Who Ate All the Pies Archives for January 2009

A Christmas message from Pies

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So Pies (i.e. me) is taking a well-earned holiday over Xmas and the New Year. I'll be back in 2010, aka World Cup Year, and very much hope you'll continue to support the site thanks for all your comments, clicks and support in the last 12 months.

Have a great holiday, may your Pies be of the Mince variety, and I hope to see you all very soon.

100 Great Football Photos of the Decade: Part 2

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Part 1 went up yesterday. Here's some hot shots, part deux. Again, they're in no special order.

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Aston Villa captain Gareth Southgate (left) leads the charge for a loose ball during their FA Premiership match against Everton at Goodison Park in 2000.

100 Great Football Photos of the Decade: Part 1

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Enjoy (they're in no particular order)...

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Arsenal's Kanu reacts after missing a chance against Wimbledon at Highbury in December 1999.

The Black-and-White Years: The Graf Zeppelin buzzes Wembley Stadium, 1930 FA Cup final

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The LZ 127 Graf Zeppelin cruises low over Wembley Stadium during the first half of the 1930 FA Cup final between Arsenal and Huddersfield.

At the time, the Zeppelin was the largest airship ever, at around 776ft in length. It made almost 600 flights in its career, becoming the first aircraft to travel more than a million miles, before being retired in 1937.

The 10 greatest Premier League goals of the decade: No.9 – Paul Scholes, Aston Villa v Man Utd, 2006

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You don't often see Paul Scholes this excited. But then he had just scored one of the great volleys in Prem history, at Villa Park in December 2006:

Sublime, and even better than another Scholes belter, scored against Bradford City at the start of the decade.

The 10 greatest footballers of the last decade

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Click through the gallery to check out Who Ate All the Pies' list of the 10 greatest players of the last decade. Once you've done that, I'd love to hear your Top 10s.

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10.

The Fiendish Friday Football Shirt Quiz

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There is an old-school Champions League flava to today's FFFSQ. Away you go...

Did Tottenham’s players have a secret Christmas party behind Harry Redknapp’s back?

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"Yes! It's a 2-for-1 deal on Red Bull & vodkas! Fill yer boots lads.."

Shock and awe in today's Sun at the behaviour of Tottenham's players:

"TOTTENHAM'S senior players have heaped shame on the club by organising a secret Christmas party in Dublin behind the back of manager Harry Redknapp.

Chelsea move in for one of Europe’s strongest strikers, Tottenham bid £8m for Matthew Upson

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Rumour No.1: According to the Telegraph, Chelsea have added Wolfsburg striker Edin Dzeko to their January shopping list. Dzeko, who is 6ft 3in and built like the proverbial shithouse, is one of the most powerful young forwards in Europe, which probably explains why he has also been linked with Man Utd and AC Milan.

Champions League knockout draw: Inter v Chelsea, Porto v Arsenal, AC Milan v Man Utd

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The balls have spoken (not literally, of course unless you're Jamie Redknapp). This is what the balls said:

VfB Stuttgart v Barcelona

Olympiakos v Bordeaux

Inter v Chelsea

Bayern Munich v Fiorentina

CSKA Moscow v Sevilla

Lyon v Real Madrid

Porto v Arsenal

AC Milan v Man Utd

First thoughts: Jose Mourinho is going back to Chelsea, David Beckham is going back to Man Utd those are the two headline-grabbing sub-plots.

Photos: Everton 0-1 BATE Borisov – Moyesey’s kids show promise

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Mini match report: A useful exercise for Everton, this, even if the result didn't go their way. With David Moyes' side already through to the last 32, he could afford to blood some of his youngsters and blood them he did, putting out a team whose average age would have been ridiculously low were it not for the appearance of 36-year-old keeper Carlo Nash.

Black Eyed Peas back Portugal to win the 2010 World Cup (with video)

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Hmm, who sounds the least sincere? I'd have to go for Fergie, mostly because I don't know the names of the other fuckhats in her shambles of a group, apart from Will.i.am, who I officially refuse to recognise on the grounds that he awarded himself the most contrived and twee name of all time.

The 10 greatest Premier League goals of the decade: No.10 – Dietmar Hamann, Liverpool v Portsmouth, 2004

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10. Didi Hamann, LIVERPOOL v Portsmouth, 2003-04

Cock the hammer... Boooooooooooom!

A vicious and perfect and much underrated volley by every Kopite's favourite German midfielder. And check out Little Mickey, turning provider for once with a pinpoint assist; it's a long time since we've seen that from Owen.

The Black-and-White Years: Tom Finney skins Belgian defender at the 1954 World Cup

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England winger Tom Finney beats Belgian defender Marcel Dries and prepares to cross from the left flank, during England's opening group game at the 1954 World Cup in Switzerland.

The match in Basel was a thriller and ended 4-4, as a Jimmy Dickinson own goal in the 94th minute robbed the English of the win.

Sh*t Lookalikes: Jon Arne Riise and Jesse Plemons

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Riise is, of course, Norway's LEGO-headed full-back, while Plemons who also looks like a ginger Matt Damon is an American actor best-known for his role in TV series Friday Night Lights.

Three cheers to Paul Beatty for the spot.

Think you can do shitter? Email your football lookalikes to ollie@anorak.

Top 10 photos: Burnley 1-1 Arsenal – Cesc goes from joy to pain in one half

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Mini match report:Â After just seven minutes, Cesc Fabregas showed composure and persistance to open the scoring with a low, accurate shot, before Graham Alexander equalised from the penalty spot after Thomas Vermaelen had felled Andre Bikey in the box. Fabregas tweaked his hamstring and was taken off just before half-time; in the second half, deprived of their creative leader, the Gunners struggled as Burnley created several decent chances.

The Football WAG Index No.20: Sylvie van der Vaart

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Sylvie van der Vaart is one half of Dutch football's equivalent of David & Victoria Beckham. She's married to Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart.

