SoccerLens Archives for January 2010

Has Chicharito’s Form Ended Rooney’s Hopes Of Waltzing Back?

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Manchester United patriarch Sir Alex Ferguson has issued wayward disciple Wayne Rooney with a stark warning, insisting that the haughty striker will not simply be allowed to walk back into the first team once he's finished recuperating from an ankle injury under the expert supervision of the poolside medical team at Dubai's five-star Burj Al Arab Hotel.

‘Chicharito’ Has Ensured That Rooney Won’t Waltz Back In

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Manchester United patriarch Sir Alex Ferguson has issued wayward disciple Wayne Rooney with a stark warning, insisting that the haughty striker will not simply be allowed to walk back into the first team once he's finished recuperating from an ankle injury under the expert supervision of the poolside medical team at Dubai's five-star Burj Al Arab Hotel.

Fergie Time: The Truth About Paul the Octopus

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Welcome to Fergie Time, a roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points. You'll like it, trust me.

Ronaldo Unveils The New Nike Superfly II Safari In Madrid

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Last night was the official reveal of Nike's newest line of speed football boots, the "designed to Ronaldo's specifications" Nike Superfly II Safari. The inspiration for these boots came from an old school pair of safari trainers that Nike made in 1987. Here's a bit from Nike about the history behind the safari theme and the safari print:

"Nike originally introduced the print on the Air Safari running shoe in 1987, and the unexpected aesthetic transformed performance footwear design.

NESV Need To Tackle Liverpool’s Ambitions With A ‘Sense Of Humour’

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Upon hearing of the Daily Mirror's nefarious plans to sell off a couple of his prized Spanish assets behind his back yesterday, Liverpool owner John W Henry has this morning felt the need to illustrate his determination to hold onto the squad's cornerstones, whilst refuting the idea that he will have his pitchin' hand forced into selling them off to the highest bidder come January.

Manchester United After Hamsik, Cavani and Bale? Only in Football Manager…

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Rooney has signed a new contract but the tongue-wagging continues everyone from the 3 Up Front team on this week's show to your friendly neighbourhood rumour mill think that Wayne Rooney is out on his way from Manchester United.

And even if he isn't, the 'promise' of extra spending on the Manchester United squad means that every quality young player will be linked to United before the transfer window actually opens (after which this really, really old sagas will start all over again.

Atletico Madrid Announces Strategic Partnership with Thai Champions Muang Thong United

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Thai Premier League champions Muang Thong United yesterday announced a strategic alliance with Spanish side Atletico Madrid. The partnership will see the two teams exchanging players, playing friendly matches together and selling each others merchandise in their stadiums.

Atletico Madrid CEO Miguel Gil was in Bangkok to sign the contract with Muang Thong United's Deputy Chairman Wiluck Lohtong.

England 2018 Drop Complaint As Russians Grovel

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The English 2018 World Cup bid team have signalled that they are now willing to withdraw the complaint they made to FIFA against the head of Russia's World Cup bid, after receiving a grovelling (and possibly pre-emptive) apology from the Russian sports minister.

Whereas anyone who has ever had the misfortune of having to spend a prolonged period of time in London can instantly sympathise with the comments that Russia's chief executive Alexei Sorokin made pertaining to the capital's high crime rates and adolescent alcohol problems during an interview with Sport Express the fact remains that it's not the best idea to contravene FIFA's rules about slagging off rival bidders whilst the bidding is still in process.

3 UP FRONT: Tevez, Ballon D’Or, Bargain Buys and Ref Inventions

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Tune in to the latest episode of the 3 Up Front Podcast!

Messrs Clarke, Spragg and Macintosh return to the airwaves with more top football chat in a quality show that includes;

A special announcement about the 2010 Soccerlens Awards, and commiserations about Paul the Octopus.

A look at why traditional 'number 9′ strikers are failing to make an impression in world football in recent months does this signal a shift in global football tactics or are we just seeing the after-effects of grueling playing schedules taking their toll on star strikers?

Fantasy Football: Goal Scoring Midfielders and Local Derbies

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Every one loves a goal scoring midfielder. Cheslea fans love Frank Lampard, Liverpool fans worship Steven Gerrard, Arsenal fans adore Cesc Fabregas. But goals from midfield are even more important in the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game, because while a striker's goal is worth three points, a midfielder's goal is worth four.

Mancini Struggles To Swallow The Drinking Culture At Man City

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Being the cultured Italian gentiluomo that he is, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is probably not averse to the odd shot of grappa in his cafe corretto, or a even willing sip of Nebbiolo Vino Rosso when the occasion arises, but one thing that he can't tolerate is what he deems to be the excessive drinking culture that appears to be rife amongst the young(ish) English contingent of his current squad.

Tottenham signing Bongani Khumalo aims for starting berth

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Bongani Khumalo, a South African international and 23 year old central defender, has signed £1.5m to move to Tottenham in the January transfer window (subject to receiving a work permit. Bongani is currently playing with SuperSport United in the domestic South African football league, and played every World Cup match for South Africa during the summer (including scoring against France in the final group stage game.

Mancini Struggling To Swallow The Drinking Culture At Man City

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Being the cultured Italian gentiluomo that he is, Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini is probably not averse to the odd shot of grappa in his cafe corretto, or a even willing sip of Nebbiolo Vino Rosso when the occasion arises, but one thing that he can't tolerate is what he deems to be the excessive drinking culture that appears to be rife amongst the young(ish) English contingent of his current squad.

Will Reina And Torres Really Lead The Liverpool Exodus?

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Call it sensationalist horsesh*t if you wish, but splashed across the backpage of this morning's Daily Mirror (which is, granted, not a newspaper that tends to let the facts stand in the way of a good story) is an EXCLUSIVE report on how both Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina are 'ready to quit Liverpool in January thanks to secret escape clauses in their contracts'.

Will Reina And Torres Lead The Liverpool Exodus?

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Call it sensationalist horsesh*t if you wish, but splashed across the backpage of this morning's Daily Mirror (which is, granted, not a newspaper that tends to let the facts stand in the way of a good story) is an EXCLUSIVE report on how both Fernando Torres and Pepe Reina are 'ready to quit Liverpool in January thanks to secret escape clauses in their contracts'.

Chelsea’s 10 Worst Signings

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Chelsea have made approximately 50 signings since the take-over of Roman Abramovich. About £470 million (and William Gallas) has been spent on these players – that averages out at just over £9 million (and one of Gallas' hands) per player.

In this time Chelsea have had some really disappointing players, especially when you consider how much have been spent on some of these players.

Newcastle 0-4 Arsenal – Silverware guaranteed?

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With both starting elevens full of fringe players and youngsters, the match promised to be full of entertainment from the beginning and it did just that. Newcastle came close first, with Ranger taking the ball past Szczesny only to hit the ball against the Koscielny's leg. Moments later Alan Smith, captaining the side this evening, blasts the rebound against the cross bar, with the help from a fingertip save from the Polish keeper.

Early season tales; can City, Arsenal, United and Tottenham stop Chelsea?

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I've heard more than one manager suggest we should wait until 10 games have been played before taking much notice of the Premier League table. Well, after round 9 and with almost a quarter of the season gone, now is as good a time as any to take stock.

Roy Hodgson was one of the managers who intimated that the league table would be legitimate enough to stand trial by once the games played column had ticked over into double figures.

Bastian Schweinsteiger: Manchester United or Real Madrid?

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At the youthful age of 26, Bastian Schweinsteiger has already a rather successful career. His current haul of five Bundesliga titles, five German Cups, two League Cups and a Champions League runners up medal is enough to make any retired player jealous, let alone one of a similar age. His achievements are even more remarkable when one considers that the midfielder has been very much a 'one-club' man starting out with Bayern Munich nearly a decade ago and remaining with them ever since.

Fifa World Cup Voters

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They've got the whole world in their hands...or at least the destination of the next two World Cups, which is still more valuable than 99% of any 'voting' privileges you can possibly find, and arguably more valuable than a seat on the UN Security Council.

The 24 men who form FIFA's executive committee are scheduled to select which nations will host the 2018 and 2022 World Cups on 2 December 2010 (merely 6 weeks away).

Vote Rigging 101: How World Cup Votes Can Be Bought And Sold

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The FIFA executive committee that votes on World Cup hosts uses an 'exhaustive ballot' system, whereby the candidate receiving the fewest votes in each round is eliminated until a single candidate is chosen by the majority.

This method is open to corruption, and I'll explain how below. Note that this is not a condemnation of the system, which is excellent, but a review of the different ways people can influence voting within this method if bribery / vote selling was allowed to happen.

