Friday, September 27, 2013

Weekend Previews, The Joy of Six, AVB vs. The Special One, Isco, Big Interview

It's Friday so let's bust out a Joy of Six. Today's a bit of an odd one. It's matches to remember from days when West Brom beating United was not a shock – from Denis Law to Cyrille Regis and an eight-goal Old Trafford thriller. Boom.

Thierry Henry has a meme. Really.

Previews? Yes. The biggie in England is Tottenham vs. Chelsea. AVB and Jose used to be buds, you see. And now they're not. And Spurs look good this year. And Chelsea look a bit suspect. Elsewhere, Manchester United host West Brom (see above), Manchester City go to Villa, Swansea host Arsenal, and Sunderland welcome Liverpool. Here's all you need:

The man making waves at Real Madrid is not Ronaldo. It's Isco. He's being compared with Zidane. Whoa! Hold on there, buddy! Andy West takes a look at the Golden Boy award winner.

We mentioned the appalling refereeing in Madrid's match earlier in the week. Graham Hunter digs deeper. Madrid? Yes, The Derby is on Saturday.

The Big Interview is Sol Campbell. Sol says racism may force him out of England to be a manager.

Hey, there was a match in Serie A yesterday and it was a good one. Inter came from behind to defeat Fiorentina and remain unbeaten. Here's a report.

We'll finish today by returning to Tottenham. They signed Christian Eriksen. Amy Lawrence filed this piece on the Denmark Number 10.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Sid Lowe's Book, What's In Your Wallet?, Serie A, Deaths for Qatar 2022, Podcast

You all know we love Sid Lowe. Hopefully you do too. He's got a book coming out, apparently. His employers, The Guardian, have graced us with an extract that accounts the night Figo returned to Barcelona after bailing on the Blaugrana for Real Madrid. The fans were not too pleased with the Portuguese winger, and threw a pigs head on the pitch. Several SSN Staff watched that match together and it's fun to reminisce on what was an incredible night over ten years ago.

Meanwhile, all eyes were on Luis Suarez at Old Trafford yesterday, but it was Manchester United who took the spoils in their League Cup clash against Liverpool as Chicharito finished nicely for the only goal of the match. Alistair Magowan was there and filed this report. In the other biggie of the night, West Brom and Arsenal went all the way to penalties before the London side headed home with the win thanks to Nacho netting the final spot-kick. John Percy was at The Hawthorns where a certain Nick Bendtner played a game!!?? Here's the draw for Round Four. Certainly, Chelsea's trip to Arsenal stands out amongst the fixtures.

There's a Podcast today -- James Richardson is joined in the pod by Paul MacInnes, Barry Glendenning and Jacob Steinberg to review the midweek action, as Luis Suarez returned for Liverpool, and Nicklas Bendtner for Arsenal. Juan Mata, David Luiz and Fernando Torres returned for Chelsea against Swindon, ahead of the weekend's big clash with Spurs. Sid Lowe joins us to discuss all matters Madrid, while speculations continue about the potential formation of the Glendenning/Wilson managerial axis at Sunderland.

It was a wacky Wednesday in Italy as leaders Napoli lost the top spot to Roma following their shock home draw to Sassuolo. Here's a review of all the action. And Paolo Bandini filed a special midweek report. Check it here.

Spain saw some action as well. Terrible defending and a dodgy penalty helped Real Madrid win. Here's a wrap.

More on Mata? Here. Jermaine Defoe? We've never been much of a fan. He embodies a lot of what is wrong with professional footballers. Turns out, he's doing some good! Well done, son.

Bloody hell. As if Qatar 2022 were not a complete wreck already, we've now got a report from The Guardian that claims Qatar World Cup construction 'will leave 4,000 migrant workers dead'. Apparently they are being forced to work in slave-like conditions. FIFA, FIFA, FIFA. Fucking Inept Football Association filled with criminals.

We'll finish with a tad more on Paolo Di Canio. Henry Winter sums up our feelings quite well: "Goodbye and Good Riddance."


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Italy Racism Ruling, More League Cup, Midweek Serie A & La Liga, Red Bull, Michael Jackson Comes Down

No longer...
No upsets in yesterday's Capital One Cup action. Chelsea, Spurs, Sunderland, Man City, and West Ham all won. Here's a review. Today's fare is far more tasty, with Liverpool's trip to Old Trafford the main event. Luis Alberto Suárez Díaz was on the bus for the Reds and he's ready to take a bite out of Manchester United. Sorry. So, it's a big comeback for the feisty Uruguayan. Let's take a moment to look back at how Cantona, Di Canio, Ferguson and Ferdinand fared on their returns. In the other match of note, expect to see loads of new faces as Arsenal go to West Brom. And an old one, too.

There's also midweek action in Spain. Neymar notched his first for Barcelona as they cruised past Real Sociedad 4-1 and remained perfect for the campaign. Oh, and Messi scored. Here's a wrap of yesterday's stuff in Spain.

There's also midweek action in Italy. Although there were matches yesterday and today, the main event arrived in the form of a decision by the Italian FA. AC Milan's supporters were charged with racial abuse in the match against Napoli, but it's not all cut and dry. Gabby Marcotti explains.

Marina Hyde is a great scribe. Today she's talking about absurd football award ceremonies. Take a look.

We've got a focus on New York Red Bull (click that at your own risk). They are currently tops in MLS. Mike Petke is their coach. Can they finally succeed?

