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and the NEW
Yeh, the Valencia medical team appear incompetent! Just sending someone to a phsycologist alone for physical pain is enough to cause a big rift! That is plain demoralising!

I actually saw plenty of footage and pictures of Eto'o in pre-season training with the squad! He may not have participated in everything, but he was sure there a LOT of the time! Though, I think he is injury prone, he even looks injury prone for some reason (if thats possible)! Yeh, he did collapse instantly against Inter! It was after trying to curl the ball to the far past with the inside of his right. Even looked painful! He just looked like he twisted his leg too far around when he shot!

I think a big defensive problem for Barca, was the had no defensive mids. So a lot of the time on the counter, the first and last line of defence was Puyol! With both Deco and Toure on, they should have some solid midfield defence. And now with Abidal, Zambrotta, and Puyol (when his back) they have at least 4 fast defenders. Though, the main problem for me was the Marshal, nobody was organising the defence! Not Valdez or Puyol! Instead, Puyol would sometimes stray out of position and ball watch! Rather than everyone picking up their man! This is what Milito is meant to be great at doing, so hopefully he marshels the lines if he becomes a regular, and comfortable at the back. Marquez and Thuram are slow as you can get, though at least Thuram can defend well!

Spain and England should both get the job done! England to me at least, looked very good against Germany, and should have really got the win! Though Lamps is a big loss, it might give Gerrard (if he plays with pain killers) a lot more control of the midfield. Lamps is very dominant in the midfield, and when he plays, you seem to loose sight of the other centre mid. It happened to both Ballack and Gerrard!

Man United have a HUGE amount of depth in midfield, with Nani, Anderson, Hargreaves, Carrick, Scholes, Giggs and Ronaldo. I dont really like Fletcher or Oshea and the jury is still out on Eagles. Forward depth is good, just too many injuries, its really their backs where the depth is thin.


and the NEW
QUOTE(PR316 @ Aug 31 2007, 09:24 PM) [snapback]355765[/snapback]
I'm looking forward to picking my fantasy team for the Champions League. I already have a Premiership and Liga fantasy team at www.soccernetfantasy.com Hoping to get lucky in something and win some money, maybe. Are you playing this year??...


Well I will continue to play premierleague fantasy at premierleague.com. However, I am about to sign up for the soccernetfantasy.com Champions League game. Do you play in a competition with friends in that one, or just against all the randoms on the site?
PR316
I'm not in a competition with friends. I just play against all the randoms.


What I'm REALLY waiting for is the Champions League fantasy to start. They should start registration soon for that one.
PR316
Now it turns out that Vicente has scar tissue in his thigh. He'll be out another month it looks like. This is really crazy. Without Vicente on that left side, Villa is left alone to do alot of attacking. Vicente can dribble at defenders, cross, cut inside the center,, and play 1-2s with Villa. Joaquin and Villa are starting to work together better but it will take some more time before they get the kind of chemistry Villa has with Vicente. In fact, when Valencia went on their 7 game winning streak, the biggest reason for that IMO was Vicente's return, because Silva was not really doing much, and Joaquin was still in an adapting process with the team.


Very strange with Eto'o. He really didn't see what I would say is an EXTREME amount of action and within minutes of stepping onto the field as a sub in the 2nd half, he's down in front of goal clutching his thigh. Looked painful indeed. This is unfortunate for Barca unless if Henry develops the type of understanding and teamwork with Ronaldinho that Eto'o already has with him.


Anyway, good thing that the leagues have stopped for a couple of weeks. Alot of these players need to get fit.


Spain got a gift against Iceland on Saturday, but there was alot of dirty play by Iceland and in my eyes shady officiating going on. Those linesmen had to be some of the worst in calling offsides on occasions were both Villa and Torres had opportunities. Villa in particular would have had a goal but was called offside in what was a blown call IMO. But onward to Latvia on Wednsday in a must must win for Spain. Portugal drew, and England looked very good, and Germany is strong. France and Italy had their predictable affair with no attacking and all defense with lots of fouls and lots of diving. Horrible match that was.


Anyway, I recently was looking at some videos of Thierry Henry in the 2005/2006 season and he was still awesome then. Seriously, is the man not one of the best dribblers you've ever seen???... Its amazing to watch this guy with the ball on his foot... What other players do you think are top dribblers in the football world???..
and the NEW
Yeh, I read that about Vicente. Not good for Valencia!

I hate when the Club matches stop, the ONLY match I got to see was England Vs Israel, and like against Germany, England played like it was the Premier League. Used their speed, stanima and strength. Was good to see and one more thing, I think Barry deserves to stay in the team along with Wright Phillips, instead of Beckham and Lampard. So does Owen. Why change a winning formula?! Joe Cole has looked great since coming back from injury, and I think he plays his best football for England.

Spain and Portugal surprisingly didnt win their matches, though I didnt get to see them, except highlights.

I get to see Argentina Vs Australia, and England Vs Russia this week!

Italy and France was predictable, a good result for France, and this leaves Italy reeling! They too, are going to need to come home strong in their next few matches!

Brazil beat the US also in another match of decent quality, where apparently yet again, Ronnie split the defence with his lazer guided passes!

Henry was INCREDIBLE before last season. He was such a great dribbler, but the most important thing, was that he could do it at electric pace. Much like Cristiano Ronaldo.

Best dribblers today, at sheer pace (which is rarely seen), include Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Robben for me. Its hard enough to keep the ball right on your foot when dribbling, but these guys can do it whilst running as fast as anyone else in the game (who dont even have a ball at their feet).

The best pure dribbler, Ronaldinho. He has that imaculate touch, with an arsenal of moves to trick defenders (though he cant run at top speed and maintain the quality).

There are other guys like Robinho, Kalou, Iniesta, Joe Cole who I think have great feet and are good dribblers, but I dont think they have the incredible touch and ability to pull off moves or run at full speed while keeping the ball right on their foot like some of the guys mentioned before them.

Young guys with an ability to become up there with the best of the dribblers: Anderson (from Man United) and Drenthe. I have seen these two pull off some of Ronaldinhos trickery!
PR316
Hopefully this is just a hard time Vicente is going through and will be back on the field indeed by next month. So many nagging injuries is not good especially when we speak of such a talented player. Valencia have depth, though, so they can cover the absence at the moment. But we need this guy back, desperately.


I keep hoping that Henry finds some form. And now with Eto'o out 2 to possibly 3 months, it would be nice if Ronnie could have someone put through on goal with those killer through balls. Lionel Messi still is the player who I could see being hailed as the best in the world, but he could definitely use some refinement and maturity. He loves to make runs and he scores some spectacular goals. If he could harness his talent he will indeed become the special player those talk about.


As far as dribblers go, I definitely like Robben also, but he's yet to reach the form he had at PSV. Injuries are probably the main reason, though. I think at full speed, Joaquin is amazing too with the ball at his foot. He makes some spectacular runs for sure.


Ibrahimovic is another. For such a big man, he seems to be a natural with the ball at his feet. Definitely one of the most phenominal players in the world period(Even though people question his finishing ability).

Of course few if any have Ronaldinho's tricks and ability to beat a man or two at a time.

Robin Van Persie is amazing. And he too can do it at full speed, and seems to be able to beat any defender.

Vicente on form doesn't have a bagful of tricks like Ronaldinho, but I always liked how he used feints, shoulder drops, and changes of pace to beat a man.

Definitely Lionel Messi. So much pace too at that. Hard to stop.

Of course young Ronaldo was also amazing with his talent, and ability to beat a man with a simple step over.

Zidane is underrated for sure. Throw in Kaka in there as well. Javier Zanetti was great when at top speed as well.


Alot of players have a deadly first touch, can run up the middle or on the wings and look flashy but not get past the defender. These guys however, almost always are able to do it.



and the NEW
Forgot about Zlatan, he has some great pure dribbling ability, and some tricks (he loves the Elastico, same as Ronnie).

Robben also had great ability in his early days at Chelsea, but without doubt it is injury that has hampered him. He runs SO DAMN FAST, and runs on his tiptoes, so the ball barely leaves the tips of his feet. A very weird dribbling style, but hey, it works!

