footy musings from a (relative) newbie

Archive for the ‘barclays premier league’ Category

Twas the Weekend of the 3-0 Win

What was it with this weekend and 3-0 wins? First My Everton beat Southhampton by that scoreline. Then My NY Red Bulls took care of Toronto FC 3-0 on Saturday night. And finally, Manchester City defeated Chelsea – again 3-0. This last result was by far the most delicious because it is exactly what Jose Mourinho’s punk ass deserved after his latest round of throwing some unsuspecting soul under the bus for his team’s on-pitch failings. His sourpuss during the match was a thing of beauty. Long may his scowling continue.

The Funky Table

Because we all know the Premier League table will look very different come next May.

1 Man City
2 Leicester
3 Crystal Palace
4 West Ham
5 Aston Villa
6 Liverpool
7 Man Utd
8 Chelsea
9 Everton
10 Newcastle
11 Southampton
12 Swansea
13 Watford
14 Bournemouth
15 Spurs
16 Stoke
17 Sunderland
18 Norwich
19 Arsenal
20 West Brom

I like to have the after-round-1 table as a reference point for when people start saying stupid shit as the season goes on – and they always do.

This In-Between Time

All the European league seasons are done, but the World Cup is still a few weeks away. A Europa League champion has been crowned (congrats to Sevilla). But there is still the little matter of the Champions League final to be played this Saturday in Lisbon. I never learn my lesson, so I’m going to once again make a prediction (*cracks knuckles*)

Atletico Madrid will win the 2014 Uefa Champions League*

They are already La Liga Champions, and they’ll be keen to get another cup final win over their rivals Real Madrid to crown what has been a fantastic, remarkable season for them. So, why not?

*Believe me, I know it’s not a big leap.

It’s Baaaaack

After a two-month hiatus, UEFA Champions League returns this week. And because I never learn my lesson, I’m putting my shoddy prediction skills to work again. Here’s who I think will be celebrating when the round of 16 concludes next month.

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich: The one everyone has been talking about since before the round of 16 draw occurred. Bayern have dominated everything they’ve done this season – losing only once (to Manchester City in the UCL group stage). And while Arsenal topped the Premier League for most of the season, they now sit second, and their form the past month has been shaky. I think Bayern will advance, but I am still not sold on them repeating as European Champions. Winner: Bayern Munich

Manchester City vs. Barcelona: Both teams bring good form into the tie, but I think the Catalans will advance easily. Winner: FC Barcelona

Bayer 04 Leverkeusen vs. Paris Saint-Germain: Even without injured Edinson Cavani, PSG should have too much for the Bundesliga’s second place club. That said, this is probably the matchup that most intrigues me in this round. Winner: Paris Saint-Germain

AC Milan vs. Atletico de Madrid: As with any tie involving Milan, this strikes me as a toss-up. Milan have performed poorly in Serie A all season and needed a Mario Balotelli wonder goal to beat lowly Bologna last Friday. That said, Atletico Madrid haven’t been any great shakes in La Liga – recently relinquishing their league lead to the Barca-Real tandem. Still, I think they will have just enough to get past Milan. Winner: Atletico de Madrid

Olympiacos vs. Manchester United: So, in December, I said Olympiacos had no hope of beating Manchester United. But Man U’s Premier League travails the last month – to say nothing of the pitiful loss to Sunderland in the League Cup – has to have given the denizens of Karaiskakis Stadium some cause for hope. Still picking the Red Devils to get through. Winner: Manchester United FC

Galatasaray AŞ vs. Chelsea FC: This only holds interest for me because of the reunion (of sorts) between Jose Mourihno and two of his former players – Didier Drogba & Wesley Sneijder. Otherwise – I got nothin’. Oh, Galatasary are currently second in the Turkish Super League. Chelsea will advance easily. Winner: Chelsea FC

FC Schalke 04 vs. Real Madrid: This should be easy for Madrid, but honestly, it’s hard to predict much with that team. As much talent as they have, they are still capable of throwing up random awful performances. I know little about Schalke’s performances this season, except to say they’re currently fourth in the Bundesliga and they just beat Bayer. This doesn’t help me predict anything, but since when has that stopped me? Winner: Real Madrid CF

FC Zenit vs. Borussia Dortmund: BvB are on something of an upswing, but even if that wasn’t the case, getting past Zenit should be easy peazy, especially with players like Henrikh Mkhitaryan returning from injury. Winner: Borussia Dortmund

Festive Fixtures

It’s that time of year again. The time when the major European leagues wind down the first half of the season and send their players off on much needed breaks.

In Italy, Serie A clubs take a two-week break, as does Spain’s Primera Division. The Bundesliga takes six weeks off (nice work if you can get it!)

But the Barclays Premier League continues play right through Christmas and New Year’s. This is what is known as The Festive Period (also “Festive Fixtures”).

Beginning today, the Premier League’s 20 teams will go on a run of fixtures that won’t end until New Year’s Day. It’s one of the aspects of the league’s structure that makes it, IMO, one of the toughest competitions to win.

As a fan, I’m of two minds about this period in the Premier League calendar. On the one hand, I like having football to watch over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. On the other hand, I can’t help feeling like it would be beneficial to give the players some kind of break – especially when all of the other big European Leagues are doing so.

In any event, I will have my eye on these fixtures from Matchdays 17-20:

12/22: Swansea City vs. Everton* and Southhampton vs. Tottenham
12/23: Arsenal vs. Chelsea
12/26: Chelsea vs. Swansea City and Manchester City vs. Liverpool
1/1: Manchester United vs. Tottenham

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