Friday, August 24, 2007

A look ahead...

A look ahead at this weekends action

Svens makes play for Deco

What a stunning addition Deco would be the surprisingly good Man City side!
Since taking over at Eastlands in the summer, the former England coach has spent over £40million bringing in such quality players as Elano, Martin Petrov and Rolando Bianchi.

However, it appears as though the Swede has not yet finished his spending just yet, and is saving his best for last – with reports suggesting he is lining up an £8million to sign Portugal international ace Deco.

The midfielder, who turns 30-years-old next week, seems to be out of favour at Barcelona who have made him available, and the player could be tempted to try his luck in England.

Who will Fabio Capello manage next?

Could he replace Steve McLaren as the Three Lions' manager or perhaps take the over the USMNT duties from Bob Bradley. Or maybe even take over at Chelsea should Jose not bring home the Champions League hardware this year. Sportingo examines the possibilities:
But I want to dig even deeper into the possibilities here. What about England? What if trophies fail to arrive at Chelsea and Liverpool this season? If Liverpool do not win the Premier League it is not out of the question that Rafael Benitez will be fired. Jose Mourinho is not guaranteed to be at Chelsea next season if multiple trophies (and I don't mean of the FA Cup and Carling Cup variety) make their way to Stamford Bridge.

Thus, two big clubs with big budgets and lots of talent could have manager openings. Thinking even bigger for a second, England national team manager Steve McClaren will be gone either before Euro 2008 because England fail to qualify or immediately after the competition when they crash out in dismal fashion again. Managing England is one of the highest profile jobs in the world. Signore Capello - your ego is landing.

And let me throw this out: Would Capello consider managing in the United States?

Consider the total lack of pressure on the US national team manager, and I would have to believe Capello could balance managing an MLS club with the national team job. He could settle in at LA Galaxy, Chivas USA or Chicago Fire all while guiding the Americans to respectability at the international level. If we've learned anything over the summer it is that current manager Bob Bradley hasn't done much to raise the competitiveness of the US national team. They look pretty ordinary outside of CONCACAF and if David Beckham is getting MLS on front pages and prime-time television shouldn't the national team strive for the same?
Capello, of course, would be a great hire for the USMNT and coincidentally was in the UK yesterday and met with Bob Bradley to share technical advice:

Capello met with U.S. coach Bob Bradley and U.S. soccer federation president Sunil Gulati in London on Thursday.

"They wanted my views for a series of technical questions," Capello was quoted as saying in Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

The meeting lasted three hours, according to the Gazzetta.

The United States was beaten 1-0 by Sweden in a friendly Wednesday to extend its losing streak to four games — the worst such stretch for the Americans in a decade.

Capello met with U.S. coach Bob Bradley and U.S. soccer federation president Sunil Gulati in London on Thursday.

"They wanted my views for a series of technical questions," Capello was quoted as saying in Friday's Gazzetta dello Sport.

The meeting lasted three hours, according to the Gazzetta.

The United States was beaten 1-0 by Sweden in a friendly Wednesday to extend its losing streak to four games — the worst such stretch for the Americans in a decade.

If Bradley needs advice from Capello he should just switch the interim manager tag to assistant manager or former Manager - especially considering the aforementioned four game losing streak.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Fulham add 4th Yank in Keller; Belletti to Chelski...

After another soft performance from Tony Warner, Fulham have added their fourth Yank in GK Kasey Keller to compete for first-choice duties while Antii Niemmi is injured:
Fulham have added yet another American to their ranks, snapping up free agent goalkeeper Kasey Keller whose contract with Borussia Mönchengladbach was not renewed following last season's relegation campaign.

Keller, 37, is expected to slot into the starting lineup immediately with first choice keeper Antti Niemi currently injured and backup Tony Warner having three inconsistent performances to open the season.

"It was important that we added some strength and depth," Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez said in a press release. "Kasey is a proven professional with impeccable international credentials.
After striking out on acquiring Alves, Chelsea have acquired Brazilian right back Juliano Belletti:

However, the arrival of World Cup winner Gianluca Zambrotta squeezed Belletti out of the Barca first team.

