De Futebol Flamengo Stinks Big time

Flamengo had their asses handed to them by Gremio a 3-1 blowout city.

Globo Esportes:” Sem vencer o Grêmio em Porto Alegre há 23 anos pelo Campeonato Brasileiro – a última, com gol de Nélio, em 1994 -, o Flamengo foi cheio de cautela para a Arena. Sem Diego, em tratamento de dores na coxa esquerda, o técnico Reinaldo Rueda lançou Márcio Araújo ao lado de Cuéllar e Willian Arão.

O time conseguiu sofrer pouco durante o primeiro tempo contra o finalista da Libertadores da América. O plano de jogo se mostrou efetivo no início do segundo tempo, no gol de Éverton Ribeiro, mas sequência incrível de falhas deu a vitória ao Grêmio: 3 a 1 na Arena (veja os principais lances no vídeo acima).

Se faltou ousadia, a ideia de Rueda era até simples para um time com tantos problemas – sem Guerrero, Diego e a zaga titular – pois Réver e Juan estavam fora também: se fechar e tentar ganhar a partida no contra-ataque. A história do jogo poderia ser essa não fossem tantos erros em 12 minutos de partida – período em que o Grêmio marcou o primeiro, segundo e terceiro gol para virar contra o Flamengo.

Confira os destaques da partidaCom meio de campo mais preso – Márcio Araújo e Cuéllar jogaram lado a lado -, o Flamengo se fechou contra o Grêmio. A ideia era ocupar o setor de intermediária que Luan transita – e muito bem. Ora Márcio Araújo, a novidade da escalação de Rueda, ora Cuéllar chegavam para combater o camisa 7. Luan conseguiu raras escapadas. Numa delas, chutou para boa defesa de Diego Alves.

A outra boa chance do Grêmio saiu de um erro de Arão. O volante, que jogava mais adiantado, tentou tirar de calcanhar na frente da área. Errou e contou com o goleiro e Rhodolfo para afastar o perigo. No segundo tempo o panorama se modificou pouco. Mas Luan apareceu livre para fazer após falha de Vaz e quase ampliou para 4 a 1 no fim da partida.

Ataque tímido e má pontaria no primeiro tempo
Apesar de não querer muito jogo, o Flamengo, marcando bem, finalizou mais do que o Grêmio na primeira etapa. Mas nenhuma delas no gol. Rafael Vaz, Pará, Renê e Felipe Vizeu chutaram de fora da área. Éverton Ribeiro desviou cruzamento por cima do gol, mas levou perigo. No mais, tentativas de infiltração de Arão pelo meio da zaga gremista e escapadas de Everton, após roubadas de bola no campo de defesa.

O toque de Éverton Ribeiro contra o Fluminense começou a mudar uma história. Na noite da última quarta-feira, no Maracanã, gol de Vizeu e depois saiu o empate, com Arão, garantindo ao Flamengo a vaga na semifinal da Copa Sul-Americana. Contra o Grêmio, novamente Ribeiro criou a jogada de ataque do Flamengo. Mas desta vez ele mesmo marcou. Numa das tentativas do time, achou Everton na ponta esquerda. Ribeiro testou e marcou. Em outro lance, deu calcanhar para Renê, mas, no rebote, Cuéllar não conseguiu marcar.

Mas o Everton de Renato Gaúcho entrou para modificar a partida. Claro que contou com a ajuda de Rhodolfo e Pará, que não se decidiram no lance do primeiro gol – o lateral ainda cortou mal no segundo de Everton -, mas o atacante tem todo o mérito na virada.

Redin na beira do campo

Uma cena inédita se viu neste domingo. Reinaldo Rueda ficou apenas no começo da partida na beira do campo. Depois, foi para o banco de reservas e deixou Bernardo Redin na área técnica. O treinador de 60 anos se afastou do futebol em janeiro para fazer cirurgia no quadril. Questionado pelo repórter da TV Globo, Raphael Sibilla, se sentia dores e por isso estava no banco, o técnico respondeu apenas que “não”.

Arão perdera uma bola no primeiro tempo, que foi salva por Diego Alves. Com 2 a 1 no placar, Rafael Vaz repetiu a dose na segunda etapa. Ele tentou proteger a bola na linha lateral, mas perdeu para Beto da Silva. O meia cruzou e Luan fez o terceiro, terminando com as chances de reação do Flamengo.”

https://globoesporte.globo.com/futebol/times/flamengo/noticia/falhas-e-ataque-timido-tiram-vitoria-do-fla-que-sofre-virada-na-arena-do-gremio.ghtml

De Futebol Flamengo Advances to semifinals of Sul-Americana

Flamengo and Fluminse tied three all. Mengao advances to the semifinals of the Sul-Americana.

