Friday, March 07, 2014

Club Football Returns, FA Cup, Football Quotes, Major League Soccer, Chelsea/Tottenham

And what a week it was.

So...Major League Soccer kicks off tomorrow. It's hard to believe, but the league that got going back in 1996 is actually relatively strong. Soccer specific stadiums, teams in the Pacific Northwest, and the return of certain players from abroad have invigorated things quite a bit. Here's what you need to be primed:

Jeff Carlisle thinks MLS' quality will be judged by how well the national team does this summer. Most likely. Speaking of the national team, their final pre-WC friendlies have been scheduled. They play Azerbaijan, Turkey and Nigeria. Azerbaijan is at Candlestick Park in San Francisco on May 27. Turkey is at Red Bull Arena on June 1. Nigeria is in Jacksonville on June 7.
Like a rock...

Over in England, it's the FA Cup coupled with some league action. Tottenham's trip to Stamford Bridge should be fun, and Cardiff vs. Fulham is pretty important. Arsenal and Everton in the Cup is attractive. Let's lump it all together...

FA Cup Quarter-Final Preview: Arsenal vs. Everton


Oooo. Nice The Joy of Six this week. It's football quotes. Antonio Cassano, anyone? Fancy some Phil Brown with that? In that vein, why not grab a Top Tenner? This week it's Managerial Battles.

Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City, and Arsenal are battling for the Premier League title. Here's a look at their status and what is ahead for each club.

There's some solid action on hand in Serie A this weekend. In particular, Juventus vs. Fiorentina and Napoli vs. Roma. Check your weekend preview here. Over in Spain, we've been informed that the weekend looks promising for Real Madrid and Barcelona. So, there.

Let's jump to South America briefly and check in with Tim Vickery. He's talking about the defensive deficiencies that plague some of the nations hoping for glory in Brazil this summer.

Jack Wilshere got hurt in the England/Denmark game. Bad for Arsenal...but good for England?

In honour of Liverpool's exhilarating approach this term, Sky Sports has selected their 10 most exciting sides of the Premier League era. Boro 96/97 were quite fun. Ravanelli!

Enjoy the weekend.



Thursday, March 06, 2014

USA Dismal In Loss, England Win, Bale Masterclass For Wales, Spain Beat Italy, Charlie Adam's Hall Of Shame

Well, we're not sure why we closed SSN Headquarters early yesterday to watch the USA. It was an insipid performance by the Yanks in Cyprus and they lost 2 - 0. If the idea was to boost the morale of the Ukrainian population, then Mission Accomplished! Jeff Carlisle has Player Grades. Brian Strauss has Three Thoughts on the sad display. And, as if you really need it, here's a report.

Work to be done...
Moving on...

England 1 - 0 Denmark: Daniel Taylor at Wembley

Wow. The English FA actually did something properly. They upheld the charge of violent conduct against Charlie Adam. The dirty twat is banned for three games. Here's a look at his infamous actions, including the tackle that ended Gareth Bale's season in 2011.

Richard Jolly's got an interesting piece today. He says that while the pressing game is making things difficult for luxury players in club football, there still may be room for them in the international arena.

As we know, it's less than 100 days until the start of the World Cup. As you should know, Tim Vickery is in Brazil and he says the pressure is starting to rise on the host nation.

Speaking of Brazil, turns out Neymar is a sweetheart. Ahhhh...

Just why did Vidic decide to leave United? Let's analyze.

As you may have seen above, it wasn't the greatest night for Argentina as they failed to score against Romania. And Messi puked on the pitch.



Wednesday, March 05, 2014

USA In Cyprus To Face Ukraine, Other Friendlies, Vidic To Inter, Faustino Asprilla, Yet More Gooch

Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium, Larnaca, Cyprus
Geez. Is it Humpday already? Looks that way. There are matches available to enjoy. They are international friendlies, but matches nonetheless. And, as we near Brazil 2014, they actually become somewhat important. The United States play a country that may or may not exist on an island in the Mediterranean, Spain host Italy, England (they hired a shrink) welcome Denmark to Wembley, the French host the Dutch, and Romania host Argentina. Here's the good stuff:

Ukraine vs. United States: Preview
Ukraine vs. United States: Five Areas of Focus for the U.S.
Wilshere, Henderson or Cleverley: Who deserves a starting role?

The current roster for the USA:
(x-not eligible)

Goalkeepers: Cody Cropper (Southampton, England), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England)

Defenders: John Brooks (Hertha Berlin, Germany), Geoff Cameron (Stoke, England), Edgar Castillo (Tijuana, Mexico), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt, Germany), Oguchi Onyewu (Sheffield Wednesday, England), Will Packwood (Birmingham, England), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham, England)

Midfielders: Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes, France), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim, Germany), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas, Turkey), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht, Belgium), Brek Shea (Barnsley, England), Danny Williams (Reading, England)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (Utrecht, Netherlands), Jozy Altidore (Sunderland, England), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna, Austria), Clint Dempsey (Seattle), x-Julian Green (Bayern Munich, Germany), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar, Netherlands)

Landon Donovan. Landy Cakes. After the amazing career he's had, does he still have something to prove?

Inter Milan have announced that Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic will join their squad on a Bosman at the end of the season. David Wilson argues that while old, Vidic still represents an excellent acquisition for the Nerazzurri.

