Friday, August 29, 2014

Serie A Returns, Tottenham vs. Liverpool, Everton vs. Chelsea, Napoli?

There goes another one! The week is over, and with Serie A bringing the ruckus this weekend, we'll finally have all the top Euro leagues back up and running. Let's begin in Italy, shall we?

We noted the tasty English match-ups in the subject line. What else is on tap for the Premier League this weekend? Check it:

Xabi Alonso. Kagawa. Falcao. Cambiasso. Cleverly. Chicharito. On to...The Mill. Plus One. Plus Plus One.

That 3-5-2 that van Gaal loves and Manchester United is finding difficult to adapt. What's the deal with that? Jonathan Wilson investigates.

This is Karim Benzema's chrome Bugatti Veyron, which costs roughly €2 million (£1.6m).
James Horncastle notes that Napoli were knocked out of the Champions League (qualifying) by Athletic Bilbao. Is it the end of the Rafa Benitez revolution at Napoli?

Barney Ronay is asking this question today: Will the real Mesut Özil stand up? Barney Ronay is offering this answer today: Very possibly at Arsenal this season.

Enjoy the weekend!



Wednesday, August 27, 2014

MK Dons Destroy Manchester United, Champions League Qualifying Previews, Warnock In At Palace, Donovan Gets One More Match

Crisis. Crisis? What crisis? The (social) media vultures are circling around Manchester United after they were dispatched from the What's In Your Wallet? Cup by MK Dons. The score? 4-0. Ouch. Here's the fallout:

MK Dons 4 - 0 Manchester United: Report
MK Dons 4 - 0 Manchester United: Richard Rae at Stadium MK

One player who did not play for United yesterday is Ángel di María. Thankfully for fans of The Red Devils, he'll be playing soon. Sid Lowe takes a look at the move from the Madrid perspective.

Hallelujah, hallelujah, ride my Chevrolet.

There were some Champions League qualifiers last night. Teams that advanced to the Group Stage include Zenit, BATE, and APOEL, but not Celtic. Tonight, the biggie is in London where Arsenal host Besiktas in the second leg of their affair (2:45pm EDT on Fox Sports 1). The first leg was scoreless. Prep with this:

Arsenal vs. Besiktas: Preview
Arsenal vs. Besiktas: Preview II

Right. So di María has gone to United. Samuel Eto'o'o'o'o'o, meanwhile, has signed with Everton. What else might happen between now and the end of the month?

Jermaine Jones now plays for New England. How did it happen? With a "blind draw." What the hell is that? Jeff Carlisle is frustrated, as are we. Especially a certain Bobbie BS.

Crystal Palace have a new gaffer. Neil Warnock has returned to Selhurst Park to try to right the ship. Warnock managed the Eagles from 2007-2010. How long before he's fined for criticizing the refs?

Serie A begins this weekend! Woo hoo! Let's preview Hellas Verona, a side featuring 63-year-old striker Luca Toni.

And finally...Landon Donovan will don the uniform of the U.S. National Team one more time.



Tuesday, August 26, 2014

City Defeat Liverpool, United Agree £60m fee for Di María, Scribes, Podcast

Is Munir El Haddadi Mohamed ready to bust out at Barcelona?
Has Manchester City already won the title? Perhaps Chelsea can compete, but City are so deep at every position, it's really theirs to lose. Yesterday, they had little trouble with Liverpool. And Liverpool looked pretty good! Here's the breakdown from the match:

Manchester City 3-1 Liverpool: Henry Winter at the Etihad Stadium
Richard Jolly: City exploit weaknesses

It's Tuesday, and that means Marcotti's Musings. Today, Gab is gabbing about Di Maria and Balotelli.

Scribe time! Go around the world with the best writers every Tuesday!

Where? Spain. Who? Graham Hunter. What? The emergence of Munir El Haddadi

Where? South America. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Angel Di Maria can thrive as Old Trafford star man

Where? Germany. Who? Andy Brassell. What? Did the Bundesliga title race just finish in record time?