"I know a bit about what the Premier League is like," added Belletti. "I know it's a tough league but I'm coming here with plenty of ambition and desire. I want to win trophies.

"I am a typical Brazilian full-back. I like to get forward up the wing."

Chelsea are believed to have turned their attention to Belletti after their attempt to sign Dani Alves stalled again.

Sevilla turned down two improved offers for the full-back this week, with Chelsea and Real Madrid both in the hunt.

The Spanish club were understood to want £27m for Alves but Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck said the club would not be forced into spending above the market price.

"When we are buying players there is no doubt about it there is one price for Chelsea and one price for everyone else," Buck told 5live.

"We have to do our best to fight that."

Great quote from Bruce Buck - perhaps if Chelski didn't buy players at exorbitant prices every year then teams wouldn't expect to get more than fair value when you want one of their players.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Yanks and Three Lions fall

A pretty weak effort from the Yanks tonight in Sweden. A few players such as Kamani Hill and Jay DeMerit had decent form but overall "a mediocre performance" as Donovan Beasley stated.
A strike by Kim Kallstrom in the 56th minute gave Sweden a 1-0 result over the US Men's National Team in a friendly at Ullevi Stadium in Goteborg, Sweden on Wednesday.

The score marked the end of what had been a first-half power struggle on a clear Scandinavian night.

In the first half, things got off to a shaky start for the predominantly European-based squad when a Michael Bradley mishap gave Sweden's Kennedy Bakircioglu space and options in the second minute. Bakircioglu found Zlatan Ibrahimovic on a centering ball but the Inter Milan striker went wide with it.

The Americans quickly returned the favor on a great chance for DaMarcus Beasley in the third minute. Landon Donovan took a creative pass from Clint Dempsey and played it flat to Beasley who, alone, went wide left.

"The contact was there but it was just the wrong side of the post," Beasley told reporters after the match. "I should have scored. I thought it was going in."

Beasley's miss seemed to leave him a bit shell-shocked in the following moments.
DeMerit looked to be the best Yank when he came on late; it's about time for him to get more minutes. Most supporter seems to be curious to have seen how Jozy Altidore might have fared against Sweden; hopefully that day will come soon. Also worth noting was the debut of Sal Zizzo.

Struggling with their fitness England looked like and fared as well as their 1998 World Cup team, with Owen & Beckham playing together. Kevin Kuranyi and the Germans got a gift equalizer from the shaky Paul Robison. Cristian Pander put the Germans ahead with a marvelous blast that Robinson was helpless to stop.
Frank Lampard's early goal was not enough as Germany came from behind to beat England 2-1 at Wembley and heap more pressure on Steve McClaren. There was not a penalty in sight but Paul Robinson's howler ensured England still experienced that familiar sinking feeling against their old rivals.

Lampard's first international goal for 12 months had raised hopes of a rare home win against the old enemy.

Unfortunately, on a night of experimentation and preparation, the positives gained from an encouraging performance which deserved better than the eventual result, will be overshadowed by Robinson's woes.

The Tottenham man gifted Kevin Kuranyi Germany's equaliser with a miserable mistake and nothing during his 45-minute appearance suggested anything other than that his replacement, veteran David James, should be installed when Israel head to Wembley on September 8 for a game coach Steve McClaren has already described as "must-win" if England are to reach Euro 2008.

The goalkeeping conundrum will occupy McClaren's mind for most of the next 17 days, although there was little Robinson could have done to keep out the sweet strike from Christian Pander which ultimately gave Germany their win.
The aforementioned Pander goal:

Robben completes move to Real Madrid...

Arjen Robben finally appears to be headed to the Bernabeu, who must have been awfully busy today in England. Funny that Robben joins Real Madrid the same day as Gabriel Heinze with Man U and Chelsea being rivals and all.

FIFA VP Jack Warner stands by his insults...

