Thursday, 31 December 2009

Chelsea hang on to top spot

Chelsea ended the decade ahead of their rampant rivals but may feel the pressure in the absence of their African starts who will be on international duty in January. With each team playing twice during the Christmas week the league leaders dropped points in their goalless draw at Birmingham and came back with 2 goals in quick succession to defeat Fulham 2-1 at Stanford Bridge, while Arsenal enjoyed a convincing 3-0 win over Aston Villa at the Emirates before sailing to a 4-1 victory at Portsmouth, and Manchester United returned from Hull with a 3-1 win before thumping Wigan 5-0 at Old Trafford. Liverpool got back to winning ways with a 2-0 win at home to Wolves and more importantly grabbing a late goal to break the deadlock at Aston Villa. Manchester City who picked up 6 points in their first 2 matches under the guidance of their new manager Roberto Mancini winning 2-0 at home to Stoke and 3-0 away to Wolves have a game in hand over Tottenham who with their goalless draw at Fulham and 2-0 success at West Ham end 2009 in 4th spot.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Dazzling Fulham

Bobby Zamora scored twice for Fulham as Manchester United were stunned 3-0 at Craven Cottage while Arsenal won by the same score-line at home to Hull, and Aston Villa earned another 3 points when Carew scored the only goal of the match at home to Stoke. Mark Hughes finally lost his job despite Manchester City winning 4-3 at home to Sunderland, while Rafa Benitez returned from bottom club Portsmouth with a 2-0 defeat but still in charge of Liverpool. Peter Crouch scored both goals in Tottenham’s win at Blackburn, and Chelsea needed a twice retaken penalty from Lampard to cancel out a first-half penalty at West Ham for a share of the points.
As Barcelona were winning the Club World championship with a Messi extra-time goal in their 2-1 win against Estudiantes de la Plata of Argentina, Real Madrid were putting 6 past Real Zaragoza without reply in the Spanish league.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Villa on the up

A goal from Gabriel Agbanlahor gave Aston Villa a rare victory at Old Trafford and left Manchester United ruing their failure to close the gap on Chelsea who drew 3-3 at home to Everton. Arsenal were the only other winners among the top teams as Arshavin scored a stunning winner to condemn Liverpool to a 2-1 home defeat while Tottenham lost 1-0 at home to Wolves, and Manchester City, who had Craig Bellamy controversially send off, shared 6 goals in an exciting match at Bolton. In the midweek matches Arsenal dropped points in their 1-1 draw at Burnley while Aston Villa made it a perfect week with goals from Heskey and Milner at Sunderland. Manchester City were humbled 3-0 at Tottenham while Chelsea struggled at the Bridge to overcome Portsmouth 2-1 and Manchester United picked up 3 points with a 3-0 home win over a depleted Wolverhampton Wanderers. In the Europa League Bobby Zamora scored twice in Basel as Fulham won 3-2 to progress to the knockout stage.

Friday, 11 December 2009

Manchester smiling

Manchester United who demolished West Ham 4-0 in London were happy to see their nearest rivals Chelsea lose 2-1 at Manchester City with Frank Lampard missing the opportunity to earn a point from the spot. Fabregas also missed a penalty but Arsenal ran out 2-0 winners against Stoke at the Emirates and Aston Villa enjoyed a 3-0 home win against Hull, while Liverpool and Blackburn fired blanks at Ewood Park. Everton scored late goals to earn a 2-2 draw at home to Tottenham.
Christiano Ronaldo returned from injury to miss a penalty, score a goal and get sent off in front of his home crowd as Real Madrid came from 2-1 down to win 4-2 against Almeria. The Portuguese star added another 2 on Tuesday to help his side triumph 3-1 at Olympique de Marseille while Chelsea could only draw 2-2 at home to Apoel Nicosia. Michael Owen netted a hat-trick in Germany as Wolfsburg succumbed 3-1 to Manchester United, and Messi scored a late goal to give Barcelona a 2-1 win at Dynamo Kiev while Liverpool bowed out with a 2-1 home defeat to Fiorentina.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Gunners down and out

