Man Utd 1 Arsenal 0

Another lame match at display in the first leg of the second semi finals of the Champions league.

Man utd started out all attacking and had a chance just after 2 minutes as Almunia was forced to make a fully stretched save.

Man Utd took the lead from a somewhat unlikely scorer in John O’Shea as he found space after Arsenal failed to clear a corner in the 17th minute of the match.

The goal did calm the nerves at both ends but made the game a lot boring. It was a night of good defense at both ends which was followed by measured attacks.

Almunia made around a dozen saves to limit the scoreline to 1-0. He was a man on a mission to make as many saves as the number of shots that came towards his goal. He did let one go past him from O’Shea but that was more to slack defending from Arsenal that his mistake.

Kieran gibbs at left back was phenomenal. He had to handle Cristiano Ronaldo in the first half and Wayne Rooney in the second half and did he do a fantastic job keeping tabs on both of them. He looked a bit nervous against Middlesborough the other day and i was so not sure about him being pitted against Ronaldo tonight. Maybe all the hype in the newspaper got to the kid. He was out to prove that Clichy should be looking over his shoulders going forward. He had one of the best games of his career without doubt and Weenger would be extremely pleased by his showing tonight.

Arsenals creative 4 i.e. Fabregas, Nasri, Walcott and Adebayor didn’t have much of a game and that was the reason there was no finished product to any of the Arsenal attacks.

Song i think was excellent once again and the more i see of the lad the more sure i am becoming of the fact that he will be one hell of a Star player for Arsenal in the future. Diaby though was disappointing as he kept losing posession and hardly created an attacking move.

Silvestre and Toure were pretty solid at the centre of defense. The defense surprisingly looked pretty good for Arsenal. And that would be a positive thing for Arsenal going into the second leg next week.

I still think Man Utd will prove too much for Arsenal in the second leg. Though i wish Arsenal can nip it with 2 goals in the second leg.

See you next week. Till then Adios…

Advantage: – Chelsea!!!

Chelsea have achieved what no other team has been able to achieve this season : A clean sheet at Nou Camp.

That tells the story. And believe me there really isnt much else to say.

It was a really disciplined effort from Gus Hiddinks men who knew the task at hand unlike Bayern Munich who were caught sleeping in 1 half of a football game and paid a heavy price. Gus Hiddink got it spot on tactically as his back four were able to control the famous Barca trinity with great ease and panache at times…

Messi was more mediocre than Emmanuel Eboue…Henry caused a few problems for Ivanovic on the left but the end product was missing. Eto looked like a sulking baby who knows his days are numbered at a team that is playing at its peak.

Petr Cech was indeed the man of the match. It was no even contest by any means thou the score line seems to suggest that. Overall Barca had around 20 shots at goal compared to Chelsea’s 3. So you can imagine that Cech had his hands full. And he was looking a lot different and more confident Cech compared to the one we saw against Liverpool.

Drogba had the best chance of the game but was denied from a decent save by Valdes. Eto was similarly denied in an almost one on one by a superb Cech save.

Guardiola’s side looked a distant shadow of the Barca we hear about in newspapers. Same goes for most of its players. Messi gave away more balls than Denilson does for Arsenal in a game. Xavi and Toure wer checked by Ballack and Mikel regularly.

Barca morale would sure be depleted after this draw and i wonder how it would go for them if Real Madrid pull one over on the Guardiola men in the El Classico at the weekend. Another major concern for the Catalan side will be that Puyol misses the next match following a suspension and Marquez limped off injured after the hour mark. So Barca are sure to lack experience in the centre of defense and Drogba and company will surely look to exploit that area…

I had told you guys earlier that Chelsea in Europe are a very difficult proposition for any sides especially over the two legs. The game isn’t over yet, but all in all it was a great draw for Chelsea though a not so great game for us viewers.

Lets see how it goes in the second leg. I will be here to keep you posted next week. But before that we will know for sure who Chelsea or Barcelona will face in the final of the Champions league.

