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Wow, Liverpool’s win of 3-nil is a shocker.  I guess the premier league is still a step below La Liga (until Liverpool destroys Barça or Real Madrid).

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18 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

Wow, Liverpool’s win of 3-nil is a shocker.  I guess the premier league is still a step below La Liga (until Liverpool destroys Barça or Real Madrid).

Because of the way that money works in those leagues, I think the top teams in La Liga will always be better than the EPL. In the last 10 seasons, only 5 teams have made the top 3, and it was 2004 since someone other than Barca, Real, or Atletico won the title. In fact, add in Valencia and Deportivo, and you can go back to 1983 as the last time someone else won the title. Barca/Madrid finish 1-2 almost every year. They can afford to sit players in league games for tournament play.

EPL has had 4 different winners in the last 5 seasons, and 7 different teams have finished in the top 2 spots. In the 25 year history of the league, only ManU has ever repeated as champion in consecutive years. I'm not saying there's parity from the top half of the table to the bottom half in the EPL, but there's enough parity in the top half that every game matters. EPL teams hit CL tournaments tired.

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Man City has EPL wrapped up months ago.  Man City has more money than any other team except maybe PSG.  If EPL can’t win the champions league, it’s because the best players don’t want to play in the EPL.  Pep is showing that EPL isn’t that competitive. 

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On 4/5/2018 at 10:04 PM, Ericandblueboy said:

Wow, Liverpool’s win of 3-nil is a shocker.  I guess the premier league is still a step below La Liga (until Liverpool destroys Barça or Real Madrid).

But is it really a shocker?  Pep has failed in the late stages of Champions League consistently, ever since he's been separated from Messi.  Liverpool may be a B+ team only, but do not underestimate Kloppo: he knew that Pep's team could not, mentally, deal with *simplicity* without the ball.  I am by no means saying I would have predicted this result, but I certainly had a big fat question mark written next to it.  The second leg will be fascinating; I expect the aggregate to be very close.

Very interesting first legs of the quarters.  I was not impressed with Barca and their most flattering scoreline, but I also had a feeling that they had plenty in reserve and could have kicked into the next gear or two on a whim.  I am impressed with Barca's continuity given a series of managerial changes; it feels like any of the recent managers could have won with each other's personnel.  The same can't be said for the Bavarians unfortunately: it looks like Jupp is doing a fantastic job with a team that just wasn't put together for him, with Coman's and Neuer's injuries as well as insufficient time (also due to injury) for Thiago to assume command of their schizophrenic midfield making it much more difficult.

I honestly don't know what to make of the Juve Real match.  Ronaldo's heroics make it very easy to overlook the fact that both teams' midfields were not cohesive but got away with it because they barely bothered each other.  But I'd be very concerned about Casemiro if I am drawn against Real.

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23 hours ago, Sasha K said:

But is it really a shocker?  Pep has failed in the late stages of Champions League consistently, ever since he's been separated from Messi.  Liverpool may be a B+ team only, but do not underestimate Kloppo: he knew that Pep's team could not, mentally, deal with *simplicity* without the ball.  I am by no means saying I would have predicted this result, but I certainly had a big fat question mark written next to it.  The second leg will be fascinating; I expect the aggregate to be very close.

No one has defeated Barça or Madrid for the last 4 years.  Pep can coach without Messi but it’s hard to beat two teams full of superstars when you don’t have a team full of superstars.  You’ve heard of MSN and BBC.  Ever heard a nickname for frequently injured Robben, Ribery, and Lewandowski?  No nickname for City’s front line either.  Even if City beats Liverpool, I still don’t think City has the talent to beat Barca or Madrid.  The best players are willing to take a pay cut to play for Barca - at least until Messi’s gone.

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I didn't watch the game but by all accounts Barça just didn't turn up.  Umtiti, who is demanding a pay-raise and linked with a transfer to Man U, seemed to have played a particularly poor game.  Valverde apparently didn't respond well in terms of strategy.  Messi and Busquets weren't fully fit.  All that contributed to an epic loss, like the loss suffered by Man City at the hands of Liverpool in the first leg.  

