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Archive for the ‘Champions League’ Category

Platini wins Uefa Crown!

Posted by Sports Snob on January 26, 2007

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In a sensational vote, Former France Captain Michel Platini was elected the new President of UEFA, a post widely seen as the most powerful in Europe. Platini won a secret ballot against Lennart Johansson of Sweden among the 52 member federations at the UEFA Congress with a 27-23 majority, with two votes being invalid.

This could have major ramifications across Europe since Platini had advocated to limit each Country’s participation in the lucrative Champions League to 3 teams. His controversial slogan during the campaign was ‘giving football back to the footballers’ . Besides this, some of his other radical plans were to Expand the European Championship from 16 to 24 finalists and that clubs should field at least six players qualified to play for the country they’re based in[Arsenal fans are pissing in their pants].

Lennart Johansson, the former incumbent, had agreed to increase the participation in the European Championship- A last ditch attempt to placate the smaller nations like San Marino and Lithuania who have as many votes as Spain in an election. It didn’t save his job but it was indicative of the way the smaller nations felt about the direction of the current administration. The proposal to mandate home based players could affect the way moneybags such as Chelsea, Arsenal and Real play the game. At the moment, Arsenal would find it hard to field a single English player.

Platini may have taken Robin Hood route to victory- take from the rich and give to the poor but are his policies feasible? As a fan, I would hate it. To have just three from the top leagues means that atleast 3 very good teams will miss out on the competition, and that could be an Arsenal or a Barcelona. Platini’s claim is that wealth distribution would level the playing field. Yes, it would but would you want it at the expense of 4/5 years of mediocrity?

Its fascinating to see whether this would goad the European top cartel, read the G-14, to breakaway and form their own format and spell the end for various Leagues in Europe. It would centralise the money and the power in the game but also impoverish your neighborhood football team, who have just made it to the English Third Division. That is precisely the situation that Platini wants to avoid but may unknowingly trigger with his pro-poor policies.

The self proclaimed Bull in a china shop may be getting a dose of reality in a few days when the powerbrokers in Europe come calling. It will be interesting to see if he answers their call!

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Posted in Champions League, Football, Sports Television | 1 Comment »

Showtime for European Giants

Posted by Sports Snob on December 5, 2006

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Wednesday may well be the end of the road of several European giants in this year’s Champions League. The usually drab group stage has given way for some exciting KO football with some of Europe’s finest, including participants of last year’s dream final, having a lot of work to do.

Barcelona have the hardest proposition- A must win game with an injury ravaged side against one of the best teams in Europe, at-least this season. . Werder have been spectacular this season, both in the Champions League and on their domestic front, with Brazilian Playmaker Diego pulling the strings and finally living up to his billing after his unhappy time at Porto. He has been sensational this year and he will go against a Barcelona team who know they cant sit back, but that has never been their wont. Ronaldinho has had a coming again party and would want to celebrate his nomination for FIFA World Player of the Year in style.

Manchester United on the other hand were looking pretty a few weeks ago until they, presumably in a fit of idiocy, decided not to turn up for the next two games. And they paid the price. In an identical situation to last year, they are to face a Benfica team with a winner take all clause. This time however it will be in the comfort of their backyard.

Arsenal have fewer excuses this time for struggling in a group of mediocre difficulty but that wont stop Arsene Whinger from dishing out the usual tripe about refs and the fixture list. Henry’s bust up with Wenger has been rebuffed as sheer hyperbole by the die-hard gooners but Wenger’s equivocal post match interview may suggest otherwise. They are lucky in that a poor performance need not send them out of the Champions league.

All in all fantastic matches for fans. Here’s hoping that Barca dont play in the Uefa Cup….

V

Posted in Champions League, Football, Spanish Football | 4 Comments »

Chelsea sinks Barcelona!

