SoccerLens Archives for January 2009

Exaggerating Liverpool’s Slide, The Desperation of Charles N’Zogbia, Salomon Just Loves His Hip-Hop, and more

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You know the saying about how no two snowflakes are the same? Well, just like snowflakes, opinions are not often In the end, folks are often just trying to make more out of a particular situation than they really should, as you'll find in today's roundup. Exhibit A: Liverpool. If you want to [...

Transfer Rumors (30 Jan 09): Ronaldo in 91m Real deal, Arsenal and Manchester City talk Toure, Tottenham offer Bent to Blackburn for Santa Cruz, and more

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We're into the final stretch of the January transfer window, and while signings have been relatively light up to this point, we'll be seeing a lot more confirmed deals (and probably just as much speculation) over the next few days. England You can't go that long in any transfer window these days without a Cristiano [.

Tottenham and Manchester City resuscitate the January transfer window

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So the circus is nearly over. We can almost revert back to picking up a newspaper and reading about injuries and "bust-ups", goals and "romps", rather than the usual regurgitation of half-baked half-truths that the tabloids, and actually the broadsheets too, dish up on a daily basis. The January transfer window has always grated with me.

The Worst Football Teams of All Time

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We gave you the Greatest Teams of All Time. Now, it's time for the worst! Without further ado, let's go over the criteria that I used: Expectations are Everything. Look at it this way. If you're from Luxembourg, and you know that the only way you're qualifying for the Euros [...]

Transfer Rumors (29 Jan 09): Tottenham bid for long-time Manchester City target Santa Cruz, Real Madrid and Manchester United tussle for Wigan star Valencia, Ar

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The clock is tick-tick-ticking, and the end of the January transfer window is one day closer. If you haven't signed that top target by now, you need to get a move on, because just like the month has flown by, Monday evening will be here before you know it. With the futures of [...]

Football fork - January 2007 - Liverpool bought by the DIC group

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About ten years ago Nick Hancock co-wrote a book called What Didn't Happen Next, which was an amusing look at the butterfly effect in football and those little changes which might have rewritten the annals of football. What if Southgate had scored his penalty at Euro 1996? What if Gordon Banks hadn't had food poisoning [.

Robinho’s a Trouble Magnet, Old Man Becks Playing Like the Becks of Old, England Submits World Cup 2018 Bid, and more

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There are some days when life just seems like it's giving you a big punch in a sensitive place. And sometimes, it's just your teammate. Robinho may be feeling like that right now, since he's been making headlines for all of the wrong reasons lately. Of course, sometimes you have to make [...]

The Greatest Football Teams of All Time

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Everyone has a favorite team of all time, and they'll defend that team's merits until they're blue in the face (or red, green, yellow, or black, depending on your affiliation). My personal favorite was the U.S. World Cup team from 2002 that was one missed-handball on Torsten Frings away from going into extra time [.

A Loss of Identity

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When Danny Welbeck scored a thirty-yard screamer against Stoke earlier this season (albeit the fifth goal of a 5-0 trouncing), he immediately became my favorite player on Manchester United. The eighteen-year-old English striker piqued my interest not because he is an integral member of the United first team (in fact, he has primarily featured [.

The Curious Case of Rafa Benitez

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As Liverpool fan, by matter of routine, the familiar tune of Sky Sports News tells me of the latest bust up or disagreement between Rafa, who may or may not like Rick, but doesn't like George, although he definitely likes Tom (not sure if he likes George or Rick, as it goes). Sounds silly, [...]

Van der Sar, Superstar

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Peter Schmeichel had both hands on the European Cup in 1999, ending his Manchester United career with a historical Treble. The Great Dane, as he was affectionately known, had a fabulous career with United, winning a whole host of trophies in his eight years at Old Trafford. Five league titles, three FA Cups, one European [.

Transfer Rumors (28 Jan 09): Manchester United consider Roma’s Panucci, Tottenham to swap Jenas or Lennon for Liverpool’s Keane, AC Milan ready to make Beck

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Today's actually a pretty quiet day in transfer news and rumors, though you could imagine a lot of clubs are quietly attempting to make deals happen as we move another day closer to the end of the January transfer window. England Manchester United are pondering a bid for veteran Roma defender Christian Panucci, who wants [.

The Fun Guide To Free Football Betting Online

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When it comes to football betting, two of the great things about winning are: You win some money You don't lose any money Well how does it grab you to have the second one guaranteed? Then look no further because here's a free guide to free football betting online. It doesn't get much better than free guides to [.

Boys From Brazil: Lulinha

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Born: April 10th 1990 (18) Full Name:Luiz Marcelo Morais dos Reis Nickname: Lulinha Club: Corinthians Position: Attacking Midfielder, Winger, Forward Compared To: Ronaldinho Biography Bursting on to the scene is Lulinha, the right footed playmaker made a name for himself in the 2007 U-17 South American Championship, scoring an incredible 12 goal in 7 games for the mini Seleção.

Using Facts to Combat Stereotypes is Fun, Sulaiman Strikes Again, Ronaldo Talks and Walks, and more

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Given that I've never gotten my driver's license (and never will), I've become quite the advocate for public transportation over the years. I couldn't make it without buses or taxis, and frankly, given that cars are so much of a hassle sometimes, I wouldn't want it any other way. More than gas prices, [.

Transfer Rumors (27 Jan 09): Tottenham and Manchester City in for Liverpool’s Keane, Manchester City to offer 19m for Blackburn’s Santa Cruz, Juventus after

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Still trying to fill that need for a new striker? A new left back? A new midfielder? Time and available options are getting short, and clubs are getting desperate to make the necessary reinforcements as the window gets closer and closer to shutting. England Unsurprisingly, Manchester City are being linked with a move for Robbie [.

Transfer Rumors (25 Jan 09): Manchester City after Valencia’s Villa and Werder Bremen’s Diego, Arsenal to bid for Manchester City’s Richards, L.A. Galaxy

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We're edging towards the final week of the January transfer window, and while you'll likely hear more about a few new signings tomorrow, Sundays seem to be set aside for speculation from the tabloids. England Manchester City are prepared to offer £70m plus either Jo or Elano for Valencia's David Villa in the summer.

