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PR316
Valencia finally get a win a La Liga, and they didn't look too bad. Not GREAT, but definitely good. Valladolid had more chances and more possession but Valencia had the BETTER chances, if that really means anything. Villa is finally back and along with his form, has rediscovered his goal scoring touch. He was fast, technical, dribbled at defenders, wreaking havoc in the box, and made some really nice moves out there. Played like the best striker in the world. Banega is really adapting well!!... He had a nice assist this past match in Copa del Rey, and he looked very dangerous throughout this whole match. Hopefully Valencia can go on a bit of a run to at least keep a place in La Liga. At the very least, they could use that.


Barcelona didn't look sharp against Osasuna. But not playing Ronaldinho in the proper position is stupid. I know because Koeman has been an idiot this year and has tried to play Villa as a winger(WTF) or as a target man and it just doesn't work. Ronnie is NOT a striker. He's not a worker inside the box. He's a playmaker from the left side and until he's back in his proper position, he will not find form. Ronnie can play as a 2nd striker if need be, but he is not a pure striker. Its just not his game. Not sure what to make of this from Rijkaard. The players must feel that he's losing his mind.. LOL... I mean, he never did this before that I recall. I wonder if in practice he's making them do useless drills and all. You guys really need Eto'o. I think you guys miss his pace and workrate inside the box. Hopefully the African Cup doesn't take a huge toll on him when he comes back.


Real Madrid have been very lucky whether people want to admit it or not. They're really benefitting this year from the bad spell that top clubs like Barcelona, Valencia, Sevilla, and Zaragoza have had. Villareal, Atletico, and Espanyol are not quite there yet, but gaining ground. Real has basically been very lucky that we have a weak La Liga this year.

So happy that both Raul and Guti have been denied the call up for Spain. Raul is a good player but overrated, and Guti is just a guy I cannot root for even if he is wearing the Roja of Spain. Plus we already have Fabregas, Xavi, and Xabi Alonso in the midfield already, and possibly the best group of strikers in Torres, Villa, Tamudo, Luis Garcia, Bojan Krkic, and maybe Morientes. Raul is not a necessity.


Man United are in a bit of slump, but don't count on that continuing for too long. I'm really hoping that Barcelona can get something out of the Champions League. They haven't been playing well, but it would be nice to see them at least get one trophy of some sort.
and the NEW
Well didnt get to catch much of the internationals.

Heard Spain got a win in a match they were solidly outplayed? You watch this one PR?

Also saw damn Italy easily beat Portugal!

Watched Holland beat Croatia in a very close game, with Holland just making the most of their chances. Neither side looked impressive.

England got the result they needed but if they cant beat Switzerland they have problems! Heard they looked OK.

Australia dominated Qatar as expected, but still a good first win for WC qualifying. China at altitude and Iraq in the soaring heat will be a task to handle! We need to keep getting home wins!

Thats pretty much all the big matches as of late. ANC, Egypt V Cameroon, two upsets in the semi finals! My money is on Egypt, though I hope Eto'o takes them down! Shock result to see Ivory Coast out! I thought they were going to win for sure!

PR316
France did outplay Spain overall and created more chances. Thierry Henry was SHOCKING to say the least, blowing a one on one with Casillas at his mercy. Overall, France had more possession but their one clear chance they blew. Spain had 2 clear chances, making 1 count when Capdevila scored off a rebound. Villa saw a free kick clip the near post, and other than all that, it was just a very lackluster showing from BOTH clubs IMO. Spain definitely missed Joaquin's pace and creativity down the right flank and Fabregas was not at his best. He hasn't quite yet transferred his club form to the international team and I can only hope that he does it in time for Euro 2008. Spain plays Italy in a friendly soon, and I think France and Portugal play as well.


Oh those Italians. They did their usual. They held a very good line at the back, and basically pulled their roughhouse tactics to shut down Portugal's attack. Portugal made it interesting with a goal from Figo, I think(Don't remember exactly), but overall it was an ugly rumble with more fouling than actual playing.


Hoping for Cameroon to win the African Cup. Such a shame I can't get it on television and I can't find any streams around showing it.


Looks like Barcelona has rejected Drogba. As if you guys really need another striker at the moment. If Thierry Henry leaves in the Summer, I could understand wanting to buy another one but you guys have no need for Drogba. Plus he doesn't fit your style of play anyway.
and the NEW
Yeh, there are never many chances against France! Though Henry is definately past it, and Fabregas doesnt play as the main man for Spain like he does for Arsenal. With Arsenal, you see him moving around the pitch, finding space and distributing, similar to what Zidane used to do. Great movement off the ball. With Spain, he gets stuck in his corridoor of the midfield, just taking up his area of the field. I wish he got given the space to move.

Italy does it every time! And Toni is such a danger man in there for them! He is LETHAL! So frustrating to watch the Italians, but they get the job done! Their league is so damn boring now though! Ive been watching Juve, Inter and Milan lately and I hate to say, Milan is the most entertaining of the lot lately! Its THAT structured and boring! So so slow!

I also cant see the ANC anywhere!!!!!!! Guess thats what they get for holding it in the middle of the season! If the WC can be in June, why cant the ANC?

Drogba is backtracking now, saying he wants to say at Chelsea for the moment. Anything to do with Anelka I wonder?

Onto the wkend matches!

Maxy
QUOTE(PR316 @ Feb 7 2008, 06:07 PM) [snapback]377729[/snapback]
Looks like Barcelona has rejected Drogba. As if you guys really need another striker at the moment. If Thierry Henry leaves in the Summer, I could understand wanting to buy another one but you guys have no need for Drogba. Plus he doesn't fit your style of play anyway.


Barcelona coach Frank Rijkaard would be interested in bringing Chelsea striker Didier Drogba to the Nou Camp - but not as part of a deal taking Samuel Eto'o the other way.

Earlier this season Drogba expressed a desire to leave Chelsea, comments he later admitted he regretted making.

With Eto'o and Thierry Henry leading the Barca attack and youngster Bojan Krkic rapidly rising to fame, Barca was looking an unlikely destination.

But Rijkaard confirmed he could be interested in a move come the end of the season.

"Eto'o is a player in our team and he performs very well for us," he said.

"For that reason I don't see a swap deal.

"If Barca have the possibility of signing a player like Drogba we would have to look at it, but we wouldn't do a swap."


As for the International matches I can only comment on the England match as its the only game I saw. We were diabolical in the first half. Our passing was horrendous and Mr Capello must've have been thinking to himself, "What the hell have I done?" He now knows why he is being paid so much!

The second half was an improvement and as the game wore on the players' confidence seemed to grow. We are a long way short of being a world threat however but it was refreshing to see Capello barking orders from the touchline following our previous two managers who appeared muted and unable to convey their thoughts, if they had any, onto the pitch.

Man United didn't look good against Spurs but I disagree that we are in a slump, or have looked a bit of a mess for a while now. We are playing well IMO and it was a bad time to play Spurs who are on the up under Ramos. We do need other players to contribute to the goal scoring though because Ronaldo can't be expected to do it week in week out. Rooney has lost his shooting boots and Tevez, despite his industry, will never be an out and out goal scorer. Saha is injured again. Fed up with him, although a fit and confident Saha would be ideal right now. I really believe that Anderson should start in every game. He has been a revelation and is our second best player this season, behind Ronaldo and the defense. He offers so much more than either Hargreaves or Carrick and if you look at our results when he has started the matches the proof is there.











and the NEW
I agree on Tevez as is obvious in my previous posts!

Rooney is probably the biggest hype job since...........ahhhh................Owen!!! Sad to say! Rooney is good, he also works hard and does more than just score, but he is not an out and out striker either! He plays better as a support striker!

I agree als on Anderson, who should probably start with Scholes! When Anderson plays, the results are there!

Maxy, you honestly think Man United look like the beast they were at the start of last season? I think thats probably their most impressive point. I think they now look like they did towards the end of last season, turning it on at times, but also looking flat at times. They are always going to be in the race, but they are no longer demolishing teams. Ronaldo alone is winning them games, along with their amaizing defence this year! Vidic, Ferdinand and Van Der Sar in the centre of the park at the back are unparallelled in world football this season! Each possibly the best of the world at their position, now add all three and you have a tough shell to crack!

