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Saturday, April 28, 2007

ManU gets one hand on their 9th EPL Title

What a day I must say... it was brilliant. First I will like to call out the so called soccer analysts or pundits who continously bet against ManU, keep it up and we will continue to prove you wrong. Bobby McMahon and the other clowns at Fox Soccer Channel who think Manchester United will give up the title they have worked so hard for all season can forget it now. You can join your mate Jose Mourinho and cry all you want about calls or what not. Nick Gerber you know I am talking about you.

Saturday April 28th, Manchester United kick off against Everton at Goodison Park and Chelsea kick off at the same time against Bolton Wonderers... I was watching the ManU match and lost it when our make shift defense again gave up a calous free kick and ever so shaky Van da Sar got fooled by the Carrick deflection. As ManU looked lost and not really able to break down the Everton bus that was parked in front of the goal (stole that line from JoMo) I started getting frustrated and very early in the match SAF was on the touch line also yelling instructions. I took a quick peek at the Chelsea match and Bolton was leading by a goal.. I thought won't this be crazy if both teams dropped 3 points today. Well back to the ManU game and things weren't getting any better and a quick phone call from a mate alerted me that Chelsea was now up 2 goals to 1 on a Salmon Kalou double... my heart started pounding and the camera's kept showing Christano Ronaldo on the bench... I was yelling put him in now.

Second half starts and ManU look a bit in the mood to pull this back but a gap in the ManU defense let Fernandez through and he scored a spectacular second goal for Everton. I was losing it at this point. Screaming and singing R-o-n-a-l-d-o... well SAF instead brings on Richardson who for the first time actually kept his cool and played well. We started attacking Everton and I knew eventually we will put the ball in the net. A silly error from the keeper let John O'Shea through and he pulled one back for United.. once the flood gates opened you knew it was going to be a nightmare for Everton now.. Wazza came close a few times but Ronaldo with another powerful header caused another own goal and Philip Neville helped us. ManU continued and they searched for the winner, you knew if anyone wanted it Wazza was the one. He put United ahead for 3 - 2 and a quick peek at the Chelsea match showed Bolton had equalized. I was dancing at this point. With ManU up 3 - 2 the only thing to do was watch the Chelsea match. 4 mins stoppage time in the Chelsea match almost gave me an ulcer.. I have watched Chelsea score in the last minute several times this season but they couldn't today and Manchester pulled off the win. It may be the win that gets us the title.. I still maintain that we will go to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea there so all you pundits who keep picking against ManU and you will have to wear a treble jersey when it is all done.

Friday, April 27, 2007

No Soup For You!

Apparently Palermo told Sven-Goran Eriksson to take the proverbial 'Hike' when he contacted them about their managerial vacancy.

"Eriksson is a great coach and a real gentlemen but he's not in our plans...it wasn't Palermo that was looking for Eriksson," Palermo president Maurizio Zamparini told a local radio station Thursday.

OUCH!

Who Expected This?

Former Germany star and coach, Jurgen Klinsmann will become a talking head for Arena TV. With all the offers coming in from European clubs and national sides, after his Germany team exceeded all expectations at the 2006 World Cup, one would think he would have continued with his managerial career. What a rebellious Californian he's become.

Kaka to Manchester United ??

Read the article below and tell me if you think Kaka's admiration for ManU's style of play, fans and stadium is a sign the talented playmaker wants to come and join the Red Devils???


Milan's Kaka hails Man Utd's 'Brazilian style'


AC Milan's Brazilian superstar Kaka believes Manchester United have overtaken Arsenal as the Premiership's most stylish side.

Click here
The 25-year-old got a first-hand look at Sir Alex Ferguson's men on Tuesday as his side crashed 3-2 at Old Trafford in a thrilling Champions League semi-final first leg.

Kaka was arguably the star of the show with a first-half brace, but he saw enough of United to convince him they would not look out of place at Rio's famous Maracana.

'I watch the Premiership and I see Manchester United in England as the most Brazilian-like in their style,' he told the Daily Telegraph.

'Obviously, Ronaldo and Rooney are very skilful, but they all play well with the ball on the floor.

'They play the passing game. They did not use any long balls against us.

'People always say that Arsenal play a Brazilian style of football, but I think Manchester United are more Brazilian in their way of playing than the Arsenal players are.'

Kaka also hailed United's fans for their vocal performance on Tuesday night.

'I was particularly impressed with the singing of the Manchester fans at half-time, especially as their team was 2-1 down,' he added.

'This is one of the great things about Premiership fans. They have such passion for their team. I love that kind of atmosphere.'

The Champions League's top scorer this season has predicted an equally attacking second leg when the sides reconvene on Wednesday night at the San Siro.

Kaka said: 'The two teams are very similar, both very strong, who both espouse an attacking brand of football.

'We are two teams who instinctively like to come forward and attack. I think the combination of the teams makes it a joy to watch.

'You could never hold back and settle for a draw against a team like Manchester United.

'The second leg will be an exciting match, because it would always be this way whenever these two teams of players meet.

'But we are going to go for the kill in the San Siro, to win outright.'

Espanyol 3 - 0 Werder Bremen

UEFA Cup Highlights



I suggest you turn the awful music off before you watch. The highlights are a nice round-up though. Including a goalkeeper red card and a nice save from a Frings rocket.

Osasuna beat Sevilla, one - nil in the other match.

Ouch!

Ji-Sung Park may be out of the Manchester United squad for up to a year as he has flown to America, to see Dr. Steadman and to have his knee operated on.

Bayern Munich's, Lukas Podolski will be out of commission for three months following a knee ligament injury.

West Ham Off the Hook

West Ham will not be docked points but will recieve a rather large fine as a result of the Tevez/Mascherano affair at the start of the season.

Paul Jewell is not happy about this entire affair either.

The Scoop

Juventus say they will NEVER sell Gigi Buffon to Inter Milan...unless of course they pony up a few million Euros and some Russian escorts for the side whenever they visit the 'Fashion Capital'.

While we are on Juve, it seems they want a to prize David Villa too! Guess what, they are offering cash and they'll put it in David Trezuguet's luggage too! Nooooooo Way? Why am I not suprised?

Martin Jol is interested in yet another midfielder. This time Keiron Dyer of Newcastle.

FA Youth Cup Champions

Liverpool 4 - 3 Manchester United (penalties)

Thursday, April 26, 2007

The Portu-Geezer War of Words

"Cristiano Ronaldo thinks Jose Mourinho 'doesn't know how to admit his own failures' after the Chelsea manager's controversial comments about penalties."

Chelsea 1 - 0 Liverpool

Champions League highlights



That was a very poor performance yesterday from Liverpool. Chelsea didn't look much better, but they scored and that is the only thing that counts. On the other hand, both goalkeepers played well. We have to grab some goals next week at home. Hopefully Rafa will start Pennant on the wing with Crouch and Kuyt up top. Bellamy should start packing his bags for Blackburn Rovers.

The Scoop

Middlesbrough have got their £6.7M man, Jonathan Woodgate.

Tottenham Hotspur fancy their chances of landing the 'forever injured' winger Arjen Robben from Chelsea. Shouldn't Jol get rid of one of their 57 other wingers first?

Barcelona are waiting in the wings to pounce on Miroslav Klose this summer.

Jefferson Farfan has interested Sevilla. That would be a fantastic move for him.

