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Soccer/Football Around The World Thread
I sense if Barca play like they did tonight, then United are going to do what they did to Arsenal. In truth Barca and Arsenal are identical teams only Barca have the greater experience. Barca's main problem last night was that they were trying to score the "perfect goal", they never once tried to shoot til the 94th minute, and when they decided to do it once.. they got a goal. If United do what Chelsea's defense did, then i really cant see a problem, especially with Barca's lack of a defense for the final.
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It just beggars belief that Blackburn and Bolton are reportedly interested in signing Joey Barton. How many chances will this talentless thug get? Allardyce... my dislike grows and grows!

I agree with Scott about the final, I forgot Barca will be missing both their full-backs.

Away from the Premier League, last night's second leg between Hamburg and Werder Bremen was a humdinger.

Shearer has apparently predictably got the "managing bug" and intends to stay on even if they're relegated. That could be a totally fabricated story, but if it's not he's getting ahead of himself isn't he? He was brought in to keep them up and it's entirely possible he'll finish his caretaker reign without winning a single game. Why would they keep him on if that happened? Just because he's Alan Shearer is nowhere near enough a good reason.
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Why would they keep Shearer? Same reason as rehiring Keegan, the board want to be "in" with the fans. Plus what other sane manager would touch that job?

Not only are Barca missing both their full backs they are also missing one of their centre backs, leaving only puyol to be in that defense, and he wont be helping Barca one bit against United's speed.

Away from the Premier League, Genoa.. yes Genoa still have a very good chance of qualifying for the champions league and are almost guarenteed European football next season, that is incredible for a team that only got back into Seria A just under 2 seasons ago.
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Yeah scott, Drogba's game was rumbled by the smorgasbord of pundits we sampled the other night, too. Boy needs to wind his neck in. I see where you're coming from about Barca. I think they're certainly there for the taking and United will know it as well as they will. My brother called it - last Saturday's mauling is more a reflection of the sheer poorness of Real than ant outstanding work on Barca's part.

I share similar bemusement at the Shearer/Barton situations. Despite his canonization into the football "elite" with his punditry work, I remain convinced the former is a thug, much like the latter. To paraphrase Roy Keane (a genuinely promising young manager) - I didn't rate him as a player, I don't rate him as a manager, and I don't rate him as a person.

Fair play to Genoa. You can't whack a good underdog story.

Even further away from the Premier League, I'll hopefully be watching the Irish Cup Final tomorrow. Come on, the wee Crues! By the way scott, you left me hanging in the Ireland thread with the chanting. What's the deal? Back in our Seaview halcyon days, you were most vocal in your support.
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Im nervous dude, first final for Crusaders in 41 years and its 0-0 at half time.. Nervous.
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It's all worth it now: the Hatchet Men have triumphed! Let the glory flow through you.
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A massive win for the Shirts today. However, there's still much to be done.
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Ian Hyland picked up on the "Jamie Redknapp, Sky Sports" caption in his column today, good stuff.

I thought Man City played well but didn't really create anything. They certainly had plenty of possession. Caicedo, bless him, is one of the worst strikers I've ever seen.

As for Ronaldo...get a grip man.

Arsenal...what the hell?? First 20 mins Chelsea could barely get out of their own half, then it all changed. Walcott had an absolute absolute shocker of a game, I hope for his sake Capello wasn't watching. Another game that highlighted Arsenal's numerous weaknesses. That Utd defeat has clearly knocked them for six, hard to believe they were unbeaten in 21 league games before today.
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Walcott has been having shockers for a few games now, i think his confidence is shot.. It shows how much Arsenal are depending on Arshavin at the minute, since he was injured and cuptied they have looked woeful again.
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Quote:

Originally Posted by scott_nappo
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Walcott has been having shockers for a few games now, i think his confidence is shot.. It shows how much Arsenal are depending on Arshavin at the minute, since he was injured and cuptied they have looked woeful again.

Absolutely. He was almost anonymous against us.
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Ugh, seeing Dowie celebrating last night... My stomach flipped several times.

On the balance of things I thought Boro played better, they just needed a quality striker. Emnes was not one. Then after Newcastle went ahead Boro were stretched and the Magpies could have had 4.

But I'm not buying this "Brave Shearer" crap. He took off the totally invisible Owen and replaced him with the much better Martins. Nothing brave about that.

I think if Newcastle don't beat Fulham on Saturday, it'll come down to what team Fergie plays at Hull on the final day. If the title is won and he's resting stars for the CL final, Hull could sneak a win.
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I, too, refuse to fall under the "brave Shearer" spell, Russ. All the best adjectives for that boy incorporate alliteration: slippery Shearer, sickening Shearer, sullen Shearer, and so on.
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So it's between Sheffield Utd and Burnley for a place in the Premier League. Should be a cracker, two teams that play great football.

