Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Champions League round of 16

The second leg encounters for the champions league round of 16 kicks off on Tuesday with some exciting games coming up: 

Arsenal Vs Ac milan

First leg 4-0 C Victory to Milan
After a rather crushing and bitter defeat at the San siro stadium, Milan Italy (4-0),Arsenal welcome Ac Milan facing a Mountainous task to overturn this heavy defeat.
 From a first view it seems a lost battle but after the Recent overturn against Tottenham hotspurs the Gunners must fancy their chances of coming off this game with something. For those unaware, Arsenal were two goals down and came back to emphatically beat Harry Redknapp's Tottenham Hotspur 5-2.
 In football everything is possible but with all due respect, Ac Milan is not Tottenham Hotspur defensively, hence I feel an Arsenal elimination is at hand!

Benfica vs Zenit

First leg 3-2 Victory for Zenit
 Some shady goalkeeping by the reserve goalkeeper for Zenit gratified Benfica two goals but Zenit showed so much resilience and great team play to overcome this Talented Benfica side. This is a very open encounter and could easily swing either way, but Benfica will fancy their chances playing at home in front of their fanatical fans.
 Lately they have suffered their first two defeats of the season, first to Zenit and the second just days later in the local championship. It Would be a very unwelcome time to be experiencing the normal dip in form of the season.
  For Zenit,for a club that had gone practically more than two months without a competitive league game below their belt (due to the annual weather invoked league break in Russi) Zenit showed that the 8 friendly games they had played before the first leg encounter were enough to be very competitive. The coach, Spaletti, seems to have his team in the right direction.
 They have to be at their best anyway to beat this Benfica side that has won 15 of their last 19 home games and topped the preliminary group that had Legendary Manchester United and the surprisingFc Basel side with relative ease! It points to a very probable victory for Benfica, just football is not statistics!
 I take a joker on this prediction! 

Barcelona vs Leverkusen

Barcelona  Vs  Bayer Leverkusen: first leg 3-1 Barça victory
 Barcelona practically played as if it was a practice match when they visited Leverkusen for the 1st leg. With the La Liga title largely slipping off their hands in favour of Real Madrid, thisgreat team's only means of crowning this season as another remarkable one is to win the champions league. Leverkusen have been doing quite well lately in the Bundesliga Germany, but In a stadium much longer and wider than the Leverkusen one like the Nou Camp ,compact defending would be Difficult for the Germans and with the possible absence of defender Abidal and  Xavi back in the team we could see a shower of goals in this encounter! I see Barcelona comfortably sailing through.

Apoel vs Lyon

First leg victory to Lyon 1-0 .
History making Apoel welcome Lyon. Who could have thought these ever possible just months ago and The Ivan Jovanovich?s side do not seem to be satiated by their historic champion?s league second round qualification, they earned a well fought out 0-1 away defeat in the hands of Lyon and hence keeping the dream much alive.
 Lyon is clear historic favorites to qualify, but their away record is not very shinny of late. Winning just one of their last 7 previous European away fixtures. 7-0 in Zagreb in a very suspect game!
 The pressure is on Lyon and I expect the whole Cyprus to come out to support their pride bringing Apoel to success. Apoel should capitalize on this euphoria and play without pressure but ambition and they could just be on the way to writing a new page in champion?s league history.
All said it's time for them to play and for us to sit back watch and enjoy!

source: sundayolisehblog

Andre Villas Boas sacked!

AVB was sacked Sunday after watching his side losing to WBA in EPL last weekend. According to Sir Alex Ferguson this is not coming to people as a shock anymore.
Also from stamford bridge, midfielder Remires has just signed another new contract with blues with Di matteo standing in as interim or care taker manager till end of season (summer break). The question is can he stand the pressure if Chelsea fails to make last four which means no champions league next season?

