September 28, 2006
Benito Carbone will now officially bring that Italian flare to Sydney FC, and his new manager thinks he will stay the whole season. [The Australian]
Radhi Jaidi announced his international retirement and his intent to keep his word. [The Guardian]
FC Kobenhavn’s Swedish international Marcus Allback is questioning Thomas Gravesen’s toughness. [Ireland On-Line]
Arsene Wenger can call himself Arsenal manager for life. [Sky Sports]
DC United are going to block the most amount of money MLS will ever get for Freddy Adu. [Clubcall]
September 27, 2006
Plenty of action in tonight’s eight Champions League matches and there were remarkably no scoreless draws.
Chelsea knocked off Levski Sofia with a Didier Drogba hat-trick, but they will be disappointed that Mariyan Ognyanov scored for the Bulgarian side. Lionel Messi grabbed a late equalizer to salvage a point for Barcelona in their 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen.
Spartak Moscow and Sporting Lisbon played out a 1-1 draw in the first Champions League match played on an artificial surface. Inter fell to bottom of the group as their nine-men fell to Bayern Munich 2-0 with Fabio Grosso and Zlatan Ibrahimovic seeing red.
Mika Vayrynen was scored the only goal in PSV’s 1-0 triumph at Bordeaux. Peter Crouch scored a brace with Luis Garcia on the scoresheet, but Umit Karan made it a game with a second half brace of his own. However, Liverpool held on for the 3-2 win at Anfield.
Shakhtar and Olympiakos battled to a 2-2 draw in an end-to-end match. Valencia and Roma combined for three goals in the first half-hour, but the hosts managed to kill the game off after David Villa’s goal and took it 2-1.
September 26, 2006
Levski Sofia v. Chelsea – Levski host their first ever Champions League home game against the world’s most expensive team. They are coming off a 3-0 win over strugglers Rodopa in a Bulgarian league that many consider too large. However, they continue to top the table and have not conceded in their first seven league matches.
Frank Lampard finally looked like he regained some form in Chelsea’s 2-0 win over West London rivals Fulham on Saturday. The England midfielder scored both goals, and will probably score another pair against arguably the weakest team in the draw.
Werder Bremen v. Barcelona – Werder are coming off an entertaining but ultimately disappointing draw against Hamburg, and they cannot afford the kinds of defensive mistakes they made against Chelsea on Matchday 1. Miroslav Klose should be fit to start against the Catalan giants.
Barcelona failed to take full points against Valencia yet again in La Liga action and they were fortunate to even get a point thanks to an Andres Iniesta goal. Barça beat Werder by a combined 5-1 scoreline in their two Champions League matches last season, and they will be expected to produce similar results this time around.
Spartak Moscow v. Sporting Lisbon – Spartak’s 3-0 win over Rubin Kazan kept them third place in the Russian Premier League table, but they only sit two points behind leaders CSKA with nine matches remaining. The Red-Whites were disappointingly thumped by Bayern Munich on Matchday 1 and they will hope to play much, much better at home.
Sporting’s 2-0 win against Aves kept them three points behind Superliga leaders Porto in weekend action. Marco Caneira delivered a stunning goal in their first match against Inter and are expected to take their second win of the group in Moscow.
Inter v. Bayern Munich – Inter took the Serie A lead on Sunday, but they will be without Patrick Vieira, who got himself sent off against Sporting two weeks ago. The Nerazzuri continue to have problems at the back as they nearly blew a four goal lead in the last 20 minutes against Chievo.
Bayern Munich went top of the Bundesliga with their 2-1 win over newly-promoted Aachen. The Bavarian giants have struggled at times this season and in Claudio Pizarro and Lukas Podolski they have two unsettled strikers. This could turn out to be a high-scoring draw.
Bordeaux v. PSV Eindhoven – Manager Ricardo Gomes signed a contract extension this week which should prove a boost to a side that has had mixed form in Ligue 1 this season. Jean-Claude Darcheville and Wendell scored a minute apart in their 2-1 win over Troyes. The former will be fighting it out with Marouane Chamakh for a starting spot.
PSV are without four first-team players for their trip into France after Patrick Kluivert limped off during their 2-0 win over ADO Den Haag. Jason Culina, Philip Cocu and Jefferson Farfan are the other players on PSV’s injured list. Ibrahim Afellay is back as these two sides battle to be the first to score a goal in Group C play.