Man United havent overly impressed me since that game against .........? Where Ferdinand scored off that brilliant Rooney chip. That game, they looked like a fluid unit once more.

Drogba aint going to Barca, cant see it. Unless of course Henry is on the way out. Barca have a full squad at the moment, and thats even with many key guys out injured or out at the African Nations Cup! That being said, a full squad that looks terrible even though the "names" are there!
Maxy
Granted, we haven't looked as fluid in our last couple of games but we were awesome against Newcastle and could have scored 10 or more. I don't know if Rooney is a hype job....I think he's just going through a poor patch at the moment and perhaps his frustration at not scoring is affecting him. He's not a fox-in-the-box type striker who'll bag 25-30 goals a season but when he's on song he adds so much more to the team.

We'll miss him tomorrow in the derby, along with Evra, but I believe we will hammer City as a tribute to the Busby Babes and the tragedy in Munich. I think its brilliant how the players will wear the same style of shirts as those worn in 1958. A really nice touch and I just hope the minute's silence is honoured.
PR316
I like Wayne Rooney, but I'm not sure if he's in the class of Eto'o, Villa, Ibrahimovic, Torres, or Trezeguet. I'm starting to wonder if its like Maxy said about Rooney not being a "fox in the box" who scores 20-25 goals a year. He's too small to be a target man as well. But he's very fast, and he has good vision and passing. He's not the most technically gifted player I notice, but he makes up for it with his tremendous workrate. Carlos Tevez is a little overrated, sad to say. That doesn't mean he isn't a good player, but not quite the maestro that he was made out to be prior to joining Man United. He's not as much a threat on goal as your usual top class striker. His finishing is ok, nothing great, and he's surprisingly not that strong.


Its really hard to rate the best strikers in order. Luis Fabiano, Diego Milito, and Adebayor have stepped up and made a case for themselves. Bojan Krkic is the future for not only Barcelona, but for Spain as well. In a few years, he'll be a first choice striker for Spain. Robin Van Persie I like alot, especially last year I thought he was brilliant, but too injury prone. Even more injury prone than Vicente!!(If thats possible).


I think Fernando Torres at times has played like the best striker in the world this year. He lacks some touch, and his finish is a little erratic. But his best games this season have really shown me how far he's come along. Samuel Eto'o, at his best is still probably the best pure striker in the world, and from what I've read, he's continued that form in the African Nations Cup. Injuries have held him back the past couple of seasons. Villa is starting to find his form, and at his best, you will be hard pressed to find a more technically gifted striker. Ibrahimovic you could argue is the most complete with his dribbling skills, eye for open teammates, and goal scoring touch.


I think that the playing system also needs to get mentioned when these players are playing at their best, as well. I mean, you could have a great player and all but if he's being used wrong, he won't find form. Remember Fernando Morientes at Liverpool, with Benitez not playing Morientes as a target man.

These discussions are always fun because it is so hard to say who is the best really. Thats what makes the debates interesting and fun.
and the NEW
Yeh, this busby babes tribute match should be fun!

Rooney is definately not an out and out striker, like many strikers. Ibrahimavic is the same. Eto'o is the best pure out and out striker out there, no doubt in my mind.

Adebayor, Drogba and Trezaguet are the other 3 best strikers out there. Villa is also, but he is a bit more like Ibrahimavic, in that he helps create and is not just an out and out, straight on goal target man. This guy leading the dutch league I beleive is something special also. A real target man! Just cant spell his name!

Ask Rijkaard who the best striker is (he just played Messi as the target man!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!), WTF, and left Ronnie on the bench and played Edmilson and Dos Santos. I have now formally handed in my resignation of Barca while Rijkaard is in control! I am boycotting their matches from now on! I dont know WTF he is trying to do! They were DOMINATED in the first half against Sevilla and only came back in the second half because Rijkaard made the structure a little more appropriate, but instead then bought Ronnie on and played him as the target man! I dont know how he gets the backing of the club! He is a pure retard, simple as that! Maybe he should coach, and have someone else Cryufft to pick the lineups!!! He just cant choose a good lineup to save himself!

Im adopting Arsenal for the time being! Until Rijkaard is sacked! At least Wenger (like Ferguson) are experts at picking lineups! They always choose good combinations!

I only say Rooney is a hype job because of the way people are rating him. On a Premier League show here the other day, they had 11 managers picking a different player from Premier League history to form the super team (a fantasy thing). Anyways, this manager was picking strikers and said its a hard choice, there are so many GREAT strikers, he can choose from Shearer, Henry or ROONEY (WTF?). Luckily he picked Shearer, but even to put Rooney in the same league at the moment beats me! The man is a good striker, but he doesnt appear to have the goods to become an immortal of the game. Good striker, but rated WAY ABOVE his actual value. I would have Drogba, Adebayor or Torres in my team before Rooney out of Prem League players.

Maxy
Lost to City 2-1 at home....were lightweight up front. Pleased the minutes silence for the Munich victims wasn't tainted by boo's or shouts. That was nice, the performance on the pitch was terrible.

Wayne Rooney has been getting stick this season....well, we've lost 5 games now and the common denominator in all of them is that Rooney didn't play in any of them....something to think about.

The title is now well and truly in Arsenals hands and Chelsea are back in the hunt. It's going to be very interesting in the next few weeks.
PR316
A very good win for Valencia, 3-1 against Betis. Our defense is still a joke... That much is clear. BUT... The attack was coherent. Chemistry was there along with pace and flare... Villa gave another master class yet again... Scored 2 goals, one was a rocket left footed strike from the top of the penalty area, and the other off a brilliant free kick that was just class(Very lethal player on free kicks)... Also assisted on Silva's goal. Silva had a very good game and played with fire. Joaquin yet again was all over the place, looking dangerous, and it would have been 4-1 had he converted on his chance, when Villa put him through cleanly.. Overall I'm happy the club won and inches further away from relegation.. Koeman is still a joke IMO, not playing Zigic up front, and not starting with Banega and Sunny to begin with.. But Valencia's superior quality in attack is what won this for them.


Those damn Madridistas won again, this time thrashing Valladolid 7-0... What pisses me off is that Real is not really that good.


I wouldn't count Man United out yet... Arsenal are prone to slip ups... Didn't see the match but I will defnitely look to catch that on replay to see how it happened.
Maxy
QUOTE(Fitz @ Feb 10 2008, 09:58 PM) [snapback]378080[/snapback]
If anything, I think Rooney has been more disappointing.


But like I said, the fact remains that of the 5 games we have lost this season, Rooney hasn't played in any of them. I think that tells its own story and is more than just coincidence. With Rooney chasing balls up front and generally being a menace to opposition defences, it allows space for some of the other players.

Our next 3 games are critical to how the season will finish. Arsenal this Saturday in the FA cup is a titantic battle, followed by Lyon in the Champions League and the Newcastle away in the league. Its a huge couple of weeks that will make or break our season.
Maxy
QUOTE(Fitz @ Feb 11 2008, 04:11 AM) [snapback]378106[/snapback]
There is no doubt that Rooney works hard and does good stuff in the games. He definitely is a valuable player to the side. I just don't think he has scored as much as he should have though.


Agreed, he isn't scoring many and even when he's getting good chances, he's not taking them. I just think his presence on the pitch helps make the team what it is, when it's at its best...if that makes any sense.
PR316
Rooney's finishing more than anything is whats held him back from possibly breaking into that upper echelon of top class strikers in the world. The thing to keep in mind is that he's still young, and has the capacity to improve. That not withstanding, Man United definitely benefit from his workrate and pace and when they're missing that, they're a little less dangerous, with more pressure on a tired Ronaldo.



Speaking of Ronaldo, here's an interesting article on him and Kaka. I definitely all you guys should read it. Its pretty interesting. http://goal.com/en-us/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=574616

Maxy
Yeah thats a good article PR.

