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Sunday, January 31, 2010

30-31st Jan : Round-up of English Premier League weekend

Manchester United moved to within a point of Barclays Premier League leaders Chelsea as they beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium on Sunday.

Burnley 1-2 Chelsea

John Terry grabbed a late winner for Chelsea to deny battling Burnley a point at Turf Moor, heading home home a corner from Florent Malouda in the 83rd minute.

It was a cruel blow for the hosts, who had drawn level through Steven Fletcher after Nicolas Anelka had opened the scoring.

Arsenal 1-3 Manchester United

Nani opened the scoring on 33 minutes when his chip across goal was palmed in by Arsenal keeper Manuel Almunia, before in-form England striker Wayne Rooney swept home a second following a quick counter attack.

A third on the break from Ji-Sung Park at the start of the second half effectively ended the contest, although defender Thomas Vermaelen netted a consolation for the Gunners.

Birmingham City 1-1 Tottenham

Liam Ridgewell's last-minute strike denied Tottenham a precious victory at Birmingham and left Harry Redknapp's men clinging onto fourth place.

Ridgewell finished off a header across goal by Cameron Jerome to snatch a 1-1 draw for the home side after Spurs looked set to claim victory through Jermain Defoe's 69th-minute effort.

Liverpool 2-0 Bolton

Liverpool coasted to a 2-0 win over Owen Coyle's Bolton at Anfield.

Dirk Kuyt stabbed home the opener in the 37th minute and Liverpoolmade the game safe in the 70th minute when a shot from Emiliano Insua took a huge deflection off Kevin Davies and squirted past Jussi Jaaskelainen in the Bolton goal.

Fulham 0-2 Aston Villa

Villa also kept up the pace with a 2-0 win over Fulham at Craven Cottage thanks to two goals just before half-time from Gabriel Agbonlahor.

The striker opened the scoring when he headed home Stiliyan Petrov's 40th-minute cross, and four minutes later he turned Brede Hangeland in the box before firing the second past Mark Schwarzer.

Manchester City 2-0 Portsmouth

Manchester City closed to within a point of fourth-spot with a comfortable 2-0 victory over Portsmouth.

There was no joyous celebration as Adebayor rattled his 40th-minute goal past David James, instead he acknowledged the heavens in remembrance of his Togo team mates.

Vincent Kompany then powered home a header from Martin Petrov's corner to ensure the Blues moved to within a point of Tottenham.

English Premier League Top Ten Standings

Team      Pl  GD Pts 
 1 Chelsea     23 +38  54 
 2 Man Utd     24 +36  53 
 3 Arsenal     24 +32  49 
 4 Tottenham   24 +20  42 
 5 Liverpool   24 +16  41 
 6 Man City    22 +14  41 
 7 Aston Villa 23 +13  40 
 8 Birmingham  23  -1  34 
 9 Everton     23  -1  32 
10 Blackburn   24 -15  28

30-31st Jan : Round-up of Eredivisie Results

FC Twente moved level with PSV Eindhoven at the top of the Eredivisie after the weekend's action.

Vitesse Arnhem 0-0 PSV Eindhoven

PSV were held to a 0-0 draw away from home by mid-table Vitesse Arnhem. Both sides had opportunities to take the game but they were rarely more than half-chances and neither goalkeeper was seriously tested.

FC Twente 2-0 Roda JC

Second half goals by Kenneth Perez and Bryan Ruiz secured FC Twente a 2-0 win over Roda JC.

Both sides had chances in a first half which was full of attacking purpose, but Steve McClaren's team did not take the lead until the 71st minute through Perez, with Ruiz sealing victory a minute later.

Feyenoord 1-1 Ajax Amsterdam

Feyenoord drew 1-1 at home against Ajax, and both sides remain well off the pace set by the top two, with third place apparently the best either can hope for this season.

Georgino Wijnaldum netted a 67th-minute equaliser after Marko Pantelic had given visitors Ajax a 25th-minute lead.

FC Utrecht 0-0 Heracles Almelo

FC Utrecht and Heracles Almelo played out a dire goalless draw which damaged both sides' Europa League ambitions.

The match came to life in the first minute of stoppage-time when Utrecht's Mihai Nesu committed a professional foul, hauling down Bas Dost, and was sent off.

Dutch Eredivisie Top Six Standings

Team          Pl  W D L Fr Ag Pts 
PSV Eindhoven 20 16-4-0 47:13  52 
FC Twente     20 16-4-0 40:15  52 
Ajax          20 13-4-3 56:17  43 
Feyenoord     20 11-6-3 31:17  39 
Heracles      20 10-3-7 27:26  33 
FC Utrecht    20  8-8-4 23:18  32

30-31st Jan : Round-up of Bundesliga Results

Leverkusen are the league's only undefeated team and registered their fourth straight victory to improve to 44 points, giving them a two-point lead over second-placed Bayern Munich.

Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Freiburg

Bayer Leverkusen scored three goals in four minutes late in the first half as they surged back to the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-1 victory at home over Freiburg.

Stefan Kiessling opened the scoring in the 36th minute and was followed just a minute later by Eren Derdiyok, before Sami Hyypia made it 3-0 after 39 minutes. Felix Bastians cut the deficit to 3-1 in the 66th minute.

