De Futebol


Let’s talk about upset city baby. This is so cool when the little guys upset the big guys. This happened in the Capital Cup. English Championship side AFC Bournemouth defeated EPL’s West Brom 2-1.

The Telegraphs Jeremy Wilson wrote “Those books that cover the proud history of AFC Bournemouth are becoming in more urgent need of a reprint by the week.

Earlier this year, Eddie Howe guided the club to their highest Football League finish of 10th in the Championship. On Saturday, the 8-0 battering of Birmingham City was the biggest winning margin in their history and now, at the expense of West Bromwich Albion, they are in the quarter-finals of the League Cup for the first time.


Come May, it would take a brave man to bet too heavily against Bournemouth, in their 12,000-capacity stadium, securing a place in English football’s top flight. That would be another first.


They were certainly utterly undaunted by the challenge of Premier League opposition on Tuesday night and, having taking the lead through Eunan O’Kane, responded magnificently to West Brom’s deflected late equaliser when Callum Wilson replied with an 86th-minute winner to conclude a dramatic finale.

Chants of “Wembley” and “Eddie, Eddie” lingered late in the coastal air, with supporters visibly mustering every ounce of restraint in not mounting at least a mini pitch invasion on the final whistle.


Bournemouth had not beaten West Brom since 1999 when, in the FA Cup, it was a certain Eddie Howe who scored the winner. Victory, said Howe, had tasted even sweeter as a manager.

“Nothing beats this feeling,” he said. “When you score a goal as a player, it is an unbelievable feeling but when the team has not been in this position before, when the club has had such dark days, to be now in the quarter-final of a major cup competition, I think it is an incredible journey that we have been on.”

The Capital One Cup evidently means plenty to football fans in Dorset, even if the decision of both managers to make 10 changes from their respective weekend teams was an acknowledgement, if ever it was needed, that participation in next season’s Premier League is the mutual aim.


Alan Irvine, the West Brom manager, explained his selections by admitting that some senior players had complained to him of fatigue.

“It was an opportunity for a number of our players who have been desperate for a game to show me they should be in contention,” he said. “Some did that but not enough of them. When you have fit and really professional players that tell you they are feeling tired then you really need to listen.

“I’m sure Albion fans would be bitterly disappointed if Saido Berahino was injured because we weren’t looking after him.”


Both teams did immediately seek to get the ball on the ground and play attacking football but the greater incision was always from Bournemouth. Junior Stanislas was especially willing to run directly at the West Brom defence, with his slaloming burst creating the space on 49 minutes for O’Kane calmly to put the hosts into a deserved lead.

Irvine responded by bringing on Georgios Samaras, Stéphane Sessègnon and Berahino but, just as his team appeared to have run out of ideas, a speculative 85th-minute shot from Samaras was deflected off Tommy Elphick and inside Lee Camp’s near post.


No matter. Within a minute of the restart, substitute Wilson had sprinted behind West Brom’s defence and sealed victory by shooting past Boaz Myhill from the most narrow of angles. Myhill admitted that he should have made the save but was absolved of any blame by Irvine.

At the other end of the pitch, Elphick, the Bournemouth captain, summed up the emotion by sinking to his knees in celebration at one of the club’s most famous wins.






De Futebol


Flamengo defeated Atletico-MG 2-0 in the semifinals of the first leg of the Copa do Brasil. The second leg will be played Galo’s house. Mengao has a two nil aggregate advantage so this means Boo Mengao has to score at least once to put this puppy away. Atletico-MG didn’t score the all-important away goal at the Maracanã and this is huge for Flamenguista nation.

O Dia O Flamengo saiu na frente na primeira partida da semifinal da Copa do Brasil. Diante do Atlético-MG, o Rubro-Negro venceu por 2 a 0 no Maracanã, com gols marcados por Cáceres e Chicão, de pênalti. Com o resultado, os cariocas podem até perder por um gol de diferença no confronto de volta que vão para a decisão.


As duas equipes voltam a se enfrentar no próximo dia 16 em confronto que será realizado no Mineirão. Para avançar, os mineiros precisam vencer o jogo de volta por três gols de diferença.


Jogando em casa, o Flamengo foi para cima do Atlético-MG e quase abriu o placar com apenas um minuto. Everton achou Eduardo da Silva em boas condições, o atacante chutou forte, mas Victor fez boa defesa salvando os visitantes. Aos 15 minutos, os cariocas chegaram de novo. Léo Moura fez o cruzamento, a zaga do Atlético falhou e Marcio Araújo tentou desviar de letra e o goleiro alvinegro defendeu de novo.

Aos 20 minutos, uma nova chance para o clube da Gávea. Everton foi lançado e ficou na cara de Victor. Porém, o goleiro do Brasil na Copa do Mundo saiu bem e bloqueou a finalização do apoiador rubro-negro. Sete minutos depois, Marcio Araújo foi lançado e cruzou, Jemerson desviou contra o patrimônio, mas novamente, o goleiro fez uma grande defesa salvando os visitantes.

Acuado, o Atlético-MG teve a sua primeira oportunidade aos 40 minutos. Diego Tardelli puxou o contra-ataque e cruzou, Marcos Rocha, que estava dentro da área, cabeceou, a bola passou rente a trave, assustando o goleiro do Flamengo, Paulo Victor. Já nos acréscimos antes do intervalo, o lateral teve uma nova oportunidade, mas chutou para fora.


Acuado, o Atlético-MG teve a sua primeira oportunidade aos 40 minutos. Diego Tardelli puxou o contra-ataque e cruzou, Marcos Rocha, que estava dentro da área, cabeceou, a bola passou rente a trave, assustando o goleiro do Flamengo, Paulo Victor. Já nos acréscimos antes do intervalo, o lateral teve uma nova oportunidade, mas chutou para fora.

O Atlético-MG voltou um pouco mais ligado para o segundo tempo, tanto que foi do Galo a primeira oportunidade de gol da etapa final. Marcos Rocha cruzou, Paulo Victor saiu em falso, mas Diego Tardelii não dominou a bola e a zaga do Flamengo conseguiu afastar todo o perigo.


Porém, o Rubro-Negro conseguiu o seu gol na primeira chegada no segundo tempo. João Paulo cobrou falta, a bola bateu no travessão, a bola caiu na ponta, Léo Moura fez o cruzamento e Cáceres subiu para colocar o Flamengo na frente do placar.


Logo após o gol, o apoiador Everton sentiu uma lesão e Luxemburgo teve que mexer. Com o volante Luiz Antônio no lugar do meia, o Flamengo recuou. O Atlético até buscou mais o ataque, porém, o time mineiro não estava em um dia inspirado e o Rubro-Negro se defendia bem. Em um contra-ataque, o clube carioca fez o segundo. Gabriel arrancou fez bela jogada e foi derrubado. Pênalti. Na cobrança, Chicão cobrou e fechou a vitória para a equipe da Gávea.




De Futebol


This was Deja vu all over again. Man U used to be the masters of pulling a tie or a win outta their hats in the final moments. Last year under David Moyes the Red Devils folded their tents and quit. This year is a different story. Louis Van Gaal is bringing the old attitude we can pull our chestnuts outta the fire. Man U did it against one of the best clubs in the EPL and the planet Chelsea. The Red Devils should have lost one nil instead Man U pulled the Houdini act a one all draw.

The Daily Mail- “They celebrated as if this was the turning point. Last minute Manchester United, twice in a week, back to their best. Hardly.


They got away with it. A scramble from a questionable free-kick in the fourth minute of injury time, lashed in by Robin van Persie. A red card for Branislav Ivanovic that most certainly wasn’t, and a rejected Chelsea penalty claim that gets more plausible with each viewing.


This wasn’t United at their best, but perhaps their most fortunate. Jose Mourinho had too much respect for his mentor, Louis van Gaal, to make his displeasure public when they came together on the sidelines. His face as the goal went in said it all, though. He screwed up his features as if encountering a bad smell. It was the expression of a man who thought he was robbed. Probably, he was.

Not hugely. This wasn’t grand larceny. Chelsea were not many goals better than United, they did not thrash them, or put them away. But a 1-0 win would have been about fair. Chelsea were better organised, stronger defensively, executed their game plan, and shaded the action.


To United’s credit, however, they did not give up, displaying the spirit that saw them through at West Bromwich Albion last Monday, and they deserve praise for that. It says much about their development, though, that this point at home was celebrated like a far greater affair, the United players forming a pyramid of jubilation on Van Persie as Chelsea despaired. Ivanovic, by now down the tunnel, will have known what had happened by the cacophony. The sense of injustice would have been quite raw.

Would Chelsea have hung on with 11? We can never know. The fact is, it never helps to defend with 10, and Ivanovic is a significant presence during set-pieces at either end. Perhaps Chelsea lost a little concentration, too, when Phil Dowd issued his seventh yellow card to a blue shirt. It did not seem a particularly dirty game, either.


To make one thing clear: Angel di Maria did not dive to win the foul. Ivanovic clipped his heel on the run, and he tripped. He did not cheat. It did not look intentional, but there was contact and that makes it a free-kick. Intent does not come into this. Even if Ivanovic merely mis-stepped the onus is on him not to be clumsy. So United’s drink in the last-chance saloon was at least deserved.

The booking, less so. There are too many dirty, dangerous challenges going unpunished in the English game for this to be yellow-card material. So Chelsea should have had the full complement on the pitch when Di Maria’s free-kick came in. Whether that would have made the difference, who knows?


As it was, United’s best player on the day, Marouane Fellaini, won the header, Thibaut Courtois made the save, and the ball fell to Van Persie, who buried ferociously it on instinct alone. There was no time for any more drama, and a result that would have pleased both sides before the game had the feeling of a United victory and a Chelsea defeat. Yet is that the positive it sounds? There was a time when Old Trafford would have been disappointed at two home points dropped in this fixture. Now it provokes a fiesta.


