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Old 2012-03-16, 07:39   Link #3241
Bri
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Quote:
Originally Posted by risingstar3110 View Post
And while City showed some fighting spirit, MU has been second best among the 2 till now. Was hammered quite badly and luck was on their side to not concede more. Against Ajax, Basel and Benfica at home as well

I believe MU have been doing so well in the league mostly because lower team coming to the match already lose a goal (in their head). In the same time decisions and luck going their way so much that even without them ,they still believe that they will score last minute, and they usually did. Foreign team don't believe in that bs and play their own game, and they end up in the driving seat

While their players are quite decent, there's almost no world class players in the squad, apart maybe Rooney and Vidic. Comparing to few years ago with Van De Sar, Tevez and Ronaldo
United has been an interesting case. Their squad depth and rotation helps them to do well in the EPL, but not having a fixed first 11 has killed their European campaign this year.

United's usual tactic in Europe of sitting back also backfired this season. Possession and passing based teams like Ajax and Bilbao just run amok in midfield. United was never good under pressure, but in the past individual quality made them deadly on the break. Imo they're too specialized for competing in the EPL to do well in Europe anymore. Especially now, given the success of Iberian teams lately, the meta-game in Uefa football is shifting from physical play to a more passing based game.


Anyway looking forward to the quarter finals:

The CL draw:

APOEL Nicosia - Real Madrid
Olympique Marseille - Bayern München
Benfica - Chelsea
AC Milan - Barcelona

RM, Barca and BM shouldn't have too much trouble with their match ups. Benfica - Chelsea is anyone's guess. El Clásico Cl final in the works.

The EL draw:

AZ - Valencia
Schalke 04 - Athletic Club de Bilbao
Sporting CP - Metalist Kharkiv
Atlético Madrid - Hannover 96

Pretty much all teams here (cept Hannover) are still competing for CL-spots in their leagues. Hard to say which team can afford to put enough effort in the EL to win it.
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Old 2012-03-16, 10:56   Link #3242
solomon
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(Warning soccer noob post incoming

Wow, I'm only casual soccer fan (sorry yank here) but these look like some interesting matchups.

I love Cinderella Stories but does anyone give APOEL a fighting chance against the Bernabeu crew? They handed CSKA Moscow's ass on a platter from what I remember seeing. (Damn these Spaniards can play).

Wow, AC Milan and Barca, neat. That should be cool. Also interested in the French league so wanna see what L'OM can do.

You guys really think an El Classico CL final is in the bag?
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Old 2012-03-16, 11:42   Link #3243
Rahan
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APOEL sucks. Lyon sucking even more is the reason went through. Didn't watch them in the group phase, so I can't say how they performed there.
OM can't do much. They are really bad this year. It's a miracle they went that far. The keeper was fantastic against Inter, but he will be suspended for the first game against Bayern. They are a teams of workhorses without an ounce of creativy.

As for the final, I believe Bayern has more than a fair chance to defeat Real in the semis. They will even have an extra motivation boost since the final will be played on their turf and playing a CL final at home is something that doesn't happen twice in a career.

On the other hand, Barcelona is a lock. It would be an upset if they didn't make the final. I am still not convinced by that Milan.

And I pray the final won't be another Classico. The recent classicos (from the last 2-3 years) have concentrated everything I hate about football (it became a thugfest and the cheating, diving, whining (well, couldn't be helped with Mourinho) went way out of hand)
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Old 2012-03-16, 21:30   Link #3244
Bri
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Quote:
Originally Posted by solomon View Post
(Warning soccer noob post incoming

Wow, I'm only casual soccer fan (sorry yank here) but these look like some interesting matchups.

I love Cinderella Stories but does anyone give APOEL a fighting chance against the Bernabeu crew? They handed CSKA Moscow's ass on a platter from what I remember seeing. (Damn these Spaniards can play).

Wow, AC Milan and Barca, neat. That should be cool. Also interested in the French league so wanna see what L'OM can do.

You guys really think an El Classico CL final is in the bag?
APOEL are a tight defensive squad and have surprised teams with much better individual players during the group stages. However RM is on a totally different level from what they have faced before. Madrid is also adept at breaking down teams that dig in, so APOEL's chances are very slim.

I can't see Milan giving Barca much trouble either, although Arsenal struggled to deploy their passing game effectively on the poor pitch at San Siro.


Barca and Real can't meet before the finals and who is going to stop them from getting there?

