It's been a real roller coaster ride for many teams in the French league this season. With half
a season gone and a deserved winter break underway it's a good time to look back at what's happened
so far in one of Europe's most competitive league.
The title race
After Bordeaux broke the dominance of Lyon last season, the beaten team made big money signings
in the summer.
It's not even 1pm and I'm just about to head off to Old Trafford for tonight's game against
Wigan...ahh the joys of being a London red.
But before I set of for the marvellous 5 hour journey through the snowy midlands, I thought I'd
try and highlight a few pointers of how we can, and inevitably should, improve from the Hull game a
couple of days ago.
â€˜It's a mad league' said Wayne Rooney after his side's hard-fought 3-1 victory of Hull at the
KC stadium, â€˜There are a lot of teams dropping points and it's really close.'The EPL has garnered
an unpredictability in the 2009/10 season that seems to allude to the halcyon days of football when
money was not the sine que non of its existence.
A flattering and at times thoroughly undeserved 3-1 victory at the KC stadium saw us finally
capitalise on Chelsea's poor recent form as we closed the gap at the top to 2 points. However,
before we get too carried away with the score-line and effect of the result, let's bring a bit
Scrooge's miserly wisdom into the proceeding as we focus briefly, yet solely, on the â€˜flattering'
and â€˜undeserved' parts.
Christmas is my favourite time of the year and I hope everyone had a good one. Personally, all I
asked was for a seemingly impossible win against Aston Villa. The West Midland giants have smashed
Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool and are threatening to break into the top four.
The Arsenal apparently, the poorest out of these teams were expected to roll over and let the
speed-demons take over at The Emirates.
Every time this current batch of the Arsenal team goes on to lose or draw a game from a winning
position, pundits are quick to jump on the case citing a lack of maturity. How these players are
not experienced enough to hold on to the lead. How their tender years have allowed the game to slip
Well, as all who have read my blog so far this season â€“ from the avid readers (my mum) to the
likely majority who accidentally stumble upon it while looking for â€˜cockney rhyming slang' or
something â€“ I have not been best pleased at our football this season. In the words of pretty much
every one of my school teachers at this, the half way stage of the academic year, United also
â€˜could do better and SHOULD do better'.
As Barcelona held Kazma for a 1-1 draw in an exhibition match in Kuwait, Lionel Messi was in
Zurich collecting his FIFA World Player of the Year Award. The award is voted on by national
coaches and team captains. Messi was declared the winner this year by a large margin over last
year's winner Cristiano Ronaldo (with Manchester United).
First, it is undeniable that losing Pepe, whom I rate as one of the best center backs in the
world, is a big blow not only to Real Madrid but also to his national team. However,
losing him doesn't mean that Real must look in the market for a replacement because that's,
although a normal reaction, couldn't be beneficial to the club and especially its
At this season kicked-off a gale rushed down the M62 all the way to the gates of Old Trafford,
causing them to shudder in anticipation. No, it was not an August storm in Manchester but the sharp
intake of breath from all Red Devils' fans in the vicinity that caused the disturbance. What would
life without Ronaldo amount to and had Fergie taken to big a risk by keeping the Â£80m in his
back-pocket instead of splashing it on a couple of big name replacements?
Italian giants Juventus will probably be punished severely after their fans chants turned racist
during their home defeat at the hands of Catania. Not the best day for Juve as the day began with
the team bus being pelted with eggs and fireworks and ended with the third consecutive defeat;
Catania's first against Juve in 45 years.
Join celebrated football pundit, author, radio show host and DJ Andy Brassell every Monday
on the Soccerlens Show.
In Episode 9, Andy Brassell evaluates the influence of derbies on title winning ambitions of
Premier League teams and finds out that usually the top teams in London and the north have easily
negotiated their local derbies.
It is being widely reported in the English media that Liverpool are once again in the hunt for
Emile Heskey, the Aston Villa and England striker.
The former Red has been linked on and off with a return to Anfield over the past 12 months, and
The Mirror claims that Rafael Benitez is eager to bring him in this winter as an
alternative or partner to Fernando Torres.
LA Galaxy hotshot Landon Donovan has been granted a work permit to ply his trade in England, and
the 27-year-old will consequently join Everton on loan next month, confirmed Everton's official
The American had in the past expressed a desire to make a move to Goodison Park and play
alongside international team-mate Tim Howard.
