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  #351    
Old May 23rd, 2011 (04:33 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Nuke:
Even crazier is the fact that we may have two europa league representatives playing in our second division next season, Birmingham (Carling Cup) and Blackpool (possibly through fair play league although Fulham may have won it).
That is certainly going to be strange XD I'll keep an eye on them.

Quote originally posted by Nuke:
EDIT: Also the spanish league must have been even more of a two team league this season.

38 points between 1st and 5th, to put that into perspective, there are 38 points between 1st and 16th in the EPL.
To be honest, after the Barcelona 5 - 0 Real Madrid, it was more of a 1-team league. Madrid never seemed any threatening, and they have ended just four points away because, after qualifying for the CL final, Barcelona have been playing with their reserve team (literally, most players in the last matches were from the Second Division Barcelona B team), collecting a bunch of draws and even a defeat that made the final result look closer than the 9 points it was after the Bernabéu match that pretty much closed up the competition.
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  #352    
Old May 23rd, 2011 (08:23 AM).
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That makes it sound worse than the SPL. :D

Mourinho's team should have gelled for next season and give them a little more of a challenge though.
  #353    
Old May 23rd, 2011 (09:49 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Nuke:
That makes it sound worse than the SPL. :D

Mourinho's team should have gelled for next season and give them a little more of a challenge though.
Actually, most of his problems came from Mourinho's mismanagement and random issues... he played a handful of matches without a single striker because he wanted to get a new one (Adebayor), leaving Benzema on the bench, he got a few draws without Xabi Alonso even though he was perfectly fine, and the killer defeat was against Sporting Gijón, a team he had insulted previously in the season for "not attempting to play against Barcelona", in a match they lost 1-0 at Camp Nou, so they were specially angry when they arrived in Madrid. Not to mention the 5-0 disaster against Barcelona, either.

Last year, Pellegrini put up a better challenge on the league. It's true that the other competitions were a disaster, though.
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  #354    
Old May 24th, 2011 (09:44 AM).
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The criticism surrounding Mourinho is getting ridiculous. First off, the so-called Barcelona legend Johan Cruyff cannot seem to keep his mouth shut about Madrid and Mourinho's tactics and 'antics'. We all know Mourinho's ferocious comments and lack of sportsmanship if we can call it that, but that doesn't justify the fact that Cruyff keeps criticizing Mourinho. No one is denying the wrongdoings of Mourinho sometimes, but this is starting to get on my nerves really. Cruyff waits for a chance to comment on Mourinho; I don't know why, but people are really starting to ridicule him.

And what's more funny is now Allegri, AC Milan's coach, also attacked Mourinho and labeled him as pathetic and arrogant. Where did that come from? And since when does he talk?

Bottom line is that Mourinho's misconducts aren't going to stop anytime soon, or ever. He always had this nature in him.
  #355    
Old May 24th, 2011 (11:39 AM). Edited May 24th, 2011 by Nuke.
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The hype is starting to build up a bit more for the final and I'm getting excited. :D

I'm still trying to guess United's team, Fergie has a lot of choices to make for the final, I'm guessing it will be fairly simple for Guardiola.

RB - Go for one of the attack minded twins or reliable O'Shea?

CM - First of all, use two or three? Then the ultimate choice between Carrick, Anderson, Park, Giggs, Scholes and Fletcher. Each with their own little conundrums such as whether to consider Fletcher so soon after his return from that mysterious illness.

Then the wingers, he'll want to play Nani & Valencia but is it a good option against a team that will have the majority of the possession? Giggs will have to be considered if he doesn't get a Cm role as well.

Its basically attack minded or defence minded and either team would give huge opportunities for Barca.

Now for my personal opinion on how we should play,

First of all, 4-5-1/4-3-3 (depends how you look at it), if we play 4-4-2 then it just says to Barcelona 'Go ahead, controlling the game, tear us apart.'

Who Should Play -

GK - VDS - Obvious really.

RB - O'Shea - I expect we'll be on the back foot for most of the game so it makes sense to use the defence minded full back. Rafael or Fabio would probably have a high risk of getting sent off anyway.

CBs - Vidic and Ferdinand - Again obvious.

LB - Evra - Obv.

