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and the NEW
DAMN, what the hell happened? Why did this forum move website? I couldnt work out what happened, and then emailed boxingtalk to ask, but nobody responded.

SecondsOut did the same thing a few years back, and the site DIED, so I think the same is in stall for

As for the football, yeh, Barcelona will be unstoppable in La Liga next season. I think the only two teams in the world with as strong squad are Manchester United and Chelsea. With Chelsea adding Malouda (best player in France last season) and Manchester United adding Anderson and Nani to their squads.

Barca also added Abidal, an awesome defender who will be used on the left. Milito from Zaragoza, which is EXACTLY what they are missing, someone to marshel the back line, of which seems to have no structure whatsoever. And afterall, he is known as "the Marshel" (however you spell it). They also added Yaya Toure, who is a very strong defensive midfielder. GREAT additions to their squad, they got exactly the guys they needed. How about Saviola PR, he is off to Real Madrid!
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QUOTE(PR316 @ Jun 23 2007, 01:36 AM) [snapback]344354[/snapback]
Not sure how this will be pulled off though. This will certainly cause a change in formation for Barcelona. Eto'o is not very familiar with playing the role of a supporting striker. It'll be interesting to see how he adapts, assuming he stays.

This will be the interesting part. No idea how they will do it, other than using the strikers to track back, and neither Ronaldinho, Eto'o or Henry like going back much, not to mention Messi is best utilised further up the pitch. You cant exactly have 4 strikers though. I wouldnt be surprsied to see them be rotated like the backs, with one of the quartet missing out each week. Messi is safe, but Ronaldinho and Henry both like to come down the left naturally (this is supposedly Henrys perfered position, as opposed to a central striker). I hope they can find a way to let all 4 on the pitch at once, seeing teams try to stop them will be great!

Any moves to/from Valencia?

Liverpool bought Babel, they have Torres and now Kewell is fit, they might be able to at least get a bit closer to the top next season.

Arsenal wont rival for the title, but I think they wil do better than most think. They got Da Silva who is good (and young), and with quality like Hleb, Gilberto Silva, Fabregas, Gallas, Rosicky, Van Persie and their new French signing at the back, they might actually do ok and stay in the race for a while.

Should be a great great season in the Premier League this season, and will be interesting to see how Juve goes now.............cant see them fighting for the title, but they will be mainly trying to secure a Champions League place for the following season.
Valencia signed Alexis from Getafe, and Arizmendi from Atletico Madrid. The Alexis signing is SOLID. Arizmendi is ok. Valencia need another striker, I think. I think the team is trying to move into having just one striker. This leaves Villa in the receiver role which will allow him to score more goals(Hopefully this will mean a more attacking style). Valencia have been looking to sign either Lucho Gonzalez or Sneijder. Either would be an excellent midfield addition for the club, that seems to at times lack attacking threat up the middle. Hopefully their best signing is yet to come.

Barca are once again loaded with talent. Not sure how they're gonna do it. I have a feeling somebody is going to be the odd man out. Unless if they change their formation and all. But if Barca does that, then how does Eto'o handle being a supporting striker, and how do Messi and Ronaldinho adapt to being moved back a bit??..

Saviola is at Real Madrid now, with Schuster as the coach. I think Real will be more exciting next season. I don't like the club's politics, but they were the champions last year, despite playing unattractive football.
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Valencia beat Inter 2-0 in a solid display, while Barca is also performing well in pre season. Though, its not much to go on, its good to see! Too bad I cant actually watch the matches as their not shown here.

Good also to see the likes of Silva, Villa staying at Valencia. Madrid has been quiet in this transfer window, really just strengthening their defence.

How about Simao to Atletico, GREAT signing, I beleive he is one of the best in the world and now we finally get to see more of him.
Mayo could take punishment but Quarety was very agressive, accurate, strong and heavy handed prime Quartey beats Mayo by UD in an war.

I hope Ike comes back one of the most exciting fighters out there today.
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Man, a lot of movers and shakers in the transfer market! This has been a HUGE transfer season! Madrid offering 27m for Ballack and Robben, though doubt that will be accepted, considering they paid about 45m for them from memory and its not like they are bad performers, well at least not Robben. And Jose is talking about playing a 4-4-2 with fast wingers, the way Chelsea first won the title, so he will need Phillips, Joe Cole, Robben and Maulouda if he wants to implement that over the whole season. And Chelsea really do need to become more attacking, as them scraping the 1-0 wins will sometimes results in 0-0 outcomes, which is exactly what cost them last season! As opposed to Man United, who go out to beat teams 5-0 and usually can get wins, even if sometimes they have to sacrafice goals.

Tevez also looks to be off to Old Trafford, a very very good squad they are going to have this season, along with Chelsea and Barca, probably the best 3 squads in the world at the moment.

AC Milan bought Pato, the Brazilian wonder kid (I have seen some great skills from him, but I think he has a LOT to proove, I havent seen enough to make me think he will be the next great player, unlike Messi).

Benfica are also looking to sign Adu, who will be a great buy, he is the best US player from my viewing and has HUGE potential!

Now Im just waiting to see who wins the race to sign Drenthe (it looks between Chelsea or Madrid, with Chelsea looking to buy him if they sell Robben) and I have seen Drenthe numerous times, and he is a VERY VERY good player, he could really shake up any of the best leagues in the world!

Oh, and then there is Chelsea trying to buy Alex and Alvez, two great defenders. Alex would line up next to Terry as a SOLID defence, and Alvez would help support the wing, making them a more entertaining team!

Man City signed Elano from the Brazilian team, havent seen anything of him (as I couldnt see the Copa), which club is he from? What sort of player is he?
Valencia want to buy Kallstrom from Lyon and have put up 14 million euros but Lyon won't go for it, and are demanding more. I think they want at least 18 million euros. That deal seems very complicated because Valencia had the chance to snag either Lucho Gonzalez from Porto or Sneijder from Ajax and both deals failed because the club was not willing to cough up the money. I know that Valencia needs a strong midfielder who can zip those through balls up the middle for Villa so that he doesn't have to run up the wings all the time and do all the creating himself. If the club can't make this signing, then it will be very disappointing. As far as depth goes, Valencia may have the deepest bench in La Liga if they are able to keep all their players healthy. But regardless, a quality first rate central midfielder is needed.

Tevez has finally gone to Man U and with that signing, the club seems to have gotten even stronger. All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo to see if last season was the beginning of his rise to prominence or if he is that same talented player who is somewhat of a poor finisher in front of goal.

Elano is a very good player. He played for Shaktar, a Ukrainian club that competed in the Champions League last year and he got some minutes. He wasn't a regular, thats for sure. He had a nice assist in the final of Copa America against Argentina before he had to be subbed due to injury. He's 26 years old so he should still have alot of time. He should get to show it now. Don't recall that he played in Man City's pre-season match against Valencia a couple of days ago, but he was just signed recently.
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Yeh, no doubt Valencias big fallback is their quality centre mid playmaker. They should really go for Riquelme, you could probably get him on the cheap at the moment also! Is he going back to Villareal, or staying out on loan at Boca?

So Elano plays in the centre mids? Does he like to run at defenders, or a great passer? What kind of player is he?

I watched Simao the other day when Atletico played Lazio, he didnt have a good game!

Saw Man United Vs Chelsea, Man United easily outplayed them, though both didnt have a full squad on the park, though I am leaning towards Man United to retain their title this season, who do you think will win it? What about the Champions League? Barca are obvious favourites for La Liga. I also think both Liverpool and Arsenal will do better this season, especially if Silva can bag some goals for Arsenal, up alongside Van Persie!

Also watched Bayern Munich, Ribery is without doubt, going to be their star this season, he had a great game! Too bad Bayern is not in the Champs League this season, they have quiet a few stars now, and could really be good to watch!

As far as the other leagues, I think AC Milan will make it a close race with Inter this season, and I think Lyon will win the French league again (with both Lille and Marseille weaker this season). Lyon have lost a few players, but I like the guys they have added, especially Keita.
Riquelme as of now seems likely to stay at Boca Jrs. I would LOVE to see him at Valencia but the club has not dropped any noticeable hints that they are going for him. He would be an awesome addition to a club that already has a strong attack lead by Villa, Morientes, Silva, and Arizmendi, and a midfield that has Vicente and Joaquin on the wings, a healthy and a healthy Baraja. I think the club will get a good signing before the window closes but they need to hurry and make it sooner than later IMO.

