Friday, March 08, 2013

Tevez to Jail?, Europa League, MLS, FA Cup

We'll start with everyone's favorite Quasimodo look-a-like Carlos Tevez. He's not allowed to drive. He drove anyway. He could go to jail. Apparently, Tevez was banned for six months on January 16 after pleading guilty to two counts of failing to furnish information relating to incidents in which his Hummer vehicle was clocked speeding. He also admitted not having a proper UK driving licence. Really? Really? Do you have to drive? Can't you get a driver with all your gazillions? And why isn't Man City making sure he isn't acting like an idiot? Really?

Really, Carlos Tevez?
In other news, Inter Milan shat the bed nicely at White Hart Lane yesterday. The Editor took in the match with SSN Italian Expert AGT with a nice little spread of fresh local oysters, prosecco, and chicken mole. Suffice to say, AGT was appalled by the ineptitude of the Italian side. Bale was good again (although he picked up a yellow for a dive that rules him out of the San Siro return leg) but really, Inter were terribly poor. David Hytner was at White Hart Lane. 

Elsewhere, Chelsea couldn't handle the Romanian laser beams and lost in Bucharest, Newcastle drew in Moscow, and Lazio won in Stuttgart. Here's a wrap of all of last night's action.

It's Friday, friends. That means it's time for The Forecast. Or not. It's not yet posted. Fine. Here are some previews instead.

Let's bounce to England. There are a few EPL matches (Liverpool vs. Tottenham, anyone?) this weekend. There are also a few FA Cup (Manchester United vs. Chelsea, anyone?) matches. Here are some links to get you up and running:

Premier League Preview
Premier League Spotlight
Paul Merson's Predictions
Lawro's Predictions
Ten Things to Watch Out For

Shit ain't right in Brazil. Three incidents since the turn of the year -- one of which resulted in the death of a young fan -- have provided renewed cause for concern over fan behaviour and the stadium-going experience in Brazil.

The Joy of Six is Football Trips Gone Wrong. Leicester City's trip to La Manga in 2000 makes the cut. Enjoy.

Right. We'd better wrap it up. Here's your Serie A preview. Here's your La Liga Preview.

David Lacey wants to look back at the United/Real match. He thinks Manchester United should have responded better after Nani's red card. Not only that, the reaction to going down to 10 men against Real Madrid raises questions about the true qualities of Alex Ferguson's side. Or so he says. You be the judge.

We'll finish with this from the Daily Mail: Leave the FA Cup alone, stop hijacking the best ties with glitzy Premier League games on other channels... Another victory for the dunderheads who run English football.



Thursday, March 07, 2013

Leagues Such As Europa And Champions, Football Weekly Extra, Marina Hyde on Chelsea, Tim Vickery on Venezuela

No Start For You!
Let's start with Chelsea today. Marina Hyde has an interesting piece. Here's her catch: Rafa Benítez: the real story of Roman Abramovich's Chelsea master plan. The absolutely vital thing to remember when considering Chelsea is that there is always more to it.

Champions League. PSG advanced (more Zlatan!) and Juventus advanced (no surprise there). 

Europa League. Things are starting to get interesting. Tottenham Hotspur vs. Internazionale Milan, for example. Two young managers battling it out. AVB against one of his own clubs. Spurs on a high after their defeat of Arsenal. 

Chelsea, meanwhile, have to go all the way over to Bucharest. Newcastle have the pleasure of facing that dictator's plaything FC Anzhi Makhachkala. You know, the ones based in Makhachkala. Yes, that Makhachkala. Yes, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan. Guus Hiddink is their manager. Samuel Eto'o plays for them. For some reason the match will be on the artificial pitch of Moscow's Luzhniki Stadium. Gross. Here's a preview for all of today's action. For some reason it includes a weird picture of Patrick Kluivert.

Tim Vickery is in Brazil but he's eager to talk about Venezuela. Their football culture, not Hugo Chavez.

Chelsea Get Goofy In Romania.

