Kicking and Screaming

Pochettino's in-form, confident Spurs have what it takes to beat Chelsea

Fri, 21 Apr 2017 09:09:00 PDT

Layla Anna-Lee believes Arsenal and Tottenham will both make it to the FA Cup final. Is she wrong? Paul Mariner hails Mauricio Pochettino's influence in turning Tottenham into the renowned club they are today. Remember last August when all anybody could talk about was how many foreign masters of the footballing universe were now prowling the technical areas of England's elite clubs? The names tripped giddily off the cognoscenti tongue: Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho, Jurgen Klopp, Arsene Wenger -- I know, but there's always optimism in the summer before Le Collapse -- Antonio Conte, Mauricio Pochett- Hang on. Who let the Spurs manager into this exclusive club of Champions League, Premier League, La Liga,...

Why Jose Mourinho is jealous of Antonio Conte's progress at Chelsea

Sat, 15 Apr 2017 03:01:00 PDT

Pity poor Jose Mourinho. He just can't win, but boy, can his team draw. He has become the Special 1-1. Manchester United have not lost a Premier League game since being humiliated 4-0 by Chelsea at Stamford Bridge almost six months ago, a streak that has lifted the team from seventh in the table to the nosebleed heights of fifth. How is it possible that 21 matches without a loss have only advanced the needle two whole places? Well, for one thing, with the notable exception of Arsenal's spectacular...

Dear Arsene Wenger: With all due respect, it's time to leave Arsenal

Mon, 3 Apr 2017 11:17:00 PDT

The FC crew discuss Alexis Sanchez's recent comments on wanting to play for a team with a 'winning mentality.' Dear Professeur, I'm sure the last thing you want at this tense time in your increasingly ugly divorce proceedings with Arsenal supporters is yet another Gooner writing to add his deux centimes, so please forgive this churlish intrusion. But as a loud and proud Arsenal fan for 35 years, I can no longer hold my fire while the once mighty Gunner ship plows, full steam ahead, into the iceberg of mediocrity. Where are the lifeboats, Arsene? What is the rescue plan? After your 20 years as the epitome...

Bruce Arena's simplified approach is just what the U.S. need right now

Mon, 27 Mar 2017 07:00:00 PDT

Julie Stewart-Binks and Kasey Keller recap the United States' dominant victory over Honduras in World Cup Qualifying. Let's not overthink this as a certain tan, beach-loving, khaki-wearing German might. Let's not summon every stat showing whether a player's movement off the ball is instinctual or inadvertent. Let's not bring in the sports psychologist to determine the exact location of a player's comfort zone and how the hell he can get out of there. Let us not debate how the U.S.'s 6-0 beatdown of an absolutely abysmal Honduras side will change the way people think about the sport in this country. Instead, let's...

Pep Guardiola can silence his critics with a Man City win vs. Liverpool

Sat, 18 Mar 2017 02:37:00 PDT

Ahead of their weekend clash, the FC crew debate whether Man City or Liverpool will finish higher in the Premier League. If you were to buy into the Pavlovian reaction for Manchester City going out of the Champions League, then it's clear that except for his ridiculously tight pants, the emperor has no clothes. In just 45 inchoate minutes at Monaco's Stade Louis II, Pep Guardiola went from a messianic coaching genius who won 21 trophies with Barcelona and Bayern Munich to Harry Redknapp incarnate. Or so you'd be led to believe, if you waded through the progressively more hysterical postmortems following City's "Pepexit." C'mon,...

Can L.A., Major League Soccer handle LAFC's celeb-heavy arrival in 2018?

Tue, 7 Mar 2017 11:20:00 PST

Max Bretos and Herculez Gomez discuss all the events from MLS opening weekend and are joined by Carlos Bocanegra. Will Ferrell is just one of the many, many high-profile LAFC investors hoping to make a splash in MLS. LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Just before MLS commissioner Don Garber was about to announce the first pick in this year's SuperDraft in January, a mighty roar went up from a raucous pack of supporters seated near the back of the main ballroom at the Los Angeles Convention Center. Who, I wondered, were these boisterous interlopers bellowing as if their team were about to take the field for the season opener? At first I assumed they were simply over-caffeinated supporters of MLS's latest entries, Minnesota...

