Sports Burst - From The Sublime To The Europa League



By Tim Stannard


The race to grab beers in Baku continues as Arsenal and Chelsea look to seal all-England Europa League final 


After the breathless dramatics of the past two nights in the Champions League, there is only one way that the bigwigs at UEFA can make its tribute to participation trophies, the Europa League, exciting. 


Half-time entertainment in the two second-leg, semifinal clashes featuring 22 actual dinosaurs ridden by cloned versions of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and dancing to the greatest hits of Aerosmith might, just might come close to matching the thrills and spills of the drama of the Champions League. 


Otherwise it's just set to be Arsenal - one point from 12 in the Premier League and out of the top four - taking on Valencia, a side that is likely to be bested by Getafe in La Liga in terms of end of season scenarios. To further reduce the attraction and general existential meaning of the game, the Gunners are taking a 3-1 lead to Mestalla. 

Elsewhere, it's all to play for - well, almost nothing really - as Chelsea hosts Eintracht Frankfurt in Stamford Bridge with the scoreline at 1-1 from the first leg. 


While the Champions League finalists and their supporters can enjoy a bumper weekend in Madrid to celebrate the festival of football, what might well end up being Chelsea and Arsenal fans have the joy of heading to Baku, Azerbaijan. 

Post to Post: The Soccer Show will be live on the beIN SPORTS Facebook page at 5:30PM ET / 2:30PM PT to cover what might actually turn out to be another fun day despite Sports Burst's slight misgivings. 



Barcelona set to make end of season decision on Ernesto Valverde


While Liverpool and Tottenham process what exactly just happened over the past few days, Barcelona has been doing the same. But for very different reasons. 

Club president, Josep Bartomeu, has called for calm amidst a general existential panic at a club that was preparing for a run at a Treble this season. 

Mundo Deportivo is claiming that no decision will be made on the future of Ernesto Valverde until after the Copa del Rey final against Valencia at the end of May. The Spaniard has a deal until 2020 - meaning that he would be relatively inexpensive to sack - however the paper writes that the views of the locker room will be important. Leo Messi, basically. 

What was set to be a fairly comfortable stroll at the Camp Nou in a league clash against Getafe in front of welcoming home fans on Sunday is now set to be a less than pleasurable experience. 

Getafe, currently in fourth and looking to stay there, is a team that plays with intensity and passion - two factors that tends to unhinge Barcelona - and another loss combined with a rough reaction from home fans might just seal Valverde's fate. 

Find out on the Sports Burst live show what might happen next at the Camp Nou with Jeremy St. Louis and Andres Cordero. Just head to the beIN SPORTS USA Facebook page at 12PM ET / 9AM PT to have your say. 



Allegri linked with PSG as Godin starts Inter move 


With Italian clubs having politely declined the chance to participate in the final stages of the various European competitions, it has left plenty of time for their own hi-jinks. 

On Wednesday there was a veritable flurry of reports suggesting that Max Allegri was set to leave Juventus to take over PSG and possibly bring Miralem Pjanic along for the ride. Antonio Conte would be sitting on the Old Lady's hotspot. So to speak. 

Thursday has seen a decline in the veracity of the stories. So instead, Antonio Conte is now being parked at Inter where he will be joined by Diego Godin. Moves have reportedly begun to register a three-year contract for the Uruguayan stopper with Inter after the defender announced his departure from Atletico Madrid this week. 

And speaking of Uruguayan matters, Penarol were the shock losers in Wednesday's Copa Libertadores action. Penarol ground out a goalless draw with Flamengo which was expected to carry both teams through to the Last 16 stages, however a 4-0 win from LDU Quito moved the Ecuadorians into second place on goal difference. 

Thursday night's action that is live, live, live on beIN SPORTS from 6PM ET / 3PM PT will see last year's finalists, Boca Juniors, needing a point against Athletico Paranaense to ensure progression to the next round.