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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).

SPAIN/

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?

Pre-Euro 2008 News and Rumours

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

As I sit in my living room watching the third place match in the Toulan Youth Tournament it strikes me how much more I am going to enjoy this summer than last, football wise at least.  Last summer dragged by with never-ending transfer rumours that largely amounted to nothing, and waiting for the start of the new season to begin. This summer we have the Euros, the Olympics, and yes, never ending transfer rumours that will largely amount to nothing. However, some deals have gone through such as Alberto Gilardino leaving AC Milan for Fiorentina, and Chelsea signing Jose Bosingwa for 16.6 million, and some rumours must amount to something (right?!) such as the already getting long saga of Samir Nasri and if he will or will not be moving to Arsenal.

Apart from the transfer rumours we have also had the joy of watching and waiting to see who will be part of the Euros. Teams have now submitted their final rosters, and there are a few surprises.  One of these ‘surprises’ is the inclusion of Antonio Cassano on the Italian squad. Now most probably know what a loose cannon Cassano can be, but for those who do not take in his reactions to be sent off in Sampdoria:

However, while there have been plenty of moments like the one above in Cassano’s career, he is also a fantastic player who could be a wild card for Italy in the tournament. One thing for sure is all eyes will be on him when takes the field.

The other main shock when the squads were named was the exclusion of not only David Trezeguet from the French squad, but also AC Milan’s new boy Mathieu Flamini and Roma defender Philippe Mexes.  All three of whom have had great season’s domestically, and its really surprising that Domenech has left them out. However, none have ever seemed to be in Domenech’s favor in the past, so its not as surprising as it should be.

What makes Euro 2008 different from previous tournaments for fans in the United States? ESPN has deceided to show every match live over its family of networks. Yes, there is no need to pay for those annoying online streams anymore. Please try to contain your excitement, and check out this schedule of matchs here which will be useful for anyone planning on watching the tournament.

 Finally, if anyone is interested in writing about Euro 2008, the Olympics, or just their club’s news in general just drop me a note.

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.