Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Are Italy’s Champions League Chances?

Calcio Logo

Yesterday the draw was made for the group stages of the Champions League. Carlo Garganese analyses the Italian teams’ chances in the first phase.


GROUP A: Chelsea, Roma, Bordeaux, CFR Cluj

GROUP B: Inter, Werder Bremen, Panathinaikos, Anorthosis Famagusta

GROUP F: Lyon, Bayern Munich, Steaua, Fiorentina

GROUP H: Real Madrid, Juventus, Zenit, BATE

Roma

The Giallorossi have reached the quarter finals for the last two seasons running, and they will be confident of getting through to at least the first knockout round this time around.

Chelsea are undoubtedly the big guns, and indeed they are favourites with most bookmakers to win the whole competition. The Blues have strengthened this summer by signing the likes of Deco and Bosignwa, while Real Madrid star Robinho could join too before the end of the transfer window. With Luiz Felipe Scolari also now in charge, Chelsea should finish top of the group.

Bordeaux should not be underestimated, and indeed they gave Lyon a run for their money in the French championship last season, finishing second. With former Inter and Napoli defender Laurent Blanc as their coach, they will be told everything they need to know about Serie A football. They may not possess the big names such as Jean Tigana and Alain Giresse from their legendary 1980s outfit, but the likes of Fernando Cavenaghi and on-loan Milan midfielder Yoann Gourcuff must be watched carefully.

As for CFR Cluj, I do not want to sound insular, but I must confess that I know very little about the Romanian champions from last season. With six Argentines, including former Inter man Sixto Peralta, and three Brazilians in their squad, technical quality is unlikely to be in short supply. Nevertheless if Cluj were to qualify from this group it would be an almighty shock.

Prediction: Roma to finish second behind Chelsea.

Inter

Lady luck shone brightly on Inter as they were handed, what on paper, is by far the easiest group of all the Italian teams.

Werder Bremen will be the most dangerous outfit in the group after they finished second in the Bundesliga last season, even if they were a full 10 points adrift of champions Bayern Munich. The club’s star man is undoubtedly Brazilian playmaker Diego, but there is also quality in the form of German internationals Torsten Frings, Per Mertesacker and Clemens Fritz.

Panathinaikos sneaked into the Champions League after finishing third in the Greek League, before winning a four-team playoff. Despite possessing Austrian star Andreas Ivanschitz, and new signing from Arsenal Gilberto Silva, the Greeks are unlikely to worry Inter too much, even if away trips to Athens are never easy.

The group minnows are Anorthosis Famagusta, who made history by becoming the first Cypriot team ever to qualify for the group stages of the Champions League. Players to look out for are former Real Madrid winger Savio and ex-Roma centre back Traianos Dellas. Anyhow, Inter will expect six points from their two games against Anorthosis.

Prediction: Inter to win the group comfortably, followed by Bremen.

Fiorentina

One of the most equally balanced groups in the first phase is Group F, where all four teams are likely to take points off one another.

Lyon, who are seeded first, continued their domestic dominance by winning their seventh straight French championship last season. Les Gones have superb quality in midfield, with the likes of Jeremy Toulalan, Juninho, Kim Kallstrom, and new signing Ederson. They also have one of the best young prospects in Europe up-front in the form of Karim Benzema. Defensively though they could be a little suspect, and this is something Fiorentina will need to take advantage of.

Bayern Munich return to the Champions League after annihilating the Bundesliga last season, and they will now be hoping to reproduce this form in the Champions League. There are goals in the team up-front in Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose and former Viola, Luca Toni, even if the latter two had poor Euro 2008’s. Star man is undoubtedly the brilliant Franck Ribery, who would walk into any team in Europe, while new signings such as Massimo Oddo, Tim Borowski and Breno have added depth.

