Thursday, October 07, 2010

Breaking People's Legs is Part of the Game

The furor over Nigel de Jong's X-rated tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa over the weekend continues to rage, with De Jong dropped by the Netherlands for the upcoming slate of international matches. Fortunately for Nigel, Ryan "Not That Kind of Player" Shawcross, whose firm-but-fair testing of players like Francis Jeffers, Emmanual Adebayor and most famously Aaron Ramsey has resulted in a cumulative 2 seasons lost to injury by the aforementioned players, has leaped to his defense:

"You have just got to accept in these times, with the ball moving so fast and the player moving so fast, sometimes you are going to mis-time tackles and that is when injuries can happen."

Yes, that's right, fault is to be found with fast players moving the ball too quickly. Skill players of the world take heed; the onus is on you to make yourselves and the ball available for tackling at moderate speeds or it's your own fault when injuries happen and you find yourself with a double fracture which will shorten your career and hurt for the rest of your life.

There's Nothing Happening

It's pretty dead out there, people. There are some Internationals tomorrow, and we'll get to those then. Since it's so dead, I'm taking the day off. Stay the course.


Wednesday, October 06, 2010

American by way of Germany, Jones fits right in

Jermaine Jones blended right in, chatting with Steve Cherundolo and Michael Bradley during a warmup jog and finding his new American teammates with smooth, effortless passes. It was as if he's been part of the U.S. midfield for years. A year after switching countries, the German-born Jones has finally joined his new national team at training camp this week.

Jonathan Wilson: Hodgson overwhelmed by high expectations as Liverpool manager

Roy Hodgson always was likely to face two problems at Liverpool: that his football was too boring for the fans, and that his training was too boring for the players. A certain stodginess leading to long-term grumbling was perhaps to be expected, but what nobody predicted was that Liverpool would be as bad as it has been so far this season, and that there would be immediate outrage.

Seattle Sounders Win U.S. Open Cup

Fireworks popped from the top of the scoreboard. Confetti fluttered all over the field. And 40-year-old Kasey Keller acted like a dared teenager, flipping over the crossbar and onto the back of the net.

A year after celebrating their first U.S. Open Cup title nearly 3,000 miles away from home, the Seattle Sounders FC thoroughly enjoyed a second straight title before their home fans.

Tuesday night, nearly all of the U.S. Open Cup record 31,311 stuck around as Keller raised the trophy for the second straight year, then paraded around the field with his family and teammates in tow.

Sullivan warns of 'riots' if Spurs win Olympic bid

West Ham co-owner David Sullivan has warned of "civil unrest" and "riots" if Tottenham win ownership of the Olympic Stadium in east London.

You do not want to make him angry...

Liverpool to be sold to parent company of Boston Red Sox

The board of Liverpool has agreed to sell the club to the US owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball team following an extraordinary boardroom wrangle that seems to signal the end of Tom Hicks and George Gillett's turbulent three-year ownership.

Liverpool FC chairman expects £300m sale to go through next week.

Liverpool FC:
Life under the control of Tom Hicks and George Gillett

When baseball meets football:
Boston and Liverpool

Dale Johnson:
John W. Henry profile

A profile of Liverpool's prospective new owner

John Brewin:
Out of the frying pan?

Gregg Roughley:
A case of here we go again?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Sid Lowe in Spain

A week ago, all was doom and gloom; now, there is optimism. Sevilla are a changed club under new coach Gregorio Manzano.

Sevilla get their season going ... all it took was to ditch the mother-in-law.

Seattle going for 2nd-straight Open Cup title

More than a year after some harsh words for U.S. Soccer, the Seattle Sounders FC get their chance at winning a championship before their home fans.

The Sounders host the Columbus Crew in the 2010 U.S. Open Cup final Tuesday night.

A year ago, the Sounders felt slighted when D.C. United was awarded the final, leaving Seattle general manager Adrian Hanauer to engage in a media war of words with United president Kevin Payne. Seattle walked away with the satisfaction of a 2-1 victory and its first championship in its inaugural season.

Richard Williams: Football has a duty to disarm its human missiles

Nigel de Jong's tackle on Hatem Ben Arfa raises questions of exactly what constitutes an acceptable challenge.

Rob Kelly and Jason Burt on Chelsea vs. Arsenal

Rob Kelly
Another big game, another defeat for Arsenal, another Didier Drogba goal and another demonstration of the gulf that currently exists between Chelsea and their London rivals. Some things seemingly never change at the top of the Premier League, no matter what the Sky hype machine would have you believe. The most exciting league in the world? Well, who didn’t see this result coming?

Jason Burt
In a rare lull in play during a frantic first half, the baiting of Ashley Cole from the Arsenal supporters reached a fierce crescendo. As he waited to take a throw-in, the Chelsea left-back made a subtle response. He pointed to the Premier League champions badge on his left sleeve. No more needed to be said.

Nigel de Jong: The Lawnmower is football's repeat offender

It only requires ten minutes on Twitter to gauge the strength of feeling for and against Nigel de Jong in the wake of his challenge on Hatem Ben Arfa on Sunday which left the Newcastle winger with a double break of his left leg.

Steve Davis on MLS

Know your Major League Soccer --

Five things we learned from Week 27:

Europe: Teams of the Week

English Premier League

Italian Serie A

Spanish Primera Liga

German Bundesliga

Former Portugal star Deco slams 'false' Queiroz

"Speaking about Queiroz is not easy because it's complicated kicking a dead person,'' Deco told Record. ''I don't like talking about him because I have a very bad opinion of him. He is a false person.

