2014-15 Champions League: the Quixotic Quest to Qualify

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soxfan121

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Turrable said:
Dat neck tattoo
 
I know its wrong, but I have been rooting for you to flunk out of college so we get more of you here. You are missed, Champ.
 

Turrable

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soxfan121 said:
 
I know its wrong, but I have been rooting for you to flunk out of college so we get more of you here. You are missed, Champ.
 
My schedule for this semester features no classes starting before 11:30, I wouldn't worry about my time being overly occupied.  
 

Titans Bastard

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Well, Group C definitely isn't the strongest group, but it looks pretty evenly matched.
 

Vinho Tinto

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Titans Bastard said:
Well, Group C definitely isn't the strongest group, but it looks pretty evenly matched.
 
Especially if Falcao stays through the fall. Whichever team that lands in the Europa from the group will be a contender to win. 
 

Laser Show

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Following the CL for the first time, so correct me if I'm wrong, but it looks to me like Chelsea did absurdly well here
 

Turrable

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Melanie is going to make an incredible step-mom
 
You're all sticking around for women's player of the year right???
 

Laser Show

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MiracleOfO2704 said:
They should be favorite in that group, but Schalke is a decent team.
Yea, I figured it wouldn't quite be a cake walk, but compared to groups E and F, for example, they must be thrilled.
 

sachmoney

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I wanted to have one other tough team in the group, so when Arsenal inevitably (may be, may be not) finishes second, it would be one good team that Arsenal would not have to face. I don't feel that bad about this group. I mean, the big thing will be for the team to actually start playing together and learning each others' game (integrating Sanchez), but overall, it could've been a lot worse. I'm not happy, but this is about what you can expect a group to be as far as difficulty.
 
May be I should check how much a flight to Dortmund is...you never know how many opportunities you're going to get...
 

SoxFanInCali

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Here's the complete draw:
 
A: Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Olympiakos, Malmo
B: Real Madrid, Basel, Liverpool, Ludogorets
C: Benfica, Zenit, Leverkusen, Monaco
D: Arsenal, Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht
E: Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow, Man City, Roma
F: Barcelona, PSG, Ajax, APOEL
G: Chelsea, Schalke, Sporting, Maribor
H: Porto, Shakhtar, Athletic Bilbao, BATE
 
I'm pretty happy as a Liverpool fan. You're always going to get someone tough from pot 1, but we could have done much worse than Basel and Ludogorets from the other pots.
 

PedroSpecialK

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Agreed, solid draw for Liverpool. Can't say the same for City though, yikes. 
 
There are a couple of really unpredictable groups - C looks to be the most interesting of the lot
 

bosox4283

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Decent draw for Atletico. I think it's a positive to avoid having to play teams from both the Premier League and Germany. Juve and Olympiakos can be tough, though I suspect Atletico is the clear favorite to advance.
 

cjdmadcow

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JayMags71 said:
So, is the list of fixtures out? When does that get assembled?
 

 
What an idiot I am...only just realised I posted half the draw and not the whole thing. I'm going to slide away and hide in a corner now.
 

blueguitar322

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According to the FootballDatabase rankings (which are ELO rankings weighted by quality of competition, e.g. Premier League results are given more weight than MLS results), here are how the groups turned out, with ELO rating in parentheses:
 
Group A (avg 1773)
Juventus (1929)
Atletico Madrid (1886)
Olympiakos (1722)
Malmo (1553)
 
Group B (avg 1796)
Real Madrid (2047)
Liverpool (1880)
Basel (1641)
Ludogorets (1617)
 
Group C (avg 1744)
Benfica (1853)
Leverkusen (1752)
Zenit (1710)
Monaco (1660)
 
Group D (avg 1737)
Dortmund (1853)
Arsenal (1822)
Galatasaray (1659)
Anderlecht (1615)
 
Group E (avg 1825)
Bayern Munich (1977)
Manchester City (1928)
Roma (1772)
CSKA Moscow (1621)
 
Group F (avg 1782)
Barcelona (1905)
PSG (1873)
Ajax (1721)
APOEL (1630)
 
Group G (avg 1701)
Chelsea (1869)
Schalke (1724)
Sporting (1653)
Maribor (1559)
 
Group H (avg 1710)
Shakhtar Donetsk (1769)
Porto (1743)
Athletic Bilbao (1725)
BATE (1604)
 
So here's the average difficulty of each of the groups, in order:
 
Extremely challenging
1825 - Group E

 
Strong
1796 - Group B

1782 - Group F

1773 - Group A
 
Mediocre
1744 - Group C

1737 - Group D
 
Easy
1710 - Group H





1701 - Group G

 


Of course, this doesn't tell the whole story, as some of the groups' average ratings are inflated by having one dominant team and a bunch of lousy teams.  So instead, let's look at the delta from average strength that each of the teams provided:
 
Pot 1 - average ELO 1888
Pot 2 - average ELO 1803
Pot 3 - average ELO 1723
Pot 4 - average ELO 1626
 
Knowing these averages, it's easy to calculate the relative luck of each team in the draw (not including the rules about avoiding teams from the same country, TV times, etc).
 
