BANGKOK, THAILAND - MARCH 16: The UEFA Champions League Trophy is displayed during the UEFA Champions League Trophy Tour Asia 2011 Press Conference on March 16, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. (Photo by Athit Perawongmetha/Getty Images)
Through the magic of the prose of johnjmurphy17, we all took sides for one reason or another with regard to the Chelsea v. Barcelona Champions League tie. As you will all remember, I was (and will remain) squarely in the "Anyone but Chelsea" camp due to the implications on Newcastle United's Champions League hopes. A weeks' worth of results on, and we are sitting in exactly the scenario that I did not wish to see occur. Chelsea have dispatched Barcelona in a match that was described as "surely one of the greatest of all time" by Ian Darke of ESPN; Newcastle defeated Stoke, Tottenham lost to QPR and it sure looks like the Toon have a reasonable shot at the 4th place CL qualifying spot.
We had to know that it was coming... this season had too much feel good. Being a Newcastle fan, we all were standing on a very large rug just waiting for it to be pulled out from under us. Week after week, many would wonder if this was going to be the week where the wheels fell off of Newcastle's dream season. Two seasons up and on the cusp of Champions League qualification. Some were slow to come around and believe... but here we are, all standing on the rug over a hole to the Europa League and Chelsea have two hands on ready to yank it out from underneath us. There are matches to be played, of course, and a fourth place finish is by no means guaranteed... but the scenario is out there and in play. Newcastle United could potentially qualify for the Champions League... but not get to go.
In a semi-related note, however, Aston Villa lost to Bolton today, leaving them only 2 points above the drop zone now. You may remember that Aston Villa claimed the three points that sent us down and essentially danced on our grave... so if you're the vindictive type... that's a little something to keep an eye on.