Posts Tagged ‘ Manchester United Redcast ’

Recent Media Intake

Here’s some of the stuff I’ve been reading/listening to over the last week . . .

Eddie and Robert broke down the fallout of Shirtgate for the Manchester United Redcast, with Rio failing to wear the Kick It Out T-shirt, which left Fergie out on a limb.  Is this the beginning of the end for the defender or just a simple miscommunication?  As for the Chelsea game, they noted that once Rooney starts scoring, he usually scores in bunches and they hope that Fergie doesn’t make a mistake like the one against City last year, ie highly defensive 4-5-1.

Speaking of Manchester United, I found an excerpt from Rob Smyth on Guardian Sport.  He wrote a piece on Roy Keane for an upcoming book Life’s a Pitch: The Passions of the Press Box about Smyth compared the Manchester United midfielder to pop icons Tyler Durden and Tony Soprano, which was interesting.  Reading this piece you understand why he will never be a good manager—he simply demands a level of performance that is impossible to consistently attain.

Moving on to Arsenal, Nick Hornby was on last week’s Men in Blazers to talk about the release of the 20th anniversary of Fever Pitch, the future of fandom, comments on the season thus far and thoughts on his e-book Pray, which recounts the dramatic 2011-12 season.

As for the Premier League in general, looks like the US EPL rights are going to the Peacock.  After a relationship of over 15 years with Fox (regional channels, the creation of Fox Sports World which morphed into Fox Soccer Channel and even led to the Champions League Final being shown on FOX), and leased games to the four letter network, the biggest league in the world is being shown the money and is moving to elsewhere.  Richard Deitsch posted Friday on SI.com that NBC, in particular NBC Sports Network, looks to be in the driver’s seat, with BeIN also a possibility.  It will be interesting to see if NBC shows games a la FOX national and if they develop an online platform and/or use their vast array of channels.

Nike sold Umbro.  Yawn.  The company will not exist in 10 years. Get over it.

Finally, there was lots of buzz this week about the possibility of the US hosting the 2016 Copa America.  At first it seemed like a done deal but there has been significant back tracking and conflicting details.  Would it be a 12 or 16 team tournament?  If it is 16 teams and involves several CONCACAF teams, does not seem like a Copa America but a Copa of the Americas? I don’t mind the US hosting and being and invited participant but it does seem weird that this country would host the 100th anniversary of a South American tournament, radically changing the structure and make up of the competition.  Just sayin.  Grant Wahl offered some other considerations for SI.com.

One player who probably won’t be there is Landon Donovan.  Roger Bennett sat down with US star for ESPN FC.  The long time face of MLS and the USMNT spoke about his future, including possibly not playing at the 2014 World Cup.  I appreciated his self-analysis about motivation and his desires for the future.  He has given a lot to his clubs and his country and maybe it’s time to move on.

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.

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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.

Old Futbol Buffet–Team of Destiny

I became an atheist shortly after 5pm EDT on Saturday.  How?  Why?  The 2012 Champions League Final.  How could a supreme being let a team of over-aged, racist, manipulating, selfish, underhanded players win one of the biggest trophies on the planet?  Not only win but consign Spurs to the secondary European competition and start a probable fire sale?  Not only win but beat their opponents on their home field to complete a horror treble (second in the league, runner up in the domestic cup, runner up in the Champions League Final) a la Bayer Leverkusen in 2002?  Not only win but let a disgraced captain—who hacked down an opponent in the semis to rule himself out of the game, who is up on charges of racism, who slept with a teammate’s significant other—lift a trophy of the highest order in football?

That first sentence was purely hyperbole for this post.  I disavowed God years ago.

I have no idea what happened in the game in terms of tactics and personnel.  I was at a bar with over 50 soccer supporters, drinking and ranting and yelling and taking pics and trying not to pull my ample hair out.  The first half flew by and was more entertaining than I thought it was going to be. Chelsea actually came into the game towards the end and were the best team for the last ten minutes.  A critical moment occurred when Gomez received the ball, beat Cahill and then blasted the ball into the stands.