Arsenal were outmuscled 3-0 at home to leaders Chelsea with two-goal Drogba making the difference. Both teams were knocked out of the Carling Cup later in the week with the Gunners suffering the same result at Man City while Chelsea were shown the exit after a penalty shoot-out at Blackburn. Manchester United remain 2nd in the league after their 4-1 victory at Portsmouth while Tottenham moved above their miserable neighbours Arsenal with a 1-1 draw at Aston Villa. Manchester City recorded another draw in the league making it 7 in a row with their 1-1 tie at home to Hull City while Liverpool won the Merseyside derby 2-0 at Everton, and an avalanche of goals at West Ham saw Burnley lose 5-3 after trailing 5-0 with 22 minutes remaining.
In Spain Barcelona got the better of Real Madrid with Zlatan Ibrahimovic scoring the only goal at the Camp Nou.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Spurs strike nine

Jermain Defoe scored 5 times as Tottenham humiliated Wigan 9-1, while their north London rivals, Arsenal, lost 1-0 at Sunderland. Leaders Chelsea devoured Wovles 4-0, and Manchester United eased past Everton 3-0 while Manchester City earned a 2-2 draw at Liverpool. In Europe Liverpool failed to reach the next round of the Champions League despite winning 1-0 away to Debreceni of Hungary whereas Manchester United suffered a shock 1-0 home defeat to Besiktas but topped their group with a game in hand. Other teams to have already qualified for the knockout stages are Bordeaux, Chelsea, Porto, Fiorentina, Olympique Lyonnais, Sevilla and Arsenal.

Saturday, 21 November 2009

Swiss boys on a roll

Switzerland won the under 17 World Cup with a 1-0 victory against hosts Nigeria in the final. The Swiss began the tournament with what seemed to be a surprising 2-0 win over Mexico and added another 3 points by defeating Japan 4-3 in their 2nd match before upsetting Brazil 1-0 to top their group.
Nigeria were trailing by three goals to nil when Germany were reduced to 10 men in the 53rd minute, and within 7 minutes the hosts had resorted parity and went on to claim a point from their first match. A single goal against Honduras in their next match and a 2-1 victory against Argentina in their final group match saw them progress to the next round where they hammered 10-man New Zealand 5-0. Switzerland had a much tougher test in this round, needing extra time to overcome Germany 4-3 and reach the quarter finals.
Switzerland added another big name to their list when they defeated Italy 2-1 while Nigeria continued their path brushing South Korea aside 3-1 to join Colombia and Spain in the semi finals.
Switzerland eased into the final hammering Colombia 4-0 after the South Americans had suffered a dismissal as early as the 13th minute. Sani Emmanuel scored twice as Nigeria reached the final with a 3-1 win over Spain.
A day after the Nigerian senior side had qualified for the World Cup finals, the country prepared for a double celebration, but Haris Seferovic popped up in the 63rd minute to meet a corner kick and head the ball into the Nigeria net giving Switzerland their first ever world trophy at any level.

Friday, 13 November 2009

United fall at the Bridge

A 4-1 win at Wolves moved Arsenal up into 2nd place ahead of Manchester United who lost the top of the table clash 1-0 at Chelsea. Manchester City dropped another 2 points at home after coming from 2 down to take the lead against Burnley only to concede an equaliser 3 minutes from time. Troubled Hull City gained a 2-1 home win against Stoke while West Ham lost by the same result at home to Everton. Aston Villa enjoyed the biggest win of the week thumping Bolton 5-1 while Liverpool needed a Steven Gerard penalty to draw 2-2 at home to Birmingham. In Spain the top teams both won with Real Madrid coming up on top 3-2 in the Madrid derby at Atletico and Barcelona beating Real Mallorca 4-2 at the Camp Nou.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Liverpool in the red

Liverpool’s troubles continued when they lost 3-1 at Fulham having been reduced to 9 men in a weekend that saw a record 9 players sent off in the premier league. Chelsea put on another powerful performance to win 4-0 at Bolton and remain at the top of the league while Manchester United kept on the pressure winning 2-0 at home to Blackburn, and Arsenal proved too strong for Tottenham winning 3-0 at the Emirates. In the Netherlands Feyenoord ended the match with 9 players as they were thumped 5-1 at Ajax while in Germany Hamburg suffered a shock 3-2 defeat to Borussia Munchen Gladbach. Barcelona who were held to a 1-1 draw at Osasuna in the league fired blanks in their midweek European match away to Rubin Kazan while Manchester United needed 2 late goals to avoid a home defeat and draw 3-3 with CSKA Moscow. Bayern Munich lost 2-0 at home to Bordeaux and Real Madrid drew 1-1 away to Milan while in France Olympique Lyonnais scored a last gasp goal to cancel out a Ryan Babel rocket for Liverpool.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Chelsea enjoy slip-ups

