Friday, December 07, 2012

Manchester Derby, Euro 2020, Messi Sneezed, And the Whole World Caught A Cold, The Joy of Six, The Mill

Right! Friday! Bloody well time, we think. What a week. Thankfully, it's over and there are loads of tasty matches on the menu this weekend. Before we dig into all of that, UEFA says Euro 2020 will be staged across Europe in a bunch of different nations. Maybe we're spoilsports but can't they just pick one frickin country and go with it? No, they can't. And they can't because Platini and Co. need to make as much money as they possible and this is the way to do it. We're worry about that more in 2019. Meanwhile, Martin Samuel has his opinion about all the nonsense.

Speaking of UEFA, they're still running this thing called the Europa League. We're down to the final 32 (yawn) in that one. Spurs snuck in (goals from Adebayor, Dempsey, and Defoe), Liverpool are there, Inter Milan made it through, Newcastle will be's a round-up.

On to Friday's Rumors. Fernandinho. Right. Anyway, here's your Plus One.

Hey! Stuart Holden is back in training! Bolton's American Abroad has been out for over a year. Best of luck, Stuart. You're good enough, you're smart enough, and, doggonit people like you.

Sid Lowe is in Spain. He says that Messi's injury scare sent the soccer world into state of shock. 

Before we get to the EPL, let's look at the other what will happend in Spain, Italy, and Germany this weekend. 

In Spain, Valladolid host Real Madrid which could be interesting. And Barcelona go to Sevilla to face Real Betis. Betis currently sit fourth in La Liga. So, Barcelona will probably win. Eduardo Alvarez has his Quiniela.

In Serie A action, Yank Abroad Michael Bradley and his Roma side host Fiorentina on Saturday, while Sunday offers the biggie in the form of Inter vs. Napoli at the San Siro. That kicks off at 2:45pm EST and can be viewed stateside live on RAI or on BeIN SPORT delayed at 5pm EST.

DAS BUNDESLIGA! Ehh. Not really any interesting matches this weekend from our point of view.

OK. Check out this lineup for Sunday in the EPL. AT 8:30am EST you've got Manchester City vs. Manchester United (FSC). At 10:00am EST you've got Everton vs. Tottenham (Fox Soccer Plus). At 11am EST you've got West Ham vs. Liverpool (FSC). Not too shabby. Here are all the pertinent links:

And finally, Phil McNulty wonders if it's a two-horse race between the Manchester clubs. Hint: Yes, it is. 

Let's finish up, shall we? The Joy of Six is always a joy to behold on Fridays. Today we get Weird Football Stories. Marco Boogers! Yes!

But wait. Six Classic Manchester Derbies. We couldn't leave that out, could we?

Thursday, December 06, 2012

Holders to Europa, Celtic Miracle, Rewind to 2001, The Mill

And so the Champions League withdraws from the stage. We won't have any action on that front until December 20, and that will be the draw for the Round of 16. Chelsea, the current holders, will not be participating. They romped past a hapless Noerdjaeaeoueajouelland side at Stamford Bridge but it was all in vain as they now hold the title as the the first Champions League holders to fail to advance beyond the group stage. Dom Fifield was at Stamford Bridge and he's got some talking points.

So no Chelsea, but Celtic (yes, Celtic) will have a ping-pong ball with their name on it on December 20. Whodah thunk? Alasdair Lamont has a nice little piece about their hard work paying off. Snoop must be higher than normal today.

So! Here are your Final 16 by group:

Group A: PSG, Porto
Group B: Schalke, Arsenal
Group C: Malaga, AC Milan
Group D: Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid
Group E: Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk
Group F: Bayern Munich, Valencia
Group G: Barcelona, Celtic
Group H: Manchester United, Galatasaray

And here are the essentials as we bid adieu to the Champions League until February:

10 talking points from match-day six
Five Thoughts
Richard Williams: The Champions League Story So Far
Final Group Results and Standing (plus a little Europa)

Let's jump straight to The Mill. Kaká to L.A.? Oh, dear. Here's your Plus One.