Real Madrid are going to take Javier Saviola off of Barcelona's hands. I cannot believe they are going to sell to Real.

Jens Lehman is set to sign a one-year extension to his existing Arsenal contract.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Fines Issued

Both Manchester United and Roma have both been fined by UEFA for the rioting that ensued during their Italian leg of the Champions League in the last round.

Manchester United 3 - 2 A.C Milan

Champions League Highlights



The Scoop

Teams around Europe have been alerted to Barcelona's, apparent interest in cashing in on Eto'o this summer.

I like the sound of this! Blackburn may offer Morten Gamst-Pedersen in Bellamy deal? Take him of our hands and give us a quality winger? As far as I can see, it's a win-win situation. Now, if there is any truth in this report is something to yet be seen.

Rafa is keeping tabs on Fernando Torres and '135 other players' but rubbished the Sun's armband report.

It seem Tiago is hellbent on challenging Nicolas Anelka for the most travelled footballer of recent times. He fancies leaving Lyon for greener pastures.

Ronald Koeman may not see out his contract with PSV after losing an 11 point lead in the Eridivisie.

UEFA CL Semi finals ManU vs AC Milan

Well for one I am a Manchester United fan and a fan of football so to see AC Milan in the Champions League and to make it to the semi finals was quite upsetting to me. You may wonder why, but after all the match fixing in the serie A last season you ask how the hell did AC Milan make it back into the Champions League. It seems as if they weren't even punished for all the match fixing that happened and why did Juventus get tosses into Serie B and Milan kept in Serie A and still made the Champions League??? Well that is a question and issue for another day... I am not even going to bring up the issue with Italian fans and the cops that got killed or the way the English fans were attacked in Rome during the last round.

This match on any other day would have been one sided.. that is if Manchester United had their first choice starting eleven available for selection against the AC Milan first eleven. That is not the case so we won't dwell on that either. Armed by a manager that knows how to get the best out of his players, ManU started a reasonable second string back four with Patrice Evra being the only starter that still remained in the back four. SAF sacrificed Alan Smith for Darren Fletcher to protect the back four which was well understood. The match started and both teams were really trying to feel eachother out... United on almost their first true attack scored an interesting goal that the officials took most of the match trying to decide whether to credit Christiano Ronaldo or Dida.. Right after that goal United still kept sleep walking and now the aftermath of the Roma debacle was starting to kick in as the United team was sorta playing with over confidence. At some point it seemed like Christiano was trying to prove the whole world right that he is the best player on the field by taking on the entire Milan team which made it easy for Reno "Bulldog" Gattuso to handle his business by shutting him down. Expending that much energy going forward didn't help because you could see Ronaldo failing to help get back on defense. Magicians like Scholesy and Giggsy couldn't even get into the game as you watch Kaka not only get the first goal but a second one also. The first I charge right back to Van da Saar and I still wonder how long SAF is going to keep accepting his errors before he puts Kusciak in goal. It was easy for the surgeon general Seedorf to start tearing the United team apart and quite frankly the fellas did nothing to stop him. Old Trafford was quiet as it seemed like Milan was here to stop a dream again but knowing that half time was nearing SAF will make the needed adjustment and also get in his players arses to get busy.
The second half starts and u can see much of the same but the United players trying to get at it. SAF immediately put man maker extra ordinare on Kaka... he made Wes Brown responsible for Kaka which in turn took him out of the game. Darren Fletcher got the lads kicking with his energy and all of a sudden it was very clear that United really wanted this result. They started exploiting the Milan team with their pace, movement and effective passing and all of a sudden players like Scholes and Giggs came to life. Even the calls were starting to come United's way and all the 50-50 balls were now going in ManU's favour. It was great to watch as the never say die attitude of the ManU team this season kick in and you could tell after Rooney scored to tie the game, United looked to win and get one or two goals.

Overall it was a very well played match.. ManU started strong and ended strong pulled out a win at home.. there is still work left to be done in Milan. Hopefully some of the ManU defenders will be back for the second leg to make it more exciting. My man of the match today was SAF... he made the right adjustments and motivated his team to come back.

See you in the second leg and the all English finals :-)

Monday, April 23, 2007

Things That Make You Go Hmmm?

Could Stan Kreonke (11%) along with David Dein (16%) be planning a combined takeover of Arsenal? Quite possible, and most likely. We will keep you updated on this takeover throughout the coming weeks.


Adidas is celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Copa Mudial. I've always, along with many others, have loved this boot and it served me well throughout the years (as well as the Diadora "Brasil"...I think, no, I'm positive, I've bagged more goals with the Diadora, though this is not a post about philosophy or theology...y'all know what I'm on about...nevertheless, I digress). Check it out and grab some unique goods! They even have the Copa Mundial and World Cup in flats now! I've got to grab some of those.

UPDATE: If anyone is interested I found the World Cup kicks here a bit cheaper. They have them in all black and all white too. I dig them both! Who am I kidding...I dig them all! I also would love to be about 10 years younger and sporting these 7406's! are the finest boots I've seen in quite a while. These Profi's are quite classic and nice too (although they do not seem to have them in black.

What are your favorite boots or shoes?

Cristiano Ronaldo takes the Double

Manchester United and Portugal winger, Cristiano Ronaldo earned the PFA Player of the Year and Young PotY awards last night.

Lyon seal Ligue 1

Gerard Houllier's Olymique Lyon were crowned Ligue 1 Champions over the weekend with a nil-nil draw against Auxerre as second place Toulouse lost.

Inter seal Serie A

Forever 'pain in the backside' Marco Meterazzi didn't miss two penalties (that were paid to the referee, in advance of course, in offshore Maltese accounts) to secure the Serie A this year.

The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Will Craig Bellamy and his golf clubs be making there way back to Blackburn for £8M?

Will Sir Alex Ferguson play the old 'Manchester Shuffle' with a gullible/Chairmanless Arsenal and point one way with one hand and in the other take Franck Ribery from under their nose?

PFA Premier League Team of the Year:

Who will you replace... what do you think??


Edwin van der Sar, Gary Neville, Nemanja Vidic, Rio Ferdinand, Patrice Evra (all Man Utd); Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Cristiano Ronaldo (all Man Utd) and Steven Gerrard (Liverpool); Didier Drogba (Chelsea) and Dimitar Berbatov (Tottenham)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Saha, it's been nice.

I am a MASSIVE Saha fan but he's playing himself out of United.


