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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

MarioBalotelliACMilan1-InterZanetti (Getty)


One of the most intense rivalries in European soccer headlines this Soccer Sunday as Inter Milan “host” AC Milan at their shared home of San Siro.

Inter will be looking to snap their recent cold spell — just one win in their last five league matches — and get back into the hunt for a top spot in Serie A against their struggling city rivals. AC Milan showed real fight in their 2-2 home draw with second-place AS Roma last weekend, but the pressure is on the Rossoneri to get their first win against Inter since the 2011 Italian Supercoppa Final. The Milan Derby will be missing part of its usual atmosphere, however, as Inter’s famed Curva Nord section will be closed due to a suspension handed down by the Italian FA.

Sunday’s action begins in England, where ninth-place Southampton will try to end their slide down the league table with a win against seventh-place Tottenham Hotspur, who are also struggling as of late. Tottenham have not defeated a team currently inside the top-half of the EPL table since the second weekend of the season and will try to do so in their first league match without former manager Andre Villas-Boas.

Elsewhere, Barcelona travel to Getafe in hopes of hanging onto their La Liga lead while rivals Real Madrid hit the road to face Valencia. The top two teams in Italy will be in action as Juventus visit Atalanta and AS Roma welcome Catania to the Stadio Olimpico.

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):

8:30am – Southampton vs. Tottenham – NBC Sports Network

9am – Atalanta vs. Juventus – beIN Sport USA

9am – AS Roma vs. Catania – beIN Sport en Español

9:30am – Borussia Mönchengladbach vs. Wolfsburg – GolTV USA

11am – Swansea City vs. Everton – NBC Sports Network

11am – Getafe vs. Barcelona – beIN Sport USA/beIN Sport en Español

1pm – Athletic Bilbao vs. Rayo Vallecano – beIN Sport en Español

2:45pm – Inter Milan vs. AC Milan – beIN Sport USA

3pm – Valencia vs. Real Madrid – beIN Sport en Español


  1. missed the Roma game, can anyone tell us how MB looked in their romp win?

    some exciting fun matches all morning so far. how about Barca’s response to going down 2 at Getafe? Southampton on the wrong end of another fun one but their matches are fun to watch. they come to play for the most part against all teams and definitely believe when at home. wish Jozy played on that team

    • I saw it, Bradley was his usual self, cool and steady with smart delivery. He got less touches than usual, as a lot of the game was in the attacking half, as he was positioned to support the run of play late….. In fact it looked like Maicon was playing right wing he was in the attack so often. Looked like MB was playing the #6 role, but their midfielders interchange so much. He had a reckless late tackle and got a yellow. That’s about it.

      • bac,

        Would you say Mikey has more talented teamates at Roma or with the USMNT?

        As a club team I would expect them to have better teamwork and cohesion.

      • GW,
        I would say he has better mates both individually and collectively at Roma. As a team… that’s easier said because they play together.. an often unmentioned crutch of the usmnt; in that we don’t have a “spine” or “core” of players that play together more often- whether it be as mates, league, or style.

        Individually it’s hard to argue with the midfield of DDR, Pjanic, and Strootman… no matter how they line up, they possess the ball so well and can all play box to box, and beat players on the dribble. Combine that with how they link with Totti, they play a lot like Barca and Juve.. just not as clinical finishers.

        And they have a right back….lol…

      • And I’d just add my own two cents off topic, but if the usmnt can’t find a true “partner” for MB in the middle (which seems to be one of the top 2 debated topics on SBI)
        I really think we could execute the same formation with MB in the middle. Everyone hated our 4-3-3 last year, and it was terrible… because it had the wrong personnel…
        But if we can’t get a consistent partner with Bradley, I think the answer may be NO partner…

      • agree with you for some time that a USMNT 4 3 3 needs MB to make it click. who would you put in that triangle with him, and who on the wings?

        or with no partner for MB, 4 1 3 2 with a friend for Jozy up top like LD. then the 3 could be Fabian-Clint-Bedoya, or something like that unless Fabian is finally used at LB

      • Boy wouldn’t a healthy Stu take this conversation to a real fun place….
        I tried to look at it this way: The teams right now that seem to be successful playing that system have a few characteristics, outside backs that are skilled, a deep CM who stays in his space, wingers that can stay wide to look like a 5 man midfield yet go forward on the outside and cut inside…
        Then I thought about Jones at Shalke, who play similar…and even though he usually plays like a 6 he seems to make less mistakes when he’s in one of the other spots