Enjoy Pies' gallery of Sylvie below:

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MORE WAGS

Photos: Chelsea 2-1 Portsmouth – Frank Lampard to the rescue

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Mini match report: Unconvincing win by Chelsea, but at least it ends their slightly concerning run of four games without a win. Nicolas Anelka opened the scoring after good work down the right by Alex who I still think is Chelsea's best centre-back before Fred Piquionne lashed home from close range just after half time.

Tottenham to boost squad in January with giant striker & England centre-back?

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Spurs rumour No.1: With Jonathan Woodgate and Ledley King in the treatment room more often than on the pitch, Spurs could use another fit centre-back in January. According to the Mirror, they have their eye on West Ham's Matt Upson. With the Hammers in financial trouble, Franco Zola may be forced to sell the English defender one his most valuable players in the winter transfer window.

Can Tottenham play Luka Modric & Niko Kranjcar in the same team?

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Ostensibly, Niko Kranjcar was signed by Spurs to deputise for the injured Luka Modric. But after a slow start to his Tottenham career, Kranjcar has been in stunning form of late, giving his manager one of those clichéd 'nice' selection headaches.

Kranjcar and Modric have played together with great success for Croatia, often with the former out wide and the latter through the middle.

Spurs 3-0 Man City, in pictures – Kranjcar wipes smile off Sparky’s face

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Mini match report: Unexpectedly terrific performance by Spurs, with Aaron Lennon and especially Niko Kranjcar who scored twice, either side of a Jermain Defoe strike in devastating form on the flanks.

City never turned up (Robinho, take a bow), but then Tottenham didn't allow them to.

New FC Tokyo kits are the best Adidas has made in ages

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Say hello to FC Tokyo's new Adidas home (left) and away shirts. I think they're two of the smartest kits Adidas has designed in ages. Apart from the awesome new Germany kit, Adidas has come up with a string of turkeys for this season (the current Chelsea home kit, for example, or the incredibly bland Nigeria World Cup kit which the Nigerian FA has apparently rejected as too generic).

Photos: Liverpool 2-1 Wigan – Rafa relieved after much-needed win

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Mini match report: If Liverpool are to finish in the top four, as Rafa 'guaranteed' earlier this week, then they must win matches like this. And so they did, with goals by David Ngog and sub Fernando Torres, although Charles N'Zogbia's excellent goal in the dying minutes will have raised heart rates on the Kop, not to mention the home technical area.

Robinho is a fraud

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Robinho drives me cowshit crazy. There's no 'I' in team, but appropriately, there is an 'I' right in the middle of Robinho. All that skill and yet he wastes it like confetti it's an insult to his Man City team-mates and the club's fans.

The Brazilian must be one of the most selfish players I've ever seen in the Premier League.

Photos: Basle 2-3 Fulham – Cottagers qualify for Europa League knockout stage

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Mini match report: Prior to last night, Basle had won all five of their previous European home games this season and by two goals or more while Fulham had precisely zero wins away in the Europa League.

But Fulham were good value for their win in Switzerland, which sees them progress to the last 32, although Basle fought until the final whistle for the draw they needed.

Barcelona will ‘fight’ to sign Arsenal’s best player this summer

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Barcelona president Joan Laporta, Europe's undisputed King of the Shit Stirrers, says Barcelona will decide in March how much money to offer Arsenal for Cesc Fabregas.

Laporta has reiterated his desire to sign the Arsenal skipper next summer amid rumours that Barca will offer £40m for the 22-year-old midfielder.

Plymouth & Milton Keynes named among 2018 World Cup host cities

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England's 2018 World Cup bid team have revealed the names of the 12 cities that will be part of their campaign:

Birmingham (Villa Park), Bristol (New Ashton Vale), Leeds (Elland Road), Liverpool (Anfield or New Anfield), London (Wembley, Emirates Stadium, New White Hart Lane/Olympic Stadium*), Manchester (Eastlands, Old Trafford), Milton Keynes (Stadium MK), Newcastle (St James' Park), Nottingham (New stadium), Plymouth (New Home Park), Sheffield (Hillsborough), Sunderland (Stadium of Light)

*Fifa rules state one city can have a maximum of three stadia in London either a new White Hart Lane or the 2010 Olympic Stadium will get the nod

As someone who grew up in Plymouth, I'm delighted that it has made the final list.

Liverpool’s £26m clearout, Man Utd want Huntelaar, Serbian crowd trouble

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Some recommended links for ya:

A Premier League African Cup of Nations XI The Spoiler

Sergio Ramos, the Prince of Cheese, poses for a calendar Kickette

Crowd trouble blighting Serbian football When Saturday Comes

Liverpool's £26m seven-man clearout and four excellent ways to spend the cash Caught Offside

Sinister Swedish Frank Lampard Danger Here

Everton are the undisputed Champions of Britain Mirror

Man United weighing up Huntelaar deal FourFourTwo

Women's rights group dresses up as prostitutes to compain about, er, prostitution at Euro 2012 Dirty Tackle

Match-fixing shenanigans involving Macedonia and Canada The Offside

Ashley Young is not good enough for England.

The Black-and-White Years: Jimmy Greaves scores against Man Utd, FA Cup semi final, 1962

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Tottenham Hotspur striker Jimmy Greaves pounces to slot the ball into the net past Manchester United keeper David Gaskell in the fourth minute of the FA Cup semi-final at Hillsborough in 1962.

Spurs won the semi 3-1 and then beat Burnley in the 'chessboard final' at the old Wembley, with Greaves again scoring an early goal, this time after just three minutes.