Ferguson hails outstanding Smith

Smith should be fit to face Middlesbrough on SaturdayAlan Smith's comeback from serious injury has been a major factor in Manchester United's treble challenge, according to manager Sir Alex Ferguson.
Smith, 26, has been in impressive form for United since returning from a broken leg suffered 14 months ago.
"He has been absolutely unbelievable," said Ferguson. "His form in the last three games has been outstanding.
"He has brought a freshness and an infectious enthusiasm which is spreading throughout the team."
Smith was a surprise inclusion in the Champions League quarter-final second-leg meeting with Roma on 10 April.
But the former Leeds striker took his chance by scoring in the 7-1 thrashing of the Italian giants.
Smith then followed up that display with good performances in the victories against Watford and Sheffield United as United kept up their hunt for the treble.
They remain top of the Premiership, are through to the FA Cup final against Chelsea, and will play AC Milan in the Champions League semi-finals.
"When you think of what he has been through, how he has handled it and the way he is approaching his football, he has been first class," said Ferguson.
"I cannot speak more highly of him than that."
Despite three games in a week so soon after his comeback, Ferguson expects Smith to be fit for the Premiership game against Middlesbrough on Saturday.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Goalkeeping Explained

Simply put, there's a difference between a "shot stopper," and a "true goalkeeper." Goalkeeping is a game of angles, just like pool. It is also a position that requires assuredness, certainty, commitment and daring. You also need to impose your authority. I was surprised in coming here, that at my small college, I actually had my OWN goalkeeping coach!!!! I LEARNED A LOT, ESPECDIALLY HOW TO ACTUALLY BE A GOOD GOALKEEPER VERSUS BEING A SHOT STOPPER. Here are some things folks need to pause, read and understand about keeping:

1) The 18 is yours alone. Period. A true keeper will run through HIS OWN PLAYER to get the ball. The message must be clear that he/she owns that space. Classic Example: Peter Schmeichel. Many a United Defender quickly learned what followed the yell "my ball!";

2) 8 out of 10 fantastic saves - diving or otherwise - ARE A RESULT OF THE KEEPER NOT BEING PROPERLY POSITIONED!!!!! 2 out 0f 10 times, the shot was incredibly spectacular and dipping, swerving, deflected etc. You should be more impressed with a keeper who always seems to make saves routine, comfortable, and ALWAYS HAS HIS/HER body behind the ball. The key thing here is that the keeper READS IMPENDING PLAYS AND THE ATTACKER'S OPTIONS WELL, in order to judge where he/she needs to be. Also needs to be cognizant of where his/her defenders are in relation to a) the ball, b) the attackers, c) the boundary lines. This is how he/she mentally sets up which position to take, because he/she has already factored in the paths of approach. Even if an individual m oment of brilliance, messes things up, having established path A makes it easier to quickly establish path B and adjust accordingly. Classic Example: Richard Kingston and Peter Cech. Kingston's numerous saves against Brazil in the WC and the friendly last month, as well as many such saves in various games. He is EXCELLENT at narrowing angles and cutting them offf. Cech's three saves against Ghana in WC. He knew the player's options, was aware of where his help was, and played the angles brilliantly. Game would have ended 7-0 otherwise.;

3) Goalkeeping crimes are crimes of OMISSION , not COMMISSION. A keeper must always authoritatively commit. Not taking initiative leaves both defender and keeper in no-man's land, and makes strikers incredibly happy. Classic Example: Van Der Saar's gaffe against Boro when Rio clearly played back softly and EVDS was at sixes and sevens;

4) Having said that, once committed, a keeper should NEVER disengage. If you miss, you miss with authority, and you may even have to take a smart penalty. Classic Example: Jose Reina this past weekend coming out to the sideline to snuff out an attack. if he stopped, he would be in no man's land. He just kept on going.;

5) Keepers must be ABSOLUTELY confident with crosses, and not be shaky. Classic Examples: Cech and Schwartzer on crosses. Try and think how many times they've failed to snuff out whipped crosses when they come out.;

6) The psychological impact of an un-assured keeper is damaging to THE NTH DEGREE!!! Once a chink is perceived by HIS/HER OWN DEFENDERS, it starts a snowball of bad effects. For one, the denfenders are now more concerned with covering for their goalkeeper, than actually focusing on defending. Attendantly, you see bad plays, yelling, over-elaboration from the back, stupid fouls etc., etc. Classic Example: Fabien Barthez in his last season at United. The defenders spent most of their time worrying about his positioning and gaffes, rather than focusing on playing their game. As such, a lot of cheap goals conceded in panic.;

7) When ball is in play, keepers must effectively become sweepers. In that regard, they move up to the edge of the 18 and track play. It is easier to come out quickly to thwart over the top balls, to cut down angles, or to help defenders re-position in counter attacks - think ease of communication. You also shorten the field of attack - of course, a good player will try to chip you, but refer to point #2. Classic Example Tim Howard and Pepe Reina(sometimes) will often sit at edge of 18 when play is upfield so if you notice, in event of a retreat or recover, back passes are shorter to them.

8) Keepers must COMPETENTLY POSITION WALLS - either themselves or using a field player, or both - AND TAKE THE RIGHT GOALLINE STANCE. Classic Example: Mark Schwartzer. He has George Boateng double line from the striker's position after he himself has lined up.;

9) Keepers MUST start counter attacks with precision. A punt when the opposition is running back to their side puts pressure on their last line of defense, as well as causes fatigue and confusion when the players tracking back are having to contend both with finding the ball as well as man marking...on the run! Long throws or brilliant long punts are highly effective. Classic Example: Paul Robinson to Robbie Keane last week. Watch Paul's outlets: always to a person or attempt to anyway, not just pointless booms. Also, Peter Cech mostly throws and punts to a player, not an area.;

10) Last but not least, the incredibly obvious but often flubbed chocie to parry shots....TO THE SIDE AND AWAY FROM ONCOMING PLAYERS!!!! Good Classic Example: Cech. Bad Classic Example: Van Der Saar.

Given the above, my top 4 goalkeepers in the world right now are:

Peter Cech - Czech Republic
Tim Howard - USA (he has made a GREAT transition from shot-stopper to goalkeeper)
Richard Kingston - Ghana
Mark Schwartzer - Australia

Now I'm Pissed!!

All this pathetic shrining from short-minded easily excited neophytes about Messi's goal???!!!!

Good God, how little football do people know????

Erm, reminds you of Maradonna? Well, let me give you a REALITY CHECK: Maradonna's goal REMINDS me of Saeed Al Owaran's goal against Belgium in the 1994 World Cup!! Yes, Saeed's goal was waaaayyy better: he actually run through defenders who ATTEMPTED to tackle him, versus Diego who was ESCORTED in by the RAF!!!

I guess because Saeed isn't an Argentine midget, the shallow will overlook that.

You want to see a GOALASO? Type in Quaresma in You Tube, sit back, and learn a little football.

CONSISTENTLY scoring from diagonal edge of 18 with outside foot curlers that beat goalies.

Try to appreciate that and then let's have a chat about shrining Goalasos, and quit bothering me with fucking Argentine midgets.

Ronaldinho Nike Air Zoom

Nike gave Ronny his own Dunks! Check them out here. They come in Barcelona's home and away colors.
(pic via NikeSB.org)

Oh lookie what we have here

Italian referees have been suspended by the AIA for match fixing! Can I tell you how shocked I am? No worries, the decision will be overturned by next week and the refs can get back to putting some extra euros into their accounts.

This is quite the story in France today

Milan Baros was saying 'something smells funny' to M'bia. They are making a big deal about it, calling it 'racist' and whatnot. I think he was just taking the mickey out of him and trying to put him off his game. It worked too, he kept comlaining to the referee and Baros kept laughing at him.



The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Arsene Wenger is after highly-rated Spanish striker, 17 year old Plata. Heh, he's at it again. Reyes is set for a London return as well. I'm not too sure how that one will work out in the end. He'll probably go to Malaga for Plata!

Yesterday Arsenal were linked with Craig Gordon...today they are linked another keeper, Colin Doyle.

