The World Cup Takes New York

March 19, 2014

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Little Italy: Still Italian come game time
“On a recent February night at the Irish Consulate in Midtown Manhattan, members of the New York Irish soccer community assembled in the chill for the inaugural Irish-American Soccer Hall of Fame awards. Diminutive pieces of smoked salmon on brown toast, mini shepherd’s pies, and bottles of beer flowed freely alongside conversations marked by thick Cork and Armagh accents. Peter Ryan, the Irish Deputy Consul General, spoke eloquently about the Irish immigrant community’s ambassadorial role in making New York a great soccer city while simultaneously introducing other communities to Irish culture.” Road and Kingdoms


Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 Arsenal: Tactical Analysis

March 19, 2014

“At the end of a great weekend for any title contender who wasn’t Chelsea, Arsenal made the short journey to their neighbours and rivals, Tottenham Hotspur for a crucial derby match. Both sides were separated by just one place in the table, but were surely chasing different prizes. Spurs needed the win to stay in the hunt for 4th place, while Arsenal needed it to stay in the title race. Aside from keeping up the pressure on opponents with 3 points, the win was also important for the bragging rights that were at stake.” Outside of the Boot


Know Your Enemy: Germany midfielder Toni Kroos

March 19, 2014

“Over the next three months, SI.com will profile two valuable, but perhaps undervalued, under-the-radar players on each of the U.S. men’s national team’s Group G opponents at this summer’s World Cup. As a result, the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Mesut Ozil and Asamoah Gyan will make way for their lesser-heralded teammates in this space. The first in the Know Your Enemy series is Germany midfielder Toni Kroos.” SI – Jonathan Wilson (Video)


Man Utd v Olympiakos: Inspiration comes from 1984 win over Barca

March 19, 2014

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“If Manchester United are looking for inspiration to reach the Champions League quarter-finals, they must turn back the clock almost 30 years to the day. On 21 March 1984, the Manchester night sky was gloomy, and the outlook for the hosts equally dreary. The Red Devils were hosting Spanish giants Barcelona in the second leg of their Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-final, with a vociferous home crowd hopefully optimistic – rather than expectant – of overturning a 2-0 deficit.” BBC


Versatility working wonders for Rodgers, LFC

March 19, 2014

“Liverpool’s status as a serious title contender is a genuine surprise — not merely because they’re challenging, but due to the manner of their charge. Last summer, few observers gave Liverpool a genuine chance of winning the Premier League title. Their odds were 33-1, fifth favourites. It appeared they were about to lose their star man — John W. Henry later admitted that Luis Suarez did have a release clause in his contract, but instead the striker stayed at Liverpool, becoming the league’s top scorer this season. And their summer signings didn’t significantly strengthen their starting XI.” ESPN – Michael Cox (Video)


In return to Chelsea, Didier Drogba as subdued as his new squad

March 19, 2014

“The return of Didier Drogba to Stamford Bridge dominated the build-up to the second leg of Chelsea’s Champions League tie against Galatasaray and, as it turned out, his emotional wander around the pitch dominated the game. As a contest, this was all but a non-event — the dominance Chelsea had shown in the first hour in the first leg was repeated and this time translated into a comfortable 2-0 victory on the night, 3-1 on aggregate.” SI – Jonathan Wilson