Archive for December, 2010

Man City versus Everton

Baines, running the show from the left.

TWEEEEET TWEEEET TWEET. Everton defend superbly, spearheaded by Tim Howard, who has his best game of the season, as the Toffees leave Manchester with a valuable 3 points. Will this jump start their season? Will City recover to continue to challenge for the title?

94:00 - Two yellows in about a minute for Kolo Toure, and he gets first shower for City.

92:00 – Howard with another good save as Tevez unleashes one. Corner kick comes to nothing though.

88:00 – Yaya Toure cracks a shot, that Howard gets his finger nails on that goes just wide. Howard duly screams at his defenders.

77:00 – WOW. Great keeping from Howard as Toure sends a great ball to Balotelli who does everything right by dinking it over the Everton keeper (who takes out Balotelli). Ball hits the post and comes back into play as both Howard and the Italian go for it. Ball comes to Tevez, but his shot is blocked by Howard. A lesser ref, might have given a penalty but this one let everyone play. Good for everyone.

74:00 – City and Tevez looking for the equalizer as they immediately attack. This should be a great 15 minutes of football.

73:00 – GOOOOAAAAL. An own goal from Jagielka of a Yaya Toure shot. Too much pinball finally goes City’s way. City 1 – Everton 2

72:00 – AHHHHH. MY EYES MY EYES. Camera pans onto the crowd and one mad man is standing there with a shirt off. its MINUS 6. He looks like a ghost.

70:00 – Barry latches on to a blocked shot by Silva and his volley is just over. Everton living on borrowed time here. Can they hold on for 20 minutes.

68:00 – City work it well, but Adam Johnson’s pass is how we say…”piss poor” and Everton easily clear. Zabaleta who is bandaged up is playing very well. A replay is shown the City should have had a penalty from a Neville handball.

66:00 – OHHHHH the useless possession stat, which shows that City have two thirds of the possession. Sadly for sky blues, they have zero to show for it.

64:00 - Game is disintegrating into poor football. Fouls, bad passes and wasted shots oh my.

60:00 – Anichebe who was about to be subbed, gets sent off for a second bookable offense. That was rough for the young Nigerian forward as the first one was harsh. Everton down to 10 men.

51:00 – “The Disease” (TSG’s new nickname for Kolarov) is teed up by Tevez and his howitzer fizzes inches wide. I like the Serbian player. He’s exciting.

47:00 – Howard makes a great save from a Kolarov thunderbolt. City starting off with a little more verve then the previous 45.

46:00 – TWEET TWEET. Everton start of the second half.

45:00 - Half is about to come to a close. First 2o minutes were all Everton and then City picked it up but Everton’s parking of the bus did the job. PEEEP. Halftime.

42:00 – Say what you will about Tevez, but he does work his tail off in every game he plays. He doesn’t dive and when you look up “tenacious” in the dictionary, you see a picture of the Argentine. I really don’t think it’s about the money. He just made a VERY VERY poor decision as far as agents go.

36:00 – City get a free kick in Kolarov territory. No that is not a plague infested area, but the sort of distance away from goal, that the City defender can whack them past a keeper. The kick is well taken and Howard gets an out-stretched hand and pushes it away for a corner.

34:00 - Felliani gets the first card of the game. Actually his hair gets the card for a rough, but fair tackle on Tevez. Should not have been a card.

32:00 – Human pin ball in the Everton box, as City players line up to take shots which keep being blocked by various parts of the Everton players body. Might have been an inadvertent hand ball in there, but ref correctly waves play on. City are dominating the game.

28:00 – Balotelli might be a handful to deal with, but my is he a skillful player, as he first time volleys a corner that goes just over the bar. Good skill. Everton need to keep on their toes.

27:00 - City string some nice passes around the Everton defense who have 10 players back and eventually win a corner. Howard goes ape as well he should as that was City like defending from the Toffees.

22:00 - City don’t seem to care that they are 2-0 down and that first place is on the line. The only player who is showing any heart is Tevez, who per usual is running around like a man possessed.

