Welcome to the World of Beckham blog, we aim to keep you up to date with developments in the career of David Beckham a footballer from the UK who has played for some of the top teams in the world.

Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Beckham on hs way to Africa Via Milan

David Beckham appears pleased to be back in Milan and talks down his recent foot injury as he resumes training with the Rossoneri.
As always cameras were snapping and there are reports that Milan have hired armed guards specifically to protect Beckham during his loan period in Italy.

Meanwhile Fabio Capello has been reportedly backing Beckham in an interview with Gazzetta Dello Sport. Capello said: 'If Beckham plays and if he is fit I will certainly take him to South Africa. '
This is exactly what the player will be wanting to hear and he will no doubt be eager to get on the pitch. His first game could be Jan 10th against Juventus, but my money is on David wanting to make the squad for the earlier home game on Jan 6th against Genoa. Once again, football fans will have the opportunity to see one of the worlds great players in a befitting setting for a few months at least before the excitement of World Cup 2010 kicks in. The prospect of AC Milan with David Beckham in the squad promises a Happy New Year to Milan and England fans if all goes to plan.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Becks set to return to Old Trafford

Not for Man U, but for AC Milan as the two sides have been drawn to play each other in the Champions League in Mid-March 2010. Beckham has never returned to play against Manchester United since leaving the club in 2003 and can be assured of a warm reception.

There are a few hurdles to be overcome before this dream becomes a reality, Beckham (34) must remain fit, and has to be registered by AC Milan by February 1st as a member of the AC Milan Champions League squad as one of three additions allowed.

Manchester United do not have a particularly good record against AC Milan, and will be looking to stop Beckham and the AC Milan team in their tracks.

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Beckham backs 2018 World Cup bid

It is well-documented that the England bid to host the 2018 World Cup has not been plain-sailing with Prince William being drafted in to the team, and now Beckham has been called upon to lend his considerable weight to the bid.
Having secured the 2012 Olympics, it seems the foot has gone off the gas a little and momentum has been lost. The bid has been criticised for it's lack of substance.
David is currently promoting the bid in South Africa where the draw for the 2010 World Cup group stages has just taken place. England's group stage is as below:

  • Saturday 12 June, Rustenburg: England v USA
  • Friday 18 June, Cape Town: England v Algeria
  • Wednesday 23 June, Port Elizabeth: Slovenia v England

On the face of it, the draw looks good for England's chances of qualifying with possibly the USA being the biggest threat which is probably preferable to being drawn with France, Spain or Germany at this stage. However, there are three games to be played and anything may yet happen...

Sadly, during this promotional tour, David learned that his Grandad (Joseph West, 83) passed away, yet he has opted to stay on the tour as long as the funeral is not timed to take place before his planned return. Joseph is said to have been influential on the young Beckham's playing career. Also during this tour, David has spoken about his asthma which although no secret, has not been openly discussed before.

Beckham has also recently expressed a desire to continue playing for England as long as he is able, showing no intention of retiring from the international scene which seems to be the current trend amongst internationals. He also hinted that this coming stint in Milan would be his last separation of this type from the family, hinting at long-term plans to remain based in the USA where his family are now firmly rooted.

Monday, 23 November 2009

LA Galaxy 1 Real Salt Lake 1 (4-5 after penalties)

*MLS CUP FINAL 2009 - Seattle*
Beckham starts despite reports of a problem with his right ankle which seems to be a bit of a recurring theme over the last couple of years.
The first half was dominated by The Galaxy with Buddle, Donovan and Magee putting pressure on the Salt Lake goal. Beckham knocked in a dangerous corner that should have resulted in a goal. Meanwhile Ricketts in the LA goal was relatively untroubled. A sustained period of pressure resulted in a well-deserved goal for Magee on 40 minutes. Fed by Beckham from the midfield, Donovan crossed from right to left and Magee snuck the ball in at the left-hand post a great team move, and one of many in quick succession which seemed bound to result in a Galaxy goal. The goal seemed to wake Salt Lake up a little, but despite two minutes of added time, The Galaxy kept their 1-0 lead going into half-time.
In the first few minutes of the second half a loose back-pass saw Salt Lake running at the Galaxy goal seemingly bound the score, but Ricketts bravely threw himself at the strikers feet. The 50/50 collision looked bad and Ricketts looked like he may have hurt his hand, however thankfully for The Galaxy he was able to continue..
On 63 minutes, a goal-mouth scramble (a throw-back to old-style Galaxy defending) led to an equalising Salt Lake goal, the score now 1-1. The Galaxy have it all to do again and Donovan Ricketts still seems to be nursing a damaged right-hand, and has to be substituted. (later it would emerge that Ricketts had played nearly twenty minutes with a fractured right-hand)
The two teams slugged it out neither team really dominating, The Galaxy missing the flowing moves from the first half.
It was looking pretty much like it would go to extra time, but as the 90 minutes approached, 7 minutes overtime were announced. However, neither team could take advantage and the game was tied 1-1 after 90 minutes. The obligatory extra time could not prevent this game going to penalties and despite Beckham scoring in the first round, The Galaxy stalwarts Buddle and Donovan could not manage to convert allowing Salt lake to steal the day.
Real Salt Lake 5 The Galaxy 4, Salt Lake take the trophy and are crowned champions of the MLS, The Galaxy and David Beckham must wait for another year...

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Brazil 1 England 0

A make-shift England side met the best side in the world in Qatar, and did not fold under the pressure. For the first half, an England side with only about three or four first choice players, held the Brazilians off and created some chances although the service to Bent up front was not good enough to seriously trouble the Cesar in the Brazilian goal. At the other end of the pitch, Ben Foster was under a little more pressure.

The second-half brought an early goal when Elano fed Nilmar a ball that cut out the defence and left him to head the ball neatly over Foster's head. Not long after the goal, Nilmar had picked up a bad chested back-pass from Wes Brown when his path was blocked by a flailing Foster. Foster was booked, but could easily have been dismissed (and surely would have been had the game not been a friendly). Bewilderingly, Luis Fabiano missed the resulting penalty and despite several other efforts on goal, the score remained 1-0 to the end.

Although not the score-line Capello would have wanted, nonetheless a fairly positive result considering the England players that were missing, also considering the heat and conditions on the day and, not forgetting the quaility of the opposition...
For the record, the main players missing for England includes:
Glen Johnson
Ashley Cole
Joe Cole
David James
and of course David Beckham who was part of the winning LA Galaxy side which played just less than 12 hours before the England game.

LA Galaxy 2 Houston 0

As LA Galaxy and Houston Dynamo met to battle out the Western Conference, the game started briskly with most of the penetrative moves coming from the Dynamo. Unfortunately though after about 15 minutes or so, the lights failed and the teams were forced into a protracted 'time-out' until the fault could be rectified. After a lengthy delay, the game restarted and The Galaxy began to play with a little more conviction.
A series of free kicks within the next ten minutes saw Beckham go close hitting the woodwork with the third effort. After the restart, the game became more of an end-to-end affair as LA sought to establish a foothold in the game. At the close of the first half, the score remained 0-0, overall Houston were looking the more dangerous side in attacking positions, but both teams had their chances.
The lights go out at the Home depot
The second half brought chances for both sides, but after just 5 minutes, the lights went off again right after Ricketts got hurt plucking the ball out of the air from a Houston cross-ball. The game continued eventually after another long break with neither team making a break-through. The game was turning into a stream of misplaced passes and errors constantly breaking play.
in the final 10 minutes, it looked like Houston pressure had paid off when they squeezed the ball past Donovan Ricketts, but the goal was disallowed.
Ninety minutes had already turned into about two hours with the lighting fiasco, yet the full-time whistle blew with the score stuck on 0-0. Extra-time began in the same vein, but after 12 minutes, a Beckham freekick caused havoc in the Dynamo penalty area, the ball was in the net and The Galaxy were 1-0 up. The final 15 minutes of this long drawn-out game began with The Galaxy having a goal in the bank and looking to finish the game off. The Dynamo having just 15 minutes to salvage something from the game...but it all went wrong for The Dynamo with just 12 mins to go when Gordon was brought down in the box and Donovan put the penalty away with consumate ease. There was no way back for Houston at this point despite rattling the cross bar of The Galaxy goal in the dying seconds of the game which ended with The Galaxy as fairly fortunate victors taking them through to the final next week as the Western Conference Champions.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Beckham's future in the MLS

Rumours are abound that David Beckham is considering committing himself to the MLS longer term maybe once the World Cuup is over. There is talk of a five-year contract, and also of the option for Beckham to have a stake in an MLS club, which is intended to happen once his playing days are over - patently this is not the case right now...
What spurred me on to write about this is the way that Beckham was pacing the side-lines pointing at an imaginary watch on his wrist on Sunday, that coupled with the way in which he stepped in to calm down Chivas coach Preki points to a man acting as much like a manager as a player.
Right now I am quite sure that Beckham's focus is on winning the MLS, getting some time in at AC Milan and getting himself ready for the World Cup. After that, it is quite possible that he sees his future in the US, although from a playing point of view, I would prefer to see him run down his career in Milan.

