Posts Tagged ‘ Everton ’

SoccerNomad Podcast: ATL Evertonians

atl evertonians

ATL Evertonians

I met some members of the Atlanta Evertonians at Fado Buckhead to chat about their group and their Toffees through the years. One of the largest supporter groups in the country for Everton, these fans are loud, passionate and loyal.

Learn more about the group. . .

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Thanks for listening! You can also subscribe via iTunes and please leave a rating and review. Follow me on twitter @austinlong1974.

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Atlanta Supporter Groups

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I’ve been in Atlanta for over two years and have run into tons of passionate and knowledgeable soccer fans, many of whom have formed official and unofficial supporters groups for their favorite clubs. I started jotting down a list and was surprised how many teams were represented throughout the city. Below is what I’ve come up with so far. If I missed a group or got something wrong, let me know.

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English Premier League
Team Nickname Twitter Facebook Bar
Arsenal (Official) ATL Gooners @ATLGooners Facebook Brewhouse
Chelsea (Official) ATL Blues @ATLBlues  Facebook Hudson FC
Chelsea GA Blues @georgia_blues Facebook Ri Ra
Crystal Palace Crystal Palace ATL @CPFC_ATL Facebook Fado Buckhead
Everton (Official) ATL Evertonians @atlevertonians Facebook Fado Buckhead
Leicester Atlanta Foxes @LCFCAtlanta Facebook Brewhouse
Liverpool (Official) LFC ATL @LFCAtlanta Facebook Meehans Downtown
Manchester City ATL Cityzens @MCATLCityzens Facebook Brewhouse
Man Utd (Official) ATL MUFC @atlmufc Facebook Fado Midtown
Man Utd (Unofficial) MUFC ATL (Brew Crew) @ManUtdScAtl  Facebook Brewhouse
Swansea Atlanta Jacks @Atlanta_Jacks Facebook Meehans Vinings
Tottenham (Official) ATL Spurs @ATLSpurs Facebook Meehans Atlantic Station
West Ham (Official) Atlanta Ironworks @IronsAtlanta Facebook Brewhouse
Europe
Team Nickname Twitter Facebook Bar
Bayern Munich (Official) Mia San ATL @miasanatl  Facebook Der Biergarten
FC Barcelona FC Barcelona Atlanta @barca_atl Facebook Fado Buckhead
Real Madrid (Official) Madridistas ATL @MadridistasATL Facebook Olde Blind Dog
South America
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
Corinthians Fiel Torcida USA @FielAtlanta Facebook
Atlanta United FC
Supporter Group Twitter Website
Footie Mob @FootieMob Website Midway
Resurgence @ResurgenceATL Website Brewhouse
Terminus Legion @TerminusLegion Website Fado Buckhead
Faction @TheFactionATL Website Fado Midtown
Atlanta Silverbacks
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
Westside 109 ATLWestside109 Facebook
Atlanta Ultras AtlantaUltras Facebook
Georgia Revolution
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
The Uprising @TheUprisingRevs Facebook
United States National Teams
Supporter Group Twitter Facebook Bar
America Outlaws ATL @atlantaoutlaws Facebook RiRa

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Strip Club–Best (and Worst) of 2013/14

The new European soccer campaign is almost upon us.  Starting with the final rounds of the 2012/13 season, manufacturers started releasing new strips for the upcoming season.  Due to the commercial pressure to release something new every year, clubs and companies are ever more creative and sometimes even risky.

I’m not really going to go too deep into English or Spanish kits.  Kit Nerd has assembled all kit releases for the English Premier League at his site, for one stop browsing.  I’ve mimicked his idea for the La Liga kits, and will be creating a page that has almost every single kit from the Spanish league for the upcoming season.

Here we go.

Possible the creepiest advertising promotion has to go to Chelsea, who simply teased their home kit, “It’s Blue”.  Then adidas released ads with players interacting with blue paint in weird ways.  It has to be seen to be believed.  Last year Nike brought us Purple Reign Pain (Arsenal and FC Porto) and Stop the Sleeve (almost everyone else).  This year the focus has turned to Warrior, who has produced an epic fail in the Liverpool Away and Third kits and one of the worst advertisements in promotion history with the Glory Hole feature of their newest shoe.

