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Fulham's Tim Hoogland, right, scored the opening goal against Cardiff in the Championship

Fulham was dropped to the English Championship and now the Cottagers are struggling big time in the English Championship. Zero wins so far. It sure looked like Fulham would the elusive “W” this time. Tim Hoogland scored in the 22nd minute only to see the Birdinhos Cardiff City to get the equalizer in the 55th minute. Kenwyne Jones broke Fulham’s hearts. The Cottagers are stull in search of their fist win after a one draw Cardiff City.

The good news is that Fulham isn’t whale dung. The Cottagers are one step above stink 23rd place one point.

 The Guardian filed this story- “Fulham’s search for a first league win of the season goes on but here was evidence that, contrary to what Mohamed Al Fayed thinks, Felix Magath does know what he is doing. The hosts were impressive against a side also reeling from Premier League relegation and, having taken the lead, looked set for three points. A draw means Fulham are at least off the mark and off the bottom of the Championship.

Fulham v Cardiff City - Premier League

The manager, compared to Felix the Cat by Fayed, Fulham’s former owner, last week in an exchange of words that was as bizarre as it was heated, deserves credit. Under pressure after they had lost their opening four fixtures, he clearly had them focused on the job in hand. Buoyed, no doubt, by their midweek victory over Brentford in the Capital One Cup, Fulham struck through Tim Hoogland’s 22nd-minute header and continued to press forward even after Kenwyne Jones secured an equaliser out of n

This was by no means a perfect display by the hosts who, as Magath conceded, ultimately paid for their failure to take a host of first-half chances. But there was much to admire in the fluidity and purpose of their attacking during the early stages and desire to regain and retain possession throughout, with no one in white impressing more than Scott Parker. Deployed as the most advanced central midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the Fulham captain combined his usual tireless work with clever link-up play until his substitution on 82 minutes. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, the Cardiff manager, described the 33-year-old as a “fantastic footballer” and on this evidence he will prove fundamental to Fulham’s hopes of climbing from 23rd, having swapped places with Blackpool following their defeat at Millwall.

Fulham v Cardiff City - Premier League

For Magath the hope is that Fulham will build on this display after the international break and that the club’s supporters, a smattering of whom booed at the final whistle, remain patient. “I can understand the fans are afraid – last year we were relegated and at the beginning of this season we are at bottom, but it was necessary for the club to start again,” he said. “There are now many young players in the team and I ask people to not only look at the results but at what I am trying to do as a whole.”

Cardiff are also going through much change and it says much about the tumultuous nature of relegation that only three players who started when these sides met here in the Premier League 11 months ago also did so on Saturday. One of them was Parker and, having had the game’s first effort on goal with a long-range drive, he played a part in the breakthrough, directing a first-time pass out to Ross McCormack whose cross was then glanced in by Hoogland for the German’s second goal for Fulham since joining from Schalke in the summer.

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Fulham continued to pour forward, combining crisp passing with clever movement, and McCormack, the former Cardiff player and a striker under scrutiny having scored once since his £11m arrival from Leeds, was also impressing from a wide-left role. He tested David Marshall shortly after the break. At that stage, it looked a matter of time before Fulham scored again. But then Jones struck on 55 minutes after combining neatly with Mats Daehli.

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The contest evened out somewhat after that but the home team kept going and could have won it in stoppage time had Thomas Eisfeld shown more conviction with a close-range header.

“The response in the second half was pleasing,” said Solsjkaer. “We’ve now played five games and only had one defeat, which isn’t bad.”

Fulham would have loved a start like that. There is at least hope now for better to come.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/aug/30/fulham-cardiff-city-championship-football

Fulham

 

De Futebol

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Flamengo is now a run. Mengao has won five straight and three straight on the road with a 2-1 win over Vitoria. Rubro-negro has not won five straight since 2007. The guys are now in  ninth place with 25 points.

O Dia wrote-  No reencontro com Ney Franco, melhor para o Flamengo. Diante do Vitória no Barradão, o clube carioca venceu o time baiano por 2 a 1. O resultado foi a quinta vitória seguida do Rubro-Negro do Rio no Brasileirão, algo que não acontecia desde 2007. A vitória contou com uma “ajudinha” do ex-flamenguista Juan, que atua no clube de Salvador. O lateral cometeu um pênalti e perdeu a chance de empatar para os donos da casa ao perder uma penalidade

Na próxima rodada, o Flamengo enfrentar o Grêmio, no Maracanã. A partida acontece no sábado, às 18h30. O Vitória encara o Santos, no Pacaembu, no mesmo dia e horário.

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Atuando fora de casa, o Flamengo começou um pouco acuado no Barradão. Errando muitos passes, o clube carioca foi pressionado nos primeiros minutos. Com apenas dois, o Vitória quase abriu o placar. Caio avançou, entrou na área e a bola sobrou para Dinei, em boas condições, mas o atacante se enrolou com a bola.

Aos poucos, o clube carioca conseguiu se estabilizar na partida e quase saiu na frente aos 14 minutos. Everton recebeu pela esquerda e finalizou, a bola bateu na trave e ficou na mão de Junior Fernández. Um minuto depois, os donos da casa responderam. Caio fez uma grande jogada pela esquerda e tocou para Dinei, que mais uma vez errou, e não conseguiu marcar. Aos 30 minutos, após cruzamento, a bola sobrou para Dinei, que não conseguiu tocar para dentro.

O futebol não perdoou as três falhas de Dinei e aos 32 minutos, o Vitória abriu o placar. Everton cobrou escanteio e Marcelo cabeceou, abrindo o placar para o Flamengo no Barradão. No embalo, o clube carioca quase ampliou. Everton fez boa jogada pela esquerda e rolou para Canteiros, o volante chutou a bola foi desviada pela zaga do Vitória e Marcio Araújo tentou, mas também acabou bloqueado.

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Aos 39 minutos, o vitória chegou ao empate num lance bem inusitado. Após uma cobrança de lateral, Caio dominou, se virou e a zaga do Flamengo chutou a bola em cima do atacante, a jogada não saiu como esperado e a bola foi na direção do gol do clube carioca, encobrindo o goleiro Paulo Victor, deixando o confronto empatado.

O Flamengo voltou contudo para a segundo tempo. Após boa jogada pela esquerda, Márcio Araújo quase marcou. Dois minutos depois, uma jogada bem parecida, porém com melhor conclusão quase deixou o clube carioca em vantagem. Everton fez bela jogada e cruzou de novo para o volante, que finalizou duas vezes, na primeira Fernández fez uma grande defesa e na segunda a trave salvou o clube baiano. Logo depois foi a vez do goleiro Paulo Victor aparecer na partida. Depois de boa jogada pela direita, Caio cabeceou e o arqueiro rubro-negro salvou com o pé.

A partida apresentava um ritmo mais lento, quando o ex-flamenguista Juan resolveu dar uma ajudinha ao clube carioca. Após cruzamento para a área, o lateral-esquerdo colocou a mão dentro da área, pênalti. Na cobrança, Alecsandro recolocou o clube carioca na frente do placar. Depois, o clube baiano teve uma penalidade a seu favor. Juan foi para cobrança e Paulo Victor defendeu, garantindo a vitória do time do Rio.

http://odia.ig.com.br/esporte/flamengo/2014-08-31/juan-da-ajudinha-e-flamengo-vence-o-vitoria-no-reencontro-com-ney-franco.html

 

 

 

 

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My guys from Arsenal had  chance to stay in the top four instead a goal by the Foxes Leonadro Ulloa in the 22nd minute sent us to a one all draw with Leicester City. Alexis Sanchez started Arsenal off on the right foot in the 20th minute for the one zero lead. Two minutes later the Foxes scored the equalizer and this revealed our need for a striker. Wenger refuse to look at the fact we suck on the offense. Our offense is down right offensive.

The tie drops my Gunners to seventh place. A win and two draws is not very good if we want to compete for the title let alone a top four finish.  We have scored only five goals in three matches.  Compare this with eleven goals scored by Chelsea and six by Swansea City and you can see what we are in the shits. Arsenal has given up four goals for a plus one. Things are bleak but not grim for all we need is to get another striker and this could solve all of our offensive problems.

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Wenger was down right adamant we don’t need another striker. What crock of crap. No wonder we are stuck in fourth place forever. A change is needed. Get a striker fool.  Wenger justified his excuses with this statement “Everybody does that [slip up],” he told Sky Sports. “Manchester City lost yesterday against Stoke and they have strikers. Buying one player doesn’t mean you win the game today. We want to [buy someone] and we are open to it.

“The pressure to buy is always there, whether Olivier Giroud is injured or not. That happens every time you don’t win a game. We have to live with that. We try our best and everybody at the club tries their best to do well.”

http://www.espnfc.us/arsenal/story/2014308/arsenal-manager-arsene-wenger-refuses-to-blame-leicester-draw-on-lack-of-strikers

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Matt Law The Telegraph wrote about Gunner nation scream out about our offensive offense-Arsenal and Arsène Wenger have been here before. In fact, they seem to reach this point on the eve of the closure of every transfer window.

Twelve months ago, frustrated Arsenal fans chanted “spend some f****** money.” Wenger obliged by splashing the cash on Mesut Ozil and also spent big on Alexis Sanchez this summer.

