Friday, November 15, 2013

World Cup Playoffs, The Zlatan vs. CR9, Steven Taylor Racism, The Joy of Six, Robert Plant To Hit The Pitch, USA vs. Scotland

Stick me out on the wing, mate.
It's the end of the week as we know it. And it's a big Friday of football. We don't get to say that very often. Iceland vs. Croatia, Greece vs. Romania, Portugal vs. Sweden, and Ukraine vs. France are all today in an attempt to determine who will make The Big Dance. First legs, people. The African action is tomorrow and Sunday. Second legs, people. There are also a bunch of friendlies if you care about that sort of thing. Here's your prep work:

Nobody has ever accused Newcastle's Steven Taylor of being the sharpest knife in the drawer. Based on his tweet from yesterday, the elevator doesn't go all the way to the top floor with this clown. A burger short of a combo meal, he is. With an intellect rivaled only by garden tools. Obviously forgot to pay his brain bill.

Right! It's Friday and thus there is this: The Joy of Six. Scott Murray is prepared to provide us with World Cup Qualifying Misses. Spoiler: There will be six.
The U.S.? Those fools call it soccer. Hah!

The United States will get all cozy and friendly with Scotland this afternoon at Hampden Park. Here are Three Key Storylines ahead of the match (3pm EST on ESPN2).

Gab Marcotti is wondering if The Zlatan is an anti-hero for whom we should root. Tough question, Gab.

Robert Plant is rich. And his wealth is well deserved. So we're pleased that he's bid £900 to play in Jody Craddock's testimonial with Wolves next year. Let's hope he doesn't over-exert himself and turn the match into his time of dying. Oh!

Spain: the inside story of La Roja's historic treble. In an extract from his new book, Graham Hunter looks at the world champions' long-term winning national strategy.

Take a Podcast. Do it. Listen. Learn. Laugh.



Thursday, November 14, 2013

Mexico & Uruguay Cruise, Idiot of the Week, Clint on Loan, Death of Pride Park

It's all rather quiet out there. Not surprisingly, Uruguay had no trouble in Amman, and Mexico duly dispatched with the Kiwis at home. This whole play-off system featuring countries across the globe is stupid. But FIFA is stupid, so...

Before we leave that stuff behind, Tim Vickery wants to discuss Uruguay so we'll oblige.

Idiot of the Week? This guy: Arsenal fan with three wives loses his house after betting on Manchester United clash.

You scored against New Zealand. What do you want? A cookie?
You can expect to see Clint Dempsey playing for someone other than Seattle now that his work there is done for the season. A loan spell is in the cards for Deuce, apparently, with the EPL his likely destination. Fulham? Spurs? Everton? Wait and see.

We'll conclude today's brief post with some sad news. Thinking of catching Derby at Pride Park? Think again.



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

First Leg World Cup Qualifiers, Carrick Hurt, Brighton For A Pound, Jozy's Column

Hump Day, Fools. The big action today takes place down in Mexico City where New Zealand and Mexico will get their World Cup 2014 Playoff battle underway. The pressure is on El Tri after a poor qualifying campaign and the loss of El Azteca's invincibility. No European-based players will show for Mexico as they opt to go with guys already acclimated on home soil. Here's a preview. ESPN will carry the match live this afternoon at 3:15 p.m. EST.

Ready for Uruguay
The other match is currently underway over in Jordan. Uruguay are the opponents in Amman as Luis Suárez, Edison Cavani & Co. face off against Saeed Al-Murjan, Mus'ab Al-Laham & Co at King Abdullah International Stadium. So...we'll see how that one turns out. Cough. Jonathan Wilson is an expert in affairs such as this and he takes a gander at the Jordanian situation. It's the biggest match in the history of football in Jordan, suffice to say.

Since we're talking World Cup, let's examine The Diving German's U.S. squad for the upcoming friendlies while we have a moment. And since we're talking the U.S., did you know that Seattle, New York and Los Angeles are all out of the MLS playoffs? Here's what went wrong, according to resident expert Jeff Carlisle.

Just when Manchester United appeared ready to ditch the shackles and catch fire, news comes that Michael Carrick will miss around six weeks due to an achilles tendon injury.

Do you want to own a piece of Brighton? Amy Lawrence explains how to get it done.

Back in the Premier League, Richard Jolly assesses the chances of all the main contenders, who are separated by just six points, to determine who has the best chance of title glory come May.