RW - Valencia - Whether we go out attacking or not, Valencia will probably play as he does track back, he should provide a good threat on counter attacks and to be fair, he doesn't have much rivalry for his position anyway.

CM (Probably more a DM really) - Carrick - Maybe a bit of a risk as he has had a bad season but he has been pretty good in the cl and he is more reliable than most other options. Good ball-winner as well.

CM - Park - Simple, if we're going to be ball chasing why not pick the guy who works 110% hard for 90 minutes?

CM
- Anderson - Carrick is far from attack minded and Park is an all-rounder so you have to have some sort of attacking threat, these days only Anderson can really provide that from CM so he is another obvious choice for me. Scholes' passing ability will be missed but if he tries anything like in the Fa Cup Semis then he'd be off soon anyway.

LW - Nani - I know Giggs will play whether its CM or LM but no matter how much of a legend he is, he simply shouldn't. He isn't really quick enough anymore for a match of this calibre and at CM (were maybe his speed wouldn't be as neccessary) he isn't as good as the other natural CMs. Not to mention the whole affair thing going on for Giggs. Nani therefore gets the spot by default (and because in a slightly defensive team, he provides an attacking outlet)

ST - Rooney - Obvious really and also he can drop deep to help the midfield if they are in real trouble.

Scholes and Giggs can close the game out for the last ten minutes if we are winning. If we are losing, stick Hernandez and Rafael on and just go for it.

I think that would be a fairly strong gameplan and we could actually get more than 30% possession if so. If some of the Barca players are unfit (unlikely) then Giggs probably could play.

/random long post

Probably tl;dr but whatever. :D

Any opinion on the Barca team from Spain, Went? Or will it be generally the same as usual?

EDIT: Hi Wenty
  #356    
Old May 24th, 2011 (01:06 PM).
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Ohai Nuke- sorry it took me a while to reply, I was watching an interview with an ols Spanish player- he was talking about the match, and he pretty much agreed with my thoughst XD

The only questions here are about Abidal and Puyol, both are back after rather long and serious injuries so one of them could be replaced by Mascherano and the other one could be on the bench waiting for the other one to ask for a sub. Otherwise, everything is the same you'd expect: same team, same plan.

-------------Valdés
Alves - Piqué - Mascherano/Puyol - Mascherano/Abidal
-----Xavi - Busquets - Iniesta
-----Pedro - Messi - Villa

They'll need to put some pressure on Manchester to prevent them from playing the ball easily- that's what they do best, and if they don't, they'll have to stand another long wave of attacks, as it already happened in Rome. Their strong point is that they know perfectly what to do and how to do it, so it's up to the other team to stop them. Mentally, that's alwaays a good moral boost.
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  #357    
Old May 25th, 2011 (06:42 AM).
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I wasn't even aware Mascherano played centre back.

Is Maxwell injured or something, surely he could be considered for left back?

Also, no comment on the link?? We're stealing your player. :D Its a shame its not Aguero.
  #358    
Old May 25th, 2011 (09:18 AM). Edited May 25th, 2011 by Dannу.
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It's a good signing by Manchester United. I hope he does not disappoint, though. He's still young and to 'guard' the back of the net of the Red Devils isn't easy. Aguero, as reported by Goal.com, is heading towards his city rivals and that was confirmed by some teammate of his, yesterday. A big mistake that would be unfortunately. I'd much rather see him in the likes of Chelsea or Arsenal or even Tottenham, albeit the only teams that can actually afford his buyout clause without any money shortages afterward are Real Madrid and Chelsea - maybe Arsenal if they sell some players.

I don't like Maxwell. I'd trust Abidal on the left back - he's got pace and a hell of cross. That will be needed if he's up against Valencia or Nani from United.

Another interesting tidbit I read from Goal.com the other day is the immediate sacking of Ancelloti after their loss at Everton. Why that happened is beyond me. The Russian owner hungers for Champions League glory, and that won't be achieved under this kind of money-spending hierarchy.

And a question: is Pedro set to leave Barcelona? Villareal's Rossi seems to be on his way to the Spanish champions, as reported. With Bojan trying to squeeze his way into the first team, I don't see Pedro continuing to play for Barca if Rossi were to be signed.
  #359    
Old May 25th, 2011 (11:13 AM).
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If I had to choose between the World Champion who gave Barça 2 titles alone and Bojan, well, uh... I wouldn't doubt it for a second. Still, nothing is known about Rossi yet other than rumours, so yeah.

