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Ballack Shellacked

May 17, 2010 by JoeSpeaker | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League, World Cup

Germany midfielder Michael Ballack will miss the World Cup after tearing an ankle ligament or three in the FA Cup Final won this last weekend by Ballack’s Chelsea over Portsmouth. He sustained he injury after a tackle–termed “brutal” by Germany manager Joachim Low–from Pompey’s Kevin-Prince Boateng, who also happens to be on the provisional roster of Ghana, which also happens to be in Germany’s group.

For further intrigue, Boateng was born in Berlin and featured for several German national youth teams before committing to Ghana on the senior level. His half-brother, Jerome, decided to stick with Der Mannschaft (gayest team nickname ever? Gayest team nickname ever) and is on Germany’s provisional World Cup roster.

ballack

Ballack, at 33, is not the dominant player he was in his prime (he had an especially potent tournament in ’02), but was expected to start and lend experience in midfield. The Germans have undertaken something of a youth movement, bringing in a new generation of players and Ballack’s steadying force was seen as integral. Definitely a blow to their chances, but it is never wise to count out the Germans. As former England marksman Gary Lineker once said,

“Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans win.”

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Good Times Alert: Interactive Chalkboards

April 13, 2010 by Danieldinho | 1 Comment | Filed in English Premier League

I hardly get how to use them, but you can track matches and compare stats with the Guardian’s new Interactive Chalkboards feature. Right now it’s all about Premier League, but I can only imagine they’ll have the same movable data display available for World Cup 2010, too.

Football management newbies like myself should check out the FAQ here.

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Twitter Causes Your Team To Suck?

February 17, 2010 by D.A. Hasselbaink | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League

darren-bent-soccerati

Or so says Darren Bent. The Sunderland striker recently swore off Twitter after claiming that the 140-character-or-less social networking site was a “distraction” to himself and  his relegation-threatened teammates.

“I had a good chat with the manager recently and I just thought with the run we’re on at the moment, I needed to get rid of the distractions,” Bent told the Sunderland Echo. “I have to solely focus on getting Sunderland out of the relegation battle and I have shut the Twitter down. I don’t even go on it any more to look at what other people are posting.”

Well, I guess when it comes from a guy called “DBTheTruth” it has to be…true.

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The Weekly Dump – February 16th

February 17, 2010 by AlCantHang | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League, International Play

S.I. Bodypainted WAGS

Soccer WAGs in bodypaint – The Sports Illustrated Swimsuit has an iconic reputation even if it’s lost some of it’s gleam with the every day stylings of PG-13 mags like Maxim, FHM, etc but it’s worth a look. Even more so now that they’ve thrown in four of the finest WAGs covered in nothing but bodypaint. Go ahead and check them out, I’ll be here when you return.

“I was just trying to help the payroll!” – Seems ManU supporter Adam Teese has fine aim from the stands as he winged Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy with a coin from the stands. Teese was arrested and continued the streak of nasty business during the derby.

When all else fails, blame the press – First Chelsea go out and smoke Arsenal on the pitch then Wenger took a few shots at the boys in Blue with “They make the foul at the right time when they are caught on the counter-attack, the little push with the shirt. It is not enough to get a yellow card.” Michael Ballack took exception and gave a little back to the Arsenal manager. In the end, Wenger just blames it all on the press.

“You did that at Villa, you did that at Chelsea,” Wenger continued. “If you look at the intent of my press conference it was positive to the opponent. If you want, we can have a press conference and I can say nothing, don’t worry.”

Bad break for the EPL leaders – Chelsea followed up their big win over Chelsea by letting Everton pick up 3 points later in the week. The biggest hit to the table leaders is the loss of Ashley Cole with a broken ankle. He’ll likely be out for 3 months and will make it more interesting to see if Wayne Bridge gets a call to the national team. Though Ancelotti does hope Cole will be ready. Incidentally, Cole’s injury was sustained in a clash with Mr. Landycakes.

Broken ankle not Cole’s only problem – Ashley Cole’s broken ankle will now give him plenty of time to deal with the problem of watching his wife split for the States without the jewels of matrimony. What the hell is in the water at Stamford Bridge?

