Those of you who frequent the Soccerlens forums are no doubt familiar with Ivor Irwin, a.k.a
bobotonto on the forums. Ivor has contributed to SL, and he also has his own blog, where you can
find an excellent interview with English Brazilian football expert Jon Cotterill.
What else should you be checking out from around the football blogosphere?
The following article is re-posted with permission from the Manchester United forum,
Republik of Mancunia:
The following is an analysis of all premiership premiership and champions league champions
league games played by Manchester United and Liverpool this season. Liverpool are sure that United
are top the table by manipulating the referees.
Hope Solo is the goalkeeper for the US national team, a 2008 Beijing Olympic
Gold medalist, and now the undaunted keeper for St. Louis Athletica, a WPS team currently at the
bottom of the table.
Noted for her outspoken comments about her coach's decisions during the World Cup, she is just
as genuine and forthright now speaking about her decision to become a goalkeeper, why England
should have a women's league, and why MLS should increase their international roster slots.
April showers apparently brings May flowers, and the end of this month brings the very, very
real possibility of a rematch in the UEFA Champions League final. How did we get to that point?
Catch up on what you missed from the first legs of the CL semis and more below.
UEFA Champions League Semifinal First Leg: Manchester United 1-0 Arsenal
Thanks to an early goal from John O'Shea and a clean sheet by Edwin Van der Sar, Manchester
United are in a good position to give themselves a chance to repeat as European champions.
Guus Hiddink probably boarded his teams' private jet back to London feeling pretty satisfied
with his players and with himself. The last team to walk away from the Camp Nou with a 0-0 result
was Manchester United, under the same Champions League semi-final circumstances, just over a year
Sitting at the opposite end of the pitch, there was no way I could see Michael Carrick deserving
that penalty. The direction of the ball changed, something all media commentaries have picked up
on, meaning Gomes had made a save. But at 2-0 down and our title challenge hanging in the balance
I'd happily take it.
The rotation of players by Guus Hiddink for Chelsea's win against West Ham this weekend was
unsurprising now that Chelsea now have a minimal chance of winning the league and a crunch game
against Barcelona in midweek.
Fortunately for Chelsea fans the players deployed were of sufficient calibre to defeat West Ham
and included in the starting XI were a strong backbone of regular starters accompanied by one or
two squad players.
There are several ways to win a Championship. You can swashbuckle your way to the top playing
good football and conquering all that come before you, nailing the title several weeks before the
end of the season. You can push your head above the parapet at just the right time in a tight
St James' Park reached to the bottom of its lungs for one last time, producing a blood-curdling
final battle cry to its beleaguered heroes. On the sideline Alan Shearer looked on more in blind
hope than confidence, whilst Iain Dowie simply looked ridiculous with his "Phil Brown" headset.
Danny Guthrie trotted over to the left touchline and spotted the ball up, in the middle a scrum of
players jostled for position.
I've been feeling this way for a while now, but haven't had the courage to come out and say it.
I know it's only three little words, but what if it's not reciprocated? What if I'm laughed at? The
words, of course, are those that goes through my mind increasingly each time I see Chelsea play, so
here they go.
Man, it was one busy weekend, wasn't it? While you catch a glimpse of the greatest accidental
goal you'll ever see, catch up on what else you missed over the weekend and what to look forward to
UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup Semifinal Previews
We're down to the last four in Europe's club cup competitions, and Soccerlens is where it's at
for UEFA Champions League and UEFA Cup previews and more.
There's a good chance you'll be watching the 08-09 Champions League final live on TV, or
watching it live online. But what if you could be sitting in the Stadio Olimpico, in Rome, watching
the game live alongside 72,000 football fans?
It's a once in a lifetime experience, a dream come true for the common football fan.
The highlight of the Right Result weekend, so to speak, was referee Howard Webb's decision that
is perceived to have changed the flow of the Manchester United versus Tottenham Hotspur game and,
with it, the course of the destiny of the Premier League title.
With Spurs 2-0 up after nearly an hour at Old Trafford, United's title aspirations were back in
I was delighted to hear Giggsy was named Player of the Year last night and although I think
there was definitely some sentiment going on with the vote, it was fully deserved. He's had to wait
a long time to pick up the PFA honour but he's finally got his reward.
Some people have been pointing out he's only started 12 league games for United this season but
you've got to look at the impact he's had in those matches.
