Sky Sports moved swiftly. Famed English soccer commenter (and former ESPN and Fox Soccer pundit) Andy Gray was sacked for making sexist comments about a female official and West Ham’s female vice-chairman. Sky reporter Andy Burton was also fired. Gray’s partner Richard Keys was suspended. The three were recorded off air, agreeing “women don’t know the offside rule,” guaranteeing official Sian Massey would blow a crucial call at some point (she correctly called one) and ridiculing West Ham’s Karren Brady for comments made about the extent of sexism in English soccer.
Loan: Emmanuel Adebayor will move to Real Madrid on loan from Manchester City, with the Spanish giants having an option to buy him outright for $23.7 million. For those unfamiliar with Adebayor’s story, he was a developmental project at Arsenal with tremendous athleticism and work rate. He exploded for 30 goals in 48 games during the 2007-08 season. He tried to engineer a move to a bigger club. Arsenal kept him and doubled his salary form $63,000 per week to $126,000 per week. He sulked his way through a subpar season.
Arsenal than sold him to Manchester City, who bumped his wages to $268,000 per week. He had one mediocre season last year. He was disruptive and lost his place in the team this season. Now, he had to take a pay cut to $237,000, but he’s moving to arguably the most prestigious club in the world.
Adebayor is big, fast and technically gifted. If motivated, he can be Mourinho’s Drogba. Though, since he has shown zero commitment to his craft since getting a huge contract, that is a tremendous “if.”
Some Entertainment: Barcelona may be the best team ever. Real Madrid is nearly in lockstep. In league games not against each other, the teams have a combined record of 33-4-1. The Spanish League is done and dusted, but that doesn’t mean it’s boring. Valencia and Malaga played a seven-goal thriller with three equalizers, three red cards and a last gasp winner. The defending was awful. The refereeing was worse. Malaga mustered goals with 11 men, 10 men and nine men and still could not escape the Mestella with a point.
The Beautiful Game: Arsenal ripped Wigan apart 3-0 at home to stay two points behind Manchester United in the Premier League. They should have won by more. Robin Van Persie scored his first hat-trick for Arsenal, despite missing a penalty. Cesc Fabregas was spraying balls around the field to create chances. When those two are healthy and in form Arsenal can do great things. Unfortunately for the Gunners, that happens around three to four times per season.
Fight: Lazio’s Mauro Zarate became embroiled in an altercation following Bologna’s 3-1 win yesterday. He unintentionally clocked an assistant referee. He also may have spit on Matteo Rubin. Fortunately, for him, he’s only facing a three-match suspension for hitting an opponent in the face with the ball.
Don’t Tread: American footballer and rap impresario Clint Dempsey scored both of Fulham’s goals (the second a penalty) in the Cottagers’ 2-0 win against Stoke City. Dempsey has eight goals in 21 Premier League starts this season. Fulham is four points clear from relegation after winning three of their last five.
Goal of the Week: Raul Meireles (Liverpool) vs. Wolves