Tag Archives: Champions League

Arsenal and Tottenham share struggles in North London

By Ryan Fleming

Obviously it isn’t true. Each team wants to win each game, be the best in its division and play in Europe next season. It’s pretty simple. What’s also just as easy, is watching Tottenham and Arsenal and how they both seemingly don’t want to do well. Of course, both of the North London clubs have aspirations to succeed and it has shown earlier this year (ie: Totts’ run in the Champions League and Arsenal’s impressive Dec/Jan run).

As of late, though, acting like their in cahoots, both clubs are playing down to to their competition, refusing to be the bullies, and instead getting picked on themselves. Arsenal’s downfall is basically lack of experience and, at least in my eyes, a definite lack of motivation and emotion. In the Gunners’ case, at least their manager owed up to the club’s seemingly two-month downfall.

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Poor showing in Madrid leaves Champions League strategy in shambles for Spurs

By Michael King

Effectively, Tottenham’s Champions League hopes have ended; for both this year and next. The Spurs gambled on making a deep run in the competition would out-weigh failure to qualify for next year’s tournament via a Top 4 English Premier League finish.

And now they have little to show for it.

It’s perhaps unfair to argue this position with the ability of hindsight in light of Tuesday’s dreadful performance against Real Madrid. The 4-0 loss in Spain during the first quarterfinal leg puts the London team in an insurmountable hole. Overcoming a four-goal deficit on aggregate is beyond the capability of this team, especially given its most recent performances.

This was not the same Tottenham team that twice appeared the better side against Inter Milan in the CL group stages and defeated AC Milan last month in Italy.

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Jack Wilshere proving his worth for Arsenal

Jack Wilshere may not have gotten the respect he deserves from Barcelona manager Pep Guardiola, but he certainly proved his worth on Tuesday for Arsenal when the two teams faced played.

By Michael King

As Arsenal manager Arsene Wegner sorts through the aftermath of Tuesday’s Champion’s League loss at Barcelona, there are of course few positive takeaways. Yet one, involving his young English midfielder, remains promising. Though his team was thoroughly outmatched Tuesday, Jack Wilshere continued to prove his versatility and quality as a midfielder for a top club.

It’s unclear if Wilshere himself felt he had something to prove entering the return leg at the Camp Nou, but he certainly played like he did, even if his teammates did not.

Barcelona headman Pep Guardiola now infamously singled-out the Englishman earlier in the week, claiming Wilshere lacked the ability to play for the Catalans and was only fit for the reserve team. Even more disparagingly, Guardiola suggested that Barca had many players of Wilshere’s ability.

There seemed to little motive behind the manager’s verbal attack, and even less factual support for his claims. In actuality, Wilshere has rapidly developed into an excellent midfielder, one whose importance is increasingly critical to his team.

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Lennon Moving Too Fast

Neil Lennon wore the Celtic jersey with pride, but since becoming the club's manager he's had some major hiccups that could cost him a long-term job. (Coutesy Wikicommons)

By Ryan Fleming

Before Celtic and Neil Lennon were both duly embarrassed in the team’s 2-0 loss to Hearts, where the former Hoops midfielder was ejected, Lennon couldn’t have picked a better time to speak out about the possibility of a contract extension. But now, amid the fans, the poor result and the “poppy controversy,” the possibility of Lennon becoming extended seems more laughable than probable.

“Obviously it was a bit of a gamble for the club to put me in charge with relatively little managerial experience so I am grateful to them for that,” he said to Soccernet.com. “But, as long as we keep making progress, I know when the time will come and, hopefully, they will come to me instead of me going to them.”

Lennon’s inexperience has started to show.

In the team’s 2-0 loss to Hearts, the club played the majority of the second half with only one central midfielder – basically fielding a 4-1-5, if you can believe that. After Joe Ledley’s straight red, Lennon then substituted the in-form Anthony Stokes for Niall McGinn, rather than taking off the out-of-form and out-of-place Georgios Samaras. Surely, it’s been only two minor flaws in what has to be said is a sterling league record – only losing two league games since he handled the helm of the club in a temporary position in March.

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Gareth Bale, A World Class Talent, Keeps Getting Better

Since Harry Redknapp's appointment as manager of Tottenham, he has used Bale on the left wing of the Spurs line up and the Welsh international wreacked havoc on defenses in his wake. (Courtesy Simon Kendrick)

By Ryan Fleming

Three years ago I was searching for a reason to get into soccer. I was searching for something not so obvious, a player or a team hidden to the large majority that I could learn and eventually follow them like they were my own.

For one reason or another I came across Gareth Bale.

The short, but speedy Welshman appealed to me, pulling me toward the way he plays like a magnet. When then-Tottenham manager, Juande Ramos, basically benched Bale for his short campaign in the ‘08/’09 season (yes, the one Spurs started off with no wins in the club’s opening eight league games). The North London club proved ineffective and most plainly stated, boring. The lack of playing time for Bale helped lead to Ramos’s demise.

Ramos got the ax and in came a new life for Bale, a chance not just for the EPL to see what he can do, but for the entire world.