Moving on . . .

Starting with AC Milan.  Adidas and the Rossoneri look to put last year’s pocket disaster behind them and went with an away jersey that still isn’t quite right.  Using the gold trim that has accented recent Real Madrid and Swansea kits was a good thought, but then the three stripes goes and adds thin red and black lines to further clutter the front of the shirt.  These additional element clashes with the gold and makes this a miss.

AC Milan 13/14 Adidas Away Football Shirt

Unfortunately, the pocket has returned, this time as part of a new gold third kit.  The shirt itself is serviceable, more of a training kit look in my opinion, but the pocket downgrades it even further.  Has there ever been a time in kit manufacture where a pocket has been a good idea?

AC Milan 13/14 Adidas Third Football Shirt

Another Italian team has done something rather unique.  AS Roma, due to conflict with Kappa, created a kit that was designed and manufactured by the club.  The kit maintains the typical look of the club but adds a couple of innovations, which the post from Football Fashion explains:

  • The shirt is void of the technical sponsor’s logo since it was produced exclusively by the Club.
  • The serial numbers on each jersey further contribute to its uniqueness.
  • A special message will be entrusted to this jersey that is destined to make history.  “Solo per questa maglia…Unico Grande Amore” is the phrase and the commitment which will be on the interior of each jersey.
  • The roman numerals on the collar represent the Club’s foundation year – 1927 – a style that pays tribute to the tradition: the first jersey that gets inspiration from the early 1900’s ROMAN FC team, one of the three clubs that merged together to give birth to the Associazione Sportiva Roma.

New-Roma-Kit-13-14

I like the collar and the subtle trim around the collar itself and the sleeves.  Nike takes over next year so who knows what will happen.

Moving to Scotland, Celtic had awesome kits last year for their 125th anniversary.  This year, not so much.  The home kit takes one of the club’s nickname, The Hoops, to a new level.  Refashioning Manchester United’s awful away kit (blue base with black tire like tracks) from a couple of seasons ago, there are hoops upon hoops, which based on the post on Football Fashion is because “each of the club’s iconic green hoops is made of up seven smaller hoops, which are inspired by some of the club’s greatest players — such as Jimmy Johnstone and Henrik Larsson, who wore the No. 7 shirt.”

I’m not sold.

celtic-home-shirt-2013-14

One quick comment about an English side.  Everton is going to get some flack this year.  The badge redesign went horribly wrong, causing the club to already backtrack.  Focusing on the home jersey, Nike has seen my Stop the Sleeve aggravation and raised me one.  A second stripe now adorns the sleeve.  For what purpose?  Your guess is as good as mine.

Everton 13/14 Nike Home Football Kit

Over in Portugal, Benfica’s home kit is typically solid, some sort of red with adidas striping. This year they have added a sublimated image of their iconic eagle to enhance the offering.  Really like this one and I like their refashioned badge as well.

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AS Saint-Étienne celebrate their 80th anniversary this season and their kits are kinda cool.  The home kit has “the club’s original crest from 1933 is printed on the shirt’s inside upper back (courtesy Football Fashion).”  The away set grabbed me due to the claw marks.  Haven’t seen this since Cameroon’s unique kit at the turn of the century.  The marks are “in reference to ASSE’s adopted symbol since the 1960s (courtesy Football Fashion).”  The additional sponsor on the pectoral makes the shirt a little busy, but other than, both are decent.

New-ASSE-Maillot-2013-14 St-Etienne-Away-jersey

Off the beaten path a little bit, I came across the European kit for Swedish club Malmo FF.  As readers of my Strip Club posts know, I am a sucker for black kits, and this kit is no exception.  Sky blue and white from the club crest accent this strip, and Puma is using a new collar template for most of their kits, which is kinda meh, but doesn’t detract too much from this shirt.

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Speaking of the club badge, it piqued my curiosity.  Further research revealed a couple of interesting tidbits.  According to Wikipedia, the star on top of the crest symbolizes more than 10 league titles, which is similar to Serie A and other leagues.  According to a post on BIGSOCCER.com, here is a possible back story to the Star of David under the club name.

