Archive for the ‘Champions League’ Category

Champion’s League Live: Tottenham vs. A.C. Milan

Will host a Bunga Bunga party if Milan go through. Expect Robinho and Pato to be the first ones there. Ronaldinho will be serving drinks.

Game over. Spurs through the quarters thanks to a Crouch’s first leg goal. Not the best game, but they won’t care in London.

TWEEET TWEEET TWEET.

91:00 – Robinho and Ibra have a nice one two, but Robinho’s shot is deflected over the bar. Corner comes to nothing.

90:00 – Sandro might be getting the plaudits, but the MOM for me is Dawson. He’s been everywhere and marshaled the Spurs defense very well.

88:00 – Gomes comes out and claims the ball well. Such an enigma the Brazilian keeper. Within minutes can go from awful to excellent.

86:00 - Sandro excellently plays keep away from three Milan players at the corner flag. Milan are becoming more predictable as the game comes on. Strasser comes on for Flamini.

83:00 - Pav comes on for Crouch. Shame, I thought the bean pole was having a good game.

81:00 - He might be slow, but Dawson is having an excellent game.

80:00 – If Spurs go through will Merkel come to Berlusconi’s Bunga Bunga party? Shuddering over here.

79:00 – Spurs are conceding the ball  like their North London rivals as they gift the ball to Milan. Difference is Spurs are also attacking when they get a the chance.

77:00 - The duck unleashes a shot that the German Chancellors son feeds him, but it hits the side netting. Close one that!

76:00 – Did Angela Merkel’s son just come on the pitch for Milan?

75:00 - Anybody else want this to go to penalties? I haven’t seen a good shoot out in awhile!

69:00 – The speedy little fellas work the ball nicely in the Milan half, but they eventually get out muscled. Kudos for Spurs for going all out and attacking. I guess if the ball is in the Milan half, Gomes isn’t near it. Good strategy!

66:00 – Gomes makes a fine save from a Robinho shot that ends up bundling around the box. Eventually all is cleared

64:00 – Pato gets a yellow for encroachment. Stupid that and Van der Vaart gets another chance to found Crouchino’s head. He fails.

61:00 - Ibra blocks a goal bound shot on his chest that renders him offside. He then chants and prays to some form of deity for his stupidity. He also asks for the ability perform during the weekdays and not only on the weekends.

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Champion’s League: AC Milan vs. Tottenham Going Live

Can the drama of Tuesday’s Barca-fest be captured here on Wednesday.

First, in what today can be considered a junior competition, Everton faces of with Birmingham in the Barclays Premiership. Birmingham is steaming having dropped only one game since they got thrashed by Manchester United, 5-0, back in late January.

A tough challenge here at Goodison for the Toffees as captain Phil Neville is out, as are central middies Tim Cahill and Fellaini (out for the rest of the campaign). Jack Rodwell will need to step and play big for Tim Howard’s friends to hold serve at home.

Champion’s League:

In the undercard–as we sit–it’s Schalke vs. Valencia in Bavaria. Unfortunately, the story here is still the cliched Raul vs. the Spanish as the graying forward has been putting it together for the up-and-down Schalke side.

Meanwhile, Valencia has been rocketing through La Liga play with a recent 1-0 loss to Barca the only blemish on their record over the last three weeks.

With Schalke tenuously clinging to a slight away goal advantage in a 1-1 draw a few weeks ago in Spain, and Valencia welcoming back both David Albelda and Joaquin, the Germans are going to have to muster every bit of collective pride to take down Valencia even though they’re home.

Do they care to not see their coach Felix McGrath in the papers for the wrong reason Thursday?

And the marquee match-up: Milan vs. Tottenham.

Oh what festivities await. Easy to argue that both Gareth Bale and Spurs have been better–and perhaps the most entertaining team not from Catalan–in the Champion’s League.

A slug-it-out, drag-it-down affair last time, saw Mathieu Flamini two-foot Vedran Corluka putting him out of commission for a short lunar cycle (and draw the ire of The Shin Guardian).

An odd strategy by Milan, trying to make it an ugly match at home, and it didn’t work as the San Siro saw Spurs leave as victors. Since then, the Rossoneri have been surging and they’ll need to fire on the road to move on.

Lennon is the walrus...

As for the Londoners, they’ll likely continue with the same game plan albeit with different pieces. Last time out, Tottenham played through Aaron Lennon who, like a boxer repeatedly shooting jabs at the side of his opponent, continually flummoxed of Luca Antonini on the Spurs’ right flank. Lennon’s play pushed Milan back and ultimately decided the game.

This time, the Spurs add visionary Rafael Van Der Vaart to the attack and, if Bale’s back healthy, you have to like the home sides chances of spreading the field even further and finding their way through, despite a sub-standard striking ability. (Yes, Jermain Defoe had two goals against Wolverhampton this past weekend, but he missed a few sitters that could have earned the victory away.)

