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    (Original post by sevchenko)
    Please, ever since UEFA changed the rules on Qualifying Celtic only play easy teams to make the group stages, they don't deserve to be in the CL whilst better teams like AC Milan or Lyon could go out. They wouldn't even qualify for the group stages if they had to play 8 out of 10 teams in the league route.

    It was a spanking, a team like Celtic really should be beating a third rate Kazakhstani side.

    I wonder how long Celtic fans will keep boosting the fact that they got into the last 16 last season. It was a one off mate get over it.
    And you guys were the 4th best team in your league last season. Therefore I do not agree that you deserve to be in the "champions" league.
    Out of curiosity do you believe you got "spanked" by Villa?
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    (Original post by scotttb)
    And you guys were the 4th best team in your league last season. Therefore I do not agree that you deserve to be in the "champions" league.
    Out of curiosity do you believe you got "spanked" by Villa?
    Leave it lol, he's apparently not even a troll.
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    (Original post by scotttb)
    And you guys were the 4th best team in your league last season. Therefore I do not agree that you deserve to be in the "champions" league.
    Out of curiosity do you believe you got "spanked" by Villa?
    Just because Celtic won the Scottish Pub League doesn't mean they've earned the right to play in Europe's elite club competition. As we often saw Celtic barely qualified before the rules changed. IIRC Celtic were spanked 5-1 on aggregate by Arsenal in 2009/10, when CL qualification was fair and the best teams went into the group stage.

    No, I don't think Arsenal got spanked by Villa.
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    (Original post by sevchenko)
    Celtic are getting spanked 2-0 by Shakhter Karagandy. This is what happens when you remove the competition from the domestic league, the team doesn't improve. I really hope they don't qualify
    That is just a sensation. I'm curious to see, if Karagandy is strong enough to overcome the return leg.
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    (Original post by sevchenko)
    Just because Celtic won the Scottish Pub League doesn't mean they've earned the right to play in Europe's elite club competition. As we often saw Celtic barely qualified before the rules changed. IIRC Celtic were spanked 5-1 on aggregate by Arsenal in 2009/10, when CL qualification was fair and the best teams went into the group stage.

    No, I don't think Arsenal got spanked by Villa.
    Bit harsh saying they don't deserve to be in the Champions League?
    Every champion from every European country has the right to play in the Champions League, Celtic are in fact a shoo-in compared to the likes of the San Marian, Andorran and Luxembourger champions. They too like Celtic have to go through rounds of qualifying, and I think it's fair that these teams are given a chance to try and get themselves into the group stages of the competition because it's the only way their country's league can be injected with money, the same goes for the SPL, where if Celtic do well in the competition, Scotland's European coefficient can be improved, meaning more qualifying spots for Europe for the Scottish clubs at later stages of the competition. Once the clubs have more money from playing in later stages of the competitions in Europe, they will have increased income to help their league flourish. Only so many of the weaker leagues' champions will make it through to group stages anyway, so it's the best of the best from lots of qualifiers.

    Do you see why leagues such as Scotland deserve a chance in Europe's elite now?


    Also, HAHAHA you got beat by the Villa.
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    (Original post by boumavilla)
    Bit harsh saying they don't deserve to be in the Champions League?
    Every champion from every European country has the right to play in the Champions League, Celtic are in fact a shoo-in compared to the likes of the San Marian, Andorran and Luxembourger champions. They too like Celtic have to go through rounds of qualifying, and I think it's fair that these teams are given a chance to try and get themselves into the group stages of the competition because it's the only way their country's league can be injected with money, the same goes for the SPL, where if Celtic do well in the competition, Scotland's European coefficient can be improved, meaning more qualifying spots for Europe for the Scottish clubs at later stages of the competition. Once the clubs have more money from playing in later stages of the competitions in Europe, they will have increased income to help their league flourish. Only so many of the weaker leagues' champions will make it through to group stages anyway, so it's the best of the best from lots of qualifiers.

    Do you see why leagues such as Scotland deserve a chance in Europe's elite now?


    Also, HAHAHA you got beat by the Villa.
    I didn't say they don't deserve to play in the CL, I said they have to earn the right to through fair qualification. After all we want to best teams from around Europe in Europe's premier competition. Just look at the teams in the Champions Route qualification.

    Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad, Viktoria Plzeň, Shakhter Karagandy, Steaua București, Austria Wien, Basel, Maribor, Celtic and Legia Warsaw. Are these the sort of teams you want to entertain you OR are they just 3 easy points in the group stages.

