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and the NEW
With the notes Capello is making, they have to make this one! lol.

Yeh, Madrid are like Barca, not addressing their needs. Which is central defence. Pepe can play on the left and Heinze is not too bad, along with Ramos (though not solid but he makes up for that with his attack). At least they have Casillas.

I don't think Madrid need anymore central midfielders, with both VDV and Sneijder there now. A guy like Drenthe should be given more time out there because he has talent and youth. In the forwards, they can bring Saviola on at least, but they really need another good striker also, with Raul and RVN approaching the ends of their careers by the looks.

As for Milan, I agree, Kaka will be pushed into the forwards I would imagine which will add that pace Ronnie needs infront of him. I can see why Ancelotti is excited though, I did not expect Ronaldinho to look that good and fit in his very first game. He set up and absolute miriad of goals! They should have scored at the very least 3-4 given they had several chances. Not to mention, he was skinning guys left right and centre. I will take a bit more interest in Italy this season too, now that Queresma is at Inter. I used to watch Porto a lot more, and Inter every now and then, but think I will swap that around now. See how Jose can do with all his special magic. Not to mention, I can always do with watching a bit more of Ibra (as arrogant as he is). Nedved is also a joy to watch and once he is gone, Juve are FINISHED. Trezeguet is also ageing a bit. Not quite sure how Juve remain such a good club, considering their squad is possibly the most boring in Italy.

England definately has me the most excited this season. I think Spain will be a scrap though and definately the most unpredictable. Would not surprise me to see Madrid, Barca and valencia be beaten by Atletico, Villareal and potentially Sevilla/Espagnol this season.
PR316
Atletico have a really good squad with good balance all around. Their attack with Aguero and Forlan is definitely dangerous, and their midfield is very deep with Rodriguez, Maniche, Simao, Luis Garcia and Ever Banega. Their defense is inconsistent. Towards the end of last season especially they started allowing more goals in. I think thats why they made some changes and let a couple guys go. But they're young and on the rise. They have potential to get better and better.


I think Real need to give De La Red some more time otherwise I don't see the point of that signing. Real have lots of ATTACKING mids but they need a DM as well. They have nobody that protects their defense thats why its so easy to hit them on counter attacks. Its exactly what Deportivo did to them last week and Real had absolutely NO ANSWERS.. If I was a Madrid fan, I would definitely be disturbed by that. Especially when they get into the tough part of their schedule and face the likes of Barcelona, Valencia, Villareal, Sevilla, Atletico, Sporting, and Getafe. Those teams all have very quick players that like to get out and run at defenders on the break. Casillas will have to have another great year like last season if Madrid are going to retain because their defense is going to get run over alot more this season.


I hear Henry is really out of favor with fans at Camp Nou... I think it could take time, but in the end I still like the moves Barcelona made this season overall(Except letting Ronaldinho go) compared to the other teams and if Pep can instill a little bit of mental toughness into these guys like they had 2 years ago, I see them getting by in the end.



I too think the EPL will be more competitive than the last few years thats for sure. If Man City really progress, we could have a top 5, and Portsmouth looks very dangerous, and Spurs held Chelsea to a draw last time out, so there are some teams out there making some noise other than the top 4. The EPL is not quite as predictable this time around which will make things more interesting, as we can possibly see some new sides making it into the Champions League.

But I think La Liga will be MUCH BETTER and more exciting than last season. At least the early days show it. Evidence shows that Real won't just walk away with it this time and will have to EARN it. Favorites are Barca, Real, and Villareal, with possible surprise contenders in Valencia, Atletico, and Sevilla, along with the solid all around teams that are capable of pulling off upsets any day like Racing, Getafe, and Deportivo, and on down. There's alot of all around quality in Spain this season so that tells me it will be a very good race, probably down the wire.
Maxy
To answer your question PR, I really don't know if we'll qualify. I think we are awful, a really poor team. I actually chose to go out last night when the England game was on because although I expected to win, I didn't think we'd be impressive.

We wasn't.

It's a sad time really, being an England supporter. I mean, you want your country to do well. You want to be involved in the big tournaments and its gutting when you don't qualify. I don't like Capello for a start but the blame lies with the players. As a unit they just can't play. We are very very poor.

I'll watch the game on Wednesday but I'm expecting the worst because we just don't seem able to produce a team good enough to compete anymore.

So Man City are going to bid £135m for Ronaldo! These foreign owners need to realize that money can't buy you everything. United, unless we were on the brink of financial meltdown, we would never sell to City. Fabregas is another they want to sign but he put it into perspective by saying a move to City would be "suicidal for his career!" Yeah they've got Robinho but big deal. He's only here for the money and although he's capable of some great things I think he's too lightweight and he's not consistent. He'll hate Manchester also. Mark Hughes is a good manager but the new owners are going to expect too much too soon so I can see Hughes being sacked if he doesn't get the team into the top 4 this season. City have also said they want Villa from Valencia! He won't want to go there. Yes, City will attract some top players because they can now pay more wages than any club in the world but great players looking to play for prestigious clubs won't want to go there.

This international break pisses me off, haha. Can't wait for September 13th against the scum (Liverpool).

BTW ATN, you're probably a little shocked by the Khan result last night. I watched it via stream and was delighted to see him stretched like that.
PR316
Its weird MAXY because the team has talent. I think a big part of it could be EGOS, which is why Capello(A known disciplinarian) was brought in. But his style is not too appealing and he'll make England win boring and UGLY... I remember reading David Beckham's book, and he talked about how in 2002, he had a very good feeling that year about England's chances before they were eliminated, and he talked about how alot of people were enthusiastic back then about it(Also goes into detail about his confrontation with Alex Ferguson in the locker room at halftime of some match against Arsenal I think it was, when a goal was scored on them and he claims that Ferguson was blaming him for it). Interesting read for sure. Talked about alot of stuff. I always felt Beckham came off very arrogant, considering that he was rather one dimensional in his game always, and seemingly more concerned with his looks, image, and celebrity lifestyle. Egos like his I've always wondered if they've played a big part in England's short comings in the big tournaments.


Spain looked good against Bosnia. They scored only 1 goal, and Villa shockingly misfired on a penalty. But it was made for in the 2nd half when Fabregas thread a beautiful pass down the right into perfect stride and Villa beat the goalkeeper and fired from a seemingly impossible angle to score the game winner. Really in form right now though I was hoping for more goals from Spain but they play Armenia on Wednsday so their is opportunity for improvement.


Man City will be able to attract more players once they start winning a bit more. Robinho might not be strong enough for the EPL but he does have the skill to befuddle defenders and he's fast enough to beat them. Will be interesting to see how Man City account themselves this season. They have NO SHOT of getting Villa. First of all, Valencia don't want to sell, and Villa himself doesn't want to leave(Loved it when Valencia turned down 60 million from Real to keep Villa). But Man City are a team on the rise and one day they'll crack the top 4.


I'm anxious for the break to end too. I want to see my beloved La Liga as well as the EPL. I absolutely LOVE both those leagues and I catch them as often as I can.

Man United vs Liverpool is the game of the week. Fernando Torres is not fit so this could only bode well for a Man United that is probably starting to go through the gears a little bit now.





Maxy
Torres was completely noneffective against us last season so I don't care if he plays or not....unless Rio isn't fit. That could present us with a problem. Benitez hasn't managed to beat us yet so I know that day will come eventually but looking at Liverpool I don't see an awful lot to be concerned about. Having said that we aren't playing that well ourselves.

One thing for sure is this is amongst the top 2 games of the season for us...that and Liverpool at home. I can't stand losing to them, I hate it, it ruins my week, ruins everything.

Capello will do his best but the truth is England lack something big time. We lack any flair, we lack that technical quality that separates the elite from the also rans. We'll never be a Brazil, an Argentina, a Spain. Technically we don't have those types of players. We can be an Italy or a Germany but for some reason our team doesn't play like a unit. It seems to struggle against even the smallest weakest international sides. The England team gets more stick than any other but it never seems to have any affect on their performances. We were crap the other night. I don't know the answer but I would never play Beckham again.....his international career should have ended the minute he went to LA Galaxy. Is it egos? I don't even think its that. Wayne Rooney is probably one of the best strikers in the world but he can't score a goal......We miss Alan Shearer, we miss the guile of Teddy Sheringham, the touch and awareness of Paul Scholes and quite frankly we don't have anyone who can emulate them. Three of the top 4 English teams all have a good spread of English players within their team which complements the technical abilities of their foriegn counterparts. The England team as a whole lacks spark, lacks creativity and we seems to insist on using the same players all the time, bar one or two changes. Lampard and Gerrard can't play together. Hargreaves, when fit is vital because then we could play Gerrard in his preferred position and have Lampard on the bench. Rooney needs to play deeper because he quite simply isn't a goalscorer and we still haven't managed to find a partner for him. Defoe is a no no for me, Crouch? Nah, he's a good sub. Owen? Well Capello dropped him from the current squad. See there isn't really any outstanding candidates to step in and ignite something extra to the team. As good as Joe Cole is, and I like him as a player, he's just not consistent at all....

