Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Profiles of the Great and Good: Hristo Stoichkov: "There Are Only Two Christs...The Other Is in Heaven"

"There are only two Christs; one plays for Barcelona, the other is in heaven," so said Hristo Stoichkov before collecting his award for European Footballer of the Year in 1994.

With Hristo directly translating as Christ, you could be forgiven for thinking he was joking and that it was a play on words...but you'd be wrong. Stoichkov had three massive elements to his person, a God-given skill, a God-sized ego, and a Devil of a temperament...

Lies, Damned Lies, and The Damned United

The "Big Screen" adaptation of David Peace's "The Damned United" hits the cinemas this weekend. With little or nothing decent in the cinema at the moment the film is perfectly timed to capture the public imagination, especially with the Premiership title run in beginning to heat up.

Adapted from the aforementioned book, director Tom Hooper has foregone the darkness of the original manuscript and has gone for a more light hearted affair. It's hardly what you would call a comedy though...

Dimitar Berbatov Out For Bulgaria, On Current Form It's a Bad Move For Ireland

With Giovanni Trappatoni worrying over the fitness of Shay Given and Aiden McGeady ahead of Ireland's crucial World Cup Qualifiers against Bulgaria and Italy he was hit with the hammer blow news that Dimitar Berbatov has pulled out of the Bulgaria squad.

The Manchester United striker has failed to deliver on his £30m stg price tag this season and his last few performances in the famous red shirt of United have been abject at best...

Spurs' Ledley King Called Up and Then Removed from England Squad. Why?

In a sensational move, Ledley King has left England's training camp two days after he was originally called up, and now will not feature in Saturday's friendly against Slovakia or in the World Cup qualifier with Ukraine on Wednesday.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

"Seven-Man" United Come Undone Against Fulham and the Title Race Is Back On

Manchester United gave Liverpool every chance to get back into the title hunt with an inept display against Fulham at Craven Cottage today. After the manner of the defeat to Liverpool last weekend, Alex Ferguson saw fit to recall his "old" guns to the team only to be let down by Paul Scholes who was sent off.

Wayne Rooney, who had come on as a substitute for the deplorable Dimitar Berbatov, was also sent off while United were losing 2-0 and with that went any chance of result...

Spurs Sign Aaron Lennon to Long Term Deal to Fend Off Liverpool and Real Madrid

Tottenham Hotspur's diminutive winger Aaron Lennon has committed himself to the club by signing a new contract that will keep him at White Hart Lane until 2014.

With a massive improvement in form over the last six months, Lennon who had been one of Spurs' lowest paid players was expected to join the likes of Robbie Keane and Johnathan Woodgate in the club's highest bracket, as his importance to the team has risen exponentially since Harry Redknapp took over.

EPL: Tottenham Hotspur vs. Chelsea: Tactical Preview

Spurs entertain local rivals Chelsea at White Hart Lane today in a match that will be a defining moment for where the two teams finish in the English Premier League this season.

Tottenham are back in form under Harry Redknapp and are now unbeaten in their last seven games. This form has seen them rise from relegation fodder to potential European contenders in a mere matter of weeks...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

No One Wants To Play Liverpool: A Look Ahead to Friday's Champions League Draw

After the manner in which they destroyed first Real Madrid and then current European Champions Manchester United, and with their phenomenal record in the competition under their tactically astute manager, Liverpool have become the team everyone wants to avoid in Friday's draw for the Quarter Finals of the Champions League.

Despite Barcelona and Manchester United being quoted as the current favorites at the bookmakers both squads will be keen to avoid the Anfield side, until the final at least...

Sunday, March 15, 2009

English Premier League 2008/09 Players of the Season: A Club-by-Club Guide

Who have been the best players in the EPL this season? Who will win Player of the Season at their respective clubs? Never mind the overall Player of the Year award. Nemanja Vidic seemed the champion-elect up until his nightmare performance against Liverpool recently.

So I have compiled a list of who I think will win their own club awards this season, and from that, it should be easier to pinpoint the overall award.

