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Pre-Season Friendly Report

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 28, 2009 by kemgooner

CORRECTION Inter Milan AC Milan Soccer

Pre-Season friendlies have begun to kick off around Europe as teams prepare for next season, some teams have started slowly against lower league opposition, while others have taken on other big teams in tournaments around the world.  Already Chelsea have claimed the title in the World Football Challenge, while the Peace Cup is still taking place with teams like Juventus and Real Madrid as just a couple of the major teams participating. This pre-season has also seen the debuts of star players like Cristiano Ronaldo for Real Madrid against Shamrock Rovers, and the introduction of Michael Owen as a red devil.

Here is a brief summary of pre-season matches so far from some of Europe’s big clubs:

England

Arsenal: vs Barnet 2-2, vs SC Columbia 7-1, vs Szombathelyi H 5-0. Leading Scorer: Bendtner (4).

Chelsea: vs Seattle 2-0, vs Inter Milan 2-0, vs AC Milan 2-1, vs Club America 2-0. Leading Scorer: Lampard (2), Drogba (2).

Everton: vs Bury 1-2, vs Rochdale 4-1, vs River Plate 0-1. Leading Scorer: Jo (2)

Liverpool: vs St. Gallen 0-0, vs Rapid Vienna 0-1, vs Thailand 1-1, vs Singapore 5-0. Leading Scorer: Nemeth (2)

Manchester City: vs Orlando Pirates 0-2, vs Kaizer Chiefs 1-0, vs Kaizer Chiefs 0-1. Leading Scorer: Ireland (1)

Manchester United: vs Malaysia 3-2, vs Malaysia 2-0, vs Seoul 3-2, vs Hangzhou Greentown 2-8. Leading Scorer: Giggs (3).

FLB-US-ENG-ITA-CHELSEA-INTER

Spain

Atletico Madrid: vs Colmenar Viejo 3-0,  vs Benfica 2-1, vs Ajax 3-3, vs Sunderland 0-2. Leading Scorer: Simao (2)

Barcelona: vs Tottenham 1-1, vs Al- Ahly 4-1. Leading Scorer: Bojan (2)

Real Madrid: vs Shamrock Rovers 1-0, vs Al-Ittihad 1-1. Leading Scorer Benzema (1), Raul (1).

Sevilla: vs Juventus 1-2, vs Seongnam 0-0. Leading Scorer: Squillaci (1)

Valencia: vs Den Haag 4-1, vs Udinese 0-0. Leading Scorer: Navarro (1), Gonzalez (1), Michel (1), Alba (1).

Villareal: vs Navata 27-0, vs Vilamalla 10-0. Leading Scorer: Pereira (10).

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Italy

AC Milan: vs LA Galaxy 2-2, vs Club America 1-2, vs Chelsea 1-2, vs Inter 0-2. Leading Scorer: Inzaghi (2)

AS Roma: vs Riscone 9-0,  vs Viktoria Plzen 1-1,  vs Blackburn Rovers 2-2. Leading Scorer: Totti: (3)

Fiorentina: vs Cortina 13-0, vs Belluno 7-0.

Inter Milan: vs Club America 1-1 (4-5 pks), vs Chelsea 0-2, vs AC Milan 2-0. Leading Scorer: Milito (2)

Juventus: vs Cisco Roma 4-1, vs Nancy 1-1, vs Vicenza 1-1, vs Sevilla 2-1.

SOCCER-SPAIN/

Some teams have started off their preseason’s with a bang while others have started slowly. How important are preseason games to how you feel about your team’s chances in the upcoming season?

Kaka Goes To Madrid; U2 Goes To Barcelona

Posted in Barcelona, Real Madrid with tags , , , , on July 2, 2009 by LFCJen

SPAIN/

Weekend Preview

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 29, 2008 by kemgooner

Premier League

Arsenal v Aston Villa

Arsenal face a very good Aston Villa team in what is a huge match for them to keep ahead of Manchester Utd in the title race. Arsenal are now down to only one experienced striker after the injury to Eduardo last week and Robin van Persie’s continued absence, so either Theo Walcott or Nikolas Bendtner will be pairing Emmanuel Adebayor up front or the 4-5-1 formation will be used, with Alexander Hleb most likely playing in the hole behind Adebayor. Tomas Rosicky is also out along with Kolo Toure, but aside from that Arsenal should be at almost full strength. Aston Villa are coming into this match after two consecutive wins and are going to be pushing hard for victory themselves to help keep their Europe dream strong.