Elano is a very skillful midfielder who likes to play wide. He loves to run up the wings. He can cross, and he can put through some really nice balls in open space to the strikers. He seems to be a two footed player, who can finish with either the left and the right. He doesn't score many goals because he doesn't get the opportunity to score them, but when he gets the chance, he usually finishes pretty well. His set pieces are good too. He's pretty good at finding the heads and from what I've heard, he can take penalties too.

I like Man U in the Premiership, followed by Liverpool in 2nd place, with Chelsea and Arsenal battling it out for 3rd and 4th.

I like Barca in La Liga, with Real Madrid, Valencia, and Sevilla all making a serious run for the 2nd place spot.

I think Lyon will easily win La Championett. Inter will once again win Serie A, but it will be more competitive this year, with AC Milan, and Roma providing a little competition.

Its too soon to predict the Champions League. And as last year showed, the most talented teams don't always make it in the end.
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Cool, I will watch out for Elano in the League this season, Man City plays on the opening night, so I will watch that following the Tottenham game. Man City Vs West Ham, will be interesting to see how the two clubs of which have both added big time in the off season match up!

Liverpool 2nd, BIG CALL PR. I think Chelsea just has too much talent not to battle for the title. Their squad is incredible, on par with Man United as far as individual talent!

As far as the Champs League, that competition is always hard to predict, as a LOT more chance comes into it when you only play two games vs each team, and then one in the final! Like the World Cup, rarely does the best side win! All it takes is a chance missed, a bad call, and the entire competition can swing!

Thats the reason I like the Leagues better, you usually end up with the best team winning by the end of the season! Though, the Champs League can be the most entertaining to watch, no doubt! Same as with the World Cup!

On another note, will be interesting to see if Chelsea gets Alvez and Alex. While Real Madrid is out for Robben, Ballack and Kaka, though I doubt they will get any. Their bout the only big transfers being talked about at the moment! Oh, and Drenthe to Real Madrid, who I beleive could be one of the best in the world in a couple of years should he go to a big club!
So far I like Valencia's pre-season form. They won their Champions League qualifier 3-0 in very impressive fashion. They have an awesome squad overall. Very well balanced. What they're missing is creation in the middle. In the end, they'll probably sign either Lucho Gonzalez or Van Der Vaart from Hamburg for a fee of around 20 million euros. Alot of money for sure, but if the team is serious about mounting a challenge, then they're going to have to cough up the money and make a big signing. No excuses if they don't finish at least 2nd this season in La Liga or if they get bounced early in the Champions League. The players are healthy and there is depth at every position. The club's form will largely depend on the manager, Flores and his tactics.

Barcelona is loaded with talent. What remains to be seen for me is if they will indeed have improved defense. They conceded too many late goals last season in games that they had in the bag but lost because they took their foot off the gas pedal, and put the bulk of the work to their defense that was rather slow it seemed. Deco seems to be the odd man out. Valencia defender Miguel has tried to convince Deco to come to Valencia but even I know that there is NO WAY IN HELL that Barca would sell Deco to us. I would be SCHOCKED if Barca helped strengthen Valencia's squad. Thats just not realistic and the management wouldn't do that. Deco is going to have to push his way out of Barca if he wants a transfer and he can forget going to Valencia because that just won't happen. Barca would probably sell Deco to the Premiership. Another question I have is how will Samuel Eto'o adapt to being a support striker??.. He's used to being a lone striker. This will indeed test Eto'o's versatility for he could quite possibly find himself more and more in the creator role this season, with the more clinical finisher Henry probably lined up in the receiver role this season. Despite that, Barca should still win the title, but it won't be easy. I think they face stiffer competition this year than last year.

Premiership has started and so far Chelsea is looking strong and sturdy. Man U lost recently, right??.. Or did they draw??... They still have the best squad in La Liga IMO, though they'll be pushed by Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool.

I get back from Puerto Rico this Saturday, so I'll be able to catch the games then. Let me know how you see things playing out.
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Valencia is looking great, I saw their Champs League qualifier, they looked very solid!

I think they will get Van Der Vaart, its his "dream move" and he would be a GREAT buy for them! Especially after Real snatched Sneijder off them! Though I think Van Der Vaart is a better player, and better yet, he scores goals, which Valencia needs out of their midfield! I agree, creativity is what they lack! I agree though Barca wont sell them Deco, with the Premiership his likely destination next season if it keeps going the way its going! Frank likes Iniesta and Xavi also, alongside Toure! Though they do need 4 midfielders to safeguard from injuries! They have a lot of depth at the moment, but will be hard to keep all those guys happy! The only thing they are really missing now is a solid keeper! Though Frank seems happy with Valdez!

Chelsea is looking MUCH more attacking this season, as Maurinho said after Abromavich put on the pressure for more attacking football. They are looking good, and I thik probably actually look favourites to win the Premiership. Big call so early, but with Alex on board, Drogba back, Kalou performing very well, Malouda looking brilliant, and Terry back soon, not to mention Alvez maybe being signed, they are going to be a LOT to handle.

Torres looks dangerous, but is still settling in, hasnt nearly hit his best form yet! Liverpool Vs Chelsea will be good! Arsenal hasnt been looking good, and were lucky to win their Champs League qualifier!

Man City is looking dangerous, Sven has put the team together well, and with Dunne and Richards working together at the back, with speed and creativity in midfield, I think they will cause a few upsets this season, probably make UEFA Cup.

No doubt though, the Premiership is VERY VERY strong this season! The strongest its ever been, and I would not be surprised to see another team break into the top 4, and it wont be Tottenham who are looking aweful! I think it could be Everton with Cahill back adding a few goals. Arteta is just controlling that team brilliantly, Howard is great in goals, Lescott is a very good defender who holds it all together. Fernandez adds steel in midfield when he plays, and Johnson works hard up front! I think Arteta is one of the best generals out there at the moment!

Eto'o has been doing well in pre season, with Henry struggling to find the back of the net more! Barca beat Bayern with another wonder strike from Messi! A very good win, and good to see Bayern not scoring. Barca looks to have a bit more of a steel about them at the back. Some very good defenders on the team now, with Abidal on the left, Zambrotta on the right, and Puyol, Thuram and Milito all able to hold the centre well. I will be interesting to see who does play though upfront, I think Frank will just implement his rotation policy, as he seems to love so much! They are trying to get rid of Motta and Eider, very good move by Barca!

Ronaldo for Man United hasnt been getting much of the ball, with Nani out there hogging it! Nani reminds me of Ronaldo a couple of years ago, a LOT of polish needed! Giggs playing upfront? WTF, he should be on the left, they should use Saha upfront with Tevez now Rooney is injured! Tevez is a great player, though not sure if hes a pure out and out striker, I think I might like him more as a wide player. Will be interesting to see how many goals he gets!

On another note, Ronaldinho has been back to his absolute brilliant best in preseason! Everytime I watch the man, I am still absolutely amaized by his vision, creativity and passing ability! He spots every single runner on the field and executes the perfect pass, time after time after time! I have never seen anything like it before. His vision is just spectacular, its like he sees 360 degrees all the time. Its a quality that will enable him to be at the top until his mid 30s, as even when he looses his speed and ability to run at defenders and beat them, he will still create numerous opportunities with this ability. I have to say, I have to rate him above even Zidane for the moment. I have never seen anything like him in the history of football. He just sparks up an opportunity that I did not even see, and I have the privelage of watching it on television from an arial perspective! Absolutely inspiring!
Man Utd have started poorly with 2 draws from their opening two matches and they go into the derby on Sunday without the injured Rooney, Saha and Anderson, with Hargreaves a doubt and Ronaldo suspended. This game is always frenetic but I expect Utd to record their first win 3-0.

BTW, the last time Utd drew their opening two games they went onto win the treble....
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QUOTE(Maxy @ Aug 17 2007, 08:24 PM) [snapback]354344[/snapback]
Man Utd have started poorly with 2 draws from their opening two matches and they go into the derby on Sunday without the injured Rooney, Saha and Anderson, with Hargreaves a doubt and Ronaldo suspended. This game is always frenetic but I expect Utd to record their first win 3-0.

BTW, the last time Utd drew their opening two games they went onto win the treble....

Yeh, thats interesting, though I think they are on struggle street in the Premiership alone!

The Champs League draw takes place on the 30th Augst, so should be interesting! Glad Chelsea is now a 1st seed!

Man U have a LOT of injuries! I think they badly miss Neville as well in the backs, though Vidic is getting better and better I think.

I expect Man City to trouble them a lot, they are looking very very dangerous, and I would not be surprised to see a draw! 1-1 or a 2-1 United Win.

Man United desperately need to get a win though, especially with Ronaldo out for 3 matches I beleive. Tevez needs a big game!

