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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu May 22, 2008 12:29 pm

kimchi_chigae wrote:A few years ago, it was impossible for two teams from the same country to make the final in the Libertadores and I know that well because the team I support, Botafogo, was in the Libertadores after winning the Brazilian National Championship and we had to face Gremio in the Round of 16 because we were both from the same country. Gremio, at the time, were defending champions of the Libertadores and had a great team managed by Scolari. I was pissed. Botafogo never goes to continental tournaments and had to face arguably the strongest team of the tournament early just because of that rule.


I don't follow the Copa Libertadores much, even though I try to keep up every now and then, but I do remember that. I don't have a particular Latin American team I follow, but when it comes to Brazil, I just like Gremio because their kits are awesome. :-b

I do like the Argentinean league though and having befriended a Racing Club fan, it's really spiked my interest. It's fascinating that virtually the entire top division is comprised of teams in Buenos Aires or in the surrounding areas.

I found a travel site that takes groups of fans to a match in Argentina and Brazil. Really sweet, as they even offered a trip that had Boca/River and Flamengo/Vasco in the same week. :-L

kimchi_chigae wrote:With that being said, I completely agree that the strongest teams should face each other in the final, regardless of the country of origin. It just happens that England has probably the strongest league this season and the British teams have been playing very well. It still doesn't make me happy. As I said before, I had no interest in this final, but I think it's mostly because I don't follow the EPL that closely and the lack of Brazilian players on Man U and Chelsea's squad. I would much rather have seen Fenerbahce go through to the semis and have them take out Liverpool. :-)


United have Anderson, who I'll say has really adapted well to the English game. Usually Brazilian players do better in Spain given that the game is more free-flowing there, but Anderson has built up the defensive strength to go alongside his attacking game and really could reach new heights in a few years' time.

I've always liked Fenerbahce, the club as a whole really, aside from the fact that their key players are Brazilian (i.e. Alex de Souza, Roberto Carlos) and Zico is managing them. Say what you will about Turkish fans but Fener have incredible atmosphere and fan dynamic as well.

kimchi_chigae wrote:I also don't think you can only have the champion of each country go to the champions league. France has a pretty good tradition is soccer and although they don't have the strongest of the leagues, it's still fairly good compared to other European countries. Lyon has completely dominated that league for years, but they are unable to do anything significant at the Champions League.


France has a great tradition. They were once regarded as the place to play football or at least one of them, among Italy and Spain, before the Premier League in England was established. So, there was a time where Eric Cantona being exiled from Marseille to playing in England, was considered a demotion given that England at the time was reeling from hooliganism and the play was really rough-and-tumble stuff.

Lyon are a fantastic side. When I lived in France, the biggest club I lived next to was O'L and so my ex and I would make the trip down to Lyon (from Grenoble) to the Stade Gerland. They have a good club as it stands now, with Juninho, Karim Benzema, Toulalan, Hatem ben Arfa (who I thought could've been a lot better in the quarters vs. United), and Fred, but you have to wonder how good of a run Lyon could've made in Europe had they not sold Michael Essien and Florent Malouda. I like Benzema a great deal and hope he goes to either United or Barca in the transfer season, but I think Lyon will only sell him for 40 million euros. Benzema is after all the next best thing since Thierry Henry.

I've always been partial to Marseille, as it's my favorite city in France (oddly enough since I've gone to Lyon games), and it's really been a while since they've done anything for a club with as decorated a history as any in France. Selling Franck Ribery to Bayern didn't help and it won't help matters selling Samir Nasri to Arsenal (some say he's the next Zidane).

kimchi_chigae wrote:Congrats to Man U and its fans. I don't think I hate anyone more than Cristiano Ronaldo in soccer today, maybe only Carlos Tevez, but the man can play. :-D ;-D


I don't see Ronaldo being as lovable an icon as say, Ryan Giggs or Paul Scholes, or like an Eric Cantona/Roy Keane, David Beckham even, but he'll go down as a top 10 player in United history. That is, if he stays at United during his prime before moving to Spain, which I think will eventually happen but it won't happen in the short term.

As for Tevez, he's been awesome, clutch this year, the conqueror of Brazil has been. :-b
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu May 22, 2008 12:40 pm

perlick29 wrote:Congrats Manchester fans. I have to say that the only reason started following club soccer is because of my roommate freshman year of college. He was from the Cote D'Ivoire and intoduced me to it. So naturally I was finally drawn to a team in February when I was bored with no major sports I cared about. I took a real liking to Chelsea because of the Elephants like Drogba and Salomon Kalou, and have watched all of their games since. It's a shame they lost, and how things could have played out had Drogba not been sent off. His chances of returnig next season are slim and none and slim just got red carded so to speak. But it was fun for my first go with club soccer, I'd root on for the US in something but that just seems futile.

