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Motorola has signed David Beckham to promote their new RAZR2 mobile phone in Korea. Motorola also giving away trips to LA for the lucky one amongst the first customers of RAZR2 in Korea. RAZR2 will features with a 2.2-inch display screen faster ARM processor, CrystalTalk technology, up to 2GB of on-board memory, Web browsing and real-time point-to-point video. RAZR2 will be available by Q3 2007. Head to David Beckham RAZR2 Kick-Off Event.
Liverfool kalah pada AC Milan pada final Champion league awal pagi tadi. Akhirnya satu cup pun Liverfool xdapat tahun ni…miahaa
German football aces Oliver Kahn and Michael Ballack were compensated 50,000 euros each in Hamburg after they win a lawsuit over a sex toy firm in the country which used their names to sell vibrators.
The Bayern Munich goalkeeper and Chelsea midfielder sued the firm Beate Uhse because it sold special World Cup vibrators called “Michael B” and “Olli K” last year without their permission. Link
It’s all about the goals. All 66 of them in the Premiership, which gives them an average of 2.27 goals per game. That’s a phenomenal scoring rate by anyone’s standards and constitutes almost half a goal per game more than Chelsea. The two teams might have similar defensive records, but the title will be won by ManYoo in front of the opposition goal, not their own.
The secret has been to keep it tight early in the game – ManYoo have conceded only seven first-half goals in 29 games – and then blitz the opposition in the second half. From 14 games they have been drawing at half-time, nine of them have ended in victory for United. Liverpool and Fulham are only the latest clubs to be in sight of holding on, only to be worn down eventually.
If Chelsea finish this season in second, fans will talk of injuries to Petr Cech and John Terry. But the stats show that Chelsea are conceding no greater number of goals than last season, they’re simply scoring less. Probably due to a change of formation that has made them even more pragmatic, Chelsea have lost around ten goals from the same stage last season. They are clearly over-relying on Didier Drogba and one man alone cannot win the title.
The lack of attacking options (Salomon Kalou, anyone?) means that Chelsea are lagging way behind ManYoo and Arsenal when it comes to second-half form, which leaves them drawing games (against Fulham, Reading and Villa, for example) that ManYoo would undoubtedly win.
The anomaly of Liverpool’s season is that they have upped their scoring record considerably and yet they are no better off in terms of points and position. Unfortunately, those goals have come in groups of four against the likes of Wigan and Fulham, but have not come in ones and twos against the biggest sides in the Premiership.
There is no doubt that Liverpool’s form against top-half sides has cost them a title challenge. They are only seventh in the league that calculates games against the better half of the top flight, with just 12 goals scored in 15 such games. Blanks against ManYoo, Arsenal and Chelsea illustrate perfectly Liverpool’s problem – breaking down the best defences.
Whisper it, but Arsene Wenger’s right – Arsenal are moving in the right direction this season. They may have struggled in cup competitions but they have scored more goals and amassed more points in the Premiership than at this stage last year. And over the last eight games, their record matches that of the top two.
Just imagine how good they would be if they started playing from the first whistle – their first-half record is actually worse than Wigan’s as they have scored only 16 of their 51 goals in the opening 45 minutes. Thankfully for Wenger, they have a remarkable resilience – four times emerging victorious after giving the opposition a headstart and six times emerging with a point.
How are Bolton in fifth exactly? They’re scoring less goals and letting in more than last season, they have a goal difference of zero, they’ve scored less goals than Blackburn, conceded more than Manchester City and over the last eight games, only three teams have had a worse record. Does the table lie?
Well no, but what Bolton’s record clearly illustrates is that they will have to improve and sharpish if they want to remain in a UEFA Cup place because 2007’s form is one of a team battling relegation, not battling for Europe.
Only ManYoo and Chelsea concede fewer goals in the first 45 minutes of games than the Toffees, and it’s that kind of solid base that has seen Everton remain in the top ten all season. But what seperates Everton from the elite is that the miserliness of the first half rarely lasts the whole game – eight first-half goals conceded turns into 18 after the break.
The key to beating Everton is to score first – not once have they managed to turn a potential defeat into victory, a sure sign that they lack firepower. Andrew Johnson is in double figures for Premiership goals (just) but with James Beattie and Victor Anichebe contributing only two goals each, it leaves David Moyes with very few options for a Plan B.