FA Cup Deja Vu, UEFA Releases Its 2008 Team of the Year, Sepp Blatter Canoodles with Criminals, and more

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My grandmother, lovely woman as she is, loves to watch ‘Waiting to Exhale.' I've spent the last few weeks with her, and she watches it daily. Daily! Of all of the movies I could quote, that's not one that I ever wanted to know like the back of my hand. I don't mind [...]

David Beckham: Legend

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David Beckham, with his floppy hair and unassuming ways, was an instant success at Manchester United. A lifelong United fan, who had made the journey from the south with his dad to attend our games at Old Trafford, with an ability that stood out from the rest from a young age. Aged 11, Beckham won [.

FA Cup replays are great, no matter what Fergie, Rafa and Harry think

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When it suits him, Sir Alex Ferguson can be quite a student of the FA's rules and regulations. The brief, and swiftly abandoned, dalliance with rule 11a may not have been as thrilling as his tango with Dimitar Berbatov in the summer, but it does have wider-reaching implications. Rule 11a sounds innocuous enough.

Transfer Rumors (26 Jan 09): Robbie Keane to leave Liverpool?, Tottenham sign a pair, Bundesliga leaders after Manchester United’s Tevez, and more

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We're into the final week of the January transfer window, and there are several signings to report on today. Nothing big, but the least attention-grabbing ones can have the biggest impact down the line (see Zaki, Amr). And since I'm in such a giving mood today, there's a big ol' batch of spec [...

Top Ten Free Kick Specialists Of All Time

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Cast your mind back to Saturday August 15th 1998. Manchester United were kicking off their season with a home game against Leicester City and one David Beckham was making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. His infamous moment of petulance at the 1998 World Cup saw him transformed from hero to zero in the [.

Everton v. Arsenal - English Premier League - 28 January 2009 - Live Blog

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Everton v. Arsenal Stadium: Goodison Park Competition: English Premier League Date: 28 January 2009 Kickoff: 20:00 GMT, 15:00 ET No rest for the weary as Arsenal will pay a visit to Everton in an important league clash! Soccerlens will be bringing you the action live! Log on to the site 15 minutes before kickoff for the liveblog!

The Sickening Truth About Today’s Football

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£100m for a player. £500k a week. Where's it all going to end? Here, hopefully. But sadly, we all know that something along similar (and even more obscene) lines will happen in the summer. The Kaka deal was almost the straw that broke the camel's back, and there's a good reason why. According to many [.

All-Time Premiership XI - Round #29385

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I saw the 2008 UEFA team of the year, and the controversy it produced, and it got me thinking. What would an all time Premiership XI look like? I'm fairly confident in my picks, but know the difficulties of picking such a side. The league has changed incredibly even since the time I have followed [.

Football Aid January Auction

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Together with the support of over twenty-five clubs around the UK, Football Aid are looking to raise money for a variety of charitable causes. Imagine the pride in seeing your shirt hanging up in the changing room, the thrill of running through the tunnel and the adrenaline of playing on the pitch that your heroes have [.

Football Aid January Auction

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Together with the support of over twenty-five clubs around the UK, Football Aid are looking to raise money for a variety of charitable causes. Imagine the pride in seeing your shirt hanging up in the changing room, the thrill of running through the tunnel and the adrenaline of playing on the pitch that your heroes have [.

Top Ten Free Kick Specialists Of All Time

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Cast your mind back to Saturday August 15th 1998. Manchester United were kicking off their season with a home game against Leicester City and one David Beckham was making the headlines for all the wrong reasons. His infamous moment of petulance at the 1998 World Cup saw him transformed from hero to zero in the [.

Everton v. Arsenal - English Premier League - 28 January 2009 - Live Blog

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Everton v. Arsenal Stadium: Goodison Park Competition: English Premier League Date: 28 January 2009 Kickoff: 20:00 GMT, 15:00 ET No rest for the weary as Arsenal will pay a visit to Everton in an important league clash! Soccerlens will be bringing you the action live! Log on to the site 15 minutes before kickoff for the liveblog!

The Sickening Truth About Today’s Football

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£100m for a player. £500k a week. Where's it all going to end? Here, hopefully. But sadly, we all know that something along similar (and even more obscene) lines will happen in the summer. The Kaka deal was almost the straw that broke the camel's back, and there's a good reason why. According to many [.

All-Time Premiership XI - Round #29385

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I saw the 2008 UEFA team of the year, and the controversy it produced, and it got me thinking. What would an all time Premiership XI look like? I'm fairly confident in my picks, but know the difficulties of picking such a side. The league has changed incredibly even since the time I have followed [.

FA Cup replays are great, no matter what Fergie, Rafa and Harry think

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When it suits him, Sir Alex Ferguson can be quite a student of the FA's rules and regulations. The brief, and swiftly abandoned, dalliance with rule 11a may not have been as thrilling as his tango with Dimitar Berbatov in the summer, but it does have wider-reaching implications. Rule 11a sounds innocuous enough.

Transfer Rumors (26 Jan 09): Robbie Keane to leave Liverpool?, Tottenham sign a pair, Bundesliga leaders after Manchester United’s Tevez, and more

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We're into the final week of the January transfer window, and there are several signings to report on today. Nothing big, but the least attention-grabbing ones can have the biggest impact down the line (see Zaki, Amr). And since I'm in such a giving mood today, there's a big ol' batch of spec [...

David Beckham: Legend

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David Beckham, with his floppy hair and unassuming ways, was an instant success at Manchester United. A lifelong United fan, who had made the journey from the south with his dad to attend our games at Old Trafford, with an ability that stood out from the rest from a young age. Aged 11, Beckham won [.

FA Cup Deja Vu, UEFA Releases Its 2008 Team of the Year, Sepp Blatter Canoodles with Criminals, and more

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My grandmother, lovely woman as she is, loves to watch ‘Waiting to Exhale.' I've spent the last few weeks with her, and she watches it daily. Daily! Of all of the movies I could quote, that's not one that I ever wanted to know like the back of my hand. I don't mind [...]

