Millwall - Colchester Utd.

Millwall holds third position in League One. It seems they can't drop under the play-off line, 10 points more and a game less than 7th Tranmere. But, they see their chance for direct promotion. Five points and game less than 2nd Peterborough Utd., if they win Colchester will be two. Plus, Peterborough will face Oldham away for the weekend, Millwall will host Walsall. Millwall won six from last seven games, loosing only against Leicester City (at home 0-1). Very interesting fact is all games they won with a goal difference (four times 1-0). Maybe it says something about the mental strength, surely I don't think it is a luck. Big problem for tonight's game is missing Neil Harris (club's legend) because of a facial injury, meaning on-loan striker Jason Price should step in. Defender Richard Duffy faces a late fitness test while midfielder Nadjim Abdou (personal reasons) is doubtful.

Colchester Utd. lies on 13th position with no real chance to move up or down. But, the problem with this squad is their crazy spirit. In one round they loose against Crewe at home 0-1, in the next game play excellent and grab a point against the best league team away, Leicester City 1-1. They have no motive, play for fun. They are bad against outsiders, but thirsty for blood against favorites. Typical team for avoiding. Boss Paul Lambert could name an unchanged starting eleven. They will be without midfielder Johnnie Jackson (hamstring) while defender Chris Coyne is still on international duty with Australia.

Usually, I would skip this one, watching my own business, but poor football offer forced me to think about it. Pinnacle offer 1.88, Expekt 1.80 for home win. I don't think it worths of serious bet. I will gamble, small stake. Odd for handicap win is about 3.00 and I'll take it. Last han. win was against Leeds United 18.10.2008.! (Yes, I have crazy spirit, too.) Anyway, what else you can do on tuesday night?!

Tuesday's gossip column


Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas has conceded he spoke on the phone with former Real Madrid president Ramon Calderon.(Skysports)

Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez is preparing an £18m bid for Barcelona striker Samuel Eto'o. (Daily Mirror)

Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has conceded he may have to consider his future if the club do not secure Champions League football by finishing in the top four of the Premier League this season. (Daily Mirror)

Portsmouth striker John Utaka is set for a return to France, with Bordeaux lining up a £7m swoop. (Daily Star)

Hertha Berlin are only prepared to pay £4m for on-loan Liverpool striker Andrei Voronin, if the German club qualify for next season's Champions League. (Daily Mirror)

Sunderland have joined the race for Millwall defender Zak Whitbread. (Daily Star)

Nottingham Forest are preparing a £1m bid for MK Dons midfielder Peter Leven. (Daily Star) Leicester are preparing a £2m swoop for Swindon's star striker Simon Cox. (Daily Mirror) 


Newcastle's interim manager Joe Kinnear, who is recovering from a triple heart bypass operation, insists he still has a future at the troubled club. (The Sun) 
Executive director of football Dennis Wise is set to leave Newcastle in a summer shake-up at St James' Park. (Daily Mirror) 
Up to 11 of Newcastle's top earners will be axed from the club, including Michael Owen, Joey Barton and Damien Duff, if the Magpies are relegated this season. (Daily Mirror) 
Inter Milan manager Jose Mourinho has admitted he would be interested in taking over from Sir Alex Ferguson - when the Manchester United boss decides to quit Old Trafford. (The Guardian) 
Hull say they will call a truce with Arsenal over the alleged spitting incident with Cesc Fabregas, if the Gunners apologise. (The Sun) 
QPR manager Paulo Sousa looks set to be demoted in a new-look shake-up at the Championship club. (Daily Mirror) 
Players from the Sheffield United squad relegated from the Premier League in 2007 are pursuing £5m in compensation over the Carlos Tevez saga. (The Guardian) 
Chelsea's out-of-favour winger Florent Malouda has pleaded with the club to keep him at the end of the season. (Daily Express) 
Scotland boss George Burley could be about to drop five players for the match against Iceland with goalkeeper Allan McGregor, Gary Teale, Christophe Berra, Graham Alexander and Kenny Miller's places all under threat. (The Sun) 

Manchester United midfielder Paul Scholes has spent £100,000 on his 10th wedding anniversary, also hiring X-factor singer Laura White for the party (The Sun) 
Former Poland goalkeeper Jan Tomaszewski believes the blunders by Celtic's Artur Boruc against Northern Ireland were a 'punishment from God' for starting a 'religious war' in Glasgow. (The Sun)

Monday's gossip column


Wigan are closing in on Ecuador forward Cristian Benitez, with the Santos Laguna striker valued at £7m. (Daily Mirror) 
Benitez's arrival may signal the £17m departure of midfielder Luis Antonio Valencia from the Latics to Manchester United. (Daily Mirror) 
Manchester City are keen to sign Real Madrid's unsettled defender Fabio Cannavaro. (Daily Mirror) 
Ipswich are hopeful of signing Stockport keeper Owain Fon Williams. (Daily Mirror)  


Michael Owen's England future looks to be over, with national boss Fabio Capello preferring Tottenham's Darren Bent ahead of the Newcastle striker. Owen was told he represented Three Lions "history" by boss Capello. (Various) 
England captain John Terry has warned his team-mates to beware of striker Andriy Shevchenko ahead of Wednesday's clash with Ukraine. Terry believes the former Chelsea striker still has something to prove after he failed to make an impact at Stamford Bridge. (The Guardian) 
Scotland manager George Burley admits his country's World Cup hopes will be over if they do not beat Iceland at Hampden on Wednesday. (Various) 
Meanwhile, the Scottish FA will move to kill off the notion of a British football team at the 2012 Olympics within the next two months. (Daily Record) 
The SFA's stance also looks set to end their hopes of securing a money-spinning friendly against England. (Daily Mail) 


South Korean electronic giants Samsung claim they are the latest company to be approached by Manchester United, with a view to becoming their next shirt sponsors. Saudi Telecom and Indian companies Sahara and Tata have also made similar claims. (Daily Star)

Ecuador 1-1 Brazil

Brazil drew 1-1 away to Ecuador in their 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifier on Sunday thanks to an outstanding performance from goalkeeper Julio Cesar. 

Ecuador outplayed the five-times world champions but were repeatedly foiled by the Inter Milan goalkeeper and then fell behind when substitute Julio Baptista scored in the 74th minute. Another substitute, Cristian Noboa, restored some justice by equalising in the 89th minute, after a pulsating game at the Atahualpa at 2,800 metres above sea level. 
Brazil have 18 points from 11 games in the ten-team South American qualifying group, five behind leaders Paraguay, while Ecuador have 13. Brazil, who drew for the sixth time in the campaign, were short on ambition and Ronaldinho made a negligible contribution before being replaced by Baptista.
"We knew it would be difficult and we didn't play our best football," Julio Cesar told Brazilian television. "Their players didn't stop running for one minute, we stood up well until the end and the goal was a punishment for us all." 

The first half ended scoreless thanks to Ecuador's poor finishing as well as Julio Cesar. The highlight was a double save when he blocked Edison Mendez's free-kick and then saved Joffre Guerron's point-blank shot with his feet from the rebound. 
Julio Cesar also parried a Cristian Benitez shot and got his fingertips to a vicious, swerving Walter Ayovi effort to turn the ball around the post. Benitez twice headed wide while Antonio Valencia thumped a 20-metre shot against the post. The game followed the same pattern after the interval as firstly Benitez was left with a free shot on goal after Lucio misjudged a long ball forward but the Mexican-based striker fired wildly over. 
Brazil were then caught out playing the offside trip as a long ball found Guerron on the right but his close-range volley was brilliantly saved by Julio Cesar. Brazil stunned the crowd when Baptista scored with a shot from the edge of the penalty area, which hit the post, struck goalkeeper Jose Cevallos on the back and rebounded into the goal. 
Ecuador levelled with a minute left when Mendez broke down the right, crossed and Noboa scored from the rebound after Benitez's first effort was blocked. There was still time for Julio Cesar to make another save on the line from a Benitez header.

Ecuador - Brazil

This game will be played in capital Quito on the big height which is a big problem for the most away teams. And that is perhaps the biggest home side strength. Ecuador shows big improvement in the last ten years, two times they qualified for World Championship. In this campaign, situation isn't so bright. They lie on 7th place, four points less than 5th Chile (5th position guarantee play-off games with best Oceania's team) and four less than 4th Urugay(and a game less from them). In Quito, Ecuador already lost four points at home (Colombia 0-0 and Venecuela 0-1) and they expect two very tough games, against Brazil and Paraguay. Tonight they'll have to go for a win. That may be a problem considering their opponent. But, in their three last games in Quito, Ecuador has already won twice by 1-0 and one game ended 0-0.  Felix Borja, Carlos Tenorio and Pedro Quinonez are sidelined 'cause the injuries, but two key defenders have recovered: Antonio Valencia and Edison Mendez. Excellent Man City striker Felipe Caicedo will start in offence line, with Christian Benitez. There is no doubt Ecuador will attack! That guarantee good game.

