Thursday, December 20, 2012

Manchester United face Real, Celtic draw Juve and Arsenal take on Bayern Munich in last 16

The draw for the last 16 pitted Manchester United against Real Madrid
The draw for the last 16 pitted Manchester United against Real Madrid

United's clash with Real - which will see
 Cristiano Ronaldo face his former team - was the pick of the ties, and Sir Alex Ferguson's men have the advantage of playing away first.Manchester United will face Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid in a mouth-watering Champions League last-16 showdown, Celtic playing Italian champions Juventus and Arsenal will take on last season's runners-up Bayern Munich.
Ronaldo scored 118 goals in 292 appearances for United, but it was another Ronaldo - the Brazilian striker - who took the honours when the clubs last faced each other in 2003.
He scored a hat-trick at Old Trafford as Real went through 6-5 on aggregate.
Cristiano Ronaldo's last match for United was in the Champions League final defeat by Barcelona, after which he moved to Madrid for a world record £80m transfer.
Arsenal and Celtic, who were group runners-up, will both play their second legs away.
Barcelona, the bookies' favourites, will take on seven-time winners AC Milan and Borussia Dortmund, who many pundits are tipping to win the competition this season, will face the improving Ukrainians Shakhtar Donetsk.
Turkish champions Galatasaray will face Schalke, Valencia face Zlatan Ibrahimovic's PSG and Porto take on unfancied Malaga.
Galatasaray v Schalke 04
Celtic v Juventus
Arsenal v Bayern Munich
Shakhtar Donetsk v Borussia Dortmund
AC Milan v Barcelona
Real Madrid v Man Utd
Valencia v PSG
FC Porto v Malaga
First legs to be played 12/13/19/20th February, 2013
Second legs to be played 5/6/12/13th March, 2013

@SKY Sports

Friday, November 30, 2012

Everton FC - Gary Speed Remembered

Former captain in our thoughts on first anniversary of his death.
Gary Speed Remembered
Today marks one year since the tragic death of former Everton captain Gary Speed.
A boyhood Evertonian, the Mancot-born midfielder made 65 appearances for the Blues during an 18-month spell which began with his arrival from first club Leeds United in the summer of 1996.
He went on to amass over 500 Premier League outings, also serving Newcastle United, Bolton Wanderers and Sheffield United, before turning his attention to management with the Blades and later the Welsh national side.
Speed passed away on 27 November 2011, aged just 42.
To mark the anniversary, Everton and its supporters have joined Speed’s former clubs, teammates and colleagues in leaving tribute messages on social networking sites Facebook and Twitter. Below are some of those tributes. Add your message to our Facebook page here.
Official Everton ‏@Everton
One year ago, football lost a true great. Always remembered and our thoughts remain with his family. R.I.P Gary Speed.
FA Wales ‏@FAWales
Remembering a true gentleman and Welsh Football great, today and always. #Speed
Gary Lineker ‏@GaryLineker
Thoughts are with the Speed family today. #RIPGary
Louis Saha ‏@louissaha08
#RipGarySpeed. Absolute legend for me. Lots of love for his family. #Iremember
Sheffield United ‏@SUFC_tweets
Our thoughts remain with the family and friends of former player, coach & manager, Gary Speed - a year on from his tragic passing #sufc
 @Daniel Alston - @EVERTONFC

