Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Goal.com cartoonist takes a break

He provides Goal.com with his own unique take on the latest breaking football news seven days a week.

But Omar Momani is taking a well-earned two-week break from illustrating the likes of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney.

It is only fitting, then, that Omar should be waved off at the airport by some of football's biggest stars ahead of his holiday.

England make a splash with new kit

The World Cup qualifier between England and Poland didn't exactly go according to plan on Tuesday night.
What was supposed to be a crucial Group H clash became the washout in Warsaw, as a waterlogged pitch saw the game postponed after officials failed to close the stadium roof amidst the onset of a downpour.
The game has been rescheduled for Wednesday afternoon, where England players will no doubt be well prepared for the conditions.

Ronaldo eclipses Messi on Facebook

The debate over who will win this year's Ballon d'Or rages on, with Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, as ever, neck and neck.
But the Real Madrid star has scored a minor victory over the Barcelona forward on social networking site Facebook.
Ronaldo has accumulated a staggering 50 million 'Likes' - 10m more than Messi - and is the most popular athlete on the site, eclipsing the likes of David Beckham, Kaka, Andres Iniesta and basketball stars LeBron James and Dwayne Wade.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Vidic set for Russia exile as Fergie eyes the money

With Rio Ferdinand's shelf-life waning at 33 years of age, the last player Manchester United fans expected to see leave the club may well have been Nemanja Vidic.

The Serbia international is 30-years-old himself, however, and Goal.com exclusively revealed that the Red Devils could consider cashing in on a considerable offer from interested Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala.

The money spent by Zenit St. Petersburg on Hulk and Axel Witsel perhaps caught the eye of Ferguson, who could yet send Vidic the same way.
 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Rampant Germany hit Ireland for six

Even the most optimistic of Republic of Ireland fans may not have been expecting to defeat Germany, but the 6-1 hammering in Friday's World Cup qualifier certainly wasn't part of the plan for Giovanni Trapattoni's men.

Doubles from Marco Reus and Toni Kroos, alongside goals for Mesut Ozil and Miroslav Klose, ensured Joachim Low's men secured a rampant win at the Aviva Stadium.

And while Andy Keough may have grabbed a late consolation goal, there is no denying that the Irish were smashed out of the park by their German counterparts...

Braveheart Wenger has freedom to spend

Arsenal's chief executive Ivan Gazidis has labelled Arsene Wenger as "extraordinarily brave" in his devotion to promoting youth players and unearthing hidden gems from across the globe.

The 62-year-old French manager made some surprisingly big signings in the summer in the form of Lukas Podolski, Olivier Giroud and Santi Cazorla after the departure of captain Robin van Persie.

And with rumours of a substantial transfer budget awaiting him in January, will Wenger bite the golden bullet and dip his toes into the market once more?

Rooney channels his inner King Cantona

With John Terry retired, Frank Lampard injured and Steven Gerrard suspended ahead of England's clash with San Marino on Friday, it could be time for Wayne Rooney to lead the way for the Three Lions.

And the Manchester United star is taking influence for his new senior role from former Red Devils legend Eric Cantona, with the 27-year-old keen to help nurture the national team's next generation of players.

But Rooney, who has a chequered behavioural record himself, must ensure there are certain habits he does not pick up from King Cantona...
 

Suarez heads to Uruguay to escape diving debate

Luis Suarez has proven no stranger to controversy during his spell in England, and the Liverpool striker once again finds himself centre stage of the latest scandal sweeping the Premier League - diving.

The Uruguayan was vilified by Stoke City boss Tony Pulis after throwing himself to the floor in an attempt to win a penalty in the 0-0 draw at Anfield on Sunday.

And with Fifa vice-president Jim Boyce also calling for the 25-year-old to be punished, Suarez looks to have departed for international duty with Uruguay just in time to avoid the backlash...

Out of options - Hodgson calls up every man and his dog

International squad selections are always blighted by withdrawals through injury, and England's latest crop are no different.

Following Kieran Gibbs' thigh strain while playing for Arsenal and Frank Lampard's own inclusion being thrown into doubt, the inexperienced duo of Ryan Bertrand and Jonjo Shelvey have been called upon to reinforce the ranks.

Surely this means anyone is in with a chance of a call-up, right? Emile Heskey will be licking his lips in Australia, while sightings of Tom, Dick and Harry circling Wembley are plentiful.

Out-of-this-world Messi and Ronaldo touch down at El Clasico

Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho claimed Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo were "from another planet" after their Clasico exploits on Sunday evening - and few who watched the action at Camp Nou would disagree.

The showpiece Liga clash was billed as the Ballon d'Or decider, the match which could determine once and for all which of the world's two leading lights should be considered the greatest of the modern game. However, after two sublime goals apiece and a share of the spoils for either side, the debate has only been further fuelled.

