A lot has happened since our preview yesterday. For one, Barcelona won the Copa Del Rey, assuring that 7th place will go to the UEFA Conference League next season. Then Real Sociedad took the lead to Sevilla only to give up two goals in the space of just a couple of minutes and lose. As I type, Valencia and Real Betis are tied 2-2. If that score stays the same, we have the ability to catapult to 5th with a win today.
Overshadowing all of this has been the breaking news that an announcement related to a European Super League is imminent. This coincides, not accidentally, with UEFA’s plan to unveil a ‘Swiss Model’ format where the current group stages are scrapped, four more teams are added, and everyone plays ten matches.
Everyone is free to have their own opinion on the Super League, but I’ll say just a couple things. 1. Let’s not forget that UEFA, La Liga, the RREF, and other entities that are publicly speaking out against a Super League are not the good guys in this situation. They are power hungry institutions in their own right and the only reason they care is because they aren’t getting their cut. I don’t particularly like the notion of a Super League but I can see why club would look at UEFA, or La Liga, or whatever and say ‘hey, I’ve had enough of your bullcrap, I’m going to do something different’. 2. This is all still probably going to just be a negotiating power play in relation to forming the Champions League in a way that suits the top clubs. Very likely, in five years we’ll see a Champions League that doesn’t look too different from the proposed Super League, but it will be run by UEFA so they’ll try to convince you it’s somehow better.
Now, to our actual match today...
I think Emery’s strategy for the next week is going to be to try to win the first two league matches, basically throw away the Barca match and then be ready for Arsenal. That seems to bear itself out in this lineup. Curious to see Coquelin and Parejo work together, and I’m glad Albiol is getting a break.
Realized I forgot to put a prediction in the preview yesterday. I think we win this one. Discuss the match, European Super League, Existentialist Philosophy... whatever you want in the comment below...