Archive | October, 2010

Beach. Football. Women.

29 Oct

A nice little video to take you into the weekend. The title pretty much explains everything you need to know.

Happy Halloween to you all!



(Thanks to The Spoiler for the video)

Halloween hell – a torrent weekend of must see matches

29 Oct

WHAT. A. WEEKEND. AHEAD. Tricks and treats for everyone. After what was a rather boring weekend of football last week, the next two days are sure to be memorable in many respects: Two of the most famous and fiercely contested derbies in England. One of the most fiercely contested derby in Europe. Five – that’s right – five top leagues will see #1 face #2. Pretenders will attempt to stake their claim as contenders.

Have I wet your appetite enough? Sit back and lick your chops as we preview the matches that will set this weekend alight.

Let’s start with in the top leagues:

MANCHESTER UNITED VS TOTTENHAM (Saturday, 12:30pm FSC)
Rooney’s back…on the injury list. In his stead, Javier “ChicharitoHernandez has filled the void quite nicely scoring three goals in his last two games (one of them a winner in the Carling Cup). Can Berbatov continue his fine run of form? Back in North London, Hawwy’s boys sit two places and two points below United in fifth. Plain and simple, they need a spark. After an emotional triumph in Milan (albeit they lost the match) , they came home to a painfully dull draw against Everton. However, Tottenham defeated both Villa and Fulham before that. In any event, Van der Vaart will get to show the Manchester faithful what they missed out on. The way he’s playing, you’d have to fancy Tottenham. Oh, and that Bale guy? He’s pretty decent as well. Whoever plays at right back for United will get toasted quite easily. United has yet to lose at home, but I think that will change tomorrow. Prediction: 2-1 Tottenham

BARCELONA VS SEVILLA (Saturday, 4:00pm ESPN Deportes)
I love when these two clubs meet. The speed which Sevilla possess make for intriguing offensive forays against Barcelona’s high defensive line. Coming off a riveting win over Bilbao 4-3, and a midweek thrashing of 4-0 in the league cup, Sevilla appear willing and able to go for it. I wish I could say the same for my Blaugrana. It’s been edge of your seat watching them this season. Scoring, consistency, and fluidity have been terribly difficult to come by. However, and I’ve said it many times yet I always emerge justified, these are the matches Barcelona get up for – the matches to silence the critics and reclaim their place as the world’s best. Sevilla will give it a fight, but Barcelona will probably overwhelm them (Sevilla has only won six times in 66 visits to the Camp Nou). Prediction: 3-1 Barcelona

AC MILAN VS JUVENTUS (Saturday, 2:30pm FSC)
It’s always a roller coaster when the greats in Italy face off, and this will hopefully be one of them. Juventus is on a relatively good run of form recently, and look to climb the table where they currently sit in fifth. Meanwhile, Milan will be looking for three points to leapfrog league leaders Lazio. But is Milan truly for real? Are these orthopedic hips and surgically repaired knees running around the field going to hold up? At least Robinho looks fresh and Ibrahimovic can’t stop scoring. Ronaldinho will be absent as will Milos Krasic, Amauri, and Vincenzo Iaquinta for Juventus. The Old Lady earned an extremely boring draw at the San Siro against Inter a few weeks back. They’ll need to score this time to emerge with points. Prediction: 3-2 Milan

#1 MAINZ VS #2 BORUSSIA DORTMUND (Sunday, 10:30am ESPN3 – catch it on tape delay at 2:00 on ESPN Deportes)
If you have not watched a single Bundesliga match this year, you’re an idiot. Not only do they boast the highest average attendance in Europe, but tickets are available for the top clubs for extremely affordable prices. Supporters are happy and the intensity on the pitch is unrivaled. Then there’s Mainz – the darlings who tied the best start in the league’s history with seven wins on the trot. And Dortmund, the team which has scored more goals than anyone else and has conceded the fewest. Oh, both teams sit 1 and 2, five points clear of third place. Do your best to watch this match. Both are coming off shocking midweek defeats in the league cup to second and third division clubs, so there should be a fire brewing on both sides. Prediction: 2-2

ASTON VILLA VS BIRMINGHAM (Sunday, 11:30am FSC Plus)
England’s second city derby is always tasty. Ultimate pride is on the line at Villa Park as Birmingham seek their first win since 2005. They’ve lost the previous six encounters.

NEWCASTLE VS SUNDERLAND (Sunday, 9:30am FSC Plus) 
The 142nd Tyne-Wear. This northeast derby always packs an extra punch, in a region of the most ardent and start-raving mad football supporters in England.

