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 Champions League: 1st Knockout Round

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philly
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PostSubject: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Sat Feb 12, 2011 9:38 pm

Team hosting first leg listed first:
AC Milan vs. Tottenham
Valencia vs. Schalke
Roma vs. Shakhtar
Arsenal vs. Barcelona
Kobenhavn vs. Chelsea
Lyon vs. Real Madrid
Marseille vs. Manchester United
Inter Milan vs. Bayern Munich

Some fantastic match-ups this round, most notably a replay of last years final between Inter and Bayern, of course Inter won the final last year 2-0. Another great match-up is between two of the top teams out there in terms of style on the playing field with Arsenal and Barcelona repeating their Quarter Final match-up of last year competition.

Discuss.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Sat Feb 12, 2011 10:24 pm

ARSENAL FC vs. FC BARCELONA

Two of the premier teams in world football face off in a mouth-watering clash of the titans in the 1st Knockout Round of the 2010/11 Champions League competition. Both teams are playing exceptional football at the moment and this clash is sure to feature some fantastic football.

LAST TIME:
Barcelona got a fully deserved 6-3 win on aggregate of the back of an incredible 4 goals from Leo Messi in the second leg in front of the Barca faithful. However, Arsenal showed signs of fight, particually in the first leg when the injection of Theo Walcott and his pace brought Arsenal roaring back into the tie after falling 2-0 behind to go into the second leg tied at 2-2. Nicklas Bendtner opened the scoring in the second leg to give Arsenal some hope, before Messi crushed it in possibly the best performance by one player ever.

THIS YEAR:
This years games promise to be full of action as two of the best exponents of the pass and move football philosophy go head to head. The two teams play some of the most exciting football in the world and you have to think there will be moments of brilliance from both sides over the course of the 180 minutes.

BARCELONA:
Barca will head into this tie with a very similar team to last year, although they have one major addition in that of David Villa, arguably the best striker in world football which will add to their already potent attack. Barca are currently leading the La Liga with a comfortable lead of 7 points over bitter rival Real Madrid, who they will face in the final of the Copa del Rey in a couple of months time.

ARSENAL:
Arsenal will be looking to put the demons of last year to bed and show why the current team they have is more than capable of winning the trophies the fans have become so desperate for. The team that will take to the field this year is radically different to the one that took the field last year with only 4 players that started last year likely to start this year (Gael Clichy, Alex Song, Cesc Fabregas and Andrei Arshavin) with names such as Wojciech Szczesny, Johan Djourou, Laurent Koscielny and Jack Wilshere who were not at the club or injured last time, but are now regular selections. Arsenal are currently in the thick of the title race in the Barclay's Premier League as they sit 4 points behind league leaders Manchester United but will be focused solely on the Barcelona game come matchday.

INJURIES AND SUSPENSIONS:
Barcelona: Carles Puyol - Knee (Out)

Arsenal: Lukasz Fabianski - Shoulder (Out), Thomas Vermaelen - Achillies (Out), Samir Nasri - Hamstring (Possible), Tomas Rosicky - Groin (Possible), Robin van Persie - Knee (Will Play). Bacary Sagna (Suspended)

LIKELY LINE-UPS:
FC Barcelona:
Valdes
Alves - Pique - Milito - Abidal
Xavi - Mascherano - Iniestia
Messi - Villa - Pedro


Arsenal:
Szczesny
Eboue - Djourou - Koscielny - Clichy
Song - Wilshere
Walcott - Fabregas - Arshavin
van Persie


KEY MATCH-UPS:
Leo Messi vs. Gael Clichy
Arsenal's left back is going to have a difficult time over the 2 legs trying to contain the best player in the world, however he is likely to have help from midfielder Alex Song and as they showed last year in the first leg, it is possible to keep Messi out of the game. If Clichy and Song are successful in doing so, Arsenal have a great shot at getting a win.

David Villa vs. Johan Djourou and Laurent Koscielny
The Arsenal central defenders are going to have a torrid time trying to contain the lively Villa who is scoring at close to a goal per game for Barca. However, Djourou and Koscielny have been performing well above expectations all year and have been two of Arsenals best of late and have formed a formidable partnership at the back, but the task of Villa will be a whole new challenge, and one that they will need to pass if Arsenal are to get any further.

Theo Walcott vs. Eric Abidal
The Englishman with the pace to beat anyone will go up against the Frenchman who is getting well past his prime and could face quite the struggle to keep the winger contained. Walcott has been in superb form this season having scored 11 goals and added in 8 assists thus far. Abidal is likely to need assitance from one of the central pairing to keep Walcott out of the game and this could prove to be Barca undoing as the next match-up will show...

