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Thread: Europa League 2016/17

  1. #1
    Biased against YOUR club pineapple stu's Avatar
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    Europa League 2016/17

    Got to love this time of year.

    Kairat Almaty 1-1 Maccabi Tel Aviv.

    Andrei Arshavin for Kairat. Yossi Benayoun for Maccabi.

    Some blasts from the past!

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  3. #2
    The Cheeto God Real ale Madrid's Avatar
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    It would be an Almaty shock if Tel Aviv don't progress from there.
    If a dog weighs under 50 lbs it's a cat, and cats are useless.

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Full draw:

    Group A: Man Utd, Fenerbahce, Feyenoord, Zorya Luhansk

    Group B: Olympiacos, Apoel Nicosia, Young Boys, Astana

    Group C: Anderlecht, St Etienne, Mainz, Qabala

    Group D: Zenit St Petersburg, AZ Alkmaar, Maccabi Tel-Aviv, Dundalk

    Group E: Plzen, Roma, Austria Vienna, FC Astra Giurgiu

    Group F: Athletic Bilbao, Genk, Rapid Vienna, Sassuolo

    Group G: Ajax, Standard Liege, Celta Vigo, Panathinaikos

    Group H: Shakhtar Donetsk, Braga, Gent, Konyaspor

    Group I: Schalke 04, FC Red Bull Salzburg, Krasnodar, Nice

    Group J: Fiorentina, PAOK Salonika, Liberec, Qarabag

    Group K: Inter Milan, Sparta Prague, Southampton, Hapoel Beer Sheva

    Group L: Villarreal, Steaua Bucharest, FC Zurich, Osmanlispor

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Entertaining night in the Europa League, with three of the four ties going to extra time and the other decided by the odd goal.

    Ajax dug very deep to pull it out of the fire in Gelsenkirchen with ten men. Apparently, and in keeping with tradition, they have a good young side, mostly 21 year olds or less.

    Cork City, Tottenham, and their almost namesake's conquerors, Genk, finally came unstuck against Celta Viga.

    Man Utd scraped through by the skin of their teeth, comprehensively outplayed for the majority of the first half but missed a host a good chances in the second and extra time. Rojo and Ibrahimovic both went off with knee injuries and appear doubts for the rest of the season. It would be a shame for Zlatan to miss the final in Sweden should United make it.

    Lyon and Besiktas played out a high quality penalty shoot-out with the French side eventually progressing. Besiktas goalkeeper Fabri's mistake in the first leg proving very costly.


    It seems pretty much wide open despite the bookies heavily favouring United.

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Semi Final Draw:

    Ajax v Lyon
    Celta Vigo v Man Utd

  8. #6
    International Prospect OwlsFan's Avatar
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    God, but references to "vital away goals" irritate me no end. The RTE sports reporter mentioning the Man Utd vs Celta game said that the tie favoured the former because they had the "vital away goal". I would love to have sat her down and asked her how that goal would ever be calculated as an away goal no matter what the score ended up at Old Trafford. They were leading 0-1 end of.

    Didn't see the game. Was it on any channel ? Bit like the FA Cup these days. Hard to find a station showing it. Smart of Mourinho as identifying this way to get back to the CL and also win a trophy. So Ajax are the opponents. They have an exciting end to their season as well. In the Dutch Eredivisie Feyenoord lead them by 1 point going in to the final game. Ajax are away to a bottom half team and Feyenoord at home to a mid-table side. Really hope Feyenoord do it.
    Forget about the performance or entertainment. It's only the result that matters.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    It's Eir/BT Sport that show the Europa League.

    It's kind of sad that the Europa League is identified primarily as an avenue for CPL qualification rather than a worthy prize in itself.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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  11. #8
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    Lyon vs Ajax was brilliantly rubbish last night. Bad misses, sliced clearances, players slipping at key moments, but a gripping finale.

    I only turned onto the Man U game in injury time. How close was Giudetti to winning it?!

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    He's getting a lot of stick but I don't think it was that bad miss really, Beauvue played the pass far too firmly and it wasn't really on anyway with Giudetti closely marked. Beauvue should have probably tried to tuck it inside Romero's near post but easy to talk afterwards. Giudetti's "Manchester is blue" comments beforehand probably hasn't helped him gain much sympathy.

    It did look written in the stars that he was going to score though, given the nervous energy in the stadium and the way things have been falling for United at Old Trafford this season, it really would have been the ultimate kick in the balls for them.

    I only saw very brief highlights of the Lyon-Ajax game but the defending looked amateurish alright, even in that short reel. On those grounds United will be favourites but in a one off game you'd never know, and the occasion certainly won't faze Ajax as a club.

    The United Review programme cover from last night was pretty clever I thought, about halfway down the page. - http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/39877812

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  14. #10
    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    One of the reasons I've turned on away goals is situations like last night, where at kick-off Vigo needed two goals to win the game, then United scored and Vigo needed two goals to win the game. Obviously one goal at the start would have been enough to force extra time, but it still bothers me.

    For a team with De Gea, Pogba, Mikhitarian and Zlatan in it, with potential world class youth like Martial, Lingard and Rashford in the mix, United have been so underwhelming this season. Their home form has been awful - something like ten draws at OT in the league - and they look wobbly in every area of the pitch if the opposing team is even half-way disciplined in formation and mindset. Losing Bailly for the final is a big problem, as he has been their most consistent defender.

    It will help that there are three dead rubbers in the league for Mourinho to rest players and avoid more injuries. Smalling and Jones are coming back at the right time too. But Ajax really shouldn't be overawed at all. United's attack can be shut down and their back four is easily breakable. When the pressure is really on, and it will be to get into the CPL for financial reasons, they'll struggle.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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  16. #11
    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Could probably have used a little Zlatan knowhow for that final as well. Against an inexperienced team it could have made all the difference. Total agree that United are nothing to fear from an Ajax perspective, but they'll have to up their game defensively it seems.

