Archive for the ‘ Champions League ’ Category

Maurice Edu Racially Abused By Own Fans at Rangers

Maurice Edu revealed yesterday he was the target of racist abuse from his own fans at Glasgow Rangers. Fans confronted him as he entered his car after Rangers’ mind-boggling 4-1 Champions League loss at home to Romanian champions Unirea Urziceni. Edu did not play in the match. It was not the first time it has happened.

Continued at The Big Lead

Champions League 2009-10 Preview

I wrote a Champions League Group Stage Preview for The Big Lead.  Part One and Part Two.  Not that tough to predict, since it’s mostly chalk.

UEFA Rescinds Diving Penalty for Eduardo

UEFA has rescinded Eduardo’s two match diving ban, clearing him Arsenal’s first group stage match against Standard Liege.

Eduardo sparked the controversy against Celtic during qualification, falling before anticipated contact from Celtic keeper Artur Boruc. The contact never came, but the referee awarded Arsenal a penalty.

UEFA’s decision was correct.

Eduardo anticipated the situation incorrectly. He made a mistake. We should distinguish between that and a lame attempt to deceive the referee.

Had he been caught by the referee, Eduardo would have received a yellow-card for simulation, not a two-match ban. UEFA was not punishing him for the crime, but for the effect it had.

The precedent would be ludicrous as well. Diving, however odious, is ever-present. Two-match bans for each instance would be ubiquitous. Players would still dive, and there would be far fewer great ones to watch.

Diving is natural. It won’t be eradicated by no-nonsense enforcement. The solution should allow referees to decide correctly. That may mean extra officials on the goal-line.

Arsenal Beat Celtic 2-0, All But Assure Champions League Qualification

Arsenal beat Celtic 2-0 at Celtic Park, all but assuring their qualification for the Champions League group stages, with two away goals.  It was not the presiding effort of their 6-1 away win at Everton, but the two deflected goals – from Gallas and Gary Caldwell’s foot – fulfilled the requirement in what was arguably the most important match of the season.

Continued at EPL Talk

UEFA to Fine Arsenal and Manchester United £5,000, Why Bother?

nemanja_vidicUEFA will fine both Arsenal and Manchester United £5,000 respectively for fan incidents during last years Champions League semifinals.  An Arsenal fan hit Nemanja Vidic with a plastic bottle.  A Manchester United supporter hurled a smoke bomb onto the pitch.    The actions were potentially serious.  The fines are not.

UEFA functions like all bureaucracies.  It continues actions without a hint of rational analysis, solely because it was policy beforehand.  Has no one questioned the purpose of these penalties?

Continued at EPL Talk

TBL: With Setanta’s Demise, Could ESPN Get European Soccer Back Next Season?

With Setanta’s Demise, Could ESPN Get European Soccer Back Next Season?

ESPN lost the U.S. broadcast rights for the Champions League it had held for over a decade.  However, with Irish broadcaster Setanta Sports facing financial ruin, ESPN may have a route back into European soccer…

Half Empty or Half Full: A Look At Arsenal’s 2008-09 Season | EPL Talk

Half Empty or Half Full: A Look At Arsenal’s 2008-09 Season | EPL Talk. Did Arsene Wenger heroically keep Arsenal competitive, or was this Arsenal season a disappointing failure?