Samuel Eto'o scored a famous hat trick to send Inter Milan cruising past Werder Bremen 4 - 0.
September 2010 Archives
Samuel Eto'o scored a famous hat trick to send Inter Milan cruising past Werder Bremen 4 - 0.
Valencia were pipped at the post.Javier Hernandez came up with the winning goal with 5 minutes left to play.Praise from all and sundry for giving Man U a rare Champion's League win in Spain.
And there is an interesting article here on whether Valencia is providing an apocalyptic glimpse of what the future holds for Man U if they can't get rid of their staggering £716m debt sometime soon.
Angel Di Maria scored the only goal of the game against Auxerre with just 9 minutes left on the clock.Auxerre are a team that are nowhere near the top 5 teams in the French League and this should have been an easy win for Real.
The referee missed what definitely looked like a Sergio Ramos handball just before he passed the ball to Di Maria.
C Ron was conspicuous more by his absence than his presence.
The frown lines on Mourinho's forehead are deepening into furrows as his goal drought continues...
Kodjovi Obilale,the Togolese reserve goalie who took two bullets in the back in the attack on the bus is getting some financial compensation from FIFA towards his medical expenses and rehabiliation. 8 months after the attack he is still unable to even walk.
Khalid Askri is a Moroccan football goalkeeper who plays for FAR Rabat.This is why he gave up goalkeeping.
First he made a brilliant diving stop to a firmly taken penalty.The he walked off the field patting himself on the chest -egging the crowd on to applaud his brilliance.Unfortunately for him the ball - which was still in play - spun back into the net behind his back.
And then this happened ....( He ran off the field after this - to probably hang up his goalkeeping gloves forever and take up some other less stressful profession)
Real Madrid could only manage a draw against Levante - a team with a pretty dismal defensive record.They have only scored 6 goals this season with one against.Cristiano Ronaldo, whose earnings in one season would dwarf Levante's entire wage bill was only able to come up with this characteristic bit of petulant violence - which he was fortunate to get away with.
The plan was clear. To maximize points in the easier stretch of games before the big showdown with Chelsea. The West Brom match was a clear opportunity to win three points. An golden opportunity for the Gunners to vault to the top of the table following Chelsea's loss against Man City.
What we have in two games against so called lesser opposition has been quite similar - the loss against West Brom yesterday was a continuation of what happened against Sunderland.
The Black Cats can argue that they were distinctly unlucky not to get a win. They looked the better team for most of their match. West Brom put that to rest. They were the better team. Arsenal only showed up in the last 15 minutes of the match to extricate themselves out of a three goal deficit. Samir Nasri's goals were a wonderful vanity showcase but the Baggies successfully threw all 11 men to close down shop. Roberto Di Matteo's tactics won out. His men outplayed Wenger and the Gunners.
In these two matches, the Gunners have revealed a familiar lack of effort and intensity against sides that have looked far hungrier and more focused. We have too many error prone coasters on our team. Perfectly illustrated by the second goal gifted to West Brom by Song and Arshavin trying to finesse their way out of trouble and Almunia's slack reflexes.
Almunia is an easy target. The Spaniard showed a familiar return to indecisiveness but he had good company in Bacary Sagna and Gael Clichy who bought themselves tickets to a perpetual daydream. Sagna was mush against Jerome Thomas and Peter Odemwingie in the first two goals. And Clichy failed to apply himself against Chris Brunt for the third. The trio had their way against Arsenal.
Tactically too there were a number of shortcomings. Arsenal is a painful team to watch when their normal fluid passing stalls. The Baggies threw them off rhythm with their high pressurizing tactics and the Gunners lacked a counterattacking game to make a quick breakthrough (Walcott could have made a difference). With no plan B it was an increasingly confident West Brom that dictated terms.
Much has been said of Wenger's refusal to get a quality goalkeeper. When does stubbornness become stupidity? In games like this. The one thing that Man Utd and Chelsea have going for them is the utmost confidence in their custodians. Jonny Evans has been an absolute disaster but he breathes easier knowing that Van Der Sar is perfectly capable of cleaning up a mess. We really do not have the luxury of ball watching with Almunia in goal.
Wojech Szczesny might not be the immediate answer but at this stage Wenger is running out of options. One way of expediting Szczesny's exposure will be to draft him for the Braga return. With a half dozen goals as buffer there is some leeway. If he inspires confidence we could see him stake a claim to the goalkeeping job ahead of schedule.
The one constant in this season is inconsistency. We walkover Braga imperiously, flick aside Spurs, but we stumble in matches which could prove pivotal in a very tight season. We are unable to forge ahead on a pattern of familiar mistakes repeated season in and season out. On what grounds does Wenger claim that his boys have turned to men? So far I have yet to see a magic switch that will make this season any different. Next weekend it's the ruthlessly opportunistic Drogba and Chelsea and on the evidence so far, we are on track for our customary humiliation.
One more point. Former players seem to have made a habit punishing Arsenal. David Bentley, Emmanuel Adebayor, and Jerome Thomas have all come up with big goals. Maybe Hleb is licking his lips too?
Update: I know, I know - Arsenal has no dearth of goalkeepers just good ones. And there is Vito Mannone ahead of Szczesny. But Wenger seems to be playing it two ways here. He can thrown in Fabianski to "improve his confidence" but at the same time he wants to protect Szczesny. So the Pole is going to warm the bench without any chance of playing matches and magically watch his talent grow? He is not out on loan and he is not even in Carling Cup consideration. Yet, the conventional wisdom is that he will be ready in a couple of years to take over the first spot. How is that possible?
Last year they were at the receiving end of the "beach ball" goal.This year they are at the other end - Fernando Torres and Kuyt combining to score a goal that will surely go down in Premier League history as one of the most unusual goals ever scored.Take a look.
A statement from the Professional Game Match Officials body about the controversial goal read as follows....
"PGMO has reviewed the first goal scored between Liverpool and Sunderland and believe that the correct decisions were made.
"According to the Laws of the Game, having stopped the game for any infringement the referee is required to 'indicate the restart of the match'.
"In practice, in the majority of cases, referees indicate for the restart by gesturing to players to take the kick. These gestures can be minimal. For the more important 'ceremonial' free-kicks, which also involve control of the defensive wall, referees can indicate by using the whistle. However, there is no requirement by Law to use the whistle to make the indication.
"The ball is then in play when it is kicked and moves. So, in this case, the ball was in play as soon as it is kicked by a Sunderland player.
"Also, the Laws state that the free-kick must be taken from the place where the infringement occurred. Again, in this case, the referee correctly determined that the free-kick was played from the right place."
Raymond Verheijen, a former City conditioning coach under Mark Hughes who was fired by Roberto Mancini a few months after his arrival has implicated the Italian's training regime for causing the spate of injuries befalling the club's players.
This of course has set tongues wagging as it fits in with past complaints from players, especially Carlos Tevez. From what one hears of Mancini's training methods it is not so different from that of Rinus Michels at Ajax in the 1970s that led to the Dutch club's golden years. Seems like Mr Verhiejen has an axe to grind and is timing it perfectly.