Liverpool are the latest club to express interest in Bayern Munich outcast Luca Toni, according
to The Sun.
The player has made no secret of his desire to leave the Bavarians after not featuring regularly
for coach Louis van Gaal. The former Fiorentina striker hopes to work his way back into the Italy
national team mix before the World Cup in South Africa next year.
For many, the Christmas holiday is an occasion very happily celebrated by a variety of both
religious and non-religious traditions. Across the world, few young boys and girls can contain
their excitement with the approach of the coming festivities. But for Real Madrid, despite the
warmth of family and friends, another month or so of football before the break would have probably
Bayern Munich are closely monitoring theÂ movements of highly rated Maccabi Haifa youngster Eyal
Golasa, According to a report in German newspaper Bild.
The 18-year-old midfielder impressed scouts of the Bavarian powerhouse with a number of
outstanding performances during Haifa's Champions League campaign and Bayern are reportedly keen to
add Golasa to their squad in the summer of 2010.
Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson may be 68 years of age but he should carry on at the
club for as long as he wants, according to former United boss Tommy Docherty.
Docherty managed at Old Trafford in the 1970s, wining promotion to the top flight with them in
1975 and the FA Cup in 1977, and he feels that his fellow Scot should continue in the job as long
as his health allows.
Rudolph, you loveable reindeer, you. No list of Christmas characters would be complete without a
mention of Rudolph and it was slightly tricky picking who would represent him in this list.
None of Santa's other reindeer (all playing monopoly)Â take a liking to Rudolph because of his
rosy nose, but Santa (in his underwear of course)Â picks him anyways to lead the pack on Christmas
eve, and lead the pack he does.
Oh Santa, you jolly fat bastard. It's difficult to find anyone around Christmas time who hasn't
heard the story of Santa, and if you haven't then you're either stupid, retarded, or both. Of
course, he is the man who works year round making presents for all those good little kids out there
and somehow manages to travel round the world in 24 hours dropping said presents off to every
little kid in the world.
A Christmas Carol is quite possibly the best Christmas story ever. It teaches us that life isn't
all about being successful and wealthy and that we should try to be happy and make those around us
happy, and this is illustrated through Ebeneezer Scrooge.
Traumatized in his sleep one night, Scrooge is visited by ghosts of Christmas past, present and
future who show him what has, is, and will happen if he continues to be the way he is.
Real Madrid have turned their attentions to out-of-favour Chelsea defender Branislav Ivanovic in
their bid to cover the gap left by Pepe's season-ending knee injury, reports Marca.
The Serbian international is widely regarded in the Blancos organization as the ideal
replacement for Pepe: a tall, fast, and strong defender who can contribute to the attack and with a
knack for goal-scoring.
With Christmas season in full swing and a completely, utterly depressing past few weeks of
sports news for me, (Roy Halladay being traded to the Phillies, Liverpool football club as a whole,
rumours of Steven Gerrard being sold) I thought it would be nice to take a step back for a second
and insert some temporary amusement into my life.
To cap off his loan move to Everton, Landon Donovan won the U.S. Soccer Federation's Male
Athlete of the Year award. This is Dononvan's third win after back-to-back victories in 2003 and
2004, tying him with three-time winner Kasey Keller.
Previously in the year, the 28-year-old won the Honda Player of the Year award and the MLS Most
Valuable Player title.
Valencia are reportedly set to allow a number of players to leave the Mestalla during the winter
transfer window according to Super Deporte.
Los Che have already busied themselves in the transfer market by bringing in Argentine forward
Chori Dominguez on a free transfer from Rubin Kazan but it appears that the bulk of their winter
activity in the market may see players heading for the exit.
As news filters through that Stan Kroenke has purchased 25 more shares of Arsenal Football Club
edging him closer to the 30% threshold for the mandatory takeover bid, it has become apparent to
the fans that they might be looking at the future owner of the club.
Having Kroenke as the owner of the club will not be bad.
Manchester City fired Mark Hughes because the marquee signings didn't support him and
they have now hired a manager who was dismissed because he could not get his expensively assembled
squad at Inter to do his bidding.
Manchester City have defended their sacking of Mark Hughes by claiming that they saw no signs of
the Welshman being able to change things around to meet targets at the club.
