Friday, May 02, 2014

Europa League Drama, Everton vs. Manchester City, Premier League Finances, Copa America In The U.S., Coppa Italia Final, Jose vs. Eden

And there goes another week. A fine one it was, with a few scintillating second legs to help get us to Friday. Where to begin, then? Let's stick to form and look at matches actually played. Benfica and Sevilla will battle it out to see who is the second-best European champion. The guys from Lisbon held off the guys from Turin and the dudes from Seville dumped their Valencian brethren thanks to a very late Stephane Mbia goal. Sid Lowe claims the Sevilla/Valencia drama is why we watch football. Allright, then! Here's a breakdown of both matches. Shame about Juve - the final will be played in their stadium. Oh, well.

Looking ahead, it's almost time to call it quits in the domestic leagues. Just a few more matches to decide who wins, who goes to Europe, and who goes down. Let's begin in the Premier League:

Beyond the Premier League, it's the last match of the season for almost everyone else in England. Will Millwall drop to Division One?! What about Yeovil? Oh, they're already down. Too bad.

In Spain, there are three weeks left in the campaign. Atlético Madrid still sit in first and only need two wins to clinch the title. They go to Levante on Sunday. Here's a complete weekend preview.
Bolton's Player of the Year
In Italy, if Juventus can defeat Atalanta, they will win their third consecutive Scudetto. Here's a complete weekend preview.

It seems The Special One and Eden Hazard are engaging in a war of words. Ouch. Jonathan Wilson says Chelsea and Jose should brace for change after their latest Champions League failure.

The 2012-13 accounts of all the Premier League teams were released yesterday. David Conn examines the data and gives his take on the health of each club.

Today's Top Tenner? Veteran Players. Guys who played forever.

It was also announced yesterday that the 2016 Copa America will be held in the United States. That's excellent news. We're talking Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, the United States, Mexico and four other CONCACAF nations. There should be some good talent on display.

Major League Soccer is now in Week Nine. Here's a preview. And another.

In Italy, the Coppa Italia really isn't seen as a big deal. But some changes have been made to its structure, and with Juve running away with the Serie A title, it's generating a bit more interest than usual. This year's edition pits Fiorentina vs. Napoli. Michael Cox looks ahead to tomorrow's final in Rome.

Hey, this is pretty cool. Yank Abroad Tim Ream was voted Player of the Year by Bolton fans. And, Yank Abroad Tim Ream was voted Player of the Year by Bolton Football Club. Double Player of the Year! Good on ya, Reamer!

We out.



Thursday, May 01, 2014

Atlético Madrid Beat Chelsea, Is Tiki-Taka Dead?, Argentina, Americans Abroad

They're happy.
The world's most esteemed club football competition delivered another beauty yesterday as Atlético Madrid strolled into Stamford Bridge and rocked the hosts to the tune of 1-3. The Madrid side's performance was as solid and strong as Simeone's suit. After the match, the winning gaffer said this: “I want to congratulate the mothers of these players, because they gave them big balls to play like this.” Let's get to the reviews.

Chelsea 1-3 Atlético Madrid: Daniel Taylor at Stamford Bridge
Michael Cox:  Hazard cost Chelsea
Ben Lyttleton: Madrid Mania

So it's pretty historic. The first European Cup final to feature two sides from the same city. As you might expect, Madrid-based Sid Lowe is pretty pumped.

Here's a question: Is tiki-taka dead? Jonathan Wilson attempts to answer.

He's not happy.
Sam Kelly is in Argentina and he's tackling the issue of hooliganism. The Barra Bravas essentially control many clubs and that's not a good thing for the health of the domestic league.

Barry Glendenning is tackling a Stunning World Cup Moment today. This one is Number 13 and it's when Roy Keene bailed on Ireland in 2002. It certainly was shocking. And stunning.

It's time to check in on the Americans plying their trade in other lands. Terrance Boyd, for instance, plays for Rapid Vienna. He scored twice this weekend! Break it down like this.



Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Real Madrid Crush Bayern Munich, Chelsea vs. Atlético Madrid, Geoff Cameron Interview, Istanbul Derby

Robben remains upbeat despite the defeat.

A good Humpday to you and yours. Damn. Well. That was not what we expected. No, we did not turn our attention to the Champions League Semi-Final Second Leg between Bayern Munich and Real Madrid in Munich yesterday afternoon and expect to watch as Real Madrid steamrolled the defending champs. You almost expected Roberto Duran to show up and say to the ref, "No mas."

0-4 in favor of the Spaniards is how it finished. If you already thought Arjen Robben was the oldest looking 30-year-old on the the planet, it's just that much worse now. Let's look back at yesterday's mauling:

Bayern Munich 0-4 Real Madrid (agg: 0-5): David Hytner at the Allianz Arena

Yanks Abroad. You gotta love 'em. Even though Geoff Cameron plays for Stoke and has bad hair, we still love him. ESPN interviewed him.

Nice work, Norwich fans. When asked to vote for their player of the season, the majority decided to go with reserve keeper Carlo Nash, who has never seen action for the side. That's a novel way to express your frustration, and we approve.
Diego is confident ahead of the trip to Stamford Bridge...
Ooooo. Don't miss this great article on the Istanbul Derby from Spencer Hall. Riveting!

There is another match today and we're confident it'll feature some managerial antics from the Special One and a black on black on black on greasy hair suit from Simeone:

Chelsea vs. Atlético Madrid: Preview
Chelsea vs. Atlético Madrid Preview: When will the deadlock be broken?

That's it.



Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Everyone Is Eating Bananas, Kevin Phillips Is Retiring, Hatred in Glasgow, Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid Play To Reach The Final, Scribes, Podcast, Arsenal Defeat Dire Newcastle, Landon Donovan Interview

Bloody hell, we've got a lot to get through today. SSN Staffers have been staggering in throughout the morning, seemingly recovered from illness but still obviously feeling some lingering fatigue. No time to rest though, there's simply too much to cover. We'll begin as usual -- with actual results. In Monday Night Football last night, Newcastle were woeful, Aaron Ramsey and Mesut Ozil were wonderful, and Arsenal are left to wonder what if?

Arsenal 3 - 0 Newcastle: Dominic Fifield at the Emirates Stadium

Yesterday we showed the video of Dani Alves eating the banana some clown threw at him during his match against Villarreal. Dani says the thrower should be publicly shamed. Sounds fine to us. Meanwhile, Alves's actions have sparked a banana-eating campaign all over The Socials. Very good. Enjoy:

Neymar & Child

Sergio & Wife-io

Oscar & David Luiz & Willian
Dembele & Chadli

Hulk & Family
Coutinho & Suarez


Sticking with the sad subject of hatred, thousands of Celtic and Rangers fans turned last night's Glasgow Cup final between the Celtic Under 17s and Rangers Under 17s into a complete shitshow. Way to support the kids, asshats.

Let's relax and move on to something far less important, shall we? Landon Donovan. The Man. The Myth. The Legend. Soon, 'Ol Landycakes will be putting up his boots for good. Jeff Carlisle interviewed the Galaxy Man and you can read said interview here.

This is a rather sweet goal from Roma's Miralem Pjanic. Paolo has more from Italy in the Scribe section below...

Now is the time on Sprockets when we Scribe:

Where? Spain. Who? Sid Lowe. What? Valverde's Athletic Bilbao sequel is a hit

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Argentine clubs staging Copa Libertadores comeback

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? Roma desperate to keep Pjanic

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Nürnberg: love, loathing, relegation?

Major League Soccer. There are a few guys of quality playing in that league. Clint Dempsey being one. Obafemi Martins being another. And...they play on the same team! Their partnership is proving to be quite something. Here are four additional things we learned from MLS last weekend. Power Rankings? We can do that!

