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Your Running Commentary

Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

ArsenalLiverpool (Getty Images)

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

This Soccer Saturday will start with a bang as English Premier League giants Arsenal and Liverpool battle it out in a matchup that will have serious title and Champions League implications.

The last time these two clubs squared off, Arsenal won a tight fixture at Emirates Stadium by a score of 2-0. However, that November meeting in North London was the last time Liverpool were shutout in EPL play, and the high-scoring Reds have only lost only once this season at legendary Anfield. The Gunners are on a nine-match unbeaten run in EPL play and will look to slow down Liverpool’s in-form attack partnership of Luis Suarez and Daniel Sturridge in order to keep their league lead over Manchester City and Chelsea.

Arsenal-Liverpool will kick off a busy day of EPL action, which continues with a solid slate of matches featuring Chelsea’s chance at revenge against Newcastle United at Stamford Bridge. Swansea City and Cardiff City will wrap things up from the UK with the always-competitive South Wales Derby, which will be the relegation-threatened Swans’ first match since the firing of manager Michael Laudrup.

Elsewhere, Real Madrid will look to defend the Bernabeu and maintain pace in the race for the La Liga title when fifth-place Villarreal visits the Spanish capital. New La Liga leaders Atletico Madrid will hit the road to face Almeria, and runaway Bundesliga club Bayern Munich has an early road match against Timothy Chandler and Nurnberg.

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):

7:45am – Arsenal vs. Liverpool – USA Network

9:30am – Nürnberg vs. Bayern Munich – GolTV USA

10am – Chelsea vs. Newcastle United – USA Network

10am – Norwich City vs. Manchester City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Southampton vs. Stoke City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Aston Villa vs. West Ham United – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Sunderland vs. Hull City – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Crystal Palace vs. West Bromwich Albion – Premier League Extra Time

10am – Valencia vs. Real Betis – beIN Sports en Español

10am – Leicester City vs. Watford – beIN Sports USA

11am – Marseille vs. Bastia – Univision Deportes

12pm – Fiorentina vs. Atalanta – beIN Sports USA

12pm – Rayo Vallecano vs. Malaga – beIN Sports en Español

12:30pm – Swansea City vs. Cardiff City – NBC

12:45pm – Twente vs. PSV Eindhoven – GolTV USA

2pm – Real Madrid vs. Villarreal – beIN Sports USA

2pm – Ajaccio vs. Rennes – Univision Deportes

2:45pm – Napoli vs. AC Milan – beIN Sports Play

4pm – Almeria vs. Atletico Madrid – beIN Sports en Español

6pm – Club America vs. Pachuca – Univision

8pm – Tigres UANL vs. Santos Laguna – UniMás

9:05pm – Club Leon vs. Pumas UNAM – Telemundo

10pm – Atlas vs. Morelia – Univision Deportes

319 comments
    • Increase0

      Nice goal. Mandzukic is weirdly underrated as a striker. Goal and an assist from him.

      Like

  • Adelai

    Jeez Jozy, just don’t mess up. Little expectation to score today but not helping yourself.

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      • fair observer

        precisely, what game is that guy watching? Jozy’s getting bullied yet still playing decent to good (ESPECIALLY with a man down….)

        Like

      • Brett

        You’re throwing around praise rather loosely. Unless Jozy pulled off some magic in the few seconds my stream took to refresh, he’s done very little “good” in the match. Let’s be fair, his side is down a man and so can’t control possession, but other than a nice touch here or there he’s been a non-factor. That doesn’t earn a player a “good” grade in my book.

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      • fair observer

        i’d say decent, some people see “good ” as “not playing badly”. basically he’s doing his job today, hasnt really given it away, holding the ball with his back to the goal and finding players around him with about 85% success. no one’ss perfect, but in no way is he playing badly, just a grey area of “decent-to-good” haha. but to be fair, when a team is a man down it’s very hard for strikers because the mid field has to sit back so there’s less options for the ST. everyone just relax and watch the game without picking ona single player (unless its M Alonso, cuz he is usually pretty suspect on Defence and makes wierd deisions on offense— his long shot for no reason after a good build……)

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      • Brett

        “Not bad” is fitting. There’s certainly a middle area between that and “good”, in which we could make more delineations. The point is to praise a player when he does something praiseworthy. The occasional successful hold/distribution alone isn’t gonna do it for me. I commented earlier that if that is your expectation for him, then you probably would think he was playing well on the day.

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      • Nate

        your expectations are throughly unrealistic. You are trying to set it up so that anything less than a goal is a failure.

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      • Gerard D.

        I’m watching through a Hull City feed and it’s pretty much the antithesis of TomG’s commentary.

        They had not complementary things to say about Jozy basically gifting Hull a goal.

        You might want to check your homerism at the door because not everyone thinks Jozy is walking on water.

        He’s in a bad situation, but that doesn’t mean he can’t also play poorly.

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      • Brett

        Split the difference between these extremes. A HCFC feed would reasonably bash Jozy, who failed to impress there as well. His play has been mediocre, and that shouldn’t earn him derision.

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      • Gerard D.

        Was sort of an implication in my point. Adelai is not even close to hating. The poster even acknowledged that there’s little expectation for Jozy to score.

        For some reason people think that’s free reign to do whatever and he’ll be fine. It isn’t.

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      • beachbum

        nobody thinks he’s walking on water but your take that he’s drowning is just as off target

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      • Nate Dollars

        thanks for the info, but nothing that you said had anything to do with my comment. “adelai” pretty much just comes on here to post derisive comments about jozy, whether he’s playing well or not. i made no remarks whatsoever about jozy’s play. (couldn’t watch most of the game.)

