Archivio mensile:settembre 2013

25.08.13 Watford v Nottingham Forest

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Andy Reid had given Forest the perfect start after just five minutes when his powerful strike found the top corner after Jamie Mackie’s lay-off following a loose ball from Marco Cassetti. But McGugan, who joined the Hornets from Billy Davies’ side this summer, pulled things level with a stunning curling free-kick in a fiercely competitive clash. If anyone was going to be the first player to score against Forest this season then McGugan was that man. He hit 44 goals – many of them spectacular – during seven years in Nottingham before his switch to Vicarage Road. Forest had gone ahead after only six minutes when Watford’s renowned passing game proved their undoing as Marco Cassetti’s extravagant crossfield ball was intercepted by Reid. The Irishman still had plenty to do, first slipping the ball to Jamie Mackie who cut inside before nudging it back to Reid, whose trusty left foot arrowed a fierce drive past Manuel Almunia and into the top corner from 15 yards. Lewis McGugan and Andy Reid give their reaction to Watford’s 1-1 draw with Nottingham Forest. Watford spent the majority of the rest of the first half camped in the Forest half but the division’s top scorers struggled to make inroads against the country’s meanest defence. And when the hosts did muster the odd shot on goal, Forest keeper Karl Darlow saved comfortably from both Diego Fabbrini and McGugan while Almen Abdi fired just wide. Having soaked up the pressure Forest came agonisingly close to doubling their lead just before half-time when Reid’s clever pass put Henri Lansbury in behind the Watford defence. The ex-Hornets midfielder’s shot flew across Almunia and crashed against the foot of the far post, with the rebound just eluding Mackie. Watford immediately countered and Fabbrini’s cross was met by the head of Troy Deeney, but the striker planted his effort wide. Forest went on the attack at the start of the second half but Radoslaw Majewski and Greg Halford shot too close to Almunia. And having survived those scares, in the 54th minute Watford went down the other end and finally breached Forest’s backline. Fabbrini was fouled by Adlene Guedioura 25 yards out and McGugan stepped up to bend his free-kick round the wall and into the top corner. The midfielder kept his celebrations to a minimum but moments later he was at it again, playing a neat one-two before curling a first-time shot which Darlow kept out at full stretch. Both sides had chances to win it with Almunia saving well from Mackie and Darlow denying both Sean Murray and Ikechi Anya. A point was enough to send Forest back to the summit but they almost stole all three at the death when sub Ishmael Miller broke clear only to curl his effort against the post.

Byron Burgers

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Simple to craft, difficult to master, a perfectly proportioned burger is still a thing of beauty to behold. Which may go some way to explaining why there are now 22 branches of Byron in central London alone, despite only being founded by fast food devotee Tom Byng in 2007. The venues vary hugely in style depending on the spaces they inhabit, from an elegant transformation of a pub in Rathbone Place to a bold, booth-heavy new site near Waterloo. Although largely sticking to a stark, six-choice menu, during its five years in the capital Byron has also experimented with limited-edition offerings, with varying results. A mayonnaise-heavy “Royale with cheese” didn’t live up to its Tarantino moniker but the Movember-funding, welsh rarebit-influenced “Gizz-Mo” collaboration was hugely successful. Byron has also tinkered with its drinks menu as well (including ditching Sierra Nevada pale ale for a more local Camden offering) and has even ventured out to festivals in a custom-built Shack (saving hungry gig-goers from a fate worse than falafel). Throughout London, more and more people are being given the choice of having a better burger. In the same way that Nando’s gave everyone a classier alternative to the colonel’s bucket, so Byron ensures you’ll never again have to settle for Ronald’s offcuts or Burger King’s latest attempt to corner the kebab market by selling lamb flatbreads. GQ.com for one has high hopes for Byron’s new monachy-friendly Jubilee burger, which consists of single pattie topped with green chillis, cheese and chipotle mayo in a glazed bun. Whether it will reign supreme remains to be seen but we know what comfort food we’ll be sticking to in 2012: a medium-rare flagship Byron, a Kernal IPA and some mustard-laced courgette fries.