Honestly I think its impossible at the moment to say who is the best player in the world but I don't think it matters what league players are representing. Whether it be in Spain, England or Italy, great players shine. Ronaldo, for me, is the type of player who would shine anywhere, as would Kaka. Kaka isn't playing as well as Ronaldo right now, I think thats obvious but they are two completely different types of footballers in any case.

During those semi-final games last season when Kaka definitely outshone Ronaldo, I'd have to say that United were very tired at that stage of the season. It has to be remembered that we were fighting to win trophies on 3 different fronts and every single game was a must win. Milan rested most of their first team in the build up to that semi final because the champions league was the only trophy they had any chance of winning. The comparative freshness was obvious for all to see and Milan deserved to win. Ronaldo is so much younger than Kaka also and has every chance of improving.

What sickens me about those pathetic awards is that it seems only players from the Italian league or the Spanish league win them. This is outrageous because in the season 98-99 when United did the treble, none of our players won any of the awards. How could that be? It was a disgrace.

Today there is no Maradona, a player so far ahead of anyone else in the game, there was no need to even debate who was the best. He single handedly won the league for Napoli and he single handedly won the world cup for Argentina. For me, the best player who ever lived.
PR316
Today there is no Maradona, a player so far ahead of anyone else in the game, there was no need to even debate who was the best. He single handedly won the league for Napoli and he single handedly won the world cup for Argentina. For me, the best player who ever lived.


I have to agree with this one for sure. Today, I don't feel that there is one particular player that is head and shoulders above everyone else. There's alot of great players and alot of players with potential to be great, but at the moment nobody is miles ahead of anyone.


To me, Ronaldo and Kaka is not even a good comparison. I found the article interesting, but rather misleading. A better comparison would be Kaka and Rafael Van Der Vaart. Or Ronaldo and Lionel Messi... But I'm driven nuts when you compare players that play different positions. To me its just not fair to do..


I personally like both players.. They just play differently. Ronaldo is so valuable not just because of what he can contribute with his goal scoring, but his set pieces and understanding with his teammates that he has really show his value. Kaka is a great player playing on an average team at the moment, and in a league that is although stronger than last year, still not up to par. I think Bundesliga this year is more competitive than Serie A.



BTW... Here's a pretty good skill comp featuring Cristiano Ronaldo vs Van Der Vaart... Its pretty good.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7_gdrKuGnNU...feature=related




PR316
Really sad news, guys....


http://www.goal.com/en-US/Articolo.aspx?ContenutoId=584933


Saw the end of this match and when I saw him go down, I felt really bad. He was in tears as he was stretchered off.. Looks like "El Fenomeno's" great career has officially come to an end.
and the NEW
Man United looked horrible last wk, remind me of Arsenal at the start of last season, when they just could not hit the back of the net from the run of play! No doubt they will turn it around, but might be too late.

Arsenal looked BRILLIANT once again, the team works perfectly together and the techncial ability is just astounding! Best technical ability of any team in the world, better than Barca and AC Milan!

Saw old Ronaldo get injured, very sad! That is the end of him I beleive, but what a career he has had, along with Zizou and Henry, two of the best of the generation!

As for Ronaldo and Kaka, I can tell you who I would rather on the team, Ronaldo for sure at this time! Kaka just doesnt perform week in and week out, he is quick, strong with a great finish, but in many games he just appears "off". Ronaldo seldomly disappears from a game (ironicly and to his detriment, one of the few games he did disappear was against Kaka in last years Champions League, which dramatically hurt his claim for the "Best player in the world"!). How Messi finished second for simply going through a quick purple patch, beats me!

Onto La Liga and the big FA Cup clash! What a game it will be!

Real Madrid PR, damn, 7-0, what a wooping! They are weird, at times they look like it all clicks at others they look horrible but grind out results. Its like they play as Chelsea for a week, then as Man United the next and this goes on and on and on and on. I hope they start playing like Derby wink.gif
and the NEW
QUOTE(PR316 @ Feb 12 2008, 06:19 PM) [snapback]378269[/snapback]
Today there is no Maradona, a player so far ahead of anyone else in the game, there was no need to even debate who was the best. He single handedly won the league for Napoli and he single handedly won the world cup for Argentina. For me, the best player who ever lived.


The same could be said for Zizou in the Champions Leauge and the World Cup. Nearly added another World Cup to that and two more Champions Leagues!

Though, impossible to do a comparison between he and Maradona, Zizou was the ULTIMATE general of the midfield. If he was on the park, you could count on controlling the match no matter what!

Maxy
What a performance from United today. 4-0!!! Loving it. We dominated the match and could have won by double that score. Really was a brilliant performance and its gone a long way to helping me forget last weeks diabolical showing against City.

Arsenal were never in the match and I don't care that some of their best players weren't playing cos neither were some of ours.

We dominated!

Oh and Liverpool LOST AT HOME TO BARNSLEY!! What a day! Fantastic.
PR316
LMAO at Real Madrid losing to Real Betis!!!.... Those damn Madridistas getting exactly what they deserve for being so lucky and worst of all, ARROGANT.... GOOD FOR THEM!!!... All the politics and celebrity treatment they give their players can't save them!... ROTFLMAO!!!... I'm sooo happy!!... I always knew they were never as good as advertised but simply BENEFITTED from the top teams(Barcelona, Valencia and Sevilla) having turmoil of their own and thus emerged as the big fish in a small pond. Hopefully everything continues to backfire on them and they slip up a few more times.


Barcelona didn't look too bad IMO beating Real Zaragoza.. Ronnie came on as a substitute and scored a penalty which can't do anything but HELP his confidence as he works on getting his fitness back.. Henry scored a nice goal also to win via score of 2-1... Hopefully this helps Barca continue to build to their potential this season, and eventually take away 1st place from undeserving Real Madrid.


Arsenal got HUMILIATED... I think this shows that overall, Man United are the better team.. Arsenal is the more CONSISTENT team when it comes to winning matches they should win, whereas Man United can go through a small patch of being off and on... Lets see what this means for the EPL race.


Hopefully Valencia beat Getafe.. They're not an easy side.. They're spoilers thats for sure.. But with the midfield looking better in terms of creation, and Villa rediscovering his form and goal scoring touch these past 2 weeks, hopefully Los Che can build on their last few weeks of good play.


and the NEW
QUOTE(Fitz @ Feb 17 2008, 01:16 AM) [snapback]378881[/snapback]
Also I haven't watched the Spanish league properly for a couple of years (watch the odd game), but why the hate for Real Madrid? lol. I used to love them when I used to watch more of it.


ha ha, because they are Real Madrid!!! Cheating, robbing, government established mob!

As for Valencia, PR, they are now in striking distance of a UEFA Cup spot! Not bad at all! But as you say, Getafe are no easy beats, they have givin Barca a couple hidings lately! They have speed and technique!

Barca, Ronnie on the bench, Marquez in the centre backs, Puyol as the right back, Edmilson in the centre of midfield and Dos Santos as the TARGET MAN! Hang on, did I just say that right? First Ronnie, then Messi NOW Dos Santos as the target men? When both Bojan and Henry are fit? I think I must be going bananas, because this must be IMPOSSIBLE, right? Rijkard is a f85k p@@f, c%$t, w#!(re!!! Puto!

Ronnie is as fit as a fiddle, he looked good when he came on, great pass to Henry, yet he sits on the bench. The formation and player selection of Rijkaard is just HORRENDOUS!!! I seriously cannot beleive what is happening at Barca! It is criminal and he should be trialed for it! They should now be within 3 points of Madrid AT LEAST, but they keep giving away points with a star studded team being used in the poorest possible way! I just cannot get over how he has not been ripped in half by the fans!!!

Man United Vs Arsenal, man, I was a bit sceptical at first, as neither team fielded their best squads, but what a match! Domination, Arsenal were just so frustrated! This comes down IMHO, to the depth we have been talking about all along! Man United have by far the overall bigger and better squad! Arsenal needs to be 100% to be firing on all cylinders! Good to see Man United get the job done without Ronaldo also! Nani did well, and Anderson, man, what a player! Fabregas all but disappeared! Other than adding goals at the moment, Anderson is the most complete player since Di Stefino (maybe Im going a bit far now), but you get my drift!