#1 PSV EINDHOVEN VS #2 FC TWENTE (Saturday, 6:00pm ESPN Deportes)
Ibrahim Afellay is the main reason not to miss this match. The most sought after 24 year old in Europe at the moment, who has scored six goals in ten matches. He recently announced he’d like to leave at the end of the season and Barcelona is already nipping at his heels.

Now for the rest of the weekend’s darlings:


#1 MARSEILLES VS #2 RENNES
#1 PANATHINAIKOS VS #2 OLYMPIAKOS – “Derby of the Eternal Enemies” “Mother of all Battles” Call it what you will but you can bet that riot gear and extra police will be necessities.
#1 RACING GENK VS #2 ANDERLECHT
#3 BREST VS #4 ST. ETIENNE

Weekend Couch Guide

29 Oct

Friday, October 29
2:30pm Bayern Munich vs Freiburg (GolTV)
2:30pm Genoa vs Inter Milan (FSC Plus)

Saturday, October 30
9:30am Wolfsburg vs Stuttgart (GolTV)
10:00am Blackburn vs Chelsea (ESPN2)
10:00am Arsenal vs West Ham (FSC)
10:00am Wolverhampton vs Manchester City (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Valencia vs Zaragoza (ESPN Deportes)
12:00pm Roma vs Lecce (FSC Plus)
12:30pm Manchester United vs Tottenham (FSC)
2:00pm Hercules vs Real Madrid (GolTV)
2:30pm AC Milan vs Juventus (FSC)
4:00pm Barcelona vs Sevilla (ESPN Deportes)
5:00pm FC Dallas vs Real Salt Lake – Western Conference Semifinal (FSC) 
6:00pm PSV Eindhoven vs FC Twente – tape delay (ESPN Deportes)
7:30pm Everton vs Stoke City – tape delay (FSC)
8:00pm Fulham vs Wigan – tape delay (FSC Plus)

Sunday, October 31
7:30am Palermo vs Lazio (FSC Plus)
9:30am Newcastle United vs Sunderland (FSC Plus)
10:00am Brescia vs Napoli (FSC)
11:30am Aston Villa vs Birmingham – tape delay (FSC Plus)
12:00pm Deportivo La Coruña vs Espanyol (ESPN Deportes)
12:00pm Bolton vs Liverpool (FSC)
12:00pm Sporting Gijon vs Villarreal (GolTV)
2:00pm Mainz vs. Borussia Dortmund – tape delay (ESPN Deportes)
2:00pm Atletico Madrid vs Almeria (GolTV)
3:30pm Catania vs Fiorentina (FSC)
4:00pm Montpellier vs Paris Saint-Germain (FSC Plus)
4:00pm Hoffenheim vs Hannover 96 (GolTV)

Most lucrative shirt sponsorships in Europe

29 Oct

UK based SPORT+MARKT has released its 12th annual European Football Jersey Report – evaluating and ranking the most lucrative shirt sponsorships in Europe for the current season. Not surprisingly, the Premier League regained first place over Germany while Spain, arguably the most indebted of the big leagues in Europe, sits in fifth. Such deals may not solve all your problems, but they serve as a vital source of revenue for certain clubs. These numbers should also come as a warning to certain leagues (ahem – Spain) that they may need to try a bit harder in order to garner enthusiasm and worldwide popularity, or face perilous economic decisions.

Top revenue generating leagues:

1. English Premier League- €128 million (€83.5 million last year)
2. German Bundesliga – €118.5 million (€108.6 million last year)
3. Italian Serie A – €65.9 million (the only league to record a revenue drop)
4. French Ligue 1 – €58.8 million
5. Spanish La Liga – €57.5 million (€48.6 million last year)

6. Dutch Eredivisie – €42 million

Top revenue generating clubs:

1. Manchester United and Aon – €23.6 million
2. Liverpool and Standard Chartered bank – €23.6 million
3. Real Madrid and Bwin – €23 million
4. Bayern Munich and Deutsche Telekom – €22 million
5. Chelsea and Samsung -  – €16.3 million

More food for thought:

- La Liga – why are you so dumb?! On the one hand, the Spanish currently sit atop the world and european football thrones so why the pressure to do more? However, their period of greatness will soon dissipate and reality will set in. Barcelona, the most popular team on the planet at the moment, is in serious debt and has never worn a sponsor until 2006. However, Barcelona pays UNICEF to the tune of €1.5 million a year. It is inexcusable for La Liga to sit in 5th position. 

- Lazio and Fiorentina, two of the bigger clubs in Italy, do not have sponsorship deals.