Footballers find something to be shy about – It’s not uncommon to see/hear some nasty things around various soccer venues especially in the deep heart of the continent. There are still some crazy stories about racial abuse even in these “enlightened” times. Even with these random problems they seem to be making some progress. Racial issues are easy compared to someone asking top footballers to help stamp out homophobia. Big strong men afraid of catching a little grief from opposing supporters.

“Everybody assumes footballers are full of confidence, but it is not easy on issues like this. Remember there was a time when even black players did not feel they could talk about race.”

Welcome to 2010 gentlemen.

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The Weekly Dump – February 8th

February 9, 2010 by AlCantHang | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League

John Terry - Father of the Year

John Terry – Father of the Year

I’ve spent a few of these weekly link dumps to have a little fun at the expense of the Scousers and Gooners and anyone else worthy of a pop, so I suppose I should be an equal opportunity jerk and take a shot at my boy John Terry. Chelsea stalwart, former English captain, and all around fine fellow. Until.

Terry sets precedent – Rumors had been widely circulated that Chelsea tough guy John Terry had been spending some quality horizontal time with the lady friend of former mate Wayne Bridge. The British court system was heavily weighted against the press up until last week when they were given permission to document the details. Now it is the biggest sporting sex scandal since Tiger Woods showed up at a random Hooters.

Terry sacked as English captain – No real surprise here as the entire nation was calling for his head. Just to keep things interesting with actual football, Fabio Capello named Rio Ferdinand as the replacement.

Naturally the Archbishop of Canterbury had his say“Clearly, a lot of people think there isn’t a problem there and that’s a pity because adultery is adultery. It’s a shame that we lost that sense that faithfulness matters. I’d like to see it back.”

John Terry named Father of the Year – That’s right, after spending an entire week splashed across every rag in the nation for schtupping a former friends chippy (at least her, probably more) someone had to bring up his Father of the Year award.

Terry leads Chelsea over Arsenal – Like any hard headed footballer, he then went out to anchor the Blues in a solid display to crush the final hopes The Gooners had of winning the league this year. Even after Samir Nasri claimed they would not be intimidated by Chelsea. All’s well that ends well.

“Physical strength is very important, but if we are able to compensate for this deficiency through our technique, like Barcelona, I can’t see where the problem is. Look at Xavi and Andres Iniesta, they are not physical monsters.”

Liverpool looking to for £100 million by the summer – Never a dull moment around Liverpool even after squeaking by Everton this weekend. The owners are now looking for a £100 million cash injection or they might sell the club. Liverpool supporters may have a tough decision whether to hope for the cash or pray the American owners crawl back to the states. They are also looking for investors to help with the process of building a new stadium so they can move out of Anfield.

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Captain Cuckold

February 5, 2010 by JoeSpeaker | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League, United States Men's National Team, World Cup

The inevitable happened today as Chelsea and England centerback John Terry was terrystripped of the England captaincy following revelations that he nutmegged former Blues teammate Wayne Bridge’s ex-girlfriend, Vanessa Perroncel.

Rio Ferdinand takes the armband from the disgraced Terry, with Steven Gerrard named vice-captain.

Interestingly, the news mirrors a long-rumored situation involving the US Men’s team in 1998. Former Nats striker Eric Wynalda confirmed on Fox Football Fone-In that ex-teammate John Harkes had an affair with Wynalda’s wife prior to the World Cup in France. This revelation contributed to Harkes being dropped from the World Cup team by Coach Steve Sampson, who cited nebulous, “leadership issues.”

Harkes Wynalda Soccer

And Sampson this week saw an opening to blame the US’s poor performance in France on something other than his awful coaching.

“Hey! We had one of those affair thinghees too and that’s why we sucked at the World Cup in 1998, not because of my absurd 3-6-1 formation or the fact that I changed a handful of starters after the opening loss to the Germans or that I’m as tactically astute as a ball-peen hammer!”

Sorry Steve. Not buying it.

What effect this will all have on the England side remains to be seen–what are the odds we can convince Fabio Capello to consult with Sampson over how to deal with the fallout?–and it does not appear Terry is any danger of getting the Harkes treatment. But we’re sure to hear plenty more about it as the June 12 opener vs. the US draws closer. The British press isn’t exactly known for its restraint in these matters.

