Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

  Robin Van Persie (Getty)

Arsenal's season hasn't gone quite according to plan, but a win today against Aston VIlla in FA Cup Fourth Round action could help ease some of the pressure being faced by Arsene Wenger these days.

Wenger has been roundly criticized since the Gunners' loss to Manchester United last week, but a win today might help ease some of that backlash. Aston Villa isn't like to make things easy as the Villans have their own FA Cup aspirations, and Robbie Keane will look to build off last week's impressive two-goal performance.

With Juventus beating Udinese on Saturday, the pressure will be on AC Milan to keep pace, so a win against Cagliari is a must for Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Co. In Mexico, first-place Club Tijuana looks to keep its Cinderella start to the season going against mighty Santos Laguna in a match that could feature as many as four Americans.

If you will be watching today's action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today's TV Schedule is after the jump):

SUNDAY

6 a.m. - DirecTV - Real Betis vs. Granada

6:30 a.m. - Fox Soccer Plus/ESPN3.com - Fiorentina vs. Siena

6:30 a.m. - ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes - Feyenoord vs. Ajax

8:30 a.m. - Fox Soccer Plus/FoxSoccer.tv - Sunderland vs. Middlesbrough

9 a.m. - Fox Soccer Channel - Lecce vs. Inter Milan

9 a.m. - ESPN3.com - Roma vs. Bologna

9 a.m. - ESPN3.com - Chievo Verona vs. Lazio

10 a.m. - DirecTV - Levante vs. Getafe

10 a.m. - DirecTV - Real Sociedad vs. Sporting Gijon

11 a.m. - Fox Soccer Channel - Arsenal vs. Aston Villa

11 a.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Valenciennes vs. Ajaccio

11 a.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Evian Thonon Gaillard vs. Bordeaux

11:30 a.m. - GOLTV - VfB Stuttgart vs. Borussia Monchengladbach

12 p.m. - ESPN3.com/ESPN Deportes - Racing Santander vs. Valencia

1 p.m. - Univision - Pumas UNAM vs. Chivas de Guadalajara

2:15 p.m. - ESPN3.com - Gil Vicente vs. Porto

2:45 p.m. - Fox Soccer Channel - AC Milan vs. Cagliari

3 p.m. - Azteca America - Tijuana vs. Santos Laguna

3 p.m. - FoxSoccer.tv - Stade Rennes vs. Marseille

3:30 p.m. - GOLTV - Malaga vs. Sevilla

8:30 p.m. - Fox Deportes - Boca Juniors vs. River Plate

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69 Responses to Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

  1. biff says:

    Had this crazy idea after Dempsey’s public comments this weekend hinting that he would like play for Arsenal or another top-tier team and after the huge fan interest in the Donovan-Everton vs. Dempsey-Fulham clash Friday night. Several European teams are starting to see huge potential in the American market and are looking to bring over US players–starting to gain speed with George John, Robbie Rogers, Tim Ream. What would happen if Arsenal or another team would sign America’s two most famous and best players: Donovan and Dempsey. Not only would the pair be a potentially awesome attacking combination on the field but also would be a PR dream come true. I have no doubt each game would be broadcast live for the American fans. As I say, a crazy idea, but would love to see something like that happen.

  2. Jamie Z. says:

    Watching the Chievo match. Why do Lazio not have a sponsor?

  3. chris says:

    Cuz shirt sponsors are ugly

  4. Jamie Z. says:

    Chievo down 1-0. Bradley with a few wayward passes and some dodgy tackling. It’s been a while since I’ve watched him play and I’m actually surprised that his positioning and distribution seem so shaky. When he “played” for Villa, Villa supporters commented that he ran around like a chicken with its head cut off, and I eagerly blamed that on his situation — I thought Houllier used him poorly and inserted him in inopportune game situations where it was almost as if he was deliberately setting Bradley up to fail. But watching Bradley play with Chievo, he still seems a bit tentative and a bit disengaged. Even when he’s in on the action, his posture and decisions don’t strike me as confident or authoritative. His passes are often off the mark and the corners and free kicks I’ve seen him take have been taken short and ineffective. I don’t know if this just him getting used to a quirky Italian system or a symptom of something greater, but I see differences between his play for his most recent clubs and his play in a U.S. shirt.

    Anyone else noticed anything like this?

  5. Jamie Z. says:

    They’re also lucrative. I severely doubt it’s a matter of aesthetics.

  6. Mig22 says:

    Actually, I’ve wathed a lot of his Chievo starts this year, Jamie. I agree that he his time at Villa was a mess but that was really never a good transfer or fit for him with Houlier.

    But at Chievo, he has a very defined role and has been doing it pretty well. The Italian game is so tactically structured, especially the plodding Chievo, that he simply must stay in a particular zone. As to his corners, they have been average, yeah. But I think his positioning is excellent (within the system). The coach likes him, the fickle Serie A fans like him sometimes, hate him other times.

  7. Mig22 says:

    Chievo is simply terrible with the ball. They seem to have no idea what to do as they cross the midfield stripe.

  8. Tom says:

    Does Chievo have a fan forum online?

