February 16, 2008
The English Premier League’s unveiling of a new proposal to play a 39th game overseas was met with considerable hostility this past week. This was because it would unleash a number of unnecessary precedents within the Soccer world. For starters, many fear that English teams playing a competitive match on foreign soil would do little for the development or promotion of the game in these foreign countries. And, it was felt that adding an extra game to the schedule would create a disparity within the English game as some teams would end up playing a more difficult opponent for their 39th game, whereas others would face a much easier opponent. Evaluating league champions or relegation teams under these scenarios could therefore be significantly hampered, especially during close affairs. But, is there something behind the proposal that may be interesting for the game.
Maybe the English proposal is signaling that it just may be time to unveil a ‘new’ super league in European soccer, where the top teams from each league actually play each other in a home-and-away league competition so that fans across the globe can see just how the best within England would fear against the best of Italy, and Spain, and all the other top leagues in Europe. Yes we already have the Champions League where teams play a home-and-away schedule within the group stages, then a home-and-away knock-out stage. However, how would these teams fare if they had to play an entire season against the very top European teams, similar to their domestic league competitions.The best soccer team in Europe
As we close the year 2007, and with
most of the European football leagues (soccer to those North
Americans fans) at the mid-point of their schedules, and the rest in
Winter hibernation it is now time to take stock and evaluate each
team's performance through the first five
months of the season, and ask that all-important question. Which
team is the best team in Europe at the present time?
Milan hold firm as Arsenal fail to
find a way through
LONDON, Feb 20 (Reuters) - Arsenal and European champions AC Milan battled out an end-to-end 0-0 draw at the Emirates Stadium on Wednesday in the first leg of their Champions League first knockout round tie.
Arsenal attacked almost throughout the match but despite some bright approach work and a series of clear-cut chances, Milan's defence held firm with Arsene Wenger's young side now facing an uphill task to qualify for the quarter-finals.
Emmanuel Eboue, Cesc Fabregas, Mathieu Flamini and Emmanuel Adebayor all went close, with Adebayor heading against the bar in the final seconds of stoppage time.
Goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac, a doubt before the game with a dislocated finger, was beaten on that occasion but stopped everything that came his way.
Arsenal restricted Milan to a glancing Paolo Maldini header after four minutes and a few second-half chances, but Milan will be far the happier team going into the return at the San Siro in two weeks' time.
Real went ahead with their first attack in the eighth minute when Raul diverted a Guti strike into the net after Arjen Robben had broke down the left and cut the ball back.
Chilean midfielder Pizarro drilled Roma level in the 24th after Real's attempt to clear a Mancini cross landed at his feet.
Mancini slipped in the winner in the 58th minute when captain Francesco Totti found himself in space thanks to Gabriel Heinze's failed attempt to cut out a pass and was able to put the Brazilian winger through on goal.Kuranyi strike hands Schalke first-leg advantage
United were 3-0 up after 38 minutes through Wayne Rooney, Darren Fletcher and Nani as Arsenal's injury-hit side looked badly off the pace and short of motivation.
United, also without some leading players, were just as dominant after the break and Arsenal suffered a further setback five minutes after the restart when Emmanuel Eboue was sent off for a wild challenge on Patrice Evra.
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