The turning points of the match? Chelsea will cite Ivanovic’s first booking and the spurned penalty appeal, although neither come with a guarantee. For the first, Ivanovic certainly seemed to hand off Di Maria, but the United man was trying to do the same to him. It is hardly Ivanovic’s fault that he won this particular trial of strength and, even if Dowd considered it worthy of a foul, it surely wasn’t a booking. Maybe, though, Ivanovic talked his way into trouble with his protests. If so, he was foolish.


As for the penalty that wasn’t, Dowd merits a small degree of sympathy. Closer inspection suggests Marcos Rojo had John Terry by the neck, and Chris Smalling was doing a similar job on Ivanovic as Cesc Fabregas’s first-half corner came in. But there is so much grappling in the box these days that the referee possibly viewed it as a fair fight, with the entire quartet offending. When Gary Neville says United got away with one, however, it is worth considering that Chelsea had a case.

The real victim here, though: Chelsea’s third-choice striker. Without Manchester United’s equaliser and Ivanovic’s red, the headlines would have belonged to Didier Drogba, as Chelsea’s match-winner. Life in the old Drog yet. Who would have thought it?


Rejoining in the summer, Drogba was considered to be on very much a sentimental journey under Mourinho. We should have known Chelsea’s manager does not do sentiment, even in mellowed middle age. Shorn of Diego Costa with a virus and his understudy Loic Remy, injured against Maribor, Mourinho sent Drogba into the fray, kept him there for 90 minutes, and watched in quiet vindication as he all but won the match.

One mighty leap in the 53rd minute took him above Manchester United’s puny defence and should have given Chelsea a six-point lead over their rivals. What has he got to offer? A muscular presence and eye for the main chance that may never be dulled by the years. Drogba is 36. He could be 86, and you would still fancy him to outjump Rafael from a Fabregas corner, which is what happened.

Quite why Van Gaal chose his right back to go against Drogba from a dead ball, who can say?


It was a mismatch of fantastic proportions. David versus Goliath, except some prankster has taken David’s sling shots and replaced them with marshmallows.

Seconds earlier, Drogba had signalled the spark that remains, playing a delightful one-two to send Eden Hazard sprinting beyond United’s defence, only for a fabulous David de Gea save to keep him out. It was from this corner that Chelsea scored. De Gea deserved more; United didn’t.

Fabregas whipped it, Drogba got the glancing header, Van Persie could not do enough to stop its progress to goal. Mourinho 1 Van Gaal 0. No, of course he doesn’t do sentiment. Leading his mentor by a single goal, Mourinho then tried to shut up shop, introducing an increasing number of defence-minded players as the minutes leaked away.


Fools will say Chelsea paid the price for being negative. Only an numbskull goes gung-ho leading by a goal at Old Trafford with 15 minutes remaining, though.

Can United build on this? Van Gaal will hope so. He will be buoyed, too, by the first-half performance of Adnan Januzaj, who was at the centre of most of United’s best work.


In the 23rd minute, he threaded a lovely pass through to Van Persie, whose shot was smothered by Courtois, one on one. At the other end, Drogba forced an equally fine save from De Gea, with his legs. Honours even? Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good, you know. Either way, it’s a start.


De Futebol


Queens Park Rangers picked up their second win of the season a 2-0 thrashing over slowly sinking into the sunset Aston Villa. The win lifted the Hoops outta the whale dung position into 19th place with seven points. Two points separate QPR from the escape zone 17th place Leicester City who have nine points and 16th place Crystal Palace. Aston Villa sits in 15th place ten points and 14th place Newcastle.

The Hoops hope to move up the table. We will see.


The Guardians James Riach “How Queens Park Rangers needed this result. Harry Redknapp has cut a disconsolate figure for the most part of this season but two goals from Charlie Austin lifted them off the foot of the Premier League, securing only their second victory of the campaign and extending Villa’s terrible winless run.

And all without Adel Taarabt, the Moroccan midfielder whose weight has dominated headlines this past week and even prompted Tony Fernandes, the Rangers owner, to speak with both player and manager about bringing embarrassment on the club. Any talk of three stone was off the agenda here, exchanged for celebrations of a crucial three points that could kick-start QPR’s season.


This was certainly not a classic and, for Villa, it was a fifth successive defeat, all of them without scoring. Paul Lambert’s side started well, but for all but a single 15-minute spell they showed little sign of ever breaking through their opponents’ backline.


It had previously been a week to forget for Rangers. One in which Taarabt took to baring his stomach – or lack of one – to the press, following accusations from Redknapp that the midfielder was overweight and “the worst professional” he had ever seen.

Redknapp and Taarabt’s mud-slinging was an unwelcome sideshow in the aftermath of a bitterly disappointing defeat to Liverpool, a game that had seen QPR play remarkably well other than the fatal errors in defence. Needless to say, Taarabt did not make the squad here.


It was Villa who settled first yet a soft underbelly proved costly again following a first half that swung from end to end at a frenetic tempo, although the quality of play was often uninspiring. QPR’s defence was all at sea for the opening 15 minutes but Redknapp’s side survived the early pressure despite an array of sloppy mistakes.


First it was Yun Suk-Young who stumbled in possession and gave away a corner, then on the opposite flank Mauricio Isla’s heavy back-pass forced Green into a hasty clearance. Ashley Westwood shot straight at Green, while Villa’s bright young midfielder Carlos Sánchez volleyed at the Rangers goalkeeper after 15 minutes.

When QPR’s goal came, it was against the run of play. They had, in fact, barely threatened but Richard Dunne’s raking long ball from defence found its target in Bobby Zamora, the striker demonstrating great balance and strength to beat Ron Vlaar in the air and lay the ball off to Austin, whose strike was low and pure into Brad Guzan’s bottom right corner.


They may have not deserved it, but Loftus Road was rocking. Christian Benteke’s flicked header almost equalised immediately but the Villa striker could not quite make enough contact on a Westwood delivery. As the half-time whistle blew, it marked eight hours without a Premier League goal for Lambert’s side.

It is not difficult to understand why Villa have failed to break opponents down of late. Granted, their recent run of defeats has come against teams at the top end of the division, but too often Benteke was left isolated here, with only Agbonlahor providing any semblance of attacking verve in the final third.


And when the opportunities did come, they were squandered. A free kick from deep was hung up to the far post in the 56th minute, aimed at Benteke, and the Belgian forward nodded the ball across goal to Ciaran Clark. However, the centre-half was unable to make decisive contact from inside the six-yard box. Benteke and Joe Cole later got in each other’s way when attacking a cross from the right.

Junior Hoilett was brought on by QPR with a little over an hour played and almost made an immediate impact. The midfielder received the ball down the left flank in the 67th minute, drifted inside and curled a delightful effort towards the top corner, only to see his shot rebound back off Guzan’s left-hand post.


Rangers did not have to wait long for a second, though. It was again a simple goal, but brilliantly executed. Sánchez, so bright in the opening half, gave the ball away in midfield and Vargas broke swiftly down the right, pulling it back to the near post where Austin sprinted across his marker to finish with a deft touch in the 69th minute.

Villa’s profligacy extended into the latter stages. Tom Cleverley’s fierce volley was saved well by Green in the 80th minute and Clark could not finish the rebound. It summed up their miserable night.




De Futebol


Flamengo dropped a hard fought 2-1 to hated rival Botafogo. The loss keeps Boo Mengao in eleventh place with 40 points. Fogao is still in the voce vai 17th place 33 points.

O Dia No Campeonato Brasileiro, Botafogo e Manaus estão em sincronia. Na briga contra o rebaixamento, o time voltou a mandar seu jogo na Arena da Amazônia e conquistou nova vitória, neste sábado, desta vez sobre o Flamengo, em partida válida pela 31ª rodada do torneio. Longe do Maracanã, o Glorioso bateu o rival por 2 a 1 e ganhou novo fôlego para fugir da degola. Na 28ª rodada, a equipe alvinegra já tinha derrotado o Corinthians por 1 a 0, no mesmo estádio.

Rogério e Wallyson marcaram os gols do Botafogo. Pelo lado do Flamengo, quem deixou a marca foi Eduardo da Silva. Com a vitória, o Glorioso não deixou a zona de rebaixamento, mas ganhou sobrevida. O time comandado pelo técnico Vagner Mancini foi a 33 pontos, saindo da 19ª posição para a 17ª. Já o Rubro-Negro, treinador por Vanderlei Luxemburgo, continuou com os 40 pontos e no 11º lugar da tabela.


Na próxima rodada, o Botafogo enfrenta o Cruzeiro no Mineirão, no domingo, às 17h. Já o Flamengo recebe a Chapecoense, no mesmo dia, mas às 19h30.

No clássico carioca, o Flamengo começou melhor que o Botafogo. A torcida rubro-negra, presente em força na Arena da Amazônia, apoiou o time desde o início da partida. Aproveitando o incentivo, o time de Vanderlei Luxemburgo abriu o placar logo aos 13 minutos, mas a jogada foi anulada. Anderson Pico cobrou falta de longe, a bola rebateu respingou na área do Botafogo e sobrou para Mugni. O argentino encobriu o goleiro Jefferson e balançou a rede, mas o bandeirinha assinalou o impedimento.


Melhor em campo, o Flamengo continuou dominando o jogo, mas não criava chances de gols. O Botafogo mostrava dificuldades para chegar ao ataque, mas aos 26 minutos teve ótima oportunidade, com Carlos Alberto. O camisa 19 dominou na entrada da área, passou por Marcelo e chutou, mas Paulo Victor fez a defesa

Após a primeira chegada, o Botafogo passou a se soltar mais e deu certo para o time alvinegro. Aos 33 minutos, Bolatti apareceu de surpresa, tabelou com Wallyson, entrou na área e tocou para Rogério. O atacante chutou no canto, sem chances para Paulo Victor: 1 a 0.

