Category: Champions League


Arsenal vs Galatasaray – UEFA Champions League

Arsenal vs Galatasaray

Arsenal news:

In a critical period for Arsenal football club, Arsene Wenger is called to find solutions instantly. At the time when one key player gets injured after the other, Arsenal has been left six points back from the top in Premier League. They have started with defeat in the Champions League. On Saturday, in London’s derby against Tottenham Hotspur, they showed problems in creating chances. They were left back in the score due to mistakes in defense. During the last half hour they were running to fix all the problems. They equalized by Chamberlain (74′) and they have another big derby in front of them, the one against Chelsea (away).

They were unready in the premiere of Champions League. They easily lost 2-0 to Borussia Dortmund (which is fair enough) and as Wenger said, today’s match is very crucial. The French coach, tonight completes 18 years on Arsenal’s bench (took over in 1st October 1996). What interests him today is simply to win: “The only thing I’m thinking right now is the game against the turkish team. Clearly it is a great honor to be 18 years on the bench of this club, but there is no time for flashbacks. Maybe this will be done some time in the future. Now all i care about is to defeat Galatasaray.

“As for the many injuries that arose, he called it “inexplicable phenomenon”. He stated that he has confidence in his team: “The most important in Champions League is to do three home wins. You also have to try and get some points away. So today’s match is very important. I have confidence in my team and I believe that we will succeed.”

They face new injures from the match against Tottenham. Most important of them are these of midfielders Ramsey and Arteta, who will be absent for Arsenal. Basic player, Wilshere, is also injured but he’ll possibly be prevented from the game. Diaby’s participation, who comes from a serious injury and recovers slowly, will not be risked. Other known problems are long time absences of: Debuchy (right back), Giroud (striker), Monreal (left back), Walcott (winger), Gnabry (winger) and Sanogo (striker).

In the plans of the starting lineup, a lot will depend on the presence of Wilshere. If he succeeds to play, he is expected to take a position in midfield along with Flamini. If not, Wenger will give the role of the second defensive midfielder to Cazorla. Otherwise, he will bring Chambers in Arsenal’s midfield. In this case Bellerin will play right back, as in the match against Dortmund.

Galatasaray news:

They got an extreme point playing at home against Anderlecht in the premiere of Champions League (1-1), equalizing in 91′ by Burak Yilmaz. They were minimally threatening, chasing the score from the 52′. They succeeded because of the home funs and the pressure they put, sometimes even unorthodox.

For the SuperLig, they came back to victories, after two games in the league. They took a difficult victory against Sivasspor on Friday at “Turk Telekom Arena”. Despite the quick goals by Chedjou and Burak Yılmaz, they got nervous after deduction of score. They lost possession and were threatened to be equalized in the end. Once again Cesare Prandelli shuffled the deck. The Italian changed the scheme and the players constantly. In the last match he planned a 4-3-2-1 with three midfielders and Adin often coming as a second striker. During the game he changed to 3-5-2, a scheme that Roberto Mancini insisted last year (and was fired by the end of the season!).

In six official games till now, Prandelli has never retained the same team. “We face a quality and experienced team. We will try to play our game and withstand the pressure. Arsenal has many injuries, but we will not change our philosophy. There is no reason. Concentration and patience is needed” said Prandelli. He is the only one of the 32 coaches in Champions League groups who does not know English (he only speaks Italian).

Didier Drogba visited the team’s hotel, as a player of Galatasaray until last year, sat for some time, chatting mostly with Sneijder and Burak Yilmaz.

Galatasaray is complete and will play with a 3-5-2 scheme in London tonight. Sneijder can play ahead of the four of the midfield, in a free role. The Brazilian midfielder, Felipe Melo, will be in a role as a libero which is another tactic used by Mancini last year but did not work. Galatasaray‘s left back Telles becomes midfielder. Speedy winger, Adin, fights for the position as a partner of Burak Yilmaz, in front of the Skopjan newcomer Pandev.

History :  Arsenal vs Galatasaray : The two teams have never met before.


UEFA Champions League – Bayer Leverkusen vs Benfica

Bayer Leverkusen news:

Even today if you ask any Leverkusen’s player how they lost to Monaco at the premiere, he will not be able to explain it. What can he say about that? That they lost … the sure goals and also Monaco scored in the one and only chance created?

