EPL Talk Archives for January 2008

Pleasant Distractions

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Since this site focuses exclusively on the Premier League, it's pretty rare that we discuss other leagues unless it's in comparison to the Premiership. However, I want to take this opportunity to plug three things you should definitely read and listen to, which I thoroughly recommend. The first is the latest episode of the Major League [.

Upset Alert

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Alright, maybe this wouldn't be as big of a surprise as some people would think, but I like Aston Villa's chances to go to the Emirates and beat Arsenal on Saturday. Martin O'Neill's young side has only lost twice on the road this season, and they gave Arsenal everything they had and more at Villa Park [.

Jérémie Aliadière’s Ban is Ridiculous

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Middlesbrough's Jérémie Aliadière, the man with the last name that takes me 73 tries to pronounce correctly, had his red card appeal denied today on the grounds of its "frivolous" nature and his ban increased from three to four games. This is one of the biggest farces I've seen all season. I don't subscribe to any conspiracy [.

Premier League Odds and Sods 25 Feb 2008

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Arsenal 2- Birmingham 2 Eduardo's injury - a horrific broken leg - stole the headlines.  But, it did not decisively affect the outcome. Luck controlled much of it. Birmingham capitalized upon one free kick - a questionable call - and one penalty - a blatantly wrong call. Fabregas had two goal-worthy efforts, one stopped by [.

Random Reflections from the Past Weekend of English Football

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February has been a month to forget for me, and it's still not over. Some of you may recall that I was rushed to the hospital in late January due to blood clots. Unfortunately, it's been one episode after another and I now find myself back in the hospital again in just as many weeks [...]

The Spurs Have Come Marching In

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Jonathan Woodgate's extra-time header completed an impressive comeback for Spurs as the North London club beat West London rivals Chelsea today 2-1 to win the Carling Cup. I don't want to focus as much on the game itself here as I want to talk about how this result was good for the Premier League as a [.

Big Chance for Tottenham Tomorrow

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Tomorrow's Carling Cup final at Wembley represents the first chance at meaningful silverware this year in England. The Community Shield, whose winner does get a trophy, is generally considered to be nothing more than a glorified preseason exhibition match. I think I can safely say that tomorrow's game will be anything but an exhibition, and [.

Satisfied With Kevin Keegan?

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Kevin Keegan was hired for his second stint in charge of Newcastle on January 16. I wrote a post that day questioning that move by Magpies owner Mike Ashley, saying Keegan was nothing more than a blast from the past and that the way to move forward in the future was not by looking back [...]

Arsene Wenger Wants Lifetime Ban for Taylor

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In the words of José Mourinho's puppet character on "I'm On Setanta Sports", shut up, Wenger. For those of you who haven't seen the gruesome pictures or seen video, Arsenal front man Eduardo da Silva had his left leg nearly snapped at the ankle after a sliding challenge from Birmingham defender Martin Taylor.

UEFA Cup Round of 32 Recap; Round of 16 Draw

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Wow, it's been an extremely busy week of cup competitions what with FA Cup Fifth Round action last weekend, Champions League Round of 16 first legs on Tuesday and Wednesday, and UEFA Cup Round of 32 second legs today. Four out of the five British teams, including all three English teams, left in the UEFA Cup [.

Champions League Round of 16 First Leg–Winners and Losers

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After the matches Tuesday and Wednesday, some teams have clearly put themselves in a good position heading into the second leg in a couple weeks' time. Others put themselves into a hole that they'll have to climb out of in that second leg. Here, I'm going to examine the teams that fit into each of [.

The rowdy roots of British football

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The Times Online has a review of the book Uppies and Downies: The Extraordinary Football Games of Britain by Hugh Hornby. The book is a fascinating look at Atherstone Ball Game and other ancient contests that still take place in Britain. Hornby's take on the history of football is that too many books are preoccupied [.

What Was Avram Grant Thinking?

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They say hindsight is 20/20, and that's certainly true. That doesn't make it worthless though, especially when the party involved has already made a few questionable decisions in the past. So then, Mr. Grant, let me ask you why you didn't start John Terry, Frank Lampard, and Nicolas Anelka yesterday in your Champions League Round of 16 [.

Gut check time for Arsenal

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The Champions League game tomorrow versus AC Milan could easily define the season for Arsenal. At times this year no team in Europe has looked better then Arsenal and their free flowing style of football has been a joy to watch. Players such has Fabregas and Gallas have spoken about their desire [.

