On the Ball with Mark Wheat is a new Monday feature on The Current that celebrates the connections between music and soccer, with an eye to the past weekend's results. Listen Mondays at 7 p.m. as Mark plays the music selection of the week.
As I'm writing this, Manchester City and Chelsea are playing and I've been following the BBC's live text updates. Today's game is a big one for both teams [Update: as this page published, the game ended at Etihad Stadium: Manchester City 0 - 1 Chelsea. Match report via BBC Sport]
Meanwhile, the rest of the Top 4 contenders had a mixed weekend. Arsenal showed great patience to break down a very organized Crystal Palace. The returning Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain took both of the team's best chances. That augurs well for England in Brazil, as Oxlade-Chamberlain is one of the most promising new talents who should be in the World Cup squad.
Arsenal v Crystal Palace highlights (via NBC Sports)
Everton showed great character, coming back from behind against Aston Villa, while Liverpool and Spurs showed a little less character in drawing with less-accomplished sides.
Man United had absolutely no character whatsoever in losing to Stoke for the first time ever in Premier League history! This, despite having all the big guns back: Van Persie, Rooney and Mata together for the first time wasn't enough, none of them seem to have that character, the passion to get a side fired up to do better. They looked really fragile when injuries to Jonny Evans and Phil Jones decimated the defence. So the next big import has to be a quality defender.
Stoke City v Manchester United highlights (via NBC Sports)
That means that I probably will not bother making a road trip this summer to see Manchester United in the new International Champions Cup: United play Roma in Denver on July 26. Whereas area Liverpool fans might wanna go to Chicago on the same day to see Liverpool play Greek side Olympiakos.
I will make a short road trip up Portland Avenue this Thursday, however, to have lunch with two-time Olympic gold-medal winner and 2012 FIFA Coach of the Year Pia Sundhage at the American Swedish Insitute! Our digital producer, Luke Taylor, is coming with so we'll have photos and a report on the blog next week if you can't make it there (pre-registration is required).
Sundhage is the former U.S. Women's National Team coach and current head coach of Sweden's Women's Team. The U.S. Women had another good win at the weekend, extending their unbeaten run at home to 78 games by beating arch-rivals Canada 1-0. So let's celebrate women playing the game with our musical feature this week. I was literally stunned to watch this video of life-long soccer player Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, doing tricks usually reserved for Brazilian beaches:
How to do a Rainbow Kick with St. Vincent (via Pitchfork)
And she just released a video for her forthcoming new self-titled album:
Which game did you watch this weekend? What are your thoughts? Share them in the comments section below.
- On The Ball with Mark Wheat: The Romance of the FA Cup This week, Mark Wheat looks at the excitement and romance of the FA Cup, where the huge teams are sometimes surprised by the minnows. Plus, an exclusive interview with Jake Bugg about Bugg's support of Notts County F.C.
- The Chart Show: #1 Messersmith inducted to the Hall of Fame Jeremy Messersmith AND Jake Bugg are inducted into our Chart Hall of Fame this week. Jeremy has added an extra show at First Avenue now, Feb. 21 and 22. Jake played there last week and stopped by to do a great acoustic session that we'll air on Tuesday, Jan 28 at 6 p.m.
- On The Ball with Mark Wheat: Great Sayings in Soccer In this week's On The Ball, Mark Wheat examines some of soccer's great cliché's -- and why they're so often true. And on the week we commemorate Martin Luther King Jr., Mark pays tribute to John Barnes, a player who worked to kick racism out of football, with a music pick.
- St. Vincent performs in The Current studios Onetime Polyphonic Spree member Annie Clark made her debut under the recording name St. Vincent four years ago with 2007's "Marry Me." But it was her sophomore effort, 2009's "Actor," that propelled her to critical acclaim and widespread popularity in the indie-rock community. Now, two years later, she has returned with her third album, "Strange Mercy."
- St. Vincent performs in The Current studios Annie Clark, better known as St. Vincent, paid her dues as a back-up musician throughout the indie world before emerging as a unique voice in 2007.
- St. Vincent performs in the Current studio Singer/multi-instrumentalist Annie Clark said she came up with the name St. Vincent to put no limitations on what she could do. She said with a name like St. Vincent, the band could be "expandable and could include other people and really be a whole entity."
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