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All posts for the month August, 2014

3 Italian Clubs Ready To Fight For European Glory Again

Published August 5, 2014 by gossipzoo

Marek Hamsik1

For some years now, Italian football has been in the wilderness. Despite Inter Milan being crowned champions of Europe in 2010, Italian clubs have struggled to make their mark in Europe’s premier club competition.

Such has been their demise on the European stage that Serie A has lost one of its 4 places in the competition, with now only 2 sides qualifying automatically and the other having to navigate the tricky qualifying round.

However, match day 1 of the Champions League showed us that Italian football is slowly on the rise again. Napoli and AC Milan picked up opening day wins, while Juventus were held to a draw by the resilient Copenhagen.

The results will no doubt fill Serie A fans with a renewed sense of optimism going into this year’s Champions League, something which has been lacking in previous seasons.

In this feature WhatCulture takes a look at Serie A’s 3 European clubs and assess what we can expect from them in this season’s Champions League.

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10 Pop Culture Mayors Who Should Be The Next Mayor Of New York City

Published August 4, 2014 by gossipzoo

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New York City recently hosted primaries for the upcoming Mayoral election, the first step in determining who will be the next Mayor of the greatest city in the world (take that Spokane, Washington!).

Being the Mayor of the Five Boroughs is a pretty big deal. The job includes regulating soda pop consumption, occasionally appearing on Saturday Night live, wearing a sash, and fighting hurricanes with one’s bare hands. Sometimes the Mayor even has to speak Spanish.

It’s not a job for the feint of heart. Even though it’s a municipal job, the Mayor of New York City is a national, even global figure. There were a whole lot of names in the big mayoral top hat, ranging from City Councilmen, Comptrollers, The Chairman of the MTA, and the one, the only, the aptly named Anthony “Carlos Danger” Weiner.

Other than the guy with the famous penis, I wasn’t too familiar with a lot of the candidates. Now that Joe Lhota and Bill de Blasio have emerged as each party’s respective nominees, I’m a little flummoxed as to who I should be casting my ballot for, being a newly registered voter in Manhattan. In fact, other than that fake job description I made up above, I really have no idea what the Mayor does. I guess they’re like the president of town?

Like most things in the world, pretty much all of my knowledge is based off of things that I’ve seen in movies and on television. So for the November 5th election, I’ll be looking for the qualities found in pop culture’s greatest Mayors.

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MGMT – MGMT Album Review

Published August 4, 2014 by gossipzoo

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Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

The beginning of MGMT’s third self-titled studio album starts particularly…strange. Andrew Vanwyngarden’s voice is either replaced or modified by or into what sounds like the voice of a young child. It soon transforms into normal pitch, percussion kicks in, heavy and forceful, followed by soft acoustic guitar strumming and that catchy melody that is ‘Alien Days’. MGMT have returned. And it has been quite the anticipation for anyone who is a fan of this band and genuinely appreciated their sophomore album, ‘Congratulations’, which can be argued as an introduction to what has been unveiled as their “true” sound now running psychologically and above all, musically unrestrained in this new volume of songs.

Many things are heard in this album, from Eastern scales to classic synthesizers to cerebral lyrics. Upon listening to it, one might observe that this band once popular for radio-savvy tunes is making some truly artistic music and on a major label recording company. Surprising, to say the least, considering the ever digressing priorities for major labels. Much more to the point, it’s great to see a blown up band pursuing artistic concepts that most all bands would never do, simply for the sake of keeping their devoted fans. MGMT will always be respected for the devotion not to their fans, but to themselves.

‘Cool Song No. 2 contains the eastern scales mentioned earlier. The melody is quite pretty and is executed with a certain raw quality, making it the album’s juggernaut, second to ‘Alien Days’. The keyboard is brilliantly used in and around the song, as well as the rest of the album, and we hear Ben Goldwasser extending his reach in musical depth, composing some of his best work to date, particularly during the first half of the album.

‘Introspection’ is in itself, introspective, a new quality that hasn’t really been heard by these guys, besides the final track of their second album. ‘A Good Sadness’ also features a certain sound that was foreshadowed in what you hear on the last two minutes of ‘Siberian Breaks’. It’s a very cool sound and it compliments what could be the songs’ notion that the only good sadness is one completely drowned out by technology. ‘Your Life is a Lie’ is an absolute riot, and the most fun you’ll have listening to ‘MGMT’. ‘Plenty of Girls in the Sea’ is the only track that really feels out of place, and although it’s a fun song, it throws the listener off, and because it’s so near the end of the album, the conclusion, ‘An Orphan of Fortune’, the album feels almost as though it ends too abruptly. It’s subtle how the choice in track progression has the ability to affect an entire album.