The star beneath the club emblem has nothing at all to do with Judaism nor does the club have any notable Jewish heritage.

The tale of the star is rather simple and goes like this:

Back in the day, Malmö FF:s logo was just the shield with the initials MFF. While MFF was playing some team in another country, legendary MFF chairman Eric Persson (whose nickname was “The Chief”, who held the chairman position from 1937-1975, and who has been described to possess the leadership qualities of an “enlightened despot”) overheard some kid asking his father where the team with the MFF-emblem came from. Eric Persson realized such confusion was unacceptable, and added the “Malmö FF” beneath the shield. And for no reason other than to round off the new logo, he added the star.

Apparently, the star is from the city of Malmö’s old shield. That it happens to be a six-pointed-star rather than a five-pointed one (or seven-pointed, etc) is just happenstance.

For those that looking for a little eye candy, take a look at the offering from German sportswear firm Jako for FC Augsburg.  According to Football Fashion, “the club will wear the same white home kit as last season for its upcoming campaign.” However, Augsburg’s 13/14 away and third kits are both new.

Based on the Football Fashion post, “All three kits were modeled by topless soccer babes wearing bodypainted renditions of the shirt during the launch.”

augsburg

I’m particular to the red head.

augsburg redhead

Finally, PSV Eindhoven marks their 100th anniversary this year and has released beautiful home and away kits.

PSV 13/14 Nike Centenary Home Football Shirt

Love the home shirt.  Simple, modern and classic all at the same time.  A couple of key elements about the shirt presented in the Football Shirt Culture post:

  • PSV’s famous red-and-white stripes have been replaced by a solid red shirt that references the colours worn when they won the UEFA Cup in 1978.
  • The red jersey also recalls PSV’s successful 1987-88 campaign in which they won the Dutch league, the Dutch cup, and for the first and only time in their history, the European Cup.
  • Inside the back of the neck on a bonded woven label is an outline of the famous arch from the main gates of Phillips stadium and the motto “Eendracht maakt macht” (“Unity creates strength”).

This is definitely going on the wish list.  Many years ago I had an old PSV shirt, you know made with the hot polyester, the Philips letter peeling off, and the embroidered crest curling, but I loved it.  The jersey finally headed to into the dustbin of history and this is definitely a worthy replacement.

psv 2013 nike centenary away football shirt

The away kit echoes of one of my favorite kits of all time—2000-02 Arsenal Third.  This  jersey is so fantastic, even the thick sleeve hemming can be overlooked.  Thank god it was not a contrasting color, creating a Stop the Sleeve situation.

All in all kudos to the Nike and the club for creating a memorable selection for such an important historical milestone.

So that’s all I got.  There are hundreds of kits from all over the world, but I only have so much time.  These are the ones that jumped out to me.  If you want to see more, visit the following sites.

Football Fashion

Beautiful Gear

Football Kit News

Football Shirt Culture

Kit Nerd

Quality posts, great pictures and a wide selection on offer.

Old Futbol Buffet–Food Coma

My Saturday began with a dodgeball tournament, and for some reason I blocked off several hours in my calendar.  Turns out it doesn’t take that long, especially when you’re not very good.  Started the competition at 11am, eliminated by 11:45 and off to the bar for the 12:30 kickoff of Manchester City v Swansea City.

The match wasn’t that great.  Swansea barely saw the ball, although when they did in the first half, they were quite dangerous with Luke Skywalker (I mean Michu) leading the line and Ashley Williams causing problems on the left hand side for the Swans.  Second half, not so much, and I never felt they were getting back in to the game.

The Citizens won the game on the moment of brilliance from Tevez.  Simple as that.  The hosts had very limited moments of fluidity and by the end I was trying to figure what Mancini was trying to accomplish with Tevez, Aguero and Balotelli upfront.  Felt Kolarov (substituted at halftime) was completely nondescript, which is fine, but you are playing with 11 players not 10.