No segundo tempo, o Flamengo voltou a campo com duas substituições: Eduardo da Silva no lugar de Nixon e Elton, no lugar de Luiz Antônio. Foi o próprio Elton que teve a chance de empatar, mas chutou em cima de André Bahia, aos 15. No lance seguinte, o Botafogo saiu em contra-ataque, mas Rogério cruzou muito mal, nas mãos de Paulo Victor.


Mas o Botafogo chegaria ao segundo gol pouco tempo depois. Muralha recuperou a bola de Carlos Alberto, mas Marcelo, na hora de sair jogando, deu a bola nos pés de Bolatti. O argentino dominou e passou para Wallyson. O atacante partiu para cima de Léo, girou e chutou bem, no ângulo de Paulo Victor, marcando belo gol aos 21 minutos.

O jogo ganhou emoção. Anderson Pico passou por dois jogadores, e tabelou com Gabriel. O lateral esquerdo recebeu na frente, bateu firme, acertando a trave de Jefferson. A bola voltou na direção de Eduardo da Silva, que tocou para o fundo do gol, vazio, para diminuir o marcador e levantar a torcida rubro-negra em Manaus.


Percebendo que o Flamengo poderia crescer na partida, o técnico do Botafogo, Vagner Mancini, colocou Jobson em campo, no lugar de Rogério, que saiu cansado. O treinador alvinegro reclamou da decisão do árbitro Ricardo Marques Ribeiro, que deu seis minutos de acréscimo.

O time rubro-negro quase empatou aos 48. Anderson Pico cobrou escanteio, Elton surgiu escorando de canhota, mas Jefferson, no reflexo, salvou o Botafogo.




De Futebol


The two Giants of the EPL Chelsea and Man U met at Old Trafford. It sure looked like on paper the Blues would kick ass and take names. Not so fast bucko. Instead this puppy was a nail biter as Robin Van Persie found his mark in the 90th minute plus four to get a late goal to earn one all draw. This goal was set up when Branislav Ivanovic was given the heave-hoe for his second yellow card in the 90th minute plus three.

The Telegraph’s Henry Winter described the match changer this way. “And then came that mistake by Ivanovic, tripping Di Maria. As Ivanovic made the short walk to the tunnel in front of a crowing Stretford End, Di Maria swept the ball across, and Van Persie reacted best, firing the ball left-footed in to spark a wild celebration.”


To this point the match it sure seemed like Chelsea would earn the win. Yet Man U kept hanging in there until the match broke in their way with the sending off of Ivanovic and RVP rocket from the edge of the box that send the Blues home with the Blues and Man U an all important point.

Didier Drogba propelled the Blues to a 1-0 lead in the 53rd minute. Chelsea and Man U were missing two of their stars Diego Costa for the Blues and Falco for Man U.


Winter wrote- “Until Van Persie scored, it had all seemed set for a classic Chelsea away win when Drogba headed home after 53 minutes, making a mockery of Manchester United’s defensive organisation. Rafael raced across, trying to mark Drogba as Cesc Fabregas curled the corner in. Rafael is 1.73m, 12cm shorter than Drogba. It was a mismatch, and the long and short of it was that Drogba easily won that duel.

It was Drogba’s first Premier League goal in 960 days, stretching back to a game against Stoke City in 2012. It was similar to his equaliser against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League final. Drogba was playing only because Loic Remy had injured his left adductor and Diego Costa, who has still not recovered from hamstring injury and a stomach complaint. “


David de Gea played great in net. He blocked several key shots and kept it at one nil until Robin Van Persie tickled the twines in the dying moments of the match.

Thus was gut check time Louis Van Gaal and Man U. Yes the Red Devils got the tie but this time Man U kept the high flying Blues attack in check. Yes Martha part of this was due to MIA Diego Costa. So this means that the Red Devils are getting better.


Henry added- United actually started well, almost as well as they finished it. Van Persie worked the ball back to Juan Mata, who helped it on to Di Maria. The ball was dropping too slowly so the Argentine jumped up but volleyed over. United were pressing hard: Rafael closed down Eden Hazard, who was then dispossessed by Fellaini. Luke Shaw almost got ahead of Ivanovic but the Serb stretched out his right foot and flicked the ball back to Thibaut Courtois.”


The Guardians Daniel Taylor Now, perhaps, Louis van Gaal has a better understanding why his predecessor, Sir Alex Ferguson, used to boast there was no other side on the planet with Manchester United’s penchant for late drama and feats of escapology. They were four minutes into stoppage time when Robin van Persie pulled back his left foot and when the ball flashed into the net he was off, peeling off his shirt and screaming to the skies in a release of pent-up emotion.


It was another of those moments to punish anyone at Old Trafford who leaves the stadium early and a sign at least that this club, for all their obvious imperfections, have not lost all their good habits. They had been losing since the 53rd minute courtesy of Didier Drogba’s first Premier League goal since March 2012 and José Mourinho will also be able to reflect on that moment in the first half when a corner was delivered into the home side’s penalty area and Marcos Rojo bundled John Terry to the floor while Chris Smalling was guilty of an even more blatant piece of illegal grappling on Branislav Ivanovic.


Chelsea is the main man with 23 points. Second place is Southampton 19 points. Man Shitty is third with 17 points and still in touch with the leader board.

Man U is starting to figure it out so watch out folks. The Red Devils are in eighth place with 13 points.



De Futebol


Two defensive errors by the Black Cats served y Gunners well. The Daily double by Alexis Sanchez 30th and 90th minute plus two gave us a hard fought 2-0 win over Sunderland.

This sucker was gift wrapped by Wes Brown’s and keeper Vito Mannone huge mistakes. Look folks we had several chances to but this puppy to bed but once again we wasted scoring chance after scoring chance. Now wonder we are on the outside looking in. Arsenal is fifth place 14 points.


Liverpool had a chance to jump ahead of the guys but the Reds are struggling big time. Liverpool had a chance to get the win but Super Mario missed a point blank shot. The Reds and Hull City tied nil-nil. Liverpool has fourteen points seventh place. The same as us but Arsenal is a plus four. The Reds are a plus one.

Swansea City blew out Leicester City 2-0. The Swans have fourteen points and are parked in sixth place.

We only trail third place Shitty by three points. The Citizens lost 2-1 to West Ham. This is Shitty’s second loss of the season.

For us to improve we must learn how to put matches away. We are suck in mediocrity. If we the guys want to get out of fourth place we need to add another striker and another defender. One nil wins are not going to cut the mustard against the likes of Shitty and Chelsea.


Yes Martha Shitty lost but the Citizens still have a very formable club. So once again we are fortunate to get the win over a poor club like Sunderland. The Black Cats are barely hanging on sitting in 17th place eight points one step above the voce vai zone.

The Guardian’s Louise Taylor wrote- Arsène Wenger has described his side as warming up nicely but still struggling to reach “boiling point.” In other words Arsenal’s class of 2014-15 are big on promise but not quite as formidable as they probably should be.

There were moments when they threatened to drop a point here but, for the most part, Sunderland made things relatively straightforward as Gus Poyet’s players helped ease the latest bout of pressure surrounding Wenger.


It was nothing like as humiliating as last weekend’s 8-0 surrender at Southampton but, at times, Sunderland’s vulnerabilities were horribly apparent. Poyet’s team have only won once in the Premier League this season and it promises to be a long winter on Wearside.

Danny Welbeck, a striker who proved quite a hit at Sunderland during a fondly remembered stint on loan from Manchester United, has offered Arsenal a little more directness and dynamism this season. This turned out to be far from his best game but, even so, Welbeck swiftly reminded locals precisely what they are missing when, cued up by Alexis Sánchez and Santi Cazorla, he unleashed a curling, dipping shot which flew fractionally over Vito Mannone’s bar. Understandably on edge following his experience at St Mary’s last week, Mannone’s nerves subsequently showed when he spilled a routine cross before being rescued by John O’Shea’s interception.


The Telegraph’s Luke Edwards It was a win that will do little to appease those who feel Arsène Wenger is no longer the right manager for Arsenal, yet it was the sort of victory his side were once criticised for not being able to achieve. Arsenal did not play particularly well. They did not have to against a Sunderland side trying to tighten things up after their humiliating 8-0 defeat at Southampton last weekend.

The home side did not put Arsenal under the sort of pressure that has made them buckle in the past. Sunderland did not try to test Arsenal’s makeshift centre-back Nacho Monreal in the air, or on the ground. They did not even really get in the faces of the visitors from London.


Sunderland were subdued and Arsenal did what they needed to do. They controlled possession, pressed high up the pitch, took the lead and held on to it. They struggled to score a second goal after Alexis Sanchez had given them the lead in the first half after a mistake by Wes Brown, but the Chilean eventually added it when gifted another opportunity by goalkeeper Vito Mannone.

This was as comfortable a win as you are going to get away from home in the Premier League. The one worry for Wenger was another injury to a defender, as Kieran Gibbs limped off in the second half.

Dominating possession has not been a problem for any Arsenal side under Wenger, but they are not clinical enough with it. This was no different.


If we want to win the title we must hire a new man to run the club. We are stuck in mediocrity. And we call a fourth place finish success. What a crock of crap.



De Futbol


Flamengo may have saved their silly assed season with a 2-0 win over Internacional at Maracanã. Boo Mengao is in eleventh place with forty points. Nine points are the difference between Rubro-Negro and 17th place Vitoria. There are seven matches left in the season.


O Dia Destaque da vitória do Flamengo sobre o Internacional, ao marcar os dois gols do triunfo por 2 a 0, no Maracanã, na última quarta-feira, pela 30ª rodada do Brasileirão, Gabriel recebeu elogios de Vanderlei Luxemburgo. Para o técnico rubro-negro, o jogador não teme partir para cima do adversário e é importante para impor velocidade nos contra-ataques.


