Friday, December 28, 2012

WAGS, Phil Ball, Newcastle = "Wee Club", Previews

Michael Cox has emerged as one of the more astute tactical observers out there. Here he takes some time to simply look back at 2012 and give us his Top 10 moments, complete with video links. Number one will surprise you.

Yesterday we were treated to Grant Wahl's favorite stories of 2012. Today, Mr. Wahl grants (hah!) us access to his 10 soccer predictions for 2013. Here's number 10: Soccer will continue passing ice hockey in U.S. popularity. Works for us.

Yikes. We were already enveloped in Christmas travel and insanity and missed Phil Ball's dispatch from Spain last week. He looks at Mourinho's decision to drop Iker Casillas in the match against Malaga. Real Madrid went to lose said match. Cue shit hitting fan. Enjoy.

Sir Alex is all fired up, don't you know? In response to Alan Pardew saying the Man United boss should be punished for his sideline behavior (kettle? black?) during Wednesday's match in Newcastle, Fergie provided this gem: 'He's the worst for haranguing refs. He shoves them, then makes a joke. It's because I'm the boss of the most famous team in the world, not a wee club in the north-east...' Good stuff. May it continue apace. It does bring up the question, though. Is it one rule for Fergie and one for the rest? Duh. Henry Winter thinks Sir Alex is setting a bad example.

The bloody Mill is still on vacation! Where will David Villa go? Is Baines on the move? Falcao? Ronaldo? Beckham? Thank God for our Plus One.

OK, on to the English Premier League. We've got another round of fixtures this weekend. The final round of 2012. Can you believe it? Good grief. 2013. Anyway, the most intriguing match has to be Everton vs. Chelsea. That match on Sunday features two sides in the thick of things near the top. Elsewhere, leaders United host West Brom, City have a tricky trip to Norwich, Arsenal return to action against Newcastle at the Emirates, Sunderland host Spurs, and Liverpool are at QPR. Here's a preview.

And here are the necessary sides to go with that main course...

Let's finish with some WAGS. Frankly, it's been too long. Here's your lot.



Thursday, December 27, 2012

Boxing Day Action, Football Weekly, Bale or Rooney?, "To Zlatan", Transfers

Ho! Ho! Ho! 

We're glad Christmas is behind us and we can march forward to 2013. If you celebrate that holiday, we hope it went well for you and you're not stuck on the tarmac or on the highway staring at this:

If you don't celebrate that holiday, hopefully you were able to get some time off to do whatever you wanted to do.

The only people playing any soccer of note right now are in England. The EPL does not have a winter break (quite the opposite), so the action continued as we hung our stockings with care. The long and short of it is Manchester United have opened up a seven-point gap at the top of the table after a barnstorming win against Newcastle yesterday. The match included Sir Alex going nuts at the referees, but don't worry, he won't be punished. Shocking.

United's neighbors City couldn't score against Sunderland and went down to a goal from their old boy Adam Johnson. Hah! Hah! You know Mancini is covering his scarf with spit as he unloads a barrage of Italian invective. Have your Ten Talking Points, why don't you?

Everyone is talking about Berbatov's t-shirt. "KEEP CALM AND PASS ME THE BALL". Makes perfect sense to us. Elsewhere, Liverpool lost to Stoke and Bale grabbed three against Villa in Tottenham's victory. Poor Yank Abroad Brad Guzan. Dude's had to get the ball out of his net 12 (12!!!) times in the last two matches.

Speaking of Bale, my mate Mr. Dependable considers him to be superior to Wayne Rooney at the moment. We took an informal poll here at SSN Headquarters and nobody agrees with Mr. Dependable. So what do you think? Would you rather have Rooney or Bale? We simply think Rooney brings far more to a side than the swashbuckling winger that is Bale. We'd love to know your thoughts. Speaking of thoughts, Peter Berlin has FIVE. And here's a link to the table while we're at it.

So, are United clean and dry? Will they blow it? Here are some "expert" opinions.

Right. So what else is up? Grant Wahl has 10 favorite soccer stories from 2012 that he would like to share with you. They include U.S. TV's soccer splurge, U.S.A. women vs. Canada, and, quite simply, Lionel Messi. Check it.

The Transfer Window will open in five days! For some absurd reason, The Mill went on vacation. Thankfully, we have a Plus One.

Thank The Lord AC Jimbo and crew haven't bailed on us for some sort of holiday. They've provided a lovely podcast. On today's festive Football Weekly Extra, AC Jimbo has Jacob Steinberg and debutant/débutante Daniel Harris in the pod - as well as a cameo appearance from a late, soaking wet and bedraggled Barry Glendenning - to look back on all the action from Boxing Day, including Manchester United's dramatic 4-3 win over Newcastle and Gareth Bale's barnstorming display as Tottenham tonked Villa. Plus, they discuss Stoke's surprisingly stylish victory over Liverpool, wonder who'll be taking over at Nottingham Forest after Sean O'Driscoll was sacked, and ask which Premier League is the tastiest in a fight.

One more thing about the recent action in the EPL. Chelsea's David Luiz is now playing in the midfield. Tim Vickery is in South America and he reckons the move boosts Brazil's World Cup hopes.

Sweden. Bikini Teams. Dragon Tattoos. Zlatan. Sweden has added the verb ‘to Zlatan’ to their national dictionary. Indeed, the Swedish Language Council has approved the term, since it has been increasingly used in conversation by Swedes referring to an outlandishly talented action. How about that?

We'll finish by acknowledging that they are playing football in Turkey. Sort of...