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Wednesday, April 23, 2014

The Sports Thread #1 For 4/23/14: 2013-14 UEFA Champions League Semifinals, Leg 1 - Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich (First Version)

Halftime Thread, Real Madrid 1-0 Bayern Munich 


It was total Bayern domination at the beginning, but the minute Rafinha was caught on a counter, it was the fear that Pep Guardiola sent himself up for by putting him there. Now Philip Lahm can also find himself strayed too froward, but in this instance, it was all the Brazilian right back as Boateng and Dante couldn't recover for the gap that needed to be filled. 

Benzema just couldn't miss from there and set up Ronaldo on a platter for the second, only for the Portuguese to waste his chance. 

Benzema, for a player who doesn't track back, had the key track back moment of the half that lead to his goal and was firmly rewarded. Wonderful indeed it was from him to show his all around world class when he is at his top level. 

Alaba was exposed defensively again as well, as Benzema made the run and he lost him there while he would have been at fault had Di Maria either scored or passed back to a wide open Benzema. 

Either way, despite two timely blocks (Pepe, Alonso) and one headed clearance (Coentrao) that Madrid had to deal with, Carlo Ancelotti's side had the better chances. More has to come from both Mario Mandzukic and Arjen Robben in the second half.    

Pregame Thread


Will be back for halftime and full time analysis. Think this one ends not like yesterday as everyone assumes, and I say 2-1 Bayern with Mandzukic in the lineup. They are risking it with Rafinha at RB though. 

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

The Sports Thread #1 For 4/22/14: The 2013-14 UEFA Champions League - Semifinals Leg 1 (Atletico Madrid-Chelsea)

Pre-Game Kickaround: Fernando's Last Chance 

In a normal buildup to Champions League semifinals, the return of Fernando Torres to his former two clubs would be a story garnering frontline attention, examining in detail whether the former world class striker turned global mystery would recapture his once impeccable form.

But the events of recent days has made that intriguing tale almost as irrelevant as Pep Guardiola renewing his rivalry with Real Madrid. The David Moyes saga and Torres' own current manager, Jose Mourinho negative tales, have occupied the attention well before the Spanish striker's return to his old domiciles. In fact, Atletico manager Diego Simeone is third in line for most headlines in both the English and Espana's presses, with him now being linked to the United job despite being comfortable with his position.

Torres' anecdote though will return to the forefront this time around, as he is destined to get playing time in Chelsea's biggest week of the season against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool, where results are paramount for Roman Abramovich's club. Moreover, the stakes are higher for Torres than even Mourinho or the rest of Chelsea, as both his club and country career are hanging in the balance.

It seemed midweek through this season that Torres had recaptured some of his glorious Liverpool form finally, or at least on a consistent basis, when he scored the winner at Stamford Bridge against Manchester City in October. It was a man of the match performance that saw the cutting edge the World Cup winner display in his days at Anfield.

But ever since that contest, Torres has gone back into a pedestrian role of just working hard but never striking fear in opposing centerbacks. Outside of a sterling performance on New Year's Day against Southampton, in which he recorded a goal, Torres has only scored three other times since that first Chelsea-City match. It hasn't helped that the likes of Oscar (and on occasions, both Eden Hazard and Willian) have failed to provide playmaking to the level of the departed Juan Mata to Torres, Samuel Eto'o, and Demba Ba, constant chances. Still, Torres is currently devoid of making the spectacular happen by himself, leading to his critics to vociferate to Pluto's ears how he is inadequate now for a super club.

Joining those critics has been Mourinho himself, who has not been the encouraging manager publicly that Torres requires most now. The Portuguese charismatic character, in dismissing his forward options all season, seems sometimes in glee to take hard pop shots at Torres despite the striker still having to be a choice for him. It's why a swamp deal between he and Atletico Madrid's David Costa really seems likely this summer, especially when you see the comments made by Simeone praising the former Atletico golden boy.

"With the greatest of respect to a manager who feels that about his players, Samuel Eto'o and Fernando Torres are great strikers and have shown that hundreds of times, in the Champions League, in the World Cup, and in many games," Simeone said.

"Fernando is a lad who loves this club, his club. These are his people. He always remembers us, he always keeps us in mind, he always asks after us. I think he will play and he knows that this is a huge game for us,"

Simeone knows his club, despite their high reputation in Spain, is still both strapped for money and can't compete consistently yet with both their crosstown rivals (Real Madrid) and the other member of La Liga's Big 2 (Barcelona) despite the Catalan clubs current horrors on and off the field. Until the LPF (and BBVA as a global sponsor) use common sense and force Los Blancos and the Catalan giants to share the league TV money from Gol TV and MediaPro, Atletico will be force to sell their top players for the big cash they need or face the financial problems that befall most of Spain's clubs.

So with that, Simeone knows that Torres, his former young teammate of his as the Argentine manager's playing career winded down, could be an ideal replacement for Costa. Ironically, those kind words could propel the man from Fuenlabrada to revive his top form when he require it most and backfire on Simeone's side (Brendan Rogers will take note of that). He is not only playing for where his club future will be next season, whether remaining at Chelsea, going back home to Atletico or elsewhere, but also his national team prospects.

At 30 and seemingly on the full decline, this maybe the last chance for Torres to play in a World Cup. Spain manager Vincent del Bosque is very loyal to the players who gave him historic international success and will give Torres as many chances to show he is worthy of a trip to Brazil, but the time is running out.

