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UEFA Champions League 2016/17


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#21 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 16 December 2016 - 10:27 AM

Well the group stage is complete and the draw for the Round of 16 was done. Play starts again on Valentines Day and I'll do another preview before those games. In the meantime a little look back at what I predicted prior to the start of the Group Stage. I'll list the two top finishers in each group. Green if I got it correct and red if I missed.

 

Group A - Arsenal  PSG

Group B - Napoli  Benfica

Group C - Barcelona  Manchester City

Group D - Atletico Madrid  Bayern Munich

Group E - Tottenham  Bayern Leverkusen  Also said to watch out for Koskva as my sleeper pick. Missed that bad they were awful.

Group F - Real Madrid  Dortmund

Group G - Porto  Leicester City

Group H - Juventus  Sevilla

 

So in a nutshell I got 15 out of 16 correct. Now before any of you start taking my thoughts and visiting Vegas one word of caution. Predicting the final 16 wasn't that difficult. The clubs from the big leagues have just a ton more resources than those in the smaller leagues so predicting winners is not difficult....just pick teams from EPL, Bundesliga, La LIga, Serie A, Ligue 1. Clubs from the rest are just fighting a big uphill battle. Not dissimilar to the difference between the college football P5s and G5s. Sure there are teams from the smaller leagues that can play with the big boys but by and large its just not much of a contest.


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#22 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 08 February 2017 - 07:39 PM

CL play resumes next week and here's how I see it unfolding.

 

http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/


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#23 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 05:59 PM

Sports Illustrated: All too familiar feeling for Arsenal

 

Sports Illustrated: PSG presses Barcelona into submission



#24 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 20 February 2017 - 09:31 AM

Four matches tomorrow and Wednesday. I think the one to watch this week is the Leicester - Sevilla match. Leicester has only won once in their last five matches and that was an FA Cup game against Derby County. Derby is a mid tiered Championship division team and Leicester needed two goals in extra time to win that one. They are clearly reeling right now and playing on the road this week I expect them to get spanked. But they will come out on fire since at this point they have no where to go but up. Throw caution to the wind and see what happens. Could lead to an entertaining match.



#25 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 05:11 PM

Well Leicester went at Sevilla. But Sevilla was clearly the better side. Here's a couple of stats that tell the story.

 

Possession - Sevilla 68%  Leicester 32%

Shots on Goal - Sevilla 8 Leicester 3

Corners - Sevilla 8 Leicester 1

 

But the good news, if there is any for Leicester, is that they only lost 2-1. So they now go home with a chance. Getting an away goal for them is big. Still don't think they can get a clean sheet at home so there going to have to put 3 in the next to avoid extra time/PKs. But they have a shot and are in better shape than most expected.


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#26 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 22 February 2017 - 07:23 PM

Sports on Earth: Man City mounts stunning comeback
http://www.sportsone...naco-highlights



#27 Don Quixote

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 01:47 AM

Well Leicester went at Sevilla. But Sevilla was clearly the better side. Here's a couple of stats that tell the story.

 

Possession - Sevilla 68%  Leicester 32%

Shots on Goal - Sevilla 8 Leicester 3

Corners - Sevilla 8 Leicester 1

 

But the good news, if there is any for Leicester, is that they only lost 2-1. So they now go home with a chance. Getting an away goal for them is big. Still don't think they can get a clean sheet at home so there going to have to put 3 in the next to avoid extra time/PKs. But they have a shot and are in better shape than most expected.

 

Schmeichel's save of that early penalty kick was huge, and instrumental in keeping them in the tie. They were also a little better in the second half, though that's not saying much. The setup and finish for their lone goal was a pretty bit of play for them on an afternoon that saw them well-dominated. Sevilla could have had at least four goals, easily.

 

A 1-0 win would get Leicester to advance, as we know, and they actually may be more likely to do that than to get three or more goals at home. Leicester have only scored three or more goals at home four times across all competitions this season (thrice in the Prem [3-0 v Burnley in September, 3-1 v Palace in October, 4-2 v Man City in December], once in the FA Cup [3-1 AET v Derby on February 8, for their first home goals of 2017 (following 3-0 thumpings by Man Utd and Chelsea in the Prem)]). Meanwhile, they have six clean sheets at home across all competitions (though none yet in 2017), including two 1-0 victories at home in the Champions League (Porto in September, Copenhagen in October), and won all three home matches in the group stage. A 2-1 home victory that would leave both clubs level on aggregate and away goals, you ask? They have two - in the Prem v Swansea back in late August, and in the Champions League v Club Brugge in November to close out their group stage home matches.

 

Leicester have only eight goals in 11 matches across all competitions thus far in 2017 (zero in six Prem matches, seven in four FA Cup matches, and one in the Champions League match we've been discussing). Five of those goals came against Derby County in the FA Cup fourth round and fourth round replay (they couldn't even follow that up with any against Millwall in the fifth round), leaving three goals for the entire year against top-level competition (Prem or Champions League clubs) in eight matches (two against Everton in the FA Cup third round, and the goal against Sevilla). Their 2017 scoring average across all competitions is now up to 0.727 goals per match, and the average against top-level competition is 0.375. Strange things happen (their Prem title, for example), but I think if they get past Sevilla it's going to be via frustrating the Spaniards and somehow scratching one out. Otherwise, the options I see are elimination through a goalless draw, or just getting rolled. The Foxes might want to see if they can get some scoring going in their next few Prem matches to prepare themselves....


