Zlatan eyes greatness at Barcelona

August 25, 2009

“It’s decided: Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s new nickname is ‘Elite Status.’ Is it because he’s one of the most prolific strikers in the world, with 29 goals in 46 games last season, and can do jaw-dropping things like this? Sure, that makes sense. Is it because at a reported $17 million a year, he’s one of soccer’s best-paid players? That, too. Maybe it’s his reputation for an ego befitting his towering 6-foot-5 frame? Why not.” (SI)

You’re Saying it Wrong! Sporting Lisbon, Inter Milan, and Other Incorrect Names That Drive Football Fans Crazy

August 25, 2009

“Football is a global sport. Which is one of the reasons we love it so much. But that international appeal is also the reason for many many misunderstandings, leading to football teams being incorrectly labeled outside their native land. And this can drive fans of those teams crazy. I’ve been on both ends of this. I’ve been the fool that irritated both sides of a city by saying ‘Inter Milan’ and AC Milan’, and I’ve been the angry man looking for something to punch when an ESPN commentator referred to my team as ‘the Wolverhampton Wolves’.” (The Offside)

Bayern’s poor start to the season puts the spotlight on Louis van Gaal

August 25, 2009

“Bayern Munich boss Louis van Gaal must be regretting a recent interview with top German sports magazine Kicker in which he claimed he felt completely at home in his new workplace: “This club and this city suits me like a warm coat,” went the unusually laid-back line from the ex-Ajax and Barcelona coach.” (WorldSoccer)

After Two Big Victories, Burnley Has More in Its Sights

August 25, 2009

“Burnley, playing in its first season in the English Premier League, has already stunned two elite teams. The Clarets, from Lancashire, defeated mighty Manchester United 1-0 last week and followed it with an almost identical victory over struggling Everton over the weekend.” (NYT)

Anfield stunned by Villa win

August 25, 2009

Francesco Guardi , Capriccio con piramide
“Liverpool slumped to their second Premier League defeat in nine days as they lost 3-1 to Aston Villa to put their title credentials firmly on the line. Villa produced a defiant, organised display and deserved their first win at Anfield since 2001. The result also ended Liverpool’s 31-match unbeaten home league record stretching back to December 2007, when Manchester United were the last winners at Anfield.” (ESPN)

Trio of mistakes cost Liverpool dear
“And to think Liverpool had come to the conclusion that the problem was drawing at Anfield. They were held at home seven times last season, a series of frustrations that served as an explanation why the title eluded them. Yet this was altogether costlier than the stalemates with Stoke, Fulham and West Ham. Given Aston Villa’s subdued start to the season, it was equally unexpected.” (ESPN)

Liverpool 1 – 3 Aston Villa
“Aston Villa produced an outstanding defensive display to secure their first win against Liverpool in eight years as Rafael Benitez’s side continued their stuttering start to the new Premier League campaign. Villa had been heavily criticised after losing their opening home game to Wigan Athletic and slumping to defeat in the Europa League against Rapid Vienna – but they answered all the questions in emphatic fashion at Anfield.” (BBC)

Red Crash To Anfield Defeat
“Fernando Torres’ late goal was not enough as Liverpool slumped to a 3-1 defeat at home to Aston Villa. The Spaniard’s 72nd minute strike gave the hosts hope after first-half goals from Lucas Leiva (og) and Curtis Davies had put Martin O’Neill’s men in control. But Ashley Young’s penalty just three minutes later dashed any thoughts of a fight back as the visitors condemned the Reds to their second defeat in just three league games.” (Liverpool FC)

Liverpool 1 – 3 Aston Villa: That Was Anfield
“What a piggish little game this was. You might have assumed that Liverpool’s first league defeat at home since 2007 would have been an exhibition of high drama, or at least of reasonable intensity, but the Kop was languid, the crowd left early, and the Liverpool players were fierce only in their complaints.” (Run of Play)