2:23 PM EDT, Tue October 21, 2014

Champions League Open Thread: Something Something Cruyff Edition

Week three of the Champions League kicks off today. Join us for Barcelona v. Ajax, Roma v. Bayern, or whichever other bit of the day's action catches your interest. For some clubs, today will mark the half-way point of the Champions League group stages. With the right result, the knockout rounds will be in sight; with the wrong one, they'll be half way to heading out of Europe. Or worse, to the Europa League. With Manchester City having already faced CSKA Moscow, there are a pair of interesting 7:45PM BST kickoffs to keep an eye on: Barcelona host Ajax in a Group F clash between second and...
Lion Of Vienna Suite 23 mins ago

Updated Lineups: Charlton v Bolton Wanderers

The sides have been announced, what do you think of Neil Lennon's starting XI at the Valley? Eight years ago, if you can believe it, these two sides were fighting for European spots in the Premier League.  Times have changed.  Now, Bolton Wanderers are visiting Charlton Athletic on a cold Tuesday in October, looking for a win that may get them out of the relegation zone in the Sky Bet Championship. New manager Neil Lennon led Bolton to an away win at St. Andrews on Saturday, but Birmingham City were almost as bad as Bolton coming into that match.  Charlton are in much better shape....
Cartilage Free Captain 24 mins ago

Newcastle midfielder likely to be fit for Spurs clash

Newcastle expects Cheick Tiote to be fit for Sunday's match against Tottenham Hotspur. The midfielder was kept out of the Magpies' 1-0 win over Leicester over the weekend after returning from international duty, tired and with a sore calf that flared up in warm-ups. Alan Pardew said that they were being cautious with Tiote over the weekend, saying his calf "was a bit tight." Newcastle have not put him back in full training, nor have they said he will definitely play, but Pardew called the injury "minor" and it certainly looks like he will play against Spurs. Leicester weren't able to do...
The Tilehurst End 27 mins ago

Bournemouth v Reading: Live Thread & Instant Reaction

Your one stop shop for discussing events before during and after Reading's trip to face Bournemouth. For a full range of previews, including opposition, refwatch and a stats preview, you can head right here. Meanwhile below you'll find the latest Tilehurst End Podcast to get you through to kick-off. ********** The team news is in, with Glenn Murray absent through injury. Hope Akpan and Nick Blackman come in, with Jake Taylor the other man to miss out. Reading: Federici, Gunter (C), Obita, Hector, Pearce, Norwood, Akpan, Robson-Kanu, Cox, Mackie, Blackman — Reading FC (@ReadingFC)...
The Short Fuse 44 mins ago

Update: David Ospina out for up to three months

(insert tired joke about being tired of injuries here) Yesterday came news that Arsenal backup keeper David Ospina would miss tomorrow's Champions League match away at Anderlecht, with third-choice option Emiliano Martinez to start. Now comes the news that the injury is far more long-term than initially thought: #afc keeper David Ospina is out for up to three months. Story soon on @MirrorFootball — John Cross (@johncrossmirror) October 21, 2014 I'm out of things to say at this point.  I'm lost, confused, hurt, angry, desperate, and completely, unequivocally, of the belief that...
The Liverpool Offside 52 mins ago

Liverpool vs. Real Madrid: Match Preview, Team News, and Ways to Watch

Team news, ways to watch, and a full preview as Liverpool host Real Madrid at Anfield in the glamour tie of the Champions League group stages. As far as momentum-builders go, Sunday's win at QPR was probably not the best. It was a win, which is a good thing, and it somehow leaves Liverpool joint-fourth on points in the Premier League. Which, if we're being honest, seems fake, but if Liverpool can be on the edge of a Champions League spot after eight matches that have seen them play respectable football for approximately 150-odd minutes, there's some hope in the idea of how things will shake...