Dont think Anderson and Hargreaves will make much difference though, Carrick and Scholes hold up the centre mid positions brilliantly! Ronaldo will be a bit miss on the right, and they desperately need either Saha or Rooney back so they can shift Giggs onto the left. Nani is good, but not polished enough yet, reminds me of Ronaldo 2 seasons ago, though not quiet as good!
Man U is looking a bit uneven at the moment. They look dangerous but have not found their form. Its early in the season, though. Injuries are already taking a toll and its early in the season, and the team is still gelling. As long as they don't fall behind too many games, then they should be ok. So much talent on that squad. Once Rooney, Saha, and the suspended Ronaldo get back, things should start to look up. Tevez is yet to hit form but has had some chances. Carrick and Scholes have been brilliant IMO but the team is lacking in goals at the moment.

Chelsea looks strong. More attack minded than last season. That will help them IMO because now that I take a serious look at them, I realize the talent that is on that team. Robben is amazing and Lampard has started strongly this season. Liverpool will only get better IMO. That is another team just loaded with talent. Fernando Torres had a beautiful goal there, and he presents and ideal partner for Peter Crouch, considering the two contrasting styles there. Arsenal are always entertaining to watch and if they can just improve their defense, they can be in the mix as well.

La Liga starts next week and I'm excited about that. Barcelona, Valencia, and Real Madrid enter the season LOADED with talent and firepower. Injuries really ravaged Barcelona and Valencia last season, and it cost them their rightful places IMO. Real Madrid however must not be taken lightly due to the big buys this season. The coaching change will probably make them more attack minded, and even though they won the league last season, I noticed a lack of creativity in the middle that Zidane brought them two seasons ago. I think the turmoil they had last season probably won't play a part either. But it remains to be seen how well they play together.

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Definately, Real will be more attack minded. As are Chelsea, Liverpool etc. I think the Real directors realised Capello was "lucky" to say the least in winning last season. And with that style, they would not win again, a full strength Barca would wipe the floor with the season.

Though they dont look to me anymore stronger than last season. They lost Carlos, Beckham, Ronaldo, Reyes, Emerson and I think Salgado at the back.

They picked up a couple more defenders, the German and Pepe from Porto. They also picked up Drenthe, Sneijder. Just not enough for me, they really needed to get guys like Robben, Ballack and/or Kaka to compete for the title this season. They have a good team and will be up there, but I think Barca are going to be a force to be reckoned with this season. Between their top 4 attackers alone, they could get 80 goals. Each potentially capable of 20+ each. They have added the balance of defence to their team with Toure, Abidal, Milito, so I feel sorry for the team that draws them in the Champs League. This time thank god Chelsea will be a number 1 seed, and the draw is held on the 30th August, cannot wait to see how the draw pans out!

Sevilla desperately need to retain Alvez, or that will be a HUGE loss for them IMHO. Without him, I cant see them doing much this season. Would be a great buy for Chelsea though, who let Alex have his debut coming off the bench in their last match.

How about the call against Liverpool in the Chelsea match! Disgraceful, the ref deserved to be stood down, so glad it happened! Hope those points dont affect the outcome!

As for Crouch, it appears Kuyt and Torres are going to be the partnership used by Rafa this season! Crouch will probably be a bench warmer, and play in the Cups.
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Well Robben and Heinze to Real Madrid. Finally, that wil give them a lot more strength! Though, Heinze is VERY VERY slow, so could be exposed by fast, counter attacking teams!

Will also give Chelsea the money they need to buy Alvez, and makes that trade look more certain.

Yakubu to Everton from Middlesborough also, very good signing! With Middlesborough trying to buy Alvez, the top scorer in Holland last season!

On another note, how about that goal by Ronaldo for Portugal against Armenia in the Euro Qualifying! Individual brilliance yet again, exactly what Manchester United has so desperately missed in opening this season. They need Ronaldo back ASAP!
Wow. I know Chelsea is loaded with talent, but they really must have been offered very good money to let a player like that go. It MUST be that Chelsea are going to get Alvez for sure, and that will surely be a blow to Sevilla. Will be interesting to see how these players adapt to the Spanish football. Its a little slower than the Premiership but the skill level is arguably higher.

It looks like Van der Vaart won't be going to Valencia after Hamburg turned down 22 MILLION EUROS for him. Hamburg must be desperate to keep him because 22 million is definitely a high transfer fee. Thats alot of cash to turn down IMO even if it is a star player. Hopefully next season we could possibly sign a player like Van der Vaart. Another interesting option is Juninho, whom would cost around 10 million despite his age. Getafe's Casquero is another option but I'm not very keen on that one at all. He's an ok player, nothing more, and he doesn't bring alot of pace. I don't think he would fit Valencia's style of play. My guess is that we'll end up signing Lucho but its not for certain as it may be too late.

That said, the squad is DEEP, with a strong bench. Our attack is strong, lead by Villa, Morientes, Zigic, and Silva. Silva is especially valuable because he can play either as a support striker, in the center midfield, or at the left wing, if Vicente is injured. Baraja and the recovering Edu add depth to the midfield, but neither can be expected to be sole major creating force in that position. Especially now that Valencia seem to be moving towards having just Villa up front, and backing him up with Silva in an attacking role, Vicente and Joaquin on the wings, and presumably Lucho, Albelda, and Baraja in the midfield, with Miguel at right back, Albiol and Alexis in the center defense, and Moretti running the left back position. We have alot of young players on the bench that are potential stars but really need alot of seasoning. Sunny is a raw talent who plays in the under 20 international team of Spain, but my guess is he would need experience. He is a skillful midfielder with vision, passing, and a bomb of a shot.

Ronaldo's goal was amazing. Cracking shot and no goalkeeper could save that. Man U are definitely missing Ronaldo because from the right side, there just doesn't seem to be enough creativity to seriously threaten. All the attacks are coming from the left and Tevez has not yet found his form, and then you have Rooney who is injured. Carrick and Scholes are world class midfielders but the team just hasn't found their form. I honestly am rather shocked at the slow start but at the same time I know it shouldn't be too long before they pick it up. They have some of the best players in the world on their squad, with lots of pace, skill, and finishing ability. The squad works out there also. Wayne Rooney in particular is a horse. He never stops working and I like that about him. Tevez is a super strong forward who is usually a good finisher in front of goal but has struggled to find the net thus far.

From what I continue to read, Deco is unhappy at Barcelona and appears ready to FORCE his own exit out of the club. The problem here is that his transfer fee will surely be high and it remains questionable at this point of the transfer window, what club will cough up that kind of money. Rumor has it he wants to move to Valencia but thats has already been ruled out even before Deco thought about it. A club like Milan maybe could use him, and I'm sure that offers left and right from Bundesliga clubs could come but its not likely. Cruel as it may seem, Deco seems destined for a season on the bench. Its just difficult to see how he will fit in and its a shame too, because he works hard in the midfield and doesn't really look to score. His vision and passing skill is not behind many, and he does the dirty work, like getting back on defense, and fighting for loose balls in the midfield. Looks like Deco will suffer Saviola's fate this season.

It doesn't look like Chelsea will be signing Alves now having completed a deal to sign Juliano Belletti from Barcelona instead.

Man Utd have indeed started extremely badly results wise but the truth is they have dominated all 3 of their matches both possession wise and with shots on target. However, it cannot be denied that they are strugglling big time to put the ball in the back of the net. Then again no team in the world would be able to cope with losing players such as Rooney, Saha and Ronaldo. Hopefully Saha will be back for the game against Spurs on Sunday and we will all see the difference.
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Yeh, Belletti signed for Chelsea. Not sure how he will do in the Premiership, personally I didnt like him at Barca, with Zambrotta far outshining him, and even Oleguer being the second choice!

You are right Maxy, Man United have dominated, but desperately need the goals. Guys like Rooney, Saha and Ronaldo provide these.

I cant blame Tevez in the Man City game, Richards is just too damn strong and too damn quick, Tevez could not get away from him. Not to mention Dunne is a TOP defender! I truly beleive Richards will be one of the best defenders on the planet, if not the best, in the next couple of seasons. If not already! He is the entire package! Set up a beautiful goal for Lampard in the Germany friendly also! Tevez also set up the goal in the game before for Scholes, so his not doing too bad.

Looks like Real want Alvez now! Man they are adding to that defence left, right and centre! Yet its their midfield, right and centre where they need to add upon. Even upfront, they really only have one lethal striker in Nistelrooy.

