Something Great

Arsene Wenger cobbled together starting lineups with spit and duct tape and Denilson and somehow the team dragged its ass over the finish line in third or fourth.

Monday, March 17, 2008

La English Serie BundesLiga

The undeniable truths:

- 4 capable teams all from the English Premier League out of the 32 teams that qualified make up half of the teams remaining. Perspective - 1 Italian, 1 Turkish, 1 Spanish, 1 German

- Both Jim Edward and, emphasis on - and the Great Robert Pires agree that this indicates the strength of the EPL (Jim did publish his thoughts first for any sheep accusers out there)

- Who the deuce am I to disagree with Rob Pires and Edward Stanley?

Facts worth noting*

- Manchester United advanced past Lyon. Nobody, except maybe this guy, argues that the French Ligue as a whole competes with the EPL. Man U fulfilled expectations right? Right.

- Arsenal advanced past AC Milan. It's not Arsenal's fault last years Chammmmpppppiiiiiooooon has Stephon Marbury'd, but fallen from grace they certainly have. Yes, yes, if you're a Gunner you could contend that Arsenal caused ACs downward spiral. Not so much - they were 5th when they entered the fray (maybe 6th) and they're 5th after they busted out. They've been struggling immensely. I've watched their last 6 games (starting before CL and after) and man does Pirlo look tired. More on that later. Anyway, the point still stands, (then) 1st place Arsenal beat 5th place AC Milan - expectations again.

- Chelsea advanced past Olympiacos. Nobody, except maybe this guy, argues that the Super League (despite their name) as a whole comes even close to the EPL.

- And then there is Liverpool past Intenmen Milan. This was an upset. It turns me into the angry Serie A penguin just thinking about Materazzi mouthing out "duo??!?!?!" and holding up two fingers with an expression that screamed, you can't be effing serious that's my second yellow. The Gerrard goal to me occurred in slow motion (except it was in real time) and I'm still on conspiracy watch after Burdisso got his duo of yellows turned red. I will always remember Torres' goal. For some reason I had this (nap) dream after the game that this really attractive Italian grad student was staying with me for study abroad and as we're approaching this sick Georgetown party, Torres opens the door, gives my girl a classy look up-and-down, puts his arm around her waist, pulls her inside and smiles at me while he slams the door - SLAM! Wake up sweating - still gives me goosebumps right now.

So in summary I believe it's one round too soon to start assuming the EPL is as good as they probably are and you heard it right here first, Arsenal/Liverpool will be the only English sides to advance from here.**

* if you're trying to prove my point
** hop on friendly monkey


Jake said...

premier league the best?

so if we are making an argument that the epl is the best league in europe i think the fundamental flaw is that the league is absurdly top heavy, so much so that any loss by one of the big 4 to a team not in the 4 is a huge shock, in fact outside of maybe everton, villa and pompey, (ignoring MC derby sweep), losses to lower teams are complete stunners,
that being said if we are comparing the best teams from the league, take the top 4 say..or even 5, i think the premier league has a very strong case as having the best set of teams in europe, we should note this is very different from having the best league,
right now in the CL Roma and Barca may, just may not are, be the best teams left, but anyone who is saying they are in a class above any/all of the big 4 is not in their right mind...

Second point,
although i think its agreed that everyone does hate chelsea, they might be the most likely to win the premier league and champs league,
EPL first,
all of a sudden you wake up, and there's chelsea having not lost in the league in 3 months (1-0 reversal at the Emirates, holla), are 3 points back of man u. and arsenal (with a game in hand to the gunners, yikes!!!), now after their last loss i thought chelsea would be playing for third the rest of the season, as did i think many, with the injuries to lampard and the africa cup of nations taking like 15 of their players i think everyone was expecting a january collapse given that with shevchenko struggling with injuries they had no strikers,
Hey what the fuck,
they now have a healthy john terry, frank lampard, and michael ballack, they got anelka in the transfer window! are you kidding me, on paper this is the only team that can match (and perhaps even surpasses) man u.,
given that they host both arsenal and man u. at the bridge (2 of their 3 losses came in the corresponding fixtures) a place where they have not loss in i think about 5000 years, if they win both those matches, it would seem as if the league was theirs to lose, of course if they win their remaining 9 matches and man u. goes 8-1, the title will come down to goal differential (currently trailing united by 13 the gunners by 5 and even lowly 'pool by 3) but their destiny is practically in their own hands, a team that certainly has the experience and seems to be putting pieces together, although still can be surprisingly passive and be happy with boring 0-0, 1-0 or 1-1 matches, looking at their other remaining league fixtures, they have to go to goodison park (where man u and arsenal have already been victorious), white hart lane (perhaps revenge for carling cup final), and city of manchester stadium (a team that seems to be just barely hanging on)
their home fixtures they should roll in and although their visit to st james' on the second to last weekend could see them facing a newcastle side mired in a relegation battle and desperate for a win, i think if the league is on the line chelsea will thoroughly dispatch that awful side,

