Manchester City v West Ham United - Capital One Cup Semi Final First Leg

Any games on today?

More cups! So many cups! We’ve got the Coppa Italia, which gives us a reasonable fixture in Roma vs Sampdoria at 12:00 PM EST, and the equally interesting Udinese vs Inter at 3:00 PM EST. Then there’s the Copa del Rey…which…I dunno man. Real Sociedad vs Villarreal at 1:30 PM? Meh.

What’s the big news?

It’s hard to say. I don’t like to poop where I eat (I mean who does?) but Toronto FC is making some legit news in the January transfer window, with the Jermain Defoe story confirmed and a strong indication that the club were not only in advanced talks with Roma’s Michael Bradley, but on the verge of signing the two (and announcing it this Monday) to the tune of $100 million. A story in Tweets:

There are some big question marks, particularly over whether Matias Laba will be traded or bought out to make room for Bradley in a DP slot alongside Defoe and Gilberto, but the Two Tims in Leiweke (MLSE president and CEO of MLSE) and Bezbatchenko (TFC GM) have made the biggest off-season move in recent (and long term) memory in MLS.

Any other news?

Man United players use the press to undermine David Moyes to save their own skins. Classic.

Big Sam Allardyce has two matches to right the ship over there at West Ham after a humiliating 6-0 first leg loss in the Capital One Cup (small sample size).

Chris Smalling forced to apologize after dressing up as a suicide bomber, is an actual headline that I just cut and pasted.

Rather predictably, the FA is investigating David Moyes’ remarks on referees being terrible or something following Man United’s 2-1 loss to Sunderland in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semifinal.

Arsenal’s transfer strategy to replace the injured Theo Walcott crashes and burns.

FIFA reiterates that no decision has been taken on moving the 2022 World Cup in Qatar from the summer to the winter months.

Any fun stuff?

Alvaro Negredo plays football:

Any good reads?

Pinnacle Sports published a great article yesterday on gambling and “green lumber”:

While knowing about the market and risk is obviously the ideal situation, it’s vital to remember that understanding risk is as important, if not more so, than knowledge of the sport itself.

This contrasts with the images presented on the back pages of any national newspaper, where you are likely to find retired sports personalities heading tipping columns. It’s understandable that bettors might give weight to the opinion of say an ex-soccer player with regard to betting on soccer, but remember: soccer and betting on soccer are two completely separate domains.

And Honigstein’s interview with Hitzlsperger is worth it.