Monday, 9 November 2009

The Galaxy progress in the play-offs

After yesterdays' thrilling and rather tense game, The Galaxy are due to meet Houston Dynamo on Friday at the Home Depot Centre. Excitement should be at fever pitch as the two teams battle it out to reach the play-offs final. The Galaxy secured the home draw by winning the Western Conference, and will travel to Seattle on 22nd November for the final if they are successful.
LA won their Semifinal series by 3-2 on aggregate over two games against local rivals Chivas USA, The Dynamo defeated Seattle Sounders 1-0 earlier yesterday.
The Eastern Conference has Chicago playing Salt Lake on Saturday for the right to go the the final.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

LA Galaxy 1 Chivas USA 0

The first half began with The Galaxy looking to push forward and put immediate pressure on Chivas. The first few minutes were all Galaxy, and Chivas looked the poorer team. Chivas worked their way back into the game, but chances were few and far between. A few long-range shots had Ricketts jumping around, but the real pressure in the first half came from LA. At the half hour point, The Galaxy were raining shots into the goalmouth, even Beckham having a go, but the score remained 0-0 going into the break.
The second half resumed in much the same vein although initially Chivas seemed to show a bit more fight. The Galaxy continued to pressurise until finally in the 70th minute Beckham released Donovan with a fantastic cross-field ball, and Donovan crossed to Magee. Magee was crudely (and rather painfully) brought down in the penalty area. Donovan stepped up to slot the resulting penalty-kick straight down the middle of the goal to make it 1-0 to The Galaxy. Just seven minutes later Beckham was substituted, possibly rested for the next game, or possibly having had a knock to his ankle earlier in the game.
Ironically, only a minute later, The Galaxy earned a free-kick in Beckham territory, but nothing came of it. LA managed to run the clock down through a full 5 minutes of extra time without conceding, ensuring their place in the next round on Friday.
The action didn't quite end there though as the Chivas coach appeared to lunge at Donovan after the whistle blew for full time and an ugly melle ensued. Players stepped in to quash any trouble, but obviously tempers, frustration and disappointment were running high.

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Beckham in England squad for Brazil friendly

David Beckham makes the squad for the friendly pre-world cup warm up against Brazil, the full squad looks like this:
Ben Foster, Robert Green, Joe Hart.
Wayne Bridge, Wes Brown, Gary Cahill, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Matthew Upson, Stephen Warnock.
Gareth Barry, David Beckham*, Michael Carrick, Tom Huddlestone, Jermaine Jenas, Frank Lampard, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Young.
Darren Bent, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Wayne Rooney.

However, if The Galaxy progress in the play-offs, Beckham may not be available for the England game.

Monday, 2 November 2009

MLS playoffs

I guess the play-offs themselves merit an explanatory post seeing as those outside of the US (like myself) are probably scratching their heads at this alien method of establishing a top team.. In essence the MLS is split into two geographical 'conferences' (East and West), they are however part of a single 'league' and play against teams of both conferences. At the end of the year the top teams from each conference are pitted against each other in a play-off scenario which for 2009, started this weekend.
The teams involved are Chicago, New England and Columbus from the Eastern Conference, and LA, Chivas, Salt Lake, Seattle and Houston from the Western Conference. Although as I understand it, both Chivas and Salt Lake went through on a wildcard which means Salt Lake will play their play-off against Western conference table-toppers Columbus Crew.
As far as I can tell, the teams have been split into the following match-ups:

Los Angeles Galaxy Vs. Chivas USA (WEST)

Houston Dynamo Vs. Seattle Sounders (WEST)

Columbus Crew Vs. Real Salt Lake (EAST)

Chicago Fire Vs. New England Revolution (EAST)

I presume that the winners within each conference match-up, play each other before a final between the two champions emerging from each conference happens (22nd November). But at this stage, your guess is a good as mine... It's one more thing which goes to demonstrate that for Americans, the MLS is just soccer put onto a basketball model.

I am sure the model is tried and tested (for other sports), it's just that it doesn't fit with the rest of the world - and in the case of soccer, the rest of the world is still some way ahead of the US system. The play-off system itself doesn't harm the domestic game of course, in fact it has some merits (although whether there is any merit in a geographical divide is another matter). However, the trouble with the basketball (or baseball - I have no real idea where the model came from) model is that is also imposes the salary cap system, central contracts and all those other restrictions which prevent the US teams from competing in the real world of football (that's right Football, not soccer...). The world's best players still want to play for Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona not Columbus Crew or LA Galaxy (apart from Beckham). If US supporters want to see players at the peak of their game coming to play in the US, they need to break away from the US model of restrictive practices and let the market dictate terms, salaries and contracts.

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Chivas 2 The Galaxy 2

Although The Galaxy were certainly first out of the starting blocks with intent, it was Chivas who took a chance on 3 mins to go 1-0 up. Ricketts was caught out by an unexpected early shot which ordinarily he would have gathered without too much of a problem. However it took The Galaxy only 10 minutes to level the score at 1-1, Magee taking advantage of a slip by the Chivas defence and being left one-on-one with the keeper.
The Galaxy continued to pressure Chivas and certainly were playing the better football. In particular the trio of Donovan, Beckham and Buddle showed some real class, one passage of play involving two sweet back-heel passes in succession from Beckham, as the three LA players played triangles.
On 40 minutes, a Beckham corner threw the Chivas defence into disarray, the ball was cleared up-field only to be miss-kicked back into the danger area leaving Donovan to dribble the ball into the net for 2-1. Chivas defenders were left appealing for offside, either ignoring or not being aware of the fact that an atacker can't be offside when the opposition play the ball into their own penalty box...
Thus ended the first half, a hard fought passionate half which saw some rash tackles and some truly awful defending from Chivas.

The second half started very differently, LA Galaxy seemed to come out half-asleep, and a loose Galaxy back-pass saw Chivas leveling the game after only 5 minutes. The Galaxy continued to look shaky particularly in defence, and took a while to regain their confidence. Ricketts kept them in the game despite going down with an injury and the action-packed game ended with few chances for either side to score again. After a well-fought game, which The Galaxy can think themselves lucky to tie, the score remained 2-2 for this first leg of the play-of semifinals.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Beckham clinches second stint in Milan

The Galaxy having clinched the Western Conference title , Beckham is free to work out his plans for his long-expected second stint in Serie A. AC Milan offer a unique atmosphere in which older players are treated with great care and consideration, prolonging their careers by years in many cases.
The ink is not yet on the contracts, but both parties seem happy and confident that the deal is done, and we will be seeing Beckham trotting out into the San Sero in January once more. Despite the boo boys in the stands of the Home Depot Center, Beckham has enjoyed an excellent year in 2009. He started the year with AC Milan, a year in which England qualified for the World Cup in emphatic style. Not only that, but when he returned to a Galaxy side which had enjoyed a shaky start to the season, the team managed to top the Western conference.
Capello for one will be particularly pleased to see Beckham back in Milan, and as long as he can stay fit, there is every chance that he will be travelling to Africa with the England squad next year.

Sunday, 25 October 2009

L A Galaxy 2 San Jose Earthquakes 0

The Galaxy take the Western Conference title with a 2-0 win over San Jose at the Home Depot Centre in Los Angeles.

After a number of attempts on goal by The Galaxy, including a narrowly-missed Beckham free-kick, the first score came on 23 minutes when a San Jose defender deflected a Donovan cross beyond the keeper's reach and into the net.

