A newsy day in England, brought to you by Twitter

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Well this certainly is a newsy day in the land of football, fish and chips. England, that is.

First came Roy Hodgson’s selections for Euro 2012, and all the talking points on that one. You can bet your favorite footie scarf they’ll be knocking that one around while they knock back a pint at the pubs tonight from Brighton to Birmingham to Blackpool.

Then came the Kenny Dalglish verdict: King Kenny is out at Anfield. Liverpool’s official statement is here.

Yes, over in England, this is what we in the business call a “newsy day.”  Since Twitter makes the world smaller, here’s what we’re all saying about it, here and abroad.

First the roster

RedMancunia ‏ (@RedMancunia):

I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. Jordan Henderson is on standby for the England squad. Michael Carrick is not.

Stefano Bozzi ‏ (@StefanoBozzi):

And so Rio Ferdinand never played at a European Championship. Not selected 2000, banned 2004, didn’t qualify 2008, not selected 2012.

The Shin Guardian (@shinguardian):

English press making out Michael Carrick to be Pirlo or something. Carrick is a “nice” player, but benefits from boatloads of space at MUFC.

Daily Telegraph’s Paul Hayward (@_PaulHayward):

Here at Wembley we reckon there are 6/7 of the England 23 who aren’t first-team picks at their clubs. Again, shows the lack of depth.

England fan Jack Coleman ‏ (@jackcoleman7):

Andy Carroll. You wouldn’t let him do kick ups in your back garden for fear he’d break something yet he is in the England squad.

Daily Mirror’s David McDonnell (@DiscoMirror):

Also cannot fathom why Terry, G Johnson and Downing are in ahead of Ferdinand, Richards and A Johnson, all of whom offer more.

England fan Sarah Wilson (@hullbird):

I’ll be drunk ( very ) during each England game this summer. It will numb the pain

ESPN’s Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey):

Only prob with #Eng #Euro2012 squad is omission of Michael Carrick. His passing & vision will be missed. As for French squad..Zut Alors!

Journalist Rob Harris (@RobHarris):

Hodgson: “Are we ever going to get off Rio Ferdinand? … we seem to be discussing one man until the cows come home”

Times writer Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes):

Can’t take seriously Hodgson’s “1 game in last yr” explanation for Ferdinand omission. The new captain has played 33 mins for Eng in 19 mths

ESPN’s Adrian Healey (@AdrianHealey):

Don’t often feel too much in common with John Terry, but have similar itinerary for next few days: Travel to Munich, sit down, talk/shout

And then Kenny Dalglish 

The Guardian writer David Conn (@david_conn):

So Kenny Dalglish has gone and as of now, Fenway’s Liverpool have no manager, director of football, head of press, or new stadium plan #lfc

Times writer Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes):

Disagree with those suggesting Dalglish appointment disastrous. 5 pts off bottom when he took over. Two steps forward, 1 step back, 1 trophy

Liverpool fan Chris Hudson ‏ (@christwinny):

I’m absolutely gutted that Dalglish has gone because I love the man but unfortunately the time was right, all the best Kenny! Nice one!

Scottish TV announcer and Dalglish’s daughter Kelly Cates (@KellyCates):

Devastated for Dad but incredibly proud of the job he’s done. Thanks for all the lovely messages already. Have a good summer

Fox Soccer Channel’s Bobby McMahon (@BobbySoccerRep):

Expect a period of civil war to erupt within Liverpool fans – verbal and written atrocities certain on both sides.

Broadcaster James Richardson (@acjimbo):

oh my god. they killed Kenny

TV analyst John Bradley ‏ (@JBcommentator):

Kenny Dalglish brought stability to a ship rocking badly, he steadied things and united the club. For that alone fans should be grateful

Liverpool fan Damien Kelly ‏ (@damienk11):

“@LibbyJHarvey: Shame about Kenny Dalglish. Seemed to have the support of the fans and the players,” think that was his prob,2 much of a fan

England journalist Paul Doyle (@Paul_Doyle):

At least they’re showing KD enough respect not to claim it was mutual consent.