I have always prided myself on being almost the antithesis of a red-tinted United supporter; one
who constantly replaces gloating ignorance fuelled by the success of the past with genuine realism
and understanding of the current game.
I will always maintain a respect for our past achievements and the clubs stature, but this will
never â€“ and should never â€“ interfere with my perspective or analysis at our current state.
There are winners and there are losers in football and it's time to weed out those who suffered
in 2009. But losing is not a simple concept. Some are major contributors to their own downfall and
deserve the brick bats that come their way, while others are victims of circumstances and probably
Christmas came early for Serie A, although not as Italy's football fraternity would have wanted.
The Italian FA were forced to postpone 10 matches up and down the country on Saturday as snow
created conditions that Il Corriere della Sera described as â€˜Siberian'.
While some just shrugged their shoulders in the quintessential Italian way, taking the chance to
stuff down another piece of panettone, Milan Vice-President Adriano Galliani cut a Scrooge-like
figure, huffing and puffing in the cold air and doing his level best to put the red in Rossonero
with his rosy baldhead.
Once again it's that time of year when we like to kick-back and ask "where did that one go?",
break out the Christmas spirit, and reflect on the football year that was. What were our highs and
lows? Who stole the headlines and, more importantly, who won the prizes and is most deserving of
our applause, however begrudging an exercise that may prove to be at times.
Talk of a looming crisis at Old Trafford is rife across the media today, following yesterday's
3-0 drubbing at the hands of Fulham. It's not often Manchester United concede three goals in a game
and it's even less often that they concede three goals without reply. So should we go along with
the media's perception of the situation at Old Trafford?
News emerged recentlyÂ suggesting that Ferguson will not spend money in January on another
striker; choosing instead to place his faith in the goalscoring of Berbatov to complement
The article was quick to pounce on Ferguson's rationale; highlighting ignorant yetÂ pivotalÂ
stats about Dimitar's goalscoring: â€˜18 goals in 58 games and just five in his past 28 matches for
As we prepare for Craven Cottage â€“ the scene of one of most disastrous and so nearly
detrimental performances last season â€“ I feel it appropriate to reflect on the season so far and
discuss how the side has changed from the side Fulham beat in March who consequently recovered
brilliantly to win the third title in a row.
Ryan Giggs has won more medals than any other player in British football history, has made over
800 appearances in a career spanning 18 years and he's STILL enjoying his football. More
importantly, he's hit the sort of consistent form (albeit playing once a week as he closes in on
his forties) that merits a contract extension.
This might not be your first read on this topic but I just felt like giving an input on this
very badly. There are rumors of Manchester City to go after Carlos Puyol and Eric Abidal of
Barcelona. I don't see this happening clearly. In my view, Abidal is pretty settled in Barca and
Barca are pretty settled with Abidal.
In much of the world, professional sports serve as little more than a form of entertainment a
world of glorified, physically gifted athletes who are paid astronomical wagesÂ (although, based
on the simple law of demand, rightfully so) to wow us with their trade. For most of us, the largely
frivolous sphere of football rarely (if ever) comes into contact with the austere sphere of
politics, the only exceptions being the presentation of an award to a national team or a charitable
Tune in for episode 33 of the world famous Soccerlens Podcast as Adrian Clarke and Iain Spragg
provide an entertaining Premier League half-term report in their very own â€˜All I Want For
Having taken an unauthorised glimpse at the bulging sack load of desperate wish lists sent to
Santa Claus from all 20 clubs, the cheeky pair assess how each of them have fared so far, and
predict where they expect them to finish in May.
According to The Mirror, Tottenham Hotspur are considering a January bid for Valencia
striker Nikola Zigic.
The Spanish club apparently wants to unload the 6â€²8â€³ Serbian international to ease their
financial woes, and club sporting director Fernando Gomez has reportedly already sounded out Spurs
about the possible move.
Javier Mascherano believes that Fernando Torres is the man to spur Liverpool to success, despite
the disappointing nature of their campaign so far.
Torres came off the bench at Anfield last night to mark his 100th appearance for the Reds with
the decisive goal in a 2-1 win over Wigan Athletic and Mascherano insists that the striker's
fitness is key to the rest of the season.