Players to Watch

Emmanuel Adebayor-Arsenal-Adebayor is the leading scorer for Arsenal and is most likely the team’s best shot at getting on the score sheet. After to somewhat disappointing scoreless matches he will surely be looking to get back on the score sheet.

Gabriel Agbonglahor-Aston Villa-the speedy Villa striker already has 7 goals and will be looking to add to his total at the Emirates.

West Ham v Chelsea

Chelsea will have a tough task defeating West Ham away from home, but we all know if anyone can grind out a result, its Chelsea and they will be looking to rebound from their Carling Cup defeat last weekend.  If Chelsea loses this match and Arsenal and Utd win they will fall 12 points behind first place and will most likely be out of the race. Chelsea have a full strength squad and fans will probably be wondering who Avram Grant will be playing in this match, after leaving Michael Ballack, Joe Cole, and Salomon Kalou on the bench last weekend.  West Ham are looking to get their first win against Chelsea in 6 matches and are coming off a 1-0 win away to Fulham. Bobby Zamora and Henri Camara are both in contention to be in the squad after coming back from injury.

Players to Watch

John Terry-Chelsea- the Chelsea captain is going to be a key player in stopping the West Ham attack and leading the team to victory, and it’s going to be interesting to see how he will do as he is still coming back from injury and had an alleged fallout with manager Avram Grant.

Freddie Ljungberg-West Ham- West Ham is going to be relying on Ljungberg’s experience to help lead the attack on the Chelsea defense, his runs and crosses could be the key to grabbing a goal.

Everton v Portsmouth

In what is looking to be an exciting encounter in the race for European football fourth place Everton take on seventh place Pompey.  Both teams are coming off wins, Portsmouth a 1-0 victory over Sunderland and Everton a 2-0 win against Manchester City.

Players to Watch

Yakubu-Everton- Harry Redknapp has said that the Everton striker is back to his best, and he will have to be in order to help Everton to victory against a Pompey side that has an impressive away record.

Niko Kranjcar-Portsmouth-the Pompey midfielder is going to have to be on top of his game in order to change the result from the last time Pompey visited Goodison Park, which led to a 3-0 defeat.

La Liga

Atletico Madrid v Barcelona

This match seems to be the biggest match of the weekend in Spain, as Atleitico look to regain form after a string a disappointing results while Barcelona are looking to keep up their good run and gain more points on Real Madrid. As of now it is not sure whether Kun Aguero will be fit for Atletico, which would be another blow to an already injury hit side still missing goalkeeper Leo Franco and midfielder Simao.  Atletico captain Maxi Rodriguez has come out in an interview and spoken about how important the match was, stating that “we have to come out to look for the game using our heads, without getting thrown off. They have players that can make things complicated for you at anytime, so we have to be strong, united, and patient. “He also stated that the team does not depend on Sergio Aguero to win. Barcelona, while having relatively good form coming in from the league, will want to make up for their disappointing midweek draw to Valencia in the Copa del Rey and get back to the form that crushed Levante 5-1.

Players to Watch

Kun Aguero-Atletico Madrid- whether he plays or not it will surely have an impact on Atletico’s ability to win this match, whether Maxi says they don’t depend on him or not.

Lionel Messi-Barcelona-Messi is always a threat for Barcelona, and he scored the last time these two teams met, in which Barca won 3-0.

  Recreativo Huelva v Real Madrid

This usually would not be one of the biggest matches of the weekend, but with Madrid’s loss to Getafe anything seems possible in this match. While it is doubtful that Madrid will fail to gain three points again, Huelva will surely come into this match with the confidence that they too can get a result, especially after their 1-1 draw with Valencia at the Mestalla as their last result.  The return of Robinho to the Madrid squad is a welcome return, while Sneijder, Salgado, and Marcelo are back in training but don’t seem quite ready to rejoin the squad. Guti and Cannavaro, who both picked up niggling injuries in the match against Getafe, were also in training are working hard to be fit for the match Saturday. Madrid has beaten Huelva five out of the seven times they have faced each other previously.