    Lyon, Fenerbahçe, PSV, AC Milan and Arsenal are all very good competitive teams who bring something to the CL and they could go out in qualification which is disgraceful imo
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    (Original post by sevchenko)
    I didn't say they don't deserve to play in the CL, I said they have to earn the right to through fair qualification. After all we want to best teams from around Europe in Europe's premier competition. Just look at the teams in the Champions Route qualification.

    Dinamo Zagreb, Ludogorets Razgrad, Viktoria Plzeň, Shakhter Karagandy, Steaua București, Austria Wien, Basel, Maribor, Celtic and Legia Warsaw. Are these the sort of teams you want to entertain you OR are they just 3 easy points in the group stages.

    Lyon, Fenerbahçe, PSV, AC Milan and Arsenal are all very good competitive teams who bring something to the CL and they could go out in qualification which is disgraceful imo
    I understand what you mean, and I think it's fair enough, because 4 rounds of qualifying to pick the best of the champions is enough as opposed to the 2 rounds of qualifying for the non-champions route.
    Only 5 of those 10 clubs you listed will make it through, besides Basel who are one of them, got through to the semi-final of the Europa League last year and the last 16 of the Champions League the year before that. You know about Celtic's quality, plus Steaua and Zagreb have some European pedigree...
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    The reality is that a number of champions of smaller leagues will always have less money than the bigger leagues - from TV money, wages that fans have to spend at clubs and sponsors who are attracted.

    As more time goes by, the clubs from the smaller leagues will become more and more reliant on CL money and in turn it creates a gulf in their own domestic league due to their domestic dominance.

    So do we keep the smaller league champions in the CL to help them grow to spread the quality of the teams in the CL or do we try and get the best teams into the competition and reduce the dominance/reliance of smaller league champions?
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    (Original post by Zerforax)
    The reality is that a number of champions of smaller leagues will always have less money than the bigger leagues - from TV money, wages that fans have to spend at clubs and sponsors who are attracted.

    As more time goes by, the clubs from the smaller leagues will become more and more reliant on CL money and in turn it creates a gulf in their own domestic league due to their domestic dominance.

    So do we keep the smaller league champions in the CL to help them grow to spread the quality of the teams in the CL or do we try and get the best teams into the competition and reduce the dominance/reliance of smaller league champions?
    No I still think it helps the smaller leagues with the standout teams, because if they improve through European competition then they can fly the flag for their country in Europe, and the further they get, the more coefficient points (and money) they gain for their country in the process, which will improve the country's coefficient. When this is improved, more European places are opened up to the teams lower down the table at later stages in the competition. In turn, more money for these smaller clubs lower down the table if they can succeed. Thus growth! :proud:
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    (Original post by boumavilla)
    No I still think it helps the smaller leagues with the standout teams, because if they improve through European competition then they can fly the flag for their country in Europe, and the further they get, the more coefficient points (and money) they gain for their country in the process, which will improve the country's coefficient. When this is improved, more European places are opened up to the teams lower down the table at later stages in the competition. In turn, more money for these smaller clubs lower down the table if they can succeed. Thus growth! :proud:
    Every club is trying to improve their co-efficient but in reality one club can only improve at another club's expense. So while it's easy to say that more spots will open and better other teams in that league - it will come at the expense of another club in a different league.

    For example, in recent years the German League gained an extra spot now but Italy lost a spot.

    Look at a club like Celtic - CL money makes up a huge proportion of their income when they get through. They then use that money to buy better players, in many cases from competitors (as their scouts will be more familiar and adapted to the league and willing to play there) and in turn they will continue to improve or stay ahead of the pack, to the detriment of the Scottish league as a whole.
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    (Original post by Zerforax)
    Every club is trying to improve their co-efficient but in reality one club can only improve at another club's expense. So while it's easy to say that more spots will open and better other teams in that league - it will come at the expense of another club in a different league.

    For example, in recent years the German League gained an extra spot now but Italy lost a spot.

    Look at a club like Celtic - CL money makes up a huge proportion of their income when they get through. They then use that money to buy better players, in many cases from competitors (as their scouts will be more familiar and adapted to the league and willing to play there) and in turn they will continue to improve or stay ahead of the pack, to the detriment of the Scottish league as a whole.
    At another club's expense, exactly what makes football more entertaining. The lure of money gives the smaller teams more motivation in Europe, which can only improve the entertainment value. But what you're saying is valid and understandable. :yep:

    But at the end of the day, what would you propose to change this situation?

