Friday, March 14, 2014

Tottenham vs. Arsenal, Liverpool vs. Manchester United, Seattle vs. Toronto, Top Tenner, Europa League Wrap, Barney Ronay on Xavi

The pick of the weekend litter resides firmly in the Premier League this weekend as Arsenal travel the 4.6 miles to White Hart Lane to face Spurs while Liverpool travel the 34.5 miles to face Manchester United at Old Trafford. Both of those matches are on Sunday.

Speaking of Spurs, they went down at home to Benfica yesterday so it looks like their Europa League journey is kaput. In the other match of note, Fiorentina snatched a draw at Juve. Here's a wrap. Also kaput are the European adventures of Manchester City and Arsenal. Michael Cox is a tactical genius and ponders this question: What must English sides do to compete with Europe's elite?

Right. Back to the Premier League. Here's all you need to know so you can act like you know:

Manchester United vs. Liverpool: Key Tactical Battles
Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal: Preview 

Ooooo. The Top Tenner is Goal Celebrations. Cantona will be in there, no doubt. Go to 1:58 in the video below.

We mentioned the woe of Uli Hoeness yesterday. German expert Raphael Honigstein looks at the situation in more depth and says Bayern Munich has been left rudderless. 

No big match-ups on paper in Serie A this weekend. Perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper to find where the excitement resides. Here's your preview of the action in Italy.

No big match-ups on paper in La Liga this weekend. Perhaps we need to dig a bit deeper to find where the excitement resides. Here's your preview of the action in Spain.

In Major League Soccer it's all about Clint vs. Michael. Here's a weekend preview. Two Yanks who should be playing in Europe but are not for some reason. Anyway, that match is out in Seattle where they have turf. And Ryan Nelson don't like it one bit.

We promised you Barney Ronay on Xavi. Does this tempt you? And yet even in an age when all elite-level football is unavoidably Xavi-tinged, where every variation is on some level a Xavi-variation – and where midway through yet another standard-issue exhibition of shared possession football he must feel at times as though he's surrounded by high-grade imperial imposters, cocked hats twitching, hands clasped in the nape of their frock coats – he remains still very clearly the real thing, the real Napoleon. Likewise. Here's the piece in its entirety.

Memories...of the way we were...we'll conclude with memories of the North London Derby featuring such luminaries as Ray Parlour, Darren Anderton, and Jamie Redknapp. Have a good one!



Thursday, March 13, 2014

Barcelona & PSG Advance, Claudio Marchisio Underwear Interview, Uli Hoeness Sentenced To Jail, Cantona Arrested, Europa League, More Fun With Nicklas Bendtner, Tim Vickery In Brazil

As expected, Barcelona and PSG advanced to the Final Eight of the Champions League. The Barca/City match was on at SSN Headquarters and it offered some fun. Mainly in form of wondering why James Milner was on the pitch. Here's your lot of analysis and thoughts and things and such:

Mark Ogden: Four Talking Points
Barcelona 2 - 1 Manchester City: Five Talking Points
Paris St-Germain 2 - 1 Bayer Leverkusen: Report
PSG vs. Leverkusen: Three Things

Who doesn't love gorgeous Italian men hanging out in the D&G tighties?


Oops. Bayern President and World Cup winner Uli Hoeness has been sentenced to three years in prison for tax evasion. Das is not goot.

Oops II. Everybody's favorite Danish drunk Nicklas Bendtner is back in the news. Per usual, it's not for the "right" reasons. Here's what the cabbie in Copenhagen had to say: "He stood at the back of the car and rubbed up against the side window after unbuttoning his pants while he whipped the cab with his belt and shouted he wanted to 'fuck me'," he added. "I've had drunks and alcoholics in my cab in Copenhagen over the last 25 years, but I've never experienced anything like this." 

Oops III. What is it with bad behavior? Eric Cantona was arrested for assault.

Back to Brazil now, where Tim Vickery is taking a look at ticket sales. He's even attempted to buy some himself.

That other European club competition is today. Juventus and Fiorentina clash for the second time in a week, and Tottenham host Benfica. There are other matches but we're not terribly interested in them.

And we out.



Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Bayern Munich And Atlético Madrid Advance, Barcelona vs. Manchester City, Holden Has Surgery, Fiorentina Focus

As expected, Arsenal were unable to overturn the deficit in Munich. The match finished 1 - 1. In Madrid, Milan also failed to overturn the deficit. The match finished 4 - 1. Here's your info:

Champions League: Tuesday Review
Bayern Munich 1 - 1 Arsenal: Daniel Taylor at the Allianz Arena
Atlético Madrid 4 - 1 AC Milan: Report

So, Milan are out. According to Gab Marcotti, that means the time is now for Seedorf to change the squad. Just how do you fix Milan? And, from a business perspective, what's gone wrong with Italian football? 20 years ago Serie A was exceptional. Now...not so much.