What were you doing back in April of 2001? We were watching far too much soccer. My, how things have changed...

Sorry, back to the narrative. In 1997 Roy Keane was still recovering from a bender when he led Manchester United out against Manchester City. Long story short, he tore his cruciate ligament trying to kick Alf-Inge Haaland. Alf-Inge Haaland thought he was faking it. Keano was quite angry. Fast forward to April 2001. Roy Keane ends Alf-Inge Haaland's career with a bit of revenge, Keano-style! But if you clicked on the link above you remembered/learned that already thanks to Jon Carter.

What's the point? Don't fuck with Roy Keane. Roy Keane holds a grudge.

Right, what else is going on out there? Not that much. Until tomorrow.



Wednesday, December 05, 2012

The Mill, Champions League, Hulk Angry, Henry Back to Arsenal, Bilbao, Inter, Messi, Americans Abroad

Manchester City. You finished bottom of the group. Embarrassing? Oh, yes. Really, a team consisting of superstars like yours can't even win one match in the Champions League group stage? This was supposed to be the year you conquer Europe. But here's the silver lining if you support the blue side of Manchester. Finishing bottom of the group ensures that you don't get dumped into the Europa League. No trips to the far reaches of Eastern Europe for Thursday matches. Nine fewer games. No Sunday/Thursday/Sunday/Thursday crap to deal with. Still, though...

What else went down? Arsenal lost in Greece (Barcelona, anyone?), Real Madrid romped over Ajax, Gooch and Sasha drew in a battle of Americans Abroad, and Milan lost to Zenit thanks to a goal from some guy named Danny. Here's the round-up and all the permutations. And we'll throw in Five Thoughts. And Five Talking Points.

In terms of today's matches, most eyes will be on Group E, where the fates of Juventus, Shakhtar Donetsk, and Chelsea will be determined. Celtic still have a chance to advance as well, and they host Spartak Moscow in Group G. Wonder if Snoop will be watching...

Liverpool fans! Jamie Carragher knows how to save the Champions League. Here's his plan.

Henry Winter wants to talk about Mr. Messi as he approached his goal milestone. The greatest ever? We obviously never saw some of the greats in their primes but it's had to argue against the little Argentine.

Americans Abroad! We've got a few of them hitting the pitches south of the border. Joe Corona, in particular, is doing quite well for Club Tijuana. Avi gets us up to speed on what's going on around the world with our Yanks.

The Mill! Yes, how you've been missed. How about Wednesday's Rumors (Sneijder to City?) and a Plus One.

Speaking of Sneijder, Gabrielle Marcotti wants to figure out why Inter Milan are so adept at self-destruction. And what's the deal with Athletic Bilbao? Graham Hunter investigates why they are about to leave San Mames in such bad shape.

It would appear that Thierry Henry will return yet again to his old club in London. Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Let's finish on a high note by going to Holland, shall we? The Daily Tackle brings us a nice clip of a dude trying to kick a ball, slipping, and losing his full beer. Bummer.



Tuesday, December 04, 2012

The Mill Returns, Podcast, Champions League, Euro Scribes, Kolarov's Jingle Bells

Instead of busting into Tuesday with the Podcast, let's instead welcome the return of The Mill. Yes, it's been a while since we entertained the rumors of the footballing world, but we've been wandering aimlessly around SSN Headquarters and suddenly found ourselves face to face with THE TRANSFER WINDOW!! And it is almost ready to open. Here's your Plus One.

Glad that's out of the way. This week's Podcast proceeds with...AC Jimbo shootin' the breeze with Barry Glendenning, Barney Ronay and Paul MacInnes, and there's much to discuss. First up, we deal with the crises at Chelsea and Arsenal, both of which would no doubt be solved by bringing in smiling Uncle Avram Grant – but unfortunately for Chelsea fans, he's only friends with their squillionaire owner. Next, we vacuum up the rest of the action in the Premier League, including Norwich's upturn in form, QPR's winless streak, and Manchester United's wobbly defence. Finally, Sid Lowe tells us about José Mourinho's attempts to quell the unrest of the Real Madrid faithful; house partying with a 16-year-old Kate Moss; and Liam Ridgewell's bum note.