The second half reverted to the typical script. Barcelona, Bayern, whoever, dominated Chelsea but couldn’t break them down; Drogba became isolated; time ticked away.  I kept screaming at the screen for Munich to start crossing the ball, to start challenging the Chelsea rearguard.  Guess what?  They crossed the ball in for Muller to head home, a goal that had been coming for him.  Immediately Heynckes subbed in Van Buyten for Muller.  Made sense at the time but looking back that might have been the turning point.  Five minutes later, Chelsea had their only corner kick of the match, and of course Drogba got away from his defender to score.  On to extra time.

Basically Drogba committed two penalties in the last two Champions League games and got away with it.  His foul on Ribery was idiotic.  One, what was he doing in the box?  Two, what did he hope to accomplish?  Three, how could he have been so stupid?  Robben’s penalty was horrible.  Well struck but not nearly accurate enough.  As someone tweeted:  all those Germans and they let the Dutchmen take the penalty.  After that there was only one result: The Team of Destiny would beat the Team at Home.  I tweeted that and resigned myself to a Chelsea victory in the shootout.

Not much to say about the penalties other than Schweini missed his and that was that.  Epic against Real Madrid, he didn’t strike it well enough and allowed Drogba to step forward and seize the moment, which he duly did, sending Neuer the wrong way before sprinting the length of the field, ripping his jersey off and soaking up the adulation.

Chelsea—sixth in the league, on the umpteenth manager in the Abramovich era, still in need of squad renewal—are European Champions.  Those are the facts.  I can’t change them, no matter how much I want to.  All this game revealed to me is that I’m snakebitten this season.  Just that simple.  Barcelona went down to Real Madrid and Chelski; Manchester United had the title pried from their fingers in 120 seconds on #Survival Sunday; Juventus won the scudetto only after I stopped paying attention after four years of hardcore support.  So now my strategy for the Euros is to root for Portugal, ensuring that this group of talented but brain dead players can’t win the competition.

When in doubt, I refer to Zonal Marking for analysis.  ZM’s secret identity (Michael Cox) wrote this post for the Guardian shortly after the final whistle, identifying the key trends in movement and player choices, noting that Muller and Mata were critical the match.  As for the final result, the substitutes proved the difference.

Roger Bennett (@rogbennett) summed up the game as only he can with witty and incisive and confusing comparisons and metaphors, while noting that Cech had been researching Bayern penalties since 2007 (diving correctly on all six, saving three), but he hit the proverbial nail on the head towards the end of his post:

This cup was won by repeatedly summoning glory out of the jaws of defeat through collective endeavor, resilience in adversity, indefatigable belief and gutsy pragmatism. The public profile of some of its players may make Chelsea tough to love, but its achievement is hard not to admire.

Jonathon Wilson broke down the tactics of the game, noting that both teams got their formations right but the difference was in execution.  Both teams were without key players which forced interesting changes, with both teams coping—Bertrand doing admirably in such a big game and Muller and Robben swapping positions as examples—but Bayern didn’t convert their chances, Gomez being the notable scapegoat.  Chelsea rode their luck, made their chance count and then Cech did the rest.

Raphael Honigstein was in Munich for another Final Failure for Bayern Munich, as memories of 1999 came back, with an English team snatching the trophy from Die Roten.  There was talk of change, but for me only one change has to be made—Gomez.  Get a clinical forward and Bayern can truly threaten the big boys and be yearly threat.  That is all.

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A couple of pods regarding Manchester United and Juventus.

Bobby and Eddie at the Manchester United Redcast were like me in that they started to believe at 85 minutes and then the moment, and the championship, was gone. They moved on to discuss how MUFC might respond to another challenger like Blackburn, like Arsenal, like Chelsea. They finished with a hope that Chelsea would win so that the Reds could poach Tottenham players.

The gang at Juventiknows got the pod back together to discuss the scudetto victory.  They led off in terms of belief and where everyone celebrated the championship before moving on to praise for Conte and his preparation and flexible tactics.  The next topic was the transfer policy of Marotta for this season and looking ahead to what they need for next (ie Pirlo replacement).  They wrapped up with thoughts on next season, with more games and more expectations.

