Klopp could leave with a trophy after-all!

#BayernMunich showed just how not to take penalties (who would have ever thought that for a german team??) as they missed every penalty in the shootout defeat to #Dortmund in the #DFBCup and end their dreams of a treble. But given how they’ve been playing and with the loss of #Ribery and #Robben to injuries, combined with #Barcelona’s blistering form (they thrashed #Getafe 6-0 today), even a double seems unlikely as they face the Catalan giants in the semi finals of the #ChampionsLeague. For an otherwise rubbish season for #BVB, getting a victory (and an important one at that) against the team responsible for their ill-fortune, could not have come at a better time, especially for their outgoing Manager #Klopp’s farewell month (just look at this burn for #Pep), who will likely be managing in the #EPL next season. Speaking of which, another dismal performance by #Liverpool in a 1-0 loss at #HullCity means that #ManchesterUnited’s horrible defensive show #Everton in a 3-0 loss, will have little bearing on the top 4 ChampionsLeague spots as #Arsenal could only draw 0-0 at home to visiting Champions-elect #Chelsea and #City’s undeserved 3-2 win over a battling #AstonVilla mean the top 4 are now practically decided with just the order of 2, 3 and 4 to play for. For United, it’s going to be a busy summer if they have to overhaul their defensive 3rd to be ale to mount a challenge for the title next year.

Over in the #SerieA #Juventus had another slip up in a 1-2 loss to #Torino is their local derby, which hurt only their ego, with the title battle now too far beyond 2nd placed #Lazio’s reach. The real turn in fortune has been the 2 back-to-back wins for #Inter (2-1 against #Roma and the same scoreline away to #Udinese) as they move to 7th and are knocking on #Europa doors, a feat that seemed impossible not 2 months ago for this once powerful European Club.

In France, #PSG struck form after their disappointing exit from the Champions League putting 6 past #Lille and 3 past #Metz as they put 3 points between them and 2nd placed #Lyon in the defense of their title.

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Fab Four!

#Bayern and #Barcelona showed just why they are 2 of the most feared teams in Europe yesterday, after the Bavarian giants came from a 1-3 aggregate setback in #Porto from last week to hammer an absolutely hapless and genuinely rubbish effort by the Portuguese side 6-1 with the goal fest coming in the 1st half. That Bayern played well is an understatement but the way this Porto side folded showed the gulf between the European elite and the pretenders.

Barcelona continued where they left off in Paris last week by taking their 1-3 first leg lead and added 2 beautiful goals by #Neymar (one setup by a stunning move by #Iniesta) to the total to win 2-0 and go through 5-1 on aggregate against a good #PSG side – showing just how darn good this Barca side has become now with all their stars firing. The team that meets them in the semi-finals should consider themselves the unluckier of the two.

With #RealMadrid finally squeaking past a very dogged #AtleticoMadrid side today (the soft red card to #Turan certainly played it’s part) thanks to a #Chicharito goal (it was about time he scored given the chances he had today) that was setup by #Ronaldo and #Juventus displaying that storied defensive Italian defensive ability we remember of an era long bygone to hold #Monaco to a 0-0 in France, their slender 1-0 win at home in Turin last week means that the final 4 in the semi-finals now have the 1st and 2nd placed teams in #LaLiga, the 1st placed team in #Bundesliga and the 1st placed team in #SerieA. If the best 4 teams in Europe had to be picked objectively, you’d be hard pressed not to have these 4 in your list.

A Barca v Juve and a Real v Bayern would be the perfect draw for Friday AM, wouldn’t it? Or really any other combination – how outstandingly delicious!

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Taking his parked bus all the way to the title!

#JoseMourinho has made this an art form – park the bus for 90 minutes of the game to frustrate the hell out of an often superior opponent and then rely on a moment of brilliance from someone like an #EdenHazard to score against the run of play if possible. Then hunker down again. His #Chelsea side are experts at this and they don’t do it just with the back 4. They do it right from midfield itself. #Matic and #Zouma played that role to perfection today as they kept a clean sheet against a significantly more dominant and entertaining #ManchesterUnited and relied on a breakaway goal by the brilliant Hazard to sneak a 1-0 home win and all but guarantee themselves of the title with a 10 point lead over #Arsenal and now 11 over United. When Chelsea go to Arsenal next week, #Wenger’s boys can expect the same approach from Mourinho. A game like today highlights just why this Chelsea side are so unpopular to the Neutrals but so darn effective when it comes to grinding out those tough 1 goal wins, which are going to take them to their first title in 5 years.

United played very well and deserved to come away with a point at the very least. But that is not how football works. The only negatives for them would have to be the terrible cameo that sub #DiMaria put in after coming on for the very effective #Young – he lost almost every ball that came his way, misplaced passes and got past the defenders he took on exactly zero times.

#Southampton dropped all 3 again as they were beaten 2-1 at #Stoke and #Everton snuck past #Burnley 1-0 to move into 12th.