Players to Watch

Sorrentino-Recreativo Huelva- the Huelva goalkeeper will surely be under a lot of pressure facing Madrid’s relentless attack and if they are going to earn a result he will have to be on top of his game, and then some.

Robinho-Real Madrid-the Brazilians return will be a boost to the already dangerous Madrid attack, and it will be interesting to see how fit he is in preparation for Madrid’s huge Champions League clash with Roma.

Serie A

Roma v Parma

Roma will be looking to get a win this weekend at the Stadio Olimpico after their frustrating midweek draw with Inter. Parma currently sit 14th in the league and are coming into this match full of confidence after a big 2-0 win against Udinese. Roma while being back to full strength attack wise, will be playing without three key members of their defense, Juan and Marco Cassetti are both seem to be out due to injury, though Juan might be able to return, and Philippe Mexes is suspended after picking up two yellow cards against Inter.

Players to Watch

Francesco Totti-Roma- Totti seems to be gaining form after being plagued with injury and sickness, and after his goal against Inter it wouldn’t be hard to see him scoring again, especially since he scored twice when these teams met earlier in the season.

Cristiano Lucarelli-Parma-the veteran Italian goal scorer will be one of Parma’s best chances of grabbing a goal.

 AC Milan v Lazio

Milan could have grabbed fourth place during the week, but because of their draw to Catania they are still in fifth. However, because Juventus and Fiorentina are playing each other a win would go a long way to get them into position for European football. Lazio are coming off a win, but will not gain confidence from the fact that they have not won in the San Siro (against Milan), since 1989. Milan may choose to rest some players in anticipation for their Champions League match Tuesday, but they still have to play a strong enough squad to produce a victory.

Players to Watch

Pato-AC Milan- Pato scored a great goal midweek and will be looking to add to his total for the season.

Tommaso Rocchi and Goran Pandev- Lazio- between the strike partners are 17 goals, and together they will be looking to punish the Milan defense for any mistakes and both are more than capable of producing a moment of magic.

Juventus v Fiorentina

The match of the weekend in Serie A, this match will prove the legitimacy of each team’s European hopes. Juve are coming off a draw in the Torino derby, and a loss to Reggina and need to get back to their winning ways in order to challenge Roma for second, while Fiorentina are coming off a 1-0 win to Livorno and are looking to stay ahead of AC Milan. Both teams have a trio of key players out, with Fiorentina missing Mutu, Semioli, and Liverani due to injury and Juve missing Zanetti, Chiellini, and Nedved.

Players to Watch

Giampaolo Pazzini-Fiorentina- with Mutu out, the scoring responsibility falls on Pazzini’s shoulders and if Fiorentina are going to get points Pazzini will have to be on top of his game.

Alessandro del Piero-Juventus- while Trezeguet is the leading scorer for Juve, del Piero also has 11 assists to add to his 11 goals and will likely have a hand in any goal Juve are to score this weekend.

German Bundesliga

Schalke 04 v Bayern Munich

Bayern Munich currently have a four point lead over second place Werder Bremen but have let challengers off the hook recently with draws to Bremen and Hamburg. Schalke look to get their big week off with a win to gain momentum to take to Portugal.

 Werder Bremen v Borussia Dortmund

Werder Bremen is hoping to gain ground on Bayern, but will have to play without play maker Diego who is suspended. Dortmund is looking to keep of their good form and continue moving up through the standings.

French Ligue 1

Lille v Lyon

Lyon is only 3 points in front of Bordeaux and need to win to keep that lead intact. They also are looking ahead to a Champions League match midweek and a trip to Old Trafford.

Portuguese Liga

Sporting Lisbon v Benfica

While Porto has all but wrapped the title, this match still promises to entertain, as both teams will be fighting for a place in Europe next season.

Barcelona vs Valencia – 27.02.08

Posted in Barcelona, Valencia with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 28, 2008 by vikstervik

Copa del Rey – Semifinal

1000 Valencia fans travelled 219 miles North to Barcelona to watch their side concede a goal in what was the last chance of the game. It took Barcelona 26 shots to finally get the ball in the back of the net. 

