- Bayern Munich vs Man City: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up & Prediction
- Manchester United vs Shakhtar: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up & Prediction
- Possible Manchester United Starting Line-Up Against Shakhtar – Rooney Returns
- Stat Attack: Are Liverpool Over-Achieving This Season?
- Chelsea’s Leaky Defence: Analysing the Last Seven Goals Conceded
- Arsenal and Liverpool Set to Gain from Spanish Giant’s ‘Exodus’?
- Blackburn’s DJ Campbell arrested in football spot-fixing probe
- Steven Gerrard could be out for six weeks – Huge blow to Liverpool
- Chelsea want £10m defender in January, Barcelona target Aguero & Van Persie
- Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Ramsey, Barkley & Other Major Talking Points
- PHOTO: Mesut Ozil celebrates his goal against Everton
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 10:45 AM PST
Bayern Munich vs Man City: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up & Prediction - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Manchester City will face European champions Bayern Munich on Tuesday in the Champions League Group D match at the Allianz Arena. Both the teams have qualified to the knock out rounds, but Pep Guardiola, whose side has won all the five matches so far, is still wary of the threat City can pose.
Bayern have won their last 10 matches in the Champions League and are leading the Bundesliga table as well, four points ahead of second placed Bayer Leverkusen. They are heading into this match on the back of a 7-0 victory against Werder Bremen.
Manchester City on the other hand are having a strange season so far. While their home form are simply impeccable – winning all of their league matches, their away form has been the biggest worry.
City have won their last three matches in the Champions League and without any pressure for this match, expect them to play with more freedom. They are 5/1 with Ladbrokes to earn a victory against the German champions.
For Bayern, Arjen Robben will miss out through injury while Philipp Lahm could return to the side after missing the last game.
Yaya Toure is suspended after picking up a third yellow card in the Champions League while Joe Hart could start in goal.
In absence of Toure, Javi Garcia could be introduced while Bosnian striker Edin Dzeko could start as lone striker, with Aguero behind.
Prediction: 2-1; Bayern will put up a strong team expect them to make it six wins out of six in the Champions League
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 10:32 AM PST
Manchester United vs Shakhtar: Preview, Team News, Likely Line-Up & Prediction - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
After back to back defeats in the Premier League, Manchester United will look to return to winning ways at the expense of Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League.
The Red Devils have already qualified to the knock out phase of the competition, but David Moyes would be looking for nothing less than a victory tomorrow at the Old Trafford.
Manchester United are really struggling on the domestic front. Following their defeat at the hands of Newcastle in the Premier League this weekend, the Champions have dropped to 9th in the league table, 13 points behind leaders Arsenal.
On the contrary, their European journey has been brilliant so far. They sit on top of the Group A table and even a draw against the Ukrainian side will cement that position. The Red Devils are undefeated in the last five matches in the Champions League while have kept a clean sheet in their last three matches. They are at evens with Ladbrokes to register a win against Shakhtar on Tuesday.
David Moyes will be without the services of injured Michael Carrick, Chris Smalling and Darren Fletcher for this tie. Shinji Kagawa is expected to return to the squad and has trained today. Skipper Nemanja Vidic and Patrice Evra are all doubts while Marouane Fellaini also failed to train this morning.
Wayne Rooney is expected to return after serving a one-game ban, while Van Persie might be rested for this tie.
Manchester United Likely Line-Up
Rooney is back and will take up the lone strike role, while Kagawa may drop in the no 10 position. Moyes could deploy either of Welbeck or Nani on the left wing.
Prediction: 2-0, Manchester United will have to bounce back to winning ways and this is a good opportunity for them to do so.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 10:08 AM PST
Possible Manchester United Starting Line-Up Against Shakhtar – Rooney Returns - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Man Utd will host Ukrainian champions Shakhtar Donetsk on Tuesday night, in what has turned into an absolutely critical game for manager David Moyes.
So often an impenetrable fortress, Old Trafford has of late been a place of wretched agony for the Man Utd faithful; with both Everton and Newcastle registering hard fought 1-0 wins over the last week. While the second consecutive home loss on Saturday was deeply unsettling, another loss at the hands of Shakhtar would be almost unbearable for Moyes and his men.
Yet a win or a draw will send Utd through to the last 16 as group winners, which would be a perfect, albeit temporary remedy to the dejection currently festering around the club.
Here is the latest Man Utd team news:
Defence: Moyes is sweating over injuries to Patrice Evra, Nemanja Vidic and Chris Smalling at the back; with the defensive trio all missing training on Monday. This could mean a reshuffle at the back, with perhaps a return for Rio Ferdinand in the heart of defence. Alex Buttner is also ready to step in.
