UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Your Running Commentary

Gareth Bale of Tottenham Hotspur

 

With the possible exception of Cristiano Ronaldo, there isn’t a more in-form player on the planet these days than Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.

The Welsh star will put his recent goal-scoring run on the line when he leads Spurs into a Europa League Round of 16 showdown against Italian side Inter Milan.

The Tottenham-Inter clash headlines a Round of 16 that also includes an enticing battle between big-spending Anzhi and English side Newcastle United.

Chelsea is still in the hunt for a trophy and the Blues will travel to Hungary to move a step closer to another piece of silverware as they take on Steaua Bucharest.

If you will be watching today’s action, please feel free to share your thoughts, opinions and some play-by-play in the comments section below.

Enjoy the action (Today’s Europa League schedule is after the jump):

TODAY’S EUROPA LEAGUE SCHEDULE

Noon- Fox Soccer Plus- Anzhi vs. Newcastle

1pm- Fox Soccer Channel- Steaua Bucharest vs. Chelsea

1pm- FoxSoccer2Go.com- Viktoria Pizen vs. Fenerbahce

1pm- ESPN Deports/FoxSoccer2Go.com- VfB Stuttgart vs. Lazio

3:05pm- Fox Soccer Channel- Tottenham vs. Inter Milan

3:05pm- Fox Soccer Plus- Benfica vs. Bordeaux

3:05pm- FoxSoccer2Go.com- Levante vs. Rubin Kazan

3:05pm- FoxSoccer2Go.com- FC Basel vs. Zenit St. Petersburg

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48 Responses to UEFA Europa League Round of 16: Your Running Commentary

  1. zegma da says:

    thoughts on what happens to Dempsey this summer?

    A) return to Fulham
    B) loaned to another PL club
    C) fights for his spot at SPURS even if it means being a super-sub
    D) returns to MLS to be a DP

    • David M says:

      C is the most likely scenario. B is possible as well. A and D — no way.

    • A says:

      A: Not sure that atmosphere is what anyone wants.

      B: Most realistic, but the destination would most likely be a continent team (French or German).

      C. If he’s willing to be a bench player to achieve his dream of being in the UCL–but that could significantly harm his standing with the USMNT.

      D. Deuce has awhile before he needs to head back home to Texas.

      • Dudester says:

        Deuce could be sitting on the bench for a Indonesian premier league team and it wouldn’t affect his standing with the USMNT that much.

        • A says:

          I wouldn’t be so sure of that. This isn’t Bob Bradley we’re talking about here. If you’re not playing at the club level and there aren’t extraordinary circumstances you probably won’t be playing for the USMNT under Klinsmann. He’s made it clear that there will be no more free passes just because a player has a history with the team.

          And I like that. That is how the top national squads operate and we need to operate like that as well. It fosters an environment of competition and offers opportunity for the young guys by saying that if you bust your butt and perform high at the club level you can potentially get on the field over a star that isn’t.

          • Dennis says:

            How, then do you explain Edu’s inclusion when he wasn’t playing, or even dressing, at Stoke. How do you explain Agudelo’s frequent inclusion despite rather spotty performance in MLS? I am not so confident Klinsmann does what he says so much as you. Bradley OTOH, would not promise to let his hands be tied by the decisions of club managers who perhaps did not have so much use for a player’s particular skill set as Bradley felt the USMNT did.

        • A says:

          Got caught in comment hole.

          Coach K has made it clear that there will be no more free passes just because a player has a history with the team.

          And I like that. That is how the top national squads operate and we need to operate like that as well. It fosters an environment of competition and offers opportunity for the young guys by saying that if you work hard and perform high at the club level you can potentially get on the field over a star that isn’t doing so.

          No spot is safe.

          • Dudester says:

            Yeah that’s why he called in Edu for every wcq.Even though he only made a total of 4 appearances since September for both Stoke and Bursa.Michael Parkhurst has played 3 times for Augsburg since early december when he left Nordsjalend.He was called in for the Honduras game.

            • A says:

              He started immediately at Bursa and played quite well and showed he was in fine form.

              He was called in.

              • away goals says:

                Edu was called up for all six usmnt matches from aug-nov 2012.

                During that time he appeared in exactly one club match. (came off the bench in october).

              • A says:

                Edu was a special case because of Rangers and administration. He moved to Stoke at the end of August, so he was in the pool already and in form.

    • Beto says:

      C. And he gets significant minutes.

    • malkin says:

      So wait, as soon as Dempsey gets a minor injury that keeps him out for 2 weeks, we start talking about retiring to MLS? Other than this injury, he’s been starting more often than not.

    • Joamiq says:

      C. I’m a Spurs fan who does not think that Dempsey has been at his best this season save a game or two, but he’s still a guy who can score goals out of nowhere even if he’s not having a good game otherwise. That’s of immense value to a team like Spurs. Even though he’s fallen down the pecking order more with the arrival of Holtby, Dempsey is still a versatile player who can be an impact late game sub and can fill in as a starter throughout the midfield and forward lines when first XI guys are injured. He’ll still get a decent amount of games next year.