Taking the big picture, Simon Curtis wrote this on the Manchester City blog for ESPN FC:

Mancini’s insistence on result over performance is logical, especially during a phase where performance is not up to last season’s high standards. There have been very few sightings of the slick, incessant passing, the overwhelming possession, the lung-busting powerplay that marked so many of City’s games during 2011-12. As in Amsterdam, it was again conspicuous by its absence, but the sight of City in second place in the table with nine games played, despite not yet having hit anything approaching their stride must be a sobering one for the rest of the top six.

After watching the longest game in Premier League history, we switched to the second half of Nancy v PSG.  The game was disconcerting on several levels.  Couldn’t tell if Nancy’s field was the latest in artificial grass technology or the finest pitch every created.  (Confirmed the former by Cedrick Heraux, renowned Ligue Un expert living in Lansing, MI.)  The lighting was weird, creating an unnatural sheen on the grass and every close up showed a perfectly level surface with no cut ups.  Then there was PSG wearing the short sleeves with gloves.  Not a big fan.  Either go long sleeve or lose the mittens.  The quality of the game was AWFUL.  Menez was a turnover machine. He would not pass, would not shoot, would not do anything until he gave the other team the ball.  Pastore was barely involved and Ibra was Ibra.  Like the City game, one player won the match with a sick finish, stunning in its power and accuracy to take PSG to the top of the table.  Jonathon Johnson on the PSG blog for ESPN FC heaped praise on Blaise Matuidi for his performance for the visitors.  Didn’t pick up on it at all, probably because I don’t know very much about PSG and I was too distracted by the loose passes and crunching tackles.

The last game of the day for me was Rayo Vallecano v FCB.  David Villa opened the scoring for the visitors and after a tightly contest affair of about an hour, the Blaugrana took absolute control, eventually winning 5-0.  The hosts went down and responded by pushing forward which left them more and more exposed.  Have to admire the fact that they did go for it but it was all for naught.  Leo Baptistao was starved of service and I didn’t see much in the attack.  As for FCB, I am really starting to wonder about Song and Sanchez.  Song was moved into central midfield to support Cesc and Xavi and seemed to be well placed but I don’t know.  Something is still missing.  As for Sanchez, he is channeling his inner Bojan and trying so hard and not getting the results.  On as a sub to grab an easy goal or two and build his confidence, he went the other direction, making things worse, constantly straying offside needlessly and usually picking the wrong pass or not delivering the correct one.  Aggravating to watch.

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Sunday I headed to the bar to meet with up the guys from Mid-Michigan United not knowing what awaited me over the next four hours—nine goals (that counted), too many talking points to mention, and unbelievable drama.

Everton 2  Liverpool 2

Suarez was immense.  An absolute terror for the Toffees in the first half, he was, in the modern parlance, unplayable.  Everton got back in the game and managed to equalize before halftime, which brought a sensational first period in the pouring rain to a close.  End to end, tons of chances, and meaty challenges.  Fantastic atmosphere.

What Liverpool did tactically in the second is beyond me.  I’m thinking Coates for Sahin with Sterling an advanced forward, was part of a 3-5-2.  The youngster was able to stretch the hosts’ rearguard with Suarez active underneath.  Johnjo was brought in to for bite, but it almost seemed there were too many cooks in the Liverpool midfield kitchen.

The game could only end one way: Suarez, the current villain, for the win. As the headline and journalists were about to hit enter, the AR raised his flag.  At first we thought it was for offside but there were some reports on twitter that the infringement was on Coates for climbing up the back of his marker.  Regardless, the goal was chalked off, and the two city rivals shared the points.

Chelsea 2  Manchester United 3

Having seen the Reds and Blues of Liverpool put on a show, the Reds of Manchester and the Blues of London saw the controversy, comebacks and goals of the Merseyside Derby and raised it.  United, similar to their explosive start against Newcastle, overran Chelsea in the opening 20 minutes or so, went 2-0 up and looked set to blow the title race wide open.  And then the new Chelsea took over, aided by United’s lack of drive.