onto champs league:
does anyone honestly believe that fenerbahce can really beat chelsea in a two-leg affair, do you think if they have to win or even get a goal scoring draw at the bridge they will be able to do that, no offense to sevilla's defense, but this team isn't exactly stingy (they gave up 2 goals to slavia prague in the group home!), chelsea has given up 1 goal in champs league since the 25th minute of the competition, when david villa (no slouch) took advantage of a bad bounce off essien, REALLY, not going to advance, if this call weren't so trendy i might say it would be akin to picking george mason in '06 just for the hell of it and watching in disbelief at their cindarella run,

now assuming they get past the quarters it would either be another liverpool semi (perhaps the scariest task remaining) or a what would have to be exhausted gunners side, liverpool may have the depth to match chelsea especially since i'm assuming they are giving up on the league and focusing on CL, arsenal sadly do not, and would have to be exhausted by this point (as recent league form has shown) now that every match remaining is essentially must win, i think Chelsea would be favored in either match up, does liverpool actually have a psychological advantage over them at this point would be the only question (obviously another 0-0 draw at home first leg could be the death of them), but it is "europe" so anything can and has happenned, as far as trying to predict the finals that i think is just way to far into the future with man u, roma and barca all being very very strong (barca assuming messi is healthy as mentioned elsewhere), but in a 1 match neutral site affair i don't know that there could be a "favorite" between any of those sides...
so perhaps we've gotten a little to used to writing chelsea off over the past few months and the "yankees" could actually be a cinderella???

Juan the Happy Juve Dog said...

i completely agree that the EPL is extremely top heavy. That to me however does not help their case. Ex) the AL east, extremely top heavy but not considered the best division in baseball
so all i'm mentioning is that its too soon to forget that the serieA or La Liga could be the central
and I dont think before the season (or lets say they win the CL) it would be ridiculous to say Barca is in another class

Concerning Chelsea - I think another reason why I don't think they will win the premiership or/and be upset by Fener is because no one is trying to convince me otherwise. In fact, chelsea, before the sunderland loss, was in its best position yet for the title and i read on Espn how Avram's job (after barnsley proved no fluke) is on the line and Chelkis team is struggling. It's not all that convincing I know but it is weird that very few writers are coming out to say, listen, chelsea is still in it - which is essentially what you are saying

so for the most part i agree with that as well and laughed at the accuracy of how chelsea would be considered a cinderella to some extent

Ben said...

hey there gents.

The premier league is not the best. I concur, top heavy, money spenders, i like the comparison to the AL East. I would say that La Liga or Serie A is the best, but the difficulty being that when the top play each other, what happens. So it's hard to examine top to bottom, but I'll take Serie A on the fact that with all equal, Italy won the last world cup, and until Euro this summer, I'm gonna have to go with that as the tie breaker. (a ridiculously horrible formula, I know).

First, I think Chelsea is in the best position, because they control their destiny by playing the Gunners and the Red Devils at home. But I do see Liverpool playing a factor in deciding which of the three win, and since they've been struggling all year, but finally playing well, I see them screwing the Gunners. Though it's hard to say in which game, CL or EPL.

Barca should be in prime position, but it depends which Barca shows up (for the final that is). So, we'll have to see on that one.

If I may - I'd like to take the time to propose another discussion point besides which League is the best, but of course we can continue that. I heard a discussion on a soccer podcast about which derby was the best in the world. I think that would be a fine point of discussion. We could take it from two angles, which pure Derby (Manchester, Inter, London, Buenos Aires) or we could take it from a rivalry issue (Madrid v. Barca, Celtic v. Rangers).

Jake said...

that the premier league is the best at the top (my opinion) but not the best league was the point i was originally trying to make.
Chelsea did not lose to sunderland, and so they are still in the best position for the title they've been all season, and Avram grant will lose his job if he doesn't win one of the two competitions, jose morinho proved the bar at that club has been set that high,

Ben we already decided the best Derby in sports is clearly Duke-UNC, really $10,000 scalped tix for a regular season game, i dare you to find something more obscene

Jake said...

or chelsea could make me look like an idiot by letting go of a two goal lead, then going up again only to yield a late equalizer and reallying on the keeper for a injury time save to hang on to any points