Posts Tagged ‘Eto’o’

World Cup Bet Of The Day – Day 5

15/06/2010

Running Total: -0.8 units

Another day, another wrong prediction for a match winner. I can’t help it if Paul le Guen in all his infinite wisdom chooses not to play his best midfielder (Alex Song) whist also deciding to play his best striker Eto’o out on the right-wing. I think I’ll avoid picking teams to win until the second set of group fixtures.

There was some success with choosing a goalscorer the other day so I’ll try my luck again. Brazil face North Korea tonight (quite why Portugal vs Ivory Coast isn’t prime time I’ll never know) and it’s likely to resemble shooting fish in a barrel.

Robinho for some reason tends to play twice as well in international games as he does in club football (well before he moved to Santos anyway) and should have some success against a team I know nothing about. Luis Fabiano is obviously another good shout as is Kaka, as is etc, etc.

Let’s go with Robinho over Fabiano due to the marginally better odds. Again I’m playing safe and backing anytime goals rather than first or last.

Bet of the day:

Robinho to score anytime vs North Korea @ 11/10

T.

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World Cup Bet Of The Day – Day 4

14/06/2010

Running Total: +0.2 units

Finally a betting tip came off yesterday with Miroslav Klose getting the second goal in Germany’s 4-0 thrashing of Australia. The man is a born World Cup scorer, how I wish he was playing for the country of his birth… Anyway, the returns mean we’re in profit, albeit by a fifth of a unit. Got to start somewhere huh?

A quick one today. Cameroon face Japan in the mid-afternoon game and should be far too strong for them. Japan have never won a World Cup game on foreign soil and are pretty goal shy at the best of times. Despite throwing a pre-tournament hissy fit, Samuel Eto’o hasn’t pulled out and should get plenty of opportunities to get on the score sheet today. Alex Song meanwhile should be able to negate Japan’s main threat Keisuke Honda in central midfield.

I think Cameroon should be odds on to win this, yet they’re only at around evens. Those odds are good enough for me, you are doubling your money after all.

Bet of the day:

Cameroon to beat Japan @ 11/10

T.

Summer Silliness

13/07/2009

Excuse the lack of posts recently but it feels like not much has been going on. Not much that’s worth writing about at least. A few things have caught my eye I suppose.

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Fergie shuts his pension chequebook early

Hmm, think I’ll take this with a pinch of salt. Apparently after signing Wilson Palacios (must stopped getting them confused) Antonio Valencia (3 league goals last season), Gabriel Obertan (1, yes one) and Michael Owen (8), Fergie reckons that’s enough to replace the 23 league goals from Ronaldo and Tevez last year. I’d be amazed if he doesn’t buy another top player to head into the new season and I think the fact that he was after Benzema suggests he knows that Rooney, Berba, Owen and the two youngsters aren’t enough. Aguero has been mentioned in certain circles and mischievously Torres in others. The former is much more likely to be honest but someone of that ilk (proven international, capable of the spectacular, consistent goalscorer) is certainly needed at Old Trafford.

Hands up who's here to replace Ronaldo. Oh...

Hands up who's here to replace Ronaldo. Oh...

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Micah Richards has man swine-flu

Consummate professional Micah Richards was shocked to find he had swine flu. Good to know he thought it was alcohol poisoning at first after presumably getting absolutely battered on his summer holidays in Ayia Napa (how classy, I wonder if it was a package holiday).  Here’s hoping he passed it on to Craig Bellamy…

Yep, that will clear up the sore throat.

Yep, that will clear up the sore throat.

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Man City after Adebayor

and Tevez and Terry and Eto’o and Lescott and… Now I do believe you can only play 11 players at once but that’s not stopping City trying to sign three more strikers to go with the eight (I guess Jo has gone though) they have already. From an Arsenal point of view, I think we’d be letting Adebayor go cheap if the price is £20-25million. If a 28 year old John Terry is worth £30m then so is a 25 year old Ade. Add in the rich tax that bumps up the price further for any billionaire and I think it would be some good business for Arsenal. I jest slightly of course but I think if City are going to throw silly money around and Adebayor plans to play like he did last season then he is welcome to leave. He wouldn’t improve their team nearly as much as Terry would though.

