Monday, February 29, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: PSG loses to end undefeated season

Yesterday's Scores
Premier League
Manchester United 3-1 Arsenal
(Rashford 29', 32', Herrera 65')-(Welbeck 40', Ozil 69')

Tottenham 2-1  Swansea
(Chadli 70', Rose 77')-(Paloschi 19')

Capital One Cup- Final
Liverpool 1-1 Manchester City (1-3 on penalties)
(Coutinho 83')-(Fernandinho 49')

FC Augsburg 2-2 Borussia Monchengladbach
(Verhaegh 5', Caiuby 53')-(Raffael 33', Johnson 55')

Borussia Dortmund 3-1 TSG Hoffenheim
(Mkhitaryan 80', Ramos 85', Aubameyang 90+2')-(Rudy 25')

Mainz 3-1 Bayer Leverkusen
(Malli 14', PL 58', Cordoba 32')-(Chicharito 65')

Eintracht Frankfurt 0-0 Schalke 04

La Liga
Villarreal 3-0 Levante
(Baptistao 12', Castillejo 30', Adrian 48')

Valencia 0-3 Athletic Bilbao
(Merino 73', Muniain 77', Adduiz 80')

Deportivo La Coruna 0-1 Granada
(El Arabi PK 24')

Barcelona 2-1 Sevilla
(Messi 31', Pique 48')-(Vitolo 20')

Serie A
Palermo 0-0 Bologna

Carpi 1-1 Atalanta
(Verdi PK 75')-(Kurtic 52')

Chievo Verona 1-0 Genoa
(Castro 51')

Sampdoria 1-1 Frosinone
(Quagliarella 69')-(Fernando 44')

Udinese 2-0 Hellas Verona
(Badu 31', Thereau 56')

Juventus 2-0 Inter Milan
(Bonucci 47', Morata PK 84')

Ligue 1
Nantes 0-0 AS Monaco

GFC Ajaccio p-p Marseille (Postponed)

St. Etienne 1-2 Caen
(Eysseric 90+1')-(Delort 78', Ronny 82')

Olympique Lyonnais 2-1 Paris-St. Germain
(Cornet 13', Darder 45+2')-(Moura 51')

Paris-St. Germain's quest for invincibility comes to a close with this loss at Lyon. They pretty much have their title wrapped up, so all that was left in the league was to see if they could do it without suffering a defeat. With the talk around PSG that they might focus more energy on the Champions League, it's no shock that it has come to an end. Although today was not exactly when we all thought it would happen. The only major player missing from the lineup was Angel di Maria. Zlatan and all his goal scoring friends were all there, so it's not like this was a reserve side or anything. It jsut goes to show how tough it is to be invincible in this game, regardless of how much better PSG is than the rest of France.

Liga MX
Guadalajara 1-1 Tijuana
(Brizuela 6')-(Hernandez OG 26')

Louis Van Gaal provided us with one of the more humorous moments of the season yesterday with his simulated flop in front of the fourth official after a foul called late in Manchester United's 3-2 win over Arsenal. The very meme-able moment was a result of Van Gaal's over abundance of emotion towards the end of a huge match. He said he needs to control those outbursts a little better, but I say if they are going to be that entertaining, why stop? We need something to make fun since Mourinho moved on.

Today's Matches
Serie A
Lazio v. Sassuolo- 1pm- beIN
Fiorentina v. Napoli- 3pm- beIN

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Sunday Premier League: Arsenal fall of title pace at Old Trafford, Spurs come back over Swansea

Arsenal 2-3 Manchester United
With last weekend giving us FA Cup matches, Arsenal's dramatic win feels like a distant memory, even though that was their last Premier League contest. Now, the Gunners take on Manchester United in a fixture that has always given us plenty of entertainment. After nearly a half hour of the two sides feeling each other out, Manchester United's sudden starlet Marcus Rashford sprung into action. Inn the 29tg minute, after Gabriel missed a sliding intervention on a low cross, Rashford pounced on the loose ball to hammer it in. He struck again three minutes later with his second goal in as many Premier League shots. Arsenal would not go down without a fight however. Danny Welbeck, in a moment that called back to his late winner two weeks ago, headed home a 40th minute free kick to cut into the deficit.

Arsenal was pressuring at the beginning of the second half, but not really looking like scoring. Then their comeback plans took a hit when Ander Herrera fired a shot that deflected off Laurent Koscielny into the top corner in the 65th minute. Arsenal struck right back to keep the game alive. Mesut Ozil bounced one in of a rebound inn the 69th to get the Gunners back within a goal. They were never able too really organize another attack for the rest of the match. United's defense was too stout for their lifeless pushed forward too penetrate.

As a result, Arsenal now find themselves five points off the title race and down in third by three thanks to the result below.

Tottenham 2-1 Swansea City
Swansea took the early lead on the other North London team with an opportune strike from the outside of the six yard box by Alberto Paloschi in the 19th minute. It took Spurs until the 70th minute to equalize. Nacer Chadli was the last too touch a pinballing shot through the penalty area. It was all Spurs from that point on. Danny Rose found the winner off a corner inn the 77th minute to give Tottenham full control over second place, two points back of Leicester at the top.

Hooligan's Wake Up: Howard almost through to Colorado

Yesterday's Scores
Premier League
West Ham 1-0 Sunderland
(Antonio 30')

Leicester City 1-0 Norwich City
(Ulloa 89')

Southampton 1-2 Chelsea
(Long 44')-(Fabregas 75', Ivanovic 89')

Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa
(Arnautovic PK 52', 56')-(Bacuna 79')

Watford 0-0 AFC Bournemouth

West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Crystal Palace
(Gardner 12', Dawson 19', Berahino 31')-(Wickham 48', 80')

Hamburg SV 1-1 Ingolstadt 04
(Drmic 7')-(Hinterseer 61')

VfB Stuttgart 1-2 Hannover 96
(Werner 18')-(Schultz 32', 83')

VfL Wolfsburg 0-2 Bayern Munich
(Coman 66', Lewandowski 71')

Werder Bremen 2-2 SV Darmstadt 98
(Ujah 33', PIzarro 89')-(Wagner PK 44', Sulu 82')

La Liga
Real Madrid 0-1 Atletico Madrid
(Griezmann 53')

Getafe 0-1 Celta Vigo
(Nolito 71')

Sporting Gijon 2-4 Espanyol
(Castro 20', 62')-(Burgui 41', Moreno 48', 58', Hernandez OG 80')

Real Betis 2-2 Rayo Vallecano
(Castro 14', 28')-(Manucho 48', 51')

