Friday, December 20, 2013

Milan Derby, Suárez to Stay, Barney Ronay on Christmas Footie, Weekend Previews, U.S. Men’s National Team All-Time Best XI

Friday? Really? Where did it all go...?

It's primarily previews today as Serie A, Das Bundesliga, and La Liga enjoy their final action before they disappear for a few weeks of slumber. Meanwhile, the Premier League will take the opposite approach, and force clubs to endure a Draconian run of fixtures in the cold rain and snow.
I'll be making £200,000 a week and marijuana is legal in my country.
We'll begin in Italy, Milan specifically, with the Derby della Madonnina. It'll be a weird one because neither side is enjoying a particularly solid league campaign. Inter don't have any European commitments but still sit only fifth, while Milan are way down in 11th. Add the fact that Inter's fans have been banned for abusing Neapolitans and you've got some strangeness. As James Horncastle notes, however, the clash may have lost some luster but not its spark. You can enjoy the action Sunday at 2:45pm EST on beIN Sport USA.

Spain? Meh. Nothing terribly special. Here's the rundown of what to expect.

The Premier League's premier fixture is Monday when Chelsea head up to Arsenal. Prior to that, we've got Liverpool/Cardiff, Fulham/Manchester City, Manchester United/West Ham, Southampton/Tottenham, and Swansea/Everton. Here are the items of necessity:

As we mentioned, unlike most of the other civilized leagues in Europe, there will be no break in the schedule in the Premier League. Rather, there will be more matches to enjoy. We like that, and so does Barney Ronay. He says, "The best thing about Christmas is its football – which, like pubs, sprung out of a very British desire to avoid being at home." Yup.

Dempsey back to Fulham for a couple of months? Yes. Luis Suarez signed a new four-and-a-half-year contract with Liverpool? Yes. Christmas parties gone wrong? Yes, Yes, Yes!

Let's conclude the week's affairs with a look at the U.S. Men’s National Team All-Time Best XI. Or, at least’s Avi Creditor's and Brian Straus' picks. Cobi Jones?! Good grief.



Thursday, December 19, 2013

What's In Your Wallet?, Robbie Rogers, The Fiver Christmas Awards, Americans Abroad

Lovely night in Stoke...
We'll begin today with a look at yesterday's matches from the Capital One Cup, which only seems logical. Manchester United overcame Stoke and the elements to win (Aimee Lewis was at the the Britannia). And West Ham overcame Tim Sherwood, Emmanuel Adebayor (who?) and Tottenham to win (David Hytner was at White Hart Lane). Your League Cup Semis look like this: Sunderland vs. Manchester United & West Ham vs. Manchester City. So...your final looks like this: Manchester United vs. Manchester City.

So Spurs still need a gaffer. Sherwood would like to take over permanently, but that seems unlikely. Jonathan Wilson takes a closer look at the situation in North London.

The Fiver Christmas Awards 2013? Yes, please.

Time to check in with Yanks plying their trade oversees. For instance, did you know that Nantes midfielder Alejandro Bedoya played 75 minutes in a 2-1 loss to Toulouse? Didn't think so.

The Big Interview is Robbie Rogers. He had an "insane" year. Dominic Fifield sat down with the former Heerenveen, Columbus, Leeds, Los Angeles winger for chat.

That's about it for today. Pretty quiet, really. Iniesta signed a new deal so he'll finish his career at Barcelona. The Club World Championship is happening but we don't really care about that.



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gibraltar, Sunderland Oust Chelsea, Brazil's Under-17s Quit Against U.S.

And a pleasant Humpday to you and yours. We saw that UEFA said that Gibraltar could field their own squad. We kind of ignored it because it's simply so ridiculous. Now comes the icrazy news that Gibraltar and Spain will be kept separate for Euro 2016 qualifying. Thankfully, Marina Hyde is on the case and decided to write about it.

Did you hear that The Rock and Spain will be kept apart
for Euro 2016 qualifying?

Oh, dear. Chelsea were knocked out of the League Cup in extra time yesterday at Sunderland. Here are Three Thoughts.

In yesterday's other fixture, Man City had little trouble with Leicester.

Today's offerings offer a bit more intrigue, as manager-less and rudder-less Tottenham host West Ham and Stoke welcome Manchester United.

Everton have done quite well this season under new man Martínez. Paul Wilson takes a look at their chances for a top-four finish.

Spanish Football? Guillem Balague claims to be an expert. You decide.

It's a quite day. Let's end with this: Brazil’s U-17 Soccer Team Quits by Just Standing There in Match against U.S.



Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Who's Next At Spurs?, Gattuso's House Raided, FIFA Do Something Right, What's In Your Wallet?, Grant Wahl's Sportsmen of the Year

"You and I have been physically given two hands and two legs and half-decent brains. Some people have not been born like that for a reason. The karma is working from another lifetime. I have nothing to hide about that. It is not only people with disabilities. What you sow, you have to reap."
Stay classy, Glenn!

