Friday, January 11, 2013

Zamorano & Salas, Big Weekend in England, Spanish Quiniela, Dani Alves

This is fun. From that stupid awards thingy the other day:

What's gone wrong with Dani Alves? The guy used to be top-notch. He's now out of the Barcelona XI and caught in a downward spiral. Not that we're too upset about it over here at SSN Headquarters. The guy's a punk. Tactical expert Michael Cox examines his fall from grace.

Sid Lowe says this: La Liga dominance at FIFA awards reflect troubling reality. And he's right.

Bang. Right to The Joy of Six. Caught you off guard there, right? This Friday's edition is Unlikely Football Heroes. Jimmy Glass, anyone?

Sunday is a big, big day in the English Premier League. Manchester United host Liverpool in the early match, and Arsenal host Manchester City in the later kick-off. Van Persie vs. Suarez! Howard Webb is the ref! Hype it up, yo! Elsewhere you've got a London Derby as Spurs head over to face old gaffer 'Arry at Loftus Road, wounded Chelsea face a tricky trip up to Stoke, and Everton host Swansea. Here's your preview of all the upcoming action.

"Whatever he does, Luis Suarez is going to get a lot of stick from the home fans and, if he doesn't have a great day, then I don't know where Liverpool's goals are going to come from."

Remember Ivan Zamorano and Marcelo Salas? Those guys were awesome. They rocked it for Chile back in the 90s. Zamorano had some great years at Inter Milan and Real Madrid, while Salas was a rock for a monster Lazio squad. Here's a nice remembrance.

Apparently football grounds aren't full of old white men after all. The Telegraph's Jim White explains...

Back to La Liga for just a moment. Eduardo Alvarez offers up his Quiniela for our pleasure. Barcelona go to Malaga. Malaga currently sit fourth in the table. Might the mighty Barca drop points? We're wondering if Yank Abroad Gooch will start and face a well-rested Messi. If so, it could get messy. Cough.

Right! The Mill! Your Plus One! Balotelli to Milan? Pep to Chelsea?

And finally, what's on tap for Serie A this weekend? Read the bloody preview and you'll find out.

That's your lot for this week. Enjoy the footie over the weekend. Until Monday...



Thursday, January 10, 2013

1995, What's in your Wallet?, Transfer Guff, Wasted, Association of Prostitutes

Right! We had to close SSN Headquarters unexpectedly yesterday. Sorry about that. Everything is fine and there were no major injuries.

So, what did we miss? The hookers in Belo Horizonte are going to learn foreign languages to ease their transactions during the World Cup. OK. There is actually some called the Association of Prostitutes and their president made the announcement. Don't say football never helped anyone improve themselves...

The BBC has a nice little piece with Paolo Di Canio. Never one to shy from controversy, Di Canio boasts about his Christmas roast.

Di Canio in one of his finer moments...

Sticking with the BBC, they've got a series going called "Wasted". Andy van der Meyde was the most recent subject. The former Dutch star talks about how injuries and alcohol ruined his promising career.

Actual football. Yes, there was a bit of that. The What's in your Wallet? Cup threw up another nice one yesterday. Everyone's favorite underdogs Swansea swatted Chelsea aside in their first-leg semi-final match at Stamford Bridge. The day before, Bradford City piled more misery on Aston Villa by triumphing 3-1. Dom Fifield was at the Chelsea match. Barney Ronay was there too, and he saw Michu make Torres the sadder Spaniard. There will be some interesting second legs. Let's hope they're on U.S. TV.

Yup. 1995.
Americans Abroad. We've not gotten an update for a while. Let's remedy that situation. Here's one dude: 

Stuart Holden, M, Bolton -- Not in the 18 for Bolton's 1-0 loss to Leeds United on Tuesday or a 2-2 draw with Sunderland in the third round of the FA Cup on Saturday. The two teams have their replay slated for Jan. 15. According to Bolton's website, Holden is slated to play in a reserve match Tuesday, which would mark his first competitive action since returning to training after more than a year on the sidelines with a knee injury. 

1995 was a good year for us at SSN. It was also a good year for Andy Cole. The marksman left Newcastle for Manchester United. It proved a very, very wise move. His partnership with Dwight Yorke produced some of the finer moments in EPL history. Jon Carter Rewinds to 1995 to take a look

The Big Interview is Chris Samba. Check it. The Congolese defender on playing for Anzhi Makhachkala, the reality of racism in Russia and his fears for his former club, Blackburn Rovers.

We'll finish with The Mill and your Plus One. Looks like Wesley Sneijder is headed to Turkey. So there.



Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Podcast, Awards, Transfer Guff, Phil Ball, Paolo Bandini, ANC, More USA

We're not big fans of awards in soccer. Never have been. They're useless in the world in which we live.  Messi won the Ballon d'Or. Great. No surprise there. The best thing about the whole affair was his absurd tuxedo. We already know the players in Spain are dominating things at the moment. We don't need FIFA or anyone else to tell us that. Jonathan Wilson agrees. But, since Spain is dominating, we'll go to Sid Lowe for his take on the whole shebang. Apparently it's a big deal for some folks. This would be cool, though. EPL best vs. La Liga best in a two-legger.