Winner of Marseille/ Bayern vs winner of APOEL/ Real Madrid ( Semifinal 1)
Winner of Benfica/Chelsea vs winner of AC Milan vs Barcelona ( Semifinal 2)

Bayern might have a chance, but they couldn't beat Maurinho's Inter in 2010, doubt they will do better against Maurinho's current Real.
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Old 2012-03-16, 22:54   Link #3245
RapidPotential
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Ugh, the draw clearly is all set up to prevent Real Madrid and Barcelona from ever meeting, until the Champions League Final. Milan faced Barcelona twice in the group stages and failed to win both times, but their attacking pace should pose problems against the Blaugrana, who have never been comfortable dealing with nippy players.

APOEL might pull off one of the biggest-ever shocks in the competition against Real, and they've been the proverbial "giant-killer" this season in the Champions League, so let's not rule them out yet.

Chelsea look like they've drawn easy opponents, but Benfica are far from easy pickings. The fact that the first leg is at the Estadio da Luz puts them at a disadvantage because Portuguese teams have a great record on home soil against English opposition.

Marseille might pose some problems for Bayern if they switch off, but with the resurgent Robben and the blistering form of Mario Gomez, it might be an uphill task.
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Old 2012-03-16, 23:15   Link #3246
risingstar3110
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RapidPotential View Post
Ugh, the draw clearly is all set up to prevent Real Madrid and Barcelona from ever meeting, until the Champions League Final. Milan faced Barcelona twice in the group stages and failed to win both times, but their attacking pace should pose problems against the Blaugrana, who have never been comfortable dealing with nippy players.

APOEL might pull off one of the biggest-ever shocks in the competition against Real, and they've been the proverbial "giant-killer" this season in the Champions League, so let's not rule them out yet.

Chelsea look like they've drawn easy opponents, but Benfica are far from easy pickings. The fact that the first leg is at the Estadio da Luz puts them at a disadvantage because Portuguese teams have a great record on home soil against English opposition.

Marseille might pose some problems for Bayern if they switch off, but with the resurgent Robben and the blistering form of Mario Gomez, it might be an uphill task.
I seen the events different through:
  • APOEL probably have chances against Chelsea or even Milan. But Real is a different monster. In fact it's more likely for APOEL to win against Barcelona than against Real. Real's consistency level is just extremely high, that they can only be beaten by a better team
  • Barcelona and Milan is an interesting draw, as while Barce is in favour, Milan really can cause upset (because the form of both are not as consistency, one in high form can beat the others at poor)
  • Benfica actually defeated MU over 2 legs back at group stage. But i think they will lose to Chelsea
  • Marseille will have to face a very good Bayern team this season.So i still all going for Bayern win


My final guess. Bayern win Marseille, face and win against Real.On another side, Barcelona barely defeat Milan, face Chelsea, defeat Chelsea. Then Barcelona run riot at the CL final and defeat Bayern on their home ground
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Old 2012-03-17, 00:58   Link #3247
Kokukirin
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APOEL don't really have a chance against Real Madrid. The fire power of RM is too much for APOEL to handle. With 2 years of experience in Italy, Mourinho surely knows how to beat an organized defensive team.

Marseille suck. They barely got by Inter with two last minute goals, but were second-best for much of the two games. And Inter are not even good this year. Bayern should win comfortably.

Barcelona v Milan may not prove as close as people expect. Pato had several injuries this season and became out of form lately. Abate has injury problems too and Milan have no decent option to replace him. Meanwhile, Messi looks more and more unstoppable. I think Barca will go through with a 3 goals margin.

Benfica v Chelsea is interesting. IMO the two teams are evenly matched.
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Old 2012-03-17, 04:29   Link #3248
Blaat
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I'm fully expecting the El Classico final, with Bayern being the only team that can prevent it from happening. Only a divine intervention could prevent Barça from reaching the final.

I do agree with others saying that Benfica v Chelsea is the closest tie but I'm still giving the advantage to Chelsea.
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Old 2012-03-17, 15:18   Link #3249
Rahan
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Fabrice Muamba from Bolton went down in the middle of a game, apparently due to heart failure. The player has been evacuated and the game was called off.
Apparently, he stopped breathing, but is being resuscitated !

Horrible stuff, don't want him or anyone to pull another Marc Vivien Foe.

Hang in there, Fabrice !


Edit : Skysport says the hospital has him in stable condition. According to initial reports, he stopped breathing for quite some time, so here's hoping he won't suffer too much damage.