Globo Esportes:”O Flamengo testou o coração de seus torcedores. Abusou das falhas em bolas aéreas e deixou o jogo diante do Fluminense com contornos dramáticos. Mas Vinicius Junior entrou no segundo tempo para dar um ar heroico para a quinta-feira rubro-negra. Com o garoto inspirado, a equipe de Reinaldo Rueda deu, talvez, uma resposta que o torcedor precisava, correu atrás de dois gols de desvantagem e, com o empate em 3 a 3, está na semifinal do Sul-Americana.

Flamengo volta a campo no domingo, pela 32ª rodada do Brasileiro. O adversário é o Grêmio, que joga em sua arena. O adversário na semifinal da Sul-Americana sai do confronto entre Junior Barranquilla e Sport. Em Recife, na ida, os colombianos venceram por 2 a 0. Eles se reencontram nesta quinta-feira.

Bola aérea cardíaca

A bola alçada na área do Flamengo vinha se mostrando perigosa desde a primeira cabeçada de Renato Chaves, que parou em defesa de Diego Alves. O segundo gol tricolor acabou saindo através da jogada que vinha se desenhando. Cobrança de escanteio, e o zagueiro Chaves subiu mais alto que a marcação do Flamengo.

O balde de água fria veio no começo da segunda etapa. De novo uma bola na área, de novo Renato Chaves e de novo uma falha na marcação – nas costas de Arão: 3 a 1 e uma cenário terrível para o time.

Diego salva primeiro tempo com bola parada

Mais uma vez sem poder contar com Guerrero, Reinaldo Rueda modificou seu ataque e colocou Felipe Vizeu no lugar de Lucas Paquetá. O centroavante não foi bem no primeiro tempo, assim como os pontas do Flamengo, Everton e Everton Ribeiro.

O gol marcado pelo rubro-negro na primeira etapa foi marcado após bonita cobrança de falta de Diego – ele havia sido derrubado na entrada da área no lance.

Vinicius Junior entra e muda o jogo

Após o balde de água fria do terceiro gol tricolor, o Flamengo passou a pressionar um pouco mais. Reinaldo Rueda colocou Vinicius Junior, que deu mais velocidade e criatividade. Everton foi deslocado para a lateral esquerda.

Vizeu também correspondeu melhor. E foi com ele que saiu o gol da reação. Ele recebeu lindo passe de Everton Ribeiro, de letra, e entrou livre. Cara a cara com Diego Cavalieri, não desperdiçou. A jogada havia começado justamente com Vinicius Junior.

A participação do atacante, porém, foi maior do que só isso: com o Flamengo indo para a semifinal, ainda deu muito trabalho à zaga tricolor, puxou contra-ataques e deixou Diego cara a cara com Diego Cavalieri. O meia desperdiçou a oportunidade de dar a vitória ao Rubro-Negro.

Arão: raça, erro e o gol decisivo

Willian Arão era um dos mais pilhados em campo. No primeiro tempo, entrou em cada dividida com vontade e pedia o tempo todo o grito da torcida. Mas também errou passes simples e não posicionou bem no terceiro gol tricolor.

Mas o Fla-Flu reservava para ele o cargo de herói. Após falta cobrada pela direita por Pará, desviou de cabeça e ainda viu a bola bater caprichosamente no travessão antes de entrar e selar a vaga do Flamengo na semi.

Espaços pela esquerda

O primeiro gol, sofrido com três minutos de jogo, voltou expor as falhas defensivas do Flamengo pelo lado esquerdo. Trauco errou um bote no meio para tentar para o ataque tricolor e abriu uma avenida para Lucas abrir o marcador do clássico. Por ali, também viu Marcos Junior inverter sua posição e arriscar jogadas perigosas em suas costas. Não cobriu os espaços e deixava a zaga exposta. Deixou o campo no segundo tempo sob vaias.

https://globoesporte.globo.com/futebol/times/flamengo/noticia/vinicius-jr-muda-cara-e-fla-se-classifica-em-noite-heroica-no-maracana.ghtml

De Futebol Playing it safe cost Man U Big Time

Playing it safe cost Man U big time against Chelsea.

The Guardians Jonathan Wilson wrote: “The memories of Manchester United in 1985-86 and Newcastle United in 1995-96 serve always as caveats, but already it feels that it would take something outlandish for Manchester City not to be named as champions this season. Perhaps their slick cogs and gears will somehow stick or grind, but at the moment none of the chasing pack are applying pressure.        The gap already is eight points and, once again, on Sunday, it was hard to avoid the thought that there has been something meek in the way José Mourinho has presented the initiative to his rivals.