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  • TomG

    Almost a goal by Johnson, started by pretty hold up and distribution from Jozy. Really nice play.

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  • fair observer

    every header attempt Jozy has been getting a shove in the back. seems like Hull’s approach to disrupting Jozy is to bully him on aerials….. how has the ref not seen any of these pushes?

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    • Brett

      Might be a case of Jozy’s size and strength working against him. Refs might think the pushes aren’t really affecting him that much.

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      • Nate Dollars

        +1. i loved played rough defense (at a very low level) against big attackers who begged for fouls. refs (probably unfairly) tend to think they’re whining and that they should just get on with it.

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      • fair observer

        brett you’re usuallyl terribly wrong but that’s the smartest thing you’ve ever said, EVER

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    • Brett

      Apt analysis, even if it tells us almost nothing… that’s pretty much Jozy’s contribution. Make whatever excuses make you feel better about it, it’s just the truth.

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      • beachbum

        no excuses required, he doesn’t need any, and he’s not the train wreck that some want to post about every weekend on this board either

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      • Brett

        Hyperbole will make anyone look foolish, whether their comments are positive or negative. I see many excuses for Jozy on this blog, from “his teammates don’t like him” to “they’re just terrible,” to folks who even delude themselves into thinking he is playing good football as a striker. Simply judging him for the things in his control leads me to the conclusion that he’s not reaching his potential by a long-shot. If that makes me a “hater” then I will proudly bear that cross.

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      • beachbum

        hyperbole from me? hardly

        if you’ve watched all year you’ll know from what and how this team, and Jozy, have grown. If your take is Jozy sucks then cool. I disagree. If your take is he’s awesome then cool, I disagree again.

        Frankly, many more posts by folks here burying him alive back in October! and steadily thru January…and here Jozy still stands.

        that is not hyperbole…reality.

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      • Brett

        I didn’t say you made any hyperbolic statements, You stretch the improvement of his touch, but not to an insane degree (someone here calls him “world class” for example). I only stated a fact that doing so will make you look foolish regardless of which side you tend toward. You mentioned a hyperbole in the comment “train wreck”, and I’m insisting to you that I also do not exaggerate.

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  • fair observer

    Alonso with a terrible pass towards the middle of his own box…….. i stand behind my assessment that alonso should be berated more than jozy. lol

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    • fair observer

      reporters/announcers applaud Alonso as “able to help the attack by gettin up the pitch” but to me a defender is supposed to…… DEFEND. a wing back is his secondary job. if he’s focusing on only attacking then guess what, he’s a midfielder and now there’s only 3 defenders. simply put, Alonso’s Defence is pretty terrible

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      • Brett

        Fullbacks are considered defenders, but do you ever wonder why they’re called “fullbacks”? Because they play the full length of the pitch and play inside and out. They’re expected to defend and to attack. They defend more than wingbacks,

        A lot of fullbacks are converted midfielders or wing players. What Alonso lacks as a defender he masks with good touch and spatial awareness to control possession. He’s been one of the few creative influences for Sunderland in this match.

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      • fair observer

        to reiterate… a defenders first job is to defend. they have 6 other players who help attack… defenders shouldnt play if they cant defend….. ii do applaud alonso’s occasional creative influence and calmness on the ball…… BUT thats the description of a midfielder. maybe move him to LDM….. just sayin, a LB should know how to play defense. and for all the Jozy haters, why are there no Alonso haters for his shotty Defense…. just sayin…

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      • Brett

        I think your view of positional play is too rigid. If Dani Alves was American would you want him defending or attacking?

        Many fullbacks are converted mifielders or attackers because some managers would rather have a good overlapping attacker and an average defender than an average overlap and good defense.

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      • fair observer

        for the record, Dani Alves can play defense and does well. He’s actually my favorite defender, nice try but terrible example.

        listen carefully to my point please: a LB/RB should firstly be good at defense…. then what sets great ones apart from regular ones are their ability to get forward and help in the attack. just like you say a striker playing good “holdup play” is secondary to his ability to score, thus is the same for LB/RB. His defensive ability should come first, help in attack should be second. This is the bare basics of the position.

        example, Beasley is a converted LB, he helps with the attack well from his midfield skillset yet his 1v1 defensive play is not consistent. He is closer to Alonso than Dani Alves……. Beasley isnt a great LB, he does a decent job solely because he has the speed to recover from a missed tackle. Alonso gives a half A$$ tackle and hopes his CB will cover for him…..he is a good attacker and BELOW AVG defender.

        but to answer your question, if DA was american id want him to do exactly what he does, defend well and then help build on attack once ball is moving up the field, Alonso plays like a wide LDM…… slow to get back on defense as if he’s waiting to counter on every play. overall Alonso is ok, he’s just no better at his position than Jozy is at his, correct? to quote a wise man: he does a “half-job done”.

        god bless you

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      • Brett

        In what formation does an “LDM” regularly get chalk on his boots, attack up the wing, and play on the last line in defense?

        You completely missed the point of the Alves comment. You design a system and use players to their strengths. You’re saying you’d tell him not to attack because it’s secondary in his job description, but that’s a waste of a guy who wreaks havoc going forward.

        Let’s agree to disagree and simply say that, if he could, Poyet would sign someone to play LB who was as good as Alonso in attack and better in defense, but being Sunderland manager, he made his choice to favor one who can bring something in attack at the expense of defense. I’d buy a better one, if I had the money, and I’m sure he would too. That seems fair.