The Shin Guardian (@shinguardian):

I’ll take flack but truly believe that Dalglish’s management, tactics held Andy Carroll back. Will be proven right or wrong in ’12-’13

Journalist Rob Harris (@RobHarris):

Liverpool statement on Dalglish wrongly uses word “fulsome” (I think): “John Henry was fulsome in his praise for the outgoing manager”

Liverpool blogger BigRed something-or-other‏ (@BIGREDS_IOLSC):

You Will Never Walk Alone, King Kenny Dalglish! #LFC

 

The Mendy Effect: Pep praises injured back

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Full back Benjamin Mendy cost Pep Guardiola and Manchester City $68 million, but perhaps he’ll be just as valuable as a very expensive sports psychologist.

The “Shark Team” member was amusing on social media even before his ACL injury sent him to the sidelines until at least April, but he’s become a must-follow Twitter fixture with his in-game messages (See some of his work below).

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

City faces Burnley at 10 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on CNBC and online via NBCSports.com).

It’s fairly clear his act has translated in private, too, as apparently Mendy is just as good in group messages (Let us in, Pep. We won’t tell anyone). From ManCity.com:

“Usually, players who are out for a long time with injury are sad. They sometimes train apart and feel isolated.

“Mendy decided to be present. He is communicating on social media, WhatsApp and he calls his teammates and messages me. He is going to be so important outside the pitch because people like him make the atmosphere much better.”

It’s not surprising for anyone who’s been following the former Le Havre, Marseille and Monaco man.

Keep in mind, these Tweets below are from the last few days alone!

Ozil to Manchester United?!? Wenger reacts to gossip

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Sometimes, even the biggest Arsene Wenger detractors have to feel for the guy.

Coming off a thrilling late win in Serbia, one that saw Olivier Giroud cap off a team goal straight out of the creative Wenger playbook, the manager should’ve been discussing how to stretch those good vibes into this weekend’s visit to Goodison Park.

[ MORE: MLS Decision Day preview ]

Yet no. Instead of talking about how the Gunners would respect the struggling Toffees, Wenger had to address speculation from several outlets claiming Mesut Ozil would move to Manchester United, perhaps as soon as January.

Feeling it? No, no Wenger was not feeling it. From Arsenal.com:

“We have to deal with all kinds of speculation when the players are at the end of their contracts. On the other hand, to be professional is to give 100 per cent as long as you are somewhere. For the rest, we came out many times and said that’s the situation. It [the media] can come out tomorrow and say that he extends his contract here. It will be exactly the same, it will not change anything. When you play the next game, commit 100 per cent. … When a player plays for Arsenal Football Club, his commitment cannot be linked with the length of his contract, it has just to be linked with the responsibility and the ambition he has to win the football game.”
Of course most big clubs have to deal with such drama on a year-to-year basis and, yes, having Ozil and Alexis Sanchez still in town was completely avoidable. But the idea that Ozil could leave, for free, to Manchester United? We’re sure Gooners the world over will be thrilled with the gossip.

MLS Decision Day preview: Much at stake

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Four teams can claim a Western Conference second round berth, while four more can earn a valuable first-round bye in the East.

Yep, there’s plenty to play for beyond the West’s final playoff spot Sunday during Major League Soccer’s Decision Day, when every team will take the pitch for 4 p.m. ET kickoffs.

[ MORE: Conte feels pressure ]

Here’s what we do know regarding the playoffs:

  1. Supporters’ Shield winning Toronto FC gets a first round bye, while No. 6 seed New York Red Bulls are headed to the road for a first round playoff
  2. New England, Montreal, Philadelphia, Orlando, DC, Minnesota, Colorado, and LA will not make the playoffs
  3. Full stop.

So, yes, this will be fun.

First, let’s look at the Eastern Conference Standings ahead of Sunday’s extravaganza:

Eastern Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
Toronto FC 33 20 8 5 72 35 37 13-3-1 7-5-4 68
x – New York City FC 33 16 8 9 54 41 13 10-4-2 6-4-7 56
x – Chicago 33 16 7 10 61 44 17 12-3-2 4-4-8 55
x – Atlanta 33 15 9 9 68 38 30 11-2-3 4-7-6 54
x – Columbus 33 16 5 12 51 47 4 12-2-3 4-3-9 53
x – New York 33 13 8 12 51 46 5 9-6-2 4-2-10 47

— New York City FC controls its bye destiny, though Columbus could join them on 56 points and would pass them on tiebreakers (wins).