Transfer Rumors (25 Jan 09): Manchester City after Valencia’s Villa and Werder Bremen’s Diego, Arsenal to bid for Manchester City’s Richards, L.A. Galaxy

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We're edging towards the final week of the January transfer window, and while you'll likely hear more about a few new signings tomorrow, Sundays seem to be set aside for speculation from the tabloids. England Manchester City are prepared to offer £70m plus either Jo or Elano for Valencia's David Villa in the summer.

FA Cup Holders Portsmouth Dumped Out at Home, Chelsea to Visit U.S. in July, Dimitar Berbatov Is Smarter Than You Think, and more

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Nothing like an FA Cup upset or two to add a little spice to your Saturday. Well, unless you're on the receiving end of said upset, at home nonetheless. Harry Redknapp has plenty to be concerned about with his current side, though he might have a little room to sympathize for his old [...]

UEFA Football Team of the Year 2008

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After 3.3 million votes cast by 256,000 online users (slightly less than last year), the uefa.com Team of the Year 2008 was revealed earlier this week. As can usually be expected with these things, this starting eleven will please many and disappoint others (especially those whose favorite player was not selected) but this being said, [.

Transfer Rumors (24 Jan 09): Tottenham offer Bent plus cash for Sunderland’s Jones, Arsenal to rival Fulham for Leeds wonderkid Delph, Real Madrid fail in bid

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With action on the pitch dominating the sports pages today, there's not a lot of transfer news and rumors to report on, but we still have a few tidbits for you to tide you over until tomorrow.. England Tottenham have offered Darren Bent plus £6m to Sunderland for striker Kenwyne Jones. (Daily Mail) Analysis: Is [.

Transfer Rumors (23 Jan 09): Aston Villa beat Liverpool to sign Wigan’s Heskey, Hull win race for Fulham’s Bullard, West Ham to sign Brescia’s Nsereko in

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A couple of noteworthy signings are coming through the newswire today, which makes me quite happy, and should make fans of certain clubs quite happy as well. Of course, if you don't care much for the actual signings as you do for the sizzling speculation, there's plenty of that for you as well. [.

Football giving less and less time to managers

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"Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger are the longest-serving managers, and that's no coincidence. When they had difficult times - and both did - they were given time to get it right and bed things down. Yet at other clubs, the manager leaves straight away, because he isn't given any control." "I've been here six years, and [.

Manchester United v. Tottenham Hotspur - F.A. Cup - 24 January 2009 - Live Blog

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Manchester United v. Tottenham Hotspur Stadium: Old Trafford, England Competition: F.A. Cup, Fourth Round Date: 24 January 2009 Kickoff: 17:15 GMT, 12:15 ET Manchester United will look to continue their quest for the Quadruple by taking on Tottenham Hotspur in the F.A. Cup in advance of their highly-anticipated Carling Cup Final.

Transfer Rumors (22 Jan 09): Manchester City in for Chelsea’s Drogba, Newcastle up Given price to 14m, Juventus set aside 30m for Liverpool’s Kuyt, and more

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It's starting to get down to crunch time for sides looking to add the necessary reinforcements to their squads with races for titles, European places, and survival in mind. Of course, every signing this month isn't just about 'the now,' so make sure you watch this space daily so that you can say you [.

City’s Kaka Hopes Go to Caca, A Lesson in Wikpedia Abuse Vol. 234378343, The Backup of All Backup Options, and more

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So I guess the nickname of the 'Worthless Cup' certainly doesn't fit the Carling Cup anymore. Both semifinals were entertaining and goal-filled, and each underdog made a valiant effort at shocking their top-flight opponent. Was Wednesday night the night that Tottenham finally woke up? Time will only tell with their league form, but [.

Transfer Rumors (21 Jan 09): Arshavin to buy out contract to get Arsenal move, Tottenham to seal double deal for Wigan’s Palacios and Chelsea’s Cudicini, Ma

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Finally, the transfer deals are starting to come through in bunches. Am I just getting my hopes up that I'll have a lot more of these to talk about over the rest of the window, or is this is a sign of things to come? England Could Andrei Arshavin buy out his contract to make his [...]

Dear football, we love each other so don’t make me divorce you

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Football, in recent years, has hardly been the sanest of sports but even by recent standards Manchester City's £100m bid for Kaka has seen the sport reach new levels of absurdity, even if the player himself eventually rejected the offer. But this isn't just about paying a man half a million a week to kick a [.

Transfer Rumors (20 Jan 09): Manchester City miss out on Kaka but sign Bellamy, Tottenham win race for Wigan’s Palacios, Chelsea to bid for Wigan star Valenci

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In case you hadn't heard or read already, Manchester City have failed in their bid to sign Kaka from AC Milan. However, the January transfer window has not come to a stop, and there's plenty to talk about in today's roundup of transfer news and rumors. Spain Though Kaka has turned down City (or [.

“Kakà resta al Milan.” Silvio Berlusconi Tells the World that Ricky Said No to City

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Ricardo Kakà said no to Manchester City. Incredibly, and it is important to note that AC Milan accepted the transfer request for a little less than 130 million euros according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, but the player ultimately had the final say. Kakà resta al Milan". Così il premier Silvio Berlusconi ha dichiarato intervenendo telefonicamente alla [.

January Sales: A (transfer) window to the future?

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For someone as pathetically devoted to football literature, rumour, analysis and comment as myself, I should be loving this time of year. The time when the merest whisper of a mega money "swoop" – wouldn't it be great to see a caped Mark Hughes/Harry Redknapp/Rafa Benitez actually swoop when signing his latest transfer target by [.

Manchester City Close On More New Signings, Martin Tyler Interview, Spoils Shared in the Merseyside Derby, and more

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If you thought that Manchester City bidding £108m for Kaka was silly money, then speculation linking them to a £15m move for Chelsea defender Alex should have you in stitches. Not to say that Alex isn't a good player, but is he worth £3m more than Wayne Bridge? City are closing in on two signings, [.

