I was listening to the EPLTalk Podcast Weekend Review this morning on the way to work (and it
probably isn't said enough, thank you to Richard, Laurence, Kartik, and the Gaffer for this
valuable resource!). Richard and Kartik discussed an impact game this weekend in the nPower
Championship between Queens Park Rangers and Cardiff City, which was taken by QPR 2-1.
October ended with Chelsea looking imperious and pulling away from the chasing pack at the top
of the Premiership. The side seemed to playing with such verve and spirit that I simply couldn't
see where any worthy challenge could come from. Manchester United were struggling to hit any real
form, but continued to pick up points other sides would lose.
The race is on to see who will win the 2018 World Cup bid. The winner will be announced on
Thursday at the FIFA headquarters. Will it be England, Russia, Spain/Portugal or Holland/Belgium?
Vote below in the poll to let us know who you think will win. And then add your comments in the
section below regarding who you think deserves to win.
Somewhere in the corridors of Fox Soccer Channel's headquarters in Los Angeles, California, an
executive or two must have wondered whether Fox should consider adopting ESPN's approach to
Saturday morning Premier League soccer. While Fox has continued its same proven formula for several
years, ESPN raised the bar significantly this season by hiring pros Ian Darke, Steve McManaman and
others to bring an English production exclusively to an American audience.
Deflection king Frank Lampard has regularly benefited from the committee in the past
One of the more strange departments of the Premier League, the Dubious Goals Committee is a
group surrounded in secrecy. But how does it work? And more importantly what does it actually do?
In a report that has the potential to be as earth shattering as the BBC Panorama documentary
exposing FIFA bungs, let's see if we can dig a little deeper in to the Premier League's Dubious
Gameweek 15 of the Barclays Premier League was a brilliant example of just how exciting and
intriguing the league can be. There were plenty of goals scored, a few standout performances and
some entertaining matches both at the top and bottom of the table. Heading into the weekend, I had
high hopes for Bolton v Blackpool which ended up a fantastically open match that ended 2-2.
If you were the Qatar World Cup Bid Committee, how would you generate some last minute favorable
publicity before the votes were cast for the 2022 World Cup? One way would be to send journalists
of influential newspapers on an all-expenses paid visit to Qatar. And then hope that the articles
they write would put the 2022 Qatar World Cup bid in a positive light.
Gameweek 15 of the Barclays Premier League was a brilliant example of just how exciting and
intriguing the league can be. There were plenty of goals scored, a few standout performances and
some entertaining matches both at the top and bottom of the table. Heading into the weekend, I had
high hopes for Bolton v Blackpool which ended up a fantastically open match that ended 2-2.
For the first time this season, Chelsea ended a match day below first place. That's quite an
accomplishment â€“ sitting atop the table for the first 14 match days â€“ but it won't get as many
column inches as Dimitar Berbatov's trick, becoming the fourth Premier League player to score five
goals in one match.
An audience of EPL Talk listeners got to hear the audio output from Richard's laptop degrade
then fail in the middle of a live show. This week? Richard and Kartik try to top it. "Unplanned"
power outages? Glasses of water knocked onto mixers? Or maybe just an unknown hot mic picking up
"not for air" gossip?
Kalou missed a sitter to pile on the misery at Chelsea
The problems at Chelsea continue to mount as a draw in the North East allowed Manchester United
to overhaul the champions at the top of the table for the first time this season.
With an important month in the title race about to begin injuries, backroom drama and poor
performances have left confidence shattered at a club that has only collected four points from a
We finally have a change at the top of the Premier League, with Manchester United riding their
undefeated start past Chelsea to a two point lead on the league. On this edition of the EPL Talk
podcast, myself and Kartik Krishnaiyer will discuss that, Chelsea's continued struggles, five goal
The Premier League has plenty of incredibly talented players, but who is getting more praise or
attention than they merit, here is a countdown of the Premier League's most overrated players. Feel
free to add your suggestions.
10- Matthew Upson â€“West Ham
Played a key role for England during the 2010 World Cup, Upson was often seen as England's third
choice centre half.
What a difference a month makes. In the early weeks of the Premiership it was simply a foregone
conclusion that Chelsea would steamroller their way to victory. Ancelotti had taken the discipline
instilled in the Mourinho era, and allied it with a potent offense. Yet Chelsea have now lost four
times in the league, and even three points against Newcastle would only see them tied for first
with Manchester United.
Sunday's Premier League clashes feature two games that could have a big impact on league
positions. The early kick-off pits Newcastle United at home against Chelsea. The Blues will be
desperate for a win to keep themselves in the running for the league title. Newcastle will
meanwhile try to see if they can repeat what they did against Chelsea earlier this season in the
Carling Cup when the Toon beat Chelsea.
On Thursday, England will find out if years of campaigning have been enough to see them
announced as the host of the 2018 World Cup. With stiff competition from the likes of Russia and a
joint bid from Spain and Portugal, there is plenty of work to be done if England are to host the
tournament for the first time since 1966.
There has been yet more off-field drama at Stamford Bridge with the announcement that Chelsea's
director of football Frank Arnesen will leave the club at the end of the season. That makes it two
big name departures from the Chelsea backroom team in a matter of weeks, following the sacking of
assistant manager Ray Wilkins earlier this month.