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David Bentley smacked upside the head

‘England star’ David Bentley was punched while having a meal with his pregant fiancé. Now I wouldn’t quite agree with The Mirror’s assertion that he’s an England star. Let’s be honest he not even a Tottenham star. A bit harsh that he’s just sitting there and his partner had to see it all too but it seemed to be quite a well executed attack, with bills already paid and getaway cars at the ready. Maybe they were just trying to coax him out of his season long period of poor form. Personally I would have done it to whoever decided that paying £17m for him was a good idea in the first place! Though as you can see in this exclusive reconstruction maybe he was asking for it…

Before you ask I couldn't find him doing this in a Spurs shirt

Before you ask I couldn't find him doing this in a Spurs shirt

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T.

Barcelona vs Man Utd Thoughts

27/05/2009

Some thoughts from tonight’s Champions League final:  

 

Best team in Europe. Fact.

Best team in Europe. Fact.

 

This Barcelona side is a great one. They may have their flaws but their midfield in attack is so good it doesn’t matter. Congratulations on their treble.

The possession football of Messi, Xavi and especially Iniesta was a joy to watch. Both sides had weaknesses going into the game, Barcelona lacking their fullbacks, United their defensive midfielders (good ones at least). The difference in the match was Barcelona took advantage of United’s flaw whereas United failed to return the favour. 

After a dominant opening ten minutes by Man Utd, Barcelona scored out of nowhere and proceeded to then control the rest of the match. In the semi final second leg, Fergie’s side had done the exact same thing to Arsenal. 

Another final, another quiet Henry performance. His chance early in the second half was reminiscent of 2006 when he had an opportunity to wrap things up at 1-0. He missed now as he did then but this time the end result was different and he gets the one major trophy missing from his impressive CV.

Iniesta – excellent.

Ronaldo peaked with his free kick after two minutes.

Vidic, Rio and Van der Sar – not so much. Vidic was turned easily by Eto’o for the opener, while 6’3″ Rio was nowhere near 5’6″ Messi for the second. I thought Van der Sar could have done better with both to be honest.

Against a team so comfortable on the ball, will Fergie regret choosing old man Giggs over the hustling Tevez?

And should Rooney and Ronaldo have interchanged a bit more? You felt Ronaldo would be a more effective winger against Sylvinho, at least for some of the game. 

In his first season as Barca manager (and only the second year in his whole managerial career) Pep Guardiola wins the lot. He joins select list (read five others) to have won the European Cup as player and manager. And to think this team can still improve.

 

T.

Champions League Semi Final Preview – Barcelona vs. Chelsea

28/04/2009

Tonight see the first of the two Champions League semi finals and feature Chelsea against the one non English team remaining in the competition – Barcelona. The first leg is in the Camp Nou and Chelsea will be looking to do something only five teams have managed this year in league and Europe – prevent Barcelona from winning. Barcelona have been knocked out by English sides for the past two years losing to Man Utd last year and Liverpool in 2006/07. They did beat Arsenal in the final in 2005/06. There’s plenty of history against Chelsea too.  

Part IV

 

Formidable

Yep, Barca have been nearly unstoppable at home, losing just twice against Espanyol and Shakhtar (with a reserve side) while drawing three. They’ve scored a ridiculous 73 goals in 22 games, that’s 3.3 goals a match. Their away form isn’t exactly bad either but they will look to establish a lead to take to Stamford Bridge. There are loads of stats that show just how amazing their attack is. 

They have something like 136 goals in all competitions. They probably won’t all fit on one dvd.

The front three of Eto’o, Messi and Henry have scored 66 in the league and 90 in total. That’s as many as every Chelsea combined in league, FA cup and Europe.

They’ve scored six goals four times, five goals five times (including thrice in Europe) and four goals six times.

Can Chelsea’s defence stop them?  They have some injury worries. Terry and Alex will play but a half fit Bosingwa will be playing out of position at left back to try and mark Messi while Ivanovic will probably get the nod at right back. It’s a bit makeshift and will no doubt need help from Essien and a deep lying Ballack.