Midfield: While struggling a little at he back, the United manager has Shinji Kagawa available for the tie, with the Japanese international having returned to training on Monday.
However, Marouane Fellaini was missing from training that day, and doesn’t look likely to feature.
Forwards: Robin Van Persie came through the full 90 minutes in the defeat to Newcastle on Saturday, but may be used cautiously midweek. The return of Wayne Rooney from suspension will make it easier for Moyes to protect his Dutch hit-man.
Man Utd Champions League Form: WDWDW
Prediction: 1-0 – A pivotal victory for United; and a partial weight to be lifted off of their beleaguered manager’s shoulders.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 06:47 AM PST
Stat Attack: Are Liverpool Over-Achieving This Season? - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Liverpool courtesy of their 4-1 win against West Ham on Saturday have climbed up to the second place in the Premier League. It is their best start to a league season in many years and while they are far from being a complete team, manager Brendan Rodgers has somehow managed to keep the side going from strength to strength.
There is a genuine lack of squad depth while the side is over-reliant on individual brilliance mainly. Liverpool's only advantage, and that is a huge advantage, over their rivals is – they don't have any side distractions in the form of European commitments, hence Rodgers can field his best 11 week-in-week-out, giving his players adequate rest.
The Reds are only five points behind league leaders Arsenal. They have won all their home games bar one; Luis Suarez is the top scorer in the league, Steven Gerrard is the top joint-assist provider; second highest goal tally behind Manchester City with 32 goals – there are aplenty reasons to be cheer about. Yet, doubts persist.
The epicenter of the doubt starts with none other than Liverpool's manager Brendan Rodgers himself. The same manager who was an advocate of the death-by-football philosophy, who ensured Liverpool play the most attractive football in the league despite poor results, has suddenly abandoned his system, and instead injected a hybrid-mix that has left many purists concerned about Liverpool’s true progress.
At times Liverpool have played cavalier football, while other times they just managed to carve out results, by winning it ugly, unconvincingly. This dichotomy (not visible under Rodgers in the first half of last season) has given birth to a question – are the Reds over-achieving this season?
The league table only reflects the good work they've put in. Liverpool are 11 points ahead after 15 Premier League games than last season. While, the over-emphasis on pass and ball retention has dropped a little, but where Liverpool have really improved is shots on target this season.
If we compare, Liverpool's stats with leaders Arsenal, we can see, the Reds (17.1; 256 shots) have a better shots/game ratio than the Gunners (13.9; 208). Most importantly, the shot on target/game is also higher – Liverpool (6.5; 97 shots) compared to Arsenal (5.9; 88 shots).
The lion-share of credit goes to Luis Suarez for that. With 14 goals in 10 games, he alone contributes 6.1 shots per game. Ball retention is the primary strategy that Rodgers preached last season and if we see the stats, we will find, the Reds haven't done badly in that area as well. Liverpool and Arsenal both enjoy 55.2% average possession, while the Reds averaged 84.6% passing accuracy, slightly less than Arsenal with 85.2% accuracy.
The only major worry for the Reds is their defence that is leaking in goals in almost every games (13.5 shots conceded per game, compared to Arsenal’s 11.4). Post September, they have only managed just one clean sheet, while have conceded 13 away goals.
At this stage, I am not too worried about Rodgers' abandonment on his consecrated tactical philosophy. Probably, he felt that he doesn't have the right players with him at the moment that can execute his philosophy of death-by-football and that it can wait. Primary task is to get the best out of current players and for that he must ensure Liverpool win more games and stay competitive in the league.
They are just doing what they're expected of. They are not dropping points against weaker oppositions, strikers are more clinical than previous season and results are coming on their way. They have simply kept the basics right while probably there is a belief in the team that they can grind out results when things are not going right.
December will provide an acid test for the Reds as they face the likes of Spurs, Manchester City and Chelsea. If Rodgers' men can carve out positive results out of these games, the confidence will be sky high that will propel them to finish within top four. And that by no means is an over-achievement.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 06:41 AM PST
Chelsea's Leaky Defence: Analysing the Last Seven Goals Conceded - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Upon the Portuguese pitching up once more at Stamford Bridge, everyone expected Jose Mourinho's Chelsea to return to the days of impenetrable rearguards, and record-breaking defensive solidarity.