O Gabriel é rápido, insinuante, com drible. O futebol tem que ter drible. Ele está bem, está feliz. É preciso ter um jogador com velocidade e mudança de direção. Não podemos esquecer que é um peladeiro, que começou velho no futebol. Agora que está encorpando, estamos ensinando como bater na bola. Vive um momento bom e vai acontecer coisa boa na carreira”, comentou o treinador.

Não foi apenas Gabriel que foi exaltado por Luxa. O comandante do Flamengo também falou bem do goleiro Paulo Victor. Para o técnico, o camisa 48 também está com a sorte ao seu lado. 


“Ele está vivendo um momento muito bom. Gosto muito dele, desde a vez passada que estive aqui. Quando as coisas estão boas, é assim. A bola bate na bunda dele e sai. Daqui a pouco vira, e bate na bunda dele e entra. Espero que não mude. Temos que dar os parabéns ao preparador de goleiros (Wagner Miranda), que trabalha bastante, e ao César, que é outro excelente goleiro”, finalizou.






De Futebol


My guys from Arsenal were down right pathetic. It was worse than bad. My Gunners fell behind in the 71st minute to Anderlecht 1-0 when Andy Najar tickled the twines to but us behind the eight ball. It sure looked like were about to get the shock of our lives. Not so fast bucko Wenger made three key changes in the final twenty five minutes of the match. In the 75th minute Wenger made a double switch Alex Oxlade Chamberlain for Mathieu Flamini and Joe Campbell for Danny Welbeck, Lucas Podolski for Jack Wilshere in the 84th minute.

These switches result in our two goals. Kieran Gibbs 89th minute and the match winner Podolski 90th minute plus one lifted the guys to the 2-1 win over Anderlecht to give us a key road win in Group D.


My Gunners are second place with six points. We should advance outta Group D to the next stage. Borussia Dortmund took apart Galatasaray 4-0 to remain atop the leader board with nine points.

We were downright piss poor in this match. My Gunners were fortunate to pull a win outta their collective asses.

Jeremy Wilson The Telegraph – “The party took fully 88 minutes to get started but it can be safely assumed that Arsène Wenger has never experienced a birthday surprise quite like this.


Forget ‘Happy Birthday’, a rendition of ‘Boring Boring Arsenal’ would have been more appropriate for most of what had been a terrible performance from Wenger’s team but two goals in three minutes secured the most improbable of wins. It is also likely to have again assured their place in the last 16 of the Champions League, with Arsenal still behind Borussia Dortmund but fully five points clear of both Anderlecht and Galatasaray. Anderlecht had missed several clear chances to put the game beyond Arsenal but goals in the 89th and then 91st minutes from Kieran Gibbs and then Lukas Podolski represented the best possible 65th birthday present for the manager.


Besnik Hasi, the Anderlecht coach, had noted Arsenal’s current lack of confidence before the game and his team were clearly organised to exploit what everybody now knows is their usual vulnerability to the counter-attack.

It meant that, although Arsenal did take an immediate hold of possession, Anderlecht were totally content to sit back and rely on their two holding midfielders, Steve Defour and Youri Tielemans, to restrict space. It put the onus on Aaron Ramsey and Jack Wilshere to pick holes in the Anderlecht defence but Arsenal’s passing and movement was initially pedestrian.”


David Hytner The Guardian- “Arsene Wenger had wanted something to warm his cockles on the occasion of his 65th birthday and after plenty of suffering, he got it. When Andy Najar exposed Arsenal’s worrying habit of switching off at the back to ignite this occasion, it had looked as if Wenger was set to add another worry line to his brow.


Make no mistake, Arsenal’s Champions League future was in peril. But the response was stunning. Kieran Gibbs does not score many and he may never score a better one than the late first-time volley from Calum Chambers’ cross. The connection was a thing of beauty.

But there was more. To Anderlecht’s fury, the referee ruled that there was no foul from Arsenal in the build-up to the decisive moment and, after a scramble, Alexis Sánchez crossed low and hard from the right.

The ball ricocheted inside the six-yard box before it fell to Lukas Podolski, the substitute, who had only been on the field for a matter of minutes. The German showed no sign of any rust, and he fired what amounted to virtually his first touch past the despairing Silvio Proto.

It was quite the dramatic intervention and it sparked delirious celebrations and, to a large, extent, it allowed the general torpor of what had gone before, particularly in the first-half, to be forgotten. Arsenal have a much-needed tonic.


Wenger’s birthday had provided a nice line for the occasion, with scribes duty-bound to report that he can now pick up his bus pass and the travelling supporters given more reason to chant about how he was having a party. They have a couple of suggestions about what to bring to it.

Arsenal knew that they needed to bring their A-game, which is something that has not happened with any great frequency so far this season. They arrived in Brussels having fired only in fits and starts, and to a backdrop of much soul-searching which, of course, is the standard setting of the football fan.

Anderlecht had been scarred by their previous Group D tie, at home to Borussia Dortmund, when the swell of pre-match optimism had proved misplaced.

The Germans won 3-0 and Anderlecht were left to lament a reality check and, also, the perils of over-confidence.


They were more cautious here, more measured at the outset and they settled into a first-half groove, with their speed in wide areas and up front causing problems. It was not only Ibrahima Conte on the left but the full-back Frank Acheampong – who is a defender in name only – who were asking the questions.”

If guys want to get outta of being stuck in fourth place and settling for losing in the first round of the knockout stage then keep the course. If not then changes need to be made in the attack and back line.

Mediocrity grows on ya until becomes the accepted norm.




De Futebol


Chelsea kept their march to the Champions League crown in tack with a 6-0 thrashing of NK Maribor. The Blues are the main man in Group G with seven points. Second place sits Schalke 04 five points. Didier Drogba scored his first goal for the Blues in this whitewash. Eden Hazard led the attack with the daily double 77th minute PK and the 90th minute.

The Guardian Amy Lawrence- “Chelsea feel like a team of the present, yet here was a match infused with a hint of nostalgia. The crowd were able to lap up goals from Didier Drogba and John Terry. The last time this pair were on the scoresheet together occurred on a seminal Champions League night when Napoli were overturned in the spring run towards the trophy in 2012.


Mourinho is reunited with some of those he used to call untouchable. They are still fantastically reliable. Drogba came on after Loíc Rémy pulled up early on and thoroughly enjoyed an evening of throwback ease. Chelsea in cruise control look so commanding and cohesive, they certainly had the quality to emulate some of the madder scorelines in Europe on the night. They made do with just the six.


Maribor, having played six qualification games to get to this point, were undefeated in eight matches in the Champions League. They arrived a creditable second in Group G but confronted a whole new level of power mixed with classy and composed technique to what they had experienced thus far. The Premier League pace-setters took little time to find their uber-confident stride. It took half an hour to build a comfortable three-goal lead.

The visitors did forge the first chance of the game, as Damjan Bohar scooped his effort on to the roof of Petr Cech’s net. Slovenian hope was fleeting, however.


A mere 10 minutes in Mourinho sent Drogba out to warm up. The reaction was typically effusive, but the earliness of the sighting suggested a possible problem up front. That turned out to be the case as Rémy was substituted in the 16th minute. But he left the pitch with a parting gift for Chelsea. His final action was to smoothly give his team the lead.

Terry produced a Fàbregas-esque pass for the Frenchman, who worked himself the room to drive the ball sweetly into the far corner. He immediately winced and felt his groin, which signalled the premature end to his evening. The Diego Costa situation is clearly more delicate with an injury to Rémy, but in these parts the sight of Drogba coming on creates an inevitable buzz.


Fàbregas drifted around from his midfield base, safe in the knowledge that Nemanja Matic offered all the protection he could wish for. Prompting and cajoling, the Spaniard unpicked Maribor relentlessly. One cross for Eden Hazard came close to providing a second. Another touch fed Willian, who danced into the box. Ales Mertelj’s hand was low – oddly close to the ground – and when the ball made contact the referee awarded a disappointing penalty from the Slovenians’ point of view.

Hazard, the club’s designated penalty-taker, ceded responsibility given the credentials and emotional punch carried by the man who had just come on. Chelsea’s third-choice striker duly took the ball, looked up at the luminous orange ‘Drogba Legend’ billboard, calmly set the ball and finished with the alacrity they had seen so consistently in these parts.

That old-times feeling was extended when Terry galavanted upfield to poach the third. Credit where it’s due to a 33-year-old centre-half to burst the length of the pitch – the move originated from a Maribor corner, and within seconds Hazard was buzzing forwards, Fàbregas appeared on the right to deliver with customary accuracy, and Terry slid the ball in. Unfortunately for Maribor he was offside, but the Dutch referee awarded the goal anyway.


Chelsea continued creating chances. Kurt Zouma went close. A superb reverse ball from Drogba fed Hazard but the Belgian put his head in his hands when his touch let him down in a one-on-one. Hazard had a hand in the fourth, turned in by Mitja Viler.

Maribor had a chance for a consolation when Matic bundled over Agim Ibraimi, whose penalty struck a post. Back in the usual direction, Oscar’s effort whooshed fractionally wide and Willian’s audacious effort thumped against the frame of the goal. The game was under such control Mourinho was able to bring on a couple of teenage prospects to give them a flavour of a Champions League debut. Nathan Aké, 19, slotted into midfield, while the 17-year-old Dominic Solanke took up a position on the right side of attack.

There was more for Chelsea when Branislav Ivanovic ended up on the floor and it was time for another penalty. This time Hazard took and was unerring. The Belgian scored again with virtuoso style, twisting into position to finish after Aké’s beautiful assist.


Having suggested before the match that he will not rest players, Mourinho did make three changes to his defence for this stroll. But really, such was Chelsea’s overbearing dominance they could have played Peter Bonetti and Chopper Harris, and more or less been OK.

Away to Manchester United on Sunday, they remain in fine fettle.






De Futebol


In a wild one between Man U and West Brom at the Hawthorns. Albion should have won 2-1 but Man U escaped with the two all draw. Daly Blind hit the equalizer in the 87th minute for the two all draw.

