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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

Rafa Benitez is back on the sidelines, and what better way to make his return than to welcome defending Premier League champion Manchester City to Stamford Bridge. Benitez returns to England after two years away, as he takes over for Chelsea after the Blues let Roberto di Matteo go.

After a strong start to the season, Chelsea has taken a step back, having won just one match in their last seven across all competitions. Meanwhile, Manchester City will look to take over the top of the league standings, after Manchester United moved ahead on Saturday with a win over Queens Park Rangers.

In Italy, another club that has had a recent resurgence after a slow start is AC Milan. They host first-place Juventus, which is coming off a 3-0 win over Chelsea in Champions League action on Wednesday. After losing their first two league matches at San Siro, AC Milan has won three of their last five matches at home. Despite that, AC Milan still sits 17 points behind Juventus, which has dropped just five points all season.

With Real Madrid losing on Saturday, La Liga rival Barcelona can move 11 points ahead of the defending champions, as they play at Levante on Sunday afternoon. While Real Madrid’s struggles have not been needed, Barcelona continues to surge through league play as they are off to the best start in franchise history.

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):

6:30am- ESPN Deportes- Roda vs. Ajax

8am- Univision Deportes- Montpellier vs. Bordeaux

8:30am- ESPN2/ Swansea vs. Liverpool

8:30am- No TV- AZ Alkmaar vs. Feyenoord

9am- beIN Sport- Pescara vs. Roma

9am- beIN Sport Espanol- Torino vs. Fiorentina

9:30am- GolTV- Freiburg vs. Stuttgart

10am- Southampton vs. Newcastle

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

11am- Fox Soccer Plus- Tottenham vs. West Ham United

11am- beIN Sport- Toulouse vs. Lyon

11am- beIN Sport Espanol- Athletic Bilbao vs. Deportivo La Coruna

11am- ESPN Deportes- PSV Eindhoven vs. Vitesse Arnhem  (Tape Delay)

11:30am- GolTV- Hoffenheim vs. Bayer Leverkusen

1pm- Univision- Toluca vs. Club America (Mexican League playoff semifinals)

1pm- Fox Soccer Plus- Southampton vs. Newcastle (Tape Delay)

1pm- beIN Sport- Torino vs. Fiorentina

1pm- beIN Sport Espanol- Atletico Madrid vs. Sevilla

2pm- ESPN Deportes- FC Twente vs. Zwolle

2pm- GolTV- Ponte Preta vs. Sao Paulo

2:40pm- beIN Sport- AC Milan vs. Juventus

3pm- beIN Sport Espanol- Levante vs. Barcelona

5pm- beIN Sport- Levante vs. Barcelona  (Tape Delay)

7pm- Univision Deportes- Club Tijuana vs. Leon (Mexican League Playoff semifinals)

8:30pm- beIN Sport- Marseille vs. Lille (Tape Delay)


  1. Dempsey looked excellent today, for the first time worked well with his teammates for a full game and in the second half almost started to show the confident swagger he had with Fulham (and the USMNT). And speak of the devil, Tottenham travels to Craven Cottage next weekend when Clint will take on his ol’ buddy Martin Jol. Can’t wait. And Tottenham plays Liverpool at home on Wednesday in a tune-up for Fulham.

    • And one thing I have noticed, it seems to me that Clint gets on well with Gareth Bale on a personal level, lot of respect for each other and that showed in their interaction after Clint’s world-class pass to Bale to set up Bale’s world-class goal.

  2. FJ got a goal for Hoffenheim, but they trail Leverkusen 2-1 late.

    The squad might be in real trouble this year. Young, attacking LBs are always in demand though, right? Maybe a January move to a better German side?

  3. Good game for Clint. I think I’ll go on twitter and start ripping Lloris for his overall soft goalkeeping style, not commanding his box, being overrated, ect… maybe start rumors of his inevitable January trade for Sean Johnson and 6 cases of Merlot.

  4. Deuce will grow on Spurs fans. He will keep playing with the passion and grit and win them over. It’s impossible to watch him every week and not like him (if he’s on your team) if you’re paying attention. He’s playing very well lately, winning balls and distributing well. He will nick his goals here and there as well. He’s been a bit unlucky with the woodwork.

    • Pet-peeve alert!! (Not that I necessarily disagree with your post in general) Players don’t get unlucky with the wood work. It’s not like it moves. A shot off the post/crossbar is simply a shot not (quite) on target.

      • I see what youre saying but Missing by an inch is unlucky, no? Typically, you’re blasting a shot at an area, not looking to hit a dime so I would count striking the ball true but missing by a tiny amount to be unlucky and most commentators call it that way as well. You’re cutting it too fine here. Perhaps you need to Switch to decaf?

  5. –Goal! Tottenham Hotspur 2, West Ham United 0. Gareth Bale (Tottenham Hotspur) left footed shot from the centre of the box to the bottom left corner. Assisted by Clint Dempsey with a through ball.–

  6. Deuce just had an assist and a key pass leading to a goal. AVB might know quality when he sees it and knows that sometimes people get in a rut.

