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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Robin van Persie of Manchester United in front of Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger

Photo by Matt West/ISIPhotos.com

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

Before the planet’s top players depart for an important international break, soccer fans can enjoy a jam-packed Sunday filled with crucial league matches from all over the world.

Many eyes will be on Old Trafford, where eighth-place Manchester United look to continue their solid run of form in the English Premier League with a result against red-hot league leaders Arsenal. Although Man United have had a lot of success in recent years against the Gunners, this season’s Arsenal squad head into Manchester on a nine-match unbeaten run in league play and a five-point cushion at the top of the table. The stingy Arsenal defense will aim to lock down former teammate Robin van Persie, who has scored in three straight EPL matches for the Red Devils.

In Spain, second-place Atletico Madrid return to their fortress at the Vicente Calderon to face Villarreal, who have rocketed up to fourth place in their return to La Liga. The Yellow Submarine will have to find a way past the Atletico defense without the talents of top scorer Giovani Dos Santos. On the opposite side, league-leading goalscorer Diego Costa aims for more offensive success ahead of his first international window as a member of the Spanish national team.

Second-place Napoli and third-place Juventus are both on three-match winning streaks in Serie A, and the two Italian giants face off later in the day at Juventus Stadium. Napoli are on the hunt for their first league win against Juve since January 2011, while Juventus will try to close the gap between themselves and league-leading AS Roma in their quest for a third consecutive Scudetto.

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):

7am – Tottenham Hotspur vs. Newcastle United – NBC Sports Network

8am – Bordeaux vs. Nantes – beIN Sport Play

8:30am – NAC Breda vs. PSV Eindhoven – GolTV USA

9am – Chievo vs. AC Milan – beIN Sport en Español

9am – AS Roma vs. Sassuolo – beIN Sport USA

9:05am – Sunderland vs. Manchester City – NBC Sports Network

11am – Olympique Marseille vs. Sochaux – beIN Sport USA

11am – Valencia vs. Real Valladolid – beIN Sport en Español

11:10am – Manchester United vs. Arsenal – NBC Sports Network

11:10am – Swansea City vs. Stoke City – NBC Sports Live Extra

11:30am – SC Freiburg vs. Stuttgart – GolTV USA

1pm – Villarreal vs. Atletico Madrid – beIN Sport en Español

1pm – Pumas UNAM vs. Cruz Azul – Univision

2pm – Cruzeiro vs. Gremio – GolTV USA

2:45pm – Juventus vs. Napoli – beIN Sport USA

3pm – Real Betis vs. Barcelona – beIN Sport en Español

7:15pm – Velez Sarsfield vs. River Plate – GolTV USA

9pm – Real Salt Lake vs. Portland Timbers – ESPN

133 comments
  • biff

    Hugo Lloris after being left off the roster for Tottenham’s Europa League game on Thursday has been left off again for today’s Newcastle match. Worrisome. I wonder if AVB is still going to insist that letting Lloris play on last weekend after being knocked out was the right thing to do.

    Like

      • John

        Looks like they are just going with Flecther up front after going with 3 up front last week. It appears Poyet is just throwing stuff out there to see if anything works with out much of a plan.

        Like

      • Turgid Jacobian

        See, this is how everyone can tell you’re a moron. None of the players in the top tier of professional soccer “suck.”

        Like

      • Hogatroge

        Jozy has a goal in league play that was incorrectly disallowed and a goal in cup play.

        Also, considering how little offensive production the team has had, that one goal would still have put him at a considerable percentage of the team’s scoring.

        Like

      • Hogatroge

        BTW… this isn’t a totally impartial website. Keep up the trolling and your IP address will eventually get banned. No one will mind.

        Like

    • TomG

      He went a hard 90 midweek in an excellent performance. Plus, they are playing powerhousse City, so GP decided to go with a defensive lineup , the strategy being to absorb punishment and try to counter or score on a set piece. Fletcher is probably better suited to that and better rested. Jozy is better if you’re trying a more possession style. Doesn’t necessarily mean anything going forward but we shall see.