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But the Arsenal supporters who travelled to Leicester City’s King Power Stadium clearly still believe Wenger has work to do during the final 24 hours of this transfer window

Having watched free transfer Yaya Sanogo fail to offer any encouragement that he can effectively step in for the injured Olivier Giroud, Arsenal fans chanted “sign a f****** striker.

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Law reported another Wenger justification “Every time you don’t win a game the solution is to buy somebody,” said Wenger. “We are out there trying our best and you have to trust us to find the best possible solution. “

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11066654/Leicester-City-1-Arsenal-1-Leonardo-Ulloa-cancels-out-Alexis-Sanchezs-opener-as-Arsene-Wengers-side-are-held.html

This act gets old after a while. Excuse after excuse. Blame it the freaking moon or sun for crying out loud. The truth is we can’t hit a broad side of barn with a machine gun. Until these excuses stop we will always be a fourth place club.

Leicester City v Arsenal - Premier League

Stuart James The Guardian nailed it. “It was a performance that did nothing for Arsène Wenger’s dubious claim that Arsenal are well-stocked in the striker department and under no pressure to bring in a replacement for the injured Olivier Giroud before the transfer window shutters come down. Yaya Sanogo was given the job of leading the line but was withdrawn 13 minutes from time, still without a goal in 17 Arsenal appearances and, on this evidence, well short of being the centre-forward his club need.

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/aug/31/leicester-city-arsenal-match-report

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Chelsea sits atop he leader board with nine points a plus seven. Swansea City is second with nine points a plus five.  Aston Villa is third seven points. Shitty is fourth six points. My Gunners fell to seventh place five points.

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The match between Chelsea and Everton had it all, fireworks, a ton of goals, an own goal, and a touch of WWF flair however in the end the Blues defeated the Toffees at Everton’s house Goodison park 6-3. Chelsea sits atop the EPL with nine points.  Diego Costa led the Blues attack with the daily double.

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Chelsea scored twice in the first three minutes for a quick two nil Diego Costa first minute, and Branislav Ivanovic third minute. This looked like the rout was on. The Toffees slammed the door shut . Kevin  Mirallas header found its mark in the 45th minute to cut the gap to 2-1. Then all  hell broke loose in the second half as both the Blues and the Toffees six second half goals.

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In a span of twenty one minutes six goals were scored.   After the own goal by Everton’s Seamus Coleman’s in the 67th minute the fun began.  Tim Howard went ballistic after the own was rubbed in his face by Diego Costa. Howard gave Costa a face wash. The Howard could have received a red card but he didn’t. Everton’s Steven Naismith  scored 69th minute to cut the gap to 3-2. Chelsea’s Nemanja Matic 74th minute made 4-2. Samuel Eto’o scored in the 76th minute made 4-3 then the Blues put this sucker to bed with goals from Ramires 77th minute and Diego Costa 90th minute for the final score six three Chelsea.

If you like offensive futebol this match was for you.  Everton has blown two two goal leads and now was shell shocked by Chelsea at Goodison Park  so this doesn’t bode well for the Toffees. I think this will be a long assed season for Everton. a top finish may not be in the cards for Roberto Martinez and company.

The Toffees are in 16th place with two points.

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Chris Bascombe The Telegraph-“Diego Costa did not so much ease Fernando Torres out the door at Chelsea as prepare a farewell video of how it should have been done.

Jose Mourinho described this as the complete centreforward’s performance from the £32 million striker. Full of brooding menace, occasional tantrums and the killer instinct that yielded two goals in a 6-3 win at Everton. At a traditionally inhospitable venue, he provoked the hosts into both scowls and grudging admiration.

Even the managers were at odds over Costa’s on-field demeanour as he did not so much leave his mark as trample over every second of this game. For the first time since Didier Drogba led the line, Chelsea have a striker equally comfortable in a trench war or playing the role of sniper.

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“He gave a fantastic performance in every aspect,” said Mourinho.

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“I remember in the first half he was tackling Coleman in the edge of our box. He was holding balls. He was aggressive. He was face to face. He had three chances and scored two goals. It is not just the final touch, he participates in everything.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11065918/Everton-3-Chelsea-6-Premier-League-match-report.html

This cat is a match changer.

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Queens Park Rangers got their first win of the season against ten man Sunderland. A 1-0 win for Harry “Me Boy’ Redknapp lifted the Hoops into 12th place three points.  After being shut out in their first two matches by a combined scored of five nil QPR finally dented the scoreboard when Charlie Austin found the mark in the stoppage time in the first half 45th plus two. Queens Park Rangers had gone 315 minutes without scoring a goal no wonder the Hoops were worried. QPR can’t hit the board side of a barn with a machine gun.

Ian Winrow The Telegraph b” Charlie Austin’s first Premier League goal ensured Queens Park Rangers overcame the disruption caused by Loic Remy’s late withdrawal from the squad in anticipation of his imminent move to Chelsea, securing a first win of the season for Harry Redknapp’s side.

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Redknapp, the Rangers manager, revealed he omitted Remy from his plans after receiving a lunchtime phone call informing him the France forward is poised to move after Chelsea agreed to meet player’s £8.5 million get-out clause.

Speaking before the game, the manager said: “He was in the team. I just got a phone call about 12 o’clock to say it looks like he is going to be moving. The deal looks like it has been done, so I had to make a change.

“He didn’t refuse to play, but it’s difficult to go out there to play and get your head around it. As far as I know (it is Chelsea).”

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Remy’s absence leaves a hole that Redknapp will desperately want to fill before Monday’s transfer deadline, but Austin’s well-taken goal in first half added time – the forward’s ninth in his last nine appearances at Loftus Road -brought respite after a testing start to the campaign.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11065732/Queens-Park-Rangers-1-Sunderland-0.html

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Newcastle and Crystal Palace tied three all. Both Toons and the Eagles ae deep in the shitter. Crystal Palace sits in 19th place one point. Newcastle is  15th place two points. Wilfred’s Zaha’s late goal gave the Eagles the three all draw. Zaha’s goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time broke Toons hearts at St. James Park.

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Chelsea is top dog over Swansea City on goal difference. Both the Blues and the Swans each have six points. Chelsea a plus seven Swansea City a plus five. Spurs is third with sox points. Liverpool and Tottenham will duke it out later today.

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De Futebol

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The guys are back at it later today. Chelsea and Man Shitty are showing why they are the best in the EPL. Yes Martha this can change in a heartbeat as the season progesses but for now the Blues and the Citizens are the cream of the crop. Today’s action kicks off with Man U at the Clarets house Turf Moor. The Red Devils have won five out of their last six against Burnley. Head to head Burnley 40 wins. Man U has 48 wins.  The season is slowly slipping away fast so this is a must win for Man U to escape a total disaster in the making.

Man Shitty battles Stoke City at the Etihad. This should be an easy win for Shitty. The Citizens has 38 wins. The Potters 30.

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Newcastle-Crystal Palace, Queens Park Rangers- Sunderland, Swansea City-West Brom, West Ham-Southampton and the biggie Chelsea- Everton at Stamford Bridge round out the action today.

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The Toffees can’t afford to lose this sucker. If Everton does you can kiss a top five finish Hasta vista baby. The Blues will need to win to stay even with Man Shitty. I don’t think the Citizens will lose against the Potters.  The Swans need to win to keep with the Shitty’s and the Blues. A tie or a loss for Swansea City could drop them out of the top five.

Tottenham and Liverpool battle on Sunday. The Reds can’t afford another road loss at this juncture. White Hart Lane is a tough place to play right now.  Spurs, Chelsea, Man Shitty and Swansea City each have six points.

My Gunners battle Leicester City in the late match on Sunday. Arsenal is in fifth place with four points. We need to win this sucker.

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Harry “Me Boy” Redknapp’s club QPR is winless so far. A loss could send the Hoops into a total recall mode and this could kill Queens Park Rangers season. Redknapp stayed the course and guided Queens Park Rangers back to the EPL after being sent down in 2012-13.

We are only three weeks into the season. Man U, Queens Park Rangers, and Liverpool are behind the eight ball. The class of the EPL is Man Shitty and Chelsea. Swansea City and Tottenham are surprises so far. No one expected Spurs and The Swans to be in the top four.  It is still early but the battle lines are drawn to see who has a real shot at winning the title. So far The Blues and the Citizens appear to be in the drivers seat so far. Let’s remember the EPL is  a long season and there will be many twists and turns in the season. This is just a snap shot of the teams at this point three weeks into the season.

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De Futebol

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The media, the fans, and everyone else in between is having a massive cow over the horrible start by Man U under Louis Van Gaal. He warned anyone who would listen the team sucks. The cupboard was bare. The backline stinks. The midfield is a shambles. The attacking options are limited to Rooney and Robin Van Persie. The team was sinking fast.

Sir Alex willed the guys to the title two years ago. Anyone with half a brain knew and saw the “D” stunk. The midfield was very weak. The team had too many aging stars that needed to be replaced. Van Gaal sorta what he was getting into when he took the job. The Red Devils were a long term  rebuilding project. Man U entered into the second round of the Capital One cup for the first time since 1955. This was the result of finishing seventh place last season and the failure to secure a place in European futebol. This was the Red Devils worst Cup defeat at Old Trafford since the 3-0 loss to York City nineteen years ago.

