Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More Moyes And Man U., Atlético Madrid & Chelsea Finish Scoreless, Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid

A spot of fun in Madrid for the traveling supporters...
Welcome to another Hump Day, folks. The big item on the agenda is the second Champions League semi-final first-leg featuring the defending champions Bayern Munich and Los Blancos de Madrid. But first, we should examine yesterday's match. You want a quick summary? Chelsea parked the bus and nobody scored. You want more? Here:

Atlético Madrid 1-1 Chelsea: Daniel Taylor at the Vicente Calderón

Oh, gosh. Everyone is still going nuts over the Moyes sacking. Marina Hyde claims that the sorry saga of David Moyes won't shake Sir Alex Ferguson's self-belief. Barney Ronay reckons the appointment of Moyes was a big mistake. Simon Kuper says Manchester United’s biggest problem is not selecting next manager. Russell Brand (!?) is also talking about it in his typically humorous manner. How's this for a sentence: Sir Alex Ferguson's selection of the "chosen one" now looks less like John the Baptist heralding Christ and more like what I would do if invited to select my ex's next partner; the mendacious dispatch of a castrated chump to grimly jiggle with futile pumps upon Man United's bone-dry, trophy-bare mound. ?

So, today we move across the city from the Vicente Calderón to the Santiago Bernabéu to enjoy Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich. Sadly, Gareth Bale probably won't play. He has the flu. And we'll have to wait and see about Ronny. Check it:

Seated firmly in the WTF?! category is the fact that FIFA have decided to allow Barcelona to transfer players this summer. Yes, the ban is suspended pending appeal. What a joke.

"Yes, José, I'm injured. No, José, you can't have my woobie...
Leicester City and Burnley have been promoted to the Premier League. Here's the question: Can they stay there? Richard Jolly examines the two new boys.

Scott Murray: Real Madrid vs. Bayern: The night Juanito kicked Matthäus in the face. Read it. Enjoy it.

More Major League Soccer? Why not?

Sticking with the States, Jermaine Jones is getting ready for the World Cup the best way he knows how...with ink, bitches!

Sticking with the World Cup, some guy named Karl Matchett has 50 reasons why it'll be the best ever. Sorry, Karl, but it ain't gonna happen.

And finally...Vincent Kompany has opened a couple of bars in Belgium. They're called, "Good Kompany." The servers wear badges that say, "I Heart Foul Play." Good Grief.



Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Moyes Fired, Atlético Madrid vs. Chelsea, Scribes, Burnley Promoted, City Defeat West Brom, European Relegation Battles
Good Day! Loads to get through, beginning with the expected news that Manchester United have decided to part ways with Moe Szyslak. Here's all the fallout:

Burnley will be back amongst the big boys next season. They joined Leicester City yesterday as the second Championship side to earn automatic promotion to the Premier League. How did they do it? Strong work ethic. 4-4-2 design. Ginger Mourinho.

In yesterday's match, Manchester City made easy work of West Brom and cruised to a 3-1 win. They're back within six points of Liverpool and still have a game in hand.

The Champions! It all goes down this afternoon in Madrid at The Vicente Calderón. Fernando Torres has returned (to a warm reception, we're told) to the ground where he made his reputation as one of the greatest strikers in the world. It's the Champions League semi-final first leg between Atlético Madrid and Chelsea and it's on Fox Sports I at 2:45pm EDT. The Blues are coming off their shocking loss at home to Sunderland. How shall they respond? Here's all you need to know:
Tuesday means it's time to go in deep with some analyses of what went down over the weekend. Like Wide World of Sports, we'll span the globe to bring you the constant variety of sport... the thrill of victory... and the agony of defeat... the human drama of athletic competition...

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Brazil stars' club troubles no concern for Scolari

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? Relegation battle can provide the cruellest of twists.

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Hamburg look to higher powers while Stuttgart take huge leap to safety

Tuesday also means Monday Musings from Gab. This week it's Sore Mourinho, Messi's future, Moyes' delusions, more.

