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…

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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…

Champions League Quarter finals Preview

Yesterday’s matches both ended in a draw. Will tonight be any different?

Lets take a look at the would be squads and the history to see if it actually might be any different.

Liverpool v Chelsea: –

The drawback of playing in one of the most competitive leagues in the world is that sometimes you have to face one of your local adversaries in Europe much earlier than you would like. And this precisely is no new thing to Chelsea and Liverpool.

Chelsea will travel to Liverpool in a bid to advance further in the Knock out stages of the championship. But the impetus will surely be with the home team who are currently on a roll of good form and have already beaten Chelsea in their own backyard earlier in this season.

Mentally it would be tough for the blues to forget how Liverpool broke one of the longest standing records in Premiership history when they defeated Chelsea at home, who had been undefeated for years…

Here are the team details as per The Telegraph:

Team details

Liverpool (4-2-3-1, r-l): Reina; Arbeloa, Skrtel, Carragher, Aurelio; Alonso, Lucas; Kuyt, Gerrard, Riera; Torres.
Chelsea (4-3-3, r-l): Cech; Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, A Cole; Mikel, Essien, Lampard; Kalou, Drogba, Malouda.
Referee: Claus Bo Larsen (Denmark)

Gerrard- Torres combo is sure on fire for Liverpool off late and I am sure they will be key if Liverpool is to take any advantage to Stamford Bridge in the second Leg.

Dangerous Duo, Beware Europe

Dangerous Duo, Beware Europe

For Chelsea it would be the midfield which will be very crucial. Lampard, Essien and Mikel will have to dictate the tempo of the game and control it to Chelsea’s favor. Would be interesting to see how Drogba performs tonight. He is the type of player who usually performs in big matches, and does it get bigger than this?

Lampard and Essien will have to dominate the midfield

Lampard and Essien will have to dominate the midfield

I feel Liverpool will have an edge, more due to the tremendous recent form they have had both in the European competition and the Barclays Premier League.

 Barcelona v Bayern Munich: –

Even before i start discussing the two teams its better we take a look at the teams first. So here ar ethe team details once again thanks to The Telegraph:

Team details

Barcelona (probable, 4-1-2-3): Valdes; Alves, Marquez, Pique, Puyol; Xavi; Keita, Iniesta; Messi, Eto’o, Henry.
Bayern Munich (probable, 4-3-3): Rensing; Oddo, Demichelis, Van Buyten, Lahm; Schweinsteiger, Ze Roberto, Van Bommel; Ribery, Toni, Podolski.
Referee: H Webb (England).

Well both sides here are extremely good on paper stuffed with world class players and its difficult to choose one. Then again its difficult to choose on paper. Anyone following the La liga will know of the sheer domination Pep Guardiola’s team has had on the Spanish league this season.

So my pick would be Barcelona. They would be playing at home and if all goes will the tie would be decided in the first leg itself (assuming they score 4/5 goals). But underestimating Bayern would be a mistake as Guardiola would know that Jorgen Klinsmann’s men could well dent the Barcelona defense and get the crucial away goals so coveted in this stage of the tournament.

Messi holds the key for Barca going forward and he has been in the form of his life. Luckily he hasn’t had any major injuries this season and so he has been able to reach the high expectations people have set for him. Lot would be expected from him again this time as he would be up against the wily & crafty Phillip Lahm who is no stranger to the tricks of the trade.

Messi, the man in form

Messi, the man in form

For Bayern Ribery would be the man to be watched for. He is on the target-list of all the top clubs of Europe with Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barcelona themselves interested in signing the player. He would definitely like to impress one of his prospective suitors with a dazzling performance.

Ribery, the man to watch out for

Ribery, the man to watch out for

All in all, I think Barca would have just a little too much going for them to be able to be stopped by Bayern.

Will update final score after the match… Till then Adieus!!! 

 

 

 

 

Champions League Quarter finals: – Arsenal 1-1 :-), Manchester United 2-2 :-(

Well. What a night of football we have seen…

Arsenal looked out of sorts in the first half and conceded the lead to Villareal through a great Marcos Senna goal. They then lost their Goal-Keeper Almunia and Centre half Gallas too. How do they respond to this? In an all out attacking strategy for the second half which saw Adebayor score a delightful overhead kick to give Arsenal the away goal they needed.

Arsenal’s good form continues… and Fabregas looked great again today as he assisted Adebayors goal with a sublime pass.

Song has been impressing me for Arsenal as i see the number of interceptions he has during the game have been steadily on the rise. And his physical presence is obvious to see.

Denilson still needs to work a lot towards not losing possession so often.

Manchester United trailing after the 4th minute goal from Rodrigez.. Come back from a Rooney goal, take a lead late from a Tevez Goal… only to give it away again from a late goal from Gonzalez…

Defensively Manchester United need to work on as they have been leaking loads of Goals off late…

It was a typical European night except that it was just the first leg. The matches aint over yet.
Arsenal could still lose it in the second leg and Man U could turn it around in the reverse leg.
We’ll see how it turns out in the second legs, wont we? Till then… Adieus!!!

Marouane Fellaini: proving to be one hell of a good signing for Everton

More has been written about his poor disciplinary record and his weird hair-do’s.

Amazing Afro

Amazing Afro

Weird Hair-do's of Fellaini
Weird Hair-do’s of Fellaini
Trimmed and groomed

Trimmed and groomed

But people seem to forget the immediate impact the youngster has made on Everton and the premiership in general.

I was wondering what to write about when it struck me that more bad has been written about this poor lad who has just recently turned 21. Yes thats right, he is just 21, and yet he has broken the Belgian transfer record and he has broken Everton FC tranfer fee record when they signed him on the last day of the summer transfer window for around 12+ million pounds from Belgian side Standard Liege. So i thought i might as well shed some light on the good work the kid is doing at Everton.

He is a distinctive box to box type mid-fielder. He is great defensively as well as has a very good knack of scoring goals. His finishing at times replicates that of a accomplished striker. He has already scored 6 goals for Everton in just over 4 times as many games. 1 goal every 4 matches for a Box to Box midfielder sure seems like a very good return.

He has scored some really crucial goals for the team and had a big hand to play in all the 4 goals scored at the weekend against Wigan.

I would have to agree with critics of his poor disciplinary record. But cut the guy some slack, he is just 21. He is still learning the game and will surely get only better with time.

I really feel David Moyes has pulled a summer transfer scoop in signing Marouane Fellaini.

I think Arsenal would have been helped a great way if they had signed him and his physical prescense in the weak looking Arsenal midfield could have been the difference in where we are sitting now (4th) vis-avis where we could have been competing for the title. And more so the signing fits into Arsenal’s scheme of things buy young et al. Though Wenger wouldnt have paid 12 mil for him.

I dont want to take credit from Denilson/Song/Diaby, who have all been turning in some decent performances off late. But at the start of the season they were all just not ready to be put straight in to fill Flamini’s shoes who had done a great job last season.

All the same i look forward to the Champions league matches tonight…
My predictions: –

Villarreal vs Arsenal – Arsenal to nip Villareal by sneaking a lone goal: 0-1.

Man Utd vs FC Porto – Man U 2 win comfortably but Porto to score too 3-1.