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What ticked many off was this statement by Van Gaal after the loss. He told Mark Ogden The Telegraph- ” “I’m not shocked because I know what can happen,” Van Gaal said. “I thought MK Dons played very well – they were aggressive and they had also had a little bit of luck.”

Ogden then added, “When asked if he could understand that the club’s supporters would be surprised by his admission, Van Gaal called for patience and suggested it could take a year to turn the club around. “That is another question,” Van Gaal said. “Yes, it is very difficult when you start as a manger in the Premier League with a home match loss and after that a draw [at Sunderland] and then you lose in a cup match.

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“It is difficult for the fans to believe in philosophy of Louis van Gaal, but you have to do that because I am here to build up a new team and a new team is not built in one month.

“We are building a team which we cannot make in one month or even one year. It is very disappointing, but I hope they maintain their confidence in our club. We know exactly what we are doing. We have lost in the Capital One Cup, so tonight has cost us the chance of a trophy, and that is disappointing.”

The one thing one will get from Van Gaal is brutal honesty. This cat will not pull any punches. He is a throw back to cats like Bobby Knight, Bill Parcells, and John McKay. A reported asked McKay after his Tampa Bay Bucks were destroyed,” How about your teams execution? McKay replied, “I am in favour of it.”

Ogden went to write- On the day that United broke the British transfer record by completing the £59.7million signing of Real Madrid winger Ángel di María, Van Gaal turned to the club’s youngsters and fringe players for the fixture against a team lying in seventh position in League One.

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Although Van Gaal’s starting line-up included five full internationals, United were rarely in the game, but the manager defended his decision to make 10 changes from the team who drew against Sunderland.

“We have played the match when we had nine injuries and we have played within 48 hours (of our last game,)” Van Gaal said. “So I don’t think I can play with the squad I used on Sunday. I have to look at the second team and youth education and then we played this match.

“But we made errors building up situations in the first phase and, when you make errors like that, you give the match away.

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“At half time, I am a coach who is always taking risks. I always want to win the match and when you are thinking that you have to win, you have to take risks.

“I changed the way we played in the first half. We played one versus one over the whole pitch and when you see that we created a lot of chances, but we were not lucky.

“Then we had another building-up error in the first phase and they score again. After that, it is very difficult because you cannot go back any more and then you give spaces away, so you can expect also 0-3, 0-4. I played a young team of course. I’m disappointed, but I can analyse this.”

With United’s youngsters struggling to cope with MK Dons commitment – Van Gaal handed debuts to Saidy Janko and Marnick Vermijl – the more experienced players in the team failed to deliver.

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But despite the poor performances of the likes of Anderson, Danny Welbeck and Javier Hernández, Van Gaal refused to single his senior players out for criticism. “You play as a team,” he said. “There are always questions about individuals, but everybody contributes in a team and sometimes one is better than the other. We have to judge the team and not one individual player.”

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MK Dons manager Karl Robinson, in contrast to Van Gaal, admitted he was taken aback by the result, which secures his team’s place in Wednesday’s third-round draw.

“I’m a little bit shocked to be walking off and seeing the scoreline,” he said. “It’s ridiculous, it’s something that dreams are made of for these players. We work hard here and you’ve seen a youthful energy in the team, but I think my players deserve an awful lot of credit.

“The football club does and Milton Keynes does. This is a game for Milton Keynes as a city.”

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/manchester-united/11057785/Manchester-United-manager-Louis-van-Gaal-says-I-am-not-shocked-after-4-0-defeat-to-MK-Dons-in-Capital-One-Cup.html

This could be a long assed season for Man U. It may take some time to rebuild this once mighty club.  Everyone needs to take a chill pill. Man Shitty had some really bad seasons until they were bought out. Now look at them. Will Shitty have the  same longevity as Man U?  We will see but I don’t think so. Man U has 20 titles. Liverpool has  18. No one else is even close to that number. Arsenal is next in line with thirteen.

Van Gaal admitted to The Daily Mail, ” He didn’t fully appreciate the amount of work needed to restore Manchester United to the top of English Futebol.”

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2736815/Manchester-United-boss-Louis-van-Gaal-did-not-realise-size-job-Old-Trafford.html

This is a very sobering thought and the real truth. Now deal with it folks.

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De Futebol

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This sucker was in doubt for a long time. Besiktas gave us all we could handle and then some. It took a late first half goal by Alexis Sanchez 41st minute for the only marking in the match to give us the 1-0 win (1-0 aggregate) at our house Emirates.The win moves my Gunners on to the Group stage of the Champions League. Henry Winter  The Telegraph described the goal by Sanchez this way “Sanchez’s poacher’s touch was enough.”

Winter went on to say “There is so much to admire in the Chilean. He showed his class during the World Cup, qualities that were never fully used at Barcelona and he was given the stage here at Arsenal by Arsene Wenger. He took his goal well, finishing firmly after a lengthy move had been accelerated by Jack Wilshere, giving one of his best displays, and Mesut Ozil.”

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The guys were missing the injured Olivier Giroud. This hurt the attack big time.  Wenger said that Giroud’s injury wouldn’t hurt the attack. What crock of crap. Winter described the guys offense this way-” His replacement, Sanchez, seemed isolated for 44 minutes, running manfully, making those remarkable bursts of acceleration, but struggling to find space. Only when Wilshere and Ozil suddenly increased the pressure as the half closed was Besiktas’ defence opened up and Sanchez had his chance.

Until then Arsenal, and Sanchez, had been running down cul-de-sacs.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/11060292/Arsenal-1-Besiktas-0-Alexis-Sanchez-seals-place-in-Champions-League-group-stages-for-10-man-Gunners.html

This was all we needed one break and one goal. It takes just one let down and can you say kiss your butt “hasta la vista baby.”

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This wasn’t a pretty win but it got the job done.  This makes seventeen straight years Arsenal has played in the Champions League.

Daniel Taylor The Guardian opening three paragraphs nailed it- “Once again, Arsenal can look forward to their customary position in the Champions League draw. It has become an annual part of their calendar and Alexis Sánchez’s first goal for the club, on a tense, difficult but ultimately triumphant night, maintains a record Arsène Wenger is entitled to cherish. This will be the 17th successive season they have competed in European football’s premier competition and the relief was considerable bearing in mind the way the occasion could easily have become an ordeal.

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They had to withstand some fraught moments after Mathieu Debuchy had picked up a second yellow card to leave them a man short for the last quarter of an hour and another four minutes of added time. Fortunately for them, Besiktas did not have the wit to take advantage of their late onslaught and the most important refereeing decision actually came earlier in the match, at 0-0, when Arsenal were spared a penalty that could have changed the entire complexion of the night.

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Arsenal’s inability to score an away goal at the Ataturk eight days earlier meant there were always going to be times when Wenger could be seen anxiously prowling the touchline. Yet Besiktas, third in last season’s Super Lig, looked like unremarkable opponents for most of the night and Wenger could probably be forgiven for thinking his team should have made lighter work of it.”

http://www.theguardian.com/football/2014/aug/27/arsenal-besiktas-champions-league-match-report

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De Futebol

Wolves' Bakary Sako celebrates his goal against Fulham with Matt Doherty at Craven Cottage.

I am beginning to become a fan of Wolverhampton. The Wolves fell from grace and have dug themselves outta League One to the English Championship.  Wolverhampton was sent packing from the EPL 2011-12 to second division ball. The next year Wolves fell to League One third division. Wolverhampton won the League One title in 2013-14. Now Wolvers are in back in the English Championship.

There is something about the dogs that I like to root for. Maybe this with me being a Philly kid. We have a culture of losing and stinking the joint out with our teams-especially the Eagles and Phillies. I am a dire hard Eagles fan.

Wolves have won three topflight titles the last coming in 1958-59, four FA Cups the last one in 1960, three League One crowns, and one League Two crown- fourth division.

Wolverhampton defeated newly demoted Cardiff City 1-0. The difference was an own goal by the birdinhos captain Mark Hudson in stoppage time for the win. This is the third straight won by Wolves over clubs there were sent packing from the EPL last season.

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The Birmingham Mail- AN own-goal from Cardiff captain Mark Hudson in stoppage time not only handed Wolves all three points in dramatic fashion but also made it a hat-trick of 1-0 wins over  the third straight win over three sides relegated from the Premier League.

Kenny Jackett’s men had impressed throughout without showing the finesse needed to find the net until Kevin McDonald’s cross was swiped into his own net by Hudson on 91 minutes.

The costly error means Wolves have now dispatched Premier League relegated sides Norwich, Fulham and Cardiff by the same 1-0 scoreline in a matter of weeks.

Despite the nature of the victory, it was a thoroughly-deserved result for the home side, although they had to rely on a fantastic save from keeper Carl Ikeme, who somehow denied Kenwyne Jones minutes from the finish.

Wolves – who climbed up to fourth in the table with this victory – went into the game unchanged for the fourth match in a row as Jackett stuck with the same side that had picked up six points from the last nine available.

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They looked bright early on but it was the visitors who produced the first shot in anger on five minutes, although Anthony Pilkington’s poor 20-yarder was easily gathered by Ikeme. But Wolves looked the livelier side and they almost went in front in the 11th minute as Bakary Sako struck the woodwork direct from a corner.

City keeper David Marshall, under pressure from several Wolves players, got nowhere near Sako’s dead ball and, luckily for the visitors, it cannoned back out off the angle of post and bar.