But despite still being in the hunt for the title, the Blues' defence has often been far from secure this season; and with only one clean sheet in their last ten games, it seems all is not well at the back.
Gary Cahill has come out in vague defence of his colleagues, insisting that the Blues will soon shore up their shaky defence,
"Of course, you can tidy up on mistakes, but they're not major, major mistakes," Cahill told the Mirror,
"They are just little bits and bobs which have happened in games this season and which I'm sure won't be happening in future"
Having conceded seven goals in the last three games to Southampton, Sunderland and Stoke; we at Soccerlens have taken it upon ourselves to analyse each and every one of these goals, in an attempt to ascertain the cause, blame and potential for remedy.
1. Chelsea 0-1 Southampton
Scorer: Jay Rodriguez
When: 1st minute
Blame: Michael Essien
Conceded in the very first minute of the game, it was clear that this was a hugely unfortunate error from Chelsea's Michael Essien in the middle of the park. Awkwardly volleying the ball inadvertently into the path of the onrushing Rodriguez, the Ghanaian gave his defenders absolutely no chance. Jose Mourinho has come out in defence of his long-serving player; and it must go down as a mistake.
2. Sunderland 1-0 Chelsea
Scorer: Jozy Altidore
When: 14th minute
Blame: John Terry
Chelsea's captain has never been lightning fast, by any stretch; but he allowed the Black Cats striker, Altidore to turn inside the box, and fire in his first goal for the club from 10 yards. Far too easy for the American.
3. Sunderland 2-2 Chelsea
Scorer: John O'Shea
When: 50th minute
Blame: Frank Lampard + Cesar Azpilicueta
The first in a number of examples of poor set-piece defending from the Blues. This time it was Lampard and Azpilicueta who failed to deal with a corner at the near post; with the ball bouncing kindly to O'Shea to stab home.
4. Sunderland 3-4 Chelsea
Scorer: Phil Bardsley
When: 86th minute
Blame: John Obi Mikel + Demba Ba
Another set-piece, and another goal conceded for the Blues. Mikel backs out of the original challenge, thereby allowing the ball to bounce; then Ba lets Phil Bardsley get away from him in the box, with the Senegalese too interested in not conceding a penalty. The easiest of finishes in the end for the full-back.
5. Stoke 1-1 Chelsea
Scorer: Peter Crouch
When: 42nd minute
Despite towering above the rest of the players, Crouch managed to collect the ball in the box…with his feet! Branislav Ivanovic failed to win the initial header (once more from a corner), Petr Cech had strayed into no-mans-land, and the rest of the Chelsea defence stood idle as the England striker smacked the ball into an unguarded net.
6. Stoke 2-1 Chelsea
Scorer: Steven Ireland
When: 50th minute
Blame: Cesar Azpilicueta + the Blues midfield
Spanish fullback Azpilicueta has been playing out of position lately; and while he has put in some impressive displays, he is not fully at home on his unfavoured left side. He was beaten for pace by Jon Walters, who then fed Ireland in the middle. The Chelsea midfield dawdled behind the Stoke midfielder, who had all the time in the world to curl in a lovely effort. The Blues’ defensive midfield needs to provide greater cover.
7. Stoke 3-2 Chelsea
Scorer: Oussama Assaidi
When: 90th Minute
Despite the Chelsea midfield being entirely missing up the other end of the pitch in search of a winner, there can be no real blame attached to this thunderbolt from Assaidi. The Morrocan cut inside, but was so quick to unleash his shot that Ivanovic and Cahill had no chance, with Cech throwing himself helplessly at the goal-bound strike.
Conclusion: When Gary Cahill said that ‘little bits and bobs’ were causing the problems at the back, he wasn’t too wrong. The Blues have made some silly mistakes over the past week, but almost all of them have led to goals, which is quite unusual.
What is clear is that their central midfield is lacking in depth. It should be of paramount importance to Mourinho come January to bring in at least one world class central midfielder; ideally one with good defensive awareness, and also a good passing range.
Chelsea’s back-line, who almost singlehandedly won the Champions League in 2012, have to be more assertive. No-nonsense defending must be on the agenda for the vulnerable Blues, who must patch up now, or risk falling behind in the race for the Premier League crown.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 03:12 AM PST
Arsenal and Liverpool Set to Gain from Spanish Giant’s ‘Exodus’? - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Spanish giants Barcelona are gearing up for war this transfer window, with a whole host of names reportedly close to leaving the Camp Nou.
According to Spanish newspaper, Marca, no less than seven players in and around the first team are edging towards the exit, in what they are describing could be an impending ‘exodus’.
