Friday, February 01, 2013

Sterling Charged With Assault, Transfers Done, The Joy of Six, Previews, ACN

We'll start with some sad news today. Liverpool's Raheem Sterling has been charged with assaulting a woman. Sterling denies the allegation and plans to plead not guilty. So, let's hope he's telling the truth.

On to more positive news. There is another Yank Abroad as of yesterday. Everyone's favorite enigma Brek Shea has joined Tony Pubis' Stoke City. We're not big fans of the football Stoke play, but it's great to have another American in the Premier League. Best of luck to Brek.
Now then. What other transfers went down yesterday? Perhaps the funniest is the one that did not. Peter Odemwingie so wanted to move to QPR from West Brom that he simply showed up at Loftus Road. He was not allowed to enter. Even without adding the Nigerian to their books, old 'Arry still managed to drop loads and loads of cash in the transfer window. The deal for Samba broke the club's transfer record for the second time in a two week period. The fee was £12.5m and the contract is worth more than £20m over the four-and-a-half-year deal. Don't people realize that Harry Redknapp has done this over and over again? If QPR are relegated, they're screwed! Pompey, anyone? Unbelievable. Paul Hayward agrees: "A few days ago they were blaming the high-rollers. Queens Park Rangers had hired too many mercenaries. There was only one thing for it. Hire some different high-rollers, on even more money, and to hell with the long-term cost."

The Telegraph has a nice interactive thingy and a listing of everything that happened yesterday. Have at it. Also, Phil McNulty gives us his verdict.

Oh, and Nicolas Anelka has joined Juventus. That's his 35th club. What, you think we're joking? OK, we are. It's not quite his 35th stop. He has only graced PSG, Arsenal, Real Madrid, PSG again, Liverpool, Manchester City, Fenerbahçe, Bolton, Chelsea, Shanghai, and now Juventus. So, just 10.

La Liga. Primera Division. Whatever you want to call it, Eduardo Alvarez has his Quiniela so you know how to bet on the weekend's action. Barcelona head to Valencia and Eduardo predicts they'll lose.

In Italy, everyone has Balotelli fever. Word is he'll play in Milan's match against Udinese on Monday. Elsewhere, Juventus go to Chievo, Inter travel to Siena, and Fiorentina host Parma. Here's your preview.

Let's hit The Joy of Six. Today's edition is Disallowed Goals. Look! Here's one now:

The matches just keep coming, don't they? We love it. In England this weekend, the biggie is Manchester City vs. Liverpool on Sunday. Newcastle vs. Chelsea could be interesting (Ba goes back), as could West Brom vs. Spurs. Here's a complete preview. The other usual suspects are below...

Grant Wahl interviewed Wesley Sneijder. Does he think Galatasaray can win the Champions League?

Finally, on to the African Cup of Nations. For the first time since 1992, no North African country has made the Final Eight. Stephen Fottrell takes a look.

That's it. We're out. Enjoy the weekend.



Thursday, January 31, 2013

TRANSFER DEADLINE DAY!!!! (plus other stuff)

"How much for the little girl? How much for the women?"
OMG! OMG! David Beckham has gone to Paris, Christopher Samba has gone to QPR, Danny Graham has gone to Sunderland, Philippe Coutinho has gone to Liverpool, and,'s The Mill and here's your Plus One. Geez. Glad that's over and done.

El Clásico! Yes, the Copa del Rey semi-final sits at 1-1 and neither Messi nor Ronaldo scored! Unbelievable! Madrid looked pretty impressive, we have to say. Certainly better than in some of these meetings last year. They were far less ponderous and had a better plan of how to compete. They deserved the draw. Let's see what the experts thought of it all. Sid Lowe was at the Santiago Bernabéu. Graham Hunter was there as well, and sadly has to end his excellent piece with more reports of racist chanting. This time is was some Real Madrid fans making monkey chants at Dani Alves.

Moving on. Wednesday action in the EPL. Arsenal 2 - 2 Liverpool. The always excellent Amy Lawrence was at the Emirates. As was David Hytner.

Reading 2 - 2 Chelsea. Kevin Palmer was at The Madejski Stadium to see the Royals come back to grab a draw.

Manchester United 2 - 1 Southampton. The Reds were poor but win yet again. Alistair Magowan was at Old Trafford.

Peter Berlin has Five Thoughts. And here are your 10 Talking Points. And here's a full review of all of yesterday's action. And how about the current table? Why not?
Here's the official poster...
Grant Wahl's column focuses on the Jozy Altidore incident. Take a look.