Opinion: Wolves boss Mick McCarthy entitled to play ‘reserves’ at Old Trafford

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The offending team sheet

Mick McCarthy fielded a weakened XI at Old Trafford last night, resting some ten first-team players. Man Yoo played quite poorly but won easily. Therefore McCarthy has been found guilty by the kneejerk media, at least  - of bringing the game into disrepute (there's plenty of disrepute in journalism also, disrepute fans), of disrespecting the Premier League, of being Satan's little helper, of being a BA cabin-crew member; you name it.

Top 10 photos: Bolton 3-1 West Ham, Premier League – Rob Green error hurts Hammers

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Mini match report: If Chelsea did really like the look of Rob Green, they will have crossed him off their list after his clanger at Bolton last night. The Hammers keeper dropped a tame Gary Cahill shot, to allow in-form Ivan Klasnic to put Bolton 2-1 up, after Alessandro Diamanti had equalised Chung-Yong Lee's opener.

Andrey Arshavin is a ‘hard boy’ – Arsene Wenger

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"I'm handy."

The Meerkat played through the pain barrier at Anfield on Sunday, having barely trained all week because of a foot injury. He scored the winning goal with a quite brilliant finish, prompting Arsene Wenger to praise the Russian's rock-like hardness:

Wenger said: "I've not met many with his pain threshold.

Rumour Balls: Real Madrid want to steal Carlos Cuellar from Aston Villa

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The rumour: The Mirror claims that Real Madrid are looking to shore up their defence by kidnapping Carlos Cuellar from Villa Park. With Pepe out for up to half a year with ligament damage, Real are light at the back and will surely sign a defender or two soon.

Rumour Balls: Wigan pounce for Ponce

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The rumour: Wigan Athletic want to sign Chilean defender Waldo Ponce. That is all you need to know.

The truth: Waldo Ponce is possibly the greatest footballer's name ever. Either that or Socrates. Please Roberto, can you fix it for him to come to the Premier League, so I can come up with a sickening glut of Ponce-related headlines.

Top 10 photos: Sunderland 0-2- Aston Villa, Premier League – Milner strikes

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Mini match report: Ruthless away win for Villa, who are starting to look like serious top-four contenders. Goals by Emile Heskey and a superb strike by James Milner the most in-form midfielder in the Prem right now did the damage. Along with Milner, Stewart Downing and Ashley Young give Villa real bite and class in midfield, while Gabby Agbonlahor is just the man to worry defences with his pace.

Is it okay to like Lee Bowyer now?

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Admission: I'm warming to Lee Bowyer. Don't tell anyone though.

Is there something wrong with me? Bowyer used to be the personification of the worst kind of footballer thuggish, mouthy, snarling etc.

But he appears to have cleaned up his act and turned into the sort of hard-working, head-down footballer every fan should want his team.

Top 10 photos: Birmingham 2-1 Blackburn, Premier League – Cameron Jerome at the double

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Mini match report: Cameron Jerome who I drafted into my fantasy football team on Monday; take a bow, son scored both goals as Birmingham extended their winning run to five matches. They move up to an astonishing sixth in the table, ahead of Man City and Liverpool.

Sh*t Lookalikes: Robinho and Valentino Rossi’s helmet

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Yep, that'll do it.

Nuff mad respec' to Chringle for this leftfield spot.

Think you can do better? Email your lookalikes to ollie@anorak.co.uk

Rafa Benitez: ‘I GUARANTEE Liverpool will finish in the top four’

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Big talk from Senor Rafa today:

"I think it is very important for any manager, but especially here in England, to be strong.

"You have to show you have an idea, you have your own people that you can talk with and analyse things and say 'This is the way to do things' and we have to keep going.

Rumour Balls: Roberto Carlos set for shock return to Real Madrid?

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Marca, Real Madrid's media mouthpiece, is foaming at the mouth at the prospect of legendary Brazilian full-back Roberto Carlos returning to play for Real again.

Carlos is set to play his last game for Fenerbahce in the Europa League on Thursday, and has admitted he'd love to return to the Bernabeu for a second spell, to help cover for the injured Pepe, who is out for up to six months with cruciate ligament damage.

Spot the Baller: 15 December, 2009

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Who's surrounded by Arsenal stars?

Previous answer: Steed Malbranque

Spotter's badges: Mizman (first) and David Allison.

Kim Kallstrom humiliated by triple nutmeg (with video)

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Once, twice, three times a chump...

That's Arsenal target Marouane Chamakh performing the first two 'megs in a recent match between Lyon and Bordeaux.

Armchair Gaffer: Time to drop Petr Cech? Or sell him?

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It's getting to the stage with Petr Cech where an increasing number of Chelsea fans are saying it's time to either drop him, or even sell him (the latter is crazy talk, in my opinion).

Cech is still a very good keeper, but he has made a few major errors in recent games, resulting in jeers from some of his own supporters.

The 15 palest players in the Premier League

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Pies salutes 15 ballers who could really use some sunbed vouchers for Christmas...

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James Milner

Fletch says:

"Aye, it's true.

Photo Essay: Bill Shankly, the man who built Liverpool FC

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"A lot of football success is in the mind. You must believe you are the best and then make sure that you are. In my time at Anfield we always said we had the best two teams on Merseyside Liverpool and Liverpool reserves."

It's almost impossible to underestimate Bill Shankly's contribution to the Reds.

Gurns: Jay Simpson (QPR) and Gianni Zuiverloon (West Brom)

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First-class Siamese Twin gurnage from last night's big game in the Championship (photos of the match to follow, btw), starring Jay Simpson (left) and the frankly ridiculously surnamed Gianni Zuiverloon.

MORE GURNS

Shit Lookalikes: The Confederations Cup ice-cream kid and The taser kid from ‘The Hangover’

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If you don't remember the awesome ice-cream kid, here's a reminder:

Like I said: Awesome with a capital AWE.

A thousand thanks to Travis Tyboroski for the top tip.

Email your Shit Lookalikes to ollie@anorak.co.uk, or follow Pies on Twitter and send us a message that way!