 

Hiddink knows

Ever since Guus Hiddink came in on his temporary contract, Chelsea have markedly improved. Performance is up, and the players look like they’re playing for the manager (unlike with Big Phil). Tactically Hiddink is a master, as shown by his dismantling of Rafa’s plans in the quarter finals. You also don’t have as much international success as he has had (with poor teams like South Korea and Australia) if you’re a mug. Didier the Drogba has decided that he still wants to play for Chelsea and has reinstalled himself as first choice striker. He is in great form at the moment (see his performance in the FA Cup semi) and the Blues will need a big performance from him if they are to get anything from this game. It will be interesting to see who plays in the wide positions alongside him. Malouda has been playing well recently on the left so should start while Kalou will probably get the nod out right for his workrate. I certainly don’t see Malouda getting too much change out of right back Dani Alves which means Kalou becomes all the more important on the right wing.  Abidal is a vastly overrated left back and that could potentially be a weakness. Drogba will try and be as physical as possible with the centre back pairing of Pique and Puyol and could get some joy.

I have special powers

I have special powers. Like making this border wider than it should be.

 

Midfield battles

Though we’ve talked a lot about the attacking options for both sides, this game will be won and lost in midfield. Critically, Chelsea need to stop Barcelona getting their fluent passing game going. It’s vital Lampard, Essien and Mikel/Ballack harry and harass the Barca midfield trio. Messi may pull the strings further forward but the Spanish combo of Iniesta and Xavi set the tempo. They are usually paired with Toure, who will relish going head to head with Essien. Ballack especially has to put a high level of effort in. He should get the nod based on his experience but he’ll need produce a vintage performance to ensure he’s not chasing shadows all evening.

 

History

We mentioned earlier how these two clubs have met plenty of times in recent history. Most recently and most tetchily was the the group stages in 2006/07 but the sides also met in the first knockout round in 2005/06 and 2004/05. They shared a win each, with the latter being memorable for Mourinho accusing Rijkaard of influencing Anders Frisk. This incident eventually led to Frisk retiring such was the abuse he got from Chelsea fans. Those three consecutive years of meeting had a lot of hype (thanks to Jose) but the most memorable battle came before Mourinho’s time in the 1999/00 quarter finals. Chelsea took a 3-1 lead to the Nou Camp but couldn’t hold against Rivaldo et al and were beaten 5-1 after extra time. If this year’s tie is half as exciting I’ll be a happy man.

Blame Jose.

Blame Jose.

 

Messi & the hatchetman

Yes Henry and Eto’o have scored a silly number of goals but one made dominates Barca’s attacking play – Lionel Messi. 34 goals in all comps means just one thing – just how will hatchet man John Terry stop him? Normally I’d suggest Carvalho would be the one to do the job but in a game of such importance I think brave captain JT will take on the responsibility. Which method will he choose?

1. Shoulder charge:

Effective but Messi may be too short.

Effective but Messi may be too short.

 

2. Reverse headbutt:

Ultimate courage - hurt yourself by breaking Messi's foot.

Ultimate courage - hurt yourself by breaking Messi's foot.

 

3. Close combat stealth hug:

Stealth - pretend to hug then choose close combat technique

Stealth - pretend to hug then choose close combat technique.

 

4. Lean on me:

Pretty standard - use all game like a jab.

Pretty standard - use all game like a jab.

 

5. Captain’s influence: 

Influence the ref - get Messi booked

Influence the ref - get Messi booked

 

6. Self tug:

Pretend your shirt is being pulled. Get Messi booked.

Pretend your shirt is being pulled. Get Messi booked.

 

7. Filthy tackle: 

Filthy tackle - take him out.

Filthy tackle - take him out.

 

8. Watergate: 

Wildcard: flood the pitch with your tears - Messi can't play pretty football.

Wildcard: flood the pitch with your tears - Messi can't play pretty football.

 

I fancy a bit of 7 and 5 with a sprinkling of 3. It won’t be enough though as Barca take a lead into the second leg.

 

T.