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      • fair observer

        “if DA was american id want him to do exactly what he does, defend well and then help build on attack once ball is moving up the field, ” AGAIN i NEVER said i wouldnt want Alves to attack, the above quote is what i said……

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      • Gary Page

        I think those who prefer average defending and good attacking over good defending and average attacking fullbacks are called ex-managers. Haven’t you ever heard the expression, defense wins championships?

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      • Gary Page

        A little history lesson. I started playing soccer in the 60’s. Fullbacks never used to join in the attack and never went much, if at all, beyond the half way line. This changed with Holland’s total football approach in the 70’s. Before that defenders were, well, only defenders. Holland revolutionized the game. So the name fullback is not at all derived the way you say it is.

        Like

  • beachbum

    Sunderland playing up the wings and trying cross it in there, good to see but so far poor balls into the area, but they are trying

    Like

    • beachbum

      his holdup play, which used to be pretty poor, has improved 100%, his first touch light years better than it used to be to allow him to make this improvement imo

      Like

  • fair observer

    did anyone else notice that the Hull line on that Ki shot was leaving Jozy in a great position, i wish Ki would play that soft thru ball to Jozy there. THATS the ball jozy has wanted all season. its a subtle idea but they are what makes a midfielder great instead of just good like Ki

    Like

    • Brett

      Tough to see from the TV angle, but he looked to be playing the back shoulder of a defender and might have been offside. He was in an offside position but was making his way back onside. Hard to tell if he made it before the shot came off. He wasn’t really hustling.

      Like

      • fair observer

        Hull’s LCB was lazy in the offside trap while the other 3 defenders stepped up, Jozy was between them, easily onside. like i said, its a subtle situation but none the less the mids need to look for these balls. if you read Jozy’s assessment of himself in recent days, he sais EPL differs from Dutch league because in Dutch league literally plays everything FOR their strikers, mids dont really take those long shots that often, they always look for those soft thru balls to set up fwds, you’ll see if you watch altidore’s highlight reel from AZ. Sunderland never really looks for those ground balls, they get goals from crosses, long shots or deflected tap ins…… rarely do they play passes once the ball is around the top of box. keep this in mind as the rest of the season progresses. you’ll notice it too

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      • Brett

        I could tell that the line wasn’t flat. That’s what made it tough to see on the angle. He wasn’t clearly blocking him in the view so I can forgive Ki for taking the shot that opened up instead of playing a ball that might ruin the whole move.

        If he was on and clearly on in the field of vision of Ki, then I will agree that he made the wrong choice.

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      • fair observer

        i concur, like i said, it’s all subtle stuff, we as fans have the birds eye view of sorts but lookin at most of the games this occurs a lot, not just for Altidore btw, i mean for all players, its as if sunderland doesnt try to make those passes. watch top teams as they do it quite regularly. but yes, people on couches such as you and i can say whatever we want. haha. just our humble opinions….. that’s what makes us fans….. and thats the point of sport. cheering and debate…… carry on

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    • TomG

      Ki doesn’t do through balls. He’s a good, accurate, safe passer, but he never plays through balls.

      Like

      • fair observer

        that doesn’t mean he SHOULDNT, haha but youre right, Ki never plays them, my point is that he SHOULD, not hating on Ki cuz i like him overall i just wish he could add that part to his game, would realy elevate him to a great player instead of solidly good (like most of Sunderland……)

        Like

      • TomG

        Yeah, I think if he could do that, he’d be starting for Swansea, not Sunderland. Not everyone has that vision. I think it’s not something you can teach, it’s a mindset.

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  • fair observer

    hmmmm do i need to say it…… Alonso does nothing. stop tryin to pull him offside and go play defence. put your arm down and PLAY DEFENSE!!!!

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  • Brett

    Here’s some praise. Jozy just made an unselfish run and it opened up a huge space into which no one ran and the pass never came. Sunderland football on display.

    Like

  • Darwin

    Fans emptying dumpsters of trash on the field to protest Sunderland’s play this season.

    Like

  • fair observer

    yet he calls that one? haha ill take it tho. call the one in the box on the last possesion tho

    Like

  • Brett

    A microcosm of Jozy’s current form: He collects a ball in a chaotic box with a favorable angle on goal if he can pull off a turn, but he instead plays the quick ball out to a player on his right who botches a cross about as bad as you can. No nose for goal, no killer instinct, just playing safe so as not to lose his spot.

    I’m gonna give him a solid C for this shift. He chased possession most of the match, showed some nice traps and one-touch passes, fought for and won some 50/50 balls, and brought his teammates into the game. To me that’s a half-job done. If you think that’s good enough for a starting striker in the World Cup, then you might give him a better grade. He is simply too willing to defer to his teammates, whether by request of his manager or of his own accord.

    Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        He’s right thought. Down a man or not, that has nothing to do with being a striker, having the ball at your feet and instead of taking a shot, passing it out wide.

        He’s afraid of missing, so he’d rather put the responsibility on someone else.

        He reminds me of Kwame Brown when he was with the Lakers. He told Kobe not to pass him the bal because he was too nervous, lol.

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      • Brett

        Not really. Sunderland play about the same with 10 as they do with 11. They actually bossed the game for stretches, which included Jozy coming off defenders to direct possession before getting lost in the mixer as wayward shots and crosses came flying in. He wasn’t active or creative, playing a very limited and specific role. I’m not in the business of fantasizing about “what if”. Jozy hased played the same whether or not Sunderland is at full strength.

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      • beachbum

        so being down a man for basically the entire match was no biggie in your final analysis.

        I’m not in the business of what ifs either

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      • Brett

        I observed that their style of play didn’t really change much. Hull was able to play numbers advantages more often on counterattacks, but other than that the game seemed to play out as a normal Sunderland match would. Possession play and no creativity in the final 3rd. Maybe an extra man helps, but probably not.

