March 16, 2014
Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool.
Troll hard, traveling Kopites. Troll hard.
(via @bpfootball)

Manchester United 0-3 Liverpool.

Troll hard, traveling Kopites. Troll hard.

(via @bpfootball)

April 24, 2013
Luis Suárez given 10-match ban for biting Branislav Ivanovic | Football | guardian.co.uk

Both striker and club think it’s much longer than he deserves, but given the prior bans he received for the first biting incident in the Netherlands and the racial language incident with Patrice Evra, 9-10 seems like what the FA would hand down.

April 21, 2013
If today’s match against Chelsea was Luis Suarez’s last in a Liverpool kit (editorial from this Liverpool fan: it should be), then it is an encapsulation of what makes him both a genius footballer yet irritable human being: a sublime assist to Daniel Sturridge, a handball on a corner that resulted in a Chelsea PK for a goal, the horrendous bite of Branislav Ivanovic above (for which he was not even carded), and the last second stoppage-time goal which resulted in a 2-2 draw.
A 26-year old man has bitten an opponent on a football pitch for the second time in his career. LFC’s attack is rather toothless (pardon the pun) without him, but at this point, his character outshines his football skills in a bad way. LFC handled his racial abuse of Patrice Evra poorly; it will be instructive to see how the hierarchy deals with this. Suarez has, to his credit, already apologized for the incident on Twitter.
Photo from the Guardian. You can watch a GIF via mocksession.

If today’s match against Chelsea was Luis Suarez’s last in a Liverpool kit (editorial from this Liverpool fan: it should be), then it is an encapsulation of what makes him both a genius footballer yet irritable human being: a sublime assist to Daniel Sturridge, a handball on a corner that resulted in a Chelsea PK for a goal, the horrendous bite of Branislav Ivanovic above (for which he was not even carded), and the last second stoppage-time goal which resulted in a 2-2 draw.

A 26-year old man has bitten an opponent on a football pitch for the second time in his career. LFC’s attack is rather toothless (pardon the pun) without him, but at this point, his character outshines his football skills in a bad way. LFC handled his racial abuse of Patrice Evra poorly; it will be instructive to see how the hierarchy deals with this. Suarez has, to his credit, already apologized for the incident on Twitter.

Photo from the Guardian. You can watch a GIF via mocksession.

April 17, 2013
The Premier League is taking over American TV with NBC’s massive programming plan | Dirty Tackle - Yahoo! Sports

Seriously, if you have basic cable and your cable provider has an agreement with NBC (or is Comcast, which owns NBC), you’re going to get a much better deal on watching any Premiership game you want in the U.S. next season. 

That said, this is conditional upon NBC improving its online streaming, which had its dodgy moments during last summer’s Olympics. So, trust but verify is the order of the day. That said, the specs are exciting and hiring pros like Arlo White and Rebecca Lowe are good, although I’m curious to see how analysts like Lee Dixon and Gary Lineker who get a lot of stick in the UK do with American audiences.

April 1, 2013
Former striker turned League One manager Paolo Di Canio’s time at Swindon Town was successful if controversial to say the least — mostly due to an Italian interview in 2005 in which he said, “I am a fascist, not a racist” — but also because of his hard-headed nature as a manager. I mean, the guy resigned from Swindon after the board sold a top player to a rival, and was then accused of raiding his former office after midnight.
Now, Sunderland AFC are struggling to stave off relegation — right now, they are outside the drop zone, but have looked largely atrocious for most of the season. After an inspiring burst to save the Black Cats from danger last spring, Martin O’Neill spent plenty of Ellis Short’s cash with very little in the way of return and sent players on their way who probably would have helped given the rash of injuries his squad has suffered. Short fired O’Neill after last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Man United — and has now hired the top-level-unproven Di Canio to replace him.
This has brought anti-fascist and anti-racist groups out calling for Di Canio to clarify his previous remarks and prompted Sunderland’s vice chairman, former high-ranking Labour MP David Miliband, to resign in protest of the hiring.
(For context, Miliband’s family came to England to escape the Nazis, so being associated with anyone who openly espoused fascism, spoke well of Mussolini, and seems to sympathize with the hard right of the ultras at Lazio is not terribly desirable for him.)
For his part, Di Canio has denied he is a racist, calling the accusations, as you see below at the link, “stupid and ridiculous.”
Paolo Di Canio hits back at ‘stupid and ridiculous’ racism accusations | Football | guardian.co.uk

