Third time lucky for Chelsea?

Chelsea may finally accomplish what Jose Mourinho failed to do during his time at Chelsea. They have lost to Liverpool twice in the champions league semifinal, thanks to a Luis Garcia’s controversial goal and the defeat on penalties. On both the ties, the luck seemed to have favored Liverpool and that may change this time as Liverpool were held to a 1-1 draw at Anfield thanks to Riise’s own goal at injury time.

In a match that was dominated by Liverpool, they looked set for a win when the much maligned Dirk Kuyt’s finish three minutes before the interval gave them the lead. Liverpool had some good chances but Peter Cech was there to save well from Gerrard and Torres. But the tie suddenly turned to Chelsea’s side as Riise scored an own goal from Kalou’s free kick five minutes into injury time.

Chelsea have been unable to get past Liverpool twice in the same stage but it seems Avram Grant may finally accomplish what Mourinho failed to do. The return leg is at Stamford Bridge where Liverpool have failed to score at 8 outings and Chelsea are also unbeaten there. But this time, Liverpool know that they have to score and things look set for a pulsating tie .

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Chelsea draw with Wigan, Man Utd close to title

Chelsea title dream may be over after they were held to a 1-1 draw at Stamford Bridge. Before the game, Chelsea were 3 points behind Man Utd and needed a win to have any hope of challenging Man Utd for the title whom they face on 26th April at home. Now with the gap at 5 points, and Chelsea facing Everton on Thursday, the title could be over by the time Chelsea play Man Utd.

Chelsea gave rest to several key players in view of the tough match against Everton. They had several chances to score in the first half but they failed to find the net. Chelsea were finally rewarded when Essien scored in the 53rd minute. Chelsea attacked but they couldn’t find the second goal to kill of the game. And they were stunned when an Wigan scored in the injury time through an Emile Heskey volley which may have just ended there title hopes. To add insult to injury, they were booed by there own fans after the final whistle.

Now it definitely looks that Chelsea will finish the season without any silverware. I have an intution that they will either lose or draw against Everton and the title race will be over on Saturday. One question that no doubt comes to my mind is that who will manage Chelsea next season. I don’t think Abromovich will give Grant a second chance. And with Barcelona performing poorly in the Spanish League, Frank Rijkard might make the switch.

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Premiership Roundup 05-06 April

Another week of Premiership games has passed and it looks like the Premiership battle is going to be very exciting. The weekend started with the exciting match between Arsenal and Liverpool. Both teams had an eye on there champions league matches and hence rested some quality players. Arsenal started well but it was Liverpool who took the lead through Peter Crouch. Arsenal equalized through a Bendtner headed goal. Liverpool’s Vornonin was guilty of missing several chances later in the match but a draw in the end further dented Arsenal’s title hopes. For a second time in a row, Arsenal had a penalty appeal turned down, a thing that is becoming synonymous with the Liverpool – Arsenal game.

Chelsea mean while defeated Manchester City impressively 2-0 to continue there march towards the title. Manchester United drew with Boro 2-2 to drop some points and keep the title hopes alive of Arsenal as well as Chelsea. United’s draw means that they are three points ahead of Chelsea who they are supposed to play at Stamford Bridge on 26th April and 6 points ahead of Arsenal who they play at the weekend. Ronaldo’s 37th goal of the campaign gave United the lead but Boro, who have a good record against United leveled when Afonso Alves scored his first goal for the club. Boro played some good football and created plenty of chances. It was not surprising that Boro took the lead again through Alves to make the score 2-1. United defense was clearly vulnerable because of lack of Vidic and things became much worse when Ferdinand was also substituted because of injury. But united got the equalizer when Ji Sung Park’s cross was converted by Rooney through a deflection and the score became 2-2. If Ferdinand’s injury turns out to be serious, United can miss there center half pair of Vidic and Ferdinand for the crucial matches against Arsenal, Blackburn and Chelsea.

The next 2-3 matches will be crucial for the three teams and will be the decider in who wins the Premiership. In the other matches Aston Villa defeated Bolton 4-0 to send them towards relegation. Roy Keane’s Sunderland beat Fulham 3-1 to ease the pressure and Fulham looks set to drop of the Premiership. Steve Bruce came back to haunt his former club as Wigan recorded a 2-0 win against Birmingham. The King Kev revolution seems to have started at Newcastle as they recorded there third straight win with a 3-0 win over reading. Blackburn and Totenham drew 1-1 while Everton defeated Derby 1-0 to pile the pressure on Liverpool for the fourth place.

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Champions League Roundup 01-02 April

The first round of CL quarter finals has passed and we can be almost certain who are going to reach the semi finals with the exception of Liverpool and Arsenal. Manchester United got the job done thanks to goals from Ronaldo and Rooney in a 2-0 win against Roma. Even though Roma dominated the game for a few intervals, there lack of clinical finishing and an inspiring performance from Van Der Sar prevented them from scoring. Though Roma have beaten Real Madrid 2-1 at the Santiago Bernabau, i don’t think they will be able to defeat United at Old Trafford. Though they might have Totti back for the return leg, Ronaldo’s form has been World Class and the pace of United attack is frightening.

