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Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

EdenHazardChelsea1-Newcastle (Getty)


After last weekend’s 2-0 road victory against then-league leaders Liverpool, Chelsea are still in the hunt for the English Premier League title.

But to keep the pressure on the former leaders and new leaders Manchester City, Chelsea have to take care of business at home against relegation-threatened Norwich City. Chelsea have slipped against bottom-half teams multiple times this season, and the struggling Canaries are in a virtual must-win situation heading into Stamford Bridge. Norwich trail Sunderland, who have a match in hand, by three points in the race for safety and have a huge gap in goal differential they will not be able to make up in their final two weeks.

Elsewhere in the English Premier League, fourth-place Arsenal will kick off the Sunday slate against 16th-place West Bromwich Albion. Arsenal are guaranteed a Champions League spot following Everton’s loss to Manchester City, and the Gunners will be looking to keep their momentum going before the FA Cup Final against Hull City later this month.

The title race in La Liga takes center stage as first-place Atletico Madrid look for an important road win against Levante. Atletico’s in-city rivals and fellow Champions League finalists, Real Madrid, can overtake Barcelona for second place and keep themselves alive in the title picture with a home win against Valencia on Sunday. Other European matches of note are the Milan Derby in Italy’s Serie A and the clash of the Olympique clubs, Lyon and Marseille, in France’s Ligue 1.

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):

8:00am – AS Saint-Etienne vs. Montpellier – beIN Sports Play

8:30am – Arsenal vs. West Brom – NBCSN

9:00am – Catania vs. Roma – beIN Sports USA

9:00am – Parma vs. Sampdoria – beIN Sports Play

11:00am – Chelsea vs. Norwich City – NBCSN

11:00am – Levante vs. Atletico Madrid – beIN Sports USA

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

1:00pm – Toluca vs. Tijuana – Univison

2:45pm – Milan vs. Internazionale – beIN Sports Play

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

3:00pm – FC Dallas vs. New York Red Bulls – UniMas

3:00pm – Real Madrid vs. Valencia – beIN Sports USA

4:00pm – Sporting KC vs. Columbus Crew – NBCSN

6:00pm – Pumas UNAM vs. Pachuca – Univision Deportes


  1. That’s why Feilhaber won’t be getting a ring from the USMNT most likely. Pass the ball, don’t be selfish.

    • Gotta say, Benny’s reaction after Peterson took the ball off his foot for the first goal had more than a hint of disappointment about it. He seemed happy(ish). Can’t say I blame him in a weird way. LIfe on the bubble.

    • what a bunch of BS. Benny is an excellent passer. You take one play and say “that’s why blah blah blah…” and then call him selfish. he may not make it, looks that way, but not for the BS reasons you’re trying to claim

      • He is an excellent playmaker/passer… It really is a pity for him (and others, such as torres) that he has very good talent at a position where there is really no opening right now– even if they are in the 23 it’s a very weird situation in which he there is playing time or a meaningful opportunity to contribute…. wish we had this problem anywhere in defense.

      • Being an excellent passer and exercising that for the team are two different things.

        Benny Feilhaber has a long and mired history of me-first selfish play and poor attitude. It was the main reason Derby told him to leave. It was also why Bob Bradley soured on him.

      • “Being an excellent passer and exercising that for the team are two different things.”

        Agreed. fortunately Benny does it for the team, like he has shown numerous times for the USMNT, including in his limited minutes when Klinsmann has given him a shot, and also continues to show for his current club team. Like so many do, he’s matured as a player. These things happen

        and again, he’s on the outside looking in, I understand that, but not for the rips you tried to nail him with in your original post, and he’s never played a selfish style of game as he looks to create for others, and under Bradley he actually evolved into a decent defender imo

    • I gotta say, I thought he was gonna pass it to his left, then the space opened for him, I had no problem with him taking that shot. The guy in the middle was yelling at him but I don’t know if he could have threaded it through there, and kept him onside.
      Benny has been playing well again, why Bradley didn’t play him more was almost 4 years ago… and his reasoning is certainly debatable considering who he did start over Benny….

    • I say foul him early and often, as a team, everyone take their shots at him, nothing nasty but always continuous.