There are two noticeable differences throughout ‘MGMT’ in contrast to ‘Oracular Spectacular’ and ‘Congratulations’. First, is Vanwyngarden’s lyrics and delivery. Imagine him offering you a red pill or a blue pill before your personal introduction to the band’s music. If you have listened to the first two albums and are now tuning in to this one, consider yourself to have taken the red pill, because he is now showing you how deep the rabbit hole goes. The writing is even more thought-provoking and creative, and if there had to be only one thing to improve upon, it would be the over all construction of the poems. The second noticeable difference is the band’s growth in progressions and subtle textures that truly compliment the ideas being evoked, especially ‘I Love You Too, Death’, one of the albums finest and most quiet moments.

Every song on the record has something unique to offer. Whether it’s the melodies, sounds or lyrics, there is something to appreciate. Unfortunately few songs have all three qualities crafted together to make the album itself as a whole, memorable. There’s plenty of good in this album, it just feels slightly unfulfilled. Still, it’s a highly enjoyable document of a band who blew up suddenly and chose to be themselves afterward.

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SimCity Finally Comes Out On Mac But Does Anybody Care?

Published August 3, 2014 by gossipzoo

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SimCity is finally out on Mac and you know what, at the time of writing, it’s been out for a little while. I was waiting for SimCity on Mac for a long time, but I just missed the whole release date in the sea of more tangible, exciting and inevitable game releases.

SimCity was finally released on Mac on 29th August 2013, after nearly a year of constant delays and botched deadlines. SimCity has been on PC for well over a year and while I can appreciate that the Mac platform is not the primarily gaming platform for home computers, I can’t help but feel a little bit sore after EA’s Mac release. Of course, in my eyes SimCity has suffered the ultimate demise; I quite simply forgot it existed.

Now, I know what you are probably thinking, the Mac isn’t necessarily for gaming (at least not compared to PC) and you shouldn’t expect any big releases to release at the same time, if at all. But this is not why I am annoyed about SimCity. I am annoyed because EA promised something, and they didn’t deliver. They didn’t even deliver the second time. As I looked for new info on the Mac version, I constantly felt that it was more likely that it would be cancelled, than finally get a real release date.

SimCity Server Failures

I don’t have the exact quote, but EA put the delay of SimCity for Mac down to performance issues stating that they wanted to get it running as best as possible. Well apparently, there are reports that the Mac release has been just as troublesome as the PC one. Yes, the PC release is well-documented as one of the worst video game releases of recent memory. Servers didn’t work, systems didn’t run, always-online was tarnished.

But somehow I still believed in the game. SimCity is a wonderful series, a deeply intricate simulation game that balances creativity and strategy. Create what you want, as long as everyone has flushing toilets. The new graphics looked great and fit the style of the series perfectly. The thing is I feel like I really don’t care anymore. Not about SimCity so much as about this game. I remember when SimCity for Mac was coming out in June and I downloaded Origin and set up my account, only to find a few days before release, that it had been delayed till August 29th. That is a good way to sum up the whole sorry mess. Because when I went on to research this article, I found that I had forgot my Origin password. It all seems a lot more trouble than it’s worth.

What do you think about the delayed and then delayed again Mac release of SimCity? Make some noise in the comments below…

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Man City vs Man Utd: Why Yaya Toure Is A Key Player In Derby

Published August 3, 2014 by gossipzoo

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Media Image Ltd

Manchester City’s box-to-box midfielder Yaya Toure is widely regarded as one of the side’s most influential players since signing from Catalan giants Barcelona in 2010.

Often known for his rampaging runs through midfield and his casual swagger style of play, Toure has risen to star status during his time in the Premier League. He’s been utilised largely in two positions for the Citizens – as a holding midfielder or a central midfielder given license to roam up the pitch.

This season has once again seen him playing a relinquished role in midfield, positioned in front of the defence as protection. New manager Manuel Pellegrini has used the 30-year old to break up the attacks and move the ball on in a swift fashion, or to set up counter attacks – dribbling the ball out of midfield at a minimum.

