Friday, November 06, 2009

Vive le Foot!

Ligue 1 teams had an amazing week in the Champions League (not so much in the Europa) that somewhat validated my prediction of French teams being real contenders this year. While Bordeaux won with class and Lyon once again upset Liverpool in the same manner they did 2 weeks ago, Marseille destroyed Zurich
and are now in a position to make Real and Milan sweat...

The end of a Vieira era...

The shock match this weekend will be Lyon - Marseille, two teams that will find themselves quite exhausted from their European ties...It's a must win for Les Phoceens who need to stay close to a Champions League position and for Les Gones to keep up with leader Bordeaux...

Meanwhile ahead of the Ireland qualifyers, Interist Patrick Vieira expressed his discontent over his non-selection with Les Bleus for the November 14 and November 18 ties making his participation in the World Cup in South Africa a priority...He might not have to worry about it....

The Frenchman

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

Fireworks are expected on Sunday when Premier League leaders Chelsea host second-placed Manchester United at Stamford Bridge. Elsewhere, Phil Brown is under pressure for his Hull City side to pick up a positive result against Stoke City, in-form Arsenal travel to Wolverhampton Wanderers, Manchester City welcome North West rivals Burnley to Eastlands while Tottenham Hotspur and Sunderland clash at White Hart Lane.

Preview II

Lawro's Predictions

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Bayern face Schalke, Hoffenheim host Wolfsburg and Dortmund head to Werder in Round 12...

Bayer Leverkusen – Eintracht Frankfurt

Bayern Munich – Schalke
Borussia M’gladbach – Stuttgart
Mainz– Nuernberg
Hoffenheim – Wolfsburg
Bochum – Freiburg


Hannover – Hamburg
Hertha Berlin – Koeln
Werder Bremen – Borussia Dortmund

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Roma face a daunting trip north this weekend in Serie A when they travel to the San Siro to face a reinvigorated Inter Milan.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

The Madrid derby takes centre stage this weekend as big-spending Real travel to struggling Atletico.

Spanish Inquisition: Atletico Madrid vs Real Madrid - A Tale Of One City's Subhankar Mondal looks ahead to the key clash between Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid in La Liga on Saturday night...

Chelsea vs. Manchester United: Six of the Best

The two top sides in the Premier League in recent years, United and Chelsea have unearthed a rivalry that has been fought on all fronts. While geographical location may not play a part in their feelings towards each other, the chance to establish themselves at the top is the main motivation for success. Here, we take a look at six of the best clashes from over the years.

The Joy of Six: Great European Upsets

From Metz feeding Bernd Schuster ham to Aberdeen lighting up the north, here are some of the great European shocks.

Europa League Wrap

Benfica handed Everton another painful lesson at Goodison Park. The two-goal margin of victory could actually have been larger, the Portuguese side missing several chances to increase the embarrassment for Moyes's men. In the event, Benfica settled for two second half goals, one from Saviola and one from Cardozo.

Fulham's hopes of qualifying from Group E receded after their 2-1 defeat to Roma, former Arsenal star Robert Pires scored twice as Villarreal scored a sensational, quickfire 4-1 win over Lazio to leapfrog the Italians and wrest hold of second place in Group G.


Friday MLS Forecast: Conference Semifinals, Second Leg

The Forecast discusses Real Salt Lake's upset victory in Columbus on Thursday night before it reviews the decisive second legs ahead in the three remaining conference semifinal series.

MLS Playoffs: Major Upset In Columbus As RSL Advance

Real Salt Lake had scored just nine goals on the road all season, and the Columbus Crew had scored a single goal in the last five games, but throw that all out the window – this is the playoffs.

Premier League Heroes: Patrick Vieira: He came from Senegal...

As French Revolutions go, Arsene Wenger's transformation of Arsenal in 1996 was decidedly less brutal than its 1789 predecessor. But at the beating heart of a side that espoused the values of a liberated style of football was a totemic figure who struck fear into the hearts of opponents thanks to his formidable talent and fiery competitiveness. That man was Patrick Vieira.

