Ads 468x60px

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Wenger hit with UEFA ban

 Arsenal manager suspended for three European games

arsene_wenger_2181585b.jpg (620×388)

UEFA has banned Arsene Wenger for three matches for improper conduct in relation to comments he made about the match referee after Arsenal's Champions League game against AC Milan on 6th March.
As well as being suspended from carrying out his managerial duties for the team's next three European games, Wenger has been hit with a fine of €40,000 (£33,000).
It is the third time the Frenchman has been given a touchline ban in the space of a year and, barring a successful appeal, will be a blow for the club when they return to continental competition.
Arsenal are currently on course to qualify for next season's Champions League after moving into third place in the Premier League on the back of a seven-match winning run.
UEFA had previously handed Wenger a one-match touchline ban for an on-field rant at Massimo Busacca following his team's last-16 exit to Barcelona last year.
The Arsenal boss was left fuming at the Swiss referee's decision to send off Robin van Persie.

3193841693.jpg (621×225)

Thursday, March 29, 2012

AZ Alkmaar vs Valencia CF football match preview

 141389358_display_image.jpg (350×233)

AZ are unbeaten in seven European home games this season, winning five times and drawing twice. The Eredivisie leaders have never lost to Spanish opponents at home. Their overall record in seven outings is three wins, three draws and one defeat. Jozy Altidore (pictured right) played for Spanish club Villarreal for three years between 2008 and 2011 and in November 2008 became the first American to score in La Liga.

Valencia have won just three of their 13 La Liga matches played in 2012. Los Che are unbeaten against Dutch opposition in 10 outings, recording four wins and six draws. Roberto Soldado has netted four times in his last three games for Valencia.

63be1c8db6.jpg (524×229)

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Marseille Vs Bayern Munchen football liga match preview

Olympique de Marseille have lost nine of their last 19 games at Stade Velodrome in the Champions League, drawing on three occasions. Midfielder Alou Diarra played for Bayern Munich's reserve side between 2000 and 2002, amassing 41 games. Olympique de Marseille have won their last two knockout ties against German opposition.

Bayern Munich have never played against Les Phoceens in an official game. The Bavarians have won three of their last four two-legged ties with French opposition. Daniel Van Buyten and Franck Ribery played for Olympique de Marseille in the past. In addition, Bayern Munich honorary president Franz Beckenbauer had a coaching stint with the French side in 1990/91.

a8716ec5c2.jpg (589×177)

AC Milan Vs FC Barcelonafootball liga match preview

124874522_extra_large.jpg (450×300)

FC Barcelona Predicted Starting XI: Valdés, Dani Alves, Mascherano, Piquè, Puyol, Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas, Messi, Iniesta, Sánchez

AC Milan Predicted Starting XI: Abiatti, Zambrotta, Nesta, Mexès, Mesbah, Seedorf, Ambrosini, Nocerino, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Ibrahimovic, El Shaarawy

63be1c8db6.jpg (524×229)

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Benfica Vs Chelsea football liga match preview

Benfica had not suffered defeat in the league until they lost to Guimaraes in February. That match was the first of a run of three games without victory, including a 3-2 loss to Porto, who now top the table. Striker Rodrigo has bagged eight goals in the league for Benfica this season but scored just once in 17 matches while on loan with Bolton Wanderers from Real Madrid during the 2010-11 campaign. The Eagles overturned a 3-2 first leg deficit to progress past Russian side Zenit St. Petersburg in the previous round.

The Blues do have two former Eagles players in their ranks to help them out on the night. David Luiz and Ramires were teammates in Lisbon before joining Chelsea. Chelsea have not won away from home in the Champions League this season. They lost games against Napoli and Bayer Leverkusen and drew with Genk and Valencia.

a8716ec5c2.jpg (589×177)

APOEL Nicosia vs Real Madrid football match preview

Los Blancos, who are six points clear at the La Liga summit, enter the match in fine fettle following a 5-1 thrashing of Real Sociedad at the weekend. Their opponents, meanwhile, previously drew 0-0 with domestic title rivals Omonia.

Madrid are minus injured duo Ricardo Carvalho and Lassana Diarra, while Xabi Alonso is suspended. Cristiano Ronaldo is the headline act in Jose Mourinho's stellar ensemble, with the Portuguese ace recently becoming the quickest player to 100 La Liga goals in just 92 outings.