It will be interesting to see how Milan counter in the absence of Gennaro Guttuso, suspended quite frankly for being an idiot, and needing to attack. You’ll likely see Pato introduced as he and Robinho try to catch the Spurs on a counter when they give up possession on the flanks.

The one to watch, even though TSG expects Spurs to prevail.

By the way, Spurs fans, why isn’t Roman Pavlyuchenko either a star or more favored by Harry Rednapp? He’s got the game “just missed” complex, as the rest of the Spurs’ strikers, but his first touch to open up his shooting foot might be the best, or near the best, in the Premiership.

Barcelona Vs Arsenal – Second leg

Fabregas's audition to play for Barcelona is not going all that well.

TWEEET TWEET TWEET. Barcelona go through. Barcelona were amazing but the referee was even better. All told the Blau Grana deserved to win, but the referee denied us fans an exciting second half with the RVP sending off. Shame.

92:00 - Barcelona are playing keep away as Arsenal desperately try to get the ball back.

90:00 – Arsenal’s defense has been poor and amazing all at the same time. They have given up so many bad passes and gotten beaten so easily, but have done what it takes to stop the final ball. Game could very well have been 32-1.

87:00 – Arsenal get a break-away and Wilshire tee’s up Bendtner but the lumbering Dane’s touch is poor and Valdes claims it. A better striker would have scored. Little Miss TSG would have scored.

86:00 - Wow. Barcelona waltz into Arsenal’s box and it was Dani Alves and Messi versus Almunia who is haplessly rooted to the spot and yet the Brazilian’s half pass, half shot goes wide. Not sure how they screwed that up.

85:00 - Messi charges down the middle again, surrounded by 5 players and lays the ball of for Afellay, but Almunia again makes himself big and blocks the shot.

83:00 – Afellay makes an immediate impact as he scampers onto a long ball, beats Djourou for pace but his side footed shot goes wide. Another speedy Dutch winger in the making.

82:00 – Villa comes of for Afellay.

78:00 - Arsenal reach for the bottom of the barrel and send on Bendtner. Meanwhile Messi has a shot, but it is well saved by Almunia who has been Arsenal’s best player.

76:00 - That said, Arsenal’s passing has been pretty shocking tonight, as they for the upteenth time pass the ball straight to a Barcelona player.

74:00 - Arshavin comes on for Rosicky who hasn’t down much. Barcelona are rampant and playing beautiful football, but the referee’s antics has made a huge impact on this game. RVP’s sending off had a huge impact as they no longer really became dangerous.

71:00 – Goal by Messi. Almunia is rooted as Messi sends it into the bottom corner. Barcelona 3 – Arsenal 1 – Referee 5

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Champion’s League: Arsenal v. Barca Going Live

Up to the minute live commentary on TSG by the man who did EVERY World Cup game

Champion’s League back in full effect today.

The clear undercard? That would be Shahktar Donetsk vs. AS Roma. A clash of styles more than anything else. Roma lost serve at home, 3-2, and now heads to Donbass Arena where Shahktar has not lost since the building opened in 2009. Quite a feat for the Tottis to overcome.

Clash of the titans....

The marquee match-up, or at least the one that always has the Euro press drooling? That’s of course the battle of the so-called “beautiful game” as possession-oriented squads Arsenal and Barcelona face-off.

The Nou campers went to the Emirates and poked and prodded till they got the lead in the first stanza a few weeks back, but after halftime it was all Arsenal as the home side fired back twice to take the leg on the back of some shoddy Barca defending.

Ahead of the clash today, confusion over just who is healthy. Jack Wilshere, who Pep Guardiola complimented, not insulted yesterday, should be in play after an ankle injury over the weekend against who else but Sunderland. For the visitors, they should have Robin Van Persie, but critical components Theo Walcott and Alexander Song (perhaps a bigger loss on the road) are out.

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Wednesday Action: Champ’s League & Cannons

One word: Cesc...

A gaggle of good games on the program today. Go:

• The Great Cesc Coaster….

Stoke head to the Emirates in today’s appetizer match.

Arsenal? Volatile. A premium performance against Barcelona followed up by “dropping” a draw to Leyton on some wonderment near stoppage time.

Stoke for their part are much stronger at home, but come in having failed to concede more than two goals in any match this season in the Premiership, the only team to do so.

Call this one the Army-Air Force game. Stoke will try to go over the top to Kenwynne Jones, Ricardo Fuller and company while the Wengers will look to play the ball on the ground through the midfield and carefully dissect the Trentmen’s backline.

And as always, please don’t climb on the cannons:

• Champ’s League: Finals rematch: Bayern tries to go galatic on Inter

Olic still out of action...

The visitors to the Giuseppe Meazza could really use the industry of Ivica Olic in this one…unfortunately the Croatian is still out of action.