Little Girlies Playing Soccer

Women, girls, ladies...they're just a little too soft and weak to play soccer. Take New Mexico Lobos player Elizabeth Lambert, seen in this clip on the Marca website. She really needs to toughen up her game...ouch.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Roma vs. Fulham: Clint Dempsey relishing chance to play on stage of his heroes

Clint Dempsey, who grew up in a trailer park in Texas, has admitted he was in awe of Italian greats during his childhood and will relish the chance to play at Rome's Olympic Stadium. The Fulham winger, who was on the bench when Roma stole a draw at Craven Cottage a fortnight ago, is set to start as Roy Hodgson’s team look for the win that would put them in a strong position in Group E of the Europa League.

UEFA Champions League Team Of The Week: Matchday 4 highlights the best performers of Matchday 4.

Bosnia and Herzegovina's and Wolfsburg's Zvjezdan Misimovic...

England: Premier League Report + Table

Three points, two injuries, one hero: this was a mixed night for West Ham United that ended in pure joy. When injuries to Carlton Cole and Hérita Ilunga were followed by a freakish equaliser for Aston Villa, the scene seemed set for yet another promising performance to end in another disappointing result. Instead, Gianfranco Zola’s side dug in when they could have caved in and unearthed a new match-winner in Zavon Hines, the 20-year-old who had gone on for Cole in the first half. He clinched the points in stoppage time

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 11 9 0 2 27
2. 11 8 1 2 25
3. 10 7 1 2 22
4. 10 5 4 1 19
5. 11 6 1 4 19
6. 11 6 0 5 18
7. 11 5 3 3 18
8. 11 5 2 4 17
9. 11 4 4 3 16
10. 11 5 0 6 15
11. 10 4 2 4 14
12. 11 4 1 6 13
13. 10 3 3 4 12
14. 11 3 2 6 11
15. 10 3 2 5 11
16. 11 2 4 5 10
17. 11 2 4 5 10
18. 10 3 1 6 10
19. 11 2 2 7 8
20. 11 2 1 8 7

Blow for Real Madrid as Cristiano Ronaldo injury shows no improvement

Cristiano Ronaldo may face a further three months out if he is forced to have another operation on his injured ankle. Real Madrid have announced that the Portuguese winger has not showed enough improvement to join the first team squad in training and that he has travelled to Amsterdam to see the Dutch ankle specialist Niek van Dijk.

UEFA will probe into Rangers fans

Rangers supporters were involved in a half-time disturbance at the Ghencea Stadium in Bucharest.

Fans were seen on TV destroying seats and challenging match stewards.


UEFA Champions League: Wednesday Reports

Arsenal virtually booked their place in the last 16 of the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, while Liverpool and Rangers' hopes continue to hang in the balance. Inter Milan staged a dramatic comeback win in Kiev while Rubin Kazan once again frustrated Barcelona.

Lyon 1 - 1 Liverpool
Lopez strikes at the death
Richard Williams Column
Player Ratings

Dynamo Kiev 1 - 2 Inter Milan
Late goals gain priceless victory
Player Ratings

Rubin Kazan 0 - 0 Barcelona

Blaugrana frozen out in Russia

Fiorentina 5 - 2 Decrecen

Viola cruise

Arsenal 4 - 1 AZ Alkmaar
Fàbregas Masterclass
Player Ratings

Link to Full Tables

2009 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP: Recurring theme of missed chances as U.S. falls to Italy

With the American team eliminated from the FIFA U-17 World Cup after a 2-1 loss to Italy, an evaluation of the team's performance -- in their knockout round match Wednesday with Italy and in the tournament in general -- is really a matter of recognizing that there are two sides to every coin.

Norman Hubbard on Hull City

For more than two years, they formed the public face of Hull City, each gravitating towards the limelight in a manner that endeared them to some but increasingly irritated others. As chairman and manager, Paul Duffen and Phil Brown tried to project a positive image, regardless of results.

At least something good is being done...

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Previews

Liverpool and Rangers are drinking in the last-chance saloon while Arsenal are hoping to toast their progress into the knockout phase of the UEFA Champions League. Jose Mourinho's Inter Milan, who have not won in the Champions League for over a year, must drop their reputation as draw specialists when they face Dynamo Kiev in Ukraine where the former Chelsea boss will once again be up against ex-Blues striker Andriy Shevchenko..

Dynamo Kiev vs. Inter Milan

Do or die for Italian champions

Lyon vs. Liverpool
Reds on edge

Arsenal vs. AZ Alkmaar
Wenger's chance to break Koeman jinx

Fiorentina vs. Debrecen
Tuscans on track

Rubin Kazan vs. Barcelona
Spaniards out for revenge

South Africa Diary: Day One

The 2010 World Cup will take place in stunning surroundings but there are local concerns about its long-term impact.