Real Sociedad 0-1 Málaga
(Cop 56')

Serie A
Empoli 1-3 AS Roma
(Zukanovic OG 22')-(El Shaarawy 5', 74' Pjanic 27')

AC Milan 1-0 Torino
(Antonelli 44')

Ligue 1
Montpellier 3-0 Lille
(Berigaud 52', Dabo 60', Skhiri 86')

Guingamp 2-1 Angers
(Privat 39', Giresse PK 66')-(Capelle 30') 

Stade de Reims 3-1 Bordeaux
(Mandi 23', Bifouma 34', Charbonnier 67')-(Ounas 69')

Toulouse 1-2 Stade Rennes
(Ben Yedder 78')-(Dembele 90', Grosicki 90+2')

Troyes 0-1 Lorient
(Waris 3')

Liga MX
Cruz Azul 4-0 Monterrey
(Mendoza 10', Benitez 29', 41', Gimenez 72')

Santos 1-1 Puebla
(Davila 64')-(Alustiza PK 15')

UANL 4-1 Club America
(Juninho 75', Alvarez 72', Gignac 83', Sobis 84')-(Moreno 69')

Leon 1-3 Chiapas
(Burdisso 89')-(Romero 32', 34', Venegas 81')

Morelia 1-1 Queretaro
(Velazquez 90')-(Noriega 11')

Toluca 0-1 Pachuca
(Lozano 1')

Dorados de Sinaloa 2-1 Atlas
(Caraglio PK 30', Gonzalez 60')-(Bergessio 47')

The Tim Howard to Colorado story appears to be nearing its conclusion, The American hero goalkeeper has been benched at Everton and is close to a deal that will bring him back to the States to play for the Rapids beginning this summer. Howard, Colorado, and Everton have been hung up on both the transfer fee and Howard's wages. Both issues seem to be settled. Everton will receive between $600,000 and $700,000 in transfer fees while Howard will make $5 million a season until 2019. Quite frankly, this is crazy money for an aging goalkeeper in MLS, especially for a team that has trouble scoring goals. At least Dick's Sporting Goods Park should be full every night once Howard arrives.

Cristiano Ronaldo is frustrated with how Real Madrid's season is playing out. It appears today's 1-0 home loss to Atletico Madrid has pushed him to the lashing out at teammates stage. He says that if everyone else were "at his level" they would be leaders in La Liga. Well, duh, dude. You're the second best player in the world. If the rest of your team were as good as you, of course you'd be pretty dang good. Only a team of Messis would be better. He later clarified to mean fitness level, but he really should watch what he says before unintentionally throwing your entire world class team under the bus.

In an interview with the Associated Press, Sepp Blatter revealed that FIFA's reforms are not his problem anymore. Thank God. He also went on to praise new president Gianni Infantino and to call on his "friends" in the United States to stop meddling in FIFA affairs and let the organization reform itself in peace. 

Today's Matches
Premier League
Manchester United v. Arsenal- 9am- NBCSN
Tottenham v. Swansea- 11am- NBCSN

Capital One Cup- Final
Liverpool v. Manchester City- 11:30am- beIN

FC Augsburg v. Borussia Monchengladbach- 9:30am- FS2
Borussia Dortmund v. TSG Hoffenheim- 11:30am
Mainz v. Bayer Leverkusen- 11:30am- FS2
Eintracht Frankfurt v. Schalke 04- 1:30pm

La Liga
Villarreal v. Levante- 6am
Valencia v. Athletic Bilbao- 10am
Deportivo La Coruna v. Granada- 12:15pm
Barcelona v. Sevilla- 2:30pm

Serie A
Palermo v. Bologna- 6:30am
Carpi v. Atalanta- 9am
Chievo Verona v. Genoa- 9am
Sampdoria v. Frosinone- 9am
Udinese v. Hellas Verona- 9am
Juventus v. Inter Milan- 2:30pm- beIN

Ligue 1
Nantes v. AS Monaco- 8am
GFC Ajaccio v. Marseille- 11am
St. Etienne v. Caen- 11am
Olympique Lyonnais v. Paris-St. Germain- 3pm

Liga MX
Guadalajara v. Tijuana- 6pm- Univision Deportes

Saturday, February 27, 2016

It Happened in England: Leicester stretches their lead

West Ham 1-0 Sunderland
West Ham still has slim hopes of finding the top four at the end of the season and sleep inducing Sunderland coming to town should give them a slight glimmer of hope in that quest. Michail Antonio's 30th minute bumbler inside the far post was the only goal, but the Hammers really should have been able to put more in. They hit two very violent crossbars throughout the match that could have boosted the final scoreline. The will take a 1-0 win though. That lifts them into fifth place and four points back of fourth with the Manchester United-Arsenal match still to come tomorrow.

Leicester City 0-0 Norwich City
Of the remaining contenders for the title, Leicester have the easiest road through and they already have the lead in the table. Relegation paced Norwich came to the King Power Stadium posing little threat to the leaders. The biggest adjustment the Foxes would have to make would be getting used to being the team in possession. After their recent run of matches against quality, possession dominating opponents, it was strange to see them being on the ball so much. They were unable to find a first half goal with their possession numbers and almost conceded when Cameron Jerome missed a sitting header from inside the six yard box.

Leicester's ability to unlock the second worst defense in the Premier League continued into the second half. Although Norwich wasn't exactly threatening either, the heavy favorites really looked out of sync in the attack. As their levels of desperation increased towards the end of the match, their sloppiness was only amplified. It wasn't until an 89th minute break that saw a vintage Leicester goal. A counter attack spearheaded by none other than Riyad Mahrez down the right flank picked out Victor Ulloa for a tap in winner.

The Foxes are five points clear with Arsenal and Tottenham playing tomorrow to try and keep pace.

Southampton 1-2 Chelsea
There's talk over whether or not Chelsea are punting the league since they are safe from relegation and not exactly contending for Europe. They were doing quite well until the 44th minute when Shane Long latched onto a goal kick and burst through Chelsea's sloppy center backs for the opening goal. CHelsea would eventually get their equalizer with only a quarter of an hour remaining. Cesc Fabregas curled in a shot from the edge of the penalty area that looked to catch Fraser Forster off guard. It really was a harmless shot that he probably should have saved with ease. An 89th minute corner provided Branislav Ivanovic's head with Chelsea's winner.

