Friday, February 18, 2011

Good Day!

Ryan Giggs signs a new one-year deal that will have him in Manchester United's first team for a 21st season, Dominic Raynor is Off The Ball, best matches and midfielders of the FA Cup, FA Cup action sees Manchester United host Crawley Town, Leyton Orient host Arsenal, Everton and Chelsea clash in their fourth-round replay, previews for action in Italy and Spain, if EPL clubs were U.S. sports franchises, Jose Mourinho has not lost a league match at home for nine years, Champions League final ticket prices soar, Liverpool draw in the Europa League and much more!!

Key TV in the USA

All Times Eastern Standard

English FA Cup
Chelsea vs. Everton -- 7:30am -- FSC
Manchester United vs. Crawley Town -- 12:15pm -- FSC

Italian Serie A
Inter Milan vs. Cagliari -- 2:45pm -- FSC

English Premier League
West Brom vs. Wolves -- 7:00am -- FSPlus

English FA Cup
Manchester City vs. Notts County -- 9:00am -- FSPlus
Leyton Orient vs. Arsenal -- 11:30am -- FSC

Spanish La Liga
Barcelona vs. Atletico Bilbao -- 3pm -- GolTV

Ryan Giggs Signs New Manchester United Contract

It means the 37-year-old will take his time at Old Trafford into a remarkable 21st year, having made his club debut as a substitute on 2 March, 1991.

The cream of the crop from 1991...

Italy: Serie A Weekend Preview

AC Milan will attempt to overcome the disappointment of their Champions League defeat to Tottenham when they face Chievo. Inter Milan go into Saturday's match against Cagliari with one eye on next week's Champions League game against Bayern Munich. Leonardo's men leapfrogged Lazio into third after their 2-1 triumph at Fiorentina in midweek, cutting the gap on city rivals AC Milan to five points. Fiorentina and Sampdoria will battle it out at the Artemio Franchi stadium with both teams looking to make amends for their respective midweek defeats.


Spain: La Liga Weekend Preview & Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

Improving Levante have revenge on their minds as they go to Real Madrid this weekend while Barcelona host Athletic Bilbao.


Eduardo Alvarez's Quiniela

England: FA Cup and Premier League Previews & Predictions

Non-league Crawley's trip to Manchester United has captured the imagination, with a battle between two Red Devils at Old Trafford set to take centre stage. Elsewhere on Saturday, League One leaders Brighton will be looking to book their place in the quarter-finals at the expense of Premier League outfit Stoke. Chelsea host Everton in a fourth-round replay while Leyton Orient host fellow-Londoners Arsenal.

Preview I
Preview II

Chelsea vs. Everton: Preview
Manchester United vs. Crawley Town: Preview
Leyton Orient vs. Arsenal: Preview

West Brom vs. Wolves: Preview

Lawro's Predictions

England: The FA Cup's Greatest Matches

We at ESPNsoccernet will be taking you through the season with a series of FA Cup features detailing the highlights of the competition's long and proud history. Here is a selection of the games that have entered FA Cup lore as some of the very best that weren't played in a final.

Alan Pardew nets the winner for Palace vs. Liverpool in 1990...

England: The FA Cup's Greatest Midfielders

will be taking you through the season with a series of FA Cup features detailing the highlights of the competition's long and proud history. Here, we look at those midfielders who have left their mark on the competition.

Sir Trevor David Brooking

If EPL Clubs Were U.S. Sports Franchises ...

Spurs last won a league title in 1961. The Jets last won a Super Bowl in 1969. And for years since those titles, both have competed with the best some years and floundered in others. Lately, they’re both making a push to the top, with the Jets reaching two straight AFC championship games and Spurs qualifying for the Champions League with a top four finish last year. Led by dynamic -– if not somewhat misunderstood –- young talents in Gareth Bale and Mark Sanchez, and two blustery coaches that please every interviewer that points a microphone at them (Harry Redknapp and Rex Ryan), the teams relish the spotlight. Trouble is, they can’t seem to stand the heat of it all at the end.