Barcelona v. Chelsea
UEFA Champions League, Semifinals
First Leg: Tuesday, April 28, 2009 - Estadio Camp Nou, Spain
Second Leg: Wednesday, May 6, 2009 - Stamford Bridge, England
Chelsea are playing their best football of the season. They're coming off one of the greatest
weeks ever as they vanquished fellow Premiership rival, Liverpool, in the Quarterfinals, and
defeated in-form Arsenal to advance to the F.
This year's Champions League semifinals have a familiar look to them - after all, three of these
teams also featured in the English FA Cup semifinals earlier this month and two of these teams are
appearing in the Champions League semifinals for the third consecutive time, Arsenal for the second
time and Barcelona for the third time in four years.
The carnival atmosphere at MLS games is accepted by fans, but risks overwhelming the game. The
quality of players varies greatly in MLS, but fans are always provided with a good display of
talent and competition on the pitch. Although unnecessary, it's become standard for stadiums to
employ a wide range of distractions from the game.
Bayern Munich's season has been a difficult one (and not just in the league) and after losing at
home to Schalke hastened the inevitable. JÃ¼rgen Klinsmann has been sacked after a frank meeting
with club chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge, general manager Uli Hoeness and director Karl Hopfner
Thank you, Los Che. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You put in an absolutely brilliant
display against Barca on Saturday night. You deserved all three points but thanks to Monsieur Henry
you only got one. You've tightened your hold on a Champions League spot and more importantly,
you've helped re-ignite the title race.
Manchester United's Ryan Giggs has won the Professional Footballers' Association Player of the
Year award for the first time in his career, while Ashley Young takes the PFA Young Player of the
As we've discussed earlier and it has been discussed on various forums (culminating in
that email exchange between Gordon Taylor and a fan), the short list and eventual winners
are based on voting done by the players themselves during February and March.
Manchester United went into half time 2 goals down to Tottenham but a controversial penalty gave
them a chance early in the second half.
From that point on, there was no looking back, a 5 minute spell that saw 3 goals meant that not
only had United taken the 3 valuable points on offer today but had also built up much needed
momentum going into the Champions League semifinal clash with Arsenal.
Tonight, Barcelona travels to Valencia to play a tough away game against a team who has won
their last 5 games including a 3-1 victory against Sevilla. Valencia are currently in 4th place and
trail Sevilla by only two points. A win tomorrow could put Valencia into 3rd at least until Sevilla
plays Real Madrid on Sunday.
Newcastle v Portsmouth is possibly the biggest match on this weekend's schedule. Not being
played until Monday evening both teams will know the layout of the table before taking to the field
at St James's Park.
Interim manager, Alan Shearer, has already expressed his desire to see the team win all of their
remaining home games and regardless of the weekend's results his mission remains the same.
In case you haven't subscribed to the Soccerlens Podcast, I suggest you do so. And if you
haven't yet, you'll want to after this week's episode, which you can catch below, along with what
else you may have missed from today from here on SL and elsewhere around the football
Soccerlens Podcast: The Bundesliga, Klinsmann, and Sex at the Bernabeu
If you love the Bundesliga, the eighth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast is a must-listen.
Real Madrid may possess the players, the desire and the mathematical possibility to win this
season's Primera Liga title, but, with six rounds remaining, that's not enough. To catch Barcelona,
they're going to need a little help from those around them.
West Ham play host to Chelsea this weekend in a game that sees the Hammers' searching for their
first victory over their London rivals since 2003. The two teams go into the game with different
agendas, one looking to solidify their bid for European football next season the other looking to
make ground on second placed Liverpool.
Man City will be looking to claim only their second away win of the season when they make the
trip to Everton this weekend. Despite spending big, and an impressive display in the UEFA Cup, City
have failed to trouble teams away from the City of Manchester stadium.
Everton will be in a buoyant mood having secured passage to the FA Cup final last weekend and
claiming a point away to Chelsea in midweek.
Liverpool travel to Hull on Saturday knowing that they must win all of their remaining games if
they are going to stand a chance of catching league leaders Manchester United. England's most
successful team will be eager to prevent their rivals from equalling their league title record,
however with United three points clear with a game in hand the chances of that happening are not
Why do we love English football quite so much? We have a Premier League that is consistently
contested by just four teams. We have the swanky stadiums but a fundamental lack of fans to fill
them. In addition we have clubs being operated by billionaire owners who have little interest in
football bar the money that can be squeezed out of it.
Wow, well that was an interesting weekend of football! Aside from the FA Cup snoozer...I mean
shocker in the FA Cup between Manchester United and Everton, things were fairly quiet.