Bayern Munich 3-0 Mainz

Bayern Munich claimed a comfortable 3-0 win over Mainz at a wintry Allianz Arena.

After a frustrating first half, Bayern finally went ahead in the 58th minute through Daniel van Buyten. Mario Gomez and Arjen Robben completed the scoring to seal the Bavarians' seventh straight victory.

Schalke 2-0 Hoffenheim

Schalke's fifth home win in a row kept them in the chase for the Bundesliga title and condemned Hoffenheim to their seventh game without a win.

Kevin Kuranyi put Schalke ahead in the 19th minute and Lukas Schmitz sealed the 2-0 win for the Royal Blues early in the second half.

Stuttgart 4-1 Borussia Dortmund

Stuttgart scored three goals in the final 15 minutes to sink Borussia Dortmund 4-1 and continue their climb up the table.

Stuttgart went ahead after 15 minutes after Dortmund defender Felipe Santana's own goal before Lucas Barrios equalised in the 55th minute.

But Zdravko Kuzmanovic made it 2-1 for the hosts with his free-kick in the 77th minute, Ciprian Marica added an 86th-minute third and Christian Trasch netted two minutes later as Stuttgart extended their winning streak to four games.

Hamburg 1-1 Wolfsburg

On Friday, a last-gasp strike by substitute Piotr Trochowski earned Hamburg a 1-1 draw against Wolfsburg to keep them within touching distance of the top four.

The hosts looked to be heading for only their third defeat of the season at their AOL Arena as they trailed to a first-half goal from Edin Dzeko.

But Trochowski struck in the second minute of stoppage time to snatch a draw for Hamburg and move them a point behind fourth-placed Borussia Dortmund.

German Bundesliga Top Six Standings

Team               P W D L  Fr Ag Pts  
Bayer Leverkusen  20 12-8-0 45:16  44 
Bayern Munich     20 12-6-2 42:17  42
Schalke 04        20 12-5-3 31:15  41 
Borussia Dortmund 20 10-6-4 28:23  36 
Hamburg           20  9-8-3 37:21  35 
Werder Bremen     20  7-7-6 37:24  28 

Monday, January 25, 2010

23-24 Jan : Weekend wrap-up of Spanish La Liga

Valladolid 0-3 Barcelona

On Saturday night Barcelona's routine 3-0 win at struggling Valladolid saw Pep Guardiola's side finish the first half of the Primera Division campaign unbeaten.

In establishing their unbeaten run, the Catalans became only the fifth side to accomplish such a feat, previously achieved by Madrid, Espanyol, Athletic Bilbao and Real Sociedad.

And they did so with comfort against a poor Valladolid outfit.

Xavi and Dani Alves struck within the space of two minutes halfway through the first period to give Guardiola's men full control of proceedings, and Lionel Messi added a third shortly into the second period to wrap up a comfortable victory.

Real Madrid 2-0 Malaga

Cristiano Ronaldo scored both goals before being sent off as Real Madrid kept the gap to leaders Barcelona at five points with a 2-0 victory over Malaga on Sunday.

Ronaldo had struck twice in quick succession in the first half to put Madrid on their way to a 10th consecutive home win this season, but he was then handed his marching orders in the 70th minute.

Ronaldo was shown a straight red card after catching Patrick Mtiliga in the face with a flailing elbow as he attempted to escape from the Malaga defender - but the 10 men of Madrid held on for a crucial three points.

Deportivo La Coruna 3-1 Athletico Bilbao

Deportivo La Coruna boosted their hopes of qualification for next season's Champions League with an excellent 3-1 win at home to Athletic Bilbao.

Filipe gave the Galicians the lead in acrobatic style, but fell awkwardly and suffered a nasty twist to the ankle which left him in excruciating pain and will leave him sidelined for several months at least.

Another Brazilian, Juca, doubled Depor's lead 10 minutes later, and although Athletic were given hope by Diego Colotto's own-goal, Pablo Alvarez rounded off what was a deserved win for the home side with the third in the closing stages.

Sevilla 1-0 Almeria

Former Almeria striker Alvaro Negredo took advantage of a huge stroke of luck to sink his old club and help Sevilla end a run of four successive Primera Division defeats with a 1-0 victory.

Negredo netted the only goal of this Andalusian derby in the 10th minute after visiting captain Santiago Acasiete's attempted back-pass got stuck in a puddle.

Acasiete picked up a pass from his goalkeeper Diego Alves on the edge of the box, but when he tried to play the ball back, it stopped in a pool of water midway between the two, and Sevilla midfielder Dirnei Renato nipped in to poke the ball inside where Negredo tapped into an empty net.

Spanish La Liga

Team        Pl  W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Barcelona   19 15-4-0  49:10  49 
Real Madrid 19 14-2-3  44:14  44 
Valencia    19 11-6-2  35:18  39 
Mallorca    19 10-4-5  33:21  34 
Deportivo   19 10-4-5  23:19  34 
Sevilla     19 10-3-6  29:21  33

23-24 Jan : Weekend wrap-up of Italian Serie A

Inter Milan 2-0 AC Milan

Nine-man Inter Milan moved nine points clear of city rivals AC Milan at the top of Serie A thanks to a 2-0 win at the San Siro on Sunday.