  9. predicto says:

    Yeah – Mig22’s comments are spot on. I’ve also been watching MB this year, and it is frustrating – both Chievo’s play his role there. They are so defensively structured, little inventiveness, few shots and fewer goals. I keep thinking he’ll break out of his defensive role and provide some quality forward spark. But no, aint gonna happen. When they win, Chievo fans like him, when they lose, they don’t. The positive – he’s playing regular.

  10. Jamie Z. says:

    Well, that’s definitely good to hear. As I said, I haven’t seen much of him since he moved to Serie A, so it’s possible this is just a shaky match. To be fair, nobody on the pitch has made much of an impression and Bradley has been relatively central to much of the action.

    I’m not a big fan of Italian soccer in the first place, but my ultimate hope is that Bradley will learn things in Italy that will allow him to step up to the next level when he plays with the national team or moves elsewhere in Europe.

  11. Jamie Z. says:

    The commentator just echoed that sentiment almost exactly. Something to the effect of “Lazio are ahead without having played particularly well, but as long as Chievo continue to lack any sort of invention in the final third, that will likely be enough.”

  12. Mig22 says:

    This pitch does make rolling passes tough.

    Something to watch for: if the score stays 1-0, the coach frees up Bradley to come forward starting around 70-75 minutes. Then he starts to look like the USMNT player we see.

    But mid-table Italian soccer can be pretty painful to watch.

  13. Dank says:

    Is it just me, or does Lokuc for Chievo really look like he got paid off to throw this game?

  14. Mig22 says:

    it crossed my mind too.

  15. predicto says:

    Bradley off at 73 minutes for Hetemaj, who is more offensive minded.

  16. Jamie Z. says:

    Well, at least that means I can stop watching.

  17. Mig22 says:

    yeah, one of the first times he’s been subbed this early.

  18. Mig22 says:

    so much for that idea.

  19. predicto says:

    Yeah – that’s looking at the positive. Still, I’m unhappy that MB is looking more like a full on defensive mid – which USMNT has many.

  20. AK says:

    Bummer for Bradley.

  21. Mig22 says:

    Well, it certainly got worse for Chievo after our boy came off.

    And Inter loses to Lecce…wow.

  22. Jamie Z. says:

    That’s what he’s looking like in Italy, sure, but I’m choosing to view it as Bradley rounding out his skill set. Many players play different roles with their clubs than they do with their national teams, and if the USMNT needs Bradley in a more advanced role, then that’s how we’ll use him. I’m not worried that he’s going to forget how to move the ball forward and make late runs into the box; it’s clear he has a pretty good instinct for that based on his previous history.

  23. Jamie Z. says:

    In other news: Bilyaletdinov is out at Everton. He’s going to Spartak Moscow. Do I think this means Everton are going to make a move for Donovan? Not necessarily. Do I think this will increase speculation about such a move? Probably.

  24. liz says:

    Lichaj on the bench for Villa. That’s a positive sign.

  25. Mig22 says:

    I just can’t imagine Everton scraping sufficient money together for a credible bid for LD. But there will surely be speculation.

  26. Juan says:

    Lets not forget the championship game in Womens soccer olympic qualifying tonight at 8. USA vs Canada

    Guess I shouldn’t expect too much since the score of the Semis was reported wrong here. I know our womens nat team is not as important as the classic matchup between Racing Santander vs. Valencia but it should be

  27. biff says:

    Hertha Berlin has sounded a “total defense alarm” and is looking to sign a central defender before the transfer window closes after yet another injury yesterday against Hamburg SV has left the backline depleted. Not sure what this might mean for Alfredo Morales, who was on the bench yesterday but did not play. Any MLS central defender candidates out there who want to move to Europe?

    Drama um Janker und totaler Abwehr-Alarm!

    link to tinyurl.com

  28. fischy says:

    That is great news. However, I’m really disappointed to see Given on in a Cup match..unless that’s a sign that Guzan has taken the #1 slot. If not, then it sucks that MacLeish isn’t playing him in this match.

  29. john.q says:

    ouch 1-0villa. Keane with the delivery.

  30. Pete says:

    Keane looks like the best player on the pitch so far. Inventive, unselfish, and motivated. And with Ireland being my second favorite national team, it’s pretty cool watching a team starting 5 Irish players (not sure I should count Stephen Ireland, though).

  31. Jamie Z. says:

    That’s two goals and an assist for Keane since arriving from Galaxy; who’s to say anyone who plays in MLS is washed up?

  32. Jamie Z. says:

    2-0 from Bent. Keane critical in the build up.

    And that’s the half.

  33. chris says:

    sick goal by Bent

  34. YO says:

    Whatever happened to the Buddle experiment?

  35. MemRook says:

    Bahahaha Arse-nal and Arse-ne Wenger. Put in Arse-shavin! He’ll save this game for them. Yeah that’s what they should do. #TeamFullOfArses

  36. AK says:

    Unbelievable, Wenger put in Arshavin.

  37. predicto says:

    Yeah – I’d like more info on why the Buddle/Everton trial went bad. Buddle must have performed very badly for a team as financially hard up as Everton not take a chance on him.

  38. AK says:

    Or did he?