As for the 2nd leg of the Man City - Liverpool, Man City got robbed by the ref, just like they got robbed by the ref over the weekend against Man U.  The game could've been 3-0 in favor of Man City at half time (disallowed goal for wrong offside call, hand ball penalty not given).  I'm not a City fan but I can see why they'd be pissed.

Strange Champions League.  The #1 Ligue 1 team (PSG) lost to the now 4th place La Liga team (Real Madrid).  The #1 La Liga team (Barça) lost to the 4th place Serie A team (Roma).  The #1 EPL team (Man City) lost to the #3 EPL team (Liverpool).  The #1 Serie A team (Juventus) will likely lose to the #4 La Liga team (Real Madrid).  Only the #1 Bundesliga team (Munich) will likely be in the semi-finals. 

The big difference between Barça and Real Madrid is that Real Madrid has much more depth and since they're not in the La Liga race, they can rotate their players.  Barça lost Neymar at the beginning of the season and his replacements either couldn't play in the CL (Coutinho) or wasn't ready to play in the CL (Dembele).  I'm bitter.

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Another crazy day in the Champions League.  I would’ve been happy to admit La Liga sucks if it meant Juve knocking out Madrid, and Juve almost did by scoring 3 unanswered goals.  However, the fouls and yellow cards were adding up.  The dam finally broke in the waning moments of stoppage time - a silly foul leading to a penalty and then Buffon getting a red card for arguing.  Madrid is in the semi-finals again on Ronaldo’s penalty kick :(

 

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ugh, just about the worst possible outcome. a colleague and I ducked out of the office following the 3rd Juve goal to go to a nearby bar only to get there just before the penalty. still utterly shocked about Barcelona, since they just needed one away goal to get through. just another example of where the away goals rule is at times awesome and at times awful. but in general I'm in favor of it.

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Amusing moment late in the Bayern vs. Gladbach game today when the commentators lamented Juan Bernat's missing his shot because had he made it Thiago would have had a "dummy" hat trick.   They also conjectured that dummies of such quality should count as assists.

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In the EPL the improbable becomes the result, and one half of a city/county is grateful.

Chant from the WBA fans:  "Manchester City, We Won it for You."

WBA has won 3 of the last 5 at MU.

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Madrid beats Bayern Munich for the 2nd consecutive year in Champions League through (i) some poor performance by Bayern, and (ii) some really poor officiating (2 penalty shots not given to Bayern).  I'm pulling for Liverpool now!

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12 hours ago, Ericandblueboy said:

I'm pulling for Liverpool now!

Words I never expected to see from an Everton supporter.

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1 hour ago, silentbob said:

Words I never expected to see from an Everton supporter.

I’m not from Liverpool so I don’t have that hatred for Liverpool.  In fact, I would’ve supported Liverpool if their kit is slightly more interesting.  As it is, I’m more of a Barca fan and will cheer for any opponent of Real Madrid.

eta - how in the world did Liverpool give up 4 goals to Roma and still advance?

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El Clásico!  One of these days I have to go see it in person, preferably while Messi is still playing.  The storyline - Barca has already won La Liga and Copa del Rey, but lost to Roma in the Champions League in an inexplicably embarrassing fashion.  However, Barca is undefeated in La Liga, which no Spanish team has done since the season has been expanded to 38 games.  Real Madrid, having lost out early in Copa del Rey and way too far behind in La Liga, focused their efforts on the Champions League.  Thanks for some bad reffing, Madrid is now in the Champions League final.  So there's nothing to play for, other than history and pride.  Barca wanted to go undefeated and Real wants to thwart Barca.  Both teams chose not to give the other team the guard of honor, such is their dislike for each other.

So it all came down to more bad reffing.  Gareth Bale stomped on the calf of Umtiti - should've been red but not called.  The ref does send off Sergi Roberto for a strike on Marcelo.  Presumably as make-up call or calls, Luis Suarez's take down of Varane was ignored and that led to Messi's mind boggling goal.  Marcelo was obviously fouled in the penalty box but it also wasn't called.  There were other missed calls too.  Here's a link to SB Nation's analysis.

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Gareth Bale Unloads with a bicycle kick goal

I didn’t watch the match but heard about the shot.

For all those who played didn’t you practice this??  I must have for ten years and maybe had one chance to unleash it in a game and miskicked.   Good for him— it’s historic

 

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