Manchester City vs Ajax and Schalke vs Arsenal: Champions League Open Thread

No pressure Manchester City. But you’re expected to win today. It doesn’t have to be convincingly — although that would help. But it’s time to start playing at the peak of your abilities on the European stage. That’s not to take anything away from Ajax of Amsterdam, but this is a match that City should win especially since they’re playing at home.

In the other match today, Arsenal has an opportunity to wipe away the cobwebs from their disastrous home loss against Schalke. They’ll be playing in front of a raucous German crowd, so the pressure will be on them to perform too, although Arsenal could still go through to the next round even if they draw or lose today.

Before, during or after today’s Champions League matches, post your rants, raves, questions and observations in the comments section below.

And if you live in the United States, make sure you make time today to go and vote!

22 thoughts on “Manchester City vs Ajax and Schalke vs Arsenal: Champions League Open Thread”

  1. Argh! The delay between the video and audio on FOX Soccer’s Champions League coverage is happening again, where you see the goal happen before the audio of the commentator tells us what happens 1-2 seconds later.

    The Gaffer

  2. Poor sportsmanship by Manchester City at the end of the game there.

    Should it have been a penalty? Yes. But getting in the face of the referee after the game isn’t going to help anything. Should the goal that was ruled offside been allowed? I don’t think so. It looked offside to me.

    The Gaffer

    1. Gaffer,

      Do you think UEFA should punish Mancini for that tantrum and ban him the final two games? Love to hear your opinion…

      1. Charles, I think they should. His behavior was uncalled for and very unprofessional. Doesn’t set a good example for his players either.

        The Gaffer

  3. City are 90% out basically, they have to win both matches AND need results to go there way.

    Proud of Ajax btw, what they are doing with a small budget and their own academy is incredible in today’s modern game

    1. I think they spent something like 5 mil total on transfers. SHows you what can be done in this game with limited resources. Dortmund would be another good example of this, although they of course spend more than Ajax.

      This UCL debacle this year will hurt City’s UEFA coefficient as well and leave them with a wretched draw next year no doubt also.

      No excuses for this performance. You need to beat the likes of Ajax if you are going to make a go of it on this level.

      1. Yes I was going to mention this as well Marc…they will most likely be in Pot 2 again but face danger of falling to Pot 3 if they don’t even get to the Europa League

      2. Ajax is an enigma of a team in my mind…they can really get themselves up for the big teams and give them a strong run for their money, or on any day in the Eredivisie be an inconsistent mess that shows how young they are.

        In a way it’s kind of sad that they can’t keep the talent they develop. They’re a fun team to watch when they’re playing well and if they had some of their players that got away in the past 3-4 years could be a real favorite in this tournament.

    2. Ajax is the home of total football, they are seeing a little renaissance now, but have never wavered in their approach to the game since the 70’s, barca’s youth system and playing style is modeled on exactly on Ajax total football. I think it is great that Ajax are doing so well.
      I hear in a variety of media formats a growing belief that Arsenal should ditch Wenger and get de boar and bergkamp and allow them to run the club instead.

      1. True…Johan Cruyff hand-delivered totaalvoetbal directly from Ajax to Barca, and they knew a winner when they saw it and perfected their own implementation, “tiki-taka.”

        I’d love to see its fundamentals taught more often in American youth soccer because it would raise a generation of players here with better skills in passing, possession and attacking. I’m sure there are lots of reasons why that doesn’t happen, but it sure seems to me that Dutch and Spanish players have an incredibly high level of skill compared to players the same age from other countries.

      1. But that was a penalty and only bitters feel other wise, you are not allowed to stand playing scarecrows in the box as a defender you know and are constantly told to keep arms in otherwise you risk giving away a penalty. Against Balotelli the ref had a clear view of heavy shirt pulling the liner and goal assistant did not, the second it happens he blew and with the ball out of play.

    1. Seems like the referee made up his mind to end the game, period.

      The call could have gone either way, and good arguments could be made either way that it was a penalty or it wasn’t a penalty. Some refs would award it, others, not. Guys like Howard Webb could find a murder scene in the box and wave it off, while others would make far calls for far lesser offenses. /thatsfootball.

  4. Well every angle here says level gaffer and when Roy Keane saying goal well that says it all! I fully understand the players reaction that ref was poor right through. Bit of look for ajax first goal but the second was just awful.
    UEFA (well Platini) doesn’t like City end of, funny they seem or Platini does seems to love PSG, lowest pot and check their group out! Of course that’s the luck of the draw ; )

    But I don’t think this changes much any way if city beat Madrid and Dortmund the still need Ajax to beat the others or just one the draw has now gone. Ajax are more then capable but it ain’t gonna happen.

  5. I thought for a second that the Spanish Olympic Diving Team had donned Real jerseys in the Bernabau this afternoon. Seriously, there were some embarrassing attempts to draw whistles by Ronaldo and a few others.

    At any rate, they were lucky to come away with a point. BVB must have felt unlucky to not come away from Madrid with the full three points — they really outplayed Real, especially in the first half.

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