14 February 2006

News Roundup

A few news headlines for this Valentine's Day:

Bruised Reyes targets Real Madrid comeback
Arsenal's Jose Antonio Reyes has escaped with heavy bruising after fears he may have broken his leg following a two-footed tackle by Bolton Wanderers' Abdoulaye Faye in their Premier League match at Highbury on Saturday. (Reuters)

That's great to hear -- and unexpected, given our injury history this year. I was happy with the way Robert Pires played in Reyes' place, but it's good to have all options. And Reyes has given Madrid fits before; Zinedine Zidane famously asked whether Reyes was "on a motorbike" after Seville beat Madrid 4-1. Let's hope Zizou is equally confounded next Tuesday.

Lita suffers facial injury in night club
Championship leaders Reading have confirmed that striker Leroy Lita suffered a facial injury following an incident in Bristol on Saturday evening. (Soccernet)
An injury to watch for Premiership target Reading. Lita is their third-leading scorer (on 10 goals). Reading, on a 32-game unbeaten streak, don't need any distractions. However, with a 21-point advantage over third place, it would take a ridiculous collapse to drag Reading back to the playoff spots.

Barca have Chelsea pitch concerns
Barcelona have voiced concerns about Chelsea's pitch ahead of the Champions League tie on 22 February. (BBC)
The wealthiest club in the world, and they won't properly care for the pitch. What a joke. Of course, at that point you have to assume it's intentional. Or then again, maybe things are tighter at Chelsea than we expect. Either way it's a shame, and yet another example that you can buy players, and you can even buy victories, but you can't buy class.

Thun sack coach who steered them into Champions League
Thun have sacked the trainer who steered the tiny Swiss club to a shock place in this season's Champions League. The club announced on its website on Monday that Urs Schoenenberger would be "released immediately due to irreconcilable differences." (Reuters)
Now that's a darn shame. I don't know anything about the backstory here, but Thun have been a real shock this year. Even qualifying for the Champions League was a major accomplishment for a team with an annual operating budget just over $4 million. And they acquitted themselves well in group play, finishing in third and staying competitive in most matches. Thun are currently 6th out of 10 in the Swiss Superleague standings, and I'm sure that's a disappointment. But as Everton will attest, it's easy to suffer a drop in form after a surprising success, particularly with so many more matches to play.

And finally...
Nike Unveils New 2006 Jerseys for U.S. Men's National Team
Nike and U.S. Soccer have unveiled the 2006 U.S. Men’s National Team jersey, which will be worn this summer by the U.S. at the FIFA World Cup in Germany.
My reaction? Eh. They don't look bad, but I'm extremely disappointed that the away jersey is still blue. There was some hope that they would choose red, which would have inspired me to buy one. The stripes look nice, especially on the away jersey. Not sure about that stripe on the home sock, however.

But anyway, there's better news for the US Men's National Team: they're winning. A 5-0 victory over Norway was followed by a 3-2 win over Japan. It's easy to read too much into wins in friendlys, but these are two good teams. Japan is in the finals, and Norway only missed out in a playoff against the Czech Republic. So at least it's heartening that the US is showing some good form.

Anyway, that's enough for this morning. Now for a good result at Anfield. Come on you Gunners!

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