My life's been busy and exhausting, but a lot has happened since I last posted anything meaningful, so here are several short takes.
I believe that England is in real trouble heading into Euro 2012. It's not merely Wayne Rooney's suspension for the first two games of group play, but the coaching situation with Fabio Capello's resignation and the impending disunity on the back line if both Rio Ferdinand and John Terry are selected, given that it's Ferdinand's brother that Terry is accused of racially abusing.
André Villas-Boas has some formidable coaching skills, but I don't believe that he was quite ready for the egos that make up Chelsea FC. Hindsight is 20-20, but another year at FC Porto would have served him well. That being said, he's not responsible for Daniel Sturridge completely botching a one-on-one against West Brom's goalkeeper last weekend, nor is he responsible for the fact that Ashley Cole hasn't scored a goal for two seasons (I know he's a defender, but he never had a dry spell that long at Arsenal). The team is aging and they were just barely able to beat 10 man Stoke City today.
I believe Real Madrid will win La Liga this year. Barcelona has too great a gap to make up and I don't see Real Madrid losing to some of their remaining games - except against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on April 21.
At least one commenter has accused Leo Messi of diving, something for which I see no evidence. Consider the replay at 6 minutes 35 seconds of this clip and you'll see him being pulled back by a much larger defender to no avail. His acceleration to get the return pass is astonishing.
Honestly, is there any team more nerve-wracking than Arsenal? Losing weakly to Sunderland in the FA Cup a week after they rallied heroically against them to win in a league game. Getting crushed by Milan at the San Siro and then nearly making up the difference at home. A solid victory against Spurs and a shocking win against Liverpool at Anfield. Not for the faint of heart. I would imagine that every time Robin Van Persie hits the ground, Arsene Wenger's heart skips a beat.
About a year ago I said that Andy Carroll will be a more cost-effective purchase for Liverpool than Fernando Torres was for Chelsea. I was wrong: both have been huge disappointments.
It looks like my Kaiserslautern Red Devils are headed for a return to the Bundesliga's second division. Well, at least I'll get a good price on my jersey purchase when I'm there in May.
I just finished watching Tottenham lose to Everton. They may yet hold on to third, but they're still a work in progress. That's three in a row by a 9-2 aggregate. Suddenly much of the talk of Harry Redknapp for England manager seems to be quieting.