Brazil continue with torturing under the charge of Carlos Dunga. 17 points from 10 games are not something that five times world champions can be proud with. They have three straight 0-0 home draws (which says they have problems with defensive teams) and two convincing away wins, Chile 3-0 and Venezuela 4-0 (which says they like to be attacked, as Ecuador intend to do). Dunga continues to annoy the audience. This time he failed under the pressure and called Ronaldinho who usually warms the bench in Milan. Kaka has some foot problems, Adriano is in doubt too. But their attack even without these two looks masterful and scary. Robinho will start, there are Luis Fabiano and Pato. Brazil will pass the group stage, of course, but tonight is all about the pride and revenge for previous defeats.

I've been thinking a lot about the bet. We'll watch open game from the first whistle. Think Caicedo and Benitez in clash with central def. Maicon and Marcelo can score. Who knows, maybe we'll see the end of Dunga's era, tonight. So, over before the away win. Betfair offers unreal 2.14. the rest about 2.00, including Expekt.I burnt my fingers yesterday, my stake will be small. Seat back and enjoy in footie, lads!

Sunday's gossip column


Real Madrid are putting together a £100m package to sign Manchester United winger Cristiano Ronaldo. (News of the World) 
Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas has cast doubt on his future with the Gunners by refusing to rule out a move to Barcelona or Real Madrid. (News of the World) 
The Gunners are reportedly ready to let Fabregas leave as there is growing belief within the club that the Spaniard has started to think he is more important than the club. (Sunday Express) 
Meanwhile, Gunners boss Arsene Wenger has made Everton defender Joleon Lescott his number one transfer target. (News of the World) 
Arsenal, along with Everton, Sunderland and Fulham, are watching Genk's Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko. (Sunday Express) 
Liverpool will try again to sign Aston Villa's Gareth Barry, and are hoping to seal an £8m deal for the midfielder this summer. (News of the World) 
Middlesbrough will let Stewart Downing leave if they are relegated from the Premier League - with Tottenham and Liverpool waiting to make a £15m bid for him. (News of the World) 
Manchester City look to have missed out on Roma goalkeeper Doni after the Brazilian insisted he has no intention of leaving. (The Observer) 
Newcastle believe they will be able to sign Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone for £6m - if they stay in the Premier League. (News of the World) 
Everton's Marouane Fellaini wants the club to sign his former Standard Liege team-mate Milan Jovanovic. (News of the World) 
Meanwhile, Everton look set to hold on to midfielder Joseph Yobo, despite interest in him from Arsenal and Chelsea. (the Observer) 
Aston Villa, Tottenham and Everton are watching Real Murcia's 18-year-old forward Daniel Aquino. (News of the World) 
Blackburn boss Sam Allardyce is battling his former club Bolton to sign Portsmouth midfielder Sean Davis. (News of the World) 
Newcastle and West Brom are fighting it out for the signature of £1m-rated Swindon striker Simon Cox. (News of the World) 
Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is ready to demand a transfer if he fails to regain his number one spot from Marton Fulop. (News of the World) 
Manchester City boss Mark Hughes is ready to let goalkeeper Joe Hart go out on loan next season. (News of the World) 
Arsenal youngster Mark Randall has hinted he is ready to leave the club rather than spend another year in the reserves. (News of the World) 
Aston Villa are determined to outbid Marseille to capture Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour. (News of the World) 
Scotland keeper Craig Gordon is ready to quit Sunderland if he does not regain his first team slot. (News of the World) 


Hull midfielder Jimmy Bullard is set to confound doctors and play again in September - three months ahead of schedule after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery. (News of the World) 
Joe Kinnear will be offered a senior 'upstairs' role at Newcastle if he turns down the club's offer of a two-year contract to remain as manager. (News of the World) 
Meanwhile, Newcastle are facing the biggest battle in their financial history, with the value of club set to be halved from £200m to £100m if they are relegated. (Sunday Express) 
Liverpool are pursuing a record sponsorship deal with Carlsberg which could net them £60m. (News of the World) 
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has revealed he regrets not leaving the Stamford Bridge club sooner, claiming it is his biggest mistake as a coach. (News of the World) 
Scottish Football Association president George Peat has hit out at the SPL saying the quality of product on offer is sub-standard. (Sunday Herald) 
Meanwhile, Peat has said the Home Nations will not be making a decision on a British national team for the 2012 Olympics in London by the 31 May deadline set by the world's governing body. (News of the World) 
George Burley has blasted French referee Laurent Duhamel after his performance in Scotland's 3-0 defeat against the Netherlands in Amsterdam. (Sunday Mail) 
Iceland coach Olafur Johannesson says his entire nation is banking on a win against Scotland at Hampden on Wednesday night to help them through their economic crisis. (Sunday Mail) 
Portsmouth defender Hermann Hreidarsson says Scotland's Darren Fletcher will not get the opportunity to spoil Iceland's World Cup dream when the nations meet midweek. (Sunday Mail) 
Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc has come under fire for his dreadful performance against Northern Ireland for Poland in their World Cup qualifier at Windsor Park. (News of the World) 
The Scottish Cup semi-final between Dunfermline and Falkirk will be played at Hampden, even if the stadium is half-full. (News of the World) 


Manchester United stars have created their own lookalike hall of fame to cheer themselves up after recent defeats. Rio Ferdinand's 'twin' is Star Wars character Jar Jar Binx, Wayne Rooney's is Shrek and Carlos Tevez is compared to The Hulk. (News of the World)

Northern Ireland 3-2 Poland

Nigel Worthington's Northern Ireland took full advantage of some uncertain defending to remain in the hunt for FIFA World Cup qualification with ten points from six Group 3 matches.

Dramatic match
A thrilling contest at Windsor Park was in full flow even before Warren Feeney gave the hosts the lead inside ten minutes. It was their eleventh goal in qualifying and although the sides went in level at the break thanks to Ireneusz Jeleń, a Jonny Evans strike and Michał Żewłakow's own goal provided a cushion for the home side, which they needed after a late reply from Marek Saganowski.

Early chances
Poland survived two early scares after defensive errors allowed Feeney to fire just wide of the far post inside three minutes, while David Healy pounced on a weak Żewłakow back-pass only for Artur Boruc to deny him. But Northern Ireland did take the lead when Boruc misjudged a Chris Brunt cross and Damien Johnson headed back across goal for Feeney to tap in. Leo Beenhakker's charges barely threatened until they levelled in the 27th minute when Jeleń raced through and his drive had enough power to beat Maik Taylor.

Own goal
Northern Ireland began the second half with the same vigour as the previous one, forcing themselves in front again moments after the restart when Evans turned in a Grant McCann corner from close range. Poland's defensive misdemeanours reached their peak when Żewłakow's back-pass bobbled over the foot of Boruc just after the hour mark to make it 3-1 and, despite Saganowski pulling a goal back with a sublime diving header in stoppage time, Poland could not salvage a draw. They drop three points behind their opponents, having played a game less.

Northern Ireland - Poland

N.Ireland has seven points (the same as Czech, Poland and Slovenia), but from five games, one more than the rest. Slovakia is first with nine. N. Ireland's points are from a draw at home against Czech 0-0 and two wins against surely the worst team in Europe, San Marino. So, I think number of points is not representative. Their expectations (and odds) are based mainly on the previous WCQ campaign, when N.Ireland played excellent in group with Spain, Sweden and Denmark (didn't pass at the end). Big worries for national coach Nigel Worthington. Two very important players are suspended, Steve Davis and George McCartney. Plus, Lafferty, Paterson and McCourt are injured. It means five keys. Even if Worthington can count on the best players, it would be hard to resist. But, they have to attack tonight (how?).

