Friday, September 18, 2009

Vive le Foot!

Gudjohnsen: “I didn’t come to Monaco to go boating!” Showboating then?

After a weekend of 14 goals, Ligue 1 looks like itself again: a series of physical games littered with poor finishing.

Bordeaux made quite a statement at Juve in a Champions League group that will be incredibly tight. They will rotate the team tomorrow which is no big deal considering the depth of the Girondins bench (Gouffran, Bellion). Boulogne keeps on surprising by gaining points without scoring. Marouane Chamakh (MOR), the king of ADD, expressed his desire to replace Trezeguet at Juventus on Tuesday while Wenger hinted at a January offer for the player…

BoulogneBordeaux 1 - 2

plays well and wins small. Grenoble is out of its depth in Ligue 1 this year.

GrenobleRennes 0 – 2

could have beaten Lyon last weekend but decided to stick to their “win one, lose one” schedule. Nancy scores goals but Lorient doesn’t lose at home.

LorientNancy 2 - 1

There was no Gudjohnsen (ICE) effect but Monaco still won its PSG home game by 2 goals in the last 5 minutes. Meanwhile Nice conceded 9 goals in their last three games. The Riviera derby will be entertaining.

Nice – Monaco 2 - 3

Auxerre finally won a game with the return of Jelen (POL). St Etienne is struggling as usual. Expect a game of teams that do not want to lose; and they won’t .

St Etienne – Auxerre 0 – 0

Is it so wrong to have no thoughts about a game between bland teams currently in the 12th and 15th position in the league? Non.

Sochaux– Valenciennes 1 - 0

Pippo crucified OM on Tuesday and that’s a shame because les Phoceens gave everything they had but showed their relative lack of experience in the competition. Lucho Gonzalez (ARG) will need a few more games and Brandao better service. Montpellier got lucky vs. Lens but they still refuse to lose and are now 3rd place in the league. OM has not won at home yet…hardly the mark of a Champion…

Marseille – Montpellier 2 - 0

This is the North derby between the flashy metropolis and blue collar Lens. Think Packers vs. Bears. Lens and their fans will not miss an opportunity to claim the Northern Crown this weekend.

Lens – Lille 2 - 1

TFC did really well in the Europa league with a courageous victory in Belgrade which didn’t quite silence the rumors of Gignac (FRA) being a fraud…they will pay for their mid-week efforts against a motivated yet inefficient Le Mans.

ToulouseLe Mans 1 - 1

As if Mevut Erding’s surgery was not enough, PSG will be missing a suspended and temperamental Sessegnon in what promises to be the highlight of the weekend. Lyon got pretty beaten up by the Viola thugs on Wednesday but they won with a Pjanic (BOS) goal. Bodmer and Bastos are on the injury list.

PSG – Lyon 1 - 2

Got five correct scores last weekend including my first perfect one…

The Frenchman!

Top 10: Manchester Derbies

The history of the Manchester derby can be traced back as far as 1881 when, in a friendly on Nov 12, West Gorton (St. Marks) – the forerunners of City – played at home to Newton Heath, later United. The "Heathens" won 3-0 and the affair was described, in the local press, as "a pleasant game".

Nigel Reo-Coker sent home after row with Martin O'Neill

The Aston Villa manager, Martin O'Neill, has sent his midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker home from training after an argument on the training ground between the pair.

O'Neill denied reports the pair had grappled each other and claimed they had only a "verbal confrontation".

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

Two mouth-watering Premier League derbies take place this weekend as Manchester United host bitter rivals Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur make the short trip to Chelsea.

Preview I

Lawro's Predictions

Sir Alex says City are cocky

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

AC Milan host Bologna on Sunday looking to pick up where they left off in midweek. Fiorentina will have Romanian striker Adrian Mutu available for Sunday's clash at Roma.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Previews

Atletico Madrid fans could be forgiven for fearing the worst as their out-of-sorts side make the daunting trip to Barcelona.