Americans In The UK: Dempsey Strikes Again

Clint Dempsey burned keeper Robert Green again, sending the ball past the England keeper during Saturday’s draw with the Hammers.

Americans On The Continent: Early Rest

Jermaine Jones earned an early rest before the U.S. national team match against Poland, drawing a red card after 53 minutes over the weekend.

Tim Vickery in South America

I'm flying to back to Rio and feeling a bit jealous of people who live in the Midlands - not a sentence you're likely to come across every day.

The reason?

Next Monday, Brazil come to Derby to face Ukraine, giving fans at Pride Park the chance to have a close look at a fascinating moment in the development of the five-times world champions.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

There will be no beers and lederhosen for the Bundesliga champions after another defeat left them 13 points behind Mainz.

Oktoberfest cancelled for Bayern as Dortmund inflict fresh humiliation.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Off the pitch the relationship between Inter and Juve remains as fractious as ever, but last night's match was a sedate affair.

Peace breaks out in the Derby D'Italia as Inter and Juve draw a blank.

Phil Ball in Spain

Why do some teams improve when they lose their best players? Because football isn't very logical?


Or perhaps in order to do well this season in Spain your team's name must start with a 'V'?

Valencia and Villarreal, in that order, are making this a fun season so far, and although the Auld Firm are very close behind, there are reasons for several teams in La Liga to be both cheerful and aspirational, perhaps until the winter winds begin to truly blow.

Monday, October 04, 2010

Bayern sacrifice Oktoberfest for extra training

Bayern Munich's worst start to a Bundesliga season has cost the team their traditional annual visit to the city's Oktoberfest beer festival, with the squad handed extra training sessions instead.

Not this year...

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Review

Borussia Dortmund kept up the chase of Mainz at the top of the Bundesliga as they beat Bayern Munich 2-0 on Sunday. Elsewhere on Sunday, Stuttgart's Bundesliga struggles continued with a 2-1 home loss against Eintracht Frankfurt, condemning them to sit in last place over the international break. Marius Ebbers' first goal of the season earned St Pauli a 1-0 victory over high-flying Hannover at the AWD-Arena on Friday night.


Spain: La Liga Wednesday Review + Report

Real Mallorca held Barcelona to a shock 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on Sunday evening. On Saturday night Valencia beat Athletic Bilbao 2-1 after a dramatic conclusion at the Mestalla.


Real Madrid 6-1 Deportivo La Coruna: Report

Italy: Serie A Weekend Review + Report

Lazio moved to the top of the Serie A table - for the time being at least - with a narrow 1-0 win over 10-man Brescia on Sunday. Fiorentina's frailties returned to haunt them as they slumped to a disappointing 2-1 defeat at home to Palermo. Napoli claimed their first Serie A win at the Stadio San Paolo this season as two late goals helped them beat Roma 2-0.

Mario lets the Inter fans know what he thinks of their taunts...


Inter Milan 0 - 0 Juventus: Report

Monday MLS Breakdown

Designated Player Infusion Could Beckon For MLS -- Rule change opens door for DP additions throughout the league.

Five things we learned from the Premier League this weekend

Liverpool miss their snarling Argentinian, and other thoughts from the weekend's Premier League action.

Tom Adams: Where do Liverpool go from here?

Very rarely can a Merseyside derby be described as a relegation six-pointer, but these are unusual times at Anfield. When the international break disappears and Liverpool refocus on their trip to Goodison Park on October 17, they will do so with a worm's eye view. Sunday's humiliating defeat to Blackpool leaves them in 18th place after seven league games.

Phil McNulty: Hodgson faces Liverpool fight

Roy Hodgson's reign as Liverpool manager has declined at such speed that even owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett were spared Anfield's wrath for a few brief moments on Sunday.

It currently requires events of previously uncharted mediocrity to divert The Kop's attention away from the despised owners, but Hodgson's Liverpool achieved it as Blackpool joined Northampton Town in leaving Anfield triumphant this season.

Liverpool supporters, with no serious form for ever demanding managerial change despite thousands gathering in the streets in protest against the American duo, chanted the name of Anfield icon Kenny Dalglish as Hodgson's tenure moved ominously from transition to crisis.

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analysis

It was an all too familiar story for Arsenal as they lost to Chelsea, while Liverpool sunk to a new low as Blackpool silenced Anfield.

Elsewhere, Everton climbed off the foot of the table with their first win of the season, Rafael van der Vaart stole the show at White Hart Lane, while Manchester City rose to second place. Wigan Athletic's first league win of the term at the DW Stadium was marred by a horrible tackle by Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Karl Henry that rightly resulted in a red card, with the victim Jordi Gomez fortunate to escape serious injury. Draw specialists Fulham played out a 1-1 result against West Ham United at Upton Park.


Chelsea 2 - 0 Arsenal
Kevin McCarra at Stamford Bridge

Liverpool 1 - 2 Blackpool
Andy Hunter at Anfield

Manchester City 2 - 1 Newcastle
Richard Jolly at Eastlands
Ian Whittell at Eastlands

West Ham 1 - 1 Fulham
James Callow at Upton Park

The Fifth Official: Liverpool - A Club In Crisis

Few of us like Monday but The Fifth Official does, for it brings with it a chance for him to point the finger and laugh. Here he pulls out the pretty, the puzzling and the downright pig-ugly from a five-star weekend.