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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Romelu Lukaku of Everton and Marouane Fellaini of Manchester United

By JUSTIN FERGUSON

As if fighting for their Champions League hopes were not enough, Everton’s match at Goodison Park were have even more drama Sunday thanks to the homecoming of their former manager.

David Moyes and his seventh-place Manchester United squad head to Merseyside to face fifth-place Everton, who trail Arsenal by just one point in the race for the English Premier League’s final Champions League spot. While Everton’s Champions League fight took a hit during the week with a shocking loss to Crystal Palace, Manchester United have kept their Europa League hopes alive with back-to-back wins in league play.

The EPL day kicks off with a huge match in Norwich as the relegation-fighting Canaries host first-place Liverpool, who can move five points ahead in the title race with a road victory. With Chelsea’s stunning loss to last-place Sunderland on Saturday, Norwich sit just three points from the bottom of the EPL heading into Sunday’s clash at Carrow Road.

In Spain, Barcelona will need all three points from their home meeting with fourth-place Athletic Bilbao if they are to stay alive in the three-team race for La Liga’s title. Athletic Bilbao gave Barcelona their first league loss of the season back in December, but Barcelona have fallen hard since then, suffering three straight losses across all competitions heading into today’s matchup at Camp Nou.

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):

7:00am – Norwich City vs. Liverpool – NBCSN

8:00am – Monaco vs. Nice – beIN Sports Play

9:05am – Hull City vs. Arsenal – NBCSN

9:30am – Nurnberg vs. Bayer Leverkusen – GOLTV USA 

11:00am – Rayo Vallecano vs. Real Betis – beIn Sports Play

11:00am – Bordeaux vs. Guingamp  beIN SPorts USA

11:10am – Everton vs. Manchester United – NBCSN

11:30am – Stuttgart vs. Schalke 04 – GOLTV USA

1:00pm – Sevilla vs. Granada – beIN Sports USA

1:00pm – Pumas vs. Guadalajara – Univision

3:00pm – Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao – beIN SPorts USA

3:00pm – Olympique Marseille vs. Lille – beIN Sports Play

6:00pm – Atalante vs. Tijuana – Univision Deportes

102 comments
  • Citronomics

    Suarez bags his 30th of the PL season. Partnering up top with Sterling today who also has a goal.

    With 3 matches left after today, decent money on the 38 game PL goals record falling. Just an incredible season by Luis leading the LFC front line.

    Like

    • AHHRHRR

      in his 30th league appearance of the season. Simply unbelievable

      uNtil Messi and Ronaldo started scoring their 30-50 goals a season in the last few years any striker who could score 25 goals in successive seasons was world class. but now we have the likes of Diego Costa and Suarez and several more who can score pretty much in every match. i love to watch

      Like

      • Paul

        Keep in mind that Suarez doesn’t take pens. The PL record holders, Andy Cole and Alan Shearer (34 goals), both took their fair share.

        Like

      • Vic

        Good point, wish they wouldn’t count penalty kicks goals for official statistics.

        Like

      • Will Smith

        That’s a tough call. PKs are not automatic. And if the PK taker has a huge advantage, it’s probably not as much as a striker with excellent service from a team that knows how to move the ball around and create chances.

        Like

      • GW

        Why?

        This sport is not like figure skating where you get points for degree of difficulty and style.

        A goal is a goal, easy, hard or just average..

        If penalties are so easy just go ask Sidwell whose penalty miss probably just cost Fulham their status and millions of pounds.

        Most likely, no goal he has ever scored is as significant as that penalty miss. It will haunt him forever.if Fulham go down.

        Like

      • Ali Dia

        Agree. Not counting them is way overboard. To be the primary taker for a top side is a privilege that is earned, and it is hardly a gimme. There are other arguments around this too (i.e. often times the primary taker is also the primary penalty “earner”– you can go on forever.)

        It can also be a red herring– Sometimes you hear Dempsey’s exceptional 2011-2012 Fulham haul of 17 expressed with the additional comment of “not a single penalty”. Fact is Fulham were only awarded four in the EPL, and Deuce took one, which he missed (Danny Murphy was the designated taker). It’s a meaningless comment, in the end.

        Ultimately, I do think that any proper database should footnote the number of penalties amongst the total. But a goal is a goal. It counts and I agree it should not be dismissed as a distortion

        Like

  • Citronomics

    Reds get the third goal, with the help of a deflection, they need as Norwich bossing the second half so far.