Chiquito

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In the heart of London’s West End, next to the Odeon Cinema,Chiquito Leicester Square offers delicious Mexican and Tex-Mex food in a vibrant setting spread over 2 floors. St. Martin’s Theatre is a 5-minute walk away. All the vibrant colour and spice of Mexican cuisine is showcased on the Chiquito menu. Their legendary sizzling fajitas and tacos are made at the table by the diner, with fillings including Acapulco chicken, king prawns, and roasted vegetables for vegetarians. A range of Tex-Mex dishes are also served, as well as pasta and salads. Family-friendly options such as a kids menu and entertainment ensures a great atmosphere at Chiquito restaurant. Colourful cocktails and mocktails, a full wine list and a great tequila selection add a kick to any meal. A 2-minute walk from Leiceter Square Tube Station, London, Leicester Square Chiquito features an extensive Mexican and Tex- Mex menu. The National Gallery is a 4-minute walk away.

We’re The Millers

David Burke (Jason Sudeikis) is a small-time pot dealer whose clientele includes chefs and soccer moms, but no kids-after all, he has his scruples. So what could go wrong? Plenty. Preferring to keep a low profile for obvious reasons, he learns the hard way that no good deed goes unpunished when he tries to help out some local teens and winds up getting jumped by a trio of gutter punks. Stealing his stash and his cash, they leave him in major debt to his supplier, Brad (Ed Helms). In order towipe the slate clean-and maintain a clean bill of health-David must now become a big-time drug smuggler by bringing Brad’s latest shipment in from Mexico. Twisting the arms of his neighbors, cynical stripper Rose (Jennifer Aniston) and wannabe customer Kenny (Will Poulter), and the tatted-and-pierced streetwise teen Casey (Emma Roberts), he devises a foolproof plan. One fake wife, two pretend kids and a huge, shiny RV later, the “Millers” are headed south of the border for a Fourth of July weekend that is sure to end with a bang.

