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Champions league: Round of 16 set December 11, 2013

Posted by michaeltomlinson in European soccer, Italian soccer.
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Here is the list.

Manchester United
Real Madrid
Paris Saint-Germain
Bayern München
Borussia Dortmund
Atletico Madrid

Bayer Leverkusen
Manchester City
AC Milan
Zenit Saint Peters

LIVE! Chelsea vs Valencia: Unnecessary game commentary December 6, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Champions League, European soccer.
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I’ll be right here with you making obscene gestures and lewd remarks the entire match.

First thought- The English are just a very distinctly different brand of pale. The contrast of all of those dark coats with desperately translucent faces makes for a nice backdrop.

– No Frank Lampard and currently no working cameras at Stamford Bridge? FSC broadcast quality matching its color commentating. NEED MORE TWELLMAN.

– How many Portuguese speakers does it take to make a watchable soccer game?

–  Great defending by Valencia, I think letting Drogba have a little more time on the ball would have been nice. 1-0 Chelsea.

– This game needed an early goal for a high tempo to ensue.

– Albelda!!!!

– Things have settled down about now lending me the realization that I can currently see my breath, heat is expensive. Do they make gloves specifically for typing and eating Doritos, I mean we did engineer the wheel.

– I find myself pondering what David Luiz’s parents do for a living.

– In conclusion the Valencia defense is playing in sand and Rameeeereshhh is very, very fast. 2-0 Chelsea. I think this one is over………….. Portuguese speakers 1-0 Valencia.

– Juan Mata looks like a condensed version of Xabi Alonso in more ways than one.  Also wrong footed, maybe he lives in an alternative universe. I don’t think we give that idea enough thought.

– So Genk is up 1-0  on Leverkusen. So if you are a member of the Genk hooligan crowd would you then be considered a Genkster? …. I had too, really.

Who is Isaac Cuenca? October 20, 2011

Posted by Alex Tomchak Scott in Champions League, Scottish soccer.
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In Barcelona’s routine victory over Viktoria Plzen Wednesday, Pep Guardiola put on a player called Isaac Cuenca. I’ve never heard of him. Evidently, he spend last season on loan at Sabadell in the third division and has only played three times for Barcelona B, let alone the first team.

It’s silly to judge players based upon their Youtube clips, but I can kind of see why Cuenca went out on loan. In the video, it’s evident that Cuenca is extremely fast and an excellent dribbler, but he rarely tries to pass the ball in the video and I don’t remember seeing any of the passes he did attempt connect.

There’s definitely something promising about him (his technique is on show in this clip and his passing seems more useful too; you’d have to say he must be quite highly regarded indeed to be on the field with what is otherwise the Barcelona first team).

(The second clip was uploaded by, seemingly, Cuenca’s girlfriend who is, seemingly, Marc Bartra’s sister. I’m debating whether that’s interesting.)

Arsenal’s High Line DOOMS!!! Barcelona February 17, 2011

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Champions League, European soccer.
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So there is a second leg to be played, thus doomed is not only somewhat inflammatory but certainly a bit pretentious. On that note it sounds powerful and engaging so fuck you, you’re reading it now!