Paolo Bandini reviewed a Coppa Italia full of storylines—Juventus’ bid for an unbeaten double, Del Piero’s last game for Juve, and Napoli’s run at their first piece of silverware since Maradona.  In the end, Napoli ran out 2-0 winners and now face the future, knowing that key players could move on.

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Uli Hesse wrote a great column about the final weekend in Germany, with results from the playoffs and the German Cup Final, where Dortmund thrashed Bayern Munich 5-2.  This result was the fifth straight win over the German power and was the most goals Die Roten have every given up in a final.  Uli kept with the stats with this stunner: Unless the French Ligue 1 produces 167 goals on its final matchday, the Bundesliga is once more the highest-scoring of the major European leagues – for the 22nd year in row!

Old Futbol Buffet–One Eye on Work and the other on Footy

The weekend was busy for me and in the world of footy, and I didn’t get to everything on Monday’s post.

In England, Jonathan Wilson urges patience as Chelsea continue their transition from Mourinho’s Old Guard to whatever the future will look like with AVB at the helm. Looks like their early season wobble is behind them, although the late Wigan draw will not have helped. My guess is that the Blues will pass Spurs and the real test will be the Champions League, where they have been drawn against Napoli. If the Blues press in their current fashion, they will be beaten, so hopefully AVB gets his message across before February.

Meanwhile, in Serie A, the guys at Juventiknows gave their thoughts on The Old Lady’s win over Novara, which included several players who have not seen the field much this season. Hopefully Quags can get back to his goal scoring best and De Ceglie can provide cover and quality at left back.

As for the entire league, Paolo Bandini recapped the weekend in Serie A, focusing on matches involving the teams from the capital. Lazio continue to challenge and they earned a draw against fellow contender Udinese while Roma have had good results heading into the break (draw against Juve and a win against Napoli).

After Tuesday and Wednesday’s matches, Paolo reflected on a Serie A campaign that heads into the winter break with a struggle at the top involving teams, each with an issue.  AC Milan, the defending champs, back on top after a slow start.  Juventus, traditional power, unbeaten, and hard to break down but maybe lacking that cutting edge that will deliver the shield.  Udinese has lost key players but keeps hanging in there, producing an extraordinary home form.  Lazio is back in the hunt but can they go one step further than last year? And there is Inter, left for dead again but quietly rising up the table and now sit in fifth, ready to pounce if they top teams slip up.  Can’t wait for the second half of the season.

I don’t follow German soccer as much as I would like, but I enjoy reading Uli Hesse, and he wrote a column about events in the Bundesliga as the league heads into a proper winter break, with teams not returning to the field until January 21. One of the items he mentioned was Raul’s hat trick against Werder, which I had heard about on one of Sid Lowe’s appearances. Some have even mentioned that he may be back in the frame for the Spanish National Team. Poppycock. Another thing Uli touched on was the excitement of the league, especially at the top of the table.

Alexandra (@AlexandraJonson) from Total Barca was able to talk to Graham Hunter in the wake of El Clasico to get his thoughts on that game and the future of the Blaugrana. Graham was very high on Barca’s performance against Real, saying that it was better than the 5-0 thrashing last November because of the circumstances: poor away form and the early goal. But where he really got going was about the prospects coming through La Masia, especially a Cameroonian named Dongou. I had just read about Sergi Samper, so to hear about another player of great quality is exciting.

Tim Vickery asked Brazilian football to examine Barcelona’s philosophy in the aftermath of Barca’s 4-0 win against Santos. Neymar was a non-factor as Barca passed and passed and passed the South American champions into brutal submission. He wraps his thoughts with the following statement:

The value of defeat is always in the lessons that it can teach. Perhaps the big lesson that Barcelona have taught in Yokohama is this: if Brazilian football wants to keep on winning not only titles but also hearts then it would be well advised to get back in touch with elements of its own tradition. There is an argument against the view that possession football is outdated and that the central midfielders should be unimaginative giants. Its case was made loud and clear in Japan this Sunday.

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Matches

Udinese 0 Juventus 0

In preparation for the match, Adam Digby posted a piece about previous Juventus trips to Udine, which reminds supporters how far this current team needs to go to hit the heights again. Maybe this new look squad will match the class of 2001, but I think most fans would be content with improvement over the last two years of inconsistent play and embarrassing results.

