Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Hooligan's Wake Up: Inter can manager Frank de Boer

Yesterday's Scores
UEFA Champions League
FC Basel 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
(Zuffi 76')-(Matuidi 43', Meunier 90')

Ludogorets Razgrad 2-3 Arsenal
(Cafu 12', Keseru 15')-(Xhaka 20', Giroud 41', Ozil 87')

PSG and Arsenal both secure spots in the knockout rounds as they take themselves to ten points. It wasn't easy though. The Gunners needed to comeback from a pair of goals down after a quarter hour in Bulgaria and PSG got a late, late winner from Thomas Meunier to skate past Basel. The two group leaders battle for supremacy in November 23.

Besiktas 1-1 Napoli
(Quaresma PK 78')-(Hamsik 82')

Benfica 1-0 Dynamo Kiev
(Salvio PK 45+2')

Group B remains fairly close as Napoli salvaged a point in Turkey to remain on top on goal difference over Benfica, who took care of the group caboose, Dynamo Kiev. Besiktas remains in the hunt as they are only a point behind the leaders with two matches to play, including one against Kiev.

Borussia Monchengladbach 1-1 Celtic
(Stindl 32')-(Dembele PK 76')

Manchester City 3-1 Barcelona
(Gundogan 39', 74', De Bruyne 51')-(Messi 21')

This was an impressive win for Pep Guardiola's Manchester City team. They overcame a bad non-call when Raheem Sterling was tripped in the box and given a yellow card for diving, instead and scored three goals after Lionel Messi slipped home a classic Barcelona goal. Barca remains on top of the group, but fails to clinch a spot in the round of 16. City is three points clear of A German Team, I mean Borussia Monchengladbach, who drew fourth place Glasgow Celtic at home.

Atletico Madrid 2-1 Rostov
(Griezmann 28', 90+3')-(Azmoun 30')

PSV Eindhoven 1-2 Bayern Munich
(Arias 14')-(Lewandowski PK 34', 73')

Atletico Madrid hasn't exactly had a strong Champions League despite their perfect record. They struggled at home against Rostov yesterday, needing Antoine Greizmann to come through at the buzzer to seal the win. Bayern Munich also had a dicey time in the Netherlands. Eindhoven had the early lead on them, bot Robert Lewandowski scored twice to snag the victory. Atletico and Bayern are through to the knockout stages, though. They face each other on December 6 in their final match of the group stage.

Champions League Table

Headlines
Inter Milan have had a rough start to their 2016-17 campaign and have taken drastic measures to rectify it. After the team has started the Serie A season with 14 points through 11 matches, they have fired manager Frank de Boer, who had only been on the job for 85 days. De Boer had led Ajax to five straight titles in the Dutch Eredivisie and was being considered for jobs at Everton and Southampton over the summer, so it isn't like he didn't have strong credentials to begin with. Inter, in general, have been in a rut since Jose Mourinho led them to a European treble that included Serie A, Coppa Italia, and Champions League titles back in 2011. They have not qualified for the Champions League since while having cruised through four different managers.

Jose Mourinho has been charged with misconduct, again, by the FA after reportedly using abusive language towards referee Mark Clattenburg during Manchester United's 0-0 draw with Burnley on Saturday. This is his second misconduct charge in six days. He was also sanctioned thanks to comments on referee Anthony Taylor's appointment for United's match against Liverpool, which they got thumped 4-0. Mourinho faces a touchline ban and has until Friday to respond.

Mourinho wasn't the only Premier League manager hit with sanctions. Sunderland's David Moyes was hit with a one match ban and an £8,000 fine for using the magic word with the fourth official in his club's 1-0 defeat in the EFL Cup to Southampton. Sunderland are a disaster this year. They are off to the worst start through ten matches in Premier League history with only two points and are clear cut favorites for relegation.

Hamburg and American international striker Bobby Wood has been fined and suspended for three games by his club thanks to a violent elbow thrown at Dominique Heintz in Saturday's match with FC Koln. Wood was on the warpath in general during the match as he also got into an altercation with Koln's Dominic Maroh, who had just returned from a broken rib.

German legend Miroslav Klose has retired at the age of 38. The Polish born striker left Lazio over the summer and had not signed with a new club. He leaves the game as Germany's all time leading goal scorer with 71 in 137 international caps.

Bolivia are being forced to forfeit two World Cup Qualifying matches thanks to using an ineligible player. They used Nelson Cabrera, who is apparently Paraguayan, not Bolivian, as a late substitute in those two matches. As a result, a 0-0 draw against Chile and a 2-0 win agaisnt Peru have been changed to 3-0 losses, hurting Bolivia's standing in CONMEBOL qualifying and boosting Chile's and Peru's.

MLS has announced it's three finalists for its MVP award. All three candidates represent New York as the Red Bulls' Sacha Kljestan and Bradley Wright-Phillips are joined by City's David Villa. Kljestan has had an outstanding year for Red Bulls, becoming only the second player in MLS history to tally 20 assists. Wright-Phillips led the league in scoring with 24 goals. Other award candidates announced as well. Here's the full list:

MVP
Sacha Kljestan, New York Red Bulls
David Villa, New York City FC
Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls

Defender of the Year

Matt Hedges, FC Dallas
Axel Sjoberg, Colorado Rapids
Jelle Van Damme, LA Galaxy

Goalkeeper of the Year

Andre Blake, Philadelphia Union
Tim Howard, Colorado Rapids
Luis Robles, New York Red Bulls

Newcomer of the Year (previous professional experience)
Ola Kamara, Columbus Crew SC
Nicolas Lodeiro, Seattle Sounders
Jelle Van Damme, LA Galaxy

Rookie of the Year
Jack Harrison, New York City FC
Jordan Morris, Seattle Sounders
Keegan Rosenberry, Philadelphia Union

Coach of the Year
Pablo Mastroeni, Colorado Rapids
Oscar Pareja, FC Dallas
Patrick Vieira, New York City FC

Comeback Player of the Year
Frank Lampard, New York City FC
Kevin Molino, Orlando City
Chris Pontius, Philadelphia Union

A relatively minor note to close out here, but it's satisfying the pro/rel hippies a bit. The fifth tier of the American pyramid is occupied by the US Adult Soccer Association. One of their leagues is the United Premier Soccer League, which operates out of Southern California. They are known for sides such as La Maquina, who took LA Galaxy to extra time in the U.S. Open Cup this summer. Well, the league is expanding to a "pro" division and will feature pro/rel between that and it's championship level. It's still a development league, similar to the NPSL, PDL, Premier League of America. etc., but it's experimenting with pro/rel in a fairly harmless, low risk way. Don't expect this to catch on at higher tiers where money does all the talking, but we don't need to bring the angry pro/rel folks down any more than they already are.

Today's Matches
UEFA Champions League
AS Monaco v. CSKA Moscow- 3:45pm
Tottenham v. Bayer Leverkusen- 3:45pm- FS1
Borussia Dortmund v. Sporting CP- 3:45pm- FS2
Legia Warsaw v. Real Madrid- 3:45pm
FC Copenhagen v. Leicester City- 3:45pm
FC Porto v. Club Brugge- 3:45pm
Juventus v. Olympique Lyonnais- 3:45pm- ESPN2
Sevilla v. Dinamo Zagreb- 3:45pm

50,000 Words of Soccer Update
Over at Last Word on Soccer, I published the New England Revolution Season Review, that combined with this post takes the total word count to 3,078 with more coming this afternoon in the form of predictions for each of the MLS awards.

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