Photos: West Brom 2-2 QPR, Championship

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Mini match report: Simon Cox scored from close range in the 94th minute to earn West Brom a thoroughly deserved point at the Hawthorns. The visitors, with Steve Gallen and Marc Bircham in temporary charge after The Jim Magilton Incident, went ahead through a Jonas Olsson own goal on 56 minutes.

Uefa unveil official Euro 2012 logo

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And here it is:

The twin 'bloom' logo was inspired by 'wycinanka', the traditional art of paper-cutting practised in parts of Poland and Ukraine (the parts of Poland and Ukraine where there is no electricity, I guess).

And a flowery vid to go with it:

With respect to the two host nations, Poland and Ukraine does not fill me with much excitement, if any.

Jamie Carragher ‘prays to God’

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Quote of the day:

"Part of playing for Liverpool is having big character and that is what we need at the moment. Between now and the end of May it has got to be a grind at times but we have got to stick together, get through it and, as I am doing every night, pray to God that at the end of the season there will be something worth what we have gone through at times, because it has been tough.

Johan Cruyff selects Cesc Fabregas for Catalonia friendly, against Wenger’s wishes

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Catalonia head coach Johan Cruyff has included Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas in his squad for the friendly against Argentina later this month against the wishes of Arsene Wenger.

However, the Arse are under no obligation to release their skipper as Catalonia are not recognised by FIFA.

Top 10 annoying things Premier League footballers do

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Things that Prem footballers do which make you go 'Gah!'

1. Wearing massive headphones as they get off the team bus
We get it: You're street, you're anti-authority, you're a bit of a rebel. But you look like a dick.

2. Wearing massive headphones in post-match interviews
See above.

Football Karma: Alex Ferguson moans about lack of added time against Aston Villa (with video)

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It's always a pleasure to see Fergie break out the old watch routine:

"Three poxy minutes! Shite! This is United, behind at Old Trafford, son we never get less than five, you radge. I'll have your job for this, son. F**king hell's bells."

Video: Smug Man City fan loses out to Man Utd fan

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Arguably the best Fanzone ever, this. Stick with it, it gets better and better:

"Have it, have it, HAVE IT!"

"Owen, Owen, OWEN!!!"

It's my idea of hell to have to sit through 90 minutes of Sky's Fanzone, but give me three minutes' worth of two fat men in a tiny room and I'm happier than Cristiano Ronaldo in a hall of mirrors these short films capture the essence of what supporting a football team is all about.

Top 10 Premier League photos: 12-13 December

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Some cracking photos of this weekend's action in the Prem. Enjoy:

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Louis Saha skips away from John Terry.

[Photos: PA]

Gallery: Ryan Giggs wins BBC Sports Personality of the Year

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What's this!? A professional footballer winning a public vote, over a heavyweight boxing world champion and an F1 world champ. I didn't see that coming.

Generally, the British public prefers any sportsmen to footballers. But, as Gary Lineker pointed out last night, Ryan Giggs is a transcendent figure, liked by people who don't even like football.

Spurs fan tells Assou-Ekotto: ‘You’re sh*t’

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After Tottenham's abject performance at the Lane against Wolves, a home fan shouted "You're shit!" at Spurs full-back Benoit Assou-Ekotto, prompting the player to angrily confront the abuser, albeit quarter-heartedly when compared to King Eric's magnificent kung-fu attack.

Weekly Pielights: Ronaldo’s six-pack, Golfing footballers and Tom Cruise

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MON

Muscular Cristiano Ronaldo does 3,000 sit-ups a day

TUES

Darius Vassell's poignant blog reveals a homesick man

Photo essay: Footballers playing golf (you know, to capitalise on the Tiger Woods madness)

Bono scares Andrey Arshavin

WED

Hearts skipper Michael Stewart sent off, kicks bottle in anger, falls over

Top 10 foreign Premier League footballers you've never heard of

THUR

Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes guests at Sevilla v Rangers Champions League match (with photos)

FRI

Which Arsenal player winds you up the most?

Flamengo keeper Bruno gutted to miss out on end-of-season award (with video)

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Most actors are well-versed in award ceremony etiquette if you're nominated and you don't win, maintain a rictus grin at all times, at least until the cameras are focused elsewhere, or until you have time to rush to the toilet and cry into your fat line of cocaine.

But footballers.

The Football WAG Index No.19: Martina Minafra (Federico Macheda’s WAG)

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This is Kiko's current girlfriend Martina Minafra. She looks like a teenager trying to dress up as a woman, which is no surprise as I imagine that's exactly what she is. She also looks like a mini, Italian version of Cheryl Cole. Or is it Nadine Coyle? I can never tell the difference.

Armchair Gaffer: Should Alberto Aquilani start for Liverpool against Arsenal?

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"Rafa, remember me?"

Alberto Aquilani has told the Liverpool Daily Post that he is desperate to play against Arsenal this weekend:

"I need to play, play, play because I'm in a new team, and I need games now. My ankle is fine now, I feel good, and now I need to work hard in training for my body.

Rumour Balls: Brazilian cult hero arrives in London for Spurs medical

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Brazilian midfielder Sandro is set to move from Internacional to Tottenham Hotspur in January, subject to a medical.

According to reports, the player arrived in London yesterday to undergo a series of health checks.

The fee involved is expected to be in the region of £7 million.

The Fiendish Friday Football Shirt Quiz

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You know the drill. No international jerseys in today's list:

Answers revealed on Monday. Fill yer boots.

Which Arsenal player winds you up the most?

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At the start of the season, Pies asked you Which Chelsea player winds you up the most? You voted for Didier Drogba. Then we asked you the same question of Man Utd. You voted for Comrade Gary Neville.

Today it's the turn of Arsenal.

