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Thread: Champions League -April

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    Bahrain

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    Champions League -April

    CL Preview: Arsenal-Chelsea
    Arsenal - Chelsea | Latest News | Match Preview | News Archive


    Ranieri's last chance to beat Arsenal? (AFP)
    04/05/2004. BACKGROUND:

    After the compelling first leg at Stamford Bridge finished all-square at 1-1, both Arsenal and Chelsea still have everything to play for at Highbury with neither side having any reason to doubt their ability to make the last four of Europe's premier club competition.

    One of the two London giants is just 90 minutes away from a European Champions Cup semi-final – probably against Real Madrid – with a possible Final showdown against AC Milan waiting beyond that hurdle.

    Victory on Tuesday night for either Arsenal or Chelsea will see that club go further in this competition than ever before, so the incentive is massive. Arsenal probably hold the edge after the first leg by virtue of having scored an away goal – but that will only be influential if the Highbury encounter finishes 0-0.

    Such a scoreline is not impossible but certainly improbable, though this match in many ways pits the irresistible force of Arsenal's attack against the immovable object of Chelsea's defence.

    The Blues know they have to score on Tuesday to stand any chance of winning the tie; but having scored on each of their last seven visits to Highbury they will not be daunted by that challenge. Their problem is that Arsenal have scored more than them in six of those seven visits in League and Cup. Indeed, Arsenal's unbeaten run against their King's Road rivals now stretches to 17 games in all competitions. Another problem for Chelsea is that in their last three clashes with the Gunners they have taken the lead but not been able to hold on to it.

    Nevertheless, this Champions League battle will not be decided by history or even recent form, but by who has the temperament, skill, determination and luck over the 90 minutes. And on that basis Chelsea can feel as optimistic as their opponents. Their away record in this Champions League campaign is exemplary: they have yet to concede a goal. Psychologically, a match against Arsenal at Highbury will feel more Premiership than European, but Chelsea will have to keep telling themselves this is a different, major competition, and play accordingly in what is now just a one-off.

    Their CL campaign has been steadier and less nerve-wracking than that of their opponents, who teetered on the verge of elimination during the group stage. Arsene Wenger's side had won none of their opening three fixtures and against Dynamo Kiev on matchday 4 were just a minute away from failure when Ashley Cole popped up with his only goal of the season to date. It transformed the picture. The Gunners reeled off five straight wins before drawing at Chelsea, renewed belief in their European capabilities suffusing their performances, and will be confident of finishing the job on home turf. The Blues, though deflated by conceding Robert Pires's header just six minutes after Eidur Gudjohnsen's fine opportunistic strike, are also confident they can get a result at Highbury – even if it's a scoring draw. 2-2 or higher would see them progress on the away goals rule.

    It's a London derby, of course – and yet so much more than that. It pits first and second in the Premiership against one another. It gives Chelsea another chance to end their jinx against the Gunners, which began in November 1998, in arguably the biggest either club has contested. It could decide the fate of Claudio Ranieri – with a passage into the semi-final making it that much more difficult for Chelsea to sack him. And it could make or break Arsenal's bid for the Treble [Double if they lost on Saturday in the FA Cup].

    TEAM FORM

    Arsenal – WWWDDL

    The Gunners go into this crunch match on the back of a rare domestic defeat, which may test what has previously been seemingly unbreakable confidence. The FA Cup semi-final defeat to Manchester United also saw a rare occasion in which they failed to find the net. It was their third match without a win after drawing with United in the league and with Chelsea in the first leg.

    Chelsea – DWWDWW

    The Blues notched their fifth successive Premiership on Saturday with a 1-0 win away to Tottenham. The performance wasn't convincing, but once again this season Chelsea have secured three points in the Premiership when they arguably didn't deserve too. The result moves them to within four points of Arsenal. It followed league wins against Bolton, Fulham and Wolves. Champions League draws in the Champions League against VfB Stuttgart and Arsenal have been sandwiched in-between their fine domestic run.

    TEAM NEWS

    Saturday's FA Cup exit not only ended Arsenal's dream of a treble, but also tested Wenger's squad with two potentially costly injuries. Jose Antonio Reyes and Freddie Ljungberg are now facing up to three weeks out at a costly time of the season. Ashley Cole is also still absent so Gael Clichy will continue to deputise at left-back. Sylvain Wiltord is back in contention after a lengthy absence but is unlikely to feature. Pascal Cygan and Ray Parlour are also injured.

    The Tinkerman has refused to give much away as to who will play in the biggest match of his Chelsea premiership. After Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink scored his fourth goal in a week in the win at White Hart Lane it would be nearly impossible to leave the Dutchman out. Eidur Gudjohnsen, Adrian Mutu and Hernan Crespo will compete to partner him. Marcel Desailly is suspended after his needless red-card in the first leg at Stamford Bridge. Marcio Ambrosio will continue in goal in the absence of Carlo Cudicini.

