Friday, February 28, 2014

The Two Brazils, Capital One Cup Final, Football Films, USA Call-Ups, Madrid Derby, Roma/Inter, Milan/Juventus, Fulham/Chelsea, Ferguson Owes Success To Being Beaten With A Belt

And there goes another one! A pleasant Friday to all you SSN followers. There is some juicy fruit available this weekend as you may have gathered from the headlines. The Madrid Derby has a bit more pep since Simeone revived Atlético, and the big matches in Italy are important in terms of European qualification. It's only the League Cup, but it's still a Cup, and you can bet both Sunderland and Manchester City want it pretty bad. Gaffer Gus has already said he'd rather win it than stay up, which is actually rather refreshing. The London Derby this weekend features two sides whose grounds are only 1.9 miles apart but whose respective table positions sit 39 points apart. Now then, let's get moving...

It's Last Chance Saloon time for U.S. players who want to be on that place to Brazil. Jeff Carlisle takes a look at the recent call-ups.

Here's a nice one, especially for a Friday...Football films: the good, the bad and the ugly adventures on the big screen.
Woy says WAGs can go to Brazil
Grant Wahl has yet another excellent piece -- this one focuses on Brazil and features insight from SSN Brazilian Expert Chris Gaffney. Check it.

Back to previews. We mentioned the Madrid Derby. The "smaller" club has renewed belief, and they are playing at home, so who knows? Sid Lowe is on hand to explain further, thankfully. And here's your complete La Liga preview.

The What's In Your Wallet Cup Final is Sunday at Wembley. Suffice to say, it would be a bit of an upset were Sunderland to win. Here are Six League Cup Final Upsets.

Man. Serie A is where it is this weekend. Roma vs. Inter. AC Milan vs. Juventus. Fiorentina vs. Lazio. Here's your preview.

The Big Guns of the Europa League advanced. Tottenham, Juventus, Napoli, and Porto made the final 16.

And finally...Sir Alex Ferguson says he owes success to being beaten with a belt! So, keep that in mind the next time you're spanking your child. You're putting him/her on the road to success!!



Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chelsea Get A Goal And A Draw, Schalke Embarrassed By Real Madrid, RVP Uncertainty

Good times in Gelsenkirchen last night. Here's how it went down. We'll begin with Real Madrid's contributions to the proceedings: Karim Benzema 13, Gareth Bale 21, Cristiano Ronaldo 52, Karim Benzema 57, Gareth Bale 69, Cristiano Ronaldo 89. And for Schalke? Klaas-Jan Huntelaar 90 + 0:13 !!

Yes, a 6-1 win on the road pretty much ends that tie. In the other match over in Turkey, Chelsea got the critical away goal thanks to Fernando Torres and the match ended 1-1. Marcus Christensen has Five Talking Points. Ben Littleton looks at both matches. And German expert Raphael Honigstein wasn't terribly surprised with the result.

At this point you've got to have Bayern Munich and Real Madrid as the favorites to win the whole thing, with Barcelona sitting a bit behind those two.

Here are five things we learned from this week's action: Here. Right here.

RVP is back in the headlines a day after saying that some of his teammates were getting in his way. It's all very odd. Today, he claims the season has been "lousy." Well, yes. Yes, it has. On that note, let's take a look at David Moyes, Manchester United, and the spectre of Sir Alex.

There is more European action today as the Europa League makes an effort to reduce its field to 16. Here's a preview.
Michael Bradley lost a bet.



Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Manchester United Slip In Greece, Dortmund Win In Russia, 1982 (The Fix), Adidas Idiots

Whoa. Everyone is freaking out because Manchester United lost to Olympiakos last night. Not only did they lose, they were awful. Poor. Very, very bad. It's all going wrong for English clubs in Europe. Let's inspect the damage, beginning with Henry Winter's report:

Olympiakos 2 - 0 Manchester United: Henry Winter at the Karaiskakis Stadium
Olympiakos 2 - 0 Manchester United: Jamie Jackson at the Karaiskakis Stadium

Meanwhile, Daniel Harris wants to take a look at United's top five worst Champions League performances. Ouch.

In Russia, Dortmund won. Great.

In today's action, Chelsea are off to hang with old boy Drogba in Istanbul, whilst Schalke welcome Real Madrid to Gelsenkirchen. Grant Wahl had a chat with Gala's Wesley Sneijder who reckons Chelsea can be beaten. Here are some previews:

The Chelsea Match: Preview
The Madrid Match: Preview

We saw this article yesterday but failed to pass it along. Apologies. SSN's Algerian Expert Kamal B. reminded us of the piece yesterday evening, and we now post post-haste. Here's your lead: Algeria fans shouted 'fix' as West Germany and Austria played out a mutually suitable scoreline in 1982's 'Disgrace of Gijón'.

Look at these shirts. Look at these shirts! Good grief, Adidas.
On that sad note...



Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Champions League, Scribes (Phil Ball?!), USA Hotlist, Podcast, Roy Carroll, Super Mario's Whips

Hello, Hello, Hello. Loads to get through today, including an update on the suddenly elusive English Scribe Based In Spain, Phil Ball. Manchester United are in Athens, Dortmund are in St. Petersburg, what Yanks are hot?, Tim Vickery on Brazil's risks, a Podcast, and a whole lot more. We'll begin with the actual matches:

Olympiakos vs. Manchester United: Preview
Zenit St Petersburg vs. Borussia Dortmund: Preview

Karaiskakis Stadium, Athens
Scribes. For years, Phil Ball was our go-to guy for insight in La Liga. Living in San Sebastián, Ball often reported on Real Sociedad and neighboring clubs with a warmth and candor that we enjoyed -- we felt like we were in the stadia with him, or in the pub conversing with gruff Basque barmen. Ball has been silent of late, ever since his controversial article on Qatar. Here's what his wikipedia page says about said incidents:

On November 21 2013, Ball was subject to accusations of propaganda on behalf of Qatar's bid to host the 2022 FIFA World Cup.[7] Ball wrote a piece for ESPNFC, entitled 'Inside Doha: Give Qatar A Chance To Shine', however the article was later removed from ESPN's website after negative reaction to the in-article line that he was "invited on an all-expenses paid trip to see the inner workings." [8] ESPNFC announced in a tweet that they had "carefully re-evaluated ... [their] recent Qatar story and decided to remove it. It did not meet ... [their] journalistic standards. We apologize." Subsequently, in an article published by ESPN's ombudsman Robert Lipsyte ('Conflict of interest?' Dec.22, 2013), it was revealed that Ball had pre-warned ESPN that the trip (to attend the 'Aspire4Sports' conference in Doha) was funded, but that ESPN had accepted the offer in good faith and would publish two articles based on Ball's conclusions regarding the conference. Having accepted and merged the two original articles into one, an editor in the US then inserted the line regarding the 'all-expenses paid trip' without Ball's permission. Lipsyte quotes e-mail evidence to show that ESPN considered the article 'well-written' and 'balanced' on receipt, sentiments that contradict their subsequent behaviour in hastily pulling the piece when the controversy broke. [9] [10]

Sadly, it appears Ball is no longer writing his wonderful columns. We miss him. Here are some of the others that remain, thankfully including El Sid:

Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Real Sociedad exact their perfect revenge

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? Juventus claim ownership of Turin

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Stuttgart flirting with disaster

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Scolari keeps faith in Fred, Jo and Julio Cesar

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery (again!). What? Why Uruguay could be 'party poopers'

Where? Brazil (again!). Who? Jonathan Watts. What? Why Brazil's footballers play to half-empty stadiums

The United States will play in Brazil this summer. Who is Hot? Who is Not? Who no longer has to try to play for Fulham on loan? (Hint: He's a Texas rapper)

Podcast! AC Jimbo returns to his spiritual home, and he has his oldest muckers Barry Glendenning and Sean Ingle and his hippest new best friend Ian McCourt to welcome him back for a hugely emotional edition of Football Weekly. We begin by examining Liverpool's title credentials after the Reds once again wowed at one end and boobed at the other in their 4-3 win over Swansea. Can they triumph when Chelsea are so good at sneaking horrid 1-0 wins, as they did against Everton? They've only 11 more games to make it happen. Next, we catch up with Sid Lowe about the weekend in La Liga, and look forward to the Champions League with Manchester United coming unstuck against Olympiakos and Galatasary's Didier Drogba not celebrating when he scores against Chelsea. Finally, we discuss the relegation battle and TV quiz shows, and recall a brief encounter with André the Giant.

More Sid Lowe? It's our lucky day! Sid's got The Big Interview with Roy Carroll. Roy talks about a dramatic career that has included Manchester United, West Ham, rehab and now Olympiakos.

One more piece on Wayne Rooney, just because it's by Jonathan Wilson and we find him to be rather astute.

And...Balotelli's got some tite whips, yo.

We out.



Monday, February 24, 2014

Barcelona, Atlético Madrid, And Tottenham Lose, Chelsea Edge Everton, Juventus Own Turin, Carlos Vela

Good Day! Shockers in Spain, where our lovely hot three-some is no longer. Real Sociedad beat Barcelona 3-1 and Osasuna thumped Atlético Madrid 3-0. All of that was music to Real Madrid's ears as they took over top spot thanks to their 3-0 win over Elche (and a stunner from Bale).

Over in Italy, Juventus won the Derby della Mole thanks to a goal from Carlos Tévez. AC Milan won on the road, Inter could only manage a draw at home, and both Rome clubs won. Today is Parma vs. Fiorentina and Napoli vs. Genoa. Here's more.

In the Premier League, the only real surprise was Tottenham's loss at Norwich. Chelsea stay top after a late flub from Timmy Howard, Manchester City needed one and got one from Yaya, Arsenal cruised by Sunderland, and Manchester United got past Palace (that guy Marouane Fellaini started). Here's your lot from the weekend:

We've mentioned that Carlos Vela isn't going to play for Mexico this summer. He's playing well in La Liga for Real Sociedad, but he won't join El Tri in Brazil. It's all a big Telenovela, apparently. And we love it...

That'll do.