Friday, October 03, 2008

Manchester United's Alex Ferguson has firepower to trump rivals

Six games into the domestic season with a couple of Champions League ties under their belts, it’s worth taking a look at England’s big four clubs in relation to the strikers at their disposal.

Let's hear it for the Arsenal

All fans think their football club is special but it may be time to acknowledge that, to bastardise George Orwell, one club is more special than all the others. In these difficult economic times only one Premier League club is resisting – indeed actively fighting off – the rush to embrace a rich foreign businessman in the hope that they can buy success, and more importantly provide a massive dividend for the existing owners. Let’s hear it for the Arsenal.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Barcelona and Messi face Kun and Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid host Espanol, Valencia go to Valladolid...


Henry On Guardiola, Ronaldinho And LIfe At Barça

Thierry Henry has stated that he believes Pep Guardiola will bring success back to Barcelona and that the club's fans will now be able to see the best of him again.

"If you could see my iPod you would find Guns‘n’Roses, Nirvana, Jay-Z, Lionel Ritchie, Michael Jackson, 50 Cent, Public Enemy, Wu Tang Clan, Das EFX," he concluded.

TH goes for the Lionel look...

Tony Cascarino Column

Spare a thought for Wes Brown, the forgotten man of Manchester United.

Brown relaxes with his family after a hard day's work at Old Trafford...

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Manchester United go to Ewood Park to see their old boy Paul Ince, Chelsea host Villa, West Ham welcome Bolton, Sunderland host Arsenal, Liverpool go to Manchester City, Tottenham host Hull and Everton and Newcastle play at Goodison Park in the Clash of the Crisis Clubs...

Preview One

Preview Two

Preview Three

Lawro's Predictions

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Once again, due to the European fixtures this week involving German sides, the Bundesliga sees just five games on Saturday with three being played on Sunday. Bayern Munich are at home to VfL Bochum, while league leaders Hamburg face Cottbus. previews all the weekend action……

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter host Bologna, Juventus welcome Palermo, Lecce go to Lazio, Chievo host Fiorentina and Milan are on Sardinia to play Cagliari...


UEFA Cup: Gloom deepens for Moyes as Everton crash

Standard Liege 2 - 1 Everton
"I want to stay" says Moyes despite unsigned contract

Manchester City 2 -1 Omonia Nicosia
Wright-Phillips sparkles as Hughes' men ease through

A Manchester City fan shows his appreciation for the traveling Nicosia supporters...

Wisla Krakow 1 - 1 Tottenham
Turgid Tottenham scrape through

Also: Milan and Aston Villa advance, Dortmund do not...WRAP

Joe Kinnear swears an amazing 52 times in a five-minute rant at the Daily Mirror

This is spectacular. Who knew Joe Kinnear sounds so much like Ricky Gervais?

JK Which one is Simon Bird [Daily Mirror's north-east football writer]?

SB Me.

JK You're a cunt.

SB Thank you.

JK Which one is Hickman [Niall, football writer for the Express]? You are out of order. Absolutely fucking out of order. If you do it again, I am telling you you can fuck off and go to another ground. I will not come and stand for that fucking crap. No fucking way, lies. Fuck, you're saying I turned up and they [Newcastle's players] fucked off.

SB No Joe, have you read it, it doesn't actually say that. Have you read it?

JK I've fucking read it, I've read it.

SB It doesn't say that. Have you read it?


Thursday, October 02, 2008

Product Test and Review: Nike Arsenal Property Tee - Gray

I wasn't having the best day a few weeks ago, but then I received an email that turned my frown upside down. The fine folks at invited me to test one of their products. Not only would I receive an item and get to try it out, I would be allowed to pontificate to my heart's content about said piece of merchandise. I decided that the product to test and review would be the Nike Arsenal Property Tee - Gray.

Keep it simple and easy, right? And those of you who know me know that t-shirts are my favorite articles of clothing, hands down. So it was really a no-brainer.