Steaua Bucharest will be written off by a number of critics as the whipping boys of the group, but those who under-estimate them will be in for a rude awakening. Two-times reigning champions of Romania, and possessing a number of Euro 2008 stars such as Mirel Radoi and Dorin Goian, Steaua will cause trouble for teams at home, and Fiorentina would be wise to take note of their 3-1 pre-season win over Roma.

Prediction: Almost impossible to predict the outcome of this group. Steaua will pick up points at home but I still don’t expect them to qualify. Two from the other three.

Juventus

What Are Italy’s Champions League Chances?

If Fiorentina thought their group was hard, then they should spare a thought for Juventus who were drawn with Spanish champions Real Madrid and UEFA Cup holders Zenit St Petersburg.

Madrid have performed poorly in this competition in recent years, and were outclassed by Roma last season. The capital giants have made few changes in pre-season, with Rafael Van der Vaart their only real notable acquisition. I don't see them as Champions League winners this campaign, but they remain a formidable outfit and will surely be favourites to top this group. Intriguingly, Fabio Cannavaro returns to face his old club.

Zenit were a revelation last season, as they romped to UEFA Cup glory, memorably thrashing Bayern Munich in the semi finals along the way. The Russians are a real danger to Juventus, and have some excellent quality with Pavel Pogrebnyak, Anatoliy Tymoschuk, and Euro 2008 stars Aleksandr Anyukov and Konstantin Zyryanov. However, they are having a poor domestic campaign this time around, and are way off the pace in sixth place. They may also lose star man Andrei Arshavin before the end of the transfer window.

The final team of the group are BATE Borisov, who quite conceivably could finish the first phase with 0 points next to their name. They may have won the Belarus championship three years on the trot, but they are likely to be on the end of a number of hidings against Madrid, Juve and Zenit.

Prediction: Real Madrid to come first, with Juventus to just pip Zenit into second. It will not be easy for the Bianconeri.

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Manchester United vs Zenit 2-1 - SUPER CUP GOALS!!

Zenit St. Petersburg won the UEFA Super Cup for the first time beating Manchester United 2-1 with goals by Pavel Pogrebnyak and Danny.Paul Scholes got caught red handed - trying to palm the ball into the net for an equaliser - and got sent off for his efforts.
Zenit are Russia’s first true super-club, backed by the fortune of Gazprom, the largest extractor of natural gas in the world, with a 62,000 arena under construction that will be home to a squad that could one day be as expensively assembled as that of Chelsea or United.More on the possible dawn of a new russian era here..




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Liverpool scrape into the Champion's League

Benitez barks orders from the sidelines last night
It is Rafael Benitez’s fourth season in charge at Liverpool.He should have got things right by now.Liverpool are still doing things the hard way.Dirk Kuyt scoring a late late winner with the rest of the team playing in the wrong gear. Here's a note on Rafa's tinkering and what its doing to the club...



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Thursday, August 28, 2008

Arsenal London vs Twente 4-0 goals

McClaren's " let me become a respectable football manager again" dream had taken one step forward and then two steps back when FC Twente lost by two goals to Arsenal in the first leg.The dream took another 4 steps back yesterday as Arsenal completed a 4 goal demolition of his team.




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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Spanish Debate: Should Barcelona Sell Henry?


Ewan Macdonald asks if, in light of the alleged interest of Manchester United in Barcelona striker Thierry Henry, the Spanish side might be well served to cut their losses and sell up...


Few clubs would ever consider selling their most expensive summer signing just a year after his arrival. Yet that's happened this year already as Rio Mavuba switched from Villarreal to Lille, and it's not inconceivable that another could follow. It's another Frenchman, and it's an even bigger name: Thierry Henry.

Yes, in a summer that has already seen Ronaldinho and Deco depart for pastures new, Henry could be the third superstar to leave Barcelona after a torrid season in Catalunya. It's thought that Manchester United are poised, chequebook in hand, to land the ex-Arsenal man, and surely they have the financial wherewithal to back up their ambitions.