      • Dan M says:

        actually, there is no evidence at all that Holtby has replaced him in the pecking order – because he has been nursing an injury. When he’s fully fit and Holtby gets the start over him, then you may have a point. They are exact opposites as players, Clint looks like he does nothing but score and Holtby looks like he does everything but score.

        • Joamiq says:

          I’m not making an argument as to who should be higher in the pecking order. I just get the sense that AVB has a preference for Holtby, all other things being equal. They are different players certainly, but they like to occupy similar positions, so it’s not as if they’re not in conflict for playing time (though of course Dempsey can play other positions too).

      • Dan M says:

        Point made – Neither Dempsey nor Holtby in the starting 11 today.

        • Joamiq says:

          Point not made. It’s one Europa League game. Friedel is not preferred to Lloris; Gallas is not preferred to any of Spurs’ other CBs. And Dempsey was hurt anyway.

  2. Omar Little says:

    Is Dempsey still hurt?

  3. Dainja says:

    No Americans playing?

    ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ.

    (Sorry, but I think I can classify myself like most of you on this site with a new term: Ameri-snob. ha. I’m no Euro snob, or MLS fanatic…I just care how it affects the USMNT)

  4. Whatb4 says:

    C. I think that is standard for any PL team that is at a UCL level. Everyone is fighting for their spot every week. Hey, even Rooney is fighting for minutes. Deuce likes the fight/competition, that is why he has gotten this far, right? He woud have gone for a mid-table team if he wanted a locked in starting XI.

  5. Kev says:

    Adebayor has been horrible. As soon as Dempsey is healthy, he’ll be playing. I recall him having a calf problem earlier this season, they may be making sure he is 100%. If he is not back for Liverpool, I will be worried.

  6. se me t says:

    5 best strikers at the moment?

    Lewandowski? Van Persie? Suarez? Falcao? Ibrahimovic?

    now who are the top 5 underrated strikers at the moment? Can you do that

  7. 457 says:

    No way Dempsey leaves Spurs. In 6months he could be starting or being a super-sub playing in a group with the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and say PSG.

    That would be a delight and honor to play and them and maybe even score

  8. Travis in Miami says:

    Who is more on fire that Bale at the moment? Where would Spurs be in the table without him?

  9. Eric says:

    Is Dempsey playing?

  10. Vic says:

    Spurs have a good chance to make Champion’s League. No way Dempsey will want to leave if that happens.

  11. Dudester says:

    Chelsea starting to turn it up last 10 min of the half.After getting out played and out scored by Bucharest the first 35.

  12. Dudester says:

    Dempsey not starting, time for a nap.

  13. jones says:

    Btw, the fact that Bale is now positioned in the center (at least according to the starting lineup visual), with Sig on the left, could be good for Dempsey. I feel like he was very burdened being in a playmaker-type role, whereas he might be able to slot into the left and float inwards a bit or switch places with Bale occasionally. Could make things work a bit better offensively for Spurs.

    • biff says:

      Yeah, Sigurdsson is looking good. Holtby lit a fire under his you-know-what and Sigurdsson responded by getting his act together. And Holtby, after that dream start he certainly has slammed back hard to earth and now riding the bench, although we might see him this weekend on the pitch in Liverpool, as he was raised by his dad as an Everton fan.

      • away goals says:

        Curious why you think holtby’s arrival lit a fire under sigurdsson.

        Had he been content with his reserve spot behind dempsey prior to that?

  14. jones says:

    wow, Bale is just a joy to watch right now. Why would anyone take a nap during this just because Dempsey isn’t playing?

  15. Lake says:

    Ref in Tottenham game having a bad game so far. Bale picks up a bogus yellow for “diving” after the was clearly tripped in the box, then Parker gets tackled from behind without so much as a warning.

    On the Bale call, it was indeed a foul, but the ball was long gone…that’s a no-call from me. Absolutely bogus to give Bale yellow there, and now he misses 2nd leg.

    • biff says:

      The first replay angle I thought also that Bale was tripped, but the second replay angle shows that Bale was not touched and indeed dived.

  16. Dudester says:

    Cassano playing up top by himself=big mistake.He can’t run past you nor is he a hold up type fwd.

  17. jones says:

    Seriously every game Friedel plays now they comment several times on how old he is (in amazement). lol

  18. jones says:

    This was one of the best matches from Parker since he’s come back from injury. I was missing Sandro for a while. Hope he keeps it up. Dembele looked on tonight too.

    • Joamiq says:

      Agreed, Dembele and Parker looked much better tonight, not that Inter offered much resistance. I’d still like to see Tom Carroll get more time though…

  19. Will says:

    “With the possible exception of Cristiano Ronaldo, there isn’t a more in-form player on the planet these days than Tottenham’s Gareth Bale.”

    Leo Messi has scored in 16 straight La Liga matches and it’s universally recognized that he is not in form and is slumping.

    Now that’s amazing.