Poland have two wins (Czech 2:1 at home and San Marino 2-0 on the road), a draw (Slovenia 1-1 at home) and a defeat (Slovakia 1-2 away). Beside that, they won a few friendlies. Poland has very specific way of play, everybody runs everywhere and shoot from every positions(something like Lithuania in basketball). At the first sight you have impression it is a complete mess on the pitch and it's a question of time when two their players will hit each other. But, that "mess" usually results with fast counter-attacks when sometimes four or five players from nowhere  pop up in front of opponent's goal. I remember Leo Beenhakker from the time when they played in group with Serbia. Creepy old man who always finds the way to f**k up all strategies that somebody can plan. Anyway, they have missings, too. Two keys, striker Pawel Brozek and midfielder Rafal Murawsk stayed at home 'cause the injuries. But, very important midfielder Blaszczykowski has recovered.

Hosts have to attack. Visitors will stay on own half at the start and wait for a chance for (mentioned) counter attack. I see Poland as the absolute favorites and think to bet on handicap win, too. Odds look sweet, 2.10 at 888, 2.05 at Expekt. Away win.

Chateauroux 2-0 Dijon

Because I don't know a word from French and they hate foreign languages (English, for example), I won't post any longer review. 

Attendance: 6484

Chateauroux: Fernandez, Cordonnier, Atéba, Martini, Kashi, Cérielo, Mézague (Sow 85e), Scarpelli, Sako, Haddad (Thiago 76e), Lucau. Manager: Dominique Bijotat

Dijon: Perraud, Voshalo, Loties, Morisot (Pieratambée), Jarjat (Souyeux), Lebrun, Linares, Carrière, Robail, Mangione, Ribas. Manager: Faruk Hadzibegic

1-0 Scarpelli 21. min

2-0 Scarpelli 76. min

Saturday's gossip column


AC Milan's Brazilian superstar Ronaldinho has claimed Manchester City want to sign him this summer. (Daily Mirror) 
Liverpool will not be following up their interest in Valencia's David Silva unless the asking price comes down from £30m. (The Times) 
Winger Ricardo Quaresma wants to make his loan deal at Chelsea a permanent move from Inter Milan. (Daily Mirror) 
Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart expects to join Chelsea this summer. "I hope the signing will be closed soon," said the Dutchman. (Daily Mail) 
Bayern Munich boss Uli Hoeness is expecting a "brutal fight" to keep midfielder Franck Ribery, with Manchester City, Real Madrid, Barcelona and Chelsea all chasing the Frenchman. (Various) 
Arsenal are trailing Cameroon youth goalkeeper Tangouatio Thierry after watching him in an Under-17s tournament. (Daily Mirror) 
Manchester City and Tottenham are interested in signing Italian defender Fabio Cannavaro when his contract ends at Real Madrid in the summer. (Daily Mirror) 


Guus Hiddink looks likely to continue his dual role as Chelsea and Russia coach beyond this season after the Russian Football Association said it is happy to discuss the idea. (Various) 
Alternatively, Chelsea are set to ask Hiddink to stay on as director of football rather than manager. (Various) 
Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has revealed that former Gunners striker Thierry Henry rejected the chance to join Manchester City from Barcelona last summer. (The Times) 
Manchester City manager Mark Hughes has dismissed speculation that his position is in jeopardy and insists he will be "driving the club forward at pace". (Daily Mail) 
Middlesbrough captain Emanuel Pogatetz has denied reports he wants to leave the club, insisting he wants to sign a new deal. (Various) 
Arsenal midfielder Tomas Rosicky has admitted for the first time that he feared he would never play football again because of his knee injury. (Various) 
Uefa president Michel Platini has vowed to block the Premier League's plans to play competitive matches outside of England. (The Times) 

Such is the interest in the late Brian Clough in the wake of The Damned United film that three books about the legendary manager fill the top spots in the latest best-seller list for football books sold on amazon. (Daily Mail)

Chateauroux - Dijon

French second league, round 29. Chateauroux is four points under the relegation line and every of the next ten games will be decisive. It seems the players feel the situation, four points frome last two home games ( Tours 1-1, Boulogne 2-0). In the last round they made a decent performance against Metz, loosing 1-0. Today problem is missing the best goalscorer Mulenga (6 goals). And one more fact for the hosts, from their last five games on this pitch, Chateauroux won four, with one draw.

Dijon lies in the safe middle table, nine points more than Chateauroux. In the last round they beat Bastia 2-0, that the first positive result after five competitive games. As the most teams in French second, they play much better at home than on the road, just one win in 14 games. Big problems with the missings. Aubameyang (best goalscorer) and Batoménila went for Gabon national team game, while the goalie Bonnefoi is injured. Key defender Zywiecki is suspended, Goulard too.

This will be the game between fully motivated host and decrepit and relaxed visitor. Logic doesn't always works in French second, but this looks like the pick of the day. And odds look really good, William Hill offers 2.15, 888, Expekt and the most of others 2.10. Home win.

Barca 85-62 Tau

Regal FC Barcelona bounced back from a Game 1 loss in the best-of-five Quarterfinal Playoffs series by downing Tau Ceramica 85-62 in front of a wild sellout crowd at Palau Blaugrana on Thursday night. The series is now tied at 1-1, but Tau hosts Games 3 and 4 in Vitoria next week, with the chance to make it to the Final Four in front of its fans. Barcelona needs to steal a road win to keep its Final Four chances alive. Tau overcame a slow start, as free throws by Igor Rakocevic and Will McDonald gave the guests a 23-24 edge after 10 minutes. Tiago Splitter went to the bench with early foul trouble and Ersan Ilyasova and Roger Grimau helped Barcelona to a 36-29 edge. An outstanding Jaka Lakovic helped Barcelona keep a 46-40 lead at halftime. Splitter picked up his fourth foul early in the fourth quarter and Barcelona opted to power the offensive boards through an unstoppable Ilyasova to make it a double-digit game, 55-45. Barcelona boosted its margin to 60-47 after 30 minutes and managed to keep a safe margin all the way until the final buzzer. Lakovic finished with 17 points to lead the winners, Ilyasova posted 16 points and 10 rebounds, Fran Vazquez had 14 points, 10 rebounds and 2 blocks and Juan Carlos Navarro scored 14 and dished 6 assists. Rakocevic led Tau with 18 points and Will McDonald added 14 in defeat.

Friday's gossip column


Barcelona have warned Chelsea and Manchester City that Argentine superstar Lionel Messi is not for sale at any price. (The Sun) 
The Spanish side are also hoping to fend off interest in Thierry Henry by offering the French striker a new three-year contract. (The Sun) 
AC Milan have reignited their interest in Arsenal striker Emmanuel Adebayor after failing to land him last summer. (Daily Express) 
Liverpool are favourites to sign £20m-rated Spain midfielder David Silva after Valencia indicated they would prefer to sell him abroad. (Various) 
West Ham are prepared to break their transfer record by bidding more than £9m for Atalanta striker Sergio Floccari. (Daily Mirror) 
Tottenham have been told by Genoa to forget about signing their Argentine striker Diego Milito, saying £10m would not even buy his ear. (The Sun) 
Aston Villa have been alerted to the availability of Standard Liege midfielder Steven Defour. (Daily Mirror) 
David Beckham will stay at AC Milan rather than return to LA Galaxy when his loan spell ends in May, according to his Milan team-mate Paolo Maldini. (Daily Mirror) 
Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko has insisted he "does not want to go anywhere at this point" despite him being linked with Chelsea. (Daily Express) 
Stoke want to sign Manchester City striker Benjani and will move for him at the end of the season. (Daily Mirror) 
Burnley striker Ade Akinbiyi is heading to the US to tie up a deal to play for MLS side Houston Dynamo next season. (Various) 
Doncaster striker Jason Price is set to join Millwall on loan for the rest of the season. (Daily Star) 
Brighton's top scorer Glenn Murray will snub a summer move to Cardiff and stay with the Seagulls, even if they are relegated to League Two. (Daily Star) 
Spanish outfit Sevilla are set to cast an eye over Celtic winger Aiden McGeady at Saturday's Republic of Ireland international against Bulgaria. (Daily Express) 
Rangers have targeted the twin brother of Manchester United's Brazilian sensation Rafael de Silva to solve their left midfield problem. (Various) 