Stoke City 2-1 Aston Villa
Mid-table Stoke and bottom feeders Aston Villa don't exactly set us up for an exciting Saturday afternoon. After a goalless first half, Villa delivered Stoke a gift of an opening goal. A late challenge in the penalty area set up Mauro Arnautovic's 52nd minute spot kick to make it 1-0 to the home team. The second came just four minutes later, and it was Arnautovic again with a determined second effort header right on the goal line. Villa would manage to make a game of this one. LEandro Bacuna rolled one in in the 79th minute to give Villa a chance at a point.

Watford 0-0 AFC Bournemouth
A battle of newly promoted sides with little hope for anything more than Premier League safety produced nothing in the end. There weren't even that many chances. Watford only had one shot on target out of 14 which Bournemouth only found three. Heurelho Gomes made a couple of saves, but saying that one of these sides should have found a goal would be quite the generous statement.

West Bromwich Albion 3-2 Crystal Palace
This can't exactly be the match that NBC wanted for it's Saturday afternoon headliner. Two clubs with nothing special to play for and it can't even be at the bonkers atmosphere of Crystal Palace? Anyways, at least there were early goals. Craig Gardner got West Brom up in the 12th minute by banging home a rebound. He turned provider fior the second goal. The other Craig in West Brom's lineup, Craig Dawson, provided the header on the tail end of Gardner's cross in the 19th minute. They were able to really run away with it in the 31st minute with a gorgeous Saido Berahino goal.

Palace climbed back into the match in the second half. Connor Wickham got it started right after the restart with the first in teh 48th minute. Then a screamer off a free kick came in the 80th. Palace kept throwing pressure at the West Brom goal over the closing ten minutes, but it wasn't enough to earn the difficult comeback.

Hooligan's Wake Up: All Hail Supreme Leader Infantino

FC Koln 0-1 Hertha Berlin
(Ibisevic 43')

La Liga
Eibar 0-1 Las Palmas
(Bigas 45+1')

Ligue 1
Nice 0-2 Bastia
(Diallo 61', Ayite 64')

Liga MX
Veracruz 0-0 Pumas UNAM

FIFA has it's new leader, and that man is Gianni Infantino, the UEFA General Secretary who had been acting president since Michel Platini got clipped for massive corruption. Infantini's victory was something of an upset, as Sheikh Salman was expected to come out ahead. He was aided, perhaps, by the withdrawal of Tokyo Sexwale before the election even started. It took two rounds of voting to narrow it down to Infantino,

Infantino, like all the candidates, knows the need for reform. He isn't extremely open about his ideas, but he will end up being more of a figurehead anyway. Before the presidential election, FIFA's member nations passed wide reaching reforms that effect the entire executive structure of the organization. The president's job will be more about outreach and public relations rather than administration and will be limited the three four year terms. The Executive Committee will be replaced with a new FIFA Council that will contain at least six women at any time. These council members will also have to follow the same term limits as the president.

Infantino's manifesto features more than just these reforms. The main one that affects us fans is his calls for a 40 team World Cup by 2026. He is big on growing the game in smaller countries, and a larger World Cup field will certainly help do that. He also wants FIFA money to go directly to confederations and member states to help grow the game at every level. He wants money to go to each federation for development projects and travel expenses. He also wants each confederation to get paid for continent wide development as well as international tournaments at all age groups.

This is all well and good, but what we all want is an end to corruption and bribery. I don't know if Infantino, or any of the candidates, truly have what it takes to get that extremely difficult task done.

In non-political news, Alex Oxlade Chamberlain is joining Arsenal's injury ward. The winger injured his knee in a collision with Javier Mascherano on Tuesday in Champions League action. He could miss six to seven weeks. Thankfully, the emergence of Joel Campbell and the re-return of Theo Walcott should minimize the effects of his time in the infirmary.

Paris-St. Germain right back Serge Aurier has been suspended for some comments he made in a video posted to social media about the club and its manager. He was gone indefinitely, but the club as provided him an avenue to return to the first team. He will spend three weeks with the reserves, and if he is a good boy and stays out of trouble he can return to the first team afterwards.

We also were treated to the Europa League Round of 16 draw:

Shakhtar Donetsk v. Anderlecht
FC Basel v. Sevilla
Borussia Dortmund v. Tottenham
Fenerbahçe v. Braga
Villarreal v. Bayer Leverkusen
Athletic Bilbao v. Valencia
Liverpool v. Manchester United
Sparta Prague v. Lazio
Liverpool v. Manchester United is the highlight of the round with Dortmund and Tottenham coming right behind. We also get an all-Spain matchup between Villarreal and Valencia. The first legs will go down on March 10 with the seconds on March 17.

Today's Matches
Premier League
West Ham v. Sunderland- 7:45am- NBCSN
Leicester City v. Norwich City- 10am- NBCSN
Southampton v. Chelsea- 10am
Stoke City v. Aston Villa- 10am
Watford v. AFC Bournemouth- 10am
West Bromwich Albion v. Crystal Palace- 12:30pm- NBC

Hamburg SV v. Ingolstadt 04- 9:30am
VfB Stuttgart v. Hannover 96- 9:30am
VfL Wolfsburg v. Bayern Munich- 9:30am- FS2
Werder Bremen v. SV Darmstadt 98- 9:30am

La Liga
Real Madrid v. Atletico Madrid- 10am- beIN
Getafe v. Celta Vigo- 12:15pm
Sporting Gijon v. Espanyol- 12:15pm
Real Betis v. Rayo Vallecano- 2:30pm
Real Sociedad v. Malaga- 4:05pm

Serie A
Empoli v. AS Roma- 12pm- beIN
AC Milan v. Torino- 2:45pm

Ligue 1
Montpillier v. Lille- 11am
Guingamp v. Angers- 2pm
Stade de Reims v. Bordeaux- 2pm
Toulouse v. Stade Rennes- 2pm
Troyes v. Lorient- 2pm

Liga MX
Cruz Azul v. Monterrey- 6pm- Univision Deportes
Santos v. Puebla- 8pm
UANL v. Club America- 8pm- Uinivsion Deportes
Leon v. Chiapas- 9:06pm- NBC Universo
Morelia v. Queretaro- 9:30pm
Toluca v. Pachuca- 10pm- Univsion Deportes
Dorados de Sinaloa v. Atlas- 10pm- ESPN Deportes

Friday, February 26, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Happy FIFA Election Day

Today's Matches
Europa League- Round of 32 Second Leg
Lokomotiv Moscow 1-1 Fenerbahce (1-3 on aggregate)
(Samedov 45')-(Topal 83')

