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PR316
Villa's main role right now is a lone striker. But when Morientes comes in, Emery moves him into the supporting striker role(Where he's probably at his best in truth) or to the left side that Henry plays in. BTW, I must say Henry has adapted rather well to that role. Despite the criticism he's actually playing really well, its just that Camp Nou fans are demanding, which of course is expected from a top club.


If this move occurs(You never know in today's game), then the question becomes "How do you stop them"???... "How do you keep all of Eto'o, Messi, Villa, Henry, and Alves all of out of goal for 90 minutes???" Talk about FIREPOWER...


Villa refuses to comment on the situation as of now, and even Laporta and Guardiola don't wish to speak on it at the moment it seems.


Fabregas out 4 months... That was the best thing they had going for them and now thats gone for almost the entire season. I think he's scheduled for an April return or something. BRUTAL... And Wenger is still refusing to buy either a defender, midfielder, or a striker. I wouldn't be surprised if he's fired after this season and I love him as a manager for his style of football and ability to turn unknown youths into great players. But his decisions this past Summer in the transfer market really killed his club this season.
and the NEW
Yeh, I think Wenger should be pretty safe and will dip in his pockets and buy a couple guys after this season. May even get one in this transfer window.

Don't want to put my foot in my mouth, but I will go on record now and say, Arsenal are now NO CHANCE for the title.

Hey I realised also, if the English teams in the CL continue their domination, we will have NO Italian teams left (booooyyaaaaaa) and Madrid will be out! ha ha.

That will leave only Barca as the lone foreign super power! (though one could argue Munich are still a super power).
and the NEW
On another note, Man City are going now for Marcos Senna!!!! Probably the BEST buy they have talked about yet! He is exactly what they need! They have the attacking prowess (maybe add an out and out striker), but certainly the midfield, they have a decent keeper in Hart IMO and some good defenders with guys like Kompany, Richards and Dunne. What they mainly lack, is some steel in the midfield, and Senna would provide this perfectly. I think he and a good out and out striker and City could do some damage in the Prem League, maybe up there with Aston Villa. Just my opinion.

I'm surprised Tottenham haven't put their bid in for Senna either. Much better than Diarra IMO.

On another note, will be interesting to see the English national team and how it evolves. Barry, Young and Agbonlahor and really adding to their credentials for a regular spot! Capello must be a happy man!
and the NEW
Well the transfer window is upon us, who will be the first City signings? I reckon Buffon and Santa Cruz, I also reckon they will get Senna, and these 3 will add a lot to their team (though I am not much of a fan of Santa Cruz).

Watched Liverpool DESTROY Newcastle the other night, geez Gerrard plays much better as an attacking mid, his runs up the centre of midfield were Zidaneesque, and he was lethal infront of goal! Torres back soon, hopefully Rafa still let's Gerrard push so far forward. They could rival for the title this season, though I'm still not convinced.

Will Arsenal dip in and buy anyone?

PR316
Wenger has already come out and said he will be making no moves in the transfer window. He is fine with his squad. I think he's made it clear for sometime now that he won't buy. He won't add experience to the squad. Keep in mind he had the best chance of anybody(Including Madrid) to sign Villa this past Summer and he refused to do it. He could have brought along Silva as well but refused. He could have kept Flamini but didn't do it. He has the squad he wants. And since its become clear that he's not going to make changes, then its just a matter of how much patience the higher ups at Arsenal have with him.


Liverpool are in first place and are showing some consistency. I'm not convinced yet as far as winning the title, but its looking more and more like they will challenge. Torres will be back soon and that will only mean positive things for them. They've been quietly racking up wins and staying on top. If Chelsea and United are not consistent, they can find themselves on the losing end come April.


City have alot of money and are AMBITIOUS... They want to become the next powerhouse in English football and are doing the right things to do it. But they're going to have to rack up some more wins thats for sure and at least get a CL spot(Top 4 as well know).
Maxy
I think Arsenal will spend in January to be honest. The loss of Fabregas has prompted the media to speculate who Wenger will sign and he did say recently that he may have to go into the transfer market. They have been linked with Arteta from Everton and a defender who currently plays in Russia. They are in danger of losing out on a top 4 finish with Villa playing so well, and I think Wenger knows it is imperative that they do qualify for next seasons champions league.

The morning papers claim Real Madrid want Wenger to take over next season and bring Fabregas with him. I think it is unlikely but if he loses his job at Arsenal...who knows?

Liverpool are still in the hunt for the title this year. I hate saying it but they do appear to be genuine challengers this season....although there is a lot of games to play yet. Hoping they have a bad run soon, coupled with a good run by United.

Man City have been talking big about signing world stars but they are playing awful football away from home and are in a relegation fight as we speak. Yes, they have money but players want champions league football so they aren't in a very good poistion at the minute to tempt anyone. They have been linked with Wayne Bridge and Roque Santa Cruz...a far cry from the Kaka's, Buffon's and Messi's of this world.

City won't finish in the top 4 this season. No way.
and the NEW
Na, no way will City finish top 4 this season.

I also heard the same, they are also after Bridge.

Wenger is apparently very keen on Arteta and that loss would be brutal for Everton.

Wenger to Real Madrid? Now that would be something!!!! Insane to think about, what a contrast in styles, a man who brings up young guns and spends little, to a club that spends millions to bring in the best!

Wonder if Chelsea are wishing they kept Avram Grant now? They were playing impressive football and moving the ball great, under him. I hope he pops up somewhere soon.
PR316
Wenger to Real Madrid is impossible. In fact, ditto for Barcelona. Both clubs spend big and bring in big names when they're needed. If Wenger was going to make a move to Spanish football, it would be to a club like Sevilla, Valencia, or Villareal. A club where he would be given complete control of whatever he wants, from his own squad, to the transfers, both in and out, and of course the style of play.


