SoccerLens Archives for January 2009

Valencia: Football Club or Soap Opera?

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Following Valencia Club de Futbol has always been a rollercoaster ride. Crazy managers, amazing strikers, bad players being paid too much, good players being paid too little, shock wins and unexpected losses are all part of being a fan of Los Che.

However the last season has been even worse, leading me to wonder, is my beloved Los Che really a football club, or infact just a really bad TV show.

Pacific Northwest expansion will take MLS to the next level

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Football is much more than just a sport. It is nothing without its history and traditions, its routine and habits, or its passion and drama. The sport establishes its roots over an area much wider than the field of play, an art form which - across much of the world at least - has spilled over to dominate mainstream culture.

Transfer Rumors (28 August 09): Everton swoop for Dutch star Heitinga, Tottenham to swap Jenas for Inter’s Muntari, West Ham land Diamanti, and more

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As we gear up for another exciting weekend of football action, it's also time to gear up for the end of the summer transfer window.

With the hours steadily ticking down towards Tuesday's deadline, time is getting thin for clubs to finalize moves that are already in the works and have a chance to put their feet up on deadline day instead of making a mad dash to get things done at the last minute.

Europa League Group Stage Draw

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The 2009/2010 Europa League group stage draw, in full:

Group A: Ajax, Anderlecht, Dinamo Zagreb, Timisoara.

Group B: Valencia, Lille, Slavia Prague, Genoa.

Group C: Hamburg, Celtic, Hapoel Tel-Aviv, Rapid Vienna.

Group D: Sporting, Heerenveen, Hertha Berlin, Ventspils.

United v Arsenal, Barcelona v Shakhtar, Milan v Inter and more

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The football community is abuzz with last Tuesday's unexpected episode of hooliganism at Upton Park, the Championship League draw, and some excellent football matches this weekend. There's also the 'over-the-top' outrage at Eduardo winning a soft penalty against Celtic and for our money, the press has in the past and always will make a mountain out of nothing for a story.

Arsenal head to Old Trafford all Gunners blazing

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Watch Manchester United vs Arsenal live online.

After surprisingly struggling in matches against Birmingham and Burnley, and unconvincingly-yet-convincingly beating Wigan, Manchester Utd ‘welcome' Arsenal to Old Trafford at 5.15 for an early-season (but late in the day) titan clash.

Transfer Rumors (27 August 09): Chelsea track Feyenood’s de Guzman, Sneijder finally set for Inter switch, United and Liverpool target Robben off to Bayern, a

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The big clubs have been relatively quiet recently, but it looks like things are picking up on that front as the end of the summer transfer season edges nearer.

Another long-running transfer saga has bitten the dust, as Wesley Sneijder's future has been resolved, and though it may not be the ending that he wanted in the beginning, it's the one that works out best for him.

Fantasy Football Week 3: Who’s in your team?

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"Do you lose points for an own goal????"

That was the question on most people's lips during the Liverpool v Villa game on Monday night wasn't it? Or was that just me? Yeah it was probably just me based on the facts that a) I am the only man sad enough to worry about Fantasy Football points when my side is getting pasted at home by a team that had looked past their best a week earlier, and b) the only sap stupid enough to put my trust in a certain Lucas Leiva.

Soccerlens Podcast: The Champions League draw, La Liga set for takeoff and Bayern Munich are rubbish!

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On the second episode of a new season of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by The Onion Bag and Some People Are On The Pitch duo Terry Duffelen and Chris Oakley to discuss an array of eye catching fixtures coming up this weekend and to summarise the draw for the Champions League group stages.

Retro - Not always the “In” thing

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Fashion writers like to think that they have their fingers on the ever-changing pulse of the British nation, that they are armed with an intricate understanding and perception of what is hot, not, and what could well turn out to be in the future. And listening to most seasoned observers of said industry, it is fair to say that one trend tends to be permanently listed under the "In" banner.

AFC Champions League 09/10 Quarterfinal Preview

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On the other side of the world to the eupohoria filled European Champions League, there is another ‘Champions League'. The AFC Champions League. For those of you unaware of this league, 35 teams participate, either though direct qualification, or if you're from the UAE, Indonesia, Singapore, Thailand or India, you have the arduous task of a playoff.

Can Manchester United kick Arsenal out of the title race?

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The Premier League will take two weeks off for the international break (giving Wenger and Benitez another opportunity to crib about Fabregas and Torres playing for Spain) - but don't worry, the title race will take another exciting twist this weekend as Manchester United and Arsenal have a go at kicking each other out of the title race at Old Trafford.

Big spending Liverpool, Ageing Chelsea, Fearsome United and more

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Football bloggers are busy today. We have a wide array of topics on the plate, including last night's win of Arsenal over Celtic, bitter journalists, the Champions League draw, and the obsession with younger players in the football community. Take your pick!