We're going to keep things a bit brief today, but before we go, let's check in with Yank Abroad Jozy Altidore. His Sunderland side upset Manchester City at the weekend, and the win coincided with Jozy's 24th birthday. Well done, son!



Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Americans Abroad, Zlatan Stamp, Podcast, Scribes, Kiwis & El Tri

Tuesday! The best day of the week as far as SSN is concerned. It's a chance to take a moment and look back at the weekend now that the dust has settled. We'll start with the Podcast, of course. Here's your schtuff: It's Football Weekly! It's James Richardson! It's Barry Glendenning! It's James Horncastle and Michael Cox! It's Manchester United beating Arsenal and the rest of the Premier League what-not-and-what-have-you! It's a bumper Serie A round-up! It's the international break! It's the reason we need you to vote for us in the Football Supporters' Federation Awards (specifically, in the best podcast category)!

Let's hit the hot list of Yanks Abroad. Who's tearing shit up, who's not. Boom.

Here's a question we know you clowns have been pondering: What has gone wrong with Manchester City, Chelsea and Tottenham? These clubs spent a gazzillion dollars/euros/pounds/cedi/daler/gineih/kip on players but it hasn't quite gone off.

As with most Tuesdays, it's time for Gab Marcotti's Monday Musings! Gab's gabbing about why Arsenal shouldn't panic, Juve win big, don't rush Messi, and...more.

A Tale of Two Cities...
Paolo Bandini says this: Juventus rediscover their swagger as bargains steal show against Napoli -- Serie A's old man Javier Zanetti returned for Inter but it was the Old Lady of Turin's return to form that stole the headlines.

Phil Ball says this: Basement blues. Need he say more?

Raphael Honigstein says this: Bayer Leverkusen find that beating Hamburg 5-3 is 'not so nice' -- An incredibly cavalier exhibition of 'kindergarten football' ended with even the victorious manager complaining.

Tim Vickery says this: Serious depth tests ahead for Uruguay, Colombia.

Sid Lowe says this: Bruno, battered but brilliant, keeps the Yellow Submarine on course -- Villarreal are the first side to have Atlético Madrid on the ropes this season and their captain was at the heart of it.

Holy Cristo. Mexico host New Zealand on Wednesday. How did that creep up on us? The pressure is on El Tri. Deal with it, bitches! Wait. Barry Glendenning is interested in the Kiwis? By all means, Barry.

And finally. As if his ego wasn't big enough already, The Zlatan has his own stamp. Here it is:



Monday, November 11, 2013

Messi Hurt, United Beat Arsenal, City Lose, Chelsea Should Have Lost, Spurs Lose, Old Man Zanetti Returns For Inter, Another Ronaldo Hat-Trick, MLS

Quite the weekend, eh?

Check this shit out:

In England, Manchester United defeated a nervous Arsenal thanks to the head of Robin van Persie and an exemplary performance by Wayne Rooney, Chelsea needed a completely bogus injury-time penalty to salvage a draw at home to West Brom, Manchester City couldn't score and lost on the road to Sunderland, Southampton won again, and Tottenham couldn't score and lost at home to Newcastle. Let's go to the table!

In Italy, Juventus crushed Napoli 3-0, 40-year-old Javier Zanetti returned for Inter as they won 2-0, leaders Roma could only draw 1-1 at home to Sassuolo, and Milan's struggles continued after they could only manage a draw against bottom-side Chievo. Let's go to the table!

In Spain, Messi tore his hammy and will be gone for a while, Atlético Madrid could only draw at Villarreal, and Ronaldo scored the 19th hat-trick of his Real Madrid career (!!). Let's go to the table!

In the United States, Houston and Kansas City's first leg finished scoreless, but Real Salt Lake crushed Portland 4-2. Let's go to the table!

Alright. Let's go back to the top and engage in some fallout:

Manchester United 1 - 0 Arsenal 
Amy Lawrence: Five Talking Points
John Brewin: Three Things

Sunderland 1 - 0 Manchester City: Louise Taylor at the Stadium of Light
Tottenham 0 - 1 Newcastle: David Hytner at White Hart Lane
Chelsea 2 - 2 West Brom: Jason Burt at Stamford Bridge

Italy. Serie A. Review? Reports? Yes. More? Fine. Spain. La Liga. Review? Reports? Yes. More? Fine.

Back in Salt Lake City, Utah (er...Sandy), the home team had little trouble with the Portlandians. Grant Wahl has Three Thoughts.

As you know, Atlético Madrid lost this weekend. But Andy West thinks they could still challenge for the Champions League.

That's it for today. Tell your Monday to go shove it.