I'll be surprised if Everton lets go of Arteta easily. It would have to be a ridiculous offer thats impossible to turn down otherwise its not happening.


The Spanish national coach Del Bosque was interviewed today and said that he believes the dream final in the 2010 World Cup is Spain vs Argentina.


I must say it can't get much more epic than that.
and the NEW
I could actually see Wenger at Barca, they do find and bring up a STACK of youth, not to mention, his style would suit the Catalans, though with Pep doing a fine job, no way it's happening anytime soon.

Yeh, Everton wouldn't let Arteta go easily, without him, I honestly think they could find themselves in a relegation battle by seasons end.

Spain V Argentina would probably be the best final there could be! The WC next year, will be scintelating!
PR316
Pathetico Madrid got EXACTLY what they deserve for being the cynical and nasty fouling team that they are, getting OWNED by Valencia from minute 1, till the end via 3-1 score. Villa sent a penalty home, and DAVID SILVA IS BACK!!!.... 2 goals from him and he really was a huge difference maker. Great ball movement and link up play despite some of the WORST refereeing I have ever seen. Seriously, where do they find these bums???... Joaquin and Miguel where great, and Vicente looked very lively when he came on. Albiol played well and Maduro surprisingly played well. Mata didn't have his best game but he did have his moments where he looked dangerous. I'm very happy. Great performance from the lads against a CL TEAM.... Emery got his tactics right once again. I think its now clear more than ever that we are MUCH BETTER than last season.


Now lets hope Villareal stomp Real Madrid.


and the NEW
QUOTE(PR316 @ Jan 3 2009, 11:33 PM) [snapback]419114[/snapback]
Seriously, where do they find these bums???...


ha ha ha.

Great wins for both Valencia and Barca!

If Valencia make the UEFA Cup final, I have tickets for it! smile.gif Hopefully they play AC Milan!
PR316
Man would I LOVE to see that. AC Milan vs Valencia... UEFA CUP FINAL... Sounds tasty...

Another cheap shot victory for Real Madrid. It pisses me off how they get so lucky. Villareal DOMINATED them throughout the majority of the match and Casillas made like 4 INHUMAN saves. Should have been at least 3-1 for Villareal. Pisses me off so much. But their luck has to run out eventually.


At the moment here are the current tables.


La Liga

Barcelona 44
Valencia 33
R Madrid 32
Sevilla 32
Atleti 30
Deportivo 30

EPL

Liverpool 45
Chelsea 42
United 38
Villa 38
Arsenal 35
Everton 32


Even though in La Liga Barca has established themselves as the best, I can see that the other 3 CL spots are going to be fought for to the end. And it will be very hard.All of Valencia, Sevilla, Villareal, Madrid, and Atleti will be in it to win it. Its going to be entertaining, thats for sure. Injuries and suspensions of course will play a part.


In the EPL, I must say I am impressed with Liverpool. The way they've been going about their business with CONSISTENCY is really tremendous and I think Rafa Benitez deserves the credit for that. Chelsea are still there but have lost some of that early season form that made them seem a certain favorite to win it all. United have been grinding out the results with defense and know how, mostly. The goal scoring has not quite been what it can be, but you have to figure it will get there, hopefully by the time the Champions League knockout round comes. Villa are playing very well, and Arsenal despite the occasional brilliant showing against the big guns, look to be in trouble, unless they really are going to buy this winter(Difficult to see honestly). Not to mention the loss of Fabregas. I can honestly see them missing out on a CL spot this season. I hope not but its looking like that may well happen.

and the NEW
Agree 100% with all of that PR.

Exactly my sentiments.

Man United are also well in the chase, with 2 games in hand. The game against Chelsea will be a huge game for both! Hope United win and put Chelsea even further behind! ha ha. Ronaldo needs to start firing too, his been killing me in the fantasy league! ha ha.
Maxy
Arshavin to Arsenal seems to be the big talk over here. Classy player but they will need more than him if they are to make a serious push for the title.

Ryan Giggs is being quoted as saying he may retire in May. A true United legend who I doubt we will ever see the likes of again. His record is incredible. 10 League titles, 2 European Cups, 4 FA Cups, 2 League Cups, plus countless other less prestigious trophies. He's also the only player to have scored in twelve consecutive Champions League tournaments and the only player to have scored in every Premier League campaign since its inception. 18 years at Manchester United. Unbelievable.

I see Denilson, the world cup winner with Brazil is in talks with Bolton and Jermain Defoe has resigned for Tottenham. Wayne Bridge went to City but haven't heard anything about who they will next be signing.

Valencia deny Barca will sign Villa. What else is happening in Spain right now transfer wise?
PR316
As of now Villa and Silva appear to remain at Valencia. But if any Spanish team was to sign Villa, I think Barcelona would be the one he'd want to go to if he can't stay at Valencia and NOT Real Madrid.

Speaking of Barcelona, they apparently dominated Atleti 3-1 with a hattrick by Messi, in the Copa Del Rey. Valencia will play Racing Santander in that competition this round.


Arshavin to Arsenal???... Not a bad transfer by any means, but they need DEFENDERS... They also need a holding midfielder... Be that as it may, I hear that all of Arsenal, United, Liverpool, and Chelsea are in the running for Arshavin as well as Man City. I think Arsenal must make this move now. If they don't, they can find themselves playing UEFA Cup football instead, seeing as Villa is really surprising us all with their displays.