We also need to check in with Major League Soccer. A quick look at some of Jeff Carlisle's Power Rankings coupled with an MLS Best XI should do the trick.

Wow! We've got to end there, folks. Keep it tite.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Chelsea Lose To Sunderland, Everton Dominate Manchester United, Moyes Set For The Sack?, Messi Saves Barcelona, Roma Win At Fiorentina, Monday Night Football, Berbatov Goal poor.
A glorious spring Monday here at SSN Headquarters where the sun is shining, the birds chirping, and the temperature ideal. Not so ideal for David Moyes, with reports of his demise making the rounds after another completely inept performance, this time at Everton. Yes, it would appear that he is going to get the sack before he can even make it through a season. Oh, dear. How did it all go so wrong? Meanwhile, it's all going right for United's rivals Liverpool. Phil McNulty says Liverpool will never forgive themselves if they fail to win title. Sunderland did Liverpool a big favor by winning at Stamford Bridge. Predictably, The Special One was having none of it. Asshat.

Weekend Premier League Action Links:

Chelsea 1-2 Sunderland: Jacob Steinburg at Stamford Bridge
Everton 2-0 Manchester United: Jamie Jackson at Goodison Park
Norwich City 2-3 Liverpool: Sachin Nakrani at Carrow Road

In Spain, Barcelona looked set for more disappointment, but Messi saved the day. Meanwhile, Atlético won and are three wins from the title. Round 'em up!

In Serie A, Juventus and Roma won, and Napoli was held by Udinese. Elsewhere, Inter saw off Parma and AC Milan beat Livorno. Here's more.

What else of note happened across Europe? Let's take a look.

We learned a lot of things in Major League Soccer this weekend. Here are Five of said things. And here's a Team of the Week.

I'm still here.
There is a match of import this evening. Manchester City will attempt to keep the title race close as they host West Brom. West Brom will attempt to remain clear of the drop zone. Check a preview, why don't ya?

USA! USA! USA! Hotlist! Hotlist! Hotlist! Who's hot (Bedoya)? Who's not (DaMarcus Beasley).

Let's conclude with everyone's favorite smoking Bulgarian...Dimitar Berbatov! He's in France now, but still up to his old tricks.



Friday, April 18, 2014

Spain Nuts For Bale, Football Pantomime Villains, AS Roma Spotlight, Moyes Back To Everton

And there goes another week. In Spain, they're still going ape-shit (pun intended) over Gareth Bale's amazing goal on Wednesday. Sid Lowe reports. In weekend matches of note, Everton host Manchester United, Chelsea welcome Sunderland, Parma host Inter, Liverpool go to Norwich, Barcelona host Bilbao, and Roma go to Fiorentina. We'll begin in the Premier League:

The Joy of Six this week is Football Pantomime Villains. How do you pick just six? This list does not contain Robbie Savage, Craig Bellamy, Robbie Fowler, Kevin Davies, Emmanuel Adebayor, Teddy Sheringham, Luis Suarez, El-Hadji Diouf, Neil Ruddock, Javier Mascherano, Gary Neville, Tim Cahill, John Terry, Joey Barton, Lee Bowyer, Alan Smith, Dennis Wise, Duncan Ferguson, could go on and on. And that's just the Premier League. Suppose you've got to begin somewhere, though.

Greek Ring of Fire? Why not. It gets going around 2:26. Pretty impressive.

In Spain, all eyes will be on Barcelona as they attempt to stop the rot. It won't be easy. They have to go up to Athletic Bilbao. Here's a weekend La Liga preview.

Rudi! Rudi! Rudi! Rudi Garcia has done the job at Roma this campaign. James Horncastle takes a look at the Roma gaffer and the successful season enjoyed by i Giallorossi. Va bene. And here's a weekend preview for Serie A.

Can't really find any decent MLS weekend previews, sadly. This'll take you to a page with specific match reviews.

Tony Pubis. We've never liked him. He does deserve credit, though, for steering Palace to safety. The Eagles fans on the SSN Staff have no complaints. Jim White looks at how Palace could have a say in the Premier League title with final matches against Liverpool & Manchester City.