Seeing that tomorrow'sÂ Spurs/Reds game was David The Yank's 4-star selection of the weekend,
this will be the Bonus review.
Aston Villa v Arsenal Starting Formations
On a cold day in Greater Birmingham, UK, Arsenal visited Aston Villa looking to reverse the
fortunes of the past week, including a home collapse against Tottenham and a Champions League loss
to Sporting Braga.
Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov stormed to the top of the Premier League scoring charts with a
stunning five-goal haul as Manchester United demolished Blackburn Rovers 7-1 at Old Trafford. They
were the first goals Berbatov has scored since September and were timely reminder to everybody that
on his day, he is amongst the Premier League's very best.
If you asked me what was one of the best clubs teams I've ever seen, it has to be Liverpool from
the late 70s and early 80s. A perfect example of this is the above video featuring Liverpool's
incredible 7-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur during the 1978-79 season.
Out of the seven goals scored, the last is the best.
Which of these records sounds the superior one to you?
Played 14, Won 7, Drawn 7, lost 0
Played 14, Won 9, Drawn 1, Lost 4
Ok, those of you not drunk will have spotted that these two records amount to the same amount of
points. But I think psychologically, the first record looks instinctively superior because there is
a zero in the lost column.
It's no secret that Bolton have played some fine football this season as their current fifth
place position proves. While Bolton were once a side under Sam Allardyce who played anything but
beautiful football, Owen Coyle has done wonders at the Reebok in an incredibly short time. With a
cast of players largely similar to Gary Megson's Bolton who languished in the Premier League
towards the bottom and with no real ambition, Coyle has been able to inject his brand of
gusto-laden football into Bolton to the tune of some more than healthy results.
Get ready for a daily dose of Premier League goodies. The â€˜Premier League Links Of The Day'
will feature some of the top articles, photos, and videos from the web, delivered to you on a daily
weekday basis. As for the above video, it gets better the more times you watch it and definitely
doesn't get old.
I'm always amazed by how many story lines are conjured up by the small cast of Special 1 TV.
There's always something going on in real life with Jose Mourinho, Wayne Rooney and Sven-Goran
Eriksson as well the phone-in callers such as Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger and others. So it's
no surprise that the Special 1 TV crew focused quite a bit on Wenger in this episode especially
after Arsenal's collapse against Tottenham last weekend.
The sporting director role, it just doesn't work in English football does it? Except it does, well
did; very recently in fact. Chelsea's double winning side of 2009/10 had a sporting director and
his name is Frank Arnesen, the only other man besides Roman Abramovic a ChelseaÂ employeeÂ dare
Last week Blackburn Rovers became the latest Premier League club to be bought out by a foreign
consortium. The purchase of Rovers was a key moment in Premier League history because it brought
the number of clubs that are majority owned by foreign investors to 10, representing 50% of the
Before I moved to the United States in 1984, I had never heard of Thanksgiving Day. The U.S.
holiday, while still seeming a bit surreal and bizarre to me after all of these years, is now one
of my favorite holidays of the year partly because it's the one focused on the family more than
If you are a football fan who doesn't know the Premier League referees, where have you been
hiding? These guys are constantly in the news for making dodgy decisions week in week out. This
guide will show you who's who and which whistleblower could potentially ruin your team's afternoon
There's been so much uproar during the past few weeks about whether the playoff system for Major
League Soccer is a joke or not. First, the Eastern Conference Final featured two teams, San Jose
Earthquakes versus Colorado Rapids, who were decidedly western teams. And second, the playoff
system resulted in a final featuring the team that ended in fifth place in the final standings
against the seventh place team.
As Chelsea lost at home to Sunderland, the commentator, Martin Tyler was incredulous, saying how
this proved how brilliant the Premier League was; it was the best in the world because any side
could beat any other side
This struck me at the time as being a case of having your cake and eating it because the only
reason he was hyper-ventilating about it was precisely because it was so unusual.
Harry Redknapp was right to be bullish after Saturdays amazing fight back against Arsenal at the
Emirates, for too long Tottenham have promised much and delivered little. Spending wise Tottenham
have ploughed millions in the club with little real achievement to show for it, but under Redknapp
the club has begun to make strides on that investment.
Well, I have to admit I'm perplexed by some of the performances of the Premierships traditional
powerhouses this season. A month ago, most people would have been hard pressed to think anyone
could trouble Chelsea for the title, now 6 points separate the top 6 sides. Suddenly, a real title
race has begun at last as Chelsea suddenly developed a soft centre and ran bang out of luck.
On Saturday night, I launched a themed series that will be calledÂ "Spotlight Match Review."
I'm hoping these reports will be discussions of tactics and analysis that will engage our
community. I'm not an authority; I'm a football fan who loves the game and wants to gain expertise
in match analytics.
In late October this website asked, Why noÂ praise for West Brom? West Brom then promptly went on
to win one more point in the following games. It is with that lesson that I must apologise to any
Bolton fans if their team suddenly goes on a slide but it cannot go without saying any longer.