Bird scorned
Ageing, battle scarred, chippy, inarticulate.

The Obsession with Youth: The Myth of ‘Zimmerframe’ Chelsea

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It seems with football at the moment there is an unhealthy obsession with youth, quick exciting and potential filled youth. If the media articles and fan opinion circling the internet is to believed then only players under the age of 25 are capable of delivering a team success. Perhaps professional footballers should start looking nervously towards retirement or a diminished role within their team once they reach 26, maybe their only hope is to accept the Stannah Stairlift of professional football and take on the role of an impact substitute.

Bundesliga new boys put Bayern in the spotlight

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I would have thought that Franck Ribery and Franz Beckenbauer now finally agree on something. The French sensation should have been sold. Der Kaiser has watched new manager Louis van Gaal take a measly 2 points from his first 3 matches, and, following this weekend, the kings of German football are sat in a rather peasant-like 14th in the Bundesliga.

Transfer Rumors (26 August 09): Aston Villa close on Warnock, Birmingham move for Boro’s Tuncay, Russian return for Spurs’ Pavlyuchenko, and more

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After giving you a rundown of the latest transfer news and rumors earlier today, I'm back this evening with another fresh batch of signings and speculation.

Despite an extremely impressive performance in holding Liverpool to a solitary goal in their surprise win at Anfield on Monday, Martin O'Neill is making it a priority to bolster Aston Villa's defense before the close of the summer transfer window, and he's close to making at least one new back line signing, if not more.

UEFA Champions League 2009-2010 - Group Stage Draw LIVEBLOG

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The draw for the 2009-2010 UEFA Champions League group stages will take place Thursday in Monaco. While we wait for Europe's top-club competition to finally set sail, this a 30 minutes of drama every fan must go through every year, as they silently (or extremelly vocally, it's a matter of taste) conjure karma in order for their team to get an easy group.

West Ham and Millwall remind us that hooliganism is still alive and well

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The only surprising thing about the violence at Upton Park in the Carling Cup tie between West Ham and Millwall was that anybody was surprised by it.

From the moment the draw was made, all the signs of trouble were there. Two clubs with supporters from the lower-end who genuinely hate each other.

Liverpool’s messy start, Vidic’s wife happy at Manchester, Chelsea badly beaten and more

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It's Liverpool's turn to be out of the title race this week. Who's next? Arsenal? Tottenham (hah!)?

Let's hope that we won't see more players kicked off the park this week...

Darren Fletcher: Analysed
Elliott Tucker (of FutFanatico.com fame) takes to pen and paper (and actual game-watching) to explain just how good (or not) Darren Fletcher is.

Transfer Rumors (25 August 09): Liverpool to rival Man United for Real’s Robben, Everton sign Russian star Bilyaletdinov, Notts County sign Sol Campbell, and

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With only a week left in the summer transfer window, time is running out for those clubs looking to make some much-needed additions to their squads.

Between now and Tuesday, we should see plenty of transfer signings and speculation, so strap in and get ready for the ride. The top clubs might not be dominating the headlines right now, but don't count out a few big moves on or before deadline day.

Transfer Rumors (24 August 09): Man City finally set to land Lescott, Lescott cash to fund Everton spending spree, Man United in Robben swoop, and more

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So, Joleon Lescott is offically on his way from Everton to Manchester City, after numerous headlines over the past several weeks stating how close the move was to happening, what fee it'd be, and so on and so forth.

In the end, Everton get a truckload of money, so does Lescott, Mark Hughes gets his man, and we get to add Lescott's name to our summer transfer lists.

Has Rafa Benitez Quit Liverpool?

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No he hasn't. Of course he hasn't. My apologies for leading you to think that he had.

However, it does help me draw attention to this accurate depiction (comic below) of what 'football blogging' can be like when you get people chasing the almightly dollar / pound with scant regard for quality, principles or even long-term sustainability and success.

Spurs on the hunt at Parkhead

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Does it make good business sense for Celtic to sell two of the elite players in the SPL to Spurs?

There have been several stories doing the rounds this summer regarding Spurs and Celtic players Scott Brown and Aiden McGeady. With a 20 million pound price tag on the SPL duo it sure would make sense for the Mowbray to part company with his young midfield duo.

San Jose v. Kansas City - 5 Thoughts

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The dog days of summer have descended upon MLS. While both San Jose and Kansas City can basically forget about postseason play, this game provided a glimpse into the future. And, not surprisingly, neither team appears any closer to steadying the ship. San Jose scored to claim a 1-0 victory in stoppage time, but neither team deserved the moniker "winner.

