Tuesday, March 25, 2008

More Championship Parody

[Sorry about the delay in posting -- I was away last week for my spring break.]

But with Hull City's 2-0 victory at Leicester City last Saturday, the Tigers are now in 3rd position, and just two points off an automatic promotion spot. In case you were unaware, Hull City have never been in the top flight.

Who currently rounds out the top 2 you may ask? Well, two other clubs haven't never been in the top flight in eons: Stoke City and Bristol City.

Below are the standings, from 1st to 10th:

1) Stoke 68pts
2)Bristol City 67

3)Hull City 65
4)Watford 65
5)West Brom 63
6)Plymouth 59

7)Ipswich 59
8)Crystal Palace 58
9)Wolves 58
10)Charlton 57

The biggest shock in the above table is Charlton. Favorites for automatic promotion back into the BPL, the Addicks hovered around the automatic and playoff spots all season. But the club hasn't won since March 1st, and only gained 5 out of 18 total points this month. With the season drawing to a close, this drop in form is troubling for a squad that shouldn't be in this position to begin with.

It would be easy to say the same for Watford, who have drawn seventh straight matches. Since selling Marlon King back on January 25th, the Hornets have won just three times -- and that was immediately after the transfer. But they are still in the thick of automatic promotion, just two points from the top 2.

At the bottom of the table, Colchester seem resigned for relegation back to League One. Eleven points from safety, and winless in nine the U's stint in the Championship is all but over.

Yet the big battle will be for the last relegation spot, where 5 clubs are separated by just two points. FA Cup-upset masters Barnsley, broke Southampton, Cookie's Coventry, Crazy Serbian Mandaric's Leicester, and venerable Sheffield Wednesday are all headed to the wire.

This weekend has some pivotal matches with Hull City hosting Watford, Wolves traveling to Charlton, Coventry home to Plymouth, and Stoke going to Hillsborough.

If only it was all on TV...

Friday, March 14, 2008

And on to the Quarterfinals...

Wow, I really got a lot of my predictions wrong.

I thought Spurs would go through, but forgot they're and English club and thus can't win in penalties. I thought Marseilles would go through, but forgot that in the 4 previous matches where they needed at least a point to advance (CL included), they lost 3 of those (and are now 4-for-5). And Hamburg...so sorry to see you boys go. And its probably be the last time Van der Vaart plays for HSV in Europe.

Below are highlights via footytube:
(Home team in CAPS, aggregate in brackets)

WERDER BREMEN 1-0 Rangers [1-2]

SPORTING LISBON 1-0 Bolton [2-1]

EVERTON 2-0 Fiorentia [2-2p]

Tottenham 1-0 PSV EINDHOVEN[1-1p]

Anderlecht 2-1 BAYERN MUNICH [2-6]

HAMBURG 3-2 Bayer Leverkusen [3-3a]

ZENIT ST. PETERSBURG 2-0 Marseille [3a-3]

GETAFE 1-0 Benfica [3-1]

Lastly, the draw was today and is as follows:

Leverkusen vs. Zenit
Rangers vs. Sporting
Bayern vs. Getafe
Fiorentia vs. PSV Eindhoven.

The first leg is scheduled for April 3, the second April 10th. I'll post a preview when the first leg nears (but I'm going with Zenit as the darkhorse).

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

big day for relegation

With Brum traveling to Pompey and Boro to Villa to play their games in hand, it's a big day for the relegation battle. Here's how the table currently looks:

12. Boro 29 -17
13. Wigan 28 -16
14. Reading 28 -21
15. Newcastle 28 -26
16. Keane-O 27 -21
17. Brum 26 -10
18 Bolton 25 -14
19. Fulham 20 -23

Pulling an upset would be huge for both clubs. For Boro, they would put 7 points between them and Bolton (who have a game in hand: next Tuesday at Old Trafford). For Birmingham, they would leap up to 13th and be able to breathe -- albeit slightly.

