September 27, 2006
With 40 matches tomorrow, it is difficult to preview all of them. However, many of the ties are already effectively over as contests leaving a much smaller selection to choose from, thankfully.
So I present to you my selection of five interesting matches tomorrow, and hopefully they do indeed entertain.
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.
Kaka is no fan of Carlo Ancelotti’s tactics against Lille last night. [Eurosport]
Bjorn Helge Riise has been called into the Norway squad along with his much more recognizable brother. [CNN International]
Anthony Le Tallec wants nothing to do with Liverpool anymore. [Sky Sports]
Leeds United are taking a look at an Iraqi-born goalkeeper playing at non-league Woking. [ITV]
Sydney FC are replacing their old chairman with the director of the Art Gallery of New South Wales. [The Australian]
Last season, David Pleat filed occasional scouting reports on players in the lower divisions of England and one player in Egypt in the Guardian. This season, that role has been filled by Steve Claridge who has looked at a pair of strikers in Scunthorpe’s Billy Sharp and Bournemouth’s James Hayter.
But one year on, what has happened to those players David Pleat heaped praise upon. Find out after the jump.
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.
Newcastle assistant Kevin Bond is the first to feel the fallout from the BBC Panorama program last week. [BBC]
Daniel Carvalho may be leaving CSKA Moscow for Bordeaux in January. [Sky Sports]
Ruud van Nistelrooy opts to avoid the diplomatic route to ending his international career. [SI.com]
Raul doesn’t believe his international career is coming to an end. [International Herald Tribune]
Sven-Goran Eriksson is close to deciding which team should have the honor of having him as manager. [The Australian]
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
Helton insists that he is staying at Porto despite being called into the Brazil squad for friendlies against Kuwait and Ecuador. [Clubcall]
Li Tie still believes he can make it in the Premiership despite not playing a league game for lowly Sheffield United this season. [FansFC]
Juan Roman Riquelme is reconsidering his international retirement. [Sky Sports]
Another potential scandal in Italy, only it isn’t that bad and Inter may face a fine at most. [Sporting Life]
Lukas Podolski is not happy at Bayern Munich. [FOX Sports]
September 22, 2006
Celtic v. Rangers – It’s the first Old Firm derby of the season, and it is when it is at its best, before they play each other for the fifth time in the season. Celtic are beginning to run away with the title with their four point edge on the Gers, and apparently Paul Le Guen has no idea who to pick for this crucial match.
Catania v. Messina – Newly promoted Catania looks to continue their good start to life in Serie A against the second best team in the league and in Sicily in Messina. Christian Rigano and Giorgio Corona will probably find their way onto the scoresheet in this one.
Cerro Porteno v. Nacional – The weekly Unofficial World Club Championship is up for its weekly defense as the Tricolor of Nacional look to keep it against the side that held it for three months in Cerro Porteno, who also happen to be leading the Clausura.
Chicago Fire v. Los Angeles Galaxy – Landycakes and the Galaxy could be eliminated from playoff contention if results do not go in their favor on Saturday, while Chicago sits and waits for New England to be confirmed as the third place team in the East.
Barcelona v. Valencia – This is a huge match in La Liga this weekend as they will battle to see who can stay with a Sevilla side who have won their last nine league matches over two seasons. Valencia have key injuries while Barcelona have the nothing of the sort to worry about.