Friday, August 08, 2014

Liverpool & Manchester City, Donovan To Retire, Champions League Playoff Draw, Community Shield Preview, The Joy of Six

There goes another week, eh? Time has flown and we're almost ready to get things going again. There's a trophy on offer Sunday as Manchester City and Arsenal play for the Charity Community Shield. That's on the television at 10am EDT on Fox Sports 1. Barney Ronay reckons that Alexis Sánchez could be the perfect fit for Arsène Wenger. And here's a little 50-50 Challenge for the two clubs. And here's a position-by-position comparison.

Speaking of Arsenal, they've learned their Champions League Playoff opponents. They are...Besiktas. Turkey awaits. Elsewhere, Celtic crashed out but earned a reprieve because the Poles fielded an ineligible player! Here's the draw (Napoli/Bilbao could be tasty):

Maribor v Celtic
Red Bull Salzburg v Malmo
Aalborg v Apoel Nicosia
Steaua Bucuresti v Ludogorets
Slovan Bratislava v Bate
Besiktas v Arsenal
Standard Liège v Zenit St Petersburg
FC Copenhagen v Bayer Leverkusen
Lille v Porto
Napoli v Athletic Bilbao
Ties to be played 19-20 and 26-27 August

Today's Premier League previews feature a couple of heavyweights carrying massive expectations. Will City repeat? How will Liverpool fare without The Cannibal? Check it:

Everyone's favorite former Spurs coach is back. Coach Lasso has a new gig with the St. Catherine's Fighting Owls. Who? Fighting Owls!

The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! The Joy of Six! Sorry, it's been awhile and we got excited. This week it' purple patches (or periods of utter footballing brilliance). You like numbers? Try this Top Tenner. EPL players with a point to prove.

The Championship gets underway tomorrow. Twenty-four teams, 46 matches, three prized places in the Premier League, indeed. Did you know there are 12 dudes who played in the World Cup who will play in the Championship this year? Gonzalo Jara, Kenneth Omeruo, Lee Chung-Yong, Roger Espinoza, Reza Ghoochannejhad, Yun Suk-Young, Essaid Belkalem, Jean Beausejour, Benoit Assou-Ekotto, Park Chu-Young, Albert Adomah, Riayd Mahrez. Thank you, The BBC.

Jozy Altidore. Dude had an awful year. Can he turn it around?

As noted and previewed yesterday, League Uhhhh kicks off this weekend, as well. Here's another preview, this time from Paul Doyle.

And finally...Landon Donovan announced he'll retire. Brian Strauss provides the first of what will surely be plenty of articles.



Thursday, August 07, 2014

Leicester City & Hull City, MLS Defeat Bayern Munich, Ligue Uhhhhh Preview

Hello, there! The MLS All-Stars defeated Bayern Munich (link includes highlights) last night by a score of 2-1. Pep was pissed because of some of the challenges suffered by his stars and refused to shake hands afterwards. Who cares? Lando and BWP scored for the MLSers, whilst Lewandowski hit a beaut for the German club. Here are Three Points. And, of course Grant Wahl has Three Thoughts on the affair in Portland.

Previews? Today it's two clubs returning to the top flight after some time away. Welcome back, Foxes and Tigers!

The French. The play some solid footy. They have League Uhhhhh. They have newly rich PSG. The Zlatan. Edinson Cavani. Thiago Silva. And now...add to the mix...Sideshow BobWe have a preview for 2013-14. PSG will win, by the way.

A lot of people complain about the current state of football in England. Ruined by sponsors, owners, the wealth and cost of it all. Was it any better in the 90s? Vice has a good gander.

And we'll end with this: Look for the vanishing spray on Sunday.



Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Crystal Palace & Everton, MLS All-Star Game, Webb Quits

We've reached Humpday! This mid-week we have the Major League Soccer All-Star game to enjoy. It's going down tonight out in Portland (ESPN2 at 9:30pm EDT) if you're interested. The best of MLS will face Bayern München. Could be interesting. You never know. Regardless, in the face of massive fan support for the friendlies taking place around the country, it's a big night for Major League Soccer. Here's the MLS roster. Pretty solid. Here's more on those guys. Preview? Right. Preview again? Right.

