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PR316
Well it depends what I'm playing.

If its a 4-4-2, I would put Vicente on the left due to him being an out and out winger. I think he would be more effective because he can hug the touchline, plus have the option of cutting inside and playing 1-2s with the strikers.

If I played a 4-3-2-1, then I would put Ronnie or Kaka on the left side. At their bests, I prefer Ronnie because he's more versatile I feel, with his ability to improvise, and drift into the center if need be.


Fabregas is still rather untested at the top level. And when he plays with Spain, its actually David Villa who is really the man there and scores most of the goals and assists. But I think in time, Fabregas will begin to do for Spain what he does for Arsenal and hopefully it starts in Euro 2008.
and the NEW
Liverpool looked aweful in their draw yesterday. I think they are gone from the title race now, any last hope is over for them! Its onto the Champions League for them once again, as is so often the case!

I hope Fabregas does for Spain what he does for Arsenal, it will complement the running and pace of Iniesta perfectly. Spain, fully fit, should really truly be in for a good shot at the Euro this year, it was only the near unbeatable France that stopped them in the WC, otherwise we might have seen Spain go all the way I feel! What a lineup they have, probably the most star packed lineup in Europe at the moment. Casillas, Puyol, Iniesta, Xavi, Fabregas, Torres, Villa, Raul, Joaquin, Vicente, man, unbeleivable options right there! Cant wait for the Euro to begin, so glad its on this year, otherwise over the off season, I dont know what to do with myself!

Oh, also see Berbatov wants out of Tottenham, he would be the PERFECT buy for AC Milan, and while they are at it, I would buy Scheva back on the cheap, he would still do damage in Serie A! And I heard the other day Chelsea are ready to cash in on Lampard (Juve now being the leading candidate). I also heard Dos Santos is a little prissy boy at Barca and annoying the powers that be. Apparently Man United are interested in him.
PR316
I think that Spain has also been the victim of some bad luck in these tournaments as well. I don't believe its just a choke job everytime. For example, in the 2002 World Cup, they lost on a penalty shoot out after outplaying their opponents the whole way. Against France in 2006, I still feel that France cheated in that match but they wore down Spain physically with their strength in midfield and defense and Spain didn't do too badly in that match either. They outplayed France early on and had some bad luck on a couple of missed opportunities. But thats all in the past. I think Spain does have a very good shot to win the 2008 Euro Cup. They probably DO have the most star studded line up in all of Europe and if they're fully fit going into this, I don't see why they can't at least get to the semis or something. Their group isn't too bad I don't think. I'll be rooting for them. This squad deserves a big trophy.


Dos Santos does seem to be a bit of prissy boy. Looks like one of those annoying spoiled kids. Obviously I don't know the situation. But he strikes me that way. I think he'll be pretty good one day, barring any major injuries.


Liverpool looks out of it at the moment, but all it takes is for Man United and Arsenal to fuck up a couple of more times and it turns into a 4 horse race again. All that being said, there is great football in England right now. I think the Champions League will still be won by Man United. I know lots of luck is involved but this has to be their year. If it isn't this year, then when??... I honestly feel they are superior to all of the teams in Europe at the moment and I would consider it a disappointment for them if they don't pull the double. They deserve it this year.
and the NEW
Yeh, Spain had a very good WC 2006 and along with Argentina, looked the best of the lot.

I hate when mathes are decided by shootouts!

I think France slightly outplayed Spain, though it was a lot to do with the physical strength. They did the same thing to Brazil, though Zidane did provide some great skill. I hate when teams just out muscle their rivals to win trophies. From memory, he also provided some skill and scored a nice goal against Spain also.

France, Portugal and Spain are my favourites to win. Portugal though, lack a good striker, amaizingly they have none, so Ronaldo will need to have a HUGE impact and score goals if they are to win it. The France squad is always composed of weird players, usually from League 1. So I guess we can expect to see Arfa and Benzema out there on the pitch, with Trezeguet not even getting any game time again! Interestingly, Cisse is apparently back on the market in January. Marseille dont want him anymore.

I think Bojan has a lot more talent than Dos Santos, and might proove to be one of the best strikers in the world in the next few years! Speed, solid dribbling and most importantly, direct with a great shot! Eto'o beleives he is something special also! Glad his on Barca.

Champions League, man, I cant wait for it to kick off again! Fenerbache V Sevilla will be very interesting!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsfGKPcwED4

Take a look at the 1:55 second point of this video. Great goal from Robinho!
PR316
Robinho is INSANE... I thought guys like Ibrahimovic were great dribblers, and they are but, DAMN!!.. That right there is a case of a player appearing to have the ball GLUED to his feet. That goal was awesome. A truly great video display of skills. BTW, was that Samba music or something??... It definitely sounds Brazilian thats for sure.


I've found a couple of skill/goal videos myself recently but I'll post them one at a time. Here's one on Joaquin that I think you'll like. 36 seconds in you'll see something nuts. Truly explosive and possibly a top 5 dribbler in Europe. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NpvrA_dcTLo...feature=related



Bojan is going to be HUGE... I wonder if you guys are going to develop him fully though, or maybe send him somewhere like with Fabregas. At the moment, its difficult to see him starting at Barca, so he's not going to get too much 1st team experience.


I'm hoping that Arsenal wins the Champions League, though I favor Man United. But I'll also keep an eye on Sevilla even though they're having a disappointing season thus far.


and the NEW
Yeh, Joaquin is so damn fast! A true winger!

That move he does 36 seconds in was created by Mr Gaucho himself! He has performed it a few times in matches. Ive also seen Anderson (now at Man United do it). Very hard skill to master, Ive tried myself for quiet a while, but never pulled it off, one of the few moves I cant do. Check it out here, 18 seconds in, and you can see it twice. The second time he does it, was the first it was ever seen.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ybNPl8nD9HE...ated&search

Infact, I would watch the entire clip, it really showcases Ronaldinhos brilliance! He performs things only he could do and think up!

Yeh, Robinho has great dribbling, he just glides along when he runs also. Really his lack of strength that gets him, cause guys just push him off the ball all the time. Not to mention, though his dribbling is spectacular, he often stuffs up touches on the ball, similar to Torres. Weird, cause most guys with great dribbling, also have an immaculate touch as they somewhat go hand in hand.

The music is Samba I beleive, I love that music! One aspect that attracts me to Latin culture also, I LOVE their music! Great song hey!

As far as Fabregas, I beleive he was actually POACHED by damn Arsenal. Its something to do with age restrictions being lower in the Premier League. They actually changed the law I beleive, so Spanish clubs wont have their youth players of which they have bought up poached anymore. So I think Bojan will be staying there for a long while.

Watched Arsenal RIP UP West Ham. Fabregas truly amaizes me, he is not quiet as fast or as good dribbler as Zidane, but other than that, he reminds me of Zidane in so many ways! (Which brings me to the question, have you seen Zidane: A 21st Century Portrait?) He just controls the flow of the entire match and ensures Arsenal keep possession. Also watched Chelsea look ordinary against Fulham, though Joe Cole played a terrific ball to Kalou near the start and had a couple of other good moments. The Chelsea injury list is amaizing at the moment! Its like Man United loosing Ronaldo, Tevez, Anderson, Van Der Sar, Ferdinand, Vidic, all at once! Lucky for Chelsea they have so much depth, but they will need everyone from Cech, Carvalho, Terry, Lampard, Drogba, Scheva back if they are going to have a crack at the title!
BigG
Uhh...Quartey by KO...should we just move this to General Section and change the title of the thread to "Soccer Talk?"
PR316
Wow. Yeah I know what your talking about. I like that move he did 47 seconds into the video. Magic tricks for sure. I think anything Ronaldinho does is really amazing and I'm left dumbfounded wondering how he can come up with these things that only he does because I don't see other players really doing some of those moves because only he can. I for one cannot play football that well at all. I can kick the ball pretty hard and score some penalties but as far as the dribbles and skills go I have two left feet. But Joaquin is really fast for sure. He's a big man too. For a guy his size to be so coordinated and fast is amazing to me. Wingers are a dying breed it seems. Nowadays, we have more players that play a free role more or less on either side as opposed to true wingers.