19:00 – CONTENT MY ASS. GOOOOAAAAL EVERTON. What a well worked goal. Anichebe centers the ball to Cahill who lays it off to Baines who places it beautifully past a hapless Joe Hart. City are moving at a slightly slower pace than mollases moving up hill. Everton 2- City 0

18:00 – Game has calmed down (not that it ever took off), but City seemed to have woken up ever so slightly and Everton are content with their 1-0 lead.

11:00 – City attack and Yaya Toure chips a lovely ball over the Everton defense to David Silva, but his well struck shot is wide and takes out a beautiful looking camera. As a photographer, my heart breaks.

9:00 – Everton dominating the wings as Coleman and Baines are having their way with the City full backs. Meanwhile the rest of the City players need some coffee or Red Bull.

4:00 – GOOOOALLLL – EVERTON. Cahill easily heads it in after awful awful defending by City. Coleman cross’s it in and Cahill easily heads it in. It was the simplest of goals. Pathetic from City. Everton 1 – City 0

1:00 – It is cold enough to reconfigure the anatomy on a brass monkey out there and yet shorts and short sleeves for most of the players. The fancy ones though are wearing a snood (see Spurs players sporting the latest trend)!

TWEEET and City kick it off. Sky blue versus dark blue.

Tevez making up with officials. Best way to do it with the fans is to score some goals.

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Manchester City: Hart; Zabaleta, Kolo Touré, Kompany, Kolarov; Milner, Barry; Silva, Yaya Touré, Balotelli; Tevez.
Subs: Given, Richards, Wright-Phillips, Adam Johnson, Boateng, Vieira, Jo.

Everton: Howard; Neville, Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Coleman, Rodwell, Fellaini, Osman; Cahill; Anichebe.
Subs: Mucha, Hibbert, Bilyaletdinov, Saha, Beckford, Gueye, Yakubu.

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Line ups coming out soon

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Most of this weekend’s games in the EPL were postponed, but not this match up of the red headed step children of Manchester and Liverpool. Often in the shadows of their more illustrious neighbors, this is a big game for both teams. A win for the “richest” club in the world, puts them on top of the league. A win for the blue half of Merseyside puts them in mid table and could jump start a so far poor season.

Not to be outdone by their red counterparts, City, too have a petulant forward. After much hemming and hawing about wanting to go home, Tevez has now withdrawn his transfer request and has committed to the club. No discussions of money yet, so lets give the bulldogish Argentine the benefit of the doubt and assume it was all about respect and relationships with club officials.

Your Last Minute Quick Soccer Gift Guide

First, thank you to everyone that reaches out asking us to evaluate their products from the big guys like Concave and Adidas to the specialty guys like LiveBreatheFutboll and ThreeFourThree FC.

In the spirit of a little fun, a little humor and throwing some last minute things out there. A concise holiday gift guide. Drop your ideas in the commentary as well.

Can't go wrong with a "McBride" kit...especially from 2002.

• The USA Throwback

Lots of different options here. You could always go with the denim kit from 1994 or this one right here says, “Hey Nike, if you won’t give us a red jersey we’ll go retro and get this one.”

But your best option here for both relevancy and some authenticity, grab the jersey on the right (worn in qualification for the Yanks in the lead-up to 2002) and pick your favorite retiree (Brian McBride) or present day champ (Frankie Hedjuk). (You could go with the original here; or you could use that scratch to pay for 50-yard-lines for the Gold Cup Final (for two).)

I guarantee no matter what MLS team you follow, you head to the rivals stadium and you’ll still get street cred….or rather the person you bought it for will.

Well done Adidas...

• Top Cleat: The Adidas Predator

First, let me get this off my chest–sniffle–I could never wear Copa’s…my foot was just too, well, fat for the narrow fit of them.

But the Adidas Predator? Hands down the best cleat that I’ve worn. Endorsed for both soccer and ultimate frisbee folks.

