Champions' League

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Bayern Munich v Arsenal: Three reasons why the Gunners have a chance

The Gunners are in Germany tonight looking to overturn a two goal deficit, but can they do it?Wengers men will have to score three goals without reply at least to go through. A daunting task at the home of the European champions. But its not within the realms of possibilities. There are three rec...

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Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: The Germans and the Ladies take centre stage in football’s finals weekend

Well, that’s about your lot for this season. After yet another tireless football campaign that has seen everything from retiring Scottish legends to hungry Uruguayan strikers, it came down to the concluding bit of elite business this weekend: the Champions’ League Final. The 58th European Cup...

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Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Munich is top of United’s problems but Nani ain’t one

Last week saw a big few days for Manchester United. Prodigal son and spray tan admirer Cristiano Ronaldo sauntered back into town with the same cocksure swagger and over-preened sense of self-worth he left with four years ago, and along with his slightly misfiring team broke the hearts of his...

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Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Schmeichel talks us through United’s trip to Madrid while Piers talks down to Owen

For me this past weekend’s football was filled to the brim with acute annoyances and irksome irritations. To start with it was FA Cup Fifth Round and all the best games were on ESPN, and as I’m still too cheap to upgrade it means I had to go without. On top of that, my beloved Leicester didn’...

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Love or hate him, 'Mourinho' shows Jose really is the Special One

There are times in this cruel cruel world of ours when desperate sad acts like myself look up to the heavens mournfully, unleash a shriek of despair before dropping our heads to the ground and mumbling incoherently about life being terribly unfair. In my case, it’s usually something to do wi...

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Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Michael Owen ensures we’ll remember, remember the fright of Movember

When the wise Jedi minds of future generations look back at the metrosexual, iPad-obsessed, self-serving era we currently reside in, they will quite rightly grimace and ask just what the hell we accomplished. We allowed Piers Morgan to prosper when he really shouldn’t have; we created and fo...

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Tuesday, 02 October 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Sky soothe the Monday blues with a long weekend of football action

There was a time once when Monday was a day set aside for nothing but despair. Perhaps a day of recriminations as the heady exploits of the weekend come gushing into view and you’re forced to confront the disastrous consequences of your misdeeds (John Terry?) Maybe a dispiriting comedown aft...

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Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: Chelsea win, but there were plenty of losers in the final day of football

There are some days that it simply doesn’t pay to be a non-football fan. We have a tendency in this country to lurch en masse into things and render them inescapable to the more indifferent among us. We latch on to an event, a past time, even a television talent show and let it consume us until we...

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Sunday, 29 April 2012

Penalty shoot outs: Why they are more than just a lottery

There was one slightly annoying comment which detracted from the all round fun on Wednesday night. A small blot on an otherwise wondrous couple of nights. A bit of a bollock twister or nipple pinch, which only evoked the widely anticipated rolling of the eyes.According to ITV, and many other broadc...

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Sunday, 22 April 2012

A Fond Farewell To The One And Only Raúl González

With the 24-year-old Lionel Messi waiting in the wings to add to his remarkable tally of Champions League goals, one would fully expect the South American to take over the record scoring berth. Barring serious injury or a cataclysmic loss of form, the jewel in Barcelona’s shiny crown will probab...

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Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Outside the Box – Football on TV: An evening of Eurotrash as United make their Channel 5 debut

European football returned to our screens last week as our plucky English clubs once more ventured to the four corners of Europe to mix it up with some of the mightiest names in continental football; goliaths such as Barcelona, Inter and FC Metalist Kharkiv could all be on the horizon. As the week b...

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Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Manchester City: Tevez, Telephones and Tedium

Im not sure whats been worse over the last week or so, the phone hacking scandal or the Tevez transfer saga?Maybe if the News Of The World was still in existence it could report, with its tele-pathic powers, where Tevez will be moving to? If I were a Manchester City fan I would just like to see th...

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Friday, 21 May 2010

Our opinions on how the Inter vs Bayern Munich CL Final will go

The Champions' League final is bereft of either an English or a Spanish team for only the third time in a decade; in the last ten seasons there have been six Spanish finalists (Valencia x 2, Real Madrid x 2, Barcelona x 2) and six English finalists (Manchester United x 2, Liverpool x 2, Chelsea, Ars...