Former striker turned League One manager Paolo Di Canio’s time at Swindon Town was successful if controversial to say the least — mostly due to an Italian interview in 2005 in which he said, “I am a fascist, not a racist” — but also because of his hard-headed nature as a manager. I mean, the guy resigned from Swindon after the board sold a top player to a rival, and was then accused of raiding his former office after midnight.

Now, Sunderland AFC are struggling to stave off relegation — right now, they are outside the drop zone, but have looked largely atrocious for most of the season. After an inspiring burst to save the Black Cats from danger last spring, Martin O’Neill spent plenty of Ellis Short’s cash with very little in the way of return and sent players on their way who probably would have helped given the rash of injuries his squad has suffered. Short fired O’Neill after last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Man United — and has now hired the top-level-unproven Di Canio to replace him.

This has brought anti-fascist and anti-racist groups out calling for Di Canio to clarify his previous remarks and prompted Sunderland’s vice chairman, former high-ranking Labour MP David Miliband, to resign in protest of the hiring.

(For context, Miliband’s family came to England to escape the Nazis, so being associated with anyone who openly espoused fascism, spoke well of Mussolini, and seems to sympathize with the hard right of the ultras at Lazio is not terribly desirable for him.)

For his part, Di Canio has denied he is a racist, calling the accusations, as you see below at the link, “stupid and ridiculous.”

Paolo Di Canio hits back at ‘stupid and ridiculous’ racism accusations | Football | guardian.co.uk

January 22, 2013
Congratulations are in order for Bradford City, a team hit by hard times that saw them drop from the Premier League and are now in fourth-tier League Two. They beat Wigan and Arsenal to make it to the semis of the League Cup (suck it, Capital One) and today finished the two-leg job on Aston Villa, beating the struggling Prem team 4-3 on aggregate (Villa won today 2-1, but it wasn’t enough to make up for their 3-1 loss at Bradford’s Valley Parade.)
So Bradford will head to Wembley and play either Chelsea or Swansea City for the final. The Swans went to Stamford Bridge and nicked a 2-nil road win; Chelsea have a tough task ahead at the Liberty.

Congratulations are in order for Bradford City, a team hit by hard times that saw them drop from the Premier League and are now in fourth-tier League Two. They beat Wigan and Arsenal to make it to the semis of the League Cup (suck it, Capital One) and today finished the two-leg job on Aston Villa, beating the struggling Prem team 4-3 on aggregate (Villa won today 2-1, but it wasn’t enough to make up for their 3-1 loss at Bradford’s Valley Parade.)

So Bradford will head to Wembley and play either Chelsea or Swansea City for the final. The Swans went to Stamford Bridge and nicked a 2-nil road win; Chelsea have a tough task ahead at the Liberty.

November 21, 2012
OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. WE DIDN’T THINK THAT WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN THIS QUICKLY. JUST NAME JOHN TERRY YOUR CARETAKER PLAYER/MANAGER NOW, OR MAKE IT PERMANENT, WE DON’T CARE ANY MORE. LIKE GUARDIOLA’S COMING NOW, ROMAN. NO ACTUAL MANAGER WITH ANY SENSE OF DIGNITY OR SELF-RESPECT WILL COME TO COACH YOUR TEAM, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH FUCK-YOU MONEY YOU THROW AT HIM, NOT AFTER YOU FIRE A DUDE WHO HELPED SALVAGE A SEASON BY WINNING THE GODDAMN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.

