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Soccer Wednesday: Your Running Commentary

FernandoTorresChelseaTottenham2012-1 (Getty)

By DAN KARELL

The race for a place Champions League comes down to the wire as Chelsea hosts Tottenham in Premier League action today.

The two London clubs are locked in battle with their London rivals, Arsenal, for the third and fourth positions in the table, which would give the team a chance to play on Europe’s biggest stage. Currently Chelsea sit in third place with 68 points, Tottenham in fifth on 65 points. Juan Mata scored twice and assisted on another in the reverse fixture, a 4-2 Chelsea win at White Hart Lane.

Also on Wednesday, Serie A and La Liga spring into action, with no fewer than nine matches in Italy including the mouth-watering affair of Inter Milan against Lazio. Both Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid take the field today, with the former facing Malaga at home and the latter taking on Celta Vigo on the road.

On Wednesday evening, the second-legs of the Copa Libertadores Round of 16 get underway, as Ronaldinho’s Atletico Mineiro host Sao Paulo and last year’s Brazilian league champions Fluminense host Emelec.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s TV schedule is after the jump):

1:30pm – BeIN Sport en Español – Celta de Vigo vs. Atletico Madrid

2:45pm – Fox Soccer Channel – Chelsea vs. Tottenham

2:45pm – BeIN Sport USA – Inter Milan vs. Lazio

3:30pm – BeIN Sport en Español – Real Madrid vs. Malaga

9:00pm – Fox Deportes – Atletico Mineiro vs. Sao Paulo

82 comments
  • Mig

    No Clint, it’s Adebayor up top with Lennon, Holtby, and of course, Bale.

    Chelsea goes with Torres over Ba. A bit surprising and the lineup of the Mata-Oscar-Hazard almost look like Chelsea might try to attack on the ground. Since they only need a draw, I thought to see a bit more of a cautious arrangement.

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    • TomG

      What the heck is AVB’s obsession with Adebayor? It’s become comical and has pretty much cost Spurs a CL spot this season with all the minutes he’s logged and the lack of production. AVB may be too rigid and stubborn to be a top manager in a top league. He doesn’t seem to adapt at all.

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      • 1234

        Adebayor makes like 5million pounds a year. that’s a lot of cash for a player. he has to play him

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      • TomG

        Your obligation as a manager is to win matches and trophies, not to play high priced players.

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  • Chris

    Chelsea starting Torres so T-ham has already won.

    Dempsey not starting though, so I no longer give a shit.

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    • jones

      I don’t think it’s a strike against him – more of a combined tactical and circumstantial thing.

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      • Eurosnob

        It’s not a strike against him, but it appears that AVB forgot that Dempsey shows up for and delivers in big games (e.g. both games Manchester United, Europa league quaterfinals, etc.).

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  • jones

    Spurs lineup mostly makes sense – Clint probably loses out due to the Dembele injury (Holtby is the “creative” replacement) and the fact that they are going a bit more defensive-minded vs Chelsea with two DMs. I still don’t really like Bale in the middle though, so we’ll see what his role really turns out to be.

    Adebayor, imo, doesn’t deserve the start, but his height will be good against Chelsea.

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  • atd

    Battle of the has-been strikers! (To be fair to Torres, he’s been waaay better than Adebayor this year.)

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    • atd

      Ade with a goal, Torres with an assist. This comment has not aged well.

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    • jones

      He hasn’t been that great this year coming back from injury – it’s been too long to be rust, so I’m not sure what the deal is.

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      • beachbum

        he lost the ball as usual in the final attacking 3rd, then failed to stop Hazard who broke free from the sideline to cut inside and create the initial chance too

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      • HoboMike

        Parker lost Oscar at the far post. Ball-watching.

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      • Rowsdower

        sure did but Adebayor one job was to prevent anybody near the 6 yard box to get a head on the ball. Adebayor made up for just now though.

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      • Mig

        The goal wasn’t his fault. The corner came in over his head, it was another marker that lost Cahill.

        And losing the ball in the attacking third is not to blame for a successful counter, especially when you are a striker. There is a lot of grass and teammates between point A and B.

        Cheers!

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  • beachbum

    Lloris seemed to just let the ball that setup the corner for the goal go out of bounds, didn’t layout to keep it in, and Spurs are punished on the ensuing corner. Lloris is good of course, but Spurs often seem kind of flat this year, more watching than playing sometimes. I don’t know…….