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

How to reform Italian football…

Various club Presidents have ideas to restructure the Italian game. David Swan puts some of their suggestions under the microscope.
Saturday’s edition of La Gazzetta dello Sport featured a report that asked a number of Serie A Presidents and owners to offer three ideas each that they would like to see implemented in Italian football, in a week where FIGCPresident Giancarlo Abete stated his desire to see Serie A return to 18 teams. Here, we analyse some of the more interesting options and their viability.
Introduce B teams into the professional system (Fiorentina owner Andrea Della Valle)
A call that you hear often in England has started to seep through to Italy, possibly due to the success of Spain, where this has been present for years.
Della Valle’s reasoning was that B teams would be made up primarily of young players and allow them a greater chance of growing by playing against pros and not youngsters of the same age.
A large part of the feeling on this will depend on the extent to which you believe youth football in Italy ‘works’. Italy Coach Cesare Prandelli now has a number of young players to pick from across the squad, many of whom, though not all, started in the youth teams of Serie A clubs, so the system is not all bad.
The Lega Pro may hold the key to this being introduced at any point in the future. The third tier of Italian football has just been reduced to 60 teams due to so many clubs struggling to stay afloat financially, but Lazio President Claudio Lotito openly pondered whether there were 60 teams that could maintain competitiveness over a season. If he turns out to be right, and if more struggle to keep their position, the option of B teams filling the spaces could become viable.
Introduce UEFA’s Financial Fair Play into Serie A (Andrea Della Valle and Torino President Urbano Cairo)
The two who suggested this felt it was a necessary step to balance the League. The glaring problem is that while it will give many teams a greater chance of competing near the top, it will place the top clubs competing in Europe at a competitive disadvantage relative to the rest – not somethingSerie A needs at the moment.
It represents a conflict for both the FIGC and the Lega. They would probably love a competitive and balanced League, but if it comes to the detriment of Italy on the European stage then it is difficult to see how this would help in the long-term.
Reduce Serie A and Serie B to 18 teams (Lazio President Claudio Lotito)
An increasingly popular idea, with backing from the very top after Abeteexpressed his wish to see Serie A reduced to 18 teams.
Parma President Tommaso Ghirardi suggested something similar, though his idea was to keep Serie A at 20 teams and reduce Serie B to 20, from 22.
Just by looking at Ghirardi's counter-suggestion, you can see this is going to be difficult to pass. Clubs unsure of their Serie A status on a yearly basis, or who could get drawn into trouble, are going to fight a reduction at the top level that limits the number of opportunities to generate more revenue from a presence in Italy's best League.
But the biggest issue with the idea in the short-term is the new TV deal. Sky have paid a lot of money to show every single Serie A game live for the next three seasons and a reduction in the number of teams means fewer games for TV.
As such, do not expect to see this implemented until after 2014-15. But with the backing of the man at the top, and a number of Presidents, there is a very good chance of change occurring within both Serie A, from 2015 onwards, and Serie B.
Stop broadcasting every match on TV (Urbano Cairo)
Often ignored as one of the reasons for the bad attendances in Serie A, with the focus instead on the quality of the stadia. The fact is that, leaving the stadia aside, fans in Italy do not actually need to go to a ground to watch football. With every match screened live they only need to find a bar showing it or take out a subscription themselves.
Cairo referenced the "English model", but did not specify whether he wanted a protected kick-off time, as England has with the traditional Saturday 3pmmatches.
Again, this comes back to the TV deal. Protecting kick-off times like the Premier League will undoubtedly see Sky substantially reduce the amount they pay to screen Serie A matches. What they offer now is crucial in keeping some clubs in business – both in Serie A and below thanks to the parachute payments and mutuality agreement that filters down to Lega Pro and the amateurs in Serie D – and a reduction in that could hit them hard financially.
With the stadia owned by local councils, driving fans towards the ground is not going to make up for the loss of TV revenue. Once the clubs have done the maths, it is unlikely many of them will be in favour of this.


Sunday, November 25, 2012

John Terry hails influence of Roberto Di Matteo

Roberto Di Matteo: Praised by John Terry
Roberto Di Matteo: Praised by John Terry

The Italian left the club following a dismal run of just two victories in eight games in all competitions.
Chelsea skipper John Terry paid tribute to out-going manager Roberto Di Matteo who was sacked by the club following their 3-0 defeat by Juventus in the Champions League on Tuesday.

But Terry was quick to praise Di Matteo who was also a player at Stamford Bridge between 1996 and 2000.
Terry wrote in his programme notes ahead of Sunday's game with Manchester City, said: "It has been a difficult week all round both on and off the pitch.
"I want to say that it was a privilege to play for Robbie. I had the pleasure, as a YTS player growing up, of watching and learning from him and to go on and play under him as captain was an honour.
"To win two competitions last season, including the Champions League that we had wanted for so long, was incredible.
"Robbie is a great man and an absolute legend. We wish him every success in the future, because saying thanks doesn't seem enough."