See you tomorrow with the results of the match between the 2 English giants!!!

Champions League Semi Final Preview

I can’t seem to believe the fact that I am writing about the Semi finals of the Champions League!!

Many great players will be at display in 2 mouth watering clashes!!

Many great players will be at display in 2 mouth watering clashes!!

It seems like just yesterday when Chelsea was struggling to qualify for the knock out stages of the tournament. And Arsene Wenger might have been frustrated to have finished second is his group. (Though in retrospect I am sure Wenger would be happy now as all seem to have gone well for Arsenal as they find themselves in the Semi final against none other than Ferguson’s Red devils).

Well whether I believe it or not, it’s true as the Semi finals of the champions’ league are upon us. And we have 2 mouth watering clashes lined up for us.

First we will have Chelsea traveling to Spain to meet the current Spanish league leader Barcelona on Tuesday.

Barcelona vs Chelsea

Terry and co. will have their hands full against Messi and co.

Terry and co. will have their hands full against Messi and co.

 

It will be the true test for a Barcelona side that is yet to meet its equal this season. I say so because Chelsea is one of the teams that have had so much champions’ league experience over the last few seasons. They have players who are hungry to erase the memories of last year, where they reached so close and yet in the end it was so far for them.
All these things apart I think Chelsea are a team that can beat any team on their day and the way they thrashed Liverpool 3-1 in their own backyard makes you think they could pull one over Barca too.

I know with such a prediction I could end up with egg all over my face, but if and again IF it turns out to be true then I will have the immense satisfaction of telling you guys I SAID YOU SO… 🙂 My money will be on Chelsea to win over the two legs and qualify for yet another all English Champions League final.

I am not taking anything away from Barcelona mind you. Barca is a team that has flourished to immense proportions under the able guidance of Pep Guardiola. But they are a team that has already achieved so much this season I wonder if Guardiola can keep them motivated in these crucial last few phases of the season. Messi, Eto and Henry are still potential threat to Chelsea but I feel Terry and company will somehow keep them at bay.

Barca will surely score at home. But their away form is what worries me. I am not so sure they can come to Chelsea and beat them comprehensively.
Drogba is coming back in form and as we all have learnt to know now that he is a player of big matches. He is sure to perform well especially trying to impress those in his pursuit of his capability. He had seemed disillusioned with life at Chelsea at the beginning of the season and i have no doubt if one of the European giants come calling Drogba would go running towards them.

It will be a fascinating tactical contest between Hiddink’s Chelsea and Guardiola’s Barca where the eventual triumphant will be Football itself.

Man Utd vs Arsenal

Not just a battle between 2 of the best players in the world

Not just a battle between 2 of the best players in the world

Second we will see Arsene Wenger taking his young gunners to Old Trafford. Last year it was 2 English giants Chelsea and Liverpool meeting in the semi finals. And this time its the other 2 English giants meeting in a Champions’ league semi final. Just goes to show why the English Premier league is one of the best in the world today.

Wenger who has just rejected an audacious move by the German giants Bayern Munich to take him to Germany will be keep to keep his gunner motivated at their only chance of silverware this season. The gunners are finishing the season on a high with some exhilarating football and with 20 games unbeaten in the premiership and still going strong.

But the season will still be a disappointment for a lot of big names including Adebayor, Robin Van Persie, and Fabregas to have not won a single trophy in the last 4 years now. So this will be enough motivation for the big names to fire in this match so as to take Arsenal closer to their 1st trophy in 4 years.

Van Persie will miss the match due to injury and this will be a big blow to Arsenal. Also Arshavin misses the match as he is cup tied. That will make the creative options limited for Arsenal and Fabregas will have to take a chunk of that responsibility.
When you look at the sides on paper it’s not difficult to think that Arsenal look a somewhat weaker side given their youth and inexperience.
But Arsenal have proven it earlier that this perceived weakness of their’s is indeed their strength. And they could do so again.

