Archive for the ‘Arsenal’ Category

Dempsey On The Move?

July 2, 2009

Despite Clint Dempsey being quoted that he’d like to stay at Fulham, the 2009 Confederations Cup Bronze Ball winner may still be on the move. While a few clubs are rumored to be in the hunt, the name Everton has started to emerge in the English press.

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Champions League Predictions: Let The Bands Do The Talking III

April 28, 2009

Its been awhile since we’ve asked some musicians to help out with Champions League predictions so here we go!

Barcelona – Chelsea

What does Chelsea need to do to Barca to beat them in the Nou Camp?

…and get on the outside – fast!

What does Barcelona need to do to hold off Chelsea’s streaking Florent Malouda, the dogged determination of Frank Lampard, and the ever-dangerous striker Didier Drogba?

Prediction: Barcelona 3: Chelsea 1

Manchester United – Arsenal

How does ManU need to come out early to break the hot streaking Arsenal’s confidence?

And how does the young Arsenal side need to approach this match against the Red Devils?

Prediction: Arsenal 2: Manchester United 2

Champions League Review: Let The Bands Do The Talking

February 26, 2009

Instead of my own commentary on the results of this week’s Champions League matches, I’ll let some fine bands do it instead.

Bayern Munich 5 – Sporting Lisbon 0:

Chelsea 1 – Juventus 0


*Everyone knows the Gallaghers are huge City fans but this one just seemed to fit.

Arsenal 1 – AS Roma 0

Inter Milan 0 – Manchester United 0

Olympique Lyon 1 – Barcelona 1

*Yep Barca, you were Outshined.

Real Madrid 0 – Liverpool 1

Porto 2 – Atletico Madrid 2

Porto had something to prove and their comeback proved it well

Villarreal 1 – Panathanaikos 1

Perfect if you’re Panathanaikos

Last Minute Champions League Predictions

February 24, 2009

If you’re like me and could care less about the Oscars (and are already tired of hearing about it), tonight’s Champion’s League matches are arriving just in time. Here are my predictions:

Arsenal 2 – Roma 1. Roma’s road form is weak in Italy and even worse when they travel to England. But, Roma are on a roll and won’t go down easily.

Inter Milan 2 – Manchester United 1. This game is pretty evenly matched in terms of quality but The Special One has Sir Alex’s number tonight

Atlético 1 – Porto 1. Atlético barely survives a Porto attacking flurry that nearly pulls off an upset.

Lyon 1 – Barcelona 3. Lyon will put up a good fight in the freezing cold Stade Gerland but Barca’s quality will overwhelm the home side starting in the 65th minute.

Eduardo Salvio: The Next Big Thing?

January 27, 2009

While Arsenal courts Zenith for Andrei Arshavin, Real Madrid begs and pleads for Cristiano Ronaldo, and other clubs are going after the hottest players in the game, there is still a wave of scary talent coming forward from the youth ranks. One in particular is 18 year-old Argentine wunderkind Eduardo Salvio who has already scored 4 goals in 14 appearances for Lanús, including putting two past Boca Juniors. He is also working his way up through Argentina’s highly competitive youth system, recently shining in the South American U-20 championship. Just three days ago, he led his Argentine team to a 2-1 come-from-behind win over Peru, scoring the winning goal.

“I can play anywhere, inside or outside, but it does not frighten me to go one-on-one with the goalkeeper,” said a confident Salvio to Gazzetto. “My mirror player plays in another position, and he is Juan Román Riquelme.”

Salvio is a combination of fast, clever, and very technical and with his diminutive 5’5” frame, nothing but trouble for defenders once he has the ball at his feet. He is already being hailed as the next Lionel Messi and Ezequiel Lavezzi (who are both mentioned as the next Maradona) in the great tradition of Argentine supporting strikers such as Carlos Tevez, Messi, Javier Saviola, and others.

Now, teams like Roma, AC Milan, Inter, Napoli, Fiorentina, Juventus, CSKA Moscow, Genoa, Sevilla, Bayern Munich, Arsenal, Villarreal and Atlético Madrid are hot on his trail.

