Archive for October, 2010

Weekend Channel Hopping…Go!

The weekend goes…like this:

EPL

Cahill: Still fighting the good fight at Goodison...

• Toffees Hope To Kick The Spurs Out of Town.

One little Merseyside radio spot, and it’s all “Landon, Landon, Landon going to Goodison, Goodison, Goodison.”

Not so fast. If you haven’t seen it, check out our notes here.

Everton finally found the netting last week at the Derby, but affix an asterisk in that it was still the work of aging Tim Cahill and recently-re-signed Mikel Arteta that provided nearly 95% of the offense.

Some good movement did occur above them through Yakubu, or the Nigerian Altidore, who did the Jozy thing by going on a few missed a few chances despite making a few stellar runs.

Beyond Yakubu up top, summer import Jermaine Beckford needs to redeem himself fast. The Leeds alumnus has lost the Goodison faithful already and he’s nearly close to losing the coach.

For Tottenham Hotspur, a rough go of it in Champion’s League action at the San Siro still saw the pride of Wales Gareth Bale gather a hat trick.

Spurs clearly missed the play-making of cup-tied suspended Rafael Van Der Vaart, but it’s nice to know the late transfer season acquisition is making an impact.

The Spurs midfield is looking in fine form now that Bale’s been making hay from the left mid spot. Van Der Vaart slots out right and forward and Modric carries the ball while big Tom Huddlestone bangs around the middle making his presence felt and trailing behind looking to snap a cracker.

Everton is stout at home and loops two together here to begin a streak.

• Fulham leave the Cottage and hope to bag a point at West Bromwich.

Who would have thought West Brom vs. Fulham would have been one of the marque match-ups in the EPL at this stage?

While Fulham continue to try to find their footing without Bobby Zamora, West Brom have been the Arsenal Jr. of the Premiership, owning possession and creating changes against all clubs big and small.

Last week, a Van Der Saar gap helped them earn a point at Old Trafford, but West Brom….West Brom! is the surprise of the season thus far.

• Lord Birmingham drops the drawbridge at St. Andrews for the Tangerine seasiders from Blackpool

…or you may say Blackpool is….the surprise squad that is.

Interesting game, this.

Birmingham has been nails at home and Blackpool is the strongest team on the road in the Barclays.

This game is going to come down to one thing…how it’s called. If Birmingham are allowed to impose their physical-nasty style on Blackpool and limit the Tangerines’ free flowing game, it should be a stroll in the park. If the zebras go whistle-happy, Blackpool’s got their shot.

Play Holden on your fantasy team this weekend...I think...

• Derby Time: Wigan vs. Bolton

First, its derby” not “darby”…I don’t know how anyone even makes that mistake…..

Yikes, rain in the forecast for Friday and Saturday in Manchester.

That means sloshball at DW Stadium, notoriously the worst pitch in Great Britain not named Wembley.

Puddles favors over-the-top ball which again favors Wigan…only they don’t play all that well at home.

Here’s a prediction: Bank on an assist or, yes, the first premiership goal from Stu Holden after Honduran Hednry Thomas or “Virgin Nigel De Jong” fells him 30 yards out.

Team Aston Villameria takes to the Stadium of Light and prepares to go Kim Jong Il on Sunderland.

Albrighton: Watch this kid...I smell a call-up...

Who is Marc Albrighton and why am I not paying attention?! Why didn’t the TSG faithful alert me to this kid?!

Under Gerard Houllier, the Villa Park inhabitants have to love the offense flow and Albrighton is a big part of that with three starts under Houllier.

Expect better things from Villa.

Oh, and American Eric Lichaj might get some run in this one as outside back Luke Young is shelved for a pay period.

For Sunderland, yeah, Darren Bent scores, Lee Cattermole gets a yellow card and it’s another lost opportunity. Actually, not really. Incredulously, the Black Cats haven’t beat the Villians at home since George Bush’s first term. Yes, really.

• The Manchester City Rooneys-In-Waiting roll out a different carpet for the Cannons from Emirates

(Preview via Shaun)
There are many games in the EPL this weekend, but the biggest (other than Liverpool versus Blackburn…who would have ever thought) is at the City of Manchester Stadium, which host the Gunners. Second versus third, things got a little ugly last year, when Emanuel Adebayor scored and ran the entire length of the pitch to celebrate in front of the Arsenal fans (he also stamped on Robin Van Persie face earlier in the match).

Arsenal fans acted pretty poorly knocking over a steward in the process. A year removed and everything should be calm….should be. Adebayor hasn’t been all that impressive in the EPL (he scored a hat trick this week in Europe) and David Silva scored a fantastic goal after replacing him against Blackpool. Look for the Spaniard to get the nod and partner with Tevez this Sunday.

Arsenal are fresh from a 5-1 route of Shakhtar Donetsk and will look to bring the same lineup against The Blues. Hopefully Chamkah can continue his rich vein of form and find the back of net up north.

We here at TSG predict a high scoring draw. Hopefully a 3-3 one. That said the major difference in the teams is their keeping with Joe Hart excellent in goal and Fabianski…not quite so.

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SPL:

• The Maurice Edu Classic: The Old Firm Game.

As we tweeted on Thursday: Beyond Donovan and Dempsey–who both have the “attack” gene–if you had to have one American to convert a clutch goal with a game on the line, aren’t you betting on Maurice Edu?