Diego Milito gave the Nerazzurri the lead in the 10th minute, but they were forced to play over two-thirds of the game with 10 men after Wesley Sneijder was sent off.

Goran Pandev's 65th-minute strike secured the points for Jose Mourinho's side, who lost Lucio to a red card in stoppage time before Ronaldinho saw his penalty saved at the end of a dramatic derby.

Juventus 1-2 AS Roma

On Saturday former Juventus coach Claudio Ranieri returned to haunt his old club and pile the misery on his successor Ciro Ferrara as Roma ran out 2-1 winners at the Stadio Olimpico.

Alessandro Del Piero gave the home side the lead with a fine goal in the 51st minute, but Francesco Totti equalised from the penalty spot in the 68th minute.

Juve lost goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon to a red card in the 83rd minute before John Arne Riise clinched the points for Roma deep in stoppage time.

Livorno 0-2 Napoli

Christian Maggio put Napoli ahead before the interval and Luca Cigarini made sure of the points in stoppage time, moments after Livorno goalkeeper Alfonso De Lucia was sent off.

Serse Cosmi stepped down as coach of Livorno following his team's defeat.

Palermo 3-0 Fiorentina

Abel Hernandez scored twice in the first half as Palermo enhanced their European chances with a comfortable 3-0 win over Fiorentina.

An Igor Budan strike just before the hour mark completed the scoring for Palermo who maintained their unbeaten home record to move up to fifth in the table.

Italian Serie A Top Six Teams

Team        Pl  W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Inter Milan 21 15-4-2  45:19  49 
AC Milan    20 12-4-4  35:21  40 
AS Roma     21 11-5-5  35:25  38 
Napoli      21 10-7-4  31:24  37 
Palermo     21  9-7-5  27:21  34 
Juventus    21 10-3-8  33:28  33

German Bundesliga Round-up : Leverkusen still on top

Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Hoffenheim

Bayer Leverkusen stormed back to the top of the Bundesliga with a 3-1 win at Hoffenheim on Sunday.

Leverkusen were ahead after 11 minutes through Sami Hyypia. Toni Kroos (51) and Tranquillo Barnetta (72) added a cushion in the second half.

Werder Bremen 2-3 Bayern Munich

Bayern moved temporarily back to the top of the table by edging a five-goal thriller at Werder to secure their sixth successive win.

Aaron Hunt put Bremen ahead in the 10th minute, but Bayern responded with goals from Thomas Muller and Ivica Olic to deservedly lead at the break.

The Bavarians missed chance after chance and were punished when Hugo Almeida levelled in the 75th minute, but Arjen Robben sealed three points for the visitors three minutes later.

Schalke 2-2 Bochum

Schalke passed up the chance to move top as they conceded two goals in the final eight minutes, including a stoppage-time equaliser, to draw 2-2 at local rivals Bochum.

Vicente Sanchez gave Schalke the lead after just five minutes and Kevin Kuranyi made it 2-0 in the 42nd minute.

But Vahid Hashemian pulled a goal back for Bochum in the 82nd minute - the first goal Felix Magath's side had leaked in five games - and Stanislav Sestak shocked the visitors with the leveller two minutes into added time.

Dortmund 1-0 Hamburg

Borussia Dortmund beat Hamburg 1-0 to climb above their opponents into fourth place. Nelson Valdez scored the only goal of the match in the 36th minute.

German Bundeliga Top Six Standings

Team              Pl  W D L  Fr A  Pts 
Bayer Leverkusen  19 11-8-0  42:15  41 
Bayern Munich     19 11-6-2  39:17  39 
Schalke 04        19 11-5-3  29:15  38 
Borussia Dortmund 19 10-6-3  27:19  36 
Hamburg           19  9-7-3  36:20  34 
Werder Bremen     19  7-7-5  34:20  28

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Arsenal go top with win, Liverpool improve top four chances

Arsenal 4-2 Bolton
Arsenal stormed to the top of the Barclays Premier League as they came from behind to beat Bolton 4-2 at the Emirates Stadium.

Owen Coyle's men - beaten 2-0 by the Gunners on Sunday - took a shock lead after seven minutes through Gary Cahill and Matthew Taylor then doubled the advantage from the penalty spot.

However, Arsene Wenger's young side showed the character of champions to rally before half-time through Tomas Rosicky's strike.

And after Cesc Fabregas netted a controversial equaliser in the 52nd minute, goals from Thomas Vermaelen and Andrey Arshavin ensured the Gunners moved above Chelsea on goal difference.

Liverpool 2-0 Tottenham
Dirk Kuyt's double strike injected new life into Liverpool's stuttering Barclays Premier League campaign as it secured a 2-0 victory over Tottenham.

The Holland international fired home in the sixth minute from the edge of the area and then converted a twice-taken penalty in second-half injury time.

Victory lifted the Reds to within one point of fourth-placed Spurs and eased the pressure on manager Rafael Benitez after early exits from the Champions League and FA Cup.