After a sweeping 5-0 win at home to Blackburn, Chelsea sit at the top of the Premier League as their closest rival, Manchester United, lost 2-0 at Liverpool, and Arsenal relinquished a 2 goal lead to draw 2-2 at West Ham, while Manchester City suffered the same fait at home to Fulham. Tottenham dominated their home match against Stoke in vain as they lost 1-0 and Aston Villa drew 1-1 at Wolves, while Everton rallied back from 2 down only to lose to a late goal at Bolton.
In Spain Real Madrid dropped points in a goalless draw at Sporting Gijon while Barcelona hammered Real Zaragoza 6-1 at the Camp Nou.
Arsenal knocked Liverpool out of the Carling Cup with a 2-1 win at the Emirates on Wednesday.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Life is a beach


A bizarre goal scored with the aid of a beach ball was the undoing of Liverpool at Sunderland while Chelsea’s 2-1 defeat at Villa was also good news for United who went top after their 2-1 win over Bolton in Manchester.
In the Champions League Rubin Kazan produced the shock of the week beating Barcelona 2-1 at the Camp Nou while Real Madrid also lots at home going down 3-2 to Milan in a match laden with goalkeeping errors. Glasgow Rangers were thumped 4-1 at home to Romanian Unirea Urziceni and Liverpool lost their home tie 2-1 to Olympique Lyonnais. Kalou scored twice and Lampard also got on the score sheet at the Bridge as Chelsea eased 4-0 past Atletico Madrid while 9-man Bayern Munich lost 2-1 away to Bordeaux who missed 2 penalties.
In the Europa League Everton took a 5-0 battering at Benfica while Roma who had a penalty saved by Mark Schwarzer forced a 1-1 draw with the last kick of the match at Fulham, and Slavia Prague earned the same result at Valencia. Kazim Richards scored the only goal for Fenerbahce who won at Steaua Bucharest while another Turkish Romanian encounter ended in Glatasaray hammering visiting Dinamo 4-1 with Shabani Nonda netting twice and Harry Kewel also among the scorers. Hapoel Tel Aviv enjoyed a convincing 5-1 victory at home to Rapid Vienna while young Swede Marcus Berg scored the only goal for Hamburg at Celtic Park.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Young Ghana win World Cup


Ghana became the first African team to win the FIFA under 20 World Cup by beating Brazil on penalties in Egypt. Despite Daniel Addo’s controversial sending off in the 37th minute, Ghana took Brazil to extra time where the drought continued mainly thanks to Ghanaian keeper Daniel Agyei who made an outstanding save to keep Brazil at bay. In the penalty shootout Brazil were a penalty kick away from lifting the cup but failed to convert their last 2 kicks, giving Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu the chance to score in sudden death and send Ghana into frenzy as they lifted their first Under-20 World Cup trophy.

Earlier in the day Hungary scored a last minute penalty to draw 1-1 with Costa Rica and win third place on penalties.


Hosts Egypt began the tournament with a convincing 4-1 win over Trinidad & Tobago, but were silenced 2-1 by Paraguay in their next match needing a spirited performance to defeat Italy 4-2 and finish top of group A followed by Paraguay and Italy who also pregressed.

Spain shone in Group B winning all 3 matches with a clean sheet and scoring 13 in the process including 8 against Tahiti. Venezuela and Nigeria also progressed from this group.

All 4 teams in group C registered wins but only Germany and South Korea made it to the next round. The Koreans had lost 2- 0 to bottom team Cameroon, but a 1-1 draw against Germany and 3-0 victory over USA - who had thrashed Cameroon 4-1 and lost 3-0 to Germany - saw them through.

Ghana and Uruguay dominated group D while Uzbekistan and England made up the numbers and took early flights home.