The new owners of Blackburn Rovers, Indian poultry giant Venky's, are reported to be considering
renaming Ewood Park either to Venky's Stadium or to adopt a different name depending if they can
find a sponsor willing to purchase the naming rights to the stadium in Lancashire.
If the plan to change the name of the stadium goes through, this will be the first time in
Premier League history that a current ground will be renamed to a sponsor's name.
Chelsea and Manchester United are now even atop the league, but the big story comes from North
London, where Tottenham Hotspur put to rest that oft-cited statistic. Now Spurs have won a road
match against a Big 4 opponent, beating Arsenal at the Emirates 3-2 on Saturday.
That, romps by Manchester City, Bolton and Liverpool, as well as discussion of the rest of
Europe and mid-week Champions League action on this, the EPL Talk podcast.
What would be the best team you could name out of all the Premier League players who can't get a
regular game for their club side? Lining up with a vintage 4-4-2 formation, here is my selection.
I'd be interested to hear yours.
Goalkeeper â€“ Shay Given (Manchester City)
When he arrived from Newcastle, Given was meant to be the long term solution to City's goalkeeping
If you read last week's post and failed to believe me, then just maybe because of this weekend's
matches and results you'll start to realize that this league isn't one that falls into the cliched
colloquialisms that tend to surround themselves with the Premier League.
Supporters of both Manchester clubs will emerge from the weekend most happy while Tottenham fans
are likely still too delirious to realize how ecstatic they actually are after winning away to
Join Laurence McKenna and myself as we stream this week's recording of the EPL Talk podcast, to
start at 10 p.m. BST/5 p.m. EST/2 p.m. PST. You'll find the EPL Talk Ustream player direct below,
or if you want to take part in the show by interacting with us and your fellow EPL Talk readers in
listeners via the chat room, below.
Chelsea's stumbles are now troubles, having lost at Birmingham City, their third defeat in four.
And while the Blues have hit a string of bad luck, Manchester United's caught some fortune, playing
half an hour up two in their 2-0 win over Wigan.
On this edition of the EPL Talk podcast, we'll talk about the two teams at the top of the league
as well as the weekend's big story: Tottenham Hotspur winning at Arsenal for the first time since
Ahead of City's trip to Fulham, the pressure was very much on Roberto Mancini. After a
disappointing run of form which had seen the blues draw their last two games 0-0. A bad result in
London could have spelled the end for Roberto Mancini, but what followed was their best performance
of the season.
Sunday features two matches which are interesting for different reasons. We see the return of
Robert Pires to English football courtesy of Aston Villa in their match against Blackburn Rovers.
The second match of the day, meanwhile, features Manchester City against Fulham, where Mark Hughes
has a chance to do one over against his old club.
Birmingham's victory yesterday was one of the classic stereotypes of the Premier League, a
unfancied side in the relegation places prior to kick off defeating the reigning champions by going
ahead and defending that lead with their lives.
The latest renewal of the North London Derby was held at Emirates Stadium between bitter rivals
Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur. A 17 year drought for Spurs at Arsenal set the stage for an
intriguing comeback that saw the race for the League trophy open up even more.
After their stunning comeback in the North London derby yesterday, all the talk this morning is
about Harry Redknapp's men. The White Hart Lane club have certainly showed their title credentials
with that win, but could they really mount a serious challenge for the Premier League this
It's another Super Saturday in the Premier League with Arsenal against Tottenham Hotspur in the
north London derby as well as several other intriguing matches including high-flying Bolton versus
Newcastle, Birmingham against Chelsea, West Ham against Liverpool, Blackpool versus Wolves, West
Brom against Stoke and the return of Wayne Rooney in Manchester United against Wigan.
One of the defining moments from Arsenal's 3-2 loss against Tottenham Hotspur Saturday was
Arsene Wenger showing his frustration by smashing his water bottle into the ground after Spurs came
back from two-nil down to win 3-2.
Wenger hates to lose and is quite apparent when his anger gets the better of him as it did at
the Emirates Stadium in the north London derby.
The dawn of the internet age has catapulted fantasy football into a global phenomenon with
millions of people watching the weekend's results coming in and simultaneously trying to calculate
how the events unfolding will affect their team.
With the internet the ease of use, graphics and statistics have revolutionised the industry that
started in the back of British newspapers such as the Telegraph and the Sun.
The number of adjectives to describe West Ham's performance against Liverpool on Saturday are
too many to fit on one hand. Lethargic, woeful, uninspired, dispassionate, lifeless, pathetic and
flaccid, just to name a few. After the first half was over and West Ham United were losing 3-0 at
Anfield, I thought that there was at least a chance for Avram Grant to work his magic during the
halftime team talk and that the Hammers could come out playing better in the second half.
The latest episode of Special 1 TV has been released by BBC 3. And since the flavor of the month
is Football Manager 2011, it's no wonder that the show focuses on several managers this episode
including Mick McCarthy (eh by gum!), Roberto Mancini, Roy Hodgson, Sven, Roy Keane, Ferguson and
This week saw Gerard Houllier make Robert Pires his first signing since arriving as Aston Villa
manager. Back in 2001 Pires was labelled one of the best players in the world. He was winning
trophies with club and country but that was nine years ago and the 37 year old legs just don't have
the pace any more but as we have seen with players such as Ryan Giggs and Clarence Seedorf, a
footballing brain always gets better with age and this can only be good for Villa's young
John Nicholson's interesting article on "England's Problem" raises more than one perplexing
question. If England's difficulties on the world stage are indeed a result of the historic, endemic
mindset of the English game, what can or should be done about it?