It was in the 76th minute after sustained attacking from The Galaxy, that Donovan slotted a great pass from Chris Klein under the keeper and off the post for goal number two. On the few occasions when San Jose broke through the defence, Ricketts was once more unbeatable in The Galaxy's goal. The night was almost capped with another goal from Donovan when a great flowing move saw Beckham crossing and Donovan diving for what would have been the goal of the night were it not for the point-blank save from the San Jose keeper.

The Western Conference semi-finals series starts next week...

Sunday, 18 October 2009

Houston Dynamo 0 LA Galaxy 0

Two teams battling for top spot in the league, both having reached the play-off stages start cautiously, The Galaxy choosing to start with Landon Donovan on the bench. Beckham starts the game having played little more than 30 minutes for England last week.
The first half certainly lacked a sense of urgency though arguably Houston were found pressing more than The Galaxy. Ricketts stood up well in defence of the LA goal. Beckham had a reasonable if not exactly hectic first half, and Galaxy managed to look like a team that were just waiting for Landon Donovan to take the field.
Bruce Arena opted to keep Landon Donovan on the bench at the beginning of the second half, but it was Buddle who had a shot cleared off the line on 50 minutes. Only a few seconds later Donovan took the field with a view to changing the scoreline in The Galaxys' favour. 15 minutes later, Donovan was released into a great position, but the chance was wasted across the width of the net and beyond, eventually going out of play just before the corner flag.
On 77 minutes, Houston had a terrific chance which was saved by Ricketts at point blank range once again proving invaluable for LA this season.
Ten minutes from the end, Beckham was involved in a shoving match after a strong tackle, he conceded a foul but was caught by a retaliation. However, it was an uninvolved Houston player who ended up with a red card and dismissal for his over-physical remonstrations which saw him push Beckham in the face.
Expectations were raised by the anticipated arrival of Donovan, and the second half certainly was more heated than the first, Beckham himself slicing a shot wide in the last few minutes. At the end of the day, the teams were well-matched and a draw was a fair result - a good one for The Galaxy as the visiting team. The match finishes with no score and the battle for league leadership goes down to the wire.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Web Hosting

Comparison sites are already a well-established means of finding a great deal on the internet for insurance, energy and a host of other services. If like me, you spend some of your time creating (and monetising) websites, then you may well be looking for a great deal on webhosting especially in the current economic climate.
Personally I have been looking for a good deal on 'unlimited' hosting (ie. a service that allows you to host multiple sites for no additional charge) in order for me to bring all my sites under one account. Right now I have about four domain names registered with one service, three domains and hosting with another, along with several blogs hosted by 'blogger'. One advantage of being able to bring all these domains together on one account, is that many of the unlimited deals include free Wordpress hosting which means I could convert all my blogs to the far more flexible Wordpress format.
WebHostingGeeks.com is a site that does the comparisons for you and highlights the top hosting sites in any of several categories. You may be looking for the best blog hosting or best forum hosting, or even a host that offers a 'greener' solution... this comparison site can give you 'top tens' in any category.
There is even a blog that discusses topics related to web hosting, the latest articles addresses some of the green hosting issues such as power usage and cooling at data-centres.

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

England 3 Belarus 0

No Rooney, no Gerrard but a great chance for Beckham to make his case for the final half hour or so, taking his tally of international caps up to 115.
The game got off to a great start with Crouch sliding onto a cross to smuggle it past the keeper on just 3 minutes. As is their custom nowadays, England kept the ball well but they started to lose their way towards the latter stages of the first half - crosses were going astray and the team were not concentrating, a point which I feel sure Fabio Capello will have made forcibly at the half-time break.
The same format took the field for the second half, and still lacked a certain something. These are the occasions where England often become vunerable and can become a victim of their own defensive mistakes. Today could easily have turned into one of those games and there were a number of occasions where England's defence looked less than solid, but thanks to one fabulous reaction save by Ben Foster in the England goal, England kept a rare clean sheet.
At around the hour mark, an excited home crowd noisily greeted Beckham as he came on to replace Lennon. From that single moment, the game lit up and expectations were raised. Beckham's first touch was a corner taken short to Wright-Phillips who jinked inside the defense and shot the ball across the ground evading the keepers grasp and resting in the back of the net for 2-0. In the last 15 minutes, Carlton Cole had a strong shot at goal that the keeper parried, Crouch was once again first to the loose ball and slotted it away neatly for 3-0 and what passes for a convincing win if not quite a convincing performance. Incredibly, for his half-hour contribution Beckham was awarded 'Man of the match' by Steve Bruce, causing Capello to joke that it was a little like Obama winning the Nobel prize.
The heavily bearded Beckham took full advantage of the little time given him to show what he is about, measured passes and full commitment to the cause. He is battling for one of the few remaining places avaiable in the England World Cup squad, and will be hoping to seal a deal to return to AC Milan next year. Currently, we seem to be in the same position as last year, Beckham saying he wants to go, Milan saying they want him, which just leaves the question of cash!! Tonight, when interviewed, David said the deal was 95% done, so I am guessing that the 5% is all about the money...
For now, Beckham returns to LA to finish off a succesful season with The Galaxy and to make his plans leading up the World Cup in Africa.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Englands' disappointment

England fans (and no doubt the squad) will feel disappointed with the result on Saturday, not only did the team lose, but the game was not available for many fans to watch.
However, when you look at the circumstances there are some positives to be taken from the game. However disappointed we are, we are already in the World Cup, OK it is not going to be the 100% record, but before we went on a hugely successful qualifying run, we would have taken qualification at any cost, especially after failing to qualify for Europe last time out... The team of ten men played well against the Ukraine eleven, and certainly during the second half, the only clue to the fact that England were a man down was the lack of shots on goal.
Eight wins on the trot looked great, but we will have to settle for nine wins out of ten, a hiccup on Wednesday is certainly not going to be tolerated and nothing short of an emphatic win will suffice. A decent tally of goals and a clean sheet will restore confidence in Capello and the squad, a one-nil win would not bring great delight, a draw would bring no small amount of criticism and a loss would turn the tide of success completely on it's head.
Rooney is out for the game which will give Capello a chance to give Carlton Cole or Defoe a start, Defoe is the likely choice. I would expect Lennon to get another chance on Wednesday after he was forced to give way on Saturday, and naturally I would like to see Beckham play in the second half. David James will no doubt start as Green is now suspended, and Ben Foster has been drafted in as a replacement.
After this match, Capello must start thinking about the 23 players that will make up the World Cup squad, Beckham will be mindful of this as he seeks employment in Europe in January.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

Ukraine 1 England 0

Nothing at stake but pride for (already-qualified) England, a play-off place at stake for Ukraine. Beckham sits this one out and watches from the sidelines as England fail to make the impression that they wanted to. Within minutes the game is halted to remove flares from the pitch - this sort of action by Ukranian fans could have a serious impact on thier plans to co-host European championship football in 2012.
All the early pressure was from England as with most of their World Cup qualifying games so far. However England keeper Robert Green was sent off early on and David James was brought on with Lennon sacrificed. Remarkably Shevchenko who scored at Wembley, hit the post from the spot kick earning cries of 'who are you?' from England fans. Nonetheless the Ukraine team made the best of extra player almost immediately shooting for goal and getting a lucky deflection from Ashley Cole past David James for a 1 - 0 lead after half an hour. Both teams spurned good chances to add to the score in front of a very exitable local crowd.
England may consider themselves unlucky to go into half-time a goal down, but they have shown time and time again that they do not keep clean sheets against stronger opposition, and once again a defensive error has had more of an impact than any attacking play.
James Milner came on to give more attacking impetus for the second half and the ten men of England certainly were able to look the dominant side but without actually getting very many shots on goal. The shots they did manage to get away were innefective and there was always the danger of being hit on the break as happened several times in the second half much to the crowd's delight. However David James proved solid on those occassions he needed to be and the second half ran down with no change in the score.
On this occassion, whether it was all down to the missing player or the shape up front, there was just not enough fire power Even when Lampard earned a free-kick on the edge of the box, with no Beckham, Lampard hit the wall and the chance was lost. Sadly this means the 100% record has gone, but there will be time to make some sort of amends at least on Wednesday at Wembley against Belarus.

