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Sunday, May 29, 2011

Spanish continue to own the English when the metal is at stake

On paper it was it may have been 1-1 at halftime but it seemed like Barcelona had a the lead as the constant pressure of trying to keep up with the pace set by the Spanish side looked to be wearing on Manchester United. When Wayne Rooney scored to even the match with just over 10 minutes to in the half it looked like Man U. had seized the momentum but they were unable to add another before the break and Barcelona made some adjustments at the break, then came out and dominated the second session. The win not only marked Barca’s reign as the best in the world but continued the Spanish string of victories over English sides then hardware is at stake to 5, going back ten years to when Liverpool beat Alaves 5-4 in the UEFA Cup Final in 2001. It was more precision than power football, which is exactly the way the Devils rolled through the EPL this season, but David Villa, Xavi, and Messi beat them at their own game. So now the two sides both have questions to answer, what can Barca do to continue its stigma as the best in Europe, as winners of three of the last six Champions League titles? Going forward what can Man U., or other English sides for that matter, do to step their game up one level to match clubs like Madrid, Barca, and Inter when the chips are on the table? Fergie gave them all the credit but you can tell he was fuming and will have some more weapons at his disposal next time around. Cross town, Chelsea is singing the blues about their second place finish in the EPL and making moves as Carlo Ancelotti has been sacked for “failing to reach expectations” so they may be going into a restructuring period. In the meantime is there anyone out there to derail the Spanish train? Let us know here and in any of the quick links.

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Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Champions League Final worthy of its name

Prior the much hyped semi-final matchup between Barcelona and Real Madrid, many were calling that confrontation the “Real” final, but after watching the Red Devils dismantle FC Schalke with relative ease, lead the English Premier League by 3 points going into the final 3 matches, and dealing with a torrid schedule and some injuries to key players, no one can contradict that Man U have more than justified their place in the Champions League Final. On the other side of the pitch you have the perennial powerhouse that has finally gotten over the “Madrid Malaise” as in the previous two attempts it has been the Red/Blue/Gold that has gotten the top end of the aggregate and moved on when the two have met. Only now Barcelona was forget the celebrations and parties in the street and “real”ize that their journey is not yet completed and there is one more task ahead of them, and it’s quite a formidable one. Man U. may also have a match it will need to put behind them come the 28th as this Sunday’s match with Chelsea has been called the EPL Super Bowl as only 3 points separates the two sides from 1 and 2, with a result for the Devils all but assuring them the title. So with a victory over the Blues both sides of the final will be coming off huge wins over rivals with a stacks of checks in the center of the table and the side that can parlay that momentum will be hoisting another piece of hardware at the end of the month.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Now the EPL has a Super Bowl of its own

Once again, I must recant a previous statement as just over two weeks ago I stated that there would be more to watch at the bottom of the EPL table than at the top as Man U has sewed up the EPL Tilte. But a bad loss on April 30 coupled by a 5 game win streak by the blues and all of the sudden we’ve got ourselves a horse race. As if Manchester United doesn’t have enough on its plate this week as they will have the closest thing to the EPL has to a Super Bowl on May 8th when they host Chelsea who now sits in 2nd place just three points behind them in the standings, and if that wasn’t enough, a Champions League semi-final against Schalke on the 4th. Word out of Man U camp is that Wayne Rooney will not play in the Champions League semi –final on Wednesday to provide the best opportunity for him to play on the 8th. The question is will the rest of the club have anything else left in the tank to win two major matches in a five day span? Even in the event of a Chelsea win the game is far from over for the Blues as their remaining tow matches are far more difficult as they host Newcastle and then travel to Everton which is quite far from a certain result let alone a win. Meanwhile Man U will be bottom feeding with matches at Blackburn and hosting Blackpool, but beware of the dog backed into a corner as both clubs have their heads just above water sitting at 16 and 17 respectively. On that note I would be remised if I didn’t at least attempt to dig up my previous lead, the action at the bottom of the table as I already mentioned the clubs at 38 and 35 points but Wigan (35), Wolverhampton (34), and West Ham (32) will try to make the most of their final 3 life preservers. Wigan has had the most green dots over the last 6 going 2-2-2 and climbing into a tie with Blackpool and may catch a break as surely Stoke will have their attentions elsewhere when they meet on the final match of the season regardless of their FA Cup Final result, and should be able to handle a West Ham side that is winless in their last six, so a win over Villa on Saturday should be the one they need to stay over the relegation line. Blackpool may not have it so easy as their final three matches with Tottenham, Bolton, and afore mentioned Man U may not yield the results they need to stay up with the big boys.

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