But Barcelona, conversely, are able to withstand any bid for any player - at least any player who isn't looking to leave. With this in mind, should they even entertain an offer for he of the va-va-voom?

The Case Against

There's a compelling argument against Barcelona's listening to any incoming offer. Firstly, Henry is a class act. There is absolutely no denying this: one questionable season - the last one - doesn't fully undo a career's worth of excellent work.

With Arsenal, as if one needs reminding, Henry didn't only produce goals by the barrow-load - a ratio of around 0.7:1 goals per game - but also a wealth of assists. Furthermore offered leadship: even prior to his appointment as Gunners captain, his style of play, including his ability to drift wide, helped to dictate how Arsenal ticked.

At Barcelona he has struggled to show the same level of influence, but this may not be all his fault. First of all, as he admitted midway through last season he spent much of last year struggling with injury: even when he played, he could not to do so at 100% capacity.

Furthermore, the team was arguably not set up to suit him as it was at Arsenal. While few players can say that an XI is built around them, Henry is one who benefits when it is - and arguably he more than repays such faith. With the 'Fantastic Four' jostling for position he was often treated as something of an afterthought; this year, with less competition and arguably less pressure, he may either not be expected to perform out of position, or be given more chances to prove himself in a favoured place.

In any case, while his performances often left a lot to be desired - for every showing like the 6-0 win over Valencia there were two like that in the 3-2 loss to Betis or his embarassing performance in the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford - he still hit goals. He managed 10 in 19 appearances, to be precise, and even from that left flank position he found himself capable of cutting inside on occasion. In other words, it could have been a lot worse.

When it comes to the crunch, this is what it comes down to: it wasn't all bad, and surely a player with a €24m price tag on his head, and fine pedigree, deserves a chance to prove himself capable of better.

Unless...

Sell Early, Sell Often

Perhaps loss-cutting is the way to go. While it's clear that in the absence of Ronaldinho there is now less competition in attack, 'Dinho generally played out on the left anyway, a place in which Henry did not excel against Spanish defences. Had Eto'o or Bojan been out of commission then a central place would have been more available, and more to his liking.

Further, one has to wonder if Henry hasn't done them a disservice last season. It took him a long time to publicly admit that he was injured: that brought into question how much the club knew about his status when he was signed. In any case it was a sad sight to see a player so far below capacity take to the pitch, and if Barcelona fans were soured to him by now, few could blame them.

One would not like to go so far as to question Thierry's hunger, but perhaps his willingness to step onto the pitch in less than pristine condition does not so much show loyalty and devotion as a willingness to accept second-best. Barcelona's main problem last season was that far too many players were either happy with or simply resigned to losing out - be they the old guard whose day had past or the young bucks who lacked confidence and leadership - and for a new signing to call so quickly into one of those traps is most disheartening. Coach Josep 'Pep' Guardiola has already made it clear that his is a tight ship, and Henry, while certainly not deliberately negligent, may clash somewhat with that ethos.

That's partially due to the fact that he's, well, old. He'll turn 31 next week, and for a forward that's beyond the peak. True, a fit striker can keep on going until his mid or even late thirties, but rare is the breed that can perform to the top level right until the end. This is especially true of those forwards whose key attribute is pace, as opposed to power. Henry is one of these. (That he was signed at all, then, especially at such cost, is mystifying to some.)

Finally there are fiscal concerns. If Barcelona can recoup much of their €24m then they have done well, having already had a year of Nike-related merchandising income. It'll also boost their chances of landing one or two more signings before the summer ends.

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Nasri: Arsenal suit me perfectly

After 12 happy years spent with Olympique de Marseille, Samir Nasri opted to fly the nest this summer, spreading his wings to join the burgeoning French community at Arsenal. It proved a difficult decision for the 21-year-old, but it immediately began to look like the right one when he marked his first appearance with the winning goal and Man of the Match honours against West Bromwich Albion last week.


