Archive for March, 2008

Bolton vs Arsenal

Posted in Arsenal with tags , , on March 31, 2008 by kemgooner

Football can be such a crazy horrible wonderful game, as Arsenal and Bolton fans today must feel. The game kicked off in the pouring rain today, with Arsenal resting striker Emmanuel Adebayor, and at first Arsenal seemed to be dominating. Then Bolton scored from a cross and Arsenal fans around the world groaned in frustration. Not again was going through the minds of even the most optimistic fans. Then Diaby was sent off for a bad tackle. Then Bolton scored again. Bolton fans must have been ecstatic, their team seemed in control.  Arsenal fans were ready to kill themselves, how could their team go from league leaders to losing 2-0 to a relegation team.

The second half began and for the first 10 minutes or so nothing changed, Bolton was in complete control and I really couldn’t see Arsenal turning it around at that point. Bolton even came close to making it 3-0 but for a great save by Almunia. Then the whole game changed when Arsene Wenger brought on Adebayor and Theo Walcott. The pace picked up for Arsenal, they seemed surer in possession and were putting Bolton under more and more pressure. Then the captain, William Gallas, scored from a corner when the Bolton players seemed to fall asleep in defense. Just a few minutes later Alex Hleb was fouled in the box, and Robin van Persie scored the penalty.  Time continued to tick away, and then right at the last minute Cesc Fabregas shot and after being deflected by about 3 Bolton defenders the ball was in the back of the net. His face after the goal echoed the passion felt by Arsenal supporters anywhere.

So in the end the final score was 3-2, and after such a rollercoaster game Arsenal fans finally get to see another W.  This doesn’t solve the problems of the past 5 weeks or reverse them, but it does show that even when things are awful, even when you’ve felt you’ve hit rock bottom, and all there is, is despair eventually thing can come around.  Watching the team in the second half and feeling the relief of getting that goal at the very end just makes me believe that things are turning around for us. I still doubt that we will be able to get back in front of the league, but stranger things have happened so who knows what will happen next.  The Champions league game is midweek, and this result also gives me more confidence going into that.  Come on You Gunners!

Villarreal v Atletico Madrid 29.03.08

Posted in atletico madrid with tags , , , on March 30, 2008 by vikstervik

El Madrigal

This game started with Villarreal knowing that if they beat Atletico Madrid they would go 9 points ahead of them and move into 2nd place, 3 points off Real Madrid.

The game was at the very yellow El Madrigal stadium where most of the noise was surprisingly coming from the 700 Atletico fans that had travelled east to watch their team try and close the gap on Villarreal.

The game started well with both teams closing each other down quickly and the first real chance came 7 minutes into the game where Senna had a free kick that went straight into the box for Santi Cazorla only for him to head it straight at Abbiati.There was nothing really between the sides and both were playing a like. Although both teams wanted to be careful not to concede the first goal they were still both pushing forward to score.

On the 20th Minute Sergio Aguero had a great chance. Atletico Madrid went on a fast attack and a cross from the right hand side came in by Maxi which fell straight to Aguero, who stuck out his leg to poke it in except it hit the bottom of his foot and went wide instead.

The next chance fell too Villarreal and to that man Santi Cazorla again. This time he twisted past the defenders and turned inside to produce a good shot that took a deflection from an Atletico playing causing problems for Abbiati who had to poke it over the bar.

Again the next chance was a Villarreal chance in the 29th Minute. This time from a free kick which went into the box only for the Atletico players to stop thinking Rossi was offside, but he wasn’t, he was very unlucky not to get a better connection on the ball to hit it in the back of the net.

The Atletico fans were being the nosier fans up until the 38th minute when the first goal of the game came.Rossi made a fantastic run into the box producing a low and dangerous cross, this caused problems for Perea who didn’t manage to get a good touch on it to clear it, so then it fell to Cazorla who managed to send Abbiati the wrong way.

Now it was the turn of Villarreal fans to be noisy and they made even more noise 4 minutes later when Nihat scored a goal.The build up to this goal was brilliant with Villarreal putting together many passes and then Cazorla making a great run into the box. Then

Rossi to produce a fantastic low and dangerous cross which went right across the box and fell to Nihat for him to tap it in.