Injury forces West Ham striker Dean Ashton to retire aged 26

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Remember when Dean Ashton was hailed as the next Alan Shearer? It wasn't so long ago a handful of seasons, no more.

But in August 2006, Ashton broke his ankle during an England training session. He missed all of the 2006-07 season but did return the following season to play 30-odd games for West Ham.

Frank Lampard’s ex-WAG models crazy new bra

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This is Frank Lampard's ex, Elen Rivas (who has apparently changed her name from Rives go figure), showing off a crazy new bra from the future. It's what I imagine Star Trek's Lt. Uhura might wear. Ahem.

Diamond Boutique's 'Limitless Bra' and has been described as "the most innovative lingerie ever".

Snapshot: Louis Saha and Tim Howard sign autographs for young Everton fans

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Louis Saha and Tim Howard pose with a young Everton fan at a signing session at Goodison Park. [Photo: PA]

T-Ho likes A Tribe Called Quest? Good man.

Louis's shirt... no comment.

Poll: Will Landon Donovan flop in Europe again?

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HIT: Donovan has been in terrific form in MLS

LANDON DONOVAN has yet to convince the majority of fans outside of the States that he is a top-class player. Sure, he's been brilliant for LA Galaxy of late (this MLS season especially), and he's the US national team's leading scorer of all time, an impressive feat given that he's not an out-and-out centre-forward.

Taking a corner in Turkey is dangerous to your health (with video)

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All Prem corner takers should watch this video, taken during a recent clash between rivals Galatasaray and Fenerbahce:

And you thought you had it bad sometimes!?

This is a bit like the conveyor belt on The Generation Game: Coin... lighter... flare... cup... cup.

Jens Lehmann goes for pitchside wee (with video)

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Who said German isn't a lyrical language? 'Jens macht pipi' is pure poetry.

Always good to see Mad Jens up to his old tricks.

Photos: Liverpool 1-2 Fiorentina, Champions League

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Mini match report: This was a soggy bottomed end to Liverpool's CL campaign this season the not-very-exciting Europa League awaits. Yossi Benayoun put Liverpool ahead just before half-time with a header from a Stevie G free-kick, before Martin Jorgensen and then a very late winner by Alberto Gilardino sealed Fiorentina's status as group winners.

Which Man Utd player will make the best manager: Neville, Giggs or Scholes?

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Alex Ferguson today expressed his surprise that Mark Hughes has done so well as a gaffer, when he fully expected Bryan Robson to be the player from that generation to make it to the top in management.

Fergie also revealed that Gary Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes are all taking their coaching badges at the moment.

Ronaldinho wins the blindfold keepy-up challenge (with video)

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Ronaldinho incredibly skilful even when blindfolded, or was he peeking?

Spotter's badge: 101GreatGoals

Celeb Balls: Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes guests at Sevilla v Rangers Champions League match (with photos)

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Poor TomKat forced to sit through 90 minutes of Rangers anti-football hell, and all because they were invited to last night's Sevilla game. Being an A-List celebrity has its perks, but watching a Walter Smith side is not one of them.

Cruise is in Spain to film his new movie, Knight And Day, in which he plays a secret agent (it sounds amazing, right?

Photos: Coventry 0-2 Newcastle, Championship – Magpies extend lead

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Mini match report: The Biggest Club in the World® go seven points clear at the top of the Championship after this victory at the Ricoh it's the Toon's seventh league win in a row and an immediate return to the Prem now looks more than likely. Goals by Shola 'The Amoeba' Ameobi and the even better-named Nile Ranger did the damage.

Based on the group stage, which club do you think will win the Champions League?

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The CL group stage is done and dusted, at last. The 16 teams who made it through are the usual suspects plus some interesting dark horses:

Group winners
Bordeaux
Manchester United
Real Madrid
Chelsea
Fiorentina
Barcelona
Sevilla
Arsenal

Group runners-up
Bayern Munich
CSKA Moscow
AC Milan
Porto
Lyon
Inter
Stuttgart
Olympiacos

A very strong-looking line-up.

Shit Lookalikes: Martin Skrtel and a gnome

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As spotted by... me!

Email your Shit Lookalikes to ollie@anorak.co.uk. Only the shit will survive...

Top 10 foreign Premier League footballers you’ve never heard of

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Away from the spotlight, there are players languishing in Premier League squads who you have never even heard of. For example:

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Ron Robert Zieler (Germany) - Manchester United, goalkeeper

Hearts skipper Michael Stewart sent off, kicks bottle in anger, falls over

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When you're very angry let's say because you've just been sent off and you just want to kick out at the nearest object, make sure you have a sure footing...

Full marks to Hearts skipper Michael Stewart a feisty ginge no less for this embarrassing FAIL.

Stewart was sent off in a stormy clash against Hamilton Accies last weekend, but it looks like his red card might be overturned.

Photos: Chelsea 2-2 Apoel Nicosia, Champions League

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Chelsea had already won their CL group, so this result one of the most memorable in Apoel's history was hardly a big surprise, especially given that Carlo 'Benny' Ancelotti picked a slightly weakened team (no Cech, Lampard or Anelka in the starting line-up). Open, entertaining match, though.

Shit Lookalikes: Clint Dempsey and OJ Borg

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OJ Borg is a radio DJ/TV presenter type who once hosted Nuts TV.

If I could find a decent pic of Deuce with a side parting, this SLAL would work much better.

Thanks to Burns for the tip.

Email your lookalikes to ollie@anorak.co.uk

Video: Michael Owen scores hat-trick for Man Utd against Wolfsburg

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Well, look who made everyone sit up and take notice. Little Mickey's back with his first hat-trick in, er, too long. If Owen stays fit and continues to find the net for United, Fabio Capello will find it very hard to ignore his World Cup claims.

Owen's third goal against Wolfburg last night is the one that has got everyone talking today he hasn't made a scoring run like that in a VERY long time.