The fifth-highest scorers in the Premiership – not bad for a strikeforce that basically cost bugger all. Only twice in their last 18 Premiership games have Reading failed to score, while only ManYoo have had a higher number of goalscorers. While their defensive record has been average, their offensive record has been exemplary.
And that comes from the opening whistle – with Reading scoring 23 of their goals in the first half. But that doesn’t mean that they flag, because three times the Royals have turned potential defeats into wins, most spectacularly on the opening day of the season against Middlesbrough.
Just like Arsenal, Tottenham have a first-half problem. If games ended at half-time, Spurs would be in 13th rather than eighth. Of 29 Premiership games, Spurs have been leading only six by half-time.
But this Spurs side has a resilience previously missing amongst other Tottenham sides. Only the Gunners have gained more points from a possible losing position, with Spurs winning three games and drawing three more when the opposition have scored first. In their last six Premiership games, Tottenham have scored five goals in the 88th minute or beyond. Keep that up and Europe beckons once again.
Unfortunately for Pompey, they’re currently in relegation form having hit the 40-point wall. Only West Ham have a worse record over the last eight games, with Pompey managing to hit the target only four times – put it plainly, they’re in abysmal form. Their problem lies in scoring goals in the second half – it’s been four months since they turned a half-time draw into victory.
But for comfort, Portsmouth fans can look at their troubles at the same stage last season, when they had just 21 points and a goal difference of -29. Those figures are now 41 and +5.
Rovers’ statistics do not make wildly interesting reading – average goals against (if you discount that out-of-character tonking at the hands of Arsenal) and average goals scored in a season that sees them sat firmly in midtable and recovering from an early-campaign slump.
The one anomaly is their tendency to struggle if their opponents score first – on 14 occasions they have fallen behind and 12 times this has ended in defeat. With only four draws this season, you have to conclude that they have lost games (against Watford and Everton, most recently) that could and probably should have seem them reap at least a point.
Barcelona have played down reports linked United with a surprise big-money move for Catalan midfielder Xavi Hernandez.
The Spanish international was reportedly a shock alternative transfer target to Bayern Munich and England star Owen Hargreaves.
However, a Barca spokesman told Sky Sports: “We do not know about this subject. Normally the club does not respond to stories published in the papers but we have not received any offer. Xavi is a key man for us and has signed a contract until 2010.”
Bayern Munich’s changeable stance on the future of Hargreaves has prompted the tabloids to focus on alternative targets for Sir Alex Ferguson, including Xavi, Bordeaux’s Rio Antonio Mavuba and Blackburn’s David Bentley.
The most surprising name linked with Old Trafford thus far has to be that of Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor. The News of the World claims the Togo striker will be offered a new deal to ward off United’s interest.
The biggest name tipped to leave Old Trafford in the transfer window is Argentine defender Gabriel Heinze, who has apparently alerted Juventus, AC Milan and Valencia.
Heinze’s mooted departure could pave the way for more tabloid rumours to bear fruit, with the arrival of 17-year-old Southampton left-back Gareth Bale. The Welsh international youngster is highly rated, with United, Liverpool, Arsenal and even Real Madrid tipped to test the Saints’ resolve.
Elsewhere, Alan Smith is set to stay at Old Trafford despite being an alleged loan target for half the Premiership, while Wes Brown is also keen to remain at United.
English footballer David Beckham is leaving Real Madrid to join the Los Angeles Galaxy of the MLS. At an estimated $250 million in salary and endorsements over five years, it’s being promoted as the largest deal in sporting history.
To give a sense of scale, the league’s highest paid player last year was Juan Francisco Palencia, a former Mexican national team forward who made $1.36 million playing for Chivas USA, another Los Angeles team that shares a stadium with the Galaxy.
MLS is betting big that the world’s most reconizable footballer can finally bring soccer into the big time in the United States. Grant Wahl of CNNSI thinks it will work, and that Beckham’s signing will open the doors for other superstars to sign with US teams. Brazil’s Ronaldo, for example, has long been rumored to be joining the New York Red Bulls.
