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Who ate all the pies

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Table-topping Real Madrid kept up their 100 per cent home record with a 2-0 win over Osasuna. Ruud van Nistelrooy and Wesley Sneijder found the net for the champions. Barcelona kept themselves within four points of Real with a 0-3 over Valencia.

25268_news.jpgOf course, now it’s purely a rhetorical question. At the time when Cashley and Gallas swapped clubs, in August 2006, it was a legitimate question, although I always thought that the Frenchman was more talented and obviously more versatile than the Englishman.

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Like the Arsenal vs Chelsea clash, this was not a classic encounter. It was also a surprisingly low-key affair with relatively few talking points. Here are three things I learned from the match:
No.1 Playing in black worked wonders for Liverpool at Marseille, and it also worked for Man Utd at Liverpool on Sunday. So if Man Utd played Marseille at home and Marseille wore black, the French club would win… or something like that. Is there something about playing in black that makes you play better? I’d argue yes. I cite Reservoir Dogs:

Not a classic encounter by any means; however, it was fascinating stuff between two teams who clearly hate each other. Here are three things I learned from the match: No.1 Making William Gallas captain was one of Arsene Wenger’s unlikeliest masterstrokes. Gallas strikes me as vain, petulant and arrogant – but give him a bit […]

What a dribble! One of those flukey runs that may happen just once in any player’s career. I don’t remember Roy doing anything half as good as this, before or after.

AC Milan’s indestructible captain Paolo Maldini, announced after the final of the Club World Cup (see post directly below), that he will quit at the end of the season. ‘It’s hard for someone to reach the age of 39 and still compete at the top level,’ he said. ‘In June [2008], I will retire with […]

Here is David Beckham’s interview on Michael Parkinson’s farewell chat show. Not featured is Becks wearing a party hat provided by comedian Peter Kay.

I would have predicted that this match would end 0-0. How wrong I was. The two best club sides in the world (hmmm) scored six goals between them in a very open and entertaining game. Pippo Inzaghi, who else, scored twice for Milan in front of a crowd of 68,263 in Yokohama, Japan, while man-of-the- […]

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If you are going to cry this Christmas why not shed tears Gazza-style in this Italia 90 retro England shirt. Relive the days when the England national team could not only qualify for major tournaments, but reach the semi-finals of World Cups.

Two Finnish blondes with spiky hair and – as is the way with any sportsmen from Iceland – ice in their veins. Shit huh.

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HEROES
Roque Santa Cruz The Paraguayan gets the pity vote. It is not too often you are a hat-trick hero and end up on the losing team.

The best posts from our club Pies sites today… Should Spurs fans still hate Sol Campbell? Play the Fantasy Fergie Challenge Liverpool’s spy in Manchester checks out the opposition What sort of welcome should Ashley Cole expect at Arsenal? Would Andriy Shevchenko dress up as a whoopee cushion?

Fabio Capello and Marcel Desailly celebrate after AC Milan’s stunning 4-0 victory against Barcelona in the 1994 Champions League final. Photo Bongarts/Getty Images

Something for you to put into action over the weekend…

Games

The Fiendish Friday Quiz

December 14th, 2007

1 SC Braga, Benfica, Chelsea, Lyon, Juventus (current). Whose career?
2 Blackburn’s Christopher Samba plays for which international team?
3 Which is the smallest stadium (in terms of capacity) in the Premier League?
4 Georgi Kinkladze, John Harkes, Fabrizio Ravanelli, Archie Gemmill, Peter Shilton: what links them?
5 Picture round. Who’s this?
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This just in from F365: ‘Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate has claimed England winger Stewart Downing does not realise how good a player he can be.’
No, but all self-respecting football fans know exactly how good he can be: not very good at all.

099sheva_468x369.jpgChelsea had their Christmas party last night, and as is often the way, it was a fancy-dress affair. John Terry went dressed in an Incredibles superhero outfit, Frank Lampard was kitted out like a 19th century French dandy and Claudio Pizarro looked rather convincing as a Roman Emperor (see pics from the party at the Daily Mail’s website).

Hucks truly is the master of the understatement: ‘I just ran with it, beat a few people and put it in the goal…’

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Pies presents the pick of the players from the Champions League group stage who have really caught our eye. That might be because they are world-class players performing at the top of their game or it might be because they made an impression against the odds.

Soccer AM spotted Sky Sports News’ Ian Payne craftily taking off Bo’ Selecta live on air. Announcing that Oldham Athletic’s Craig Davies had found the net proved too tempting an opportunity for Payne to miss.

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All is not well with the universe. Supposed runaway champions Lyon suffered a surprise defeat to Caen. Yoan Gouffran’s goal secured victory for the mid-table outfit. Second-placed Nancy managed to close the gap on Lyon to four points, but their 0-0 draw with Valenciennes meant they were not able to fully capitalise on the leaders’ defeat.

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Inter Milan are now five points clear at the top of Serie A after thrashing Torino 4-0. Nearest rivals Roma could only manage a 1-1 draw at Liverno allowing third-place Juventus to move within three points of them following the Old Lady’s 1-0 win over Atalanta.

Watford midfielder Al Bangura faces deportation back to his native Sierra Leone after losing his case to stay in the UK at an Asylum and Immigration Tribunal hearing earlier this week. Watford manager Aidy Boothroyd said: ‘We have one young man here [he’s 19] who pays his taxes, has a fiancée and a newborn son […]

Please take a couple of minutes out of your day to fill in our lovely reader survey. if you do, you are in with a shout of winning a shiny new Apple iPod Touch 16GB, courtesy of our fwiends at Play.com. It’s worth £250 but you could net one for nothing. Hmm, I might resign […]

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1 Open a very high interest bank account for his £4 million a year salary.
2 Pick a good nickname for himself before the tabloids pick one for him.
3 Impose his expected WAG-ban on England meet-ups.