Pedro is the biggest potential casualty for the Catalan club, with Spanish winger linked with a move to Arsenal and Man Utd in the last few weeks.
The futures of the likes of Tello, Bartra and Montoya have also been of concern at the club; with Liverpool just one of a number of clubs monitoring the situation. Victor Valdes’ exit has already been set for the summer, with Barca already looking for a replacement.
Indeed, Gerard Pique came out last week in response to the growing transfer rumours,
With the report in AS that Barca's Tello and Montoya will look to leave if they do not get more game time, Pique said, “I understand Tello and Montoya, but this is Barca and we all fight for our starting place. The exit door is always open if you aren’t happy.”
Contrary to the defender’s words, Barca are loath to lose so many; and the growing crisis has kickstarted Barca sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta into action, ‘Marca’ claims, with his first order of business the growing Sanabria saga.
Here at Soccerlens we have followed proceedings closely; with the Gunners and Roma currently battling it out for the Paraguayan youngster, who seems to have his heart set on a move away from Catalonia.
Waiting in the wings, beyond the present and most obvious transfer speculation, is Andres Iniesta; with ‘Marca’ reporting that he is still to agree on a contract extension, with no imminent breakthrough on the horizon.
This all equates to what the Spanish paper concludes as a change from Barca being the ideal destination for a footballer, regardless of first team football.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 03:03 AM PST
Blackburn’s DJ Campbell arrested in football spot-fixing probe - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Blackburn Rovers forward DJ Campbell is one of the six people arrested in connection with a football spot-fixing investigation, his club have confirmed.
On 28th November, we covered a story based on the reports of The Telegraph that said six people were arrested including a former Premier League player as a part of an ongoing investigation on suspicion of fixing English football games, but due to confidential reasons, the name wasn't published then.
According to reports from the Guardian, the 32-year-old has been detained as part of an investigation by the National Crime Agency (NCA).
Blackburn Rovers said in a statement: “Following reports in today’s national media, Blackburn Rovers can confirm that striker DJ Campbell has been arrested. The club will be making no further comment on what is now an ongoing legal matter.”
The Sun on Sunday newspaper reported that an undercover investigator met former Portsmouth player Sam Sodje, who is also actively involved in the racket said he could arrange for footballers in the Championship to get themselves a yellow card in return for thousands of pounds.
What was alarming was he even stated that he could rig a Premier League match and that he was plotting to do something similar for next year's World Cup in Brazil as well.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 01:27 AM PST
Steven Gerrard could be out for six weeks – Huge blow to Liverpool - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Liverpool started their crucial month of December with great hope and trepidation all at the same time. If the convincing 4-1 victory over West Ham is the hint of good-things-to-come in an otherwise hectic and tough run-of-fixtures, the injury to skipper Steven Gerrard leaves a blotch in the spirited Reds camp.
Gerrard suffered a hamstring injury against the Hammers in the last match and was forced to leave the ground in the second half. And the Reds fear, he could be out for four to six weeks time, which means the skipper will miss the crucial games against Spurs, Manchester City and Chelsea later this month.
It is indeed a devastating blow for Brendan Rodgers. Liverpool do not boast a terrific squad-depth and therefore key players are irreplaceable in the squad.
Rodgers is already missing the services of Daniel Sturridge and now in absence of Gerrard, the onus of responsibility falls largely on the shoulders of Luis Suarez.
The good news for Liverpool fans is Joe Allen, has hinted of returning back to old form and did put up an impressive performance against West Ham in the last match. Rodgers would be expecting Allen to continue and build on that good performance from here on, and try to nullify the void left the skipper.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 12:49 AM PST
Chelsea want £10m defender in January, Barcelona target Aguero & Van Persie - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Jose Mourinho's second stint with Chelsea hasn't been a smooth ride so far with strike problem remains a major thorn in flesh for the Blues. The cause for frustration further stems out from the fact that defence, which was Mourinho's major strength in his first spell, hasn't provided enough safety at the back, as Chelsea continue to leak in goals at an alarming rate.
With 17 goals conceded in the league so far, 11 away from home, the jittery defence needs some bolstering in the upcoming transfer window. Further, injury to David Luiz has also restricted Mourinho with limited options, though going by the reports, the Brazilian seems unhappy under the Portuguese and could be leaving the club in January; with Spanish giants Barcelona eager to claim his services.
The Daily Mirror reports that Chelsea are keen to buy French youngster Kurt Zouma, who will be available for a fee in the region of £10m.
