Saturday, April 13, 2013

Bayern meet Barcelona!

If there are two teams that social media has compared the most with the cliched 'unstoppable force' tag this year, they would be Bayern Munich and Barcelona. After the draw, I'm seeing a lot of 'Oh no Barca!', 'Oh no Bayern', 'we'll easily beat them' messages from both sides of the fence. Mostly, many fans of both teams wished they didn't meet each other for the Semis.

When the draw for the Semifinals was made, I was kind of hoping it would come to this - both as a fan of Bayern and as a fan of the game.

As a fan of the game, I can see Dortmund play Bayern every year. At least twice. Out of Madrid and Barcelona, Barcelona's system is considered the more superior by a majority of the critics & media worldwide. Hence, it'd be great to see this 'deutscher-meister' Bayern side take them on over two legs, when the odds are even (home & away) and both teams have two legs to play to-and-fro strategy, in addition to the brilliance that evolves during the period of the game.

Why not Madrid? 

Much as I'd like an all German final, I expect Real Madrid to leave Dortmund behind this time. During the 'group of death' matches, Real would have spent the lowest amount of time preparing for BVB, focusing more on Barcelona at home and getting the better of Man City in the CL. This time around, Dortmund have Mourinho's complete attention. He's very good at destroying an inexperienced side at this level - even with a slightly above average, upcoming squad (Porto!). With a squad like Madrid's, Dortmund have an Everest to climb. All due respect to Dortmund, though. They have been brilliant and have it in them to see Real off, but I don't see that happening over these two matches.

But wait, this post is about Bayern, right? 

It'd make perfect sense for Bayern to meet Real in the final. We know, saw and cried over what Mourinho did to Bayern with his Inter. He's exceptionally good at strategising for one-off matches. I have been amazed time and again by the stuff he comes up with for these matches - at Porto, Chelsea, Inter and Madrid. It is WAY more difficult to beat Madrid in the final as against meeting them in the Semis. As a fan of Bayern, this makes it the most difficult way to winning the League.

You can't expect me (and my kind) to survive yet another final or SF loss, no? 

But yes, I prefer this fixture. I want Bayern to win the Semis. I want Bayern to win the Final. If we do it, though, there's not a damn way in hell Bayern can be put down in any argument.

There can't be a 'German Champions? That's not a competitive league!' even from the most ignorant among idiots. There can't be a 'But you didn't meet Barcelona, no? That's the best team out there'.

No. Bayern will be the best team in Europe, across leagues.

Why do I have this crazy wish for difficult fixtures? 

Because I am what I am.

When you see a Bayern match and see fans holding a big banner that says, 'Mia San Mia!', that's what it means.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

UEFA Champions' League - Group Review

Yes, yes, I have to talk about the UCL.

Probably my worst prediction in the last 10 years, this had a 50% accuracy - pathetic for group stages. See Group G for the hilarious double miss, but then, I did put in a line calling it the most competitive group (thank God!).

Now that I missed the Group of 16 preview, we move on to the Quarters. We have an excellent set of teams, but I do miss the danger that a certain Manchester City would have brought to the table. I will wait for the draws before putting my cards on the table, though.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Chelsea vs Newcastle United - Dec 3, 2012

This is St. James Park! The banners around the ground read 'Gary Speed - LEGEND'.

The commentary box expects a draw. And the Game is on. Lovenkrands instead of a suspended Gutierrez. Romeu keeps his place ahead of Obi Mikel.

Terry blocks what would have been a splendid cross. Ramires takes a good run to give it back to Coloccini.

Luiz gets a yellow. A couple of yards away from being a penalty. RTaylor's freekick met by the Chelsea wall.

9': Guthrie advanced threateningly only to be stopped by Terry.

9' RTaylor passes his second freekick of the day to Cech's hands.

10': STaylor heads a ball to safety. Chelsea look positive.

11': Drogba is ^OFFSIDE^.

So far, everything is very awesome.

12': NUFans stand up for the 11th minute. Gary Speed.

13': Ba pulled off a nice trick. Wasted later on.