OH FOR FUCK’S SAKE. WE DIDN’T THINK THAT WAS ACTUALLY GOING TO HAPPEN THIS QUICKLY. JUST NAME JOHN TERRY YOUR CARETAKER PLAYER/MANAGER NOW, OR MAKE IT PERMANENT, WE DON’T CARE ANY MORE. LIKE GUARDIOLA’S COMING NOW, ROMAN. NO ACTUAL MANAGER WITH ANY SENSE OF DIGNITY OR SELF-RESPECT WILL COME TO COACH YOUR TEAM, IT DOESN’T MATTER HOW MUCH FUCK-YOU MONEY YOU THROW AT HIM, NOT AFTER YOU FIRE A DUDE WHO HELPED SALVAGE A SEASON BY WINNING THE GODDAMN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE.

October 29, 2012
Deal With Premier League Gives NBC 380 Games - New York Times

This is, well, really important even though it’s inside baseball to a lot of people — because we’re talking about the future of soccer coverage in the U.S., and there are three major American networks that have a stake in it (NBC, Fox, & ESPN) and a new cable upstart who’s making a splash (beIN Sport.) Now NBC has won the Premier League rights for next season by more than tripling what Fox & ESPN had been paying for their shared package.

NBC will pay the Premier League at least $80 million over the next three seasons, and plans to carry ALL the games live in some way — whether on its networks, online, or in pay-per-view format. NBC Sports Network will be the hub for most of the broadcasts, but I imagine the Peacock won’t hesitate to air a few games on good old free NBC on Saturday & Sunday mornings — as some of the games will air before or after affiliates’ weekend morning newscasts.

So let’s break down some of the implications:

  • NBC Sports Network, for many of us, is in the basic cable or satellite tier rather than the dedicated sports tier that both Fox Soccer channels are on. There will be quite a few of us who will be able to save a few bucks on the cable bill if so desired. Having watched MLS games on NBCSN, the HD quality is better than Fox Soccer’s, by a mile. That said, after the fiasco that was NBC’s attempt to have Olympic events live online via streaming, it needs to spend the next year refining and making sure that its online setup works well — because that could be the end of searching for pirate feeds for many of us. It would be beneficial for NBC to place its own teams in the UK for the broadcasts rather than going with the Fox model, where it piped in the Sky Sports commentating teams.
  • Fox is in a bad place: it has the Champions & Europa League rights, upcoming rights to the World Cup after 2014, and probably still has FA and League Cup action too. But it’s lost both Serie A and Premier League rights now and you need to have a major domestic league for a specialized soccer network. It built its name on airing Prem matches. The question is what it will fill the giant programming hole with — and it will have fewer opportunities to fine-tune its studio hosting, commentating, and analyst line-up before it gains the World Cup rights.
  • ESPN’s soccer broadcasts take another hit. 2014 will be its last World Cup, which is kind of a shame after the 2008 Euros and the 2010 World Cup showed that it had started taking soccer seriously rather than the hatchet job it had done during the ‘06 WC (where it assigned commentators who knew very little about soccer.) After 2014, will the largest name in American sports broadcasting even care about soccer? When ESPN abandoned the NHL  after that league’s first lockout and the NHL went to what is now NBC Sports Network, ESPN largely pretended it didn’t exist. Unless it keeps some MLS games, seeing highlights on SportsCenter may be a rarity after 2016.
  • As for beIN Sport, it probably does not have to worry much — gaining the rights to three major European domestic leagues in the U.S. was enough of a coup for one year. 
  • Unresolved issue: the one major European domestic league that does not have either major or growing penetration in the American market (in terms of a network partner) is the Bundesliga. It’s on GolTV, which had many of its rights, commentators, and thunder stolen by beIN. Could Fox swoop in here? The German league has a glamour team but a structure where quite a few squads have a chance.

Just some food for thought. What do you think of the NBC deal?

(NOTE: updated to fix a couple dates — of course the next World Cup is in 2014, not ‘16! Sorry!)

October 29, 2012
Aw, shitsnacks. I thought we were gonna get through the Prem weekend without a mention of racism.
At least this is a new one: Chelsea have lodged a complaint with the FA over racist language allegedly used by referee Mark Clattenburg in yesterday’s loss to Manchester United, in which two Blues were sent off. Reports are that the slurs, if any were used, were directed toward Mikel John Obi. This came after Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole shook hands in the pre-game after coming to heads over the John Terry case.
So ugh.

