Friday, February 13, 2015

The FA Cup Fifth Round, La Liga, Bundesliga, Serie A, Cairo Massacre

Put that one in the books. Another week is gone and we're lucky enough to have some matches to view this weekend. It's nice when there is stuff happening during the week, though. There were some good ones on Tuesday and Wednesday. Anyhoo, let's jump into it, beginning with the next round of the FA Cup.

Why is the Premier League so popular? Many reasons, really. Richard Williams writes that one of them is the promise of drama in the technical area.

The battle for the Champions League is tight this year. Michael Cox looks at each competing club's chances for the coveted third and fourth spots.

Bundesliga? Preview. La Liga? Preview. Serie A? Preview

Football's rich owners are destroying the game. Duh.

We noted earlier in the week that football and violence had tragically come together yet again, this time with multiple deaths in Egypt. Today, The Guardian's Patrick Kingsley reports from Cairo with additional information and background.

Action will resume in Argentina soon. Sam Kelly is on it, thankfully. There have been some format changes. More Superclásicos!

We've always had a soft spot for Xabi Alonso. He seems like a good guy and plays the game in a very attractive manner. That's why, today, we'll link to his dream Champions League XI.

And finally...there was this nice little piece in The Atlantic recently about how Messi and Ronaldo are the greatest soccer players in history. No argument here.



Thursday, February 12, 2015

Chelsea Leave It Late, Messi, Suarez, Neymar Coming Into Ominous Form, Villa Sack Lambert, Venezuela

Good times at The Bridge...

Hello, hello, hello! The midweek action is done and it's time to revisit all the fun whilst looking ahead to the weekend. In the Premier League, Chelsea continue to set the pace, this time thanks to a late and dramatic Will.I.An winner that went through 38 sets of legs before sliding past Timmy Howard. But, wait! Did Ivanovic bite McCarthy?! Ahem.

Elsewhere, Manchester United were awful yet won, James Milner boosted Man City, nobody could score in the Southampton/West Ham match, West Brom beat Swansea, Palace and Newcastle drew, and Messi, Iniesta, and Piqué scored to lead Barcelona past Villarreal. They've now won 10 straight in all competitions. Let's do it.

Chelsea 1 - 0 Everton: Daniel Taylor at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 1 - 0 Everton: Three Quick Points
Stoke 1 - 4 Manchester City: Jamie Jackson at the Britannia Stadium
Stoke 1 - 4 Manchester City: Three Observations
Manchester United 3 - 1 Burnley: Paul Wilson at Old Trafford
Manchester Untied 3 - 1 Burnley: Three Observations
Manchester United 3 - 1 Burnley: Five Things We Learned
Crystal Palace 1 - 1 Newcastle: David Hytner at Selhurst Park
Southampton 0 - 0 West Ham: James Riach at St. Mary's

Paul Lambert.

As expected, Aston Villa have parted ways with Paul Lambert. Yep, you guessed it: You're Fired. It's deserved, it must be said. Villa have been shit, and they've been shit while looking ugly. And Yank Abroad Brad Guzan has kept it from being, really, really ugly. As Phil McNulty puts it, "no goals and dull football." Indeed.

As noted above, Barcelona won their Copa del Rey semifinal first-leg match at Camp Nou last night. Villarreal were the victims. Here's a report. According to Andy Mitten, Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar are coming into some ominous form, and that's not good news for their rivals.

Hey! Look at this! Tim Vickery has a piece out today on football in Venezuela. Apparently, it is improving. Good to hear.

Shitty Headline of the Week: Bradley saddened by Egypt's latest soccer tragedy. Thankfully, the article is better. Bird wrote it.

Here's a fun little article on Liverpool. They're the best team in England. Sort of.

And The Special One good for the Premier League?



Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Super Mario Returns to Lift Liverpool Over Spurs, Arsenal Hang On, Villa In Trouble, QPR Stun Sunderland, More Mid-Week EPL, Copa del Rey

We have reached what is known in some circles as Hump Day. There were matches yesterday (see above) and there will be matches today. Yesterday's big news was that Mario Balotelli scored a goal. In the league. For Liverpool. To defeat Tottenham. Shocking, really. Let's get to it.

Liverpool 3 - 2 Tottenham: Phil McNulty at Anfield
Liverpool 3 - 2 Tottenham: Andy Hunter at Anfield
Liverpool 3 - 2 Tottenham: Three Quick Points
Arsenal 2 - 1 Leicester City: David Hytner at the Emirates Stadium
Arsenal 2 - 1 Leicester City: Three Observations
Arsenal 2 - 1 Leicester City: Five Thoughts
Hull City 2 - 0 Aston Villa: Richard Gibson at the KC Stadium
Sunderland 0 - 2 Queens Park Rangers: No light at the end of the tunnel for Sunderland

Louis van Gaal's bizarre response to accusations of playing the long ball have us headed for this: Top 10 Premier League Manager Meltdowns. Cue Kevin Keegan, duh. Oh, look! Everyone wants a piece! This piece is called, "When Premier League managers show the strain under pressure."