The six Premier League matches prior to Manchester City/West Brom yielded a whopping FIVE goals
total. For a league that prides itself in being the best in the world, Saturday and Sunday looked
more like a battle between teams in Ligue 1 than a typical Premier League weekend.
Since Manchester United's memorable 1998-99 season, no club has since laid claim to the proper
"treble" in subsequent outings ("treble" being defined as the rightful champions of the UEFA
Champions' League, domestic league title and domestic cup competition).
While Liverpool fans had reason to celebrate three titles two seasons later, references to this
accomplishment as a "treble" is noted with a disclaimer that said treble is really a "cup" treble
(the UEFA Cup, League Cup and FA Cup).
Yes, as most of you would have heard yesterday, Roy Keane is back in football management, taking
over at Ipswich and given the remit of getting Ipswich promoted to the Premier League in the
duration of his 2-year contract (in essence, getting promoted next season).
And if you thought the expectations were high last time around, this time he's got his own
reputation to live up to - a memorable promotion campaign with Sunderland and Premier League
survival in his first year in the Premier League.
In case you didn't know (and you should, because I mentioned it), my birthday was this month,
and if you are also celebrate your birthday this month, make sure you have a lot of fun with close
friends, but don't injure yourself. Of course, it's the thought that counts (so they say), so if
someone gives you a hideous lovingly handcrafted pair of socks, appreciate it as much as you would
if they bought you, say, a 15k phone.
On Sunday, 26 April, VfL Wolfsburg travel to Energie Cottbus, targeting their 11th successive
Bundesliga victory. It would be the longest winning streak ever in the Bundesliga within a single
Wolfsburg would break Borussia MÃ¶nchengladbach's record for most wins in a row within one season,
set in 1986/1987.
I'm stunned. Truly stunned. No, I'm not talking about Higuain's goal. Or how Pepe could mistake
Francisco Casquero for the ball...a couple of times. I'm not even talking about Arjen Robben's
uncanny ability to find new leg muscles to tear. I'm talking about how hard it is for Real Madrid
to beat Getafe.
As Thierry Henry slid the ball into the back of the net the Nou Camp erupted and one Czech man
sat somewhere near south London watched on in horror. He, like the thousands of others watching,
had witnessed Josep Guardiola's side destroy another La Liga rival.
The 4-nil drubbing of Sevilla now takes their season total goals to a staggering 92 surpassing
the record previously held by Johan Curyff's dream team.
Another Premier League season is edging to its climax and yet again its United that sit atop the
table, having pulled three points clear at the league's summit. With a game in hand it seems almost
unimaginable that they would lose it now.
So with the title all but decided, attention can now turn to the scrap for second place between
Liverpool, Chelsea and to a lesser extent Arsenal.
Juventus need to strengthen their back line, that is apparent, but is Fabio Cannavaro the right
man to lead the Bianconeri in the next decade? His protracted return to the Old Lady seems like a
step in the wrong direction for Italy's most successful team.
It has come to light this week that Fabio Cannavaro may be on the verge of a sensational return
So, Andrei Arshavin is pretty good, apparently. In case you missed his performance for the ages
and anything else today and yesterday (like this demonstration by Real Madrid's Pepe on how to get
your money's worth for conceding a penalty and getting sent off), catch up here.
Another Eight-Goal Thriller for Liverpool
In case you hadn't seen already, Liverpool and Arsenal played out a 4-4 draw at Anfield last
night, with Andrei Arshavin bagging all four of Arsenal's goals.
If you take a moment to look at some of the bigger football club forums currently on the
internet today you'll notice one growing trend that has become somewhat of a nuisance in recent
years. That nuisance is of course known to many as the "dreaded diatribe."
These 800-1,500 word (and sometimes longer) posts regarding everything from club finances to
player debates have turned many football forums into places where fans come to write their own
Football really is a fickle mistress isn't it? Just when you think that the game has thrown up
just about every conceivable high, every unimaginable low, and plenty in-between, it goes and pulls
a fresh rabbit from the hat and leaves you wondering: a) why the hell you bother with the thing,
and b) when the next game is!
After Real Madrid's dramatic 3-2 win yesterday against Getafe, Barca needs a win tonight against
Sevilla in order to keep the distance at 6 points.
This weekend, Barca won an easy 1-0 victory at Getafe, while Sevilla lost a 3-1 at Valencia in
an amazing game. The game also resulted in a couple of suspensions for Sevilla, as left back
Adriano got a straight red card and goalkeeper Palop received his 5th yellow card of the
As of 21:53 last night the title really did become Man United's to lose. Liverpool failed to
defeat Arsenal at home; despite scoring four times, they were penned back by four from the
impressive Andrei Arshavin.