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    • jones

      yes, maybe passive is the right term for it. they need to take the game to their opponents more, though I still don’t think they have a good idea of their identity as a team. will be interesting to see how it evolves into the next season.

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      • beachbum

        passive…good word to describe it. Spurs could use a stud along the backline

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  • 1234

    has there ever been a striker like Torres (young, world class, good goal scoring record) whose gone from GREAT in 2009 to straight flop in 2011? I mean did all the injuries in England catch up to him? Is it just the curse of transfering to Chelsea from Liverpool?

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  • HoboMike

    Whoa. And that’s why Adebayor plays. Every now and then….genius.

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  • beachbum

    well that was an awesome goal from Adebayor, top shelf

    Ade taketh, and Ade giveth back today

    beautiful goal

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      • beachbum

        not his best form that day, to put it mildly. now that he’s already scored early in this one, he might play very well the rest of today, with confidence. we’ll see, he hasn’t done that for a while

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    • Nate Dollars

      do spurs have a song for ade that says “he scores when he goddam feels like it”?

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  • Mig

    I think Ramires has finally ran out of gas this year. He looked tired vs. ManU and was neutralized by a good performance by Anderson. Today, he has been fairly invisible and really looks a step off the game.

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  • Scott

    Adebayor, hasn’t been on Arsenal for several years and still somehow screws us over.

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  • Scott

    Parker looks like a traffic cone again and a really nice finish for Ramires!

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  • Scott

    Certainly seems like Oscar, Hazard and Mata are to fast and combining too well for the slower, less rangy Huddlestone and Parker duo

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    • Eurosnob

      Parker and Huddlestone are average players that should not be starting on a team with CL aspirations in a critical game – I know, the injuries did not help the Spurs.

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    • Mig

      This midfield lineup with Ramires and Luiz behind them for structure and distribution is pretty devastating. Next season, I think Chelsea is going to be a ridiculous handful as Hazard and Oscar have a full EPL season behind them.

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      • Sly

        Jesus I hope not. Liverpool has to get Eriksson then. and Wanyama.

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  • Nate Dollars

    is anyone else kind of sad to see the ‘zorres’ era gone? whether or not it was the mask that made him play better (it did), it at least made it seem like he played different than the disappointment he had been.

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    • Mig

      But maybe Zorres has found himself and is now comfortable enough to return to the limelight, no longer hiding his true self behind a mask, excelling as he once did, fighting crime, saving babies…oh…sorry, got carried away. I guess his nose is better.

      Like

  • Mig

    Yet another British announcer that defines every play with more negative than positive. Guy is positively joyless.

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  • Scott

    OH MY GODD. Ramires. I’m not what is hurt worse, his leg or his pride.

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  • Mig

    This game has been a model of hard, fair play. It may get chippy later but to this point it has been very cool.

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    • Scott

      And Mike Dean has done a good job, even though he hasn’t had much to do.

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      • Mig

        yes, he has. No harsh yellows, allowed advantage when appropriate.

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  • Mig

    These guys apparently don’t watch Chelsea much. Hazard has generally runs out of gas most games. He will need to improve his conditioning which does happen later with some players. He is only 22.

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    • Mig

      maybe on the lean but as a Chelsea fan, I am not THAT upset by the call. It was close.

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      • Scott

        As an Arsenal fan I want Spurs to lose and Adebayor to be terrible. So i’m certainly a bit biased. hahaha

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    • beachbum

      he was off just barely, but he played a great game today, best I’ve seen from him in months, could have scored on other occassions too

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  • Mig

    On another front, Roma looks a bit doomed after their loss to Chievo and today’s games. Lazio and Udinese win. Roma’s last two games are @Milan and home to Napoli. Ooof.

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    • bird

      They looked horrible yesterday too. I thought Pjanic should have been subbed for Lamela at half. Roma was very sloppy on the ball and passes were off target quite a bit……In any event Malaga had 4 red cards (2 straight and 2 double yellows) today in their match vs Real Madrid so Gooch got some time and should also get a start this weekend, since both of the CBs were red-carded and should be suspended…..

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  • bryan

    Gooch played the final 20 minutes or so today against Madrid. sadly the score was already 5-2. and it ended 6-2.

    Like

  • DaveW

    Do the Mexican playoff games tonight(the “away” games of Monterrey-Tigres, 8pm ET and Pumas-América, 10pm ET, both on Univision Deportes) belong here or in another thread?

    Like

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