Team        Pl GD  PTS 
1 Arsenal     22 +34  48 
2 Chelsea     21 +34  48 
3 Man Utd     22 +30  47 
4 Tottenham   22 +18  38 
5 Man City    21 +12  38 
6 Liverpool   22 +14  37 
7 Aston Villa 21 +11  36 
8 Birmingham  21  +2  33

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Fabregas is back to help Arsenal beat Bolton 2-0

Bolton Wanderers 0-2 Arsenal
Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas produced an impressive display on his return from injury as the Gunners won 2-0 at Bolton.

The Spain midfielder, who missed three matches with a hamstring injury, scored his 10th league goal of the season in the 28th minute after a neat one-two with Eduardo.

His surging run then led to substitute Fran Merida scoring the second 12 minutes from time as former Wanderers' player Coyle's reign got off to a losing start

Aston Villa 0-0 West Ham
Aston Villa failed to cash in on slip-ups by the group challenging for the 4th Champions League spot drawing 0-0 with West Ham.

Manchester City - beaten at Everton - and Tottenham, held at home by Hull, both dropped points on Saturday.

But a combination of a below-par performance and some fine saves by Robert Green meant Aston Villa had to settle for their first goalless draw of the campaign in the top flight.

Blackburn Rovers 2-0 Fulham
Blackburn grabbed their first Premier League win since November as they beat Fulham 2-0 at Ewood Park.

Chris Samba's was in the right place to deflect home an attempted clearance by former Rover Damien Duff after Benni McCarthy's corner caused havoc in the visitors' box in the 24th minute.

Captain Ryan Nelsen headed a 54th-minute second while Fulham had few moments to savour - the best coming from Clint Dempsey with an overhead kick which struck the bar.

Top 10 Standings in the English Premier League

Pl  GD Pts 
 1 Chelsea     21 +34  48 
 2 Man Utd     22 +30  47 
 3 Arsenal     21 +32  45 
 4 Tottenham   21 +20  38 
 5 Man City    21 +12  38 
 6 Aston Villa 21 +11  36 
 7 Liverpool   21 +12  34 
 8 Birmingham  21  +2  33 
 9 Fulham      21  +2  27 
10 Everton     21  -4  26 

Barcelona comfortable on top of Spanish La Liga table

Barcelona stretched their lead at the top of the Primera Division to five points as they beat Sevilla 4-0 to take advantage of a slip by Real Madrid.

Barcelona 4-0 Sevilla
Barca could not get past a stubborn Sevilla defence in the first half at the Nou Camp, but the floodgates opened after Julien Escude's own goal broke the deadlock five minutes into the second period.

Substitute Pedro added the second after 70 minutes, before Lionel Messi netted in the 85th and 90th minutes to notch his 100th and 101st goals for the club.

Athletic Bilbao 1-0 Real Madrid
Fernando Llorente's early header proved the difference between the sides as Athletic Bilbao pulled off a shock win over Real Madrid in the Primera Division on Saturday night.

Spain striker Llorente nodded home from a corner after just two minutes and the home team held on for a fine win, Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz denying the visitors with a string of great saves.

Valencia 4-1 Villarreal
Valencia closed to within three points of Real Madrid with an entertaining win over 10-man local rivals Villarreal at the Mestalla on Sunday night.

Ever Banega opened the scoring early on and David Villa doubled the lead from the penalty spot, with Kiko earning a red card for a foul on the striker.

David Silva made it three 11 minutes after the break and, although a defensive mix-up led to Nilmar reducing the deficit, Villa deservedly capped the performance with his second goal.

Real Mallorca 2-0 Deportivo La Coruna
Real Mallorca made it nine home wins out of nine and climbed into the Champions League places with a 2-0 victory over Deportivo La Coruna.

Mallorca, who have also won both of their Copa del Rey games at their Ono Estadi fortress this term, took the points thanks to two goals in seven minutes just after the break through Mario Suarez and Gonzalo Castro.

The victory means Mallorca, who started the day one place and one point behind fourth-placed Depor, swap positions with the Galician side.

Spanish La Liga Top Six Standings

Team        Pl  W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Barcelona   18 14-4-0  46 10  46 
Real Madrid 18 13-2-3  42 14  41 
Valencia    18 11-5-2  35 18  38 
Mallorca    18 10-3-5  32 20  33 
Deportivo   18  9-4-5  20 18  31 
Sevilla     18  9-3-6  28 21  30

Leverkusen, Schalke, Bayern Munich and Hamburg all win to maintain status quo

Bayern Leverkusen 4-2 Mainz
Leverkusen recovered from going a goal down to lead 3-1 by the half-hour mark on their way to another home win and retaining their one ponit lead at the top of the Bundesliga.

Tim Hoogland put Mainz into a surprise lead after eight minutes, but Leverkusen hit back with goals from Michal Kadlec (15), Tranquillo Barnetta (19) and Toni Kroos (30).

Niko Bungert pulled one back for Mainz after 67 minutes but Eren Derdiyok settled home nerves with a fourth two minutes from time.

Bayern Munich 2-0 Hoffenheim
Bayern Munich moved to top of the Bundesliga table for a short while after winnig on Friday, notable becasue it was the first time Munich have led since May 2008.

