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A Soccer State of Mind: Your week in football: 24/4 - 30/4

Theres more to life than Villa. Almost. We were treated to sick Champions League matches closed out by a weekend of league fixtures.

Liverpool v A.S. Roma - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Despite what you may think - there’s a world of football outside Aston Villa. Jake’s here to find his voice, air his thoughts and have a glance of the goings on outside of Villa Park.

^Me this week watching footy. I don’t even know where to begin... I guess I’ll start with Villa frustratingly drawing against Derby. We played well enough to steal a win, but showed good heart to even get the late equalizer against another playoff team. Play like that in the playoffs and net our chances and we might just be Premier League bound.

Now the crazy stuff. Tuesday’s CL matchup in Liverpool, between Liverpool and Roma was going to be a good one for all the headlines: Liverpool back in the late stages of CL where they’ve shown magic before, Mo Salah against the side that sold him to Liverpool, and basically just the matchup between Liverpool’s speedy side and the Roma side that took down Barca, it was bound to be nuts. The pre-match scenes were epic, Liverpool certainly know how to host a European game, just take a look at a picture from the streets as the Liverpool team bus was arriving to the stadium

Liverpool v A.S. Roma - UEFA Champions League Semi Final Leg One Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Yea... somewhere deep into the red smoky abyss is the Liverpool team bus, and Anfield, but more craziness was to come. A dominating performance from Klopp’s men as Roma have not faced an attack nearly as lethal as this Liverpool side has. The entire first half and honestly until like the 75’, Roma could not seem to get out of their half as the Reds just kept winning possession and shoving the ball down Roma’s throat and into the back of the net. The front 3 for Liverpool run rampant as Salah bags a brace against his former side, Mane gets one too, followed by a Firminho brace. A 5-0 comfortable lead to sit on in the Champions League semis. Then Klopp makes some changes. Salah the god comes off and Roma net 2, low-key crucial, late goals to limit the damage to 5-2, headed back to Rome for the return fixture, where if they beat Liverpool 3-0, they will advance... as Barca fans will warn, this is something to worry about if you’re Klopp and Liverpool, but they should still hold on.

I initially thought Wednesday’s game was top draw, but then after Tuesday’s madness, I thought no way that could be upped. The Madrid-Bayern clash that we’ve become so used to did not disappoint. The only issue was how injured Bayern have become at this point. Manuel Neuer, the best keeper in the world, has been out since the start, and will not return until at least the summer for Germany, and then there is Vidal who just got ruled out for the season, along with David Alaba who is out as well, so right there were 3 big blows for Bayern, before the game started, even though I don’t really count Neuer this season, because they’ve been dealing without him for awhile now. Then, once the game started, Robben pulls up short and requires a sub after the 8’... another class player out, and then to make matters worse, Boateng makes a random run up the field, lunges to poke the ball, and pulls his groin. Arguably now one of the best defenders in the world is out after the 34’, and Robben and Boateng might both miss the second leg too. Huge blower for Bayern.

Bayern product Kimmich proves his worth dashing from the right-back position and smashing it far post past Navas to give Bayern the short-lived lead. 15-ish minutes later, right on the brink of half, Marcelo shows what he has in his back pocket and rips a shot to go into halftime tied 1-1. Zidane shows his intelligence by subbing on the future which is Marco Asensio, and he bags the winner with a nice counter off horrible giveaway by injured Alaba’s replacement, Rafinha. 2-1 final from Munich, we’ll see what Bayern can pull off as they limp into the second leg trying to come back.

As I was on the way home from a game of my own (I scored in a 2-0 win, not trying to brag or anything), I was streaming on my phone the CONCACAF CL final, just in time to watch PK’s and the (hopefully former) USMNT Captain, Michael Bradley, sky his pen to the stands, as some say it’s still in orbit, hasn’t landed yet. Guadalajara takes down Toronto FC in PK’s as a side from Mexico wins the CONCACAF CL, once again. C’mon MLS.

Chivas v Toronto FC: CONCACAF Champions League 2018 - Final - Leg 2 Photo by Refugio Ruiz/Getty Images

Thursday I got to witness a little bit of the kinda fun stuff: Europa League. Once again, these damn classes get in my way and I have to miss some quality footy. Within the first 10 minutes I saw Vrsaljklekakjo (might be a spelling error or two there), get sent off. NOT ONLY sent off with a red, but he managed to get two yellow cards in that span, and give Arsenal the man advantage for upwards of 80 minutes in this first leg. Arsenal dominated but couldn’t really capitalize on their advantage, as Atletico show what they’re known for: packing it in, and Arsenal can only get one sole goal out of it, that I didn’t get to see live while I was learning about rhetoric and speech, but I did get out and able to stream on my phone just in time to see the stud, Antoine Griezmann, net the equalizer in the 82’ and throw up the Fortnite “L” dance, once again, I’ll repeat, after equalizing. Do they not teach that in France, the “L” is usually for “Losing”???????? Aaaaaaanyways, Atletico rescue an away goal, and come out rather unfathomed by being a man down, as they head back to Madrid tied 1-1, and Wenger’s hopes to leave Arsenal with a trophy gets that much harder. I’ll quickly note that in the other semi, Marseille took care of business, and barring any slip up, should defeat Red Bull Salzburg and move onto the final.