Pay Per View

The Ukraine owners of the broadcast rights for the Ukraine v England game today have decided that the game will only be shown in the UK via the internet. The game will only be shown to those paying a one-off fee ranging from £4.99 up to £11.99 depending on when they applied. Supposedly there is a limit on the number of sign-ups, but personally I can't think that there will be very many people signing up to this deal unless they are accustomed to pay-per-view.
I am inclined to leave it and try peer-to-peer instead in order to watch for free. There is some doubt over whether TV highlights will be available. Reportedly ITV have turned the deal down because under the terms of the deal, they would be precluded from advertising it until after the live game had started - there is still a possibility that the BBC will show highlights, but there remains a huge question over how they will fit it into their programming schedule. If the BBC do close a deal, unfortunately they will not be able to publicise it until the game starts at 5pm today...

Monday, 5 October 2009

Squad named for upcoming England games

Fabio Cappello has named the following 24-man squad for the last two qualifiers for the World cup:

Rob Green, David James, Paul Robinson; Wayne Bridge, Wes Brown, Ashley Cole, Rio Ferdinand, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Matthew Upson; Gareth Barry, David Beckham, Michael Carrick, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips; Gabriel Agbonlahor, Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.

Despite scoring this weekend, after his first 5 minutes on the field for Arsenal this season, Theo Walcott is not included, neither is Joe Cole who has just been declared fit after a lengthy break. The last few games are devoid of real pressure since England have already qualified, but there will be a certain amount of pressure to go through with a 100% record since they have won every game to date.

The first of the two games will be against Ukraine (away) on Saturday, followed by Belarus at Wembley on Wednesday 14th. The Ukraine football authorities have declined to sell broadcast rights to UK TV station and have opted to only allow the game to be viewed via the internet (which is how I watch most games anyhow...).

Sunday, 4 October 2009

The final push..

The MLS enjoy a long break now until LA Galaxy play Houston in what will be the show-down of the Western Conference on Saturday 18th October. Winning this game will put The Galaxy clear at the head of the Western Conference, having already clinched a place in the play-offs.
It has been four years since LA were in this kind of position and the last couple of seasons have been heavy with expectation since the arrival of David Beckham, yet poor in terms of league position. The Galaxy have consistently been in touch with league-leaders yet have failed to make the play-offs until this year.
Maybe the Beckham experiment is starting to pay-off, but it has to be said that he has been missing for much of the season, so The Galaxy as a team can feel gratified in a team achievement.
This has been a good year all-round. Beckham had the experience he wanted playing in Europe and was part of a team that qualified for the World Cup in emphatic style. The Galaxy achieved the long-term goal of reaching the play-offs even without the help of Beckham for much of the season. Winning the MLS must be the sole remaining goal for Beckham and the MLS this year.

One Hour Loans

How is it that a short term loan can save you money?

Although it is not always prudent to apply for a short-term loan online, there are circumstances where you may gain a financial advantage:

Where there is a financial penalty applied for late payment – ie. Late paying taxes or fees for something where you can gain a financial advantage by paying early. I can think of two personal circumstances where this could apply:
College courses – a family member is taking a course where you can save 10% of the fee by paying a few months early.
House Insurance – many online providers charge extra for paying monthly by direct debit, there may be a considerable financial advantage to be gained by paying 'up front'.

We tend to think of short-term online loans as a way to get out of a sticky monetary situation, but with a bit of forethought, it could be a way to save a bit of money too. Obviously some calculations will be needed to work out whether the interest payable outweighs the potential saving.

If you think this type of service might be able to help you, you can apply for 1 hour loans from any amount from $100 up to $1500 (depending on your status) and as the name suggests, have funds paid into your account almost immediately...

Saturday, 3 October 2009

LA Galaxy 1 Chicago fire 0

LA are now within striking distance of a place in the play-offs, and temporarily top the league (with one game extra played). It was Donovan who supplied the goal just before half-time, breaking free from his marker and lobbing the keeper making it look too easy. This after a half of good pressure on the Chicago goal without much in return apart from just a few good saves that Ricketts had to make.
Beckham was quiet in the first half, but was a bit more involved in the second, even taking a rare shot at goal forcing a save from the keeper as it dipped over his head 5 minutes from time. Right at the death, there was a crazy goalmouth scramble which could have cost The Galaxy the win, but Rickets managed to claim the ball, and The Galaxy have the vital points which take them to the top of the table at least until the rest of the games are played later today.

Friday, 2 October 2009

The Galaxy prepare...

Training has been a serious affair this week at LA Galaxy as they look to work towards a place in the play-offs by beating their visitors the Chicago Fire later this evening.
Beckham remains a doubt with his swollen ankle, but will no doubt want to be in the thick of it and will want continue to add his contribution to The Galaxy's successes this season.
The Fire themselves are not without their own injury list, and have other similarities to LA in that they also lie second in their conference and will be looking to secure their own standings in the league coming up to the final few games of the season. After tonight, there is a break until 18th October (v Houston Dynamo) and the final game is on 24th (San Jose Earthquakes).

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Columbus Crew 2 LA Galaxy 0

Beckham sits out this game with a swollen ankle, and the game seems to suffer as a result. The first half gave us plenty of end-to-end action with The Crew having the best of a relatively mediochre game.
The flash point of the first half was a Columbus goal on 33 minutes which saw the ball headed across the goal and Ricketts helpless as it fell into the far corner. The Crew deserved to be ahead at the break, but neither team was playing the beautiful game as it can be played.
Despite bringing Gordon into the play, and looking more likely to have an impact, LA went down another goal before the hour mark. This prompted Bruce Arena to throw Eddie Lewis into the mix.
Despite LA's best efforts, they rarely worried the Columbus goalmouth and hardly looked like a team determined to make the play-offs. At least they had a game in hand compared to conference leaders Houston, now that potential advantage has been wasted.
Badly missing Beckham the playmaker, The Galaxy host The Chicago Fire next Friday at The Home Depot Center - one can only hope that Beckham can at least make it to the bench by Friday, another performance like this does not bear repeating.

Monday, 21 September 2009

LA Galaxy 2 FC Toronto 0

Beckham scores and makes a second in an emphatic win over FC Toronto, taking The Galaxy to 2nd in the Western Conference with a game in hand.
LA's first came in the 8th minute when Beckham skipped through defenders and slotted the ball away from the edge of the box. Beckham was an awesome presence for the entire game having battled and provided without taking a break. Having spurned a chance in front of goal on 80 minutes eventually he provided the second in the 83rd minute when he took the ball off Toronto on the right wing and cut back to Donovan who slipped it to Buddle. Buddle took it on the volley for a great finish to a clean and crisp move.
This was a determined performance from the player needing to prove his worth to the England manager in the run up to 2010, and puts LA back on track for a chance to get to the elusive play-offs.
Credit also goes to Ricketts in the LA goal, who recovered from the trauma of last week's game and put in the sort of performance we have come to expect.

Monday, 14 September 2009

LA Galaxy 3 DC United 6

The LA Galaxy's fragile hopes of reaching the play-offs have suffered a severe blow as the Galaxy defence revert to type, allowing DC United to score at will. The first DC United goal was scored after 8 minutes and they scored again 20 minutes later. The Galaxy rallied and pulled back the two goals before half time.
In the second half, DC took the lead and followed up with another three goals with no reply until Edson Buddle managed to head the ball home in the 90th minute. Beckham walks away with an assist for the Buddle goal, but not a lot else. This has to figure as a week of ups and downs for Beckham after basking in the delight of helping England to reach the World Cup on Wenesday...
Next game is at home against Toronto FC, there is some serious work to be done in the intervening week.

Friday, 11 September 2009

After the most impressive start to England's most successful qualifying campaign ever, this is how the Group 6 table looks...
A goal difference of 26 is higher than any other team's total goals - England are averaging nearly 4 goals a game and giving away just 0.6 goals per game, are not only undefeated, but have won every game in their group, a feat equaled by Germany and Spain alone in this campaign - good company to keep...! It is worth noting however that Germany have let in just 4 goals and Spain 2.
I reckon England have gifted at least three of the five goals, there is work to be done here before we meet stiffer opposition, but you have to say that no-one is better place to complete this task than Fabio Capello.

In the meantime, Beckham will be winging his way back stateside having only played 10 minutes of a possible 180 and will be looking forward to helping the Galaxy to reach the play-offs this year, a task they have failed to do for the last couple of years. After that, David has confidence that he will be returning to Europe, and will be hoping to be able to step back into the Milan squad at the start of 2010. Nothing is certain at this moment except his determination to play in Europe in the build up to the 2010 World Cup - and he is to some extent master of his own destiny as he proved with the Milan deal this year.