Advised to take the leap by his friends Djibril Cisse and Nicolas Anelka, Nasri believes that he has ultimately made the correct choice. As he explained to Full4Free.com: "When I signed for Arsenal, I knew I wasn't heading into the unknown."

Full4Free.com: Having scored in your very first match for Arsenal, you seem to have adapted quickly to English football.
Samir Nasri: I couldn't have dreamt of a better debut but I can't guarantee that I'll score in every match. When I met the boss (Arsene Wenger), he warned me that, in general, it takes six months to adapt. He mentioned Emmanuel Petit and Robert Pires as examples. But I was expecting to find the change more difficult. It's true that there's more physical contact than in France, but the biggest difference is in the intensity of the game, which is much higher here. The style Arsenal play in - attacking, one-touch football with constant movement - suits me perfectly. That's what I was looking for. And I've also been impressed by the quality of the training sessions, which are very similar to French national team sessions, and by the repetition work we do on passing. I now understand better why Arsenal's play looked so fluid on TV. It's fantastic. I'm loving it!

Why did you leave your hometown club, Marseille, at just 21 years of age?
I had a fairly difficult season last year, with lots of little health problems that kept me away from the pitch. Part of me wanted to move on to progress and raise my game. I'd been at OM since I was 12, and even if I didn't get to experience winning a title, I'd seen it all: the youth academy, four years with the pros and good times as well as crises. Added to that, I was living with my parents. It was time to become independent.

Did joining Arsenal seem like the natural choice at the time?
Not to begin with because Arsenal came in later. There were other clubs, but when my agent told me the Gunners were interested, that immediately became the priority for both me and my father. You just have to look at what the club has done in the last few years. Arsenal put a lot of faith in youth and all the French players who have come here have made an explosive impression. There's a guarantee with Arsenal; they're a club synonymous with success. And then there's Mr. Wenger. It was very important to know I wasn't heading into the unknown. I don't feel homesick at all - you hear more French than English in the dressing room. Don't forget that I'm only 21; not 26, 27 or 28. I don't have a lot of international experience, so for my first experiment abroad Arsenal is ideal.

Have you already noticed a difference between OM and Arsenal?
I was at a big French club and today I'm at a big European club. When you arrive here, you get an English mobile phone with all the important numbers in it. There's a guy on call 24 hours a day. When you show up at training, you're given your own personalised training programme. It's on a whole other level. Despite that, it's not a factory here. In the canteen at midday, you eat side-by-side with the women's team and the club's youngsters. Arsenal is a family as well.

Like many observers in England, Arsene Wenger has said you could go on to enjoy a similar career to Robert Pires.
If you told me today I could have the same career as him, I'd sign up immediately with my eyes closed! At the time, he was the best left-sided midfielder in the world. He scored and set up loads of goals. We have pretty much the same characteristics: instead of staying out on the wing, he liked to come inside a lot.

What was your aim when you agreed to move abroad?
I'm here to step up to another level, which ought to help my cause with the France team. If, in the near future, I want to become a regular with Les Bleus, I need to be a starter for a club like Arsenal. Being here has a bigger impact.

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Suazo To Join Roma Tonight

Suazo To Join Roma Tonight
According to Laromasiamonoi.it, Inter striker David Suazo is on the verge of signing for Roma, and could complete the transfer either tonight or tomorrow morning. The Honduran will also arrive in a permanent deal, and not initially on-loan.


It has been repeatedly reported in recent days that Roma are looking to sign one more attacker before the end of the summer transfer window on September 1.

Following the news that Real Betis were just hours away from purchasing Shakhtar Donetsk’s Nery Castillo, the Italian press this morning reported that just two candidates remained to fill the vacancy at the Stadio Olimpico – Monaco’s Jeremy Menez, and Suazo.

Laromasiamonoi.it is this evening claiming that it will be Suazo who will be probably making the move to Roma, and that his transfer could be completed as early as tonight or tomorrow morning.