Robin van Persie vs. Gerard Pique and Gabriel Milito
The Dutchman who has been on fire of late scoring 10 goals from his last 7 apperances for Arsenal. Van Persie strives on using the space created by others, and if Barca focus on shutting Walcott down too much, then the Dutchman could make them pay dearly. It's likely that Pique will be the man keeping a very close eye on him, as Milito is not first choice at Barca and will only feature because of Puyol's injury. If Barca fail to restrice Van Persie's space, they could find themselves on the end of a masterclass from Van Persie.

PREDICTION:
I will only guess at the first leg as anything could happen between now and the next leg.
Arsenal 3 (van Persie 2, Walcott)
Barceona 1 (Villa)
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Sun Feb 13, 2011 1:40 am

come on spurs
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Tue Feb 15, 2011 1:15 pm

Antonio Valencia could be back for us after a 5 month lay-off from a horrendous leg injury.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:28 am

Awesome chat here Rolling Eyes

Spuds 1 - 0 Milan
Valencia 1 - 1 Schalke
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 1:47 am

Watched the game this morning, Tottenham really deserved the win. Dominated the first half and did very well in the second half to firstly get the goal and keep a shut out. Gomes made 2 brilliant saves at point blank. Crouch just seems to get the goals in Europe yet nothing in the PL. I'm tipping them to go to the next round.

Also of note, what Gattuso did was unwarranted, especially at the end. Deserves a fine at least. That tackle by Flamini also should've been a Red, no way it was a yellow.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 7:57 am

Yer good by Tottenham and agreed don't know whats with Gattuso shoudl receive a lengthy ban I feel can't go around headbutting coaches...lol.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:55 am

Tottenham hardly deserve anything. Milan all over them for over 60 minutes. More possession, more shots, more corners. Still it does show the old theory: "You only need one chance to win"-Deserving it doesnt matter anymore, the result is all that matter
Which is what i love about the game.

A good goal, probably the only way they were going to score against Milan and they were able to get it right.

Quite a dirty game in the end. Flamini should have gotten a red. The ref needed to put out a couple more yellows for persistent fouling- certainly several players should have.

Roger-What Gattuso did might have been "unwarranted" but COME ON. When you have idiots like Joe Jordan and Crouch and Co. Mouthing off and Clashing with Gattuso; do they honestly expect him to take it? Dont they KNOW HIS RECORD? Of course he is going to turn around and do something like that. Im surprised he didnt break a few legs while he was at it. Serves them right for baiting him. (note. im NOT condoning what gattuso did)
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:26 am

perthboy001 wrote:
Tottenham hardly deserve anything. Milan all over them for over 60 minutes. More possession, more shots, more corners. Still it does show the old theory: "You only need one chance to win"-Deserving it doesnt matter anymore, the result is all that matter
Which is what i love about the game.
I hate the Yids, but they dominated the first half. So Milan can't of dominated for over 60 minutes.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 10:51 am

perthboy001 wrote:
Tottenham hardly deserve anything. Milan all over them for over 60 minutes. More possession, more shots, more corners. Still it does show the old theory: "You only need one chance to win"-Deserving it doesnt matter anymore, the result is all that matter
Which is what i love about the game.

A good goal, probably the only way they were going to score against Milan and they were able to get it right.

Quite a dirty game in the end. Flamini should have gotten a red. The ref needed to put out a couple more yellows for persistent fouling- certainly several players should have.

Roger-What Gattuso did might have been "unwarranted" but COME ON. When you have idiots like Joe Jordan and Crouch and Co. Mouthing off and Clashing with Gattuso; do they honestly expect him to take it? Dont they KNOW HIS RECORD? Of course he is going to turn around and do something like that. Im surprised he didnt break a few legs while he was at it. Serves them right for baiting him. (note. im NOT condoning what gattuso did)

Who are you trying to kid, what a crock of bias shit.. To say Spurs didn't deserve anything is stupidity.

Milan got absolutely monstered in Midfield especially for that first half, Spurs imo where the better team for a huge period and definitely made Milan look second rate. In the end they had 3 more shots on goal and while Milan ended up with the better end of possesion you'd expect that from them at home. The games i've watched of late Milan have relied hugely on Cassano and he was missed greatly. Really with the attacking talent Milan have on offer they hardly looked like a team winning Serie A.