      Like

  • biff

    Bad news for Dortmund. Nevin Subotic out the rest of the season after yesterday’s knee injury.

    Like

    • Increase

      They are suffering quite a bit from injuries this year. Isn’t another one of their main defenders already injured?

      Like

      • Dudester

        Exactly first Rossi now Subotic.Hopefully Neven has two back to back tears like Guiseppe did.Miguel Angel Ponce better watch out, he’s next.Couldve really used him at LB.

        Like

      • Dudester

        Oh and the curse only counts for guys that were good enough to play for us.Beitashour and De Lagarza are safe.

        Like

  • Shawn

    wow altidore only starts games that arent on TV. I think altidore is the only reason sunderland makes it on nbc.

    Like

  • jones

    It’s too bad Altidore is not in there now that they are trying a 4-5-1 with more of a midfield presence again.

    Like

  • jones

    Sidenote: Has anyone else ever had trouble with comments not appearing? For the past two days, NOTHING I posted ever appeared. Thought I had been banned or something. Strange.

    Like

  • TomG

    Nice ball from Jozy to lead Johnson in and Johnson just inexplicably abandons his run. He is the dumbest soccer player I’ve ever seen.

    Like

  • TomG

    And Johnson with another stupid, selfish, long range bomb as the Cats finally establish some good possession.

    Like

  • nato

    Please GOD if you’re there

    allow Jozy to start scoring for SUNDERLAND. what have u got against him scoring in the PL

    Like

  • GOD

    Patience my son….we have to secure safety from relegation and Jozy shall play a part. So it has been said so it shall be done.

    Like

  • RB

    I appreciate these lists, especially to coordinate TV viewing plans, and I appreciate that this won’t be as high on the priority list as the above matches, for many people. Nevertheless, seems like a big miss for SBI to leave off a US national team home match against Brazil.

    Like

  • manicmessiah

    The one match where there would be 0 chance of Fergie starting him, Moyes starts Kagawa. I did like Jones in the midfield though.

    Like

  • Francois

    Manchester United is the least creative “big” team in the world. Even against lesser opponents, they play with no flair or creative, outside of RVP and Rooney at least.

    Like

    • TomG

      Perhaps you’ve never taken in a match from that blue side that plays at Stamford Bridge? They’ve been boring fans to tears for the last fifteen years.

      Like

    • Increase

      They were kinda like that under Ferguson too. I almost felt like when Manu played it was like 11 individuals doing exactly what they should rather than team. They always felt somehow disjointed. Never inefficient though. Kinda like Real Madrid never seem quite together…

      Like

  • Francois

    Did the color guy in United v. Arsenal really just say that 56% possesion is “dominating possesion”? Really? Who is this dude?

    Like

  • John

    Sunderland beat Man City, Newcastle over Tottenham and Stoke City have 2 goals in the first half? What is going on?

    Like

  • Rolling Around

    Old Trafford booing a nasty head injury that left a player motionless. Classy as usual.

    Like

  • Sly

    Off the ball did Wilshire elbow or attempt to elbow manages? Wasn’t mentioned but looked it to me. Did anyone else see it.

    Like

  • Marcroi

    On the 23rd Sunderland goes to Stoke City. Should be fun, especially if SC only gets a point.

    Like

  • Rolling Around

    Lol what? Only 3 minutes and its Andre freaking Mariner that gives it?

    Im sorry buy the evidence of rampant corruption for the likes of Chelsea and United is undeniable.

    Like

  • Travis

    That was the most effort United has showed in any game yet this year, it was hugely important for them that they win that game. Arsenal is perfectly fine after losing, still a really good week for them

    Like

  • rigoberto

    Bedoya instrumental in both the 1st and 3rd goals for Nantes. Won’t get credited for an assist on either but created both. Really pulling up his stock.