This is a good clip here of Riquelme here. You'll like this one.. The best ones are the top 3 with number 3 being my favorite one... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3s8qNWrLirA...feature=related He's another guy called by many as the "best football player in the world" but we both know that almost EVERYBODY is being called that these days at one time or another. That said its a really good clip. I love Riquelme and I wish we had him over at Valencia.


Fabregas is not quite the technician or the shooter that Zidane was, but he's just as good defensively, and I think his vision and passing are right up there with Zizou. What I like most about Fabregas is that he exemplifies box to box. He works HARD... If he's not contributing on the offensive side, he's fighting for the ball on the other and ensuring possession. He's a tireless worker out there it seems and he's so focused too. I think young Cesc is going to be the key to Spain's chances at success for the Euro Cup. His precision and control will have to be present for Spain to win a tournament that I honestly feel that they should win. If you can't win with this squad, then my goodness what more do you need??...


Going to watch Liverpool and Wigan now...
and the NEW
Ronaldinho sure can only do things he can do. There are some good quotes by Phillip Cocu and Bojan saying that he amaizes them every day at training and that he does things only he can do and if they tried, they would break a leg! Even Eto'o says Ronaldinho amaizes him at training every single day. That he does things he has never seen before. I can do that move they did without defenders, but in a game, I have never done it.

Its strange, I played football for years when I was young and loved it, but then I got into a boxing craze and it became my life for 7-8 years! Football went out the window. Its only the past couple years I have started to play competitively again, and though I train hard, I cannot beleive how my skills have come along. I have been offered a semi-professional contract the other day. Upto $400 per match. Though, I am now injured and undergoing physio to try and heal before the pre-season kicks off, or I will not get a place on the squad as their rosters will be full. So might have to wait until next year.

Yeh, I think pure out and out wingers are a dying breed! Many like you say, also play as attacking mids, strikers etc. Like Cole, Hleb, Rosicky, Ronaldinho etc.

I will watch the Riquelme clip tonight, Im at work so unable to access youtube. But he is a great midfielders, similar to the likes of Fabregas.

I think Fabregas has just as good technical ability and touch on the ball as Zidane. He probably isnt as good with the left foot or with the outside of his foot, but no doubt his vision and passing is on par. Fabregas also works harder than Zizou I beleive in defence. Lacks the dribbling, trickery and pace of Zizou though. Fabregas though, if he can even got close to what Zizou became, would be a great great player! The titles and near titles Zizou won was incredible! 2 Serie A, 1 La Liga, 1 WC, 1 Euro, 1 Champions League. Plus he nearly won La Liga another year, nearly won Serie A twice more, made 2 more Champions League finals and a WC final. That is like winning or just being edged out of a major tournament per year over a ten year span! Not to mention, he was a leading factor for the team in all of those years! Only guys like Di Stefino, Raul and Seedorf can claim such success, though other than Di Stefino, they were never the leading influence and never experienced international success along with club success!

Just watched the Riquelme clip, I dont really rate him as far as dribbling and tricks are concerned. He is more similar to Fabregas, just a brilliant distributor of the ball. The general of the field.

Here is one for you on Zidane. Watch the little move on 22 seconds, there is a great pass on about 42 seconds, another pass on about 1:02, a great move at about 2:00, but watch the one at 2:30 for some improvisation! Zizou was just magic!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96DUcbtEvcU
PR316
Everytime I watch Zidane I can't help but laugh because of the effortlessness he shows while on the ball. Its so easy to him!.. People forget that he did it on both sides of the box, offense and defense. And he was a master at keeping his team possession. I like the move he did at about 1:06 where he changes from his left to right foot and in the same motion dishes it off to a teammate. At about 3:22, he confused Ronnie with that little flick behind the back. That one was great. And I love his trademark spin moves. I always remember that about Zidane. I have not seen the video on Zidane you were speaking of but its probably something I'll pick up sometime soon.


Riquelme is a little more attacking than Fabregas and more of a threat on goal. I think he's a better dribbler also. But his best qualities are his vision/ability to spot the runs and of course his set pieces as well. He lacks I feel on the defensive part of the game. I think he's rather lazy at times on the other side of the box and seems disinterested totally which I don't like but I can't deny his wizardry while on the ball.


Here's one on Ronaldo from his days in Barcelona and of course for Brazil and all. I miss him.. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QXCMnstVSXU I laugh everytime I see the move at about 23 seconds in. That goalkeeper must have been embarrased. 58 seconds in also has a sick move.. The one at 1:50 was also disgusting at how much of a fool he made out of defenders. Its a shame that he had some bad luck with injuries and also its too bad that his work ethic was shit. Even when past his prime, you could still see some genius in the man. But I still can't help but feel that his laziness and extracurricular partying played a part as well in his fall from grace. But no matter, he still did some awesome stuff on the pitch.


Funny you say that about Trezeguet because I believe he is leading Serie A in goals at the moment. I'll check up on that for sure but those big Italian clubs with alot of money have lots of problems. I just hope that Valencia doesn't become one of those with their behind the scenes politics. Cisse should come to Villareal. I think he'd fit in well there. And hopefully I'll be able to still see some of Riquelme when he goes back to Boca Jrs.


Maxy
My team of the last 10 years.

GK/Peter Schmeichel
LB/Roberto Carlos
RB/Cafu
CB/Alessandro Nesta
CB/Rio Ferdinand
LW/Ronaldinho
RW/Cristiano Ronaldo
CM/Zinedine Zidane
CM/Roy Keane
ST/Ronaldo
ST/Henry

Subs/Buffon, Maldini, Beckham, Scholes, Shearer

Of course it's all about opinion but I am staggered that you both plump for Fabregas in centre midfield. Potentially he could be there but he isn't there yet. No way. Schmeichel is the best keeper I have ever seen. A Roy Keane/Zinedine Zidane midfield partnership would be unbeatable and up front the pace of Ronaldo and Henry would be simply devastating.
and the NEW
^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Carlos and Cafu are backs I considered and would have played if I had 4 in the backline. Though, I never overly liked Carlos defensively! I saw him make errors on numerous, numerous occasions! Not to mention, his free kick ability was extremelly overrated! I never saw him score many of them! Just that the ones he did score were spectacular!

Schmeichel I must admit, slipped my mind when I quickly composed my team.

I think Fabregas is an absolutely HUGE talent! Though he hasnt prooved much yet, just by watching him, he impresses me more than most midfielders in the last decade already! May be wrong, but injury free and Fabregas is going to be a top fixture for both Spain and Arsenal for a long long time. The things he does are just sound as it comes!

As far as a midfield that works, Keane/Zidane would compliment eachother very well.

