Real Madrid vs Manchester United, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg: Open Thread

The match that everyone is talking about is set to explode today with Real Madrid hosting Manchester United in the UEFA Champions League, round of 16.

It’s a clash between the old master versus the younger disciple. Ferguson against Mourinho. La Liga against the Premier League. England versus Spain. So much is riding on the line.

The result from this match will set the stage for the return leg at Old Trafford. A win or draw for United, and they’ll be posed to progress to the next round. But a loss at the Bernabeu could ruin Sir Alex Ferguson’s dreams of lifting a third Champions League trophy before he retires in the not too distant future.

Real Madrid starting XI: Lopez, Arbeloa, Varane, Ramos, Coentrao, Khedira, Ozil, Alonso, Di Maria, Ronaldo, Benzema.

Manchester United starting XI: De Gea, Rafael, Evans, Ferdinand, Evra, Jones, Carrick, Kagawa, Welbeck, Rooney, Van Persie.

The breaking news is that Nemanja Vidic is not on the team or the bench.

In the United States, there’s also the sideshow of “Gus Who?” commentating the game instead of Martin Tyler. Will the American be able to make an impression in his debut appearance?

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

77 thoughts on “Real Madrid vs Manchester United, UEFA Champions League Round of 16 1st Leg: Open Thread”

  1. Evans & Rio? WoW this on paper looks like no contest Madrid 3 Utd 0.

    I could be wrong but no vidic? Jones on Ronaldo should be quiet amusing… Of this goes pear shaped how damaging could this be to them in the BPL.

    Looking forward to this.

  2. I can only think that Nemanja Vidic must have picked up a knock against Everton. He would be the first name I would put on the team sheet.

    It’s going to be a tough test for Ferdinand and Evans as central defenders.

    The Gaffer

    1. Fergie says that Vidic needed an extra day of rest and wasn’t ready, so he decided to give the start to Rio instead.

      The Gaffer

    1. it only took one minute for him to mispronounce a player’s name…off to a flying start. foxsoccer must really hate us to make us put up with warren barton too.

  3. FoxSoccer2Go is just showing a live in stadium shot…no announcer, yet.

    BTW, FoxSoccer2Go has a 7-day free trial available through tomorrow.

    1. Yeah, FS2G should get keep you away from Gus Johnson in any event.

      No HD but I’ll trade that for “no Johnson” and also no BARTON, who is utterly terrible.

  4. FOX Soccer 2Go has the commentary team of Martin Tyler and Gary Neville. They have a free trial right now.

    The Gaffer

      1. It’s due to the EPL Talk Podcast player that’s on the right sidebar. It keeps track of where you left off on the episode and provides a reminder to listen to the rest of it. But I’m still trying to figure it out. Even after I finish listening to an episode, it sometimes tells me that it’s resuming episode.

        The Gaffer

    1. I agree. He was on the Men in Blazers podcast and I was encouraged by his awareness of what he needs to change about his style from his days watching basketball and the NFL.

  5. My stream just started lagging really bad and Fox Soccer 2 Go website isn’t loading. Tried clearing my cache and cookies but still not working.

  6. So, Johnson has done a decent job of following the ball around the pitch, as I thought he would. But what extra has he brought to the game? Not a word about the actual play of any player. Nothing on positions or tactics. Just calling the names of players as they touch the ball. Is that all there is?

  7. Well I kind of hate both of these clubs but this is fun to watch. Two of the top 4 clubs in the world going at it hammer and tongs. The speed and aggression with which Madrid moves through the midfield is a sight to see.

  8. Gaffer…which are you watching? Johnson or Tyler. Professional or fan? I would assume Johnson so that you could give an “unbiased” opinion later.

    1. Both. But I’m watching the TV more than FS2Go right now, and will watch the game again tonight on FS2Go so I can gather my thoughts and opinions.

      The Gaffer

  9. The thing that concerns me with United’s tactics is going to be the state of Kagawa and Welbeck by the hour mark. They’ve been sprinting after diagonals from the first whistle.

  10. have to say Martin Tyler leaves a lot to be desired in the excitement department. That Van Persie chance, he had almost no reaction.

  11. Big difference between Dave O’Brien in 2005-2006-2007 and Gus Johnson in 2013.

    Johnson knew what he was walking into and spent the Spring of 2012 calling MLS games on radio for essentially enough money to cover fuel cost and turnpike toll.

    O’Brien had no clue what he was getting into when he demanded the World Cup 2006 assignment from ESPN. He tried to call the World Cup like a baseball game, and he failed miserably.

    The Gaffer and will agree with me on this: Johnson is willing to pay his dues to earn the respect of the toughest viewers. That’s something that O’Brien did NOT do enough of when he took the hot seat in 2006.

    1. There certainly was enough wasted time inside stoppage time to warrant at least another 30 second.

      I guess the referee didn’t want to be criticized for “Fergie Time” even though there clearly was reason to allow that one last play.

  12. So is this the future of football on TV in the USA? I take it this is what we will get with the FA Cup? Oh dear..

    It could have been worse but the commentary was really pedestrian. It is really depressing that Fox has decided to mess with what had been excellent soccer coverage. Will this really help their ratings? I seriously doubt it.

    I sure hope that the rumors of NBC using English commentators is true.

    1. “Pedestrian” is perfect and begs the question, “Why bother?”

      Obviously Fox has its master plan. I’m just too dense to see it.

  13. it probably helped their ratings for today judging by twitter. You had non soccer journalists posting about the match mainly because Gus was on the call. Will do nothing for long term ratings though.

  14. So here’s what I got from Gus, Real Madrid’s home stadium is called San Diego Bernabeu, United played Real Madrid in 02/03 season in the Semi-finals. Horribe just Horrible if you don’t know those two.

  15. I was so glad he kept informing me what teams were playing in the “Bernabayou”. He made up a move called “circling” He also got caught with that common blunder “goaltender” which quickly identifies a commentator with no knowledge of the game.

    He was rubbish – just about how Rafael played.

  16. De Gea had a great match stepped up and handled all the pressure. could not believe what Jones got away with the amount of fouls and no yellow.good match to watch return trip should be fun.

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