The Honduran will also arrive in a permanent deal, and not initially on-loan as had been reported earlier this morning.

Suazo only joined Inter from Cagliari last summer for €10m, but he failed miserably to live up to expectations. The writing has been on the wall for his Inter career for a few months now, and there is no space for him up-front due to the presence of Ibrahimovic, Adriano, Cruz, Crespo, Balotelli and Mancini.

The final blow was struck on Sunday night when Suazo was not even named in the squad for the Italian Supercup with Roma, which all but signalled the end of his Inter career.

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Benfica Want Big Money For Di María


Ángel Di María is wanted by a host of Europe's biggest clubs after his impressive performance at the Olympic Games, but Benfica will insist that his buy-out clause is met.


The 20-year-old's displays have attracted interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid, Milan, Inter, Juventus, Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal, according to Portugal's A Bola.

Benfica know that they will face a struggle to hold on to Di María after he rose to prominence during the Olympics in China this summer although they will not let him leave on the cheap.

In July, the Portuguese outfit increased the player's buy-out clause to €30m and will not speak to any would-be suitors unless that figure is met.

It is unlikely that any of the major clubs will make a move for the player during the last few days of the transfer window, but could well monitor his progress over the next season.

Di María rose through the youth ranks at Rosario Central before moving up to their first team in 2005, where he spent the next two seasons gaining experience.

Last summer he made the €6m switch to Benfica after appearing at the FIFA Under-20 World Cup and played 36 times for As Águias during his first season at the club.

At the weekend, Di María's stock rose even further when he raced on to a pass from Lionel Messi in extra time in the final of the Olympic Games against Nigeria before clipping in a superb winner for the Albiceleste.

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Hamsik Better Than Ronaldinho

Hamsik Better Than Ronaldinho
Former Torino coach Walter Novellino admits he would prefer to have Napoli’s Marek Hamsik in his side over Ronaldinho. The Slovakian was an absolute revelation last season, and many experts believe he will make a big splash this coming campaign too.


The ex-Granata man was fired in April as his old Torino side tumbled towards what looked like relegation, but they managed to escape the drop after Gianni De Biasi's arrival.

Novellino is currently unemployed and he is likely to take up a position as a tv pundit. Indeed, he still has plenty of views on the game.

The coach has made his serie A predictions after looking into his crystal ball.

“Ronaldinho? I think he is great and he will get back to his best at Milan,” Novellino told Il Mattino.

“However, I would prefer a younger player like Hamsik in my team to be honest. The Napoli man is skilful and very cheeky on the pitch, he’s a real talent.

“Giovinco? He will be a champion with out a doubt.”

The coach then spoke about the Scudetto favourites as Serie A gears up to the big kick off this weekend.

“Scudetto? I think the usual suspects will all be gunning for glory, but Milan have a great chance as I think they will focus on the league given their failure to qualify for the Champions League,” added the coach.

“Then there is Inter, Juve and Roma who are all strong candidates. Compared to last year, I think the other teams have something more and it will be tough for Inter.”

Milan have strengthened well this term and many have tipped them to lift the Tricolore in May but Jose Mourinho’s Nerazzurri side remain the bookmakers' favourites.

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Real Madrid 4-2 Valencia : Full Highlights 8 Videos

Real Madrid 4-2 Valencia

33′ [0 - 1] D.J. Silva
40′ Vaart (red card)
50′ [1 - 1] R.v. Nistelrooy (pen.)
74′ Nistelrooy (red card)
75′ [2 - 1] S. Ramos
87′ [3 - 1] R.D.l. Red
90′ [4 - 1] Higuain
90′ [4 - 2] F. Morientes




33′ [0 - 1] D.J. Silva




40′ R.v.d. Vaart (red card)





[1 - 1] R.v. Nistelrooy (pen.)





