Friday, November 16, 2012

Podcast, Fiorentina, Joey Barton, Joy of Six, Previews

Friday. Finally. Club football returns tomorrow, thank God. Let's begin with a podcast, yes?

Here's the intro: It's the sexiest Football Weekly Extraaaa line-up ever, with James Richardson joined by Pedro Pinto, Rafa Honigstein, and Barry Glendenning. Just look at them in that photo. Speaking of sexy, we start with that goal by that man Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Woof! Jimbo reckons this strike by Giuseppe Biava is the best goal he's ever seen, closely followed by this thracker by Dejan Stankovic - but let us know yours on the blog below. Next, Pedro tells us about his up close and personal interview with Cristiano Ronaldo (which goes out on CNN on Friday and over the weekend). Meow. We then turn our attention to the Premier League, where things don't get much sexier than West Ham v Stoke and the bottom of the table clash between QPR and Southampton. Finally, and no less sexily, Sid Lowe accidentally answers the phone to us because he was expecting a call from his butcher. Or something.

Fiorentina Fan
Fiorentina. La Viola. The pride of the "cradle of the Renaissance". One of our favorite sides back in the days of Batistuta. Bankrupt a decade ago and now back up to fourth in Serie A. Michael Cox, the master of technical analysis, investigates why. And how.

Joey Barton. Mentally deficient. Subhuman. Welcome, sweet and tender hooligan. Grant Wahl wants to take a closer look for some reason. In fact, he interviewed Joey, and it makes for an interesting read. Off you go, Grant.

The weekend EPL plate is dominated by the North London Derby. This edition (number 169) takes place at the Emirates Stadium. Don't misbehave if you're going. Tisk Tisk. U.S. viewers can take in the action tomorrow at 7:45am EST on ESPN2. Expect a lot of goals. Let's be honest here. Neither team is very good. Here's a nice synopsis of just what it all means. 

Right. Here's a preview for all the rest of the action. Don't worry: Here are Lawro's and Merse's predictions. And Louise Taylor has ten things to look for.

The Joy of Six: Nutmegs. One of the six is Claudio Lopez from THAT game in 1998 against Holland. His goal comes around 0:30 but why not revisit all three? Including, of course, Mr. Bergkamp...

Right. Time to wrap it up. Over in Spain, Real Madrid host Bilbao whilst Barcelona welcome Real Zaragoza to Camp Nou. In Italy, Saturday serves some sumptuous fare in the form of Juventus vs. Lazio and Napoli vs. AC Milan.

Wait! Playoffs! Yes, Major League Soccer. The second legs. OK. They're on Sunday. We'll let Kyle McCarthy hash it out.

Have a great weekend.



Thursday, November 15, 2012

Ibra! Ibra! Ibra! Neymar! Neymar! Neymar!

Everyone is talking about Ibrahimovic's insane-o goal in the match against England yesterday. There's no point in linking to it here -- it's everywhere. Go find it. Now. Feeling lazy? Fine. Here's a link.  Amy Lawrence has a nice piece on the freak that is The Zlatan (whom we still loath -- arrogant prick)! England lost, by the way.

The United States scored two goals in Russia to snatch a draw from the Evil Empire. There were the usual foolish mistakes, and Russia looked far more dangerous, but there were some positives in the Yank performance. The result means that the U.S. finished the calendar year with its best ever record: won nine, lost two, with three draws. Hope for the future? Let's hope so. Grant Wahl has his usual Three Thoughts. Avi has his usual Player Ratings. Here's a report.

Here's a wrap of what else when on in these meaningless matches.

To go along with the wonder-strike from the Swede, check out this outrageously poor penalty from Neymar. Brazil played Colombia up in the Meadowlands and this might be the worst spot kick we've ever seen! Hilarious stuff:

Nice, right?  OK, what else is out there? Well, the North London Derby is this Saturday. We might as well get things going on that front, right? AVB says Spurs need to finish above Arsenal to make the Champions League. Seems logical.

Back to those goals. In more than 35 years covering international football for the BBC, John Motson has seen 200 matches and been to 10 World Cups. Who better then to place Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s wonder goal in the context of some of the great strikes we have seen over the years.  Here, Motson reveals his top 10 international goals of all time.

Remember Papiss Cisse? He plays for Newcastle. Our Editor plays pick-up on Sunday mornings with his brother, Cherif. Anyway, Papiss has been in a bit of a sophomore slump. Now we know why...

That's all, folks. Tune in tomorrow for previews for the real football that's set to return at the weekend.



Wednesday, November 14, 2012

International Friendly Crap, Berbatov, Dzeko, Drunk Hope Solo

We're watching Russia vs. USA right now. No spoilers, don't worry. Although, the U.S. has a player named Gatt. Sweet. We think he plays somewhere in Scandinavia  Speaking of Russia, are they still the bad guys in the remake of Red Dawn?