I hope we get at least a draw on wednesday but I won't be counting my chickens. Just can't be confident when England play anymore.
PR316
Spain looked AMAZING!!!... Wow, the talent pool in this selection is absolutely SCARY.... La Seleccion, WITHOUT Torres, and Silva, still boast so much creativity and goal scoring threat its almost impossible to contain. Villa was the best player.. Netted 2 goals, and was constantly involved, playing off Guiza, Bojan, Cazorla, Iniesta Fabregas, Xavi, and Xabi Alonso. Has a strong case for being the best striker in the world but he's got tough company in Eto'o, Torres, Fabiano, Aguero, Benzema, and others. Fabregas has to be the best in the game today as far as through balls go. Every through ball he attempted seemed to be on the money, whether they result in goals or not. Just a great player, who contributed in both offense and defense. Xavi did his usual, dictating, moving the ball, distributing all around. Guiza looked dangerous and he linked up well with Villa in attack and was pulled way too early IMO. Bojan had a very good debut, linking up play with Villa excellently, making some nice runs, and putting in effort in defense. Alonso made an impact instantly as soon as he came on and assisted Villa's 2nd goal. Senna was fantastic, protecting the defense and scoring Spain's 4th goal. There are very few teams capable of doing what this team can do. This team is not even at full strength at the moment and they're just demolishing opponents. The team is still VERY YOUNG with most of its players still under the age of 28, and the YOUTH that are still due for a call up.... Very scary... Mata, Alexis, Navas, Capel, Pablo Hernandez, De La Red, and who knows whom else by the time the World Cup gets here. Just amazing stuff from a team that plays very sexy football.


England won MAXY, and from what I heard they did pretty good... Did you see it???... Heard it was 4-1 score with Beckham on the bench. yahoo.gif
Maxy
Yeah I watched the England game and I have to admit that before it kicked off I was just hoping we could get a draw out of it. After 10-15 minutes I wasn't happy with the way the team were playing. Walcott kept giving the ball away, Rooney wasn't in the game and it just didn't look like anything was going to click.

Then, with a little help from lady luck, Walcott found himself in space, in the box, and he slammed home the first goal. After that it was like watching a different game, a different team. We just looked so much more assured on the ball and I can honestly say it was the best England performance I have seen since the 5-1 victory against Germany. Yeah, Croatia went down to 10 men but even before that we were in control of the game. Walcott deserves the plaudits for getting his hattrick but personally I was delighted with Rooneys performance. He set up two, scored one and played so much better than he has done of late. Croatia had never lost a competitive game at home so to spank them 4-1 is a massive massive boost for our confidence. I'm not going to get carried away but hopefully we are turning the corner again. Capello might just be the man!

Looking forward to Saturday afternoon. Gonna smash the scum!
Maxy
Lost to Liverpool.

Devastated but even more so because not only did they seem to want it more but we played an absolutely awful game.

Rooney right wing?

Fuck that.

Joke.
and the NEW
Liverpool were very lucky with both their goals, United mistakes. That being said, United had a SHOCKER and were thoroughly outplayed by Liverpool. Interesting lineup by Fergie. Berba other than the start, was not really seen. Ronaldo comes back for the CL this week yeh MAXY? That will be a HUGE plus! It's really heating up.

Chelsea looked OK, but not great, the scoreline definately was not the reality of the game. City could have easily had a draw here and must be happy with their performance overall. Phillips and Robinho work well together and Jo adds in nicely. They are going to do well thi sseason if they can improve that horrible defence.

Barca, what can I say. Sick to death of them! Another trophyless season coming up! Messi on the bench? WTF!
PR316
Barca were very unlucky I must say. The Racing goal was a joke, though. Total fluke. Messi was on the bench because he had just arrived from South America only a day or two prior and I guess they wanted to give him a rest. Such a shame with the Hleb injury, for sure. Henry was benched. Wonder whats going on there?

Keep in mind ATN, that last season Man United started similarly slow to Barca and look how they did. I know what its like to be frustrated and not get the results but I think patience is important. Don't be like Valencia last season that had no patience and just made all sorts of crazy moves that nearly relegated them. STABILITY is the key. Results will come. It may take a little time but they'll come.


Sevilla BARELY beat Sporting Gijon at home. Sporting are a very good team. They're underrated for sure and I hope they stay in the Primera because they really deserve it. Kanoute scored the winning goal I believe and Maresca is really turning into one of the world class creative attacking mids in the world. He's an Italian version of David Silva.


Real Madrid currently struggling with the same Numancia that beat Barca, thus far hanging on 4-3. Real's defense is an absolute JOKE... Ramos and Cannavaro were out, but even with Ramos, they weren't exactly a wall, and Cannavaro is too old and injury prone now.

AC Milan really struggled at home against Genoa today, losing 2-0.. Ronaldinho looked tired, probably from the international break, and he was subbed off at halftime. Kaka looked to be getting back to his self and made some dangerous looking runs, though he was booked for diving in the area. Flamini provided support but the central defense as a whole just doesn't seem to be gelled.

Valencia had a VERY TOUGH match today on the road against a young and dangerous Almeria and pulled out a 2-2 draw. With Silva out injured for 3 months due to surgery, the formation was tried without him and it didn't work, with Pablo, Joaquin, and Mata playing very unfamiliar roles. Villa had nothing to do in the 1st half and hardly saw much of the ball. Poor defending was once again a problem, and it lead to the 2 Almeria goals, both of which Valencia had to come back from. The 2nd half was a much different team, as Mata and Pablo were subbed off and in came Morientes up front with Villa and Angulo on the left wing, and we basically outplayed them the whole 2nd half, dominating possesion and creating more shots on goal, before finally Joaquin got his act together and played a nice through ball to Villa in the area who slotted home with a low diagonal shot. Tough tough match. Glad to get out of it with a point, especially considering that Atletico lost, surprisingly. Next week Osasuna are up for Valencia and that one should be easier but lets wait and see. We really miss Silva and I just hope we can get through this rough road without him for the time being until he comes back.
Maxy
I saw the Madrid game and I have to say their defence was shocking. It was an exciting game though as Numancia clearly came to win and gave a good shot at it. Their second goal, I think, was spectacularly hit from 25 plus yards and they really gave Madrid a scare. Haven't seen the Spanish league table....who are the early runners and do you think Madrid will win it this season? From what I have seen of them they don't really look all that. Barcelona have started badly but its early days. They'll improve without a doubt. Was supposed to watch the Valencia match as it was live over here after the Madrid game but I had to go out so I missed it all. The Spanish league is covered pretty well over here though so I'll be watching it regularly.

In Italy are Mourinho's Inter as boring as his Chelsea team were? Don't get to see Serie A, although I find the league and the football there to be dull in any case. Milan have two straight defeats...quite surprised by that. I know its early days but has their investment in Ronaldinho added anything to their side? Have they fielded Senderos yet?

All the talk over here right now is are Liverpool strong enough to mount a serious title challenge this year? Personally speaking I don't think they are. Yes, there first team when all fit is very strong but squad wise I don't see them as strong enough to fight on 3 fronts. Will Benitez' obsession with the Champions League undermine their league challenge again? Christmas time we'll have a better idea.

As for United...well anymore performances like that of Saturday and we can forget it. Have to get something at Stamford Bridge this weekend which is going to be extremely tough. If Ferguson plays Rooney on the right wing again I'll be both amazed and disgusted. Ronaldo could be back and I hate to say it but we need him. His pace on the wing has been missing as of course has his goal threat. How do you accommodate Ronaldo, Rooney, Berbatov and Tevez though? That will be a big head ache for Ferguson this season.
PR316
QUOTE(Maxy @ Sep 15 2008, 06:23 PM) [snapback]404419[/snapback]
I saw the Madrid game and I have to say their defence was shocking. It was an exciting game though as Numancia clearly came to win and gave a good shot at it. Their second goal, I think, was spectacularly hit from 25 plus yards and they really gave Madrid a scare. Haven't seen the Spanish league table....who are the early runners and do you think Madrid will win it this season? From what I have seen of them they don't really look all that. Barcelona have started badly but its early days. They'll improve without a doubt. Was supposed to watch the Valencia match as it was live over here after the Madrid game but I had to go out so I missed it all. The Spanish league is covered pretty well over here though so I'll be watching it regularly.

In Italy are Mourinho's Inter as boring as his Chelsea team were? Don't get to see Serie A, although I find the league and the football there to be dull in any case. Milan have two straight defeats...quite surprised by that. I know its early days but has their investment in Ronaldinho added anything to their side? Have they fielded Senderos yet?