Beckham is back in MLS and teaching lessons like the headmaster

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David Beckham is back in MLS and in only a few weeks is fully engaged in every commotion related to soccer in the United States. Expansion team ownership, international competition, player contracts, ticket sales, refereeing, MLS Cup, and fan confrontations are now all Beckham-related and bear his mark.

Transfer Rumors (21 August 09): Everton finally give in on Man City target Lescott, Chelsea to move for AC Milan’s Pato next summer, Bolton close on Betis sta

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It's the weekend again, so it's time to turn the focus to the action on the pitch, but there's still a fair share of gossip to report on from the transfer pages.

The current holder of 'The Rumor That Won't Go Away' title is the Joleon Lescott to Manchester City saga, but another situation that persists involves Chelsea and AC Milan striker Alexandre Pato.

Win a cool £1m every week predicting Premier League scores with Soccer Millionaire

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Soccer Millionaire is the new and exciting online football pools game, a revolutionary way to test how much you really know about football for your chance to win some huge cash prizes.

Soccer Millionaire has a range of unique games and products. The Predictor game is the only game of its kind that offers its players a guaranteed £1,000,000 jackpot, up for grabs every single week!

Wigan v Manchester United - Live - Premier League 22/08/09

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Watch Manchester United take on Wigan live online here.

Wigan take on the English champions at the JJB in this 3pm Saturday kickoff. Both teams lost their previous league games in 'shock' defeats and will be eager to get back on the winning track today. You can watch the game live on your PC by joining our dedicated live football members' area.

Cunningham form resurrects FC Dallas

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Things have been a little uncomfortable for Major League Soccer's FC Dallas lately. Poor performances, bad results, a badly-located stadium and low attendances have led to outspoken criticism of the front office by supporters not only of FCD, but of MLS as a whole. The cold, hard truth of football is you can get away with almost anything if you're winning on the pitch.

Soccerlens Podcast: The Premier League, Serie A and Samuel Eto’o’s mobile phones

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On the season opener of the Soccerlens Podcast, Stephen Darwin is joined by twofootedtackle's Chris Nee to discuss the opening week of the the Premier League season, the midweek Champions League qualifiers and to preview Serie A and La Liga.

The show will be looking at the Premier League's perennial title contenders and how they have begun the season, there's a chat about Juventus and Milan and their chances of dislodging Inter in Serie A and Chris lets us in on a little secret involving one Samuel Eto'o.

Transfer Rumors (20 August 09): Everton in for Taylor and Taylor, Tottenham to move for Portsmouth’s James, Hull target Negredo signs for Sevilla, and more

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When you follow up a loss at home to a supposedly inferior side by conceding a goal inside the first minute of your next match, it doesn't speak too well of your defense, and with that in mind, Martin O'Neill is hard at work looking for back line reinforcements to help Aston Villa right the ship while there's still plenty of time to.

La Liga 09/10 Preview: Will Real Madrid and Barcelona live up to expectations?

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Last season Pep Guardiola's Barcelona thrilled Europe with their fluid, vivacious, irrepressible brand of football. Led by the combined talents of Xavi, Iniesta, Henry, Messi and Eto'o, Barca surged to an exceptional treble which established the Catalan club as the most formidable on the planet.

Premier League Predictions: Manchester United and Chelsea to win, Tottenham to lose

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The first week of the 09-10 Premier League season has thrown up a few surprises (and pleasant ones at that).

The newcomers to the league have been in typically plucky form, Arsenal and Tottenham have managed excellent starts that, for the moment at least, give hope that their much-hyped potential will be realised this year.

Fantasy Football Week 1: Fabregas is King

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As it came, so it went. The opening week of action in the 09/10 Barclays Premier League is already down the road, the seemingly endless wait for a glimpse of England's top stars made this season as eagerly anticipated as....well....last season's, and 1.77m people so far have seen fit to take the life-changing plunge into the Premier League's fantasy football game.

Referees - Why do they bother?

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A recent conversation with a close friend has sparked an interesting thought to another side of the game that often undeservedly receives an abundance of abuse...refereeing.

My friend bless him is not your best sportsmen standing at just over 5 foot and possessing two left feet but his passion for the refereeing element of the game is expansive as he bores us all in the pub, reeling off ref stats one after the other.

Lyon - a team flattering to deceive

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Overshadowed by Real Madrid's new "Galacticos" circa 2001 and Man City aka money city's lavish spending spree a la Chelsea 2004, perennial French heavyweights Lyon - under the cover of the fanfare surrounding Barcelona's trade by barter plus 40m Euros swap deal for Ibrahimovich and the transfer saga starring Frank Ribery nom de plume "World's most wanted player" – shelled out an astonishing 70m Euros on new players this summer in an attempt to strengthen and regain its footing domestically, and to a lesser extent, reassert its "tag" as the Champions league's darkest horse.