Landon Donovan to Everton on loan?

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I might have guessed that Tony Hibbert the whitest man in football was not a good body on which to attach Lando's tanned head. But you get the idea

Landon Donovan, the darling of US soccerball, is set to join national team-mate Tim Howard at Everton. So says the Express, which claims LA Galaxy star Donovan could join the Toffees on a loan deal in January.

Photos: West Bromwich Albion 0-2 Cardiff City, Championship

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This was the first league win for the Bluebirds at West Brom since 1957. Goals by Chris Burke (18) and Peter Whittingham (85 pen) did the damage. The other talking point was the red card shown to West Brom goalkeeper/skipper Scott Carson in the second half, for a head butt on Michael Chopra.

Danny Dyer wants YOU to buy his football DVD for Christmas

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It's good to see footballers fall on their arse, says The Double D. That's good enough for me, Danny, you cockernee slaaaaag. I've been saying that for years.

If you feel the same way, and the sound of Dyer's voice doesn't make you want to drive into the sea, buy his new Football Foul-Ups DVD.

Is this really Umbro’s new red England away kit for the 2010 World Cup?

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FootballShirtCulture has leaked pics of the red away shirt that England will wear in South Africa next summer. And here they are:

Not difficult to see where the inspiration for this design came from:

Of course, these leaked pics could be fake though if they are, it's a convincing job.

Links: Pavlyuchenko to Arsenal, Top 10 football masseurs, Macheda’s tanned WAG

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Cesc Fabregas admits Arsenal need a different sort of striker... [BBC]

... and some say that striker could be Spurs flop Roman Pavlyuchenko! Unlikely but it would make me chuckle. [The Spoiler]

Pompey defender Linvoy Primus announces retirement. Solid player, very decent chap by all accounts.

Photos: Watford 3-1 QPR, Championship

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Watford moved into sixth place in the Championship with this impressive win against QPR.

Patrick Agyemang put the visitors in front after 33 minutes with a fierce strike from the edge of the area. Lloyd Doyley equalised with a header just before half-time (his first goal in almost 300 appearances!

Spot the Baller: 8 December, 2009

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Who dis?

Previous answer: Jean-Alain Boumsong

Spotter's badges: The Mighty Squelch (and everyone else who agreed with him)

Photo essay: Footballers playing golf (you know, to capitalise on the Tiger Woods madness)

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Being an imaginative bunch, most footballers especially the Brits love to play golf, in their free time, on club tours, on charity days etc.

Check out Pies' most excellent gallery of ballers on the golf course:

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England's Jimmy Greaves lines up a putt as he and his teammates take a break from the serious business of preparing for the 1966 World Cup Final.

Photos: Liverpool train for Champions League clash with Fiorentina

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Some pics of Rafa and Nando looking cold at Melwood, ahead of their dead rubber against Fiorentina in the Champions League:

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Liverpool's Fernando Torres skips past Javier Mascherano (right) watched by manager Rafael Benitez (left) during a training session at Melwood, Liverpool.

Bono scares Andrey Arshavin

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"She moves in mysterious waaaaays!!"

"Yikes! Mr Bono, don't creep up like that. You almost give me heart attack."

The Drog = cool. Deuce Dempsey = super cool. The Meerkat = scared by Bono's uncanny ability to weasel his way into any photo opportunity.

‘Alberto Aquilani is fit and wants to play for Liverpool’ – Alberto Aquilani’s dad

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"Alberto is available to play and has been for more than a month. He feels good and the injury has cleared up, and now the only way he can get truly fit is to play more and more minutes. He is desperate to get his career in England up and running. He has been very frustrated, first at being injured, then at not being chosen to play for so long.

Darius Vassell’s poignant blog reveals a homesick man

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A couple of weeks ago, Darius Vassell started his own blog yes, it's actually written by him. Reading it makes you think about how being a professional footballer in a foreign country must be very tough sometimes.

Between the lines, you can't help but feel that in between marathon bouts of PlayStation Darius wonders to himself, "How the hell did I end up playing for a mid-table club in Turkey?

Defensive crisis at Man Utd sees Oliver Gill (David Gill’s son) drafted into Champions League squad

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This is Oliver Gill, a centre-back in Man Utd's reserves.

If the face looks slightly familiar, that's because he's the son of David Gill, United's chief executive:

"David, I'm sorry to tell you this, but your boy Oliver makes William Prunier look like Franco fucking Baresi.

Fabregas: Chelsea ‘average’ without Drogba

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"You sir, are a fucking disgrace."

"Mmm hmm. So sue me."

Much tabloid chatter this morning about Cesc Fabregas's Chelsea quote:

"An average team that has the best striker in the world can always do something and Didier Drogba makes all the difference to them.

It’s obvious which big striker Arsene Wenger should sign in January…

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Ladies and gents, I give you the new Niall Quinn...

Luca Toni.

The maths is as follows:

X: Toni is very unhappy at Bayern Munich, having failed to adjust to the German culture. He's also fallen out with manager Louis van Gaal, who is not the most forgiving of men.

Snapshot: Lionel Messi collects Ballon d’Or award – and is he wearing make-up?!

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Is it just me, or is Little Lionel wearing make-up? Either that or its a Messi waxwork posing with the Ballon d'Or.

Whatever, congrats to the Argentine for winning Europe's top award he deserves it.

Fletch says:


"I once ate Messi for breakfast.

Rumours: Arsenal interested in tiny Barcelona striker

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According to the Star (I know, I know), Arsenal have asked Barcelona about the availability of 19-year-old striker Bojan Krkic.

Good idea, Arsene what Arsenal really need is another tiny young forward who can be served up as a starter to the likes of Chris Samba, Nemanja Vidic and Abdoulaye Faye.

Muscular Cristiano Ronaldo does 3,000 sit-ups a day

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"Ron smash!"

