Friday, August 21, 2009

Hot August Mornings

Neil Diamond thanks the Lord for the night time, but this guy (Editor's note: author pauses to point two thumbs at himself) thanks the Lord for the morning time. And cable TV. And my DVR. For the confluence of these inventions will allow me to satiate my growing thirst for EPL soccer.



While the hot-shot bachelors amongst the tens of our readers will do things this weekend like (Editor's note: author pauses to prepare his Bennett Brauer impersonation) "drink at bars," "see live music" and "score with chicks," the author will do things like "get infant feces on my hand," "fold laundry" and "drink scotch alone on my couch." But the saving grace of my weekend will be back-to-back mornings of EPL heavyweights in action.

On Saturday morning, ESPN2 will show Man U's third match of the season at 9:55 AM. The Red Devils will match up against a feisty Wigan United squad that I know nothing about. They have a new coach, they had an impressive two-nil win over Aston Villa in their first match, and followed that up with a shut-out loss to Wolverhampton in their second match.

Man U, also 1-1 on the season, hopes to bounce back from a shocking loss to recently promoted Burnley on Wednesday. The team has lost some of its firepower from last year due to the departure of the flamboyantly talented hooker-loving Cristiano Ronaldo and the Argentinian spark-plug striker (and fan-favorite) Carlos Tevez, who was like the team's Vinnie Johnson, minus the short shorts. And jump shot. Man U is also hurting on defense, as ageless keeper Edwin Van Der Sar will be out a couple months after thumb surgery. Back-up keeper Ben Foster was shaky in sparse playing time last season. He will have to step it up in a big way if Man U wants to repeat this season.

Other Man U players to watch:

Nemanja Vidic - The bruising Serbian stopper was voted the team's player of the year by his teammates. He is a brute on the back-line, a superior version of the US' Oguchi Onyewu, with some Ivan Drago mixed in. He stepped up last season while fellow defender Rio Ferdinand suffered with some injuries. He is the uber-swarthy fellow at left in the picture above.

Dimitar Berbatov - The enigmatic striker was showered with the fans' jeers for most of the season as his seemingly laconic play disappointed them, in contrast with Tevez' constant energy. Berbatov even found himself on the bench a lot as Man U charged ahead late in the season. But he remains a lethal striker with a cannon foot. He will be under a lot of pressure to replace Ronaldo's goal-scoring production and make things happen up front with Wayne Rooney and new addition Michael Owen.

If this match-up doesn't whet your whistle, you can watch another great match at 11 AM on Sunday morning. The Fox Soccer Channel will show Chelsea facing off against Clint Dempsey's Fulham squad. Dempsey was recently re-signed by Fulham and has become a fixture on the field. So it makes it that much more fun to root against Chelsea.

As hated as they may be (by your humble author), Chelsea has a fantastic pool of talent. Up front, Didier Drogba is one of the most skilled strikers in the world, despite perpetually featuring some of the worst hair you'll ever see. He's seen on the left in the picture to the left, next to Belgian native (and Everton player) Marouane Fellaini, who is included because, well, you have to include an afro like that. Anchoring the middle of the field is German Michael Ballack, a guy who plays the game the way it should be played - extremely physical every second of the match, yet not a dirty player. He cemented his reputation as one of the best players in the world at the 2002 World Cup, where, as a 25 year-old, he helped lead Germany to the finals. He is now past his prime, but he's still a lock-down player, almost like a Ray Lewis type.

So saddle up to the telly, gents. With a DVR and a cup of hot joe, you can buzz through each match in less than two hours.

52 comments:

rob said...

owen's with man u? that sucks.

and i've made an official decision that fulham is my epl squad of choice. i know nothing about them, other than the fact that they had a lot of americans. that's enough for me. go (insert fulham nickname here).

TR said...

I remember that Owen was supposed to be the next big thing a few years back, but injuries seemed to get in the way. Nobody's sure what he's go left in the tank these days.

These guys start so young at the international/elite club level that it's a wonder any of them can still have their knees and ankles intact by the time they're 30.

rob said...

still, i like him, and he's with man u. and i don't like them.

TJ said...

Hold me closer, tiny dancer...

Whitney said...

Hugh Grant is a big Fulham supporter. That's about right, Rob.

