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Artful's Soccer Thread

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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby The Artful Dodger » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:12 am

lastingsgriller wrote:wait... you guys have jobs too?


Yes. I've got relatives to feed in the old country where unemployment runs rampant at about 24%.

(No, I don't mean Liverpool. :-b)
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby bigh0rt » Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:58 pm

Big Pimpin wrote:Blah, blah, wider pitch. I bet the boys are really worried about that extra 3 feet!

Anyway, I can't say I expected you to say something different. Chelsea is set up beautifully. All we need is an away goal and we'll be in a really great spot. I suspect we'll get our revenge.

Re: posting, I can't speak for perlick but I post plenty. Just not here. Anything at the cafe is on my phone, which sucks. I usually check in every couple months and when I look at your big conversation with yourself I usually come away infuriated by either the superiority complex that oozes out of you (although I should maybe give you a break for that because it appears to just come with any Barca association) or your recaps (where I often wonder if you've even watched some of the games you write about). But whatevs. Enjoy your own little delusional world. Have a wonderful Flopfest (I mean Clasico) weekend.

Up the Chels! #ktbffh
I agree with most of this.
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby A Fleshner Fantasy » Sat Apr 21, 2012 2:22 pm

Chelsea fans, I think we can all agree that today's game was unbearably boring.
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby The Artful Dodger » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:22 pm

Real Madrid beat Barcelona, 2-1, and as much as that Derbi loss hurts, it was the right result. Real were the better team all season long, had a bit of a wobble recently to have Barca within striking distance, and deserved to win the game (and likely La Liga). The midfield was well composed and were threatening on the counterattack, with Mesut Ozil playing in an excellent pass for Cristiano Ronaldo for the match-winning goal.

I do think Pep Guardiola will be ruminating about starting Thiago in midfield and Cristian Tello out wide, particularly Tello. Thiago gave the ball away too often but improved in the second half. Tello looked too tentative for the occasion; he was able to get in behind the Real backline either for his first touch to be bad or his chance go begging (what a sitter when Thiago played him in). Pedro for Tello would have made more sense, as he's surely the more season wide attacker to cut in and finish.

All that aside, Madrid were superb. They forced Messi to drop back too deep and outside of Tello's runs, they defended their box very well. Karim Benzema turned in a terrific performance up front too and it's quite a transformation Jose Mourinho has made on his career too. Benzema failed to adjust in his first year or so at Madrid, but he's worked his socks off.
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby The Artful Dodger » Sat Apr 21, 2012 5:43 pm

A Fleshner Fantasy wrote:Chelsea fans, I think we can all agree that today's game was unbearably boring.


I disagree, it was an exhilarating end-to-end game. You had Robin van Persie creating quality chances out of nothing and if only he rediscovered his shooting boots to volley them on target from a tight angle. Meanwhile, "Shoot on Sight" Daniel Sturridge was unlucky to not find the net on his many chances at Szczesny's goal, especially that 50 yard volley with Szczesny well off his line. And last but not least, referee Mike Dean was a wonderful gent for letting play flow. I've always been a harsh critic of Dean's but not today.

Anyhow, the race for fourth is interesting with Newcastle beating Stoke, 3-0, with Papiss Cisse taking the piss in scoring goals yet again and Yohan Cabaye bagging a brace. Spurs continue to capitulate, losing 1-0 at QPR off a well taken Adel Taarabt free kick... only for Taarabt himself to be sent off. I'm unsure what it is with QPR and red cards this season, but I digress.

So, that 0-0 draw winds up being a poor result for Chelsea. Newcastle go three points clear of Spurs and four above Chelsea for 4th.

Look at the run-in for all four teams...

Newcastle United:

4/28 - Wigan (A)
5/2 - Chelsea (A)
5/6 - Manchester City (H)
5/13 - Everton (A)

Spurs:

4/29 - Blackburn (H)
5/2 - Bolton (A)
5/6 - Aston Villa (A)
5/13 - Fulham (H)

Chelsea:

4/29 - QPR (H)
5/2 - Newcastle (H)
5/8 - Liverpool (A)
5/13 - Blackburn (H)

On paper, Spurs have the easiest run-in, but they've won just 1 in their last 9 league games. Chelsea have three home games, including the pivotal clash vs. Newcastle. Meanwhile, the Barcodes have by far the toughest run-in, away to Wigan, home vs. City, and away to Everton on the final day to go with the Chelsea game.

