The Pies’ Premier League team of the season is shaping up quite nicely with readers voting for the ageless experience of Portsmouth’s David James in goal while Bacary Sagna’s seamless integration into the Arsenal team has made him your first choice right-back.
Now, we’re turning to the opposite defensive flank to find who has been the best left-back in the Premier League this season. As far as we can see the Big Four clubs have the best players sewn up in this position – although Pompey’s Herman Hreidarsson and West Ham’s George McCartney haven’t done badly and Gareth Bale impressed before injury. But who’s been the pick of the bunch?
It would have been a great story: Inter Milan boss Roberto Mancini brings himself on as a substitute in a last-ditch attempt to score against Liverpool. Sadly this wasn’t a desperate man’s last throw of the dice but the Italian legend taking part in Inter’s centenary celebration friendly match a couple of days earlier.
It seems that every time Liverpool start to perform on the pitch, another problem arises off it to put them off their stride. The Reds have been embroiled in a takeover battle between their American owners and interested Arabs for most of the season – and the latest bout could threaten their Champions League hopes.
These crazy scenes come from Colombia and the Cali derby between Deportivo and America on Saturday. With Deportivo winning 1-0 a riot broke out in the stands. Police moved in prompting referee Wilmer Roldan to abandon the match on 82 minutes. Being the consummate professionals they are, the America players did the only thing the could and chased the referee off the pitch. Meanwhile, America coach Diego Umana was busy punching Cali boss Daniel Carreno. Around 60 fans had to be treated for injuries. And rumours today claim police are working on a theory that the full-scale riot was started by a jealous boyfriend angry that his girlfriend was flirting with another man!
He may have scored 40 goals for his country but, as Don Fabio has already shown, reputations count for nothing under his new England regime – just ask Becks.
Owen only just made Capello’s first England squad but was snubbed against Switzerland with suggestions that he was only fourth in the strikers pecking order – and his Newcastle form hasn’t exactly strengthened a case for inclusion.
Will he make it back into Capello’s first team plans?
After this weekend’s giant killing exploits in the FA Cup, there will only be one top flight team (Portsmouth) in the semi-finals for the first time in a century – and it’s been 33 years since the final last lacked one of the big clubs from United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Liverpool, Spurs and even Everton.
While we all enjoyed the so-called ‘romance of the FA Cup’ dumping out the big teams, does it mean that the competition is now more important to the smaller clubs?
We’re continuing our search for the best players plying their trade in the Premier League this season – as chosen by Pies’ readers.
So far, 23% of you have slightly surprisingly named David James as the league’s best goalkeeper – and that was before Portsmouth put Man United out of the FA Cup. Now it’s time to turn our attention to the defence in front of him and first up is the right-back slot.
There are, it seems, numerous ways for football fans to channel the adrenaline generated by an FA Cup shock or two. For one pumped-up Barnsley fan, a YouTube montage in the style of a film trailer for 300 seemed like the most appropriate course of action. Enjoy.
One day Adidas has Lionel Messi stretching his leg behind him around giant sand-covered cones, and the next thing his hamstring is kaput. Coincidence? I think not…
With only around ten games to go, it’s safe to say which players have been a success in the Premier League this season – so we’ve decided to assemble a team of the best performing players as chosen by ‘Pies readers.
We start in between the sticks with those eccentric loners who claim to be a different breed from their outfield teammates – the goalkeepers. They might not normally get the recognition they deserve but preventing a goal can be as important as scoring one at the other end.
There were mixed fortunes for the British sides still involved in the UEFA Cup last night – although it was our big name teams that suffered while the lesser lights managed a few surprises.
Earlier this week we questioned the wisdom behind some of the more baffling managerial appointments made in the Premier League by asking you to vote for the worst one – with a unanimous 43% not backing Keegan to stage a Second Coming at Newcastle.
But among the many misses there have also been a few hits this season, with not only Daniel Levy being able to say, “I told you so’. So, who’s been the best new manager brought on this season?
