Euro 2012 Groups Announced

2 Dec

The groups for Euro 2012 were announced by UEFA today in a typically pompous and totally unnecessary ceremony. My main question is why is the draw being held so far in advance?  Euro doesn’t kick off until June 8, over six months from now.  However, now that I have thought about it for a hot sec, it makes sense logistically as teams (and fans) have to make travel arrangements to the appropriate cities and teams have a chance to scout opponents to the max.  If there’s another reason I’m missing, let me know.

As usual, there is one group that seems like it should be way tougher than the rest and for this tournament, it’s group B featuring Germany, Portugal, Holland and Denmark.  Yikes, bet those coaches are happy people.

Group A: Poland, Greece, Russia, Czech Republic

Group B: Germany, Portugal, Denmark, Netherlands

Group C: Spain, Italy, Ireland, Croatia

Group D: England, Ukraine, France, Sweden

Fantasy sports are evil

28 Oct

So I have played fantasy Premier League for the past four years because as you well know, I’m obsessed with soccer. I’ve also dabbled in fantasy football, basketball and hockey. And you know what? They all suck.  No matter who I pick, my team is always terrible.

I just can’t win*.  I think out of all the fantasy sports I’ve played, I’ve finished dead last all but once (maybe twice).  I go out and pick up the season’s leading goal scorer? Oh, he’s on the bench because his head’s “not right”. (Damn you, Wayne Rooney.)  My stud midfielder? Not playing because of an upcoming Champions League clash.  My defense? Well, they just have no idea how to stop the opposition from scoring.  Close game?  No worries, my opponent had a player get bonus points and he’s the captain too!

For the love of all that is holy, why can’t I catch a break?  I try to put together a decently strong team, but the cards never fall my way.  Meanwhile, the guy leading the one league I’m in has Joe Cole on his team. Joe Cole!! Are you joking me?  The guy was loaned out before the season even started! What the hell?  How is this guy winning the league since he obviously hasn’t put in one iota of effort since the season started?  Meanwhile, I’m keeping an eye on things throughout the season, trying to make my team better and I’m wallowing in last place.  Go me.

The whole fantasy sports machine is just ridiculously absurd.  You can put in all the time, effort and analyze all 343** players in the league, but that doesn’t mean you are going to win.  It’s not like you have any influence over how a player does on the field.  Fantasy sports are all about luck and some people just hog it all.  And honestly, should it really matter how your completely made-up team does in some internet-based fake sports league?  No, it really shouldn’t, but for some reason, it does.  For me, I simply hate losing, regardless of the forum.  (Don’t even get me started on FIFA.)  Should I waste my time getting irritated when my team sucks? Probably not, just as it’s not really worth gloating if my team wins.  It’s all about luck.

Even though I am endlessly frustrated with my teams and my perceived lack of luck and I threaten to quit constantly, I just can’t.  Some unknown factor always sucks me back into the vortex of made-up frustration and glory.  And to that I say, damn it, who’s going to be my captain this week?

*In case you are wondering, my lineup is currently:
GK: Michel Vorm (Swansea)
D: Jose Enrique (Liverpool), Gary Cahill (Bolton), Ryan Taylor (Newcastle)
M: Martin Petrov (Bolton), Ahmed Elmohamady (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), David Silva (Manchester City)
F: Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), Gabriel Agbonlahor (Aston Villa), Leon Best (Newcastle)
Bench: Carlo Cudicini, GK (Tottenham); Charles N’Zogbia, M (Aston Villa); Phil Jagielka, D (Everton); Phillip Bardsley, D (Sunderland)

**this number is totally made-up

Liverpool takes out Stoke in Carling Cup

26 Oct

Luis Suarez was en fuego for Liverpool today, netting two second half goals in a 2-1 win over Stoke in the Carling Cup to send LFC to the quarterfinals. The Reds were clearly the more threatening team in the first half, but could not hit the broad side of a barn, much like Saturday’s contest against Norwich. Of course, Stoke took the lead just before half on an Kenwyne Jones header on pretty much their only chance of the half. The Stoke goal was largely set up by Sebastian Coates’ failure to clear the ball out of a dangerous area, so yeah, might want to work on that.

Suarez finally got tired of seeing his shots get saved/go wide in the second half, scoring his first after juking a defender at the edge of the box and unleashing a gorgeous shot into the far side. He scored the game winner on a header (take notes, Andy Carroll) off a pinpoint cross from Jordan Henderson in the 84th minute.  Well done by all parties on that one.