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The Weekly Dump – February 1st

February 3, 2010 by AlCantHang | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League, International Play, United States Men's National Team

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney scored all four goals versus Hull City

Great news, it’s not broken! – Just a nasty hamstring injury that will limit Arsenal defender Thomas Vermaelen. You know your side is in desperate shape with injuries when the headline reads “Avoids Leg Break”. The injury occurred during the match with Aston Villa where the Gooners did their titles hopes no favors with a draw. Then on Sunday they let Manchester United walk all over them 3-1.

In a match shown in wonderous 3D – As if having your EPL title hopes squashed wasn’t bad enough, the feat was shown with the magic of 3D technology. Naturally someone had to throw in an Avatar reference.  We can blame Sky for bringing us Wayne Rooney’s ugly mug in glorious 3D.

Wayne Rooney insists he’s staying with ManU – Any time a player is rolling along like Rooney there is always speculation he’ll be lured away by dreams of magical paydays and the streets of London/Milan/etc. Rooney is shooting down those thoughts.

“There’s always speculation, and when other big teams are talking about you, it’s nice that you’re talked about,” Rooney told Manchester United’s official website. “But as I’ve said many times before, I’m a United player and I’m very happy here.”

Meanwhile, Rooney’s current and former agents are sniping – There seems to be a little £4.3 Million dispute between his agents he was but a young las at Proactive and his current agent, generally about fees on the massive sponsorship deals Rooney has accrued. This little tiff doesn’t seem to be affecting the league goal leader on the pitch as he just might crack the 30-goal barrier for the first time in his career.

Bottom dwelling Hull City draw with Chelsea – And we will speak of this no more. Although the tying goal from Drogba was quite nice.

Charlie Davies setting amazing recovery pace – As Dan mentioned earlier in the week, Charlie Davies was seen playing a little poker around Las Vegas this week. This comes on the heels of a great piece on ESPN about his recovery. After receiving horrific injuries in a car accident just a few months ago, the entire soccer world assumed there was a very slim chance he would be even close to stepping on a pitch let along compete for a spot. He suffered through a broken right femur and tibia, broken left elbow, a lacerated bladder, and facial fractures that required doctors to literally peel his face off to repair. The accident occurred on October 13th and he is already jogging and looking to be back on the field with FC Sochaux by April. If you read just one link this week, this should be your choice.

If Davies can complete his recovery on its new timetable, it will be some welcome good news for a U.S. team that just recently had midfielder Clint Dempsey sidelined by a PCL injury that threatened to jeopardize his World Cup. The U.S. team’s top striker before the accident, Davies brings a combination of speed, strength and finishing ability that no other player in the national team pool can provide, and a healthy Davies would provide a significant boost, both on and off the field.

Togo rewarded for losing members in an attack with expulsion – The most insane news of the week comes out of the bizarre world of African soccer. You would think ahead of the World Cup they would show a little common sense. Everyone knows by now the Togolese bus was ambushed ahead of their appearance in the African Nations Cup losing team members and staff. Understandably the team felt it necessary to return home and forfeit their matches after such a horrible ordeal. The Confederation of African Football responded by banning them from the next two African Nation Cup competitions and fined them $50,000US. I try to leave the punditry to others, but that’s $%^#@#$ insanity.

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EPL Betting Lines

January 29, 2010 by Danieldinho | 1 Comment | Filed in English Premier League

Here’s where this weekend’s games stand for profit-minded punters:

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RE: Landon Donovan’s First Goal

January 28, 2010 by Danieldinho | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League

The British press seems to like him, and suggests that he’s offering quite the valueable boost to Everton.

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Landon Donovan’s First Goal for Everton

January 27, 2010 by Danieldinho | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League

The American is marking a strong presence right from the git-go. Proof in the EPL that the US produces more than just good goalies:

[via The Offside Rules]

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The Weekly Dump – January 25th

January 25, 2010 by AlCantHang | 1 Comment | Filed in English Premier League, Serie A

Larne captain Liam Hogan meets Darren King

God bless the Irish – Once I read Unprofessional Foul there was no doubt what would lead the link dump. Irish sides Newry City and Larne met up in something called the Irish Cup which I assume is their version of the FA Cup. Here’s what I can tell from searching the news sites. Things were going along fine until the 80th minute when Larne captain Liam Hogan committed felonious assault on Darren King (pictured above). After that all damned hell broke loose. Punches, kicks and everyone sent home.  My favorite group of pictures were presented by the BBC, insanity.