Why? First, it’s probably the most comfortable cleat going. Second, it balances weight with “substance” near perfectly. Most of the Nike cleats I’ve tried eschew substance (and corresponding strength) in favor lightness, bad move. Too flimsy unless you weigh 90lbs or something.

The Predator’s are expensive, but you can always go get last year’s models on Zappos and other places. As note, don’t go for the synthetic, stick with the leather. (I prefer kangaroo leather, but I know some folks take issue with this.)

• Sand Soccer Ball

Ever go to the beach in the summer and think…you know I don’t want to throw around a pigskin, I want to kick a soccer ball. You break out your favorite field soccer ball and then realize, “If I kick this thing without a cleat on, I’m going to need Metatarsal surgery or something.”

Enter the sand soccer ball. Big difference, more accurate on the grains and a unique gift. Plus, if you’re heading to World Cup 2014, you better get your sand game going.

• For Your Buddy Recovering from an ACL Tear: The Mini Trampoline

I still use this...

Raise your hand if you’ve torn your ACL. (I would have three hands raised). Raised your hand if you know someone who’s torn their ACL.

Pretty much everyone is raising their hands right now.

Best therapy beyond the cute PT chick that just graduated two years ago from Arizona State and mixes triathalons in on the weekend? (I digressed). A mini trapoline. Knee bends while watching a USMNT game or Champ’s League. Great therapy.

• For the guy that drives you to practice: Victory

Pele…and Sly Stallone star in this one game for freedom. Classic, sort of. The 1981 flick, a cheap, but effective present.

• T-Shirting…

Tons of great shirts out there, including the following faves:

The Cantona, from Live Breath Futbol (available soon), ↓ the Formation, from Three Four Three FC and the Kaiser Chiefs Amokhosi Supporter shirt from Objectivo.

..

For that White Elephant Party…

You can’t go wrong with this. (Cheerleaders not included. 22 emails per week? Maybe.)

Your White Elephant gift....

• And finally, a gift not to get…

This probably won’t go over well.

All yours and not just for a limited time only!

As the tagline says, “Become your favorite Team USA Hero!”

An official product of Nike and US Soccer National Soccer Team.

Only $92 and 44 meager cents.

No discount, no coupon. No….really. The 2010-11 Eddie Johnson Away Soccer Jersey.

Hotcakes I’m telling you. Hotcakes.

Re....gift.....

And some other ideas:

» Need team kits. Choose Soccerpro.com, good guys.

» Books? Filip Bondy’s Chasing the Game, Jonathan Wilson’s Inverting the Pyramid and Franklin Foer’s How Soccer Explains The World.

Charlie Davies Up From Reserves, Faces Bordeaux Sunday

Oh momma I can feel this coming....

Update: Sochaux tied Bordeaux 1-1. Chuck Deezy stays rooted to the bench, but that doesn’t really matter, does it?

Update: Sochaux hosts Bordeaux Sunday at 11am EST, 8am PST. FSC will have the game now that Chelsea v. Manchester United has been called off.

On the move, hooray for Davies. Regardless of your disposition to Charlie’s accident, a story of perserverance from the brink is a feel-good and motivator for all.

Without wrecking the moment, this is a good move for Sochaux as well. It rewards Davies for his work against the team that he deposited last year against Bordeaux just a little over a year ago. (Might help some ticket sales as well…kind of cold in France these days.)

Finally, it possibly showcases Davies for a possible loan–as Sochaux coach Francis Gillot intimated was a possibility a year ago.

The most anticipated game of Sunday starts shortly. Below Davies doubles-up against Les Girondins in November of 2009.

Earlier today….

According to the Sochaux web site, Charlie Davies, who scored his two goals against Bordeaux in Ligue One last season, has been called up from the reserves for the first time since his terrible car accident to face the same Bordeaux tomorrow at home.

The US striker has battled for over a year to return to senior team fitness after a horrific accident in Washington D.C. left him fighting for his life in late October of 2009.

