Category Archives: Barcelona

Barcelona – Champions of Europe

Barcelona beat Manchester United 2-0 in the finals of Champions League in Rome…Iniesta masterminded the midfiled with excellent support from Xavi and played rings around the United players. Messi played in the centre of attack flanked by Henry on the left and Eto on the right. 

Messi was tackled by two players everytime he got the ball and this strategy seemed to be working for sometime till Eto scored the goal. After that it was Barca all over the football field. In the end it was justice to Barca for a wonderful season, where they dominated Spain and Europe with their attacking brand of football. 

Final_Liga_Campeones_2009_Barcelona 1Messi boots out Utd with a rare header

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The “peppy” Guardiola

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The Champions of Europe

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The grand welcome back in Barcelona

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Filed under 2008-09 season, Barcelona, Champions League, Iniesta, Manchester United, Messi, Pep Guardiola, Xavi Hernandez

Barca lucky to go through

In a match which Barca would quickly like to forget, they beat Chelsea by the away goal rule and qualified for the finals in Rome against Manchester United. Chelsea dominated the match after taking lead in the 9th minute through a wonderful goal from Essien. And till the last minute of the match Chelsea despite all their defensive capabilities looked like the only side which created chances and had shote on goal. It would be fair to say that the key refereeing decisions went against them throughout the match. There were couple of good shouts for handball and also a few tackles inside the box.

Barca was not given any space, which they are given in plenty in La Liga and found themselves suffocated in the midfield and in the final quarter of the field. Messi whose only weakness seem to be playing against an English opposition, was kept quiet for most of the match. He was the provider for the clinching goal which came in the 3rd minute of added time through Iniesta. He was floating around with the ball stuck to his feet, avoiding tackles from the Chelsea players. I hope he proves his deteractors wrong in the final against United.

The media will surely hype up the Ronaldo vs Messi story come the finals. But in the semifinals Ronaldo has had the upper hand. Lets see if Ferguson has the guts to attack Barcelona in the finals.

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Filed under Barcelona, Champions League, Cristiano Ronaldo, Europe, Iniesta, Manchester United, Messi

Goodbye to Gilberto, Hleb & Flamini

It has been a month of goodbyes from the Emirates camp with the once very densely populated Arsenal midfield getting thinner and thinner as we near the season. Two first teamers Hleb and Flamini left the club to join Barcelona and AC Milan. One very loyal player who I thought might stay to lend some experience to the midfield, Gilberto also left few days back to the Greek club,Panathinakos.

Wenger would not have sold all these players if he did not have a plan. He sure is hardpressed for money, though that is never declared in public, he would have thought about suitable replacements who would come in before the season starts. One heartening matter is that Rosicky would be ready by September and if he and Van Persie can stay fit for atleast 3/4ths of the season, the team would look strong to challenge a lot of top teams for the league. With Eduardo most likely to return by the end of the year, the team would only get stronger.

Gilberto, a world cup winner with Brazil, played in the Copa America just before the 2007-08 season started and was tired to join the squad for the season starting. This meant that Flamini took his place and put in his best season for the club only to go out on a free transfer. Flamini also was responsible to some extent for Diarra feeling demotivated sitting in the bench. He also left for Portsmouth. So Gilberto who had one of his best seasons in 2006-07, leading the side for most of the season due to Henry’s injury, found himself to be the second in line for the holding midfielder role. Well, he did a great job for the team and I wish him all the best for his future.

Thanks also to Flamini the fighter and Hleb the dribbler for their contributions.

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Filed under 2008-09 season, AC Milan, Arsenal, Barcelona, EPL, Flamini, Gilberto, Hleb, Panathinakos

A noble act by Aston Villa

In this age of commercialization, where every bit of advertising space is sold on and off the pitch, here is a very noble act from Aston Villa Football club.

For the season 2008/09, Aston Villa will carry the name of the children’s charity, Acorns Children’s Hospice. AVFC have announced this in their official website. So they have decided to forego the millions of pounds that could have been earned from commercial sponsorships by doing this. They become the second club, after Barcelona in doing something like this. Barcelona carries Unicef in front of their jersey.

