Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

 MessiLeo (Reuters) RonaldoCrist (Getty Images)

Christmas is still a month a way, but it will feel like Christmas to soccer fans today as they get treated to a loaded schedule of top matches, including the highly-anticipated Barcelona-Real Madrid showdown.

Real Madrid's Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka will will take part in their first editions of 'El Clasico', as will Barcelona's Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It remains unclear whether Ronaldo and Barca star Lionel Messi will start due to slight injuries, but both are expected to play some role in this La Liga battle.

Barca-Real is just one of several marquee match-ups, including the Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool, and today's other featured match, between London powers Chelsea and Arsenal.

If you will be watching today's action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today's TV schedule is after the jump):


8:30am– Setanta USA- Everton vs. Liverpool

9am– FSC- Inter Milan vs. Fiorentina

9am– Cagliari vs. Juventus

11am– FSC/FSE- Arsenal vs. Chelsea

11:15am– Setanta USA- Kettering vs. Leeds United

1pm– GolTV/ESPN Deportes/ Barcelona vs. Real Madrid

1pm– Telemuno- Toluca vs. San Luis

2:45pm– FSC/FSE/RAI- Catania vs. AC Milan

3pm– ESPN2/ Atletico Madrid vs. Espanyol

3pm– Setanta USA- Olympique Lyon vs. Stade Rennes

4pm– GolTV- Corinthians vs. Flamengo (Delayed)

5pm– Azteca America- Morelia vs. Santos Laguna

6pm– Setanta USA- Everton vs. Liverpool (Delayed)

7pm– FSC- Wolves vs. Birmingham City


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98 Responses to Soccer Sunday: Your Running Commentary

  1. Tim F. says:

    What a great morning it will be. Everton Liverpool followed by Arsenal Chelsea and then by FC Barcelona Real Madrid!!!

  2. JK says:

    Marcus Hahnemann is playing for Wolves v. Birmingham today.

  3. anon says:


    It’s the day the world has been waiting for, viewing parties galore for “el clasico”.

  4. pete says:

    Great save by howard. He couldn’t do anything on the first goal.

  5. michael says:

    i thought espn2 was going to air El clasico

    (SBI-Nope. ESPN Deportes, and GolTV are.)

  6. Mig22 says:

    The quality in this Inter-Fiorentina game is amazing. Structured play, the true definition of technical football…not the players skill but their field awareness and positioning and movement. So different than EPL.

  7. Ian says:

    The only reason I won’t be hammered by noon is that in NC bars can’t serve alcohol until noon. Stupid Biblebelt.

  8. shutitdown says:

    Hala . . . enough said!

  9. Mig22 says:

    Apparently Rafa keeps his job for another week.

  10. Mig22 says:

    Weird decision to disallow an Inter goal by Samuel. I can’t figure out what the call was since it looked like the defender and Samuel were mutually holding each other’s arm, etc. Strange. Then Fiorentina had a legit call for a penalty not awarded.

  11. Andrew H. says:

    Gilardino just pulled off one of the sickest moves I have ever seen. He controlled the ball on his chest in between two defenders, flicked over his and their heads and had a breakaway to goal that he shot off the post, while a defender was all over him. He should have gone day and taken a penalty, like the weak one just awarded to Inter.

  12. Andrew H. says:

    Meant to write “gone down” not “gone day.”

  13. Chris A says:

    Kettering Town or Leeds vs Man U in the FA Cup either big team little team or old rivals meeting again

  14. madmax says:

    Arsenal with possession but poor in both boxes. Anelka denied a good penalty claim. British announcer claims because foul was in box and not in center pitch referee wouldn’t call it. How sad if true.

  15. Mig22 says:

    Blues are just too good this year. For all Arsenal’s possession, they didn’t have a clear cut chance in the first half. They barely had a 1/2 chance. I’ll chuckle when the report will be that the “scoreline flattered Chelsea” or “Chelsea didn’t play well but…” which seems to be standard code for Chelsea wins again.

  16. Mig22 says:

    Even though I was rooting for Inter, I wish Gilardino had scored that because it was going to be goal of the year….of maybe any year.

    (I think the PK was a fair one, calls in the game balanced out). I would have been happy for Fiorentina had taken a point though…I like that squad too.

  17. Isaac says:

    Yo, check out Carlo Ancelloti’s sick cap. That is just Italian Gangster right there….

  18. Isaac says:

    I’d like to point out something to USMNT fans who aren’t satisfied with the style of play Bob Bradley uses.

    Turn on the Chelsea – Arsenal game. Arsenal have all the chances so far in the second half, they’ve provided all the pressure, and Chelsea are content to sit back, soak it up, clear it upfield, and counter. So even world class sides like Chelsea (who are likely to win the EPL this season) know when to let the other team have the ball, because they know they have the players to handle it.

    I should also point out that teams like Arsenal, who are extremely technically gifted, don’t always win, even with the majority of the possession.

  19. OJ says:

    great free kick by drogula

  20. fgb says:

    well when we have a clinical striker like Drogba who bags the few chances he gets, or a backline like Chelsea’s, which isn’t risking giving up a goal even when they stay back and play defensively, then people may feel differently.

    i personally don’t hate Bradley’s approach, but the two situations are starkly different.

