– It’s surprising and a little sad that all of the quarterfinal Champions League ties appear to be over after just one leg, save for the United/Chelsea clash. This has been a wild and wacky year in Europe so I wouldn’t rule out Inter or Tottenham at least making things interesting, but they have incredibly steep odds against them. Real Madrid and Barcelona have been the best teams in the tournament, throughout, and their bonus double Classico war of attrition in the semis could open the door for one of the English sides to slide into the finals. We’ll see soon.
– ESPN’s Dale Johnson posted a nice, capsule review of the Premier League relegation battle. On that subject, I’d meant to write about West Brom’s huge, impressive result against Liverpool last weekend. Roy Hodgson has the Baggies playing well and I’m curious to see where they finish in the table. I do expect them to narrowly beat the drop. I also want to mention that the Stoke v. Chelsea match was far and away the most exciting EPL match I watched last weekend. Petr Cech was outstanding and single-handedly prevented Stoke from taking all 3 points. I expect Stoke to also pull themselves firmly into safety. I’m also really excited to see their match against Bolton in the FA Cup semifinals next weekend.
– Arsene Wenger has jumped several sharks in the past few weeks, whether it’s trying apparently to convince himself that 2nd place is a “success” or complaining about Arsenal’s remaining matches being held on Sundays etc. It’s starting to become embarrassing. Arsenal and Spurs’ league form over the past few months has been a sad, shocking waste that has conspired to hand a boring, insufferably mediocre Manchester United squad an EPL title.
– All About Football has an interesting post detailing the history of Schalke 04. The Bundesliga side produced the most eye-opening result in the Champions League quarterfinals, beating Inter 5-2 at the San Siro. I’m still not sure what happened to the nerazzurri over the past week, as they lost 2 huge matches by a count of 8-2. Inter’s defense has just completely disintegrated. Is it all, or even mostly, due to the absence of Lucio? Leonardo needs to stabilize this unit fast. I’ve cited Inter’s defeat to Chievo under Rafa Benitez in November as an actual and aesthetic low point a few different times on this blog, so never once did I think that their second meeting of the season this upcoming weekend would/could be a fascinating match.
More in-depth stuff coming up soon as there are some extremely interesting matches in all leagues this weekend.