Liverpool co-owner Tom Hicks has stepped up his bid to sell his 50% stake in the club, instructing financial giants Merrill Lynch to find a buyer. (Daily Mirror) 
Sir Alex Ferguson will quit as manager of Manchester United next year, according to his son Darren. (Various) 
Manchester United are in advanced talks with Saudi Telecom to replace shirt sponsor AIG. (Daily Mail) 
David Beckham has warned England coach Fabio Capello that he will not be able to curb the temper of striker Wayne Rooney. (Various) 
Capello has told his England players not to treat Saturday's clash with Slovakia as just a friendly. (Daily Mirror) 
Arsenal are on a collision course with Togo, who have vowed to play Emmanuel Adebayor against Cameroon on Saturday. The striker has not played for his club for six weeks because of a hamstring injury . (Daily Mirror) 
Gunners striker Robin van Persie has revealed he almost joined Rangers before he switched from Feyenoord to the Londoners in 2002. "I sat by the phone, hoping it would ring and that it would happen," he said. (Daily Star) 
Japanese business tycoon Yasuaki Kagami is set to take control of Plymouth when his real-estate form raises its stake in the club past the 50% mark in a seven-figure deal. (The Sun) 
Former Hearts defender Christophe Berra looks set to start for Scotland against Holland on Saturday in Amsterdam (Various) 
Cash-strapped Livingston failed to pay their players' wages on time again on Thursday, sparking further fears about the club's financial stability. (Daily Record) 
Brian McLean reckons Motherwell will bag a European slot after going on a run of sparkling form recently. (Daily Record) 
Dundee's financial future looks secure after welcoming one of Scotland's richest men, Calum Melville, to their board of directors. (Daily Record) 
Meanwhile, East Stirling have welcomed local businessman Hugh Henderson to their board to represent fans. (Daily Record) 
Robbie Winters is set to sign for Clyde in a bid to help the club win their fight against relegation from the First Division. (Daily Record) 
Queen of the South star Stevie Tosh says Aberdeen fans should lay off Jimmy Calderwood after calling for the manager's head this week (Daily Record) 
St Mirren keeper Chris Smith could be out for a year with a cruciate ligament injury. (Various) 
Robin Van Persie claims he almost signed for Rangers when Dick Advocaat was manager in 2002. (Various) 
Hearts sporting director Anatoly Korobochka has returned from a whistle-stop tour of Europe hunting for a pre-season training camp. (Daily Express) 
Fifa has ordered the four home nations to come to an agreement over a Great Britain football team for the London Olympics in 2012. (The Scotsman) 


The Premier League's biggest clubs unveiled early designs for new kits for next season to negative reactions from supporters. Manchester United's shirt was described as "vulgar" and a "disgrace", Chelsea fans said their club's new kit would make them look like "muppets" and an Arsenal fan said his side's new shirt would be "one of the most unpopular ever". (Daily Star)

Barca-Tau, Euroleague

Another poor football offer forced me to try my luck in other sport. This is the only game about what I have any opinion. So, this is the second match, also will be played in Barcelona. Then two in Vitoria and maybe fifth in Barcelona. Three wins are needed for final-four in Berlin 01.05.-03.05.(I'm wondering why there). First game at Palau Blaugrana Tau (un)surprisingly won 84-75. I watched the second half that hosts performed too nervous, simply didn't have the clue. Navarro scored 17 points, while Ersan Ilyasova added 14 points and 12 boards. 

Tau played very aggressive with fast transition and many easy points. The whole game their win wasn't in doubt.  Argentinean Pablo Prigioni stepped up for Tau with 5 triples, 17 points in total. He also handed out 8 assists beside that. Igor Rakocevic scored 15 and William McDonald followed with 12. Visitors have the chance to be just a win away to make it to its fifth(!) straight final four.

I don't believe Barca will loose two tight games on home court. In the group stage they made maybe the strongest impression from all teams. Navarro is highly motivated killer and 17 points is just very bad day, expect from him to wake up and to win tonight's game (c'mon mate!). Another reason for Barca is visitors best player Igor Rakocevic(18.4 points per game, 1 three-pointer away, very often MVP of the round). I remember him from days when he was playing for Crvena Zvezda. He became a much better player since then (of course), but one thing stays the same. Against the outsiders he hits 50 points like a big star, but in the bigest games he doesn't have his day and usually buries his side (something like Riquelme in football). It is a question of mentality and it doesn't change. My bets (small stakes, of course) are: home handicap win (han. is 3.5 at 888), Barca will pass to final four and Barca will the champion (he-he).

Thursday's gossip column


Manchester City are setting their sights high, with Bayern Munich midfielder Franck Ribery, Barcelona striker Thierry Henry, Chelsea skipper John Terry and Blackburn striker Roque Santa Cruz all transfer targets. (The Times) 
Liverpool may make a £9m bid for Valencia centre-back Raul Albiol if Daniel Agger refuses to sign a new deal to keep him at Anfield. (Various) 
Real Madrid's Dutch midfielder Rafael van der Vaart says he would like to join Chelsea, if his compatriot Guus Hiddink stays on as manager. (The Sun) 
Hiddink, meanwhile, has urged Chelsea to bid for Tottenham striker Roman Pavlyuchenko. (Various) 
AC Milan are lining up a £15m summer bid for Arsenal left-back Gael Clichy. (Various) 
Everton defender Joseph Yobo will be offered a new £6m contract in the hope of fending off interest from Arsenal and Chelsea. (Daily Mirror) 
Wigan are interested in signing Newcastle midfielder Joey Barton and will move for him at the end of the season. (The Sun) 
Tottenham midfielder Tom Huddlestone has alerted Aston Villa, Newcastle and Everton by admitting he has concerns about his future at White Hart Lane. (Daily Mail) 
Jeremie Aliadiere will quit Middlesbrough if they are relegated and the striker could make a shock return to Arsenal. (Daily Mirror) 
Boro defender Emanuel Pogatetz also says he will leave the club if they are relegated. (The Sun) 
Blackburn defender Andre Ooijer has confirmed he will return to PSV Eindhoven next season. (Various) 
Birmingham striker Kevin Phillips is wanted by Australian side Perth Glory. (Daily Star) 
Arsenal's highly-rated young midfielder Mark Randall is wanted on loan by Blackpool. (Daily Mirror) 
Ipswich and Watford are keeping tabs on Barnet striker John O'Flynn. (Daily Star) 
Bristol City striker Dele Adebola is a target for Sheffield United. (Daily Mirror) 
Celtic are weighing up a £2m summer swoop for highly-rated 23-year-old Espanyol midfielder Jordi Gomez who is currently on loan at Swansea City. (Various) 


England boss Fabio Capello has branded striker Wayne Rooney a "crazy man" after the striker's red card in Manchester United's defeat by Fulham. (Various) 
Arsenal goalkeeper Manuel Almunia is considering an application for a British passport that would allow the Spaniard to play for England. (Various) 
Tottenham left-back Gareth Bale has revealed he is having extra coaching in how to become a better defender. (Various) 
Sunderland goalkeeper Craig Gordon is set to for showdown talks with manager Ricky Sbragia over his future. (Daily Star) 
Uefa says it will bring match fixing charges against a European club within days. (Various) 
Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun is set to anger his employers by risking his fitness to play for Israel on Saturday. (Daily Star) 
Former Portsmouth boss Tony Adams is hoping to rebuild his managerial career by landing the top job at Dutch side Sparta Rotterdam. (The Sun) 
Former Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has vowed to stay as manager of Inter Milan for the next four or five years, quashing speculation he wants to return to the Premier League. (The Telegraph) 
Leyton Orient chairman Barry Hearn believes up to a dozen cash-strapped clubs will go into administration in the next year. (The Sun) 
Former England manager Sven-Goran Eriksson has admitted he will be sacked as Mexico boss if they lose to Costa Rica on Saturday. (Daily Mirror) 

Manchester United and England defender Rio Ferdinand insists footballers do not have a flash lifestyle, despite their huge salaries. "Our lives are quite boring", he insists. "I spend a lot of time watching Coronation Street and Eastenders." (Daily Star) 
Chelsea and Russia boss Guus Hiddink showed that managing two sides simultaneously can be confusing when he referred to Arsenal's Andrey Arshavin as a Chelsea player. Hiddink only has the midfielder under his charge with the international team. (The Sun)

Wednesday's gossip column


Hamburg manager Martin Jol is planning a raid on former club Tottenham for 21-year-old Congolese midfielder Jacques Maghoma, who has come through the academy system at White Hart Lane. (Daily Mirror) 
Hull and Australia winger Richard Garcia is a £1m target for Adelaide United. (Daily Star) 
West Ham are considering a move for Galway and Republic of Ireland Under-21 winger Jay O'Shea. (Daily Star) 
Defender Paul Scharner has hinted he may have to leave Wigan in the summer if they fail to qualify for a European place. (Sun) 
Nottingham Forest are trying to sign striker Dexter Blackstock, 22, from QPR after missing out on Marlon Harewood, who has joined Wolves on loan from Aston Villa. (Daily Mirror) 
Tottenham are lining up a £10m move for Argentine striker Diego Milito, who currently plays for Italian side Genoa. (Sun)