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#28 DuffMan

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 08:52 AM

 The Foxes might want to see if they can get some scoring going in their next few Prem matches to prepare themselves....

Some, how about any?  It's been something like 10+ hours since they've scored a goal in EPL play.


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You can bet on the numbers, or you can bet on Buck Showalter.

#29 Don Quixote

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:21 PM

Some, how about any?  It's been something like 10+ hours since they've scored a goal in EPL play.

 

Some, any..."same diff," ha ha. Yeah, they've been awful. The last time they scored in the league was a 1-0 home victory on New Year's Eve. Just nuts.



#30 DJ MC

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Posted 23 February 2017 - 05:23 PM

Leicester canned Claudio Ranieri.
@DJ_McCann

#31 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 12:09 PM

Leicester canned Claudio Ranieri.

Might be too late. What a fall from the top to the bottom so fast. Yikes!



#32 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 09:13 AM

This weeks matches:

 

Arsenal hosts Bayern Munich

Makes no difference that Arsenal is at home. Their dismal performance in Germany sealded their fate. Losing 5-1 was just awful and no team has ever overcome a -4 goal differential in a CL home and home series. And today won't be any different.

 

Napoli hosts Real Madrid

Napoli is in better shape than Arsenal.....but not by much. Losing 3-1 at Real put them in a pretty large hole and they won't dig out of it today.  Napoli has lost been knocked out of the last 4 round of 16s they have been in when they lost the first leg. Today makes 5.

 

Barcelona hosts PSG

Well the shock of the tournament so far. In the first leg PSG just blew Barca away 4-0, Barca's worst EVER defeat in any European competition. Barca does have the weapons to score a bunch and they will press at home today and put some in the net. But at the end of the day I think PSG can bunker for 90 minutes and not give up 4 goals. However, this is going to be a fun game to watch and I won't be surprised if a shocker happens. The first 20 minutes will be key. If Barcelona can get a couple of early goals then PSG might feel the pressure.

 

Dortmund hosts Benfica

This is the most competitive match for the week. While the other three matches will be interesting and sometimes weird things happen, they are realistically pretty well decided. This one is totally up for grabs. Benfica won the first leg 1-0. Given that a key tiebreaker is away goals, Benfica has a good starting point in gaining a clean sheet in the first leg. The bad news though is that they only scored one of their own. Dortmund was firing on all cylinders in their Bundesliga match on Saturday and put 5 balls into the net. This could be a tightly fought match going right down to the wire. Still I am calling it here. Dortmund wins. Aubameyang and Dembele are too much for Benfica.....and then there is that 18 year old kid, Christian Pulisic.   Oh yeah he's one of our own. He may not start (although after the way he played the second half on Saturday he just might) but if they need a spark in the second half look for him to sub in early.This kid just makes things happen and man does he have some energy.



#33 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 07 March 2017 - 05:35 PM

Well so much for Arsenal playing better at home. Lost to Bayern by the same dang score ......5-1. Fans are calling for Wenger to get canned.

 

Napoli didn't fare any better at home against. Real Madrid either. Just too many horsed on RM.



#34 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 08 March 2017 - 06:39 PM

T

Barcelona hosts PSG

However, this is going to be a fun game to watch and I won't be surprised if a shocker happens. The first 20 minutes will be key. If Barcelona can get a couple of early goals then PSG might feel the pressure.

 

Dortmund hosts Benfica

and then there is that 18 year old kid, Christian Pulisic.   Oh yeah he's one of our own. He may not start (although after the way he played the second half on Saturday he just might) but if they need a spark in the second half look for him to sub in early.This kid just makes things happen and man does he have some energy.

Well PSG felt the pressure for sure. Barca scored three times in the last 6 mintues to win it outright on aggregate 6-5.

 

Christian Pulisic had the assist on the first Dortmund goal. He scored the second goal. And it was his lofted pass across the field that setup the one touch pass for the third goal (if this were hockey he would have gotten an assist on that goal too).

 

What a great day of football!



#35 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 17 March 2017 - 08:56 AM

SI: Mouthwatering matchups await

 

#36 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 11 April 2017 - 01:42 PM

FLASH - The Dortmund and Monaco match was postponed until tomorrow. Apparently there were three explosions near the Dortmund team bus.

 

So if you want to watch football today it will have to be Juventus hosting Barcelona.....not a bad fall back!



#37 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 17 April 2017 - 07:33 PM

NBC Sports / PST: UCL preview: Leicester, Bayern have deficits to overturn vs. two Madrids



#38 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 18 April 2017 - 07:25 PM

SI: Ronaldo, Real Madrid oust Bayern Munich but helped by decisive referee



#39 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 11:55 AM

It really is unfortunate that FIFA hasn't instilled reviews (on minimal plays such as goals and second card offenses). Soccer is such a fantastic game but given the low scoring nature it is so easy for a referee having a bad day to impact the outcome.

 

In all the referee training I had over the years there were always the same two themes to being a referee.

a. Job #1 is to keep the game safe.

b. If after the match somebody questioned "was there even a ref on the field" then you had done a good job.

 

Now lets hope Dortmund and Christian Pullisic can work some magic this afternoon.



#40 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 10 May 2017 - 06:11 PM

SI: What to expect from Champions League final between Real Madrid, Juventus






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