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.

Arsene Wenger joins in attack on Wolverhampton Wanderers

Arsène Wenger has accused Mick McCarthy of undermining the “international credibility” of the Barclays Premier League and giving Manchester United a helping hand in the title race.

“We will compete with Manchester United over 37 games instead of 38. I believe it is a problem for the international credibility of the Premier League for sure, but it’s not my problem, it’s a Premier League problem.

England: Wednesday's Premier League Reports + Table

Tottenham 3 - 0 Manchester City
Simple Spurs Sink City

Liverpool 2 - 1 Wigan
Tension palpable at Anfield

Burnley 1 - 1 Arsenal
Vintage Claret sees off young Gunners
Draw adds insult to injury for Fabregas

Chelsea 2 - 1 Portsmouth

More stagger than swagger for Chelsea

Club P Pts
Manchester United1737
Aston Villa1732
Tottenham Hotspur1730
Manchester City1626
Stoke City1621
Blackburn Rovers1719
Wigan Athletic1718
Hull City1717
Bolton Wanderers1616
Wolverhampton Wanderers1716
West Ham United1714

Donovan signs 4-year deal with Galaxy

The Los Angeles Galaxy's Landon Donovan, Major League Soccer's most valuable player, signed a four-year contract with a provision for an off-season loan overseas, the club announced Wednesday.

"A loan deal has not been finalized but it'll likely be done with Everton," said Bruce Arena, the Galaxy's coach and general manager. "I think it's pretty much narrowed down to Everton."

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Phil Minshull: Colour barrier finally broken at Athletic Bilbao

The name Jonas Ramalho probably doesn't mean very much to most football fans, even Spanish ones, but on Wednesday night the Athletic Bilbao defender is expected to make history on several counts.

He's in the Basque team's squad to face Werder Bremen in the Europa League and set to make his European debut filing in for the injured and flu-ridden Spanish international right-back Andoni Iraola.

England: Wednesday's Premier League Previews

Tottenham vs. Manchester City

Chelsea vs. Portsmouth

Burnley vs. Arsenal

Liverpool vs. Wigan

Gascoigne arrested for being drunk and disorderly

Gascoigne, 42, who has faced a long battle with alcohol, was arrested at about 2.15am after police arrived at Jesmond Park West.

He has described how when he hit rock bottom he was taking cocaine and drinking a litre of gin a day, which left him delusional and afraid to leave his room.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"Sometimes you've just got to go."
Former Arsenal keeper Jens Lehmann explains why he spent a penny during Stuttgart's game with Unirea Urziceni.

"Hope it all goes well - people will be surprised to know you have a heart!"
Sam Allardyce reveals the text sent to him by old mucker Kenny Dalglish before the Blackburn boss underwent minor heart surgery.

"When you go to a World Cup, it's like going to war. When you go to war, you don't take your wife."
South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira questions the old English WAG culture.

"At Arsenal he told me he'd played in nine World Cups - and he was only 23!"
Ray Parlour on Kanu, who claims to be 33 but is reckoned to be much older.

"I will never forget my first game for England at the World Cup, it was against Turkey... no I mean Tunisia."
David Seaman on Sky Sports.

"There's only 10 of you singing!"
Burnley fans to Fulham.

"Where'd you learn to count to 10?"
Fulham fans respond.

The Rest

The Mill +

Wednesday's Rumours


Europa League Preview: Groups D-F & J-L

The concluding round of fixtures in the Europa League group stages take place this week, with crucial ties in each pool. examines Wednesday’s encounters…

Juventus Ace Mauro Camoranesi Out For The Season, Risks World Cup Place

reports the Italian international underwent tests in Turin on Wednesday morning and the results have shown he has a tear to a muscle in his right leg.

It is said muscular fibres need repairing and he may need surgery. He could well be out for three months, but that will be longer if he needs to go under the knife.

