Friday, February 15, 2013

Bale Magic, Liverpool Loss, Gus Johnson, FA Cup Previews, Giving Up Football to Have More Sex, Quiniela

That Gareth Bale. He really is something. He's the biggest thing since sliced bread. Two lovely free-kicks by the Welsh Wizard gave Spurs a win in their Europa League match at The Lane against Lyon. Liverpool were not so lucky. Their miserable week continued with a loss up in St. Petersburg. Hulk scored one and Semak got the other as the hosts won 2-0. Andy Hunter was at Petrovsky Stadium. Thankfully, there were no reports of racism.

Newcastle are still alive in Europe, but things didn't go so well for them yesterday either. They had two goals incorrectly disallowed (one wasn't even close) for offside and their match at St. James' Park against Metalist finished scoreless. Let's see. What else? Chelsea won on the road, Inter Milan won, and Victoria Plzen shocked Napoli 0-3. Here's complete review all the action.

It is Friday (yes!) so we've got The Joy of Six. Today's edition is a bit odd. It's Peculiar Reasons to Give Up Football. Who said this:  "I have given up football for sex," he said. "I wouldn't sign for another club even if they gave me £10m, but it would be different if they were to offer me 15 different women from across the world. I would tell the club chairman: 'Please let me make these women happy – I will satisfy them like they have never been satisfied.' Nowadays, every time I think about football I feel like throwing up."  ??

Right. Enough of that. Sid Lowe is still thinking about Wednesday's match in Madrid. Here are his thoughts. Per usual from Sid, they are interesting thoughts. Speaking of the match on Wednesday, we didn't really comment on Gus Johnson's performance. We will now. We didn't like it. It was everything we feared. Too melodramatic, too much hyperbole, too loud. When he didn't talk, we enjoyed it. Add Warren Barton to the mix and you've got a disgusting cocktail on your hands. Toss it and get a beer. Hopefully this "experiment" won't last too long. Let's just say we're looking forward to the FA Cup this weekend. Unless David Pleat is on the mic, that is...

So, the FA Cup. The storied competition. A headline: Chelsea playing catch-up; Man City face Leeds; Luton host Lions. A preview. It's primarily fifth-round matches but Chelsea do have a fourth-round replay against League One's Brentford. Lawro's got some predictions.

Eduardo Alvarez knows what's up in La Liga. He's got his Quiniela in case you want to place some bets on the matches in Spain. As we reported earlier in the week, the race for the title is over, but there is plenty to battle for in terms of European spots. Check it.

The fixture list in Serie A is far more exciting. Michael Bradley's Roma host leaders Juventus whiel Fiorentina welcome Inter Milan to Florence. Here's a preview. Can't wait until tomorrow to get your live footy fix? You can watch AC Milan vs. Parma this afternoon at 2:45pm EST on beIN Sport USA.

Roberto Mancini says we just don't understand. Oh, we understand, all right. You will not retain the title with that group of mercenaries.

We'll finish on a sad note with a return to the FA Cup. In 1985, Luton and Millwall played (as they will tomorrow) and a riot ensued. It most likely prevented England from hosting Euro '88.

Off you go. Enjoy the weekend.



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Madrid and United in Exciting Draw, Europa League, Tim Vickery in Brazil, Football Weekly Extra

Get a room...
Well, that was quite entertaining. Real Madrid had the better run of play, but United certainly had their chances and in the end a 1-1 draw seemed pretty darn fair. There were also some glaring non-calls. Once, Phil Jones totally steamrolled some Madrid dude in the box. Then, Danny Wellbeck was obviously held when he was about to explode in on goal. No calls for either of them. Man of the Match? We'd vote for David de Gea. The Madrid native played like all of his family were in the stands watching. He was simply outstanding. There are obviously loads of reports and opinion pieces. We'll just make a list:

There actually was another Champions League match yesterday out in Ukraine. Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund drew 2-2. Uhh, we didn't watch that one but apparently there was some pretty sweet action. Like this lovely number from Douglas Costa.
Chelsea enjoy Prague...
There's more action in Europe today. The Europa League is back in action. Liverpool have to go to St. Petersburg and all the talk is over fears of racially motivated insanity. They are the The Most Racist Club, you know.

Elsewhere, Tottenham and Chelsea are in action, along with a slew of other top clubs like Napoli, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Newcastle. Well, maybe Newcastle shouldn't be included in that group.

Speaking of Inter Milan, James Horncastle wants us to know about their new man: Mateo Kovacic.

Football Weekly Extra! Yes! Here: It's Valentine's Day, so James Richardson has Pedro Pinto, James Horncastle and Tom Lutz making up an extra sexy line-up of pundits and putting the 'ooh' and indeed 'ahh' into this this edition of Football Weekly Extra. We start with the fun and frolics in the Bernabéu, where Manchester United's away goal surely gives them the edge over Real Madrid ahead of the second leg in a fortnight's time. Sid Lowe gives his view, before heading off for some quality time with his laptop. (Note to Sid: this is music like it used to be). Next, we welcome Iain Macintosh to the pod for the first time as he analyses Borussia Dortmund's draw with Shakhtar Donestk, before we mop up all that business with PSG and Valencia and Celtic's chastening by Juventus. Still, at least they can concentrate on the league now. Finally, we finish off by summoning all the enthusiasm we can for a less-than-glamorous looking bunch of fixtures for the fifth round of the FA Cup. But, on this day in particular, remember that it's not looks that count.

Finally, Tim Vickery is in Brazil talking about their big tournament: Copa Libertadores.

That looks to be it for today. Dig it.



Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Phil Ball in Spain, Champions League, Gazza Trouble, Millwall Racist Arrested, More Americans Abroad

Yesterday we posted the gross video from the Millwall/Leeds match that featured plenty of racist language aimed at Leeds' El Hadji Diouf. At least some good has happened thanks to that Sky Sport report. One of the assholes has been arrested.