Guillem Balague's Preview

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Friday, September 18 (all times local)

20:30 Schalke - Wolfsburg

Saturday, September 19
15:30 Bayern Munich - Nuernberg
15:30 Bochum - Mainz
15:30 Stuttgart - Koeln
15:30 Hannover - Dortmund
15:30 M’gladbach - Hoffenheim

Sunday, September 20
15:30 Frankfurt - Hamburg
17:30 Hertha Berlin - Freiburg
17:30 Bayer Leverkusen - Werder Bremen


Spanish Inquisition: Can Anyone Break The Real Madrid-Barcelona Duopoly This Season?

The season is only two weeks old but it already looks to be a two-horse race for the title.'s Subhankar Mondal wonders if any side other than Real Madrid and Barcelona can win the league.....

Friday's MLS Forecast

The Forecast discusses the hit MLS will take in the pocketbook next summer to gain some respect among the American soccer community before unveiling its Week 27 selections.

French fan in critical condition after Belgrade violence

A French soccer fan is in a critical condition after rival supporters clashed ahead of a Europa League match on Thursday, Belgrade’s B92 television reported.

Premier League Heroes: There's Only One Keano

Perhaps the last true box-to-box midfielder to grace England's top flight, he possessed an ability to strike fear into opponents unlike any other and played with a passion and urgency that inspired team-mates around him to raise their performance levels.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Top - 10 Football Mercenaries

They kiss the badge, they wave to the crowd, they cry buckets of tears and vow they're ready to shed blood for the club.

Until a better offer comes along, that is.

South African police plan 'shoot to kill' policy ahead of 2010 World Cup

The new police commissioner in one of the world's most crime-ridden countries is pushing for a return to the apartheid-era policy which would allow his officers to shoot criminals in the back.

England: Premier League Signings

Lucas Neill to Everton

Guillermo Franco to West Ham

Carlisle: Despite uphill battle, U.S. leads qualifying fight

As the U.S. men's national team rose to prominence within CONCACAF, its World Cup qualifying journeys took on a familiar pattern. The Americans would win at home, lose at Mexico and Costa Rica, then scrounge up a smattering of wins and draws elsewhere during their travels. That combination was enough to clinch a trip to the World Cup finals with a game or two (or three) to spare. Final-day white-knuckle qualifiers were for the region's lesser lights.

Not anymore.

Not seeing much use...

MLS to Take Break During World Cup Group Phase

MLS announced Wednesday that it will not play any games from June 11-25. The league also does not plan to schedule games on the days of the World Cup semifinal and final.

Wednesday's Champions League Reports & Analysis

General Round-Up

Inter Milan 0 - 0 Barcelona
Wasteful Barca let Inter off the hook
Carter: A tale of two strikers
Player Ratings

Liverpool 1 - 0
Kuyt gives labored Liverpool win
Player Ratings

Standard Liege 2 - 3 Arsenal

Arsenal cannot do things the easy way
Harris:Gunners find excitement in clean sweep
Player Ratings

Dynamo Kiev 3 - 1
Rubin Kazan
Astounding home comeback

Sevilla 2 - 0
Unirea Urziceni
Plain sailing for Andalusians

Stuttgart 1 - 1 Rangers

Rangers claim road draw

Lyon 1 - 0 Fiorentina
Hosts see off ten-men Viola

Olympiakos 1 - 0 AZ Alkmaar
Ugly home win

Best and Worst of the Week

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Champions League: Top Emerging Talents

Away from the big-name stars who will make their presence felt in this season's Champions League, here are 10 emerging talents to keep tabs on.

Wayne Rooney's Top 10 Strops

Wayne Rooney has been praised for his growing levels of maturity over the last 12 months with Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson citing passion for his reaction to being substituted against Besiktas in their Champions League contest on Tuesday night. Here we look back over some of the striker's less sportsmanlike moments.

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Funny how coverage of football seems to be going end over end, in a repetitive loop which sometimes is filled with self-fulfilling prophecies. Take Barcelona's trip to Milan on Wednesday, for example.