The referee blew his whistle for half time with Villarreal winning comfortably at 2-0. Villarreal deserved to be in the lead at this point as they had put together some fantastic passing movements and were playing the better football.

HT Villarreal 2-0 Atletico Madrid

The 2nd half was rather dull compared to the first half with both sides knowing that the next goal would be the important goal.

The only real chance of the half for Atletico was on the 49th minute when the 18-year-older Camacho hit the bar with a free header.

On the 65th minute was the important goal that put the game to bed. Nihat scored his 2nd goal of the match. This came from Atletico losing possession on the edge of their own half then for Cazorla to pass to Nihat for him to hit it through Abbiati’s legs.

Villarreal were really in control of the game with putting together plenty of passes and stopping Atletico from putting together more than 6 or 7 passes and they managed to do this until the final whistle.

This has now put Villarreal into 2nd place 3-points behind Real Madrid and 1 point ahead of Barcelona. There is now a 9-point gap difference between Atletico and Villarreal. If Racing beat Espanyol tomorrow they can go level on points with Atletico.

FT Villarreal 3-0 Atletico Madrid

The Title Chase: Premier League

Posted in Arsenal, chelsea, Manchester Utd with tags , , , , on March 26, 2008 by kemgooner

With no midweek games thanks to the international break we finally have time to sit back and look at the premier league race so far, and preview what is still to come.  Most of this years campaign has been about the battle between Arsenal and Manchester United trying to grab the top spot. However, with Arsenal’s run of poor form in the last month, and Chelsea’s surge into second place the race is too close call, though Manchester are the team with the advantage. Arsenal drop in form began with their 2-2 draw against Birmingham when striker Eduardo was injured. Since then Arsenal have been struggling to score goals, while the defence has been exposed at the back on more than one occasion.  Chelsea are riding their momentum now that they are getting players back fit and on form, now that Drogba seems to be back on form Chelsea look like a very dangerous team going into the final weeks. Manchester United are currently leading the title race, and as long as Cristiano Ronaldo keeps scoring (34 goals and counting) it is hard to find a team that looks able to stop them.

United are in first place, 5 points above Chelsea and 6 above Arsenal. United still have to play Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, where Chelsea are virtually unbeatable, and Arsenal at Old Trafford, a fixture which they lost last year, so there is still plenty of time for the race to change even more. All the teams though have a remaining schedule where it seems possible for them to drop points. Here are the remaining schedules for the 3 title contenders, note that more Champions League matches could be added to the schedule should any of these teams advance to the next round. Who do you think will end up Premier League winners?

Manchester Utd

3/29 vs Aston Villa

4/1 @ Roma

4/6 @ Middlesbrough

4/9 vs Roma

4/13 vs Arsenal

4/19 @ Blackburn

4/26 @ Chelsea

5/3 vs West Ham

5/11 @ Wigan

Chelsea

3/30 vs Middlesbrough

4/2 @ Fenerbahce

4/5 @ Manchester City

4/8 vs Fenerbahce

4/14 vs Wigan

4/19 @ Everton

4/26 vs Manchester Utd

5/3 @ Newcastle

5/11 vs Bolton

Arsenal

3/29 @ Bolton

4/2 vs Liverpool (CL)

4/5 vs Liverpool

4/8 @ Liverpool (CL)

4/13 @ Manchester Utd

4/19 vs Reading

4/28 @ Derby

5/3 vs Everton

5/11 @ Sunderland

Roma 2 Empoli 1, Only 4 Points Behind Inter

Posted in AS Roma with tags , , , on March 23, 2008 by kemgooner

After midweeks very disappointing loss to Lazio it seemed like the title race might be over since Roma missed a chance to get 4 points behind their rivals for the scudetto. However, with Inter playing Juventus this weekend Roma knew there was a chance of their rival slipping up again.

Roma started playing pretty well and soon found themselves in the lead after about 30 minutes when Francesco Totti played a wonderful backheel to Max Tonetto who scored. Roma seemed even more in control as half time got closer, and there were other chances for Roma to possibly go 2 up. Right before halftime though a longball was played to Totti, but he was not able to control it. More worrying though was that Totti seemed to have injured his knee, and the Roma captain spent the last few minutes of the half on the side getting treatment.

While I was watching this game at my grandparents with crazy cousins running around yelling I couldnt hear what was going on during the half and had to wait until I saw Il Capitano running around to know if he was okay.  Let me say that it was the first time I ever genuinely hugged my little cousin.

