footy musings from a (relative) newbie

Posts tagged ‘tottenham hotspur’

Tis the (Pre) Season

With the World Cup behind us, it’s time for European clubs to prepare for their seasons, which begin in mid- to late August. This means we USA-based fans get to see some of our favorite teams and players on our shores, as they arrive for pre-season tours.

These tours have been known to give us treats like training sessions open to the public and ripe for ogling; European players trying to understand and/or master baseball (who can forget Cristiano Ronaldo’s throwing out the first pitch at a Dodger’s game during last year’s pre-season); showboating antics that lead to scolding from their coaches, and the like.

This year, the last two UEFA Champions League winners – Real Madrid and Bayern Munich – will be here, as will AS Roma, Tottenham Hotspur, Inter Milan, Manchester City, A.C. Milan, Manchester United and…well, I could just name 90% of the squads from the Big Four European leagues, but I’m too lazy.

I’ll be watching as many of these matches as I can, though I confess: I still can’t get myself terribly excited about that International Champions Cup Fox Sports keeps flogging.


How Europa League is like the CTA Brown Line

It eventually gets to its destination, but it sure does take a damn long time to get there.

That’s right, as the Uefa Champions League is working toward its last 8, the Europa League is just getting to matchups for its last 16. This is why the Europa League gets a bad rap. With other competitions beginning to wind down, it seems annoying that there’s still SO MUCH left of this one.

AZ Alkmaar vs. Anzhi Makhachkala
Basel vs. FC Red Bull Salzburg
FC Porto vs. Napoli
Juventus vs. Fiorentina
Ludogorets Razgrad vs. Valencia CF
Lyon vs. Viktoria Plzen
Sevilla vs. Real Betis
Tottenham vs. Benfica

I’m actually looking forward to quite a few of these matches: Basel v Salzburg, Porto v Napoli and Tottenham v Benfica all have potential to produce thrilling games. And that’s before we even get to Juventus vs. Fiorentina.

Another international break beckons next week. You know my feelings.

Europe League KO Draw

Thought I’d forgotten, didn’t you?

But no. This season, I’ve resolved to give the Europa League its due. With that, here’s the round of 32 draw

FC Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk (UKR) v Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG)

Real Betis Balompié (ESP) v FC Rubin Kazan (RUS)

Swansea City AFC (ENG) v SSC Napoli (ITA)

Juventus (ITA) v Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR)

NK Maribor (SVN) v Sevilla FC (ESP)

FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE) v FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)

FC Chornomorets Odesa (UKR) v Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)

SS Lazio (ITA) v PFC Ludogorets Razgrad (BUL)

Esbjerg fB (DEN) v ACF Fiorentina (ITA)

AFC Ajax (NED) v FC Salzburg (AUT)

Maccabi Tel-Aviv FC (ISR) v FC Basel 1893 (SUI)

FC Porto (POR) v Eintracht Frankfurt (GER)

FC Anji Makhachkala (RUS) v KRC Genk (BEL)

FC Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) v Valencia CF (ESP)

PAOK FC (GRE) v SL Benfica (POR)

FC Slovan Liberec (CZE) v AZ Alkmaar (NED)

Now, admittedly, I don’t know my Maribor from my Makhachkala, but I’m hoping to change all that in the next couple of months. Yup – I’m going to attempt to educate myself about all the unfancied teams making their way through the Europa League. We’ll see how that goes.

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