Chelsea: Perfectly Placed To Reclaim English Dominance

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Ever since Jose Mourinho's heavenly time at Stamford Bridge came to an end, Chelsea have been living in the shadows of that great period in time for the club.

Avram Grant played using Mourinho's same system before eventually getting the axe while Luiz Felipe Scolari could not really bring a "Brazilian touch" to Chelsea's football style.

Transfer Rumors (18 August 09): Chelsea sign Serb starlet Matic, Liverpool close on Greek defender Kyrgiakos, Everton in for Tottenham’s Bentley and Hutton, a

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It looks like Benitez has worked around the financial constraints imposed upon him to find his man to fill Liverpool's apparent need for a new center back, and he's not the Premier League manager adding (or trying to add) quality depth to his squad.

Meanwhile, Chelsea have finally managed to offload one of their surplus strikers, but are they trying to bring in a new one just as quickly?

Luck deserts Celtic as Arsenal seize control

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This morning, Tony Mowbray looked out of his window, saw the clouds and the threat of rain, and though "a bit of rain will help our game tonight". He made his breakfast, ate it, enjoyed it, and began the journey to the Lennoxtown training centre in a buoyant, if not overly-confident mood.

But, somewhere along the way, he must have ran over a black cat.

Arsenal start the season in style, Everton in shambles

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Come on, admit it. That was pretty good wasn't it? The Premier League has its knockers, and rightly so in a lot of instances, but for entertainment and watchability, it is up there with the best dramas, the best comedies and the best contests, no question.

The opening weekend of the season is a rare time in football, a time when all clubs start on an even keel, with shiny new strips, shiny new haircuts and shiny new players, not to mention some seriously elevated ambitions.

Transfer Rumors (17 August 09): Chelsea target Mexes and Seedorf, Liverpool eye new center backs, Everton close on Valencia’s Banega, and more

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Monday was another light day on the transfer news and rumors front, but we still do have some top clubs looking to make reinforcements before time runs out.

Defense is still the order of the day, as a few Premier League clubs are in the market for additions at the back, while a couple of top European clubs are looking to add some quality on the flanks.

New Balls? Please…

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The new English Premier League season kicked off at the weekend in sensational fashion, with many players and clubs crushing the lazy assumptions and predictions surrounding them in the press. But, critic-defying performance aside, something else struck me about the opening round of matches in our beloved league, something that has had as big an impact as the new signings or the unwanted injuries.

Can Manchester United Make it “Four in A Row”?

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Yes They Can Can...If the Gaffer Reads the Writing on the Wall!!!

Well, having had his head handed to him twice last season, Sir Alex Ferguson still seems bound and determined to ignore the handwriting on the wall. The sheer depth of talent in his his squad, however, will always allow the Gaffer to peek into the abyss, throw out some appropriate barbs meant to psych out the immediate opposition and still find a way to pull a nineteenth trophy.

The Liverpool Lie

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Nothing bothers me more in football than when myopic TV pundits and journalists alike ignore the facts. I'm talking about facts. With the Annual Arsenal Write-Off duly shown two-fingers by the Gunners and Liverpool putting in an uninspired (to say the least) performance at White Hart Lane, you have to ask whether pundits and journalists should have seen this coming.

Serie A 09/10 Preview: Can anyone stop Inter?

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Italian football has been blighted by a series of exposing scandals in recent years; Calciopoli in 2006, the Plusvalenze scandal and the murder of a Lazio fan by police in 2007 all degrading the once esteemed reputation of Serie A.

The 2008/09 season, however, did much to restore people's faith in Italian football, a campaign free of corruption and legal accusation allowing fans to focus solely on the football on display.

Transfer Rumors (16 August 09): Man United in for old boy Shawcross, Arsenal target Van der Vaart, Everton eye Guti, and more

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Even though the new Premier League season has gotten underway, several clubs are still very much looking for squad reinforcements.

Everton and Aston Villa have rounded out the top six each of the last two seasons, but if both are to maintain their lofty places, it looks apparent that a few purchases need to be made after both laid eggs at home to start the new campaign.

Predict Premier League results and win big with Soccer Millionaire

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Predict weekly Premier League results and win big money.

Fancy winning £1m? Of course you do. Simply predict the weekly football scores at Soccer Millionaire, and you could be moving in next door to Harry Redknapp at Sandbanks in no time.

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Celtic v Arsenal - Live - UEFA Champions League - 18 August 2009

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Watch Celtic v Arsenal live on your PC or follow the live blog below.

Celtic v Arsenal
UEFA Champions League Play-Off Round
Celtic Park - Glasgow, Scotland
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
19:45 GMT, 20:45 CET, 14:45 EST

Scottish club Celtic will face Arsenal in the first leg of the UEFA Champions League play-off with the winner reaching the group stage.

Can Celtic Overcome ‘Breathtaking’ Arsenal?

