Posts Tagged ‘Inter’

Weekly Photoshop – Sam Allardyce

28/09/2010

You may have heard Sam Allardyce spouting lots of rubbish recently. Apparently he could win the double at Real Madrid or Inter every season, easy. In his saved game on Football Manager perhaps. Somehow in real life I don’t think lumping it forward to emergency striker Chris Samba is quite going to cut it at the Bernabeu. Naturally he was this week’s Photoshop them in the Guardian.

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Sam Allardyce is always going on about his use of the latest football trends and innovations. One has to assume he would start taking C-Ron's beachwear advice too...

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More here. An easy target really.

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T.

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Archive.

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.

Season Predictions 09/10 – How They Turned Out

31/05/2010

Apologies for the lack of posts recently. I’m still in two minds about whether to do season reviews for each club – to be honest I’m in World Cup mode now. Perhaps I’ll still get round to it though.

Back in August I played a mug’s game and tried to predict how everyone would finish. Here’s what actually happened:

'Expert' predictions...

Looking at the results showed I got just three clubs spot on: Man City in 5th and basement dwellers Hull and Pompey taking the bottom two places. In my defence I was only one place out with six other clubs but really this table looks like what it is, rubbish punditry.

I think if Gareth Southgate and Garth Crooks had a bastard lovechild it would look something like this predictions table (enjoy those nightmare thoughts kids).

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In terms of the thinking, I had found it really tricky to split the top three when writing pre-season predictions. My loyalties to Arsenal may have played a part in placing them second while I couldn’t bear to predict Chelsea as Champions even though deep down I knew they had retained the most strength over the summer.

A similar scenario led to placing Spurs 7th – I was hardly going to predict them a Champions League spot was I?! I underestimated Liverpool’s decline and overestimated Sunderland’s improvement.

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The biggest mistake was Birmingham, a full nine places out, but I’m sure I’m not the only one who had them down to struggle. Fair play to Alex McLeish (who I had as first sacking!), he brilliantly led them to a top half finish.

The bottom half was slightly better predicted clubs wise, if not positions wise. The dearth of quality is such that it’s pot luck as to where the likes of Bolton and Wigan finish. I got three of the bottom four right and on another day would have predicted Burnley to come in 18th not 17th.

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In terms of the cups and other stuff it went like this:

And I thought the league prediction was bad...

Oh dear. Only Bayern Munich correct and I suppose West Brom for promotion. If the Premier League table was the Southgate/Crooks lovechild then this is the resulting mess when said lovechild had a threesome with Alan Shearer and Jamie Redknapp. I literally couldn’t do any worse at being a pundit. Like I said at the beginning, it’s time for the World Cup…

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T.

Weekly Photoshop – Jose Mourinho

23/02/2010

In case you hadn’t realised, this week some guy is facing Chelsea for the first time since being sacked leaving by mutual consent in September 2007. Yes the Special One is back and who else could be the theme for this week’s Guardian Photoshop gallery…

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Jose Mourinho Chelsea Inter Special One

The old media darling back in the country? At the same time as the new media darling?! There's only one way to settle this...

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Lots more here – he certainly is a rich source material.

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T.

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Archive.

Champions League Draw Reaction

28/08/2009

Group A: Bayern Munich, Juventus, Bordeaux, Maccabi Haifa.
Group B: Manchester United, CSKA Moscow, Besiktas, Wolfsburg.
Group C: AC Milan, Real Madrid, Marseille, FC Zurich.
Group D: Chelsea, Porto, Atletico Madrid, APOEL Nicosia.
Group E: Liverpool, Lyon, Fiorentina, Debreceni.
Group F: Barcelona, Inter Milan, Dynamo Kiev, Rubin Kazan.
Group G: Sevilla, Rangers, Stuttgart, Unirea Urziceni.
Group H: Arsenal, AZ Alkmaar, Olympiakos, Standard Liege

Big ears

Big ears

Quite an interesting draw yesterday, and the British clubs on the whole will be happy with the groups they have landed in. No obvious group of death but certainly quite a few where three teams will be competing to qualify.

Group A is quite tough to call. You have the traditional heavyweights of Bayern and Juventus joined by the Ligue 1 Champions Bordeaux. The Germans have made a shoddy start under Van Gaal this year and it remains to be seen if they are preparing to sell Ribery following the arrival of Robben, Juve have bought well this summer and should be strong while it will be interesting to see if Bordeaux have the players to compete at this level. We can safely say Maccabi will be bottom.

What price Bordeaux breaking it up?

What price Bordeaux breaking it up?