Alvaro Arbeloa is convinced this season will be so historic for Liverpool they will end up more famous than The Beatles.(Sun)Liverpool captain Steven Gerrard is ready to extend his current contract at Anfield as he looks to finish his career on Merseyside. (Various) 
AC Milan boss Carlos Ancelotti has dropped his biggest hint yet that he could replace Guus Hiddink as Chelsea coach in the summer. (Various) 
Chelsea striker Didier Drogba is ready to make a remarkable U-turn and pledge his future to the Stamford Bridge club in the summer. (Various) 
West Brom defender Carl Hoefkens, 30, has said he will leave if the Baggies are relegated from the Premier League. (Various) 
Bolton defender Gary Cahill believes Fabio Capello has made a mistake by dropping Trotters team-mate Kevin Davies when the England manager trimmed his 28-man England squad to 23. (Various) 
Meanwhile, former England goalkeeper Peter Shilton says Manchester United's reserve-team keeper Ben Foster needs to go out on loan next season if he wants to stake a claim on a regular place in his national side if they qualify for the World Cup in South Africa. (Various) 
Liverpool co-owner George Gillett has dismissed suggestions he is about to sell his 50%stake in the club. (Various) 
Portsmouth owner Sacha Gaydamak has slashed his asking price for the club in half. You now only need to stump up £35m to buy the Fratton Park outfit. (The Sun) 
And chairman Peter Storrie has conceded Pompey face a bleak future unless they can find a buyer in the summer. (Daily Mirror) 
Wigan owner Dave Whelan is ready to turn down a £1m shirt sponsorship deal from a Norwegian TV company to advertise his own new business. (Daily Mirror)


If you are old enough to remember Racey's Rocket, you might be pleased to learn that the Roy of the Rovers comic is coming out of retirement next month for a 12-week spell and will be returning to the shelves of your local newsagent. Rumour has it that Tommy 'Tommy's Troubles' Barnes and Kevin 'Mighty Mouse' Mouse are also making comebacks. For you youngsters, ask your dad! (Daily Mail)

Question for readers. This dayly gossip column is very interesting for me, personally, but currently I post it just because poor betting offer. I'm in doubt to post it dayly anyway. I would like to hear your opinions. Are you for, or against? Do you like to read it, or don't? More posts on blog doesn't mean always the higher blog quality. Gossip existence depends from your comments.



Forfar Athletic 1-1 Elgin City

Forfar had to settle for a share of the points after they drew 1-1 with bottom-of-the-table Elgin.
The home side enjoyed the bulk of play, and showed they meant business early on when they took a seventh-minute lead through Ross Campbell.
He was picked out by Johnny Russell and had all the time in the world to coolly side-foot his shot into the net.
Elgin equalised in bizarre fashion in the 21st minute, when Forfar keeper Ally Brown somehow punched the ball into his own net as he attempted to push behind a high clearance from team-mate Andy Tod.
Referee Brian Colvin awarded Forfar a penalty at the start of the second half, but changed his mind on the advice of his assistant, and Forfar failed to make the free-kick on the edge of the box count.
Right at the end, a mass brawl in the Elgin box saw Forfar's Campbell and Elgin's Mark Nicolson both booked.

Forfar Athletic - Elgin City

If you don't like basketball, my warmly advice is avoid betting today, or decrease your stakes and gamble (as I will do). So...

Forfar holds 6th place in Scotland third division. They're two points under the play-off line, but two or three games less from other teams. They have five wins at home from eleven games. Interesting fact is all five wins made in the last five games. 

On the other side is the worst team in division-Elgin City. They collected only 18 points from 27 games! Next team upper has 35 points. Situation on the road is even worse. A win, a draw and twelve defeats from 14 games! Nine defeats in a row! But, only win is against tonight's opponent. 

I don't know anything about injured or suspended players. I'll put my money on this just because poor offer and boring tuesday night. Home handicap win.

Tuesday's gossip column


Manchester City have made an approach for Atletico Madrid's former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan but have been told they must pay £30m for the 29-year-old Uruguayan. (Daily Mirror) 
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp is reportedly interested in signing Genoa striker Diego Milito, 29, after flying out to Italy to watch the Argentine. (Daily Express) 
Rangers' Cyprus Under-21 international Georgios Efrem, who has impressed on loan at Dundee, is wanted by Fulham, Bolton, Middlesbrough and Reading. (Daily Star) 
Burnley striker Ade Akinbiyi is being targeted by Major League Soccer side Houston Dynamo. (Daily Mirror) 
Watford manager Brendan Rodgers has confirmed he is interested in signing Ipswich midfielder Veliche Shumulikosi, 27. (Daily Star) 
Republic of Ireland boss Giovanni Trapattoni has confirmed that Bayern Munich are leading the £9m hunt for Celtic winger Aiden McGeady to replace Franck Ribery who it is believed is interesting Barcelona and Manchester City. (The Sun) 
Former Rangers manager Dick Advocaat says he is ready to bring Ibrox skipper Barry Ferguson to Zenit St Petersburg to replace the outgoing Anatoliy Tymoschuk who is bound for Bayern Munich. (Daily Mail) 
Dundee United manager Craig Levein is being patient as he looks for a goalkeeper to replace the Celtic-bound Lukasz Zaluska in the summer. (The Herald)


Manchester United fear Cristiano Ronaldo could quit English football because of a lack of protection from referees. (Daily Mail) 
Newcastle's players believe the current caretaker management duo of Chris Hughton and Colin Calderwood is not good enough to keep the club in the Premier League and want former England boss Terry Venables brought in as an emergency manager. (The Sun) 
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp has blasted Fabio Capello's decision to call-up Ledley King to the England squad as he can barely train with the Spurs squad due to a persistent knee injury. (Various) 
King himself has pleaded with Capello not to pick him and said he may retire from international football in order to save his career. (Daily Star) 
Manager Rafael Benitez's former assistant and chief scout at Liverpool, Paco Herrera, has revealed the secrets behind his Anfield success. He claims the Spaniard has 70 scouts, a players' database of more than 14,000 professionals, that it was his idea to build a hotel at the club's Melwood training ground and he has access to DVDs from all the top leagues in the world. (The Sun) 
Hundreds of players in the Championship, League One and League Two are in danger of being out of work this summer as up to 10 clubs could go bust because of the economic crisis. (Daily Mirror) 
Liverpool co-owner George Gillett could strengthen his position at the club if he decides to sell his ice hockey team, the Montreal Canadiens. (Various) 
Or, Gillett is edging towards the Anfield exit door after instructing a finance company to look at his assets. (Various) 
Former Arsenal favourite Freddie Ljungberg has warned that Gunners boss Arsene Wenger may leave the club if he is offered a bigger budget to work with elsewhere. (Daily Mirror) 
Chelsea and Russia manager Guus Hiddink will hold talks with the Russian Football Federation to clarify that he has no intention of staying at Stamford Bridge beyond the summer. (The Sun) 
Even though Hiddink may not be at Chelsea next season, Blues owner Roman Abramovich has asked the Dutchman to draw up a list of summer targets amounting to £100m. (Daily Express) 
Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney will not face any further punishment over his reaction after being sent off against Fulham on Saturday. (Various) 
Barcelona and former Arsenal forward Thierry Henry believes England can win next year's World Cup in South Africa. (The Sun) 
Liverpool stars Jamie Carragher and Albert Riera believe Manchester United are starting to feel the pressure after the Reds closed the gap to one point at the top of the table. (Various) 
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson is so concerned about his side's recent slump that he has refused an offer from Sky to bring the Premier League match with Aston Villa on Sunday, 5 April forward 24 hours to give the Red Devils more preparation time for their Champions League quarter-final with Porto on 7 April. (The Guardian) 
Crystal Palace manager Neil Warnock wants to ban James Scowcroft from training after the striker refused to go out on loan. (Daily Mirror) 
Barry Ferguson and David Weir are set to join Stephen McManus on the Scotland sidelines for this weekend's World Cup qualifier against the Netherlands. (Daily Record) 
Kenny Miller is also out of Saturday's match after reporting to the team headquarters with a hamstring injury. (The Herald) 
Dutch star Arjen Robben has warned Scotland his Real Madrid and international team-mate Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is in the form of his life. (Daily Express) 
Wolves manager Mick McCarthy says his club's defender Christophe Berra can replace the injured Stephen McManus, Kirk Broadfoot or David Weir should they not make the big game in Amsterdam. (Daily Mail)