Real Madrid have Huntelaar and of course as we know a new manager. I think they'll finish in the top 4. I'm obviously hoping NOT. And maybe one of those spoiler teams in the 2nd half of the top 10 can sneak up on them. If Juande Ramos can get them a CL spot, then he'll at least somewhat redeem his reputation which took a beating with his catastrophe at Tottenham. I don't know whom else Real will push for but you never know with these clowns. I wouldn't be surprised if they somehow someway managed to bring Arshavin to their team under the radar.


and the NEW
Valencia V Villareal, what a match!
PR316
Valencia have become the Spanish Arsenal now OFFICIALLY. We are easily one of the top 3 most exciting teams to watch this season without a doubt.(I think only Barcelona and maybe AC Milan have been as or more entertaining). I was disappointed AT FIRST that we got the draw. But now that I've had a day to reflect and look at highlights, I don't think any Valencia fan should have anything to be ashamed about. Valencia did nothing wrong, except maybe finish off a few game killer chances but Villareal blew some too. You gotta love the excitement Emery has brought to Valencia. We were respectable under Quique Flores, but the football wasn't all that but now we get to enjoy the matches, even if we lose (like against Madrid when we deserved something) or like we drew last night. The attacking quartet of Villa, Silva, Joaquin, and Mata was out in full force and they just look like scoring every time. Renan and Lopez made amazing saves for their respective teams. An amazing derby. FULL OF PASSION!.
and the NEW
Yep agree with that, you guys are moving the ball brilliantly! Some extreme attacking threat! Hope you guys keep them all and none of these other bigger clubs dip their fingers into your pie!

Watched United, ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!!!! Maxy, you must be PUMPED! I absolutely LOVED seeing the face of that arrogant bastard named John Terry!!!!! Drogba the try hard! Ronaldo was fouled a couple times with some cheap tactics! Now all they have to do is catch the in form Liverpool (and with their games in hand, they could do that and more)! Getting interesting now, even Wigan have been on a role (unlikely)!

Man City have been quiet, considering their big bravado!
Maxy
Chelsea were terrible yesterday, no doubt about it. Scolari just doesn't seem capable of cutting it in the EPL. Seriously, despite having a good start Chelsea have looked very poor lately and I think you can put it down to more than just a bad patch. He seems unable to change things DURING a game. If something isn't going right he doesn't appear to have the tactical nouse to improve how his side is playing. Drogba quite obviously does not want to play for Chelsea anymore and Deco is nothing short of a flop. He had one or two decent games at the start of the season but lately, more often than not, he has been awful. The Chelsea fans don't like him, the Chelsea players apparently questioned Scolari's decision to keep him on in a recent game vs Fulham. He cannot do it in the EPL.

At the start of the season Ferguson said he didn't think Chelsea could ever improve...he felt they would slide if anything because he questioned the players' ages. He said, "Chelsea are getting older and will not improve on last season." I think the wise old man was right. Yesterday a 35 year old veteran danced rings round Chelsea's one-paced midfield quartet. Lampard, Ballack, Mikel and Deco have no pace and had no answer to the legend that is Ryan Giggs. After the game Fergie revealed he had earmarked Giggs and Fletcher to play the Chelsea fixture TWO WEEKS ago. He said he felt Giggs would be able to dribble through them and he was proven right. I, along with many other fans thought he'd made a mistake with his selection but Fergie knows best.

United were excellent. We controlled the game, never looked in any real danger and scored two perfectly legitimate goals which were ruled out by the incompetent officials. I think we are peaking now at just the right time and with out two games in hand to come before the scum play again, we could, with two wins, find ourselves at the top of the pile. We have Wigan at home and Bolton away and both are winnable fixtures. Beating Chelsea will have lifted the club and given the players even more belief. There is a long way to go yet but I feel confident that if we can stay injury free in key areas we will have a bloody good chance of retaining the title.

Europe is a different matter. The Ferdinand injury is becoming a concern and the Vidic suspension could prove critical in the games vs Inter. Rio is due to see a specialist about his back and the sooner we get him playing again, the better. Having said that, Jonny Evans has been an excellent replacement. Thing is, we can't afford to lose both Rio and Vidic for the big games. I hope it doesn't come to that.

Valencia-Villareal was a great game. It was probably the right result although Valencia must have felt gutted to concede the late penalty. Real Madrid are cruising again. What are they, 12 points behind Barcelona? I don't see them catching Barca but I'm still pissed off that they are in 2nd place. I want Sevilla, Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Villarreal and Deportivo La Coruna to all go on great runs whilst Real slide badly. I'd just love it if they finished 6th or something like that.

Oh and what is all this bullshit they are trying to pull with UEFA? Something about changing the rules so that players who have played in the UEFA Cup can play in the Champions League for their new clubs? The rules are the rules but Madrid, because they have some injuries, want to change the rules. It better not happen. That would just be disgraceful.
PR316
MAXY, I must admit. THIS is the Man United team that can beat Inter. Take away the two idiotic referee decisions, and its 5-0 United over Chelsea. Chelsea's problem is their midfield. Their defense is actually good, but the sheer physicality has taken its toll on guys like Deco(Who's still a great player but over 30 and never played in EPL before), Lampard, and Ballack. Those guys just can't handle it anymore. I'm not ready to count them out just yet, but its looking more and more like the title will be decided between you guys and Liverpool. Could go down to the wire.