Martin Demichelis slid home the first against Hoffenheim in the 35th minute before Miroslav Klose wrapped up victory four minutes from time to give Bayern Munich their fifth straight league win.

Schalke 1-0 Nurnberg
Kevin Kuranyi's grabbed the match winner early in the second half as Schalke beat Nurnberg 1-0 at home and continue their strong run.

Hamburg 2-0 Freiburg
Hamburg kept pace with the leaders with a solid 2-0 victory at home over Freiburg. Marcell Jansen opened the scoring in the seventh minute and Mladen Petric made it 2-0 after 55 minutes.

German Bundesliga Top Six Standings

Team              P   W D L  Fr Ag Pts 
Bayer Leverkusen  18 10-8-0  39 15  38 
Schalke           18 11-4-3  27 13  37 
Bayern Munich     18 10-6-2  36 15  36 
Hamburg           18  9-7-2  36 19  34 
Borussia Dortmund 18  9-6-3  26 19  33 
Werder Bremen     18  7-7-4  32 17  28

Milan romp to 4-0 win over Siena to close the gap on Inter to 6 points

Ronaldinho netted a hat-trick as AC Milan eased to a 4-0 victory over bottom club Siena and cut Inter Milan's lead at the top of Serie A to six points.

AC Milan 4-0 Siena
Ronaldinho struck a first-half penalty, a second-half header and a long-range shot late on after Marco Borriello had hit the Rossoneri's second.

Siena's efforts to kick-start a dismal season were undermined by the 10th-minute dismissal of goalkeeper Gianluca Curci, which led to Ronaldinho's opening spot-kick as Leonardo's side cut Inter's lead after their 2-2 draw at Bari on Saturday.

AS Roma 3-0 Genoa
Luca Toni bagged his first goals since joining the Roma on loan from Bayern Munich this month, scoring on the stroke of half-time after team-mate Simone Perrotta had put Roma ahead in the 17th minute.

And Toni put the game beyond Genoa's reach on the hour mark to put the capital city club into 3rd spot.

Napoli 0-0 Palermo
Napoli drew 0-0 with Palermo in Naples in a dour game that had few real moments of danger after Fabrizio Miccoli missed a first half penalty for the visitors.

Chievo 1-0 Juventus
Juventus slipped to fifth in the standings after the Turin giants lost 1-0 at Chievo.

Gennaro Sardo's stunning first-half strike proved to be the only goal of the game as Juve turned in a performance lacking energy and confidence which comes on the back of a 3-0 hammering at the hands of AC Milan in their last league outing.


CLUB        Pl  W D L  GD Pts 
Inter Milan 20 14-4-2 +24  46 
AC Milan    19 12-4-3 +16  40 
AS Roma     20 10-5-5  +9  35 
Napoli      20  9-7-4  +5  34 
Juventus    20 10-3-7  +6  33 
Palermo     20  8-7-5  +3  31 

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Chelsea and Man United win well, while Spurs, Man City and Liverpool stumble

Chelsea 7 Sunderland 2
Chelsea smashed seven goals past Sunderland to cement their lead at the top of the Barclays Premier League table.

Stoke 1 Liverpool 1
Under-pressure Liverpool boss Rafael Benitez was left to reflect upon what might have been as his side threw away a precious victory at Stoke.

The Reds were leading 1-0 with just seconds of normal time remaining when Germany international Robert Huth stabbed home an equaliser amid a late assault.

Man Utd 3 Burnley 0
Burnley held Manchester United at Old Trafford for 64 minutes before they finally succumbed to Dimitar Berbatov.

The Bulgaria international linked with Wayne Rooney before his shot was deflected past keeper Brian Jensen by defender Michael Duff, and further goals from Rooney and substitute Mame Biram Diouf - his first for the club - made sure of the points.

Everton 2 Man City 0
Everton were good value for their 2-0 victory over Manchester City and sealed the points in the first 45 minutes at Goodison Park.

Steven Pienaar made the breakthrough in the 36th minute and Louis Saha extended their lead with a disputed penalty in first half stoppage-time.

Tottenham 0 Hull 0
Fifth-placed Tottenham could not find a way past lowly Hull as Harry Redknapp's 500th Premier League game ended in stalemate with Tigers keeper Boaz Myhill turning in a fine individual display.

Wolves 0 Wigan 2
Wigan's James McCarthy scored on the hour, and doubled their lead through Charles N'Zogbia with 17 minutes remaining.

Portsmouth v Birmingham City postponed due to waterlogged pitch

Portsmouth's Premier League match against Birmingham has been postponed because of a waterlogged pitch.

The club invited supporters to help clear the Fratton Park pitch of snow in midweek and were confident that the game would go ahead.

But heavy rain overnight and the forecast of more wet weather to come prompted referee Anthony Taylor to call it off after a 1000 GMT inspection.

Portsmouth are four points adrift at the bottom of the Premier League table.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Liverpool report major injury blows with Torres, Gerrard and Benayoun out

Liverpool's hopes for the rest of this season have suffered a serious setback with key trio Steven Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Yossi Benayoun all being sidelined.

The club confirmed the three players were all injured in the FA Cup loss to Reading, will be out for varying lengths of time up to six weeks.

