By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
It’s Thursday, by the way. Send gifts.
1. Aston Villa beats Queens Park Rangers this weekend. I’ve sworn off watching Aston Villa matches for the rest of the season, but I can still cheer for them. A win in this match could potentially put Villa 6 points clear of the relegation zone with 8 matches to play. It would also be doubly successful in that QPR would be 7 points behind Villa and would need to win roughly half of their matches even to have a chance. They wouldn’t be safe from relegation, but it would require the bottom clubs to improve significantly the last couple months.
2. MLS teams to beat Mexican teams in the CONCACAF Champions League this week. Unlike many American fans, I have no ill will toward Liga Mex fans – I remember cheering for Pachuca in the SuperLiga a few years back. But with that said, MLS teams winning in the Champions League – and as I type this, Seattle looks on the verge of knocking Tigres out, will not only improve MLS’s standing on the continent, but the world stage as well. Which means better players will come in. And Mexican teams will quit so obviously playing B teams when they play MLS sides in these types of matches. Win-win. And Pachuca isn’t competing, so no harm done.
3. A Champions League final that isn’t Barcelona vs. Real Madrid. There are plenty of fun, quality teams left in the Champions League – Bayern, Dortmund, PSG, Malaga (if they beat Porto, or Porto if they win), Galatasaray. Clearly Barcelona and Real Madrid are probably favorites for this along with, I don’t know, Bayern and PSG, but I’m bored to death by El Clasico. And Barca in general. Sure, great players, mostly great team, but other teams have long ago figured out how to play them – sure, it might not work most of the time, but their matches are guaranteed to have one team passing the ball endlessly through the midfield and along the backline. Probing, then passing back. It’s dull. Without a serviceable, direct attacking forward, Barca are horribly predictable, whether or not they have three of the best players of the world. And it does not make for good watching. I’d much rather take, say, Bayern-Dortmund or Gala-Bayern. Yes, please.