Feb 12, 2013, 6:06 PM EDT
As this is the most talked about match in world soccer since … uh … the European Champions final last summer, perhaps? … let’s not wait until Wednesday to begin properly obsessing over mighty Manchester United vs. regal Real Madrid.
Hoping to keep the calm, Sir Alex Ferguson kept his side in Manchester for an extra day, not flying into the Spanish capital until Tuesday.
When the Red Devils did get off their plane, Paul Scholes wasn’t with them. United’s veteran midfielder is still not fully recovered from a January knee injury collected in his team’s 4-1 FA Cup win over Fulham. Rio Ferdinand and Ashley Young are with the club, however, which strengthens the English giant’s defense.
Speaking of English soccer …
Things are looking a wee bit bedraggled around the globe’s most-watched league. There is increasing argument that the English Premier League is not, actually, the globe’s standard bearer anymore. (Remember how Eva Longoria was once the hottest girl on the planet? Yeah … same thing.)
That’s why it is so important for Manchester United and Arsenal to push through this round, to help spit-shine an luster that seems to be on the fade. That’s the conclusion of this piece at EPL Talk.
Come to think of it, Chelsea’s surprise win in the 2012 competition does seem like more and more of a fluke as time moves on, doesn’t it?
The teams navigated their UEFA-mandated pre-match press obligations Tuesday. (Love me some press obligation.) Jose Mourinho is clearly not too tense about things. How about this brilliant response when asked about potentially replacing Ferguson one day at Old Trafford:
No … I believe we will finish our careers at the same time, him at 90 and me at 70.”
Good one, Jose.
Meanwhile, as you would expect, Ferguson is keeping everyone laser-locked on the bigger picture. United may be dashing away with the Premier League title, and may be in position to have one of those very special seasons … but the wily Manchester United overlord (looking rather angelic in the photo above) is good about reminding himself and everyone else that his team has accomplished absolutely zilch at this point:
We have a good chance [this season], but the acid test is tomorrow and we have to get through that if we want to win it. The intention of Manchester United is always to try to win and to score, which can sometimes lead to chaos. We have to balance that with a sense of responsibility and make sure we don’t leave the door open.
“It won’t be 0-0 tomorrow. There will be goals and the game can of course live up to expectation. It’s unfortunate we are meeting as early as this – we would have preferred it to have been in the final at Wembley.”
There’s more from today’s news conference at the link directly above.
- Stock Falling: Which U.S. players’ statures are slipping … 2
- Get to your DVRs as soon as possible, because that Italy-Japan match was a classic 1
- Stock Rising: United States men whose values are rising out of Salt Lake 2
- MLS Preview: Portland Timbers at LA Galaxy 0
- Goal, assist from Neymar give Brazil win, prolong Mexico’s woes 2
- Graham Zusi keeps making it harder for Landon Donovan to get back into U.S. national team (29)
- Broadcast of U.S. v. Panama was second highest audience for World Cup Qualifier (14)
- Marseille’s hideous away kit one of the worst of all time (14)
- Orlando City dumps Sporting Kansas City out of U.S. Open Cup, extend unbeaten streak to 14 matches (13)
- It’s time FIFA reconsiders the Confederations Cup bid to the Oceania region (13)
- Blackhawks win OT thriller
- PFT: Report: Hernandez accused of prior shooting
- CSN: Report: Hernandez 'not ruled out' as suspect
- PBT: Celts, Clips restart Doc, KG trade talks
- Posnanski: How Heat won a game of mistakes
- GTC: Tiger pulls out of AT&T citing elbow issue
- HBT: Biogenesis suspensions still likely coming
- Play Video: Police clash with protesters in Brazil
- Play Video: Highlights: Sounders win in final minutes
- Play Video: Highlights: Revolution dismantle Galaxy
- Play Video: What does New York FC have to do to succeed?
- Play Video: The Hype: Bending the screen like Beckham
- Play Video: Galaxy's Rogers talks about coming out to the public