I am Back!So is the Premier League!

Good evening all! After a brief hiatus chasing the ever elusive perfect GMAT score, I am officially BACK! AAAAAAAND so is the premier league! (Try not to contain yourselves too much, I know you missed me more). So many important events have occurred while I was on “holiday”, so I would like to begin my comeback by giving to you basically a tweet preview (120 characters….ish) of each Top Flight english squad to help kick off the 2015/2016 campaign! Should be easy…right?

Lets start with the easiest team to dissect:

ARSENAL

WIll Petr Cech be the high-caliber keeper that turns the gunners from choke-artists to proper contenders?Will Wenger sign another striker…Benzema?

AFC BOURNEMOUTH 

1899: Inaugural season; 1997:Club almost folds due to more than 7 million pounds of debt and unable to pay its players, supporters raise 1.4 million pounds; 2015: 1st EVER BPL season. #Moneyball

ASTON VILLA

No Benteke, delph, or Cissokho. Lets see what Rudy Gestede and Jordan Ayew can do. Brad Guzan… better be ready for action. Adama Traore?????

CHELSEA

Will the deadly Fabregras, Matic, , Oscaar, Hazard combo troll the BPL again and win the League? Is Douglas Costa more injury-prone than the glass-kneed RVP? Is John Stones the Batman to John Terry’s Bane?

MANCHESTER CITY 

Bye-Bye Dzeko. Is Sterling Liverpool’s or ManCity’s reckoning? Is he a selfish, underdeveloped youngin that will crack under pressure faster than batman’s back smashing on Bane’s Knee. Pellegrini out? Pep in? (Lots of Batman analogies today, huh?) 

MANCHESTER UNITED

No RVP. No Di Maria. LVG vs De Gea. LVG vs. the Glazers. LVG vs. Wayne Rooney. LVG vs. BPL. Rooney, Schweini and Schneiderlin to lead the way.

LIVERPOOL

RODGERS’ LAST CHANCE. No more Stevie G., Onto the Henderson Captaincy era. Will Benteke or Ings become the Luigi or Bowser to Super Mario. Millner earned this contract and will become a fast leader of the team. 

SWANSEA CITY

The Succesful Monk philosophy for 3 more years. Couple new faces…ahem Eder. Season opener vs. returning champs Chelsea is a tough draw.

SUNDERLAND

Coates, Kaboul, M’Vila in. Veringi, Wickford out. Giacherini stay.  Adam Henderson’s off-field woes postponed to next year. Will they be in the vyng for relegation. 

SOUTHHAMPTON

Big shoes to fill from Schneiderlin loss. Will the Stingiest defence in the BPL last season returrn to its surprising form. No Osvaldo and possibly no Fonte. Can Graziano Pelle score at the same rate this season. Lots of questions.

TOTTENHAM

Mo Po has his hands full. Spurs need a return to consistency. Lloris is looking for UCL football, will he convince the talented shot-stopper to stay. Is Harry Kane truly the next Bale? Sell Lamela?

LEICESTER CITY

Bad Choice in hiring Ranieri (Roma fan here). Already lost your best player in Esteban Cambiasso, who’s next? Son of Schmeichel?

NEWCASTLE UNITED

Steve McClaren has arrived. He now works for the worlds Stingiest Owner. Good Luck. Atleast you resigned Coloccini… lets hope for less reds this year.

CRYSTAL PALACE

My dark horse of this years BPL. Yohan Cabaye? What a steal! An influx of talent will only help solidiy a young and scary XI. Cabaye, Bolasie connection will be nice.

Norwich City

Fighting to not be relegated right back down to the Championship. 

WEST HAM UNITED

Farewell big Sam. Farewell Upton park? The era of Bilic is already in shambles by “sacrificing”Europa League. Andy Carroll may be healthy for once. Valencia injured. Downing was sold to his hometown club. Will Payet actually make the hammers better?

WATFORD

The signings of decent players like Behrami, Berghuis, Nyom and Britos will help this team produce some surprising results. Let’s hope they can remain afloat and stay in the top flight.


WEST BROMWICH ALBION

Ricky Lambert + Saido Behrani connection may be a match made in heaven. The 22 year-old is loooking to build on last year’s successful campaign that was filled with 20 solid goals.

EVERTON

Tim Howard looks like he enjoyed his off season, possibly too much. Let’s hope he wwill come into the season strong and in top form.  Romelu Lukaku will look to net many more with the help of new-boy Tom Cleverly.  May be a contender. 

STOKE CITY

May be a surprising contender as well to finish close to the top of the table.  What they lost in Asmir Begovic, Stoke gained with Shay Given. Look to Marco Van Ginkle to shine and push this young team throughout this season. Xherdan Shaqiri could definitely help!

Do you agree? disagree? please lets us know what you think! Thats all for now folks. 