I Missed Me Some Champions League

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It's that time again, time to listen to the official Champions League Hymn that we hear before and after TV matches and sing as high as we can. Don't kid yourself; you do it, I do it, it's no big deal, even if we don't understand the words. The Champions League is back tomorrow and I [...]

FA Cup Quarterfinal Draw

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The draw for the quarterfinal round of the world's oldest soccer competition was conducted today in Soho Square. From a record 731 teams that entered the 2007-2008 edition of the FA Cup, we're down to the last 8/9 and for a neutral fan like myself, this draw shaped up very nicely. All four ties will [.

Effective Magic is Transcendent Nature

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They were surprise shocks felt around the world, or so much of the media would have you believe. Vultures scrupulously circled a cavernous Anfield as the Scouse nation struggled to surmount the sickly hangover of a late Liverpool crumble. Ferguson's men shattered Arsenal's fragile psyche, leaving them fighting to keep the fabric of the fantastic [.

FA Cup 5th Round Recap

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Seven out of the eight FA Cup 5th Round ties were settled this weekend, with only the Middlesbrough-Sheffield United pairing in need of a replay. That match will come at the Riverside on the 26th, but both teams will be in the hat for tomorrow's quarterfinal draw. Two surprise teams will be joining the aforementioned sides [.

Barnsley Shocks Liverpool in FA Cup

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I don't think I need to explain to you what an upset this is, so I won't. Liverpool should've won the game. It's that simple. They had more shots, more possession, more chances, more everything. But they only scored one goal and as I've said countless times, the only stat that matters in a team sport [.

You Cannot Make a Revolution with Silk Gloves

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ESPNsoccernet is reporting that Red and White Holdings Ltd. has increased it's share of Arsenal F.C. to 24%, making the group the second largest shareholder behind Daniel Fiszman who has 24.11%. The lock-down agreement preventing a takeover bid expires in April. Cue the Darth Vadar Theme (David Dein enters) If you're new here, you may want to [.

FA Cup: Live and Online

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Join us this weekend in the EPL Talk Chat to discuss the live FA Cup matches including: Saturday, February 16: Liverpool v Barnsley, 10am ET Chelsea v Huddersfield, 10am ET Cardiff v Wolves, 10m ET Coventry v West Brom, 10am ET Manchester United v Arsenal, 12:15pm ET Sunday, February 17: Sheffield United v Middlesbrough, 9am ET Preston v Portsmouth, 11am ET Access the chat this [.

Wise Move by Stewart Downing?

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Middlesbrough left winger Stewart Downing signed a new five-year contract with the club today after weeks of maintaining his wish to leave Boro when his previous contract expired after the 2009-2010 season. Downing has seemingly been rumored to join Tottenham in every recent transfer window, and looked a good bet to do just that in January.

I’m on Setanta: Jose’s Big Signing

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In this video, we catch up with The Special One unveiling a shock signing for his chat show. Be Champions! If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! Bookmark to:

Is ITVN in Serious Financial Trouble?

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ITVN, the company that provides Setanta Sports via an IPTV set-top box to subscribers in the United States, appears to be in serious trouble. In what is typically a bad sign in business, ITVN is no longer accepting new subscribers. According to ITVN, "[we are] currently going through a corporate reorganization and we are no longer [.

Everton, Bolton, Spurs in the Driver’s Seat; Dons, ‘Gers Have Work to Do

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Solid away victories for Everton and Tottenham, at Brann and Slavia Prague respectively, have propelled the two Premiership sides into great position heading into their UEFA Cup Round of 32 second legs next week. Everton had the more straightforward road game of the two, although going to Norway in February really couldn't have been pleasant.

FIFA Rejects 39th Game Proposal

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In an interview with the BBC, FIFA President Sepp Blatter has today revealed that FIFA will never accept the Premier League's proposal to play a round of games overseas. The news will come as a damning blow to the Premier League's hopes of playing matches overseas beginning as early as the 2010/2011 season.

Happy Valentines Day

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Just a few quick notes: Don't forget to enter the Setanta Sports competition where you could win a free one year subscription to Setanta Broadband. The contest ends tomorrow (Friday, February 15). All you have to do is guess who the new character will be on the hit viral video, "I'm On Setanta Sports.

39th Game is Wake-Up Call English Football Fans Need

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In some ways, the 39th Game concept is the best thing that could happen to English football right now. The supporters in England need a wake-up call. Something to make their blood boil and to show that they still care. Or have most of them already given up completely? For more than 12 months, many of [.