(Okay, I actually like Hugh Grant, but you never heard me say that. Wait... dammit.)

Whitney said...

... and their nickname is The Cottagers. Don't rightly know what that means at all.

Maybe like the Martha Wood Cottagers? Nice.

rob said...

and brian mcbride is described as a 'club legend' in their wikipedia entry. i'm sold. huzzah, cottagers.

TJ said...

I know nothing of this "soccer" or "Premier League" you speak of, but I will be rooting for the Michael Bolton Wanderers.

I celebrate their entire roster.

TR said...

Just saw Office Space again recently. I forgot how funny the Mike Bolton character is.

rob said...

teejay wins the internet today. well done.

TJ said...

Hooray Me

TJ said...

For Mark and Zoltan:
http://www.yumsshoes.com/intro/

rob said...

note to the two european-looking dudes riding bikes in tysons' corner w/o helmets: we can debate america's clusterfucky traffic design, but your argument will be less compelling delivered through a wired jaw by a concrete-scrambled brain.

Geoff said...

Ummm..Mark...you see what Don Banks did to your boy Todd Bouman?

http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/writers/don_banks/08/20/backups/2.html

rob said...

tom cable's pretty much getting fired, isn't he?

Geoff said...

For punching his assistant? I don't think so. They've moved on to other absurdities.

Michael said...

As of earlier this year, I'm an Aston Villa fan. They have Friedel and Guzan as goalkeepers, so my US interest is peaked. I also enjoy the play of Ashley Young and Emile Heskey.

rob said...

geoff, he's being investigated for felony assault. if he does the perp walk from raider camp, he's toast.

Geoff said...

Rob, I know it all sounds very glamorous, but its just business as usual at Kramerica.

TJ said...

OK, if anyone has a Twitter account, you need to go look at Chad Johnson's 2x4 to Skip Bayless dome just now...

TR said...

I wish there was a felony assault defense where you could try to convince the judge what an a-hole the victim was as justification for the punch. This would be great in an office environment.

"But your honor, he sucked so bad he had it coming. He would play Creed at his cubicle, talk loud when making personal calls and clip his fingernails at his desk. The office is really a better place with him in a hospital bed."

Geoff said...

So, this reminds me...there are two people in my office who clip their finger nails at their desk, one of which works for me. I think this is completely unacceptable...and gross. But I can't decide if it is appropriate for me to ask him to stop.

TR said...

I have clippers in my desk. When I need to trim, I walk into a stall and clip while standing over the toilet. I'll even use TP to wipe rogue nail particles off the set because I'm a compassionate man.

You should tell them to stop. Or punch them in the jaw.

TJ said...

How have I never seen this before?
http://tinyurl.com/c4b7ta

Whitney said...

Okay, so I guess I need an EPL team.

I know this rigmarole has been exhausted by SportsGuy (Tottenham Hotspur) and Jerry (Arsenal), but I need to find which one piques my interest the most and go with it.

Any suggestions? Definitely don't want a heavy favorite. Also maybe not a surefire bottom feeder who'll be demoted as soon as I get into them. I'll do a little research.

TJ said...

Well, the Bolton Wanderers are all mine, despite their apparent sucktitude...so move on.

zoltan said...

I would pay to see video footage of Geoff punching someone in the jaw.

TJ said...

I think he's tried before, but people kept falling down outdoor steps...

Whitney said...

I'd sort of like to take Portsmouth, seeing as I was born in (a different) Portsmouth, but it sounds like chances are they won't necessarily be around too long. True?

Then there's Liverpool. Solid, and I don't know anyone who roots for them -- are they bandwagon material?

TJ said...

They're a bunch of dudes with bowl cuts who make sweet, sweet music...

rob said...

whit, wigan is always fun. at least to say. west ham united are the hammers, and rhyme with pressed ham united. everton have a ton of history, and tim howard. manchester city are sorta like the mets to man u's yankees. might start there, actually.

Geoff said...

The next person I take a swing at will be the first. And TJ, for the record, during the steps incident I was stepping between Slats and the guy he was fighting with, took one in the the head, and then Slats connected and several folks fell down the stairs.

rob said...

man city are managed by mark hughes - maybe we should leave them to someone else. liverpool are owned by tom hicks and george gillett - americans, both. asshats, both, as well.