9 Sportsmen Who Bent The Rules And Got Away With It

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At the highest levels of sport competition is intense and a tiny advantage can often times be the difference between winning and losing ... not to mention the difference between being back home working construction or making millions of dollars a year playing a game. With that in mind it's no surprise that athletes are more than willing to bend the rules when the opportunity presents itself.

Time For Michael Owen To Accept The Inevitable?

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Some footballing headlines are just so unfathomably inevitable that they may as well remain unreported, with the masses left to just assume that Occam was right about his razor and that parsimony has indeed prevailed.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that, despite being pencilled in to return to action against Wolves in the Carling Cup last night, Manchester United striker Michael Owen was forced to pull out of proceedings after feeling his warm-chocolate hamstrings ping yet again during a training session the day before.

Clear Signs That Arsene Wenger Is Getting Desperate

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has vowed to abandon his policy of blooding members of his ever-burgeoning creche during the early rounds of the Carling Cup, in lieu of making a concerted effort to actually win something this time out thus ending the club's five-year spell of ultimately pointless dry-humping.

PSV Beats Feyenoord 10-0 in Eredivisie: How The Mighty Have Fallen

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If one needs further confirmation that Dutch football was slipping down the echelons of European football, look no further than this weekend's shocking upset PSV Eindhoven beat the once-giant Feyenoord 10-0.

Kelvin Leerdam received his marching orders soon after PSV had taken lead. Some resolute defending by the De club aan de Maas kept the score line at a respectable 2-0 as the two teams went in for halftime.

Ballon d’Or Nominations: Messi tips Xavi or Iniesta to win, Xabi Alonso snubs Ronaldo

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Speaking to France Football, the founders of the award, Lionel Messi admitted that he does not expect to retain the award he won last year and he tips that one of the two Barcelona midfielders, Xavi and Andres Iniesta, will take the trophy home.

He said:

"I want the winner of the Ballon d'Or to be someone in our locker room.

How on earth has Diego Milito failed to make the cut for the Ballon d’Or?

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What a year it has been for Diego Milito. He finally achieved a big money move to one of Europe's elite after impressive spells at Real Zaragoza and Genoa. Not only that he embarked on a campaign that will be forever etched into Inter's history where he gave a vast contribution that was subsequently littered with honours and accolades – and yet FIFA have chosen to ignore of all this and focus primarily on performers at the World Cup.

The FIFA Ballon d’Or’s probable contenders

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The inaugural FIFA Ballon d'Or list has been announced with pretty much the household names of 2010 who we would have expected.

There are however names who are in with a far greater chance of winning the title than most. Asamoah Gyan had a marvellous World Cup during a tremendous adventure for the African outfit but the chances of him raising the golden ball are highly improbable.

Paul The Octopus dies…can we get back to the football please?

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"Paul" the Octopus is dead. If you, like me, were watching the World Cup with all the dread and disinterest of a Manchester United / England fan (there really was nothing for us to see last summer, barring Chicarito), the octopus business was one of the more annoying facets of the World Cup watching experience.

Jose Mourinho Will Punish Cup Defeat With ‘Death’

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There are many things that you could accuse Real Madrid coach Jose Mourinho of being, and 'inconspicuously subtle' is definitely not one of them.

With tonight's Copa Del Rey tie with lowly Real Murcia looming, many-a-Madrid supporters' memory is instantly transported back to this time last season when Manuel Pellegrini's ailing charges slumped to a humiliating 4-0 defeat at the hands of third-tier side Alcorcon in the corresponding fixture (with Los Merengues eventually dribbling out of the competition altogether after only managing to notch a single consolation goal in the return leg a fortnight later), but the Chilean's successor is determined that his batch of Galacticos will not suffer the same critically embarrassing fate.

Mowbray the Man to Lift Middlesbrough’s Malaise

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While Liverpool languish in the Premier League's relegation zone, one division down the Championship has its own big hitter floundering in the bottom three. Scarlet stripped, based in a working class northern area and having travelled to finals in Europe this century, the similarities are far from limited.

England Wallow As Spain Dominate Ballon d’Or Shortlist

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With their individual World Cup exploits taken into account, it should come as little surprise that the England as a nation have absolutely no representation on this year's Ballon d'Or shortlist, failing to provide a single player for inclusion on the 23-man list of nominees.

A negligible amount of tenuous pride can be taken from the fact that the Premier League itself has proffered a fairly miserly three players up for consideration (Cesc Fabregas, Didier Drogba and Asamoah Gyan), but when you take into account that 11 of La Liga's most prominent stars have also made the grade, the English-based contingent seems almost moot in comparison.

Liam Ridgewell and Samir Nasri Lead the Fantasy Football Team of the Week

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Week nine of the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game did not go as planned. My team finished joint fifth, well outside the top three and the prize money. Chelsea's Ashley Cole and Birmingham's Ben Foster scored points for clean sheets and Spurs' midfielder Rafael van der Vaart picked up points for his goal, but Drogba failed to register against Wolves and my gamble on Wayne Rooney's return to form failed when he wasn't included in Manchester United's squad.

Curiously, Newcastle need their home form to match their away form

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Newcastle's impressive early-season away form continued at Upton Park on Saturday as they came from behind to beat West Ham and move into the top half of the table. Goals from Kevin Nolan and Andy Carroll sealed a 2-1 win to leave West Ham rooted to the bottom of the league and draw praise from boss Chris Hughton.

FIFA Reeling Amidst Fresh World Cup Bribery Allegations

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FIFA are on the defensive again today, after yet another tidal wave of allegations concerning the corruption of their World Cup bidding system broke across their bow yesterday afternoon.

Football's governing body have vowed to look into fresh claims made by Michel Zen-Ruffinen in yesterday's Sunday Times, wherein their former secretary-general seemed adamant that he could identify numerous executive committee members that were open to selling their votes for both money and/or women.

How Do Man Utd Plan To Show Their ‘Ambition’ To Wayne Rooney?

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Given their escalating debts and presumably dwindling coffers, the perceived wisdom seems to be that Manchester United may eventually be found guilty of writing cheques that their collective posteriors can't really afford to cash when it came to promising the world to Wayne Rooney in exchange for the next five years of his footballing career.

11 Footballers on Film

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With the amount of simulation in the modern game, one would think that many footballers would do quite well as actors. But as the following list shows, very few have made the transition into film and the results, to be generous, have been mixed. From Pele to David Beckham, we profile some of the more memorable moments when footballers have featured on the silver screen.

Unsurprising Premier League successes – Titus Bramble and Zat Knight

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With John Terry and Rio Ferdinand both looking uncertainly at their futures as age and injury begin to take their toll, two much criticised central defenders who would hardly have been in the thoughts of England fans until now and who would probably bring any England manager who dared pick them far more criticism even than the recent choices of Kevin Davies and Shaun Wright-Phillips in Fabio Capello's most recent England squad, have both been enjoying a renaissance in their club football so far this season.

Victory, Subs, Returners, Youth and Problems for Chelsea

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Chelsea on Saturday beat Wolverhampton Wanderers in an unspectacular but positive way. On paper a 2-0 win over Wolves looks slightly disappointing and the home support may have hoped for more but, in reality, it should be considered a very satisfying victory.

Wolves' performance from the beginning was strong and aggressive; the game had ‘potential slip-up' written all over it until Salomon Kalou scored yet another goal after coming on as a substitute.

Rooney Doubles His Money, But At What Cost?

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The abrupt culmination of the faintly ridiculous furore surrounding Wayne Rooney's immediate future yesterday left the deflated masses querying what all that nasty skullduggery and public bickering was all about.

In the cold light of day, it seems that the short answer is 'about another £90,000-a-week'.

Fergie Time: Wayne Rooney is a Solipsist

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Welcome to Fergie Time, a roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points. You'll like it, trust me.

Hodgson May ‘Never Resign’ But His Liverpool Days Are Still Numbered

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When asked about his immediate future after overseeing his second/third-string side's utterly dire goalless stalemate with Napoli in the Europa League last night, Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson took a familiar, if not a little futile, defiant stance.

Before the game, there was a flurry of spiralling internet speculation claiming that the beleaguered veteran, who has won but one solitary Premier League game despite having eight stabs at it now, was set to walk out on Liverpool regardless of the result in the Stadio San Paolo.

Huge ROO-turn as Wayne Rooney signs new Manchester United deal

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Wayne Rooney has made a massive u-turn on his Manchester United future by signing a new five year contract at Old Trafford.

