ProSoccerTalk’s daily soccer re-set

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Soccer birthdays:

It’s a barren day for soccer birthdays. A rotten day – or at least a very bad day for our research team into soccer birthdays.  I’m sure someone will let me know if our research staff checked out early Monday night and missed one. Otherwise, Bo Derek, American all-that pin-up girl of another day, turns 56.

That’s all we got.

Well, that and David Beckham. His birthday is May 2. Just sayin’.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

David. Beckham. … Need we say more?

Elsewhere, it’s European Champions League, Match Day 5, to be exact. (It’s a slightly unstable element of the world’s best club competition, but “Match Day” in this case actually extends over two days. Those crazy Europeans!)

FC Porto, Málaga CF and Manchester United FC have already qualified for the tournament’s knockout stage, and a bunch of clubs can join them with the right result over the next two days.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day:  Chris Albright

*Ahead on the blog today:

We’ll discuss a certain handsome, well-groomed Englishman. Perhaps you’ve heard of him. Some call him Becks. He’s leaving.

Leaving what, though? The Galaxy? MLS? A playing career, now bound for corner office ownership? All good questions … which is why we’ll talk about it.

Plus, there will be further discussion on the final two survivors in the chase for MLS Cup 2012. We’ll have plenty of Champions League talk, and a word of caution about a term we keep hearing: “Dynamo Dynasty.”

Twitter daps:

source:

What you should watch on TV today:

Plenty of live Champions League across the Fox Soccer platforms starting at noon ET. Barcelona needs a rebound performance when it travels to Russia to face Spartak Moscow. That’s at noon on Fox Soccer Channel. Immediately after, the blue men of Chelsea need to arrest their recent spiral, and a trip into Juventus won’t be the easiest of places to do it. Coverage of that one begins at 2:30 p.m. ET on FSC.

Background noise while blogging today:

Mash-ups of David Beckham goals? Perhaps rediscovering the magic of that initial Becks news conference back in ’07? Beckham video from the summer’s London Games opening ceremonies? (No kidding, it’s still on my DVR.) At least until those Champions League matches pop on today, and some normalcy is restored.

We’ll leave you with this:

I cannot help but wonder if, secretly, Galaxy manager Bruce Arena is hap-hap-happy as a kid on a sugar high that dealing with Beckham and all the related distractions will soon be things of the past? Clearly, the man has been a wonderful and useful performer for most of his days and nights in L.A. Galaxy Valley. But there’s always something extra to deal with. It’s that “something extra” that I suspect Arena will not miss. Not. One. Bit.

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

Bayern fans unhappy with Champions League ticket prices

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MUNICH (AP) Bayern Munich fans were unhappy with the price of tickets for their team’s match at Anderlecht in the Champions League.

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The fans held banners during Wednesday’s game saying, “Are your necks not full? Is your greed now finally satisfied?”

A Bayern fan group, Club Nr. 12, issued a statement saying Anderlecht had made 85 percent of the tickets available to the German club’s fans priced at 100 euros ($118).

“Even by the standards of the generally high-priced Champions League, this represents a new dimension for a first-round game,” said the statement, which thanked Bayern for supplementing the tickets so fans had could pay 70 euros ($82.50).

Many Bayern fans avoided the trip to Brussels altogether, while 91 percent of more than 2,500 Club Nr. 12 members said in a survey that ticket prices were “completely unacceptable.”

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Anderlecht spokesman David Steegen told The Associated Press that Bayern fans were charged “exactly the same price” as home fans who bought single tickets to the game. He said fans who bought a three-game Champions League bundle were offered a reduction.

UEL roundup: AC Milan advances after big win; Arsenal, Everton fall

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Both Premier League sides fell in Thursday’s UEFA Europa League play, but for one side the result didn’t effect their progression into the next round.

[ MORE: Ex-Brazil forward Robinho handed nine-year prison sentence ]

Arsenal dropped a 1-0 result to Cologne, however, the Gunners still moved into the Round of 32 after their Group H counterparts, Red Star Belgrade and BATE Borisov settled for a scoreless draw.