As for Barcelona, they have there 17 year old sensation Bojan to thanks for there 1-0 win against Schalke. The young forward is outshining the players such as Henry and Eto and has earned praise from the manager Frank Rijkard. And with the quality of players at the disposal of Barca, they cant lose the game at home. So we should expect a crunch semifinal between Manchester United and Barcelona. The most eagerly awaited match was between Arsenal and Liverpool which was drawn 1-1 with Liverpool getting the vital away goal. Even though Arsenal outclassed Liverpool for much of the game and they were harshly denied a penalty, Liverpool certainly has the edge at Anfield and i have a feeling that Liverpool will progress.

Chelsea wont be able to forget how they lost the game to Fenerbache 2-1. They were exceptional in the first half but still ended up losing the game due to two quick goals from Fenerbache. Maybe Chelsea should have listened to Anelka who warned about the threat of his older team. But still I fancy a Chelsea win at Stamford Bridge unless Fenerbache mount a late rally like the match. So we might have another semifinal between Liverpool and Chelsea and we might end up having an all English final.

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Premier League set for an exciting finish with just 6 games remaining

With just 6 games remaining, the Premier League is set for a dramatic finish, it has happened after a long time but it is worth the wait. The fight between Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea are sure to go till the end but Man Utd have an upper hand. Lets look at the remaining fixtures of all the team and analyze that which team has a good chance of winning the title

Manchester United’s remaining fixtures

  • Middlesbrough v Man Utd
  • Man Utd v Arsenal
  • Blackburn v Man Utd
  • Chelsea v Man Utd
  • Man Utd v West Ham
  • Wigan v Man Utd

The two fixtures that may have an impact on the title race are the ones against Arsenal and Chelsea. If Arsenal lost to United at Old Trafford, there title challenge could be over as the lead might increase to 9 points. United’s away match against Chelsea could very well prove important as it will be a must win for Chelsea if they want to reclaim there title. In the other fixtures, the one against Blackburn away will be somewhat difficult while i expect United to win the rest of games.

Chelsea’s remaining fixtures

  • Man City v Chelsea
  • Chelsea v Wigan
  • Everton v Chelsea
  • Chelsea v Man Utd
  • Newcastle v Chelsea
  • Chelsea v Bolton

Chelsea do have some difficult away games to Manchester City and Everton and a difficult one against Manchester United at home. With Man City and Everton both playing for Europe, they can be difficult to beat. but Chelsea have a very good home record and that will be there plus point. However, the match against Manchester United will be a must win for them.

Arsenal’s remaining fixtures

  • Arsenal v Liverpool
  • Man Utd v Arsenal
  • Arsenal v Reading
  • Derby v Arsenal
  • Arsenal v Everton
  • Sunderland v Arsenal

Arsenal definitely have a very bad ass schedule both in Premier League as well as Champions League. In a period of 10 days, they play Liverpool three times and Manchester United away. There squad depth is not very large and this may be a factor for there downfall. It will be a make or break period for them. I definitely think the match against United will decide Arsenal’s fate. While the rest of the games which they play are relatively easy, fatigue can be an important factor for them.

With Champions League also happening, it will have an impact on all the teams. And who knows, we might have a few surprises from the rest of the teams. By far, Manchester United who are in great form are my first favorites to win the title. But football is so full of surprises.

What do you guys think? Who do you think will go and win the league?

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The Big four EPL Showdown

Ferguson, Benitez, Grant, Wenger

The English Premier League has definitely reached the crunch stage. With just 8 games remaining, the title can go either to Manchester United, Arsenal or Chelsea. Tomorrow’s match between the big four may turn out to be a crucial movement in the final rankings. A few weeks ago, Arsenal were cruising, they were 5 points ahead but after four successive draws, they currently lie 3 points behind Manchester United. And it could have been more miserable for Arsenal had Chelsea not drawn with Spurs.

It is one of the most close call finishes in the Premier League which i have seen after a long time. The pressure will be mainly on Arsenal and Man Utd but i would be a fool to rule Chelsea out. If Manchester United win against Liverpool and Arsenal lost to Chelsea, then it might be "Title Gone" for Wenger. Consistency will definitely be the key in these last matches. And with the Champions League also looming close, the freshness and determination will also play a big part. Liverpool have been in great form recently winning there last 5 premier league matches. The form of Torres has been exceptional. Looking at both set of players, we might have a classic match to watch but these big matches usually turn out to be quite boring. I think defense will play a key part in this game. How the defenders will be able to cope with the likes of Torres, Gerrard, Rooney, Ronaldo, Nani and Tevez can certainly have a bearing on the outcome. These games are usually decided by a solo goal. United have won there last 5 fixtures with Liverpool but Liverpool will be going there thinking of a win as there recent form in the League as well as Champions League has been tremendous.

The game between Arsenal and Chelsea is crucial for both of them. Arsenal’s poor form recently have seen them being replaced by Man Utd at the top of the table. Chelsea were also poor in there 4-4 draw against Spurs but the home advantage may give them the edge here. Chelsea have been poor against the big teams this season and Grant may want to set the record straight. There home form has been terrific and i cant see them losing this.

With so much pressure surrounding these fixtures, i don’t think we are about to witness an exciting game. The game may be settled with a 1-0 , 2-0 , 1-1 score line but who ever wins will be the one thing that will matter in the end. We will talk more about this after the matches. Till then stay tuned.

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