Henry Winter, The Telegraph “Daley Blind rescued Manchester United with an equaliser three minutes form the end of a frenetic game here. It was the Dutchman’s first goal for the club and a vital one as they faced deep embarrassment here.


Victory would not have flattered West Bromwich Albion, who were terrific, brimming with pace on the counter leading to goals for Stephane Sessegnon and Saido Berahino. United had first been rescued by the unlikely figure of Marouane Fellaini, also opening his account for the club with the visitors’ first equaliser.


For all their eventual relief, United were a shambles at times, particularly Rafael and Marcos Rojo in defence while Robin van Persie was far too quiet. And this was supposed to be a winnable game, the chance to collect important points with the daunting matches against Chelsea and Manchester City looming.

Until Fellaini arrived at the break, Albion had been largely in control, and leading through Sessegnon’s fine strike. For 45 minutes they were as organised as United were disheveled. In the Sky studio, Gary Neville was going apopletic at his old club’s defending, criticising them for being too respectful of Albion; how they could have done with somebody of his defiance.

The three most recent playings of this fixture at The Hawthorns has now involved six managers, Steve Clarke versus Sir Alex Ferguson, Pepe Mel versus David Moyes, and now Irvine versus van Gaal, all in the space of 17 months. The first two had generated 13 goals, and another was not long in coming.


West Brom had settled quickly, resisted a brief United flourish, before scoring from a superb counter-attack after eight minutes. United were caught out of position, leaving a huge space between Angel di Maria and Luke Shaw on the visitors’ left. Andre Wisdom, the 21-year-old right-back on loan from Liverpool, stormed down the flank, crossing in for Sessegnon to thunder the ball past David de Gea.


Albion fans gleefully launched into their ironic chant of “Alan f****** Irvine”, revelling in the quality of the goal against such celebrated opposition. They were loving the football on offer, the dummy from Craig Dawson to wrong-foot Robin van Persie, the crisp passing and quick moving, and the occasional long ball launched at a slightly uncertain Marcos Rojo. Saido Berahino’s pace also alarmed United’s defence.


Van Gaal’s side were struggling to break down Albion’s 4-4-1-1 system. Sessegnon was dropping off Berahino, giving West Brom extra strength in midfield. Irvine’s full-backs, the excellent Wisdom and Sebastien Pocognoli, often pushed up, further squeezing midfield. James Morrison and Craig Gardner were tigerish in the centre, as well as measured in transferring the ball upfield. Irvine’s wide players, Graham Dorrans and Chris Brunt, closed down Shaw and Rafael, and also tucked inside, further strengthening Albion in the centre. For 45 minutes, Van Gaal was being out-thought by Irvine.


Although given little to sing about, United’s fans rarely stopped singing. Their attacks petered out or were blotted out. Joleon Lescott cleared a cross from Di Maria. Daley Blind did lift a long ball through which was controlled elegantly by Di Maria, who eluded Dawson but shot straight at Boaz Myhill, the Albion keeper. Myhill was deputising for Ben Foster, who had injured his calf, bringing Luke Daniels, the former United trainee, on to the bench.


Myhill made another save on the half-hour. Rafael advanced before passing to Van Persie, who turned the ball on left to Di Maria. The Argentine drove his shot in powerfully but Myhill was right behind it and punched clear. United still pressed, Adnan Januzaj finding Di Maria but again Lescott was well-placed to clear.

This was becoming an exercise in frustration for United. Van Gaal had lined them up in 4-2-3-1 formation with Juan Mata in the hole behind Van Persie and Di Maria and Januzaj wide. Ander Herrera, returning after a rib injury but lasting only 45 minutes, started alongside Blind but pushed on before being replaced by Fellaini at the break. Van Persie managed to wriggle out of a tight corner and drill in a shot but insufficient to trouble Myhill.


The half concluded with a couple of free-kicks. After 38 minutes, Morrison upended Herrera but Mata’s free-kick flew harmlessly over. Then Brunt curled in a dead-ball from the left but Lescott headed over.


Fellaini warmed up at the break, running around near the centre-circle. There was a fate-tempting tweet from West Brom’s official feed, saying “Fellaini has now taken his tracksuit off, fortunately he has a Man Utd strip on underneath”. It had 6,000 retweets within 15 minutes, spiking like the Shard after he scored within three minutes.


Controlling Di Maria’s cross, Fellaini eased Lescott out of the way, created some space, and powered the ball right-footed past Myhill. As the Belgian celebrated his first goal in his 24th appearance for the club, United fans claimed their turn to launch into the “der, der, der” chant, lauding Fellaini, a song they can rarely have expected to sing during the Belgian’s travails at their club.

Albion simply demonstrated their resilience and their threat on the counter. After 66 minutes, they ripped through United’s defence again. Brunt played a brilliant pass, angled through the middle to deceive the visitors’ defence. The timing and pace of Berahino’s run was too much for poor Rafael. On Berahino sprinted, ignoring Rafael’s fading presence and his shouts. On Berahino continued before coolly placing his shot past De Gea.


With 19 minutes remaining, and facing embarrassment, Van Gaal sent on Falcao, withdrawing the subdued Mata. Van Persie awoke from a slumber of Van Winkle length and stroked a shot against the post. There was then the worrying sight of Di Maria appearing to feel a problem in his groin and departing, being replaced by Ashley Young.

The incoming player’s Aston Villa connections were never going to guarantee him a warm welcome and his arrival was greeted with “he’s going to dive in a minute” and “you’re just a s*** Tom Daley”. Berahino and Sessegnon continued to trouble United on the counter. One of Sessegnon’s little breaks through the middle was cynically curtailed by Blind, who was deservedly cautioned by Mike Dean.


With five minutes left, Irvine removed Sessegnon for Youssouf Mulumbu to stiffen midfield. Albion continued to impress defensively, Lescott making clearances while Wisdom was similarly good but United managed to find a way through with three minutes left. From Rafael’s cross, the ball found its way via Falcao to Blind, whose low left-footed shot flew past Myhill.

Man U is in sixth place with 12 points. West Brom sits in 14th place nine points. Up next for Man U is hated rival Chelsea this Sunday at Old Trafford





De Futebol


Flamengo lost to Atletico-PR 2-1. Mengao scored first in the eighth minute off strike by Eduardo for the quick one nil lead. Then all hell broke loose as Furacao’s Ciero scored two first half goals in the 17th minute and a PK in the 45th minute plus one to beat boo- Mengao two one. Another one bites the dust as Flamengo was pinned with another road loss in Curitiba. Boo Mengao has eight road losses. The guys are in eleventh place 37 points. We are only seven points outta the voce vai zone. Bahia is in 17th place 30 points. Whew baby this is close with only nine matches left in the season.

O Dia- O Flamengo encarou o Atlético-PR de igual para igual na Arena da Baixada, neste domingo. Saiu na frente do placar em um gol polêmico – mas legal – de Eduardo da Silva. No entanto, ainda no primeiro tempo, sofreu a virada, com dois gols de Cléo e não teve forças para buscar a reação. Luxemburgo até tentou criar alternativas para vencer o duelo, fazendo três modificações de uma só vez no time, na segunda etapa, mas não funcionou. Nem o abafa no final do duelo surtiu efeito. O Rubro-Negro carioca sucumbiu à força do Furacão dentro de casa e voltará para o Rio sem nenhum ponto na bagagem.


Agora, o clube da Gávea recebe o Internacional, no Maracanã, na quarta-feira, às 19h30. O time paranaense, por sua vez, viaja até Santa Catarina para encarar o Criciúma, no mesmo dia e horário.

O duelo começou cercado de polêmica com a arbitragem. Canteros cruzou rasteiro, Everton chutou para o gol, a bola bateu na mão (que estava junto ao corpo) de Eduardo da Silva – em posição legal – e entrou: 1 a 0 Flamengo. Revoltados, os jogadores do Atlético-PR reclamaram muito alegando posição irregular do atacante. O juiz chegou a conversar com um dos assistentes antes de confirmar o tento. O Furacão não demorou para reagir. Dellatorre foi enfiado na grande área, limpou a marcação e bateu. A zaga salvou na linha, mas no rebote Cléo só teve o trabalho de empurrar para o fundo da rede: 1 a 1.


O jogo era aberto. As duas equipes se lançavam à frente a todo momento. Everton quase fez belo gol. O meia arrancou, driblou dois adversários e arriscou arremate de fora da área. O arqueiro do time paranaense fez boa defesa. O Furacão respondeu em cabeçada perigosa de Dellatorre. Bady também assustou em chute colocado de média distância. Antes do fim do primeiro tempo, Marcelo, zagueiro do Fla, fez pênalti no seu xará, centroavante do Furacão. Cléo não desperdiçou a cobrança: 2 a 1.

Atrás no placar, o Rubro-Negro carioca precisou correr atrás do prejuízo na segunda etapa. Ocupava o ataque, mas não obrigava Weverton a trabalhar. O Atlético-PR explorava os espaço cedidos e saia em velocidade no contragolpe. Insatisfeito com o time, Vanderlei Luxemburgo, aos 14 minutos, decidiu fazer três mudanças de um só vez. Sacou Eduardo da Silva, Anderson Pico e Cáceres para as entradas de Nixon, João Paulo e Muralha, respectivamente.


No entanto, quem chegou primeiro foi o Atlético-PR. Paulo Victor evitou o terceiro após chute de Natanael à queima roupa. Bady foi outro a perder ótima chance depois de cruzamento de Suelinton. O clube da Gávea brigava, buscava a pressão, mas abusava das bolas levantadas na área e não penetrava na área do Furacão. A equipe paranaense assustava nos contra-ataques, porém, pecava no último passe. Nos últimos 10 minutos, o Flamengo partiu para o abafa, o Furacão ficou retraído e conseguiu segurar a vitória na Arena da Baixada.




De Futebol



Stoke City defeated Swansea City 2-1. The win propelled the Potters into the top half of the table tenth place with eleven points. The loss dropped the Swans out of the top five into eighth place eleven points.