Star striker Torres is the worst affected, ruled out until the end of February with a torn knee cartilage that will require surgery.

Inspirational captain Gerrard is out for a fortnight with a torn hamstring while Benayoun has fractured a rib and will not play again for around four weeks.

A club spokesman said: "Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres both underwent scans earlier today after coming off in the FA Cup tie against Reading.

"Steven has a hamstring strain and will be out for a fortnight, while Fernando has torn a cartilage in his right knee. The injury will require surgery and he is expected to be sidelined for six weeks.

"Yossi Benayoun also suffered a fractured rib in the game and will be unavailable for between three and four weeks."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Reading dump Liverpool out of FA Cup - winning 2-1 at Anfield

An extra-time goal from Shane Long capped a stunning comeback for Championship strugglers Reading as they knocked Liverpool out of the FA Cup.

Liverpool 1-2 Reading

Liverpool fortuitously took the lead when Ryan Bertrand deflected Steven Gerrard's cross into his own net on the stroke of halftime.

Reading pushed for an equaliser throughout the second half and were finally rewarded in injury time when Gylfi Sigurdsson levelled from the penalty spot after a foul on substitute Shane Long.

Long's extra-time header 10 minutes into extra-time proved the decisive blow to send Reading through.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Midweek Cup fixtures for England - Birmingham City and Liverpool face replays

A look ahead at the midweek Cup fixtures scheduled for England, with "average" odds taken from a selection of bookmakers.


12 Jan 2010                     HOME  DRAW  AWAY
20:45 Birmingham - Nottingham   1.86  3.32  4.01  
20:45 Bristol City - Cardiff    2.50  3.22  2.65  
20:45 Coventry - Portsmouth     2.57  3.23  2.56  
20:45 Derby - Millwall          2.02  3.27  3.45  
20:45 Queens Park - Sheff Utd   2.25  3.25  3.05  
13 Jan 2010 
20:45 Liverpool - Reading       1.19  5.64  12.71   
20:45 Newcastle Utd - Plymouth  1.45  3.94  6.98


14 Jan 2010  
21:00 Blackburn - Aston Villa   2.76  3.23  2.44 

Manchester City beat Blackburn 4-1 to move into fourth spot

Carlos Tevez grabbed a hat-trick to move Manchester City into fourth place in the Premier League following a commanding 4-1 victory over Blackburn.

Tevez put City in front from close range in the seventh minute before Micah Richards doubled the lead after a powerful 50-yard surge on 39 minutes.

Tevez extended the lead after the break with a stunning 20-yard finish.

Blackburn pulled a goal back through Morten Gamst Pedersen before Tevez added his third with a superb finish.

Premier League Top Six

Team          Pl  GD PTS 
1 Chelsea     20 +29  45 
2 Man Utd     21 +27  44 
3 Arsenal     20 +30  42 
4 Man City    20 +14  38 
5 Tottenham   20 +20  37 
6 Aston Villa 20 +11  35

Sunday, January 10, 2010

AC Milan beat Juventus 3-0 in Turin to keep in touch with Inter

The Serie A Scudetto will be a race between Inter Milan and AC Milan after AC Milan won 3-0 away at Juventus to keep the pressure on Serie A table-toppers and city rivals Inter Milan.

Alessandro Nesta put Milan ahead in the 29th minute with Ronaldinho adding a second in the 72nd minute as Juve struggled to produce a performance that would ease the calls for Ferrara's head.

Another goal from Ronaldinho two minutes from time came amid protests from the home fans, who shrouded the field with smoke by burning any item possible, and sealed the win for Milan - now eight points behind Inter with a game in hand.

Napoli beat Sampdoria 1-0 to remain in 4th, and in the race for Champions League football after substitute German Denis came off the bench to score the winner against Sampdoria on Sunday.

On Saturday night Inter Milan twice came from behind to claim a thrilling 4-3 victory over Siena as Wesley Sneijder and Walter Samuel scored late goals in the top-versus-bottom clash at the San Siro.

And a first-minute goal from Daniele De Rossi was enough to give 10-man Roma a 1-0 victory over Chievo which moves them up to fifth in the table.

Rossi headed in from a corner to give the hosts the lead at the Stadio Olimpico, but they had goalkeeper Doni sent off after he handled the ball outside the area after coming out as Elvis Abbruscato charged through on goal.

CLUB        Pl  W D L  GD Pts 
Inter Milan 19 14-3-2 +24  45 
AC Milan    18 11-4-3 +12  37 
Juventus    19 10-3-6  +7  33 
Napoli      19  9-6-4  +5  33 
AS Roma     19  9-5-5  +6  32 
Fiorentina  18  9-3-6  +8  30

Barca, Madrid and Valencia all win in Spain

Lionel Messi inspired Barcelona to a 5-0 win at Tenerife as the Catalan giants ended the weekend as they started it; holding a two-point lead at the top of the Primera Division.

Messi's contribution was a wonderful hat-trick - the third goal an impudent chip from the edge of the area.

Carles Puyol also got on the scoresheet with home defender Ezequiel Luna adding a late fifth with an unfortunate prod past his own goalkeeper.