There are tears flowing around SSN Headquarters today. This is why: The controversial Michael Jackson statue that has stood outside Fulham's Craven Cottage ground for more than two years was removed on Wednesday morning. It's all quite tragic, really, but The Editor, TSB, and Bobby BS were fortunate enough to experience the elegance and beauty of the statue in person, and they are going to have to rely on those memories moving forward. Sniff.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Being Paul Gascoigne, Americans Abroad, Podcast, What's In Your Wallet?, Top Scribes

Americans Abroad returns! See below...
Loads to get through today. We'll start on a sad note. Barney Ronay has seen the documentary set to air tonight about Paul Gascoigne. It's not really about him, though. And it's not about football. It's about alcoholism.

El Sid is in Spain and he'd like to discuss Valencia, among other things.

Phil Ball is in Spain and he'd like to discuss the La Liga schedule, among other things.

Raphael Honigstein is in Germany and he'd like to discuss Bayern Munich, among other things.

Tim Vickery is in Brazil and he'd like to discuss why so many South American managers struggle in Europe, among other things.

Paolo Bandini is in Italy and he'd like to discuss Napoli, among other things.

Avi's got your look back at MLS with his Power Rankings and Team of the Week here. According to him, Seattle is still top Dogg.

Let's stick with Yanks for a moment and see how those based oversees are doing. For example: Tim Ream started for Bolton but they lost to Brighton and are now bottom of the Championship.

Right. There are some matches this afternoon. It's the What's In Your Wallet? Cup. The big one is tomorrow (Manchester United vs. Liverpool) but there are some interesting ties on offer today. Chelsea at Swindon, Spurs at Villa, and Everton at Fulham could all be fun.

It IS Tuesday so let's get on with The Podcast: James Richardson is joined in the pod by Barry Glendenning, Sean Ingle, Philippe Auclair and Simon Burnton to cast an eye over the weekend's finest action, including Manchester City's 4-1 thrashing of arch-rivals United, the demise of Paolo Di Canio and Mikel Jon Obi's big breakthrough for Mata-less Chelsea. Barry reveals his plans for Sunderland, as he and Jonathan Wilson are talked about for the club's vacant managerial position. Sid Lowe is on hand to discuss Swansea's splendid 2-0 win at Valencia last week and Gareth Bale's injury troubles, there's the latest from Italy where Mario Balotelli has finally missed a penalty, and we consider the prospects for a summer World Cup in Qatar. All this and much more. 

Finally, since we began on a sad note this morning, let's conclude with a laugh. This is a good one...


Monday, September 23, 2013

City Crush United, Super Mario Misses, Roma Beat Lazio, Istanbul Derby Abandoned, Di Canio Sacked

Besiktas and Galatasary fans get the party started in Istanbul...
Whew. What a weekend, eh? Let's begin with everyone's Favorite Fascist: Paolo Di Canio. As if the Sunderland directors needed any extra reason to let Paolo go, things apparently came to a head at the training ground yesterday. It was enough to say, "Arrivederci, " and...You're Fired. Gus Poyet and Roberto Di Matteo are names being bounced about as possible replacements. Either of them would be a massive improvement to Di Canio.

On to the matches at hand. Or that were at hand. Manchester! Mancunians of the Red and Blue persuasion and the rest of us around the world were focused on the Etihad Stadium yesterday for the Manchester Derby. RVP had a thigh issue so he didn't play. Chris Smalling took the pitch, but he didn't really play much either. Four - One to Manchester City was the result. Ouch. Henry Winter was there, don't you know? As was Phil McNulty. And Michael Cox talks Nasri, Kolarov, and the tactics that won it for City.

We might as well stick with the BPL. Spurs saved it for late to break down a resilient Cardiff side, Ozil notched three assists as Arsenal downed Stoke, Liverpool lost at Anfield, Chelsea swept aside Fulham, and Yank Abroad Brad Guzan and Villa kept a clean sheet! Here's some shit:

Over in Italy, Napoli and Roma remained perfect atop Serie A with key wins, Inter Milan thrashed Sassuolo 7-0, and two-time defending champion Juventus struggled at times before edging Hellas Verona 2-1. Napoli came away from the San Siro with a 2-1 victory over AC Milan with goals from Miguel Britos and Gonzalo Higuain, while Mario Balotelli failed to convert a penalty kick for the first time in his career. He also scored. He also got a red card. Sounds like Balotelli, right? Never a dull moment. Here's your Serie A Wrap.
Federico Balzaretti scores for Roma against Lazio. And promptly loses it.
Politics and football mixed once again in Turkey, where a red card for Galatasaray's Felipe Melo in the 92nd minute was the catalyst for the scenes of havoc after Ivorian striker Didier Drogba had scored twice to give the visitors a 2-1 lead over Besiktas. Apparently, Melo raised his jersey at the Besiktas fans as he was leaving the pitch. They were none too pleased and entered the field of play chanting songs in reference to this summer's anti-government protests across Turkey. Sweet.

Down in Spain, Barcelona and Real Madrid cruised but Bale got hurt warming up. In Germany, Bayern Munich still look brutally good. In France, PSG and Monaco drew as Falcao and The Zlatan both scored. Here's a complete Euro Review.

Back in the USA, they're plying their trade in Major League Soccer. Ives has a wrap and says the race for the playoffs is a full blown free-for-all.

Act like you know,