    Roy Keane is right that United should be embarrassed about being so far off the pace for the league title, never mind top four, but I don't think they're as far away as the league table suggests either. The had an insane run of games that the ball just wouldn't go in and they should have been ten plus points better off. Of course this can be put down to poor finishing, etc. but even allowing for that some of the final scores were mind boggling in light of the general flow of the games.

    Whatever about their ambitions at the start of the season, given the fact that they've been out of the title race for months I do think they will be doing cartwheels with two trophies and CL qualification, should it materialise.

    Don't get me started on that evil away goals rule.

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    Seasoned Pro CraftyToePoke's Avatar
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    I'd love to see creativity overcome industrialism in the final but Jose's ability to set up specifically for one off games, to nullify and overcome will be in play in a big way. Hopefully Ajax, I think the game overall will benefit more from that than Man U needing a CL pathway. Ajax (and Dutch football presently) could do with it, European football needs a healthy competitive Amsterdam club, they are one of the few who have put it up to the powerhouse league club elite with any consistency down the years.

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Ajax halting United's expected return to the Champions League would be very entertaining.

    Superstitious Mourinho's nerves were gone towards the end of the Celta Vigo game the other night as he, in very distressed fashion, started kissing the tattoo he conceals under his watch in a desperate appeal to the gods for some sort of supernatural deliverance from the impending danger.

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Tonight is obviously overshadowed by what happened in Manchester, and, without meaning to appear insensitive to the tragedy, I do wonder how it may effect the United squad. Rashford is a Manchester native, Lingard is from nearby and lived in the city since the age of seven, Pogba in his teens, etc, so it's not like a team that has only a surface-level connection to the city.

    It's a two-edged sword, as you can argue that it may inspire the team, but on the other hand they may not be in the right place mentally and using the attack as a motivational tool can backfire. Reports from English fans in Stockholm make for depressing reading, and if that transfers to the team...

    I'm also struck by the talk of how young Ajax are (they played a team with an average age of 20 and four months in a recent league game), but it's not like United are geriatrics in comparison (and little bit of extra experience in such matches is vital).
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    International Prospect DeLorean's Avatar
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    Yeah, the psychology of the game is fascinating. Maybe, in a strange way, it has eased the pressure on United. It really is a season defining game for them and the weight of expectation and consequences of failure are massive for the club. Maybe (from a pressure point of view) it was a timely reminder that there are more important things in life than football and they can relax a little. They looked like a side absolutely crippled with nerves in the second half against Celta Vigo.

    Ajax are the complete opposite. Obviously it's a big occasion for them too but there's very little expectation to deliver, a fearless young team in bonus territory and Champions League qualification for next season already assured.

    Mourinho will definitely need to call upon his greatest psychological powers to produce a performance from his team this evening. If they do deliver, it could be his 'Mark Robins' moment!

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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverFeltBetter View Post
    Reports from English fans in Stockholm make for depressing reading, and if that transfers to the team...
    Have you any links to reports on this? I'd imagine the mood is quite solemn and subdued, yet defiant. It's hard to know how that will play out for the United team on the field later.

  23. #17
    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DannyInvincible View Post
    Have you any links to reports on this? I'd imagine the mood is quite solemn and subdued, yet defiant. It's hard to know how that will play out for the United team on the field later.
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/40025580

    The text of this article has been altered a bit since this morning but the relevant part is towards the bottom:

    One supporter said: "I don't want to be here, I didn't want to come. I've been getting messages all day: 'Look after yourself.' But it's them who have been targeted - it's Manchester, not Stockholm."
    Another said: "We can't get drunk, enjoy ourselves, take pictures of ourselves enjoying ourselves in nice scenery and send them back home to Manchester. We can't do that. The whole mood's absolutely flattened."
    One fan said the atmosphere at the airport was "like we'd already lost", adding: "There's lads I have known for years who are absolute jokers who were sat there so quiet. It's so sombre. We've got to win this now for the people of Manchester. I live near the Arena and was woken up by the sirens. It's heartbreaking."
    Another said: "Football does become secondary but what we won't do is fall to these people. All we can say is our thoughts are with these families. We'll get behind our team, and when the game's finished, our thoughts will turn back to these people."
    Of course, once the team is out and if United were to get stuck in quick, then it will be all different. But if Ajax were to take the initiative, go ahead, then I think it would be easy for fan and player emotions to snowball into negativity.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    Seasoned Pro NeverFeltBetter's Avatar
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    Jeez, I don't know if anyone else is watching BT Sport, but they are laying it on thick and fast. If United lose this game they might consider it an insult to the victims.
    Author of Never Felt Better (History, Film Reviews).

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    Coach BonnieShels's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NeverFeltBetter View Post
    http://www.bbc.com/sport/football/40025580

    The text of this article has been altered a bit since this morning but the relevant part is towards the bottom:



    Of course, once the team is out and if United were to get stuck in quick, then it will be all different. But if Ajax were to take the initiative, go ahead, then I think it would be easy for fan and player emotions to snowball into negativity.

    I think Danny read it like I did that there was trouble. Dave McIntyre and Killer were saying the atmosphere between fans was great and defiant and friendly. I was shocked at your post initially. Phew.


    Quote Originally Posted by NeverFeltBetter View Post
    Jeez, I don't know if anyone else is watching BT Sport, but they are laying it on thick and fast. If United lose this game they might consider it an insult to the victims.
    Not like the Brits to stoke the passions with fear. Utd were always going to win this at a canter I thought. Regardless of Monday.
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    Capped Player DannyInvincible's Avatar
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    There's Davy Keogh saying "hello":


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