As for Gattuso do you really think Spurs care lol, you're saying it serves them right? and did they not know his record? It's obvious as JJ knows the bloke, and looked to me like he was trying to lure Gattuso into doing something silly and he certainly did that. What a clown. This was the captain on the day acting like a tosser, just walk away. SERVES HIM RIGHT.

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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 16, 2011 2:29 pm

AC Milan have turned into us from a few years ago. Simply cannot get out of the 2nd Round of the Champions League. They missed Andrea Pirlo and Kevin Prince Boateng dearly this morning. Also, while they won 4-0 on the weekend, their form has been quite poor of late. Ibrahimovic failing to show up again, is it any wonder we sold him and then won the Champions League.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Thu Feb 17, 2011 12:13 am

2-1 Arsenal. GET IN!!!!

Fantastic game and a fantastic performance capped of with two brilliant goals, one from RVP and the other from Arshavin. Wilshere was phenomenal and it's brilliant to think he is still going to get better. Nou Camp, here we come.

UP THE ARSENAL Grin
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Thu Feb 17, 2011 6:37 am

good to see arsenal made the 2nd tie instresting

barca should win at home but they will need to score the goal earlish
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Thu Feb 17, 2011 8:16 am

Great goal it was from Van Persie...still think Barcelona will progress to the next stage.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Fri Feb 18, 2011 6:41 am

Pretty interesting set of matches this week.

Schalke surely have the advantage against Valencia with the away goal. Raul now has scored more goals in European competitions than any other player. Quite the record. I do think Schalke book their spot in the Quarter Finals.

The Tottenham vs. AC Milan game is an interesting one. As poor as AC Milan were in the 1st Leg, I can't see them playing that badly again and they should have their injured players back in three weeks time. Spurs will probably have Bale back and Modric should be back to full fitness but I'm not ruling out AC Milan just yet. I can see them winning 1-0 and forcing extra time or getting a 2-1 result and going through.

I think Roma are gone. They have gone to Lyon and Real Madrid in the past and beaten them, but this Roma team isn't as good as those ones were and Shaktar should go through.

Lastly the big one, Arsenal vs. Barcelona. Obviously a great result for Arsenal to get the win. Yes critics can say Barcelona have the advantage of the away goal and that is true, but given the way Arsenal play and the fact they scored at the Nou Camp last season gives me the belief they can get a result. They certainly can't do an Inter and put everyone behind the ball and lose 1-0, they'll get knocked out. Also, Pique being out of the 2nd Leg is huge. Arsenal will be praying Puyol misses as well, would be a major boost for them. No idea what Valdes was doing for the Van Persie goal. My grandma could have done a better job of protecting the near post. Shocking keeping and could potentially come back to bite Barca in the rear. I certainly hope so.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 23, 2011 8:13 am

Great chat in here. Rolling Eyes

Chelsea too good for Copenhagen winning 2-0 in the Danish capital. Nicolas Anelka with a brace. The missed penalty against Everton in the FA Cup last weekend all but forgotten after this performance. Chelsea through barring some sort of miracle.

Real Madrid with the advantage against Lyon after the sides drew 1-1. Former Lyon hit-man Karim Benzema putting Real Madrid ahead, but Bafetimbi Gomis scored with not long left to keep Lyon in it. Honestly though, Real Madrid should also progress to the Quarter Finals as they go back to Madrid for the 2nd Leg.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:51 am

Absolutely pumped for our game tomorrow morning against Bayern Munich. To face the team we beat in the Final last season, especially this early in the competition, brings back some fantastic memories of what we achieved in Madrid.



Anyway, massive match for both sides. We're sitting 3rd in the Serie A but are only 5pts behind leaders AC Milan after at one point being 13pts behind. Bayern Munich are 2nd in the Bundesliga but 13pts behind leaders Borussia Dortmund. Both teams have won four of their past five matches in League play.

The good news for us is that Lucio will return to the side after a few weeks out. The bad news is that it seems he's coming in to replace Andrea Ranocchia and not Ivan Cordoba. I've thought for the past 2-3 weeks that Cordoba has been the weak link out of the two, but obviously Leonardo is going with the experience of Cordoba who is 34. Also Wesley Sneijder is back in the side after being rested on the weekend. We really missed his creativity against Cagliari on the weekend. As for Bayern Munich, the most important news really is that both Arjen Robben and Frank Ribery will play, with Mario Gomez upfront.