Real Madrid have been really off course, in defense, allowing 5 goals in 2 games. They were humiliated by Deportivo on opening week at the Riazor Stadium and played off the park basically. Their defense is seemingly coming apart at the seams with Cannavaro out injured, and Pepe carrying the load. Sergio Ramos is thus far having a shocker with stupid common sense with mistkaes. They still have a chance, MAXY.. I mean if I can say one thing on their behalf is that they are tough. But yeah they look very average now and definitely not one of the better teams at the moment in La Liga. Barcelona just like United last season are having a slow start but they have so much talent on that squad that you have to figure that they'll improve soon enough. Valencia thus far look like a very much improved team compared to last season's. The new manager Unai Emery is the main reason for that, having the team playing smooth attacking football, so much that some in Spain are starting to call them the Spanish Arsenal. They played Almeria which is basically what Reading is to you guys and it was a very tough match. I'm proud to say the only top team to pick up a positive result at Almeria are Valencia, with the others either losing or managing to get a draw. I think the Spanish league will be very tight and competitive this year. Favorites of course are Barcelona, Real Madrid and Villareal. Dark horses thus far appear to be Valencia, Atletico, and Sevilla.


Inter are even MORE BORING than Chelsea was during the Mourinho years. The only Serie A team I can watch are AC Milan whom are struggling currently. Ronaldinho has actually played well and he has the team's assist for their only goal in 2 games thus far. Looked fatigued yesterday very early on, most likely due to the World Cup qualifiers and as such he was subbed. Haven't seen Senderos but Flamini is not playing bad. Their attack at the moment is not finding its finishing but I expect that to improve soon now that Kaka is back on the pitch.


United vs Chelsea is the game of the week in ALL LEAGUES right now. All eyes will be on this one no matter what league you prefer. A draw would be very crucial but I don't think United should push the panic buttons yet. Teams take time to gel sometimes and thats normal in football. Chelsea are probably slight favorites to win but like you said MAXY, lets wait till December to see where everybody is at.
Maxy
Just read this, made me laugh....


Catania director Pietro Lo Monaco has launched a sensational attack on Jose Mourinho’s arrogance and lack of respect by declaring that the Inter coach deserves a “smack in the mouth”.

Inter defeated Catania 2-1 at San Siro on Saturday evening in a hugely controversial game that the ten-man Nerazzurri only won thanks to a goal that appeared to have not crossed the line.

Mourinho’s quotes both before and after the match have upset and angered Catania, who believe that the tactician is showing a lack of respect to his adversaries.

Prior to the game, Mourinho stated: "We want to win, we have to win and I think we will win because we're better, both as a team and on an individual level.”

After the 2-1 win, the Portuguese then commented: “Catania played their game, but the right result should have been 3-1, 4-1, or 5-1.”

In a quite explosive response, Catania director Pietro Lo Monaco has launched an incredible attack on Mourinho.

“Someone who says these kind of things does not have respect for his adversaries,” roared Lo Monaco.

“He doesn’t respect the host nation [Italy], or the coaches. He could have avoided what he said and answering back was too easy.

"He should think about his own problems. If he does not win this year, he should pack his suitcase and go back to his own country.

“Mourinho is simply someone who should be smacked in the mouth."

It remains to be seen what response these explosive statements provoke from Inter, but one thing is clear and that is that Mourinho’s popularity in Italy is decreasing by the day.

Mourinho: Who is Lo Monaco? Monday 15 September, 2008

Inter's Jose Mourinho has mocked Catania sporting director Pietro Lo Monaco as a war of words between the two clubs starts to gain momentum.

The Italian champions had to fight hard to beat Catania 2-1 last Saturday after they had been reduced to 10 men by the controversial dismissal of Sulley Muntari.

But Mourinho angered Catania director Lo Monaco by claiming that it “should have been 5-1 to Inter” and that he could have played in goal for the Nerazzurri without conceding.

Lo Monaco blasted the Portuguese tactician for a lack of respect, but Mourinho has struck back by satirising the Etnei man's name - Monaco means 'monk' and is also the Italian name for Munich.

“Who is Lo Monaco?” he said. “I know of the Tibetan monk, the Principality of Monaco, Bayern Munich and the Monaco Grand Prix, but that's all.

“If this Lo Monaco wants to make a name for himself by talking about me then he should pay me.

“I already have sponsors who pay me for publicity and I'm not paid to make a name for Lo Monaco. I guess that those who want to be on the front page know how to get there,” he sniped.


Catania sporting director Pietro Lo Monaco has launched another stinging attack on Inter's Jose Mourinho.

A war of words has been developing since Inter beat Catania 2-1 last Saturday and Mourinho claimed the result should have been 5-1.

Catania director Lo Monaco hit out at the Special One's statement and the Portuguese Coach responded by accusing the Etnei man of trying to get his name in the papers.

“I don't think Italian football would lose anything without Mourinho,” Lo Monaco raged.

“First of all, I certainly don't care about newspaper headlines. I have never tried to seek publicity.

“I am just focused on trying to do the best I can with the modest funds our President can make available, which are certainly dwarfed by Mourinho's side.

“Secondly it is disgraceful that Mourinho makes money through publicity and threw this in my face, along with the people of Catania and all the other smaller clubs, with his disgusting air of superiority and contempt.

“Lastly, I am called Lo Monaco and not just Monaco and I'm sure Mourinho remembered that clearly enough an hour later.”

However, Lo Monaco did apologise for his comment that: “Jose needs a smack in the mouth.”

“My comment wasn't meant to instigate violence,” he insisted. “I will apologise for that if some people interpreted it differently.

“I think that over the years Catania have demonstrated a strong objection to every form of violence and my words were just the result of miscommunication.

“Inter have the strongest squad in Europe, but sadly they also have the biggest blabbermouth of a Coach.”
Maxy
Watched the United game last night and felt that we should have won the game. For me there was at least one and possibly two blatant penalties missed by the referee. However its our own fault that we didn't get 3 points because quite simply we can't score goals at the moment. Ronaldo coming back as a second half substitute was a bonus and we did look more dangerous with him on the field but al in all I was very disappointed.

I'm not overly concerned yet but I really do feel we need a big result at Chelsea on Sunday or we'll find ourselves well down the pecking order (9 points) which isn't good even though it is early in the season. Madrid won as expected. Didn't see any other game cos I watched United live.

How did the other big teams look?
PR316
Only saw the United/Villareal game and I agree that you guys should have won that won. I don't understand what Villareal were trying to do. They bench Cazorla and Senna, on top of not having Nihat available, and just sit back and defend. Horrible team selection by Pellegrini and he should be fired because of that, and was VERY FORTUNATE to get a draw at Old Trafford. If I was a fan, I'd be VERY UPSET. What they did was NOT Spanish football. Ronaldo looked good, I thought and HE seemed the player most likely to score in the game but just didn't have enough time. He'll be back to his best in no time.



Heard Arsenal and Lyon drew. Barcelona looked VERY GOOD from what I heard, winning 3-1 with goals from Eto'o, Henry, and Xavi, I think. Chelsea won too, I think via 2-0 score.


United at Chelsea is the big one this week. Game of the week for all of Europe probably.
and the NEW
Sorry boys, I am working in another city and only get to check the net when I come back to my City once a week.

I've been watching the games though.

Villareal did field a shocking team, no idea what they were doing and United deserved the win! Though, they do look like a toothless tiger sadly, without Ronaldo. He is back and I am very excited to watch him.

Barca looked OK in the CL match. Messi had a very good game though! Love that kid!

Watched Chelsea also and they looked FANTASTIC. How about the Beletti strike, or the Gerrard goal against Marseille! Crackers! Was 4-0 in the end PR.

In Italy, Inter were lucky, Queresma got a deflection goal, but yeh, Mourinho has them BORING as hell! Far more boring than last season.

AC Milan looked fantastic in their first game, thanks to Ronaldinho. I think in the second game, he looked lost. Kaka played and spent most of his time down the left, which is where Ronnie usually is for Barca and played very well there for Milan in the first match. He was more a deeper mid in the first half of their second match, similar to where he played for Brazil last WC.

Madrid are really going to struggle this year. They seem very very shaky.

Big match this weekend, I will be cheering for United.

Haven't seen Valencia PR, you happy with them this season?
PR316
I figured you must have been busy and all. Hope everything's alright.


Valencia are looking MUCH BETTER than last season and thats a start. Looked very good in beating Mallorca 3-0, and then had a very tough away match at Almeria in which they got a 2-2 draw out of. They won their UEFA Cup game against Maritimo in the 1st leg 1-0, next week I believe they take it home for the 2nd leg. In La Liga this Sunday, we play at home against Osasuna. Silva will be out for 2 and a half months which is brutal but we just have to hope that our depth can adequately cover until he gets back. Overall I'm satsified. I like that Emery has this team playing fearless fluid attacking football. We'll see how it ends up.


Barca won which is whats important. Messi has been quoted as saying "Fans need to be patient, the results will come" and I do understand his point. Sometimes it just takes time to click.


Madrid aren't even at the tough part of their schedule and have shown to be very shaky even against the lower table teams so I'm very curious to see how they do against the top clubs. They miss Sneijder so badly. Without him, they're not nearly as dangerous and their defense thus far has been ATROCIOUS. 5 allowed in 2 games. And their opponents have been Deportivo and Numancia. laugh.gif I think thats pretty embarassing.