Real Madrid beat Real Mallorca 2-0 to remian in second place.

Madrid had greater difficulty with the snow in the capital than they did with a toothless Mallorca side.

But despite the wintry conditions, Manuel Pellegrini's men strolled to victory with goals from Gonzalo Higuain - a sublime 25-yard curling effort - and Esteban Granero.

Valencia had a comfortable 3-1 win at Xerez to strengthen their hold on third position.

Xerez, who have now accumulated just seven points from 17 games, threatened a surprise when Carlos Calvo cancelled out Juan Mata's opener.

But Valencia upped their game to outplay their valiant, if limited, opponents. David Silva restored their lead and a fine solo effort from Carlos Marchena settled matters.

CLUB        Pl  W D L  GD Pts 
Barcelona   17 13-4-0 +32  43
Real Madrid 17 13-2-2 +29  41  
Valencia    17 10-5-2 +14  35 
Deportivo   17  9-4-4  +4  31 
Sevilla     17  9-3-5 +11  30 
Mallorca    17  9-3-5 +10  30 

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Arsenal and Manchester United both held to draws in Premier League

Manchester United and Arsenal were both held to draws in the two games that survived the big freeze.

Arsenal 2-2 Everton
Substitute Tomas Rosicky snatched a point for Arsenal as they drew 2-2 against a battling Everton side at a snowy Emirates Stadium.

Leon Osman headed the visitors into a deserved lead on 12 minutes. However, the midfielder then deflected Denilson's shot past Tim Howard as the Gunners levelled before the break.

Steven Pienaar's breakaway goal looked to have won it with eight minutes to go, only for Tomas Rosicky to grab a crucial strike in added time as Arsenal cut the deficit on leaders Chelsea down to three points.

Birmingham City 1-1 Manchester United
Manchester United needed an own goal from Birmingham defender Scott Dann to salvage a 1-1 draw at St. Andrews as they missed out on the chance to replace Chelsea at the summit.

Birmingham were incensed referee Mark Clattenburg allowed the equaliser to stand after 63 minutes, cancelling out Cameron Jerome's first-half opener, and he consulted with one of his assistants before correctly awarding the goal.

The Red Devils ended with 10 men after midfielder Darren Fletcher was sent off in the closing stages for a second bookable offence.

The draw enabled Blues to make club history in achieving their longest ever unbeaten top-flight run of 12 games - a run stretching back to October.

Togo pull out of African Nations Cup

Togo have withdrawn from the African Nations Cup in Angola following the terrorist attack on their team bus.

The death toll has now reportedly risen to three after the bus came under machine gunfire on Friday. On Friday night it was confirmed that the bus driver was killed in the attack, while reports from France on Saturday said an assistant coach and a press officer had also died.

It had just crossed the border from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the Angolan enclave of Cabinda.

Togo's first game in the tournament had been scheduled to take place on Monday against Ghana, but the players and officials are now heading home to their families.

Organisers have so far insisted the tournament will go ahead.

The Confederation of African Football held an emergency meeting last night and released a statement where they talked about taking "decisions to guarantee the smooth running of the competition".

Friday, January 08, 2010

Togo footballers shot in ambush in Angola while travelling to Cup of Nations

Gunmen have fired on a bus carrying Togo's football team to the Africa Cup of Nations in Angola, wounding players and reportedly killing the driver.

The attackers machine-gunned the vehicle after it crossed from the Republic of Congo into Angola's oil-rich territory of Cabinda.

At least two players were wounded during the shooting, reports said. Central defender Serge Akakpo was among those hurt and back-up goalkeeper Kodjovi Obilale was also reportedly injured.

Togo is due to play its first cup game in Cabinda on Monday.

Fulham v Portsmouth Postponed

The big freeze is continuing to decimate this weekend's action in England and Scotland.

The Barclays Premier League game between Fulham and Portsmouth at Craven Cottage on Saturday has become the first to be postponed due to the adverse weather conditions.

The club felt that the conditions around Craven Cottage meant it was too dangerous for fans to get to the ground.

Sky Sports News is also reporting that Liverpool have informed the Premier League they believe Sunday's Anfield fixture with Tottenham should be postponed.

While the pitch at Anfield is believed to be playable, it is thought the surrounding area of the stadium is unsafe for supporters making their way into the ground.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Portsmouth players still waiting for December wages

Troubled Premier League club Portsmouth have again failed to pay players their December wages, but hope to do so on Wednesday.

Portsmouth have lurched from one financial crisis to another in a troubled season, in which they lie bottom of the league.

Club officials had promised to clear the debt on Tuesday, but a further delay has arisen. The club have now secured a short-term bank loan to pay the players - but they are still completing the necessary paperwork to release the funds

It is the third time the players' wages have been delayed, although the club did pay non-playing staff their December wages on Monday.

On Monday, it was revealed that the Premier League is set to use Portsmouth's share of the latest television monies to pay off the club's debts to other top-flight sides. Chelsea, Tottenham and Watford are all owed money by Pompey and the Premier League will split £7m between them.

The action is allowed within league rules to protect clubs who are owed money from transfers.