74′ R.v. Nistelrooy (red card)





75′ [2 - 1] S. Ramos





87′ [3 - 1] R.D.l. Red





90′ [4 - 1] Higuain





90′ [4 - 2] F. Morientes




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Nine-Man Madrid Maul Valencia


An excellent second half showing from nine-man Real Madrid saw the blancos run out 4-2 winners over a Valencia side that lost its defensive shape in the second period. Arjen Robben was the star, despite Rafael van der Vaart and Ruud van Nistelrooy seeing red in either half...



After going 1-0 down in the first period and having a man sent off, a lacklustre Real Madrid side seemed to be dead and buried. However a fantastic turnaround in the second half, culminating in two goals for a side that was by then down to nine men, saw the Supercopa head from Seville to the capital. Valencia will rue throwing away a 4-2 aggregate lead to a depleted side, meanwhile, but overall they cannot complain too much, given that their defence once again toiled.

Madrid lined up without Robinho, the excellent but somewhat wasteful Arjen Robben playing the early stages of the game on the left of the attacking midfield. Guti and Rafael van der Vaart completed the trio that supported the two strikers, while Mamadou Diarrà played ahead of a back line that welcomed Pepe back to the line-up. Valencia "danced with those that brung them," fielding the side that managed the 3-2 win in the first leg, focused around the double pivot of David Albelda and Rubén Baraja.

First Half

In the earliest stages there was little to separate the two sides. Van der Vaart's fine long-range effort five minutes in tested Hildebrand, while Joaquín got on the end of a Miguel cross to test Casillas, but overall the 'keepers weren't troubled overmuch in the opening 20 minutes. Raúl, in fact, spurned a one-on-one after pouncing on a rebound from a Van Nistelrooy effort, but inexplicably blasted wide - his blushes were spared slightly by the fact that he was offside anyway.

Madrid moved Robben over to the right flank to test Moretti and Alexis, but in fact Valencia were having a fairly easy time of it at the back. Hildebrand was dealing admirably with the crosses, and few central plays of note developed.

Still, Valencia then opened the scoring with virtually their first shot on goal. Striding forward with confidence, David Silva carved out a small gap between the defenders on the edge of the box and drilled a low shot into the far corner. Casillas, unsighted, didn't even move as the ball trundled past him. Valencia were 4-2 up on aggregate.

Things went from bad to worse for Madrid as Rafael van der Vaart saw red. A terrible challenge on Mata - two-footed, studs-up, and with plenty of follow-through - saw the Dutchman shown a straight red card. This could potentially see him out of next week's Liga opener at Deportivo next Sunday, but coach Schuster was more concerned about this Sunday as the teams went in for half time.

Second Half

He needn't have worried too much, for what was to follow was nothing short of incredible.

Still, at that time he didn't know it. Making no changes, his side came out on the offensive, Valencia sitting back somewhat.

Nine-Man Madrid Maul Valencia

Two minutes after the break this was to cost them as, sustaining a period of pressure, they were to concede a penalty. Raul Albiol, jumping to meet a Ruud van Nistelrooy effort at the far post after a cross, hit the ball with his upper arm. For some reason he was spared the red card, but Hildebrand was not spared having to lift the ball out of the net as Ruud slammed the ball home.

Then came the changes. Vicente was on for Mata, and in a true signal of intent Drenthe came on for Torres to add some more attacking spark to a depleted left side. Indeed, with Van der Vaart off and Robben on the right, all the invention was coming down the opposite flank - and how. Robben, although lacking a final ball at times, had the Valencia double pivot and left-sided defence wrapped around his finger.

Nonetheless his task was made much harder when Ruud van Nistelrooy, already booked, went in hard and late on Ruben Baraja, earning himself a red card. Nine-man Madrid still needed to score, and suddenly it seemed that much harder.