I would perhaps also play Patrick Viera instead of Fabregas to add a bit more steel to the midfield if I was looking for a team that had all elements. However, I lean towards attacking players a bit more. Though Fabregas does track back very well and clog up that centre midfield himself.
and the NEW
PR,

Zizou was truly a master. Definately though, his greatest attribute was simply keeping possession for his team. They always controlled the game while he was on the field, as soon as he was off, the match always looked a lot more even.

The thing is with Riquelme, he is just too slow to beat defenders. So it really means he cant take people on much. He is really just the distributor, but like Fabregas has that great vision and passing. Set peices on goal he is better than Fabregas, but as far as corners or set peices which are out of shot on goal range, I think Fabregas equals him. Fabregas also does work harder in defence.

Ronaldo was brilliant! I really feel sorry for him, I watched a documentary on him the other day, on the immortals, which chronicalled his fall from grace. It was really in his prime years that he was struck by injury, it was not until after he had spent 3-4 years on the sidelines that he got into the party mode and out of shape. But his speed, strength, dribbling and finishing were something unseen to me before. He really was the heir apparent to Pele.

Yeh, Trezeguet is one of the best strikers in the world! Cisse would do well at Villareal! I also heard Valencia just signed a young prodigy, though I have never seen him play before..........but his a midfielder, so heres hoping his a central midfielder! Not to mention, new young, exuberent blood can never harm a team and might be just what Valencia need!


PR316
Riquelme isn't known for speed, but he can beat defenders with trickery like you saw in that clip and he did it plenty this past Copa America. Everybody and their mother thought Argentina was gonna win that Copa America, and everyone pretty much agreed that Riquelme was the best player in that tournament. But your right about him being rather slow and lacking defensively. He doesn't track back well but he often plays "in the hole" anyways, so I guess he's not expected to contribute that much on defense. His indifferent attitude towards defense though is not a good characteristic and its probably part of the reason he's being sold this month. Shame. He's a world class player.


Yeah people actually tend to FORGET just how good Ronaldo was. He was a genius. He was a big man, and he was incredibly fast and tricky as hell. Every world class striker today lacks something. Some don't have the strength but have everything else. Others aren't incredibly fast but have everything else. Some are good at everything with the exception of being good in the air. Ronaldo comes to mind as being good at EVERYTHING... Even Thierry Henry at his best wasn't the greatest in the air which to me was surprising because of his size. I really wish that injuries never struck him quite as bad as they did. We might have seen him at his best still this past World Cup and he just might have carried his team to victory.


Valencia signed 19 year old Ever Banega and he's been touted as a superstar in the making for the past 3 years in Argentina. I've seen quite a bit from him and he's very good. He's fast. Has great touch/control, and precision. He's constantly compared to Cesc Fabregas and I though I do believe that is very premature, I do think he has great potential. He was the guy that replaced Gago after Gago departed to Real Madrid. Him and Riquelme made a good partnership. I think this is a good signing and a midfielder is what Valencia needs. I kinda wish they would have gotten somebody a little more experienced like Porto's Lucho Gonzalez but obviously the powers that be see something in this kid so he should be given a chance. I just hope they develop him right and actually PLAY him.





and the NEW
Yeh, I agree on Riquelme. I thought, along with Robinho and Messi, he was the best in the Copa America. Had some great moments from free kicks and his vision and passing like always was supurb!

No doubt, Ronaldo is the best striker Ive ever seen with my own eyes! Exactly, every striker lacks something, though Henry was very complete also. Other than in the air, but Ronaldo himself was never a great arial man!

Eto'o lacks a bit of strength and dribbling ability. Drogba and Van Nistelrooy pace. Rooney (along with Eto'o actually) finishing ability. Even Henry lacked a bit of finishing ability sometimes. Ronaldo was clinical as they come along with all the aspects of a do it yourself type striker!

Did Banega and Riquelme play for Aregentina together? If so, I have probably seen him a few times though, just didnt catch the eye.

His EXACTLY what Valencia need if hes even close to a Fabregas. They need a centre mid desperately! Koeman was a GREAT player, so lets hope he makes some good signings! Lucho Gonzalez is a good player! I think Liverpool should really go for Queresma! They need some more spark in their team, because they lack creativity seriously! Their game against Wigan was very ordinary! Their usual, hard working, structured selves, with a lack of any creative genius. Its the one link they miss to be a world class team who can compete for the title.

Hopefully Banega is better than Gago also, who is ordinary to say the least I beleive! Not a standout by any means!

Actually, I have seen Banega before, he plays regularly for Boca hey? Ive seen only a couple of their matches lately (in the Copa Liberators and the World Club Cup). So I must have seen him. I was impressed with a few of their players, and at 19, it will still take a few years for him to fully develop as a player, so he might actually be a good buy!
PR316
True about all strikers there. Torres lacks a bit in the touch department and his finishing sometimes can be erratic. Villa isn't a great threat in the air and doesn't contribute too much in defense. In fact, it really is hard to think of whom may be the most complete striker. Eto'o's dribbling ability I've hardly really noticed. I think his sheer pace is so difficult for any defender to deal with. Maybe what he lacks in tricks and control he makes up with pace. His finishing can sometimes be lacking, but he works so damn hard out there and I think his workrate contributes big time to creating chances for himself. Ibrahimovic lacks a consistent finish. Rooney lacks some finish and isn't the most technically sound player out there. So many styles and so many contribute different things and thats what I love.



Banega I think will be better than Gago. He partnered with Riquelme at Boca quite often but I don't recall him playing much in Copa America if at all. He may be what Valencia needs but will he be given an instant chance is what I'm wondering. Valencia have an easy match against Levante this Sunday and they really need this. They've just advanced to the next round in Copa del Rey or Real Irun with goals by Joaquin and Zigic. Villa is back from his injury and Morientes is out, and Vicente is still finding his form. Hard to tell where this is going.


Liverpool looked ordinary. They're missing that Pablo Aimar/Van der Vaart type of player that can create a spark up the middle. Very similar situation to Valencia in that they lack creativity up the middle.


Hopefully Arsenal get something going this weekend.





and the NEW
Man United looked ordinary disposing of Aston Villa! Ronaldo got the job done once again, but looked ordinary for the rest of the match. Started off well, fast paced, end to end, and then just died! Though, just say I dont really care much for the FA Cup or any league Cups! Chelsea won them both last year and nobody really cared! Its really only the league or the Champions League that counts these days! Along with the WC and Euro! Most other tournaments dont get much credit!

Barca looked average also disposing of Mallorca, really missed that Ronaldinho or Messi spark! Both injured, not good for Barca! But they got the job done at least! Hopefully now Zaragoza can beat Madrid (though Milito is out, damn it!). So there goes the Zaragoza best striker! Madrid luck at it again!

Deco sat on the bench once more!

Espanyol got the job done against Villareal, good old Tamudo doing it right!
PR316
Well Valencia's problems continue. Manuel Fernandes was arrested two nights ago for apparentley stealing a watch(WTF) at a night club and instigated a fight they say. He spent the night in jail and its all a big mess. He's apparentley on the way out. He's possibly going to be loaned out to Everton or something. Just nonsense and only in Valencia these things happen. However, in what has to be some good news for the team and its fans, Villa has reportedly reiterated his commitment to the team saying he is "happy here" and is "only thinking about winning something with the team." And in the face of all this, thats something nice to hear. The lads have an easy game against Levante(The worst team in La Liga currently). However, its a derby match so they're nevre as easy as they should be. But if Valencia is looking to continue to build on their recent good results, then this is the match they need to use.


