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Matchday: Euro Champions League

Manchester United is at Porto following a 2-2 draw at Old Trafford in the first match, an outcome that provided the Portuguese club with the advantage on away goals.

Meantime, Arsenal has an edge on Villarreal after gaining a 1-1 tie in Spain in the first leg.

Chelsea and Barcelona are already through to the semifinals. Can two more English clubs join the Blues?

The semis are set for April 28-29 and May 5-6. The final is May 27 in Rome.

Today's TV coverage has begun:
-- Porto-Manchester United on ESPN2
-- Arsenal-Villarreal on ESPN Deportes and Setanta

Your in-game and postgame comments are encouraged. Enjoy!

By Steve Goff  |  April 15, 2009; 2:36 PM ET
Categories:  Euro Champions League  
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Next: Thursday Kickaround

Comments

Wow Ronaldo...Just wow. freaking laser beam!

Posted by: DadRyan | April 15, 2009 2:53 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting sick of ESPN's English-only policy, so I'm pulling for Villarreal and Porto. That would leave only one English team alive, and they'd be against the best team in the competition (I'm already resigned to the fact that, should the other semifinal be Porto-Villarreal, ESPN will show both legs of Barca-Chelsea). The odds would favor a non-English final, which might be the first non-English game ESPN's shown live in years.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 15, 2009 2:54 PM | Report abuse

That is so Anglophobic :-)

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 15, 2009 2:57 PM | Report abuse

Can't get any streams to work for the Arsenal/Villarreal match...
Looking on Rojadirecta, anyone got anything else? Linky pretty please..

Posted by: DadRyan | April 15, 2009 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Wow Ronaldo...Just wow. freaking laser beam!

Posted by: DadRyan

Was it ill-tempered?

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

I'm pulling for that American's team...but VCF really doesn't have a chance, down 2 goals now, without Senna.

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 3:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm home from work early and I'm watching Law & Order UK instead of Champions League? What's wrong with me and did I just hear them say something about Ronaldo spooning?

Posted by: sitruc | April 15, 2009 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm getting sick of ESPN's English-only policy, so I'm pulling for Villarreal and Porto.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 15, 2009 2:54 PM

Yes, Villareal-Porto, which will be watched by dozens of people on ESPN2! That'll show ESPN for airing matches that get better ratings!

Wait till the Champs League moves to FSC and they... do the exact same thing.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 15, 2009 3:23 PM | Report abuse

Law & Order UK? BBC America?

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

ESPN Gamecast"Great interception by Vidic and he nails Hulk at the same time, fairly."

Hulk angry. Hulk not like Vidic.

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 15, 2009 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Was it ill-tempered?

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 3:09 PM

You mean like you get every time that Italian kid from Jersey plays?
;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | April 15, 2009 3:35 PM | Report abuse

I am convinced I-270 does the gamecast commentary. Here's a quote:

Television has just shown that Ronaldo's strike was from just shy of 40 yards. Ridiculous goal, and for tonight he is worth every last piece of preening smuggery.

Posted by: teamn | April 15, 2009 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Villarreal now down 2-0 today

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 4:07 PM | Report abuse

What an idiot. Penalty for Arsenal, caused by Godín. Eguren argues, gets his 2nd yellow. Duh.

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

3-0 Arsenal

Posted by: DadRyan | April 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

Make that 3. I'm not sure why ESPN keeps showing English clubs dominate this competition.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 15, 2009 4:12 PM | Report abuse

with that, Go Porto!

Posted by: DadRyan | April 15, 2009 4:15 PM | Report abuse

Villareal's consolation, a summer trip to the US?

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 15, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Porto couldn't finish. So many chances left begging...

Posted by: the_slammer | April 15, 2009 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Rossi could've used Jozy (and Senna).

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 4:43 PM | Report abuse

Who actually thought Ronaldo would make a shot from out there? Certainly not the goalie.

And, wow, Walcott has a career ahead of him.

I don't think Villareal deserved it. All in all, this is a very good Champions League.

Posted by: UnitedDemon | April 15, 2009 4:54 PM | Report abuse

270:

Is there a psychological term for a phobia consisting of being bored by seeing the same 4 teams over and over again, even when other teams of equal or greater interest are available?

Kev29:

You're putting words in my mouth. I never said I thought they should show non-English teams for the ratings. All I said was that I'm bored by it, and hope that the competition prevents it naturally. Just because it's sound programming doesn't mean I have to like it. By that logic, I should love reality TV and CSI: Wichita. Actually, to go one further, if I should automatically like what's popular, I'm wasting my time on a soccer blog.

I can already see Manchester United and Arsenal in the league and cup. How many times have they played in the past few years (ditto for Liverpool-Chelsea)? Villarreal-Porto would have been much more fascinating than seeing something that I can get many Saturday/Sunday mornings throughout the year.