Im not sure about Deco, I think he could well get a few starts this season. Not sure yet what formation Barca will take, as their preseason has been a rotation policy at half time. Though I think they will play 3 of the quartet each match. Leaving 3 other positions in midfield with the back 4. These 3 will be filled by Toure, Deco, Xavi and Iniesta. So Deco should get a few games still. Though, I would not be surprsied to see him leave, he was even talking about Chelsea and being reunited with Jose a while back. And PR you are right, Milan would definately buy him, they love these Brazilians (just signed Emerson as well as Pato), and though Deco is not Brazilian, he was born there! Thats enough for Milan Im sure!

Too bad Van Der Vaart didnt go to Valencia, I am sure he would have done well. He must be crushed! Though Valencia are still loaded with talent, Silva is just getting better and better with age! He will be a HUGE threat again this season! Great wingers in Joaquin and Vicente, with Villa sure to put in a few goals! Albelda and Baraja are good midfielders also for the centres. Miguel is a GREAT back I beleive, I think he could play for any team on the planet and I really like Cannizarez in goal!!! So you think Morientes will be left on the bench this season? Also, Juninho from Lyon you are talking about? He could really do some damage I think! I still have NO IDEA why they didnt go for Riquelme. The perfect buy for Valencia, and he would not come at too high a premium also!

Im a bit disappointed Adu didnt sign for a big club. I think he is much better than most of the youngsters out there who have been signed lately by the giant clubs of world football. Benfica have lost their coach who signed him, and he looks destined to spend some time on the bench this season! Too bad, would be good to see him in the Champions League!

As for Spanish Football to the Premiership, I think La Liga is based more on the beautiful game. More trickery, more practice on technical skills. There is also a lot of pace in La Liga. Though, the Premiership these days tends to be going more and more towards pace, brute strength and physical play. Which I dont like too much, there is a lot of pushing off the ball, which also makes it hard for players to show that great technical ability as its almost impossible to have perfect control over the ball, when you are constantly being pushed about.

La Liga about to kick off, exciting! The big clash being the two Madrids up against it, with Simao, Forlan, Gonzalez and Reyes making their debuts! I see a 1-1 draw on the table.
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You see "old" Ronaldo has lost nealry 6kgs and they reckon his weight issues are down to a thyroid problem!?

Gonna be great to watch him this season if he can rediscover his old form.

Who do you tip in the UEFA Supercup between Sevilla and AC Milan? I think AC Milan will take it 2-1. Sevilla will miss Alvez, who looks unhappy and sure to leave, though they are still an attacking force to stop! I would not be surprised to see a Sevilla win!
I think the problem with Real Madrid this season is going to be their desire to play ATTACKING FOOTBALL. IMHO, they do NOT have the personell for that. They do have Robben and Sneijder, but if your main strikers are Raul and Van Nistlerooy, then I don't see how that will work, being that neither guy relies on pace. Real has the personell to play a more physical style of football, similar to how France does when they play quick, skillful, attacking teams like Brazil and Spain. I think it will come down to how well the players adapt to the league.

IMO, Morientes will certainly get his minutes and he'll provide goals. He's just that kind of striker who is very sound technically, and smart. He knows how to get in position despite not being very fast, and in front of goal he just knows how to finish with either foot. Nicola Zigic however, has been Valencia's best buy in the off-season and he provides awesome physical strength, is unstoppable in the air, and he's also a fiery, enforcer type of player. He'll attract lots of attention when he's on the pitch, thus giving Villa some more space to work in. Disappointing that Van Der Vaart couldn't make it, but I think that next season is a strong possibility, due to him being in the last season of his contract at Hamburg, where he'll basically be free to go where ever he wants to. Hopefully next year he can get signed. Silva is becoming a star right before our very eyes. He's alot like Pablo Aimar and he has improved his finishing IMMENSELY. Last season despite his brilliance, he missed some key goals that would have potentially turned defeats into victories, but he seems more composed now in front of the net and is beginning finish. This is good because it takes pressure off the strikers. Riquelme is a player that it still a possibility to end up at Valencia this season as the transfer window closes but the team has not made any direct offers yet. But time is running out and if a midfielder is not signed, then the bulk of the work is left to Baraja(Who's above 30), and Edu(Good young player, but recovering from a serious knee injury).

I think the physicality is the biggest difference between the Premiership and La Liga. In England, it is a very fast paced attacking style of football, which makes for exciting games. But its also very physical, with lots of hard challenges, and lots of players who are very strong, and thus rely on shutting down quicker teams with their strength. Its not very fun to see that, but IMO that just means that the other team has to take its game to another level and find ways to win. La Liga is not ALWAYS a fast paced game, but you definitely see more fancy skill moves and all.

Atletico vs Real in a derby, as well as Valencia vs Villareal. Should be one helluva race this season.

As for the Super Cup, Sevilla knows already what its like to not have Danny Alvez. It was during his injruy spell that Sevilla started to slump. Look for Milan to take it via 3-1 score.
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Yeh, its definatley agreed between us that Valencia have the squad to compete, but desperately need that creativity in midfield! Especially someone who can thread those balls up the centre. Though I have seen Silva do this, so who knows, he may be used to sit just behind Villa and create space for him more often this season, especially if Vicente is back, will allow Silva off that left wing more often.

I just dont see Real clicking this season. No doubt they have a FORMIDABLE backline. Two top options for every position! Though, I cant see them playing like France, who have/had wingers such as Malouda, Wiltord, guys in the middle like Makalele and Viera and even strong strikers upfront, using Saha in the last World Cup. They were just a ROCK. Even a guy like Zidane was relatively strong.

Robben is not a guy like Malouda (Infact Robben is a very poor tackler), neither is Drenthe. Sneijder isnt your Makalele in the centre of midfield. They will not be able to play counter attacking as you say, thanks to the slow legs of Nistelrooy and Raul, so I see them in a bit more trouble this season. Guti IMHO is very overrated, a decent midfielder, but nothing special. Ramos should add some attack up the right, but they are still really missing an out and out right winger. Robinho is the wildcard, will he play upfront or on the right? Cant see him playing on the left as he did at times last season, not now with Robben AND Drenthe preferring that as their favourite position. And with Heinze to fill in for Carlos, looks like we might get to see Drenthe attack a bit more.

I guess they also always have the option of Saviloa who is relatively quick. While I also think Gonzalo Higuaín could develop into a very good player! He is already dangerous upfront!

Permiership no doubt more physical and much more strength there to add to that physicality.

Villareal V Valencia is the other good match of the round. Though Im really sorry Riquelme was not bought back, his great to watch. However, even without him, they did end on an 8 match winning streak at the end of last season, so they should still be a very good squad this season! Not sure how much they will miss Forlan however.
United got the one-nil win today against Spurs despite not playing as well as they have done in their previous 3 games. This result was badly needed and hopefullt will be the springboard for a good run....
What a poor match by Valencia. rolleyes_anim.gif OMG I don't even know how to begin. First Villa gets ejected after getting into the referee's face, then in the 2nd half Joaquin follows suit and lets his emotions boil over and is tossed out as well. Down 2 men, Valencia couldn't hold off the strong attack of Villareal or get anything going up front and were badly thrashed. What a terrible performance. At least we'll soon get back Vicente, Zigic, Miguel, and we have now signed Manuel Fernandes from Benfica for 15 million euros and he is indeed a young, quality midfielder with a deadly first touch, speed, and passing skills. Have to look at the good news in light of this PATHETIC, PITIFUL, performance. But onward to the Champions League qualifier. Can't dwell on the ugly.

Barcelona didn't appear to be in sync for much of their match against Racing. Though Henry almost won it for them only to see his shot clip the cross bar. Racing must have known early on what they were up against because they stacked box, making any attacks impossible to convert. Messi in particular was heavily marked and he really never had any space to get any kind of rhythm going and appeared to me to be almost relieved to come off the pictch and let Henry come in. For all of the inventiveness of both Xavi and Ronaldinho, it was just that kind of match. Nothing was getting through and because Santander didn't have much attack threat of their own, it was a 0-0 tie.

Man U won from what I see, but it still doesn't seem that they are 100%. I think they'll get there, though. Its still early in the season.
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My god I am angry this week with ESPN. I was really looking forward to watching both the Madrid and Barca matches this week, as I had time off work, and whilst both were listed, NONE of them came on! Instead they played both the Sevilla and Valencia matches twice each! What a waste of time, when they could have shown all 4!!!! I couldnt beleive it! Wrote them a complaint email, this same thing happened numerous times last season, and should not happen, let alone happen the first week of La Liga!

So no idea what happened in the Barca match, probably would have been frustrating to watch, with them being shut down with Italian style crowding the box!

