Friday, April 16, 2010

Police order Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville not to inflame tensions

Carlos Tevez and Gary Neville, the two central figures in the acrimony that has surrounded this season's Manchester derbies, will be under police orders not to do anything that could incite crowd trouble when City and United renew hostilities tomorrow.

England: Premier League Previews & Predictions

The Manchester derby between City and United kicks things off this weekend as the former aim to close on fourth place while the latter target salvaging the defence of their Premier League crown.

Elsewhere, division leaders Chelsea make the short trip to Tottenham, struggling Hull City visit Birmingham City, Burnley are seeking back-to-back successes against Sunderland, Arsenal take on Wigan while Wolves and Bolton go in search of vital points at Fulham and Stoke respectively.

Preview I
Preview II

Lawro's Predictions

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Fabio Capello has joined the chorus of praise for Serie A leaders Roma as they head into Sunday's city derby at Lazio. While Inter can go back on top with a win, for at least 48 hours, Juventus are looking to reduce their three-point gap to fourth-placed Palermo.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Barcelona must negotiate a testing city derby with Espanyol this weekend as they close in on the La Liga title. Hoping to take advantage of any Barca slip at Espanyol's Cornella-El Prat stadium are a Madrid side who face third-placed Valencia at the Bernabeu a day later on Sunday.


Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Leverkusen visit Stuttgart and Wolfsburg host Bremen in a pair of matches that may decide which teams finish in Europa and Champions League positions.

Koeln – Bochum

Hamburg – Mainz
Freiburg – Nuernberg
Schalke – Borussia M’gladbach
Stuttgart – Bayer Leverkusen
Wolfsburg – Werder Bremen
Bayern Munich – Hannover

Borussia Dortmund – Hoffenheim
Eintracht Frankfurt – Hertha Berlin


Derby d'Italia

Inter Milan vs. Juventus:

Eggs, rocks shower Juve team bus

Key Clashes

Top Five Inter/Juventus Matches From The Past

Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast reviews Toronto FC's 2-1 win over Philadelphia before issuing its Week 4 picks.

In Defence of the North East

Free for every reader, your cut-out-and-keep guide to North East football cliches. Courtesy of The Times, you need never again be stuck for conversation down the pub. We can tell you how to abuse Newcastle United supporters for their "delusional" response to promotion and lambast Sunderland fans for their daft "expectations." For good measure, we’ll guide you on how best to make gratuitous references to Teesside’s landscape.

Marseille brush aside 17 years of chaos to realise the unimaginable

Didier Deschamps's side are on the verge of winning Ligue 1 and put an end to years of underachievement.

Arsenal's Sol Campbell and Robin van Persie: Leaders Without Followers

Never mind the title, the Gunners should have made a bold statement about a bright future against Tottenham.

Phil Ball in Spain

Football just hasn't stopped this week, and there were still a couple of games to go as I wrote this, so I'll have to consider some of this weekend's matches without knowing all the prior results. Perhaps that makes it more interesting anyway. Eduardo did well last time out, with 7 from 10, and that's hard to beat, particularly at this stage of the season when everything starts to go a bit topsy-turvy. Why does this happen?

Liverpool Up For Sale

Liverpool owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have confirmed that they are looking to sell the club after appointing British Airways chief Martin Broughton as chairman on Friday. Hicks and Gillett have been at the club since their 2007 takeover but have come under plenty of scrutiny throughout that time, notably from fans disappointed by their apparent reluctance to invest heavily in the squad. They also promised to move the club into a brand new ground in Stanley Park as part of their purchase three years ago, but a lack of funding meant the building work never began.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Tom Dart: The Buck Has to Stop With Wenger

He should have signed a striker in January to compensate for the loss of Robin van Persie and has never adequately replaced Gilberto Silva, even though it's obvious that Denilson is not a good enough defensive midfield player. For all their promise, this Arsenal side often struggle to do the defensive basics correctly, which must be a failure of coaching, squad-building or both.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Struggling Valladolid have appointed Spanish football's Red Adair for what will now, inevitably, be a wild fight for survival.

Mission possible for Real Valladolid as Javier Clemente answers SOS.