Milan may fire their coach but thats probably not a good idea at this point. I say wait till the season's over. Milan should finish in the top 3 this season I feel and that would be a HUGE improvement from last season.


and the NEW
Yeh, everything has been good, landed my dream job, but unfortunately it is a few hours away form my City. Am moving there permanently in a month or so once I get my own place, so will hook back up the internet then. Hope all has been well for you fellas too.

Yeh, Valencia have been doing very well considering last season.

I hope the results come for Barca, this is becoming so remeniscent considering this is the 3rd season of it!!!!!! Seems so long ago since we were actually the global force!

On to the weekends matches.

PR316
2 good results in a row for Barcelona. They absolutely HAMMERED Sporting Gijon 6-1 and edged Betis 3-2. I have a soft spot for Sporting being that thats the club that started the careers of the likes of Reina, Mata, Villa, and Cazorla, so it was a blow to see them get hammered not just by Barca but by that damned Real Madrid. Nevertheless, Barca are only getting better and better I think. What messed them up against Betis was not playing with 2 true center backs. What in the hell was Pep doing there??... Surely there have to be better options than Marquez and Abidal partnered as center backs... Anyway, Danny Alvez had a good game, making a few key tackles and sending in a neat cross to Gudjohnsen for the winning goal. Eto'o, what can I say... The top goal scorer in La Liga I see him becoming by the end of this season to go along with his 2008/2009 Liga title. Lionel Messi... When this kid is fit, he's unstoppable. Everytime he's on the ball he's a threat to beat any defender or defenders and open up the plays. Scored 2 goals against Sporting and assisted 1 and I think he assisted both of Eto'o's goals against Betis. Bojan, Bojan, Bojan..... Should have made 4-2 against Betis... He had a RIDICULOUSLY EASY one on one with the Betis goal keeper and failed to finish. This so typical of Bojan. Has to be his youth. I still question if he's a true striker but I guess given some time these things will be corrected. Xavi and Iniesta provided their usual hardworking performances with great posession and ball distribution.


Valencia continue to roll and they play at Malaga on Thursday and come back home against Deportivo, whom are tough and looking good as well. Malaga might not be easy due to them not having a win yet and so in front of their fans they'll likely push hard for it. We need to be careful and not play down to these teams like we sometimes tend to do. With Silva being out, our creativity suffers quite a bit, and thus far we've been able to cover it but its only because our schedule is so easy right now. By December, we'll be playing the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid, Villareal, Sevilla, and Atleti... We'll need everybody to be fit by then and of course our problem of poor defending can hopefully be corrected by then. Thats all I can ask for.
PR316
Amazing result for Valencia. I'm SPEECHLESS at the beautiful passing football that this team is playing after last season's nightmare. Ridiculous performance, the score should've been 8-1 if the players weren't high. And from the looks of it they weren't the only people high as the refs clearly smoked some shit during the halftime break Ok, it wasn't an offside but once the ref saw that ALL our players stopped playing when the linesman raised his flag, he should've stopped the play. Overall nice performance, worthy of table toppers. Albelda was immense and so where Joaquin and Alexis (although he should've continued defending and play by the refs whistle). The Asturian connection with Villa and Mata were decisive as usual bagging three goals and an assist between them. We look solid defensively even though that scoreline says otherwise but one goal was a freak of a nature own goal and the other was a freak of refeereing. Villa now leads the league in goals scored with 6. Again I'm trying to keep humble and be appreciative because I've always known we had capable talent of challenging for a Liga title but weren't able to put it together. Considernig we don't have Silva, I'm really ecstatic.


Barca got a good result. The game was memorable but so frustrating to watch. . Statistics said you guys had 14 goalscoring chances , and Espanyol had 2. Your possession was 64%. Henry was horrible throughout the game, except for the goal which was a gift from Kameni. I have nothing against the man, but he must regain his form before he can be back in the starting line up. I was SHOCKED to see him start ahead of Eto'o who scored 6 goals in your 7 official games so far this season. Seeing Guddy start based on one goal in the last game, along with 20 year old Busquets was a surprise too.A good result for you guys, but the way in which they scraped this win leaves a bad taste in the mouth of Barca fans for sure. The only positive is that this could help boost the morale, but Pep must wake up and stop with his insane rotations in important games. He can rotate in cup matches or even in the CL later on (since Barca are lucky to have an easy group), but they need points in La Liga. By the time he figures out his favorite formation , could be dropped. Shame on those Barca hooligans , but that stuff happens in derbys. Cantalejo was horrible like always , but people who are talking about their dubious or non existant penalty shouldn't forget that Espanyol's goal should've definitely been disallowed. Cantalejo screwed both sides,not just Espanyol. Typical Spanish referee.


Stupid referee as usual in Spain, but the football has been absolutely BEAUTIFUL by the likes of Barcelona, Valencia, and yes Real Madrid. Sevilla and Atleti are also playing some nice stuff with Pongolle establishing himself as a good strike partner for a not yet 100% Aguero. Villareal are playing some tough football.

Good week overall. But I can't believe Arsenal lost at home to Hull. I wanted to throw up after that.


Oh and MAXY you'll get a kick out of this along with ATN.. In the Inter vs Milan derby, Ronaldinho SINGLE HANDEDLY handed Mourinho's team their first loss of the season with Ronnie scoring the game winner!!... ROTFLMAO!!!!.... Great stuff. Check it out if you get the chance.
and the NEW
Yeh, I dont want to speak too early here, but whatever the new coach at Valencia has done, he has really instilled confidence and got them playing well and beauitfully! The way they should be with the players they have.

Barca have been doing OK, some good results at least, despite not looking the best. Still it's slowly coming together, Pep has them structured better now and the attack is starting to fire more!

The Premier League is hot! Man look pretty good once again, but it just isn't flowing like it was the last couple seasons, ah well, hopefully it comes together, they are always slow starters! At least their defence looks stronger! Saw that kid on the right the other day, Rafael, he is very very good, was he the better or the worse of the brothers MAXY?

Chelsea looks on and off. As do Arsenal. I really hope Arsenal can put it together, because on their day, they are brilliant to watch! Their win over Porto was FANTASTIC football!

Liverpool look very strong, as do Aston Villa at the moment, who are playing some great attacking football!

Onto the weekends matches, then a break from domestic football for a couple weeks sad.gif

Oh and PR, yes was good to see Ronaldinho punish Mourinho, I'm sure he remembers a little of it in the CL when he was coaching Chelsea! ha ha. As for Milan, that was the first game, either National for Brazil or for Milan, I have seen Kaka and Ronaldinho on the pitch together and actually work fantastically! Maybe they are working on it in training, but them combining with Pato against Milan, was brilliant to watch! Really gave Inter hell!
Maxy
Yeah it was great to see Rafael the other night. OK, he's still a raw talent but his potential is off the scale for a kid of 18 playing in a foreign country after having almost a year out of the game. He just looks so good as an attacking fullback, although defensively his positional sense needs improvement. I was just delighted with his touch, his pace and his obvious dribbling ability, coupled with the fact that he isn't afraid to have a shot from distance. I think he's a player everyone will be talking about in a couple of seasons. Seriously. Oh and before he and his twin Fabio arrived, all the talk was how Fabio is the better player! We'll see about that. Sadly Fabio is recovering from a shoulder injury and hasn't made the same impact yet that Rafael made. I hope he's just as good as Rafael. That'll be brilliant.

I've been somewhat disappointed with United so far. We've gotten over our slow start and have picked up a few wins but we just haven't had that spark yet. Berbatov has yet to show his class but I remain confident it will come. He just looks so damn lazy! His touch and vision are sublime at times and his obvious frustration at Nani's ball hogging was apparent in Europe the other night. Pleased he got off the mark with the two goals and I figured he'd probably score again today against Blackburn. Didn't happen. He's a very frustrating player. Obvious class but he lacks pace and he just doesn't come across as eager. He'll work out though, I'm sure of it.

Ronaldo...hmm....On Tuesday he didn't pass the ball when a pass was the right option and for the majority of todays game the scenario was the same. He wasn't even looking up to spot players in better positions, instead choosing to go for glory himself. The two occasions that he did make the right pass, Rooney scored and Tevez hit the post. I know his ego is huge and he wants to score lots of goals but he is mature enough now as a footballer to know when to shoot and when to pass. I'll never warm to him again and I'm not alone. He ruined his relationship with most fans and although we are happy to have him here, he is open to much more criticism now. If any of you have watched him since his return from ijury you'll know what I mean. He's not back to full fitness yet and he's not totally sharp either. It will come with games, but its a team game and I hope for my teams sake that he doesn't just go out to be the hero all the time. Last season was a freak season. It won't happen again and I hope he accepts that.

Nani needs a spell in the reserves. He is woeful at the moment. Enough said.

Anyway, great to see Valencia doing so well. Early days but from what I have seen so far they look the most accomplished team in La Liga. I hope it can continue.
and the NEW
Agreed on all 3.

Ronaldo is not sharp at all and not completely fit. His ego is driving him to at least go for it though, he really wants to perform!

