Sunday, April 16, 2023

Pennant Fever

After leading the English Premier League for months, Arsenal is starting to fade.  The Gunners have suffered 2-2 draws to Liverpool and West Ham Utd in their last two games, while Manchester City is red hot.  Now the top of the table looks like this (note that Man City has eight games left, while Arsenal has only seven games left):

1.  Arsenal:  23-3-5 (74 points)
2.  Man City:  22-4-4 (70)
3.  Man Utd:  18-7-5 (59)
4.  Newcastle:  15-4-11 (56)
5.  Tottenham:  16-10-5 (53)

The F.A. Cup is down to the semi-finals, which will be played at Wembley next weekend:

04/22/23:  Manchester City v. Sheffield Utd
04/23/23:  Brighton & Hove Albion v. Manchester Utd

A Manchester Derby would make for a very entertaining final, unless you have strong reasons to hate either of those teams.

Meanwhile, they're in the middle of the quarter-finals of the Champions' League.  The teams have each played one game so far, and the scores look like this going into the second leg (teams hosting game two listed first):

04/18/23:  Chelsea (ENG) 0 - 2 Real Madrid (ESP)
04/19/23:  Inter Milan (ITA) 2 - 0 Benfica (POR)
04/19/23:  Bayern Munich (GER) 0 - 3 Manchester City (ENG)
04/18/23:  Napoli (ITA) 0 - 1 AC Milan (ITA)

It's been a very strong year for the Italian teams so far.  No team from Italy has won the title since 2010, and no team from Italy has made the final since 2017, but the Italian teams are in a strong position so far.


  1. Real Madrid eliminated Chelsea, 4-0 on aggregate.

  2. AC Milan eliminated Napoli, 2-1 on aggregate. Assuming that Inter Milan can hang on today, one of the semi-finals in the Champions' League will be a Milan derby.

  3. Manchester City eliminated Bayern Munich 4-1, a very impressive result that leaves Man City as the last remaining English team.

  4. To be clear, Man City won 4-1 on aggregate. Today's score was 1-1.

  5. Inter defeated Benfica, 5-3 on aggregate. So we will have a Milan derby in the semi-finals.

  6. The semi-finals now look like this:

    AC Milan (ITA) v. Inter Milan (ITA) (May 10 and May 16)
    Real Madrid (ESP) v. Manchester City (ENG) (May 9 and May 17)

  7. So we are now ready for peak soccer with high drama in three competitions:

    1. The Champions' League semi-finals will be amazing -- like if the Final Four had Ohio State and Michigan in one game, and UNC against Kentucky in the other.

    2. There will be high drama in the English Premier League, with a surprising Arsenal team trying to hold off Manchester City.

    3. The FA Cup could come down to Man City and Man Utd.

  8. This is the first time since COVID when it feels like soccer is really back.