Tag Archives: Chelsea

Champions League group stage ends on completely crazy note

7 Dec

Well, who can say they saw today’s results coming?  Two results clearly stand out: 1) Manchester United getting knocked out of Champions League with a 2-1 loss to Basel.  Really?  2) Lyon somehow turning around a NINE goal difference to edge Ajax for second in group D.

Major props to Basel on the upset of United.  A late goal from Alexander Frei sealed second place for Basel and knocked United out in the group stage for the first time since 2005-06.  And that, Alex Ferguson, is why you don’t take the group stage for granted.

Meanwhile, in group D, Lyon scored six second half goals to seal an improbable 7-1 win over Zagreb.  Meanwhile, Ajax lost a 2-0 decision to Real Madrid, and with those results combined, it meant that Lyon, not Ajax, heads to the round of 16.  Holy crap, how mad does Ajax have to be?  For Zagreb to ship seven goals at home?  Absurb.  Props to Lyon for making something out of what seemed to be a near impossible situation, but it does seem a little bit sketchy since I think the futsal team I play on could have played better defense.

Only two English teams advanced to the round of 16.  Man City defeated Bayern 2-0, but a Napoli win with the same scoreline sent the Italian through to the next round.  Who would’ve thought that Chelsea and Arsenal would be the lone Premier League teams remaining?  Ridic.

While I’m on the subject, I don’t really understand why people would root for all the Premier League teams to do well.  Ok, sure, the league looks better, but really?  Who cares?  You’re telling me that as a United fan, you want Arsenal to succeed? I don’t think so.  I just can’t get behind the idea of rooting for a team that I would hate in every other circumstance.

Round of 16 teams: Bayern Munich (GER), Napoli (ITA), Inter (ITA), CSKA (RUS), Benfica (POR), Basel (SUI), Real (ESP), Lyon (FRA), Chelsea (ENG), Leverkusen (GER), Arsenal (ENG), Marseille (FRA), APOEL (CYP), Zenit (RUS), Barcelona (ESP) and Milan (ITA).

Really early, completely premature and totally unnecessary final prediction: Barcelona vs. Milan

Liverpool win, but lose Lucas for the season

2 Dec

Liverpool advanced to the Carling Cup semifinals with a 2-0 win over Chelsea Tuesday, but lost Lucas to injury in the process. It was a good win for the Reds, who looked the dominant side for much of the second half (I didn’t get to see the first).  Chelsea’s defense is struggling mightily at the moment and will likely be their downfall (or AVB’s downfall if they don’t get stuff together).

Things finally seemed to be clicking into place for Liverpool – confidence was high after solid results against Chelsea, Man City and Chelsea again and the squad finally looked comfortable with each other out there.  Then Lucas got hurt, tearing his ACL and putting him on the sidelines for the rest of the year.  It’s a big blow for the Reds since Lucas has been having an excellent season and been a constant among an ever-tweaked midfield lineup.

I will admit that I haven’t always been the biggest Lucas fan.  His proclivity for committing stupid fouls in dangerous positions and general clumsiness caused me to exclaim ‘F**kin’ Lucas!’ so often that I still call him that.  His game has improved quite dramatically over the last couple seasons and he has turned into one of Liverpool’s most consistent players, the unsung workhorse in the middle, if you will.

While the Reds certainly have no shortage of midfielders on the roster, do they have one that can play that defensive mid role like Lucas did?  They’ve already recalled Jonjo Shelvey from his Blackpool loan and Jay Spearing is another young option as well.  I think the next couple games could be a bit of a struggle as the team looks to replace a key cog and Dalglish is forced to tinker with the lineup once again.

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)

2011-12 Champions League group stage set

25 Aug

After a tediously boring draw earlier today, the Champions League groups are ready to go for another year of action. Group A ended up as the toughest draw with Bayern Munich, Villarreal, Manchester City and Napoli. Of course, Barcelona and Manchester United have one team in each of their groups that could pose a challenge.  The first group games are set for Sept. 13-14 and the complete schedule can be found here.

Oh and in case you were wondering, Lionel Messi won the first UEFA Best Player in Europe Award, which was announced after the draw to the surprise of approximately no one.