Nani is rubbish. He is like Walcott and will take many years to develop as an overally good player. Lacks vision, passing, final touch etc.

Bervatov looks lazy as hell. He is class but he just isn't linking things together. At least he can see passing opportunities, unlike Tevez, who is so busy running with his head down he misses some fantastic passing opportunities he creates!

Rafael looks to be one of the best young wing back threats in the world. No doubt about that.

Barca, oh man, what a punishment on Patletico again! Brilliance! But they do that to Patletico every now and then!

Valencia, PR, don't want to get ahead of myself or get your hopes up, but they really look like a title threat this season! Imagine them winning! What a turnaround! The coach should be bowed down too if he could pull that cat out of the bag!

What matches tonight, City V Liverpool and Chelsea V Villa, man, the two teams that look like they may be ready to pop the top four in the next season or two. Though Villa better defend Young with their lives, that boy is really coming along and should be playing for England! He adds some serious spark to the team! It will be he and not Barry that is being talked about soon!

Madrid still managing to do ok in La Liga, I'm sure they will be rivaling at the end of the season! Will be a close season again, that is for sure!

Premier League, who will win? I still think Chelsea will be hard to beat, but United are still in it no doubt. Can't see Arsenal or Liverpool win it, but who knows this year..........
PR316
Villa and Eto'o are the leading scorers so far in La Liga.... Doesn't that bring a sense of NORMALITY, ATN??... lol.....


Yeah no doubt Valencia are showing themselves so far to have improved tremendously. The way they hammered 4 goals past what is one of the better defenses in La Liga in Deportivo(Ask Real Madrid who scored from a set piece only), was a great showing by the lads WITHOUT their best creator in David Silva and without their best defender Carlos Marchena. Having Manuel Fernandes playing as well as he is has really helped because he has set up lots of goals and he's helping Albelda out there, winning balls in the midfield, keeping possession, distributing, and running all over the field basically, not to mention almost scoring from a free kick against Maritimo in the UEFA Cup. A title is too soon to predict but if they keep up their level of play, they can be a threat to win it down the stretch. Emery has indeed thus far turned this team around in a big way. He's got them playing football again.


Patetico got absolutely EMBARRASSED by Barcelona in what has to be the strongest display yet in all of La Liga. Patetico are actually a very deep team with lots of quality up front and especially in the midfield and they looked like lost children against Barca. Atleti needs to recover big time because they're playing against the corrupt bastards soon.


At the moment, the stand out players in La Liga are Messi, Villa, Eto'o, Van Der Vaart, and Mata. Not just putting goals away but assisting goals as well and contributing all around in their team's attack scheme.
and the NEW
Yep agreed, a sense of normality is back, lol!

Also agreed on the stand outs so far this season! Did you see Messis runs against Petletico? DAMN! One was incredible again, but he missed the final put away. Turned the defenders inside out though!

Tottenham, WTF? They are really lacking a scorer this season!

City nearly had Liverpools scalp too!

Also just watched Milan, RUBBISH. Kaka played ok, but Ronaldinho and Pato were barely featured except for one moment. Terrible performance by Milan and their big names. As flat as could get! Ronaldinho actually did look very very lazy!
PR316
All I know is that from what I see, La Liga is VERY COMPETITIVE this year.. Several teams have made a legitimate claim THUS FAR(Key words) as potential title contenders.


Real Madrid at Bernabeau couldn't beat Espanyol, drawing 2-2. Real to me look fine in attack with Sneijder back now. But defensively they are horrendous. And if they think that against the top teams they'll get away with that again, then they're wrong, and they won't even have to play against the likes of United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Liverpool to find out. They couldn't even beat Deportivo. The defense is just too attacking I guess, with Ramos often pushing up along with Heinze, and Pepe committing stupid fouls, and Cannavaro just being too slow, its starting to catch up to them.


UEFA Cup draw pits AC Milan in a pretty tough group I'd say with Portsmouth, Wolfsburg, Braga, and Heerenveen, while Valencia thankfully get an easier one with Rosenborg, Brugge, Kobenhavn, and AS Saint Etienne.


Everybody's dream final is AC Milan vs Valencia... That would be something now. If both teams manage to get there, then either one is deserving of the title for sure.


Liverpool would have lost to City had it not been for Torres bringing them back in the 2nd half with 2 back to back goals. Torres proving thus far that last season for him was no fluke.
and the NEW
Yeh, I would say, Torres is the best pure striker in the world today! Tough to say above Eto'o, but I beleive he creates more opportunities himself than Eto'o and is probably better in the air and a better dribbler. Though he may not be quite as quick.

Madrid are good going forward (though Robben out could be a big blow), but terrible in defence. Even Pepe looks horrible!

Valencia are on fire!!!!! Them V Milan would be an awesome UEFA Cup final and who knows this season, could even be worth of a CL final when it's all said and done, but far too early to tell yet. United to me are looking to be getting back to business and will probably proove to be formidable again this season! Surprisingly, Liverpool are also making a challenge though I doubt that can last!
PR316
Torres this year has a chance to win his very first scoring title. I think he'll do just that this season and establish himself up there. He's arguably the very best striker in the world right now and in terms of STYLE OF PLAY, is the one that most reminds me of a prime Ronaldo. Eto'o to me is a better finisher in front of goal and is definitely a harder worker. Torres is stronger and has better technique on the ball, and due to his height of course is more dominant in the air. But I think Eto'o links the play a little bit better, and can play off his teammates more, whereas Torres sticks more in your classic center striker role, relying on his speed and good positioning.



Scoring goals is definitely not Madrid's problem, its conceding them. Even against teams that aren't that good. Something is not right. And I think Pepe for some reason after a good season last year is turning into a liability. He gets that rush of blood after getting beaten by an attacker and commits a stupid foul. Cannavaro is too slow and when he's facing attackers that are too quick for his roughouse tactics, he's lost and that leaves Ramos and Heinze to do alot of extra work and thus somebody gets open. It'll be very interesting to see them against a well oiled attacking team in Pathetico Madrid, who will most surely have recovered from their hammering against you guys in what has to be the best performance of the season thus far by a big team.


Liverpool's problem is lack of depth. And they just continously fail to address these problems every off season. Very similar to Arsenal, whom despite playing the most beautiful football possibly, don't last to stand the test of time during the season.


And what about Cesc Fabregas' recent words that it would be "a dream come true to return to Barcelona"???.... Cesc's future really will depend on what Arsenal do in these next 2 seasons. If either a Premiership title or a CL is not won, I can see him coming back to his beloved club, where as a youth he came up in the same class as Messi and Iniesta.... Further proof that Barcelona hands down produce the best young talents in all of football.
Maxy
Only caught the highlights of the Barcelona game but they looked awesome. Messi is an unbelievable player and its a damn shame he couldn't finish that move where he skipped past several players and shot just wide...Brilliant player and on current form he's the best in the world. During the games against United he outshone Ronaldo but Ronnie was the better player overall that season simply because his goals ratio was so outstanding. Doesn't Messi have 5 in 6 or something already this season?

Madrid do look sloppy at the back but that makes for exciting games and their vulnerability will hopefully see them fall short in both La Liga and the Champions League. My dream is for them to fail to qualify for next seasons Champions League so that Ronaldo has to go play in the UEFA cup...assuming he's going there at the end of the season.

Fabregas said in February that he wanted to stay at Arsenal for the rest of his career but I think everyone knows he'll go back to Barca eventually. Even the Arsenal fans I know have accepted that fact and I don't honestly believe they begrudge him that either. He's a Barca boy afterall. He's contracted until 2014 and he's close to Wenger so who knows how long it will be, but the more seasons go by without him winning the big trophies, the more likely he is to ask to go.

International break now. Just as United were beginning to hit their flow. Damn. Chelsea and Liverpool are the two front runners over here and although I initially said I didn't believe Chelsea would be such a force this season, they are proving me wrong so far. Liverpool....well I don't know. I just hope and pray its just good early season form because I can't handle them winning the title or even competing for it.
PR316
Messi is streaky. He'll go through small stretches of incredible form and then drop off big time in performance. Injuries haven't helped him either and there are a few facets of his game that he could hone some more but at the moment he is on a great run of form, no doubt, and is up for World Player of the Year with Ronaldo, Xavi, Torres, and Casillas. I have my disagreements with a few of those but whatever. Its all opinions anyway.

Messi has 5 goals in 6 games this season with 3 assists. 1 goal was off a penalty and another was off a free kick.


Real Madrid no matter what will qualify for the Champions League unfortunately. But I don't see them winning La Liga this year. Unless they tighten up at the back, they're going to have big problems against teams like Barcelona, Villareal, Valencia, and Sevilla. Sadly Ronaldo will be at Real Madrid either next season or after the 2010 World Cup and that will just make me hate them more.


