Friday, December 13, 2013

Weekend Previews

RVP = Took A Corner Kick = Strained His Thigh = Out For A Month
Goodness gracious. Yet another week in the books. Put it on the board! The Champions League will hibernate until February, but we've still got domestic league action to keep us warm into 2014. Italy, Germany, and Spain continue for a couple weeks before they take a break, while England just keeps rolling until May. Let's see what's up tomorrow and Sunday.

La Liga returns to action after taking a break to search for the King's Cup. Real Madrid go to Osasuna, Barcelona host Villarreal, and Atlético Madrid welcome Valencia to the Vicente Calderón. Here are Five Things To Watch in Spain this weekend.

In Serie A, Inter's trip to Napoli certainly excites as only four points separate those two clubs. Napoli must keep their chins up after their Champions League exit. Elsewhere, Fiorentina host Bologna and leaders Juventus welcome Sass Sass Sassuolo. There's a big one on Monday as Roma travel to Milan. A loss by Milan will pretty much put their domestic campaign to bed. Here's a weekend preview.

In the Premier League, things kick off with a cracker early tomorrow as Manchester City host Arsenal. The other match of the weekend book-ends things nicely on Sunday: Tottenham vs. Liverpool. Here's what you need to know:

Barca's new inside the shirt sponsor

Are you wondering what Americans Abroad are doing this weekend? Wonder no more! Hint: Bobby Wood and his 1860 Munich side play St. Pauli.

Simon Kuper (he of Soccernomics fame) has a column. Simon's headline: The real cost of hosting a World Cup.

That's all we've got today. Enjoy your weekend.



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Final 16 Set, Keano/Vieira Video, Jonathan Wilson in Argentina, Ajax Fans Stabbed in Milan

The Napoli faithful honor their hero.
Woof! Quite the afternoon yesterday as Group F went down to the wire. The drama we expected arrived in the shape of two late Napoli goals and one late Dortmund goal. In the end, Dortmund topped the group, Arsenal finished second, and the Napoli players cried in the dressing room. David Hytner was at Stadio San Paolo. Back in London, Chelsea secured top spot in Group E with a narrow win over Steaua Bucharest. Dominic Fifield was at Stamford Bridge. Did you know that Champions League history was made because all four German sides advanced? It's true. Raphael Honigstein takes a gander at das success of das Bundesliga. Of course, someone has to take a hit for that to happen. That someone? Italy.

Here's some additional fun: 10 Talking Points (Yes!) Matchday Six Review (Thank you!) Permutations (OK!)

The final eight clubs that have advanced: 

Group E
1. Chelsea
2. Schalke 04

Group F
1. Borussia Dortmund
2. Arsenal

Group G
1. Atlético Madrid
2. Zenit St. Petersburg

Group H
1. Barcelona
2. AC Milan

The draw will take place on Monday with Manchester City and Arsenal nervous about the giants that lay in wait...

Smashing! Right, then. It's been far too long since we checked in on Argentina's domestic league. It's such a shit show down there with all the violence and corruption that you never know if they'll actually play matches or simply shoot each other. Thankfully, Jonathan Wilson is willing to take a look at what appears to be a fantastic finale to the Torneo Inicial.

Man. We were able to catch some of the Patrick Vieira/Roy Keane One-On-One last night. It aired in the UK and we viewed via 101 Great Goals. Spend some time with this -- it's fantastic. Do it.

Britain football's rich list? Try and enjoy. Featuring such luminaries as Ashely Young, John Terry, James Milner, and Cashley Cole. Barf.



Wednesday, December 11, 2013

What We've Got is Champions League, Marina Hyde on Sir Alex vs. Keano, Louise Taylor on Anzhi, Jozy Altidore on the World Cup Draw

Right. And a pleasant hump day to you. 

Hopefully you enjoyed some of yesterday's action. Here are the basics:

Manchester City looked very composed (Silva is back) and beat Bayern, but apparently didn't know what they needed to do to top the group. Oops. Barney Ronay was at the Allianz Arena.

Manchester United were God-awful in the first half and have a Phil Jones goal to thank for their 1-0 win over The Shak. John Brewin has three thoughts about things at Old Trafford.

Cristiano Ronaldo set the record for most goals in the group stage as Real Madrid coasted past Copenhagen.

Forced to abandon their match in Istanbul because of too much snow, Galatasaray and Juventus completed things this morning. Wesley Sneijder scored the only goal to send the Turks through to the Final 16 at the expense of The Old Lady.

Anderlecht did not advance, but Sacha Kljestan became the fifth Yank to score in the Champions League. The other four? Can you name them? Didn't think so. Here they are: Jovan Kirovski, DaMarcus Beasley, Maurice Edu, Jermaine Jones. Full disclosure -- It took a collaborative effort of SSN staff-members to name them.

Here's a Round-Up.

Yeah...this ain't happening.

Here are the eight clubs that have advanced: 

Group A
1. Manchester United
2. Bayern Leverkusen

Group B
1. Real Madrid
2. Galatasary

Group C
1. Paris Saint-Germain
2. Olympicos

Group D
1. Bayern Munich
2. Manchester City

Today's big one is Napoli vs. Arsenal. That Group (F) has three clubs that can finish with 12 points. Wenger vs. Benítez. The Neapolitan Ultras. Violence. Mayhem. It should be good. Elsewhere, you've got Chelsea/Steaua, Barcelona/Celtic, and Milan/Ajax. Here's a complete preview, including all the permutations.