So without further adieu...

Harry Redknapp Sends Three Young Spurs Out to Loan in the Championship

Harry Redknapp has sent three of his youngest players out to loan, in a move that is as much about gaining experience as it is about gaining the manager's confidence.

Adel Taarabt, Giovani Dos Santos, and Chris Gunther have all dropped down a division for the rest of the season, going to Q.P.R., Ipswich Town, and Nottingham Forest, respectively...

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Manchester United Still on an Inter-Mission While Liverpool Prove the Real Deal

Liverpool came to Old Trafford and conquered. A stunning 4-1 win over their rivals Manchester United has thrown the title race wide open and has given the Anfield giants an outside chance of winning that elusive title.

Goals from Fernando Torres, Steven Gerrard, Fabio Aurelio, and Andrea Dossena left Manchester United and Alex Ferguson all scratching their heads, after they had taken the lead through an early Cristiano Ronaldo penalty...

Friday, March 13, 2009

Match of the Day: Manchester United v Liverpool: It All Comes Down To This...

Liverpool travel to Manchester United for the biggest and most important match of the season. First plays second in a match that could determine where the Premiership title resides for the coming year.

Should United win then the title is theirs, as they would become virtually uncatchable with few games remaining. Should Liverpool win, then the title will still remain within Alex Ferguson's grasp, however the Anfield giants will be breathing down their necks during the run and one slip up could put Liverpool back in pole position.

Shamrock Rovers 2-1 Sligo Rovers: The Night Football Finally Came Home...

Shamrock Rovers beat Sligo Rovers 2-1 tonight in Tallaght and made a little bit of history while they were at it.

Michael O'Neill's men overcame the "Bit O'Red" on a brutal winters night that heralded the opening home game of the coming summer soccer season and the first real home game for the Hoops in over 22 years.

After 22 Years, Shamrock Rovers Finally Have a Place to Call Home

This night took 22 years to make. The most storied, celebrated, and successful team in Irish soccer have finally come home.

Just over two decades ago, Shamrock Rovers had Glenmalure Park sold from under them, in the intervening time frame they have travelled the length and breadth of the country to play their home matches...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Thierry Henry Inspires Barcelona to an Emphatic 5-2 Win Over Lyon

Barcelona took Olympique Lyonnais apart at the Camp Nou tonight to record an emphatic 5-2 victory and book a place in Friday week's quarterfinal draw.

A barnstorming first half saw Los Cules race into a 4-0 lead and effectively end the tie before Lyon even got out of the blocks.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Barcelona v Lyon: Champions League Last 16: La Blaugrana Turn The Corner Just in Time...

Two weeks ago, Thierry Henry scored an invaluable away goal to hand the advantage to Barcelona in their Champions League match at Stade Gerland.

Lyon provided a stern test for the favorites and even had the temerity to take the lead through a majestic Juninho Pernambuco free kick, eventually wayward finishing and Barcelona's undoubted quality combined to leave the tie on a knife-edge at 1-1.

Football's Hard Men: A Who's Who of the Hardest Men in Soccer

The beautiful game...Over the years football has had its fair share of memorable characters. Great players, great managers, legends...One can remember moments that seem to stick in the recesses of the mind.

Diego Maradona dribbling from the half way line against England. Marco Tardelli wheeling away with tears in his eyes after he scored in the World Cup final. Pele and Moore swapping jerseys. There are many moments in the sport we love.

But one thing that is as remembered as a great goal is a great tackle, and sometimes a bad tackle.

Here is a celebration of some of the hardest, dirtiest, and toughest players ever to play the game.

First up is Terry Butcher as pictured above...

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Tottenham 0-0 Manchester United: Red Devils Win the Carling Cup On Penalties

Manchester United defeated Spurs on penalties in Wembley to claim the seasons first major trophy. Ben Foster turned out to be the hero after a season where his future at Old Trafford was often questioned. In a tactical game where defences dominated chances were at a premium and it came as no surprise to anyone to see the game go into extra time and on to penalties.