Next game up: at home to FC Dallas who they tied 1-1 against in May away from home. Beckham will be looking to add to the goal he scored last time out against Chivas.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

England 5 Croatia 1

England Qualify in Style...
Off to a great start against top-class opposition, it only took 7 minutes for Lennon to win a penalty, somewhat more convincingly than Rooney's penalty on Saturday. In the popular vernacular, it was 'stone-wall' penalty, the defender having no choice but to block Lennon and bring him down as he skipped across the penalty box. Lampard safely put the ball in the net and England were one-up and on their way to the World Cup...
England continued to push and pressure Croatia convincingly and pressure led to a second England goal from the head of Gerrard. Whatever Capello has been doing, he has certainly been able to get great results out of England players. He started without Beckham and with Rooney and Heskey up front. As a whole the team looks fluid and dangerous playing with confidence and intent. There could still be work to do at the back in defence, but going forward England are looking like a team that could take on the world. Which is exactly what they will be doing next Summer. On first half showing, Croatia looked unsettled and made few chances in contrast to an England side who created chance after chance and could consider themselves unlucky to go in to the second half with only two goals on the scoreboard.
Croatia made two much-needed changes at the start of the second half whilst England sat back a little resting on the two-goal cushion risking allowing Croatia back into the game. Around 60 minutes into the game, England managed to get the ball out of their feet in defence and worked the ball forward out to Glen Johnson on the right who cut the ball back onto Lampard's head for goal number three. Heskey was replaced by Defoe directly after the goal and the game began to look interesting again with all eyes on the developing 'super-sub' for another England goal.
The fourth goal came on 66 minutes as England ride rampant again as they have over every team in this group. This time England winning the ball in the opposition half by applying pressure on the defence, Rooney getting to the by-line and cutting back high for Gerrard to climb and head firmly over the keeper and into the net.
True to form, England despite having all the chances still failed to keep a clean sheet and after making two good saves in quick succession, Green was finally beaten in a goal-mouth scramble as the England defence shows it's weakness.
Rooney helped made up for the gaffe by collecting a goal from a goal-keeping error on 77 minutes at the other end. The keeper sliced a clearance under pressure from Ashley Cole, it fell kindly for Rooney who slotted it away from just inside the box. A period of 'Ole' football follows as Croatia more or less resigned themselves to a severe beating. Shortly after that, Lennon and Gerrard make way for Beckham and Milner - a roar greeted Beckham as he made his way onto the pitch for the last 10 minutes of what was already a very good night for English football.
England qualify for the world cup with a 100% record and two games in hand, a feat which they have never before accomplished. Cappello has earned his money in some style sacrificing some of the defensive prowess for extra attacking power with players like Johnson and Ashley Cole getting forward, a gamble that has paid dividends and goals by the hat-ful.

Monday, 7 September 2009

Soccer News

Where in the World Wide Web, can you find all the latest soccer news, soccer videos, and interact with the latest sports and soccer buzz?
You can do all this and more on a site I came across the other day called Sports Pundit. The sports pundit site sets out to cover all the popular sports including cricket, tennis, boxing and golf but has a lively and informative section dedicated purely to soccer. The soccer content includes news at both club and international levels, even having profiles of some clubs who are not even in the top flight in their regions.
Sports Pundit brings you competitions including fantasy football, soccer forums and the chance to voice your opinion on the hottest topics across all the leagues in Europe and beyond.

A search for the term 'Beckham' on the site gives us a profile of the player plus more than 25 links to related articles. In fact the site boasts a 'colossal' database covering every major sport and accepts contributions from members who can sign up for free and not only browse the news and views, but also take part in forums and submit and edit articles for inclusion. You can search through profiles of 591 players under the heading of ‘Premier League’. You can also search the ‘players’ database in the ‘Soccer’ section and find 239 English players, 321 Italians and even 17 Welsh players (I think that must be the entire Welsh squad!).
The search can be narrowed down to league or team or you can even define whether you only want to search goal-keepers, defenders, midfielders or forwards.
There are even statistics for thousands of individual soccer matches played and almost 1500 soccer teams across the world.
If you enjoy soccer and/or any other sports, this is a must-visit site for you to mark as one of your favourites, not only to get the latest news and views but also as a vast resource of sports information and knowledge.

England 2 Slovenia 1

Beckham sat this one out as Capello tried a few different combinations ahead of the qualifier against Croatia on Wednesday. It is not clear at this stage whether Beckham will feature in the match on Wednesday, much of Capello's experimentation was down the right hand side with Lennon and Wright-Phillips along with the usual rotation of strikers.
Rooney is looking strong although he missed a few chances to extend his scoring record, he did 'win' a penalty early on in the match which left many observers slightly puzzled. Lampard scored from the spot to take England into an early lead which remained until half time and beyond. Defoe demonstrated his prowess by scoring on 62 minutes and giving England a well-deserved cushion despite a competant passing game by the visitors. The Slovenia team proved competent opposition being able to more or less keep good periods of possession, but lacked a sting up front and they had just about one shot on goal after 84 minutes - unfortunately that shot went past Robert Green in the England goal and showed once more English frailties at the back. A rejuvinated Slovenia took the game to a nervous England and for a while there was expectation of an upset, but England quickly regained the upper hand and should really have had a third goal which would not have been undeserved. The game finished 2-1 and it was a pity that England could not have notched up a rare clean sheet.
Capello will be happy with the win but certainly NOT with the fact that England defence threw away an opportunity of keeping a clean sheet, and not with the amount of missed chances.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Beckham makes England squad

Unsurprisingly Beckham makes Capello's England squad for the two games coming up. This will surely add to Beckhams impressive tally of England caps. Cappelo's squad looks like this:

Ben Foster, Robert Green, Paul Robinson.
Wayne Bridge , Wes Brown, Ashley Cole, Glen Johnson, Joleon Lescott, John Terry, Matthew Upson.
Gareth Barry, David Beckham , Michael Carrick, Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Aaron Lennon, James Milner, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Ashley Young.
Carlton Cole, Peter Crouch, Jermain Defoe, Emile Heskey, Wayne Rooney.

Names to watch should include Carlton Cole and Jermaine Defoe up front, Aaron Lennon down the right wing and Glen Johnson pushing out down the right wing from defence. All have impresssed recently for their clubs and offer some interesting alternatives to the familiar names.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

LA Galaxy 1 Chivas 0

The crowd had to wait nearly 80 minutes to see a goal in the closely-fought local derby match, and when it came it was a rare Beckham goal in open play that sealed the match for The Galaxy.
Both Keepers were kept busy at various times during the game and the action was fairly evenly split between the two ends - to be fair the first-half analysis probably had Chivas 'ahead on points'. In the second half Beckham had more chances to send free-kicks and crosses into the box, but it was a deflected header from a Galaxy throw-in which eventually fell kindly for Beckham just on the edge of the penalty box. He crossed it from the right hand side of the box and against the left hand upright and into the back of the net. Frustration followed for Chivas who soon after had a man sent off, and then another booking for a tackle which incensed The Galaxy including Beckham who has shown that he is not shy to defend his colleagues when they are subject to bad tackles.
The game finished 1-0, Beckham has something to show for his efforts and to silence his critics. He appears to be enjoying his football which is good for the Galaxy as they seek to consolidate and then maybe improve on their league position, and good for England who play twice in the next ten days.

Thursday, 27 August 2009

Upcoming games

LA Galaxy face Chivas this weekend for the final leg of the Honda SuperClasico - Galaxy already have a win and a draw under their belts, meaning that another win or draw wins them the trophy once again. A return to winning ways is required after having recorded a win, a loss and a draw in the last three league matches.

England line up to face two games at Wembley, the first a friendly against Slovenia on Saturday 5th September, the second signifies a return to World Cup qualifiers against Ukraine the following Wednesday. During this time, The Galaxy are taking a break and resume hostilities on the 12th September, they will be hoping that Beckham returns fit and raring to go for the match against FC Dallas.

