Archive for the ‘Barclays Premier League’ Category

Just shocking news that came at around 1:08 PM PST, Portugal manager Big Phil Scolari has accepted the position of Chelsea manager, effective after Euro 2008 ends. Scolari planned to leave the national side even before the Chelsea job was even in question, but this announcement comes just hours after Portugal beat the Czech Republic 3-1, effectively sealing a quarterfinals position.

This is quite an interesting announcement considering the time of it, but there should be a press release an hour later, ESPN commentator Adrian Healey just announced it. There will be more to come, so Phil Scolari replaces Avram Grant as Chelsea manager.

Out

Unsurprisingly Sven has been sacked and is the 11th Premier League manager casualty now. Manchester City will try for manager #3, as Eriksson’s tenure lasts just 1 season. His accomplishments included a season sweep of Manchester United, but after a 3rd place position heading into 2008, it all collapsed and they fell 8-1 on the final day to Boro and dropped to 9th. The sacking was likely not warranted considering there were minor relegation fears, but I’m quite sure he did not meet expectations of the owner and will be job searching again.

Roberto Mancini was sacked by Inter Milan recently. The interesting thing is that he just won another Serie A title, but he had plans to quit anyway before changing his mind the following day. It did not matter, he left anyway, which leads me to…..

In

Well we may be seeing a swap in the future shall we?

I think this was a warranted sacking. He basically took over what Mourinho started and couldn’t win, and that upset some people who head the club. What’s even worse is that unless they had a 3 point lead in the final week of play they would’ve lost it to Bolton anyway. Just 8 months, he did what he could, but when it came down to the last step, he couldn’t finish.

The rule I guess for Chelski Chelsea is:

Runner up in Carling Cup + runner up in FA Community Shield + runner up in Premier League + runner up in Champions League + humiliation against Barnsley =

BYE BYE AVRAM!!!!!!!!!

Cue music, cue fans, cue stadium, cue commentators, we’re hours away from the first ever all-English final in UEFA Champions League history. Manchester United are looking for a cup double, while Chelsea are looking for instant success in their first ever final. Oops, and Avram Grant is also hoping that he isn’t thrown out if Chelsea lose again.

Manchester United

The Red Devils have had a great run in their first final since 1999 (the treble season). They have outscored their opponents 19-5, and just 1 goal was conceded in the knockout stage. Carlos Tevez and Wayne Rooney will be the forwards today and they will have to find a way to get past Petr Cech. Both have scored against Chelsea this season, with Tevez getting his first ever Man Utd goal at Old Trafford.

Cristiano Ronaldo, player of the year, one of the best in the game, need I say more? He leads all scorers in the Champions League with 7 goals, and we know what he can do to set up his teammates, or bend in a free kick from 30 yards away.

The midfield has been strong for the most part for United, Paul Scholes scored the winner for them against Barcelona to send them to the final, Ryan Giggs is going to surpass Bobby Charlton’s club record for caps, and Michael Carrick….well I said most part right?

United’s defense has been brilliant in this Champions League run, as mentioned, they’ve conceded just 5 goals in 14 matches. The goalkeeper Edwin Van Der Sar has been inconsistent at times, and he will have an important role in his first ever final.

Chelsea

Well, it hasn’t been as pretty but they are in! Things were quite bumpy after a 1-1 draw with Norwegian minnows Rosenborg at Stamford Bridge. Jose Mourinho resigned and things were in peril for the club. They had to rally to beat Valencia away 2-1. Although they won their group rather easily, their goal scoring form was poor, just 9 goals and even 2 scoreless draws.

However, they blew past Olympianakos, survived a massive scare from Fenerbahce, and that set up another round of Chelsea vs. Liverpool. They were essentially saved from elimination all because of John Arne Riise’s own goal in stoppage time at Anfield, as that got them an away goal and a draw heading back to Stamford Bridge. Frank Lampard, who lost his mother just 1 week before, stepped up and scored the go-ahead penalty in extra time with the score tied 1-1 in an emotional moment for the midfielder. They led 2-1, Didier Drogba scored to make it 3-1 and they held on to win 3-2 and 4-3 on aggregate.