So, it is no surprise that in today’s La Gazzetta dello Sport, we see that Juve’s management are making their move by sending chief scout Renzo Castagnini to Argentina to work out a deal before another club gets there first. They’ll be hard pressed to trump Napoli, which has always been a second home for Argentine players on the continent, including Maradona, Lavezzi, German Denis, and others. That said, Juve’s deeper pockets would probably carry the day.

According to Gazzetto, to seal the deal Juventus is ready to ante up with at least €8.5 million and plans to finance it through the sale of forward Vincenzo Iaquinta to an interested Russian club Zenit St Petersburg (which also indicates they are resigned to losing Arshavin).

But any deal may not happen until summer since Lanús president Alejandro Marón, has a stated policy that the club’s youth players must play a full season before any transfers are allowed.

Meanwhile, Juventus has reportedly approached Chelsea to discuss a loan deal for French winger Florent Malouda. Malouda has not fared well since the arrival of Chelsea boss Felipe Scolari but his old Chelsea coach Claudio Ranieri, now at Juventus, thinks he can help the team challenge Inter for the Scuddetto.

Eddie Johnson Sighting!

January 26, 2009

For those of you who may have forgotten about him, there was an Eddie Johnson sighting in Cardiff, Wales yesterday!

Johnson entered Cardiff City’s FA Cup match with Arsenal right at the stroke of 90 minutes to help preserve a 0-0 draw. The mighty Arsenal Football Club marched into Cardiff on Sunday with one objective; to quickly dispatch last season’s FA Cup finalists and avoid another fixture on their already cluttered match schedule.

Instead, Arsenal were in a dog-fight most of the afternoon and Cardiff City lived to fight another day (although that next fight will be at Arsenal’s home digs – The Emirates Stadium in London. Perhaps, Johnson will see more time during this fixture – you never know.

Now, if we can just get Freddy Adu some minutes down in Monaco…

*Brought to you by Keith Richardson, who should soon be signed by LFV once his agent comes to terms with Natasha, our evil head of human resources.

Kljestan Hat Trick Powers US To 3-2 Win Over Sweden

January 25, 2009

A Great Win But Come On Folks – Not Even 10,000 Fans In The Stadium?

Sacha Kljestan scored the 11th hat trick ever for the U.S. Men’s National Team Saturday evening to earn a 3-2 victory against Sweden to open their 2009 campaign at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif. If any club was on the fence about signing him, last night’s performance should have his agent’s phone burning with calls.

In a fairly tepid first 45 minutes, Kljestan provided the U.S. with a 2-0 lead going into the locker room. His first goal was a stunning 35-yard free kick that he placed perfectly into the upper left corner, before following up that effort by burying a penalty kick with five minutes remaining in the half.

With Sweden pulling a goal back in the 73rd minute, it was Kljestan once again who answered for the U.S., taking a feed from Brian Ching to bury a left-footed shot just one minute later. In the 89th minute, Sweden struck again to make things interesting, but the U.S. was able to kill off any last minute attacks for an equalizer.

The three goals by Kljestan were the first of his career with the full team, and put him in unique company as only the second player ever to open his national team scoring account with a hat trick. The only other player to pull off the feat was Aldo “Buff” Donelli, who tallied four goals in a 4-2 victory against Mexico on May 24, 1934, in the lone qualifying match for the 1934 FIFA World Cup in Italy.

“Getting a hat trick is pretty exciting for me,” said Kljestan. “I’ve never scored more than one goal in a game as a professional, so it’s definitely exciting. I’m just as happy about the win and I’m glad we held on in the end. It was great to do it [score a hat trick] here at the Home Depot Center. I have a lot of friends and family that come and support me every game, so that was pretty cool to have them here.”

The victory kept the U.S. undefeated in eight matches at The HDC (7-0-1) and was the eleventh straight time the U.S. has either tied or won their opening game of the year, with the U.S. also defeating Sweden 1-0 to start the streak in 1998. Overall against Sweden, the U.S. now holds a winning record with four victories and three losses in seven games.

Despite a fairly inexperienced roster, the U.S. was able to control the majority of the match and provide an effective attack, especially in the second half. Of the 18 players on the roster, 13 had less than 10 career caps, and six of the starters chosen by U.S. head coach Bob Bradley had less than 5 caps, including two – goalkeeper Troy Perkins and midfielder Robbie Rogers – who earned their first caps on the night.