  21. Judging Amy says:

    Yep. And Chelsea has the talent to play a “beautiful” style of play. The dissatisfaction with the US NT is comical considering the astounding leap in quality from 1990 (less than 20 years) and the fact that the US consistently overachieves.

  22. Jorge Barake says:

    Barca-Real game is on… oh yeah!

  23. Mig22 says:

    scary performance. K-bone, questions answered, man?


  24. joe says:

    anyone have a barca real link?

  25. Valdo says: has a few, but all in spanish.
    link to

  26. Jorge says:

    Not looking good for Barca right now…

  27. anovato says:

    this officiating is completely pro-madrid

    unreal, the fans are outraged

  28. pete says:

    you are never happy with the ref.

  29. madmax says:

    Madrid having some success pressing high, but too many of their attacks end up with Marcelo, and nothing.

  30. Jorge says:

    A couple of good saves by Valdes

  31. anovato says:

    it’s hard to be happy with a referee like this

    that wasn’t even close to offsides

  32. pete says:

    its hard to be happy if your barca fan and real have had the best chances

  33. Jorge says:

    I’m a Barca fan but realize Real has had the best chances.

  34. anovato says:

    stupid referee

    if you are going to keep giving continuation, you need to give the yellow after the play is done

  35. anovato says:

    the real madrid player kicked the ball to him

    sorry again ref, not offsides

  36. pete says:

    I was talking to anovato, who simply complains about the ref and never about the play.

  37. Jorge says:

    Ok… I see… my apologies… :-)

  38. anovato says:

    how is that not a freaking foul

  39. Mig22 says:

    That Marcelo decision to shoot at 44:15 was a good one but needed a bit of brilliance to be anything.

  40. anovato says:

    just trash refs, not even close to offsides for real madrid either

  41. pete says:

    real madrid called for offside, when he was even. Do you talk about anything other than the ref?

  42. anovato says:

    blind ref for both teams

    the linesmen have no clue what offsides is

    (SBI-Please bring more to the table than criticism of referees. Otherwise, please stop commenting.)

  43. Champions of England says:

    Thought the ref has kept the game under control pretty well for the most part….considering the intense rivalry.

  44. MemRook says:

    Wow. I just read all your comments and you’re now my least favorite person to have to read on here.

    As a neutral, I think that the ref is doing a GOOD job of not being affected by the crowd and their reactions, being fair to both teams. If you look at the stats actually, the ref has given MORE fouls and yellow cards to Real than Barca. So if you think about it, you’re wrong.

  45. madmax says:

    I don’t think comparing Chelsea and USMNT’s lack of possession is a valid comparison. Chelsea’s tactics are by choice. Chelsea is taking advantage of Arsenal’s weakness in front of both goals.

  46. MemRook says:

    The ref in the Barca/Real game is doing a good job of keeping balance and not catering too much to the home fans; I’m betting that most of us would waver under the scrutiny of the Nou Camp’s appeals and jeers. The ref is being as fair and balanced as I think anyone can be in this situation. anovato is just plain annoying and wrong.

  47. madmax says:

    Great moment when Iniesta told CR7 to be quiet.

  48. MemRook says:

    Very entertaining moment for sure. And is Cristiano officially “CR9″ now??? Or will he always be CR7???

  49. madmax says:

    With all the millions spent on attackers, Pellegrini needs a better plan than Marcelo on the last ball.

  50. Mig22 says:

    I was wondering about the CR9 thing too.

    Iniesta did what everybody should do…tell Crissy to shut his pie hole. And hell, I’m rooting for Madrid.

  51. Pete says:

    Anovato, did you complain this much in the semi-final of the champions league final against chelsea, when chelsea were denied about 5 penalty claims.

  52. 56th minute- GOAL BARCELONA!!!! Ibrahimovic with a beautiful volley blast off a great Alves cross in. Barcelona 1, Real Madrid 0.

  53. OJ says:

    great cross by dani alves and great left-footed volley from close range from Ibra”cadabra”hemovic.

  54. Mig22 says:

    Wow, I detest whiney Danielle Alves but that cross was…lovely. and Zlatan is a beast.

  55. Credit to Alves on that assist. His first touches of the game were nightmarish so to see him deliver that good a ball was a bit surprising.

  56. MemRook says:

    I love world class players and goals. That finish ain’t easy, no way. Zlatan timed that strike perfectly. Now c’mon Real and make this a game!

  57. anovato says:

    yeah man, i thought they were some crummy calls

    i love football, not just barca

  58. anovato says:

    i love the decision to use zlatan as a supersub

  59. 63rd minute- RED CARD BUSQUETS!! Real Madrid a man up now.

  60. anovato says:

    that is a shocking decision

  61. anovato says:

    despite his form, CR7 was all of madrid’s attacking presence

    even though he isn’t in the best form, he was the attack

  62. Mig22 says:

    It may actually help Madrid to diversify their attack by pulling CR7(9).

  63. anovato says:

    messi is simply magical

    so close on the header

  64. Mig22 says:

    Puyol is a beast today.