      • they’d never allow a Gentile type approach in today’s game but something like that from the entire team early maybe? and wouldn’t mind seeing JJ inside his shirt the entire match if he can stay there, don’t know if anyone can tho. hope we score early, make all the annoying tactics that much more annoying

      • A jungle born illness perhaps?
        In all seriousness, everyone is just assuming that Germany is gonna roll through the group, but they open against that dude and his minions… anything can happen in openers…

      • beachbum,

        They have been trying that ever since he came up and it doesn’t really work.

        One thing people who haven’t seen much of Cristiano Ronaldo miss is how big, quick, fast, strong and powerful the guy is.

        Just getting to him to foul him without getting carded is something of an accomplishment.

  2. The Ref of the Dallas NY game is absolutely doing horrible. Too bad refs don’t get suspended or fined for ruining games. He gave a red that I don’t believe should have been handed and also missed a clear PK and gave the guy a yellow instead

    • So a reckless lunge that ends up with your cleats in your opponents balls doesn’t merit a red card? Wow.

  3. Disappointed to see Atletico lose, would really like to see a team other than RM or Barca win that league for once. How long has it been since a 3rd team won it? A decade or so probably? The system there is set up so that normally only those two teams can compete. Have to wonder if Atletico’s small squad is finally running out of gas.

      • So you like having a league where generally only two teams are competitive? That is boring. Also I looked the last team to win a title outside of those two was Valencia exactly a decade ago, that is a joke.

      • Is it really?

        It’s not like PSG with France or Bayern with the Bundesliga so much as that one of either Barcelona or Real Madrid are the best team in the world.

        Barcelona over the second part of the past decade were considered the greatest club team of all time.

      • Yes it is a joke because the TV revenue split has been set up to prevent other teams from competing. Obviously Barca were a great team but the idea that only two teams have won a title in the last decade is laughable. In Germany there have been 5 or 6 winners in the same timeframe.

      • People can be forgiven for thinking that Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund make the BL a two team league.

        Since the 2003-2004 season:

        6 Bayern Munich
        2 Borussia Dortmund
        1 Werder Bremen
        1 Stuttgart
        1 Wolfsburg
        3 Bayern
        3 Schalke
        2 Borussia Dortmund
        2 Werder Bremen
        1 Bayer Leverkusen

      • Excellent point and good on you for the statistical breakdown. One of the carryover effects is that the also-ran teams in Germany rarely do much in the CL (outside of BM and BvB. nobody ever regards a German team as a threat in knockout rounds), and this may have a lot to do with a lack of consistent qualification within the same regime/player cycle.

        Schalke is the only team that really penetrates in the knockout round, but it’s usually an illusion (see the “semi finalists” they produced a few years ago)

        MLS teams in the CONCACAF CL seem to face a similar dilemma. Heavy domestic competition makes it hard to argue for a focus on a less-than-certain qualification for an unfamiliar external competition

      • Ali Dia,

        One reason for the “other white meat” German teams not doing well in Europe is that as soon as they qualify their best players get bought by Bayern or one of the other big boy pants Europe.

        Dortmund is where it is in my view because Klopp keeps coming up with players.

        If Man U had half a brain they would pull out all the stops to get him.

        Van Gaal will be great for a few years but he won’t last in Manchester while Klopp could build a dynasty.

        This assumes that Klopp would want to do it, of course.

        Right now the man has options.
        That won’t last.

      • Another excellent point… It is worth noting that BM have not historically needed to wait to poach top German talent due strange league attitude. During Ballack’s historical “finish 2nd in everything” year with Leverkusen, he was already under contract to head to Munich by January. Weird system.

  4. this season of La Liga and the PL have been amongst the best ever. no 1 can deny that.

    Serie A has been almost as exciting.

    • Agree, although it’s sad how little it takes for La Liga to have an interesting storyline. “More competetive than Scotland for a change” is pretty much the theme, and it’s enough to get me more engaged

    • In a half decen team that’s a given. In this team there is nonody less bad than Altidore so he’s going.

      • and that was when Jozy was playing on the U21 team, he’s at least got on the field recently

    • Yawn… There are so many of these things floating around right now that it is deeply boring. Needless to say, when the 23 are finally announced, there will be a rush of SBI folks tripping over themselves saying “hahaha AS I PREDICTED! as though they didn’t bring 19 other ridulously off base predictions to the table” during the same period.

      Not trying to single Shawn out… probably everybody does this. My solution is that on the eve of selection, and perhaps again on the eve of Ghana game, people go on record in one place and give their actual predictions… Hopefully Ives provides a good venue for this.