When United defeated Ajax to win the Europa League, Mourinho spoke of it as a victory for pragmatism. It is a term that is frequently applied to his football, and football generally has a tendency to use pragmatic as a synonym for defensive. But they are not the same: a pragmatist does what is necessary to win; Mourinho insists on reactive football again and again, even when it means losing ground. The three games in the past month against top-six sides were always likely to represent a decisive phase of the season. In them United totalled six shots on target – and that suggests an approach that is not pragmatic, but is rather stubbornly dogmatic.

Yes, this was Chelsea and, yes, they are the defending champions. But City came to Stamford Bridge, dominated the game and won 1-0. United, frankly, never looked like winning. They were not as defensive as they had been in the FA Cup tie here last season when they fielded a back six, but nor was there ever a thought of them taking the game to Chelsea as Pep Guardiola had, of trying to expose a defence that had been given such a tough time in recent games by Roma (twice) and Watford.

Chelsea with N’Golo Kanté, admittedly, are a different proposition to Chelsea without him, and there was no question that Antonio Conte’s side improved with his return after injury. But still, it was hard to see how United ever planned to hurt Chelsea.

Early on, as Ander Herrera was lured towards Eden Hazard, Tiémoué Bakayoko, playing on the left of Chelsea’s midfield triangle, kept finding space to charge into. Which might in itself have been decisive had he not been Tiémoué Bakayoko and therefore lacking the composure that might have turned those opportunities into goals. That avenue, though, was soon closed down, with Phil Jones and, particularly, Eric Bailly stepping out to close down Hazard, leaving Herrera to block the channel Bakayoko had been exploiting.

The use of a back three gave United the option of pushing one of the central defenders out to deal with Hazard and preventing just that problem, but the issues that had cropped up against Tottenham Hotspur last week recurred. Much was played long to the two forwards, which effectively diminished Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s role to the point that he may as well not have been there. The Armenian’s 62 minutes on the pitch yielded just 29 touches – although that was at least five more than an isolated Romelu Lukaku managed in a full game.

And then there was the issue of the midfield. Even excluding Hazard, who occasionally dropped deep, Chelsea had three central midfielders there. United had two plus Mkhitaryan, which meant they were occasionally overmanned, a problem exacerbated by the fact that Chelsea’s wing-backs were, understandably, more aggressive. That was what led to the first Bakayoko chance, as Davide Zappacosta got in behind Ashley Young, and it was a shortfall on that flank that led to the goal. Young was forced deep to prevent Zappacosta making a similar run behind him and as Chelsea switched the ball quickly from their left to right, César Azpilicueta was able to stride forward into space and measure his cross for Álvaro Morata.

Mourinho almost immediately changed tack, went to a 4-3-3, and United became more threatening as a result, while suddenly becoming vulnerable again to those Bakayoko surges. Marouane Fellaini, back after a knee injury, spread the kind of chaos he always does, and nearly equalised. But, whatever absentees United have – Mourinho once again reluctantly listed the injured Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marcos Rojo – it remains bewildering that United can seem so reliant on the Belgian bag of elbows for anything approximating to creativity.

United, in fairness, were probably more proactive here than they had been against either Liverpool or Tottenham. But in the context of dropped points against Liverpool and Huddersfield, it was not enough.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/blog/2017/nov/06/manchester-united-tactics-chelsea-manchester-city

De Futebol Flamengo wins the first leg of the Copa Sul-Americana quarterfinals

Flamengo defeated Fluminense 1-0  in the first leg of  The Copa Sul-Americana.

Globo Esportes:” Um tempo de predomínio para cada lado: entre a imposição técnica do Flamengo na primeira etapa e a coragem tricolor na segunda. No entanto, a primeira parte do jogo, que exibiu o melhor Flamengo da passagem de Reinaldo Rueda no comando, determinou o resultado final: o 1 a 0 que dá ao rubro-negro a vantagem do empate no jogo de volta na próxima quarta-feira, para chegar à semifinal da Copa Sul-Americana.

A manutenção da regra do gol fora de casa como critério de desempate, mesmo em dois jogos num mesmo estádio, cria momentos quase surreais. Como o Flamengo celebrar um “gol de visitante” no Maracanã. O fato é que não será por este critério que o rubro-negro poderá se classificar: empate ou vitória o fazem avançar. Já o Fluminense joga por um triunfo por dois gols de diferença ou uma vitória por vantagem mínima, mesmo que marque ao menos duas vezes. E, neste caso sim, vai tirar partido do fato de ser “visitante” no segundo jogo.

O Flamengo do primeiro tempo, em especial nos 30 minutos iniciais, chamou atenção pela forma como controlou o jogo a partir da posse de bola e pela forma como usou a posse para abrir espaços. Não chegou a haver um massacre de finalizações, mas quando Éverton encontrou o gol, aos 26 minutos, o lance coroava um claro domínio técnico e tático.