Man Utd have a slightly trickier task then usual in Group B but should still comfortably qualify. The long distance trips to CSKA and Besiktas might be a drag, and they drew the one fourth pot team no one wanted in German champs Wolfsburg. Wolsburg have kept the team that took them to the title last season (bar the manager) and Edin Dzeko will look to continue impressing scouts across Europe. Fergie’s side should come top and it will be between Wolfsburg and CSKA for second.

Group C sees Kaka go back to Milan with his new side Real Madrid but they should both be qualifying. Marseille might cause a shock or two at home but will likely fall short in third place.

Chelsea face away tricky ties at Atletico and Porto in Group D as well quite a long trip to Nicosia but their experience should see them qualify. After all wasn’t Ancelotti hired to win this? Porto and Atletico will tear strips off each other and I think that the latter’s superior strike force of Forlan and Aguero will see them join the Blues in the second round.

Group E will be scrappy and I can see both Lyon and Fiorentina causing Liverpool some problems. It could be very tight between these three even though on paper Liverpool are easily the strongest side. They seem to find compact technical teams quite difficult to break down in the group stages and it wouldn’t surprise me if they went through in second.

Group F sees Zlatan and Eto’o return to their respective former clubs with Barcelona playing Inter at the San Siro on matchday 1. Both teams should comfortably qualify though Barcelona’s away games against Rubin Kazan and Kiev are not until November onwards so the weather could play a factor. In particular Guardiola’s side will not want to go to Kiev in December needing something from their last game. I’m sure that won’t be the case though.

Swapsies

Swapsies

Rangers have a fair chance at qualifying from Group G as they’ve been paired with one of the weaker top seeds in Sevilla as well as Stuttgart and Unirea. I think it will be between them and the German side for second with Sevilla’s experience at this level seeing them through in first.

The last group (H) sees Arsenal get quite a gentle draw alongside Standard Liege, AZ Alkmaar and Olympiakos. None will be easy to beat, but all should be beaten. Liege will look to Steven Defour to try and help them get second ahead of Alkmaar but I suspect it will be the Dutch champions who end up nabbing it behind the Gunners in first.

I suspect there won’t be too many shocks overall but I’m sure one or two clubs will manage to mess things up. It all starts on September 14th, can’t wait!

T.

Arsenal 3 – 1 Celtic (agg 5-1)

26/08/2009

A comfortable win for Arsenal this evening, and they go through into the main draw for the group stages tomorrow. Celtic might be justified in feeling Eduardo dived to get the penalty for the first goal, but truth be told they created very little in the 90 minutes to suggest the result would have been different had the spot kick not been given.

Eboue and Arshavin put a gloss on the aggregate score before Massimo Donati scored the best goal of the tie with a lovely angled volley. Despite having to come through the qualifiers, the Gunners’ recent European record means they are seeded in pot one.

Proof that Eduardo failed to clear Boruc's mini high jump.

Proof that Eduardo failed to clear Boruc's mini high jump.

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The 32 teams qualified for the main draw are as follows:

Pot One: Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Man Utd, AC Milan, Arsenal, Sevilla, Bayern Munich

Pot Two: Lyon, Inter Milan, Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow, Porto, AZ Alkmaar, Juventus, Rangers

Pot Three: Olympiakos, Marseille, Dinamo Kiev, Stuttgart, Fiorentina, Atletico Madrid, Bordeaux, Besiktas

Pot Four: Wolfsburg, Standard Liege, Maccabi Haifa, FC Zurich, Rubin Kazan, Unirea Urziceni, APOEL Nicosia, Debreceni

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Some interesting teams in each pot and no doubt all the top seeds will be looking to avoid Inter, Real Madrid and Juventus in Pot two. Real especially have paid for three consecutive second round knockouts. What price an immediate return to Anfield or Old Trafford for Xabi Alonso or Ronaldo? Pot three has lots of very capable teams who could hold their own with Stuttgart, Atletico and Fiorentina particularly dangerous.

As for Pot four, Wolfsburg are German Champions no less, and have kept the strikeforce which banged in about 60 goals last season. Rubin Kazan will be a tricky side to face too, having overcome the traditional Russian powerhouses in Moscow and St. Petersburg to become Russian Champions last year. Some potentially long distance trips in that pot as well.

The draw is made tomorrow afternoon at some point and we’ll have reaction once it’s all said and done.

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T.