Sir Alex Ferguson must have been rubbing his hands with glee as Liverpool's normally rock solid
defence fell apart.
Over the years racist chanting and banners have dogged the European stage. Clubs and players
alike have all demanded action, have all appealed for more to be done however their cries nearly
always fall on deaf ears. UEFA act yet their action is far too little, far too late.
This week President Michael Platini has announced that a new scheme will soon be implemented to
allow officials to stop play for 10 minutes and if problems persist abandon them altogether.
With Liverpool drawing against Arsenal last night Chelsea will have been given renewed hope that
they can push on and claim at least, the runners up spot this season.
Although Manchester United will still have a game in hand over the teams around them after
tonight's matches, the Londoners' will be hopeful that they can force their way back into
contention for the two top spots.
They may have been knocked out of the UEFA Cup, failed to make the last two in the FA or League
Cups and not be in the title race anymore but Aston Villa could very well end the season with
They are taking part in the fourth outing of the Peace Cup which began back in 2003.
Zenit St. Petersburg was the straw that broke the Camel's back. Rubin Kazan let the cat out the
bag. In 2007, after years of domination by Moscow teams - Spartak, Lokomotiv and CSKA - Dick
"the little General" Advocaat coached the Sine-Byelo-Goluboy (Blue-White-Sky-Blues) to its
first ever Russian Premier league title, followed suit by winning the UEFA Cup and the rather
innocuous UEFA Super Cup.
It is famously difficult for fans of some of the biggest clubs in Europe to get tickets, short
of camping outside the ticket office for days or weeks in advance the only sure fire way is to get
your paws on one of those much sought after season tickets. The prices of which are very high, at
Man Utd for an adult the average cost is Â£666 at Liverpool, Â£654 and Chelsea a whopping
Like naughty schoolboys sent to the headmaster's office Sir Alex and Rafa have been given
detention. The head of the League Manager's Association, Richard Bevan, has told the warring bosses
that enough is enough and they both need to quit their bickering.
In the last few months the United and Liverpool managers have been firing volleys at each other
ranging from Ferguson's bullying of officials to Benitze's body language.
They have won six of their last seven, scored 11 goals and have only lost once yet Chelsea still
sit in third place. This amazing run started with the arrival of Guus Hiddink and has signalled a
huge change in the attitude, atmosphere and most importantly results for the London club who go
into the last few weeks of the season with high expectations.
Is the MLS the most balanced football league in the world? Why does the Galaxy insist on
building teams around a single player? Will Seattle recover their grove? All this and more in our
MLS weekly review.
1.) Parity like no other league
I cannot think of one league in the world that has the level of parity of MLS.
Holland coach Marco Van Basten recently criticised Rafael Benitez's handling of Ryan Babel,
noting that the player had taken a step backward since his arrival at Anfield. A harsh assessment?
Not if you look at the facts; and having examined the facts, Benitez's truly appalling treatment of
the player is depressingly clear.
We all know the story of the Trojan Horse Â - after a fruitless 10 yr siege of Troy, the Greeks
built a figure in shape of a horse in which a select group of soldiers hid. The Greek army then
pretended to sail away which tricked the Trojans who pulled the horse into their city in a show of
As AFC Wimbledon fans took in a post-match pint on Saturday, it's unlikely the hands raising the
pint glass had many fingernails left. But Dons fans can now relax somewhat. Bar their promotion
rivals Hampton and Richmond Borough going goal crazy on the final day of the season, the fan-owned
club is set for a second successive promotion, taking them just one step away from league
It was quite the busy weekend in the football world, wasn't it? And before I catch you up on the
weekend's biggest matches and stories, if you thought that Charles Itandje's ill-timed giggles were
bad, I can only imagine what you might think of how World Soccer Daily radio show host Steven Cohen
picked the absolute worst time to do his best Kelvin MacKenzie impression.
"Gerrard wants to play," said BenÃtez, "We have to train and talk with him, but he's had
the problem before and was playing. We need people who are 100% fit now, so it would be a
calculated risk, but he is a key player for us. On Saturday, we knew we could use him if we needed
him from the bench.
Well here we go again, another defeat for Man Utd and another excuse from Sir Alex Ferguson.