Champions League Quarter Final Preview – Barcelona vs Bayern Munich

08/04/2009

In the last of our rather late Champions League previews we focus on the tie between Barcelona and Bayern Munich. This is the only game without English interest but it could well be the most explosive quarter final given it features the two top scoring teams this year. Both have 24 from eight games, though half of Bayern’s total came against sorry Sporting Lisbon in the last round. Managers Guardiola and Klinsmann met as players for Barca and Bayern in the Uefa Cup semi finals back in 1995/96 (back when it was worth winning) and the Champions League group stages in 1998/99 – Bayern won both the Uefa semi and both CL group games but I think it may be a different story this time.

Pep and Papin

Pep and Papin

 

Super Barca

Under new manager Pep Guardiola, Barcelona have been transformed this season. Key signings like Daniel Alves were made in the summer and star strikers Eto’o and Henry decided to stay and decided to get fit respectively. The result has been dominance at home and abroad with a frankly ridiculous 122 goals in all competitions this season. They are averaging a shade under three goals a game in the league while building up a six point lead at the top with a +61 goal difference. +61! In Europe they strolled through the group stages before dispatching Lyon with a 5-2 destruction  in the second leg at the Camp Nou. They have failed to score just twice in the league and have scored six goals in a game four times. Their defence isn’t bad (24 conceded in 29 league games, but 11 in 8 in Europe) so it’s not a case of we’ll just score one more than you, but the focus as always with a Barcelona team is to keep attacking so if anything the strikers have compensated for any defensive frailties.

If he can do that with his lips, think what his feet are capable of...

If he can do that with his lips, think what his feet are capable of...

 

Not so super Bayern

In contrast to Barcelona’s dominating ways, Bayern have struggled in the Bundesliga currently lying fourth, though just three points behind the leaders Wolfsburg. Those leaders handed them a 5-1 spanking on Saturday so Bayern don’t come into this game in the best of form. Grafite scored a lovely backheel that made their defence look silly. Their attack is pretty good and led by Ribery. Bayern have scored more than two a game domestically with 54 but their defence can be leaky with 36 conceded. Just seven clean sheets have been kept while three or more have been let in five times. Europe has provided relative comfort away from their domestic issues. They went unbeaten in the group stages (which included Lyon) and we’ve mentioned the record win over Sporting. 

How to wrongfoot three players...

How to wrongfoot three players...

 

Key men

Eto’o and Henry have scored over between them but Barca’s key man these days is Leo Messi. Arguably the best player in the world right now, he has scored 30 times for Barca this year. He will look to attack the Bayern defence from the right wing but has to ability to be effective anywhere in the front third. He’ll be ably supported by Dani Alves who will run up and down the right touchline all night long and Xavi who will look to control things from the centre of midfield.

Bayern meanwhile have their own genius winger in Franck Ribery. Him playing well is the key to Bayern getting anything from this game and the Frenchman will look to continue his good recent form in which he scored both times in France’s pair of 1-0 wins over Lithuania. Up front Podolski and Toni will look to aerially attack the Barca defence and test Victor Valdes, who let’s be honest is a bit rubbish.

King of the Bavarian castle.

King of the Bavarian castle.

 

Prediction

I simply can’t see anything other than a Barcelona win tonight. Going forward I think they’ll have too much for Bayern’s defence and it woudn’t surprise me to see them score three or even four goals. I think Bayern have enough going forward to score themselves and Toni and Podolski can certainly cause Marquez and Pique some problems. Ribery may well be better off starting on the right wing so he can attack Sylvinho rather than Daniel Alves but I imagine he will have licence to do as he pleases. If Bayern are still in it for the return leg at the Allianz Arena then it will be a job well done but I fear Barcelona could somewhat humiliate them this evening. I agree with the Football Guy, 4-1.

 

T.

Champions League Preview – Barcelona vs Olympique Lyonnais

29/01/2009

draw_1209300c

The Barca Show

20 games. 53 points. 63 goals. 12 points clear. Barcelona are smashing La Liga records and sweeping opposition aside with their tenacity, class and lethality in front of goal. Their latest victims were Numancia at the Camp Nou on Saturday night, Pep Guardiola once again getting the best from a group of truly world class players. Terry Henry, Sammy Eto’o and Leo Messi have formed the front three trident that Frank Riijkard couldn’t quite get to click last year. A goal return of 14, 22 and 23 goals respectively from 25 games is a phenomenal record. The Blaugranas are deservedly the favourites to win the Champions League this season, with most bookies giving odds of 3 to 1 for them to reclaim the title they last won in 2006.