    Like

  • Citronomics

    Ok LFC… enough with making your matches thrilling for neutrals. How about jumping with the dude you’re marking to try and make it a little tough to get a header on frame? Kudos to Norwich for playing positive soccer after going down 2-0 in the first 10 mins.

    Like

    • Paul

      I’m convinced Liverpool gives up goals on purpose just to keep things interesting.

      Like

      • Citronomics

        With Man City having 2 games in hand, hoping the Reds tighten up the D and keep much things less interesting for neutrals. They have to play smarter and more focused D next week v the Special One.

        Like

  • AHHRHRR

    if Liverpool win the title I’m kissing everyone. Men, women, trees, garbage cans, bugs

    Like

    • TomG

      I am happy to provide my services to settle the lawsuits arising from that victory for a small fee.

      Like

  • nato

    so true plus when they set the record, they played an additional 4 games if I recall

    Like

  • nato

    best PL season in years? this has got to be 1 of the best seasons ever. You had 4 teams fighting for the title all season. Liverpool was no 1 from around Nov to right around New Year’s but has fought back to regain that spot. you have like 10 clubs fighting relegation. Man United falling apart. Arsenal went from world class last FALL to playing like a League 2 side months later. tell me whats the best season to you. i put examples

    2011-12 City won the league in the last few mins of the last match

    2003-04 The Invincibles season

    2

    Like

  • Tony in Quakeland

    Have I ever rooted for man U before? Safe to say, no, But this is what Arsenal’s March slump has reduced me to. But if Man U wins today, I’d have to say Arsenal’s CL spot is secure.

    Like

  • I agree with the guy above me because it's easy

    noooo I want United to lose so Everton can keep up with Arsenal in that final CL spot.

    Like

      • John Rooney

        For now. Can somebody explain how I can file a one-time switch?

        I’m John Rooney, baby.. so why don’t you sign me? (Sprechen si deutsche, Klinsi!)

        Like

    • Citronomics

      Thanks for the update. Seems like T Boyd is having a good second campaign at Rapid Vienna. Curious if any SBI readers have a sense of how he is developing? Biff?

      Ives – would be great to get a piece on his progression.

      Like

      • bird

        I watched the match today starting around the 30th min. His 2nd goal was a PK. His teammate played him a pass in the box, he got a touch in before the GK and was fouled. Overall his movement and play was solid. I don’t know where they played the match but it was clear blue skies and tall snowed covered mountains surrounding the stadium, it was amazing.

        I have watched a lot of Boyd’s matches this season. He is still young and energetic, so he can be inconsistent at times, however that is going away. His touch, passing and hold up play have gotten a lot better throughout the season. At the beginning of the season they just kinda put him in the box and would cross the ball in hoping he would out muscle and out jump the defender. Over the last few months you see him dropping back to hold the ball up and bring players into the attack and making some great runs off the ball. Honestly I thought he would get some more PT with the Nats based on his play, so I am a little surprised he hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I know the Austrian league isn’t the toughest but the guy needs to get some caps to settle his nerves and get used to playing with our guys. HIs game is similar to Jozy, however he is better with his head and more athletic, though his passing and movement aren’t as good as Jozy at this point and of course Jozy has a TON of experience. I expect him to play more that his usual late cameos in the send-off series.

        Like

      • Gary Page

        Wonder if some Bundesliga team will snatch him up. From what you write, he may be ready for that step up.

        Like

      • Ali Dia

        bird– thank you for this. Access to Boyd’s games in Austria (outside of Europa League) is quite hard to come by (for me, at least, living in SoCal — is there a resource I am missing that could imrpove things?). I feel that he is the most under-the-radar guy in the likely 23, even moreso than Green somehow, at times. I look forward to learning more… I have no idea or prediction but I do recall he impressed during the Olympics qualifying, and he seems to be on a promising if not other-worldly path since in his club career. Please share more to the extent you find it worthwhile.

        Like

  • A

    Clattenburg is 10 yards away and simply decides to ignore Smalling bringing down a cross with his arm.

    It’s going to be this kind of game, eh? Can’t have United missing Europe.

    Like

  • A

    Wow!