Brazil who started their campaign by sweeping Cost Rica aside 5-0, finished on top of group E with 7 points, ahead of the Czech Republic on goal difference. Costa Rica reached the next stage as one of the best 3rd teams thanks to their 3-0 win over Australia who returned home pointless.

Group F saw a complete reversal of fortunes for Hungary and Honduras. After being beaten soundly 3-0 by Honduras, the Hungarians woke up to hammer South Africa 4-0 and top their group with a 2-0 win over the UAE, while Honduras finished bottom of the group losing 1-0 to the UAE and 2-0 to South Africa who both followed Hungary into the next round.


In the round of 16 Spain finally met their match losing 3-1 to Italy while South Korea eased 3-0 past Paraguay. Ghana needed extra time to dispose of South Africa 2-1, and Hungary needed a penalty shootout to get past the Czechs after drawing 1-1 in normal and 2-2 in extra time. Hosts Egypt suffered a shock exit losing 2-0 to Costa Rica, while 3 goals in 9 minutes gave Brazil a 3-1 victory over Uruguay. The United Arab Emirates continued their quests by beating Venezuela 2-1, and Bjorn Kopplin scored a last minute goal to give ten-man Germany a 3-2 win and knock Nigeria out of the competition.


In the Quarter-finals Ghana defeated South Korea 3-2, while Italy who had 3 players sent off lost 3-2 in extra time to ten-man Hungary in a match that saw both managers sent to the stands. Maicon scored 2 minutes from time and a minute into extra time to give Brazil a 2-1 win over Germany, and Costa Rica scored in the last minute of extra time to knock the UAE out by the same score line.

In the Semi-finals top scorer Dominic Adiyiah scored twice as Ghana beat Hungary 3-2 to reach the final where they met Brazil who defeated Costa Rica with a single Alan Kardec goal.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

A bridge too far for Liverpool

Sunderland came close to a win at Old Trafford but gifted United an equalizer with a stoppage time own goal, while Chelsea go into the international week break at the top of the league table after beating Liverpool 2-0 in their Sunday match at the Bridge. Portsmouth registered their first points of the season with a 1-0 win at Wolves, and Arsenal twice came from behind to eventually run out comfortable 6-2 winners against Blackburn at the Emirates. On Monday Aston Villa and Manchester City drew 1-1 as Richard Dunne scored for Villa against his old club.

In Germany Bayern Munich find themselves in 8th place after only managing a 0-0 home draw against lowly Köln and in Spain Real Madrid relinquished their top spot to Barcelona after losing 2-1 at Sevilla who are now equal with them on points.

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Chelsea taste defeat

Chelsea lost their position at the top of the Premier League after losing 3-1 at Wigan in a match that saw Petr Cech sent off while giving away a penalty. The new leaders are Manchester United who won 2-0 at Stoke while Liverpool and Tottenham both enjoyed emphatic wins to stay in the top four. Fernando Torres scored a hat-trick for Liverpool who trashed Hull 6-1, and Robbie Keane went a goal better as Tottenham demolished Burnley 5-0 at White Hart Lane. Carlos Teves scored twice against his beloved Hammers to take Manchester City closer to the summit with a 3-1 win on Monday evening. In Italy Sampdoria defeated Inter with a single goal 18 minutes from time to go top of Serie A, and in Germany Hamburg are top of the Bundesliga after beating Bayern Munich also with a single goal 18 minutes from time.

In the Champions League Sevilla return from Glasgow with a satisfying 4-1 win over Rangers and Steven Jovetic scored twice for Fiorentina to send Liverpool home empty handed. Hannu Tihinen scored a 10th minute goal to give FC Zurich and unexpected win at AC Milan and Manchester United came from behind to beat German champions Wolfsburg 2-1 at Old Trafford. Bayern Munich and Juventus played out a goalless draw.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Time for Owen

The Manchester derby was decided with the last kick of the match deep into added time. Wayne Rooney opened the scoring for United after only 2 minutes but the persistence of Tevez forced Foster into an error and gifted Gareth Barry with a goal in the 16th minute. Darren Fletcher headed United in front 4 minutes into the 2nd half, but Bellamy replied with a rocket 3 minutes later and after Fletcher had scored with another header, Bellamy took advantage of a Ferdinand giveaway to sprint into the box and equalise from an acute angle in the 90th minute only for Giggs to deliver a delightful pass to Owen who slid the ball in for a 4-3 United win with the last kick of the game. Cole, Ballack and Drogba scored at the Bridge as Chelsea beat Tottenham to stay at the top of the pile while Torres scored twice for Liverpool who won 3-2 at West Ham. Burnley continued their good run with a 3-1 home win against Sunderland thanks to a brace from David Nugent.
In Spain Barcelona lead the way after a hat-trick from Messi helped them gain a 5-2 victory over Atletico Madrid at the Camp Nou