A Rajiv van La Parra strike from outside the box was deflected wide off the foot of Cardiff defender Sean Morrison on 19 minutes as Wanderers kept up the early pressure.

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But they almost fell behind against the run of play a minute later as a Wolves corner broke down and Adam Le Fondre was allowed to run nearly the length of the pitch into the hosts’ box but could only scuff the ball wide.

It was a brief respite for City, however, and Marshall got away with a weak punch as Lee Evans mis-hit a volley wide from the edge of the box with half the goal to aim at.

Nouha Dicko then robbed dozing Bluebirds defender Morrison, but when he tried to find Sako in the centre, Cardiff captain Mark Hudson saved his fellow centre-half’s blushes with a fine interception.

A Sako shot was deflected over the bar by Morrison before van La Parra tested Marshall from 30 yards but Wolves could not find the breakthrough.

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But they ended the half with nothing to show for their dominance as full-back Matt Doherty lashed into the side netting from just inside the box after leaving opposite number Fabio da Silva for dead.

And it could – and should – so easily have been Cardiff going into the interval ahead but Morrison completely missed his kick five yards out after Le Fondre flicked a corner on to the far post.

Buoyed by that – and the half-time introduction of Jones for Nicky Maynard, who had made little if any impact – Cardiff were a different side in the second half.

Ten minutes after the interval, Ikeme was forced into his first serious action of the day, needing every inch of his 6ft 3in frame to tip Peter Whittingham’s measured 20-yarder around the post.

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Wolves, meanwhile, were still bossing possession but being let down by their final ball, shot or cross, typified by a 69th minute 30-yarder from Kevin McDonald that flew over the bar.

And when they did get the final ball right moments later, McDonald threading van La Parra through, the Dutchman was foiled by a fine last-ditch tackle from Da Silva.

Cardiff were demanding a penalty with 20 minutes to go as substitute Guido Bergstaller’s long-range strike took a deflection off Richard Stearman’s arm on its way to Ikeme but it was never intentional.

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And only Ikeme’s brilliance denied the Bluebirds a winner they would have scarcely deserved seven minutes from time.

Jones beat Wolves skipper Danny Batth to a Peter Whittingham ball and as it dropped back down to him, he smashed a volley goalwards that Ikeme incredibly managed to keep out at almost point-blank range.

After that stop, the game seemed destined to end goalless but the winner that Wolves, on the balance of play, deserved came a minute into stoppage time, albeit in very fortunate fashion.

McDonald’s left-wing cross would probably have drifted harmlessly through to Marshall but Hudson took an ill-advised swing at it and the ball flew in off the wrong-footed keeper’s near post to win it for Wolves.

http://www.birminghammail.co.uk/sport/football/match-reports/wolves-1-cardiff-0-report-7663806

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De Futebol

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After starting out on the season stinking the joint out, sitting in last place for most of the season Mengao defeated  Criciuma 2-0. This is Rubro-negro’s fourth win in a row and the second on the road. The win puts the guys in eleventh place 22 points.

O Dia ” O Flamengo engatou a quarta vitória consecutiva no Brasileiro. E novamente melhorou com a entrada de Eduardo da Silva. Assim como aconteceu contra o Atlético-MG, ele mudou a história do jogo. Desta vez, com a ajuda de Mugni. A dupla foi decisiva no triunfo sobre o Criciúma, neste domingo, por 2 a 0, no Heriberto Hülse.

A “confusão”, termo usado por Vanderlei Luxemburgo para se referir à parte debaixo da tabela, está ficando mais longe. O Flamengo agora tem 22 pontos e está na 11ª posição, com cinco pontos de frente para o Criciúma, primeiro clube na zona do rebaixamento.

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A dúvida agora fica quanto ao aproveitamento de Eduardo da Silva. Ele já tem três gols pelo Flamengo e pede passagem como titular. O argumento de Luxemburgo é que ele ainda não tem condição física ideal e que ajuda mais entrando quando o adversário está mais desgastado.

O técnico Vanderlei Luxemburgo fez uma modificação em relação ao time que começou na vitória sobre o Atlético-MG. Nixon ganhou a vaga de Luiz Antonio, num esquema mais ofensivo. Já o Criciúma teve a estreia de Cleber Santana e Souza, velhos conhecidos do Rubro-Negro e recém-contratados pelo Tigre.

Na próxima rodada, no domingo, o Flamengo joga mais uma vez fora de casa e encara o Vitória, às 18h30, no Barradão. Antes, na quarta, enfrenta o Coritiba, no Couto Pereira, às 22h, pela Copa do Brasil. Pelo Brasileiro, o Criciúma entra em campo no domingo, às 16h, e encara o Sport fora de casa.

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O jogo

O Flamengo logo ameaçou em cobrança de escanteio. Marcelo levou perigo em cabeçada. Depois, em contra-ataque, Everton achou Arthur livre na área, mas ele chutou para fora. O Rubro-Negro levava vantagem no jogo aéreo. Em novo escanteio, Marcelo acertou a trave. O clube carioca era superior e buscava os lados dos campos. Após parada técnica devido ao calor, o Fla quase abriu o placar. Após cruzamento da esquerda, Léo Moura surgiu na área e emendou de primeira. A bola tocou no travessão antes de sair.

O Criciúma encontrava dificuldade em criar. Na melhor chance, Fábio Ferreira viu Léo Moura salvar cabeçada. Pouco para os donos da casa. O Tigre, por sinal, entrou em campo com um jejum de três jogos sem marcar. Mesmo superior, o Fla não conseguiu ir para o intervalo em vantagem.

No início do segundo tempo, o Tigre logo assustou com Silvinho. Ele foi lançado por João Vitor e deu um toque por cobertura na saída de Paulo Victor, mas a bola foi para fora. Luxemburgo fez as primeiras substituições no Flamengo. Mugni e Eduardo da Silva entraram. Márcio Araújo e Nixon saíram. Em nova busca de solução para o ataque, Luxa tirou Arthur e colocou Gabriel.

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O Flamengo, enfim, conseguiu encaixar um contra-ataque. Eduardo Silva surgiu livre na esquerda e tocou para Mugni. Sozinho, sem goleiro, ele foi derrubado por João Vitor. Pênalti. O volante foi expulso. Na cobrança, Mugni fez questão de bater, ignorando pedidos de Léo Moura. O argentino deslocou o goleiro Luiz e fez 1 a 0.

Eduardo da Silva mostrou estrela mais uma vez. Em novo contra-ataque, ele interceptou chute de Everton e fez o segundo do Flamengo. Foi o terceiro gol do atacante brasileiro naturalizado croata em cinco jogos.

http://odia.ig.com.br/esporte/flamengo/2014-08-24/flamengo-bate-o-criciuma-e-engata-a-quarta-vitoria-consecutiva-no-brasileirao.html

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De Futebol

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It sure looked like Man U would get their first win under Louis Can Gaal. Juan Mata scored in the 17th minute. Sunderland came back to scored the equalizer in the 39th minute. Jack Rodwell scored off a defensive breakdown by the Red Devils and thus this sucker ended in a one all draw.  So far Man U has a loss and a draw. Not a great start but Van Gaal warned this would happen.

PA Sport summed the goal up this way. “The 10 million pound summer signing from Manchester City capitalised on woeful defending to head home Sebastian Larsson’s corner on the half-hour, in the process cancelling out Juan Mata’s opener.” Pa Sport further added. “But in truth, the Spaniard’s 17th-minute strike had come against the run of play with the visitors once again misfiring alarmingly as they tried to come to terms with Van Gaal’s 3-5-2 formation.

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Even Robin van Persie’s presence could not spark a marked improvement on a day when reports claimed Real Madrid striker Angel di Maria was heading for Old Trafford, and the Black Cats, roared on by a crowd of 43,217 at the Stadium of Light, gave as good as they got.

United lacked both invention and penetration as Sunderland head coach Gus Poyet looked to exploit their frailty at the back by asking Connor Wickham and Will Buckley to utilise the space behind Ashley Young and Antonio Valencia, which they did to good effect.”

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http://www.espnfc.us/barclays-premier-league/match/395745/sunderland-manchester-united/report

The woeful truth is this very simple fact. Man U is not that good. It will take time to rebuild this club. There a huge deficiencies on defense, midfield and on the wing. Man U will have to get used to playing the 3-5-2.  At the season end Man U should finish in the top five.

The Red Devils are in 13th place with one point.

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Mark Ogden The Telegraph “If this is a sign of things to come at Manchester United, they will soon be singing Ave Maria on the Stretford End rather than heralding the talents of the club’s soon-to-be record signing from Real Madrid.

At £60 million, Angel di Maria will not come cheap when he completes his move to United, but the edgy and nervous display by Louis van Gaal’s team in this draw against Sunderland suggested that a similar investment must be made in defence and midfield this week if the club is to have any hope of challenging for Champions League qualification this season.

Yes, United have injuries to overcome – Chris Smalling joined the casualty list here with a first-half groin injury – but this team is a shadow of those which won thirteen league titles under Sir Alex Ferguson and even with an empty treatment room, Van Gaal’s squad appears well short of the quality of previous United teams.

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The only positive from this fixture for United is that Sunderland failed to build on Jack Rodwell’s first-half equaliser, following Juan Mata’s opener, to claim a deserved victory.

