TSG will be away from the broadband typewriter this weekend.
• Birminghammers host the Toffees
(Saturday, 7am PST, FSC)
This is the one game I want to attempt to catch this weekend. The team I root for vs….the team I have a mancrush on this season, Birmingham.
Likely and scheduled-to-be Donovan’s final game in Toffee….pink, check out Cristian Benitez for the home side for the Blues and allow yourself to daydream for a second….Benitez is probably a perfect cross between a Robbie Findley and a Charlie Davies….maybe Landon can talk the Ecuadorian into sneaking on the plane with the United States with, say, a number 19 on his back?
Birmingham plays a solid team game and this should be a good fight for Everton on foreign terrain. Joe Hart, a potential Seamen heir, will be between the wickets for the home side.
• Arsenal at Hull City
(Saturday, 9:30PST, FSC)
Arsene Wenger is making a big deal out of Cesc missing this one? Are you joking? In the late game Saturday, Arsenal bombs its attack (count’em five big ones against Porto) northward to take on Jozy and his Tigers…I mean pussycats. At least that is how they’re playing. For perspective, Hull’s played 15 away on the year, conceded 39 and scored but 8. Sour.
I’m not sure if Hull has called it a day on the campaign or not, but this is the same team that kicked and scraped its way through a 6 goal shellacking by Liverpool early in the year. I’m not seeing the same pride.
Phil Brown’s strategy to me is confusing offensively. It’s like he can’t decide whether to go over the top or attack quickly from the flanks and thus he’s putting out line-ups that sort-of don’t make sense. If you’re going to play with some speed up top last weekend in Zaki and Garcia, then why do you start Nick Barnby on the wing instead of putting in Geovanni.
Conversely, you bring in Geo and now Jozy at the same time, who arguably play two different offensive styles. It’s almost like Brown is saying, “I don’t know….I give up. Maybe next time we’ll flip Myhill and VofH.”
If Jozy starts, look for the battle against Sol Campbell and Thomas Vermaelen…should be a good one.
• Chelsea v. West Ham
This will likely get ugly. The Hammers’ defense look downright Hull City-like last weekend in taking a beating against none other than powerhouse Bolton. This weekend they travel to the Bridge and they’ll be singing the Blues.
Hopefully Zola keeps Diamanti in the starting eleven…as well as Specs.
• Yawn Squad
Bolton v. Wigan, Burnley v. Wolverhampton. The second one is relegation battle between two teams that deserve to vie for the top of the division…the Championship division.
Sorry Marcus…not looking great for your side right now.
• Manchester United v. Fulham
Old Trafford is the scene Saturday as the Red Devils arguably should face better competition from the Cottagers than they did from the Rossoneri.
All USMNT fans want to see here is a healthy Deuce don the pitch and get jiggy with Rio Ferdinand.
• Liverpool v. Portsmouth
Let me tell you a tale about two teams.
Team A is a top EPL club. They’ve had injuries to their top striker, a top 10 striker in the world. They’ve also had injuries to their number one playmaker here and there who is the captain and spine of the club.
They brought in a major acquisition in the beginning of the year to replace an outgoing fan favorite of a player.
Their fans believe they don’t spend enough money on players, however they brought in reinforcements in the January transfer window to give their offense a little pep.
Team B is a top EPL club as well. They’ve had injuries to their top striker, a top 10 striker in the world. They’ve also had injuries to their number one playmaker who is the captain and spine of the club. They too brought in a major acquisition in the beginning of the year to replace an outgoing player at a critical position.
Their fans believe they don’t spend enough money on players, and despite yet another injury to one of their strikers for the middle of the campaign they did not make a major purchase in the January issue.
Team A has 48 points and sits 6th in the table and may have dealt themselves out of the Champion’s League picture in 2011. Team B has 61 points, is still in contention for the Premiership title AND is still alive in the Champion’s League 2010.
Team A has Rafa Benitez. Team B has Arsene Wenger.
It’s not the ownership at Liverpool.
• Baron Von Bo’Munchen take on Wolfsburg
Baby Sweatpants meet Manchester United target Edin Dzeko who made TSG’s “All Not Going” (to WC ’10) team. Shut him down.
• Hannover vs. Frankfurt
We should just dub this the “Wannabee Starting Spot Cup” as it’s Stevie ‘Dolo vs. Rico Clark…neither are sitting pretty in the US’s top eleven, though both will likely make the plane in plenty of time.
• Watford, Plymouth Argyle battling to avoid relegation in the Championship
Jay DeMerit’s Hornets have the more pivotal game this weekend as they battle bottom of the table Petersborough United (once thought to be a suitable destination on loan for Aston Villa American Eric Lichaj). Watford folk have some opinion on JDM’s World Cup year form here.
Kenny Cooper just wants to get some run as Plymouth face Coventry.
• Carlos Bocanegra and Rennes take on Valenciennes and Malian wonderkid Mamadou Samassa, 6 goals, 13 games on loan from Marseille.
• DMB, Mr. Twitter and the Rangers take on cagey Dundee United: Pencil in Dundee United as the team that does the most with the talent they have as they sit 3rd in the SPL table. Let’s also hopefully pencil in Mr. Twitter Mo Edu for a spot in the starting 11. A game winner at Celtic gets you two turns as a sub. That doesn’t make sense.
• We lost track of him there for a second, but now we’ve got ’em. Gabriel Ferrari, loaned from Italian Third Division side Foggia to Ternana Calcia in the January window. Ferrari’s got 4 appearances and one goal for Terni…that one goal coming against Foggia. Suit him up Bob Bradley…along with Grella, Jemal Johnson, Preston Zimmerman and anyone with just a little speed, wink.
Where is our tie in? Ternana battles Rimini this weekend which hosts the largest beach ultimate frisbee tournament in the world, where TSG running commentary man Shaun has won the championship. What a stretch…
• I don’t know anything about the Portugese Liga except what I got from Freddy Adu tweets a few months ago. Now, I have a reason to pay attention as Syracuse, New York native Gale Agbossoumonde looks to make his first start for the 2nd place Braga. ‘Cuse, in the house!
• Oh, and Sunday–we should probably drop this one in there–top of the table Barcelona (it’s done on head-to-head folks, not goal difference) takes on 3rd spotter Valencia. Just some players in this one named Villa, Messi, Silva, Xavi and Ibrahimovic.
• Here’s my hope for Monday morning. That I wake up to 50,000 retweets about Chris Rolfe’s 2nd half appearance that yielded a goal and assist for AaB against FC Midgetland and how Bob Bradley needs to start him against Turkey. Look both you and I want that 80th minute option off the bench in South Africa. I’m sticking with Bedoya or the six million dollar man Charlie Davies , but it sure would be nice to capture some Charlie-In-A-Bottle with 90 days left from an unknown.
• And we’ll close with a preview for next weekend. In case you’re hungry, ESPN360 (love the product) gives you Bayer Leverkusen on March 14th….vs. Hamburger SV.