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jueves, 12 de marzo de 2009

A REVISION OF THE FIRST KNOCKOUT ROUND OF THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

During this weekend, the top European team played the 2 leg of the Champions League´s first knockout round and of course we have some winners and other losers.
The big winners were FC Barcelona, Liverpool FC, Manchester Untied, Bayern Munich and Chelsea FC. On the one hand, we watched an incredible FC Barcelona´s first half of the game played against Olympique Lyon, whose players could not make anything to stop the electric passing game of FC Barcelona, whose players made an exhibition both with the ball and when they pushed the rival, whose ball possession was minimal during many minutes of the game, since there was always a FC Barcelona´s player pushing the Olympique´s defenders and of course they lost many balls and committed some mistakes-like Boumsong during the 2 first FC Barcelona´s goals- and of course the result during the first half was clear, 4-1 and it seems that FC Barcelona recovers the great level after a last doubtful month.
Moreover, we want to remark the efficiency of Liverpool FC-it is clear that Rafa Benitez is a great coach for this kind of round…it is a pity that his players do not play with this intensity in all the Premier League´s game, but this is a topic for another article-, Chelsea FC-of course, it was a great decision the departure of Scolari, cause now we have a “new” team, with the players united and besides with the best Drogba, who is showing that he continues being a great players, showing his best level during the important moments of the season, like this round against Juventus, whose players made good games, but at this moment this is the level of this Italian team, whose future is good with young and talented players like Giorgio Chiellini, Dario Knezevic, Cristian Molinaro, Paolo De Ceglie, Claudio Marchisio, Momo Sissoko, Sebastian Giovinco-, Bayern Munich-what can we say about a team whose players can score 12 goals in 2 games to Sporting Lisboa…it can beat any team, so it is possible to see again a Bayern as European Champion- and Manchester United-it had a hard and complicated round with Inter Milan and it showed why it is the current champion and why it has lost only 2 game during all this season. It has an incredible defensive line-Van der Sar, Ferdinand, Vidic, Carrick, Hargreaves,etc-and besides a wonderful attack-“Apache” Tevez, Cristiano Ronaldo, Berbatov, Rooney…-and of course it has many chances to be again the Champion.

On the other hand,Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Atletico Madrid were the other face of this week.
About the Spanish team, I want to say that Real Madrid made ridiculous during this round, where we saw controversial decision of the “great” Juande Ramos. On the one hand, it was clear that it was a mistake to dispense with Klaas Jan Huntelaar, since Real Madrid during these 2 games played with a reference in the attack and the result is clear-0 goals scored in 180 minutes-, besides it is difficult to understand why ,if Arjen Robben was injured last Wednesday, he “played”-it is better to say that he was at Anfield Road- during the first half, since these games require players 100%-besides if Juande said that Real Madrid plays better without Robben, ¿why did he play this important game?-. Moreover, I think he was not very intelligent when he decided to substitute Gago for Guti in the 77 minutes, cause now Guti is very angry and it is not the best idea, if Juande wants to have any future at Real Madrid, to have as enemy important players like Guti….(by the way, ¿what´s the matter with the new players, Faubert and Parejo? Pedja Mijatovic said that they were good acquisitions, but ¿what for? ¿To spend money and to receive commissions?
On the other hand, the Atletico Madrid´s coach, Abel Resino, must think about his abilities to be a coach for an important team, ¿how is it possible that Diego Forlan was on the bench many minutes of the yesterday´s game? The answer of Abel Resino is very convincing:”Atletico Madrid will have a very important and difficult game this weekend and it will need the best Forlán”. This answer can be described as joke, cause the important game of the season for Atletico was last Wednesday´s game and of course it was a big mistake dispensed with Forlán(his numbers during this season: 25 goals in 40 games) in the starting lineup…Abel, you seems Aguirre-the former Atlético Madrid´s coach-, so please, go home!!!!.-anyway, he has a complicated future, since important players of the team like Kun Agüero, Diego Forlan and Maxi Rodriguez are angry with him-
About Inter, its defeat was very different to Real and Atlético Madrid´s defeat, cause, if we exclude the first half of the first leg, it played well during this round, but this is football, maybe it needed a bit of fortune in concrete moments- Ibrahimovic and Adriano had clear chances to score yesterday- to beat a great team like Manchester United. But, although it played well and it was unlucky, this defeat can be described as failure to José Mourinho, because his great bet for this season was to win the Champions League and of course this result is a reverse for him and we must think about the performance of his team in this competition-at least, he was brave and we could see in the starting lineup, young players like “Super” Mario Balotelli and Davide Santon-.
Finally, I want to speak about the draw Arsenal FC-AS Roma and Panathinaikos-Villarreal CF, where we could see a very balanced games, being decisive on the one hand,the important tiredness and absences of the Romanista players-Cicinho, De Rossi, Mexes, Juan, Cassetti, Perrota, Menez … and besides Baptista, Vucinic, Pizarro played having some problems-and the other hand, the better quality and important experience of the Villarreal´s squad-it is not a surprise that this team is in this round, since we can find in its squad players like Gonzalo Rodriguez, Diego Lopez-he is an excellent goalkeeper-, Pirès, Nihat, Rossi, Cani, Santi Cazorla, Marcos Senna, Ibagaza,etc, so it is a good team and one clear example is that it did not lose the 2 games played this season against Manchester United….So, it is not impossible to think that this team can arrive to the semi-final of the Champions League, as some years ago-it played a semi-final against Arsenal when Riquelme could not score a decisive penalty in the last minutes of the draw-…so be careful with this “yellow submarine”, which can destroy any team,which also must be careful with this Arsenal, because the “gunners” will have a stronger team in the next round, since players like Adebayor and Cesc Fràbregas will be available to play, so be careful!!
Cheers,
J&F

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