IT WAS one of those nights that explained why the UEFA Champions League can be so marvellously captivating. Valencia hosted Chelsea amid the soaring shabby chic splendour of the Mestalla stadium, 43,000 spectators perched on the precipice, bathed in the glow of floodlights sitting behind them, illuminating the orange, red and green cauldron below. No wonder they call it one of the most scary stadiums … Continue reading Valencia v Chelsea: Mild magnificence in the Mestalla
PERHAPS Chelsea’s season will be tougher than their 5-2 win at Wolverhampton Wanderers might have suggested. In a fortnight’s time, should Frank Lampard’s young team lose in the Eurostar city of Lille, they may get a chance to defend their Europa League crown. It’s surely premature to write Chelsea’s Champions League obit, but against Valencia they lacked guile and midfield creativity and man-of-the-moment Tammy Abraham … Continue reading Chelsea’s lack-lustre CL return – now the task looks harder
CAN ANYONE end Barcelona’s recent dominance of La Liga? After a summer of big signings and the announcement of record revenues, Barca look stronger than last year and with Real Madrid enduring a miserable pre-season and Atlético Madrid in transition, it could be a third consecutive title – and nine in 12 – for the Blaugrana. Of course, Barca will be hoping for a barnstorming … Continue reading La Liga: Barcelona may be even stronger
IF ever a sport reflected a certain disconnect with its audience, it is surely football. Wages continue to climb, the big clubs remain cash cows and the competitive imbalances that have plagued the game for the past decade show little sign of levelling out. In contrast, most of professional football’s client base enjoy very modest lives. When the global financial crisis broke in 2008, some … Continue reading The catalyst for modern football? The financial crisis of 2008
About 10 minutes before he scored Arsenal’s first goal, Yaya Sanogo didn’t look to have much to offer. A little clumsy, lacking pace and his first touch looked suspect. By the end of the Emirates Cup day one, he had bagged four goals as Arsenal beat Benfica 5-1. The Emirates Cup does not really provide much of a pointer to the way the season will … Continue reading Emirates Cup: Sanogo’s your man, Arsene….or is he?