Friday, October 22, 2010

Defender Brown announces retirement from Fire

The last remaining original member of the Chicago Fire is retiring. The team said Thursday that central defender C.J. Brown will end his career with Saturday's season finale at Chivas USA.

Bobbie B.S.'s better half, the future Dr. Dickie, enjoys the company of C.J. Brown at "Meet the Fire" day back in 1998 (?) at Soldier Field. At right is Ms. Souris...

Chilavert accused of hitting agent

An Argentine soccer agent said Monday that former Paraguay national team goalkeeper Jose Luis Chilavert hit him after a dispute over money allegedly owed from player transfers.

Pablo Seijas said the argument with Chilavert, who played in the 2002 World Cup, started when they met in Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires and continued until they arrived in Paraguay.

The Joy of Six: Surprise Winners

From Italy at Espana 1982 to Greece at Euro 2004, here are six teams that unexpectedly triumphed.

England: Premier League Weekend Previews & Predictions

Manchester United at Stoke City and Arsenal's trip to Manchester City on Sunday are the highlights of the weekend fixtures. Elsewhere, Tottenham Hotspur face Everton off the back of their dramatic midweek European tie, pace-setters Chelsea host Wolverhampton Wanderers while struggling Liverpool are in action at home to Blackburn Rovers. West Bromwich Albion will be seeking to maintain their terrific start to the season when they host Fulham at the Hawthorns. Aston Villa head to the North East as they lock horns with Sunderland at the Stadium of Light. Birmingham City boss Alex McLeish has seen pressure mount on his shoulders of late, and this weekend his side are in action versus newly-promoted Blackpool. The last of the 3pm kick-offs sees Wigan Athletic meet North West counterparts Bolton Wanderers at the DW Stadium. Saturday teatime sees West Ham United welcome Newcastle United to Upton Park.

Dale Johnson previews Spurs vs. Everton
Jon Carter previews Man City vs. Arsenal
Paul Merson previews both of Sunday's matches

Lawro's Predictions

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Preview

Hamburg – Bayern Munich

Borussia Moenchengladbach – Werder Bremen
Eintracht Frankfurt – Schalke
Hannover – Koeln
Nuernberg – Wolfsburg
Freiburg – Kaiserslautern

Borussia Dortmund – Hoffenheim
Bayer Leverkusen – Mainz
Stuttgart – St Pauli


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview

Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho will be demanding no let-up from his in-form side as they host Racing Santander this weekend.

While life is looking good for Madrid, it is not so pleasant at the other end of the Primera Division standings where Real Zaragoza are having a tough time of it.

They are one of only two clubs still searching for a win and, to make matters worse, they host two-time reigning champions Barcelona this weekend. Possibly the most intriguing encounter in the eighth round of La Liga is Sunday's showdown between Villarreal and Atletico Madrid at El Madrigal.


Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero has an added motivation to find the back of the net at Bologna on Sunday. Del Piero is one goal shy of becoming Juve's all-time Serie A scorer. Inter Milan would like nothing more than for Samuel Eto'o to keep up his goalscoring form when they host Sampdoria on Sunday.

AC Milan, meanwhile, are desperate to forget Tuesday's European setback - a 2-0 loss at Real Madrid - their first slip in the Europe's elite club competition this season.

Massimiliano Allegri's men are focused on making it four wins in a row when they take on Napoli at the San Paolo on Monday.

Fiorentina coach Sinisa Mihajlovic will be under pressure to take a win against Bari on Saturday.

Mihajlovic has led the Florence outfit to just one win in Serie A so far.


Friday MLS Forecast

The Forecast backs New York's playoff credentials before examining the final matchday of the season.

Paul Gascoigne arrested one day after being warned he faces prison

Paul Gascoigne has been arrested on suspicion of possession of drugs one day after being warned he could face prison for drink-driving.

Europa League: Thursday Review

Liverpool and Juventus were held to draws while Manchester City and Atletico Madrid won on a busy Europa League night.

Wayne Rooney Changes His Mind

Wayne Rooney has signed a new five-year contract with Manchester United, ending speculation about his future. It brings to an end an amazing ten days of claim and counter claim coming out of Old Trafford which began with Rooney refuting manager Sir Alex Ferguson's claim that he was suffering from an ankle injury and seemed set to culminate with the player being sold in January.

Mark Ogden: Rooney plays a blinder
John Brewin: Confusing
Daniel Taylor: Wayne stays

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Champions League Chalkboards, Matchday Three

A new feature on Zonal Marking for Champions League weeks.