What Mancini can be faulted for quite credibly is stocking up all that attacking talent and have only six goals scored after five matches. Half of those goals came against Liverpool with City's owner watching. Maybe it is the motivational levels that need to be examined more thoroughly?
Given the real estate crisis, these are very impressive numbers.
Does Zinedine Zidane's eldest son, Enzo now learning his trade in the Real Madrid youth ranks play for Spain or France?
There were rumours that he was going to be chosen for the French U17 team but these were quickly countered by Spanish coach Ginés Meléndez who is keen to debut Enzo in the U17 side this October if his father agreed to his participation. The video footage shows what an issue it has become- raising passions in both countries and an expectation of an emulation of Zidane's legendary skills. Can the apple fall far from the tree?
Both father and son are yet to decide and have shown no inclination that they will do so in a hurry. Zidane had this to say:
"Nothing has been decided. To date, Enzo has not yet been selected by Spain nor France. And I think it's better that way... If Spain called him, it will be good, and if it is France, it will be good too... For now he enjoys football with Real Madrid, that's the most important."
Personally, I think Enzo should play for Algeria. However, since Zidane's other sons Luca and Theo are also training to be footballers, all three countries can get one Zidane each. Spread the wealth. But the larger question is - can they headbutt? Jokes apart, children who can step out of their father's shadow to create their own niche is a hard act.
Cesare and Paolo Maldini, Manuel Sanchis Martinez and Manolo Sanchis, Juan Ramon Veron and Juan Sebastian Veron come to mind. But the more likely route is Jordi Cruyff or Shaun Wright Phillips - both decent players but who would never be mistaken for their illustrious fathers in a million years.
The Serie has gone wild. Today's match between Palermo and Juventus was a cracker with plenty of attacking football by both sides. However, Argentinian playmaker Javier Pastore caught the eye with his skill getting the first goal was all his after Marco Storari blocked Mauricio Piniella's effort. The match was barely two minutes old. He almost got another but was denied by the upright.
Pastore was behind the second goal when his stinging shot was saved by Storari but Josip Ilicic pounced on the rebound to get the second goal. Cesare Bovo's free kick went whistling past the wall and Storari to complete the humiliation.
Juve pulled one back through Vincenzo Iaquinta. But just like the previous two trips to the Stadio Olimpico, this too was won by Palermo. They have quite the hex going on there. Frustrating times for Luigi Del Neri who's brought in gifted players like Milos Krasic, Fabio Quagliarella, and Simone Pepe but apart from a glimmer or two it is veterans like Del Piero and Iaqunita still doing the heavy lifting.
The Bianconeri slide down to 15th. At this point only Inter is living up to its reputation. The Rossoneri are 8th. Fiorentina and Roma are 18th and 19th respectively. It looks like the small clubs are doing well upending the big names.
Full highlights here >>
Byron Moreno, a former soccer referee who became infamous in the 2002 World Cup for "stealing an Italian win" with some very controversial decisions that went against Italy in the match against South Korea was once again in the news. This time being arrested for drug trafficking. He was discovered carrying bags of heroin on his person after entering the USA.
FIFA has indicated that it will not investigate the referee who retired from the game seven years ago.
A walk back in memory lane. An atmosphere of angst and outrage enveloped Italy after the match. Irate fans issued death threats to Moreno and everyone and anyone connected to Italian football and politics weighed in on the match. A feeling summed up by a prominent sports commentator: "Frankly, that was complete robbery."
But all this pales in comparison to what happened to Ahn Jung Hwan who scored the winning goal for South Korea.
Luciano Gaucci, president of Perugia FC, the Italian club that Ahn Jung Hwan played for decided to sack him for his unacceptable goal. Quote. "That gentleman will never set foot in Perugia again" Gaucci said. "I have no intention of paying a salary to someone who has ruined Italian soccer." Close quote.
It comes as no surprise that the Italians are feeling a measure of vindication following Moreno's arrest.
"Six kilos of drugs? I believe Moreno had this already in 2002, but not in his underwear, in his body," Buffon is quoted as saying on Eco Dello Sport.
"He was put in place to eliminate Italy. He is a bandit, he is not a serious person. Someone found to be in possession of drugs means he was not professional."
The 2002 World Cup was not the only place Moreno left his mark. All I can say is that his impairment in judgment seems to have gone beyond the field.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a goal and a good one it was but Hernanes was the player who stole the show as he made life an adventure for the Milan defense slicing his way through at will. His scintillating run down the left and precise cut back was finished perfectly by Sergio Floccari to give Lazio the equalizer.
Milan is in 8th place. Not exactly the start that Massimiliano Allegri was looking at. And where is Robinho?
Claudio Rainieri's coaching is coming for some heated criticism. Today's dispiriting loss to Brescia which reduced Julio Sergio to tears will only give more ammunition to his critics. Perparim Hetemaj gave Brescia the lead and worse was to follow as Phillipe Mexes brought down Eder.
The replay shows Mexes's foul took place away from the box but the referee awarded the PK and ejected the French defender. Things got ugly as Mexes went after the linesman and had to restrained by a half a dozen off his team mates. Andrea Caracciolo successfully converted his spot kick to put Brescia two up.
Marco Borriello was the victim of a number of egregious fouls that were not given. The first one following a corner when he was mugged by Gilberto Martinez and in the the second one Martinez and Francesco Bega sandwich him and push down the Roma striker after he receives a cross. Watch this extended video >>
With Roma pushing hard to equalize Hetemaj handballs Marco Cassetti's shot in the penalty area but the call is not given. Borriello does get one back but it is too late. In actuality, Roma was hard done by referee Carmine Russo and his crew.
The loss officially puts Roma in the relegation zone sharing the last three spots with Palermo and Udinese.
One remembers Shola Ameobi as a talented goalscorer before a series of injuries consigned him to the wilderness before he came back last season with some big goals that helped gain promotion for Newcastle. Well he is back and with a bang. Today, he scored two goals including a stoppage time winner against Chelsea in their Carling Cup fixture.
The Blues showcased their talent with Gael Kakuta, Jeffrey Bruma, Daniel Sturridge, and Patrick van Aanholt but they also had veterans John Terry, Nicholas Anelka, and Yossi Benayoun in their midst.
Chelsea's youth brigade was responsible for giving their side the lead after Kakuta fed Van Aanholt following a Newcastle mix up and the Dutch defender came up a cool finish but it was old hand Anelka responsible for getting them back into the match. The Blues had to play with 10 men for over half an hour after injuries forced off Kakuta, Salomon Kalou, and Yossi Benyoun with John Terry already substituted in the beginning of the second half.
Nile Ranger, Ryan Taylor, and Ameobi scored three on the trot to put Newcastle up 3-1. Check out Taylor's free kick which gave Ross Turnbull no chance. In stoppage time Ameobi attacked the near post after Jonas Gutierrez floated his corner and succeeded in guiding his header past Turnbull for a 4-3 win.
In summary, a depleted Chelsea side were just about pipped but lets take nothing away from the Toons. A wounded Chelsea without their best players are still better than half the Premiership sides.