  7. Spurs running rampant. Sandro with a great tackle that lands to Dempsey, who plays a great ball to Lennon and then Lennon plays it across to Defoe. 3-0 to Spurs.

  8. Diming goals like this certainly won’t hurt him. He HAS to build on today’s performance with another strong outing or it’s back in the doghouse.

  9. West Ham United FC ‏@whufc_official
    58 mins – Dempsey has not been in the thick of it this afternoon but he arrives on the scene sending a shot off the crossbar.

    Even West Ham’s official account is ragging on Deuce. It could be because he’s American or that Fulham transfer saga really hurt his image. Either way, unless Deuce starts scoring bunches of goals, it’s pretty clear that the fans are not going to be forgiving for whatever the real issue is.

    • We Americans need to get over the idea that American players are treated harshly because of their nationality. It’s absurd, not to mention incredibly egotistical. And as for the “transfer saga” – it was a minor blip in England, we’re the only ones who thought it was a big story.

      • “We Americans need to get over the idea that American players are treated harshly because of their nationality.” — but it is true to a certain degree. And not just the US players. South Americans are not treated all that well in England as well. Remember when on the same day Bale dove trying to get Guzan sent off and Suarez possibly took a dive as well? Bale’s dive was much more blatant than Suarez’s, yet just compare the abuse Suarez received to basically silence in the English press about Bale.

      • You don’t think they are?

        Americans are treated as second class players in England. South Americans deal with the same issue.

      • I don’t entirely disagree, but players from non-traditional soccer countries are always looked upon very skeptically. It’s not being American per se, as it would be the same for someone from Canada, China, New Zealand, etc.

      • You are all over simplifying the issue. Or maybe not simplifying it enough.

        There are stylistic stereotypes, positive and negative associated with all nationalities.

        But what really matters is production.

        Dempsey being an American wasn’t a negative at Fulham because he was very productive, and fairly quickly.

        There is this myth that Clint was constantly dropped by the different Fulham managers and had to fight his way on to the field every year. However, I notice that after the first year, when he had 12 appearances, he never had fewer than 40 appearances every season.

        But when a player starts to play like Clint has been playing lately, that is when all the negative stereotypes will come out. And yes he may have a thinner margin of error with Spurs fans than Bale, Lennon or Defoe but that is to be expected them being Brits and all that.

        By the way, this notion that Clint can’t play in a system is dog poop. Are you telling me Hodgson didn’t have a system? Deuce just needs to figure out AVB’s. I would not be surprised to see him dropped but he could also do well.

        If he is dropped I’m pretty sure it won’t be because he is an American. AVB is on thin ice and needs all the help he can get even if it is from an American.

    • After he got through and hit the crossbar, its like he just gained a ton of confidence. Suddenly running well with the ball, making good passes (twice to Bale on a diagonal run, one of which ended in a goal). I think this may be a turning point for him. He was always a streaky player who runs on confidence.

  10. Before Dempsey made the move, and while the debate was raging between USfans, I was most definitely in the camp “stay at Fulham, help them do something great and become a living legend.”

    It wasn’t even about him going specifically to Tottenham (we didn’t know about that particular rumor til like the last day.) But it is becoming clear that Dempsey in AVBs system at Spurs is not good for Deuce. And Dempsey isn’t doing much to acquit himself either.

    Can Deuce rise above all this and do great things? Sure. He’s done it numerous times in various circumstances. But what I see happening is not until he’s playing for a new club or new manager. Because when you don’t have the support of the fans it’s MUCH harder for a player to “bounce back” at a club. Just my $.02 and I’m hoping I’m wrong about Deuce and that soon he turns it on and makes all of us eat crow.

    • Word.

      He just doesn’t fit. And I think a sad reality is that Deuce had the perfect system at Fulham. He had a coach that basically said, “go ahead and do your own thing as long as you score goals.” And he definitely scored some goals.

      I don’t think Deuce knows how to play in an actual system. He’s too independent, and on a team like Tottenham that plays at a blistering pace, his style of play leads to a lot of turnovers and stymied attacks. I think the fans recognize he has ability, but going from VDV to Dempsey is a significant drop in the CAM role given what they’re used to.

    • Hey, A, how can you make a wide sweeping statement like that? Yes, it’s possible that some Spurs fans do not like Clint. But to say that all Spurs fans despise him based on a couple of Tweets is ridiculous.

      • It’s not just a couple of Tweets.

        It’s hundreds of tweets. It’s fan boards. It’s local TV commentators. It’s press. Whether it’s because AVB thought Deuce could replace RVD or because Deuce simply doesn’t fit, he is not well liked by a majority of the fans.

      • How about this Biff – and remember I am a defender of Clint – most Spurs commentators are not complimentary of Clint. For some reason they are forgiving of the lack of production in other players, but condemn Clint – almost as if he is a square peg in a round hole. I am not quite sure why, as there has been little production from anyone playing in Clint’s roles on the field. To all those ready to resond, i do not believe that Clint plays the same position as Defoe or Bale – who are really the only goals scorers for Tottenham. And Adebyor’s gpal before he got sent off against Chelsea was a goal that Clint would have scored as well.

