Friday, August 07, 2009

Bundesliga Weekend Preview: Round 1

The Bundesliga returns this weekend and promises to deliver just as much entertainment and excitement as it did last season. Wolfsburg are looking to defend their title, but Bayern Munich will be desperate to regain their place at the top. And who will be struggling to avoid the drop? These questions and many more will be answered during a fascinating 2009/10 Bundesliga season, which starts today...

Friday 7th August:
VfL Wolfsburg – VfB Stuttgart

Saturday 8th August:
Borussia Dortmund – FC Koeln
FC Nurnberg – Schalke 04
Werder Bremen – Eintracht Frankfurt
Mainz – Bayer Leverkusen
Hoffenheim – Bayern Munich

Sunday 9th August:
VfL Bochum – Bor. Moenchengladbach
SC Freiburg – Hamburg

Arsenal handed Celtic in Champions League draw

The Play-off round will be played on August 18/19 and August 25/26. This season qualifying is split. There is one section for league champions, and another for teams which qualified as "best placed" teams.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Chicago Fire Choke Away Superliga Title

The Superliga is essentially an exercise in pandering- hand pick MLS teams from cities with large Latino populations, match them up with Mexican club teams. Still the prize is a million bucks, so for all of those non-superstar players living on $35k annually there was something to play for. So it must have been with great regret that Mike Banner, no doubt driving his Ford Focus home to his studio apartment to eat ramen noodles for dinner, looked back on his penalty kick miss which set the stage for Tigres of Mexico to clinch the 2009 Cup.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"Beijing. An amazing city. Had the Olympics and that put it on the map."
Commentator Warren Barton ignoring thousands of years of Chinese history at the Beijing Guoan v Hull City Asia Cup game.

Sir Bobby:
"We can't replace Gary Speed. Where do you get an experienced player like him with a left foot and a head?"
Discussing the unique virtues of Gary Speed

"We didn't underestimate them. They were just a lot better than we thought."
After England squeaked past Cameroon at the 1990 World Cup

"Well, we got nine, and you can't score more than that."
His post-match verdict after a 9-0 defeat of Luxembourg.

The Rest

The Mill +

Thursday's Rumours


English Premier League Season Previews: Chelsea & Liverpool

Chelsea have the quality and thirst to win the title and a first European Cup, but is Carlo Ancelotti the man to deliver them?

Title No19 after a 19-year drought is Liverpool's main goal but can Rafael Benítez invest wisely and quickly enough to deliver?

Liverpool sign Alberto Aquilani for £20m to fill Xabi Alonso's berth

The 25-year-old has been hampered by injury at Roma and made his last appearance for the club in their Champions League defeat by Arsenal in March. A gifted, attack-minded midfielder, Aquilani made only 14 appearances in Serie A last season and is still recovering from an operation on his right ankle in May. He is not expected to be fit for the start of the new Premier League season, which begins for Liverpool at White Hart Lane on 16 August, and Benítez will have to be convinced of the Italian's fitness to complete the transfer.

CL Round-Up: UEFA Cup Winners Shakhtar Donetsk Dumped Out Of The Champions League

It was another dramatic night of Champions League qualifiers with the shock of the round occurring in Romania, where little known Timisoara shocked Shakhtar Donetsk by holding them to a 0-0 draw defeating them on away goals. reviews the action in Europe’s premier club competition…

Milan Sign Klaas Jan Huntelaar From Real Madrid

A statement on Milan's official website reads:

"A.C. Milan communicate they have reached an agreement with Real Madrid for the purchase of striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.

Klaas-Jan bags a fish. But can he bag the goals for Milan??!!

Messi scores twice as Barcelona beat Seattle 4-0

Blinding in his nuclear peach uniform, Messi put on a display of dominance Wednesday night for an American audience getting a chance to see arguably the world's best team. Messi scored twice in the first half and FC Barcelona continued its preseason tour of the U.S. with a 4-0 win over the Seattle Sounders FC.

