Archive | February, 2010

Torres to the rescue

28 Feb

Fernando Torres made his first start in over a month in today’s clash with Blackburn.  He showed what Liverpool had been missing, scoring the game-winning goal just before halftime.   It was a big win for the Reds as they stay within striking distance of fourth.  Liverpool sits in sixth currently, but only one point behind fourth place Tottenham and fifth place Manchester City.

Liverpool also defeated Unirea on Thursday, 3-1, to advance to the Europa League round of 16 where they will play Lille.

It’s a big boost to have Torres back as it’s a crucial point in the season.  Liverpool has to stay on the winning track if they want to secure that final Champions League spot.  They get their next shot at a win March 8 against Wigan.

Liverpool looks to advance today, Bridge quits England

25 Feb

Liverpool holds a slim 1-0 lead over Unirea Urziceni going into the second leg of the Europa League round of 32.  The Reds put on a lackluster performance against Manchester City at the weekend and will look to improve on that by, ya know, scoring (preferably more than once).  In injury related news, Fernando Torres made a substitute appearance on Sunday after missing a little over a month with a knee injury.  He’ll likely be in the same type of role today as he is not fit enough to get the start.  Yossi Benayoun also made his return from a broken rib in Sunday’s match and could push for a starting role.  The winner of today’s match will face either Lille or Fenerbahçe.  Lille won the first leg in France, 2-1.

In other football news, Wayne Bridge has removed himself from consideration for the England squad.  After the Terry affair, Bridge has said that staying with the team could cause more problems down the road.  It’s unfortunate that it has come to this, especially since Bridge would be a likely starter at left back after an injury to Ashley Cole and was pretty much a lock to make the World Cup squad.  England manager Fabio Capello is now without his top two left backs and will need to find a suitable replacement as Cole’s fitness after returning from a broken ankle could be a question.

Donovan making a name for himself at Everton

24 Feb

U.S. midfielder Landon Donovan has finally found a place he can shine.  Too bad he’s only on loan with Everton until the beginning of March.  Donovan has been so influential in the club’s recent successes, which include big wins over both Chelsea and Manchester United, that he was named the club’s player of the month for January.  Pretty impressive for a guy that’s only been there since the beginning of the year.

It’s got to make U.S. fans happy that Donovan is playing so well in such a competitive league after his failed stints in Germany.  Even if he goes back to the Galaxy in March (which looks pretty likely at this point), he’ll have that confidence that comes with knowing he can compete with some of the world’s best on a regular basis.  That confidence should carry over to the U.S. team this summer.

There’s been speculation that Donovan will stay with Everton past when his loan ends, but any deal is unlikely to happen before he heads back to LA.  Everton fans, however, are doing their part to insure Donovan stays – starting a Facebook group which has already attracted almost 4,000 fans since its creation less than two weeks ago.  Manager David Moyes has said they won’t keep Donovan at this point due to monetary reasons, but like any football business deal, who knows what will actually happen when his loan is up.

Champions League action continues

24 Feb

In the game that’s already started, visiting Sevilla has a 1-0 lead on host CSKA Moskva thanks to a 26th minute Negredo goal. The clash the media have been in a frenzy about is upon us this afternoon: Chelsea at Inter (also known as Jose Mourinho’s current team vs. his former team that he clearly still loves). Obviously Mourinho’s connection to Chelsea has been the big story of the match. It will be a tough clash as Chelsea is missing both Michael Essien and upstanding citizen (ha!) Ashley Cole due to injury, while Inter has struggled in Europe lately, winning just twice in their last 11 games.  For once, the game everyone wants to watch will actually be on TV today as well.

In yesterday’s games, Barcelona got all they could handle from Stuttgart in a 1-1 draw.  Barca has the slight advantage of an away goal heading into the second leg.  In Greece, Bordeaux scored a 1-0 away win over Olympiacos, which gives Bordeaux a big boost as they come home for the second leg.

Inter vs. Chelsea – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
CSKA Moskva vs. Sevilla – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)

Today’s Champions League matches

23 Feb

There’s not a lot of drama inherent in either of these matchups, but as it’s the knockout round, hopefully there will be some quality play. Barcelona’s aiming for a second straight title, but Stuttgart is the latest obstacle facing the holders. Barca looked somewhat shaky in the group stage, so it will be interesting to see if they can put together a solid performance on the road.

Stuttgart vs. Barcelona – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Olympiacos vs. Bordeaux – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Liverpool opens Europa League play today

18 Feb

Liverpool plays host to Unirea Urziceni (seriously hate spelling that) today in the first leg of their Europa League tie.  The second leg is set for Thursday, Feb. 25.  This tournament is Liverpool’s last chance at silverware this season.  It’s not going to be easy for the Reds as their form has been consistently inconsistent this year, but like I’ve said before, if they can put all the pieces together, they could make a run.

Fernando Torres and Glen Johnson are both still hurt, but Jamie Carragher is fit to play while Yossi Benayoun could play if absolutely necessary (read: he won’t).  Maxi Rodriguez is ineligible to play since he already played in European competition with Atletico before signing with Liverpool.  Defender Sotirios Kyrgiakos is available since his ban only covers domestic matches.

Unfortunately, none of the Europa League games are on TV in the States, so your best bet is to watch it illegally online (which I won’t condone despite wanting to) or follow along on the Yahoo! match tracker.

Lyon, United win; two more games today

17 Feb

Lyon defeated Real Madrid, 1-0, and Manchester United claimed a 3-2 road win over AC Milan to kick off Champions League round of 16.  Lyon now faces the daunting task of taking on Real at home while clinging to a one goal lead.  Meanwhile, Wayne Rooney continued his stellar form in United’s win, notching two goals including the game-winner.  Milan tried to make it a game with a late Seedorf goal, but it was too little too late.

Today’s double is Bayern vs. Fiorentina and Porto vs. Arsenal.  Arsenal has been hard hit by injuries as five first teamers have been left in England.  The Gunners better beware Porto’s Hulk as he will see his first action since December due to a domestic ban.  Meanwhile, Bayern is on a 12-match winning streak, while Fiorentina hasn’t won since Jan. 10.

The only live TV broadcast of the day is the Porto/Arsenal match. If you want to cut yourself off from the world, you can watch the Bayern game on tape delay afterwards. If you want to see it live, you’ll have to venture off into the world wide web. If you want to shell out $9.95 for the game, you can watch it at UEFA.com.

TV Schedule
Porto vs. Arsenal – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Bayern vs. Fiorentina – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)