There are tons of other friendlies occurring today. Frankly, we don't give a shit.

Let's see. What else is going on? David Hytner talks about Berbatov. Good.

Rob Smyth answers this: Why Edin Dzeko is Manchester City’s glory boy.

Here's something quite odd. It seems Hope Solo was about to marry some ex-NFL guy, but then they got in a fight, and the dude ended up in jail. The article, if you wish. Wait! An update! They got married anyway. Sounds like it was a great party.

What's going on in Serbia, you ask? Well, Giants Partizan and Red Star are in financial trouble. No surprise there. The surprise is that the government plans to bail them out. Hmmm.

Someone Tottenham hired is in trouble. Apparently, an investigator hired by Tottenham to help their bid for the Olympic Stadium has been charged with fraud after allegedly obtaining the private telephone records of West Ham director Karren Brady illegally.

Mark Clattenburg. Ugh. Here's the latest. The cops have bailed and it looks like the FA will, as well.

That's it for today. Sorry, pretty quiet.



Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Football Weekly Podcast, Gun in Messi's Face, Crystal Palace?, Top Euro Scribes, Jonathan Wilson in Argentina, MLS Playoffs, Jozy

Right! Off we go on a miserable Tuesday. The fun of a delightfully mild autumn in the Southeast is obviously over. Boo.

Let's kick-off with the Podcast. Here's what's on offer this week: The BBC may been in crisis, but there's no such problem for the pod, as AC Jimbo welcomes Barry Glendenning, Barney Ronay and Gregg Bakowski to shoot the breeze and, indeed, effluvia after a semi-dramatic weekend in the Premier League. We start with Chelsea's wasteful draw at home to Liverpool, before heading on to discuss Manchester City's 2-1 win over Spurs (see, Bobby Manc does know what he's doing some of the time), United's come-from-behind victory at Aston Villa, and Arsenal's continuing malaise following their 3-3 draw with Fulham. Next, it's time for any other business, including Gary Neville's revised plans for his mega-hotel, footballers' former professions, and Yann M'Vila's two-year ban for nightclubbing. Finally, it's back to matters on the pitch during the Serie A soliloquy and the most cursory of previews of those pesky international friendlies. We've got housewives' favourites Rafa Honigstein and Pedro Pinto with us on Thursday for what is potentially our sexiest line-up ever.

MLS Playoffs?!: Five Things We Learned

Messi Enjoys Some Saudi Hospitality
There are meaningless international friendlies this week. But, Jozy Altidore will join the U.S. team in Russia. Welcome back! Grant Wahl has Three Thoughts on the U.S. squad ahead of Wednesday's match. Steven Gerrard is about to get his 100th cap for England. James Lawton investigates.

Did we say meaningless friendlies? Yes, we bloody well did. Argentina are in Saudi Arabia. Thanks to The Dirty Tackle, we get to see their arrival, complete with a gun in Messi's face. And Spain get to play in Panama. I guess they actually enjoy jet lag. Seems a bit odd, though.

It IS Tuesday, after all, and that means Mr. Phil Ball. Phil is in Spain and eager to understand why young talent takes longer to come through in his adopted land. Sid Lowe is also in Spain and he wants to talk about The Wounding of Ronaldo and the bad blood between Levante and Real Madrid.

Paolo Bandini is in Italy. What happened in Rome? Raphael Honigstein is in Germany. What happened in Munich?

Jonathan Wilson is in Argentina and he wants you to know about Gerardo Martino. Remember that name.

Tim Vickery is in Brazil and he remembers his favorite match.

Crystal Palace! Crystal Palace! He's all the rage these days...he's...Wilfried Zaha!




Monday, November 12, 2012

Busy Monday

Good Day. We're extremely busy this morning so let's just fly on through. John Terry got hurt in Chelsea's draw with Liverpool. Karma? No comment. We saw Dzeko score late to win it for Manchester City against Tottenham, and Chicarito score late to win it for Manchester United at Villa. We almost saw Arsenal score late to win it against Fulham but Arteta managed to make his day go from bad to worse by failing to score from the spot. The Fifth Official loves it, of course.

How the hell did we miss the Rome Derby? An error, to be sure. We'll see what Paolo has to say about it tomorrow. Lazio won, by the way. And Michael Bradley played the full ninety for Roma. Inter Milan and AC Milan both lost. Hmmm.

MLS Playoffs. A Breakdown.

In Spain, Real Madrid and Barcelona won. And Ronaldo and Messi scored. More from Phil and Sid tomorrow.

Here's an interesting article by Daniel Taylor. It ran in The Observer. Remember Michael Branch? He was supposed to be Everton's next great star back in the 90s. He's now in prison.

Did you see these five great goals this weekend? The Telegraph says you did not.

That's it. A lot more tomorrow.