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In the aftermath of Arsenal's perhaps suprising but fully deserved 6-1 victory over Everton in the Premier League's opening weekend, the confidence mustered by many of the Celtic fans following the Champions' League qualifying draw may have just evaporated away.

Arsenal were simply breathtaking.

Everton 1-6 Arsenal - Goals

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Arsenal put 6 past a hapless Everton to score a thumping away win on the opening day of the 09/10 Premier League season. Denilson, Vermaelen and Gallas made it 3-0 by half-time before a brace by Cesc Fabregas and a late goal by Eduardo Da Silva completed the rout.

Saha got the consolation goal for Everton in the 90th minute, but the only one benefiting from that would be people who picked the Everton striker in their fantasy football team.

Everton v Arsenal - Live Blog - English Premier League - 15 August 2009

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Everton v Arsenal
Stadium: Goodison Park - Liverpool, England
Competition: English
Premier League
Date: 15 August 2009
Kickoff: 18:00 BST, 17:30 GMT, 11:00 EST

The English Premier League begins its 2009-10 season this Saturday and one of the featured matches will Everton v Arsenal.

Transfer Rumors (14 August 09): Everton eye Newcastle’s Taylor, Fulham close on Duff, Sunderland target Arsenal’s Senderos, and more

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Today, pickings are a little slim in regards to big transfer rumors, but even so, you know you can count on me to bring you what's in the news.

A few Premier League sides are busy trying to strengthen their numbers at the back as the season gets ready to kick off, and as a result, today's roundup is filled with defender news and rumors.

Tottenham v. Liverpool - Live Blog - English Premier League - 16 August 2009

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Watch Spurs v Liverpool live online or follow our live blog below.

Tottenham Hotspur v. Liverpool
Stadium: White Hart Lane, England
Competition: English Premier League
Date: 16 August 2009
Kickoff: 16:00 BST, 15:00 GMT, 11:00 EST

Liverpool will kick off their 2009-2010 EPL season against the same team that they ended the previous season with, Tottenham Hotspur.

MLS 2009 - Mid-Term Report

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The All-Star game is done and dusted, the mid-season friendlies with European clubs are at an end and the business half of Major League Soccer's 14th season is underway. So what better time to have a look at the movers and shakers and find out where the big stories will lead in the second half of the campaign?

The ‘Cristiano Ronaldo’, as performed by little girls

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You know you've 'made' it when 6 and 7 yr girls start parodying you.

As they grow up, it's a frighteningly massive target market. Well done Real Madrid for tapping him up at the right time

"The 'Cristiano Ronaldo', as performed by little girls" was originally published at Soccerlens.

Transfer Rumors (13 August 09): Man United target Schalke keeper Neuer, Chelsea close on Serb starlet Matic, West Ham move for Chamakh, and more

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Many a football fan around the world is in full-on rejoicing (or relief, for some) mode, with the focus shifting back towards club action on the pitch.

However, there are still more than two weeks to go in the summer transfer window, so there's still plenty of business yet to be concluded in the market.

Fantasy Football 2009 - Just Before Kick-off

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Who will play more, Lee Cattermole or Anderson? Not usually a question that truly matters in the wide context of Premier League football, but then as we already know, Fantasy Premier League is a different territory entirely.

With just days to go until the start of the 2009/10 English Premier League season, armchairs and swivel chairs are getting very sweaty indeed as managers look to finalise the last details of their title-challenging squad.

An open letter to Manchester City’s ‘most famous’ fan

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Dear Noel Gallagher,

I am an avid fan of Oasis. I really like all of your music despite people's claims that all your music sounds the same. I even own a copy of Masterplan. I know that none of those songs were smash hits, but who cares? You're Oasis that's all that matters. Who cares what they think anyways, they probably live in the red side of Manchester.

Yoann Gourcuff: the one that got away

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Ligue Un kicked off last weekend, and champions Bordeaux opened their title defence in style, romping to a 4-1 win over promoted Lens. This set a new Ligue Un record - Les Girondins had secured their 12th successive league victory. The previous record of 11 consecutive top-flight wins was set by Lille 60 years ago.

10 Ways to Meet Football Players

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As a young star-struck kid, like most of my peers, my unswerving ambition was to meet some of my heroes (all footballers needless to say), get an autograph... a photograph even, and become the envy of my football crazy mates.

It never actually happened though! My being in Dublin and my heroes hanging-out in Manchester didn't help and, in truth, I never actually had a cohesive strategy.

Transfer Rumors (11 August 09): Chelsea to bid for Ribery and Pazzini, Everton reject Lescott’s request for Man City move, AC Milan target Tottenham’s Bale,

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The word of the day is...persistence.

Manchester City haven't given up in their pursuit of Everton defender Joleon Lescott, despite there not being any indication from Everton that they want to let Lescott go without a serious scrap.

