Berlin-Bound: Which Team Has the Best Chance of Winning the Champions League?

April 16, 2015

messi-point-barcelona
“As we told you a few weeks ago, the drama’s all but gone from the major domestic leagues across Europe. Thankfully, the Champions League is here to save us. The quarterfinals of soccer’s greatest annual competition kick off today with Atlético Madrid hosting Real Madrid in a rematch of last year’s final and Monaco traveling to Juventus. Tomorrow, FC Porto welcomes Bayern Munich and Barcelona visits Paris Saint-Germain.” Grantland


Tactical Analysis: Atletico Madrid 0-0 Real Madrid | Battle of attrition in wide areas

April 16, 2015

“The two teams that met in the one of the most charged local derbies of all time in the Champions League final of last season clashed again on the European stage in the quarter final this time around. Last season was the breakout year for Atletico, as they won La Liga, and went all the way to the Champions League final. That, however, was where it ended for them, with their eternal rivals Real Madrid beating them in heart breaking fashion to lift La Decima. This season was a totally different story though, with the European champions failing to record a single victory over their rivals. Both sides came into the game pretty evenly matched, and left quite the same.” Outside of the Boot


Dynamo Kyiv soaring under Serhiy Rebrov and closing on slice of history

April 16, 2015

“Serhiy Rebrov scored only one goal for West Ham United, the winner in a 3-2 victory over Watford in November 2004. He was wearing an orange sweatband on his wrist when he did so, an indication of his support for the demonstrators who were occupying Independence Square in Kiev, protesting against irregularities in the presidential election run-off that had seen Viktor Yanukovych defeat Viktor Yushchenko. Yushchenko won a re-run election, but Yanukovych returned. A decade on, the demonstrators were back in Independence Square fighting him again, their success precipitating the Russian seizure of Crimea and the war in the Ukrainian east. Rebrov is an ethnic Russian who was born in Horlivka – or Gorlovka, if you prefer the Russian name – about 30 miles north-east of Donetsk.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson


Luis Suárez: another dimension for Barcelona

April 16, 2015

“‘Luis Suárez did what he does best,’ sighed Edinson Cavani, fresh from watching his Uruguay team-mate score a pair of magnificent goals at the Parc des Princes. The forwards had just experienced wildly contrasting evenings, but even the crestfallen Cavani had to admire the way his international colleague had put FC Barcelona on the brink of the UEFA Champions League semi-finals with a 3-1 win at Paris Saint-Germain.” UEFA (Video)


Despite Win, Juventus Need to be Wary of Monaco’s Speed in Transition

April 16, 2015

“As the full-time whistle sounded, the fans at Juventus Stadium were happy. Their beloved Bianconeri had just claimed a 1-0 win over Monaco, in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, and as they gazed down from the steep stands to watch their idols shake hands with the opposition, there was a sense that the tie was theirs to lose. And that feeling was justified, too. Juventus probably shaded the contest on home soil, kept a clean sheet and head into the away leg knowing that, despite Monaco’s lofty third-place standing in Ligue 1, the club’s home form is only the ninth-best in France. It’s not a fantastic record, and Monaco’s six wins in 16 appearances at the Stade Louis II will hardly make Max Allegri’s men feel as though they’re visiting a fortress.” Licence to Roam


1927: A Look Back At Our Last Semi Final

April 16, 2015

Untitled.0.0
“How long ago was Reading’s last FA Cup semi final? So long ago that the name of the country we live in was still the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acknowledgement that the Irish Free State was no longer part of the Kingdom was only to take place a month after our defeat to Cardiff. In January that year the BBC as we know it came into existence. Amazingly it was November 1927 when traffic lights first appeared on our streets. If you were looking for excitement in the 1920s then there was only one place you would head: Berlin. The German capital was enjoying its decedent vibrant heyday whilst Germany as a whole looked to be slowly rebuilding itself as a democracy having joined the League of Nations a year before.” SBN (Video)


Tottenham Hotspur – The Bottom Line

April 16, 2015

“Being a Tottenham supporter must be a pretty good test of whether you are a glass half-full or glass half-empty type of person. On the one hand, the club is consistently at the higher end of the Premier League, memorably qualifying for the Champions League in 2010 and only missing out on a technicality two years later (due to Chelsea’s European victory); but on the other hand, it’s often a case of ‘close, but no cigar’.” The Swiss Ramble


Tactical Analysis: Manchester United 4-2 Manchester City | Weakness down the channels exploited

April 16, 2015

“Manchester gathered its two giants once again at Old Trafford; a journey for the Citizens that was found more strenuous owning more to the weight this match held rather than the time spent traveled. Louis Van Gaal’s men had re-created in recent weeks the Manchester United magic of yester years and had gained significant momentum that resulted in plenty of turned heads to take notice. To balance every rise with a fall, we barely had to look beyond the territorial limits of Manchester, as Manuel Pellegrini’s Manchester City found themselves in a downward spiral ever since the turn of the year. City’s loss last Monday night against Crystal Palace meant that United finally surpassed their cross town rivals in the league.” Outside of the Boot


What do we mean when we talk about style?

April 16, 2015

“… Much of the buzz around American soccer circles lately is about the U.S. men’s national team’s style, or lack thereof, and it’s made me do some thinking. Well, at first I nodded my head in frustrated passion, part of the disgruntled mob. But then Jesse Marsch mentioned the issue, and I calmed down a little. Marsch is a smart guy, so when he made his observation about style out loud to SoccerByIves.com, it turned it from an angry plea to a rational assessment. We use this word all the time, and I’ve never really thought about it actually is. So I started to really think about what it means for a team to have a style, and why, or if, it matters.” Fuion


Jürgen Klopp to leave Borussia Dortmund at end of season

April 16, 2015

“Borussia Dortmund have announced the departure of their manager, Jürgen Klopp, at the end of the season. The BVB manager has asked the club to be released after enduring a difficult season and Dortmund called a press conference at 1.30pm (12.30pm BST) on Wednesday, where chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke confirmed that the club had agreed to release him early from his contract.” Guardian (Video)