        As for the result, the result is probably different, irrespective of Jozy’s play (which is what I’m really focusing on).

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    • Turgid Jacobian

      He is simply too willing to defer to his teammates, whether by request of his manager or of his own accord.

      Look, if the coach is asking him to (which I don’t think he is, necessarily) then it would be nuts to fault JA for it. Simply silly.

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      • Brett

        But would the best strikers in the world, the ones that start for competitive nations, be asked to defer to players like Adam Johnson? And even if they were, could you see a scoring talent like Luis Suarez not taking a crack at goal in that position, even if it’s only a half-chance?

        All I can say is that Klinsmann better not shoehorn Jozy into this type of role with the MNT, because it’s a major waste of a gifted athlete.

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      • Brett

        Besides, at that point in the game the training tactics should go out the window. You’re down 2-0 at home, have a go at goal when you’re 8 yards away and no defender is on your back. Like I said, no killer instinct. Blame whoever you want (manager, teammates, waterboys) but it’s been this way for a while and it doesn’t look like changing.

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  • Darwin

    OPTA stats for Jozy (via squawka),

    1/2 take-ons won
    0/1 tackles won
    3/10 headed duels won
    2/2 clearances won…one leading to a goal
    21/26 passes completed 81%

    Like

  • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

    It’s going to be a long, long second half for Jozy this year. What a disappointment

    Like

    • John

      Problem is, I’m less worrid about him then half of the other players on the US roster at this point.

      Like

      • Darwin

        No need to get worried. We have seen plenty of players come in during horrible seasons and play well…we’re yanks! That is how it has always been!

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      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        Our Team situation looks so different then it did in 2013

        Just some poor choices by certain players. MLS really messed things up in the name of American soccer tbh

        Like

      • Brett

        It is a problem when just getting minutes on a subpar squad is the “feel good” story of the program going into the World Cup. We now have 2 players sharing that prestigious honor.

        I’m worried about most of the squad, Jozy included, but the majority of my concerns lie with the defense and the fact that we may likely go into Brazil with a back 4 with a combined 0 minutes of World Cup experience (I still don’t see Beasley starting at LB).

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  • fair observer

    all in all, i invite Brett to watch the next game with a focus on Alonso’s defense and defensive positioning, comment on each play he makes defensively and then tell me he’s a good defender…… lol. Ill take a gentleman’s bet that you wont rate his defense as higher than a 3 out of 10. while i agree he can have some creative moments in the attack and holds the ball well, those are midfielder traits. maybe poyet should play him at midfield and find an actual LB. LB is crucial especially when a lot of goals against sunderland have come from his side (ManU second match in Cap Cup 120′ comes to mind right away- low cross to the far post and alonso just stands there as his man taps in a goal…….–today’s match on the second goal, deflection off a long shot that went to back post as hull heads it in, with alonso sniffing his deoderant……)

    just sayin, as i said a few matches ago, you can watch ANY player and nitpick them to convince people they’re not good, Jozy had a decent match considering playing a man down hurts strikers the most in general. but all in all sunderland as a whole looked pretty crappy all day. Ki was off his usual possession, birdcutt took a few steps back from his debut last week. colback went back to his nonexistant self, jozy had no shots, alonso played crap defense, borini was the best player but taken off early due to the tactial switch (perhaps this was a big part to the bad play) shall i go on? AJ had the best game at a bout a 6 out of 10……

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    • Darwin

      I don’t understand your Alonso hate actually. Yes, he underperforms – most of Sunderland do – but he is not their worst player. Colback has had some shockers where he disappears.

      Your point about Alonso’s defense is right on though. He is there for attack, not his defense. He is a natural left footer on the left. Borini is a right footer that will cut in and shoot. Johnson is a left footer that cuts in and shoots. Poyet wants his crosses coming in from his outside backs.

      Like

      • fair observer

        not hate i just dont understand how some players get berated with a magnifying glass every touch (Jozy, AJ’s nonexistant crosses) while some get praised and overlooked on their mishaps (colback’s Whodini acts, Alsonso’s lackadaisical defense, Ki’s lack of vision in the attacking half– he only backpasses… lol)

        im not one of those “jozy is the greatest” people but i think the whole team is on par with a mid to lower EPL team, decent to good players that are inconsistent. the ONLY player i think plays above average consistently is Borini. to put it in another way, for every “mistake” Jozy makes there are 5 mistakes his teamates make. people should just call it fairly, colback disappears, alsono sucks at defense (yet is good at pushing forward—-BRETT—–, AJ goes 1v1 a tad too much and has no right foot, larsson should play more so he can cross it, no clue why Giac doesnt play…., oshea and brown are fine enough, bardsley has mental lapses (red card today), gardner does an ok job, Ki doesnt know how to pass to a fwd in the box, etc) just CALL IT HOW IT IS FOLKS, hahaha, carry on….

        Like

      • Increase0

        Alonso is like an Edgar Castillo who can almost but not quite play defense.

        Like

    • Brett

      “Jozy had a great match considering”… Is a phrase we see too often now.

      I never said Alonso was a good “defender”, but he’s not as bad of a fullback as you keep insisting. I’d venture to say if he were dropped into our player pool, he would beat out everyone but Fabulous Johnson. He might not “get stuck in” like you’d want a central defender to do, but he is slick on the ball and knows how to get upfield (also part of the fullback’s job).

      I watch as much football as I can, so you can send your invitation somewhere else.

