Soccer Who ? Soccer What ? The Champions League Is Well Underway
Well the Champions League is now in full swing with a number of matches now proving to be all the more discerning for the ever ardent soccer fans amongst us. All of the major European club sides are on hand for what is now the most prestigious soccer event outside of the World Cup . And now with the competition now down to the last sixteen where the parameters of the tournament now changes to a home and away format where the aggregate goals and the victories count there’s now more at stake that now counts than ever before .
Slide show for your perusal .
As an ardent soccer fan , a British expat now residing in the United States I have to admit that I don’t have a great deal of time to ardently watch many of the games now being staged within the Champions League and in particular with the EPL (Premiership League). As a Chelsea and Manchester United supporter my loyalties are equally bound . I grew up watching ‘The Blues’ as a youngster but once having joined the military Man U then became a passion for me , which I’ve yet to disavow. With both teams in the competition I’ve been closely scrutinizing the matches as they unfold by surfing the net to catch up on the latest events. Thank God for the internet , the computer and all that it is capable of availing us with ! Where would we actually be without it ?
The Premiership itself is now heating up and heated rivals Arsenal and Manchester United appear to be the dominant factors within the league at present. But that’s not to say that the division has now become a two horse race for the Premiership title as there are a number of teams still with title aspirations . But at this point I think it’s safe to say that there’s still a great deal to play for and that the decisive point won’t come until at season’s end with a determining result as to who the champions of the EPL will be.
Midweek, we saw Arsenal prevail over Spanish giants and league champions Barcelona in an extraordinary game which saw the Spanish team have the greater part of the game’s possession but who in the end came away with nothing after a scintillating 2-1 win by the English team . So much so , that quite possibly Arsene Wenger’s team may well be favored in the return leg at the Nou Camp Stadium in Barcelona to make it to the quarter finals of Europe’s elite club side soccer competition. Take nothing away from Arsenal but Barcelona simply underestimated their opponents and in the end, they ended up paying the price . And even with a galaxy of world class stars on this team led by Argentinian Lionel Messi an club teammate David Villa you can’t help but wonder if Barcelona is good enough to now overcome this deficit ? Certainly their cause wasn’t helped by the inconsistent performance of their goal keeper Victor Valdez . Whereas the heroics of Arsenal’s Robin Van Persie and Andre Arshavin will long be remembered well into the future should the team make it into the late stages of the competition . This victory was a collective effort by the team that was thoroughly deserved because in the face of adversity they showed a great deal of resilience , never gave up, and they did not lose sight of the task at hand. That if anything will serve them well at this point and in any latter stage of the competition.
Financially this competition is as beneficial as they come but from my own perspective there is now far too much competition for the teams not only on the domestic front but also in terms of the European competition and less we forget many of the elite players also have their national obligation in playing for their country ? Is it any wonder that there’s now a growing resentment from the players that they’re being asked to play so many games throughout a very congested and convoluted season ? And with that comes the commitment that then has to be made by teams from an insurance standpoint to cover a player and then also making sure that a team’s roster well staffed. However the financial windfall does in the end to trump everything else even at the risk of a serious injury to a highly prized asset. Countless millions are at stake in these competitions and that’s why you see the clamor amongst these clubs in as they strive to make it to the latter rounds of the competition.
UEFA’s Executive Committee headed by its President Michel Platini has failed to address these issues with its member associations and it looks as if it’s about to lead to an emphatic stance between the associations of that of the European game’s ruling body and its executive committee .
If Arsenal can prevail at the Nou Camp Stadium over Josep Guardiola’s team this would be a tremendous triumph for the North London team . The victory in front of their home crowd at Emirates Stadium was a great achievement and it bodes well for the team’s ambition on the Premiership and the sights that they’ve no doubt set. The team currently sits in second place in the Premiership two points out of first place behind Manchester United and they’re no doubt to supplant Alex Ferguson’s ——- team atop of the table . Arsenal’s form in the league has been exemplary having garnered having garnered fourteen out of a possible 18 points from their last six league games . And one can easily see why they’re favored as one of Manchester United’s main rivals in the league this season .
Wenger’s own sights may well be set on both fronts and there’s no reason not to believe that this team isn’t capable of competing on both fronts . They’ve shown that they’ve got the resiliency to overcome adversity , and clearly with the victory over Barcelona it has given them a great deal of strength in believing that they can contend and compete with their foes within the Premiership
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Picture gallery for your perusal.
What thought if any do you have on the UEFA Champions League competition as it relates to Arsenal and do you also see them being able to compete in the Premiership ? Simply chime in with your thoughts on these two topics and thanks as always for the continued support as it’s greatly appreciated !
Picture and gallery details
(1) Alex Song (right) sends Barcelona’s Lionel Messi tumbling during Arsenal’s 2-1 Champions League win at the Emirates Stadium. Photograph / Eddie Keogh/Reuters …..
(2) The Arsenal substitute Andrey Arshavin , left, scores their winner against Barcelona in the Champions League. Tony Marshall/ Empics …….
(3) David Villa of Barcelona celebrates scoring the opening goal with Lionel Messi during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2011 in London, England. Getty Images Europe /Jasper Juinen ……
(4) Robin van Persie of Arsenal is challenged by Gerard Pique of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2011 in London, England. Getty Images Europe / Shaun Botterill …….
(5) Robin van Persie of Arsenal has his shot saved by Victor Valdes of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2011 in London, England. Getty Images Europe / Shaun Botterill ……..
(6) Josep Guardiola, Coach of Barcelona watches with Arsene Wenger, Manager of Arsenal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match between Arsenal and Barcelona at the Emirates Stadium on February 16, 2011 in London, England. Getty Images Europe / Shaun Botterill ……
Champions League Final scheduled for 28th May 2011 at Wembley Stadium , London , England .
Alan aka tophatal ……………………………….
Buffie The Body ..so much of a tease yes please !
Baby’s got back !
Here’s the real Buffie that I’d nail and not some tv character !
Outkast ………. “Roses”