24.08.13 Fulham v Arsenal

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A debut goal from Darren Bent proved to be little consolation for Fulham on Saturday afternoon as Arsenal left Craven Cottage with a 3-1 win. The damage had already been done by the time the England international reacted first after Dimitar Berbatov’s shot had been saved, with an Olivier Giroud effort and Lukas Podolski’s brace putting the Gunners firmly in the ascendency. The scoreline was somewhat harsh on the Whites, who dominated for long spells of the match, but it was ultimately Arsenal’s clinical finishing that earned the North London side the points. There were several positives for Manager Martin Jol to take though, with new arrivals Adel Taarabt, Scott Parker and Bent all bringing something different to the team. Jol made three changes to the side that defeated Sunderland a week ago, as David Stockdale and John Arne Riise replaced the injured Maarten Stekelenburg and Kieran Richardson, while Parker was handed a debut at the expense of Derek Boateng. The rain was torrential as both sides struggled to get the ball under control on the zippy surface, with Podolski seeing the game’s first shot deflect wide for a corner with five minutes gone. Moments later, good work by Pajtim Kasami saw him win the ball back on the edge of his own area before beating an incoming Arsenal man to the follow up to play in Berbatov. The Bulgarian switched play to Taarabt who was chopped down 30 yards from goal by Carl Jenkinson, but Riise’s subsequent free-kick was never troubling Wojciech Szczesny. A neat through ball by Tomas Rosicky found an unmarked Theo Walcott in the area on 10 minutes, but Stockdale was out quickly to turn the England international’s effort behind for another corner. Out of nothing the visitors took the lead on 14 minutes when Aaron Ramsey’s speculative effort fell fortuitously to Giroud who collected well before clipping a neat effort beyond Stockdale. The Whites responded well though and came agonisingly close to equalising two minutes later only for Szczesny to make a great double save, firstly to deny Taarabt, before blocking Damien Duff’s follow up. Good hold-up play by Giroud on 20 minutes allowed him to play Santi Cazorla in on the edge of the area, but the Spaniard’s effort was straight at Stockdale who saved comfortably. Taarabt was causing the Arsenal defence all manner of issues with his trickery and he won a free-kick in a dangerous position on 25 minutes, but Kasami’s set-piece deflected harmlessly into Szczesny’s arms. Fulham were by far the better side but were just lacking in the final third, as was evident again in the 28th minute when Duff did well to rob his man 30 yards from goal, but his pass to Berbatov had too much pace on it for the striker to get it under control. Loanee Taarabt was clearly eager to impress and he tried his luck once again on 29 minutes, fizzing a left footed drive wide of Szczesny’s far post. A beautiful team move on the half hour mark presented Parker with his first chance in a Fulham shirt as he bent Berbatov’s first time lay off over the bar with his weaker left foot. Almost everything was going through Taarabt and the Morocco international had a go on his right foot this time, bending an effort into Szczesny’s arms on 32 minutes. After Fulham went close once again to an equaliser on 38 minutes when Riise flashed an effort across goal, the Gunners almost doubled their lead instantly on the counter when they had a plethora of men forward. It was eventually Kieran Gibbs who got a shot away, but his effort sailed some way wide. Cruelly on the hosts, Arsenal doubled their lead four minutes before half-time through Podolski. It was particularly harsh on Stockdale who had made a fine save to keep out Walcott’s initial strike, but Podolski was there to thump home the rebound from just inside the box. As one minute of added time was announced, the Gunners had a clear opportunity to add a third to their tally, but Podolski’s angled cross-cum-shot was neither goalbound or likely to find a teammate. The rain had ceased somewhat as the second half began with Kasami showing great strength and skill to beat Cazorla and set up a Fulham break. He played the ball to Berbatov who fed Taarabt, with the playmaker turning well to beat his man before forcing a smart stop from Szczesny. Parker showed that he has attacking qualities as well as defensive in the 51st minute when he rode three Arsenal challenges to make his way into the area, only to see Bacary Sagna make a late sliding tackle to deny him a sight of goal. A slick counter attack from Arsenal three minutes later saw the ball worked to Walcott down the right, but Riise did well to match him for pace before getting in a vital sliding block. A great cross by Gibbs was then met by Walcott who headed back into the path of Ramsey, who saw his powerful shot deflected away for a corner. Fulham fans got their first glimpse of new loan signing Bent just before the hour mark when he was introduced in place of Duff, with Jol making his second change shortly after when the impressive Taarabt was replaced by Alexander Kacaniklic. The best chance of the second period came on 66 minutes when Parker slid Sascha Riether in down the right. The full-back played a sharp pass back to the edge of thee area, but Berbatov seemed to put Kasami off as the Swiss youth international snatched at his shot to send it wide. And Arsenal showed their clinical edge for the third time two minutes later. Following Fulham’s attack, the Gunners broke swiftly after Giroud did brilliantly to pluck a high ball out of the air before finding Walcott. He fed Cazorla who in turn played it back to Podolski, with the German lashing the ball into the far corner, leaving Stockdale with no chance. Arsene Wenger then made his first changes of the afternoon, as England midfielder Jack Wilshere replaced Rosicky, before left-back Nacho Monreal took the place of goalscorer Giroud. Parker was booked for a late challenge on Cazorla with 72 minutes played, with Giorgos Karagounis coming on for Steve Sidwell a few minutes later. Fulham were handed a lifeline with 13 minutes remaining courtesy of a debut goal for Bent. Riether dinked a sublime ball into Berbatov inside the area and when Szczesny could only parry his shot, Bent was on hand to tap into an empty net. The Whites pushed for a way back into the match but it was Arsenal who came closest to grabbing another goal when Walcott smashed one goalwards with Stockdale getting in the way well to keep the score respectable.

