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Soccer Saturday: Your Running Commentary

WayneRooneyManUnited2-WestHam (Getty)


Fresh off scoring three goals for England during the international break, Wayne Rooney is ready to take his strong run of form as he takes on one of his club’s rivals.

Rooney and Manchester United are looking to take their unbeaten run against Arsenal to eight games when the two teams meet in North London on Saturday afternoon. Arsenal’s last win against Man United came in May 2011, and the eight-game winless streak includes their 8-2 drubbing three months later.

The main storyline heading into this match is injuries for both sides, with the likes of Daley Blind joining Radamel Falcao, Marcos Rojo, Phil Jones, and others on the Man United injury list, and Theo Walcott and Laurent Koscielny will miss out for the Gunners.

Elsewhere in action, English Premier League leaders Chelsea take on West Bromwich Albion, in Spain, Barcelona host Sevilla as Ivan Rakitic takes on his former club, and in Germany, Bayern Munich take on Hoffenheim. The Bavarians have never lost to Hoffenheim in Bundesliga 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 Soccer TV schedule is after the jump):


7:45 a.m. – FOX Soccer Plus – Heart of Midlothian vs. Rangers

9:30 a.m. – GolTV USA – Bayern Munich vs. Hoffenheim

10 a.m. – NBC Sports Network – Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion

10 a.m. – beIN Sports en Español – Atletico Madrid vs. Malaga

10 a.m. – Premier League Extra Time – Everton vs. West Ham United

10 a.m. – Premier League Extra Time – Leicester City vs. Sunderland

10 a.m. – Premier League Extra Time – Manchester City vs. Swansea City

10 a.m. – Premier League Extra Time – Newcastle United vs. Queens Park Rangers

10 a.m. – Premier League Extra Time – Stoke City vs. Burnley

10 a.m. – beIN Sports USA – Wolverhampton vs. Nottingham Forest

12:15 p.m. – beIN Sports USA – Eibar vs. Real Madrid

12:30 p.m. – NBC – Arsenal vs. Manchester United

12:30 p.m. – GolTV USA – FC Koln vs. Hertha Berlin

2 p.m. – beIN Sports USA – Barcelona vs. Sevilla

3 p.m. – GolTV USA – Nacional vs. Juventud

4 p.m. – beIN Sports en Español – Deportivo La Coruña vs. Real Sociedad

4:30 p.m. – GolTV USA – Internacional vs. Atletico Mineiro

6 p.m. – Univision – Club America vs. Atlas

6 p.m. – ESPN Deportes/Azteca America – Puebla vs. Santos Laguna

8 p.m. – UniMas – Tigres UANL vs. Toluca

8 p.m. – Univision Deportes – Universidad de Guadalajara vs. Cruz Azul

9 p.m. – Telemundo – Pachuca vs. Veracruz

10 p.m. – Univision Deportes – Chiapas vs. Queretaro


    • The more forward placed CB could be Jones or another DMF that can play CB like Edu and Cameron for example. Speed on the wings is not critical…possession and quickness with the ability to beat a person on the dribble is more vital.

  1. Brazil’s system of play is famous for its version of the 4-4-2, which utilizes the ‘Box Midfield’. Carlos Alberto Parreira, Brazil’s current coach, won the 1994 World Cup in the USA with a ‘Box Midfield’. Parreira’s 2006 Brazil team also utilizes the same system, which he refers to as the ‘Magic Square’.

    Other teams that have used the “Box Midfield” are: Brazil National Team 1982, Brazil National Team 1994, Sao Paulo FC 1992/1993, SE Palmeiras 1996, Cruzeiro EC 2003, Santos FC 2002 & 2004. Most recently Wanderley Luxemburgo comes home from Real Madrid to win the Paulista League 2006 with a “Box “Midfield”.

    Although mostly used as part of a 4-4-2 formation, the Brazilian teams often use the ‘Box Midfield’ when having three or five midfield players. This flexibility is one of its strengths and makes it difficult for the opposition to handle.

    No one has ever written a book on the ‘Box Midfield’ system used by many Brazilian teams. Well now there is one. That’s right, WORLD CLASS COACHING, has published, The Brazilan Box Midfield, a clear and practical book on how to apply the Brazilian Box system. This book will be helpful for any coach, from elite professional teams to youth club teams, to better understand the principles of Brazilian soccer and its systems of play.

