Category: Archive

Soccer Scene: Blues must get past Barca in quest for CL

February 17, 2011

By Staff Reporter

Chelsea showed nerves of steel over the holiday season and maintained their winning ways. And still they are not in full swing at the moment, but it’s getting better. Eidur Gudjohnsen’s wheels have taken a while to get going. But a flash of his brilliance can be seen here and there. He’s been overdoing it on the ball, and getting caught. Although over the weekend he scored a late winner keeping Chelsea hopes alive in the FA Cup. There is some concern over Didier Drogba missing games. But Mourinho has options up top, Gudjohnsen is one for starters. Besides if Chelsea need an extra forward they can just go out and buy one. A Chelsea offer is one that most players acknowledge hard to ignore and turn down. All the money in the world doesn’t always buy results.
Revenge is what Barca want on Chelsea who knocked them out last year.
This year on Feb. 22 the best player in the world, Gaucho Ronaldinho, will take the field at Stamford Bridge. The Brazilian has helped the Spanish club believe in themselves. Barca has also become a far more consistent side since Frank Rijkaard has taken over as manager. The Spanish giants are also top of their league on 43 points. Their nearest rival is Osasuna on 39 points. The rest of the chasing pack is in double figures as Barca poise to move on. Real Madrid are in 6th place, 13 points behind Barca.
Chelsea’s Mourinho will have noticed Barca’s goal difference — a convincing 20 ahead of the rest. Will the stats matter on the day? Probably not, but it matters beforehand. Barca’s form will concern Mourinho who would have probably preferred to be on the road in the first game. Dutch master Rijkaard should not be underestimated while Mourinho gets a lot of attention. It’s a CL game that is a must. The newest brand of football for all to see.
We are going to be spoiled when it comes to CL football in February. If this EPL vs. Spanish Primera clash for some reason disappoints, and it can happen, then no worries. There’s always Bayern Munich vs. AC Milan.
Munich just keep on producing the goods. While they seemed to have come up short in Europe signs that they are still the German force shows in their Bundesliga performance. The German league does not get the credit it deserves compared to the EPL, La Liga and Serie A. Watch out for Bayern.
All the hype surrounding the transfer of Michael Ballack has simmered down. It has allowed the Germans to regain focus — focus that can cause AC Milan a lot of frustration. But the Italians are the masters of CL play. They go about their business quietly. In Andriy Shevchenko and Ricardo Kaka AC have one of the most potent attacks in the game? If Shevchenko is marked out of the game then Kaka takes full advantage and finds running lanes into the box If both these players are not taken care of then it’s extremely difficult to beat AC. On the home front in Serie A Milan are holding their own in a respectable second place behind Juventus
Do not forget that AC also boasts one of the oldest and most secure defenses in Europe Paolo Maldini, Marcos Cafu and Alessandro Nesta are the backbone of the very much-fancied AC. However they probably have the toughest draw on the February schedule. Not only do the Italian legends have to get by the German focus they also have to beat Bayern keeper Oliver Kahn. .
The super goalie still stands tall in his final efforts to be champion of Europe before he retires. Then again the 37-year-old competitor is still a daunting man at 6’2′ and 194 lbs and retirement is probably the last thing on his mind. Imagine running at him in a one on one? He’s one of the more frightening figures in the game, on and off the field.
Both Real Madrid and Arsenal are toying with placement in their respective league tables. Real 13 points behind Barca is not so bad compared to Arsenal’s 24 points behind Chelsea.
Real are not the side they used to be. David Beckham is not a Real Madrid player, it’s as simple as that. He’s not going to come in and make a difference. He’s not that kind of player. His contributions go unnoticed when his team is struggling. Nonetheless Real managed to make the CL play offs and they could catch Arsenal who rely too much on Thierry Henry.
Speculation on Henry leaving the Gunners mounts as young players try to impress their French leader. The management and fans fear the worst despite Henry pledging his future to the club over the weekend. The team, obviously hurt in the middle without Patrick Vieira, would be devastated should Henry leave. It is believed that Arsenal is rebuilding with some very talented players on their way up. It is only a matter of time before we see Robin Van Persie and Francesc Fabregas dominate the EPL. Good news for the future but can they get past Real Madrid? At times Arsenal have looked ordinary despite some exquisite football.
Their biggest eye sore is trying to fill in for Ashley Cole on the left side of defense. Pascal Cygan has had a few nightmares in that position. Every now and then you can see the frustration on the faces of his teammates when poor old Pascal lumps the ball out of the back. Henry in particular looks the other way then drops the shoulders. Such frustration and lack of confidence in the Arsenal team will be punished at the next level – a level the young Arsenal star are to experience at the Estadio Santiago, Bernab

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