The shirt arrived in a friendly little bag wedged into the mailbox amongst The Wife’s New England Journal of Medicine and US Weekly. Frank came running as I ripped open the bag, searching in vain for food. First impressions were solid. I had in my hands a soft, gray, 100% Cotton Made-in-Mexico masterpiece. As eager as I was to get the testing underway, I first had to head to the washing machine to rid the garment of any lingering manufacturing toxins. Once the cycle was complete, the shirt went into the dryer to shrink to the proper size.

Here’s where I can begin the review. I’m a fairly large dude (6’3”/210) and I like my t-shirts to be size Large. I don’t want the wear an XL sail, but I don’t want to show off too much of my, er, figure by going Medium. So here’s the deal. This shirt is too big. I mean, I wore it and loved it, but it fits more like an XL. Keep this in mind when you buy yours. I’d suggest going a size lower than usual. I rarely choose Medium, but in this case that would have been the better move.

Aesthetically, the thing is a gem. As an Arsenal Man, I’ve got more than my fair share of gear, most of it red. This is nice because it is primarily a soft gray, and the red lettering doesn’t stand out too much. The addition of the swoosh and cannon in gold is inspired as well, and creates a nice contrast. Finally, the crest on the sleeve is a classy touch. I’m pleased with my choice, and glad to have a non-bright red Arsenal clothing option.

Oh, yeah, I almost forgot. The weight. The weight of a t-shirt is critical for me. Too heavy and the thing feels like a blanket, especially when you start to sweat. Too light and it doesn’t give you enough support. The Nike Arsenal Property Tee splits the difference expertly. It performed quite well on my walk/jog with Frank over to Dave's house for the Arsenal vs. Porto Champions League match on Tuesday. And since the lads won, the shirt gets extra points.

It’s funny, because the Property Tee seems a very U.S. thing. I don't recall seeing this type of shirt before, and it’s odd to have a “Property Of…” t-shirt from an English football club. Which makes me like it even more. I'll give it four SSNs out of five. It would have been perfect but for the sizing issue. -Sanford

Europe's Surprise Trio

Europe’s premier club competition is now well underway and 32 of the continent’s finest teams are all still in the running to reach the knockout phase next year. Mark Pickering assesses the credentials of three of the more noteworthy teams in this year's edition of the Champions League...

It's make or break time, admits Moyes

Everton manager hopes that victory in Belgium tonight can kick-start their season.

He's upset...

The Joy of Six: Manager/Media Spats

A selection of the most volcanic managerial funks, featuring Big Ron, Fergie and Baron Greenback's sibling.

Norman Hubbard on Arsenal

Anyone who predicted Hull City's victory at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday can congratulate themselves on their foresight, safe in the knowledge few others thought such an upset was possible. Yet there is a way of defeating Arsenal, and from that perspective Daniel Cousin's winner, headed in from a corner, was predictable. Sometimes the result can surprise, but the manner of it is all too obvious.

Zenit deny UEFA Cup semi-final fixing claim

Zenit St Petersburg manager Dick Advocaat has joined his club in expressing his dismay at allegations that the Russian club won the UEFA Cup by virtue of match-fixing.

Calcio Debate: Ibrahimovic – A Square Peg In A Round Hole?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic still doesn’t seem completely comfortable playing in Jose Mourinho’s 4-3-3 formation. Carlo Garganese asks whether the Swede can produce his best in the Special One’s system…

Champions League Wrap: Magical Messi rescues Barca as Cluj defy Chelsea

Liverpool win (see Richard Jolley's report in the previous post), Chelsea held in Romania, Inter and Werder Bremen draw, Messi strikes twice late to give Barcelona a win and Atletico Madrid beat Marseilles...


Suspected knee ligament damage will put Drogba out six weeks...

CFR Cluj 0 - 0 Chelsea
Drogba injury leaves Chelsea reeling

Inter Milan 1 - 1 Werder Bremen
Pizarro haunts Jose

Shakhtar Donetsk 1 - 2 Barcelona
Super Sub Messi save the day yet again

Bordeaux 1 - 3 Roma
Baptista scores twice!