This site has long used the Guardian’s excellent Chalkboards facility to illustrate Premier League games. There is now a similar tool for analysing Champions League games, the TotalFootball iPhone app which allows real time analysis.

It also has a more specific range of options – nabling analysis of particular aspects of a game, like the passes received by a certain player, the type and distance of pass played, and passes played within the final third of the pitch.

Using that app, here is a Chalkboard for all sixteen Champions League games played this week.

QPR are good, but where do they rank among the greatest second-tier teams?

There is a heady list of contenders, ranging from Alf Ramsey's Ipswich through to 02-03 Pompey, via Leeds and Liverpool.

Georgina Turner's Column

Sid Lowe: Spanish award sparks controversy

The Príncipe de Asturias awards are Spain's equivalent of the Nobel Prizes, the most prestigious of decorations. Held every year in the Campoamor theater in Oviedo, designated by a 'jury' and handed out by the Prince of Asturias, heir to the Spanish crown, they reward excellence in a number of fields -- from international cooperation (in other words, peace), to science and arts. At every event not only does Prince Felipe attend, so too does Queen Sofia.

First XI: The stars who left Fergie's United

Wayne Rooney has informed Manchester United he will not sign a new contract and wants to leave the club. With a squad of ageing stars and youngsters yet to prove themselves, there are fears his departure could put the club into decline, but this is far from unchartered territory for Ferguson.

ESPNsoccernet selects the First XI stars who left Ferguson's United.

Champions League Team Of The Round: Matchday Three runs through the best in show from the third set of fixtures.

Still got it...

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Round-Up, Reports & Analyses

Inter Milan survived a Gareth Bale inspired Spurs comeback, Manchester United edged out Bursaspor, while Rangers were held by Valencia. In the other game in Group A FC Twente and Werder Bremen shared the spoils after a 1-1 draw in Holland.

Barcelona moved to the top of Group D with a hard-fought 2-0 win over FC Copenhagen at Camp Nou. Panathinaikos and Rubin Kazan remain winless after a goalless draw in the other game in Group D.

Lyon maintained their 100 per cent record in Group B with a 2-0 victory over ten-man Benfica at Stade Gerland. Raul equalled Gerd Muller's all-time record for goals in European competition with a clinical brace in Schalke's 3-1 success over Hapoel Tel-Aviv to take his tally to 68 goals in Europe.


Rangers 1 - 1 Valencia

Clive Lindsay at Ibrox
Ewan Murray at Ibrox

Manchester United 1 - 0 Bursaspor
Richard Jolly at Old Trafford
Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford

Inter Milan 4 - 3 Tottenham
Kevin McCarra at San Siro
Michael D Silva at San Siro
David Hytner at San Siro

Rooney has a point about where Manchester United are heading

Rooney is right. Manchester United no longer have the means to match the ambition and wealth of their rivals.

Manchester United set for emergency talks on Wayne Rooney's future

Sir Alex Ferguson will hold emergency talks with Manchester United's chief executive, David Gill, on Thursday morning to decide whether to sell Wayne Rooney after the player's damning statement accusing the club of not matching his own ambitions and questioning whether they are in decline.

Police admit Liverpool fans were targeted by 'Ultras' in Naples ahead of Europa League clash

Italian police have admitted gangs of Napoli's hardcore Ultra fans went out hunting Liverpool supporters to attack in the city last night. There were a number of incidents ahead of the club's Europa League match at the Stadio San Paolo tonight, which resulted in five English people - two of whom were stabbed - and one Italian being taken to hospital.

Carroll victim of car attack outside Nolan's house

Newcastle striker Andy Carroll was the target of an arson attack on Wednesday, when his car was torched while parked on the drive of club captain Kevin Nolan.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Key Previews

Manchester United will attempt to find some solace from the Wayne Rooney saga when they host Bursaspor, while Tottenham face defending champions Inter Milan and Rangers welcome Valencia to Glasgow.

Barcelona see Copenhagen arrive in Spain, FC Twente and Werder Bremen meet, and Lyon and Benfica clash. Elsewhere, Rubin Kazan visit Panathinaikos, and Hapoel Tel-Aviv travel to Gelsenkirchen to take on Schalke.

General Preview

Inter Milan vs. Tottenham
: Preview
Tom Adams' Preview
David Hytner in Milan

Benítez joins Cantona in football's funny farm

Manchester United vs. Bursaspor: Preview

Rangers vs. Valencia: Preview I
Preview II
Ewan Murray's Preview

Barcelona vs. Copenhagen: Preview

German Chancellor Merkel in football flap over photo

The chancellor’s office and the German football federation are trying to iron out a flap over Chancellor Angela Merkel visiting the Germany dressing room and congratulating half naked players after their 3-0 win over Turkey. A photograph showing Merkel with Mesut Oezil, a German player of Turkish background, upset German federation president Theo Zwanziger—apparently because he was not taken along for the occasion in Berlin on Oct. 8. The photo showing Merkel and Oezil has a symbolic value at the time of an intense debate in Germany on how the country should integrate its foreign-born population, especially the 4 million Muslims.