A historic win for Northampton who beat Liverpool on PKs 4-2 after the match tied 2-2 once regulation and extra time was over. For Liverpool, it represents one of their lowest points. It all started brightly enough for the Reds as Milan Jovanovic shot them into an early lead. But the Cobblers who play in League 2 showed some real fighting spirit with Liverpool looking sloppy on defense. In the second half, Northampton leveled the score with Billy McKay's goal.
In extra time, the visiting side ranked 69 places below Liverpool shot into the lead when Michael Jacobs drove in the ball after the defense failed to clear the ball. David Ngog managed to pull off an equalizer a few minutes before the end. Would Liverpool be able to pull through in the PKs to avoid ignominy? Sadly for them it were the League 2 minnows looking far more assured and when Abdul Osman swept in his penalty the humiliation was complete.
This was not the end of the bad news coming out of Anfield as Christian Purslow, the managing director divulged that the club was barely able to service its debt and interest loaded onto its books by Tom Hicks and George Gillett.
David Conn has the story of how Bebé, the hitherto unknown Vitoria Guimaeres striker, who without playing one single competitive game was sold to Man Utd for £7.4m amidst accusations of poaching by his former agent.
The short of it is that Bebé apparently dumped his former agent without a timely notice and a proper reason before making off with the new agent responsible for bringing him to United. If this holds true, then it contravenes FIFA rules governing player contracts with their agents.
However, what really stands out is how Sir Alex's former assistant Carlos Quieroz, who was sacked recently as Portugal's coach and Jorge Mendes, his agent engineered this deal. Mendes was the agent who took over Bebé's contract and succeeded in making more money for Vitoria.
Sir Alex did not actually attend matches in person or even watch videos of Bebé's performances. Instead he relied on hearsay from Quieroz and scouts to press David Gill, Man Utd's CEO to part with the money for the transfer. With United particularly tightfisted with its transfer budget this season, we will soon see if Sir Alex was correct with his 'instinct.'
A recent study published in the Journal of Neuropathology & Experimental Neurology (subscription required) by researchers at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Bedford, Massachussetts and Boston University Medical Center has uncovered evidence that brain trauma can mimic Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) or more commonly, Lou Gehrig's disease.
Gehrig was the legendary Yankees baseball player, renowned for his powerful hitting and his record streak of consecutive appearances before Cal Ripken surpassed it in 1995. He died of ALS in 1941, three years after being diagnosed with that condition.
ALS falls under the constellation of Motor Neurone Diseases (MND). The disease leads to degeneration of the motor neurons of the central nervous system causing progressive weakness and wasting of voluntary muscles - resulting in a loss of limb movement, speech and respiratory difficulties, and eventually death through respiratory failure within 3-5 years. The cognitive functions remain largely intact. The aetiology of ALS remains the cause of much speculation.
Stephen Hawking, one of the geniuses of the 20th century has a variation of ALS that has enabled him to survive and function in a very precisely controlled environment created by electronically assisted technology (POSSUM).
The Massachussetts doctors were investigating brain damage in deceased NFL players who had been diagnosed with ALS. Studies have shown that athletes like NFL and soccer players show a much higher incidence of ALS as compared to the general population which remains at 1-2 per 100,000.
The researchers discovered little evidence to support evidence of primary motor neuron degeneration, an ALS characteristic but more pertinently a history of brain trauma and concussion that led to a similar degradation of the central nervous system and motor behaviour. Specifically, it has been shown that sustained head trauma can result in the release of two proteins (TDP- 43) from the brain into the spinal cord that cause motor neuron degeneration. However, it is likely an interaction of genetic and environmental factors coupled with the concussions that lead to ALS manifestation.
The disease is inextricably linked with Lou Gehrig. A more careful examination of his injury record shows that there were at least six incidences of concussion like incidences in his baseball career and potentially more as a hard charging full back playing football while at Columbia University.
The more relevant part is the public perception of Gehrig as a heroic figure battling through these myriad injuries on his way to establishing his 2130 game unbroken streak. It is possibly accumulation of injuries without a playing helmet and inadequate time away from the field to recuperate that could have hastened the onset of ALS. Which begs the question -does this make Gehrig a hero or victim? A pioneer in the unmasking of a poorly understood disease or a tragic figure who underscores the dangers to the unprotected head and body.
The findings could shed light on the increased incidence of ALS in contact sports. An Italian study of 7000 professional soccer players from 1970 to 2002 showed 18 of them diagnosed with ALS The study showed Serie players were seven times more susceptible than the non-playing population.
Stefano Bergonovo, the former Milan and Fiorentina striker whose playing career spanned the 1980s was diagnosed with ALS in 2008. He remains paralyzed with only eye functions possible. The same condition was responsible for Gianluca Signorini's death in 2002. He spent a good part of the 1980s in Genoa establishing a reputation as a hard tackling libero.
Soccer is a game where players frequently collide heads going for the ball leading to concussion. Coaches are frequently under pressure to put the player back without recovering adequately in a crowded calender of matches. Cognitive declines following head trauma in contact sports are well documented. This is the first substantial study linking concussion to CNS motor degeneration. The caveat is possible genetic and environmental markers that cause a fatal interaction which need to be further investigated.
In Italy's case, the elevated numbers of MND are out of proportion to the rest of the leagues. There are any number of unsubstantiated reports ranging from doping to pesticides used on soccer pitches that have been implicated. However, this strengthens the case that the primary consideration should be adequate time to recover from concussions rather than perpetuating a heroic persona. Given that Lou Gehrig was the public face of ALS advocacy and support groups these new findings may lead to some sort of re-calibration.
To learn more here is the link to the ALS Association >>
Samir Nasri did go down easily but Sebastian Bassong was guilty of tugging on his shirt. A soft foul but referee Lee Probert was technically correct interpreting a deliberate attempt at obstructing a clear chance on goal.
"Arry Redknapp's assessment is therefore off.
"I thought the first penalty was harsh. He fell over. Really, I think he dived for it."
Robbie Keane scored a dubious goal- looked offside and Lukasz Fabianski showed a limp wrist dealing with his shot.
Jack Wilshere continues to impress and he was singled out by the absent Arsene Wenger, serving out a touchline ban.
"We know that Jack is an outstanding football player. But he can get tackles and give tackles, he's tough. I believe he has an outstanding future."
Samir Nasri scored two of those goals from the penalty spot and Sebastian Bassong is accusing him of going down a bit too easily..........
A very interesting comparision here of ankle injuries suffered by Maradona and Messi.
Maradona was hacked down from behind by Andoni (the butcher of Bilbao)Goikoetxea in 1983.He subsequently took to drugs during the time he was out of the game with a shattered ankle.Messi's injury thankfully is not so severe.
Lets face reality. Liverpool supporters want Tom Hicks gone but fact is that the legendary leveraged buyout specialist is not going to walk away without making some money out of a deal.