The Argentina and Portugal stars shone the brightest on a field of stellar talent as each side fought back from a goal down to draw a thrilling contest 2-2 and leave the title race (just about) still open.
 

Monday, October 8, 2012

Messi vs C Ronaldo

OLE! Arsenal's matadors make a mockery of West Ham

Arsenal built their solid start to the season with a 3-1 victory over West Ham on Saturday at Upton Park as Olivier Giroud, Theo Walcott and Santi Cazorla overturned Mohamed Diame's first-half opener.

The defeat was the Hammers' first of the season in the Premier League at home, while Arsene Wenger's side remain seven points behind Chelsea, who sit at the top of the table.

Instrumental in Arsenal's win were the Spanish midfield duo of Mikel Arteta and Cazorla, who were able to topple the industrious trio of Kevin Nolan, Mark Noble and Diame.

#BUNCHOFTWITS! Chelsea & England put stop to Cole fury

Friday was eventful: firstly the chiefs at the FA released the written reasons behind John Terry's ban and fine, before later, Chelsea team-mate Ashley Cole took to Twitter to berate the "bunchoft****" that had dared to suggest his account of events were altered.

Cole subsequently deleted his tweet after perhaps FINALLY receiving some intelligent advice from those at Chelsea and issued an unreserved apology to the FA. Incidentally, Cole will remain in the England squad for the two upcoming World Cup 2014 qualifiers and should hit the 100-cap mark.

What a pity this ill-thought out tirade will go onto tarnish such a monumental achievement. 

Doors close on England for Rio

When John Terry announced his international retirement, the spotlight turned to Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand.

The centre-back missed out on Euro 2012, but many called for the veteran to be included in Roy Hodgson's latest squad for the World Cup qualifiers against San Marino and Poland.

Of course those calls were quickly silenced when Hodgson was caught, prior to the squad announcement,  telling commuters on a London tube that Ferdinand was no longer part of his plans - a hasty apology swiftly followed.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Hart saves the day for Manchester City

Manchester City had Joe Hart to thank on Wednesday as the England goalkeeper produced a superb performance in the Champions League against Borussia Dortmund.

The City shot-stopper was in top form at the Etihad making several sensational saves as the German champions took the lead through Marco Reus and threatened to add many more in a dominant second-half showing.

Ultimately it was Mario Balotelli who showed nerves of steel to net a late, late penalty and salvage a draw for the Premier League champions, but there was no denying that the real hero was City's No.1.

Bayern Munich slain by BATE the giant-killers

Bayern Munich's impressive run of results came to an abrupt end, after a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Belarus champions, BATE Borisov.

After maintaining their 100 per cent record in the league, Bayern's loss was their first of the season, having won every single match since their maiden competitive fixture in August.

Having scored 19 goals, conceding only two, Bayern were the clear favourites for Tuesday's Champions League tie against BATE; however, the fixture, which was played at a neutral venue, did not quite go to plan.

Despite sitting joint top of Group F after defeating Valencia 2-1, the German side found the minnows from Belarus too much to handle. Jupp Heynckes' decision to rest Bastian Schweinsteiger backfired, with other big name stars such as Javi Martinez, Franck Ribery and Thomas Muller failing to stand up and be counted.
 

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Jack Wilshere's return sparks celebration at Arsenal

Jack Wilshere's return from injury, after spending around 15 months out with an ankle issue, has given Arsenal a reason to celebrate.

The 20-year-old played for the Gunners Under-21s on Monday as he continues to work towards reaching full fitness after the long lay-off.

Arsenal were beaten at home by Chelsea 2-1 in the Premier League this weekend, but the talented young England midfielder's addition to the squad in October could be like a new signing for Arsene Wenger.

Although he is unlikely to feature immediately in the Arsenal first-team, expect Wilshere to filter into matches through the month, challenging the likes of Mikel Arteta and Abou Diaby for a starting spot.

Gerrard's genie can't deliver his title wish with Liverpool

Steven Gerrard's analysis of his own chances of winning the Premier League with Liverpool was summed up in five words. It will be a miracle.

The Premier League title is the only domestic honour which has eluded the 32-year-old, who is now entering the final years of his career at Anfield which also boasts triumphs in the Uefa Cup and Champions League during his time on Merseyside.

But, with the level of competition in the top flight increasing by the season, Gerrard admits his ambition of being crowned a Premier League champion may remain unfulfilled.

"It will be a miracle if I now realise my dream of winning the title with Liverpool," Gerrard wrote in his recently published autobiography, My Liverpool Story.

"I say that because of my age and where we finished in the league the past couple of years. And also the situation we're in with the rivalries.

"There's not just United and Arsenal now but City, Chelsea and Tottenham. Newcastle coming as well. The Premier League has become a lot more difficult to win for everyone."