With the January football sales fast approaching, it's time for every manager to start compiling
their transfer window wish list. With plenty of young talent coming through, don't be surprised if
these names feature heavily in transfer tittle-tattle, as their respective managers hang huge price
tags around their necks to deter any would-be suitors.
Anfield last night payed tribute to one of the most iconic football managers of all time, as the
club marked the 50th Anniversary since the great Bill Shankly took charge of the club and made
history during an incredible and awe-inspiring 15 years at the helm of the Merseyside giants.
The achievements of the club during the 1960's are still fondly remembered on Merseyside â€“ and
probably always will be as the great man took them from the old second division â€“ now the
championship, and won three league titles, two FA cups as well as a Uefa cup, a period which
kick-started Liverpool's proud and inspiring history.
The governing body of football in Europe, UEFA has revealed their Euro 2010 logo recently. Euro
2012 will be co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine and some of the biggest teams and players will take
part in it to become the champions of Europe. The theme of the logo looks different; let me
The presentation video of revealing the Euro 2012 logo is more like the beginning of an animated
Warner Brothers' movie and less like a presentation video of revealing the Euro 2012 logo.
Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has branded Aston Villa as a "very dangerous" team that could
break the domination of the so-called 'big four' this season.
Villa trumped Sunderland 2-0 at the Stadium of Light on Tuesday, but not before toppling three
of the big boys, as they have registered victories against Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool
Join celebrated football pundit, author, radio show host and DJ Andy Brassell every Monday
on the Soccerlens Show.
Liverpool-Arsenal and Lyon-Bordeaux grabbed the headlines in league football in Europe and Andy
discusses both games on this episode of the Soccerlens show. Andy evaluates the actual impact of
Arsenal's win and by extension the gap that has developed between the big two and the rest of the
Who's playing in the African Cup of Nations this January from the English Premier League? Here's
the full list of Premier League players headed to Angola 2010:
Team by team list:
Arsenal: Alex Song, Emmanuel Eboue
Aston Villa: Moustapha Salifou
Birmingham City: None
Blackburn Rovers: None
Bolton Wanderers: Danny Shittu
Burnley: Andre Bikey
Chelsea: Michael Essien, Didier Drogba, Salomon Kalou, John Obi Mikel
Everton: Joseph Yobo, Ayegbeni Yakubu
Fulham: John Pantsil, Dickson Etuhu
Hull City: Kamel Ghilas, Daniel Cousin, Seyi Olofinjana
Manchester City: Kolo Toure, Emmanuel Adebayor, Kelvin Etuhu
Manchester United: None
Portsmouth: Kevin-Prince Boateng, Nadir Belhadj, Hassan Yebda, John Utaka, Nwankwo Kanu, Aruna
Stoke City: Mamady Sidibe
Sunderland: John Mensah
Tottenham: Sebastien Bassong, Benoit Assou-Ekotto
West Ham: None
Wigan: Richard Kingson
Wolves: George Elokobi
Three: Man City, Hull City
Two: Arsenal, Tottenham, Everton, Fulham
One: Aston Villa, Sunderland, Stoke, Bolton, Burnley, Wigan, Wolves
None: Man Utd, Liverpool, West Ham, Birmingham, Blackburn
"Premier League stars going to Angola 2010" was originally published at
Though there are a number of European managers who would much rather not be reminded, the 2010
African Cup of Nations is a little more than a month away.
Egypt followed up winning in 2006 as hosts by defeating Cameroon to win the final in Ghana in
2008, and they'll be looking to make history this time around in Angola and be the first country to
win three titles in a row.
"Arsenal don't have the experience or mental strength to lift the Premier League
That has been the damning verdict of critics about Arsenal since 04/05, as Chelsea and then
Manchester United stamped their authority on the league and turned it into a Big Two race. Every
year you'll see Chelsea and Manchester United being mentioned as the serious title contenders,
while the likes of Liverpool and Arsenal shine brightly for half a season before being pushed aside
with ease by the two leaders.
So every season around 45% of the 92 clubs replace their managers. Â Most find another role
within months, with clubs ignoring the fact that the reason why they are available is that they
failed in a previous role. Â
Some managers are heralded as the next best thing, only to be on the scrap heap within
Lyon's 1-0 defeat to Bordeaux last Sunday was already their 4th of the league season. To
comparison, the 7-times French champions lost 7 all season last year. Whilst there's still plenty
to go until the end of season 2009/2010, the title is slipping further and further away from Claude
Puel and his team.
