Friday, February 21, 2014

Europa League (Soldado Miss), Weekend Previews, Cantona Masks, More Gooch, Best Never To Win In England, Rooney Agrees Contract

And there goes another week! Time for domestic action to resume. What have we got? Chelsea vs. Everton looks interesting. The Turin Derby is, well, a Derby. Parma vs. Fiorentina could entertain, but that's on Monday. According to some, the European Match of the Weekend is Real Sociedad vs. Barcelona.

Beyond that? Meh. That's OK, though, because often when things look a little slow on paper, we end up with some solid matches. For instance, Manchester United go to Selhurst Park. Why is that of note? Well, the Palace fans have been in excellent voice all campaign, so the atmosphere should be top-notch. Throw in the plan to wear Cantona masks, and things could get dicey. Here are your usual Premier League Previews & Predictions:

Gosh. The Big Interview this week is Charlie Adam. Really? Fine. If you're not overly excited about listening to what Charlie Adam has to say, fear not. The Top Tenner makes up for it with some of the greatest players never to win the title in England.

Shit be tite in Spain, yo. You've got the sexy three-way at the top, others clamoring for European spaces, and more than a couple clubs fearing the drop. Here's your La Liga Weekend Preview.

He never won the title...
So...Rooney has agreed a new five-and-a-half year contract worth up to £300,000 a week. Is it a demonstration of United's strength? Or desperation...

Right. Matches in Europe yesterday. Tottenham lost. Juventus won. Fiorentina won. Here's a brief wrap, which is really all this competition deserves. Winners & Losers Slideshow? We can't resist.

We've covered Gooch a bit of late. Do The Heads want more? Hell, yeah.

Michael Cox knows a thing or two about tactics. Today, he's addressing the issue of geezers playing defense in the Premier League. Why do the gaffers bring in these old guys?

Everybody is piling on poor Mesut Ozil. The £42.4 million - man is floundering. Will he be the next Arshavin? In with a bang and out with a whimper? Phil McNulty thinks he simply needs a break.

We need a break, too. Check you clowns next week.



Thursday, February 20, 2014

Bayern Munich Beat Arsenal and Atlético Madrid Beat AC Milan

Well! That was a pretty darn good match for a few minutes, no? And then there was a red card and that was that. In the other one, Atlético claimed a victory on the road (pattern?) with a late goal by Diego Costa. Go ahead and get down with your bad self:

Arsenal 0 - 2 Bayern Munich: Barney Ronay at the Emirates
Arsenal 0 - 2 Bayern Munich: Phil McNulty at the Emirates
Arsenal 0 - 2 Bayern Munich: David Hytner at the Emirates
Arsenal 0 - 2 Bayern Munich: Jeremy Wilson at the Emirates
Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich: Three Things
Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich: Player Ratings
AC Milan vs. Atlético Madrid: Report
AC Milan vs. Atlético Madrid: Three Things

Paul Campbell asks the question everyone is asking after the latest round of CL fixtures: Manchester City and Arsenal had to defend penalties with 10 men after their players mistimed tackles in the box. Is punishing a foul with a penalty, a red card and a suspension too harsh? Yes. Yes, it is.
Not to worry! The Europa League is back!

Enough of the Champions League. Today, the Europa League returns!! Yes, everybody's favorite secondary European club competition is raring to go! Liberec vs. AZ Alkmaar? You've got it! Maccabi Tel-Aviv vs. FC Basel? It will happen! Anzhi Makhachkala vs. Racing Genk? Consider it done! Here's a preview.

We're wiped out and there really isn't anything else happening.



Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Barca Beat City, The Zlatan Strikes, Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich, AC Milan vs. Atlético Madrid, No Striker For Brazil

And a pleasant Humpday to you and yours. The main match yesterday was a bit of a letdown, we have to say. Not really the goal-fest we expected and craved. San Pellegrino is pissed at the ref but he must realize that when playing Barcelona in Europe you're really playing UEFA as well. The Catalans will always get the calls. It's simply a Fact of Life. In the other match, PSG had little trouble in Germany as they dismantled Leverkusen on the back of two goals from The Zlatan.
Beware The Zlatan...
Daniel Taylor was at the Eithad and filed this report. Michael Cox claims the City gaffer got his tactics right but was undone by a single error. Here's a bit more on yesterday's action:

Hopefully today's matches will boost the excitement level a bit. We've got Bayern Munich at Arsenal and Atlético Madrid at Milan. Take a look:

Jonathan Wilson: How Do Arsenal Tame Bayern?

Soooo...get thee to a TV. Or a computer. Fox is showing these matches and for some reason they are burying them deep in the folds of channeldom.