You're right about FSC doing the same thing (with lower production values and worse PBP announcing). I won't like it then either. I mostly just miss the possibility of seeing a team I've never seen before, or a contrast between two less-familiar leagues.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 15, 2009 5:00 PM | Report abuse

So, Arsenal has a shot at redemption, after struggling through much of EPL season. Anyone think they can beat ManUtd? For that matter, does Chelsea have a chance at getting back to the final and giving Terry his shot at redemption?

Right now, I make Barcelona the favorites to beat ManUtd in the final.

Posted by: fischy | April 15, 2009 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Englennui

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 15, 2009 5:15 PM | Report abuse

I don't think Villareal deserved it. All in all, this is a very good Champions League.

Posted by: UnitedDemon

They have been rather poor in 2009; they don't deserve it.

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 5:17 PM | Report abuse

Here's the thing. Either Arsenal or Chelsea will get bounced out of the FA Cup on Saturday. If United beat Everton, that keeps them in three competitions (PL, FA, CL). If Chelsea lose in the cup, they might still have a shot at the league, but they really want the Champions League. If Arsenal lose in the cup, Champions League is their only trophy. While United fight on three fronts, Arsenal and Chelsea are likely to put all their eggs in the CL basket. Should make for good semi-finals.

Posted by: BlackandRedRedDevil | April 15, 2009 5:22 PM | Report abuse

Chest is spot on. I'm sure we are all fully aware that ESPN, and FSC in the future, will continue to ride the ratings train that English teams pull -- as they should, as ratings are their main objective. I, however, do not work for either of those stations, so I don't care in the slightest about their ratings. I want to see a match that interests me, and if the tv doesn't have it -- and only once this season has it -- I will find an online stream that does.
Also, interestingly, it seems that ESPN forgot that Arsenal are an English side -- they haven't been featured on the main ESPN2 match once this campaign, they've stuck solely with ManU/Liverpool/Chelski against whomever the opposition might be. Only now in the semis will the Gunners be on the tube.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | April 15, 2009 5:26 PM | Report abuse

i saw Arsenal play on ESPN2 in the summer time. Qualifiers(?)/Play in for this edition of Champions League. I know that's splitting hairs, but I remember it like it was yesterday;-)

Posted by: DadRyan | April 15, 2009 5:57 PM | Report abuse

270:

I've got Webster's on the phone for you. That is exactly my condition.

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 15, 2009 6:50 PM | Report abuse

why does the FA keep bringing up the "39th Game"? they already have Champions League!

Posted by: dimesmakedollars | April 15, 2009 7:03 PM | Report abuse

Arsenal v Villareal was showing on espn classic.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | April 15, 2009 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Arsenal v Villareal was showing on espn classic.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | April 15, 2009 7:06 PM

-----------------------------------------

Well yes, they show those games, but always on a delay and always on stations not on the basic package. Whatever I-270 has diagnosed Chest with, so he can with me. This English Big 3 bias is disgusting and would only get worse if ESPN kept the rights (and it will with FSC).

The last matchday of the group stage had Real Madrid-Juventus as a possible choice. ESPN even listed it as their game on the Deuce, but instead showed Chelsea-Cluj. No disrespect to Cluj, but two European giants would have been a much better viewing.

And for those who say ratings would suffer, what proof do you have? Your personal viewing interest? In mine, Real-Juve or Barca-Bayern would have been just as good and maybe drawn in some new viewers.

Posted by: Josh8 | April 15, 2009 7:52 PM | Report abuse

It's actually possible FSC will have better PBP announcing next year as they may just be picking up the English language feed they get from UEFA. At least we'll never have to hear Tommy Smyth ever again. Something has to be said for that!

Posted by: fedssocr | April 15, 2009 8:00 PM | Report abuse

I don't mind Mr. Smythe, to be honest

Posted by: carmines757 | April 15, 2009 8:10 PM | Report abuse

FSC president on fox fooball fone-in said Fox will be using UEFA based feed commentators for next year's champions league games as he pointed out that they have already invested significant amount to find the quality commentators so they won't do like espn. Although I don't mind Darek Rae and Adrian Healey. Not because they have english accents but because of the right tune.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | April 15, 2009 8:18 PM | Report abuse

Sorry Chest - I blame my grumpy afternoon. I think you'll see a bigger variety of teams via Fox next season if they use FX and regional networks as rumored. And I have Setanta, so Im a little spoiled

Personally, Im not tired of English teams in general, just the same four. And as a group competition with multiple country entrants this Cup has gotten really stale. Though Liverpool can still bring some magic to the late stages.

