Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tuesday Toe Pokes

Lot's of things from the weekend and midweek action coming up, so I can't cover it all, but instead I'll poke around for what it's worth.

The EPL's first weekend came and went, so for a round up of that action check out bzimzim's take right here at FutbolNation.

The update on Martin Skrtel's injury is that he has a cracked jaw and will be out two weeks. Liverpool had high hopes for this season, but it already has had something of an ominous beginning.

Hull City captain Ian Ashbee is out for nine months with a potentially career ending knee injury. This is a big blow to Hull, which played a strong opening match at Chelsea that deserved a point until Drogba's chipped cross floated in to steal all three points. While Hull certainly couldn't have been counting on that point, such points here and there will be vital for their relegation survival, especially losing an important player so early in the season.

To make matters worse, Hull will be shorthanded without Jozy Altidore against Tottenham Wednesday because he is having all kinds of work permit, passport, and swine flu issues. Phil Brown seems pretty exasperated by the situation, more so by the passport issues. As for the swine flue, why was Landon Donovan, who actually had the H1N1 virus, able to play over the weekend, while players like Steve Cherundolo and Michael Bradley were held out?

Damian Duff will be returning to the EPL with Fulham, having managed an escape from the hell that is currently Newcastle. The £4m move is a good one that will help strengthen the Cottagers.

Injury concerns have led Burnley to sign defender Andre Bikey from Reading. The 24 year old is a decent player, but he's not saving Burnely.

Those of you following the various Yanks abroad surely know by now, but in case you didn't, you can check out Charlie Davies's two goals here.

An interesting spotting of an American in Germany was seeing Sal Zizzo play 14 minutes for Hanover 96 in a 1-1 draw with Mainz. Steve Cherundolo, as noted before, was withheld from that match. Further down in Bundesliga 2, 1860 Munich's newboy Kenny Cooper started and played 72 minutes, though they fell 2-1 to Hansa Rostock.

Staying in Germany, Hertha Berlin want Andriy Voronin back from Liverpool after a successful loan spell helped them to fourth place last season. Not sure what good he's doing in Liverpool, they have to just sell him right?

In MLS, the season unmercifully continues. If there is one amusing spot of the season, at least for me, it's the two win NY Red Bulls on course for the worst season in MLS history. They're pretty much an abomination of soccer. After losing 2-0 to Chivas USA, they've now gone winless in 14 straight MLS games, 16 overall. 2-0 was actually the score of the weekend in MLS, with Chicago, Seattle, Columbus, and Toronto joining Chivas as winners by that scoreline. That's kind of amazing, 5 of 6 games ending 2-0, with the lone rebels being Houston and Real Salt Lake playing a nil-nil draw.

DC United was on the wrong end of the Toronto scoreline, continuing their ongoing slump, particularly on the road. That road gets longer as they are in Honduras to play Marathon tonight in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. DC right now seems to be a mix of players who are very promising but too young (Pontius, Wallace, Jakovic) and players who are too old and/or too slow (Luciano Emilio, Jaime Moreno, Christian Gomez), plus Fred, who is neither too old nor too slow, but just is too lazy. He's sort of the ultimate enigma, able to turn an MLS game with some brilliance, but too lazy and inconsistent to really matter over the course of a season.

Also in action is Columbus against USL side Puerto Rico. Columbus has a good squad that plays well together, and it would be nice for them to do well in this tournament. Also playing in the Champions League are Arsenal-Celtic, Sporting Lisbon-Fiorentina, as well as Olympiakos, VfB Stuttgart, and FC Copenhagen against teams you've never heard of. Oh wait, that's a different Champions League? Ah. If you're interested in Celtic, The Guardian looks at how Celtic, and Rangers for that matter, need to be creative to continue to be competitive with the likes of EPL teams. This is due to tight budgets, a lack of talent in Scotland, and poor SPL competition. Many think the Old Firm duo would succeed in the EPL, including Arsene Wenger, but as currently situated it's nay impossible to think they can truly make a dent in the Champions League, no more than it's been so hard for the likes of Sporting or Ajax to do so.

In the EPL, Sunderland are currently leading Chelsea 1-0, and Wolves are leading Wigan by the same scoreline. Will the pair be able to pull off the upsets? Sunderland will have to hope its defense holds tight. Last year they allowed a combined 8 goals in two games against the Blues.

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