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Wednesday, 07 April 2010

Champions' League turns back into the European Cup

Given the dominance of English teams in recent years, and in their turn the Spanish teams and Italian teams before them, the Champions' League has been a curious competition for a few years. It has become less about which is the strongest team, it has been more about which team from the strongest l...

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Thursday, 31 December 2009

Premier League Team of the Decade (2000-2009)

This is a difficult team to compile because it would be so easy to let bias drift in and allow players that are dominant in the latter part of the decade more credit than players that were just as important a few years ago. So I decided to use the teams produced by the PFA as the teams of the year ...

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Wednesday, 09 December 2009

Obertan and Valencia can replace Cristiano Ronaldo as United go back to the 1990s

As any number of pundits pointed out last summer, you can't replace Cristiano Ronaldo - he offers goals, pace, dead ball threat and those direct tricky runs that defenders absolutely loathe. But what United have done is look to minimise the impact by adapting their game and by combining the attribu...

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Thursday, 26 November 2009

The end of my Liverpool grieving process

Im beginning to get over it now. The midweek thing. Im always being told to get over it, so I am. Its ok. Really. We can concentrate on winning the league now were out of the European Cup. Theres a stat somewhere that suggests winning the league is more do-able if youre out of the European cup ear...

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Is a shock Besiktas win at Manchester United possible?

Anyone who saw the lacklustre Manchester United display for an hour against CSKA Moscow must be wondering whether a United side that has already qualified will somehow show more commitment? Although Sir Alex Ferguson is unlikely to accept another below par performance he is also likely to rest some...

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Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Will the summer swapsies of Eto'o for Ibrahimovic bite Barcelona tonight?

There is always a group of death. Pick a series of at least 4 mini-leagues using the fairest system you can dream up (that simultaneously helps all the richest clubs from the richest footballing leagues) and one will always look nasty. But enough of Group A, where Bayern Munich look likely to be e...

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Has Rafa Benitez been saving Aquilani for tonight?

Rafa Benitez has been easing Alberto Aquilani into action since signing him in the summer. But the £20m signing will surely get a start soon. His season in the first team has consisted of 15 minutes at the end of the League Cup defeat to Arsenal at the end of October and the final 7 minutes in the...

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Arsenal should score at least three tonight

Arsenal should complete their qualification for the Champions' League knockout stages with a routine win over Standard Liege tonight, and in winning Arsenal will also simplify the next stage of the tournament by winning the group. Back in September it looked somewhat different when the Belgian team...

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CL Preview: Do or die for Rangers

By Danny Law Rangers can resurrect their hopes of qualifying for the knockout stages of the Champions League with a win over Bundesliga strugglers Stuttgart tonight. The Gers have endured a woeful campaign so far with only two points from four matches, including two 4-1 home defeats to Sevilla and...

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Thursday, 12 November 2009

Drogba and Anelka look good each way value for Champions' league top scorer

With Didier Drogba having completed his European ban he looks fired up for another tilt at The Champions' League. After being sent off in the final two years ago and then banned for his outburst following semi-final defeat last season Drogba needs to show a little more coolness under fire if he wan...

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Friday, 06 November 2009

The Liverpool revival starts on Monday

Everything runs in cycles and Liverpool have recently had the equivalent of a solar eclipse in the third week of December - black patches in an otherwise grey sky; but cycles, like winters and eclipses end. And Liverpool really should be seeing the light any day now. Firstly since thrashing Hull 6...

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Wednesday, 04 November 2009

Liverpool have focus - its the players that are a worry

Liverpool play Lyon in a game where defeat could take qualification out of their hands; on the back of six losses in the last seven games. If Lyon avoid defeat then the French team will have qualified and that could be disastrous for Liverpool as Lyon's next game is against Fiorentina - in a match ...