Just gonna jump ahead to the weekend now, where I already explained what happened with Villa-Derby, so looking at the prem, I decided to wake up at 7:30am again for some odd reason, after going to bed at 3:30am Friday night. Half-awake, I saw Mo Salah prove against Stoke, that he is, in fact, human. Yep guys, hate to break it to ya, but Salah missed a sitter. Breakaway in the box, inside 10 yards, sends the keeper to the ground and lifts it over him perfectly with a chip—but about a foot or two wide. I fell asleep a little after that and next thing I know it’s 9:30 and my next alarm is going off, so I check and see that I didn’t miss much in the 0-0 Stoke-Liverpool draw.

Swansea City v Liverpool - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

Not really sure why I even set my 9:30 alarm, I was still so tired, so I was in bed flipping between the Bayern slaughter, and the two relegation battles between Southampton-Bournemouth and Newcastle-West Brom. Both those in bad situations got the desperation 3 points, West Brom are still in a very bad situation, but still alive, as things look up for Southampton, who really shouldn’t go down.

Chelsea score an early goal in the 4’ that I saw Fabergas bang (yea, re-read that, go watch it, do what you need) but Fabergas scored a solid goal, and then Chelsea hang on and win at Swansea, 1-0.

The only MLS game I watched Saturday were my boys, D.C. United. We lost. Again. Scored early, thought we were gonna grab all three points, then we went down in the second half, thought we were gonna lose, then we got the equalizer so I thought a solid point would come to us, but nope, 2 minutes after that, we get stripped of all potential points and go down 3-2, in a fairly poor-looking style of soccer, that I really hope I don’t have to see more of. United struggle still, only winning 1 and having 5 total points after the first 7 matches of the season.

I didn’t watch this live, so I’m not even gonna act like I did, but as soon as I got the notification, I watched the highlights and I’ll just say this Juventus-Inter game was something else. It popped off, and with Napoli losing Sunday, Juve might have just won the title. Go watch those highlights to see a real, classic Italian match with Higuain snatching the last-minute winner (he’s still not good, I don’t care what you say).

FC Internazionale v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Emilio Andreoli/Getty Images

After an eventful Saturday, my head got to decongest and settle down. For a little bit, at least. I saw City slaughter West Ham while I was wrecking kids on FIFA, and then Arsenal-Man U was one I was looking forward to, well until I saw the squad picked by Wenger. I understand he has a Europa match to worry about, but in this big league game towards the end of the season, why not put out your best squad to let them get a run in before Thursday’s game, even if it is for a short time as a sub, or subbed off, the time off might prove to be crucial one way or another for Arsenal.

Anyways, this game was indeed a classic, despite the light squad Arsenal put out. I also have to note that it wasn’t a complete shite side either, they still had the likes of Auba and of course the ex-United man himself, Miki, in the starting lineup. This also meant that Alexis was on the other side, trying to prove Arsenal got the short end of the stick with the transfer. After some back and forth footy, Pogba follows home Alexis’ headed strike off the post for the 1-0 lead. Just after halftime, the boy Miki shows United what he was capable of as he fires one hard on the ground to the far post and past De Gea. “Take me off the bench and that’s what you get”-Miki to Mourinho. Looking like a 1-1 draw late, the person that United fans were scared was going to cost them the game, ended up with the winner. The broccoli stalk Fellaini heads the ball with the back of his afro and past Ospina for the 91’ winner, grabbing the W, 2-1.

Manchester United v Arsenal - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

Not really much else to note from around the world Sunday, but I was slightly watching some of the “MLS Soccer Sunday” that we promote here when it’s not NFL season. More so playing FIFA, Fortnite, and doing homework, but also watching just in case something interesting happened, it didn’t until the last second. I started cracking up when one of the best goalies to see the MLS, Stephen Frei, forgets how to use his hands and spills a free kick off his arms and into the net for Seattle as they lose on that sole goal in the 93’ to LAFC, who are more than happy to take 3 points instead of 1 with their 1-0 W. Oh MLS, you keep me entertained in the most interesting ways.

Wrapping up the exciting week(end) with a lackluster Monday as I type this, Dele Alli gets the deserved lead for Tottenham over Watford, aaaaaaaand I’m going to play some soccer of my own on this 65-degree (Fahrenheit) day instead of watching the rest of this! Thanks again for reading, feel free to comment/share please! Look out next week for the CL semifinal wrap-up!!!