So it looks like Cristiano has been hitting the gym HARD since he moved to Spain. There's talk that he's crunching 3,000 sit-ups a DAY, which is suggestive of a) a man whose body is a temple, or, b) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

C-Ron paid for his vanity at the weekend when he was booked for taking his shirt off after scoring for Real against Almeria.

GIF of the Day: The Steven Gerrard dive compilation

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Hypnotic.

Now all it needs is Stevie G's effort against Blackburn.

MORE GIFS

Top 10 Premier League photos, 5-6 December

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Enjoy our round-up of the best pictures from another action-packed weekend in the Premier League:

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Portsmouth's Tal Ben-Haim is challenged by Burnley's Robbie Blake

So sorry for Jimmy Bullard, who had only just returned from a very long lay-off.

Did Steven Gerrard dive against Blackburn? (with video evidence)

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Rafa Benitez was falling over himself to praise Steven Gerrard in the run-up to his skipper's 500th Liverpool appearance, against Blackburn on Saturday.

Ironic, that, as Stevie G was falling over himself to win the match for Rafa:

From the side angle, it certainly looks like a crafty dive by Gerrard it wouldn't be the first time he's gone down in the box despite minimal contact.

Brazil nuts: Enraged Coritiba fans attack officials and riot police after team is relegated

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A Coritiba fan looks worse for wear after scuffles with police

Some fans take relegation well, with a shrug of the shoulders or a few tears. Not in South America though, where relegation can be greeted with a carnival of violence.

Such was the case in Brazil on Sunday, when Coritiba 'welcomed' Fluminense to the Estadio Couto Pereira.

2010 World Cup draw: Top 10 conclusions

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1. Charlize Theron won't be invited back by Fifa anytime soon. What was she on – a mixture of valium and gin? She looked great and flirted with everyone on the stage, but boy did she talk a lot of shit.

2. David Beckham's haircut will be great when it's finished.

England’s 2010 World Cup draw: England, USA, Algeria, Slovenia

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"Wahay!"

So, this is what F-Cap's plucky men lads next summer:

GROUP C: ENGLAND, USA, ALGERIA, SLOVENIA

England's order of play: USA (Sat 12 June, Rustenburg), Algeria (Fri 18 June, Cape Town), Slovenia (23 June, Port Elizabeth)

What do you make of the draw?

2010 World Cup Photos: Green Point Stadium, Cape Town

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Check out or exclusive gallery of the 68,000-capacity Green Point Stadium in Cape Town. What a beautiful location it has, in the shadow of Table Mountain. The stadium cost approximately £220 million and boasts a noise-reducing cladding covering the exterior, no doubt to keep in the noise of those damned vuvuzelas.

Top seven scariest World Cup Groups of Death

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"I'm looking for a Mr Capello?"

No World Cup is complete without a media-appointed Group of Death, the sort of quartet that makes you wince just thinking about it.

Here are seven of the most memorable GoDs in World Cup history:

1. ARGENTINA, BRAZIL, ITALY
(Group C, second phase, 1982 World Cup)

Who made it out alive?

2010 World Cup Adidas Jabulani football is the roundest ball ever!

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Here she is folks – the official match ball for the 2010 World Cup, aka the Adidas Jabulani (Jabulani means 'to celebrate' in the native South African isuZulu dialect, fact fans).

The official unveiling of the ball will take place today, during the draw for the World Cup.

The Fiendish Friday Football Kit Quiz: World Cup special!

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World Cup draw day means a World Cup-themed shirt quiz, of course. All of the below shirts have been sported at World Cup finals. All you need to do is name the countries they belong to. Simples...

Away you go.

Photos: Fulham 1-0 CSKA Sofia, Europa League

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A narrow win for Uncle Woy Hodgson's side, but a vital one as it keeps alive their hopes of progressing to the Europa League knockout stage. Danny Murphy, usually so good from the spot, tonked a penalty over the bar in the first half, before Zoltan Gera headed home on 14 minutes, from a Bjorn Riise cross.

Pies Classic: Michel Platini flirts with Sepp Blatter

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Michel and Sepp, sitting in a tree, F.I.X.I.N.G

All eyes are on the action except for Michel Platini's he's only got eyes for Sepp Pratter. The saucy minx has left his seat to jauntily prop himself up on the desk and get Mr Blatter's attention.

I know flirting is a French national sport, but there is a time and a place, Michel.

Can you predict England’s World Cup group?

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"I'm getting the words 'Group of Death'..."

It's time for you to look into your Sepp Blatter-shaped crystal ball and predict which group England will land in tomorrow's World Cup draw in Cape Town. Exciting stuff, eh.

These are the four pots:

POT 1 (Seeds):
Argentina, Brazil, ENGLAND, Germany, Italy, Spain, South Africa, Holland

POT 2 (Asia, Oceania and North/Central America):
Australia, New Zealand, Honduras, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Mexico, United States.

Gurns: David Bentley (Tottenham Hotpsur)

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"Mr Grimsdale!"

That is all.

MORE GURNS

Zlatan Ibrahimovic is more skilful than all of us put together (with video evidence)

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Zlatan is surely the only player in the world who could pull off a move like this...

I would love to play five-a-side with this guy. On the same team, of course.

Spotter's badge: The Offside

Darren Fletcher says:


"I would be at Zlatan's heels for 90 minutes.

The Football Hard Men Index No.2: Andoni Goikoetxea, aka the Butcher of Bilbao

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Name: Andoni Goikoetxea, nicknamed The Butcher of Bilbao

Club career: Athletic Bilbao, Atletico Madrid

Position: Centre-back

Why so hard? The Butcher of Bilbao earned his nickname for an infamous scything tackle from behind on Diego Maradona, who was playing for Barcelona at the time.