    With regards to the Italian game, that's a different discussion all together...

    The Scottish game has gone downhill due to Rangers' competition missing, but it was already suffering because of Celtic and Rangers' poor performances in Europe.
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    (Original post by aa22)
    Lol, if the results had gone the other way round, I'd have said the same thing!

    To be honest I was not too surprised with how we played against Maritimo. Before the match, I was already not feeling too confident about this match, especially since how bad we've been in the pre-season.

    I missed the first 20 minutes of the match, but as soon as I turned it on, I could tell we were playing badly and we were going to have a tough time.

    There is just no creativity at all, and the players all look like they don't care. Everyone is waiting for someone to do something. We're also really missing Cardozo because we have no aerial threat whatsoever and because of that, we rarely even cross the ball anymore... Lima isn't good enough to be playing on his own all the time, unless he has someone else making some runs (like how Rodrigo did in our goal).

    We've signed Funes Mori, I hope he is better than what I've heard about him... I don't think he's the answer to our problems.

    Salvio is also another big miss... he usually created things out of nowhere and he always helped out in defence.

    Cortez isn't good enough, and Maxi has been quite poor as well... I'd rather like to see Silvio instead of Maxi, but that's not gonna happen because Maxi can't be dropped.

    I don't think we quite deserved to lose, and I'm not gonna complain about any referee decisions (like how JJ did) because we really didn't do enough to deserve a win either. Maritimo played well, and their passing and movement was a million times better than ours. Very disappointed so far, and it looks like my presentiment about a bad season looks like will be right, unless something drastically changes. And we haven't even made a big sale yet... if we were to lose someone important now..... :/




    Anyway.

    Porto. I saw that Quintero goal.. it seems like James has already been replaced. Quintero looks like an awesome player. Setubal made things easier for Porto, but I think Porto are already set up really well for a great season, so they'd have probably ended up winning the match anyway.

    I haven't watched the highlights for Sporting's match yet, but yeh... Montero looks like the answer to Sporting's prayers. A hat-trick on his official debut. Jardim is a competent manager and a 5-1 win (even if it is against Arouca) shows Sporting will be back in the title race this season. Unfortunately I can't see Benfica putting up a good challenge... I'm actually not looking forward to our match against Sporting on the 30th (or 31?) at all now.

    Yeh, Pacos will have a hard time in the CL. I wonder how they'll cope with midweek matches right at the start of the season. If they put out a strong team, they'll be tired for the more important league matches, and if they don't they will be embarrassed by Zenit... even their strongest team would have a very hard time.

    As for Belenenses.. I think staying up should be their priority this season. Hopefully Miguel Rosa can help them out with that..
    Let’s see how the results go this weekend, I’m not feeling as confident as last week seeing as we’ll be playing Maritimo. I think you’ll be okay against Gil Vicente though. You should be anyway. I know they got a 2-0 win over Académica last week but if Académica played how they’re currently playing now against Sporting then I understand why Gil were able to win.

    Sporting are looking good. They currently deserve to be 2-0 up in their game right now at half time. Sporting have had a solid first half. Carrillo has looked great this half too. Last season was painful to watch Sporting, two games into this season and I’m actually enjoying seeing them like this. I’m sure their fans will be enjoying it too. It does make the tie next weekend for the Lisbon derby all the more exciting!

    Tough week for Paços and Costinha. Very unfortunate to be 4-1 down in their CL game. They put absolutely everything into it and had a bit of hope for the minute or two that it was level, but poor defending allowed Zenit to grab their second goal. As for today it seemed like it was “one of those games” against Olhanense and they were quite unfortunate not to get an equaliser but credit to Olhanense for holding on the whole of the second half with 10 men.

    And as I write all this Sporting are now 4-0 up and Académica are down to 10 men. Sporting scoring for fun, albeit thanks to two penalties. But such a contrast to last season where goals were few and far between!



    EDIT: I cannot believe what i just watched in those last four minutes of the Benfica game. Concede one goal maybe, but TWO! So lucky to have picked up all three points!! Now time for Porto.
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    Let’s see how the results go this weekend, I’m not feeling as confident as last week seeing as we’ll be playing Maritimo. I think you’ll be okay against Gil Vicente though. You should be anyway. I know they got a 2-0 win over Académica last week but if Académica played how they’re currently playing now against Sporting then I understand why Gil were able to win.