Rueda fazia Éverton Ribeiro, que iniciava as jogadas pela direita, funcionar muitas vezes como um segundo meia, junto a Diego. Algo raro nas outras experiências com os dois juntos, os mais técnicos jogadores do Flamengo dialogavam mais, não atuavam tão distantes. O rubro-negro ocupava mais a entrada da área tricolor, criava opções de passe com Éverton e as infiltrações de Willian Arão. Mas o fundamental era que expunha um problema do rival.

Abel Braga iniciou o jogo com Richard como primeiro volante e Orejuela mais à frente, próximo a Sornoza, quase num 4-1-4-1. A movimentação de Éverton Ribeiro para o centro sobrecarregava Richard. A primeira chance do Flamengo veio do rebote de uma cobrança de falta, que terminou em cabeçada de Réver. Depois, Diego e Arão tabelaram até a defesa tricolor salvar. E, pela direita, Éverton Ribeiro achou Willian Arão, que chutou para Diego Cavalieri dar o rebote para Éverton marcar.

Abel Braga iniciou o jogo com Richard como primeiro volante e Orejuela mais à frente, próximo a Sornoza, quase num 4-1-4-1. A movimentação de Éverton Ribeiro para o centro sobrecarregava Richard. A primeira chance do Flamengo veio do rebote de uma cobrança de falta, que terminou em cabeçada de Réver. Depois, Diego e Arão tabelaram até a defesa tricolor salvar. E, pela direita, Éverton Ribeiro achou Willian Arão, que chutou para Diego Cavalieri dar o rebote para Éverton marcar.

No lance, aliás, Arão mostrou que controlar os tempos é vital em futebol. Habituado a, por vezes, iniciar as jogadas já aprofundado entre os defensores rivais, desta vez penetrou no momento certo, como real opção de passe.

Imediatamente após o gol, Abel pediu a Orejuela que fizesse companhia a Richard, passando a ter dois volantes alinhados. Criou um bloqueio melhor pelo centro, mas o Fluminense, a partir daí, tinha outro problema: precisava construir. Era algo custoso, porque Scarpa, que também iniciava as jogadas pela direita, não conseguia achar os espaços que Éverton Ribeiro encontrava. Coube a Marcos Júnior dar belo passe para Henrique Dourado parar em Diego Alves, na melhor chance tricolor.

O lado direito passara a ser o setor por onde o Flamengo buscava criar. Por vezes com Diego caindo pelo setor, por vezes com Arão ou Cuéllar. Uma tabela pelo lado fez Pará cruzar para Paquetá falhar.

Se optara por ser mais cauteloso na proposta inicial de jogo, Abel Braga tem a coragem como marca neste Fluminense: coragem para conduzir um time tão jovem, com todos os riscos aí embutidos, e coragem para ir mandando o time à frente em momentos adversos. No segundo tempo, começou liberando os laterais, depois lançou Wendel e foi terminar o jogo com Scarpa na lateral esquerda e três atacantes à frente.

A marcação mais adiantada prejudicou a saída de bola do Flamengo. E houve chances bem nítidas para mudar o resultado. Como o chute de Marcos Júnior na trave ou até a jogada individual de Wellington Silva nos acréscimos. O jogo passou a se desenrolar no campo do Flamengo.

Juan até teve a chance de ampliar, em cabeçada na trave, mas Reinaldo Rueda fez opções que o afastaram o time da área adversária. Preferiu marcar atrás e contragolpear, mas perdeu velocidade com as mudanças. Seja a saída de Everton para a entrada de Márcio Araújo, seja a entrada de Vizeu. Mesmo assim, resistiu à pressão final

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-derrota-fluminense-pela-sul-americana-21993312#ixzz4wcGIlYlQ

De Futebol- Shitty blows out Arsenal. Chelsea defeats Man U Man Shitty is top dog with 31 points.

 

Man Shitty tore apart Arsenal 3-1. Shitty now has a commanding eight-point lead over second place Man U and third place Tottenham.

Man U lost to Chelsea 1-0 while Spurs defeated Crystal Palace 1-0.

Everton escaped the voce vai zone with 3-2 win over Watford.

Man Shitty is in the catbird seat 31 points.

Man U is second with 23.

Spurs are third with 23 and Chelsea is fourth with 22 points.

Arsenal drops to sixth with 19 points.

Liverpool, 19 points, leaps ahead of the Gunners into fifth place.

EPL Match Report on Shitty’s win:” Leaders Manchester City secured their ninth consecutive Premier League win with a 3-1 triumph over Arsenal at the Etihad Stadium.

City went ahead on 19 minutes when Kevin De Bruyne beat Petr Cech with a low left-footed shot after a one-two with Fernandinho.

Sergio Aguero doubled the lead with an early second-half penalty, his eighth PL goal of the season, after Nacho Monreal had brought down Raheem Sterling.