Photos: Man City 3-0 Arsenal, League Cup

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Shakegate has unfortunatley overshadowed what was a very entertaining cup game, lit up by two brilliant goals for City – Carlos Tevez scored a superb solo goal to open the scoring, before Shaun Wright-Phillips unleashed a rocket to double the hosts' lead.

Arsenal didn't play poorly, but for all their neat pass-and-move stuff, they lacked a cutting edge.

Photos: Blackburn Rovers 3-3 Chelsea (Rovers win 4-3 on pens), League Cup

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Woah, way to go easy on Big Sam's heart, eh...

This was a terrific cup tie, with the balance tipped in the hosts' favour by Carlo Ancelotti's dubious decision to use all three subs at half-time. When Salomon Kalou went off in the second half, with what looked like a groin injury, Chelsea were down to ten men, with extra time looming.

Wonder Goals Classic: Mark Hughes scores thunder volley for Wales v Spain, 1985

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Featuring the most fleeting glimpse of Sparky's incredibly naff trophy cabinet/sideboard...

"Boof. Stick that in your technical area, Arsene!"

See, Hughes could play a bit, with his famously strong ankles. Shame he's turned into one of the most colourless, dour managers around, and a bit of a wind-up merchant too.

Arsene Wenger refuses to shake hands with Mark Hughes after League Cup defeat

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"I did not see the manager..."

After Arsenal's 'kids' lost 3-0 to Man City in the League Cup quarter final, Arsene Wenger stormed off down the tunnel at Eastlands without – shock, horror! – shaking hands with Mark Hughes.

This is the perfect ammo for the tabloids to have a xenophobic pop at "rude, ungracious Wenger", and while the Gunners' gaffer should have risen above Sparky's aggressive touchline behaviour, I can understand his frustration at being beaten by the team that poached Adebyor and Toure from under his nose.

England lucky to be seeded for World Cup ahead of France and Portugal?

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A dry run for Friday's World Cup draw in Cape Town [Photo: PA]

PHEW. England are one of the eight seeds for the 2010 World Cup, despite only being ranked ninth in the world. Fabio Capello, fix yourself a drink.

The list of eight seeds in full:

South Africa (hosts), Spain, Brazil, Italy, Germany, Argentina, England, Netherlands

Portugal and France, both ranked above England by FIFA, miss out, despite strong records in recent major tournaments – many people will feel that it's a big plate of karma for the French (and I doubt they'll dare to kick up a fuss given what happened in Paris last month), but C-Ron's Portugal can count themselves a bit unlucky not to be seeded, even if they did make it to South Africa via the play-offs.

Photos: Portsmouth 2-4 Aston Villa, League Cup – Stewart Downing scores on full debut, lasts 90 minutes

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Two games, two defeats for new Pompey boss Avram Grant. Man Utd and Villa at home are tough fixtures though, so we'll let him off, even if we miss Paul Hart's sad Pingu face.

This game was all about the return of Stewart Downing, who scored at Fratton Park last night on his first start for Villa and looked remarkably rust-free.

Shit Lookalikes: Yossi Benayoun and Steve Buscemi

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Yes but no but yes but no suitably shit. We like. Thanks to the excellently named Scott Fitzgerald (real or made-up, Scott?) for the tip.

Email your lookalikes to ollie@anorak.co.uk.

Spot the Baller: 2 December, 2009

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Today's StB features added Thierry Henry sadness, which I'm sure many of you will enjoy. But who's the fella giving D-Trez a gentle shoulder squeeze?

Previous answer: Rafael Marquez

Spotter's badges: Squelch (first, but with his second guess, tbf), mareantheone, Pauleta

Definitely the worst miss in football history (with video)

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I'm pretty shit at football, but I'd like to think even I would have slotted this without too much trouble...

!!!

Wow. I mean, WOW!

Take a bow, Harrow Borough striker Rocky Baptiste, a non-league hero who just earned himself cult status for life.

The incredible miss occurred during Harrow's recent game against Waltham Abbey (Harrow won 5-3).

What happened to Philippe Senderos?

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Look at Big Phil's sad Charlie Brown face. No one wants to see that.

PHILIPPE SENDEROS today suffered the ignominy of being left out of Arsenal's League Cup squad to face Man City at Eastlands tonight. When your gaffer rates you below a past-it Mikael Silvestre, you know you're not wanted.

Fernando Torres: I was surprised Everton fans were so friendly

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Nando's caterpillar needed fine-tuning

Terrific, feature-length interview with El Nino on Liverpool's official website today, in which he manages to mention John Lennon, The Beatles and Albert Dock. No mention for Jimmy Tarbuck or Cilla though the times, they have a changed.

Photos: Manchester United 2-0 Tottenham Hotspur, League Cup

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I've never rated Darron Gibson that highly, but boy, he has a wicked shot on him. Whether that's enough for him to make the grade at United, I'm not sure.

Gibson is 22 now and you'd think he might have played more for United's first team by now, but perhaps this man-of-the-match performance will be the turning point in his Old Trafford career.

Real Madrid launches sexy lingerie line

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Real Madrid have launched their own lingerie line, named 'Luxe'. Judging by this preview shot, we like.

Little Kiss will make the exclusive line of Real underwear – for men and women – after signing a licensing agreement with the club.

The lingerie is set to hit the shops in March 2010, but no doubt Cristiano Ronaldo has asked for some review products, both for himself and potential conquests.

Barcelona president celebrates El Clasico victory with champagne binge at nightclub

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"I wanna have sex on the beach, woah woah woah..."

After Barcelona's 1-0 win over Real Madrid last Sunday, Barca president Joan Laporta (pictured above, right) let his hair down by partying HARD at the exclusive Luz de Gas nightclub.

AS reports that Laporta danced with a string of young women and swigged from €100 bottles of MUMM champagne not all of the bubbly ended up in his mouth, as by the end of the night his suit was liberally covered in the stuff.