However, that happiness soon turned to saddness as Giovinco scored for Empoli and Simone Perrotta was sent off for a ridiculous red card.  I dont see how the ref could say that foul was worthy of a red card, a yellow yes but definatly not a red.

Then Panucci did what he has done all year, score a clutch goal, headed in off a freekick, and save Roma. Though Roma werent entirely convincing the were able to overcome being down a man and come back to win.

The Inter Milan-Juventus game was a joy to watch, and I recommend if anyone has a chance to watch a replay of it they do, del Piero seemed to turn back the clock and produced the magic he has so many times during his career. Now as Roma sit 4 points behind Inter in the table its Game On in the race for the Scudetto!

Roma-Empoli highlights

Inter-Juventus highlights:

I’m fine, Milan on the other hand not so fine

Posted in AC Milan with tags , , , , , , on March 21, 2008 by beutyskooldpout5

Sorry if the post is a little sparatic…I probably should have waiting until I calmed down more to write but I couldn’t I needed to vent.

Ok so…after the arsenal game I went into a severe depression. I couldn’t believe that milan we’re no longer in the Champions leagues…but mostly I couldn’t believe that Maldini’s perfect season would be no more. That’s what really hit hard for me, to see the way the players played with no conviction, no drive, no heart. It looked like they were just picked up from their beds and thrown onto the field. But alas the better team won and I can’t not be happy for them…they were playing against all odds being dubbed the kid team. Hopefully those rumors of Maldini coming back are true because the footballing world will be lost without him.

On to today’s game…WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED? You would think that they would try to secure fourth place but oh no they played like it was an exhibition match. NAPOLI WAS DOING US A FAVOR GOSH DANG IT AND WE COULDN’T EVEN TAKE THE LEAD. The only one that played with the heart that each and every milan player on the field today should have played with was The One The Only Albertino Paloschi. Now there is one kid that has the heart to be a Milan first team player. He provides when Milan needed him and without him we would have suffered the humilation of a 2-0 “HOME” defeat to sampadoria. But thanks to our home grown miracle we only had to suffer a 2-1 defeat.

Anyways now milan are barely hanging onto 5th spot let alone 4th. So all we can do is march on with our head high and hope that milan starts kicking some royal serie a butt. This should be milans catch phrase for the season “I GET KNOCKED DOWN BUT I GET UP AGAIN…YOU NEVER GONNA KEEP ME DOWN,” I know it’s corny as hell but hey it does technically have some to do with the way milan have been this season as well as last season.

Inter Milan vs. Liverpool

Posted in Inter Milan, Liverpool with tags , , , , , on March 11, 2008 by kemgooner

Tuesday March 11 Liverpool took to the pitch against Inter Milan at the San Siro in Milan.  Liverpool came into the Champions League clash with a two goal lead from their match at Anfield.  Liverpool were without Steve Finnan through injury and Xabi Alonso, whose girlfriend was having a baby.  Inter were without Marco Materazzi who was suspended after being sent off in the first leg.

The atmosphere was electric as the match kicked off, and Liverpool won their first corner 2 minutes into the match.  Inter won their first corner 2 minutes later, as no team was asserting any early dominance in the match.  Inter had the first good chance 8 minutes in, when Julio Cruz shot a low powerful shot towards the left side of goal, but Pepe Reina was able to push it out for a corner. 

Inter were then awarded a free kick after a foul on Javier Zanetti, which was taken by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and hit the Liverpool wall.  However, Ryan Babel was given a yellow card for a hand ball and then kick was taken again.  This time Zlatan hit it over the bar and out for a goal kick.  Inter continued to put more and more pressure on Liverpool, who seemed content to defend for large portions of the match.  Inter had a few opportunities, Zlatan had a shot go wide, but 20 minutes in the only decent chance was Cruz’s.

Ryan Babel almost got in behind the Inter defense in the 24th minute, when a long ball was played over the top, but Julio Cesar was able to get out knock it away.  Inter’s defenders almost gifted away a goal a few minutes later when instead of just clearing the ball they passed it around their box and Fernando Torres was able to win the ball and almost put in a goal.  Julio Cruz should have put Inter 1-0 up when he received the ball on the left and with no one within two yards of him, but he put it just inches wide.