Jonathan Wilson has an update on Togo from the African Cup of Nations: An Africa Cup of Nations quarter-final spot was secured in spite of bizarre refereeing, an awful pitch and difficult memories.

We'll keep an eye on the window and report if anything major happens. Peter Crouch to QPR is not major, by the way...



Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Altidore Racially Abused, USA/Canada Drab Draw, EPL Action, Mario Back to Milan

We'll begin our hump day with some crapola. Yank Abroad Jozy Altidore was subjected to monkey chants during his side's Dutch Cup match against Den Bosch. Apparently Jozy handled things quite well, and from the video, it appears the players did also. Dock these teams points. It's the only way it'll stop.

Meanwhile, down in Houston, Jozy's American brothers were BORING. What an awful match. It ended scoreless. Here's a report and some player grades. Bleh. Thankfully, the squad will look very, very different in the upcoming match that matters against Honduras. Grant Wahl has his Three Thoughts.

Do you really have to ask? Dumb Ass.
Back in England, Manchester City failed to score at Loftus Road. QPR didn't score either. It was the final match for Ryan Nelson as he prepares to take over at Toronto FC. The Kiwi got a nice send-off from the home crowd. Dominic Fifield was there. Speaking of Manchester City, it is finally official: Mario Balotelli has moved to AC Milan. The Man-Child is back in Serie A. His antics will be missed, that's certain. Here's a look back at his bizarre ride.

Elsewhere, Aston Villa are in big trouble after losing at home to Newcastle, Stoke and Wigan drew 2-2, and Sunderland and Swansea finished goalless.

Today's menu of matches is far superior. We've got Arsenal vs. Liverpool, Reading vs. Chelsea, Norwich vs. Tottenham, Fulham vs. West Ham, Manchester United vs. Southampton, and Everton vs. West Brom. Here's a preview. And here are Lawro's Predictions and Paul Merson's Predictions.

Competing for air time with the above fixtures is El Clásico. Today's edition takes place at the Santiago Bernabéu in Madrid and is a Copa del Rey fixture. Here's an interesting piece on the problems facing Real Madrid. And here's a preview of the match.

Wondering what is being shown where and when? Here you go: 

Arsenal vs. Liverpool on Fox Soccer Channel

Manchester United vs. Southampton on ESPN2
Reading vs. Chelsea on Fox Soccer Plus
Real Madrid vs. Barcelona on beIN Sport USA

Right. So, the Transfer Window is open for one more day. Thank The Lord. Here's The Mill and here's your Plus One. Basically, Balotelli is back at Milan, 'Arry Redknapp wants to buy everyone, and Drogba might not be able to go to Turkey after all. Oh, and Lewis Holtby could be Tottenham's Deal of the Century.

Meanwhile, Martin Samuel looks back at the greed and panic that have graced the January window and thinks it's time to shut it. For good.

Sam Kelly is in Argentina and wants us to know more about Mauro Icardi. We will allow it.

That's about it. Enjoy Wednesday.



Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Phil Ball, USA vs. Canada, EPL Midweek Action, Podcast, ACN, Super Mario

Tuesday. Time to check in with our favorite scribes in select nations around the globe. At the top of the list is Phil Ball. The Englishman who's been in Spain for eons reports this week on La Copa del Rey and the action in the Second Division. It's a nice break from the usual Messi/Ronaldo-dominated fare. Also in Spain is Sid Lowe. El Sid takes time to delve into the issues facing Deportivo de La Coruña and Valencia. Again, it's not all Barcelona and Real Madrid, folks.

Across the Mediterranean in Italy, we've got Paolo Bandini on the case. Today's entry looks at Juventus and their gaffer Conte and the controversy surrounding The Old Lady's draw against Genoa. Paolo also looks at all the rest of the action in Italy's top flight.

Conte = Angry
Let's bounce to Brazil. Tim Vickery is down in the South American behemoth trying to make sense of it all. The hot topic today is the Fabricio Coloccini Affair and why there is little hope of buying big names back from Europe.

The Bundesliga is back, baby. Those lucky enough to ply their trade in Germany's top league get a nice, long winter break. It's finally over, and Raphael Honigstein is ready to bring us up to speed. He starts with a club from one of our favorite cities: Hamburg.