Which under-pressure team will get a win at Anfield: Liverpool or Arsenal?

Fri, 3 Mar 2017 12:56:00 PST

Steve Nicol discusses Liverpool's trend of playing well against the top four, but struggling against the rest of the Prem. Arsene Wenger may not be winning any popularity contests at the Emirates these days, but he won't be lacking for affection when he visits Anfield on Saturday. What a warm willkommen he can expect from Jurgen Klopp, complete with a big, toothy grin and arms extended nearly as wide open as his back four was against Leicester earlier this week. God knows Wenger could use a hug, what with all the existential dread surrounding him lately. Will he go or will he stay? And if he goes, will Alexis Sanchez...

Arsenal only show up when they feel like it; will they be 'ready' for Chelsea?

Fri, 3 Feb 2017 08:16:00 PST

To be perfectly honest, I don't think I'm "mentally ready" to write this Chelsea-Arsenal preview. Yet only 72 hours ago, I was completely jacked up to make the case that Saturday's game would be Arsenal's season-defining match. Against all logic (and the club's impressive history of self-sabotage in February) I'd convinced myself that the awesome display of attacking firepower I had witnessed in the 5-0 FA Cup annihilation of Southampton this past weekend was something so much more than another...

Why Chelsea will, or won't, win the Premier League this season

Sun, 29 Jan 2017 12:41:00 PST

Here's one alternative fact I think we can all agree on: Every Premier League fan is absolutely certain of his team's fate and the future of the title race. If you're a Chelsea supporter (and thanks to manager Antonio Conte, I'll permit that), you're already making plans to mock Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger mercilessly. And while it certainly seems that the trophy is Chelsea's to lose -- they enjoy a robust eight-point gap over second-place Arsenal with 16 games remaining -- reality won't stop...

"Fraudiola" claims are ridiculous; Guardiola needs time at Man City

Thu, 19 Jan 2017 01:05:00 PST

Well, so much for the much ballyhooed supremacy of Spanish and German football. No wonder the Barcas and Bayerns have had their way in La Liga and Bundesliga for all these years. They had virtually no competition. Oh, sure, their opponents may have possessed some smattering of skill, but there was obviously no intensity to their play, no bone-jarring physicality, no in-your-face pressing, none of the qualities that make the Premier League such a unique challenge to a ball-hogging purist like Pep...

Zlatan Ibrahimovic rescues Paul Pogba and Man Utd, and not for the first time

Mon, 16 Jan 2017 07:58:00 PST

Ever since he descended from the footballing heavens this past summer to become the self-proclaimed "God of Manchester," it was generally assumed that United's season would hinge on whether Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 35-year-old body could keep his ego's promises. After 10 matches, the answer seemed similar to the one Fernando Torres gave to Chelsea as His Zlatan-ness managed to billow the net a whopping total of four times -- or half as many as, say, Diego Costa (remember him?) managed during the...

It sounds wild, but this might be the year Tottenham finish above Arsenal

Mon, 9 Jan 2017 09:32:00 PST

Craig Burley says Tottenham have helped open the title race, but it's hard to back them as a contender to Chelsea. There are certain things I never thought I'd say. "No, I don't want that next beer." "I'm sorry, Miss Ratajkowski; I should really be heading home." "Thank you, Tottenham." But the last thing I want to do is to appear churlish after Spurs preserved Arsenal's Premier League record of 14 consecutive wins by beating Chelsea last week. And I suppose I should also express my gratitude to Tottenham for keeping the title race alive when it had threatened to be stomped to death in one of Antonio...

Premier League resolutions for 2017: pragmatic Pep, Leicester revival, more

Sun, 1 Jan 2017 03:04:00 PST

The Exploding Heads cap off 2016 with the annual Football Awards and beg footballers to stay away from ink in 2017. I think we can all agree that 2016 was an awful year for humanity, unless you happened to be a Leicester fan. The rest of us are eager to kick the past 12 months to the curb and move on to what we're sure will be a glorious 2017. That is, until two consecutive losses in early January ruin everything. For now, though, the spirit of bonhomie reigns, and even an embittered Arsenal fan can open his heart (or what's left of it after 12 years of breakage) to his fellow Premier League supporters and...

