Allow The Sweeper to hurtle you through this past week’s best stories at the speed of Mario Balotelli racing through Milan’s streets in a Ferrari with his queasy pet Rottweiler by his side.
1. “Think Outside the Ibrox”
Picture Ben Roethlisberger back in the MAC scrambling to find holes in the Akron Zips’ secondary on a Tuesday night at Heinz Field. Or the Chicago Blackhawks trudging up to Medicine Hat, Alberta for a crucial Western League throwdown with the Tigers. Imagine clocking out of work and showing up for your company softball game only to find the St. Louis Cardinals across the diamond. Well, Scotland’s other biggest club, Glasgow’s Mighty ‘Gers, suffered just such a humbling after a 2012 insolvency scandal caused their demotion to the fourth tier. Successive promotions sees them in sight of Scotland’s Premiership this season, but as When Saturday Comesreports, “there remains a general feeling the rebirth is running out of fuel just as the petrol station appears on the horizon”.
2. “Your Arms Too Short to Box With God”
A sexy striker who brashly bags bushels of goals? Sorry Balotelli, it’s only a second coming for Liverpool. No, not Luis Suarez, I’m talking about the local lad who came to be dubbed “God.” Let The Guardian take you back to the day 20 years ago Thursday when a 19-year-old Robbie Fowler single-handedly slaughtered Arsenal with a hat-trick scored in a scant 4 minutes 33 seconds.
3. “You’ve Been Don”
The Milton Keynes Dons were once the most reviled club in England for stealing away Wimbledon F.C. But then they captured a nation’s heart by mauling Man United 4-0 on Tuesday. They topped off that feat with the temerity to troll the Old Trafford faithful with signs blaring “Bring Back the Messiah.” Twitter’s Football Jester brilliantly brought the fears of Manchester’s red half to life with this terrifying image.
4. ‘Red is the Color of My True Love’s Hair”
England are facing the prospect of playing before their smallest ever New Wembley crowd when they host Norway next week. As The Guardian reports, the few in attendance may see the international debut of Newcastle midfielder Jack “The Ginger Pirlo” Colback. Roy Hodgson is certainly piling on a lot of pressure on the 24-year-old’s freckled shoulders with that nickname. Then again, both Pirlo and Colback play in black-and-white striped shirts. After solely one superlative season he has a long way to go before he can be mentioned in the same breath as other legendary English gingers like Alan Ball and Paul Scholes.
Here at World Soccer Talk, Chris Moore runs though his top seven soccer commentators. Spoiler Alert: Gus Johnson does not feature on the list.
6. “We will sell the meat, then pay all the other players’ salaries.”
In light of Angel di Maria’s record-breaking transfer, Four Four Two takes a look at the player moves that required no cash whatsoever. 165 pounds of shrimp may sound like a good deal, but take heed of Pimp C’s too-many-shrimp iodine poisoning warning.
7. “Serie-ous Business”
Cue up Channel 4’s funky fresh Football Italia intro as Serie A kicks off this weekend.
Anthony Pepe delivers a comprehensive preview of all 20 clubs here at World Soccer Talk.
8. “TV on the Radio”
Being trapped at a desk or in a car without access to streaming video doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice live soccer. World Soccer Talk’s Jord Willis summarizes your live radio options here.
9. “Bull on Parade”
Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak. Wilt Chamberlain’s 100 points in a single game. Wayne Gretzky’s 215 points in a season. As NJ.com reported, Bradley Wright-Phillips just broke Juan Pablo Angel’s MetroStars/Red Bulls club record of 19 goals in a season. And with 10 regular season matches remaining, the New York Post calculates that he’s on pace to pip the MLS record of 27 shared by Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski.
10. “Common Cents”
MLS Live, the leaguewide match streaming service, is now available at $25.99 for the rest of the season, which works out to 49 cents a game. With World Cup stars past and present shining in tight playoff races, it’s certainly a good value. Just beware of their local and national blackout policy.