The Rest

Jose Mourinho's unbeaten home league run reaches nine years

This Saturday marks another special anniversary for Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho. It is nine years since one of the four teams he has managed since 2002 - Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan and Real - lost a league match at home.

The last time the self-styled "Special One" experienced a league defeat with a side that he coached was on 23 February, 2002, when Porto were beaten 3-2 by Beira Mar.

FA Cup magic is in the numbers for Leyton Orient

All 9,311 tickets for Sunday have gone, the first time Orient have hosted a sell-out fixture since they beat Hull in the second leg of a League Two semi-final in 2001. This is their biggest Cup game since they hosted Tottenham in the third round earlier that same season, and lost to a last-minute goal.

Brisbane Road

UEFA Europa League: Thursday Review

Liverpool drew 0-0 with Sparta Prague in the first leg of their Europa League tie, while Rangers drew 1-1 with Sporting Lisbon.


Fans furious at ticket prices for Champions League final at Wembley

Some 11,000 tickets will go on sale to the general public costing £300, £225 and £150 plus a £26 "administration fee". An allocation of 50,000 tickets which will be reserved for fans of the two finalists will include "category four" tickets at £80 each, according to Uefa but the Football Supporters Federation condemned the prices as too high.

Dominic Raynor: Off The Ball

Off The Ball never rests in its mission to scratch around the underbelly of professional football to find the most bizarre, humorous and inexplicable stories.

This week, Domenech calls his France team a bunch of "spoilt brats", Newcastle Jets offer Michael Owen a cash-plus-horse deal, a posse of Corinthians fans force Ronaldo to retire and Manchester City defender Joleon Lescott loses more than just the derby to Wayne Rooney.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Good Day!

Arsenal get two late goals to defeat Barcelona, Roma shocked by Shakhtar, St. Pauli win Hamburg Derby, Inter Milan beat Fiorentina, Grant Wahl on Clint Dempsey's success with Fulham, top overhead kicks of all time, Gattuso charged for "gross unsporting conduct", Charlie Davies loaned to D.C. for one year, Norman Hubbard looks at David Moyes and Everton and much more!!

Grant Wahl: U.S. star Dempsey on the verge of history

Dempsey, 27, says he's playing the best soccer of his career these days, and he has 11 games left to surpass McBride's goal mark for Yanks in a Premier League season. It seems like only a matter of time before Dempsey passes Roy Wegerle for all-time goals by an American in England. Dempsey has 34; Wegerle had 53.

Crash victim Davies makes loan return to U.S.

United States striker Charlie Davies, who missed out on the World Cup after a horrific car crash, has signed for D.C. United on a one-year loan, the Major League Soccer club said on Wednesday.

Gattuso Charged by UEFA

AC Milan midfielder Gennaro Gattuso is set for a Uefa disciplinary hearing on a charge of 'gross unsporting conduct' following his clash with Tottenham assistant manager Joe Jordan.

Italy: Wednesday's Serie A Reports + Table

1 - 2
Inter Milan


Genoa 0 - 1 Sampdoria

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Hamburg 0 - 1 St. Pauli: Asamoah Takes Derby Honours

Gerald Asamoah grabbed the only goal of the game as St Pauli moved clear of the Bundesliga relegation battle while denting Hamburg's European hopes at Imtech Arena.

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Reports & Fallout

Arsenal 2 - 1 Barcelona
John Brewin at Emirates Stadium
Kevin McCarra at Emirates Stadium
Phil McNulty at Emirates Stadium
Paul Hayward at Emirates Stadium

Sid Lowe:
Five Things We Learned

Richard Williams:
Barcelona left dazed

Player Ratings
Spanish press reaction

2 - 3
Shakhtar Donestk

Report I
Report II
Riise apologizes for howler

Everton Focus: Seeds of Doubt at Goodison

The final chorus was familiar. Soaked and suffering as the Everton supporters at the Reebok Stadium on Sunday were, they nevertheless hailed David Moyes. The chants of the manager's name are as much of a soundtrack to life at Goodison Park as the Z-Cars anthem. They have been a constant in a reign that has lasted almost nine years, giving the Merseysiders a continuity rivaled only by Arsenal and Manchester United.