Van Persie does some great scoops, he faints one way, and then scoops the ball around the front of him then shoots. Other than this, I havent seen many tricks from all the games I have watched him. He also lacks that electic pace, and I just dont think he has that magnificent touch on the ball. I wouldnt have him up with these guys as far as pure dribbling.

I agree with the Vicente part, Torres does this also, a quick change of pace and he can go past a defender. Ronaldinho uses body fains brilliantly also, they are something that is a MUST in indoor!

Cristiano Ronaldo I think has a VERY overrated stepover, he doesnt transfer his body weight when he does it, only flashes his legs over the ball, which doesnt really trick anyone. Its more his sizzling acceleration (one of the fastest in the game no doubt) and his great close control over the ball, that allows him to run around defenders and through gaps. Much like Messi. Though Messi can change angle quicker, whereas Ronaldo has more tricks in his arsenal at times.

Zidane has GREAT control over the ball. He loved that turn, where you roll it under one foot, and then under the other as you spin a 360. He was probably the best in the world at that move! Zidane was so great though, because of his ability to find space, and movement OFF the ball, along with his splendid ball control! Have a watch of this clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_ncwe5LwerI

I have seen Kaka stuff up his dribbling on numerous occassions, its more his speed, power and smarts that does it for him. He does have good control over the ball, but not the greatest touch.

On that note, Denilson used to be PHENOMENAL! And old Ronaldo was similar in that he had the sheer pace and dribbling ability as young Ronaldo.

Robinho is definately one who is coming of age!

Dribbling ability and tricks are my favourite part of football, I will watch a whole match of some of these guys, just to get to see a glimpse of their tricks. Jay Jay O used to do some sick tricks also!
Fitz
Just got back from the Australia-Argentina friendly at the MCG and Messi is a fucking freak. I didn't realise just how good he was until watching him live. The Argentinian's are just so great to watch all together. Real classy.
PR316
Agree about the Argentinians, Fitz. They're artists at the game. Its too bad they couldn't win Copa America.


Yeah, Zidane was a master. Technical brilliance. It seemed impossible to get the ball off him at times. And he was so strong physically in the middle, that defenders could not outmuscle him. That added another dimension to deal with when trying to get the ball off of Zizou.


Robben has always had that strange way of dribbling and its so funny at how effective he is with it. And the speed is breath taking. He's VERY FAST.

I actually think Van Persie is pretty fast. Maybe not as fast as guys like Eto'o, Torres, Villa, or Joaquin. But I've seen some games where he's been able to beat defenders running down the wings and with the ball seemingly glued to his foot. He's definitely more quick/explosive than fast. But I think his pure speed is a bit underrated.


I was watching some videos on Denilson and he was amazing.



How about the best finishers??... Or more specific, the most realiable finishers??...







Maxy
Talking of dribblers, a prime Ryan Giggs was awesome with the ball at his feet running at pace. He may not have used all the dazzling tricks to befuddle his opponents but he was a genuine wing wizard.
Fitz
QUOTE(PR316 @ Sep 12 2007, 01:30 AM) [snapback]357036[/snapback]
Agree about the Argentinians, Fitz. They're artists at the game. Its too bad they couldn't win Copa America.


Yeah, seems as if that Brazil is just Argentina's bogey team. They always seem to choke against Brazil.
and the NEW
Fitz, true, Brazil is Argentinas bogey team! They have just been so poor in the big matches throughout the last decade +. Remember when they had the best run in recorded history I beleive, of all teams in the South American qualifying league, and then they were drawn in the group of death and failed to make it out.

Then there was last WC, where they were again drawn in the group of death, played dazzling football, the best of any team in the WC, and then they lost. Same thing happened in the Copa America. Just dont perform when its needed.

As far as Argentina Vs Australia, yep, Messi was BRILLIANT! Just beat guys everytime he got the ball! Argentina took over at times, but at others, it was a very close match. 1-0 probably reflected a fair result, not bad at all for Australia.

Maxy, I agree, Giggs was a great dribbler! One of the best no doubt, to be in 2 eras of Man United greatness and prooving himself as a star in each era, is sheer class! The man is a living legend!

PR, agree on Zizou. Cant say I agree on Van Persie.

There is also 2 different kinds of pace in the game. Guys like Henry, Eto'o, Kaka have great pace over distance and are very fast accelerators. On the other hand, Cristiano Ronaldo, Messi, Robben EXPLODE off the mark, but cant keep the pace up after the first 20-30 metres.

Most reliable finishers? WOW, thats a tough one. I have seen guys like Henry, Eto'o, Rooney stuff up on SO many easy opportunities infront of goal. I would have to say the most reliable finisher infront of goal is Van Nistelrooy. That being said, I would rather any of the 3 aforementioned guys (especially Henry and Eto'o) in my team. Luckily, they are!

Who do you think PR?
PR316
I definitely agree on Van Nistlerooy. Very direct and very clinical in front of goal. Wastes very little and doesn't really try to get creative to score SPECATCULAR goals. He just gets it in there. He's not my kind of striker. He can't create much on his own or for others. He's kinda slow for me also. But he gets it done when it counts.

I actually find Henry for the most part, to be very reliable but he has definitely had some shocking instances where some easy goals he has blown for some reason. Like in the first week of the Spanish league, he had a golden opportunity to score the winning goal but it clipped the crossbar.

Eto'o for me, blows too many shots on goal. Sure, he scores alot of goals, and alot of them are spectacular. But he also takes lots of shots too. That said, he is my kind of striker, because he can create for himself and others, and has the pace and workrate I like to see.

Rooney is definitely not a reliable finisher. Like Eto'o he has pace and workrate, and he's persistent. The guy works like a horse out there and its because of those attributes that he is a very good if not great player in my eyes. But finishing isn't his strong suit IMO.

Ronaldo even still, is a top class finisher. He may not be what he was, but in front of goal, he is very reliable even still.

Freddy Kanoute is very clinical in front of goal.

Villa is very reliable for the most part, and he can set up alot for others too.

Guys like Torres and Ibrahimovic are steadily improving in this area, but Torres blew a VERY EASY shot on goal in the early goings against Latvia last night after being put through beautifully by Xavi.

and the NEW
I agree 100% on that analysis PR.

Zlatan and Torres definately need improvement, not genuine clinical strikers.

Old Ronaldo is very clinical! Guys like Klose and Toni are also good infront of goal! Drogba is another who is very clinical!

But like you say, most of these guys who are clinical, dont create their own chances, and therefore HAVE to be clinical to survive in the top leagues. The guys who create for themselves, can afford to make errors.

I think Henry used to be more clinical same as Ronaldo at Barcelona. This is why at the time, both were INCREDIBLE, because they just didnt create their own chances, but they finished many of them too!

I think Villa is a lot like Zlatan, both are good strikers, who also have the ability to lay off some great passes! Both have skills on the ball, and pace to burn! 2 of my type of strikers!

I saw the pass Ronnie made against the US, INCREDIBLE! Near the start, where he looked right, then curled it over the midfield and defence, for a guy down the left to run onto (who then hit the post with his shot). I just watched the highlights on youtube. Even the defence infront of Ronnie went the wrong way from that far back. I swear, every singel game Ronaldinho just makes me sit back and go, WOOOOOWWWWWW. The vision, creativity and passing ability of the man is absolutely super human! I dont even know how he spots these runs, let alone executes the pass! The more I watch of him, the more I think he is the greatest talent I have EVER seen. HUGE statement, but he is just different to all the other greats like Pele, Maradona, Cryft etc. Even if he is tripple marked, he will just draw them in and feed the perfect pass onto someone else on the field, it just adds a different dimension to his game that none of them had and I have never seen before! His lack of defence is his ONLY downfall IMO.
PR316
I would prefer Ronnie over Pele to be honest. Only Maradona would I probably take over Ronnie. Some say that Zidane was better because he was able to do it at the international level. But at the same time, I know that the international level is a different story with usually a bunch of stars all on one team trying to work together. Ronnie has uncanny vision because the way he spots alot of those runs that are made is almost super human. One will always wish he contributed more on defense but that can't take away what he does well.


Fernando Torres is slightly improving IMO in the finishing category, mostly due to the talent around him at Liverpool(Players like that will force anyone to elevate their own game). Torres also has a poor first touch. You've seen that I'm sure. If he improved just those little things in his game, he'd be up there sooner than later with the top strikers in the world.