PR316
If referees in Spain do not know why all of European football considers them to be a joke, then last night's match between Getafe and Valencia should be something they look at. I could go on and on about how many times they denied Valencia a shot on goal with ridiculous offsides calls(How are you offside when you are on your own side of the field?)... Villa got a ridiculous red card that was not deserved. A yellow card I could live with because he did lash out at the goalkeeper Pato in that scuffle, but if anything, it was PATO who triggered that whole thing and if Villa was sent off, then he should have been too. Clearly a hometown decision rolleyes.gif But despite down a man, Valencia did pull out a draw on the road against a tough side. Its not easy to win at Getafe even with a full 11. Next week's match against Recre at home will be easier. Hopefully Koeman doesn't fuck anything up.


Barcelona vs Celtic in the CL.. Celtic play REALLY UGLY FOOTBALL... In fact I remember Messi complaining about that some time ago.. This is going to be a frustrating one for Barca fans because these guys are gonna pull out their usual roughhouse tactics that usually don't allow these fast technical teams to get their dancing on.. Barca will really have to focus on holding a good line at the back, and picking their attacks smartly. Rijkaard will need to play a good squad here. He's gotta stop this crap of putting guys that are not physically strong enough to be target men in the center when you have Eto'o and Henry fit to play. This will be a dog fight. I think Barca on quality alone should pull out a win. I see a victory for Barca with either a 1-0 score or a 2-1 edging. Celtic are bigger and stronger and I expect the blades to come out often. Expect lots of yellow cards here.


Man United take on Lyon... They should get by comfortably here. Lyon are not as strong as they were last year, having lost some key players and Man United has been dominant not just in their domestic league, but in the CL as well(Didn't lose a match at all in the group phase, just having 1 draw)... I look for them to win via convincing margin of 3-1 or something.


Maxy
Celtic are a tough side to beat at home so I think Barcelona will have a very difficult time overcoming them. The atmosphere will be electric and the football, like you said, will be very physical. I do believe Barca will go through over the two legs but I wouldn't be surprised if they fail to win the first leg.

I expect Arsenal to beat Milan at the Emirates but I've heard both Kaka and Pato will be available for the Italians. Milan definitely have the experience in their team and they can't be written off but Arsenal can't play as bad as they did against us so I'm certain they will do enough. I just think they have the youth and the pace to do the job, although having said that, Milan will have prepared a strategy which will undoubtedly be set out to stop Arsenal playing. Its a tough one to pick who will go through overall though.

Chelsea will beat Olympiacos...an easy draw for them, just as they have an easy draw in the quarter finals of the FA cup. Jammy bastards!

United-Lyon is an interesting one and a game I fear. Ferguson rested Scholes, Giggs and Hargreaves on Saturday so I believe they are all likely to start. However, I really believe we need to play Anderson in this match. I hope he starts also, even if we play a 5 man midfield with just Rooney on his own up front. I think we'll go through but a draw at Lyon wouldn't shock me, and wouldn't be a bad result because I'm sure we'll do enough at Old Trafford in the second leg.

Another premier league team for us in the FA cup...Portsmouth are no slouches but we got the home draw which is a bonus. Its looking like a repeat of last years final providing we can get past Pompey and avoid the blues in the semi's.

Can you believe the stick Nani is taking for showboating in the game against Arsenal? I mean, football is about entertainment so I'm amazed at how much criticism he's taking for doing a few flash moves! Arsene Wenger has come out and said it was wrong for Nani to do that and showed disrespect. Fact is Arsenal showed disrespect to the FA cup full stop with their dire performance and lack of effort. They are the biggest bad losers in world football!
and the NEW
I agree PR, the decisions in La Liga are absolutely inexcusable! The worst refs in the world and one of them is the shocker that put Australia out of the WC against Italy for that dive!

Have to say, something has to be done about La Liga, because I am really starting to get sick of it! Its just lagging behind sadly, with the technical ability and flamboyancy in the league, it should be right up there with the Premier League.

Yeh, Messi was complaining about Rangers in the group stages, saying they play "anti-football". I dont think Celtic are quiet as bad, but one to watch is definately Nakamura! They have the ability to upset! Eto'o is back though and I think a draw would suffice with Barca cruising to victory in the giant Camp Nou (assuming we dont get Puyol as the target man and Eto'o in goals!), which wouldnt surprise me seeing the crack that Rijkaard has been smoking!

Arsenal V Milan is the game of the round! No doubt about that! I favour Arsenal slightly, but you never know with Kaka and Pirlo from set peices. Dont think Gallas and Toure will have much problem containing Pato at this stage. They are world class and probably that bit too cagey and strong for him at the moment. Kaka is really the danger man here, with the speed to create problems and the shot to close the show!

Man United will ease past Lyon, who I now actually think have always been slightly overrated, hence why they never make it past the QFs. Some good players in the squad, but the Man United squad is world class through and through!

I also agree, football is entertainment and nothing wrong with Nani showboating! But people always get flack for these things because the average joe is jealous! He should just keep doing it!

CL begins soon, cant wait! Finally some good football should be coming up, after the disappointment of the last month or so of which really put a lul in my motivation for the beautiful game!





PR316
Other than the big clubs having the problems they do have, the referees are also a big part to blame for whats happening in La Liga this season. I thought the officiating in Germany during the World Cup was atrocious, but this is even worse.. There is one referee in Spain that EVERYBODY dislikes in particular though I don't know his name. I think he's the one that put Italy through in the World Cup against Australia. The refs in Spain probably just need an improved training before becoming refs or something because its gotten to an all time WORSE this year.


Surely even Rijkaard can't fuck this up in the Champions League. Of the 3 competitions they're in, I really think that this is their 2nd best chance at getting some hardware with Copa del Rey being their best chance.. I sometimes wonder if Rijkaard has just felt the sting of Liga fans saying he's a poor tactician and average manager at best. Maybe thats why he's played these atrocious line ups. I'm hoping that he plays a logical squad this time out. Celtic will make them earn it. Rijkaard better not be a fool and try something dumb.


and the NEW
Yeh, that ref is the worst of the lot!!!! Makes shocking calls game in and game out! Isnt it true, that many refs in La Liga also have full-time jobs?

As for the CL, Madrid outplayed Roma, but just couldnt break through, 2-1 loss is an ok result away from home. Will need to hold the defence tight at home so they can advance! Robben the flying dutchman had a blinder! Dribbling skills are silky smooth and the pace is dynamite, but towards his brilliant best FINALLY, after 1 1/2 years of looking fairly average! What a game though, both played in the true fashion of the game! Attack attack attack!

Materazzi was sent off on a poor decision I beleive, but you could justify it. Bad luck though, bet Zizou was sitting at home laughing! But after that, Inter just shut up shop, had absolutely NOBODY even near the half way line, even Ibrahimavic was coming towards the edge of their own box! Disgraceful show of Italian defence! So glad when Liverpool finally broke through, they deserved the win!

Chelsea got an ok result and the Porto game is also pretty evenly matched!

Liverpool definately in the best position to advance now and I think surely they will! Inter just doesnt play with intensity in their CL ties and as such, cannot do well in the knockout stages! Even in the League, they just get the job done and its a pretty easy league at that! The Italian League is really struggling and I wouldnt be surprised to see none of their teams make the semi finals.

Onto the big games tonight! Arsenal V AC Milan at the Emirates is sure to be a blockbuster!
PR316
I'm glad Materazzi got sent off. Last season's Champions League, he was the one who got away with a foul in the penalty box on Vicente when Inter played Valencia. I have no sympathy for him whatsoever.


Real Madrid still can advance. I wouldn't mind if they do in this case just so that the Champions League can take more out of them. They definitely played better than Roma but Roma was more clinical. Roma took their chances, that was the difference. In the Champions League its like that. There are fewer chances on goal because teams play more cautious, keeping the 2 legs in their mind. If your gonna go far in the CL, you had better take your chances when you get them because you might not get another one.