Meanwhile, Everton’s 2017/18 woes continued on the day as the Toffees suffered a brutal 5-1 defeat at home against Serie A side Atalanta. The win secures Atalanta’s place in the knockout phase, along with fellow Group E club Lyon — who also won on Thursday.

AC Milan put up five goals of its own in a convincing win against Austria Wien, while Lazio, Nice and Red Bull Salzburg were among the other sides to move into the next round after picking up the necessary results.

Below are all of the scores from Thursday’s Europa League action.

Astana 2-3 Villareal
Konyaspor 1-1 Marseille
Rosenborg 0-1 Real Sociedad
Lazio 1-1 Vitesse
Viktoria Plzen 2-0 Steaua Bucuresti
Lokomotiv 2-1 Copenhagen
Zenit 2-1 Vardar
Red Bull Salzburg 3-0 Vitoria
Athletic Bilbao 3-2 Hertha Berlin
BATE 0-0 Red Star Belgrade
Ostersunds 2-0 Zorya
Koln 1-0 Arsenal
Nice 3-1 Zulte Waregem
Lugano 1-0 Beer-Sheva
Ludogorets 1-2 Istanbul
Braga 3-1 Hoffenheim
AEK 2-2 Rijeka
AC Milan 5-1 Austria Vienna
Lyon 4-0 Apollon
Maccabi Tel Aviv 0-2 Slavia Praha
Sheriff 1-0 Zlin
Partizan 2-1 Young Boys
Skenderbeu 3-2 Dynamo Kyiv
Everton 1-5 Atalanta

Ex-Brazil forward Robinho sentenced to nine years in prison

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Former Brazil international Robinho has been sentenced to nine years in prison after being convicted of rape on an Albanian woman back in 2013.

[ MORE: Study will look at long-term effects of playing soccer ]

At the time, Robinho was playing for Serie A side AC Milan.

The court decision came down on Thursday after the 33-year-old forward had failed to attend any court hearings in Italy, where the crime reportedly took place.

Robinho is believed to have acted in the crime with five other Brazilians, to which their whereabouts are unknown to this point.

Reuters has reported that Robinho is entitled to up to two appeals and “Italy would only launch extradition proceedings once this legal process is exhausted.”

The Brazilian is known for his club playing days at AC Milan and Manchester City, among other clubs in addition to his time with the Selecao. Robinho took part in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups with Brazil.

Premier League Preview: West Ham vs. Leicester City

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  • West Ham is winless in last six against Leicester
  • Jamie Vardy has two goals, two assists in last 4 games vs. West Ham
  • Hammers have nine points through first 12 matches

West Ham United will host Leicester City from the London Stadium on Friday (Watch live at 3 p.m. ET Friday on NBCSN and online via NBCSports.com) as David Moyes and Co. look to climb out of the relegation zone.

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Moyes and West Ham currently sit 18th in the Premier League through 12 games, and will be hoping to see an improvement in their form with the potential returns of Andre Ayew and Marko Arnautovic.

The Hammers are without Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Michail Antonio, as well as James Collins.

The Foxes are winless in their last two matches, and coming off of a 2-0 defeat to Manchester City over the weekend. Robert Huth and Matty James remain sidelined for Puel’s group, but otherwise, the club is relatively healthy.

What they’re saying

West Ham boss David Moyes on turning the team’s form around: “We need to give the supporters something to shout about and something that looks half decent, and then they will support us. I want everyone to be together. I am not aware of the problems before I came, I was a bit surprised when I heard (chanting against the board). “I want them behind us to give us a chance of winning.”

Leicester’s Claude Puel on confidence in his players“I have a good feeling with the players; they listen, they work hard on the pitch and I feel their ambition. We will see in the next games, with a good adaption and rotation, to see them approach it with a positive attitude.”

Prediction

The Hammers are missing several key attacking pieces, including Hernandez, which will surely make the defensive task easier for Leicester. The Foxes attack hasn’t been at its finest, but they’ll be facing a West Ham back line that allows over two goals per game (25 in 12 matches).
West Ham 1-3 Leicester