Edu notched the game winner the last time these squads met in February. He should have had the game winner against Slovenia for the national team and just this past Wednesday, had he not tried to play a little defense and even his plus-minus, he would have had another big-game winner.

Maurice Edu, you’re third string US central midfielder. Man the Yanks are stacked.

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All About the Dollars? Rooney Staying

Just out this morning at about 4:30 AM PDT.

Just the money?

Wayne Rooney says at Manchester United after signing a five-year deal.

Hell of a way–for the player–to get what he asked for, no?

Raise your hand if you’re a Manchester United fan and you’re, well, embarrassed.

How do the Glazers come out smelling in this one?

Does this just let the air out of the balloon of the Manchester United Supporter for Change group who wanted the Glazers out? Can’t really heckle that they’re not splashing the cash now, can they?

A little less green-and-gold next week at Old Trafford?

More from the reputable Guardian (no relation) in the U.K.:

Rooney has become the best-paid player in the history of the club by agreeing a deal thought to be worth as much as £180,000 a week in a move that will inevitably invite allegations that he and his agent, Paul Stretford, have been guilty of cynical greed to get the best deal possible.

And one more nugget, Rio Ferdinand cracks me up on Twitter

His most recent tweet? “Told you it was going to be a beautiful day” and then Rio eggs on the Sky Sports broadcasters (who’ve been reading his tweets apparently in a monotone”) to read this one with a little more feeling.

Also looking for how some folks will handle their follow-up commentary today. (1, 2)

Off Topic: In The Rotation

Your requested follow-up: Music picks…

Don’t worry this post is buried under a soccer one.

Can’t really do a top ten list or anything here and I’ll try to stay away from those already popular. Some of those likes include David Gray, Mos Def, Jurassic 5, Eddie Vedder, Radiohead, Bon Iver, Jeff Buckley, Jose Gonzalez to name a few.

Let’s just throw out some more on the mellow or muffled pop front to get us going here for a Friday mini-feature.

Jesus Navas Class: Silky smooth moves coming off the wing or up top. Hooks and lines at you like step-overs.

Includes: MC’s, Instrumental, more

• People Under The Stairs

The pride of Los Angeles, most people think they’re from the Bay Area. Great hooks, like to maintain their underground status. Almost a little too much.

Fans of: Talib Kweli, Mos Def, Blackalicious

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Holloway Lambastes Wayne Rooney

Thought Blackpool was feisty on the field, well it’s due to manager Ian Holloway…who lets loose on Wayne Rooney right here.

Cue, applause…

Mark Schlereth: Indirect Commentary On Soccer

Update: You’re right.

Oops. My bad.

As I’ve mentioned before on TSG, the best part about this publication is the astute, well-thought-out replies that exist in the commentary section.

A number of good points in there today regarding this piece.

I do still maintain, despite the author not being as qualified and despite invoking soccer (both which he can be taken to task for), that Schlereth’s points on the “contact nature” of football as driving popularity are valid.

Also…

One of the things I preach in business and is a common business phrase is the question “What are you solving for?” I ask myself that when I write any piece. It’s important not necessarily to have a clear goal of what you want to get across (that comes out in the writing) but have, well, a grasp of what issue, point that “you are solving for?”

Failed miserably in this piece this morning. I took a piece that was a commentary on the NFL that wove a disparaging remark on soccer into it and used it as a basis for commentary on how the beautiful game is played.

My bad. I’ll chalk it up–incorrectly–to being up at 4am with the newborn who, despite being a baby girl, fairly looks like Carlos from the Hangover these days.

——–

I put the video up below because it actually plays well if you’re a sports fan in general.

I love when people take a stand for what they believe in right or wrong.

Mark Schlereth rants on the NFL–calling it the National Hypocrite League–in this video and it’s a good one. He makes a one-word reference to soccer around the 3:30 mark, that taken out of context reads, “We’re selling videos! The reason why the NFL is popular? You take away the contact away guess what you are . You’re soccer. That’s (contact) why Americans love football.”

….and Schlereth is spot-on!

His rant is not a knock on soccer and by no means should be taken as such.

In fact, it’s accurate commentary on why soccer is a less popular sport in the United States because American’s appreciate contact. (Can you say MMA?)

Contact, in soccer, is huge part of the game….perhaps Schlereth doesn’t understand how much (that is a fair criticism of his statements here)…but it’s not the object of the game at all turns.

In fact, soccer is a beautiful game, in my mind, because it combines ferocious contact at times immediately juxtaposed against ballet-like grace.

Hockey is the only other game that has that beautiful dicotomy of play in the same range. It’s what makes both great.

Wondomania Sweeps MLS Wednesday Night

Kerosene on his MVP campaign? You bet. (Still not quite there in TSG’s book…top five though).

At $48,000 per year, San Jose Earthquakes forward-striker Chris Wondolowski just has his coming out party this year….at the spry age of 27.

Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara last night played the stage to Wondo’s latest exploits. A hat trick against Chivas in much less than 90 minutes of work.

$48K per? 17 of his team’s 33 goals?

You certainly earn a post on TSG with the highlight video that the San Jose Earthquakes put out quickly on YouTube for you last evening. Well played.

After the page break, post game comments from Wondo who earlier in the day said he would vote for Edson Buddle for MVP.

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