We all love Dortmund. Even those that claim to hate the Borrusia side have a soft spot for Klopp’s men because they play an exciting brand of football and have arguably the best fan base in all of sports. Klopp has been the spearhead of the club’s meteoric rise and continued success in the club’s domestic and continental campaigns. Jurgen Klopp is somewhat of a polarizing figure. He is adored by and players of the club but is well known for his rants and tirades at officials and opposing coaches. Dortmund is well-known as somewhat of a “feeder system” for German giants, Bayern Munich, and I think losing almost every world class player has taken a toll on Klopp. He says, “I always said in that moment where I believe I am not the perfect coach anymore for this extraordinary club I will say so. I really think the decision is the right one. This club deserves to be coached from the 100% right manager.”
This begs the questions, where will Klopp end up? Manchester City seems like the logical choice. Klopp has been rumored a Premier League manager for years now and with City’s lack of success this season, Manuel Pellegrini finds himself on the managerial hot seat. Could Klopp be successful at City, in what seems to be the exact opposite type of club that Dortmund is? I’m sad to see him go and I am not sure if there is another manger better suited for the Dortmund job. Only time will tell but it is safe to say that Klopp will find himself in the Premier League next year.
Another FA Cup round down, another massive upset. Continuing on the theme of the FA Cup this season, a Premier League club falls victim to a lower-league club. The unexpected victim this time around – Arsenal. So how many other 2nd and 3rd tier squads knocked out a Premier League squad? Read below and I will be nice and keep count for you.
The first few rounds of the FA Cup produced huge upsets from low level competition. Newcastle started off the major upsets by losing to Championship League Brighton & Hove Albion…losing 2-0. (Big upset tally = 1) Brighton & Hove Albion would put up a fight against Arsenal in the following round and ended up with a respectable result by only losing 3-2. Then, a not as surprising result saw Sunderland lose to recently relegated Bolton 2-0. (Big upset tally = 2)
The next round began with another Premier League squad falling to a Championship League squad: Aston Villa falling to Millwall. (Big upset tally = 3) A rather shocking upset also occurred this round when Norwich fell to Luton Town (who?) 1-0. (Big upset tally = 4) Luton Town was just happy to be in the 4th round.
They probably burnt the town down after the Norwich victory.
Continuing the theme here, Milton Keynes Dons, a League One side, knocked off a rather disappointing QPR squad 4-2. (Big upset tally = 5)
Two of the largest upsets occurred on the same day. A mid-table Championship League Leeds United beat a resurgent Tottenham side 2-1. (Big upset tally = 6) The most impressive upset of the FA Cup, in my opinion, was when Liverpool fell to a bottom of League One table Oldham Athletic (once again, who?)
Ohhh THAT Oldham Athletic (said no one). (Big upset tally = 7)
That brings us to the most recent upset of the Cup – Arsenal’s 1-0 loss to recently relegated Blackburn Rovers 1-0. Blackburn was more than satisfied to pack the box on defense and let Arsenal hold all the possession they wanted. Without the creativity of Wilshere and Cazorla for 3/4 of the match, Arsenal lacked the creativity needed to breakdown a conservative defensive approach. Blackburn got a rather fortunate bounce on a Szczesny save that came right to Kazim-Richards and his mishit shot looped into the back of the net in slow motion. I am in complete agreement with Arseblog’s Murphey’s Law reference in that whatever could go wrong seems to have gone wrong for Arsenal this season. A Capital One Cup loss to Brentford is also up there for head scratchers this season for the Gunners. One wonders how Arsenal can respond in their toughest test of the season on Tuesday against Bayern in the Champions League clash (more on that tomorrow).
Final big upset tally = 8
Oldham Athletic continued their improbable run against Everton yesterday and earned a 2-2 draw and a replay, so the big upset tally is technically not final; however, Everton SHOULD come away with a victory at home in the replay. Today, Manchester City and Chelsea were able to hold the upset tally at 8 while they both convincingly beat their lower-tier foes 4-0.
It seems as though one of the Premier League giants will still come away with the FA Cup crown. Although, it’s been a fun ride for some of the most unexpected names in English football – not so much for some of the top level squads who were part of this intriguing trend.
A few points from the first half at the Allianz Arena:
Chelsea came out in similar shape to that of the semis. Despite not creating any real chances, Chelsea had some bright points going forward and it definitely seems like they could find the goal on the counter. The game opened up for Chelsea at times. Bayern has looked a little shaky at times around their own eight. For me, the most dangerous person going forward has been Gary Cahill… that will most likely have to change for Chelsea for them to come out on top.
Bayern attacked as expected. Robben has been a bit more dangerous than Ribery. Muller is doing well playing as a reserved forward. Gomez will be shaking his head thinking back to the first half; two very good chances didn’t find their way into the back of the net.
Although Bayern was by far the better team in the first half (possession, chances, corners, etc.), the longer Bayern fail to take advantage of their opportunities, the more pressure will be piled on the team and the more confidence Chelsea will gain. This is precisely where Chelsea want to be.
Still could go either way at this point, but I’m only slightly less confident in my prediction. A goal from Gomez will leave me in a much more comfortable spot.
In other news, what the hell is on the back of Kalou’s head? Also, interesting Abby Wambach commercial at the break. Good for her.