Inter continued to put Liverpool under pressure but they were not able to create anymore clear chances.  They had a few good crosses put in but the Liverpool defense was able to knock them all clear of danger. Inter Milan had one last chance before the half, when Cruz flicked the ball towards goal from about 5 yards out after a low cross from Maicon.  Reina was able to pull off a good save though and keep it out.  At halftime the score was 0-0.

The second half began with a yellow card for Steven Gerrard on a harsh tackle on Esteban Cambiasso. Inter were then reduced to 10 men again as Nicholas Burdisso was sent off for a tackle that did not really seem worthy of a second yellow card. So again Inter fans can resent the fact that they were harshly sent down a player in the Champions League, perhaps it is karma for all the things that seem to go their way in the league. 

Continuing on in the match, Liverpool were looking to press their advantage and wrap the tie up with another goal, and had a few good looks at goal.  Christian Chivu then went on a long run, which ended with him being hacked down by Fabio Aureillo who received a yellow card.  Zlatan then smashed the free kick miles over the goal.  However, a mistake at the back for Liverpool served up a perfect chance for Inter to get a goal, and Zlatan seemed like he would easily knock it in, but like Cruz in the half earlier he sent the ball wide.

Nelson Rivas was then booked for a tackle on Ryan Babel, which set up a great free kick for Steven Gerrard to take.  His attempt was good, and Cesar was able to knock it over the bar for a corner.  Babel was then substituted for Yossi Benayoun.

Fernando Torres then put Liverpool in the lead with a goal in the 63rd minute. 

Afterwards Liverpool were able to press their advantage, and put Inter under more pressure.  Gerrard put in a shot after a pass from Fernando Torres but it was right to the keeper.  As the match continued on it got dirtier with more fouls and yellow cards being displayed.  Ibrahimovic had another fantastic attempt to score in the 78th minute, but he skied the chance that he scores easily on most occasions.  He was then substituted for David Suazo, who some Inter fans might have hoped would have seen action must sooner.

The game died down as the match came to an end, a few more shots were sent on goal for both sides but none really came close to going in.  As injury time came to a close Liverpool passed the ball around their backline. Full time and Liverpool moved on to the Quarterfinals along with Arsenal, Chelsea, Fenerbahce, Roma, Schalke, and Manchester Utd.  Inter are left to wallow in Champions League disappointment again.

Again the final score: Liverpool 1 Inter Milan 0

BREAKING NEWS: After this match Inter manager Roberto Mancini has said that he will leave Inter at the end of the season.

Real Zaragoza v Atletico Madrid 08.03.08

Posted in atletico madrid with tags , , , , , , on March 9, 2008 by vikstervik

Real Zaragoza v Atletico Madrid 08.03.08

La Romareda  

After watching their rivals beat Espanyol 2-1, Atletico Madrid saw this as the perfect chance to go 5 points ahead of them and also see them catch up and over-take Villarreal to take that 3rd position. 

You wouldn’t have thought Real Zaragoza were sitting just outside the relegation zone in 17th position with the way they played against Atletico Madrid tonight. 

To the sound of the African drums in the crowd constantly banging away the referee blew his whistle for the game to begin.  

Real Zaragoza certainly started off as the stronger side with having a lot of possession and closing down Atletico very well. 

It only took 4 minutes until Christian Abbiati was called into action. A ball from the left wing flew in the box which saw Abbiati come out of his goal to punch the ball, only for him to punch thin air and miss it, the ball then fell to another Zaragoza player who crossed the ball again only for a 3rd Zaragoza player in on the action to header the ball straight at Abbiati, which was a very weak header.

 Atletico couldn’t really get very far when they had possession of the ball as the Zaragoza players were closing them down very well. It took until the 16th minute when Kun Aguero managed to break away from the Zaragoza defence for him to produce a very good cross which went straight to Diego Forlan, who used his head to aim at goal but hit his shoulder instead. This still managed to bring out a brilliant save out of Cesar Sanchez. 

On the 25th minute saw the first goal of the game. Maxi Rodriguez and Kun Aguero linked up well and exchanged a few passes together only for this to stop due to Aguero being fouled, the referee played a good advantage and carried on as Maxi still had the ball, he then passed to Simao who managed to find a space to kick the ball into the back of the net leaving Cesar with no chance. 