Friday, 18 September 2009

European group matches begin


Another bad day for Arsenal in Manchester as City won 4-2 with Adebayor among the scorers against his old club, but getting himself into trouble for letting his emotions run wild. While the red side of Manchester were also celebrating having returned from North London with a 3-1 win against Tottenham despite going down to a 1st minute goal and having Paul Scholes sent off. Liverpool were convincing at home as Yossi Benayoun helped himself to a hat-trick in their 4-0 demolition of Burnley, but Chelsea needed goals at the end of each half to come from behind and win 2-1 at Stoke. Fulham, who defeated Everton 2-1 at home, travelled to CSKA Sofia in the Europa League and earned a 1-1 draw, while Everton put 4 past their Athenian guests AEK. Another Greek side, Panathinaikos, lost 3-1 at home to Galatasaray of Turkey and Swiss outfit Basel beat Roma 2-0 at home. In the first week of the Champions League group matches Arsenal went 2 down to Standard Liege in Belgium within 5 minutes but fought back to win 3-2, and Manchester United relied on a single goal from Scholes to win at Besiktas. Edinaldo Grafite scored all 3 goals as Wolfsburg sent CSKA back to Moscow with a 3-1 deficit and Inzaghi grabbed a double for Milan who won 2-1 at Olympique de Marseille. In the most highly anticipated match Inter and Barcelona played out a goalless draw.

Picture: Emmanuel Adebayor celebrations angers Arsenal fans

Thursday, 10 September 2009

German girls finish off England


Germany continued their domination of women’s football by thrashing England 6-2 in the final of Euro 2099 in Finland. Grings laid the ball on for Prinz to roll past Brown in the 19th minute and 3 minutes later Melanie Behringer let fly from 41 yards to double the German lead, but within 2 minute England pulled a goal back when Kelly Smith ran onto a long ball in the box and dribbled her way along the by-line to present Karen Carney with a tap-in. Five minutes into the 2nd half Krahn's volley came off the post and Kim Kulig knocked the rebound into the roof of the net, but 5 minutes later Kelly Smith skilfully beat a German defender in the box to fire past Angerer in the German goal. Inka Grings restored Germany’s 2 goal lead with a firm header in the 62nd minute and caught England’s defence flat-footed on the counter attack to cue the ball up for a shot past Brown in the 73rd minute. Birgit Prinz lashed in the 6th a few minutes later to cap a magnificent victory for Germany. (picture: German keeper Nadine Angerer flying high against England)


How they reached the final

With Casey Stoney having received the only red card of the tournament in the 29th minute, a Tuttino screamer 8 minutes from time condemned England to a 2-1 defeat in their opening match against Italy. Within 22 minutes of their next match the England were 2 goals down to Russia and seemingly on their way out of the tournament, but by half time goals from Carney, Aluko and a long-rang wonder-goal from Kelly Smith had given the spirited English girls a 3-2 lead which they kept until fulltime. A 1-1 draw against Sweden in their final group match was enough to see England progress to next round.

Germany began the defence of their title with a flattering 4-0 win over Norway thanks to a first-half penalty conversion and 3 goals in the last 2 minutes of the match. An emphatic 5-1 win over France and single goal against Iceland gave the Germans the expected top spot in group B.

In the quarter finals a double from German goal machine Inka Grings was enough to see off Italy 2-1, while England eliminated feisty Finland 3-2 with Eniola Eluko grabbing a brace including an unstoppable run from kick-off after the hosts had pulled a goal back. In the other quarter-final matches the Dutch knocked France out on penalties after a goalless draw and Norway stunned Sweden 3-1 to set up a meeting with Germany.