    Sporting are looking good. They currently deserve to be 2-0 up in their game right now at half time. Sporting have had a solid first half. Carrillo has looked great this half too. Last season was painful to watch Sporting, two games into this season and I’m actually enjoying seeing them like this. I’m sure their fans will be enjoying it too. It does make the tie next weekend for the Lisbon derby all the more exciting!

    Tough week for Paços and Costinha. Very unfortunate to be 4-1 down in their CL game. They put absolutely everything into it and had a bit of hope for the minute or two that it was level, but poor defending allowed Zenit to grab their second goal. As for today it seemed like it was “one of those games” against Olhanense and they were quite unfortunate not to get an equaliser but credit to Olhanense for holding on the whole of the second half with 10 men.

    And as I write all this Sporting are now 4-0 up and Académica are down to 10 men. Sporting scoring for fun, albeit thanks to two penalties. But such a contrast to last season where goals were few and far between!



    EDIT: I cannot believe what i just watched in those last four minutes of the Benfica game. Concede one goal maybe, but TWO! So lucky to have picked up all three points!! Now time for Porto.
    Yeh. Oh, my, god, what an ending to our match. I was literally already saying goodbye to the title... 91st minute we were still 1-0 down... would have been 6 points adrift already with only two matches played.

    I was kinda happy when we managed to equalise, the fact that Markovic got the first one just made me think how it was almost inevitable that he would score, he's so good. But then when Lima got the winner I almost went crazy and just couldn't believe it at all.

    Sooooooooooo glad we got the three points because it really was exactly what we deserved from that match. We created plenty of chances but couldn't finish them off, and then one mistake and we conceed. Maxi hasn't been playing well for a while now.. he should be given a rest. Cortez on the other hand was quite good, probably his best match yet, but then again he didn't need to do much defending.


    Sporting are looking really good... they're playing the same way that Benfica did in the first season of JJ. Free scoring attacking football.... a 4-0 win against Academica is very good. They are definitely back. I am not looking forward to the next weekend's derby at all! I'd take a draw, but that would mean Porto would already go clear at the top, and you know how hard it is to take Porto off of 1st place >_<

    And Porto also won. No problems against the team that beat us!

    I saw the Pacos-Zenit match... Pacos were definitely unlucky to have lost 4-1. A 1-1 would have been fair, and it was great when they managed to get the equaliser, but then bad defending let them down. After that, it was like every Zenit shot was a goal. At least they'll still get a place in the Europa League..
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    Franck Ribery is the European footballer of the year 2013! I'm happy to see that a football player from Bundesliga got this award. The last football player who won this award was Matthias Sammer in 1996, so 17 years ago!
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    (Original post by ra-ra-ra)
    ...
    Two relatively easy groups for Benfica and Porto. PSG will be tough and are the favourites to win our group, but we should be able to beat Olympiacos and Anderlecht to get the second spot, even though they could both be tricky ties. If it all goes badly, I think that we should be able to get 3rd place at the very least.

    Porto has two other strong teams in their group, Atletico Madrid and Zenit. They're all quite similar to each other and it'll be three teams fighting for two positions.
    I think Porto can win against Zenit so they should also be able to go through, especially if they play like how they did against Pacos Ferreira... Pacos managed to dominate possession but didn't know what to do with it, Porto should be able to do better.
    Austria Wien won't get much from this group.. I think 3rd place for Porto is pretty much guaranteed if they don't manage to pass the group stages.
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    (Original post by Kallisto)
    Franck Ribery is the European footballer of the year 2013! I'm happy to see that a football player from Bundesliga got this award. The last football player who won this award was Matthias Sammer in 1996, so 17 years ago!
    Neither Messi or Ronaldo have won this award for the last 2 years now (I think Iniesta won it last year). Interesting. :beard:

    I still think Messi will win the Ballon d'Or though.
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    (Original post by CB91)
    Neither Messi or Ronaldo have won this award for the last 2 years now (I think Iniesta won it last year). Interesting. :beard:

    I still think Messi will win the Ballon d'Or though.
    Yup Iniesta won last year. Had no bearing on the Ballon D'or though Ribery wont sniff near that.
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    (Original post by aa22)
    Two relatively easy groups for Benfica and Porto. PSG will be tough and are the favourites to win our group, but we should be able to beat Olympiacos and Anderlecht to get the second spot, even though they could both be tricky ties. If it all goes badly, I think that we should be able to get 3rd place at the very least.