    • not really defending mourinho’s season, but i’m pretty sure any team in the world would take champions league qualification–or hell, even europa–over the (very prestigious, i’m sure) community shield.

  5. By the recent exchange rate, Chelsea’s squad is by far the second most expensive lineup in the EPL at nearly 600 million US dollars.

    To not win a trophy of any kind, and to end the season in such epic collapse would result in a firestorm of hate and malice toward any other manager. Mourinho? He blames it on the fans, the media, Hazard, Sean Penn?

  6. for all the distaste and/or praise that Mourinho receives for his tactics, games like today reveal the risks of over-utilizing that style imo. Great teams impose their will, whatever it is, but also are able to adjust game to game considering the competition. Chelsea doesn’t do that effectively when they try imo, so if Hazard doesn’t do something amazing to create chances when the counter isn’t available, they struggle. Norwich equaled Chelsea at their own game today

  7. Mourinho skips out and refuses to address fans at final home game as is tradition.

    Fans rain an epic chorus of boos down like fire from the sky.

  8. Ghana’s 30 man preliminary roster.

    Stephen Adams (Aduana Stars), Adam Kwarasey (Stromsgodset), Daniel Agyei (Free States Stars), Fatau Dauda (Orlando Pirates)

    Samuel Inkoom (Platanias), Daniel Opare (Standard Liège), Jonathan Mensah (Évian), Baba Abdul Rahman (Greuther Fürth), Harrison Afful (Espérance), John Boye (Rennes), Isaac Vorsah (Red Bull Salzburg), Jerry Akaminko (Eskisehirspor), Jeffrey Schlupp (Leicester City), Rashid Sumaila (Mamelodi Sundowns)

    Sulley Muntari and Michael Essien (Milan), Mubarak Wakaso (Rubin Kazan), Rabiu Mohammed (Kuban Krasnodar), Kwadwo Asamoah (Juventus), Emmanuel Agyemang Badu (Udinese), Raman Chibsah (Sassuolo), André Ayew (Olympique de Marseille), Anthony Annan (Schalke 04), Christian Atsu (Vitesse), Emmanuel Frimpong (Barnsley), Albert Adomah (Middlesbrough)

    : Jordan Ayew (Sochaux), Abdul Majeed Waris (Valenciennes), Kevin-Prince Boateng (Schalke 04), Asamoah Gyan (Al Ain)

    Ghana’s keepers and defense look extremely weak. While the midfield looks really stacked. The forwards look strong but not as strong as the midfield. The US is going to have to take control of the game early. Also, keep Ghana’s mid from keeping possession. The US has this!

    • The midfielder and forward positions are stacked with some serious talent. It is definitely not going to be an easy win at all if they all play to their capabilities.

    • Take a look at our defense “on paper”, and then you tell me which defense, Ghana or US, looks “extremely weak”.

      Really the only advantage the US has is at GK.

      • On paper our defense looks much better. The US did well to schedule the final game against Nigeria. That game will show it our defense is any good against Ghana.

      • “Stong. Athletes. Africa”

        In Wheel of Fortune, we like to take out the obvious choices “R-S-T-L-N-E”

      • “On paper” our defense will definitely look way better (whether that’s actually true is another matter). We’ll most likely have 3 players who get regular minutes in the Bundesliga (Chandler, Brooks, Johnson), 1 in the EPL (Cameron) and 1 in Liga MX (Beasley) as well as a handful of others with decent resumes (Ream likely to go to PL next year, has been there in the past). The best they have are two dudes who play for lower-level Ligue 1 clubs. Otherwise it’s a bunch of journeymen who play for teams ranging from Tunisia to Turkey to Bundesliga 2. Again, not saying that league or team quality dictates actual player quality, but if we’re talking “on paper” then it does.

  9. Steven Goff is reporting that Giedion Zelalem is in Washington D.C to finalize his US citizenship! Why would he be doing it unless he plans to play for the US? I guess there are other reasons but this sounds really good for us fans.

      • Hahaha. Stupid Facebook had some items from yesterday at the top of the page so I thought it was new. Feeling a bit dumb now.

