Wow, good to be back. I just flew in from Carson and boy are my arms tired.
Without further bad humor, away we go to check out TV schedules, Americans knocking around the stuffing abroad and some better jokes from DaMarcus Beasley.
Sorry, we just wanted to lead with a little Jay DeMerit love. Demerit and Watford take on Doncaster Rovers on Saturday. Can’t wait to see you in Hamsterdam, JDM.
• Stay in Bed Alert
The early game Saturday pits Stoke City vs. Liverpool. Our you could just say it pits two teams in horrible form that are allowing me to count a few extra sheep.
The Reds will likely welcome Madrid’s Maxi Rodriguez, cue customary clip, to the 18 and will likely not welcome Aquilani to the pitch until the 2nd half.
When is Rafa going to admit his Aquilani blunder? Even Jermaine Jones has better fitness than that fellow. More Jones in a bit.
• Might England’s nasty weather have cost Jozy his EPL job next year?
Perhaps indirectly. What if Hull City gets relegated by one point? Why do we ask?
Well, the Tigers were all set to square of with Chelsea at KC Stadium last Saturday in a game that is now rescheduled for a later date. That would have been a Chelsea side severely weakened by the loss of Essien, Drogba, Kalou, Obi Mikel and with Nicolas Anelka probably, but not definite, set to return from injury.
A less than Herculean task to compete against that Blues squad? Possible that Phil Brown’s squad could have eeked out a home draw against Ancellotti’s secondary minions? Very possible. Now the game will be rescheduled when Chelsea is at full strength. Ooy!
Should Hull fall by a point and lose that Chelsea return game, well then curse those snowflakes.
Hull City roll into White Hart Lane to take on Tottenham Saturday.
Speaking of Tottenham, aren’t we do for another soccer piece from the Sports Guy professing his burgeoning soccer fandom any day now. His Pats are gonzo from the playoffs–Mark’s Jets are still very much alive I might add–Jozy vs. Tottenham….it’s lay-up for the Sports Guy…he could even write a book on it and promote it incessantly.
• It May Very Well Be the June 12th Match-up
In the late game Saturday–and the one you’re going to want to check out–Micah Richards and Manchester City head to Goodison Park to check out Lando, Tim and Everton.
As we mentioned earlier this week in our “Beat England” schematic, Glen Johnson is battling ligament damage–that never goes as planned–and the player pulling his weight most in the prospective Lions’ backline is Manchester City’s Micah Richards. Once a rising star, Richards set out too early in the party circuit before developing his game. It now looks like he is getting more serious about his profession. Should Glen J not make his way back, it could very well be the y0ungster Richards that Lando is challenging down the USMNT’s right flank in South Africa.
We’re sure to see Donovan go up at least once against Richards….who will be playing inside with Kolo Toure supporting Ivory Coast in the African Cup. Worth the price of admission.
Some “diamonds” on this one:
◊ I wonder what USMNT Fitness Coach Pierre Barrieu–who Mark interviewed this week–would think of Man City’s planned changes to their pre-game menu.
◊ Visit Everton’s home site for some video clips of Landon Donovan.
• Chelsea welcome Sunderland to the Bridge Saturday.
New manager John Terry promises changes if Chelsea continue to have trouble on set pieces. Oh wait, he’s part of that back line.
• Hey O’Neil, We Want a Lichaj Recall!
Paging Villa manager Martin O’Neil (nerd alert!…apparently my brother Mark says I’m the only one that still finds that phrase funny), TSG is lobbying for a return to the senior squad for Eric Lichaj. Look, the USMNT could certainly use another EPL player to contend in defense and we’ve never seen the guy on TV in 2009 or so far in 2010. It’s simple: Recall + Lichaj=Netherland Friendly….that’s solid TSG math.
Plus if you add Lichaj, you’ve got Friedel, Guzan (and if you count American owner Randy Lerner), you’re competing right up there with Everton for the moniker, “American FC East.” Make it happen, Martin.
The Villians match the Hammers in the early game Sunday.
And speaking of the Hammers, with Joe Hart likely to get a call in for Fabio Capello what does that say about West Ham’s ace goalkeeper Robert Green? Out of the picture completely for the national side? Let’s all rally for the shaky Green so that Jonathan Spector can divulge his strengths and weaknesses on June 12th. Man, do we have Cup fever.
• After interviewing Sacha Kljestan this week, TSG was trying to come up with an overseas player that he most reminded us of. Enter Morten Gamst Pederson. Same vicious striking ability, same passing vision and an inauspicious and challenging year or two in his mid 20’s. Sounds about right.
Current Pederson’s at the top of his game for Blackburn. The Rovers invite over Clint Dempsey’s gnarly striking ability and the rest of the Cottagers in the late game on Sunday.
• Hey USMNT fans, let’s look a little further down the line on Jermaine Jones. Suppose Jones–who’s yet to play a match since the summer–does eventually come back. Do you really want a player with a chronic injury who is just returning to be counted on so heavily for South Africa? Isn’t that exactly what fans condemned Bruce Arena for with his selection of John O’Brien in 2006.
It’s one thing to come back from an injury and show that you’re still a sturdy player, it’s another thing to hope for it once a player is on the pitch.
What does this mean in the short term? Rico Clark should find his overseas team and suit up…pronto. While much of the press has been about Holden’s travels, Clark has emphatically stated that he’s looking for a new team in another league. TSG will have more on Clark next week, but hopefully have an up date on his whereabouts before then.
Oh and I’ll care more about who Schalke plays once JJ’s back taking reps.
• The positive: Only 3 yellow cards on the campaign for Mikey Bradley. The negative: Only that one assist that we pointed out a month back. C’mon Mikey, pick it up. Bo Munchen takes on VFL Bochum on Saturday.
• SPL: Rangers run it back against Hamilton Academic who they drew 3-3 in the Scottish Cup last weekend.
Not much more on this one as both sides faced off last week, except asking the question of the native language in Scotland. DaMarcus Beasley had us laughing….or is that Ocho Cinco under that muffler and hat….separated at birth?
• Ligue 1: While our next Captain Boca piece is baking in the oven, our magnifying glass will be squarely on the box score, hoping for Mr. America to take the pitch again as Rennes face Lens in league play. With Rennes having 3 games in 8 days, we’re expecting, rather unfortunately, that Bocanegra was just providing respite for the new backline on Wednesday.
On that Wednesday game, Captain Carlos started and played 120′ mins Wednesday again stop squad Lille in the French Cup. TSG erred a few weeks back by not honorable mentioning Lille striker extraordinaire Gervinho in our “10 Offenders to Watch in World Cup 2010″ piece. Alas the Ivorian–who’s got 11 goals on just 32 shots in the Ligue 1 campaign–was absent in Angola. Mark him down to check out come cup time…along with his teammate Didier Drogba, of course.
• Like they say, always finish strong. Unless you have USMNTitis of course. Fresh off a cup win Wednesday, Aris F.C., the new squad of Eddie Johnson and Freddy Adu, take on PAS Ioannia. The only player on Ioannia that I recognized was Ivorian Ibrahima Bakayoko. Huh? Well, he’s the guy that Joe Max Moore beat out at Everton for a striker slot. The rest of the Ioannia’s players are all Greek to me.