In the latest episode of KYCK 90, we discuss the MLS All-Stars against Chelsea, our recent KYCKchat with Alexi Lalas, the USWNT’s Miley Cyrus-inspired music video, address some user feedback and give you a sneak-peek of KYCK v3. Let us know your thoughts!
What a weekend of action! The Champions League final was UNBELIEVABLE. We’ve scoured Twitter for the best looks at what transpired behind the scenes.
Champions League winner. Florent Malouda can now add that to his CV after Chelsea went into Bayern’s home and snatched the cup from under their noses. Look at that grin. That’s the grin of a man who knows he got away with theft.
Fellow attacker Juan Mata let us in on his thankful thoughts as he posed with the Champions League trophy. As a goalkeeper, he should be thankful to Petr Cech for his preparation and subsequent saves. Well done to Chelsea and thanks for letting us in on your celebrations all season!
The best photo from this past weekend may have been from Chelsea’s official account of David Luiz sitting on the crossbar in front of the Chelsea end at the Allianz. Little did we know, merely a prelude to this.
Uruguayan and Napoli striker Edinson Cavani capped off his coming-out season with a Coppa Italia victory to add to his growing reputation. The Neapolitans defeated Juventus 2-0 in the final and Cavani tweeted (translated): I dedicate this victory to God, to my family who is always at hand.” Congratulations Napoli and thank you for the entertainment you brought this year!
At KYCK, we are big fans of the mustached look on just about anyone. As I write this with a mustache that would make Goose from Top Gun jealous, I’ve got to say Blair Gavin’s upper lip coif has me recalculating my own approach. That’s tough to beat. If Becks is sporting it, you know the mustache is back. Thanks for sharing, Ben Zemanski!
If you are one of the 400 million people who will be watching the Champions League final between Bayern Munich and Chelsea tomorrow, we’ve got some suggestions on some players to follow for updates before and after the match. Follow these five players and look for the agony of defeat from the losers and the glory of victory from the champions.
Versatile Bayern defender Jerome Boateng is one of the few Bayern players who frequents Twitter to update his followers on his life. Worth a follow for Bayern fans if you want to see what it’s like at FC Hollywood.
Chelsea forward and Drogba heir-apparent Romelu Lukaku may not have seen much pitch time this year, but that hasn’t stopped him from tweeting out updates on his route to the Champions League final.
Another member of the Chelsea strike force, Salomon Kalou may play a key role in Saturday’s final. A bit of a mercurial performer, he’s been used to good effect as a super-sub this year. Those Adidas boots are perfect for the Dutch and Chelsea performer.
If Chelsea win the Champions League, and that’s a big IF, Florent Malouda and Juan Mata are must follows to see the celebrations in the locker room. After their FA Cup win over Liverpool, both used Twitter to post pictures of themselves with the cup and their medals. Follow them!
Who will you be following before and after the Champions League final?
To follow the match in real time, talk with others about the match, and keep up to date with which player did what, request an invite with KYCK and join the newest social network for football fans. All of your football interests in one location.
Sunday represents the pinnacle of club football and the final event of the club championship. Bayern Munich face Chelsea at their home ground, the Allianz Arena, as both teams have eliminated the two Spanish favorites on their way to the final in Munich. Neither of these teams can lay claim to the Best in Europe tag, and their shattering of the El Clasico dream final has some writing this one off. However, Chelsea have proven they’ve got the ability to make grown men make reproductive noises on television and Bayern are ready to finally ascend to the top after years in the shadows of Europe’s finest. Here’s what to look for on Saturday.
How will both teams deal with suspensions?
Chelsea will be without Raul Meireles, Ramires and Branislav Ivanovic for the final after each picked up yellow cards in the first and second legs of the semifinal, which under current UEFA rules mean a one game suspension. Even more important will be the absence of Captain, Leader, Legend™ John Terry who was shown a straight red for delivering a gratuitous knee to the back of Barcelona’s Alexis Sanchez.
A depleted back four of Jose Bosingwa, Gary Cahill, David Luiz and Ashley Cole is likely. Ramires has been Chelsea’s most consistent performer in the right central channel and will be missed. Look for Michael Essien to replace him.
Bayern’s Luiz Gustavo, David Alaba and Holger Badstuber will also be missing due to yellow cards. Alaba was excellent as a left back in the semifinals while Badstuber and Gustavo held down central defense and midfield respectively. Experienced Dutch defender Daniel van Buyten likely comes in for Badstuber. Jerome Boateng, will likely slot over to left back for Alaba. Gustavo’s midfield replacement will depend on the tactical set up Bayern manager Jupp Heynckes chooses.
Bayern Munich’s strengths lie on the wings where Arjen Robben on the right cuts in to his left foot to wreak havoc on opposition defenses. When he’s not hurling himself to the ground like a soldier in an air raid, Robben can be one of the most exciting players on the planet. How Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole deals with Robben cutting in onto Cole’s weaker right foot will determine the course of this match.