    And another!! Johnny Evans stop a point black shot with his arm extended. No penalty again.

    This is ridiculous.

    Like

  • Gerard D.

    EPL trots out Clattenburg when United needs a result. Two blatant penalties not vein thus far in favor of Everton.

    This is just pathetic.

    Like

  • Jack Del

    Did anyone not expect some referee shenanigans in favor of United when it looked like they would miss Europe?

    Like

  • Pete

    Yeah cause the Europa league is so enticing. The conspiracy is on. My god the paranoia on this site.

    Like

  • A

    Finally. The THIRD United hand ball in the box finally results in a penalty.

    Phil Jones stops the shot on target with an intentional handball and IT’S NOT A FREAKING RED CARD.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Keeper was in position to save. Not quite an obvious goal scoring opportunity. So red would have been a bit much.

      Like

      • A

        You’re a clown, kid. Good job.

        Intentionally blocking a shot on target with your hand is a red card.

        Learn the rules.

        Like

      • Increase0

        “denying the opposing team a goal or an obvious goalscoring opportunity by deliberately handling the ball (this does not apply to a goalkeeper within his own penalty area)”

        It doesn’t say anything about the keeper…. so he does matter in the sense that if someone takes a shot from outside the box and it is blocked by a hand halfway and if yet another person is between the ball and the goal its not “obvious.”

        Like

  • Carlos Bocanegra is the 1 and true NT captain

    interesting. these posts use to be full but now are only full when Jozy doesn’t play or does play and people wanna talk crap about him.

    where are the 100+ posts about Guzan or Howard being brillant for their teams this year?

    I miss when Dempsey played at Fulham. we were always excited to watch them play and discuss it here.

    and what about geoff cameron? no one ever discusses how great he’s been

    Like

    • Increase0

      Or at least games in the broader soccer world. Besides we should all be watching Nani suck it up today. We gotta count on him being bad in a few months.

      Like

      • Citronomics

        Hah. I think if the US can pressure Portugal high up the pitch consistently and be assertive physically, we have a decent chance to get a win.

        Like

      • Citronomics

        And then JJ gets that well timed yellow (first, not second).

        Like

      • Gary Page

        Maybe he will get another injury and not make it until after we play them. Sigh.

        Like

  • Tony in Quakeland

    While I’m rooting against them at the moment, I actually like Everton and I have long been a Martinez fan. But part of me is watching them and wondering…how are they doing it? Baines is great and Lukaku is impressive, but the rest of the squad looks pretty “mid-table”. I guess Martinez really is a genius.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Baines is an excellent LB and there aren’t many better. Coleman is rather good as well. Howard is at least as good as Valdes/Hart/Cech(That Champs league though was amazing.). Better than Szczesny. But ya everyone else is kind meh. Solid but unspectacular.

      Like

    • jones

      For those who wonder why a ‘mid-table’ (on paper) team is pushing the top four this year, all you have to do is compare them to Tottenham or ManU. On paper Spurs have loads more talent and resources than Everton, but they are underperforming due to mediocre coaching and lack of team chemistry. Many have said that ManU overperformed under Ferguson with that roster.

      Everton are doing well this year because of coaching and team chemistry. They have no big names but have experienced role players and several young players who may be inconsistent but can be influential when they show well. With all of this they are more than the sum of their parts. Ultimately I think they will fall just short of a top four finish this season, but it would be well-deserved if they made it.

      Like

      • Ali Dia

        All of this is true and very well said. But it would still seem to me that there is something unexplained about the Everton “formula” that nobody has figured out. Martinez is certainly a very talented manager (in my view and I believe yours), but a person could just as easily construct an argument that “the manager at Everton doesn’t matter as much as we thought”. After all, the previous “genius” is now faltering in the league at a club with far better resources, and a guy whose side was relegated has walked in and done just as well, if not slightly better (from a points perspective).

        Team chemistry is a very good expanation, but where does this come from? Seems that we are learning from the above it may not necessarily be the manager alone (although this mattters obviously). But who then? Ths is hard to explain — one of the bizarre things about the club is that they can sell “core” players like Gravesen, Arteta, Fellaini and very little changes. Conversely, guys like Neville, Pienarr, and Jagielka can walk in on the cheap and seem like they have been there forever. Where is the DNA stored exactly?