Meanwhile, in The Republic of Texas, the United States Men's Team is preparing to face our neighbors from the Great White North. It's the final prep for Klinmann's men before World Cup Qualifying begins. Jeff Carlisle has a preview. You can check out the match tonight on ESPN2 at 9pm EST.
Mario's headed back to Italy...
Today is January 29. That means the Transfer Window is about to slam its ass shut. Here's The Mill and here's your Plus One. It looks like Balotelli is headed back to Italy and everyone is wondering who Pep will bring to Bayern once he starts to make moves. And Didier Drogba has left China and landed in Turkey. Is Brek Shea going to Stoke?

One deal that is done is Lewis Holtby from Schalke to Spurs. The Independent's German Football Expert Kit Holden looks at what Tottenham fans can expect.

Bloody hell. There's even more footie on the telly today. Yes, midweek action in the EPL. Today we've got Aston Villa vs. Newcastle, QPR vs. Manchester City, Stoke vs. Wigan, and Sunderland vs. Swansea. Here's a little preview that includes tomorrow's matches. Likewise your Team News. We'll wait until tomorrow for predictions.

Jonathan Wilson is in South Africa for the African Cup of Nations. He sends this report on Mali. They've made the Final Eight and that should bring at least a bit of hope to a nation in crisis. Wilson also filed this report on Cape Verde. The tiny nation is the Cinderella story of the tournament thus far.

Want to see a Manchester United fan peeing on Mario Balotelli's car? Here.

And...we've got The Podcast to enjoy. Today it's this: In an especially argumentative edition of Football Weekly, James Richardson is joined by two former lawyers – Barney Ronay and Daniel Harris – and professional ne'er do well Barry Glendenning. The panel get stuck into a raucous weekend in the fourth round of the FA Cup, where Oldham outplayed Liverpool, Luton embarrassed Norwich, MK Dons spanked QPR, Tottenham tumbled to Leeds, Chelsea salvaged a draw at Brentford, and Millwall didn't beat Aston Villa by more than the odd goal in three. Plus, there's Sid Lowe in Spain with a Barcelona and Real Madrid-free round up from La Liga, and discussions about Ray Parlour's punditry, reverse nominative determinism, and errant pets.

We'll finish with poor Paul Scholes. Seems he wanted to warm his car up and someone stole it. Oh well.



Monday, January 28, 2013

FA Cup Magic, Egypt Riots, Messi For Four, Jurgen the Chopper Pilot, Kuper on Wenger

Oldham Athletic players celebrate their win over Liverpool
We told you. The magic, the intrigue, the upsets, the minnows, the "classic Cup ties". Well, it followed the script this weekend as there were upsets aplenty and nail-biters galore. Oldham Athletic over Liverpool. Luton Town over Norwich. Leeds over Tottenham. MK Dons over QPR. Millwall over Aston Villa (that might not really count as an upset...). Brentford Town almost over Chelsea.

We'll begin with Phil McNulty's piece. Phil says this: The FA Cup always works best when it is not a battle of equals and the odds are stretched - and so it proved on a weekend when the great old competition answered back to its detractors. Yes!!

You want talking points? Of course you do. Here are 10.

You want some specifics? How about Michael Cox talking some tactics in regards to Leeds vs. Tottenham? What exactly happened between Brentford and Chelsea? Henry Winter was there. Just how did Liverpool lose to Oldham Athletic? Andy Hunter was at Boundry Park.

How about a Team of the Week? Boo Yah! All of that leaves us with this: The Fifth Round Draw

Moving on, Jurgen Klinsmann flies a helicopter. Who knew?

Sadly, in Egypt, the fallout from last year's riots at the El Masry vs. Al Ahly match has resulted in yet more deaths. The sentencing of those involved in the horrific scenes from last February prompted more unrest with another 30 reported dead. We'll just stick with The New York Times for this story.

Lionel Messi scored four goals. Cristiano Ronaldo scored three. Here's a wrap of the weekend action in La Liga. The two meet Weds. in the first leg of their Copa del Rey semi. Excellent...

In Italy, leaders Juventus drew, Napoli notched a late win, Roma and Bologna hit for six, and AC Milan edged Atalanta. Here's your wrap. And here's your table.

The Bundesliga winter hibernation is over in Germany, but let's wait until we check in with Honigstein tomorrow to see what's up.

You know the Soccernomics dude? Simon Kuper? Right, so he's got a piece in the Financial Times about Arsenal. Here's his question: Has football’s economist got it wrong when it comes to the game’s finances?

And that's your Monday. Have at it.