On the other wing, Franck Ribery is the more creative hub of Bayern’s attacking players. Ribery’s craft compliments the directness of Robben and poacher Mario Gomez is the benefactor of both. Jose Bosingwa could be in for a rough day. Chelsea will face difficulties without Ramires, who was adept at doubling up on opposition wingers.
Chelsea can cause Bayern problems in two different ways. The simplest approach, and one that’s been ruthlessly effective for the Blues, has been the direct option of Didier Drogba up front. Chelsea have used the long balls up to Drogba who’s power and aerial ability have created opportunities for Juan Mata and Frank Lampard in the form of knockdowns and lay offs. He has also has the ability to go himself as Tottenham found out in their FA Cup semifinal.
When Drogba stretches the field, it leaves space for Mata to float in that nether region between defense and midfield. He likes to float into zone, pick up the ball from Lampard or Mikel and play incisive passes to Drogba and runners bursting from midfield. Bastian Schweinsteiger must be alert to the Spaniard’s scheming.
Fans can only hope for a thriller like they saw this past Sunday in Manchester. An early Bayern goal to force Chelsea to attack would be the best viewing for the neutral, but both teams will only focus on lifting the cup with the big ears.
Who do you think gets their hands on the hardware?
Premier League Season Review:
Written by: D.J. Switzer @ Wrong Side of the Pond
Most things in life are cyclical in nature, where periods of normalcy are interrupted by periods of change. Some periods might be longer or even permanent, while others are short and fleeting. The rise and fall of the stock market, the warming and cooling of the earth, and even Real Madrid’s or Barcelona’s dominance of La Liga are all prime examples of the eras within these cycles that we see come and go. Each has a beginning, and each has its end.
When thinking about the 2011/2012 Premier League Season, it’s easy to wonder if we might be at the beginning of a new era in the English top flight. Looking at the league table with just a week’s worth of fixtures left to play, that could very well be the case.
Manchester City’s lavish spending over the last few years appears on the verge of finally coming good, as they’re in pole position to supplant their neighbors as champions for their first league title since 1968. Manchester United — the most dominant side in the Premier League era — are likely to fall just short thanks to their own transitional period at the club. Supposing the Citizens secure three points at QPR this weekend, they’ll be the first side outside the traditional “Big Four" clubs to win the title since Blackburn Rovers also bought their way to the title in 1994.
Speaking of the “Big Four”, the sun might also be setting on the phrase itself, now that two of its traditional members are almost guaranteed to finish outside the coveted top four places. Liverpool are not only a lock to end up sub-fourth for the second season running, but they’ll also finish in their lowest league position since 1953 — the last time they were relegated. Most likely joining them in mid-table mediocrity is fellow mega club Chelsea. Just two seasons removed from winning the title, the Blues only hope of Champions League football next season will be to focus all of their energy into upsetting Bayern in the final on May 19th. Regardless, expect their American and Russian owners to open their pocketbooks in the summer to reclaim their “rightful” places near the top.
Ahead of them lies a dogfight for the final two Champions League places between Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur and Newcastle United. North London rivals Spurs and Arsenal have each had contrasting mini-cycles within this season itself, with one side in fine form while the other’s in the pits. While the Gunners are accustomed to being in these places, Spurs are hoping to gate crash the top four for the second time in three seasons. That will only happen if Tottenham can revive their early season form to fend off a challenge from a surprise Newcastle side. Having just exited a relegation-induced dark cycle of their own, the Magpies rebuilt on the cheap and have ridden the Ba/Cissé wave to heights far higher than was expected. Though qualifying for Europe’s top competition might also be the only way that owner Mike Ashley won’t sell off most of the side’s star performers in the summer.
At the foot of the table, things appear to be changing as well. For the first time since 2001/2002, all of the promoted sides stand a good chance of avoiding a quick return to the Championship. Barring a series of miracles, Bolton Wanderers and Blackburn Rovers will likely join already relegated Wolves in the drop, with Queens Park Rangers being the only one of the new boys that could take the fall instead. Meanwhile, fellow newcomers Swansea City and Norwich City have proven that you can play attractive football on a limited budget and still survive. Swansea in particular — also bearing the flag as the first Welsh side to ever play in the Premier League — have bucked the “ugly and direct ensures survival” trend, and will undoubtedly serve as a template for promoted sides to emulate in this new era in the league.
Of course, depending on results this week, all of the above could end up being complete rubbish. If City drop points and United don’t, then the Red Devils will defend their crown. Should Chelsea somehow win both their fixtures and the Gunners and Spurs lose, then the Blues could rejoin the top four. QPR could easily go down if Bolton win away to Stoke, thus seeing a promoted club relegated for the 11th straight season. And if all that does happen, we may not be nearing the end of an era at all.