This stunning news comes after two major bookies suspended betting on him staying at the football club despite the public revelations by himself and manager Sir Alex Ferguson that he would depart the football club.

Wayne Rooney – It’s All About The Money, Not Titles

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As a lifelong Manchester United fan, Rooney was my favourite United player till last week.

It seems almost childish to talk about 'favourite' players when you're a football journalist, but this is no time for keeping up pretenses. Ruud was a legend, but he was gone. Ronaldo was unstoppable, but he wasn't a fighter.

Hope for Chelsea’s strugglers: 5 Chelsea players who started slowly

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The pressure for new players to make instant impacts for big clubs, like Chelsea, is unquestionable. Whilst trying to impress the new manager, players and club supporters, players are always judged harshly by the English press; particularly when they have a large price-tag on them.

The reactions to Ramires, Zhirkov and Kakuta have displayed just how difficult it can be for players to establish themselves in the English Champions' side.

Spanish Contingent Starting To Look Strong In Europe

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One could be forgiven for thinking that Real Madrid are the only Spanish team to have played in Europe this week. Incessant media coverage coupled with relentless praise, usually reserved for a team that has just won the quadruple, or at least the Champions League, has meant that the other six Spanish teams in Europe have gone about their jobs rather quietly.

Rooney Faces Moronic Death Threats As Negotiations Stall

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After keeping the baying press packs waiting outside Old Trafford all day with the promise of a resolution to the uncertainty clouding Wayne Rooney's immediate future, the Manchester United hierarchy delivered an almost inevitable anticlimax at around 19:00 BST last night releasing a fairly non-committal statement to announce that 'no significant developments' had been made during a morning spent negotiating with the player's representatives .

Fantasy Football: Tevez, Drogba, Berbatov and other Premier League top scorers

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Week nine of the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game is approaching. If you want to win some of the week nine prize money, then you need to know which players are likely to score points. Last week we listed the 11 players with the most Premier League assists, this week we're listing the top scorers.

So, here are the top 10 goal scorers in the Premier League so far:

Carlos Tevez, Manchester City 7 goals
Didier Drogba, Chelsea 6 goals
Dimitar Berbatov, Manchester United 6 goals
Florent Malouda, Chelsea 6 goals
Darren Bent, Sunderland 5 goals
Salomon Kalou, Chelsea 4 goals
Theo Walcott, Arsenal 4 goals
Johan Elmander, Bolton 4 goals
Andy Carroll, Newcastle 4 goals
Tim Cahill, Everton 4 goals

A few important points here.

The 12 Craziest On Field Meltdowns Of All Time

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In the world of sport, sometimes athletes let their emotions get the best of them. When this happens, it can produce some shocking, violent, or even hilarious results. Athletes are a volatile bunch, so I'm sure there are many meltdowns we've forgotten, but here are 12 of the craziest we've found:

12.

Wayne Rooney’s Man Utd Fate Now Rests On ‘A Game Of Bagatelle’

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Much like poker, it's technically impossible to be 'good' at Bagatelle. There is absolutely no art in sending a ball-bearing cascading down through a uniform maze of pins and therefore racking up the big scores is entirely dependent on your luck or for the less whimsical, completely futile probability.

3 Up Front Podcast: The Great Rooney Conspiracy

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Make sure you don't miss the latest episode of the fast-growing 3 Up Front podcast!

Host Adrian Clarke, joined by regular pundits Iain Spragg and Iain Macintosh explore a range of fresh, fun topics during half an hour of great chat that includes;

How on Earth is Mrs Kevin Nolan going to find living with Andy Carroll?

Replacing Rooney: Is Fernando Torres Really An Option?

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Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson has scheduled a meeting with the chief executive David Gill this very morn (10:00 BST) to mull over the repercussions of the damning statement delivered by Wayne Rooney yesterday, in which the seemingly outbound striker accused the club of forcing his hand by failing to match his lofty ambitions.

Fergie: Cow-loving Rooney should learn from Ruud’s lack of judgment

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Ferguson, while speaking to the press last night about Wayne Rooney:

"Sometimes you look in a field and see a cow. You think it is a better cow than the one you see in your field. It never really works out that way.

Some players like to think the world is better somewhere else.

Rafael Benitez Goes Eric Cantona Crazy As Inter Milan Beat Gareth Bale (and Spurs…) 4-3

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On the eve of Liverpool's, sorry Inter Milan's, 4-3 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League, Rafael Benitez delivered one of the most bizarre press conferences of all time. It will be a moment that will go down in football folklore and leaves Benitez looking like a very bitter man altogether.

Arsenal, Right or Wrong For Jack Wilshere?

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I think we can all agree that Jack Wilshere is the most exciting young talent for English football. The ‘Next Generation' (as if they are robots the latest update from apple the iball) of English footballers are being criticised, praised and scrutinised since the World Cup, Jack is one of the players leading the way for the youth across the country but the FA need to get this right.

Wayne Rooney: I want to leave Manchester United for trophies

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Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney has, according to Eurosport, released a statement justifying his desire to leave Old Trafford.

The striker, who according to his manager Sir Alex Ferguson, has wanted to leave United since as early as just after the World Cup in August, as he has rejected several contract extension offers from the club.

Is Frank Rijkaard The Man To Oversee Liverpool’s New Dawn?

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Following a shameful third-place finish last season and an underwhelming start to this season's Super Lig campaign, the Galatasaray hierarchy have decided to draw a decisive line under coach Frank Rijkaard's ill-fated 16 months in charge today.

A statement released by the club this morning reads thusly;

"As a result of talks with technical director Frank Rijkaard, we have decided to part ways.

Liverpool Beckons As Frank Rijkaard Quits Galatasary

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Following a shameful third-place finish last season and an underwhelming start to this season's Super Lig campaign, the Galatasaray hierarchy have decided to draw a decisive line under coach Frank Rijkaard's ill-fated 16 months in charge today.

A statement released by the club this morning reads thusly;

"As a result of talks with technical director Frank Rijkaard, we have decided to part ways.

Hard times for Liverpool and Manchester United

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If I was to ask any football enthusiastic who the best two teams in England were 10 years ago, with no hesitation I would be told that Manchester United and Liverpool were those teams.

Always attracting the best footballers and playing the best football. These teams have one of the best track records in the world, with many European and domestic trophies just a small part of that history and filling out their allocation has never been a problem whether it is home or away.

Which Of Wayne Rooney’s Potential Suitors Show The Most Potential?

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It's not often that a footballing 'revelation' actually sets me reeling, but I could definitely feel my vital organs squirming all throughout Sir Alex Ferguson's surreal portrayal of a betrayed father yesterday afternoon, staving off the tears to announce Wayne Rooney's deep-seated desire to turn his back on his adopted family news that was delivered with a bizarre air of loving resignation.

Mourinho: Rooney should stay at United for life

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Real Madrid's manager, José Mourinho, confirmed his interest in signing the Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

The United manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, admitted on Tuesday that Rooney wants to leave the club, and although Mourinho remains sceptical about that, he does feel there could be a place for him at Madrid.

Why is Rafa taking the rap for Roy’s woes?

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Note: this article was written before Rafa's 'milk' press conference this week.

With the financial turmoil at Anfield eased (and my knowledge on finance not enough to fill the back of Tom Hicks' fan mail), attention turned back to the football pitch and back to beleaguered manager Roy Hodgson on Sunday for a meeting of Liverpool's red and blue halves.

A Football Manager Reality

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With the fast approach of Football Manager 2011 it is fair to say the game has become a must have for football fans around the world. It has had unrivaled realism and capabilities as a sports simulation game over the past few years. If you've ever dipped your toe into the world of Football Manager you would know why people love it so much.

Manchester United fans: No player is bigger than the club, including our own Wazza

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 With the words "... he wants to leave, and I just can't believe it...", Sir Alex Ferguson probably released the most speculative statement of the year, with Manchester United superstar Wayne Rooney heavily linked with a move away from Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney, who in August released a statement claiming he wants to end his career in Old Trafford, suddenly finds himself in the thick of the international press, with manager Sir Alex Ferguson revealing that England and Manchester United's number 10 wants to leave, and has wanted to leave since as early as just a few weeks after the World Cup in South Africa.

The Reason Why Wayne Rooney Wants Out of Manchester United

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It's safe to say that before the current season got underway, no one would have anticipated this. In an unusually straight-forward statement made by a dejected Sir Alex Ferguson, it was confirmed that Wayne Rooney, fondly and widely considered to be the "heart and soul" of Manchester United, was intent on leaving the club.