Transfer Rumors (19 Jan 09): Manchester City close on Bellamy and de Jong, Wigan’s Palacios turns down Tottenham, Liverpool eye Sevilla defender, and more

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Even without much to report on in the Kaka-Manchester City situation (besides more people weighing in with opinions, talks of meetings between the Kaka camp and AC Milan, and possible fan protests), there's still plenty to run over in transfer news and rumors. England Manchester City are close on deals for Craig Bellamy (£12-14m - [.

The Bottom of the Premier League is no place to be!

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The title race between Manchester United, Liverpool and Chelsea may be what everyone is talking about but the pressure at the top doesn't compare with what those at the bottom of the table are going through. I can't remember the Premier League ever being as close as it is this season in terms of the bottom [.

Why Glasgow Rangers and Scotland’s Kirk Broadfoot Deserves Respect

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Let's face it, Rangers fans couldn't agree on the colour of s***e these days (no, it is not green, not in this context anyway). I'm also wondering if some of us even know what s**t is? Kirk Broadfoot is not shit, Kirk Broadfoot is not brilliant but Kirk Broadfoot is an honest player. Not a first [..

Neil Lennon: Street Fighting Man

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We learnt a lot about the recent attack on Neil Lennon during the court case this week. It turns out that he wasn't jumped from behind after all. His attackers didn't call him a fenian as they sucker-punched him to the ground. We now know that the attack wasn't a sectarian hate crime, but rather [...

Rangers FC: If The Price Is Right

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There is a saying within comedy circles that "timing is everything". However for us forlorn Bears there seems to nothing comical about events at our club. The feeling is now that, despite Walter's rhetoric about only fringe players being for sale, any player will be moved in true Leslie Crowther fashion.

Best team on earth? Barca are on a different planet!

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It was a moment which summed up the night, hell, the season. Xavi Hernandez, surely the best midfield player on the planet at this moment in time, drifting effortlessly into space just outside the centre circle, and picking out the dynamic run in behind the demoralised Deportivo defence with the most measured of passes to [.

EPL Title Hopefuls Leave It Late, Abramovich Doesn’t Want to Sell Chelsea

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It seems that all of the Premier League title chasers who took the pitch on Saturday set their alarm clocks a little later, because they all left it late in matches against pesky opponents. But three points is three points, and especially when they come away from home, you can chalk it up as [...]

Transfer Rumors (18 Jan 09): Real Madrid to steal in for Kaka?, Arshavin to Arsenal for 15m+, Manchester United to sign Wigan’s Valencia in the summer, and mo

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Sunday is normally one of the slower days when it comes to transfer news and rumors, and while it's not coming thick and fast today, there's still plenty to talk about. Manchester City are expected to sign Hamburg SV's Nigel de Jong for £15m (Daily Mail) and Craig Bellamy for £14m, but Real Madrid may be [.

Transfer Rumors (17 Jan 09): Manchester City plot move for Chelsea’s Terry, Manchester United to hijack Tottenham’s move for Wigan’s Palacios, Real Madrid

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With the focus on football today, it's a relatively slow day in transfer news and rumors, but I've managed to scrounge up many of the day's best bits, including the latest on Kaka and Manchester City's other potential dealings. England Kaka is going to seal his £108m move to Manchester City next week.

The French Revolution: Will Lyon Finally Be Caught This Season?

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Ladies and Gentlemen, hold on to your hats! With Yoann Gourcuff at the helm, the Ligue 1 title race is shaping up to be the most interesting in years. Can Laurent Blanc's Bordeaux strip Olympique Lyonnais from its helm at the top of the French league or will that honor be bestowed on Eric Geret's Marseille?

Rafa’s Cracking Up…

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The title race looked like it was over by Christmas with Newcastle steaming away in the first half of the season. King Kevin Keegan was taking the Geordies to new heights and it seemed unimaginable that any club, even Manchester United, would claw pack the points they were lacking. However, as Newcastle started to drop points, [.

Liverpool 0-0 Everton - English Premier League - 19 January 2009 - Live Blog

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Liverpool v. Everton Stadium: Anfield Stadium, England Competition: English Premier League Date: 19 January 2009 Kickoff: 20:00 GMT, 15:00 ET There will be a lot more than local bragging rights on the line when Liverpool entertain cross-town rivals, Everton, in the latest installment of the Merseyside Derby!

The £243m Man, More on Masal, Calderon Steps Down at Real, and more

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Apologies for the Friday roundup being a little later than usual, but I spent much of the day trying to research my ancestors and see if I have any super wealthy relatives. No such luck in my search today, but if I do find one, I have some coattails to latch on to. [...]

Transfer Rumors (16 Jan 09): Manchester City bid for Hamburg’s De Jong, Tottenham close on Wigan’s Palacios, Barcelona line up double swoop for Manchester U

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We're already halfway through the January transfer window, and while there has been more speculation than signings thus far, that could be set to change in the next week. As you would expect, we have the latest on Manchester City's attempts to sign Kaka, but he's not the only player they're after, and there [.

If Kaka Joins Manchester City - Pros And Cons

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£100M, I repeat £100M for a player, and you want to offer him £500,000 / week - to quote Chris Rock: "You can do what the f*** you want to me for that much money!" and who wouldn't. Last time I checked this is football not baseball, where over inflated prices and contracts are the norm. [...]

The Moldovan Prodigy That Isn’t, ESPN After Premier League TV Rights, Howard Webb Is Wolves’ 12th Man, and more

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My sincerest apologies to Arsenal fans who were looking forward to a future that included the 'Molodvan Magician' Masal Bugduv, because you, like many others, have been had. Even the media's big boys can get taken along for a ride, which is karma's way of making them pay for trying to do the same [.

Transfer Rumors (15 Jan 09): Manchester City still in the hunt for Kaka, Manchester United and Tottenham battle for Wigan’s Palacios, Newcastle in for M’Bia

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As you could expect, the transfer gossip pages are being dominated by Manchester City's potential big, big, big money move for AC Milan star Kaka. But while that's the headline of headlines right now, there's plenty else to report on the transfers news and rumors front. England Manchester City are really serious about this [.

