• Cristiano Ronaldo, hated by everyone in England a month ago, was actually welcomed quite warmly by the Manchester United fans at Old Trafford today. He notched a goal and an assist in United's 3-0 victory over Sevilla. After he and beloved Wayne Rooney got into it during the Portugal/England quarterfinal match at the World Cup, it wasn't clear how the English fans would react to his return, but hey, score one for the rational non-hooligans. Color me surprised.
• Chelsea and Liverpool go head-to-head in the Community Shield tomorrow. The coaches have already started needling each other. Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez had this quote: "They spend more than everybody else every summer, but when we put a side on the pitch against them they know we will match them." And Chelsea boss Jose Maurinho fired back with: "They will feel that they are in much better condition than Chelsea, so they have to win the game. If they lose against a Chelsea side at just 50% of their quality, that could affect their confidence ahead of the Premiership season."
• Manchester City's been so ravaged by injuries that manager Stuart Pearce had to name himself as a replacement player for a game against Japanese team Kashima Antlers last week. He probably should have stuck himself in the starting line-up, as City lost 4-3. The Blues also made a couple of minor transfer moves this week, picking up Swedish goalie Andreas Isaksson, and letting goalie David James walk to Portsmouth.
• It's not really Premiership-related, but it's worth noting that David Beckham's been unceremoniously dropped completely for England's national team. England plays Greece in a friendly on Wednesday, and Beckham won't be there. He's taking it pretty well, all things considered. "I'm proud to have played for England for 10 years and my passion for representing my country remains as strong as ever," he said. It seems like a little bit of scapegoating to me. No one had a great World Cup for England, but Beckham's the oft-criticized, high-profile guy, so the new coach makes his bold new statement by going after Beckham. Weak.