For Chelsea to win this game, they need strong attacking play. Drogba has been in less than stellar form, Nicolas Anelka has been just about useless since being transferred from Bolton, and Andriy Schevchenko is just about the worst signing for the Blues this decade. They are in need of more chances to be created to frustrate Van Der Sar and company.

Michael Ballack has been much improved, the midfield seems to be dragging the Blues out of the dumpster, with Lampard and the German international leading the way. They will be very dangerous, especially when given an opportunity near the penalty area to smack in a free kick.

John Terry was injured 10 days ago against Bolton and that will be a major affect on this game, he will play, but whether or not he is healthy is the key. Petr Cech is considered by many to be one of the top goalkeepers in the world, and I find it hard to disagree.

Prediction

It’s going to be a tough one, a close game that will be dominated by defense, but I see Manchester United earning a cup double. We may even need extra time to decide this.

Man United 2 (Ronaldo 25, Tevez 103) Chelsea 1 (Lampard 33) (A.E.T)

For those in England, enjoy David Pleat butchering the names of Drogba and Beletti.:)

He’s done it again! Not a pretty goal, not a pretty game (actually the game was not entertaining at all…), but Kanu has sent Pompey to FA Cup glory over Cardiff City. Harry Redknapp two years ago rescued the south coast side from relegation, and now they are FA Cup champions. They will be playing in the UEFA Cup next season, congrats to them, and congrats to Cardiff, who made quite the stunning run to the final.

As much as it pains me to see Fulham stay in the Premier League (this means that FSC will air at least 25 of their games in place of Chelsea vs. Blackburn), I cannot believe the escape act they have pulled. Via The Beautiful Game, here is Fulham’s escape.

A happy day for me, the players, and the other fans of Manchester United as they repeat their success from last season and win the Premier League title. All they needed was a win at the JJB against Wigan in front of their 20,000 faithful traveling fans, or a loss from Chelsea against Bolton. They got the win easily 2-0 on Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty kick and Ryan Giggs 80th minute clincher. Obviously it would not have mattered if they did not win because Chelsea were unable to finish off Bolton Wanderers at the death. Matthew Taylor’s stoppage time equalizer at Stamford Bridge sealed off Chelsea’s title hopes. Adding injury to insult (yeah I know it’s the other way around), John Terry and Didier Drogba both were injured in the process. Terry looks like he dislocated his elbow, while Drogba hurt his knee at the end of the match.

The injuries are huge because Chelsea still have to face the Red Devils in Moscow for the UEFA Champions League final.

It was a wonderful season for United after a dreadful start. Opening game they lost Wayne Rooney to injury and were held to a 0-0 draw against Reading, drew 1-1 midweek at Portsmouth, and lost the Manchester Derby at City. They won all of their games up until their match against Chelsea by a 1-0 line. Their offense was rather mediocre. It was after the Chelsea game did they start scoring at will against the likes of Boro and Newcastle.

Man Utd were also aided late in the season by the collapse of Arsenal, who lost Eduardo to a horrific injury, and lost to both Chelsea and Manchester United (and they were up 1-0 in both before losing 2-1).

After the Arsenal win they were in the driver’s seat for another title, but Chelsea was creeping closer, and United dropped point to Blackburn. The Blues and Red Devils were deadlocked at points after Michael Ballack’s winning penalty at Stamford Bridge, and, after both sides cruised over their opponents, led to this dramatic finale.

Chelsea were not exactly impressive either, and the week in which they were to face United at Old Trafford, Jose Mourinho resigned, in the wake of a 1-1 draw with Goteborg. Avram Grant’s side were dominated and fell 2-0.

Chelsea would continue to string wins together but hit a wall when Arsenal beat them 1-0 at the Emirates on a William Gallas goal. In 3rd place and seemingly out of the title race heading into 2008. The Arsenal loss would be their last of the Premier League season.

Kudos to the Blues for a great comeback, but going trophyless could mean curtains for Grant, who has turned the ship around.

Now to the relegation side!

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