Udpdate on Ronaldo. Its looking like 9-12 months out... I can't see him coming back succesfully. This is the 3rd time he's torn a tendon in his knee and thats very difficult to come back from, especially at age 31.. And what about what that doctor said, that while at PSV just 17 years old, Ronaldo was regularly pumped with steroids to help him grow??... If thats the case, I can tell you for sure that contributed big time to his numerous physical problems. I know because a friend of mine from Spain who played football had the same thing happen to him. What happens is that the muscles grow too much for what your frame is meant to handle and the body just shuts down. Its like a car constantly red lining. Thats a shame. Very sad for me to hear. I remember seeing him in tears as he was stretchered off the field. Ronaldo must have known that it was the end.
and the NEW
Yeh, I hate Materazzi also, arrogant and slow! The most boring combination!

CL, taking chances is paramount, but Real just kept attacking, was good to watch and I appreciate it (no matter how much I hate them).

Ronaldo was in tears when he did it at Inter also! Shame. No way he is coming back successfully, he looked on his last legs anyways, the explosiveness of him is gone! If he comes back, he will be the same as he has been in the recent past, on and off and a goal here and there. Its also true about the injury, and his time since PSV. Always an injury prone dude, lucky he even made it this far! But I think his better to rest his body now, so he can at least play with his kids when they grow up.

Barca V Celtic reminded me of London in WW2, the bombing squad was out! Ronaldinho had a brilliant game and is really the decider for Barca, just gets everything flowing! Rijkaard FINALLY played a good lineup and the result was evident! They were unlucky not to have won 10-2! Game and Camp Nou will be even easier as Celtic have to come out and play now, the pitch is huge, they are at home, easy work!

Man United showed their inconsistency again, but when Tevez and Nani came on, it really changed! Good result for them, they should win at Old Trafford! Looked shaky though right until the end and I thought they would need a convincing win in the return leg, pretty lucky to get that final goal thanks to a Fred error (showing he is a striker).

Watched the first 30 of Arsenal V AC Milan, the Gunners looked on top but the scoreline still scoreless. The game was just starting to settle down a bit! This could have been a final and its a great matchup stylistically! Like Barca V Arsenal! Will watch the end once I get back from training tonight and then I can check out the Sevilla result.


Maxy
I don't know why it is but Ferguson does tend to prefer a slower tempo and a more cautious approach in Europe when it is quite evident that we produce our best football at pace.

The team selection was wrong IMO because I don't think Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes can influence games at this level anymore and Owen Hargreaves, despite being a solid ball winner, is too negative to keep the team flowing. The introduction of Nani, Carrick and Tevez definitely turned the game and 1-1 was a fair result. Benzema looks quality...a definite future star and a player I'd love to see sign for us. However, he has already ruled out a move to United and the premier league by stating if he does move he'll go to Italy or Spain. Shame.

I feel that if we play attacking football we are a match for anyone and can beat anyone but obviously we have to find the balance. In '99 when we famously won the treble, our game was all about attack and we ripped through teams in devastating fashion....I'd like to see more of that because that is when we are at our most dangerous.

The tie is evenly poised now but I'd be shocked if we lost at home. That away goal could prove crucial so all in all I'm happy with the result, if not the performance.
and the NEW
QUOTE(Maxy @ Feb 21 2008, 08:00 AM) [snapback]379506[/snapback]
I don't know why it is but Ferguson does tend to prefer a slower tempo and a more cautious approach in Europe when it is quite evident that we produce our best football at pace.


This is because those teams with a slower tempo and more of a consistent build up generally do the best. Hence why Italian sides have had so much success. Look at the attacking teams, Barca, Man United and Arsenal, between them they have won it about as many times as Liverpool alone! And at least Barca and Man United are FAR bigger clubs than Liverpool!

I do agree, Man United play their best football at pace, but thats EXACTLY what bought them undone last year against Milan in the wet. You loose technical ability when at pace and in the wet this is even moreso apparent! So I can see Fergusons point.

Good result for you and Fitz though, a draw was a fair result.

Arsenal controlled Milan (who only looked threatening at times), but couldnt break through! The Adebayor header was a SHOCKER! But I have confidence in Arsenal and think they will do Milan even at the San Siro! Will be down to the wire though and a great game!

Sevilla lost in a close one! Decent result also!

Only really Barca and Liverpool looking very solid at the moment! The rest are still in the balance!

Would be interesting to see another 3 Premier League sides make the final 4, which is well and truly possible once again. Prooving not only in the results, but in how they were acheived, that they are above the other leagues at the moment. Liverpool and Arsenal solidly outplayed their Italian rivals!





Maxy
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Feb 21 2008, 08:09 AM) [snapback]379517[/snapback]
This is because those teams with a slower tempo and more of a consistent build up generally do the best. Hence why Italian sides have had so much success. Look at the attacking teams, Barca, Man United and Arsenal, between them they have won it about as many times as Liverpool alone! And at least Barca and Man United are FAR bigger clubs than Liverpool!

I do agree, Man United play their best football at pace, but thats EXACTLY what bought them undone last year against Milan in the wet. You loose technical ability when at pace and in the wet this is even moreso apparent! So I can see Fergusons point.

Good result for you and Fitz though, a draw was a fair result.


We haven't won the European Cup as many times as we should have but we did have a team capable of dominating Europe which was tragically taken from us all by the Munich air disaster. Had that tragedy not occured, our record in Europe would be second only to Madrid.

The thing is, when we won the trophy in '99 we barely changed our game from the premier league to the champions league and we fightened the life out of many teams on the way to winning the trophy. I see your point about the more conservative teams doing better in Europe but Man United just cannot play effectively with that style of football.

I'd rather play to our strengths and get beat than play how others play and fail, because at least if we play to our strengths we will have given it our best shot. Our home game with Lyon will surely see us adopt a more attacking approach and I believe we will trounce them by 3-4 goals, even if they get one themselves.

I was quite confident we could do well this year in Europe but now I have my reservations because despite being Utd legends, Giggs and Scholes aren't good enough anymore and Hargreaves (who was bought for European football) is a player I'll never warm to. He's certainly no Roy Keane.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to Saturday now. We need to get our league challenge back on track and I feel we'll beat Newcastle at St James' Park.
and the NEW
Yeh, you guys definately should beat Newcastle! Hard ask to win the league though, the big matches will be crucial! Arsenal just looks so flowing at the moment with a fully fit squad. Toure out for 3 wks now, good for you guys! Almunia still not back and Lehmann is not nearly on his level IMHO.

As far as the Busby Babes and United having the second most wins in Europe had that crash disaster not occured, have to say I strongly disagree.

That crash was in the time of Alfredo Di Stefano and his GREAT (best side EVER) Real Madrid time. They won it for 3 consecutive years in 58,59,60. Man United would have been lucky to win ONE of these, let alone enough to catch Milan in second who are now on 7 titles. Domestic form is hardly replicated in Europe, Juve is the best side in Italian history, yet has a poor record in Europe also. Thats why what Madrid have done is so amaizing, the only team to dominate both domestically and in Europe! But 5 out of their 9 titles come courtesy of Alfredo himself!

Man United style of play is just not suited to Europe. Thats my opinion anyways, though they still have the ability if they are on, to beat any team on the planet. Just means they cannot afford inconsistency in the CL, unlike some of these other structured teams. The time for Chelsea is coming soon, if they keep playing the way they have the last 3 years, over the next 3 years, they are sure to win in Europe! Suited to Europe down to a tee!
PR316
Chelsea are such a physically strong team that its hard to beat them in 2 legs. Many believed last year that Valencia was gonna beat Chelsea.. They were just as good technically. They had more pace. A more dynamic attack. And a WALL of a defense lead by Roberto Ayala(Who's sadly in Zaragoza now) and Raul Albiol. The team was healthy again with Silva and Vicente back on the team. And in the 1st half of both matches, Valencia appeared to have too much speed and technique against Mourinho's slower players that relied more on strength.(And Valencia is I believe the 9th most succesfull club in European history).. Chelsea just wears you down. They make it harder on these quicker and more skilled teams to do their thing. I still think Man United at their best should pull it off, but the match against Lyon tells me they do have a rough road ahead.