United have endured some chastening moments at the Stadium of Light in recent seasons, with last January’s Capital One Cup semi-final defeat here stinging almost as much as the pain of learning, as they trudged off the pitch on Wearside, that Manchester City had won the 2011-12 league title following a dramatic late fightback at the Etihad

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11053999/Sunderland-1-Manchester-United-1-Jack-Rodwell-and-Juan-Mata-on-target-as-Louis-van-Gaal-remains-without-a-win.html

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De Futebol

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It sure looked like a bad day at Black Rock for Arsenal. We were outplayed in the first half by Everton. The Toffees scored two goals to take the 2-0 lead.  Goals by Seamus Coleman 19th minute and Steven Naismith 45th minute  dug a huge hole for the guys to dig their way out of. I thought Oh crap this is not good.  We had some good chances but the backline fell apart to give Everton the two nil lead. Instead of folding up my Gunners scored two goals in the final seven minutes to earn a two all draw at the Toffees house Goodison Park.  We still haven’t beaten a top five club but we are getting close.

A perfectly placed crossing ball by Santi Cazorla allowed Aaron Ramsey to toe poke the rock past a helpless Tim Howard in the 83rd minute to cut the gap to 2-1. Everton was on the ropes. The Toffees were falling apart. Buda bing buda boom another perfect cross by Nacho Monreal to the head of Olivier Giroud in the 90th minute to allow us to escape with the two all draw. Tim Howard was frozen to the spot. Near post left and this was all she wrote.

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The match changer happened when Joel Campbell came on for Alex Oxlade Chamberlain in the 74th minute. Campbell change the complexion of the match with his attacking style. This forced Everton to lay back instead of picking us up so high up the pitch. This opened up the Toffees “D”. This gave us gaping holes that allowed my Gunners to exploit this weakness and score twice in the final seven minutes.  Actually we were getting scoring chances right off the bat in the second half.  Giroud missed a wide open net in the 46th minute.

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This marks the second straight week Everton has blown a lead. Can you say choke collar. Two matches two draws is not good for Roberto Martinez after a fifth palce finish last year.

I mean we are playing the same old way. Struggle on the road. We give up two easy goals. The “D” was Swiss Cheese. This was not good garoto. We seemed to be sleeping walking. Yet we still managed to pullout the tie. We haven’t beaten Everton in five matches. This marks 180th match between Arsenal and Everton.

If we are to win the crown we need to beat the likes of Liverpool, Man Shitty, Everton, and Chelsea. Right now the guys are in third place four points. Everton is tenth with two points. Chelsea  sits atop the heap six points, Swansea City is second with six points.

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Jason Burt The Telegraph put it this way At the self-styled School of Science day – celebrating the aesthetically pure halcyon days of the 1960s for the club – it was Arsenal who showed they had learnt a lesson.

In what was the first big encounter of this new Premier League season between top-four, possibly even title, contenders, Arsenal dragged themselves back from a two-goal deficit to claim a precious point. It would not have happened last season.

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It came late and it came as they were in danger of leaving themselves open once again to the damaging accusation that they would once again be rolled over this campaign by the league’s strongest teams when they play away from home.

Everton scored twice in the first-half to take control and put down an early marker that under Roberto Martinez and with burgeoning ambition that last season’s exploits were not temporary.

But they could not sustain it. Arsenal salvaged a point and also left with a burning sense of grievance over Everton’s second goal which was, indisputably, offside. By the end Arsenal even had the chances to win it as they overran a tiring Everton.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11053323/Everton-2-Arsenal-2-Aaron-Ramsey-and-Olivier-Giroud-rescue-point-after-Seamus-Coleman-and-Steven-Naismith-goals.html

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De Futebol

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The guys are back at it later today in the EPL. The headline match will take place on Monday night when Liverpool and Man Shitty meet at Etihad. This should be a total war. It is early in the season. This will give either the Reds or Shitty the upper hand at the end of business Monday night.

My Gunners battle Everton at the Toffees house Goodison Park.  This is a must win for my guys if we want to be in the hunt for the title. Everton is very good and we must play better if we want to win at Everton’s house.  The good news is that Arsenal had the most road wins last season eleven. We have not gone five league games without beating the Toffees.  We have not won our first two opening matches since 2009. Let’s make sure we get the “W” later today.

Arsenal lost to Everton last year at Goodison Park 3-0. Although we had eleven road wins we didn’t beat one of the top clubs at their house last year and this was the main reason why we didn’t win the crown.

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Arsene Wenger told  the Arsenal player ” we have a good opportunity at Everton” later today. Wenger went on to say- “First of all a team is life and life is movement. That means the team doesn’t stand still, we move forward and improve,” the manager said.

“We have young players, which means that every year they can be better. Also the team improves with success, which we had a reasonable [amount of] last year.

“We have a good opportunity on Saturday to show that we have moved forward and that we are stronger than last year.

“On the day, Everton deserved to win. We were unlucky with the goals we conceded because two of them were not regular. We had an off day but I think in a season that can happen.

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“We beat them in the FA Cup in a convincing way, so it will be interesting, because they are a team now flirting with the Champions League places. It’s a good, good test.”

Wenger added he is confident of a win. “They [have a good chance] because this season they have entered the bracket of clubs who spend between £20-30 million for one player,” he said.

“Behind that is the ambition to go into the top four and they were close last year. They lost some pivotal games, I think about Crystal Palace, which allowed us to get in front of them after they beat us. But they have the quality.”

http://www.arsenal.com/news/news-archive/20140821/wenger-on-good-opportunity-at-everton

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The other matches on tap for today are Aston Villa-Newcastle, Chelsea-Leicester City, Crystal Palace- West Ham, Southampton-West Brom, and Swansea City- Burnley.

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De Futebol

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Boo Mengao fell behind to Galo 1-0. The guys came back to score two goals to earn the 2-1 win over Atletico-MG. The win kept our unbeaten string alive at our house Maracanã. The win keeps Flamengo outta the voce vai zone 13th place 19 points. This marks two wins a row for Rubro-Negro.

O Dia- “No embalo da torcida e de Eduardo da Silva, o Flamengo chegou à terceira vitória consecutiva no Brasileiro. De virada, o Rubro-Negro bateu o Atlético-MG por 2 a 1, nesta quarta-feira, no Maracanã. O triunfo teve um sotaque “croata”. Eduardo da Silva saiu do banco para comandar a reação. Ele sofreu um pênalti, convertido pelo lateral-direito Léo Moura, e marcou o segundo do Fla.

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Sem Alecsandro, suspenso, Luxemburgo apostou em Arthur no ataque. Além disso, surpreendeu com um esquema com quatro volantes, com o retorno de Luiz Antonio e Eduardo da Silva no banco. Não deu certo, tanto que ele fez uma mudança aos 24 minutos do primeiro tempo. Porém, o Flamengo só melhorou mesmo com a entrada de Eduardo da Silva e Mugni, na etapa final

A terceira vitória seguida dá mais tranquilidade ao Flamengo. O Rubro-Negro pula para 19 pontos, abre quatro pontos em relação à zona de rebaixamento e fica na 13ª posição. O Galo estaciona nos 23 pontos e caiu para o oitavo lugar.

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Na próxima rodada, neste domingo, o Flamengo tem pela frente um rival direto na luta contra a degola: o Criciúma, às 16h, no Heriberto Hülse. O Atlético-MG entra em campo no sábado, às 18h30, e enfrenta o Internacional, no Independência.

O JOGO

O Flamengo tentou pressionar o Atlético no início do duelo, mas pecava nos passes: a falta de qualidade ficava evidente. A situação ficou ainda pior. O sistema defensivo cochilou, Maicosuel recebeu cobrança de lateral, passou pela marcação com tranquilidade e chutou cruzado para marcar 1 a 0.

A primeira chance rubro-negra foi com Luiz Antonio, que voltou a jogar após prestar depoimento à polícia por suposto envolvimento com milícia na Zona Oeste. O volante chutou de fora da área e quase surpreendeu Victor, que conseguir rebater. No rebote, Everton emendou com perigo: a bola cruzou a área e ninguém completou para o gol.

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Em desvantagem, Luxemburgo desfez o estranho esquema com quatro volantes que optou. Aos 24 minutos, ele tirou Luiz Antonio e colocou Nixon. Ainda faltava criação. Em outra rara oportunidade, Everton recebeu pela esquerda e chutou com força. Victor espalmou. O Fla criou pouco no primeiro tempo.

O Flamengo continuava com mais posse de bola no segundo tempo, mas com dificuldade em criar. Em lance de sorte, após bate e rebate, Marcelo pegou rebote e chutou. Victor salvou. Luxa fez mais duas mudanças: Eduardo da Silva e Mugni entraram. Arthur e Márcio Araújo saíram. Em sua primeira jogada, Eduardo da Silva foi derrubado por Pedro Botelho: pênalti. Léo Moura cobrou, a bola ainda bateu em Victor e entrou: 1 a 1.

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A virada aconteceu em lance semelhante ao que garantiu a vitória sobre o Sport: cruzamento de João Paulo e gol de Eduardo da Silva. O brasileiro naturalizado croata cabeceou, Victor tocou na bola, mas não impediu: 2 a 1 Flamengo.