The slow and controlled beginning of the match was jarred awake by Kljestan with his stunning free kick in the 17th minute that gave the U.S. the early lead. Ching, the leading U.S. capwinner on the roster (33), was brought down by Marcus Lindberg about 30 yards out and on the free kick Rogers ran over the ball allowing Kljestan to unleash his drive into the upper-left corner of the goal.

The U.S. continued to control most of the possession and doubled their lead near the end of the half with some nice possession play that led to a penalty kick. The ball was knocked out wide right where Ching was able to collect the ball and touch it to John Thorrington along the sideline. With Marvell Wynne involved in the attack, Thorrington slipped the ball through for him and he took one touch to get into the penalty area before getting tripped up by Adam Johansson. Kljestan stepped up to bury the penalty shot to the right of the goal as Dahlin went the opposite direction.

During the first half, the U.S. was able to thwart Sweden’s attack as captain Danny Califf and fellow central defender Michael Parkhurst controlled the backline, while midfielder Ricardo Clark also broke up numerous attacks. Wynne and Jonathan Bornstein were also staunch in their defending on the wings, while also choosing wisely when to dart up the sideline and join in the attack. Overall in the first half, Sweden only had two shots, and just one on goal, which came from Mikael Dahlberg in the 24th minute, a 18-yard effort towards the lower left post that Perkins was able to cover with ease.

Kenny Cooper came on to replace Charlie Davies to start the second half, and the 6-foot-3 forward almost tallied two minutes in when he got his head to a Rogers corner kick. The header got past Dahlin, who had challenged for the service, but Lindberg was able to clear it off the line and over the bar.

Despite controlling much of the play, Sweden pulled one back when Alexander Farnerud supplied a service into the penalty area for Daniel Nannskog, who lost Bornstein at the right post and finished past Perkins with a diving header.

The U.S. was quick to respond a minute later. Once again it was Kljestan getting the accolades with the finish, but the set-up by Ching was what provided the U.S. breathing room once again. Following a long ball from the back from Califf, Ching brought the ball down with an impressive first touch at the top of the penalty area between two defenders which allowed him to turn and then slip the ball to the left for the streaking Kljestan, who slammed his one-timer into the right side netting.

The action continued with Sweden getting another great opportunity a few minutes later, but Dahlberg’s header from six yards out bounced in front of the goal and bounced over the bar.

Sweden did tally their second goal of the night when Farnerud served in another dangerous cross and this time Dahlberg didn’t miss the opportunity, heading it off the right post and into the net.

Cooper had one final chance to give the U.S. another two-goal lead, when he slipped behind the Sweden defense for a breakaway against Dahlin, but his touch around the ‘keeper was too much and Dahlin was able to recover and make the save on his shot from a tight angle.

“It’s important to start the year off with a win,” said Bradley, who opened the calendar year with a victory for the third straight time since taking over in late 2006. “When you’re in a long camp, with three weeks and a lot of work, it’s nice at the end to have the reward of winning. From a coaching standpoint there’s always going to be things, at this time of year, that you feel good about, and there’s always going to be things that need improvement.”

Chris Wingert was the third player to earn his first cap with the MNT on the evening, coming on as a 79th-minute substitute for Bornstein.

The U.S. now looks ahead to their opening match of the final round of FIFA World Cup qualifying against archrival Mexico on Feb. 11 at Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. The match, the first of 10 games in the final round – commonly referred to as the ‘hexagonal’ – will kickoff at 7 p.m. ET and fans can watch the match live on ESPN2 HD and Univision, or listen on the Futbol de Primera radio network.

Tickets for the USA-Mexico match go on sale Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 12 p.m. ET.

