So just who is Avram Grant
, who makes his
debut as interim Chelsea manager in place of Jose Mourinho
on Sunday against Manchester United?
Grant spent his career coaching in his native
Israel until he came to England in June 2006 to take a front-office post as director of soccer at Portsmouth.
Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich
is a friend of Grant's and once tried to take over Israeli club Hapoel Tel Aviv for the purpose of putting Grant in charge, then brought the 52-year-old Grant to Chelsea to serve as director of
soccer in July.
Opinions on Grant in Israel, where he coached such clubs as Hapoel Petah Tikva, Maccabi Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa and the national team, are mixed.
national coach Shlomo Scharf
called Grant "an illusionist." Another Israeli coach Ran Ben-Shimon
, praised Grant,
telling an Israeli web site: "The fact that Avram Grant has become Chelsea coach is the same as Neil Armstrong
's historic landing on the moon."
, a former Chelsea player, will remain as the Blues' assistant manager.
Grant and Clarke are rumored to be acting as caretakers, though,
until Abramovich can work a deal for another acquaintance, Dutch coach Guus Hiddink
, to take charge as manager. Hiddink is currently Russia's national team
coach. TV: FOX SOCCER CHANNEL, MANCHESTER UNITED-CHELSEA, Sunday (live), 11 am
looks to become the first American to score in four straight English Premier League games when Fulham hosts Manchester City on Saturday.
Playing up front in the place of injured countryman
, Dempsey has goals in his last three league games against Aston Villa, Tottenham and Wigan. Joe-Max Moore
had goals in three straight EPL games for Everton in February 2000 -- and goals in five straight games, including FA Cup matches. TV: FOX SOCCER CHANNEL, FULHAM-MANCHESTER CITY, Saturday (live), noon ET.
Barcelona hosts Sevilla on Saturday in a key early-season game for both La Liga teams. Real Madrid has
opened the season with three wins and already leads Sevilla by three points and Barcelona by four.
Barcelona and Sevilla had differing results in midweek Champions League play.
Belying its early form in domestic play, Barca cruised past French champion Lyon, 3-0.
"The team found its style of play," said Barca coach Frank
, "and this unity and synchrony is exactly what we need."
Sevilla, on the other hand, fell, 3-0, at Arsenal.
"We know our level of ability," said Sevilla coach
Juande Ramos, "and we need to work hard to take the next match." TV: GOL TV,
BARCELONA-SEVILLA, Saturday (live), 4 pm ET. MATCH
Juventus visits Serie
A leader Roma Sunday in its first match against one of Italian soccer's big clubs since its return to the top flight.
Roma has won all three league games, while Juve was surprised by
Udinese, falling, 1-0, at home last weekend after opening with two wins.
Roma is coming off a 2-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in Champions League action on Wednesday. Juventus, which doesn't have
the distraction of European competition this season, has lost Argentine-born winger Mauro Camoranesi
, out for six weeks with a thigh injury. TV: FOX SOCCER CHANNEL, ROMA-JUVENTUS, Sunday (live), 9 am ET.