13': Cabaye 's attempted tackle on DanSturr leads to a Penalty. Lampard misses what would have been his eighth goal against NUFC. In fact, KRUL freakin' SAVES it.

16': Sturridge hits the post. He looks very, very dangerous right now.

17': The balls goes into no man's land and wait, why is Luiz there??!

St James' Park sold out for the first time this season, it seems. I expect more sold out games in the following weeks.

20': The commentator feels Sturridge nearly found the goal. I disagree. It was never going there.

22': Brilliant work by Mata to pass to Sturridge. Krul saves.

Ryan Taylor is missing Jonas for sure. He's almost lost. Not sure if Pardew would sub Lovenkrands or RTaylor later on but surely one of the two!

23': Sturridge - side netting. You know. The usual. He is a box of energy, that lad.

24': First AWESOME effort from #NUFC. Brilliant cross from SuperCabaye to Lovenkrands. To Ba. Flicked. Saved by Cech. Only just.

Perch looks ready to come on. Not sure if #NUFC can hold on without Coloccini (thigh injury?)...

Yes. Subbed. Perch looks more scared than excited.

30': BRILLIANT cross from Mata to Drogba. Even more brilliant defending from RTaylor.

34': He's intelligent, this Krul.

35' Demba Ba heads onto the post! RTaylor takes a wide shot! Eventful minute for NUFC.

36': Nice tackle from Cabaye. Many brilliant moments in this match. Rest of the game's been quite flat.

38': That's a Chelsea throw in? LEads to a headed goal for Drogba... Set up by Mata.

Damn, damn, damn.
Hopeful that this will turn the Newcastle magic on. Missing so far.

41' Sturridge denied for the third time today by Krul.

Newcastle's defence looks very ordinary without the Captain. Newcastle's saviour can only be their attacking element now. SuperCabaye, Lovenkrands, Goal Machine Ba - DO something!

44' Four blue shirts surround Ba everytime he gets the ball at his feet.

Two added minutes.

47' Newcastle gain a corner. Can something happen?

Chelsea 1 - 0 Newcastle HT.

All those people on TV say, if Luiz's rubgby-ing was an offence to the ref - which it was - it should have been a red card. Not sure.

I feel RTaylor's not fast enough to contain Sturridge. Apart from that, Ryan's been cool. How fast is Santon?
My First half review would be that #NUFC midfield just isn't doing enough and the defence is getting it all in its face. Coloccini made it look easy initially, but we see now that it isn't. Buck up, guys!

Not going to update for Second half. Want to watch and scream for NUFC. Chelsea always do well when I try live updates.

Yes I'm near an awesome Television set.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Champions League draw 2011-12

An Allianz arena finals in the offing. I sure as hell hope Bayern make it to that game this year. Getting Vidal would have almost confirmed it, but let's see.

Group A
FC Bayern München (GER)
Villarreal CF (ESP)
Manchester City FC (ENG)
SSC Napoli (ITA)

Group A is tough, yes, but I'm over 90% sure that Bayern and City can see Villareal off. Napoli, on the other hand, is screwed.

Group B
FC Internazionale Milano (ITA)
LOSC Lille Métropole (FRA)
Trabzonspor AŞ (TUR)

Inter's playgroup, and Lille's best chance in the past few years. Lille vs Moscow should be interesting!

Group C
Manchester United FC (ENG)
SL Benfica (POR)
FC Basel 1893 (SUI)
FC Oţelul Galaţi (ROU)

Benfica may give it their all but ManU can safely top the group here. More like practice for the big rounds.

Group D
Real Madrid CF (ESP)
Olympique Lyonnais (FRA)
AFC Ajax (NED)
GNK Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

An improved Dinamo is all set to be destroyed by the other three. Lyon - Madrid has seen some awesome matchups in the recent years but I expect Madrid to safely keep Lyon at bay. Ajax, probably one of the fastest teams in fray, still has very few chances of causing upsets. It'd be awesome to see what they can do to Lyon.