The Bundesliga Boom

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In a world of an ever-growing argument of quality over quantity, the Bundesliga has made one thing pretty clear. Make sure it's the true fans who sit in the stands above the dugout, instead of the VIPs.

With this, they have set up goals that ticket prices are affordable and all allocated tickets are sold to priority fans instead of a selection of VIP sitting above the well documented team bench.

Ancelotti On Potentially Replacing Capello: “Why Not?”

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Chelsea's Carlo Ancelotti has indicated he may be interested in replacing Fabio Capello as England manager in 2012.

Capello will step down from the international job after the Euro 2012 championships, and even though Tottenham Hotspur's Harry Redknapp is favourite to replace, Ancelotti see's no reason why foreign managers like himself shouldn't manage England.

Surreal viewing as Sir Alex Ferguson revealed the Wayne Rooney scenario

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As the old saying goes, a picture is ‘worth a thousand words' – and that was certainly the case with Sir Alex Ferguson during Monday's  press conference where he confirmed Wayne Rooney has indicated a desire to leave Manchester United.

Of course there had been intense media speculation for days concerning the England striker's future at United, but the fact that his manager, who is normally so cagey regarding matters such as this, gave such an insightful and honest representation of the situation was startling - as well as seemingly looking resigned to losing his star asset.

Real Madrid 2 – 0 AC Milan : Los Blancos tame Rossoneri

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Jose Mourinho pointed out this fixture as being pivotal for their Champions League qualification and his troops lived up to the billing with their performance of the season as they downed the  Milanese giants by two goals to nil.

Both sides were seemingly playing a game of chess for the first quarter of the game.

Ferguson: Rooney wanted to leave Manchester United after World Cup

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Alex Ferguson spoke about Wayne Rooney to MUTV earlier today before reading out a prepared statement at the pre-Champions League press conference here's a brief transcript from the MUTV interview:

After all we've heard and read, it would be interesting to hear your point of view. Let's start with where it all began and the question of was Wayne injured?

Joe Cole Has Endured ‘The Worst Time Of His Career’ At Liverpool

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Back in July, Joe Cole's fee-less saunter between Chelsea and Liverpool looked like one of the shrewdest pieces of business conducted over the entire summer, the spark required to reignite a damp powder keg of a squad, yet somehow the sporadically spellbinding midfielder has since made his free transfer look like a bad deal.

Joe Cole Bemoans The ‘Worst Time Of His Career’ At Liverpool

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Back in July, Joe Cole's fee-less saunter between Chelsea and Liverpool looked like one of the shrewdest pieces of business conducted over the entire summer, the spark required to reignite a damp powder keg of a squad, yet somehow the sporadically spellbinding midfielder has since made his free transfer look like a bad deal.

How Hercules’ Shrewd Signings Have Stunned La Primera

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For all the praise lavished upon Jose Mourinho for his so called 'shrewd' signings this summer, it should not be forgotten that there were other coaches around who did a little more than use the World Cup as a scouting guide. Take Esteban Vigo for example. Whilst Madrid and Barcelona were off spending their millions, Vigo was trying to decide which players he could realistically bring to newly-promoted Hercules to keep extend their stay in La Primera past just one season.

Man Utd Need To Explode The Myth Of ‘Player Power’

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You'll have undoubtedly already been slapped across the eyes by this morning's sensationalist headlines regarding a certain sweaty little pink fellow and his quest to put the frighteners up his current employers, Manchester United, by 'publically declaring' his reluctance to sign a long-term contract extension.

Wayne Rooney, Alex Ferguson, Manchester Dis-United, and Texas Hold’em

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The news that Wayne Rooney has told Manchester United that he wants to leave seems to have hit the club like a bolt out of the blue. However, this has been coming for a long time as his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson has somewhat soured over the last seven months or so.

Amidst growing rumours over the weekend, United Chief Executive, David Gill, spoke tersely to the press stating that the very idea of Rooney leaving the club was nothing short of "nonsense.

Hutton ready to follow in Bale’s footsteps

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Two and a bit years since Juande Ramos within the space of a few months bought two wildly different right backs for a combined £17.5 million, the more dynamic of the pair, Alan Hutton, might finally be getting the chance to add yet another extra dimension to a Spurs team who despite having improved so much under Redknapp, with Vedran Corluka preferred in the position, now need only minor and crucial tweaking to become a great team.

Fantasy Football: Why Charles N’Zogbia is more important than Tevez, Cahill and Cole combined

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There are certain players you can rely on in the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game. Guys you can select for your team and then all but guarantee they won't let you down. So you just pick those players and win the weekly fantasy football cash prize, right? Wrong. Because chances are that everyone else knows about those players as well.

AC Milan will be Mourinho’s first big test

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Real Madrid vs AC Milan
Group G, UEFA Champions League
Santiago Bernabue Stadium, Madrid
Tuesday, 19th October 2010
20:45 GMT

When Milan last visited Bernabeu, they grasped a late winner but things are different this time around. Madrid now have Jose Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo has started clicking with Gonzalo Higuain.

FIFA Squirm As World Cup Vote Corruption Is Revealed

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Whereas simple laws of probability suggest that the more scheisters a global organisation employs, the more likely it is to succumb eventually to the rot of corruption, FIFA are a phenomenon unto themselves unrivalled, as they are, in seemingly entrusting their coffers solely to the whims of bungling greed merchants and pantomime arch-villains.

Chelsea’s Most Crucial Players

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Prior to the employment of Carlo Ancelotti several people, like Sir Alex Ferguson, were dooming Chelsea because of their ageing squad.

It is certainly true that when Ancelotti inherited his team the best and most influential players were nearing, or were already, around the age of 30.

Wayne Rooney Threatens To Walk Out On Man Utd

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It would appear that, after being dropped for contributing the square root of f**k all to the Manchester United cause over the past two months, Wayne Rooney is preparing to jeopardise his Old Trafford career in the very same manner as many that have gone before him. As a phalanx of former United 'indispensibles' will attest, there is only ever one winner when it comes to disputes with the management.

Football’s 10 Biggest Playboys

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With all the money and fame that being a superstar footballer brings, it is not exactly difficult for the modern player to find a woman. But as the following list of football's biggest playboys shows, sometimes one is not enough. Indeed, in some cases, sometimes 100 is not enough.

George Best

There is no-one who better epitomises the phrase "playboy footballer" than the late, great George Best.

England Urged To ‘Look At’ Cardiff Forward Bothroyd

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Cardiff City manager Dave Jones believes Jay Bothroyd is worth a "look at" for an England international call-up, after the striker's superb performance in the latest Severnside derby against Bristol City.

Cardiff, who currently lie second in the Championship, were two goals down within nine minutes against rock-bottom side Bristol, but made a magnificent comeback with both Bothroyd and Peter Whittingham (2) scoring to give the Bluebirds a 3-2 win.

Is Lionel Messi Really THAT Good?

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To start off, yes he is. Now, let me show you exactly why:

Lionel Messi has scored more goals than any other player in the top five European leagues over the last 12 months 31 in La Liga and 9 in the UEFA Champions League. This season so far, he has scored twice in the three league games as well as a Champions League brace against Panathinaikos.

Should negative headlines be part of the parcel?

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On the back of Wayne Rooney's comments again being published all over the media; should this be part of the package when any player decides to play in the Premier League?

After the striker's poor performance in England's European qualifier against Montenegro, the man-in-the-limelight seemed to quash reports that he had been suffering from an ankle injury and assured fans that he is yet to miss a training session this season.

Raise, Call, Fold: Strikers for the USA Edition

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Rumors in and out of the executive suites of professional and international soccer are a perpetual game of partial information. There is usually some truth, some falsehoods, and some bluffs being run through the press.Â

It's a lot like Texas Hold'em poker in that executives, agents and managers have to make player acquisition decisions based on some information, but not quite all of the information at hand.

Wheeler Dealer? Nah, Harry Redknapp Has One Of The Best Transfer Records In Football

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He might not like being called a "wheeler-dealer" but Harry Redknapp is recognised as being the best English manager in the game today. Rightly or wrongly, he has always had a reputation of being something of a Del Boy as far as the transfer market is concerned. However, does he have the best transfer record in English football?

Arsene Wenger Is A Liar And A Gentleman

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Reacting to the recent furore surrounding Wayne Rooney's phantom ankle injury, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has admitted to a recurring personality trait that many have vehemently accused him of since the very first sepia-toned time he claimed to have missed clogger Martin Keown 'reducing' a flighty striker or midfield general Patrick Vieira gobbing in a cohort's eye.

