|Football Bettor's Survey|
This Week's Champions League Preview
This week, we see Man U play Roma in the Champions League. Roma's learnt a few lessons from the embarrassing scoreline the last time they played at Old Trafford (7-1). They’ll surely be out to prove something this round - I can still see Totti seething. The loss should still weigh heavily on Roma’s minds and I’m quite sure they want to make home advantage count.
In any case, Roma’s last league game against Cagliari (1-1) was a disappointment and they never looked like they were going to take all 3 points, with their one eye on this week’s CL fixture.
In contrast, Man U has been standing tall - dominating games in the league by hammering Liverpool 3-0 and thrashing Villa 4-0 in the 2 matches preceding this round of the Champions League. Ronaldo has been hailed the best player on the planet in the wake of a hungover Ronaldhino, an injured-till-May Messi and a Kaka who’s languishing in 5th place in the Serie A with Milan, especially since the audacious backheel goal he scored against Villa.
Ferguson’s not lifted the CL trophy since the famous treble in 1999 and should be itching to get his fingers on this Cup before a decade is up, with his boys in such fine form.
One thing’s for sure, motivation will not be lacking on the part of any club who has come this far in the Champions League. Hence, it is always tough to separate the men from the boys in the CL. We don’t have as many head-to-head comparisons to make as compared to between teams in the national leagues . Tactical styles evolve within the domestic leagues and are pit against teams from other evolving leagues. Players who have come up the ranks play in the CL for the first time in Europe and it’s anybody’s guess how they are going to take to the big stage.
Hence, it is true that Benitez has an advantage when it comes to Europe. The results in recent seasons says he seems to have it figured out better than the other managers.
This week however, Liverpool face Arsenal in the Champions League away and so you could say that this match would be more similar to an EPL clash than a CL fixture.
My view is that while Arsenal showed laudible mental and physical strength in their comeback against Bolton, they should also be somewhat exhausted playing 10 men for most of the 2nd half and giving it their all just a few days ago. I would describe them now as being happy, confident but quite tired. Wenger doesn't have many other options if he's to put forward his best team.
Liverpool looked like they were really trying to preserve energy for this CL fixture after they were one goal up in the 1st half - kicking the ball around somewhat listlessly in the 2nd - it was clear their minds were on the CL and this should be a good sign for them. Benitez’s single hope for glory this season remains the Champions League once again.
Abramovich will want to see his hundreds of millions of pounds take at least one CL tropy soon. Chelsea’s also in good form so let’s see if they can overcome the hostile atmosphere in Turkey when they play Fenerbahce.
Barca? Rijkaard’s losing his grip and most of the team of superstars are in some kind of foul mood. Even Eto'o’s enthusiasm seems to have faded. I doubt we’ll see much of the Barcelona we know this season. Schalke should be eager to take advantage of the chance to skin the scalp of a below-par Barcelona this week based on homeground advantage.
By Jason Ong
I've been a member since July 2003, maybe one of the first to join the Silver Circle. 2004 was a good year but I really enjoyed the long run we had in, I think, July 2005. It was exhilarating! 2006-2007 was not as exciting although still quite profitable and so far 2007-2008 looks quite good. I'm wondering if we're going to hit a long one again soon. Anyway, it's been a pleasure as always with your service, Greg. Armstrong and you are one of the few people I trust on the internet. You have made my retirement so much more fun and financially happy!
Best Wishes, Trent Wrayford, Sidney