Geoff said...

Mark "Sparky" Hughes? That guy rocks. By the way, seems like Sparky should put together a Gators post...maybe something about jean shorts or saving it for marriage?

TJ said...

No, no, Geoffrey...I am referring to an incident at the old DLC abode...

Geoff said...

Ah yes...that's right...forgot about that incident. It will be nice to catch up with Freeland next weekend.

TR said...

Whit: Liverpool is one of the big 4 squads there (along with Arsenal, Chelsea and Man U). They feature Spanish striker Fernando Torres. He looks like he wants to be in Duran Duran, but he's a goal-scoring machine. Spain has been the best team in the world over the last two years, and he's their main offensive threat.

Hopping on Liverpool wouldn't be nearly as egregious as my Man U bandwagon hoppping, but it would be a hop on a wagon nonetheless.

Mark said...

Geoff's especially active At G:Tb today. All it takes is a good post about soccer to get him interested, evidently.

I will be putting together a Gator based post soon, I'm just trying to find a way to do it without completely jinxing their season and/or sounding gay for Brandon Spikes (which, I kind of am).

And, now that Don Banks has called out Bouman, I think I'll give him a call and see how he's been. I'll wait until I'm appropriately liquored up though.

zoltan said...

What's wrong with wanting to be in Duran Duran?

TJ said...

So, are they trying to tell me these guys are good?

NEW YORK -- As Tim Tebow and the Florida Gators prepare to make a run at their third national title in the last four seasons, the defending champions have already made some history.

Florida is No. 1 in The Associated Press' preseason Top 25 released Saturday, followed by Texas, Oklahoma, Southern California and Alabama. But the Gators are in a class by themselves, the most overwhelming preseason No. 1 in the history of the media poll.

Florida received 58 of the 60 first-place votes, or 96.7 percent. Texas got the other first-place votes.

The previous highest percentage of first-place votes for the AP preseason poll, which started in 1950, was 95.4 percent for USC in 2007. Those Trojans got 62 of 65 first-place votes -- and didn't play for the national title.

zoltan said...

Tebow's chastity is an unfair advantage. Leon Spinks said that boxers remain chaste before a fight "because it makes you evil." Tebow is always chaste so he's probably evil as hell.

How good is Jay Cutler? I'm not sold on him yet, but many people seem to think he's going to turn Chicago's offense around. Maybe I haven't seen him play enough.

TJ said...

He is the WR depth chart for the Chicago Bears:
-Devin Hester
-Earl Bennett
-Rashied Davis
-Juaquin Iglesias
-Devin Aromashodu
-Johnny Knox
-Derek Kinder

I think Jay Cutler is going to be one sad panda this season.

zoltan said...

Devin Aroma Should You?

TR said...

As bad as the Bears' receivers are, they may be better than the scrubs on the Jets. Brad Smith may start for us.

TJ said...

Jets WR Depth Chart:
-Jerricho Cotchery
-Chansi Stuckey
-David Clowney
-Brad Smith
-Marcus Henry

And let's be honest, Dustin Keller is either the best or 2nd best pass catcher on this team.

zoltan said...

fyi - if you have squid ink risotto for dinner, don't be surprised when your turds are jet black the next day. And a bit runny.

TJ said...

Slugfest in NatsTown tonight...

Mark said...

If you haven't seen the recent interview with Charles Rogers, I recommend you watch it. Some interesting things in there, including an admission of prescription pill abuse. But nothing was better than this nugget (in reference to his habitual marijuana use): "I blew...Yeah, I blew ayeyday (his pronunciation of everyday)).

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to my friends bar for a fantasy draft. This should work out well.

rob said...

my first game as a fulham supporter didn't go so well.

TJ said...

Dammit, my Wanderers are off to a very poor start as well...

and I told all you fudge-packers I liked Bolton's play.

TR said...

Chelsea pretty much controlled the action this morning. I just finished watching it, washing it down with leftover Cabernet from last night.

Liverpool is on ESPN (or ESPN2) at 3 PM EST tomorrow afternoon.

TJ said...

Mark, mighty fine debut by Mr. Smoltz today for your boys...not that you care I'm sure, too focused on when to draft Bo Scaife today, right?