      • Hey man, it’s exciting stuff, just wanted to let you know the reasons behind everyone’s seeming calmness. I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

      • While it seems certain that Zelalem is doing this to play for the US, otherwise why bother with all this drama,probably the more interesting part is that if GZ gets his US passport now, as a minor he can retain his German citizenship and thus his EU eligibility.

        Germany allows dual citizenship minors to keep both passports but adults immediately lose their German passport.

        This will make GZ’s life at Arsenal a lot simpler.

        And it also leaves the door open for him to play for Germany if he changes his mind .

        The drama is not over. Wenger a friend of JK’s, is good at developing youth, and he loves this kid.

        Imagine the tug of war if this kid turns into Cesc Fabregas 2.0.

      • The part I’m unsure of is his citizenship status with Germany once he becomes an adult. If he does become a naturalized US citizen, does that automatically end his German citizenship when he comes of age?

      • Goff’s article does not exactly address your question. However, it seems to imply that GZ will be able to keep both passports after he reaches majority.

        As far as I know, Julian Green and the other German American players still had both their US and German passports after their 18th birthdays otherwise they would not have had a choice to make.

    • yeah, i’m not as optimistic about it as other people seem to be.

      since he hasn’t come right out and said that he’s committing to the US, i think the most obvious reason is that this keeps his options open and he doesn’t have to decide right now. sure, he may eventually end up with us, but now he’s got lots of time to make what might be a very difficult decision.

  10. Jozy, Iceman, Boyd, Agudelo

    those are my 4. youthful, energetic, speed.

    EJ is injured and useless. WONDO is a great guy but he will only ride the bench in Brazil.

    • Probably my picks as well. EJ and Wondo have better goal scoring records for the US, and I wonder if Klinsmann will prioritize this, but I just have a hard time seeing EJ and Wondo coming anywhere close to duplicating their past production against the level of the opponents in Brazil. At least the other guys have the advantage of youth and potential, and you hope they can rise to the occasion.

      • History tells us that “youth” isn’t so much an advantage when it comes to the World Cup.

      • +1 History tells us more than anything that World Cups are rarely won by strikers at all.

      • During the World Cup it’s experience that counts. Boyd has barely practiced with the current team. Eddie Johnson has not scored at all this MLS season. I thought that’s what matters to Klinsmann. It should also matter whether players have a good understanding of how their teammates act under certain conditions. Wondo is the most likely choice to go to Brazil. Also Donovan has not scored this season. Dempsey has come out of his slump. So, he’s a good bet. Brek Shea has not played for Stoke City. Agudelo may be scoring at time. But the league where he plays is not what you can call the BPL.

      • Wrong on Boyd. “Barely practiced?” “Barely played” with the USMNT might be accurate, but Boyd has been called up for much more meaningful competitive games consistently and Wondo has gotten his looks/goals in B-team matches. He now has 5 MLS goals this year after a weak start… same as Boyd in last 3 games.

        I like Wondo… I think he could score in Brazil because he feeds of table scraps very well and probably that’s what our forwards will get.

        I hope he goes but this is a weak argument. And why attack Donovan? Guy isn’t even a forward.

    • Thanks. This is going to be an interesting story to follow. Seems like the clubs may actually have a case here by the rules. Though I disagree.

      • Not a chance. Sheffield United had a far superior case when Tevez single handedly kept West Ham up at their expense. What’s done is done. Teams are only docked points or relegated via administration when there is an issue of solvency.

        And anything with Cardiff’s ownership group involved has zero credibility.

    • Hmm…the competition for forward spots is getting pretty interesting. Boyd and Agudelo scoring certainly puts them back into contention. Assuming Altidore and Johannsson are in the 23, that leaves Wondo, EJ, Boyd, and Agudelo competing for 1-2 spots?

  11. Fulham, Cardiff, and Norwich are walking a seriously fine line behaving like that.

    “the legal letter argues that it is unjust that another club might be relegated because of the leniency shown to Poyet’s team,”

    Or, you know–you could win games? Because seeing as Sunderland received 1 total point of 12 in matches that Ji featured in, your claim of unjustness is that you deserve to stay up because… you want to as the punishment given out is within the rules. Pathetic really.

  12. so now they wanna deduct Sunderland points? Face it Fulham and Cardiff. You were not good enough this season. You should have never let Berbatov leave. You should never have fired Mackay. You should have never let Dempsey leave in 2012. Double his wages. Build the team around him. It’s your fault you’re relegated.


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