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Manchester teams looks to continue strong start

26 Aug

Both Manchester United and Manchester City have started the season in dominating fashion and will look to continue that form Sunday against Arsenal and Tottenham, respectively, teams both fighting for their first wins of the season.  Meanwhile, Liverpool aims to improve on last season as they take on Bolton, where they only won once in the first eight games of the year (yikes).  Definitely a solid slate of games this weekend, especially considering the top four clash between Aston Villa and Wolves kicks off action for game week three.

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 27

Aston Villa vs. Wolves – 7 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Wigan vs. QPR – 7:23 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Swansea vs. Sunderland – 9:53 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Chelsea vs. Norwich – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Blackburn vs. Everton – 10 a.m. ET
Liverpool vs. Bolton – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, August 28
Newcastle vs. Fulham – 7:53 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Tottenham vs. Manchester City – 8:30 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
West Brom vs. Stoke – 9:53 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Manchester United vs. Arsenal – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

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Premier League predictions

12 Aug

The 2011-12 Premier League season starts tomorrow and I can’t wait. I am so ridiculously excited.  My prediction?  This is one of the closest title races in a long time and it comes down to the last couple weeks. As much as I hate to say it, I think that Manchester United will win its second straight title as Chicharito takes the league by storm. I peg Man City as runners-up as the team builds on its success last year. Even without Tevez, Sergio Aguero is more than capable of picking up the slack. Liverpool makes a triumphant return to the top four after two years out and Chelsea rounds out the top four.

Champion: Manchester United
Top Four: Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea
Relegated: Swansea, West Brom, Wolves
Golden Boot: Chicharito, MU

TV SCHEDULE
Saturday, August 13
Blackburn vs. Wolves – 2 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Delayed)
Fulham vs. Aston Villa – 9:30 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Liverpool vs. Sunderland – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
QPR vs. Bolton – 9:55 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Wigan vs. Norwich – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Newcastle vs. Arsenal – 12:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Sunday, August 14
Stoke City vs. Chelsea – 8:25 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
West Brom vs. Manchester United – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Monday, August 15
Manchester City vs. Swansea – 3 p.m. ET/ESPN 2 (Live)

*One more plug for Fantasy Premier League: http://fantasy.premierleague.com and the code is 1335966-299712!

Champions League Quarterfinals Continue

6 Apr

Hopefully today’s games will be more competitive than yesterday’s slaughter.  Today we’ve got Barcelona, the “best team in the world”, taking on Shakhtar Donetsk.  Lionel Messi picked up a knock while playing with Argentina and only saw sub action against Villarreal this weekend, but I’d be surprised if he wasn’t in the starting lineup today.  While Barca is clearly the favorite, Shakhtar has the ability to surprise.  They dominated Roma in the round of 16, winning 6-2 on aggregate.

On the British isles, we have Chelsea hosting Manchester United.  Will Chelsea avenge its 2008 Champions League final loss?  Will Fernando Torres finally score a goal?  Will Wayne Rooney go apeshit?  These are all vital questions being asked in the buildup to the game.  Chelsea will miss the playmaking ability of their better January transfer, David Luiz, who is cup-tied.  Of course, if I were Carlo Ancelotti, I wouldn’t be playing Torres either as he doesn’t exactly deserve it.  Didier Drogba and Nicolas Anelka would start instead since they actually know how to score goals.  Stamford Bridge hasn’t exactly been a great place for ManU to play either as they have lost six of nine at the stadium.

TV Schedule
Chelsea vs. Manchester United – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Barcelona vs. Shakhtar – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)

Champions League quarterfinals kick off today

5 Apr

Inter Milan might be the defending champion, but their quarterfinal game against Schalke isn’t the big draw of the day.  Is it because both teams are struggling domestically?  After all, Inter’s loss to AC Milan all but eliminated Inter from winning the league.  Schalke on the other hand is like the VCU of the Champions League.  The team sits 10th in the Bundesliga, nine points out of European qualification.  Possibly, but it probably has more to do with the fact that Real Madrid has the ever-dangerous Cristiano Ronaldo and Tottenham has the talented Gareth Bale, who should both be playing today despite injury issues.

Of course, the man to really watch out for is Two-Meter Peter.  Peter Crouch has scored seven goals in his last eight Champions League games for Spurs.  Spurs have done a good job of adapting to their opponent’s style throughout the competition and will look to continue that strong performance today.  They will need a strong showing out of goalie Huerelho Gomes, who is somewhat prone to making even the simplest of saves seem like an adventure.

Real finds itself in the quarterfinals for the first time in forever (2004 actually).  In order to take a first leg lead, they will need to take advantage of their chances and keep crashing the goal.  They also must figure out how to slow down Bale, which means there needs to be a strong defensive effort.

TV Schedule
Real vs. Tottenham – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Inter vs. Schalke – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)

Barcelona-Arsenal highlights Champions League action

8 Mar

Barcelona is in the surprising position of being down going into the second leg of their Champions League clash with Arsenal. The English side claimed a 2-1 win at the Emirates last month. Playing the return leg at the Camp Nou is no easy task and it will take a strong performance from Arsenal to come away as winners. The Gunners will be boosted by the return of Cesc Fabregas and Robin Van Persie, while Barcelona will be without key defensive players Carles Puyol (injury) and Gerard Pique (suspension). Of course, there is always the Lionel Messi factor to contend with, but Arsenal did a good job of containing him in the first leg. Is it possible to do that twice?

In the day’s other match, Shakhtar looks to hold onto its lead over Roma. The Ukrainian side scored a big 3-2 win in Italy in February. With the second leg in Ukraine, Roma have a tough task ahead, especially with the suspensions of Marco Cassetti and Jeremy Menez. The home side will be boosted by the return of Fernandinho, who has recovered from a broken leg.

TV Schedule
2:30 p.m. ET – Barcelona vs. Arsenal (Fox Soccer/Live)
5 p.m. ET – Shakhtar vs. Roma (Fox Soccer/Delayed)

Reaching the halfway point in Champions League

19 Oct

After the games today and tomorrow, we will be halfway through the Champions League group stage. When Spartak and Chelsea kick off, it will be for first place in the group as both teams are currently 2-0. The game will be played in Moscow at the same site where Chelsea nearly claimed the 2008 Champions League title, but missed out after John Terry slipped on his penalty attempt. Chelsea will be without striker Didier Drogba, Frank Lampard and Alex. The game between Arsenal and Shakhtar also features the undefeated teams in the group. Even the teams that have zero points after two games still have it all to play for. A good run of form could see a team jump into the top two.

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

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)