        So considering his hustle and experience, I’d have no problem with Jones as an outside mid..preferably on the same side as an overlapping Fabian, who I prefer at LB. (I appreciate Beas, but I just can’t see him in the 11) I’d play Deuce and Donovan on the wings, and I’d say it’s a toss up now between Zusi and Bedoya.
        And by the way, I’d say Cam is forcing JKs hand and will be our RB…

        You know I just look at our available personnel and compare it to how we’ve played… and I just think our link up looks better when MB has space. And I’ve heard so many people say he needs to get forward more, but I’ve heard HIM say he thinks he’s better coming in late… which I agree with. And since it just seems to be such an issue to get him the right pairing, maybe the answer is nobody. And I think Jones gets in the most trouble when they’re not on the same page.. but I think he’s gotta be on the field in Brazil.

        Man I wish Stu was healthy..

      • BB unsuccessfully spent 2 years trying to find right partner for Jr. before South Africa. Now, the suggestion is no one? I really had hoped Klinsi would have solved this problem by now.

      • Bac,

        I agree that Mikey is best coming in late, or as they used to call it, “ghosting in on the blind side”. Something Paul Scholes, for example, used to do very well.

        What is interesting about Roma is how with Totti they win but w/o him they draw.

        Not bad for a 37 year old who is currently maybe playing the best of anyone up front in Italy along with Rossi.

        Carrying out the Roma analogy a little further, who do you think can be the USMNT’s Totti?

      • Dempsey Jozy AJ/EJ/Bedoya

        Donovan Diskerud


        Johnson Besler Gonzalez Cameron

        klinsmann does not trust our midfield enough to leave jones on the bench. that to me is the biggest disappointment of klinsmann so far. no debating that he has done an amazing job job, but he was never very adventurous with the formation even in the beginning when the time was right to experiment.

      • ” he was never very adventurous with the formation even in the beginning when the time was right to experiment.”

        What did you have in mind?

        The most gifted players who would have been worth trying in a variety of roles were Mix, Corona, Brooks, AJ, Holden, Donovan, and Gatt.

        Mix, Corona, AJ and Brooks have been given shots and the other three missed significant amounts of time for reasons beyond the USMNT’s control.

      • GW-
        Yea Scholes would be an analogy, but I think more about Xavi Alonso, or even Pirlo in is later years.. I see a lot of similarities, not fast, not so quick they beat you on the dribble, but ALWAYS in the right place, 99% of the time making the right pass, and usually on the money.

        Your mention of Totti is right on the money, the difference b/w Roma & Barca for example is their wings score, but with Roma its Totti or Pjanic/Strootman who he connects well with. Thats why Roma isnt 10 points clear of the rest of the table.
        We dont have a Totti-like forward, I’d say the closest “American” we ever had was Rossi ( not because hes Italian) Altidore, McBride all those guys play up top, never really contribute like a false 9. Certainly not Deuce or Donovan… I fact I bet if you put those 2 on the wings at Roma that team would see more goals.
        The closest comparison in style could be Johansonn, (but thats certainly not a skill or experience comparison)

        Ive seen Roma 7 or 8 times this year, and when MB has moved over to that deep CM role (they really can & do interchange).. he just looks at home…

  2. Gervinho sucks

    Jozy should have more goals for Sunderland. The last 2 games he missed easy opportunities.

    that goal against Arsenal should have stood

    and didn’t he score recently. the ball crossed the line, or maybe half of it but no goal. He needs to take Freekicks or PK’s. It would help his morale and get him on the scoresheet.

    So far this season he’s been 5/10. Average. An average striker on a relegation fodder club. Not good for us. But i really believe the manager should start both he and Fletcher and Borini. all out attack to take on other bottom tabled teams. 1 of their strikers just have to score. Adam Johnson needs to retire. Total flop this season.

    I wish Jozy the best. he could have a flop of a season and then score 5 in the WC and i would gladly accept that

    • I think that yesterday the coach Poyet needs to take a lot of the blame for playing so conservatively at home against a team that is only middling and could have been beaten.

  3. I missed Jozy’s game yesterday but I got to read the comments from yesterday’s thread.

    Anyone willing to break it down for me? Did he truly play poorly or was the team? Any insights would be greatly appreciated.

    Go MB90!!!!!

    • I thought when he got the ball he did positive things for the most part, however that wasn’t very often. Just about everyone on the team filled the Adam Johnson role and had a go from 35 yards out. Most of which were no where near target. Is Jozy not making the right runs to find space? That’s kind of hard to tell honestly but he isn’t seeing much of the ball. When so many guys are taking selfish long shots, they’ve never scored in there life rather then trying to pass into the box every once in awhile, its just frustrating to watch.