Sticking in Spain, let's catch up with Phil Ball and his first post of 2013. It's a good one. Phil was in London for the holidays and took a Spanish mate to Craven Cottage. He also got stick for writing White Storm. Good stuff as always from perhaps our favorite scribe.

Here's The Mill. Here's your Plus One. Not too much is going on, unfortunately. Barcelona say Villa isn't going anywhere. Some people are saying Fatpard is going to ManU. Some people are saying Fatpard is going to the assGalaxy. Does anyone really care?  

The African Nations Cup begins later this month. Not playing: Seven-time winners Egypt, Cameroon, and Senegal. Here's a preview. And here is Jonathan Wilson on the difficulties Nigeria and Ghana are having with big egos.

Ready to replace Lampard...?

As we mentioned yesterday, The Diving German announced his squad for the USA training camp. Grant Wahl reckons it could be a good opportunity for some newbies to boost their stock.

The holiday break is over in Italy and that means Paolo Bandini is back at work. He looks at the weekend action in Serie A. And Sid posted on the La Liga fixtures, as well. Here.

Tuesday! Podcast! HereJames Richardson's back in the extra comfy presenter's chair for today's Football Weekly, and he's got Barry Glendenning, Tom Lutz and James Horncastle to keep him company as we look back at all the romance and hi-jinx from the weekend's FA Cup games. We kick things off by tut-tutting naughty Luis Suárez after his handball provided Liverpool's safe passage over plucky Mansfield, before taking in Demba Ba's goalscoring debut for Chelsea, Newcastle's defeat at Brighton, and Arsenal's 2-2 draw with Swansea. Next, there's a bumper Serie A section, paying particular attention to matters at AC Milan, including Kevin-Prince Boateng's stand against racism and the sale of the once mercurial Alexandre Pato. Finally, we hear from Sid Lowe about the continuing hoo-haa between José Mourinho and Iker Casillas at Real Madrid, before finishing up by getting as excited as possible about this week's Capital One Cup semi-finals.

And finally...Ronaldo has decided to go to school in England. The Brazilian legend plans to study advertising. SSN wishes him all the best.



Monday, January 07, 2013

The Cup, Serie A returns with Lazio racism, La Liga, USA Roster

Good Day!  The third round of the FA Cup went down over the weekend. Sadly, things went according to plan for the most part in that there were no upsets that we'd deem "major".

Yank Abroad Clint Dempsey had a fine match as Spurs dispatched Coventry and assured there would be no repeat of 1987. RVP saved Manchester United yet again with an injury time equalizer to get The Reds a replay against West Ham. Joe Cole played for the Hammers and played quite well, setting up both goals for his new/old club. Arsenal and Swansea will also do it all over again at the Emirates after a late flurry of goals left the sides even at two apiece. Elsewhere, Demba Ba took no time to settle at Chelsea as he notched a brace in the Blues' victory.
The home of Mansfield Town
Alas, leave it up to Luis Suárez to provide the talking point (Here are nine others) of the round. The Uruguayan asshole used his hand to score the winner at Mansfield. Phil McNulty took in all the action at Field Mill and goes easy on Luis. Daniel Taylor was there as well and is not so forgiving. Jan Molby thinks it's time to give him a break. He's still an asshole, though.

Here's a Team of the Weekend for the FA Cup and the draw for Round Four. You want a review of all the weekend's action? Fine.

Italia. Land of wine, women, pasta, meat, beaches, mountains, stallions...we could go on and on. Also, sadly, home to another incident of racism as Serie A returned to action with a bang. No strangers to this sort of thing, Lazio fans apparently subjected Cagliari’s Victor Ibarbo to abuse on Saturday night. When will this shit stop? In actual competition, the big surprise was leader Juventus' loss to Sampdoria. Inter Milan also lost and Napoli crushed Yank Abroad Michael Bradley and Roma 4-1. Here's a wrap.

Football also returned to Spain and the thriller was between Real Madrid and Real Socieded. Madrid won 4-3. We'll check with Phil Ball tomorrow to get the deets. Barcelona won, so business as usual.

To quit or not to quit. That is the question.
Back in the USA, Jurgen Klinsmann named his roster for the upcoming training camp. Omar is back, but Lando gets a break to presumably search for his soul on the beach. Or something. Here's the roster:

Goalkeepers: Tally Hall (Houston), Bill Hamid (D.C.), Sean Johnson (Chicago)

Steven Beitashour (San Jose), Tony Beltran (Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Kansas City), A.J. DeLaGarza (Los Angeles), Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles), Connor Lade (New York), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Justin Morrow (San Jose), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia)

Kyle Beckerman (Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (no club), Brad Davis (Houston), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg, Norway), Brad Evans (Seattle), Benny Feilhaber (Kansas City), Josh Gatt (Molde, Norway), Graham Zusi (Kansas City)

Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Will Bruin (Houston), Edson Buddle (Colorado), Eddie Johnson (Seattle), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose)

Yikes! We almost forgot about transfers. David Villa? Luka Modric? Giuseppe Rossi? Here's The Mill and here's your Plus One.

We're comfortable with leaving it at that for this Monday.