Liverpool v. Galatasaray – Rafa Benitez has spent a lot of time in the buildup talking about why he has changed his team for Liverpool’s last 93 games. He deflected the questions superbly by taking attention away from himself and talking about Liverpool’s history. The Reds are coming off a 3-0 win over a Spurs team that laid down for them, and I doubt Galatasaray will do the same.
Galatasaray were comprehensively beaten 3-1 by Trabzonspor on Saturday, but the Turkish side are excellent at grinding out results against superior sides in Europe. Unfortunately, this means that this match has 0-0 written all over it.
Shakhtar Donetsk v. Olympiakos – The Ukrainian champions were crushed 4-0 by a rampant Roma side in their group opener. Even their league form is unremarkable by their standards as they still top the table despite their 1-1 draw with Dnipro this weekend.
Olympiakos did well to stay with Valencia in their group opener, and will be expecting to get a result on the back of that performance. A 1-0 win courtesy of an own goal against AEK kept them top of the National League table.
Valencia v. Roma – Valencia dominated play on the weekend in Barcelona, but they could only claim a point which kept them third in La Liga. The three striker formation worked wonders on the weekend, but the lack of finishing has to be a concern for Valencia.
Roma manager Luciano Spalletti was angry with his side after their 4-0 win over Parma on Saturday as he claimed the match was won by Vincenzo Montella and Simone Perotta with poor performances everywhere else. The Giallorossi will be missing Mancini, who has been an important contributor in their season thus far.
Levski 0-3 Chelsea
Werder 1-2 Barcelona
Spartak 1-1 Sporting
Inter 2-0 Bayern
Bordeaux 0-0 PSV
Liverpool 0-0 Galatasaray
Shakhtar 1-3 Olympiakos
Valencia 2-2 Roma
Raul and Ruud van Nistelrooy both hit the net twice in Real Madrid’s 5-1 demolition of Dynamo Kiev. Steaua put up surprisingly little resistance as they fell to a 3-0 defeat against Lyon.
Louis Saha scored a good goal against the run of play that proved to be the only goal of the game in Manchester United’s win over Benfica. Kenny Miller scored from the spot in Celtic’s 1-0 win over FC Kobenhavn.
Dudu scored the lone goal as CSKA Moscow became the latest team to take three points from Hamburg. Thierry Henry and Aliaksandr Hleb scored the goals in Arsenal’s 2-0 win over Porto.
Anderlecht and AEK Athens combined for two goals in the space of three minutes in the first half, then could not score again in their 1-1 draw. Milan and Lille played out the only scoreless draw of the night.
September 25, 2006
Real Madrid v. Dynamo Kiev – The Galaticos took all three points on Mahamadou Diarra’s headed goal against Real Betis. They did not play all that well, but they should easily take the three points against an underperforming Dynamo side.
Diogo Rincon’s penalty did not stand up at the end of Dynamo’s game against Vorskla this weekend. A win would have taken them top of the Vyscha Liga above Shakhtar. A point for them would be an enormous result for the Ukrainian side.
Steaua Bucharest v. Lyon – Steaua find themselves top of the group after the first round of matches after their display of clinical finishing in Kiev. They came from behind to beat Gloria Bistrita, but they still find themselves trailing city rivals Dinamo, who still have a 100 percent record through nine games, by seven points. Still, they have a realistic shot at taking all three points against the French champions.
A brace from Fred capped off an impressive result for Lyon as they beat Lille 4-1 at the Stade Gerland. The win took them to the top of the table with a three point gap on Marseille. After beating Real Madrid in their group opener, Lyon will look to win the group outright.
Benfica v. Manchester United – Benfica’s struggles continued on the weekend as they were held to a draw by Superliga surprise package Pacos this weekend. They may find themselves playing for a draw against the Red Devils.
Wayne Rooney was finding himself dispossessed by Bobby Convey of all people during their 1-1 draw with newly-promoted Reading. After winning their first four league matches, the entire team seems to be out of form with the exception of Cristiano Ronaldo. Revenge against the team that knocked them out of Europe entirely last season may be enough of a motivation to see United win their second game in Champions League play.
Celtic v. FC Kobenhavn – Thomas Gravesen and Kenny Miller were the goalscorers in Celtic’s triumph in Saturday’s Old Firm derby. A great performance at Old Trafford may not be replicated by the Scottish champions, and the signs are there for an upset.