Bayern Munich at...Loftus Road.
There was some talk around SSN Headquarters yesterday about Rooney's new contract. Most opined that the offer seemed excessive and, well, odd. Turns out Paul Wilson agrees.

Here's something funny: Brazil host the World Cup this year. Brazil are certainly favorites to win the World Cup this year. Brazil ain't got no striker?!

Keep it tite!



Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Dog Shits on Pitch, Manchester City vs. Barcelona, Scribes, Podcast Sans Jimbo, European Best XIs, Americans Abroad

Holy Tuesday! Loads to get through today. Scribes, that little Champions League thingy, Euro Best XIs, Gab's Musings, Podcast with no Jimbo, we'd better get moving.

Let's bust out of the gate and rock a few Scribes:

Where? Spain. Who? Graham Hunter. What? Atletico's UCL challenge, Jese's rise, Messi vs. Man City.

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? Icardi fires Inter to Fiorentina win.

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? It's not easy being green.

Where? Brazil Who? Tim Vickery. What? Will World Cup stadiums be white elephants?

Two Champions League matches today. Manchester City host Barcelona and Bayer Leverkusen host Paris-St. Germain. Here's your lot:

Manchester City vs. Barcelona: Preview
Manchester City vs. Barcelona: Matchpack
Bayer Levekusen vs. PSG: Preview
Guillem Balague: Barcelona in top form

Look at all of this! Go ahead! Take a look forward to Manchester City v Barcelona, Milan v Atlético Madrid, Arsenal v Bayern Munich and Bayer Leverkusen v PSG, plus best XIs from around Europe this week.

Gab Marcotti is musing and gabbing. Today it's Rooney's new deal, Conte vs. Capello, Webb's bad day and more. Gab, Gab.

Oh, gosh. We almost forgot the Podcast. So, so much to discuss: On today's Jimbo-less edition of Football Weekly, charming host Dave Farrar has James Horncastle, Barry Glendenning and – tin hats at the ready – Fernando Duarte for company as they reflect on a weekend of FA Cup drama and look forward to some cracking games in the Champions League. Arsenal and Manchester City avenged their recent league defeats to Liverpool and Chelsea, but do they have what it takes to grab an advantage in their home ties against Bayern Munich and Barcelona? Next, we get ourselves acquainted with Felix Magath, the new and ever-so-slightly sadistic new manager of Fulham after the Cottagers decided to ditch poor old René Meulensteen. Finally, our fiery Latin friend fills us in on the progress of the hosts ahead of this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

That Arsenal/Bayern Munich match isn't until tomorrow, but Phil McNulty wants to talk about the win that kick-started a Gunners revival and we shall let him.

Let's conclude with Yanks Abroad, where Johannsson, Kljestan, Boyd, and Williams all scored.



Monday, February 17, 2014

City Beat Chelsea, Arsenal Beat Liverpool, Three-Way In Spain, Teargas in Spain, Rooney Mega-Deal, Yaya Toure, Pedro

And so another week arrives. We were treated to some lovely action over the weekend and we've got more in store as the Champions League finally returns this week after its long winter slumber. We'll begin with the FA Cup, where holders Wigan advanced, Chelsea did not, and Arsenal did, albeit in controversial circumstances.

Here's your FA Cup QF draw:
Arsenal v Everton
Brighton & Hove Albion or Hull City v Sunderland
Sheffield United v Sheffield Wednesday or Charlton Athletic
Manchester City v Wigan Athletic

Over in Spain, Barcelona hit for six but Real joined them at the top, creating a sexy three-way. This will be a fun run-in in La Liga. Here's a complete weekend review. More tomorrow with The Scribes.

In Italy, Juventus, Roma, and Napoli were victorious, as well as Inter, who won a big one at Fiorentina. More tomorrow with The Scribes.

£300,000 per week? Not bad. Not bad, at all. That's what 'Ol Fake Hair looks set to earn when he puts pen to paper on a new deal with Manchester United. Sorry Chelsea, looks like he's staying put.

Yaya Toure is a player we've always admired at SSN. Strong, smart, willing -- he occasionally gets a bit rough on the pitch, but you've gotta think he's a pretty decent dood. The BBC has a nice feature on how the lad from Abidjan made it to the big time.

Pedro is a player who doesn't always get the headlines at Barcelona but remains a critical piece of the Catalan club's successful puzzle. Sid Lowe? Please interview Pedro.

Bizarre scenes in Spain over the weekend as teargas flooded the pitch during Villarreal's match with Celta Vigo. For an explanation, let's go back to Sid Lowe.

Totally not cool.
That'll be fine to get things rolling...