This was pretty much what scuttled potential Liverpool suitors all summer long. It's all very well to shout "Thanks but no Yanks" but the fact of the matter is that a successful re-financing buys more time to find a more suitable owner. Hicks is a distasteful figure but fans are advised to hold their noses. With Blackstone out of the picture the October deadline could takes on a far more grievous import. RBS could claim all player sale proceeds go back to paying back the debt leaving no new transfer money. In its most extreme, Liverpool might be subjected to the first steps towards administration.
The 33 Chilean miners who have been trapped underground since Aug 5 got an autographed jersey from Pele telling them to hang in there.
Barca overcame Atletico's hoodoo at the Vicente Calderon by beating them, 2-1 as Gerard Pique scored a late match winner. Leo Messi put the visitors ahead but Atletico came back through Raul Garcia against the run of play through a header. Barca thus ended a three match losing streak. The match ended on a note of concern as Leo Messi injured his right ankle following a Tomas Ujfalusi tackle.
Preliminary tests reveal a medial ankle ligament sprain which will keep him out for a couple of weeks although more tests and radiological investigations are scheduled next week to assess the exact extent of the injury.
Chelsea is a juggernaut right now. 21 goals for and 1 against in their five matches as they flick aside the opposition contemptuously. Against Blackpool it was more of the same - the powerful and smooth operating attack smothered Ian Holloway's side in the first half as Kalou, Drogba, and Malouda with a brace scored four.
Blackpool improved considerably after the second half but Petr Cech was there to snuff out any chances of a comeback. At this point, the Premiership title is Chelsea's to lose- no one has come close to their sort of dominance in so consistent a manner.
Check out Ciro Capuano's goal which puts Catania ahead. Great volley! Milan's attack cranked it up after that but their finishing let them down. It was left to a suspiciously looking offside goal by Pippo Inzaghi after Ronaldinho feeds the striker the ball. The Catania players protest but to no avail. The Serie stalwarts are now in ninth position behind Juventus.
The most surprising part of the table are the bottom dwelling teams which include Roma, the runners up to Inter last season, Palermo, and Fiorentina. Three traditional Serie powerhouses are struggling this season.
Will the real Everton stand up? The memorable come from behind display against Man Utd last weekend seems to have drained the Toffees.
Against Newcastle they looked sluggish and disinterested. Which suited the Toons just fine because French import Hatem Ben Arfa made them pay with a sizzling left footed strike. Fabricio Coloccini became Newcastle's saviour when he blocked Marouane Fellaini's shot which had equalizer written on it. Everton's performance ended with boos raining down Goodison Park.
They now share the bottom of the table with West Ham and Wigan. A side that boasting Mikel Arteta, Steven Pienaar, Louis Saha. Yakubu, and Tim Cahill should not find themselves in such a position.
Berbaflop? The Bulgarian's second goal was a masterclass in control and creativity. Wayne Rooney misses a looping Nani cross altogether but the ball falls behind Berbatov who turns around controls it with his knee, flicks it up, and with his back turned away from goal smashes an improvised bicycle kick. All in one smooth motion.
You can play this clip till the cows come home but it still takes your breath away. It was a highlight in Berbatov's afternoon of highlights which means a high standard indeed. Sir Alex's patience is paying off - we had no doubts about his genius but Berbatov has added consistency which makes him very, very lethal.
Liverpool gamely fought on with Fernando Torres in a continued funk- he cut a lonely figure. They were able to equalize through Steven Gerrard's spot kick and then Gerrard was able to squeeze his free kick through a gap in the wall created by Darren Fletcher's indiscipline or cowardice. Take your pick. Liverpool were able to neutralize Berbatov's two goal output for Man Utd but it was fittingly the Bulgarian who had the final say with his hat trick.
United were able to avoid yet another dispiriting come from behind draw but their defense is a matter of concern with Jonny Evans and John O'Shea looking out of depth. Another game and another no show for Wayne Rooney.
Longer highlights with all goals
A freak goal deserves a freak finish. The match was drifting towards an Arsenal win despite Alex Song being sent off and Tomas Rosicky blasting his spot kick into the stratosphere when Phil Dowd decided to grant 15 seconds more to the 4 minutes of stoppage time.
It turned out to be fateful as the hitherto stout defending broke down in a sequence of errors following Arsenal failing to see off Andy Reid's corner adequately. Zenden relayed it back into the box via a header. In the ensuing melee, Gael Clichy's clearance deflects off Laurent Koscielny's leg straight to the lurking Darren Bent who smashes it into the net. There were a few "might haves" - a handball on Gyan and a foul on Clichy. But these are rarely called with the referee unsighted by so many players.
The extra minute saw Wenger get bent out of shape - going after Dowd.
"If you have a watch, you can control. It's as simple as that," said Wenger.
"It was outside the four minutes. I know the referee can give more than four, it's a minimum of four minutes."
Arsenal has no one to blame but themselves so Wenger's sour grapes are misplaced. Sunderland were the better team and a draw was probably an ideal result. Apart from the Fabregas freak goal they looked unenterprising for large spells of the match. Song was sent off for a soft call - a block on Malbranque but in all fairness he was asking for it all afternoon. And this is another reason why Tomas Rosicky is not a goalscorer although in every other department he is a genius.
Arsenal missed out on a chance to go up on top which means that Chelsea will widen the gap as they must against Blackpool unless Ian Holloway becomes the Pied Piper and leads them off a bridge.
Tim Vickery instantly anointing Arsenal after Braga is an example of the danger a club faces getting ahead of themselves. And Wenger should hold off on comparisons to Vieira, Bergkamp, and Tony Adams. Loftiness is not what the Gunners need - grubby is more like it.
C Ron is a bit rusty.Being booed incessantly must have not helped his concentration either.The ball did not do its customary wickedly swerving thing but instead bounced off Pepe into the goal.Winning goal against Real Sociedad
It's been 10 years since the 17th of September 2000 when a
17 13 year old called Lionel Messi touched down at Barcelona's El Prat airport for a trial. He scored five goals and hit the crossbar twice in his first display and hasn't looked back since.
PS: As Dave has rightly pointed - Leo Messi was born on the 24th of June 1987- So that would put him at 13 years old at the time and not 17 at the time.
Just makes it even more impressive.
Sunderland vs Arsenal at the Stadium of Light, 12:30 PM EST on FSC.
The Black Cats are a tough team to beat at home.
Asamoah Gyan, the physically gifted striker has shown he can be Drogba like in punishing defenders. Case in point, shrugging off Jay DeMerit and Carlos Bocanegra to put Ghana ahead in the second half of the match in the round of 16 at the World Cup. He scored on debut against Wigan in another display of power. Which means that Laurent Koscielny cannot afford to let up against the Ghanian. And Manuel Almunia has to keep being mistake free.
Sunderland also have Darren Bent, probably playing in the hole, and a prolific goalscorer. The Black Cats also boast Paraguayan midfielder Christian Riveros who caught the eye with his playmaking capabilities in the World Cup. He also scored the second goal against Slovakia in their group match. The indefatigable Steed Malbranque will provide the wide game down the left.
Jack Wilshere will be delegated with the task of nullifying England prospect Jordan Henderson who has cemented his place at Sunderland with his attacking midfield play.