Posted by Sports Snob on October 19, 2006

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A piss poor performance by a team that is looking very much like a ship without a rudder, in the absence of their star striker Eto’o. The usually incisive Barca team were toothless in attack, never really testing Hilario, who in his first Chelsea game had a comfortable day. Barcelona didn’t challenge Chelsea enough and on the balance of play didn’t even deserve a point. At the end of the three matches it looks like it will be tussle between Werder and Barca for the second CLE spot. Rijkaard will be a worried man after the manner of the defeat and Ronnie’s cameo in the weekend is starting to already look like only an abberation. He was kept in his confines by a prospective man of the match in dutchman Khalid Boulahrouz. The eventual winner of the performer of the day was the scorer of the match winning and spectacular goal, Didier Drogba. He was outstanding throughout the match and its very strange that his purple patch coincides with the worst slump in his strike partner’s career. Sheva had a terrible day and its not before long that the English press get on his case.Drogba for his part should have scored a second but lets not deny this thespian (no bitterness here, 🙂 ) his day in the sun. 181006_edmilson_dif.jpg

Noone really stepped up for the Catalans and there is an alarming tone of complacency in their style. Rijkaard should address it as soon as possible with El classico only five days away. The misery for the Blaugrana was compounded when Puyol limped off. It looks like a few days of overtime for FR at the office!

Barca will be interested in signing a striker in the Winter market and are already howering around Europe for a cheap buy. In a few weeks we will know if its too little too late.

V (Its good to be back, but I would have preferred a more opportune and enjoyable moment)

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Posted in Champions League, Football | 8 Comments »

Champions League Draw!

Posted by Sports Snob on August 24, 2006

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Group A: Barcelona, Chelsea, Werder Bremen, Levski Sofia
Group B: Inter Milan, Bayern Munich, Sporting Lisbon, Spartak Moscow

Group C: Liverpool, PSV Eindhoven, Bordeaux, Galatasaray
Group D: Valencia, Roma, Olympiakos, Shakhtar Donetsk

Group E: Real Madrid, Lyon, Steaua Bucharest, Dynamo Kiev
Group F: Manchester United, Celtic, Benfica, FC Copenhagen

Group G: Arsenal, FC Porto, CSKA Moscow, Hamburg
Group H: AC Milan, Lille,AEK Athens, Anderlecht

Barcelona V Chelsea

This is bloody sexy! Unlike Chelsea v Liverpool (which are usually snooze fests) you just cannot get enough of Chelsea vs Barcelona. Two great teams, two brilliant coaches and most importantly so many mouth watering match ups all over the pitch. Plus, with Shevchenko and Ballack in the Chelsea starting line up, things will get even better. Barca have significantly strengthened their defence through Zambrotta and Thurram. The only problem is probably the long over-drawn build up to the games.
Rijkaard V Mourinho

Rijkaard probably got the most important footballing lesson in his life when Chelsea scored those 3 quick goals against Barcelona in the at Stamford Bridge two years back. Rijkaard came back stronger and was a lot more pragmatic in his approach. Mixing defensive midfielders with flair players such as Messi and Ronaldinho. He came back last year to trump Mourinho and Barcelona were way better than Chelsea last year in every part of the field.

Arsenal might find it tough (just might!, before all you Arsneal fans get on my back) against Porto, Hamburg and Moscow. Hamburg finished third in the Bundesliga last year and Moscow were UEFA cup champions two years back ( plus, they are bankrolled by Roman Abrahamovich‘s  Abramovich’s company)

Manchester United should go through with ease, but the Battle of Britain (Fergie V Strachan) will be fun. Benfica have lost their coach (Koeman) to PSV. But then Man Utd were expected to sail through their group last year as well. Copenhagen should be easy to beat but then they are the reason that Ajax aren’t here!

Verdict: Group stages are usually just a task to be done away with before the real show. Expect all the usual suspects to be around come the knock out stage.
Group to Watch: Group A. Werder Bremen are no push overs. Expect them to give both Barca and Chelsea a real fight. Levski Sofia will have two great match days! When the the Barca and Chelsea teams come into town.

Z

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Posted in Champions League, English Football, EPL, Football | 11 Comments »