Still Not the Super League: Champions League 23/24

Zososoxfan

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City-Madrid hasn’t been exactly a tactical masterclass by either side, but the talent on display on those goals is just a sight to see.
Exact same can be said for Barca-PSG. Lots of individual brilliance, attacking and defending, but both sides lacking cohesion and getting pulled apart.
 

rguilmar

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And Dortmund hit the post at the death.

Four outstanding matchups and so finely balanced.
 

trs

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Got a bit lucky to hm keep that 2-1. But, please, no more Correa when it matters against teams that aren't in the bottom third of La Liga.

Dortmund crumbling under consistent pressure should show a way but just not sure Atleti has the plantilla to do that.
 

Zososoxfan

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Roberto belongs nowhere near a UCL QF and MATS really needs to do better if Barca are gonna win this tie. Perhaps the biggest problem is that once again Barca have no clear solution for the pivot. Roberto was pretty good in the first half in attack, but once Lucho adjusted PSG, he was badly exposed in transition and in defense. Christensen is surprisingly solid there, but he (and Roberto for that matter) are suspended for the semi.

Xavi can go with Oriol, Pedri, Gundo, or FDJ, but that hasn't been the answer for years. It might be time to roll the dice and try a CB there--but even that seems farfetched, as Kounde, Araujo, and Cubarsi all played well (individually, as a unit not nearly as much). Martinez is the only other CB on the squad, but he seems like a terrible fit for DMF. Maybe you bring him in and let Araujo move up? That sounds like a terrible idea, even as I type it.

Perhaps a switch to a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 is the answer. Who knows.
 

bosox4283

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Got a bit lucky to hm keep that 2-1. But, please, no more Correa when it matters against teams that aren't in the bottom third of La Liga.

Dortmund crumbling under consistent pressure should show a way but just not sure Atleti has the plantilla to do that.
Agreed on Correa. Memphis being out was really bad for Atlético.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Roberto belongs nowhere near a UCL QF and MATS really needs to do better if Barca are gonna win this tie. Perhaps the biggest problem is that once again Barca have no clear solution for the pivot. Roberto was pretty good in the first half in attack, but once Lucho adjusted PSG, he was badly exposed in transition and in defense. Christensen is surprisingly solid there, but he (and Roberto for that matter) are suspended for the semi.

Xavi can go with Oriol, Pedri, Gundo, or FDJ, but that hasn't been the answer for years. It might be time to roll the dice and try a CB there--but even that seems farfetched, as Kounde, Araujo, and Cubarsi all played well (individually, as a unit not nearly as much). Martinez is the only other CB on the squad, but he seems like a terrible fit for DMF. Maybe you bring him in and let Araujo move up? That sounds like a terrible idea, even as I type it.

Perhaps a switch to a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3 is the answer. Who knows.
How has Gundogan played in this role? He used to spell Rodri there when at City. Pep once started him in a CL final as a pivot 6.
 

Zososoxfan

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How has Gundogan played in this role? He used to spell Rodri there when at City. Pep once started him in a CL final as a pivot 6.
I was super down on Gundo during the early part of the season, but he really picked it up once Christensen started playing DMF. The club's fucked finances and ego has led them to the point where they have a pretty solid squad all over, but lack a true starter at DMF. That's why Roberto started today. And TBF, in the first half Barca were the better side and it was in part because they controlled the MF through possession and were countering very effectively.

OTOH, I feel like Lucho's (and Mbappe, and Vitinho, and Lee Kang In) halftime speech (and very much needed changes) was basically like, "hey guys, you see #20 over there? I know he crushed the club's spirit a decade ago, but like, he's old and terrible. Go at him." The first goal wasn't really on Roberto (what the actual fuck MATS?!?), but the second goal was painful to watch, and I was basically holding my breath until Roberto came off.

Speaking of Lucho, WTF was he doing in the first half? Asensio looked terrible and taking Marquinhos out of the middle let Lewa dominate that key area in the first half, and it's not like he was particularly good at shutting down Raph on the right. Hernandez is a fine player, but a CB he is not.