      • This is what I have seen for most of the season.

        The team seems to dislike him and the fans HATE HIM.

        Poor Jozy. He has such great talent but mentality gets knocked around too easily. He needs to have a good, happy, safe home for him.

        At this point, it’s pointless to have any more hope for him at Sunderland.

      • First, I’m a fan of Jozy and I root for him every weekend. However, something I have noticed is that he does not make smart runs and he times them poorly. His runs are often away from the man with the ball. He just takes off towards the net. He doesn’t choose the best space to move into to help his teammates get him the ball. He also times his runs poorly. He waits until the second his teammate is about to pass it and then takes off. It seems like a number of times his teammates pass to a space they expect him to be in but a moment earlier Jozy made a run elsewhere. Then he throws his arms up in frustration. He can’t expect teammates to read his runs when they are timed this way. This timing also just makes it look like he is guessing where the pass is going.

      • F1313. There may be some truth to what you are saying, but last year none of what you are saying happened. When playing in the Dutch league or for the Nats Jozy was fully engaged and scoring goals.

        I have watched 4 or 5 games this year and it’s pretty much the same scenario over and over: either Jozy is spending 40 % of the game is his defensive half which means most of his runs are 40 yards in length and lead to nothing. Or he gets one decent opportunity to score a goal and if he misses the Internet world goes insane.

        I really feel bad for him.

    • Check out the No Short Corners thread from yesterday titled “Kazzy man…” where, IMO, Greg Seltzer articulates a balanced view on Jozy’s play this season. From his piece on MLS Soccer, looks like Jozy had a modest number of touches and Sunderland took a lot of shots from distance that were *not* on target.

      • He needs to be more invent full in and around the box in my opinion to many touches to try and free up his right foot and it often just ends up being a blocked shot

      • Look, I know I make a lot of spelling mistakes and whatnot but it’s inventive not “invent full” and “in my opinion too* many touches…”.

      • Right. Well so ppl won’t be on me about this, for whatever reason idk if you obviously get the what I’m trying to say, I’m using an Ipad and the combination of auto correct and a touchscreen keyboard messes with the txt quite a bit, so understand it’s a dilemma of sorts, but I’ll try and be more attentive.

      • Look, I make MANY MISTAKES, especially after my fifth beer or so, so feel free to call me out too.

        Also, I teach for a living, so I notice those mistakes more than most. It wasn’t meant as a personal attack. More of a pet peeve. Cool?

      • Just starting reading the thread…

        I totally agree, especially about Sunderland fans. God, where to I begin with those a$$hats. Seriously, I learn much more from you guys every Saturday about this game and my Brazilian friends than the English. It’s the most popular sport in their county but they are ABSOLUTELY clueless about the game. It’s pathetic.

        At this point, I am almost done with the EPL. I had really high hopes for the season, in a general sense, and the only good things coming out of that league are Suarez, Man. City and G. Cameron proving to EVERY ONE he is the real deal, world-class RB the USMNT needs. Arsenal and Ozil are also fun.

        Jozy needs to move to Italy. He will SHINE there; it’s perfect for his game.

      • It’s hard to take you seriously when you call Cameron world class and it makes me wonder just how much you know about soccer.

      • Watch him play. Enough said.

        He is the MAN. He is fast, strong, very good with the ball at his feet and knows how to move forward AND defend.

        You clearly have no idea what you are talking about or have some bias.

        Again, don’t believe me, just watch him play. His game speaks for itself.

      • I think his point is World Class is thrown around a little to much. Cameron is having a great year and without question should be the right back in Brazil. Is he one of the top 2 or 3 right backs in the World? Probably not but he is improving every match.

      • Well, I meant that in terms of the USMNT.

        Evans can’t handle the best of the best while Cameron can. He does it day in and day out.

        I still remember how we faked out Ozil at midfield. I was SHOCKED. It was too funny.

        For me, the term “world class” means, “Can you hang with the best of the best?”. Cameron can. Jozy can. LD can. Dempsey can. Howard can. These players are world class.

      • He has his moments in the attack and he’s more then solidified himself as one of the best players in the team in Mark Hughes eyes (which doesn’t bode well for his chances at RB), but it’s important to keep perspective and remember its stoke he’s playing for, where he’s teammates are anything but above standard EPL lvl, and not a top tier club.

        To say world class is to say that he’s the best at his position, like top 5, in the world and he’s really not.