Posted by: Kev29 | April 15, 2009 8:57 PM | Report abuse

Law & Order UK? BBC America?

Posted by: Reignking | April 15, 2009 3:24 PM

ITV via um... means

Posted by: sitruc | April 15, 2009 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I want to see a match that interests me, and if the tv doesn't have it -- and only once this season has it -- I will find an online stream that does.

Posted by: mjhoya12 | April 15, 2009 5:26 PM
---------------------------------------------

Fortunately, ESPN doesn't program based on what interests you. They're trying to appeal to the most viewers. Ratings aren't an abstract idea -- they represent people. If more people want to watch ManUtd, they'll get a higher rating. They'd be doing a disservice if they programmed the less appealing match.
-------------------------------------

Also, interestingly, it seems that ESPN forgot that Arsenal are an English side -- they haven't been featured on the main ESPN2 match once this campaign, they've stuck solely with ManU/Liverpool/Chelski against whomever the opposition might be. Only now in the semis will the Gunners be on the tube.

Posted by: mjhoya12
---------------------------------------

This really does put the lie to the notion that they're simply programming English teams. They're programming the top English teams. Arsenal wasn't in the top 3. More to the point, they're programming the teams with the greatest recognition factor. Without a doubt, ManUtd, Liverpool and Chelsea are three of the 4 or 5 most recognizable soccer brands. Arsenal isn't.

The fact that these teams are also English represents gravy for ESPN (and FSC), because, outside of our North American neighbors, the largest immigrant group in this country are the English -- and they happen to be rabid fans. Once again -- we're back to ratings and the games with the largest appeal.

As for Arsenal-Villareal -- it was televised live, on ESPN Deportes. Also online, with ESPN360. Yes, you don't get those for free with Comcast, but you do with Verizon.

In the end, this thread seems much ado about next to nothing.

Posted by: fischy | April 15, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

I might also note that if AC Milan were still in this competition, there's an excellent chance that ESPN might have featured their game.

Posted by: fischy | April 15, 2009 10:56 PM | Report abuse

... with a one-hour pre-game show on what's-his-name.

Canada-based FSC is obligated, through some sort of Commonwealth subjugation, to televise EPL. Fortunately, they give us a decent serving of teams with American players (aka not the top 4).

Posted by: I-270Exit1 | April 15, 2009 11:23 PM | Report abuse

DCUFootball:

I'm glad that it won't be Bretos or (it sends a shudder down my spine to even type his name) Christian Miles. Sullivan actually would be just fine; if he and Derek Rae could be paired, I think we'd be onto something.

Kev29:

It's no big deal. Hopefully the context-free void of the internet didn't make me sound angry.

Since you bring up the group stage, I think that's where ESPN is more annoying. In the knockout round, it's highly likely that 1/4 of the remaining teams will be English, with that portion increasing with each passing round. In the group stage, though, there are 32 teams. I'm not asking to see the minnows in every game, but maybe some of the other big clubs that happen to be from another country would be nice. Lyon, Bayern, PSV...I can cope with entrenched power. I'd just like to see different entrenched powers from time to time. I was much more fascinated by Porto than Man. U., because they're a rare commodity.

fischy:

Ado about nothing is one of the hegemonic Big Three of the internet, along with porn and spam. What else were we supposed to do?

***

Interesting parallel:

Mexican clubs made up 3 of the 4 semifinalists in the CCL, and the only team to eliminate a Mexican club was another Mexican club (Cruz Azul over Pumas).

English clubs make up 3 of the 4 semifinalists in the UCL, and the only team to eliminate an English club was another English club (Chelsea over Liverpool).

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | April 16, 2009 1:37 AM | Report abuse

"I'm wasting my time on a soccer blog."
-Chest Rockwell

-------------------------

I'm sure your boss agrees! ;-)

Posted by: troy6 | April 16, 2009 2:59 AM | Report abuse

It was actually general manager of FSC who said champions league commentators will be UEFA feed based, not the FSC president. I am correcting myself posted above.

Posted by: DCUnitedFootball | April 16, 2009 7:35 AM | Report abuse

Football on the continent has been exposed as an empty Hulk.

Posted by: shovetheplanet | April 16, 2009 8:55 AM | Report abuse

I'm sure your boss agrees! ;-)

Posted by: troy6 | April 16, 2009 2:59 AM

Troy - haven't you heard?...

Study: Web browsing at work leads to increased productivity

http://www.coloradoan.com/article/20090404/UPDATES03/90405005

Post away! :-)

Posted by: Kev29 | April 16, 2009 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Chelsea is a good, but Liverpool is better. Next time, The Reds is going to be The Champion League. I guess i have to read this site to make myself calm.

Posted by: Joko1 | April 20, 2009 5:00 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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