Sunderland have given up late goals. They have had problems holding onto leads giving up two goals to Birmingham and allowing West Brom to pull off a late winner. All point to a defense prone to lapses in concentration - which Arsenal can take advantage off. Marouane Chamakh has scored 10 of his last 11 goals through headers and he will get plenty of opportunities to add to that total.
For Sunderland captain Lee Cattermole is out through suspension and Arsenal have to do without the services of Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen.
Check this out. I have no idea what went through Thierry Henry's mind when he did this but Kevin Hartman bore the brunt of it. The FC Dallas goalie is out with a medial collateral ligament sprain for a week or two.
Henry has since apologized but he dismissed it as a sort of stupid joke. But we've seen this sort of "who me?" stuff before, haven't we?
Roy Hodgson and Sir Alex made hot, sticky love. Slipping on kimonos, they sluiced into the jacuzzi smelling of patchouli and sweat bearing glasses of chardonnay. With lava lamps, soft emo music, and a doobie to while away the hour.
Spent, they emerged giggling, splashing each other conspiratorially one last time before taking on a befuddled press where they batted eyelids and mouthed "So happy together". Coy and cute.
Liverpool vs Man Utd used to be war. Rafa and Sir Alex could not bring on themselves to say each others names. The former Liverpool man's tirade against Sir Alex is a historically and histrionically celebrated clip as is Sam Allardyce surrogate showdown for the Man Utd coach. The tabloids used to eat this stuff up from sunrise to sundown - the run up to the match itself was a furlong.
Maybe it's the sign of the times. Maybe it's the past relationship between Hodgson and Sir Alex getting in the way of good old fashioned hubris and smash mouth. But a lot has to do with Liverpool eating humble pie and Man Utd's recent weakness closing out matches.
One misses those days when Rafa and Jose Mourinho gave these rivalries an edge with their attitude and mind games. It's one big mutual admiration society nowadays. Here is Sir Alex protesting that he ever was anti-Liverpool.
"That changed under the last regime but it's not a big issue for me."
Note the choice of words. Regime. It's code for fascism. We have no stinking fascism nowadays. It's Woy. Woy Hodgson, for god sakes. The friendly neighborhood shoe salesman. Cue The Turtles and love for all and all for love. I only hope that it is all out war on the pitch this weekend because the managers are more liable to high five each other.
Jose Mourinho has turned down a very short term gig coaching the national team for two Euro 2010 qualifiers in October. The Portugese Federation sent out an SOS to the Real Madrid coach which for obvious reasons did not work out.
Meanwhile, the embattled Carlos Queiroz already suspended for two months got his marching orders a week ago. Portugal stumbled at home to minnows Cyprus who came from behind to secure a 4-4 draw and against Norway, Eduardo's infamous blunder lost them the match. Interim coach Agostinho Oliveira could not have asked for a worse start.
Portugal face Denmark on October 8th in a huge game. A loss against the efficient and organized Danes will make qualifying from Group H much harder. Portugal given the amount of talent at its disposal have acquired quite a reputation for underwhelming displays. Something their neighbours have been able to get rid off very successfully.
You know what this all means. Paging Big Phil Scolari. The Portugese Federation will swallow its pride following his controversial Chelsea departure which according to them unsettled Portugal's Euro 2008 campaign. These are desperate times.
The first hat-trick of the night was from Artjoms Rudņevs for Lech Poznan against Juventus
Group B also had a hat-trick, as Patrick Helmes of Bayer Leverkusen's goals helped his club beat Rosenborg, 4-0.
Zenit St. Petersburg were handed a Group G victory over Anderlecht by a hat-trick from Aleksandr Kerzhakov.
Remember when George Gillett was the good guy and Tom Hicks the ogre wanted to sell his share off? It was met with cheers from Liverpool supporters.
The twists and turns in Liverpool's ownership saga took a sharp U turn as it appears Tom Hicks is now trying to wrest control of the club. His partner George Gillett faces an uncertain financial future with his business ventures and is struggling to repay a £75m loan which he borrowed in 2008. Defaulting on his payment could cost his share of ownership.
The news that he is trying to refinance the club through other sources to pay off the RBS loan signifies a consolidation of his ownership. A horrifying prospect. Not popular is an understatement when it comes to Hicks.
However one can't see how the board can stop this however distasteful this might be. Martin Broughton has failed in his mission to find a buyer with viable funds and the October 6th deadline for refinancing a £237.4m looms large. RBS will be glad to have the loan taken off its hands in these recessionary times.
Essentially, Hicks is buying time so that he can get a better valuation for the club. Staving off financial administration which gives you nothing should be priority number one. I don't see why Broughton and the board will oppose this because it too gives them time to find other investors. It's a matter of holding your breath and voting enlightened self interest.
UEFA is ruled by a bunch of humourless old men.
During the Bayern vs AS Roma Champions League game, a group of Bayern supporters unfurled a large banner with "Romani Ite Domum" - "Romans Go Home" written on it. An obvious reference to the Monty Python film "Life Of Brian". The accompanying banner which read "Life of Bayern" should have put all doubts to rest. Well, UEFA thought it was derogatory. They chose not to look at the bright side of life and banned the banner.
"Anything that may cause offense to a fan base or ethnic group, and therefore pose a security risk, including banners or symbols, is carefully vetted."
Genuine wit gets smacked down. Left out are the rabid fanatics who think nothing of racist catcalls and anti-semitic symbols. And when that is not enough - maiming others and destroying property. Spare a thought for the Germans too - they've been the butt of so many jokes (Fawlty Towers/ Hogans Heroes) over the years that it is refreshing to see them give it back once in a while.
Here for your viewing pleasure is the clip of John Cleese and Graham Chapman immortalizing Romani Ite Domum.
A publicity stunt for Adidas involving Lionel Messi in East London ended up in chaos because of poor crowd control and faulty planning.Messi after having made a grand entrance via helicopter then had to make a hasty exit.He was whisked away in a van leaving the gathered fans with nothing to do except express their displeasure ..
Chelsea continued their steamrolling form with a 4-1 victory over MSK Zilina.Anelka scored 2 out of the four and his goal celebration was aimed at whoever was watching from the French Football Federation.
MSK Zilina 1 - 4 Chelsea All Goals - GEDDO AHLAWY (15)
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A brace by Zlatan Ibrahimovic lifted AC Milan over Auxerre. Both goals had Ronaldinho's stamp on it which is the bigger story. Meanwhile Ibrahimovic finds an odd way to make friends >>
A fantastic first time shot curled in by Thomas Mueller who keeps his reputation intact as one of the brightest talent in present day Germany. And Bayern adds insurance as Miroslav Klose nets another.
Roma was able to keep the Bundesliga champions at bay till the very end through some tough minded defending and a superb Júlio Sérgio. At one point Mueller applauds the Roma goalie for making a save off his shot. But the CL runners up finally prevailed.
The Merengues were profligate. All that huffing and puffing led to an own goal by Vurnon Anita and Gonzalo Higuain's effort. Cristiano Ronaldo and Angel Di Maria were quite pathetic. It was left to an excellent Mesut Oezil who brought life to the Real attack and Higuain to finish to add heft to the scoreline. A disgusted Special One acted out on the sidelines.
