Friday, March 13, 2015

Weekend Previews, Gonzalo Higuain, Gareth Bale, Porto

And so it goes. This weekend has a few nice ones on the docket to which we can look forward. Specifically, Chelsea vs. Southampton, Manchester United vs. Tottenham, and Marseille vs. Lyon. There are also the London-centric matches of QPR vs. Crystal Palace and Arsenal vs. West Ham to enjoy. Let's get to the fun.

Gonzalo Higuain. He's recovered his touch of late for Napoli. James Horncastle takes a closer look at the Argentine striker. Also in the Europa League, Everton came from behind to nick Dynamo Kiev, Wolfsburg also came from behind to win at home vs. Inter, and holders Sevilla won at Villarreal. Here's a round-up. But, wait! There's more!

Things are not going well for Real Madrid at the moment, and they are especially not going well for Gareth Bale. The Spanish media are all over the guy. Take a gander. Meanwhile, on the other part of the Iberian Peninsula, Porto are quietly kicking some major ass in the Champions League. Could these kids surprise a biggy in the next round?

Fresh on the heel of the antics at Villa Park, The Joy of Six is...Pitch Invasions! Featuring NFL and MLB? Oh, well.

And finally...this from Louise Taylor: It’s Europe’s hottest title race – but who will prevail in the Championship?

Enjoy the weekend.



Thursday, March 12, 2015

Chelsea + PSG = EPIC!!

Wow. Wow. Wow, wow, wow. What a week of matches! Monday was the match at Old Trafford, Tuesday gave us the goal fest in Madrid, and yesterday, well, yesterday. Once The Zlatan saw red after the Chelsea players cried bloody murder, you thought that was it. Not so. Let's get to the fallout, of which there is plenty!!

Chelsea 2 - 2 PSG (3-3 on agg; PSG win on away goals): Phil McNulty at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 - 2 PSG (3-3 on agg; PSG win on away goals): Daniel Taylor at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 - 2 PSG (3-3 on agg; PSG win on away goals): Henry Winter at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 - 2 PSG (3-3 on agg; PSG win on away goals): Barney Ronay at Stamford Bridge
Chelsea 2 - 2 PSG (3-3 on agg; PSG win on away goals): Six Talking Points

Wait. There was another match yesterday? Oh, right. Just the minor concern of Bayern Munich putting SEVEN past Shakhtar Donetsk. Ouch. Andy Cryer was in Munich and filed this report.

There's more action in Europe in the form of the...Europa League this afternoon. To be fair, Europe's second-class citizen has offered a bunch of great football this year. We've certainly enjoyed it. Here's a Round of 16 Preview and a bit more on Fiorentina's Chelsea loanee Mohamed Salah ahead of his side's clash with Roma. Oh, and What to Watch.

Jonathan Wilson's got a question and it's a fine one, indeed. It is this: "So, Louis van Gaal, what exactly is your Manchester United ‘philosophy’?"

Woof. That'll have to do.



Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Schalke Almost Do It, Porto Cruise, Chelsea vs. PSG, Tim Howard

Have we arrived at Hump Day already? Geez, where does the time go? Schalke certainly wish they had just a bit more time yesterday after they came this close to a shocking upset in Madrid. Indeed, they won the match, but fell 5-4 on the aggregate. Gabriele Marcotti thinks a lot of Real's problems this season stem from issues at the top. As in, their president, Florentino Perez.

In the other Champions League match, Porto advanced with ease over Basel.

Today's doozy is Chelsea vs. PSG. The Zlatan and Co. go to London after the 1-1 draw in Paris in the first leg. Here's a preview. And a bit more on PSG from Julien Laurens, as well as a bit more on Chelsea from Jim White.

In the evening's other match, Shakhtar Donetsk go to Munich very much alive after a scoreless draw in the first leg. Here's a preview. And Raphael Honigstein has a nice little ditty about how Bayern Munich changed Patrick Stewart Arjen Robben.

Hey, look at this. Grant Wahl has a Q&A with Timmy. What's gone wrong at Everton, Tim?

Hey! That's it. Have a good one.