It is now time to continue the 2013-2014 predictions for the Premier League. Today, we've got a London club and a Liverpool club to examine:

We should probably check in on all the transfer gossip. Pepe Reina, Virgil van Dijk, Fraser Forster, and Vedad Ibisevic are some of the stars lighting up today's papers. Ooo la la! The Mill. Plus One. Plus Plus One.

Howard Webb has handled his last match. He's hanging up his hands-free mic in order to be some sort of technical director at some sort of referees' association. Good luck, Howard. He's been one of the better ones over the last 20 years or so, we must admit.

The Youth. You can't blame The Youth. It's true. Bob Marley and Peter Tosh said so. That said, what's the problem with the USA Youth Development System? Bird examines here.

That's it.



Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Burnley & Chelsea, Xavi Quits Spain, MLS

Good Day, Friends. We'll hop right in with previews for the next two Premier League clubs, in alphabetical order, of course. Today's B to C platter provides two teams - one that could finish first and one that could finish last.

As noted in the preview above, Courtois is back at Stamford Bridge after his loan spell in Madrid. Most would look at that as a good thing. Cech has a real fight on his hands and that'll only benefit the club as two world-class keepers look to claim the top spot. But is that really the case...? 

Can't get enough of Chelsea at the moment? Eden Hazard. Go.

Michael Cox is a tactical dude. He likes to write about tactics. Today, he's writing about Alexis and his arrival at Arsenal. And what that means. Tactically speaking, of course.

Deuce scores from deep with the photobomb...
Talk about going out on a low. Everyone's favorite balding little Spanish midfielder with Barcelona in his DNA has retired from the national team. No outfield player has more caps than Xavi. He had a good run. Apparently he was going to retire after Euro 2012 but was convinced by Del Bosque to stick around for 2014. Doh. Anyway, it's obviously good news for Barca because he won't be bothered by international commitments, but at 34, is he pretty much done? We shall see.

We should probably catch up on what's going on in MLS. It is, after all, one of the few leagues that at the moment is producing matches that actually matter in terms of competing for some sort of title. Let's begin with some Power Rankings (wow, D.C. United is good again?), continue with more Power Rankings from Jeff Carlisle (he's got KC tops), get Three Thoughts from Bird on something called the MLS Homegrown Game, and end there.

Aston Villa. Yawn. Andy Brassell examines the Birmingham club and claims it's a symbol of Midlands Malaise.

And finally...Lupe Fiasco wants Jermaine Jones in Chicago.



Monday, August 04, 2014

Let's Get This Show On The Road

Hello Hello Hello! It's Monday, the Football League begins this weekend in the UK, the Charity Community Shield is this Sunday, and The Guardian has begun its Premier League Season Preview Series. What does this all mean? It means SSN Headquarters is back in action, baby. The water cooler is full, the staff have returned from vacation, and the bills are paid. It's pretty much all UK stuff since the continental leagues don't begin until later, but let's get to it.

Nice shirt.
There have been a bunch of friendlies of late. We don't care about them. The one in The Big House was mildly interesting simply because The Editor and Mrs. Editor spent a few years enjoying its environs, but after 10 minutes of checking out the match between Real Madrid and Manchester United, it was obvious that no more time needed to be wasted.

As noted above, the yearly alphabetical rundown of Premier League clubs' chances for the upcoming campaign has been initiated by our favorite English daily. As such, we give you The First Two:

Matches that matter begin in the UK this weekend with clashes such as Dagenham & Redbridge vs. Morecambe and Accrington Flat Stanley vs. Southend United. And Middlesborough vs. Birmingham City. Louise Taylor takes a look at the upcoming season in the UK's lower tiers.

The Transfer Window remains open and there have been quite a few new arrivals in the Premier League. John Brewin examines 10 in his article here. And...speaking of's the logical segue:

Southampton was a fun team to watch last year, were they not? Lallana, Shaw, Lambert & Co. played some lovely football at times and surprised quite a few pundits. So, it's a bit sad that none of those guys play for Southampton anymore. Ben Smith's got the inside story of the great Southampton sell-off.

Stuart Holden. Remember that guy? So much promise, so many injuries. Jeff Carlisle checks in with the former Yank Abroad as he attempts yet another rehab in order to try and take the field again for Michael Bolton Wanderers.

That'll do for today as we ease back into things.