You’ve got Birmingham v. Manchester City on Sunday and that’s it.
Meanwhile Saturday, your day to stay in, brings us a full docket of very interesting games.
Here we go….
• All eyes will be on Turf Moor as Hull City travel to Burnely’s home pitch in an important away game for the crisis-bound side. As the chronology goes, Phil Brown gets vote of confidence on Tuesday of this week from Hull City chairman Paul Duffen. Wednesday reports surface that Coach Call Center is on the outs and has left the park (only to be refuted) and Thursday the same chairman who backed Brown is removed.
Seems only days until Brown is gone. While it’s sometimes hard to can a coach after a win, I wouldn’t put it past Hull City in this case. That being said a loss to Burnley, does that nearly assures an exit for the Hull City manager?
An important away game for Hull as much as an important homestand for Burnley. Come end of the campaign, this game could be looked back on as a key match in determining relegation.
TSG is just looking for Jozy to make the 18 here.
• Clock set for the early game here with wobbly Tottenham caravanning to Emirates to take on the Gunners on ESPN 2. If there were no college football, this game might be a ratings bonanza.
Lack of finishing last week caught up with Tottenham in their loss to Stoke City and they’re really going to want to right the ship this week. Arsenal, who let in two unanswered to draw with West Ham seven days past, righted their own ship against Liverpool (thanks for the correction Dan) in the Carling Cup but Old Man Wenger is looking for a lot more effort and maturity out of his squad. Tottenham will have a tough and most likley insurmountable task away as they travel without Jermain Defoe, Luka Modric and Aaron Lennon.
Is it me or is this Vita Mannone-Manuel Almunia situation eerily reminiscent of when Almunia supplanted Lehmann in net two years back. The
numbers are a bit staggering for Mannone over Almunia in the EPL:
Mannone: 5 games, 19 saves, 5 goals conceded
Almunia: 4 games, 9 saves, 8 goals conceded
Any chance the 32-year-old Spaniard heads elsewhere? Is the 21-year-old Mannone too precocious?
And speaking of Lennon, in other news, somehow TheShinGuardian.com came up in a search this past week for “What’s Aaron Lennon’s shoe size?”
For the one person who found our publication that way, TSG lobbed in a question on your behalf here and we’ll post the answer if and when we get it.
• While the Daily Mirror may not be the best source of English football information, they are at least on target when they stretch the truth. Possible news this week that Man U will swoop for the Davids of Valencia, Silva and Villa.
Silva, as we’ve mentioned before, would bring much needed talent and stability to the midfield. Paul Scholes could focus on retiring, Michael Carrick on getting his career back on track and Ryan Giggs would only need to flash his fading brilliance occasionally.
Villa, a top 10 global striker, and quite possibly top 5, would be, in our opinion, an excellent pairing with the industrious Rooney up the pitch. Dimitar Berbatov could then concentrate on a move to City, consuming some Red Bull to get his energy level up, or backing up Andriy Shevchenko at Dynamo Kyiv.
If Man U don’t make some serious renovation to their Trafford squad this January, you can starting believing the buzz that the selling of Cristiano was much more financially motivated than anything else. (Manchester United has a staggering 1.8B in debt on the books….WOW!)
Man U are home against relegation material Blackburn in the late game. Whoa is Blackburn.
• Bolton vs. Chelsea Saturday after Chelsea overwhelmed the Wanderers in the Carling Cup, 4-0 this week. Maybe Ancelloti and Megson can just meet beforehand and agree upon a 1-0 Chelsea win and we can be done with this?
• If you’re an Everton fan, then you now know just how huge the loss of Joleon Lescott, compounded by the loss of Phil Neville was and is. While castigators will certainly fault Tim Howard for not being Plasticman or something, just a peek at the goals scored against Timmy show a shockingly disorganized
defense. For a fan and columnist alike, it’s truly perplexing just how bad the backline is because Hietinga, Distin, Hibbert are at least individually decent players in the back. Alas Moyes has tried everything (Heitinga in central defense as Yobo goes one ice) to try and plug the holes….in the dam.