In the semi-final matches Jill Scott headed in the winner 4 minutes from the end of extra time to give England a deserved 2-1 victory against the Netherlands and a place in the final against Germany who came from behind with 3 goals in the 2nd half including 2 from Fatmire Bajramaj to gain a 3-1 win against Norway.

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Manchester moving up

Arsenal’s trip to Manchester ended in disappointed as an own goal and a penalty resulted their 2-1 loss despite having dominated much of the game at Old Trafford. A 1-0 win for Manchester City at Portsmouth elevated them into 4th place one below their Manchester rivals on goal difference but with a game in hand. Chelsea and Tottenham lead the way after wins at home to Burnley 3-0 and Birmingham 2-1 respectively.
In Italy Diego showed his finishing skills scoring twice as Juventus returned 3-1 victorious from Roma and in the Milan derby Inter demolished Milan 4-0.
The Spanish league got under way with Getafe, Barcelona, Malaga, Mallorca, Valencia, Real Madrid, Athletic Bilbao and Real Zaragoza all winning their opening matches.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

London teams lead the way

Tottenham who won 2-1 at West Ham are the Premier League leaders after 3 matches, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference, followed by Arsenal who outclassed Portsmouth 4-1 and have a game in hand. Manchester United put their midweek defeat and first half frustrations at Wigan behind them to score 5 without reply in the 2nd half and move into 4th place, while Liverpool are languishing in 10th place after their 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa.

In midweek there was crowd trouble in the Carling Cup match between West Ham and Millwall, while in Europe Arsenal got past Celtic with a 3-1 win to entre the draw for the Champions League group stage where the 4 English teams avoided the European giants. Bayern Munich and Juventus were drawn in group A, while Spanish and Italian giants will meet as Milan and Real Madrid will face each other in group C, and Barcelona will play Inter in group F.

In the Europa League Aston Villa were knocked out on the away goals rule after winning 2-1 at home to Rapid Vienna, while Roma were finding their passage to the next stage much easier, thumping Kosice of Slovakia 7-1 having gone 5 up in the first 18 minutes. The comeback of the night belonged to Dynamo Bucharest who after losing 3-0 at home, travelled to the Czech Republic where they reversed the score to beat Slovan Liberec 8-9 on penalties.

On Friday Barcelona won the Super Cup with a 1-0 win over Ukrainian Shakhtar Donetsk in extra time.

Friday, 21 August 2009

Premier League kicks off


Chelsea kicked off the season with a 2-1 home win against Hull thanks to Didier Drogba doubling his tally in stoppage time, and Manchester United could only manage a 1-0 win at home to Birmingham while Arsenal thumped Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park. Liverpool lost 2-1 at Tottenham, but showed better form in midweek cruising 4-0 past Stoke while Defoe scored a hat-trick at Hull to take Tottenham to the top of the table with a 5-1 win, as Arsenal were busy beating Celtic 2-0 in their Champions League away fixture. Burnley produced the shock of the week at Turf Moor when Robbie Blake scored with a thunderous volleyed from inside the box for the only goal of the match against Man Utd.

In the Dutch league on Sunday PSV got the better of Ajax by the odd goal in a 7 goal thriller with Suarez netting twice for the visitors, and Dzudzsak and Bakal grabbing a brace each for PSV.

(picture: Brian Jensen saves Carrick penalty as Burnley hold on to defeat United)

Summer action


During the summer break Brazil won the Confederations Cup as expected by coming from behind to beat unexpected finalists USA who later reached the Gold Cup final on home soil but were demolished 5-0 by Mexico.

Several youth cups took place in Europe with England reaching 3 of the finals. The English girls picked up the under 19 trophy, but their male compatriots lost to hosts Ukraine at the same age and to Germany in the under 21 final in Sweden.

In the transfer market Christiano Ronaldo finally moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid while injury prone Michael Owen joined the English champions on a free transfer.

Manchester City splashed out on Adebayor, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Kolo Toure and Gareth Barry.

In Europe Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso joined Ronaldo at Real Madrid who sold Klaas Jan Huntelaar to AC Milan while Barcelona acquired the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan in exchange for Samuel Eto’o and loan-to-buy Aliaksandr Hleb.

After a host of pre-season friendly matches the Community Shield, in which Chelsea defeated Man Utd on penalties, signalled the start of the new season in England.(Petr Cech saves Giggs penalty in picture above)