    PROBABLE STARTING LINE-UPS

    Arsenal: Lehmann; Lauren, Campbell, Toure, Clichy; Gilberto, Vieira, Edu, Pires; Henry, Bergkamp

    Chelsea: Ambrosio; Melchiot, Gallas, Terry, Bridge; Gronkjaer, Makelele, Lampard, Duff; Hasselbaink, Mutu.
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    Bahrain

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    CL Preview: Monaco-Real Madrid
    Monaco - Real Madrid | Latest News | Match Preview | News Archive


    Roberto Carlos will be back for Real (AFP)
    04/05/2004. BACKGROUND:

    At the Louis-II stadium, Monaco will host Real Madrid for the second leg of the Champions League quarter finals. The Spanish giants won the first leg 4-2, therefore a win, a draw or even a loss by one goal is enough for them to qualify for the fifth consecutive year to the semi-finals. Monaco in fact need to win with a two-goal margin or more to secure the next round place.

    Both teams are enjoying the top spot in their respective leagues, so whoever qualifies for the semis will still be on with a chance for a rare double.

    Obviously the hot favourites to go through are Real Madrid, especially after the second half display at the Bernabeu stadium in the first leg, however Morientes' goal in the last minutes gives Monaco a slight chance of making a comeback at home against Real.

    Monaco have nothing to lose, as being in the quarter finals, having dominated the first half of the first leg and still with a shot at reaching the semis is already an achievement for Deschamps' squad, but wins during this season like those against Deportivo (8-3) will surely inject some optimism and confidence in the French team who will fight till the last minute of the game to achieve a historic win and qualification.


    TEAM NEWS:

    Monaco - Big problems for Didier Deschamps, who apart from the suspended Argentinean midfielder Lucas Bernardi, he will have to do without injured midfielder Zikos and more importantly without central defender Sebastien Squillaci.

    Real Madrid - Queiroz will be happy to have back Roberto Carlos, match-winner last weekend against Albacete, and Helugera. Figo should be able to recover from the injury scare he suffered this past weekend in the Liga.


    PLAYERS TO WATCH:

    Morientes (Monaco) - All eyes will be on him as Morientes will try to lead his current team over his future team to the semi finals of the Champions League. His goals is what Monaco needs to stand a chance against Real.

    Roberto Carlos (Real Madrid) - In the first leg, his absence was very much felt by Real and with the current form the Brazilian full back is passing through, rest assured he will be one of the players of the match on Tuesday night.

    PROBABLE FORMATIONS:

    Monaco (4-4-2): Roma; Givet, Rodriguez, Ablancourt, Evra; Giuly, Cisse, Plasil, Rothen; Morientes, Prso

    Real Madrid (4-2-3-1): Casillas; Míchel Salgado, Helguera, Raul Bravo, Robert Carlos; Guti, Solari; Figo, Raul, Zidane; Ronaldo.
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    Bahrain

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    First half Arsenal 1-0 Chelsea it came in the last seconds of the extra time of the first half...Defensive lapse by Chelsea...It looked like terry was guarding the goalkeeper instead of reyes who only needed those two meters to score freely through both terry's legs and Ambrosio....Now Chelsea have to come back.
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    Monaco makes the sensation and destroys Real $$$ 3-1 which is enough to see them go through to the semi-finals where Chelsea is waiting!

    Monaco!!!
    Juventus: 29 Scudetti

    Inter: 13 Scudetti

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    I never saw this one coming, Monaco and Chelsea!!! I wanted it to happen but never thought it would. I watched the Chelsea game which was exciting, but I will def watch the Monaco highlights. What a happy day this is. Now I just need the same tomorrow with Milan getting knocked out, COME ON DEPOR take inspiration from tonight.

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    Bahrain

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    YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS....Arsenal and Real are OUT OUT OUT OUT

    What a game by Chelsea who dominated second half...ANd all the respect inthe world for Monaco..I hope Juve dont take Didier he is too good a sa coach for them....What a day
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    I dont think no one so this happening..I mean maybe the Chelsea win (which they havent done in 5 years by the way against Arsenal) But not Monaco against Real...What a comeback to teach those arrogant players a lesson....Now if only Valencia can beat them for the league and Chelsea catches up with Arsenal,who have two games in a row against Liverpool anf Newcastle(who will be smelling blood) on Friday and Sunday.This would be a memorable season
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    WOO-HOO!!!