RvP had the goals but it was Mata that was on fire in the match.  His free kick was truly special and it gave the Blues the platform from which to salvage something in the second half.  Truth be told, once Ramires nodded home from close range there was only one team winning the game.  Until Clattenberg intervened.  Young’s run on Ivanovic was clever and put the Serbian defender under pressure.  The Chelsea defender did nick him and deserved a card but not to be sent off.  United still could not break down the Blues and Mata continued to look dangerous.  And then Torres saw red.  I felt it was a dive from the off.  I guess Evans claimed later that he did touch him but I don’t know.  As one of the fans at the game said afterwards, the ref has got to realize the context of the game.  You can’t send Torres off there.

Chelsea down to nine men hung on bravely before conceding the winner in debatable circumstances.  Cech took the sting out of RvP’s shot and then a gang of Chelsea defenders beat Chicharito to the goal line to clear.  Rafael instantly fired back into the goal box and the Little Pea was first to react.  Cries of offside are still being claimed, and based on the replay maybe he was.  Here’s my take.  Complete pandemonium, players reacting in split seconds, the critical moment, all lead to the time for a decision.  How is a human supposed to keep track of all that?  On another day he’s offside and each side leaves with a point.

My biggest concern is that United has already used up a ton of luck, karma, and get out of jail cards.  Comebacks against Southampton and Stoke; absolute screw jobs against Liverpool and Chelsea.  We are only a quarter of the way through the season, and the Red Devils may lack the rub of the green later in the season when the title hangs in the balance.

Chelsea are the real deal.  I fear them above City because once they started moving through the gears, the results were stunning.  There is a concern that they may fade after the break, which RdM needs to start addressing.  More Sturridge.  More Betrand.  More guy with the unpronounceable name.  He knows his best eleven and has a group that can bring the title back to London, but he needs to save it for the key games and not burn it out in November.  A three horse race in May?  Could happen in the season of the weird.

Scott the Red tried to keep things in perspective after United’s controversial win at Stamford Bridge.  Any of the calls could have gone a different way, but the Reds got the breaks and broke a 10 year streak without a win at Chelsea.  While Rooney dominated the first half hour, RvP was called out for special praise and De Gea is his #1 choice in goal.  United are back in the hunt and there is still a lot of the season ahead of us.

Karan at the Chelsea SB Nation blog took the long view in his post, noting that Chelsea are actually surpassing expectations this season and have now been given chip on their shoulder for the upcoming fixtures.  I have watched the Blues twice this season, away at Arsenal and at home against Manchester United.  The match against the Gunners was a classic counterpuncher’s effort while the United game saw them lose the opening rounds, completely take over the fight, only to have the judges steal it from them at the end.  This team can win the league.  There’s not doubt in my mind now.

Zonal Marking analyzed the match on his website.  He saw United’s 4-4-2 morph into a 4-1-4-1 once the lead had been established while Chelsea came back into the game but were not able to unlock United from open play.  I agree with him that it would have been interested to see how the game would have played out at 10 v 11.  I imagine it would have been similar to the Chelsea/FCB Champions League semi.

All in all, a fantastic weekend of footy.  This weekend was a glimpse into what life would be like without a wife and kid, sitting on barstools, drinking, yelling, absorbed by men kicking a ball made of space age polymers.

Old Futbol Buffet–Ponytail, Dive, Ghost Goal, Dramatic Finish

As I’ve mentioned previously, I really haven’t been following the FA Cup. Watched United win a weird game against City before watching them crash against Liverpool and saw snippets of Spurs road to the semis, including the unsettling abandoned game against Bolton. However, due to the teams involved and my recent part in organizing watch parties at the local pub, I was excited about the Semi-Final lineup.

We had been building up towards the Merseyside Derby, which was the early game on Saturday. We have a strong Liverpool contingent so emotions and interest were running high, but I got a text late Friday night that our venue was in question. I made calls and confirmed that we could not get in, so I tried another site and that was a no go as well. So I went to bed and didn’t set the alarm. I followed the game on twitter and when the Toffees went up 1-0, I was like ok, here we go. But then Suarez equalized and then with minutes remaining, Andy Carroll saved King Kenny’s bacon again to put the Scousers in another cup final.

