30 April 2007

CL Semis, Leg One

For once, I got to watch both of these live. And also for once, they were both decent games. In really different ways, obviously, but both worth taking a few hours away from studying to watch.

Man U 3 - Milan 2. By now, shouldn't Milan have figured out that they can't really take their foot off the gas in Europe? I hate to be the fan that's always bringing up the 2005 final, but here I am. Milan were really hurt by Gattuso's having to come off early in the second half due to injury -- and speaking of that, I think the Man U fans were booing because they thought he was faking it. If they know anything about Gattuso, they should have known that he's probably #1 on the list of Italians least likely to dive or fake it. But I guess not. Stay classy, kids. I also think taking Maldini off at the half was a bad decision; I know you have to be wary of his health, since he's, what, 400 now? But Milan looked so much weaker at the back when he left, so unless he was just unable to continue, I would have kept him in longer. Even though they lost this leg, I think Milan have the advantage going into the return this Wednesday. They just need a 1-0 to advance (or failing that, they just can't allow more than two goals). I know they've struggled some at home this season, but you'd think that their fans would come out for this one.

Chelsea 1 - Liverpool 0. This was also a decent game, though incredibly frustrating. All I really wanted from this was an away goal as a little bit of insurance going into the second leg, but no such luck. Cech's getting back to his pre-injury form incredibly fast, and Joe Cole picked just about the most annoying time to come back into the side. Liverpool couldn't really get anything together, maybe because of Rafa's confusing team selection -- I've started screeching unattractively every time Zenden's named as a starter, and I have yet to be proven wrong. Honestly, I don't have a good feeling about the return leg here; as much as I'd like to think the Anfield crowd will make a big difference, I think we've had too many games like this for Chelsea to be surprised or intimidated by the atmosphere anymore. (Seriously, playing each other 14 times in three seasons? It's ridiculous.) They may surprise me, and I hope they do, but right now, I'm not seeing it. Maybe playing the B-team (and Xabi) at the weekend will help, but I don't know. I'm having a hard time seeing this as anything but Chelsea making it through.

Speaking of that weekend game, it's time for Dudek to go. You can either complain about not getting starts anymore, or you can play like that when you do start. You can't do both. I realize it sucks to be effectively dropped after winning the Champions League, but that's the game.

In completely unrelated news, Arsenal Ladies are on course for a quadruple. While this sort of thing irritates me on the men's side, I'm just glad the women are having this kind of success, because they're adorable. If that makes me a hypocrite, so be it.

Hi to Being Sven! I always enjoy good Liverpool bloggers, especially ones who can cut it in the demanding Deadspin commentariat.

22 April 2007

Linkpost due to finals

So, I got called out, and the last thing I want to do is disappoint my loyal, um, fan, so here we are. (In my defense, it's finals season here, and I've got my Ethics final tomorrow -- on my birthday! -- so I've been a little bit distracted.)

Here, a few things that have caught my eye:

04 April 2007

CL quarters, day one

Okay, first of all, I know this has been linked absolutely everywhere (well, everywhere in the small section of the sports blogosphere that cares about MLS), but it's too hilarious not to share. A completely trashed Eric Wynalda, and his thoughts on the US team and MLS. It's absolutely brilliant, and um. He's not wrong about a lot of things. Though I'm not sure this interview will do a lot for his aspirations within US Soccer. Anyway.

I know there were Euro qualifiers, and I know Steven Gerrard scored goals like this, but I don't really care. It's sad to say that about England, since they're the reason I got into this sport, but god. Those were two dire games. I don't know if they're going to qualify for Euro 2008, but my instinct is that they will, since they've gotten most of the tough away fixtures out of the way. Based on the way they're playing at the moment, though, I don't know that I want them to. But I also don't think McClaren will be there when Euro rolls around, so hopefully some things can change. Because right now, I do not care about this team, and I don't like feeling like that.

Also recently, Liverpool killed Arsenal in the league, and proceeded to kill the team that knocked Arsenal out of the Champions League. I was just happy to see them not slip up here; I know PSV aren't nearly as good as they have been, but this is just the sort of game that Liverpool would lose a couple of seasons ago, so it was good to see this win. PSV were hurt by the injury to Alex, probably their best defender, and the underperformance of a couple of their other players. This wasn't Liverpool's best performance, but I think it's hard to have your "best performance" away in Europe these days, since away goals are so crucial and home teams go defensive. When you can still score three away goals, it's pretty awesome, though. (And I hate to admit when I'm wrong, but I'm coming around on Mascherano. If he can manage to keep the ball better than Sissoko does, I may be all the way sold.)

Speaking of crucial away goals, Munich got two of 'em against Milan yesterday. I only half-watched this match, so I don't have a lot to say about the quality of the play. I really have two things here: 1) I don't think Kaka dove (because Jesus would be mad at him), but that was the softest penalty call ever, and 2) man, Bayern's reserve keeper is pretty cute. Maybe I'm biased because I've been looking at Kahn in that uniform for so long, but um. Yeah. Milan missed a couple of absolute sitters here, one from Kaka and a few more from Gilardino, and really should have put this game away. I can't feel all that bad about it, though, since it gives both teams everything to play for in the second leg. With PSV needing to win by four clear goals to advance, at least Bayern/Milan will provide one competitive game next week.