Barcelona are eyeing Karim Benzema whom I must say is in hot form in France, bagging 6 goals in 7 games. I've seen much of Lyon this season and they're looking good. Benzema is still just 20 years old and though he could possibly be the best striker in the world some day, I don't know how much Barca are willing to pay for him. Barca have 3 strikers already in Eto'o, Henry, and Bojan. I'm assuming that either Eto'o or Henry(Most likely the latter) will be out by next season or relegated to a bench role. But the corrupt criminals are also after Benzema it seems so if Barca want him, they'll likely have to outbid Real Madrid.


EPL and La Liga are both very competitive this year. United are getting into their flow. Chelsea are solid. Liverpool are winning on sheer firepower but the depth there is seriously lacking. They have to hope that injuries keep out of their way. Arsenal need to find consistency because City are on the come up.

Barcelona and Valencia have looked very good thus far. Villareal has been workmanlike, and Real Madrid have been grinding out some results to their credit. Sevilla have been looking better and better so hopefully they can remain in this race and make life difficult for Real Madrid.
Maxy
Portugal look dire under Queiroz. 0-0 with Albania who had 10 men for the second half! Carlos is a great coach but his management skills look questionable. He failed at Madrid, although tbh he had to work under ridiculous conditions, and his career as manager of Portugal hasn't started off in the most positive fashion. Many thought he could be the man to replace Ferguson but right now I can't see that happening. I'd love him back at United as Fergie's assistant but he doesn't appear to be manager material.

Capello is getting the best out of England and the best out of Rooney and its great to see. 4 straight wins, only Spain have done the same. Belarus are a competent side and they played well for long periods, putting England under a lot of pressure. Their goal was a sublime piece of play and very Arsenal alike. 23 passes carved us open and it was something to applaud. Rooney looks to be playing with all his goal scoring confidence back again and long may it continue because when he is in this sort of form he is a genuine world class striker. He's had these sort of spells before but they always seem to get curtailed by some sort of injury which sets him right back. An injury free Rooney, playing with confidence, is a joy to behold and a devastating threat to any team in the world. What I'm liking more and more about Capello is he changes things around when things aren't going well and the team responds to him. After the McClaren years this is highly refreshing. It's early days but we are well on the road to South Africa and an England team playing with confidence is capable of doing big things.

I see Torres got injured. He'll miss the scums game against Wigan and hopefully they drop points. Looking forward to Saturday now. Nothing beats the domestic season.
PR316
Didn't see Portugal so I can't comment.


England I know has been looking good as of late and finally seem to have found some sort of identity on the pitch, working together well. I don't think their group is too bad unlike the one they had for Euro 2008 so hopefully they'll make it this time around.


Spain were solid as usual. Torres picked up a knock early in the game, and up stepped Fabregas in his place, thus leaving Villa alone up top. A shame because though Torres was very sloppy and wasteful against Etonia, he really looked lively here and looked the biggest threat on goal early on. Belgium scored first and then went into a complete shell as if they were just hoping that they would get lucky and ride it out. Iniesta scored a golazo(AKA cracker) before the half way mark, and with 2 minutes left, Dani Guiza delivered a perfect cross for Villa to head into the back of the net for the game winner. Villa is now Spain's 4th leading all time scorer I believe and its the feeling of everybody that he'll pass Raul in no time. Not Spain's best performance but they were clearly the better team.


Torres has a slight muscle pull which will keep him out about a week I hear. I could easily see Liverpool dropping points now considering that both Gerrard and Babel are injured. I think Benayoun has a knock too. Liverpool's lack of depth could be a problem here so they better hope for a good result and for Torres to get back as quickly as possible. Its really too bad for them because El Niño is in really great form, banging in goals like no tomorrow.


Agreed MAXY nothing like the season. I know you hate Liverpool, but I think you should appreciate how competitive the EPL appears to be this season. More than in recent times. Ditto for La Liga in Spain. About 5-6 teams in both leagues making some noise and though its early days, there are lots of possibilities and thats what I love.
and the NEW
Man, this sucks. I don't have cable anymore! Have to go round to a mates place this Saturday night just to catch whichever games are on in the EPL! Won't even be able to watch much La Liga for quite a number of weeks/months, or internationals!

You guys will have to keep me updated! Journalist reviews are just that, rubbish and biased, just looking for a story!
Maxy
Chelsea are looking like THE team to beat at the moment producing another excellent performance away at Boro yesterday. However, I feel like United are easing comfortably into top gear and believe we will be the team who pushes them all the way. Wayne Rooney once again produced an outstanding display yesterday and it's brilliant when he is in this kind of form. Ronaldo isn't back yet (to his best), Berbatov seems so frustratingly lazy but his presence is helping get the best out of Roony and Tevez didn't even feature at all. Things are looking up. The scum got a result mainly due to a daft Wigan player getting himself sent off when they were winning 2-1 and Arsenal came from a goal down to beat Everton 3-1.

Did the Madrid derby really warrant 5 added minutes? I was hoping Atletico could hold out and its gutting that they couldn't.

Another thing..the Ballon d'Or nominees. No Rio? Disgusting. Here is the list.

Emmanuel Adebayor (Arsenal), Togo.
Sergio Agüero (Atletico Madrid), Argentine.
Andreï Arshavin (Zénith Saint-Pétersbourg), Russia.
Michael Ballack (Chelsea), Germany.
Karim Benzema (Lyon), France.
Gianluigi Buffon (Juventus Turin), Italy.
Iker Casillas (Real Madrid), Spain.
Cristiano Ronaldo (Manchester United), Portugal.
Didier Drogba (Chelsea), Ivory Coast.
Samuel Eto'o (FC Barcelone), Cameroon.
Cesc Fabregas (Arsenal), Spain.
Fernando Torres (Liverpool FC), Spain.
Steven Gerrard (Liverpool FC), England.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Inter Milan), Sweden.
Kaka (Milan AC), Brazil.
Frank Lampard (Chelsea), England.
Lionel Messi (FC Barcelone), Argentina.
Pepe (Real Madrid), Portugal.
Franck Ribéry (Bayern Munich), France.
Wayne Rooney (Manchester United), England. Marcos Senna (Villarreal), Spain.
Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid), Spain.
Luca Toni (Bayern Munich), Italy.
Edwin van der Sar (Manchester United), Netherlands.
Rafael van der Vaart (Hamburg SV puis Real Madrid), Netherlands.
Ruud van Nistelrooy (Real Madrid), Netherlands.
Nemanja Vidic (Manchester United), Serbia.
David Villa (Valence CF), Spain.
Xavi (FC Barcelona), Spain.
Youri Zhirkov (CSKA Moscou), Russia.
and the NEW
Yeh, I actually got to catch the Chelsea game, fukc me, what depth! Definately the most loaded team globally! It is beyond a joke the talent they have!

United got a great result and PR, how about VALENCIA! SHIT! They are the team to beat this year in La Liga! Weird to see both Barca and Madrid off the pace in 4th and 5th, though it is very close still!

Inter and both Milan won again, Ronaldinho with a double and apparently should have had a hattrick. Kaka benched, weird. Ibra did it for Inter again, man, what a trio, Queresma, Mancini and Ibra. Truly scary this year they are, good buys at least by Mourinho but even with that trio, they are still boring as hell! WTF! Both the Milan outfits look far and away the most talented teams in Seria A this season and should battle it out for the title.

Top four bubbling to the top once again in the Premier League, as should have really been expected. Tottenham, holey moley, the way they are playing, they may be relegated! Sorry to say, Ramos has been a shocker, and has to go if he can't turn things around soon! With that cash to splash, no excuses to be last! Villa to me looks the most dangerous to the top four, but Chelsea handed them with ease the other week, so it's still apparent the gulf in class between the top four and the others, which other than some long runs of bad luck, should sort the top four out once again at the top at the end of the season. City is probably the only one who can crack them open consistently in a couple years, if they can manage to use that cash and land some big names!

Ronaldo should win the Ballon, without doubt IMHO. As PR already said previously, Messi is too streaky at the moment and Kaka just hasn't been in the same form as Ronaldo. Nobody else really to rival these 3 at the moment. Except perhaps Ibra, who doesn't get the praise he deserves despite leading Inter single handidly to the Seria A title. I really hope somebody scalps him off Jose!

Anybody get FIFA09 yet if you have a 360 or PS3. These FIFA games are my favourite! Fantastic to play!
PR316
I'm admittedly not the biggest fan of the Balon de Oro, but if I had to give it to somebody, it would have to be Ronaldo. His goal scoring record in the PL, CL, and other tournaments was absolutely OUTSTANDING... Nobody did what he did last year. IMO, Messi doesn't deserve to be up there. He didn't really play that well last year, save for the first few weeks of the season. Same thing with Kaka like ATN said. Ibra last year started well but faded off in the end, mostly due to his nagging injuries that he was dealing with well into Euro 2008. But I don't think anybody who truly knows the game can deny his capabilities.



United are hitting stride building off what they did prior to the break and if anybody at the moment looks like they'll push Chelsea, it will be them. Liverpool and Arsenal just don't have enough depth. On their day, they can beat the best. They've proven it. But they never hold up for the long haul of the season because they can't rotate to keep their players fresh because of the lack of quality on the bench. United and Chelsea on the other hand have enough depth to cover 4 teams. Thats why it'll come down to those 2 in the end once again. Look for City to push Arsenal and Liverpool for those 3rd and 4th spots but it remains to be seen if they'll be good enough by then.