Thursday, November 22, 2012

Rafa Benitez unveiled at Chelsea and Interview - Zenden on the staff

Rafa Benitez: Unveiled at Stamford Bridge on Thursday
Rafa Benitez: Unveiled at Stamford Bridge on Thursday

The former
 Liverpool manager has been installed as Chelseamanager until the end of the season following the dismissal of Roberto Di Matteo on Wednesday.Rafa Benitez has vowed to win over Chelsea fans after the news of his appointment was met with a hostile reaction from the Stamford Bridge faithful.
There was some surprise that Benitez was willing to accept a short-term contract, but the 52-year-old said the chance to manage Chelsea was too good to pass up.
"My priority was to work in the Premier League, I'm really happy to be here with a top side," said Benitez, who confirmed that Boudewijn Zenden.
"For me the most important thing is I am here because I want to be here. I was looking for the right opportunity, I was looking for a top side who can fight for trophies.
"I don't care about the short-term (deal), what I have in my head is to win every game. We have five trophies to fight for. We will see what happens, in seven months we can win some trophies.
"At this level you are expected to win, do it well, and win trophies. I have a lot of years' experience at this level, and I will do what I have to do to win games.
"I like to do things in the right way for the fans. I am sure they will be happy with a manager with a winning mentality."
Benitez was also quizzed on his previous comments about Chelsea made while he was in charge of Liverpool, many of which were less than sympathetic towards the team and supporters.
He said: "I want to be honest, if I say this or that, I have to analyse the context. We were playing against Chelsea in the semi-finals of the Champions League.
"If I am a fan I want to see the manager fighting for my club. I don't see this as a lack of respect for Chelsea's fans, just a manager defending his team before an important game."
The former Inter Milan boss, who also strongly hinted John Terry would stay on as captain, said he was not put off by talk he is simply keeping the hot-seat warm for Pep Guardiola.
"I have a very good relationship with Guardiola," he added. "He is a great manager, what will happen in future I don't know.
"When you analyse why go to a top side for seven months - it's because you can win trophies."


Friday, November 9, 2012

Maxime Lestienne Vs Newcastle - Brugge Vs Newcastle - Video Compilation

Leon Osman called to England NT: Osman makes the journey from underrated to rated

When the England squad dropped on the Football Association's website yesterday, one name immediately jumped off the screen: Jack Wilshere.
Jack's back! Arsenal's saviour (when he's not stupidly getting himself sent off) had returned to bring his messianic ways to the national team one again! Was it a controversial decision? Certainly Arsene Wenger was unamused. Either way, that was definitely the story.
It was only on second glance that another strand to the tale suddenly emerged. Who was that listed as one of the other midfielders? Leon Osman? Yes, it was.
Osman is a player who has conducted his career in the shadows of others so it was rather fitting that the hype around Wilshere took precedence, but for Early Doors the real story was the inclusion of the 31-year-old, who may well have thought international recognition had passed him by.
Prior to yesterday's squad announcement, Osman had been the subject of a philosophical conundrum: how many times can a player be described as 'underrated' before they no longer are? In his case, for most of his career it seems. Though Osman has many admirers, certainly at Everton where he is adored for his ability and character, it has been frequently sung from the rooftops that he is the unsung hero of David Moyes's side.
But now, following Roy Hodgson's recognition, ED is ready to formally announce that Osman can be placed firmly in the 'rated' category, where he joins club-mate Phil Jagielka, who made the transition a couple of years ago.
On the face of things it is a bit of a strange call-up. Osman is 31 so is clearly not a long-term option looking ahead to the World Cup in 2014. Given Wilshere's return, the form of Tom Cleverley and the recent emergence of Jonjo Shelvey it could in fact be argued that England have never needed him less.
But, belatedly, Osman is a trendy player - the way football has evolved in recent seasons has slowly, inexorably bent to his advantage. His pass completion stats would make Xavi nod approvingly while at 5' 8'' he belongs in the pint-sized playmaker club inhabited by the robotic Barcelona passer and his team-mates Andres Iniesta and Lionel Messi.
Had Osman started his career 10 years later he may well have won more international caps. Like Michael Carrick he has been a victim, though a much lower-profile one, of English football's sluggish realisation that at international level possession is more valuable than Hollywood passes, passion, lung-busting runs and aimless but powerful shots from outside the box. Recognition has come too late - it needed English football to catch up with the rest of the class.
ED is not trying to make a case for Osman being England's answer to Iniesta - that would be ridiculous. For one thing, Iniesta has never been on loan at Carlisle United, and he's never played down the same wing as Tony Hibbert.
Yet Osman is indisputably a good player and even the most cynical fan could not begrudge him this moment. Years and years of dedicated service in the Premier League have paid off and if he gets on the pitch against Sweden next week it will be a proud moment for both Osman and Everton.
It may also be a fleeting one, according to the England boss, who underlined yesterday there is plenty of competition in the withdrawn midfield position.
"Leon's been a player I've admired since I came back to Fulham five years ago," said Hodgson. "He's a player who has always done extremely well whenever I've watched Everton.
"Leon is a really good player but he faces stiff competition in the part of the field where he plays. On this occasion we've an opportunity to bring Leon in. We'll be grateful to meet him and work with him for a couple of days to see how he fits in to what we're trying to do at international level."
There is a belief in some quarters that this is in some way a 'pity cap' like the solitary one awarded to Kevin Davies by Fabio Capello. And so what if it is?
There are plenty worse players to have been capped by England in recent years: Francis Jeffers, Anthony Gardner and Gavin McCann spring to mind, while the winning card in this particular game of virtual Top Trumps is clearly Michael Ricketts. His appearance in a friendly against Netherlands in February 2002 was the most humbling moment for the British Isles since the fall of the Empire.
Osman is better than all of these players. While those fans who only stick to their own team's highlights might be a little perplexed this morning by the inclusion of a player you rarely hear much about, Osman's consistently good performances have always spoken volumes about his talent.
If he does play against Sweden it may well prove his only cap, but who cares? Having finally made the transition from underrated to rated, Osman is entitled to enjoy the moment.