C’era una volta Highbury…

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Nonostante sia stato a Wembley nel 92 per la disgraziata finale con il Barça, il mio primo vero contatto col calcio inglese risale alla stagione 94/95 quando mi recai a Highbury per la semifinale di andata della ormai scomparsa Coppa delle Coppe tra i padroni di casa dell’Arsenal e la Sampdoria. Come tutti voi sapete fu amore a prima vista, il pre-match nei pub di Islinghton, le colonne di fumo che si alzavano dai venditori ambulanti di hamburger, le urla “match programme” dei venditori, quell’ambiente tanto diverso dal nostro e per finire l’impressionante Highbury…nascosto tra le case…carico di storia con quell’ambiente incredibile che mi fece innamorare definitivamente del calcio d’oltremanica. Non ero mai stato a Emirates, avevo avuto varie occasioni ma alla fine avevo preferito ripiegare su altri campi, avevo rivisto i Gunners, ma in trasferta e l’ultima volta proprio qui a Barcelona in Champions League. Anche quest’anno, nonostante avessi diverso tempo a disposizione ho cercato di restarne lontano anche se alla fine non ho resistito e cosí eccomi a fare il percorso che giá fatto e rifatto molte altre volte: King’s Cross, Caledonian Road, Holloway Road….Arsenal! Gillespy Road…esco dalla metro e faccio un profondo respiro, vado verso sinistra e passo davanti al Supporters Club, mi sembra di vedere Baso che viene a prendermi sulla porta, mi sembra di vedere la bancarella di programmi di Andrew Miller…invece niente…é un venerdí pomeriggio in un quartiere residenziale di Londra Nord. I turisti si fiondano a destra in direzione Emirates…io preferisco andare a sinistra e sporgermi in qualsiasi posto possa avere una piccola vista di quello stadio che mi fece innamorare. Per chi non lo sapesse gli Stand del vecchio Highbury sono stati rimodellati e adibiti ad appartamenti e dove c’era il campo oggi c’é un grande parco dove i proprietari possono passare il tempo. Mi infilo un pó ovunque, anche in quella che una volta era l’entrata principale del East Stand, entro, chiedo il permesso…faccio foto…groppo in gola. Esco, torno sui miei passi, prendo Highbury Hill per ammirare la vecchia entrata del West Stand e, sorpresa, trovo un cancello aperto…non resisto e entro….un tuffo al cuore, un signore anziano mi vede e mi chiede se voglio entrare…mi apre e facciamo una passeggiata per quello che una volta era il campo, arrivo al centro, guardo la Clock End, poi mi giro verso la North Bank e mi sembra ancora di sentire il “no one to the Arsenal” ruggire dalle tribune. É arrivata l’ora di andare, saluto la mia improvvisata guida turistica e faccio come gli altri turisti… vado a Emirates ma dietro di me ho lasciato la storia, il mito, la leggenda…

Dirty Dancing

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Dirty Dancing has been a phenomenon on film and, latterly, on stage since 1987 and nobody has put Baby in a corner yet. Whether or not you’ll have the time of your life at this stage version, now returning to the West End after a two-year absence, depends prevalently on two factors. These are a) how much wine you’ve drunk and b) whether you’re with a group of female friends, ideally in hen party formation. A combination of a and b would, of course, be optimum. The rest of us must rub along as best we can and try not to dwell on how sorely the charisma of the late Patrick Swayze is missed. Nonetheless, there is an awful lot of twaddle to sit through before Baby doesn’t get put in a corner. Eleanor Bergstein’s script is not the last word in finesse and too often the monotonous rhythm of Sarah Tipple’s production means that it’s more Dirge-y Dancing than anything else. For a musical, there is bewilderingly little singing and it’s downright peculiar how numbers such as She’s Like the Wind get so little space. For the uninitiated — although if you are this, I heartily recommend you stay so — it’s 1963 and we’re in a holiday resort in the Catskills. The ridiculously-monikered Baby Houseman (Jill Winternitz) and her family are there, along with a troupe of Butlin’s-style entertainers, including moody Johnny Castle (Paul-Michael Jones), the dance instructor from the wrong side of the tracks. Unsurprisingly, Baby does not spend her vacation studying the economics of under-developed countries, her wearisomely worthy degree subject. Given that the ‘official’ entertainment is an endless turgid round of musical chairs, it’s no wonder that Baby takes refuge with the off-duty staff. Winternitz has a certain girl-next-door appeal, but the spark between her and the largely charmless Jones is a decidedly low-burning one. Kate Champion’s choreography is slick but unengaging, although there’s limber support from Charlotte Gooch as Penny, the dancer who gets herself into an unfortunate situation. The corner might be avoided, but there’s an inescapable sense that it has also been cut.

