Friday, March 13, 2009

England: Manchester United vs. Liverpool

Kick-off: Saturday, March 14, 12:45
Old Trafford, Manchester

U.S. TV: Setanta USA (7:45 EDT)

Game Zone

Rooney says he hates Liverpool; Fergie defends his comments

United remove Rooney's hate comments from website

Phil McNulty: Liverpool must go for broke

Ian Rush and Peter Schmeichel on the showdown

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford dominates the fixture list this weekend -- see the separate post for that clash above. Elsewhere, Aston Villa host Spurs, Chelsea host Manchester City, Arsenal welcome Blackburn, Stoke go to Everton, Pompey go up to Boro, Sunderland host Wigan, Fulham travel to Bolton and Hull host Newcastle. Monday Night Football sees West Ham welcome West Brom.

Preview One

Preview Two

Preview Three

Lawro's Predictions

Nick Webster's Predictions

UEFA Cup Wrap

Some second-tier teams played...


Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Inter Milan attempt to right the ship but face a tough match with Fiorentina at the San Siro, AC Milan travel down to Siena and Juventus host Bologna.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid try to bounce back after their pasting in Liverpool with a trip to Bilbao, Barcelona go to Almeria, Atletico Madrid host Villarreal and fifth-place Malaga host third-place Sevilla...


Amy Lawrence: Keeper's eccentric analysis fails to mask Arsenal deficiencies

Manuel Almunia's proclamation that the Arsenal players were 'heroes' did nothing to veil their shabby Champions League performance.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

The Bundesliga continues to be an open title race with the top five separated by just four points. Points at this stage of the season will prove vital in deciding the destination of the title. previews all the weekend action.

Friday 13th March
(all times local)
20:30 VfL Wolfsburg – Schalke 04

Saturday 14th March
15:30 VfL Bochum – Bayern Munich
15:30 Hertha Berlin – Bayer Leverkusen
15:30 Hannover – Borussia Dortmund
15:30 Karlsruhe – Arminia Bielefeld
15:30 1.FC Koeln – Borussia Moenchengladbach
15:30 Eintrachr Frankfurt – 1899 Hoffenheim

Sunday 15th March
17:00 Werder Bremen – VfB Stuttgart
17:00 Hamburger SV – Energie Cottbus

Zidane: Forget Ronaldo and Messi, the best player in the world is Liverpool star Gerrard

Steven Gerrard
- and not Cristiano Ronaldo - has been labelled as the world's best best player by Zinedine Zidane ahead of Liverpool's crucial visit to Manchester United.

Sam Kelly on Argentina

It should have been a good week for Diego Maradona. His first competitive squad is due to be unveiled on Saturday for the upcoming World Cup qualifying double-header with Venezuela and Bolivia. After the warm-ups against Scotland and France, it's his chance to name a serious team at last. But Juan Román Riquelme's international retirement on Tuesday probably rather spoiled it somewhat for El Diego.

Diego's Román Ruin

Police Apologise for Anichebe Incident

Cheshire police force has apologised to Everton striker Victor Anichebe after several of its officers swooped on him as he and a friend looked in a jewelery shop window.

UEFA Champions League: Draw Information

There will be an English flavour to the UEFA Champions League quarter-final draw in Nyon on Friday 20 March after Manchester United FC and Arsenal FC swelled the Premier League contingent to four by eliminating Italian opposition on Wednesday.

Hopefully Bruno won't stab anyone at the draw...

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Martin Rogers: England’s Big Four Dominate Europe Again

It will take something special to stop Liverpool, United, Chelsea and Arsenal from continuing England’s stranglehold on the competition.

And if the Special One couldn’t do it, who can?

UEFA Champions League: Fallout

Mourinho Accused of Punching Fan

Arsenal Fans Attacked in Rome

Eyewitness: Rome does not deserve to host Champions League Final

Jose Backs United to Win All Five

Totti fails to hold back tears

Lyon blame French soccer for early exit

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday Results & Reports

Manchester United
2 - 0
Inter Milan

Giggs a class above as United go through

Richard Williams: Giggs & Scholes trump Vieira

Special One appears especially lost

Special One talked the talk but Inter let him down

Roma 1 - 0 Arsenal (1-1 aggregate, Arsenal win 7-6 on penalties)
Penalty drama brings relief after arduous night of close calls
Wenger praises mental strength
Roma lack finishing touch but future is bright at Emirates

Barcelona 5 - 2 Lyon
Quality eventually rises to the top
Bring on English clubs, says bullish Pep

Porto 0 - 0 Atletico Madrid
No goals equals advancement for Porto

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford

Manchester United
2 - 0
Inter Milan

Mourinho's Inter undone by United

England: Premer League Report

Fulham 1 - 2 Blackburn

Early Dempsey strike not enough for Cottagers

MLS Cup to be played at Qwest Field

The league announced Wednesday that the 14th championship game of the top professional soccer league in the United State and Canada would be played Nov. 22 at Seattle's Qwest Field.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Information

Please note the later kick-offs in the United States due to Daylight Savings Time.