AFC Liverpool Launches

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Like Manchester United supporters who grew disillusioned by the debt-laden takeover of their club, Liverpool supporter Alun Parry grew frustrated with the perceived greed of the Premier League and the foreign-ownership team of George Gillett and Tom Hicks. Rather than sit back and moan about the state of things, Alun decided to do something.

Premier League Odds and Sods 12 Feb 2008

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It was night of black armbands and barren kits in Manchester, which only served to emphasize the sponsorship everywhere else as Man City shocked Man United 2-1 at Old Trafford. It is no coincidence that most of Man U's losses come without Wayne Rooney on the pitch. Ronaldo can score goals but even he with [.

Roy Keane told to stop ‘bull****ing’

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Former Republic of Ireland midfielder and current RTE pundit, Eamon Dunphy, launched one of his famous tirades in Roy Keane's direction on RTE's Pat Kenny Show on Radio 1 on Monday. "I know Roy well and the one thing he hated when I knew him and when we were working on that book, he hated the [...]

How the Premier League Compares to the First Division

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The game of English football has changed considerably from the 80s to today. In some ways, it's unrecognizable especially in the stadiums and the business dealings off the pitch. But how much has it changed, if any, on the field? EPL Talk would like to get your valuable insight and observations on how the Premier League [.

Proposed Premiership Expansion has Silver Lining

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Reporter Jamie Trecker from Fox Soccer Channel has today written an excellent article entitled "Proposed Premiership Expansion Has Silver Lining," which is definitely required reading. His money quote: "It's clear that, like it or not, these games are going to happen. FIFA won't stop it as long as they get their cut, and the FA would just [.

Premier League’s 39th Step: All Hell About to Break Loose

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Next week, Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore will fly to Zurich to meet with FIFA president Sepp Blatter. After outlining his plans to FIFA, Scudamore will then fly to meet with the different confederations to share his plan as well as meeting with the potential host cities. Depending on next week's developments, we may know [.

Premier League Will Likely Receive Extra UEFA Cup Spot

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England's position on top of the UEFA Fair Play rankings, calculated using a number of different criterion such as avoidance of yellow and red cards, crowd behavior, and the performance of club teams and national teams in European competitions, could lead to another UEFA Cup spot next season. England would need to maintain their current position [.

Manchester United’s Samba Future

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Manchester United announced recently that Brazilian youngter Rodrigo Possebon signed for the club in the January transfer window in a move that somehow managed to sneak under the radar of all the major football media. The story has taken many Manchester United fan sites (one example post here) and message boards by storm since it was [.

Why Premier League’s Game 39 is Good for America

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It's been a trying week for Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore. After unveiling the Game 39 proposal last week, the plan has today been rejected by the Asian Football Confederation and has received a lukewarm response from the U.S. Soccer Federation. With the Asian Football Confederation rejecting the proposal, that one decision could be enough [.

UEFA Cup Round of 32 First Leg Previews

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After a nice long break from the action both the Champions League and UEFA Cup competitions will kick off their knockout rounds. We'll first look at the UEFA Cup as their Round of 32 first leg fixtures take place this week. Spanish clubs have dominated this competition in recent years but Germany, with 5 clubs, and [.

Gerrard and Carragher Concede Title; Set Sights on 4th Place

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I know what you all are thinking. "C'mon Michael, why are you taking another shot at Liverpool? Why are you so biased against Liverpool? Why don't you like Stevie and Carra??" Let me clear things up for once and for all. I have NOTHING against Liverpool FC, nothing. My brother is a Liverpool fan and so yes, [.

Setanta Sports Receives Several Takeover Bids

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For the past 12 months, EPL Talk has reported several times about speculation that media companies have allegedly been involved in behind-the-scenes discussions about taking over Setanta Sports. Now the news has hit the mainstream press with The Sunday Telegraph reporting that Setanta had received an unsolicited approach potentially worth almost 2 billion dollars from [.

Premier League and the 39th Step: Pure Greed or Pure Genius?

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With the G14 recently being disbanded, the timing of the Premier League's announcement regarding expansion of the league into overseas markets is a perfect marketing ploy. While talk of a European Super League has died down, the Premier League - if the proposal passes - would supersede the concept of the European Super League.

I’m On Setanta Sports Adding New Character To Show

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This Saturday (February 16, 2008), one of the hottest TV shows in the world of soccer will feature a new addition. The show is "I'm On Setanta Sports" starring the Jose Mourinho puppet. As of this Saturday, though, you can expect to see another character on screen next to The Special One. Who that new puppet [.