But the real subtext, in my opinion, is the battle between Adidas and Nike for sports marketing dominance in the United States, a battle that Nike has been winning for some time. Of the 25 richest athletes in 2006 (according to Forbes), 12 have relationships with Nike, including names like Tiger Woods, Lebron James, Derek Jeter, and Lance Armstrong. Beckham, a long-time Adidas client, is another piece in Adidas’ arsenal. In 2004, Adidas placed a big long-term bet on MLS’s success with a 10-year partnership deal worth $150 million. This is a league that has lost more than $350 million in the past decade.
Personally, I wish the MLS was thinking a little smaller. Why not sign some stars from Latin America to appeal to Latinos, still the most loyal audience for soccer in this country?
This campaign for Wataniya Telecom is actually from back in the summer when World Cup 2006 fever gripped the region.
It’s really worth a look! Kuwaitis in kit colored traditional wear.
Hummel has released the 8.4 PIO FGX football boot— performance footwear that utilizes a unique combination of design and technical features to provide a truly personalized fit. Using a revolutionary new smart-foam material, the insole of the 8.4 PIO FGX can be custom molded to a player’s foot using heat, ensuring maximum comfort and support. Get the whole scoop in our Studio Bullitts section.
Rather than ponder on the big questions of 2007, like whether there is a plastic surgeon capable of making Harry Redknapp look normal, Eat Football has chosen to look back on the last twelve months – at some of the stories that didn’t make the mainstream news.
January – Struggling Birmingham City were facing a return to the Championship, with their defensive record threatening to hasten their descent down the leagues. In an effort to look for new blood at the back, manager Steve Bruce launched a talent contest via the club’s website to find the next.. er.. Steve Bruce. The competition, called ‘How do you Solve a Problem Like Mario Melchiot’ saw hundreds of entrants battle it out for a place at the heart of City’s backline.
February – Screened on the BBC, the Great British IQ Test gave viewers the chance to test their intelligence against people from all walks of life from the four corners of the nation. Football people were well represented, with the managers in particular recording a good score in the league table of ‘professions’, finishing high up between solicitors and chefs. Faring less well however was the unusual category of ‘people who wear jester hats on cup final days’, who finished a miserable second bottom, narrowly above P.E. teachers.
March – Although then a coach within the England set-up, Middlesbrough manager Steve McLaren added his voice to the debate calling for compensation to be paid for players on international duty. Boro chairman Steve Gibson agreed and since then has been compensating the F.A. heavily each time Stuart Downing has been selected for the England Squad.
April – The tabloids had a silly season, pushing tenuous stories about footballers even beyond their normal levels. An exclusive about Premiership stars supposedly ‘Roasting a Bird’ at a Surrey mansion turned out to be no more than a paparazzi snapping Tottenham players Robbie Keane and Ledley King preparing a Gressingham duck for a meal with their respective partners. And behind the enticing headline ‘Teddy in Mobile Phone Shame’ lay the story that Hammers star Teddy Sheringham had been ribbed by his team-mates for sporting a chunky 80’s mobile phone similar to the one used by Del Boy in Only Fools and Horses.
May – Wayne Rooney released a book about his favourite pastime, sampling the delights of fast food emporiums across the country. In the expensive leather-bound volume, England’s strike hero picked out highlights such as Preston’s pizza restaurant ‘Deep-pan Dale’ and Highbury’s Indian takeaway, ‘The Burning Arse-nal’. Sadly, Wayne’s pick of the Oriental food market, Charlton’s ‘The Happy Valley’ closed soon after the arrival of Iain Dowie as manager.
June – Dwight Yorke looked to cash in on the success of Trinidad and Tobago’s world cup qualifying campaign by launching his own exercise video. In it, he demonstrates using the power of the mind to exercise the muscles with a Reggae laced soundtrack. The video, ‘Pilates of the Caribbean’ can be found now priced £2.99 at all good garage forecourts.
July – A major new report was released by the scientific community, pinning much of the blame for the world’s environmental problems squarely at the door of football. The reports most shocking conclusions were that the catering at Old Trafford was largely responsible for the overfishing of prawns in the North Sea, and that during the 1980’s a small hole in the ozone layer over Merseyside was caused primarily by the hairspray used by Barry Venison. This report echoed the findings of earlier research that stated hot air spouted from Mark Lawrenson had brought about a 2 degree increase in average temperatures across the UK.