The relegation battle is going to be exciting probably even after the fat lady sings. Screw what Blatter thinks, games like today make the sport truly unique.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

UEFA Cup Round of 16 Second Leg Preview

The Round of 16 concludes this week with a majority of the teams playing on Wednesday and just four on Thursday. The only team with their tickets punched to the next round is Bayern Munich, who absolutely demolished Anderlecht, at Anderlecht, 5-0. Everyone other match is a total crapshoot. Here’s how I see things:

[home team listed first]

Wednesday’s Fixtures:
Zenit St. Petersburg vs. Marseille (1-3)
After upsetting Villarreal, I thought Russian-league champions Zenit were the darkhorse. But Marseille have already proved their mastery of any Ruskie club after they romped Spartak Moscow 5-0 on aggregate. Expect Olympique to advance.

Hamburg vs. Bayer Leverkusen (0-1)
Leverkusen took the first match of the Bundesliga rivals by only a goal, so this one could easily go either way. I really cant tell who will win this, so because I’m a Hamburg fan, I’ll stick with them.

PSV Eindhoven vs. Tottenham (1-0)
Jefferson Augustin Guadalupe Farfan (yes, that’s his actual name) scored for PSV in one of the biggest surprises of the first leg, but Tottenham seem to have recovered from their post-Carling Cup hangover after they thrashed West Ham 4-0 over the weekend. Spurs will go through.

Everton vs. Fiorentia (0-2)
The other shocker in the previous leg was Everton’s insipid display in Italy. The Toffees’ (i.e. Yakubu) need to rebound significantly at Goodison, otherwise they’re done in Europe this season.

Bayern Munich vs. Anderlecht (5-0)
If you’re knocked out of an Ultimate Frisbee tournament, you often play ‘consolation’ games. What can ensue – provided both teams have good spirit – are “fun” points where you run around and do silly things: like playing with two discs, only throwing upside down, or category points (to name a few). This match should do something that.

Getafe vs. Benfica (2-1)
I know nothing about either club, but Adu is on Benfica. So go Portuguese.

Thursday’s Fixtures:
Werder Bremen vs. Rangers (0-2)
Unfortunately for Rangers, scorer Daniel Cousin is out with a broken jaw. Which is karma because he should be on Fulham right now. But otherwise expect Rangers to dig in with a 5-4-1 (or something of the like), and play for a dull 0-0.

Sporting Lisbon vs. Bolton
Sporting got a vital away goal at the Reebok, which is good news for them. But Bolton just can’t seem to die, so they’ll probably advance. And I'm going to be angry.

Friday, March 7, 2008

UEFA Cup Round of 16 Recap

The first leg of the Round of 16 was completed yesterday, and below are scores and highlights via Footytube and elsewhere.

Even with the exception of Bayern's demolition of Anderlecht, the away teams fared pretty well. PSV and Getafe won their matches, Sporting drew 1-1, and Zenit St. Petersburg managed to at least score.

The biggest surprises though were Getafe's aforementioned 2 goals at Benfica, Hamburg not scoring at Leverkusen, Tottenham still in their Carling Cup hangover, and Everton not getting off the bus at Fiorentina. I would also commend Marseille's victory over Zenit St. Petersburg (who upset Villarreal last round), but cannot considering they played in those peach-color kits again.

Oh yeah, and congrats to former Fulham man Steven Davis and once-potential transfer (thanks FIFA) Daniel Cousin on scoring last night. Its not like your respected former and future club need(ed) you or anything.

(Home Team in Caps)

Bayern Munich 5-0 ANDERLECHT

RANGERS 2-0 Werder Bremen

BOLTON 1-1 Sporting Lisbon


Getafe 2-1 BENFICA

MARSEILLE 3-1 Zenit St. Petersburg

FIORENTINA 2-0 Everton

PSV Eindhoven 1-0 TOTTENHAM