Champons League quarter final roundup 07/08.
In an era where English clubs are supposed to be dominating the Champions League, which they are this year, it felt very much like two moderate, error ridden teams playing each other.
Did it feel like the elite of football were playing in front of us?
The omens had not been good, with each club, to begin with, effectively having five men in midfield, that is 50 per cent of outfield players in one small space. This was a game that, to public relief, ignored instructions from the top, much in part due to the preventable Arsenal goal, as Liverpool then had to change up and score their own preventable goal.
For Arsenal, the news being Van Persie is injured once more, they should be accustomed to such a thing, having heard a rumour... In four years he has started 34 games.
Liverpool, oh boy, oh boy, they spend their millions, which many clubs can only dream, they then turn up with these millions on show for all to see, head to the Emirates and defend, as if there is no other way to play the game, does the end justify the means?
Rafa Benitez, the one dimensional master of European football, such a pity, game on for second leg Arsenal can score... maybe?
Liverpool have more know-how in the Champions League and Arsenal did seem to be engaged in a running experiment to develop their approach.
One other point, D man' Kuyt scored a goal, the overpriced Dutch right back comes good at last.
Fascinating, it was very much Deivid v Goliath (pun intended).
Chelsea had chances and got the early break with an own goal by Fenerbache's Brazilian player, Deivid.
Later in the match footballing and Brazilian legend, Zico, rang the changes and it made the difference. The winning goal came with a 35 yard screamer, scored by Deivid who was thus redeemed for his earlier unlucky own goal. All the while Goliath, lay knocked out by the awesome blow, on its back looking to the sky for a little help and a little guidance.
Are Chelsea the most boring team ever? Don't be so cruel youngn', but a Brazilian friend thinks just that, however he is Brazilian, and expects what only a Brazilian can from a football team, we mere mortals must make do.
Chelsea to make it through, but Fenerbache are no pushover, they mean business, and more vital in European competition have a lead.
Strange game, up until the first goal it was Roma that had the slight advantage but couldn't go anywhere.
Start of second half all Roma, they had a couple of half chances a lot of possession but no real danger, they missed Totti drifting in and out, and also missed Perotta there was no movement.
They had the chances but had not a soul running into the box, all in all, a disappointing display from the Romans.
Big stat hold your horses here it comes... five games where English teams have played against Italian, the big news is Italian teams have yet to score a single goal.
Is it the reverse of the 1990's, is it a call to arms that now...drum roll please...yes now, ladies and gentleman, after all this time of being the richest league in all the land of football, the almighty, the all encompassing, the foreign green zone that is the English Premier League is coming good on their pounds and pence, ready to conquer all that lies before them?
Well at least in the last round of the competition that was the case, but the cry from those poorer souls on the continent—What took them so long?
C Ronaldo, kept up his great form, scoring the first goal with an amazing header, showing fantastic awareness to arrive at the right time and score with great intent. Now he's never far away from a great sulk, and he may have a very hard to look at adams apple, but boy can this guy play, he was not in the game at all and then bang bang Roma's dead, he is a killer, the mark of a truly gifted footballer.
The only negative for United, Vidic got injured and is now out for up to three long weeks. Will it be softened by the return of Gary I Miss You Becks' Neville? Nah, he won't lift his head again in public, not after the whole nation saw in the press this week pictures of inside his brother Phil's house.
So yes he has the money, but that does not in anyway account for taste, all very footballers wifes, and both brothers, were only now, just getting over the public knowing their dad is in fact called, Neville Neville.
So United to hold strong at home, but watch out with an early Roma goal in the first 30 minutes and a 32.6 percent fit Totti on the pitch all hell could break loose, but yes United to go through after a very solid Italian like performance on foreign soil.
Shalke 04—FC Barcelona
A win is a win, but it was awful, Barcelona were lucky to hang on in the second half.
No matter, Barcelona got a much needed victory and away from home to, but only for the fact Shalke 04 are a poor side and couldn't finish, in what would have been yet another game where Barca take the lead just to watch it slip away.
The weakness of Barcelona was on show once more for all to see, when the opposition in this case Shalke 04 got aggressive and put the ball in the air, Barcelona couldn't deal with it, they cannot deal with balls being put into the box.
Gabriel Milito coming back will help with such problems, but this was no great return to form.
The young whiz kid, Bojan Krkic, got the vital away goal, in doing so becoming the second youngest scorer in Champions League history. Bojan has now unfortunately, for a 17-year old kid, being handed the title, the great saviour of Barcelona.
In the political world that is FC Barcelona, there is a realisation by all, that Krkic is the guy you have to grab on to, if in fact, you want to continue being onside with the current regime. It is astonishing the amount of interviews by Barca's big star players, and the extent to which they will go, in order to prove that they are in fact Bojan's best friend and mentor.
Thierry Henry had another nothing game, it was telling during the celebration of Bojan Krkic's goal, that Henry's body language made clear he thought it was his goal to celebrate. Now his play may not be the same as it was when he dazzled at Arsenal (fantastic piece of business by Arsenal), but his French ways and pomp are still very much intact, shame they two aren't hand in hand.
At Camp Nou, Barca will be strong, Shalke 04 will have to actually score this time around, or they could simply, just put crosses in the box, and watch the mighty Barca squirm as only they can and try their luck.
Barcelona to go through...