Off to Milan...
Well, would you look at this. Sports Illustrated has an article about Tino Asprilla. We love that guy. Let's read it.

Yet more Gooch! It's the BBC this time. Go!

The Special One is featured on the cover of the UK Esquire. He claims that his Real Madrid boys lined up at the mirror prior to matches. We don't doubt it.



Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Pardew & Adam Charged, Scribes, U.S. & Ukraine?, Holden Hurt, More Gooch, Podcast, USA '94

Good Morning. Gosh. Let's just bust out with The Podcast. Word on the street? It's a whopper: It's a whopper of a Football Weekly we've got in store for you today, with the world's worst boyband - James Richardson, Barry Glendenning, Jonathan Wilson and Kevin Kilbane - looking back on Manchester City's triumph in the Carling Cup final and all the shenanigans in the Premier League. And what shenanigans! There was Arsenal's collapse do Stoke's roughhouse tactics, Liverpool's 3-0 win at Southampton and, er, that's about it. Apart from Alan Pardew nutting David Meyler during Newcastle's 4-1 win at Hull. Oh, Alan, how could you? Also in the podcast, we hear from Sid Lowe about the Madrid derby, gaze ahead to the midweek internationalzzzz, and discover more of Phil Brown's motivational secrets.

What else is up on this fine Tuesday? Sadly, there's some bad news for Stuart Holden. Again. Poor guy. He's got loads of talent and it would be wonderful to see him healthy and playing regularly again. Sticking with Yanks, we've got Gooch, Gooch, and Gooch. Can't get us enough Gooch. He's back in camp and gunning for a trip to Brazil. Feeling patriotic? You want a hotlist of Yanks? Done.

Politics and Football. Inseparable, some would say. That's certainly the case when Ukraine is involved these days. The U.S. will play the Ukes (?) on Wednesday. In Cyprus.

Charlie Adam stomped on Giroud. He's been charged by the FA. Alan Pardew head-butted Meyler. He's been charged by the FA.

Yes, cocaine is known to have that effect on people...
Right. So, it's 100 days until the World Cup kicks off in Brazil. The BBC has graciously thrown together their experts to analyze England's group. The Group of "D", as it were.

Tuesday = Scribes. A closer look at the weekend action and beyond by those who know and write best:

Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Atlético take heart from derby

Where? Spain. Who? Graham Hunter. What? Derby delivers despite high stakes

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? Roma get no favors from Milan

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Schalke go from bad to worse

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? Transferring Loyalties

Yes, cocaine is known...
1994. 20 years ago. SSN's Editor was heavily ensconced in Buenos Aires, hoping a coked-up Maradona, a died-blond Caniggia, and a certain Gabriel Omar Batistuta could bring glory to the Argentines. While it was not to be, the USA more than made up for it with a tournament to remember. Roger Bennett is taking a look back. Here's his intro: In the first of a four-part series, Roger Bennett winds the clock back 20 years to the eve of the 1994 World Cup and talks to members of the United States squad, who were preparing to represent their country on home soil.

That'll do for today.



Monday, March 03, 2014

Manchester City Win League Cup, Madrid Derby A Draw, Pardew Headbutts Someone, Stoke Beat Arsenal, Top 10 Must-See World Cup Group Games

Let's start this week! The Capital One Cup Final was actually pretty damn good! Solid atmosphere at Wembley, Sunderland taking the lead, a couple of sweet shots from Toure and Nasri, not bad, not bad at all. The Madrid Derby was good, too. Ronaldo scored late to salvage a draw for Real. In the Premier League, not many surprises, although Arsenal did lose at Stoke. Is that a surprise? Debatable. Time to get cracking!

We'll start with the match at Wembley, since silverware was on offer and claimed by City. Barney Ronay was there and he says the match "oozed old-school magic." Groovy. Phil McNulty joins the fun and claims the win was big for San Pellegrino. Jamie Jackson has Five Talking Points, and Jonathan Wilson would like a word. Sadly for us Yanks, Jozy Altidore didn't even make Sunderland's squad.

In the league, Stoke beat Arsenal (as stated above), Chelsea moved four clear with their win at Fulham, Liverpool eased into second after victory at Southampton, and Alan Pardew (wanker) gave Hull City's David Meyler a headbutt in Newcastle's win at St. James' Park! Let's get the deets on all the hullabaloo:

Right. Spain. Here's a report on the thrilling and intense 2-2 Derby. And here's a wee wrap on all the rest of the results. More tomorrow with The Scribes.

I'm yelling! No, I'm yelling!
Over in Italy, Juventus handled Milan with ease, Lazio won at Fiorentina, Roma and Inter finished scoreless, and Napoli could only draw at Liverno. The title is Juve's to lose.

Sean Ingle wishes to examine why Arsenal appear to be losing their bite at the crunch. An easy early schedule? Injuries?

Are you guys ready for the World Cup? Those of us at SSN Headquarters certainly are not. We're still focused on the leagues and titles to be won. Not so for one Miguel Delaney. Miguel has taken a look at the Group Stage and offers his Top 10 Must-See World Cup Group Games.

And's Carnival in Brazil and Ronaldo (the Brazilian version) is the star of this show.