April 11, 2007

It was a close game... until it started.: Manchester United thumped seven past Roma to win 8-3 on aggregate [links to goals inside]. Chelsea won too, so unless Eindhoven can score four at Anfield tonight, there will be three English clubs in the semi-finals of the Champions League.

posted by JJ to soccer at 03:57 AM - 13 comments

Man Utd vs Roma Valencia vs Chelsea [both YouTube]

posted by JJ at 04:03 AM on April 11, 2007

Thanks for the links JJ. Funny that you would link with the same title as grum's post -- when I saw grum's title through the RSS feed originally yesterday, I assumed it was for the Man United game. I'm not sure I buy into the hype I've seen in a couple of the papers and on other websites that the title is now United's to lose. It's one very well-played game, but just in the past week they had pretty poor performances away to Roma and Portsmouth. Obviously, if United play the way they did last night, they will be unstoppable. But last night was a combination of an overmatched opponent and just about everything going right that could go right. As to Chelsea -- seems like they always find a way to win. The goalkeeper for Valencia should have never let in that goal to Essien, though. Awful angle and not too difficult to position oneself to cut that off. Looks like he got caught cheating. Three England teams in the last four (assuming Liverpool does not absolutely melt down) -- very impressive. Although I do think it's been an off year for some of the typical European giants.

posted by holden at 07:54 AM on April 11, 2007

AS Roma played like absolute shit last night. I haven't seen an Italian team fall apart like that ever1. My romanista SO was despondent at 2-0, changing to flippant by the pitifull 7-1 ending. "It's worse when there is a small chance that you could have won." Unfortunately for Spalletti, Taddei was benched at the last minute with an injury and he (Spalletti) had 17 year old primavera players on the bench as substitution possibilities. Might have done a sight better than Totti et co., though. 1All 9 years since I've started following calcio. And while using one man's sorrow for another's gain is not something I usually condone, I at least have some retaliation ammo for the next time I becomes target pratice for being a Juventina.

posted by romakimmy at 09:00 AM on April 11, 2007

This match was simply ridiculous. Every time I thought that Roma had finally got some backbone and would just pack the back to prevent any more blooper reel highlights, BOOM, goal ManU.

posted by billsaysthis at 10:25 AM on April 11, 2007

It's hard to believe this was the same Roma team that beat United 6 days prior, or basically the same United team that lost to Portsmouth.

posted by Texan_lost_in_NY at 12:03 PM on April 11, 2007

Utd. probably didn't have more than 12-13 shots on the whole night; scored seven and the Roma keeper made two fantastic saves. Man U's magnificence was only trumped by Chivu's absolutely atrocious defending. He was personally responsible for four of the first five goals. The best thing about the game was Fergi not allowing (or forcing) his players to let up. The Reds seemed desperate to score until the whistle was blown. Clearly they were determined to avenge the thumping their supporters had to carry from brutal Italian police. Three England teams in the last four (assuming Liverpool does not absolutely melt down) -- very impressive. Although I do think it's been an off year for some of the typical European giants. -Holden It has been a slow climb for the English game since being dismissed from European play. The journey is over. English football is the best, most entertaining football on the globe, and Ronaldo showed last night why he is the World's Best Player. Liverpool vs Utd in the hot summer sun of Athens? That could get messy! p.s. Joe Cole is back, and not a moment too soon. He was the difference over Valencia, and a real joy to watch.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 12:58 PM on April 11, 2007

I agree that this has been an off-year for most Champion's League teams. Going into the knockout stage there weren't any teams just kicking ass like there have been other years (like Arsenal and Barcelona last year). Not to take away from United's amazing game, but it was just one game, they haven't consistently been playing like world beaters this season (despite being at the top of the Premiership and in the Semis in Champions). Same goes for Chelsea, Liverpool, Milan, etc. As far as the English league being the best in the world, again I disagree. They have two of the best teams in the world: Chelsea and Man U; two fairly decent teams in Liverpool and Arsenal and not much else. It's coincidence that three of them are playing this late in the competition. Chelsea could easily have been knocked out by Valencia, Liverpool by Barcelona, etc. Top to bottom, I still like the La Liga as the best in the world, although the best teams in that league (Barça, Real Madrid, et al.) are having an off year. Still, though not my favorite, English football is also great.

posted by sic at 04:48 PM on April 11, 2007

Sorry Sic but Barcelona-Liverpool was not as close as you make out. I watched every minute of both matches and the Catalonians were just not all there, which has been the case for nearly every match of their's I've seen this season; Ronaldinho hasn't been at top form since before last season's Champions League finals. I'll give you Valencia, though Chelsea have made a habit this year of getting the late winners. MLS and the Mexican League are having a SuperLiga this year, would be pretty cool if some of the top European leagues did the same, maybe rotating opponents so we could get some real answers to this kind of question.

posted by billsaysthis at 09:54 PM on April 11, 2007

MLS and the Mexican League are having a SuperLiga this year, would be pretty cool if some of the top European leagues did the same That's OK if your league season only lasts six months or so like the MLS.

posted by squealy at 06:24 AM on April 12, 2007

and not much else. -sic We could say that about all the leagues; a few perineal monsters at the top and everyone else. However, at least IMNHO, the middle of the EPL table has a bunch of tough outs, domestically and in Continental play. Spurs may be playing the best football around lately. Bolton, BBurn, Newcastle, even Reading play the flowing, fun football we have come to expect from Spanish powerhouses. I suspect both the UEFA trophies will reside in the British Isles by season's end. If the Yiddies show up today, the rout is on. That Scummy Russian Pimp has forced English clubs to spend or perish. A number of teams are even actively seeking rich Yanks to give them the funds needed to just compete domestically. The best players want to play in the best leagues and for the most money. For the moment that seems to favor the English game. p.s. I guess at the end of the day we all think the league WE watch and have a rooting interest in is the best league.

posted by r8rh8r27 at 12:32 PM on April 12, 2007

Wow, that Crouchie is struggling to score, isn't he? Heh. Go Liverpool!

posted by worldcup2002 at 01:51 AM on April 13, 2007

r8rh8r27 et al., I agree that this year the very top Spanish teams are not in form, most notably Barcelona, and it showed in their "poor" showing in the Champions (three teams into the knockout stage, one reaching the quarters). That said, I think the UEFA Cup is a better gauge of the top to bottom quality of a league; this season three of four in the UEFA semis are Spanish clubs. If you pitted second tier teams from each of the top leagues against each other, I firmly believe that La Liga would come out on top. Also, every season, one or two of the 2nd tier teams pushes into the upper echelon in La Liga, (Deportivo, Real Sociedad, Osasuna, Villareal, etc.; this year it's Sevilla); which shows more parity than in the English league (where it's been amost exclusively a two horse race the last few years). Although I admit Barcelona and Madrid dominate the la liga (just not as much as the monster clubs in other leagues - well, at least in the last decade)... ps) Yes, I have to agree with your ps wholeheartedly... Anyway, of all the English clubs I like Liverpool best, because I respect Rafa Benitez a great deal...

posted by sic at 11:57 AM on April 13, 2007

Squealy, I was thinking mostly of a home and home series, so just two games per team and more a bit more contentious than a real 'league'. UEFA would never allow the competition to Champions League if it were more, and the national FAs and TV networks probably would object just as hard.

posted by billsaysthis at 07:51 PM on April 13, 2007

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