      Like

      • fair observer

        firstly, i said “jozy had a DECENT match considering” not “great” haha….. READ please.

        secondly, you’re correct, Alonso “is slick on the ball and knows how to get upfield” which ive already agreeed with. and yes that is “part of the fullback’s job”….. BUT as you so eloquently put about Jozy, the same can be said about Alsono “To me that’s a half-job done. If you think that’s good enough for a starting [Fullback] in the World Cup, then you might give him a better grade. If Jozy is considered to only be doing half of his job, then how can you not also fairly assess the same to Alonso for only doing half of HIS job…… THAT has been my main point. people criticize Jozy yet fail to fairly uphold the others to similar standards. Striker’s job is to score, a defenders job is to defend. if a striker is only doing a good job at holding the ball up and passing it off how is that any different from a defender only doing a good job of getting forward yet not defending well? seriously….

        i think you and i have similar view’s of this team’s performance generally, yet i see Jozy as “glass half full” and Alonso as “half empty” while you see it as the reciprocal. Ill agree thats its a wash as soon as you agree that Alonso isn’t a great defender. haha. all in all, you have a good eye for the game and i commend that, we’re just splitting hairs BUT…. Alonso sucks at defense….. LOL

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      • Increase0

        I get what you are saying Observer. It’s sorta like Johnson can score goals but he can’t put in a cross to save his life. That’s half a wingers job.

        Ribery doesn’t score many goals but he made so many chances for others to score off of.

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      • Brett

        Maybe you should take your own advice, because for all the things I’ve said about Alonso, the phrase “he is a good player” has never been among them. He obviously brings some things to the setup and has some weaknesses. All considered, I’d still say he’s better than most of the fullbacks in our pool. He’s a better defender than Beasley and Castillo, and he’s way better in attack than Parkhurst or that Lichaj dude who never gets called up. Fabian probably beats him out with a slightly different balance of skills, but not by a wide margin. I think you judge Alonso as harshly as the same “haters” whom you criticize for their “unfair” judgment of Altidore. If Alonso was American, he’d be just as praiseworthy as Jozy in your eyes, I imagine.

        Like

      • fair observer

        the “if Alonso was american” point is a large tangent, Sure he’d be in the top 3 of our LBs but this was never part of my point. Ive never brought up the “american” aspect of this debate, that was all you, i brought up beasley because he’s a converted LB…

        ” I think you judge Alonso as harshly as the same “haters” whom you criticize for their “unfair” judgment of Altidore.”

        This, however was my point. and i did so to point out the unfairness of the jozy hatred. namely by you to get you to realize YOUR hypocrisy in judging jozy. if we can agree that Jozy is doing a “half-job” by playing good hold up play but not scoring, then we should be able to agree that Alonso is doing a “half job” by playing good attaking help but not playing defense.

        AGAIN, THAT has been my point from the start, to point out that Jozy is being unfairly hated on as much as Alonso is being unfairly praised considereing BOTH are doing “Half Jobs”

        I could also argue that AJ’s inability to cross is simalr to this hypocrisy too tho. this all started about 7 games ago when i started gettin sick of people only commenting on one players downfalls (jozy) and not praising others’ while overlooking their downfalls. So, yes, i maybe be picking on Alonso but only to prove my point, the whole team is in the decent to sometimes good range and does “half job” if you carefully read my posts i talk about more than just Alonso.

        Ki- Lack of vision that would make him a complete midfielder, he has great possession tho (“half-job well done”)

        Colback- doesnt do much besides his goal last game, moves the ball around but rarely creates chances which is the job of a CM/CAM, disappears oftern (“half-job well done”)

        AJ- creates chances off the dribble (sometimes too often and loses possession) yet as a wide player is UNABLE to cross the ball….. —->(“half-job well done”)

        Alonso- helps in attack well (usually….. still has the long shot-itis that Sund’s mids have) yet refuses to play defense —-> (“half-job well done”)

        Jozy – holds the ball up well yet hasnt scored and doesnt shoot often enough (regarldess of whether he’s getting “the right service”) —-> (“half-job well done”)

        as for the rest, id put them in the general category of average……

        am i making sense, brett, yes im picking on Alonso but only to prove my overall point. at the end of the day, i believe all of these players can put it together but thus is sport/fan debate. every team should have players that do things welll and dont do other things well, if all teams were brilliant every match would be a draw right? haha

        all in all, i set out to prove a point that watching any one player as closely under a magnifying glass as people (reporters, commentators) do of Jozy is counterproductive, hypocritical and unfair. every player has strengths and weaknesses. let’s just stop picking on any one player and be a FAIR OBSERVER….. (get it??)

        Like

      • Brett

        The only thing I “get” is the irony of your screen name. You are as “fair” of an observer of Jozy as you are of Alonso (that is to say, not at all). Even when you hedge your “fair observer” status by criticizing Jozy, it’s always backed by some kind of excuse as to why the criticism needed to be made at all (ie, “Jozy isn’t scoring consistently, but its because of [x, y, and z]”

        Like

      • fair observer

        things Brett and I should agree on:

        A) Currently Jozy Altidore is only doing half of his job, ie, hold up play but not scoring

        B) Alonso currently is decent-to-good at helping in the attack and decent-to-poor at playing defense

        C) Dani Alves is one of the best at his position; he defends well and helps immensely in the attack ( not once did i say id ask him not to attack if i were the coach…. please read my actual words)

        anything else is just a fan suggesting ways for players to play better (hence the “XYZ” on how jozy could play better, THAT is my subjective opinion. The Objective assessments are stated above in A,B and C)

        agree?

        Like

      • John

        Well considering Sunderland tried to buy Cameron, he might rank ahead of him as well.

