Wednesday, April 16, 2014

The Best et al: Ed Ponders Liverpool vs. Man City and the Champions League Semi-finals

photo by thelastminutevia PhotoRee

Ed certainly believes he is one of the best:

Liverpool vs. Man City:  Liverpool vs. Manchester City was certainly the game of the year.  Exciting end-to-end action prevailed.  Each side took and had chances to win it, but it was Liverpool that executed (or got lucky?) when it mattered and took the three points.  Two referee mistakes were notable.  The first, when Suarez clearly dived, should've been a second yellow for the Uruguayan.  The second, when Suarez was clearly shoved (two-handed like) by a beaten Vincent Kompany, should've been a penalty kick.  Perhaps these balance each other out.  Only a visit to parallel dimensions could solve this.

--  Louis Suarez is No. 1?:  While it is true that various players had terrific games for Liverpool -- notably Coutinho and Sterling -- one cannot overlook Suarez's impact.  He was credited with an assist, his passing was outstanding, and his tenacious play constantly had City's defensemen on their heels.  Suarez manner of dribbling is astonishingly direct; he attacks left and right with his head down and body crouched in a position of leverage, and he merely thrusts the ball left or right and accelerates past.  He is also, to his credit, undeterred by failure.  This is similar to Messi, as each more frequently than most people realize simply get the ball taken from them when they surge forward.  That said, in light of the number of goals he's had in the BPL despite missing the first ten games (29 in 29 appearances), as well as the number of assists (12) and overall influence, it's time to put aside his petulant and erratic behavior and recognize that he is undeniably one of the best players in the world.  What I mean by this, is in 2014 he arguably is the best player in the world.  Really.

-- Everton's Run:  Unfortunately, even though Everton can take fourth if they win out, it looks more likely that Arsenal will do so given Arsenal's pathetic schedule through the end of the year.  Recall that this is what Arsenal does:  they start out the season strong, they start to slip in the middle, and they collapse at the end, but somehow, someway, they creep their way into the Champions League in the most uninspiring manner possible.  I suppose that's good coaching.  I just don't know, because it's painful to watch.  Everton, should they make it, will be so fired up it won't matter who they play.  Arsenal will simply be itself, and crumble at the first sight of a decent team.

-- UEFA:  It's sad to me where Spurs ended up this year.  It's one thing to come in 7th, but another to do so with so little inspiration.  Clearly there will be a new coach next year, and undoubtedly many new players, but how sad it is to go into a season with so much enthusiasm only to whimper your way out at the end.  There is only one benefit of this position, and that is next year's squad will not have to deal with the painful waste of time known as the Europa League.  The Europa League merely strips you of your energy, and even winning it doesn't seem to matter.  I believe they are allowing Champions League spots next year for teams that do well in the Europa League.  I think that's great as the tournament is becoming something without meaning.

-- Champions League:  Despite it's uber-annoying, copyrighted, and overly choral opening music, the Champions League semi-finals look to be terrific.  Atletico Madred is the cinderella story of the CPL, but probably shouldn't be given their talent.  Chelsea will struggle against them, but for some reason I still think the Special One will get this team into the finals.  The other match of Real Madrid v. Bayern Munich is as exciting as it is fascinating.  Real seemed to copy the Ribery/Robben model by putting some guy name Ronaldo on the left and Garth Bale, a lefty, on the right.  And it's worked.  But after seeing  Real Madrid nearly blow it against Borussia Dortmund, one has to wonder whether this team has the character needed to beat the defending champs.

This is farlieonfootie for April 16.

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