Looking forward to La Liga and the Premiership this weekend. Some good matches to look forward to and the Champions League coming up as well this Tuesday and Wednsday.


Man U and Valencia get some key players back this weekend I think. Hopefully that will help them up their form in time for the important matches down the stretch.





and the NEW
Yeh, Torres does stuff up a lot of his first touches. He also stuffs up a lot of touches after that (he has a weird thing with his grip, where he seems to slip over a hell of a lot!). Half the time his on the ball, he ends up on the deck! But at other times, he uses his sheer strength to keep himself up even when being pushed around, weird! Maybe he needs a new pair of boots with long screw in studs!

Yeh, no doubt Zizou could do it at international level. But Ronnie was a STAR in the 2002 WC Brazil won, he just didnt get the credit because all eyes were on Rivaldo and Ronaldo! But Ronnie played VERY well in that cup. He has also done well the Copa America before last where Brazil won, and he won the Confederations Cup (thanks to a good tournament by Ronnie). So being one of the top players in all major Brazilian competitions, he has stood out and won them all! Sure he doesnt always have great big International Tournaments, but I have seen Zizou have his fair share of them also, being injured or red carded half the time in his WC appearances!

Same as Pele, he won 3 WCs, but the first two he barely played, one he only played in 2 matches! Not to mention, the 3rd WC was the best team ever assembled by Brazil! So his form at international level is good, but not outstanding either!

I heard the same thing about international level in regards to the World Player of the Year in December. "Experts" were saying how Kaka should be named it without doubt, as Cristiano Ronaldo only did well in the Premier League, whereas Kaka played well in the Champions League and at International Level? WTF is that? Kaka didnt even play at the Copa America, and what else has he done? Scored a few goals here and there? Ronaldo has been holding Portugal up throughout European Qualifying! Especially lately! Scoring the 2nd goal and drawing the foul for Simao to convert in the last match against Serbia.

Just makes me wonder a lot of the time, how much football a lot of these "experts" actually watch. But no doubt, following the Premier Leagues tradition, no player from there will win the Player of the Year award! Theres something with Continential Europe having a hold over that award! Maybe because La Liga and Serie A are watched less or something, it might leave an element of fantasy there or something. Im not sure.

On another note, Im excited about this weekends round of matches, and the Champions League! Might get to see Barca an entire Barca game for the first time this season!
and the NEW
CANNOT BELEIVE IT! ESPN is yet again showing NO Barca, No Real Madrid and NO Valencia. Cannot beleive it! 4 games being show this weekend, and especially no Barca for the 3rd week in a row! Are they even aware its the biggest club on the planet at the moment! That is some serious bad management right there! They better show them midweek in the Champs League yet Im still massively pissed off about this! I have written to them about it multiple times now, with no reply! Might as well choose another club to follow if I cant even watch them except for highlights on some bad quality youtube!!!!!
PR316
Down here in the States we have GolTV and its real cloke and dagger at the moment with no mention of what teams will be shown. All I know is that they are showing 3 games one after the other in the Spanish league. I know Spain had some problems with television rights with some football games, in particular Sevilla I believe. I really don't understand it.


I know that www.livefootballonline.com is a live stream of lots of matches that don't get shown on TV and I would recommend it but for no reason all of a sudden, my membership there was terminated. dntknw.gif Very weird. Wouldn't want you going through that. Plus its a real pain in the ass process to set up.


The only thing we can hope for is that those damn networks in Spain get their stuff straightened out.
PR316
Just saw the Barca/Osasuna match. OMG... Boring was the word. Barca had PLENTY of possession and executed some nice passes and all but it all lead to NOTHING. Another 0-0 draw for Barcelona against a team that mostly played defense. Lionel Messi did not even play. Is he injured???... Ronnie was himself but just could not find any way past that wall that Osasuna had. Osasuna predictably stacked the box and Thierry Henry has just not been himself for a while now.


Valencia were not much better. Saw this one on delay, and I was totally underwhelmed. Villa came on as a sub late but couldn't really do much. The match had already been decided. Morientes and Silva both scored some nice goals and Joaquin was the best player on the field overall(Just like he was in the Spain/Latvia Euro qualifier), but the team does not look like its gelled. One tries to be optimistic and hope that once Vicente and Zigic are available, the team will be more dynamic. Fernandes is coming along nicely and looked good considering his limited time. Overall, I'll take the 3 points and all but the effort was not that good.


At the moment, Sevilla is looking like the strongest team to me, with Real Madrid closley behind. Barca and Valencia are still working out the kinks and its looking like it will take some time for both squads to hit their peaks.


Man U get another grind out win as they experience a similar trend that is lead by Barca and Valencia in slow starts to their 2007/2008 seasons. Chelsea were held along with Liverpool, and Arsenal got a nice win, with Cesc Fabregas looking better and better. I still view Liverpool as the overall strongest looking team at the moment, with Arsenal behind. Its not likely that either will win the league, but at the moment, it is what it is. And they are the teams to beat I think for now.


Overall, a disappointing week of football for me and I'm just waiting for the Champions Leage.
and the NEW
Well I caught 7 matches this week.

Arsenal has definately added some steel at the back, with both Clichy and Sagna looking good on the wings and Toure holding up the centre back brilliantly. Almunia is also looking very good in goals! Just think, Gallas is still out!

Fabregas, Hleb and Rosicky are being played together in the midfield and as happened last season when all three were played together, they looked magical! Fabregas has finally added that scoring dimension to his game and if he keeps this up, will be one of the very best in the world soon, up there with the likes of Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Kaka.

Liverpool (like so many other top teams this weekend) rested a lot of their top players. Then tried to bring on Torres and Gerrard late, but it was too little too late.

Chelsea looked ordinary, enough said! Though Joe Cole is playing the best Ive ever seen him, both for England and Chelsea (now that he finally got on). Though, he cannot convert all that skill to goals yet, hopefully it will come because he could really be something special if he remains injury free!

The A Villa V Man City game was interesting, great to see speed on speed, with Richards marking Agbonlahor! Two lightening quick guys!

Man United looked like RUBBISH, and luckily got the win! Playing Evra on the wing, Giggs upfront was rediculous tactics by Ferguson. He should have had Evra as wing back, Giggs on the left wing, and Saha upfront with Tevez, all in their natural positions! Man United have been doing a Chelsea so far this season, grinding out wins to keep them in the running!

Absolutely Liverpool and Arsenal are looking the best this season! Would be great to see them both up there at the top by the end of the season! Would be a HUGE turnaround for both, especially Liverpool, who have spent so long as second fiddle to the top guns!

Atletico Vs Murcia game was utter JUNK! Cant beleive I actually sat through it! Sevilla looked awesome against Recreativo and always remind me of watching Brazil when they are in form! Navas, Alvez and Kanoute are all class acts! The entire team has great pace and touch, they really just miss a bit of structure, but thats what makes them SO entertaining!

Saw some highlights of Joaquin, he is looking good lately! Im getting frustrated not being able to watch Barca, cant really comment, though prob better I dont get to watch them if the other teams are just stacking the defence! Though I always like watching Ronnie with his daily magic! He always executes a pass, hits a free kick or pulls a move that is different to anything seen before. Once a match your sure to see a piece of his wizardry!

Good for Valencia to grind out the win! Didnt get to see Real, but I heard they didnt look impressive, though they are getting the job done, I gotta give them that!

Disappointing week overall for me also, time to watch the Champions League, where its the 1 v 2 seeds in the groups! Some big matches, of them I will be watching Liverpool Vs Porto, Real V Bremen, AC Milan V Benfica then Barca V Lyon, Man United V Lisbon and finally probably the best and most interesting matchup of the entire Champions League, Arsenal V Sevilla.

What do you think will be the outcome of that match? I actually think Sevilla will win 2-1.

Oh yeh, Messi is injured also, he picked up a calf strain during the Australia match I beleive. He should be back for the Champions League where hopefully Henry can find some form!
PR316
I like Sevilla in a thriller over Arsenal this time around, with a 3-2 type score. Then I think Arsenal will return the favor in the 2nd leg. Once Gallas gets back, Arsenal will only get stronger.

