Just a handful more rounds until the waterworks start.
It’s round 30 in Serie A and there are several exciting races heating up.
While Milan and Juventus continue to duke it out for the Scudetto, 3 other continue to vie for the last Champions League spot and a few more lurkers might still be trying as hard as anyone really tries to get into the Europa League.
The bottom three is still in doubt as well and if you like watching the joy of a good relegation escape in England, you’ll love the the extreme-tebowing that goes on when an Italian minnow gains salvation.
Last week in Serie A was a bit low scoring, so let’s hope these key battle produce some more fireworks this time around.
Get well soon, Stan (credit: Press Association, h/t to the Daily Mail)
As football supporters, we tend to look solely at the pitch, forgetting that players have lives outside of it, and that, as with any job, sometimes that weighs into their performances. At Four Five Two, we generally have a remit to take absolutely none of the game seriously.
I’m going to go against both of those remits today.
On this week’s episode of AM 452, I slagged off Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov for making what I called a “pantomime challenge” at Arsenal’s Kieran Gibbs in the buildup to the left back’s opener on Saturday. I believe I also called it ”inexcusable.” Elsewhere on the Interwebs I posted that I’d be happy to be well shot of Petrov next season.
On its own, that’s normal football overreaction. Especially as Petrov is often the last player to accuse of lacking effort. However, today my words are even less excusable, as Villa’s skipper and 2008-2009 player of the year has been diagnosed with acute Leukemia, as announced by the club today. An apology in this forum, for words that the player likely neither heard nor saw, is quite literally the least I can do, but I feel it absolutely necessary to a player that has been a model servant and captain to Aston Villa Football Club.
My wife often refers to Petrov as Keyser Soze, due to the fact that he looks capable of unspeakable, extreme badassery on the pitch. Neil Lennon, current Celtic manager and a former teammate of Petrov’s, was quoted as saying that Stan “has the heart of a lion.” I can only hope that that those qualities can see him through this illness.
I think I can comfortably say that I speak for the rest of the Four Five Two staff in sending our best wishes to Petrov and his family for a speedy recovery.
NOW things are getting very interesting. The carnage from week seven’s battles left us with some tantalizing matchups heading into week eight. This is when we finally get to see some of the title contenders battling for supremacy. If you’ve been on the fence about Tango Ball so far, now’s the time to GTFI.
Looking Back: Where to start? Well, Estudiantes beat Argentinos 2-1 to go top of the table, but Boca were confident they would regain the top spot by beating Lanús. Unfortunately, they squandered a 2-0 lead and ended up tying 2-2. Thank you, Lanús! Meanwhile, Tigre’s 1-0 loss to Arsenal saw them lose control of the table and drop to third. Plus it complicates their dire relegation issues. So Estudiantes are #1, with Boca and Tigre a point behind. The surprise upset of the weekend was Newell’s beating Vélez on the road, which puts the NOB at #4 while Vélez drops to #5. Continue reading →
This is a series that looks at the greats (and goods) of the beautiful game that went on to sully the ears of footy fans around the world in the cushy confines of the commentary booth. Today’s subject: he’s a rambling, idiotic mess, and that’s even compared to our past subject: it’s David Pleat
The very face of English mediocrity (h/t BleacherReport.com)
David Pleat is known to everyone that knows footy as a shrill, idiotic, unseeing commentator. But back in the old days, Pleat was a halfway decent winger. While he never played for England, Pleat did manage 185 senior appearances and 27 goals for Nottingham Forest, Luton Town, Shrewsbury Town, Exeter City, and Peterborough from 1962 to 1971. Certainly not a superstar of the game, for certain, but he contributed enough during 9 years in the game that we could label him a proper player.
We are back again with AM 452 and we cover a lot of fun topics this time around. I am joined by Keith and MP to discuss all things soccer. We preview the past weeks games in the FA Cup, Champion’s League, and of course the EPL. We also cover the shenanigans that were U.S. Olympic Qualifying. In case you enjoy that sort of thing, there is also some Spurs and Arsenal bashing. Enjoy, and unfortunately this podcast is not on iTunes, but you can listen below.
F.C. Internazionale Milano have had quite the roller coaster season.
They have been extremely inconsistent but have had enough decent peaks to make the falls that much more compelling.
But airtime is hard to fill. Like on any daily soap, the same old thing in football starts to get boring.
And with Inter going trough an abysmal stretch that has seen them dumped from the Champions League and winless in 10 consecutive Serie A matches, even people like me who love to watch the Nerazzurri suffer were starting to lose interest.
However, it’s just not like this organization to go quietly into the sunset.
So what does any good drama do when it needs to freshen up?
Two go-to options are killing off a major character or bringing an old antagonist back into the mix.
For those of you who do not follow soccer as exuberantly as some of us, basically
We got tread on, stomped on, elbowed, and spit on
those of you who have a real life, the USMNT U-23 team has been attempting to qualify for the Olympics. As was the case with the U-20 team in their World Cup Qualifying tournament, the U-23’s managed to shock everyone by failing to qualify in what can only be described as a vortex of screwball comedies and inept defending.
After throwing Cuba into the wood chipper with a score of 6-0, the squad lost to the Canadians 2-0, and set up a “win or go home” situation last night against El Salvador. The Amercians promptly decided to check out of their hotel for the match, and catch the red-eye to their respective homes this morning, drawing 3-3 against the El Salvadorians after conceding with about 10 seconds left in stoppage time, and here are some of our thoughts about this failed qualifying attempt, as well as what it means for the future.
The above image was found on the back cover of Red Issue #258, which was passed around Old Trafford prior to United’s league match against Liverpool on February 11th. It was topical, controversial, and – let’s be honest – hilarious. Sure sure, a few Scousers were offended, but they are dirty and poor and just lost consecutive games with QPR and Wigan and … sorry, I got side-tracked for a second.
Anyways, the monthly magazine is known for its sharp satire and frequent mocking of the club’s own players, coaches, and management. Issue #260, which will be distributed before today’s critical tie with Fulham, addressed the public reaction to the Muamba tragedy, and let’s just say that they did a very, very poor job of getting the point across. The cover comes after the jump.
One of the greater things about watching football in America is that most matches, especially those of the EPL, are early in the morning American time, giving people an excuse to daydrink. This is part of our series discussing exactly what to drink when you’re at the pub, presented by our resident homebrewer, Keith.
The Beer: Newcastle Founder’s Ale, Newcastle Brown Ale, Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, UK (Now owned by Heikenken and brewed at John Smith’s Brewery
What You Need to Know: The English “Bitter” category is a place where breweries put their regional and personal style forward. It’s a generally low-alcohol and low-hop style, usually is cask conditioned (meaning carbonation is not forced from a carbon dioxide or nitrogen canister, but occurs naturally in a cask). It’s what you’ll find in the lower handles at any pub in England (i.e. not the loudly, proudly announced “COLD” beers). Bitters can range from 3.5 to 5.5 percent alcohol, making them ideal for either an accompaniment to a mid-week lunch, or for a daylong session.
Bitters are also generally codified as you climb up the percentages. An “Extra Special Bitter,” or ESB, generally comes out at 5.5, is generally a little hoppier, more full-bodied and darker in color. Continue reading →