Englands' remaining World Cup qualifiers (after next Wednesday) will be Ukraine (away) on 10th October and Belarus (at Wembley) on 14th. With a good result against Ukraine, England may well be already qualified for the World Cup, they are currently standing on top of their group with a 100% record.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

DC United 0 LA Galalxy 0

A tough battle ensued in the first half in which neither team really established superiority although both teams made good chances. LA remained tight at the back, whilst DC did their best to negate the efforts of Beckham and Donovan.
Ricketts managed to keep the best DC United efforts out whilst the DC defence was equal to anything that LA threw at them in the first half, the teams left the field at half time having entertained the crowd with end-to-end football. Too few shots on goal though, honours even... the score at 0-0.
The second half managed to live up to the promise of the first - the game continued at a similar tempo and no quarter was given in the battle to retain possession, yellow cards were handed out like party invitations to both sides. As the game went on it began to look more and more like a goalless draw was on the cards despite the frenetic action.
In the closing minutes the teams looked tired and passes were going astray, neither team had done enough to deserve a win and despite battles all over the field there was not enough action in the box and when there was attacking play, the finishing was not good enough. In the final minute of the 90, it was Beckham himself who had a chance from distance, the DC keeper just able to get down low on his right side and push the ball around the post. After 3 minutes of extra time, the game ends 0-0.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Chicago Fire 0 LA Galaxy 2

Chicago were subdued by the Galaxy on Wednesday as for once, The Galaxy defence stood strong to deny Chicago virtually any scoring chances throughout the entire match. Mike Magee ran amok at the front for The Galaxy and scored in the 23rd minute giving LA a 1-0 lead going into the break.
In the second half with Galaxy firmly in control, Donavan doubled the score with a break away goal scoring with his right foot for a change. Despite the clean-sheet, a shadow was cast on the precedings for The Galaxy when Donovan Ricketts had to be taken off after a clash with a Chicago player in the penalty box. No doubt he will be fully recovered for the next match, although he was almost surplus to requirements on this occassion, it is often Ricketts that keeps the LA in games when the defence lets them down.
This helps to boost LA's standings in the Western Conference, and the weekend brings another away game at DC United.

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Beckham reflects on his future

The Galaxy have games in quick succession this week, but Beckham has a chance to reflect on his personal progress after the harsh red card he received at the weekend. He has been quoted in the British press as having stated that the Premiership is not his destination after the MLS season closes despite reported interest from Chelsea (Ancelloti now installed...) and Tottenham. He has reiterated that his desire is to play for AC Milan again in the build up to the 2010 World Cup.

England manager Fabio Capello has made it clear that Beckham needs regular first team football in Europe to be considered for the England squad, although his place is not particularly threatened by any pretenders to the right wing position.

Wright-Phillips is certainly nippy down the wing, but has not really delivered his best performances in the England shirt, he looks like a substitute at best. Theo Walcott is much more likely to be able to carve out a permanent place if his best performances can be reproduced, and David Bentley has seemingly disappeared without a trace looking for first team football possibly at Aston Villa after not being able to establish himself at Spurs. I like Glenn Johnson at right back, so whoever can form a good understanding with him would be first choice for me. Johnson likes to get forward more than most, and Beckham with his defensive work-rate remains more of a natural choice as a partner on the right.

Beckham has been played centrally, a position that he is more than capable of maintaining but here there is far more competition for places with the likes of Lampard, Gerrard, Barry and Carrick all fighting for position, with plenty more in the wings.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Seattle Sounders 2 LA GAlaxy 0

In a hard fought match, Beckham only lasted 17 minutes before committing a foul which saw him being sent off with a straight red. He lunged at a Sounders player and although there was no real damage or malicious intent, the challenge was rash - most ref's would probably have given a yellow at most but Beckham can attract un-wanted attention from officials as well as fans...
Down to ten men and without their most influential players (Donovan was benched with swine flu), LA were 1-0 down at the end of the first half which continued in the aggressive vein in which it had started. Despite Donovan returning to the fray, and a second yellow shown to a Sounders player to even up the sides, LA went down another goal and another player when Eddie Lewis got himself a straight red too. The game finished 2-0 to Seattle and The Galaxy's long unbeaten run in the league lies shattered allowing Seattle to go one place higher on goal difference, The Galaxy now sit in third position in the Western Conference two points behind league-leaders Houston.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

Holland 2 England 2

This was to be the most testing opposition that England had faced for some time, Holland being ranked 3rd in current world rankings. Beckham would be under the spotlight as would Green in the England goal and Rooney up front.
The presence of Holland's front men had England struggling as Robben proved to have the pace to out-run just about anybody on the pitch. Robben's fellow front men Dirk Kuyt and Van Persie looked likely to be a threat to anyone's unbeaten record and a shaky England succumbed twice in the first half through school-boy errors from the normally solid Ferdinand and Barry. England had their chances but must have been gutted at half-time to go into the tunnel trailing a good side almost entirely through their own fault. Beckham had a good half and was able to distribute from centre midfield as well as adding his weight to the defence when required, he did not return for the second half, but Capello must have been pleased with what he saw from his most capped player.
Both teams took the opportunity to experiment and England must have been somewhat relieved to see Robben substituted for the second half. Cappello took the chance to bring on Defoe, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Michael Carrick for Emile Heskey, Beckham and Barry. It took four minutes for Defoe to get his name on the score sheet as Lampard sent a hopeful long ball up the field leaving Defoe one-on-one with the keeper. Under pressure from fast-retreating defenders, Defoe expertly curled the ball around the keeper with his left foot to drag the score back to 2-1. In the same half Capello brought on Milner (for Ashley Young) and Carlton Cole (for Rooney). Cole had a number of opportunities and looked like a likely prospect for the future showing good control and ability to hold the ball as well as strength and shooting ability. As England established a hold over the game, it was Defoe again who scored to level the score at 2-2. Milner bravely headed the ball off the foot of Heitinga giving himself acres of space in which to cross from the left. He sent the ball scudding along the goal line for Defoe to slide onto for a tap-in, closely followed by Wright-Phillips who would certainly have converted if Defoe weren't there.
The remaining 13 minutes were tense especially when Holland had a free kick right outside the box in the closing minutes, but the game ended honours even and England should really be kicking themselves that they didn't stay a little tighter at the back and end up with an impressive victory.
The game taught us that the tendency for England to make silly mistakes at the back has not gone away, that Robert Green is a good keeper, that Beckham is still worth his weight and England still have strikers that could have an impact on the World Cup stage next year.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

New England Revolution 1 LA Galaxy 2

On the day that Fabio Capello named David Beckham in the squad for Wednesday's friendly against Holland, The Galaxy take on The Revolution away from home.
The game started well with chances for both sides, The Revolution were establishing in-roads down the Galaxy's left-hand side, but it was Donovan snatching a volley on the edge of the box who struck first giving Galaxy a 1-0 lead on the 21-minute mark. The Revolution continued to push and get chances on The Galaxy's right hand side too, but despite a couple of goal-mouth scrambles, the half finished 1-0 to The Galaxy. Beckham looked comfortable in the middle of the field and seemed to enjoy mixing it up. Donovan Ricketts in the Galaxy goal was in fine form, filling what has been something of a vacant role for Galaxy in the recent past. Ricketts has established himself as a safe pair of hands and is one of the keys to recent Galaxy successes.

Seven minutes into the second half, Galaxy consolidated their lead when Eddie Lewis looped the ball in from the left and the Revolution keeper came but didn't gather. The ball fell to Kirovski who managed to squeeze the ball into the net, extending the lead to 2-0 to The Galaxy. The game continued at a reasonable rate with both sides making decent chances although The Galaxy back line caught The Revolution off-side on far too many occasions. The game had some flash points, Beckham getting involved and showing his passion where he could easily have taken a back-seat and spared himself for International duty next week.
Mansally who earlier got himself booked for elbowing a Galaxy player in the head (and earning himself special attention from Beckham) earned himself a penalty ten minutes from the end giving New England a much-needed goal and hopes of getting back into the game. Beckham was substituted 5 minutes from the end, replaced by Chris Birchall. The Revolution had all the momentum in the closing minutes, but failed to convert their effort into a goal - the game finishes 2-1 to The Galaxy

All-in-all an encouraging performance from Galaxy on a ground where they have had little success in the past. A host of mistakes from New England proved to be as decisive as the goals that came from LA in the final analysis.