Anorthosis Famagusta 3 - 1 Panathinaikos
First win for Cypriots

Richard Jolley at Anfield

Liverpool 3 - 1 PSV Eindhoven

Understudies upstage Anfield star

The worst goal celebration in football?

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Top 10 Worst Premier League Haircuts

No. 8: David Seaman

While the secret to Samson’s strength was his hair, the longer Seaman’s locks grew, the more dodgy he became. The Arsenal keeper’s ponytail sunk to its lowest depth at the 2002 World Cup – dangling behind him as he desperately failed to claw out Ronaldinho’s freak free-kick that knocked England out.

The Other Nine

Ives: Seven players that deserve a look by Bradley

Bradley needs to make full use of the luxury of running away with his qualifying group by using the remaining qualifiers to take a look at some of the better young prospects in the U.S. national team pool.

Former Wake Forest star Jeremiah White...

The Kids Are Alright: Football's Youngest Ever

If you're good enough, you're old enough goes the footballing mantra and with Reuben Noble-Lazarus making his debut for Barnsley aged just 15 years and 45 days he is in good company for record-breaking precociousness.

Juventus Focus: Goal drought puts Ranieri under pressure

At the beginning of the season Juventus were tipped to be the main challengers to Scudetto holders Internazionale but a worrying lack of goals means the Bianconeri are already playing catch-up in Serie A.

Zenit Linked With UEFA Cup Match-Fixing - Report

Reports from Spanish newspaper ABC claim that two Russian mafia kingpins have been arrested in Spain, and the pair have been caught talking about incidents of match-fixing in the semi-final and final of last season's UEFA Cup campaign involving Zenit St. Petersburg...

Martin Samuel: Why the Fear Factor Haunts North London

Juande Ramos, the Tottenham Hotspur head coach, may not have spent enough time on his English homework, but he is well acquainted with his history. The observation that his job is on the line after Sunday's 2-0 defeat by Portsmouth at Fratton Park showed a strong knowledge of how calmly the Tottenham directors traditionally react to the spectre of relegation.

Wenger appeared greatly disturbed by Saturday's 2-1 home defeat by Hull City; indeed, he has cut an increasingly agitated figure on the touchline in recent years, suggesting that he feels the pressure of keeping Arsenal in touch with rivals who have considerably deeper pockets.

2008 - 2009 UEFA Champions League: Wednesday Previews

What: UEFA Champions League, Group D, Matchday 2
Who: Liverpool (2nd, 3 pts) v PSV Eindhoven (4th, 0 pts)
When: Wednesday 1st October, 1945 BST
Where: Anfield, Liverpool
Rafa thinks he's finally got the right balance

Cluj's stadium...

What: Champions League Group D, Matchday 2
Who: Atlético Madrid (1st, 3pts) vs Olympique de Marseille (3rd, 0pts)
When: Wednesday 1st October, 20.45 CET
Where: Vicente Calderón, Madrid

What: UEFA Champions League, Group B Matchday Two
Who: Internazionale (1st, 3 points) - Werder Bremen (2nd, 1 point)
When: Wednesday 1 October 2008, 20:45 CET
Where: Stadio Giuseppe Meazza, Milan

What: Champions League Group Stage, Matchday 2
Who: Shakhtar (2nd, 3pts) v Barcelona (1st, 3pts)
When: 20:45 CET - Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Where: Olympiyskiy Stadium, Donetsk

What: UEFA Champions League, Group A Matchday Two
Who: Cluj (2nd 3points) - Chelsea (1st 3points)
When: Wednesday 1 October 2008, 1945 BST
Where: Dr. Constantin Rădulescu, Cluj Napoca
Chelsea reap rewards of regime change

Champions League Wrap: Juve hold on, Real down Zenit

Manchester United and Arsenal win, Fiorentina and Bayern held...