Congratulations Charlie from the entire community here at The Shin Guardian.

The Google translation of the Sochaux web site here.

Your Holiday Weekend Commentary Here

Softies?

Liverpool v Fulham, Arsenal v Stoke, Wigan v Aston Villa and Newcastle v Birmingham all cancelled. Sunday’s battle between Chelsea and Manchester United is cancelled already as well.

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Hot Dog Defense!: Ricardo Clark goes 90 minutes for for Eintracht Frankfurt in the midfield as they upset Borussia Dortmund…1-0. Good stuff.

———-

Well at least one Phanatic was still stoked at the Emirates this morning. Arsenal v. Stoke City, of course, called off by flurries.

With Lee, I think our rotation is much better than yours....

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We’ll be back in the New Year with proper weekend previews. For now, a place for your weekend commentary and just some highlights.

#23 has picked up the pace this year...

• The Clint Dempsey Invitational

….or is it? The Deuce flies the cottage on Saturday to take on former boss man Roy Hodgson and the Reds at Anfield. The Home Grown Rule was unkind to the Liverpool faithful this past August, wasn’t it? A splashy acquisition of the overpriced Joe Cole over the peaking Clint Dempsey was very poor in retrospect.

Kind of unfortunate that the owners are now from New England now too huh?

• Bolton Still Seeing The Light

Look I’m fine with Stu Holden getting overexposure on ESPN and Fox Soccer. As long as there is the recognition that: a) TSG’s been trumpeting him since way before the Haiti game okay, a) we don’t have to hear every two seconds that “his mum” is in the stands and b) his success isn’t something that is made out to be extraordinary; kid always had the talent.

The Boltons Wandererererer over to the Stadium of Light to take on Bruce’s Black Cats.

Oh and get this, Bolton’s headline-grabbing beautiful football they’re playing this year? There in the bottom three teams in terms of passing percentage! So it really is a lot more about the smash-and-grab jobs Holden and Muamba are authoring in the middle of the pitch.

• Will the Red Devils Make John Terryfied?

Some pundits just don’t learn. A little reflection on our pre-September EPL predictions, shows none of the TSG experts, myself included, picked Manchester United to pick up the Barclays silverware on the year. When will we learn? And we all know the Red Devils never peak until the turn of the year too….

Manchester United head to the ‘Bridge Sunday with a good chance to finally pick one up against their rivals on the road…but it’s not going to happen. Prediction? Chelsea 2, Manchester United 1 as Frank Lampard’s mere presence juventates the home side.

• Hey…Houllier!

The Villians head to the DW to take on Wigan.

Does this all just go back to the Theirry Henry handball?

Time for the Villians to climb out of the Barclays cellar, however this week Villa’s Stephen Ireland has gone public with his demands to get out of Villa Park. This follows on the heals of Ireland’s Irish nattie teammate Richard Dunne having a publicized dust-up with the French manager last week.

Did Henry just wreck French-Irish relations for decades to come?

Want some insight on Wigan’s season? Click this link here, open the “soundboard”, goes seven columns over, 13 rows down and click the button. Yes Wigan, in the words of Arnold, “You lack discipline!”

It’s not the dreadful pitch at the DW Stadium. It’s Roberto Martinez’s inability to maintain a “disciplined” effort from the club. As we’ve said, Martinez, great commentator during the World Cup, but an inability to comprehend that his best laid managerial plans need to account for his team’s talent. Dare I say that Martinez would be a much better manager, a la Phil Jackson, commandeering and managing the egos of high-talent team?

No idea who takes this one and I’ve also made an absolute mess of this match preview… carry on…forget this happened.

Serie A

• Milan vs. Roma

Update: Roma with a  (near) shock 1-0 win)


The Milan Scudetto train is chugging forward nicely on the back of Oguchi Onyewu sparring parnter Zlatan Ibrahimovic and this week we learned that the Rossoneri might get richer by adding warchild Cassano into the fray. (Note: Cassano may be “the” only player that is a locker room cancer that TSG would still take on their team).

