Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Worst Teams of the Season

Americans In The UK: Boxing Day Blues

A slew of average and poor performances saw just one American play for a winning team over the weekend.

Tim Vickery in South America

Last week Phil Minshull picked his European team of the decade - so I was asked to do the same for South America. But what would be the criteria? Obviously in this globalised age the top South Americans play their club football on the other side of the Atlantic. But European football is not my beat, and I don't watch enough of it to supply an authoritative opinion. So if anyone wants to suggest a South American side based on club form, then use the space below - and let a hundred flowers bloom, a hundred schools of thought contend.

The Mill +

England: Tuesday's Premier League Previews

Aston Villa vs. Liverpool
Kick-off: 7.45pm GMT
Villa Park, Birmingham

Bolton vs. Hull City
Kick-Off: 20:00 GMT
Reebok Stadium, Bolton

England: Monday's Premier League Roundup & Reports

Chelsea survived a scare at home to Fulham to open up a five-point gap at the top of the Premier League table as Tottenham Hotspur moved into the UEFA Champions League positions.

Chelsea 2 - 1 Fulham
Kevin McCarra: Drogba sparks fightback
Wolves 0 - 3 Manchester City
Staurt James: Two-goal Tevez too much

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Mill +

England: Premier League Monday Preview + Lawro's Predictions

12 teams continue their busy festive schedule on Monday with Tottenham and West Ham kicking things off early. Bolton manager Gary Megson has urged his players to sink fellow strugglers Hull after having to settle for a derby stalemate on Boxing Day.

England: Premier League Saturday Review

Chelsea turned in another indifferent performance while Liverpool chalked up a hard-fought win against Wolves.

England: Premier League Special Reports

Arsenal 3 - 0 Aston Villa
Kevin Palmer: The Joy of Cesc
Richard Williams: Fab cameo fires Gunners

Hull City 1 - 3 Manchester United
James Drucker: Rooney finds atonement

Saturday, December 26, 2009

England: Premier League Weekend Preview

Roberto Mancini makes his bow as Manchester City manager on Boxing Day then 24 hours later Arsenal host Aston Villa at Emirates Stadium. Elsewhere on this festive weekend of footballing action, bottom two teams West Ham United and Portsmouth go head-to-head, league leaders Chelsea make the trip to Birmingham City, out-of-form Liverpool lock horns with in-form Wolverhampton Wanderers while Fulham meet London rivals Tottenham Hotspur.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Enjoying the Holidays

And some much needed time off. Still not much going on in the world so it's fine time to relax. Some big matches this weekend that I'll preview at some point.
Until then...

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Travel Day

Not much going on out there anyway. A good day to take off...

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


Sid Lowe in Spain

Real Madrid's 6-0 thrashing of Real Zaragoza showed the team in fine form as the Spanish season reached the halfway mark.

Real Madrid finally win and convince but Barcelona still lead the way.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

The perennial runners-up dubbed Neverkusen have broken the mould but have a lot to do to still be top in May.

Autumn champions Leverkusen are still tipped for a fall.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

The under-fire coach has vowed to fight on despite the 2-1 home defeat to Catania – Juve's fifth loss in six matches.

Big chill hits Serie A but Ciro Ferrara refuses to be frozen out at Juventus.

Americans In The UK: Beasley On The Rise

Beasley scored twice last week, pacing Rangers to a double shot of victories.

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Bad Break

Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo were unable to end 2009 with a victory as their respective sides both fell 3-2 over the weekend in the last matches before the winter break.

The Rest

Arsène Wenger fears US tourist trap for Arsenal

The biggest single shareholder, Stan Kroenke, is exerting the kind of influence over the club that suggests his full ownership will only be a matter of time, and the American wants Arsenal stateside next summer.

Carlisle: Europe no longer a straightforward decision for MLS players

"Should I stay or should I go?" is a question usually reserved for people in rocky relationships or legendary punk rock bands. But with the World Cup now a scant six months away, it's an issue facing several members of the U.S. men's national team, especially those MLS performers currently pondering moves to overseas clubs.

Dominic Raynor: Ten Best Players of the Decade

Whittling the best footballers of the decade down to just ten representatives was something of an arduous, if enjoyable, task here at Soccernet towers. But, following plenty of arguments, rolling of eyes and whistles of disbelief we eventually settled on the final ten...

