Posts Tagged ‘Milan’

Weekly Photoshop – Beckham vs Man Utd

16/02/2010

The business end of the Champions League starts this week and one of the best ties will be Man Utd vs Milan and the return of David Beckham to Old Trafford. Perfect excuse for this week’s Guardian Photoshop theme then.

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beckham milan man utd

Ever the faithful lieutenant, the Neviller knew exactly what to do when Sir Alex said 'Give Becks a nice welcome back'.

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Lots more to be found here, it seems everyone likes to have a go when Becks is involved.

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T.

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Archive.

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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.

Blast From The Past – Zvonimir Boban

06/07/2009

A quick one today. Zvone Boban was one of my favourite ever players (and one of the Football Guy‘s too no doubt), another legend from the days of mid 90’s Serie A. A star for AC Milan for nine years, his unique blend of flair and vision for some reason made me really like him. His performances for Croatia in Euro 96 (along with Davor Suker, who will also star in these pages at some point) and the World Cup in France ’98 brought him to wider attention and I particularly remember how he basically single handedly led Milan to the Serie A title in 1998-99. After Lazio led the race for most of the season, his consistently creative performances coupled with the goals of George Weah and Oliver Bierhoff meant Milan pipped the Biancocelesti to the title on the last day. Seven straight wins at the end of the season saw Boban get his fourth and final title with the Rossoneri and more than any of the previous three he was most responsible for it. Chuck in a Champions League title too and you have one of Milan’s most fondly remembered players.

Awesome

Awesome

His international appearances were excellent too as a newly formed Croatia played some brilliant football in Euro 96 before he captained them to third place in France 98. He’ll always be a national hero both for that but also for an altercation early in his career with a Yugoslav (Serbian) policeman whilst still playing for Dinamo Zagreb.

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I’ll leave with some greatest hits (of the football kind) from his Milan days. Enjoy…

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T.

Blast From The Past – Paolo Maldini

10/06/2009

A new feature for the inevitable slow news days that will come over the summer. It’s pretty simple really – pick a great player from the past, find a decent youtube compilation, reminisce at how great they were. It wouldn’t normally be a player who has only just retired but then Paolo Maldini wasn’t just a normal player and he seems like a good place to start off. 25 years, one club, seven league titles, five European cups (plus three losing finals), all with model good looks to boot.

A record number of appearances for Milan and Italy, plus he played in four World Cups. He sadly never won an international honour, losing a World Cup final in 1994 and a European Championship final in 2000 (it seems a bit wrong that Marco Materazzi has won a World Cup but he hasn’t) but with Milan he won it all. His career has been legendary and for me he was the best left back ever.

Enjoy…

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T.

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Update: At the request of one of our readers, here are a few more in depth tributes to the great man. One, two, and of course three.

Mine’s Bigger Than Yours – Super Squads

29/03/2009

There was quite a big feature in the Observer today focusing on squad sizes (read it, it’s a very good article), with particular focus on Liverpool who have a massive 62 professionals on their books. Closely following are Arsenal with 59, Man Utd with 51 and Sunderland, Chelsea and Spurs all in the mid-forties. Now big clubs have always had big squads and to be fair a lot of those Liverpool 62 are youth players and reserves but it can’t be a good situation long term. Snapping up young players is nothing new but it seems to have reached the stage of just stockpiling players so other teams can’t have them. The clubs can’t lose – if the players develop to be world/international/Premier League class then they profit from playing them and then selling them on whereas if they don’t make the grade then all they’ve lost is the cost of wages which won’t be high at young age. It’s worth gambling £30K a year on a promising teenager just if it means he’ll be on your books rather than your rivals’.

Those sticker albums are only going to get harder to fill...

Those sticker albums are only going to get harder to fill...

One of the ways Man Utd became so rich was through selling players who didn’t make the grade at Old Trafford but were good enough for lesser teams. The number of guys Fergie would get a million or two for just because they had played once or twice for the United first team was huge. The likes of Chris Casper, Terry Cooke and John Curtis had never done anything whilst at Old Trafford, but Fergie would use his wily ways to persuade some lower league manager that they were worth having. I remember in the 90s when Milan in particular used to buy top players just so no one else could have them. This was back in the days of the three foreigner rule, yet they would buy guys like Papin, Savicevic, Boban (one of my favourite ever players) and Desailly even though they still had Van Basten, Gullit and Rijkaard. Since then, the loosening of European borders has only made it easier for clubs to buy whoever they want from wherever they want.

 

Gullit, Rijkaard, Savicevic, Baresi, Van Basten, Papin, Boban - Awesome

Gullit, Rijkaard, Savicevic, Baresi, Van Basten, Papin, Boban - Awesome

 

Could there be some kind of squad limit introduced? Countries are forced to take just 23 to a World Cup or European Championship so why can’t there be a limit for clubs as well? The big four will know about the 25 man limit for the Champions League (though that doesn’t have to include home grown players who automatically get entered on the B list) so why can’t it be extended to the Premier League? How about using the US roster system? NBA teams are limited to 15 players (3 sets of starting line up), baseball teams have 40 while American football has 53 as a limit. With the latter two it gets a bit complicated as you have pitching/batting and offense/defence specialities but the basketball level seems about right.

You’d have to have the worst injury crisis known to man to get through three different starting line ups in a season.  A cursory glance show Man City have used the most players in the league this season with 32 followed by West Ham with 31 and Chelsea and Sunderland with 30. Villa have used the fewest with just 21. As if to prove our point, Liverpool have used only 24 of their 62 players in the league – not even half. Even accounting for the 14 out on loan, that’s still a lot of unsatisfied guys.

When you factor in the fact that most sides tend to be settled, with at least seven or eight players starting the majority of games, the argument for huge squads doesn’t really stand up. Even factoring in cup competitions doesn’t really change things. Man City haven’t used anyone in three cup competitions who hasn’t played in the league. Even Arsenal, notorious for young, understrength teams in Carling Cup and dead rubber European ties have still used just 33 in total.

The bigger the squad the further the camera.

The bigger the squad the further the camera.

Football is big business now so you don’t imagine the clubs doing anything to make themselves weaker but it would be great if some kind of limit was put in place. A bit more competition between clubs is always healthy and it would mean less young players on the scrapheap too. Somehow I doubt this will happen though and what are the odds that Liverpool increase their squad size this summer instead?

 

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.

Weekly Photoshop – Garry Cook

05/02/2009

A slightly strange theme this week. It’s Manchester City’s executive chairman Garry Cook. He’s the guy who claimed Milan “bottled” the Kaka transfer. I found his history at Nike a bit more interesting.

 

I’m sure Cook was indeed manager of the Michael Jordan brand when at Nike. But I have a suspicion it was probably at his local Nike Town…

If the shoes fit...

If the shoes fit...

 

The rest of this week’s gallery can be found here.

 

T.

 

Previous entries:

Ferdinand, FellainiBrownEboueCredit Crunch,

ZakiGomesMaradonaDelapAdamsBeckhamRamos

Weekly Photoshop – David Beckham

30/10/2008

Every week the Guardian have a Photoshop competition on a topical football theme. This week it was David Beckham’s move to Milan. Again, we got in but didn’t win the main prize. 

 

Milan find this is the only to resolve who takes their free kicks...

Milan find this is the only way to resolve who takes their free kicks...

 

More here…

 

T.


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