The Curious Transfer of Zlatan Ibrahimovic

18/07/2009

Here’s a transfer that’s got me a bit confused. Barcelona are set to give Inter Samuel Eto’o, Alex Hleb on loan for a year AND a fee in the region of £35 million in exchange for the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Now I don’t really understand the thinking behind this for many reasons. Not least the valuation. This sees Inter getting around €60 million worth for Zlatan putting him on a par with Kaka in terms of fee.

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Now I know Eto’o is seen as a bit of a disruptive influence and shows no signs of extending the one year remaining on his contract but surely Barca could do better than giving both him and €40m for Zlatan. Famously called “the most overrated player in world football” by Martin O’Neill during the last World Cup, I’ve never understood why he is valued so highly. Yes he makes for a great Youtube compilation (see below) due to his capability for the ridiculous and admittedly he scored 29 goals last year (25 in Serie A), but he has always struck me as something of a flat-track bully who doesn’t do it in the big Champions League games or international tournaments.

Barcelona’s attack hardly needs strengthening after last seasons 158 goals in all comps though I imagine Zlatan (or indeed the rumoured David Villa) would give them more of a hold up option for Henry and Messi to play off. They would be better off getting a new goalkeeper and perhaps some defensive help. I can’t help thinking that having seen Real Madrid break two world records in buying Kaka and Ronaldo, Barcelona feel they have to make a similar statement. The reason that Real had to buy so much was that they were crap last season and even with this new forward line I reckon they’re still a top deep lying midfielder away from being a side that can win things (explains the Alonso interest then).

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It will be quite amusing to see how Eto’o and Mourinho work together too, given the latter’s numerous run ins with Zlatan. Eto’o is not afraid of throwing his toys out of the pram and I can imagine more than one confrontation this coming season. That said he will no doubt still score plenty of goals but it will be an entertaining 09/10 at the San Siro. Hleb as well (funny how quickly he’s become irrelevant) doesn’t strike me a Mourinho player and given that Guardiola didn’t trust him by the season’s end I can’t think Jose will either.

crazy-eto'o

Crazy Eto'o

All in all Inter will be laughing all the way to the bank, while Barcelona will wonder at some point next April why they are on the wrong end of a Champions League exit thanks to an overrated striker who couldn’t score in a big game.

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T.

Blast From The Past – Gabriel Batistuta

23/06/2009

Growing up watching Football Italia on Channel 4, many a fantastic player would etch themselves in mind with some ridiculous goal or brilliant piece of skill. A time when Serie A had unquestionably the best players in the world, every week you were spoilt for choice.

A particular favourite was ex Fiorentina and Roma superstar Gabriel Batistuta. One of the great forwards of any decade let alone the 90’s, Batigol was a complete striker. Powerful in the air, quick, could shoot from range on either foot, and a nice line in curling free kicks. Give him any space from 35 yards or less and you were in trouble. I always thought Arsenal would be safe from his fearsome right boot, but he made them look silly at Wembley in 1999. As with so many of his goals there was just no stopping it, such was the speed and accuracy. He seemed to have it in for all English clubs, scoring a beauty against Man Utd too.

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Bang bang goal.

Bang bang goal.

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I always admired him for staying at Fiorentina for nine years despite their continued failure to win a Scudetto. When he eventually did move (to Roma for some £20million) he helped them win the title for the first time in 18 years. Unlike many players he had a personality too, from his crazed machine gun celebrations, his arguments over hair length with Argentine coach Daniel Passarella and a vague recollection of an interview he once gave in which he said he didn’t actually like football, he just played as he was good at it.

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184 Serie A goals in 318 games (8th all time). The highest ever goalscorer for Argetina too (56 in 78!). Can’t really argue with that. Enjoy…

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T.

The Six Pointer – Ronaldo’s Tetchiness, Adriano’s Handball & more…

16/02/2009

That was the weekend that was. In six quick points.

 

1. Swansea were a delight to watch against Fulham on Saturday and I was surprised to find they had only lost five league games this season. Too many draws (15) means they’re still battling to make the playoffs but given how tight the Championship is every year, it is by no means too late to make a move into the top six. It’s pleasing to see a young manager like Martinez trying to play flowing, passing football to get out of the Championship. Too often sides in the second tier play an unskillful, direct/long style and are then surprised when they struggle once promoted to the Premier League. Most of the successful promoted teams in recent years have tended to be pleasing on the eye. It’s the unskillful grafters with no technique that tend to go straight back down.

Will hopefully get promoted

Will hopefully get Swansea promoted.

