UEFA Champions League- Quarter/Semi Finals

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Subsequent semi pools:

Barçelona/Manchester United vs. Liverpool/Porto
Tottenham Hotspur/Manchester City vs. Juventus/Ajax

The Camp Nou/Old Trafford legs will be switched with the first game in England because of a local authority ruling that City and United can't play on the same or consecutive nights. Red Devils were given the bump because the Blues are an earlier grouping.

I mean, the two squads couldn't be more different than 10 years ago, but historically the Reds are 1-4-3 against Blaugrana in CL play. Probably the worst matchup for them out there, as Paul Scholes is not walking through that door.
 

rguilmar

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Wouldn’t this be a fun final four in terms of shear quality? Barca, City, Juve, Liverpool
 

Boston Brawler

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Quarter Final Draw:

Ajax v Juventus

Liverpool v Porto

Tottenham v Man City

Barcelona v Man Utd


Semi Final Bracket:

Tottenham/Man City v Ajax/Juventus

Barcelona/Man Utd v Liverpool/Porto



Match dates/times expected to be announced within the hour. First leg will be 9/10 April. Second leg 16/17 April. Semis first leg will be 30 Apr/1 May, followed by a 7/8 May second leg.
 

Zomp

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Nightmare draw for United, but at this stage you're going to get a good team no matter what.

I have all the favorites going through. There is a decent chance if Barca are going to win this they'll have to play 3 English teams to do it.
 

coremiller

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Worst possible draw for Spurs; City are the hardest, least interesting matchup. Also Spurs now have to play twice at the Etihad in four days.
 

InstaFace

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that's too bad, I was rooting for no intra-EPL matchups. What were the odds of that? Lemme think... 4/7 * 3/5 * 2/3 = ~23%. Ah well.
 

Zososoxfan

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This is probably the weakest quarterfinal group we've seen in 10 years but also the most wide open.
Attributable mostly to down years for Bayern and Real, United's stunning upset of PSG, and Atleti drawing Juve in the R16.

On paper Barca should rock United, but OGS has some crazy juju going right now and Barca have not been at their historic best this season (see Lyon first leg). Nevertheless, I think Barca wins out by dominating MF, United struggling to score, and United setting up too aggressively.

Liverpool should handle Porto but Reds supporters don't seem convinced of their own side quite yet. I'll defer to the Scousers on details here.

Citeh will probably roll Spurs over two legs, but on their day Spurs have the quality to hang with anyone. But the likelihood of the whole squad being on their game twice while still clinging to a top 4 ECL spot is low. Citeh and Pool seem like fairly safe bets to progress.

Ajax-Juve should be a great matchup. Juve may just outclass the Dutch and roll, but Ajax do have the look of a side that could create problems for an older Juve squad. Nevertheless, I'm banking on Juve's experience to get them by a talented side.

All that being said and I think the Barca-United tie is the closest to call. I may be underestimating Barca (who will likely be without Dembele for at least the first leg), but I think the other matchups have bigger disparities between the clubs.
 

teddykgb

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There’s always a team or two that sneak into quarters and a few big matchups that knock out true contenders early. This doesn’t strike me as especially weak.

That said, Ajax are getting entirely too much credit here. That Madrid team is a shell of the reputation it carries. They’re not even top in a relatively poor domestic league (although they are second). They were in a relatively poor group (Bayern, Benfica, AEK) which they progressed out of mostly due to h2h results against Benfica. It was wonderful to watch them turn over a really poor Madrid squad but I find the idea of them also taking Juve wuite improbable. I just don’t think people are separating well enough the Madrid myth from its current reality.
 

coremiller

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There’s always a team or two that sneak into quarters and a few big matchups that knock out true contenders early. This doesn’t strike me as especially weak.