John Percy, The Telegraph “Jonathan Walters put the finishing touches to a memorable week to complete another dismal experience in the Potteries for Swansea City.

Walters was part of the Ireland team which stunned Germany in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday and his first league goal of the season was enough to extend Stoke’s hoodoo over Swansea.


Garry Monk’s stirring start to the season, which earned him the manager of the month for August, must now seem a long time ago after a fifth game without a win.


Trips to the Britannia Stadium have always proved forgettable for Swansea and despite taking an early lead through Wilfried Bony’s penalty, they are yet to win here since securing their return to the top flight.

Stoke’s victory enabled them to recover from their chastening afternoon at Sunderland before the international break and lifted them into the top half of the table.

Swansea’s passaholics, who won their first three games, made another exhilarating start but were like assassins without bullets.


Wayne Routledge’s clever pass released Gylfi Sigurdsson in the box but the Iceland international – who scored twice in his country’s win over the Netherlands – lost his footing after rounding Asmir Begovic.

Stoke then required Begovic to produce a fine save after another sublime counter-attack, with Ki denied at close range.

The home team did respond, with Peter Crouch having one of those afternoons where the ball seems to stick to him like industrial strength glue, but Stoke’s failure to test Lucas Fabianski was a source of frustration among the home supporters.

And after Bony was wrestled to the ground by Ryan Shawcross, a decision which appeared to be the tipping point for referee Michael Oliver, Swansea were finally ahead. It was the seventh spot kick Shawcross had conceded in six years and Bony never looked like squandering the chance to score his second goal of the season.

But just when Swansea appeared comfortable, they were left to rue a poor refereeing decision from Oliver three minutes before half-time. Angel Rangel’s pull on Victor Moses’s shirt was minimal at best but there had been enough contact for Oliver to award a second penalty.


Charlie Adam only added to Swansea’s sense of injustice by levelling from 12 yards. Oliver left the field at half-time in the novel position of being booed by both sets of supporters.

The second half was scrappier than the first, Crouch somehow missing a header from close range in the 65th minute after Swansea failed to clear a Moses corner.

Ki had two chances to convert from four yards following a nervy moment in the Stoke area but his final shot was smothered by Begovic.

Both managers made substitutions in a bid to gain an advantage and it was Hughes’s changes which proved pivotal 14 minutes from time.


Oussama Assaidi, on for the injured Moses, was given too much space to bend in a cross and an unmarked Walters powered his header into the corner.

That manager of the month curse is proving difficult to shift for Monk.






De Futebol


My guys from Arsenal are showing why we are mediocre to horrible club at best. Sides we should beat with ease we are not. My Gunners were fortunate to escape with a two all draw against Hull City at our house Emirates.

This sucks. We are watching our season slowly slip away fast. Alexis Sanchez tickle the twines in the 12th minute for quick on nil lead. The Tigers nailed the equalizer in the 17th minute. Mohamed Diame let it rip to make one all. Hull City took the lead in the 46th minute. Abel Hernández header found its mark for the 2-1 lead.


We were saved when Danny Welbeck finally found his scoring touch in the 90th minute plus one to save our silly asses for the two all draw.

Look folks we are in a world of hurt. Yes Mesut Ozil is out. Yet with him playing we still couldn’t find the board side of a barn with a machine gun.

We are now in sixth place with eleven points. This is exactly half of the total points Chelsea has in the bank.


The Telegraph Jonathan Liew summed it up perfectly- The relief scrawled all over the faces of Arsenal fans as Danny Welbeck scored his injury-time equaliser was short-lived: soon to be replaced by a simmering resentment. Frustration that it had come to this. They had not come to celebrate a 2-2 draw at home to Hull City.

Five words: Nacho Monreal at centre-back. This is what was always likely to happen, Arsenal fans, when Arsène Wenger named a team with a second-choice left-back in the middle of defence. Monreal was not, by some distance, the only thing wrong with Arsenal here. But somehow, he epitomised everything.


Injuries have scythed at Arsenal for all season; for some years, in fact. But Hull, a team with injury woes of their own, who lost both their goalkeeper and striker before half-time, nevertheless did everything demanded of them and more. Could Arsenal ‘s back four, Arsenal’s manager, Arsenal’s board, say the same?


In the week of Arsenal’s AGM, at which Arsenal’s owners were again forced to deny the existence of a large pile of unused cash under the Emirates centre circle, this was Another General Mess from Arsenal, who took the lead so effortlessly through Alexis Sanchez before proceeding just as effortlessly to throw it all away.


Amy Lawrence The Guardian added this- It shouldn’t really be a glass half full or half empty kind of debate, considering Arsenal have won a mere two games out of eight in the Premier League this season. But considering they were trailing in a fractious game as the clock ticked into stoppage time, the consolation of a draw salvaged by a late combination between Alexis Sánchez and Danny Welbeck certainly reduces the heat that was beginning to boil up inside the Emirates.


With the season young enough for the crowd to enjoy the Autumn warmth in their T-shirts, Arsenal found themselves dealing with a defensive crisis that was waiting to happen. They didn’t deal with it particularly well, as an enterprising Hull helped themselves to two preventable goals.


It was an odd, jerking, see-saw of a contest. Hull began in such casual mood Arsenal could have been in charge early on as they created a string of chances. Steve Harper, the veteran goalkeeper, excelled to beat down a drive from Welbeck and then tip over Santi Cazorla’s pearl of a curling shot. The initial sluggishness from the visitors was punished in virtuoso style by Sánchez in the 13th minute. A salsa run down the right propelled him into the box, and he struck early – low and lethal – to give Arsenal the lead.”




De Futebol


My guys from Arsenal are back at it later today against Hull City. This is a huge match for us as we head back to action in the EPL. I found this little diddy in The Telegraph you might find interesting. “After masterminding a 2-0 victory over Arsenal in the first leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in February, Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola began planning how to kill off the London club in the second leg at the Allianz Arena.

It’s noon in Munich and the team have done their morning training and listened to the second-last team talk. This is the one that strips down their opponents’ strategy, followed by a quick run through how to attack and defend corners and wide free-kicks. But Pep is still thinking about his line-up.


He is not sure which is the better strategy: attack or control. At training the day before the match there are no clues as to the starting line-up. Pep still hasn’t decided whether they’re going out to get goals or settling for ball domination. The session doesn’t focus on either. Instead they rehearse how to defend the way that Arsenal begin their attacks from the keeper. They go over the co-ordinated movement the back line must make when the ball is being put long from the Arsenal goalkeeper.


“We know that [Lukasz] Fabianski almost always sends the ball to his right,” Carles Planchart, one of Guardiola’s scouts and tactical analysts, says. “If it reaches Olivier Giroud it’s so that he can chest it down and hold it up. If he puts it to Bacary Sagna it’s to make our full-back push up towards him and Sagna will try to head the ball onwards and into the space behind our full-back.”

And on Monday evening they go over and over the way to defend against these Arsenal goal-kicks, with goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the role of Fabianski. For 20 minutes, Dante and Bastian Schweinsteiger are busy marking Claudio Pizarro, who acts as Giroud, and David Alaba tries to perfect the way to close down Sagna, whose role is taken by Rafinha

Next, Pep explains in detail how Mikel Arteta tries to draw in the opposing pivote in order to create a space in the middle of midfield into which Mesut Özil will try to appear. Pep walks through Arteta’s movements whilst emphasising to his players, who are spread out in front of him: “Özil is the dangerous one – he’s the one we really need to keep the closest eye on. Arteta draws you in, Özil pops up in that zone with Santi] Cazorla and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain around him and that’s the way that they achieve superiority in a key area. We can’t afford that to happen.”


They test out the way to defend against this Arteta-Özil movement. The idea is that Arjen Robben and Franck Ribéry squeeze infield and that Javi Martínez, in his central-defensive role, pushes into the empty space which Arteta has created. In turn, Rafinha’s task will be to fill the space which the Spaniard has had to leave open in the middle of the back four.

They go through a series of different actions, moving constantly. Pep keeps shouting out the names of Arsenal players – Arteta, Özil, Cazorla, Mertesacker – and these echo round Säbener Strasse whilst the Bayern players push themselves to a degree unheard of for a training session the day before a game. In fairness, they don’t go on for long. Just 20 minutes. It’s the rhythm and speed they’re working at that is so unusual.

Something is changing. The players perform brilliantly and there is a growing sense of pride and total security so that it seems absolutely impossible for them not to win. Everyone is sweating at the end. Pep explains his thinking. “You play at the rhythm you train at. If you train badly, you play badly. If you work like a beast in training, you play the same way. And these guys, they train like beasts.”


Guardiola chooses control over aggression and picks Schweinsteiger instead of Toni Kroos. By the time the bus is leaving the training ground for the Dolce Hotel, where they will spend the intervening six hours, the coach is feeling positive. “I’ve gone for control. Control and more control.”





De Futebol


What in the Sam Hill is going on with reigning World Chumps I mean Champs Germany? Ireland pulled a one all tie outta their hat. Germany looked like they would win. A late goal by John O’Shea in the 90th minute earn the Irish the draw. Ireland is in second place with seven points. Poland is top dog with seven points tambem. The Poles are a plus nine while the Irish are a plus eight. Germany is parked in fourth place four points however Scotland, four points, is ahead of the Germans on goal difference. The Scots are a plus minus of zero. Germany is a minus one.

Go figure.


The Daily Mail- “John O’Shea now has one hundred caps and three goals for the Republic of Ireland.

As Martin O’Neill and his team edge forwards towards an unlikely shot at qualification for the European Championship finals, that second statistic is currently somewhat more important than the first.


Only seconds remained in added time in Gelsenkirchen on Tuesday night as Ireland seemed to be heading to a rather expected and routine defeat against a German team unimpressive but still markedly superior.