Wednesday's Champions League Action

Today's Matches:

Liverpool vs. Debrecen
Lyon vs. Fiorentina
Dynamo Kiev vs. Rubin Kazan
Inter Milan vs. Barcelona
Sevilla vs. Unirea Urziceni
Stuttgart vs. Rangers
Olympiakos vs. AZ Alkmaar
Standard Liege vs. Arsenal

32-Team Guide

Is Zlatan Ibrahimovic worth 66 million euros?

The new van Basten or Barcelona's downfall? The striker goes back to Inter this week doing what he does best: dividing opinions

Diego Maradona checks into spa to combat stress levels and weight

Diego Maradona is in Italy to receive medical treatment to combat his weight increase and rising stress levels following Argentina's two straight losses in World Cup qualifying.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"You ask 100 people, 99 will say it's very bad and the 100th will be Mark Hughes."
Arsene Wenger crosses Hughes off his Christmas card list after the Manchester City manager defended Emmanuel Adebayor's alleged stamp on Robin van Persie.

"If somebody stamps on your head in that way, you wouldn't say, 'thank you very much' and turn the other cheek. Only Jesus Christ did that."
Wenger backs Van Persie for speaking out about the unholy incident.

"It's like Alan Partridge living out of a suitcase."
Goalkeeper Scott Flinders on latest club Hartlepool - the fifth side he has been loaned to by Crystal Palace.

"Certainly we saw the best of it in those highlights."
Steve Claridge on the Sheffield Wednesday-Nottingham Forest game, Football League Show.

"Without being too harsh, Croatia were appalling."
Teddy Sheringham at half-time during the England-Croatia game.

"There's only one Michael Jackson, one Michael Jackson. There used to be two, but now there's just you, walking in a Jackson wonderland."
In honour of the Marine FC midfielder.

The Rest

Tuesday's Champions League Reports & Analysis

General Round-Up

Juventus 1 - 1 Bordeaux

Iaquinta Opener Cancelled By Plasil
Player Ratings

Marseille 1 - 2 AC Milan
Inzaghi double snatches the points
Player Ratings

Chelsea 1 - 0 Porto
Anelka gives Chelsea labored victory
Is English Football deluding itself?

Ancelotti unfazed by scrappy win

Besiktas 0 - 1 Manchester United
Scholes uses his head
Player Ratings

FC Zurich 2 - 5 Real Madrid
Comfortable in the end for Los Blancos

Maccabi Haifa 0 - 3 Bayern Munich
Hard fought victory in Israel

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Tim Vickery in South America

Dunga has steered Brazil through to World Cup qualification with matches in hand, and has picked up the Copa America and the Confederations Cup along the way. Maradona, meanwhile, is sitting in the hot seat with his Argentina in danger of missing out on the World Cup for the first time since 1970.

So why has one of them taken so easily to coaching and the other is floundering?

Italy: Serie A Best and Worst Teams of the Week

The Best

The Worst

Take a guess...

Tuesday's Champions League Action

Today's Matches:

Juventus vs. Bordeaux
Maccabi Haifa vs. Bayern Munich
Zurich vs. Real Madrid
Marseille vs. Milan
Chelsea vs. Porto
Atletico Madrid vs. APOEL
Wolfsburg vs. CSKA Moscow
Besiktas vs. Manchester United

32-Team Guide

Is the Champions League the new Carling Cup?

Sid Lowe in Spain

The Atlético Madrid owner's call for 'peace and tolerance' has backfired spectacularly as fans revolt at the Vicente Calderón.

Atlético Madrid turn drama into crisis as Gil jnr keeps on digging.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Bayern's French winger and his manager celebrated with a very public show of affection after the Munich side came from behind to rout Dortmund.

Franck Ribéry and Louis van Gaal discover the power of love.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

The former Chelsea manager has taken over at his home club to little fanfare and with a modest initial ambition – to stop conceding goals.

Claudio Ranieri builds from the back in quest to plug Roma's leaks.

Emmanuel Adebayor faces two charges over conduct in Arsenal match

A statement from the FA said: "The Football Association today issued two charges against Manchester City's Emmanuel Adebayor following Saturday's Premier League fixture between Manchester City and Arsenal. Under the fast-track disciplinary process, Adebayor has been charged with violent conduct following an incident with Robin van Persie, which resulted in the Arsenal player receiving facial injuries."Referee Mark Clattenburg has advised the FA that he did not see this incident, but has confirmed that had he done so, he would have sent Adebayor off for violent conduct.