Speaking of the Premier League, it's been a mad, mad season. Here are 10 reasons why this campaign has been the most bizarre of them all.

Enjoy your weekend!



Thursday, April 17, 2014

All Hail Bale As His Stunning Goal Wins Cup For Real = More Barca Misery, Palace Win At Everton, Sunderland Draw At City, Atlanta Will Be #22 In MLS

Surplus to requirements...
Quite the load of footie yesterday, right? The Copa del Rey final was great and was settled by a crazy Bale sprint-fest, Tony Pubis and his Crystal Palace side went up to Fortress Goodison and will return to South London with all three points, and title-chasers Manchester City could only draw at home (thanks to a late Nasri goal that should have been saved by Vito) against bottom-of-the-table Sunderland. Let's get to it, beginning in Valencia:

Barcelona 1-2 Real Madrid: Sid Lowe at the Mestalla
Avi Creditor: Bale worth every penny

And in England:
Everton 2-3 Crystal Palace: Report
Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland: Jamie Jackson at the Etihad Stadium

Bale jumps for joy...
So Messi is out of form. He's on poor form. Jonathan Wilson reports that they are none too pleased about that down in Argentina.

Atlanta is now officially set to become Major League Soccer's 22nd club. So...OK?

Drogba. Underwear. Charity. Fine.

World Cup Watch! Edinson Cavani (poor form), Cristiano Ronaldo (hurt), Sami Khedira (back for Germany?)

Nice bus...

This has never happened before: NBC networks to broadcast all 10 EPL season finales simultaneously.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Copa Del Rey Finale, Arsenal Beat West Ham, Everton vs. Palace, City vs. Sunderland, Football Album Covers, Fair Play

Hello. So, all the SSN staffers got together last night and watched Hillsborough. Brutal. Grant Wahl has a Q & A with director Daniel Gordon.

Also yesterday, Arsenal moved back up to fourth with a 3-1 win over West Ham. And Matt Jarvis didn't dive. Here are some articles:

Today, Everton can move back into fourth as they welcome Crystal Palace to Goodison Park, and Manchester City host Sunderland.

It's Spain, it's yet another Clásico. This one is for the King's Cup. It should be interesting for a few new reasons. Primarily, Ronaldo is hurt and won't play, and Barcelona have sucked of late. Here's what you need to know. If you can get to a TV in the U.S., you can check it out on ESPN at 3:30pm EDT. Preview? OK. More? Sure. Sid Lowe? But, of course.

UEFA and Fair Play. What the hell is it? What does it mean? There are so many unknowns. Thankfully, Gab Marcotti has some answers.

Jeff Carlisle is a U.S. soccer expert. Here, he takes a look at life on the bubble for Yanks hoping to get a spot on the plane to Brazil.




Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Hillsborough, Arsenal vs. West Ham, New York City FC To Play At Yankee Stadium, Pirlo Autobiography, Bergkamp Wonder Goal, Wanda Derby she has a Derby named after her...
Hello friends! Tuesday has come and with it a closer look at the weekend activities. Also, there is a match in the Premier League between London rivals Arsenal and West Ham. And Big Sam. Here's a preview for that one.

Podcast!! It's an all-star line-up on today's Football Weekly, with AC Jimbo joined by Barry Glendenning, Amy Lawrence, Barney Ronay and just a little bit of Gregg Bakowski to look back on the highs and lows of the weekend in the Premier League and the FA Cup. The high of course was Liverpool's 3-2 win over Manchester City. Can the Reds' momentum take them all the way to the title?. Not quite as entertaining was Arsenal's plodding penalty shoot-out victory over Wigan. Still, a final's a final, as they don't say, especially in France, but the Gunners will be heading back to Wembley for real next month when they face Hull in the FA Cup final. Have some of that, purists. Finally in today's show, we hear from Sid Lowe about Barcelona's latest defeat, before discussing the saucy love triangle in Serie A.

