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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

EduCeltic (Reuters Pictures)

Almost a year to the day that Maurice Edu scored the game-winning goal for Rangers against rival Celtic to etch his name in Old Firm history, another edition of the storied derby takes place in Scotland (7:30 a.m., untelevised). With a win, Rangers could move even closer to first place in the Scottish Premier League, as Edu's side currently trails Celtic by five points with two games in hand.

Two other Americans enjoying fabulous seasons abroad go head-to-head, as Stuart Holden's Bolton and Clint Dempsey's Fulham do battle at Craven Cottage with a spot in the FA Cup quarterfinals on the line.

As for some of Sunday's other major matches, Arsenal and Manchester City will look to keep their FA Cup hopes alive against Leyton Orient and Notts County, respectively, and FC Barcelona will look to start another winning streak when it faces upstart Athletic Bilbao.

If you will be watching any of Sunday's games, please feel free to share any thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below. Enjoy the action (TV schedule is after the jump).


6:30 a.m. – – Lecce vs. Juventus

7 a.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ – West Brom vs. Wolverhampton

9 a.m. – – Lazio vs. Bari

9 a.m. – Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Deportes/ – Chievo Verona vs. AC Milan

9 a.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ – Manchester City vs. Notts County (FA Cup)

9:30 a.m. – GOLTV – Bayer Leverkusen vs. Stuttgart

10 a.m. – – Fulham vs. Bolton (FA Cup)

10:30 a.m. – – PSV Eindhoven vs. NAC Breda

11 a.m. – Deportes – Getafe vs. Racing Santander

11 a.m. – DirecTV – Villarreal vs. Malaga

11 a.m. – DirecTV – Osasuna vs. Espanyol

11 a.m. – – Montpellier vs. Lille

11 a.m. – – Nice vs. Paris-St. Germain

11:30 a.m. – Fox Soccer Channel – Leyton Orient vs. Arsenal (FA Cup)

1 p.m. – GOLTV – Sevilla vs. Hercules

1 p.m. – Fox Deportes/Azteca America – Puebla vs. Jaguares

1 p.m. – Telemundo – Toluca vs. Necaxa

2:45 p.m. – Fox Soccer Channel/Fox Deportes/ – Napoli vs. Catania

3 p.m. – GOLTV – Barcelona vs. Athletic Bilbao

3 p.m. – Fox Soccer Plus/ – Toulouse vs. Stade Rennes


  1. Lots of touches means they get lots of touches. If they do that why should they love the game? You can achieve that by locking the kid in a room with the ball and not letting him out until he kicks it against the wall a thousand times.

    You have to make it fun for them otherwise your lots of touches is about as exciting as writing “I will not bring guns to school” a thousand times on the blackboard.

  2. Effective soccer training for youth players starts with lots of touches on the ball and developing a genuine love of the game for them. How? By making sure they get tons of touches, they get the love they need to learn the skills right, and by shoowing them how they can get better throw repetitive action to build muscle memory.

    My two cents


  3. Howard is a keeper.

    Keepers help you keep leads or help you maintain ties. They rarely

    win games for you because they don’t normally score. It’s the nature of the beast.

    If Howard was the best keeper who ever lived, Everton’s outfield players might be much more confident going forward but you can only take that so far.

    And Howard is nowhere near the best keeper, even in the EPL. Important? Very. But he isn’t Everton’s best player.

  4. After watching FCB today, I am wondering why everyone felt the need to crown them the best team in history before they actually won anything. They are extremely fortunate to have earned a victory.

  5. Good point. I’d say Dempsey is for sure the best with Hangeland 2nd and Schwarzer 3rd and 4th Dembele and 5th being Hughes.

    Zamora is a decent striker at best. Last season he scored 8 league goals. Not exactly a Star Striker. But he did score 6 or 7 in the Europa League I believe it. But the season before he only scored 2 league goals in like 32 matches. Zamora is inconsistent. Dempsey is way better.

  6. I think that if you strip Dempsey from some defensive duties, that he becomes more valuable in the final third. He is arguably our best option there, with his ability to hold the ball, strike from distance, and create a chance out of nothing.

    I’ve personally never thought of Dempsey as a winger.

