The 2 best teams are in the final!

For the first time in a long time, #JoseMourinho did not ‘park the bus’ in a big game and got hammered! There is no doubt that #AtleticoMadrid are superior to #Chelsea but that hasn’t stopped Mourinho from winning in the past, often by squeezing the life out of the game and the opposition. Today however, with Chelsea needing a goal, they came out and played and even lead in the first half. Once Atleti got back just before the break, there was only one team in the game and this much deserved win now gives us a dream all Madrid finale. These 2 Madrid teams will serve up a very even and fun game and it’s the best a neutral could have asked for.

#DiegoSimeone is burnishing his reputation as one of the top Managers of the game rather quickly and his team are now in a position to win both the #ChampionsLeague and the #LaLiga, a result that I’m sure Messrs #Ronaldo #Bale and #Ancelotti will have a lot to say about still!

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Destruction in Bavaria!

An absolutely ruthless, well-drilled, disciplined and deserving #RealMadrid hammered a hapless and clueless #BayernMunich 5-0 on aggregate after a 4-0 victory at the #AllianceArena in Munich. As usual, Bayern had tons of possession but very little to show for it. Just like the 2 games against #ManchesterUnited and the first leg against Real, #PepGuardiola has shown that he doesn’t have a Plan B. He’s been out-thought and out-executed by a wily #CarloAncelotti and was almost undone by the totally NOT-wily #DavidMoyes. Bayern won last year based on playing fast, effective and deadly football. They did unto #Barcelona (with all of Barca’s useless possession numbers) what Real have done to them today. I hate to say this, because the Bavarians are still in wet-dream heaven about having Pep as coach, but I don’t think he plays the Bayern way. Time will tell how much he adapts (or his team does) but the Kaiser’s words from last night ring so true this evening – “We’re going to end up being unwatchable like Barcelona. The players will start passing the ball back even on the goal line.” The great #CristianoRonaldo, with his 2 goals today, is now the highest goal-scorer in a single ChampionsLeague campaign with 16 goals, 2 more than #Messi’s record. He’ll play his dream final in his home country!

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City are sending Jose a bottle of very expensive wine

Just like that, one game, out-thought by the tactical genius of #JoseMourinho and a mistake by their brilliant captain #StevenGerrard and #Liverpool have handed the fate of the title-race into the welcoming arms of #ManchesterCity after a 0-2 loss at #Anfield to #Chelsea. With City winning 2-0 against #CrystalPalace and with a game in hand, 4 wins will give them the title.

Till this morning, Liverpool was already celebrating a first #EPL title, what with Jose fielding a weakened side. 2 hours later, title dreams could be dashed yet again. Such is football.

#RyanGiggs started his 4 game career as coach of #ManchesterUnited with a 4-0 thumping win against #Norwich at #OldTrafford, a scoreline #DavidMoyes could only achieve in reverse!

In the LaLiga, #Atletico’s title charge looks 3 games from being complete – an amazing feat if they can pull it off.

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An All-Madrid finale?

As expected, #RealMadrid were lethal on the break as they soaked up the usual pressure and possession that this #BayernMunich side will invariably exert on just about anyone. And that resulted in a 1-0 win for Los Blancos at the #Bernabeu in the first leg of the #ChampionsLeague semi-final. The goal by itself isn’t a game changer. A lack of an away goal is. Bayern will find it very difficult to keep Real from scoring in Munich next week, especially with #CristianoRonaldo and #GarethBale both expected back to full fitness. Bayern have to score to stay in the tie and will play a lot of the game in the Real 1/3rd (much like today), which means a break-away goal is likely to happen. One gets the feeling that Bayern will need 3 goals next Tuesday to advance. It almost seems like #Pep doesn’t seem to have a plan B for Bayern, when the opposition defends deep (and disciplined) with plenty of pace on the break.

#Chelsea kinda have the same issue to deal with. Keeping #Costa and the rest of #Simeone’s talented men at bay. With no away goal, any Atelti goal will need 2 in response from Chelsea and unlike #PSG, who offered very little at #StamfordBridge last week, #JoseMourinho will know that Ateltico will come out swinging. It’s too early to count anyone out but it just seems like an all-Madrid finale might not be so unbelievable after-all.

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Out with the new, In with the old :)

After 11 miserable months, #DavidMoyes has finally been relieved of his struggles – he is no longer the coach of #ManchesterUnited with #RyanGiggs taking over for the last 4 games of this season. Moyes is a good man and a decent coach but #AlexFerguson did him no favors by anointing him as his replacement – the ‘Chosen One’ to lead one of the biggest sports teams in the world, with the single largest fan following in the world, a brand that along-with #Barcelona is probably the most ubiquitous in the world of soccer and a team of Champions (albeit one that was aging fast), who are used to winning, even against superior opposition. (Sir Alex made this team punch way above it’s weight class for about 5 years now – somehow). Moyes, a coach with decent results in his 11 years at #Everton showed little ambition, little technical nous, little PR and media savvy and clearly lost his dressing room way before United’s season had ended in dismal failure. His training sessions were pre-historic according to insiders and he trained to defend against every opponent, rather than train to destroy every opponent. At Everton, it worked. A mid-table team, kept mid-table by stoic and determined performances. But the shackles were always on. (Look what #Martinez did with that same Everton team once he allowed them to play) At United that was disastrous. A team that lived by the philosophy of ‘You score if you can, we’ll just score one more’ plunged into an approach of ‘Let’s not concede’ could not survive.

