Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Champions League MegaPowers Doddering In Round of 16, Peppers, LT Movin' On

- It's been an interesting Round of 16 in the Champions League so far. Last week, we had powerhouse Real Madrid falling in the first leg of their matchup with B-listers Lyon, Arsenal getting beat by Porto, a perennial power but in a weak Portugese league, and AC Milan losing 3-2 at home to Man U. The trend we're seeing is powerhouse clubs like Real and Arsenal in real danger of getting eliminated in the Round of 16. Yesterday, it was defending Champions Barcelona's turn to come up short of expectations.

On paper this looked like a walkover matchup for Barca. The defending La Liga and European champs and current leaders of La Liga against the ninth place club in the supposedly inferior Bundesliga? Seems like a mismatch. However, Barca had to leave it all out on the pitch just to come away with a 1-1 draw in the first leg of this matchup. Barca trailed 1-0 going into the locker room at half, on a goal from Stuttgart's Cacau. Zlatan Ibrahimovic tied it early in the second half, and Barca could only manage a 1-1 tie despite dominating possession and coming close to going ahead on another Ibrahimovic opportunity later in the match.

Let it be known that for the purposes of this year's Champions League, Bordeaux is my team. The plucky French side impressed in the group stage, beating out Bayern Munich and Juventus for first place in their group, and they continue to impress with a 1-0 away win to open their elimination match against Greek side Olympiakos. Bordeaux leads Ligue 1 and now looks like they are set to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals, and if Lyon can hang on against Real we'll have a bizarre instance of 1/4 of the remaining Champions League club being from Ligue 1, which is a surprise to say the least.

We've got more Champions League action today. Sevilla goes to Moscow to face CSKA, and in the marquee match of this whole tournament so far, Jose Mourinho hosts his old club, Chelsea. The rumors are flying that if Mourinho doesn't bring home the Champions League trophy this year, he could be gone, possibly replaced by Bordeaux's coach.

- There was a Premier League match yesterday too. Man U rebounded from their loss to Everton this past weekend, taking it out on West Ham 3-0 at Old Trafford. 2 more goals for Wayne Rooney, giving him 23 on the season. Michael Owen also scored. United is now one point back of Chelsea for the league lead.

NFL news!

As expected, he's been released by the Chargers. Where next for LT? Well, he wants to play for a winner, so I'm going to go out on a limb and say he is going to end up with New England, who has a long and storied history of signing of old running backs (Corey Dillon, Fred Taylor). The thing is, LT averaged 3.3 yards per carry last year in an offense that had a great passing game to take that 8th man out of the box. I really don't think he has anything left. Prove me wrong, LT. Prove me wrong.

Has been granted his freedom by the Panthers. In my book, he's the big prize of this weird free agent season where there's no salary cap but certain teams aren't allowed to sign anybody. Peppers has double digit sack totals each of the last two seasons. Rumor is the Bears have designs on making him one of Rod Marinelli's Rushmen.

Ochocinco has been lobbying for the Bengals to sign him, but it looks like that's going nowhere. Good thing too. I had them both on one of my fantasy teams last year. That team went 2-10-1. Horrible locker room.

The biggest contributor to that 2-10-1 season has been released by the Eagles. Westbrook had big time concussion problems, and we should all hope he hangs em up for his own good.


Patrick N said...

What about the weird no salary cap but can't sign anyone off season? I don't get it.

Nick Pomazak said...

The NFL's collective barganing agreement has expired, so this will be the first season since 1993with no salary cap. However, there is also a clause in place that none of the final I think its 4 or 8 teams in the previous years NFL playoffs can sign an unrestricted free agent unless they lose one of equal or greater value. It's really weird. So basically they will be playing without a CBA in 2010, then the owners are going to lock the players out in 2011 to get a new deal done that drastically puts more restrictions on free agency. The NFL also has a court case in the Supreme Court which if they get the verdict they want will allow them to be recognized as one entity, not 32 separate entities, meaning no antitrust to worry about, meaning the owners can do whatever they want to hold salaries down if they win, collusion is a-OK, it is a big ole mess.

Patrick N said...

sounds like bad news coming for the nfl :/