Friday, September 13, 2013

Real Football Returns, Bale to Play, The Art of the Foul, More Sir Alex at Harvard, Derby d'Italia

Happy Friday,

Now that the dust has settled from the World Cup qualifiers earlier in the week (did Clint miss on purpose?!), we can finally return to normal service. Club football gets back underway for the first time since the Transfer Window thankfully slammed its annoyingly leaky frame shut.

Before we get into all of that, however, let's take joy in The Joy of Six. Today we are graced with The Art of the Foul.

Off to Italy with you! Serie A is back and it's time for the Derby d'Italia and the Derby della Lanterna. d'Italia gets top billing here simply because Inter vs. Juventus interests us more than Sampdoria vs. Genoa. Perhaps if we lived in Genoa it would be different. But, we do not live in Genoa.
Ahhh, Genoa.
We do not live in Spain, either. That is where La Liga gets fired up once again and word on the street is Gareth Bale will play for Real Madrid when they go to Villarreal! Elsewhere, Barca host Sevilla and Atlético Madrid host Almeria. Here's your preview.

Let's now head back across the Channel and investigate the slew of fixtures on deck in the Premier League. Things get rolling early tomorrow as Manchester United and new boy Marouane Fellaini host Palace at Old Trafford. Elsewhere, Everton host Chelsea at Goodison Park, Tottenham's new signings try to settle at home against Norwich, Arsenal go to Sunderland, Swansea host League Leaders Liverpool, and Stoke host Manchester City. Here are all the essentials:

You guys remember the case study done on Alex Ferguson at the Harvard Business School? No? It doesn't matter. Here's the info: In 2012 Harvard Business School professor Anita Elberse had a unique opportunity to examine Ferguson’s management approach and developed an HBS case study around it. Now she and Ferguson have collaborated on an analysis of his enormously successful methods. Be warned. It's long. And there's a lot of what, as football fans, we'd say is quite obvious. That said (hah), it's an interesting read.

Which new Premier League player are you most interested in checking this weekend?

Who knew Cardiff City would be so welcoming? Lovely.

You want some more of the U.S. and Brazil 2014? Fine. Time for The Diving German to figure out who will be on the plane. Here are Martin Rogers' picks for the 23 lucky lads.

From our family to yours,

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

USA Advance to Brazil 2014, Argentina, Italy, Dutch In, Martina Hyde on Blatter, The Kagawa Conundrum

You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? You talkin' to me? Well, then who the hell else are you talking- You talking to me? Well, I'm the only one here. Who the fuck do you think you're talking to? Oh yeah? Huh?

Out in O-H-I-O last night the United States defeated Mexico to earn a spot at next summer's World Cup in Brazil. It was bloody fantastic. Mexico were ass, the crowd was amazing, Deuce missed a penalty, Donovan had pink eye, Timmy Howard looked like Isaac Hayes, and just like in Columbus in 2001, 2005, and 2009, it finished Dos a Cero a los Gringos.

Andrea Canales: Same Old Mexico

Meanwhile, down in Asunción, two Messi penalties helped Argentina thump Paraguay and book their ticket north to Brazil. Colombia could not do the same as they lost in Uruguay. Here's a wrap of yesterday's CONMEBOL acción.

In UEFA, England were bleh yet again in their scoreless draw with Ukraine. Elsewhere, the Italians and the Dutch clinched berths in Brazil, and France overcame a couple of Lloris errors to beat Belarus. That's a wrap. And Trap got the sack.

Let's just bounce to this: World Cup qualifiers: who's in, out and who has their fingers crossed. Thank you, Jonathan Wilson.

We had a piece about Sepp Blatter and Qatar yesterday. Martina Hyde lends a hand with a column on the same subject today. She says: And so once more to the rolling auto-satire that is Qatar 2022, which Blatter is endeavouring to style as a post-imperial blow for human fairness, when everybody knows the tournament is meant to function as a reputation-laundering facility for a non-democratic regime whose record is deplored by any number of respected rights organisations. Yup. Couldn't have said it better ourselves.

You again?
Manchester United hope a fanzone can improve Old Trafford's dismal atmosphere, the Kagawa Conundrum, and this goal from Panama's Gabriel Torres will complete our Hump Day.