Valencia looked very ordinary didnt they! Just didnt have any creativity, and the defence was caught ball watching a few times! The tackle on Fernandez should have never been made, he should have just been jockeyed there. And the pass to set up the last goal went through the defenders legs! That being said, without Villa and only 10 men, they didnt have much chance! Its a hard ask! Have to just get on with it and try and put some more training ground one touch passes and one-twos together. Otherwise, they will suffer, they didnt look sharp at all, werent even looking where they were passing some of the times. Weird, very unorganised which is very strange for Valencia!

Though, they did sign Fernandez from Everton! A great great buy I beleive. I think he may be one of the best holding mids of the future! I really like him of all the young talent emerging, though thats not what Valencia are missing!

How about Alvez, and RIQUELME trying to be signed by Middlesborough. Cant see the Juan Roman transfer happening, though it would be a good buy!

Ill try catch some more highlights on youtube for this weeks matches. Sevilla did look good though.
Its funny because for me, GolTV did not show the Real Madrid/Atletico match nor the Sevilla match and instead, TWICE A ROW showed the Barca/Racing match and the Valencia/Villareal match.

Take it from me, the Barca game was very frustrating to watch. Italian style defense to the 25th power by Racing and what pissed me off is that it seemed to me like Racing were not even trying that much to score. They literally played SCARED FOOTBALL and just sat back and defended as if they were winning a 2 game tournament match on aggregate. I know Barca will be more than happy to move on and face a team that is more daring and brave.

I can't really describe what happened to Valencia but as just another one of those types days. They happen to every team. EVERYTHING seemed to go wrong. Its alot to ask to win without David Villa, but then when your star right winger Joaquin gets sent off, its virtually impossible IMO. Add to that an out of form Morientes, and key players like Vicente and Zigic out with minor injuries, and a backline playing for the first time without Roberto Ayala, things just simply couldn't go right. The morale of the team was very down and you can tell that once Joaquin was sent to the showers, the team really just completely lost its way and pretty much conceded defeat. Horrible showing, but at least its early in the season and we have seen teams turn around before to bounce back. Man U is favored to do just that this year, and its not impossible for Valencia to do it as well once the squad gets into form. Fernandes is a very good buy and he does provide sharp long passes which is what the team is missing. Granted he's no Pablo Aimar or Cesc Fabregas, but Fernandes is young and he has time to improve his all around game, and with good coaching, he can find himself being a great fit in the team. Its hard to not be disappointed with what happened, but a team can only move onward and look to improve the mistakes on the training ground.

Alvez and Riquelme have both tried to force their own exits and its just not happening. They'll definitely be two disgruntled players this season, thats for sure unless if they move before the transfer window ends.
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Yeh, one game means nothing, though to win the title, you usually have to at least get into good form after the first couple games. (That is of course, excluding last La Liga season, ha ha). If that repeats itself, Valencia could maintain this form for the next two months and still win the title!

Weird with GolTV, definately some stuff ups! Are they owned by ESPN also?

Glad I didnt watch the Barca match now, though saw on Youtube Ronnie put a couple of great balls through to Xavi and Henry, of which both could have been scored! Heard Messi was so frustrating with his tight marking, that he looked like he wanted to come off when he was subed for Henry. Thats disgraceful, ruining the beautiful game for the sake of pure winning! Thats why I respect the Real Board of Directors so much, the fact that they wouldnt sacrafice the entertainment and beautiful game, in sake of winning! Some true courage and passion right there! Not to mention, Capello was "lucky" to say the least to win last season, and if the team played like that again, would in all probability, have very little chance to back up their title.

Champs League draw in 3 days, interesting! Lucky for one team that Bayern Munich is not there, with their team this season, they could be a real force! Ribery has developed a LOT since even the World Cup where he stood out, so he will be a HUGELY influencial force in the Bayern squad.
Capello's boring style of football definitely had something to do with his dismissal, but more than just that, I think because he had Ronaldo shipped out of the team along with Beckham. I think Capello underestimated the popularity and love affair that Real fans had with these players not to mention the board of directors.

But yeah both the Barca and Valencia matches were frustrating to watch. Messi literally JOGGED off the field without looking up when he was subbed. It was frustrating for him. There certain ways of doing things. I know that sometimes a team has to be smart and all. But what I saw in the Barca match was COWARDLY FOOTBALL IMO. The only thing missing was the diving. Otherwise, it would have been classic Italian football. Its one thing for a team to hold its formation and defend, and then exploit a hole in the opposing team's defense. However, its another thing when you stay the whole match literally on your side of the pitch and stack the box and never mount any real attack of your own. Ultimately these teams hurt themselves because the way to win is to score goals. You have to go out there and grab the victory. Can't just always sit back and let it come to you because sometimes it won't.

Valencia were fortunate to get a lucky draw against Elfsborg. I think Chelsea may be the big favorite this season, with Man U and Bara only sightly behind. Inter should be there as well.

R.I.P Antonio Puerta 1984-2007.
I would say a Prime Quartey jabs Mayorgas head off, Mayorga will not be able to get past that telephone poll like Jab, it will frustrate him much the way Spinks frustrated him, after mid way through the fight, Quartey will be landing at will with big right hands and I see Mayorga being stopped in the last third of the fight, Ike Quartey was a beast in his prime, hell the man stood in there toe to toe with everybody no matter how the fight was going Ike never took a step back.
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I agree 100% PR. Definately teams like Liverpool, Chelsea, Valencia usually play a structured game, but also attack on their own. Though, thats the problem with Barca this season, media has made such a big deal out of their "fantastic four" that you could end up with a lot of the bottom teams doing this to them, trying to just grab a point. Because these are the games Barca usually puts on a 5-1 rout!

Ah well, they will have to break teams like that down I guess, though could be frustrating to watch.

I think if you look at the odds, Chelsea would be favourites in the Champs League. Followed closely by AC Milan, Barca and Liverpool. All prooven European football in recent times, and all possess great squads! Though, AC Milan is very thin, and with serious injury, they could be in BIG trouble! They need a bit more depth in their squad. Will be very interesting to see how Sevilla go (assuming they qualify).

On that note:

RIP Puerta! Sad to see that happen to such a young, fit guy! Wonder if he was on any medication for an injury......? Because without a hole in the heart or an illness, that is very very unusual! Poor guy and his family, friends.

Finally, we have Barca V Inter tomorrow, should be a very good, and interesting game! I see another Barca win, 2-1.
From talking to somebody who is in the medical field, Puerto suffered from cardiomyopathy which is a heart condition that acts up when the person does intense exercise. It is an inherited condition and it usually affects young athletes in their early to mid twenties. Very sad indeed. From what I hear, Puerta had a history of fainting in training. RIP Antonio Puerta.

I think against certain teams you definitely have to be smart in defending. But you have to go out there and play the beautiful game too. Scoring goals is not just about entertaining the fans but winning the damn match too!. To me, however, Barca is not in form.. Not yet at least. They're not quite gelled together as of now, much like Man U, and even Valencia from what we saw against a decent but not elite Villareal side. The teams that look strong from the start have been Liverpool, Chelsea(Both look more attack minded this season), and Sevilla. Not sure what Inter or AC Milan are looking like yet. And its too early to tell about Real Madrid IMO.

Inter and Barca should be very tight. I definitely look forward to that match.
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Well looks like Riquelme to Atletico, from unofficial, but good sources. They have a very, very good squad if this happens. Him in the midfield with Simao, and then a guy like Reyes up the wing, you have a formidable midfield, at full strength, of which would give any team a run!

Adriano also looks to be leaving Inter, with Arsenal one of the names being thrown around, along with Lazio as frontrunners. Though, no idea why he would go to Lazio, they are absolute RUBBISH from the few games I have seen from them! Really makes it apparent how weak the Italian league is other than the top 3 (Maybe 4 now with Juve back). Unlike La Liga and the Premier League, where you have to fight for your points week in and week out.
Riquelme is now OFFICIALLY an Atletico Madrid player. He'll definitely strengthen than squad without a doubt. I SO HOPE that Adriano makes it to either the Premiership or La Liga. I think he'd do better in La Liga honestly. But either a team like Arsenal or Zaragoza could use him. There's tons of potential there, he's just inconsistent. But good that he's getting out of Serie A. Another I want to see leave the Italian league is Zlatan Ibrahimovic. I would like to see him in the Premiership, playing for a club like Manchester City or something. He's too good for the Italian league IMO.

Looks like Eto'o is out for 2 months with a thigh muscle tear. Its EXACTLY the same thing Vicente has been struggling with since last season and the injury is nagging. It is known to be recurring. Barca has lots of depth, though. Its just frustrating to see one of the best strikers in the world(If not the best) out once again with another nagging injury. This will just mean more time for the youngsters on the bench. The team looked AWESOME against Inter, I must say.

