Tottenham Hotspur's transfer dealings are like clockwork -- an alarm clock, upon which you have thumped the snooze button a dozen times and which is now beeping only to tell you that you're late for work again. Another summer window deadline day, another cluster of cameras outside the gates at Spurs, poised to capture the last-second drama. Will this new "partnership" with Real Madrid, forged alongside the transfer of Luka Modric, mean the arrival under darkness of Kaka? Will a deal finally be struck with Porto for Joao Moutinho? Is there any money left for Shakhtar Donetsk's Willian? These are the questions reporters, shivering inside their raincoats, will field repeatedly before the midnight chimes bring it all to an end.
Just a week in to the new Premier League season and we can already say that a number of players have made evidently good moves over the course of the summer -- Eden Hazard has needed no time to bed in at Chelsea, Michu is already having a ball at Swansea City, and Mladen Petric has quickly embraced the team ethic at Fulham. As we barrel towards the end of the transfer window, however, there are a few moves that, if not entirely baffling, at least give rise to a feeling of unease.
"I read the papers and I see they say £10 million is my price. I go and talk with Sir Alex, and he says to me £5 million. So who is telling the truth, what do you think?" asked Dimitar Berbatov of his million-plus Facebook fans earlier this week. "The truth is, I love this club, but I am not going to be useful to anyone if I am not playing." It is the latest in a string of posts on his timeline wondering what the future holds.
Five things we learned in Barclays Premier League action Sunday and the FA Cup final:
Five Premier League thoughts after City's Manchester Derby victory:
Some quick thoughts on this weekend's FA Cup semifinal contestants:
Chelsea romped into the English FA Cup semifinal with a 5-1 beating of London rivals Tottenham Hotspur in a controversial match at Wembley Sunday.
In the March 13 Merseyside derby, Steven Gerrard scored his 87th, 88th and 89th league goals for Liverpool, the club with which he signed his first professional contract 15 years and 400 first-team appearances ago. Gerrard is one of several one-club Premier League players in their 30s -- Jamie Carragher (also Liverpool), Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes (both Manchester United), Tony Hibbert (Everton), Ledley King (Tottenham Hotspur), and Chelsea captain John Terry (if you don't count the six appearances he made while on loan at Nottingham Forest at 20 years old) -- but they're few and far between in these days of big-money transfers. That wasn't always the case; here is a selection of more or less well-known one-club players from the recent and distant past of English soccer.
Veteran American Brad Friedel tells CNN's Pedro Pinto about Tottenham's Champions League hopes and Fabrice Muamba.
Five things we learned in Barclays Premier League action Saturday:
Tottenham are through to the semifinals of the FA Cup after beating battling Bolton 3-1, in a match that was originally abandoned after Bolton midfielder Fabrice Muamba suffered a heart attack on the pitch 10 days ago.
Five things we learned in Barclays Premier League action Sunday:
Jermain Defoe underlined his goalscoring ability once again as Tottenham Hotspur came from behind to beat Stevenage 3-1 in their FA Cup fifth round replay Wednesday.
Manchester United moved to within two points of leaders Manchester City at the top of the English Premier League with a 3-1 win at third-placed Tottenham Hotspur Sunday.
Five things we learned in Barclays Premier League and Carling Cup action Sunday:
England winger Theo Walcott scored twice as Arsenal fight back from going two goals behind to sensationally thrash north London rivals Tottenham 5-2, a result that lifts Arsene Wenger's side back into fourth place in the Premier League table.
Tottenham Hotspur survived a testing encounter at second-flight Watford to progress to the last 16 of the English FA Cup with a 1-0 win Friday.
CNN's Don Riddell looks back at "Super Sunday" in the English Premiership
Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli has been charged with violent conduct by the English Football Association after his apparent stamp on Tottenham midfielder Scott Parker during Sunday's 3-2 Premier League win.
White Hart Lane, a raw February night in 2004, Tottenham against Manchester City in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Five things we learned from the week's action in the Barclays Premier League.
The January transfer window: a mid-campaign silly season to send even the most sensible commentators doolally. Andy Carroll back to Newcastle? Sure, why not. Lionel Messi to West Brom? You heard it here first! January always lands a few surprises, but here are some of the storylines I'll be keeping an eye on over the next few weeks.
Gareth Bale scored both goals as Tottenham Hotspur bolstered their burgeoning title challenge in the English Premier League with a 2-0 win at Norwich Tuesday night.
John Terry shrugged off his off-field problems to save Chelsea from a damaging defeat by English Premier League rivals Tottenham on Thursday.