Newcastle won last night. They beat Wigan. Demba Ba looked back to (close to) his best. Kristan Heneage was at St. James' Park. And here's the current EPL Table.

Let's go to Spain, shall we? Phil Ball is there and he's bummed that Atletico were so defensive against Real. He's also given up on anything like a competitive league and is just watching the numbers. Sid's over there as well, of course. He's more focused on Valencia where Pellegrino got the sack.

Continuing our world tour let's check in with Tim Vickery in South America. This week he's checking in to see who is tops in the leagues across the continent.

And...back to Europe. Rafael Honigstein, of course. He looks back at the Klassico (really?) between Bayern and Borussia Dortmund that ended in a draw. It looks good for the Munich side as the Bundesliga nears its annual winter hibernation. And Paolo. Paolo, Paolo, Paolo. He's in Italy where the Man with the Mohawk Stephan El Shaarawy is working his ass off trying to maintain some dignity for AC Milan. The kid is only 20 but he's lighting it up.

The Champions League returns to action today for the final phase of the group stage. Ben Lyttleton takes a look at what's at stake. Here's a preview of today's action with Manchester City at Dortmund, Arsenal resting several starters for their trip to Athens, and Ajax at Real Madrid. And our look wouldn't be complete without a complete breakdown of the groups. Ok, and the BBC breaks it all down. Fine.

Richard Williams says this about Arsenal: The signs of decline have been evident since David Dein was forced to resign five years ago.

Let's finish with Alex Kolarov, yes? Folks have been asking about this and here is is. Good grief.



Monday, December 03, 2012

Galaxy Win Cup, The Fifth Official, Onyewu, FA Cup, Monday Night Football

Monday. The Fifth Official. So many targets available. Chelsea and Rafa, Arsenal and Wenger, Bale and Suarez. Have fun.

On to Major League Soccer. No real surprise that the Galaxy took the Cup. The only surprise was that the match was so entertaining. We know it's the end for Becks, but is it also the end for Lando? Jeff Carlise was there and has this report. And Grant Wahl has his usual astute Three Thoughts. And how about Five Things We Learned?

Right. EPL. Quite a bit of fun this past weekend. West Ham 3 - 1 Chelsea. Reading 3 - 4 Manchester United. Arsenal 0 - 2 Swansea City. Manchester City 1 - 1 Everton. Fulham 0 - 3 Tottenham. Sticking with our numbers theme, here are 10 Talking Points. Worried about Arsenal? Nigel Winterburn says it'll all be OK. Concerned about Chelsea? Matt Stanger says you should be. Want to read about the crazy first half at Reading? Jamie Jackson observed on behalf of The Observer. How did West Ham win against Chelsea? Dominic Fifield observed on behalf of The Observer.

Oguchi Onyewu. You know, Gooch? American Abroad? The D.C.-native has plied his trade at Metz, La Louviere, Standard Liege, Newcastle, AC Milan, FC Twente, Sporting Lisbon, and now... Malaga! The BBC has a lovely little look at the fullback ahead of his side's Champions League match mañana.

Monday Night Football. Newcastle vs. Wigan. Things have not been going well of late for the Geordies. Demba Ba wants out. Cisse isn't scoring much. Four losses on the trot. Here's your preview.

The FA Cup is ready to rear it's ugly head early next month in the form of the Third Round. The draw was announced and Arsenal get to see Swansea again, this time in Wales. Manchester United have a tricky trip to Upton Park, and Chelsea go down to Southampton. Oh, and Aldershot host Rotherham United. Here's the info.

Let's hit the continent. Fiorentina drew, Inter barely won, Napoli won, and Juventus won. That's your Italy. More tomorrow. Barcelona won and Real won the Madrid Derby. That's your Spain. More tomorrow. Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund drew. That's your Germany. More tomorrow.

That's it. We out.