The next goal came 8 minutes later when Atletico Madrid conceded a free kick on the edge of the box, this was the only decision of the day by the referee which was wrong as there was nothing much in it foul. Just a little tug of the arm on Sergio Garcia saw the referee blow his whistle. The ball was hit hard and low into the box causing defenders to panic and then Pablo miss-kicked the ball into his own net. This wasn’t the first time tonight he miss-kicked the ball, this happened earlier on in the game when he went to kick the ball away but instead fell over the ball and kick it with the wrong foot causing it to go out for a throwing. He certainly was having a poor game. 

The next chance came moments after when Sergio Garcia, who was having an excellent game, go to kick the ball into the goal only for Juan Valera to block the ball and managed to clear it from the penalty area. 

Coming up to half time and the last chance of the game saw Diego Forlan go on a fantastic run. He used his strength and skill to produce a curling shot, only for it to not have enough curl on it and went wide. 

Half TimeReal Zaragoza had been the better side and having the most possession too. A 1-1 half time score line was probably the correct score. 

2nd Half

The drums continued to bang again for the start of the 2nd half and the fans all took their seats hoping for it to be as exciting as the first half and they got that.  

4 minutes into the 2nd half saw the first chance for Atletico Madrid. Diego Forlan skipped inside the box to produce a good shot only for it to go directly at Cesar in the middle of the goal. 

The next chance came soon after, this time to the delight of the Zaragoza fans that it was for their team. Peter Luccin took a wild shot at goal from a long distance out, only for it to go past everyone and only just went wide.  

On the hour mark Atletico started to make a few mistakes here and there and passes were too short or a pass would go out of play. They couldn’t put any passes together without being closed down well by the Zaragoza team, this was something which they had managed to do well all night.

This then saw the central midfield player, Oscar, have a brilliant chance to score. Zaragoza won the ball off an Atletico Madrid player, then many of the Zaragoza players were involved in the build up with quick and low passes going from one side to another side of the pitch. A Zaragoza player then crossed the ball which was a perfect cross and reached Oscar only for him to head the ball into the ground and it went out for a goal kick. 

Again, another mistake caused Zaragoza to have a brilliant chance, this time this chance was the winning goal of the game.

It started off with Atletico Madrid losing possession with a weak pass being intercepted by a Real Zaragoza player. Who then passed to Sergio Garcia who went on a good run into the box, turning inside and out tricking the Ateltico players. This caused Siamo to concede a penalty by bringing down Sergio Garcia and the referee pointing to the spot straight away.

Diego Milito stepped up and placed the ball to the right of the goalkeeper and saw Diego Milito claim his 15th goal in La Liga this season. 

 2-1 Real Zaragoza, who deserved to be ahead.

On the 83rd minute Atletico Madrid nearly got themselves back into the game. Diego Forlan managed to capitalise on Diogo’s poor pass and Forlan ran through into the box, his first touch was brilliant and he managed to find place to shot, he went for power over place and it was hit straight at Cesar. 

Then 3 minutes later Atletico Madrid nearly scored again. This time Kun Aguero broke through the defence, which then he took it around Cesar Sanchez and produced a low, dangerous pass into the box, only for Diego Forlan to be reaching for the ball and Luccin sliding in and getting the ball away. 

The last chance was an Atletico chance again, this time for Reyes. Atletico Madrid managed to put together a few good passes and a cross into the box which was cleared by Diogo, only for it to fall to Jose Antonio Reyes who produced a beautiful volley which just went wide, he is still waiting to score a goal in La Liga for Atletico Madrid.

 The referee blew his whistle to much delight of the Zaragoza fans. It was an excellent game and much needed 3 points for Real Zaragoza which saw them go from 17th to 12th in La Liga.

 I feel the crowd played a part in the win tonight for Zaragoza as all night they were very noisy and La Romareda had a wonderful atmosphere to it. I also feel the referee had a brilliant game too, it was only that decisive decision to award the free kick on the edge of the box which was the bad thing to his game. He let the game flow and played advantage at the right times and when he could, very good refereeing.  

Atletico Madrid hope Barcelona can do them a favour tomorrow and beat 3rd place Villarreal so the gap doesn’t get any bigger. 

Final Score

Real Zaragoza 2-1 Atletico Madrid.