Group A
Bayern Munich (GER)
Villarreal (ESP)
Manchester City (ENG)
Napoli (ITA)

Group B
Inter (ITA)
CSKA Moskva (RUS)
Lille (FRA)
Trabsponzor (TUR)

Group C
Manchester United (ENG)
Benfica (POR)
Basel (SUI)
Otelui Galati (ROU)

Group D
Real Madrid (ESP)
Lyon (FRA)
Ajax (NED)
Dinamo Zagreb (CRO)

Group E
Chelsea (ENG)
Valencia (ESP)
Bayer Leverkusen (GER)
Genk (BEL)

Group F
Arsenal (ENG)
Marseille (FRA)
Olympiacos (GRE)
Borussia Dortmund (GER)

Group G
Porto (POR)
Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR)
Zenit St. Petersburg (RUS)
APOEL (CYP)

Group H
Barcelona (ESP)
AC Milan (ITA)
BATE (BLR)
Viktoria Plzen (CZE)

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!

Real bests Barca, Arsenal still can’t seal the deal

21 Apr

Jose Mourinho’s Real Madrid side won its first domestic cup title in 18 years with a 1-0 extra time win over hated rival Barcelona in the Copa del Rey.  Cristiano Ronaldo scored the game-winner on a powerful header off a pinpoint cross from Angel Di Maria in the first half of extra time.  Real looked the more dangerous team to score throughout.  Much like in their 1-1 draw at the weekend, Pepe was all over the place for Real as he did not allow Barca’s midfield maestros (Xavi in particular) to get into a rhythm.  The disruption of the passing game worked well for Real as it also meant that Lionel Messi had to come further up field to receive the ball and ended up making him less of a goal-scoring threat.

Real has frustrated Barcelona’s free-flowing play two straight games now and I’d say it’s a safe bet that they will play the same style in the Champions League semifinal next week.  Pep Guardiola may have to make some adjustments to allow players like Andres Iniesta, Xavi and Messi to get more touches in dangeorus areas.

Oh, the hilarious part of the Real win?  Sergio Ramos dropped the trophy off the bus in the celebration in Madrid and it was subsequently run over.  Well done, sir.

Meanwhile, back in London, Arsenal continued to show why there is no way in hell it will challenge Manchester United for the Premier League title in a 3-3 draw with Tottenham.  The Gunners went up 3-1, thanks to first half goals from Theo Walcott, Samir Nasri and Robin Van Persie, but Tottenham pulled one back just before half on a strike from Tom Huddlestone.  A 70th minute penalty from Rafael Van der Vaart sealed the draw.

It seems like every single time that Manchester United drops points, Arsenal cannot take advantage of it.  I’m sure they were tired for the Spurs game after the drawn-out affair against Liverpool Sunday, but seriously, you all have to learn how to put a game away if you want to be a title contender.  To make matters worse for Arsenal, Chelsea leapfrogged them in the table on goal difference, courtesy of a 3-1 win over Birmingham.  (And in case you were wondering, no, Torres did not score his first Chelsea goal either.) I’m sure Arsene Wenger is on the verge of a meltdown after his team let yet another lead slip away.

United, Barcelona through to semis

13 Apr

Barcelona only scored one goal, but it was more than enough as they cruised to a 6-1 victory on aggregate over Shakhtar Donetsk.  Lionel Messi scored the game’s only goal, his 48th of the season in all competitions.  I guess you could say he’s a decent player.

In England, Manchester United claimed a 2-1 win over Chelsea to go through 3-1 on aggregate.  Javier Hernandez struck first for United, but second half substitute Didier Drogba made things interesting with a goal of his own.  Chelsea’s hope didn’t last long as Ji-Sung Park put United ahead pretty much immediately.  Once again, a Chelsea player was sent off as Ramires earned his second yellow, which clearly didn’t help the situation.  And once again, Chelsea fans were left to question the decision to include the craptacular Fernando Torres, who was subbed off for Drogba at half. 

I understand the Chelsea spent a lot of money on Torres, but if he is not producing, why play him?  To appease the owner?  Me thinks a Champions League trophy would please him more.  Sometimes you just have to say screw that and play the lineup you think will win.  Sure, you might incur the wrath of said owner, but still, wins and strong performances should trump egos, regardless of what team it is.