Chelsea still looks strong in my eyes. Not certain they'll challenge for the league, though. I honestly thought Man United was the favorite and on paper, their squad is possibly the most talented in the world, but team is lacking spark. Little if any chemistry and hardly any creativity.

Sevilla are such a joy to watch. Very consistent side with a great attack. Their holes will get exploited if they face quick counter attacking teams like Liverpool or Valencia(If they ever get in form that is). But they're such an amazing team and if they won the league this year, I can't say that they don't deserve it.


Valencia vs Shalke should be very interesting because you have 2 quality sides here that have had rather pedestrian starts to their season campaigns. Shalke are a strong side though, and the way Valencia looks, I wouldn't be shocked to see Shalke pull out a close and ugly home win. Even though I feel confident that Valencia will make it out of the group into the final tournament, I just have this feeling that its going to be brutal and ugly. I really hope and pray that the team finds that spark because its just not looking too good at the moment. Valencia have more pace than Shalke and IMO are the more skilled team. But Shalke are physically strong and play the type of style that frustrates Valencia.


Real Madrid for now look to be the 2nd strongest team and alot of it is owed to Sneijder IMO. He's the best player in La Liga at the moment. He's getting it done by either assisting goals or scoring them himself, and some good intensity on defense. Real however, has had it easy thus far and we really won't know until they face the big guns of the league. And being in the Champions League will also to take a toll on this club as well(Even though they lucked out and got an easy group).


Anyway, whats disappointing more than anything at the moment are the TV networks. I really hope they get this stuff straightened out because its getting ridiculous not knowing if I'll even get to see our beloved La Liga football. English football is awesome and I'll always watch. But La Liga is what I always anticipate before the weekend.







and the NEW
Yeh, Valencia Vs Schalke will be a good game, though I think Valencia have too much for them. I dont really like the German teams all that much, other than Bayern of which is now a powerhouse once more (disappointing they miss the Champs League). Though, the Valencia game is not being shown here.

I agree also, the Barca game is the only game I really get EXCITED about, its the game I watch with total intensity! I love the other matches, but you know how it is if they are not your team! Great to watch good football, but you arent too concerned either way who wins. Like I watch Arsenal and Man United and hope they win, but I dont get crushed if they loose. Im also starting to like Liverpool this season.

Sevilla could struggle with an injury or two and its always hard for them as they dont have as much depth as the big squads over the course of the season.

I got an email back from ESPN, you are right, it is the TV networks in Spain. ESPN said they hope they will sort this out soon and are working towards it, so we can continue to enjoy La Liga!

Spanish football is lagging back in the dark ages compared to the Premier League. Their camera coverage is aweful, even at Camp Nou in comparison to most clubs in the Premier League. Their system of determining refs is horrible and you get some hopeless refs and therefore decisions, now their TV networks are interferring! No wonder the Premier League is dominating, because if Spain did sort out their mess, they could really make La Liga rival the Premier League! They sure have the star power! Just very backward business!
PR316
Valencia and Real Madrid are off to winning starts while Chelsea and Liverpool had to settle for draws.


Real looked very good against Werder Bremen I must say, but the pace of the match for the most part was boring. The best goal of the match was by Boubacar Sanogo of Werder Bremen. Sanogo is an underrated player for sure. Hope to see some of him in the World Cup in 2010. Raul and Van Nistlerooy provided the goals for Real Madrid. The team showed alot of strength thats for sure and are going to be difficult to beat.


Valencia looked decent, at least in the 2nd half. The start of the match was very boring and ugly with lots of fouling and roughhouse play. In the 2nd half, Valencia played more attack minded and tested the goal keeper. It wasn't until the 64th minute though when Miguel launched a nice lob to Villa who on sheer pace beat the Shalke defenders and routed the goal keeper for a classy finish. Miguel and Villa connected very often and looked dangerous in the whole 2nd half but the score stayed at 1-0 with Shalke never threatening.


Chelsea were held by Rosenborg. Lampard and Drogba were obviously missed. Liverpool now were forced to play with 10 men after Pennant was showed red for bickering with the referee. Torres looked dangerous at times but couldn't put anything together and was frustrated throughout. I think he was given a yellow card for diving as well, and it wasn't very long after that incident that Rafa Benitez took him off. Porto are no pushover, however. I think they have a shot at getting into the Champions League, but I doubt they'd make it past the 1st fixture.


Spanish football is suffering also from attendance I think. Too many matches I see with alot of empty seats whereas in an EPL match, you can't find an empty seat and the crowd is absolutely INSANE.. The refs are terrible alot of the time as well and you throw in this deal with the networks, and this all spells alot of money lost because of greed seemingly. I pray this gets sorted out soon.


I can't wait for Sevilla and Arsenal. An awesome encounter right there. This match will produce attractive football and I expect some goals to be scored here. Both Kanoute and Fabregas are on my Champions League fantasy team so this will certainly be interesting. Have little doubt that this match will live up to the hype.
and the NEW
I thought Liverpool looked TERRIBLE! Porto exposed them for pace, Mascherano looked hesitant in midfield and just didnt click with Gerrard. Torres was by himself most of the time and never really created much. Kuyt looked a very heavy touch and the defence was exposed for pace, especially by the sheer skill of Ricardo Qeuresma! He is a brilliant dribbler! Liverpool lacked the intensity, though at home, Im sure it will be a different story. Liverpool were really lucky to take a point from this game!

Real Madrid looked their usual clinical self as of lately and at the end of last season. Not brilliant, but always rolling towards getting the job done. Ruud in his usual positions to clutch those loose balls. How about their depth now, bringing on Robben, Drenthe and Robinho from the bench, incredible! They helped open up the game with their creativity once they were on! Diego played great for Werder but just never had the support! They missed Frings a LOT I beleive.

AC Milan looked dangerous on the attack though did have some holes at the back, though this seemed to be laziness and arrogance, whereas in their big knockout matches, Im sure they will tighten up this area. I think Milan (and with Ronaldo coming back soon) will be a force to be reckoned with again in this Champions League.

I definately think the teams who did not perform the best last season, who will be the most dangerous this season and I could see any of them possibly winning it, are Real Madrid, Roma and Porto. None are really big guns of European football lately, but I beleive each has the talent at their disposal to take the League, all going well!

Valencia was not on here, though I caught some of the Chelsea game and they looked like.........Chelsea! Their usual, uncreative, powerful selves!

All my teams play tomorrow, Barca, Arsenal and Man United. I enjoy their football the most of any clubs in the world, so tomorrow will be a very special day for me! ha ha. Hope to see each do well and I think Barca and Man United should have it covered, though Sevilla will definately trouble Arsenal!

BrutalBodyShots
Holy shit this thread is about a week away from its anniversary!

and the NEW
In addition to the comments I made above on the first day of action, the second day of action is now over.

Barcelona totally DOMINATED Lyon, who dont look a force whatsoever anymore with all their injury woes along with departures! It was away from home for them, but it was too one sided! Deco had a great game, Messi had some brilliance but also missed a couple of great opportunities. Ronaldinho had his moments, but unlike him, had some very poor passing on some occassions! Henry much the same. Overall though, a very good performance by Barca! They looked very sturdy at the back, though they didnt get tested much! Toure definatley adds that steel to their midfield! Oh, and how bout when Ronaldinho was taken off, he looked like he was ready to kill Rijkaard! He was not a happy man at all and no wonder, he looked more motivated in this game, than I saw him all last season! He was just not executing well on the night.

Man United looked terrible in the first half, but turned it on a bit more in the second half. Van Der Sar saved the day though! Cristiano Ronaldo had a good game!

Arsenal V Sevilla was a good match. Very free flowing and both had their chances. Though the big difference was Arsenal dominated the centre of the park. They played some good balls straight up the middle, whereas Sevilla tried all their attacks down the flanks as usual. They really do miss, much like Valencia, a dominant guy in the centre midfield who creates chances straight down the guts of the field! The 3-0 scoreline didnt really reflect the match, but Arsenal did deserve to win, no doubt about it!