Where? Italy. Who? Uli Hesse. What? Finding a hallowed ground in Padua

Podcast! On this bank holiday edition of Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by his old chum Philippe Auclair as well as Barry Glendenning and John Ashdown to look back on a wild weekend in the Premier League. Tottenham sit atop the embryonic table after making sure former manager Harry Redknapp had an unhappy return to White Hart Lane with QPR. Meanwhile, Manchester United are about to splurge huge bucks on a winger when what they really need is a clue (and a centre-back and midfielder). Next, we round up a few bits and bobs from around Europe - including a blindingly fast goal in the Bundesliga – before turning our attention to the Championship, where Felix Magath's time at Fulham goes from bad to worse … to shambles.

La Liga began this past weekend. What the hell did we learn? Here are Five Things That We Learned. Here's what happened yesterday. Once Madrid side won and another drew.

Major League Soccer Power Rankings! Bird puts D.C. at the top.

Crazy MLS Contract Clown Show! MLS Changes the Rules to Swing Jones to Revs

That's a wrap.



Monday, August 25, 2014

Last Weekend In Europe, Spanish Super Cup, Transfers, Manchester City vs. Liverpool, Jermaine Jones In NE

#1 Sunderland Supporter?
What a pleasant Monday it is. There was a lot of fine action over the weekend. No real surprises (Borussia Dortmund losing their opener at home would be the exception - that match included the fastest goal in Bundesliga history), but a lot of good football on offer. La Liga and the Bundesliga are back, thankfully, and the EPL continues apace. That's probably a fine place to begin. Per usual, we'll focus on the Continent tomorrow.

Sunderland 1-1 Manchester United: Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light
Tottenham vs. QPR: Three Points

In the second leg of the Spanish Super Cup back on Friday, Atlético Madrid defeated Real Madrid 1-0. As you might expect, Sid Lowe was at the Vicente Calderón.

Ohhh. Let's take a quick look at MLS, shall we? Word is, Thierry Henry had one of those nights. Speaking of MLS, everyone's favorite heavily-tattooed-dreadlocked-German-American Jermaine Jones has signed with MLS and handed to New England in some sort of "blind draw." Are we still speaking about MLS? Yes? Weekend round-up, then.

Back to Europe with...Last Weekend In Europe

There's some rather substantial Monday Night Football tonight, people. We've got Manchester City vs. Liverpool (3pm EDT on NBCSN), Real Madrid vs. Cordoba (2pm EDT on beIN Sports USA), and Rayo Vallecano vs. Atlético Madrid (4pm EDT on beIN Sports USA). Here's what you need for the Premier League clash: Preview I. Preview II50/50 Challenge. Five Questions.

So. It looks like Di María is going to ManU. Do they really need a winger? What about their central midfield issues? Jamie Jackson investigates. Meanwhile, The BBC's Chris Bevan is investigating Arsenal. He says, "Arsenal show new resolve but old problems remain."

Balotelli. Di María. Falcao. Podolski. Welbeck. You know where this is headed...The Mill. Plus One. Plus Plus One.

And finally...Crystal Palace. What went wrong? It was all up and up thanks to Tony Pubis' revived side and then...bang! It turned into a circus. Phil McNulty is on the case.



Friday, August 22, 2014

La Liga Returns, Bundesliga Returns, Premier League Previews, Balotelli to Liverpool, The Joy of Six, Mackay's Sick Texts

And there goes another week, Peeps! Mario Balotelli is back in England, this time with Liverpool. Yes, the Reds have ditched one crazy forward and found themselves a suitable replacement. Will he thrive or will he go bonkers? Before the move is finalized he has to agree to behave. But it'll happen. Italian expert Paolo Bandini thinks Liverpool may be just the place for Mario Balotelli to get back to basics. We shall see. Here's the question, though: Why is it always them?

Mario's back to lead the line at Liverpool...
The summer is finally over in Spain where La Liga kicks off tomorrow. Sid Lowe has a season preview and explains the oddity of the fact that Atlético Madrid are the Champions yet also underdogs. Here's another fun little preview worth your time. This weekend in particular? Oddly, the Spanish Super Cup has to finish this afternoon. Leg One finished 1-1 between Real Madrid and Atlético Madrid. Those two teams will begin their league season on Monday. Here's a preview.