Arsenal substitute Alexandre Lacazette pulled a goal back from Aaron Ramsey’s pass but another replacement, Gabriel Jesus, confirmed the victory from close range after a pass from David Silva, the Spaniard’s seventh assist of the season.

The win takes City on to 31 points. Arsenal slip to sixth.”

https://www.premierleague.com/match/22445

EPL Match Report on the Chelsea win:” Alvaro Morata scored his seventh goal of the season as Chelsea earned a 1-0 victory over Manchester United at Stamford Bridge.

Tiemoue Bakayoko twice came close for the dominant hosts before a Phil Jones own goal was ruled out for a push by Morata.

Marcus Rashford headed Ashley Young’s cross over but Chelsea were worthy of their victory.

It came courtesy of Morata, who powered Azpilicueta’s pinpoint cross in on 55 minutes; the fifth time the two Spaniards have combined for a goal by the striker.

Marouane Fellaini was thwarted late on by Thibaut Courtois and Rashford drove a free-kick just over but Chelsea held on for a 10th win in 16 PL encounters with United.

The Blues move to within a point of Jose Mourinho’s second-placed side.”

https://www.premierleague.com/match/22442

De Futebol

You better put your big boy pants on later today. The giants will battle it out Man Shitty-Arsenal and Chelsea-Man U. Spurs take on Crystal Palace and Everton-Watford are the other matches of for today.

This means the top five clubs are all in action later today.

Let the fun and games begin.

Saturdays’ action saw Leicester City and Stoke City tie two all. The Foxes took the lead twice only to give the equalizers in this disappointing tie.

Leicester City thirteen points.

The Potters have twelve big ones.

Bournemouth may have saved their season when Steve Cook nailed the match winner in the 90th minute plus two for the 1-0 win over Newcastle.

The Cherries have ten points to get out of the voce vai zone. Bournemouth is in sixteenth place.

Burnley defeated Southampton 1-0. The Clarets Sam Vokes poked home the match winner in the 81st minute.

Down to ten men Huddersfield hung to beat West Brom 1-0.  The Terriers are in tenth place with 15 points.

Brighton Hove and Albion defeated Swansea City 1-0.

The Seagulls have fifteen points for eighth place.

Liverpool kicked ass and took names in a 4-1 thrashing of West Ham.

The Reds are in sixth place with 19 points.

EPL Match Report:” Mohamed Salah scored twice and Sadio Mane got two assists on his return from injury as Liverpool earned an entertaining 4-1 win over West Ham United.

The first Liverpool goal came in a swift counter-attack from a West Ham corner, Mane setting up Salah to score.

Some 157 seconds later, Joel Matip made it 2-0 from close range from a Mane corner.

After the break West Ham pulled a goal back through Manuel Lanzini but, straight from kick-off, Liverpool scored again, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain with his first goal for the club.

Salah made sure of the points when he was set up again by Mane as Liverpool returned to sixth.

West Ham are a point and a place above the relegation zone.”

https://www.premierleague.com/match/22451

De Futebol- The Bums stink the joint out in a 2-0 loss to Sao Paulo

Flamengo was taken apart by Sao Paulo 2-0. Boo-Mengao stays parked in sixth place with 46 points. This is Rubro Negro’s second loss in their last five matches. Flamengo has two wins, two losses and one draw.

Globo Esportes:” Jogar mal se tornou um costume do Flamengo de Reinaldo Rueda. Ainda mais fora de casa. Nos poucos minutos em que joga bem, falta eficiência. Neste domingo, no Pacaembu, o treinador inventou na escalação com Geuvânio como centroavante e o Rubro-negro foi derrotado pelo São Paulo por 2 a 0, pela 30ª rodada do Brasileiro. Pratto, com o braço, e Hernanes, de cabeça, marcaram os gols do Tricolor, que se afasta da zona da degola. Já o Fla, que poupou Guerrero, vê os primeiros colocados mais distantes.

— Independente dos jogadores que entram em campo, o importante é a nossa atitude. Obviamente, faltou alguma coisa no primeiro tempo. No segundo, melhoramos mas não foi o suficiente — disse o meia Diego.

O primeiro tempo do Flamengo foi muito ruim e, apesar do gol irregular de Pratto, o São Paulo mereceu sair com o placar de 2 a 0 para o intervalo. A única chance do Rubro-negro foi com Everton aos 23 minutos. Livre na área, ele chutou em cima do goleiro Sidão, que defendeu. O São Paulo marcou com Pratto aos 13 e com Hernanes aos 39. Não fosse uma grande defesa de Diego Alves após chute de Pratto, o prejuízo rubro-negro teria sido ainda maior.

