September 8, 2006
Atletico Madrid v. Valencia – Two teams expected to contend for the title battle it out at the Vicente Calderon. Sergio Aguero picked up an injury in training this week and will be on the bench, while Mista looks to get revenge on the team that thought he was not good enough after scoring 19 goals for Valencia three seasons ago. Joaquin and Maniche could make their debuts for the visitors. One would expect a few goals in this match.
Derby County v. Sunderland – Roy Keane makes his managerial debut at Pride Park. Only Dwight Yorke out of his six late signings will not make their debut against the Rams as Sunderland looks to escape the relegation zone in the Championship.
Fiorentina v. Inter Milan – The Nerazzuri begin their defense of the Scudetto against strugglers Fiorentina. Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Hernan Crespo should be among the Inter players making their debuts, while Adrian Mutu will partner Luca Toni in attack for the Viola.
Rimini v. Juventus – The long road back to Serie A begins for strugglers Juventus. They are already many, many points behind their newly-promoted hosts Rimini. At least the Bianconeri get to start in one of the most scenic locations in world football.
Nacional v. Tacuary – The Tricolor get to defend the Unofficial World Club Championship against an unpredictable Tacuary side. The sides sit 5th and 4th respectively in the Apertura table, so it could go either way.
September 1, 2006
Chelsea – So rich they can choose who to sell to, and affect where the best young prospects in the world can go. The Damien Duff transfer was a showcase of selling and not ruining your chances of winning the league. Roman Abramovich’s money probably played a role in Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano’s relocation to Upton Park. Let’s not forget their bullying of Arsenal that gave them one of the best left backs in the world in Ashley Cole.
Relations between Ajax and Feyenoord – For the first time since 1992, the two clubs collaborated on a transfer. Greek striker Angelos Charisteas moved from Amsterdam to Rotterdam in a €2.5 million move.
Juventus – The Serie B strugglers managed to hold on to more of their world class talent than they deserved to, although their ability to cope with the physicality of their new surroundings has not yet been tested.
Barcelona – The Catalan giants did not need to do much this summer and they still managed to improve. Aging legend Henrik Larsson departed with a Champions League medal, and Eidur Gudjohnsen was brought in from bitter rivals Chelsea. The additions of Gianluca Zambrotta and Lilian Thuram should help them retain the Primera crown.
Arsenal – With no depth at the wing positions, and very little experience at the back even with the addition of William Gallas, it is difficult to say the Gunners really improved at all this summer. The future is bright though.
Fans of Corinthians – Not only have they had to endure a fall from grace from winning the title a year ago, they also had to see two of their best players leave yesterday with the club seeing none of that money. The very existance of the club is a real doubt should they be relegated this December.
MLS – The league continues to be unaware of its rather low place on the economic totem pole of the transfer market. Turning down a decent bid for Clint Dempsey was the last thing they needed to do to a player desperate to prove himself in Europe.
Manchester United – They brought in an overpriced, unproven midfielder in Michael Carrick. Then they acquired a backup goalkeeper in Tomasz Kuszczak, who was once scored on by the opposing keeper from 90 yards out. Sure they got £12 million for a player who never played a game for them in John Obi Mikel, but the depth in the squad has been utterly decimated. The damage of which is after the jump. Now they find themselves trying to win the league when Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea will be regular partners in the center of midfield. At least the Glazers have reduced the debt a little, right?
August 29, 2006
Mido is bringing his sulking show back to White Hart Lane, while Lee Young-pyo takes Spurs’ sweet Asian marketing revenue to Roma. [BBC]
David Trezeguet looks to be staying with Serie B strugglers Juventus after they turned down Manchester United’s pathetic £17 million bid. [World Soccer]
Jonathan Woodgate has completely forgotten about last night, and will join Middlesbrough on a season long loan. [Sky Sports]
Maniche is leaving Russian Premier League strugglers Dynamo Moscow to join Atletico Madrid.[Reuters]
After being accused of trying to get sent off by his own manager, Javier Mascherano has stopped showing up to training at Corinthians. [Guardian]