@Tom Adams

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Juventus Vs Chievo Verona - Serie A - Game Preview By Roberto Rivelino

 Vs Chievo Verona

Juventus Arena | 22nd September 2012 | Game Week 4 | 19:45 GMT

Posted Image Posted Image

Referee: Matteo Russo

Since the start of the season, Juventus have been dominant and the motivation for the Chievo match couldn't be better. Italian Super-Cup in the bag and 3 Serie A matches, 9 points and a comeback at Stamford Bridge after Chelsea being up 2-0, until Vidal and Quaglirella (this one at the 80th minute), tied the match.
Simone Pepe and Simone Padoin are still injured for the Home side, while Luciano is the biggest loss for Chievo's side.
Juventus are undefeated for 42 matches in Serie A, but, take notice, Chievo hasn't lost in the last 5 matches against them as well.

Squad list for the game.
Keepers - (1) Gigi Buffon, (30) Marco Storari and (34) Rubinho;
Defenders - (2) Lúcio, (3) Chiellini, (4) Martin Cáceres, (11) Paolo De Ceglie, (15) Andrea Barzagli, (19) Bonucci and (26) Lichtsteiner;
Midfielders - (6) Pogba, (8) Marchisio, (21) Andrea Pirlo, (22) Asamoah, (23) Arturo Vidal, (24) Giaccherini; (33) Mauricio Isla and (39) Luca Marrone;
Wingers / Forwards - (9) Vucinic; (12) Giovinco; (17) Nicklas Bendtner; (27) Quagliarella and (32) Matri.

Predicted Line-Ups.
Posted Image

Roberto Rivelino.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Reading Vs Tottenham Post-Match Players Performances Analysis by Roberto Rivelino

Tottenham fans have to be happy. It was a good and deserved win.

Everyone seemed to go along and the team work was above all else. The players looked confident with the ball on their feet and at a tactical level they were all together and complemented each other.
Enjoyed Vertonghen's exhibition a lot. He surely could've been the Man of the Match had Defoe not scored those two goals and made that performance.

I was utterly disappointed with Gareth Bale. Missed two good chances and he wasn't even on his level, or what he used us to see. Still, he scored the 0-2 goal, with both feet, and got the ovation as he was replaced.
Sigurdsson was class and surely he will try and make Tottenham fans forget Luka Modric. He even has some resemblances with the Croatian, specially after the pass that opened the Reading defense and gave Lennon the assist for Defoe's first goal. He's composed and seems that the pressure of playing for a bigger team isn't affecting him.

Jermaine Defoe was classic. Scored two goals, but it could've been more. He runned all over the place and ruined Reading's defense as well. He's in a great shape and if Villas-Boas doesn't repeats what he did on Porto (by taking some of the players in form to the bench until they lost their boost - I don't believe he did it on purpose, he's just naive), Defoe will scored more goals than he did on the previous 2 seasons and will keep his feud as one of the best Tottenham strikers. Scored two great goals, with the second being labelled as a Wonder as Defoe picked the ball on half-way line and in the end sent the ball to the net with his left feet. Also he had more shots than any other Premier League player this weekend with 9, boosting his overall tally to a league of 26 this season. Man of the Match.