No segundo tempo, Rueda corrigiu o erro da escalação. Colocou Lucas Paquetá no lugar de Geuvânio e o óbvio aconteceu, o time melhorou. Piorar era difícil. Aos 3 minutos, Berrío acertou uma bola na trave. No lance, o colombiano machucou gravemente o joelho e precisou ser substituído por Diego. O Flamengo melhorou ainda mais com o craque. Apesar do domínio, não criou tantas chances. Nas melhores, com Cuéllar e Rodolpho, nos últimos minutos, Sidão fez grandes defesas. Ou seja, o resultado ficou inalterado.

Agora, o Flamengo se concentra na Sul-Americana. Quarta, enfrenta o Fluminense, pelas quartas de final.

https://oglobo.globo.com/esportes/flamengo-joga-mal-perde-para-sao-paulo-no-pacaembu-21978805#ixzz4wKiH2FpE

De Futebol Boring draw against the Red Brigade. Arsenal advances to the round of Sixteen in the Europa League

Arsenal and the Red Brigade tied nil-nil. The guys are on to the round of sixteen in the Europa League.

The Guardians David Hytner wrote:” Arsène Wenger had described it as his “biggest pleasant experience”. Never before, the Arsenal manager said, had he seen a squad that was so focused on every competition. In other words, his second-string team were on a mission to succeed in the Europa League.

hey rather ran aground here in terms of the overall performance, which was a slog and made for tough viewing. They did manage to chisel out a limited crop of chances – for Olivier Giroud and Jack Wilshere – but they came to nought and the home support chuntered.

Red Star Belgrade had their moments, most notably when Vujadin Savic saw a first-half header clawed on to the crossbar by Matt Macey and they carried a sporadic threat on the counterattack. In truth, this one had stalemate written all over it and yet, with Bate Borisov losing at Köln, the point was enough to ensure Arsenal’s advance to the knockout rounds.

Wenger had described it as a “big game”, which felt as though it was stretching things a little, but Arsenal were driven by the desire to get the job done; to close out qualification to the last 32 of the tournament.

Their campaign had opened here against Köln, on that crazy night when 20,000 Germans stormed north London. The travelling Red Star fans made it feel like another away game for Arsenal, as they belted out their anthems from the first whistle. Wenger’s team found themselves whistled in possession while their first-half corner takers in front of the away enclosure had to run a gauntlet. A part of Arsenal’s mission was to silence the Red Star diehards – which was always going to be a tough ask – and they looked to play off Giroud, whose battle against the visiting centre-halves, Savic and Damien Le Tallec, was bruising, to put it mildly.

Giroud had two chances during a scrappy first half, the first one being the clearest. Joe Willock and Wilshere combined to play in Ainsley Maitland-Niles on the left and when he beat Filip Stojkovic, Arsenal pulses quickened. His low cut-back allowed Giroud to swipe left-footed and first time for goal but Milan Borjan saved at his near post. Giroud’s opportunity followed an excellent piece of hustling by Willock. He won the ball off Red Star’s screening midfielder, Mitchell Donald, and surged away from him but, from his pass, Giroud found that the angle was against him. Borjan had left his line smartly and he was able to block.

Arsenal pressed on to the front foot but they struggled to get too much going before the interval and the moments of sloppiness on the ball were all too frequent. The movement ahead of it was not slick enough. Where were the options for the man in possession? When Francis Coquelin led a break, he only had Giroud to look for and the Red Star defenders knew it. Coquelin tends to look more comfortable without the ball. His pass was easily cut out.

Red Star punched on the counterattack and only the crossbar stopped them from taking an advantage into half-time. Nemanja Radonjic’s shot deflected up for Savic and his looping header looked to be destined for the net. Macey, who replaced Petr Cech, threw out a hand and pawed the ball up on to the woodwork.

Moments earlier, Slavoljub Srnic had extended Macey with a powerful shot while, on the stroke of half-time, Richmond Boakye ran clean through only to curl wastefully wide of the near post. Macey had got his angles right but it still added up to a bad miss.

The Red Star fans continued to bang their drums and sing their songs in the second half but the frustration of the home crowd simmered as their team laboured for cohesion. Wilshere seemed to sum up the desperation when he went down too easily inside the area, looking for a penalty. Savic had rather lunged in but the contact was minimal. The referee, Luca Banti, waved away the appeal.

Mohamed Elneny, who reprised his role as a ball-playing defender in the middle of the back three, endeavoured to spark Arsenal; he generally made the right decisions when he had the ball. But ahead of him, those in red got little change out of Red Star’s well-organised lines.

Arsenal might have feared it was not to be their night when Le Tallec made an extraordinary goal line clearance to deny Wilshere, who was generally peripheral but not as much as Theo Walcott. Wilshere appeared to have seen a move break down on the left-hand side of the area only to jab out a foot and keep it alive.

