Chelsea
The Dream Continues

Manchester United 0 - 1 Portsmouth
Fergie Fury as Reds Dumped From Cup
and Queiroz face charges for post-game rants

Middlesbrough 0 - 2 Cardiff

Boro Embarrassed

Bristol Rovers 1 - 5 West Brom

No Upset Here

Liverpool put more pressure on Keegan, West Ham woe as Spurs cruise, Wigan hold Arsenal...

EPL Wrap

Richard Jolly was at the JJB Stadium for the 0-0 Wigan/Arsenal encounter
Arsenal given reality check by Wigan