Police reacted when about 500 violent supporters of Hansa Rostock tried to breach a police barrier and threw bottles and firecrackers after their club had lost to visiting St. Pauli 2-0. About 1,500 police were on hand for the game between the clubs whose supporters have a history of animosity.


Riot police fired warning shots into the air to hold off rock-throwing fans of the Portuguese soccer team Sporting Lisbon.

2009 FIFA U-17 WORLD CUP: U.S. U-17s Match Up Well Against Italy

If the round-of-16 matchup between the United States and Italy at the Under-17 World Cup (Wednesday, 10 a.m. ET, were to be decided in terms of soccer history, it would be over before it began. If the match turned on the number of international superstars produced by each country, the quality of the professional league or World Cup finishes, there would be no need to take the field.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"With and without the ball at the moment we're very on the ball."
Frank Lampard has a ball after Chelsea's thumping of Bolton.

"Jermaine is really generous - he bought me some Christian Louboutin shoes for Christmas which I love. But the best present he ever got is priceless - a tattoo of my face on his forearm."
Jermaine Jenas' fiancee reveals the price of true love.

"I think the players are one million per cent behind me."
Phil Brown is turning into Kevin Keegan.

"The fact we didn't play for three months during the summer was a massive help."
Nottingham Forest defender Luke Chambers when asked what the secret to Forest's seven-month unbeaten away record was.

"Liverpool should appoint Dalglish. The Premier League needs more English managers."
The culturally-aware ex US player Eric Wynalda on 'Fox Football Fone In' in the States.

"You're just a fat Robbie Savage!"
Arsenal fans singing to Andriy Voronin of Liverpool in the Carling Cup.

The Rest

FAT footballers to receive free Big Macs in Thai sponsorship deal

Thailand's top footballers will receive free burgers as part of their new three-year, £545,000 sponsorship deal with the fast food giant McDonald's.

Sawadee Kop, indeed...

Sale of Xabi Alonso left me 'devastated', says Liverpool's Steven Gerrard

"Devastated, yeah. Devastated. But there was nothing I could do about it. Xabi said a long time ago that he wanted another chapter in his career and finally he got it and his team-mates and the coaches couldn't stand in his way. We just have to say thanks and move forward without him."

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Reports

Manchester United and Chelsea came from behind on Tuesday evening as they booked their places in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League. Group C is the most evenly contested affair as just one point separates the top three. AC Milan remain on top after they a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid at the San Siro. Madrid went ahead on the half-hour and it was another gaffe from Milan keeper Dida as he spilled Kaka's drive into Karim Benzema's path and he fired into the corner. But Milan secured a draw as they levelled just six minutes later with Ronaldinho firing home from the spot after Pepe handled in the box.

AC Milan 1 - 1 Real Madrid: Stalemate
Player Ratings

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford: United finally find focus
Player Ratings

Dominic Fifield at the Vicente Calderón: Drogba double on return
Player Ratings

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday Previews

Chelsea and Manchester United can book their place in the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League with victories on Tuesday night.

AC Milan vs. Real Madrid
Pellegrini's last chance?

Atletico Madrid vs Chelsea
Shamed Drogba returns

Manchester United vs. CSKA Moscow
Fergie shares blame for Rio woes

Bayern Munich vs. Bordeaux
Buoyant Bordeaux seek to remain unbeaten

Liverpool rocked by news that Fernando Torres is facing hernia surgery

Rafael Benítez learns the full extent of Liverpool striker’s injury before crucial Champions League match against Lyons.

What became of Gaizka Mendieta?

As the cream of Europe do battle once more this week, a man who twice inspired his team to the Champions League final will be nothing more than an interested spectator.

In 2000 and 2001, unfashionable Valencia - driven forward by their brilliant midfield general Gaizka Mendieta - reached the final of the world's premier club competition, only to suffer defeat both times.

Tim Vickery in South America

The candidates were announced last week for the Fifa World Player of the Year award. Am I the only one out there who's not too interested?

The point is proved by a brief look at the performances this year of one of the favourites. Based on what he has done for Barcelona, Lionel Messi would be a worthy winner - but that would certainly not be the case if the criteria was restricted to his form with Argentina. How can this be true?

