Well, maybe we don't have to worry about him traipsing on down the M62.
According to Soccernet, and other sources, Pepe Reina will be commanding our area (wow, that's lewd) next season, as he feels we're ready to be back in the big time. I'll admit, with all the Reina rumors I was tempted to see just how much cash you could get for him, and see if it wasn't enough to get just a class below keeper and another player. But you don't move forward as a club if you discard the best player in their position, and that's what Reina is. I'm sure he's the best keeper in the world (though that Neuer looked pretty good for Schalke as they re-enacted the March to the Sea against United, with Schalke playing the role of The South).
And then I thought it is likely that next season Flanagan, Kelly, Robinson, and Wilson will probably all get extended looks in the backline, as well as possibly the returning Emilio Insua. Jamie Carragher just won't be able to play that many games, and we know Agger won't either for different reasons. So it is vital that these young defenders have their confidence buoyed by having an insurance policy back there in Reina. Knowing he can cover up most mistakes will be great for those kids.
-Good lord was Madrid v. Barcelona awful. And I think we knew it would be bad, but I didn't see that coming. When teams of this quality meet repeatedly, there aren't any secrets, and everything becomes a taffy pull. Frustration builds, you get what we were treated to. Not even Messi's second goal made it worth it -- though Pedro standing still with the ball with a "You gonna take this Leo or what?" look on his face was pretty priceless. And it's not like this is some tactical battle with two geniuses -- despite what Mourinho wants you to believe -- eyeballing each other over a chessboard. We know what Barca is going to try and do, it's just a question of whether they can be stopped.
And as for the great reffing conspiracy, this is probably partly explained that Barca always have the ball. They are going to get fouled more because of it. The more fouls, the bigger chance that one of them gets dirty. Especially with the frustration building from chasing all the time.
Mourinho clearly thought he could nick a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou after a stalemate at the Bernabeu. But good god man, Madrid didn't even cross the halfway line before they went down a man.
-With Chelsea playing Spurs and a home date with Newcastle, we could be level with Spurs when all is over this weekend, though they'll have a game in hand. However, that game in hand only matters if we don't beat Spurs at Anfield, with our superior goal difference. Again, I don't know that a Europa spot worth shouting about, but finishing ahead of everyone's darling and 5th just sounds better than 6th, doesn't it?