Saw Barca and considering that they didn't have their usual spark in the middle, I thought they did well. Nice to see Eto'o continue to find his form. They're attack is so much more potent with him on the field. Of course Barcelona is never complete without Messi and Ronaldinho out on the pitch. Lets just hope that the fans continue to back their boys and not be fairweather fans. For a team thats towards the top of the table, the criticism is rather harsh I feel. The feeling is that Ronnie is out of shape this season. He looks a bit heavier I think than 2 years ago, but nothing drastic. Hell, if I looked HALF as in good of shape, I'd be happy. LOL... Anyway, lets all hope and pray that those damn Madridistas get their asses handed to them. ANYBODY but Madrid. I just DON'T want them winning the title. With the exception of Ramos and Casillas, I cannot stand those overpaid losers!!... Hated them so much last season for getting so lucky.


Arsenal won and looked better than last time out I think. Adebayor and Eduardo scored the goals. RVP is such a great player but so injury prone. Even more than last season. Arsenal are definitely not as entertaining as last year, but they still play beautiful football. And they've added some structure and order it seems. Barcelona could benefit from a little of that in some tough games. But for now, Arsenal is at the top of the table ahead of Man United by 2 points. I still feel Man United will pass them in the end due to Arsenal's penchant for picking up injuries and the overall depth of Man United's squad is tremendous. Man U have the best midfield in the world, and arguably boast the best squad in all of Europe.


and the NEW
Yeah, Valencia need points badly now! They have really started sliding down that ladder! At least a UEFA Cup birth they should be fighting for! Without Villa, they would be done and dusted!

Arsenal did look good. They definately have a lot more structure about them currently. Far more complete team. IF they stay injury free, they have a shot at the title. But if they pick up any injuries to key guys, they are done!

Ronnie is not in as good shape as he was two years ago, but his definately leaner than he was last season! He is still in very good shape! I think its really the media who have turned on him. Funny how fickle it is, one day he is the face of soccer, of the beautiful game, of joga bonita, of having fun while playing, the next he is somehow the enemy!
Maxy
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Jan 5 2008, 10:09 PM) [snapback]373599[/snapback]
Man United looked ordinary disposing of Aston Villa! Ronaldo got the job done once again, but looked ordinary for the rest of the match. Started off well, fast paced, end to end, and then just died! Though, just say I dont really care much for the FA Cup or any league Cups! Chelsea won them both last year and nobody really cared! Its really only the league or the Champions League that counts these days! Along with the WC and Euro! Most other tournaments dont get much credit!


We did indeed look ordinary (Villa were very defensively minded though), but it wasn't Ronaldo who got the job done this time, it was definitely Wayne Rooney. His introduction totally changed the game as well as seemingly perking up Ronaldo who had been ineffective until his introduction. Louis Saha did nothing again. Unless he can find his form I feel he'll be sold in the summer and to be honest I'll be glad to see the back of him.

The FA Cup is the greatest domestic cup competition in the world and its importance amongst the elite clubs over here is still very high. Most of the big clubs over here will say the Premier league is the most important, followed by the champs league but the FA cup is still high on the list of priorities. The league cup, on the other hand is not important at all....most clubs in the top flight field their reserves for those fixtures.
and the NEW
Wayne Rooneys introduction definately made a big difference! Though, it was Ronaldo who made the run and put it away, thats what I meant by getting the job done.

Funny you dont like Saha, and I agree, he hasnt been in form the few games his played this season. Though, I still like him a lot, his got a good shot on him, he has pace, strength, his dribbling is ok also, its really just his runs he makes that arent the best, but if he keeps fit and gets regular time, he could improve this area. But in form, Luis Saha is a top striker I beleive. I would be happy to have him over at Barca. I hope he does leave though, because for a good striker, he should be getting game time. He barely gets any time on at all for Man United, except last season, when he did pretty decent and a season a few years back when he got like 20+ goals. Other than that, he has only been getting several games a season.

One striker I think has been TERRIBLY overrated, probably due to his work ethic and likeable personality, is Tevez. I just dont think he is an out and out striker, he isnt as quick as some make out, he runs the ball into dead areas a lot of the time, he isnt clinical infront of goal. I can really see why some managers didnt play him as a striker. Dont get me wrong, he is a good striker, but his getting way too bigger wraps!

I was reading a magazine article the other day in World Football, which was asking the question, can Tevez take the next step and become a GREAT player? Come on, the guy is a good striker, but not even on par with guys like Henry or Ronaldo (back in his day). These guys were GREAT strikers.

Yeh, see not just the FA Cup, but in Spain, the equivelant, even Barca field a terrible team most of the time! Not to mention, look how much Wenger thinks of the FA Cup! He plays a second string squad pretty much every game. Only played Sagna and Toure this time so he can get as much use out of them before the Africans Nations Cup!

It most definatley is, IMO, a small consolation prize in comparison to the Premier League and the Champions League. Depending on what the club has won recently, depends on which of those two they rate the highest. Then the WC is the ultimate prize!

Even the Euro is good, but things like the Copa America, or the Club World Cup, everybody dismisses as nothing more than a peice of silverware and a small title, which is fair enough, because its really only between two teams anyways!
and the NEW
Just saw some of Liverpools GARBAGE performance in the FA Cup!

Also watched Valencia PR. DAMN, they actually looked quiet good (though a massive lack of finishing), Joaquin played a brilliant game, though again, its so damn frustrating to watch them never play balls down the middle. Always crosses, which you need guys like Klose, Drogba, Crouch to get on the end of. Villa is far better when he can use his skill up the middle. So so frustrating! Their defence held up ok, though, Canizarez replacement had to make a couple of good saves! He was actually quiet impressive!

Arizmendi had the chance to set up a goal, but went himself, very poor vision. Vicente had some ok moments also along with Villa.

But all in all, the structure looked ok, they played sharp, quick football and there were the flashes of individual brilliance! Looked much better than the couple of games I saw of them over the last several weeks!

Didnt watch the Madrid game, but heard Zaragoza solidly outplayed them and they have Casillas to thank! He has saved their skins this season so far! Not to mention, Nistelrooys usual clinical self and Robinhos magic got them out of jail! I just have a feeling they are going to keep doing it again this season! As long as they dont get the Champions League also! That would just be a NIGHTMARE!
PR316
There are slight improvements here and there. Koeman is trying to get these guys to adapt over night to a style they're not used to. He's misusing some of these players too. Villa for example, is more effective either as a lone CENTRAL striker because he can dribble at defenders and set up shots for others or himself. Its like they're trying to use Villa as a target man and he's not that kind of striker. He's a bit out of form too but with the injuries he's had this season thats expected. Joaquin was amazing on the right side, and Vicente looks determined to fight for a spot in this club's starting 11. Arizmendi is an average player. He has a poor touch and lacks finishing and his vision and passing are horrible. There's a very big lacking in confidence at the moment and we'll just have to wait till June to really assess this.


Real Madrid are the Antonio Tarver of football at the moment. Everything and I mean EVERYTHING seems to have been going their way this season and last season. Yet they are not looking anything like "el juego bonito" that they claimed to be after when they fired Capello. They're seemingly getting lucky everytime and it really pisses me off.