Yet I feel looking at the way Man Utd came back against Tottenham in the weekend you just feel that this Man Utd side is still hungry for trophy’s and will go to lengths to win one. So my money in this one is on Manchester united and I know a lot of Arsenal fans will disagree and I could again end up with my face smeared in egg but I am willing to take the risk and bet my money on Man Utd. If Arsenal wins I might lose my money but will still be happy to see one of favorite teams in the Champions league Final.
So you see I will win either ways 🙂

Will update the scores immediately after both matches so keep watching this space for more details. Go gunners!!!

 

Liverpool 4 Arsenal 4

What a game there was at display. 7 second half goals and yet not a winner…

Arsenal took the lead from a delightful team move following a error by Mascherano. Nasri took the ball and played a measured pass to Fabregas who then set it up for Arshavin to slot it in the middle for the opening goal of the game.

That was the only goal of the first half. Liverpool dominated the half but Arsenal got the lead.

Liverpool came all guns blazing in the second half and scored 2 goals in the first 10 minutes of the second half through some more defensive errors via a Torres header and a scrappy little finish by Benayoun.

Arsenal got the lead again after Arshavin completed his hat-trick by scoring a quick double, the first of which was a stunning finish to blast the ball across Reina’s goal and past him.

Then Arshavin scored a late goal at the stroke of 90 minutes for Arsenal his 4th of the game and the game was all but won by Arsene Wengers team.

But the Arsenal defense which at times has seemed liked one of the worst defenses in the premier league shattered again to allow Benayoun to score the equalizer in injury time.

Arsenal defense including the young keeper Fabianski looked completely below average throughout the game.

I dont understand what Wenger saw in Fabianski and why he has not gone and bought a decent keeper in the summer or at least the January window.

I sincerely hope Wenger buys a good first team keeper in the summer and also a couple of good defenders.

Arsenal might be cursing themselves to have given away 2 points as they gave away the lead three times after leading at 1-0, 3-2 and 4-3.

Well all said and done the amazing run of games for Arsenal in the premiership continues as they are now unbeaten in 19 consecutive league games.

Bendtnar for me was the weak link as he hardly managed to touch the ball all evening. If there is a player who is lazier than Berbatov it will have to be Bendtnar. He just tries to put on a show of moving around but somehow managed to hardly get a decent possesion of the ball even once…

I am not such a big fan of Adebayor and dont regard him all that highly, but after seeing Bendtnar today i have started to realize why Arsenal fans around the globe regard Adebayor as such a great player.

Wenger, please sell Bendtnar, Denilson and Fabianski in the Summer and buy at least 1 good defender and a good Keeper. Another versatile defender might not be so bad i guess…

Arsenal v Manchester United Semi Final no. 2!!!

A wonder strike from the World’s best footballer helped Manchester United become the first English side to beat Porto at home and go through to the Semi Final of the Champions league.

The Red devils slayed the dragons in their own home ground after Ronaldo scored a stunning strike from all of 40 yards to give United the cushion they needed to sit back and absorb any attack from the dragons.

It was a classic European job by Fergie’s men.

They will now face Arsenal in the semifinal after Arsenal comfortably defeated Villareal by 3 goals.

Wonderkid Theo Walcott opened the scoring after just 10 mins with a delightfull chip over keeper Diego Lopez. Walcott was a constant thorn in the right side of the midfield troubling Capdevilla on more than one ocassions…

Adebayor scored the second at the hour mark and after the next few mins Walcott won a penalty for Arsenal. The decision was dubious and Villareal players protested to no avail.

Robin Van Persie converted from the spot to make it 3-0. Arsenal are comfortably through.

Once again we have an English side assured place in the Champions league final and who knows we might have another all English Final…

Great game by Arsenal and Good European display by the Red Devils.

Catch you all at the Semi finals again!!!

Barcelona v Chelsea semifinal it is then!!!

