Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Champions League Thoughts

Partizan Belgrade and Arsenal played a very strange match.  Three penalties, two missed, as well as some strange goals, and other questionable challenges, all added to Arsenal's usual reluctance to punish inferior teams.  The big question for Arsenal, other than why didn't Wenger buy a better keeper this summer;  Was Gael Clichy rested with Chelsea coming on Sunday, or has he been dropped for Kieran Gibbs (pictured, right)?

Ajax looked good, as I thought they would.  They didn't have enough to turn over Real Madrid in Madrid, but AC Milan have no answer for the young legs and silky skills of the Amsterdam lads. Milan were extremely lucky to hold on for a point, it should have been 4-0.  I really think Ajax kept Martin Jol and kept their World Cup stars because they think they are good enough to make a serious run in Europe this season.  Can they win the Champions League?  Probably not.  If they go out in the group stage will they sell their five best players in January?  Probably.  But if I am one of the big clubs, I do not want to see Ajax in the round of sixteen.

Chelsea obviously did not need Didier Drogba in their last European match, but I thought Marseille was an entirely different proposition.  They can be lackadaisical in defending though, which is why John Terry scored  a fluke of a goal in the first 8 minutes.

Real Madrid are similar to Arsenal in that they always make things more difficult than they need to be.  Especially since Jose Mourinho is trying to shoehorn several players into his 4-3-3 system that don't appear to fit it very well.  The egomaniacs that run the club are unlikely to buy the water carriers that Mourinho needs, so I still think this will be a short stay in Madrid for the Portu-geezer.  Given that, Auxerre just don't have the quality needed to compete at this level.

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