This time the defeat wasn't down to his side failing to convert their penalties; it was due to the
fact that the playing surface at Wembley stopped him from picking his best team. These sentiments
have also been echoed from Arsene Wenger this week whose team were also knocked out of the FA
The Big Four? Try the Only Four. If fans of the English Premier League are increasingly
bemoaning the seemingly unshakeable dominance of the former, imagine the absurdity of a division
comprised solely of four teams. Yet when the new Lithuanian football season finally kicked off at
the beginning of this month, there was a profound sense of relief in many quarters that this
bizarre scenario had albeit by a hair's breadth been narrowly avoided.
It would be hard to find a Englishman who does not sing the praises of the significantly large
contingent of foreign players that ply their trade on the world's biggest stage, the Barclays
Machester United's Portugese winger Cristiano Ronaldo had a stunning 07/08 season.
As FC Dallas fight for their life in an empty Pizza Hut Park and DC United swim frantically
upstream in their search for a new stadium, one Major League Soccer franchise has taken the league
by storm this season, seemingly demonstrating exactly what the perfect US football club should look
As I picked up a newspaper on Sunday, I was faced with the spotty adolescent face of Manchester
United's latest teenage â€˜sensation', Federico Macheda. After making a cameo appearance from the
Old Trafford bench (cushioned armchairs in actuality), the 17-year-old Italian showed a neat touch
and a curling shot to clinch the game for his team against Aston Villa.
Before Newcastle's game with Spurs today, a black & white clad fan was asked to give her
partisan opinion on the chances of Alan Shearer achieving what he has claimed would be "the
biggest achievement of my career". Her response was probably not as insightful as you might
(or might not) have expected, but it was hard not to let the mind wander upon hearing it.
No Cavegol, no problem. French international and ex-Lyon player Alou Diarra's 43â€²rd minute
poke gave Les Girondins a deserved win against a rather lackluster Lyon side; adding misery to
manager Claude Puel's future and potentially kissed away Lyon's title hopes.
"I am not the coach but it's true that with all those changes we sometimes find it difficult
to get our bearings... It would be a catastrophe of the prospect of Lyon not winning an eighth
Those words, by Lyon ace Karim Benzema, adequately describe the club's state of mind.
The stadiums have emptied and the clean up has begun, but one or two managers may still be in
their seats trying to work out what the next steps are for their clubs. Gareth Southgate, Sam
Allardyce and Phil Brown are now all taking an even closer look at the league standings after
failing to claim the three points in their respective matches yesterday.
Sir Alex Ferguson launched a scathing diatribe against Rafael Benitez yesterday, citing his
"deplorably arrogant, twitching goatee" as an example of his "utter contempt for the aesthetic
sensibilities of the League Manager's Association (LMA)".
According to Fergie, Rafa's "dubiously manicured facial accouterment" epitomises his
appalling disrespect for "struggling clean-shaven managers like Gareth Southgate, who have not
been as providentially endowed with hirsuteness".
If there was ever a weekend to strap on your seatbelt and hold on for dear life, this would be
The FA Cup, Premier League and the rest of the footballing world will be in full swing this
weekend as the we move further into the most pivotal point of the season. With the relegation
battle,Â league race and FA Cup coming at us from all angles, this time year has a tendency to
make a punter's head explode.
After United beat Porto, I reckoned that Fergie would lay off Liverpool till at least next week,
and focus on Everton in the meantime.
It seems that the old man is smarter and sharper than yours truly - not only has he set out the
most delicious of baits that Rafa would be a saint not to take up, but he's also managed to rope in
Sam Allardyce with his bait, causing the man they call Big Sam to complain about being 'ignored'
and 'dismissed' by Rafa Benitez.
The Guardian (so I only read them and the BBC, shoot me) have a report saying that Richard
Scudamore and Peter Kenyon are tacitly backing Mohamed Bin Hammam's bid for re-election in the AFC.
Assuming that this is true, it's not as simple as throwing their hat in the ring behind one
candidate over the other.
Barcelona and Manchester United have already won the Champions League in recent years. Arsenal
and Chelsea are recent losing finalists (to the opposite teams - there's a nice symmetry there). It
seems reasonable to assume that Arsenal and Chelsea are more 'desperate' to win the Champions
League title because they've never won it.
The Guardian reckons that West Ham will be taken over by the banks who have control of
Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson's various assets.
Some people see this as the inevitable outcome of the recession and see West Ham as the first
Premier League casualty of the current economic crisis, but there's every suggestion that this
could have been avoided if the club had been more prudent in the transfer market and if the Carlos
Tevez affair hadn't come back to bite West Ham in the ass.