    I LOVE THIS SPORT!!
    Peppino Prisco: "La gioia più grande? Scontata. Il Milan in B. E per ben due volte: una... a pagamento e una... gratis. Sono dell 'idea che una retrocessione cancelli almeno cinque scudetti conquistati e che la vittoria di una Mitropa Cup elimini i residui"

    Peppino Prisco: "Io non rubo il campionato, e in Serie B non son mai stato"

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    Bahrain

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    The best thing about the Monaco win is Morientes shoving it in Reals and not just throguh the goal i read that he had many chances...
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    Monaco´s Rw Ludovic Giuly have had two awesome seasons already. Today two goals and expecially that 2nd was superb, simply amazing goal.

    This was such a lucky day for me, Real Bastardos are out and Arsenal as well. Yausaa!
    Peppino Prisco: "La gioia più grande? Scontata. Il Milan in B. E per ben due volte: una... a pagamento e una... gratis. Sono dell 'idea che una retrocessione cancelli almeno cinque scudetti conquistati e che la vittoria di una Mitropa Cup elimini i residui"

    Peppino Prisco: "Io non rubo il campionato, e in Serie B non son mai stato"

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    Bahrain

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    I hope Inter learn not to take any team lightly...ThankGod those arrogant teams are out
    If Liverpool spank the tired looking Arsenal on Friday and then Newcastle do the same on Sunday...This will be great for Chelsea who might win the EPL too....I can already imagine Wenger complaining about the tightly shcedule and making that his excuse.
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    damn now milan have a greater chance of winnning the trophy

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    Bahrain

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    Quote Originally Posted by intermilansg
    damn now milan have a greater chance of winnning the trophy
    No No No...ur underestimating Chelsea and Monaco if u think that in addition to Porto who if they qualify will face Milan,who are going through a difficult time themselves...i mean they dont look mighty after coming back twice to grab 1 point from each otheir last two fixtures....This is the worst time to sleep in the race and it seems they are going through it..At least I hope so.I would like a new team to win the CL
    Ziyad Of Boston

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    If Depor win tomorrow, then this will be the happiest soccer week of my life. I am really concerned that now Milan has an open gate to retain their title. I am really shocked about Real's departure, it just shows that arrogance and not having a decent defender can't take you anywhere.

    I saw the Chelsea--Arsenal game and it was good. I am happy since Arsenal won't win the CL, not that i hate them but because we could've been a casulty in their historic run. Now, our 5-1 loss can just be a stat and nothing too meaningful.

    Henry had a terrible game today and that shows that depending on one player is fatal. Big players shine in big occassions and untill Henry does that he will be just be a star player. Makelele had an awesome game along with Wayne Bridge. Bridge is an underrated player and i consider him to be the second best left-back in the world behind Roberto Carlos.

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    Quote Originally Posted by intermilansg
    damn now milan have a greater chance of winnning the trophy
    i don't think so and I don't really give a damn...

    at least now, I just care for one team to be defeated....

    one down! one more to go!

    Monaco rules !!!

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    Bahrain

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    By the way Henry got injured and might miss the next two crucial games in the EPL...So thats a big blow unless he recovers.As for Bridge there is no way he is the second best left back,yes he had a good game but if u noticed in the first half he was terrible...his crosses were disasterous when no one was close to affect them that much...

    Some one who should get some credit was the Chelsea keeper in the second half who kept them in it enough to win The commentator said he(Ambrosio) is their 4th choice
    Ziyad Of Boston

  17. #17
    Jimmy
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    I´m on the same line as intermilansg. I was happy too, but in the long run, I believe Milan has now won the CL.

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    I don´t care so much if Milan wins CL, after all it´s good publicity for Serie A and Italy. And i dislike/hate Real much more than i hate Milan, always have, always will.

    Even if Real could´ve won Monaco, i believe Milan would still have won CL. They are by far better/more complete side than Real.

    Anyway, i wonder if Chelsea could win this whole CL, would they still fire Ranieri and sign someone who´s more famous?
    Peppino Prisco: "La gioia più grande? Scontata. Il Milan in B. E per ben due volte: una... a pagamento e una... gratis. Sono dell 'idea che una retrocessione cancelli almeno cinque scudetti conquistati e che la vittoria di una Mitropa Cup elimini i residui"

    Peppino Prisco: "Io non rubo il campionato, e in Serie B non son mai stato"

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    I agree with tommi. Milan winning it is good for serie a. Thats why in cl I support milan not cause I like them ( I hate the bastards) but since I support serie a.
    Forza Inter per sempre!!!!
    Jose responding after the derby:"We could only have lost by having six people on the park, as even with seven, we would have won. "
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    Be prepared to read loads of crap...

    Last night was perhaps the most emotional night of European football for me, for a non-Inter club that is. The emotion after you watched the 2 games are simply unbelievable. For the first 20 minutes, I watched Arsenal - Chelsea but decided to swtich to the other game (Got both coverage) instead because I wanna see the Monaco players. And what a good choice it was.