Do England just keep on doing their thing and hope through some weird alignment of the stars
that they will one day catch lightning in a bottle?
It's the North London derby this weekend. Arsenal, who are fast becoming serious title
contenders play Host to Tottenham. The Gunners sit second, 2 points behind Chelsea. Tottenham find
themselves seventh after a much needed win against Blackburn last weekend. Three points for either
side would see them make significant strides up the Premier league table, so a point a piece it
will be at the Emirates.
This weekend's selection of Premier League fixtures sees one of the league's highlights with the
North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham, but a much less fashionable, though potentially
crucial, fixture will take place at the Reebok Stadium between Bolton and Newcastle.
Both sides have so far surprised everyone with their impressive starts to the season that see
both of them occupy top eight places in the table.
The first match is the must-see match this week:Â the North London derby. It includes the team
most hungry for a trophy against the best player in the world right now, Gareth Bale.Â Yes, I said
it.Â Week in, week out, he's matching Messi and Cristiano for that spot!
And a word about ESPN's production values for their Saturday game of the week.
Another England game and another torrent of outrage from much of the English press at how poor
England is. Surprise surprise. There is a very vocal majority in the press who want to blame all
this on Capello because it's easier than thinking deeply about it and much more preferable than
stating that players who you laud week-in week-out are actually, at a decent international level,
well below par.
England's poor 2010 concluded as they slid to a disappointing 2-1 home defeat to France, but the
night may be remembered for the "Club v Country" debate returning once again. Steven Gerrard,
Gareth Barry and captain Rio Ferdinand all picked up injuries for the Three Lions, summing up a
generally miserable year for the Italian.
Sometimes we all need a bit of inspiration. So whether you play FIFA 11 or are thinking about
getting the game, here are some amazing goals scored on FIFA 11 by actual players which will either
make you drool or make you sick, depending on your outlook on life.
The goals are uploaded by fans on the FIFA 11 website and EA Sports then picks the top five.
Sunderland's shock win at Stamford Bridge has sent shockwaves rippling through English football.
How could a side that are a usually so brutally clinical be out-played and out-classed in their own
In many ways it would be unfair to be overly critical of Chelsea's display because it would take
the shine of a Sunderland performance which was arguably their best ever in the Premier League.
Over the Weekend and over the season there have been numerous fouls that, taken purely on fact,
have been the same but have resulted in differing punishments. I refer to the â€˜last man' foul, or
denial of a â€˜goal-scoring opportunity' to quote FIFA's rules. The punishments meted out in these
circumstances have been the same a free-kick (or penalty) but there has been a perceived
inconsistency as referees have given yellow and red-cards.
I don't envy supporters of Liverpool Football Club. The stark reality for supporters, some of
whom have not yet accepted it, is that Liverpool is a major transition period and it's going to do
take a few years to regain stability before they can begin progressing again.
In the past 24 hours, Liverpool director of football strategyÂ Damien Comolli has stated that
Liverpool's future lies in the development of home-grown talent.
Carlos Tevez and Rio Ferdinand got into a tussle in the Manchester derby last week, and now one
witty bloke has put together a spoof video which shows a typical hyped Sky TV commercial featuring
Carlito Tevez putting his fist into a place where the sun doesn't shine of one Rio Ferdinand.
Saturday's match that sent West Bromwich Albion north to DW Stadium against Wigan Athletic
provided an entertaining match of two clubs looking to assert themselves, albeit in different ways.
Albion has been riding a strong first month, and wanted to continue to maintain real estate in the
top half of the table, while the Latics have been clawing from the bottom ever since their Week One
shock loss against visiting Blackpool.
You expect me to believe that this man is a genius?
When continental football connoisseurs talk about beautiful football, the Premier League is
never mentioned. Spain provides passing, technical quality and thrills from teams outside the big
two. Italy, while being dour, somehow manages to be elegant at the same time, with its midfield
maestros working amongst its Gattusos.
The England national team is on life support. Not the actual team itself, but the amount of
enthusiasm and excitement that the team generates. Sometimes it's like watching paint dry as
English footballers who dazzle us on weekends put in a hum-drum performance in a meaningless
mid-week match for their country.
EPL Talk reader Dave C posted an excellent suggestion the other day in ideas for articles as
part of EPL Talk's Readers Choice Month where we're allowing readers to suggest story ideas. He was
curious to know how you found EPL Talk in the first place. Was it a recommendation by a friend?
It may seem like a bizarre question for some of you, but seriously, what did you and I do before
the Premier League existed? Depending on how long or new you've been following the league, your
answers will vary greatly. But based on the amount of attention we give to the Premier League and
everything that happens on and off the pitch with it, what did we do before it existed or before we
stated following it?