Phil Ball Not in Spain

Do you want to hear about Brent Cross Shopping Centre in London, on a snowy Monday afternoon? Didn't think you did. But it's part the reason for the late delivery of this week's La Liga piece. It never fails to amaze me in England, but the appearance of a few snowflakes seems to convert the county into a collective hissy-fit, as if it had never seen the stuff before. Whilst in Scandinavia all functions smoothly at 20 below, and in any other European country with a vaguely organized infrastructure life goes on without a shrug, in England the whole thing comes to a neurotic halt. Bizarre. It makes Spain look like a pillar of organization.

Monday, December 21, 2009

More on Man City

Gabriele Marcotti: Mancini brings temper and talent

"Betrayed" Hughes to get nice pay-out

Oliver Kay: Ruthless Arab owners still among best of lot

Lost confidence after seven straight draws

Richard Williams: Mancini brings winning habit

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours


Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Who's a canny manager then? Avram Grant, Mick McCarthy, Roy Hodgson and Steve Bruce all pass muster while on the pitch Michael Owen continues to miss his targets.

Kris Boyd backs DaMarcus Beasley to make World Cup squad

DaMarcus Beasley could play himself into a World Cup encounter with England this summer and save his Rangers career at the same time, according to his Ibrox team-mate, Kris Boyd, who watched the United States player score his second goal in two games.

Monday MLS Breakdown: A Snowy Weekend Reminder for Sepp Blatter

FIFA president Sepp Blatter believes MLS should eventually transition to the European calendar. This weekend's Nor'easter is just one example of why Blatter is off the mark, according to Kyle McCarthy.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Reviews

Real Madrid kept up the pressure at the top of the table, while third-placed Sevilla slumped to a surprise home defeat.

Malaga boosted their survival hopes with a shock victory over Real Mallorca while Espanyol overcame fellow strugglers Almeria.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review + Team of the Week

League leaders Inter Milan claimed the spoils at home to struggling Lazio to open up an eight-point lead at the Serie A summit.

Elsewhere, Juventus suffered a shock home defeat at the hands of Catania, Roma climbed above Parma and Livorno triumphed against Sampdoria.


Team of the Week

England: Premier League Weekend Review + Table

The Manchester City axe that fell on manager Mark Hughes helped detract from another shocking result for Liverpool and a heavy defeat suffered by the Premier League champions Manchester United.


Pos Team Played Points
1 Chelsea 18 41
2 Manchester United 18 37
3 Arsenal 17 35
4 Aston Villa 18 35
5 Tottenham Hotspur 18 33
6 Manchester City 17 29
7 Birmingham City 18 28
8 Liverpool 18 27
9 Fulham 17 26
10 Sunderland 18 21
11 Stoke City 17 21
12 Wolverhampton Wanderers 18 19
13 Blackburn Rovers 18 19
14 Burnley 18 19
15 Everton 17 18
16 Wigan Athletic 17 18
17 Hull City 18 17
18 Bolton Wanderers 16 16
19 West Ham United 18 15
20 Portsmouth 18 14

England: Premier League Special Reports

Fulham 3 - 0 Manchester United
Williams: No quick fix for broken defense

West Ham 1 - 1 Chelsea
McCarra: A tale of two penalties

Blackburn 0 - 2 Tottenham
Jolly: Typical Tottenham change the record

Arsenal 3 - 0 Hull City

Palmer: Gunners show much needed grit

Sparky's dream ends as Hughes is axed by Manchester City

In a statement issued by the League Managers' Association he said: "Notwithstanding media coverage to the contrary I was given no forewarning as to the club's decision.

"Given the speed with which my successor's appointment was announced it would appear the club had made its decision some considerable time ago.

"I am extremely disappointed not to have been given the opportunity to see through my plans at the club.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Everton Land Donovan

Moyes said: "Landon Donovan will join Everton. It is all agreed and done now and hopefully he will be with us on 1st or 2nd January.

Amy Lawrence: Do José Mourinho's Inter have the power to tame old boys Chelsea?

The Champions League draw could have been kinder to English clubs but some thrilling ties await in the New Year.

Beasley Receives Assurances From Rangers

Glasgow Rangers manager Walter Smith has told midfielder DaMarcus Beasley there is no reason for him to leave the Scottish club to ensure he makes the U.S. World Cup squad.