Leo Messi

cescli

How much longer do I have to touch this guy for? Why is he touching my leg?

The man is quite simply the best player in the world at the moment, outclassing the World Player of the Year, Cristiano Ronaldo, in terms of goals and impact. His superior dribbling and ability to make something out of nothing is combined with great teamwork. If he can stay injury-free, his taste for big game performances should see him excel in the knock-out phase of the Champions League.

According to Cesc Fabregas, Messi was “very shy and that complicated his integration” into the Barcelona youth team, and his team-mates “thought he was dumb. Until, being kids and thanks to Play Station, we discovered he could talk.” Now, I don’t know whether this means Messi is being controlled by some spotty teenager in his bedroom (me and the Football Guy used to imagine taking control of live football matches by ‘plugging in’ our control pads) but whoever the kid is, he has to be pretty special.

Daniel Alves

Bosingwa has a mono-brow but I still look like more of a freak!

Chelsea, you missed out! Bosingwa has a mono-brow but I still look like more of a freak!

Messi is not the only threat coming down Barca’s right-hand side. Dani Alves, the right back that Chelsea didn’t think was worth dishing out £25 million for, is arguably the most potent force in Barca’s armoury. His overlapping runs, pinpoint crossing and eye for a goal has led the Guardian’s man in Spain, Sid Lowe, to rate him as the second best player in the world at the moment (after Messi of course). Ten assists is a pretty sweet return from full back, even if the Quark look-alike does play like a right winger. On top of all that, the man can actually defend. Some people have it all eh?!

Unsung heroes

As always, Xavi’s contribution is taken for granted, but this season the addition of Seydou Keita and the emergence of both Yaya Toure and Sergi Busquets have given Barca a steely side to their game, without sacrificing technical ability and creativity. Even the milky-bar kid has had his career rejuvenated by Guardiola.


 

A Word for Lyon perhaps?

Well, I am not going to pretend that I have been following Ligue 1 at all whatsoever this season (or any season for that matter), thereby damaging my credentials as a lover of football from all corners of the world. Nevertheless, I did a bit of research and here are my three points on why Claude Puel’s team must be respected but will ultimately fail against Barca:

1) Seven Ligue 1 titles on the trot….but

A record breaking seven consecutive championship titles gives Lyon a perennial presence in the Champion’s League and confidence to take on the biggest and best. Nothing appears to have changed, as Lyon currently sit pretty at the top of Ligue 1. However, this season could be different, as Bourdeaux under the tutelage of Laurent Blanc, are playing some good football and are only one point behind. Marseille are in third place, four points behind Lyon. Will this finally be the year when Lyon give up the crown?

2) Yes they still have Karim Benzema…but

The Manchester United target is continuing his good run of form from last season, having scored 15 in 22 thus far. He proved himself on the Champion’s League stage last year against Manchester United, and has the ability to upset Barca. However, while Lyon may have the likes of Benzema and the highly rated Jean Makoun II, the also play Jean-Alain Boumsong at centre-half. A mental image of Barcelona versus Boumsong is a very Messi one.

3) Lack of strength in depth?

In years gone by Lyon had a strong squad with a good balance of attacking and defensive players. This season they look a little short of the quality they had two or three years ago, with the likes of Essien, Malouda (don’t laugh, he was pretty good there) and Ben Arfa. Judging by Lyon’s transfer window targets of Charles N’Zogbia and Julien Faubert, OL have set their sights a little lower in terms of the players they can attract (they still didn’t manage to buy those two). Fred also appears to be on his way out of the club.

PREDICTED OUTCOME

I may as well not have bothered with this bit, right? Even if Barca are ultimately the winners, I expect a good match of football between these two.  The two-legged affair should be more watchable than some of the typically stale meetings between Europe’s elite clubs.

 

P.


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