Valencia what can I say. Thrashed Numancia 4-0, with goals by Villa(Twice), Mata, and Vicente. Defense was solid with Albiol and Alexis, and Fernanades was great in the midfield keeping possession, distributing, and firing some killer balls down the middle, one lob over the top to find Villa for the 4th goal. Whats impressive is that they're doing it without Silva until he comes back in December in time to face the big boys in Barcelona, Real Madrid, Villareal, and Sevilla. Its a 5 horse race at the moment. Patetico Madrid need to pick themselves up because they have too much talent to just tuck their tail in between their legs and just allow themselves to get beat the way they have as of late. Real Madrid did get lucky to beat them though with what was a suspicious penalty call in injury time to say the least and I will leave it at that. Barcelona grinded out a win with ole reliable Eto'o to get them the game winner. But Sammy could have had a hat trick. Oh well. Still nice to see Eto'o and Villa leading La Liga for the Pichichi thus far. Brings a smile to my face because its the way I feel things should be during this time.

Heard about Milan and Ronaldinho. Reports say that he looked reborn out there and very much resembled the player of a couple of seasons ago. Not bad, bagging himself a brace and having a hand(Or foot) in the 3rd goal of Milan. Wasn't aware Kaka was benched but every player has a bad game. Can't look great every time thats for sure. I' think Inter will win it in the end but we'll see. Its a long season.

I have FIFA 07 and 08 and I love both games. Have yet to get 09 but I will when I have the chance.

and the NEW
Yeh, agreed PR.

One more thing, good to see Senna added to that list, even though he doesn't stand a chance.

He deserves a LOT of credit for what he does week in and week out at Villareal and for how he played in the Euro, probably the player of the tournament. Without him, that shaky defence would have most likely been displayed.

Agreed on the Ballon. Don't give it too much credit. They seem to like to rotate who wins it and give it to a multitude of players, rather than just the guy who deserves it over and over (and usually in world football, there is a player or two who definately stand out above the rest for a few years in a row).
PR316
^^^^Yeah. My main problem with Balon De Oro is that its very MEDIA MOTIVATED...


Again, there are many players on that list that don't deserve to be on it this time around. To me it almost seems like a popularity contest.
and the NEW
Yeh it's funny Fitz, I have always hated PES. I have actually bought a couple of them over the years instead of just hiring it to see if I liked it. And I'm disappointed I actually bought it, just could never get into them. I find them more like an arcade, good for fun, but unrealistic.
and the NEW
Yeh, one of my mates preferred PES and he is a soccer nut.

But I found FIFA was far more for tactics and tricks didn't work at all. It was all about finding the right tactics with the right players and formations.

I always just ended up doing solo goals on PES and found these the easiest, just had to play with a team with fast strikers. Whereas Bayern for example, is great at wing play, putting balls into Toni and Klose. Barca is great for through balls and letting Henry and Eto'o free. Similar to real life.

Ah well, either way, I always personally found FIFA far more tactical and interesting. Tried a few times to get into PES, but just never could do.

I would almost compare them to FIFA being like EA NBA, whereas PES more like NBA Jam. Cartooney and heaps of solo efforts, where speed was the key in every match.
PR316
Well since the Balon de Oro is the big talk now, lets look forward to next season.


The way things have STARTED(Keyword), I think next year we could possibly see these names up for it.


Torres(Has started where he left off last year)
Eto'o(Seemingly reborn)
Villa(Leading goal scorer in La Liga)
Benzema(Leading goal scorer in Ligue 1 and I think the CL as well)
Messi(If he stays fit)
Aguero(He's on the way to becoming a top 4 striker in the world)
Silva(See Messi)
Ronaldinho(He's on quite a role now, needs to stay fit)
Sneijder(Needs to stay fit)
Ronaldo(Just starting to hit stride and is unstoppable at his best)
Robinho(Has been on fire since joining Man City)
Fabregas(Has now started to find his rhythm)
Fernandes(The big reason Valencia's midfield is now a strength and not a weakness)
Kaka(Is having an overall decent season with Ronaldinho opening up some spaces for him)
Ferdinand(My favorite defender, and can mark anybody)
Van Der Vaart(The other reason along with Sneijder that Real Madrid can score so many goals)
Mata(Leads La Liga in assists and is the most important reason that Villa as of now is Pichichi)
Deco(Pulling the strings for Chelsea's attack and he's really brought that midfield together)
Xavi(Very consistent. Does for Barcelona what he does for Spain).
Huntelaar(Continues his impressive goal scoring record despite Ajax having a TERRIBLE start to their season)
Senna(The man who holds together Spain's defense and keeps it from falling apart)

There's so many I know and in truth, alot of them will have some big drop offs in their performances sometime this season and somebody not at their best will pick up and make things interesting. I for one prefer to just compare players with respect to their abilities and styles of play as opposed to saying "This one's better than the other".


UEFA Cup is coming up. People are still touting AC Milan and Valencia to make it big this season, possibly a final between the two. That would be an absolute DREAM but I do prefer to win La Liga any day of the week.
and the NEW
Yeh Valencia and Milan look great for the UEFA Cup, but as you say, the league for either would be much better. I would add in that Aston Villa could be a rival for that, I really like them at the moment for some reason. Some great pace and ability in that midfield, just need to tighten up the defence a bit, but hard with their style of play.

As for top players, yeh I agree with those you have written. Ronaldinho and Kaka are both playing pretty decent at the moment for Milan. Ibrahimavic has probably been the player of the season for me so far in any league. Great player, does it for fun and with complete ease.

Senna for me could well deserve it. He is a HUGE reason Villareal are where they are, in the CL and near the top of La Liga, not to mention, the Euro. The best holding mid in the game today at the moment IMHO. Ronaldo will get back on track, maybe not as spectacular, but he will always feature if fit. So good in every area.

CL is heating up now, looks like there may be a few upsets and some very easy QFs for a 3 or so of the top teams!

Chelsea is my favourite, with Man United being up there with them. Liverpool have to be the other standout and Barca as always could make some serious noise. Will be interesting to see if Inter can make a splash this season and at least make Semis. Very good team they have and some great attacking threats, if only Mourinho can learn how to utilise them. Arsenal are always dangerous and I think Bayern Munich may just make an impression of Ribery and Toni can stay fit. Other than that, I don't see many threats. Juve are rubbish, and Madrid have too many defensive weaknesses but are quite capable in attack. Villareal and Atletico are not complete enough, nor are Lyon. Who do you guys think are the favourites for the CL title?
PR316
Almost forgot Ibra. He needs to stay fit, though. He's been very impressive for Inter as of late and he could hitting his peak very soon. If he's shaken off his knee problems I wouldn't be the least bit shocked if he lead Serie A in goal scoring.


Chelsea for me are suited for the CL. So much attack threat there and a solid defense. United can never be discounted because of the confidence from winning last year, and also throw in that Rooney and Berbatov are starting to score more goals so this could just open things up even more for Ronaldo. Inter are my 3rd favorite. The style of play for one, and a very very strong defense, plus a difference maker in Ibrahimovic. And we can't forget that the character of characters is their manager and if he knows 1 thing, its winning trophies. Barcelona are my 4th favorite. They have players there with tons of CL experience too and if the back wall can hold up, expect lots of goals scored, which is really Barca's forte. They'll definitely make an impact no matter what.


Arsenal or Liverpool are two of the teams I would like to see if not win it, then make a serious impact but I doubt it. Not enough depth in either squad and both do tend to crack when the pressure mounts on. Forget Real Madrid. They cant' even beat Juventus apparantley, LOL!!!!.... Good for them since their fans are so arrogant and talk so much shite about how they're one of the top 3 teams in all of Europe. Villareal, Lyon, Bayern, and Patetico are just not there yet. Awesome squads with loads of talent but can't put it together quite like the 3 favorites I mentioned can.
Maxy
I'd like to add Wayne Rooney to those lists. OK, it's early days yet and form is temporary, but if Rooney can continue in the same way he has been playing lately I don't think there are many strikers in the world who are better than him. Better finishers, maybe, but the overall package...No. Rooney is back to his best, whereas Ronaldo looks a shadow of the player he was last season. Not gonna diss him though, he needs games. Rooney is loving his partnership with Berbatov, he's playing with a smile on his face and he's finding the net regularly. 9 goals for club and country this season after a poor start.

BTW, Mata is the man most United fans want to see replace Ronaldo if we can't get the unrealistic targets of Messi and perhaps Ribery. Valencia are spoilt for choice with their wingers PR...they are in huge debt also.....so maybe something can be done in the summer?
PR316
Interesting MAXY because in the Spanish Gol TV channel, they did a feature on Rooney and Villa, calling them the 2 most in form strikers at the moment, citing both their goal scoring records for their clubs AND national teams. Rooney is really on a hot streak right now I must say, banging in goals out of nowhere that he used to routinely miss. He must have been working extra hard on these things because now that he's seeing the ball more, he's taking his shots well and forming a fine partnership with Berbatov.