And I didn't see that link before, but I knew David was leaving for MU. Good luck to him, and it's not stealing if you pay €20 million for him :P

About Agüero though, our president is doing his best to boycott his transfer to Madrid, by the simple method of charging them the taxes, effectively doubling the price. If they are ready to pay €75 million to have a 6th/7th striker on their team, it's all theirs. Otherwise, I'd rather see him abroad.
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  #360    
Old May 26th, 2011 (07:08 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Dannу:
It's a good signing by Manchester United. I hope he does not disappoint, though. He's still young and to 'guard' the back of the net of the Red Devils isn't easy. Aguero, as reported by Goal.com, is heading towards his city rivals and that was confirmed by some teammate of his, yesterday. A big mistake that would be unfortunately. I'd much rather see him in the likes of Chelsea or Arsenal or even Tottenham, albeit the only teams that can actually afford his buyout clause without any money shortages afterward are Real Madrid and Chelsea - maybe Arsenal if they sell some players.

I don't like Maxwell. I'd trust Abidal on the left back - he's got pace and a hell of cross. That will be needed if he's up against Valencia or Nani from United.

Another interesting tidbit I read from Goal.com the other day is the immediate sacking of Ancelloti after their loss at Everton. Why that happened is beyond me. The Russian owner hungers for Champions League glory, and that won't be achieved under this kind of money-spending hierarchy.

And a question: is Pedro set to leave Barcelona? Villareal's Rossi seems to be on his way to the Spanish champions, as reported. With Bojan trying to squeeze his way into the first team, I don't see Pedro continuing to play for Barca if Rossi were to be signed.
Ancelotti's sacking wasn't really immediate, it had been coming a long time but I believe Abramovic was just delaying it until the end of the season to keep some stability. Still a bit unfair on Ancelotti but to be fair he has led the best squad in the division to second (and nearly third), someway off first.

As much as I marveled at Bojan's tricks when he was seventeen, he hasn't really proven much since.

Quote originally posted by Went:
If I had to choose between the World Champion who gave Barça 2 titles alone and Bojan, well, uh... I wouldn't doubt it for a second. Still, nothing is known about Rossi yet other than rumours, so yeah.

And I didn't see that link before, but I knew David was leaving for MU. Good luck to him, and it's not stealing if you pay €20 million for him :P

About Agüero though, our president is doing his best to boycott his transfer to Madrid, by the simple method of charging them the taxes, effectively doubling the price. If they are ready to pay €75 million to have a 6th/7th striker on their team, it's all theirs. Otherwise, I'd rather see him abroad.
De Gea's agent has said he hasn't agreed anything and the president has said that he hasn't heard about it from De Gea or United so perhaps it isn't on after all. Seems a bit odd that Fergie would say he is coming if he isn't though. Perhaps, the president is just trying to keep these deals under wraps, I doubt it is good for him to let the fans know two good players are leaving.

Agüero could go to Man City for that kind of money, their strikers haven't been firing on all cylinders and Tevez & Adebayor have already said they want to leave. I wouldn't be too shocked if it happened.
  #361    
Old May 28th, 2011 (03:46 AM).
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Tonight, Wembley invites us to an eventful night with the main dish being the clash between two of Europe's biggest and most successful clubs, Barcelona and Manchester United. I'm hoping to witness a good game and not a one-sided utter-possession side.

I've been thinking of a way United can exploit some of Barcelona's few weakness, and that comes in their defense, mainly the corner-backs. We all know how Dani Alves tends to be a big part in Barcelona's full attack strategy so the right position (left for United) will be empty. In this space, Chicharito can squeeze himself and with some bit of luck the ball falls into Rooney's legs, something can actually come out of this. It seems Mascherano is going to play as a center back, so that's also good for United, and with Puyol not in his usual position, Valencia or an attacking Fabio can do some damage at that side.