The night started badly, conceding after only 10 minutes, but what followed was one of the
bravest and most pulsating performances in European football, in a week full of brave and pulsating
Manchester City's game against Hamburg was a sensational spectacle for the first minute to the
94th and will rightly go down in history as one of the best City performances of the season.
Another weekend of Premier League fixtures lay ahead and the clubs facing relegation will again
be keeping one eye on events at other stadiums up and down the country.
With Middlesbrough taking on an in form Fulham, Stoke facing Blackburn, Portsmouth looking for a
win against Bolton and Sunderland playing Hull nearly all the teams involved in the survival battle
play each other tomorrow.
Das Eisen schmieden, solange es heiÃŸ ist. The famous proverb - make hay while the sun shines -
aptly applies to several clubs aiming to strip Bayern of consecutive Bundesliga titles, its 22nd in
waiting. Wolfsburg, Hamburg, Hertha and to a lesser extent StuttgartÂ harbour title hopes in the
most exciting Bundesliga season, and perhaps the most captivating league in Europe .
Average bookie probabilities, Getafe vs. FC Barcelona: 13 / 23 / 64
The focus is back on the league for the next 3 games. The first of these are against
Getafe, who has made it their speciality to get points against the big teams.
Getafe are currently 14th in the league just 4 points shy of the relegation zone.
When the Guus Hiddink genius rolled into town two months ago to replace Luis Felipe Scolari, few
could be forgiven for feeling a bit of worry that Hiddink, yes Hiddink, was rocking up to take over
Chelsea. Robin van Persie was part of what must have been a very large crew cursing their luck
about the new Chelsea gaffer.
Riley is a good referee. He's an honest referee. He's not a Manchester United fan - he
was, but like all true United fans he's moved on to supporting FC United of Manchester in
protest at the American scum taking over his beloved club.
If anything, he's more fond of Everton than he is of Manchester United.
There are only FIVE hours left in our FA Cup semifinal giveaway - we're giving away 2 tickets to
Wembley in the Chelsea end for the Chelsea-Arsenal game. If you're interested, answer a simple
question here and you'll be entered in the draw to win the tickets.
On theÂ seventh episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined byÂ ITV's Gary
Andrews and Guardian blogger and Manchester United fan Rob Smyth to discuss the latest from theÂ
EuropeanÂ Champions League and also the FA Cup semi-finals coming up on the weekend.
The show will also touch on Ashley Cole and that first-leg suspension,Â the leadingÂ candidates
for the Chelsea manager's job and whether David Moyes has the credentials to take over from Sir
Alex Ferguson at Manchester United.
Whilst the fans ferventely hope that it is current interim boss Guus Hiddink who stays in his
position, the chances of the Dutch mastermind staying on are quite slim - considering he's told
everyone he's not staying, as has the chairman. The bookies have been taking bets on everyone from
ex Barca gaffer Frank Riijkard to Mourinho to Mourinho's predecessor, Roberto Mancini.
What did you miss in the football world yesterday? Shame on you if you did miss any of these
things, but I'm here to catch you up in case you did.
Where Were You on April 15, 1989?
Wednesday was the 20th anniversary of one of, if not the worst, days in the history of football,
and many around the world (including Steven Gerrard) no doubt reflected on where they were that
fateful day when 96 Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough.
Football fans love free tickets, simple as that. In the world of sky-high ticket prices, you'd
be hard pressed to find anything for a match for face value these days.
Considering paying for a big match between two of the best clubs in the world? You might as well
give an arm and a leg if you don't have a mate with season tickets or a tree in your yard growing
In case you happened to finalize your move to under a rock yesterday, you picked a pretty bad
time to do so. But if you smartly realized that living under a rock isn't such a smart idea, I'm
here to catch you up on what you missed yesterday.
UEFA Champions League Quarterfinals Second Leg: Chelsea (7) 4-4 Liverpool
Chelsea and Liverpool have had some classics in their recent Champions League meetings, but
tonight's encounter takes the cake.
Porto 0-1 Manchester United (Ronaldo 6â€²) - Man Utd win 3-2 on aggregate.
Stadium: Estadio do Dragao, Portugal
Competition: UEFA Champions League, Quarterfinals, Second Leg
Date: 15 April 2009
Kickoff: 19:45 GMT, 14:45 EST
Manchester United overcame a shaky first leg and prevailed at the Estadio do Dragao to eliminate
Porto and advance to the Semifinals!