When it comes to teams imploding this season Hull are talked about and rightly so, but what about Reading? Got this from the BBC site:

"It's incredible to think that Reading, who at one stage of the season seemed almost certain of promotion, did not win at home since 27 January, when they beat the eventual champions Wolves 1-0. Funny old game."

Crazy! What would cause something like that?
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If Shearer had started with Martins in the first place then they would have had a few goals earlier. Viduka and Martins have been linking up very well in the past few games and Owen is done, better to have him on the bench than starting him. (I am biased as i am a massive Martins fan and think Man United should snap him up.. but thats just me)

On a local note i would like to congratulate a part time footballer from Crusaders called Colin Coates who has been called upto the Northern Ireland squad vs Italy. Its a well deserving reward for a player who has played his heart out this season, came back from a broken collarbone in 7 weeks and has been at the club for 8 years and is now captain and is still only 23. Of course being a part timer will make him look very nice for a "big" move across the water to the English or Scottish leagues ala Gareth MacAuley (another ex crusaders player btw ). But yes congratulations to Colin.
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Birmingham are on there way back up again. Although we will probably continue our current trend of playing mostly with 10 men and getting religated at the end of the season.

Still, at least we will bounce straight back up again (as we have done the last two times.)
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Quote:

Originally Posted by scott_nappo
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On a local note i would like to congratulate a part time footballer from Crusaders called Colin Coates who has been called upto the Northern Ireland squad vs Italy. Its a well deserving reward for a player who has played his heart out this season, came back from a broken collarbone in 7 weeks and has been at the club for 8 years and is now captain and is still only 23. Of course being a part timer will make him look very nice for a "big" move across the water to the English or Scottish leagues ala Gareth MacAuley (another ex crusaders player btw ). But yes congratulations to Colin.

Here, here. That's great news.

As for Reading, maybe a little bit of complacency crept in, Russ?
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Chronic case of complacency if that's the case! Now Coppell's gone, I think everyone could see that coming. Could see him being offered another job, maybe even in the Premier League. I think Sunderland for one would be delighted to have him as boss.

On a related note, did anyone see Burnley's two goals? My word.

Great news about Colin Coates, heartwarming story.
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For some reason, the complacency thing sprang to mind right off the bat. It made a lot more sense to me then than it does now!

What's everyone think of the Football Writers patting Stevie G on the back? Quite a United back-log queuing up behind him...

I didn't see Burnley's goals, but I'd be interested to see the Sheffield Utd game. I've no real preference between the two other than that, if Burnley were to go up, young Paterson would be in the Premiership: the more N'Irish squad players getting Premiership football the better. Similarly, I hope young Brunt(y) can get himself a wee move in the likely event of West Brom's top flight departure.
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Brunt has been dragging West Brom to the brink of staying up for the past few weeks, very good goal to game tally of late. I hope David Healy gets a move to a team that are willing to start him, even if he went to the Championship.. football is football.

From personal experience of seeing Swindon Town play a few games this season.. Reading seemingly made a terrible mistake in letting Simon Cox go, as he has been belting them in for a team who was in the bottom third for nearly all of the season.

On the Europe side of life, Van Gaal is the new manager of Bayern Munich. Anyone think he will do better than Klinsmann? ( Who i thought had the problem of inheriting a team who thought thmselves as galacticos and would have progressed well in the transfer market). Also would anyone want to see Klinsmann at a Premier league club and if so which?
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I know what you mean about (Sir David of) Healy, Scott. He's Premiership class, but I can't see him getting treated any differently if he does move elsewhere. Championship might be the only thing for it, as you say (much as it would pain me to see him step back.)
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Tremendous result for United tonight. Once Tevez equalized (love the cheeky finish, by the way), the belief was evident. Not to sound like those I most abhor, but credit to Wigan for digging in and going for it so much. They'll feel hard done by. If for nothing else, Carrick's winner fairly burst Tyler and Gray's bubble. They were clearly enjoying the potentially delicious set-up a draw in tonight's game would've left for the weekend.
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Tevez never gets enough love. He's a player that will leave his heart on the field if he loves the team. Can't believe they are letting him go that easily. He's a player teams should never want to let go.
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By all accounts, we're not letting him go easily. Fergie said after the Wigan game that talks are ongoing (just earlier today, in fact) and he hopes things are moving forward. He wants him to stay, the man himself clearly wants to stay, the fans really want him to stay... he's a wee star, no question.
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Klinsmann at Spurs too predictable? Maybe so, but don't be surprised if it happens. Not right now though, given their form since Redknapp took over their fans are probably dreaming of breaking the top 4 next season.