Match Highlights Here:

U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report

Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Sweden
Date: January 24, 2009
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: The Home Depot Center; Carson, Calif.
Kickoff: 5:30 p.m. PT A
Attendance: 9,918 Weather: 59 degrees, mostly cloudy
Scoring Summary:
1 2 F
USA 2 1 3
SWE 0 2 2

USA -Sacha Kljestan 17th minute
USA -Kljestan (PK) 40
SWE – Daniel Nannskog (Alexander Farnerud) 73
USA – Kljestan (Brian Ching) 74
USA – Mikael Dahlberg (Farnerud) 89

Lineups:

USA: 1-Troy Perkins; 12-Marvell Wynne, 2-Danny Califf (capt.), 4-Michael Parkhurst (3-Ugo Ihemelu, 82), 6-Jonathan Bornstein (15-Chris Wingert, 79); 17-John Thorrington (20-Chris Rolfe, 61), 13-Ricardo Clark, 16-Sacha Kljestan, 30-Robbie Rogers (22-Brian Carroll, 69); 10-Charlie Davies (27-Kenny Cooper, 46), 11-Brian Ching (29-Eddie Gaven, 77) Subs not used: 18-Jon Busch Head Coach: Bob Bradley

SWE: 12-Johan Dahlin, 7-Markus Jonsson, 8-Marcus Lindberg, 9-Max von Schlebrügge, 5-Adam Johansson; 10-Andreas Dahl (14-Rasmus Elm, 62), 6-Daniel Andersson (capt.) (13-Martin Ericsson, 71), 20-Gustav Svensson, 16-Samuel Holmén (15-Alexander Farnerud, 62); 11-Mikael Dahlberg, 19-Daniel Nannskog Subs not used: 1-John Alvbåge, 2-Patrik Anttonen, 3-Rasmus Bengtsson, 4-Mattias Bjärsmyr, , 17-Andreas Johannson, 18-Andreas Landgren, 21-Denni Avdic Head Coach: Lars Lagerbäck

Stats Summary: USA / SWE
Shots: 13 / 9
Shots on Goal: 6 / 6
Saves: 3 / 3
Corner Kicks: 7 / 1
Fouls: 15 / 15
Offside: 2 / 5

Misconduct Summary:
SWE – Daniel Andersson (caution) 27th minute
USA – Danny Califf (caution) 59 Officials:

Referee: Silviu Petrescu (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Hector Vergara (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Darren Clark (CAN)
Fourth Official: Baldomero Toledo (USA)

ussoccer.com Man of the Match: Sacha Kjestan

Zizzo, Hannover Drop Friendly To AC Milan

January 22, 2009

American Sal Zizzo made a rare appearance for Hannover 96 in last night’s friendly against visiting AC Milan. The Bundesliga side put in a surprisingly strong performance against the star-studded Milan team, especially on defense, but was unable to hold off the Rossoneri for good.

With his team down 2-1 in the second half, Zizzo came on in the 66th minute, replacing Jan Rosenthal at right midfield where he immediately got into the mix. In the 74th minute, Zizzo’s sent in a cross to Mike Hanke, who bicycled the ball in to tie the score at 2-2.

But this could not last as three minutes later, a Kaka combination with Fillipo Inzhagi found Luca Antonini – who then sent in a good cross which “Pippo” converted to make it 3-2. All in all, the former UCLA man made a solid showing but only time will tell if the young American (who was recently linked in a loan deal to Hansa Rostock) will see more playing time this spring.

American defender and Hannover stalwart Steve Cherundolo did not play in the match.

A Few Things

January 20, 2009

My fingers are still sore from picking bass strings so all I can offer on this historic inauguration day are a few links worth checking out.

The New York Times/IHT on Bradley’s depleted squad for Saturday’s friendly against Sweden.

Dave Clark’s thought provoking idea to rapidly expand MLS. Can it be done without catching the same flu that the NASL succumbed to? You decide.

Is ESPN about to buy the US broadcast rights for Premiership matches?

AC Milan president Silvio Berlusconi has announced that Kaka is going nowhere.

And to make matters worse for Manchester City (after failing to land the big fish), Robinho has walked out of training camp.

And speaking of transfers, just how close is Arsenal to signing Russian phenom Andrei Arshavin from Zenith? It seems about $11.7 million.

Deportivo Takes Its Turn Behind Barcelona’s Woodshed

January 18, 2009

Barcelona has taken another Spanish primera team behind its woodshed, crushing Deportivo La Coruna 5-0 in the Nou Camp. 5-0 is the kind of score you expect when playing your reserve team, or a lower level club during an off season friendly, not another team in one of the best leagues in the world. Yet Barca seems to be making a habit of it as they stretch their lead to an amazing 15 points in La Liga.

Thierry Henry and Sammy Eto’o scored a pair of goals each with Lionel Messi scoring one. Check out the highlights below.

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