Beliefs and youth – Barcelona has the perfect blend

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Barcelona has installed a piece of artillery into their maroon/navy armour which is basking in the Catalan sun day in day out – the belief in youth.

The club continue to amaze and enthral us all with their scintillating football on the pitch as well as their undisputed prestige and class of it.

The Chilean miner who was a footballer

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As we all recently saw the rescue of the 33 Chilean miners who were trapped in the San Jose mine. The 27th miner to be rescued was a former professional footballer in Chile.

Chile President Sebastian Pinera (left) hands a signed football to Franklin Lobos (right)

Franklin Lobos debuted for Chilean second division Regional Atacama in 1980 and 15 years and six clubs later, he finished his career in 1995 playing for Regional Atacama.

Fergie Time: Did you know Liverpool had a football match this weekend?

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Welcome to Fergie Time, a new roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen, plus made-up quotes, knee-jerk reactions and awards that don't really exist. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points.

Why I’d Choose Ancelotti over Mourinho

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Everyone can admire the achievements of Jose Mourinho but, as a Chelsea supporter, I can honestly say that if I was given the opportunity to have any of the men who have managed Chelsea reinstated then he would be bottom of my list. Not counting Scolari, obviously.

I would, without doubt, choose to keep Ancelotti.

Liverpool’s Melodrama Is Just The Tip Of The Dog Turd

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Whereas I have to admit that Liverpool's ongoing takeover saga has provided good copy since their boardroom civil war broke out nine days ago, it's probably fairly safe to say that we (that is, those of us that have no real vested interest in the outcome of chronicles) are now heartily sick to the sodding molars of it.

Fantasy Football: Nani and Drogba are the most generous players in the Premier League

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The international break is over and so both the Premier League and the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game return to action this weekend. I'm on a roll, having won $25 prize money in week seven, and am all set to win some more in week eight. Hopefully.

One thing I've learned about the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game is that assists are important.

Cesc Fabregas: There’s interest from Madrid, but Barcelona is my target

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Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas claims that he still is hoping for a "dream" move to Barcelona, and reveals that there has always been interest from Real Madrid.

Cesc Fabregas, captain of current club Arsenal, has been chased by Barcelona during the World Cup as well as after it, but the Spanish play-maker was held by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, as the Frenchman refused to sell his star midfielder to Barcelona.

Liverpool performances debilitated by boardroom disease

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The Liverpool ownership saga has been more dramatic than a soap opera story line recently. The uncertainty surrounding the club has persisted for months since the unpopular club owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett intimated they were willing to sell the debt ridden club.

The drama has culminated this week in a High Court hearing with the verdict seemingly clearing the way for New England Sports Ventures (NESV) to complete their acquisition even in spite of one final twist emerging from a Texas court room.

The Mysterious Avram Grant

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He wins and he's slated. He loses and he's feted. I don't get Avram Grant.

It all began when his buddy decided to give him a job. Fortunately for Avram, that buddy was a billionaire Russian oligarch with a football club to spare. Â The media were not amused:

"Make one thing clear: there is nothing in Grant's professional CV that qualifies him for a job as intricate and demanding as this.

3 UP FRONT: Studs Up’s Chris Toy, Rooney’s United future and England post-mortem

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The Three Up Front podcast is back for another belting half hour of football chat so make sure you tune in...

First up the boys take a look at the state of Fabio Capello's England side (should they change their tactics? really?) before embarking on a jam-packed show that includes;

Fact or Fiction: The Serbians will likely avoid major UEFA sanctions.

What More Could Tom Hicks Do To Destroy Liverpool?

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Yesterday, everything was bathed in golden hues as far as everyone with a concerted interest in the short-term welfare of Liverpool Football Club was concerned but that was a whole 24 hours ago, and proceedings have undergone another dramatic (if not entirely unexpected) sea change since then.

Hicks Thwarted Once Again As Liverpool’s Hostile Takeover Nears

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Yesterday, everything was bathed in golden hues as far as everyone with a concerted interest in the short-term welfare of Liverpool Football Club was concerned but that was a whole 24 hours ago, and proceedings have undergone another dramatic (if not entirely unexpected) sea change since then.

Newcastle United: Consistently Inconsistent

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Newcastle are unlikely to snatch the Premier League crown away from Chelsea this season, but as we gear up for this weekend's clash with Wigan, could we be about to steal their crown as the kings of inconsistency?

After the tame opening game defeat at Manchester United, Chris Hughton got us up and running with a stunning 6-0 win over Aston Villa and a creditable draw away to Wolves.

Transfer Rumours: Rooney to Madrid, Ronaldinho to Galaxy and Kaka to Milan?

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Silly season is never too far away in football, and the prime example of that is the shenanigans surrounding Liverpool FC, their owners, their board, their primary creditor and various interested purchasing parties. International football is overshadowed, England spared a butchering, all because some people made promises they couldn't keep.

Chelsea sign 11-year-old striker

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Chelsea have signed 11-year-old Northampton Town striker Michael Gyasi for an undisclosed fee. The switch includes a variety of add-ons payments, which are subject to particular targets being met (most of which, I believe, relate to him actually playing for Chelsea at youth level).

Northampton Town's centre of excellence boss Trevor Gould is understandably chuffed about the deal and the money it will bring into the club:

"Michael has progressed well and has improved with our coaching.

Why It’s High Time For England To Abandon The 4-4-2

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Along with risking salmonella from the matchday catering, a jaunty acceptance of xenophobia and the now-annual day-shift prostitute scandals, the boring old 4-4-2 formation is a staple of the English game.

It's rigid uniformity and lack of extraneous bells-and-whistles hark back to the days of the empire, when a chap maintained that stiff upper lip even if he were being shot at by the natives or it was his back yard that the doodlebugs were falling in but it's this very same lack of tactical malleability that is proving, again and again, to be the downfall of the English national football team.

Fernando Llorente Is Taking His Chances, But Is He Madrid Material?

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There is little doubt that Fernando Llorente has done nothing to harm his reputation as of late. The Athletic Bilbao striker scored twice in Spain's victory over Lithuania and against Scotland on Tuesday night he came off the bench to grab the winner. As well as his goals for La Seleccion, Llorente has also been in impress form for Athletic, scoring three times in six matches to help lift his team to seventh in La Liga.

The Real Problem with Liverpool

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With this being an international week, it is perhaps unsurprising there has been such media drama surrounding Liverpool and how their current, inept owners are damaging the club and are apparently the primary reason for the side's worst ever start to a Premier League season. Although it does look increasingly likely this is about to change in the near future.

Arsene Wenger’s Reign of Two Halves

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People often talk about the ‘brand of football' that Arsene Wenger has cultivated at Arsenal. It is true that he has revolutionised the club- where less than two decades ago the name Arsenal was synonymous with negative football, now it's associated with the opposite, and this is almost solely the work of Arsene Wenger.

Liverpool Sale Hit By Hicks And Gillett’s Texan Court Order

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The saga at Liverpool took a massive twist tonight as a Texan court has granted a temporary restraining order on the sale of Liverpool FC to New England Sports Venture for £300 million.

Just as the board at Liverpool (Broughton, Purslow, and Ayre) was meeting John Henry at Anfield to discuss the finer points of the sale, Tom Hicks and George Gillett seem to have flung one last throw of the dice by claiming damages up to $1.

Jose Mourinho still in love with English football

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Less than three months since taking the Real Madrid hot-seat, Jose Mourinho has once again reiterated his admiration for the English game.

The former Internazionale coach constantly spoke over his fondness for the Premier League during his two year stint in Milan where both he and the Italian media continuously and vigorously attacked one another.

Is This The End Of The Liverpool Soap Opera?

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As long-running, meandering Scouse soap operas go, Brookside probably still takes the cake but the continuing saga of upheaval and betrayal within the corridors of power at Liverpool Football Club run it a close second.

This afternoon brings with it the news that the High Court in London has granted injunctions against Liverpool current owner's Tom Hicks and George Gillett that could feasibly pave the way for New England Sports Ventures (NESV) to buy the club as planned, before the deadline for settling their debts with creditors Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) passes on Friday.

Uninspired England Fire Blanks Against Montenegro: The Player Ratings

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Both England and Montenegro saw their flawless winning starts to their respective Euro 2012 qualifying campaigns ended at Wembley last night, with a resolutely sterile stalemate ensuring that neither side deserved to leave with the spoils.