Warner states that he is only the telling the truth and pitting the FA against CONCACAF and that he has nothing to apologize for.

Well "Ace," I stand by comments as well; those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones.

Is Jens Lehmann a liability?

David Warner at the AOL Sportshouse answers that question, with video of another poor showing by Lehmann:

Arsenal goalkeeper Jens Lehmann could not have started the season any more poorly -- two horrible gaffes in two Premier League matches, including that David Dunn shot that slipped through his fingers and cost the Gunners two points. Fans at the Emirates may be calling for his head, but the team has rallied around him, and midfielder Cesc Fabregas says Lehmann has no reason to say he's sorry.
"When I make a mistake I don't like people shouting at me. I just have to think about what I did wrong and put it right. Now Jens has to think about it himself but of course we are all alongside him. He does not have to apologise.

"This is a team. Since the beginning of the season we said we will always be together. We are together now and we are strong. We showed that at Blackburn. There was one mistake and we lost two very important points. But it is still very early."
True, it is early, but as the old saying goes, one is a coincidence, two is a trend, and three... well, three will put a lot more pressure on Arsene Wenger to make a change. With only Lukasz Fabianski or Manuel Almunia (who?) on the bench, though, are Wenger's hands somewhat tied? Do the Gunners just have to score more goals and hope Lehmann gets it together?

Quick hits: Heinze free - Yakubu to Everton - Ramos for Jol

The disgruntled Argentine defender has been shipped off to join Thierry Henry in the Spanish leagues:
Real Madrid have agreed a deal to bring Manchester United defender Gabriel Heinze to the Bernabeu, the Spanish champions announced tonight.

Real confirmed the news in a statement on their website, which read: "Real Madrid and Manchester United have reached an agreement for the transfer of Gabriel Heinze.

"The Argentinian, 29, will sign a contract for the next four seasons and will be immediately incorporated into Bernd Schuster's squad." No fee has been confirmed for Heinze, although reports in the Spanish media suggest he will cost Real around €12m (£8.1m).
Everton and M'Boro agree to a fee for Yakubu:

Boro had been looking for £12million the 24-year-old - but they have relented and accepted a deal worth just over £11million.

Yakubu, who trained with Middlesbrough on Wednesday, is now due on Merseyside to discuss personal terms and undergo a medical.

The Nigerian will become Everton's record signing and if all goes according to plan he should be available to make his Toffees debut against Blackburn on Saturday.

Juane Ramos claims Spurs made him a dizzying offer; Spurs official denies:
Juande Ramos today contradicted Tottenham Hotspur by claiming the club made him a "dizzying" offer to succeed Martin Jol as manager.

Spurs released a statement this morning saying that "no individual was or has been offered the position of manager/coach at this club while that position has been held by Martin Jol." However Ramos, who has one year left on his contract with Sevilla and insists he will serve it out, told a news conference in Spain: "They made an excellent, dizzying offer, but I'm under contract to Sevilla and my decision is to fulfil it.

Moneyball meets football...

Can Baseball genius Billy Beane, an avid Spurs fan, translate his penchant for statistics into success in the MLS? The Toronto Star examines how he will fair with his involvement in San Jose Earthquakes, coming to the MLS in 2008 - its an interesting read about the future of soccer in America as well.

It is impossible to talk about Beane without mentioning his baseball philosophy. Beane championed the outsider idea that certain statistics revealed more about a player's quality than physical makeup or mere observation could.

Given legitimacy by Beane, the movement became pejoratively known as Moneyball, after the title of the 2003 book in which the Oakland GM starred. Though Beane has enjoyed remarkable success with the small-market A's, his ideas are still controversial in the baseball fraternity.

Maybe that's why he talks so cautiously about bringing the same philosophies to assembling a soccer team.

"Everybody in sport is using some sort of objective analysis," Beane said. "The biggest key is collecting and utilizing data that is linear to winning games."

The most obvious hurdle is the dearth of statistical data in soccer as compared to baseball.