  7. as is the case with MANY teams, there is a designated PK taker, and its murphy. As we saw last week, its not dempsey’s cup of tea…

  8. Yeah I guess it is RH. Well, I’m in the minority. Grating presence.

    Meanwhile, this game is starting to look like the Aresnal v FCB game of a few days ago. Athetico is coming strong i 2nd half. 1-1 in 57th min

  9. Bit premature with Jones, I would say. What about Nelsen, or Santa Cruz, or Gamst Pedersen-all much more talented, and proven with Blackburn.

  10. It’s gotta either be Hangeland or Dempsey. I’d probably give the nod to Hangeland, but even with his missed penalty last week, Dempsey has given Fulham what-10-15 points based on his scores and assists? I’d say he’s hands-down the most valuable offensive player and certainly their biggest threat. Will Zamora be the same player? We’ll see.

  11. And Dempsey is not a true forward.

    We need LD and Demps to be on the wings where they are most effective. When Deuce moves up top he loses some impact.

    Right now we have the perfect group of players for the 4-2-3-1

  12. I don’t think that he doesn’t like Dempsey, per se, it’s more that he’s, as we say in America a “ball hog”. He doesn’t seem to like passing it to anybody. Same with John Paintsil.

  13. “I know they were successful last year, which makes where they sit this year a bit mysterious to me. Do you have a better explanation for their fall?”

    The EPL is insanely competitive. They did okay last year?

    Fine. This is a new year. Adjusting to a new manager cost them points. Injuries to significant players (Zamora)cost them. Maybe you are right about team cohesion but in the EPL if you aren’t improving a lot in the offseason, you can drop behind real fast.

    There is no such thing as staying the same. You either get better or you get a lot worse. Fast.

  14. Who he is the color guy on the GOLTV broadcast of FCB? God. he’s awful. Takes him 237 words to say what most can say in 25 words of less, talks over the action. If it weren’t for the thick accent, I’d say he was an ESPN color analyst

  15. Right, so you play LD on the left, and Holden in the role that Feilhaber played in the WC, tucking inside. This way either Dolo, Spector, or Lichaj can overlap and attack. Also would help decrease the vulnerability in LB that we have.

  16. A fair point. But the man still appears to me to be their most valuable player up to this point. He has scored one-third of Fulham’s league goals. He is tied for second on the team in assists. Give the man some credit, that’s huge.

    Dembele may be more talented, but talent doesn’t make one MVP, and Zamora may be the second-half MVP but that is yet to be determined. Hangeland may have a case, but it seems to me a team with one of the lowest goals-for totals in The league might be in greater need of a finisher than a stopper.

  17. I made the comment basically as an observation of a casual Fulham watcher to see what other people who might know more about the team think about it. I don’t watch Fulham as much as you clearly do, but they clearly have some team cohesion issues. Maybe the bottom of the table remark was a cheap shot, didn’t mean it mean-spiritedly. I wish them success. I know they were successful last year, which makes where they sit this year a bit mysterious to me. Do you have a better explanation for their fall?

    And, though people on these boards do often unrealistically hope to see American players be focal points of their teams’ offense, it’s pretty clear that Dempsey should be that at Fulham. Three times as many goals in league competition as anyone else on the squad.

    As far as the penalties go, sure the captain or the most reliable might take just about every one at most teams, but you have to admit, when someone really works for a goal and gets taken down, especially the team’s leading scorer, he is usually rewarded the chance to finish the job. What I’ve seen anyway. And Clint seemed frustrated both by Murphy almost taking the penalty that day and by Murphy’s shot today. That, if nothing else, speaks of a bit of a problem.

  18. To try to compare Howard’s value to the team with Baines’s is pointless, but come on — did you watch the Chelsea match yesterday?

  19. Is it just me or has Murphy dropped a notch from last season? Dembele and Dempsey now seem to share running the attack in the middle while also trying to score. Murphy just doesn’t seem to be much of a factor in ball distribution and that may be one reason why Fulham has too many long shots on goal. Better tight passing in the box is the reason why Bolton won this game.

  20. “I wonder if his penchant for doing the same thing works against him.”

    He is having his best year. Whatever he is doing, it seems to be working.

  21. Holden is not a winger. He is a central midfielder.

    If you play him on the wing he will come inside and clog things up. If you want a winger play someone who will play the position.


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