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Your Running Commentary

Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

David Silva of Manchester City and Frank Lampard of Chelsea

By MICHAEL KLINE

Today’s FA Cup semifinal match between Chelsea and Manchester City will capture the attention of soccer fans across the globe.

Manchester City have steamrolled through the competition thus far in the tournament, outscoring opponents 13-0 in just four matches. If there is a club capable of overturning City’s favorable fortune, however, it’s Chelsea, who have won four of the last six FA Cup tournaments.

City may have to do without the services of David Silva for the match today, who hasn’t been completely ruled out by manager Roberto Mancini, but has instead been listed as a game time decision. His counterpart, Rafa Benitez, will likely opt to start Ryan Betrand at left-back in the absence of Ashley Cole, who is still nursing an injured hamstring.

Both clubs have claimed the trophy in the past two seasons, and with disappointing performances in the Premier League and Champions League spoiling expectations so far this season, winning the FA Cup tournament stands as the last chance for either club to “save” their season.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):

TODAY’S SOCCER ON TV

7am – ESPN Deportes – Newcastle United vs. Sunderland

9am – beIN Sport en Español – Cagliari vs. Internazionale

9:05am – Fox Soccer Channel – Stoke City vs. Manchester United

11am – Fox Soccer Channel – Chelsea vs. Manchester City

11am – beIN Sport – Olympique Lyon vs. Toulouse

11am – beIN Sport en Español – Atlético Madrid vs. Granada

11:30am – GolTV – Augsburg vs. Eintracht Frankfurt

1pm – beIN Sport – Real Zaragoza vs. Barcelona

1pm – Univision – Pumas UNAM vs. Tigres UANL

1pm – ESPN2 – Puebla vs. Jaguares

2:45pm – beIN Sport en Español –  AC Milan vs. Napoli

3pm – beIN Sport – Athletic Bilbao vs. Real Madrid

5pm – UniMás – Houston Dynamo vs. Chicago Fire

6pm – Telemundo – Chivas Guadalajara vs. Atlante

10:30pm – NBC Sports Network – Portland Timbers vs. San Jose Earthquakes

53 comments
  • Mig

    Quiet morning around here. I imagine that will change soon with the FA Cup game later.

    Newcastle-Sunderland pretty interesting so far. Typically feisty.

    Like

  • manicmessiah

    Wow you cannot be a professional linesman and get that offside call wrong. Newcastle robbed of a good goal.

    Like

    • Mig

      yeah, it was bad. At this point though, a bad call on offside happens just about every week. I think we can say that the call is just very difficult to get right every single time and mistakes will be made. It simply happens too often for it to be incompetence. Maybe it’s like the NFL and NBA in that the game is played by faster players these days. Just a thought.

      Like

      • Mig

        No, didn’t say that. Just pointing out that there are a lot of missed offside calls, going either way, and that the increased frequency may be due to the faster players.

        It also may have always been the same and we just see better replays and more televised games.

        Like

      • David M

        That’s my point. There is no evidence of the increased frequency of missed calls. But there are certainly much better replays and more games than in years past.

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      • Mig

        The hypothesis that there are more bad calls because of the speed of the current game is a sound one. Admittedly not conclusive but while anecdotal in nature, a lot of people on this board have watched a lot of ball over the years and some of believe that there are more bad ones now. Interesting discussion.

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      • David M

        Well, it’s a hypothesis, but I don’t really think so. I’ve watched a lot of soccer over the years (to give you an idea how much — I remember watching the opening game of WC-70, Mexico-USSR), and until relatively recently there really were no replays that would show if a call was bad or not. We saw refs made calls, sometimes questioned them, but there were no evidence to show that officials blew a call. Now you can dissect every call from every conceivable angle.

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      • GW

        Mig, David M.,

        I’m in the technology has increased our awareness of the fouls camp.

        If modern day video technology for replay in all aspects of the game had been available since the 1960’s, it is possible the entire history of the game would look very different.

        Just to give you one small example, I saw Pele play a fair amount and in those days stars had to take care of themselves.

        He often did a lot of things when the ref and linesmen where looking the other way that would have gotten him arrested never mind a red card.

        Today pictures of that would be all over twitter and FIFA would be banning players left and right .

        Soccer isn’t basketball, you don’t people who are almost literally nearly twice as big and almost twice as fast in the same confined quarters.

        There is a much larger field. The players are still comparatively normal sized. Examine Barca’s lineup some time.

        The average athlete is probably faster than he was twenty years ago; but in soccer he still has to run WITH the ball and make it do things in time with his speed and that is still a very rare quality.

        So defending speedsters still comes down to reading the game and proper positioning.
        The ball is lighter and while you can do more with it what has happened is it has made set pieces more dangerous.

        The biggest difference in the game is that as a general rule everywhere, the fields are far higher quality and far more uniform. This has made tiki taka for example far more useful. It’s much harder to play Barca’s style in the mudbowl that many pitches in England used to be (or in Denver in a blizzard).

        Like

  • Mig

    Well, this turned into a horror-show for Newcastle. Great performance by Sunderland though, no mistake.

    Like

  • Brian

    Jozy just scored his second PK of the day. Earned both of them as well. Also both were the result of red cards. Good day so far for AZ and Jozy.

    Like

    • Mig

      So Utrecht is down to 9 and Jozy has a hattrick in the first half? Weird game apparently.