In talking to a Liverpool supporter that afternoon, I asked, What now for Andy Carroll? Do they, in my opinion, waste another year on him or move on? The two goals this week cannot turn the tide can they? Liverpool are a mess and I don’t think the big Englishman is any part of the answer, but what do I know?

Sunday saw Chelsea against Tottenham, with both teams fielding pretty strong line-ups. The first half was eye gougingly bad, with loose passes and sloppy play in general. The last ten minutes were fantastic as Spurs nearly scored twice before Drogba produced a filthy finish to give the Blues the lead. A controversial second goal early in the second half seemed to have finished the game but Adebayor sliced open Chelsea and was taken down. Instead of giving the PK and sending off Cech, Bale tapped in the loose ball.  Cue the talking points graphic.  Spurs were unable to seize the initiative and Chelsea then scored two more, one sublime and the other simply amazing. Malouda added a fifth and that was that. Instead of a potentially fun final of Everton and Tottenham, we get Liverpool against Chelsea. Ugh. Guess I’ll have to start drinking at 10am to get through that match.

Spooky feels that Spurs are underachieving and points to the moment Fabio resigned as the moment it all went wrong.  After Sunday’s performance, not sure that they can save what was going to be an amazing season.

Zonal Marking reviewed the changing shape of Chelsea this year from AVB’s pressing 4-3-3 to his revised 4-2-1-3 to Di Matteo’s 4-2-3-1/4-4-1-1, using more disciplined, tactical players in the wide roles.  This clearly was on show in the game against Barca as Ramires played wide left to keep track of Alves and it his awareness that led to the goal as well.

As for the chase for league honors, United’s slip against Wigan opened the door a crack for City, who bravely kicked it in with 6-1 thrashing of Norwich, putting the pressure back on United at home to Villa. Young went down pretty easily, Rooney converted the spot kick and from there it was relatively smooth sailing for the Red Devils. Have to say that set piece defending needs to be addressed as that was Villa’s only way of scoring and they nearly did several times.

Scott at The Republik of Mancunia enjoyed the Red Devils response against Villa, highlighting Valencia’s performance on the day.  The end of his post is optimistic yet realistic: We look good for the title but I won’t be getting any “20″ banners out just yet.

Miguel Delaney wrote an interesting piece on Soccernet comparing first and second forms of each teams (Fulham most improved; Spurs in the worst form) while relating this year’s campaign to the dramatic seasons of 92-93, 95-96 and 2010-11.

There was tragedy in Italy over the weekend as Piermario Morosini died Saturday after suffering cardiac arrest during Livorno’s Serie B match at Pescara. The entire slate of games was postponed and put a damper on what has turned out to be an exciting finish for the scudetto and European places.

In Holland, a tight finish could be blown open if Ajax win their game in hand.

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Twente Enschede

 

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Wrapped up the weekend with an indoor doubleheader. In the first game we played poorly and were down 4-2 with about 4 or 5 minutes to go, but we stepped up the intensity and ran out 5-4 winners. Love my team. The second game was a walk, especially the last 10 minutes or so when we literally walked. The outdoor season starts in two weeks and should be another fun season.

Old Futbol Buffet–Spuds Baked by Toffees

This weekend was supposed to be relaxing, and it turned into a complete blur.  A relaxing Saturday went sideways with a phone call.  I cleaned the house in the morning and got some work done on assorted tasks (starting soccer paperwork for the upcoming season, planning a community event, scheduling watch parties for the rest of the season) so that I could watch Everton against Spurs and Malaga versus Levante.  While sitting in the pub, my wife called me to let me know that our son was in another floor hockey tournament.  Result?  The evening was spent at a local gym cheering on my son’s team.  I didn’t get to all of the articles and pods and stuff I had saved for the evening, therefore, I’ll just spill my guts on Toffees and Spuds and go from there.

Everton 1  Tottenham Hotspur 0

The game kicked off with interesting choices from Spurs.  Bale started on the right, presumably as an inverted winger, and Harry went with Defoe and Adebayor up top, with Saha warming the bench.  As for Everton, Jelavic, started up top, and as I hadn’t seen him play, I was interested to see him play.