August – Producers of Rio Ferdinand’s TV pranks show were forced to pull an early episode where the goofy defender explained that the cause of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s youthful looks were down to Rio dosing his morning tea with an extract of monkey glands for the past five years. Fearing a legal case on behalf of the ‘Baby Faced Assassin’, the show was left on the cutting room floor, meaning other revelations were also consigned to history, the chief one being Rio’s doctoring of Kleberson’s scout report to make him sound good.
September – In an early attempt to muscle in on the Christmas novelty toy market, Steve McLaren launched his own range of figurines called ‘The Bald Patch Kids’. This was quickly followed by the release to major chainstores of Mourinho’s action dolls, in his ‘G.I. Jose’ range.
October – A planning application committee was held to discuss plans for a new statue to be erected outside Stamford Bridge. The rationale behind the depiction of disgraced former M.P. David Mellor was stated at the meeting as being down to the fact that he ‘had scored more often in a Chelsea shirt than Shevchenko’.
November – Strictly Come Dancing fever hit the soccer world with former Manchester United keeper Peter Schmeichel’s progression through the early rounds of the BBC ratings winner. Soon, Cristiano Ronaldo was doing the quickstep, Tony Adams and Steve Morrow were invited onto the show to demonstrate how not to do lifts and Alex Ferguson refused once again to contemplate his last waltz. Unfortunately, there was no truth in the rumour that Panorama had taped Harry Redknapp on the phone to Bruce Forsyth telling him ‘It takes two grand to tango’.
December – Reports in the Newcastle Evening Chronicle that Toon defender Titus Bramble was missing training due to a swollen calf were true, but not quite in the way fans expected. Apparently, his favourite baby cow ‘Twinkletoes’ had become ill at the player’s Northumberland farm after eating infected feed, causing it to balloon dangerously. Manager Glenn Roeder had to call in vets to put the poor animal out of its misery, leaving Newcastle needing a new centre back in the January transfer window. Twinkletoes later recovered after receiving antibiotics.
So that was 2006, year of the world cup in Germany, Chelsea’s continued domestic dominance and Arsenal’s near miss in Europe. However, as we like to remember it, it was also the year that West Ham midfielder Yossi Benayoun was diagnosed by doctors as having ‘Clinically Skinny Legs’. It also saw thieves break into the home of Jerzy Dudek and steal all of his gold discs from his days of masquerading as Pop Idol’s ‘Darius’. It was the year in which Alan Hansen stormed off the set of Match of the Day after being asked his opinion of a 0-0 draw, to which he had nothing to say due to the great defending from both sides. We also witnessed famous Colorado knee surgeon Dr Richard Steadman being petitioned by neighbours after complaints that the Premiership stars he treats we’re blocking residents access by badly parking their Bentleys. And finally, it was the time that Ian Holloway admitted that several of the turnips he grew during his gardening leave from QPR had since been signed to the Leeds United playing staff.
By Matt Warnes
The Christmas period hasn’t exactly decided the title but it has shaped the run-in. The prevailing feeling wasthat while United could not win the Premiership over Chrismas, they could have lost it. Where once games against Martin O’Neil’s Aston Villa, high-flying Reading, a revitalised Newcastle and Wigan seemed a walk in the park, United faced them with trepidation after the defeat to West Ham. But with three wins and a draw the Reds can be pleased with their festive haul. By contrast Chelsea, with games against Wigan, Reading, Aston Villa and Fulham have dropped six points where a full 12 might realistically have been expected. It means that while United won’t go into the run-in as favourites, they do have a healthy six point lead.
It was perhaps the Villa game, therefore, that was the most crucial, coming as it did so soon after defeat to the Hammers. United’s mettle was certainly tested for a half by an Aston Villa side low on wins but high on organisation under O’Neil. The Reds’ second-half display set the tone for a free-scoring holiday period.
Certainly the vibes are good at Old Trafford now. Going into Christmas Chelsea had already ‘claimed’ the title. While that bare-faced arrogance deserves to be punished the question now for United is twofold. Will they fold or thrive under the pressure and can the squad cope? With the nation on the Reds’ side for once, let’s hope for a positive answer to both questions over the coming months!
Most of all what United need now is to be brave and be focused. Ferguson took risks with squad selection over the last four matches, especially against Wigan where five changes could have been punished after a disjointed display. The manager at least has resisted the urge to resort to safety-first tactics by deploying five in midfield for some time now. Long may that continue – United can only win the Premiership playing the ‘United way.’
