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Mistake-filled Madrid vs. Bayern tie a prime example of why VAR is needed

Paul Mariner is fully supportive of VAR amid the refereeing controversy surrounding Real and Bayern's quarterfinal 2nd leg.
The black mark of Madrid's stunning win over Bayern, were the many refereeing gaffes, which the FC crew dissect fervently.
Bayern Munich's Arturo Vidal says his side were robbed in their quarterfinal Champions League defeat to Real Madrid.

We really ought to be discussing 210 minutes of captivating football between arguably the two best teams in the world. Instead, the aftermath of Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich has been dominated by talk of the match officials and their decisions.

With it is the usual talk of conspiracies and it's not just fans and media fanning the flames: Two World Cup-winning teammates, separated by the age-old Barcelona-Madrid divide, have been going at it as well.

Moments after Cristiano Ronaldo's goal to make...

Mourinho gets it right, Conte gets it wrong; drama in Milan; Messi, Isco star

Stewart Robson joins the FC show to analyse Man United's massive win over Chelsea, including Mourinho's stellar tactics.

Jose Mourinho made it seem like it was no big deal. It was, he said, pretty much the same game plan that Manchester United used against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup last month, and had that quarterfinal tie remained 11 vs. 11 -- Ander Herrera was sent off in the first half -- he was "totally convinced" that it would also have resulted in victory, just as it did on Sunday when his side beat the Premier League leaders 2-0.

In fact, though, it was a big deal. Mourinho left out the likes...

Dybala has the ability and work ethic for Juventus to be built around him

FC's Serie A expert, Paolo Bandini lavishes Paulo Dybala with praise for breaking out on the European stage against Barca.
Paulo Dybala was Juve's main instigator against a tepid Barcelona, scoring two crafty goals en route to Juve's 3-0 win.
A Paulo Dybala brace eased Juventus past Barcelona for a 3-0 result, which they will take to the Camp Nou.

Google Earth does a fine job of describing just where La Joya -- the jewel -- was first mined. It shows Paulo Dybala's hometown of Laguna Larga, in Argentina, as a grey-white rectangle surrounded by hundreds of green rectangles.

In the aftermath of World War II, Dybala's grandfather Boleslaw was forced to emigrate from Poland to Argentina. The Nazis had occupied his village and taken him away to work for the German Reich, and he struggled to find work when he returned home. His story, eloquently...

Real vs. Bayern a real UCL blockbuster with no margin for error. Who will win?

With both clubs having key league derbies over the weekend, the FC panel agree those won't affect their UCL performances.

This is not what football's founding fathers intended. Any enduring conspiracy involving "hot balls and cold balls" and rigged draws to keep the heavyweights apart suffered a blow when Real Madrid were pitted against Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarterfinals.

UEFA club rankings may be purely mathematical constructs (although they're probably somewhat more reliable than their cousins, the FIFA rankings), but they are pretty unequivocal here. They look at the past five seasons, and they...

Chelsea's ability to "suffer" with Conte is pushing them to Premier League title

Antonio Conte praises Chelsea's response against a quality side such as Man City, saying that had to suffer for their win.

Let it be a small reminder of how the game works.

On Saturday, Chelsea went 2-1 down before dominating much of the rest of the game against Crystal Palace. They still lost. That they didn't draw (or win) was down to some tremendous defending from Wayne Hennessey and Mamadou Sakho, poor finishing and sheer dumb bad luck -- or, if you prefer, variance and probability.

On Wednesday, they also finished 2-1 except this time, Chelsea won against a much better team than Palace, Manchester City. And in...

Arsenal, Man City's sloppy draw, Juve play it safe, Chelsea shouldn't panic

The FC panel lament Manchester City's inability to translate Pep Guardiola's tactics into a quality product on the pitch.

Pep Guardiola and Arsene Wenger are both managers who say they value performance and process as much as (if not more than) results and outcome. There's no reason to doubt them, so you can only imagine that postgame platitudes aside, neither was happy with this multi-car pileup of a game.

Focus only on the result, and you might conclude that Sunday's 2-2 draw suited both sides. Arsenal didn't end the game empty-handed, something that had happened just once in the previous seven games in league...