What The Soccer Guys Are Reading — Sept. 20

Holland international Rafael van der Vaart caught on quick to how important the Tottenham and Arsenal rivalry is to the players and the fans. Courtesy Paul Blank

Sky Sports — Rafael issues Gunners taunt

Tottenham’s new boy Rafael van der Vaart wasted no time in joining in on the Spurs rivalry with Arsenal. The London clubs face off this week in a Carling Cup tie, and van der Vaart already knows the importance of the Spurs and Gunners match. This is for the right to boast about being the better club in the city, something every fan and player wants to be able to do. The Dutchman has issued his warning, calling Spurs “the bigger club,” after Spurs 3-1 win over Wolves on Saturday.

The Guardian — Roma lacking testicular fortitude as press gets under Ranieri’s skin – by Paolo Bandini

Roma was many pundits favorite club to challenge Inter Milan, and even dethrone the five time defending champions. Doesn’t look like Roma will be mounting a surge anytime soon if they continue to play like a bunch of aging stars with no heart. Claudio Ranieri decided to have a temper tantrum this weekend before Roma’s match with Bologne, and it didn’t do him much good because his squad didn’t back up his word. Instead, the team threw away a two goal lead late in the game and is still searching for its first win of the season.

BBC — Berbatov exposes Liverpool decline — by Phil McNulty

The Manchester United and Liverpool rivalry has been well documented, and Sir Alex Fergusson, United’s manager, even went so far as to say that the match-up is the “most important fixture.” Roy Hodgson and Liverpool must not have thought so– except for maybe a few of the players– because the team didn’t really show up until the second half, and even then they just strolled along at a snail’s tempo while United’s Bulgarian hitman, Dimitar Berbatov, was scoring a hat-trick and leading the Red Devils to a 3-2 win over the Reds.

ESPNSoccernet — Back in the big time — by Phil Ball

Xabi Alonso grew up a Real Sociedad fan. He played for the Basque club before being swiped up by Liverpool. He still carries a fan membership card for the club, but now he wears the hated Real Madrid jersey and had to face his old club for the first time this past weekend. Alonso and Madrid got lucky with a 2-1 win. The game should have gone to the hosts and Madrid should have gone home licking their wounds, but Sociedad missed its chances and Madrid made its count. Los Blancos manager Jose Mourinho said this fixture would be Madrid’s toughest of the season as they entered into a hostile stadium against last year’s division two champions, and he was right. It was an impressive performance by the Basque club, but theysquandered too many chances.

Evening Times — No yearning for marquee signings as Anthony Stokes displays his intent… – by Thomas Jordon

Celtic fell behind early to Kilmarnock at Rugby Park, but the Hoops latest signing, Anthony Stokes, earned a penalty kick,  Daryl Murphy slotted it home, and scored the game-winning goal as he found himself in the right place at the right time. Stokes wasn’t Neil Lennon’s first choice signing during the transfer window– Lennon was looking to bring in either Robbie Keane or Craig Bellamy, but was unable to. Yet, the Irish International could be a bargain for Celtic and Lennon, and just the type of player the Hoops need to overtake Rangers and claim back the top-spot in the SPL.

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