Ambition key to Rooney revolt

But on Tuesday I witnessed a Ferguson I had never seen before. Crestfallen, befuddled, exasperated, he took on the air of a heartbroken father, saddened and stunned by the wayward antics of a favourite son.

At one point, having abandoned the piece of paper from which he had initially intended to read, Sir Alex fell silent, apparently lost for words. He appeared close to tears. For the first time in his long reign at Old Trafford, the manager seemed to have no answer to the simple question: "Why?"

Tim Vickery in South America

It is one of the ancient battles of sport, the struggle between talent and the ravages of time. And it's being fought out as the Brazilian Championship reaches a thrilling finale.

With eight rounds to go - and at least four clubs still in contention - one of the big questions is this: Can he really do it again? Is Ronaldo capable of staging yet another extraordinary comeback?

Frank Rijkaard leaves post as Galatasaray coach

Ex-Barcelona boss Rijkaard has been linked to Liverpool, although the Reds' new owners have backed manager Roy Hodgson, despite the club's poor form.

Iron Maiden singer Bruce Dickinson flies off-key Liverpool to Italy

There are many ways to lift a team in crisis. Train harder, for example. Or appoint a new manager. Or go on a team-bonding boot camp.

Liverpool, however, have taken a slightly different route. They have been flown to Naples for their Europa League game against Napoli on Thursday by the Iron Maiden frontman Bruce Dickinson.

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Round-up, Reports & Analyses

Arsenal and Chelsea have one foot in the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League after victories over Shakhtar Donetsk and Spartak Moscow. Braga picked up their first victory of the campaign against Partizan Belgrade in the clash between Group H's also-rans. Marseille got off the mark in Group F as they inflicted a third successive defeat on MSK Zilina.

Real Madrid came out on top in the clash of European heavyweights at Santiago Bernabeu as AC Milan were left reeling with two goals in as many minutes in the opening quarter of an hour. Ajax moved level on four points with Massimiliano Allegri's men although they were left hanging on for their 2-1 victory over Auxerre in Amsterdam. Bayern Munich are in firm control at the summit of Group E but they were given a huge helping hand from CFR Cluj as the Romanian visitors contrived to score two own goals. The race for second place in Group E is tight after Basel claimed their first victory with a surprise 3-1 success away to Roma.


Real Madrid 2 - 0 AC Milan

Sid Lowe at the Santiago Bernabéu
Roberto Gotta: Tactical dilemmas remain for Milan

Arsenal 5 - 1 Shakhtar Donetsk
Jamie Jackson at Emirates Stadium
Tom Adams at Emirates Stadium
Paul Hayward: Wilshere blooms alongside captain

Spartak Moscow 0 - 2 Chelsea
Dominic Fifield at Luzhniki Stadium

Alex Ferguson's stance poses questions about Wayne Rooney's attitude

The Manchester United manager has cast Rooney as a mercenary with no regard for the club's health.

Donovan open to Everton return in January

Donovan, 28, scored two goals and claimed three assists in ten Premier League games last season as he proved a real short-term success at Goodison.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Key Previews

Chelsea return to the scene of their UEFA Champions League final heartbreak in Tuesday's early kick-off, while a former friend becomes foe for Arsenal.

Elsewhere, European giants Real Madrid and AC Milan meet, Bayern Munich host Cluj, Roma welcome Basel, and Auxerre travel to Ajax.

Braga take on Partizan Belgrade, and Marseille see Slovakian outfit MSK Zilina arrive in France.

General Preview

Real Madrid vs. AC Milan:
Preview I
Jon Carter's Preview
Preview II
Five classic Real/Milan ties

Spartak Moscow vs. Chelsea:
Jeremy Wilson on Spartak Moscow

Arsenal vs. Shakhtar Donetsk: Preview

Sid Lowe in Spain

Barça's members' assembly gave the club president Sandro Rosell the chance to settle a few old accounts – literally – with Joan Laporta.

End of an expensive era, but Barcelona's players prove priceless.

Marcus Christensen in Sweden

Violence in the stands, threats to players and coaches, and poor quality on the pitch are blighting Swedish football.

Hooliganism sends Sweden crashing back into football's dark ages.