When title rivals Manchester United come to town this weekend, the Ivory Coast international will be a key player for the hosts. Yaya Toure has boasted high ball-retention stats early on this season – a 90.8% pass completion, while making an average of 86.8 passes per league game.

Manchester United duo Michael Carrick and Wayne Rooney will have been targeted as the two biggest creative threats to the side, and the pair will need to be kept from picking out passes in the final third whenever possible.

As Rooney can often drop very deep to receive the ball, the job to stop both him and Carrick from playing will be on Yaya Toure, and should he collect the ball after making a challenge or interception, he’ll then be required to launch a counter-attack or to simply play it to an available teammate close-by.

Toure could be a pivotal player for Manchester City this weekend, and he could well be the one who decides which sides come out the victors in the pending clash.

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Newcastle 2-3 Hull City – Pardew Regrets Lack Of Consistency

Published August 2, 2014 by gossipzoo

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Newcastle manager Alan Pardew was left bemoaning his side’s consistency after Saturday’s 3-2 defeat to Hull City at St. James’ Park.

The result came on the back of the Toon’s win at Aston Villa last weekend, but a lack of concentration cost United dear against Steve Bruce’s men.

And after shipping three goals for the third time in six Premier League home games, Pardew was left to rue his team’s defending as City notched their first away victory of the season.

“We started really well and got the goal,” said the Magpies boss, “but we weren’t tight enough as a team and Hull exploited those spaces.

“All three of their goals were poor from our point of view. We’ve defended really, really well over the last few weeks, but it’s consistency in our performances that this team is searching for.

“You can see similarities in this team to the one that finished fifth, but that team had a consistency about it as team – not as individuals.

“Today, the formation was the same (as it was against Aston Villa), the set-up was the same but we didn’t look the same.

“We looked too loose and gifted them their goals. You can’t do that against any opposition and I’ll be first to pay tribute to Hull, because they played very well.

“But for us it was a really disappointing day. You’ve got to do it home and away in this division.”

One player that was singled out for praise by Pardew was Loic Remy, who scored a brace in the first-half.

The on-loan forward looked a constant threat to City’s backline and his manager was quick to sing his praises following his first goals in a black and white shirt.

“Remy got a couple of good goals and he had a fantastic chance for a third, but unfortunately it came at him so quickly.

“But his performance was one of the rare highlights from today.

“We need the commitment and the quality that we showed at Villa in every game. Our passing wasn’t as great as it has been in the last two or three games and we had a day at the office that we have to forget quickly and move on from.”

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West Ham 2-3 Everton: Allardyce Rues Red Card Decision

Published August 2, 2014 by gossipzoo

Sam Allardyce was proud of his team’s performance and less than happy with the referee’s performance as his West Ham side lost in the final minutes to Everton 3-2.

Mark Noble was given a controversial red card and Allardyce felt that, along with Romelu Lukaku’s half time introduction, was the difference.

“Up until the sending off, I thought the players were great,” said Allardyce. “After losing your last home game you want a response from your players and I think we got that. Everton a great side and we matched them. I’m really disappointed that we lost.”

“Lukaku was a huge difference. Everton played off him and we found that more difficult but our defensive qualities shone through as we restricted them up until Baines scored the first goal.”

The late defeat was even more bittersweet as Lukau had been a summer transfer target for the Irons.

“I had been talking to Jose (Mourinho) all summer about Lukaku, it was no, no, no, no, no, then there was a quick switch and everton got in there before us or West brom. That’s the way the cookie crumbles.”

The red card for Noble certainly had an effect o the game, but Big Sam was watchful with his words.

“I’ve got to be careful what I say, we all have. We get fined and the last thing I want is the FA getting any of my money that I work really hard for. If we want referees to get better then they have to get criticised like we all do in this game.”

“I’ve had a look at (the challenge). It’s easy for me to say Mark Noble has played the ball but he did because I have seen it on the laptop. The ref sees it where he is but he has to be certain because it’s a sending off. If Noble had not been booked before then Baines might still score but it’s still 2-2 with eleven men.”

Leighton Baines stepped up to score his second free kick of the game from Noble’s foul.

“How often do you see that? Not very often. That’s three in two home games for us, Pennant did the same thing for Stoke. You expect three in the whole season and (Baines) has put two in one game.”

While Allardyce could take some respite from a good display in general from his defence, that late blow was ultimately very difficult to take. While Everton jump into the top four, West Ham slip to 14th with five points from five games.

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