Head over Heels

Sir Alex Ferguson has said Wayne Rooney's stunning winner in the Manchester derby was the finest goal he had ever seen at Old Trafford. We take a look at how it stands up to some of the great overhead kicks of the past.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Good Day!

Loads today as Tottenham win in Milan and Gattuso loses the plot (and how did Flamini stay on the pitch?!), Raul scores in Valencia as Schalke claim away draw, Newcastle defeat Birmingham to go ninth in the EPL, midweek action in Germany is the Hamburg Derby, in Italy Fiorentina host Inter and it's the Genoa Derby, Roberto Gotta in Italy, Tim Vickery in South America, Champions League action is Barcelona at Arsenal and Shakhtar at Roma and much more!!

UEFA Champions League: Wednesday's Previews

Arsenal vs. Barcelona
Preview I
Preview II

Lee Dixon:
How Arsenal can win

Alan Smith:
How Arsenal can win

Paul Hayward:
Pep the Extra-special One

Key Battles
Tactical Preview

Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Preview I
Preview II

Europe: Wednesday's Serie A and Bundesliga Previews

Fiorentina vs. Inter Milan
Sampdoria vs. Genoa

Hamburg vs. St. Pauli

England: Tuesday's Premier League Report + Table

Birmingham City
0 - 2

Richard Rae at St. Andrew's

Man Utd2616913257
Man City2714761949
Aston Villa277911-1530
West Brom267613-1727
West Ham2751012-1825

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Reports & Fallout

AC Milan 0 - 1 Tottenham
Kevin McCarra at San Siro

Richard Williams:
Milan shame San Siro

Gattuso set for UEFA probe
Player Ratings
Italian press reaction
Five Things We Learned
Don't Mess With Joe

Valencia 1 - 1 Schalke 04

Report I
Report II

Tim Vickery in South America

Last July, in his first press conference as Brazil coach, Mano Menezes said that he was aiming to include a sports psychologist in his back-up staff.

Brazil had just lost their heads as they bowed out to Holland in the World Cup quarter-finals and Menezes was aware that in 2014, on home soil, the pressure would be much greater.

The events of the last few days have shown just how important the mental aspect is likely to be for the next World Cup hosts.

Ernst Bouwes in Holland

Last week, the continuing discussions about the pros and cons of football agents reached the Dutch parliament. Socialist MP Tjeerd van Dekken called on the sports minister to consider legislation on agents picking up under-16 players. On the Labour Party's website, he used the term "ronselen", a word equivalent in meaning to the English phrase "press gang".

Roberto Gotta in Italy

Perhaps it was all meant to be like this. Perhaps soccer was indeed created to carry out an educational message. Forget all the deserved hype about the newly crowned Superbowl heroes the Green Bay Packers and how a team from a tiny town in North-east Wisconsin can survive and prosper in a league where the likes of New York and Chicago are represented. That beautiful structure is not real life. It is, rather, like real life should be. In the archaic world of European sports, reality bares its teeth in a more menacing, sinister manner, resembling the scary portrait that Italy's own Dante gave of Minos, the guardian of Hell who decides which 'circle' each poor soul - no pun intended - who is sent for judgment before him has to descend into.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

UEFA Champions League: Tuesday's Previews

AC Milan vs. Tottenham
Kevin McCarra: Tottenham must attack
Phil Minshull: Ibrahimovic and Robinho prove me wrong
Paolo Bandini: Europe remains a puzzle for Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Valencia vs. Schalke 04


Sid Lowe in Spain

Gijón were heroic as they ended Barça's run of 16 straight La Liga wins, but they still dropped four places.

Sporting slip despite blunting Barça with draw that 'tastes like a win'.

England: Monday's Premier League Reports

Fulham 0 - 0 Chelsea

Dominic Fifield at Craven Cottage
Hughes wanted retake

Americans In The UK: Holden It Down

Stuart Holden played a very solid game on Sunday, helping Bolton defeat Everton by assisting the first goal.