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Arsenal Beat Manchester United, Sid Lowe in Spain, Tim Vickery in Brazil, Paolo Bandini in Italy, Champions League, No Beers For Racists

Wow! After reading all the stuff about the great Man U/Arsenal matches over the years it really makes you think that the latest iteration won't be up to snuff. Not so! These two sides turned back the clock in a pulsating affair that ended 2 - 1 in favor of the visitors. And you know what? The referee was actually quite good! That hasn't happened in a while! Check the rhyme:

Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal: Phil McNulty at Old Trafford
Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal: Daniel Taylor at Old Trafford
Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal: Three Quick Observations
Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal: Five Talking Points
Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal: Five Things We Learned
Manchester United 1 - 2 Arsenal: Three Things We Learned

Here's your draw for the FA Cup Semi-Finals:

Bradford or Reading vs. Arsenal
Aston Villa vs. Liverpool or Blackburn
Ties to be played April 18/19

In Serie A last night, Paul Pogba boosted Juventus' title hopes with another sick (winning) goal in Turin. Juve are now 11 points clear. In the other match, Lazio had little trouble with Fiorentina, dispatching La Viola 4 - 1 in Rome.


Where? Spain. Who? Guillem Balague. What? Madrid are seriously considering sacking coach Carlo Ancelotti

Where? Germany. Who? Uli Hesse. What? The Fall of VfB Stuttgart

Where? Brazil. Who? Tim Vickery. What? Dunga has much to ponder

More matches today! The Champions League returns. Real Madrid have pretty much got it locked up, but Porto and Basel have it all to play for. Here:

Champions League: Key Questions
Real Madrid vs. Schalke 04: Preview
Porto vs. Basel: Preview

Tuesday = Marcotti's Musings. This week Gab is gabbing that Barcelona take a big edge in La Liga's title race, Lyon rebound in style, more.

Major League Soccer has resumed, and with it, Power Rankings!

Woof! That'll do for this Tuesday. Keep it tite.



Monday, March 09, 2015

Villa Park Pitch Invasion, Messi Sets Hat-Trick Record, Jozy Scores Goals, Manchester United vs. Arsenal

Good times at Villa Park...
Holy Monday! We've got loads to get through today. So much happened over the weekend in England, the U.S., Spain, Italy, Germany, and...AND...we've got the minor matter of an F.A. Cup Quarterfinal clash between Manchester United and Arsenal (3:45 p.m. EDT on FOX Sports1) to address. Sadly, we're forced to begin in Birmingham, where Villa and West Brom fans lost the plot. Here's all the fallout from the madness at Villa Park:

Aston Villa 2 - 0 West Brom: Stuart James at Villa Park

More F.A. Cup? Yes, there will be more, in the form of replays. As for what happened over the weekend, there weren't that many goals. Here are your reports:

Liverpool 0 - 0 Blackburn: Jamie Jackson at Anfield
Liverpool 0 - 0 Blackburn: Three Quick Thoughts
Bradford City 0 - 0 Reading: Louise Taylor at Valley Parade

There was one Premier League game and it was Big Daddy Kane who once again led Spurs to victory, this time at QPR. Adam Williams was at Loftus Road and filed this report.

Over in Spain, Lionel Messi has now scored more hat-tricks than anyone else in the history of La Liga. His latest came amidst the rout of Rayo Vallecano. Sticking with Spain, there were some additional results of interest over the weekend. Atletico Madrid and Valencia drew, and (gasp!) Real Madrid lost to Athletic Bilbao! Here are Five Things We Learned in La Liga this weekend. Your table now looks like this, with Real Madrid facing Barcelona at Camp Nou on March 22:

Well, things got underway in the 'Ol U.S. of A., don't you know? Seattle and L.A. won. Jozy Altidore scored not one, but two (!) goals. Back in Sunderland they are shaking their fists, we're sure. Down in the Citrus Bowl, Orlando City and NYCFCFCNY drew. Here are Ten Reactions to MLS Opening Saturday and Five Things We Learned From Opening Weekend in Major League Soccer.

Back in Italy, Napoli and Inter Milan drew, as did Chievo and Napoli. Here's a Serie A Wrap for that ass. Today league-leaders Juve look to increase their gap when they host Sussudio in Turin, and Lazio host Fiorentina. More domani with Paolo.


Right! The big one this afternoon. Let's get right to it!

Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Preview
Manchester United vs. Arsenal: Five Key Questions

And finally...sad news for a good guy. Cagliari have fired Zola.