Scientists have come up with a formula for taking penalties that, if followed correctly, has a 100% success rate. The shot should be 65mph, you need a run-up of five to six paces from the edge of the area, approach the ball at an angle of 20 to 30 degrees and the ball must cross the goal-line at exactly 0.5m below the crossbar and the same distance inside the post. (The Sun)

CASUAL culture II


The labels were changing again an the new look was smart but casual. Ralph lauren was an earlier favorite with the golf jackets and polo shirts the must have items. For the first time 16 and 17 yr olds were wearing 150quid jumpers and 150 pound timberland boots,they certainly looked the part. The future of the casual scene (ahem!) Stone island was being sold around 88 but it never really kicked off until 1990 just after everything went pear-shaped fashion wise due to mad-chester scene and the stone roses, trips to london reallised stone island was the new kid in town.and handfuls of lads were into it straight away-the buzz soon caught on until it did sweep the nations terraces around 93 and has done ever since to the point of overkill. It got so popular that one bnp meeting which chelsea,millwall and pompey turned up the ncis put two and two together and made 123 by coming to the conclusion stone island represented football hooligan-racist behavior and the badge had a symbolic meaning(!)i could tell you hundreds of stories similar like the time plymouth football intelligence went to the local designer store and questioned the owners in connection with selling stone island(FACT). 

Another label which was taken onboard enmass by the the football casuals was Hackett and its infamous polo shirt, and in particular the design carrying the cross of st george on the reverse. followin Englands qualification to euro2000 the hackett polo shirt was being worn by every second person, (mock up advert below) a point which the media picked up on, they linked English hooligans to the patriotic polo shirt and Hackett was not happy, and threw there rattle out of the pram, they stopped producing the polos in an attempt to distance themselves from the hooligans wearing it.although they have recently reinstated the st george cross to there clothing as there attempted new ranged were somewhat SHIT! 

Other labels which appeared on the 90s casual scene were CP company simular to stone island but without the tag, paul and shark , and henri lloyd which were especially popular with northern football fans, and more recently 80s favorites Burberry (did it ever really go away?) and aquascutum have began appearing on the terraces once more. with the check burberry caps being a particular favorite. As with most 90s labels once they were in they stayed in (for years) and most are still around en masse, it has in many ways spoilt the terrace fashion scene, it has in the whole has stagnated but over the last couple of seasons new clobber like prada (sport) ,mandarina duck and ymc have turned up.but it still sometimes seems si,burberrys ,aquascutum and lacoste 
have sponsership deals at gounds around the country,but its good to see so many young lads interested as much in the gear as the rowing-

Rad 0-0 Crvena Zvezda


Liverpool 5-0 Aston Villa

Rafa Benitez sat back and enjoyed the view as his side blitzed Aston Villa to pile the pressure on Manchester United. 
Goals from Dirk Kuyt and Albert Riera, followed by a Steven Gerrard spot-kick, left Liverpool home and dry before the interval. 
But Gerrard quickly added to the tally in the second period as United's lead at the top of the league was cut to just a point. 
And the England ace completed his hat-trick with a second penalty of the afternoon after Brad Friedel was red-carded for bringing down Fernando Torres. 
Liverpool made the perfect start when Kuyt smashed them ahead after just eight minutes. 
Gerrard's free-kick was headed against the bar by Xabi Alonso but the Dutchman was on hand to drill home the rebound. 
Villa tried to hit back immediately with a swift break. Ashley Young fired in a decent cross but the ball flew off the arriving Gareth Barry's knee and away to safety. 
Young continued to cause Liverpool problems without finding a telling delivery for strike duo John Carew and Emile Heskey. 
And it was the hosts who came closest to scoring again in the 16th minute when Gerrard narrowly missed at the far post after latching on to a deflected cross. 
Villa nearly grabbed an equaliser five minutes later and again it was Young who created the opportunity. 
The England international's delivery was met by Carew but the striker's clever left-footed flick was turned away by Pepe Reina. 
Liverpool cleared their lines from the resulting corner and Gerrard became the first player to go in the ref's notebook just seconds later for a lunge at Curtis Davies. 
The physical presence of Villa's front two became a more dominant factor as the half wore on. 
Nigel Reo-Coker swung a long ball into the box with 25 minutes on the clock and Reina had to be at his best to turn away Carew's goalbound header. 
The game continued to swing from end to end before Reina decided to take the direct approach and create Liverpool's second of the afternoon. 
He launched a long kick into the Villa box and Riera raced through to smash the ball past Friedel 12 minutes before the break. 
The visitors should have fallen further behind when Friedel's stray pass went straight to the feet of Alvaro Arbeloa. 
But the defender tried to cut the ball back to Torres instead of shooting and the danger was quickly cleared. 
Villa, however, contributed to their own downfall once again in the 39th minute when Reo-Coker sent Riera crashing in the box. 
Gerrard stepped up to net the resulting spot-kick, lifting the roof at Anfield in the process. 
With nothing to lose in the second half, Villa came out looking to salvage some pride. 
But the red juggernaut quickly battered them into submission with Gerrard's expertly placed free-kick making it 4-0 with 50 minutes played. 
Liverpool continued to pour forward after the goal and Alonso wasted a golden chance when he found himself in acres of space. 
The unmarked Spaniard picked up Kuyt's pass in the box but could only drag his shot disappointingly wide. 
Villa's day went from bad to worse when Friedel sent Torres crashing. 
The American keeper did his best to get out of the striker's way but could have no complaint when the referee pointed to the spot. 
And with the visitors down to 10 men, Gerrard clamly sent substitute stopper Brad Guzan the wrong way to net his third goal.

Liverpool-Aston Villa

Home side goes into this game after impressive derby win on Trafford and they're clear favorites against Villa. Today's win will push them on second place with just one point behind Man.Utd.. The fact that calls on caution is their very unpredictable results this season. When everybody expected from Reds to go for title, they started with loosing points. And after that they demolished two maybe biggest European clubs, scoring four both times! Rafa has finally signed the new contract and that looks releasing for himself, but also for players and fans. The big thing is Gerrard and Torres are fully fit. Bad news are Arbeloa, Agger, Degen and Xabi Alonso are all out and Benayoun is in doubt. But same players crushed United.

The most of the season, Villa played excellent. But current run of results threaten to crush all effort. It looks like players can not handle the pressure of great expectations. Shocking defeat against Tottenham (1:2 at home) was a big hit for the club. The big gap between them and Arsenal are vanished. Still isn't too late for Champions League, but they need to wake up immediately (hmm, today?). Against Spurs, fans protested against Agbonlahor's recent performances and O’Neill will probably leave him on the bench. Heskey and Carew are expected in attack. Many problems in defence. Cuellar, Laursen, Sidwell and Bouma are all out.

Both sides have big motives for win, tittle and Champions League. Odd for home win is to low for consideration. Maybe it is wiser to sit back, enjoy in footie and give up from betting, but I really expect open game from the first whistle. Heskey and Carew can score at least once, at the same time wounded defence will fight with Torres and the lads. So, my conclusion (and bet) is over, with very good odd (2.05 at

Crystal Palace 0 - 0 Reading

Reading were held to a goalless draw by Crystal Palace as they missed the chance to put further pressure on Birmingham 
Steve Coppell's side could have moved to within two points of the Blues who were held at home by Norwich earlier in the day.
But a well-organised Palace side frustrated the Royals and the visitors ended the match a man down after Liam Rosenior was sent off.
Coppell was unable to secure back-to-back wins in the week he celebrated his 1,000th game as a manager - more than half of which were in charge of Palace - and his team were hanging on for a point at the end.In a lively opening, Dave Kitson nodded Marek Matejovsky's corner wide for Reading before Palace youngster Victor Moses crossed for Antony Stokes, but his header back across goal was gathered by Marcus Hahnemann.
Palace boss Neil Warnock, in charge of game number 1,100 of his colourful career, was unhappy when John Oster appeared to be pulled back by Chris Armstrong as he burst through on goal, only for referee Andy D'Urso to rule the Reading defender had been fouled.
Coppell was forced into an early reshuffle after Jimmy Kebe pulled up injured, with Stephen Hunt coming on in his place.
Saved well
Stokes should have put the Eagles in front in the 21st minute after Michael Duberry miscontrolled Shefki Kuqi's cross, but Hahnemann came out quickly and made a fine block.
Kitson felt he should have had a penalty when he was clipped in the area by Jose Fonte, but D'Urso waved away the appeal. 
Palace skipper Shaun Derry saw a shot deflected wide and Hahnemann saved well from Nathaniel Clyne as the first half drew to a close.
The American goalkeeper was then called into action straight after the break, keeping out a low drive from Moses.
Coppell threw on Shane Long to join Kitson in attack, and the latter immediately sparked into life with a curler which flew just wide.
Moments later, at the other end, Stokes sent a free-kick just over the top. 
In the 72nd minute Rosenior brought down Moses on the edge of the area and D'Urso had no hesitation in showing him a second yellow card.
Kuqi headed over and Moses fluffed a volley from Derry's cross as Palace went in search of a late winner but Reading held out.