This is certainly the true and the phenomenon of the difficulty in scoring has spread to the “aspirin.” Playing with ten players for most of the game against Freiburg, they created plenty of classic chances, but were left in a goalless draw (had two attempts at the post), unable to continue after the victory over Augsburg in the intercalary matchday in Bundesliga. The impressive start of the season had not continuity for Roger’s Schmidt players, since they have just one win in their four most recent games in the Bundesliga and in the last five officially. However, if we say that they do not play nice football it will be a lie. Just they lack effectiveness.

“The fact that last year Benfica reached the final of the Europa League is not by chance. Benfica have several players from South America who know well how to win the ball and deal with such games. We must begin to win and this has to be done instantly. The group has just six games and we have already lost one. Now we need to get the victory. Key in the match will be the way in which we will defend in the counterattacks of our opponents” these were the words of Roger Schmidt at the press conference.

Key midfielders Rolfes (captain) and Castro remain unavailable for the match. Thus the solutions in midfield are limited. Along with the above, K.Papadopoulos (Stopper) and Brandt (useful attacking midfielder) will be out. Boenisch is facing minor injury problem (basic left back), Schmidt will wait for him until the beginning of the match.

Benfica news:

The start of the “Eagles” in the competition was very poor as after a moderate appearance, they lost at home against Zenit (2-0). Just in the 5′ Hulk who was found himself towards Artur, lost no time and opened the scoring for the Russian team while in the 18′ Benfica were left with ten players when Artur overthrew Danny. The Russians two minutes later won a corner from which Witsel who was found in an advantageous position easily scored the second goal (2-0). In the rest of the match, the “mountain” that Benfica had to climb was beyond their capabilities.

Despite all these, in the league they continued winning as last Saturday won Estoril 3-2. They started with two goals by Talisca in 3′ and in 8′, and then they relaxed until the 53′ when the score turn to a draw 2-2. The victory was given by Lima in the 70′.

Digging in the statements in terms of Benfica, the most interesting one is probably the Brazilian’s midfielder Derley, who said that although the aim is to win, draw will also be important. Jesus beyond the many that he said, he did his estimates for the group saying “for us it will be a success to qualify from the group. In football anything can happen, so we can dream without anyone to have the right to steal our dreams. The fact is that there are 4-5 strong teams that usually reach the semifinals and the final. There is also an outsider, such as Atletico Madrid last year. This is what we have in mind.”

About the game said: “a second defeat will make the situation quite complicated for us. We played against Leverkusen a few years ago and since then, they still have 6-7 players, but they have a different coach who brought new ideas, as a result they play good games in Bundesliga. It will be a tough match and we should do our best to get the win. We have the quality to do it.”

The only change from the previous match again Estoril has to do at the position of the goalkeeper, where Artur is suspended for the current match. His place was taken by Julio Cesar who was also injured in the right leg, but Jesus took three goalkeepers for this match since the international goalkeeper is not 100% ready. From there onwards, the seriously injured Amorim (midfielder, 2/0), Jara (striker, 2 app.), Fejsa (midfielder, without app.), Silvio (defender, without app.) and Sulejmani (striker, without app.) remain unavailable. Nelson Oliveira, Miguel Santos, Loris Benito, Pizzi and Bebe were left out for the match against Leverkusen because they had no appearances in the championship.

History :  Bayer Leverkusen vs Benfica : The two teams have met twice before.

Europa League 21/02/2013:  Benfica vs Bayer Leverkusen      2-1

Europa League 14/02/2013:  Bayer Leverkusen vs Benfica      0-1

Manchester City vs Roma – UEFA Champions League


Manchester City news:

As time passes so they revs up. Nevertheless still they have not reached the desired level of form and this mainly happens because of the major problems they have in defense. Against Hull they got in danger almost out of nowhere, because center-back Mangala was in a … tragic day (an own goal, a penalty). Thus, the in favor of them 2-0 turned to a draw 2-2 and they needed Dzeko (68 ‘) and Lampard (87’, scored in a third consecutive match) to lead the team to victory (4-2).