Sunday, 2 August 2009

Barcelona 2 LA Galaxy 1

93,000 fans turned out at the Rose Bowl in Pasedena proving that despite the best efforts of the MLS to ruin the game of football (soccer if you must) in the US, it can still draw tremendous public support. With such stars as Donovan, Beckham, Lionel Messi, Thierry Henry, Rafael Marquez, Dani Alves and Xavi Hernandez on show, this was a rare opportunity...
Barcelona took only 11 minutes to establish a lead when Pedro Rodriguez took advantage of a Messi rebound off the back of Galaxy defender DeLaGarza. Barcelona showed their class and had control of most of the play but equilibrium returned a minute from the break when Beckham sent a 25 yard free kick sailing into the back of the net taking Galaxy into the half-time break on level terms.
Beckham was booed pretty much every time he got the ball, but this is not a new experience for the star, and he is not naive enough to believe a goal will silence all the critics. He has played solidly since returning to the Galaxy. If his solid performances on the pitch have made no difference to the element of supporters who prefer to voice their malcontent than show support for their team, then a goal will probably not change their mind.
Twenty minutes into the second half, Suarez, one of the multitude of Barcelona substitues buried the ball in the net for the second and Barca goal of the match. Beckham stayed on the pitch up to the 87th minute before making way for Mike Magee. Maybe Bruce Arena wanted to give the loyal fans chance to clap Beckham off the pitch.
Let's hope Beckham can add to his tally soon and leave the boo boys with less to shout about - you can't continue to boo someone who is not only putting in a performance but scoring goals for you against Barcelona....

Monday, 27 July 2009

Beckham has words with another fan

After being fined $1000 for his altercation at the Home Depot with a disgruntled fan last week, David Beckham was once again seen to talk to an unhappy fan in the game against the Kansas Wizards team at the weekend.
Reportedly this fan wore an England T-shirt, but according to Beckham, over-stepped the line by insulting his wife Victoria (not the first time a football crowd have done so...) but the two ended up shaking hands.
Hopefully this kind of thing will abate soon as the added pressure cannot be good, although to be fair, Beckham's performance on the pitch does not seem to have been affected...

Sunday, 26 July 2009

Kansas City Wizards 1 LA Galaxy 1

The Galaxy started well at CommunityAmerica Ballpark and took the game to the Wizards with Beckham playing a vital role feeding the ball to the front men from all over the pitch. Despite Galaxy pressure, it was an error on the half-way line that gifted the ball to the Kansas player Lopez just inside the Wizard's half of the pitch. Lopez spotted Rickets, the Galaxy keeper off his line and lofted the ball over the keeper from a stunning distance on 25 minutes. Rickets slammed into the goalpost in his efforts to reach the ball and damaged his back sufficiently to be substituted. It was 1-0 to the home side, but the Galaxy were back in the game just 8 minutes later when Donovan scored right-footed shooting across the goal into the left-hand corner. Predictably, the deft lay-off to Donovan in mid-field came from Beckham.

In the second half, Kansas came back strong but LA managed to keep them out although the crossbar came to their rescue on one occasion and the ricochet was nearly turned into the net by a Galaxy defender.
Beckham continued to provide quality ball like he had right from the start of the game, and The Galaxy will be disappointed that they have not continued their winning streak in the league, although they remain unbeaten for the fifth league game on the spin. Next up is the friendly against Barcelona on 1st August...

Monday, 20 July 2009

Galaxy 2 AC Milan 2

Beckham's 'Homecoming' left little to be desired on the pitch, but plenty to be desired on the terraces. The football always takes precedence on this blog, so we will address that first...
The Galaxy started at pace and quickly began to pile on the pressure which is probably the best way to attack a Milan side that like to slowly take control of a game (albeit a new team that is in preparation for a new season).
Despite the pressure, it was Milan that scored first as Thiago Silva headed home a free kick. The Galaxy struck back within 15 minutes via a long searching pass from Beckham to Donovan, Donovan put the ball in for Alan Gordon to score bringing the score level at 1-1. The first half ended level and a surprising scene manifested itself as the players left the pitch and Beckham took exception to something yelled from the sector of the Galaxy supporters who had been most vocally anti-Beckham. A short exchange took place the details of which may emerge later, but the upshot was that the supporter was arrested as he leaped over the barriers to confront Beckham. We are left pondering whether things would have been best left alone, but until you are personally subjected to abuse from unrestrained idiots, it is difficult to say how you would react yourself - everyone has a point at which they lose their cool. It was noticeable how the dissenting sector of the crowd had calmed down somewhat for the second half, and hopefully that indicates that most people had worked through their issues in that first 45 minutes where Beckham showed his considerable value to this LA team.
The game resumed and it took Milan about 15 minutes to regain the lead through Inzaghi, but it only took The Galaxy another four minutes to equalise via a Beckham corner and a header from Bryan Jordan. Beckham left the field another 1o minutes later having proved a definite point turning provider for both LA goals and several unconverted chances - The score remained at 2-2 at the cessation of play, an honourable draw and a great result for The Galaxy. Hopefully, recent results show that The Galaxy have turned a corner and will be able to bring home some results in the next few weeks. Hopefully they will also be able to rely on their fans to get behind the team as they enjoy what may prove to be the most successful run of results of the season.

Friday, 17 July 2009

NY Red Bulls 1 LA Galaxy 3

The TV coverage started with a frank interview with Beckham, followed by some whining by the writer of the 'Beckham Experiment' book which left me thinking... if you could write books half as well as Beckham plays soccer you would probably actually write something worthwhile. I hate to see someone of average talent criticising someone with unquestionably huge talent, I can live with Donovans criticism far more than some nerd with a chip on his shoulder.
Whatever the critics might say about whether he should play or not, Beckham starts in the middle of midfield giving an embrace to Donovan before the kick off. In less than 3 minutes Eskandarian's left foot gave the visiting LA team the lead. New York responded with Juan Pablo Angel coming close on a couple of occasions. Tellingly, when Donovan had a chance to put someone in a goal-scoring position early on, he selected to cut back a long way to Beckham who's shot was blocked.
On 30 minutes Donovan scored with his right foot, after a period of prolonged pressure from The Galaxy, Beckham resuming his role as spot-kick and corner-taker. Donovan Rickets in the LA goal kept the Red Bulls out and just before the half-time whistle, Landon Donovan fed the ball cross-field right to left for Eddie Lewis to volley home with his left foot. LA Galaxy head into half-time with an unprecedented 3-0 lead for this season - whether this is the Beckham touch or not... something was going the right way.
LA started the second half brightly, the game remaining open and flowing, LA showing no inclination to close up and slow the game down. On 68 minutes Buddle had a stinging shot parried away and Beckham was replaced By Chris Birchall (previously playing at Brighton and Hove Albion). Birchall had an immediate impact placing the ball cleverly to Donovan who knocked the ball across for Eskandarian who could do no more than place it into the keepers hands. Mike McGee replaced Eskandarian as LA looked sure to walk away with the three points. The final twenty minutes were played out without any real threat emerging from the New York team. However on 85 minutes, they had the ball in the net but ended up with a penalty for hand-ball, Angel made no mistake from the spot-kick, leaving the score at 3-1. Bizarrely four minutes later a second hand-ball penalty was awarded, but this time Rickets saved from the spot-kick.
Beckham had demonstrated how smoothly he can make the transition into this new team, Donovan showed how invaluable he is to the Galaxy team as did Rickets in Goal. The Galaxy also demonstrated their capacity to lose concentration and were lucky not to give away two goals in te last five minutes. Observers are left wondering why it has taken The Galaxy so long to gel successfully as a team.

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Beckham back at the Galaxy

Amongst unprecedented interest from the media, Beckham took the field for training with The Galaxy yesterday and firmly put behind him any problems that might arise with Landon Donovan and his all-to-public comments. Chris Klein was heard to say of Donovan and Beckham ".... when they get out here, they are two of the best at what they do." and that is what we want to see in action in Thursday.

Klein said that Beckham met with the team on Sunday and most of the conversation centered around family and the time spent in Milan.
Donovan himself was quoted as saying of his meeting with Beckham, "Some good will come out of it," he said. "I really believe that. I believe we're getting to the bottom of things we needed to get to. We're on the right path, and I'm excited about that."
Let's hope that comes out on the field...

