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Old 03-12-2013, 06:38 PM   #121
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Barca's challenge: score three while not conceding any. I have no doubt they can score three at home. But I do have doubt they can stop Milan from scoring 1. Should be a thrill, a siege of the kind Chelsea survived last season.


I don't think I've ever loved a team like this current Barca. And it's not a tribal thing, I've been to Barcelona once, but Christ, any team that can do what they did today is going to be remembered.

So happy Villa played and scored. I feel he's getting a raw deal behind the scenes and as the all time Spanish national goal scorer deserves more. Messi does what Messi so often, um, does.



p.s. Best watched with the sound off

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Old 03-12-2013, 08:05 PM   #122
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Barcelona clearly a class above Milan. The press made its return and Milan couldn't cope with either it, or Barca's excellent finishing.

The difference in quality was glaring. Milan looked slow-thinking, they couldn't or wouldn't one-touch and they were inaccurate. When Niang failed on his gold-plated breakaway chance in he first half, you felt the game and the tie were over. And so it proved.

Not sure Barca have much of a future in this year's tourny, though. They still look very vulnerable at the back. The same confusion, panic and poor covering that Madrid exposed still seem to be there.

Forgot to mention something that's been on my mind since last season. Coincidentally or not, the decline of Barca sort of coincides with the decline of the detestable Dani Alves. I'm glad that little prick seems to be on his last legs. Never liked the dirty lbastard.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:08 PM   #123
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ps On the topic of the thread title, Tim Howard is out for at least the next two World Cup qualifiers. He's not the best 'keeper in the world, but the US' shaky defense doesn't need this.
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Old 03-12-2013, 09:33 PM   #124
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I prefer to watch the Schalke game. It will be much nicer to watch without having a big emotional attachement to a team. I am not in the mood to stomach a tactical battle.
Wildly entertaining. Not sure the best team won. But Gala's second goal was a monstrous effort, great goal. First one was poor defending by Schalke, they gave him an acre and a written invitation to shoot.

Didier Drogba is clearly a Champions League good luck charm.

Great atmosphere in both legs of the tie. Turkish fans are crazy.
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Old 03-14-2013, 08:09 PM   #125
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You always hear that young players need time to find their way. Sometimes it's not so obvious when it happens.

Eden Hazard joined Chelsea from a so-so French league and is being played out of position on the left wing/midfield. He started his rookie season at Chelsea with a bang, drawing a penalty almost with his first touch of the ball. But like so many of Chelsea's newcomers, he's had a great many anonymous games.

Not lately. The man seems to have figured out how to play his new position and how to be physical. He was sensational on Sunday in the second half against Manchester United. And again tonight against lowly Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League he was the man of the match. He's making great decisions, using his pace to penetrate and he's starting to look like a consistent threat to score. His ball control is other-wordly.

He scares right backs to death.

I knew that this was going to be a season of adjustment for Chelsea. And there are structural issues which need to be addressed.

But we're starting to see glimpses of what this team could be when the young players have a season or two of playing together under their belts.
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Old 03-17-2013, 08:20 AM   #126
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You always hear that young players need time to find their way. Sometimes it's not so obvious when it happens.

Eden Hazard joined Chelsea from a so-so French league and is being played out of position on the left wing/midfield. He started his rookie season at Chelsea with a bang, drawing a penalty almost with his first touch of the ball. But like so many of Chelsea's newcomers, he's had a great many anonymous games.

Not lately. The man seems to have figured out how to play his new position and how to be physical. He was sensational on Sunday in the second half against Manchester United. And again tonight against lowly Steaua Bucharest in the Europa League he was the man of the match. He's making great decisions, using his pace to penetrate and he's starting to look like a consistent threat to score. His ball control is other-wordly.

He scares right backs to death.

I knew that this was going to be a season of adjustment for Chelsea. And there are structural issues which need to be addressed.

But we're starting to see glimpses of what this team could be when the young players have a season or two of playing together under their belts.
That's the risk of playing youth. They aren't consistent. Though few players are to be honest.
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Old 03-17-2013, 06:05 PM   #127
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That's the risk of playing youth. They aren't consistent. Though few players are to be honest.
Absolutely. They're cheaper, which matters when you play in a 41,000 seat stadium and FFP is looming large.

Hazard had another blinder today. Fantastic goal. When he and Mata are on song, Chelsea are a lovely team to watch. International break coming at the wrong time.