Maitland-Niles then won the ball and Wilshere took over, sensing the big moment. His cute chipped finish took out Borjan and was heading in until Le Tallec performed an acrobatic side-on volley to hook the ball away.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/nov/02/arsenal-red-star-belgrade-europa-league-match-report

De Futebol Tottenham kicks Real Madrid’s ass 3-1

My Jewish heart is happy. Tottenham kicked anti-Semitic Real Madrid’s ass 3-1 in Champions League  Group H. Spurs are top dog with 10 points. Real Madrid is second with seven points.

The Guardians Daniel Taylor wrote:” ;” To put this result in perspective, it had been five years since Real Madrid were beaten in a Champions League group game. They have won this competition three times out of the last four seasons and, though it didn’t particularly feel that way here, don’t discount the possibility of that famous old pot returning to Madrid again next May. Not yet, anyway.

However, this was the night when the most successful club side in Europe discovered why Mauricio Pochettino and his players have attracted so much acclaim over the last few years. It was the night Spurs fully came of age in the Champions League, Dele Alli could be seen nutmegging Sergio Ramos and, by the end, Cristiano Ronaldo was dragging his fingers down his cheeks in frustration. For Spurs, it went better than they could possibly have dared to hope and, without exaggeration, it was the sort of occasion that should embolden them to think they can actually win this competition. Yes, let’s not get too carried away, but what other conclusion is there when they have just taken apart the 12-time winners?

It certainly ranks as the most triumphant occasion yet of the Pochettino era and the damage, for Madrid, could conceivably have been even worse if Alli had not headed wide from a glorious opportunity to score his hat-trick. No matter. Alli had already struck in each half before Christian Eriksen’s breakaway goal put Spurs in dreamland, leading 3-0 against the reigning champions. Ronaldo’s goal, 10 minutes from the end, ensured a nervous finale but it would have needed an extraordinary feat of escapology to save Zinedine Zidane’s team at that stage. It never came and Spurs should not fear anyone now.

Tottenham had already supplied the hard evidence in the Bernabeu two weeks ago that they were comfortable testing themselves against elite opposition. Now they had the backing of a packed Wembley for what was, perhaps surprisingly, Madrid’s first-ever visit to this stadium, old or new. The noise was as good as any time since the team from White Hart Lane took up temporary residence. In fact, it was difficult to think of another occasion, certainly not an England international, when the volume has been turned up so high.

Madrid often had more of the ball and Ronaldo, being Ronaldo, was a difficult and elusive opponent, shimmering with menace every time he set off towards goal. Yet Spurs gave everything to show they belonged at this level. They were quick to the ball, strong in the tackle and when Pochettino’s men did have the chance to go forward they moved the ball so purposefully it did not come as surprise when they found a way past the Madrid defence.

Spurs had, after all, put together a near-identical move earlier in the first half only for Alli to hang back when Kieran Trippier, fully justifying his selection ahead of Serge Aurier, drilled a first-time centre across the six-yard area. Trippier’s determination to occupy attacking positions, rather than concentrating solely on Ronaldo’s whereabouts, was a prominent feature of the night and the next time he aimed a low ball into the box Alli showed much better anticipation to make sure he reached the ball ahead of his marker, Nacho, and apply the decisive touch just in front of Kiko Casilla, Madrid’s goalkeeper.

The downside for Spurs during the opening half was the hamstring injury that forced off Toby Alderweireld a couple of minutes before the goal. Moussa Sissoko was brought on to play in midfield, with Eric Dier dropping back into defence, but the team’s shape remained exactly the same. It was another fine performance from Harry Winks, just as it had been in the Bernabeu, and Harry Kane did not seem to have any lingering issues with his fitness even if he might have expected to take the chance that fell his way just before the interval.

Kane’s muscular presence and willingness to take the ball and drive forward made him a threat all evening. Casemiro is regarded as one of the best holding midfielders in the business but, more than once, Kane just eased past the Brazilian.

The game was still fraught with danger, as it tends to be when Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Isco are playing on the other side and Marcelo is joining in attacks as an auxiliary left-winger. Hugo Lloris was one of the outstanding performers in that 1-1 draw a fortnight ago and, once again, he rose to the occasion during the spells of Madrid pressure.

Equally, Spurs had the little moments of luck that are sometimes needed on the big nights. Ten minutes into the second half, Lloris got his glove to one of Marcelo’s crosses but could not clear properly and it was Dier to whom the ball fell a couple of yards out, rather than one of the Madrid players in close proximity. Spurs sprung forward and Madrid were vulnerable from the moment Eriksen’s dummy left Alli bearing down on goal. Alli took the ball on, used Eriksen’s run as a decoy, and left Casemiro on the floor before his shot took a handy deflection off Ramos to fly in from 20 yards.