O Flamengo passou a tocar a bola e levou um susto na reta final do jogo. André, que entrou no lugar de Jô, obrigou a Paulo Victor se esticar todo e espalmar cabeçada. O Rubro-Negro conseguiu se segurar e chegou à terceira vitória consecutive.

http://odia.ig.com.br/esporte/flamengo/2014-08-20/no-embalo-de-eduardo-da-silva-flamengo-vira-sobre-o-atletico-mg.html

 

De Futebol

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The winning streak has stopped at twelve for Arsenal. My Gunners and Besiktas tied nil-nil. The bad news is that Aaron Ramsey was given the heave hoe and will miss the return leg at our house Emirates next Wednesday.  Besiktas almost scored from the out set when  former Chelsea striker Demba Ba fired a long range bomb from the opening kickoff that almost found its mark. Yes Martha we dodged a bullet. The Turkish club put a ton of pressure on us but could quite nail it. This is good for us.

We didn’t play that well and this is cause for concern. We were stretched to the limit by Besiktas.  This tie could be priceless for we didn’t give up a goal nor did we score a goal so we must win at our house next Wednesday to advance to the main draw in the Champions League.

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The frustration thing is that we failed to finish our scoring chances especially Olivier Giroud and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who’s shot in the late stages rattle the post. Donk off the post wide right.

Wenger was furious for the two yellow cards that sent Ramsey packing. Jeremy Wilson The Telegraph wrote “Arsenal’s once flawless Champions League play-off record has suffered its first blemish but Arsène Wenger is unlikely to have felt more relief in winning the 12 previous fixtures.

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With Aaron Ramsey controversially sent off and Wenger almost hit by a missile that was hurled in his direction on the final whistle, his team also euphemistically dodged a bullet in Istanbul on Tuesday night.

Against a Besiktas team inspired by Demba Ba, they survived considerable pressure and a series of near-misses, including a spectacular Ba effort from the halfway line in the opening seconds of the match.

Indeed, in the very same stadium that Liverpool staged their memorable comeback from 3-0 down against AC Milan in the Champions League 10 seasons ago, it is no exaggeration to say that, with better Besiktas finishing, Arsenal might have required similar heroics in the return leg.

As it is, they will be clear favourites in the relative calm of the Emirates next Wednesday to secure their place in the Champions League group phase for a 17th consecutive year, even if Wenger is furious that they must now do it without Ramsey

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“Both yellow cards for Aaron Ramsey are unbelievable,” he said. “When you see the fouls they have made it’s not serious. Just not serious. Neither the first nor the second yellow card was deserved. I think in the second half the performance of the referee was very bad.”

Wenger had earlier begun what is his 20th quest to win the Champions League with either Arsenal or Monaco by taking one of the more notable gambles of his career.

Per Mertsacker might have been just short of the match fitness that Wenger ideally wanted but he could quite easily have made the trip to Turkey to provide cover for a defence that was severely lacking in depth. Wenger, though, ruled that his vice-captain should continue his preparation for Saturday’s match against Everton at the club’s London Colney base and, in what was only his third senior centre-back appearance, selected 19-year-old Calum Chambers alongside Laurent Koscielny.

The match began extraordinarily. Straight from the kick-off, Ba saw that Wojciech Szczesny had drifted off his line and smashed a full 50-yard shot in the direction of the Arsenal goal. As time almost seemed to stand still, Szczesny scurried back and, with his 6ft 5in frame at full stretch, tipped Ba’s audacious effort onto the crossbar. The gasps from all around the Ataturk Olympic Stadium soon turned to vociferous encouragement for Besiktas and whistles every time an Arsenal player touched the ball.

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With Slaven Bilic immediately making his way to the touchline and urging his players forward, it was quickly obvious that Arsenal’s ability to withstand early pressure would be critical. Oguzhan Ozyakup, who left Arsenal in 2012 after failing to break into the first team, then delivered a perfectly weighted cross for Ba. The former Chelsea striker had cleverly drifted into space behind Chambers and his left-footed volley forced an excellent save from Szczesny.

Bilic’s game-plan was clearly to target Arsenal’s defensive vulnerabilities but the flipside of their approach was a susceptibility to being punished on the counter-attack. Alexis Sanchez was especially dangerous down Arsenal’s right and soon created two good chances.

Olivier Giroud, who was back leading the line for Arsenal following a hamstring injury to Yaya Sanogo, was just unable to get a shot away and then Santi Cazorla dragged his effort across the Besiktas goal. A poor-quality pitch was not helping Arsenal’s attempts to establish their passing rhythm but the adventure of Besiktas was continuing to place considerable pressure on their defence.

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Veli Kavlak was the next Besiktas player to test Szczesny with a powerful shot and, with Ba thriving as their talisman, there was no compromise in an attacking style that had seen off Feyenoord in the previous qualifying round. Ba also came within inches of putting Besiktas into the lead on the stroke of half-time when, having turned the Arsenal defence and sent Szczesny the wrong way, he pulled his shot just wide of the near post.

Another excellent chance arrived within seconds of the restart when Ozyakup dissected Arsenal’s defence, only for Olcay Sahan to wastefully direct his shot beyond Szczesny’s far post.

The look of utter frustration on Bilic’s face told its own story but Arsenal’s difficulties were further compounded by the loss of captain Mikel Arteta following what Wenger called a “very bad” challenge by Ba. Mathieu Flamini was tasked with providing added protection to the back four but, in the absence of Arteta, Arsenal found it even more difficult to discover their fluency. Sanchez’s first-half threat was also diminished and Wenger eventually responded by bringing on Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

Arsenal were briefly revived but, just as it seemed that the momentum might turn, they lost Ramsey. He had been booked for an earlier challenge on Necip Uysal and, while there was certainly contact as he clumsily used his arm to impede Ozyakup’s run, it was a soft and needless red card. Oxlade-Chamberlain did still almost win it in added time, with his shot brilliantly turned onto the inside of a post by Tolga Zengin.

The match ended with Bilic being shown to the stands following one of his many complaints at referee Milorad Mazic. His team’s best chance has probably also gone.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/11044677/Besiktas-0-Arsenal-0-Champions-League-match-report.html

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De Futebol

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Newly promoted Burnley shocked the Blues with an early goal by Scott Arfield 14th minute. Chelsea came back to score three goals in rapid succession to put away a pesky Clarets squad 3-1. Goals by Diego Costa 17h minute, Schürrle 21st minute, and Branislav Ivanovic 34th minute was all the Blues needed to get the win. The Clarets put up  a heck of a fight  but could not score after Chelsea took the three one lead. Burnley attacked well. The Clarets had some really good chances to make it interesting the Blues held firm for the 3-1 win.

Henry Winter The Telegraph It was scarcely 20 miles away from here, over at Bolton Wanderers, that Cesc Fabregas said farewell to English football in a 2011 defeat with Arsenal.

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He returned to the Premier League in style on Monday night, orchestrating victory on his Chelsea debut, showing why Jose Mourinho’s side are such heavyweight challengers for the title, and producing one particularly breathtaking touch that was a privilege to bear witness to.

It came after 21 minutes with the score at 1-1, Diego Costa having equalised Scott Arfield’s shock opener. As a blue pyro spread smoke from in front of the David Fishwick Stand housing the Chelsea fans, their team scored a goal of total beauty down the other end, a move accelerated by Fabregas in midfield and which he was to embellish even more.

As Eden Hazard took up the running, dribbling through Burnley’s midfield, Fabregas ghosted towards the edge of the area. Hazard laid the ball right to Branislav Ivanovic, who spotted that Fabregas was unmarked. Ivanovic stroked the ball inside and Fabregas’s response sent Chelsea fans into raptures and professionals, past and present, posting eulogies on Twitter.

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The joy of Cesc’s touch was not simply the deft technique, the cushioning of the ball; it was also Fabregas’s awareness of André Schürrle’s run. The German advanced on to a ball so tempting that it should have come with a gilt edge and embossed with the word INVITATION. Schürrle calmly drove it past Tom Heaton.

Premier League audiences have been treated to many sumptuous assists down the years, a couple of gems including Steven Gerrard’s pass with the outside of the boot to John Arne Riise at Highbury in 2002, a delivery that totally bemused Arsenal, and Dennis Bergkamp’s threaded pass to Freddie Ljungberg against Bolton the same year. Fabregas’s assist was in that elevated category.

As Chelsea waved a banner reading “Cesc is blue”, the Spaniard graced central midfield, alongside Nemanja Matic but with licence to roam forward. He kept taking the ball on the half-turn, always happy to take possession when under pressure, slipping away from Burnley markers, always with his head up looking for team-mates’ movement.

Fabregas’s desire to impress after a frustrating time used out of position at Barcelona is considerable, giving Chelsea further confidence that they can wrest the Premier League title from Manchester City. No wonder Jose Mourinho was so keen to bring him in.

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“I know clearly what the player is because we were so long in the same league,’’ said Mourinho. “He moved to Spain also so for the last 10 years we have been in the same league for six or seven. I know exactly what he will bring. For Barcelona he was the fake nine, the No 10 and winger but I know and he knows what is his best position so he is giving exactly what we need. Quick thinking in midfield. He brings people in the same direction. I am really happy.

“I agree with Cesc being man of the match because he and Matic controlled the game and dictated the intensity of the game. They decided how to control the pace. They were both good brains in this team and I am happy with that because last season we could not control the game as we controlled today.”