I owe my friend over in england a pint or two as he is a die hard Manchester guy, but still, congrats it was fun to watch.

-PS My DVR ran out after 105 minute mark and I was going nuts not thinking to add an extra hour. I had to watch the rest of the game on my CPU already seeing the result when I logged on which sucked.


Oddly, the first United game I had gone to was at Stamford Bridge, a number of years ago. This was a year before Roman Abramovich would make Chelsea his plaything and Gianfranco Zola was a cult icon. My uncle, a Chelsea fan, was getting remarried that August and coincidentally he bought tickets to the United/Chelsea match. So, in some odd way, Chelsea does mean something to me. He owes me two expensive kegs of beer now that Chelsea have lost again. :-D

Aside from your case, I still don't understand why some folks would jump on the Chelsea bandwagon besides Chelsea being a winning outfit in recent years. People can say all they want about United buying the best players, but they don't buy a who's who in soccer just for the sake of putting them together on one side like a fantasy team quite like Chelsea. Only Real Madrid comes to mind and I loathe them more than any team in the world. Aside from that, they play dreadful football, especially with the imprint left behind by Jose Mourinho, and Avram Grant isn't likely to reform them more into a better attacking side, if he does stay (Roman should).

I don't see an exodus out of Chelsea though, certainly not as dramatic as what's going to happen in Barcelona, but seems to me Drogba is moving on to Milan, who haven't filled the void left from selling Shevchenko, or to Inter. I see Lampard and Terry staying on board too.
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Re: Champions League

Postby RocketsDWM » Thu May 22, 2008 3:13 pm

I think Artful Dodger could fill a soccer forum at the cafe by himself Nice analysis ;-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu May 22, 2008 5:16 pm

RocketsDWM wrote:I think Artful Dodger could fill a soccer forum at the cafe by himself Nice analysis ;-D


Well I have to. :-b ;-D

BTW, KC, Dani Alves could be linked to a move to either United or Chelsea. Let's not bring Brazil's answer for Didier Drogba here please. :-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby bigh0rt » Thu May 22, 2008 6:14 pm

What a tremendous match. Manchester dominated the play in the first half, with 59% of the play, IIRC. I didn't check the final numbers, but I'm sure Chelsea matched that and maybe then some in the 2nd, and then again in the extra time. There was a fair number of goes at goal for each side, with Petr Cech showing why he's such a freakin stud on more than one occasion. I was hoping that Giggsy's ball would've found the back of the net but John Terry wasn't having it.

I was pretty unimpressed with Manchester's play in the back. Ferdinand did not play an A+ game, and while Vidic came up big a few times, I don't think he played all that well, either.

You can see the huge difference in the attack of Chelsea since Shevchenko left. When he and Drogba played together up top, Chelsea was threatening all the time, using those two to link with the midfield. Now they attack purely out of the midfield and don't feed Drogba nearly as much as they ought to.

Manchester absolutely owned the flanks in the first half, and seemed to abandon that strategy in the 2nd half. Tevez was useless, as was Rooney, and once they stopped attacking the flanks and Ronaldo settled into playing for corners, the attempts on goal went down the tubes. It was destined to go to penalties -- I realized that at about the 65-70 minute mark, despite both teams getting chances after that.

Seeing Ronaldo choke on his kick, which would've been re-kicked had he made it anyway as his pause was excessively long, was fitting. He's a tremendous player, arguably the most skilled on Earth, but despite his 42 goals this season, he is not much of a gamer, and while I assumed he would bury his penalty, I was not chocked when he botched it. Despite supporting Man. U., I felt bad for John Terry when he slipped and put his kick off the woodwork. He's a class act player and had already saved the game when he denied Giggs a goal.

I'll tell you this; Anderson is going to be a hell of a player, both for Manchester and Brazil.
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu May 22, 2008 6:51 pm

bigh0rt wrote:What a tremendous match. Manchester dominated the play in the first half, with 59% of the play, IIRC. I didn't check the final numbers, but I'm sure Chelsea matched that and maybe then some in the 2nd, and then again in the extra time. There was a fair number of goes at goal for each side, with Petr Cech showing why he's such a freakin stud on more than one occasion. I was hoping that Giggsy's ball would've found the back of the net but John Terry wasn't having it.