While their persistence might not be paying off (yet, at least), it's paying off for Hull City.

Mexico v United States - Live - CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier - 12 August 2009

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The United States and Mexico renew their heated rivalry on Wednesday August 12th in CONCACAF 2010 World Cup Qualifying at the Estadio Azteca in Mexico City. Live coverage of the match will begin at 2:30 PM local time (8:30 PM GMT).

Match Preview

The two teams played last month in the final of the Gold Cup but the match will be under very different circumstances.

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying Round 6 Predictions

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Round 6 of CONCACAF 2010 World Cup Qualifying is fast approaching with three intriguing fixtures, including the highly-anticipated United States v. Mexico.

Honduras v. Costa Rica

Squad News: Costa Rica will be returning a majority of the Gold Cup squad that lost to Mexico on penalties in the semi-finals, including midfielder Celso Borges and captain Walter Centeno.

Chelsea to win the title, Arsenal back in 4th and Aston Villa to slide down the table

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Will Manchester City break into the top four? Will Carlo Ancelotti make a triumphant start to life at Stamford Bridge? Will Michael Owen rediscover his form of old? Will Phil Brown and Rafa Benitez dispense with their questionable facial hair?

With the start of the 2009/10 Premier League season just a week away, the anticipation levels are fast approaching fever pitch.

Liverpool to finish third behind Manchester United as Tottenham and City make case for fifth place

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This is part two of the 09/10 season preview - find part one of the 09/10 premier league season here.

Liverpool

After pushing Manchester United all the way, Liverpool ultimately finished second best in the race for the title last season. This season, as we seem to say every season, "could be Liverpool's year", and Rafa Benitez's side will be desperate to take the honours after coming so close last time around.

Transfer Rumors (10 August 09): Liverpool eye Honda, Everton after PSG star Sessegnon, Barcelona admit Fabregas interest, and more

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We're less than a week away from the start of the new Premier League season, and though many clubs have solidified their squads for the most part, there are still a lot of moves to come in the next three weeks before the summer transfer window closes.

The two Merseyside clubs looking to be eying up a couple of talented midfielders from abroad, while Hull City are picking up some real steam in the transfer market after hitting brick wall after brick wall for much of the summer.

Can Johnson, Gomez and Zamora shine in the Premier League?

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Each and every season throws up a number of players who seemingly come from nowhere or break the shackles of mediocrity to make a name for themselves with successions of top quality performances for their clubs. So, with that in mind, here's a selection of players I think might just surprise a few people this season.

World Cup 2010 without Argentina?

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World Cup 2010 is just around the corner. As the last bunch of games for qualifications get played this year we face the possibility of a tournament without some of the games giants.

It's still early but in Africa we stand the chance of missing out on Nigeria, Egypt and Cameroon. In Central America Mexico are sitting 4th, although the change in management might be enough to catch up with Honduras.

FC Take on CF in Battle of Toronto and Madrid

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The glorious days of preseason football are wrapping up (thank GOD) which means that days and days of meaningless games and cups will no longer have to be ignored by fans of the beautiful game.

Now don't get me wrong, I understand the necessities of preseason football; the players have been off for an entire two months and they need to get back into shape and gain their match fitness again.

Transfer Rumors (8 August 09): Liverpool land Aquilani, Toni to sign for West Ham, Real’s Huntelaar moves to AC Milan, and more

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How good of an investment is bringing in an highly-talented but oft-injured player for 20m? Rafa Benitez won't find that out for a month or two, what with new signing Alberto Aquilani on the shelf for the start of the season.

Liverpool aren't the only Premier League side bringing in a big-name Italian import this summer, as West Ham could be set to bring in one of their own before the window closes at the end of this month.

Twitter: More Reliable than the BBC?

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Oh, Inverted World! Besides being my favorite Shins Album, it's how I'm feeling about Twitter.  Allow me to explain.

I'm on twitter. I use it to connect with friends, colleagues, and American footballers who by and large are willing to have frequent interchanges with you on Twitter.

Can Birmingham, Wolves and Burnley stay up this season?

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The dawn of the new premiership season is upon us and this year we might have something special on the cards. Of course the usual battle at the top will be very exciting but there is potential for something more intriguing. This season we have three clubs that have come up that could easily still be in the league when May comes around.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Live - Community Shield - 9 August 2009

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Watch Manchester United v Chelsea in the Community Shield live on your PC.

Manchester United v. Chelsea
Competition: F.A. Community Shield
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Date: 9 August 2009
Kickoff: 14:00 GMT, 10:00 EST

It's time for the annual curtain raiser to the English football season as last year's Premiership Champions, Manchester United, will take on the defending F.

MLS considering “Beckham Rule” change?