In summary, Madrid took 33 goal attempts with 15 on target. Maarten Stekelenburg was quite magnificent with a number of saves. Ajax was rarely in the game and the best chance came at the end when Urby Emanuelson's shot clattered off the crossbar and Iker Casillas was forced to save Miralem Sulejmani's volley off the rebound.
Lets first doff our cap to Cesc Fabregas. He orchestrated the first two goals. Scoring a penalty after Marouane Chamakh was brought down and then creating the goal for Andrei Arshavin. He was the midfield maestro pulling the strings.
Arsenal was undoubtedly helped by a generous Braga defense which gave them lots of space to roam. The third goal was Chamakh and Jack Wilshere. I have to say Chamakh is looking better with each game. That goal showed everything - a very nice first touch, great anticipation, and a cool finish. It brought an ear to ear smile from Wenger.
If Chamakh can keep this form then Arsenal should be able to weather the absence of Van Persie and Walcott in fine fashion.
Wilshere has a dogged quality that seems to rub off on his team mates- he is ubiquitous and reminds one of Flamini in his work ethic. And enough can't be said about Alex Song, who is now looking every bit the quintessential hard man, disrupting the flow of the attack. The duo gave enough backfield support to Fabregas, Nasri, and Arshavin. This was the key- without that worry Arsenal was able to attack without compunction.
Arshavin looked like his former self especially in the second half. He unleashed an on the money cross for Fabregas to head home and then released Vela with a beautifully timed pass for the first his brace of goals. Arsenal really improves as a creative force when the Russian is on his game. Hopefully the turnaround continues.
Vela is the Mexican who is being talked about as Chicharito has turned cold and Giovanni Dos Santos now has to compete with a crowded midfield with Luka Modric, Niko Kranjcar, and Rafael Van der Vaart at Tottenham.
The defense did a bang up job and Laurent Koscielny and Gael Clichy were both excellent. Clichy who shown to be suspect against pace was able to keep up with the speedy Mateus and he worked hard getting the ball back. Koscielny looked commanding snuffing out the long balls, tackling decisively, and making it hard for Braga to go down the center. And Manuel Almunia looked sharp and strong.
A very satisfying display against a club that has proven a thorn to bigger opposition. But Braga had very little to brag about today.
Group stage - 15/09/2010 - 20:45CET (19:45 local time) - The Emirates
Add Abou Diaby and Thomas Vermaelen to the list of starters that are out in today's fixture against Braga. They join Nicklas Bendtner, Theo Walcott, and Robin Van Persie. As for Aaron Ramsey, he is probably a couple of weeks away from re-entering the pitch.
The season is just a month old and here we are looking at a half dozen wounded already. There are of course upsides and downsides to this scenario. It represents an opportunity for on the bubble players like Jack Wilshere and Carlos Vela, an out of form Andrei Arshavin to step up, and a newbie Marouane Chamakh to impress further with his attacking capabilities.
On the other hand, it means additional pressure on the available starters without the prospect of rest adding to their wear and tear. In addition we have the presence of yet another new center back pairing. Laurent Koscielny has shown he is on a learning curve and a veteran like Sebastian Squillaci is also facing his initiation with a new club and league.
Braga are no attacking slouches.They saw of a very good Sevilla side on the road with a 4-3 win for a winning aggregate of 5-3 with Rodrigo Lima scoring a hattrick and Matheus adding another.
Hugo Viana has returned home after three years in the Liga and he has bolstered Braga's playmaking capabilities immensely. But their principal midfield creator is Luis Aguiar, a central figure in Braga's Europa Cup qualification in his first stint with the club before moving to Dynamo Moscow. He has been a staple in their successful domestic season. Braga also have Silvio, a full back who seen success from set pieces.
The bright spot is Samir Nasri should be available and could see minutes off the bench. Jack Wilshere should be delegated with the responsibility of snapping at Hugo Viana or Luis Aguiar's heels to slow the Braga attack.
Trivia: In 1921, Braga changed their team shirts from two large green and white vertical stripes, they took Arsenal's red-and-white colours as their inspiration. Since then they have been known as Minho's Arsenalistas (Arsenal from Minho).
Barca toyed with Panathinaikos in a 5-1 win. Leo Messi scored a brace and had an assist. Check out the brilliance of Barca's third goal - just sublime preternatural passing through a maze of defenders with a perfect Messi finish. And then his wonderful little chip with that amazing left foot (there must be a whole cerebral cortex devoted to it) hoisted onto Dani Alves's head for Barca's final goal.
Barca endured a small setback once Sidney Govou shrugged off Eric Abidal in a footrace to put the Greek club ahead for the first goal. But then it was all Barca after that with Messi missing out on a hat trick when his weakly struck penalty was saved by goalie Alexandros Tzorvas. As is his wont, Xavi kept the midfield purring.
Defending champions Inter had a tough outing against Dutch champions FC Twente as they had to come from behind to dig out a draw. It all began well for the Italian club with Wesley Sneijder showing his omnipotence finishing off a Diego Milito rebound with aplomb. But Walter Samuel brought down Luuk De Jong for a free kick just outside the box.
Inter's wall looked none too solid with gaps in between and Theo Janssen was able to blast a curling ball through and past the leaping Julio Cesar. Matters became worse after a corner saw Diego Milito guiding the ball into his own goal. Inter restored parity just before halftime as Samuel Eto'o managed to sneak in a shot. The ball skidding on the surface slick from the torrential rain proved too fast for the diving Sander Boschker.
Cracking start by Tottenham on their CL group stage debut. Gareth Bale just becomes more and more awesome as each match rolls by. He was responsible for the first goal although Petri Pasanen executed it perfectly into his own goal before Peter Crouch got to it. Then it was Crouching Tiger's turn as Van Der Vaart became the Hidden Dragon. It was the Premiership club all over Werder like fungus.
But the German club fought back and just before half time Hugo Almeida glanced the ball past Carlo Cudicini from a curling long cross by Wesley. In the second half, Marko Marin, in the vanguard of the brilliant young German brigade gathered by Joachim Low, with speed and skill finished blisteringly and Werder were level.
A Mikaël Silvestre sighting and by all accounts he did quite well against a club he would be quite familiar with. Harry Redknapp should be quite pleased with the result although there is a feeling that Spurs definitely missed out on a chance to do more damage.
Rangers could not have asked for a better result drawing Man Utd at Old Trafford, 0-0 in game that was devoid of much creativity and had a handful of scoring threats.
The Scottish champions put on a calculated display of park the bus which Utd were unable to break down except on one occasion when Ryan Giggs was able to break the offside trap through a lovely little chip but Darren Fletcher was slow pulling the trigger and the threat was snuffed out.
Stoppage time added upto 6 minutes all due to Antonio Valencia's horrific injury- a suspected dislocated and fracture of the ankle. An innocuous tackle by Kirk Broadfoot (was his foot larger than imagined?) and Valencia went tumbling down. He came up with his left ankle twisted at an unnatural angle. A hush descended on Old Trafford as fans reacted. Valencia was stretchered off with oxygen and probably an opioid to manage the pain. He will most likely be out for the season or till very late. An injury similar to Bobby Zamora's which will require immediate surgery.