Sheedy's shot from the stands...

Altidore to join Hull City on loan

United States national team forward Jozy Altidore will join English Premier League club Hull City on a season-long loan.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Martin Rogers: Summer’s top stories and backstories

As soon as the final kick of the 2008-09 season gave European soccer two months to put its feet up, the sport’s movers and shakers exploded into life to manufacture the busiest summer in recent memory.

English Premier League Season Previews: Bolton & Burnley

Bolton: A comfortable mid-table finish is a realistic aim for Gary Megson's improving side, but it still may not win over his many detractors.

There is a romantic air about Burnley's return to the top flight and if they can find someone to score regularly they have a good chance of survival.

Rooney: I can't fall asleep without the vacuum cleaner

But football superstar Wayne Rooney surely has the most bizarre bedtime routine when he needs help nodding off. He has revealed that the only way he can fall asleep is to the roaring sound of a vacuum cleaner - and failing that he turns on girlfriend Coleen McLoughlin's hairdryer.

Ten to Watch at Manchester United

Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has admitted that Cristiano Ronaldo is irreplaceable - so he isn’t going to try. Instead he will place his faith in the young talent already at Old Trafford to fill the void.

The Mill + ++

Wednesday's Rumours



Spanish Inquisition: Youngsters Ready To Break Out In La Liga’s Cyrus C. Malek profiles some of La Liga’s most talented young players that could climb out of obscurity to make very big waves this season...

Jozy Altidore: Premier League Here I Come

A few hours later, another message was posted, which read, "Morning twitter world! Just woke up, got the jet waiting on the runway ... England here I come!"

Jozy's new gaffer...?

England: Severity of injuries caused to be taken into account for player suspensions

The Football Association has announced that disciplinary chiefs will be able to take into account the severity of injuries caused by fouls when dealing with red card offences from now on. Bans can now be increased – or reduced – by the regulatory commissions who will "take account of a number of important specified factors including intent, force and injury".

Xabi Alonso finally signs for Real Madrid in £35m deal

Real Madrid’s tortuous pursuit of Xabi Alonso reached a conclusion last night when the Liverpool midfield player joined the Spanish club in a deal that could ultimately be worth £35 million.

Van Der Sar Sidelined for Eight Weeks

Manchester United goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar is expected to be sidelined for two months after undergoing surgery on a broken finger and bone in his left hand.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

U.S. TV Footie Update From NC Gunner DB

As for the TV coverage in September... On Tuesday and Wednesday Fox has first pick and it remains to be seen whether that first pick will be on FSC or FSN. Setanta has 2nd pick. Fox has 3rd which will go on FSC or FSN. Fox has 4th pick which will go on Fox Sports Espanol. Setanta gets the rest, I think. Other new stuff...includes....NO TOMMY SMYTH!!!!

- Live Studio for Pre-Game and Post-Game on Champion League match days.

- Highlight Shows will be compiled by FSC.

- FSC will show UEFA’s weekly Champions League Magazine Show (which comes out every week throughout the season, even on non-match weeks)

- Online Interactive Viewing through

- Commentary from the stadium by English language UEFA team.

- Launch of Fox Soccer Channel HD at the end of 2009.

- HD matches to be broadcast from the start of the Champions League 09-10 season on FSN HD, and the Final Match will be broadcast on FX HD.

- Tuesday match days will have 3 live matches: One game on FSN HD, a second match on FSC (in HD starting in 2010), and a third match on FOX Sports Espanol which will have an English language audio feed that can be turned on.

- Wednesday match days will have 2 live matches: One on FSC, and the second on FOX Sports Espanol.

- Fox Soccer Channel is in 35 million homes. FSN is in 83 million homes. FX is in as many homes as ESPN (98 million homes).

- All FOX Champions League programming will be in native HD, not a up-convert that ESPN uses.

Starting in January 2010, FSC will broadcast three English Premier League games in HD, and 4 Italian Serie A games in HD each weekend.