Jose Mourinho rumors intensifying about him managing AC Milan, Barcelona, Liverpool, or even Valencia(That would be too good to be true wouldn't it)... Honestly, I wouldn't mind seeing him at any of those clubs EXCEPT AC Milan. I just see no upside for Mourinho there. I would prefer he manage either Barcelona or Valencia.
and the NEW
Agreed on Valencia and Real Madrid analysis! Ah well, like happened to Chelsea towards the midway point of last season, their luck ran out. Their injuries increased and calls and luck started to go against them! Hopefully this half of the season holds the same in store for Real Madrid! Its the only way their gonna loose! Not to mention, Eto'o is out for Barca for a while now, which is going to be a HUGE loss! Whilst Ronaldinho and Deco are both "injured".

Mourinho is sure to go to one of these big clubs very soon! Its pretty much a given from what I hear that Rijkaard is gone from Barca at the end of the season, regardless and I feel without doubt, this is the club Mourinho wants! As does everyone! Only thing is, how much damage will have been done to the squad by the end of the season, Im 100% SURE that at least one of their big names are leaving in the summer. Probably 2.

Wonder who will get Drogba in the summer?

I think Chelsea will get Anelka. I heard Defoe was told his surplus to requirements. Berbatov looks to be going nowhere. Saviola is apparently a target. Man City tried to buy Cisse but with no luck, too bad, would be good to watch him again in the Premier League. Drenthe is another target and would be a great buy as a left winger for any club! Interesting to see how Pato does at AC Milan now (he is rumoured to be a starting fixture) and how Castillo does at Man City.
PR316
Drogba I hear could be headed to AC Milan especially if Mourinho takes over there. Ronaldo recently stated he wants to stay at AC Milan despite being in poor shape and having injury problems. He said he's "determined to earn a spot on the team." and believes he could be "the best once again." Milan's midfield is good. Its their attack that needs stability.


Fernandes has left Valencia on loan to Everton. Fernandes seemed to never fit in. Such a shame he's a really good player who has potential to be great. Ever Banega has been called up to play against Atletico this Sunday. Hopefully he'll get some minutes to see what he's got. The team has had some good results in Copa del Rey and though there is improvement here and there, they're badly missing the old David Villa... The little fella is not in form now thanks to some injuries he's had to deal with this year and not having much support. Vicente God bless him, is starting to get back to his old self and Joaquin is brilliant on the right side. But they're BADLY in need of a "volante"(Spanish for playmaking midfielder). Without that, there is no support in the attack and Villa will get double and triple marked. A spark is badly needed. I HOPE that Banega is it, BUT... He is still young and is not used to the Spanish league. This could be frustrating but I will watch.


Anelka is a Chelsea player as of now it seems. Great signing by them.


Ronnie and Deco are once again out of the Barcelona call up list with "injuries". Maybe thats the truth and I'm reading into it alot but I think Ronnie is still working on his fitness level overall. Deco has had major injury problems since last season and I'm starting to wonder if it may be the beginning of the end for him.
and the NEW
Yeh, I heard that about Drogba and Mourinho (which means they could get Deco also). Its definaetly Milans attack which is poor. They just lack goals, like I said earlier, if Seedorf is one of your leading scorers, your in deep trouble!

Ronaldo just doesnt look good to me anymore. I heard he looks aweful at the moment once again and is pretty much a done deal at Milan! Especially if they do get Drogba and if Pato performs (which I think he will, I think Italian football is perfect for him, as he has great technical skill but lacks that explosive pace required for La Liga and the Premiership).

Fernandes is a good player and should do well at Everton. Odd he was let go, probably just cause of his bad influence. I also think Everton will probably buy him, they wanted him before and its part of his loan deal, a buy out clause. Mistake for Valencia I beleive. He has a lot of potential.

Villa is definately not in his best form, but its good to see Joaquin and Vicente both fit and trying hard, they both have talent and its good football to watch! Not to mention, Valencia really needed it! You have to respect both guys for keeping their heads down, not talknig of transfer talk and committing to Valencia!

Anelka was a great buy for Chelsea and they will need another striker in the summer to replace Drogba, who surely looks on the way out! Its funny, because now Drogba says he was never happy at Chelsea and that only Mourinho made him stay! WTF? I remember him clearly stating he LOVES Chelsea (when he was in form) and that he wants to stay there for life! He is a trouble maker and not good for the team, plus he dives, winges and lies on the ground every time he gets touched by a player (I remember him and Fabregas one time, where they bumped eachother and Drogba ended on the ground) WTF? Fabregas is TINY! He is a massive girl! I really dont like Drogba anymore!

A lot of talk around Queresma also, apparently he will be bought for sure in the summer!

Ronnie is actually injured from what I hear (he looks in very good shape to me at the moment, runs all day in attack AND tracks back in defence now and looks to do it with ease. Im not sure where his fitness issues (other than injures) keep coming from except media rubbish) Do they even watch the games? But Deco is not injured at the moment. He was even on the bench last game. I think he is fine, he was in some top form at the start of the season. There is definately a lot left in the tank for Deco and I hope he goes to a club that respects him, because he is a great distributor with a great work ethic! Similar to Anderson for Man United, also in the fact that they are both not the best scorers out there (though Anderson does score a few generally, he will add a few goals to United over his time there, no doubt).





Fitz
Woooooooo. Manchester 6-0 over Newcastle, with Ronaldo scoring a hat-trick. It was a goaless game at half time, so it was quite impressive to see 6 goals in the second half. The scores could have look a lot worse if it wasn't for Given. He kept Newcastle in the game in the first half and prevented Manchester from a few goals in the first half.
The football gods were also against Rooney, he had so many chances, but nothing really paid off. Tevez with 2 goals and Ferdinand scored a nice one. Perfect finish from a Ronaldo cross (I think it was Ronaldo).
and the NEW
I thought Rooney played well. It was he, who set up Ferdinand with a BRILLIANT floating chip over the defence! Great run and finish from Ferdinand also! I just watched that second half with a smile on my face! Was pure class and puts them on top on goal difference! Though, Chelsea are still well in the hunt, they are getting the job done! The matchups against the big 4 in the return legs are going to be VITAL!

Liverpool are on their way out as it looks, as is Benitez! Aston Villa, Everton and Man City are all in striking distance ofhem, and I think Everton has a chance at getting a Champions League position! They have a very good team!

Chelsea looked boring as usual, dumb move I think to leave Anelka on the bench and play Cole and Pizarro upfront!

Barca clinically dispatched of Murcia! Good game by Henry, he was on fire! Great to see him firing again!

Sevilla lost to Bilbao, WTF!

I read Almunia may play for England one of these days, god they need a keeper like him! He is top drawer! One of the best, if not the best, in the world at the moment in his current form! He is a class act!
Fitz
Yep, I thought it was one of the big names that set Ferdinand up, just couldn't remember if it was Ronaldo, Tevez or Rooney. But yeah, Ferdinand finished it beautifully. I too thought Rooney played well, and probably deserved a goal, but it wasn't meant to be.

Didn't watch all of the Chelsea game, had it on in the background and watching bits and pieces. Saw Phillips goal, Cole created it around the box and gave it off to Phillips who put it away, nice goal. Didn't see much else though.
Maxy
Yeah it was a stunning second half performance from United. We coud have had a few in the first half also and I started to think it might be one of those days where the ball wouldn't hit the back of the net. When we are on that type of form I don't think there is anyone out there who can live with us. Ronaldo, for me, is the best player in the world right now, but we have so many quality players its almost scarey.