For example, my team, Arsenal, drew Dortmund (50 ELO points higher than average for pot 2), Galatasaray (-64), and Anderlecht (-11) for a total delta of -25.  In other words, the draw was mostly average to Arsenal overall, although drawing a strong team from pot 2 makes first place qualification more difficult.  Granted, Arsenal prefer to come in second in their group and this is a known factor derived from years of research, so no big deal - they should handle Galatasaray and Anderlecht.
 
How about City?  Well Bayern were 89 points stronger than the average pot 1 team, CSKA Moscow 102 points less strong than the average pot 3 team, and Roma a whopping 146 points stronger than the average pot 4 team, for a net increased difficulty of 133 ELO.  The real loser, however, is their opponent CSKA Moscow, with a net increased difficulty of 360 (!) from drawing the best pot 2 and pot 4 teams and the second strongest pot 1 team.  Basel is also a loser, with a net increased difficulty of 307.
 
Now, what about Chelsea?  All three of their opponents are significantly lower ELO than their respective pot averages, giving Chelsea a net decreased difficulty of 217 ELO.  In fact, Chelsea's draw was by far the best of any of the 32 teams involved.  The other winners?  Athletic Bilboa (-201), Dortmund (-141), Monaco (-99).
 
Liverpool's draw was about average. They drew the strongest team from pot 1, but the weakest from pot 2 and a pretty average team form pot 4.
 
Of course, all of this analysis doesn't take travel into account, nor other factors like recent signings, etc.  But I think it's a reasonable assessment of the situation.  As an Arsenal fan, I can't complain.  
 
Best four teams not in the Champions League?  Napoli (1802) who lost out to Athletic Bilbao in the playoffs and Everton (1758), Manchester United (1742) and Tottenham (1739) who all missed out on the four English CL spots.  All other top-20 teams by ELO are in.
 

sachmoney

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Uh, guys....the UEFA idiots who schedule European Club games did this:
 
Oct 1: Arsenal-Galatasaraty
Oct 2: Tottenham-Besiktas
 
Dec 9: Galatasaray-Arsenal
Dec 11: Besiktas-Tottenham
 
What are the odds that something goes wrong?
 

cjdmadcow

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sachmoney said:
Uh, guys....the UEFA idiots who schedule European Club games did this:
 
Oct 1: Arsenal-Galatasaraty
Oct 2: Tottenham-Besiktas
 
Dec 9: Galatasaray-Arsenal
Dec 11: Besiktas-Tottenham
 
What are the odds that something goes wrong?
 
Good spot. I wouldn't expect there to be too many difficulties in north London but the returns in Istanbul have the potential to be a nightmare - even with two days between the fixtures.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Luis Taint said:
Forgive my ignorance, but who is the problem? The gooners/spurs contingent or the Turks?
Visiting fans travel in numbers, and tend to drink.  Drunk Spurs fans encountering drunk Arsenal fans in Istanbul could lead to an international incident.
 
I have no idea how much drinking goes on among Turkish fans.  I know drinking is against the Muslin faith, but Turkey isn't exactly ISIS when it comes to enforcement.  That said, the two fan bases crossing paths in London could cause some drama.
 

cjdmadcow

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Vinho Tinto said:
Roma is beginning to treat CSKA like a bad dog owner who has spotted a stain on the rug.  
 
I'll call it now and as an LFC fan this doesn't come easy, Roma will make it to the semi-finals...at least.
 

Warning Track Speed

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Apologies if this has been asked, but what are folks doing for a highlights/recap show, either idiot box or online? Only thing I can find is a 60-minute show on Fox Sports 2... at midnight. Does BeIn get to show highlights, and do they do a decent job?
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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City got the dream start against Roma, with Maicon dragging down Aguero for a penalty after three minutes, but Totti just equalized with a beautiful chip after being put through.  Hart was pretty slow off his line and probably should have closed the play down.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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I'm surprised Pelligrini hasn't done more to try to win this match - his subs have been very defensive and conservative.  A draw here means a fairly strong likelihood that they will have to win outright in Rome to advance out of the group.
 
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