In the Champions League, Manchester City may lost to Bayern by a goal scored in 90 ‘(1-0), but the result was fair, as they had escaped earlier in many cases. “We lost in the end, in the details. Even if we could get a point, the pressure in view of the match against Roma would be the same. Last year too, if you remember, we started with a defeat and then we did 5 straight wins. This is what we’ll try to do now too, we can win Roma, although the game will be very difficult, “said Pellegrini initially in view of the current match.

“At the beginning of the season we had some problems in scoring, we scored only one goal in the home matches against Stoke and Chelsea, but it seems that we changed, we returned to our standard. Nevertheless the match against Roma requires great caution. It’s a good team, they have won the first 5 games they played since last year Rudi Garcia did a great job and has built a team with excellent technique and very quick” the Chilean coach added.

Goalkeeper Hart was left on the bench in the previous two matches (his place was taken by Caballero), but he is expected to return to the lineup against Roma. Striker Jovetic did not play, but he was trained normally yesterday and became available to coach. Key player Fernando (midfielder) and Nasri (winger) were out in the previous games and they remain unavailable. In fact, the Frenchman was subjected to surgery yesterday and will be out for about a month. Fernando revs up and next week he will be ready for Manchester City.

As for the lineup, it is a question whether Pellegrini will present the team with two strikers (Dzeko at top and Aguero behind him), as he did in most of the games so far, or will prefer a scheme similar to that in Munich, who played with one striker.

Roma news:

Roma struggled, but managed to prevail to Verona in “Stadio Olimpico” by the goals of Florenzi 75′ and Destro in 87′ and to do the “5 out of 5” in Serie A, one week before the top derby to Juventus in Turin. In their premiere of the group in Champions League they played fantastic football in Rome Italy, crashing CSKA Moscow 5-1 (4-0 at halftime). Their history in England is very poor, as in the last seven games in there at the level of Champions League they count one draw (1-1 to Arsenal in 2003) and six defeats, between them, is the heavy on by Manchester United 7-1 in 2007 .

“When the group’s draw took place, everyone had as written off. Now everyone count us and I’m proud of that. If we leave with a positive result in Manchester, we will make a major step towards qualification, but not decisive. Champions League’s matches themselves offer a great motivation to players. We must be patient to hit at the right moment. Manchester City, when they find spaces they speed up suddenly. We must have possession of the ball. We know that our work will not be easy, but we will do everything possible to make life difficult for Manchester City. We are not thinking about the derby against Juventus, because there are five days until then ” Rudi Garcia said.

Roma injuries

Stopper Astori, Castan, midfielders De Rossi, Strootman and Ucan and striker Borriello remain injured. Defender Balzaretti is unlisted. Winger Iturbe is back. Goalkeeper De Sanctis, who faces injury problems, will pass a test just before the match. If he does not prevent, his position under the posts will be taken by the 23 years old Polish Skorupski. Totti, Gervinho and Florenzi will start in the front line.

History : 

Manchester City vs Roma : The two teams have never met before.



Apoel vs Ajax – UEFA Champions League

Apoel vs Ajax

Apoel news:

They were bad in finishing their chances and lost their first points in the Cyprus league after four successive wins. They drew to Limassol (0-0) at home on Saturday, in a match in which they had good presence and several chances for goal but failed to capitalize.

George Donis claimed to be satisfied with the effort of the players, without having available De Vincenti (midfielder) and Djebbour (Striker) in this match, while the absence of the first one was more obvious.

In the premiere of the groups for the Champions League they lost to Barcelona (0-1) at Barcelona, in a match in which they had excellent defensive tactic while they could score a goal in one of their counterattacks. Against Ajax, they are expected to be guided by their defensive tactic as they did in the match of the premiere where they’ll fight for their first points in the group.

Apoel’s coach emphasized inter alia for the current match: “It’s the first match in our home and if we want to have chances against the other three teams we have to collect points in our home. The opponent are the favorite, they are a team of attacking philosophy. We need to limit them but also to keep the ball. The game will be more demanding than the one in Spain because we are not willing to give the ball to the opponent. Players have great motivation. Realistically, we cannot have the same possession as against Barcelona, but Ajax is not Barcelona. We want to have possession, but possession is not always decisive. We are prepared for all eventualities.”