Going into this match I had a lot of anticipation. A true top of the table clash, Udinese had not lost at home and Juventus had not lost all season. After the Juve game against Napoli, I was expecting fireworks, but that didn’t come off. Despite my excitement and desire to be fully engnaged in the match, I really had to get some work done before the holiday break. I watched as much as I could so you’ll have to take my thoughts for what they are worth.

There was some confusion about the formation, but it looked like Pepe was playing somewhere between a forward and midfielder depending on how quickly Juve were able to transition. Vidal was great, working hard and getting stuck in, and Pirlo blew very hot and cold, with some incisive passing and frustrating turnovers. Towards the end of the first half I tweeted: if marchisio finds his finishing boots or matri finds his dribbling boots, this match is over. The defense seemed to get caught on the counter and each player in the back was responsible for poor decisions in either execution or thought.

Halftime came with no score, and the fluidity of the first half was gone in the second period. Matri and Pepe committed too many turnovers and Estigarribia almost an auxiliary left back. Udinese’s attack was blunt to be kind. Di Natale was pretty selfish and, since he was not firing on all cylinders, he could have involved the team more. But then I looked at those around him, dribbling into blind alleys and missing simple passes. Guess I would have tried to do it myself too.

Conte subbed Matri and Pepe for Quags and ADP respectively, which helped a little bit but Quags not able to really test the goalkeeper. Juventus looked the more likely to score but the final whistle blew with no goals. A disappointing match to watch but as someone mentioned on twitter, Juve have played most of the Scudetto contenders away, so if they take care of business at home, the Old Lady has a real shot at a Champions League place.

At the end of the match, I summarized on twitter thusly: Juve=poor, esp in 2nd hf. Pirlo very inconsistent, Esti worthless, Matri not on form & team not fluid/crisp. But unbeaten & top of table.

Fulham 0 Manchester United 5

Again I wanted to watch this match but figured it would be a dire 1-0 affair. Boy was I wrong.

United went right at the Cottagers, with Nani setting up Welbeck after five minutes. The Red Devils continued the pressure and Nani got the second off a short corner. Fulham were toothless going forward and were punished on a United counter as Nani found Giggs just inisde the box and his deflected shot looped over the keeper for United’s third. Halftime came and there was only one side in it. Much better start from Fulham as United had eased off and the hosts looked to take the saran wrap off the goal. They failed to capitalize and United eventually came back into the game with about half an hour remaining. The game petered out with a series of half chances from each side, when Rooney added a sizzling strike and Berba chipped in with a sublime finish with just minutes to go. An easy victory and United get the Holiday Program off to a great start. The only downer was injuries to Young and Jones. Looks like Young might be out for a little bit while Jones took a nasty elbow from Dempsey and the coaching staff is waiting for results to see the extent of the injury.

Tottenham Hotspur 1  Chelsea 1

An electric start to the match with Spurs creating several half chances.  The home side played a weird formation, with a straight forward backline but a midfield of Bale on the left with Modric, Parker and VdV (basically no out and out right midfielder) in front of Sandro, who looked excellent, with Adebayor up top.  Sandro made a perfect tackle in the middle of the field on Sturridge and released Bale, who put in a dangerous ball across the six yard box which Adebayor was able to redirect into the goal. Chelsea responded and minutes later Drogba flicked in a ball that bounced off Ashley Cole’s arm before he crossed for Sturridge to tap in. The rest of the half was chippy, plus stop and start due to injuries to Ivanovic and Mikel, which allowed me to see Romeu play.

The second half started with Chelsea in control as it took Spurs almost 15 minutes to snap out of it. At the interval, Harry subbed Pav for VdV, which did . . . nothing. For the Blues, AVB brought on Torres for Drogba. Why? Drogs had been dangerous in link up play and at the end of crosses. Not sure what the Portuguese manager was thinking.  The last quarter of an hour was exciting with teams creating and missing chances and Cech in particular coming up big saves.

An exciting match, lacking that last bit of quality, with the London teams shared the points while the Manc teams flashed a wry smile.