Werder Bremen keeper Tim Wiese made a truly horrendous error during his side’s tie with Rangers last night. Everything about it stank – the fact that it happened on the stroke of half-time, the fact that his team were still 0-0 in a Uefa Cup away leg at the time and, of course, the fact that he pushed a 35-yard shot into his own net. Daniel Cousin was the man who tried his luck, prompting more Rangers players than had probably anticipated to kiss their Cousin.
Premier League clubs have become a billionaire’s play thing for rich foreign investors in recent times – drawn by the potentially huge business returns from regular incomes, increased television revenues and the hope of establishing international brand values.
They may tell you of their love of the game and fulfilling boyhood dreams but, make no mistake, these international fat cats are in it for the money. And their arrival hasn’t been without controversy including everything from money laundering scandals and quick sells to fugitives on the run.
Nonetheless, all of the eight clubs now owned by foreign investors have at least experienced an initial upturn in fortunes – but which one will prove to be the best?
Inter Milan faltered again to give Roma an unexpected sniff of the Serie A title. The champions seemingly had another title wrapped up just a couple of weeks ago as they opened up an 11-point lead at the top of the table. That margin has been reduced to six points after a 1-0 defeat to Napoli at the weekend.
Despite gifting Sevilla a two-goal lead, Fenerbahce managed to take the game to penalties after an equal 3-2 final score. The goalkeeper Volkan Demirel atoned for earlier mistakes by saving three penalties, which takes the Turkish club to the first Champions League quarter-final in their history – cue wild celebrations from his watching team mates.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a title chasing club with millions to spend or a club struggling to stave off relegation, the most important decision for any Premier League club is the man they appoint as manager – so why have so many teams got it so horribly wrong this season?
Ajax closed the gap on Eredivisie leaders PSV Eindhoven to six points with a 4-0 victory over bottom-club Excelsior. A Klaas Jan Huntelaar brace and goals from Urby Emanuelson and Leonardo secured an easy victory. Meanwhile, PSV suffered a 3-1 at FC Utrecht. Despite taking the lead through a Timmy Simons penalty, the table-toppers slipped to their fourth defeat of the season.
This advert for Mexican news agency Milenio shows what might happen if Zinedine Zidane and Marco Materazzi fail to leave their infamous bust-up from a couple of years ago in the past.
Ever-ready Teddy Sheringham has announced that he will retire from football at the end of this season – at the ripe old age of 42 years-old.
That’s a pretty impressive run for a career that started as a 16 year-old with Millwall and brought him 289 goals along the way as well as over 50 England caps. What Sheringham lacked in pace he made up for with one of the finest footballing brains of his generation, which also allowed him to play on for so many years.
He’ll see out his playing days with current club Colchester in the Championship but his lengthy career has seen him play for seven different English clubs, most notably Manchester United and Spurs.
But which one will he be most associated with after he retires?
It is as you were at the top of Bundesliga with the top three teams all recording victories. Miroslav Klose gave table-topping Bayern Munich a 0-1 win at Schalke. Werder Bremen remain four points behind courtesy of Markus Rosenberg’s brace against Borussia Dortmund. Third-placed Hamburg signalled their intent with a 4-1 victory over Eintracht Frankfurt.
As featured in one of our past Shit Lookalikes, Father Ted and Father Dougal take charge of an ageing football team, and we don’t mean Fulham.
We have just about accepted the strange phenomenon of the Premier League’s foreign imports wearing gloves from August until April, but Birmingham City striker Mikael Forssell might be taking things a bit too far with his winter coat!
We interrupt our normal La Liga Lunes broadcasting to bring you this overhead kick from Ronaldinho against Atletico Madrid.
Unfortunately for Ronnie and his team-mates, this stunning effort was the opening goal in Barca’s 4-2 defeat to Atletico Madrid. This was probably one game Atletico’s fans wouldn’t have minded losing because their victory allowed Real Madrid to open up a five point lead at the top of La Liga. But win they did thanks to a Sergio Aguero double, a Maxi Rodriguez goal and a Diego Forlan penalty.