Sticking with Brazil, remember Bruno Fernandes? The goalkeeper who was about to move to Milan but was accused of murdering his girlfriend? Well, he now admits he knew his ex-girlfriend was murdered, dismembered and fed to his pet rottweilers. Nice.

Podcast! On today's Football Weekly Extra, James Richardson has stir-fry tofu munching Sean Ingle, Tom Lutz and Iain Macintosh in the pod to look back on all the drama of Manchester United's defeat to Real Madrid, featuring as it did a rather dodgy red card for Nani, a goalscoring-but-non-celebrating return to Old Trafford for Cristiano Ronaldo, and the latest beginning-of-the-end of Wayne Rooney's United career. Anyway, never mind the Champions League – which also saw success for PSG, Borussia Dortmund and Juventus, about which there's plenty more in Jimbo's European paper review on Friday – Sid Lowe wants to talk to us about cornflakes and his favourite breakfast cereals. Finally, we look forward to the weekend, with those FA Cup quarter-finals including Blackburn's tussle with Millwall, and Reading v Aston Villa and Tottenham's trip to Liverpool in the Premier League, and get up to speed with Justin Bieber's love for Aston Villa.

That's it. We out.



Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Real Madrid and Manchester United Fallout, Messi's Golden Foot, Americans Abroad

Well, that was interesting. Call us conspiracy theorists, but we think the fix was in. There is no way that was a red card for Nani. He was looking at the ball the whole time. Not surprisingly, UEFA backs the ref's decision. The Special One said that the best team lost. Gabriele Marcotti is not so sure.

As you might expect, there were a fair amount of scribes at Old Trafford to keep tabs on things. Here are are four of our favorites, along with their headlines:

Phil McNulty: Sir Alex Ferguson's silence speaks volumes
Henry Winter: Manchester United red with rage after referee wrecks Champions League dream with Nani red card against Real
Richard JollyUnited rocked by Nani red
Daniel Taylor: Nani's red card opens door and Real Madrid defeat Manchester United

Jonathan Wilson has some additional analysis, as if you really need it. But wait! What of Wayne Rooney? The fake-haired one was left on the bench. Does the bell toll? Mark Ogden thinks it signals the end for him at Old Trafford.

Yes, there was another match yesterday. Dortmund eased past Shakhtar 3-0. Do you want a report? Nah. Really? Fine.

Today we've got Juventus vs. Celtic. This one is pretty much over after Juve's 3-0 win in Glasgow. The other match today is PSG vs. Valencia. Now, this one is still up for grabs. PSG won the first leg down in Valencia 2-1, but Idiot Ibrahimovic got sent off and they've not been playing well of late. Can Golden Balls help?

Americans Abroad. Banging the drum of freedom in scary places like England, Denmark, Mexico, and Portugal. Herculez Gomez is doing quite well, we're told. Sticking with Americans, The Big Interview features a dude who used to be an American Abroad, but is no longer. Yes, everyone's favorite metal-loving keeper Marcus Hahnemann talks curry, cider, snowboarding and Seattle Sounders. Yes, we're listening.

Messi's foot is made of gold. Seriously. Here.

We'll clean things up this humpday with Sid Lowe. Understandably, El Sid wants to talk Real Madrid and what a difference eight days make.



Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Holy Mega Match! 

Will the world stop?!

The Special One and his crew are at Old Trafford this afternoon for the second leg of their Champions League Round of 16 tie with Fergie and his boys. You won't want to miss it. Sadly, Gus Johnson is calling the match here in the States along with Super Prick Orange Spray Tan Man Warren Barton. Dick. Anyway, prepare yourself for loud outbursts of "Cristiano Ronaldo"!!

Let's get to the hype!

Sid Lowe wants us to know about Raphaël Varane – Real Madrid's teenage 'natural' tipped for greatness.

When you think tactics, do you think Michael Cox? We do. Here's his tactical preview.

More Tactical Conundrums.