- Getafe is still sponsored by Burger King.

The curse of goalkeeping in North Africa

27 Oct

http://www.youtube.com/v/GPgR5So6r3U?fs=1&hl=en_US

What is it with North African goalkeepers? Are they all really this dumb? Remember Khalid Askri of FAR Rabat? The keeper for the Moroccan club side celebrated stopping a penalty kick a bit too early, and then realized the ball rolled into the net behind him. A few weeks later, Askri tried dribbling away from a defender only to have the ball tackled directly into the net. He subsequently took himself out of the game in a fury.

Now, a new keeper wishes to top the list of bonehead plays.

Nadim Thabet, goalkeeper for Étoile Sportive du Sahel in Tunisia, decided on his own that the ball went over the end-line. Little did he know it was still in play, and upon retrieving a new ball from behind the net for a goal kick, he realized his blunder. Luckily, one of his defenders heroically defended the empty net and prevented Thabet from being tarred and feathered in the town square afterwards.

I think Arsene Wenger has found the right place to ship off every pathetic goalkeeper he’s had since Lehmann.

WAG Wednesday Part 9 – Michela Quattrociocche

27 Oct

This adorable 21 year old was only recently granted permission to drink booze in the United States, although I’m sure Alberto Aquilani bought her plenty before that point. Luckily for Michela, Alberto has been loaned out to Juventus this season so she need not worry about spending the year in beautiful and picturesque Liverpool.

A Mediterranean climate and a Mediterranean diet for a tight Mediterranean body:

Platini claims goal-line technology will lead to "PlayStation football"

27 Oct

Michel Platini is an idiot. Plain and simple. His remarks regarding the use of goal-line are completely irrational inasmuch as they are rooted in a prehistoric mentality that football has been, and always should be decided by human error. Platini told the Scottish FA’s website on a visit to Glasgow that should FIFA initiate the use of video replay, “then we will have PlayStation football.”

Platini believes that two extra officials on the end line are more than enough to assist the referees. He continued:

“The referee has to be helped by the clubs, the fans, by players, by the media and also by the authorities – everyone has a responsibility. It is why we have added two assistants for Champions League games this season. It is a logical step with so many cameras that can pick up incidents: the more eyes there are to assist the referee, the better the chance of spotting those incidents.”

Did anyone else not catch the bullshit here? The “logical step” with such advanced and extensive video capabilities is to add another referee?! If it is the duty of everyone to help the referees, shouldn’t we allow video evidence to prevent their screw-ups, which sometimes lead to death threats and violent reprisals by fans?!

Apparently not. Platini wants to save these officials by simply adding more, so that when they miss calls, which they inevitably will, we can still say we did everything possible to help them. Got it.

Now forgive me for my ignorance, but that extra referee on the end-line is an extra pair of eyes? If you’ve watched Champions League and Europa League matches then you will know that the extra officials do absolutely nothing. They don’t even have flags on their sticks!! (In the case of the official pictured below, he doesn’t even have a stick…) Clear cut fouls or dives in the box go completely by the wayside with these extra officials. They stand there like statues. And if their role is simply to see if the ball has crossed the end-line, then what exactly is the point of their existence on the field? What are they doing that video replay can’t?

At least Playstation gets the calls right.

In Memorium – Paul the Octopus 2008-2010

27 Oct

Since Paul never had a chance to complete his will, please help determine what should be done with him by answering the question above.

Are or you’re an asshole, you can start following Maradona on Twitter who supposedly wrote “I’m glad you’re dead” in response to Paul’s passing.

WAG Wednesday Part 8 – Sarah Brandner

27 Oct

Here’s another one of those head-scratchers. With all do respect to the abilities of Bastian Schweinsteiger who is a phenomenal player, the bleached hair and his overall gentlemanly look don’t really flatter. And yet, he has dated the very sensual, blonde bombshell Sarah Brandner for some time.

She looks good in pictures with him. She looks good at World Cup matches. She looks even BETTER double fisting two beers at World Cup matches. I guess you could say, she’s pretty good looking.

Barcelona arrives in style

26 Oct

http://c.brightcove.com/services/viewer/federated_f9?isVid=1

About a month ago, I mind-numbingly outlined the issues surrounding Barcelona’s predicament in traveling to Ceuta for today’s Copa del Rey match. Ceuta, as you may or may not know, sits on the northern tip of Africa across the Straight of Gibralter. Well after a quick flight south, they chose the most flamboyant of means of transportation. Like kings, the team crossed the Straight in a helicopter and landed at their own little helipad.

Hey, when you’re the best, you deserve the best.

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