- Mar 31, 2013
Is Real playing this game without a midfield?? PSG all over them early.
Anytime I get to see Mbappe in a real competition it's a treat but yeah, looking grim for Real atm.The Real midfield combined age is about 400 years. So there’s that
Madrid look dreadful so far. Not that I’m expecting them to beat PSG but I was hoping for a contest.
Hard to look at this game and conclude its still Messi as the BITW.WHAT. A. FINISH. The man is unstoppable. PSG far superior today and deserved more TBH. So much more exciting watching PSG than Madrid. Too bad Mbappe will be doing on behalf of Madrid next year. But for now, I get to do the laugh and point thing!
I think that probably hasn't been the case for 2-3 years. Any player who contributes nothing on D will cut into their offensive output, even one as good and efficient as Messi. But I think about a player like Lewa or KDB, and even though they might not be known for their D, they're absolutely part of their teams' press and still contribute a great deal on O. The thing about Messi's downslope is that he's still probably the best playmaker in the world, along with being highly press resistant, an elite finisher, and a good dribbler. He's not quite as successful dribbling as he was even 3-4 years ago, but this "diminished" Messi is still one of if not the best at beating a man.Hard to look at this game and conclude its still Messi as the BITW.
TBF, Ronaldinho was strung out in nightclubs in Brazil and Milan for years before doing the same in Mexico. Hell, he was a club regular in Barca too. Basically, he might've been a better partier than footballer, and he's an alltime great in the latter category.It can't be emphasized enough how insane it is for Messi to even be in the conversation for BITW at age 34.
At age 34 Cristiano was strolling around Serie A and nowhere near that BITW conversation anymore, Zidane was retired, Thierry Henry was pretending to care about the New York Red Bulls, Ronaldo was 250 pounds and playing for Corinthians, Ronaldinho was strung out in a nightclub somewhere in Mexico while moonlighting in Liga MX.
Sadly, David is very much cap-tied and banging in goals for Canada. Would love to see him in Liverpool red, too.Bump for today's first leg matchups (3pm EST):
Lille @ Chelsea
Juve @ Villarreal
Everyone here is probably familiar enough with the Blues, so I'll give some info on the other 3. Lille are an interesting team, as they sit the farthest down of their domestic table of the 4 clubs playing today, and by a wide margin. They have a negative GD. But, they have some fun names and players so other than Chelsea fans I assume they'll have most of the support stateside (Pulisic notwithstanding). The headlines re Lille's squad IMO are Canadian/American Jonathan David, American Tim Weah, and
senior citizenRenato Sanches who has been around forever and is likely to have tired legs at the age of 3624. They have some other interesting young players in Dutch CB Sven Botman (22), LW Jonathan Bamba (25), RB Zeki Celik (25), and CB/RB Tiago Djalo (21). They also have Hatem Ben Arfa.
WRT to David, he was born in Brooklyn and listed as having Canadian citizenship--not sure if he's capped yet. If he's not, I don't know that there's another player the USMNT needs to be recruiting harder. David is 22 years old, and has been banging in goals in major European leagues for the past 3 seasons. Lille jumped on him after an 18-goal campaign in Belgium (Jupiler) for Gent in '19-'20. He scored 13 for Lille last season, and already has 12 this season.
Juve have been knocked off their Serie A perch and currently sit 4th in the new and improved Calcio. They're in a dogfight for the UCL top 4, with AC, Inter, and Napoli well ahead of them, and Atalanta, Lazio, Fiorentina, and Roma playing good ball and close on their heels. Perhaps this is sharpening them up for UCL football, or they're just not the beast they used to be. They still have a star-studded squad list (Chiesa, Dybala, de Ligt, Morata, Locatelli, Kean, McKennie, etc.) and they won the Vlahovic sweepstakes, but Chiesa and Dybala are injured, and they're scoring just isn't up to the new prolific (?!??) Serie A scoring numbers. I'm not sure if Vlahovic is up and running yet (paging @SocrManiac ), but Dybala going down hurts since he leads them in goals and assists on the season with 12 and 6 respectively. The D has been good, but not the stingiest in the league (that would be Napoli (!?!)).
Villarreal are definitely a favorite non-Barca Spanish club of mine. I mean, their nickname is the yellow submarine! They're firmly in the best 6 of La Liga, which is no longer a 2-team league, and is hopefully returning to at least a 4-team league, and perhaps even a healthier 6-8 team league. Spurs supporters will either love or hate rooting for Villarreal, as old friends GLC, Foyth, and Aurier all play here--personally, that makes me like Villarreal more. They have some excellent young talent in CB Pau Torres (25), LW Arnaut Danjuma (25), RW Yeremy Pino (19), and others. But despite having some really interesting young players, the old guard (Moreno, Triguero, Albiol, Parejo, and Capoue) are among the club leaders in appearances.
He’s hit the ground running. Initial impressions were that he’d transformed the attack but the inconsistency bug (Or Allegri wanting a goal for a 1-0 win) has bitten back. I don’t know what he’ll really be without Dybala as the two have been playing off each other beautifully.