        I don’t have an explanation that is better than what you have laid out, but I’m curious what other factors may be essential to the “secret sauce” that defines Everton’s incredible consistency. It could be many things– one that comes to mind is wage structure… Everton’s salary policy for first team players (at least what is known) suggests that they operate in a much tighter band than most other top 10 EPL sides, with seniority driving the formula much more than marketablity or future potential. I mean, could you actually say which player boasts the highest shirt sales without looking it up? (Prob Barkley now– but this would be relatively new… I don’t know historically).

        Everton rarely seems to have a problem with “entitlement” among its players… quite unique really these days…This may be a function of a quiet yet intelligent function from the non-football management, in addition to the carefully selected players and managers they employ. Or perhaps something else entirely… Maybe more clubs should be looking at the Everton model — seems like that have figured out a way to get highly consistent long-term results that does not necessarily depend on any one individual, at all. This is something worth noticing, if true.

        Again, not a disagreement, just food for thought….

        Like

  • Carlos Bocanegra is the 1 and true NT captain

    so who will replace Moyes at United?

    any chance RVP or Rooney leave in the summer?

    they seem like mercenaries, only for the $$$$

    Like

    • Increase0

      They should sell Rooney but his wages are too high now. No one but like Chelsea would buy him.

      Like

    • GW

      “they seem like mercenaries”

      I did not realize that Everton’s players were unpaid amateurs. Pretty impressive. Do they at least get per diem?

      Like

  • Gerard D.

    Clattenberg thought that was a fair tackle?

    Does Rooney have to shank someone on the pitch to find himself in a book?

    Like

  • Hello Goodbye

    Is Wayne Rooney was not English, he would average a red card every other game… at a minimum. Even the commentators give him a pass on nearly everything.

    Like

    • Gary Page

      Paul Scholes, in my mind, was even worse. Almost every other tackle he made ended with a card, or so it seemed. Terrible on defense. Rooney is miles better by comparison, IMHO.

      Like

  • Jack Del

    Two key points about Rooney…

    1. He is immune from being penalized like other players.
    2. He is immune from being substituted like other players. How bad does this guy have to play to get subbed off? His ego runs that team now.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Hernández should have replaced him outright and yes Rooney doesn’t get yellows in the EPL.

      I don’t think much of him. He just comes off as a bit lazy and seems to play too much in relation to his own emotion.

      Like

      • Michael Stypulkoski

        I’m not really interested in defending Wayne Rooney, but I don’t see how anyone can criticize the guy’s work rate. The one thing you have to give Rooney is that he leaves it all on the field.

        Like

      • Increase0

        Ah, on the field for sure. I’m sorta thinking about about off the field.

        Like

  • Watson.

    The way people talk about Martinez it’s the same way people were talking about Moyes a year ago.
    Everton’s still 5th in a very mediocre EPL

    Like

    • GW

      I like Martinez but let’s see how he does next year.

      Everton is still in many ways, Moyes team, and we have seen may times in sports when a new manager takes over another man’s team just as it is about to come good and the players left behind are motivated to prove themselves.

      Mostly I think of how John Gruden won a Super Bowl with Tony Dungee’s team.

      seem to me to be

      Like

  • Ironic names are funny

    Everton need to calm down. Your winning by 2, don’t play at manu’s pace.

    Like

  • Increase0

    Good work by Timmy. Then… Rooney takes a corner for some reason… I refuse to believe that Mata is better at headers and Rooney is better putting in a corner.

    Like

  • Isaac

    Fantastic save by Timmy a few minutes ago on Rooney, have to say. Nice that he’s in form heading into Brazil.

    Like

  • Mike

    Just got done watching the Bestikas game. Jermaine Jones performed good in that game. He was hustling all game and was making nice final passes leading to shots. He also drew a nice free kick against Bruno Alves of Portugal.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Glad to hear it. He will be important in the game against Ghana. We gunna need that mobility.

      Like

  • Atletico Man

    Barca opens by playing long balls down the line to Pedro. Not your papa’s Barca.

    Like

    • Increase0

      Er, I said crossbar but ya post. It would have been excellent. He should have never had time for that kind of maneuver.

      And holy czersfsap that’s another one off the bar.

      Like

  • Increase0

    Messi failed to put a 1 on 1 shot with the keeper on target. That’s that normal…. not at all. Barsca should have 2 goals by now.

    Like

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