Sir David Murray: Now Is The Time To Say Goodbye

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The great questions of the day sometimes have no answer - why does the phone go the minute you get in a bath? Why do sports shops only hire neds? And why will someone in your house need a poo as soon as you bleach the throne? So maybe this is a question that will [...]

The curious case of Masal Bugduv

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On Monday, The Times published a list of 'Football's 50 rising stars'. Tucked away in the rundown was this: 30. Masal Bugduv (Olimpia Balti) Moldova's finest, the 16-year-old attacker has been strongly linked with a move to Arsenal, work permit permitting. And he's been linked with plenty of other top clubs as well.

Manchester City Step Up Kaka Chase, Newcastle Bidders Pull Out, A Little Prescription Inspiration, and more

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I must admit that I feel a little let down by the results of the third round of the FA Cup. Sure, there was Nottingham Forest's whipping of Manchester City, and Hartlepool's defeat of Stoke could be considered an upset as well, but overall, it was a letdown compared to last year's upset-laden third [.

Why Kaka Is So Crucial To Milan, And Why Manchester City Want Him

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Manchester City have reportedly made an audacious transfer bid for Kaká believed to be in the region of £100 million. It will be a tempting offer for AC Milan who signed the Brazilian in 2003 for US$8.5 million. Since joining the Italian giants, Kaká has missed only two of Milan's 31 Big Four clashes in Serie [.

Valencia : On The Brink

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The 2007/08 season will undoubtedly be remembered for the appointment of perhaps the worst manager in the history of Valencia. Along with the appointment of Dutch-man Ronald Koeman, club officials at the Mestalla did little to help a disastrous season thus as the club was going through the gutters on the field, off the field [.

Transfer Rumors (14 Jan 09): Manchester City in for trio, Tottenham try to tempt Inter over Adriano, Liverpool in for West Ham loan star, and more

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Trading one of the best clubs in the world? That's what the papers think one of the world's best could do in the near future, but I'm not sure if your sentiments will be the same in regards to the speculation in the spotlight in today's roundup of transfer news and rumors. England Yesterday, I [...

£70m? £120m? How much will Man City Buy Kaka for?

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According to BBC, Manchester City sent a team to Italy to discuss the possibility of signing one of their players, and mid-discussions tabled a bid for Kaka. It could be nothing more than mindless speculation (there goes 90% of football news reporting) but it does raise an interesting question: Given Manchester City's finances, Kaka's attraction as [.

Premier League - The Good, The Bad, and the Fuggly

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Another intriguing weekend of Premier League action and time to sort out who was good, who was bad, and who else besides Chelsea were simply FUGGLY: THE GOOD Manchester United Good doesn't even begin to describe their dismantling of Chelsea on Sunday. This was one of the complete all-around performances of the season, at the expense of [.

Ron’s ‘Secret’ Real Deal, Bendtner Babbles to Bolton, Cassano Tells All, and more

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Since today's the 13th, time is short. I've got lottery tickets to buy and a casino trip to make. But before I go do all that, I have to bring you today's roundup. Has anyone seen my lucky rabbit's foot...? Perhaps the luckiest man on earth right now, or at least until I [...]

Transfer Rumors (13 Jan 09): Ronaldo to Real Madrid (again), Manchester City after Kaka (again), Chelsea’s Anelka linked with Tottenham, and more

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It's always nice when the transfer news and rumors are spiced up by speculation involving top names, and today's transfer roundup includes a few rumors involving some of the beautiful game's big stars. Do these rumors have any foundation? Well, judge for yourself below. England The Cristiano Ronaldo-to-Real Madrid rumors have picked a nice [.

Ronaldo: We respect Liverpool and Chelsea but Manchester United will win the league

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Cristiano Ronaldo was named Fifa's world player of the year last night and the nippy winger voiced his confidence over his Manchester United side successfully defending their Premier League crown. The Portuguese playmaker has said: "In the Premier League we are in a good position and while we respect our opponents I believe we are going [.

Topsy Turvy - A date with Antonio Cassano

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I get nervous when footballers release the inevitable ghost-written autobiography. Will I be violently slapped in the face reading rubbish in the shape of My Defence by Ashley Cole, Robbie Fowler's: My Autobiography , Michael Owen's yawner, the extremely boring Beckham: Both Feet on the Ground... you get the idea.

The Conference makes their point

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Oxford United fans will be praying this season ends quickly. A season that started out with hopes of a playoff place has disintegrated as the club have suffered major financial problems, a sacked manager and now a five point deduction for fielding an ineligible player. But the U's aren't the only one to be hit by [.

The European Top 25: January 12, 2009

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A great weekend of action, with all-timers of games between Roma- Milan and Valencia- Villarreal. Let's see what this weekend's games did to my top 25. Previous ranking in parentheses. 1. FC Barcelona (1) Weekend result: won at Osasuna 3-2. GENEROUS BECAUSE: You could nitpick and say that a team of Barcelona's quality should not take that long [.

Rafa Rants On, Classless Chelsea Chant, Ronaldo Makes It a Clean Sweep, and more

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A new work week has started for many, and this one is starting the same way as the last one ended, with a certain manager from the northwest ranting on about a rival. If Rafa Benitez's intention is to take the focus off of what his Liverpool side are doing on the pitch, then [...]

Transfer Rumors (12 Jan 09): Chelsea to bid for Barcelona’s Iniesta, West Ham reject another Manchester bid for Bellamy, Barcelona to make summer move for Lyo

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Things are still quiet on the signing front as we start a new week, but there are a lot of rumors to report on about who could be on the move either this month or in the summer. England Chelsea are reportedly preparing a world-record bid for Barcelona star Andres Iniesta. (Daily Mail) Analysis: Trying [.

David Beckham: Professionalism Personified

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As I watched him both before, during, and after the game tonight in Rome, one has to marvel at the professionalism of this man. He hasn't played competitive football since November, yet he played virtually the entire game tonight at the Stadio Olimpico against AS Roma. The teams drew, 2 x 2. According to Panini Digital, [.