Monday, March 5, 2012

Five star Real Madrid rout Espanyol

Real Madrid moved back 10 points clear at the top of the Primera Division thanks to a routine 5-0 win over Espanyol.
Real MAdrid team celeb
GettyImagesReal Madrid have now scored an incredible 54 goals in 13 La Liga home games this season
Gonzalo Higuain scored twice, Cristiano Ronaldo claimed his customary goal and Sami Khedira and Kaka were also on target.
Ronaldo got the ball rolling for Real after 23 minutes, with the result never in doubt from then. Mesut Ozil quickly moved the ball Higuain, who found Ronaldo inside the area. The Portuguese stroked past Casilla for his 30th of the campaign.
Another lovely exchange of passes between Ronaldo and Ozil then found Khedira bursting through to score his first league goal for the club.
Just two minutes into the second period Kaka broke clear down the left and his reverse pass through to Higuain was expertly dispatched at the near post and the fourth goal arrived when Higuain slipped in Kaka, who accelerated past Didac Vila and finished neatly off the far post.
Higuain then took advantage of another intelligent pass from Kaka to blast high into the roof of the net, though he was denied a hat-trick by an excellent save from Casilla.
Sofiane Feghouli's first-half goal was enough to hand Valencia a hard-fought 1-0 win atGranada.
In a game of few clear-cut chances it was the Algerian's strike after 32 minutes that proved vital as he burst onto Jonas Goncalves' pass, turned inside Guilherme Siqueira and fired in a left-foot shot that Julio Cesar will have been disappointed to see slip through his grasp and into the net.
Jordi Alba came within inches of doubling Valencia's lead just before the break and despite having the better of the game after half-time Jaime Romero's shot off the inside of the post was the closest Granada came to an equaliser.
Two goals from Markel Susaeta guided Athletic Bilbao to their second victory over Basque rivals Real Sociedad this season, a 2-0 win which took them back into the top four of the Primera Division.
The hosts had by far the better of the opening period and deservedly went ahead when Susaeta collected Andoni Iraola's pass to fire past Claudio Bravo.
Susaeta also hit the bar and Bravo made a terrific triple save just before the break to keep the scoreline down, but Sociedad should have been level within minutes of the restart.
Carlos Vela's effort had clearly trickled over the goalline before Gorka Iraizoz pulled it into his grasp, however the goal was not given and, despite being under pressure, Athletic sealed all three points when Susaeta curled in a wonderful free-kick with 10 minutes remaining.
Abraham Fernandez scored an injury-time winner as bottom side Real Zaragoza produced a stunning late fightback to beat Villarreal 2-1.
The visitors had started the brighter and went in front after wonderful build up play from Nilmar and Javier Camunas left Alejandro Martinuccio with the simplest of finishes to score his first goal for the club.
Villarreal had chances to extend their lead in the first period but were sloppy after the break and they were made to pay when Luis Garcia fired in a wonderful volley from the edge of the area to equalise five minutes from time.
Carlos Marchena and Borja Valero then passed up good opportunities to take all three points for Villarreal, but it was the hosts who grabbed only their fourth victory of the season when the ball fell kindly to Abraham inside the area and he tucked the ball calmly past Diego Lopez

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Arsenal finalising Nigeria tour plans

Arsenal finalising Nigeria tour plans


English Premier League side Arsenal getting ready for Nigeria pre-season trip

English Premier League side Arsenal are finalizing plans for a pre-season visit to Nigeria this summer.

Officials from the London club are in Nigeria to inspect more facilities across the country for the tour, scheduled for August.

Organisers DanJan Sports and Arsenal officials also met with some fans of the North London side.

"It's been a lovely time here, the energy level is absolutely unbelievable," Arsenal's marketing director Angus Kinnear.

"We are still inspecting potential facilities in different states and the fans are excited about the tour.

"Essentially, the connection with the fans has been amazing.

"Arsenal went to Asia last year and what we've seen on the ground here is encouraging.

"Like we've emphasised, there is a strong desire to connect with our fans in Africa and the first step starts in Nigeria."

The club traditionally hosts an annual pre-season tournament at the Emirates Stadium, but they opted to postpone the event for a year because of the 2012 London Olympics.

As part of their preparation for the 2012/13 season, the club have opted to connect with their huge fan base in Africa, by visiting the continent.

John Okusi of DanJan Sports said: "Arsenal has got a huge fan base in Nigeria, the most populous country in Africa, so far everything is going well."

"They've been to several states and officials are excited about the prospect of hosting the club here.

"There are only few things to be sorted out."

On a lighter note, Angus Kinnear revealed how the fans stunned him with their reaction to the North London derby victory against Tottenham Hotspur.

"The celebration and mood of the fans was shocking." Kinnear said.

"They celebrated that victory more than what I've ever experienced in London.

"It's amazing and I'm touched. The passion is incredible"

Interestingly in July 2008, DanJan Sports brought two other English clubs, Manchester United and Portsmouth, to the Nigerian capital Abuja for pre-season friendly.

Manchester United took on Portsmouth before Pompey then played against Nigeria Premier League (NPL) side Kano Pillars.

The English Premier League is hugely popular in football-mad Nigeria, with millions of fans following the league on both terrestrial and satellite television