Archive | September, 2010

More Champions League today

29 Sep

Barcelona will look to avenge last season’s performance against Rubin Kazan (loss and a  draw) without the services of Lionel Messi.  As you may have heard, Messi’s ankle was the size of a small whale and he’s been out for a couple weeks, although he somehow is on the bench for today’s game that actually just started.  Later today, Manchester United will make the trip to Valencia without Wayne Rooney, who is out for three weeks with an ankle injury.  Rooney hasn’t exactly been in stellar form as of late, so they will probably cope okay without him.

Today’s schedule*
Rubin vs. Barcelona – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Valencia vs. Manchester United – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Inter vs. Werder Bremen
Panathiniakos vs. Copenhagen
Rangers vs. Bursapor
Tel-Aviv vs. Lyon
Schalke vs. Benfica
Tottenham vs. Twente – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)

*They should play more games in Russia so we get to see more Champions League action instead of just one game on FSC.

Champions League results – Sept. 28

29 Sep

Last year’s finalist Bayern Munich escaped Basel with a 2-1 win, thanks to a 89th minute winner from Bastian Schweinsteiger. Meanwhile, Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk both cruised to 3-0 victories. English sides Chelsea and Arsenal both posted wins and Ajax and Milan played to a 1-1 draw. Real Madrid left it late, but emerged a 1-0 winner over Auxerre.  Roma defeated CFR Cluj, 2-1.

Tuesday’s Results
Basel 1 (Frei 18)
Bayern 2 (Schweinsteiger 56-pen, 89)

Auxerre 0
Real Madrid 1 (Di Maria 81)

Spartak Moskva 3 (Ari 34, 61, Ibson 89)
Zilina 0

Partizan 1 (Cléo 33-pen)
Arsenal 3 (Arshavin 15, Chamakh 71, Squillaci 82)

Ajax 1 (El Hamdaoui 23)
AC Milan 1 (Ibrahimović 37)

Roma 2 (Mexes 69, Boriello 71)
CFR Cluj 1 (Rada 78)

Braga 0
Shakhtar Donetsk 3 (Luiz Adriano 56, 72, Douglas Costa 90+2-pen)

Chelsea 2 (Terry 7, Anelka 28-pen)
Marseille 0

Champions League continues today

28 Sep

Sorry I have not been the best blogger this month, but in all honesty, it hasn’t exactly been a super exciting start to the season, particularly as a Liverpool fan.  However, I vow to do better from here on out as my team doing poorly is really no excuse.

Anyways, the second set of group games in Champions League play get underway today.  Chelsea will be without suspended star Didier Drogba as well as injured players Frank Lampard, Salomon Kalou and Yossi Benayoun.  With the missing players, as well as suffering their first loss of the year at the weekend, will Chelsea be able to step up against Marseille?  Arsenal faces no easy task in Serbia against Partizan either as issues with the squad’s goalkeeping continue and a whole host of players remains out injured.  AC Milan has lost only once on the road in its last seven Champions League games and has won the last three meetings with Ajax, although the teams have not met since 2003.  Meanwhile, Auxerre is playing its first Champions League home game in eight years and they have to host Real Madrid, a team coming in pissed off after a 0-0 draw with La Liga bottom-feeders Levante.

Tuesday’s games
Spartak Moskva vs. Zilinia
Basel vs. Bayern
Partizan vs. Arsenal – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Roma vs. CFR Cluj
Braga vs. Shakhtar Donetsk
Auxerre vs. Real Madrid – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Ajax vs. AC Milan – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Chelsea vs. Marseille – 10 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)

Liverpool needs to find some passion

23 Sep

Well this season has sunk to a new level of suckitude already as Liverpool managed to lose to League Two side Northampton on penalties in the third round of the Carling Cup yesterday. Really, Liverpool?!  There are pretty much zero positives to take out of that game other than the fact that it better serve as a wake-up call for the team.  While Liverpool did not field a full-strength squad against Northampton, players like Ryan Babel, David N’Gog, Daniel Agger, Sotirios Kyrgiakos and Lucas Leiva should have been able to notch a win.  Milan Jovanic scored an early goal for Liverpool, but the team could not figure out how to close out the win (working on penalties might be a good place to start).