Barcelona have reportedly tabled a bid for Roma defender Christian Chivu. Meanwhile, Sir Alex Ferguson is weighing an offer for Deco.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

A Different State of Mind

I normally would have not put this in its own post but, I think he deserves it. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will be retiring next year. This is one of the 'ultimate' professionals, all around 'Good Guys' in football and I respect this guy. I think he deserves it so, as one of the editors of "Football Roundtable" he gets it...at least from me. Ole has been a fantastic player thoughout the years...even this year after coming back from a long-term injury.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer will live in Manchester United history forever and they should treat him as such. Which, it seems, they are. Good for them.

UPDATE: Just for posterity I'll put the 1999 Champions League match winner up for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy!

Italian Incompetence

Sure, just let the Catania fans who killed police officer, Filippo Raciti attend the matches at, get this, a different venue! No problem at all right? I cannot tell you how glad I am that Italy didn't get the opportunity to host Euro 2012. Italian football needs a massive overhaul and obviously the people in charge are turning a blind eye.

The Drop Zone

I think it is safe to say that Watford and West Ham are heading to the Championship next year. There are some quality players on those squads. It begs the question of, "Where will they be next season?"

(My Op-Ed begins here)
I think Roy Keane should try and get Reo Coker. That boy is very good. He may be out of the Sunderland price range though. We can see that Roy Keane knows how to structure and build a "team" from the very dirty bottom of the Championship, upwards, to the Premiership (within the same season I may add) without spending £400M. I have a feeling Roy Keane knows the value of an individual player as well as the value of the Great British Pound (which happens to exraordinarily high these days) and how to leverage the two within 'HIS/Their' squad. We'll have to wait and see the movement in the transfer market when the season ends. Other than over priced Englishmen, there are some big names in that group.

There is yet another team to get the boot as well. I think when all is said and done, Fulham will be the victim (they play Blackburn, Arsenal, and Liverpool in the next three matches, that is a total of 0 points for Fulham in the next three). Nobody wants to pillage anybody from Fulham though. That would be the black cat underneath your ladder.

  • Neill
  • Ferdinand
  • Reo Coker
  • Benayoun
  • Tevez
  • Harewood
  • Ashton
  • Bouazza
  • DeMerritt
  • King
  • Shittu
P.S. I bet Big Sam Allardyce would be up for a 'Past-Expiry Date' special on Teddy!

Cheeky

Wazza voted for Didier Drogba for PFA Player of the Year award. He's still upset about that World Cup carte rouge!

The Unblinking Eye

"Mourinho could be the next George Clooney, insists snapper to the stars"

Golaso de Messi

Wow! This is from yesterday's Barca vs. Getafe match in the Copa del Rey. The result was Barcelona 5 - 2 Getafe (1st leg).

UPDATE: It seems the video has disappeard like a certain Argentinian goalkeeper (Goycochea...if you have to ask). I'm on the job. It should be back running soon.

UPDATE II: Fixed, it also made the MSNBC website (AP Article though).

Drogba planning for the future

Interview with Chelsea, Ivory Coast striker, Didier Drogba

Arsenal Future

"The long-term future of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been left uncertain following the shock departure of his biggest ally vice-chairman David Dein because of 'irreconcilable differences' with the rest of the current board."

Hmm, I always thought he was tenured?

UPDATE: I was right

The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Franck Ribery may finally find his way out of that paper bag that is OM.

Keeping with the OM theme this morning, the ever so stylish, Djibril Cisse wants some answers about whether he should be pulling out his winter parka or not.

It seems Martin Jol wants to liven up the dressing room by showing his interest in someone other than a pacey midfielder. He's showing interest, along with Newcastle, in Nicholas Anelka which would make that his 300th team in 10 years.

Sully Muntari, the Ghana International and current Udinese midfielder, may be plying his trade for Villa if Martin O'neill gets his man for £7M.

Arsenal are set to grab Heart's keeper and Scottish International, Craig Gordon for £4.5M. Just because I know what you are thinking...he's 24 years old. Julio Baptista looks to be on the way out too. This is the money quote that displays his character:

"The teams from the north of England are terrible.

"When we play them I have counted their centre-backs booting up to 30 long balls upfield per game.

"The weather over here is killing me. We'll get one day of sunshine for every 30 days of rain, and it is driving me to despair.

"My girlfriend and my mother are frightened about not seeing the sun in England. They miss being in Madrid."


Southgate wants to woo Johnathan Woodgate to Teesside for the long haul.

Sir Alex Ferguson is ready to make, forever injured, Louis Saha surplus to requirements at Old Trafford. If Alan Smith keeps playing like his did during the past week, The Red Devils can add another firecracker to their strike force.

Carlos Tevez is a very much sought after player these days. No suprise considering he's finally settled into the English game and his work rate is second to none. Oh yeah, he scores goals too. I almost forgot about that one. He seems to be the only West Ham player who is actually trying to beat the drop...not that that is going to happen. Now he is being linked with a move across London to Chelsea.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Hard as Nails Metrosexual

Chelsea's Mourinho leaves "sensitive" Shevchenko in tears. Need I say, "Sheesh!"

England at the Top

5 reasons why English clubs dominate Europe

UEFA is a Disgrace

This sounds like a great idea. Let's give Euro 2012 to Italy. Sheesh!

UPDATE: Poland and Ukraine will be hosting Euro 2012. Perhaps they are finally pulling there heads out of their honk?! Here is the winning bid.

The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Roman to offer Jurgen Klinsmann £7M to head Chelsea? Der Kaiser says, "Ja, ja!"

Rafael Benitez refused Real Madrid yet again. Real Madrid are like that annoying kid kicking the backside of your seat making loads of useless noise in an airplane.
Benitez is also dangling a £13M carrot in front of Benfica for Simão Sabrosa.

Arsene Wenger had his eyes on Didier Drogba years ago, when he was young...of course.

Mikel Arteta is keeping his options open. I would too if I played for Everton!

Silvio Berlusconi has set aside £67M, underneath his bed in a shoebox...maybe a Vespa boot box, in undocumented smuggled notes and forged bonds, for Ronaldinho.

Javier Saviola is now being linked to Espanyol. I personally would prefer to see him at Liverpool. That probably goes without saying though. Especially, if Barca land Palacio. If that is the case, Gudjohnson and Saviola will probably be looking for first team matches. I have a feeling he may be in a Liverpool kit next season, especially if the price is right. Rafa is watching...I guarantee.
Barca also have this kid in their striker ranks...ladies and gentlemen, Giovanni Dos Santos (Hat tip to SF&S for the link and video)

Hughes says No Go

Blackburn manager, Mark Hughes says this about Morten Gamst Pedersen's rumoured Manchester United move.

“The figure of £8m is nowhere near enough for Morten — he has only just signed a new deal...He is a young talent but we made a commitment to Morten recently and he made a commitment for us.”

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Chelsea Charity Plans

It appears someone smacked some sense into Roman Abromovich as he has included Jose Mourinho in the official Chelsea charity's plans next year. Perhaps Jose will weather the storm after all.

Football Roundtable PFA Player of the Year Poll

PFA Player of the Year Nominees

This says alot.
3 Players from Manchester United
1 Liverpool
1 Arsenal
1 Chelsea

Alexi Lalas 'The Boss'

The boss of Becks and perhaps Zidane?
Who whould have thought?

Money, Money, Money, Money

FA refuse to lower ticket prices at the urge of sponsor E.on.
E.on is right, they should concentrate on filling seats. If they cut the prices and actually fill the stadium it would probably leverage itself out in the end. Isn't that basic economics? Not to mention the they would be looked upon a bit better by the purchasing public.