This was an important win for Chelsea, not simply to keep pace with the three other contenders for the title, Arsenal, Liverpool and City, but also to prove they could dismiss less celebrated opponents, a costly issue last season. Burnley caused them trouble, especially the excellent Arfield, who kept running at Chelsea’s defence. If Burnley play all season with the depth of belief espoused by Arfield, they have a chance of staying up.

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When Matthew Taylor cut the ball back from the left after 14 minutes, Chelsea were far too sluggish in closing down Arfield. He controlled the ball with his right, instantly killing the momentum. As Gary Cahill ventured towards him, Arfield was too quick, sending the ball looping at speed past Thibaut Courtois.

But the newcomers to the Premier League were then swept away by Chelsea’s new boys. Within three minutes of Arfield’s strike, Costa levelled. Fabregas flicked the ball to Ivanovic, whose cross from the right clipped Heaton’s right-hand upright and dropped obligingly to Costa. His finish was unerring, the ball driven into the net. Chelsea have the line-leading forward they need; now they must keep Costa fit. Four minutes later, Fabregas teed up Schürrle.

Chelsea were then understandably frustrated that Costa was then cautioned by Michael Oliver for diving; lurking on the off-chance that Ben Mee would underhit his back pass, Costa was definitely caught by Heaton but clearly maximised the contact. The fact remains that he was caught, that it would have been a free-kick to Chelsea anywhere else on the field, and that Costa was unlucky to be booked.

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Refusing to be distracted by the injustice, Chelsea simply took their annoyance out on Burnley’s defence. Michael Duff conceded a corner, that Fabregas curled into the six-yard box for Ivanovic to volley home. It was wretched marking by Burnley.

Chelsea fans went through their song book, singing about Steven Gerrard’s costly slip last season, about Dennis Wise scoring at the San Siro and also saluting Courtois. “Thibaut, Thibaut, give us a wave,’’ they chanted. It felt a significant moment in Chelsea’s history, a watershed for the Blues.

Petr Cech has served Chelsea so well but time waits for no man. Chelsea also risked losing Courtois if he was not given his chance after excelling on loan at Atlético Madrid. Cech may be wise to respond to Paris St-Germain’s interest; Courtois already looks established. He was commanding coming off his line to take crosses, and then threw himself athletically to his right to keep out a second-half Arfield shot.

Chelsea fans were also saluting two long-serving players who left in the summer. They sang about Ashley Cole winning the European Cup, and about “Super Frankie Lampard”; so much for any bitterness about his current switch to Manchester City en route to New York. There was even time for Didier Drogba to come on, and then throw his shirt into the crowd. So many positives for Chelsea, the list headed by “that” pass from Fabregas.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/11042365/Burnley-1-Chelsea-3-Diego-Costa-and-Cesc-Fabregas-inspire-Jose-Mourinhos-side-to-impressive-win.html

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De Futebol

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Flamengo picked up their first road win of the season.  Boo Mengao scored the knockout1-0 win over Coritiba. The win has the guys with 16 points sitting in 14th place.

O’Dia wrote  Flamengo e Coritiba fizeram neste domingo, no Couto Pereira, o duelo de duas equipes que lutavam para deixar o rebaixamento. Mas a tarefa não era fácil, mesmo vencendo ambos os times torciam por uma sequência de resultados para sair da zona de rebaixamento. O Rubro-Negro saiu na frente com Everton e segurou o placar no segundo tempo, conquistando sua primeira vitória como visitante no Brasileirão.

Mesmo jogado fora de casa, o Flamengo conseguiu abrir o placar logo no início do primeiro tempo e por pouco não aumentou. Jogando na defesa, os cariocas sofreram com o volume de jogo imposto pelo Coritiba, que também criou boas oportunidades no primeiro tempo. Na segunda etapa, o Rubro-Negro se fechou na defesa e conseguiu sua primeira vitória como visitante.

Com 16 pontos, o Flamengo chegou ao 13º lugar, depois da vitória deste domingo, no Couto Pereira. O Coritiba ficou nos 12, conquistados em 15 jogos no Brasileirão.

Na quarta-feira, o Flamengo recebe o Atlético-MG, às 22h, no Maracanã. Mais cedo, no mesmo dia, o Coritiba fará seu segundo jogo seguindo em casa, diante do Vitória, às 21h.

O Flamengo assustando logo aos 12 minutos da primeira etapa. Canteros levantou a bola na área e Everton, que sozinho, mandou de cabeça por cima do gol de Vanderlei. Quatro minutos depois, o mesmo Everton abriu o placar no Couto Pereira.

Baraka não conseguiu dominar a bola e perdeu para Everton, que avançou em velocidade. O meia ficou cara a cara com o goleiro e só teve o trabalho de colocar no fundo da rede do Coxa.

O primeiro lance de susto do Coritiba foi com Germano, aos 20, de cabeça. Robinho cobra escanteio e o volante testou na rede, pelo lado de fora.

Com o Flamengo mais recuado, o Coritiba cresceu na partida. Os paranaenses chegaram ao gol Rubro-Negro em duas oportunidades: uma com Marcelo e outra com Norberto. Ambas tentativas foram paradas pelo goleiro Paulo Victor.

O Flamengo respondeu com Alecsandro. Everton puxou o contra-ataque em velocidade pela esquerda e cruzou para o atacante que, de frente para o gol, chutou para fora.

Melhor na troca de passes, o Coritiba teve uma chance clara de gol aos 39 minutos. Robinho recebeu na esquerda e rolou para o zagueiro Leandro Almeida, chegar batendo para fora. A bola passou perto da trave do goleiro Paulo Victor.

O último lance de perigo do primeiro tempo foi do Coxa. Geraldo avançou pela esquerda e cruzou por baixo. O zagueiro Marcelo se esticou e quase marcou contra.

Na volta do segundo tempo, o técnico Celso Roth promoveu duas mudanças no Coritiba e o time voltou querendo marcar logo o gol de empate. O ímpeto no ataque abriu espaço para o Flamengo explorar os contra-ataques.

As chances de gol sumiram do jogo. Ambas equipes falhavam na hora de acertar último passe. Na hora que o chute finalmente saia, muitas vezes era sem direção, indo para fora.

O jogo começou melhorar para o Flamengo, aos 36 minutos, quando Robinho foi expulso depois levar o segundo cartão amarelo na partida. Com isso, o Rubro-Negro só precisou segurar o placar e trazer os três pontos na bagagem para o Rio.

http://odia.ig.com.br/esporte/flamengo/2014-08-17/flamengo-vence-o-coritiba-e-sai-da-zona-de-rebaixamento-no-brasileirao.html

De Futebol

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Man Shitty after stubbing their toes against my Gunners in the Community Shield defeated Newcastle 2-0. Shitty pressed the attack and it was only a matter of time before Toons would wilt. It happened just before the break. David Silva nailed it in the 38th minute for the one nil lead. Newcastle gave it all they had in the second half but Shitty put it away with a late goal from Sergio Aguero in the 90th minute plus two for the final of 2-0.

A successful start for the defending champs at Toons house St. James Park.

Toons new signees did okay against in their debut against Man Shitty.  ESPN described it this way.” New boys Jack Colback and Remy Cabella were impressive on their debuts, while lone striker Emmanuel Riviere showed flashes of his talent before fading as he found himself locked in a physical battle with Vincent Kompany.”

Then added  “New boys Jack Colback and Remy Cabella were impressive on their debuts, while lone striker Emmanuel Riviere showed flashes of his talent before fading as he found himself locked in a physical battle with Vincent Kompany.

ESPN summed up Shitty’s performance.  “Manchester City start this season as they finished the last one: with a win and in first place. This 2-0 win over Newcastle United wasn’t quite the devastatingly fine performance…

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http://www.espnfc.com/barclays-premier-league/match/395755/newcastle-united-manchester-city/report

The Daily Mail wrote that the margin for winning and losing in the EPL is a very fine line.  Shitty wasn’t at their best but they won. Newcastle began what may well be a very testing season competitively but could not find a way to beat Joe Hart on this day.

The Daily Mail went on to write Shitty’s two goals were pleasing to the eye but were the result of muscle more than pure magic. The Daily Mail put the finishing touches by summing it up the match this way.  Shitty in the end was good enough to win and this is the entire point. Shitty won.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2727176/Newcastle-United-0-2-Manchester-City-David-Silva-Sergio-Aguero-ensure-champions-start-Premier-League-title-defence-win.html

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De Futebol

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My guys from Arsenal pulled a win outta their hats to save the day for us. Arsenal won 2-1 on stoppage time goal by Aaron Ramsey in the 90th minute plus one to get the three points. It sure looked like not a single home club would win. Not on this day.

My Gunners fell behind early. Brede Hangeland poked home the close range header in the 35th minute to give the Eagles the one nil lead.  It sure looked like a long evening for us. Laurent Koscielny noodled home the rock 45th minute plus one for equalizer.

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We had most of the possession. We were on the attack right after the screw up that lead to Crystal Palace’s goal. The Eagles lost their manager Tony Pulis when he quit due to lack of respect and stupid management not getting him the players he needed.

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I thought good! We can win this sucker with ease. Not so fast bucko. Crystal Palace put up one hell of fight. The match maker happened in the 88th minute the genius of a man Jason Puncheon received his second yellow card on a brilliant challenge Nacho Monreal near the halfway line.  This brilliant tackle gave us the big MO we needed to finally earn the breakthrough two minutes later.