In Germany, it's pretty much Bayern Munich vs. Borussia Dortmund. Those two sides stand apart from the rest of the league. Raphael Honigstein has a season preview and thinks Dortmund can defy the odds and challenge the might Bayern. This weekend in particular? Here's preview. Bayern Munich actually begin things this afternoon against Wolfsburg. Uli Hesse has a piece on the hilarious history of the Bundesliga opener. And, of course, since the Bundesliga is back, everyone's favorite Schalke supporter must make his return, as well. Welcome back, buddy!!

We've missed you...
Back in the Premier League, you'll have to wait until Monday for the biggie between Manchester City and Liverpool, but Everton/Arsenal, Tottenham/QPR, and Sunderland/Manchester United could all excite. Here's your mega-lot for the weekend in England (and Wales).

The Joy of Six! This week it's High-Scoring Football Draws. Enjoy the Joy.

Barney Ronay on the Transfer Window and why we want it shut. Now. Make it stop!! Wait. Not quite yet: The MillPlus OnePlus Plus One.

And finally...Ex-Cardiff City boss Malky Mackay apparently sent texts like this:

He's not alone, sadly. No real surprise, though.

Enjoy the weekend.



Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Real Madrid 1-1 Atlético Madrid, Besktas 0-0 Arsenal, Barcelona Transfer Ban Upheld, Americans Abroad, Bayern Munich Reveal Their Bus

Hump Day once again, Amigos! 

Things got a wee bit nasty over in Istanbul last night where honors finished even between Besiktas and Arsenal. Bilic was sent to the stands, Ramsey was sent off, Ba crippled Arteta, and someone threw a bottle at Arsene Wenger. Dominic Fifield made the trek out to the Ataturk Olympic Stadium and filed this report. Here are Three PointsFive Talking Points from the match. What? How did Olivier Giroud perform, you ask? Here's one of his finer moments from last night.

In other action, Bilbao and Napoli drew as well. Check this wrap of the Tuesday matches.

I'm sorry. Did you say you're Serbian?
Over in Madrid, James scored for Real Madrid and Raúl García scored for Atlético Madrid. Both goals were late in a tightly contested contest. Do you think Sid Lowe was at the Bernabéu to check out the action and provide his insight? Better believe that! And here are Three Points.

Erik Lamela. Remember that guy? Spurs dropped £30 million on the Argentine kid and he scored one goal last year. Jonathan Wilson says hold it right there, folks. He's still good and he's still young. Don't right him off just yet.

Not cool, dude! OK? Totally not cool!

This: Barcelona will be unable to sign players until January 2016 once the current transfer window shuts, after world governing body Fifa rejected the club's appeal against a transfer ban.

Time to check in with the Yanks plying their trade outside of our fine nation. We've got two reports. One...and...Two.

Everyone loves own-goals! Here's a special one from the Everton Under-21s. Oh, dear...

And finally...THIS is how you unveil your official bus:



Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chelsea Brush Burnley Aside, Champions League Playoffs, Podcast, Suárez Promises Not To Bite, Spanish Super Cup

Turf Moor, Burnley, England
Howdy! Chelsea turned on the style and made their case with aplomb at Turf Moor last night. Burnley were simply overrun. Fábregas was Fábrulas and Diego Costa opened his account as Chelsea showed a panache in attack not seen since the Zola years. Daniel Taylor was there and filed this report. There's more, of course. What? Oh, you know, Five Things We Learnt, Three PointsFive Talking Points...

What's going on today? Champions League Qualifying! By virtue of their third-place finish in Turkey's top flight, Besiktas get the chance to reach the Champions League proper if they can defeat Arsenal in a two-legged affair. Arsenal finished fourth in England's top flight. Here's a preview of that one. Meanwhile, James McNicholas is worried about a frail Arsenal defence. They have a lot of injuries and such, apparently.

Elsewhere, Italy's third-place club from last year (Napoli) face Spain's fourth-place club (Atheltic Bilbao. James Horncastle says the pressure is on Napoli. Andy Hunter says Athletic stand by their principles. So there. Here's a preview for all of today's (and tomorrow's) action.

The Spanish Super Cup kicks off today, too. Normally, we wouldn't pay much attention to this pre-season La Liga affair, but as it's Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid, we'll cast an eye towards the Estadio Bernabéu.

