Welcome to this weekend’s edition of the Commentary Thread. I thought the photo above appropriate with the return in Sweden of the Svenska Cupen,this weekend and with Alejandro’s Helsingborg looking for a win at Varberg. Varberg begin just their second season in Superttan (2nd tier) later this year, and will be tested by by perennial Allsvenskan Powerhouse Helsingborg. In the Cup Helsingborg were held to a draw last weekend, and will want to get the world back in balance.
In the UK we have the 6th Round of the FA Cup, Everton will be facing against fellow EPL team, Wigan. Unfortunately Tim Howard will not be playing due to a back injury, it gets worse, the USA #1 keeper is probably out for a while and will miss a number of WCQ games. Get well soon Timmy. In the EPL Brad Guzan, who I will guess will be Tim’s replacement for the USMNT will be visiting Reading as Aston Villa continue to struggle and three points here will help their bid to stave off relegation. In the Championship, of late, we have more players, for varying reasons, not playing for their teams, so lets hope this weekend see’s a change in that trend. Seb Hines is back in form at Middlesbrough and Jonathan Spector seems to have reclaimed his starting spot at Birmingham. So that leaves us wondering who will make the gameday 18, and possibly start? Tim Ream and Stuart Holden are having difficulty breaking into Bolton’s starting 11, Coach Freeman has stated that he does not want to meddle with the team he has right now, which has had some success. Zak Whitbread went through an injury and is back with Leicester making the 18 the last two weeks, but failing to leave the bench, much the same for Conor Doyle at Derby, who had made only 2 appearances this season due to injury. Zak is firmly established at Leicester, so I expect that he will regain his 1st team position, but Conor looks to require a little luck to make it back on the pitch during this season.
In Germany, undoubtedly the game of the day will be, Schalke at home to Dortmund. Jermaine and Co. will be up against it right from the kick-off, but Dortmund are not unbeatable and Schalke have not lost in Bundesliga for 3 weeks. Promises to be one to watch. Mainz are at home to Leverkusen, Shawn Parker is back from suspension and although Mainz are not winning, they are not losing either, having drawn all of their last 4 games, I think another draw is on the cards for this one. If Hoffenheim are going to battle out of, what looks like, certain relegation they must beat Greuther Furth. Fabian and Danny will have to help their team shine and start the turnaround. Interestingly Greuther’s only wins this season have been away from home, so Hoffenheim have a realistic chance at points.
After the “earlier games” in the UK and Germany quite a few notable USMNT players are scheduled to take to the field. Terrence Boyd will be the first, starting in Austria for his club, Rapid, followed by Sash Kljestan and Anderlecht, looking to get back to winning ways in Belgium. Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley will start their games , for AZ Alkmaar and Roma respectively at 2.45pm ET, and that will play-out our Saturday commentary.
On Sunday, there are fewer games of interest for following US Players. But there are some potentially great game. In the EPL Stoke will visit Newcastle, Brek Shea and Geoff Cameron will be hoping for a start. Clint Dempsey will likely make the bench, but is no certainty to play, as Tottenham visit Liverpool. I’m sure that Clint would relish the idea of putting a couple past the keeper at Anfield, we will have to wait and see. Friedel who had a great game in mid-week will probably take his place on the bench for this one.
As for the rest of the clashes on Sunday, in Germany Hannover are home to Eintracht, I am not sure as to Cherundolo’s fitness (at this time) but will endeavor to find out and fill you all in. Danish Superliga continues with some US Player interest Kobenhavn are at home to Silkeborg and AGF will get a visit from Brondby and Clarence Goodson. After failing to take the field in the last 3, Carlos Bocanegra will be hoping for a change in fortune at Racing Santander. The Sunday Commentary will wind down with Maurice Edu and Bursaspor calling on Fenerbahce in the Turkish Super Lig. Fener’ (40)are just 3 points ahead of Bursa’(37) and both are chasing Besiktas(42) for the 2nd automatic UCL spot. Promises to be a good one to end our weekend follow’s.
As usual (it goes without saying I think) feel free to start a discussion or just chat and give your opinion. The commentary is here for your enjoyment and what better way, than to participate.