The Reds are not exactly brimming with confidence as they sit 16th in the table with five points out of five games and yesterday’s loss does not help the situation.  A win this weekend against Sunderland would be huge as three points would see them jump into the top half of the table (as long as they can stay away from any beach balls).

There’s questions out there about whether Roy Hodgson has bitten off more than he can chew and players like Daniel Agger are already spouting off about how they are not fans of Hodgson’s system and don’t want to change the way they play.  I still think it’s too early to judge Hodgson as manager of Liverpool, but he does need to figure out how to get the entire team firing on all cylinders at the same time and he needs to do it decently soon.  Of course, Hodgson is not the one out there playing the game, so all the blame for the poor results can’t be on his shoulders.  The players have to step up their game as well.  Players like Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres need to lead the charge and get their teammates fired up.

FIFA 11 demo

23 Sep

So I finally got a chance to play the FIFA 11 demo on the Xbox 360 last night and yeah, it’s awesome.  I’ve been playing FIFA 10 pretty much constantly for the last year and it’s a great game (decently easy to pick up too), but FIFA 11 has made some tremendous updates.  Here’s a few of my thoughts on FIFA 11.

  • First of all, the game is much more life-like in terms of the way the players move and dribble.  For example, in FIFA 10, if a forward and a defender got in a foot race, the forward would blow past the defender and end up 25 yards clear of anyone.  While fast, professional footballers are not clones of Usain Bolt.  That clear discrepancy is no longer the case in the newest version of the game.  The movement is more natural.  Even the grass has a more realistic texture and look to it. 
  • FIFA 11 is more challenging.  Now I don’t consider myself a FIFA expert by any means, but due to some key changes in the passing, FIFA 11 is more difficult than FIFA 10.  You have to be able to use the controller to correctly place and pace your passes even on the amateur level and it’s a little tricky to get used to, but ultimately makes the game more realistic.

Clearly, the creators of FIFA 11 focused on making the game more realistic.  After switching back to FIFA 10, the movement looked stilted and unnatural.  Even the players themselves are not as detailed as their FIFA 11 counterparts.  FIFA 11 seems to flow better and be a more accurate portrayal of a professional football game.  I haven’t gotten to try it yet, but I’m stoked about the new Be a Goalkeeper feature, looks like it could be way fun.

Once I actually get the game, I’ll give a more in-depth review, but these are just a couple thoughts after playing a couple demo games.  FIFA 11 is slated for release in North America on Sept. 28 and Europe and Asia on Oct. 1.

New blog endeavor!

16 Sep

Hey all, just wanted to let you know that myself and one of my buddies have started a new blog entitled Sh*t Footballers Say. And yes, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Players say some stupid shizz on Twitter and we’re compiling it all for your entertainment! Find any good baller tweets? Send ’em my way.  You can also follow on twitter at http://twitter.com/shitballerssay.

Europa League group stages kick off today

16 Sep

The Europa League group stages get underway today and you can catch the action from the Juventus/Lech Poznan and Sevilla/PSG games on GolTV. You can also shell out $$$ to watch the games through UEFA.com or of course, go through alternate sources to find the game you want to watch.

It’s been a while since I’ve written about my Liverpool boys, mainly because they haven’t done anything worth writing about (a 0-0 draw with Birmingham, really?). The Reds open group K action today against Steaua Bucharest. There’s a strong possibility Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres will not play in today’s match as manager Roy Hodgson is looking toward Sunday’s fixture with Manchester United. Liverpool needs to get a win today to get some confidence back, especially heading into such a crucial clash this weekend.