Without Valencia, the game went narrow as Man Utd went down the middle. Darron Gibson had a few noteworthy heave hos from range but Rangers goalie Allan McGregor was not severely tested on those occasions.
Broadfoot was again in the limelight when he entered the Man Utd box but went sprawling when his foot was clipped from behind by Chris Smalling. Man Utd got a break as the referee chose to ignore the legitimate appeals of penalty from the midfielder.
Sir Alex Ferguson came out with a revamped team - 10 changes from the Everton game with only Darren Fletcher surviving the cut. Wayne Rooney did himself no favours, looking tentative and timid. No Berbatov, no Nani, and no Scholes. No creativity. No attacking flair.
For Rangers, Maurice Edu kept up the defensive shape and Madjid Bougherra was huge in the center. Walter Smith maybe able to pull off the improbable and make the Ibrox another impregnable fortress.
Evander Sno, 23 year old former Celtic midfielder now at Ajax collapsed on the field yesterday while playing Vitesse in a reserve match. A defibrillator had to be used thrice to revive Sno who apparently went into cardiac arrest possibly due to cardiac arrhyhthmias. He is now in hospital recuperating.
This incident underscores the importance of having a defibrillator on the premises. In Sno's case timely intervention saved his life. Such was not the case in many deaths due to sudden cardiac arrest, including Dani Jarque, Antonip Puerta, Mark Vivien Foe, Phil O'Donell, Antonio De Nigris, Endurance Idahor, and Miklos Feher.
These deaths could be attributable to a genetic disorder called Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Dysplasia/ Cardiomyopathy (ARVD/ ARVC) that replaces the heart muscle of the right ventricle with fatty fibrous tissue. Research has shown that "ARVD, a rare heart disease, is one of the leading causes of sudden death in young athletes."
The commonest sign of this silent killer are ventricular arrhythmias or irregular heart rhythms which can increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest or death. Symptoms include palpitations, dizziness, fainting, shortness of breath, fatigue, and swelling in the ankles and feet.
In the case of Sergio Sanchez, the Sevilla defender was forced to retire after such a diagnosis was established early this year. A painful decision come to after much testing and counseling.
Similarly, Real's midfield prospect, Ruben De La Red faces protracted time off from the field after a suspected heart defect caused him to collapse against Real Union more than two years ago. His career is still up in the air and involves a fight with Real who not only do not want to pay disability but also risk anything more calamitous happening on the field should he return. Real's callousness has left De La Red between a rock and a hard place. A club that can pay millions of euros for outside talent but not take care of one of their own. It just underscores Florentino Perez's ruthlessness.
Sno will have to undergo a battery of tests to establish the cause of his collapse and possibly face a future off the field. It is hard to rehabilitate a professional footballer especially so young and as seen in De La Red's case, the decision to call it a day is made much harder by unsupportive clubs.
In the case of FIFA/ UEFA they should enforce defbrillators and CPR training on the field. Many clubs do not have such equipment or training but as seen in Sno's case, it can save lives.
Johns Hopkins is the leading research university investigating ARVD. Here is the website >>
The Cleveland Clinic has more information about ARVD including treatment options >>
Under Wenger's 14 year reign, Arsenal have scored 1000 goals in the Premier League. Alex Song had the singular distinction of achieving that landmark for the gaffer against Bolton. Carlos Vela adding another to swell it to 1001.
On an average that works out to a very impressive rate of 72 goals a season. So it is fair to say that Wenger has seen some great goals and invariably when asked which one he would classify as the best one, Dennis Bergkamp's spectacular strike against Newcastle comes up. So here it is. Revel in its magnificence.
Tony Pulis fresh from grieving his mother's passing away was given some balm in Stoke's last gasp win over Villa, in keeping with this Premiership season's theme of adrenaline driven finishes. It was wily Robert Huth who stuck out an opportunistic foot to guide Matthew Etherington's shot into goal. It left Villa devastated. Jermaine Pennant, a former Arsenal project played his part in the free kick leading to the goal.
Stewart Downing's lunging header (video) in the 35th minute put Villa ahead against the run of play. It is goal of the week material. Stoke then had to withstand Villa's trio of Ashley Young, Gabby Agbanlahor, and Downing for the next 45 minutes to conjure up the equalizer.
Rory Delap using his head this time nodded a clearance back to Fuller who laid it off to Etherington (a vastly underrated player) whose inch perfect cross was headed home by newly signed Kenwyne Jones (video). Stoke were back in the match.
Stoke managed its first win of the season after three losses as Villa contemplates a schizophrenic start to theirs with two wins and two losses, including the Newcastle debacle before recovering to beat a very good Everton side the following week. Gerard Houllier was not present for today's match busy wrapping up last minute duties with the French Federation but he will be present for Bolton, Villa's next opponent.
" No Woman, no Kai " and a blow up doll.
If that was the best the Toffees had in store for Wayne Rooney, then he got off lightly. Although I have to say the Bob Marley revisionism is a stroke of genius.
Too bad he wasn't there because Sir Alex fearing the abuse they would heap on him did not include him on the field.
"We are not going to subject him to the abuse he gets here"
Goodison Park has always been a rough homecoming for Rooney.
Evertonians have nursed a sense of betrayal ever since Rooney left for Man Utd four years ago. Rooney's free fall in form, his outburst against England fans, and now his sexual peccadilloes have provided grist to the mill and an edge to that grievance.
Having said that it is ironic to see a footballer whose descriptor does not include the word "sensitive" being the subject of "nurture". Rooney's mouth and physical actions have landed him in trouble with referees, players, and fans alike. There was always a 50-50 chance that he would be sent off at Goodison but there was also a chance that he could have made a difference.
As a professional and one of the most highly paid footballers in the world, Rooney needs less mollycoddling and more growing up to do. This was one such moment.
Sir Alex's protective action just furthers the notion of Rooney being "mentally fragile" and it could prove counterproductive too- the slagging off will continue in venues beyond Goodison with redoubled intensity now that his star player has been shown to be expendable. Throw him to the lions. Not just the three.
Christian Abbiati's goalkeeping left much to be desired and Alexandre Pato was denied twice by the referee on two questionable offside calls. But it was promoted club Cesena making waves as Erjon Bogdani headed home the first goal and then minutes later Bogdani fed the speeding Emanuele Giaccherini whose angled shot beat Abbiati and came off the far post for the second goal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not enhance his reputation by missing a penalty. So far the overrated Swedish striker has yet to score. Newly acquired Robinho made an appearance as a substitute but failed to make an impact.
The Serie's leader is Chievo, a team that flirted with relegation last season finishing 14th. They are followed by Sicilian club Cagliari who fought off Atalanta, Livorno,and Siena to escape relegation. Sampdoria who battled Juventus to a 3-3 draw are in third and Cesena with their famous victory over Milan round off the top four. Last year's champion Inter are in 6th position, one above Milan.
Early days but this year could be a roller coaster as the smaller club show they are not overawed by the heavy hitters.