Stamford Bridge

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Stamford Bridge is a football stadium located on the border of Chelsea and Fulham, London. It is the home ground of Chelsea Football Club. The stadium is located within the Moore Park Estate also known as Walham Green and is often referred to as simply The Bridge. The capacity is 41.837, making it the eighth largest ground in the Premier League. Opened in 1877, the stadium was used by the London Athletics Club until 1905, when new owner Gus Mears founded Chelsea Football Club to occupy the ground; Chelsea have played their home games there ever since. It has undergone numerous major changes over the years, most recently in the 1990s when it was renovated into a modern, all-seater stadium. Stamford Bridge has been used as a venue for England international matches, FA Cup Finals, FA Cup semi-finals andCharity Shield games. It has also hosted numerous other sports, such as cricket, rugby union, speedway, greyhound racing, baseball and American football. The stadium’s highest official attendance is 82.905, for a league match between Chelsea and Arsenal on 12 October 1935. The Matthew Harding Stand, previously known as the North Stand, is along the north edge of the pitch. In 1939, a small two storied North Stand including seating was erected. It was originally intended to span the entire northern end, but the outbreak of World War IIand its aftermath compelled the club to keep the stand small. It was demolished and replaced by open terracing for standing supporters in 1976. The North Terrace was closed in 1993 and the present North Stand of two tiers (the Matthew Harding Stand) was then constructed at that end. It is named after former Chelsea director Matthew Harding, whose investment helped transform the club in the early 1990s before his death in a helicopter accident on 22 October 1996. His investment in the club enabled construction of the stand which was completed in time for the 1996–97 season. It has two tiers and accommodates most season-ticket holders, giving it an enthusiastic atmosphere, especially in the lower tier. Any proposal to enlarge the facility would necessitate demolition of the adjacent ‘Chelsea World of Sport’ museum. For some Champions League matches, this stand operates at reduced capacity, some entrances being obstructed by the presence of TV outside-broadcast vehicles. The only covered stand when Stamford Bridge was renovated into a football ground in 1905, the East Stand had a gabled corrugated iron roof, with around 6,000 seats and a terraced enclosure. The stand remained until 1973, when it was demolished in what was meant to be the opening phase of a comprehensive redevelopment of the stadium. The new stand was opened at the start of the 1974–75 season, but due to the ensuing financial difficulties at the club, it was the only part of the development to be completed. The East Stand essentially survives in its 1973 three-tiered cantilevered form, although it has been much refurbished and modernised since. It is the heart of the stadium, housing the tunnel, dugout, dressing rooms, conference room, press centre, AV and commentary box. The middle tier is occupied by facilities, clubs, and executive suites. The upper tier provides spectators with one of the best views of the pitch and it is the only section to have survived the extensive redevelopment of the 90s. Previously, it was the home to away supporters on the bottom tier. However, at the start of the 2005/2006 season, then-manager José Mourinho requested that the family section move to this part of the stand, to boost team morale. Away fans were moved to the shed end. The Shed End is located along the south side of the pitch. In 1930, a new terrace was built on the south side, for more standing spectators. It was originally known as the Fulham Road End, but supporters nicknamed it ‘The Shed’ and this led the club to officially change its name. It became the most favoured spot for the loudest and most die-hard support, until the terrace was demolished in 1994, when all-seater stadia became compulsory by law as a safety measure in light of the Taylor Report following the Hillsborough disaster. The seated stand which replaced it is still known as the Shed End (see below). The new stand opened in time for the 1997/98 season. Along with the Matthew Harding Stand, it is an area of the ground where many vocal fans congregate today. The view from the upper tier is widely regarded as one of the best in the stadium. The Shed also contains the centenary museum and a memorial wall, where families of deceased fans are able to leave a permanent memorial of their loved ones, indicating their eternal support for the club. A large chunk of the original Shed End terrace still stands today and runs along the south side of the stadium. It has recently been decorated with lights and large images of Chelsea legends. Since 2005, it has been where away supporters are housed; they are allocated 3,000 tickets towards the east side, roughly half of the capacity of the stand. Peter Osgood’s ashes were laid to rest under the shed end penalty spot in 2006. In 1964–65, a seated West Stand was built to replace the existing terracing on the west side. Most of the West Stand consisted of rising ranks of wooden tip up seats on iron frames, but seating at the very front was on concrete forms known as “the Benches”. The old West Stand was demolished in 1997 and replaced by the current West Stand. It has three tiers, in addition to a row of executive boxes that stretches the length of the stand. The lower tier was built on schedule and opened in 1998. However, difficulties with planning permission meant that the stand was not fully completed until 2001. Construction of the stand almost caused another financial crisis, which would have seen the club fall into administration, but for the intervention of Roman Abramovich. In borrowing £70m from Eurobonds to finance the project, Ken Bates put Chelsea into a perilous financial position, primarily because of the repayment terms. Now complete, the stand is the main external ‘face’ of the stadium, being the first thing fans see when entering the primary gate on Fulham Road. The Main Entrance is flanked by the Spackman and Speedie hospitality entrances, named after former Chelsea players Nigel Spackman and David Speedie. The stand also features the largest concourse area in the stadium, it is also known as the ‘Great Hall’ and is used for many functions at Stamford Bridge, including the Chelsea Player of the Year ceremony.