    Porto has two other strong teams in their group, Atletico Madrid and Zenit. They're all quite similar to each other and it'll be three teams fighting for two positions.
    I think Porto can win against Zenit so they should also be able to go through, especially if they play like how they did against Pacos Ferreira... Pacos managed to dominate possession but didn't know what to do with it, Porto should be able to do better.
    Austria Wien won't get much from this group.. I think 3rd place for Porto is pretty much guaranteed if they don't manage to pass the group stages.
    I think everyone but Benfica fans felt Gil's pain to conceding not one but two late goals. I admit you did deserve the points but it was so cruel to snatch all three the way you did.

    I worked out that last season it took Sporting 10 games to score 9 goals, this season they’ve scored 9 in two games! It’s mad, I didn’t expect them to be playing like this. Haha, I on the other hand am really looking forward to the Lisbon derby this weekend, Sporting have a great chance for a change but a draw would suit us well.

    Yeah, considering the groups we could have had it certainly isn’t too bad. The PSG tie will be an interesting tie though but Benfica should be okay.

    As for Porto, we struggled against Zenit a couple of seasons ago and they give me horrible memories of that game where we had something like 20 shots to their one shot and Malafeev played one of his best games with saving everything, so it finished 0-0 meaning we missed out on progressing in the competition. Hopefully no repeat of that but it means Hulk (if not injured like in his game against Paços) should return to the Dragão. Also, I hate playing against Atleti purely because I would like them to do well in this competition. They’re a lot dangerous and stronger now under Simeone than they were when we last played against them in the CL too so it won't be like last time against them.

    Braga... Wow, a terrible night for them. I have to admit I didn’t expect this result tonight or to see them out of the Europa League so soon. Result aside, it was nice to see Éder back for them, he was very unlucky to not have grabbed a goal towards the end then too. It’s great to see Estoril progress though.
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    (Original post by Zürich)
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    (Original post by boumavilla)
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    Ajax are losing Alderweireld and Eriksen it seems. Does this change your thinking significantly on who'll win the league now?
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    So, 4 fixtures in now, and the table has started to take shape a little more as to who are the early front runners and also who are the early strugglers.

    PEC Zwolle have now won 4 out of 4 games and are currently topping the table! :woo: Impressive for a team that only got promoted the season before last. I fancy them for a shot at the Europa League play-off spots this season. :holmes:

    The only other team that can overtake them this weekend is PSV, with 10 points. They've made a good start with some great attacking play, but with a 1-1 draw at Heracles last weekend, they've shown they aren't quite the finished article yet, and if Duarte's shot had just gone under the bar it rattled, PSV would have lost. Ji-Sung Park saved PSV on his full league debut.

    Ajax came away from Heerenveen with a highly entertaining 3-3 draw. Cardiff City target Alfreð Finnbogason scoring twice. Match highlights can be found below...


    NEC Nijmegen stopped the rot with a 2-2 draw against RKC Waalwijk. Ex Motherwell striker Michael Higdon scoring twice (albeit from penalties). NEC now also have a new manager in Anton Janssen (I know I hadn't heard of him either).

    Vitesse and Twente are looking better recently, and both went head-to-head last weekend. Vitesse won 1-0 in an entertaining match, highlights are below...

    What's surprising about the score is that Vitesse got the clean sheet even with a 4-2-4 formation (with wing backs)...

    Feyenoord have finally won to get off the foot of the table, they beat NAC Breda 3-1. Also Go Ahead Eagles 3-3 Groningen was a weird match...bad defending, wonderful attacking, 9 men, and a fat bloke scoring with his shoulder...


    As for European action...
    PSV were knocked down to the Europa League after going down 3-0 in Milan, 4-1 on aggregate.
    Feyenoord were very unlucky to concede the goals in their 1-2 defeat to Kuban Krasnador last night, 1-3 on aggregate.
    However AZ still went through in bizarre circumstances! There was a fire at their ground in their second leg match at home to Atromitos in the Europa League, so the game had to be stopped after 60 minutes, the ground was evacuated and the match had to be finished off just this morning! They made it through on away goals to the Europa League group stage draw at 12:00 today. They will be there with PSV.
    Oh and Ajax have drawn Barcelona, AC Milan and Celtic in their Champions League group.

    (Original post by DH1')
    Ajax are losing Alderweireld and Eriksen it seems. Does this change your thinking significantly on who'll win the league now?
    Hmm, good question, but De Boer is still a bright cookie and is used to losing key players and still winning titles, so I wouldn't discount them yet. But PSV certainly are impressing atm, however as a Villa fan I should know best, with youth comes great inconsistency.
 
 
 
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