Are there games on today?
Yep! I know! It seems like every week now there’s something, almost as if the domestic football calendar is trying to cram it all it in before a big summer event next year.
It’s Capital One Cup action in England, which gives us a few sorta kinda interesting match ups. At random, you’ve got Villa vs Spurs at 2:45 PM EST. In Germany it’s the DFB Pokal, and there you might like 1860 Munich vs Dortmund at 1:00 PM EST, good luck finding that on TV.
There are some league matches as well for those who like their football meaningful. Barcelona vs Real Sociedad should be good to go, at 2:00 PM EST. And if you really need to watch Udinese (and I know some of you do), they play Genoa in a Serie A game at 2:45 PM EST. Finally, Ligue 1 also features Marseille vs St. Etienne at 3:00 PM EST.
What’s the conventionally agreed on big story this morning?
There isn’t much news to go around today, so most papers have focused on the aftermath of Paolo Di Canio’s sacking as Sunderland manager. The Independent has some of the pertinent details of the palace coup which led to his firing:
Paolo Di Canio’s 175-day reign of fear at Sunderland was ended because of the “systematic destruction of the players’ self-esteem and self-worth” The Independent can reveal.
Di Canio clashed with both Emanuele Giaccherini, the club’s marquee signing during the summer transfer window, and the deposed captain Lee Cattermole following the defeat at West Bromwich that proved the catalyst for change.
There followed further rebellion and another row between Di Canio and his players on Sunday that led to a delegation meeting Margaret Byrne, the club’s chief executive, to air their concern over the confrontational style of management.
Already in the comments section of that article at least one person has sided with Di Canio against the ‘primadonnas’ on so-and-so wage packets, but let’s take a look at this from a more pragmatic angle. Many studies have shown for example that a mixed approach with positive and negative incentives tends to work best. Simply screaming at people in light of failure isn’t likely to work very well.
Some other papers present possible candidates to replace Di Canio at the Stadium of Light, but the Guardian reports that both Roberto Di Matteo and Gus Poyet are likely to turn down the job.
What’s actually interesting?
For Arsenal fans, more anguish about the club’s rude financial health, even with the touted summer signing of Mesut Ozil:
Despite reduced profits, due to a drop in income from player sales and an increase in wages, overall turnover rose to £242.8m in the year ending 31 May 2013 from £235.3m the previous year. Commercial and retail revenue rose 20 per cent to £62m.
And I saw this on Reddit: Robert Lewandowski to be a Bayern player as of January 2nd?
Any interesting videos or GIFs?
Not anything recent, but I have this gorgeous gif of Paulinho’s back heel:
Stuff I should read today?
Yahoo! Eurosport with 10 reasons why Di Canio was sacked.
Arsenal blog the Short Fuse wonders at the use of statistics in football:
The problem with soccer statistics right now is their newness – people who are conditioned to know their fantasy running back’s yards per carry and their fantasy utility guy’s OBP are so desperate to fill the void and have soccer statistics that a lot of times, they take what’s there and run with it to a completely unproductive degree, because “hey we have something!”, forgetting that statistics have to have some sort of relevance for them to be of use.
And Gab Marcotti’s take on the football yesterday is worth your time as well.