Editorial comment: Soccer players fight like little school girls.

Should have paid the electric instead – Real Madrid were paid €2,000,000 for a trip to Albania (Elbonia?) to play a friendly against Gramozi, a newly promoted side who borrowed players from other teams for a little boost. Then the stadium lights went out. Things were thrown, curses cursed, and somebody got sacked. Eventually Real Madrid won the match and got the hell out of Dodge.

Captain Raul was the only Real player to stay for the presentation of a cup, before leaving in a hurry surrounded by bodyguards.

Personalized stab-proof vests in time for the World Cup – This summer’s World Cup will see ~500,000 fans heads to South Africa where they are averaging 50 murders per day and more than 50% of them via knife/shank/sharpened nail clipper (reference TSA procedures). Now local crime lords promise to boost up the mayhem quotient. It makes perfect sense a company would now offer stab-proof vests for those making the trip and kind enough to give supporters the chance to order a vest with their national flag.  World Cup officials are pissed at everyone.  Customized personal protection equipment will be all the rage. (h/t Wicked Chops Poker)

Nine men, No problem – The top fixture in Serie A was the derby between AC Milan and Inter who were 7 points clear before the match. Inter scored their first goal early and then played much of the match with 10 men when Wesley Sneijder was sent off in the 27th minute. An injury time dismissal was enough to grab the 9-man headline then Secreteriat-like Ronaldinho has a penalty attempt rejected. I do think the reporter by have blown the size of this match out of proportion.

During a build-up which had involved more tactics than any game of football, Sneijder and Alessandro Nesta were both set to miss an eagerly-anticipated Milan derby.

Stoke City gun down the Gooners – Winner for worst EPL headline. Stoke City took points from Liverpool last week and this time around they knock Arsenal from the FA Cup. Wenger fielded a fairly weak side after the mid-week clash with Bolton but he’ll have some questions to answer. Who’s left in the FA Cup besides Chelsea and Coca Cola pretenders? Manchester United and Arsenal are now tied atop the leaderboard with the mighty Chelsea (KTBFFH) but they have two games in hand on ManU and one on the Arse.

Becks gets groped – I have no idea how to explain the video below. I cannot speak a lick of Italian but I believe the lass spends a few minutes talking about David Beckham’s junk and then goes on a sneak attack. You have to struggle through the first few minutes of yapping and close ups on his manhood but the two minute mark gets entertaining.

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The Weekly Dump – January 18th

January 18, 2010 by AlCantHang | 2 Comments | Filed in English Premier League

Kop in bloom

The Kop during happier times (Andy Teebay/Propaganda)

“Blow me f*** face” says Liverpool to a supporter – It may seem I like to bag on those lovable Scousers because it’s true. I had a rough time picking a lead story for the link dump but I think this short yet descriptive email from Tom Hicks Jr to a Liverpool supporter is a fine start. The next obvious step was Hicks resigning from the Liverpool Board of Directors.

How did the rest of the week go for Liverpool?

- Crashed out of the FA Cup to powerhouse Reading.
- While losing to Reading, Torres and Gerrard go down with severe injuries.
- Give up a last minute goal to draw with Stoke City.
- Ryan Babel twitters his unhappiness with Rafael Benitez.
- Benitez then apologies for the team being crap.
- And the final nut kick, stories of Steven Gerrard ready to leave Anfield.

Glazers take £20m out of Manchester United – Continuing the EPL trend of Liverpool and Portsmouth, reports are now coming out about just how deep the historic club is buried in debt. It is so bad they might consider selling Old Trafford (and leasing it back). At least they have their FA Cup money to help out. Nevermind. The Daily Mail has a good rundown of the situation.

Meanwhile ManU supporters think Sir Alex should quit – They mean it as a way of protest. It seems a perfectly reasonable, non-knee jerk response and certainly much better than the standard French response of “Go on strike. Again.”

Chelsea score a touchdown – The American Football version, hanging 7 goals on hapless Sunderland despite missing Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel, Michael Essien and Salomon Kalou to the Africa Cup of Nations. Not all is happy at Stamford Bridge though as Michael Essien has a knee injury forcing him from African and club competitions.

Shorthanded Arsenal can catch Chelsea – The Gooners have a chance to tie Chelsea atop the leaderboard with a midweek match against Bolton but will be making their second half run without 9 first team players including Robin van Persie and Johan Djourou who are lost for the year.