Real Madrid are in 2nd now but that really is sort of irrelevant. They're just 1 point ahead of Valencia and Sevilla so they are far from safe. They have just drawn Barcelona in the Copa del Rey, and they also face Liverpool in the Champions League and you know all that will take a toll on their season campaign. They're also very injury prone, especially this season. Last season because everybody was SHIT, they got away with it and even looking like crap, were able to pull out lucky wins. This season is different. Sure they got very lucky against Valencia and Villareal, but that won't when they play those teams on the road, and they just can't beat Barcelona this year no matter what. As far as I'm concerned, they should probably finish in the top 4 at worst but it wouldn't surprise me if they finish out of it either.


No Arteta to Arsenal according to Wenger, and no major developments in the Arshavin situation. It must suck to be them this season. Sure they won last time out 1-0 but it just seems like they have NOTHING. I don't know what to make of them. Its like they're too young and too thin to mount any serious challenge on any front be it the EPL or the CL or the Carling Cup even. I think they're headed for a 6th place finish at their rate.
and the NEW
Yeh, Deco has been a bit of a flop, he really needs to play in a team like Arsenal, where technical ability is rewarded.

I think Lamps has played well this season, he was holding Chelsea up, along with Anelka (who has been benched it seems just because of his personality?).

Ronaldo won the FIFA world player, Messi 2nd and nobody else close! Thought it would be like that.

End of season is looking like it will be fantastic and the CL fixtures will just make it that much more juicy!

How bout Mourinho? God he has been talking a LOT!
Maxy
Respected Spanish journalist Guillem Balague claims Ronaldo has agreed a deal with Ramon Calderon to join Real in the summer.

Can I ask PR and ATN...since when has Balague been respected, and who respects him for gods sake? Two years ago Balague did a show in England where all the transfer rumours were being discussed. He stated, week after week, that Fernando Torres would be joining Manchester United in the summer. He claimed Torres was house hunting in Manchester and said it was a done deal. There are many other incidents where Mr Balague has been found wanting in his predictions.

I just get fed up with the never ending Ronaldo speculation. Congrats to him for winning the world player of the year award but I think even he knows he won't be winning it next year. That will be Messi's.





PR316
This Ronaldo to Madrid thing will never cease. It would have to be a case of the United organization willingly selling him. And even if it somehow happened, I guarantee that United would not only ask for at least 60 million euros but they'd also probably want Gonzalo Higuain..............Balague on the other hand is just a pro Madrid journalist. According to him this past Summer, Real had signed and delivered secret deals with Ronaldo, Villa, Silva, Kaka, Benzema, and a few others and NONE of those happened as we can see. He's one of those guys thats praised within the Real Madrid circle of fans but nobody else cares for him.


The Ronaldo speculation will continue, MAXY... So much was made of it this past Summer that it will unfortunately continue. Much is the same with Villa at Valencia. People can sell stories and since apparentley so many people want to see Ronaldo go to Real Madrid(I hate that club more than any other in football), we're going to see stuff all the time like this.


Mourinho would't be Mourinho if he wasn't talking. I expect him to continue his tirade of insults and what not till the end of the season. And if Inter doesn't win the CL, you'll hear a bunch of excuses from him, guaranteed.

and the NEW
Yeh, what PR said. The Spanish press in general is worse than the English press when it comes to speculation and media frenzy!

Just read Aguero knocked up Maradonas daughter! ha ha ha. I hope she got her looks from the mothers side of the gene pool!

Can't wait to hear the Mourinho excuses once United crush his beloved (or not so beloved the way he talks about Chelsea still) Inter.
Maxy
So the Newspapers and Television stations are buzzing with the news that Manchester City could be on the verge of signing Kaka from Milan for 100m!!! I know City have unlimited funds but a player of Kaka's ability surely wouldn't want to go there at the moment because they can't offer him any sort of European football. Money talks but these players are rich beyond our wildest dreams as it is. I don't think he'll go there.
and the NEW
I would be surprised if Kaka went to City, but for that price tag, Milan would be trying to push him out the door! He can't play with Dinho anyways, so one of them has to go, waste of space and money having them both.

Kaka is a very weird player though, he doesn't really have a position as such, more of a complete floater, so he won't really fit into one of the other top teams in England. If he really wants to play there in the Premier League, this may be his only chance, so I will never say never with this one............

On another note, Maradona is trying to encourage both Aguero and Tevez to move to Inter (Why Inter?). Milan should try sign Aguero, he would be a nice addition to play alongside Pato, but I guess there is no room for two strikers with Kaka pushing up there so much.

Agree also Maxy, I think Messi will probably be world player of the year next season, the way things are going so far, as long as he can remain injury free. Ibra should also be up in the mix, but really depends on how the CL pans out. If United can't win the CL or the Premier League, Ronaldo can pretty much say goodbye to the award next season. Both Barca and Inter look firm favourites to take out their respective leagues, which would do well for the hopes of both Messi and Ibra (who is only now starting to get the recognition he deserves).
and the NEW
Fark me! Barca went on a romp again, what a goal by Messi once more!

Have to say boys, this is one of the best form patches I have seen by ANY team since I've been following the sport. Other than their shaky start, it's practically been consecutive wins in a row now, with some huge scorelines!

Poor Lyon, they are in real trouble when the CL fires up again!

United are kicking into gear now and managing wins! The fight for the title looks red hot!

Also just read that Calderon resigned!!!!! Any thoughts PR?
Maxy
Yeah Barcelona are still looking like the form team in world football. Everytime I see them they look devastating. Definitely playing the most exciting football in the world right now.

I heard that about Calderon too. Doesn't matter though, they'll get another first rate prick as the next president and he'll be just as damned annoying.

United are playing OK considering the tough schedule we have had. 10 clean sheets in a row (in the prem) shows we are extremely solid at the back and we are doing just enough to win our games. I'll take a 1-0 result right up until the end of the season if it brings us the league title.