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Podcasts

The World Football Phone In did an epic four hour show, complete with all three experts and a live studio audience.  Have to say it was pretty cool.  Here are some of the topics they covered:

  • Borges of Santos
  • Possible European Super League.  Brassell thinks that the Europa League may eventually come good and dismissed the super league because of domestic rivalries and teams may tire of finishing mid-table year after year.
  • Sean Wheelock commented on Beckham’s legacy in the MLS.
  • When asked about a fantasy Christmas gift, Tim Vickery mentioned a 1950 Brazil home jersey because that was the last they played in white.  Wait? What?
  • The panel and guests discussed racism in the world of football.
  • Finally there some funny anecdotes on coaching rants including Keegan, Kinnear, and several others that were not fit to air.

The guys at the Manchester United Redcast were in better spirits heading into the break after a couple of nice victories.  The squad seem to be finding their groove again.

Old Futbol Buffet–Two Late Goals

So I took a little break from blogging over the past two weeks, although I didn’t take a break from watching games and listening to podcasts. I caught an amazing game between FCB and Valencia; watched United struggle away to Stoke, where Crouch scored with his head (collector’s item); and struggled through Juventus’ 1-1 draw at Catania. Elia made his debut and looked far from the dynamic player that is in the orange of Holland.

I lost my podcast notes from the previous week, but basically if you are not subscribed to Guardian’s Football Weekly, Beyond the Pitch and the World Football Phone-In, you are missing out.

Xavier Rivoire was asked about the current French Revolution at Newcastle on the Off the Ball show on Monday 9/26. He says the original Revolution was in the mid-90’s, led by the fabulous David Ginola, which were great times.

The panel of the Manchester United Redcast was brought back to Earth after draws against Benfica and Stoke City. They wondered if the Red Devils were too dependent on Rooney. Maybe, maybe not, but they can’t maintain this pace without Wazza and Chicharito. During the show Robert Meakin told why Darren Fletcher is valuable and his summary was spot on.

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Looking at the slate of games for Saturday was a little underwhelming, especially when compared to Sunday’s matches—North London Derby, Atletico Madrid v Sevilla, Juventus v AC Milan and PSG against Lyon. My grand plan was to wake up, clean the house and go to a local establishment for a triple header before my Over 30 Final under the lights.

Well that didn’t happen. We saw some friends we hadn’t seen in a while. A couple of Magic Hats and Gin & Tonics later, we ended up spending the night. We spent a leisurely morning with them before heading home. Our slow start to the day took out Spurs v Arsenal and Atletico v Sevilla. I got my housework done and got my nap in, then headed out for the Serie A clash.

First off was to grab a quick salad and head to work to watch the game online. The Drive Thru line around McDonald’s was wrapped around the building, so I made a quick decision to go inside and watch the game. The internet connection was absolutely horrible and I saw very little. At halftime, I packed up and headed to work.

Juventus were much sharper than my previous viewings, with Vucinic going close several times in the first half. Milan didn’t do much in the opening period (that I could see), but started the second half well and asked a couple of questions. The game was much more balanced in the second period with Milan frustrated but content with a share of the points.

Vidal really deserved a goal and his laser just went wide with 15 minutes to go. Vucinic as well moments later, but the match was crawling towards a draw, with both teams very tired. Then magic happened. Vucinic and Marchisio played a one two that didn’t quite come off, but the clearance went of Marchisio’s foot and into the back of the net. 1-0 Juventus on 87 minutes and the stadium went wild. They closed out the match, with Marchisio grabbing a second, and gained three vital points over their rivals.

Riding the wave of adrenaline, I went to my match. I had been sick all week and knew my fitness would suffer, but I planned to give it a go and do what I could for the team. We were down a couple of key players but felt confident that we could win the game, which would give us a league and cup double.

We started horribly, conceding possession, defending shambolically and a lacking a cutting edge up top, yet the game remained scoreless until just before the break. Our fastest forward darted through their back line and went in on goal. His shot was saved but his forward partner gathered the loose ball, settled himself and buried it. One nothing to the Evil Empire at the interval.