Five things we learned from the weekend's action in the Barclays Premier League.
Tottenham Hotspur secured an emphatic 4-0 win over Shamrock Rovers Thursday but still failed to make the last 32 of the Europa League.
Matthew Etherington scored both goals as Stoke ended Tottenham's winning English Premier League run with a 2-1 victory on Sunday.
English Premier League form side Tottenham are on the brink of going out of the Europa League after Greek outfit PAOK Salonika claimed a shock 2-1 Group A victory at White Hart Lane.
Five things we learned from Saturday's action in the Barclays Premier League:
Back in May this year it was reported that the Tottenham Hotspur manager, Harry Redknapp, had been interested in Luis Suarez before Liverpool signed him but had been told by the club's scouts that the Uruguayan forward "wasn't up to it" and that he "couldn't cope in the Premier League." Cue great mirth at Redknapp's expense, despite the fact that what he actually said was: "We kept looking at Suarez but people thought he couldn't play up as a striker; they said he's like Rafa [van der Vaart] and you can't have him and Rafa or you'd have two players who want to drop deep, so that was the problem."
Tottenham moved up to third in the English Premier League as Emmanuel Adebayor helped welcome manager Harry Redknapp back to the dugout with both goals in Monday's 2-0 win against Aston Villa.
English Premier League high-fliers Tottenham failed to offer some cheer to absent manager Harry Redknapp as they suffered their first Europa League defeat of the season, losing 1-0 to Rubin Kazan in Group A.
Roman Pavlyuchenko scored the only goal of the game against his Russian compatriots to give Tottenham a 1-0 win over Rubin Kazan and retain their unbeaten record in Europa League Group A on Thursday.
Besides Wayne Rooney's renascent petulance, the central narrative in England's Euro 2012 qualification campaign has been the rejuvenation of Fabio Capello's squad; piecemeal, certainly, but we are witnessing a changing of the guard of sorts. Particularly in defense, where a number of players -- Chris Smalling, Gary Cahill, Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Micah Richards and Kyle Walker -- look more or less viable alternatives to the incumbents and where Phil Jones has already shown himself comfortably capable of replacing his perpetually injured Manchester United teammate Rio Ferdinand -- so much so that Ferdinand's future at international level has been called in to question. Yet speaking to the Tottenham defender Ledley King a short while before England's 2-2 draw with Montenegro, international football seems an anomalous topic of conversation, a diversion too far on a tight schedule. Which is odd when you consider that he is two years younger than Ferdinand, and arguably the finest
Kyle Walker scored a superb second half winner as Tottenham Hotspur beat north London rivals Arsenal 2-1 at White Hart Lane Sunday for their fourth straight English Premier League victory.
English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur eased past Irish champions Shamrock Rovers in their Europa League Group A match, but only after surviving a massive scare against the part-timers.
Manchester United's perfect start to the English Premier League season came to a halt on Saturday when the defending champions were held to a 1-1 draw at Stoke City.
In 1968, Manchester City won the league and a few days later Manchester United won the European Cup. In May, City won the FA Cup; later the same afternoon, United won the league. It was typical of the relationship between the Manchester clubs that after City had thumped one north London team 5-1 on Sunday, United went and thrashed the other one 8-2. Of more concern to the Premier League and football in general, though, is what Sunday said about the relationship between the Manchester clubs and everybody else.
CNN's Don Riddell asks Ray Wilkins and Chris Coleman about the fixtures for the 2011-12 Barclays Premier League.
Five things we learned from the final day's action in the Premier League:
Thoughts on the weekend's action in the Barclays Premier League:
Thoughts on the weekend's action in the Barclays Premier League:
LONDON -- None of the Tottenham players will be daunted by the prospect of Tuesday¹s eagerly-anticipated Champions League quarterfinal against Real Madrid. After all, three of its likely starting lineup have reached this stage of the competition before -- Heurelho Gomes (PSV), William Gallas (Arsenal/Chelsea) and Peter Crouch (Liverpool) -- while another six have represented their countries at major tournaments.
Expectation took such a hard beating this week that at one point, concerned neighbors Custom and Destiny must have thought about calling the police. It wouldn't have taken them long to track down the assailants to North London, where Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur have each emerged from the first leg of their Champions League matches with a massively against-the-odds lead over Barcelona and AC Milan respectively. Key in both victories was the fact that both teams packed a punch in central midfield.