England dominated possession but, as we've seen so many times in the past, the percentages are entirely irrelevant if they are racked up by spending 30 minutes of each half playing endless strings of thoughtless six-yard passes across the edge of your own penalty area, occasionally yielding possession whilst attempting to hump 50-yard diagonal balls to your 5'9″ wingers which appears to be plan A, B and C for Fabio Capello's side.

Cesc Fabregas, Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard…Rafael van der Vaart?

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When one looks to the Premier League to pick out the very best midfielders, a few names always come to the fore.

Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool), Frank Lampard (Chelsea) and Paul Scholes (Manchester United) are all phenomenal players with each and every one playing for one of the established powers of English football.

Serbian violence causes abandonment of Italian fixture

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The Euro 2012 qualifier between Italy and Serbia had to be abandoned after just six minutes following crowd trouble in Genoa.

The game in actual fact been postponed for thirty-five minutes prior to kick off as trouble mounted in the away end of the Stadio Luigi Ferraris (home of Sampdoria) where Serbian fans were cascading flares onto the pitch resulting in police intervention.

Liverpool Takeover Is Out On A Lim

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As is quickly becoming commonplace at Liverpool Football Club of late, the already fairly convoluted plot surrounding the club's proposed takeover has had it's viscosity well and truly increased.

After gaining an injunction to effectively wrest boardroom control back from outbound owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett last week, Liverpool's independent executives are busy pleading their case before the High Court in London this morning.

FIFA Finally Break In The Battle Over Goal-Line Technology

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It would finally appear that FIFA, an organisation which prides itself on it's self-preserving atavism and sub-glacial rates of progression, have finally accepted that in these heady days of horseless carts and silver flying machines it is now time to embrace the notion of goal-line technology.

What has happened to Serbia?

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Serbia crashed to their first ever home defeat since becoming a indepedent football nation four years ago, losing 3-1 to Estonia in a European qualifier on Friday night.

In five months the team have gone from world cup outsiders to fifth place in group C for Euro 2012.

After a glorious qualification campaign for World Cup 2006, when they performed as Serbia and Montenegro, the side flopped in the tournament finishing bottom of their group at the tournament and could not life themselves for the following European 2008 qualifying.

England team to face Montenegro, picked using Fantasy Football

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The Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game isn't just a fun way to compete against other football fans and win some prize money. It's also the next England manager. Or it could be.

I've been poking around the fantasy football stats and have selected an England team to face Montenegro based on highest average weekly score in the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game.

Alexandre Pato Is Brazil’s New Center Forward

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Mano Menezes has a tough job ahead of him. He's taking over as the Brazilian national team coach right after a World Cup of failure for the nation. Carlos Dunga failed to win the 2010 World Cup, and in a country which expects to win the tournament every four years, that's not good enough. Now Menezes will be under a huge amount of pressure having taken over the team, especially with the next World Cup in 2014 taking place in Brazil.

NESV will borrow money for Liverpool, just like Hicks and Gillett

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Football club ownership, like politics and any public sphere activity that commands the attention of the masses (i.e. is a money-spinner), is an absolute sham. You're not only being lied to be the players involved but also by the people you trust to tell you the truth, all at the expense of money and a good story.

Would Rio Ferdinand Be Wise To Consider International Retirement?

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Despite being declared quite literally unfit to captain Manchester United a couple of weeks back, Rio Ferdinand has confirmed that he will be resuming his duties at international level when England take on Montenegro in their Euro 2012 Qualifying campaign at Wembley tomorrow evening.

Can Montenegro crush the English dream?

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England vs Montenegro
Group G, Euro 2010 Qualifiers
Wembley Stadium, London
Tuesday, 12th October 2010
19:45 BST (+1 GMT)

Montenegro boss Zlatko Kranjcar (Niko's father) has said that England should consider themselves to have already qualified for Poland and Ukraine.

Pepe Reina: Liverpool Football Club is surrounded by chaos

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Liverpool goalkeeper Pepe Reina believes chaos surrounds the club following the ownership problems.

A takeover bid by New England Sports Ventures has spred "chaos" according to the Spaniard, as the World Cup winner insists that this matter is distracting the players who are hoping for an early resolution to this conflict.

Harry Redknapp and Danny Murphy: Misguided or Malicious?

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Within the space of a couple of days, both Harry Redknapp and Danny Murphy issued extensive comments about two of the hottest topics concerning the English footballing world at the moment, the financial situation at Liverpool and dangerous tackling respectively. But were those comments genuine attempts at voicing their opinions or just misguided attempts at something else completely?

Marseille Threaten To Sue Nigel De Jong As Ridiculous Witch Hunt Continues

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The name of Manchester City midfielder Nigel De Jong has become synonymous with mindless thuggery and splintered fibias over the past few weeks, thanks largely to the relentless castigations emanating from press circles admonishing the Dutchman for his 'six months of shame'.

On the rise: Football’s hottest 21 under 21

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The 2010 FIFA World Cup was a great platform in which many of the games youth prospects were given a stage to shine and introduce the new wave of football's talent. With many of the past decade's superstar players now officially "over-the-hill", players such as Thierry Henry, Clarence Seedorf, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Alessandro Del Piero and Michael Ballack to name a few, has given way for football's young talent to shine through and try to establish themselves as the game's next legend.

Azzurri attack fires blanks in Belfast

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The Azzurri were on Friday nnight held to their first draw of Prandelli's tenure at Windsor Park, a venue where both England and Spain have lost in recent times and Italy had lost and drawn their previous games. It failed to prove third time lucky for the Azzurri despite controlling the game for long periods and creating many opportunities to score.

With Laurent Blanc, the Only Way is Up for France

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Let's think back to the 2010 FIFA World Cup Finals. It was a time when French international football had seemingly reached an impasse. The world looked on in consternation as the French national team ignominiously imploded before their very eyes on the biggest possible stage.

Although an under-performance was widely expected, no one anticipated the debacle that erupted.

Ryan Giggs: Nani can be the new Ronaldo for Manchester United

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Manchester United veteran Ryan Giggs believes fellow teammate Nani can prove to be the new Cristiano Ronaldo for Manchester United.

Nani outshone Ronaldo in the Portugal-Denmark game, scoring 2 goals and providing Ronaldo's goal, and Giggs thinks that Manchester United's number 17 has started to gain over the trust of the fans, and is starting to prove how good he is after a slow start at Manchester United.

Adam Johnson frustrated but determined after lack of starts for Manchester City

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Manchester City winger Adam Johnson has made it clear that he is frustrated due to the fact that he has been sat on the bench continuously for Manchester City.

The England international who has highly impressed with England and during his time on the pitch with City has found a difficulty in cementing his position in the first eleven, and Johnson believes its disappointing knowing that he was man of the match at Blackburn, but hasn't started a game yet.

Dimitar Berbatov highlights his Manchester United targets for the season

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Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov plans to entertain the Old Trafford faithful as one of his main objectives.

The Bulgarian has already hit the back of the net 6 times, including the first hat trick in a Manchester United-Liverpool clash for over 64 years, and he says he is enjoying his football very much as well as contributing to help Manchester United hunt silverware.

Tevez: “I am not enjoying the life of a footballer.”

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Manchester City striker has again indicated the possibility of quitting the game, but admits that he refused to put an end to his career in the past.

Tevez, at the age of 26, had stated in August that he seriously considered ending his career and as it appears, his thoughts have not changed over the past couple of months.

Liverpool May Surrender Nine Points To Finally Rid Themselves Of Hicks And Gillett

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With John W Henry's New England Sports Ventures (NESV) consortium waiting in the wings to purchase the club outright, boardroom legal action still pending and current owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett clinging on to their respective stakes for dear life, Liverpool's gaggle of interim directors are now facing the devil's bargain.

Fergie Time: New Liverpool Owners Will Be Bad News for Gerrard and Torres

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Welcome to Fergie Time, a new roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen, plus made-up quotes, knee-jerk reactions and awards that don't really exist. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points.

USA to experiment with Poles

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USA vs Poland
Friendly
Soldier Field, Chicago
Saturday, 9th October 2010
21:00 CST (-5 UTC)

After USA somewhat established themselves as a football power in the 2010 World Cup, Poland will become their first experiment in order to test their new strategies after ridding themselves of the mistakes in South Africa.

The efficient Germans to fight Hiddink’s Turkey for top spot

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Germany vs Turkey
Group A, Euro 2012 Qualifiers
Olympiastadion, Berlin
Friday, 8th October 2010
18:45 GMT

Leaders of Group A Germany and Turkey go face to face tonight in Berlin in what could be a key fixture in determining which team will top the group.

