EPL Talk Archives for January 2007

Will Man Utd's Riyadh Trip Expose Hypocrisy?

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In today's Guardian newspaper, Daniel Taylor reports that Manchester United is planning on playing a friendly in January as a testimonial. The issue is that the match will be played in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and it's a 6,000-mile round trip.

To repay Man United for taking this friendly during their regular season, the Red Devils will receive more than $2 million.

Daily TV Show Debuts with Premier League News

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The debut episode of EPL Talk TV has been released featuring 5 minutes of Premier League-related news:





In this, the first episode, the news stories are:
  • Juande Ramos gives Spurs a run for their money,
  • Where is Jose heading next?
  • Which club will Mark Hughes go to after Blackburn, and
  • A look ahead at tonight's League Cup match.

Housekeeping Notes

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The EPL Talk Blog will be back to its regularly scheduled posting tomorrow (Tuesday), but in the meantime, be sure to check out the latest episode of the Championship Talk Podcast, the sister site/podcast to EPL Talk.

Alex Rice of BBC and The Beautiful Game fame joins host Brian Koski to revel in QPR's escalation to 23rd in the table on a testosterone-filled episode.

Chelsea v Manchester CIty: Live and Online

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Chelsea v Manchester City (7am PT/10am ET/3pm UK time, Fox Soccer Channel. Replay Sunday 2am ET).

This is going to be a fun game to watch. Chelsea under Grant have done more passing of the ball to set up the attack than I have seen Chelsea do in a while, and it is working while Ricardo Carvalho is showing why he is the true pillar in the back.

Portsmouth v West Ham: Live and Online

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Portsmouth v West Ham United (9:15 PT/12:15 pm ET/5:15pm GMT Fox Soccer Channel. On replay Tuesday 1 pm ET).

Portsmouth look a side confident they can score at any time. West Ham United look the typical mid table club. If this was at Upton Park, I could see West Ham having a chance, but Fratton Park is a different animal and the Hammers could be in for a bad day at the office.

Bolton v Aston Villa: Live and Online

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Bolton v Aston Villa (6:30am PT/9:30 am ET/2:30pm UK time, Setanta. Replay Monday 2:45 pm ET). Sunday, October 27.

So Bolton now have a permanent manager. It maybe the right move in the end but it doesn't mean I can't question aloud what the disciplinarian will do. Aston Villa at times look brilliant, but more often than not they look incredibly average.

Spurs v Blackburn: Live and Online

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Tottenham v Blackburn (8am PT/ 11 am ET/ 4pm UK time, Setanta Xtra. On Setanta 6 pm ET). Sunday, October 27.

Sacking Martin Jol does not solve Spurs biggest problem, the fact their back five is absolutely shocking. Blackburn have yet to lose this season on the road, and with the form they are on (three in a row) and their midfield finally linking up with the forwards, this could be the perfect day for Spurs fans to vent their frustration at the board.

Liverpool v Arsenal: Live and Online

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Liverpool v Arsenal (9am PT/ 12 pm ET/ 5pm UK time, Fox Soccer Channel. Replay 11 pm). Sunday, October 27.

Well after the performance Liverpool put up in Turkey midweek and Arsenal gave in putting yet another Prague side to shame, this game will be the first litmus test to see exactly how good Arsenal are this season. Rafa Benetiz got the backing of the ownership in regards to his rotation policy, but I wonder aloud how much of that was hollow?

Book Review: Love & Blood by Jamie Trecker

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By Lou Bruno

Love & Blood: At the World Cup With The Footballers, Fans, and Freaks
By Jamie Trecker
A Harvest Original/Harcourt ($14.00)

If there is one book that should be required reading for the new American fan to the world's game it's this one. Jamie Trecker gives us not only a view of the World Cup from a reporters perspective but a lesson in the tactics of the game, a bit of German World War 2 history (mostly on target I should point out, since I am very well read on the subject of WW2 I only caught one flaw in his historical perspective), player profiles, a history of the game of football in the US and the world.

Breaking News: Martin Jol Resigns from Spurs

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Martin Jol's career as manager of Tottenham Hotspur has come to an end.