On another note, just read then that the chosen one, Jose Mourinho left Chelsea as I type! NO IDEA who is going to fill in for him on such short notice or where Mourinho is going to end up! I wonder if Hiddink will come from Russia..........perhaps Mourinho will end up at Tottenham? Though that would be like Capello going to Real. A coach totally opposing the clubs natural style! Interesting time for Chelsea, though not an ideal time for this to happen, with the Champions League just kicking off and the important thick of the season starting to take off!
PR316
Was shocked to hear that Mourinho left, considering all that he has done for the club. But if it is indeed true, then its because the director forced him out IMO. From what I read, fans of Chelsea are VERY UPSET with this. Who knows what really happened there.


Arsenal looked amazing. IMO, Cesc Fabregas at the moment is the top player in Europe. Just for the moment. As of now, he looks unstoppable. Very entertaining match that I thought Sevilla would pull out, but who knows. It could be different in Spain during the next go around between these 2 sides.


Barcelona looked very good. Henry really needed that goal. Hopefully this will lift some pressure off him and allow him to free flow into the game more. Barca were not tested last night, however. We won't truly know how they deal with a team that has pace and knows how to get on the run and counter attack. But their own attack is starting to gell by the way it looks and this can only mean good stuff for them this weekend when La Liga resumes.


Man United overall did not impress me. Sure I was thrilled that Ronaldo scored(He's on my fantasy team), but this season has been really underwhelming as far as Man U go. That spark they had last year in attack is gone at the moment, and they just don't look that dangerous on the pitch anymore. That said, the talent the squad has is ridiculous, and there is always potential for something more. Maybe when they get Rooney back things will start to change.


Damn. Its been a year already, huh??... Wow...
and the NEW
Yeh, a season moves fast!

Rooney was back for the Sporting Lisbon game..........he was upfront with Giggs.

I thought Man United looked the best they have all season in that second half. Not how they looked last year, but I beleive its starting to click a bit more! With Tevez or Saha put upfront and Giggs slotted back into the left hand side, we could get some more flow to their game.

I agree, at the moment, Fabregas is looking the best in the world, but there is a LONG way too go!

Its Kaka Vs Ronaldo for player of the year in December, which I think Kaka has a firm hold on, though if Ronaldo performs exceptionally well in the next couple months, you never know..............

Next year I think Messi and Ronaldinho will be up there amongst it, along with Fabregas possibly.

Interesting to hear Eto'o and Messi say the other day, they beleive Ronaldinho is still the best player on the planet!
PR316
Wow. It looks like I'll get to see Barca vs Sevilla and Valencia vs Betis this weekend. Thats definitely refreshing to hear. We'll see though.


Man U vs Chelsea I'm also looking forward to. Chelsea is pretty much a mess right now, though. Man United aren't quite as dangerous as they were last year but they should still be favored to come out victorious in a very rough and tough physical match.


Barca vs Sevilla should be a very fan friendly match. Sevilla are reeling as well after getting owned by Arsenal this past Wednsday. They have their work cut out for them at Camp Nou, thats for sure. If Barca beat these guys in convincing fashion, then that is a strong statement considering that Sevilla are in all probability the strongest team in La Liga for now.


Valencia should pick up 3 against Betis if all things are clicking. We'll see. They don't look so dangerous at the moment but in football, anything can happen.
and the NEW
Yeh, apparently I get to see the Barca game and Real game. Though, Valencia are not on (from what is scheduled), though what actually comes on is a different story!

I think all the big guns, Barca, Real and Valencia will get a win this week. Messi is looking better and better lately, much like Ronaldo last season, this could be his season! Ronaldinho, while he has not found top form, looks in a lot better shape (he has lost a lot of that muscle mass by the looks of it) and looks a lot fitter and motivated! Henry is also always dangerous! Add to that Toure is playing great, the backs look more oragnised, and Deco, Xavi and Iniesta in there all looking in peak form, you have some great threats! I dont think Sevilla will be able to cope with them at Camp Nou.

Chelsea V Man United, should be a win for Man U. Though Chelsea even without Mourinho, still have GREAT quality in their squad! They can beat any team in the world on their day!

Let the games begin!
and the NEW
Well Arsenal THUMPED Derby, though not sure that means much, still good for them and Abedayor is combining brilliantly with Fabregas! WTF is Benitez doing? Resting Torres again? Liverpool looked like junk for the second time and they better pick it up, because Agger and Alonso are both out for 6 weeks! They are really in deep water I beleive with the way they are playing! They have lost that attacknig drive!

ESPN had absolutely nothing on, couldnt even choose a program, then I just went back into the room and the Barca game came on near the end of the game, about 60th minute. Sevilla looked unusually to be doing what the rest of the teams do and stacking the defence which really pizzed me off! Though thank god for Messi and that last goal Sevilla scored, how about Oleguer! Watching the fukcing linesman and not even chasing Kanoute! Disgraceful!

Ronaldinho was said to have a calf injury he picked up on Friday, though I read rumours that he was partying the day before and was hungover! Hope this issue doesnt come back up as it did in France as it did all those years ago and during the WC (when it was said he spent all his time with his girlfriend of the time, shagging in the hallways of the hotel!). Big loss for Barca, who looked less sharp with Henry and Dos Santos out there. Who while is a good player, is nowhere near the level he is being hyped to be at! Henry looked very tired in this game and appeared to have lost a bit of pace, not sure whats going on with him, but he still looks like he has a lot to sharpen! Cant wait to see the due of Ronaldinho and Eto'o playing together again, the two that made Barca the attacking threat they are rumoured to be today!
PR316
I definitely feel where you are coming from as far as the Barca/Sevilla game went. Overall, I thought it was just a showcase for Lionel Messi. And while the team isn't looking exactly TERRIBLE, I can understand how you feel in wanting more attack threat, more goals, and definitely more entertainment. The team is actually noticeably improved on the defensive side of the ball. The way they gave up that goal that Kanoute scored was bad, though. Inexcusable IMO but it was in stoppage time at least. Heard the Ronnie rumors and I don't know what to make of them honestly. I know Rijkaard supposedly told Ronnie in the days leading up to this encounter that he "had to improve". But IMO its the whole TEAM that has to improve. Barca is a club that has shown higher level before and IMO its not fair to place it all on one player, no matter how great he is. Football is still a team sport and its team chemistry IMO that wins football matches, not individual players. Right now, it just seems the team lacks that spark that they were so known for. Eto'o's absence is notable. And it seems to be taking Thierry Henry a long time to adjust to his new team. I think at the moment there is a lack of understanding amongst the players. These things are fixed on the training ground, however. Surely Barca has enough wizards on that team to create more goal scoring chances. It just seems that the chemistry is not there at the moment.


Valencia are just looking decent, and for the moment nothing more. Lots of possession, lots of creation, lots of pace, but I'm just wondering where in the hell are the goals??... Villa was played in a role that was too withdrawn for me today. He needs to be in closer on goal IMO like when he was in the 2005/2006 season when Valencia ran more 1 striker formations, and they also did this in spots last season. He was paired up with Arizmendi and that partnership just didn't work. Either they get Morientes back out there with Villa, or just run 1 striker formations in the first half, and then have Morientes come on in the 2nd half because these rotations are just not effective. Fernandes looked very good and he seems to be sliding in Baraja's spot little by little, due to him starting today and Baraja not even seeing any time. Marchena was dangerous throughout and played better than Albelda has in 2 years. The defense of course is strong. Sad for Joaquin, though. It just HAD to be him scoring the winning goal against his former club. He was in tears right afterwards. Very emotional for him and for Betis fans indeed. If the team can hit form, we can be dangerous. But that seems a long ways away.


Real Madrid seem to be showing some vulnerability as well. Valladolid gave them alot of problems and IMO were clearly the better side and DESERVED to win. Madrid is a team loaded with talent but I question the toughness and heart of this team. They got very lucky to walk away with a point in this match, for they were outplayed the whole time.


Man United looked very good against a Chelsea that is starting to come apart at the seams. The club is clearly affected by the departure of Mourinho and Man U showed some killer instinct today with Tevez and Saha looking like the world class players that they are.

Arsenal continue to look DEADLY. At the moment, they have the most potent attack in Europe. So much firepower on that squad and they are starting to look very serious IMO. A potential finalist in the Champions League and a certain challenger for the Premiership title. Cesc Fabregas is in line to become player of the year IMO.