Bayern takes to Milan today hoping avenge last year’s final loss. They may not find Jose Mourinho on the touchline but they’ll still have to handle Samuel E’to who has been–in this writer’s opinion–quietly brilliant in both league and Europe action this year. Look for him to attack the Germans down the left flank while “even quieter” Maicon–still brooding over not being relocated to Spain–attacks down the right flank.

Bayern will counter with the typical pair of Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery. While Ribery has been down right pedestrian this year, Mario Gomez up top is coming in in serious form and will try to throw some haymakers at Inter’s central defense.

Mourinho is a “galactico” but Inter should prevail at home.

• Triumph? Manchester to Marseille

First, let’s get some Man United info out of the way. Bebe, remember him, the United signing that Ferguson never saw in person? Yeah, he’s already rumored out of Old Trafford at the end of the year.

Cantona? Calls Fergie a genius here and says Manband Berba is “great.”

Today? Man United to the south of France to face Gignac, Remy and a Marseille team that have been ho-hum at best in Ligue 1 action.

Key match-ups?

Will Evra’s rose have a thorn in Loic Remy floating out behind his forward runs on the “port” flank?

And America’s best friend Andre Ayew attempts to boss the Redhead Devil midfield.

I’m sorry, did we mention Cantona?

Champ’s League: Real Madrid Lyonized?

UEFA Champion’s League Tuesday….begin:

Will we get trademark Ronaldo...and precisely what is that? More blame or more game? (Photo credit: Shaun Webb)

• Real Madrid Hope To Be Lyonized in France

Ronaldo.

Your turn my man to step up.

For the past two Champion’s League seasons your team has not attained the crown and you’ve squarely placed the blame on your manager or, in the case last year, blamed your manager after guaranteeing advancement.

To date this year, Ronaldo has grabbed the goals in La Liga, but the accolades have went to Messi, Xavi and company.

This time, Ronaldo has Jose Mourinho on his touchline. Can’t make those excuses. Apologies Lyon–with Michel Bastos playing out of his mind in the competition–it’s also about the Madeiran in this series.

• FC Copenhagen hope to snuff out Chelsea at home

Dame N'Doye for Copenhagen

Is Parken Stadium the scene for Chelsea righting the ship?

Not sure where to put this next comment, but I’m surprised more hasn’t been written about how Chelsea are just desperately missing a single piece to the puzzle: a centrally attacking midfielder-forward.

They’ve got none. Anelka looks for his shot when withdrawn, Kalou is more naturally a winger and not a playmaker. Lampard prefers to trail, while Michael Essien prefers to defend.

Didier Drogba is much better deployed in the attack and prefers to run off center while Torres likes to threaten the opponent’s backline.

It has been fascinating watching teams play Chelsea for the past few months once they realize that, unless someone has a great game out of character to their skillset, they can sag off the Blues.

Copenhagen’s got some firepower in this one to challenge stalwart David Luiz and favorite villian John Terry in the form of veteran forwards Brazilian César Santin and Senegalese Dame N’Doye. If Copenhagen can provide the service, might be a tough one for the visitors.

Champ’s League: Arselona Live!

Yes, there is another game today.

After yesterday’s Boot Country theatrics and the quibbles that seem to be following Roma, I’m highly inclined to only take in the score of that game. Probably a mistake but…the headliner:

Yes, it's probably time for us to get subjected to yet another Xavi passing chart...

• Cesc It Ain’t So: Will
Arsenal Hold The Line at Home against Barca?

Wonderful that this rematch is happening from last year. Better yet with different actors in it.

With less than a collective fifteen observations of both teams this year, I’m not going to go out with a prediction.

Here are just some thoughts.

I don’t think–even with the swap of Villa for Zlatan–that Arsenal can afford to sit deep in this one. Their defensive organization is simply not good enough–this is an Arsenal team that has consistently conceded against lower level Premiership sides as well as Championship sides.

That said, the addition of a nimble Johan Djourou–well-respected at this publication–and 25-year-old Laurent Koscielny give Arsenal an agile interior. Their relative youth suggests that the pair could either have a howler or not grasp the moment and be difference makers–watch how this duo comes out.

Secondly, and I’ll probably eat my words shortly here, if I’m Arsene Wenger, I use the same deployment of Theo Walcott as I did last year–after the half as a sub when Pep and company can only make adjustments in-stream.

Walcott is not a 90-minute player and adding him in early takes away the known threat that must be accounted for later–when Maxwell and company are slowed. I’d stow him on the bench for the start.

Finally, if I’m Arsenal, I’d bang on the right rear guard of Barca–use Van Persie off-center and bring Nasri–if fit. Force Busquets to drop to help out and hopefully open up space for Cesc in the middle.

All of this, of course, easier said then done.

For the interlopers, it will likely be business as usual. Press up the pitch, bring Dani Alves up the right flank using Busquets as cover (hence the Arsenal comment above) and then, of course, Xavi pulling the strings.

Champ’s League….soon.

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