Posts Tagged ‘Nicolas Anelka’

Chelsea vs. Juventus: The PLAYERS

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009

Chelsea vs. Juventus: The PLAYERS

Continuing to surf on La Gazzetta‘s “Serie A vs. EPL” wave, here are ALL THE PLAYERS from UEFA Champions League’s Chelsea vs. Juventus.


Champions League Preview: Chelsea vs. Juventus

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

UEFA Champions League 2008-09 - Chelsea vs. Juventus

This should be a great game between two very well organised and efficient sides. Juventus have got back to winning ways after surprise slip ups against Udinese and against Cagliari and I’m expecting a tough battle when these two sides meet at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday night. It will be the first time Juve boss Claudio Ranieri has come up against his former employers (who sacked him in the most unfair of circumstances) and Ranieri would sure love to get one over Abramovich, adding that little bit of extra spice to this momentous occasion.


Chelsea 5-0 AC Milan: Rossoneri Humiliated by Blues in Russian Railways Cup 2008

Sunday, August 3rd, 2008


Or in other words: ouch.

With this year’s Russian Railways Cup (an annual pre-season football tournament held in the Russian capital and hosted by FC Lokomotiv Moscow) featuring prestigious teams such as Sevilla, Chelsea, and AC Milan, this was the perfect opportunity for the Rossoneri to test their European pre-season form. The loss against FC Sevilla (capped by a Gattuso own goal) on Saturday was already disappointing enough for Milan supporters, but needless to say that after today’s whopping 5-0 defeat at the hands of Chelsea (goals by Lampard and a Nicolas Anelka quadruple), Ancelotti has a lot of work on his hands if he hopes to achieve anything in the UEFA Cup this season (or Serie A for that matter).

Some might even seize this opportunity to badmouth, and say that perhaps it’s not such a bad thing Milan aren’t in the Champions League this year :twisted: , but I’m not going to go that far. Indeed, without a real striker providing weight up front (Inzaghi, Pato, and Borriello were all unavailable) the Rossoneri are losing much of their well-oiled machine capabilities, so let’s just wait till the manpower is back from injury and/or the Olympics (along with a certain Ronaldinho) before making hasty conclusions.

Still in the meantime, eating five goals from Chelsea has got to hurt…

(From Gazzetta): MOSCOW, 3 August 2008 – Humiliated and shattered. AC Milan leave Moscow with a heavy heart, after being defeated by Chelsea in the third place match of the Russian Railways Cup, a game which ended with a 5-0 victory for the Blues. Playing without a clear tactical plan (due to the many absentees, especially the strikers), the Rossoneri never got in the game and completely fell apart when confronted with their Premiership opponents. A devastating gap, highlighted by the difference in preparation between the two teams and also in the way each one approached this friendly encounter.

NO STRIKERS – All things considered, the loss is far easier to understand if one looks at AC Milan’s line-up. Carlo Ancelotti selected Kalac at goal, a defensive line-up that included Bonera, Maldini, Simic, and Favalli, with Zambrotta and Jankulovski out on the flanks in midfield and Gattuso and Flamini inside. The “strikers”? Pirlo and Ambrosini (no, that’s not a typo), with the former operating behind the latter. Such a combination doesn’t even begin to make sense, but this was a necessary arrangement due to the unavailability of almost all strikers and Alberto Paloschi being left on the bench.  Chelsea on the other hand could count on “full troops”, as Luiz Felipe Scolari lined up his best team (or almost) with Cech – Ivanovic, Alex, Terry, A. Cole – Ballack, Mikel, Lampard – Wright-Philips, Anelka, Malouda.

The Londoners just needed a third of the first half to slice Milan: Frank Lampard opened the score in the minute 3, followed by Nicolas Anelka in the 8th and 18th. Shivering stuff.  Zeljko Kalac couldn’t get his hands on a single shot, the kind of performance that ranks a keeper back to third choice (because that’s as low as you can get). By comparison, Dida gets the Lev Yaschin award. As for the defence, it could have made you pull your (rossonero) hair out: bad clearances and acres of space being left to the British team, able to maneuver pretty much unopposed. Plenty of confusion in midfield as well, while a very composed Chelsea kept spreading out.
ALARMS – The substitutes entering in the second half (Seedorf, Kaladze, Digao, Antonini and Paloschi) didn’t seem to make any difference. Actually, Chelsea pushed even harder and Nicolas Anelka scored two more goals, much to Roman Abramovich‘s delight (who in good company in the stands with girlfriend Daria Zhukova, couldn’t stop applauding). In the 66th minute, Anelka left the pitch for Andriy Shevchenko, who until then had been a mere eye-witness to his former teammates’ baffling performance. Sheva was committed to creating confusion and pushed Kalac further to the limit, as Milan’s goalkeeper continued his state of shock and progressively made his bench-warming role for future line-ups more and more certain.