Apoel’s coach, compared to the last time match, will have De Vincenti and Djebbour available. Papazoglou (centre back) remains unavailable for Apoel due to injury. Last but not least problem that emerged is Nektarios Alexandrou (midfielder), who will miss the match due to injury too. John Arne Riise (left Back) is also off for the current game because he is unprepared.

Ajax news:

Having a high percentage of accuracy in the chances created they passed with the emphatic 5-2 from Brenda’s home and combined with Eindhoven’s defeat, they grabbed the top. In the premiere of the groups in the Champions League, they drew 1-1 at Amsterdam against PSG. They showed more respect than they should to the French in the first half and fairly was found back in the score (0-1 in 14′). They tried harder in the second part and reached the equalizer fairly (74′), while just a few minutes later they had a shoot at the post and failed to do the rollover.

“It will be a difficult game. APOEL is a strong team that plays good football. They also have experience as the average age of players is 28 years. We saw (Apoel) how good team they are, in the match against Barcelona. We also know that the fans are fanatics. My players, however, despite the fact that they are youngsters, they have experience of big games and will not be affected by the atmosphere. We want to end the negative streak in away matches, but in order to have hope that we will succeed we should not underestimate APOEL” said Coach De Boer.

“Normally a point in an away game is not a bad result, but if we want to have high hopes for qualifying to the next stage and given that we have to go to Paris and Barcelona we are obliged to get the three points against Apoel” said in his turn the until recently injured midfielder Sana, who was fully healed and probably will start as a key player in tonight’s match.

The lack of the long absent Fischer (winger) will not affect the team. The only question mark for the first eleven is the position of number “6” for which Viergever and Zimling are disputing.

Apoel vs Ajax: Two teams have not met before.


Competition For Money Making : Champions League

Make profits out of European football

Champions League is host to the best standard of football in the world.
Recent times have meant that unlike in previous years, there are a number of candidates that could win the competition.

The super power of Barcelona are not expected to win, this will no doubt mean fantastic odds. The Spanish way of playing football seems to die slowly. Bookmakers have pretty much discounted Barcelona to advance to a high stage of the competition. Can you ever really count out a team with Lionel Messi in it? They will also have Luis Suarez to bolster their attacking force in this year’s campaign.

Competition For Money Making

Real Madrid will also have very good odds. For a team to win the champions league back to back, they really do need to be exceptional and the pressure will be on, they could be well worth a bet. The odds will be sky high and chances for profit are a lot. There is no doubt they have some of the best players in the world, with world cup sensation, James Rodriguez joining the ranks, they really do look irresistible.

Bayern Munich absolutely cruised to victory in the Bundesliga last season but never really hit their highest gear in the Champions League. Yet again, the odds on this giant of European soccer, with players like Arjen Robben who shone in the world cup and world cup winners, like Mario Goetze, Bastien Schweinsteiger, and Toni Kroos, who will be high in confidence.

The favourites for the Champions League are pretty much non-existent. Nobody knows whether the German style that won the world cup, can triumph in club football and that means that betting on the Champions League could be hugely profitable for those who are bold and bet before the competition starts. Once the season gets underway, the odds will not be as good, it is better to pick now and maximise your profit.


Napoli vs Athletic Club 19/08/2014

Napoli news:

They want to be present for the second consecutive season in the groups of the competition. Rafa Benitez continues to be on the bench. They have kept their basic scheme.

The most important loss is the one of the midfielder Behrami (Hamburger) while the addition is the striker Michu (Swansea). There are more players added to the roster such as the goalkeeper Andujar from Catania, the stopper Koulibaly from Genk, the midfielder Donadel from Verona, while Gargano and Vargas returned from Parma and Valencia correspondingly. The last one is very close to QPR, while almost sure is the transfer of Goran Pandev.

There is grumbling from the fans because of the reluctance of president De Laurentiis to spend money on transfers. Today, however, it is expected to announce the acquisition of midfielder De Guzman from Villarreal for 6.5 million Euros, while Fellaini’s transfer will only proceed if Napoli qualifies to the groups of Champions League.
In their last friendly they lost 2-1 in “San Paolo” to Paris Saint Germain. Earlier, they won Barcelona 1-0, Paok 2-0, Benfica 2-1, Braga 3-1, Galatasaray 3-1, drawn 2-2 to Arsenal and finally lost 3-1 to Porto.
“It would not be a tragedy if we lose. Today’s game is crucial both for the administration and our fans. We have to face Bilbao with no stress. If we play like against Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain, we can win any opponent. We respect the Basques. Valverde is an excellent coach and it has proven that so far. Bilbao is a group of players playing together for many years. It is important not to concede goal and to score at least one, “said Rafa Benitez. He also added that Gonzalo Higuain is going to start normally, although he is not 100% ready because he is one of the players who can change a match with one move.