Not content with what's been rolled out about the Madrid Derby, Graham Hunter continues to wonder just how Diego Simeone gets it done.

Sticking in Spain, the Copa del Rey returns hoy. It's Barcelona vs. Villarreal. Go.

Right! Today's EPL matches. Here we go:

Chelsea vs. Everton: Preview
Southampton vs. West Ham: Preview

Julien Green. Remember that Yank Abroad? He's not doing so well over in Hamburg. Speaking of Yanks, Brian Strauss has an in-depth look at what's up with USMNT gaffer The Diving German.

And finally...who will make the Champions League from the Premier League?



Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Mid-Week EPL, Scribes, Goals of the Week, Podcast, LVG Fights Back

I am...The Zlatan!

Hi! We've got tons to get through today, so we're going to jump right in. Matches. Today. Of Import. Go.

Liverpool vs. Tottenham: Preview

Looks like Big Sam got under LVG's skin with his long ball United comments. Really, Louis?

Tuesday Funtime = Scribe Time

Where? Germany. Who? Andy Brassell. What? Wolfsburg bagged a bargain in signing Kevin de Bruyne

Where? South America. Who? Tim Vickery. Again? Yes. OK. What? Messi, Neymar, Sanchez: In search of South America's next star.

How about a European Team of the Week? How about Goals of the Week?

Podcast! This week: Oi oi. On today's Football Weekly, AC Jimbo is joined by Jacob Steinberg, Barry Glendenning and Owen Gibson to analyse all the weekend's Premier League action and look ahead to an exciting midweek round of games. We start at Spurs, fresh from their Harry Kane-inspired derby win against Arsenal. They next travel to Liverpool in a battle of the top four pretenders, while the Gunners are looking to bounce back against Leicester, whose manager Nigel Pearson went slightly postal on Saturday. Be afraid. Elsewhere, we hear Jonathan Wilson's final report from Equatorial Guinea after he witnessed Ivory Coast finally getting their hands on the Africa Cup of Nations trophy, and we've even got time for Sid Lowe to tell us about another hammering for Real Madrid at the hands (feet?) of city rival Atlético.

Marcotti is musing. This week it's Real Madrid's woe, Barry's fairy tale, Chelsea stay grounded, Barca surge. Gab on, Gabby.

What else? AC Milan are struggling. And that, friends, is bad for Italian football.

And finally...Alex Morgan with a sick move.



Monday, February 09, 2015

At Least 25 Dead in Egypt, Atlético Madrid and Tottenham Win Derbies, Everton & Liverpool Draw, USA Defeat Panama

You know, there was a ton of great football this weekend, but when you wake up on Monday morning to this bullshit, it kind of ruins things. Let's take a moment.


OK. On to the soccer. The weekend knocked off with a bang at White Hart Lane. Harry "Big Daddy" Kane continued his rich vein of form as Spurs defeated Arsenal 2-1. SSN Staff barely had a chance to catch their breath before Atlético Madrid turned the Vicente Calderón into a fiesta grande with a 4-0 thrashing of city rivals Real. Elsewhere, it was honors even on Merseyside, Blind saved United's blushes at the death at the Boleyn Ground, Juventus cruised past Milan, The Zlatan scored to rescue a point for PSG, Hull held Manchester City at the Eithad, and Ivory Coast won the African Cup of Nations. As is customary, we'll begin with the Premier League, where there is a ton of great stuff to get through.

Tottenham 2 - 1 Arsenal: James Riach at White Hart Lane
Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool: Phil McNulty at Goodison Park
Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool: Paul Wilson at Goodison Park

Everton 0 - 0 Liverpool: Three Thoughts
Aston Villa 1 - 2 Chelsea: Chris Bevan at Villa Park

West Ham 1 - 1 Manchester United: Barney Ronay at Upton Park
Manchester City 1 - 1 Hull City: Jamie Jackson at the Etihad Stadium

The African Cup of Nations is over and Ivory Coast actually won the damn thing! Here:

African Cup of Nations Review: High & Lows of the Tournament
Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (9-8 on penalties): Report
Ivory Coast 0-0 Ghana (9-8 on penalties): Highlights

Diego knows...

Holy Toledo! Atlético Madrid spanked Real Madrid, yo! Guillem Balague says that Atlético were "perfect." El Sid Lowe was on the scene and filed this report. More? Here are Five Things We Learned in La Liga over the weekend, including the fact that Barca are now favorites for the title. Yes, the title race is on!

Over in Italy, Juventus continues to dominate Serie A. They had little trouble with struggling Milan. Elsewhere, Inter (!), Napoli, and Roma won. Here's a wee wrap. More tomorrow with Paolo.

The United States Men's National Team played a match over the weekend. Indeed. Tis true. The opposition was Panama, and it all went down in L.A. Carson at the Stub Hub. Here's some information on how it all played out. And here are Three Things We Learned.

Banners in L.A.

And's come to this in Brazil.