Valencia are Champions League bound with a dramatic 2-1 victory yesterday. Valencia dominated much of the possession and created opportunities but could not finish. Not until stoppage time in the 90th minute when Villa found an open Joaquin who's shot was deflected only for Villa to be there for the rebound and put it in the back of the net. I definitely hope this serves as a morale boosting win after having such a poor opening to their Liga campaign.

Champions League draw is complete. Here are the groups.

Group A


Group B


Group C

Real Madrid

Group D

AC Milan

Group E


Group F

Man U
Dynamo Kyiv

Group G

CSKA Moskva

Group H

Sevilla/AEK(Qualifier postponed).
FC Steaua

Assuming Sevilla qualify(And they should), I really look forward to seeing them against Arsenal. Man U and Roma reunite their rivalry from last year. Valencia unlucky to draw Chelsea this year but the rest of their group is easy. Barca drew Lyon huh?... I think they'll produce some excellent matches. Real Madrid got an EASY draw. They really lucked out with this one.
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Yeh, Adriano is the quick, strong type of Premiership striker. He would do well there. Thats if he can stay off the alcohol!

If Zlatan left Inter anytime soon, Im sure it would be for a HUGE club, he is rightfully regarded as one of the very best out there, at the very top of the striker list.

Too bad about Eto'o, he will be missed. He and Ronaldinho work TREMENDOUSLY together, the best attacking partnership around I beleive. He makes great runs, perfect for Ronaldinho to play beautiful balls through to him and he has the speed to make it work!

Ronnie will miss him in the centre. The game against Inter, whilst not their best, still a decent side, was DOMINANT, Toure showed his absolute brilliance, playing the PERFECT midfielder role he was bought in for. Though, Henry out on the left gets me, when Ronaldinho is a genius out there, and with Ronnie playing central and Henry and Dos Santos/Messi on the right, he will have nobody to thread his balls too, at least not too often. Which is his most dangerous asset! He looked lost out there against Inter. Just no runners, and no space to create his magic.

Valencia Vs Chelsea and Arsenal Vs Sevilla (they will go through), are probably the best two games of the groups. Lyon arent as strong this year, loosing more players as the transfer window goes on, and while they are still a good club, are not the powerhouse they were last year. Liverpool Vs Porto may also create good, competitive games. Though, we will have to wait until the knockout stages to see the real fireworks, I just dont see too many problems for the big clubs in the group stages. Might loose one, but the vast majority shouldnt have a problem.

I agree though, Sevilla Vs Arsenal will be great, sure to get a few goals in those matches!

Though the Champions League comes down to a LOT of luck, it still brings the most excitement to the table, no doubt!
I'm looking forward to picking my fantasy team for the Champions League. I already have a Premiership and Liga fantasy team at Hoping to get lucky in something and win some money, maybe. Are you playing this year??...

Here's my predictions as to who makes it out.

Group A- Liverpool and Porto

Group B- Chelsea and Valencia

Group C- Bremen and Lazio (UPSET)

Group D- AC Milan and Benfica

Group E- Barcelona and Lyon

Group F- Man U and Roma

Group G- Inter and PSV

Group H- Arsenal and Sevilla

Leading scorers- Robin Van Persie, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, David Villa, Freddy Kanoute
Leading assists- Ronaldinho, Cristiano Ronaldo, Cesc Fabregas, Joaquin
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I only have a PremierLeague fantasy team vs my mates. At Just got pipped last year and came 2nd. So far this year, Im only half way up the table, but the value of my team is easily worth the most, so I can buy better players and come home strong. My girlfriend (also a football/soccer player, is coming first somehow, and there are 9 guys in the competition) ha ha.

Out of the groups:

Liverpool, Porto.

Chelsea, Valencia.

Real Madrid, Bremen.

AC Milan, Celtic.

Barcelona, Lyon.

Man U, Roma.

Inter, CSKA Moskva.

Arsenal, Sevilla.

So I think our differences, I have Real Madrid, Celtic, CSKA Moskva.

While you have, Lazio, Benfica, PSV.

Top Scorer of the tournament: Kaka.

Most assists: Ronaldinho.

Player of the tournament, I think will be between Ronaldinho and Kaka.
United win today against the returning Roy Keane's Sunderland side. Sunderland were dogged and determined and yet again United struggled to score before eventually, second half sub Louis Saha, headed the winner.

With Ronaldo and Rooney (possibly) back for the next match United will go from strength to strength.

Makes me laugh how some of you talk about Adriano as a top player. It's kinda like saying Felix Trinidad is a top time, yeah, today....get outta here.
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QUOTE(Maxy @ Sep 1 2007, 07:34 PM) [snapback]355852[/snapback]
United win today against the returning Roy Keane's Sunderland side. Sunderland were dogged and determined and yet again United struggled to score before eventually, second half sub Louis Saha, headed the winner.

With Ronaldo and Rooney (possibly) back for the next match United will go from strength to strength.

Makes me laugh how some of you talk about Adriano as a top player. It's kinda like saying Felix Trinidad is a top time, yeah, today....get outta here.

Yeh, the introduction of Saha made a big difference to Man United. Ronaldo is definately back next match, in two weeks. Though, not so sure about Rooney, its possible, but I would be surprised to see him start.

Adriano not a top player? He is a little out of shape, with a small amount of fat on his body, in comparison to the ripped up, powerful beast he used to be. Though, he admitted he had an alcohol problem, so if he gets back in shape, he will still have that strength, and speed. No doubt he has some very good skills, and just needs the confidence back for his finish. Adriano is still young, and has tremendous potential! No doubt, he is still a very good buy for any club! As Inter showed by letting out Recoba and keeping Adriano. Not one of the best strikers in the world, but the potential is there. No comparison between him and Tito (Tito being old, and far out of his depth, weight wise).
I don't view Adriano as a WORLD CLASS player, but to me he's a potentially VERY GOOD player who is inconsistent and who needs to stay in shape. He's far from a bad player. Overrated??.. At one point he was. But lets not underrate him either. He's still young, and if he keeps himself on track, he can only improve.

Must say that in the Premiership, at the moment the 2 teams that look the strongest are Liverpool and Arsenal. Liverpool in particular are more attack minded this year and really put a horrible drubbing on Derby with a score that read 6-0!!.. Fernando Torres looks to have found himself a home, and he is linking up amazingly with Kuyt, Babel, Xabi Alonso, and Mascherano. 3 goals to his tally already and this may just be the break out season many have waited for this kid to have. I always knew the potential was there to be one of the best strikers in the world if he could improve his finishing, and it looks like he may well be getting better in that department.

Arsenal looked awesome today as well, beating the hell out of Portsmouth. The Gunners are such a fast paced team with lots of young players that are just electric once they have the ball. You LITERALLY feel that a goal is just one or two plays away when you see this team play. Cesc Fabregas is becoming a star right before our very eyes, and a healthy Robin Van Persie seems to be getting back to his form. Rosicky is an amazing player too. Lots of trickery and creation there. I think they have a serious team and they'll definitely compete for the title even if they don't win it.

Man U won again which is good. Bit by bit, they should try and rack up the wins anyway they can because once that team clicks together and hits form, then you have to assume that they will eventually take over the top of the table. They desperately need the pace and creation of Ronaldo back, along with the hard nosed physical style of Rooney, who works his ass off out there day in and day out. They have good quality of depth too.

Barca looked awesome with Ronaldinho scoring a brace and making a statement after last week's lackluster match. They are a work in progress still, and with Eto'o out for a prolonged period, they will miss their main dagger man up front. But if Thierry Henry can soon find his form, then you are definitely looking at the most formidable attack in Spain if not Europe.

Valencia bounced back admirably, despite being understrengthed in their attack. With Villa, Joaquin, Vicente, and Zigic gone for either injury or suspension, the team was a little thin in attack. But Silva provided much creation along with good passes by Baraja. Manuel Fernandes made his debut in a Valencia shirt but definitely has to adapt to the team. I think he'll do well in time. He's a player we need. Good to see Moretti bring home the game winner. This is good for the morale of the team, and showed that they could step up in an important situation when their biggest threats are out.
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Definately Liverpool look the team to beat this season in the Premiership, and perhaps Europe! They are attacking, but holding a great structure, and most importantly, have depth in EVERY position! Though, their backline could get a bit thin with another injury. They really only have 5 good backs.