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Tuesday, 03 November 2009

Michael Owen could dream a dream against CSKA

Michael Owen's dreams do not concern scoring the winning goal for England in the World Cup final - and that's official. In fact Owen barely thinks about England at all, as his quotes about England that he made yesterday make clear. "I don't go to bed thinking about if I will play for England again...

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Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Rafa Benitez has reached the point that Sir Alex Ferguson did just four years ago

Football is full of coincidences and this season being Rafa Benitez's sixth full season there were inevitable comparisons with Sir Alex Ferguson who took Manchester United to the title in his sixth full season (if you don't count the half season of 1986/7 when Ferguson arrived at Old Trafford a few ...

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Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Arsenal set to qualify tonight against an inconsistent AZ

Arsenal has so many injuries for the short trip to Holland that the first team kind of picks itself and a couple of days short of Arsene Wenger's 60th birthday (when he plans to watch the 5 referee experiment in the Europa League) the team will be youthful. Missing Rosicky, Walcott, Nasri, Fabiansk...

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Liverpool capable of facing home truths with Lyon

Liverpool (5/6) starts as odds on favourites to beat Lyon (15/4) tonight and avoid a fourth straight defeat - which last happened in April 1987 under Kenny Dalglish. If you want an omen then Dalglish is hardly a bad man to follow. Liverpool's home record is a great comfort after three straight awa...

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Friday, 18 September 2009

Enough Arsenal, enough already

The Arsenal press officers must be the busiest in the division this season. Every day for the last month, it seems that something with an Arsenal angle has dominating the news agenda. Firstly Arsene Wenger's bold assertion that 'Arsenal will challenge for the title' (the implicit jibe being the ...

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Tuesday, 26 May 2009

A Combined Manchester United/Barcelona Eleven

Pick a team from the squads at Manchester United and Barcelona. Sounds like a reasonable exercise until you begin and then realise that you could pick two teams from these clubs and still have star-sudded line ups. Here is an eleven for what its worth but I dont expect anyone to agree with it (whic...

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Wednesday, 06 May 2009

Prediction Panel: Chelsea vs Barcelona - First goal wins?

After Manchester United dominated both legs of the first semi-final we can savour the second game in what is proving to be an altogether tighter tie. Chelsea probably has a marginal advantage, but a Barcelona team that scored six away to Real Madrid four days ago will not expect another goal-less n...

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Tuesday, 05 May 2009

Arsenal vs Manchester United - Game of the season?

Both Manchester United and Arsenal go into this game in a rich vein of form; Arsenal's on an unbeaten Premier League run of 21 games and United has responded to a pair of defeats in March with seven wins and two draws subsequently. Two footballing teams that both want to score goals could well offe...

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Thursday, 30 April 2009

An Arsenal vs Chelsea final would entend English dominance and resolve an oddity

It is something of an historical oddity that there has never been a London based winner of European football's big prize. It's partly to do with the historical make-up of English football which has always been strong in the initial heartlands of the north-west and west Midlands - whereas London clu...

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Tuesday, 28 April 2009

Barcelona vs Chelsea: Messi or Drogba

Much of the pre-match comment has centred on the mercurial Lionel Messi, who seems something of a shoo-in to replace Cristiano as World and European Player of the Year this season - but Barcelona has a defence that can be exploited by the power of Didier Drogba and I would not rule out a goal for th...

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Monday, 27 April 2009

Barcelona v Chelsea - The History

Barcelona- Chelsea is a tie that has become a familiar one in these days when the same teams return to the Champions League each season. When the clubs meet in this years semi-final it will be the fourth time in five seasons that they have met-usuallyin the knockout rounds. It will be the sixth me...

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Friday, 17 April 2009

Arsenal's kingmakers can expect the crown soon

Arsenal is in the somewhat unexpected position of remaining in contention to win the treble of Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup. Especially unexpected, considering that only a few weeks ago Arsenal was struggling to stay in contention with Aston Villa for fourth place. The Premier Leagu...

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Wednesday, 15 April 2009

Arsenal (1) vs Villarreal (1): Arsenal probably need to win

Arsenal goes into the second leg already ahead via the away goals rule, but Villarreal showed enough in Spain to suggest that it is more than capable of scoring at The Emirates. Arsenal has some desperate defensive worries tonight, missing Bacary Sagna, William Gallas, Gael Clichy, Johan Djourou an...