FA Youth Cup

Liverpool 1 - 2 Manchester United
Heartache, ugh
We still have another leg though.

The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Rafa has his wandering eye on Vincenzo Iaquinta. I called this one a while back. I think he's a good striker and it's nice to read that Rafa is paying attention to "Football Roundtable".

Manchester United may snatch Morten Gamst Pedersen for £8M from Blackburn. That would be a good pick up for United.

Peter Crouch says he's staying put at Liverpool.

Steve Sidwell in for a Magpies move? Tomorrow someone else will leap frog Newcastle for his signature.

Fernando Torres and his pal "Franco" pledge thier futures to Atletico Madrid. Let's see how long that lasts.

Two steps forward, one step back. Carlos Tevez back to Corinthians at the seasons end?

AC Milan are prepared to take on-loan Chelsea defender Alex off their hands for a cool £7.5M.

Juan Pablo Angel is off to the Big Apple at the end of the season.

I think this is rehash, but David Villa may join his pal Pepe Reina Merseyside.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Football Vernacular Translations

Statement:
"we the Board have given Coach (insert name) our total vote of confidence."

Translation:
"we the Board hope this useless fcuk saved enough money for a return fare back home, pronto!"


Statement:
"his contributions to the club will never be forgotten."

Translation:
"it is humanly inconceivable to ever remove the stench of cocking up putricence that this bugger stained the club with!"


Statement:
"it just wasn't our day today."

Translation:
"since this club was formed, it's never been OUR day."


Statement:
"all credit to our opponents, they put up a spirited resistance."

Translation:
"fcuking wankers packed 12 (ref included) behind the ball and took a piss for 90 minutes!"


Statement:
"we have in place the foundation for a bright future"

Translation:
"we will pour concrete over the body of the coach and get a new one!"


Statement:
"we will take lessons from this."

Translation:
"my arsehole hurts!"


Statement:
"I will not resign."

Translation:
" I will sneak out of town quietly under Police Protection."

Statement:
"we're excited about this season."

Translation:
"yippee, I made it to the final year of my contract which guarantees me my money regardless of our results!"

Statement:
"football is a quintessentially british sport that preserves our most basic values and is emblmatic of what we've achieved as a people in the face of adversity"

Translation:
"we need deep-pocketed yankee investors to rescue our moribund institutions. Please. And do hurry up old Chaps. Remember we gave you a country har har har."


Statement:
"We're not just conquering American businessmen looking to invest! Soccer is the game of the people and there's such a wonderful tradition about it that excites us and we'd like to be a part of."

Translation:
"remember Boston you limey pricks? How's this for a red hot poker up your "arses?" Football my ass, no pads, no downs, no zebras?? Ha! Pansy long-socked prissy boys! Oh look, seats 58,000 on 12 acres....I see condos! I see commercial properties! I see a great exchange rate. Look out mama, we came, we scored, and we're blasting their asses back to William the Conqueror!!! Now, What do you want the new Basketball team to be called?


Statement:
"I don't have an explanation for what went on nor do I recall anything so abjectly pitiful as what we did today!"

Translation:
"Owing to the fact that I was asleep on the bench."


Statement:
"we're just going to have to lace our boots up tighter and get stuck in."

Translation:
"dear God Io think they know I'm clueless. Oh God, what's that smell...not again! Crikey I can't get up now!"

SquarePass BackPass Award

This monthly award goes to the player who finds it morally unconscionable to pass the ball forward....even in defense!

Candidates:

Obi Mikel
Ben Thatcher
Peter Crouch
Samba

AGOODREFISADEADREF's First Annual EPL All-Overrated First XI

Van der saar

gallas terry nevile - either, doesn't matter finnan



downing barton lampard flamini


julio baptista johnson

Who Knew?

Carl Lewis, US Olympic gold medal winner, takes in a Boca Juniors match.

Superclassico Draw

Yesterday's Superclassico was a draw. Boca Juniors 1 - 1 River Plate.
Boca - Ledesma (45 seconds)



River - Rosales (49 minutes)





Giving Props 'American Style'

Jay DeMerritt gave Manchester United's Wayne Rooney and Christiano Ronaldo the finest compliment an American can give to another athlete.

"Right now they are in the best scoring form of any team in the world," said DeMerit. "You can't stop guys like Rooney and Ronaldo, all you can hope for is to contain them.

"They used to say the same thing about Michael Jordan in the States and they are the same type of players. They will always create opportunities because of the qualities they have. They come at you from all angles and make life very difficult."

Manchester United 4 - 1 Watford

F.A. Cup Highlights
I didn't see the match but from the highlights here, it looks like Alan Smith tore it up!



Keano Keeps it Kickin'

Roy Keane's Sunderland could wrap up the Championship next weekend if Derby lose on Friday and Sunderland grab the 3 points on Saturday. Considering they were bottom of the table in August...not too shabby Keano!

The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Arsenal are willing to swap 30 year old Brazillian World Cup winner, Gilberto Silva to Newcastle United for Scott Parker.

FA Cup Final... ManU vs Chelsea @ Wembley

The stage has been set for a dream first FA Cup finals in the new Wembley stadium that grand stage for football in the world. The FA must be happy and laughing their way to the bakery as they get a dream stage for arguably two of the best team in the league right now going to play for the finals of the most prestigious open tournament in football ( in my biased English opinion).

You have to fancy what Manchester United has done this season with producing results and playing extremely entertaining football while they are at it. When you play them you know you are going to conceed it is just a matter of how many and how soon the dazzling open field antics of amazing players like Christiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Ryan Giggs etc will take to open the heart of your defense up. If you have to say there are any weaknesses about the Manchester United side it will be that they have a goalkeeper who is not very confident right now and they are missing key players in their defense but the depth of the team has kept them rolling and I think they have that belief that they are not going to be stopped this season. They handed Watford a beating yesterday even with a make shift defense and you can see that the Watford team was trying extremely hard but they were just out classed by the talent and skill of the ManU players.

Chelsea on the other hand have the never die attitude but I am not convinced that they deserved the win they got today but that is football. I listened to Sparky after the match and he felt his team deserved to be in the finals because they made Chelsea look very ordinary in the second half and I will say they actually did. They outplayed Chelsea in the second half and where United lacks confidence right now is where Chelsea thrive the most. Peter Cech is showing why he is the best goal keeper in the league. He kept his team in and you knew that eventually Blackburn will get tired and Chelsea will get a goal to win it. That was the story today... How many times have we seen Chelsea against the ropes and such studs like Cavallho and Essien dig them out with superb efforts.

Nevertheless it will be a very entertaining finals on the 26th of May and we'll see if it is the entertaining style of Manchester United that comes through or the boring do what you have to to get a result that works for Chelsea. I can say this though... this may go down as one of the more historical finals we've seen in a while just like the EPL and Champions League. Too bad the did the new tv deal last year... if they did it this year they would have gotten so much more as the quality of football is booming right now in England.

My prediction for the finals is ManU 3 - Chelsea 1.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Manchester United to go for Micheal Owen as reported by News of the World

MANCHESTER UNITED are ready to make a sensational summer move for Michael Owen.

Sir Alex Ferguson has focused his search for a striker on Newcastle's 27-year-old England star, who has a £12million release clause in his contract.

Owen has been out with a serious knee injury since last summer's World Cup finals but scored in a friendly game against Gretna last week.