 

2. Following Sunday’s FA Cup quarter final draw, Arsenal really have no excuse for not reaching the semi finals. Even though they only play their fourth round replay against Cardiff this evening, home ties against Burnley and then Hull or Sheffield United would follow. Given the last four years have been trophyless, the way the draw has played out makes the FA Cup there for the taking.

 

3. Continuing with Arsenal, this has to be the funniest thing I’ve heard in a while… Not a hint of irony either. I imagine Mr Bendtner will soon find Arshavin is keeping him out of the side. As is Eduardo, and Vela, and Walcott…

 

4. A good win for Man Utd yesterday but just why is Ronaldo so irritable this season? He’s getting dragged into petty squabbles rather than showing why he’s a better player than his opponent through the skill and determination which got him 42 goals last year. As annoying as Robbie Savage is, you probably shouldn’t be spitting at him. Ronaldo is quite lucky that Mr Armani Tattoo didn’t make more of itThere have been quite a few other incidents this season as Fooball365 point out.

He was just clearing his throat...

He was just clearing his throat...

 

5. How much will Villa miss Martin Laursen whilst he is out until late March? They were well beaten by Everton and whilst Martin O’Neill is probably glad his small squad can now concentrate on the league, he will be slightly concerned as to whether they can maintain their push until Laursen returns. Next weekend’s game against Chelsea will be intriguing. The Blues will have Hiddink properly in charge for the first time and you’d think there would be the standard improvement that comes with any new manager. Chelsea have been better away from home this year (as have Villa funnily enough) and may well show that they still have relevance in the business end of this season. 

 

6. David Beckham may have lost a derby game for the first time in his career but quite how Adriano’s opener for Inter was allowed I’ll never know. As clear a handball as I’ve seen this season.

 

T.

Champions League Thoughts

18/12/2008

Tomorrow sees the draw made for the first knockout stage of the Champions League. It’s meant to be at 11am but knowing UEFA, we’ll see at least 45 minutes of backslapping, pointless awards and shuffling of feet before we get round to the shuffling of balls. There could be some interesting ties even if the big boys are kept apart. Lets have a look at what could be in store for the Big Four.

 

Arsenal:

How they qualified: Second place in Group G behind Porto.

Who they could face: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Panathinaikos, Roma.

Who they would like: Panathinaikos look the easiest on paper and now have former Arsenal midfielder Gilberto. Roma and Juve have both been beaten in recent years.

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: Barcelona over two legs would provide some great football and also a revenge angle following defeat in the 2006 final. Bayern Munich beat Arsenal in the second round in 2005 and will provide a stern test. 

But who will they get?

But who will they get?

 

Chelsea:

How they qualified: A slightly nervous second behind Roma in Group A.

Who they could face: Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Panathinaikos, Porto.

Who they would like: Again, Panathinaikos  look the easiest on paper but Chelsea should be reasonably confident against anyone but Barca.

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: Barcelona and Chelsea have recent history having played in both 2005 and 2006. The lack of Mourinho means there would probably be less antipathy between the two this time but it would still be a showpiece occasion with Barcelona showing Chelsea exactly what being a big club means.

 

Liverpool:

How they qualified: Comfortably topped Group D ahead of Atletico Madrid.

Who they could face: Inter Milan, Lyon, Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon, Villarreal. 

Who they would like: Lyon, Sporting or Villareal. All good teams but all probably not strong enough to beat Liverpool over two legs. 

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: Liverpool v Real Madrid would be see the teams play each other for the first time since the 1981 final when Liverpool won 1-0 with Alan Kennedy’s late goal. However I think we all know what is going to happen. Liverpool will blatantly draw Inter meaning Rafa Benitez will face Jose Mourinho for about the 436th time in the last four years. Not even a move to Italy for Jose can keep them away. Expect bitter sniping, boring football and a tie decided by goal off Dirk Kuyt’s hand with ten minutes to go in the second leg. Can’t wait… 

The game will be this close too...

The game will be this close too...

 

Manchester United:

How they qualified: Top of a weak (well it contained Celtic) Group E.

Who they could face: Atletico Madrid, Inter Milan, Lyon, Real Madrid, Sporting Lisbon.

Who they would like: Lyon wouldn’t hold too much fear and it would give Fergie a chance to tap up Karim Benzema.

Who ITV/Sky would like them to get: A reunion with Mourinho and his Inter side would provide some good quotes, if perhaps not as much hatred as Liverpool v Inter. Real Madrid however have provided some classic moments against United in the past few years. Namely Redondo and Raul making fools of Henning Berg and Co in 2002, the real Ronaldo’s hat-trick at Old Trafford in 2003 and finally this great clash below from the 1960s…

 

T.


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