Premier League set for African Cup of Nations exodus

Signing African players has always represented something of a gamble for Premier League bosses.

As well as the player's pedigree and their ability to adapt to new surroundings, the manager must also consider whether losing them to the African Cup of Nations for up to six weeks will unbalance his team's equilibrium.

Number of players at the African Cup of Nations:

Six: Portsmouth - Kevin-Prince Boateng, Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, John Utaka, Nwankwo Kanu, Aruna Dindane

Four: Chelsea - Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, John Mikel Obi

Three: Man City - Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kelvin Etuhu; Hull City - Kamel Ghilas, Daniel Cousin, Seyi Olofinjana

Two: Arsenal - Alex Song, Emmanuel Eboue; Tottenham - Sebastien Bassong, Benoit Assou-Ekotto; Everton - Joseph Yobo, Ayegbeni Yakubu; Fulham - John Pantsil, Dickson Etuhu

One: Aston Villa - Moustapha Salifou; Sunderland - John Mensah; Stoke - Mamady Sidibe; Bolton - Danny Shittu; Burnley - Andre Bikey; Wigan - Richard Kingson; Wolves - George Elokobi

None: Man Utd, Liverpool, West Ham, Birmingham, Blackburn

England: Tuesday's Premier League Reports

Sunderland 0 - 2 Aston Villa
Villa go third

Manchester United 3 - 0 Wolves

United ruthless against reserves
EPL asks Wolves to explain weakened team selection

Bolton 3 - 1 West Ham
Hammers left in the mire

Birmingham 2 - 1 Blackburn

Birmingham soar to sixth
McLeish's Blues defy odds

Paul Doyle: Why is diving by English footballers so often overlooked?

English footballers are as hypocritical as randy clergymen when it comes to preaching one thing and doing another.

Much of the media are guilty of something worse: bigotry. If a foreigner did it, deport the swine. If an Englander did it, move along, nothing to see here.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

England: Tuesday's Premier League Previews + Table

Sunderland vs. Aston Villa

Birmingham vs. Blackburn

Bolton vs. West Ham

Manchester United vs. Wolverhampton

Team GP W D L Pts
1. 16 12 1 3 37
2. 16 11 1 4 34
3. 15 10 1 4 31
4. 16 8 5 3 29
5. 16 8 3 5 27
6. 15 6 8 1 26
7. 16 7 3 6 24
8. 16 7 3 6 24
9. 16 6 5 5 23
10. 16 6 3 7 21
11. 16 5 6 5 21
12. 16 5 4 7 19
13. 16 5 3 8 18
14. 16 5 3 8 18
15. 16 4 5 7 17
16. 17 4 5 8 17
17. 16 4 4 8 16
18. 16 3 5 8 14
19. 15 3 4 8 13
20. 16 3 2 11 11

Richard Williams Column: Laurent Blanc looks a good bet to succeed vintage Sir Alex Ferguson

José Mourinho is too controversial, Martin O'Neill is too old – but Laurent Blanc could one day be perfect for Manchester United.

Arsene Wenger draws battle lines in international dispute

Arsene Wenger knew he would create headlines aplenty when he declared his intention to take legal action against the Dutch FA in a bid to claim compensation for the injury Robin van Persie suffered in a friendly international last month, yet he may have had the broader picture in mind as he leapt head first into the club vs country issue.

The Mill +

Tuesday's Rumours


Tim Vickery in South America

FIFA World Club Cup:

Can Estudiantes redress balance of power between continents?

Sid Lowe in Spain

Marcelino is the sixth manager Zaragoza have sacked in 18 First Division months, and fans believe the board is to blame.

Real Zaragoza are adrift – and executing Marcelino won't change that.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

There were own goals and gaffes aplenty in Germany but Jens Lehmann's eccentricity was the greatest source of entertainment.

Pure slapstick in Bundesliga but Jens Lehmann provides the spectacle.