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Filed under Aston Villa, Barcelona, EPL

It’s been 1 year of blogging

Football is a game which I love to watch and occasionally would love to play. The best I can do on a more regular basis is write about it and that is what I have been doing for the past one year. Yes, I am proud to have kept my blog alive for one year now. Lots of goals have been scored and free-kicks taken that I have written close to 140 posts in the last 365 days.

Thanks a lot guys and gals for stopping over my blog and reading it, sometimes also leaving your valuable comment for me. It has been a pleasure and I can understand why Theirry Henry is one of the most adored player in this whole world. The post about his farewell has received the most hits and comments in this blog. Most of the comments have been like “Henry is the best, I love you”.

The most number of articles have definitely been on Arsenal, on the Premier League and about Football in Europe. You cannot blame it if that is what is the most shown and watched around leagues in the world. But it has been a long journey and I have loved every bit of it.

I have met a few people through the blog from Germany, France and India. It has been a pleasure guys and keep coming back for more. And ya Arsenal has had a decent season to put it realistically. Hope that they would challenge for more honours in this season and give Manchester Uniteds and Chelseas of the world a fight.

EPL – Whatever Keegan has said, it has been one of the best seasons ever with the Title being decided only  in the last day of the season. Manchester United started slow but played consistently well and scored the most and conceded the least to deservedly win the league. Chelsea came back strongly in the second half, but it was too little too late. Arsenal was written off by one and all of the opposition camps but Wenger believed in his players and they proved him good. Next season is again a challenge.

La Liga – Real Madrid were the least worst in the league to put it mildly. Barcelona were in shambles with internal fighting dominating the media and some of the star players not even getting to play. Villareal came back strongly and so did Athletico. Should be interesting to see how they strengthen or weaken the league next year with mass exodus predicted from Barcelona.

Serie A – The top 4 should be Inter, Roma, Juventus and AC Milan hopefully. Milan has been a shadow of the past and need a overhaul for sure. Inter and Juve will be strengthening themselves to fight for the Champions League and Roma will remain a powerhouse with Totti and the likes. There will e new guard in most of the top clubs.

Bundesliga – With Klinsmann taking over Bayern expect an exciting team from Germany in next year’s Champions League. This is going to be my second favourite in Europe next season. They are coming, the Germans…

Champions League – The final on May 21st between Manchester United and Chelsea should be a good watch for Football fans around the world. I have this hunch that Chelsea is going to win the match. Hope next year’s edition brings better luck to Arsenal.

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Filed under AC Milan, Arsenal, As Roma, Athletico Madrid, Barcelona, Barclays Premier League, Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, Champions League, Chelsea, EPL, Europe, football, Inter Milan, Italy, Juventus, La Liga, Manchester United, Milan, Moscow, Premier League, Real Madrid, Serie A, Villareal

Flamini gone, Hleb rumoured to leave, Next season a challenge for Wenger & a great finish to the season

One of the best performers of last season, Flamini left for AC Milan on a free transfer, which would certainly dent Wenger’s confidence in rebuilding a somewhat stable team. With Hleb also rumoured to leave with his agent coming out in the media with all sorts of a threat of buying out his own contract and joining Inter.

Arsenal has definitely improved as a team from last season with more points and a better position than last year. But the problem is that so has the other teams which meant that Manchester United and Chelsea got just better than Arsenal. Wenger’s hands tied for transfer and salary money means our most valuable player, Fabregas gets half of what say a Ronaldo or Terry might get. Now the challenge is to keep this team like this for next year. Real and Barca can come calling for Fabregas with double of what he is currently getting and this is where all the good will that Wenger has put in with his young players will come through. His relationship with Fabregas and other young players should keep them in this club for couple more years or atleast an year even if they dont win any trophy.