Lazio 3-1 Galatasaray (4-2 on aggregate)
(Parolo 59', Anderson 61', Klose 72')-(Oztekin 62')

Rapid Vienna 0-4 Valencia (0-10 on aggregate)
(Rodrigo 59', Feghouli 63', Piatti 72', Vezo 88')

Liverpool 1-0 Augsburg (1-0 on aggregate)
(Milner PK 5')

Bayer Leverkusen 3-1 Sporting CP (3-1 on aggregate)
(Bellarabi 29', 65', Calhanoglu 87')-9Mario 38')

Athletic Bilbao 1-1 Olympique Marseille (2-1 on aggregate)
(Merino 81')-(Batshuayi 40')

Schalke 04 0-3 Shakhtar Donetsk (0-3 on aggregate)
(Marios 26', Ferreyra 63', Kovalenko 77')

Krasnodar 0-3 Sparta Prague (0-4 on aggregate)
(Marecek 51', Frydek 57', Fatai 70')

FC Basel 2-1 St. Etienne (4-4 on aggregate, FC Basel wins on away goals)
(Zuffi 15', 90+1')-(Bayal Sall 89')

Tottenham 3-0 Fiorentina (4-1 on aggregate)
(Mason 25', Lamela 63', Rodriguez OG 81')

Molde 1-0 Sevilla (1-3 on aggregate)
(Hestad 43')

Olympiakos 1-2 Anderlecht (1-3 on aggregate)
(Fortounis PK 29')-(Acheampong 103', 111')

FC Porto 0-1 Borussia Dortmund (0-3 on aggregate)
(Aubameyang 23')

Manchester United 5-1 FC Midtjylland (6-3 on aggregate)
(Bodurov OG 32', Rashford 63', 75', Herrera PK 87', Depay 90')-(Sisto 27')

Napoli 1-1 Villarreal (1-2 on aggregate)
(Hamsik 17')-(Pina 59')

The FIFA presidential election goes down all day today. The whole process begins bright and early this morning, with the first round of voting having begun at 7am. If one of the five candidates has more than two thirds of the vote, we will have a new global soccer czar. In the likely event that none of them garner that much, rounds of voting will continue until one candidate has a majority of the votes, with the lowest voted for candidate dropping off after each round.

The favorite is Sheikh Salman of Bahrain with Gianni Infantino, acting UEFA president as the universal second choice. Sheikh Salman has the backing of Africa and most of Asia, while Infantino has Europe secured.

The USA is choosing to vote for Prince Ali of Jordan, who will likely not win. They will seemingly go for Infantino once Ali is officially eliminated.

Given the choice, Price Ali would be my pick due to his standing up to Sepp Blatter in the last sham of an election and his rather defined calls for transparency and reform. However, since he is likely to lose pretty quickly, I'd have to back Infantino over the Sheikh, who has been linked to various human rights violations, although those allegations are unproven.

All signs point to Salman winning, however, so I guess get ready for our new Bahrani overlord to take office soon enough.

In other news, Antonio Conte to Chelsea is starting to develop legs. The Guardian, among other sources, is reporting that he is nearing a three year deal to become Jose Mourinho's successor as the club's manager.

Anthony Martial, who injured his hamstring last week warming up before Manchester United's defeat at Midtjylland, will not be out for long. Louis van Gaal says the injury is not serious and that he could return soon. This is good news for the battered Manchester United, who are without starting goalkeeper David de Ge, team captain Wayne Rooney, and plenty of other players at the moment. Marcus Rashford stepped in admirably in the second leg of their Europa League tie, scoring twice in their 5-1 victory to see them through to the round of 16.

Today's Matches
FC Koln v. Hertha Berlin- 2:30pm- FS2

La Liga
Eibar v. Las Palmas- 2:30pm

Ligue 1
Nice v. Bastia- 2:30pm

Liga MX
Veracruz v. Pumas UNAM- 10:30pm- Univision Deportes

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Blatter, Platini see bans reduced two years

UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 First Leg
Dynamo Kiev 1-3 Manchester City
(Buyalsky 58')-(Aguero 15', Silva 40', Toure 90')

PSV Eindhoven 0-0 Atletico Madrid

Full UEFA Champions League Recap

UEFA Europa League- Round of 32 Second Leg
Braga 2-2 FC Sion (4-3 on aggregate)
(Josue PK 27', Stojiljkovic 48')-(Gekas 16', 29')

CONCACAF Champions League- Quarterfinals First Leg
UANL 2-0 Real Salt Lake
(Rivas 67', Damm 86')

LA Galaxy 0-0 Santos

Full CONCACAF Champions League Recap

FIFA's ethics committee has announced their verdict in the appeal of Sepp Blatter's and Michel Platini's bans, and it's sort of a victory for the two corrupt FIFA officials. The suspensions have been reduced from six to eight years, which is better than nothing in their eyes, I suppose. It's still a lengthy enough ban that neither should be able to simply reenter the FIFA hierarchy when it's over. So we should be done with these two cretins for good. Clearly, both are unsatisfied with the results and will head to the Court of Arbitration for Sport to try and get the ban further reduced or eliminated.

Speaking of FIFA corruption, Prince Ali has had his request for transparent voting booths denied by the CAS. Instead, voters will simply have to turn over mobile phone and electronic devices in order t prevent the photographing of ballots.

Louis van Gall had an odd choice of words for what he wants to see out of his side in this evenings's Europa League clash with Midtjylland. He wants to see more passion out of his players and for them to be "horny" on the pitch. Yeah. He actually said that. In other news, David de Gea is still out and will not feature in the match.

Tottenham will also be without a major player when they take on Fiorentina in the home leg of their Europa League tie. Harry Kane broke his nose in training and will miss the affair for precautionary reasons. The Premier League is clearly a bigger target for Spurs, so why risk their most important piece in a competition that is doing little more than cluttering the schedule?

Minnesota United (hopefully they are still called that next year) have unveiled the renderings of their new 20,000 seat stadium. The stadium will be built in St. Paul near University and Snelling Avenues. It appears to be a modern American take on traditional European style stadiums. In fact, it is based off of the Allianz Arena in Munich, home of Bayern Munich. United hope they can begin construction on their new home in time to have it ready for the 2018 MLS season.