Paolo Bandini In Italy

Cagliari's Alessandro Matri is best known for dating dancers from a satirical TV show, but his current scoring record is no joke.

Alessandro Matri: from playboy to serious player?

Weekend Reports from

Gary Dowden: English Premier League
R. Mehdi: Italian Serie A

"Dirty cheat Cannavaro stepped on Barreto's right foot as he tried to go past him in the box and Baretto took a dive to make sure he won a penalty. He sent Buffon the wrong way. Juve blew three early second half chances to equalise before Grosso repeated his trick against Australia and went over Almiron's legs as he dived in with a suicidal tackle. Big match bottler Diego was flashed with one of those laser torches just before he took his penalty, which he sent into the stands. Don't expect him to play for Brazil anytime soon."

Americans On The Continent: Helping Hand

Michael Bradley scored a goal for the home side and Steve Cherundolo’s bumbling Hannover 96 side gifted Borussia Monchengladbach three own goals, helping M’Gladbach to a 5-3 victory on the day.

The Rest

Americans In The UK: Grella’s Double Advances Leeds

American striker Mike Grella scored two goals for Leeds as they defeated Kettering Town to progress in the FA Cup.

The Rest

Uli Hesse in Germany

Please don't split on me, but I was moonlighting during the World Cup draw. I had been invited to supply running commentary (read: incoherent ramblings made bearable only by the odd hilarious typo) for another website alongside roughly a dozen other writers from all over the world, including Englishmen exiled in Bangkok and Berlin.

Phil Ball in Spain

Unless you've been brought up by wolves, or have been hiding out in the jungle since the end of World War 2, you'll be aware that there is a wee bit of morbo (animosity) between Real Madrid and Barcelona. However, there are other high-profile hostilities in La Liga that contribute ingredients to its particularly spicy sauce but of which the foreign media are perhaps less aware. One of them is Valencia v Real Madrid, a fixture that took place on Saturday night and which produced a cracker of a game.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Rooney's Dive vs. Villa

Rooney La Plongeuse - Click here for funny video clips

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Arsène Wenger sheds his professorial veneer, Wigan unearth another gem and the Midlands clubs enjoy a renaissance.

The Mill +

Monday's Rumours


Stuttgart Keeper Jens Lehmann Under Fire After String Of Incidents

However, Lehmann lost his temper and stamped on Mainz attacker Aristide Bance after collecting a cross. The referee spotted the incident and decided to send Lehmann off and award Mainz a spot kick, which was converted by Eugen Polanski.

And according to Sky, things didn't end there. The shot stopper stole the glasses of a fan after the game and intended to travel home by taxi instead of taking the team bus, until he spotted a camera following him.

Juventus Midfielder Felipe Melo Wins 2009 Golden Bin

The Brazilian has narrowly edged out last year’s winner Ricardo Quaresma to claim the not-so-coveted ‘Bidone d’Oro’.

Chicago Fire: What Happened in 2009?

For the fourth time in five seasons the Chicago Fire made it within one game of the MLS Cup, only to disappointingly fail to make the final.

Monday MLS Breakdown: Nowak Takes First Steps To Form Union

While most teams around MLS are trying to rearrange their personnel for next season, Philadelphia is still in the process of filling out its roster. Kyle McCarthy chats with Union head coach Peter Nowak to see how the process is going.

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Reports + Team of the Week

Bayern, Schalke and Hamburg earned impressive away wins against Bochum, Bremen, and Nuernberg, respectively.

Dortmund won 3-1 in Wolfsburg today shortly after Mainz grabbed a last-minute equalizer against Stuttgart.

Team of the Week

Italy: Serie A Weekend Reviews + Team of the Week

Juventus' miserable week continued as they were thumped 3-1 on their travels to Bari just days after crashing out of the UEFA Champions League.

AC Milan failed to capitalise on city rivals Inter Milan dropping points after suffering a surprise home defeat by Palermo.

Team of the Week