Happy lads...

Tony Pulis resigned from Crystal Palace. Word on the street is Malky Mackay is going to be the new gaffer at Selhurt Park.

Manchester United. They were poor at the weekend, right? But were they really that bad? Paul Parker thinks they were.

Scribes! It's been awhile, and although we're not completely up to speed, we're going to try to throw something together. Spoiler: it's mainly Spain. Check it:

Where? Spain. Who? Francesc Tomas. What? Barca look ready for the new season

Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Suárez finally makes Barcelona bow

Where? Spain. Who? Graham Hunter. What? La Liga's Top Three

Podcast! Another friend we've not seen in too long. Here: Welcome to the first Football Weekly of the season proper, in which James Richardson, John Ashdown, Michael Cox and Paolo Bandini look back on an opening weekend that saw Louis Van Gaal's reign at Manchester United get off to the worst possible start. After rounding up hard-fought wins for Manchester City and Liverpool, we move on to Arsenal, who now face Beskitas in a Champions League qualifier, before giving Aston Villa some credit for their victory over Stoke. And because you didn't ask for it, we also give you a bumper round-up from the Championship and even Scotland.

Spain! Germany! Italy! France! What can we expect in '14-'15 from these places? What shall they offer us football freaks (and geeks)? BBC European Football Expert Andy Brassell is on hand with all the answers.

The United States! Weekend Review? Done. Major League Soccer's Best XI of Week 23? Done. Power Rankings from Jeff Carlisle? Done.

And finally...Landon Donovan said goodbye to The Crew.



Monday, August 18, 2014

Swansea Shock United & Ashley Young Eats Bird Poop, PSV Say No Wi-Fi, Monday Night Football (Courtois To Start?)

Happy Monday! It's all Premier League as we await the start of the the other top European domestic competitions (no, France & Holland do not count). Swansea City provided Louis Van Gaal with a rough welcome as they emerged victorious at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, nobody looked particularly spectacular as Liverpool, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Tottenham claimed victories. Here's your lot:

Manchester United 1 - 2 Swansea City: Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford
Premier League Title Contenders: BBC pundits' first impressions

Yes, that looks to be poop going directly into Ashley's mouth...

Although we've started playing matches that matter, the Transfer Window will remain ajar until the end of the month. Will Manchester United splash the cash on Di María? What of Ezequiel Lavezzi? Radamel Falcao? It's all right here: The Mill. Plus One. Plus Plus One.

This is pretty great. PSV Eindhoven fans say, "Fuck Wi-Fi. Support the Team." Indeed.

There is Monday Night Football tonight! NBCSN at 3pm EDT. Burnley return to the Premier League and have to start things off by welcoming Chelsea to Turf Moor. Word is, Thibaut Courtois will start in goal for The Blues. What does that mean for poor Petr Cech? Preview. Preview II.

And finally...over in France things got a wee bit feisty after the PSG/Bastia match. Here's the Moment when Thiago Motta is attacked by Brandao. And has his nose broken...



Friday, August 15, 2014

West Brom & West Ham, Pulis Resigns From Palace, EPL Weekend Previews!

The Premier League season begins tomorrow.
Sure. Of course, on the eve of the start of the EPL season, SSN Headquarters loses power. Geez Louise. OK, let's try and get something together so we're prepared for tomorrow. We'll begin with one final entire EPL season preview. Daniel Taylor has the honors. And now to the weekend:

Bloody hell. The day before the season and Crystal Palace's manager resigns! Tony Pulis is out at Selhurst Park. Not the best way to begin the campaign for the Eagles.

The final two team previews are here:

El Sid has taken his eye off of Spain for a minute to cast a glance down at Chile. Yes, folks, it's Sid Lowe on Alexis Sánchez.

That's a lot of Ronny...
Richard Williams! He's been quite of late. He's back today with this question: Can Louis van Gaal allay English suspicions of the three-man defence?

We're going to throw in 10 Players With Points To Prove (EPL) right here.

And finally...Antonio Conte has been named to head the Italian National Team. James Horncastle thinks the Italians are rolling the dice.

Enjoy the weekend!