Toni Kroos had scored his team’s goal with 20 minutes to go and, for Ireland, there seemed to be no coming back.

O’Shea, however, had been a Trojan at centre-half all night and, when it mattered, he appeared just an inch or two ahead of Germany’s Mats Hummels to prod an unlikely equaliser past Manuel Neuer after a deep cross from substitute Wes Hoolahan had been hooked back across goal deep in the 94th minute.


It really was a most incredible finish. O’Shea’s last goal for his country had come against Kazakhstan. Suffice to say, this one may transpire to be much more important.

Having not lost back-to-back competitive games since the European Championship finals hosted by Holland and Belgium 14 years ago, Germany were clearly intent making amends for their setback across the Polish border at the weekend.


For much of the first half, their football was purposeful and aggressive. For long periods, though, there was not much to show for it once play reached the environs of the Irish penalty area.

Indeed, Irish goalkeeper Forde was worked only twice in an opening 45 minutes that saw O’Neill’s team hold the Germans at bay with relative comfort.

Certainly Ireland were organised and not lacking in energy themselves. O’Shea and Marc Wilson were particularly impressive immediately in front of Forde even if the Irish largely failed to hold on to the ball whenever they did manage to venture in to the German half.


A team unrecognisable in part to the one that lifted the World Cup in Rio back in early July, Germany nevertheless bristled with attacking menace at the outset.

Indeed, only five minutes had elapsed when left-back Erik Durm advanced to smack a superb right foot volley in to the top of the crossbar from 25 yards.

For a while this effort seemed to set the tone as the German midfield eased the Irish defence so far towards their own goal that, at times, as many as six green shirts retreated to form some kind of shield in front of Forde.


There were other early chances, too, as full-back Antonio Rudiger headed a good chance wide after a training ground set piece between Kroos and Thomas Muller provided him with an opportunity.

Then Julian Draxler made an intelligent run inside David Meyler to receive possession and pull the ball back to Kroos. The shot, though, was dragged wide.

Irish forays in to German territory were rare but, as time passed, so were genuine threats on their goal.

Mistakes from Wilson and then Forde gave Germany an apparent route to goal but O’Shea cleared with a huge swing of the right boot that said everything about the urgency of the situation.


Before the interval there was still time for Ginter to head a corner over while Kroos also whistled another long range effort over the frame of the goal.

Germany, though, reached half-time with much to think about and made a change for the second period as Arsenal’s Lukas Podolski replaced Ginter for the second period.

At the start of the second-half, Ireland briefly threatened as James McClean crossed low to the near post forcing German goalkeeper Neuer to be sure of his handling as Robbie Keane looked to profit from any uncertainty six yards from goal.

Before long, however, Germany were back on top and Forde was at his best to touch over a long-range shot from Kroos before Hummels almost turned in the resulting corner from close range.


Just before the hour, meanwhile, came a moment of apparent controversy as Podolski appeared to be fouled in the penalty area by Wilson after Muller had superbly cushioned a header in to the substitute’s path.

However, replays showed that the referee was correct to wave away penalty appeals as there had been no contact and Podolski had in fact fallen over rather easily.

By now, with less than half an hour left, Ireland were beginning to look rather ragged. They just couldn’t keep the ball and, as such, were beginning to look increasingly vulnerable. Germany, though, were still looking less than convincing.


Having had a more realistic penalty appeal rejected when O’Shea seemed to grapple Gotze to the ground, Germany finally broke through in the 70th minute.

Kroos had already had a few sighters when he lined up another from 25 yards and this time his low right foot shot fizzed past Forde and found the corner via the foot of the goalkeeper’s right-hand post.


Right at the death, Ireland almost scored when McClean crossed low from the left for Hoolahan, only for Durm somehow to throw himself in the way of the ball and block the threat. Then up stepped O’Shea to write his own story.

‘I remember all my international goals because there aren’t many,’ said the former Manchester United player. ‘This one overtakes the other two. I’m not one for hanging shirts up but this one may be heading for the mantelpiece in my mum and dad’s house.’


The result leaves Ireland with seven points from three games in Group D, with the hardest away trip out of the way for O’Neill and assistant Roy Keane.


De Futebol


Brasil took apart Japan 4-0 in a friendly. Neymar led the way with trifecta. He has now scored 40 goals in 58 matches for Brasileiros national team.

This a good sign for the guys. We are playing a ton better. The attack is good. Yes Martha this is only a friendly and it means bupkis. In the end this will rebuild a system and a team that is broken.


Dunga has brought in some old and familiar faces Robinho and Kaka. These two cats will bring experience and playmaking ability. This will open up the attack and give Neymar more space to operate. Instead of having fight through three or four guys Neymar can concentrate on scoring instead of dribbling through traffic.

The Guardian- “Dunga, in his second spell in charge after Luiz Felipe Scolari resigned in July following the World Cup, brought on the ageing Robinho and Kaká to get among the scoring fun.


Kaká almost obliged with his first touch, but his 77th-minute header was pushed on to the bar by Kawashima.

Kaká, back playing for São Paulo before he moves to Orlando City, then turned provider as he swung over a cross from the left that Neymar leapt highest to head home in the 81st minute.”


The results are evident a 4 nil thrashing of Japan and two nil win over Argentina.

UOL- Se existe um adversário que Neymar se dá muito bem é a seleção do Japão. Nesta terça-feira, em Cingapura, o atacante melhorou sua marca diante do time nipônico. Neymar marcou quatro gols e foi o principal nome na goleada do Brasil por 4 a 0 do Brasil no amistoso.

O atacante soma quatro vitórias em quatro jogos contra o Japão. Mais: são oito gols marcados pelo atacante diante da equipe asiática.

O repertório de Neymar nesta terça foi vasto: gol driblando o goleiro, gol em velocidade, com a perna esquerda e de cabeça.


A seleção fecha turnê asiática com 100% de aproveitamento nos jogos contra Japão e Argentina. O triunfo em Cingapura realça o bom começo de Dunga neste retorno à seleção.

O treinador venceu os quatro jogos no comando do time (Equador, Colômbia, Argentina e Japão), sem nenhum gol sofrido.


As fases de jogo – A seleção brasileira foi pouco ameaçada no 1º tempo. Ao contrário da Argentina, o Japão apresentou baixo rendimento técnico.

As principais chances de gol surgiram dos pés de Neymar. No primeiro lance de perigo, aos 16min, o atacante finalizou na trave.

Um minuto depois, Neymar colocou o Brasil à frente no placar. Ele recebeu belo passe de Tardelli e ficou na frente do goleiro Kawashima. Neymar superou o goleiro antes de finalizar.


A jogada do segundo gol do Brasil parecia replay do primeiro feito por Neymar. O camisa 10 surgiu livre, recebendo passe preciso de Coutinho. Desta vez, Neymar preferiu chutar na saída do goleiro.

Ele quase marca o seu terceiro na partida após passe de Everton Ribeiro. O chute, porém, tocou a rede pelo lado de fora.


Com o jogo nas mãos, Dunga promoveu várias alterações. Kaká entrou e já participou do gol de Neymar, o terceiro do jogo. Minutos depois novamente Kaká acionou Neymar, que de cabeça fez o seu quarto gol na partida.


O melhor: Neymar– Brilhou em campo com 4 gols. Além disso, deu passes açucarados para Robinho.

O pior: Kawashima. Goleiro do Japão não fez nenhuma defesa boa. Quando o Japão era ameaçado, ou a trave salvou ou o Brasil fez o gol.

A chave do jogo. O Brasil soube explorar o fato de a zaga japonesa marcar em zona, e não individualmente. Com passes em infiltração, os atletas da seleção chegavam sem marcação à área adversária.


Toque do técnico: Dunga promoveu uma substituição em relação ao time que enfrentou a Argentina: Gil na vaga de David Luiz, vetado pelo departamento médico. O posicionamento foi o mesmo. Neymar e Tardelli se movimentaram em velocidade, confundindo o rival.


De Futebol


Wanna talk about upset city special. A funny thing happed on the way to Poland. The Poles defeated World Champs Germany for the first time 2-0. A stunner baby a total stunner.

Poland followed up this puppy with a two all draw against Scotland yesterday.

The Daily Mail Poland stunned World Cup winners Germany 2-0 on Saturday to earn their first ever victory over their neighbours and take control of Euro 2016 qualifying Group D.


Arkadiusz Milik put them ahead with a well-timed header in the 51st minute and Sebastian Mila added another late in the game to hand the hosts a memorable victory against bitter rivals Germany after 18 previous failed attempts.

Poland, who had scored once in their previous six competitive meetings and had lost 12 of 18 games against either Germany or West Germany, now go top of Group D on six points, as many as Ireland. Germany are third on three after two games.


Wearing the black and red striped tops they had last worn during their 7-1 demolition of Brazil in the World Cup semi-final in July, Germany had none of their usual sharpness.


The Germans, playing in the stadium where they lost 2-1 to Italy in the Euro 2012 semi-final, were made to work hard against a solid Polish backline in front of a fiery 57,000 crowd.

Towering central defenders Kamil Glik and Lukasz Szukala also made sure to eliminate any aerial threat from Mats Hummels, playing his first game for Germany since the World Cup final.


The visitors, missing half a dozen starters including Bastian Schweinsteiger and Marco Reus, had their best chance in the 38th minute when Mario Goetze floated a cross to the far post but winger Karim Bellarabi, on his debut, fired wired.


With Poland tiring towards halftime, the Germans carved out several more good chances but neither Thomas Mueller twice nor Bellarabi could find the back of the net.

But the hosts stunned Germany five minutes after the restart with Milik heading in a pinpoint Lukasz Piszczek cross.

As expected it turned out to be a one-sided second half with Germany attacking and the Poles waiting to hit back on the break.


Germany substitute Lukas Podolski shook the crossbar with his first touch of the ball before Mila sealed Poland’s win when he tapped in from a Robert Lewandowski assist in the 88th minute.