FCK went top of the SAS-Ligaen this weekend after their 2-1 win over Midtjylland. Having done extremely well to get a point against Benfica in their first ever Champions League match, they may be looking to secure a win at Celtic Park.
Arsenal v. Porto – Arsenal finally looked like a title contender against a stubborn Sheffield United side on Saturday. William Gallas opened the scoring as he capped off an excellent team move. Will the Gunners be able to open the scoring in their new stadium in Champions League play for the first time?
Three second half goals were enough to see Porto past Beira Mar on Friday night, and they continue to top the Superliga table four matches in. After their stalemate against CSKA, they will be looking for at least another point to keep them in contention for group lead.
CSKA Moscow v. Hamburg SV – The Red Army side fell 2-1 in a Moscow derby to Lokomotiv on Saturday which cut their lead in the Russian Premier League to a single point. The Russian champions may see this match as a good opportunity to pick up three points against one of the supposedly stronger sides in the group.
Hamburg were engaged in an entertaining 1-1 draw with Werder Bremen on the weekend with Bastian Reinhardt scoring their goal. That still does not take away from the fact that their only win this season was in the quarterfinal round of the German League Cup in late July. A win might be asking too much for the 14th placed side in the Bundesliga.
AEK Athens v. Anderlecht – The hosts of the final are not enjoying the start to their campaign. Destruction in Milan has been compounded by poor league form which sees them sit tenth in the Greek League. Anderlecht present them with the perfect opportunity to get their season back on track.
Anderlecht escaped with a 1-1 draw with the G14’s favorite minnow, Charleroi in Friday action. Results on Saturday saw the Belgian champions drop to second in the Jupiler League, but this may be the year that they break through and finish third or even second in a Champions League group.
Lille v. Milan – A poor performance in Lyon now sees the northern side in ninth place in Ligue 1. Matters are made worse by the visit of an in-form Milan side. A point at best for the French side.
Milan were unfortunate to not find the net against Livorno in Sunday Serie A action, but they can be considered contenders in the race for the Scudetto again. The Rossoneri should take the three points easily.
Real Madrid 2-0 Dynamo Kiev
Steaua 1-1 Lyon
Benfica 0-1 Man Utd
Celtic 1-1 FCK
Arsenal 2-1 Porto
CSKA 1-0 HSV
AEK 0-0 Anderlecht
Lille 0-3 Milan
September 20, 2006
With the club languishing at the Championship trap door, Leeds United have decided to change managers. [BBC]
It’s now alright to laugh at Manchester City. [Sky Sports]
UEFA and *cough* the G14 *cough* are debating limiting the spending ability of clubs, which is in no way related to Chelsea. [Soccernet]
They’ve finally done it! They have broken ground on the new stadium in Harrison, NJ. [New York Times]
Benito Carbone’s move to Sydney is on the verge of collapsing because of his fitness. [The Australian]
September 13, 2006
Unlike yesterday, there were some good matches that saw plenty of goals.
Steaua Bucharest completely dominated Dynamo Kiev on the road to the tune of 4-1. Fred and Tiago were on target as Lyon once again beat Real Madrid.
FC Copenhagen secured a point on the Champions League debut in a stalemate with Benfica. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer scored the winner in the second minute of the second half to give Manchester United a 3-2 win in an exciting match over Celtic.
Porto and CSKA Moscow bored a lot of fans watching around the globe. Arsenal came away with a 2-1 win at the AOL-Arena over Hamburg.
Milan handily beat the hosts of the final, AEK Athens, handily 3-0. Lille and Anderlecht played a well fought 1-1 draw.
September 12, 2006
Roy Keane really goes out on a limb with this prediction. [BBC]
Ben Thatcher’s Elbow of Mass Destruction was worth a 12 match ban. [Sky Sports]
Marek Heinz has found a home at Saint-Etienne after leaving Galatasaray in the summer. [Soccerway]
A ballboy scored a late equalizer in the dying moments of a match in Sao Paulo. [The Offside]
While Freddy Adu may score some decent goals, the announcer gives a masterclass in how not to do his job with his reaction. [YouTube]
It was a night where nearly everything went the way it was expected to go. Eastern European sides were pumped, while the supposed best squad in the world fell in Lisbon.