Today's Matches
UEFA Europa League- Round of 32 Second Leg
Lokomotiv Moscow v. Fenerbahce- 11am- FS2
Lazio v. Galatasaray- 1pm
Rapid Vienna v. Valencia- 1pm
Liverpool v. Augsburg- 1pm- FS1
Bayer Leverkusen v. Sporting CP- 1pm- FS2, ESPN Deportes
Athletic Bilbao v. Olympique Marseille- 1pm
Schalke 04 v. Shakhtar Donetsk- 1pm
Krasnodar v. Sparta Prague- 1pm
FC Basel v. St. Etienne- 3:05pm
Tottenham v. Fiorentina- 3:05pm- FS2
Molde v. Sevilla- 3:05pm
Olympiakos v. Anderlecht- 3:05pm
FC Porto v. Borussia Dortmund- 3:05pm
Manchester United v. FC Midtjylland- 3:05pm- FS1
Napoli v. Villarreal- 3:05pm- ESPN Deportes

It Happened in North America: RSL go down, Galaxy bore out a draw

UANL 2-0 Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake, the weakest of the MLS clubs in the CCL, took on the defending Apertura champions in the first leg of their quarterfinal tie. They did quite well to hold Tigres down in the first half too. Although the Mexicans did control nearly two thirds of the ball, RSL did well to get some chances on the counter. Yura Movsisyan had a great chance late in the half that he skied over the target. Disaster nearly struck just before the halftime whistle. Kyle Beckerman handled in the box to award Tigres a penalty, but Nick Rimando held during and stoned the dangerous Andre-Pierre Gignac to keep it scoreless at the half.

The Tigres pressure finally paid of in the second half. Jose Rivas took advantage of some lazy early season defending from RSL to get his club in front in the 67th minute. In the 86th minute Jurgen Damm made it two and like RSL in a hole heading back to Utah.

Real Salt Lake is technically in the same hole as DC United is. Both are down 2-0 heading home for the second leg. Salt Lake, however, is a clearly inferior side playing against better opposition. The chances they mount the comeback are probably a little lower than their east coast brethren.

LA Galaxy 0-0 Santos
LA Probably has the best shot out of all MLS clubs to advance from this deadly quarterfinal round, a home win over Santos would be a great way to reach that aim. Early on, they looked the better team, but they also looked like a team that had never played together before. Their first half would have been a lot better if it weren't for their "I thought you were going to..." mentality. That said, they did creates some chances. Most were thanks to Emmanuel Boateng being a force down the right flank. Gio dos Santos had the best chance just after the 40 minute mark when he put a point blank shot right into the goalkeeper's chest.

The second half had a slower pace than the first did, and neither side looked like scoring a goal. The closest anyone came was when Santos flicked in a free kick that almost met the head of several onrushing attackers. It ended up going harmlessly wide. Galaxy was able to present a couple of chances of their own, but otehr than one move with Robbie Rogers and Gyasi Zardes, nothing all that fruitful came around.

The 0-0 scoreline is probably fair for the quality of this match. Galaxy looked like a team in their first preseason match and Santos looked like they barely cared at all. They were quite content to take a 0-0 draw back to the outskirts of Mexico City for the second leg.

Tonight we saw more of the same factors that show why MLS is ill prepared for this stage of the tournament. Sending four sides into knockout round games against mid-season opponents is a recipie for disaster. Every now and then we will see a story like last year's Montreal Impact side, but until something happens to this competition, Mexican sides will continue to dominate once they reach the knockout stages.

What are the solutions? The most obvious one is also the most impractical. A switch in the MLS schedule would remedy the problem of it's clubs being unprepared. MLS could also push it's schedule forward to start it's season earlier, but that could hurt early season attendance figures, particularly in northern cities where fans might not want to sit in the cold and watch early season soccer. The easiest approach would be petitioning CONCACAF to move these knockout round games to the end of March. That would give MLS sides a little more time to get to know themselves before sticking them in agaisnt the best clubs they will see all season without really hurting the form of the Liga MX entrants. Let's hope CONCACAF officials take note of what they see here from American sides and are able to adjust accordingly. If they don't the Champions League will continue to be nothing mroe than a way for Liga MX to display it's dominance over MLS.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

It Happened in Europe: City hammers Kiev in Ukraine

Dynamo Kiev 0-2 Manchester City
Manchester City punted the FA Cup by playing young kids in order to win this match and move on in the Champions League, so a win here would be a nice way to make that strategy seem proper. Sergio Aguero scored their first goal at the quarter hour thanks to some sloppy Kiev defending. They looked like a team that had had two months off playing agaisnt one of the best clubs in Europe. This goal came shockingly against the run of play. Kiev were on the front foot at the time, and for a great deal thereafter, but that's not to diminish the fact that Manchester City were the superior team. David Silva snagged their second in the 40th minute at the end of some superb passing.

Kiev came out with a little more urgency in the second half. At the very least, they showed the desire that simply wasn't there in the first. Because of this they were able to get on the board in the 58th minute with a goal from Vitaliy Buyalsky. But Manchester City put any hope of a comeback to rest at the end of the batch. Yaya Toure finished from just above the penalty spot in the 90th minute to seal the deal.

I think it's safe to say the City have this wrapped up quite neatly. They will just have to avoid complete disaster in the home leg to advance to their first Champions League quarterfinal ever.

PSV Eindhoven 0-0 Atletico Madrid
Eindhoven are one of the shock clubs in the round of 16, they would need a sizeable home win in order to move on against Spanish giants Atletico Madrid. A pretty even first half produced no goals for either side. Atletico Madrid tried to ilk away in the service tasks, but their Dutch opposition was stout on defense and did not concede. Eindhoven will take the scoreless draw into the second leg. A win is still unlikely, but at least there's hope for them.

Hooligan's Wake Up: Chelsea may have a new manager

Yesterday's Scores
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 First Leg
Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona
(Messi 71', PK 83')

Juventus 2-2 Bayern Munich
(Dybala 63', Sturaro 76')-(Muller 44, Robben 55')

CONCACAF Champions League- Quarterfinals First Leg
Queretaro 2-0 DC United
(Candelo 71', Benitez 83')

Seattle Sounders 1-1 Club America
(Dempsey 44', 52')-(Quintero 45', Perlata 70')

It appears Chelsea have themselves a manager. Antonio Conte, currently the boss of the Italian National team, reportedly has an agreement to become the next leader of the West London giants. Conti will take over the club at the conclusion of this summer's European Championships in France. Conte was in charge of Juventus for three seasons where he won Serie A in all three seasons. The only thing standing in the way of this being official is the signature of club owner Roman Abramovich.

