Friday, August 23, 2013

Sheep Sacrifice, Serie A Returns, Transfer Madness, Anelka Walks, Podolski to Schalke?

It's Friday, peeps! Get ready for a slew of fine footie this weekend. Before we get into the previews, how's this for jumping the gun? Real Madrid were allowing supporters to buy Bale jerseys on the official site. For a few minutes, anyway. Looks like he's going to be Number 11. Oops. Speaking of Spurs, they had little trouble in Georgia last night. Swansea also won in Europa League action, and Mario Gomez got his Fiorentina career underway with a strike in La Viola's victory over Grasshopper in Zurich. Here's a little wrap to let you know what went down in UEFA's secondary club competition.

The big news this weekend is the return of Calcio. There is nobody better than Paolo Bandini to give us a Season Preview. Grazie mille, Paolo!

Dude, Hellas Verona are back in Serie A! They host Milan tomorrow and Verona's mayor has already told Super Mario to behave. Hah!

And, for the first time ever, Unione Sportiva Sassuolo Calcio will play in Serie A. Welcome.

Elsewhere, Juventus and Carlos Tevez head to Sampdoria, Inter host Genoa, and Michael Bradley and Roma will be in Livorno.  Here's a preview of the weekend fixtures.

They'll play in Spain, as well. No real biggies this weekend, however. Here's a preview.

Back in the UK, the biggest clash isn't until Monday when Manchester United and Chelsea square off. We'll tackle that then. Meanwhile, we've got a London Derby at Craven Cottage with Arsenal making the trip down to Fulham, City are in Wales to face Cardiff, Tottenham host Swansea, and Liverpool go to Villa. Here's a complete preview. And here are some key stories to keep you busy. You want predictions? Check it: Lawro's Predictions. More? Fine: Paul Merson's Predictions

"Huh? I thought it was William, not Willian. I want my shitty rapper!"
The transfer madness continues. Word is Roman has gotten involved and the Black Eyed Pea will now go to Chelsea instead of Spurs. Bale? Benzema? Suarez? Ozil? The Mill and your Plus One break it all down. Wait, did Arsenal sign someone? Nope, they're just going to get rid of someone else.

Oh, and Anelka bailed on West Brom. Shocking. Le Sulk played for 12 clubs. Is he done? Not sure.

Hey! Yank Abroad Jozy Altidore has a column. Let's check it out.

We'll conclude with this. Remember that Celtic lost their Europa League match to Kazakh opposition, right? Turns out it's all because their opponents killed some sheep. Duh. Look: "The animal was sacrificed in the corner of the stadium by Shakhter before they commenced a training session on Monday, a day ahead of their 2-0 victory in the first leg at the Astana Arena." Oh, dear...

That's it. We out. Enjoy your weekend.



Thursday, August 22, 2013

Balotelli, Chelsea Feel the Love, Arsenal Win, Bale Finally Ready to Bail?

Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea. Have you got some spare cash? Current odds for the London outfit to win the league sit around two to one. Not bad when you consider what went down at The Bridge yesterday. Amy Lawrence was there. The conspiracy theorists among us think that the refs gather ahead of the season, determine who shall win, and jog out onto the pitch to make it happen between August and May. Crazy thoughts, to be sure, but you never know. Even the esteemed Henry Winter agrees that a few winks from Lady Luck were necessary to claim all three points. Before we depart, here are Five Talking Points.

Across the continent in Istanbul, Arsenal benefited from a surprisingly anemic Fenerbahce side to triumph in their first leg Champions League qualifier 0 - 3. What a difference a few days make. Jeremy Wilson took in the action on the Bosphorus. There were other matches, but nobody really cares, do they?

If so, here's a wee wrap.

Bam! Gareth Motherfucking Bale! Bam! The greatest player since...since...anyway. It looks like he's finally ready to make the big move to Madrid. Los Blancos will have to shell out a pretty peso (euro) to do the deed, though. And they might have to add a Coentrao. £94million??!! Sheesh. It all makes for some prime entertainment, though.

Once Bale gets to Real, he and Ronaldo can have a "Dive-Off" competition.

Entry One: Gareth Bale 
Entry Two: Cristiano Ronaldo

Sorry, we don't mean to hate. Don't want to be haters. But, you know...

Right! Tottenham actually have a match to worry about this evening. They're currently with The Devil down in Georgia to take on Macon FC. Wait, what's that? Sorry -- it's actually Dynamo Tbilisi. Here's a preview. If you want to take in the action from Georgia, find a stream.

Is Mario Balotelli the Most Interesting Man in the World? Sports Illustrated and Grant Wahl would like you to think as much. Or that he can walk on water at the very least.

Sticking with Italy and Serie A, here are Five Questions ahead of the new season that kicks off this weekend.

The Mill? Check. Plus One? Check.

And let's end on this one: Chamakh blames his ass-form on a blackmail case. Hmmmm.

That's your lot. Bug off.



Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Bayern Munich Lederhosen, Champions League Action, Midweek EPL

Pep questions his move away from Spain...
All eyes on Istanbul today as crisis club Arsenal attempt to steady the ship with a Champions League qualifying result in Turkey. The pressure is on the Gunners, but the pressure is also on their opponents. They've been accused of cheating. Suffice to say, they could win, but Fenerbahce could be ousted anyway. Mob ties, you see. Match fixing. You know the drill. David Hytner looks at the possible ramifications for Arsenal. Here's a preview. Direct your television to Fox Sports 1 at 2:45pm EDT if you care to take in the action in the United States.

There were matches in the same competition yesterday. Milan scored in Holland to take an advantage back to the San Siro. And if people actually still care about Scottish Football, we're terribly sorry. Celtic lost in Kazakhstan. Enough said. Here's a little wrap of yesterday's action.
Pep thinks, "maybe this isn't so bad."
Back in the EPL, Aston Villa obviously enjoyed their trip to the Emirates last weekend but they're back in London tonight to face a much more difficult opponent. Jose's Chelsea lie in wait at Stamford Bridge. This one is also at 2:45pm EDT and it's on NBCSN. Preview? Of course.

The biggest story currently coming out of The Mill is Willian's upcoming move to Spurs. Eastern Euro expert Jonathan Wilson weighs in. And here's your Plus One.

Sadly, that's really all there is.



Pep is scared shitless as Ribery talks about his romp with an underage prostitute...

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

City Off the Mark, Tuesday Scribes, Lazio Racism, FSC Is Dead

Geez. Sergio played, Silva played, Yaya played, Na$ri played, and Steven Taylor let fly. Monday Night Football was a bit of a bust if you were a neutral. Daniel Taylor was at The Etihad as the San Pellegrino era got underway.

Why is Tuesday such a great day? It's when the top scribes all come out to play. Let's begin in Spain. Who would win in a cage match between English dudes living in Spain writing about La Liga? Who cares? Sid and Phil complement each other so well we can only imagine the two of them as best mates. Today, Sid chooses to focus on Real Madrid's almost-loss, whilst Phil makes us wish we lived in San Sebastian and could hop on a motorbike with our son and cruise down to the ground to take in Real Sociedad's opener.
The Lazio faithful get in the spirit!
Over in Germany, Raphael Honigstein is talking about the Hamburg Horror Show, and Paolo Bandini...err...well...he's still on vacation because Serie A has yet to begin. Don't fret, though. Although Lazio got drubbed by Juve in the Super Cup, their supporters won the prize for first out of the gate in the racism competition as they subjected Juventus players to racist chants and monkey noises. Good times!

Sticking with scribes, Tim Vickery is down in Latin America. Today, he'd like to talk about Javier Mascherano and Argentina. Fine.

Major League Soccer. Footie on home soil. Looks like Portland have put a bird on it and lead the Power Rankings. Avi Creditor has said rankings, plus a look back at the weekend's action and a Team of the Week. Hit it.

Right! The Mill! Plus One! Glad that's over.

And finally, let's shed a tear for Fox Soccer Channel. It's dead.



Monday, August 19, 2013

Don't Call It A Comeback. Seriously.

Holy Christ. We're back. Listen. Pimpin' ain't easy, and something had to give. That something was SSN Headquarters. We shut the shit down. Closed up shop and took to the hills. Now, we're back.

As it turns out, we didn't miss much. Freddy Adu moved to Brazil, The Big Red-Faced One relinquished the reins of The Reds to Moe Sizlak, Sprockets danced their way to Champions League domination, and Arsenal finished above Spurs. Again.

The Special One is back at Stamford Bridge and John Terry is still a slug sucking the asshole of Jiminy Glick. The Diving German guided The Yanks to a Gold Cup win and a lovely result over Boz and Hertz thanks to a rejuvenated Jozy.

England still suck, and Brazil knocked Spain off their pedestal. Some other crap happened but that's basically the gist of it all.

So, what's new? The EPL is now on NBC in the USA. It's not bad, either. So far, so good, we think. Solid commentators via the UK feeds, no crazy Gus Johnson hyperbole, no Eric Wynalda and Warren "When I Played For England" Barton (crap wanker), and best of all, it is a new campaign. Without skipping a beat, defending champs Manchester United went to Wales and made a difficult fixture look easy, Chelsea turned on the style to welcome Jose back to London, Spurs won in South London, and Arsenal shat the bed. Liverpool? They won. Richard Jolly was at Anfield.

Talking Points? But, of course. Here are TEN.

Monday Night Football is also back as City's San Pellegrino Era kicks off this afternoon with the blue side of Manchester hosting Newcastle. 3pm EDT on NBCSN. City have over a gazillion pounds worth of new signings, don't you know?

Barcelona won 7-0 (yawn), Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund still look strong, and Yank Not Abroad Juan Agudelo scored this cheeky little number to help NE defeat Chicago.

That's it for now. We're going to need to ease back into this thing. Some of the SSN staff remain on sabbatical and the office is quiet. Too quiet. Give us some time to reacclimatize. Of course we can't leave without The Mill. And here's your Plus One. Ummmm, you're welcome!