      Like

  • Brian S.

    Jozy with a hat trick and we’re not even to halftime. Seems to be having a decent game.

    Like

  • Brian S.

    I’m glad to see Bradley has worked his way back to the starting lineup for Roma.

    Like

    • Mig

      yeah, good to see. Then again, it was only three games out of six or so that didn’t start. It may have been more rest or experimentation.

      Like

      • Brian S.

        True. I guess when you have the type of depth that Roma has then you have the luxury of being able to rest players at certain points of the season.

        Like

  • Brian S.

    I don’t see Jozy going all 90 today. I suspect him to be given a rest early in the second half. No need to risk injury.

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    • Mig

      Still a future project for Stoke. Pulis was clear that he wouldn’t be used much this season.

      Like

      • David M

        Which is really weird. Stoke is a team with no offense to speak of and in a nosedive into the relegation zone. Yet, Pulis won’t try anything different or any new players.

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      • Andy in Atlanta

        Exactly…Pulis is a moron… his team has no creativity…they have lost 6 of their last 7 matches with other being a nil-nil draw at home with WBA… if at this point you are not looking to find a way to score goals then you are be definition a moron… If a player that has broken into a top 20 national side can’t even make the bench for a sorry nose-diving kick ball side, then I hope they go down…

        Like

      • GW

        “Pulis is a moron”

        That is a little extreme.

        He has gotten a pretty mediocre team to the Premiership and kept them there for several years.

        That is extremely difficult to do.

        I’m a Shea fan but what makes you think the golden boy is impressing in training?.

        Like

  • 46463633773373

    I
    d love to see more Americans playing in Germany. Just for historic reasons

    Like

  • AC

    Jozy with 2 penalties and a goal from run of play already in the first half….Hat trick is a hat trick….Nice

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      • bottlcaps

        Jozy has not been taking PK;s all season, and I see no reason why. These are his first PK’s. Had he been taking all the penalties he had earned, he would easily have been 2nd in scoring in the league table and not fat behind Boney, who has taken 5 or more. JA is constantly fouled. but because of his size, he rarely goes down. I have seen defenders try and foul or tackle and literally bounce off him and he was whistled for the foul. I think the next step in JA learning curve is to start going down after grevious fouls and take the penalty kicks. It will reduce the fouls on him considerably.

        Now if he can only learn to play the lone forward….

        Like

  • Alexandria

    How does Brek Not make the bench, either his foot is seriously jacked up or he’s getting the michael bradley treatment. The idea that the kid needs time to settle in is ridiculous he’s better than kightley, whelan and ethrington. This is another grass isn’t greener. Now I see why Besler and Gonzalez along with Zusi will probably stay in MLS until after the world cup their is no point to moving if playing time becomes a scarce commodity.

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    • GW

      Alexandria.

      So your choices are either he’s hurt or he’s being frozen out for some political reason like he’s not the boss’ guy?

      How about Pulis hates Americans? That was always a good one.

      Is it possible that maybe Pulis thinks he’s doesn’t exactly fit the team right now?

      Or maybe he doesn’t want to throw him into the pressure cooker of relegation?

      Pulis said Shea is one for the future.
      So if he then he puts Brek out there and Brek screws up and because of that Stoke goes down, the fans will want to kill Mr Shea.
      And Shea’s career at Stoke will be over almost before it starts.

      Like

  • Mig

    Gotta love the color announcer hating on Chelsea. You’d think they were losing 3-0.

    Like

    • Mig

      Actually, the miserable SOB is just being a typical British announcer and hating on everybody.

      Like

  • Citronomics

    Juan Mata with a lame ‘clip’ on Yaya who breaks away to set up the Nasri goal sequence. Should’ve gone in for a “professional” foul. Hopefully this match opens up even more.

    Like

  • Mig

    Perfect execution. Hard to criticize Ivanovic or Cech when Barry was given so much space. The ball was inch perfect into the area and Kun is Kun.

    Annoying game for a Chelsea fan (me)

    Like

  • Mig

    Oh eat that announcers. Eat that.

    Might want to give Luiz some credit for the weight on the long ball.

    Like

    • Citronomics

      Splendid long ball from Sideshow Bob (aka D. Luiz), and credit to both Ba and Torres for in sync timing on their runs. And, wouldn’t want to leave out a mention of Ba’s superb finish.

      Like

  • Citronomics

    How is that two-footed jump/stomp by Kun on Luiz not a sending off? Looked deliberate.

    Like

    • Mig

      I think at full speed, the officials just didn’t see it. Argentina-Brazil….not so much love.

      Like

  • Mig

    Awesome game. Class on both sides, fair result. I’m not happy about it but for 60 minutes, City was better….what can you do.

    I think there was a huge moment where the City keeper got caught a mile off his line in the first half and Kompany rescued off the line. That would have changed the game a bit if it goes in.

    Like

  • Mig

    Roma has (temporarily) crept back into the Europe discussion. They win on the road, Inter loses, Lazio still to play. Good times.

    Like

  • Mig

    Michael Orozco doing good work on the right of Puebla’s defense. Decent diagonal ball on the counter led to a good scoring chance.

    Like

  • ChiTown

    Dear Dominic Oduro,

    We never wanted you gone. Oh woe is us. Come back before you have a 15 goal season with Columbus.

    Signed,
    Chicago Fire

    P.S. Why did we trade you to our most hated rival?

    Like

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