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BSL: Soccer in Europe - Update


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#1 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 03:18 PM

Guys I put up an article highlighting the what's happening over in Europe and its broader than any particular thread so thought I'd put it here so it doesn't get missed. Take a look and post up your thoughts. Good some excellent soccer over the next month across the pond.

 

http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/


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#2 BSLChrisStoner

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 09:48 PM

SI: Chelsea, Real Madrid clear title race hurdles; PSG slips; Bayern clinches another
https://www.si.com/p...psg-title-races



#3 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 03 May 2017 - 04:34 PM

Looks like its headed to be a Real Madrid - Juventus final for the UCL. They both won convincingly and Juventus did so on the road 2-0.



#4 Don Quixote

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 02:02 PM

Yesterday, Ajax defeated Lyon 4-1 in Europa League play, with Ajax staying 100% (seven wins from seven matches) at home in the competition this season. Lyon have quite the uphill battle ahead in the return leg.

 

Manchester United visit Celta Vigo, with the match beginning momentarily. The club have only won twice in their 22 previous matches in Spain. They welcome Paul Pogba back to the starting XI, with Marouane Fellaini free to return to the fold while serving his domestic ban. Eric Bailly returns after his knock that saw him leave against Swansea, and Juan Mata and Chris Smalling are available on the bench.



#5 Don Quixote

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Posted 04 May 2017 - 04:08 PM

United come off with an away goal and the victory in the first leg, 1-0 over Celta Vigo in the second Europa League semifinal. United had several good chances in the first half that were parried well, but Marcus Rashford's stellar strike from a free kick in the 67th minute was too much to handle. The return leg is set for next Thursday at Old Trafford, with a berth in the May 24 final in Stockholm at stake, the victors facing either Ajax or Lyon.



#6 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 08:48 AM

Man U keeping up both its paths for the UCL next fall.  They should handle Vigo at home ....Then the final which I suspect with be Ajax.



#7 glenn__davis

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 01:08 PM

Most importantly, Fulham has (not have) all but clinched a spot in the playoff to return to the Premiere League.  They were relegated the year I started pulling for them and weren't that good either of the past few season but finished with a flurry this year.  Hope they can pull it off, would be neat to have a chance to see one of their matches on TV.



#8 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 02:57 PM

Always liked Fulham. One of the first EPL clubs to give American players legit shots to play over there.



#9 Russ

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 08:33 PM

Who was the first American who got significant playing time in the EPL? Claudio Reyna?

#10 Russ

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 08:34 PM

John Harkes. Forgot about him.
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#11 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:38 PM

Man U on to the Europa final. They were clearly the better team although Celta played tougher the last 15 mintues, scored once and missed one they should have had which would have given them the victory based on away goals. Hopefully Ibrahmovic will be ready for the final.



#12 Don Quixote

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:42 PM

In the Europa League final, it will be Ajax versus Manchester United, a matchup that in many years past could have been a potential Champions League/European Cup final. Though these were the expected clubs going into the day, the outcome didn't come without drama. In Lyon, Ajax got an early goal to go up 5-1 on aggregate, before Lyon came back with three goals to take a 3-1 lead on the day and draw to within one on aggregate. Shortly after, Ajax went down to 10 men, but in the end, of course, held on to advance 5-4 on aggregate.

 

Meanwhile, at Old Trafford, Marcus Rashford fed Marouane Fellaini for a 17th-minute header to put Manchester United up 1-0, and 2-0 on aggregate over Celta Vigo. Later in the half, Daley Blind nearly collected a red card for a studs-up challenge, but escaped with yellow. In the dying minutes of the second half, the drama would increase exponentially, as Roncaglia equalized on the day and on away goals with a set-piece header in the 85th. Another Celta goal, if scored, would see them through to the final. Shortly thereafter, a skirmish erupted that saw Roncaglia and Eric Bailly collect red cards, and play interrupted for about four minutes. As a result, both teams were down to 10 men, with the dying regulation and six minutes of second half stoppage time ahead. Celta continued to pressure, and nearly got the goal they were looking for on the final action of the match, but yet another flubbed shot on goal by Guidetti was followed with a clearance and a Manchester United escape. United go to their first ever Europa League/UEFA Cup final and their first European final in six years, while Jose Mourinho will manage in a European final for the first time in seven years, since leading Inter Milan to the Champions League title in 2010.

 

The Europa League final will take place May 24 at the Friends Arena in Stockholm.



#13 Russ

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:52 PM

Man U on to the Europa final. They were clearly the better team although Celta played tougher the last 15 mintues, scored once and missed one they should have had which would have given them the victory based on away goals. Hopefully Ibrahmovic will be ready for the final.



Ibrahimovic is out for months. No chance he's back. But Mourinho said he'll help lift the trophy if they win.

#14 Don Quixote

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 11:58 AM

From the BBC - why a youthful Ajax squad aren't to be dismissed out of hand in tomorrow's Europa League final.

