Posts Tagged ‘arsenal

20
Mar
09

Champions League draws announced

 The draws for the Champions League Quarter finals were announced today and it promises some really mouthwatering clashes. Defending Champions Manchester United take on Porto while rivals Arsenal take on the Yellow Submarines, Villareal. Liverpool who earlier thrashed Real Madrid will be facing off against Chelsea in all-English clash. High flying Barcelona square off against Bayern Munich.

United will be looking for revenge as it was Porto who triumphed last time they faced, throwing the Red Devils out of the 2004 tournament. But this time around, things may not be the same for Porto as half the side from the 2004 team are away. But the biggest person missing for them would be Jose Mourinho. It was the ‘Special one’ who guided the underdogs to a famous victory and later clinched the League itself. United are not the only club looking for vendetta. Spanish club Villareal crashed out against Arsenal in 2006 when Juan Roman Riquelme’s last minute penalty was saved by Gunners keeper Jens Lehmann.  Arsenal should be able to see off Villareal this time too.

Liverpool definitely are the team to watch out for. Captain Stevie G and marksman Fernando Torres are both in lethal form, blasting away oppositions including the likes of Man Utd and Real Madrid in recent weeks. Chelsea are under a Guus Hiddink revival, although I seriously doubt if even he could help them overcome the Merseysiders.  Barca vs Bayern is undoubtabely the clash of the stage. The teams are equally matched in all the departments and both the managers are relatively young and also have played for the respective clubs. The Catalan giants should reach the semis; a penalty shootout is very much a possibility here.  

I was hoping for an all-English semi final line up but with Chelsea and Liverpool facing eachother that is unlikely just like the last time. Also for the first time since the 2001-02 season, the quarters would see the absence of an Italian club.  My prayers are with Manchester United and I hope they repeat Moscow at Rome too later this year.

21
Aug
08

Sivestre a Gunner!

The unthinkable has happened for thew first time in 21 years. The last time somebody did this was Viv Anderson in 1987, albeit it was the other way around. French International Mikael Silvestre completed a move to Arsenal from arch rivals Manchester United. It will be interesting to see the kind of response he is going to receive from his former United fans when Arsenal play at Old Trafford later this season. The transformation from a Red Devil to a Gunner is never going to be easy for the left-back. Although the rivalry between the clubs do not have a Derby status like the one between the two Milan giants, it is still considered to be one of the greatest rivalries in football history. Premiership fans especially are known for the rather unhappy welcome they give to players while returning to play against their former home teams. Rio Ferdinand and Eric Cantona were both booed at Leeds for whom both had played before signing for Manchester United, during their games at Elland Road.

I doubt if Silvestre will ever be able to shine at the Emirates. Already in the twilight of his career, he will have to battle it out with countryman Gaël Clichy for a first team spot. But at the same time if he does perform he can more or less establish a first team place considering Arsenal has nobody else at the position and it is unlikely that Arsene Wenger would sign anybody else.  Wenger would want Silvestre’s role to be that of a guide to the young guns of the team. With the addition of Silvestre the number of French speaking players at the Emirates has now increased to 12.