So whether this season actually does mark the end of one era and the beginning of another, or if it’s just a one-off abnormality, only time will tell. In the mean time, I look forward to enjoying the beautiful game’s natural ebb and flow. After all, next season could be the start of another era of its own.
What do you think? Is this the end of an era….or the start of another?
D.J. Switzer is the writer behind the American footie blog Wrong Side of the Pond. A two-time All-Region player at Div. III power Ohio Northern, D.J. resides in his hometown of Cincinnati, Ohio, and continues to play as much as his surgically repaired knee — and wife — allows. You can follow him @wrongsideofpond.
Get out your engraving equipment and your silver cleaner. We’ve got behind the scenes shots of all the ugly trophies and dinner plates in this Championship edition of the Social Media Review.
Ajax start off this Championship edition of the Social Media Review Show with this picture from midfielder Siem de Jong. His two goals secured the Dutch title for the Amsterdammers in their 2-0 victory over Venlo. Look out for this man at the Euros this summer.
Real Madrid defender Alvaro Arbeloa let us in on the celebrations at Bilbao after the Merengues secured their La Liga title. Madrid’s 3-0 victory over Bilbao wrapped up their 32nd league title and first in three seasons, kicking off celebrations at Las Cibeles.
Spanish midfield maestro Juan Mata helped Chelsea lift their fourth FA Cup in six years with a 2-1 victory over Liverpool. Chelsea were helped by a controversial goal line decision when Andy Carroll’s header was palmed out by Petr Cech (or was it?). The debate will rage on but the fact is that Juan Mata and Chelsea gathered their first trophy of the season. Can they do the double and defeat Bayern Munich in the Champions League Final?
Injured Liverpool midfielder Lucas Leiva has been featured on the Social Media Review before for his great snapshots. This time is no different as he posted this beautiful Instagram before kickoff at Wembley. We’re big fans of the angles that many fans don’t get to see and while Liverpool didn’t get the result, Lucas proved they’ve got social media chops.
Another photo, another championship. Dutch and Juventus winger Eljero Elia tweeted this Instagram from what appears to be Juve’s team bus. The contras between Giorgio Chiellini going wild but Gigi Buffon sitting like, “Eh, no big deal. Just another trophy for the mantelpiece,” is awesome. Congrats again to Juve on their Scudetto. If they avoid a loss in their last match against Atalanta, they will complete an undefeated season in the league. The last team to do that was Fabio Capello’s 1991-92 AC Milan side.
File under “Who Knew?” Atlético Madrid’s Colombian forward Falcao presented American Pie star Jason Biggs with this custom jersey signed by Los Colchoneros. I wonder if Falcao has even seen all four (?) of the American Pie movies.
Once again, the KYCK blog highlights the top 5 moments in social media from this weekend in the fútbol world.
El Clásico, the biggest match from this weekend, all but settled the La Liga title race as Real Madrid beat Barcelona at the Nou Camp 2-1, breaking a seven-match winless streak against the Catalans. Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos (@SergioRamos) tweeted out this picture of Xabi Alonso (@xabialonso), Esteban Granero (@eGranero11), Pepe, José María Callejón and himself after the match. Rough translation: “3 points more to glory. To continue working.” If they can win the Champions League, there’s no doubt they are the best team in the world this year.
Vancouver Whitecaps captain and defender Jay DeMerit (@D6MERIT) apparently kicked it with some of the chaps from Coldplay before the ‘Caps 1-0 win over FC Dallas. Vancouver is about as rainy as London, so no surprise DeMerit’s a fan of the Brit rockers. Cool to see Will Champion (left) and Guy Berryman (right) showing the MLS some love.
Would you hire this man as your club’s manager? Apparently Shanghai Shenhua thought that Nicolas Anelka (@anelkaofficiel) was perfect to play the role of player-head coach. Well, Le Sulk took the time to let the world know it was his first victory as a coach. Does that mean he’s previously coached teams that have never won a game? We’ll monitor this one closely.
Chelsea’s Spaniard in London Juan Mata (@juanmata10) wished his teammate David Luiz (@DavidLuiz_4) a happy 25th birthday and gave the world an exclusive look at the Brazilian’s custom birthday cake. Yes, that’s The Simpson’s Sideshow Bob dressed in a Chelsea kit. We can sleep easy knowing the Chelsea dressing room also recognizes the resemblance.
And finally, Australian journalist Neil Sherwin (@neilsherwin) showed us a little too much of the gory details when he tweeted this up-close-and-personal shot of Perth Glory striker Shane Smeltz’s (@shanesmeltz) broken nose. Good use of social media? Um, yes, purely based on shock value.
Who was your favorite follow from the weekend that was?