It was the 14th time Barcelona and Valencia had played against each other in the Copa del Rey with the stats favouring towards Barcelona with winning 9 times out of the 14 games. It was also the chance for Ronald Koeman to win his first game against Barcelona in the whole of his managerial career. 

It was a Barcelona team with no Ronaldinho in the side altogether and a Spanish team with 6 Spanish faces in the squad including the trio upfront of David Villa, Joaquin and David Silva. The game started with early pressure from Barcelona and managing to earn a corner within the first 2 minutes of the game. The corner came to nothing and was safely punched away by Timo Hildebrand in the Valencia goal.

6 minutes into the first game saw the first real save of the match with Messi linking up well with Xavi by finding him with a superb pass but only to be denied by Hildebrand making a fantastic save. The ball then rebounded out causing another shot to be blocked but this time by Raul Albiol, which again was rebounded back out and again was blocked by Marco Caneira.

On the 9th minute the first goal of the game was conceded, however this was offside. Joaquin for Valencia produced a lovely back heal which went in the back of the net but only to hear the referees whistle shortly after it had gone in for offside.

Valencia had found themselves constantly blocking shots and closing down the likes of Messi and Eto’o very well to prevent them from scoring.

On the 22nd minute Valencia found themselves doing just that with Eric Abidal making a dashing run upfront linking up with Xavi who then passed to Messi who found his shot being blocked.

33 minutes into the game Barcelona had a free kick in a very good position, however, this came to nothing as Yaya Toure had blasted it over the bar, he was one of a couple of Barcelona players who were having a poor game. A minute later another good chance fell to Barcelona. This time by Henry who spun past Caneira then passed to Eto’o who then produced a low dangerous cross in the box only for Henry to miss it by a metre or so.

On 47 minutes the referee blew for halftime. Barcelona finished the half with all the stats in their favour with having the most procession and all of the chances. Valencia had still not had one shot, however Valencia would finish the half feeling much happier than the opposition though with Koemans team holding on well and not letting Barcelona break the deadlock against them.  

The 2nd half started and it saw Valencia kick off in their white and black kit, kicking the ball from right to left.

The first chance of the half fell to Xavi who had managed to break past the defence and produce a great pass to Messi only to be stopped by Timo Hildebrand who was having a brilliant game.

Near the hour mark saw Barcelona break through the defence again. A gap on the right hand side saw Eto’o pass the ball to Messi who then went inside Moretti and then for Hildebrand to produce a good save not for the first time tonight.

After that shot Valencia decided to make a change and decided to bring off one Spanish International, Joaquin, to bring on another Spanish International, Javier Arizmendi.

A few minutes later Messi got booked box for a dive in the box, and rightly so. Hildebrand came out to save the ball only for Messi to fall down ridiculously and easily and so the referee decided to show the yellow card.

Both managers then decided for more changes with Valencia taking off Ever Banega being replaced by Ruben Baraja. It also saw a poor Deco and Henry being replaced by Andres Iniesta and Bojan.

30 seconds after these changes were made, around the 69th minute mark, Valencia scored with their first chance of the game. The new trio upfront of Arizmendi, David Villa and David Silva saw them link up well together with a cross coming in by Arizmendi on the right then only for Villa to put it away. It’s now David Villas 5th game in a row playing against Barcelona where he has scored in every game against them.

1-0 Valencia.

Barcelona’s best chance of the game was on the 80th minute mark where Messi had the ball and skipped past the Valencia defence and was one on one with the keeper, who made himself look big in the goal and prevented Messi from scoring. The shot rebounded to Xavi only for Hildebrand to make another fantastic save.

It was attempt number 26 and the last chance of the game when Barcelona finally scored. Eto’o managed to bring another good save out of Hildebrand only for Xavi to pounce on the rebound and slot it home. The Valencia players did try to claim that Eto’o handballed it in the build up but the referee said disagreed.  

Barcelona finally managed to get their deserved goal, only for Valencia to feel like the game was a defeat with them with holding on for so long and to prevent Barcelona from scoring until the very last chance of the game.

Valencia now take their crucial away goal to the Mestalla in 3 weeks time for the 2nd leg of the semi final to be played. 

Final scoreBarcelona 1-1 Valencia.