The Kaka saga rumbles on and apparently there will be other big names linked with City in the near future. Players who want to play at the top level will steer clear. I think Kaka will say no.
PR316
Just shows how corrupt Real Madrid is. Rigging elections. Using mafia tactics to try to intimidate other clubs to sell their best players.


As I write this, Inter are getting absolutely HUMILIATED by Atalanta. Down 3-0. They look pathetic honestly. Far from the top quality team they looked to be at the beginning of the season. They got United in the KO round of the Champions League so they better shape up soon enough or they're going home early.


Barcelona are currently reminding me of Arsenal that year that they went unbeaten. But IMO, they look even BETTER.. I know thats a big call but I honestly think that we are possibly looking at a team that is going to win the TREBLE this year, La Liga, Champions League, and Copa Del Rey. They're THAT GOOD. Its scary.


Its a 3 horse race for the title in the EPL now, with United slightly ahead of Liverpool and Chelsea. It'll be dramatic going down the stretch.
PR316
WOW.... What a week of football!!!...


Watched the whole game between Liverpool and Chelsea. Liverpool absolutely DOMINATED!!... Played Chelsea off the park the whole day with Gerrard and Torres leading the way. Alonso did a good job controlling the midfield and absolutely faded out Ballack from the game. Lampard being sent off may have been a bit harsh but nevertheless, the tackle was very RECKLESS I must say, both feet with the spikes out. I absolutely ERUPTED when Torres sent home the game winning header and then when he put the icing on the cake with his 2nd goal in the 90th minute, I was just absolutley happy that Chelsea was taken down. MAXY, I know you hate Liverpool but I must say that they are indeed looking like a threat, despite some mediocre results in recent weeks. I think they proved alot today.


Barcelona had to come from behind against Racing. It just shows that Lionel Messi makes a HUGE DIFFERENCE to this team. In the 1st half with Messi starting on the bench, Barca looked a little flat and Eto'o and Henry were marked VERY TIGHT and thus unable to get anything going. They had no service. Racing went up 1-0 at halftime, and as soon as Messi came on in the 2nd half, the game literally changed that instant. Messi's ingenuity in the middle or the right side opened everything up for Xavi and Iniesta in the midfield, and thus the passing game began to flow smoothly. Lovely game winning goal by Messi that will go down as one of his best this season. I guess Barca can't look great everytime but even when they don't look great, they're still better than most teams in Europe.


Valencia looked a bit shaky in beating Almeria 3-2, and had it not been for Villa, then we may well have lost. The defense was terrible, mostly due to being without our 2 starters in the center defense, and it was our attack lead by Villa, Silva, Mata, and Joaquin that kept Almeria on their heels and broke them down eventually when Villa sent home the game winner late in the 2nd half to cap off a performance worthy of being called one of if not the best striker in the world. We sit in 4th still, behind Barca, Madrid, and Sevilla and hopefully we can make a push for that 3rd place spot and possibly overtake the corrupt Real Madrid late in the season. But we do need to get through these injuries that have gotten to us as of late.


Also on another I watched the Australian Open final and I think its now safe to say that Nadal has taken the torch. He just seems to be a mentally stronger player than Fed Ex it seems to me. Roger many times had the chance to put it away and run with the match but seemed to choke everytime, like the occasion was too big for him. Just shows that Nadal in his head. But it was a helluva tennis match with lots of skill showed by both guys.
Maxy
Barcelona continue to win with relative ease and it's looking like a one-horse race for La Liga unless they have a monumental slip up. People, me included, have lauded the praise on Barca this season but they still have a lot to do to fulfill their potential as a great team. The league may well be in the bag, pretty much, but they have to win the Champions League also if they are to be regarded as a great side. Friends of mine have allready compared them to some of the games truly legendary teams and for me that is just going way over the top. They've been letting in a few more goals lately but haven't had their full strength defence playing so they can be excused of that.

Lets hope we end up getting a Barcelona-Man Utd final. You simply can't get anything bigger than that right now and if they are to meet before the final it would be a damn shame.

So United have now set an English record for clean sheets in the league. Edwin Van der Sar can thank the likes of Rio, Rafael, Evans, Neville, Evra, O Shea, Fabio and above all else Nemanja Vidic for helping him accomplish that feat. Quite simply Vidic is the best defender in the world right now, taking over the mantle from Rio. He has been outstanding, unbelievable and long may his exceptional run of form continue. We will miss him in the first leg vs Inter and I hope it doesn't prove costly. United are winning games, playing well and not conceding....and this comes despite having several injuries throughout the side. The revelation of the season for me has been how brilliantly Ryan Giggs has performed in the central midfield role. He is reborn and although he can't play every week any more, when he has played he has been nothing short of sensational. Add Michael Carrick to the equation and we are looking better than last season! Berbatov may frustrate but his form and role in the side is improving all the time, plus Ronaldo seems to be getting back to his best...things are looking very good.

Chelsea were unlucky to have Lampard sent off and it probably cost them a draw IMO. He won the ball...clearly. Anyway, I'm non-plussed about that because Scolari isn't going to emulate Mourinho with his current Chelsea side. They just look slow and ponderous to me. Not a threat. Liverpool have become a laughing stock by selling Keane back to Spurs today. What a joke, haha. Are they a threat? Perhaps but only if we slip up. We are 2 points clear with a game in hand...a win against West Ham on Sunday is crucial for us to keep the momentum going. The Hammers are something of a jinx team for us and under Zola they are playing good football so it is a tricky fixture. If we win that I see us moving away from the pack in February to have a commanding lead going into March. Well, that's how I hope things play out anyway!

Any surprises in the transfer market in Spain or Italy?
and the NEW
Transfer news, Keane to Tottenham.