The funny thing about the Premier League is that you never quite know how things will turn out
until matters play out on the pitch. Before the weekend, many were waxing poetic on
Chelsea's very realistic chance of thrashing Sunderland by four, maybe five to Sunderland's sad
Supporters of Premier League clubs often pride themselves on their nicknames, but do you really
know the origin of them? Do you know the origins of the Baggies, Gunners, Red Devils, Toffees,
Trotters, Hammers, Lilywhites and Citizens?
Let's take a closer at look some of the interesting stories behind each of Premier League club's
Chelsea's troubles have the team at a season low, losing by three goals to Sunderland at
Stamford Bridge. But amongst the league's leaders, they weren't alone in their struggles, with
Manchester United and Manchester City being drawn. The only club at the top that sawt three were
the Gunners, impressive at Goodison, while Bolton, Spurs, and Stoke â€“ yes, Stoke â€“ round out
the winners from the league's top half.
Worryingly for West Ham United, Avram Grant's side is seeming to be in a pattern of repeating
what Portsmouth did last season on the field. That is that they're frustratingly unable to get all
three points. So far this season, the Hammers have played 13 matches. Out of those, they've won
just once, lost six and drawn six.
Has anybody seen Yuri Zhirkov or Ramires? Apparently Carlo Ancelotti is the only person who
knows their whereabouts, the only reason why their names keep appearing on Chelsea's team sheet.
With those ineffective midfielders featured Sunday at The Bridge, Chelsea was subject to one of the
season's biggest surprises, with Sunderland posting an 0-3 result on the league-leaders.
Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd is a surprise name in the squad
Fabio Capello has announced his squad for Wednesday's friendly with France and one name in the
squad will certainly cause England fans to raise an eyebrow. Cardiff striker Jay Bothroyd has
received a surprise call-up and while it is a fitting reward for the 28-year-old's impressive start
to the season, it does make you think about the strength of English footballers in the Premier
Today gives us too very important matches for all four teams involved. Arsenal travel to
Goodison Park to play Everton, a side that they usually has a difficult time beating. Except for
last year when the Gunners won 6-1 on the opening day of the season.
While Arsenal will be focused on getting all three points so they can narrow the gap at the top
of the table, it's also a vital match for Everton who, if they lose, will stay stuck just two
points above the relegation zone.
Right now I'm playing with ESPN3.com's multi-screen view, where you can have as many as four
games viewable in the same browser window at a time in what they call a mosaic. I'm watching
replays of Barcelona against Villarreal, Scotland against New Zealand in rugby and Juventus versus
In arguably the weekend's marquee match, undefeated Manchester United traveled to Birmingham to
take on undefeated at home Aston Villa to open Premier League play on Saturday. The match itself
placed 10th against 2nd in the league while it saw United coming off one of their best team
performances of the season, Wednesday's Manchester derby.
It's only been a few days since the last round of Premier League games but there should be some
interesting matches played out today across England from Birmingham (Aston Villa against
Manchester) to Newcastle (United against Fulham), to Stoke-On-Trent (for Stoke City versus
Liverpool), London (Spurs against Blackburn) and more.
Next week England plays France in a friendly at Wembley. Everything about the new England team
looks classy. The world-class stadium, the picture-perfect England kits and the footballers, or
should we say millionaires, who grace the pitch and who are managed by a suave Italian dressed in
the finest suit.
With the injuries piling up at Villa Park the youngsters have been given a chance by Aston Villa
boss Gerard Houllier. Marc Albrighton broke into the team under care-taker boss Kevin McDonald but
now youngsters Barry Bannan, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Delfouneso have been given a run in the first
team and the Villa kids were pivotal to the 3-2 win over Blackpool.
Well, perhaps I'm just really disappointed by the lack of action and goals in the Manchester
Derby, but I'm in a foul mood, and am going to be very parsimonious in handing out the stars this
week. No 4-star matches. The picks of the week are probably United visiting Villa Park, and
Arsenal's Merseyside trip to Everton.
It's been a busy week in the Premier League and the fun just doesn't stop. Game Week 13 is here
already and we have another full fixture programme to look forward to.
Â It's at the foot of the table where the excitement and the points are to be had this weekend.
The bottom three are all at home and these fixtures would have been double underlined in red as
winnable at the start of the season.
Will Blackpool, like Wolves before them, be facing the prospect of a fine for fielding a
weakened side against Villa last night? Manager ian Holloway made wholesale changes to his side but
so what? They played well and narrowly lost.
The fact that the Premier League has given itself the power to make such judgements and fine
clubs is 100 percent wrong to the point of insanity.
Pop quiz! Out of the 380 games in the 2010-11 Premier League season, how many matches would you
say are a must-see? Sure, there are always matches that sneak up and surprise you with their
quality, but how many in a typical season would you, before the season started, write down as
For the second consecutive match day, the English Premier League has given us a slate full of
close, exciting matches. Whether it be a back-and-forth affair at Villa Park, leads being given-up
and reclaimed at the Britannia, gifted equalizers at White Hart Lane or dramatically salvaged
points at Goodison, the league was full of compelling fixtures.
Newcastle United may have slipped to a disappointing home defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers,
but their star striker Andy Carroll did manage to enhance is ever-growing reputation with another
goal. Carroll's equaliser was his seventh goal of the season, a tally that will surely be enough to
see him named in the England squad for next week's friendly with France.