        Like

    • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

      On a bad day for a good Striker, a day when they aren’t scoring goals, they make an important contribution by holding up the ball, flick ons and such, bringing others into play.

      Jozy has had nothing but bad days all year

      Like

      • beachbum

        hey Brett, where’s your hyperbole admonition for this post? hahaha!

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        I guess. Your comments reek of BS. You claim that you have an unbiased take on Jozy situation, but you argue on his behalf even though he’s clearly having a horrible year. Your elated and confident about yourself because you feel like your logic is sound but your just really delusional. I’ve even seen Ives has accepted the fact that Jozy is having a horrible year.

        Like

      • beachbum

        I am aware of his difficulties scoring and make no joke about it.

        delusional was you saying he would be stuck on the bench since the season started.

        bring it on

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        That’s not delusional it’s sound logic. And he was riding the pine a couple of weeks ago before Fletch was injured and was playing cup games and relief duty. If Jozy would of been had for 2 million pounds instead of 8, he would of been dead and buried. 22 league games and one goal and one assist, by anyone’s logic he has played himself well out of the lineup.

        Everything I’ve pointed out about Jozy is completely sound and for you to feel that you have to refer to my comments 4 months ago to try and discredit me only speaks to how weak your your present argument is for justifying the crap you say.

        Like

      • Brett

        I don’t agree with his terms, but based on the definition he gave the comment is appropriate.

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        BS if your stuck on his junk.

        Strikers score.

        Not only is this particularly striker not scoring, he doesn’t even register shots on goal. What more, when he gets his chances he wiffs him because he’s scared.

        By any standard for any striker he’s had a horrible season so far, I don’t care who he is.

        Like

      • beachbum

        I’m not stuck on his junk. I’m not saying he’s amazing. I know what strikers are supposed to do. He has not had only bad days this year no matter how much you say it

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        Lol, so you know what they should do and you know that Jozy doesn’t do it, but he isn’t having a bad year? Lollll your riding it so hard. Be wary of chafing

        Like

      • beachbum

        of course that’s your take

        since October, you have been wrong. Man enough to sack up to that are you? no evidently

        chafe on that

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        Since October I’ve been wrong about what? Him scoring goals? Lol your such a Jozy homer, that instead admitting he’s had a bad half of a season, you’d rather allude to illusions like we’re talking about wether Jozy is a bad or good player. I’ve never said he was a bad player, but whatever, lol. Also you main argument now to why I’m wrong about Jozy having a bad half of a season is I predicted he would be on the bench when he isn’t, I addressed that up top. That has nothing to do with the reality that he’s playing bad.

        Like

      • go euro or go home

        so, how many strikers are having a “good” season in the ell, by your standards. Just Suarez and maybe Aguero I would guess based on your short-sighted opinion that goals are all that matter.

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        I don’t know. How many strikers have a better more chances per game on target? How many have more goals, assists then 2 combined? I’d say most teams in the EPL have more productive stikers.

        Lol, @ your drastic comparisons
        Is this Bum? Are you Bum’s lover? His younger brother? Go away kid.

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        So “Jozy still stands”? I guess thats all you really can compliment about what he’s done and where he’s at.

        Like

      • beachbum

        you said since DiCanio that Jozy would be stuck on the bench, you buried him every week here for months. What you predicted and kept predicting and insisting on for almost 4 months now has not happened.

        That’s all man. Good to have you back.

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        If Fletch was healthy, you think he’d be playing? That’s exactly what I had said all year and that’s where any manager would have if you had strikers available. GTFO. That’s all man.

        Like

      • beachbum

        ooooo, so tough…get the F out

        Jozy not great but Jozy not horrible either

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        Lol, so tough? No, your just irrational and it’s pretty stupid

        Jozy no great, but Jozy no terrible? Jozy be fine come WC? Jozy be best of all footballer in NE of England?

        Like

      • beachbum

        lol…now you’re predicting more of the future from your cracked crystal ball

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander - Sankt Pauli

        What? It was more of my “hyperbole” to poke at your grammar

        Like

      • go euro or go home

        irrational would be the person who says every week of the season that he will be on the bench the next week… only for Jozy to be in the lineup again that next week. Do you really believe that Jozy is what is wrong with Sunderland. I (and nobody else that I have seen on here) am not saying that he has had a good season, but he is clearly NOT the problem. On the other hand, it seems that the manager and the fans that believe in him believe that he will be part of the solution. You appear to have no faith in him at all. tired

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        Do I really think he’s what’s wrong with Sunderland? The only thing? No I don’t

        And he was benched in favor of Fletch, he was just injured so now Jozy’s back in. But we’ll just forget about that part. Your fallacies are more important

        Like

      • go euro or go home

        jozy is preferred over fletcher. i’m suer you were positive that the player just bought would take some of his time too…

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        Right. Preferred because he’s not injured. Before that, who was starting EPL games and who was starting cup games?

        No, I’m not. I want Jozy to play and score. I wouldn’t be here if I wasn’t. But I’m not a cheerleader and I’m going to call it like I see it is.