Arsenal slipping up by only drawing with Birmingham swings the pendulum back in our favour but their are a lot of games left yet and we both have to go to Stamford Bridge. Chelsea are the cure for insomnia but they are getting results and cannot be written off, although I still firmly believe it is between us and the Arse! They have to come to Old Trafford so we are probably slight favourites right now.

Liverpool...well, I have to say I love the fact that they still cannot mount a serious title challenge. They are scum afterall and Bennitez is likely to go at the end of this season.
PR316
^^^Your right, Maxy. SCARY is the word I think of when Man United comes to mind. I watched the game and I couldn't keep my eyes away. Even with the 1st half ending like it did, I knew that we would see some goals, but I didn't expect 6. Rooney's chip for Ferdinand was class. And Ronaldo at the moment is playing the best football in Europe. He's getting it done with goals for himself and setting up for others. The defense was a wall too. Sir Alex has got a great squad. The best in all of football I believe and I expect you guys to win the CL pretty cleanly too.


Arsenal slipped but are still in the hunt along with Chelsea. Liverpool are falling off and its only a matter of time before Rafa is axed. I wonder who will replace him. They have so much talent too and looked very strong at the beginning of the season but started to slip once the injuries picked up and the constant rotations killed them.


Barcelona looked BRILLIANT as well. Poor Notario has been punished this season by both Villa and Eto'o. LOL.... That was great. Henry actually looked like he is starting to fit in. Great to see him contributing. He was brilliant. I sometimes wonder if it just becomes a matter of too much talent when all of Ronaldinho, Eto'o, Messi, and Henry are on the pitch. Because the squad has hardly ever been ALL TOGETHER this season and they still produce brilliant performances when on.


Tough match today for Valencia. At Calderon to take on Atletico. Hate to say it, but I don't see them winning this fixture even if Atletico are in a bit of a bad run of form as well.
and the NEW
Ronaldo, undoubtably, best player in the world right now! His development from 2-3 seasons ago, to last season, has astounded me! Knows when to make the quick pass now, when to play it back, when to make the runs off the ball and when to make the runs on the ball!

Man United definately favourites at the moment, a Ronaldo injury is the only thing that will stop them winning the title I beleive!

PR, clean win the CL for United? Damn, big call! I actually still dont think they will get it done! They love to play at pace, just dont like their chances if they get a slippery surface against some of these better techncial teams, like Arsenal, AC Milan or Barca. They move the ball around better than United, who play more like Brazil in a quick, attacking flair!

Pato started for Milan, played well, and so did Ronaldo in his first game in ages! Won at home 5-2 an emphatic win considering its only their second of the season!

Watched Inter also, Zlatan had another great game! He is a class act, any team would be lucky to have him upfront! Amaizes me every time I watch him at how much time he has on the ball!

Real Madrid, FUKC ME, they were put under the pump by Levante (imagine Derby putting Man United under the pump), and still managed to wriggle free thanks to a LOT of luck!!!!! They are just a team with the gods on their side at the moment!

I think Benitez will go also, Klinsman would be an interesting option! Certainly made Germany gel well and would be far more attacking than Benitez! Who knows, Rijkaard will be out of Barca by next seasons start also, so maybe even him to Liverpool!

Cant wait for the CL to start back up!

Valencia lost PR, didnt see it, but a close scoreline! I still think they will manage to get a CL spot for next season, but they are pushing it, much like Milan in Italy! Would be a weird CL next year without both of them in it!

PR316
Valencia got owned again. I honestly turned off the TV after the 2nd goal went in because I knew the outcome by then.


Koeman just doesnt' know SPANISH FOOTBALL.. He is trying to implement a system that requires these players to play out of position. Only certain teams can play well in a 4-4-3 and Valencia doesn't have the players for that. We need to play either a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1(If we get a good attacking playmaker). I hate to say this but Villa is almost USELESS in Koeman's system.. Villa is not a TARGET MAN... They're trying to run up the wings and cross all the time to him and he's not a big guy who's a threat in the air. His talents show best when the team played on the counter, allowing Villa to lead the counters and either distribute on the run to the open man or take it in himself, or when Valencia had a playmaker like Aimar with an eye to spot runs up the middle and give the perfect through balls. Silva is also not good in that role of playmaker. Silva is the type of guy who just doesn't have the precision and control on the ball that a Van der Vaart or an Aimar has. Vicente and Joaquin have little space to work with because there is no threat down the middle so the defenses concentrate all their energies on the wings. On top of that, our defense just sucks.


The club is in big trouble. Unless Ronald Koeman is fired and Valencia hire a real world class manager, the team is going nowhere but to La Segunda.
and the NEW
Yeh, was a bad loss for Valencia. Villareal and Atletico really look the 2 teams to make the Champions League, along with Real and Barca again.

Of the other matches I watched, Real Madrid got OWNED by Atletico, but still managed a 2-0 win? WTF! I turned this one off at half time cause I am just sick of seeing Real doing their usual thing. They are truly the new Chelsea of world football, boring, but effective. Much like I HATED Chelsea then, I now HATE Madrid!

Barcelona looked ordinary and scraped a 1-0 win against Racing.

Liverpool looked quiet impressive and still were very unlucky to draw 2-2. They solidily outplayed Villa.

Man United looked very ordinary as did Ronaldo, in their 2-0 win.

Chelsea looked like junk also!

Arsenal (despite everyone saying they looked good), I thought looked average but got the job done, 3-0.

Very ordinary looking teams this week.

Also watched AC Milan win, Pato showed some great skills as did Ronaldo, but their 1-0 win was a HUGE mistake! That goal was as offside as they come! Gilardino should have never been given it, but hey, this is Italian football afterall so what else can we expect!

Inter looked ordinary also, they MASSIVELY rely on Ibrahimavic! Who to them, is like Ronaldo for Man United or Kaka for AC Milan! An absolute KEY man! Another very contraversial decision in this game, no surprise there!

Lucky the games were all spread out over the 3 big leagues, which allowed me to catch most of the top teams this week! Though, was a disappointing week as far as quality was concerned!
and the NEW
Yep, definately a good sign! Though Chelsea did it most of last season and it didnt get them anywhere!

United just ran away with it last season, looked brutal game in and game out! Definately grinding out more wins this season! But hey, their defence is good enough to cope with that!
Maxy
Reading always seem to give us a tough game so I was happy to get the win. The stats showed that the Utd players ran more kilometres in that match than in any other this season! Reading will play a lot worse and win games.

I've just read that Cristiano Ronaldo's mum wants him to play for Madrid before she dies! In that case, I hope she lives forever.

I know that one day he is likely to go to Spain, though for me, the best league is in England, but I hope we can keep hold of him for at least another 3 years. He's well on his way to becoming a Utd legend and has a good chance to beat George Best's 32 goals in one season record for the club. Apart from the weather, what does Spain offer him? I'm convinced he has just as much chance of winning every major club competition here, as he could in Spain.

I know one thing for certain....if he keeps improving at this rate it'll take a bid that dwarfs the current world record to capture his signature. He's under contract until 2012 so for the moment at least, I'm sure he'll be staying here.
PR316
I honestly don't see Ronaldo going to Spain until he's at the twilight of his career. He'll play his prime years at United.


I think Spain is a place that the young Ronaldo would probably enjoy more due to the atmosphere and culture. He would get more of a celebrity treatment there(Though he's big already in England).

The Spanish league at the moment is disappointing thus far this season. None of the top teams are performing to their capabilities and more than ever this season, politics have really hurt the big clubs. Too much managerial changing and not enough stability. Its a constant revolving door year in and year out with the suits at the big organizations more concerned with keeping their pockets deep rather than doing what they're capable of doing for their teams and thus the football is suffering.