I think Torres could be the player of the Premiership this season, at least top scorer. He works so hard, is so fast, strong, and is always trying to find that space. He reminds me a lot of Kaka actually. Similar built and attributes, though as hard as it seems, I think Kaka has a bit more smarts and the finish at this stage.

Arsenal remind me a lot of themselves last season, they always have their attacking brilliance, but they have added a steel to their game this season. They could definately do well, but I dont think they will be up the top by the end of the season. I think Liverpool is more likely to challenge for the title.

Man United SCRAPED a win, they DESPERATELY need Ronaldo back. Saha will link up with him, but Ronaldo is their big loss I beleive. Without him last year, they looked a bit flat also, and he will make a HUGE difference in 2 weeks when the competition resumes!

Chelsea played well, though Aston Villa is a VERY good team this season, and I wouldnt be surprised to see them end either 5th or 6th. They are well structured, and have some great pace to their game, very dangerous on the counter attack. Chelsea were a bit unlucky (did I just say that?).

ESPN AGAIN, didnt show the fukcing Barca game! Watched highlights on youtube and Ronaldinho looked back to his brilliant best! Ronaldinho told Dos Santos that he beleives this will be his best season yet in his career. I doubt that, but would LOVE to see it!

Real Madrid looked a bit shaky in the first half, and the score did not at all reflect the match. Though, in the second half, they looked a force to be reckoned with! They may just do well in Europe and really put up a challenge for La Liga also. As much as I hate to say, I think the title will come down to Real and Barca this season. Thats just my feeling. Would love to see Heinze in left back also, giving Drenthe a chance to show his skills in midfield, he is truly an amaizing player. Not to mention, Robben is yet to hit the pitch yet! One player I do admire for Real though, is Ramos, a truly great wing back. They just seemed to click in the second half.

Good win for Valencia, too bad the only La Liga game I caught this week was the Real match, god damn ESPN, infact, Im going to write to them again right now!

Sevilla Vs AEK which should be a predetermined outcome IMO, though I will watch this match.

No more games coming up for a couple weeks, with this international break, too bad, as I dont get to see many of the internationals here. I think the only one being shown is the England Vs Isreal match. Might get lucky and get to catch another match also.

One team I thin k is the darkhorse this year in the Champions League (though I got Lyon wrong last season), is AS ROMA. With Guily added to the mix, they could really cause a stir!

Oh, you watch the supercup also? Sevilla did well, though AC Milan prooved their technical ability once more. After a good start by Sevilla, Milan asserted their authority. And how about Kaka, he made Alvez look as slow as Heinze!
Sevilla is now through officially to complete group H(Arsenal Sevilla FC Steaua Slavia). That group right there will potentially provide the most exciting matches right there. Anytime you see Arsenal or Sevilla play anyone, you are guaranteed for the most part some great attacking football.

Liverpool I knew would be awesome this year and I tipped them off for 2nd place in the Premiership, but I had no idea that they could actually WIN the title. At the moment at least, they are looking very difficult to beat. They hold formation well, like you said, and they attack in numbers. Benitez has a VERY SERIOUS squad this year and by they way they are looking, it is not impossible that they don't challenge for both the Premiership and the Champions League.

Torres is amazing. His finish is not quite up there with the likes of Henry, Villa, or Ibrahimovic. But it is definitely improving and IMO, it won't be too long before he is up there with the top strikers in the world. He's fast, makes lethal runs, and his workrate is much like Wayne Rooney's. He seems more confident too due to probably having the type of teammates that he has that he can either distribute the ball to or whom can create opportunities for him in return.

I think Arsenal will finish probably 4th, behind Man U, Liverpool, and Chelsea. Defensively, they are not as strong as those 3 clubs. And they tend to be a little injury prone at times too. But again, at the moment, they look to me to be the 2nd best team in the league as of now. Chelsea is strong as hell too despite their slip up against Aston Villa, and they surprisingly look more attack minded this season. They'll definitely challenge.

Man U of course got by again on another grind out type of victory where they had to work really hard despite looking pretty flat. Amazing how 1 player can indeed make such a difference. With Cristiano Ronaldo, I can't help but feel that these guys would be so much more dangerous. They need Rooney's pace and workrate too. They miss that alot I can see. I reserve judgement on Man U until their squad gets back to full strength.

I'm really starting to HATE Real Madrid. But the way they humiliated Villeareal is something to be looked at. Sneijder at the moment is the best player in La Liga. He's been amazing. And now they'll have Robben with them to add to that. However, we have to take into account that they too will be playing the Champions League and all, plus they have alot of international players on the call up. We'll see what happens.

Barca almost always look great. Their problem is that they are prone to the occasional let down after showing some great form. Ronnie looked awesome and Henry is still trying to find his form but now with Eto'o gone for 2-3 months, he'll see plenty of starting time and he may have a decent shot at being the top scorer in the club but all that depends on how well he adapts to the team. Hopefully he doesn't have to deal with any major injuries this season.

Valencia could not have asked for a better time to take a break from league play. In 2 weeks, Villa, Joaquin, Vicente, and Zigic should all be back. By that time, Fernandes should be seeing more time on the pitch and hopefully adapting well to the team's style of play. I think the team made a mistake in resigning Albelda. He's the weak link of the team IMO and has been responsible for alot of defensive slip ups. Baraja too is the same way and he will likely be let go next summer. But the squad's depth is amazing. Now if Flores could only find some chemistry, here.

Missed the Super Cup, but hopefully I can catch the replay this week on some channel.
QUOTE(PR316 @ Sep 4 2007, 09:36 AM) [snapback]356155[/snapback]
Man U of course got by again on another grind out type of victory where they had to work really hard despite looking pretty flat. Amazing how 1 player can indeed make such a difference. With Cristiano Ronaldo, I can't help but feel that these guys would be so much more dangerous. They need Rooney's pace and workrate too. They miss that alot I can see. I reserve judgement on Man U until their squad gets back to full strength.

With Louis Saha fit again and Ronaldo back for the next game, I'm convinced you'll see a lot more of what the real United will look like this season. Although we have definitely missed both Rooney and Ronaldo, Saha adds something extra to the attack and it is no co-incidence that some of our best form last season happened when he was in the side.
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QUOTE(Maxy @ Sep 4 2007, 03:02 PM) [snapback]356157[/snapback]
With Louis Saha fit again and Ronaldo back for the next game, I'm convinced you'll see a lot more of what the real United will look like this season. Although we have definitely missed both Rooney and Ronaldo, Saha adds something extra to the attack and it is no co-incidence that some of our best form last season happened when he was in the side.

I agree 100%, especially with the Saha part. I have been saying for a long time now, that Saha is one of the best strikers in the world IMO. Obviously Domonech thought the same, putting him in the French WC squad infront of Trezeguet. Saha IMO, though not as good credentials yet, has the same amount of promise as a guy like David.

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QUOTE(Fitz @ Sep 4 2007, 11:15 PM) [snapback]356197[/snapback]
I hope so. I haven't caught one of Man United's games so far this season due to shitty timing down under, but your right, with the injuries it's hard to have an opinion on Manchester so far and probably should wait until they have their full strength squad back.
I saw some highlights of earlier games and saw Tevez set a few goals up and I was happy when he was signed to Manchester. How has he been playing so far this season? I would imagine it might be a little hard for him because all of a sudden the work load put on him is so much greater. He was supposed to be working with Rooney and Ronaldo, and probably found himself with a much bigger work load. How has he been going?

Tevez has definatley had more pressure to score goals, with their two biggest contributors out, and Saha only just finding fitness again.

Though, he has performed poorly IMO for the first 5 games, might change with another good striker to work with (this makes a BIG difference to a strikers game), but I have always maintained, Tevez is more of a wide player, than a striker. I just dont think he has that finishing ability, nor makes the runs. In half a game, I saw Saha create more runs than Tevez made in his 5 games so far. He used to be used on the wing for Argentina from most of the matches I saw, and he looked a lot better out there. Unfortunately, I didnt see much of him before his move to England other than at the international level.
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PR, on the Chelsea note, I was laughing on the weekend, when I saw their formation. In the midfield they had Essien and Makalele (add Lamps to that when he comes back), in centre defence Alex and Terry, and in keeper Cech! Incredible! That kind of defence throughout the team is not seen anywhere else in the world. That is a world class keeper, two world class defenders, and 3 world class strong, hard working, good defensive midfielders. Though Essien and Lamps are billed as more attacking midfielders, the work they do in defence is highly underestimated.

With Real, they really need to get Heinze into that left back role, or even Pepe, leaving Drenthe to use his bag of tricks and technical ability on the ball. Is Robben injured at the moment? He is always damn injured, such a disappointment, because he is electric to watch play!

