Old Futbol Buffet–Up and Running
Back in the saddle again. The EPL kicked off on Saturday, and Mid Michigan United got together to watch Newcastle host Spurs. The Spuds are my second English team so I was anxious to see how they would set up shop this year. Plus I wanted to see if the Magpies first game since a surprise fifth place finish last year.
I walked into Buffalo Wild Wings and was greeted with a host of African descent sporting pulled back dreadlocks. No not Edgar Davids. Mario Melchiot. What the what? Found him very hard to understand (of what I could hear). And where was AVB’s London Fog jacket? Redoing his image perhaps? Anyway people started trickling in and I ended up keeping my kid under control and talking to Damon Rensing, Head Coach of the MSU Men’s Soccer team for a while, so I missed almost the entire first half. From what I could tell I didn’t miss too much.
One thing that stood out was Newcastle’s corner kick routine. It seemed as if two players were slow dancing at eighth grade Catholic dance (enough room for the Holy Spirit in between) before being joined by a third player. Very weird.
The second half turned out to be more entertaining as Ba got things started with a lovely finish. Chances came and went before Defore smashed home after Krul made the initial save. There was a hint of offside but no matter. Then it was a race to the finish as the substitutes maintained the energy and the attempts on goal. The decider came from two Spurs attacking players doing something idiotic—VdV and Lennon had Hatem Ben Arfa on lock down just outside the area but allowed him to wriggle his way between them. To compound that error there was a slight trip and an awkward clattering that led to a penalty which HBA dispatched to seal the three points.
A decent game highlighted by several quality efforts on both sides and a moment of madness from Pardew who shoved the assistant referee for a supposed blown call. Not smart. Plus he couldn’t get the walkie talkie to work up in the stands. By the way, why don’t coaches have to go sit in the corner aka the locker room like players? Anyway, hopefully United get off to a good start Monday afternoon and then next weekend it is Liverpool v City.
Spooky’s song sheet for the upcoming season reads: patience and positivity as AVB tries to put together pieces which may or may not be in place yet.
Zonal Marking looked at the match, pointing out the impact Ben Arfa had on the match. He also looked at Pardew’s tactical change for the Magpies at halftime when he switched to a 4-3-3.
To get ready for the upcoming season, I listened to several pods, covering a wide range of topics.
Phil and Anto had Sandy Jardine on Beyond the Pitch to talk about Glasgow Rangers. To be honest I had no idea who he was, but this Scottish legend discussed the current situation for the Scottish giant. Unfortunate circumstances got them to this point, but there is hope for the future.
The gang at Juventiknows dedicated a whole week to Alessandro del Piero, including photos, posts and a pod devoted entirely the Juve legend. ADP generated some many great memories and it was a joy to take a look back.
Finally, in an attempt to up to speed for the upcoming EPL season, I checked out the first pods from Men in Blazers and the Manchester United Redcast. Roger and Michael predict a weird season on the horizon while the panel at the Redcast are pessimistic that the Reds can take back the title from the Blues of City.
Found some more stuff throughout the week . . .
Ben Lyttleton looked at ten possible EPL story lines for the upcoming season—from matching the drama of last year’s final day to all of the coaching to the players moving from team to team.
James Horncastle examinted the impact Conte’s suspension might have for Juve.