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!



Thursday, August 14, 2014

Swansea City & Tottenham, DeAndre Yedlin to Tottenham, Gentleman Ultra's Alternative Serie A Guide To Lazio

Yikes! It'll have to be a quick one today. Let's get rolling...

As expected, Yank In His Hometown DeAndre Yedlin has become a Yank Abroad. His move from Seattle to Tottenham has been confirmed. Good luck to him. Luis Suárez is still banned but can now train with Barca and play in friendlies Good luck to...uh...no.

The Gentleman Ultra is back! We're graced with a guide to Lazio. Grazie, Gentleman! We shouldn't just look at one side of Rome, though. Thankfully, James Horncastle has a little feature on The Wolf of Roma today. That would be Walter Sabatini, by the way.

Two more EPL previews today, two more tomorrow, and then that's it, people!

San Lorenzo are the Champions of South America, says Tim Vickery. Yes, the Pope's favorite side won the Copa Libertadores yesterday. Jonathan Wilson reports on the end of an era. An era without a trophy. As he puts it, "And with that, Club Atlético Sin Libertadores de América, one of the oldest jokes in Argentinian football, had ceased to be."

This is weird...

Michael Cox is a tactical dude. He likes to write about tactics. Today, he's got a club-by-club tactical guide to the EPL season ahead. And all that entails. Tactically speaking, of course.

And finally...does it pay to sell your best player?



Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Stoke & Sunderland, Ronny & Real Madrid Win UEFA Super Cup, Jonathan Wilson On Barcelona '99-'00, Raphael Honigstein In Germany

Errr...hello. Now I play in Spain. Now I wear the string.
And a very pleasant Hump Day to you and yours. As we predicted, there were Ronaldo biceps displayed yesterday as the FITTEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD scored twice to lead Real Madrid over Sevilla. Rob Phillips was at Cardiff City Stadium and filed this report. Joe Lovejoy was there, too. And...Mark Lomas has Three Points.

Loyal SSN followers will know that Phil McNulty is the Chief Football Writer for the BBC. Today, Phil released his predictions for the upcoming season. He thinks Chelsea will win the league. He thought Chelsea would win the league last year. Sticking to his guns, he is. Chelsea do have a top striker now in the form of Diego Costa. None other than Spanish Football Expert Sid Lowe thinks Costa is "perfect" for Chelsea. Look out!

Today's EPL previews are here. Stoke and Sunderland. What more is there to say?

Oh, Jonathan Wilson. You're such a wise scribe. Thank you for giving us this fascinating article about Barcelona in the late 1990s. Thanks for reminding us how Louis van Gaal shaped five top managers between 1997 and 2000. Here's the Stat of the Day: In 1997-2000 the present managers of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Chelsea, Ajax, PSV Eindhoven and Southampton were all either playing or working at Camp Nou. Wow.

Foh Shizzle.
Fast forward a few years and Barcelona now have Neymar. Is he more important to the club than Messi?

Everyone thinks Fellaini is leaving Manchester United. Funny, then, that he scored the winning goal in United's friendly victory last night over Valencia. Was it Screech's final act? If so, nice to score, but not nice to receive the attention he got from the United faithful.

Raphael Honigstein is reporting on Germany again! Outstanding. Today he's talking some Jürgen Klopp and Borussia Dortmund. Excellent.

More Premier League Previews? Sure. SB Nation has a Mega-Preview here.

We out.



Tuesday, August 12, 2014

QPR & Southampton, Uefa Super Cup, Sid Lowe On Barcelona, MLS

Good Day! All eyes on Cardiff (OK, maybe not) as Real Madrid and Sevilla meet for the UEFA Super Cup this afternoon (2:45pm EDT on Fox Sports 1). What the hell is the UEFA Super Cup, you ask? It's when the winner of the Champions League and the winner of the Europa League play each other. Duh. You'll get your Gareth Bale in a sort of homecoming to Wales, your first sight of James and Kroos in blanco, and, most likely, Ronaldo's flexed muscles. Just a little something to get you through the week. Check the Team News.

EPL previews. Today it's two clubs who will hope to finish mid-table.

Not enough? You want a club-by-club guide? Here.

New boys. There are a lot of them in the Premier League this season. Here are five new faces aiming to make their mark. Transfers. How about Top 10 for their value?

'Tis Tuesday and that's when we usually check in with MLS. Bird has a Top 11 for the weekend here. Bird also has Power Rankings here. He claims Seattle should be top. Jeff Carlisle disagrees. He think the assGalaxy are the most powerful.

The Cannibal has gone to Catalonia. No, he can't play for a while, but it'll be very interesting to see how Luis Suárez does at Barcelona once his ban ends. His signing certainly represents a change in philosophy by the Spanish giants. Sid Lowe investigates.

Let's get going with EPL predictions, shall we? The man with the huge nose thinks Chelsea will win it all. Southampton legend Matt Le Tissier argues that it'll be Manchester City once again.

That'll do just fine.



Monday, August 11, 2014

Manchester United & Newcastle, Arsenal Win Community Shield, James Horncastle On Roma

Happy Monday. Arsenal defeated a half-asleep and still-on-vacation Manchester City in the Charity Community Shield at Wembley yesterday. The match provided some decent moments for the neutral (Barney Rooney filed this report) and we can now say that the curtain has been raised and we're ready for the real deal this weekend. Before we move on, however, here are Three PointsFive Talking Points, and Jonathan Wilson's report. Oh, and just how did all the new signings get on?