Aw, shitsnacks. I thought we were gonna get through the Prem weekend without a mention of racism.

At least this is a new one: Chelsea have lodged a complaint with the FA over racist language allegedly used by referee Mark Clattenburg in yesterday’s loss to Manchester United, in which two Blues were sent off. Reports are that the slurs, if any were used, were directed toward Mikel John Obi. This came after Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Cole shook hands in the pre-game after coming to heads over the John Terry case.

So ugh.

September 29, 2012
Carrow Road has been very good to Luis Suarez. This is the second goal of his hat trick against Norwich City, in which Liverpool got off the schnide and got its first league win under Brendan Rodgers, 5-2.

Carrow Road has been very good to Luis Suarez. This is the second goal of his hat trick against Norwich City, in which Liverpool got off the schnide and got its first league win under Brendan Rodgers, 5-2.

(Source: icantfeelmyarms, via reinarubin)

August 31, 2012
Transfer deadline day 2012: every summer move involving a Premier League club | News | guardian.co.uk

Handy-dandy chart to see how each of the Premiership teams spent over the summer.

Best bang for buck so far? I’d say Swansea and Everton.

August 23, 2012
This is Paddy Kenny, keeper for Championship side Leeds United (or, if you’re feeling nasty, Dirty Leeds.)
Last season, Kenny was the keeper for Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League. He’d helped the squad win the Championship two years ago, but after barely eking out survival in the Prem, the Hoops didn’t show much confidence and brought in Rob Green from West Ham. Kenny then requested a transfer, and was allowed to reunite with Neil Warnock, who was also dismissed by QPR mid-way through last year’s campaign.
Last weekend, Green allowed one hell of a howler (much like the one he gave to Clint Dempsey as England keeper in the last World Cup) and several others during a 5-nil shaming at home at the feet of Swansea City.
And it turns out Kenny may have taken a bit too much glee in the proceedings — allegedly sending nasty texts to owner/chairman Tony Fernandes and technical director Mike Rigg.
If true, it’s churlish, juvenile, and stupid — but one must only admire that kind of spite. And as someone who’s actively disliked QPR manager Mark Hughes since his own churlish resignation from Fulham assuming he would be offered the Aston Villa job, I’m all for taunting QPR at every opportunity as it buys up every player for a squad that would be great on paper had it been assembled five years ago.

This is Paddy Kenny, keeper for Championship side Leeds United (or, if you’re feeling nasty, Dirty Leeds.)

Last season, Kenny was the keeper for Queens Park Rangers in the Premier League. He’d helped the squad win the Championship two years ago, but after barely eking out survival in the Prem, the Hoops didn’t show much confidence and brought in Rob Green from West Ham. Kenny then requested a transfer, and was allowed to reunite with Neil Warnock, who was also dismissed by QPR mid-way through last year’s campaign.

Last weekend, Green allowed one hell of a howler (much like the one he gave to Clint Dempsey as England keeper in the last World Cup) and several others during a 5-nil shaming at home at the feet of Swansea City.

And it turns out Kenny may have taken a bit too much glee in the proceedings — allegedly sending nasty texts to owner/chairman Tony Fernandes and technical director Mike Rigg.

If true, it’s churlish, juvenile, and stupid — but one must only admire that kind of spite. And as someone who’s actively disliked QPR manager Mark Hughes since his own churlish resignation from Fulham assuming he would be offered the Aston Villa job, I’m all for taunting QPR at every opportunity as it buys up every player for a squad that would be great on paper had it been assembled five years ago.

August 18, 2012

Swansea’s Michu scores the first goal of the 2012-2013 Premier League season, is excited.

(Source: itv.com)

August 16, 2012
a completely uneducated 2012-13 Premier League prediction tallywhacker.

Premier League returns Saturday! Was encouraged to share my prediction list with the TWG followers, so here goes. It goes without saying that this is one man’s opinion. Apologies for re-blogging myself.

thethirdshift:

TWO DAYS UNTIL GLORIOUS FOOTBALL.