Spurs were well off the pace in the first half.  Except for a Parker ball to Bale in the right hand channel and Defoe making a great run off thrown in, there wasn’t much in their attack.  Would have been nice if Defoe and Adebayor had been playing the same game, and I wondered as the half progressed what their plan of attack was.  ‘Aarry must have heard me from the pub because I told James I would switch Bale and Modric to provide some better width and getWalkerinvolved.  By the way, Bale has no right foot.  Two times in the right hand channel he chose the inside/out option rather than serve with right foot.

The second half saw more energy and sharpness from Spurs but still no goals.  Started with the same group with Bale back on the right hand side.  Immediately they created chances but could not score.  Eventually Harry subbed in Saha, VdV and Livermore but everything was a no go.  Defoe had a woeful game.  Scored but offside, put several shots into the stands, and just didn’t have it.  Saha almost equalized but hit the post.  Spurs are now in freefall and, if Arsenal beats Newcastle, then ‘Arry’s world could completely collapse.

A couple of notes on Everton.  I assume that the Coleman on the Toffees was Seamus Coleman, who I believe is Irish.  Had a nice game.  Great work from Osman to set up Jelavic with a tricky finish that Friedel almost saved.  Jelavic had two attempts on goal, one went in and one challenged Friedel.  Cahill was practically invisible.  Finally, it was my first time seeing the Howard GK kit in living color .  Yeesh!!

In the world of the mundane, why did Harry keep changing seats?

Zonal Marking broke down the game into 5 points, each one showing why the Toffees won the match instead of the Londoners.  This was a game where the absence of VdV really cost Spurs, as they never got control of the middle.  Combine that with a lack of width and Everton was able to stay compact and pick their moments.  Good read.

Spooky was slightly more restrained this week, trying to keep Spurs’ mini-crisis in context, but he pinpointed what Tottenham is lacking—desire and guile.  Maybe they start a recovery this weekend in the FA Cup.  Hint to Harry, play Bale on the left.  Spooky also discussed the Welshmen’s role in this squad.

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Other stuff

Manchester United went top of the table as City crashed to Swansea.  Truly unbelievable when you think of the injuries and loss of form from the first couple of weeks of the season.

Phil had Doron Salomon (@DoronSalomon) on the Beyond the Pitch pod to talk about recent results, youth players (including Pogba and Petrucci), United’s wage, contract and transfer policies, and the upcoming run-in. Really informative and I highly recommend it.

Meanwhile, on the Manchester United Redcast, Eddie and Robert took a pulse of the fans after an entertaining loss to Athletic Bilbao and and a vital win over WBA which took them to the top of the table.  Also, they looked at the impact of Scholes, Rio and Rooney.

The SI Soccer Roundtable this week looked ahead to the upcoming MLS season, with thoughts on key story lines in the US First Division.  Speaking of MLS, I read an article that talked about how NBC plans to broadcast games: a split announcing duo, one up in the stands, one in a booth on the field.  Isn’t that what a sideline reporter is supposed to do?

With Michael Davies on vacation, Roger held down the Men in Blazers fort, talking with Don Garber and Timber Joey.  I wasn’t aware of Garber’s background in the NFL and have to say he has done well guiding the league to this point.  I also learned about Portland’s unique goal celebration, which has Timber Joey slicing off a bit of a log for each goal.  Now that I have to see.

Ernst Bouwes ran the ruler of the title contenders in the Eredivisie, with several teams in the hunt to dethrone Ajax.  With each team flawed and suffering injuries, the title is still up for grabs.

Finally, Juventus drew again.  That makes it six draws in their last seven matches, and the Old Lady is now four points behind Milan.  If Lazio win their next match, the Romans will close to within two points of second.

Adam Digby returned to Juventiknows.com to recap the match against Genoa, with the Bianconeri drawing again.  The title is probably just beyond them and Conte has real work to do in this offseason in order to increase the creativity and finishing in the squad.

Paolo Bandini looked at Lavezzi’s recent run of form for Napoli as the team make a late push for third place in Serie A.  I read this article just after checking the score againstChelsea in the Champions League, a crushing 4-1 extra defeat that knocked the Italians out after they looked all but in the quarters.

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