Thierry Henry to meet with FIFA – Noted French cheat (not mutually exclusive) Thierry Henry will finally meet with the FIFA disciplinary committee concerning his handball in World Cup qualifying. I’m not sure what they can actually do other than a typical sternly worded slap on the wrist at which point the French national will surely lay down his weapons and form an underground. None of this makes a difference to the Irish side which was cheated out of a spot in the 2010 World Cup.

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My Sturridge Don’t Cost A Thing…Or 7M

January 14, 2010 by D.A. Hasselbaink | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League

soccerati-daniel-sturridge

So, looks like Daniel Sturridge may cost Chelsea a pretty British Pound. The Professional Football Compensation Committee ruled that the east Londoners owe Manchester City 3.5M for the July 2009 transfer and that number could balloon up to 7M if Sturridge reaches certain milestones.

Apparently, the two sides failed to reach an amount on an initial fee, and, as a result of Sturridge’s age, City is now due compensation.

That makes sense…

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The Old Man Returneth

January 12, 2010 by D.A. Hasselbaink | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League

sol-campbell_soccerati

Yup, Sol Campbell, the guy who dropped Notts County faster than NBC dropped that awesome idea to have Leno on at 10pm , officially returned to Arsenal on Tuesday, the club that he called home from 2001-2006. Apparently, Campbell will play a few games with the reserves before Gunners’ manager Arsene Wenger decides if the former England national is ready for the big, grassy stage.

In other news, Arsenal’s reserve team defeated West Ham’s backups 2-0 today.

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The Weekly Dump – January 11th

January 11, 2010 by AlCantHang | No Comments | Filed in English Premier League, International Play, Other Leagues

Everton-Arsenal

Soccer in the snow as Everton took on Arsenal at the Emirates stadium (Reuters)

English Premier League scrap all but two matches due to snow – So much for those tough souls playing in the EPL as all but two matches were postponed due to a little cold and snow. Still an important weekend as those two matches included both Manchester United and the Gooners who were looking to catch Chelsea atop the table. Both sides spit the bit when given the chance with draws for each. Arsenal were lucky to get that single point and ManU was awarded a sketchy goal.

The EPL is now defending their postponement decision – Rescheduling will be difficult around Champs League, Euro League, FA Cup, and preparations for that little tournament in South Africa in a few months.

England/Spain battle on the poker tableSoccer Football legends Teddy Sheringham (Manchester United, Tottenham, etc) and Poli Rincon (Real Madrid) faced off this week at PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas. Sheringham has shown some decent results and Rincon is just starting his new hobby. Neither legend was able to do much and both were knocked out on the first day.

“First off, let’s get this straight – we’re talking about ‘football’ here, the non-US version. For our US readers, this is a post about ‘soccer’. Now that’s out of the way, here’s the point: two legends of European football are sharing the same table today, and it’s an England v Spain clash.”PokerStarsBlog.com

Ivory Coast also hates Chelsea, Drogba overworked – Ivory Coast coach Vahid Halilhodzi is unhappy with the current workload of Chelsea beast Didier Drogba ahead of their upcoming appearance in the Africa Nations Cup. In other news, the Ivory Coast GNP is less than a cozy dinner with Roman Abramovich.

Roman Abramovich pays for his friends – Subtle segue for Mr. Abramovich who spent an Ivory Coast fortune on a little New Year’s Eve party with Lindsay Lohan, Orlando Bloom, Miranda Kerr, and Gwen Steffani.

Freddy Adu goes Greek – After some speculation, Freddy Adu finally shot down EPL bottom dwellers Hull City to sign with Greek Super League club Aris. As with all things these days, Adu made the announcment via his Twitter account.

“alright guys done deal. Signed a 18month loan deal with Aris FC. Alot of thought and research went into this. Thanks for the support.”

Togo soccer team involved in shooting – The horrible soccer news of the week. The team bus and escorts were attacked by rebels in Angola with 3 dead when everything was done. It made perfect sense when the team decided to return to their country after the incident, the shocking part is that the Confederation of African Football is considering sanctions against the team for leaving the competition. CAF is also making Ghana travel to a dangerous part of the country, dress in their kits, and have the match kicked off even though Togo is already disqualified from the tournament.

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