The third goal was the outstanding one, starting in the Spurs half before Alli and Kane had combined to set Eriksen running through the middle, with the time to pick his spot Ronaldo’s goal was a much scruffier occasion, turning the ball in after a goalmouth scramble, but Spurs held on and they will remember this victory for many years.”

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/nov/01/tottenham-real-madrid-champions-league-match-report

De Futebol Man U is perfect in Champions League Group A

Man U defeated Benfica 2-0 at Old Trafford to stay perfect in Champions League Group A.

The Guardians Jamie Jackson wrote:” Manchester United are a point away from the Champions League knockout phase with this fourth win from four Group A matches. This is a fine position but José Mourinho will not have aided the struggling Romelu Lukaku’s confidence after insisting Daley Blind take United’s second penalty of the night.

On 78 minutes Marcus Rashford’s fine burst claimed the spot-kick but when Lukaku stood over it at first he did not give way. This caused Mourinho annoyance before, after a brief intervention from Ander Herrera, Blind did step up to smack the ball home.

Now, Mourinho made a gesture to again signal his disquiet, as he did via the shush to camera at the close of Saturday’s win over Tottenham Hotspur.

Mourinho made six changes from that game. Scott McTominay was given a full debut in the competition and only his second ever start in United colours.

Also in were Anthony Martial, Matteo Darmian, Blind, Jesse Lingard, and Juan Mata.

The eighteen-year-old Mile Svilar was again Benfica’s goalkeeper despite his mistake allowing Rashford’s winner in the reverse game in Lisbon a fortnight ago. Rui Vitoria’s pointless side were the same as then apart from the suspended Luisão being replaced by Jardel.

Benfica threatened first, via a corner won by Douglas off Blind, although David De Gea gathered it with ease. Mourinho’s 4-2-3-1 had Lingard as the No10, splitting Mata and Martial right and left. The latter, the scorer of Saturday’s winner, claimed an early free-kick after being chopped down by Rúben Dias.

Benfica were proving the sharper. One move was simple to execute as Diogo Gonçalves flipped the ball left to Álex Grimaldo and the left-back’s cross required a block.

Then came some magic from Martial. The Frenchman’s lightning feet bedazzled Douglas, turning him inside then out, before the right-back went to ground with him.

The referee pointed to the spot despite the away side’s protestations to the official. Now, though, there was a moment of redemption for Svilar as he dived to his right to save Martial’s poor attempt of a penalty.

Within moments of the miss De Gea displayed how superb a No1 he is. Gonçalves cut in from the right and unloaded a shot that had the Spaniard flinging himself high to his left to stop the goal.

United appeared to have a fair shout for a second penalty when Ljubomir Fejas looked to have taken down Mata after McTominay played a one-two but this time the referee was unmoved. Mourinho’s men were hardly in second gear and took until the half hour point to create an opening for Romelu Lukaku.

Lingard sprayed the ball right and the Belgian strode forward and forced a save from Svilar. Within seconds Lukaku was again put in but after rising to a header, he could not direct it.

Mourinho’s plea for fans to make Old Trafford more of bear pit was not reaping dividends. The home support was muted again and Benfica’s travelling contingent sang loudly throughout the opening half. Martial was the pick for United and did his best to spark some serious noise from the United faithful. Another of those mazy dribbles took him clean through but, disappointingly, he overran the ball.

By the interval this had been the United of recent outings: patchy, disjointed, searching in vain for a high gear. Still, as is the way with Mourinho’s sides, they had a lead: Nemanja Matic’s 30-yard shot pinged off Svilar’s left post, hit the unfortunate goalkeeper’s shoulder and went in. It might have been two but the misfiring Lukaku failed to finish when clear in on Svilar, and only a corner that amounted to nothing was yielded.

For the second half Lingard, who had taken a knock, was replaced by Henrikh Mkhitaryan, whose first contribution was to hit a regulation pass straight out of play.

United continued to perform below par and Lukaku looked in need of a goal. He was lucky to be awarded a foul when a first touch had the ball bouncing hard off him before being scythed down.

McTominay was turning in an assured display, one of the few United players operating at or near potential. Martial, another one, was always available yet his touch seemed to be deteriorating. First a left foot shot went awry, then he over-elaborated and, again, ran the ball out. Raúl Jiménez was the opposite when burning past Chris Smalling and forcing De Gea to save to his right before on 64 minutes he hit the right post.

Mourinho took off Mata to stiffen midfield with Herrera, and Rashford’s 15-minute cameo on his 20th birthday featured his winning of the penalty. Again, though, the conversation will be all about Mourinho and why he denied Lukaku the chance to break what is now a six-game drought.

https://www.theguardian.com/football/2017/oct/31/manchester-united-benfica-champions-league-match-report