Pleading

He has been pleading with Toon boss Glenn Roeder for a chance in the first-team and could make his comeback against Chelsea next week.

Ferguson will only launch a bid if he is fully satisfied Owen has recovered from the knee operation.

A well-placed United source told us: "It is no secret that Sir Alex wants another striker and he is bound to be attracted by someone of Owen's pedigree at such a competitive price. Naturally we would have to be certain he has recovered from his injury and that is why his return will be closely monitored.

"Ideally we want to see him in action for several games between now and the end of the season."

United's interest is certain to appeal to Owen, even though he still feels a debt to Newcastle after they paid £16m to sign him from Real Madrid nearly two years ago.

Owen still has his main home in the north-west, near Chester, even though he has a property in the north-east.

He is itching to get back into Premiership action and has also earmarked England's Euro Championship qualifier against Estonia in June for his international return.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Ronaldo signs new contract at Old Trafford

Cristiano Ronaldo insists Manchester United is the 'right' club for him.

Ronaldo has snubbed repeated overtures from Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona to sign a multi-million pound five-year extension to his United contract. The deal, which will keep the 22-year-old at Old Trafford until 2012, has rocketed Ronaldo into the game's top earners, befitting his status as one of the most influential players on the planet. Born on the sunshine island of Madeira, it would have been no surprise if the climate and lifestyle in Spain had proved attractive to the former Sporting Lisbon star, particularly given the abuse heaped on him during the aftermath to last summer's World Cup. However, Ronaldo, who joined United for £12million as a raw teenager in 2003, insists he never had any intention of quitting Old Trafford and is happy to stay exactly where he is. 'I wanted to stay,' he told MUTV. 'I am at the right club and this is why I signed 'Everything is okay here. I am happy with my colleagues, my friends and my coaches. 'The supporters have also helped me very much and I am really happy here.' With an impressive 20 goals to his name this term, Ronaldo has been the major driving force behind United's Treble bid. He scored twice in the midweek Champions League rout of Roma and will tomorrow hope to guide the Red Devils into the FA Cup final at the expense of Premiership basement boys Watford. Yet, despite the host of accolades coming his way, the youngster admits he still has plenty of improving to do. 'I was only 18 when I came here but everyone at the club has helped me,' he said. 'I have learned a lot already but I still have more to learn and I just want to keep going. 'I want to win more trophies here and hopefully, I can do that this season.' 'It is fantastic news,' said United manager Sir Alex Ferguson. 'It emphasises the point that Cristiano is happy here and that he is at the right club. 'He has a great relationship with the team, staff and the fans and he will go on to be one of Manchester United's great players.' As a winger of world-class proportions himself, team-mate Ryan Giggs has nothing but admiration for the way Ronaldo has performed this season. And the Welshman has no hesitation in backing those who claim the Portugal winger is the best player on the planet at present. 'I don't believe there is anyone who could rival him as being the best player in the world,' he said. 'For someone in his position, and of his age, to be as consistent as he has been, is remarkable. 'His performances have been brilliant. 'To secure his future for the next five years is great news for everyone.' Giggs has nothing but admiration for the way Ronaldo has emerged from the adverse reaction he received after the World Cup. 'Sometimes situations like that make you as a player,' he said. 'You have seen that many times, especially at this club. It can drive you on. 'It is all about individual characters and the determination within themselves. Cristiano has shown that this season. 'The booing seems to have stopped to a certain extent because people respect the way he plays the game and respect the ability he has.' Giggs does believe Ronaldo needs to maintain his current form for a few years before he can truly be bracketed with the all-time greats. But the 33-year-old is adamant his young team-mate can get better. 'Cristiano has improved as a player and he is still improving, that is the scary thing,' he said. 'He isn't bothered by the challenges that face him. 'He can definitely get better. The thing he has to do now, is do it over the next 10 years and be consistent. Then he will be up there with the greats.'

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Schuster signs pre-contract with Real Madrid

Getafe's German coach Bernd Schuster has signed a pre-contract agreement to become Real Madrid's manager next season, according to reports.

Schuster had an oral agreement with Real president Ramón Calderón but German news agency DPA report the former Real Madrid player now has a signed deal that states he will take over from 1 July 2007. Despite denying initial reports of a deal in Spanish newspaper AS earlier on Thursday, Schuster's representatives later confirmed the details of the pre-contract agreement to Deutsche Presse-Agentur. If Real decide not to appoint Schuster as Fabio Capello's successor the former German international will receive €1m. Likewise, if Schuster decides not to rejoin the club where he spent some of his most glorious years as a player he will have to shell out €1m. Schuster, who was a flamboyant playmaker for both Barcelona and Real Madrid, has forged one of the best defences in Spain, at Getafe, and his knowledge of La Liga puts him ahead of other candidates such as Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, Liverpool boss Rafa Benitez and Russia coach Guus Hiddink. In March, Schuster boosted his stock with the Madridstas when he lambasted out-of-favour Capello. 'Capello only wants to win, it does not matter how, and with that philosophy you will never succeed at Real Madrid,' he said. 'It is practically certain he won't be coach of Real Madrid next season.' Since then Schuster has been involved with planning Madrid's summer transfer campaign - demanding any plans of sell defender Fabio Cannavaro are shelved, approving a move for Germany international Christophe Metzelder and suggesting £50m is decent price for Cristiano Ronaldo.

The Waiting Game

I posted this like a month ago and Romario still hasn't scored his 1,000th goal. Perhaps it's 'sweetness and light'. I don't know.

The British 'Nanny State' Weasles it's way into Football

UEFA warns Manchester United fans to cut back on alcohol consumtion before the match. Are you kidding me? Tell me I didn't just read this! Last time I looked the E.U. was a proper Democracy. Perhaps not the finest one, but a Democracy nonetheless. UEFA have no right to put this out in public or even to request such a thing. Perhaps they should move to Russia and concentrate their money and influence there? It would make for a more molded setting as they are used to tyranny. UEFA is a disgrace!

If they dealt with the hooligan problem and participants at hand, this wouldn't be a problem. No, instead they feel it is better to issue statements and perhaps try to regulate rules and matches through local courts (as we saw in Italy), which resulted in non-enforcable sanctions. Not to mention the murder of a local Catania policeman. UEFA didn't enforce any of the penalties placed upon the clubs and one person was killed so far. I think the fair question is, why? Why have NONE of the UEFA penalties been enforced? Why were local courts paid off to overturn UEFA sanctions? Why? No answers right? UEFA is a disgrace!

They were paid off of course! They will not enforce any of these penalties. Not a single one. Even against racism in Spain. Racism in Spain and Italy is on par with hooliganism in Italy. No? Both have been festering for a while now. Absolutely nothing has been done about either one. UEFA is a disgrace!

I think Italian teams should be kicked out of UEFA, the same way English teams were after the Heysel Stadium wreck. I realise not as many people died...yet, but is that what UEFA are waiting for? I do not know. Hopefully, Platini will sort things out. I'm glad to see a footballer in the high-chair, but I also know the influence of the Euro on people. All in all one thing can be said...UEFA is a disgrace!

Europe's 'Envy' of the Premiership

"The Premiership is the best it has ever been in terms of success [in Europe] and the quality of football played. I am wowed often now by what I see in games. Look at last weekend: Portsmouth beat Man United, West Ham beat Arsenal, and then Watford beat Portsmouth and then we have this in the Champions League. It is hard to think it gets much better than this."