Moving on to lighter fare. It's time to catch up with Phil Ball. He's still bouncing about Spain, checking out venues that are new to him. And us. This week he reports on his journey to Zaragoza and the Romareda. This time, Phil makes a big mistake: Estas provocando, cabrón! (You're provoking us, b*****d!) he informs me, purple-faced with rage. Si aplaudes otra vez, te mato! (If you applaud again, I'll kill you!) he adds, jabbing his finger at my nose.

OK, so maybe that wasn't much lighter...

Champions League! Yesterday, the darlings at Celtic tried admirably to hold their own against Juventus but ultimately failed. They went down at home 0-3 so surely their time in the big time is over for now. Ewan Murray was at Celtic Park. In the other match, Ibra saw red (idiot!) but PSG won on the road 1-2 so they look set to advance as well. Here's a look back at yesterday's action.

Today's big match? Why, it's Shakhtar Donetsk vs. Borussia Dortmund. Hah! So funny. We're all laughing out loud over here at SSN Headquarters.

No, it's obviously Real Madrid vs. Manchester United. It's also Gus Johnson's maiden voyage. We are very curious to see how it plays. Sid Lowe is focusing on United's Spanish keeper De Gea and his audition at the Bernabéu. Everyone wants to talk about Ferguson & Mourinho and their upcoming battle. And their "friendship." And by everyone we mean Phil McNulty and Marina Hyde.

Here's a preview. And another. Both matches get going at 2:45pm EST. The action from Madrid is on Fox Soccer Channel and the action from Ukraine on Fox Soccer plus. Here's even more hype.

Right! How about another look at Americans Abroad? This one includes DeMarcus Beasley's heroics over the weekend in Mexico. The Indiana native notched two for Puebla.

Paul Gascoigne is struggling again. The legend is now in rehab in Arizona, apparently. Things have not been going well. According to someone, he was downing two litres of gin and 15 cans of Stella a day, along with shooting cocaine. Here's a sad video and all the sordid info.

Well, that's going to do it for today. We're going to try to get away to see how Real Madrid, Manchester United, and Gus Johnson perform later. We hope you can, too.



Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Champions League Returns, Americans Abroad, Liverpool Lose, Sky Sports Racism Report

Man. What a night and what a morning. The office is in chaos, and we're way behind on everything. He's the scoop. The Champions League is back. Today we're got Celtic vs. Juventus and Valencia vs. Paris St. Germain. Here's a preview of how it all looks. Per usual, matches begin at 2:45pm EST. Celtic/Juve is on FSC and Valencia/PSG is on FSPlus. Let's get it on!

Sid Lowe is in Madrid waiting eagerly for the Real/Manchester United match that'll have the world watching tomorrow afternoon. He's talking The Special One and what it would mean for him to win another European title.

Yanks Abroad. It's been awhile. Here's what the big names are doing in Europe at the moment.

Liverpool and West Brom played last night. Liverpool had loads and loads of chances. And they lost 0-2 at Anfield. Suarez had a nice dive to win a penalty but Stevie G failed to convert. We were discussing this at SSN Headquarters yesterday. There has to be something in the back of a player's head as he steps up to take the penalty knowing that it was undeserved. It seems like the ones that are saved are often the ones that never should have been given. Just a thought. Chris Bascombe was at Anfield and filed this report.

But that's nothing compared what we think of these morons: 

And that's your sad lot for this Tuesday. Enjoy the matches later...



Monday, February 11, 2013

Inter's Turn For Racism, Nigeria Top In Africa, League Titles Decided in England, Spain, Germany, Monday Night Football

Off we go with a new week and we always enjoy doing so with The Fifth Official. He/she is a complete prick but therein lies the fun.

Off to Italy now where Inter Milan fans joined the fun yesterday by singing racially abusive songs directed at Mario Balotelli. And he wasn't even there. Inter were playing Chievo but since their former striker has returned to his homeland to ply his trade, some of the Nerazzurri decided it was time to have a go. Fuck. You.

In nicer news, Nigeria won the African Cup of Nations on Sunday thanks to this goal from Sunday:

Jonathan Wilson reviews all the action from the final in South Africa in this report. He also takes a look at Nigeria's coach and offers us his Team of the Tournament.

Title races. Well, we basically have to go to Serie A to find one that's still in the balance. Manchester United most likely wrapped up the race in the EPL with their win over Everton yesterday. Actually, it wasn't so much their win, but Manchester City's pathetic showing against Southampton on Saturday. The Blues were simply dreadful. The icing on the cake of a horrific performance was Gareth Barry's calm and composed finish. Past his own keeper. Yikes! United won't let this one slip. Certainly not two years in a row. That's done. Phil McNulty is sure of it.

Meanwhile, in Spain, Barcelona's 6-1 smashing of Getafe coupled with Atlético Madrid's loss to Rayo Vallecano means the gap is now 12 in La Liga. (Meanwhile, Real Madrid slammed Sevilla). That's done.

And up in Germany, Borussia Dortmund were hammered at home by Hamburg (1-4) while Bayern Munich swatted Schalke away (4-0) to increase the gap at the top to 14 points. That's done.

In Italy, Juventus beat Fiorentina (2-0) and Napoli could only draw at Lazio (1-1) so that gap is now five. Not insurmountable, be any means.

It's all about the races for European spots, now!

Back to England. Here are some goodies:

Tottenham 2 - 1 Newcastle

Manchester United 2 - 0 Everton

Sunderland 0 - 1 Arsenal

There's more action in the EPL tonight as Liverpool host West Brom. Here's your preview.

And let's terminate today's talk with some Monday musings from Marcotti...