Crisitiano Ronaldo scored a scorcher against Porto last night en route to Manchester United's
fifth (or sixth) consecutive away clean sheet in Europe, the first English win in Porto and
defeating statistics by winning a game they only had a 16% chance of winning.
You can download the video for the goal here, and read through the live blog here.
Adriano Leite Ribeiro, known to his friends (ok, to basically everyone) as simply Adriano, has
decided to take a break from football. The Brazilian powerhouse, who netted 29 goals in 47 games
for his national side, has "lost the joy of playing" football. He has "lost the
happiness" that is so widely associated with beautiful game.
The name Federico Macheda has been bandied around a lot lately, and not just because of his two
stunning late goals against Aston Villa and Sunderland. Macheda has been the object of an
international tug of war between Manchester United, his current club, and SS Lazio, the club that
nurtured and developed him as a boy.
The rash fouls and referee rants started early in MLS this year.
There were seven sending offs this past weekend in relatively unimportant MLS match-ups. In the
contest between the hapless Galaxy and Chivas USA, the referee red-carded LA's US international
star Gregg Berhalter in his MLS debut for hauling down a player with a clear goal-scoring
opportunity, and ejected the Galaxy's Alan Gordon (dissent) and Chivas' Paulo Nagamura with two
yellow cards apiece.
If there's one thing football fans hate more than anything else, it's trying to search for a
football related article on Google. If you're like most people around the world, you've realised
that Google is a little biased towards a certain brand of football and it's not the kind that's
played with your feet.
What Scotland needed least of all following a morale-boosting victory over Iceland was a nightmare
scenario which sees both the nation's captain and a promising goalkeeper banned from ever playing
for Scotland again. It was bad enough that Barry Ferguson and Allan McGregor were drinking in the
hotel after the defeat to Holland, mind you that [.
On the fifth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined byÂ Soccerlens bloggerÂ
NeilÂ JonesÂ and Daily Sport Sunday's Carl Eldridge as we discussÂ the final chaptersÂ ofÂ an
intriguingÂ Premier League season. In particular we hedge our bets on whether Manchester United
still have enough in the tank to take the league title, discuss who's going to be relegated this
Live The Football Dream Calling all football fans, and I know there's plenty of us. This could be
your chance to live out some football fantasies. You could be playing on the hallowed turf of
Stamford Bridge, in a match refereed by an ex Premier League ref. You'll get the chance to see if
you can match [.
I was only a toddler on June 21st, 1994, but the events of the day are burned into my memory. On
that summer afternoon in Foxboro, Massachusetts, Argentina thrashed Greece 4-0 in the first round
of the 1994 World Cup Finals thanks to a Gabriel Batistuta hat-trick and the long-awaited return of
one Diego Maradona.
While Newcastle's savior new manager catches up on his fan mail, check out the best of the day's
stories from around the football blogosphere. Soccerlens Podcast: The Premier League Hits the
Homestretch The fifth episode of the Soccerlens Podcast features host Stephen Darwin and guests
Neil Jones and Carl Eldridge discuss the Premier League title [.
While you recover from the international break that was, catch up on the highlights of the
international break and plenty else in today's roundup. World Cup Qualification Highlights In case
you missed some of the big happenings from the recent international break, Daniel Chung is here to
catch you up.
With the conclusion of FIFA World Cup 2010 qualifiers yesterday we move one step closer to
determining which thirty-one other countries will be joining host South Africa to contest for the
globe's biggest sporting honor. A slew of matches across the world at all time zones really
reinforces that no sport can dare rival football [.
The UEFA Champions League will resume on April 7, 2009 as the Quarter-finals get underway! After an
tense Round of 16, only eight teams are left in the competition for Europe's most prestigious club
prize! For the second year in a row, all four English teams have advanced to the Quarter-finals,
where they'll [.
They were queuing outside his bar from first thing this morning. Black & White shirted, eager
to yell their approval into the nearest camera, Newcastle United's supporters lined the streets
outside St James' Park for one reason and one reason only. All together now: Sheeea-rerrr!
Sheeea-rerrr! And on his first day as manager (the interim interim [.