Premier League Heroes: Gary McAllister: Indian summer at Anfield

A player who has followed the path of so many others before him and attempted to make a name for himself in management - somewhat unsuccessfully - McAllister's contribution during his playing days to the Premier League cannot be overstated.

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Portsmouth and Liverpool kick-off the latest round of Premier League fixtures on the last weekend of top-flight action before Christmas Day. Elsewhere amidst the festive fixture schedule, leaders Chelsea make the short trip to London rivals West Ham United on Sunday, Fulham host champions Manchester United eyeing a repeat of last season's surprise scalp, Hull City boss Phil Brown will receive an interesting reception at Arsenal on Saturday evening, Manchester City tackle an out-of-form Sunderland outfit while high-flying Tottenham Hotspur head to Blackburn Rovers.

Preview I
Preview II

Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho wants to leave a controversial week behind him and guide his team to victory at home against Lazio this weekend. Elsewhere, Juventus coach Ciro Ferrara will be under enormous pressure to take a positive result at home against rock-bottom Catania on Sunday.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid will look to close the five-point gap to leaders Barcelona at the top of La Liga when they host Real Zaragoza at Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday. Elsewhere, fourth-placed Valencia seek to bounce back from defeat against Real Madrid as they travel to face Deportivo, while lowly Malaga target just their second win of the season when they host Mallorca.


Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Schalke v Mainz and Hamburg v Bremen are among this week’s fixtures to watch..

Schalke – Mainz

Bayer Leverkusen – Borussia M’gladbach
Bayern Munich – Hertha Berlin
Borussia Dortmund – Freiburg
Eintracht Frankfurt – Wolfsburg
Hannover – Bochum
Stuttgart – Hoffenheim

Hamburg – Werder Bremen
Koeln – Nuernberg

30 Cultural Differences Between Italy & England

It's an Anglo-Italian super-battle again in the Champions League last 16 as Inter play Chelsea and Milan take on Manchester United. It is often said that the two countries and leagues are poles apart, so here are 30 comical cultural differences between Italy and England…

Bowled Over by Robinho Exclusive

The exclusive! The sort of thing that every journalist dreams about but almost never delivers. In the world of modern media, an "exclusive" is almost as rare as a defender's hat-trick or a tasty brown banana.

And yet last week we had one. There weren't any clandestine meetings or weeks of research, but it was a bona fide exclusive nevertheless. A "you can hear the rest of that interview on Football Focus" jaffa.

The subject was Robinho and this blog is the story of how it came about.

The Joy of Six: Footballers of the Decade

In no particular order, here are half a dozen of the best players of the noughties, from Ronaldinho to Claude Makélélé.

Spurs Xmas Party Shame

Tottenham's senior players have heaped shame on the club by organising a secret Christmas party in Dublin behind the back of manager Harry Redknapp.

The plot to hoodwink Harry.

Champions League Draw: Jose Mourinho Returns to Chelsea

Jose Mourinho will return to Chelsea with Internazionale in the last 16 of the Champions League, while David Beckham also has the chance of a reunion with Manchester United after last season's beaten finalists were drawn against AC Milan.

The matchdays are:

First Legs:
February 16&17 and 23&24

Second Legs:
March 9&10 and 16&17

VfB Stuttgart v Barcelona
Olympiakos v Bordeaux
Internazionale v Chelsea
Bayern Munich v Fiorentina
CSKA Moscow v Sevilla FC
Lyon v Real Madrid
FC Porto v Arsenal
AC Milan v Manchester United

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Premier League team of the decade: Henry Winter's Noughties XI

Telegraph Sport's Football Correspondent Henry Winter has chosen his team of the decade from the Premier League.

The Question: How did a nutmeg change football tactics in the noughties?

For the first time in over 30 years, an English side became a world leader in tactical innovation this decade – thanks to Henning Berg being nutmegged.

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


Europa League Wednesday Review

Bobby Zamora continued his hot run as Fulham secured their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League at the expense of Basle. Second-half goals from Mika Vayrynen, Viktor Elm, Gerald Sibon (two) and Darryl Janmaat won the game at a canter for the hosts, but it proved not to be enough as Hertha Berlin did the necessary against Sporting Lisbon.


Views on Wolves

Oliver Kay argues that the Wolves manager was right to send out the stiffs to face Manchester United on Tuesday.

Tony Cascarino says Mick McCarthy was guilty of bad management by fielding a reserve team at Old Trafford.