Saturday 29 August 2009

London teams lead the way

Tottenham who won 2-1 at West Ham are the Premier League leaders after 3 matches, ahead of Chelsea on goal difference, followed by Arsenal who outclassed Portsmouth 4-1 and have a game in hand. Manchester United put their midweek defeat and first half frustrations at Wigan behind them to score 5 without reply in the 2nd half and move into 4th place, while Liverpool are languishing in 10th place after their 3-1 home defeat to Aston Villa.

In midweek there was crowd trouble in the Carling Cup match between West Ham and Millwall, while in Europe Arsenal got past Celtic with a 3-1 win to entre the draw for the Champions League group stage where the 4 English teams avoided the European giants. Bayern Munich and Juventus were drawn in group A, while Spanish and Italian giants will meet as Milan and Real Madrid will face each other in group C, and Barcelona will play Inter in group F.

In the Europa League Aston Villa were knocked out on the away goals rule after winning 2-1 at home to Rapid Vienna, while Roma were finding their passage to the next stage much easier, thumping Kosice of Slovakia 7-1 having gone 5 up in the first 18 minutes. The comeback of the night belonged to Dynamo Bucharest who after losing 3-0 at home, travelled to the Czech Republic where they reversed the score to beat Slovan Liberec 8-9 on penalties.

On Friday Barcelona won the Super Cup with a 1-0 win over Ukrainian Shakhtar Donetsk in extra time.

Friday 21 August 2009

Premier League kicks off

Chelsea kicked off the season with a 2-1 home win against Hull thanks to Didier Drogba doubling his tally in stoppage time, and Manchester United could only manage a 1-0 win at home to Birmingham while Arsenal thumped Everton 6-1 at Goodison Park. Liverpool lost 2-1 at Tottenham, but showed better form in midweek cruising 4-0 past Stoke while Defoe scored a hat-trick at Hull to take Tottenham to the top of the table with a 5-1 win, as Arsenal were busy beating Celtic 2-0 in their Champions League away fixture. Burnley produced the shock of the week at Turf Moor when Robbie Blake scored with a thunderous volleyed from inside the box for the only goal of the match against Man Utd.

In the Dutch league on Sunday PSV got the better of Ajax by the odd goal in a 7 goal thriller with Suarez netting twice for the visitors, and Dzudzsak and Bakal grabbing a brace each for PSV.

(picture: Brian Jensen saves Carrick penalty as Burnley hold on to defeat United)

Summer action

During the summer break Brazil won the Confederations Cup as expected by coming from behind to beat unexpected finalists USA who later reached the Gold Cup final on home soil but were demolished 5-0 by Mexico.

Several youth cups took place in Europe with England reaching 3 of the finals. The English girls picked up the under 19 trophy, but their male compatriots lost to hosts Ukraine at the same age and to Germany in the under 21 final in Sweden.

In the transfer market Christiano Ronaldo finally moved from Manchester United to Real Madrid while injury prone Michael Owen joined the English champions on a free transfer.

Manchester City splashed out on Adebayor, Tevez, Santa Cruz, Kolo Toure and Gareth Barry.

In Europe Kaka, Karim Benzema and Xabi Alonso joined Ronaldo at Real Madrid who sold Klaas Jan Huntelaar to AC Milan while Barcelona acquired the services of Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Inter Milan in exchange for Samuel Eto’o and loan-to-buy Aliaksandr Hleb.

After a host of pre-season friendly matches the Community Shield, in which Chelsea defeated Man Utd on penalties, signalled the start of the new season in England.(Petr Cech saves Giggs penalty in picture above)