Just five minutes later, though, Valencia's timidity again cost them as Sergio Ramos managed that vital strike. After a goalmouth scramble the full-back turned it in at the far post; much deliberation from referee Iturralde González followed, but eventually - to Valencia's displeasure - the goal was ruled onside.

Valencia coach Emery rolled the dice and brought on Morientes for Albiol as he needed a goal, but five minutes from time the game was to fall even further into Madrid's domain. Rubén de la Red, scarcely on the pitch ten minutes, seized the ball in midfield and ran forward from the centre circle until side-footing the ball goalwards from 25 yards. His looping, placed effort foxed Hildebrand, who could only palm it feebly into his own net.

As if to add insult to injury the nine men added a fourth. Alexis played a ludicrously short backpass to Hildebrand and, beating the 'keeper for pace, substitute Gonzalo Higuaín was able to score from a narrow angle.

Morientes pulled one back at his own stomping ground after a Villa assist in the dying seconds, but it wasn't enough. Madrid had done it.

As the players celebrated on the sidelines, one face was notably absent: that of Robinho. The Brazilian was very much off on his own, signifying that his future is more uncertain than ever. Nonetheless this seemed to be almost forgotten as Madrid gained yet another piece of silverware and Robben put in another jaw-dropping, if slightly frustrating performance. For Valencia, meanwhile, this must be a lesson learned. Los Che arguably sat back too much in the second period and invited pressure - their wingers barely saw the ball as hoofed clearances became order of the day - and coach Emery will no doubt have to think long and hard about how to adjust his side before the Liga fixture at home to Mallorca on Saturday.

REAL MADRID 4-2 VALENCIA CF
0-1 Silva 32'
1-1 Van Nistelrooy 49' (pen.)
2-1 Sergio Ramos 77'
3-1 De la Red 85'
4-1 Higuaín 88'
4-2 Morientes 90'

Real Madrid: Casillas; Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Heinze, Miguel Torres (Drenthe 63); Diarrà; Van der Vaart, Guti (De la Red 78), Robben; Raúl (Higuaín 80), Van Nistelrooy.

Valencia: Hildebrand; Miguel, Alexis, Albiol (Morientes 82), Moretti; Joaquín (Pablo 67), Albelda, Baraja, Mata (Vicente 59); Silva, Villa.

Red Cards: Van der Vaart 39', Van Nistelrooy 72' -
Yellow Cards: Van Nistelrooy 52', Van Nistelrooy 72' - Alexis 78'

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Sheva One Of Greatest Striker In Football - Ronaldinho

Sheva One Of Greatest Striker In Football - Ronaldinho
Milan playmaker Ronaldinho insists Andrei Shevchenko is one of the greatest strikers in football and he believes the Rossoneri will triumph with all the fire power up front......


Sheva returned to the San Siro following a complicated transfer from Chelsea and he was greeted to a hero’s welcome as he landed in Milan.

Expectations are high at Milanello and the club have been strengthening well this term as they attempt to challenge for the Scudetto and UEFA Cup.

'Dinho is eyeing glory and he is full of praise for his new team mate.

“Shevchenko is a player who gives happiness to the fans,” said Ronaldinho.

“He is a great striker and I hope I will be able to help him and every other player at Milan.

“I really hope that we can win everything with all our important strikers up front.”

Sheva is set to undergo a medical today and then he will be straight into action as he begins training with his old and new team mates.

The Ukrainian hit-man spent seven years at San Siro between 1999 and 2006, scoring 173 goals before moving to Chelsea two years ago.

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Official: Milan Sign Senderos

Official: Milan Sign Senderos
Milan have completed the signing of Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos on a one year loan deal, with the option to make the move permanent next summer. Apparently Gunners coach Arsene Wenger almost vetoed the move, but the rossoneri got their man...


The Rossoneri have been desperately searching for a centre back in recent weeks following the injury to key man Alessandro Nesta.

With Dario Simic and Digao both being offloaded, things started to become desperate for the Rossoneri when primary target Branislav Ivanovic, who had seemed certain to join from Chelsea, saw his transfer fall through at the last moment.