Prince Ali is seeking a postponement of Friday's FIFA presidential election. This is reportedly because he wants FIFA to utilize some more transparency in the elections, as in, transparent voting booths. Prince Ali is worried about electors photographing their ballots and sending them back to the people who purchased their votes as proof that their vote went down as planned. Ali is not one of the favorites to win the election, although he is probably the most radical of the candidates. He is going to the Court for Arbitration for Sport on the matter.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 First Leg
Dynamo Kiev v. Manchester City- 2:45pm- FS1
PSV Eindhoven v. Atletico Madrid- 2:45pm- FS2

UEFA Europa League- Round of 32 Second Leg
Braga v. FC Sion- 12pm

CONCACAF Champions League- Quarterfinals First Leg
UANL v. Real Salt Lake- 8pm- FS2
LA Galaxy v. Santos- 10pm- FS1

It Happened in North America: DC United fall in Mexico, Seattle concedes twice in draw with America

Queretaro 2-0 DC United
The battle of MLS versus Liga MX began in Queretaro, Mexico, where DC united looked to grab a crucial away goal before heading back to our nation's capital. The first half produced no goals, but a few nice chances for both sides. Queretaro held a 60-40 possession advantage, but DC was able to match them with nine shots in the opening frame, including one that found the woodwork.

The second half slowed to a crawl with the fatigue from the altitude and the first competitive game of the season clearly affecting DC United. They did, however have a couple of nice chances around the hour mark. Taylor Kemp almost casually curled one into the top corner, but found the crossbar. Fabian Espindola almost buried a long throw twice in the 68th minute, but was denied both times. DC was starting to look the better team, but Queretaro would find themselves on the board just after the 70 minute mark. A well placed blast by Yerson Candelo from just outside the top of the penalty area left Andrew Dykstra helpless in goal and DC fans upset back in the States. More disaster struck against a tired United back line when a well placed pass floated to Edgar Benitez, who was alone on Dykstra for the easy second goal. That was all she wrote. United never really got another great chance to score. It's a shame their good opportunities early in the second half bore no fruit.

The first goal was likely something DC United could manage in the second leg. Being down a goal heading into home is nothing that couldn't be overcome. The second goal made next Tuesday's match at RFK Stadium much more difficult.

Seattle Sounders 2-2 Club America
The Sounders have little hope of beating Club America over two legs. A multiple goal win combined with a clean sheet would make next week's trip to Estadio Azteca a little easier, and neither one of those things came true.

Jordan Morris made his professional debut on a very big stage against the defending CONCACAF Champions. In the beginning, it looked like Seattle would be the better team throughout. No moment showed this better than Morris coming within inches of his first professional goal less than 15 minutes into his career. His header was cleared off the line by an outstretched Hugo Gonzalez in goal. As the first half progressed, America slowly started to gain more and more of the ball and earn more and more solid chances. Clint Dempsey broke the America spell with a gorgeous free kick goal in the 44th minute, but Seattle couldn't get used to the lead. Darwin Quintero got behind the high Seattle line on a long pass just a minute later to equalize for America heading into the break.

Club America looked like they were going to slow things down at the start of the second half. As they started to do jsut that, Seattle got a second goal thanks to a corner. Dempsey rose his head to a 52nd minute set piece to earn his brace and give Seattle the lead again. They were able to hold onto it for more than a few second this time although that's not to say America wasn't trying. Within five minutes of the goal, Oribe Peralta had two great chances. One was user error as he flopped a shot well wide and the other was a great save from Stefan Frei. Perlata was able to make good on those chances in the 70th minute. He headed home a looping pass over the Seattle back line to level the score once again. They were not done attacking, although that would be the last goal. They were increasingly making Seattle look like they had wilted away over the course of the 90 minutes.

America will certainly take this as a victory. Two away goals in a draw should be more than enough to push them through in the home leg. America got progressively stronger and more capable of both poking through the Seattle defense and suppressing their attack as this match got later. Some good home cooking combined with the violent atmosphere in Mexico City should be enough for them to move along. Seattle's best hope will be for a 1-0 smash and grab win, but I think it will be mighty difficult for them to keep this Club America side off the scoreboard for 90 minutes, let alone finding a goal of their own.

We saw a theme over both of these matches. The MLS sides looked pretty strong early on, but waned as the game progressed. They also allowed goals on silly defensive communication mistakes. This was no doubt a result of MLS being in their preseason and Liga MX being right in the middle of theirs. Surely, Club America are a more talented side than Seattle, but the goals in their match could have been prevented with some more organized defensive play. The same can be said for DC United and Queretaro. United also had the misfortune of being quite unlucky with some of their strong chances.

Regardless of the reasoning, both of these MLS sides are in deep trouble in next week's second legs.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

It Happened in Europe: Barcelona hammers Gunners, Juve climbs back to draw Bayern

Arsenal 0-2 Barcelona
The Gunners task was simple. They needed to defend their colective asses off and hope for a smash and grab 1-0 victory in the home leg against one of the greatest sides the world has ever seen. It was evident right from the start that a flurry of Barcelona pressure would be the norm for the whole match. Barcelona's possession advantage was seemingly off the charts.  Arsenal's counter attacking strategy could only be sparsely implemented, but they did get one first half chance. Olivier Giroud latched onto a bounding ball in the penalty area around the half hour mark, but he sent his shot straight to the keeper. In general, it was Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, and Neymar ruling the roost, although Arsenal's defense kept them from sending any real threats towards goal.

The second half started much the same way as the first. Barcelona pressured, Arsenal mounted a counter attack every ten minutes or so. Giroud had a header that forced another save out of the Barca keeper. After the hour mark, both sides began to look threatening. Suarez missed the post by a couple inches on on attempt, Giroud screwed up a finish on the other end. Arsenal's midfield began to look competent for a while as they were able to mount a more sustained attack around the 70 minute mark. It didn't work out well for them. Instead of Arsenal punching on the counter, it was Lionel Messi breaking as Arsenal allowed it's midfield to get too involved in the attack to give Barcelona the 1-0 lead in the 72nd minute. The goal didn't mean Barcelona would let up. Six minutes later, Suarez was gifted an easy tap in that he rifled straight into the near post from point plank range. The match ws sunk in the 83rd minute when Mattieu Flamini, within minutes of being introduced as a substitute, committed an obvious penalty against Messi, allowing the Argentine superstar to easily double the lead from the spot.

It was far from what Arsenal was hoping for, but it was just about what most of the world expected. Two Barcelona away goals to a big fat zero on the Arsenal side should be more than enough to see the defending champions into the quarterfinals. Not that this is anything Arsenal isn't used to.They have gone down in the first leg of many a Champions League knockout round tie. But whereas last year, a comeback against Monaco seemed possible, a comeback against Barcelona is a herculean task that I'm not entirely sure any club in the world is up to.