The Reds have been playing decent football in their last few games, but have been struggling to put the ball in the back of the net. Today’s match was the first time since the derby win on Oct. 1 the team has netted twice. Hope this means the floodgates have opened for Suarez, who has been playing well but struggling recently to hit the net.

LFC has a good chance to go into the international break with a couple Ws, taking on West Brom this weekend and Swansea next week, however, they have got to learn to put teams away. LFC has struggled against teams lower in the table and stepped up against the big guys and that has to change, they need to play with the same kind of intensity and desire in every game. Dropping points against a team like Norwich or in upcoming games against West Brom and Swansea could really come back to bite them in the ass.

Punching people in the face

15 Sep

If I could punch people who say stupid things for a living, that would be awesome. I think I would start with Cristiano Ronaldo for saying this “”I think that because I am rich, handsome and a great player people are envious of me.” Douchebag.

Manchester teams looks to continue strong start

26 Aug

Both Manchester United and Manchester City have started the season in dominating fashion and will look to continue that form Sunday against Arsenal and Tottenham, respectively, teams both fighting for their first wins of the season.  Meanwhile, Liverpool aims to improve on last season as they take on Bolton, where they only won once in the first eight games of the year (yikes).  Definitely a solid slate of games this weekend, especially considering the top four clash between Aston Villa and Wolves kicks off action for game week three.

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 27

Aston Villa vs. Wolves – 7 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Wigan vs. QPR – 7:23 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Swansea vs. Sunderland – 9:53 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Chelsea vs. Norwich – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Blackburn vs. Everton – 10 a.m. ET
Liverpool vs. Bolton – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, August 28
Newcastle vs. Fulham – 7:53 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Tottenham vs. Manchester City – 8:30 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
West Brom vs. Stoke – 9:53 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Manchester United vs. Arsenal – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

2011-12 Champions League group stage set

25 Aug

After a tediously boring draw earlier today, the Champions League groups are ready to go for another year of action. Group A ended up as the toughest draw with Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City and Napoli. Of course, Barcelona and Manchester United have one team in each of their groups that could pose a challenge.  The first group games are set for Sept. 13-14 and the complete schedule can be found here.

Oh and in case you were wondering, Lionel Messi won the first UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, which was announced after the draw to the surprise of approximately no one.

Group A
Bayern Munich (GER)
Villarreal (ESP)
Manchester City (ENG)
Napoli (ITA)

Group B
Inter (ITA)
CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Lille (FRA)
Trabsponzor (TUR)

Group C
Manchester United (ENG)
Benfica (POR)
Basel (SUI)
Otelui Galati (ROU)

Group D
Real Madrid (ESP)
Lyon (FRA)
Ajax (NED)
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Group E
Chelsea (ENG)
Valencia (ESP)
Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Genk (BEL)

Group F
Arsenal (ENG)
Marseille (FRA)
Olympiacos (GRE)
Borussia Dortmund (GER)

Group G
Porto (POR)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS)
APOEL (CYP)

Group H
Barcelona (ESP)
AC Milan (ITA)
BATE (BLR)
Viktoria Plzen (CZE)

Premier League predictions

12 Aug

The 2011-12 Premier League season starts tomorrow and I can’t wait. I am so ridiculously excited.  My prediction?  This is one of the closest title races in a long time and it comes down to the last couple weeks. As much as I hate to say it, I think that Manchester United will win its second straight title as Chicharito takes the league by storm. I peg Man City as runners-up as the team builds on its success last year. Even without Tevez, Sergio Aguero is more than capable of picking up the slack. Liverpool makes a triumphant return to the top four after two years out and Chelsea rounds out the top four.

Champion: Manchester United
Top Four: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea
Relegated: Swansea, West Brom, Wolves
Golden Boot: Chicharito, MU

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 13
Blackburn vs. Wolves – 2 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Delayed)
Fulham vs. Aston Villa – 9:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Liverpool vs. Sunderland – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
QPR vs. Bolton – 9:55 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Wigan vs. Norwich – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Newcastle vs. Arsenal – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, August 14
Stoke City vs. Chelsea – 8:25 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
West Brom vs. Manchester United – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Monday, August 15
Manchester City vs. Swansea – 3 p.m. ET/ESPN 2 (Live)

*One more plug for Fantasy Premier League: http://fantasy.premierleague.com and the code is 1335966-299712!