But the most interesting, Queresma to Chelsea!!!! That should add some flair to them, he will probably do a lot better in England, as he will have room to run at defenders. Italy is not really great for his style.

Definately, Barca and United are the best two in Europe at the moment, will be great to see them in a CL final.

Also agree, while they are great, definately not one of the greatest yet (at this stage, that is WAY over the top), still a long way to go and a lot to proove.

Oh, PR, Nadal, WOW! Personally, I think he will be the greatest player ever when it's all said and done! Absolutely incredible to watch Federer break Sampras record eventually (gathering he will win at least a couple more) and then, Nadal breathing down his throat straight after at the same record!!!! Insane to think we may be watching the two greatest players of all time, in their primes, against eachother! Never do you see that in sport and what breathtaking quality matches to watch!

Also good to see Valencia still up there, hurry up and catch the Madridistas! Unfortunately for me, one of my favourite players (Robben), is holding them up!!!!!
and the NEW
Gerrard out for 3 wks, big blow for Liverpool, you must be cheering Maxy! I'm afriad United are going to run away with the title, making none of the big leagues exciting coming down the stretch!

Have to say though, I am VERY surprised by Chelsea, I didn't think they were going to do this bad. Seriously, Aston Villa may end up 3rd at this rate! Scolari is prooving a terrible club coach! Bring back Grant I say, under him, Chelsea were probably playig their best football of the lot!
PR316
The 1st place is likely already decided in Spain, but I still think the race 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place spots will contain some drama and excitement.


Scolari is just not suited for the club level. It doesn't matter if he coaches in England or Spain. I don't think he'll succeed. Lets not underestimate how important a manager is to getting great players to play together. Scolari would probably be better off leaving at the end of te season and going back to coaching the Brazilian national team and see if he can get them playing together again.


Gerrard being hurt is a huge plus for Man United but we still have to wait and see till April to see how things are really shaping up, considering that the Champions League will take something out of both sides.
and the NEW
Scolari SACKED!!!!

Also reports say, if Benitez doesn't win the Premier League this year, he is sacked too!

Who will replace Scolari? It looks up between Rijkaard (poor buggers) and Hiddink (would be very interesting to see him at club level, considering Scolari was a great national coach also). Only other talks are Ancelotti, could he come and bring Kaka?
and the NEW
Yeh, good question Fitz.

National team coaches have to make do with the players they have (can't bring in transfers), spend far less time with the players, and as such, it makes it much harder for them to formulate a 'style' as such.

Club coaches get caught up in a lot more politics, egos IMO.

So many dynamics at play, it's hard to say if one is harder than another I think. Has a lot to do with the players they have, and the style they are trying to implement I believe. Scolari is a bit more of an attacking coach, but also likes his players to dig in and play tough. A fantastic viewpoint in my belief, and not so different from that of Ferguson. In that regard, I don't think he fit well with Chelsea due to the players he has under his control, but definately, far more disappointing than I was ready for! He could have used guys like Malouda and Cole on the wings more, or even played Kalou on a wing (Cole is not a striker, no idea why they try play him up there). He can't complain about his quality of players, but IMVHO HUGE part of what was lacking, was Essien alone. The man is a gun!
PR316
Saw the Spain-England friendly match, fellas. I must say that England early on played well. Agbonlahor and Gareth Berry had clear shots on goal and couldnt finish. Jagielka really got taken to the cleaners by Villa who made good use of Xabi Alonso's through ball to slot home past David James for the first goal. Torres, Senna, and Alonso all had some decent shots on goal that they couldn't quite put away. I must ask MAXY, how you feel about David Beckham still getting some quality time with the national team.. Do you think its hurting them??.. I think he played ok but he's past his best and his game is way too one dimensional now, especially for the international level. Peter Crouch didn't do much I must say, but I think England REALLY MISSED Rio Ferdinand, Wayne Rooney, and Steven Gerrard. Ferdinand in particular was badly needed because Terry had no help at all in dealing with the speed of Torres and Villa. Lampard and Wright Phillips had some decent looks at goal but couldn't do anything serious, and Llorente closed the 2-0 game for Spain with a header off a pass from Xavi.


I must say Spain are truly the number 1 team in the world at the moment. England were missing some players though and I think if both squads are at full strength, its a much closer match.


Argentina looked very good in beating France and Messi of course was the leading man. I don't know what kind of coach Maradona makes, but I guess at international level its a little easier than at club level. Gutierrez and Gago played very well also with Gutierrez scoring a nice goal. Messi simply showed why he's the most skilled player in the world again but he has to give Tevez credit for the nice pass that lead to his goal. Maxi Rodriguez was solid, and Zanetti and Heinze helped shore a defense that has not played well in a long time. Some encouraging signs for them for sure.

and the NEW
Well, here is my first vote of confidence for Hiddink, I reckon he will do well at Chelsea, considering the state they are in at the moment. He is an extreme motivator and tactician. Don't expect to see beautiful football, but the results should be there.

Spain too good for England. And thank god, Brazil stomped Italy, WHAT A GOAL by Robinho! Beautiful! Joga Bonita!

Still to me though, Argentina look the team to beat (infact, any team with Messi appear lethal at the moment).
PR316
Argentina at their best can beat anybody, but they need to get it together soon because they're in real danger of not making it to the World Cup, losing to easy teams and all that. Brazil are in the same boat. Mostly due to injuries to key players and a backline that is getting up there in age.


Italy now, I have no idea why they don't call up more youth. If they keep this up, they'll see an early exit in the World Cup(Not that I mind that). Too many old mean on that squad.