That said, Ajax are getting entirely too much credit here. That Madrid team is a shell of the reputation it carries. They’re not even top in a relatively poor domestic league (although they are second). They were in a relatively poor group (Bayern, Benfica, AEK) which they progressed out of mostly due to h2h results against Benfica. It was wonderful to watch them turn over a really poor Madrid squad but I find the idea of them also taking Juve wuite improbable. I just don’t think people are separating well enough the Madrid myth from its current reality.
FWIW, a lot of advanced metrics absolutely love Ajax: 538's model has them ranked as the 10th best club, ahead of Napoli, Spurs, Valencia, Arsenal, Dortmund, Man Utd, and Porto. That seems too high to me, but they are clearly much better than any Dutch teams have been for a while.
 

Titans Bastard

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FWIW, a lot of advanced metrics absolutely love Ajax: 538's model has them ranked as the 10th best club, ahead of Napoli, Spurs, Valencia, Arsenal, Dortmund, Man Utd, and Porto. That seems too high to me, but they are clearly much better than any Dutch teams have been for a while.
Does 538’s model count as advanced metrics?
 

teddykgb

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Does 538’s model count as advanced metrics?
I was surprised to read it but loooked into their SPI a bit and it seems to include Transfermarkt player values as an input. This may correlate well but it seems prone to overrate precisely the kind of team Ajax is with young, valuable players who have high value for their potential
 

Titans Bastard

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I was surprised to read it but loooked into their SPI a bit and it seems to include Transfermarkt player values as an input. This may correlate well but it seems prone to overrate precisely the kind of team Ajax is with young, valuable players who have high value for their potential
Their rankings include both MLS and USL teams. Last season, their rankings had the reserve team of one club (can't remember, maybe RSL) ranked ahead of the first team. So I'm skeptical...
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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There’s always a team or two that sneak into quarters and a few big matchups that knock out true contenders early. This doesn’t strike me as especially weak.

That said, Ajax are getting entirely too much credit here. That Madrid team is a shell of the reputation it carries. They’re not even top in a relatively poor domestic league (although they are second). They were in a relatively poor group (Bayern, Benfica, AEK) which they progressed out of mostly due to h2h results against Benfica. It was wonderful to watch them turn over a really poor Madrid squad but I find the idea of them also taking Juve wuite improbable. I just don’t think people are separating well enough the Madrid myth from its current reality.
This field is comparatively weak not because a few teams sneaked in but because there just isn't the same quality at the top. The trio of Real, Barca, Bayern were just exceptionally strong in the past decade - for an unusual confluence of reasons - and now have come back to earth. IMO, there are no teams this year (including Barca) that holds a candle to many of the Real/Barca/Bayern clubs of the past 10 years. There were probably some years where all three of those teams were better than any side in the competition this year.
 

rguilmar

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This field is comparatively weak not because a few teams sneaked in but because there just isn't the same quality at the top. The trio of Real, Barca, Bayern were just exceptionally strong in the past decade - for an unusual confluence of reasons - and now have come back to earth. IMO, there are no teams this year (including Barca) that holds a candle to many of the Real/Barca/Bayern clubs of the past 10 years. There were probably some years where all three of those teams were better than any side in the competition this year.
I agree with this. Since I am heavily biased towards Barca, 2008-2009 has always been a dividing line for me as it was the first great Messi/Xavi/Iniesta team (Pep’s first year as coach, Pique and Dani Alves brought in). The Barca of Pep Guardiola was as good as any team I’ve ever rooted for.

Cristiano Ronaldo moved to Madrid in 2009, and those years were similar to 2003-2004 Sox/Yanks in terms of being an arms race between the two Spanish giants (Kaka, Ronaldo, Zlatan, Neymar, etc). Real-Barca formed almost the entirety of the Spanish national team, the best of years for La Furia Roja.

The rise of Germany was fueled almost entirely by Bayern. There were years where it felt like BM had the entire German national team plus Ribery, Vidal, Tiago, Robben, Lewandowski and so on.

