Friday, May 09, 2014

Final Premier League Weekend, Ronaldo In 1998, Juventus, PSG, Sunderland, World Cup Rosters

Fulham vs. Palace on E! West Brom vs. Stoke on Oxygen. Syfy for Southampton/United.
And there goes another one! Welcome to Friday, friends. It's the final day of the season in the Premier League and The Guardian has 38 Key Moments in the Season for us to look back on. It's really all up to Man City to finish the job against West Ham. Cardiff, Fulham, and Norwich have already been relegated. Here's your lot (the last until August!!) for Super Sunday when NBC will broadcast every match:

Just how did Sunderland pull off The Great Escape? Jonathan Wilson examines.

World Cup Stunning Moment #15: What the hell happened to Ronaldo in '98? The dude was unstoppable and then all of a sudden went limp. Fever? Panic attack?

So Juventus had quite the year. Where do they go from here? James Horncastle takes a look at The Old Lady.

Top Tenner? Comebacks. You know 1999 will be in there. And 2005 in Istanbul...

Major League Soccer? Weekend Previews. More Weekend Previews. The Fire still haven't won a match this season. Yikes.

Paris Saint-Germain. They've got money now. They can buy big-time players. They've won two League Uhhhhhhhhh titles in a row. And...wait for it...their success has pushed their small group of far-right supporters to the periphery. Yay!

Fernando Torres' career in England is a tale of two-halves. Richard Jolly looks at the tale.

In Italy, there's still plenty to play for in terms of relegation. Catania...Liverno...Bologna? Here's your Week 37 Preview.

In Spain, Real Madrid slipped up mid-week dealing their title aspirations a mighty blow. And, Ronny got hurt. Here's your Weekend Preview. There's one round to go after this weekend.

Who is going to Brazil? Here's a helpful list of everyone in every country that's been announced.

And we out.



Wednesday, May 07, 2014

More Liverpool, Javier Zanetti, Manchester City vs. Aston Villa, Sunderland vs. West Brom, Brazil Announce Roster, Removal Of Michael Jackson = Fulham Relegation

Thanks for the memories...

Manchester United defeated Hull City quite comfortably yesterday thanks to a couple of goals from their newest kid, James Wilson. On the other end of the spectrum, evergreen Ryan Giggs probably played his last match at Old Trafford and looked quite good in his 20-minute cameo. Out with the old, in with the new...

Meanwhile, on the other side town, City have a chance to go back on top tonight when they host Villa. The other match today sees Sunderland attempt to continue their march to safety at the Stadium of Light against West Brom.

In other action today, Real Madrid go to Valladolid knowing only a win will suffice to keep them in title race. Here's a video preview that features the Real Madrid players jogging and Carlo Ancelotti talking.

There are a few players respected by every single employee at SSN Headquarters. There aren't many, but there are a few upon which everyone here can agree. Javier Zanetti is one of those players. He's been a favorite of ours for 22 years now. If you search for "oozing class," you'll find Zanetti. Top Italian scribe Paolo Bandini takes a look at the Inter Milan and Argentina legend as he finally hangs up his boots.

Firmly residing in the "Really?!!" category is this. The asshat who threw the banana at Alves now has his own support group. And...and...Villarreal was punished not by losing points, not by a stadium ban, but by a fine of 12,000 euros. So...that'll learn 'em.

The moment it all began to go wrong for Fulham...
Liverpool's collapse on Monday was so epic. What a way to lose. Martina Hyde has a great piece on the psychiatry behind the whole affair: Dr Steve Peters has been so brilliant at making Liverpool dismiss negative thoughts this season that at Crystal Palace they abandoned even negative concepts – like having a defence. Phil McNulty says that never has going top of the Premier League with one game to play been greeted by such an outpouring of grief, despair and disappointment.

The hosts for this summer's big show have announced their 23-man squad. Here it is:

Goalkeepers: Julio Cesar (Toronto FC), Jefferson (Botafogo), Victor (Atletico Mineiro)

Defenders: David Luiz (Chelsea), Dante (Bayern Munich), Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain), Henrique (Napoli), Maicon (Roma), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Marcelo (Real Madrid), Maxwell (Paris Saint-Germain)

Midfielders: Luiz Gustavo (Wolfsburg), Paulinho (Tottenham), Fernandinho (Manchester City), Ramires (Chelsea), Oscar (Chelsea), Willian (Chelsea), Hernanes (Inter Milan)

Strikers: Hulk (Zenit St. Petersburg), Bernard (Shakhtar Donetsk), Neymar (Barcelona), Jo (Atletico Mineiro), Fred (Fluminense)

And finally...former Fulham owner Mohamed Al Fayed knows the reason why Fulham were relegated this season: the removal of the Michael Jackson statue.



Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Trail Of Tears In South London As Palace Stun Liverpool, World Cup Watch, Manchester United vs. Hull, USA: Who Goes To Brazil?, Scribes

The calm before the storm: Suárez arrives at Selhurst Park with his mate in hand.
And a fine Tuesday to you and yours. As with most Tuesdays we've got tons and tons of stuff to cover. We were watching Liverpool dismantle Crystal Palace yesterday when nature called. Upon returning from the facilities, the score changed from 0-3 to 1-3. Then 2-3. Then 3-3. Yes, Liverpool went up three goals and dreams of erasing the goal deficit began to dance in their heads...and then their midfield lost its shape and they became susceptible to the counter. They brought on attackers Coutinho and Moses instead of solidifying the defense. Sadly for Scousers of the red ilk, the chance to claim their first title in 25 years in the year of the 25th anniversary of Hillsborough is over. Here's your lot from a very, very exciting and emotional Monday Night Football:

Crystal Palace 3 - 3 Liverpool: Phil McNulty at Selhurst Park
Crystal Palace 3 - 3 Liverpool: Daniel Taylor at Selhurst Park
Dominic Fifield: Istanbul in reverse

Who goes to Brazil? The ESPN soccer gurus have gotten together to predict the USA's 23-man World Cup roster. Here are Jeff Carlisle's picks:

Jeff Carlisle -- ESPN FC senior writer:
Goalkeepers (3): Tim Howard, Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando
Defenders (8): DaMarcus Beasley, Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, Clarence Goodson, Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhurst, Brad Evans
Midfielders (8): Landon Donovan, Julian Green, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, Maurice Edu, Graham Zusi, Alejandro Bedoya
Forwards (4): Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Aron Johannsson, Terrence Boyd
Twitter: @JeffreyCarlisle

Sticking with Jeffrey Carlisle, he's got MLS POWER RANKINGS!! So does that Bird guy over at SI.

There's a match tonight. Manchester United vs. Hull City. The final home match for Vidic. The final home match for Giggsy? Evra? Rio? Kagawa? Cleverley? Fellaini? 2:45pm EDT on NBCSN if you're so inclined. We certainly are.

It is Tuesday and that means we'll muse with Marcotti. This week Gab is gabbing about La Liga heats up, sad scenes in Italy and Spain, more. 

It is Tuesday and that means Scribes. We caught up with Paolo in Italy yesterday, but we need to hear from his mates around the world:

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Brazil's true brilliance is defense

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What?  Bundesliga stadium announcers

Where? Brazil. Who? Fernando Duarte. What? There won't be many surprises when Brazil squad is revealed

Where? Germany. Who? Raphael Honigstein. What? Lewandowski leads the teary farewells

Suárez departs Selhurt Park with his shirt in hand.
Podcast! Well, we decided to hold the show back for 24 hours and sure enough, Liverpool went and blew it at Crystal Palace. Yes, on today's Football Weekly, AC Jimbo has Barry Glendenning, Jacob Steinberg and a far from jolly Gregg Bakowski in the pod to look back on Liverpool's capitulation and the rest of the action from the weekend in the Premier League. Also in the podcast, we look at what's going on in Spain (clue: it's going to be a 'delicious' finish to the season) and in Italy (glory for Juventus, overshadowed by some horrific violence elsewhere), and we round up the final day drama in the Football League.

We're finally getting some FFP action. Manchester City face a £49m fine and a wage cap for breaking the rules. Their Champions League squad might be reduced to 21 players. Will it matter?

We liked Antonio Conte has a player. He was a hustling type of guy, not overly skillful but always on the go trying to influence matches. He's brought that same ethic to his managerial style, and it works. Here's how Conte revived Juve.

37 Days! 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.

That, friend, is it for today. Keep it tite.



Monday, May 05, 2014

Italian Violence, Manchester City Beat Everton, Atlético Madrid Lose, Milan Beat Inter, Monday Night Football, Fulham & Cardiff Relegated, Bosnia-Herzegovina

Good Morning. We'll begin today in Italy where Juventus won their third Scudetto in a row and Napoli claimed the Coppa Italia after some dodgy and speculative interplay between the head of their ultras and their captain, Marek Hamsik, following violence on the streets of Rome. Instead of our customary Tuesday Scribe look-in with Paolo Bandini, we'll go to his column now.

Another odd thing about Italy this weekend was the Milan Derby. Rarely have both teams been so poor, but that's currently the case. AC Milan won the match (1-0) but that only moves them up to eighth. Inter sit in fifth. A bit anti-climatic, no?

Moving over to Spain, Levante shocked leaders Atlético Madrid 2-0, but Real Madrid could only manage a draw at home to Valencia (thanks to a ridiculous Ronny volley) so your table looks like this. Don't forget that Barcelona and Atlético Madrid still have to face each other on the final day of the season (May 18). Returning to Atlético Madrid for a moment, it seems Levante's midfielder Papakouli Diop claims he was subjected to monkey chants. So he danced like a monkey. When is this shit going to stop? Not for a while, sadly.

In the Premier League, Manchester City maintained control of their own destiny with a win at Everton. At the other end of the table, 'Ye Ole Gunnar and his Cardiff boys will be in the Championship next season. As will Fulham. Sunderland beat Manchester United at Old Trafford and Norwich and Chelsea couldn't score at Stamford Bridge. After that match, Ashley Cole cried. Here's your lot from the weekend:

We noted last week that the 2016 Copa America will be played in the United States. Tim Vickery doesn't think that's necessary good thing for South American football.

What now?
Violence, Racism...and more Violence: Toilet Bowl Kills Fan in Brazil after Second Division Game.

There is a critical match in the Premier League this Monday Night. It's Crystal Palace vs. Liverpool. Here's your preview.

Jonathan Wilson is one of our favorite scribes. He's good with his research and able to get beyond the facade of football. He's got a new piece out on Bosnia-Herzegovina and it's good.

Hotlist! USA! There is one week until the Diving German gets the lad together for a little camp. Who is hot? (Brad Evans) Who's not? (Eddie Johnson)

1/4 of the season is already complete in Major League Soccer. Let's take a gander at what's been happening in the U.S.'s top league. Oh, this weekend? Yes, we should review the latest action. Here.

That'll do. Till tomorrow.