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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?

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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

Weekend Preview- March 8 & 9

Posted in Football with tags , , , , , , , on March 7, 2008 by kemgooner

Liverpool vs. Newcastle- March 8, 3pm GMT

Liverpool comes into this match after thrashing West Ham midweek, with Fernando Torres getting a hat trick. Newcastle on the other hand have lost seven matches in a row, and are still looking to get that first win under manager Kevin Keegan.  Liverpool have a fully fit squad except for the long term absentees Daniel Agger and Steve Finnan, and should have no problem beating a Newcastle side three points out of relegation.

Manchester Utd vs. Portsmouth-FA Cup- March 8, 12:45 pm

Machester Utd advanced to this stage in the knockout competition by beating their league rivals Arsenal 4-0. Portsmouth will not be a pushover, and have done well on the road this season in the league. They are coming off of a 3-1 loss to Everton, and their last FA Cup match was a 1-0 win at Preston.

Wigan vs. Arsenal March 9, 4pm

Arsenal are looking to open up a four point lead over Manchester United in the premier league, and should be able to playing against a struggling Wigan side which are just two points out of the relegation zone.  Arsene Wenger has called on his team to repeat the performance they put in against AC Milan in the Champions League, and while they are without Abou Diaby and Theo Walcott who were injured during the week, they should still have enough quality to get all three points.

Real Madrid vs. Espanyol – March 8, 7pm

Real Madrid are looking to avenge their Champions League loss to Roma by continuing to open up a lead in the standings.  Espanyol will not be a an easy team to beat though, unless Real Madrid are able to get back to their form from the beginning of this year.  Espanyol’s form has dropped some from the start of the season, but they are coming of a win against Valencia which will give them confidence that they will be able to beat Madrid.

Napoli vs AS Roma – March 9, 2pm

Roma sit only six points behind Inter Milan now, and would like that to stay that way as they visit Inters conquerors.  Roma are getting back on form after struggling some after winter break, and will be on a high after their historical win against Real Madrid.  Napoli will be looking to take advantage of any let off and take three points from another top Italian team.

Other Matches to Watch this Weekend

Barcelona vs. Villareal – March 9, 8pm

A must win for both teams, this will surely be an entertaining contest.

 Stuttgart vs. Werder Bremen – March 8, 2:30pm

Last year’s champions against this years hopefuls, Bremen must win in order to keep up with Bayern Munich.

Lyon vs. Bordeaux – March 9, 8pm

Number 1 vs. Number 2 in France, Bordeaux hopes to come out with a share of first place.

PSV Eindhoven vs Ajax – March 9, 1:30pm

Its num. 1 vs. num. 2 in Holland as well, as Ajax hopes to cut into PSVs lead.

View from a neutral side: Arsenal v. Birmingham

Posted in Arsenal with tags , , , on February 24, 2008 by redsmanu

Arsenal vs. Birmingham City is not a match soon to be forgotten, that’s for sure. Although I did not see the full match and although I am an avid Manchester United supporter, I have some thoughts to share about everything that happened.

First, the match itself: After being reduced to ten men, Birmingham were bound to be finished off by the angered, shaken Arsenal team. This, however, did not turn out so. Shockingly, Birmingham went ahead through a well struck McFadden free-kick in the first half, which I found to be a nice goal and a welcome surprise for me as a Manchester United fan. However, my joy was short-lived as Theo Walcott scored twice for the Gunners to put the men in red one ahead. Arsenal’s painful matchday was worsened when Gael Clichy carelessly jostled down Parnaby inside the penalty box and the kick was given by the referee. McFadden netted his second goal and the Gunners were left in disarray. While I do not find myself the biggest fan of Arsenal, I do understand with sympathy the actions of captain William Gallas as he relentlessly attacked the advertisement board and was almost reduced to tears at the end of the match. Manager Arsene Wenger had a few sharp words toward Taylor, only justified by the terror which his team underwent during the 90 minutes in hell at the Blues’ stadium. It is understandable that he was upset and I do not think that he should be shunned or blamed for this by the media or fans of the opposition.

The biggest issue of the match was, of course, Eduardo’s injury. The tackle, at first look, did not appear to be more malicious than any other. After all, worse tackles have been seen that ended in a yellow card and an apology. However, it was clear that this challenge was different.  It was sickening to see Eduardo carried off the pitch on a stretcher and the looks on the players’ faces were filled with agony. In the end, this was something that put a black mark on the match and I cannot blame the players or staff for being completely distraught, as I myself would have been totally stunned if this happened to anyone on my own team. On the positon of Martin Taylor, I do not believe that any lifelong bans or other ridiculous punishments are in place. He went into the challenge with the intention to let Arsenal know that Birmingham were present, not to injure one of their influential players. Martin is hardly a player who you would call malicious…he’s no Gennaro Gattuso, no Fred, no young David Beckham. A three to five match ban is reasonable and for him to be left alone would also be nice, as he is most likely sick to his stomach as we speak, knowing that he unintentionally put a player’s career in jeopardy. Think if he was on your team: would you want him to be verbally abused for the rest of his playing career for one unfortunate tackle? I for one wouldn’t…

I would like to close by saying that I hope Eduardo can return as soon as possible and that he keeps a positive attitude and believes in himself. I believe he can return and while I do not support his team, I do support him as a player and a man.