Thursday, October 20, 2005

Champions League Matchday 3: October 18-19

Manchester United v. Lille (0-0)
Oh, Paul Scholes. What happened? Didn't you use to be a deadly player? By which I mean to your opponents, not your own team. Ok, sure, that first yellow card was a weak call by the referee, but the second was a horrible tackle. And that's just stupid when you've already got one card hanging over you.

United's injury woes continue, with Ryan Giggs' broken cheekbone added to the list. I think it's more of a blow for Giggs personally -- well, obviously, because owww, but he's been fighting for his spot in the starting XI despite coming off an excellent spell of international play -- than it is for the team. Park Ji-Sung seems to be adapting well to the rough-and-tumble play of the Premiership and was one of the few bright spots in this game when he came on for Giggs in the second half.

The debate about formation continues, with Sir Alex opting for 4-5-1 here, leaving Van Nistelrooy alone up front and Ronaldo and Giggs on the wings. I don't think it was the formation per se that hampered them here, though -- it was the absence of Wayne Rooney and, along with him, that spark of inspiration that the team needed. There were a few good moments, but they all petered out -- more than once, Ronaldo went on a surging run but forgot to look up for a teammate to pass to at the end of it. United seemed to be giving Lille way too much respect, hanging back in the midfield rather than really pressuring them. (And let's not even talk about John O'Shea's atrocious game. I could pass better than that.) As the game went on, they needed to just buckle down and focus on scoring that crucial goal. Instead, Rooney-less, they flailed their way to a lacklustre draw.

Arsenal v. Sparta Praha (2-0)
Another team, another crucial player -- in this case, Thierry Henry, rushed back after his injury as Arsene Wenger watched his team stumbling in the Premiership. Just look at the difference between this game and the Gunners' 2-1 loss to West Brom over the weekend. Henry was the game, really, scoring a spectacular opener and adding another goal in the second half to beat Ian Wright's record for the club.

...And, yeah, that's enough match commentary, since I don't like Arsenal and am happier to see them lose (although I currently reserve most of my hate for those bastards at Chelski).

Liverpool v. Anderlecht (1-0)
I didn't actually get to see this game, because TSN decided to air the Chelsea and Real Madrid games instead. Like I really needed to see more of David Beckham's stupid hair or Michael Essien rampaging over anyone who gets in his way. But congratulations to the Lord of Frodsham Manor for his game-winning goal. Is it to hope that this means he'll stop whining about not starting enough games?

Chelsea v. Real Betis (4-0)
Speaking of whining, can I just say: shut up, Jose Mourinho. Speaking for myself, I don't think that the way Chelsea play is boring. But I do think it's boring that, thanks to Roman Abramovich's billions, they've got the Premiership virtually locked up when it's only October. Mourinho seems to be confusing a lack of respect for intense, seething hatred, engendered largely by his own smugness.

(I do still have a soft spot for John Terry, though. Um.)

Other results
Bayern 2-1 Juventus
Rapid 0-1 Club Brugge
Ajax 2-0 Thun
Panathinaikos 0-0 Barcelona
Udinese 1-1 Bremen
Villarreal 1-1 Benfica
Fenerbah├že 3-3 Schalke
Milan 0-0 PSV
Lyon 2-1 Olympiacos
Real Madrid 4-1 Rosenborg
Porto 2-0 Internazionale
Rangers 0-0 Artmedia

1 comment:

Rachel said...

It is impossible not to like John Terry. That is my studied opinion.