Saturday, April 19, 2008

German Cup Final

It's the German Cup Final today. Bayern Munich, who are going for the double, compete against Dortmund for the world's ugliest cup. It looks like something Siegfried would fight over for the love of Brünnhilde.
German Cup Final Preview: Borussia Dortmund – Bayern Munich

Theo Walcott Interview

Jennifer Walcott, not Theo's sister

Arsenal's teenage flier Theo Walcott is desperate for an extended first team run
Theo Walcott just wants his chance at Arsenal

England: EPL News

Mathieu Flamini must decide on his new contract with Arsenal by the end of the month according to Arsène Wenger. Moreover, he will review Gallas captaincy and Senderos is backed to get over his Anfield trauma
Wenger sets Flamini contract deadline and calls for pride

The Spanish manager insists he is happy, but is less than forthcoming about his long-term future at the Anfield club
Benitez vows to stay at Liverpool - for now

The English midfield player wants to see high-quality arrivals before signing with the manager desperate to hold on to him
Barry demands assurances from Aston Villa

The pressures of the final stretch might be getting to Avram Grant but Sir Alex Ferguson, who will be within a whisker of the title if Manchester United prevail at Blackburn this evening, could reflect yesterday on the benefits of an experience the Israeli does not possess in times like this
I'm too experienced to lose it at this stage, claims Ferguson

Friday, April 18, 2008

England: Premier League Previews

Leaders United are at Ewood Park to face Blackburn, Fulham host Liverpool as things get to the "must-win" stage, Citeh host Pompey and Arsenal host Reading.


Lawro's Predictions

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Saturday 19 April 2008 (all times local)
20:00 At. Madrid - Betis
20:00 Zaragoza - Recreativo
20:00 Barcelona - Espanyol
22:00 Sevilla - Almería

Sunday 20 April
17:00 Villarreal - Valladolid
17:00 Levante - Getafe
17:00 Osasuna - Deportivo
17:00 Murcia - Mallorca
19:00 Racing - R. Madrid
21:00 Athletic - Valencia


The Barcelona Derby is the key match of the weekend. Sorry -- no games in Ibiza...

England: Derby Day Passions Stirred In The Toon & Brum

Two classic derby encounters take centre stage ahead of Sunday's local spats between Newcastle United and Sunderlkand and St James' Park., and Aston Villa and Birmingham City at Villa Park. Graham Lister puts both fixtures under the spotlight...

England: EPL News

Premier Shorts: Today in the EPL

The Barcelona striker is understood to have raked in a record amount of cash from his last year in England
Henry 'paid up to £10m' in last Arsenal season

England defender will commit his future to Manchester United after deadlock over his contract negotiations was broken
United rewarded as Brown commits

Manchester City's owner is to meet Sven-Goran Eriksson in talks which could decide the manager's future
Eriksson and Thaksin scheduled for clear-the-air talks

Juande Ramos is poised to hand the club's captaincy to Jonathon Woodgate due to doubts about the number of games Ledley King is likely to play next season, or even if he will be at the club at all
Ramos leaves King fearing for Spurs future

More Anfield Bollocks

George Gillett refused to sell a single share to Tom Hicks, and accused him of destabilising Liverpool FC
I'll never sell shares, says Gillett

Liverpool must repay £31.5m or risk having to sell striker as Tom Hicks calls Rick Parry's time at Anfield "a disaster"
Torres future under threat as banks keep watchful eye on Liverpool

Undeterred by the latest public outburst by Liverpool's co-owner Tom Hicks, the Arab consortium Dubai International Capital is ready to buy out his partner George Gillett
Arabs set to enter the battle of Anfield

Grant entertains, his team doesn't

No great shock here: an uninspired Everton versus a prosaic Chelsea resulted in a boring 1-0 for the Blues. It's games like this that makes you grateful for the existence of cricket and baseball.