The Dutchman tendered his resignation shortly before the UEFA Cup match against Getafe, a game that was so typical of a Spurs match under Jol. The North London side went one-nil up before losing the match 2-1.

Jol had been in charge at Spurs for almost three years, but his departure comes as no surprise as the club is battling in the relegation zone with just one league win all season, against Derby, and four draws and five defeats.

5 Reasons Why Playing a Premier League Match Won't Happen in the USA

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West Ham United's Eggert Magnusson believes that playing an English Premier League match in the United States would be good for the game, according to an interview he did with Sky Sports News.

"I can see that happening sooner rather than later. It would be good for the game," Magnusson told Sky.

Of course, the idea of playing a Premier League match in the States is being mentioned because of this Sunday's NFL game between the Miami Dolphins and New York Giants at Wembley Stadium in London.

Why Can't Soccer Stadiums Be More Like Retro Baseball Parks?

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No, the headline to this blog posting isn't intentionally meant to be blasphemous. It's meant to stir debate.

The debate is whether soccer clubs, especially in England, would be better off borrowing some of the concepts of stadium designs from baseball organizations in the United States? For example, instead of English clubs such as Everton, Portsmouth and Liverpool building brand-new stadiums (as they're planning on doing) that look nothing like their former grounds, why not build retro stadiums that harken back to the past such as baseball parks like Baltimore Orioles's Camden Yards and Texas Rangers's Rangers Ballpark have done?

Join us on the EPL Talk Show Tonight at 11pm ET

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What a night in Champions League football today and lots of Premier League-related stories to talk about including Gary Megson on his way to Bolton Wanderers.

Join us tonight at 11pm ET for the live broadcast of the EPL Talk Show with special guest co-hosts Forza Futbol.

The topics for tonight's show include:
  • A round-up of the results from Tuesday's and Wednesday nights Champions League matches involving English teams, including analysis of Liverpool's shock 2-1 loss against Besiktas of Turkey, which leaves Liverpool at the BOTTOM of their Champions League group.

Spurs is This Season's Most Entertaining Club

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Last season, there were plenty of clubs to make fun of and get angry about. West Ham United, for example, were the bane of so many jokes and insults. Sheffield United were targets too.

But this season, we have a different circus. Come one, come all to the most humorous show on earth named Tottenham Hotspur. At every turn, there's plenty of thrills, laughs, twists and turns and the faint aroma of animal dung.

Book Review: Up Pompey by Chuck Culpepper

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By Atlanta Pompey

Up Pompey: A Clueless American Sportswriter Bumbles Through English Football by Chuck Culpepper; Orion Books(UK Only)

I think it is hard being a fan.

When I first heard about this book, I wanted to read it because it was about my team. After I read it, I realized that it was not about Pompey, but about the journey of a man from a trained, neutral observer of all things sports in America to a supporter of a team he'd never heard of playing a sport he'd hardly ever noticed.

Nike to buy Umbro in $580 Million Deal

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Breaking news: Umbro has agreed to be purchased by Nike in a $580 million deal. The English company was founded in 1920 and has the contract to manufacture the kits for England's national team as well as a handful of Premier League clubs including Everton, Sunderland, Blackburn and others.

Just a few weeks ago, EPL Talk interviewed an Umbro executive for an episode of the EPL Talk Podcast.

Top 20 Biggest Pitches in the Premier League

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EPL Talk has researched the sizes of football pitches in the Premier League and ranked them according to the largest pitches to smallest. Some of the findings may surprise you.

For example, Tottenham's White Hart Lane has always been renowned for its small pitch, but did you know that fellow London club West Ham's pitch is the smallest in the league?

Top 11 Managers to Replace Bolton's Sammy Lee

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With Steve Bruce, Chris Coleman and Gary Megson all dismissing the opportunity of becoming the next Bolton manager to replace Sammy Lee, the Trotters find themselves in a difficult position where their choice of next manager is extremely slim. Such is the dire state of quality managers in England.

With Bruce, Coleman and Megson out of the running, here's EPL Talk's analysis of what candidates are available and may be a good fit for the Bolton Wanderers manager position:

1.

FA Needs to Move to MyFootballClub Model

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The English FA (Football Association) has decided to start the process of redesigning its website, TheFA.com, but what's the point?