A week is a ridiculously long time in football, no more so than in Italy. Last Sunday, the
Ferrara household woke to headlines like, "It's all true", and, "The championship
starts again", after Juventus fought hard to record a gutsy 2-1 win over Inter in the Derby
Silvio Berlusconi, the longest serving Italian Prime Minister and owner of AC Milan, was punched
in the face by a young man holding a small statue in his hand during a rally in Milan. The
73-year-old was left with a bloodied mouth and was swiftly taken to the San Raffaele hospital where
they decided to keep him overnight for observation.
Thank you all for coming out in the chilly weather to join the Soccerlens crew at the Soccerlens
Match Viewing Party. The Liverpool v Arsenal game ended 1-2 with yet another away win in the
Premier League this weekend.
Seems like this weekend was a good time to go play away from home in England as Birmingham City
was the only team to get the three points at their home against West Ham United.
I just got back from the Soccerlens match-viewing party in Lahore for the Liverpool-Arsenal
game, and I can't forget the look on the face of Steven Gerrard 3 minutes into extra time total
disgust at his team's situation and how far behind they had fallen after the heady days of last
The unexpected news that Arsene Wenger has declared he will try to sign a striker in January
must have floored most Arsenal fans. The Frenchman doesn't usually make any claims let alone buys
in the transfer window.
Even if Robin Van Persie wasn't out for the season, I still really felt Arsenal had to buy.
Bayern Munich lived up to their nickname FC Hollywood after they qualified for the last 16 of
this season's Champions League in truly dramatic fashion. They never seem to do the task in hand
the easy way. Drama always seems to surround the Germans (and sometimes it's not in their favour
Manchester United manager Alex Ferguson talks to BBC Sport Wales about 20 years about Ryan
Giggs, from chasing the player as a young teenager to managing him in his mid-thirties. They talk
about his importance to the squad as a senior player, his battle with injuries and even his
Newcastle United are a fascinating subject and thankfully for the club, out of the limelight as
they've confidently racked up seven straight wins in the Championship and top the table. And all of
this has happened without Kevin Keegan or Alan Shearer, and despite Mike Ashley.
In fact the only time these days that you do hear about Newcastle is when their most famous fan
quits blogging, or when the owner fails in another attempt to sell the club.
Free Â£20 Bet on Chelsea v Everton for Soccerlens readers 14/1 for a 4-1 Chelsea win offers
the best winnings. Bet now on Chelsea v Everton.
Chelsea v Everton
English Premier League
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Kickoff: 15:00 GMT
Chelsea have only take one point from their last three games but they'll be looking to turn
around that sequence and get back on a winning streak as they take a break from European football
for a couple of months.
Double trouble for Jens Lehmann the Stuttgart keeper he jumped behind advertising boards, went
down on one knee and wizzed while keeping a keen eye on the ensuing action on the pitch.
But that's not what's landed him in hot water the former Arsenal and Germany keeper also
criticised the board for bowing to pressure from fans in sacking ex-manager Markus Babbel something
the club's director of sport Horst Heldt rejected and countered by saying that:
"The timing was wrong and the remarks were completely wrong.
Even before a ball was kicked on the 15th August, fans of the 20 English clubs were anticipating
one of the most intriguing premier league seasons to date.
And here we are, almost half way through the 2009/2010 season and it hasn't failed to deliver by
providing us with as many talking points as we might be forgiven for expecting through the course
of a whole season.
FIFA's recent discussions regarding IrelandÂ led me to think about the possibilities of an extra
side at the tournament, and what would perhaps be more exciting than including a side who claimed
they've been cheated out of the tournament would be to enter an entirely new team.
This team would be made up of international players whose respective countries did not manage to
qualify for the finals.
Free Â£20 Bet on Olympiacos v Arsenal for Soccerlens readers 11/4 for an Arsenal win,
12/1 for Theo Walcott to score 1st goal. Bet now on Olympiacos v Arsenal.
Guaranteed top spot in the group and with a squad crippled by injuries, Arsenal have flown out a
very inexperienced side to Athens for their final group game with a number of their starting lineup
rested for the big weekend game against Liverpool.