650440fefe.jpg (594×183) 

Monday, March 26, 2012

England fans set to snub expensive Euro 2012

A relatively small amount of Three Lions fans will make the trip this summer, with travel and accommodation costs limiting the country's followers from making the journey

There will be only 3,000 England supporters in Poland and Ukraine for Euro 2012 as fans are unable to afford to travel to the tournament this summer.The sky-high cost of accommodation and the distance required to travel have been blamed for the lack of numbers by fan's chiefs.

On average, the cost of a room in Ukraine for England's group games comes in at around £250 per person per night. The FA have sold only half of their 7,800 ticket allocation for the 52,518-capacity Donbass Arena.Kevin Miles, a spokesman for the Football Supporters Federation told The Mirror: “Even the fans who regularly travel are not bothering.“The practical difficulties of getting there, travelling between the venues, the high cost of accommodation and the economic situation have combined to hit ticket sales.“The first game, France v England in Donetsk, is the one they are having real problems selling tickets for. The Sweden game is better because that is on a Friday, but overall there will be fewer England fans than at any Euro tournament in recent history.” -

Sunday, March 25, 2012

West Brom boss Hodgson reiterates England interest

The Baggies' manager has conceded that an approach from the FA regarding the national team job would be too good to turn down and his players are backing him for the role

Roy Hodgson has admitted he would take the England manager’s job should the offer come his way.Although Tottenham’s Harry Redknapp is the bookmaker’s favourite for the role, the West Brom boss has been linked with the vacancy.

When questioned as to whether he would accept the job should the offer come his way, Hodgson said: "Of course, I think that anyone would."Baggies midfielder Keith Andrews explained that while the West Brom squad are hoping to keep their manager, the England link comes as no surprise to them.

Andrews, a lifelong Liverpool fan, believes Hodgson’s tenure at Anfield should not adversely influence any decision about the England manager’s job, and believes his treatment on Merseyside was "unfair". Highlighting Hodgson’s previous international management experience, Andrews believes he would do a "fantastic" job for his country. -

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Spain are the 'number one' favourites at Euro 2012 and Germany are second, says Heitinga

The Everton defender backs La Furia Roja to successfully defend their European title, but stressed that Oranje are also one of the top contenders at this summer's tournament

Netherlands international John Heitinga has acknowledged that Spain are the top favourites to win Euro 2012, but stressed that Oranje should not be underestimated.The Dutch were beaten 1-0 after extra time by Spain in the 2010 World Cup final, but the Everton defender feels his country will be difficult to beat if all their stars are fit and in form during this summer's tournament.

"Of course we are one of the favourites, but Spain is number one, Germany I think are number two because a couple of months ago they beat us 3-0 in Hamburg. We’re doing well, especially in the last couple of years, and our team is still the same," Heitinga stated to the official Fifa website."Hopefully everybody will be fit and the squad will be the same. The most important thing is that the main players are there and fit. Then, we can beat all the other teams."If Dirk Kuyt, Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie are on form, then it’s hard to stop them. The other seven in the side know what to do and play in our way, so that the top four [players] can do what they want."Netherlands have Denmark, Germany and Portugal for company in Group B at Euro 2012. -

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ribery welcomes l'OM draw

Bayern playmaker looking forward to facing former employers

Franck Ribery has expressed his delight at seeing current charges Bayern Munich pitched against former employers Marseille in the UEFA Champions League.

The draw for the quarter-finals of this season's competition has seen the cream of the crop from Germany and France placed in direct competition.A two-legged tie will see the two sides compete for a place in the last four and the opportunity to move a step closer to a final that it is set to be staged at Bayern's Allianz Arena home.

While the importance of the contest is clear for all to see, Ribery has added incentive to do well.It was during his time with Marseille that he really came to the fore and the France international admits he is relishing an opportunity to return to familiar surroundings and reacquaint himself with the club that helped to put him on the road to superstardom. -

Monday, March 19, 2012

World Player of the Week: Arjen Robben - Bayern Munich

Arjen Robben has returned to his dazzling best in the past few weeks after a dip in form and confidence at the start of the year.