The emergence of Costa, the re-emergence of Fernando Llorente at Juventus this season and the semi-emergence of Athletic Bilbao's Adrian Adruiz make those frontman forward places for Spain tightly contested and never guarantee anymore for Torres as it was in years' past (and that's after the likes of Alvaro Negredo and Michu, after great starts in the Premier League, have cooled down, while David Villa has been cast deep in Costa's shadow at the Vincent Calderon this season).

This is Torres' last chance at still displaying that he is a world class talent, and the stages couldn't be bigger for him to do so. To save Chelsea's season for being trophyless, his future at a big club, and his World Cup history, Torres must shine in the places where he was once adored.

Because if he doesn't, we may never see again this once elite #9 be as sublime as is needed. But if he doesn't, those headlines will go right away from managers not having good tidings to a player having a Lazarus like revival.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

The Flashback Fridays #1 For 4/19/14 (Special Edition 20th Anniversary of Illmatic): Nas - Halftime (1992/1994)


Even before the album was released, at 18 in 1992 sir Nasir created "Halftime" with the drum Christmas snars in full effect from Large Professor's brilliance instrumental. It was the first single of his career and started it all, from the other nine tracks on the album to the career we see today.

"You couldn't catch me in the streets without a ton of reefer/ That's like Malcolm X, catchin the Jungle Fever/"

"Nas, Why did you do it?/ you know you got the mad fat fluid when you rhyme, it's halftime/"

"These are the lyrics of a man, you can't near it, understand/Cause in the streets, I'm well know like the number man."

"Puttin hits on 5-0/ Cause when it's my time to go, I wait for God wit the fo'-fo'/"

So for those who still don't know, this is the first song of the career of Sir Nasir bin Olu Dara Jones. It's "Halftime", and it's needed video.



More to come from The Whole Delivery on this special celebration of Illmatic's 20th anniversary. 

The Saturday Night Thread For 4/19/14 (Special Edition): 20th Anniversary of Illmatic


All night tonight, it is definitely a total celebration of Nas' 20th anniversary for Illmatic.

To acknowledging all five of its singles in chronological order to reviewing everything as in full for just this album, it is going on all night long with this one.

So more of that to come at The Whole Delivery in a bit, stay tuned.

Night's Schedule 

Thread on "Halftime"
Thread on "It AIn't Hard To Tell"
Thread on "Life's a Bitch" 
Thread on "The World Is Yours" 
Thread on "One Love" 

Friday, April 18, 2014

The 1st Thread/TWD Condolences For 4/18/14: The World of Gabo


As condolences are delivered to Colombia (and Mexico's) pride and joy Gabriel Garcia Marquez, there is definitely one standout tidbit that caught the attention of yours' truly.

It was from CNN Tood Leopold's great obit on Marquez, where the United States' paranoia with renowned outsiders who contrast with its "ethos" was once again apparent.
The book didn't ease all of García Márquez's problems, however. As a vocal leftist and defender of Castro's Cuba, he was regularly limited or denied visas by the United States until President Bill Clinton, a fan of "Solitude," revoked the ban.
Clinton went on to express his condolences right after in that fine write up from Leopold and showed how Marquez remained steadfast to his rational, "all for one, one for all" perspective that fueled his writing. It also displayed the utter pettiness that came with so many US presidents from Nixon, Ford, Carter, Reagan and Bush with an accomplished author in full support of another nation.

Marquez also knew that being a novelist gave him the financial freedom that befalls so many journalists throughout the world, and how vital it is to have a truly independent voice.

An independent voice that was only dependent on being an original, consistent, and principled soul.

(Rest in Heaven Señor Marquez). 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The 1st Thread/The Sports Thread #1 For 4/15/14: 25 Years, 0 Resolution

Photo from Liverpool Twitter's Feed

25 years later and the answers still escape those scarred by the Hillsborough crushing tragedy.

Beyond the must watch peice from Daniel Gordon on ESPN's 30 for 30 in America tonight, in order to give people on this side of the world even more perspective on the long term torment the disaster has brought, is the on going search for full accountability against powerful institutions that will go beyond today's poignant tributes.

The laissez-faire affair of Margaret Thatcher, the royal family and other prime ministers after her of not giving needed punishment to the Football Association, Sheffield Wednesday, and the local authorities is a prime examples of the many coverups the elites will proudly do in order to save hides.

And apart of those elites sadly are big news publications, as Rupert Murdoch's The Sun played a massive role in contributing to the smearing of "The 96" from the start with the infamous "The Truth" article from the slime that is Kelvin MacKenzie. The shameful piece of harmful "hack" journalism still bares in the soul of Liverpool, as boycotts still go on today of that Murdoch rag publication.

That paper bares as much responsibility in my mind as the police who covered up their despicable actions. They facilitated in creating the wave of not finding the real truth that eluded, and still eludes, so many people for so many years.

In a day of sporting related tragic anniversaries, with the one-year anniversary of the Boston Marathon bombing as well, the oldest of those anniversaries still searches for answers even when the problem has long been known.

(More to come at The Whole Delivery, stay tuned).


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Soulful For 4/13/14: Raphael Saadiq - 100 Yard Dash (2008)


This underrated gem from six years ago never ages, and neither does Raphael Saadiq's underrated brilliance.

The happy return of the Sunday Soulful series, here is "100 Yard Dash" from Raphael Saadiq.



This is The Whole Delivery. 

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