Tuesday, September 10, 2013

USA vs. Mexico, England vs. Ukraine, Blatter Idiotic, Vickery on Chile & Maicon, 100 Years of Highbury

Hey folks. Yes, it's that time of year again. The time of year when we actually give a shit about Columbus, Ohio. Why, you ask? Why would we care about such a boring town in the middle of such a boring state? Because the United States will play an important match against their enemies in said city this evening. It's USA vs. Mexico on The Road to Brazil. Mexico is in turmoil, but the U.S. are suffering from injuries and suspensions. The Bleacher Report has a look at Five Great USA vs. Mexico matches here. Grant Wahl chats with Timmy Howard here. Jeff Carlisle says there's not much between the two sides here. And The Shin Guardian has a preview here. The match can be viewed in the United States this evening on ESPN at 8pm EDT. It should be fun.

OK. What else is going on? Well, other nations are trying to get to Brazil, as well. England, for instance. The lads are in Kiev (pronounced: KEEEEEEEV) and according to Daniel Taylor, Woy is feeling the pressure.
Uhh, sorry Little Pea, but you'd get your ass kicked. Just saying....
Here are some other matches of note taking place across Europe this afternoon.

Gianluigi Buffon. SSN's favorite Alice Cooper look-a-like. He'll equal Fabio Cannavaro's appearance record for Italy tonight but apparently there was a time when he did not want to get out of his car at the training ground. By the way, Italy could qualify for Brazil tonight. As well as... 

Let's not forget about South America. Here's the current situation down there where the big match sees Colombia travel to Montevideo to face Uruguay.

On to our favorite buffoon, Sepp Blatter! Sepp is an idiot. But, you knew that.

Back to Brazil for a second. Maicon was good in Serie A. Maicon was shit for City. Maicon returned to Serie A. Maicon is good again. Maicon can play for Brazil again. Tim Vickery reports. Tim Vickery is busy! He's busy with Chile. They're entertaining, so says he.

The majority of SSN staff happen to be Arsenal supporters. That's fine. We try to keep things relatively neutral -- there are plenty of Arsenal blogs out there to enjoy, after all. Occasionally, however, something comes along that we need to spotlight. Highbury is 100 Years Old. 442 put together a fabulous collection of photographs in honor of the Centenary. Enjoy.

SSN's Editor was lucky enough to be in the stands the day this photo was taken: March 31, 2001. Goals from Pires and Henry won the North London Derby on the day Spurs introduced Glenn Hoddle as their new manager. A wonderful tribute to David Rocastle who had passed away that morning made the match one for the ages.

Monday, September 09, 2013

USA Lose, Mexico Lose, Armenia Win, Agbonlahor Makes One Direction Clown Puke, Kyle Walker Does Nitrous

Ok, let's start with the main story, at least in our view. SSN Employees were forced to stay up far too late Friday night to watch a poor performance by the U.S. National Team. After Michael Bradley turned his ankle (badly) whilst warming up, the Americans lost their cool and never recovered, eventually losing 3-1. With Bradley's injury and suspensions to key players, the depth of the squad will be tested. Grant Wahl takes a look and it looks like Jurgen has already called in four dudes to help out.

Meanwhile, at Estadio Azteca, the U.S.'s main rivals Mexico lost to Honduras. Uh oh. You know what that meant for El Tri coach Jose Manuel "Chepo" De la Torre early Saturday morning, about three hours after the embarrassing home loss. Yes, this.
Yeah, we think that's twisted. Beer to Kevin Finn for the photo.

Andrea Canales takes a closer look at the Mexican struggle.

Over in Europe, England beat Moldova (yawn), Armenia beat the Czechs (WTF?!), France drew with Georgia (?), Spain cruised, and The Dutch drew in Estonia. Here's a full review.

In South America, Argentina and Colombia are closing in on tickets to Brazil. And Tim Vickery says that even as Luis Suarez is diving again, Uruguay are rising to the challenge.

Blessing the rains down in Africa are Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Ethiopia after each of those nations advanced in African qualifiers and will grace the playoffs.

Ten Talking Points? Boom.

Here is a complete rundown on The Race to Brazil that includes every region.

This is priceless. Louis Tomlinson is a member of the Band of Shit One Direction. He played in a charity match for Stiliyan Petrov. He got tackled nicely by Gabriel Agbonlahor. Then he puked. Then Agbonlahor got death threats. Good Grief.

Oh, yeah...that's the stuff...

Sticking with priceless, we give you this: Walker apologizes after England defender is pictured inhaling 'hippy crack' from balloon in Sheffield nightclub. Since when did they start calling nitrous "hippie crack?" And...of course...that leads into England's Hall of Shame. Did someone say, "Gazza?!"

Major League Soccer: Chicago gifts Seattle a win, while the Galaxy falls at home. Read all about it.

That's your Monday.