The FA even need to even redesign its site. Compared to most football websites, it's better than average. It may look a little outdated, but other than the need to make it look more aesthetically pleasing, the site is fine as it is and functions rather well.

ITVN Technical Problems Plague Merseyside Derby

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One of the biggest matches of the season for fans of both Everton and Liverpool was ruined today for those viewers subscribed to ITVN.

The IPTV company that provides Setanta Sports over a broadband connection on to your TV set was plagued with technical problems. For example, here's a letter from one irate ITVN customer (just one of many I received this morning):

Gaffer, I'm trying to watch the Merseyside Derby, and I noticed that the ITVN reception was especially troublesome this week - something I attribute to the number of fans that must be tuning in the match (no technical basis for this assumption - just a gut feeling).

Everton's Cries for a Penalty Against Liverpool Go Unheard

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Everton was robbed of a draw against their Merseyside rivals in the 2-1 win by Liverpool today at Goodison Park.

In the final few minutes of the game, Joleon Lescott was clearly pulled down from behind in the box by Jamie Carragher. The decision by referee Mark Clattenburg not to award a penalty was a cruel blow for Everton who were playing with nine men after Hibbert and Neville had been sent off earlier in the match.

Everton v Liverpool: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's match between Everton and Liverpool online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Reds, Toffees and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the match. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Everton v Liverpool radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Aston Villa v Man United: Live & Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's match between Aston Villa and Manchester United online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Villa and Man United fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the match. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Aston Villa v Man Utd radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

England's Euro 2008 Fate Is in Israel's Hands

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The fate of whether England qualifies for next summer's Euro 2008 is now in the hands of Israel after the English national team lost 2-1. If Russia beats Israel and Andorra in its remaining matches, then both Croatia and Russia will qualify automatically leaving England to watch the tournament on television.

The pinnacle match deciding England's fate will be Saturday, November 17, when Israel plays at home against Russia.

Sammy Lee Sacked by Bolton Wanderers

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Bolton Wanderers today sacked Sammy Lee as manager of its football club. Taking a page from Chelsea's book, the club claims the decision was "by mutual consent," which is the new corporate speak for "we sacked him for doing a terrible job, but we're too nice to say that, so we'll say we both came to the same decision."

Sammy Lee became Bolton manager on April 29, 2007, after he was appointed to succeed Sam Allardyce when it emerged in the newspapers that Big Sam had made an agreement with Bolton chairman Phil Gartside to leave the club.

Soccer Taxicab Confessions in New York City

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I'm in New York today and tomorrow attending another Internet marketing conference, but it's so refreshing to be in a city in the States that embraces soccer -- even on a small scale. Compare this to my home near West Palm Beach, Florida, where soccer is almost invisible.

In New York, I've taken three cab rides. Each cab ride featured, at random, a cab driver who was fluent in soccer.

Curtis Davies Is a Future Pundit In the Making

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Aston Villa's Curtis Davies is a breath of fresh air. In a sport where there is so much 'corporate speak' and layers of agents and publicists telling players what to say, it's refreshing to hear original, intelligent and uncensored thoughts from such a young English player.

For example, Davies is not too egotistical to criticize himself.

Are England Rugby Players More Patriotic Than the Footballers?

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Watching the France versus England match from the Rugby World Cup this past weekend, one observation which stuck out in my head was how the England rugby players sang the national anthem ("God Save The Queen") loudly with passion and feeling.

Contrast that with the England football team and most of the players, if they even bother to sing the song, mumble the words with practically closed mouths.

Premier League Fantasy Football Tip of the Week

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Since there was no issue of the EPL Talk Email Newsletter this week due to the international break, here's the latest Premier League Fantasy Football tip from EPL Talk blogger Jeremy Lay:

Bye Week Strategy

While most players are content to sit tight on their selections during a bye week, some circumstances might lead you to consider making a move.

FIFA Futbol Mundial Coming to an End

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Oliver Tse from SoccerTV.com is reporting that IMG Media has announced it will discontinue its soccer magazine TV show FIFA Futbol Mundial at the end of 2007 as part of IMG's latest restructuring effort.

Since its launch in 1994, the show has been one of the best soccer programs on television with comprehensive reports and interviews from all corners of the globe.