Michael Cox is a tactical dude. He likes to write about tactics. Today, he's writing about Manchester United and Van Gaal's philosophy. And what that means. Tactically speaking, of course.
Totti & Batigol celebrate as Thuram looks on...
They'll be playing Il Calcio in Italy before too long. Serie A gets going next month and James Horncastle reckons Roma have what it takes to win their first Scudetto since 2001. Ahhhh, that was a squad we loved. Totti in his prime, Walter Samuel and Cafú anchoring the defense, Batistuta and Montella up front. Hidetoshi Nakata. Abel Babo! What a side. Sniff...sniff. Good memories.

Sticking with transfers, here are the Top 10 Biggest Risks of transfers that have gone through already.

In Major League Soccer, Landon Donovan's farewell tour has officially begun. Here are Five Things from the weekend's domestic action.

We've got two more Premier League previews today. They feature two big clubs with a lot to prove and under a lot of pressure.

Question of the Day: How do Real Madrid keep £500m of talent happy?

Jamie Redknapp tips Chelsea for the title. There. Now you know. Do you care? If so, click here for 'Lil Redknapp's team-by-team season preview.

We'll conclude the beginning of the week with this: Ten hidden gems that are ready to sparkle in the Premier League this season. Bam!



Friday, August 08, 2014

Liverpool & Manchester City, Donovan To Retire, Champions League Playoff Draw, Community Shield Preview, The Joy of Six

There goes another week, eh? Time has flown and we're almost ready to get things going again. There's a trophy on offer Sunday as Manchester City and Arsenal play for the Charity Community Shield. That's on the television at 10am EDT on Fox Sports 1. Barney Ronay reckons that Alexis Sánchez could be the perfect fit for Arsène Wenger. And here's a little 50-50 Challenge for the two clubs. And here's a position-by-position comparison.

Speaking of Arsenal, they've learned their Champions League Playoff opponents. They are...Besiktas. Turkey awaits. Elsewhere, Celtic crashed out but earned a reprieve because the Poles fielded an ineligible player! Here's the draw (Napoli/Bilbao could be tasty):

Maribor v Celtic
Red Bull Salzburg v Malmo
Aalborg v Apoel Nicosia
Steaua Bucuresti v Ludogorets
Slovan Bratislava v Bate
Besiktas v Arsenal
Standard Liège v Zenit St Petersburg
FC Copenhagen v Bayer Leverkusen
Lille v Porto
Napoli v Athletic Bilbao
Ties to be played 19-20 and 26-27 August

Today's Premier League previews feature a couple of heavyweights carrying massive expectations. Will City repeat? How will Liverpool fare without The Cannibal? Check it:

Everyone's favorite former Spurs coach is back. Coach Lasso has a new gig with the St. Catherine's Fighting Owls. Who? Fighting Owls!

The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! Sorry, it's been awhile and we got excited. This week it's...football purple patches (or periods of utter footballing brilliance). You like numbers? Try this Top Tenner. EPL players with a point to prove.

The Championship gets underway tomorrow. Twenty-four teams, 46 matches, three prized places in the Premier League, indeed. Did you know there are 12 dudes who played in the World Cup who will play in the Championship this year? Gonzalo Jara, Kenneth Omeruo, Lee Chung-Yong, Roger Espinoza, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Yun Suk-Young, Essaid Belkalem, Jean Beausejour, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Park Chu-Young, Albert Adomah, Riayd Mahrez. Thank you, The BBC.

Jozy Altidore. Dude had an awful year. Can he turn it around?

As noted and previewed yesterday, League Uhhhh kicks off this weekend, as well. Here's another preview, this time from Paul Doyle.

And finally...Landon Donovan announced he'll retire. Brian Strauss provides the first of what will surely be plenty of articles.



Thursday, August 07, 2014

Leicester City & Hull City, MLS Defeat Bayern Munich, Ligue Uhhhhh Preview

Hello, there! The MLS All-Stars defeated Bayern Munich (link includes highlights) last night by a score of 2-1. Pep was pissed because of some of the challenges suffered by his stars and refused to shake hands afterwards. Who cares? Lando and BWP scored for the MLSers, whilst Lewandowski hit a beaut for the German club. Here are Three Points. And, of course Grant Wahl has Three Thoughts on the affair in Portland.

Previews? Today it's two clubs returning to the top flight after some time away. Welcome back, Foxes and Tigers!

The French. The play some solid footy. They have League Uhhhhh. They have newly rich PSG. The Zlatan. Edinson Cavani. Thiago Silva. And now...add to the mix...Sideshow BobWe have a preview for 2013-14. PSG will win, by the way.

A lot of people complain about the current state of football in England. Ruined by sponsors, owners, the wealth and cost of it all. Was it any better in the 90s? Vice has a good gander.

And we'll end with this: Look for the vanishing spray on Sunday.



Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Crystal Palace & Everton, MLS All-Star Game, Webb Quits

We've reached Humpday! This mid-week we have the Major League Soccer All-Star game to enjoy. It's going down tonight out in Portland (ESPN2 at 9:30pm EDT) if you're interested. The best of MLS will face Bayern München. Could be interesting. You never know. Regardless, in the face of massive fan support for the friendlies taking place around the country, it's a big night for Major League Soccer. Here's the MLS roster. Pretty solid. Here's more on those guys. Preview? Right. Preview again? Right.

It is now time to continue the 2013-2014 predictions for the Premier League. Today, we've got a London club and a Liverpool club to examine:

We should probably check in on all the transfer gossip. Pepe Reina, Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster, and Vedad Ibisevic are some of the stars lighting up today's papers. Ooo la la! The Mill. Plus One. Plus Plus One.

Howard Webb has handled his last match. He's hanging up his hands-free mic in order to be some sort of technical director at some sort of referees' association. Good luck, Howard. He's been one of the better ones over the last 20 years or so, we must admit.

The Youth. You can't blame The Youth. It's true. Bob Marley and Peter Tosh said so. That said, what's the problem with the USA Youth Development System? Bird examines here.

That's it.