Michael Essien goal keeps Chelsea's title hopes alive in this gritty win against lacklustre opponents
Essien pounces to keep Chelsea clinging on
Chelsea coach delivers bewildering press conference rebuffing questions with one word answers after 1-0 win at Everton
Grant loses the plot

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Robinho's Rear Window

Robinho's return to the Real Madrid line-up against Real Murcia should have been a chance for him to cement his place, but in fact the Brazilian missed his chance...
panish Debate: Robinho's Window Of Opportunity

Ballack Interview

The ex-Arsenal player Alan Smith talks to the German captain who says Chelsea's critics must give the club's new manager more time. Or they could just sack him Michael and get someone interesting in, someone who likes to see his team go forward and score goals...
Michael Ballack stands by Avram Grant

MLS Soccer Thursday Preview

Argentine demi-gods Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Marcello Gallardo lead their teams in this appealing Thursday evening clash of two of the most perennially disappointing teams in MLS. Ok, only one of them fits that bill though DC's early season form has been baffling to say the least. Gallardo and Schelotto faced off many times on the field in Argentina's classico, with Gallardo representing River and Schelotto already elected to the pantheon of club greats in the hearts of Boca Juniors fans. While both shoulder playmaking responsibilities, they lead from different parts of the field and, of course are compensated accordingly (Gallardo represent's DC's salary cap exemption). Both teams are capable of scoring and conceding goals by the score so this should be an entertaining one for the viewers.

(edior's note: David Beckham is not involved in this match but any mention of MLS carries with it a contractual obligation to mention GoldenBalls, at least in passing)

Liverpool Ownership Slap Fight Continues

Liverpool CEO Rick Parry has hit back against Tom Hicks' request for his resignation, saying it's up for the Liverpool board to decide his fate. Parry is co-owner George Gillet's man and is clearly being used as a proxy for Hicks to attack Gillet. Hicks is also using a contract offer to Rafa Bentitez as a play to turn Liverpool fans against Gillet. What can we learn from all of this? That Tom Hicks is an idiot. The fans aren't going to choose sides when they can just wish that both owners would drop dead.

Cruyff spills beans

Dutch star reveals kidnap attempt on his family that changed his outlook on life
30 years on, truth behind Cruyff's World Cup absence

Ziel getroffen!

The acquisition of Luca Toni has finally brought an end to Uli Hoeness's long search for the perfect target man
Hoeness's patience rewarded as Luca show continues

England: Tonight's Game

You'd think being able to watch a match-up between one team pushing for the title and another pushing for a CL place would be an interesting prospect for a Thursday night. Unfortunately it's Everton Vs Chelsea. You never know, maybe the goals will flood in, but on paper it looks like a cure for insomnia:

Chelsea manager Avram Grant has defended his record and is looking forward to next season with the club
Defiant Grant says his future lies at Chelsea

David Moyes has claimed that Chelsea have been unfairly treated after being forced to play two decisive league games in the space of four days in order to satisfy television demands
David Moyes offers support to Avram Grant over congestion

Thursday's Rumors

The Mill has Chelski spending £100 mil, (presumably half funded by their sale of Andrei Schevchenko back to Milan), Sunderland £40mil, ManYoo £37mil, and Wigan £5 mil. That's certainly a foolproof plan to keep touch with leaders of the pack.

Fabio Capello is hoping to lure Paul Scholes out of international retirement. Stevie Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Micheal Carrick and Joe Cole are all undoubtedly ecstatic at this bit of news.

Ever-grateful Dimitar Berbatov wants a move to a Champions League club. Arsenal's dressing room has been short on moody divas since Henry moved to Barca; I think this would be a great match.

Silvio Berlusconi thinks he can fix Italy's stagnant economy by buying Schevchenko on the cheap, getting him thirty goals and then selling him back to Chelski for £35mil.

Man City may be in the market for a new manager as Thaskin Shinawatra refuses to back Sven. Perhaps Thaskin just needs to find a new way to motivate his manager; I suggest he fly in a few of the interrogation specialists he employed at his last job light a fire under the Swede, either literally or figuratively.

Aston Villa are contemplating a raid on Fiorentina's toy box.I say fuck off you Brum bastards, La Viola's prime talent isn't going to trade a spot in the Champions League for the chance to snort herion with Zat Knight.

Ca$hley Cole wants to end his career at Chelski. Sure thing buddy, the next time somebody offers you a penny more than you're making now you'll feel that you've been disrespected by your current employers.