Everton always start slow, but you can pretty much kiss a top 5 finish goodbye at this point. As for the defense, let’s get Chad Marshall in there to get some experience in front of Timmy before the World Cup–it would invaluable–not plausible, but invaluable.
Everton hope to the hear cheers, not jeers at home when they face Aston Villa Saturday. After some commentary in our USMNT injury piece, TSG is going to be going full 411 on Villa reserve and American up-and-comer Eric Lichaj going forward.
Our first report: Lichaj not likely to be in the 18.
(Note thanks to TSG contributor “Tuesday,” I’m all over learning about this Lichaj fellow. Here is a little nugget from a game review Monday that is sure to whet your USMNT appetite: “And two minutes later a cross by impressive American left-back Lichaj beat Nicholson at the far post and Cian Hughton headed over.” (Courtesy South Devon News.) A few “keywords or key terms” here: “left-back,” “a cross,” “impressive American.” Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy.)
• More Americans on the pitch as the Dempseys take on Liverpool at home–another Torres test for a top flight defense and the Spectors travel to Sunderland.
• Pleasantly enjoyable was the Real Salt Lake Royals v. Colorado Offseasons last Saturday. This Saturday boasts the playoffs and RSL taking on Columbus. If I can watch the game I’ll be looking at, in no particular order: Robbie Findley for a second game in a row which….will….parlay…into Chad Marshall in central defense for the Abercrombies–is he all better? Also catching my eye will be the play of Robbie Rogers, Eddie Gaven and Frankie Excitement. Anyone else TSG should pay attention to?
• If we get time on Sunday, we’ll be transfixed on two players: Chris Rolfe and Omar Gonzalez — alas they won’t be going head-to-head.
• Feel free to comment on what TSG is missing on the MLS as we get up to speed on the league. I can’t promise yet we’ll do the deep dive next year, but of the games we’ve watched intently, it’s been entertaining. Gosh, I sound so elitist. In other news, my $999 Sony Vaio is missing an “h” in case you see a lot of misspellings — okay we balanced out that elitist comment.
• With this–perhaps–admission via Twitter in response to in-game commentary that he lost his spot in the 18 due to too much partying, we are hereby temporarily changing the nickname of Mr. Adu. For the time being, you are “The Subdued Freddy Adu”– you will reclaim “The Renewed” when you get back into the starting 11 and follow-up on your Twitter promises of dedication. C’mon Freddy, we’ve got your back. Make us believe.
And by the way, if I find you playing Fifa late night with JZA again, I’m going to fly Pablo Mastroeni over there to red card you off the pitch. Get my drift.
Freddy’s club Belensenses takes on FC Porto on Friday evening at 4pm EST. If you haven’t seen Porto play yet, you should tune in for at least a minute or so just to see their striker, the incredible Hulk. Actually, we’re not kidding the 23-year-old, 5-11,170 lbs., Brazilian Givanildo Vieira de Souza is officially known as the Hulk. He is the spitting image of David Banner’s alter ego and is apparently prone to temper tantrums as well. Take a look at his skill below.
(Warning! Warning! Only turn the sound on in the video below if you’re tuning in from Hvar or Ibiza at 4am in the morning with a sweat-stained shirt and a Fruitopia in hand…where was I going with this again?)
• And TSG wishes a bon voyage to the original rasta Henrik Larsson who bid a tearful goodbye Thursday night in Sweden to close his career at the age of 38. Larsson, a one time captain of the Swedish national team, was a consumate pro and fan favorite along stops at Celtic, Barcelona and Man United. He’s best known for his Celtic days and take a look here at his first return to Celtic Park sporting a Barcelona jersey. $20 says Brett Favre’s return this week in Green Bay doesn’t come close.
On that note, enjoy the weekend.