Scholes is out for two months and Rooney hurt his ankle...

AaB Aalborg 0 - 3 Manchester United
Berbatov sparks into life with a double

Zenit St. Petersburg 1 - 2 Real Madrid
Madrid win thriller

Villarreal 1 - 0 Celtic
Senna sends Celtic home empty-handed yet again

Arsenal 4 - 0 Porto

Arsenal blow away Hull hangover
Defensive frailties still apparent

BATE Borisov 2 - 2 Juventus
Dismal Juve

Bayern Munich 1 - 1 Lyon
Problems mount for Klinsmann

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Americans in the UK: Howard Gets Knocked Around

The American presence in the EPL continues to diminish by the week, and this time around Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard takes a few lumps.

DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu Rangers
Vs. Partick Thistle (Beasley 48 minutes, 1 assist)
Vs. Hibernian (DNP)

Beasley proved to be crucial in Wednesday’s CIS Insurance Cup fixture as he set up the extra time winner against Partick. The reigning cup holders looked shaky as the tie went into extra time, but in the 116th minute, Beasley capitalized on a Partick turnover and set up Pedro Mendes for the winner. Edu was on the substitutes list for the Partick match but did not get on. Both Americans were unavailable for Sunday’s 3-0 win over Hibs. Up Next: Sunday, away to St. Mirren.

Police urge FA to act over Sol abuse

The FA have been urged to take action in a police complaint about the verbal abuse aimed at former Tottenham star Sol Campbell at Fratton Park.

Sid Lowe in Spain

The finger pointing and scapegoating is only just getting started in the fall-out from Barça's explosive clash at the Montjuic.

Catalan derby goes nuclear as Barcelona leave it late.

Kevin McCarra: Juande Ramos must forget about a sophisticated vision of football and send out a focused and aggressive Spurs team

Tottenham's successful efforts to take him from the Spanish club may have been unprincipled, but the craving to appoint Ramos was understandable. Now they will most likely hold on to him because it is traumatic even to think of cranking up a recruitment search all over again, particularly when the candidate they settled upon would surely have a less imposing CV.

During happier times...

Lawrence hit by freak dog injury

Stoke City midfielder Liam Lawrence could miss Sunday's trip to Portsmouth after tripping over his dog and injuring his ankle.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Worries about the future are now undermining Jürgen Klinsmann's sun-drenched, pro-active, motivational California-isms.

Bad times for Bavarian giants, on pitch and in parliament.

Bavarians lacking motivation...

Venables hits out at Berbatov's 'poisonous presence' at Tottenham

The former Tottenham Hotspur manager Terry Venables has claimed that Dimitar Berbatov was a "poisonous presence" at the club.

Phil Ball in Spain

One thing it's difficult to complain about at the moment in La Liga is the sheer amount of footy on the telly. There was a midweek league programme to make up for the weekend lost to internationals, and I managed to take in Barça v Betis and Sevilla v Espanyol, with the occasional trip to the kitchen to make a cuppa.

Ives: Howard deserving of 2008 Honda Award

Last week, the balloting closed for the Honda Player of the Year award, given to the best U.S. national team player for the calendar year. While choosing a winner has been tough in recent years, voters shouldn't need much time deciding who to vote for in 2008.

2008 - 2009 UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Previews

The Spanish Challenge

The Italian Challenge

The English Challenge

What: Champions League, Matchday Two
Who: Aalborg BK (DEN) vs. Manchester United (ENG)
When: Tuesday 30th September, 20:45 k/o
Where: Energi Nord Arena, Aalborg
Aalborg agog as United hit town

What: Champions League Group H, Matchday 2
Who: Zenit St. Petersburg (3rd, 0pts) vs Real Madrid (1st, 3pts)
When: Tuesday, 30th September 2008, 1830 CET
Where: Petrovsky Stadium, St. Petersburg, Russia