There were plenty of goals in the mid-week Premier League matches this week except for one
. But rather than give away the results or tell what happened before many of you
have had a chance to watch the games, feel free to vote in the poll below (which may also help some
of the readers decide which match is worth watching out of the eight that were available to watch
Because of the vagaries of the Premier League schedule, we're faced with something exceedingly
rare: a massive, massive Wednesday night in the Premiership, featuring eight (!) games.
We'll of course be focusing in on the biggest match of the day, the Manchester Derby, where
United fans will, non-ironically, accuse City of attempting to buy the league, while City fans will
of course wonder where in Manchester the United fans come from.
After the draw at St. Andrews I contended that Liverpool needed to change the way they played to
get results. They were too narrow, with no pace and their full-backs went nowhere. It led to a dour
game of football and a nil all draw that kept Liverpool in the lower regions of the table.
With four kids, business meetings galore, writing for EPL Talk and managing the bloggers who
write for the other eight sites in the network, my home life can be a bit of a shambles at times. I
finally did my 2009 taxes in August. The house is a mess. My to-do list is way too long. And, to be
honest, most of it is due to my insatiable appetite for soccer.
The partisan nature of football is one of the greatest things about the sport. It gives us the
chance to get behind one team, to share banter with opposing fans and feel that ecstatic high when
our team wins. But do we take things too far? I am not talking about violence or poor behaviour by
a minority of idiots, we all know that there is no excuse for that, but would the game be better,
perhaps even more enjoyable if we all occasionally took off our team's blinkers?
Barely have you had chance to draw breath and it's time to do it all again. There's a full
midweek programme of Premier League fixtures, game week 12 is upon us already, and it's going to be
tricky selection wise as several managers mayÂ opt to shuffle their packs.
Chelsea may be one of the richest clubs in the Premier League, but their matchday attendances
are definitely not in the same league as the Big Four of English football. Rival clubs Manchester
United, Arsenal, Manchester City and Liverpool all have bigger attendances. The problem for Chelsea
is not their inability to sell tickets.
Anyone who watched last Saturday's match between Bolton Wanderers and Tottenham Hotspur on
television would have seen Tom Huddlestone's deliberate stamp on Johan Elmander. The numerous TV
replays of the incident saw Huddlestone take out his frustration by stamping his foot down on the
calf of Elmander (fast forward to minute 8:37 to see the incident).
The first installment of this season's Manchester Derby takes place on Wednesday at Eastlands.
Manchester United are coming off of a dramatic win at home where South Korean midfielder Ji-Sung
Park bagged a brace with the winner coming very late on. It was one of those weekends in the
Premier League where not only did United win, albeit not very convincingly, but also a weekend
where teams either side of the Red Devils lost.
Love it or hate it, Fox Soccer Channel is the number source for Premier League matches on U.S.
television. Sure it could be better. But I don't believe it's ever going to be Sky Sports or BBC,
or even ESPN. But what it does do is provide essential viewing for soccer fans throughout the
I was driving down the road the other day when I had a thought. I watch and digest so much
soccer on a daily basis that I wondered when was the last time I actually kicked a ball, which is
such a central figure of the sport I watch. For me it was a few weeks ago during a kick-a-bout with
my children before or after my daughter's last soccer match.
The most exciting weekend to date in the English Premier League season saw the league leaders
drawn back to the pack when Chelsea was upended at Anfield. Meanwhile, Manchester United was up to
their old tricks, Arsenal's struggles continued, while Bolton and Newcastle captured
All across England and around the world, journalists and bloggers are writing about how Fernando
Torres was the deciding factor in Liverpool's game against Chelsea on Sunday. The man who scored
two world-class goals. The man who is back in top form. And so on. But rather than focus on Torres,
who is well-deserving of the praise, I want to focus instead on the other ten players on the pitch
and their manager, all of whom did a heroic job at Anfield to help guarantee Liverpool's biggest
win of the season thus far.
Owen Hargreaves suffered another injury set back just six minutes in to his Manchester United
comeback. The likeable midfielder was making his first start in over two years, but was forced off
early on with a hamstring complaint.
Speaking after United's 2-1 over Wolves, assistant manager Mike Phelan admitted the injury to
Hargreaves was very disappointing.
There's not just one massive game today in the Premier League. There are three. The first
features Arsenal at home against Newcastle United. A couple of weeks ago, Arsenal cruised to a 4-0
victory at St. James's Park in the Carling Cup, but I have a feeling that today's match will be
much closer and Newcastle will be fired up to try to enact revenge.
Well, well, well ... look who's getting the open thread up in time to give you the opportunity
to really shape the show.
This weekend, the English Premier League was reshaped, with Chelsea returning to the pack,
Arsenal's struggle persisting, and Liverpool (yes, Liverpool) giving us one of the most impressive
performances of the season.