At the moment, I think going to Spain would hurt a player like Ronaldo's career.
and the NEW
I have heard constantly he wants to play in Spain and if he wants to leave, the bid will still have to be big to sign him, but when a guy wants to go he wants to go!

Either way, I cant see this happening soon. He is in his prime, probably going to take player of the year this December and has a crack at a second successive Premier League title, the Euro and the Champions League. All is going well for him now and it would be a mistake to leave I beleive. Most players dont do as well in two of the top leagues, usually one favours them and I feel this is the Premier League. Players there appear slightly slower, and the game is a lot more open. Its PERFECT for his style and I think he realises that! His stats wont be as good at Madrid! Considering he wont be able to force Wesley off the ball on every free kick, as he does to Giggs at United!

Wait until 2-3 seasons and a lul United go through, this is when things will become a lot more dangerous for you guys and he could want out, which would be a HUGE HUGE loss! Maybe you can buy Queresma instead! Similar type of player, though not as many goals in him!
and the NEW
Damn, the Arsenal V Newcastle game was GREAT! Newcastle played very well, and man Duff is BACK, but Arsenal were just superior, they looked incredible! Clichy has possibly developed into the best left back around, nearly impossible to beat one on one, holds his position well and always pushes up, not to mention, has a great cross on him!

Adebayor is probably the most inform striker in the Premier League this season! Incredible pace and dribbling ability for such a big man! Fabregas played well also, was all over the park again!

Walcott, much like Nani, has flashes of brilliance but still has a LONG way to go before he is polished!

Benitez apparently has full support also, so looks like he may stay at Liverpool for at least another season yet!

Onto La Liga tonight and the Man United V Tottenham game, which should be good! I am enjoying the FA cup a lot more this season than last!

Fitz, that tennis chick who made the final (Ana) is DAMN fine hey! Looks a lot better in real life than in that photo! As natural as they come!
and the NEW
Na, Im in Sydney at the moment.

Ivanovic is WAYYYYYYYY hotter than Sharapova, who I dont rate at all!

Yep, they are too tall! I am also like 181cm, so shorter than them! Too bad about the result last night! sad.gif

Man United looked ok but nothing special whatsoever against Tottenham! The score could have easily been 2-2 had Berbatov put away that chance towards the end! Amaized me how EASILY Lennon absolutely SKINNED Evra every single time! Looks like only Clichy can control him! Lennon is just so damn explosive!

Wont even get onto the Barca rubbish performance! Im in the middle of watching the Madrid game now (1-1 COME ON VILLAREAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), followed by the Juventus game and then the Porto game.

PR, I see Valencia lost again in a match they really should have won! They really are hitting crisis point at the moment! Look to be well out of even UEFA Cup qualification territory and sliding! Weird weird league this season!

and the NEW
Yeh, Tevez played ok. Not bad at all and Giggs has picked it up a bit since the beginning of the season! Class act that guy is!

Fukcing Real Madrid, SEASON OVER (what a poor poor title "race")!!!!!!! Its a wrap already! Rijkaard will be GONE without doubt within the next 6 months!

Juventus looked ok, scored a magnificient team play which Trezeguet finished off! But they are very very ordinary, Del Piero is WAY past it, Nedved still looks good, but is nothing compared to the force he once was! Backs looked shaky, no real speed or skills. Just hard working, Italian style! Much like Inter never really impresses me, they just get the job done and have Ibrahimavic to thank their lucky stars about! Milan won thanks to Pato who looks a true superstar in the making! But its a fight for them just to make the Champions League next season!

Porto lost to Sporting, but I still love Queresma! Though, he does fukc up a lot of things, his flashes of brilliance are the beauty of the beautiful game!

PR316
I think its time to prepare for the worst. VALENCIA WILL BE RELEGATED AT THE END OF THE SEASON.... I'm sorry I just don't have anymore hope for anything positive out of this season. Unless some sort of turn around occurs, this club is in big trouble. Losing to Almeria at home is very worrying. Almeria is a newly promoted side. Koeman is hopeless, and the organization is either blind or just has no ambition. Hard to believe that a team that spends over 30 million euros on transfers in the last 3 years(Villa, Joaquin, Morientes) cannot spend an extra 5-6 million on a decent manager.


Most Valencia fans are in denial. But I think we can only deny so long. Its been 2 months since we've won a Liga match and the tough part of the schedule is still down the road.


What a horrible season.
PR316
WOW... Looks you might be right about Rijkaard being out the door. Barcelona has thrown itself in the race to bring in Jose Mourinho, along with Valencia, AC Milan, and Liverpool. All 4 clubs are being reported to being in process of preparing a HUGE BID to land "The Special One"...


I'm pretty sure you would welcome Mourinho at Barca should that move happen considering the somewhat underachieving you guys have done this season. I know I would welcome him with OPEN ARMS at Valencia, thats for sure.
and the NEW
Yeh, I think Barca will land him.

Rijkaard has underacheived, but I must also say, the gap has been widened by Madrid overacheiving! Pretty hard to get the amount of points they are getting! Winning week in and week out!

All my hopes are now pinned on the Champs League and we should at the very least, make the quarter finals! I could see Barca making a run for it this season, they should have a full squad again for it. With Ronaldinho and Messi now back and Eto'o and Toure being back for the tail end of the season. They will surely field a strong strong side and in desperation, Rijkaard HAS to play Ronaldinho, doesnt he?

Koeman is definately not working well at Valencia, too bad! I hear Lippi is ready to get back into the job market, so who knows? But something has to be done at Valencia! No spot in Europe will dramatically affect their attraction of top quality players!

Oh also see Juventus signed Sissoko (who will do well in Italy I beleive) and Mellberg for the summer. They are definately trying to get back to the top of Serie A where they beleive they rightfully should be! They are the most prestigeous club in Italian history afterall. With them back in it, it should make the race a bit more interesting, I dont beleive Inter will dominate next season as they have been the last couple seasons. AC Milan and Juve should both be stronger and Roma actually has a few good players now. I like Guily (who is better than Dos Santos) and Mancini, Totti gets a lot of goals! Potentially a very damaging squad, but probably not strong enough to win a league over the long haul.
PR316
I don't know about AC Milan. I think they're in big trouble. Even though they've picked it up a little, the team has no consistent attack up front and I see an overall lack of chemistry. Rumors persist about Ancelotti stepping down and Mourinho taking his place but I just can't imagine Mourinho wanting to go to Milan. I just don't think its the most ideal situation for him. But anything is possible.


Players are starting to clash with Koeman and its just gotten ugly. Valencia are dangerously close to relegation and I'm afraid that axing Koeman is the only way to pick the team's morale up again. For all of this, they should not have fired Flores. I thought that when they fired Quique, that they were doing it because they were going to make a big move and land a top class manager. Instead they land an even worse manager than they had in Flores. Losing to Real, Barca, and Sevilla is not the problem. But when you can't beat teams like Levante, Bilbao, and Almeria then its worrying. And its not even the tough part of the team's schedule yet. Its really hard to be positive. There's just nothing to feel good about.


