Any games on today?
Oh man, Europa League. You know what I’m going to do for you today because I like you? I’m going to send you off to this Bleacher Report article on the remaining group stages and which matches mean what. And before you crawl down my throat about sending traffic to BR, you’ll be pleased to know there are NO SLIDESHOWS.
Anyway, the full list of fixtures is here. The only game of interest whatsoever, being perfectly honest, is St. Gallen vs Swansea City. Even then, the Swans need only a point to progress to the next round. Yay.
As for last night’s results, here are the remaining sixteen teams in the Champions League and the final group standings. As for which teams can draw who in this Monday’s knockout round lottery, hey! BR again!?
What’s the big story today?
Arsenal lost 2-0 to Napoli in their final group stage match, finished second, and will now face either Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern, Atletico, or Barcelona in the round of 16. There is a lot of angst. Arsene Wenger was even-tempered about the whole thing:
“Of course, to finish second makes the potential draw more difficult. Maybe this year we will be a bit luckier [although] if you look at the teams, you know we will have a difficult draw.
“On the other hand, we have qualified for the 14th consecutive year for the last 16. Maybe number 14 will give us a bit of luck. There is regret. That is the frustration because you feel it was open for us to do better. But it could have been worse tonight as well.”
Indeed. At least they’re in the party, and a Champions League run always involves playing difficult teams at one stage or another. Hence the competition. And there is always the prospect of “Now we can focus on the league” should they get railroaded in the next round. Much ado about whatever…
Any other news?
That Hull City to be renamed Hull Tigers thing? The thing that’s happening because Assem Allanm has convinced himself that this name will preclude some sort of global commercial success because he is a megalomaniac who can’t see reason and said City fans could basically die? It’s this much closer to reality.
Everton are preparing to fend off player-hoarding suitors in the Premier League after Ross Barkley, clubs who’d love nothing more than to shelve an exciting young talent by giving him a giant bag of cash to sit on the bench in the league and then stroll around against Yeovil Town in a League Cup match from time to time.
The Mirror reports via a terrible photoshop job that Chelsea are yet again going to try to throw in for Wayne Rooney this summer. In more realistic transfer news, the Blues are also looking at a £13 million bid for St. Etienne defender Kurt Zouma.
Germany riding high as four Bundesliga sides progress to the round of 16 in the Champions League.
Watch Thierry Henry and Gary Neville make fun of Jamie Redknapp on television.
Any fun stuff?
You might want to stay away from Juergen Klopp when he’s in a good mood (via Reddit Soccer):
Any good reads?
The Guardian has a nice round up of the highlights and lowlights of the Champions League group stage. The best team might surprise you—Atletco Madrid:
Atlético Madrid may have had one of the easier draws of the competition – Porto, Zenit and the debutants Austria Vienna – but the old adage of only having to beat the team in front of you holds true. And Atlético did that with aplomb. At home they won all three of their matches and away they only dropped points at Zenit, who were the eventual runners-up in the group. Diego Simeone’s side also went through with a goal difference of 12 – second only to Real Madrid, equal with Bayern, and scored by a team put together for a fraction of the cost of either.