That was a freakish run from Evra that set that opportunity up too. :-°

bigh0rt wrote:I was pretty unimpressed with Manchester's play in the back. Ferdinand did not play an A+ game, and while Vidic came up big a few times, I don't think he played all that well, either.


The backline had their good and bad moments. Rio and Vidic weren't that crisp and whenever Wes Brown has to make a decision on the ball, I get a bit jittery as always. Van der Sar was his usual quirky self. They weren't in complete shutdown mode like they were vs. Barca. It didn't help matters with Rio cramping up badly in the second. Vidic played a lot better in the second half and ET whereas Wes did enough, at times, pushing well, and in fact set up Ronaldo for the header.

bigh0rt wrote:You can see the huge difference in the attack of Chelsea since Shevchenko left. When he and Drogba played together up top, Chelsea was threatening all the time, using those two to link with the midfield. Now they attack purely out of the midfield and don't feed Drogba nearly as much as they ought to.

Manchester absolutely owned the flanks in the first half, and seemed to abandon that strategy in the 2nd half. Tevez was useless, as was Rooney, and once they stopped attacking the flanks and Ronaldo settled into playing for corners, the attempts on goal went down the tubes. It was destined to go to penalties -- I realized that at about the 65-70 minute mark, despite both teams getting chances after that.


Sheva was there, but he's almost always warming up on the bench. Generally, neither he nor Drogba make up the ideal partnership. I was a bit disappointed in Anelka (barring the saved penalty kick) and Kalou was just OK, could've had a breakthrough on the free kick however.

Chelsea's midfield was good in cluttering the middle of the park as they usually tend to do, which deters United's engine from really dictating the game. Carrick and Scholes did a nice job of pulling the strings in the first half and neither did noteworthy things in the second. The counterattack was there for them at times, didn't lob the ball to Drogba as much (which can be a good thing). I thought Essien amended some for playing off kilter at right back as well. Cech, Terry, and Lampard played their parts, whereas Ballack was good at times, suspect at others to be considered man of the match worthy.

bigh0rt wrote:Seeing Ronaldo choke on his kick, which would've been re-kicked had he made it anyway as his pause was excessively long, was fitting. He's a tremendous player, arguably the most skilled on Earth, but despite his 42 goals this season, he is not much of a gamer, and while I assumed he would bury his penalty, I was not chocked when he botched it. Despite supporting Man. U., I felt bad for John Terry when he slipped and put his kick off the woodwork. He's a class act player and had already saved the game when he denied Giggs a goal.


Unfortunately, I thought Ronaldo looked tentative going up for the kick. When he did that second hesitation, I knew he wasn't going to fool Cech. Sometimes it works for him, sometimes it doesn't, but it appeared like he had a few approaches, just didn't know how to attack it and rushed it knowing it probably wouldn't have counted.

Some say JT's technique in planting his standing leg wasn't that good despite the slip in the rain.

I didn't notice this but supposedly Terry spat at Tevez during that Vidic/Drogba spat. I didn't pay much attention at the time, just simply being nervous, thinking it was just yet another heated exchange of words, but if he did, the whole love affair the media has over JT being this lion-hearted captain is just way overblown. That said, I still do feel sorry he missed the PK given the circumstances and even Paul Scholes wasn't as jubilant after the game, consoling Terry first before heading off to his teammates. Class act from a true gamer and Mancunian lad.
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Re: Champions League

Postby kimchi_chigae » Thu May 22, 2008 9:37 pm

The Artful Dodger wrote:BTW, KC, Dani Alves could be linked to a move to either United or Chelsea. Let's not bring Brazil's answer for Didier Drogba here please. :-D


Dani Alves was the devil in last year's Championship Manager. ;-D
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Re: Champions League

Postby The Artful Dodger » Thu May 22, 2008 11:58 pm

kimchi_chigae wrote:
The Artful Dodger wrote:BTW, KC, Dani Alves could be linked to a move to either United or Chelsea. Let's not bring Brazil's answer for Didier Drogba here please. :-D


Dani Alves was the devil in last year's Championship Manager. ;-D


Ha, I haven't played the football sims much as I play the fantasy games most, but CM can be really addictive. ;-D

I also play at this site, called Play the Game on the London Times site. You actually draft teams here and play roto, instead of the conventional salary cap games where you rack up points on the leaderboard. Only problem is, they're autodrafts. I finished 3rd in a 20-team league, but the one gripe I had was I had tops in all offensive categories given how great my offense was (thanks to Ronaldo, Adebayor, Tevez, and Torres namely), but the autodraft left me with the lousiest defense ever. No one wanted to trade their defenders. :-P
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