Manchester United denied penalty against Chelsea, Everton’s first goal was offside and West Ham denied penalty against Newcastle

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With Rafa Rage still ringing in their ears, Manchester United did their talking on the pitch with a superb victory against below-par Chelsea at Old Trafford. United's invention saw them unluckily disallowed a goal for an old corner kick routine and also deprived of a valid penalty award. With the score still locked at nil-nil in the [.

Football and technology: a marriage made in Hell or the inevitable truth?

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We should've known. This season has been no different to any of the seasons before it. Sooner or later, the age-old football technology debate becomes a central feature of pub discussions and television sensation. Every year the pro-technology side of the argument seems to be getting more and more frustrated as other walks of life embrace [.

Manchester United Thrash Chelsea, Corruption in Eastern Europe, SL’s WAG of the Month, and more

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In four months' time, are we going to look back on today and look it as a day that really defined the outcome of the Premier League title race? It's too early to tell, but given Manchester United's performance in their 3-0 dismantling of Chelsea, Rafa Benitez might be the one who's scared, not Sir [.

Transfer Rumors (11 Jan 09): Manchester City to pip Arsenal for Arshavin?, Arsenal interested in midfield trio, West Ham’s Bellamy wants Tottenham move, and m

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Sunday might be a rest day for many, but it's anything but a slow day in transfer news and rumors. We've got the latest on Andrei Arshavin, Craig Bellamy, Stewart Downing, and many others, well-known and not so much...yet at least. England Arsenal are set to increase their bid for Andrei Arshavin to £12m [.

Transfer Rumors (10 Jan 09): West Ham’s Bellamy set for Manchester City, Newcastle’s Owen agrees summer move to City, Bent wants to leave Tottenham, and mor

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There's a wealth of action on the pitch to turn your attention to today, but there's still plenty to catch up on in transfer news and rumors. England It appears that Manchester City have won the race for West Ham's Craig Bellamy, as reports say City's £10m-plus offer (which includes bonuses) will be enough to [.

5 Potential Heirs For The “Makalele” Role

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"So f***ing under-rated... he belongs up there - i reckon i would place him within the likes of Zidane, Raul, Nesta... totally re-defined that role in modern football" - those were the words of a fellow football fan whose allegiance to the former French international is unquestionable. As a child of the eighties and a [.

Match of the Weekend: Manchester United v Chelsea preview

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The two sides that were the major talking point of Europe throughout the 2007-08 club season take center stage this weekend and a lot is on the line. Can Chelsea shake this run of disappointing form and prove that they are legitimate title contenders? Or will this match mark the end of what's [...]

Liverpool’s Benitez Hits Back at Fergie, Bayern Munich’s Bus Trip Gone Awry in Dubai, FIFA’s 2009 Players to Watch, and more

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You know the Premier League title race is getting interesting when the mind games start, and when the mind games start, you know Sir Alex Ferguson is somewhere in them. You'd think that Sunday was Manchester United-Liverpool, not Manchester United-Chelsea, as Rafa Benitez today unleashed a rant for the ages in response to Sir [.

Transfer Rumors (9 Jan 09): Manchester City bid for Juventus striker Trezeguet, Chelsea interested in Benfica winger Di Maria, Real Madrid end pursuit of Wiganâ

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The week has come and gone, and while we haven't seen a great number of deals in the Premier League as of yet, that should be changing in the coming days, as you'll see in today's roundup. England With things currently at a stalemate between Blackburn and Manchester City over Roque Santa Cruz, City are [.

Cristiano Ronaldo Crashes His Ferrari, Liverpool Get Loan Reprieve, Defoe Gets Greedy, and more

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While many might be fretting about how Cristiano Ronaldo is doing after he crashed his Ferrari on the way to training this morning, I feel the need to give a little sympathy to the barrier that Ronaldo hit. I've been hit by a car before, and I can only imagine what it was like [...]

The Big One - Manchester United vs. Chelsea

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I'll be at the game on Sunday. There's no German football at the moment so I'm afraid this one will have to do right now. Seriously now, I really can't wait. Both sides have been nowhere near their best in recent months but at least United have been getting results whereas Chelsea find it impossible to [.

Rangers Football Club Must Unite Under Current Leadership

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Let me start by saying that I have supported Walter Smith and Sir David Murray through thick and thin but the potential sales of Kris Boyd and Barry Ferguson are definitely on the "thick" side, if looked on with any type of optimism. If the Ibrox club were going to get £10 million for the pair [...]

Transfer Rumors (8 Jan 09): Manchester City bid for Newcastle’s Given, Blackburn reject City’s Santa Cruz offer, Manchester United after Villareal shot-stop

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Today's transfer roundup isn't light on the latest news and rumors about who definitely will be headed to new clubs and who could be in the near (or distant) future. England Manchester City have opened the bidding for Newcastle keeper Shay Given, tabling an offer of £8m for the Irishman. (Daily Mail) Analysis: Newcastle might [.

Looking Ahead To The 2010 World Cup

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Starting on June 9th 2010, the world`s focus will fall on South Africa. The biggest football tournament in the world will be held in nine venues in ten cities across the country. Thirty two teams will play a total of sixty four games and is it likely to make the tournament the most watched TV [...]

Where are the best transfers happening?

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Ah January, January, January... It's a cold, wet and basically horrible month, but we do get treated to a bit of transfer action and I'm going to have a brief look at the early completed ones and rumours too see who's doing the best business. Probably best to start with the 'big boys'.  One thing that [.

How many goals can Liverpool put past Stoke?

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Having lost 2-0 to League One's Hartlepool in the Third Round of the FA Cup, Stoke City now face the daunting prospect of a visit from league-leaders Liverpool. Liverpool are the only member of the Premier League's leading six clubs not to visit Stoke City. The Potters have won two and lost three of their home [.

The Best Goals of 2008 - Part 1 (World Football)

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Let us then begin with the long view, seeking the perfect goal on the larger world stage... African Cup of Nations This first major tournament of 2008 unfortunately went largely unseen outside the continent where it took place; in Europe and especially England, indeed, it was widely (if quietly) regarded as something of a nuisance, because it [.