New Spot The Ball competition

Spot the ball has been a game that has had families crowding around the sports pages of our newspapers for generations, and now that experience is available online. Not only can you win a car in this new online game, you can win luxury gadgets and get to pit your wits against professional Football Association referees such as Vic Callow and Dermot Gallagher.
This new site ‘Spotit’ is blowing the whistle on other sites that sell your contact details or accept entries that equate to over 600% of the value of the prizes on offer. Spotit is vowing to offer transparency by publicising the number of entries and having limited-entry competitions that give the competitor a better chance of winning.

All entries in the spot the ball competition are judged by real live Football Association referees, your spot must match their spot in order to win the top prize in the car competition.
The Spotit site has other competitions on offer to win cash prize, win mega gadgets and luxury gadgets – one recent winner won tickets to the British Formula One Grand Prix. Weekend breaks and Shopping spree prizes are also on offer.
The game of spot the ball is by no means a new innovation, but this new site is bringing the competition to the internet with an honest and transparent approach which should ensure enjoyment for all and a good chance of winning for many.

Monday, 13 July 2009

Beckham and Donovan to kiss and make up

David Beckham has issued a rebuttal to Landon Donovan's complaints citing his professional record with some of the worlds very best football clubs as evidence of his attitude to the sport. In return Donovan has admitted that it was ill-advised of him to make his comments without first talking to David. Both men have said that they will talk and clear the air before Beckham takes the field for the first time this year in the MLS.
Honestly, this is the best solution to the problem and I for one am glad that both men want the chance to meet face to face and iron out their differences before taking to the field in earnest for their club. Donovan has a point that I think is explained by Bruce Arena coming in for Ruud Gullit, I think that was the catalyst that placed a distance between Beckham and The Galaxy, and made him look about for a possible escape...
Beckham also has a point that any problem Donovan had should have been discussed with Beckham face to face initially, especially as Donovan carries the responsibility of captaining the Los Angeles club. He also may have a point that conditions of his contract were not being met if indeed Gullit was bought in as part of a deal with Beckham, and he also has a point that Donovan himself has shown a lack of commitment by trying his hand (or at least his left foot) in Europe himself in the off-season.

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Chivas 0 Galaxy 1

Galaxy win against home rivals Chivas (for those that don't know, they play at the same stadium, the Home Depot Center) with Buddle scoring from a header early on - this gives The Galaxy their third win in a row, which is a vast improvement on their start to the season where draws were more common than wins. There seems every chance that Beckham could put in an appearance on Thursday against the New York Red Bulls - unless Donovan has his way of course...

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Beckham prepares for hostile reception

There is not much doubt that opposition fans will give Beckham a lot of stick, he has been used to that since he arrived at the MLS and before that in the premiership. However it is not often that prominent team mates will nail their colours to the mast quite so emphatically as Landon Donovan has done recently.
Landon is a big name in US soccer and has richly deserved his position as a top player by doing that thing that cannot be argued with...ie. scoring goals. His left foot has got his team mates out of trouble on countless occasions whether he was playing for the Galaxy or for the US national team. This time he seems determined to plant his foot in something slightly smaller that a soccer goal - his mouth...! The bad-mouthing began when Beckham declared his intention to play for Milan in the off-season. Donovan voiced his annoyance stating that there could be no benefit to Beckham travelling half-way around the world to cosy up with chums in Italy - Donovan then looked an idiot when he took a similar journey himself trying his hand in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich. Donovan had to come back home without signing for Munich, Beckham stayed at Milan even though it was reportedly at his own expense - and there's the real problem that Donovan has... Beckham can afford to take a wage cut to play where he wants to play, Donovan was forced to come home from Munich because they didn't want him enough.
Don't get me wrong, Donovan is indeed a top player and a valuable asset to The Galaxy - however I don't think he gives himself anything but a big headache by kicking out at Beckham - shortly the two will have to do a job together and Donovan is making things very difficult for himself. Maybe he is right (and I happen to think he is) to point out that Beckham lost interest when Ruud Gullit left LA, but he does no good to point it out and call it a lack of committment. I personally think that a top European manager was part of Beckhams requirement, and when Gullit left allowing The Galaxy to appoint Bruce Arena, a problem was created. It seems to me that Bruce Arena and Beckham were not on the same wavelength - don't forget that Beckham counts Sir Alex Ferguson and Fabio Capello amongst managers that he has clashed heads with over the years. I believe this was where the story went sour, a point where The Galaxy were not performing well and Beckham may have felt isolated and began to think about how he might escape from this 'fine mess' he had gotten himself into.
For players like Beckham loyalty and committment do not equate to cash, the advisors might want the cash deal, but the player has to feel part of a team otherwise it is 'just' a job, and this is how it has ended up for Beckham in my opinion. He has not played badly for LA, I defy Donovan to cite the match that Beckham played badly - he has maintained a level of professionalism and has steered clear of voicing his protests publicly. Maybe that is the difference between a superstar and just a good footballer, the difference between Beckham and Donovan.
Donovan wants Beckham to be benched - I have never heard a professional sportsman talk about a team mate in those terms - except When Amr Zaki repeatedly did not return to Wigan after international duty in Egypt - at least Beckham went through the proper channels before not returning the LA in March...
I hope the two men can work out their differences like professionals in the coming weeks otherwise winter will be a long time coming for both of them. I think The Galaxy would be very ill-advised to bench Beckham and if they do, I think he would be within his rights to tell the MLS to stick the mega-wages and walk away... Beckham owes his employers a performance, if he doesn't get the chance to perform then they have forfeited their rights as an employer. It is the Galaxy and MLS that should also be controlling what comes out of Donovans mouth into the public arena - in the premiership a player would surely be benched himself for offering such opinions publicly.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Beckham wins libel case

I hesitate to comment on a 'tabloid' story as this blog is unconcerned with most of what happens off the field for David Beckham. However as this comes when there is a lull between the end of Milan's season and when Beckham resumes at The Galaxy, we will make an exception.
In short, Beckham has made The Express Group of newspapers pay an undisclosed sum for it's childish insinuations in one of it's 'rags' that Beckham 'made a play' for some Hungarian model.
We who have watched his career for some time know that it is just not in the character of the man to behave in this way despite the desire that some 'journalists' might have to see superstars publicly disgrace themselves (out of a mixture of jealousy and spite). Shame on them who contribute only negativity to the world.
Beckham was not in court to hear the decision as he is no doubt taking a break before preparing to rejoin The Galaxy in a few weeks. It is likely that there will be the opportunity to get a couple of games for LA under his belt before his team-mates at Milan come calling. The game against Milan is scheduled for 19th July and with the departure of Kaka and Ancelloti, it remains to be seen whether there will be any stars left in the Milan team before the game..

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Beckham's break

David Beckham having finished the Serie A season with Milan, and having taken part in two (winning) internationals with England - has a break for a few weeks before returning the The Galaxy next month. The Los Angeles team are sorely missing some 'edge' having had a less than impressive start to the season. The Galaxy are lying 6th in the league with a tally of 15 points from 13 games and a goal difference of -1. If Beckham is to make an impact on this team, he will need to do it quickly...With about a dozen games left of the season when David returns, there is little chance The Galaxy being able to threaten the league-leaders from their lowly position, or even get into a play-off position. There will of course be two major highlights of the season remaining - the games against Milan and Barcelona.
We have said it before, but the US leagues are just not ready for players like Beckham until they are really past their best and need to step down from soccer at the highest level. This whole idea would have worked after the next World Cup so much more effectively when otherwise retirement will certainly beckon.

On England's World Cup campaign, only one more win is required out of the remaining three qualifiers.England are in an almost-unassailable position at the top of their qualifying group, one more win would secure qualification without depending on any other results - to complete the group with a 100% record must now surely be the aim of the team and the coach, and right now, that looks like a very achievable goal.
The next scheduled England game is a friendly against Holland in Amsterdam on 12th August, followed by a warm-up game against Slovenia at Wembley on 5th September. The next qualifier is against Croatia at Wembley on 9th September followed by the away game against Ukraine on 10th October, and finally the qualifier against Belarus on 14th October at Wembley.
If Beckham gets picked for these international games, then he will play even less time in the MLS and The Galaxy are destined for a poor result this season.
The understanding that came out of the negotiations earlier this year, has been that Beckham will return to Milan in January 2010, but with Ancelotti at Chelsea, it is not clear whether any 'understanding' with Beckham was dependant on Ancelotti remaining as the Milan manager. On the Milan website, Beckham has said "....we’ll see what happens, but I hope to return soon."