Americans In The UK: Mike Grella Opens Account, Helps Set Record

Leeds United striker Mike Grella scored his first English goal and in the process powered his club to a new record.

Americans On The Continent: Impregnable Defense

Despite their inability to score for the second week on the trot, Steve Cherundolo and Hannover 96 put in a vintage defensive display to secure a vital point away from home.

Monday MLS Breakdown: Cunningham's Renaissance Sparks FC Dallas

FC Dallas forward Jeff Cunningham tormented Los Angeles in FCD's shocking 6-3 win at the Home Depot Center on Saturday night. Kyle McCarthy examines Cunningham's torrid recent form before surveying the major happenings around the league during a busy Week 26.

Davis: MLS playoff race tighter than ever

Where things stand in MLS after the 26th week of play:

Phil Ball in Spain

I'm writing this from Oviedo, in the region of Asturias in the north of Spain. It took me seven hours to get here by bus on Sunday, and when I arrived my host unfortunately (but very kindly) took me on a tour of the city which was actually en fiestas - specifically the Fiestas de San Mateo in which people were making the habitual amount of noise, and eating and drinking as if the word "recession" were some kind of myth associated only with the rest of Europe.

Eduardo wins appeal over Champions League ban

"Following examination of all the evidence, notably the declarations of both the referee and the referees' assessor, as well as the various video footage, it was not established to the panel's satisfaction that the referee had been deceived in taking his decision on the penalty.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Greater Manchester police blame Emmanuel Adebayor for crowd trouble

Adebayor will almost certainly be banned for three matches for the stamp on Robin van Persie that left the Arsenal striker with a gashed cheekbone and accusing his former team-mate of a "mindless and malicious" assault. City's £25m summer signing will also face sanctions for celebrating his goal by running the length of the pitch to antagonise the away supporters. The stamping offence is expected to be fast-tracked through the disciplinary system, meaning his ban will start with Sunday's derby against Manchester United.

Adebayor Perspective

Perhaps the most remarkable thing about the big man's celebration was his willingness to sprint the length of the field. No Arsenal supporter had ever seen him track back to his own half and yet, here he was, giving it the Hulk Hogans to a cacophony of boos and flying burgers. It would appear shock caused the collective dropping of instruments to hand, as one unfortunate City steward was knocked unconscious.

Liverpool Sign Massive New Shirt Sponsorship Deal

Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez may find his transfer coffers boosted soon, after the Reds announced that they had signed the biggest shirt sponsorship deal in their history with Standard Chartered Bank. The company's name will appear on the team's shirts for the next four years, beginning in July 2010 and running through to the end of the 2013-14 season.

Carlsberg kit comes to an end after 17 years...

Calcio Debate: Is This The Worst Milan Team In 25 Years?

The Rossoneri stumbled to a goalless draw at Livorno at the weekend, and Carlo Garganese fears the worst this season for Leonardo’s men…

Spain: La Liga Weekend Reviews

Barcelona kept up their strong start to the season with a 2-0 victory at Getafe, while Real Madrid beat Espanyol 3-0.

Sunday: Valencia maintained their perfect start to the season with a comfortable 4-2 away win over Real Valladolid.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

Sampdoria and Genoa have moved level with Juventus at the top of the Serie A table while there were also wins for Inter Milan and Fiorentina.

England: Premier League Weekend Review

Emmanuel Adebayor stole the headlines as Manchester City stunned Arsenal, while both Manchester United and Chelsea were victorious upon the Premier League's return following the international break.

Kevin Palmer at White Hart Lane

Ten-man United burst Spurs' bubble
Tottenham 1 - 3 Manchester United

Richard Jolly at Anfield & St. Andrews

Brilliant Benayoun silences dissenting voices.
Liverpool 4 - 0 Burnley

Fortune favours the brave at St. Andrews
Birmingham 0 - 1 Aston Villa