Tuesday, December 06, 2011

The Twelve Days of Gheorghe-mas: Day Two

On the second day of Gheorghe-mas, Big Gheorghe gave to me...

Two Footie Stories

And a Doofus on a Fake Pony

There's not much to recap from Day One, which appears to be a photo of a constipated Irishman straining to defecate behind a piece of plywood with a hole in it. I can't match that, but I can preview an interesting week of red hot footie action.

The two stories are the divergent paths Manchester City are taking in the two most prominent competitions in which they are participating - the Premier League and the Champions League. In the Premier League, Man City has been pretty much unstoppable, having earned 38 of 42 possible points through fourteen matches. They have a 5 point lead over Manchester United, but a larger psychological lead after they destroyed Man U 6-1 at Old Trafford in October.

The team has an embarrassment of riches in terms of talent, with a deep arsenal of strikers (apologies for the lame pun) that has more than withstood the petulance of Argentinian striker Carlos Tevez (who pulled this nonsense earlier this fall). The team has a world class goalie in English national team keeper Joe Hart and top-notch midfielders in Frenchman Samir Nasri and Spaniard David Silva. Owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and his $4.9 billion net worth seem to have an insatiable appetite for high-priced players, much like my appetite for Cheez Whiz. He's like the Daniel Snyder of the Middle East, but much much much much much much more successful.

The newest and most exciting of the team's strikers is 20 year-old Mario Balotelli, a Ghanian immigrant who is exceptionally gifted. And batshit crazy. Here's a picture of his girlfriend. She seems nice.

Below are two YouTube clips to present the man in full. But before you read those, read here to learn about the fireworks display he set off in his own bathroom that resulted in a call to the local fire department. You can also read a more heartwarming story here about the time he convinced a young boy to get into his Ferrari (much better than it sounds).





While the team appears to be cruising in the EPL, it is struggling mightily in the UEFA Champions League and is unlikely to escape the group stage of 32 this week and advance to the knockout stage. For a club that is one of the top five in the world (and may arguably be the second-best), to fall on their face this week is a major embarrassment, though one whose pain could be allayed by continued EPL success.

Man City plays in Group A against Italian squad Napoli (2-1-2, 7 pts), Spanish squad Villareal (0-5, 0 pts) and Bayern Munich (4-1 11 pts). Man City has a 2-2-1 record, which puts them in third place with 7 pts. They need to climb past an inferior Napoli this week. However, Napoli plays at pathetic Villareal, while Man City has to host Bayern Munich. Man City needs a miracle tie or win from the Spaniards, who have been outscored 12-2 in aggregate over their first five matches. They also need to beat a quality German side, although it is one that will not likely field their best side, as they have locked up the right to advance.

Many of the sixteen remaining Champions League games from the group stage will be broadcast on the Fox Soccer Channel tomorrow and Wednesday. The Group A matches air on Wednesday.

Bonus soccer news: Clint Dempsey scored the only goal on Monday as Fulham upset Liverpool. The win keeps Fulham ahead in the battle to avoid relegation. Dude continues to be a solid EPL player.

Bonus soccer blog recommendation: sign up to get Grantland Network's Men in Blazers podcast. Two guys talk weekly on the EPL, the Champions League and the US and English national teams. Both are Brits, although one has lived much of his life in the US. The guys are very knowledgeable and do not at all take themselves seriously. Extremely entertaining. Here is a link to their tumblr site, although I'll admit I don't know what a tumblr is. It appears to be missing an e.

Bonus Balotelli girlfriend photos: Here are two of an old flame, Melissa Castagnoli. She seems nice too.

27 comments:

zman said...

Villareal may be pathetic but don't call him out like that. That's my little little for gods sake.

Squeaky said...

I really wish you could watch YouTube videos instead of reading them.

Historically Man City is the redheaded stepchild of the EPL. New owner is throwing around mad cash and it is working.

Igor said...

Mario is awesome. His Osso Buco is fantastic, especially when served with the toasted pine nut gremolata. Curious about the hot girlfriends, based on his burly physique and his penchant for palling around with Stipey.

Danimal said...

both women are delightful.

Dennis said...

Chef jokes do well usually...

Danimal said...

and the first girl, is she shuckin herself some oysters? i love me some oysters.

groggy this morning, but somewhat buoyed by the fact that the jags are setting themselves up nicely for a top 5 draft pick to squander.

TR said...

I realized this morning that the Jags are going to have a really high '12 draft pick. They'll have to use that to get a top QB in the draft. Will be awkward for them when they throw in the towel on Blaine next April. (insert lame Jon Cryer joke here)

Danimal said...

not sure about blaine yet. he was putrid last night and has not developed at all but i'd be willing to give him another season if we had a decent back-up. he was thrown to the wolves. the o-line hasn't helped him, and won't bring up the obvious of his coaching here. they have about 8 plays that they call - i think the recording is on a reel that he hears in his headset. the big concern i have is is his toughness. he is scared shitless back there and it couldn't be more evident. he took a big hit in the jets game when he attempted a slide and ever since then he has been scared.

Danimal said...

as in, sceered.

T.J. said...

Buzz is at it again on the tweeters...

Jerry said...

Men in Blazers is really good, although probably not as entertaining as Balotelli. That shoulder goal on Saturday was tremendous.

Man City are going to win the league pretty much every year from here on out, unless the FIFA Fair Play act has teeth, which is unlikely.

Jerry said...

Sad day for hockey fans, as the historic Southeast division has been blown apart. Going forward, Washington and Carolina will rarely play traditional rivals Tampa Bay, Florida, and Winnipeg.

T.J. said...

What conference did the Charleston Chiefs end up in?

T.J. said...

Klosterman talks Tebow:

http://es.pn/v6WmGL

rob said...

weird thing about the hockey realignment is that they seem to be calling the four divisions conferences. stupid canadians.

Dave said...

that first "nice" girl looks like she's made of wax.

rob said...

@McMurphyCBS: Big East adding Boise, UH, SMU, UCF, SDSU. Look for Navy to join soon also. My story: bit.ly/vT6gQ3

what a stupid conference the big east will now be

TR said...

Didn't we try a Conference USA already? And didn't that fail miserably?

rob said...

my it department has bollixed my email account something fierce, so if you have trouble connecting with me, use twitter, facebook, or gtb for now.

T.J. said...

Um, aren't you the head of the IT dept?

rob said...

nope - i was, but changed roles a bit ago.

T.J. said...

Harumph.

T.J. said...

For the NY/NJ guys:

http://i.imgur.com/Pwnf4.jpg

TR said...

The Teej wins the internet with that link. It is very offensive. And fairly accurate.

Igor said...

Oh, "footie." I thought you said "foodie," another gloriously macho term. You can understand my confusion. It's like mistaking Andy Gibb for Barry Gibb.

Igor said...

Rob, in that tweet you transcribed, for a second I thought the inclusion of UH meant Hawaii was joining the Big East. As it is, not that much more ridiculous.

TR said...

i can't believe Tyson Chandler is only 29.