Podcast! What a weekend, and what a show we have in store as Football Weekly enters the final furlong. AC Jimbo, Owen Gibson, Paul MacInnes and Barry Glendenning try their darnedest to not use the words 'twist', 'turns', 'blown', 'wide' or 'open' after Chelsea put on a Mou masterclass to shut out Liverpool and thus hand Manchester City the advantage in the Premier League title race (unless there are any other twists or turns to come which blow the title race wide open again). Next, we hear from Sid Lowe about the two Madrid sides' chances in the Champions League semi-finals as well as the sad death of the former Barcelona manager Tito Vilanova. Finally, we turn our attention to the relegation scrap, where Norwich appear doomed and Sunderland continue to head onwards and upwards.

Thanks for the memories!
Kevin Phillips. He began his career as a defender at Baldock Town in the eighth tier of English football. Six years later, he notched 30 for Sunderland and finished as the continent’s top scorer. That year he scored more than Raul at Real Madird, Patrick Kluivert at Barcelona, Andriy Shevchenko at AC Milan, Gabriel Batistuta at Fiorentina, and Hernan Crespo at Parma. He is the last Englishman to win the Golden Boot and one of only three 40-year-olds to play in Premier League. He will play his final game on Saturday. Louise Taylor takes a look at the tiny striker from Hertfordshire.

Is it Tuesday? It is. Does that mean Monday Musings? It does. This week Gab is gabbing about Mou's winning gamble, great Prem race, Seedorf's Milan mess, more.

The World Cup is only 45 days away. As you should know by now, BBC Sport, with the help of European football expert Andy Brassell, is taking a weekly look at happenings from across the world of football and what impact they could have on the tournament in the summer. 

And, finally. Whew. Finally. On to the match this afternoon at 2:45pm EDT on Fox Sports 1. Bayern Munich host Real Madrid and need to overturn a 1-0 deficit. It should be a doozy.



Monday, April 28, 2014

Alves Eats The Banana, Chelsea Beat Liverpool, Monday Night Football, Van Gaal In At United?

If you're wise, you'll stay away...
Oh, dear. We're going to have to be brief today as we slowly get back up to speed from whatever bug shut down SSN Headquarters on Friday. It wasn't Norovirus but the way it hit all of us we may as well have been on some sort of disgusting Carnival Cruise Line Cruise of Death. Engine dead, just floating helplessly in the sea, completely crippled with the toilets backing up on a big-ass boat shared with 3,231 other filthy humans. And Supertramp's Breakfast in America on repeat...

Those who know us know we're not big fans of Dani Alves. He can be, well, a bit rough at times. Over the weekend, though, his stock at SSN Headquarters rose considerably when he picked up the banana thrown his way and ate it. Take that, racist bitches!

Was it a Masterclass from The Special One? Of just an unwatchable slew of time-wasting techniques and child-like behavior? You'll have to make that decision on your own. Here are a few opinions:

Liverpool's Brendan Rodgers hits out at Chelsea for 'parking two buses'
Michael Cox: Rodgers learns a lesson
Chris Bevan: Jose Mourinho's tactical masterclass
Richard Jolly: Three Things: Liverpool vs. Chelsea
Barney Ronay: Not anti-football from Mourinho, but simply football

In terms of the other shit that went down in the Premier League, this should cover it. So who is going to win this thing, anyway? And who is going down?

Every picture tells a story, don't it?
We're going to try to get some rest so we can bounce back tomorrow with a mega-post that looks more closely at the weekend and also the Champions League matches to come. Arsenal host Newcastle this afternoon, and after Everton's unexpected own-goal fest yesterday, the Gunners have the opportunity to solidify their fourth-place spot. Also, there is talk that Van Gaal will soon make his way over to VanManchester to take over as United's new VanManager.

Apologies for the brevity and scattered nature...improvements to come tomorrow.