    MemRook claims he did, but Sky Sports says he did not.

  39. BB says:

    His name is spelled “ROSICKY” so why does Martin Tyler pronounce it “RosiNsky”?

  40. Gus says:

    Guzan stops that btw.

  41. MemRook says:

    I made no such claim! I just ironically suggested that he do.

  42. AK says:

    I see that!

    My mistake good sir.

  43. cajun says:

    LOL Villa folding like a wet suit, Arsenal level at 2. Villa has had zero possesion the ENTIRE second half thus far!

  44. AK says:

    And just like that Aston Villa chokes away the game. Have to believe that Guzan would have done a better job on both of those.

  45. MemRook says:

    Walcott with the NO-look goal. He did that on purpose ;) cheeky bugger

  46. MemRook says:

    Agree it’s quite baffling and annoying

  47. MemRook says:

    WOAH. Aston Villa just HANDING (or more accurately slide-tackling) the game to Arsenal. That’s what I call a major bail-out. If this were America Obama would remind everyone no
    more bailouts of this magnitude.

  48. AK says:

    This is just embarrassing at this point, Villa’s defense is in shambles, no organization and no communication.

  49. MemRook says:

    Ironic that BOTH Villa goal scorers are the penalty culprits??? No. Just stupid.

  50. AK says:

    What was Bent doing slide tackling anyone in his own half, let alone his own box.

    Forwards should never concede penalties.

  51. marco says:

    Gooch with goal off a corner. He may be their top scorer or near the top.

  52. glaing says:

    I thnk he has two today

  53. MidWest Ref says:

    MB goes out – Lazio scores two more goals

    Jozy doesn’t play for AZ, they lose.

    Hopefully, this means these two are more important to their teams than originally thought?

  54. MemRook says:

    Arsenal have three players that from a distance all resemble eachother in physical features and style of play: Walcott, The Ox and Coquelin. Clone program Arsene’s remedy to his financial restrictions?

  55. Edwin in LA says:

    Gooch is totally hogging the stat sheet for Sporting Lisbon today, yellow in the 1st minute, and now 2 goals…. can he go for the hat-trick?

    I sure hope so, just off the top of my head that’s 3 goals for him this year, 2 game winners so far if this holds up!

  56. MidWest Ref says:

    If Soccernet is accurate, Gooch had two goals going into the game. With the two he scored today, he is second on the team with 4 – top scorer 7

  57. Jamie Z. says:

    I think he pronounces it correctly; I haven’t noticed him using an ‘n’. Czech spelling is phonetic, and a plain ‘c’ makes a “ts” sound, making “Rosicky” sound like “Ro-sits-ki”.

  58. Jamie Z. says:

    To be fair, neither of those plays even get that far if not for Alan Hutton’s baffling ineptitude at right back. He’s putting on a performance to make Jonathan Bornstein look like Paolo Maldini.

  59. Edwin in LA says:

    CAP HIM!!!!

    Oh wait, never mind….

    I KNOW, start him at Center Forward Damn it! lol

  60. Edwin in LA says:

    Makes you wonder how fast Eric Lichaj will get a start as soon as he is 100%, hope he gets some reserve games under his belt pronto, guy was one of the best for my money at Left Back and with Dolo aging and not always starting, it would be nice for Chandler to take over the Right Back spot for Dolo and Lichaj the Left Back spot. Chandler might be moving to a better and bigger Bundesliga Club this summer from what I hear.

    Plus starting to look towards 2014, I’d like to try both of those guys, feel that despite Chandler doing great, he is really handicapped by playing on his off foot and having to cut back and predictably adjust to use his natural foot when making those great runs forward, on the right he might wreck havoc in qualifying…

    In any case even if to get ready to take over for the RB spot from Dolo I’d like to get Lichaj back soon

  61. Isaac says:

    #WeHaveTheTechnology

  62. fischy says:

    Way to drop some knowledge here.

  63. fischy says:

    Probably a better position for him.

  64. Jamie Z. says:

    Well, it’s easy to think he’ll get a look soon if he deserves one, as Hutton and Warnock are, for my money, the worst fullback pairing in the Premier League (and this is coming from a Villa supporter); they’re absolutely atrocious. McLeish has tried to slot other players (Ciaran Clark, who has performed poorly, and Carlos Cuellar, who does a job, but is better used in the center) into those spots, but Lichaj is a natural fullback and should get his chance when he’s fit.

    I really can’t overstate how much I loathe Alan Hutton as a player.

  65. CplDaniel says:

    lol

  66. ... says:

    And it’s on NBC Sports (formally Versus) according to my TV guide. Also concacaf.com live (legal, free) stream for those without NBC Sports.

  67. biff says:

    If I am reading this correctly, Lichaj was dressed for the match today and on the bench.

    link to avfc.co.uk,,10265~2592823,00.html

  68. Jon says:

    Am I the only one watching the USWNT?

    Kind of bothered by NBCSN’s broadcast. They’re using the CONCACAF stream with their own announcers calling from the studio. Sounds like shite.

    Especially sucks since there’s a pretty loud crowd that now you can barely hear….

    Or at least they were loud until AM13 scored early…