Friday, January 30, 2015

Costa Banned, Chelsea vs. Manchester City, Bundesliga is Back, Congolese Derby?, Transfer Nuttiness

Welcome to Friday, friends! We've somehow reached the end of another week. As noted above, Diego Costa has been rightfully banned from participating in The Beautiful Game by making it decidedly not beautiful thanks to his propensity for going postal and stamping Liverpool players. The ban certainly adds a twist to the TOP OF THE TABLE CLASH that will take place tomorrow at Stamford Bridge (12:30 p.m. EST on NBC). Let's get to all the previews and see what the hell else is going on in the wonderful world of The Foot.

Chelsea vs. Manchester City: Key Battles

Yet another Yank Abroad is no longer a Yank Abroad. Juan Agudelo has failed in Europe and he will now be based in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Er...welcome back?

Down in Africa, they're blessing the rains with the quarterfinals of the African Cup of Nations

Saturday – Congo vs. Congo DR 
Saturday – Tunisia vs. Equitorial 
Sunday – Ghana vs. Guinea 
Sunday – Ivory Coast vs. Algeria 

Over in Asia, they've reached the final. Looks like it'll be South Korea vs. Australia. Apparently, there is a fairytale in the making with a certain Korean striker. Here's your preview for the match itself.

Goodness gracious, they do hibernate for a long time in Germany, do they not? The long sleep is finally over and there will be top-flight football in Germany this weekend. Here's your Preview. More? Sure, why not?

Spain? They'll be rocking, too. Real Madrid in particular. Here's your Preview

Italy? You know it. Milan and Parma are in trouble (crisis!!) and face each other on Sunday at the San Siro. Here's your Preview.

Richard Williams is a favorite scribe around SSN Headquarters. Today, his headline reads, "Euro 2012 left little mark on Ukraine, still haunted by its history." And then, there's this: "Few major tournaments can have felt so irrelevant to their time and place as the last European Championship and the potential fault lines in Ukraine were apparent to those who cared to look." Dig in.

That will be all, folks. Get to it.



Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Costa's Dark Arts Defeat Liverpool, Scribes, Copa del Rey, Abu Dhabi Bernabéu, USA vs. Chile

Apologies. We lost our key to the new SSN Headquarters and failed to deliver a post yesterday. Really. We're sorry. 

Right! Diego Costa is a dirty player. Do we all agree? Good. Let's roll...

Chelsea 1 - 0 Liverpool (aet, agg. 2 - 1): Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 1 - 0 Liverpool (aet, agg. 2 - 1): Five Talking Points
Chelsea 1 - 0 Liverpool (aet, agg. 2 - 1): Five Questions

So, Chelsea will face the winner of the Sheffield United/Tottenham semifinal. That match is at Bramall Lane and United need to overturn a 0 - 1 deficit. Here's a preview.

African Cup of Nations? African Nations Cup? Whatever you want to call it, Algeria are through. As are Ghana. Today is the last matchday of the group stage and it features Cameroon vs. Ivory Coast and Guinea vs. Mali. Oddly enough, each team has an identical record, which could mean (gasp!) the drawing of lots! Here's more on all of that with Kirsten.

This afternoon brings us more fun from Spain, where second leg of the Copa del Rey quarter-final between Atlético Madrid and Barcelona goes down at the Estadio Vicente Calderón. Barca are up 1 - 0. Here's your preview. Hit beIN Sports at 3:00 p.m. EST to view.

We were hoping she'd do it and she has. Our favorite Argentine scribe, Marcela Mora y Araujo, has written about Juan Ramon Riquelme now that he's hung up his boots. Excellent. Enjoy.

Speaking of scribes, we missed them yesterday. Let's go back in time and make things right:

Where? South America. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Juan Roman Riquelme: The master of his art will be missed by Argentina

Where? Italy. Who? Paolo Bandini. What? Parma's shrinking violets facing a sour future in Serie A

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? Ten memorable Bundesliga post-winter-break match-days

Where? Spain. Who? Graham Hunter. What? Cristiano Ronaldo, red card hysteria needs to calm down

Abu Dhabi Bernabéu. Get used to it, people.

Kaká is in Orlando. Pardon us, but we forgot. Grant Wahl is on hand to remind us, thankfully.



Monday, January 26, 2015

The Romance of the Cup, Ronny Sees Red, African Cup of Nations, Barca Hit for Six, Mexes Gets Mad, Riquelme Retires, Good Times in Belgium

The Bantams in Dreamland...

Whew! How about that for a weekend of footie, eh? Chelsea? Up two-nil at The Bridge and lose to Bradford City. Manchester City? Failed to score upon return from a mid-week Middle Eastern jaunt and were ousted at the Etihad by Boro. Southampton? Also lost at home. Palace knocked them out thanks to goals from Chamakh and Sanogo. Yes, you read that right. Tottenham? You guessed it. They lost at home to Leicester. Elsewhere, Cambridge United held Manchester United, Arsenal managed to hold on to win at Brighton, and Liverpool and Bolton couldn't score. Let's roll right into the FA Cup Fourth Round fallout and then head to the Continent...

Cambridge United 0 - 0 Manchester United: Phil McNulty at Abbey Stadium
Cambridge United 0 - 0 Manchester United: Daniel Taylor at Abbey Stadium
Chelsea 2 - 4 Bradford City: Russell Kempson at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 - 4 Bradford City: Three Thoughts
Tottenham 1 - 2 Leicester City: Alan Smith at White Hart Lane
Tottenham 1 - 2 Leicester City: Three Thoughts
Manchester City 0 - 2 Middlesbrough: Paul Wilson at the Etihad Stadium
Southampton 2 - 3 Crystal Palace: Jacob Steinberg at St. Mary's Stadium
Liverpool 0 - 0 Bolton: Andy Hunter at Anfield
Brighton & Hove Albion 2 - 3 Arsenal: Barney Ronay at the Amex Stadium

Over in Italy, Inter lost at home to Torino, AC Milan lost in Rome to Lazio, and Juventus cruised past Chievo. Here's a wrap. Mexes? Yeah, he went a little nuts. Paul Pogba? He went a little nuts, too. But, in a good way...

Want more of Paul against Chievo? Check it.

Speaking of nuts, the Anderlecht/Standard Liege match provided plenty. Steven Defour got all (understandably) riled up by the Liege fans and their grotesque banner, and the fans got all pissed and threw chairs, and it was a good 'ol time! Check it out here. What's the deal, anyway? Learn more here.

Good grief. Spain? Ronaldo lost his marbles, too! It didn't matter, though. Gareth Bale saved the day with a penalty. Elsewhere, Messi and Neymar had a little fun in their 6 - 0 demolition of Elche.

Seems a bit excessive, no?
Juan Roman Riquelme has retired.  A classic Number 10 in the Pirlo mold, Riquelme always had his critics but was one of the few players we've seen who could single-handedly dictate the pace of a match. Suerte, Juan!

There is so much going on in the African Cup of Nations it's difficult to focus. Click here to begin your journey. The Group Stage continues through Wednesday. Hosts Equatorial Guinea have progressed to the Quarters, along with Congo. Today you've got Cape Verde Islands vs. Zambia and Tunisia vs. Democratic Republic of Congo.

Also today? Rochdale vs. Stoke City in another Fourth Round FA Cup tie. Head over to Fox Sports 2 at 3:00 p.m. EST to check out the action at Spotland. Will there be another upset?

Right! That'll have to do for this Monday!