Barca and Bayern are still among the world’s very best clubs, with Madrid a tick below. But they are nowhere near what they were in the past decade, no other clubs have replaced them. Those were just absurdly good teams.
 

thehitcat

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In Amsterdam coincidentally for work this week can’t get to the match but does anyone know of a fun place I could watch the match without being overwhelmed by hash fumes.
 

InstaFace

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Tuesday:
Liverpool v Porto, 3pm ET
Spurs v Man City, 3pm ET

Wednesday:
Ajax v Juventus, 3pm ET
Man United v Barca, 3pm ET

Return legs on opposite days next week.
 

teddykgb

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This field is comparatively weak not because a few teams sneaked in but because there just isn't the same quality at the top. The trio of Real, Barca, Bayern were just exceptionally strong in the past decade - for an unusual confluence of reasons - and now have come back to earth. IMO, there are no teams this year (including Barca) that holds a candle to many of the Real/Barca/Bayern clubs of the past 10 years. There were probably some years where all three of those teams were better than any side in the competition this year.
Feels like you’re discounting Liverpool and City because of familiarity. City took a hundred points last year and are competing for a domestic treble and/or quad. While certainly not Pep’s Barca I think this team is as good as any of his Bayern sides. And Liverpool knocked City out last year while pushing them in the league this year. These are two really strong sides which would hold up in any year of this comp IMO. I think this year’s Barca is quite strong as well and Juve with Ronaldo are likely as good as many of the squads you mentioned also.
 

Boston Brawler

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I know I’ll be in the minority as a City/Barca supporter but I predict City, Juve, Liverpool, Barca advance. And it ends with a City/Barca final.
 

Morgan's Magic Snowplow

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Feels like you’re discounting Liverpool and City because of familiarity. City took a hundred points last year and are competing for a domestic treble and/or quad. While certainly not Pep’s Barca I think this team is as good as any of his Bayern sides. And Liverpool knocked City out last year while pushing them in the league this year. These are two really strong sides which would hold up in any year of this comp IMO. I think this year’s Barca is quite strong as well and Juve with Ronaldo are likely as good as many of the squads you mentioned also.
Its a tricky comparison in some ways because we know what the other sides accomplished and the level at which they played in Europe, whereas the book is still open in that regard on a team like City or the current incarnations of Barca and Juventus. Pep's Barca plus the first MSN year when they won the treble, Bayern under Heynckes and the first year or two with Pep, and several of the Madrid teams are for me just a cut above any team I've watched this year. If I see City, Juve, or Barca stomp all over the Champions League while playing at a really really high level, I could certainly reevaluate that opinion.
 

Zososoxfan

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Fun little prompt I saw on reddit for the NHL playoffs, adapted for 'Gazza': write a potential headline for the QF that no one would believe 3 years ago.

e.g. EPL clubs claim 3/4 spots in the semis, as Spanish, German, and Italian clubs miss out.
 

SocrManiac

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We're going to see a binky lineup (Milner/Henderson/Gini), aren't we? Can I dare hope their last fixture was used as a warmup with Keita/Fabinho/Gini?
 

Catcher Block

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That's a brutal call on Rose. Shot hit him in the arm as he went into a slide to block it.

Not a single player on the field appealed for the call when it happened. PK saved anyways.
 

teddykgb

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Sterling appealed immediately but it's another dumb call. It has to be a penalty after what they called on Otamendi in the last round and the United one in Paris as well but this interpretation of the rule is incredibly harsh
 

teddykgb

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Also I'm an unabashed Pep fanboy but this lineup tonight was an incredibly strange one. Impossible to know what little injuries exist but with him the tinkering is usually tactical and to say it has left me scared would be an understatement. Mahrez has been a complete bust at City it's absolutely astounding that he's selected in this match. Delph starts out of nowhere, Bernardo Silva has been probably our most consistent great player all year and he's not selected...it's a complete mess