Since I don't watch much PSG, I want to shout out Barcola and LKI as both looked really skilled on the ball and were threatening in the way modern football values. Methinks we're going to be hearing about both of those guys a lot this summer (read: EPL suitors), but they're locked into longterm deals, but are due for pay raises at a minimum. Vitinha also looked very good in possession.

Getting Hakimi back for the 2nd leg is immense. I'm also surprised Kolo Muani hasn't played much this season. He seems like an immense talent and is 25! Same goes for DMF Ugarte, who's 23.

Finally, I think 2 other Barca players deserve a ton of praise for their performance. First, Kounde did about as well as anyone possibly can against Mbappe. They're France NT mates, so he's probably gone up against him a ton in training, but to do it on the biggest club stage--wow. Lewa was also immense tonight. He was the pressure release valve all night, fought like a madman all over, and his offball movement led to both goals from open play.
 

Kliq

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Thought that was a PK live. Surprised it was given as a free kick.
 

rguilmar

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Dortmund have scored to level it. Barca are up two but down a man. I’m thankful for the multicast
 

Kliq

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Xavi now dismissed because he kicked some camera equipment at midfield.
 

Kliq

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I think it was a penalty, that comes across as especially "cruel" given how much Barcelona have been in the referees book this game. Cancelo immediately waving his finger to the ref before he even completed the tackle was kind of a sign.
 

rguilmar

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I think it was a penalty, that comes across as especially "cruel" given how much Barcelona have been in the referees book this game. Cancelo immediately waving his finger to the ref before he even completed the tackle was kind of a sign.
I’m more of the mind that it was a soft pen to call, Cancelo seemed to get ball then man, but once it’s called you can’t overturn it either. It could go either way for me. I wouldn’t like it to determine the tie though.
 

DJnVa

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And now Dortmund levels.

EDIT: And goes ahead.

Coefficient issues for Spurs :(
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Wow. I would not count on Lewandowski missing that too many times. Seemed like his kind of moment.
 

Kliq

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The game is still sitting there for Barca--they are generating a lot of chances for a 10 man side.
 

DennyDoyle'sBoil

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Pretty rough for Barca. Have to watch Mbappe help knock you out before leaving to join your biggest rival.
 

bosox4283

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The Atlético match played out how one would expect given Atleti’s horrible away form this year and that they started the old dudes - Azpilicueta (34), Koke (32), Griezmann (33), Morata (31), Witsel (35), Hermoso (28 but plays both like a kid and an old man), and Giménez (29 but his body is like a thousand). The team was simply too slow the whole first half and Simeone was forced to make drastic changes in the second half.

The changes actually worked but Atlético could not hold on in the second half. The comeback makes me feel “too bad, that’s harsh” but really the brush with victory masks how dreadful the team has been away and the fact that the team needs to get younger and spend in the right places to compete for titles.

Lino’s absence was bad for the team, but it was equally bad that the back-up option was Azipilicueta and not Riquelme or someone younger. Atleti spent $20 million this winter window on a young Belgian midfielder to play as a 5 but he didn’t see the pitch and seems far away from being able to take over for Koke. Riquelme and Barrios have some great upside but, comparatively, Barca’s and Real Madrid’s youngsters are perhaps developing faster and playing better and contributing more.

And while Correa was great today — which is nearly impossible to believe — Morata is on the wrong end of the aging curve and Memphis is made of glass, so Atleti impressively almost made it through with zero goals from their top two strikers. Yuck.
 
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bosox4283

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@Zososoxfan — the writer for AS, Alfredo Relaño, who I suppose is the editor and at least writes the main recaps for the site/paper, names only one Atleti player for being bad or even very bad — Molina. He says that those who’ve watched Atlético for years can name at least a dozen better RBs.
 

rguilmar

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The difference in the two stadiums is stark. Crystal clear in Manchester, so smoky that it messes with the advertising display in Munich.
 

rguilmar

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Both games are flowing now. Looks like another entertaining day for those of us without a rooting interest