    Like

  • Andre Mariner

    Yesterday I screwed West Brom against Chelsea. Today I was the 4th official for the United game–they were being pressed hard in a second half with a lot of stopped plays. But they were winning… so 3 minutes of extra time!

    Did I do good, FA?

    Like

  • jena

    Big day for Aron Johansson! Even though AZ Alkmarr tied 2 -2 with Feyenoord Rotterdam, Johansson scored both goals for AZ (17″ and 57″). What makes it better? Today’s his birthday! lol

    Happy 23rd birthday to Aron. Great way to celebrate! lol

    Like

  • ChiPersianFlip

    Jozy Watch 2013-14

    11 Matches: 0 goals
    Now he’s benched

    Comparable Player: Wilfried Bony: 11 Matches, 4 goals

    Like

    • jena

      Don’t be absurd. You’re comparing oranges to watermelons! Completely different teams, completely different players.

      Altidore has some major impediments in the way of his scoring. First and foremost, it’s hard to score when your team is always on defense! Even in today’s game I heard a familiar refrain from the announcers while Jozy had the ball, ‘Altidore’s got no one to pass to.’ He had picked up a clearance just over MC’s side of the field but all of Sunderland’s players were still back around their own goal. Even Messi and Bale need help when it’s 2 or 3 on 1. Even then, I wouldn’t rate Sunderland players that high on their passing game! Another issue is that he gets very little service from his team! This was acknowledged from Sunderland’s new manager when he stated publicly about 2 weeks ago that getting more service to Altidore was one of his top priorities. I also think that Altidore is too generous on the field. He needs to take more shots rather than passing off to someone who ‘might’ have a clearer shot. I don’t know if that’s something that Sunderland’s coaches press on or not but Altidore is rarely taking one touch shots for Sunderland like he does when with the USMNT. Altidore’s a big guy and he has a good power shot. So far, Sunderland has seemed to want him to focus on headers because of his height but all the teams know that and he’s always got extra defenders on him knocking and jostling him. Why it’s true that all the top scorers for major teams get extra attention, Sunderland doesn’t have big names known for the scoring – except Altidore when he was with AZ. It’s not that Fletcher, Gardner, Giaccherini and the others aren’t good, they are. But when it comes to whom the competition is putting the extra defense on, if he’s on the pitch, it’s Altidore. His coaches know that, even Klinsmann uses Altidore to draw fouls. He’s rarely the player they let take shots either. Again, I’m sure the thought is put his height near the goal where he might be able to get a head on it, but that’s expected. Sunderland should let Altidore shoot more – remember his scoring shot in the B/H friendly?

      I think Poyet believes in Altidore and he’s giving confidence to Sunderland as a whole. As the team believes in itself more AND more service is given to Altidore, I’m certain he’ll start hitting the back of net.

      Like

    • frank from santiago

      haha…wow, really ChiPersianFlip? do you watch the games? different style of play AND players, you can’t be that delusional to compare the two and expect the same results.
      Listen when Altidore has the right players and system around him he shows what he’s about. He screwed up by signing with sunderland, and we all know he’s better than what he’s shown so far.
      Good write up Jena.

      Like

      • ChiPersianFlip

        so lets assume that jozy scores less than 5 goals this season in league play. you still think none of it is based on his lack of skill in performing in a top league? really? all the blame is on his teammates? wow. who’s the one being delusional. he’s a good player but sorry he’s never going to make it to that next gear (e.g., Sturrige, Welbeck, Chich level)

        Like

      • ChiPersianFlip

        How many games until you admit Jozy is never going to be a very good striker? 3 more seasons…and I’ve seen 3 games, enough for me to admit that yes their midfield sux but also to acknowledge that Jozy has reached his ceiling. And please, don’t bring up how Drogba started to get going at 27.

        Like

      • SD

        You clearly don’t understand the game…Altidore reached is ceiling?!….you do not understand the intricacies of the game….

        Like

      • Turgid Jacobian

        Actually it seems he doesn’t understand the rudiments, either.