Yaya Toure could be the best player in the Barca squad overall this season for me (of course, that is, behind Ronnie, who I think will be the talisman again)!. He has a great shot, is a very good passer, strong, move forward well, and makes great runs. I think this kid is going to really be something. He is still only 24. Henry the last couple years, has started to look a little past it, no doubt still one of the best in the world, but he was absolutely incredible a few years ago!

24 goals, 23 assists I beleive in one season and for a few seasons straight, this was an average. Sublime! No idea how he was not voted best player in the world, I honestly beleive that is a bias against players in the Premier League for some reason, and fully expect to see Kaka win it this year, as opposed to C Ronaldo.

Valencia will find form, but I just dont see them in the hunt for La Liga this year, not sure if they can keep up the consistancy, which is really what they struggle with, and like Arsenal, they are injury prone lately! Though they could definately be a challenge for the Champs League. Then again, I said the same thing last season, and they were in the hunt for La Liga most of the way. A very strange La Liga season however and I dont see Barca slipping up as much as they did last time around. Now with Henry and Dos Santos, they are covered from the injuries that ravaged them last year, to both Eto'o and Messi. An injury to Ronaldinho however would be frightening!

On that note, dont think we have discussed who you think will win the Champs League this year? And who do you think are the darkhorses?

For me, the darkhourse is Roma, with Real Madrid putting up a MUCH better showing than last year and being a serious threat!

Who will win? I have to go with Barcelona. Though I think AC Milan, Liverpool and Chelsea all play the football to succeed in Europe.

Teams I hope do well, the usual, Barcelona, Arsenal and Man United. Though Im starting to enjoy Liverpool a lot more, far more attacking and flamboyant this year! Too early to tell with Valencia, will be good to see how they look if they click, and get to full fitness! They really need Vicente and for both Silva and Villa to have big seasons! Joaquin is also very unpredictable, but its always great to watch his pace surging up the lines!

Also, when does the Africans Nations Cup start? Chelsea will loose a few key guys there! Barca Toure and Eto'o (thats why I hope its soon, as Eto'o will be out anyways). It goes for a month also yeh?
The overall structure within Chelsea is amazing indeed. They're all very physically strong players who tend to use their strength to get their results. They're definitely not the quickest team or the most technical team. And they're not always exciting to watch. But for the most part they get the job done and when they are on they are hard to stop, and because of that, they are a rightful favorite to win either the Premiership or the CL.

As for the CL, I think Man United, Liverpool, Barcelona, and Chelsea are the rightful favorites. Of that group, I am leaning towards Liverpool. They came close last season and they are more dynamic this season with a good defense and good physically strong guys. Barca have the talent but I think that they have become rather complacent. Yes they are capable of the brilliant performances night in and night out, but it seems that when they face teams that have quick counterattacks, they lose focus. Of course it all depends on the draw. And its not impossible for Barca to win but I think they'll run into problems if they face the likes of Liverpool or Chelsea.

The darkhorse for me is Sevilla. But thats based on their qualifying form. Valencia is uneven and one of those squads that can look good one day and look horrible the next. And much like Arsenal indeed, in that they are very injury prone. I think Sevilla will be the team to look out for in this tournament.

Thierry Henry the last couple of seasons is definitely becoming more and more injury prone. And I'm sensing a lack of confidence in him. He might not be able to be the Henry of old, but if he can get his form, he can make a big impact. But he is definitely looking past his absolute BEST.
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One part I dont agree with, is I think Chelsea are technically brilliant! One of the best sides, technically, on the planet!

Guys like Malouda, Cole, Phillips (who is being played every match now), Kalou (who is also being used) add a bit of pace to their lineup. And both Belletti and Cole (or Bridge) can play as wing backs, and each have a decent amount of pace also.

I think Barca, without Eto'o, cant remember if Messi was there at that stage.....put up a great effort against Liverpool, in a tie they should have come through. The game at Camp Nou was easily dominated by Barca (Valdez through it away, how can a keeper fall into his own net with the ball in his hands, ha ha)!!!! The Liverpool game, best chances created by Liverpool, though Ronnie hit the post in a vital strike! The results were back the front, but I think Barca played better out of the two! I think Chelsea is the bogey team for Barca! Just too much strength on the pitch, and they can nearly match it technically as well! But I agree, Barca has become complacant! However, I think with a strong back four, especially now with Abidal at left back, their most suspect place, they could show a lot more steel this season!

Man United will be a force, I just dont like the depth of their backs! Evra does well, but is not great. Gary will ensure they are strong in the other wide position. And Vidic and Ferdinand are both solid, with Vidic getting better and better IMO, probably nearly better than Ferdinand at this time. Though, that is stretched, one injury, and you get a guy like Wes Brown coming in, who I am not confident in whatsoever!

Sevilla could definately do well! Though, AC Milan looked a bit better in their match. Sevilla is also inconsistant!

Though, your right, half of it comes down to the luck of the draw! Look at both Italy and AC Milan last seasons in the WC and Champs League respectively, both had the easiest run to the final of any other team!

How about Riqueleme, his deal to Atletico got blocked at the last second! His back at Villareal from what I hear, still an outcast! Hopefully they realise they need him in the squad after their trashing, and further they play Fernandez, who has been spending time on the bench, but is twice as skilled as the rest of their midfield! They are a decent team, but got over coinfident with their form over the last while!

Oh, and Vicente, being told by the Valencia docs he is making his ankle injuries up! ha ha. Poor guy, no wonder he lashed out, and now he is being punished for it! Bad move by Valencia I beleive, could cause a rift if its not handled right. He may have a stomach condition, where his nutrients are being taken out, and his bones are hurting (if they cant find anything on the xrays, bonescans). It is relatively common (about 1 in 75 or so), and while they cannot show anything, your bones and especially joines you use often (ankles and knees) really hurt! It is also very common in Spanish/Italian people.

I think the docs at Valencia are the ones who may be imcompetent. Funny how Pablo Aimar is hardly injured at Zaragoza now. Anyway, the club is handling this wrong IMO. Baraja has done this before a few times and never once was he fined or suspended. For me its a stretch considering that Vicente has made up his injuries simply because he cut his Summer vacation short a few weeks to get back to work. Not to mention that the man is a true Valencianista to the end, having been born in the city, idolizing the team as a kid, and coming up through the youth system of the club. He bleeds Valencia. The way I see it, any human being knows his own body. These docs sent Vicente to a psychologist because they say its all in his head. I'd lose faith in a doctor too if I KNEW I was FEELING physical pain only to be told it was mental. Bickering behind closed doors caused alot of disharmony within the team last year and it could do so again if its not handled the right way.

The one who seems to be becoming injury prone now is Eto'o. What I read over at was that the club was concerned with his fitness even before the pre-season started. Eto'o supposedly did not train with the team, and instead chose to prepare alone for the season with a personal trainer, and the club had expressed worry about his preparation, feeling Eto'o did not adequately prepare himself. From my understanding, he took to the pitch as a substitute in the 2nd half of Barca's match against Inter and within 3-4 minutes of being on the pitch, collapsed in pain clutching his thigh. Eto'o has refused to comment on the situation according to the press, which is probably good because he's known to be an emotional guy who says what he shouldn't say.

Riquelme has got to be one very disgruntled guy after having his transfer blocked, along with Danny Alves who made it clear that he wanted OUT of Sevilla. Hopefully that doesn't cause any lockerroom rifts or anything.

The Champions League is so unpredictable. One can only look at the teams and go with whom has the best squad.

Last year, Barca lost to Liverpool even though I thought they had the more purely talented squad. They were without Eto'o, and Messi I believe played but was still finding his form. Liverpool has improved their attack and they have a balance within the whole team that at moment IMO has allowed them to look like the best team in the English league. On paper, I still think Barca has more talent when they are fully fit. Barca's achilles heel has always been their slow defense, and apparent inability to stop a team that plays well on the counter. But a fully fit Barca can win the CL. They have more depth this year to make up for any injury that should occur to any of the Fantastic Four(As the media have dubbed them).

Chelsea is alot team's worst nightmare. They are so strong and so physical, and they seem to beat any team to every loose ball out there. I seriously hope that Valencia see NO MORE of them once the group phase is up. Though Valencia should make it through the group pretty comfortably I feel. No excuse to not qualify here IMO. If the team doesn't make it, then its time to sack the manager and find a replacement.

Man United is not as deep as some of the other teams, but still have plenty of talent. So unfortunate that injuries and suspensions affected them so early.

Euro 2008 qualifiers this Saturday. England vs Isreal and Spain vs Iceland are matches I look forward to for sure.
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