"I'm too respectful of the sport to say I have the formula for success," Beane said. "But it's something we'd like to explore."

The world soccer equivalent to Billy Beane and the A's is Anatoly Zelentsov and Dynamo Kiev.

In the 1970s and '80s, Zelentsov was the Ukrainian scientist who brought an early version of objective analysis to the world's most popular sport.

Dynamo Kiev's players were taught a series of computer-designed plays and warned against improvising. The field was dissected into grids. Players slid into the grids assigned to them, knowing beforehand with iron certainty whether or not they were due to receive the ball. The result was Total Football with an enormous brain and no heart. Dynamo players were often likened to robots.

But the results spoke for themselves. An underfunded club from a satellite nation dominated the Soviet soccer system for decades and twice won the European Cup Winner's Cup – in 1975 and 1986.

Once the wall came down, top western clubs snatched up Dynamo's biggest stars. Most were abysmal failures once removed from Zelentsov's system.

Dynamo not only used computer models to train the team. They were also used to pick it. Measures that tested reflexes (by, for instance, hitting the same keyboard button as quickly as possible over a long interval) or memory games were thought to reveal a player's true speed and intelligence.

It sounded wacky, but Zelentsov was invited to use his tools to winnow down a 40-player pool to a 20-man Soviet squad. The team chosen by Zelentsov's computer was sent to the 1988 European Championships, where they were surprise finalists.

Right now, Beane doesn't have a system, just the belief that one must exist.

"In everything, there is something. It's just having the ability to mine the linear data from all the background noise," Beane said.

He's even more certain about soccer's future in America.

"It's the vacuum effect. You have the world's richest country. And you have the world's biggest sport. `Collision' is the wrong word, but the vacuum is going to have to be filled."

That "collision" became apparent to him this summer in an unlikely venue – on HBO. In an episode of the hit series Entourage, the show's star, a Hollywood actor named Vincent Chase, spends an afternoon watching a Manchester United game at Dennis Hopper's house.

The episode didn't get it all right – wrong players, wrong games. But it was English soccer in America's coolest homes.

"It's not just sports culture anymore," Beane said. "Now it's become pop culture."

Beane talks down his own knowledge, which seems considerable – he chats easily about the quality of Fernando Torres' "touches" or Arsene Wenger's scouting coups.

If Beane's history is any indicator, his hoovering for raw data will soon transform itself into profitable play on the field.

"I don't pretend to have any answers," Beane said. "I'm just hungry to find them."

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Spurs bid for Riquelme; Jol safe (for now)

Spurs have made a bid to Villareal in excess of £10million.

Spurs official states that Jol is safe (so long as he delivers Champions League football.)

Gareth Bale is playing in a friendly for Wales in an effort to get ready to play for the Spurs.

Heinze's bid for freedom denied...

Looks like Heinze will be staying at Old Trafford as his appeal to the arbitration board was denied:

United disputed claims from Heinze, 29, who said the Red Devils gave him written permission to pursue a transfer to another club for a fee of £6.8m.

But a Premier League arbitration panel concluded that the permission "was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer".

The defender is set to appeal against the panel's decision.

However, with the transfer window scheduled to shut on 31 August, he is short of time if he wants to leave Old Trafford.

The arbitration panel's verdict read: "The Premier League Board-appointed panel have heard submissions of evidence from both parties and has ruled to dismiss the player's case.

"The hearing concluded that nature and intention of the disputed 13 June 2007 letter, especially when taken in context of verbal discussions and Manchester United FC's transfer policy, was unambiguous in that it envisages only an international transfer.

"Furthermore, the hearing finds the letter constitutes an 'agreement to agree' and did not create an obligation or binding agreement for the club to transfer the player to any particular club."

United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and chief executive David Gill travelled to Monday's hearing in London to put their case and will be happy with the verdict.

A Manchester United spokesman said: "We are pleased that the panel has endorsed our case."