Is Young Hooliganism On An Unstoppable Rise?

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There was once a golden period in football's pastoral, whimsical and almost sepia-hued history when many-a self-respecting chap under the age of 50 would, cometh matchday, slip into his faithful dog-eared pair of Reebok training brogues, pull on his favourite Aquascutum overcoat and then whistle a jaunty, meandering tune as he slid something hefty up the sleeve with the express aim of mashing in someone's cranium with it later.

Can Portugal’s new coach be their savior?

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Portugal vs Denmark
Group H, Euro 2012 Qualifiers
Friday, 8th October 2010
18:45 GMT

After securing just one point from two games, the game against Denmark comes to them as a must win. Denmark has won their opening fixture 1-0 against Iceland and they're sitting on second spot.

The efficient Germans to fight Hiddink’s Turkey for top spot

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Germany vs Turkey
Group A, Euro 2010 Qualifiers
Olympiastadion, Berlin
Friday, 8th October 2010
18:45 GMT

Leaders of Group A Germany and Turkey go face to face tonight in Berlin in what could be a key fixture in determining which team will top the group.

The FA Plan To ‘Go English’ In Finding Capello’s Successor, So Who Are The Candidates?

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With just 22 short months left on the meter, the Football Association (FA) are already pressing ahead with the courting of possible successors to current England manager Fabio Capello who has signalled his intentions to retire from the game once his contract expires in July of 2012.

3 UP FRONT: The Truth about Liverpool’s new owners and Chelsea’s winning mentality

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Make sure you tune in to the latest episode of the fastest growing football podcast around 3 Up Front!

Host Adrian Clarke guides pundits Iain Spragg and Iain Macintosh through a range of heated debates in just over 30 minutes of entertaining football chat. Some of their topics include;

Are Chelsea as superior as people think?

Who Will The Next Real Madrid Rejects Be?

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Whilst the summer of 2010 was a relatively quiet time for Real Madrid, all previous years taken into account, January of 2011 could well see a return to form in the transfer window.

As his way, Jose Mourinho has made his mark early on at the Bernabeu and it seems that some of the players who are not part of his plans could be shown the door mid-season.

10 Unsung Fantasy Football Heroes of the Premier League

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We recently listed the best performing fantasy players in the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game, and the top 10 featured a lot of familiar faces. Chelsea's Didier Drogba, Manchester United's Nani, and so on. Not a surprise, and most players know these players will deliver value. For example, Didier Drogba featured in 66% of all teams in week five.

Liverpool FC Saved From Administration By Boston Red Sox Owner Bid

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Liverpool FC has been saved from the ignominy of administration and a potential nine point reduction by the £300 million bid from John Henry and the New England Sporting Venture.

After years of uncertainty under American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett, fans of Liverpool FC were given the news they were all dying to hear today.

Wayne Rooney’s Very Public Private Life Has Cost Him A Fortune

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Given his recent extra-marital misdemeanours, it should come as little surprise that Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney's intrinsic commercial value has if you'll excuse the unavoidable pun waned of late.

His recurring inability to regulate which orifices he crams his junk into has already cost Rooney one of his high-profile sponsors, after Coca-Cola chose to withdraw his gummy smirk from their 'Coke Zero' products claiming that they felt it was 'no longer appropriate' to run a promotional campaign that was endorsed by a man with less respect for the sanctity of marriage vows than Errol Flynn.

Malicious Tackles: Accountability will make players better

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Dutch national coach Bert van Marwijk has made a huge statement with his decision to leave Manchester City's Nigel De Jong out of his squad to face Moldova and Sweden for the upcoming international games.

In the wake of this summer's World Cup final, where the Netherlands picked up 9 yellow cards and one red card in a feisty affair against conquerors Spain, van Marwijk has moved to show that he does in fact feel a responsibility towards the way his players carry themselves on the field of play.

Longest 5-a-side game Guinness World Record Attempt

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For everyone trying to convert that time into hours, it is in fact 33 hours! At 10:01 p.m. on 10th April 2010, our dream became a reality. We had officially broken the Guinness World record for Longest 5-A-Side Football (Soccer)Â Marathon.

As the clock struck midnight on 11th April, we had pulverized the record set only the previous week by men who were assisted my professional footballers of Liverpool and Everton football clubs, Jamie Carragher and Leighton Baines.

Melbourne Victory vs Melbourne Heart: The birth of a derby

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As a club it may be only little more than six years old, but Melbourne Victory is fast becoming a key part of the historical make-up of Australia's premier football competition, the A-League. Not only has this club been the most successful club both and off the pitch in the league's short history, but it also has been involved in many of the league's key historical moments.

Is Roy Hodgson The Man To Oversee Liverpool’s New Dawn?

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The fate of Liverpool Football Club is now teetering on the outcome of a 'unique' courtroom battle, with chairman Martin Broughton imploring owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett to view the sale of the club to the New England Sports Ventures (NESV) group as a last opportunity to 'walk away with their heads held high', whilst the American pair seem vehemently opposed to relinquishing control of their investment despite incredible pressure from the boardroom, the terraces and, crucially, the lenders.

Is Samuel Eto’o Africa’s greatest ever player?

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Samuel Eto'o is a marvelled genius who could write his own text book on how to be one of the most accomplished and gifted strikers of his generation. His attributes and ability have backed up his success as he is undisputedly Africa's most decorated footballer – but does this make him the continents greatest ever player?

Melbourne Victory vs Gold Coast United: The birth of a derby

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As a club it may be only little more than six years old, but Melbourne Victory is fast becoming a key part of the historical make-up of Australia's premier football competition, the A-League. Not only has this club been the most successful club both and off the pitch in the league's short history, but it also has been involved in many of the league's key historical moments.

Tottenham Are ‘Risking Riots’ By Choosing Olympic Stadium Over White Hart Lane

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'Twas not so very long (last October, as a matter of fact) when all and sundry in the upper echelons of the Tottenham Hotspur hierarchy were crowing about having submitted their planning permission proposals to Haringey Council to redevelop White Hart Lane into a new 56,000 capacity stadium by turning the current North Stand around and building out into a vacant car-park situated directly behind it.

Agents for Change

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My favourite film of all time is Jerry Maguire. I am not a big Tom Cruise film fan, but the portrayal of an American Sports Agent won Cruise an Oscar nomination and it is hard not to disagree with the plaudits it got.

"I will not rest until I have you holding a Coke, wearing your own shoe, playing a Sega game *featuring you*, while singing your own song in a new commercial, *starring you*, broadcast during the Superbowl, in a game that you are winning, and I will not *sleep* until that happens.

Chelsea win the title…in October?

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Is the title race for the Premier League over already...in October?

Over the past few years, TV pundits and all us normal people for that matter, have had a pretty good idea who would be crowned Premier League Champions, even before a single ball had been kicked. Until last year when suddenly there were whispers of a new team gunning for glory, a team that had never lifted, seen nor even smelt the famous trophy.

Liverpool Board Agree Sale But Major Hurdles Remain

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The collective sigh of relief across Merseyside this morning was tangible as supporters of Liverpool Football Club woke to the news that they have been incessantly clamouring for for nigh-on four years or, at least, so it would seem.

The more hyperbolic of this morning's headlines are claiming that the club has been sold outright to New England Sports Ventures (NESV), the US consortium headed by John W Henry and current owners of the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise, but I'm afraid that the waters are much murkier than that.

Euro 2012 Qualifiers: The Ones To Watch

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I must admit that there was a time, not so very long ago, when I used to feel a creeping sense of boredom during international breaks.

In my heart of hearts I knew that I should be grateful for the fact that football was available for easy consumption at all, but after many-a-year of increasing saturation, the lull in coverage was borderline tortuous for an addict like me and the sheer paucity of games being played meant that the fortnights quickly began to drag like a millstone around the neck.

Goals Are The Answer For Sinama-Pongolle, Not Gestures

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Florent Sinama-Pongolle hasn't exactly endeared himself to many fans in his short career, but he hit a new low at the weekend as he provoked his own Zaragoza supporters into chanting his name for all the wrong reasons.

"Sinama muerete, Sinama muerete."

Sinama go to hell, Sinama go to hell

The anger from the supporters was certainly not due to the goal the Frenchman had just scored, instead it was aimed at the gesture he had made in celebration.

Lets Hear It For England’s Kevin Davies!

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Without trying to sound like too much of a curmudgeon, it's easy to see Bolton striker Kevin Davies as a throwback to simpler footballing times. In this hallowed era of tinfoil boots and spindly pre-pubescent physiques, for a man of his proportions to make it into the national squad is nothing short of a minor miracle at least until you look a little more closely at the facts.

