So what’s coming up this weekend in the football?
Here’s the big fixture list across the big leagues in Europe. At a glance, on Saturday you’ve got Liverpool vs Southampton at 10:00 AM, which ideally should be a tasty ding dong fixture (that sounds off, I know). Then at 12:30 PM EST, you can catch Schalke take on Bayern Munich. If ever there was a moment for the team in blue to crawl back into the current Bundesliga campaign, this would be it.
On Sunday, you’ve got the Rome derby at 9:00 AM EST, Ajax taking on PSV at 10:30 AM EST, the Manchester derby at 11:00 AM EST , and then you’ll have to decide between Napoli taking on Milan at the San Siro, or Valencia facing off against Sevilla at 3:00 PM EST.
Hide your wife, hide you kids! Fire up the PVR! Sunday Sunday Sunday etc!
What’s the big conventionally agreed on story today?
Alex Ferguson seems eager to make peace with Wayne Rooney ahead of the former Manchester United manager’s book release. “Wayne’s performance was fantastic,” Ferguson said. “I was pleased to see that. He’s got his energy back – the determination, his purpose to attack players, was all very encouraging to me. Being a director, I’m delighted to see that; he’s back to what we always remember.”
Ferguson added, with a wry smile, “He’s also a conniving selfish prick with vested self-interest.”
And welcome to bizzarro football world, in which European nations are competing for “bids” to host matches for the Euros in 2020. The English FA wants the semis and the final, because of course they do.
What’s the actually interesting news today?
So where did Juergen Klopp enjoy the rest of the Champions League match against Napoli? With the stadium janitor. From a poor Google Translation from German:
The caretaker of the football stadium of Naples says of his involuntary guest Juergen Klopp.
“Klopp was really nice. That was the best visit since Diego Maradona,” said Vincenzo Gerrone the “Bild” newspaper. The coach of Borussia Dortmund had fled after his reference to the bleachers in the second half of the Champions League match at the Italian leader in the cubbyhole of the caretaker.
There he had the rest of his BVB 1:2 when the television Napoli followed.
“I had a bit of cake and water there. Then we sat together on the couch and watched the game,” said the 61-year-old Gerrone.
Kenny Dalglish apparently thinks winning the Carling Cup with Liverpool was a greater achievement than winning the European Cup. Not sure that’s the consensus view…
And former Sky Sports pundit Richard Keys continues to be massively clueless about the world around him, even with his move to Qatar to work with Al Jazeera sports:
“When [Sky Sports] were signing left, right and centre, I said, ‘I wouldn’t do that’. Sky have done their money. They’ve done their money on [Gary] Neville and [Jamie] Carragher and [Graeme] Souness and they haven’t got the money to pay anyone else. And with the regularity of those three, the novelty will wear off.”
Yes, I’m sure the opinions of semi-intelligent football people who can speak beyond a tired grab bag of sensationalist cliches will “wear off.”
Toronto FC hire a 31 year old analytics guru to be GM. No, it’s not me.
Alright, the good stuff now
Eriksen’s first goal for Spurs, against Tromso:
Gareth Bale “clowning around”:
Look behind you, Luka!! http://t.co/KuYuzn5jGJ
— Gareth Bale (@GarethBale11) September 20, 2013
Stuff I should read?
There’s just so much good stuff around. David Conn has a bit of a schadenfreude sesh while talking about Monaco, a team with a PSG-sized wage bill with lower league sized crowds.
Simon Gleave with a must-read look into the possible causes of a Premier League goal-drought:
Clearly the scoring rate will not remain as low as 1.95 per match and there will be regression to the mean. It is quite reasonable to expect a decline in goalscoring after the last four years, three of which have been the highest scoring top flight seasons since 1967/1968. One reason for this could be the tactical changes influenced by Guardiola’s high pressing at FC Barcelona (thanks Sean Ingle), but teams eventually adjust to these tactical innovations and that, in turn leads to regression back to previously seen levels of, in this case, goalscoring.
And here’s Michael Cox with a typically astute reading of the tea leaves ahead of this weekend’s Manc derby.