Gerrard: "I Would Have Regretted it More if I'd Left Liverpool"

Ahead of a date with Madrid, Steven Gerrard reflected on the past—both recent and not so—as he and his teammates prepare for their biggest challenge of the season. When Liverpool secured a spot in the Champions League after five years in the wilderness, their low UEFA coefficient always meant they were going to face at least one European giant in the group stages. The only question was which. And the answer, it turned out, was the biggest—both historically and in the current edition of the competition. "We're just back in the Champions League, so I'm not sure they'll be coming in here...
Royal Blue Mersey 2 hours ago

Martinez's New Midfield Three -- Barkley, Naismith, and Osman -- Help Everton to Victory

With the club's wingers injured, out of form, or both, Roberto Martinez opted to go with precisely zero natural wingers against Aston Villa this week. When fans saw Everton's lineup for the weekend match-up against Aston Villa, surely the first thing that jumped out was the lack of wide players. No Aiden McGeady. No Cristian Atsu. No Steven Pienaar. No Kevin Mirallas. The lack of wide options that injuries and poor form have left Martinez with are not new news. Romelu Lukaku and Sameul Eto'o at times have been forced from their central attacking positions out to wing to accommodate this...
Royal Blue Mersey 2 hours ago
Martinez issues Distin challenge

Martinez issues Distin challenge

The defender is back in the first-team picture - but he needs to fight for his place. It has been a funny old few weeks for Sylvain Distin. For the past few seasons the 37-year-old Frenchman appeared to have halted the ageing process, defying his advancing years with a string of impressive performances at the heart of the Everton defence alongside captain Phil Jagielka. The former Man City and Portsmouth defender maintained his pace over five yards, meaning that combined with his speed of thought and excellent positioning, he was a very tough player to get past. Time, unfortunately,appears...
Bitter and Blue 2 hours ago

Champions League Game Thread: CSKA Moscow vs. Manchester City

Our 4-4-2 in a must win game. Line ups are as follows. I was off by one player! Not bad! Us: Hart, Kolarov, Mangala, Kompany, Zabaleta, Milner, Toure, Fernando, Silva, Aguero and Dzeko. Them: Akinfeev, Fernandes, Ignashevic, Beruzutsky, Beruzutskiy, Shchennikov, Tosic, Milanov, Eremenko, Natcho, Musa. I love the last names of the CSKA players. Talk below.
Cartilage Free Captain 4 hours ago
Spurs linked to Konoplyanka. Again.

Spurs linked to Konoplyanka. Again.

Yaaaawn. It must be a day that ends in a y because Tottenham has been linked to Yevhen Konoplyanka by a major media outlet. There is really nothing new in this article, it is basically a collection of transfer buzzwords and phrases. The article even says that Spurs have been interested since AVB's time as a manager. I would guess that his agent is just trying to drum up interest. In fact, if you go hit up google news, in the last month alone, he has been linked with Spurs, Liverpool, Arsenal, Roma, Inter Milan, and Serie A in general. Also his father and another agent are disputing who is...
For Javier Manquillo, Facing Real Madrid Holds Extra Meaning

For Javier Manquillo, Facing Real Madrid Holds Extra Meaning

Growing up in an Atleti fan before joining the Real Madrid academy means that for Javier Manquillo, Wednesday's match holds even more meaning than it does for most. As soon as the Champions League draw was made and Liverpool found out they were set to face reigning champions Real Madrid, tomorrow's match at Anfield would have been circled on a great many calendars. For Javi Manquillo, though, it's a game that holds more significance than simply a meeting of two of Europe's most storied clubs. "I spent four seasons there at the 'Cantera,'" said the 20-year-old fullback whose career began at...
Cartilage Free Captain 5 hours ago

Watch behind-the-scenes action from the Etihad tunnel during Spurs v. City

Get a glimpse behind the curtain at the Etihad stadium. The Etihad Stadium is an amazing place, and one of the cool things City does after home matches is post videos from the tunnel that leads to the pitch. It's an awesome opportunity to get a peek behind the curtain of an English Premier League match and see what goes on there. You can see players from various nationalities greet each other amicably: the Belgian contingent of Mousa Dembele, Nacer Chadli, and Vincent Kompany are particularly chummy, and Emmanuel Adebayor seems to get along with everyone. Kompany even gives him his...
Coming Home Podcastle is back - send us mailbag questions

Coming Home Podcastle is back - send us mailbag questions

Newcastle United's most pop-tart heavy podcast is making a return. Coming Home Podcastle will return this week, which makes us bandwagoners or something. @CHNOSotP @ComingHomeNUFC Fair weather fans you lot. — Adequate Dad (@TrickyFixture) October 19, 2014 Of course, with the podcast comes a mailbag, and I encourage you to send us lots of questions so we won't have to spend as much time talking about whatever it is Jim wants to talk about. Any and all topics are welcome, but here are some suggestions: Alan Pardew Just kidding, we don't want to talk about Pardew Gabriel Obertan's...
The Busby Babe 6 hours ago