    But let me start talking about the Arsenal - Chelsea game first. I just wanna say that I love Ranieri. His celebration when Bridge scored was just unreal. It's as if a load of 10 tonnes has been lifted off his shoulder. Celebrated like a 5 year old kid. And the sight of him crying after the match really moved my heard. Ranieri, alongside Cuper, is my current favourite manager.

    Monaco - Real Madrid for me is the best game I've ever seen so far this season. Compare it with Juve - Real Madrid of last season or Juve - Inter last season when the underdog rised and shove the critics straight up the doubters' a$$. What a performance by Monaco. Morientes said before the game that to qualify, they need to be perfect in almost every department and yes, they did just that.

    Conceeding a great Raul goal doesn't shatters Monaco's spirit. They're unbelievably calm and matured. They still play their football and got a deserved equaliser when Giuly scored a superb goal with a volley from outside the box. It may seem deflected by R.Carlos or Meija but it doesn't matter. The goal came in the injury time of the first half and as we all know, these kind of goals are mental-wrecking. (5th May 2002 )

    Just minutes into the second half Morientes () shows Obelix how to head a ball and Perez & Valdano that they were wrong in choosing a player just by his reputation. A cross from Evra doesn't really look dangerous but Morientes produced a thumping header that goes into the top right of Casillas' corner. You can just sense it. Destiny wants Monaco to qualify. It was an unbelievable feeling.

    And then, come the moment when Ludovic Giuly was immortalised by the Monaco fans. A cross from the right reached Giuly who was tightly marked by (forget who) from his back. What did King Ludo do??? Backheel it through his marker's leg to score. Cheeky, audacious. Cometh the hour, cometh the man. The celebration of Giuly, the reaction of the fans and the look in the face of those mercenaries...Just another reason why football is the best sport in the world. Unbelievable.

    If this game was when Giuly is immortalised, the opposite can be said to Raul. He missed a sitter and one great chance to make the score 3-2. Before that, Raul had a goal correctly disallowed for offside. Flavio Roma (Monaco GK) made a mess out of a clearance and the ball was intercepted by Guti (Or Zidane or Borja) who played a defence-splitting pass to Raul when the Monaco defence was still in panic. Unmarked, with Roma at his mercy, Raul shot incredibly wide. It was an unbelievable miss from the all-time top-scorer of the Champs' League. It got me wondered, was that Raul???

    Deep into the 2nd half injury time, Zidane played a superb cross-field ball to Raul. The angle was tight but Roma was out of position. All Raul had to do was to hit the ball on target on a flying volley. He missed. It was Real's last chance. Collina blew the whistle and one of the most exciting and emotional game of this season came to an end. This is the stuff of dreams. A giant-slaying. Real paid the price of their weird transfer policy and their unbalance squad has been defeated by a superb Monaco side. Hell Monaco could even beat them 5-1!!! Nonda & Adebayor (Spelling???) hit the post twice in the last 10 minutes of the match.

    Let's analyze some of the Monaco players. To be honest, I have very little knowledge about them except for their famous players. I paid close attention to Giuly, Rothen, Evra & Morientes and IMO all of them played superb memorable games.

    What else can be said about Giuly??? :shocked: His determination to win, his unlimited stamina to run all over the pitch, his aggression to win the ball back and his sheer talent to score the goals...He just leads by example. He looks just like the Nedved of last season. Definitely won't be surprised if Ludo ends up in a new big club next season. But looking at his affection for Monaco and the fans' love for him, it's possible that he may just stay.

    Rothen...Rothen...Of all the times I watched highlights of Rothen, I've always been impressed by him. His performance last night was unbelievable. Defensively, he and Evra totally sealed Figo. Offensively, he was God. I thought he's just a Beckham playing on the left but he's more than that. The player posseses great dribbling skill and he isn't afraid to show them. They're not fanciful like Zidane's or Ronaldinho's, more like J.Zanetti's. Rothen's crossing is also first class and his delivery from set-piece is impressive. It was one of the best performance that a left winger can have. Europe, watch out.

    Evra is a player who caught my eye yesterday. I didn't know him before this game. He playes at left back btw. Defensively, just like Rothen, he helped a lot in keeping Figo quiet. Offensively, he shows the world that LB isn't all about R.Carlos. Isn't afraid at going forward, running up & down that left flank. Formed a great understanding with Rothen and it was him I think who supplied Morientes with the cross that lead to the 2nd goal.

    Morientes... If you read my post before the draw was made, you'd notice and I wanted this tie a lot because of this man. And...wow...2 goals in 2 games. 2 of them comes from thumping header, something Raul & Ronaldo so rarely do.


    All in all, yesterday night may just change the future of some of the players like Giuly and Rothen. Last night, for the first time, I shed tears for football clubs that is not Inter. It can't be helped. The emotion you saw in both games were just overwhelming. Monaco should really star in Adidas' advertisement. Yes...Impossible is nothing. Allez Monaco!!!


    Handyo

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