Manchester United vs. Inter Milan
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 (19:45 GMT) Old Trafford, Manchester, England
U.S. TV: ESPN2, ESPN360 (3:30pm EDT)
Club games don't come much bigger than this one: the reigning English, European and World champions against the side bidding for a fourth straight Serie A title in Italy, managed by a character who, at Porto and Chelsea, usually got the better of Sir Alex Ferguson. To add to the tension and fascination, the tie is perfectly poised at 0-0 after the first leg...
Fergie and Jose equally optimistic of success
Rooney vows to attack
Team News

Roma vs. Arsenal
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 (20:45 CET) Stadio Olimpico, Rome, Italy
U.S. TV: ESPN360 live
Arsenal have a one-goal lead to protect, and will be looking to kill off the tie with an early away goal in Italy. Rome though will look to stifle the Gunners' play, and provide the Premier League side with a scare of their own...
Young Arsenal look to come of age in Rome
Team News

Barcelona vs. Lyon
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 (20:45 CET) Estadio Camp Nou, Barcelona, Spain
U.S. TV: ESPN360 live, ESPN Deportes live, ESPN Classic Tape Delay at 6:00pm EDT
Barcelona can take another step towards putting their season back on track on Wednesday evening when Olympique Lyonnais visit Camp Nou, but the French side will be hoping to reassert themselves in Europe.
Lyon must beat Barca to win acceptance

FC Porto vs. Atletico Madrid
Wednesday, 11 March 2009 (20:45 CET) Estadio do Dragao, Porto, Portugal
The Spanish team know that they have to score at if they are to make it through to the quarter-finals at the expense of Porto...

The Joy of Six: Great Individual Performances

From Roy Keane leading United back from dead in Turin to Claudio Gentile suffocating El Diego dry, The Guardian selects half-a-dozen great individual football displays.

Ljungberg recovered from surgery, back in Seattle

Seattle plays its first MLS match on March 19 against the New York Red Bulls, but it's likely Ljungberg - the fourth-highest-paid player in the league at $1.3 million per season - will be just a spectator on opening night.

Been waiting for an excuse to use this one...

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Results & Reports

Liverpool 4 - 0 Real Madrid

Gerrard leads rout of pitiful Real

Real defender Pepe fumes at Torres' opener
Madrid feel the heat from Spanish press

Juventus 2 - 2 Chelsea
Essien helps Chelsea see off Ranieri
Patience a virtue for Chelsea

Bayern Munich 7 - 1 Sporting Lisbon

Groundhog Day

Panathinaikos 1 - 2 Villarreal
Spaniards withstand Greek cauldron

Richard Jolly at Anfield

Liverpool 4 - 0 Real Madrid

Liverpool blow Madrid away

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

At noontime on Sunday, I picked up my son, as he needed a lift back home after another night of relentless partying. Even though he was clearly the worse for wear, I gave him a rundown of the previous day's Bundesliga results and what they meant for the table.

Hangover and sleep-deprivation personified stared out of the car window for a while, then he said: "You know what? I think Hertha in first place is way more shocking than Hoffenheim in first place."

Uli's son?

Riquelme quits Argentina and blames Maradona

"We don't think the same way. We don't share the same codes of ethics. While he is the coach of the national team, we can't work together."

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Information

Please note the later kick-offs in the United States due to Daylight Savings Time.

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid
Tuesday, 10 March 2009 (20:45 CET) Anfield, Liverpool, England
U.S. TV: ESPN2, ESPN360 (3:30pm EDT)
With their hopes of domestic glory fading away, both Liverpool and Real Madrid are set to put all their eggs in the Champions League basket. But by the end of Tuesday night, one of these two illustrious European juggernauts will be forced to leave empty handed.
Rafa: I deserve more credit for Liverpool's European success

Juventus vs. Chelsea
Tuesday March 10, 2009 (20.45 CET) Stadio Olimpico di Torino, Italy
U.S. TV: ESPN360 live, ESPN Classic Tape Delay at 6:00pm EDT
After winning the first leg 1-0 at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea travel to Turin hoping to finish the job and dump Juventus out of the competition.
Cautious Hiddink lines up Essien to start

Bayern Munich vs. Sporting Lisbon
Tuesday, March 10 2009 (20:45 CET) Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany
Impossible task, uphill struggle, thankless job- just some of the headlines greeting Sporting CP ahead of their Champions League second-leg against Bayern Munich.

Panathinaikos vs. Villarreal
Tuesday March 10, 2009 (20.45 CET) Olympic Stadium "Spiros Louis", Athens, Greece
U.S. TV: ESPN360
The Greeks lead on away goals, but can Villarreal stun the home crowd in this second leg encounter?

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"If you want me to rule out ever being Manchester United manager, I can't. Special clubs need special managers, so in theory it could work."
The Special One sets his stall out.

