Champions League: Chelsea lose ugly against Paris St-Germain

March 13, 2015

Chelsea v Paris St Germain - UEFA Champions League Second Round Second Leg
“Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho has turned the trick of winning ugly into an art form – but there is no merit in losing ugly and that is exactly what his side did as Paris St-Germain deservedly dismissed them from the Champions League. As the cards stacked up against PSG, the need for an away goal piled on top of the harsh first-half dismissal of talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic, it was the Premier League leaders who cracked under pressure, a fact acknowledged by a despairing Mourinho in the aftermath. In a last-16 second leg that was dramatic and dreadful in equal measure, Chelsea made an undignified exit on away goals after a 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge and a 3-3 aggregate result. It was an eyesore of a performance that also demonstrated the dark side of a fine team’s personality.” BBC

Lunacy in London: PSG Go Full OMG and Knock Chelsea Out of the Champions League
“Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain came into yesterday’s Round of 16 match notched at 1-all, with the London club holding the away-goals tiebreaker after the first leg. Thirty-one minutes into the game, PSG’s Swedish superhero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, was given a questionable red card, and then Chelsea, propped up by a one-man advantage, strolled … into a thunderdome filled with UFC-level off-ball high jinks and Brazilian center backs with plutonium foreheads. The match went off the rails again and again and again, ultimately ending in a 2-2 extra-time draw, which sent the Parisians on to the next round. We’ve rounded up the most madcap moments from the midweek mania — but before we get to them, a quick word from Zlatan.” Grantland (Video)

Chelsea set a standard PSG’s still trying to achieve
“When, in 2011, Paris Saint-Germain became another club to win the lottery, there were a few examples to use as an indicator of its future. Manchester City, bought in 2008 by the Abu Dhabi United Group, has won two English Premier League titles, while Málaga, purchased by Abdulla Al Thani in 2010, had its ascent tempered by a near implosion. But it’s Chelsea, the first to undergo a similar overhaul, that has become the most powerful of them. One of the first clubs since the turn of the millennium to be bought by natural resources, Chelsea’s won Champions League, Europa, and England (three times) since Roman Abramovich became the club’s avatar. Chelsea and PSG might go into Wednesday’s Champions League tie with the scores level, but in other respects, Chelsea lead the French side by some distance.” Soccer Gods

Jose Mourinho: Chelsea will win Premier League title
“Chelsea will win the Premier League title this season, manager Jose Mourinho has predicted. The Blues were knocked out of the Champions League by Paris St-Germain in midweek but lead the top flight by five points with 11 games remaining.” BBC (Video)

UEFA: Chelsea 3-3 Paris St-Germain


Wingers: A dying breed?

March 13, 2015

“If you look back at some of the great sides of the late 90’s and early 2000’s, they all utilised out and out wingers. The 1997/98 Arsenal side had Marc Overmars, whilst Manchester United’s treble winning side had Ryan Giggs and David Beckham running the flanks. Further abroad, Luis Figo played as a winger for both Real Madrid and Barcelona. All of these players were the type of wingers who would hug the touchline on the side of their favoured foot, and either beat their man and cross from the byline or swing in early crosses for the striker. However, in the last 5 years or so, this type of winger has diminished, and although their are some exceptions, such as Juan Cuadrado, players like this are more of a rarity these days.” Outside of the Boot


Werder Bremen’s rebound will mean little if it can’t reach Champions League

March 13, 2015

“Poor Werder Bremen. When struggling, its woes went unheard, so loud were the laughs at Borussia Dortmund’s expense. But when soaring, in comes Wolfsburg, knocking in five goals two weeks ago to crunch Werder’s near-success into a throw-away sentence at the end of a paragraph. All this team wants is someone to notice it, damn it, but in this league of showoffs and scrappy strugglers and this weekend’s hedgemonic opposition, Bayern Munich, people are constantly swiping left when encountering the insipid green diamond that is Werder Bremen.” Soccer Gods


The growing pains of U.S. soccer’s dominant supporter’s group

March 13, 2015

aa
“… The American Outlaws is not the first U.S. supporters group of the modern era. That would be Sam’s Army, founded by Mark Spacone and John Wright in 1994. They began by organizing tailgates for important home World Cup qualifiers and traveled as a group to the 1998, 2002, and 2006 World Cups. (In 2006, I marched with Sam’s Army through the streets of Nuremberg on the way to the U.S.-Ghana game, chanting “U-S-A, U-S-A.” It was fun but, looking back, the scene had some of the negative elements this article will cover.)” Soccer Gods (Video)


Round Table: The spring season of RPL

March 13, 2015

“1: What did the fall season teach you? Saul: Plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose. The wealthiest side is top and looks likely to win the league (despite not playing well as a team); Spartak are experimenting with a foreign manager and failing, having expected him to bring instant success; the new sides are struggling, including with their finances; Terek are mid table; further down clubs have begun to disappear from the league structure. Having said all that, I’m really looking forward to things starting up again in a few weeks. Aleks: The first half of the season showed that Spartak are doing better than is generally thought. They’re the only team that’s currently unbeaten at home. Despite not having stability up front, Dynamo are doing better than expected, and have so far made it farther in the Europa League than they ever have, joining a select few teams to have gone unbeaten in the group stage in the process. …” Russian Football News


Watch the 8 Best Goals Scored by Premier League Managers

March 13, 2015

“Sam Allardyce | Bolton Wanderers vs. Ipswich Town. 21 April 1979. Big Sam gets accused of being many things: long ball merchant, unambitious, over indulgent at the buffet. But I can only accuse him of abandoning an excellent mustache. While playing for Bolton Wanderers, Allardyce scored this thunderbolt of a header against Ipswich Town. In the early 2000s, Allardyce’s returned to Bolton as manager and would take them back into the Premier League and the Europa League. Sadly, the mustache did not come with him.” 8 by 8 (Video)