Tag Archives: Wayne Rooney

Barcelona sublime in Champions League win

29 May

If you didn’t get a chance to watch the Champions League final yesterday, you are missing out. Barcelona put on a masterful performance to win the European title over Manchester United, 3-1.

  • Thank goodness the game was decided on the field, by the players.  There was no controversial sending-off, no shot-from-the-stands diving and no B.S. penalties – as it should be.
  • I love watching Barcelona play.  They all work so well together, it almost seems unfair.  And of course, there’s the passing, which is jaw-dropping.  They are so patient with the ball, watching for just the right opportunities to attack the goal.  And because of their ridiculous amount of possession, it made United work all the harder to even try to get the ball back.
  • I wish I could play like Xavi.  That man has phenomenal vision.
  • United started the game strongly, forcing Barcelona into uncharacteristic bad passes and mistakes.  The Spanish side soon settled down and took over proceedings.  United got some fire back after Rooney’s equalizer, but the second half was all Barcelona.
  • Why, oh why would you give Lionel Messi any room to operate?  Even though Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand made some excellent last ditch tackles, Messi had all the space in the world to receive the ball and run at the defenders at pace.  One of the reasons he was able to score his goal was that neither Vidic or Evra closed him down.  I still can’t believe the best player in the world is only 23 years old.  Scary.
  • Even though Barcelona was clearly the better side, props to Manchester United for not giving up, especially after the third Barca goal.
  • United tried to play the same way they have all year, but they were unable to come up with a way to contain Barcelona.  Michael Carrick and Ryan Giggs were outclassed in the midfield.  Antonio Valencia had a less than memorable outing and Chicarito was unable to take advantage of his speed up top.  Rooney played well, but couldn’t spark a miracle comeback.
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Barca, United win Champions League clashes

7 Apr

To the surprise of almost no one, Barcelona dismantled Shakhtar, 5-1, in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal.  The Catalan side got goals from five different players and Lionel Messi was not one of them.  Andres Iniesta, Dani Alves, Gerard Pique, Seydou Keita and Xavi found the back of the net.  Shakhtar looked likely to level the game after Iniesta’s second minute strike, but Alves’ goal squashed any chance of a comeback.

In London, Wayne Rooney’s first half strike gave Manchester United a 1-0 victory over a lackluster Chelsea side.  He managed not to curse at the camera after scoring, but that didn’t stop him from earning a two-match ban for his outburst from the weekend.  Anyways, United looked the better side for much of the game, although Edwin Van Der Sar did have to make several stellar saves, including a couple on one Fernando Torres.  Of course, the game wouldn’t be complete without some controversy as Patrice Evra took down Ramires in the box in stoppage time.  Evra did not even come close to getting the ball, but the ref waved play on.  No penalty, no free kick, nothing.  Pretty clear penalty if you want my opinion.  Well, regardless, Chelsea still has the best opportunity of the four losing quarterfinalists to make up the one goal deficit (everyone else has a margin of at least three).

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)

Oct 20 Champions League schedule

20 Oct

Tottenham has a tough task ahead as they play the defending champs, Inter Milan, in Italy. Both teams have four points to lead group A. Lyon looks to extend its lead in group B when they face Benfica. Of course, Manchester United has to deal with the distractions of one Wayne Rooney, who won’t play because of an ankle injury (real one this time). However, even without Rooney, the Red Devils should be able to handle Bursaspor. Meanwhile, Barcelona looks to reclaim top spot in group D, which is currently occupied by today’s opponent, Copenhagen.

Panathinaikos vs. Rubin
Rangers vs. Valencia
Barcelona vs. Copenhagen – 5 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
Twente vs. Werder Bremen
Schalke vs. Hapoel Tel-Aviv
Manchester United vs. Bursaspor – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Inter vs. Tottenham – 2:30 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Lyon vs. Benfica

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.

The Prem is back!

10 Sep

The Premier League is back in action tomorrow after two excruciating weeks of international breakage. Huzzah!  The Everton/Manchester United game should be a good one, especially as the recent allegations against Wayne Rooney should lead to some entertaining chants. (One I heard about earlier was ‘No Woman, No Kai’. Inappropriate? Yes. Funny? Yes.)  Anyways, Tottenham will be missing Jermaine Defoe for up to six weeks and that’s bound to have an impact on the team.  Spurs plays at West Brom tomorrow.

Weekend Schedule

Saturday, Sept. 11
Everton vs. Manchester United – 7:30 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Arsenal vs. Bolton – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)
Fulham vs. Wolves
Man City vs. Blackburn – 10 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer Plus (Live)
Newcastle vs. Blackpool
West Brom vs. Tottenham – 2 p.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Delayed)
West Ham vs. Chelsea – 9:55 a.m. ET/ESPN2 (Live)
Wigan vs. Sunderland

Sunday, Sept. 12
Birmingham vs. Liverpool – 11 a.m. ET/Fox Soccer (Live)

Six thoughts after six days

17 Jun

Well, I meant to post this yesterday, but I forgot, so you get it today instead. 

The World Cup is six days old and every team has played its first group game, so here’s my thoughts on the first 16 matches.

  • Meh.  Team are playing cautiously, which means lots of defense and not a lot of goals.  Not exactly super exciting stuff so far.  Only four teams have scored more than one goal in a game (South Korea, Germany, Netherlands and Brazil). Things should open up more as teams push for wins to get to the next round.
  • Germany is the only team so far that looks like it wants to win.  Granted, Australia looked rather poor, but Germany’s passing was spot-on.  They did such a good job controlling the ball and the pace of the game.  Plus, the Germans got four goals from four different people and it’s always nice to have multiple strike options.
  • Game of the first round: Switzerland 1, Spain 0.  South Africa has not been kind to Spain.  A year after losing to the U.S. in the Confederations Cup, Switzerland shocked Spain in the opening game of group H.  Spain had plenty of opportunities to score, but just couldn’t convert.  Spain should be able to recover and get out of the group, but Chile also looked dangerous so the road once viewed as easy might get a little bit rougher.
  • As much as I would love to see South Africa get into the second round, I just don’t see it happening.  The team just doesn’t have the depth. (Also, a 3-0 loss to Uruguay and a red card for the starting goalie made that road a LOT tougher.)
  • The stars have yet to shine.  Lionel Messi and Argentina’s formidable strikers haven’t scored a goal (defender Gabriel Heinze scored the winner against Nigeria).  Cristiano Ronaldo was a non-factor and Didier Drogba was relegated to substitute duty.  Wayne Rooney hardly touched the ball.  No one has put their team on their shoulders and carried them a win (Zidane style, of course).  The big names have to step up their game.
  • As a whole, the refereeing has been solid.  I’m sure Tim Cahill would beg to differ, but compared to four years ago, refs are pulling those cards out a lot less.