Fantasy Premier League Update

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Out of the more 100,000 leagues in this season's Fantasy Premier League, the EPL Talk private league is in 29th place. Out of the 392 people registered in the EPL Talk private league, the top ten players going into the international break are:

1. Hollywood Blues (Gary I), 518 pts
2. Nordic's Red Legion (Five Times), 509 pts
3.

Shaking Off The 'Soccer Is For Fags' Insults

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Many people look back to the 1980's as a golden age, but for soccer fans living in the United States, it was a quagmire. Not only that, but it was also a very difficult experience admitting you were a soccer fan in those years.

If you were fortunate, you could probably see five to six live matches on TV each year. Nowaways, it's not uncommon to see that many in one day.

FSC Treats Viewers to Soccer Saturday from Sky

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Viewers to Fox Soccer Channel on Saturday were pleasantly shocked and surprised to see live coverage of Soccer Saturday, the weekly show from Sky Sports.

It was one of those rare Saturdays where Fox Soccer Channel had no Premier League matches on-air while Setanta Sports had the two matches from the day: Manchester United against Wigan, and Aston Villa versus West Ham United.

Newcastle v Everton: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Sunday's match between Newcastle and Everton online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Toon Army, Toffees and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the final. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Newcastle United v Everton radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Man United v Wigan: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's match between Manchester United and Wigan Athletic online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Manchester United, Wigan and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the final. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Man Utd v Wigan Athletic radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Aston Villa v West Ham: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's match between Aston Villa and West Ham United online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Villa, West Ham and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the final. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding A. Villa v West Ham Utd. radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Arsenal v Sunderland: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Saturday's match between Arsenal and Sunderland online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Gunners, Sunderland and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the final. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Man Utd v Wigan Athletic radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Liverpool v Spurs: Live and Online

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If you're searching for a way to experience Sunday's match between Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur online, join the EPL Talk Chat hosted by BC John.

We'll have Liverpool, Tottenham and neutral fans from around the world chatting in real-time about the final. We'll also be able to tip you off regarding Man Utd v Wigan Athletic radio coverage and how to listen live (depending on what part of the world you live in).

Liverpool Pays the Price for Poor Team Selection

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Rafa Benitez has himself to blame for Liverpool's defeat last night in the Champions League. Deciding to put Leto and Aurelio on the left wing and Sissoko in the middle was a devastating mistake.

It was almost as if Benitez seemed to not take Marseille too seriously, the first French side ever to win at Anfield. Valbuena's goal, an exquisite shot, was the deciding factor.

How I Missed The Greatest Comeback in 125 Years

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Life sometimes gets in the way of football.

Juggling three kids, a full-time job and all of the boring aspects of life (getting a haircut, picking up or dropping off drycleaning, getting an oil change, etc), you may find yourself in a similar predicament to me where midweek matches become quite a chore.

If only life was easier where I could support one club and put my foot down and insist on watching them and only them.

La Liga Ruins Chances of Closing Gap With Premier League

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At the conclusion of the most recent La Liga season, the amount of interest in the premier Spanish league was perhaps the greatest it has ever been worldwide (and that includes the United States).

However, the continuing media war in Spain is crippling La Liga's chances of building a worldwide brand and, at the same time, is ruining the league's chances of closing the gap between the popularity of the league compared to the world's most popular sports league, the Premier League.

Setanta Sports Experience Not Optimal for ITVN & DISH Subscribers

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The recent deal between Setanta Sports and DISH Network gave the Irish broadcaster the potential to almost double its audience. With DirecTV and DISH Network offering Setanta Sports, the company has made a giant leap forward to getting into more homes throughout the United States.

The challenge, however, is that not everyone has satellite (either by choice or if they live in an area where they're prevented from having a dish).

Guest Appearance by Peter Brown from Divers & Cheats Podcast

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Mark your calendars for Wednesday, October 3rd at 11pm ET for the return of the EPL Talk Show, a live one-hour Internet radio show featuring The Gaffer and a special guest.

The special guest for this upcoming episode is Peter Brown, best known for the Divers & Cheats Podcast, and an integral part of the Champions Soccer Radio Network.