What an amazing game of football did we see last night… Chelsea were caught napping in the first half to go down by 2 goals and almost give the Kops a chance to go through…
Gus Hiddink must have had some magic words to say to his team at half time coz the chelsea that turned up in th beginning of the second half was something else… They scored 3 goals to put the game beyond Liverpool..
But i’d have to agree with a lot of pundits out there that Liverpool is one of thos sides that you can never write off in Europe. They scored 2 late goals in around 2 minutes to put the score at 4-3.
The game was there for the taking again, Liverpool needed just 1 more goal to go through.
But it wasnt meant to be for Liverpool, they came so close and yet it wasnt meant for them to go through to the Semi finals. Lampard scored a late goal to make it 4-4 and put the tie well beyond Liverpool’s reach.
But chelsea were looking a distant shadow of the side that so comfortably outplayed Liverpool in all facets of the game last week.
Petr Cech in particular looked like he had been drunk at times. He really was a bag of nerves, unsure where his goal post was and unable to catch hold of the ball or punch it clear into safety.
Alex scored a stunning goal through a free kick.The pace and power of his free licks remind me of another Brazilian free kick legend Roberto Carlos.
Lampard had 2 goals against his name by the end of the match. Drogba was lucky and helped in a big way for his goal by Liverpool keeper Pepe Reina.
For Liverpool, Aurelio scored a great goal to break the dead lock in the game through a stunning free kick. Xabi alonso doubled the liverpool lead from the spot when he was brought down in the box by Ivanovic.
Lucas was lucky to have his shot deflected into goal for Liverpool’s third and Dirk Kuyt headed in Liverpool’s 4th from a Riera cross.
The final score was 4-4 and we witnessed a stunning night of European football.
Liverpool have crashed out of the Chmpions League alright, but they go out with their heads held high and with the utmost dignity of a side that was up to any challenge but it just wasnt there night to be.

In the other game of the night Barca went through comfortably into the Semi final after a 5-1 aggregate score following a tame 1-1 draw in the second leg at Bayern Munich.
Today predictions: –

Manchester united to crash out… (Which i hope they dont)
Arsenal to go through on penalties… (Which i hope they do)

See ya after the games tonight…

Barcelona v Chelsea Semi Final!!!

Another Splendid night of European Football…

Barcelona – Bayern Munich:  4-0

Barcelona thrashed Bayern for 4-0 at home..That went right with my prediction… The tie is all done now and beyond Bayern’s reach.

Bayern were caught napping in the first half as Barca started scoring for fun.  It was as if Bayern defense did not do any homework for the Barca Trinity. They looked dazed at the ease at which Barca started scoring.

Messi & co. lead Barca closer to the Semi Final

Messi & co. lead Barca closer to the Semi Final

Messi led the Barca attack scoring 2 of the 4 goals and Eto and Henry shared 1 each.

Liverpool v Chelsea:  1-3

Look at Xabi alonso, he typifes Liverpools performance: Caught Sleeping

Look at Xabi alonso, he typifes Liverpools performance: Caught Sleeping

In Liverpool the story was much different.. Where inspite of the early Lead Benitez’s men could not keep their nerve’s and Branislav Ivanovic was the unlikely hero as he slid 2 from 2 corners past Pepe Reina in the Liverpool Goal. Drogba , the big match player that he is, scored the third for Chelsea from a delightful team effort to make it 1-3 for Chelsea. This tie too is almost beyond Liverpool now as they cannot be expected to go to Chelsea and win 3-0.

Ivanovic: Unlikely Hero for the Night...

Ivanovic: Unlikely Hero for the Night...

Chelsea showed great character to comeback so strongly from being 1 down. They were helped strongly by the unlikely hero of the night Branislav Ivanovic who put two delightful headers past Reina.

So what have we got at the end of the first leg of the Quarter finals. 2 teams that are more or less through , 1 team which has all the chance of making it there and 1 which has a tough task ahead to make it to the next stage.

I feel Arsenal will sail through and Man U might struggle. But this is Champions league my friend, the tournament where you can seldom predict the outcome, the tournament of tactics, the tournament of away goal rules and where away goals rule…

So lets just wait for a week and know for sure…