The team is well set at the back with probably a Center back needed and the midfield cover for Fabregas is also required in the Flamini mode. Gilberto could do that next season if he stays and with couple of youngsters set to graduate into the senior team, I guess midfield is taken care of. Vela is set to come back into the first team from Osasuna, where he is on loan. And another finisher in the front would be a welcome addition as Eduardo would not be back before December and Persie can be prone to further injuries. Probably Rosicky would also be fit for next season and play atleast 20-30 matches.

So it is a challenge for Wenger to make sure the likes of Hleb and all stay and get some quality signings like Sagna into the team with whatever little money that he has in his transfer kitty.

Coming to the title run in this year, it is all set to be one of the most watched footballing weekend of all time in the history of football. It is definitely advantage Manchester United as the decider match starts all at the same time. One goal for either team would put pressure on the other, but for me it is United’s to lose than Chelsea’s to win. It is all set to be an awesome Sunday for all football lovers.

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Filed under AC Milan, Arsenal, Arsene Wenger, Barcelona, Carlos Vela, Cesc, Chelsea, Eduardo, EPL, Fabregas, Gilberto, Hleb, Inter Milan, John Terry, Manchester United, Osasuna, Ronaldo, Rosicky, Sagna, Wenger

A few decent reads and a boring European nite

Well let me talk about the Champions League first. I saw most of the Liverpool match. Cant help it but it was pathetic. Gerrard in the centre, Torres making his debut in Europe, Babel and Pennant on the wings…well nothing worked for the Reds. And it was not as if Porto were playing attacking football, they were losing possession as much as they were winning tackles. The less said the better and to be honest Liverpool were lucky to come back with a point. For all the pundits praising Liverpool, be honest and let the world know that they sucked big time. 

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Chelsea top bosses came out with lots of media frenzy on how they want to be the top club of the world in 10 years time and they would also like to win two European titles and a handful of domestic league titles in that time…oh before I forget all this by playing attractive sexy football. Blessed will be the Chelsea fans the day Mourinho can play what his club bosses preach. Now one of the criteria for being a successful club is to make sure your fans come to watch you play day in and day out. But why should they waste their money if your team is playing boring 1-0 wins. Well 24000 people for a Champions League match is a shame in any part of Europe.

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Times came out with this article yesterday on why a team like Chelsea can be affected by refereeing decisions. Quite true. They say,

Perhaps what Mourinho fears most about blundering officials is that, because Chelsea’s cautious style lends itself to victory by slender margins, his players are more vulnerable than most to rogue decisions altering a match. So far the team have been beneficiaries – a poor penalty call denied Liverpool three points against them at Anfield – and victims. Yet a more expansive Chelsea might have been sufficiently in the clear against Blackburn that it would not have mattered.

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You can read the whole article here

In other news, an interesting blog in Guardian by Matt Scott talks about how Usmanov affects Arsenal FC. There are enough and more articles on this in all the papers. Among other things he says that the Emirates Stadium is the world’s richest in terms of gate collections. So when I was mailing this to my friends, one of my Man U friends said that Old Trafford has a capacity of 75666 and Emirates has 60420, so the ticket prices must be quite expensive at the Emirates. As a matter of fact it is. According to the Arsenal website the maximum price of a ticket for a category A match is £94 and the equivalent in Old Trafford is £44!!! Well with gate collections of £3 million we would definetely be making a lot of money. But if there is one team which anyone would pay to watch, it would be Arsenal. Talking of stadiums, Times also says

Barcelona unveil plans Barcelona have chosen Lord Foster of Thames Bank, the renowned British architect, to remodel the Nou Camp, the club said last night. Details of the architect’s proposals are expected to be released on Saturday. The remodelling is scheduled to take up to four years and is expected to add an extra 15,000 seats to the stadium’s near99,000 capacity. The Nou Camp was built in 1957.

Among Lord Foster’s most famous architectural works are the new Wembley Stadium, the Greater London Authority building, Beijing airport’s international terminal and the Commerzbank Tower in Frankfurt.

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Filed under Barcelona, Champions League, Chelsea, Liverpool