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Porto vs Manchester United: United look to Liverpool for inspiration

There must be a feeling of 'after the lord mayors show' about tonight's fixtures; after the pomp and ceremony of that ding-dong 4-4 at Stamford Bridge come two kinfe-edge games. But therein also lies Manchester United's main hope; if it can attack Porto like Liverpool did last night then there is n...

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Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Bayern Munich vs Barcelona: Bayern must show pride - even in defeat

Barcelona all but sealed progression to the semi-final by winning the first leg 4-0; but pride insists that Bayern Munich produce something at home especially with some domestic difficulties as well. Not sure that Jurgen Klinsmann has much future at FC Hollywood, if he is giving the tie - if not th...

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Chelsea vs Liverpool: Liverpool need a once-in-a-generation win

As I wrote earlier today, The type of win that Liverpool needs tonight at Chelsea has only been achieved four times in history; and two of those results are the kind of 3-1 win that would guarantee nothing. Chelsea is long odds-on to qualify, even if the result tonight is more debateable. Chelsea ...

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Chelsea vs Liverpool - last 10 years

Looking at the last ten years of games between Chelsea and Liverpool doesn't given much encouragement to the idea that Liverpool will progress to the semi-finals of the Champions' League. Liverpool has won at Stamford Bridge just twice in the league or Champions' League over the past decade. A 1-0...

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Thursday, 09 April 2009

Liverpool's season now rests on the Blackburn game

Momentum is everything at this stage of the season, and its near neighbour 'form' is just what Liverpool had in abundance before Wednesday night. I reckon that the Liverpool that won so convincingly against Real Madrid, Manchster United and Aston Villa in recent weeks has it in them to win at Stamf...

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Wednesday, 08 April 2009

Liverpool vs Chelsea: Too close to call

If there is ever a time to feel foolish in predicting a game, it is in this one. Liverpool vs Chelsea is too close to call on too many levels; and personally I'm reckoning on a pair of 0-0s and a penalty shoot-out! I reckon that both teams will fundamentally play with one striker and that ten play...

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Barcelona vs Bayern Munich: Glamour tie of the round promises goals

In many ways the glamour tie of the round with Bayern Munich who thumped Sporting 5-0 and 7-1 in two completely one-sided games in the last round against tournament favourites Barcelona. The winner could well come from this tie (obviously fans of four English clubs will have a different opinion). ...

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Manchester United Can Come Back From Their 2-2 Result

Its doom and gloom suddenly about Manchester Uniteds Champions League prospects. Admittedly a 2-2 home draw isnt ideal but there are precedents that Sir Alex Ferguson can take positives from. Generally a 2-2 home draw means that the home side will only win the two leg tie about 20% of the time, whi...

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Tuesday, 07 April 2009

Villarreal vs Arsenal: Arsenal surge makes them favourites

The winners of the Manchester United / Porto clash will meet the winners of this tie between Villarreal and Arsenal. And both of these teams will be confident of progression in a close tie. Villarreal is in many ways an old fashioned European team, happy to compete at this level without lavishing ...

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Manchester United vs Porto: United keen to emphasise Sunday as a catalyst

Manchester United fans were happy to be drawn with Porto last month and tonight we may see what reaction, if any, United manage to achieve after Sunday's close call and glorious finale. United is on an unprecendented unbeaten run in this competition; unbeaten for 21 games in total and unbeaten at h...

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Friday, 20 March 2009

A fair way to avoid the English domination of the Champions' League

Although right now the English domination of the Champions' league is reasonably amusing we seem to be forgetting that the cyclical nature of these things mean that in three or four years time we could be sat with three German or Italian or Spanish teams in the semi-finals of the Champions' League. ...

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Manchester United v Porto - The History

As two of the most regular participants in the Champions League its really a surprise that these two clubs havent crossed swords more often. Porto are one of the few teams with the edge over United in European meetings. In the Champions League the pair have never met in the group stages butthere ha...

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