Barcelona were able to beat Levski Sofia like they were Liechtenstein or someone like that. Werder Bremen handed Chelsea the three points on a silver platter.
Bayern Munich decided to try in the second half against Spartak Moscow and put four in. Patrick Vieira was sent off as Inter fell to Sporting Lisbon.
Bordeaux, Galatasaray, PSV Eindhoven and Liverpool couldn’t be bothered to score goals.
Fernando Morientes struck gold three times for Valencia in a 4-2 win over Olympiakos. And four goals in just over twenty minutes doomed Shakhtar Donetsk to defeat at Roma.
Dynamo Kiev v. Steaua Bucharest – The Ukrainian side is coming off a 1-1 draw at Metalurg Donetsk on Saturday which dropped them to second in the Vyscha Liga table. While they did make a run to the semifinals in 1999, a lot has changed since then. Shevchenko is long gone and Rebrov is a shadow of his former self after a move to Spurs ruined him.
Steaua go in as underdogs, but no one should be surprised if they do well in a winnable match. Constantin Dica’s late goal at Arges kept Steaua two points behind bitter rivals Dinamo after the weekend’s action.
Lyon v. Real Madrid – The Lyon dynasty continues as they now find themselves second in Ligue 1 on goal difference after Saturday’s 2-0 win over Troyes. Brazilian duo Cris and Juninho were on the scoresheet for the OL, who look to make this the year they finally make a significant impact in the Champions League.
The Galaticos were on song in Sunday’s 4-1 destruction of Levante. Ruud van Nistelrooy scored three of those and missed from the spot as well. The Dutchman always seems to find the net in every Champions League match he plays, and I expect this to be no different.
FC Kobenhavn v. Benfica – The two-time Royal League champions face a much harder challenge in the two-time European Champions. The Lions 100 percent start to the season was ended by AaB two weeks ago, and they now find themselves fifth in the SAS-Ligaen.
Benfica would normally be considered heavy favorites, but a 3-0 defeat to Boavista in their last match changed that. They now find themselves in the relegation zone, albeit after just one league match. Fernando Santos, in his sixth managerial job in five years, has a record of bringing success…immediately after he leaves.
Manchester United v. Celtic – The Red Devils are enjoying their best ever start to a season in the Premiership after a 1-0 win over Spurs on Saturday. The question is not whether they win, but by how much.
Celtic have already conceded defeat in press conferences during the week. A 1-0 win at Aberdeen did little for their belief. Shunsuke Nakamura was especially critical of the tactics which he thought relied too heavily on long balls to Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink.
Porto v. CSKA Moscow – Porto won their second match of the season 3-0 over Estrela Amadora. The two-time winners are coming off a double winning season in Portugal, and they may be capable of making another run deep into the competition.
The Armymen won the UEFA Cup two seasons ago, and are, quite frankly, loaded with cash. They failed to shut the door on the Russian Premier League title race after they were held by Spartak Moscow at home on Saturday.
Hamburg v. Arsenal – Hamburg have yet to win this season, and their only defeat was in extra time of DfB Pokal matchup with Regionalliga side Stuttgarter Kickers last weekend. Optimism is not very high for a home win at the AOL Arena.
The Gunners’ only wins this season were notched against Dinamo Zagreb in the Third Qualifying Round, and without the services of Thierry Henry it may be much more difficult to take the three points.
Milan v. AEK Athens – A win in their opener over strugglers Lazio moved Milan six points clear of the relegation zone in Serie A. They only find themselves in this competition because the FIGC did not give them enough of a points penalty from last season, but they probably realized what would happen on appeal anyway. Milan are the clear favorites by the way.
AEK have extra motivation to do well in the Champions League because the final is being hosted in their home stadium. Martin Albano Putasso’s late equalizer kept AEK unbeaten in the National League, but they find themselves in 11th.
Anderlecht v. Lille – Perennial Champions League whipping boys Anderlecht find themselves in a much easier group than they could have imagined. Plus, they are the only team in the group that did not have to go through the qualifying rounds. However, they dropped to second in the Jupiler League after they threw two points away at Mouscron.
Lille are coming off of woeful draw at Nantes on the weekend and one begins to wonder if this team has come as far as it will go. Peter Odemwingie is currently topping the Ligue 1 scoring table with five goals, and he will probably score in this fixture.