Sunday's massive match between Chelsea and Liverpool (11am ET, Fox Soccer Channel) should be a
relatively straightforward game for the Blues. Considering how both teams have played so far this
season, Chelsea should overpower Liverpool with ease. But such is the game of football that you
It's been a joy so far watching how ESPN's broadcast of the Premier League on Saturday mornings
has evolved. It's grown, in such a short amount of time, to more of a Premier League show than just
a soccer match. Today's broadcast of the Bolton Wanderers versus Tottenham Hotspur was a perfect
example of that.
In today's Premier League action, there's plenty of promise in store for good soccer matches.
Tottenham's visit to Bolton's Reebok Stadium should be a good one to watch with all eyes on Gareth
Bale to see if he'll be tired from his mid-week marathon when he ran laps past Maicon.
In other games today, Fulham against Aston Villa should be one of the matches of the day.
After their stunning victory against reigning Champions League holders Inter Milan in midweek it'sÂ
back to the Premier League for Harry Redknapp's men this weekend and a tough trip to Bolton. A
visit to the Reebok Stadium will be a far cry from the glory of Spurs' European exploits however in
many ways this could be a tougher game for Redknapp's side.
Trust Manchester City supporters to add a little levity to an occasion. During Thursday's away
match against Lech Poznan, the Polish supporters were jumping up and down to create an impressive
display of team pride.
Some Manchester City supporters joined in the festivities in their own unique way.
In this week's installment of the Friday Flashback Videos, we take the time machine back to the
1972-73 season in the old First Division of England.
If you haven't seen this before, it's definitely a must-see series of videos. In them, you'll
see some of the legends of the game includingÂ Brian Clough, Don Revie, Bill Shankly, Charlie
George, Martin Peters, Gordon Banks, Bob Stokoe, George Best, Tommy Docherty and many others.
Manchester City have now lost three games on the bounce after Thursday's Europa League match v
Lech Poznan away. Losses to Arsenal at home and Wolves at Molineux in the Premier League have seen
a few eyebrows raised in the direction of boss Roberto Mancini who seems to be a bit tactically
naive as of late.
Steven Gerrard gave us all a timely reminder of his quality with a stunning hat-trick to help
Liverpool overcome a stubborn Napoli side. Will this performance mark the general return to form of
midfielder and could he be the inspiration for another England star to return to form?
We all know the ability that Gerrard has, and there is no need to harp on about the number of
times he has come to Liverpool's rescue.
Phew!! Well what can I say? If it hadn't been for the antics of Nani and the reliable
consistency of Charlie Adam, last week's effort would have been disastrous. This could end up being
a cryptic tips column where doing the exact opposite will prove the most rewarding! I have always
been taught to hold your hands up and admit when you are wrong, well my arms are aching having been
raised apologetically all week.
The ever increasing pressure on Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini has reached a new height
after City's disappointing Europa League defeat at Lech Poznan. It is now three straight defeats
for Mancini and now means Sunday's trip to West Brom, a ground where City have already tasted
defeated this season, is crucial.
We have our first mid-week contests coming up, so I think the approach I'm going to take this
season is to list all 20 matches for the week ahead, rather than 2 separate guides, so take a deep
breath, and here goes.
If there is one match all year I would give 5 stars to, I think it would be the Manchester
Tuesday night's performance by Gareth Bale against Inter Milan was one of the most remarkable
performances seen on English soil in quite some time.
Bale, the Welsh left winger, completely owned Maicon and beat the Brazilian on so many runs.
Thankfully someone has captured all of Bale's wonderful runs and touches from Tuesday night in the
Football Manager 2011 (FM) is released this Friday in Europe and tentatively dated the 16 of
November in the US. A Football Management â€˜simulator' you are put in charge of basically any club
of your choice in a ridiculously realistic setting. Playing Football Manager can often be like
taking a degree in football, you learn the rules of each league, the transfer rules regarding
â€˜Bosman's' and the compensation clauses in signing youth players and also you will learn to love,
hate and covet players you may never have heard of.
On this edition of the EPL Talk Podcast, I am joined by Kartik Krishnaiyer and Laurence McKenna
to look back on mid-week, Champions League action, talk about the news around the league, as well
as look forward to this weekend's league action. From Arsenal's loss in Donetsk, to Damien
Comolli's return to the league, to the Blues' Sunday trip to Anfield, it's all discussed on this
edition of the EPL Talk Podcast.
It's an exciting time in English soccer right now. All four English clubs in the Champions
League sit at top of their respective groups. And in the Premier League there is plenty to drool
over as each week there seems to be another amazing goal or incredible incident.
But out of all of the selection of entertaining teams listed below, which for you is the most
entertaining in England right now?
Most of already presumed it, but now the news is official.Â Former England National Team player
Steve McManaman has joined ESPN as a soccer analyst for its networks in the United States and
In the U.S., he will primarily serve as a studio and match analyst for the network's coverage of
Premier League matches, the U.
Damien Comolli is headed back to England. Comolli, the former Arsenal scout and director of
football at Tottenham Hotspur, has been appointed by John Henry and his ownership team as director
of football strategy at Anfield. The Frenchman, who was most recently the sporting director at
Saint-Ã‰tienne, has established himself as a talent evaluator that thrives on finding undervalued
Some nights of football defy you not to enjoy them. Even the most mean-spirited Arsenal fan must
surely have felt at least a small stirring of joy in their souls at Spurs performance against Inter
Milan. If Spurs can keep this kind of performance up and it is a big if, there will be two teams on
North London capable of playing sublime if quite different kinds of football.