And in another blow, the club have been told they will not be able to extend Jamie O'Hara's loan deal from Spurs. The midfielder is due to return to White Hart Lane on 15 January, and with an embargo in place, Pompey cannot re-register him with the Premier League.

Unless another sugar daddy owner appears on the horizon it appears that Portsmouth's stay in the Premier League will end in May, and that this season could have a severe long-term impact on the football club's finances.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Spain on Sunday : Real Madrid Held - Mallorca win at home again

Osasuna 0-0 Real Madrid
Real Madrid missed the chance to catch Barcelona at the the top of the Primera Division table by failing to beat Osasuna in a goalless draw.

Requiring victory in Pamplona to go above their Catalan rivals Barca on goal difference, the visitors were limited to long-range efforts in a poor first half.

Madrid had a penalty appealswaved away in first-half stoppage time after Cristiano Ronaldo theatrically went to ground (that's code for dived like a swan) while attempting to make space for himself on the edge of the box.

Mallorca 2-0 Athletic Bilbao
Mallorca preserved their unblemished home record with a fine 2-0 win over Athletic Bilbao and moved up to fourth place in the table after 16 rounds of the championship.

The visitors proved hard to break down in a goalless first half, but Mallorca took control in the second period, running out 2-0 winners thanks to goals from Julio Alvarez and Aritz Aduriz.

A tasty win and good payout again for the spreadsheet ;-)

Spanish Primera Top Six

Team        Pl  W D L Fr Ag Pts
Barcelona 16 12-4-0 37:10 40
Real Madrid 16 12-2-2 40:13 38
Valencia 16 9-5-2 28:16 32
Mallorca 16 9-3-4 30:18 30
Sevilla 16 9-3-4 27:15 30
Deportivo 16 8-4-4 19:16 28

FA Cup : Fourth Round Draw made

The ties for the 4th round of the FA Cup were drawn on Sunday afternoon with Leeds United getting another high-profile game at a Premier LEague club.

Leeds United will now make the trip to White Hart Lane to face Tottenham Hotspur, while Arsenal wiill travel to the Britannia Stadium to face Stoke City.

FA Cup holders Chelsea will face more Championship opposition in the shape of Preston, who destroyed Colchester United 7-0 on Saturday.

If Liverpool can overcome Reading in a replay then they will take on Burnley in an all-Premier League tie.

Meanwhile, Manchester City will face Scunthorpe at Glanford Park - a team they beat 5-1 in the Carling Cup in October.

Ties to be played on weekend of January 23rd/24th
Southampton v Ipswich Town
Reading or Liverpool v Burnley
Millwall or Derby County v Brentford or Doncaster Rovers
Bristol City or Cardiff City v Leicester City
Stoke City v Arsenal
Notts County or Forest Green Rovers v Wigan Athletic
Scunthorpe United v Manchester City
West Bromwich Albion v Plymouth Argyle or Newcastle United
Everton v Nottingham Forest or Birmingham City
Accrington Stanley or Gillingham v Fulham
Bolton Wanderers v Sheffield United or QPR
Portsmouth or Coventry City v Sunderland
Preston North End v Chelsea
Aston Villa v Brighton & Hove Albion
Wolves v Crystal Palace
Tottenham Hotspur v Leeds United

FA Cup 3rd Round :Leeds stun Man Utd with 1-0 win at Old Trafford

Leeds United grabbed a famous FA Cup victory over their fierce rivals Manchester United winning a thrilling tie at Old Trafford 1-0.

Forty-two league places separate League One based Leeds United following the Yorkshire club's dramatic fall from grace during the last decade but Simon Grayson's side showed the rate of their recent revival with a memorable triumph.

Man Utd had not lost in the third round of the Cup during Sir Alex Ferguson's 23-year reign as manager, nor had they been knocked out of it by a lower-division side, but the Red Devils slumped to their biggest upset in this competition since they were dumped out by Bournemouth in 1984.

It was a fully merited win for Leeds too, who were full of endeavour coming forward before Beckford outpaced the Man Utd defence to score and, just as importantly, defended as if their lives depended on it afterwards.

Grayson's men came into the game unbeaten in 15 games and having lost only twice all season but they were still expected to be brushed aside by the Premier League champions, who themselves have found form since their defensive injury crisis abated.

Ferguson will have to look at his team selection, with seven changes to the side that thumped Wigan 5-0 earlier in the week, but he kept Dimitar Berbatov and Wayne Rooney together up front and Man Utd should have had far too much fire-power for the visitors to handle.

Instead, roared on by 9,000 fanatical supporters, Leeds set about by first frustrating the hosts and then taking the game to them.

Manchester Utd 0-1 Leeds United
Goal : Beckford 19

Barca drop points at Nou Camp in 1-1 draw with Villarreal

Barcelona dropped points at Camp Nou for the first time in the campaign as they began 2010 with a 1-1 draw against Villarreal.

Barca had looked to be on course to get the new year underway in style as Pedro put the ball into the net seven minutes into the match after Thierry Henry had hit the woodwork.

However, in-form Villarreal hit back early in the second half when Cani struck the ball across goal for David Fuster to fire in.

Scoring Summary
Barcelona : Pedro (7)
Villarreal : David Fuster (51)