A lot of the blame from what I understand has fallen on the shoulders of Sergio Busquets, who for what its worth did not play his best game. But while his defensive mistakes may be more highlighted. The fact that Barce spent a larger portion than usual in the center of the field was due to being outnumbered. Wallcott and Nasri spent an uncharacteristically large amount of time pushed in and back stepping on the toes of Barcelona’s vaunted midfield. Along with Song, Wilshere and Cesc, who actually played higher up than Nasri and Walcott, created at times a 5 on 3. There were instances where Busquets like Xavi had no forward outlets, save Messi cutting into space. Busquets played poorly but much of it was due to the focus of Arsenal cutting down space, a place where Busquets operates in a normal match. Xavi and Iniesta play a majority of their game within inches of one or two defenders, it is abnormal for Busquets to be under similar pressure. So while possession was still heavy in the Catalonian side’s favor, it was always purposeful or rooted in a the ultimate goal of attacking, which is certainly not the case most weeks. Credit should also be given to Cliche and Eboue who also cut down the prominence of the Barca’s fullbacks, Alves played well but had very little effect on the game outside of box play on both ends. His game was sorely missed in the middle of the field, and it would not be surprising if Barcelona made it a point to fight down the wings 3 weeks from now. When Arsenal takes its first leg lead to Spain it needs nothing short of an exemplary performance yet again to avoid a similar exit to last years fixture. Barcelona is the only teams in the world that would go into a second leg down one goal and still favored against a top 5 team in the world. But with an on form Wilshere and Nasri Arsenal may be poised to do what i’m sure their captain didn’t truly believe, survive Camp Nou, Verb choice, Check…

Los Blancos tossed out of the Champions League March 11, 2010

Posted by michaeltomlinson in Champions League, European soccer, Spanish soccer.
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I guess this just adds incentive to win La Liga now that their European run has come to what many would deem a premature end. A mess of blown chances including an empty net that Gonzalo Higuain missed egregiously off the near post, just to watch it dribble across the goal face nearly adding insult to well… insult, did the Whites in, well sort of. Miralem Pjanic on a crafty HALF VOLLEY!! in the 75th minute truly put the French side of Lyon through to the next round. I’ll apologize in advance I’m sure the minions at UEFA will be in great need of self acknowledgment and have this video destroyed in a hell pit of fire in due time. I’m also aware the 8 of you reading this have the wits about you to find another source.

To be sure I am no fan of Madrid, but I respect the talent they have on their team. Despite the chances they created; mind you mostly in the first half, The whites looked like they didn’t really have a plan and what they were doing tactically was questionable either by design or by player movement. I understand the importance of fullbacks in the offense, shit I’m a Barcelona fan, Alves is a defender in the same sense Americans are environmentally conscious. Sure we’re aware of it but we’d rather be barbecuing for our obese friends. (I guess that makes the likes of Ibra and Messi obese fans of BBQ). MY POINT being yes they are important but watching Madrid play was extremely aggravating. Arbeloa and Ramos spent a majority of their time as high up if not higher up than Ronaldo and Higuain, while Lass and Guti fell back in support. Fine, I understand the shift, but this should be temporary. I’m sorry if I’m not respecting the offensive prowess of Arbeloa. But I think having the passing ability of Guti who has been on great form of late and the play making shiftiness of Lass would bode much more effective in going forward. On a related note, RAMOS STOP TRYING TO CROSS THE FUCKING BALL EVERYTIME, EVERYONE KNOWS IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN!

Next point, which isn’t to say it has nothing to do with my point prior. Madrid does a good job spreading the field, but the aforementioned Ramos and Arbeloa were the main cogs in that attack. Interestingly enough Real Madrid Ronaldo on their side. and yet instead of running him wild down the left side they chose to run Kaka, Ronaldo and Higuain right through the center. I’m sorry if this doesn’t seem flawed to you, but putting all your scoring threats in one spot not only diminishes your attacking ability elsewhere but it diminishes its worth in area where it is concentrated. At many points in the game the three players made individual runs at the defense while the other two stood by the wayside. Madrid has an absurd amount of talent but if you can get away with containing their three most potent attacking threats with your central defense the scheme is inherently flawed. My suggestion is start Ronaldo on the wing, no seriously play him there. I know he “starts” there but rarely does he end up in that position. In fact the goal he scored was a screaming run down the left side, what changed? Complacency on offense. To blatantly use a basketball term their half court offense made them sputter. It created a system where fullbacks were forced to be play makers and their attacking options got bogged down fighting for space amongst each other. I’m no tactical genius, which is to say It is more pressing that an average Joe like me notices such problems, I’m sure actual scholars of the game would have much harsher criticism.