Champions League

Manuel Neuer’s Top 10 Saves

He was the difference in the first half of today’s Champions League clash between Schalke and Manchester United. Someone should check his Adidas Response Pro gloves for magnets…or glue.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Schalke 04 Coach Rangnick

Schalke’s Coach Takes a Satirical Swipe at Manchester United, England

Schlake 04 coach Ralf Rangnick, is known as a bit of a comedian and he’s unleashed a barrage of satire on Manchester and England as a whole ahead of tonights Champions League clash. For my part, I think its about time the Germans got one back against the English for all those awful jokes they have on the BBC about them…

“The English are going nuts this week about the wedding – no, not Katie Price this time but Prince William,” gushed the column. “England is the motherland of football of course. But they have still not learned about penalties.

“In Wayne Rooney we have the eternal favourite son-in-law for English mothers and that evergreen youngster Edwin van der Sar, who takes goalkeeping tips from Jens Lehmann. And then there is Malcolm Glazer, who for Manchester United fans is the equivalent of Lord Voldemort.”

Almost 2,500 United fans are expected at the first-leg encounter, each with a similar name, according to Schalke.

“The typical Manc man is called Paul. He has darts in his right pocket and in his left pocket has a picture of a bulldog. The girls are called Samantha. And can you believe they put vinegar on their chips?”

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Raul

Match Preview: Manchester United v. Schalke 04

Today we truly have a case of David and Goliath as mighty Manchester United are set to face mid-level Bundesliga side Schalke 04 in the Champions League semi-finals. I once told someone that the real difference between the big English clubs like Manchester United and the smaller European sides like Schalke 04 is the former are built on the backs of the fans, the later by them. I think no game in the modern age typifies this more than todays’ match.

Schalke 04 is built on fan power, and you’ll see that tonight in the stands as they’re die hard faithful travel to watch their side, led by Raul, attempt to impossible. Sitting 10 of 18 in the Bundesliga, their really isn’t any reason for United to have trouble with these guys, but thats’ what we said about Inter Milan and we saw how that went. The fact of the matter is this is an in form, dynamic, and highly adaptable side that centers on Raul, but has other options on the wing. They know no fear going forward, and hold strong at the back leading me to believe they may just be able to pull on out against United today.

Look for them to play the exact same tactics and formation as they did in the first half against Inter. It allowed them to defeat the holders, and I don’t think they’ll be keen to change it now. They’ll need to up their tempo to compete with open style of the Manchester United jersey clad men, but assuming they can keep up, they should do well. They need to get a head early and put United away by the 60th minute. Rooney and Chicharito will be a threat, but at least they won’t have Berbatov, who is out injured, to deal with.

United need to respect Schalke’s power and dominance in the midfield to advance today, Ferguson’s men have never defeated German opposition in a knockout match at this level, and need to stay awake to keep themselves in the match. They’ll need to settle early on, and move the ball quickly to keep it away from the lurking Schalke midfield. I’m hoping for cracking match, as I don’t think they’ll be able to sit on their hands and play on the break either. Raul simply makes Schalke too dangerous, and Ferguson knows this, he once called him the best player in the world, and its no secret he’s been a transfer target for years.

Either way its should be a great match, I’m going with Schalke 04 to pull an upset.

Prediction:
Manchester United 1-3 Schalke 04

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Raul Takes to the Stand To Celebrate Schalke Win

Raul love playing for Schalke, and after they won a place in the Champions League Semis he took to the stands and celebrated with the fans…I love this man.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

Old Trafford

Qatari Royals to Bid £1.5bn for Manchester United


So it seems there was some truth to the rumors that Manchester United is about to be sold, as previously highlighted on this website. The royal family of Qatar is preparing a fresh £1.5billion bid for Manchester United after the Glazers rejected an earlier offer. Accoridng to The Daily Mail A source close to the oil-rich emirate’s ruling Al Thani family confirmed that it made an offer to the Glazers earlier this month with an offer of just over £1bn. The bid was turned down by the Americans, who are holding out for closer to £1.8bn.

That figure, which is honestly well within the reach of the oil rich emirate, could seal the deal and finally dislodge the Glazer’s from the club. And while the Prime Minister of Qatar admits he doesn’t know the rules of footbal, and he’s overseeing the 2022 World Cup efforts, they are well able to buy whatever they please. However, it seems that the same fans who longer for the Glazers’ removal find themselves going from one perceived despot, to an actual despot.

The Emir of Qatar and his family may put put a nice face on their rule, but make no mistake, the man is a tyrant and his money is made off the backs of underpaid laborers who work under horrible conditions. And the fact that the bid seems to be motivated not only by the need of Qatar to shore up its soccer street cred, but by their envy of rival Middle Eastern strongman Sheik Mansour’s ownership of Manchester City.