Championship round-up

Wolves opened up a five-point gap at the top of the Championship after beating Nottingham Forest. 
Michael Kightly's first goal since November was enough for the visitors to take a stranglehold on the title race with Birmingham being held to a draw at home to struggling Norwich. 
The Wolves goal came in the 76th minute as Sylvan Ebanks-Blake crossed from the right and the ball was laid back for Kightly to drill the ball home. 

Birmingham turned in another disappointing performance as they often looked second best to a Norwich side who started the day only a point off the drop zone. 
The Canaries were much the better team for most of the first half, and had the ball in the net in only the fourth minute, but Jason Shackell's effort was ruled out for a foul in the build-up. 
Norwich's failure to capitalise on their good spell came back to haunt them as Cameron Jerome scored with Birmingham's first shot on the goal in the 38th minute. 
The striker went up to challenge goalkeeper David Marshall and beat him to the ball for an easy finish, with Norwich's appeals for a free-kick in vain. 
However, the visitors were quickly back into the game after the break as Sammy Clingan scored with a fine free-kick that left Maik Taylor motionless on the line. 

Burnley kept up their play-off charge with a 2-1 win over Plymouth at Home Park. 
They took the lead in the 16th minute when Steven Caldwell got up to head home from Robbie Blake's cross but the visiting fans had their celebrations cut short as Plymouth responded almost immediately with Adam Judge firing home. 
It took until the 78th minute for the Clarets to get back in front as they Plymouth on the break with Blake running through to slot home, 

Preston remain on the outside of the play-off places looking in after being held to a goalless draw by rock-bottom Charlton at The Valley. 

And it was a similar story for Swansea, who remain five points off the play-offs after being held to a 0-0 draw by Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough. 

That was enough however to keep them just above QPR, who beat Bristol City 2-1 thanks to Adel Taarabt's first goal in English football. 
Jordi Lopez gave Rangers the lead in the 65th minute with a superb free-kick that gave Adriano Basso no chance in the City goal. 
And although Michael McIndoe equalised for the visitors 12 minutes later, on-loan Spurs man met Damien Delaney's cross for the winner nine minutes from time. 

Down at the other end, Southampton earned a point from a 1-1 draw at Blackpool. 
The hosts took the lead early on when DJ Campbell earned and scored a penalty, being brought down by Jan Paul Saeijs before firing in the spot-kick. 
However, Southampton's hopes were revived by a superb solo effort from David McGoldrick in the 69th minute as he picked up the ball on the edge of the area and beat two men before firing home. 

An outstanding goal from David Bell gave Coventry a 1-0 win over Doncaster as the visitors got it all wrong at the back. 
The Sky Blues had looked the better of the two sides in the opening stages and with 20 minutes gone Neil Sullivan came rushing out of his goal to clear Keiren Westwood's goal-kick straight to Bell, who finished superbly from 45 yards. 

Derby and Barnsley played to a goalless draw, as did Ipswich and Watford.

Crystal Palace-Reading

With the defeat against Barnsley, Eagles are definitely out from play-off race. Twelve points under the 6th Burnley with eight rounds left. Even Neil Warnock said that story is over. Injuries, less experience and not so good roster are the main reasons for that. The good thing is they're on the same distance from the relegation, as from play-off. Now, they only have to bring this unsuccessful season till the end. Neil Warnock has described his defensive injury list as a "nightmare"  (Paddy McCarthy-shoulder, Claude Davis-thigh, Matt Lawrence-hamstring and Jose Fonte-thigh) are all set to miss out. Youngster Johnny Ertl could make his first league start.

On the other side Royals are coming fully motivated. Four points behind Birmingham (and direct promotion). After two draws and a defeat (just one win from previous eight games), win against Doncaster on the road (1-0) returned a confidence. Maybe it was a start of new good run of results. Steve Coppell has no big concerns about the squad. Ivar Ingimarsson is out for the season, and Graeme Murty is currently sidelined as well. Sam Sodje got 90 minutes for the reserves in midweek as they beat Millwall 3-1.

One side is sick of life, second is thirsty for blood. Boring saturday against D day.Wounded defence against killing attack. Johnny Ertl against Kevin Doyle. Odds on Reading are in slightly drop, but 2.40 (expekt, unibet, pinnacle) looks more than good. I don't care about double chance, my money goes on clear away win.

Championship preview

The race for promotion and the battle to avoid the drop remains intriguingly poised in the Championship. 
There are just seven games to go in the 2008/09 campaign, for most sides, but the picture at opposing ends of the table remains unclear.

Wolves continue to lead the way, by three points, and they will be hoping to consolidate that standing on Saturday when they travel to struggling Nottingham Forest.
Any slip-up from Mick McCarthy's side will be hoping to be pounced upon by second-placed Birmingham, who entertain Norwich this weekend.

Reading remain in the hunt for a top-two finish and can take another step towards the automatic promotion places when they travel to Selhurst Park to take on Crystal Palace in front of the Sky Sports 1 cameras.

With Sheffield United and Cardiff not in action until Sunday, Burnley can strengthen their grip on a play-off place with a positive result on the road at Plymouth.

Preston will be hoping to force their way back into the top six when they travel to the capital to face rock-bottom Charlton.

Bristol City will also have eyes on the promotion-chasing pack when they take on faltering Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Swansea will hope to get back to winning ways when they make the trip to Sheffield Wednesday, while Ipswich play host to rejuvenated Watford.

Doncaster could move into the top half of the table if they can recover from back-to-back defeats and take maximum points at Coventry.

Saturday's final two games then pitch Blackpool and Southampton, and Derby and Barnsley head-to-head in proverbial relegation six pointers.

Frankfurt 1899 2-1 Wehen Wiesbaden

On Friday round 25 of the Second Bundesliga was opened with three matches. Koblenz and Rostock draw 1-1, Oberhausen and Osnabrück scored no goals.

In the derby of Hessen, FSV Frankfurt beat SV Wehen Wiesbaden 2-1.

1-0 Y. Mokhtari 15 min.

2-0  J. Ross 81 min.

2-1 M. Ziemer 83 min.

On Monday the round will be completed with the match between league leaders SC Freiburg and 1. FC Nürnberg.

Premier League team news


Portsmouth v Everton, 12.45pm 
Portsmouth must do without winger Jermaine Pennant who has torn a calf muscle, with Nadir Belhadj and John Utaka likely to step in. 
Everton will be without defender Joseph Yobo after he picked up a hamstring injury in training. 
Tim Cahill should return after a calf injury. 
Portsmouth squad: James, Johnson, Campbell, Distin, Hreidarsson, Davis, Mullins, Kranjcar, Nugent, Crouch, Basinas, Belhadj, Utaka, Kaboul, Kanu, Traore, Hughes, Wilson, Begovic. 
Everton squad: Howard, Neville, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines, Pienaar, Osman, Cahill, Fellaini, Saha, Jo, Rodwell, Baxter, Nash, Castillo, Jacobsen, Gosling, Wallace, Van der Meyde. 

Blackburn v West Ham, 3pm 
Blackburn captain Ryan Nelsen (thigh) and fellow defender Gael Givet (knee) will undergo fitness tests. 
Striker Roque Santa Cruz is out with a knee tendon issue, midfielder Vince Grella remains out with a groin injury. 
Stephen Warnock has been cleared to play after shaking off a toe injury. 
West Ham will make a late check on Matthew Upson (calf) and Savio Nsereko. 
Kieron Dyer and Diego Tristan are fit and in contention for a place, while Jack Collison (knee) and Carlton Cole (suspended) are still out. 
Blackburn squad: Robinson, Bunn, Ooijer, Khizanishvili, Nelsen, Samba, Simpson, Warnock, Givet, Olsson, Villanueva, Tugay, Andrews, Diouf, Treacy, Mokoena, Dunn, McCarthy, Roberts, Pedersen. 
West Ham squad: Green, Neill, Ilunga, Parker, Savio, Kovac, Upson, Noble, Tomkins, Di Michele, Sears, Lastuvka, Lopez, Boa Morte, Spector, Tristan, Payne, Stanislas, Dyer. 