Group E
Chelsea FC (ENG)
Valencia CF (ESP)
Bayer 04 Leverkusen (GER)
KRC Genk (BEL)

While Chelsea can be expected to scrape through to the next round, it is most difficult to score 12 in this group. Valencia and Leverkusen will fight it out for the second spot. Leverkusen without their best player from last year might fall short, but I expect much from their Arsenal-ish side. Their problem, however, would be Valencia's equal strength.

Group F
Arsenal FC (ENG)
Olympique de Marseille (FRA)
Olympiacos FC (GRE)
Borussia Dortmund (GER)

I expect a lot from Dortmund this year, despite losing the most influential Sahin from their fairytale season. They are the biggest threat to Marseille's progress. With the Greeks expected to raise their walls and earn some draws, it would be crucial for the other teams to win against Olympiakos. Arsenal don't look very promising, but surely they should progress from this group?

Group G
FC Porto (POR)
FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
FC Zenit St Petersburg (RUS)

To me, this is the most competitive group out of the eight with any of Porto, Shakhtar or Zenit capable of topping the group. Porto's weakness would come from the travelling and the other teams' local game concentration - or the lack of it. With Zenit's home advantage lost against Shakhtar, I expect Zenit to drop crucial points there. Given all this, Shakhtar should get into the next stage and I expect Porto to continue their progress from last season. Needless to mention, APOEL doesn't stand a chance, but can make a difference like Olympiakos.

Group H
FC Barcelona (ESP)
AC Milan (ITA)
FC BATE Borisov (BLR)
FC Viktoria Plzeň (CZE)

The Barca - Milan ties would be awesome to watch, but no surprises on who're progressing from this group, are there?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

3+ Rounds

Met the daily target yesterday. 3+ rounds. Should keep that up at 4 rounds for the next few days.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Run, Forrest! Run!

Second day on the ground. Could easily cover more ground than the day before. Completed 2 rounds of slow jogging / fast walking (~750 metres) followed by about 500m of ground coverage in a micro game of football. Remembered the good old days when I did all this to warm up.

Should cover 3 to 4 rounds tomorrow.

Here's hoping whoever reads this eggs me on to keep running!

PS: I am not a complete 0 / 100 in the game. Let's say I'm at 0.01/100 now. Should start with that once I can run without getting into a breathing frenzy!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Champions' League 2010 - 2011... Group A

Now that the draw is done, let's take one group at a time and (since this is my blog,) I'll share a few words on how I want things to go about and if the odds are on my side for that.

Urm, Group A to begin with!

Inter Milan
SV Werder Bremen
Tottenham Hotspur
FC Twente

My pre-draw wish was to see Inter-Real-Spurs-Twente (the strongest possible group? - taking the English and Spanish teams out in Pot 1 for Real & Spurs) in the same group. Three fourths of it coming true isn't that bad, is it? Now that I think about it, this is a better group. Much as I'd like to see what Mourinho will do with Real, Werder Bremen's game is something I've loved (in the past). Results (I don't see many games anymore...) don't seem to favour them after Diego's Italian transfer - they needed a high-voltage surge to end up third last season. Struggling to beat Sampdoria and a 1-4 loss to Hoffenheim is a bad start, but Werder Bremen are a strong team even without Mesut Ozil, no doubt - and have it in them to run through Tottenham or Twente.

FC Twente are strong (supposedly) and on a roll, and since I don't know much about them, I'd rather wait and watch what happens. It'd be interesting to see how Inter fare without the One - it is still an awesome team anyway. One part of me wants Inter to die out in the group stage while another wants Inter to progress and get butchered by Bayern (as Capt.Haddock would put it, "Revenge! Revenge! REVENGE!"). Tottenham, urm, completes this awesome set - and hence most of us will get to watch the other three teams on TV! It is a strong team and can even beat Inter on their day, but yea, that still sounds like a fairy tale to me, given their off-the-scale unpredictability.

Who I want to progress: Bremen, Spurs
Who will (prediction) : Inter, Spurs
Underdogs: FC Twente
What's awesome about Group A: Four strong teams