    *The title of the book is misleading about the box formation and how it is played. It is not solely based on a 4 man box formation it is about any combination of midfield formation 3-5 midfielders playing COMPACT.

    • Yes, it includes the forwards too…also a variation of a defensive backline that is in the form of a diamond is mentioned for coverage. One centerback steps up, one drops back, and the outside backs stay near half field.


      Back Back


      MF MF MF

      F F F

  2. And Arsenal have lost a game in which they were vastly the better team, of course. If they could finish even a little bit they would have 4 or 5

  3. If Arsenal ends up losing this game it will be tough to swallow. They have been soooo much better than United it isnt even close and then they concede an own goal.

  4. Cameron at CB is not going well. Two quick goals. Probably should share some blame on the first. He was caught in no man’s land on the second. Definitely should have done better on the second.

    • In 2018, these players will have little to no importance on the international or club level for United States National Team supporters.

      Answer: Who is Ream, Lichaj, Gooch, Brek and Packwood.

      • I think that’s a bit harsh on Packwood. He is a 21 year old central defender so a bit young to write him off. Let’s see how he does with the Olympics in a couple of years before you say he has no impact at the international level.

      • no no no, you don’t understand. these players aren’t good enough right now, so they couldn’t possibly be good enough 4 years from now. that’s the way it works.

      • -You can replace Ream with an orange traffic cone
        -You have a better shot at a call up than Lichaj
        -You haven’t invented the fountain of youth for a then 36 Onyewu, assuming he’s actually found a regular club
        -You might as well put a horse on ice and tell him to play wing. That’s Brek. .
        -Packwood is the only contender, and even then that’s pure speculation.

        Yes, that is the way it works…Please go on though and gives us more updates on Freddy Adu, Herculez Gomez or Jonathan Bornstein while you’re at it. The optimism is adorable.

      • love that you call it ‘optimism’, when all i’m doing is not rushing to judgment on anyone.

        i’m assuming that you also said in 2006 that herculez wasn’t going to be involved in south africa, and in 2010, that beckerman wasn’t going to be involved in brasil. so just keep on doing you, i guess–it’s obviously working.

      • Oh you do assume, eh? Who’s rushing to judgement now?

        Like I said, your optimism is adorable. Keep it up!

      • Did he say that they were going to go to Russia? They’re Americans Abroad, we here at SBI like to follow Americans Abroad, especially when there are so few of them to talk about.

      • Your selling Ream short when the players you need to have on that list are Besler and Gonzalez. Besler can pass the ball well and that’s about it and Gonzalez, well what can he do well(head the ball)? Ream has had his struggles on the national some years ago but he’s one of the better CB’s in the championship and has also looked up to it with the Nats lately! Besler was torched against an Ireland B team and that doesn’t exactly exude a lot of confidence going forward!

    • Fabian is totally off his game right now. I mean his season isn’t a total waste he has an assist or two but its just not workin for the guy.


      Today’s Bundesliga games are great btw.

      • Let’s be honest.

        The physio isn’t preparing Altidore properly in training and recovery. Otherwise, Altidore would have better performances.

      • if you had actually read the words instead of knee-jerk reacting to a non-critical jozy comment, you would’ve seen that paul’s not actually blaming anyone.

      • tell the truth, del: you’ve got an alert set for any jozy comment that might not be critical.

        whatever he did to you, it couldn’t have been that bad. let it go.

      • I’m still not 100% sure what to make of Jozy Altidore.

        He looks like real quality, some of the time, with the USMNT. He’s scored some really, really good goals…against the likes of Spain (he abused Pujols on that one), got a brace against Germany, got a hat trick against Bosnia (in Bosnia)…his strike rate for the USMNT is pretty durn good. He also looked great in the Netherlands.

        He does not look like the same player in the EPL.

        Dunno what to make of that. People who say “he’s just not that good” have plenty of evidence to support that statement.

        On the other hand, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest the notion that he could indeed be a world-class striker, too.

        Kinda leaves one scratching the head.