I think Benitez wants to rotate as much as possible, similar to what Flores is doing in Valencia. This can be good AT TIMES, but constantly, NO... Especially when your always resting your big guns.
and the NEW
Didnt see the Valencia game, but saw they won and knew you would be happy! They are getting the job done, which is very important for a team that is not in top form!

Ronaldinho criticism is bad and unjustified I beleive, he is playing as well as any other on that team (maybe behind Messi), but he has set up some great goals already this season, and his only played in 4 matches, of which he hasnt even got the full 90 minutes in each! I just hope he doesnt get discouraged, or we might see him moving to Chelsea in the winter break! Im sure they would still be prepared to offer a fortune and they are desperately missing that creative player!

Chelsea did look bad against Man United, but to be fair, they werent doing too bad before Mikel got red carded! Tevez played well, though Saha was only on for a 20 minutes. He still did a little in that time! He is a world class player no doubt! Rooney also had a good game, but Carrick was man of the match for me!

Real looked AWEFUL, no fire, no hunger to win possession! They did look sharp going forward, especially with Robinho and Drenthe creating for them, and Van Nistelrooy nearly finished a couple of times, but they could not hold possession for long! Villadolid played some great football, good to see a team earning promotion not afraid to come out and play some attacking football! A lot of them just try and lock up, mark tight and draw games!

We are treated to a midweek game also in the Primera, before the weekends rounds of matches and then the Champions League next week, good times! Barca though now have Zaragoza (thought not in form) it is still a tough squad and a tough run for them, having already played Lyon and Sevilla in the last week!

How about Bayern Munich, incredible! I just wish they were in the Champions League this season, they are a world powerhouse at the moment!

On another note, how about Arsenals 70 million warchest to spend on transfers! The Emirates is generating them tons of cash of which Im sure will further ensure more takeover talk! Though, not sure they need anymore players at this point, Wenger seems to have developed his young talent beautifully!
PR316
Looks like Ronaldinho is once again left out of the squad. Barca has been pretty injury prone since the last season it seems. Of course thats assuming there is no major behind the scenes problem going on here.


Some midweek matches to look forward to indeed. Barcelona vs Zaragoza will be GREAT. Valencia vs Getafe is the match Valencia need to be able to put on a show. Sevilla vs Espanyol will be AWESOME.. Expect lots of goals there. Both sides like to get out and attack.


Now that I think of it, your right. Barca has really had a tough run. Lyon, Sevilla, and now Zaragoza. But wait, they also go to Levante this weekend before traveling to Stuttgart for the CL qualifier and then they welcome Atletico Madrid who at the moment is enjoying some good form, followed by a road game against Villareal. That is a VERY DEMANDING run of games. I guess resting some key players is not a bad thing at all.


Maxy
QUOTE(PR316 @ Sep 25 2007, 09:30 AM) [snapback]358690[/snapback]
Looks like Ronaldinho is once again left out of the squad. Barca has been pretty injury prone since the last season it seems. Of course thats assuming there is no major behind the scenes problem going on here.


According to reports in todays tabloids, Ronaldinho is extremely unhappy with life at Barcelona and his agent has actually agreed a 58m 5 year package for him to join Chelsea at the end of the season.

OK, he's a great player but if you had Roman Abromivich's money and wanted to build the best team in the world, wouldn't you rather go for the likes of Messi and Kaka? I mean both are younger and I believe are better buys if you're looking for world domination.
PR316
Why would Ronnie go to Chelsea anyway??.. Even if he was unhappy at Barcelona, Chelsea is a club in turmoil at the moment. Plus IMO at least, Ronaldinho would not really fit in well at Chelsea.


The last year or so Barca has really had to deal with injuries and backstage bickering. I think the money and the club being a favorite to win championships not only in Spain but the Champions League as well has kept the club together. Who knows how this will all turn out.
and the NEW
Ok, so here is what I know.

Reports were Ronnie was out partying the day before the match.

Zambrotta said himself that Ronnie went out 48 hours before the match, for a drink to a club. He didnt get drunk.

If I was Roman, I would rather Ronaldinho over either Messi or Kaka, especially Kaka, while I think he is a great player, he is not as dangerous match in and match out as Ronnie, not even close. Not to mention, he has only had one good season, he has a lot to proove still, as does Messi. Who lets face it, in 4 games he has 3 goals, Ronaldinho has 2 goals and an assist in his 4 games also. Messi is "brilliant", Ronaldinho is in a "crisis"..............? Funny how the media works.

While I dont think Ronaldinho would do his best at Chelsea, I do think Chelsea desperately need a creative midfielder like him, because they have the speed, the wingers, they really just need some creativity and perhaps some speed upfront. Perhaps if Roman is prepared to splash out money on Ronnie, he could also buy up Eto'o. These two are the most potent attacking threat when combined in world football I beleive, they just have an incredible understanding with eachother on the field.

Messi is also a great player and a very close friend of Ronnie, so if Ronnie leaves, I dont see Messi staying there for too long.

I think he is legitimately injured, as he has been out doing small amounts of exercises with his fitness coach.

He will be back next weekend I beleive, or perhaps in the Champions League and I beleive he will have a good season, its just WAY too early to say his in a crisis and from what I have seen of him, while not at his absolute best, he looks better to me than he appeared last season (and last season, he performed one of the best in the world I beleive, carrying Barca to be competitive in both the Champs League and La Liga, while if you look at the stats, he did as much as Kaka OR Ronaldo.
PR316
Well Ronaldinho's agent who just happens to be his brother as well, has pretty much put to rest all rumors of Ronnie leaving Barcelona anytime soon. You can go to www.goal.com and see for yourselves.


That said, like AndtheNEW pointed out, it is early in the season still. And when we look at the football scene, it seems that most of the big clubs have started a little slow. Manchester United, Barcelona, Chelsea, Valencia, even Inter has struggled a bit. The top teams so far appear to be Arsenal, Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Sevilla(Even though 3 out of those 4 have recently hit the skids). Its WAY TOO EARLY... We need to have at least a good 15-20 weeks of football played before we can really start to seperate the pretenders from the contenders.



Chelsea IMO should go after somebody like Deco. He would be a better fit there than would either Kaka, Ronaldinho, or Cesc Fabregas would be. And the way things are going, it is a move I could see Deco making either in the January window or at the end of the season.


Samuel Eto'o seems intent on making it back ahead of schedule in time for the Champions League qualifier against Rangers. He's expected to return to training in early October and hopes to be back in time for that match which is in early November. Eto'o hasn't seemed to be same threat on goal he was before last season's knee injury. He scored here and there after coming back but he's not the beast he was before. His newest injury is EXACTLY the same injury Vicente was struggling with all last season and so far all this season. Hopefully in Eto'o's case it won't be as nagging as it was for Vicente because as a Valencia fan, I know what it was like keeping up with how he constantly struggled with that injury. But maybe the docs in Barcelona are just a bit more competent than the ones in Valencia.

Speaking ofVicente, the club is looking for him to return sometime in mid to late October and if your a fan of either him or Valencia then you can only cross your fingers. As I've said before, Vicente is the key player to Valencia's success. His speed, vision, and dribbling ability really make such a HUGE difference to the team. With Vicente on that left side, he provides so much threat in so many ways. He can cross, cut inside and wreak havoc on defenders, he has a bomb of a shot to go with all those skills too. Isn't it funny how when Vicente is in the squad that Villa and company seem to be more of a threat on goal??... The club DESPERATELY needs him to come back. I think Vicente could be the difference maker in whether or not Valencia can win any sort of title.


Barcelona play Zaragoza today in what should be a very good match. Very much looking forward to it.
and the NEW
My god, Barca played like the Barca of old against Zaragoza! They clicked finally, with Henry looking dangerous towards the end and back to himself (though he did miss some sitters) and Messi waving the Wizards wand! Too bad for Ronnie, looks like Messi is trying to steal his mantle!

Amaizing, to see Barca do that without their backbone, no Ronaldinho, Eto'o or Puyol, who were all absolutely paramount to their previous world domination!

That first 22 minutes was electric, I think I had a smile on my face the entire time!

Will be interesting once the 3 core of the Barca squad come back! I dont like the rotation policy, once you have a good squad and formation, leave it I beleive! But there is just not room for everyone, so it should be very interesting to watch!