Fulham v Man Utd, 3pm

Clint Dempsey is a doubt for Fulham after food poisoning while Aaron Hughes ruled out with a rib problem.

Veteran defender Gary Neville is back in the squad after a groin strain. Darren Fletcher (virus) is included while Jonny Evans is likely to replace the suspended Nemanja Vidic.

Fulham squad: Schwarzer, Pantsil, Stoor, Hangeland, Konchesky, Baird, Davies, Etuhu, Dacourt, Murphy, Gera, Dempsey, Johnson, Zamora, Zuberbuhler, Kallio, Nevland, Kamara, Gray, Barnes.

Man Utd squad: Van der Sar, Foster, Kuszczak, O'Shea, Ferdinand, Evans, Neville, Evra, Eckersley, Fabio, Ronaldo, Nani, Fletcher, Gibson, Carrick, Anderson, Giggs, Scholes, Park, Berbatov, Rooney, Tevez, Welbeck. 

Stoke v Middlesbrough, 3pm 
Stoke expect to have Matthew Etherington back from an ankle injury. 
Striker Ricardo Fuller is still troubled by a shoulder injury but is in the squad. 
Middlesbrough will be without suspended midfielder Matthew Bates as well as Didier Digard (knee and thigh) and Chris Riggott (knee). 
Skipper Emanuel Pogatetz will undergo a late fitness test on a knee injury, while Jeremie Aliadiere is also a doubt with a knock. 
Stoke squad: Sorensen, Wilkinson, Abdoulaye Faye, Shawcross, Higginbotham, Lawrence, Whelan, Diao, Delap, Etherington, Beattie, Sidibe, Fuller, Simonsen, Pugh, Amdy Faye, Sonko. 
Middlesbrough squad: Jones, Turnbull, Hoyte, McMahon, Taylor, Pogatetz, Wheater, Huth, Arca, O'Neil, Downing, Aliadiere, Walker, A. Johnson, Tuncay, Emnes, King, Alves, Franks. 

Tottenham v Chelsea, 3pm 
Tottenham striker Jermain Defoe is out as he is still recovering from his foot injury. 
Alan Hutton also has been rehabilitating from a foot injury but Ledley King's knee should have recovered from Sunday's win at Aston Villa. 
Chelsea are without midfielder Deco who has a hamstring injury. 
Midfielder Joe Cole and defender Paulo Ferreira remain sidelined with knee ligament damage but strikers Nicolas Anelka (toe) and Didier Drogba (knee) are both fit. 
Tottenham squad: Gomes, Cudicini, Corluka, Chimbonda, Bale, Dawson, Woodgate, King, Assou-Ekotto, Zokora, Bentley, Huddlestone, Jenas, Lennon, Palacios, Modric, O'Hara, Pavlyuchenko, Bent, Keane, Campbell. 
Chelsea squad: Cech, Hilario, Taylor, Bosingwa, Mancienne, Alex, Terry, Ivanovic, A Cole, Belletti, Ballack, Obi, Lampard, Essien, Kalou, Malouda, Di Santo, Anelka, Drogba, Quaresma. 

West Brom v Bolton, 3pm 
Baggies defender Abdoulaye Meite has been ruled out with a hamstring injury. 
Fellow centre-back Leon Barnett is facing several weeks on the sidelines with a knee problem. 
Bolton midfielder Mark Davies is out with a knee injury while defender Joey O'Brien is struggling with a long-term knee complaint. 
West Brom squad: Carson, Zuiverloon, Olsson, Martis, Robinson, Morrison, Dorrans, Koren, Brunt, Greening, Fortune, Teixeira, Simpson, Moore, Kiely, Hoefkens, Cech, Bednar. 
Bolton squad: Jaaskelainen, Steinsson, Cahill, Andrew O'Brien, Samuel, Riga, Taylor, McCann, Muamba, Gardner, Kevin Davies, Elmander, Al Habsi, Hunt, Puygrenier, Makukula, Shittu. 

Newcastle v Arsenal, 5.30pm 
Newcastle will welcome back Kevin Nolan from suspension. 
Full-back Habib Beye is also available after damaging ankle ligaments, although midfielder Danny Guthrie (hamstring) is not yet ready to return. 
Joey Barton (fractured metatarsal) is targeting the end of next month for his comeback, but Mark Viduka and Ignacio Gonzalez (both Achilles) and Xisco (fractured toe) remain on the sidelines. 
Arsenal should have keeper Manuel Almunia available after an ankle problem. 
Defender Mikael Silvestre (calf) could also come into contention while Cesc Fabregas (knee) and striker Eduardo (groin) are back in training but are not expected to feature 
Emmanuel Adebayor (hamstring) and Tomas Rosicky (hamstring tendon) continue their rehabilitation. 
Newcastle squad: Harper, Forster, Krul, S. Taylor, Beye, Bassong, Coloccini, Enrique, Edgar, Cacapa, Butt, Duff, R. Taylor, Gutierrez, Nolan, Lovenkrands, Geremi, Ameobi, Smith, Martins, Owen, Carroll. 
Arsenal squad: Almunia, Sagna, Toure, Gallas, Clichy, Nasri, Denilson, Song, Walcott, Arshavin, Van Persie, Fabianski, Djourou, Gibbs, Vela, Bendtner, Eboue, Diaby, Silvestre. 


Wigan v Hull, 1.30pm 
Wigan winger Antonio Valencia is a slight doubt with a hamstring problem. 
Midfielder Lee Cattermole serves the second game of a four-match suspension. 
Hull captain Ian Ashbee has been ruled out but Kevin Kilbane and Dean Marney return. 
Centre-backs Michael Turner and Anthony Gardner are rated 50/50, while midfielders Jimmy Bullard and George Boateng (both knee) are long-term absentees. 
Wigan squad: Kirkland, Melchiot, Scharner, Bramble, Figueroa, Watson, N'Zogbia, Valencia, Kapo, Zaki, Mido, Pollitt, Edman, Brown, Boyce, Rodallega, Sibierski, De Ridder, Koumas. 
Hull squad: Myhill, Ricketts, Turner, Gardner, Dawson, Mendy, Kilbane, Marney, Zayatte, Garcia, Geovanni, Manucho, Cousin, Barmby, Fagan, Folan, Featherstone, Hughes, France, Duke. 

Man City v Sunderland, 3pm 
Manchester City midfielder Stephen Ireland (ankle) and Wayne Bridge (hamstring) are doubtful. 
Vincent Kompany and Craig Bellamy (knee) could be in contention. 
Sunderland defenders Anton Ferdinand and Nyron Nosworthy could return after hamstring injuries. 
Tal Ben Haim is unavailable, Teemu Tainio has a knee problem while Kieran Richardson completes a two-match ban. 
Man City squad: Given, Hart, Schmeichel, Richards, Onuoha, Dunne, Bridge, Garrido, Zabaleta, Wright-Phillips, Elano, Caicedo, Ireland, Fernandes, Vassell, Weiss, Robinho, Evans, Bojinov, Berti, Etuhu, Bellamy. 
Sunderland squad: Fulop, Gordon, Bardsley, McCartney, Collins, Ferdinand, McShane, Nosworthy, Davenport, Whitehead, Malbranque, Leadbitter, Edwards, Yorke, Reid, Cisse, Jones, Murphy, Healy. 

Liverpool v Aston Villa, 4pm 
Liverpool full-back Alvaro Arbeloa is back after a hamstring problem. 
Xabi Alonso (ankle) and Yossi Benayoun (hamstring) are back in light training and have a good chance of being involved. 
Villa striker John Carew is back to full fitness following a back problem. 
Left-back Wilfred Bouma is ready to play a part after eight months out with a dislocated ankle while midfielder Steve Sidwell could also come into the equation. 
Liverpool squad: Reina, Arbeloa, Carragher, Hyypia, Skrtel, Dossena, Aurelio, Babel, Benayoun, Mascherano, Riera, Gerrard, Alonso, Torres, Kuyt, Agger, Cavalieri, Lucas, Ngog. 
Aston Villa squad: Friedel, Guzan, Reo-Coker, L. Young, Knight, Cuellar, Davies, Shorey, Bouma, Milner, Gardner, Petrov, Barry, Sidwell, Salifou, A. Young, Agbonlahor, Carew, Heskey, Delfouneso, Harewood.