Celtic 2-1 Barcelona: a famous victory

November 9, 2012


“Little possession for long periods – then a set-piece opener followed by a second on the break – a classic underdog victory. Neil Lennon was forced into a few changes from the side he used at the weekend, but kept to a 4-4-1-1ish formation. Adam Matthews played at left-back despite being right-sided, Kris Commons moved to the right of midfield, and Miku linked up with Georgios Samaras upfront. Tito Vilanova picked roughly his expected side – Cesc Fabregas was only on the bench (he’s been a regular this season) and Marc Bartra started at the back. Alex Song was in the holding role. Yes, Celtic spent most of the game in their own half, and rode their luck at times – but they didn’t simply park the bus. They retained an attacking threat throughout the game, while changing their usual strategy to suit the task at hand.” Zonal Marking

CL (mini) review: Celtic 2 – 1 FC Barcelona: Same scoreline as before, wrong way ’round…
“Due to circumstances on my end, this review will be on the shorter side. I apologise. But please don’t leave yet! Barça lost…trolls, come out from your hiding place! So Barça finally lost a match – but all winning streaks come to an end. Even Barça’s! Tito started the match with the following players: VV – Alves, Bartra, Mascherano, Alba – Song, Xavi, Iniesta – Messi, Alexis and Pedro. No Busquets, as he was suspended, but he’s still the best DM in the world and I rate him a 12 for this match!” The Offside (Video)

Celtic’s big win a reminder of the Euro gap
“Celtic’s 2-1 upset win over Barcelona on Wednesday prompted some to describe it as the ‘second greatest night in the history of the club’ after — presumably — that night in 1967 when 11 men born within a few miles of Parkhead went out and became champions of Europe.” ESPN


Shakhtar Donetsk have learned lessons and again stand in Chelsea’s way

November 9, 2012

“And so it goes on. Shakhtar Donetsk beat Metalurh Zaporizhzhya 2-0 on Saturday – Douglas Costa converted a penalty before a late goal from Luiz Adriano sealed it – to take their winning streak in the Ukrainian league to 23 games, 14 of them this season. They lead the table by 12 points and, already, with the season one game from its halfway point, it seems inconceivable that they will not lift a seventh title in nine years. The focus, understandably, is all on the Champions League and Wednesday’s game against Chelsea.” Guardian – Jonathan Wilson

Chelsea 3-2 Shakhtar Donetsk
“Victor Moses came off the bench to score an incredible last-gasp winner tonight as Chelsea somehow survived a Shakhtar Donetsk onslaught to keep their Champions League fate in their own hands. The Blues were in danger of being the first holders to crash out of the competition before Christmas as former target Willian twice cancelled out almighty howlers from goalkeeper Andriy Pyatov which gifted goals to Fernando Torres and Oscar, the latter’s fourth in as many Champions League games.” ESPN


Concern for Arsenal after night of comebacks, controversies, draws

November 9, 2012

“It has been an incredible Champions League so far this season and, once again, the first round of Matchday Four games did not disappoint. There were two dramatic comebacks from two goals down as well as controversial — and significant — decisions made in the last minutes. Dinamo Zagreb and Montpellier were eliminated, Porto and Malaga reached the next round, while things are looking bleak for Zenit St. Petersburg and Manchester City.” SI

Champions League permutations
“A look at the qualification situation in each group with two rounds of fixtures still to be played before the make-up of the Champions League last-16 is confirmed.” ESPN


Hat Tricks for Sale: Ranking Europe’s Top Strikers

November 9, 2012


“January is nearly upon us! Or at least it feels that way if you spend any time reading the words of the soothsayers who try to predict what will happen when European football’s transfer window reopens on January 1, 2013. Speculation is particularly rife in England, and it mainly centers on two clubs: Chelsea and Liverpool. Both teams find themselves low on firepower, and as a result, they’ve been linked with every available forward in European club football. Two players in particular have been singled out as possible signings in the new year: Athletico Madrid’s Radamel Falcao, and Schalke’s Klaas-Jan Huntelaar.” Grantland


Palmeiras appeal could decide club’s destiny

November 9, 2012

“All’s fair in love, war and relegation battles – or Palmeiras seem to think so. The Sao Paulo giants, the team of the city’s Italian community, are in trouble. Back in July they won the Brazilian Cup, guaranteeing a place in next year’s Copa Libertadores, South America’s Champions League. However, results have since suffered in the domestic league and they now need to make up a seven-point gap with just four rounds of the season left. Their hopes could perhaps rest on the outcome of a hearing to be held in the next couple of days. The focus of their appeal is a disallowed goal from Argentine centre-forward Hernan Barcos against Internacional on October 27.” BBC – Tim Vickery


How Liverpool FC became one of football’s biggest sleeping giants

November 9, 2012

“Liverpool FC, are know throughout the game, as one of the most successful teams, in Europe having been a formidable side during the seventies and eighties, a club which is built on great football history; five European Cups, 18 league titles, seven FA Cups, eight League Cups and three UEFA Cups. That was the Liverpool we all came to know, in football history, but what has been the reason behind their staggering fall from grace that Liverpool have suffered over the past few seasons?” Think Football