"Yes, Manchester United are the best team in England, but you have to ask how good has the Premier League been since I left? If I was at a top club in England I think the title race might have been a lot closer this year."
And he's still as modest as ever.

"Do I feel now, because we've rested players, we'll automatically beat Stoke? Absolutely not. I wish life was like that. God almighty, I'd never get out of bed, just post me the results!"
Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill admits resting players for the Uefa Cup will not guarantee wins in the Premier League. He was right.

"They'll have to write it down on their hands - if we get a corner in the last minute, play it short....I need a beer, a couple of beers...flipping hell."
Sunderland manager Ricky Sbragia is a tad miffed about conceding an equaliser to Spurs in the last minute.

"You only live round the corner!"
Spurs fans to Man Utd supporters at Wembley - a surprising amount had southern accents.

"Oooh Bentley...He went to Wemb-er-ly! He missed a penalty!"
Arsenal fans during the FA Youth Cup quarter-final against Tottenham, days after David Bentley missed a spot-kick in the Carling Cup final.


Sid Lowe in Spain

With a team in freefall the coach says a once-proud club have hit rock bottom, but the slide towards oblivion has barely begun.

Vultures circle to pick over the bones of Valencia's rotting carcass.

Kevin McCarra: English play minor roles in Europe's cosmopolitan cast

The Champions League is the most cosmopolitan of competitions, and the English are playing the minor roles.

Europe feels like home for just about everyone but Britain's finest.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Bayern Munich are failing to convince as the Bundesliga title race continues its topsy-turvy course.

Klinsmann still on the rack even after five-goal win.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Inter and Juve were victorious and Roma got a point, but all have injury concerns ahead of games against English opponents.

Injuries plague Serie A's Champions League contestants.

Americans On The Continent: Bombs Away Bocanegra

After being suspended for Rennes’ match against Lorient in the Coupe de France, Carlos Bocanegra returned to help keep his team’s title hopes alive against Auxerre with a winning header in the first 10 minutes.

The Rest

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

On Saturday night, as referee Fernández Borbalán blew the final whistle in Madrid's derby, I got an email from an Atlético supporter: "Great! We broke Real Madrid's winning streak, missed tons of chances, plus they scored in an offside position. Please add a fourth level of happiness for us. We screwed Real Madrid and can still feel victimised. This is beyond Nirvana..."

Monday, March 09, 2009

Celebrity Lookalikes: Rafa Benitez and Buster Bluth

One of these men is a maladjusted man-child with a list of phobias a mile long, an Oedipus complex and a complete lack of the mental equipment required to function in modern society. The other is a character on a TV show. Which is which?

The Cristiano Ronaldo Carnival Float

Oh, Dear...

The Big Interview: Robin van Persie

It has been a poor season for Arsenal but Robin van Persie has stood out while others have toiled. The Dutch striker has his own style – thanks, perhaps, to the fact that his parents are artists.

The Ball Artist

RVP and Mrs. RVP.

Jose Mourinho admits Inter Milan's defensive injury crisis is giving him sleepless nights

Jose Mourinho, the Inter Milan manager, says his injury-riddled defence will be giving him sleepless nights as the Italian champions prepare for their Champions League test at Old Trafford on Wednesday.

Paul Wilson: Time to stope pretending the Premier League is exciting

The relegation battle may be consuming, but that doesn't mean the Premier League can congratulate itself.

Time to drop pretence of a feast at the top table.

Martin Rogers: Latest terror threat in sports a wake-up call

Politics and sports are not supposed to mix, yet they invariably do, recently evident when Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger gave European soccer a wake-up when he admitted his team had suffered terror threats. Coming just a week after an international sports team, the Sri Lankan cricket side, was targeted by terrorists while on tour in Pakistan, Wenger’s remarks ignited a flurry of comments and conjecture – especially in England.

Americans in the UK: Johnson’s Landmark Week

Cardiff City striker Eddie Johnson grabbed his first goal in the UK on Saturday, tallying the third goal for the Bluebirds during their 3-0 triumph over Doncaster Rovers. He was also named Man of the Match for Tuesday’s sensational performance against Barnsley.

The Rest

Italy: Serie A Weekend Roundups

Inter remain seven clear of Juventus after both sides win, Beckham shines and Inzaghi hits three as Milan win. Elsewhere, Fiorentina play terribly and lose.



Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

Honors even in the Madrid Derby, Valencia shocked by Numancia and Barcelona win with ease.


England: FA Cup & Premier League Reports

Premier League
Sunderland 1 - 1 Tottenham
Keane strikes late to rescue point for Spurs

FA Cup
Coventry City 0 - 2 Chelsea
Drogba on the way back to his best

Fulham 0 - 4 Manchester United
Sir Alex the master juggler leaves Fulham bewitched

Arsenal 3 - 0 Burnley
Eduardo provides a touch of class for Arsenal (includes youtube link)

Richard Jolly at Goodison Park

Everton 2 - 1 Middlesbrough

Everton dare to dream but United await