Too bad mate, but to me the move never made much sense in the first place but I will be interested to see how this will affect his happiness and his form if Fergie plays him. This ruling has led to the Free Heinze campaign, coming to a t-shirt store near you:

Week 2 Best XI...

From Sanford's Soccer Net via ESPN:
What a fickle mistress footballing form is. So if Tony Warner, superb in Fulham's opener at Arsenal seven days ago, would kindly shuffle along taking his recent calamitous errors with him, and make way for Steve Harper in TOTW. Harper kept a clean sheet against Aston Villa and proved himself an able deputy once more for the injured Shay Given.

GK: Steve Harper (Newcastle)
CB: Micah Richards (Man City)
CB: Richard Dunne (Man City)
CB: Andre Bikey (Reading)
RM: Steed Malbranque (Spurs)
CM: Jermaine Jenas (Spurs)
CM: Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
CM: Mark Noble (West Ham)
LM: Steven Hunt (Reading)
ST: Nwankwo Kanu (Portsmouth)
ST: Emile Heskey (Wigan)

Manager: Sven Goran-Eriksson (Man City)

Beckham MLS highlights...

Highlights from the LA Galaxy - NY Red Bulls match from this past weekend, which is being touted as the one of the best MLS matches ever, whatever that means:

While Beckham draws the most attention its the play of Jozy Altidore, who scored niftily twice, that has Yank's excited as he appears to be a lone American that can finish consistently and is the best hope for a promising run at the 2010 world cup. Granted Altidore's goals came against crap defending but he has shown class in finishing at the U-20 world cup level and now in the MLS.

Newcastle braces for Martins bids...

With Martins contract coming to an end soon Newcastle will probably be forced to take the highest bid or else lose the Nigerian national for next to nothing:
Newcastle were today bracing themselves for an approach for striker Obafemi Martins as speculation mounted that Manchester United could seek cover for Wayne Rooney. The 22-year-old is one of a number of frontmen to be linked with the Premier League champions, who have taken just two points from their first three games. United have scored only one goal - Paul Scholes' strike at Portsmouth - to date this season and with Rooney out for around seven more weeks with a fractured metatarsal and Louis Saha struggling for full fitness, manager Sir Alex Ferguson is being tipped to invest once again in an effort to plug the gap. Martins, along with Bolton's Nicolas Anelka and Tottenham's Dimitar Berbatov, has been touted as a potential target and the fact that the Nigeria international has a £13million release clause in his contract at St James' Park means the Magpies would be powerless to prevent him leaving the club.
While I think that Anelka would be a better fit for Man U, Martins potential is immense and Man U might make an attractive enough bid for Newcastle to take.

Adu gets a new boss...

Freddy Adu has a new boss after Benfica Fernando Santos was given his P45 following a loss to newly promoted Leixoes in Benfica's opening match of the season. Santos has been replaced by former Real Madrid boss Jose Antonio Camacho, who vows to make the club great again, hopefully with help from the American teenager.

Ronaldinho bicycle kick...

Just for kicks here is a moment of brilliance from the Brazilian phenom:

Worst Decision of the Week...

While the Malouda flop was egregious, the worst call of the weekend came against Fulham as a David Healy shot was carried accross the line by Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer, clearly evident above. Fulham boss Lawrie Sanchez rightfully says that the poor decision cost them a point:

TV replays clearly show that Healy’s shot was gathered by Boro keeper Mark Schwarzer behind the line. Sanchez was disappointed with the officials and believes the goal should have been given.

“We obviously were (robbed of a point). As everyone could see it was a goal. There was nobody blocking the linesman’s view of it,” Sanchez told Sky Sports.

“He had to be brave and make the decision because it was well over. It’s one if those ones for the goal-line technology argument.”

Of course the FA, a day late and a quid short, chimes in to say that they will review goal-line technology but are hampered by FIFA rules:
A spokesman said: "We understand the debate around goal-line technology and it's always going to be an important talking point after these incidents.

