It’s a TSG travel day….so you’ll have to bear with us here. Oh, and just phenomenal community commentary on England-States, Algeria and US friendlies yesterday…..TSG will get a write-up going on some of that commentary shortly.
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• Valenciennes v. Sochaux (Sunday)
It’s January 2010. Our Charlie Davies Watch is in hyper drive. T-minus 100 days or less….Awe-inspiring.
• Stades Rennes v. Grenoble
Rennes and Captain Boca host bottom table dweller Grenoble this weekend. Our guess, Boca in the 18, not in the 11.
• Hull City v. Wolverhampton
Marcus Hahnemann is a near lock for South Africa at this point. Jozy Altidore’s candidacy was never really in question.
First, we hope for progress in JZA’s native Haiti and that the volume of supplies arrive and distribute at a faster pace. If you haven’t donated yet, check out the cause over on the left. It takes but a minute.
Perhaps we’re USMNT fans, but we’d like to see Big Jeezy pair Amr Zaki up front, especially if Jimmy Bullard is not fit to conduct the play through the middle.
Zaki is a strong frontman but we’d like to see him ahead of Jozy in the Craig Fagan role.
Tough call here against Wolverhampton, but you’ll likely see Jozy in the 18, but on the bench to start we imagine with his time off. Richard Garcia and Craig Fagan start with the Egyptian, and not the American, likely first off the bench.’
The Jozy Altidore Goal Watch stands at 146 days….
• Birmingham v. Tottenaham
(FSC, 7AM, PST)
Are you loving Birmingham in 8th place in their first year? I am.
Despite a 3-0 beatdown at the feet of Ancelotti’s bullies this past Wednesday, I love everthing that Birmingham does, not least of which is play one of the best team games I’ve seen at the Premier level in at least the past two years.
I even like Birmingham’s front office move. What day is today? January 29th. Two days left in the January transfer market and they make a below market big for a striker from their opponent this weekend, Roman Pavlyuchencko. RP, as we’ll call him, has gotten into all of 4 games for ‘Arry Rednapp this year. With Rednapp bringing in Barcelona castoff, Eidur Gudjohonsson (a good move in our mind) he needs to or at the very least would like to rid himself of RP.
So Birmingham makes a below market move, offering a life line for the Russian striker. Should RP make it St. Andrew’s Stadium and with a bit of a label of a malcontent, the talented frontman will need to be on his best behavior to push for a move at the end of the year. If it doesn’t work, Birmingham City could just cite “known issues” with RP and dismiss him dully at the end of the campaign. Great work, City.
Flipping over to the Tottenham side, the subject du hier was Young Player bridesmaid Aaron Lennon. (Lennon has been beaten out the past three years for the Young Player of the Year award by Rooney, Ronaldo and Ashley Young).
News out that, despite this game being on FSC, you won’t be able to see Lennon as the speedy wingman is still battling a groin injury. Given the June 12th clash that has TSG abuzz, we’ll inventory this injury in our “Medic!” report.
TSG will still be watching this one to see Luka Modric’s progression back from injury and if and how he unlocks Birmingham’s defense.
• Wigan v. Lanverton
(FSC, 4PM, PST)
I know, I know. Joe Max-Moore, Timmy Howard and we’re calling it Lanverton? Let’s just call it a marketing thing for now. If this game was at home for the Bluenosers, I could see Everton going off to the tune of 3 or 4 goals in their current form. On the road, probably a draw at worse, two-goal victory at best.
TSG will be watching later in the day….
• Liverpool Reds v. Bolton Holdens
Gosh, I’m going to love that moniker. And once TSG gets a little more standing in the Bolton community and on their message boards, we’re going to suggest a logo improvement for the team. (See our piece yesterday on Bolton’s branding).
We love the Bolton fans already and we posed them a question about who the preferred starting midfield is right now? Stu Holden didn’t nary a mention. Check out their comments here, and if you take part in the discussion be cordial as these guys are great.
Oh, and if you didn’t see it Jack Wilshere is joining the foray in the middle as well. Here’s manager Owen Coyle on his now crowded midfield.
Our TSG assessment, Stu better gear up for play in the middle because with Wilshere potentially on the left and Chung Yong Lee firing on the right (and with Vladamir Weiss able to play either side), Holden’s got a real hard challenge of making it on the outside now.
The Iceman and the rest of the Wanderers head to Anfield to take on 2010 underarchievers Liverpool, who really need to get out from under their coach.
I’m wondering if Hicks and company at Liverpool just don’t want to spend the money on a coaching change.
On the positive side, Maxi Rodriguez looks like he’s going to be a contributor.
• Burnley v. Chelsea on FSC at 9:30 PST….zzzz….zzzz…zzzz
• Fulham v. Villa Friedels
Interested to see how Fulham attack in the absence of Clint Dempsey….and I flubbed the rest of this preview–see commentary below if interested.
Bo Munchen v. Werder Bremann
Can’t find this game on the dial, but I would love to see Michael Bradley go up against Mesut Ozil. Bradley seems to be gaining form and TSG labeled Ozil one of our “1o Offenders to Watch in World Cup 2010.”
Eintracht v. FC Cologne
Rambo’s first game? Get’em Rico.
Rangers v. Falkirk
USMNT roster hopefuls DaMarcus Beasley and Maurice Edu take on bottom of the table Falkirk. Not sure of Beasley’s availability yet.
One note here in that Rangers look set to transfer Pedro Mendes to Sporting Lisbon. With Rothen’s move out of Ibrox, there is a little more room in the line-up for the Yanks.
TSG will have our February look at the USMNT roster early next week, but consider this when it comes out:
The SPL is a tough as nails league, the Mexican league is easily a “softer” and less physical league. Who do you think has a leg-up on roster spots for South Africa 2010? Edu and Beasley or Edgar Castillo and Jose Francisco Torres.
Serie A (Sunday)
AC Milan v. Livorno
We’ll finish up today with a question from the community:
“A comment on Onyewu. He is injured and is likely to be back in March. Do you think he’ll get enough playing time at Milan to be match fit because from the handful of Milan games I have seen, Nesta and Silva are playing well and I am not sure Onyewu will dislodge them in the starting XI.”
The answer is categorically, “No, I don’t see Gooch getting nearly enough playing time.”
It is clear that the Milan defense (as shown by their up-one-man, 2-0 loss in the derby to Inter last weekend) is in disarray without Nesta on the field. Silva for his part have been just a bull on defense for Milan.
Gooch….if fit, he’s insurance at a low cost for Milan right now. We’ll see what the next few months bring.
We’ll probably break a column out for the Man U-Arsenal clash.