Russia's 2018 bid leader talks up London crime rate

"It's no secret, for example, that in London they have the highest crime rate compared with other European cities, and the highest level of alcohol consumption among young people."

Sorokin went on to again insist that a banner with a picture of a banana aimed at West Brom's striker Peter Odemwingie and produced by fans of his former club Lokomotiv Moscow was not racist, and he points out that anti-Glazer fans had burned an American flag at Old Trafford on the same day.

Ferguson Confirms Rooney Wants Out

Sir Alex Ferguson has confirmed the "terribly disappointing" news that Wayne Rooney has told Manchester United that he will not sign a new contract and wishes to leave the club.

Steve Davis on MLS

Americans On The Continent: Setbacks Galore

Wins were hard to come by for our boys in Europe.

Americans In The UK: Frank Simek's Rebirth Continues

Frank Simek’s inspiring play continued last week for Carlisle as he sent his squad into the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy Quarterfinals.

The Rest

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

Borussia top, Schalke going down and Bayern nowhere. Things can't get much better for Jürgen Klopp's side right now.

Why Dortmund's form is the stuff black and yellow fantasies are made of.

Marcela Mora y Araujo in Argentina

If his agent and the selling club are to be believed, Palermo's Javier Pastoré is the market's most wanted commodity today, with the "pressure" from interested giants Real Madrid and Barcelona increasing in the hope to secure the young Argentinian's talents.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Inter silenced fans in Sardinia but still look short of firepower, while supporters in Genoa made a political point.

Effigy brandished at Sampdoria and Eto'o silences Cagliari in Serie A.

Phil Ball in Spain

We learned a few things this weekend, and we are likely to learn some more in midweek when three of the pretenders to the Spanish throne pit their wits against European rivals in the Champions League. Meanwhile, it will befit Villarreal - the team that continues to lend La Liga its face validity - to return to the top of the table on Monday night by beating Hercules away, and thus dampen a little the growing feeling that Real Madrid could be shaping up for an over-imperious campaign. What did we learn?

Monday, October 18, 2010

Steve Davis: Projected U.S. team depth chart

The U.S. national team depth chart is clearly in transition. It certainly is a tricky time to assign order as the value of "potential" is elevated slightly for the time being. On the other hand, U.S. coach Bob Bradley and the federation is gung-ho for the 2011 Gold Cup. The winner gets a coveted place in the 2013 Confederations Cup in Brazil. So the depth chart can't all be about potential with an eye toward qualification for and (fingers crossed) performance during the 2014 World Cup. A significant amount of "here and now" remains in the current calculus.

With just one match remaining in a busy year, here's where things seem to stand in terms of how Bradley sees the squad:

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analysis

It was misery on Merseyside for Liverpool, the vulnerability of a two-goal advantage was twice exploited as Manchester United and Wigan Athletic dropped two points apiece, Manchester City moved closer to leaders Chelsea while Arsenal overcame their recent wobble but had Jack Wilhsere sent off. Bottom-of-the-table West Ham Unitedcan count themselves unfortunate not to have come away from Molineux with all three points. There was also much controversy at Craven Cottage as Tottenham Hotspur beat Fulham 2-1.


Everton 2 - 0 Liverpool
Richard Jolly at Goodison Park
Kevin McCarra at Goodison Park

Aston Villa 0 - 0 Chelsea
Kevin Palmer at Villa Park

Manchester United 2 - 2 West Bromwich Albion
Richard Jolly at Old Trafford

Arsenal 2 - 1 Birmingham
Jamie Jackson at Emirates Stadium

Fulham 1 - 2 Tottenham
David Lacey at Craven Cottage

Blackpool 2 - 3 Manchester City
Daniel Taylor at Bloomfield Road

Germany: Bundesliga Weekend Review

Hoffenheim are up to fourth place in the Bundesliga while Hamburg ended Mainz's perfect start to the season.

Bayern Munich are well off the pace but a 3-0 win at home to Hannover may give them some momentum, the glory going to Mario Gomez as he scored a hat-trick.

St Pauli
achieved their first home win of the season, a 3-2 victory over Nurnberg secured by a late effort from Florian Bruns.


Italy: Serie A Weekend Review

Lazio returned to the top of Serie A during the weekend after scrambling a 2-0 win over Bari at the Stadio San Nicola. Earlier, Inter Milan's 1-0 victory at Cagliari was marred as the referee threatened to halt the game following apparent racist chanting against Samuel Eto'o. Juventus thrashed Lecce 4-0 to move up to fifth. Sampdoria came from behind to win their first Serie A game in seven weeks, beating Fiorentina 2-1.