I know this is known, but I hope United do something similar to that, or they will completely suffer. United is strong in counterattacks and have the pace and players to go with that. The key is waiting for a mistake from Barcelona's midfield, which is highly improbable, or pressure them in the midfield area (an example is last year's Inter's win). Man-marking Messi can work, but he's too savvy to succumb to that kind of pressure. It will certainly hinder his game, but he is not the only genius that can make a difference in this game. United can also use set-pieces and such to their advantage; Vidic and Ferdinand can make a difference.

Mourinho's tactics and strategy against Barcelona last year with Inter worked like a charm. The midfield was completely shut down, Messi couldn't find any space with Motta and Cambiasso switching turns in marking him, and with a few counterattacks, Inter managed to reach the final. Ferguson might have to play in a similar way to that, but Pep will have something up his sleeves to counter it.

tl;dr - Barcelona will win 2-1, courtesy of goals from Villa, Messi, and Valencia. xD
  #362    
Old May 28th, 2011 (04:59 AM).
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@Danny, I'm sure Fergie has found something to exploit.

Still no idea over here whether Fergie has opted for 4-5-1 or the 4-4-2 with Rooney deep. He probably has a few surprises up his sleeve.
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Old May 28th, 2011 (06:46 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Dannу:
tl;dr - Barcelona will win 2-1, courtesy of goals from Villa, Messi, and Valencia. xD
I'd pay anything to see that XD I'm expecing an incredibly tight result, I don't think any of them have enough advantage to run away with it easily. Mascherano and Puyol haven't played many matches in today's positions, but the few times they did, it worked like a charm. The only weak side I see is Alves's, Di María kept beating him in the last matches.

And, for strange it may sound, I can't really see one of Barcelona's strikers doing anything spectacular (although you can't realy say anything with Messi around). I expect at least one goal from a midfielder, if there are any.

I personally bet on 1-0, with Xavi scoring the winner.

Also, I still find it funny that there will be two Javier Hernánez running around, one playing for each team XD
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  #364    
Old May 28th, 2011 (08:40 AM).
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I have permission from Mr Cat Dog to make a cl final discussion thread but I'd rather get an idea of if anyone would actually post as the match goes on?

I'm going to say 2-1, whichever team wins I think that'll be the score, but obviously I will say to United.
  #365    
Old May 28th, 2011 (08:43 AM). Edited May 28th, 2011 by Ivysaur.
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I can get the laptop and comment when something exciting happens, I was already going to be posting on my trusty Spanish football forums XD

EDIT: That is, if I don't end up in a pub watching it with my dear dear friends, who suddenly became lifelong Manchester fans XD

Nah, they don't want to hang out tonight, gee I wonder why :P

Starting squads:

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  #366    
Old May 28th, 2011 (11:44 AM). Edited May 28th, 2011 by Nuke.
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Brilliant half and we're still in it. :D

Sick of busquets though.
  #367    
Old May 28th, 2011 (12:53 PM).
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A brilliant performance from the superb Barcelona! It was one of their finest games this season, and fully deserved to lift the cup. The game, like we all expected, was mostly one-sided, albeit Rooney's goal was very nice. I expected a whole lot more from Manchester United, but this just wasn't their night; they were heavily outplayed by a rampant Barcelona. They are literally unstoppable at this stage.

Congratulations Barcelona for this CL cup and thank you for showing us the best football performances ever.

No more football, by the way :( I'm not interested in international football as much as club ones. But oh well.

Edit: Yeah, the referee had his mistakes.
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Old May 28th, 2011 (12:56 PM).
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That was painful to watch and not just as a Man Utd fan.

They just play the most annoying football.

Last five minutes were terrible as well, no-one even tried, everytime they just passed back to VDS.

Ref was pretty bad towards the end

They deserve it but they are so annoying to watch.

Quote originally posted by Dannу:
A brilliant performance from the superb Barcelona! It was one of their finest games this season, and fully deserved to lift the cup. The game, like we all expected, was mostly one-sided, albeit Rooney's goal was very nice. I expected a whole lot more from Manchester United, but this just wasn't their night; they were heavily outplayed by a rampant Barcelona. They are literally unstoppable at this stage.

Congratulations Barcelona for this CL cup and thank you for showing us the best football performances ever.

No more football, by the way :( I'm not interested in international football as much as club ones. But oh well.
It was a good performance but I just want it to be someone else now.