Probably our two biggest areas of concern are in defense and upfront. We've been leaking many goals in the Serie A in past matches, 9 in our past six matches. Most notably 5-3 and 3-2 wins over Roma and Palermo, and a 3-1 loss to Udinese. The other is obviously upfront with 2010 Final hero Diego Milito out for another 2-3 weeks at least with a muscular injury and Pazzini being ineligible as he played for Sampdoria in the Qualifying Stages. So a lot depends on Eto'o and the service he gets. He is the tournaments top scorer so hopefully he can add to his tally. Another key will be containing Schweinsteiger in the middle of the park and keeping the impact of Robben and Ribery to a minimum. Robben was a real menace in the 2010 Final, so we've go to contain him.

Ultimately, I think we will go to Munich with a lead. Honestly, even if it's 2-1 I'll take it. We've still got Milito to come back for the 2nd Leg and so I can see us scoring in Munich, plus even though we're conceding quite a few goals in the Serie A, we're scoring plenty. I'm I'll go with a 3-1 win in the 1st Leg, and that should be good enough to get us through to the Quarter Finals.

EDIT: Just seeing those goals again made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

WHAT. A. NIGHT. Grin
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Thu Feb 24, 2011 1:17 pm

Marseille Man Utd game was pretty dull...doubt that Marseille can win at OT but you never know.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Fri Feb 25, 2011 2:06 am

Al3x7754 wrote:
Marseille Man Utd game was pretty dull...doubt that Marseille can win at OT but you never know.
Don't need too, 1-1 would be enough.

Inter lost as well, Bayern hold a vital away goal as well.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Fri Feb 25, 2011 9:53 am

Absolutely shattered with the 1-0 yesterday morning. All the concerns I had going into the game seemed to really ring true as well. The absence of Milito absolutely killed us going forward. When playing the top sides of Europe, just having Eto'o upfront isn't going to be enough. Would have taken the 0-0 draw, would have fancied scoring in Munich but now things become extremely difficult. No idea what Julio Cesar was doing, yes is was a pretty tough strike to stop, but for a GK of his caliber, he should have done better. I hold faint hopes of us getting through now. It pretty much for me comes down to the fitness of Milito. If he plays, I do think we can score 2 goals and get through. If he doesn't, then I think we're just about screwed. Would be a really poor way to exit the competition as well.

What a shocking week in general for Italian teams in Europe. AC Milan, Roma and Inter Milan losing in the Champions League. All at home as well. And Napoli being knocked out by Villarreal in the Europa League. Very, very disappointing.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Mar 09, 2011 3:08 am

Pretty harsh second yellow, but a case of Men v Boys once again when these two meet.

Shakhtar are flying, although Roma are woeful these days.

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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:52 am

Beckham wrote:
Pretty harsh second yellow, but a case of Men v Boys once again when these two meet.

Shakhtar are flying, although Roma are woeful these days.

In free fall.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Mar 09, 2011 10:22 am

Watched game this morning and Barca just too good, even with the, IMO harsh sending off of RVP. I think Arsenal's tactics to just defend and get behind the ball cost them, Barca dominated possession and again Messi's brilliance won them the game. But the own goal really came against the run of play but the red card killed off their chances.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Wed Mar 09, 2011 2:11 pm

Pretty shattered tbh. Barca were always going to be on top, and they dominated from start to finish, but that sending off of Van Persie was a ridiculous call, and effectively ended are chances. I felt we were right in the game (albeit clinging on) but had the aggregate advantage, and i reckon we could have held on or at least taken i to extra time if we had 11 men. Van persie has every right to be angry.
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PostSubject: Re: Champions League: 1st Knockout Round   Thu Mar 10, 2011 9:44 am

TGBY wrote:
Pretty shattered tbh. Barca were always going to be on top, and they dominated from start to finish, but that sending off of Van Persie was a ridiculous call, and effectively ended are chances. I felt we were right in the game (albeit clinging on) but had the aggregate advantage, and i reckon we could have held on or at least taken i to extra time if we had 11 men. Van persie has every right to be angry.

I'm 50/50 on the Van Persie second yellow card. In truth it was by the rules a yellow card as he was offside and did then go and kick the ball away, but considering the atmosphere, surely the referee could have given him one final warning instead of just giving him the yellow card straight away. I guess it's one of those decisions that the home teams gets which the away team never does.

Also, I definitely think this was a golden opportunity wasted from Arsenal in terms of beating Barcelona. You're never going to see them go into a game with a weaker defense that the one yesterday. Unfortunately for the Gunners, they just couldn't get through. Definitely thought if they did get past Barca that they could win the Champions League. Hopefully they can win either the EPL or the FA Cup as going empty handed this season would be a real disappointment considering how well they've played this season.
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