Last edited by Rahan; 2012-03-17 at 15:50.
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Old 2012-03-17, 16:31   Link #3250
Kokukirin
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Terrible news. I hope he can recover from this.
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Old 2012-03-17, 21:14   Link #3251
Elo the Blue
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Hope Muamba can make a full recovery.
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Old 2012-03-17, 23:44   Link #3252
RapidPotential
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Hoping Muamba pulls through this. Sad day for football to see this kind of thing happen. It was so sudden.
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Old 2012-03-24, 13:31   Link #3253
germanturkey
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interesting saturday. Arteta's free kick is mind boggling. best one i've seen this season. spuds and chelski draw, and pool loses at home. good day over all...
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Old 2012-03-29, 08:52   Link #3254
Bri
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Interesting midweek of Champions league football.

Real Madrid's performance at Cyprus confirmed as expected that they are excellent "dam busters". The return in Madrid is now a more formality.

Bayern pretty much finished the job away as well. A poor looking Marseille was never a real threat.

Benfica versus Chelsea was a bit more of a subdued occasion then expected. Chelsea's defense held and they performed well enough on counter attack to record a sober but efficient 0-1. The away win allows Chelsea to play a conservative game at home as well without being exposed to Benfica's speed. This should see them trough.

Barca versus Milan was an interesting game in a tactical sense. Barca was held to a goalless draw at the San Siro. The Milan home field advantage could be taken quite literal at the poor state of the pitch reduced both Barca's width and passing game considerably. The resulting trench war down center bogged down both teams. Cynical fouling by both sides when possession was lost prevented either side getting caught out on the break.

Given the rout of Milan at the Emirates, I expect Barca to finish the job in the return.

For now it looks like Real-Bayern and Chelsea-Barca will be the semis.
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Old 2012-03-29, 15:54   Link #3255
germanturkey
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^^ if your guesses are right for the semis, we'll get a classico final. not a bad thing, but a bit boring.
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Old 2012-03-29, 16:37   Link #3256
Kokukirin
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I don't expect AC Milan to repeat a bad away performance at Camp Nou. They played a very bad first half at the Emirates when they had a 4-goal cushion and believed the tie was already over, but held on quite well to the last goal for the entire second half. They don't really have any actual advantage to bring to Camp Nou. Barca remain the favorites because they are still the superior team overall, not because AC Milan play poorly away from San Siro. I think we will see a similar game next week, but Barca will manage a goal or two this time.

RM v Bayern can go either way.
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Old 2012-03-29, 17:47   Link #3257
Bri
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Originally Posted by germanturkey View Post
^^ if your guesses are right for the semis, we'll get a classico final. not a bad thing, but a bit boring.
CL football is *very* predictable in general unfortunately. Three of the four wealthiest clubs are still in competition and Chelsea and Milan are 6 and 7. Money matters.

The Europa league on the other hand is quite unpredictable right now. Only Bilbao seems to have a place in the semis secured. Amazing that they only use local players. Don't think there has been a team like that who have won a cup since Celtic in '66. Very entertaining match against Schalke who were a bit unlucky. AZ won against Valencia with entertaining football and heart. Haven't seen Sporting and Atletico yet.
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Old 2012-03-29, 17:56   Link #3258
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Schalke vs Bilbao was incredible. Bilbao are a real force in europe this year.
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Old 2012-03-29, 18:53   Link #3259
Kokukirin
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Originally Posted by Bri View Post
CL football is *very* predictable in general unfortunately. Three of the four wealthiest clubs are still in competition and Chelsea and Milan are 6 and 7. Money matters.
CL can't be more predictable than EPL where you can bet on Man Utd winning the title every year and be right more than half the time. Money matters in CL, but to call it predictable is a bit off the mark, considering that no team has won it back to back since Milan in 1990.
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Old 2012-03-30, 06:03   Link #3260
Bri
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Originally Posted by Kokukirin View Post
CL can't be more predictable than EPL where you can bet on Man Utd winning the title every year and be right more than half the time. Money matters in CL, but to call it predictable is a bit off the mark, considering that no team has won it back to back since Milan in 1990.
I was talking about European cup football. The CL is in it's least competitive stage since probably the 70s. The richest 10 have pulled away from the rest and have divided up all the cups since the Bosman arrest. Only Porto broke the hegemony in 2004. If you say Barca, RM, Milan or Man U is going to win the CL you're going to be right more than half the time as well.

The Europa League is far more unpredictable. Top teams don't want to risk their title chances/league campaigns for CL qualifying positions, leaving dozens of other teams who can potentially win it. Even now we're down to the final eight it's anyone's guess.

As for the EPL... I'll be nice and say success has come at a steep price to the fans and English football in general, and leave it at that.
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