Interesting. NYCFC will join MLS in '15. And they'll play at Yankee Stadium, at least for a little while.

He wrote a book.

Everyone's favorite slow, old, hairy, Italian midfield genius Andrea Pirlo has an autobiography out. Michael Cox has read it and has a favorable review. He gives it Four Balls. Check this out: Pirlo's penchant for slightly risqué humour is obvious throughout. He drops the F-bomb no fewer than 18 times and throws in the phrase "Monica Lewinsky under Bill Clinton's desk" where you least expect it. "Swearing's my release," he says. "It's the one weapon I have to defend myself against destiny when it elects to strike without pity." Makes us want to read it!

Raheem Sterling. Is he a rare breed? Barney Ronay thinks it's possible.

Time to Scribe!

Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Luckless, mismanaged and doomed: Real Betis need more than a miracle

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Messi's Argentina better for Carlos Tevez absence

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? Paderborn to be wild

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? López loses again in Sampdoria's 'Wanda Derby'

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Concern for Bayern's Red Machine

Right. It's Tuesday. Time for Gab to gab and muse. This week it is Gerrard's emotion, an Anfield epic, Martino's mess, more. Good.

Okeee Doughkee. We've got another installment of the Guardian's series: World Cup: 25 stunning moments. We are up to No. 10. And it is Dennis Bergkamp's wonder goal. The Editor remembers this fondly. He watched this match in Chicago on a static-filled screen thanks to rabbit ears and Univision. Suffice to say, the call of GOOOOOOOOOOOAAAAAAAAALLLLLLL is still ringing in his ears.

We need to look back at the weekend in Major League Soccer. We shall do so here. And here.

There is no other way to conclude today other than remembering the tragedy of 25 years ago. Jonathan Wilson and The BBC have it covered.



Monday, April 14, 2014

Liverpool Beat City, Barcelona Lose Again, Diego Costa Mooned And Misses, Arsenal Win On Penalties, USA Hotlist, Hillsborough

Whew! Another weekend of insanely entertaining action. Yesterday's mega-clash between Liverpool and Manchester City lived up to the hype with Liverpool eventually winning 3-2 and reducing Steven Gerrard to tears of joy. Elsewhere, Spurs enjoyed another comeback to snatch a draw, the Barcelona crisis deepened, Hull City will face Arsenal in the FA Cup final, John Terry asked for a red card for his opponent and got it as Chelsea won at Swansea, Clint Dempsey continues to hit the back of the net for Seattle, Bayern Munich lost again, Atlético Madrid won as Diego Costa scored, got mooned, missed a penalty, and cut his leg (looks like he'll be OK), and Fiorentina, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Roma, and Napoli all won in Italy. Let's roll with the action in England and Wales:

West Brom 3-3 Tottenham: Peter Lansley at The Hawthorns
Swansea City 0-1 Chelsea: Stuart James at the Liberty Stadium
Hull City 5-3 Sheffield United: Jacob Steinberg at Wembley

We told you it was a big weekend. The picture is now a bit clearer in terms of the relegation watch: Who's safe and who's not?

ESPN's 30 for 30 series has been intensely enjoyable and informative, and it looks like that trend is set to continue with tomorrow's premier of Hillsborough. As we noted last week, it's been 25 years since the disaster, and the search for justice continues.

The FA Cup used to be the biggest prize in English football. This is no longer the case, nor will it ever again. There are, however, ways in which it could be improved. Here are eight ways to reinvent the FA Cup.

So Barcelona lost at Grenada. According Francesc Tomas, they are a club teetering on the brink of chaos. Meanwhile, it's butt chaos as Diego Costa misses whilst being mooned:

In Italy, it was Goals! Red Cards! Goals! We cannot resist. Here's a complete European Review.

Team USA Hotlist! Hot = Clint Dempsey. Not = Omar Gonzalez.

Yaya Toure is a pretty damn fine footballer. Here, he talks about his career.

We're done talking.



