A lot of people, especially in England and the United States, tend to look down on Europa. Being doomed to play on Thursday nights is the epitome of shame and other unpleasant emotions.
But here’s the thing: Europa does matter. I’m not saying that people have to like it, but they need to stop dismissing it. Why?
Two words: UEFA coefficient.
These seem to crop up everywhere after each round, and usually they’re either saying the same thing or saying something worthless. (Or both.)
So here’s my take on the four most important things we learned.
Zenit/Anderlecht is already underway, but that’s okay. I’ve already got it all down in UEFA’s match predictor.
Speaking of which, yesterday totally broke my awful E-H record. I’m a little annoyed at second guessing myself on Valencia – I originally had 0-3 and ended up changing it to 1-3 – but still, good day for me.
Helped along, of course, by the fact that I successfully played a joker and my three “well, I won’t get anything for predicting it the other way, anyway” all played out. Celtic, Nordsjælland, and Braga defied expectations and won me almost 300 points.
Anyway. Onto today. It’ll probably go terribly, just as payback for such a good day yesterday.
Wow. Just wow. The results from yesterday honestly could not have been any more perfect. Well, I would have vaguely liked to see Juventus win, but seriously, whatever.
Anyway, onto Barcelona. Nervewracking, terrifying, put the Deportivo match to shame in the anxiety it provoked (but not in the entertainment value – I’m not sure Depor even own a bus), but they pulled it out at the last possible second with Jordi Alba scoring his third goal in two games. And this one was in the right net! Yay, Jordi!
Major talking points:
Yeah, I know Spartak/Benfica has already started, but I already had the predictions down on the UEFA match predictor, so you’ll just have to take my word for it.
I am dreading today, by the way. For matchdays 1 and 2, I killed on the groups A-D day. Like, I got multiple scorelines right, I got almost all of who-scored-firsts right, I walked away with a lot of points. And then I killed that lovely record with the E-H day, because apparently I’m incompetent at predicting groups E-H.
It’s already started, by the way.
Making predictions is no fun if one doesn’t look back and say, “Nice try, self. Better luck next time.” Or, in rare situations, “Wow, self, you must be psychic! (Or bribing the ref. For Madrid/Barcelona/Zaragoza/take your pick.)
I said last time that the Uefalona-Barca “always” play a man up thing was a little complicated. In PKs, however, it’s not complicated in the slightest. “Uefalona” is a complete myth. Barcelona don’t even really stand out in the raw number of PKs they’ve been granted, and once you start looking at how many PKs relative to minutes played…