Midfielder Zuniga, the stopper Henrique and midfielder Dzemaili are not available for the current match. The last one goes to AC Milan. Napoli will play with the classic 4-2-3-1, with Higuain on top of the attacking line and Insigne, Hamsik, Callejon to move from behind.

Athletic Club news:

They were the pleasant surprise of last year’s Spanish league. They led the informal race after the first triad – Atletico, Barcelona, Real – absolutely fair and secured their presence in the playoffs of the Champions League. They soon found a good pace, played smoothly and made some big wins, while they entered the new “San Mames” in September.
Valverde continues on the bench for the second season and has as his main objective “to play even more beautiful football” as he says characteristically.

In transfer market they lost their talented and important midfielder Ander Herrera (Manchester United), earning 36 million euros.
Some players who were on loan returned and some others came from the second team. The only normal transfer is Borja Viguera from Alaves, top scorer last year in Segunda Division with 25 goals. They are expected to move for Monreal (defender, Arsenal) and Illarramendi (midfielder, Real), only if they get the ticket for the Champions League groups.
“We face the two games with a lot of optimism and responsibility. I know Benitez has studied and is preparing well for the match. The truth is that the two teams have nothing to hide” Ernesto Valverde said inter alia.


UEFA Champions League – Besiktas vs Arsenal 19/08/2014

Besiktas news:

Slaven Bilic’s team was absent for four years from the stage of 32 of the Champions League but rebounded strongly in Europe after last year’s punishment. They have checked-in their tickets for this year’s groups: either in Champions League if they pass Arsenal or via the Europa League if they don’t.
In the previous round they ruled out Feyenoord emphatically with two wins and a total score of 5-2 (a hat-trick from Demba Ba in the 3-1 in Istanbul). Historically, any time they have played for the rounds just before the Champions League group stages, they have 3 out of 3 qualifications: in 1997 to Maribor, in 2001 to Lokomotiv Moscow and in 2007 to Zurich.
After the qualification over Feyenoord they participated in a tournament of three 45’ minutes duration where they won Chelsea, Fenerbahce and the insignificant Karagumruk with the same score (1-0).The new domestic Super League starts on 28th of August.

Canadian midfielder Hutchinson has a slight injury and is given doubtful while winger Tore is very difficult to be able to play. If the first one is absent, Bilic will prefer Uysal for the midfield, next to the Austrian Kavlak who is enshrined behind the trio of the attacking midfielders.

Arsenal news:

Arsenal began the league with plenty of anxiety by beating Crystal Palace 2-1. The winning goal was scored by Ramsey in 91′ while two minutes earlier Crystal Palace was left with 10 players. Obviously they had overwhelming ball possession (76%), but struggled to get into the area and create pure chances. They found themselves been back in the score in 35′, Koscielny equalized in 45’ before Ramsey formed the final result.

Arsenal cannot live without Champions League since Arsene Wenger took over. It is significant that the “Gunners” count 16 consecutive appearances in the top club competition. In fact, all six times they were asked to play playoffs in order to enter the groups, they had experienced victories all the times (12 in an equal number of games!)
Qualification is important for economic reasons, although Wenger believes that this is not the main reason he wants to see Arsenal in the groups: “It is not so much about the financial. Of course it is very good income, but we want to present to the groups for the history of the club. It is very beautiful and important to play against the best. ”
The main left defender Gibbs came out with a problem and will stay out, while striker Sanogo did not traveled too, who had started as a key player against Crystal Palace.

Main center back Koscielny was trained along with midfielder Flamini and they are available for the match. Mertesacker (key defender), Ozil (basic attacking midfielder) and Podolski (striker) remain out, as they delayed to integrate into the team after the World Cup.

Wingers Walcott and Gnabry are knocked out since last year, while the new-comer goalkeeper Ospina will not play as well.