Juan Mata is the new young sensation in Spain. M-16 they call him. A product of the Madrid youth system, the way to describe this guy is VERSATILITY... He can play as a left winger, he can line up as a number 10, he can play as a supporting striker, and excells at right wing as well. An exquisite technique on the ball this kid has with ability to play great one twos with his teammates to go along with his great eye for goal. He cuts inside, can beat defenders off the dribble, and can assist like there's no tomorrow(Leading La Liga in assists with 6 so far). And amazingly, for such a small guy he's great in the air. Of the 4 goals he's scored thus far, 2 have been off headers. He's also unselfish. Absolutely LOVE that about him. A few hightlights...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW5Jhm5dK2A...feature=related

Amazing diagonal ball.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnoI5_0hJAg

Nice goal.


The only thing about him is he's not that strong, physically. He can get knocked down rather easily, so I don't know how United fans would feel seeing as the EPL is a very demanding and physical competition.


Valencia have some debt. They are selling the Mestalla this year to move into a new stadium next Summer and only this season will tell as to how our financial situation is. If our situation doesn't improve significantly as far as our debts go, then certainly I can see the possibility of selling a player like Mata to a big club for a decent price. The kid is a star in the making. And it won't be long before he not only starts attracting attention from the likes of United, Chelsea, Arsenal(20 years old, Arsene Wenger would LOVE to sign him), Barcelona, Real Madrid, etc. etc...

Anything is possible. Obviously I want him to stay because he fits so well in Unai Emery's style of football but I think he'd be great for you guys too because he's not really green at all. He seems to adapt quickly and is ready to step in and play.
and the NEW
Yeh, the talent out there is immense at the moment!

PR, do you really think Inter are a favourite in the CL? They have been TERRIBLE to say the least in recent years! Surprising considering they are by far the most dominant team domestically of the 3 big leagues!

I hope Aguero goes to the Prem League also, I think he could really make a splash there.

I also hope Valencia can keep their players, they are/were a big club and need them to stay that way. Not selling them off to the giant world leaders or they will end up just like any of the other clubs that look like competing with the big guns! It's one reason I'm glad Aston Villa refused to give in and sell Barry!

See the Barca romping! Oh yeh! Best form the CL so far of any team, but that being said, their group is pathetic! Hopefully they get an easy draw next round also and march into the quarters! Hopefully Liverpool doesn't end 2nd, or one of these top teams is going to have their hands full in the round of 16!

See perhaps a Beckham loan deal to AC Milan? LOL. WTF do they want him for? They have plenty of talent on the team already with a free kick specialist! They are going to turn into the next Galacticos, after Madrid and Barca already showed what happens with that set-up! Chelsea are on the verge of turning into something similar if they keep on with their signing frenzy (though a Chelsea downfall wouldn't be a bad thing!).

La Liga definately looks the most competitive after the several games played in each league now! Top 4 once again in the Prem, with Liverpool falling off the pace as the season wears on due to their lack of depth. Italy, only Inter or Milan can win it IMHO.


Fitz
http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,2...69-2883,00.html

QUOTE
ITALIAN giants AC Milan are close to signing David Beckham on loan from January, the club said today.

"He'll stay here in Milan on loan for a few months. We're discussing it with his agent," Milan vice-president Adriano Galliani said on the club's website.

Under the proposed deal, the Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder and former England captain would stay with the Serie A club until the end of the season.

With the Major League Soccer season in the United States nearly over, Beckham is eager to join another club in Europe so he can remain fit for England's World Cup qualifying matches.

England coach Fabio Capello has said he will not pick players who are not active.

"We'll sign him for a few months and then he'll go back. Beckham has chosen Milan," Galliani said at Malpensa airport before flying to a UEFA Cup match. "Our team is very competitive and will remain as is, but Beckham is something different and intriguing."

While many Italian clubs are struggling with attendance, Galliani noted that 65,000 fans showed up for Milan's home game Sunday with Sampdoria.

"Beckham will bring more fans," Galliani said.

Beckham would join a stellar squad at Milan, including Brazil standouts Ronaldinho, Kaka and Alexandre Pato, plus Italy's Andrea Pirlo and Gennaro Gattuso.

"For me it will be a pleasure," Milan coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Beckham is a serious athlete, a great professional. If he'll be available for four months with us, we'll be very happy."

Ancelotti also indicated Beckham could play for Milan in the UEFA Cup.

"If he becomes available for Milan, evidently it will be for both in Italy and in Europe," the coach said.
Maxy
Thanks for the youtube links PR. Yeah he looks pretty classy and there has been nothing but rave reviews about him over here. Alexis Sanchez is another name people are talking about as a potential Ronaldo replacement and although he's a good player I wasn't overly impressed with him against Spurs last night. My God, aren't Spurs bad. Damn. They really do look like relegation fodder at this point. I blame the board for their predicament though, rather than Ramos. He can only work with the tools available to him and the boards decision to hold out for £30 plus million for Berbatov has cost them in a big way. They should have took £25m 2 weeks before the transfer deadline shut and then bought an adequate replacement. What good is £30m when you can't sign anyone until January?

Real have said they have finished their pursuit of Ronaldo "Forever" but thats bullshit and everyone knows it....unless...unless they have switched their main priority to one of Benzema or Fabregas. Both different types of player but for me, they are amongst the current best in the world. Benzema is highly rated by Ferguson and most coaches/managers world wide. He's going to be an awesome player, and Fabregas, well we already know how good he is. Real can't afford Benzema/Fabregas and/or Ronaldo. They'll have to pick their no.1 and make do with their choice.

Going back to the Ballon D'Or thingy...well I don't really rate it as an award either. Somebody, think it was PR stressed that they didn't really buy into it's significance and I totally agree. I don't like harping on about it but in '99 when United won the treble we had more than one player who deserved that award. They didn't get it. The season Arsenal finished the season unbeaten and reached the European cup final...Henry was majestic and was a shoe-in for the award. He didn't get it. Sorry but it doesn't really matter to me. Ronaldo deserves it this year, he'll probaly get it but if he doesn't it won't bother me.

Anyway, look for Rooney to score again this weekend and for Liverpool to lose 1-0 away at Chelsea. Chelsea are looking very good at the minute. Definitely the no.1 team I fear both at home and in Europe right now.
and the NEW
Yep, agree 100% MAXY with everything you said.

Henry was majestic and should have had both the Baloon and FIFA AT LEAST once. He, Zidane and Ronaldo were the dominant guys at the time.

As for Madrid, no idea what they are doing going for attackers, they have no problem in that department. They, same as Barca, DRASTICALLY need defenders. Why not go for some? I don't get it, except rediculous management!

I honestly think, if the Ronaldinho form continues, United should go for Kaka! He would be a LOT cheaper than last season and is a siI hmilar player to Torres, so would probably really do some damage in England! Both his pace and his strength suit the Prem perfectly.

Chelsea are the dominant team in the world at the moment IMO, but I can never write off United, they have the depth and the talent no doubt. Vidic and Ferdinand are HUGE assets. I remember having a discussion about the United defence and the Barca defence, matching them evenly, LOL. Don't I look stupid!

Tottenham look FOR SURE relegation material, insane considering the talent in some of their players. I mean Giovanni, Bent, Bentley, Lennon, Bale, man, what talent!!!!!!!!!

Obvoiusly Keane, Berbitov and I honestly think Marbranque, were big losses. Defoe is not doing too bad either, and it's really goals they lack! Along with defence of course.

This weekend has some good matches, I'm gonna try find a pub to watch them! sad.gif CANNOT WAIT until I get a permanent place in Sydney, and get hooked up again!
Maxy
United looked poor in the second half yesterday after dominating the first half. It was 2 points dropped and a disappointing result. Liverpool ended Chelsea's unbeaten home record and are winning the big games this season. I hope they slip up soon. Christmas is when things really start to take shape so I won't panic yet but we need to get Carrick, Hargreaves and Scholes fit again because our options in midfield are limited right now.

Barcelona are looking awesome at the minute. 5-0 at half time is incredible. Could it be that we will witness a fight for the title between PR's Valencia and ATN's Barca? That'll be very interesting and I hope it pans out like that.

Ramos' reputation is in tatters. I don't solely blame him though, as I've already said but he has come to England with a big reputation and basically he's failed badly.

Anybody see the reports linking Mourinho as Ferguson eventual replacement? It's getting more and more frequent now. Worrying. I know Jose is a great manager but he's not right for United and I'd be disappointed if he took over. It'll need a big man with a lot of character to replace Alex and Jose is exactly that but like I'm sure I've said before, his style of football is not the United way. Imagine Barcelona playing pragmatic football like Chelsea did under Mourinho? He'd change our style of play and that is just not acceptable, even if we won everything. Truth is, United have a reputation for playing attacking cavalier football and we would need a manager who can continue that tradition. Mourinho doesn't.
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