I didn't even notice Scholes was playing tonight, when he was subbed it was a real "Huh?!" moment. Anderson had a bad game as well, Bobby what's the feeling among Utd fans about him? Is anyone starting to turn on him?

It's in the bag now, the only question is given Arsenal's current form will it be another 6-1 win for Utd?
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Just discovered this. Interesting. I presume it's just the usual agent nonsense ("it has always been my client's dream to play for *insert club here.*"Wink If it's not, though, I'd rather keep Carlos than bring in someone like him, undoubtedly talented though he is.
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My feeling towards Anderson is the same as many United fans (including my brother) - he's a class act. Coming on all the time, impressing, endearing himself. No level-headed United fans I know (or have heard/read) are turning on him. He's been very consistent lately, but I do agree with you about his performance tonight. Same for Scholes. Both were oddly understated.

Oh man, Russ. That was one of the single greatest match-watching experiences of my life:

"My my... Dwight Yorke must have slept well last night!"
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Is Tevez really worth £32million though? United can buy his sort of energy for far less and get a striker who can score more for less. Don't get me wrong i love Tevez but i wouldnt be disappointed if he left as £32 million could bring in two players just as good.
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I take your meaning, Scott. Would those other strikers (Benzema, Huntelaar, et al...) take to the club in the way that he did, though? And have the United attitude and work ethic? Maybe. It's a lot harder to find guys like Tevez now. Makes me think that, given all the chancers out there, he might be more of a find than we realize.

For me, Tevez isn't worth 30 odd million. Then again, for me, 30 + shouldn't be paid out for anyone less than a Maradona/Cruyff/Best-level talent. I love the guy, but there's no way any more than 15-20 max should be touted for him.
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What's today's 365 poll?

"So who will win it next season?"

The options?

United,
The Scouse,
Chelsea, and
Arsenal

It's not just film fans who are getting ahead of themselves these days, then?
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United by 3 games..

Here is a question, is German football more entertaining for the spectator that the Premier League.. My answer is a resounding yes.

Better atmosphere in grounds.
More open league (there are 5 teams going for 1st at this present time)
Smaller teams arent afraid to attack the bigger teams (thus Hockenhiems success this year)
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I don't watch enough German football to make a judgement but it being a more open league is a major, major plus point.

So Millwall beat Leeds tonight to get to Wembley. This was a big fixture for me as I have a Leeds-supporting mate and was raised to think of Millwall as closest rivals, so I was very curious to see which of those we'd be playing next season.

Did I understand that correctly Bobby, you can remember a commentary snippet from that Arsenal game??
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I hope Millwall fail in trying to get promoted, i have never liked their team and probably never will, same goes for Leeds, there is something heartwarming to know that they wont be anywhere near the Premiership for a couple more years.
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I'm the same as Russ when it comes to the Bundesliga, Scott. Watched it briefly around '01/'02 on Sky, so I'm no expert. Love an open league, though (despite the drawbacks it's yielding presently.)

Quote:

Originally Posted by Russell Faraday
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Did I understand that correctly Bobby, you can remember a commentary snippet from that Arsenal game??

Oh, yes. That day's ingrained. Also, it's from back when I was actually quite fond of Andy Gray.

My brother's probably delighted about Millwall's progress. He hates Leeds.
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So Millwall vs Scunthorpe at Wembley, and Charlton visit stadium:MK next season!

I'm impressed at your recollection skills Bobby, the only reason I can recall some commentary snippets is because they're part of the montages shown at The Valley!

Have you got the celebration drinks ready for tomorrow? Though wouldn't it be something if Arsenal won?
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Quote:

Originally Posted by Russell Faraday
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I'm impressed at your recollection skills Bobby, the only reason I can recall some commentary snippets is because they're part of the montages shown at The Valley!

Have you got the celebration drinks ready for tomorrow? Though wouldn't it be something if Arsenal won?

Cheers, Russ! I can half-remember some Rangers ones, too, from VHS tapes of games I didn't see first-time 'round. They mostly go like this:

And Rangers get things underway. Durrant... out wide to Hateley. Hateley... Hateley... HATE-LEEEEEEEEEEEEEYYYYYYYY!!! Sensational! With just 6 seconds gone Mark Hateley nets his 30th goal of the season!

That was probably around December.

No drinks; my bets are hedged! And I don't even want to think about the last part of that sentence.
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