Observations from Champions League action involving English clubs this week:
This is Tottenham's biggest match for almost 50 years: the first leg of a knock-out tie in Europe's biggest cup competition. Gareth Bale definitely won't be playing, Luka Modric is a doubt and Jermaine Jenas is suspended, but Rafael van der Vaart is fit, and Harry Redknapp is sticking steadfastly to the club's principles: "Attacking football is what got us here in the first place," he insists. "We have had a go all through this competition so we will have a right go again at San Siro."
The fourth round of the FA Cup interrupted the Premier League calendar over the weekend, which meant the handful of eliminated top-flight clubs were not in action. Here are a few thoughts on some that were:
Reflecting on the midweek mayhem in the Barclays Premier League:
With the January transfer window now in effect, here's a rundown of each Premier League team's needs:
Stomachs in North London have hosted colonies of butterflies this week: tomorrow brings the first league derby of the season, the reopening of hostilities proper for 2010-11. It may lack the nationalist color of El Clasico, the sectarian edge of the Old Firm derby or even the historical class friction of Milan's derby della Madonnina -- the North London derby between Arsenal and Tottenham (Saturday, 7:45 a.m. ET) makes do with stout territorial posturing -- but this is a 123-year-old matchup that still sets supporters' senses aquifer.
After a hectic weekend of action both home and abroad, here's what I'm thinking about on this Monday:
LONDON -- It's more than an hour since the whistle was blown on Tottenham Hotspur's Champions League victory over FC Twente on Wednesday. As the stewards make their final checks of the stands and the last remaining hospitality suite revelers are coaxed to exits, Gareth Bale makes his way around the pitch toward the players' car park, the last man out of the home dressing room again.
In an exclusive interview, Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp hails the impact of new signing Rafael Van der Vaart.
Notes from the weekend in the Premier League:
Tottenham manager Harry Redknapp was asked how he would celebrate after his team's victory against BSC Young Boys on Wednesday ensured qualification for the Champions League group stage.
Tactical notes from the first weekend of the Premier League season:
The last six Premier League titles have been won by Chelsea or Manchester United, so it is hardly surprising that last season's shoulder-to-shoulder race for fourth place between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City captured the imagination. Fingernails in the north and the south were gnawed short as the two clubs exchanged the lead several times before Spurs took the fourth spot at Eastlands in the season's penultimate game.
The World Cup is over and another summer of rampant transfer rumor-mongering is underway in the Premier League. The few clubs with cash are being linked with anybody and everybody -- but what positions should clubs be prioritizing as they hit the shops? Today, clubs M-W; the top half of the table was covered yesterday.
With the English Premier League season complete, it's time for the critics to scratch out their reviews. Picking a team of the season is both straightforward and unfathomably difficult; it's impossible to come up with a quibble-resistant list, but here's my squad:
With the final day's Premier League action looming, it had seemed appropriate to engineer a way to have dramatic music boom out at you as you clicked on this page. But after Tottenham went and beat Manchester City on Wednesday to secure at least fourth place and a berth in the Champions League, bringing resolution to one suspenseful storyline, we didn't bother.
How the crowing must be reverberating around London's N17 postcode, the home of Tottenham Hotspur and 36,000 fans who don't know whether to stock their medicine cabinet with uppers or downers these days. One minute they're having to cope with defeat to Sunderland and a muted reverse at the hands of Portsmouth in the FA Cup semifinal, the next they've secured spine-tingling 2-1 wins over beloved neighbors Arsenal and old chums Chelsea.
Is manager Roberto Mancini really going to stay at Manchester City, or will he disappear when "special club" Juventus puts the feelers out in the summer? Dare we believe that Jose Mourinho might once again stalk the corridors of a Premiership stadium next season and replace Mancini at Eastlands? Amid all the uncertainty, one thing's for sure: City is going to finish fourth ... isn't it?
Things are a little tight at the top of the English Premier League, and it's making people nervous. Only seven points separate the top seven teams, and the pack could further congest if Aston Villa, Manchester City and Arsenal win their games in hand.
Team Limey, along with everyone else over in Blightly, has been riding the rare wave of British sporting success that the Olympics have brought. We were brought crashing back to reality watching the drab 2-2 draw between England and the Czech Republic, and contemplated turning your favorite net-based soccer column into a fortnightly update on the happenings of the U.K. cycling, swimming and rowing scenes.
With the English Premier League kicking off on Saturday, Team Limey took some time out to discuss the 2008-09 season with Arsenal and England legend Martin Keown.
When José Mourinho parted ways with Chelsea last month, it surprised many. But in hindsight, you could see it coming: a forthright, outspoken manager who bows to no one, a zillionaire owner who isn't used to hearing the word "no" and a gaggle of advisers and consultants chipping in with their two cents. The ingredients for a sudden change of heart were all there.