'Deflection' Frank Speaks

While Abromovich was not in Valencia, Spain the other night as he had 'business' to tend to (read wooing the new missus on the French Riviera. I do not blame him by the way!). Chelsea were getting their business done in Spain. The London lads must have had a fine siesta on Tuesday as they pulled out an important win at the bitter end or perhaps their bitter ends! All of this and JoMo is still on the 'hot seat'! Here is what 'Deflection' Frank has to say,

"He is one of the best in the world and I don't see many better than him out there. I am fortunate enough to work with him every day and have a very good relationship with him. I love working with the man.

"He is the focal point and leader of our group so the things he does make a big, big difference.

"Of course the players have to go out and perform but the manager is fantastic.

"Huge credit to him for what he did in Valencia. You can't talk highly enough about the moves he makes because many times they work for us."

I agree. I think Jose Mourinho is a very cohesive part of that super-star studded squad. He will be missed at Stamford Bridge and it will be a spell before they achieve the ranks Jose did. Mark these words.

Rafael is Bringing Sexyback

...them other boys they don't know how to act...

Rafael Benitez,

"We were good friends until we started winning, then he (Jose Mourinho) started changing his mind," added Benitez.

"It is the same with all the managers of the top sides. He has very good relationships with managers of teams that normally he beats.

"Then he started fighting with the managers of the top sides. He has already started it with us, yesterday!"

The Scoop (Rumour Mill)

Der Kaiser drops a hint on Owen Hargreaves' exit.

Is Hernan Crespo set for a return to London? The Blues will be needing cover for the Africa Cup of Nations departures during 2008 and Crespo is still on loan with Inter and under contract with Chelsea.

Here is a 'testimonial' for, what may be, Robbie Fowler's last match at Anfield.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

AC Milan 2 - 0 Bayern Munich

Champions League Highlights
The goals are in two parts
Goal 1 (27'): Seedorf



Goal 2: Inzaghi (31') (killer setup from Seedorf)



Liverpool 1 - 0 PSV

Champions League Highlights
Peter Crouch taps in an easy one.



Champions League

Liverpool 1 - 0 PSV Eindhoven
Peter Crouch bagged yet another goal in this boring match that was, for all intents and purposes, was finished last week. Nice win boys.
AC Milan 2 - 0 Bayern Munich
Well, an Italian team made it to the semis...much to my dismay. I hope Manchester United send those lads back to the geriatric ward of the local Milanese hospital...wheel chairs and walkers in hand!

Heh, Heh, Heh!

"(Luciano) Spalletti was asked if he would have done anything differently at Old Trafford after Roma's worst ever result in European competition. "I would've stayed at home!

On another note, let me pose a question to our readers. Who is Manchester United going to face in the Semis? Who would you rather face?

I have a feeling Munich is going to win at home tonight. Danny vanBuyten's last minute match tying goal did wonders for the Germans to see their way to the final four. I cannot wait! I love this time of year!

UPDATE: It seems I was wrong on that Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan match. Bayern are down 2 - 0 at the moment and do not seem like coming back.

Chelsea 2 - 1 Valencia

Champions League Highlights
Joe Cole's little pass to Essien was a brilliant piece of work. I don't think I have to mention the finish Essien took.



Manchester United 7 - 1 Roma

Champions League Highlights
Here are all the goals. Carrick's goal, Manchester's 6th was nice!



Roy Keen on Evans

Roy Keane (read this little op-ed if you get a chance) wants to keep Manchester United loanee, Jonny Evans for another season.

Keano has done a remarkable job this year for anybody, let alone a rookie manager. I have a sneaking feeling he may be taking that coveted Manchester United role when Sir Alex decides to leave. I cannot wait to see how he does back in the Premiership next year. If they stay atop the Championship that is;....they will.

Gotta love the picture. The only thing missing is a big cigar!

Coleman sacked by Fulham

Chris Coleman has been sacked as Fulham manager and replaced by Northern Ireland boss Lawrie Sanchez in a caretaker role.

Seven games without a win has seen Fulham drop to 15th place in the Premiership, only four points above the relegation zone, and the Welshman who has been manager at the club since April 2003 had been the subject of increasing pressure from Fulham's fans.

The club announced Coleman's departure on its website late on Tuesday saying there was no alternative but "to part company".

Coleman's assistant Steve Kean will also be replaced with immediate effect and the club said that they had agreed terms with the Irish FA for Sanchez to take control of team affairs until the end of the season.

The statement from the club said: "Chris Coleman has provided a fantastic service during his ten years at the club and it is disappointing that the club has no alternative but to part company.

"As a team and organisation Fulham Football Club has goals to attain and success to achieve and by no means can this be compromised."

Coleman's four year managerial reign at Fulham saw him take charge in 176 matches, of which he won 61, drew 44 but lost 71.

Fulham have won only seven of 33 matches in the Premiership this season and face both Arsenal and Liverpool in their remaining five matches of the campaign.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Embarassing!

Roma showed how lucky an Italian side were to make it this far in the competition tonight. Nevemind, that in my mind All Italian teams should be banned from European competition as a result of the uncovered match fixing scandel last year. That is another story for another time though. Manchester United gave them a massive 7 - 1 European spanking so rightly deserved!

Go back to Rome and sort your league out! Come back when you can play with the big boys. Italian teams have no right to be playing in Europe at the moment anyhow.

Congratulations on the wins boys! Chelsea, from Essien and Manchester United, from the entire team it seems.

Emphatic ManU romp on to the Semi Finals

Tuesday April 10th.. at Old Trafford the theatre of dreams an energetic and inspired Manchester United played their Champions League opponent out of England. A performance that may go down in history as one biggest defeats for a Roma side that came in looking to score just one goal after winning 2 goals to 1 in Rome against a 10 man Manchester United team.

With a full house of 79,000 fans the Manchester faithfuls were singing in volumes and the Roma counterparts were a wee bit quiet especially after a slight clash with the greater Manchester United police outside the stadium before hand. To the surprise of everyone SAF named a couple of starters no one expected in Alan Smith to partner Wazza upfront and Darren Fletcher to partner Michael Carrick in the middle. Right away you knew the defense was playing inspired football with the energy buzzing. You could just tell there was something in the air and it will be a brilliant day for Manchester United. Roma knew they needed to get a goal early to keep the ManU faithfuls quiet but the were caught off guards with the pace of the game and the incredible energy shown by the United players. Alan Smith ran a ball down from one side line to the other while Darren Fletcher seemed to man mark Totti and keep the Forzzi Italia star in his pocket. The majestic Michael Carrick was given space in the middle to pull strings and Ryan Giggs notcied that too so he moved center... pulling passes from all over the park and increasing the pace of the game soon enough after a brilliant run from the arguably the best player on the planet at the moment Christiano Ronaldo... Michael Carrick found enough space to put the ball past the Roma Keeper Doni.. who was left rooted to the ground. It was the start United needed as they kept the pace and soon enough Alan Smith found himself alone after a brilliant pass from Ryan Giggs... 2 - 0 ManU. You could at that point see the fear in the Roma players. In a few minutes afterwards Rooney gets a third goal for ManU to go up 3 - 0. It was pretty much over for the Roma team. They still tried and worked hard to get back into the match but everytime ManU went forward they put all sorts of pressure on the Roma back four that was in question before the match started anyway.