Has the Wizard of Ozil lost his magic? As usual, the criticism is overblown

Thu, 22 Dec 2016 01:05:00 PST

In a football culture that fetishizes the image of Terry Butcher's head swathed in a blood-soaked bandage, Mesut Ozil will always be an easy target. The German World Cup winner hardly radiates the kind of gritty fighting spirit the English hold so dear, and that lack of derring-do has increasingly become the lightning rod for the midfielder's critics -- many of whom, oddly and ironically, support the team he plays for. The speed with which Ozil has gone from Arsenal God to Arsenal's goat this...

Manchester misfires: Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho are finding it tough

Tue, 13 Dec 2016 08:41:00 PST

Remember back in September when Manchester City had been awarded the Premier League title and Pep Guardiola was short-listed for canonization in England just as he had been in Spain and Germany, where he had won a total of six league crowns? Yeah, neither does Pep. See, in those other countries, Guardiola's teams only had to fight off two challenges: one serious contender and boredom. Now there are as many as five legitimate outfits looking to staple him to his halo. Yet it was the club geographically...

It's OK to like Chelsea again thanks to Antonio Conte

Fri, 2 Dec 2016 10:08:00 PST

In the glow of the current feel-good revival at Stamford Bridge, it may be hard to remember but there was a time when Chelsea was an odious juggernaut of winning everything in sight but the Champions League, filled with smug John Terry-worshipping, bandwagon-jumping fans and ... him. I speak of the insufferable bantam rooster who made it all about himself: Jose "There is God and after God, me" Mourinho. Oh, how I loathed those Blues. To be perfectly honest, there were even times during the Special...

A 7-year-old Arsenal superfan feels a veteran's pain, disappointment

Mon, 7 Nov 2016 01:36:00 PST

You can never be too young to feel Arsenal's pain. Or hate Spurs. Take Danny Svensson, who pledged his eternal loyalty to the Gunners after attending the 2012 European Championships with his family and deciding that there was no more exciting player in the world than former Arsenal striker Lukas Podolski. Nothing against "Poldi," who could hit a ball harder than just about anyone (and sometimes even on target) when he wasn't too busy adding to his impressive selfie collection. On the other hand,...

Will Arsenal inspire Tottenham to play like champions, or vice versa?

Fri, 4 Nov 2016 01:10:00 PDT

Like any proud parent, Thierry Henry can't possibly choose a favorite from among the 228 goals he scored while playing for Arsenal. But I can. So two years ago, when I had the opportunity to interview the greatest player in Arsenal history, I asked him a question so leading that you can find it on Google Maps. "Do you have a favorite goal against your fiercest rivals like, say, the one that's been immortalized with a bronze statue outside the Emirates?" I was referring, of course, to his 2002...

Five ways for Pep Guardiola to eliminate 'crisis' talk at Man City

Mon, 31 Oct 2016 01:07:00 PDT

Normally, the Premier League narrative is fairly clear-cut by the quarter mark of the season. One dominant team -- or in last year's glorious aberration, a Disney tale for the ages -- emerges and you can basically draw a straight line to the open-top-bus parade unless that one side is Arsenal. This campaign it was supposed to be Manchester City, especially after the Sky Blues swept all before them through the first 10 games, including five in the league. And why not? In Pep Guardiola, they had...

Are Arsenal for real or is this season just another big tease?

Tue, 25 Oct 2016 08:24:00 PDT

For the first time in my life, I am officially a West Coast soccer fan. That's right: I have left the comfort of my bar stool at New York's Football Factory and moved to Los Angeles to live out my dream of being a mustache model. Sure, the weather's great and you can get a quinoa pizza to go once you've removed all your taste buds, but you also have to wake up three hours earlier just to watch football. On the other hand, my new local pub, Ye Olde King's Head, is conveniently located only a corner...

Please Share this!
Share On Facebook
Share On Twitter
Share On Google Plus
Share On Youtube