Harry Redknapp took the Spurs post on Oct. 26, 2008 – a date that should be stapled in the back of Bale’s mind. Though his resurgence didn’t begin as soon as Redknapp took the helm of Tottenham, Bale fought his way into Spurs’ UEFA Cup campaign and manged to earn himself 17 other starts for the club.

The ‘09/’10 season was the ladder-that-put-Bale-over-the-wall-season. It didn’t start off as that, though.

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What The Soccer Guys are Reading – Sept. 16, 2010

ESPN Soccernet – Arsenal breeze by Braga

Cesc Fabregas and Carlos Vela net two goals a piece to see the Gunners by their Portuguese foe at Emirates Stadium. Arsenal manager, Arsene Wenger had an obvious eye on this weekend’s opponents, Sunderland, as the Frenchman substituted Marouane Chamakh, Alex Song and Andrei Arshavin within seven minutes with the game well in hand.

Sky Sports – Ajax can’t handle Madrid – by James Pearson

Gonzalo Higuain  scored two goals, personally seeing his team over the Dutch side, 2-0, at Bernabeu. Beside netting two, the Argentinian forward was proving his team and its fans restless by his wasteful play in the box, before finally cashing in. Madrid are now level with AC Milan in Group G.
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What the Soccer Guys are Reading — Sept. 15, 2010

Arsène Wenger's legacy at Arsenal will be affected if the Gunners can't bring home the Champions league trophy during his tenure. Courtesy khanh_coltech

BBC — Man Utd’s Antonio Valencia set to miss rest of season

Ranger’s defender Kirk Broadfoot took down Manchester United winger Antonio Valencia in the 62nd minute of yesterday’s Champions League game with what looked like a relatively routine challenge, especially considering what the Scottish and English Premier league teams are use to. But, Valencia went down in a heap, clutching his ankle and Broadfoot waved to the physios to hurry onto the field because Valencia had broken his ankle, and it wasn’t a pretty site. Now, the United midfielder will be out for the rest of the season and may never be the same explosive and promising player again.

Sky Sports — Dalglish wanted Reds job

Kenny Dalgish is the last manager to hoist England’s top-flight trophy while in charge of Liverpool. He has a legacy not only as a manager, but also as a player for the Merseyside club. And he wanted the vacant manager position at the club earlier this summer after Rafa Benitez was relieved of his duties. Dalgish didn’t get the position, it went to former Fulham boss Roy Hodgson, because the board felt that the Reds legend had a more vital role as an ambassador for the club.

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What the Soccer Guys are Reading — Sept. 13, 2010

It has been a great year for 23 year old Justin Braun. He has scored nine goals for Chivas USA and his manager thinks it is time for the youngster to get his international career underway. Courtesy chivasblog.com

The Guardian — Nelson Valdez hails a ‘dream come true’ as Hércules shock Barcelona — by Sid Lowe

The most improbable of wins, La Liga new comers Hércules defeats Barcelona at the Camp Nou, the Catalan’s home and a place that teams not wearing the Barca shirt lose. Barceloan just doesn’t lose at home. It doesn’t happen. Never mind to a team that was just promoted and by two goals. They don’t lose by two goals either, but it happened. And Nelson Valdez’s two goals are the reason, and he earned those two goals over his long journey from homeless child to international soccer player.

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Serie A Preview – Juve to unseat Inter

Juventus captain Alessandro Del Piero are hoping to overtake Inter Milan, the five-time defending champions of Italy (Photo Courtesy James Adams)

By Kevin Koczwara

Inter Milan dominated the world of top-flight soccer last season. The club won its domestic title in Italy, Coppa Italia and the one trophy the club’s fans and ownership had been dreaming of for 60 years, the Champions League. Inter was on top of the world, and when that happens in the world of soccer, people take notice and try to build off of your success.

Inter Milan needs to find a way to handle this season without manager Jose Mourinho – the “Special One” – who bolted for Real Madrid at just days after winning the Champions League title with Milan.

Inter’s league title didn’t come without tough competition. Roma made a valiant run for the title in the later months as they strung together win after win, but it was unable to knock down the reigning and eventual champions.
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What The Soccer Guys are Reading – August 27, 2010

Diego had a tough time adapting to playing in Italy and now is set to return to the Bundesliga with Wolfsburg agreeing with Juventus on a transfer fee. Courtesy Benjamin Radzun

Sky Sports – Diego set for Wolfsburg

Brazilian midfielder Diego was the Bundesliga’s top player a little over a year ago when he suited up for Werder Bremen. Then he made a big move to one of Italy’s most storied clubs, Juventus. Now, it looks like he will be heading back to Germany after one under-achieving year in Italy. The Old Lady won’t recoup all of their losses from the transfer, but with the arrival of Alberto Aquilani from Liverpool (on loan with an option to buy) it looked like it was only a matter of time before the playmaker was looking for greener pastures — Wolfsburg could be just the place.

MLSsoccer.com – Feilhaber may have options outside Aarhus GF

U.S. international midfielder, Benny Feilhaber has been looking for a move out of Swedish club Aarhus GF during the transfer window. Feilhaber is looking for more first-team playing time and stronger competition. The 25-year-old Brazilian born American played in four games for the U.S. in South Africa this summer during the World Cup and had many clubs interested after his performance.

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