The second trophy of the season is up for grabs at a neutral venue: Monaco’s Stade Louis II. It only holds 18,500 (if it were any bigger, it wouldn’t fit in the principality), so the crowd won’t be quite as raucous as you might expect for a match pitting the defending Champions League and UEFA Cup champions. The UEFA Super Cup, a one-off match designed as a pseudo friendly that gets everyone’s blood pumping before the domestic leagues are in full swing, is an excellent way for those who won the UEFA Cup (now Europa Cup). I’m not convinced of the need for such a match, but it’s fun nonetheless and offers up some extra silverware for the cabinet.
FCB last played in this match in August 2006, when Dani Alves and Sevilla beat them. So only our little Brazilian hummingbird has ever won this trophy. There are connections to AS Monaco as well that are documented here, the most notable of which is The Yaya’s stint there before he began playing for us. Read MoreSuper Cup Preview: Barça – Shakhtar; 2:30pmEST, FSC/FSE
The UEFA Champions League group stage draw will be held today at 12 noon EST. Here are the pots:
Pot 1Club (Nation) Coefficent
1 FC Barcelona (ESP, holders) 121.853
2 Chelsea FC (ENG) 118.899
3 Liverpool FC (ENG) 118.899
4 Manchester United FC (ENG) 111.899
5 AC Milan (ITA) 110.996
6 Arsenal FC (ENG) 106.899
7 Sevilla FC (ESP) 100.853
8 FC Bayern München (GER) 98.339
Pot 2Club (Nation) Coefficent
9 Olympique Lyonnais (FRA) 91.033
10 FC Internazionale Milano (ITA) 87.582
11 Real Madrid CF (ESP) 78.853
12 PFC CSKA Moskva (RUS) 71.525
13 FC Porto (POR) 68.292
14 AZ Alkmaar (NED) 64.826
15 Juventus (ITA) 63.582
16 Rangers FC (SCO) 56.575
Pot 3Club (Nation) Coefficent
17 Olympiacos FC (GRE) 52.633
18 Olympique de Marseille (FRA) 48.033
19 FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) 46.370
20 VfB Stuttgart (GER) 45.339
21 ACF Fiorentina (ITA) 42.582
22 Club Atlético de Madrid (ESP) 41.853
23 FC Girondins de Bordeaux (FRA) 40.033
24 Beşiktaş JK (TUR) 32.445
Pot 4Club (Nation) Coefficent
25 VfL Wolfsburg (GER) 21.339
26 R. Standard de Liège (BEL) 21.065
27 Maccabi Haifa FC (ISR) 17.050
28 FC Zürich (SUI) 14.050
29 FC Rubin Kazan (RUS) 9.525
30 AFC Unirea Urziceni (ROU) 8.781
31 APOEL FC (CYP) 4.016
32 Debreceni VSC (HUN) 1.633 Read MoreChampions League Group Stage Draw
Here he is, making it verrrry clear how he prefers to have his name spelled, folks. It’s the latest addition to our back line, Dmytro Chygrynskiy or, as he prefers the back of the shirt to say, Chygrynskyy.
But let’s just agree to call him Chygnasty, and be done with it, shall we?
His transfer will be announced on Saturday, after he makes an appearance at the christening of a new stadium, as we agreed with Shakhtar’s boss. So welcome (almost) Chygnasty.
More on the long-tressed defender. He’s 22 years old, from Iziaslav, Ukraine. He’s 6’3″ tall, or 1.9m for you metric-sized folks. His strengths, as have already been laid out in videos here and here, are positioning, height, long passing, attack starting and heading ability. And having watched those videos again, I must say that I love his defensive positioning. Keep in mind that highlight videos never show the clunkers, but he reminds me so much of Piquenbauer, but….
The dawn spreads its wispy fingers over the roofs of the neighboring buildings, sliding casually down Atlantic, splaying sideways at Flatbush. It dims the street light that shines through my window at that perfect angle where any attempt to block it from my eyes causes me to lose the air circulation in my room. I shift and try to sleep more, longer, anything to get rid of this feeling in my stomach. For once it’s not last night’s rounds with the boys that is causing me this insomnia. I look at my watch: 5 more hours to go. I roll over, pressing my face into the pillow. I roll over again, pulling the sheet over my legs then flipping it off moments later. I look at my watch: 4 hours, 59 minutes to go. I roll over, exhale.
“Stop tossing around, honey.” We love each other, of course, my girlfriend and I, but at 6am on Sunday morning, there is no such thing as empathy, just mumbled hatred. I try to hold still, but it’s too hot. I sit up and take a drink of water from the cup on the nightstand. I plop back down, exhale. “Stop tossing around, dickhead.”
I can’t explain it to her, she’ll never understand. It’s August 30 and I’m waiting as patiently as I can. I think she knows, intuitively, without having been reminded, that it’s Jornada 1, it’s el primer dia de la primera. It’s kickoff, it’s the beginning of another obsession. It’s gameday. No wonder I can’t sleep. Read MoreState of La Liga: Season Preview 09/10 [Update]
[Author’s note: The idea for this was taken from the amazing The Dugout over on Progressive Boink. You should read it and love it, even if you don’t like baseball. However, if I took any of the names from The Dugout, that was entirely unintentional. -Isaiah]
Episode 1: In which the team meets up for the first time after the off season to say goodbye to those who are leaving and hello to some of the new guys. Read MoreEl Banquillo #1:
So we’ve read quite a lot about how Barca’s play is like the music of the late, great jazz legend Thelonious Monk. Spare a couple of minutes for this video, then we’ll begin.
Here’s what I meant when I initially raised the analogy, borne out by yesterday’s thrashing of an under-manned Bilbao side.
Monk raised the game of jazz by being brave, unconventional and yes, a little crazy. He had a very different bag of tricks to work with, one that made the traditional structure of jazz suddenly insufficient.
Kevin can’t do the news today (ironically because he is at work at the, you know, actual news) so you savages will have to do with me. We’ve got the usual rumors and blatant fabrications but also some press conference quotes, a few precious tidbits of real news (imagine that!) as well as praise and fluff. Without further ado: the news.
Hopefully this is the final time I have to write this during the 09-10 season: This game will not be broadcast in the US on TV. Ugh. We’ll have to webstream it like usual, though it should be on La Sexta, so try to stream it there, but don’t worry, you can always tune in here for the liveblog.
Because this is the second leg, Barcelona enters this match 2-1 to the good, with those 2 goals being very valuable away goals. Not that that changes the fundamental approach for Barça, who will always look to win every match. A draw, any draw, is good enough, but Guardiola will not want to leave it to chance, to the odd bounce to pick up a small piece of silverware for the cabinet. Read MoreSuperCopa Preview: Barça – Athletic Bilbao; Sunday 4pmEST