Friday, April 11, 2014

Champions League Draw Pits Chelsea vs. Atlético Madrid & Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid, Manchester City vs. Liverpool, The Joy of Six, Hillsborough

And there goes another week in the books...

The Champions League Semis were set this morning over in France, and the Spanish teams were kept apart. Bayern and Real will go at it and Chelsea and Atlético will clash. Juicy stuff. Sid Lowe still can't stop talking about Atlético Madrid. And why should he? They're having the time of their lives, don't you know? Meanwhile, we're not the only ones thinking about who will make the final. Michael Cox is also wondering who will emerge from two titanic battles. Gab Marcotti suggests we all just strap in and enjoy the ride. Sounds wise.

Per usual, we'll begin with a look at the weekend in England and Wales:

FA Cup Semi-Final Preview: Wigan vs. Arsenal
FA Cup Semi-Final Preview: Hull City vs. Sheffield United
Liverpool v Manchester City: Five steps each that set up Sunday's game

There is league soccer in Spain this weekend, too. Here's your La Liga preview. Serie A? Look for these Five Things. And here's a more complete preview.

Gosh. The Joy of Six this week is Goalscoring Goalkeepers. How awesome is that?!

Europa League. Valencia (?!), Juventus, Sevilla, and Benfica make up your semi-final crew.

SSN Staffers don't really get too excited about summertime friendlies here in the United States. This, however, would be pretty fun.

Lucky for us, Barney Ronay has a wonderful imagination. Today, he's putting it to use by imagining a Premier League truly made in Britain. Hmmmm...

Read: "Over the next couple of months, is profiling two valuable, but perhaps undervalued, under-the-radar players on each of the U.S. men's national team's Group G opponents at this summer's World Cup. As a result, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Asamoah Gyan will make way for their lesser-heralded teammates in this space. The next in the Know Your Enemy series is versatile Ghana midfielder Kwadwo Asamoah."

We're going to end on a sad note today with a look back at Hillsborough. It was 25 years ago.



Thursday, April 10, 2014

Atlético Madrid Oust Barcelona, Bayern Munich Defeat Manchester United, Hilarious Soccer Dives, MLS In 2020, No Acrobatic Sex For Brazil Players, Gentleman Ultra's Alternative Serie A Guide To Genoa

Pre-gaming United fans in Munich...
Good Day, friends! Barcelona are out of the Champions League thanks to yet another impressive performance from Madrid's "second" side. Manchester United are also out of the Champions League thanks to yet another normal performance by the reigning champs. Let's get down to business:

Jonathan Wilson: Stifle and Survive
Atlético Madrid 1-0 Barcelona (agg. 2-1): Report
Bayern Munich 3-1 Manchester United (agg. 4-2): Report

The draw for the semis is tomorrow. A quick straw poll around SSN Headquarters reveals that we all want Real Madrid vs. Chelsea and Bayern Munich vs. Atlético Madrid. Jonathan Wilson tells us how the last four compare.

Ohhhh, Barcelona. You've given us such great football and so much more. Your tiki-taka, your elegant style, your panache, your whining from Dani Alves, your hair-farm from Carlos Puyol, your wife of Gerard Piqué, your boot studs from Javier Mascherano. Is this the end of it all? Is the era over?

Someone took the time to gather some gifs of dives. They're quite lovely. Enjoy.

Major League Soccer continues to expand. Atlanta looks set to get a team. Minneapolis might be in line for something. Brian Strauss gives us an update on potential changes to the U.S.'s top league.

Contrasting emotions at the Vicente Calderón...
Brazil gaffer Luiz Felipe Scolari said this: ‘Usually normal sex is done in a balanced way but some like to perform acrobatics. We will put limits and survey the players.’ We'd like to see the results of said survey...

The Gentleman Ultra is back with his Serie A Alternative Club Guide, and this time he's tackling Genoa. We can't wait to dig in.

There are matches of note (minor) today. Yes, everyone's favorite secondary European competition continues with Juventus, Benfica, FC Porto and FC Basel hoping to make the semis. Take a gander if you care.

With that, we'll see you on Friday.