Martin Rogers: Gomez flies onto USA’s World Cup radar

Any self-respecting Vegas kid will tell you that luck can turn in the blink of an eye and the turn of a card. But as his career threatened to settle into a predictable pattern, Herculez Gomez was beginning to wonder if he would ever hit the soccer jackpot. Just a few months back, the 28-year-old was reflecting on the seventh year of a Major League Soccer career that had once promised much but had become rutted in disappointment and stagnation. So what do you do to stop your career from heading south? Well, why not head south yourself?


Norman Hubbard: On a Wing and a Prayer

The sole England team to win the World Cup may have been dubbed 'the wingless wonders', but wide men have nonetheless been an essential part of most squads since 1966.

Who should be England's right winger?

South Africans queue overnight for World Cup tickets

Thousands of South African fans queued overnight at supermarkets and shopping malls on Thursday for a chance to buy 500,000 unsold World Cup tickets.

Fifa agreed on Wednesday to drop a ruling that sales could only be made online or through a ballot procedure.

There is still availability for all fixtures, including the final at Soccer City in Johannesburg on 11 July.

Quotes & Chants of the Week

"Typical Germans."
Sir Alex Ferguson digs out a stereotype to blame Bayern Munich - who had six non-German players in their starting XI at Old Trafford - for getting Rafael sent off as Manchester United crashed out of the Champions League.

"It was tempting to sit in the home dug-out... when I was getting ready to go out, I thought I'd get pelted with eggs."
The yolk is on Neil Warnock upon his return to Selhurst Park with QPR.

"Attempts on goal is like going to a nightclub. Yyou could speak to 50 girls but if you're going home on your own, it's no good, is it? You could only speak to one and go home with her!"
Roy Keane's dating tips and Ipswich's scoring issues!

"It was extraordinary, there's no other word to describe it. It was embarrassing."
Brian Laws finds words where there are none, following Burnley's drubbing by Man City.

"He plays on the left, he plays centre mid, Charlie Adam could play for Madrid!"
Blackpool fans salute their hero at the Scunthorpe game.

"Exhausts in the morning, you're on exhausts in the morning!"
Fulham fans to Wolfsburg counterparts, regarding the Volkswagen factory that seems to employ two-thirds of the city's population.

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Oh Captain

US Men’s National team veteran Steve Cherundolo captained Hannover to a massively important 4-2 win over Schalke over the weekend.

The Rest

Spain: La Liga Wednesday Review

Barcelona opened up a six-point gap at the La Liga summit with another impressive victory - 3-0 over Deportivo La Coruna at the Nou Camp.


England: The Other Wednesday Night Premier League Action

Aston Villa 2 - 2 Everton

Jagielka clanger lets Villa off the hook

Wigan 0 - 0 Portsmouth
Lame Wigan fail to break down Pompey

England: North London Derby Reports and Fallout

Tottenham 2 - 1 Arsenal

Kevin McCarra: White Hart Lane graveyard for Arsenal ambitions
Kevin Palmer: Gunners left to wonder what might have been
Oliver Kay: Arsenal left with too much to do
David Hytner: Campbell shows he's still got it
Patrick Barclay: Campbell return a success
Player Ratings

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Not a caviar display but Roman Abramovich can celebrate his landmark

Spurs, Stoke, Liverpool and Wigan will be no more deferential than Bolton as Chelsea aim to reclaim the title they last held four years ago. "The Premier League is in our hands, we have to stay calm," Carlo Ancelotti, the Chelsea coach, said on a night when John Terry played through a first-half injury and Yuri Zhirkov shed a milk urn of blood in a collision with Bolton's Kevin Davies.

England: Wednesday's Premier League Previews

Tottenham vs. Arsenal
Everything to play for in North London Derby
Team News
Spurs fans warned over Sol abuse

Aston Villa vs. Everton
Villa look to put pressure on leading pack

Wigan vs. Portsmouth
Latics welcome Cup finalists to DW Stadium

In the United States, Spurs vs. Arsenal will be broadcast on ESPN2 this afternoon at 3pm EDT...

Coppa Italia: Inter ease past Fiorentina to reach final

Samuel Eto'o struck in the second half as Inter Milan won at Fiorentina to reach the Coppa Italia final.The Nerazzurri travelled to the Artemio Franchi stadium holding a 1-0 advantage from the first leg. Fiorentina missed opportunities to score before Eto'o put the visitors ahead in the 57th minute.