"Fifa rules clearly state that a referee must take decisions based on what he sees on the field of play and cannot refer to video replays at any time during the game."
Why is FIFA against getting the decision right?? I know that the intent is to not slow the game down but when goals are hard to come by and team like Fulham will be fighting for points they should have the opportunity to dispute a poor decision, especially when the technology is readily available. The Premier League should take a stand and lead the change to institute replay challenges like they do in nearly every other sport

To make things worse, Fulham lost their American skipper Brian McBride for a few months with a dislocated kneecap after planting his leg for a shot on goal in which he scored -- the video below says it all -- OUCH!!

Premier League week 2: XI conclusions

A great wrap up of the past weekend from Whoateallthepies:


1 Micah Richards is a superhuman backtracking machine who will hunt you down and tackle you (and he'll get himself in all sorts of terrible positions first just to give you a bit of a chance!).

2 If Sven keeps this up he might be able to miss 'the England years' out of his autobiography altogether. Manchester City top of the table. Who would have thought?

3 Rob Styles was having a 'mare. He gave a soft penalty after Florent 'Salmon' Malouda leaped into Steve Finnan, and then started flashing yellow cards around regardless of whether the player had committed an offence, had been booked before or whether he actually intended to book them.

4 Bolton + Sammy Lee = Big Trouble. I smell Steve Wigley Syndrome.

5 Goal-line technology needs to be brought in - just ask David Healy and the gang at Northern Ireland FC, sorry Fulham. A dodgy decision cost them a point against Middlesbrough.

6 Derby losing 4-0, Sunderland losing 3-0. It's about time these newcomers learnt their place! It gives some sense of normality.

7 Harry Redknapp seems to have unearthed another gem in John Utaka. Showed his pace and scored a classy goal against Bolton. I would draft him into my fantasy team if he was registered as a midfielder (where he is currently playing).

8 Manchester United's title challenge will be over before it has started if they drop any more points in the next couple of weeks. We all know they are traditionally strong finishers, but they are giving everyone a worryingly big headstart.

9 Call it stating the obvious but Manchester United desperately need a tap-in merchant, a fox-in-the box. Emergency call to Andrew Cole?

10 In theory, Wigan could have had about five penalties and made their victory over Sunderland really emphatic. As it was referee Mike Riley only gave two (apparently first half penalties have been outlawed).

11 Arsene Wenger is naive if he thinks calling Blackburn 'violent' after their 1-1 draw will stop them doing exactly the same again. He needs to invest in a couple of players with some grit to help the Gunners' flair players cope in this sort of match. At least he can sleep easy knowing Bolton will roll over this season!

Rob Styles is a tosser...

From the AOL Sporthouse. I hadn't seen this replay yet (as I was travelling Sunday) but it was such a crap call as Malouda was clearly either dummying the ball back to Drogba or flopping like a salmon. Styles looks like a Chelski supporter to me:
If there's one thing on which Chelsea fans and Liverpool fans can agree after Sunday's big match in Anfield, it's this -- referee Rob Styles was a world-class tosser. Not only did he award Chelsea a bogus penalty, as the video above shows, but he handed out, oh, about 38 yellow cards because of player protests. I think Michael Essien got yellow-carded five times for dissent, yet still managed to stay in the game.

The Premier League? It, too, thought that penalty was bogus, and it has acted accordingly.

Referee Rob Styles will not officiate in the next Premier League round after mistakenly awarding Chelsea a penalty kick in the 1-1 draw with Liverpool at Anfield. ...
Referees chief Keith Hackett said Monday that Styles will be suspended for the next round.

"It is just like with players - if they miss an open goal, they are likely to be dropped," Hackett said. "Having looked at a video and seen a better angle and a better view, clearly (Styles) now recognizes that he got it wrong and he's deeply apologetic for that. I think, in fact, he will be making contact with Liverpool in order to offer his apologies."
It's actually kind of refreshing to see a sports league not only hold a ref accountable for a bad call, but force him to write a letter of apology to the team he wronged.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Quotes from the past weekend:

From SomePeopleAreOnThePitch:

After reading the match reports for this weekends Premier League matches, some quotes caught my eye.