Juventus 2-2 Bayern Munich
Bayern Munich controlled this match in much the same way Barcelona did. Their possession advantage wasn't quite as insane, but they at least managed a first half goal. Thomas Muller was the proveder in the 43rd minute. ArjenRobben doubled tghe advantage ten minutes into the second half before Juve could pile back into the game. They did, however, get something. Paulo Dybala put the Italians on the board in the 63rd minute. They decided not to stop at one goal as Stefano Sturaro levelled in the 76th.

It was a big comeback for Juventus. The away goals for Bayern should be enough to cripple last year's runners up in the second leg, however. Keeping the German giants off the scoreboard will be tough enough, but can Juve also put in a goal or two of their own the neutralize the advantage? Bayern looked pretty strong for much of this away match, I'm not sure Juve will have it in them to hold them down on the road.

Hooligan's Wake Up: MLS teams return to action in COCACAF Champions League

Yesterday's Scores
FA Cup- Fifth Round
Shrewsbury Town 0-3 Manchester United
(Smalling 37', MAta 45+2', Lingard 61')

Serie A
Napoli 1-1 AC Milan
(insigne 39')-(Bonaventura 44')

It was kind of a slow news day as we approach the return of MLS teams to competition in the CONCACAF Champions League, the next slate of UEFA Champions League matches, and, probably more important than both of those, the FIFA presidential election on Friday.

AFC president Sheikh Salman bin Ibrahim Al Khalifa is the presumed favorite, He currently has the backing of multiple confederations, including CONCACAF and the CAF. He is running against Tokyo Sexwale, Jerome Champagne, Jordanian Prince Ali, and Gianni Infantino.

The election is important, but how important won't be determined until the winner takes office and has time to implement some form of change. FIFA has a lot of things wrong with it. There are shady figures everywhere, including some of the election field. Sexwale, in particular has been linked to corruption before and is not against striking some form of deal to secure some votes on Friday. In my mind, the scum is so embedded in FIFA that I doubt any of these men have the power to truly right the ship.

That said, we cannot ignore this election. Whoever comes out in front has the enormous task of restoring some faith in how the world's game is governed. Regardless of how incapable anyone is of that job, it's a huge moment that requires our attention.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League- Round of 16 First Leg
Arsenal v. Barcelona- 2:45pm- FS1
Juventus v. Bayern Munich- 2:45pm- FS2

CONCACAF Champions League- Quarterfinals First Leg
Queretaro v. DC United- 8pm- FS1
Seattle Sounders v. Club America- 10pm- FS2

Monday, February 22, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: USA placed in Copa America's Group of Death

Yesterday's Scores
FA Cup- Fifth Round
Blackburn Rovers 1-5 West Ham
(Marshall 20')-(Moses 26', Payet 36', 90+2', Emenike 64', 85')

Tottenham 0-1 Crystal Palace
(Kelly 45+1')

Chelsea 5-1 Manchester City
(Costa 35', Willian 48', Cahill 53', Hazard 67', Traore 89')-(Faupala 37')

Manchester City got crushed by Chelsea here, but don't read too much into it. Five players made their starting debuts for the Citizens, as they were resting players for their midweek Champions League clash with Dinamo Kiev in Ukraine. A wise move for City, the FA Cup would have simply added more congestion to an already busy schedule, so they chose to punt the competition to focus on the Premier League and Champions League.

Was Manchester City "disrespecting the competition" here? No. I think they were simply picking their battles. City know that England have been struggling in Europe and could really use a good showing. A run on the continent would help their club a lot more than making a deep FA Cup run that could compromise both that European title chase as well as their slim hopes in the Premier League. If the FA wants their clubs to "respect the Cup" more, well, they should cut down fixture congestion to allow teams to give it their all in the oldest tournament in the world.

Bayer Leverkusen 0-1 Borussia Dortmund
(Aubameyang 64')

Interesting stuff here. After Aubameyang's goal, Bayer Leverkusen's manager, Roger Schmidt, was furious at the lack of a foul against Dortmund in the run up before the goal. His antics earned him a sending off to the stands for the rest of the match, but he refused to leave. Instead, it was the officials who departed the pitch while issuing Schmidt an ultimatum. Either he leave the technical area for the remainder of proceedings or his squad would forfeit the match by a 3-0 score. After a 15 minute delay, Schmit caved and headed into the seats so the match could continue.

Hannover 96 0-1 FC Augsburg
(Ja-Cheol 14')

Schalke 04 1-1 VfB Stuttgart
(Belhanda 14')-(Harnik 74')

La Liga
Rayo Vallecano 2-2 Sevilla
(Manucho 43', Miku 62')-(N'Zonzi 10', Iborra 20')

Malaga 1-1 Real Madrid
(Redall 66')-(Ronaldo 33')

Athletic Bilbao 0-1 Real Sociedad
(Jonathas 17')

Granada 1-2 Valencia
(Edgar 90+3')-(Parejo 55', Mina 90')

Atletico Madrid 0-0 Villarreal

Serie A
Atalanta 2-3 Fiorentina
(Conti 84', Pinilla 90+1')-(Fernandez 67', Tello 81', Kalinic 87')

Genoa 2-1 Udinese
(Cerci 57', Laxalt 70')-(Adnan 33')

Sassuolo 3-2 Empoli
(Berardi 40', Defrel 48', 50')-(Zielinski 36'), Macarone PK 70')

Torino 0-0 Carpi

Frosinone 0-0 Lazio

AS Roma 5-0 Palermo
(Dzeko 30', 89', Keita 52', Salah, 60', 62')

Ligue 1
Olympique Marseille 1-1 St. Etienne
(Batshuayi 90+4')-(Monnet-Paquet 85')

Caen 1-0 Stade Rennes
(Ntibazonkiza 54')

Lille 1-0 Olympique Lyonnais
(Boufal 28')

Liga MX
Pumas UNAM 1-1 Santos
(Luduena 16')-(Calderon PK 41')

Puebla 3-2 Dorados de Sinaloa
(Alustiza 65', 69', Escudero 83')-(Zuniga 28', Caraglio 81')

The Copa America Centenario was last night in New York, and the hosts were handed probably the toughest draw available. The USA will head Group A with Colombia, Costa Rica, and Paraguay. That;s probably your group of death here. but Group C is a close second. Mexico, Uruguay, Jamaica, and Venezuela should provide a good bit of fun. Here's the full draw:

Group A
United States
Costa Rica

Group B

Group C

Group D

The other draw that took place yesterday was that for the FA Cup Quarterfinals. Although there are still three ties left to determine, here are your quarterfinal pairings:

Reading v. Crystal Palace
Arsenal/Hull City v. Watford
Manchester United/Shrewsbury Town v. West Ham
Everton v. Chelsea

Chelsea's run will be the most interesting to watch, as Guus Hiddink has decided to make the FA Cup his priority going forward. This should mean their top squad will see the field against Everton and beyond. Hiddink knows the League is a lost cause, and the Champions League would be a pipe dream, so he is hedging his bets that he can win a second FA Cup as Chelsea interim manager, a feat he accomplished during his last run with the club in 2009.