The 19-year-old Saint-Etienne centre-half is in the middle of 10-match-ban for a horror tackle, but Mourinho holds a high opinion about his talents. The defender is eligible for the Champions League as well which could prove to be an attractive incentive for the Blues to get him signed.
Barcelona meanwhile are not only keeping their options open to bolster their defence; the Catalan giants are equally concerned about their forward line as well.
According to Catalan newspaper Sport, Barcelona will be targeting Manchester for the striker-hunt operation. They have targeted Manchester City's Sergio Aguero and Manchester United's Robin van Persie to lead the line next summer and are even prepared to shell out 45m Euros for either of the two.
While dishing out such huge sum on the Argentine Aguero still makes sense, but spending that amount on a 30-year-old raises eyebrow, despite the fact, Van Persie has been the leading top scorer in the Premier League for the last two seasons.
The Catalan press has given credence to the rumour started by BBC pundit Mark Lawrenson that the Dutchman has handed in a transfer request (despite having a contract till 2016) and could leave in the January window.
Posted: 09 Dec 2013 12:00 AM PST
Arsenal 1-1 Everton: Ramsey, Barkley & Other Major Talking Points - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Arsenal and Everton played out a high-quality spectacle on Sunday, with two second-half goals resulting the in the spoils being shared at the Emirates Stadium.
Mesut Ozil looked to have given the hosts victory with a late strike, but Toffees' substitute Gerard Deulofeu struck a swift equaliser to seal a draw.
Here are five things we learned in the game.
Everton a more progressive team under Martinez
The way that Everton started the game will have been a source of great pride for Roberto Martinez, who has made the Goodison Park outfit a more-rounded side.
The visitors ended up with more possession than their table-topping opponents, and had the confidence to play the ball on the deck consistently.
This adventurous and attacking outlook that the Merseyside club are adopting is refreshing for the neutral, while the Everton fans must love the brand of football Martinez has brought to the club.
Aaron Ramsey is human
The Wales international midfielder has undoubtedly been the most in-form player in the Premier League this season, but had a rare off day on Sunday.
Although the box-to-box midfielder should continue his considerable influence on proceedings for Arsenal, the club need to have a plan B should Ramsey not fire.
The Emirates Stadium outfit's fans will hope he can play more of a role in Arsenal's game against Napoli in midweek.
Ross Barkley and Gareth Barry should go to the World Cup
Part of the reason that Ramsey was not his usual dominant self was due to Everton's midfield putting in a memorable shift.
Gareth Barry dominated affairs for the visitors and his form for Everton should have Roy Hodgson seriously considering bringing the Manchester City loanee back into the England squad.
Meanwhile, Ross Barkley showed some deft touches, outstanding vision and excellent movement off the ball and he could well be the Three Lions' wildcard next summer.
Koscielny is Arsenal's rock
Per Mertesacker has gained a lot of the plaudits for Arsenal's excellent defensive record of late, but his centre-half partner was the standout performer in the Gunners' back four.
Against the considerable pace and power of Romelu Lukaku, Laurent Koscielny made critical interceptions and clearances all afternoon long and showed a real poise at the heart of the Arsenal rearguard.
The French defender has grown into one of the best players in his position in the Premier League and is an important man for the Gunners.
Everton can finish in the top four
The race for the top four this season is set to go right down to the wire, with more contenders for Champions League qualification than in the recent memory.
Despite this, four points in two away games against Manchester United and Arsenal in the space of a week is a fantastic return for the Merseysiders, and Everton look like the real deal this season.
Their brand of football and squad will see them as a real threat to the top four places.
Posted: 08 Dec 2013 11:03 AM PST
PHOTO: Mesut Ozil celebrates his goal against Everton - originally posted on Soccerlens.com
Arsenal were held to a thrilling 1-1 draw at the Emirates by Everton and were denied a seven-point lead at the top of the Premier League.
After a stalemate first half, where the visitors had the better possession and created more half chances, the game opened up in the second half.
Arsenal’s neat passing and some clever movements created few good opportunities but the Blue-line defence was equally resolute, until in the 81st minute, darling-boy Mesut Ozil found the net from the close range.
Everton equalized through substitute Gerard Deulofeu four minutes later. In the dying minutes of the match, Olivier Giroud hit the bar with a wonderful volley
|You are subscribed to email updates from Soccerlens.com |
To stop receiving these emails, you may unsubscribe now.
|Email delivery powered by Google|
|Google Inc., 20 West Kinzie, Chicago IL USA 60610|