The Netherlands international was unstoppable against Basel as Bayern Munich destroyed the Swiss side 7-0 at the Allianz Arena in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

The 28-year-old scored two goals and provided an assist to demonstrate how lethal he can be when playing with Franck Ribery on the other flank.Then at the weekend, Robben bagged a hat-trick against Hertha Berlin in Bayern’s comprehensive 6-0 away win in the Bundesliga. Two of the goals were penalties but the winger still put on an attacking masterclass at the Olympiastadion Berlin and he could have added more to his tally. -

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Terry still in touch with AVB

Chelsea skipper pays respect to former boss

John Terry believes Andre Villas-Boas deserves credit for what he started at Chelsea and says the players will not forget his vision for the club.

Villas-Boas reportedly did not enjoy the best of relationships with a number of senior players in the Stamford Bridge dressing room, butTerry insists that he had the utmost respect for the Portuguese and is still in touch with him.The Blues skipper says he thought about Villas-Boas after the midweek victory over Napoli sealed a place in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

"I'm still in contact with him - like a lot of players here - and probably will remain that way," Terry said."He won't be forgotten. It's disappointing, really, because we would have loved things to go on and he had a vision and a plan and, unfortunately, that gets cut short with disappointing performances from us."At the end of the day, we're the ones out there performing and we weren't performing as well as we could do."

Terry added: "Andre started something here and I think credit has to go for what he started."Unfortunately, the club made a tough decision, as they said, but the players, we don't forget what he started at this club." -

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Di Matteo expects tough test

Blues boss taking nothing for granted after being handed Benfica tie

Roberto Di Matteo expects Benfica to provide a stiff examination of Chelsea's credentials in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals.

The Blues were paired alongside Portuguese opposition in Friday's draw, with their route to the final having been mapped out in front of them.A two-legged tie with Benfica will see them travel to Estadio da Luz for the first leg, before returning to Stamford Bridge for what they hope will be another memorable night in Europe.

Caretaker coach Di Matteo, who has helped to steady the Chelsea ship since inheriting the reins from Andre Villas-Boas, is taking nothing for granted, though, and appreciates that Benfica will demand the utmost respect.On a side who have already helped to send Manchester United tumbling out of the Champions League this season, the Italian said: "When you get down to the last eight teams, any draw is difficult."I've seen Benfica many times. They were in Man United's group. -

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Athletic Bilbao vs Manchester United match preview

Sunday’s defeat away to Osasuna was Athletic Bilbao’s first loss in their last five games. Athletic are 17/10 with Sportingbet to defeat Manchester United in this game. The Estadio San Mames side are currently in seventh place in La Liga, three points behind fourth-placed Malaga. Striker Fernando Llorente (pictured right) is Athletic’s top goalscorer, with the 27-year-old Spanish international having claimed 21 goals so far this season. Venezuelan defender Fernando Amorebieta returns to Marcelo Bielsa's side after being sent off in the previous round against Lokomotiv Moscow, his third red card of the season.


Manchester United have only managed to win three of their European fixtures so far this season, with two of those coming against Romanian minnows Otelul Galati. The last time that the Red Devils visited north-east Spain was in January 1957 when Sir Matt Busby’s side fell to a 5-3 defeat in the European Cup in the snow of Bilbao. Sir Alex Ferguson’s side have only lost once in their last seven games in all competitions. Wayne Rooney claimed his 20th league goal of the season during Manchester United’s 2-0 victory over West Brom on Sunday, which saw them return to the top of the Premier League.

7af7becdad.jpg (522×228) 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Real Madrid vs CSKA Moscow match preview

Real Madrid has won 30 of its last 34 games in all competitions, finding the net in every match during that sequence. Los Blancos have lost just one of the nine home fixtures against Russian opponents, going down 3-1 to Spartak Moscow in the 1990-91 European Cup quarter-final. Cristiano Ronaldo (pictured right) has netted nine times in his last six appearances for Madrid.

CSKA Moscow has lost just one of their last 12 away matches in all competitions, winning three and drawing eight. The Russian side are unbeaten against Spanish opposition in six outings (W3, D3). Should CSKA win against Madrid, it would represent its 50th victory in UEFA club competitions.