If Cassano signs for Milan, listen to the Ronaldinho-to-HDC rumors to get a few decibels louder.

Roma don’t shake their league slumber in this match-up by the way.

La Liga

• The Yellow Sub Looks To Sink Mallorca

Villarreal rebounded from last weekend’s lost to a nine-man Getafe side with a 2-1 win in the Europa Cup over Club Brugge this week that saw Giuseppi Rossi bag a brace. Now, they’ll look to head into the turn of the year break with a win against a resilient Mallorca squad that hasn’t seen the expected impact from this year’s transfer prize Canadian Jonathan De Guzman (just one goal), but has gotten a huge effort from Pierre Webo who the club tried to move in August.

More…

And Then There Were Eight: Champion’s League Pairings

Just drawn this morning.

Didn't think I'd still be wearing this shirt for our match-up, did you?

AS Roma vs. Shakhtar Donetsk

AC Milan vs. Tottenham

Valencia vs. Schalke

Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich

Lyon vs. Real Madrid

Arsenal vs. Barcelona

Marseille vs. Manchester United

Chelsea vs. FC Copenhagen

More shortly…

• And in the Europa Cup draw, Jozy, Rossi and Villarreal get Napoli…that might be the biggest match-up drawn on the day…not really…but still, one to watch.

• More Europa: Maurice Edu and Rangers draw Sporting KC, I mean Lisbon. Another good match-up! Meanwhile Sacha’s Secret and Anderlecht take on the villainous Luis Saurez and Ajax. Going to be a lot of soccer watching going on at TSG Central…which I guess happens anyway.

• The Cesc Fabregas Bowl: As anti-climatic as the Arselona match-up was last year, it portends to be more so this year if the Wengers don’t solve their interior defense problems. Villa and Messi go Shred Ex and deliver big time in that home-and-away unless Vermaelen is fit as Arsene provides cover.

Will Villa and Messi be delivering for ShredEx against the Emirates? (Courtesy to the surf crew at Sloat, Ocean Beach, SF, CA)

• An invigorated Schalke side will dispatch of Valencia.

• Manchester United always get rolling after the new year and in Marseille they have a very beatable opponent. I can’t do a review of Marseille any more justice than link to our good friends at Ligue1Talk who have a stunning analysis of why net crasher extraordinaire Andre-Pierre Gignac has fallen off the goal scoring map for the Dodgers.

• Mr. Alexandre Pato….or party boy we should call him….want to earn your place again in the conversation of up-and-coming Brazilians. Get off the (night)club circuit, get in shape, get motivated and pin Gareth Bale back when your Milan plays Tottenham. You’re the best counter weapon…only you’ve been laughing your career up this year…and dropped out of our favor.

Some other morning notes:

• Lamp Shading To the Eleven: Word out of Fish N Chips Land is that Frank Lampard is going to make the starting 11 for Chelsea’s critical clash with Sir Alex United this weekend.

• If He Dies…He Dies: Um, no reason for that lead-in here….just popped into my head, but…AC Milan Manager Massimiliano Allegri on Ronaldinho Friday: “I believe he’ll stay.”

• The Daily Fail: Either the Daily Mail or someone else this morning will pick up on the erroneous rumor of Chicarito wanted at the Estadio Santiago Bernabéu as a replacement for Higuain. Um, don’t think so.

Back with more in a bit. Cheery holidays.

Trial Run: Name That Stadium

We’re going to get some contests going here in the New Year with The Shin Guardian.

Let’s kick it off today with a trial run to get the mechanics down. Simple submit the name of the stadium/arena/pitch below and which club plays there.

No prizes today (sorry we need to look into the legal again) but in the future get your Googilator ready.

NUMBER 1

Name it!

NUMBER 2

This one harder?

Have A Jose, Jose Christmas

(A little non-soccer Christmasy good stuff after the break if you dare)

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