Michael Owen once again demonstrated class is permanent in his clinical performance away at
Wolfsburg. Three well taken goals will have no doubt helped stake his claim for a regular place in
the United line-up and will have done his confidence a world of good.
Seeing Owen in that form was like rolling the years back and made me wonder if I'd rather see
Defoe or Owen come off the bench in an attempt to save England in the last 20 minutes of a WC
Watch Manchester United's inexperienced side take on Wolfsburg LIVE on Soccerlens
Following their crushing defeat of West ham on Saturday, Manchester United's defensive injury
crisis turned from troublesome into farcical. Already decimated by injuries, United lost club
captain Gary Neville and utility defender Wes Brown to knocks.
Liverpool v Fiorentina
Uefa Champions League
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Kickoff: 20:45 CET
Liverpool are in the Europa League. Liverpool. Are. In. The. Europa. League. Liver...
Repetition doesn't make it any easier to accept, although thankfully for Rafael Benitez he has a
very professional squad of players and the teams around him in the domestic league (Tottenham,
Manchester City and Aston Villa) are doing their best to help Liverpool qualify for the Champions
League for next season.
Juventus v Bayern Munich
Uefa Champions League
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Kickoff: 20:45 CET
Juventus go into the final Champions League group A game knowing that a single point will see
them through to the next round. Bayern Munich need a win, and have dropped points against Juventus
at home and with a team struggling with injuries and unhappy players, it seems likely that the
German giants will be lining up in the Europa League in the second half of this season's European
VFL Wolfsburg v Manchester United
Uefa Champions League
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Kickoff: 20:45 CET
Manchester United have already qualified for the second round, and need just a point to
guarantee top spot in the group. A point is the least of their worries though, as the team's
defences have been savagely cut down by injuries and only Patrice Evra remains fit as United first
choice AND second choice back four have stayed back in Manchester.
Join celebrated football pundit, author, radio show host and DJ Andy Brassell every Monday
on the Soccerlens Show.
With the World Cup 2010 draw happening on Friday, there was only one thing we could possibly
cover in today's show. With due respect to the Christian Fuchs-induced Babbel dismissal in Germany,
the handbags and fireworks in Italy, red cards in Spain and two missed penalties in England, today
we look solely at the World Cup.
It has developed into some kind of a tradition that every year, when the African Cup of Nations
takes place in January, Chelsea come out moaning about the effect it will have on their team with a
number of players leaving their club duty to represent their countries in it's continent's most
Manchester United take only 19 players to Wolfsburg with the team not only missing eight
first-team defenders but Ferguson also choosing to leave behind their key attacking players with
one eye on a grueling upcoming league schedule.
Of the defenders, all of Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Wes Brown, Gary Neville, Rafael, Fabio,
John O'Shea and Jonny Evans are out with various injuries, although at least two of them should be
back for the weekend action.
Behind the likes of Tottenham, Manchester City and Aston Villa in the league and as things stand
not even qualifying for the Europa League through their league position, Liverpool are in a bit of
All the goals from the West Ham-Manchester United game from Upton Park on Saturday 5 December
2009. Manchester United scored 4 goals and kept a clean sheet with a patched up defence as they cut
Chelsea's lead at the top to two points.
See the goals below, and read the report here.
West Ham 0-1 Manchester United (Scholes)
West Ham 0-2 Manchester United (Gibson)
West Ham 0-3 Manchester United (Valencia)
West Ham 0-4 Manchester United (Rooney)
"West Ham 0-4 Manchester United all the goals" was originally published at
A day in which everything went according to plan for the Manchester clubs, even if it didn't,
really. United beat West Ham 4-0 at Upton Park despite their severe defensive injury crisis and
City survived an early own goal and a second half penalty to turn over Chelsea at Eastlands.
Manchester United the walking wounded
For Manchester United, the big story out of today's 4-0 win away at Upton Park wasn't the
efficiency of the win or the hope amongst United faithful that Gibson is the real deal, but the
fact that United now have their whole defence injured first choice or second choice.
As everybody knows, the most famous Count of them all had no reflection and could only be seen
by others, never by himself. A curious inversion of this phenomenon appears to have recently
afflicted FC Moscow coach Miodrag Bozovic. Long ago christened 'the Count' by an unknown Serbian
newspaper â€“ for reasons which will soon become apparent â€“ the 41â€“year old Montenegrin,
despite yet another remarkable season, seems to have been rendered invisible to the world.
