Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Chelsea Brush Burnley Aside, Champions League Playoffs, Podcast, Suárez Promises Not To Bite, Spanish Super Cup

Turf Moor, Burnley, England
Howdy! Chelsea turned on the style and made their case with aplomb at Turf Moor last night. Burnley were simply overrun. Fábregas was Fábrulas and Diego Costa opened his account as Chelsea showed a panache in attack not seen since the Zola years. Daniel Taylor was there and filed this report. There's more, of course. What? Oh, you know, Five Things We Learnt, Three PointsFive Talking Points...

What's going on today? Champions League Qualifying! By virtue of their third-place finish in Turkey's top flight, Besiktas get the chance to reach the Champions League proper if they can defeat Arsenal in a two-legged affair. Arsenal finished fourth in England's top flight. Here's a preview of that one. Meanwhile, James McNicholas is worried about a frail Arsenal defence. They have a lot of injuries and such, apparently.

Elsewhere, Italy's third-place club from last year (Napoli) face Spain's fourth-place club (Atheltic Bilbao. James Horncastle says the pressure is on Napoli. Andy Hunter says Athletic stand by their principles. So there. Here's a preview for all of today's (and tomorrow's) action.

The Spanish Super Cup kicks off today, too. Normally, we wouldn't pay much attention to this pre-season La Liga affair, but as it's Real Madrid vs. Atlético Madrid, we'll cast an eye towards the Estadio Bernabéu.

Happy lads...

Tony Pulis resigned from Crystal Palace. Word on the street is Malky Mackay is going to be the new gaffer at Selhurt Park.

Manchester United. They were poor at the weekend, right? But were they really that bad? Paul Parker thinks they were.

Scribes! It's been awhile, and although we're not completely up to speed, we're going to try to throw something together. Spoiler: it's mainly Spain. Check it:

Where? Spain. Who? Francesc Tomas. What? Barca look ready for the new season

Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Suárez finally makes Barcelona bow

Where? Spain. Who? Graham Hunter. What? La Liga's Top Three

Podcast! Another friend we've not seen in too long. Here: Welcome to the first Football Weekly of the season proper, in which James Richardson, John Ashdown, Michael Cox and Paolo Bandini look back on an opening weekend that saw Louis Van Gaal's reign at Manchester United get off to the worst possible start. After rounding up hard-fought wins for Manchester City and Liverpool, we move on to Arsenal, who now face Beskitas in a Champions League qualifier, before giving Aston Villa some credit for their victory over Stoke. And because you didn't ask for it, we also give you a bumper round-up from the Championship and even Scotland.

Spain! Germany! Italy! France! What can we expect in '14-'15 from these places? What shall they offer us football freaks (and geeks)? BBC European Football Expert Andy Brassell is on hand with all the answers.

The United States! Weekend Review? Done. Major League Soccer's Best XI of Week 23? Done. Power Rankings from Jeff Carlisle? Done.

And finally...Landon Donovan said goodbye to The Crew.



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