  65. anovato says:

    old man raul coming in

  66. anovato says:

    so close!

    what a build up

  67. anovato says:

    even a man down, barca’s possession is a head above madrid

  68. anovato says:

    madrid skys a wide open goal from 4-5 yards

  69. Jose S. says:

    Freddy Adu has been subbed in!

    Hell has frozen over.

  70. anovato says:

    he appeared to be onside

  71. anovato says:

    no way, keep us udpated

  72. 89th minute- WHAT a pass from Alves to Messi, and a great save by Casilla stops it.

  73. 90th minute- RED CARD for Lassana Diarra. A second yellow for taking out Messi.

  74. anovato says:

    that was a ridiculous pass

    casillas saves madrid from certain loss

  75. FINAL- Barcelona 1, Real Madrid 0. Not a bunch of goals, but a great match. Back and fourth, Madrid played the better first half, but Barcelona had the better of the second half despite playing a man down for 27 minutes. The rematch in Madrid should be great.

  76. anovato says:

    i would say that this game solidifies messi as the best player in the world, by a decent margin

    he showed magic today

  77. JFC says:

    Josep Guardiola:Achievement unlocked Grind it Out

  78. pete says:

    Did not live up to my expectations, but the build up was to blame, i guess. Taking off ronaldo killed madrid’s attacking purpose.

  79. Texar says:

    man, I wish I had the personal skills that the barcelona players have. It’s amazing how they can control the ball. The first touch is just amazing.

  80. Jose S. says:

    Belenenses blew a 2-0 lead with a man advantage to draw 2-2

    Freddy Adu came in for the last ten minutes didn’t get many touches but played a perfect through ball in stoppage time that the striker missed wide by inches to win the game.

  81. anovato says:

    barcelona’s possession is outstanding, the individual skill of their players is something you rarely ever see

  82. Bob Bradley says:

    Adu did all the hard work for his Belenenses player with the setup – and the teammate sliced it wide.

  83. vivalosburros says:

    I am not sure you can say that on a day where for all he did he did not create a chance. Ronaldo did a lot today after being out, and I am not really sure that you can say Messi outplayed Ronaldo.

  84. madmax says:

    If you didn’t see the red card, you would never know from play that Barcelona was down a man for twenty or more minutes.

  85. OmarVizquel says:

    Bob, I’ve always wondered: what do you do between international weeks? Besides reading SBI, that is…

  86. CrispyST3 says:

    Messi did outplay Ronaldo, Attackin and in Defense….he frustrated the Madridistas, but only cuz he outplayed him today doesnt mean that he’s that much better, Messi and Roanaldo are two great players, u can compare and contrast but its too hard

  87. CrispyST3 says:

    Yes, really, i had to go outside to get sumthin from the car, and came back, 10 mins later, i found out Busquets got a Red, and i was like


  88. So here’s a question for SBI readers. Who came away looking more impressive today, Chelsea with its 3-0 win vs. Arsenal, or Barcelona beating Real Madrid 1-0 despite playing a man down for 27 minutes?

  89. anovato says:

    i’d have to say barca

    you could not even tell they were a man down

  90. Texar says:

    I’ll say it’s very close but Barcelona is slightly better. Then again, I have a soft spot for this Barcelona team. They play beautiful and I love to watch them play.

  91. japan says:

    Chelsea. Arsenal never had a chance to win that game. Barca game on the other hand would have been a lot different had Ronaldo scored in the first half. Still very impressive keeping the ball like that with a man down.

  92. RedLine55 says:

    Well done, sir!

  93. Mig22 says:

    I’m wholly biased as a Chelsea fan but going to Emirates, winning 3-0, and never once looking threatened is more impressive than Barca winning 1-0 at home over Madrid.

    It was a good game for Barca but Madrid had the better of the game in the first 1/2, could have scored, and then the game could have different.

    Both good wins though.

  94. jig says:

    ehhh, i dunno. I think you need to take into account the fact that arsenal were missing their best attacker as well as their first and second choice left backs.

    That was a full strength madrid side, Barca were forced to play a man down for a half hour, and never looked worse for wear.

  95. Mig22 says:

    Well, I think a side that has a better midfield, as does Barca, will not suffer as much when playing a man down. They can control possession and since they were a goal up, could kill the game with that possession. The situation favored them. I do see your point though that they did it with flair.

    As to Arsenal missing Van Persie, they have been repeatedly touted as the best attacking team in the EPL, and Van Persie is just one player. 3-0 at the Emirates takes the cake for me. Again, though…I’m biased.


  96. fischy says:

    Ridiculous comment. You think Chelsea would still be this good if Drogba got hurt? They’d be a tough team to play still, but they’d be struggling to find goal just like Arsenal, even with Anelka still there. YOu can’t replace someone with van Persie’s finishing ability.

    Cheers to you, too.

  97. Isaac says:

    Chelsea. Never seemed to panic and were content with simple deep defensive positions. 3-0, away from home, and a hold on the match? Wins my vote.

  98. JFC says:

    Daniel Alves:Achievement Unlocked Good Friend