Newcastle are set to offer Michael Owen a new contract. I wonder what Sven would tell a journalist posing as a Saudi tycoon about this?

Celtic Win Heats Up the Title Race

Celtic won a contentious 2-1 match at home to keep in touch with Rangers at the top of the SPL table. Per usual there was a small post-match scuffle and Rangers team doctor was hit by a coin from the stands.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Too many words and not enough digging on the road to 2012

A match-fixing scandal and a complacent attitude towards construction may undermine Poland's ability to co-host Euro 2012.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"I can't say we are the best in England but I don't think there is a team stronger than us."
Chelsea manager Avram Grant with another classic line.

"You're just a fat Paris Hilton."
Sung to striker Andriy Voronin at Arsenal v Liverpool in the Champions League first leg.

All The Fun

Old Firm Set For Crucial Meeting

Gordon Strachan will face the toughest challenge of his managerial reign at Celtic when the Glasgow club play host to their city rivals in a crucial league encounter on Wednesday.

Coppa Italia Preview: Inter-Lazio

What: Coppa Italia semifinal
Who: Inter (1st Serie A, 75 points) vs Lazio (12th Serie A, 40 points)
When: Wednesday 16 April 2008, 20:45 CET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

Americans on the Continent: St. Pat’s Debut USA's Zac Lee Rigg runs down the happenings of the American players in Europe.

Did Not Play

Freddy Adu, Benfica (Portugal)
vs. Academia de Coimbra, H, 0-3 loss

By now, it’s baffling as to why interim manager does not include Adu in the team squads. The side can’t buy a goal, this heavy home loss to midtable Academia knocks Benfica out of the Champions League slots, and giants FC Porto are coming to town next week. Adu showed up to training with a new pencil-thin mustache in an effort to attract the attention of his manager, but even that failed. Up next: FC Porto (Liga), 4/20.

Boca/River: Gallardo and Schelotto renew rivalry in MLS

Now their personal battle is set to resume in MLS, with Gallardo's D.C. United side taking on Schelotto's Columbus Crew in this week's edition of MLS Primetime Thursday (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2). Granted, the passion won't be nearly as high as a "Superclasico," but Schelotto feels that MLS is on its way.

MLS Primetime Preview

"Farewell! Gracias por todo! Come visit me in Columbus, Ohio. We'll have dinner at the Applebees..."

The English Debate: Can Manchester United Clinch The Double?

Manchester United are seven games away from a possible Premier League-Champions League Double. Can Sir Alex Ferguson's men go on to write another glorious chapter in the club's illustrious history?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Calcio Debate: Should Milan Sell Gattuso?

The Italian press has been full of reports in the last few days that Milan will sell Gennaro Gattuso at the end of the season.

Carlo Garganese asks whether this will be a wise decision…

Austria aims for green soccer championship

Austria has said energy efficient stadiums, tap water and ethical sponsorship will help it host an environmentally-friendly Euro 2008 despite criticism that organisers’ plans are not green enough.

Tim Vickery in South America

Copa Libertadores: Last year's shock side were Cucuta of Colombia, who in their debut campaign fell only just short of the final.

This year the shock side is again Cucuta.

England: Premier League Report + Table

Chelsea 1 - 1 Wigan
Heskey leaves Chelsea's hopes in tatters

English Premier League Table

Man Utd3480
Aston Villa3455
Man City3452
West Ham3444

Phil Ball in Spain

Big Phil fills us in on Javier Clemente and his abrasive style at Murcia.

Small Club Comforts

Super Mario

Only 17 years of age, Mario Balotelli has responded superbly after being thrust into a starting role with Roberto Mancini's title favourites. Signor Bandini reports...
Super Mario provides platform for Inter's 'show of force'

Zaragoza get sinking feeling

Even coach No4 might not be able to prevent Zaragoza sinking into the Segunda Division. Señor Lowe reports....
Nothing left to lose on Zaragoza's long road to ruin

Monday, April 14, 2008


After a triumphant week on the field, the hierarchy at Liverpool are at each other’s throats off it
Anfield anarchy

Americans in England: McBride Up to Task USA's Matthew Braine wraps up the week that was for the Americans in the EPL.