 

http://www.bbc.com/s...otball/40003173



#15 Don Quixote

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 01:56 PM

More on the Europa League final, in the context of last night's attack at Manchester Arena:

 

Manchester United have cancelled their pre-match press conference: http://www.manutd.co...a-incident.aspx

 

United statement: http://www.manutd.co...2-may-2017.aspx

 

Mourinho statement: http://www.manutd.co...a-incident.aspx

 

UEFA statement regarding security at the final: http://www.uefa.org/...id=2472513.html

 

UEFA statement regarding changes to opening ceremony: http://www.uefa.org/...id=2472606.html

 

UEFA president's statement: http://www.uefa.org/...id=2472533.html

 

United players have been authorized to wear black armbands during the final.



#16 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 04:50 PM

I should have my take on the FA Cup and Europa Cup finals posted tonight.


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#17 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 06:35 PM

Ok guys take a look and let me know your thoughts. Some good football coming the next couple of days!!

 

http://baltimoresportsandlife.com/


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#18 Don Quixote

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 01:46 AM

Since it's late, I'll limit to thoughts on the Europa League final. It's going to be very interesting. As noted, Ajax are full of youth and desire, and it will be interesting to see how their early action impacts the typical Mourinho plan, should he institute it. This is it for the campaign, so Ajax is going to give it everything, just like Celta Vigo did against United in the return leg of the semifinal. If they stay true to form under Bosz, they will press, they will attack. If they run with impunity and get an early goal, it will be interesting to see how the match proceeds from there.

 

United can't be content to go with a premeditated plan to just try to hold, get the odd counter, and capitalize there. That assumes too much. There can be no assumption that Ajax will crumble under pressure or that their youth will fail them in the environment of the final. There's really more pressure on United in the context of the 17/18 Champions League, as Ajax have already qualified (third qualifying round start) via their runner-up finish in the Eredivisie. A victory for Ajax would just give them a nice trophy and upgrade them to the group stage, so they can feel a bit freer. Mourinho having punted early on a top four placing in the Prem, all United's eggs are in this basket. (I agree that sixth place with a major trophy is better than fourth without that same trophy, but I think that even with the schedule they could have had fourth in the Prem and still made this final. I'm not the manager, though.) There can also be no assumption that United will simply cash in well on their chances, as there have been many matches in the Europa League and the Prem where that has just not happened.

 

Flexibility is key for United. Mourinho knows how to be flexible, but there have been some times that he's been arguably a bit late on making the personnel changes that need to happen to claw back a match or pull out the win. He has to be as willing to attack from the beginning as he is to park the bus. He's been here before, though, and knows that well. There are youth and pace in the United squad as well, and I think their starting XI will be as balanced between those qualities, experience, and guile, as Mourinho can manage.

 

The Manchester Arena attack, as much as one would like not to mention it, cannot be ignored. The United players, as professionals, will work hard not to be overcome by that aspect, though there is no doubt now that part of the mission is to win not just for the club and its supporters, but for the city they represent, which has suffered so greatly. The match lead-up will be impacted, and it will be interesting to hear what is said after the match is done, win or lose.

 

In the end, I think United will probably prove too much for Ajax to handle, but it should be a good match. Most of their major players have had some good, or at least adequate, rest, and players and manager all know that this match will require their very best, which is better than most teams in Europe. In about 12 hours, we shall have a much better idea of how it all rates as far as this championship.

 

Coverage begins on Fox Sports 1 at 2:00 p.m. ET with Europa League Pregame, match coverage following at 2:30, and kickoff at 2:45.


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#19 BSLSteveBirrer

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 08:54 AM

Good thoughts DQ. We will see in a few hours how it all  plays out. I had included some thoughts on the Manchester terror attack in my draft writeup but decided to take it out. Didn't want to make it to political sounding but it was with a heavy heart that I wrote my summary yesterday. And for sure you are correct. This will impact the match.....just hard to avoid those kinds of external distractions. 

 

Look for Pogba and Mikhitaryan and Fellaini. If they control the midfield it will be tough for Ajax to use their youth and speed. But if they don't find their legs then it could be a very tough match.


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#20 Don Quixote

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 12:13 PM

I agree, Steve. It's going to be vital for the United midfield to check Ajax's momentum, and that in turn should provide maximum flexibility for United to execute their game plans. Mkhitaryan in particular has done very well in this competition as far as being in the scoring mix.

 

A few things. From the BBC's Simon Stone:

 

"The last Manchester United banner that attracted public attention was 'The Chosen One' made in honour of David Moyes' appointment as Sir Alex Ferguson's replacement.

 

Within 24 hours of Monday night's tragic events, Stretford End Flags had another 'Manchester - A City United. #pray for manchester' packed up and ready to travel to Sweden.

Uefa have given permisson for it to be hung in the stadium. Manchester United have also given their approval."

 

Reporters from the United website attended Ajax's press conference and open training session:

 

http://www.manutd.co...-stockholm.aspx






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