    • @ A,

      Can you give me some examples? I don’t follow Tottenham much these days, but do have a mild interest in Deuce. I consider him a local boy.

      Why do Spurs fans dislike Dempsey?

      • Most of them don’t think he fits in the system.

        I read two Tweets that I thought summed it up pretty well.

        Grant Pieters ‏@grantpieters
        This has been the case since Dempsey arrived. His resilience has led to him pressing and not letting the game come to him. Tough to watch.

        Austin Moore ‏@CominWitMoore
        Never see anyone talk about how disconnected Bale-Lennon-Dempsey-Defoe are. They hardly do one-two’s. They depend on individual skill. #thfc

        I think this sums it up perfectly. Deuce has never been a guy to play in a system, passing in close lanes and keeping possession. He’s always been a guy who just mozies around 70 minutes and then scores a wondergoal.

      • they don’t like him because he is not paul gasgcoine, glenn hoddle or the dutch midfileder with the hot wife who played that position last year

  11. Not watching the game, but following along on Twitter… Tottenham fans HATE Dempsey.

    Tottenham Talk ‏@tottenhamtalk1
    Wouldn’t be surprised if we sold Dempsey in January, gives us absolutely nothing :/

    Joe Burgess ‏@Joe_B_1989
    Clint Dempsey must have pictures of AVB shagging a goat, I can’t think of any other reason as to why he actually still plays

    Grant Pieters ‏@grantpieters
    This has been the case since Dempsey arrived. His resilience has led to him pressing and not letting the game come to him. Tough to watch.

    Stephen Phillips ‏@stevephil
    That could be a massive goal for Spurs’ season. Time for Dempsey to resume his nap on the bench & bring in Dembele. KEEP ATTACKING! #coys

    Spurs Fans ‏@Spurs_FanClub
    Don’t know how you guys feel about Dempsey, Sorry to say but Im not a fan.

    Those are just some of the nicer ones. Deuce is gone in January, book it.

    • I can’t imagine him moving on in January — his wages can’t be onerous, and they already sold and loaned enough of their squad depth as it is this past summer.

      That said, he has been *awful* since getting there (though, predictably this morning was the first match I haven’t watched and he happened to go off for the two highlight-reel assists). The only reason he’s continued to get playing time is because Sigurdsson has been an even worse disappointment. Hopefully today gets him back on his form from last season!

  12. Clint is in the starting line up for the Spurs. Lennon Bale and Defore are all starting too. Clint has more of a two way role with those three in the starting line up. I think we see him play about 60-65 minutes, work hard and get subbed.

  13. Joe Cole on for Liverpool. Hope he makes an impact as we really need another player to step up and support Suarez while Sterling, Wisdom, Suso continue to develop. And hopefully the transfer window will bring reinforcements though Sturridge at $19M is not the answer.

      • Interesting question Biff. It appears that Jozy is developing his ball skills and link up play, which would be requisite (based on Rogers’ philosophy and player buys/selections). My hunch (and candidly hope) is that Downing gets offloaded, which would mean (I think) as I don’t see another option) Enrique maintains his (marauding) left back position and Jozy could slot in as a left attacking wing. ESPN mentioned there are noises about a bid for Sturridge who would presumably occupy either the right or left wing forward in a 4-3-3 or 4-2-1-3.

        Now, would Jozy benefit from moving to Liverpool. Don’t think this is a good move for him at present given how, at times, univentive Liverpool’s midfield play is and the fact that Suarez owns the center forward slot (where I’d prefer to see Jozy in Rogers’ system).

        Thoughts from other Liverpool fans or observers?

      • I have seen news stories that Liverpool is looking closely at Klaus Jan Huntelaar, whose contract at Schalke ends in June. But apparently Arsenal also is hot on him. I cannot see Liverpool spending 19m for Sturridge, and if Arsenal would snare Huntelaar, was thinking that Jozy might be a possible option for Liverpool, who showed today they desperately need more firepower. As good as Suarez is, and I think he is great, he can’t be expected to carry the full burden game after game.

      • 100% agree that the Red Dragons need more firepower, A forward like Huntelaar or Jozy + a healthy Lucas (to enable Gerrard to consistently play in attacking role) would be terrific.

    • I saw bits and pieces of the St. Pauli game, and in the scenes I saw Joe Gyau did not state his case for a permanent starter’s role on St. Pauli. No big mistakes or anything, but he seemed tentative and could have done better passing on potential counter-attacks.

      The game was tied 1-1 when Gyau and Florian Kringe were subbed out for Akakia Gogia (Gyau’s main competition for a starting slot) and Dennis Daube. And then, literally, 30 seconds after Gyau is subbed out Fin Bartels of St. Pauli scores, but with no input at all from new subs Gogia and Daube. Unfortunate for Gyau. Will find out next game how coach Michael Frontzeck judged the performances and whether Gyau gets a second chance as a starter.


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