Sevilla lost! Funny how Barca were in a crisis and Sevilla playing great football, now the opposite in 1 1/2 weeks! You just truly never know until about midway through the season, when everyone has at least played eachother once! Though, Sevilla were not lucky to go 3-2 up at the end there, they were on an absolute romp, but Tamudo as usual, likes ruining the party!

Messi is making a race for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, though Kaka has that firmly in his hand I beleive (not that Messi and especially Ronaldo dont deserve it) just that I think his the one been drummed up by the media most over the past several months!

Valencia got another win, they are doing very well, right up there in the mix! And its a surprise to see Villareal up there, who I dont think will be close to the title by the end of the season! Villa and Silva scored, good to see! Vicente returns soon, hope this time he lasts a while, must be so damn frustrating for him!
Maxy
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Sep 27 2007, 02:12 AM) [snapback]358865[/snapback]
My god, Barca played like the Barca of old against Zaragoza! They clicked finally, with Henry looking dangerous towards the end and back to himself (though he did miss some sitters) and Messi waving the Wizards wand! Too bad for Ronnie, looks like Messi is trying to steal his mantle!

Amaizing, to see Barca do that without their backbone, no Ronaldinho, Eto'o or Puyol, who were all absolutely paramount to their previous world domination!

That first 22 minutes was electric, I think I had a smile on my face the entire time!

Will be interesting once the 3 core of the Barca squad come back! I dont like the rotation policy, once you have a good squad and formation, leave it I beleive! But there is just not room for everyone, so it should be very interesting to watch!

Sevilla lost! Funny how Barca were in a crisis and Sevilla playing great football, now the opposite in 1 1/2 weeks! You just truly never know until about midway through the season, when everyone has at least played eachother once! Though, Sevilla were not lucky to go 3-2 up at the end there, they were on an absolute romp, but Tamudo as usual, likes ruining the party!

Messi is making a race for the FIFA World Player of the Year award, though Kaka has that firmly in his hand I beleive (not that Messi and especially Ronaldo dont deserve it) just that I think his the one been drummed up by the media most over the past several months!

Valencia got another win, they are doing very well, right up there in the mix! And its a surprise to see Villareal up there, who I dont think will be close to the title by the end of the season! Villa and Silva scored, good to see! Vicente returns soon, hope this time he lasts a while, must be so damn frustrating for him!


Those World player of the year and European player of the year awards are complete bollocks. If you disagree, explain how come United won the treble in 99 but none of their players picked up the award?
PR316
^^^ I would say those rewards are based more on individual play and talent and not so much to how well the team does I guess.


IMO its actually really hard to say who is the BEST player simply because every player brings different skills to the table. Some are similar to others in style of play but different players have different attributes and contribute to their clubs in different ways.
Like Ronaldinho is often called the best in the world, but I would say that he's necessarily the biggest threat on goal. Samuel Eto'o when fit is more likely to score than him, and you could add Leo Messi as well. An exercise in futility I feel.


Anyway, Real are looking like crap even though they won.


Barcelona and Valencia are suddenly looking alot better. More attack threat and more creation from both teams. Barca in particular are a juggernaut and if Henry finds his form, I really don't look forward to seeing Valencia play against them unless they have a fully fit squad. Valencia won 2-1 but it could have easily been 3 to 1 had the goal keeper not made an incredible save on Villa's bicycle kick. That said, I'm very satisfied to see things starting to click and with Vicente now saying that he's starting to feel better and better, it could only be a matter of time before the team hits form. I still say its a ways away, but anything is possible. Barca are looking great and Zaragoza didn't really play that bad. Zapater's goal was extraordinary, off the brilliant pass from Pablo Aimar and Milito came so close to scoring on a brilliant effort that clipped the near post. Messi is awesome so far and going on a tear and it may be his year but we'll have to wait and see if he can score against the top teams the way Ronnie has been doing for years.


Sevilla lost a thriller to Espanyol in what has been a run of bad luck for them. Espanyol is a good side to watch and they always make for exciting matches, particularly last season's match vs Valencia at the Mestalla in which they lost 3-2 but nonetheless both sides provided some entertaining football there and we saw 5 goals. Sevilla have been unlucky but there's too much talent in the club to not bounce back sooner than later.


Anyway, on another note I was doing some browsing and found a nice video on Ibrahimovic and Villa and I was thinking to how you pointed out how great a dribbler he really is, and I was really reminded by this one. Pay particular attention to the 1:30 mark when he seemingly loses the entire defensive backline and scores. Really amazing skill for such a big man. Check this out.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FP7ei4yop6I...ted&search=


and the NEW
No doubt FIFA World Player of the Year award is rubbish, that was exactly my point!

How has Henry never won it? How did Cannavaro win it last year? Sometimes they get it right, but others they get it wrong. Plus, like PR said, everyone brings their unique edge to the game. For me, King Ronnie is the greatest threat in the game on goal, as he can beat defenders, or cut them open with a laser guided precision pass, while he spots runners that others could only ever dream of! His ball control is immaculate, and his free kicks are something special. Though, he has a SERIOUS lack off defence which often leaves the left back in strife! Zizou while always a threat, lacked the ability to score often. Ronaldo was injury prone and lacked the dedication to keep in tip top shape! That is the beauty of the world game! All these guys are probably the best of the last decade, all immortals, but all lacked something.

Real looked very ordinary, though Robben did make a big difference when he came on. His speed and dribbling opened up the game and thanks to him, they got their first goal. I think he and Robinho should start, or even Drenthe, they lacked pace and dribbling ability, along with creativity, which is exactly the same as last season! These guys provide that for them!

I will take a look at that clip later, gotta fly for now but Zlatan definately has some incredible dribbling skills, he has tricks and is a pure dribbler, one of the finest in the world!

Watched Zico the other day also, god was he a legend! Cant remember football in the 80s well, as I was still too young, but he surely earned his immortal status! Very reminicent of watching Pele!

and the NEW
Just watched the clip, you talking about the part where he dribbles through the defence when playing for Ajax? Yeh, I have watched that clip numerous times, its one of the most skillful peices of dribbling Ive ever seen, I remember watching it a few years back! Zlatan sorry to say, puts Villa to shame in that clip! haha. He is a special talent and in a purple patch of form at the moment!

Barca dominated again, Messi is playing in a way words cannot describe, speechless! Henry looks to be hitting form, he ended well against Zaragoza and is played brilliantly on the weekend. Barca look scary at the moment!

Watched Chelsea and Liverpool games this weekend, both absolute rubbish! Arsenal game was a little boring for their normal standard and Man United grinded out another victory in a game they didnt look overly impressive! Chelsea is really struggling at the moment! AC Milan is similar in Serie A! Inter beat Roma in a clash of the two candidates for the league in my eyes!

How about Portsmouth Vs Reading............WTF? Most goals ever in Premier League history for one match!

Who are your tips for the spoils in the big leagues this year?

Here goes mine, after enough time to evaluate how each team is looking and how their players are gelling:

Barcelona (with Madrid hot on their heels)
Manchester united (Arsenal close behind)
Inter Milan (JUST edging out Roma)
Lyon (still too many quality players when Coupet, Fred and Cris get back)
Porto (easily)
Bayern Munich (easily)

Champions League: Barcelona

We will see how many of these I am right with at the end of this season. Come back to this page and check.
PR316
I must admit that in that clip at least, Zlatan stood out more than Villa did. Ibrahimovic has the better dribbling ability and is better in the air whereas Villa is probably the better finisher and more proven at the international and Champions League level. Both are huge threats on goal and are genius at setting up others for shots on goal. Yeah that part where Ibrahimovic just seemed to slice right through the entire defensive backline was throwback stuff. I really want to see Zlatan in a better league. I think he would fit in nicely on a team like Arsenal or Atletico Madrid.


Barca is looking like a terror at the moment. Messi is in a zone right now even if he is ball hoggging like some critics have said. But Barca is winning and winning impressively and thats pretty much the bottom line. Thierry Henry is starting to look like the beast we have all known even if there appeared to be some miscommunication between him and Messi on a few plays. Their CL match against Stuttgart in Germany will be difficult I feel. Stuttgart will really make it an ugly, physical game with lots of tight marking. I think Barca will win but they will have to grind that one out.