Today's Matches
FA Cup- Fifth Round
Shrewsbury Town v. Manchester United

Serie A
Napoli v. AC Milan

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Mourinho gossip is garbage

Yesterday's Scores
FA Cup- Fifth Round
Arsenal 0-0 Hull City

Reading 3-1 West Bromwich Albion
(McShane 59', Hector 72', Piazon 90+4')-(Fletcher 54')

Watford 1-0 Leeds United
(Wootton OG 53')

AFC Bournemouth 0-0 Everton

Bayern Munich 3-1 SV Darmstadt 98
(Muller 49', 71', Lewandowski 84')-(Wagner 26')

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-0 FC Koln
(Dahoud 9')

FC Ingolstadt 04 2-0 Werder Bremen

(Hubner 12', Hinterseer PK 90')

Hertha Berlin 1-1 VfL Wolfsburg

(Kalou 60')-(Schafer 53')

TSG Hoffenheim 3-2 Mainz

(Amiri 13', Uth 68', 76')-(Cordoba 11', Samperio 78')

La Liga
Las Palmas 1-2 Barcelona
(Jose 10')-(Suarez 6', Neymar 39')

Espanyol 1-0 Deportivo la Coruña
(Asensio 52')

Real Betis 1-1 Sporting Gijon
(Pezzella 67')-(Castro 65')

Celta Vigo 3-2 Eibar
(Guidetti 31', 69', Jonny 39')-(Berjon  PK 84', Inui 87')

Serie A
Hellas Verona 3-1 Chievo Verona
(Toni 29', Pazzini 57', Ionita 90+5')-(Pellissier PK 71')

Inter Milan 3-1 Sampdoria
(D'Ambrosio 23', Miranda 57', Icardi 73')-(Quagriarella 90+2')

Ligue 1
Paris-St. Germain 4-1 Stade de Reims
(Van Der Wiel 12', Ibrahimovic 43', 68', Cavani 45+1')-(Oniangue 34')

Angers 2-3 Montpellier
(Moutou 64', Karanovic 90+2')-(Berigaud 2', Yatabare 7', Camara 34')

AS Monaco 2-1 Troyes
(Carrillo 25', 37')-(Gueye 79')

Lorient 4-3 Guingamp

(Waris 39', 49', Jeannot 48', Guerreiro 90+3')-(Salibur 3', 37', Briand 59')

Toulouse 1-1 GFC Ajaccio
(Braithwaite 90+1')-(Mayi 59')

Liga MX
Club America 3-3 Cruz Azul
(Benitez 3', Aguilar 37', Peralta 53')-(Martinez PK 34', Giminez 65',Rojas 90+1')

Monterrey 5-1 Vera Cruz
(Sanchez 12', 53', Funes Mori PK 26', Castillo 30', Cardona 45'+2')-(Villalva 17')

León 5-1 Toluca
(Cano 32',  Moralez 61', Boselli PK 68', 88', Hernandez 74') -(Ortiz 36')

Atlas 1-0 Pachuca
(Medina 62')

Chiapas 1-1 Guadalajara
(Rodriguez 75')-(Cisneros 25') 


Today, we discuss gossip and why it is total garbage that people will read, and report, on some things. I've gone over before how transfer gossip is the worst kind of sports reporting on the planet, but this following story is likely worse.

Jose Mourinho was in Milan this past week visiting his former club Sampdoria and hanging with former Inter Milan president Massimo Moratti. He was apparently having lunch with Bedy Moratti, Massimo's sister. That's all well and good. Let Jose eat with whomever he desires during his unemployment.

Well, the "press" caught up with Ms. Moratti after the meeting and spoke about Jose, his well being, and apparently his future at Manchester United. "Now he's happy -- he's going to Manchester and he's well," is what he told Calcio Mercato, Stop the presses! The sister of a former Inter Milan president, who just had lunch with Jose Mourinho, confirms that he is headed to Manchester! This must mean he's replacing Louis Van Gaal!

This is insanity. Bedy Moratti is no more reliable of a source than somebody who just shared a pitcher of Boddington's with Mourinho, got him lubed up, and pried the Manchester News out of him.

Now, Mourinho very well may end up as the boss at United. I sure hope he does. The Premier League is a more entertaining place with him around. Yeah. United may win the title in 2018, which would stink, but the following year we get to see how he ruins the club and get to revel in any number of post match press conferences where he spews venom at Arsene Wenger, Chelsea, or even his own players. But, please, don't try and connect some non-existent dots because his father's brother's cousin's nephew's former roommate says he's "going to Manchester."

Today's Matches

FA Cup- Fifth Round
Blackburn Rovers v. West Ham- 9am- FS2
Tottenham v. Crystal Palace- 10am
Chelsea v. Manchester City- 11am- FS2


Bayer Leverkusen v. Borussia Dortmund- 9:30am
Hannover 96 v. FC Augsburh- 11:30am
Schalke 04 v. VfB Stuttgart- 11:30am

La Liga

Rayo Vallecano v. Sevilla- 6am
Malaga v. Real Madrid- 10am- beIN
Athletic Bilbao v. Real Sociedad- 12:15pm
Granada v. Valencia- 12:15pm
Atletico Madrid v. Villarreal- 2:30pm

Serie A

Atalanta v. Fiorentina- 9am
Genoa v. Udinese- 9am
Sassuolo v. Empoli- 9am
Torino v. Carpi- 9am
Frosinone v. Lazio- 12pm- beIN
AS Roma v. Palermo- 2:45pm- beIN

Ligue 1

Olympique Marseille v. St. Etienne- 8am
Caen v. Stade Rennes- 11am
Lille v. Olympique Lyonnais- 3pm

Liga MX

Pumas UNAM v. Santos- 1pm
Puebla v. Dorados de Sinaloa- 6pm