The American was impressive as he set up the first goal of the game during the win. The midfielder’s free-kick led to Gary Cahill’s header in the 10th minute. Holden then sent a challenging ball into the area in the 39th minute but Howard cleared the danger. Late in the game, Holden appeared to score but his goal was called back by the referee.

The Rest

Americans On The Continent: Bocanegra Scores, But Lyon Overpower Les Verts

Carlos Bocanegra opened the scoring for St. Etienne against French giants and bitter rivals Olympique Lyonnais, but Lyon scored four straight goals to crush St. Etienne away from home.

The Rest

Farewell to a Phenomenon

'The farewell of a great,' the headline read. Above it, a photograph of Ronaldo - the original, Brazilian one - shedding a tear. It's a reaction one would expect of the press in Brazil, given all that O Fenômeno has done for the country's national team and the joy he's given to fans there and across Europe. It's a sign of the magnitude of greatness under consideration, though, that this headline isn't taken from a Brazilian website. Nor from a site in one of the three European countries whose leagues he graced - the Netherlands, Italy and Spain. It was the main headline on the website of Argentina's Olé on Monday morning.

Raphael Honigstein in Germany

The 2007 Bundesliga champions are on their third coach of the season, were blown away at home to Nürnberg and have slipped to a worrying 17th place.

Stuttgart still buying into the 'not bad enough to go down' line.

Paolo Bandini in Italy

Alessandro Matri's winner sank Inter and prompted an enthusiastic press to declare it 'a black-and-white orgasm'.

Matri makes the difference as Juventus win the Derby D'Italia.

Phil Ball in Spain

There's a wonderful phrase in Spanish called 'Estar de Rodriguez', which means that your wife and children have gone away for the weekend (in this case skiing) and left you at home alone, supposedly to catch up on domestic chores.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Night Football

Fulham vs. Chelsea
Where: Craven Cottage, London, UK
When: 3pm EST

A Valentine to Wayne Rooney

Now we know why that purple-faced meanie, Sir Alex Ferguson, played nice with Master Wayne during their contractual smackdown in October. Rather than telling his Prodigal Striker never to darken the gates of Old Trafford again -- as he had done with David Beckham, Roy Keane and just about any other player who felt he was too big for his United shirt -- Sir Alex kept faith with Rooney.

England: Premier League Weekend Review, Reports & Analyses

Another entertaining weekend in the Premier League saw some stunning goals, most notably Wayne Rooney's spectacular overhead kick which clinched the Manchester derby. West Ham continued the recent trend of epic comebacks after recovering from three goals down to seal a miraculous 3-3 draw at West Brom, earning a valuable point that could be crucial come the end of the season. Meanwhile, Arsenal kept the pressure on at the top of the table with an all-too-easy win over Wolves, Spurs came from a goal down to beat Sunderland and Wigan held Liverpool at Anfield.


Manchester United 2 - 1 Manchester City
Paul Wilson at Old Trafford
Phil McNulty at Old Trafford

West Brom 3 - 3 West Ham
David Lacey at The Hawthorns

Liverpool 1 - 1 Wigan
Richard Jolly at Anfield

Sunderland 1 - 2 Tottenham
Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light

Five Things We Learned

Song Indispensable for Arsenal

It's a sign of how far Alex Song has come in his career that the kid who was once excited to meet France's one-cap wonder Frederic Nee in the Bastia changing-room, can now laugh at the prospect of facing the most prolific strike-force in Europe in the Champions League Round of 16 next week.

European Weekend Review

Real Madrid closed the gap on Spanish leaders Barcelona, while Borussia Dortmund saw their big lead cut in Germany.

AC Milan thrashed Parma to stay clear in Serie A, Lille remain dominant in Ligue 1 and PSV and Twente both picked up victories.


Ronaldo Retires

Brazilian icon Ronaldo has confirmed in a tearful press conference that he has scored his last goal in a prolific and storied career in football that saw him become the top scorer in the history of the World Cup.

The Fifth Official

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 week brimming with potential victims.