By Tim Stannard
1) Simeone sides with Real Madrid in eternal La Liga battle
Wondering what that peculiar, itchy, irritating feeling in your life has been over the past two weeks? Sports Burst has the answer. And it’s not head lice. But get a colleague to check, just in case.
Nope, it’s the temporary absence of that never-tiring debate over who is better – Barcelona or Real Madrid? Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo? Borja Mayoral or Paco Alcacer? Well, maybe not the last one. But the international break is over, time for US football fans to get out of bed, snap out of their moping and get back into club super soccer.
Now, a La Liga culture lesson. Normally, if a footballing figure in Spain wants to lead a quiet life, the answer to any aforementioned topics is – ‘everyone is as wonderful as each other’. But not Diego Simeone. And that’s because the Argentinean chews steel wool for fun and hops to work because the pain makes him feel alive.
Atletico Madrid are taking on Barcelona on Saturday, with the Rojiblancos attempting to beat their Catalan rivals for the first time in La Liga since 2010. Yep, 2010. 14 failed attempts. But despite a perfect record so far, this season for Barcelona, Simeone is very much in Team Real Madrid. “Real Madrid are better now,” boomed the Atletico Madrid man speaking ahead of Saturday’s wonder-fest at the Wanda.
An awful lot of whether Barcelona are going to keep up their remarkable record against Atletico Madrid will be the shape that Leo Messi and Luis Suarez are in after celebrating their respective wins in the international break. And in ‘celebrating’, Sports Burst means ‘hangover’. Just putting the possibility out there.
Tune into the XTRA from 7PM ET / 4PM for all the latest squad news and do tune into Atletico Madrid against Barcelona on Saturday. Coverage starts live on beIN SPORTS from 2PM ET / 11PM PT.
2) Zizou admits that no answers to Bale X-File
Coach ‘Mulder’ Zizou was asked an even harder question than the meaning of life, universe and everything on Friday.
Everyone knows the answer to that is ‘42’. But instead, what’s the deal with Gareth Bale. Sadly, not even the great man who is on the brink of his 100th game with Real Madrid could answer that. “I don't know why he has been injured so much because I'm neither a doctor nor a physio,” noted the Frenchman quite reasonably. And nor could Zizou predict when Bale would be back.
However, K-Benz and CR7 could be reunited for the first time since the Champions League final for Saturday’s short trip to take on the sleeping…sleepers of Getafe. Both look fighting fit for at least 20 minutes before the French striker rubs in calf awkwardly. Catch that clash live on beIN SPORTS on Saturday from 10:15AM ET / 7:15AM PT.
Oh, it’s good to be back.
3) Monaco face football match without Falcao
If your footballing juices need draining right away after two torturous games without games then beIN SPORT has just the handpump of relief. Figuratively speaking.
The channel is very delighted to bring you some top-class football from France with the Ligue Un clash between Lyon and second-placed Monaco, which is set to be a tough test for the Monte Carlo outfit due to the absence of Radamel Falcao from the squad, a footballer who only returned from duty with Colombia on Thursday.
The striking back-up of Stevan Jovetic is also out after picking up a knock on international duty. Lyon are looking to pick up a bit of form after two straight draws.
That clash is live on beIN SPORTS on Friday from 2:40PM ET / 11:40AM PT.
La Liga gets into gear over on beIN SPORTS ESPANYOL with the clash between Espanyol and Levante. Catch the best action from all those games and also the Bundesliga game between Stuttgart and Koln on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
4) Bruce Arena on the brink
The end may be nigh for Bruce Arena on Friday. The USMNT coach was brought in to deliver World Cup qualification, but that did not take place to leave only one direction for Arena’s immediate future. “I’ll do whatever is right. That is the approach I am going to take,” told the national team coach to the Washington Post.
More may be revealed on Friday morning with a conference call scheduled between the media and USSF president Sunil Gulati, where Arena’s departure could be confirmed, as well as the president’s immediate resignation after the World Cup debacle. Or instead, there may be no change at all.
WHAT IS SPORTS BURST?
The life philosophy of Sports Burst is that if you are not upsetting someone, then you are not trying hard enough. SB is a daily trawl and troll through the morning's sports news to bring you fact-nuggets to make you both smile and swear. Hopefully at the same time.