In the second half our opponents took it us and finally scored early in the second half. We had a bad match up and their top scorer got in on goal. After that, the game went back and forth. We had a couple of chances on free kicks, but nothing came of it. The over time periods were pretty poor, with both teams being pretty tired and the quality of play wasn’t that great. I came out after the first overtime period with nothing left in the gas tank. We had plenty of subs, so I conceded my spot to someone who could actually run.

In the second overtime period, we had a point blank header saved on the goal line. The ensuing clearance was hoofed forward and our defender lost it in the lights. An opposing forward ran onto it, beat a recovering defender and slotted it home. Four minutes to go and we had nothing left. The seconds ticked away and so did our chance at more silverware.

We had a good season, finishing as League Champs with 13 wins and 1 draw, but it was the two cup losses that we focused on. All in all, we won 17 of our 20 matches, yet we found this campaign unsatisfying because we could have won more. Always next season, right?

Old Futbol Buffet–Podcast Smorgasbord

I listen to a lot of podcasts. One of my goals this season is jot down interesting snippets I came across.  I couldn’t find all the links, so search on line or use iTunes.  Here we go.

World Football Phone In (8.20.11)

A week behind I know, but the gang discussed a couple of times. One was Jadson to Arsenal to improve their attack. As of writing, this one still hasn’t come off. A caller asked Andy Brassell to discuss the future of the Belgian national team and whether they would need a foreign manager to get Lukaku, Hazard, etc to challenge for honors. Finally, Tim Vickery discussed the possibility of Santos being relegated despite being defending Copa Lib champs and heading the World Club Championship in December.

Beyond the Pitch

If you are not subscribing to Beyond the Pitch and consider yourself any kind of a soccer fan, you are missing out. Anto consistently delivers informative and entertaining content.

Andrew Jennings was on to discuss the continuing allegations of corruption in FIFA, including the on-going saga in CONCACAF between Blazer and Warner. He called FIFA a global crime syndicate & had strong words regarding the corruption of the organization & the possibility of World Cup 2022 not happening in Qatar.

Serie A Insider

Anto was joined by freelance journalists Adam Digby and Matt Barker and noted Serie A write Roberto Gotta to discuss upcoming season. The panel examined the squads who should contend for the Scudetto this year, and they definitely piqued my interest in Napoli.

Here is my off the cuff prediction for the year.
Milan
Napoli
Lazio
Inter
Juve
Roma
Udinese

Anto also talked to Vince about his fantacalcio site seriealive.com http://www.seriealive.com/
Game sounds amazing but there is no way I have the time for that.

And after getting me all pumped up for the season, Serie A goes on strike. Blurgh!!

Carrie Baird

On the way to a job I listened to Anto’s conversation with Carrie Baird. She had some interesting thoughts on the current transfer market, especially in England. Not sure I agreed or followed everything she said but it was a good listen nonetheless.

La Liga

Forza Football did a preview of the Seville Derby (postponed due to the strike), which provided some context, analysis and predictions for Sevilla and Real Betis. The episode was filled with friendly banter and information from fans of each club.

I also listened to the SpanishFootball.info podcast. As with most previews I’ve listened to so far, the panel was excited about the Bielsea era starting at Athletic Bilbao. The info on the league as a whole was ok, but the sound quality was quite poor. I am going to give it another try, but if that doesn’t improve, I will have to just do the website.

The Manchester United Redcast

The first Redcast of the new season hit the interwebs and the panel was in midseason form. A general sense of anticipation permeated the episode, as the Red Devils look poised to fight on two fronts, retaining the Premier League title and recapturing the Champions League, with the regeneration of the squad with new signings and trimming of some deadwood.

SI Roundtable 8.24.11

Grant Wahl talked about Robbie Keane’s addition to the MLS, MLS teams doing well in CONCACAF Champions League and the bump that the WPS received from the Women’s World Cup. He suggested spacing the Women’s World Cup and the Olympics to avoid the cycle of back to back events followed by three years of no international competition. Richard Deitsch ate this up and said that’s why Wahl should be FIFA President. One problem. The dates of the Olympics aren’t changing. So if you want to alternate, then this will put the Women’s World Cup up against the Men’s World Cup. Don’t see how that helps.