Monday, April 9, 2007

A preview for Champions

The UEFA Champions League resumes tuesday with a pair of scrumptious matches, each featuring a powerful English squad against some other team.

Chelsea @ Valencia (1 - 1)

The teams go in on level footing after a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge last week. Valencia played a good road game, and despite holding only 41% of the possession managed to limit Chelsea's opportunities. One breakdown led to Didier Drogba's 30th goal of the campaign in the 53rd which equalized the game after a David Silva wonderstrike in the 30th minute.

Fernando Morientes, Valencia's leading scorer in the competition thus far, returns from a shoulder injury. Although he may not get the start, the veteran striker will surely help the team as they are still missing a large part of their midfield. Vicente, Ruben Baraja, and Edu are all out with various boo-boos. On the injury front for the Blues, Michael Essien will return from a knee injury to play against Valencia. Dutch midfielder Arjen Robben remains sidelined however, also with a knee injury.

Forwards : Chelsea have the advantage upfront. Drogba has been the best striker in the world this season, and Shevchenko is no slouch. Solomon Kalou is also more than capable of putting one in. Expect David Villa to be the only forward for Valencia as they try to prevent goals. The aforementioned Morientes is available if need be.

Midfield : The advantage once again goes to Chelsea. The sublime midfield of Lampard, Ballack, Essien, and two of Mikel, Joe Cole, Shaun Wright-Phillips, or Lassana Diarra is second to none in world football. The Spanish side has a depleted midfield at the moment and will be relying on Albelda, Raul Albiol, Joaquin, David Silva and most likely Miguel Angulo.

Defenders: As strong as John Terry is, I have to give this one to Valencia. Ayala, former Blue Del Horno, and Luis Miguel are all very stauch at the back. Ashley Cole is more of an attacking defender for Chelsea, and although Ricardo Carvalho is a rock, Valencia still has the upper hand. In net, Petr Cech is considered one of the best in the world, but Canizares can more than hold his own as well for Valencia.

Key Players: Valencia - Del Horno and Miguel. They need another good performance from the two centre backs if they wish to keep Chelsea off the board.

Chelsea - Andriy Shevchenko. If the Ukrainian can return to his AC Milan form of a couple years ago, it could be a long day for the defense as they try to keep him, Drogba, and the rest of the defending Premiership champs at bay.

Verdict: Expect Valencia to sit back and let Chelsea come to them. With the lead on away goals at the moment, Valencia should play very defensively as they tend to do all the time anyway. Chelsea is a very tired team as they continue to strive towards the Premiership title and the FA Cup, along with the Champions League. This has not allowed them to rest many key players down the stretch. Valencia, on the other hand, more or less sacrificed a win in the Primera as they rested for this game. I also expect a raucous crowd to be on hand at La Mestalla as they persuade Valencia to hold on. Even though Chelsea has more talent, I see a stellar defensive performance from Valencia as they win 1-0 on a late, counterattack goal from Joaquin that crushes the English superpower.

AS Roma @ Manchester United

Since I neither know nor care about this game let's just skip to the end.

Verdict : Man U rebounds from a dreadful first-leg performance, in which they deserved much worse than a 2-1 loss, to win 2-0 on goals by that uncouth Englishman Wayne Rooney and his svelte, Norweigian strike partner, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. United simply has too much talent to be losing to teams of Roma's caliber in such important matches, especially at Old Trafford.


guberman said...

valencia won't just sit back and let chealsea just come at them, or their guarantedd to get scored on

the best defence is a good offence

Man Hole said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Man Hole said...

For some reason I think the New Jersey Devils would disagree with that comment. So would the Detroit Pistons. And maybe even the Chicago Bears.

But hey, what do those teams know about winning?

A note on my previos deleted comment: Apparently you aren't supposed to put objectionable content on here, so I'll do my best.