For their part, United have denied that any bid has been placed from Qatar Holdings, the company through which the royal family would buy the club, but it seems there maybe another way for the Qatari’s to credibly buy all the men in Manchester United jerseys. If they were to partner with the Red Knights, the rich supporters group who attempted to oust the Glazers earlier this year with a £1bn offer. If they helped put the Red Knights in charge, it would be a boon for supporters, and assure supporter for the Qatari’s at Old Trafford. Will this all go through, will Manchester United be sold, only time will tell.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

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Van Persie

Gunners Shock the World: Arsenal 2-1 Barcelona


The Gunners have beaten the odds and fought back from 1-0 down at the half to draw on away goals with Barcelona in the Champions League. The match was a hard fought affair marked by open play from both sides, and I have to say was an absolute cracker to watch.

Arsenal lost the first half to the superior passing of the Barcelona midfield, and the superb touch of Lionel Messi as he passed the ball forward to David Villa who stuck it in the back of the Gunners goal. But Barca’s dominance was never total, Arsenal fought hard, and never gave up. The score could easily have ended 5-6, but as it was the Gunners had to weight until the 80th minute for thier glory as Van Perise suck one in at a tight angle off of a Jack Wilshire pass.

Both sides played hell for leather from that point on with opportunities at both ends, but is was Arsenal who would steal the glory at home as a classic counter-attack from Cesc Fabregas released Samir Nasri clear behind the Barca defence and the Frenchman squared the ball for Andrey Arshavin who lashed home the Gunners’ second from 16 yards. The Emirates exploded, and while it look that Barca had a penalty denied right at the death, today’s glory is forever with the men in Arsenal jerseys.

We can only hope the second leg is just as sensational as both sides will have it all to play for in the second leg. Can they win in the sacred ground of the Catalan giants, I honestly don’t know, but I’m sure I’ll be watching.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

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vedrancorlukaskadet

Flamini’s Horror Tackle on Corluka


This was the other incident from last nights Champions League action, Michel Flamini’s horrendous tackle on Tottenham’s Corluka. It was two footed, no where near the ball, and definitely did some damage. Flamini was very lucky not be sent off. Check it out below

All of us here at soccerprose.com wish Corluka well and hope he makes a quick recovery.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

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Gattuso v. Jordan

Gattuso Slaps/Headbutts Joe Jordan During Tottenham v. AC Milan


Genovaro Gattuso is known for many things in soccer, most of them great, but also is know for his red hot temper and short fuse. Joe Jordan seems to have gotten to the end of that fuse last night as following an exchange of words Gattuso’s eyes matched the color of his AC Milan jersey delivered an open handed slap across his face. The slap itself is quite impressive, I mean he really winds up for this one, but its still shocking to see someone lose their head so completely.

For his part, Gattuso clearly doesn’t know who Joe Jordan is. If you could have picked one player in the 1970′s who everyone feared, it was Jordan. His toothless smile scared many opponents into submission as he (often literally) cleaved his way through all comers with high elbows and two footed tackles. Accroding to Harry Redknapp:

“He obviously hadn’t done his homework. He could’ve picked a fight with somebody else. Putting his head into Joe’s face, it was crazy. There would be only one winner there – Joe. I’d have my money on Joe. Of all the people to pick on, don’t pick on Joe.”

Overall it was a bad incident that marred an otherwise great match, and for my part, I’d take Jordan over Gattuso any day.

Posted by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com

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Sepp Can You Hear Me

FIFA to Test Goal-line Technology


FIFA have announced they will carry out tests on goal-line technology from various companies next week in Zurich. Each system under review will have to demonstrate they meet the following criteria in order to be considered for implementation during the March 5th meeting of the International FA Board at Celtic Manor. They must be 100% accurate and be able to relay the decision automatically to referees within a second. These criteria may seem to be steep, but when you think about the speed at which a computer keystroke registers on the screen, or an internet site pulls up on a high-speed connection, its not so unreasonable. As for the 100% accuracy, honestly whats the point of having technology that is more fallible or equally as fallible as the refs we have now. My money is on the companies who got their start working with ice hockey’s goal line technology, as the speeds are higher and the puck is very hard to fit a chip in.

Its expected that if some of the systems meets the criteria, they will be considered for approval, at least in principle at the meeting in March, however implementation may be weeks, months, or years away. The logistics of actually fitting the equipment on every soccer goal alone are a big concern, along with the impact it might have on the game itself. Here’s what the balls may look like if the technology were to be approved, courtesy of the first time this was tested by Adidas

For my part, I’m happy to see FIFA begging to overcome their deeply rooted technophobia and move into the 21st century. Less errors will be better for everyone, and safer for the referees. The men in Manchester United jerseys should be relieved to see this coming into force, along with Tottenham, Ireland’s national side, and many others who have been slighted over the years by faulty refs and absurd rules. Now they’ll only have Keys and Gray to worry about.

Written by: Matthew Wall, editor, soccerprose.com