Happy Valentine’s Match Day from The 93rd Minute!

standalone1

There’s an old saying about relationships that applies to a wonderful day like today: “It is easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to get permission.” If you do not understand dear readers, fear not, for the writers at The 93rd Minute have your back! We present to you the ultimate soccer get out of jail free card! This Puma marketing strategy that circulated during Valentine’s Day 2010 will teach you all you need to know about asking for forgiveness for skipping Valentine’s Day for match day! These commercials will teach you how to say sorry and I love you in 3 different languages: English (two times? Wow!),  Italian (non vi credo!), French (ce n’est pas possible!), and finally German (du bist verrĂŒckt!). That’s right ladies and gents, gather up your friends at the pub, recreate the following ads, and send them off to your significant others. If they love you as much as you love them, they will completely understand. You will be home free! Happy Valentine’s Day

DISCLAIMER: If, for some odd reason, this does not work on your loved one and they choose to leave you. This is not our fault!  You did it wrong and you do not have the boyish or girlish charm that we thought you all possessed. It was not meant to be, therefore, you are quite welcome.

The Curse of the MaracanĂŁ

 

While reading the New York times this morning, I noticed they will have full coverage of the upcoming  2014 World Cup in Brazil. I followed up later today and found they may have created one of the coolest projects I have seen to date:

http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2014/06/08/magazine/world-cup-curse-of-maracana.html?hp&_r=3&smid=pl-share

 

In the New York Times’ own words:

“In anticipation of the World Cup, we sent the magazine’s contributing illustrator, Christoph Niemann, to Brazil in search of the soul of soccer. What he found instead is a curse that still hangs over the country, decades after the highly favored home team lost in the final game of the 1950 World Cup in Rio de Janeiro. In this animated storybook, Niemann meets this curse — and befriends him — and does his part to unmake that goal that has haunted Brazil for 64 years.”

 

Take a look and I am sure you will enjoy…

Florence Fight Club

Recently, I had the opportunity to return to Italy with my family to meet up with my rockstar sister as she was finishing her Vatican Internship and her semester abroad in Rome (Alas, I have officially come to the unfortunate conclusion that both of my younger sisters are cooler than me). Over my 12 day excursion throughout Italy, we experienced many things. We toured Rome, and Florence; my old stomping grounds from the study abroad days. We visited with family in my grandfather’s home town, Tagliacozzo, Abruzzo. I took a quick dip in the Mediterranean. We met some of my mother’s family for the first time in Chiaravalle Centrale, Calabria and toured her town, eventually driving through the countryside to see the house she grew up in. I can, without a doubt, mark this family vacation as a life changing experience. It was probably the best family vacation I have had the luxury of attending.

While I was in Rome, my beloved Roma squandered their chances at winning the Scudetto by losing to Catania Calcio 4-1 and eventually to Juventus 1-0, the future winners of this past years tournament. Sure that was a little depressing; I was only looking forward to the opportunity of life time filled with running through the streets with people as crazed as I am about I Lupi and literally doing as the Romans do. As we all know, that did not happen and I was “forced” to visit Florence instead with my family, tail between my legs, defeated (truthfully, I love florence and wanted to go as the plans were to meet up with a younger cousin who also was finishing her semester abroad there).

Florence is known for a few things; the most notable being: Steak, Il Duomo, the Davide, and the Ponte Vecchio, bartering for leather at San Lorenzo maret and of course Calcio (Soccer). On our way to the famed San Lorenzo market, there seemed to be a demonstration taking place near the Duomo that diverted us off the usual path to the market.

Image

I assumed that it was a traditional protest about work and politics because they were tired of working too hard or something erroneous like that (keep in mind that most, not all, Italians choose to follow the Spanish siesta work ethic). We stopped, laughed at the funny clothes they were wearing and walked off, thinking nothing of it as the supposed demonstration was coming to an end. A few days later, I would found out by watching the following documentary that that was a practice parade for the best kept secret in Florence that’s not a secret bakery: Calcio Storico Fiorentino (Florence Fight Club – English idiom)

What is it?

Image

The match lasts 50 minutes and are played on a sand field, 100 yards long by 50 yards wide. A white line divides the field in two identical squares, and a goal net runs the width of each end.

Each team had 27 players with no expected substitutes. As for the positions, there are: four Datori Indietro (goalkeepers), 3 Datori Innanzi (fullbacks), 5 Sconciatori (halfbacks), 15 Innanzi o Corridori (forwards). The Capitan and Alfiere (flagbear’s) tent sits in the center of the goal net. They don’t actively participate in the game, but can referee and organize the game.

The Giudice Arbitro and 6 Segnalinee referee the match, in collaboration with the Giudice Commissario, who remains off the field. Overlooking the game is the Maestro di Campo. He makes sure the runs smoothly, stepping in the reestablish order and maintain discipline in case of a fight on field.He is basically the “center ref”

The game beings when the “Pallaio” throws the ball to the center line, followed by the firing of a small cannon, announcing the beginning of the conflict…er I mean match.

From this moment on, the players try (by any means neccessary) to get the ball into the opponents goal. The teams change sides with every point scored.

