Friday, January 10, 2014

Defoe to Toronto, Rooney to "Hot Weather", Atlético Madrid vs. Barcelona, Lawro vs. De Niro & Stallone

Is it Friday already? These weeks just have a way of evaporating before our very eyes. 

Sampdoria fans receive plenty of protection during their side's Cup match at Roma.
We'll begin in England (and Wales), where the FA Cup makes way for the Premier League and Wayne Rooney will not be playing for Manchester United. He's been sent away to hang out in some hot weather. Ok, then. Sticking with the Crisis Club of the Month, just why has Old Trafford lost its fear factor? Elsewhere? Here, just look at all of this:

As fans, we don't really care about the reasons Michael Bradley has for jumping to Canada, but here are Three that make sense. They just don't make us very happy.

At least three times every season various SSN staff are asked about Frank Ribery. Why does his face look like that? This is why. Read it and remember it and store it away for later.

El Estádio de Atlético Madrid. En Madrid. Bueno. 
No, it's not El Clásico but it's still a big one. Tomorrow at 2pm EST on beIN Sport USA you can watch the top two teams in La Liga (sorry, Real Madrid -- you're not even the best in your town!) battle it out at the Vicente Calderón. Atlético Madrid vs. Barcelona. Tied at the top of the table. So good it's the European Match of the Weekend. Tactical battles? Look at some slides. Guillem Balague? He's in on this, too.

Don't ask. Do not ask. DO NOT ASK! Are Barcelona better without Messi? We told you not to ask.

The transfer window remains ajar until the end of the month. Hence, The Mill. And, your Plus One.

In Italy, we've reached Round 19 of the Serie A campaign. This is what said round will offer.

Enjoy the weekend.



Thursday, January 09, 2014

Dallas Tornado, West Ham Thrashed (Again), More On Hitzlsperger, Statistical Review, Michael Bradley to Toronto?, ESPN Name Darke to do World Cup

Oh, dear. Dear, dear, dear. Poor West Ham. In their last two matches they scored zero and their opposition scored 11. Yesterday it was Manchester City doing the damage and all but ending any doubt that they'll be playing for the Capital One Cup at Wembley next month. To be fair, Big Sam had to work with a patched-up side, but come on! Geez. Phil McNulty says there is no defense for Allardyce at this point. Here are Five Talking Points.

Yup. That's Chris Smalling. Yup. That's the costume he
decided to wear to a party.
Here's another Oh, Dear. It would appear that Yank Abroad in Rome Michael Bradley is poised to become Yank Abroad in Toronto Michael Bradley. What bummer. Sure, you're fighting for a spot at Roma and the money would be great in MLS, but come on, lad! You've proved you can succeed in Serie A. Stick with it! Anyway, Grant Wahl's on the case.

Would you care for a dose of cheeky masseurs, wacky names and grade-a flirting? We assumed as much. It's all here in A Year in Brazilian Football.

Infographics! Statistical Review! How have the 20 Premier League teams fared so far? And in the tightest title race in a long time (just two points separate the top three of Arsenal, Manchester City and Chelsea), Sky examine the title chances of the top seven clubs.

Martin Tyler will not be on your TV in the U.S. this summer. Sniff. Instead, it'll be Ian Darke. We're fine with that. It could be worse.

We like to learn. SSN Staffers are reknown for their learning ability. Today, we learned something about the Dallas Tornado, thanks to The Guardian. If you didn't already, now you know: The forgotten story of...Dallas Tornado's 1967-68 world tour...Dallas' journey saw them cheat death at the hands of Greek-Cypriot terrorists, visit Vietnam amid war and survive an on-pitch riot in Singapore. The football must have felt like a sideshow.

Emmanuel Adebayor. An exercise in frustration. An outcast. A warrior. A sulker. A scorer. An instigator. Rory Smith takes a closer look at the man from Togo.

Raphael Honigstein heard the news about Tomas Hitzlsperger and had to talk to the man himself. He succeeded in his attempt. Here's the interview.

Where ya at, The Mill? Plus One? Done.



