Archive | December, 2009

Happy Holidays!

24 Dec

First of all, a big thank you to all the readers of this blog!  I wish you all the best of holidays.  I’ll be MIA for a few days as I am on vacation with my family in Hawaii.  Mele Kalikimaka everyone!

Premier League Schedule – December 26-27

24 Dec

The best game of the weekend is Aston Villa at Arsenal on Sunday. Each team has 35 points and a victory could vault the winner into second place, depending on the result of the Manchester United game. Liverpool desperately need a win to get their season back on track (I feel like I’ve written that sentence a lot this year.)

Saturday, December 26
Birmingham vs. Chelsea – 7:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Fulham vs. Tottenham – 8 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
West Ham vs. Portsmouth – 7:55 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Burnley vs. Bolton – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Manchester City vs. Stoke – 9:55 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Sunderland vs. Everton – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Wigan vs. Blackburn – 3 p.m. ET/Setanta (Delayed)
Liverpool vs. Wolves – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, December 27
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa – 8:25 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Hull vs. Manchester United – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Messi named FIFA Player of the Year

21 Dec

Barcelona striker Lionel Messi has been honored as the FIFA World Player of the Year. The Argentinian helped lead Barca to the treble (Champions League, Spanish League and Cup) last season. Messi easily outdistanced his fellow candidates in the voting with 1,047 points. Last year’s winner, Cristiano Ronaldo, was second with 354 points. Messi’s Barcelona teammate Xavi was third with 196 points. Earlier this month, Messi also claimed the Ballon D’Or as the top player in Europe. It’s a well-deserved award for Messi as he has the ability to make a game-changing play every time he touches the ball (the most recent example being his extra time winner in the Club World Cup final).

On the women’s side, Brazil’s Marta was voted Women’s World Player of the Year for the fourth year in a row. That’s an incredible feat, but even more so when you realize that she’s only 23 years old.

FIFA also announced the World XI, which features six players based in Spain and five from England:
GK – Iker Casillas (Real Madrid)
Defenders – Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Patrice Evra (Manchester United), John Terry (Chelsea), Dani Alves (Barcelona)
Midfielders – Xavi (Barcelona), Andres Iniesta (Barcelona), Steven Gerrard (Liverpool)
Forwards – Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid), Fernando Torres (Liverpool)

Mascherano handed four-game ban

21 Dec

Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano has been hit with a four game ban after his straight red card in the loss to Portsmouth on Saturday.  It’s a four game suspension since it’s his second sending-off of the season.  On the red card tackle, Mascherano also sprained the medial ligament in his knee.  The injury will keep him out at least a couple weeks, so essentially it means he will serve his ban while injured.  The fact that he’s injured takes the teeth out of the punishment, but Liverpool will be grateful they caught a break.  He’ll miss league games against Wolves, Aston Villa and Tottenham as well as the FA Cup third round tie with Reading.  The first game he will be eligible to come back is against Stoke on January 16.  On the plus side, it probably means that we will get to see Alberto Aquilani step into a starting role.

As far as the red card goes, I really don’t think the challenge was that bad.  I’ve heard some people refer to it as a “career-ending tackle”, but it definitely wasn’t.  I’ve seen a lot worse.  It was slightly out of control, but honestly, I don’t think I would have even given a red card for it.  What do you think?  Check out the video below:

Terrible outing by Liverpool

20 Dec

After dominating the first half hour against Portsmouth, the wheels completely fell off for Liverpool on Saturday.  Midfielder Javier Mascherano picked up a dubious red card, as well as an injury, towards the end of the first half.  From that point on, the Reds looked completely out of whack.  Although it was nice to see Fernando Torres back in the starting lineup, he got increasingly frustrated and kept talking back to the ref, something he doesn’t usually do.  The passing wasn’t crisp and they hardly challenged the Portsmouth goal at all in the second half.  Keep in mind, they were playing Portsmouth, the team in LAST PLACE in the league, a team Liverpool should be able to beat.  It’s a extremely frustrating loss in an increasingly disappointing season for Liverpool.  

Fulham pulled off another upset on Saturday as well, knocking off Manchester United, 3-0.  League leader Chelsea failed to take advantage of United’s slip-up and were only able to take a point from a 1-1 draw with West Ham.

Premier League Schedule Dec. 19-21

18 Dec

Manchester United looks to go joint top with a win over Fulham on Saturday, while Chelsea looks to keep a three-point gap from their closest challenger against West Ham Sunday.  Meanwhile, Liverpool needs a win over bottom-dwelling Portsmouth if they want to keep any hope of a top four finish alive.

I will add the US broadcasts for Fox Soccer games later tonight as the new Foxsoccer.com website doesn’t seem to want to give me that information at the moment.

Saturday, December 19
Portsmouth vs. Liverpool – 7:45 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Aston Villa vs. Stoke
Blackburn vs. Tottenham
Fulham vs. Manchester United – 9:30 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Manchester City vs. Sunderland
Arsenal vs. Hull

Sunday, December 20
Wolves vs. Burnley – 8:25 a.m. ET/Setanta (Live)
Everton vs. Birmingham
West Ham vs. Chelsea

Monday, December 21
Wigan vs. Bolton

Donovan heads to Everton on loan

18 Dec

Landon Donovan is heading back to Europe on loan, this time to Everton in England.

LA Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan has signed a short-term loan deal with Everton that will run from January to mid-March. He’ll join U.S. teammate Tim Howard at the club. It’s a good move for Donovan because Everton is struggling and he will probably get a decent amount of playing time. Donovan has spent time overseas playing in Germany, but hasn’t seen much success. He is capable of playing at an elite level and this loan is a better fit for him than Germany ever was. As an added bonus, he’ll be able to pick up a little bit on the English style of play, which will be beneficial come World Cup time.