Daniel Taylor reckon Real Madrid present Manchester United with a formidable challenge. Well, duh. I mean, that's the point, right?

Sticking with that theme, Phil McNulty goes out on a limb and claims that the match has the potential to be a classic.  Er. Yeah.

Here, take this preview. And this one, too.

Christ. There is another game today. It's Shakhtar Donetsk and Borussia Dortmund down in Dortmund. Jonathan Wilson knows his Eastern Europe so we'll let him handle the preview responsibilities.

Gabriele Marcotti's Monday Musings: United and Real prepare for battle, the North London gap, praise for Francesco Totti. Do it.

Like we said yesterday, MLS has begun. Here's a look back at what happened.

MNF. Manchester City edged Villa (who played quite well, really) thanks to a Tevez goal. Henry Winter made it up to Birmingham for the match and filed this report.

My word, there's a lot going on. Phil Ball remains in Spain. He's got what you'd expect in terms of Madrid and Barca, but he's also got a little Betis on his mind. Raphael Honigstein is in Germany where the race for fourth is extreme, yah. Meanwhile, Paolo Bandini reports on the fireworks and fury in Italy.

And if you're fat, you can buy a special seat at the World Cup. Just so you know.

Don't worry. They have a special seat waiting for you in Brazil.
We'll terminate today's edition with The Podcast. It's this: And here we are again. Playing Chaz to Philippe Auclair's Dave is Amy Lawrence, who joins Barry Glendenning in the pod with James Richardson to dissect the north London derby, which was a rum defeat for sorry Arsenal and another triumph for Tottenham and Gareth Bale. After getting up to speed with the rest of the action in the Premier League - including QPR's win at Southampton and Liverpool's highly impressive demolition of Wigan - we then turn our attention to the Champions League. Will Barcelona overturn their 2-0 deficit against Milan? Will Manchester United be able to out-score Real Madrid? Sid Lowe gives us his thoughts, and an intimate glimpse into his innermost sanctum. Oo and, indeed, er. Finally, we preview some absolute humdingers in the Europa League, get updates on Serie A and Ligue 1, and discuss the merits or otherwise of employing a manager who needs an interpreter.



Monday, March 04, 2013

Tottenham Defeat Arsenal, Real Madrid Beat Barcelona Again, MLS, Altidore Scores

We've got to begin in North London at White Hart Lane. Spurs capitalized on some dreadful defending by Arsenal to take the spoils in the North London Derby 2-1. Nothing really surprising here. Arsenal were woeful in front of each goal, in fact. It was actually a close match, mainly because neither side played particularly well. Henry Winter was thereJohn Bewin was there. Daniel Taylor was there. Here are the Player Ratings

Right. Elsewhere, Kagawa scored three as United cruised past Norwich, Suarez scored three as Liverpool cruised past Wigan, Everton won, Chelsea edged West Brom, West Ham won at Stoke, and Swansea beat Newcastle. Chris Kamara looks back at the weekend here, and here's a complete review of Saturday's matches. Here's your Team of the Week. Here are Ten Talking PointsHere are Five ThoughtsEnough, already.

Looks like Jozy Altidore doesn't plan on stopping his fine season anytime soon. Dude knocked in another in AZ Alkmaar's loss at RKC Waalwijk. That's 24 goals for the Yank. Clint Dempsey scored 23 last year. So, that means Jozy has scored the most goals by an American in a European club season. Propers.

In yet another clásico, Real Madrid beat Barcelona. There was a clear penalty right at the death but the ref didn't have the balls to call it. Sid Lowe breaks it down like this. And here's a wrap of all the La Liga acción.

Over in Italy, Napoli and Juve drew on Friday, both Milan teams won (Inter dealing with another Cassano tantrum), and Totti made history with Roma. Rock it here.

Monday Night Football! Aston Villa vs. Manchester City.

We'll finish in the United States of America. MLS kicked off this weekend but we can't find any decent summation of the action yesterday and Saturday. We know Portland and NY drew. We know the Galaxy crushed the Fire. Done.