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Friday, November 24, 2006

British teams in Europe; Man Utd v Chelsea on Sunday

There were mixed happenings in the Champs League for the British sides. Celtic held well against Man Utd at Parkhead and it was Shunsuke Nakamura with his left again from a freekick who sealed the win on Tuesday. A helping hand to that was Louis Saha on two occasions. One where he was not given offside with Artur Bobac to face but stalled in fear of a decision and the keeper came out to block. Then came the freekick from which Christiano Ronaldo struck the hand of Shaun Maloney, giving away a penalty. Saha stepped up to coolly choose his right and the keeper's left but Bobac choosed equally and saved away. Celtic through to the knockout stages of the competition for the first time in its history. I was surprised the likes of Ronaldo or Wayne Rooney didn't take it, but if Saha felt confident to do so then that is enough for someone to step up.

Arsenal endured a scare for 50mins after Rafael van der Vaart ran into space in 4mins and shot over Jens Lehmann to take the lead at The Emirates, but another Dutchman in Robin Van Persie ran into space himself and slotted the equaliser. From then Arsenal engaged forward, Theo Walcott came on and delivered a pass for Emanuel Eboue to chase down the right and aima hopeful shot that wedged under the keeper and inside the goal. Julio Bapiste wrapped up the events by heading into the goal from a Walcott cross.

Liverpool took on difficult opponents PSV at Anfield, PSV had been unbeaten in 18 months in all competitions and held the Reds to a draw at home. Along the way we played 'Knock Down Player' which was our version of 'Knock Down Ginger', where our players were knocked down through injury. Xabi Alonso suffered a hip problem on 21mins, Mark Gonzalez followed fifteen minutes after with a hamstring. There were two impromptu changes we could have done without. The breakthrough occurred after the hour with dirk Kuyt turning his marker and passing into space for Steven Gerrard to run onto and place inside the keeper's left. Then a third change of Jermaine Pennant with another hamstring problem. Peter Crouch wrapped up this game with Luis Garcia crossing from the left for Kuyt to back across for Crouch to nod in. In fairness Crouchie should have had a hat-trick as Liverpool went on to top the group.

Chelsea entered Werder Bremen's ground for a win and left it the losers after Torsten Frings crossed a corner for Per Mertesacker to head in. Injury worries to Dider Drogba and Michael Ballack were dismissed as both are expected to be fit for Sunday's big game. Main thing is Chelsea qualified as they have the better of their clashes with Werder Bremen.

Unfortunately I had a busy schedule on Thursday and only got in to hear of the UEFA cup matches than see them, but all the British sides did well. Blackburn and Rangers gained the point required to qualify for the knockout stages, though Morten Gamst Pedersen was struck with a plastic cup of beer and again highlights the issue of objects projected from the crowd, which I have just heard will be investigated by UEFA. It inadvertently highlights the opinion of the beer served at the Feijenoord Stadion. Newcastle and Spurs recorded wins. Newcastle's skeleton crew coming from behind to fend off Celta Vigo with a first goal of his Newcastle career for Stephen Taylor and another goal in which Albert Luque had an influence in in European football. Could be something there. Dimitar Berbatov returning to the BayArena to haunt his former place with the winning goal.


As for the big game on Sunday, all I have to say is for anyone to lay off Howard Webb and let the man officiate the game with no pressure. I don't think he or any of the other officials go into any match thinking of whether they will please either or both teams and their fans. They go out and officiate as they see it. I don't agree that referees look to balance decisions. But timely words from Jose Mourinho and chief executive Peter Kenyon have added fuel to the broil so it will be an interesting combat.



RedsMan.

7 Comments:

Anonymous Nturtle said...

Good posts again Redsman...sorry...not had a chance to get on much.

RE: Liverpool....crikey...injuries galore...and "knock down Ginger" was rather appropriate...hope the players are up for the league game...not sure if there is any depth to your squad as I haven't studied Liverpool much these days....but perhaps players like Zenden, Pennant etc can step up to the plate...since everyone is now at ease with each other through consecutive rotation!!! That was tongue in cheek of course!

Good to see the English teams getting a good chance now in Europe...the Champs league is a bit tight for Man U and Arsenal...but Uefa cup doesn't look too bad!

11/25/2006 2:34 am

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

Alonso is a blow for us while Gonzalez and Pennant reduces our choices on the flanks. Being that Pennant was bought to be engaged on the right, and we are now missing two influential central midfielders, Gerrard's selection for the middle is further enhanced, with Zenden behind him. To add Sissoko, Aurelio and Warnock then shows how hit we are. But the picture is brighter come the morning of who is available.