Portugal still need a top striker. Depend too much on Ronaldo.


Hiddink knows how to win, much like Mourinho. The football isn't the prettiest, but its effective.


I think Scolari should go back to coaching Brazil. He would do well there I think.
Maxy
Watching England play Spain the other night, it was evident that we don't mould as a unit together quite like the Spanish side do. I mean, Michael Carrick is a very good player who has been performing excellently for an in-form Man United side this season, but against Spain he didn't look half the player. I thought about it and I figured that with United Carrick has so many options available to him and he also doesn't have to rush his play. Berbatov likes the ball to feet and the build up to be slower so that suits Michaels game. Heskey on the other hand, likes the ball played to him quickly and that doesn't suit Carrick's game. OK, it's not just about Carrick. Wright-Phillips is a good player but he's not international class and the list goes on. Our best players...Rooney, Gerrard, Ferdinand and Cole didn't play the other night. Spain are a better side but England do have room for improvement and I feel we would give them a better game if we were at full-strength. About Beckham....well I feel his best days were behind him many years ago. In fact, his decline started in his last season with Man United and that was a long time ago. His 108 caps are a great accomplishment for him personally, but he's not as great a player as those caps would have you believe. Credit to him for commitment but he's not ever going to be first choice again and that's how it should stay.




I think Spain have a great chance in the next world cup. For me they are better than everyone with the possible exception of Argentina. David Villa is class. I hope he NEVER teams up with Torres at Liverpool. That would be bad.




Scolari going is bad news because I was enjoying watching Chelsea fall apart at the seams. Hiddink might have the ability to turn things around because he is a very good manager, but talk of winning the league is just bravado for me. They don't look good enough.




One last point....the other night I felt Spain looked like Man United and England looked like the current Chelsea side......

and the NEW
QUOTE(Maxy @ Feb 13 2009, 05:47 PM) [snapback]424982[/snapback]
Scolari going is bad news because I was enjoying watching Chelsea fall apart at the seams.


ROLFMAO!!!!!

Yeh, Beckham is definately a one trick poney these days.

Interesting Scolari talked about Robben and how Chelsea need a man like him again, a man who can make the difference. Exactly my sentiments. This kind of player is CRUCIAL to the success of a team. Madrid has Robinho last year and Robben is doing that job this year after ridding his injuries. Liverpool have Gerrard (Torres can do this job himself too), Barca have Messi, Milan have Kaka, Inter have Ibra, United have Ronaldo, Arsenal lack this man quite a bit too now with Fabregas a great general, but not really a difference maker. Bayern Munich have it in Ribery. Every top teams needs one desperately.

Onto the CL next round, should be freakin fantastic when it kicks back into action later this month. United V Barca will be the best outcome IMO.
PR316
QUOTE(Maxy @ Feb 13 2009, 05:47 PM) [snapback]424982[/snapback]
I think Spain have a great chance in the next world cup. For me they are better than everyone with the possible exception of Argentina. David Villa is class. I hope he NEVER teams up with Torres at Liverpool. That would be bad.



From a pure footballing stand point I would not mind seeing it at all. But I think if any English club would get him, it would probably be you guys, and then maybe Liverpool.

Recent comments by Samuel Eto'o seem to indicate that he's leaving in the Summer for the EPL. If Eto'o does indeed leave, I would not be surprised at all to see Barcelona splash the cash and team Villa up with Messi and Henry. Barca have had their eye on Villa for quite some time now and if things turn out this way, I think there's a good chance Valencia accept considering their situation.
and the NEW
Interesting PR, never heard Eto'o is talking about leaving.......

I read though, since Henry is getting up there in age, and is in some decent form, Barca may try and cash in on him at the end of this season.

If Eto'o does leave, Barca are in BIG trouble. No better direct out and out striker in the world. We would surely have to buy Villa then.

Interesing to see how Arshavin does at Arsenal too..........
PR316
Congrats to both of you guys, MAXY and ATN on your respective teams advancing. Couldn't see any of it because I was busy with school and work but I heard it was tremendous. So happy that Mourinho is out of the Champions League. LOL!!!!...


United and Barca are well in control of their respective leagues and both should cruise to wins in the end no matter what now. Valencia have slipped due to injuries and suspensions but hopefully they'll be able to salvage something and hopefully at least grab a UEFA Cup spot.


Real Madrid is out and I couldn't be happier. Liverpool absolutely HUMILIATED them. ROTFLMAO!!!!.... Good to see that for me. But this does ultimately prove that at the moment, the EPL is superior to La Liga. Liverpool literally toyed with the corrupt bastards. It must have been humiliating. Gerrard and Torres had fun out there and Xabi Alonso continues to prove himself as a world class mid(Spain do have the best midfielders at the moment it seems).


Thats all for now my friends.
and the NEW
Yeh, some very big scorelines.

Infact, ALL the Italian clubs are now out, ha ha ha ha, sucked in cheating b*stards!

Wonder what Mourinho will come up with next? His mouth just keeps writing cheques his body can't cash!

Great wins for United, Liverpool, Barca and even Bayern who were DOMINANT. Also congrats to Villareal and Porto who will probably be pretty easy beats as the tournament enters it's later stages and Arsenal and Chelsea who also made it through. Just hope Barca can stay in form and make the final, don't want to see another all English final for 2 years in a row.

Barca are STRUGGLING in La Liga. Madrid have the momentum, but I feel Barcas squad are still too good and will still take the title. Robben will surely be out with some injuries yet, and without him, Madrid don't have much to lean on.

PR, I also heard Valencia are in HUGE debt and really on the brink? Hope they stick with it, they are a great team, but times are definately tough competing with all these new rich clubs who spend up big and inflate the transfer market!