Wednesday, January 08, 2014

To Summer Or Not To Summer, United Lose To Sunderland, Hitzlsperger Comes Out, Lazio, Laurent Dubois On Afro-Europe In The World Cup

Happy Humpday

We'll begin with SPECTRE FIFA. One of their guys said Qatar 2022 will not be played in the summer. Then some of their other guys said nothing had been decided. Clowns.

Speaking of clowns, apparently that's what Manchester United think of referees these days. It was another loss for the Red Devils at Sunderland last night. The loss marks the first time United have lost three matches inside a week since 1992. Jamie Jackson took in the show at the Stadium of Light, and Louise Taylor thinks David Moyes is being haunted by Sir Alex Ferguson. Spooky.

Beginning to make Moe Szyslak look handsome...
Ian Darke wants to grade each of the Premier League teams on how they have fared thus far. For example: Cardiff City -- Owner Vincent Tan has made the club a laughing stock and spoiled what should be a wonderful adventure in the top flight. Perhaps he will calm down and let Ole Gunnar Solskjaer pilot the club to safety, but you would fancy them more if they had a striker as good as the former Man United man. CRead the other 19 grades here.

Thomas Hitzlsperger is gay. The former German International and Villa/Stuttgart/Lazio/West Ham/Wolfsburg/Everton man made the announcement yesterday. One day announcements like this won't have to be announced. Until then, well played, Tommy. Respect. Marcus Christensen has a good piece on the man they called 'Der Hammer'.

Over in Italy, Lazio are a club in chaos. The Roman giants just haven't been able to get it together of late. James Horncastle takes a closer look.

Friend of SSN, Professor at Duke, Haitian Expert, and All Around Good Guy Laurent Dubois has a new piece in Sports Illustrated. This time around, Professor Dubois is looking at Afro-Europe in the World Cup.

Eastern Europe expert Jonathan Wilson is in Venice. The local club are in trouble. They might go under. Sorry. Take a look.

There is a match of note this afternoon. Manchester City host West Ham in a Capital One Cup Semi-Final First Leg clash at the Etihad. Here's a preview. As with yesterday, it can be viewed in the USA on beIN Sport USA at 2:45pm EST.

The Mill is burning up. It's so hot it needs a Plus One.



Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Walcott Injury, Vidic Won't Extend Contract, Sunderland vs. Manchester United, Scribes, Podcast, Free Chili If You Buy A Pint

Top of the Tuesday to you. Theo Walcott's all banged up and won't play again this season. He also will not play for England in the World Cup. It's that cruciate ligament, don't you know. Cue loads of articles on who Arsenal should buy to replace Theo and how England are now really screwed. Amy Lawrence thinks there's no need to panic. Alan Smith begs to differ. Phil McNulty simply looks at all the angles.

Up in Manchester, everyone's favorite Serb Nemanja Vidic could leave for nothing this summer after a contract extension at Old Trafford was ruled out. Apparently, he's keeping his options open. Speaking of United, they're up at The Stadium of Light for the Capital One Cup Semi-Final First-Leg showdown against Sunderland (2:45pm EST on beIN Sport USA).

It's wicked cold as all get out out there so let's hit the U.S. Men's National Team Hot List. Corona? Shea? Onyewu? Go on. Warm up.

Speaking of hot and warm, The Mill is here. As is your Plus One.

International Scribe Time! Phil Ball is still AWOL. What's up with that? Here are his Brothers in Arms:

Location: Spain
Scribe: Sid Lowe

Location: Italy
Scribe: Paolo Bandini

Location: Germany
Headline: Battling Blatter
Scribe: Uli Hesse

Location: Germany
Scribe: Raphael Honigstein

Location: Germany
Scribe: Raphael Honigstein

Location: Brazil
Scribe: Tim Vickery

Podcast! On today's Football Weekly, AC Jimbo has Barry Glendenning, Rafa Honigstein and Jacob Steinberg along for the ride to look back on all the action in the FA Cup, where a fairly uninspiring list of fixtures threw up a surprising amount of drama. We start at Old Trafford, where Swansea claimed the biggest scalp, beating Manchester United, before moving onto Nottingham Forest's 5-0 mauling of West Ham. At least the Hammers and the Red Devils can redeem themselves in the Capital One Cup midweek. Or not. Next, we pour scorn on Paul Lambert whose weakened Aston Villa got what they deserved by being dumped out of the cup by Sheffield United, and wonder how much Arsenal will miss Theo Walcott after he was injured in their 2-0 win over Spurs. Finally, we catch up on some transfer gossip, find out how Juventus got on against Roma, and resume contact with our foul-mouthed friend in Spain, Sid Lowe – all the while hoping that Jimbo doesn't get a parking ticket …

FA CUP 4TH ROUND DRAW (Ties to be played on weekend of January 25/26)
Sunderland v Kidderminster or Peterborough
Bolton v Cardiff
Southampton v Yeovil
Huddersfield v Charlton or Oxford
Port Vale or Plymouth v Brighton
Nottingham Forest v Ipswich or Preston
Southend v Hull
Rochdale v Macclesfield or Sheffield Wednesday
Arsenal v Coventry
Stevenage v Everton
Wigan or MK Dons v Crystal Palace
Chelsea v Stoke
Blackburn or Manchester City v Bristol City or Watford
Bournemouth or Burton v Liverpool
Birmingham, Bristol Rovers or Crawley v Swansea
Sheffield United v Norwich or Fulham

And chili if we buy a pint? Consider our arms twisted...



Monday, January 06, 2014

Eusébio is Dead, FA Cup, La Liga, Serie A, Monday Musings, Lewandowski to Bayern Munich

A woman pays tribute to Eusébio outside Benfica's ground
Sad news to start the week as Portuguese legend Eusébio passed away. European Footballer of the Year in 1965 and lead scorer at the 1966 World Cup, Eusébio was a class act on and off the pitch. Here's a profile. And another by George Vecsey.

Right. Things resumed in Serie A where Roma are no longer unbeaten. Juventus beat them to go eight clear at the top of the table and effectively end the Serie A title race. Roma finished with nine men after Rossi and Castan saw red. Yank Abroad Michael Bradley was an unused substitute. Elsewhere, Fiorentina won, Napoli won, Milan are winning at the moment (Monday matches!), and Inter are in Rome to face Lazio a bit later this afternoon. We'll get more from Paolo domani.

In Spain, it's all set up rather nicely for next weekend's Barcelona/Atlético Madrid after both teams were victorious. Barcelona hardly missed Messi or Neymar thanks to three from Alexis, while Atlético were able to sneak past Malaga.
Fittingly, a white horse ushers the Tottenham team bus into the Emirates
Back in England, the romance of the FA Cup was in full swing. In the glamour tie, Arsenal beat Tottenham 2-0 but lost Theo Walcott to a knee injury. Apparently he will not be punished for his hand gestures in response to the coins thrown at him by the Spurs supporters. Manchester United's troubles continued as they lost late to Swansea at Old Trafford. Manchester City will have to try again after they could only draw against Blackburn. West Ham? Oh, dear. Five-Nil at Forest. Here's your lot:

Well. Would you look at that. Sepp Blatter said something sensible. The bumbling racist, sexist, homophobic, corrupt twat actually said something smart. Brazil is the worst-prepared World Cup host country ever. Duh.

Rumors! Rumours! The Mill! Plus One!

How about some additional 2013 review action? Here is Serie A Review - 2013: A Year To Remember Part I. Titesboro.

Back to Manchester United for a moment. Daniel Taylor thinks David Moyes's appointment might have been the wrong move. Was it?
Walcott responds to Spurs supporters
Stefan Bienkowski has a great headline here: Bullying Bayern Munich target Europe domination after Lewandowski raid. We suppose they do indeed.

The Diving German has called his U.S. men to camp. Read all about it here.

It's our lucky day. Gab's Monday Musings are available on Monday. Today, he's thinking...The Moyes blame game, imperious Juventus and Eusebio memories.

And with that...we take our leave.