— If that happens, Chicago could claim the second bye with a win or draw in Houston (The Fire owns the goal differential tiebreaker).

— If New York City and Chicago lose or draw, Atlanta could finish second with a home win over TFC.

— Columbus can finish second with a win and non-wins for Chicago and Atlanta.

Western Conference
Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
x – Vancouver 33 15 7 11 49 47 2 9-5-3 6-2-8 52
x – Portland 33 14 8 11 58 49 9 10-4-2 4-4-9 50
x – Seattle 33 13 11 9 49 39 10 10-5-1 3-6-8 50
x – Sporting KC 33 12 13 8 39 27 12 10-6-1 2-7-7 49
x – Houston 33 12 11 10 54 45 9 11-4-1 1-7-9 47
San Jose 33 12 7 14 36 58 -22 9-5-2 3-2-12 43
FC Dallas 33 10 13 10 43 47 -4 7-7-2 3-6-8 43
Real Salt Lake 33 12 6 15 47 54 -7 8-4-4 4-2-11 42

Byes

— Vancouver finishes first with a win or draw at Portland. The ‘Caps could finish as low as third with a loss to Portland and a Seattle win versus Colorado.

— Portland finishes first — and wins the Cascadia Cup — with a win over visiting Vancouver.

— Seattle can claim a first round bye with a win over visiting Colorado and a Vancouver win over Portland.

— Sporting KC can finish second with a win at Real Salt Lake and non-wins for Portland and Seattle.

Final playoff spot

— San Jose claims the sixth seed with a home win over Minnesota. They can also finish sixth with a draw joined by non-wins for FC Dallas at home to LA and Real Salt Lake at home versus SKC.

— FC Dallas claims the sixth seed with a win over LA and a San Jose draw or loss versus Minnesota. FCD gets sixth with a draw, and a San Jose loss coupled with a RSL loss or draw versus SKC.

—  Real Salt Lake gets sixth with a win over SKC, and non-wins from San Jose and Dallas. RSL could also get sixth with a draw and losses for San Jose and Dallas.

(Photo by Peter G. Aiken/Getty Images)

Schedule
FC Dallas vs. LA Galaxy
DC United vs. New York Red Bulls
San Jose vs. Minnesota United
Real Salt Lake vs. Sporting KC
Houston vs. Chicago
Seattle vs. Colorado
Philadelphia vs. Orlando City
Portland vs. Vancouver
Montreal vs. New England
New York City vs. Columbus
Atlanta vs. Toronto

Predictions

— NYCFC hangs on for a draw against Columbus, earning a bye, leaving Chicago to host New York Red Bulls and Atlanta off to Columbus for the first round of the playoffs (We have Toronto beating Atlanta on Sunday).

— Vancouver and Portland draw, while Seattle beats Colorado. The ‘Caps and Sounders get byes, while Seattle takes back the Cascadia Cup.

— San Jose beats Minnesota, gaining the West’s sixth seed. The Quakes head to Portland for the first round, while SKC hosts Houston.

Conte feels pressure, but “most important thing is to work”

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Chelsea has sputtered a bit in its bid to repeat as Premier League champions, though this isn’t quite “stop me if you’ve heard this one before.”

The Blues sit fifth in the Premier League table with 13 points, nine behind leaders Manchester City, and tossed away a 2-0 lead before rallying to draw Roma at midweek.

The Blues host fourth-placed Watford to kick off Saturday’s Premier League action at 7:30 a.m. ET Saturday (Watch live on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com)

[ MORE: West Ham 0-3 Brighton ]

And while fans are frustrated with the plan, Chelsea was in 15th at the end of October during Jose Mourinho’s ill-fated follow-up to the 2014-15 Premier League title.

Still, manager Antonio Conte feels their pain, although he’s satisfied with the effort. From Chelsea’s official site:

“Do I feel the pressure? Every manager feels pressure, but I try to give all of myself into my job, so I’m happy when I go home because I know in every moment I give all of myself for the fans, the players and the club. In football you know anything can happen, but the most important thing is to work.”

Chelsea may not look as good as Man City or Manchester United, but is still well-positioned to finish amongst the leaders and is leading a very difficult UCL group with Roma and Atletico Madrid. Things are fine, but the gossip storm just won’t leave Conte and his future at Chelsea alone (Thanks, Italian press).