Americans in the UK: Season Preview

With the European season just around the corner,'s Matthew Braine previews the upcoming years for Americans plying their trade in the UK.

Russian fans urged to drink whisky to ward off swine flu

Russian soccer fans have been told to drink whisky on their trip to Wales for next month’s World Cup qualifier to ward off the H1N1 swine flu virus, the head of the country’s supporter association (VOB) said on Monday.

Tim Vickery in South America

In major tournaments earlier this decade, the Brazilian press consistently irritated me by heaping praise on the England side. They're much better than they were, they've made great technical progress, it's no longer just kick and rush - that type of thing.

Firstly the pallid, stagnant football produced by the Sven-Goran Eriksson's side in its three big tournaments was unworthy of such plaudits.

Secondly, the observation was plain wrong. In terms of the skill level, the desire to impose themselves on a game and even a sense of joyful expression, Sven's sides could not hold a candle to those served up by an illustrious predecessor - Bobby Robson.

So why the confusion?

Jack Wilshere heads list of future Arsenal stars

Arsenal's lack of transfer activity this summer means the club's much vaunted teenagers could be given more opportunity to shine.

Clean Sanchez...

The Mill + ++

Tuesday's Rumours



English Premier League Season Previews: Birmingham City and Blackburn Rovers

Birmingham City:
Alex McLeish will be under pressure from fans and the board to provide watchable football. But it is hard to see where the goals will come from.

Blackburn Rovers: There's only so long Rovers supporters would tolerate being a poor man's Stoke, no matter how little Ewood Park tickets cost.

U.S. focus back on World Cup qualifying and Mexico

The days of summer fun and experimentation are over for U.S. Soccer. For Bob Bradley's men, it's time to get back to the important business of keeping the qualification train on track.

August 12

U.S. vs. Mexico
Estadio Azteca; Mexico City
4 p.m. EDT

Richard Jolly's English Coca Cola Championship 2009-10 Club by Club Breakdown

Predicted Final Table:

1. West Brom
2. Sheff Utd 3. Cardiff 4. Reading 5. Middlesbrough 6. Nottm Forest 7. Derby 8. Ipswich 9. QPR 10. Leicester 11. C Palace 12. Bristol C 13. Sheff Wed 14. Newcastle 15. Preston 16. Peterborough 17. Watford 18. Coventry 19. Swansea 20. Doncaster 21. Scunthorpe 22. Blackpool 23. Plymouth 24. Barnsley


Monday, August 03, 2009

Monday MLS Breakdown: Preseason Expectations Yield to Regular Season Realities for RSL

Real Salt Lake entered the 2009 campaign expecting to compete for the Western Conference crown. After some early season stumbles, RSL has made a few changes as it seeks to reach those preseason goals. Kyle McCarthy spent some time in Utah last week and has all the details.

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours


English Premier League Season Previews: Arsenal and Aston Villa

A top-four finish is far from guaranteed but Arsène Wenger feels a new formation, rather than new players, will elevate his team.

Aston Villa: Maybe the alarm bells should have been ringing at the end of last season when Randy Lerner suggested 'more modest' spending. Preview

Beasley wants more playing time in Scotland

Beasley was involved in a mix-up that led to a crucial second goal in a 3-0 loss to Brazil on June 18. Beasley apologized for the error, but coach Bob Bradley dropped him for the rest of the tournament.

The Joy of Six: Great Finishers

From Gerd Müller to Romario, The Guardian celebrates the pick of a supposedly dying breed.

Cooper Transfers to TSV 1860 Munich

FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper has been transferred to a second-tier team in Germany, pending a medical examination.

Pre-season Wrap: Wilshere stars, Toffees held

Real Madrid target Xabi Alonso made a brief appearance as a strong Liverpool team suffered a heavy defeat in Spain. Midfielder Alonso came off the bench with six minutes remaining as Espanyol officially opened their new stadium, and reports in Spain indicate it may be his final appearance for Liverpool.