I'd love to see Newcastle finish top four. Demba Ba has trailed off a bit off his goal scoring pace, but his new strike partner Papiss Cisse has picked up the pace. Hatem Ben Arfa was once a promising top-tier talent gone bust, but he's making good on it with his technique and pace. That Tiote-Cabaye partnership in midfield is a nifty one. Alan Pardew has done quite a managerial job on Tyneside.
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby The Artful Dodger » Sat Apr 21, 2012 6:21 pm

...and hats off to Borussia Dortmund on a second straight Bundesliga title.

Dortmund started the season a bit slow domestically and in the Champions League, but they rattled off 26 consecutive unbeaten games, with vital wins over Bayern Munich and bitter rivals, Schalke. Most of those games didn't feature an injured Mario Gotze, one of the most prized young talents in world football. Dortmund beat Borussia Monchengladbach, 2-0, to win the league. They're one of the younger sides in Germany and happen to play some very attractive football and they're also signing Marco Reus from Monchengladbach too, yet another top German talent up front.

Dortmund also have IMO, the best stadium and fan atmosphere of the Big 5 European leagues (that or Athletic Bilbao's San Mames but that's making way for a newer ground unfortunately). A visit to the Westfalenstadion is definitely one of the tops of my footballing bucket list:

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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby The Artful Dodger » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:13 pm

Still lost for words to describe that 4-4 draw Man United had to settle for with Everton. 3-1 and 4-2 up with 80 minutes to play, and absolutely screwed that up.

Shame too, because United played some mesmerizing football, with three excellent goals from Welbeck, Rooney, and Nani. It was too open of a game and too many gaps between the United midfield and defense, especially with Everton having too much joy down the flanks with Rafael and Evra too far forward. Everton love to deliver crosses from the flanks into the box to and two of Everton's goals came off well hit crosses with no one to close down (and this without Leighton Baines). Too much space for Marouane Fellaini on the ball, who had a sensational game doing just about everything, and Nikica Jelavic's movement was bothersome for much of the game.

Side note: if I was an Evertonian, I'd be plenty mad that Everton did not play with this kind of spirit vs. Liverpool in the FA Cup semifinal. They were much more focused and organized than the team that floundered into Liverpool's hands last weekend.

So, I suppose it comes down to next Monday night: Manchester City v Manchester United. City took care of Wolves comfortably, 2-0, with Wolves formally relegated. The gap is now three points, which makes this the likely title deciding game with 2 games after the Manchester Derby. Not too thrilled about the lead being pared down in two weeks like that, but I suppose it's the way it was meant to be.
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby perlick29 » Tue Apr 24, 2012 5:00 pm

There's so much analysis to be done on this game so I'll leave it AD, but that was one of the craziest games I've ever seen, it practically matched their '09 battle, and Chelsea have their sweet revenge!

Things to consider:

Chelsea not only held Barca scoreless after Terry's boneheaded and justified sending off, they scored 2 GOALS! Ramires' chip was a wonderful touch.

Messi has still never scored against Chelsea, as the woodwork was in top form once again.
Drogba might have been the best defender on the pitch tonight, he was completely gassed when they took him off.
Lampard probably deserved a red card for his late two-footed challenge.

What a wonderful feeling 2 see Torres make a contribution and pocket a goal, he was dangerously poor on defense but the miraculous upset is complete.

I don't know who Chelsea will send out during the finals considering Meireles, Ivanovic, Ramires, and most likely Terry are all ineligible, but who cares for right now... WHAT A GAME!
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby teddy ballgame » Wed Apr 25, 2012 7:27 pm

Great match and a great result today! ;-D

And now a chance for revenge against Dortmund in the Pokal final and a chance to win the Champions League at home a week later.
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Re: Artful's Soccer Thread

Postby Mookie4ever » Thu Apr 26, 2012 8:09 am

Is this thread still alive?
Well, I'm coaching both my son's and daughter's soccer teams again this year. Season starts in a couple of weeks. I'll post updates. ;-)
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