Wednesday, January 9, 2008


Huge breaking news from BBC that Sam Allardyce's managerial of Newcastle reign has ended after 24 matches reached by "mutual agreement". Rumors flying of Alan Shearer taking control will be rampant although it has been further reported that it will not be happening.

Jens Lehmann's move to Borussia Dortmund of the Bundesliga is being reported as complete

With the Reds off to Riverside to face Middlesbrough eyes will be turned towards the club’s performance after a horrible match in the third round of the FA Cup against League One, Luton.

Luton, which is dealing with significant problems associated with being “under administration” put up a spirited performance against Liverpool in a 1-1 draw this past Sunday. While it is true that the Reds were without the likes of Mr Stephen Gerrard, Torres, Kewell, Mascherano, Reina, Arbeloa and Aurelio what was left, gave an uninspired and unimaginative performance, once again raising a perplexed eyebrow if Rafael Benitez is the man to bring the title home.

While it is unclear whether the American ownership group of Hicks and Gillett are circling the wagons and preparing to replace Benitez with the likes of the often rumored Juergen Klinsmann who resides in sunny Southern California, quite obviously Rafa is spending a great deal of time in damage-control and has somewhat relented on his cash requests for the present January transfer window. Although it remains to be seen if Klinsmann is keen on leaving the cozy confines and the beautiful people of Huntington Beach (although I do believe he like many are tiring of the rapidly changing area) to reside full-time in Liverpool. Knowing his stance previously, any involvement with Liverpool is likely posturing without any real intent and more for bargaining leverage and given he has resisted that previous offers (including when he was head-coach for Germany) any decision he makes will be purely lifestyle and profile associated. Yet the hand-writing is on-the-wall in that without a significant run towards the top level of the Premier League or success in Europe, Mr Benitez’ fate will be the same of Sam Allardyce.

Fulham @ West Ham
Newcastle> @ Manchester United

Ligue 1 Orange
St Etienne @ Valenciennes
AJ Auxerre @ FC Girondins de Bordeaux
AS Nancy Lorraine @ SM Caen
FC Sochaux Montbeliard @ Le Mans Union Club 72
F.C. Metz @ Lille
Toulouse F.C. @ Olympique Lyonnais
FC Lorient Bretagne @ AS Monaco F.C.
OGC Nice @ RC Strasbourg

SB Excelsior @ FC Groningen
SC Heerenveen @ FC Utrecht
VVV Venlo@ NAC Breda
Willem II Tilburg @ Roda JC Kerkrade

Serie A
Roma @ Atalanta
Udinese @ Cagliari
Genoa @ Lazio Società Sportiva
ACF Fiorentina @ FC Parma
Palermo @ Sampdoria
Internazionale@ AS Siena
AS Livorno Calcio @ Torino FC
SSC Napoli @ (AC)Milan Associazione Calcio

English Premier League
Portsmouth @ Sunderland AFC
Blackburn @ Bolton

La Liga
Espanyol @ Union Deportivo Almeria
FC Sevilla @ Athletic Bilbao
Valencia Club de Futbol @ Atlético Madrid
Real Murcia C.F. @ FC Barcelona
Real Madrid C.F.@ Levante Unión Deportiva
Real Racing Santander @ Club Atlético Osasuna
Getafe C.F. @ Real Betis
Real Club Deportivo Mallorca @ Real Zaragoza
Recreativo Huelva @ Real Valladolid C.F.
Deportivo La Coruña @ Villarreal

Ligue 1 Orange
Lens travel south to Paris to face Paris Saint-Germain FC (maybe this is a good time for some obscure Parisian references or "things to do" in Paris. But of course mes amis, since we're in Paris it's only a café au lait and a quick jump to the Alps and Courchevel. Hmm, I better get back to Football-talk or I'll be telling you about a time long ago and this perfect little place by the banks of the Sienne when it all could have been so very different, so very, very different....l'argent ne fait pas boneheur...enough drama for you yet?)

Olympique de Marseille travel to the north-west in their match against Stade Rennais F.C.

AZ Alkmaar @ Ajax Amsterdam
Vitesse Arnhem @ De Graafschap
PSV Eindhoven @ Feyenoord Rotterdam
Sparta Rotterdam @ SC Heracles Almelo

English Premier League
Tottenham @ Chelsea