Friday, January 25, 2013

Ronaldinho, Rewind to 1975 with Leeds & Spurs, FA Cup, Nile Ranger

Buck Tooth Ronny is back in the news. And for the right reasons, no less. Barney Ronay has a little ditty about the Brazilian star's resurgence back in his homeland. He's still only 32 and he just won the Brazilian Player of the Year award. The question is, how is his hair looking these days? Oh.

Moving on, the Copa del Rey is shaping up nicely in Spain. Barcelona clinched a spot in the semis where they'll play...wait for it...Real Madrid! Shocking, we know. Atlético Madrid face Sevilla in the other semifinal. Atlético are having a great year, by the way.

Yes. 1975.

On Fridays we like to go back in time with Jon Carter. Today, he takes us back to 1975. This is the reason: One of the most important games in Tottenham's history came in 1975, when Spurs were left languishing in the relegation zone and had to beat the reigning champions, Leeds United, on the final day of the season to ensure they stayed in the top flight.

The Home Depot Center will be getting a new name soon. We thought someone might care. No biggie.

OK, what's on offer this weekend? Let's begin in England, yeah? It's an FA Cup Weekend. Here's a complete preview. Here's one for Fulham vs. Manchester United. Here's one for Leeds vs. Tottenham. Macclesfield and Luton are the two non-league sides that remain in the competition. Best of luck to them. Here are Ten Things that some people are looking forward to.

Over in Italy, Serie A remains in full swing. Leaders Juventus host Genoa, Torino are at Inter Milan, Bologna host Roma, and Napoli go to Parma. Here's a preview.

In Spain, Athletic Bilbao and Atlético Madrid clash, Barcelona are at home against Osasuna, and Real Madrid host Getafe. Here's a preview.

Time for The Mill and your Plus One. Again, things remain fairly quiet. We think it'll stay like this through the end of the month. There simply won't be any big moves, sadly.

Down in South Africa, Ghana beat Mali.

You want class? How about Newcastle's Nile Ranger? He's been arrested on suspicion of rape...the day after he spelt his name out in £1,500 worth of £20 notes. For fuck's sake.

There's your lot. Enjoy the weekend and keep it tite.



Thursday, January 24, 2013

Swansea City, Hazard Ballboy Kick, Gold Cup Venues, ACN, Adu Update

Where to start today but with Eden Hazard? You say you're not really a fan of Chelsea? How about now? The Chelsea dynamo kicked a ball boy. He was frustrated because Chelsea were not going to advance to the final of the What's In Your Wallet Cup. Instead, Swansea City now have that honor.

Let's go to the videotape!

It's really not that big a deal. We think the kid is faking it. And just who is this kid, anyway? Regarding Chelsea, the BBC's Phil McNulty says this: ...if one club is a symbol for the permanent turbulence that swirls around our national sport away from the actual playing of the game, it is Chelsea. Damage limitation has almost become a way of life at Stamford Bridge. Here's the rest of Phil's piece.

Let's not let the whole sordid affair take away from Swansea's wonderful run to the final. Swansea City vs. Bradford City for the League Cup. No arguments here. Daniel Taylor took in all the fun at the Liberty Stadium. And, while we're at it, let's check out this fine article from David Conn on Bradford the club and Bradford the town.

The Gold Cup is coming to a city near you. If you're lucky, that is. Everyone's favorite CONCACAF tournament will go down in the USA this July. Yes, the giants of North America, Central America, and the Caribbean will fight it out on our soil. Watch out for Belize. They're strong this year. Anyway, here are your cities and venues:

Atlanta – Georgia Dome (Atlanta, GA)
Baltimore – M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
Chicago – Soldier Field (Chicago, IL)
Dallas – Cowboys Stadium (Arlington, TX)
Denver – Sports Authority Field at Mile High (Denver, CO)
Hartford – Rentschler Field (East Hartford, CT)
Houston – BBVA Compass Stadium (Houston, TX)
Los Angeles – Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
Miami – Sun Life Stadium (Miami Gardens, FL)
New York- Red Bull Arena (Harrison, NJ)
Portland – JELD-WEN Field (Portland, OR)
Salt Lake City – Rio Tinto Stadium (Sandy, UT)
Seattle – CenturyLink Field (Seattle, WA)