Barcelona, Man United, and Arsenal all play with great technique, speed, and FLARE... They're so eye catching when they take the pitch. Sevilla is like this as well. Great attacking football. I think its harder to make work in a 2 leg race because when you play against teams like Chelsea, Inter, Liverpool(Whom all play with 2 legs in mind), they focus on keeping a tight backline and taking opportunities only if they are CLEAR opportunities. Its not the most exciting thing in the world, but thats CL football.. The chances are few... Thats why we see lots of teams who dictate play and the flow of the game lose matches because though they create more chances, they don't always create the most CLEAR chances and if they do, sometimes they blow the shot on goal. It happened to Valencia against Shalke this past November. Silva had a CLEAR shot on goal that would have sent us to the CL and if not that then at least the UEFA Cup and look what happened.... Teams absolutely MUST take whatever chance they can get on goal. Thats what makes CL football so different and puts it on another plateau.


This is why I prefer domestic football. Teams in their own leagues take more chances and tend to come more firing on all cylinders. Makes the matches more fun.


PR316
Man United is in devastating form. At least they played like it against Newcastle. Ronaldo has been out of this world this season. There's no words I can really say to do it justice. Two goals, assisted Rooney on one of his own, and was the man of the match. Wayne Rooney shined as well. For whatever he lacks in technique and finishing ability, he makes up for with speed and workrate. The way he chased down that Newcastle player on the ball from his own half of the field almost down to the other goal is a testament to how hard he works on the field. He's definitely the kind of striker I would like on my time because of the simple fact that he makes the most out of what he has, and he gives it his all at 100%... I hate to say this Maxy, but once again Carlos Tevez shows that he's not the great striker we thought he would become. Very surprisingly for me, he's not all that great technically, nor is he very fast, and not a great finisher in front of goal. He lacks the precision and control to dribble at defenders, and the speed to beat them. What he is however is VERY STRONG.. He's a threat in the box because of that. He gets good positioning around goal as well. But I truly see now that his goals come from the great players that he' surrounded by.


Unfortunate match for Arsenal. Eduardo suffered a freak accident injury from that tackle by Taylor I believe. That was NASTY.. That 2-2 draw still holds them in 1st but Man United is 3 points behind now and if Arsenal wants the title, I think they're gonna have to find their consistency soon. Van Persie really needs to get back on the field soon. I still have mixed feelings about Adebayor. At his best, he's a strong, quick striker who can score with his feet and his head. But he has trouble staying onsides, his touch very shaky, and he lacks some finishing as well. Definitely not world class stuff. But he's consistent. He works hard out there. And he's still young. He can improve with time.


Valencia drew with Recre in another match they should have won. I hate to sound like I'm making excuses, but the refs fucked us again. They took away 2 goals that should have counted for us. I'm so furious right now. But onward to Copa Del Rey. I expect both Valencia and Barcelona to be very up for that one. Its a tournament both teams normally scorn(Moreso Barcelona who haven't won it in I don't know how long). But due to their underachieving this season(Though Barca still has a chance to win some hardware), I think they'll be very keyed up for this one and they'll field some good squads. Valencia at the moment has recovered most of their injured stars, and Barcelona has as well. They'll probably rest Deco and Henry, but I think we'll definitely see Ronaldinho, Eto'o, and Messi out there. It'll be fun. I think Barca will advance to the semis via a score that will be something like 3-2 on aggregate. They're just the better team. Valencia will be better than they were when they faced them earlier this season and it may well come down to the wire. I expect a dangerous Valencia side to show up for that match. But Barca SHOULD advance.


Sevilla DRILLED Zaragoza. Two own goals by Zaragoza, and Fabiano was just on fire. He's become a great player, and Sevilla at their best continue to play some of the most beautiful football in all of Europe. I so hope they beat Fenerbache but it really doesn't look like they will. Too bad because they bring alot of excitement with Navas, Alves, Fabiano, and Kanoute. Lots technique and flare.
Maxy
I don't think we can say Rooney is lacking when it comes to his finishing ability on yesterdays form but, yes, he's not ever going to be a prolific scorer. He took both of his goals, especially the 2nd superbly but if there is one thing he needs to work on it's his one-on-ones with the keeper. Time and again he will hit his shots straight down the middle rather than placing them either side of the keeper. If he improves this aspect of his game he will become quite formidable. No striker in world football works as hard as Rooney - yesterday for example he was in his own box clearing the ball before running 50 yards to help with another United attack.

Ronaldo played well yesterday also and looked almost back to his best after a recent dip in form. There is talk of him signing a new contract which takes him up until 2014 and I hope this happens because he is a player with age on his side who will only get better. He'd be a fool to move to Spain right now or anytime soon. Nani appears to be settling better also - his cross for a Tevez chance was pinpoint and Carlos really should have done better with it. I like Tevez because his work rate is good and he adds something to the team but I still feel a fit and in-form Saha is our best partner for Rooney up front. If its true that Tevez will cost 30m to buy at the end of his loan period I wouldn't follow it up. Karim Benzema is the man I want at United next season and I think we should do all we can to land him.

Once again I am riled by the comments of Arsene Wenger after the game yesterday where he said Taylor should be banned for life for the tackle on Eduardo. Yes, it was a bad tackle but I don't think it was malicious and the injury suffered was worsened by the fact that Eduardo's feet were planted on the ground at the point of impact. Wenger needs to look at his own team....only last week one of his players tried to kick Nani off the park with a despicable lunging challenge which Nani thankfully jumped clear of. Wenger claims the only way to beat Arsenal is to kick them. Ludicrous! Did you see William Gallas yesterday? The Arsenal captain ran off the pitch when a penalty was awarded to Birmingham in the last seconds of the game. Then, at the final whistle he was crying. I will tell you now, that is not a good sign and he is supposed to be their captain. I'm laughing at them right now and it wouldn't surprise me to see them finish 3rd. Seriously.
Maxy
Watched the Carling Cup final earlier and was pleased to see Tottenham get the win. They definitely deserved it and in Juande Ramos I believe they have a manager who can really take them places. It makes me laugh to think that Chelsea got rid of Mourinho because they wanted the team to play with more flair! They are duller than ever now and their negative tactics make them the most boring side in world football.

Listening to the Chelsea fans slag of their teams tactics on the radio at the moment just enhances my joy. What a great weekend of football its been!
PR316
Never understood Chelsea's decision to get rid of Mourinho. Talk about a WTF decision made. Mourinho brought the team titles and he got the most out of that team that he could have. How in the hell do you play "sexy football" when you have players like Drogba, Shevchenko, Lampard, Essien, Malouda, and Makelele??... EXACTLY... You can't. Now give Mourinho Valencia whom has the likes of Villa, Joaquin, Vicente, Banega, Silva, and Sunny, and I think they could play pretty entertaining. Poor move from Chelsea's organization considering that Mourinho was a manager with ambition. His attempts to bring in players the likes of Ronaldinho, Villa, and Joaquin prove so.


Barcelona ROMPED Levante like I expected. Hat trick from Eto'o who was on FIRE... No ill effects from any of his past injuries I notice. Its amazing how much a difference his presence makes on the field. Like Wayne Rooney to Man United, his presence on the field to Barca really helps due to the workrate and pace that he brings. Loved Eto'o's goal celebration after scoring the 3rd... Classic... clapping.gif Ronnie still lacks a bit of match fitness but it wasn't a poor display from him at all. He's getting back to his very best. Messi had a good game, with a nice goal. He's definitely a future legend though I'm not sure about him being the next Maradona.


Real Madrid lost again, at home to Getafe... LOL.... I didn't see it but I will definitely catch it. I'll always love watching Real lose no matter what. Now the title race is all but DEAD EVEN... Barca needs to pull together and really build off their recent success.
and the NEW
Arsenal got DAMN unlucky, now they only have one striker once more! Walcott is really going to need to step up bigtime now! Critical that he does!

