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Sunday, May 20, 2012

Chelsea vets bring the Blues back from the brink


Bayern were riding the crest of a ruckus crowd, taking advantage of being the host nation that has the good fortune of reaching the finals. As expected the German side came out swinging and looking for the first round knockout controlling nearly 60% of the possession in the first half and had Chelsea taking a standing eight count. However the Blues regrouped and the break and made it more of a give and take but when Thomas Muller bounced in a header with seven minutes to go it looked like and sounded like the result was inevitable. But then the Londoners got huge plays from the ol’ guard that was supposed to be long since past their prime, starting with the man in the middle Didier Drogba who scored on a header ironically Chelsea’s first of the match witch came in the 88th minute, to further point out Bayern’s dominance. Needless to say the Ivorian made the most of it and equalized then suddenly the chill of possibly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory submerged the nearly seventy thousand at Allianz Arena. Then it was Petr Cech’s turn to bail out his brother in arms after Drogba tried to give back his equalizer with a bad foul on Robin while in the box but Cech was on point on the penalty kick and the game went into extra time, then PKs. Much like the first 90 minutes it looked bleak for the Blues to start shootout as Bayern converted then stopped and they were once again on their way. But Cech was on his game, guessing the right direction each time but letting the first two get past him. Then game the big save to even things up and you could see the noose getting tight on those red jerseys. Then in the final frame the studs stepped up for each side and Cech guessed right again, for the sixth time, and Schweinsteiger was stopped cold, the man in box had done his job then he handed it back to “da man” in the bottom of the fifth frame and Drogba polished the game championship off as Neuer was not in the vicinity of kick and left hopelessly to look back and the ball hoping it to sail wide but it was square in the back of the net. For a player who was reduced to a part-time player in the eyes of the previous management, Drogba came through when the Club, city, and history needed it most as did the box man who was too old and too slow to hold his own. But instead of seeing the flaws when the lights were the brightest they vets looked like the classics they are.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

EPL's "Regulation Sunday" may be even larger off the pitch

The Sunday sets up as the biggest day in the EPL in recent years as for the first time in over a century the EPL table could very likely be decided by a tie-breaker. At the top of the Man City and Man U. will both need to win to provoke the afore mentioned scenario but it despite the difference in records, neither game will be a “gimme”. Although City will be at home with a chance to clinch they’ll face off with QPR who is in a ‘do or die’ scenario of their own as they are currently two points clear of the mire that is regulation with Bolton who will be on the pitch simultaneously. Tied with City at the top of the table are their inter-city, and hated rivals, Manchester United who feel they may have let the championship slip away in the last six matches going just 3-2-1 while City has gone 5-1 to tie for lead but with the massive eight point edge in goal differential only a straight point total win will do. To add insult to injury five of those crucial eight goals came at the hands of Manu during their 6-1 drubbing. Man U will be on the road on the final day as they travel to 11th place Sunderland who hasn’t had a victory in their last six going 0-4-2, so they may be due or on simply on their way down? Not only is there action on both the top and the bottom of the table but in the middle as well as Spurs and Newcastle will need one more day to decide the final Champions League participant. On top of all of this, Sunday will also mark the first time the entire EPL day will be televised which could be huge for the sport and the future of the EPL in the Untied States. The knock on soccer in general is the frequency of the scoring but knowing the importance the games, which will be redundantly reiterated by the announcers for each given game, it may capture an audience for the first time since the World CUP. This is a great opportunity, particularly for fans on the east coast. So the up hill battle continues in regards to the English game’s popularity here and now the stage is set for the EPL to deliver a product that can justify the title of World’s most competitive league.

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