Some for stating the obvious, some for an interesting spin on things, and some just for the sheer hilarity...

"Do you think my players surround the referee? I have a naive team. We do not have any divers.”
Don’t laugh, but that was said by Jose Mourinho.

"If that's the case then I'm Little Red Riding Hood!”
Liverpool manager Rafe Benitez, in response to the comment above.

"The manager had a lot to say, - I'll leave it at that.”
Nyron Nosworthy on manager Roy Keane after the 3-0 defeat at Wigan.

"People talked us up before the start of the season and that's why it took only four days to bring us down again.”
Under pressure Tottenham manager Martin Jol.

“If you don't keep clean sheets, then you struggle to win football games.”
Sammy Lee, manager of Bottom of the table Bolton.

Monday Quick hits

Newly signed Man City striker Bojinov out 5 months with ligament damage.

Ref dropped from the Premier League after horrendous call against Liverpool.

Man U only has 2 points after losing the Manchester derby but Fergie isn't panicking (yet.)

After 3 games Man U are already facing a must win against the Spurs.

Diouf wants to wander away from Bolton.

Alan Shearer might buy Newcastle with help from some Icelandic friends.

American spare part Eddie Lewis is signed by Derby from troubled Leeds side.

For US viewers -- top goals in the Premier League last weekend.

Brazil scores a goal in the first 9 seconds of the U-17 World Cup.

Sven says the Citizen's aren't a top table side yet.

Martin Jol can't take the pressure.

Gerrard, Hargreaves and Bent are out of the English friendly.

Roy Keane blasts Sunderland after Wigan whoops his lads.

Week 3 Wrapup

From Thatsonpoint:
Premier League round three in the books...and we don't know anything.

Manchester City beats Manchester United.

Wigan Athletic has won two in a row.

At least Blackburn rallied to draw Arsenal. Jens, Jens, Jens.

Instead of all that, we'll start with Liverpool/Chelsea and a 'dodgy' penalty call by Robbie Stiles. That's not to say there wasn't contact between Steve Finnan and Flourent Malouda, but of all the things that aren't called penalties this was suspect.

Then of course, the draw helps Manchester United, who are now only five points behind Chelsea, instead of seven. In either event, United's margin of error is next to nothing for the time being.

And again, credit to City for a shocking debut, nine points from three games. Who'd have thought.

Elsewhere, it seems when anyone from the midtable play, anything can happen.

Week's stars

1. Geovanni, Man City -- If YouTube didn't became fascists, the I could link you to the Brasilian's curling tally. It was pretty damn impressive. (Thanks to a reader, got a warned you don't want Scotland Yard on your ass.

2. Andre Bikey, Reading -- Cameroonian was immense in the back for Reading in their first victory of the season.
3. Lee Cattermole, Middlesbrough -- Academy product fires a late winner to get 'Boro its first points of the year.
4. Steed Malbranque, Tottenham -- Belgian/French dude scores twice in the first half to get Spurs season back on track vs. Derby County (who just added Eddie Lewis, yay!).
5. Kanu, Portsmouth -- Nigerian was all of the place in Pompey's 3-1 win.


Fulham's American captain Brian McBride had to be stretchered off after twisting his ankle in the 20th minute of his team's 2-1 loss to Middlesbrough. Very disappointing. Sounds like the longtime US international will be gone a while. More information likely during the week. Doesn't sound good.

Play Now Sports

I've used this comparison before, but I'll do it again. Wigan Athletic are George Costanza, the rest of the league is Play Now Sports. Nobody wants Wigan or Costanza, but like a 'weed in Hitler's bunker' they're tough to get rid of.


Reading's goalscoring hero (and bane of Petr Cech), Irishman Stephen Hunt and late AC/DC frontman, Aussie Bonn Scott. Hopefully Hunt doesn't choke on his own vomit after a night of Guinness.

Sorry for a brief recap, lot of other stuff going on.