It was reported last week that Milan had turned their attentions to another Premiership based player, in the form of Arsenal centre back Philippe Senderos, and the deal has now been officially completed.

The Swiss centre back arrives on a one year loan deal, and Milan have the option to make the move permanent for a set fee next summer.

Senderos had been well down the pecking order at Arsenal following an error-prone season last term, and Arsene Wenger signalled his intention to let him leave after signing Manchester United’s Mickael Silvestre last week.

The 23-year-old Senderos made 74 Premiership appearances, scoring four goals, since signing for Arsenal from Servette in December 2002.

He has won 31 caps for Switzerland, playing at World Cup 2006 and Euro 2008.

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Wenger : I Won't Panic Buy

Wenger  : I Won't Panic Buy
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger insists that he will not be pressured into making any frantic last-minute signings in the transfer market before the window closes, despite his side's second defeat to Fulham in 43 years of league competition...


Arsenal were deservedly beaten yesterday at Craven Cottage when Brede Hangeland grabbed the game’s only goal after wriggling free of William Gallas to prod home Jimmy Bullard’s corner. The Norwegian centre-back was proud to score his first goal for Fulham, but was also pleased that his side were able to secure their first win of the season after a disappointing away defeat to Hull City last week.

Speaking to Teamtalk.com, the 27-year-old said, “I'll always remember it but the most important thing was that it earned us a big three points.

“After last week starting with a defeat at Hull we really needed something from this game.”

For Arsenal, however, the problems mount, with injuries reducing their team to a mix of inexperience and youth, and their performances not up to their usual best. The team was way off the pace from the start, and never regained control of the game, with the home side putting in a solid all-round performance. Without the influential partnership of Fabregas and Hleb, the Gunners looked lost and lacklustre and were unable to create many chances. The chances they did make came to nothing, with Van Persie blasting an easy chance wide and Adebayor hitting the post with a header.

Despite this, Wenger remains adamant that he will not be rushed into panic buys before the transfer window closes.

“Of course I am frustrated but when you lose a game it is not always the solution to buy,” he said.

“We did not create enough chances and have to look at why and how we can do it better. I didn't feel we were into the game right from the start and you can't be like that.

“We had problems as well to win our (early) games last year but we did win them and it made things easier. Now we have to respond.

“We had 60 minutes to respond after Fulham scored but we did not create a lot and I don't know why.

“But let's not make comparisons with this team and last season's team because it is not a lot different. If it is better only the future will tell us that.”

Arsenal have a Champions League clash against Dutch side FC Twente in midweek, before they continue their Premier League campaign with a tough home game against Newcastle on Saturday.

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Manchester City 3-0 West Ham United

Manchester City striker Daniel Sturridge congratulates his team-mate Elano after the Brazilian put the home side two goals clear against 10-man West Ham United yesterday
Two goals from Elano crowned a marvellous 3-0 win for Manchester City against West Ham United. City went on to seal the points thanks to a brace from Elano after Daniel Sturridge had opened the scoring following the dismissal of West Ham midfielder Mark Noble.....



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Video:Chelsea make it 2 out of 2

In a moment of brilliance, Deco (far right) lets fly to score the winner for Chelsea during their away match at Wigan yesterday. The Blues are now top of the early Premier League table
A stunning free-kick from Deco was what it took to see Chelsea barely edge past Wigan by the skin of their collective teeth..



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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Video : Why Liverpool won and Arsenal didnt...

Mido celebrates putting Boro ahead against LiverPool
Liverpool won because Jamie Carragher equalised and Steven Gerrard scored the winner.The goal for Middlesbrough was a screamer from Mido......






Brede Hangeland celebrates putting Fulham ahead against Arsenal

Arsenal lost because they couldn't find any reply to Brede Hangerland's twenty minute toe poke goal for Fulham.....


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