The Insider at the Stadium of Light

Sunderland 1 - 2 Manchester City
Sunderland struggle to emulate Keane

North America: MLS

With Landon Donovan in form and the Galaxy playing at home, the odds looked poor for Toronto. However, Toronto walked away with a 3-2 win and its first points of the season
Cunningham's late goal lifts Toronto FC

The Earthquakes' return to MLS was spoiled by the Fire, who used an early goal to post a 1-0 win Saturday
Chad Barrett’s early goal stokes Fire

Much continues to be said about the MLS salary disparity, but not every team is spending its money wisely
MLS salary list reveals bargains and the overpaid

Gambian youngsters Abdoulie “Kenny” Mansally and Sainey Nyassi suffered a series of problems but their impact on the Revs has been immediate
Out of Africa, into MLS spotlight


Carles Puyol has admitted his frustration at Barcelona’s inability to finish off their opponents, following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with Recreativo Huelva. Meanwhile, Real extended their lead
Sneijder strikes to ensure 10-man Real stay on track
Puyol: We Have Some Thinking To Do

Schalke 04 sacked coach Mirko Slomka yesterday after the Bundesliga club were eliminated from the Champions League by Barcelona and humiliated by league rivals Werder Bremen 5-1
Slomka sacked by Schalke after Bremen humiliation

Inter Milan are considering trying to hijack AC Milan's pursuit of Barcelona forward Ronaldinho
Inter considering Ronaldinho bid, says Moratti

Bordeaux kept the pressure up on Lyon at the top of the table, while PSG lost at home to Nice
Bordeaux Pressurise Lyon, PSG Shocked By Nice

Dinamo crowned Croatian champions, fans clash in Serbia

England: Tonight's Game

Petr Cech may have to play with added protection tonight, as Avram Grant faces a goalkeeping crisis
Cech may be back to face Wigan

Chelsea play United at home this month and their manager preserves the hope that Ferguson’s side will stumble
Grant: Chelsea deserve the title

England: Sunday's EPL Games

It's been mentioned before on SSN that when Arsenal take a lead it's those players who should be showing some calm and experience who start panicking. And so it was yesterday with Gallas. That apart, Arsenal were outstanding, out-playing Utd for most of the game. Fabregas and Hleb were masterful down the middle, but while they got away with a handball for the goal, fortune just isn't on the Gunner's side at the moment. Meanwhile, down the M62 the Anfield soap opera rolls on...

Sir Alex Ferguson admitted his side's 2-1 victory over Arsenal puts them in a formidable position in the title race
United in control of their destiny

An enthralling game at Old Trafford has left United in the box seat in the title race, and Arsenal wondering what might have been.

Arsène Wenger last night conceded his title hopes were extinguished yesterday, although he hinted that his next assault on the title will be with the same group of young players
'I'm no idealist – we must win trophies,' says Wenger

Richard Jolly's view
United take spoils as Gunners misfire

Fernando Torres scored again, but it was the captain who stood out as Fabio Capello watched on
Gerrard takes charge after con-trick fails

Liverpool manager calls for urgent meeting between feuding bosses Gillett and Hicks
Benitez demands Liverpool crisis talks

Sunday, April 13, 2008

England: Saturday's EPL games

Kevin Davies goal hands Bolton win against West Ham to boost hopes of survival
Davies lifts Bolton

an abysmal Derby County side concede six goals for the third time this season in Pride Park surrender
Petrov leads Rams to the slaughter

Fulham win first away game in 19 months scoring stoppage-time winner after three crossbar denials
McBride gives Fulham a deserved lifeline

Sunderland fail to heed Roy Keane's warning against complacency to hand City three points
Vassell's late winner frustrates Sunderland

Juande Ramos will look to strengthen his defence after watching his side surrender another lead
Spurs give it away again

St Andrews point keeps Birmingham City ahead of a chasing pack which has closed in this weekend
Zarate kick rescues a point for Birmingham

David James attributed the miraculous save that ultimately earned Portsmouth a point to his hair
James puts on model display to keep out Newcastle