The Best Goals of 2008 - Part 2 (England and Scotland)

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Working here on the assumption that to most readers these will be the most familiar goals, I'll bow to your prior comprehension and suggest that if you've already seen and made your own judgments of these, you might want to skip over this section. Compilations There are many of these indeed.  Here are some I found useful [.

The Best Goals of 2008 - Part 3 (Europe)

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The best goals of 2008 from Europe - from Euro 2008 to Champions League, UEFA Cup and the top domestic leagues across mainland Europe. Euro 2008 A great tournament loaded with exceptional goals viewed and re-viewed by hundreds of millions of footie fans around the planet at least half of whom seem to have crafted their own personal [.

The Best Goals of 2008 Part 4 (Americas)

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From North America (MLS, Mexico) to South America (Argentina, Brazil and all the rest), the best goals of 2008: USA (MLS) MLS best goals 2008 (53 goals by Beckham, Blanco, Angel, Gallardo et al.) http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=8lJtIYJCS8s David Beckham (LA Galaxy) vs. Real Salt Lake (2) 5.03.08  (The man can still do what he's always done best.

In Pursuit of the Elusive Perfect Goal: 2008

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Welcome to what I hope you will experience as a four or five night midwinter-lull footie video festival, to warm your hearts and hearthsides as we trek together round the globe in search of the 2008 perfect goal... This feature purports to represent many of the best goals of 2008 by way of video evidence.

Manchester United v. Chelsea - English Premier League - 11 January 2009 - Live Blog

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Manchester United v. Chelsea Stadium: Old Trafford, England. Competition: English Premier League Date: 11 January 2009 Kickoff: 16:00 GMT, 11:00 ET Manchester United will take on Chelsea in a mouth-watering top-of-the-table clash that's shaping up to be a must-win for both squads. Soccerlens will be bringing you the action live!

While I can believe that it's not butter, it's not as easy for me to come to gri

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While I can believe that it's not butter, it's not as easy for me to come to grips with the fact that it's already Wednesday. But that means the weekend's only a couple of days away, and the weekend brings the return of Premier League action and one of the biggest games of the [...]

Transfer Rumors (7 Jan 09): The latest on Zenit’s Arshavin to Arsenal, Liverpool reject AC Milan’s Agger bid, Defoe buy-back a bargain for Tottenham, and mo

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Just as quickly as the week started, Wednesday's already here, and there's plenty of transfer news and rumors to report on, including the latest on Andrei Arshavin's potential move to Arsenal. England It seems to be only a matter of time before the Arsh joins the Arse. Zenit St. Petersburg are confident about the [.

Shola Makes a Mess, Maria Jose Lopez Brings Men to Blows, Little Rio the Thespian, and more

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I'll be the first to admit that my eyesight isn't the best in the world, so I know they've played a trick or three on me in my lifetime, and probably will play a few hundred more on me as I get older. It is safe to say that Shola Ameobi's eyes must have [...]

Dean Windass does his transfer dealings via the internet

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Ordinarily the news that Dean Windass may move to Hartlepool on loan would maybe just make a quite line in a News In Brief column. But it's not so much the transfer, as the way that it's come about that's of interest. Windass' move away from the KC Stadium seems to have come about solely through [...

The Ferguson Factor

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Many say that Barry Ferguson embodies everything about Rangers. Raised in Hamilton a Rangers fan and made his way up through the youth ranks to become Rangers captain at the age of just 22, he certainly had a lot on his young shoulders. However, 'Bazza' thrived on it, averaging just under a goal every other [.

Transfer Rumors (6 Jan 09): Essien to Fiorentina, Parker and (Yaya) Toure to City, Boro join McGeady race, and more

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We're only a week into the January transfer window, and the way that figures are being thrown about for some players, you'd think that we were in the summer window. I'm not picking on Manchester City by any means, because they're not the only club that looks likely to splash the cash this month, [.

Can Burnley beat Tottenham? Can Derby upset Manchester United’s second string?

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The theme in this season's Carling Cup semifinals is Premier League vs Championship, haves vs havenots (wrt Derby's owners, they're not going to play in the Premier League next season or have a lush new 60k seater in 3 years, are they?) and as the spinners love to spin it (admittedly so do we), David [.

Diving in Football

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The flailing of the arms. The contorting of the face into a grotesque mask of pain and suffering. The rolling around on the pitch in agony to the point where you're wondering if there's a priest on hand to administer last rites. The miraculous recovery as a player suddenly resumes running at [...]

Famous Handballs

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And, of course, no list about cheating in football would be complete without a section on handballs: The Hand of God - Argentina v. England, 1986 World Cup Quarterfinals, June 22, 1986. Circumstances: Early in the second half, with the score deadlocked at 0-0, Diego Maradona gave the ball away to England's Steve Hodge.

Match Fixing in Football

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Match fixing is perhaps the most serious out of all the ways to cheat in sports. There's a reason why baseball almost didn't recover from the Black Sox Scandal (and needed a tyrannical commissioner and a once-in-a-lifetime type of player in Babe Ruth to do so). There's a reason why the NBA went [..

Cheating in Football

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Cheaters never win. At least that's what our mommies and daddies have always led us to believe. In the world of football, however, we know that that's not always true. Sometimes, cheaters win, and win big. In the high-stakes world of professional football, where money, fame, and pride are coveted by [.

Doping in Football

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Based on the evidence it doesn't look like doping is as widespread in football as it is in baseball, cycling, or American football. However, that doesn't mean doping doesn't exist in football. If anything, you would think that the constant running and the brutal schedule would encourage drug usage.

Will Portsmouth, Middlesbrough and West Ham be the big losers in 2009?

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What a remarkable first half of a season we have just witnessed! It's been nothing short of incredible hasn't it? I feel as if I've been reawakened, I really do. After spending the last few years distinctly uninspired by the predictable fare served up by the have's and have-not's of the Premier League, this season's unusual [.

Nigel Clough: A man in demand

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History could be made tonight as Burton Albion go after a record-breaking 12th consecutive win in the Blue Square Premier in a game that may well underline their credentials as the team to beat in the league this year. But the match against fellow promotion hopefuls Torquay United isn't the only concern for Brewers fans.