Its been pretty much three seasons of dominance (apart from one game with Inter) and I really want a more entertaining team to just beat them.

It'll be back in a few months and I think we Red Devils will be back with a vengeance (and a fair few new signings).
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Old May 29th, 2011 (04:28 PM).
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I hate the fact that people are saying that Pep is a good manager but to tell you the truth he has the best side in the world so he is doing nothing special. Thats why I have to say my side Man U did well to reach the finals with a half as decent as Barca.
  #370    
Old May 30th, 2011 (01:33 AM). Edited May 30th, 2011 by Ivysaur.
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Quote originally posted by jackblaze:
I hate the fact that people are saying that Pep is a good manager but to tell you the truth he has the best side in the world so he is doing nothing special. Thats why I have to say my side Man U did well to reach the finals with a half as decent as Barca.
Well, to win 10 trophies in 3 seasons, including 2 CL's and 3 leagues, you need something else than having the best side in the world- the year before Pep arrived, that same team lost to Manchester on the CL semifinals and ended up 18 points behind Madrid on the league, losing 4-1 at the Bernabéu.

So maybe he isn't the best thing since sliced bread, okay, but I'm also tired of people going all "I could win two CL's in three years if I were there too!". You can't really say Ferguson has a team full of third-class players either, it's not like the best team in the History of the English league, who have played 3 CL finals in 4 years, are some kind of underdogs.
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  #371    
Old June 1st, 2011 (03:59 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Went:


Well, to win 10 trophies in 3 seasons, including 2 CL's and 3 leagues, you need something else than having the best side in the world- the year before Pep arrived, that same team lost to Manchester on the CL semifinals and ended up 18 points behind Madrid on the league, losing 4-1 at the Bernabéu.

So maybe he isn't the best thing since sliced bread, okay, but I'm also tired of people going all "I could win two CL's in three years if I were there too!". You can't really say Ferguson has a team full of third-class players either, it's not like the best team in the History of the English league, who have played 3 CL finals in 4 years, are some kind of underdogs.
Messi and other players have developed a lot since 2008 though.

The only major thing Pep has done for the current team is buy Villa really. I'm not saying I could have won 2 CLs because I am just a random guy but I'm guessing most professional managers could have achieved a similar feat.
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Old June 1st, 2011 (06:11 AM).
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Quote originally posted by Nuke:
Messi and other players have developed a lot since 2008 though.

The only major thing Pep has done for the current team is buy Villa really. I'm not saying I could have won 2 CLs because I am just a random guy but I'm guessing most professional managers could have achieved a similar feat.
I totally agree, Pep did make some changes in the first season when he sold ronaldinho and deco but to tell the truth all he did was got the best out of messi. Maybe i'm biased but I do believe that Sir Alex is a much bigger tactical genius and if he had that barca side he would probably go unbeaten for the season.
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Old June 1st, 2011 (10:19 AM).
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Old June 8th, 2011 (05:11 AM).
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Quote originally posted by jackblaze:
I totally agree, Pep did make some changes in the first season when he sold ronaldinho and deco but to tell the truth all he did was got the best out of messi. Maybe i'm biased but I do believe that Sir Alex is a much bigger tactical genius and if he had that barca side he would probably go unbeaten for the season.
Just a bit late replying to this...

I'm not sure about unbeaten because obviously teams do have those off days but Guardiola isn't even close to comparison with Fergie.

Also, it looks like the transfers have really kicked off today.

Henderson -> Liverpool - £20m
Jones -> United - £16m

You have to wonder why both teams are willing to pay such extortionate amounts for English youngsters who haven't really proven themselves yet.
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Old June 8th, 2011 (12:51 PM).
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Quote originally posted by Nuke:

Also, it looks like the transfers have really kicked off today.

Henderson -> Liverpool - £20m
Jones -> United - £16m

You have to wonder why both teams are willing to pay such extortionate amounts for English youngsters who haven't really proven themselves yet.
Was surprised that United signed Phil Jones especially since we already have Vidin Ferdinand Evans and Smalling but not surprised about the fees. English players are always over valued. Example of that Ozil went to Madrid for 15m and Henderson going to Liverpool for 20m but who is the better player.

But glad to see Man U unloading some players: Wes Brown, Darron Gibson and Oshea
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