Back in the English Premier League, Arsenal took their finger out of the dyke and hit five past West Ham. Nothing much more to say than that, really. Per usual, it took a West Ham goal to wake the Gunners up, but after that they were off and running. There was a scary moment late on when Hammers' defender Daniel Potts was knocked out for a significant amount of time. Apparently he has a concussion and should be OK. Jeremy Wilson saw the show at the Emirates Stadium.

Big Sam = Not Happy
Freddie Adu. It's been awhile, mate. Let's check in and see how shitty your career is progressing.

The Mill. Your Plus One. It appears Manchester United are poised so sign Crystal Palace sensation Zaha. Newcastle Captain Coloccini wants nothing to do with the club. Llorente is going to Juve this summer.

The African Cup of Nations is underway. Here's everything you need to know for today's action where Ghana find themselves in need of a win against Mali. And here's your Round 1 Round-Up.

Meanwhile, in North London, Tottenham have cloned Gareth Bale.

That'd do for today.



Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Bradford City, League Cup, Americans Abroad, Arsenal vs. West Ham

We just can't seem to get into a rhythm these days. The entire SSN Staff took a trip up to D.C. for the inauguration Monday and we were unable to produce posts until now. Apologies. Now, what went down?

Let's start with Phil Ball. He's in Spain (duh) and Barcelona lost last weekend. As we expected, since he lives in San Sebastian, he attended the match between Real Sociedad and Barcelona. Good stuff as always. 

We're sure everyone knows about Sunday's results. Yank Abroad Clint Dempsey scored very, very late to snatch a deserved draw for his Totttenham against ManU. At Stamford Bridge, Arsenal woke up too late and were overrun by Chelsea. 

Yesterday, however, Bradford City shocked the world by defeating Aston Villa (over two legs) and making the final of the What's In Your Wallet Cup. By eliminating Villa, Bradford became the first side from the fourth tier of English football to reach the League Cup final - or the showpiece of any of the two major knock-outs - since Rochdale in 1962. They're also the first team from outside the top two divisions to do so since Villa themselves in 1971. They are currently 10th in League Two! That's pretty damn impressive. Well played, Bantams! Daniel Taylor saw the history made at Villa Park. And this is pretty nice. Who says footballers don't care?

Now then, who will join them in that final match at Wembley? It'll be either Swansea City or Chelsea. They clash this afternoon, but as far as we can tell, there is no U.S. TV. Find a stream...

Holy Christ. The African Cup of Nations is already underway down in South Africa. Jonathan Wilson is there. Apparently, Gervinho doesn't suck. At least not all of the time.

Americans Abroad. Jozy continues to burn in Holland. He hit for three at the weekend. Here are all the rest.

Three More For Jozy
Speaking of Yanks Abroad, Tactics Master Michael Cox has an interesting piece on why Serie A clubs are moving away from the classic Number 10 and toward players in the mold of Roma's Michael Bradley. It's a big reason Sneijder is now in Turkey and no longer in Milan.

There is another Yank Abroad who deserves a mention. Stuart Holden. He played! Check it.

And that leads nicely into The Mill and your Plus One. The Dutch maestro had some fine years in Serie A but he'll now be enjoying the delights of Istanbul. That's really the only "big" news.

Right. There's a big match in the EPL this afternoon. Arsenal host West Ham in the match that was canceled back on Boxing Day. Arsenal are in crisis. They won't make the top four. Wenger out. Right? Here's a preview. And here's an interesting graphic thanks to Arseblog comparing the top 10 in the tables from this time last year and now:

Right! That'll do for now. We'll see you tomorrow.