We need this win badly. My Gunners can’t afford a rocky start to the season.  Man Shitty and Chelsea are favorites to win the whole enchilada.   Arsenal played well but we still struggled against a club we should haven beaten with ease. The woes of having a hard time against clubs not as good as us still can be our down fall.

If we want to won the title my Gunners better straighten this problem out. If we don’t we could wind up with a fourth of fifth place finish again. This needs to be addressed now.

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Possession time and all of that looks good on the stats sheet but on the end we need to score and not let bad teams hang around. This could bite in the ass and cost Arsenal the title.  The other fatal flaw is the way we defend set pieces. We suck.  This cost us the goal and this could have cost us the win. It didn’t. We need to work on this as well.

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Jim White The Telegraph summed up the match this way-Aaron Ramsey’s last-minute winner gave Arsenal all three points at the Emirates. The significance of his strike, hit almost from the goal line, was evident in the Welshman’s spirited celebration: this was a goal that spoke of Arsenal’s reserves of character. Because, make no mistake, this was no easy ride for the North London side. This was not a match won by fancy footwork of cunning trickery; they had to work like Trojans for this reward.

For a team apparently reeling from the wholly unnecessary departure of a talismanic manager, Crystal Palace had spent nearly 90 minutes showing little sign of crumbling. Keith Millen may have been standing in, but in its work rate and refusal to yield space, this was a Tony Pulis team in all but name. With Joe Ledley snapping and Mile Jedinak quickly dispossessing a ponderous Yaya Sanogo, the grizzled, bearded Palace central midfield began the match looking as if it had just returned from a particularly challenging Artic adventure. The arrival of Brede Hangeland from Fulham has only made this a more physically imposing side.

For much of the game, Arsenal had little to match Palace’s brutal directness. The new signing Alexis Sanchez looked comfortable on the ball, if not particularly threatening. A lovely step past Joel Ward was followed by an overhit cross. Indeed, it was in the area the Chilean was patrolling that Arsenal have been most significantly weakened by the summer of transfer activity. Bacary Sagna’s laser-like delivery from the right is going to be hugely missed when Arsenal attack. And Mathieu Debuchy looked reluctant to gambol forward in quite the manner the Gunners fans are used to seeing from their French right-backs.

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It was not until just before half-time that Arsenal seemed to appreciate that something more direct was required than their usual neat interplay if they were to draw anything from the match. The jolt to their wellbeing came in the 35th minute, when Hangeland’s scale bore fruit. Tearing in from the back of the Arsenal penalty box, the towering Palace centre back met Jason Puncheon’s corner unchallenged at the near post and flicked a header past Wojchiech Szczesny. At the time he was being marked by Sanchez, which was not presumably the reason he was brought to North London.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11039186/Arsenal-2-Crystal-Palace-1-Aaron-Ramsey-scores-late-winner-to-open-Premier-League-campaign-with-victory.html

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De Futebol

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Harry “Me Boy” Redknapp’s venture back into the EPL didn’t turn out so well. The Hoops  lost to Hull City 1-0.  A goal by the Tigers James Chester in the 52nd minute spelled doom for QPR. This was the direct result of a lapse by defender Rio Ferdinand. Add to the mix a missed PK by Charlie Austin sunk the Hoops.

Ian Winrow The Telegraph wrote-  “Rio Ferdinand’s lapse in concentration combined with Charlie Austin’s failure to convert a late penalty ensured James Chester’s 52nd-minute goal secured an opening day victory for Hull City and ensured QPR‘s return to the Premier League was marked by defeat.

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Ferdinand was experiencing a comfortable start to life away from Old Trafford before he failed to pick up Chester as Stephen Quinn delivered a right-wing corner. Wrong-footed and out of position, the former England defender was unable to prevent Chester, a former United trainee, from heading past Rob Green.

Austin then spurned the chance to salvage a point, his 84th-minute spot-kick saved by Alan McGregor after Chester was adjudged to have handled Junior Hoilett’s cross, and Rangers’ misery was complete.

This defeat is by no means as alarming as the 5-0 home loss to Swansea that marked the start of the club’s last Premier League campaign. But after the growing optimism of close season, it comes as a painful blow to Harry Redknapp and his players.

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For Steve Bruce, the Hull manager, however, this was the perfect start as May’s FA Cup finalists begin their efforts to avoid the familiar difficulties of a second season in the top flight.

Rangers had appeared largely untroubled during a first half that suggested Redknapp’s side would settle quickly into their new surroundings. Establishing early control of midfield, the home side spent most of the opening 45 minutes on the front foot and would have established a first-half lead had Jordon Mutch not missed two clear opportunities while Andrew Robertson, the Hull left-back, produced an excellent goal-line clearance from Caulker’s header.

The visitors were convinced they should have been awarded a penalty in the 32nd minute when Nikica Jelavic was barged over by Armand Traore but that was a rare moment of concern for Rangers.

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Bruce decided changes were needed and the decision at half-time to revert to a back-four allowed Hull to compete more effectively in midfield and take control of the game.

Where Rangers had dominated in the first half, the visitors were now superior and, after finally exerting some pressure on Rob Green’s goal, forced the lead seven minutes after the break. Stephen Quinn’s corner was delivered to the far post and Chester, having eluded Ferdinand, headed past Green.

A second goal should have come 12 minute later but Green saved well from Tom Ince and the miss looked as though it might be costly when Chester blocked Hoilett’s cross before McGregor intervened to protect the visitors’ advantage.

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http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11038868/Queens-Park-Rangers-0-Hull-City-1-Harry-Redknapps-return-starts-with-defeat-after-Rio-Ferdinand-blunder.html

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Andreas Weimann scored the match winner in the 50th minute for a Villa 1-0 win Stoke City.  The Telegraph’s John Percy “Andreas Weimann earned Aston Villa their first away victory since New Year’s Day and raised hopes of a brighter future for Paul Lambert.

Villa are up for sale with a wantaway owner while Lambert is under pressure from a sceptical fanbase but this win had all the steely qualities that have been painfully absent for so long.

Weimann’s goal early in the second half was enough to condemn Mark Hughes’s stylish team to a surprise defeat in front of a expectant home support.

Optimism has been building that Stoke City can even better last season’s ninth-placed finish and the signing of former Barcelona prodigy Bojan has ramped up expectation levels even further.

But Villa were resolute, assured and streetwise, suggesting the influence of Lambert’s assistant Roy Keane has already had an effect.

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In a scrappy first half the visitors wasted the best chance after a mix-up between Asmir Begovic and Marc Wilson in the 25th minute.

Kieran Richardson capitalised on hesitancy from Begovic to square the ball across goal to Gabriel Agbonlahor, but he could only sidefoot his shot wide.

But they were ahead five minutes into the second half after a fortunate ricochet allowed Weimann a second shot on goal, which he directed across Begovic into the far corner.

Stoke could not find a formula to trouble the Villa defence as they attempted to respond and Peter Crouch was introduced with 20 minutes remaining.

Villa still had chances, however, and substitute Leandro Bacuna wasted a decent opportunity with a wild shot two minutes from time – which left Keane furious on the touchline.

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The anticipated late pressure never materialised and Villa’s fans left the Britannia chanting “we’re going to win the league”. They will struggle to challenge the top 10, in truth, but this was a promising start.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/competitions/premier-league/11038823/Stoke-City-0-Aston-Villa-1-Andreas-Weimann-scores-only-goal-to-give-Paul-Lambert-and-Roy-Keane-winning-start.html

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De Futebol

 

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Gentlemen start your engines. The EPL is off to the races later today. I have been waiting for this day since the season ended in May. Man Shitty is the defending champs. My Gunners finished fourth place. Liverpool shocked everyone with a second place finish. Chelsea wound up in third place.

The shocker was Man U stinking the joint out. The Red Devils had their worst finish in top flight futebol seventh place and then couple this with home losses to Everton, Newcastle, and a ton of other clubs who hadn’t won at Old Trafford in many a moon and this was a recipe for disaster. Now Moyes is gone and welcome hard ass Louis Van Gaal. We will see how this all plays out for Man U. The Red Devils battle Swansea City at Old Trafford.

Shitty and the Blues are favorites to win the crown. Liverpool is minus one of the best strikers in the business the biter Luis Suarez. How will this affect the Reds? No one knows at this point.

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My Gunners open up with Crystal Palace. The Eagles are minus headman Tony Pulis who quit on Thursday. Pulis told the management I have had enough of your bull crap so I am outta here. This could send Crystal Palace packing.

Man Shitty opens on the road Sunday at Newcastle’s house. Liverpool entertains Southampton at Anfield. The Saints are coming off a shake up and destruction of their club. Manager Mauricio Pochettino is out at Southampton and now is the new headman at Tottenham.

Everton had a great finish last year under Roberto Martinez a fifth  place finish that no one expected, The Toffees open up with newcomer Leicester City at the Foxes house. This will be a good one.

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Harry “Me Boy” Redknapp is back in the EPL. Queens Park Rangers was not even considered to be here. The Hoops are and now they will have a point to prove they belong when QPR battles Hull City.

The rest of today’s schedule looks like this Hull City-Aston Villa, West Brom-Sunderland, and West Ham-Tottenham.

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