Another week, another manager under-fire. This week it is Arsene Wenger's turn to assume what
has recently become known as "The Rafa Benitez" position in front of the media's firing squad.
Back-to-back league defeats, coupled with a League Cup exit, have led to some uneducated souls
calling for the Frenchman's head.
As Brian Glanville opined in his book on England managers, it is perhaps the toughest job in
football. As the founders of the modern day association rules football, the English national team
has a prestige and it is the manager's job to protect this; to ensure that England remains at the
top (or at least near to it) of the world game.
Check out Adrian Clarke & Iain Spragg as they enjoy a lively verbal kick-about on episode 31 of
the world famous Soccerlens podcast.
The duo debate FIFA's decision not to introduce rule changes for next summer's World Cup Finals,
a problematic week for Arsene Wenger and they also ask themselves if Lionel Messi deserved to be
the runaway European Footballer of the Year.
The trouble with making jokes about potential disasters is that when they come true, you're torn
between the urge to shout 'I told you so' and, depending on your social stereotype, the
urge to cry / pray / drink / blow yourself up.
At Manchester United, by no means are we near any financial disasters, but that will be the talk
of the town after United backed out of the Adem Ljajic deal.
Didier Drogba and Joe Cole (Chelsea), Andrei Arshavin and Denilson (Arsenal), Marco Materazzi
(Inter Milan), Lucas Neill (Everton) and Clint Dempsey and Seol Ki-Hyeon (Fulham) joined the U2
star Bono in London to announce the partnership between Nike and RED to fight against HIV/AIDS in
This article is not a slight on the perceived fickle nature of today's players. Everton fans
should not take this as an intentional attempt to drag up memories of Joleon Lescott's departure. I
do not seek to address where defenders will be in terms of transfers next year, but where on the
Xerez v Barcelona
Wednesday 02 December 2009
Kickoff: 9:00 PM BST
Top of the table and loving it Barcelona travel to Xerez tonight knowing that a) they're ahead
of Real Madrid in the league by two points and b) a win at lowly Xerez will give them a nice
cushion against Los Blancos when the Catalan club head out to play in the World Club
The Manchester United Tottenham Carling Cup quarter final ended 2-0 and was mostly an
unremarkable game, save two well-taken goals from Darron, both shots from outside the box and both
coming in the first half.
Given the number of games he's played, this is a great time for Gibson to push on and stake a
claim for a position in the regular starting lineup for United and in all likelihood he'll get more
chances this season in both cups and maybe in the glut of December games that are some of the
easiest set of fixtures for United in recent memory.
The game on Sunday with Arsenal and Chelsea was not as close as most of us thought.
It was an easy game for Chelsea, brushing aside the young boys fewer than five foot at the
Emirates with not a bead of sweat broken. Before the game, Arsene Wenger had promised the game
would showcase to the world how his team were genuine title contenders.
Barcelona and Argentina center back Gabriel Milito will finally join the rest of the Barca squad
after being sidelined for an astonishing 580 days with an injury. Back in the 2007/2008 Champions
League semi-final against Manchester United, Milito suffered a cruciate ligament injury to his
Every league in the world has its derby matches, those entrenched local, political or social
rivalries which give added fervour to the average game. Some of these derbies, however, spill over
into frequent violence, hatred and all-out warfare between the fans of the respective clubs.
In this article I list ten of the most vociferous and aggressive derbies in world football and
look into the violence which has made them so notorious the world over.
Champions League View: Liverpool are dumped to the Europa League, and one of Bayern
Munich and Juventus will join them tonight.
It's official the big sides aren't having it all their way this season in Europe already we've
seen Arsenal struggle at home, Liverpool struggle home and away, United drop points, Barcelona lose
at home, Inter making a mockery out of their status as Serie A champions and German giants Bayern
Munich with one foot already in the Europa League.
Do you love sport? Are you passionate about photography? Would you like to go to the 2010 FIFA
World Cup, sponsored by Sony?
As sports fans get ready for the biggest football event of next year, the Sony World
Photography Awards â€“ one of the largest global photographic competitions â€“ is looking
to uncover the best amateur football photographs in the world for the 2010 Campaign Award.