      • Ahh, that wasn’t pujol, that was captavilla, big difference, and it was a deflection off the keeper anyway. Jozy has rg3 syndrome.

      • in my totally non-professional opinion, it’s pretty simple: he’s a great system striker.

        jozy thrives on quick attacks and running at defenders, so while he’s especially dangerous in a counterattacking system, he can still do well in certain other system where he’s not required to simply post up and dominate the air.

        so saying “he’s not that good” or “he is that good” are both a little too simplistic. klinsmann (hopefully) has learned by now that jozy will not do well when the team is just trying to bounce balls off him (heh). poyet either hasn’t learned yet, or is just giving up on jozy (which is his prerogative).

      • Don’t over think it. Soccer is a team game. The striker is only as good as the team

        Are any of the Sunderland strikers lighting it up? No.

        Wickham had a nice run of scoring last year because Giacerini set him up. Fletcher has scored this year when winger set him up.

        However the Sunderland team just is not set up, or have the talent, to create a lot of chances for any forward.

        I suspect that even Diego Costa would have trouble scoring for this Sunderland side.

      • Let’s take a closer look at your comments…Against Spain, he did what he is good at, shielding with has back to goal. He out-muscled Pujol and kicked it hard at the goalie that he couldn’t handle it. vs. Germany both scored were blown coverage. During the Bosnia game 2 goals were served to him which he finished with a straight kick. His FK was a thing of beauty maybe he should take more of those. His favorite move is to cut inside on a run dribble and shoot hard. Early in his National career 6 goals out of his first 8 goals where against terrible teams. His only other hat trick was again TT in which the USA was just toying with them and trying to get Jozy the score for his hat trick. Jozy has an athlete physic but he is not a natural goal scorer. He needs two things: service and room to operate, otherwise he is not going to be successful.

      • In the last 2 years Jozy has 12 goals for the US and all have been assisted by just 3 players. Bradley, Zusi and Fabian.

      • quozzel,

        Jozy made a bad move to a bad team and has been in a rut because of that.

        The facts would suggest it is really just about that simple. It can happen to the best of them.

        Jozy receives so much overheated scrutiny in great part because, with Clint abandoning ship, he is the only American player who has done well enough to be in his position i.e. with Clint in the EPL Americans had a guy who was a legitimate top flight attacker in arguably the best league in the world. Now there is only Jozy and he has not performed.

        A few basic facts. Jozy has been a pro since 2006 so he has played 9 seasons. 6 of those seasons have been in Europe, where he has played in 4 different countries. In Europe he has played in 152 games and scored 59 goals in that 6 season span, 51 goals in Holland.

        In that time frame he has received 75 caps from the US , and scored 25 goals for them. He has been to 2 World Cups.

        If you want to compare him to someone, Brian McBride played in 175 games in Europe, the vast majority of then after he was older than Jozy, in two different countries and scored 40 goals, 33 of for Fulham, all of them after his 30th birthday.

        McBride also had 96 caps and scored in three World Cups and had a total of 30 goals for the US.

        What to make of all these facts?

        Jozy does best in a team with a settled system and takes advantage of his strengths. At Viilareal, it seems he was something of an after thought and he did not really shine until he got to AZ where he found a home. At Sunderland I would defy anyone to say they had any sort of coherent offensive system. Still Jozy needed to be mentally tougher and he has not been because he let his early failures get to him. Most likely he needs to move. Hopefully he won’t be such a wussy at his next stop.

        The most important fact about Jozy has to be taken in the context with all the other facts I cited.

        And that is that he is 25 and apparently healthy. At that age McBride was 7 years away from scoring his first goal for Fulham. Granted McBride was an exceptional player but Jozy is not exactly a hack and is almost certainly going to surpass McBride’s US goal total. He is only 6 goals away.

        Jozy is a good player who may or may not get a chance to develop in a very good player. He may move and become a star at his next stop or continue his slide into irrelevance.

        Right at this moment however, until Rubin actually plays a few more games or Boyd actually proves something he remains the US’ best and most proven center forward.

        I’d say, wait and see how Jozy does at his next stop. There is no big rush. The next competition is the Gold Cup where I’m not sure Jozy has played in anyway for many years.

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