Manchester City Misses The Mark in Munich Tribute

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 Seeing Manchester United play in its 1950's style uniform yesterday in the Manchester derby was a beautiful site to see. It reminded me of an age of innocence where simplicity of design and focus on beauty reigned supreme instead of the shirts of present that are moving billboards. In contrast, while Manchester United impressed, Manchester City's [.

England Considers United States As Friendly Opponent

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The U.S. national team is now favorites to play England in an international friendly on May 28th, 2008 according to the News of the World and Sunday Mirror newspapers. The specific article is short on detail and doesn't attribute the news source to anyone, but the match could up being the stage for David Beckham's 100th [.

Solution to Premier League’s Plans to Host Matches Overseas

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After last week's Premier League announcement that a proposal is being examined to play 10 league matches outside of England during the 2010/2011 season, understandably there's been a lot of opposition to the idea in the press and on the blogs. On the EPL Talk message boards, EPL Talk reader Unoriginal_Name raised an excellent concern by [.

African Cup of Nations Recap–Third Place Match and Final

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Egypt defended their 2006 African Cup of Nations championship successfully today in a 1-0 victory over Cameroon, giving the Pharaohs a record 6th continental title. It was a rematch of the opening game in Group C, a 4-2 Egyptian victory. Mohamed Zidan scored twice in that game for the winners and his success against Cameroon continued [.

Chelsea and Liverpool Ends in Predictable No Score Draw

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So I waited almost two weeks to finally watch a live Premier League match after a stay at a local hospital and which one did I having the privilege of watching? The twice annual tedious encounter between Chelsea and Liverpool, which usually ends up in a nil nil draw. It's a travesty to watch two teams [.

Best of the EPL Talk Podcast: Episode 100

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Episode 100 of the EPL Talk Podcast has been released. It's a 'best of' episode which includes some of the highlights of the first century of the episodes. Included in the selection of the best interviews are Alan Mullery, Simon Inglis, Steven Cohen, Gary Richards, Ronnie Whelan, Toby Charles, Rodney Marsh, Henry Winter and many [.

Minute of Silence Upheld at Old Trafford

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I was so glad to see the capacity crowd at Old Trafford respect the minute of silence for the victims of the Munich Air Disaster this afternoon. Many people were worried that some moronic Manchester City fans would ruin the moment and jeer and howl and shout, so much so that City supporters' groups had [.

I Get Knocked Down But I Get Up Again

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After 10 grueling days in the hospital, I'm back. For those of you who may not have heard, I was rushed into the hospital on Thursday, January 31st and was just released last night. I'm so glad to be home, back with my family (wife and three girls) and able to communicate with the outside [...]

Premier League Plans to Play Matches Overseas–My Thoughts

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Few issues in soccer recently have sparked more debate than the Premier League's announcement that they are considering playing competitive, meaningful matches overseas starting in the 2010-2011 season. Here are the main aspects of the proposal: 1. An additional round of Premier League fixtures, extending the season to 39 games, from January 2011.

Transfer market roundup - Winners and Losers

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I know I had said that I would do this roundup before Saturday's matches but I didn't say which Saturday ! Seriously though I do apologize for not posting this sooner but things got busy in arranging and finalizing my own "transfer". As I mentioned in my last transfer update, my wife and I [...]

ESPN TV Schedule for the February 19/20 Champions League Matches

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 The TV schedule for ESPN's coverage of the first leg of the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 ties has been released, and I have to say, I think "The Worldwide Leader in Sports" has it exactly right. Not only did they select the best ties of the round to broadcast (their first legs, at [...]

African Cup of Nations Semifinals Recap

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Alright, so I was 0-2 in predicting the results of today's African Cup of Nations semifinals. I think that's what makes this game so special. I went with both of the "favorites" for all of the logical reasons, and my logic was proven to be skewed. Hey, I can live with that. The biggest surprise, at [.

More changes for Premier League — Subs bench increased to 7

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Another change coming out of the Premier League meetings this week is the decision to allow clubs to name seven substitutes in matches from the start of next season. The change was suggested by Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy last year and replicates the regulations in European and international games.

Premier League moving forward with overseas games

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According to the BBC, at a meeting in London on Thursday, all 20 Premier League clubs agreed to explore a proposal to extend the season to 39 games. Those 10 extra games would be played at venues around the world, with cities bidding for the right to stage them. It is understood the additional fixtures [.