Real Madrid is slipping. Yeah they won with a goal by Sergio Ramos but didn't look strong at all. They were very lucky. Thats not to say that they are not contenders but I was underwhelmed. They look far from the monsters they appeared to be when they started. They have an easy CL schedule as of now however so in that competition they shouldn't be threatened.


7-4 was the score huh??... I'm hoping to catch that one on replay. Must have been awesome.


Chelsea and Liverpool have at least for the moment lost a bit of edge. Chelsea is a club in shambles seemingly at the moment with Mourinho gone and injuries to many players such as Lampard, though Drogba came back, but was sent off. Liverpool have gotten cold at the moment. They are missing Xabi Alonso and it seems Benitez has over rested some players.


Valencia is slowly but steadily looking better and better and they go face to face with Chelsea at the Mestalla on Wednsday. The squad is now healthy and back together and the returns of Vicente and David Silva seem certain. Flores will have to mix it up here a bit. Chelsea are the bigger, stronger, and more physical team. Valencia have more pace and trickery. I think the key to Valencia's success is to test the goalkeeper early and often to see if they can score once or twice because Chelsea will come on very strong in the 2nd half and throw everybody forward in attack where hopefully Valencia can catch them on a counter attack. This one is going to be a blood war. Expect alot of yellow cards and maybe somebody will see red.


In England, I like Arsenal so far. If anyone will overtake them at the moment it is Man United. Liverpool and Chelsea will battle it out for 3rd place.

In Spain, I like Barcelona. Real Madrid and Sevilla have hit the skids at the moment. Sevilla in particular are really suffering. Villareal looks for real as of now but they'll fall off soon enough. Valencia is slowly but surely picking up form and will possibly compete for a 2nd place spot depending on schedules and injuries.

In Italy, Inter is strong there, and Roma will probably challenge for the title. I'm hoping AC Milan does something though.

In Portugal its Porto all the way.

In France its still Lyon.


I think Barca on paper is the most impressive team and should win the Champions League. I think Man United will be upset early. Porto is a dark horse.
and the NEW
So we have the same teams winning the comps, except for I have Man United, you have Arsenal in the Premier League.

I think Real Madrid will be a lot stronger if they use Robinho out on the right and Robben on the left. They desperately need these kind of guys to push them forward! The exact thing they lacked last season! Then they have Drenthe to slot in there somewhere, maybe central left.

Of the matches last night, Barca had a few lapses, but clearly outplayed a defensive Stuttgart. Ronaldinho provided some great balls, while Messi and Henry also played well. Puyol and Marquez both got injured and with Milito and Zambrotta out, that is a huge gap in their defence!

Inter Vs PSV was a boring game, with Suazo providing some great moments of individual skill and speed, though lacked the finish. While Zlatan was again the danger man, a great headed goal by him, though I think he might have been trying to put that accross the face.

Roma annoyed me with their defensive play, stacking their half with 11 men behind the ball. Though, they did play well on the counter, with Totti, Guily and Mancini providing their usual skill. Though I think Man United did deserve the win!

I am going to watch 4 matches tomorrow from the nights matches, including Valencia Vs Chelsea, Liverpool Vs Marseille, Lazio Vs Real Madrid and Celtic Vs AC Milan.

This match is VITAL for Chelsea though at Valencia, I think they will have their hands well and truly full! You said Silva and Vicente will be back for this match?

As for Zlatan, I would love to see him playing for a more skillful, attacking team also, anyone from Arsenal, Man United or Barca. Though Arsenal is the only one which has room for him and with their warchest loaded full of gold, I think Wenger should really make a big bid for him! Though, with his recent form, his price will be HIGH! Somewhere in the 20-30mil mark.
PR316
Barca gutted out that win against Stuttgart in what was a tough match. Their defense was shaky last night, though. Stuttgart did create quite a few chances, and Valdez really made some incredible saves. But injuries to Zambrotta, Milito, Marquez, and Puyol, its understandable. Hopefully those guys get back in short time to shore up that back line which wasn't at its best. The attack was strong as usual. Ronnie had some really nice passes and on Puyol's goal, he had a shot for that goal himself but Shafer made the save. Henry is in form and has finally seeemed to develop an understanding with his teammates. Good for Barca.


Arsenal grinded out a victory against Steau. The match was boring for the most part, though. But both keepers did make some nice saves. Van Persie's goal was kind of a mistake play with Adebayor's pass intended for Fabregas but fell to Van Persie's feet instead.


Chelsea go to Valencia today. Silva is back, and Vicente is with the squad but he'll see limited action if he is at all ready due to the team wanting to bring him back slowly. Its gonna be a brutal game. Alot will depend on Joaquin and Miguel here to provide the spark and hopefully get Villa and Morientes some scoring opportunities. Chelsea holds formation very well and on defense they are tough. Its their attack that is lacking. Hopefully Valencia will open up a bit here and take some chances because at the moment, Chelsea's front men don't look dangerous.


Arsenal would have room for Ibrahimovic I think. But I think they'd give up either Adabayor or Van Persie for him. And his transfer fee would be VERY HIGH. Maybe around the 30-40 million mark, or something even more ridiculous.


PR316
Chelsea are just too strong. Definitely Valencia's bogey team at the moment. And Valencia were playing some really good stuff in this match for the most part. 2 silly errors in the backline cost them, but for the most part, there was a spark and flair to their game. Silva and Joaquin combined very nicely in the first half on a few plays particularly one where Joaquin should have done better with his finish. The refs I think blew a call on Villa's would be 2nd goal when they flagged him for offside. But even if Valencia would have scraped a draw here, they were clearly outplayed in the 2nd half.


Hopefully the team works on those errors because the defense was anything but strong IMO.
and the NEW
I actually thought Valencia deserved the win this time around! They outplayed Chelsea easily in the first 35 minutes, but then Chelsea really took over, especially in the second half. That being said, Chelsea still struggled to create chances in that second half, and I think Valencia created many more threats overall. Joe Cole handballed just before he shot that STUNNING pass off the outside of his right foot to Drogba, who as usual, was clinical in his finish! Drogba looked back to his brilliant best, holding up the ball beautifully for that first goal also. Malouda looked dangerous as usual. Good to see Chelsea leaving Schevchenko on the bench, who I think is past his best days and seriously lacks the pace to play upfront, especially in the Premier League.

AC Milan got a BULLSHIT call against Celtic to get that goal to equaliser and I was PIZZED that it went their way again, WAYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY too obvious for me! Cheating going on there in all probability I honestly beleive! Just too many great calls go their way game in and game out! Celtic deserved this win, and shut AC Milan down very well, in a physical, boring, wet game! Though, in the couple of minutes Nakamura came on, he was the best man on the pitch. Put in a great corner and set up that goal brilliantly by drawing 3 defenders at him!

Liverpool looked like junk yet again, and Marseille should have had that first goal but were called offside (in a bad decision), though I was happy to see it ended fairly. Torres had a shocking first touch where he should have been through and scored and looked shaky on his feet yet again! Definately a very good player, but lacks a great touch and the balance to go with his great strength!

Other game I watched was Real Madrid Vs Lazio. Was actually not the worst game, better than the Liverpool and AC Milan games! Both played attacking on a very small pitch at Lazio. No idea why Robinho is being left out though, hope he changes clubs where he gets game time! Arsenal could do with a player like him also!

Onto the weekends matches!
and the NEW
......
PR316
Disappointing defeat for Valencia, but at least it was a good match. I definitely agree that Valencia created more chances. They really should have won now that I think about it, but they were manhandled physically in that 2nd half. That backline was caught ball watching too many times for my taste. Its still early I know. Anything can happen.


Fernando Torres does that alot. His first touch is really poor, and he blows alot of opportunities because of things like that. Its the little things that he has to correct to be a truly great striker up there with Eto'o, Villa, and Ibrahimovic. Liverpool has hit a bad form and really are struggling now. They really miss Xabi Alonso I think.


I hear rumors that Robinho is clashing with the manager and front office. I don't know how accurate those rumors are, but it may be something to look at.


Well all we can do is look forward to this weekend's matches. Hopefully Barca continues its winning ways and Valencia can hopefully continue to find some form.
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