  1. Manchester City - really only in trouble if Kompany is hurt for any length of time
  2. Manchester United - SAF is buying because he can. I don’t view Kagawa combined with either Cleverley or Carrick as solving the CM issue that’s been staring him in the face. $34 mil for RvP and his one good season at 29 is a bit much.
  3. Arsenal - still solidly 3rd place to me. Turning van Persie into $34 million is good business if they can get another midfielder and a defender before the window closes.
  4. Liverpool - if, and only IF, they hold on to Daniel Agger. They have no chance of CL qualification if Jamie Carragher is making any meaningful appearances in defense but the preseason views of Brendan Rodgers’ style have been positive and one club cannot hit the post that many times again, right?
  5. Chelsea - John Terry is your smartest CB and also an athletic liability. Love the attackers, not sure you’re strong enough on defense with all those quality attack minded players. If it melds together, Chelsea could go all the up to 2nd, if not, di Matteo out by Christmas.
  6. Newcastle - No major changes but the Geordies can’t sneak up on anyone like last year. Remarkable they’ve not been raided.
  7. Tottenham - BUY A GODDAMNED STRIKER FFS. Like the AVB as manager, like Vertonghen and Sigurdsson moves, but who’s finishing? Defoe?
  8. Everton - I would actually put them in the fight for a CL spot if they started better in the first half of the season.
  9. Swansea City - Michael Laudrup’s bought some good players for cheap and most of the squad is unchanged. The Liberty Stadium will remain a fortress; I I think the Swans can do better on their away form this time.
  10. Aston Villa - Paul Lambert’s flexibility will make a huge difference.
  11. West Brom - Steve Clarke is a first-year head coach, sure, but I think he will get more of these things right than wrong because Roy Hodgson left enough in the cupboard right.
  12. Fulham - love Jol, like the team in general, not sure who’s scoring the goals for them this year since Dempsey’s on his way out (hopefully to Anfield!)
  13. Norwich City - generally the same squad, new manager, lotta defensive players from last season gone (mostly to Leicester, apparently). Want them to stay up because Chris Hughton deserves his shot without interference. 
  14. Stoke City - they do what they do and they do it well. Won’t be any fun to watch.
  15. QPR - They’ll flirt with relegation but they’ve bought too many decent (if unspectacular) players to get dropped.
  16. Sunderland - Again, I want to know who’s scoring and they looked dreadful after the initial Martin O’Neill swoon. Here’s your potential unexpected relegation candidate.
  17. West Ham - Sadly, they’re the only promoted team I have staying up because Big Sam’s practicality will save them. Hammers vs. Potters shouldn’t be televised.
  18. Reading - like the signing of Danny Guthrie in midfield, like Pogrebynak up front if he can follow through and score. They could sneak out and stay alive if any of the teams in 13-17 really bite the bit.
  19. Wigan - you can only dance on the head of a pin for so long.
  20. Southampton - waging a lot on lower-level players. Think they’ll do a Blackpool: they’ll go back down, but they’ll be fun to watch.

So, folks:

Which side do you think will pull a Newcastle and surprise us?

Who’s gonna pull a Villa and flirt with relegation?

Will a Manchester squad win the title or might we get a surprise?

Which manager gets the pink slip first?

July 13, 2012
The Chelsea captain won’t face a criminal punishment, as a magistrate found him not guilty of racial abuse. It’s probably safe to say that after learning about the language that was debated over (“fucking black cunt”), this was probably something that should have been left to the FA and not involved the court system.
So the FA now has a chance to act based on what Terry admitted to saying on the pitch — if it chooses to, but who knows whether it will or if it really should?
(via John Terry cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand | Football | guardian.co.uk)

The Chelsea captain won’t face a criminal punishment, as a magistrate found him not guilty of racial abuse. It’s probably safe to say that after learning about the language that was debated over (“fucking black cunt”), this was probably something that should have been left to the FA and not involved the court system.

So the FA now has a chance to act based on what Terry admitted to saying on the pitch — if it chooses to, but who knows whether it will or if it really should?

(via John Terry cleared of racially abusing Anton Ferdinand | Football | guardian.co.uk)