Spurs Supporters Need to Let Go, Homecoming for McClaren, Why You Should Support Southend, and more

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I'm sitting here wondering where the weekend went so quickly, but as we embark on a new week, I feel hopeful of what the new week holds after reading today's horoscope, which stands to be a big one in my quest for self-improvement in 2009. Self-improvement often starts with letting things go, and that's [.

Transfer Rumors (5 Jan 09): Ireland to Arsenal, Defoe to seal Tottenham return, Juve after Owen, and more

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Usually I'm not one to look forward to Monday, but the start of a new week during transfer season usually means that there's plenty to talk about. Jermain Defoe has dominated the roundups recently, but now that he's finally being sold (you can guess where), we'll have to find a new flavor of the [.

Football Bargains: Players with EXPIRING CONTRACTS in 2009

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Fabio Cannavaro, Carlos Tevez, Michael Ballack, Michael Owen, Mark Van Bommel, Fred... These are but a few of the players whose contract is set to expire at the end of the season. And with the january transfer window practically at our doorstep, it is time to give these "old timers" a chance to prove they [.

Fight for Your Right (To Party)

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As I sober up from celebrating Celtic's fourth title win in-a-row I'll at last comment on my trip to Ibrox Park last weekend. Rangers v Celtic - Scott McDonald Goal Now last Saturday was a first. I've been to plenty of Celtic-Rangers games but this was my first Rangers-Celtic match. Never before I have felt the impulse [.

FA Cup fourth round draw

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The fourth-round ties will be played over the weekend of 23/24/25 January: Liverpool v Everton Manchester United v Tottenham Hull or Newcastle v Millwall or Crewe Sunderland v Blyth or Blackburn Hartlepool v West Ham Leyton Orient or Sheffield United v Charlton or Norwich Cardiff v Arsenal Portsmouth or Bristol City v Histon or Swansea Chelsea or Southend v Ipswich Cheltenham or Doncaster v Aston [.

Derby Delights, FA Cup Fourth Round Draw, Berba Does the Running Man, and more

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Today's daily roundup is an FA Cup and derby-centric one, so if you're allergic to the FA Cup or a mouthwatering derby, consult your physician before reading. The third round of the FA Cup might be a letdown for those who like to see major upsets (let's go Blyth Spartans!), but that means the [...]

Transfer Rumors (4 Jan 09): Juve in for Defoe, Arsenal in Bendtner-Upson swap, Downing to request Spurs transfer, and more

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It's a somewhat quiet day in transfer news and rumors, but there are still several tidbits to report on from multiple leagues. England Talks between Carlos Tevez and Manchester United over a permanent deal are reportedly at a stalemate due to Tevez's demands for £120k a week. Analysis: The deal will get done, simple [.

28 Million Reasons Why Rangers Lost The Old Firm

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There was a moment at Ibrox during the recent Old Firm which proved to be a small cameo of everything which is wrong at our club. Kyle Lafferty came on to replace Charlie Adam on the left side of midfield. In our most important game of the season, a centre forward came on to play [...]

Fantasy Football Games

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So you are looking to delve into the world of Fantasy Football? More fool you, I would say! But if you are looking for the most comprehensive list of all the many, many, many, fantasy football games out there, then you have come to the right place: Fantasy Premier League- http://fantasy.premierleague.

Boca Juniors x River Plate: A Childhood Memory from a Classic Football Derby

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This commentary originally appeared in The Amoias of the Americas. My cousin, Oscar R. Amoia, grew up in Buenos Aires near the Boca district. He has supported his beloved Club Atletico Boca Juniors for his entire life. He had a very distinct memory of one of the most famous derbies in the world. He was only [.

Laughing at with Stevie G, 2008 in Review, Big-Spending City Get Humbled, and more

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Whoever said that crime doesn't pay was quite wrong. It does pay, in loads of laughs for all. That is, unless you're a rigid Liverpool fan. In case you hadn't heard by now, Steven Gerrard was arrested earlier in the week for getting a little physical with a DJ for not playing his [...]

Transfer Rumors (3 Jan 09): City tie up Bridge deal, Fabiano and Zhirkov to Chelsea, Man United after Delph, and more

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Oh, the surprises that are in store! No, I'm not talking about the FA Cup third round, but the January transfer window. The window's started, and soon, a flurry of footballers will be flying in and out to new destinations. How many of them will end up at Manchester City? Well, at least [...]

Who’ll pull off a third round FA Cupset?

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The FA Cup gets serious this weekend as Premiership and Championship teams enter the competition. While the draw may not have any immediately obvious classic ties, there's more than enough matches that could lead to an early exit for some of the competition's bigger names. There are eight non-league teams in the third round plus a [.

Creativity, Scolari and The 3-5-2

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The esteemed Mr. Scolari has encouraged his players to "find their creative spark". A 2-nil win over a dismal West Brom and a somewhat unfortunate 2-2 draw with Fulham may have resulted from Big Phil's slight alteration in formation, but certainly it is time for LFS to be bold himself. It is time for Chelsea to [.

January 2009 Transfer Lists

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The January 2009 transfer window has opened, and our coverage of transfers is back in full swing. Along with providing daily coverage of transfer news and rumors, you can keep up with confirmed transfers from several leagues. English Premier League Transfers English Championship Transfers La Liga Transfers Serie A Transfers Bundesliga Transfers Ligue 1 Transfers Scottish Premier League Transfers Click [.

10 Football League Youngsters To Watch In 2009

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2009 is set to be a fine year indeed for football fans. And no less so for these ten players; ten players who all have the potential to excite audiences across the country. Big moves could well beckon for these young stars in 2009: Jamie Ward – Chesterfield The diminutive striker has notched 14 goals in 22 [.

FIFA World Player of the Year in 2008: Cristiano Ronaldo

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The FIFA World Player and FIFA Women's World Player awards were announced in Zurich last night. Cristiano Ronaldo added the 2008 FIFA World Player of the Year award to go with his Ballon D'Or and FIFPro awards, make a clean sweep of all awards he's been nominated for this year. Brazilian forward Marta, who will be [.