People, we were blessed this week. A comeback against PSG and Emilia Clarke back on our TV screens. Rejoice Homo sapiens!
Damn, I said I was terrible in predictions this season and the streak continues. Against every fibre of my pessimistic self, the team performed in a way that made me oh so wrong. And I oh don’t mind. Every prediction I’ve made of us has failed; I predicted easy games against Stoke, Aston Villa and we lost both, and I said we had no chance at the Bridge against PSG. For good measure I predicted Bayern would slap Man United apart at Old Trafford too. I don’t believe in jinxes, but a pattern is forming.
What should I use such a power for? Perhaps not believe I could win a lottery? Bah, I don’t waste money on lottery tickets, what to do…? What’s that voice of Uncle Ben? Something about great power and responsibility? Ah well, guess you have a point (sigh)
Thankfully Cavani ran around like a puppy who lost its mother. I wasn’t interested in buying him because of his price, and his performances didn’t help. You pay that money for that one chance he had and he had to score that. Careers are all about those single moments where greatness awaits.
He scores that and PSG are happy in the semis. Now they’re sad and we are all excited and have a semi.
And Veratti really didn’t impress me unlike the first leg; I know it sounds quick, but I rescind my interest in us getting him as a premature exclamation.
The team didn’t look like they gave up one second during the game, even when we hit the bar twice I wondered if we were going to be the Barcelona in this matchup, i.e. all opportunity and still going out. But victory was to come, from two sub players.
Schurrle can’t outrun or out-skill the likes of Willian, Salah, Hazard and Oscar, but his ace in the sleeve is he knows how to score. A forward's instinct on slamming the ball towards the net. The more he scores, the more he may argue he deserves to start over the others. The PSG players didn’t seem to know what to do when he rampaged towards him.
I’m enjoying him, but honestly his haircut looks like a blond ferret curled up on his head and died. I’m beginning to think he could break into the German squad precisely because of his eye for the goal and their striker depth not being much more than a puddle and Eto’o’s fellow senior of Klose. This is Germany, not Spain, there’s enough tappy-tappy passing nonsense before they have to Hulk smash their opponents.
I’ve been resistant to Luiz in midfield, but I’m now in the "eff it, if it works" phase. If he had Matic beside him, I’ll confidently battle any other midfield in the world.
He scores when he falls, he scores when he faaaaaaaaaaaaalls, that man Demba Ba. He’s earned his syrup bonus this week. I’m going all broken record here, but give him his starts. Whatever Torres is supposed to do, he isn’t doing it right, so why not try Ba? Eto’o still isn’t exactly fit so for the weekend I really hope for Ba.
Moving on, so Everton really are playing well lately. Lukaku’s looking strong, and he roamed about even more than I believed he did (and I thought he did so somewhat already). He was on the right a lot against Arsenal and watching them flail about was hilarious for me.
Naismith is the funniest player ever to watch. Sometimes I wonder if he’s a footballer, and other times he looks real good like he did in the weekend. I seem to recall him looking good against us not too far back.
Liverpool and Everton are making a mockery of Arsenal and Tottenham’s whining about not performing due to not having enough funds, respectively. In two seasons, Rodgers has possibly gotten closer to winning the league in April than I remember Arsenal doing so in 9 years, and Tottenham has managed to squander 100 million euros in a Football Manager frenzy. You know what, the players bought may actually have value, but such a change in the dressing room so quickly causes chaos in the short run. AVB still being as stubborn as ever didn’t help. Now, a new manager will come who may not like some of these players, even if they’re not bad, resulting in more changing of the dressing room requiring further time.
Lesson for clubs, let the fans be the transfer muppets not the clubs themselves.
Thinking aloud: Managerial musical chairs this summer. Wenger leaves Arsenal, goes to PSG. Klopp leaves Dortmund, where whatever he manages to achieve he loses his players (I hear Reus has a release clause that kicks in on 2015), and goes to Arsenal and given a big cheque to buy what he wants. Roberto Martinez to Barcelona.
Blanc then has no seat.
European thoughts: Holy crap Atletico have done it! I didn’t watch either leg, watching United-Bayern’s first leg and missing both second legs.
I believe it was Rafa Honigstein said before the quarterfinal draw that Bayern wouldn’t admit it but he suspected they wanted to meet us least of all. I’ll take that further and if I was Bayern or Real, I wouldn’t want to meet Chelsea or Atletico.
It sounds weird, but while on paper Bayern and Real are probably the strongest two sides left, us and Atletico are wild cards, completely unpredictable and capable of pulling off an insane feat of mental and physical strength to win despite the odds.
So apparently Atletico have to pay us a significant million euro penalty should we meet them and they wish to play Courtois against us. Maybe we should offer them a deal that they can play Courtois if we get Costa for 20-25 million pounds this summer, agreed today. If his release clause is indeed 32 mill, they'll save on the millions they’d have to pay, and if they succeed in beating us they'd make more money in the final (forget the money, the prestige). How confident are they of victory?
Then again, why would we gamble our own chance to Lisbon by allowing them one of their best players? Lisbon it is!
Final thought: I like Oscar, I like him mucho mucho. But I’m beginning to get the feeling he’s going to have to up his game. Not because he’s bad (well he was poor in Jan and Feb in my opinion, but has improved lately) but that the same reason he bumped Mata may become the same reason why he gets bumped from the starting lineup. Willian is faster, more energetic and it seems better at pressing and defending than Oscar. Schurrle’s eye for the goal will make him an attractive option. Salah really has the Robben of 2004 feel about him (down to the one-footedness). And Hazard is Hazard.
Oscar may have to start upping his stats on assists and goals.