Spain: La Liga Midweek Preview

Barca return to action this Wednesday with a home game against a Deportivo La Coruna side whose European ambitions have been hampered by a six-game winless run.

Madrid go to Almeria on Thursday with defender Sergio Ramos insisting they won't give up on the title yet.

There are still plenty of other issues to play for with two of the Champions League contenders, Valencia and Athletic Bilbao, meeting at the Mestalla on Thursday.

Third-placed Valencia are five points ahead of Real Mallorca and Sevilla, who occupy fourth and fifth respectively, with Athletic a further three points back.


Spain: La Liga Tuesday Review

Real Valladolid boosted their survival hopes by stunning high-flying Sevilla 2-1 at the Jose Zorrilla.

Review Special: 10 Worst Serie A Transfers 2009-10

With the 2009-10 club season entering its final straight, offers the worst 10 transfer flops from Serie A.

England: Tuesday's Premier League Reports

Chelsea 1 - 0 Bolton

Harry Harris at Stamford Bridge
Dominic Fifield at Stamford Bridge

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

England: Tuesday's Premier League Preview

Chelsea vs. Bolton
When: 3pm EDT
Where: Stamford Bridge, London, England

What now for the Gunners?

When news of Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith's decision to appoint a leading US investment firm to sell her stake in Arsenal reached BBC Towers on Monday afternoon, it prompted a chin-stroking debate amongst those hunched over the sports news benches: is this a twist or a development?

Kevin McCarra: Manchester City's riches can shatter Premier League's glass ceiling

Manchester City's wealth has shattered the cartel at the top of the Premier League.

Tim Vickery in South America

A century ago when the Velez Sarsfield club was founded in Argentina their shirts were plain white - the cheapest they could find. Then they went with stripes of red, green and white - a tribute to the Italian origins of the club's founders.

Finally they settled on the current strip - which, with a blue V on a white background looks like something out of rugby league. This is no coincidence. The story goes that they were offered a good deal on the shirts, which a rugby club had ordered and not bothered to collect.

Sid Lowe in Spain

Barça are the best side in the world and Messi is the best player on the planet. Without Xavi, they might not be.

Xavi pulls the strings as Barcelona leave Madrid dangling in despair again.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Italy finally has a title race after Roma go ahead of José Mourinho's stuttering Inter.

Roma's storming of the summit has sent alarm bells ringing in Serie A.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Louis Van Gaal's side are closing in on a 22nd championship after a lacklustre 1-1 draw at Bayer Leverkusen.

Bayern Munich are tiring but have enough to take the Bundesliga title. MLS Rankings: Week 3

Los Angeles picked up its third win on the trot to ascend to the top of MLS Rankings.

Americans In The UK: FA Cup Blues

Jozy Altidore, Hull City
Vs. Burnley, 1-4, (90 minutes, 1 assist)

Altidore played the whole 90 on Saturday but Hull suffered a devastating 1-4 defeat at the hands of Burnley. Early on it looked as though Hull would be the aggressors as Altidore fed Kevin Kilbane for the opening goal just three minutes in. However, the Tigers picked up five yellow cards during the contest as they struggled to get their attack going, ultimately taking the lopsided loss. Hull is buried in 19th place, four points away from safety but they do have five games remaining.
Up Next: Saturday, away to Birmingham.

The Rest

The Question: Why is the modern offside law a work of genius?

The tweaks of 2005 remain unappreciated but they generated a climate for some of the most beautiful football ever played.

England: Various Bits of Tuesday News

Belletti announces Chelsea departure on Twitter

Tevez questions Mancini's training methods

RVP "ready and fit" for tomorrow's clash at Spurs

Adebayor retires from international football

Ancellotti says Fergie mind games won't work

Uli Hesse in Germany

"Could you please explain why Bundesliga teams are so funny. I know managers change, but in no other league do teams change positions so much in different seasons. There are some exceptions, like Villarreal, but the Bundesliga has more of this fluctuation. Why so?"

It's a good question. As I type this, the top four teams in the league are Bayern, Schalke, Leverkusen and Dortmund. Last year, they were Wolfsburg, Bayern, Stuttgart and Hertha.