Oh, Sir Alex and Roy Keane. The feud that just won't quit. No, it simply keeps getting better. Marina Hyde is clearly enjoying all the hoopla.

Time to check in with Jozy! Everyone's favorite American who plays for Sunderland is talking World Cup draw...and...his goal against Chelsea.

What happens when sugar daddies get bored? Louise Taylor takes a look at the Anzhi insanity.

Everton's Ross Barkley has been receiving loads of plaudits for his fine play of late. He's being hailed as "The New Gazza." Gary Rose says he's more than that.

Sam Kelly is a solid scribe plying his trade down in South America. He takes a look at the reaction to the World Cup draw down there.

Done and Done.



Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Champions League, Scribes, "The Glove", "The Finger", Podcast, Keane & Vieira

Simply smelling would be the better option...
Oh, dear. It would appear that boys being boys at Stoke back in the day involved something called "the Glove, or "the Finger," whereby a goalkeeper's glove was smeared with heat cream and used in a sexual assault. Good times.

Apologies for breaking into your Tuesday on such a high note. Let's move on to our good friends. They're know collectively as Scribes. We're not sure why, but Phil Ball hasn't posted in a while. And we miss him. Sniff. Also, nothing today from El Sid. So, nothing from Spain.

Location: Italy
Scribe: Paolo Bandini

Location: Germany
Scribe: Uli Hesse

Location: Germany
Scribe: Raphael Honigstein

Location: Brazil
Scribe: Tim Vickery

It's the final round of the Champions League group stages. Who can qualify? Who has already qualified? Check it. Here's your complete preview of today's matches. 

The Premier League was awfully exciting this past weekend. Let's take an alternative look back, and a wee look ahead.

As we said yesterday, Major League Soccer is done. Here are the highs, lows and greatest goals of the year and the memories that will sustain until the next season starts...according to a bunch of bloggers and fans assembled by The Guardian.

The ITV documentary with Roy Keane and Patrick Vieira aired last night. Here are the highlights.

Crikey! Podcast! On today's Football Weekly, James Richardson has Barry Glendenning, James Horncastle and Michael Hann are in the pod to try to make sense of another nonsensical weekend in the Premier League, where there were surprise wins, comedy own goals and star virtuoso performances aplenty yet again. We start with the league leaders Arsenal, who were held at the Emirates by Everton, and whose former manager David Moyes oversaw another home defeat as Manchester United lost at home to Newcastle. After rounding up the rest of the games at the top and bottom of the league, we turn our attention to the few midweek Champions League games that mean anything, before finishing off with a look at the action in the Championship, and assessing England's chances of getting four points from a World Cup group featuring Uruguay, Italy and Costa Rica.

We out.



Monday, December 09, 2013

Brazilian Violence, Weekend Action, World Cup Draw, Monday Night Football, Match Fixing, MLS Final

A Happy Monday to you. That said, we're going to get all the sad crap out of the way first. We'll start with the shit, and gradually build to a satisfying, happy, pleasant conclusion.

We're going to begin in Brazil, where there were horrific scenes of violence between Atlético Paranaense supporters and Vasco da Gama supporters. Everyone knew it was coming, and yet nothing was done to prevent it. Friend of SSN Chris Gaffney blogs astutely from Brazil and has this post (includes video). Fernando Duarte is also in Rio and wrote about the situation for The Guardian.

OK, enough of that. Match fixing. Six people, including DJ Campbell, were arresting in England.

OK, enough of that. You'll notice in our subject line the words, "World Cup Draw." It happened on Friday. And you already know everything you want to know about it. That's why we're not going to write anything about it or link to anything about it. If you want to know more about it, you know how to find more about it.

Wait, what happened?!
OK, enough of that. There were some fabulously exciting matching in the Premier League on Saturday and Sunday. Weird, wacky stuff, really. Manchester United lost again at home. Chelsea lost to Stoke. Chamakh scored again. Berbatov burst back into form. Crystal Palace won again. Southampton and Manchester City drew. Everton came back to draw at Arsenal.

Premier League Wrap
Weekend Wrap-up
10 Talking Points
5 Thoughts
Best of the Weekend
Garth Crooks's Team of the Week
Arsenal vs. Everton: 5 Talking Points

If all that excitement wasn't enough for you, do not fret, for there is Monday Night Football to enjoy this...err...afternoon. Swansea vs. Hull! Check in for the fun at 3pm EST on NBCSN.

The talk at Manchester United is off all the dead weight in the squad. Players not worthy of the shirt and all that. Here's a look at who should stay and who should go. Hint: Anderson should go.

Major League Soccer has finally completed its 2013 season. Sporting KC are the champs. In a rather ugly match, the KCs emerged victorious via a shoot-out. This link will give you access to all you need to know.

In Italy, Roma beat Fiorentina. More on Serie A tomorrow. In England, Kagawa ate too much and had to have his stomach pumped.

The FA Cup rarely offers much of note in the third round. Not so this time around, as Arsenal will host Tottenham in what should be a thriller on January 4.
Timmy shaved his beard. An has a lot of tattoos.
A special thanks goes out today to Roy Keane. The Irishman has provided us with a shocking revelation: Sir Alex Ferguson has a massive ego.

We're going to finish on a high note today. The Best Goals of the Weekend!! Woop!