- Luke Shaw-shank Redemption!
- Road to Cardiff: Last and Curious 8
- Dirty Sanchez: Wenger set to lose another Weapon from his Arsenal?
- Ibriana Jones: Red Devils of the Lost Ark!
- Chelsea set to win Title at a Kante!
- Leicester face tough choices as losses compile
- The Year of the Roo-ster!
- Marvel at the latest Craven Cottage arrival: Fulham Sign Thanos!
- Wayne Rooney’s goalscoring record is a rare piece of Manchester United history. Take notice.
- MOTD: Ibrahimovic salvages United point against Liverpool
Three thoughts from the international break
Had it not been for a few choice matches and few surprise results, the international break would have been quite boring so far. Landon Donovan bid farewell to the Us Mens national team, for which he owns the record for most goals and assists, and Poland beat Germany for the first time in their history, however, the latter means almost nothing in the grand scheme of the German’s Euro 2016 campaign and the former a rare event – although it was an international friendly. By no means do I mean to downplay the thrill of seeing your nation play, however, having seen them one month ago and being due for another international break in another months time, it is undoubtedly a bit much. Especially considering the majority of these meetings count for almost nothing. Aside from Euro 2016 Qualifying there are no other qualifiers to be played at the moment – Donovan’s send off was played in an international friendly against Ecuador – and with the Euro’s recent change in format qualification for Euro 2016 has been rendered nearly a given for most top teams in Europe.
We saw another few interesting matches in Brazil’s defeat to Argentina and Portugal’s loss to France, however, the latter was a friendly thus taking away from the atmosphere, though the former did provide one of the better moments of the break so far. We have already seen far to many matches like the Republic of Ireland’s 7-0 thrashing of Gilbratar and England’s 5-0 win over San Marino, both meetings of two sides not even near similar talent levels – the best competitive action you may be able to find in in matches like Slovenia-Switzerland or Russia-Sweden, if you can even manage to find highlights of those matches outside their respective countries. These international breaks have been all to plentiful in recent times but especially for the neutral provide hardly any fruit.
Sometimes MLS’ strange scheduling comes at the right time.
While the MLS is often criticized for failing to acknowledge FIFA’s international calendar, I may speak for everybody in saying boy it was a relief to see some real action. As like when most are having English Premier League withdrawal during the summer, it certainly provided some entertainment especially considering the MLS Playoffs are nearing. For instance, Seattle Sounders, who were leading the Western Conference before their meeting with Vancouver Whitecaps, lost to the mid-table Whitecaps sending them into a Playoff position despite the Sounders’ bitter rivals, the Portland Timbers, actually supporting their top-of-the-table rivals in order to keep their playoff spot from Vancouver.
Tomorrow, Houston Dynamo play DC United and FC Dallas face the LA Galaxy, but most of the real MLS crunch games this weekend has already been played.
Injuries woes and more injuries woes.
This break has not been as bad as the last, however, a few key names will find themselves out after the break via injuries suffered while on international duty. The phenomenon may most worry Arsene Wenger, usually (Mesut Ozil recently suffered a long-term injury, though that was reported to be on his watch), and just as well Laurent Koscielny pulled out of France’s squad due to an injury, yet this time Brendan Rodgers will have to wait for Lazar Markovic to recover from a knock he picked up as well as starting center-back Dejan Lovren.
The same break, though, will also come as a relief to some managers, like Manchester United’s Louis Van Gaal, as it will give their currently injured players an extra week to recover without as much pressure.