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Old 03-19-2013, 09:15 PM   #128
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A good, deep analysis of Jurgen Klinsmann's shaky 19 months as US head coach. From The Sporting News.

The complaints will be familiar to Germans. Lots of ambitious talk, very little nuts-and-bolts tactics. Players losing confidence in the coach. Plus, soon to be 24 different starting line-ups in 24 matches. Which is crazy, no matter how much you want to find new players.

Personally, I think the US will be fortunate to qualify for the World Cup. I think good coaches work their tactics to suit the players they have, not the other was around. (By the sound of it, US players aren't even sure what tactics Klinsmann wants them to use, which boggles my mind.)

I agree with those who believe that Klinsmann belongs one level higher in US soccer, that he's not competent to be a head coach, that he's more suited to being a visionary general manager.
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Old 03-21-2013, 06:35 PM   #129
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Oh, Mario

okay, so internationals and particularly friendlies are not a good indicator of form, but damn, Mancini.



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Old 03-22-2013, 11:36 AM   #130
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Horses for courses. Balotelli needs to be in Italy -- specifically, at Milan -- in order to prosper. He has a delicate mentality. He never settled in in Manchester and I don't believe the club would ever have seen his best.
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Old 03-22-2013, 06:18 PM   #131
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Thank you Mexico, for dropping two points in Honduras. That could be immensely helpful to the US. Almost as helpful as Mexico dropping two points at home to Jamaica. Two out of a potential six threatens to reignite all those old devils and doubts in Mexico.
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Old 03-22-2013, 09:46 PM   #132
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Whacky win in Denver for USA. Heavy, heavy snow. They almost called the game off in the 2nd half. Credit to Costa Rica for wanting to continue. Inches of snow on the pitch by the end. Field crew shoveling the lines whenever they got a chance.

27F in Denver. On Tuesday, USA plays in Mexico City. Think it will be an adjustment? One good thing (by design, I'm sure) is that Denver is at altitude, so the US won't be affected by the altitude in Mexico City.

Mexico's staggering, so there's a chance the US could get a point.

Impossible to rate players in the snow. But the Klinsmann started his 24th new lineup in 24 matches, including yet another backline that has never played together. Injuries had a lot to do with it. Let's see what the fiddler does on Tuesday. He could do worse than to start this bunch again. They'll have gained some confidence.
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Old 03-23-2013, 07:35 AM   #133
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Whacky win in Denver for USA. Heavy, heavy snow. They almost called the game off in the 2nd half. Credit to Costa Rica for wanting to continue. Inches of snow on the pitch by the end. Field crew shoveling the lines whenever they got a chance.

27F in Denver. On Tuesday, USA plays in Mexico City. Think it will be an adjustment? One good thing (by design, I'm sure) is that Denver is at altitude, so the US won't be affected by the altitude in Mexico City.

Mexico's staggering, so there's a chance the US could get a point.

Impossible to rate players in the snow. But the Klinsmann started his 24th new lineup in 24 matches, including yet another backline that has never played together. Injuries had a lot to do with it. Let's see what the fiddler does on Tuesday. He could do worse than to start this bunch again. They'll have gained some confidence.
I forgot game was on & only watched the last 30 mins. Has anyone ever seen that much snow during a game (sans Russia - maybe) That was insane.

Go USA
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:20 PM   #134
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Horses for courses. Balotelli needs to be in Italy -- specifically, at Milan -- in order to prosper. He has a delicate mentality. He never settled in in Manchester and I don't believe the club would ever have seen his best.
I think it is rather a honeymoon. At the moment everybody is stroking his big ego. Once this stops, he'll be his petulant self again.


Klinsmann should have a preferred 11 by now only doing some small tinkering.

Though I guess Löw would have nearly the same number of different lineups. His starting lineup against Kazakhstan hasn't been seen before either. The number of positions changed matter and the quality of the replacement. I guess Löw has an advantage there. It doesn't really matter, if Schweinsteiger or Gündogan plays in the middle.
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Old 03-23-2013, 03:42 PM   #135
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I think it is rather a honeymoon. At the moment everybody is stroking his big ego. Once this stops, he'll be his petulant self again.
I doubt he'll ever be a completely stable man. He grew up with a toxic mix of being a child of impoverished immigrants, an orphan, a black man in racist Italy, a football prodigy (with all the attention that brings) and the center of a custody dispute when he became famous. There's no way that a child exposed to all that could be emotionally stable. He'll always be a head case.

That being said, if he's to succeed anywhere, it would be at his favorite club, AC Milan.
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