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Not so long ago, David Beckham's move to LA Galaxy would not even have been possible. It was facilitated by a change in Major League Soccer's rules. Tim Leiweke, the alpha male of the Galaxy, worked hard to lobby the league's owners to join his crusade and the Designated Player Rule was born in time for Beckham's arrival in 2007.

The Championship 2009/10 Season Preview

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Soccerlens' Football League preview reaches its climax ahead of the big kick-off this weekend, with The Championship playing a starring role.

There's plenty of big names battling it out for a money-spinning place in the Premiership, so read for our views on who'll be mixing it with Manchester United next season, who'll be lowering themselves into League One, and our prediction for Newcastle's season.

Ligue 1 Preview - Bordeaux, Marseille and Lyon’s Summer of Love

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What a difference a year makes. Against odds, FC Bordeaux dethroned Ligue 1's 7 time consecutive champions Lyon to lift the Ligue 1 trophy. With 12 wins on the trot at the tail end of the season, FC Bordeaux secured a top dog status with its first league title in a decade. Along with the Coupe De La Ligue crown to secure a league and cup double, les Girodins wagged its tail at fellow title hopefuls Marseille and Lyon - leaving the former chasing tails and the latter stuck with its tail between its legs.

Revealed- the new stars of Ligue Un

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With Lyon finally knocked off their lofty perch by Laurent Blanc's fantastically well drilled Bordeaux side last season, there is a feeling that this season's Ligue Un title race might just be the most open in years.

With Claude Puel's side looking to regain the crown they had held in a vice-like grip for seven seasons in a row, Blanc's men will have their work cut out to retain their title, and with traditional powerhouses Marseille & Paris Saint-Germain looking to continue the excellent progress made last season under new coaches Didier Deschamps & Antoine Kombouaré respectively, not to mention the impressive underdogs of Lille & Toulouse lurking, French football has lot going for it at the moment.

Remembering….when Newcastle were good

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It has been easy to laugh at Newcastle United in recent months, not that it makes it right of course. From Kevin Keegan's typically sudden departure, the frankly ridiculous resurrection of Joe Kinnear's top flight career, to the second coming of Alan Shearer, via Mike Ashley downing pints in a replica shirt, Dennis Wise somehow qualifying to be a Football Director, Chris Hughton taking charge of the team on an almost fortnightly basis, and finally, horror upon horror, relegation from the Premier League after a sixteen year stay at English football's top table.

Manchester United v Chelsea - Live Blog - FA Community Shield - 8 August 2009

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Watch Manchester United v Chelsea in the Community Shield live on your PC.

Manchester United v. Chelsea
Competition: F.A. Community Shield
Stadium: Wembley Stadium, London, England
Date: 8 August 2009
Kickoff: 14:00 GMT, 10:00 EST

It's time for the annual curtain raiser to the English football season as last year's Premiership Champions, Manchester United, will take on the defending F.

Transfer Rumors (6 August 09): Liverpool replace new Real man Alonso with Roma’s Aquilani, Man City to tie up Lescott deal today, Tottenham close on Newcastle

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An A for an A, a tooth for a tooth?

Excuse the weak comment there, but it is early, so I won't be at my cleverest for another few hours or so. That being said, Liverpool have sold an A(lonso) and are immediately replacing him with an A(quilani), with money still to spare.

That's the big news of the morn, but at least a few deals should filter through the wires throughout the day, which will give us a few more names to add to our summer transfer lists.

League One 2009/2010 Season Preview

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We're now over halfway through Soccerlens' full season preview ahead of the big League kickoff this weekend. Today we're up to League 1, which contains fallen ex-Premier League teams Leeds, Charlton, Norwich and Southampton as well as smaller teams like Yeovil, Exeter and Wycombe.

Can the Saints overcome their points deduction, can Brentford keep on their buzz after winning League Two?

The 10 Hottest newboys in Serie A

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Once upon a time, Italian football was the centre of the universe. As recently as the turn of the decade, Serie A was the preferred destination for pretty much all of the world's top talents. From Maradona to Zico, Platini to Zidane, greats from all over the world flocked.

Nowadays things have changed slightly, and Italian football- despite the 2006 World Cup success- has fallen a bit behind its English & Spanish counterparts in terms of glamour and European prestige.

Five Reasons why Football is better than Formula One

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Where I come from, there tends to be two kinds of boys. Car boys and football boys. You can like both of course, but essentially you know at some point you are going to have to choose. Are you a Top Gear guy or a Match of the Day man? It may be a sociological problem at some level, but the fact remains that despite sharing the tag of being "sports", football and motor racing are poles apart.

Bundesliga 09/10 Season Preview

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A couple of more days and the new Bundesliga season will be in full swing. I waited too long this summer, already got used to last year's shorter summer period after the Euro 2008. Worst, there was only very little exciting transfer activity in the Bundesliga.