United are dominating the Premier League, they should breeze home with it now.

On with it we go, will be good to see the QF matchups, anyone know when they are drawn.................?

I just got my cable reconnected, so will be watching replays tonight and everything from here on out.
Maxy
Looking forward to this weekends match against Liverpool. They are loving themselves at the minute but I thought they played one of the worst Madrid teams I can ever recall. I think the great Milan side of 20 odd years ago beat Madrid 5-0 also so it has happened before but come on, this Madrid team is diabolical. I was so much hoping they would somehow go through so that we could meet them next but it just wasn't to be. Can you guys ever remember a less efficient Madrid team? I'm trying hard to but I can't really dig one up. Will Ronaldo still want to go there next season?

As for ourselves I thought we underperformed last night. We were clearly the better team in Milan so I figured we could turn the screw and give them a Roma type beat down at home. However, after the early goal by the exceptional Vidic, Inter came into the game and were unlucky not to score themselves. We didn't pass the ball well and if I'm honest I'd say we showed some signs of complacency. Little flicks and back heels are for when the game is sown up, not when one goal against can knock you out of the tournament. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we avoid Barcelona because I hope to meet them in the final...if we can both get there.

David Villa to City? Oh dear, lets hope for his sake that a true footballing power comes in for him with an acceptable bid. I will feel for the lad if he has to join City to help ease Valencia's financial woes.
PR316
I would be absolutely SHOCKED if Valencia sold Villa to Man City... Seriously....


If indeed Valencia does sell(A possibility considering the debt, we'll just have to wait and see), I only see Villa going to a big club. The only teams that I can see grabbing him are Barcelona, Liverpool, Chelsea, maybe Arsenal. Real Madrid won't happen because after last Summer's shenanigans, Valencia won't do business with those crooked clowns.


I think he'd do rather well in the EPL. He has the pace, skill, and strength, despite not being one of the biggest guys around. He'd definitely thrive though he'd have to adjust to the faster paced and more physical style of play that the EPL has.


Can't see Real Madrid winning La Liga this year. Not with that defense. Barcelona still are too good and even though they've hit a bump in the road(It had to happen sometime this season), they are still too good for Madrid and Real will have to go trophyless this season.


United should also take EPL. Only Liverpool have a shot at challenging IMO but they'll have to stop dropping these easy points at home.
and the NEW
Hey boys,

Been fantastic discussing 122 pages of soccer (football, futbol) with you fellas. Some great times and some great matches and players have been witnessed.

Send me a PM and I will give you my email if wanted to catch up or MSN to discuss the upcoming games or games gone past.

I'm off from this site, it is not for me, don't like the way it is going, well has already gone and can't see it getting any better (talk about peoples mothers, swearing etc, it just makes me more aggressive with my postings and I don't want to end up posting the same rubbish these guys do, looks to have sucked any good poster who has stayed around into it, so rather keep my distance and discuss boxing in a logical fashion). Rather spend my time elsewhere and I know if I come back, I will get sucked into petty arguements. All the best and good luck in the CL Man U, hope we see you in the finals and see Valencia do well in the league!!!!!!

Farewell.
JonnyBlaze
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Mar 13 2009, 02:26 AM) [snapback]427918[/snapback]
Hey boys,

Been fantastic discussing 122 pages of soccer (football, futbol) with you fellas. Some great times and some great matches and players have been witnessed.

Send me a PM and I will give you my email if wanted to catch up or MSN to discuss the upcoming games or games gone past.

I'm off from this site, it is not for me, don't like the way it is going, well has already gone and can't see it getting any better (talk about peoples mothers, swearing etc, it just makes me more aggressive with my postings and I don't want to end up posting the same rubbish these guys do, looks to have sucked any good poster who has stayed around into it, so rather keep my distance and discuss boxing in a logical fashion). Rather spend my time elsewhere and I know if I come back, I will get sucked into petty arguements. All the best and good luck in the CL Man U, hope we see you in the finals and see Valencia do well in the league!!!!!!

Farewell.

Bad news man!!You will be missed..I hope ya reconsider..There are very few of us on here who have a knowlegde of the classic fighters like we do..
Maxy
QUOTE(and the NEW @ Mar 13 2009, 01:26 AM) [snapback]427918[/snapback]
Hey boys,

Been fantastic discussing 122 pages of soccer (football, futbol) with you fellas. Some great times and some great matches and players have been witnessed.

Send me a PM and I will give you my email if wanted to catch up or MSN to discuss the upcoming games or games gone past.

I'm off from this site, it is not for me, don't like the way it is going, well has already gone and can't see it getting any better (talk about peoples mothers, swearing etc, it just makes me more aggressive with my postings and I don't want to end up posting the same rubbish these guys do, looks to have sucked any good poster who has stayed around into it, so rather keep my distance and discuss boxing in a logical fashion). Rather spend my time elsewhere and I know if I come back, I will get sucked into petty arguements. All the best and good luck in the CL Man U, hope we see you in the finals and see Valencia do well in the league!!!!!!

Farewell.


I can understand you getting disillusioned by some things, although I must have missed the incidents you're referring to...I tend to skip through the name calling if possible.

I think every site has its element of flaming but this one far less than most if I'm honest. It's a shame you feel the need to leave though. What with yourself, PR and on the odd occasion Fitz, we've had some good discussions about the beautiful game on here. Would prefer if that could continue...I mean we have hijacked this particular thread and its free from any of what you have mentioned.

If you decide not to come back I think that is a shame mate. Good luck with the league....although I'm looking forward to beating you in the champs league final.

Take care man and hopefully you will reconsider.
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