What: Champions League Group E, Matchday 2
Who: Villarreal (2nd, 1pt) vs Celtic (3rd, 1pt)
When: Tuesday 30th September, 2045 CET
Where: El Madrigal, Vila-real, Spain

What: UEFA Champions League, Group G Matchday Two
Who: Arsenal (2nd 1point) - FC Porto (1st 3points)
When: Tuesday 30 September 2008, 1945 BST
Where: The Emirates Stadium, London
Angry Wenger rips young guns for lack of focus

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Waking up in Rome on Monday morning, hearing the word "Lazio" many times around the main train station, where there must be a "smoking compulsory" sign, seemed to confirm that there is a different tone to this fledgling Serie A season.

Lazio, whom the majority of Roman residents inelegantly look down at as a by-product of the worst secretions of the human body, are top of the league.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Americans Abroad: Davies learns to be a true professional in Sweden

According to reports, MLS officials were ready to offer Davies a hefty salary, bonuses and a sponsorship deal, hoping to keep the speedster in North America.

Fifth official: The last look at the weekend

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a five-star weekend.

Yeah, spot on son!

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Mourinho holds his tongue after Milan show talk is cheap.

Alberto Gilardino came up with one of the goals of the weekend to help Fiorentina beat Genoa 1-0 on Saturday. He now has three Serie A goals in five games, as well as a Champions League brace against Lyon. The Viola are still struggling, but his personal revival is nevertheless remarkable.

Tony Cascarino: The fat lady - and Chas & Dave - are singing for Newcastle United

I laugh when I hear and read pundits talking about relegation at this stage of the season. I mean, we're only in September. But I'm sorry, when you look at the basket case that is Newcastle United and the predicament that they are in, there is only one way of looking at it. They have relegation written all over them.

Things are quite frightening at Newcastle these days...

Martin Samuel: After Eduardo and Fagan, who will be the next victim of a dangerous workplace?

Respect is a simple, catchy slogan. Trips off the tongue, stays in the memory. It is a worthy ideal, too, with one small problem. It is not, nor will it ever be, the most important item on the agenda. What football needs now is an alternate, less populist campaign. “Stop trying to break people’s legs, you freaking morons.”

How about that?

Italy: Serie A Weekend Roundup

A Ronny goal wins the Milan Derby, Lazio go top, Fiorentina rebound to beat Genoa and Juventus and Sampdoria draw...


R. Mehdi's Reports

Mourinho blasts petty Italian press
"You're not in love with football as I thought you would be. All I can see is that everyone is obsessed with little things and not the things that count."

Spain: La Liga Roundup + Team of the Week

Barcelona sneak past Espanol, Villa leads Valencia, Real Madrid win late and Sevilla win at Atletico Madrid...


Team of the Week

Crowd trouble mars Barcelona Derby

I'm a fascist, says AC Milan star Christian Abbiati

One of Silvio Berlusconi's players at AC Milan has declared he is a fascist. Christian Abbiati, 31, an Italian international, said: "I am not ashamed to proclaim my political beliefs. I share [the] ideals of fascism, such as the fatherland and the values of the Catholic religion."

Oh dear...

England: Premier League Reports + Team of the Week

Hull shock Arsenal, Liverpool win at Goodison Park, Spurs lose again, Newcastle lose fifth straight, Wigan stop Manchester City, Manchester United beat Bolton, Chelsea beat Stoke and West Ham beat Fulham...


Torres turns Mersey divide into a widening gulf
Everton 0 - 2 Liverpool

Hull's composure and cunning leave Wenger in a wistful mood
Arsenal 1 - 2 Hull City
Cousin makes it party time for Hull

Black day for justice over Ronaldo's gift-wrapped goal
Manchester United 2 - 0 Bolton

Ramos stirs fans' wrath after Defoe twists the knife
Portsmouth 2 - 0 Tottenham

Terry turns on the charm but Chelsea are altogether tougher
Stoke City 0 - 2 Chelsea

Team of the Week