Eduardo Alvarez in Spain

On Saturday night at the Santiago Bernabeu, Barcelona took not one, but four steps towards another La Liga title by convincingly beating Real Madrid on their own turf. Their 2-0 win gives the azulgranas a three-point lead plus the advantage in the head-to-head tiebreaker, so Real Madrid would need to gain four more points than Barcelona in the remaining seven La Liga matches to clinch the title. Looking at the recent history, it appears beyond them.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Five things we learned from watching football this weekend

Wembley is an embarrassment, we should all be delighted for/appalled by Portsmouth, too much of Barça can be a bad thing and Celtic should be careful what they wish for.

Manchester United: The A-Z of a Troubled Season

So are on Manchester United on the brink of crisis? Is it the end of the empire? Or are we just witnessing the latest blip during two decades of incredible success?

Here is the A to Z of Manchester United’s 2009-10 campaign – good and bad!

Portsmouth eye European football with licence appeal

Portsmouth are set to appeal to the Football Association over their failed application for a Uefa club licence. Pompey are currently unable to play in Europe and the club administrator admitted they faced an uphill task to overturn the decision.

Argentina left frustrated by Barca genius

The reaction in Argentina whenever Messi has a headline-grabbing performance - and there have been a few this season and last - is one of pride mixed with frustration. Pride because having the planet's finest footballer is a source of joy for all, and his youth brings the tantalising prospect of still more improvement to come. Frustration because, more often than not, Messi hasn't shone in the matches which matter most to the fans in his homeland - those of the national team.

Martin O'Neill rages against the injustice of decisions against Chelsea

And while many Chelsea supporters will dismiss his fulmination against Howard Webb, the referee, as another study in stress and disappointment, the disturbing truth is that O'Neill was correct on both counts. An FA Cup semi-final was disfigured by the main match official neglecting to apply the laws of the game: especially to John Terry, the Chelsea captain, who escaped with a yellow card for a brutal 73rd-minute lunge on Milner that O'Neill described as "horrendous".

Marina Hyde: Politics and sport fight it out in Bill Shankly's shadow

To the many and storied benefits of the Premier League revolution, chalk up the increasing requirement for committed fans to have a finance qualification. "Three years ago," reflects Everton supporter Dave Kelly, "if you'd have said 'enabling grant' to a supporter on the Goodison Road, they'd have thought you were talking about Tony Grant's brother."

Monday MLS Breakdown: Defensive Problems Continue To Plague Toronto FC

Toronto FC has battled a leaky back line since it joined MLS in 2007. Kyle McCarthy explores the impact of the Preki regime and wonders when TFC will get it right in the Monday MLS Breakdown.

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

Roma moved top of Serie A for the first time since 2007 with a crucial victory in their bid for the title.

After being held 2-2 at Fiorentina on Saturday, Inter Milan found themselves overtaken at the top of the standings as the Giallorossi beat Atalanta 2-1 at the Stadio Olimpico to move a point clear.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Review + El Clásico Report

Lionel Messi's 40th goal of the season in all competitions put the reigning Spanish and European champions on the road to victory in 'El Clasico', and Pedro Rodriguez sealed his side's 2-0 win 10 minutes after half-time. Valencia suffered a second setback in four days as Real Mallorca claimed a 3-2 win. Sevilla moved back into pole position for the last Champions League spot by staging a late comeback to triumph 2-1 at Malaga in a fiercely-disputed Andalusian derby.


Real Madrid 0 - 2 Barcelona
Barca back on top
Phil Minshull's Report
Player Ratings

England: Premier League Weekend Review & Reports

Manchester United suffered a serious setback to their title hopes after a goalless draw against Blackburn. Manchester City strengthened their bid to finish fourth - and claim the final Champions League spot - after thumping Birmingham 5-1 at Eastlands. Brazilian striker Ilan is fast emerging as West Ham's unlikely saviour after he earned the Hammers a vital triumph over Sunderland.


Blackburn 0 - 0 Manchester United
Joe Lovejoy at Ewood Park
Richard Jolly at Ewood Park

Liverpool 0 - 0 Fulham
Tony Barrett at Anfield

England: FA Cup Reports

Tottenham 0 - 2 Portsmouth
Dale Johnson at Wembley
Dominic Fifield at Wembley

Chelsea 3 - 0 Aston Villa

Tom Adams at Wembley
Jamie Jackson at Wembley