Tottenham's chances of qualifying for the knockout round of the Champions League increased
significantly Tuesday night after an emphatic win against the current European champions,
Internazionale Milan. Buoyed by Gareth Bale's man-of-the-match display, Tottenham Hotspur now sits
in the enviable position at the top of their group and has one toe in the next round.
Following on from the post yesterday detailing the 5 worst transfers of this quarter old season,
now it is time to look at those who have excelled at their new club. However, I must also explain
how I've come to my decisions so that a few obvious omissions may be a bit more palatable for
Once again Gareth Bale starred for Tottenham in the Champions League, with two stunning assists
that helped the Champions League new-boys to a memorable 3-1 win over the tournament holders Inter
Bale had already sent out a warning to Rafa Benitez's side two weeks ago, when with Spurs four
goals, and a man down, he ran the Inter defence ragged, ending the night with three excellent goals
and a memorable hat-trick.
In some fans' and pundits' opinion, Manchester City appears to be the team best equipped to
challenge Chelsea for the Premier League title. But last Saturday 2-1 defeat at Wolves showed that
despite all the talent there are evidently a few holes that need to be filled in.Â First credit
must be given to Wolves who were outstanding and fully deserved their victory â€“ coming back from
a goal down after a soft penalty decision against (Richard Sterman) on David Silva, slotted away
coolly by Abebayor.
Fox Soccer Channel has canceled Soccer Talk Live, its weekly talk show featuring host
Kyle Martino. The show debuted in August and lasted less than three months before the network
decided to pull the plug.
"I'm thankful for everybody who helped bring Soccer Talk Live from concept to reality,"
said Fox Soccer Channel's General Manager David Nathanson.
Please come join me beginning around 3:15 PM ET/19:15 GMT as we live blog during two crucial
Champions League matches.
Tottenham v. Inter Milan:
After giving up a 4-0 lead at the San Siro against Inter, Spurs rebounded with a Gareth Bale hat
trick in the second half, leading many Spurs fans to believe that they could easily get revenge
against Rafa Benitez's crew when they came to White Hart Lane.
Rafa Benitez came out on the attack Monday in yet another bizarre press conference where he
inferred that Roy Hodgson "cannot see a priest on a mountain of sugar." No, I'm not making this up
and I have no idea what he's talking about, but watch the above video to see proof of how much of a
raving lunatic Benitez is.
I read yesterday that Nani has declared, "Now I can say I am one of the top players in the
world." After picking myself up off the floor I thought, "You idiot. You're not even one of the top
players in the Prem, let alone el mundo." That of course, begs the question, "Who are the top
players in the Premier League?
With a quarter of the season now passed, it is as good a time as any to reflect on the players
and teams who have excelled and disappointed. First up are the transfers that have not met with
expectations or values this season.
In evaluating a players performance after 10 games it is important to remember that not everyone
will hit the ground running.
Blackpool may have got their first home league win in the Premier League after they edged past West
Brom. But the 2-1 win was a lot closer than many would have expected after the Baggies were reduced
to ten men during the first half.
While many would have predicted a very comfortable win for the hosts, what followed was an
incredibly spirited display that really sums up the attitude of Roberto Di Mateo's side since their
return to the Premier League.
Watching your side lose is never a pleasant experience but watching them be thrashed by your
fierce local rivals is a leading contender for one of the worst ways to spend an afternoon
alongside shopping during the sales or watching anything involving Piers Morgan.
As a Sunderland fan, yesterday's match was probably the worst Tyne-Wear Derby in my lifetime,
worse even than the 4-1 defeat in Alan Shearer's last game in 2005.
Full disclosure: I'm a Spurs fan.Â Have been for round about six years, which just so happens
to be just before the last time Mark Clattenburg took charge of a Manchester United v Spurs fixture
at Old Trafford.Â For any who needed their memory jogged (or who weren't fans at the time):
Look, Tottenham didn't deserve to win on Saturday.
In a week holding fixtures such as Blackburn Rovers-Chelsea and Arsenal-West Ham United, you can be
forgiven for being surprised at the lack of goal-fests. Chelsea and Arsenal stumbled towards
unspectacular wins, whilst Manchester United undid Tottenham Hotspur with a comedy goal on their
way to a 2-0 victory.
Five years ago today, EPL Talk launched out of nowhere. There was zero marketing budget. All it
was could be summed one in one word: passion. From that day until now, all I did was write about
the sport and league that has given me so much joy and that I've been passionate about all my
Saturday in the Premier League was eclipsed by the top three clubs in the table while Sunday
witnessed two massive local derbies play out to incredibly different results. Chelsea, Arsenal and
Manchester United survived their respective matches to gain three points without dominating
inferior opponents while Sunday's rivalries produced a 0-0 and an emphatic 5-1 demolition.
Watching Bolton Wanderers against Liverpool on Sunday, the Reds seemed to do everything right
except in the last third of the pitch where Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres both were completely
off form. It was almost as if the two had never played together. The players, again and again,
failed to link up with each other.