        Like

      • bryan

        Sunderland games this season, in order, all competitions (espnfc):

        v. Fulham – Jozy starts
        v. Southhampton – Jozy starts
        v. MK Dons – Jozy starts
        v. Crystal Palace – Jozy didn’t dress
        v. Arsenal – Jozy starts
        v. WBA – Jozy subbed in
        v. Peterborough United – Jozy starts
        v. Liverpool – Jozy starts
        v. Man Utd – Jozy starts
        v. Swansea – Jozy subbed in
        v. Newcastle – Jozy starts
        v. Hull – Jozy starts
        v. Southampton – Jozy starts
        v. Man City – Jozy subbed in
        v. Stoke – Jozy subbed in
        v. Aston Villa – Jozy unused sub
        v. Chelsea – Jozy starts
        v. Tottenham – Jozy starts
        v. West Ham – Jozy starts
        v. Chelsea – Jozy starts
        v. Norwich – Jozy starts
        v. Everton – Jozy subbed in
        v. Cardiff – Jozy starts
        v. Aston Villa – Jozy subbed in
        v. Carlisle United – Jozy starts
        v. Man Utd – Jozy subbed in
        v. Fulham – Jozy subbed in
        v. Southampton – Jozy starts
        v. Man Utd – Jozy subbed in
        v. Kidderminster – Jozy starts
        v. Stoke – Jozy starts
        v. Newcastle – Jozy starts

        Like

  • fair observer

    terrible outcome today for sunderland, they could have been 11th place with a win today, instead they are one place above relegation zone again…… with the next match —>AT<—- Man City…… not quite the bounce back game they need right now.

    Poyet, you're doing a good job managing, now just force the idea into the heads of your mids to start playing simple ground passes to feet of the striker/cf/cams once possession has been built to the top of the box, i swear its like 4 Gerrards out there…… ("wait, wait,wait, aaaaaand PULL!!!!!!"—into row Zed… unless it deflects right to AJ at the back post for a tap in, haha)

    Like

  • John

    This European friendly not looking so great now. Chandler from the looks of it with a serious injury. Jones to miss at least a couple weeks, as well as Gooch. Kljestan on the bench today. Brooks not making the lineup.

    Like

    • Brett

      I’m not convinced Chandler or Gooch were going to play a part anyway, and my dream scenario is that Jones (a disaster waiting to happen) is somehow unable to make the trip to Brazil. I never thought Brooks would break into the best 23 by this summer anyway. So, things looking pretty good from my end.

      Like

      • Benny

        Of course Chandler was going to play a big part in the Mach friendly and is a key player for the national team considering the RB position. He would definitely be a starter at RB or LB without question if on form.If his injury is so bad that it cancels him out from the WC, it will be very unfortunate and the U.S. just will have to make the best of it.

        Like

      • Brett

        He had a couple of decent performances. Sorry if that didn’t convince me that a guy who played NO role in qualifying is going to be considered for a warm-up friendly. Chandler has been a lost cause ever sense he turned down minutes in the hex because he’s got a phobia.

        Like

      • Benny

        Chandler had been injured and trying find his form. He will be a starter 100% for the U.S.MNT if healthy,period.

        Like

      • Kingsly Alexander

        Parkhurst will supplant Evans soon. I wouldn’t count on him being a lock for the starting position. There’s a lot to say about a whole group of born and breed Americans not liking a person, especially when one of them is pretty fluent in German.

        Like

  • Darwin

    Why the doom and gloom people? We are the YANKS! Name one point in history where our team was made up of word-beaters on CL teams. Why have your expectations outpaced our progress?

    Change for us is always going to start at development, which takes some time. I think this team is a great mix of talent, and is as good as or better than any we have fielded.

    Club form has always been an issue for us, but it won’t will never stop our yanks from challenging.

    Like

    • KEEP

      Thank you! I’m not sure many of these posters were alive to witness soccer in the early nineties. I’m all for keeping the rose colored glasses off, but there comes a time when you have to understand that our system and players have progressed amazingly in a very short period of time. Its great to say this guy should be doing better or this guy should be playing at a higher level, but it just gets old after a while. Just enjoy the fact were the best in CONCACAF and we have the greatest depth of any NATS team in the history of the USMNT.

      Like

      • Brett

        Sorry, but whether it’s worthy of note or not how far we’ve progressed, we will never reach the level to which we aspire if we continue to hold ourselves to a lower standard.

        I expect us to be as competitive as any nation, because we have the stock and pedigree. A nation of our size and global diversity should easily field a team to compete with countries that have but a small percentage of our resources.

        Like

      • Darwin

        It’s not about holding to a lower standard. It’s about having a sense of identity. Its about knowing who we are as a footballing nation.

        “A nation of our size and global diversity should easily field a team to compete with countries that have but a small percentage of our resources.”

        If you can make this argument, then you are not seeing the whole picture.

        Like

      • Dennis

        That is just a silly, uninformed comment.

        Since the ’90 WC in which the USA entered the last day of qualifying needing a win at T&T (which they struggled to get) and in which the mostly college boys’ naivete was exposed in Italy. USA’s national team and US soccer in general have pretty steadily improved since then. Every national team coach in the last 20 years has demanded a higher standard for the players than the one they were comfortable at. Some of those coaches have talked a better game than they could deliver in a short time, but the standard has risen fairly consistently, if not always as fast as fans might want.

        Like

      • usaalltheway

        Our athletes dominate international competitions like the Olympics. We’re a nation of immigrants, and most of the nations that provided huge waves of those immigrants (England, Holland, France, Germany, Italy) have won World Cups.

        No excuses.

        Like

      • go euro or go home

        those other sports have absolutely nothing to do with soccer, and, in fact, they actually hinder our ability to produce soccer players. again, you might want to rethink the pedigree point. we have been a laughing stock in the soccer world until the last few years.

        Like

  • usaalltheway

    So, Jozy didn’t score.

    Did he play well?

    It’s not going to be a good season for Jozy. 😦

    Like

    • fair observer

      fair enough, i think partly he just wants certain passes (ground to feet) that he doesnt get, its like his team thinks “he’s big and strong so let just play lobbed balls to him all day”….. slight hyperbole but pretty accurate (ironic statement i know, u get the point tho)

      Like

    • Increase0

      Problem is… Sunderland needs someone like Eden Hazard out there and Jozy will never be that guy. Hazard can take a ball from 40 yards out, run it in and take a shot. Jozy can’t do that.