        Like

      • Increase

        Also… why is Sturridge that list. He is good(apparently). He is just not Luis Suarez which is nothing to be ashamed of. That is hardly evidence that your opinion is worth value.

        Like

      • ChiPersianFlip

        Sturridge is below Suazez BUT he’s still very good. I’m saying that Jozy will never hit Sturridge’s level or Chich’s. Jozy is CONCACAF good, nothing more.

        Like

      • John

        While playing the same teams Ghramn Zusi scored as many goals as Chicharito during the Hex. If thats not a perfect example of how service is everthing to a striker I don’t know what is.

        Like

    • Increase

      Bony has been given penalty kicks. Also Swansea shouldn’t suck…. but they have gotten worse with his addition. Sunderland have always sucked.

      Boney= net loss in quality.
      Jozy = still bad

      Therefore Jozy was a better buy. Also cheaper.

      Like

  • Chicago Josh

    Grant Wahl is reporting Landon has been left off the roster for the upcoming friendlies, while Omar has been called in.

    Like

    • jena

      That will be awkward for the TV advertising since there are commercials on air promoting ‘Landon Donavan and the USMNT’. lol

      Like

    • John

      I still don’t think Klinsmann knows what to do with Landon. When Landon has played really well it’s been when under the striker in the role Dempsey plays. He just can’t seem to find his way into the match when on the wing under Klinsmann.

      Like

      • Nihal

        Guys, he’s hurt. He said himself he’s out for six weeks. Ankle injury.

        Like

      • bryan

        exactly. LD himself said he probably came back too early. obviously it’s related to his ankle not being right.

        “So it’s logical to assume this is just about getting his ankle right.” – ProSoccerTalk

        further, if JK wants LD going out on loan (as he has said), he absolutely needs to get 100% healthy. but US fans have knee-j3rk reactions to EVERYTHING.

        Like

      • John

        I agree and the same goes for Dempsey if he isn’t called. Alot of people have been on him but he’s been playing through injury.
        However I stand by my point of Klinsmann not being sure about Donovan as a winger. Donovan has also pretty much said he’d rather play forward as he did during the Gold Cup.

        Like

    • jena

      Yes! Good game. Brazil is playing better than I’ve seen them play in a couple of years. LaRoux is on fire though! She’s been racking up the goals in these recent friendlies.

      Like

  • jena

    What’s really great about the women’s game is that they don’t fall to ground every time a player from the opposite team touches them! lol Soccer’s a rough game and you have to be tough to play it well but if you watch any men’s pro game you’d think those guys were fragile! They’re always on the ground rolling around like they’re in the worse pain they’ve ever felt in their lives – then usually up and running at top speed 15 seconds after they realize the ref isn’t buying it!

    Like

  • rigoberto

    Yura Movsisyan with a hat trick today. I really wish he had stayed in the US long enough to become a citizen. Great striker.

    Like

  • TomG

    Messi goes down again clutching his hammy. Sad, but abarca not missing a beat as Pedro puts a through ball to himself in a brilliant goal.

    Like

  • MikeG

    Looking forward to Portland and RSL this afternoon. Portland plays the way I preach on here..

    Like

  • Quit whining about soccer in the US

    I went to the WA CAL game, watching the flip throw-in in person is way better than watching it on Youtube…holy moly. I bet he threw that ball 60 yards on one throw in deep in his territory.

    Like

    • beto

      “In overtime, Robertson’s goal came off a Harris flip-throw. Harris tossed one in the box from the left sideline that deflected off a Cal defender that Robertson pounced on and blasted past the goalkeeper.” GoHuskies.com <— gotta find a youtube of this! please post link if you know of any!!!

      Like

    • beto

      worst hair in MLS?
      A. G. Zardes
      B. D. Yedlin
      C. S. Velasquez
      D. D. Sandoval
      E. (write in)

      … all rookies too!

      Like

  • markwriter

    rooting for Jozy is not the most satisfying thing in the world, is it. At least his effort issues seem solved.

    Like

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