The result leaves the world champions fourth in their group behind Poland and the Republic of Ireland – and level on points with Scotland.



De Futebol


Flamengo picked up a huge win 3-0 over Cruzeiro. The win keeps Mengao safe for now tenth place 37 points. Only eight points separate voce vai bound 17th place 29 points Botafogo. This win was huge for Boo Mengao defeated top dogs Raposa.

With only ten matches left wins are of utmost importance from this day forward. An own goal triggered off the onslaught by Cruzeiros Dede in the 15th minute. Hector Canteros 57th minute made two nil Rubro-negro. Gabriel tickled the twines in the 62nd minute for the final score of 3-0.


O Dia- Jogando em casa, o Flamengo fez valer o fator casa e também aproveitou as falhas da zaga do Cruzeiro para vencer com tranquilidade o líder do Brasileirão por 3 a 0, no Maracanã. Com gols Dedé (contra), Canteros e Gabriel, o time Rubro-Negro se afasta da zona de rebaixamento e encaixa a segunda vitória seguida na competição.

Com o resultado posivito, o Flamengo agora tem 37 pontos e é o 10º colocado na tabela. No próxima domingo, o Fla visita o Atlético-PR, às 16h, na Arena da Baixada. Já o líder Cruzeiro perdeu a segunda seguida, vê os seus rivais na briga pelo título enconstarem, mas continua no topo com 56 pontos. Também no domingo, a Raposa visita o Vitória, no Barradão, às 18h30.


Aproveitando o Maracanã lotado e o fator casa, o Flamengo começou o jogo se lançando ao ataque pressionando o Cruzeiro. Sempre apostando na velocidade de Everton, as melhores chegadas ao ataque eram do Fla e aos 10 veio a primeira chance. Após boa jogada, o camisa 22 passou para Alecsandro que serviu Canteros mas o argentino finalizou mal por cima do gol. Mas o gol do Rubro-Negro não tardou a sair.


Aos 13, Márcio Araújo desarmou Nilton na saída de bola e serviu Alecsandro na direita. O atacante do Fla cruzou para área e o zagueiro Dedé foi tentar afastar e colocou contra a própria meta. 1 a 0 Flamengo e festa no Maracanã. Atrás no placar, o Cruzeiro começou a sair para o jogo e aos 18 teve ótima chance para empatar. Marquinhos cobrou falta na área e Nilton desviou a bola que passou tirando tinta da trave. Após o lance, o líder do brasileiro começou a pressionar o Fla.

Em duas oportunidades seguidas, Marcelo Moreno teve boa chance de empatar o jogo mas parou em Paulo Victor. Aos 28, o estreante do dia, o lateral esquerdo Anderson Pico, chutou com perigo apóes cobrança de falta ensaiada ao lado do gol defendido por Fábio. Aos 30, Egidío desviou de cabeça para o meio da área para Marcelo Moreno mas o atacante cruzeirense perdeu a chance de empatar sozinho e colocou para fora.


Aos 34, o clima esquentou em campo. Marquinhos discutiu asperamente com Anderson Pico e depois com Cáceres que se envolveu na confusão e acabou levando a pior e foi punido com o cartão amarelo. No lance seguinte, Nilton se estranhou com a zaga rubro-negra e também foi advertido com o cartão.O Fla continuava explorando a velocidade de Everton pelo lado esquerdo e a última jogada de perigo foi justamento com o camisa 22. Ele arrancou pela lateral, cruzou rasteiro para o meio da área e o zagueiro Dedé afastou.


No segundo tempo, o Cruzeiro continou tentando pressionar o Flamengo e logo no primeiro minuto, Dedé cabeceou com perigo por cima do gol do Fla. Apesar da posse de bola, o time mineiro não conseguia finalizar e transformar o domínio em gol. Já o Rubro-Negro que apostava nos contra-ataque continuou contando com a ajuda da zaga azul. Em nova falha da defesa, desta vez de Manoel e Fábio, Canteros se antecipou aos dois, roubou a bola e apenas empurrou para o gol vazio: 2 a 0.


O Cruzeiro acusou o golpe e se atordou em campo. Aos 17, mais um erro do setor defensivo do líder. Após chutão de Paulo Victor, Manoel se atrapalhou e deixou Alecsandro entrar livre pela direita. O atacante cruzou com precisão para Gabriel que tirou com categoria de Fábio e ampliou para o Fla: 3 a 0. O terceiro gol foi a senha pro Fla se fechar de vez na defesa e segurar o placar. Perdido em campo, o Cruzeiro tinha a posse de bola, avançou no campo mas não conseguia criar chances para diminuir. Já o Rubro-Negro apostava nos contra-ataques e nos espaços deixados pelos mineiros.


Sem conseguir criar grandes chances de gol, o Cruzeiro continuou pressionando mas sem perigo enquanto Flamengo apenas administrava a vitória e esperava pelo apito final do juíz que sacramentou mais uma vitória do Rubro-Negro no Campeonato Brasileiro.


De Futebol


Brasil got the better of Argentina on this day in China a 2-0 win. This win means nothing. The battle between the two super stars Lionel Messi and Neymar was pretty much even Steven. Brasileiros won but the key to the match was the missed PK by Messi that could have changed the complexion of the match.

The Daily Mail- “More than any other teams in world football, Brazil and Argentina have come to be defined, in recent years, by their No 10s.

In Barcelona duo Lionel Messi and Neymar, the South American giants have arguably the best two players in the world in that position, and both teams are built around their respective superstars.

But how did the pair compare when they met in Beijing on Saturday?



It might not be right to describe Brazil vs Argentina as simply Neymar vs Messi – but both teams rely so heavily on their star man that if either goes missing, the whole side can lose their way.

Brazil, as the World Cup showed, are only as good as their No 10, while Messi, on his day, can carry Argentina almost single-handedly.

It’s not enough to be good, these two have to dominate the whole game to earn praise.

In the first half hour, there is no doubt who was winning this battle. Messi was involved in everything good that Argentina did, getting on the ball in deep areas, committing defenders and feeding his team-mates.

Not only did he beat defenders himself, but his very presence drew men away from his fellow forwards. Angel di Maria and Sergio Aguero had more space than they would normally be afforded by virtue of playing alongside Messi.

Neymar, meanwhile, was left isolated for much of the first half, lurking on the lonely left wing while Brazil struggled to get a foothold.


It was clear, whenever Dunga’s side won the ball, that they were looking to their talisman for a lift, but possession was so rare (less than 35 per cent in the first half) that he was a peripheral figure.

In fact, Brazil’s No 10 made just 10 passes in the entire first 45 minutes, less than a third of Messi’s tally – and three of those 10 failed to find a team-mate.

But, after Diego Tardelli’s opener, the 22-year-old came to life. Dazzling dribbles, incisive passes, and very nearly a superb solo goal.

Suddenly Neymar, without having too much of the ball, was the most exciting player on the pitch. Every time he got the ball he looked to have the beating of a desperately slow Argentina defence.

His pace and threat brought fouls and cards, and by the end of the game there was little doubt who the most threatening player on the pitch was.



Both players are absolutely vital to their side’s chance creation. Despite Chelsea duo Oscar and Willian alongside him, Neymar is the only genuine creative focal point in the Brazil side.

Argentina have a few more options, with Angel di Maria in particular diverting some of the pressure off Messi’s shoulders, but the diminutive genuis is still the key man.

Neither of the two were particularly wonderful in a first half which lacked many clear-cut chances, but Messi offered slightly more, creating two chances for Sergio Aguero.

First he slid Pablo Zabaleta in behind before the full back’s cross was mishit by Aguero, then he put the Manchester City striker in down the right hand channel, only for the forward to blaze over the bar.

Neymar, on the other hand, created only for himself in the opening 45, although this was enough to strike fear into the Argentinian defence.


He rectified that soon after half time, a perfectly weighted pass playing in Felipe Luis, who should really have made it 2-0, and then releasing Willian inside the box, who again was wasteful.


While Brazil’s new counter-attacking system relies on Neymar to do it all himself, Argentina’s tactical set-up lets Messi drift in and out, before attacking from deeper areas.

Both systems are designed to get the best out of their major star, and both seemed to work fairly well in that respect.

Messi repeatedly picked up the ball from the right hand side and drove at the Brazilian defence, who usually responded by fouling him.

Mostly the Argentine beat at least one man, before spreading the play wide or winning a free kick in a dangerous area. The levels of excitement were certainly raised around the stadium when he got on the ball, but there were hints, rather than devastating examples, of what he can do on the ball.


As the need to take the game by the scruff of the neck increased with Brazil’s two goals, Messi came further inside and began to run with the ball more.

Two shots soon after the hour mark tested Jefferson, though neither really threatened to find the back of the net.

Neymar, on the other hand, clearly had the upper hand in this particular duel. Out of the game for such long periods, the Brazil captain showed several times what he could do when given time and space.

Soon after the half hour Neymar went on three devastating dribbles in five short minutes, slicing through the Argentina defence with ease and very nearly taking the game away from his opponents single-handedly.


For all their tricks and flicks, runs and rabonas, the pair will always be judged on their final touch.


In the first half, both were found seriously wanting. Messi, usually so deadly, fired two free kicks against the wall and failed to manufacture any shooting opportunities from open play.

Even when presented with the perfect opportunity from 12 yards the former World Player of the Year could only fire his spot-kick tamely at Jefferson.

The second half saw three decent efforts from the edge of the box, all of which brought saves from Jefferson, but only an 80th minute free-kick looked close to beating the Brazil keeper.

Neymar was little better. His best run, during which he ran from half-way, beating two men before drawing the keeper, ended with something of a whimper, a scuffed shot that trickled wide.


Then, early in the second half, the pacey Brazilian eased past the defence only to cut the ball back to no-one.

Even when put through one-on-one by Luis Gustavo against a goalkeeper stuck in no-mans-land, the young forward could only chip over the bar.


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