So who comes in? The most likely candidate (mainly because he’s available) is #VanGaal, the current Dutch National Coach. He’s very good with a ton of great pedigree. There’s the fans choice of Jurgen Klopp, who would be fantastic but he is a fiercely loyal man who is committed to the fabulous #Dortmund till 2018. United would love to have #PepGuardiola but they missed their chance last year and now he’s well committed to the mighty Bavarians. #DiegoSimeone is in the mix. He’s trying currently to take #Atleti to a #ChampionsLeague and #LaLiga double and finally, there’s the stable and much proven #Ancelotti who might do a double at #RealMadrid and still not feel the love of a very fickle Board. Either ways, the poison chalice is out of the way now. Whoever comes in next will have Moyes’ record to improve on and not the extreme success of Sir Alex. Now it truly is football’s top job!

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The Contrast!

Another stellar #Liverpool performance and they are one step closer to their first #EPL title, one which is not just thoroughly deserved but thoroughly cheered on by Liverpudlians and neutrals alike because they have been absolutely fantastic to watch. And because #BrendanRodgers has coached the right way. He’s made this young team play fun, flowing and attacking soccer, while #JoseMourinho showed in his presser yesterday exactly why neutrals do not want him or his team to win – whiny, complaining, sarcastic and blames everyone but himself and his team.

#Arsenal keep their top 4 hopes alive with a commanding 3-0 win at #HullCity and if they keep this form, they should be able to beat Hull in the #FACup final as well. #DavidMoyes in the meantime has finally seen #Everton do the double over #ManchesterUnited after a 2-0 win for #RobertoMartinez and his men. All it took for Everton to achieve this was for Moyes to swap the blues for the #RedDevils! Do the #Glazers really plan to give him a £200 million war-chest?? #MoyesOut is the only way out for United.

 

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Bottom Club deciding EPL title winner!

When #Liverpool supporters sing their ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ anthem as they dare to dream, little did they know that bottom of the table #Sunderland led by #GusPoyet would be the folks ensuring they truly don’t walk alone. In a day of extreme ironies, the Black Cats upset #Chelsea at #StamfordBridge 2-1, ending a very bitter and sarcastic #JoseMourinho’s 77 game unbeaten run at the Bridge and likely ending their title challenge. Sunderland held #ManchesterCity to a 2-2 draw the other day as well and both these results at the hands of the Club desperately clinging to survival means that Liverpool should canter to the title as long as they don’t do anything silly in the next 3 games. The goal-winner for Sunderland was #Borini, an ex-Chelsea ‘reject’, who happens to be on loan at Sunderland from – Liverpool! Such is the beautiful game!

#Tottenham keep their top 6 and faint top 4 hopes alive after a 3-1 win over relegation-threatened #Fulham while away in the #Bundesliga both #Bayern and #Dortmund register comfortable wins. Over in France, #PSG beat #Lyon 201 to win the Coupe De La Ligue via 2 #Cavani goals.

 

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Bale’d out + Advantage Liverpool & Arsenal!

This season is as topsy turvy as any in recent memory in the #EPL as #ManchesterCity drop points at home to bottom of the table #Sunderland – the 2-2 come back draw means that the title is truly #Liverpool’s to lose. Today went from 3 guaranteed points (a home game against Sunderland?) to the day that City lost the title! And in the other shock of the day, #TonyPulis and his magic at #CrystalPalace continued as they upset #Everton at #GoodisonPark 3-2, effectively ending Everton’s #ChampionsLeague hopes and putting #Arsenal’s 4th spot into their own hands. A nightmare Wednesday for both Everton and City.

And speaking of nightmares, #Barcelona continue their rapid drop from their high-perch as they fall 2-1 to #RealMadrid in the final of #CopaDelRey after a moment of pure high-speed magic from #GarethBale as he blitzed his way to the goal from the half-way line. This is effectively a trophy-less season for #TataMartino (his 1st and last at Barca?) and the first of a possible treble for #Ancelotti and his Blancos, leaving #Messi to wonder ‘What’s gone wrong?’

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Walk Alone? Doesn’t look like it!

A nail-biting game at #Anfield saw #Liverpool beat #ManCity in the final moments of the game via a #Coutinho goal after City came back from 2 goals (via #Silva and an own-goal by #Johnson) down to tie it at 2-2 canceling out goals from #RaheemSterling and #MartinSkyrtel. Liverpool can now dare to dream – if they win their remaining 4 games, they will be crowned Champions! But the season end won’t be that simple: #Chelsea won a hard fought 1-0 away at #Stoke via another season-saving #DembaBa goal, which serves up an interesting palate of possibilities this last month of the EPL. If Liverpool win their last 4, they win it. Simple. But if Chelsea win their last 4 (including an away game against Liverpool), then they would win the title, unless City also win their remaining games (including their 2 games in hand) All in all, this is going to be fabulous for the neutrals!

In the #FACup, it will be an #Arsenal VS #HullCity final at #Wembley. If the Gunners can’t win silverware now, they should hang their heads in shame!

And over in #LaLiga, #Barcelona’s shock 0-1 defeat at #Granada means that their terrible week just got worse with the title race shifting into the hands of the #Madrid rivals!

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