#Arsenal had to rely on a late extra time goal by #Sanchez to get past plucky #Reading to get to the final of the #FACUP in defense of their crown. As difficult as this was and the final goal came off an error by an otherwise fabulous performance by Reading keeper #Frederici, the Gunners will (and should) only care that they are in the final and still 2nd in the league.

Over in the #LaLiga #Suarez and #Messi scored to take #Barcelona to a 2-0 win over #Valencia to keep them 2 clear of #RealMadrid if they can keep their 1-0 lead over #Malaga at half time. In the #Bundesliga #Bayern set aside their shock reverse in the #ChampionsLeague this week to win at #Hoffenheim 0-2 and #Dortmund set aside their season-end departure announcement by #Klopp to put 3 unanswered goals past #Paderborn to move up to 8th. And finally, in France, #PSG recovered from their little pasting at the hands of Barcelona mid-week to win at #Nice 1-3 to stay top of the table by 1 point over #Lyon.

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Defenders gone wild?

@Barcelona and @PSG put on a fantastic show of top quality passing, technique and in the case of the Catalan giants, finish, as they put 1 giant foot in the semi-final of the #ChampionsLeague with a 1-3 win away in Paris thanks to some delightful link up play and finish (#Neymar opened and then #Suarez scored a fantastic couple of goals), while the Parisiens were impressive throughout but were undone by their lack of magic upfront, what with the mighty #Zlatan suspended for this game and the rubbish defensive ability of #DavidLuiz, who was nutmegged by Suarez for both his goals. Can Paris come back from this next week? Even with Zlatan back, highly unlikely. Barcelona will be difficult to not lose to at home and even harder to beat by a margin of 2 goals.

But the highlight of today’s passing came from the mighty Bavarians and not in the usual great way that they do but instead in the bumbling manner that their 2 central defenders #Boateng and #Dante passed to #Porto’s #Queresma and #Martinez as they were beaten 3-1 in Portugal by the heavy underdogs. In the absence of #Ribery and #Robben, this #Bayern side look like a decent team that just about any top level side can beat – not the mighty Bayern that most fear. Can they win 2-0 next week in Munich – ofcourse. Are they out of this tie – no. But one slip up like today and Porto will make their first semi-final since a young Portuguese coach took them all the way all those years ago!

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The Atletico hoodoo…

It’s been forever since #AtleticoMadrid conceded a home goal in the #ChampionsLeague and even longer it seems since #RealMadrid were able to beat them, as both teams played out a rather entertaining 0-0 draw in the 1st leg of their quarter-final. While the White half of Madrid dominated much of the first half, #Atleti came back strongly by the end of the game and had a few chances to take a 1st leg deal. #Cristiano was kept entirely quiet by that mean #Simeone trained defense and #Bale should have converted a couple of his early chances but aside from that, this tie is pretty equal going into the #Bernabeu next week. A home game for Real but no away goals let in by Atleti.

#Juventus got themselves a slightly lucky penalty that #Vidal converted with some aplomb as they took a slender 1-0 home lead into the 2nd leg next week back at the Principality. A midfield that boasts the likes of Vidal, #Pirlo and company will always have a composed control of most games and they looked good for their reputation. But as #ArseneWenger will attest to, underestimate #Monaco at your own peril!

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Old United born anew!

The Manchester derby, which in the past few years has seen the blue half of the city come up trumps, was a display of just how far #LVG has brought this #ManchesterUnited side as they thumped #ManchesterCity 4-2 in a game that they dominated in possession, control, speed and creativity for about 75 minutes after going down 0-1 to an early #Aguero goal as City came out much stronger in the first 15. After that goal though, it was all United as they continued the form they’ve been showing since their thrashing of #Tottenham 4 weeks ago. They’ve now beaten #Spurs #Liverpool #Villa and City comfortably and will go into their game against title winners-elect #Chelsea next week, not feeling like underdogs in the least. How Van Gaal has transformed the likes of #Young and #Fellaini from unplayable in the league into unplayable on the field, is hard to comprehend. He’s taken much longer than everyone thought, but this United side now has an LVG air about them and on current form looks the best in the #EPL – for now because as good as Chelsea have been for the first half of the season, they are merely sputtering to their title now, after an entirely undeserved 0-1 win at #QPR put them 7 points clear of 2nd placed #Arsenal who needed a battling 0-1 win against #Burnley to stay 1 clear of the Red Devils. With only 6 games to go, it’s unlikely anyone can catch #Mourinho’s men now but 2,3,4 are certainly up for grabs still. #Liverpool and Spurs (they lost 0-1 to #Villa) seem to have run out of steam at the wrong time and #Southampton, even with a good 2-0 win against struggling #Hull remain 6 points off 4th placed City and will battle with the other 2 for the #Europa at best.

Over in the #LaLiga, #Sevilla’s huge comeback to draw #Barcelona 2-2 and #RealMadrid’s 3-0 thrashing of #Eibar keeps the title race nice and open with the Madristas only 2 points behind the Catalan giants. #AtleticoMadrid have all but lost the defense of their title after a 2-2 draw at #Malaga and remain a distant 3rd and 9 points off the top.