At the end of the day it was a brilliant performance from a ManU team that just lost to lowly Portsmouth FC on Saturday. If I were a fan of Roma I will sue Portsmouth for beating ManU this past weekend. It was a very good match to see if you were a ManU fan and a fan of attacking football. The player of the match could have gone to a number of people but for me I will hand it to Darren Fletcher for the work his did defensively on Totti and others disrupting their offense as Roma tried to mount any pressure on the United back four.


ManU 8 Roma 3


Who is next???

Chelsea vs. Valencia Live Commentary (20:50)

Chelsea 2 - 1 Valencia

Here we go! I have the line-ups for tonights fixture.
Valencia
Canizares, Ayala, Del Horno, Miguel, Moretti, Albeta, Albiol, Joaquin, Silva, Morientes, Villa
Chelsea
Cech, Carvalho, Cole, Terry, Ballack, Diarra, Essien, Lampard, Mikel, Drogba, Shevchenko

Very nice line-ups in my mind. Music and crowd rowidiness to come in a few minutes...

The boys are antsy in the hallway about to walk out with the kids. The Mestalla is quite loud tonight. I think they know what is on the line. They also know their formidable opponents.

It seems Albeda and Ayala are both on yellows as well as Essien and Diarra for Chelsea. If any of them get another, they will be spectators for the following match.

1min: Chelsea in all blue from left to right and Valencia White, black, white attacking right to left.
2min: Mikel caught in his corner and gives it up to future Liverpool player, David Villa, but it amounts to nothing.
4min: Essien fouls a Valencia player. The ball comes in, off the resulting free kick, to the top of the box, Chelsea clears.
7min: Mikel takes out Villa as if Nigeria were under attack from Spain, resulting in a free kick!
10min: Valencia corner results in nothing. The chance was there, but so was Cech.
11min: Chelsea corner. Ayala got a nice piece of Didier Drogba. Now he's sorting his head out. It seems he's fine and going to be inserted back into the line-up after he walked off the pitch of his own will.
15min: Free kick to Chelsea amounts to....nothing. This seems like a set-piece re-occuring nightmare. The same thing happened to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge a week ago. JoMo better work on that on the training pitch.
20min: Chelsea corner to Ballack who heads it directly into Blondie's open arms. Good chance for Ballack. He should have done better with that one.
23min: Another Chelsea corner...nothing. The referee is sorting out some defensive differences.
29min: Ooooooohhhhh, David Villa brought the ball down the right flank and flicked it to Morientes, in the middle, who in turn took one touch to set it up and cracked it directly off of Petr Cech's right side post! Wow that was a dinger!
31min: GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLLL! Fernando Morientes flicked a loveley cross from Joaquin past a lonely Petr Cech!
34min: Ooooooohhhhh, Valencia almost struck again from Morientes.
37min: Valencia with a one/two from Joaquin and Silva amounts to nothing inside the Chelsea box.
39min: Ooooooohhhhhh, Didier Drobgba put a header from waaaayyy out almost past Canizares. In fact it did pass him but it his the cross bar and he retrieved the rebound. On second look, it hit the keepers hand and not the bar. Nice save Santiago!
42min: Frank Lampard tries to lead Ashley Cole into the Valencia corner, only to send it way too long. Frank isn't on tonight.
44min: Alot of kick about in the middle of the park. Some nice quick passing from Chelsea until Del Horno takes out Sheva from behind and gets himself a yellow card in the meantime.
46min: Oooooooohhhhh, Sheva takes a shot just wide of the Valencia goal.
Half-Time: Chelsea do not look good tonight. Lampard is useless and there is no real build up for the Premiership Champs. Perhaps Manchester United will win this year. Valencia on the other hand are attacking well and Morientes should have bagged two already tonight.

I see Manchester United/Christiano Ronaldo is treating Roma like the useless step-children with fake passports that they are. Good. Four - Nill in case you are wondering. Send them back to Italy to deal with their real problems, like wankers who fancy themselves kung-fu artists!

46min: Joe Cole is on the pitch...look for some fancy work on the left side. Diarra came off to make space for Joe Cole.
47min: One touch training ground passing from Chelsea now. Until a Valencia foul. Chelsea must have touched it about 10 times without Valencia grabbing it.
48min: It seems our JoMo lit a fire under his players arses during the halftime talk. They are a different team at the moment. They are actually playing for a Champions League spot now.
50min: Albeda foul on Drogba...free kick Chelsea
51min: GOOOOOOOAAAAAAAALLLLLLL...Chelsea 1 - 1 Valencia. Cross in from the right into Drogba, who hit it first time. It deflected off two Valencia defenders right onto a surging Ukranian! Shevchenko didn't waste that one!
54min: It would appear that 'next goal wins' this tie. The way Chelsea are attacking at the moment, I would guess them. Although football tends to be a bit uneasy that way.
57min: I see JoMo is up off the bench! Something is rocking his boat.
60min: Ayala challenges for a header with Drogba and earns himself a yellow card. If I'm not mistaken, he's out of the next match for Valencia, if they were to make it through.
64min: Valencia Substitution, Angulo, on; Goal scorer, Morientes, off
66min: I have no clue why Morientes was taken off the pitch. He was playing very well. Perhaps Valencia want some fresh toes up top.
67min: Oooooohhhhhhh, the ball fell to Drogba at the top of the box. He too the shot between two defenders right into Canizares' hands.
68min: Ooooooohhhhh, Joe Cole had one defender to beat and launched it high and extremely wide. He should have done better although he hasn't played for quite a spell.
70min: I think John Terry took out David Villa...I'll give you details in a second though. Hugo Viana, the Tottenham reject is on!
74min: Oooooohhhh, Joe Cole just offside (actually alot offside), but he puts the ball in the net anyhow. That is reassuring for Chelsea.
76min: Chelsea attacking like they should right now. Corner kick comes to nothing. It wasn't David Villa who Terry took out as he has the ball at the moment. Not too sure who that was now. He had dark hair though!
78min: Cashley Dole gives Valencia an important corner and complains. It amounts to nothing...kind of fitting, don't you think. Oooooooooohhhhhhhh!, Angulo found himself free on the left side of the Chelsea box and proceeded to kick it into row G. How disappointing that must me. Morientes would have bagged it.
82min: Kalou is getting ready on the touchline. Not sure what that is going to do but he is.
84min: Free kick for Chelsea....Oooooooohhhhh Lampard put an inswinger into Ballack who redirected it on goal only for Santiago to put el mano to it again! Brilliant save, yet again from the old blondie! Is he old? He seems like he's been around for a while. He's 'wise', I know that!
87min: A bit of knock about at the moment. Nothing really threatening either way.
91min: Ooooooohhhh, GOOOOOOOOAAAAAALLLLLLL, Essien blasts a shot past Canizares from the right side, middle of the box to the left of the goalkeeper! He took that as if he were a seasoned striker, not a right back/holding midfielder! Well taken goal son!
92min: Substitution Chelsea; Shevchenko, out, Kalou, on
94min: Toot, toot, toot! Essien grabbed the match for Chelsea at the brink of extra time. None of that for the Londoners tonight as the Starchild hooks up a match winner again!

As of now there are two English teams in the final and the other has one foot inside the door. The Champions League trophy will be making its way to England this year. I believe that is a safe bet.

Nobody really stood out this match, but I have to give the Man of the Match to Michael Essien for his superb strike and the death!