Bayern decided for some reason to pay 30M Euro for Mario Gomez, Werder bought Marin from Gladbach and the Bundesliga lost in Diego one of its biggest stars.

League Two 2009/2010 Season Preview

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Soccerlens continues its full season preview of the English Football League, as we move up from the Conference to League Two, which promises to be tighter than than Cheryl Cole's pert bottom in a pair of skimpy hotpants.

Can Bury better themselves and go one goal better for promotion?

Revealed- The 10 newboys set to light up the Bundesliga

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It will be hard for the Bundesliga to live up to expectations following last season's dramatic, and truly eventful, feast. But already the biggest sides in Germany are preparing to go at it again. Here, we take a look at ten of the best new imports set to light up Deutschland this season:

1.

Footbo Blogging Contest

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Our friends over at Footbo have teamed up with Sony Ericsson (South Africa 2010 sponsors) to bring you a very lucrative offer:

Write an article on any topic in football, and if your article judged as the best by the panel of judges, you will win a FREE Sony Ericsson W995.

In addition, the winner will then be entered into a draw to win a Golden Ticket which entitles the winner to a pair of tickets to every game their country plays – including the final.

Blue Square Premier - 2009/10 Season Preview

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All this week Soccerlens will be preparing for the big kick-off on August 8th with a full preview of the English leagues from Championship downwards. We start off with the Blue Square Premier, better known as the Conference. Can Luton Town bounce back? Will AFC Wimbledon take a third successive promotion?

2009/10 season preview: Blue Square Premier

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All this week Soccerlens will be preparing for the big kick-off on August 8th with a full preview of the English leagues from Championship downwards. We start off with the Blue Square Premier, better known as the Conference. Can Luton Town bounce back? Will AFC Wimbledon take a third successive promotion?

10 for 2010: Ten Dark Horses for England’s World Cup Squad

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With less than a year to go until the World Cup, England are sitting pretty in their World Cup qualification group. With qualification all but assured, now attentions will turn to who could be in England's plans for South Africa.

English World Cup squads have a history of featuring late-comers to their squad who go on to play starring roles in their respective tournaments.

The Latino Factor: The Gateway to American Footballing Success

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From a far off view, the MLS comes off as a far inferior league. Â A league that is not worthy to talk about if David Beckham is not involved. Â The attendance is modest, and the salary cap limits the quality of play. Â

These are just realities that the league and its fans deal with.

Transfer Rumors (2 August 09): Man United to move for Aguero, Chelsea to seal Pirlo deal this week, Liverpool in talks for Roma’s Aquilani, and more

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The Sunday papers always make for interesting reading when it comes to transfer gossip, so this morning's roundup is no exception.

From the looks of Sunday's gossip, we're in store for quite the busy week as clubs try to make some late reinforcements before their seasons get underway.

09/10 Fantasy Football League

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The 09/10 Premier League season starts in 2 weeks and the inaugural Football Media Fantasy Football league is now open for business.

There are a host of prizes to win, it's free to join and it's based on the popular and very easy to use premier league fantasy football game.

How To Play

1.

Arsenal, the Oligarch and the UPL

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He's obviously finished the brandy. When club president Vadym Rabynovych handed over Ukrainian Premier League side Arsenal Kyiv to the city's mayor, Leonid Chernovetskyi, in January 2009, rumour had it that a bottle of the good stuff came his way in return. Considering that Arsenal went on to barely scrape clear of the relegation zone, with no stadium or training facilities and barely enough players to jump-start a clapped-out old ZAZ, let alone a push for mid-table security, Chernovetskyi probably got the raw end of the deal.

The Golden Decade of Sport in the UK

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With the recent news of England's successful Rugby World Cup bid, it would appear that another part of what is fast becoming known as ‘The Golden Decade of Sport' has fallen into place. The thought of an Olympic Games and RWC may be enough to excite most sports fans, but for many the big one is still the 2018 Football World Cup bid.

Transfer Rumors (31 July 09): Man United to bid for Bayern’s Ribery, Liverpool to move for Valencia’s Villa, Arsenal eye Roma’s De Rossi, and more

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If you already didn't know that it's a good idea to watch what you say and who you say it to, it looks like soon-to-be former Tottenham striker Darren Bent has decided to give us all a nice reminder with his Twitterific transfer-related tantrum.

While an apologetic Bent (well, that answers the question about whether or not it was really him, eh?

This ex-Liverpool goalkeeper deserves better

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As a retired top-tier footballer, Bruce Grobbelaar deserves better having to jump out of refrigerators and wobble for effect. Granted that he's had a tougher time than most and I'm sure he's being paid handsomely for this, but surely even Paddy Power can do more dignified ads while still making their 'money back' offers look good?