Part of the reason Arsenal struggled in the first leg and the main reason Messi was a no show in the Chelsea game was that the pitch was waterlogged and heavy. That took away Arsenal’s team speed and slowed their movement. If it rains or the pitch is heavy, Arsenal have no chance.
Walcott has to get in the game else it’s going to be tough for Van Persie and Adebayor to get space. I wouldn’t be surprised if, should Arsenal start 2 strikers, Van Persie drops in the hole to give support to the midfield and help Cesc with a number mismatch should United play 3 in midfield like they did in the first leg.
Ronaldo has to be the man today. He didn’t massacre Santon as he should have, nor did he do the same to Gibbs in the first leg. It’s time he taught these young left backs why he is the best in the world. If Silvestre doesn’t start in the middle, look for Ronaldo to drift in time and again to test Djorou or Song – whoever will start in the center with Toure.
Wonder if Eboue starts.
I have a hard time believing Man United doesn’t go through. It absolutely can happen, but hard to see. It’s not that the Gunners can’t score a couple of goals nor that they can’t win. They have done that this season. However, no way does that defense keep Man United from scoring at least one goal. It’s been a long time since Arsenal has kept United off the scoreboard. And it’s hard to see it starting tomorrow.
So if United score one, Arsenal need three scores to win. Hard to see that. The only shot Arsenal has is if they score first and score the first one early. The longer it goes, the more they will come forward and the easier it will be for them to be caught by United on the break.
Issues for United: Rooney played 90 minutes on Saturday and is on a yellow. Will he melt down late in the game or if he gets a yellow which means he knows he will be out of the final. I feel as if Sir Alex purposely played him 90 minutes on Saturday as he is not going to allow Rooney to play the full 90 on Tuesday in order to save him for the final assuming that United is up going into the last 25 minutes. The other issue is that Evra may have an ankle knock and is also on a yellow. I have to think that Walcott is going to get one of them on a yellow during the game. Which means – Rooney needs to play in the middle and Park plays on the left with Berbatov and Tevez potentially on the bench. Tough to see that happening but you never know.
Issues for Arsenal: They are screwed if Silvestre is fit enought to play and screwed if he is unfit to play. If they play to win from the start, they will play Robin Van Persie up front with Adebayor along with Fabregas, Walcott and Nasri in midfield. Which means only one holding midfielder. Bad news against the United break. If they play it conservative like the first leg, they will not be able to deal with the United midfield and defense.
Prediction: Man United 2 Arsenal 2
My bad on getting the first leg score of Pana vs Villareal wrong. Didn’t interfere with the result as Villareal won through. Other than that, was right on with the other three results. Bayern vs Sporting was a farce and shows Bayern as fool’s gold.
Best football of the day was absolutely played by Liverpool. Brilliant first 20 minutes, especially by Torres. It’s going to be interesting vs Man United this weekend.
Chelsea deserved to win, but it was a squeaker at certain points, especially after Del Piero scored the penalty. How about that Iaquinta call! Essien is a bull and Drogba is a beast (even if I’m not a big fan of his).
Tomorrow’s games are going to be better…
Smells a bit funky for Man U. If they get out 2-1 down, that’s a good day. If O’Shea or Evans can play with Rio in the middle they have a shot. If Evra has to play with Rio with Fabio at left back, it will be a disaster given how small they are and how big in the air Adriano and Ibra are. Inter played great against Milan. However, here is the ray of light for Man U – Inter couldn’t deal with Pato’s speed. The back four are not that good defensively. If they couldn’t handle Pato and the old Milan team, they will get taken apart by Ronaldo and Rooney’s pace. Key for United is to get a goal, but I think it will be 2-1 to Inter in the first leg with United torching them in the second leg to go through. If United had Vidic, it would be easy to say they would easily handle Inter’s forwards. But that is not the case.
CH12, this is the Germans we are talking about. Look at the history, son. OK, so I am going to put in my comments in bullet fashion.
Portugal wins. Germany wins.
- Cristiano Ronaldo. Like he isn’t already motivated, Lehmann fires him up even more by saying that he knows his weakness since Arsenal has had great success against him over the last few years. I guess they must know something. Actually, packing the midfield and having Portugal not get him the ball enough was an issue. Also, Nuno Gomes is past the sell by date. Maybe Almeida or Postiga should have come on earlier.
- Portugal has pace on the wings – the German midfield and back four are just too slow. They couldn’t control Korkmaz properly. How exactly are they going to keep up with Simao, Ronaldo, Moutinho along with Nani and Quaresma off the bench? Short answer, they did. A lot has to do with going 2 up and then being able to stick with five in midfield to deal with the wing pressure.
- Germany has lacked drive in the middle of the park. IF Ballack plays well and IF Schweinsteiger shows the drive he was starting to display before his red card against Croatia, then Germany may have a chance – don’t forget that Bastian had a hat trick against Portugal in the 3rd place match at World Cup 2006. But I think the extra time that Deco should get against the German midfield – especially if Frings is out – is going to kill Germany. Ballack did play well. Schweinsteiger DID show the drive and the five man midfield didn’t give Portugal enough time or space.
- Pepe and Carvalho are good in the air. Bet Gomez doesn’t start. So it’s going to be tougher for Klose to win aerial battles. Germany’s chance is going to come from one twos between Podolski and Klose. Also, whoever is coming down the right wing needs to put pressure on Ferreira – he’s the weak link. Too bad Lahm plays on the left. Maybe Loew should switch him to right back to get the matchup. I don’t know what to say when Portugal gives up two goals from headers off free kicks. Carvalho was to blame for switching off Ballack for the third goal (Ricardo too – what kind of weak attempt was that?) and Ronaldo was hanging out for Klose’s goal. Ferreira was the weak link – he was beaten on Schweinsteiger’s near post run for the first goal and unfairly got victimized by Ballack for the third goal. Shocking to me was how easily Podolski held off, and actually accelerated past, Bosingwa and Pepe on the left wing before crossing for the first goal. Carvalho was jogging back and marking grass while Ferreira let Schweinsteiger come all the way across the box and get in front of him for the finish.
- Germany hasn’t played well since the first half against Poland. Nothing to say.
- Portugal is well rested with their starters having had a week off between games. Germany had to labor through 90 minutes a few days ago against Austria and Podolski is supposedly banged up. Frings did sit out but the extra man in midfield helped. And Bastian was off for a week as well…!
However, this is the Germans, so don’t ever count them out. Especially if Portugal doesn’t get Ronaldo the ball on the wing enough. Like I said…
Pre-game prediction: Portugal 2 Germany 1
Result: Portugal 2 Germany 3
Scorers: Bastian Schweinsteiger, Miroslav Klose, Michael Ballack (Germany) Nuno Gomes, Helder Postiga (Portugal)
Man of the match will be Deco… Man of the match was Schweinsteiger with a goal, two assists and tons of energy.
Ronaldo – this is what happens when you start thinking about leaving Man U for Real Madrid. I think it’s 50/50 that he goes – it will come down to whether or not Man U gives him his raise.
Hopefully, CH12 is better in the Croatia v Turkey game. Croatia is my horse in that race…