Fifa should ban corruption, not Nigeria

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Fifa suspended Nigeria from participating in any international football fixtures after government interference in the game.

Fifa rules and this is a good rule in principle prohibit any government interference with it's members. It makes sense you want sport to stay free from political influences, and from a global perspective having a single footballing authority that member FAs report to (Fifa) is more efficient and gives the game a single platform through which it can be nurtured around the world.

More Should Be Done to Kick Reckless Tackling Out of Football

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Who can forget the imprudent challenge on former Arsenal striker Eduardo by former Birmingham City player Martin Taylor? Who saw the foolhardy challenge on Aaron Ramsey by Stoke City's Ryan Shawcross? Does anyone remember the harebrained challenge made by Standard Liege's Axel Witsel on Anderlecht's Marcin Wasilewski?

Pub Landlady Takes On Sky In The European Court, But Who Will It Benefit?

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A Portsmouth landlady is scheduled to go before the European Court of Justice tomorrow in her bid to appeal against a ruling made on behalf of Rupert Murdoch's vast BSkyB conglomerate prohibiting her from showing live Premier League games at her pub, The Red, White & Blue in Southsea.

How Rafael van der Vaart, Ashley Cole and Didier Drogba Won Me $25

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Preliminary results for week seven of the Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game are in, and good news (for me) is that I've won my 11 team mini-league. Excuse the self-indulgence, but I'm feeling pretty pleased with myself. I played at the Silver level, which is $5 to enter, and so my 49 point haul was enough to win the $25 weekly prize money.

Do Liverpool Need A Taste Of Newcastle’s Bitter Medicine?

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With his side slowly withering under the spotlight, Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson was forced into a bleak assessment of the situation in which the club currently finds itself mired following their home defeat to newly promoted Blackpool on Saturday afternoon.

When asked whether relegation was a viable concern in a post-match interview, Hodgson replied in the affirmative and, given the nature of Liverpool's start to the season (their worst since 1953/54), you can almost forgive his pessimism;

"Things are looking really, really bleak.

Liverpool 1-2 Blackpool: Black and Orange Leave Liverpool Red All Over

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Ian Holloway's Blackpool produced the result of this or any other season yesterday by beating Premiership giants Liverpool 2-1 at Anfield. It was all the newly promoted team deserved as their adventurous approach caused many problems for Roy Hodgson's struggling side.

If anyone thought that Liverpool was in a false position before last weekend they will have had to reassess their thinking.

10 Great Penalties

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Penalties are a unique experience in football simply because the kicker is expected to score. It is an intense psychological moment, offering a glimpse into the mind and personality of the kicker, particularly at important moments like the final of the World Cup or with elimination from the European Championships on the line.

Vaart-man Smokes Twente Before Dispatching Villains

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In little over just one month, van der Vaart has almost become the most important player in the Tottenham Hotspur dressing room. An obvious bargain at just £8 million, the Dutch playmaker has been in incredible form for Spurs since joining from Real Madrid.

Having contributed four goals and three assists from just six games, van der Vaart has captured the attention of almost everyone watching the English Premier League.

Samuel Eto’o back to what he knows best – scoring goals!

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It was a wonderful sight this past Wednesday night as one of the world's most gifted and clinical strikers gave yet another scintillating performance  to add to his storied career - something that we haven't really seen for the past year and a half as the divine Samuel Eto'o bagged a hat-trick against Werder Bremen.

Why on earth do countries want to host the FIFA World Cup?

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It is a common misconception that a country's economic situation is improved by hosting the FIFA World Cup.

Sports economist Dennis Coates presented conclusive evidence in his recent paper "World Cup Economics: What Americans need to know about a World Cup bid" that the US lost $9.6 billion from hosting the World Cup in 1994, a $13 billion difference between the $4 billion profit that was predicted before the tournament.

Tottenham Hotspur’s Proposed Stadium Moves Are Aimed At The Champions League

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Tottenham Hotspur, fresh from the exertions of a thrilling 4-1 victory over FC Twente at White Hart Lane, have signalled their intentions of moving towards the elite of English football by announcing, not one but, two potential stadium moves.

In 2007, with the list of season ticket holders expanding, Tottenham Hotspur began to look at a possible stadium re-development of the 36,310 capacity White Hart Lane stadium.

How Juan Carlos Garrido Has Galavanised Villarreal

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With talk of money, transfers and 'Galaticos' yet again dominating the Spanish press in the summer, few would have predicted that with the season five games old it would be penniless Valencia and Villarreal leading the way in La Primera table.

Whilst Real Madrid and Barcelona loosened the purse strings and splashed the cash, those at the Mestalla and el Madrigal simply did their best to hold onto some of their star players as they scouted around for any potential bargains.

Will FIFA’s New Transfer System Bring Transparency To Football’s Murky Underbelly?

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FIFA are hoping that their new online Transfer Matching System (TMS) will shed some much-needed light on the dank, sh*t-strewn recesses of football's murky underbelly i.e. the largely morality-bereft world of global transfer dealings.

Football's governing body have revealed that TMS will become compulsory from today, meaning that there is now a solitary hub through which every single international transfer will have to be cleared a move that they hope will, amongst other things, prevent clubs from ‘playing chicken' with each other's fax machines on transfer deadline day.

Fergie Time: Chelsea v Arsenal will not feature Torres diving, and other true stories

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Welcome to Fergie Time, a new roundup/newsletter type deal that delivers news, opinion and links directly to your screen, plus made-up quotes, knee-jerk reactions and awards that don't really exist. As the name suggests, there will be some exaggeration, nsfw moments, canceled press conferences (oh, who are we kidding) and late, late, late scoring of points.

Will FIFA’s New Transfer System Bring Transparency To Football’s Murky Underbelly?

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FIFA are hoping that their new online Transfer Matching System (TMS) will shed some much-needed light on the dank, sh*t-strewn recesses of football's murky underbelly i.e. the largely morality-bereft world of global transfer dealings.

Football's governing body have revealed that TMS will become compulsory from today, meaning that there is now a solitary hub through which every single international transfer will have to be cleared a move that they hope will, amongst other things, prevent clubs from ‘playing chicken' with each other's fax machines on transfer deadline day.

What If Footballers Were Poor?

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In FIFA 10, EA Sports' widely popular football game, the weekly salary of Wayne Rooney is set at £110,000 in Manager Mode. That is how rich a virtual edition of Wayne Rooney is.

Clubs like Burnley, Blackpool, Hoffenheim, Hercules have recently entered their respective country's premier championship and impressed all neutrals.

Michael Owen is responsible for his non-selection at club and country

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0-0Â at La Mestalla stadium and Sir Alex Ferguson, late in the second half, looks to his bench. He needs a goal badly and he knows it. Manchester United threw two points away at Old Trafford a few weeks earlier against Rangers and needed to atone. A draw would heap pressure onto the three-time Champions League winners who are favorites to top the group.

The Ryder Cup vs The English Premier League

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This weekend two of the years greatest sporting fixtures will go head-to-head as the Ryder Cup and Premier League do battle on Sunday.

USA and Europe will war for golf's biggest and best team tournament at Celtic Manor in Wales while Arsenal travel across London to take on title rivals Chelsea in a match that is already shaping up as a defining moment in this years Premier League title race.

3 UP FRONT: The final word on Rooney, Chelsea v Arsenal and best summer signings

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Make sure you don't miss the latest top notch episode of the 3 Up Front Podcast, featuring Chelsea TV and Premier League TV presenter Alison Bender.

Host Adrian Clarke, alongside top tipsters Iain Spragg and Iain Macintosh entertain us with their thoughts and feistiness on a range of subjects that include;

Wayne Rooney's demise.

Which Fantasy Football Formation Should You Use?

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When playing our weekly Soccerlens Fantasy Football Game you have four different formations to choose from: 4-4-4-2, 4-3-3, 3-5-2 and 4-5-1. The classics, if you will. The formation you select has a huge effect on how your team will perform that week and on how much of the weekly prize money you're going to win.

Barcelona vs Valencia: Have the tides turned away from Nou Camp?

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Barcelona vs Valencia
La Liga
Camp Nou, Barcelona
Saturday, 16 October 2010
19:00 BST (+1 GMT)

Valencia, who sold David Villa to Barcelona before the World Cup, are visiting the Catalan giants this Saturday. Valencia after five wins in their first six games under coach Unai Emery, sit at the top spot in La Liga.