Man United look very good from this position! And Rooney is playing well ironically. Great finish by him on that goal, but I still maintain without a hestiation of a doubt, he is not clinical whatsoever. He still has some very poor finishing and is not an out and out striker the likes of Eto'o, Van Nistelrooy, Fabiano (now), Drogba. In form now, but lets see him do this for a season and end up top scorer. Just cant see it happening. Infact, I would say Ronaldo is more clinical than Rooney and he is a winger!

Feel sorry for Eduardo and Croatia who will now do NOTHING at the Euro!

Glad to see Madrid loose and Getafe appear to be a real bogey team lately for the big guns!

Barca destroyed Levante as you say PR, however I thought Ronaldinho played BRILLIANTLY! His balls down the wing, his switching play to Messi a couple times, was running at guys and beating them numerous times! I thought he and Messi were the standouts. Eto'o got some goals, good runs, but more the mids who enabled the goals with their play and passing. Dont think it was Eto'os best game by any accounts. But Barca have been on song lately and look like they are going to get back to demolishing teams once more! Comes at the right end of the season, they are now well back in the hunt of the title and the Champions League is a shoe in for a quarter final birth!

Fabiano, like I said ages ago, what a player! The title of top scorer is his for the taking and at the moment, he is surely one of the very best players in the world! Even for Brazil in qualifying at the end, outperformed Kaka and Ronaldinho.

Maxy
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Feb 26 2008, 01:05 AM) [snapback]380060[/snapback]
Man United look very good from this position! And Rooney is playing well ironically. Great finish by him on that goal, but I still maintain without a hestiation of a doubt, he is not clinical whatsoever. He still has some very poor finishing and is not an out and out striker the likes of Eto'o, Van Nistelrooy, Fabiano (now), Drogba. In form now, but lets see him do this for a season and end up top scorer. Just cant see it happening. Infact, I would say Ronaldo is more clinical than Rooney and he is a winger!


There aren't many strikers in the game as clinical as Van Nistelrooy but I can tell you now without any hesitation that Wayne Rooney is far more suited and far more effective to Man Utd than Nistelrooy ever was. Ruud was lazy and far from a team player and that is one of the reasons why he was sold by United. Rooney may not get as many goals as him but a Man Utd team which fields him in its starting line up scores more goals as a TEAM than it ever did with Nistelrooy. Rooney wasn't bought as a clinical striker, it's unlikely he'll ever win the golden boot either but I wouldn't swap him for any of the names you mentioned.

Fabiano can apparently leave Sevilla for 8m and we've had scouts watching him lately...Rooney would compliment him immensely....
PR316
As far as guys like Eto'o, Van Nistelrooy, Drogba, and Fabiano go, they are all true "goal getters." They're all usually clinical when it comes to being in front of goal with a great opportunity. Most of the time, they need service to be effective, if not always. Wayne Rooney seems more suited to the role of 2nd striker. He's so much better when he has a partner as opposed to playing as a lone striker where he is so isolated. For the style of football, Man United plays he's perfect, because though he's not the most technically skilled guy, he's fast and hardworking and last Saturday's game is proof of that. I would like to see him get some more goals honestly because he has had many opportunities where he deserved the goal but lacked the finishing prowess. But Rooney is the best guy for that style of play. Other than him, only Eto'o would be a tremendous fit at Man United.



I think Fabiano will go to the Premier League though I'm not sure who will buy him. Drogba has now seemingly regret saying he wants to leave Chelsea. He's such a woman, I swear. Lol... One moment he's leaving, and the next moment when things are going well, he wants to stay. Sounds like a bitchy wife!!.. lol... Kaka is apparentley committed to AC Milan and that is such a mistake. There's no way they're gonna win anything in the near future at all. I don't see them winning the CL this year even if they do beat Arsenal in the 2nd leg and I can't picture winning the Serie A title anytime soon either. Sure he's loyal and thats to be commended in a game where very little loyalty exists these days. But if a big club makes him an offer and he doesn't take it, I will definitely question why.


BTW ATN, you guys should buy Danny Alves in the Summer. He wants out of Sevilla and his contract I think is up once the season is over. That would be a great buy for Barcelona I think.
and the NEW
I agree that Rooney is most definately a 2nd striker and suits the Man United style of play. No doubt though, they NEED a goal getter there, if anything happens to Ronaldo, they lack goals big time! He has saved their skins too many times this season and carried such a vast load for them! Hopefully they can keep this flowing football, turned it on much the same time as Barca have.

As for Fabiano, he would be a brilliant buy for United! Plenty of goals in him and unlike Van Nistelrooy, he actually creates his own! Fabiano would be a brilliant buy for any club, I hope Barca sell Henry and buy him! He is at this time, along with Zlatan, probably the best striker in the world! Adebayor would argue that no doubt though, and is right up there with them.

Alvez, he would be a good buy, though he isnt the best defender. Gets skinned a fair bit. Great moving forward, but we already have Zambrotta, Rijkaard just needs to open his eyes and let him on the pitch! He has been the best right back Barca has had in a very long time!

Feel really sorry for Arsenal though, Toure and Silva out! They are being killed by injuries, finally Wenger might realise he has to deepen his squad as Chelsea and Man United have done and lets face it, he has the cash to do it now! If Arsenal drop off the pace due to lack of depth, there is only one man to blame, Wenger! This day and age, you need a fully loaded, deep squad, all the best in the world have that, except Milan (and look what happened to them) and now Arsenal!


PR316
Man how we got out with a draw at Camp Nou still astonishes me. You guys threw absolutely EVERYTHING at us. Timo Hildebrand was the reason Valencia earned a draw against Barcelona yesterday. Barca from the get go was just throwing bombs. Messi, Eto'o, Xavi, Yaya, Henry, all had clean looks on goal only for Timo to somehow... someway... Make the save!!... There was definitely a bit of luck on Valencia's side, or just a very big lack of finishing ability on Barca's part. I think if Ronnie would have played, you guys would have won. But this all goes back to what I said before. There tend to be fewer chances in 2 leg tournaments like this one. Taking your chances is absolutely IMPORTANT.. Teams tend to play more cautiously in these tournaments and they focus on not allowing chances.


I doubt Barca will get rid of Henry. They made a big deal out of bringing him to Barcelona in the 1st place and the fact that he's started to pick up his level of play will surely be something they look at. Fabiano will probably go to the Premier League if he moves. I see him at Chelsea or possibly Tottenham.


Wenger HATES big transfers. He's notorious and stubborn when it comes to making big moves. Its a shame too because Arsenal is really a big club now. They just behave like a small club and though they're succesfull, you would hate to see their chances at the league title go because they didn't want to buy to add some depth.
and the NEW
Yeh, I cant even watch the Cup games here, so I dont follow it at all anymore.

Does that mean Valencia are through? Hope so, Barca need to concentrate on the big trophies now and would be good to see Valencia get some silverware! They need the confidence and silverware always helps attract new players!

Ronnie makes a HUGE difference to the Barca squad when he is on! Sets up and scores countless goals, not to mention, the way that play flows when he is on! I dont know how many times I have seen him switch the play to Guily (back in the day) or Messi now, then the play opens up and Barca score. I dont think I have seen anyone ever with the ability to switch play like he does! He just curls it right into the box, so the right winger can run onto it into open space in the box. The left back always gets caught ball watching, cause Ronnie draws the entire defence in his direction!

I really do think that Wenger and his worry about a large squad, will cost them the title this season! Unlucky, but these are the contingencies you have to worry about now in modern football! Man United are starting to roll, they have passed their sticky patch and Arsenal are probably just about to hit theirs! Walcott needs to step up and Toure needs to get fit, before they have ANY chance of winning the title!