      Like

      • fair observer

        jozy isnt’ and will never be a speed guy, he needs a striker partner to really succeed, im fantasizing but “what if (BRETT)” jozy moves to Stoke next season and has a quicker Juan Agudelo to play with up top, Jozy will have goals and assists playing with a second speedy striker, thunder and lightning combo. Jozy needs a partner on Sunderlad, Borini is the closest he’s got but they’re still gettin on the same page as are the whole team

        Like

      • Birgit Calhoun

        Jozy also needs to accelerate once in a while. He trots and then he gives up when he doesn’t get the ball. If he knew that continuing a pursuit with a little more speed would weaken his opponent, he would have more success. He does nothing to wear anyone out. Meanwhile he just jogs around waiting for the ball up front. In today’s game he did head the ball defending the goal. Unfortunately it wound up right in front of an opponent who then scored the goal for the opposition; an unfortunate assist, sort of.

        Like

      • John

        Look at all the goals Jozy scored over the summer for the US. Almost all come from players (mostly Fabian & Zusi) in a wide position creating chances on a break. Either a cross or a centering pass. That kind of service just doesn’t exist at Sunderland where even the fullbacks just cut inside to get there own shot off.

        Like

      • John

        Everyone kind of talked about Maher last year but I really thought Beerens and Guomundsson’s creative wide play was even more important to Jozy’s success. They’ve also continued to be really important to Aron this year.

        Like

      • Increase0

        Beerens was good beating a man and putting in a good cross. He was a key guy for sure.

        Like

      • John

        There was one goal where I believe it was Beerens bends the ball right around the defender and puts it right on Jozy’s chest in front of goal. Adam Johnson and Bardsley have one thing on there mind. How do I cut in and shoot from 30 yards out.

        Like

    • Brett

      He doesn’t anticipate the way a world class striker typically does either. So many times a ball will bounce to a dangerous area and he simply stands or jogs to a spot and waits for the ball into his feet so he can knock it on to someone else.

      Like

  • bryan

    what an awful day for the US. Jones, Chandler, Shea, Lichaj, and Gooch all injured. i wish i didn’t even wake up to check this. i feel so bad for Chandler.

    Like

  • Jozy Watch 2014!!!!

    I’m pulling for Jozy and monitor his progress or lack thereof but…. sweet baby geeeezis. Viewing and micro-analyzing a game let alone a sport focused/obsessing on a single player is about as useful as playing that way.

    Like

    • Brett

      Everyone chooses their own level of involvement. If you just want to follow the results and judge based on that, you have that right.

      I tend to go beyond even a comprehensive analysis of one player and focus a player’s role during individual movements of a game, viewing them as separate events to aggregate later.. How often does the player show for the ball? How often does he drop into midfield or chase possession? How often does he trap successfully and direct the attack forward? Protect possession with a smart back pass? Make a run at goal? Take on a defender? HAVE A SHOT AT GOAL?

      I’m looking for evidence of specific skills that should translate to any formation or level of surrounding talent.

      Like

      • Gary Page

        Fair enough, but you make conclusions as if you have already done that at the time you are watching the game. Such an analysis requires multiple viewings of a game video. Even if you are watching only a certain player as the games is proceeding on TV, you can’t do a fair analysis. because of the limits of TV coverage. If you were in the stadium and watching only a certain player all the time, then you could make such an evaluation. In short, what you say here does not square with what you said about Altidore in today’s game. Your evaluation has to be subjective because you are unable to make a comprehensive analysis of his moves that you say is necessary.

        Like

      • go euro or go home

        you don’t really seem to consider that stuff in your analysis. All you say is that he does not score goals. As you imply, scoring is only part of the job.

        Like

    • Joe C.

      He’s a striker and one of the stars of our National Team who’s now playing in one of the best leagues on Earth and having a rough season. I understand why people are so eager to watch and analyze, but at the same time, I agree things have gotten a bit ridiculous.

      I do wish people posted as much commentary on Cameron, though.

      Like

      • Increase0

        Heh, on a team like Stoke. The left back is likely quite a busy an important fellow. You could fill up a comments page on him.

        Like

  • Adams

    I don’t know why Americans cannot make it in Europe. This weekend they continue to struggle. It’s like they wanna come back to MLS.

    Like

  • Bean

    Jozy sucks this season. Hope he’ll be better next season. He has the potential to score goals.

    I’m not real comfortable that he’s the striker that is the “spine” of the USMNT.

    Like

    • Benny

      He has played well the last three games and Sunderland was down to 10 men today. He simply needs service. He’s a good player.

      Like

  • usaalltheway

    So can someone please summarize Jozy’s performance today?

    I couldn’t put myself through the pain of watching.

    Like

    • Nate Dollars

      (from what i saw) did some good stuff, did some bad stuff, did some mediocre stuff. enough for everyone to see what they wanted to see.🙂

      Like

  • matt

    Does anyone have clear information about these injuries? We seem to have many many players who got hurt this weekend.

    Like

    • John

      Chandler out 10 weeks with a torn meniscus in his left knee
      Oguchi out a few weeks with calf muscle tear
      Jermaine Jones out a couple weeks with groin injury
      Johannsson thigh injury but not serious should be back soon
      Shea went off at half with a stomach illness
      Lichaj out a number of weeks “possible groin hernia”
      any others?

      Like

      • John

        Looks like we might have to call in some MLS players just to fill out the roster for the up coming friendly.

        Like

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