If you guys do land Mourinho, then good for you because thats probably the manager the team needs to get the most out of it. Mourinho would definitely improve the defense and tactics for sure. Maybe Barca won't play with the FLARE AND FLASH they did of the past 2 seasons, but even this year Rijkaard's football has not been exactly "beautiful", starting with the horrible line ups he's been inexplicably fielding. However, lets not forget that Porto was an exciting team to watch at the time they were winning everything, and when you have a team of Ronnie, Eto, Messi, Henry, etc. its pretty hard to be boring. Hopefully you guys take the crown away from Real Madrid next season.


I thought Arsenal looked good vs Newcastle. Man United and Portsmouth will be good. Hopefully I can catch that one.
and the NEW
Milan are in trouble, but Pato will develop into a top striker I beleive and no doubt they will make another big signing in the summer! They surely have the cash! If they loose Kaka, they are finished!

The Valencia saga has become out of control! It is a HUGE problem that they cant beat the bottom teams! Unbeleivable! I have not seen this kind of scenario since Leeds and Valencia is a lot bigger club than Leeds was!!!!

Liverpool like AC Milan are in a big battle for 4th spot! I think one of them will be missing out on the Champions League next year!

I dont think Mourinho will take away the flash of Barca, you could not possibly when you have the speed, technique and skill of these guys! Too much there, he will just tighten up the structure if anything! Would also be good if they got a regular team together and could avoid injuries! These last two seasons, much like Valencia, have been horrible! Everyone of their major stars have had a lengthy period of time on the sidelines! Rijkaard has to go, he has been making desperation decisions as of late! Will be damn weird to see Mourinho on the sidelines though! Weird having him on side since his the one I hated for so long in the Premier League!

Arsenal looked brilliant disposing of Newcastle, the title race keeps absolutely brilliant and intense! Love it this year! Man United and their fans have to be thanking their lucky stars they have Ronaldo on their team! He is single handily steering them to victory! The runs he makes these days are phenomenal, he knows when to slow it up, when to pass and when to try the impossible! That free kick was a fizzer as well! What a title race, the two top teams looking dangerous, lets just hope Chelsea doesnt keep grinding out wins and win the big matchups, or they could somehow find themselves on top!



PR316
Like you, I have always questioned the tactics and managerial skills of Rijkaard.


He rotates horribly, has no sense on how to exploit team weaknesses, and he apparentley doesn't know how to balance defense and attack, which is what an elite team needs to(Look at Man United and Arsenal this season)... He also doesn't have a good feel for team morale. Last season in particular, you guys had so many games in the bag that had you held on to them, Liga champions you guys would have been crowned without a doubt. Keeping the team focused for 90 minutes is one of the main things a manager is responsible for and Rijkaard fails at that.


I honestly think Jose Mourinho is the best manager in all of football with only Sir Alex Ferguson and Arsene Wenger giving him a run. Throw in Lippi and Scolari as well.


Mourinho just knows how to win. People say he plays "boring football" but I think thats just looking at the cover of the book and not reading it. It would have been IMPOSSIBLE for Mourinho to play sexy football when you have players like Drogba, Essien, Lampard, etc. etc... Those guys are more players that rely on strength and workrate, as opposed to speed and technical skill. Barcelona has plenty of speed and technical skills with Messi, a fit Ronnie, Eto'o, and even a past it Henry. Backed by a midfield that has Deco and Xavi, and talented youngsters like Bojan Krkic, Dos Santos, and others. Whats lacking is formation and structure within the defense. Deco and Xavi play very well box to box in the midfield and when at their best, are tireless workers. Problem is that Puyol and Marquez are slow as hell, and do not get back into position fast enough.


If Mourinho fixes that, I really have a hard time seeing how you guys would NOT succeed.
and the NEW
Yep, exactly right on Rijkaard! Barca would have been Champions if they just held onto ONE of their leads all season! Not to mention, if it was England, they would have been Champions anyways, with equal points and a HUGE edge in goal difference! Rijkaard must go and I have no doubt he will in the summer!

Have to say though, I would prefer Ferguson, Wenger or Scolari (my three favourite managers, easily) to Mourinho. But like you say, the players are a big deal on what makes the team. You cannot play beautiful football with strong, defensive guys. Look at Grant, the football remains the same as do the grinding out results!

Must say though, talk is Drogba is coming in if Mourinho does, which I wont like! I hate Drogba and his winging and dives, not to mention, he is not fast enough to suit their style! Bring in Ibrahimavic, Villa if you are going to buy another striker!

Marquez should not be on the team, simple as that, he is not world class, same as Sylvinho, who should only play in the Cup or if Abidal is injured. He is just HORRIBLE defensively, lets the attacking man he is meant to be marking have 5 metres of space every time! Jockey a bit closer at least!

Interesting the last day transfer news! Defoe to Portsmouth and Benjani to Man City two of the big ones. But I must say, the BIGGEST of all, which is very interesting is Alvez to Middlesbrough, who I am SURE will keep them out of relegation now! He is just a class act scorer and sure to add a few in the tail end of this season!



PR316
Have to admit, Tottenham deserved to win today. I thought they controlled Man United pretty well, even though the Red Devils weren't themselves IMO. Man United's going through a bit of a streak were they're looking ordinary. It won't last though. There's too much talent there.


Chelsea with a couple of more wins, and a few screwups by both Arsenal and Man United would be right in the thick of it all. Liverpool is all but out despite winning today and it would take a huge slip up from the top teams for them to get back within reaching distance of the title race.



Ahhh... So happy that Real Madrid lost. HUMILIATED by Almeria. So beautiful. Alves has to make some amazing saves but nonetheless Almeria was superior today. ATN, I would like to celebrate this one with you since we both hate Real Madrid. drinks.gif Almeria absolutely EMBARRASSED them and I'm so happy they did. Now hopefully they can slip up once or twice more and Barca would be right back in the race, even if they're still managed by Frank "I'm so full of myself" Rijkaard.


Valencia drew Barcelona in Copa del Rey. BOTH TEAMS seem really committed to that trophy this season since they're not really meeting their standards in La Liga. Hopefully Ronnie gets to play. This constant benching is getting ridiculous even if he has an injury.
and the NEW
Yeh, Tottenham looked good! Berbatov just makes it all look so simple! Man United are definately having trouble finding their fluidity! It all looks a bit of a mess there and has done now for quiet a while. They rely too heavily on Ronaldo.

Arsenal looked BRILLIANT! They just look unstoppable at the moment! I just thank god Barca didnt draw them in the Champs League, because they are going to be a force! Adebayor and now Eduardo are both on fire! The midfield is a class act and the defence is solid. Almunia is possibly the best keeper in the world at the moment, though they do miss Toure!

Real Madrid lost, ha ha ha, CHEERS TO THAT PR!!!!!!!!! Finally everything didnt just go their way, and if Barca beat Madrid in Madrid towards the end of the season, there is only 3 points in it! Hopefully Madrid have a bit of an off patch now!

Barca are looking horrible lately, Ronnie benched is truly an unforivable crime by Rijkaard! He is now fully fit and only got to come on as a sub and when he came on he played as the lone striker, WTF! Cant wait for Rijkaard to go! Must also say, they did miss Puyol, Thuram is just too old and slow these days!

Yeh, I laughed when I saw the Cup tie, both our teams going head to head! Though, I dont care too much for it, I agree, they are both making it a bigger deal this season as their shot at La Liga is not good and its Valencias only chance at silverware!

Liverpool are in a battle for 4th spot, they have absolutely 0% chance at lifting the Premier League trophy.

Man, what a mess has been made of all 3 of those transfers I mentioned earlier! Not one of them is settled yet! Last minute botch jobs by the looks of it!
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