Shaw acknowledges he has room to improve

Manchester United's young defender believes he hasn't been dreadful, but knows he can get better. Luke Shaw, Manchester United's left-back elect for the next ten years, has made a slightly sticky start to his time at Old Trafford. Issues with fitness delayed his introduction to the team, and last night against West Brom, he had what we might politely call an interesting first half. Anyway, it turns out Shaw himself isn't entirely happy with his game. I know I haven't been up to my full potential and I think maybe people can see that at the moment. I am trying hard and it's about getting...
The Liverpool Offside 6 hours ago

No Place Like Home

With the general mood of impatient despondency that has settled like an unwelcome smog over Anfield and environs, it has taken a returning ex-Red to remind us of how mesmerising Anfield can, and hopefully will, be on a big European night. What with the sporadic but alarming ineptitude, the curious amalgam of Lovrenesque impulsiveness and Mignolet-driven indecision plus the José Enrique-inspired comedy capers that were on display in the Liverpool rearguard on Sunday, one could perhaps be forgiven for being a tad trepidatious about the imminent arrival of Carlo Ancelotti's free-scoring Real...
Royal Blue Mersey 6 hours ago

No new contract talks for Naismith

Martinez praises striker - but no new deal is on the table Everton manager Roberto Martinez says he is "thankful" to have a player like Steven Naismith in his squad but insists there are no talks imminent over a new deal. Naismith has 18 months left on the contract he signed in the summer of 2012, the striker moving on a free transfer after his contract at Rangers became obsolete following the Scottish club's liquidation. Despite the 28-year-old being six months away from entering the final year of his deal on Merseyside, his manager is not planning to discuss an extension - in the near...
Lion Of Vienna Suite 7 hours ago

Charlton Athletic v Bolton Wanderers: Predictions

It's Neil Lennon's second match in charge and we try to guess who will play, who will win, and maybe even who will score... Charlton Athletic v. Bolton Wanderers Location: The ValleyDate: Tuesday 21 October 2014 Time: 19:45 pm GMT Records (W-D-L, +/-, Points, Place): Charlton Athletic: 4-7-1, +3, 19, 8th Form: L-D-W-D-D-D Bolton Wanderers: 2-2-8, -12, 8, 23rd Form: W-L-L-L-L-L The Neil Lennon era is still shiny and new right now, and most Bolton Wanderers supporters are in good spirits ahead of tonight's trip to London.  The big question we face right now...
Roker Report 7 hours ago
Top Ten: Your Favourite Sunderland Strikers Of The Last Decade (Part Two)

Top Ten: Your Favourite Sunderland Strikers Of The Last Decade (Part Two)

We asked, you voted - which Sunderland striker of the last decade is the favourite of the Roker Report readers? We revealed your choices from ten to six yesterday. Today, we go from five to number one... 5 - 88 votes, 5% - Asamoah Gyan When the record signing of Asamoah Gyan from Rennes following on from the 2010 World Cup finals was announced it reinvigorated Sunderland fans that had been clamoring for a top class partner for Darren Bent. Gyan had been one of the star players at the World Cup that preceded his move to Wearside and his purchase was a real statement of intent from both the...
The Tilehurst End 7 hours ago
Bournemouth v Reading: Match Preview

Bournemouth v Reading: Match Preview

Reading travel to the South Coast on Tuesday evening to face Bournemouth in a game of crucial importance for Nigel Adkins' men after a disappointing result on Saturday against Derby. Phil Owtram provides a preview of the action. Bournemouth v Reading League ChampionshipTuesday 21st October 2014, KO 7:45PMGoldsands StadiumReferee: Mark Haywood Reading (16th)Form (all comps): LDDLLReading v Derby: 0-3Brentford v Reading: 3-1Leeds v Reading: 0-0Reading v Wolves: 3-3Derby v Reading (league cup): 2-0 Reading come into this one on the back of a 3-0 defeat to Derby at the Madejski Stadium on...

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