European Soccer is heating up, with most of the months either in or entering their last month of competition.
In the Premier League, what used to have been unthinkable has become matter of course. Manchester City heads the standings, over Manchester United. Storied Arsenal is at number six, and risks being left out of the Champions League competition again next year. Crystal Palace is at the edge of the teams facing relegation, with Southampton, Stoke City, and West Bromwich Albion having that more and more becoming a reality.
As can happen at this time of year, many of the standings in the national leagues appear to have been frozen at the top, and so barring surprises, little threat is seen for Bayern Munchen, Barcelona or Juventus, although in the case of Serie A, Naples is nipping at Juventus' heals. Saturday's schedule is chock full of soccer action through the Continent and the British Isles.
Champions Leagues is nearing the conclusion of another exciting year. AS Roma shocked the soccer world by besting Barcelona 3-0 in the Champions League quarterfinals. Barcelona had previously been undefeated in both the regular La Liga season and in Champions League play. With that win, Roma enters a two game semifinal with Liverpool to determine who will advance to the finals. Meanwhile, Real Madrid enters the same home and home arrangement with Bayern Munich to determine who will play in the finals from their bracket. The games will take place April 24th and 25th, and May 1st and 2nd.
The real football is of course being played in Australia, as the Aussie Rules football season continues, entering the fourth weekend round. Saturday's games pit the GWS Giants against the Fremantle Dockers, the Richmond Tigers against the Brisbane Lions, the Western Bulldogs against the Sydney Swans, North Melbourne against Carlton, and the West Coast Eagles against the Gold Coast Suns. Sunday will feature the typical three games, but maybe more on that tomorrow.