England-2, Switzerland-1…Recap

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Distinctly average. That's how I would categorize England's performance for the majority of their 2-1 friendly victory over Switzerland tonight. Distinctly average. If the England players wanted to come out and set a positive tone to impress new manager Fabio Capello, I'd have to say that as a group, they didn't accomplish their goal.

New episode of “I’m on Setanta Sports”

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The latest installment of the Jose Mourinho parody "I'm on Setanta Sports" is now online. In this clip, Jose announces that he has made a dramatic new signing for his Setanta show, and shows a clip of his classic Champions League press conference when he named the entire Barcelona team. If you're new here, you may [.

My England Starting XI

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I've been focusing on the England national team over the past week or so here, trying to divert attention away from the Premiership a little bit and to the new era under Fabio Capello. Injuries have limited the options Capello was able to choose from for the friendly today against Switzerland, but if I had to [.

Steven Gerrard Handed Captain’s Armband

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I don't think this is a shock to anyone. Liverpool's local hero had been the skipper in John Terry's absence in the fateful Euro 2008 qualifiers against Russia and Croatia last year and with Terry injured AGAIN, Gerrard was the odds-on favorite to lead England out today in their friendly against Switzerland.

Get Well Soon Gaffer!

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For those of who've been wondering why Ty (BillE Shears), Lonnie (The Scout), and myself have been the only ones writing blog posts recently, there's a very good reason. The Gaffer, who's the mastermind of EPL Talk and its affiliate sits, has been in the hospital with some respiratory issues. Chris was in the hospital for [.

Vote for EPL Talk

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EPL Talk has been nominated in two categories for the Soccerlens 2007 Awards Readers' Choice Poll. If your a fan of this site and podcast, please take a moment and vote for us in the categories of Best EPL Blog and Best Football Podcast. We appreciate your support! If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to [.

African Cup of Nations Recap–Quarterfinals (Day 2)

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After squandering an early 2-0 lead, Cameroon needed a 92nd minute goal from Stade Rennais midfielder Stéphane Mbia to beat Tunisia today and advance to the semifinals. The extra time goal was Mbia's second of the game and spoiled any hope of a Tunisian upset, which was only made possible in the first place after [.

Premier League Haiku 4 Feb 2008

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Sweeping from the left A goal only he could score Zinedine Kilbane If you're new here, you may want to subscribe to my RSS feed. Thanks for visiting! Bookmark to:

After this weekend a Google search for "Sven" and "Up the Arse" won't lead you a

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After this weekend a Google search for "Sven" and "Up the Arse" won't lead you astray as Arsenal defeated Manchester City 3-1 away from home to move to the top of the table. Adebayor dropped a deuce, scoring in his eighth straight match. Eduardo also controlled a ball magnificently with his chest to [.

I Told You So..Not Yet, but Soon

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Listen. I'm not the type of guy to fake humility and modesty; when I predict something or hype something up beforehand and it comes to fruition, I'm the first person to stand up and say "Yeah, that's right, I said that would happen." I don't see what's wrong with that. To me, the majority of [...]

African Cup of Nations Recap–Quarterfinals (Day 1)

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The quarterfinal round of the 2008 African Cup of Nations opened in style today as Ghana snatched a 2-1 victory over their fierce West African rivals, Nigeria, through an 83rd minute goal from former MLS star Junior Agogo. Portsmouth midfielder Sulley Muntari threaded a low, left-footed shot/cross across the six-yard box to leave the easiest [.

Giving Credit When Credit is Due

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I've given Arsenal their share of criticism all year long and been hesitant to jump on the Gunners' bandwagon, especially because of the relatively soft away schedule they've played up to this point. Manchester United are still going to win the title in my opinion and I've said that since last summer, so don't mistake [.

David Beckham Deserves his 100th Cap

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With the announcement of the 30-man provisional squad selected by new England coach Fabio Capello yesterday for the upcoming friendly against Switzerland, I thought it was time for me to weigh in on the "Does Becks deserve his 100th cap?" debate. Let me make something clear first. I have no problem whatsoever with Beckham not being [.

African Cup of Nations Recap–Day 12

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Both teams said they were playing to win the game. Both teams only needed a point to advance the quarterfinals. What was the result? As I predicted here a few days ago, the Tunisia-Angola match yesterday ended in a boring 0-0 draw. The crowd was depressingly small, it was a hot afternoon, the match was [.