ProSoccerTalk daily soccer re-set

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Soccer Birthdays:

Cameroon’s Geremi, Mexico’s Israel Castro, and Argentina’s Martín Demichelis all have claims on December 20, but today we take a moment to talk about our favorite air rifle-toting left back: Chelsea’s Ashley Cole. In addition to being a world class defender who has a ridiculous seven FA Cup winners medals, Cole has given us an amazing transfer saga (his move from Arsenal), one of the higher profile celebrity relationships (Cheryl Tweedy), and an affinity for attacking interns. Legendary stuff here. Let’s wish him a happy 31st.

Big Important Stories of the Day:

UEFA’s going to commandeer your attention mid-day when they make the draw for this year’s Champions and Europa League knockout stages. For the big show, 16 teams will be drawn against each other – first place group finishers against second, no matches between teams from the same federation or group stage packet. For Europa, same rules apply except there are 32 teams, and the celebrity presenters are far less attractive.

RASNoD (Random American Soccer Name of the Day: Walker Zimmerman

*Ahead on the blog today:

It’s a Noah Davis day, so in addition to jumping in on the UEFA-y stuff, our Designated Player will be unloading the week’s worth of thoughts he’s stored up during his time away from the blog. That said, it’s always nice trick for us partners in crime to put out a list of re-set topics and see if our mates can hit them. So how about …

  • best MLS home openers for 2013,
  • Aron Johansson, and …
  • the best and worst things about Krasnodar?

What you should watch on TV today:

Spain’s back in action, so if you have access to it, check out the Real Sociedad-Sevilla match that kicks off at 4:00 p.m. Eastern. Else, I strongly recommend going out and catching Silver Linings Playbook. I know it may look like a “pass” from the outside, but it was the best movie I’ve seen all year. Im probably watching it again right now.

Background noise while blogging today:

Speaking of movies, I went and saw The Hobbit on Friday (skip it and thank me later), but it did inspire me to re-watch The Fellowship of the Ring. Has a movie ever had as spectacular a prologue as Peter Jackson’s first Lord of the Rings offering? The answer is no, reader. The answer is no.

We’ll leave you with this:

It’s a beagle puppy playing with a baby goat. Your Thursday is going to be amazing:

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oci6WDk2KjI]

*Always subject to change; you know how it is

Sergio Ramos suffers broken nose in Atletico Madrid draw

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Real Madrid trails Barcelona by 10 points in the La Liga title race just 12 matches in, and now they will have to play catch-up without their best defender.

Club captain Sergio Ramos suffered a broken nose after being accidentally kicked in the face by teammate Lucas Hernandez during the first half of Madrid’s 0-0 draw with cross-town rivals Atletico Madrid. He received treatment and remained on the field, but he was withdrawn at halftime.

Manager Zinedine Zidane was unable to give a timetable for Ramos’s return.

Ramos said via Twitter, alongside some graphic images of his bloody nose, “I would bleed a thousand times for this badge and this shirt. Thanks for your support. I’ll be back in no time.”

Up next for Madrid is Champions League group match against Cypriot club Apoel midweek before a league game against Malaga at home. Athletic Bilbao and Borussia Dortmund are also on the horizon. A masked Sergio Ramos could be in our midst soon.

Real Madrid has not lost a league match without Ramos since March of 2015, but they drew their only game this season with Ramos suspended, a 2-2 home split with Valencia.

Moyes roasts West Ham players after loss to Watford

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After his first game in charge of West Ham, David Moyes thought he had a better squad. Apparently he was mistaken.

A 2-0 loss to Watford gave Moyes a rude awakening as he looks to replace Slaven Bilic and pull the Hammers out of the relegation zone. He was not pleased with his players.

“Overall, that level of performance will not be good enough,” Moyes told reporters after the match.

He wasn’t done.

“I thought this was a big job, but there were some players with big reputations who disappointed me. There were some who I thought would show me more, and why they play for the team regularly. They need to show me, ‘If that’s your reputation, show me why you’ve got it.'”

He backtracked slightly, agreeing that the players are in a difficult position changing managers, but ultimately that excuse wasn’t enough for him. “It’s tough for the players – I could sense that – but I didn’t enjoy our performance in the end. I didn’t enjoy us giving the ball away too cheaply, too many times and I expected us to do better.”

Moyes even called out striker Andy Carroll, saying he removed the England international because he feared Carroll would pick up a second yellow card. Carroll had picked up his caution seven seconds into the match, leaving Marvin Zeegelaar with a bloody nose after an elbow to the face, something Carroll has been sent off for earlier this season.

“I thought we defended OK,” Moyes said, “but then we gave away cheap goals by getting bundled off the ball and we didn’t really deal with it. We didn’t do well enough in all departments at different times.”

That’s about as ruthless as you’ll ever hear the mild-mannered David Moyes, and all West Ham players should beware that their places in the team are in jeopardy.

Napoli takes commanding Serie A lead after Juventus loss

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Six-time Serie A defending champions Juventus are in trouble. Not a lot, but the heat has been turned up.

A wild 3-2 loss to Sampdoria means the Italian giants are now four points back of Napoli in the Serie A table, and heading into their Champions League matchup with Barcelona, there is plenty of soul-searching to do in Turin.

Juventus nearly mounted what would have been a monumental comeback, down 3-0 heading into stoppage-time but posting goals by Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala in the first and fourth minutes of injury time. It was not to be, and the four-point deficit through 13 games not only leaves Juventus looking at Napoli more than a game in front of them, but also over their shoulders at Roma and Inter Milan both a point behind in third and fourth.

Goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon was kept out of the lineup as he continues to deal emotionally with the World Cup miss, and it showed. After a scoreless first half at Stadio Luigi Ferraris, Duzan Zapata beat Stephan Lichtensteiner in the air and sent a looping header over a flatfooted Wojciech Szczesny for the opening goal.

With 20 minutes to go, Sampdoria struck again as former Premier League creator Gaston Ramirez fed 21-year-old Lucas Torreira at the top of the box, and with nobody closing him down, he fired into the bottom-left corner of the net. They got the eventual winner nine minutes later after an embarrassing defensive breakdown by the visitors. A free-kick saw two attackers in front of net against five defenders, but somehow Gianmarco Ferrari was completely unmarked in front of the net for a tap-in.

Higuain struck from the penalty spot and Dybala hit on the counter to beat Emiliano Vivaldo at his near post, but it wasn’t enough for Juventus. The defensive frailty will need to be corrected moving forward, as they face a vital match at Napoli on December 1st, and a loss there could spell disaster for their title charge.

American right back Moore makes first La Liga start

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La Liga saw an American amongst its Starting XIs on Sunday.

Shaquell Moore made his first La Liga start in Levante’s 2-0 win at Las Palmas on Sunday.

According to WhoScored, Moore completed 71 percent of his passes, had three interceptions and four tackles won. He was credited with one key pass and three crosses.

[ MORE: McKennie impresses again ]

The right back turned 21 earlier this month, and our primitive research shows him as the first U.S. player to make a La Liga start since Oguchi Onyewu at Malaga in 2013.

Oddly enough, Sunday’s opposition had an American on the books last season with Emmanuel Sabbi skipped college soccer to join Las Palmas. Sabbi joined Danish side Hobro this summer, and made his first start on Friday.

Jozy Altidore spent time with Villarreal and Kasey Keller played for Rayo Vallecano.

Levante’s next match is Sunday at Real Sociedad.