Poor Stuart Holden. Another knee injury, another surgery, another six to nine months out. You gotta feel for the guy. He was really beginning to break through prior to breaking down. It's hard to believe he's already 28.

Déjà vu all over again: Holden goes under the knife.
The Gentlemen Ultra has this great series going called, "Serie A Alternative Club Guide." The latest is Fiorentina. Fiorentina has always been a favorite club of those around SSN Headquarters so we're quite pleased to share this latest piece. Batigol!!

Matches today beginning at 3:45pm EDT: Barcelona vs. Manchester City? Check. Paris Saint-Germain vs. Bayer Leverkusen? Check. Messi vs. Aguero? Check.



Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal, Atlético Madrid vs. AC Milan, Scribes, Víctor Valdés, Neymar, More MLS

The Chaaaaaampeeeeeoooonnnnnss! Yes, it's back today. Europe's (and the planet's) top club competition returns on this fair Tuesday. So Arsenal go to Munich down 0 - 2 from the first leg. Miguel Delaney reminds us that there have been only six occasions when a side have still gone through a tie after losing the first leg at home. Meanwhile, Milan go to Madrid down 0 - 1. Miguel Delaney reminds us...

Here's your lot for this afternoon. Remember that clocks have not yet changed in Europe so kick-offs are at 3:45 EDT.

Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal: Preview
Atlético Madrid vs. AC Milan: Preview
Daniel Taylor in Munich: Arsenal Await Mission Impossible
Kevin Palmer: Five Talking Points

Remember Adel Taarabt? Talented QPR guy who flitted in and out of matches and seemed mentally absent at times? Well, he's thriving at Milan. Loftus Road to the San Siro. A move we'd all like to make, right? Lucky bastard.

That league...
Major League Soccer: Five Things We Learned This Weekend
Major League Soccer: Power Rankings
Major League Soccer: Power Ranking II
Major League Soccer: Best XI

Check out Ribery in the background...

The Big Interview this week is with Barcelona's keeper Víctor Valdés. And the interviewer is Sid Lowe. Enjoy.

Scribe Time!
Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Vultures circle around Camp Nou

Where? Brazil Who? Tim Vickery. What? Path clear for Brazil v Argentina final

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? Napoli stick to script against Roma

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Hoeness, honesty and the Werder Bremen penalty that was, then wasn't

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? Lives lived for football

Oh, boy. It's Tuesday so that must mean Monday Musings from Gab Marcotti. This week it's Man City's rot, Barca's slump, Bayern's record push, more.

So this Neymar thing. We've not really covered it because it's about money and it's not on the pitch, and, frankly, we don't care. But David Bond has an excellent article about how the investigation began and how it's damaged the brand of the club. Read.

The Guardian has this series of World Cup moments or something. Here's No. 5: Zinedine Zidane's head-butt

Enjoy the action this afternoon.



Monday, March 10, 2014

Wigan Stun City, Valladolid Shock Barcelona, Arsenal Beat Everton, Chelsea Crush Spurs, MLS Gets Going, Juve Beat Fiorentina, Napoli Beat Roma

Hello, Monday! Some shockers over the weekend! Notably, Manchester City lost to Wigan in the FA Cup, and Barcelona lost to Valladolid in La Liga. Why a club with the money of City continues to play Martin Demichelis is beyond us. When he was purchased it seemed a solid buy to have an experienced defensive player on the bench in case of an emergency. Instead, he's played loads, made plenty of errors, and yet continues to maintain his place in the starting 11. Incredible. Wigan will now face Arsenal (4-1 winners over Everton -- the scoreline is flattering) in their Cup Semi next month. We'll begin with Premier League and FA Cup action before moving across Europe and then back to the United States...

Peter Berlin: Five Thoughts

As noted above, Barcelona suffered a shock defeat at Valladolid that leaves them off the pace for the title in Spain. Guillem Balague claims it's simply a case of the Catalans continuing "Toward the Inevitable End of Their Cycle of Dominance." Gotta give Guillem props because he's been saying this was underway for a while. More on Spain tomorrow with Scribes.

Over in Italy, Juventus topped Fiorentina thanks to a ridiculous bit of skill from Asamoah. See the gif below. Roma's dreams of Scudetto are done thanks to a loss to Napoli, and Inter Milan continue to enjoy a late-season surge. More on Italy tomorrow with Scribes.

Since we're on the Continent at the moment, let's take a moment to check in on The title hunt in Europe's top leagues.

Gerald Kwadwo Asamoah's sick goal for Juve...

Right. So, Major League Soccer kicked off over the weekend. Let's go to Ives for a look at how things went. Apparently, some of the "revamped" sides did quite well in their openers. Sticking with MLS, this Anti-MLS piece in Deadspin has been getting some attention. It's certainly well worth a read.

"Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil." That's the title of a series that ESPN has ready to go beginning May 13. Should be interesting. Maybe. Actually, it could really suck.