Mighty #Bayern sauntered to yet another win in their title defense as they dispatched #Frankfurt 3-0 while the woes at the #SignalIdunaPark continue unabated as #BVB were beaten by #Monchengladback 3-1, leaving them hanging on to 10th spot – by a thread.

In Italy, #Juventus dropped rare points in a 1-0 loss at #Parma but it meant little to their title defense as #Roma could only draw 1-1 in #Torino and remain a whopping 13 clear of them and 12 clear of #Lazio, who moved into 2nd with a 4-0 thrashing of #Empoli.

#PSG won the first of what could be multiple silverware as they beat #Bastia 0-4 to win the #FrenchLeagueCup but they’ll have their work cut out for them if they have to get past Barca in the #ChampionsLeague.

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Feeling blue, Manuel?

#ManchesterCity continued their wretched away form as they fell 2-1 away to a #CrystalPalace side that under #Pardew has gone from bottom to 11th in what seems like no time at all, leaving City 4th, behind leaders #Chelsea 2nd placed #Arsenal and 3rd placed #United with a visit to a rejuvenated #OldTrafford coming up next. It’s been a terrible 2nd half of the season for #Pellegrini’s defending champions as they’ve fallen 9 points behind Chelsea, who still have a game in hand and were convincingly dumped out of the #ChampionsLeague by the Catalan giants. After his debut season title win, Pellegrini will likely face the usual City firing squad 7 games from now, unless he pulls off 7 wins in a row, while #Mourinho’s men suddenly find an unlikely way to choke at the death. The Sheikhs who own the Club should try not to fire from the hip because there were a number of factors that have resulted in them being where they are, including the massive dip in form of their rock #Kompany, the patchy form of their powerhouse #YayaToure (including his little birthday cake temper tantrum), the injuries to #Aguero and #Silva, FFP rules that kept them from freshening up an aging squad last summer and finally, a much improved top 6 (and an ever improving bottom 14) that has taken away the concept of the ‘easy game’ in the #EPL. Most of these do not require major surgery and the City management would be wise to give him one more year and a couple of new signings.

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Goal-fest!

After #Arsenal blitzed #Liverpool in 8 minutes (well, they did deserve to win over the entire 90 but did most of the damage in an 8-minute period) to win 4-1 at the #Emirates, fellow #ChampionsLeague chasers #ManchesterUnited strolled past #AstonVilla 3-1 at #OldTrafford and Champions-elect #Chelsea stuttered past a dogged #StokeCity 2-1 (#CharlieAdam scored a goal for Stoke from behind the half way line that is an absolute delight to watch here you go) and were lucky to be gifted a goal in the end by Stoke’s keeper #AsmirBegovic, without which, they would have likely dropped 2 points at the top. The gap is large enough now that they will win the title even if they lose 2 games, but it’s hard to see a #Mourinho side not winning the title from this point.

For Liverpool, the last 2 weeks have been disastrous. They have lost at home to United and now away to Arsenal – the 2 teams that they were competing for that 4th CL spot against and now they sit 7 adrift of the Red Devils, whose form seems to have taken a very sudden turn for the better – their last 3 games were against #Tottenham #Liverpool and now #AstonVilla and they won all 3 at a canter and 8 points adrift from the Gunners, who are running red hot in this last sprint to the finish. With both United and Arsenal now competing for 2nd (#ManchesterCity still have to play tomorrow) unless Liverpool can win every game from now till the end of the season and have the others drop more than 7 points, they will walk alone as far as next year’s Champions League goes. #Southampton with their 1-0 loss at #Everton, thanks largely to #TimHoward’s most athletic save you’ll likely see a keeper make – watch here and #Tottenham with their 0-0 draw at #Burnley are also falling away rapidly in what seemed like a 5 horse race for 4th not so long ago.

Over in the #Bundesliga mighty #Bayern showed just why they are strolling to this title and why poor #Dortmund hate them so much, after yet another old boy #Lewandowski scored the only goal of the game to help Die Rote to a 0-1 win away against the yellow and blacks at the once impregnable #SignalIdunaPark, leaving #Klopp’s men mired in 10th, thanks largely to the save of the season by the goalkeeping force that is #ManuelNeuer – watch to believe what he did because poor #Reus had already started celebrating his brilliant free-kick!

But the goal fest for the weekend came from the boys from #RealMadrid (they needed this one after an indifferent few months) and particularly #CristianoRonaldo who scored 5 of real’s 9 goals in a 9-1 thrashing of poor #Granada, while league leaders #Barcelona snuck past #CeltaVigo 1-0 thanks to a 73rd minute #Matheu goal that keeps their 4 point cushion at the top.

#Juventus continued their march to the #Scudetto with a 2-0 against #Empoli while in other #SerieA news, #Mancini canceled Easter Sunday for his struggling #InterMilan team, so incensed he was with their 1-1 draw in Milan against #Parma.

And finally in France, #PSG won away at fellow title chasers #Marseille 2-3 to give them a 1 point lead at the top over #Lyon and keep them in the positive frame of mind they would need to be in to overcome Barca in their CL knockout!

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