United in Italy; Real in Trouble

February 17, 2010

“Few people would confuse Wayne Rooney with a rocket scientist, but the increasingly deadly and dangerous Manchester United striker used his head not once, but twice, as the Red Devils nearly crushed A.C. Milan’s hopes of advancing in the UEFA Champions League with a 3-2 win in the first leg of their home-and-home, total-goals series at the San Siro on Tuesday.” (NYT)

AC Milan 2-3 Manchester United: 8 Key Observations
“Classic European nights. When we complain about the stifling dominance of the Big Four; when we curse every transfer that sends a promising young player from a lesser club to the Big Four; when we ponder proposals such as debt-to-revenue restrictions, foreign player quotas, and playoffs for European places; when we talk about all these things, we are talking about the promise of classic European nights like Tuesday night at a raucous and roaring San Siro. Some observations…” (EPL Talk)


Why I’ll Be Cheering For Man United, Arsenal and Liverpool This Week

February 17, 2010

“Watching European football has always had an exotic element for us in Britain. In the 60s and 70s, abroad was a long way away. The world seemed much bigger and the visit of a team from Italy, Germany or Albania was like a visit from another football planet. We hadn’t heard of most of the players, we didn’t know much about the teams. How could we? They were not on TV and rarely covered in the press. Our only exposure to non-British players was at World Cups and on European nights. Hardly any played in the UK.” (EPL Talk)

A Different Way

February 17, 2010

After the success of his first post, we’ve welcomed back Scarf with open arms. Here, he considers Swansea City and the factors that have led to them holding such an enviable position today. On Monday 21 April 2003, Swansea City hosted Exeter at the Vetch Field. Sitting 90th of the 92 teams in the Football League, they lost 1-0 to the team directly below, putting them in grave danger of relegation. Both clubs were in a horrible mess; deeply in debt, neither owned their grounds and both were experiencing serious off-the-field disruption.” (thetwounfortunates)

Barcelona’s supermen find no answer to Atlético Madrid’s Kryptonite

February 17, 2010

“Pep Guardiola said it, Joan Laporta said it, and Carles Puyol said it. Cristiano Ronaldo said it, Kaká said it, and Karim Benzema said it. The Madrid press said it. Over and over and over again. Everybody said it. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but sooner or later FC Barcelona will lose in La Liga. The occasional lone voice dared whisper the words ‘whole’, ‘season’ and ‘unbeaten’ in the same sentence but most didn’t. Most wouldn’t. Everyone knew the day would come; many even knew when it would come. In Madrid they were counting on it. The maths had been done: -5+3+3=1, Real Madrid = champions. Twenty-one matches and almost six months later, the day had come.” (Guardian)

Is English football rotten?

February 17, 2010

“The John Terry scandal has engendered a flood of obloquy on English football. Columnists of many kinds have fervently joined in the abuse, some with a knowledge of the realities of the game, however bleak, some, like the right wing political columnist Simon Geffer, who “hate soccer” with almost comical outrage. He seems for example to believe that today’s wealthy footballers — the average annual wage in the Premier League is a massive £1.2 mill ion — swan around in Rolls Royces, when the young plutocrats would favour nothing so square. For them, the costliest Ferraris and their luxurious like.” (TSS On Net – BRAIN GLANVILLE)