I thought Newcastle had done exceptionally well given their performance at The Emirates and in Europe with a depleted squad and the rest of the teams in Europe hadn't relented at all to progress into the knockout stages.


RedsMan.

11/25/2006 4:48 am

 
Blogger T said...

Thanks Redsman for your European review. Sorry about the injuries to those Liverpool midfielders... but at least Gerrard is still there and can prove his worth from CM.

I just want to add a note about the celebrations for Arsenal's goal on Tuesday night: basically I loved the all-out passion of each one by VP, Eboue and Baptista!

Foe me Baptista can be a very significant signing so I was very pleased to see him get his first goal. If Arsenal are going to maintain a 4-5-1 system we need attacking midfielders who know how to score and 'the Beast' has proven undeniably by his time at Sevilla that he is prolific. His headed finish was without panic and his clebration showed a real internal passion and desire that I love to see from Arsenal players. Hopefully he will feature this evening in Bolton - he has the pace and power needed for what has become our bogey team.

Initial prediction for Man Utd V Chelsea: it looks like I've found myself 'sitting on the fence' because I predict a 1-1 score draw.

11/25/2006 11:10 am

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liverpool played crap football and only scored by some lucky break. Chelsea with all their glamour and money cant score and shows how lucky they are to have a sugar daddy. Utd were middle level at best and deserved to lose, is all I can say about them. There was no way Arsenal ere going to lose to a crappy kraut Hamburg side in relegation. So why did we lose today to rubbish northerners who we should have beaten with our great players? You lot can answer that one, if you are so good.

11/25/2006 8:11 pm

 
Blogger RedsMan said...

As for Europe, it was a setback for Utd but they need a point at home to Benfica and I just cannot see that not being accomplished, that is a virtual rubber-stamp into the knockout stages. Chelsea lost but went through, not as they wanted but they won't be sweating like the holders themselves, who shouldn't be. The pressure is so much on Barca than Werder Bremen now. Arsenal need a draw at Porto, and whereas I sense CSKA can beat Hamburg in Germany, Arsenal are professional enough to gain the point they need to go through. So frankly all the British sides will make it through to the respective knockout stages come a fortnight.

What I will say is say what you wish about Liverpool particularly, they gained the minimum one goal more than the opposition in midweek to win and that counts. If you were to win every game by the one goal, what difference would it make? The main aim in this game is to win, every time. May be sluggish, may be fantastic, may be even simply exquisite but a win is a win. That is something Utd and Chelsea have been doing in the EPL why they are there at the summit, winning sometimes by the one goal. Call it a lucky break, LFC won and that counts.

As for your request, I can't at this moment for as I type MOTD is on and contains the highlights of the Bolton-Arsenal game but I'm here with other business why I cannot watch it and I will in due course. Until then I cannot give you a reason why, perhaps T can do so later on.


RedsMan.

11/25/2006 11:23 pm

 
Blogger T said...

Unfortunately I'm limited in time to expand on why we lost (again) at Bolton but I can sum it up in three reasons:

1) Relative lack of physical power.
2) Not clinical in our finishing when taking the game to Bolton in the 2nd half (a sharper Ljungberg would have scored at least one goal y'day).
3) Committing a cardinal sin of going behind early to a set-piece (when playing Bolton we should be training specifically to be well-drilled in defending corners).

A disappointing defeat but on the positive side I was pleased with the determination of the team to keep attacking and fighting for the equaliser; and more important than the defeat for me was seeing with my own eyes Walcott's special talent, pace and fearlessness in taking on opponents.

Fabregas (speaking like a veteran!)said this week that the two best 16-17 years olds he's ever seen are Messi and Walcott... and his sub performance against Hamburg followed by his game y'day makes me understand why Cesc can make such a comparison.... at the same time bearing in mind that Messi is two years older and ahead of Walcott.

11/26/2006 8:46 pm

 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is that it? That's all well and good but admiring Walcott and Fabregas is not winning us games. The players can look pretty enough with the football but we need to win games if we are going for the title again. Walcott should have ran through that defence and dropped some England type goals, you know what I mean? how long has Adebayor been with us and he has been rubbish. You guys talked about Toure being captain but he was not with it yesterday. So without TH14 against a more physical side we are shut out. Should have learned from the Hamburg game that we were down and no one after TH14 will step up and take charge. At least we can stuff the Cottagers on Wednesday.

11/26/2006 9:10 pm

 

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