But with the window now open there are still no solid rumours regarding United’s transfer activity – the suspicion being that Henrik Larsson will probably be it as far as squad strengthening goes, even with Owen Hargreaves still priority number one. If so, will United be able to boast both the quality and depth of resources to challenge on all fronts?
Mentally the Villa game was difficult for United. Many of the squad, with 10 minutes to go on Merseyside, will have considered themselves eight points clear. Instead, going into Christmas they faced a new challenge from a seemingly resurgent Chelsea with trips to Stamford Bridge, Anfield, White Hart Lane and the Emirates to come in 2007. But the team came through the test and demonstrated the mental toughness that comes with increasing maturity as a team. This is where every inch of Ferguson’s experience is now needed. This is not the time for tinkering, experimentation or changes. Put out your best team, points in the bag and let’s keep the pressure on Mafioski FC when the Premiership resumes in two weeks.
Chelsea, led by Mourinho, has been bullish this week, suggesting that the title is theirs and that their ‘problems’ mean United should have been twelve clear by now. Certainly, United should really have an additional five points having created a litany of chances at West Ham and Newcastle. But the brash arrogance of Chelsea is something to behold. You ARE six points behind boys and United is traditionally stronger, not weaker, in the closing stages of the season.
Much depends on injuries and squad strengthening of course. United can ill-afford to be without any first team players, let alone any key ones. Even Chelsea know that one. Today, Managing Director David Gill played down the chances of making any signings in January. A smokescreen or a signal to the fans that Henrik Larsson will be it? Certainly the prevailing suspicion has been that there isn’t really any cash available. If there is then a midfielder and a striker would be the order of the day … but then again everybody bar Sir Alex seems to know that!
Indeed, it will be United fans’ first chance to see Larsson in a Red shirt on Sunday in United’s FA Cup Third Round match against Aston Villa. He’ll start alongside Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in a geriatric front line! With Premiership and Champions League games coming thick and fast in the next two months it’s likely that a number of fringe players will get an outing in the cup including leaden-footed John O’Shea, Darren Fletcher and Kieran Richardson. Ferguson may even opt to use Giuseppe Rossi who has now returned from a disappointing loan spell at Newcastle.
While squad numbers have been boosted by loans and returning players the quality will probably only be marginally better when the window closes. Yet, most of all, it is not the depth of squad that is going to decide the title – its mental strength. Who’ll crack first?
Article by The Editor
Manchester United v Wigan Athletic, Old Trafford, 11.00pm Tuesday 26th December 2006.
United, 1st 47pts – Wigan Athletic, 13th 22pts.
United’s first home fixture of the Christmas programme sees the visit of Wigan who were undeserving losers against Chelski on Saturday. SAF has major selection problems with Paul Scholes (suspended), Nemanja Vidic (suspended) and Michael Carrick (ankle) doubtful. However Fergie does have options with Brown, Silvestre and Heinze capable of stepping in at centre half and
Giggs or O’Shea will step in for Scholes with OGS and Ji Sung Park fit again
Wayne Rooney is expected to start after being left out of the starting line-up against Villa with a family bereavement apparently keeping the young striker out. Paul Jewell is still without seven players with Henri Camara, Andy Webster, Antonio Valencia, Paul Scharner, Steve McMillan and Ryan Taylor all out injured and Lee McCulloch is suspended.
United Team News
Carrick (ankle) is doubtful for United.
Suspended: Vidic and Scholes.
Watch Out For
With so many players out Emile Heskey is the dangerman especially with United’s defence weakened. Will Big Frank Bruno run amok?
No Vidic or Scholes. Easter Island’s best and John “I wear Diving” Boots O’Shea might get a run out instead. It’ll be a hard game considering Wigan bossed Chelski’s midfield recently. 3-1 to United.
SAF’s 564th Premiership fixture in charge.
Drogba-like Heskey wears roller skates!
Rant’s Predicted United Starting Line-up
(4-4-2): van der Sar; Neville, Ferdinand, Brown, Evra; Park, Fletcher, Giggs, Ronaldo; Saha, Rooney.
Subs from: Kusczak, Heinze, Silvestre, O’Shea, Richardson, Smith, Solskjaer.