£107 million. That's a lot of scratch. Too bad AVB couldn't do anything with it. Dominic Fifield takes a closer look at the problems that plagued the Spurs gaffer. Another esteemed English scribe, one Phil McNulty, thinks it's all about The Sale of Bale. So, you want the job? You think you can be a contender? You think the disabled are paying for sins committed in a past life? Put an arm around Glenn Hoddle and get on board.

Oh, dear. Everyone's favorite Italian gladiator Gennaro Gattuso had his home raided last night as part of a match-fixing probe. Meanwhile, his former club AC Milan managed a draw with Roma last night giving Juve a five-point cushion at the top of Serie A.

International Scribe Time! Sadly, Phil Ball has gone AWOL. We've not heard from him for too long. Thankfully, we've got others:

Location: Spain
Scribe: Sid Lowe

Location: Italy
Scribe: Paolo Bandini

Location: Germany
Scribe: Uli Hesse

Location: Germany
Scribe: Raphael Honigstein

Location: Brazil
Scribe: Tim Vickery

Hey Josip! Have fun at the World Cup. Not! Asshole.

Podcast, Podcast, Podcast! James Richardson is joined by Barry Glendenning, Simon Burnton and Paul MacInnes to discuss another eventful Premier League weekend and the draw for the Champions League last 16. André Villas-Boas is given the boot at Tottenham Hotspur after Liverpool thrash them 5-0 and the pod debates where it all went wrong for him as well as admiring some spectacular attacking play by Liverpool. Mesmeric Man City are also in the goals against Arsenal and the pod drools over their Champions League date with the mighty Barcelona as well as Bayern Munich's tie with Arsenal. Sid Lowe has all the news from La Liga where the three-way title race is in full swing and there's also full reaction to the sacking of Steve Clarke at West Bromwich Albion and the rest of the Champions League and Europa League draw.

It's that time of year (the end) when pundits and scribes and experts and faux-experts pick their sportsmen/women/things of the year. We're posting Grant Wahl's picks because we think him wise. Bob Bradley and Robbie Rogers. Enjoy.

There are some matches today if you're up for the Cup. The League Cup. The Capital One Cup. We've got Sunderland vs. Chelsea and Leicester vs. Manchester City. Quarterfinals. Hey, it's something!

That's your Tuesday, folks. Keep it tite.



Monday, December 16, 2013

Champions League Draw, Spurs Sack AVB, Weekend Reviews, Dempsey Back to Fulham

Bang! Right out of the box this Monday. First up? Champions League draw. As expected, Manchester City (Barcelona) and Arsenal (Bayern Munich) will face tough opposition. Here's the complete list:

Manchester City v Barcelona
Olympiakos v Manchester United
Milan v Atlético Madrid
Bayer Leverkusen v PSG
Galatasaray v Chelsea
Schalke v Real Madrid
Zenit v Borussia Dortmund
Arsenal v Bayern Munich

It should certainly provide some epic ties. Besides those mentioned above, Milan/Atlético Madrid and Galatasaray/Chelsea are enticing to SSN staffers. Let's look at the match-ups. 2014, yo!
AVB, Steve, step into my office...

Someone who suddenly has some free time to get his shopping done and enjoy the holidays is Andre Villas-Boas. As you'll see below in the fallout from the weekend matches in the Premier League, the pundits wondered if Tottenham's battering by Liverpool at White Hart Lane might be too much for the young Portuguese gaffer to bear. In the end, it was. Jeremy Wilson has five reasons it all went wrong for AVB. Also let go since we last spoke? Poor Steve Clarke at West Brom

Right! So, the Premier League. Manchester City 6 - 3 Arsenal. Tottenham 0 - 5 Liverpool. We said on Friday that these two matches would bookend the weekend nicely and we were spot on, thank you very much. Both offered some stunning play, intrigue, and ultimately, AVB's job. Here's a look at all the other shit that went down:

Jack loses his cool...
Looks like Deuce will be back at Craven Cottage for a little loan spell this winter. God knows, they need him. All the best, Clint.

Over in Italy, Juventus are now six clear at the top (Roma play today against Milan) thanks for a Carlos Tevez hat-trick. Elsewhere, Napoli took care of Inter 4-2.'s a review. Back in Spain, Neymar is in form and helped Barcelona to victory over Villarreal, while Real Madrid salvaged a point against Osasuna. Meanwhile, Atlético kept pace with Barca with a win against Valencia.

So...uh...wanna go back to my place?

That'll have to do for today. We'll be back tomorrow with more scribes and perhaps a Podcast and certainly some Monday Musings.