Sid Lowe in Spain

With nine coaches in six years, no trophies since 1996 and 'encouragement' from extreme-right ultras Frente Atlético, what crisis will hit the club next?

Are 'madhouse' Atlético Madrid the worst run club in Europe?

Paolo Bandini in Italy

The difference in the Partenopei's performances since Walter Mazzarri replaced Donadoni has been like night and day.

Unshackled Napoli prosper with Walter Mazzarri's fresh approach.

Napoli's solid midfield...

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Consistently good displays have put Aaron Hunt on course for a cap or two. But will they be for Germany or England?

Is Fabio Capello on the Hunt for Werder Bremen's young attacker?

Jonathan Wilson in Eastern Europe

Following the ill-fated reigns of Zico and Juande Ramos, CSKA Moscow finally believe they have the right man in charge ahead of tonight's game at Old Trafford.

CSKA Moscow go Russian with Leonid Slutsky after foreign experiment fails.

Americans On The Continent: Foals Stride to Victory

Continuing his strong return to the Borussia Monchengladbach first team, Michael Bradley helped lead his side to an exciting 3-2 come-from-behind victory over Hamburger SV.

Americans In The UK: Dempsey Continues Assault

Fulham shocked even their own fans on Saturday, as they defeated Liverpool rather easily 3-1, with Dempsey providing the final dagger.

Uli Hesse-Lichtenberger in Germany

Guido Erhard tried to write a book. The working title, he said, was: "Truth Be Told - A Life on the Brink". He said the book would "give other people hope and courage". He didn't say it was also a way of coming to grips with his own demons, but he didn't have to.

"Truth Be Told" was never published, because on a cold, dark and snowy Thursday in February 2002, Erhard hurled himself in front of an incoming high-speed train at Offenbach main station. At about the same time, Sebastian Deisler was working hard on his comeback. A few months previously, the Hertha midfielder had injured his knee yet again during a game against Hamburg.

Phil Ball in Spain

One of the most intriguing aspects of Spanish football is the way in which the different sets of supporters around the country react to defeat.

It's becoming better known nowadays that Spain is really a loose collective of chalks and cheeses, where you can cross a regional border and suddenly feel as though you are on a different planet - so it comes as no surprise that each football club in the country is un mundo (its own world). The Spanish themselves accept these differences as part of their own cultural mix, and have a fixed set of perspectives on everyone else.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Phil Brown wins backing of Adam Pearson

Under-pressure manager Phil Brown can boast the "full support" of Adam Pearson despite a desperately poor run of form, according to Hull City's new chairman.

North London Derby Analyses

Dominic Fifield: Van Persie comes of age

Tom Dart: Fearless Fabregas exposes flaws in Redknapp's plan

David Pleat: Fluid Arsenal too much for Spurs

Phil McNulty: Spurs learn silence is golden

Calcio Debate: The Best Domestic Team In Europe, But Who Thinks Inter Will Be Knocked Out Of The Champions League?

Inter increased their lead at the top of Serie A to seven points at the weekend. Carlo Garganese looks at some of the domestic records the Nerazzurri are setting, but fears they will be eliminated from the Champions League unless they beat Dynamo Kiev in midweek.

Monday MLS Breakdown: Playoff Openers Deliver The Unexpected

The opening weekend of the 2009 MLS Playoffs provided surprise after surprise when few shocks were expected. Kyle McCarthy runs through the unexpected occurrences before reviewing the first leg ties in the Monday MLS Breakdown.

Spain: La Liga Weekend Review

Full review of the weekend's La Liga action which saw Real Madrid close the gap on league leaders, Barcelona.

Barcelona appeared destined to take maximum points from their trip to Osasuna in La Liga on Saturday, but were ultimately forced to settle for a 1-1 draw.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review + Team of the Week

Full review of the weekend's action in the Serie A which saw Internazionale extend their lead at the top.

Team of the Week

England: Premier League Weekend Review

Liverpool undid their hard work of last week after they slumped at Fulham, leaders Chelsea avoided another away day upset while Arsenal claimed the North London derby spoils.


England: Premier League Special Reports

Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Manchester United 2 - 0 Blackburn

Kevin Palmer at Emirates Stadium
Arsenal 3 - 0 Tottenham

Harry Harris at St. Andrews
Birmingham 0 - 0 Manchester City