        He’s class, but honestly not world class

      • Actually, playing well on a less than great team is proof of his ability not against it.

        Great teams make less-than-great players look amazing. Cameron looks amazing day in and day on a weak team, which means he is a great player.

        If you play well on a bad team, you are good player.

      • I have notice how calm, controlled, deliberate and technical the Italian game is in comparison with the English game.

        It’s much more akin to the “beautiful game” than the English game, unless you are talking about the top flight teams. Even then it’s too frantic and uncontrolled. The number of long balls is too much to handle at times.

      • In all honesty Italy is too volatile for a black person.

        I know he went through that one case of racism in the Netherlands, but there it seems like he’d be getting it from the ultras (even the casuals at times) every other game, if not every game.

        France would be a good place for him. A Bordeaux, Lille or Lyon. Montpellier, Nantes and Sant-Etienne don’t seem to have the spending power, but traditional players of that sort. Maybe loans to the latter. I think he’d do really well. And then in the future, maybe a move to the Bundesliga.

        But this is assuming his whole season turns to crap and he’s burned his bridges in England.

      • Nice points. I never thought about France.

        To be honest, I know NOTHING about the French league, so I’ll take your world for it.

      • Well if he wants to progress as a player, He’ll inevitably have to succeed in one of the 5 traditional European leagues.

        If not, maybe he could position himself to latch on to a traditional, powerhouse Istanbul club so he can play in Champions League regularly.

      • While he was in Holland and even now I think the Bundesliga would be good for Jozy. In many ways he’s like a typical German attacker–big, pacy and with a good shot.

      • 65% of their shots are taken from 20 yards out, and few are on target, Jozy averages 20 touches and .75 shots a game and ppl wonder why he is not scoring.

    • Played ok. His touches were mostly good. Beat his man a few times to set up his teammates. Had one shot that maybe he should have taken first touch instead of settling. Looks like his confidence is shot of late. Working very hard but not able to finish those few half chances he gets per match and doesn’t have a teammate to make the run that will occupy the defenders enough to open him up. He also makes his own dummy runs to the near post but doesn’t get the supporting far post run for the goal the way he gets on USMNT. He has no one to combine with in the final third. Ki isn’t bad, but he’s a deep lying player. Giaccherini should be the guy but he seems crazily off his game and is a human turnover of late. He and Fletcher combine well, but they can’t play together because the midfield can’t go 4v4 with other BPL midfields.

      • Thanks man!

        Thank you guys. I appreciate the information and insights.

        Again, you guys are clearly a step ahead of the English. It’s their biggest sport and they know NOTHING about it.

        I now have a new favorite national to to HATE: England. Let’s here it to watching Mexico, England and France crash and burn in the World Cup!! 😀

      • It’s easy to dislike the English national team. Just look at the player selection and the way they play. Danny Welbeck gets games constantly. I know he has scored recently but he is like Eddie Johnson without the jumping. I can’t figure out his purpose. Defensive Forward?

      • you make your own good points usaalltheway

        Jozy played 120 minutes midweek in a thrilling victory over Chelsea and played pretty darn well, especially as the game wore on and Sunderland finally began to attack and believe, then he showed up all over the place (first time I’ve seen that team play like that this year!). His midfielders still miss him in space all the freakin time because they are relatively inept, but he’s become a much better holdup player because he’s literally 1 vs. the backline as he waits for help seemingly every time they actually do get the ball to him which is rarely in the final third, let alone in the area somewhere.

        Yesterday he wasn’t great tho he was hardly the train wreck some can’t wait to tell you about. Nice to see him getting regular minutes just a couple of weeks after many cognoscenti had already read his last rites

      • You know one thing that isn’t mentioned often, Jozy can not be called lazy at all this year, despite his team’s issues and his lack of scoring. A few years ago, there would be a lot of critics, but he has certainly matured a lot

    • I don’t want to repeat all I wrote yesterday, but while Jozy was in, Sunderland were playing a 4-5-1 and Jozy got little to no support. They played defensively until they took out Jozy and brought in two strikers, Johnson and Fletcher. People should note that Sunderland subbed Giacharini before Jozy and he is an Italian national team player and usually the only creative midfielder Sunderland has.

    • AS Roma are in 2nd, ahead by 2 points on Napoli, and a with a game in hand so hopefully they take care of business today. Also they have only given up 7 goals in league play, I believe the have what it takes to finish in the top two.

      • they better hope so

        they really need a return to the CL.

        seems this season is more of a Juventus/Roma/Napoli battle with the 2 Milans playing catch up

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