In giro per l’Umbria: Norcia e il parco dei monti Sibillini

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A cavallo tra l’Umbria e le Marche, ai piedi del monte Vettore, questo bel parco è l’unica zona veramente selvaggia dell’Italia centrale. Per secoli si narrava che queste montagne fossero abitate da fate e dalla misteriosa Sibilla, oggi sono rifugio del lupo, dell’aquila reale, del falcone pellegrino e del gufo granducale. Se amate i dirupi scoscesi, le valli profonde e i circoli glaciali siete nel vostro habitat! Il principale punto d’accesso al parco è la piccola città di Norcia, piccola ma con una grande fama! Il fondatore del monachesimo occidentale, San Benedetto, vi nacque nel 480. L’altra celebrità è il tartufo: la fiera del tartufo nero costituisce un’occasione unica per gustare tutti i tipi di specialità a base di tartufo, ma anche salumi, formaggi e cereali. Tornando al parco dei Monti Sibillini visita obbligata a Castelluccio e il piano Grande a circa 30 km da Norcia. Un luogo incantevole e sereno al quale si arriva tramite una magnifica strada che sale al di sopra della vallata. Anfiteatro naturale circondato da montagne spesso innevate, il piano Grande, di origine carsica, offre un paesaggio insolito, che può evocare il Tibet, le Ande o il Grande Nord. In lontananza il villaggio di Castelluccio, appollaiato su una collina a 1452 metri di altezza, domina la pianura e sembra un pò sperduto in questa immensità. Il paese è famoso per le sue lenticchie e per la ricotta.

Osteria del Matto

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All’ingresso trovi un cartello che ti saluta più o meno così: “se non bevi vino non puoi entrare”. All’interno musica jazz e pareti che ti parlano: pinocchi, maschere, burattini, stampe, fotografie e disegni. La luce è fioca e dal soffitto scendono aglio, palle di Natale a Marzo, tappi di bottiglie bevute un tempo. Il menù e fisso quanto buono. Abbiamo mangiato stufato, lenticchie con salsiccia, insalata di farro, salumi, bruschetta con pomodori e capperi, pasta fatta in casa. Ma non vi garantiamo che avrete il nostro stesso menù, perché dipende da una serie di variabili non controllabili prima fra tutti l’umore di chi cucina. L’unica scelta che vi sarà data di fare è tra vino bianco e vino rosso. Ogni tanto la mamma esce dalla cucina per prendere una boccata d’aria e controllare che le sue creazioni siano apprezzate dai commensali. L’esperienza di un pasto qui è il carnevale del gusto. Se siete oppressi dal tempo o dalla dieta e volete mangiare in tranquillità senza che nessuno vi interrompa allora desistete perché questo posto non fa per voi. Per tutti gli altri avventurieri se passate da Spoleto, magari in questo periodo in cui si festeggia il Festival dei due mondi, fermatevi subito!