Image

Every June, there is a three day tournament held between four of the boroughs of Florence, the winner claiming rights to La Chianina (the white vealed calf); which is used to make the famous bistecca alla fiorentina.

Image

Fun fact: it is not uncommon to see players and fans start fighting due to rivalry over land, women, who called their mother what name or child what name. Anything goes. I guess the best comparison would be an MTV Celebrity death match without any actual deaths (hopefully) between Vinnie Jones the footballer, not actor (same guy different era, although I’m terrified of both), Georges St.-Pierre and SĂ©bastien Chabal.

Image

How did it start?

Image

Calcio storico fiorentino is known as one of the oldest forms of modern soccer and rugby. Two teams of even numbers played on a field. History shows that it was a free flowing game played on a dirt field with a feather filled ball. The sport eventually became so popular in Florence, that people would even play the game on the ice when the famed Arno river froze over.

Originally thought to have started with the Romans, with the gladiators using the brutal sport to warm up and train for the competitions in the Coliseum. However, the sport has been mentioned in Homeric poems, as will as believed to have been introduced to Fiorenza (historic Florence) during 59 AD by retired Roman warriors and their families.

This game is pure chaos as you can see by the trailers and documentaries many people have created (its funny to think that there are actually new rules instituted to “prevent” gruesome injuries and even death). I don’t know about you but, I want in. This is a savage game for savage people. Lets start now.

NYC FC is stacking up…who will be next?

20140531-165032-60632590.jpg

According the England’s Daily Mirror, Frank Lampard, former Chelsea midfielder, will be set on to join our dear El Guaje on a free transfer in the Big Apple. Lampard, originally acquired from west ham in ’01 for ÂŁ11 million, has had a very successful career running the blues midfield. Prior to this news it had been rumored that he was mulling retirement. I’m glad he has decided against it. As I mentioned in my prior article about Villa’s potential transfer, it will be amazing to see such class play only an hour away by train.

According to the article, the two superstars were spotted at Manchester City’s Carrington complex to go over terms to their deals that have apparently been in progress since January, when the two players first met with newly appointed NYC FC coach Jason Kreis. Villa will be signed on for 3 years while Lampard is supposedly taking a pay cut from his hefty ÂŁ150,000-a-week wage at Chelsea.

So NYC FC now has a class striker and a class maestro in the midfield…who will be next? Let us know your thoughts because this is only going to get more interesting.

20140531-165119-60679929.jpg

El Guaje in New York?

20140529-143403-52443025.jpg

According to Spanish radio Cadena Cope, famed AtlĂ©tico Madrid striker David “El Guaje” Villa will be the first signing of NYC FC. Apparently they are close to a deal that would transfer the potent front man to New York for the next three seasons.

As soccer fan in the US, I’m ecstatic, because If this is true we will have a chance to watch another amazing talent grace the MLS with his presence and further strengthen our league. This move also can potentially spark a nice rivalry between the NY RedBulls and NYC FC, further contributing the rich history of New York City’s subway series in their other professional sports.

I’m still skeptical on this decision as David Villa commands wages of €750,000 ($1,021,050 USD according to the current conversion rate of €1 = $1.36 at 2:05 pm on 5/29/14) and even though he is 32, he still is as dangerous as ever in front of goal netting 13 times in 36 games this year. He also was a part of an AtlĂ©tico Madrid squad that made it to the champions league final and won La Liga for the first time since 1996, so why would Villa want to leave?

As a Yankees fan, I know, let me rephrase, EVERYONE knows that when it comes to money, they have the polar opposite of very little, therefore I’m sure they can afford many David Villas. My concern is not with the Bronx bombers, but with Mancity. Will their financial fair play issues affect their dealings with the MLS, or can the Yankees cover their wage and debt restrictions? Will they use this team as a feeder for their English squad? If this is true, how will the contracts be designed? Again, if this is true, would more American players trickle into the Premiership faster and at a younger age? These are all questions that hopefully will be answered in the upcoming summer months. Until then I leave you with this.

20140529-142622-51982801.jpg

The Hand of….Ejide?

20140529-120000-43200914.jpg

Not a day after British police were investigating match fixing leading up to Wednesday’s match of Scotland vs Nigeria, Nigerian goalkeeper Austin Ejide let in what should be an routine cross for any player guarding the posts, let alone a professional one.

If you watch carefully, Austin meets Scottish defender Grant Hanley, mid air, and blatantly uses the contact to throw the ball into his own net. At no point in time does Mr. Hanley make physical contact with the ball. Lucky for Nigeria, the the goal was disallowed as the center ref made a very soft call protecting our hero Ejide.

I am not accusing him of cheating, but this definitely does not look good and I would not want to be banned from soccer over an international friendly right before the World Cup. Now, if this were a World Cup match vs England circa 1986, pre modern technology, then I would definitely us my hand to score a goal. Wait, didn’t that already happen?

What do you think?