Eventually, the massacre ended 5-0 without any further casualties, with a spectacle that Milan could have avoided and that will go down in history, despite this being a friendly match. Who knows, maybe Sunday was useful to make Milan’s powers-that-be understand Serie A is not a joke, and that they still have one month to sign a decent goalkeeper and at least a couple of real defenders. Surely they’ll want to leave the battle against relegation to other teams.



[Match Highlights]
 AC Milan
GOALSCORERS: 3’ Lampard (C), 8’, 19’, 50’, 58’ Anelka (C)
CHELSEA (4-3-3): Cech (71’ Cudicini) – Ivanovic (61’ P.Ferreira), Alex, Terry (61’ Carvalho), A.Cole – Ballack (46’ Deco), Mikel, Lampard – S.W.Philips (77’ Sinclair), Anelka (66’ Shevchenko), Malouda. Coach: Scolari.
MILAN (4-5-1): Kalac – Bonera (46’ Paloschi), Maldini (46’ Digao), Simic (46’ Kaladze), Favalli (64’ Antonini) – Zambrotta, Gattuso, Flamini, Jankulovski, Pirlo – Ambrosini (46’ Seedorf). Coach: Ancelotti.


France’s Euro 2008 Roster – 23 Players, No Cissé or Mexès and Gomis is a Surprise

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

Since it’s May 28 and all the Euro 2008 rosters have been finalized, let’s take a look at Italy’s biggest rivals from Group C. It may be called the “Group of Death”, but I am talking of course about France. Coach Raymond Domenech had already made a “Pre-selection” list of 30 players some weeks ago, eventually cutting down the group to the required 23 imposed by UEFA. Much like World Cup 2006 (which saw the surprise call-ups of Franck Ribéry and Pascal Chimbonda) there were a few surprises in the list, in particular regarding the absentees.

For example, Mickaël Landreau and Djibril Cissé had extensively featured on Les Bleus‘s roster since the World Cup but instead, the French coach chose to privilege and reward the recent form of Steve Mandanda (keeper for Marseille) and Bafetimbi Gomis (striker for St. Etienne).  Les Verts‘s forward had surprised everyone this Tuesday, by scoring the two victory goals in France’s friendly encounter vs. Ecuador (one better than the other, the second of which a spectacular scissor-kick). Cissé must be really fuming though, because he hasn’t played in a major tournament since World Cup 2002 (he was suspended in 2004 and injured in 2006).

In defense, the biggest surprise comes from the absence of Julien Escudé, a pillar of FC Sevilla’s and France’s backline in recent years (it seems however that the French center-back “re-awakened” his hernia (pubalgia) problems on Tuesday and was thus excluded for health/fitness reasons), as well as that of for Philippe Mexès (considered by many as one of Serie A’s best defenders this year). The latter just further demonstrates my theory that Domenech has an absolute phobia for anything coming from Italy, biggest case in point being David Trezeguet‘s (20 goals in Serie A this season, one goal behind topscorer Del Piero) absence even from the “Pre-Selection” list. One really has to wonder how on Earth Sebastien Frey didn’t get the cut.

Finally, Jérémy Toulalan and Lassana Diarra were preferred over Mathieu Flamini and Alou Diarra (Flamini just signed for AC Milan… you see how proving my theory just gets easier and easier?), while Hatem Ben Arfa was discarded due to his limited use in Lyon’s line-up this year. French sports newspaper L’Équipe suggests that by choosing 4 main strikers (Henry, Anelka, Benzema, Gomis) in his roster, Raymond Domenech is determined to keep utilizing his tested 4-4-2 formation for the SwissAustria tournament.

Here’s the full list:


Number Goalkeepers: Club:
Nº23 Grégory Coupet Lyon
Nº16 Sébastien Frey Fiorentina
Nº1 Steve Mandanda Marseille
Nº3 Eric Abidal Barcelona
Nº2 Jean-Alain Boumsong Lyon
Nº14 François Clerc Lyon
Nº13 Patrice Evra Man Utd
Nº5 William Gallas Arsenal
Nº19 Willy Sagnol Bayern Munich
Nº17 Sébastien Squillaci Lyon
Nº15 Lilian Thuram Barcelona
Nº21 Lassana Diarra Portsmouth
Nº10 Sidney Govou Lyon
Nº6 Claude Makélélé Chelsea
Nº7 Florent Malouda Chelsea
Nº11 Samir Nasri Marseille
Nº22 Franck Ribéry Bayern Munich
Nº4 Patrick Vieira Inter
Nº8 Nicolas Anelka Chelsea
Nº9 Karim Benzema Lyon
Nº18 Bafétimbi Gomis St. Etienne
Nº12 Thierry Henry Barcelona