Paris Saint-Germain v. Dynamo Kiev First Leg: 9 April 2009 - Parc des Princes, France. Second Leg:
16 April 2009 - Lobanovsky Dynamo Stadium, Ukraine. The second of two UEFA Cup matchups between
France and Ukraine (the other being Shakhtar Donetsk and Marseille), this tie contains several
Hamburg SV v. Manchester City First Leg: 9 April 2009 - HSH Nordbank Arena, Germany Second Leg: 16
April 2009 - City of Manchester Stadium, England Unlike the Champions League, which has been
dominated by English teams in recent years, the UEFA Cup remains, largely, the province of
Werder Bremen v. Udinese First Leg: 9 April 2009 - Weserstadion, Germany Second Leg: 16 April 2009
- Stadio Friuli, Italy Domestically, the 2008-2009 season has been a disappointment for both Werder
Bremen and Udinese. Both clubs are toiling in the middle of the standings in their respective
leagues and have been out of title contention for [.
The Quarter-finals of the UEFA Cup will begin on April 9 and will conclude on April 16! The UEFA
Cup always takes a backseat to the Champions League, and it doesn't help when some clubs (like
Aston Villa or Tottenham) don't seem to take it seriously. However, with the way the competition
Liverpool v. Chelsea First Leg: 8 April 2009 - Anfield Stadium, England Second Leg: 14 April 2009 -
Stamford Bridge, England Much like May Day, Easter, and Daylight Savings Time, Liverpool versus
Chelsea in the Champions League has become an annual spring tradition. These two sides have clashed
in each of the last four UEFA Champions League [.
Bayern Munich v. Barcelona First Leg: 8 April 2009 - Estadio Camp Nou, Spain Second Leg: 14 April
2009 - Allianz Arena, Germany As far as marquee value goes, you won't find too many clubs bigger
than Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Between these two giants, they've made twelve appearances in the
Champions League/European Cup Final, with Barcelona [.
Villarreal v. Arsenal First Leg: 7 April 2009 - Estadio El Madrigal, Spain Second Leg: 15 April
2009 - Emirates Stadium, England A lot has been made of the Liverpool/Chelsea Champions League
rivalry, or even the Manchester United/Porto rivalry. However, Arsenal and Villarreal have a bit of
history as well.
Manchester United v. Porto First Leg: 7 April 2009, Old Trafford, England. Second Leg: 15 April
2009, Estadio do Dragao, Portugal After a much ballyhooed showdown with Inter Milan and The Special
One in the previous round, Manchester United breathed a sigh of relief once Porto's name came up in
the Quarterfinal Draw.
"Can't even eat my sandwich that I made n brought...not so much a fan of stadium food...no offense
oscar meyer" - tweet by Aly Wagner, two-time Olympic gold medalist and LA Sol midfielder, during
the inaugural WPS match. You knew it was going to happen. A player was going to tweet about their
lunch in the [.
On Manchester United forums all over the internet, on any thread which discusses which man will
replace Sir Alex Ferguson, at least one or two former United players will be mentioned. Until his
melt-down at Sunderland, Roy Keane was a favourite, whilst Mark Hughes was fancied for the job
before he took over at City.
Manager WANTED â€“ Chelsea FC (Competitive Salary / Start Date: June 2009) OK, Guus, we get the
message. You won't be Chelsea manager next season. After a seemingly infinite amount of questions
about his future, interim Chelsea manager, Guus Hiddink, has remained unwavering in his decision
that he will only stay on at the club until [.
Manchester United v. Aston Villa Stadium: Old Trafford, England Competition: English Premier League
Date: 5 April 2009 Kickoff: 15:00 GMT, 11:00 ET Manchester United and Aston Villa, two teams in
desperate need of a win, will clash in an important Premiership match that could have huge
implications on the title race!
Cristiano Ronaldo is without doubt the man that everyone in football loves to hate. Whether it's an
element of jealousy, his arrogance, his transfer conduct, the infamous â€˜getting Rooney sent off'
saga, his manner and expression, or simply a combination of the lot, there are very few outside Old
Trafford who give the man [.
I love Alan Shearer. May as well lay my cards on the table in my opening sentence, eh? Shearer the
player was a hero of mine. Fiercely competitive (sometimes overly, I confess), a brute of a centre
forward who took more knocks in his professional career than most, and still went back for more
The Premier League has had everything this season. From managers aplenty facing up to the sack to
Steven Gerrard and a night club attack (allegedly!). But in all seriousness this season in
England's top flight has undeniably been one of the most eventful and exciting campaigns ever and
at both ends of the table.
While you plan out your April Fool's jokes (if you haven't executed them already) and wonder why
youth soccer has no sense of humor, catch up on all that you've missed around the soccer
blogosphere. Shearer Gets Newcastle Job With times being all sorts of desperate, Alan Shearer has
finally decided to stop dodging the managerial reins [.