Ricardo Carvalho's goal made the difference as Real given their dominance were tentative when it came to finishing off their numerous chances.
The Liga looks a bit strange as Real's derby rivals Atletico are on top of the table followed by Valencia and Sevilla. It is still too early but notably for all of Real's firepower the top scoring team last season has scored just one goal in their two matches. Their slow start puts them in fourth spot, three spots above Barca who trail Villareal and Getafe, in their even slower start.
By now this clip has gone viral with close to two million hits. But it never ceases to amaze! Suffice to say Rabat's Khalid El Askri will not be asked to represent Morocco anytime soon.
His premature celebration cost his team the match as they were eliminated by Fes on penalties 7-6 in the semi-finals of the Morocco Cup. Talk about counting your chickens before they hatch. On the other hand Rob Green can rehabilitate himself after watching this clip.
For those who have a bit of time to kill- these are the last 17 minutes of the match. The calm before the storm with absolutely no indication that the match would be turned topsy turvy.
A good question would be how on earth does Tim Cahill do it?
A stunning cross by the previously homesick Leighton Baines and Cahill with timing, precision, and power buries a superb header in stoppage time to bring Everton a goal away from tying. Cahill giving inches away but still manages to rise above players get head to ball. His head is a homing device and surely a question for physics.
Now it is a minute and a half left- surely Man Utd with their experience know a thing or two about keeping the ball away.
But Gary Neville makes the crucial mistake of lofting a long ball to Berbatov instead of passing it around and letting the clock run out. The ball comes back to Everton and they push forward though Fellaini and Pienaar. The South African holds back and waits for the onrushing Baines down the left channel.
The wingback launches another impeccable cross which Cahill again manages to find and nod back to an unmarked Arteta who blasts the ball through a maze of bodies. Van Der Sar could not have looked more disgusted. Everton have done the improbable. Man Utd like they did against Fulham drop points.
The match ends controversially as Phil Jagielka on the threshold of pulling of the impossible by winning it for Everton tests Van Der Sar. But a goal would have been moot as Martin Atkinson inexplicably blows the whistle an instant before. A livid Moyes storms into the field and remonstrates with Atkinson.
Just another wrinkle in an afternoon full of them including the missing Wayne Rooney, a decision taken by Sir Alex to protect the present poster boy of bad behaviour from being exposed to the baying Everton mob. A ridiculous decision - Rooney is one of the best paid footballers in the world and he is kept back because the manager feels he won't be able to take a few taunts? He better start earning his paycheck instead of wasting it on keeping the oldest profession alive.
For the full highlights >>
Laurent Koscielny scored his first goal for Arsenal but he was also responsible for Bolton's equalizer. We have to expect a learning curve from a defender with all the building blocks in place but whose performances have been marred by some naive moments.
At half time the Gunners were 1-1 and due for a real chewing out by Wenger. It seemed to have worked as they looked sharper and hungrier in the second half.
Marouane Chamakh showed his aerial pedigree scoring the second goal. A golden fleeced Song added another from a great bit of hustle in the box. And in the end there was even a Carlos Vela sighting. Bolton's task was made harder when Gary Cahill was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Chamakh.
Without Nasri, Walcott, and RVP - three attacking starters, the Gunners need a committee of players who can take up the scoring brunt. In this match they got it. But they have to repeat this feature till the trio return early October possibly in time for the Chelsea match.
An absolute shocker in the Liga as Javier Mascherano's debut turns to dust.
Hercules, a club promoted after 13 years and composed of former rejects including Real Madrid's Royston Drenthe, Juve's David Trezeguet, Pompey's Noe Pamarot, and Borussia Dortmund's Nelson "Haecho" Valdez defeated the Liga title holders, 2-0 at home. Barca undefeated at Camp Nou last season succumbed to Hercules as the league minions found space and gaps to exploit with their energetic counterattacking.
Nelson Valdez got the better of Victor Valdez twice. And Hercules could have added another before close to complete the humiliation. But the real story is how Barca was unable to score despite besieging the Hercules goal with attacking wave after attacking wave. The finished product left much to be desired. One was left with the impression of a club that wanted to coast on its reputation.
This year's Liga will be even more open ended than last season. Barca cannot afford to drop points like this and not expect Jose Mourinho to hold off on his mind games. Because that is what this is all building towards: The most contentious and anticipated set of Clasico's in many years.
Full marks to Hercules. It was a magnificent effort and another reminder why football throws up unlikely heroes. Now, can they stop Real Madrid?
Thiago Alcantara and Sergio Canales did an action replay of their special free kick against England scored at the U 19 championship some time back.
This is the original against England
This is the action replay against Poland 3 days ago.The same two players were involved.If the Polish defenders had read this soccerblog post on the 27th of July they would not have been caught unawares.A lesson for them.
Amateur team Leeds Badgers beat the Warwickshire Wolves by 425 goals to 354.
That puts an end to any theory that soccer is a low scoring game and therefore boring.
(However if you read the fine print you will discover that the game in question - with the phenomenal score - went on for 57 hours ..!)
The event was a fundraiser for the treatment of meningitis.It was played at Warwick University in memory of Jamie Burdett, a Leeds Badgers player who died from meningitis three years ago.
...with a shoulder injury he picked up while attempting a scissor kick.
Kim Kallstrom demonstrates the proper technique here in this Swedish Training exercise.
FIFA are going to go after the chap in the stands shooting the poor players down.Diving is going to be banned,Individual football associations are going to be given the power to mete out punishments for diving.
The Australian Football Federation (FFA) are the first to implement these regulations, with two players recently punished for diving in order to win penalties.
FFA spokesman Rod Allen said: "We deem diving as a serious issue in the game and something we feel strongly about.We hope that with serious sanction it will be a deterrent. We want to stamp it out."
So here's hoping that ghastly scenes like these chaps getting shot down will soon be a thing of the past.......!
A new disease that might be even worse than H1N1.Fortunately it only affects football media people - and that too only if you are a german.
The syndrome began with this incident when reporter Jessica Kastrop was struck on the head by a football kicked by Stuttgart defender Khalid Boulahrouz like this...
The sympoms of this non fatal disease are a sudden unreasonable fear that you will be hit on the head by a football.
Spain beat Liechtenstein 4 - 0 in their Euro qualifier with Torres and Villa scoring two goals each and plenty of tiki taki for the rest of the game.
Meanwhile the good news for next door neighbour Portugal was that they also scored four goals in their game against Cyprus.The bad news was that Cyprus also scored 4 goals in return.Where is Cristiano Ronaldo...?
England scored four goals three of which came from Defoe - ably assisted by a resurgent Rooney....
Francisco Varallo - last man standing from the first World Cup final in 1930 died at the age of 100, Argentine media reported on Monday.
Varallo played for the Argentina side that lost 4-2 to Uruguay in the 1930 final.
Uefa have banned the vuvuzela from European competitions much to the annoyance of those who bought vuvuzelas to blow at the matches,beehive owners,the Society for the elimination of Football Chants and elephants in the mating season.
Other folks think it's a pretty ok idea.