PR316
Valencia are not through.. They have to win at La Mestalla or at least hold Barca to a draw of 0-0. Barca fielded a very good squad which tells me that they really want this one too. It won't be easy. Valencia were not at their best and Barca surely won't miss that many open shots on goal again. It was an intense game with some class displayed from both sides. Messi had a poor game for his standards and was yellow carded for diving in the area. Yaya was amazing. I think it was Yaya himself who prevented many of Valencia's counter attacks. Eto'o was great but lacked finishing. Had 2 good looks at the goal and he couldn't hit the target amazingly. Henry looked dangerous but failed on his open shot as well. Xavi saved you guys again with another last minute goal and Camp Nou ERUPTED... From the other side, Villa played good. Scored the away goal for his club, and made some nice moves(Backheels, and a nice little Rabona in there), and he made a really nice sliding tackle on Messi after running from his own end of the field all the way down to the right wing. Banega was his usual hard working self. Stole the ball from Henry and Eto'o a few times and he took some hard fouls. Joaquin was great as usual and would have had a goal had he not been ruled offside(It was the correct call though). Vicente looked lively but Zambrotta did a good job on him. You guys probably would have won if Ronnie was playing. Maybe he will the next leg.



Barca have a tough match against Atletico. Ronnie will play its just a question of if he'll start.


Arsenal's match tomorrow will be very telling of how their Premiership title chances will look like. Man United are hot on the trail and it seems like its only a matter of time before they overtake them.
and the NEW
Thanks for the recap PR!

Hate having to miss Barca matches. But if any, I would rather them be the Cup matches.

Atletico is a tough match, one they have to win! Atletico really has some quality these days! Last time they played, Atletico started out well, but Barca was ON that night, and just ran them right over!

Maxy
Comfortable performance from United today even with Ronaldo, Rooney and Anderson on the bench. Hargreaves scored a nice freekick and we pretty much controlled the game against a poor Fulham side. Arsenals slip up at home to Villa (they were damn lucky to get a draw) means the gap is now just one point and I feel they are struggling to perform since we battered them at Old Trafford. It's still wide open at the top though and any one of Arsenal, United or Chelsea can win the league.
and the NEW
I couldnt see any of the matches, but scores were relatively expected! Arsenal have some big problems now, the head to head will be crucial!

Chelsea remains in the race if they can get big results against the other big 3 as you would expect them to keep grinding out results against the rest of the pack! On paper, still up there with probably Man United and Barca as the best squad on earth. When you have a loaded squad no the field and Drogba, Essien and the like sitting on the bench, you know you must have some scary talent!

See Barca PR? Fukcing hell, they found their new Torres in Aguerro! He ripped them apart single handidly as Torres used to do! Puyol and Milito are just too slow to cope with such pace and dribbling! Looked like a master, just think he is only still so young! Big future for the boy! Disappointed to see Robinho come back and drag Madrid out of another situation, 5 point gap once more and Madrid look in control again!

Inter, Lyon, Bayern, Porto, Man United and Madrid will be the title holders when its all said and done of their respective leagues!

Oh and how about the Ronnie goal, spectacular!!!!!

How was the Valencia game?
PR316
I'm so furious right now. So heated. We got destroyed. FT 2-0. A deserved victory for a better team with a better coach. Ernesto Valverde is a top coach and he's only going to get better. He just knows how to play Spanish football. He completely outsmarted Ronald Koeman tactically. Valverde just knows how to get the best of his players. His formation and structure is incredible. He draws up excellent strategies in attack. He attacks with precision, but what I love so much about his teams is how well organized and synchronized are his counter attacks, and his use of the wingers(He would do wonders with Vicente and Joaquin). Totally symbolizes Valencia CF. If there is any guy I would have manage my team other than Jose Mourinho, it would be Valverde. Too bad that our front office seems so hopeless. The only positives where Vicente, Villa, Joaquin and Hildebrant in the goals. Banega was ok, our defense was a joke(Miguel needs to get fit and leave the night clubs alone), and our manager was the WORST of it all. How could somebody just be so clueless??... This 4-3-3 doesn't work. We need to play a 4-4-2 and if by any chance we sign a playmaker like Van Der Vaart, then we can play a 4-2-3-1. The current formation we play does not allow our 2 wingers to run down the wing and cut in. Just horrible. Painful to watch.


I really want a new manager. Jose Mourinho(He's very expensive though), Ernesto Valverde, Marcelino Garcia, or Unai Emery. Good pressure, well organized counter attacks executed with pace and precision, and making use of wingers, Mourinho having Malouda and Robben, Valverde has Valdo and Riera, Marcelino has Serrano/Munitis and Jorge Lopez, and Unai has Crusat and Ortiz. Any of those guys would be a great manager at Valencia I feel. They play the right STYLE of football for these lads who's main assets are technique, precision, and pace. Koeman simply just doesn't play in the way to get the best out of his ridiculously talented squad that he has at his disposal, and yet seems to have NO CLUE on how to use it. I'm so frustrated.



I saw Barca and I was so pissed. First of all, Eto'o was UNFAIRLY robbed of a goal he scored CLEARLY ONSIDES yet somehow the disgrace of a linesman put his flag up. Ronnie's goal was INCREDIBLE. One of the best goals of the season. But man, THIERRY HENRY.... My goodness how many chances did he want???.... He was put through in perfect position at least 3 TIMES by Ronnie and he could not find a finish. Eto'o as well. Yes he scored a good goal in the 2nd half, but he too was WIDE OPEN after latching onto a perfect pass from Xavi and he somehow missed the target. Oh man... Not to take away from Kun Aguerro who just absolutely OWNED Carlos Puyol and Rafa Marquez(They're both so slow I know it makes you furious).He slashed through them with his speed, precision, and control on the ball. I don't think its over for Barca because its been proven recently that Real Madrid is NOT a great team, and they also have the Champions League to concentrate on. You guys still have enough talent to pull off a Liga title this season. Rijkaard and company just need to do something about that defense up the wings where teams that play them seem to aim towards.


I know your rather fed up with Rijkaard as well. What candidates would you like to see potentially looked at as a replacement for Rijkaard??.. I think Scolari will be available after Euro 2008. And possibly Marco Van Basten as well whom I hear is possibly looking to get back to the club football scene after Euro 2008 as well. I think those 2 would be good candidates for your team.
and the NEW
PR, I think we both share the same sentiments!

Both have all the talent in the world and both cannot make the most out of it!

BOTH coaches HAVE to go! I mean, Rijkaard has no excuses, his squad is just PACKED with talent, its absolutely rediculous to watch Eto'o, Henry, Ronaldinho, Messi, Iniesta, Deco, Xavi, Toure, Bojan all in attack and not be on top of the table! That is a balanced, crazy attack and midfield! The defence was SHOCKING! But as you say, I cannot take anything away from Aguerro, who should be in a HUGE club! Him with Messi for Argentina is a SCARY propsect for WC 2010! His body feints were immaculate!

Koeman has had long enough now I feel! Its just not happening! Mr Billionare boss should be forking out for a coach, along with that creative midfielder and you guys could really turn things around!

Im not so sure about Van Basten, who like Rijkaard, appears HORRIBLE when it comes to selection! I mean he dropped Van Nistelrooy in the middle of last WC to play Kuyt..........? Is he serious? Not even the same class! Van Persie was on a wing....................! I would not want him at Barca, though I wouldnt mind if he bought in Robben from Madrid, though no room for him here!

I really dont know who I would want.....I know Scolari is sometimes a bit rash also, he and Ronnie have had a few run-ins from what I hear. Plus leaving Queresma out of the WC was a bad move I beleive! Though, no doubt tactically he is a master!

Really, I would love to see Ferguson or Wenger come in, ha ha ha ha. Never gonna happen, but hey, why not offer a big sum, Barca have the cash! Both tactically brilliant, both know talent, and both play great formations consistently!

Mourinho would be good to see the defence tighten up and I kinda miss seeing him on a touchline! No matter how much I hated him!

Title definately not over yet, not with Madrids shaky form! But Barca cant let anymore points go begging and the head to head will be HUGE!!!!!!

Valencia still have a shot at Europe (well the UEFA Cup), which they should really be aiming at!

Ah well, Champions League this week and its CRUNCH TIME! Damn AC Milan might make it now, with Arsenals recent crisis!







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