Thursday, April 09, 2009

UEFA CUP .....

After the excitement of last night when english referee Howard Webb tried to take star billing off Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp, we turn to the slightly more mundane action of the UEFA Cup. Webb booked the "best player in the world" for diving, when the rest of the planet would have given a penalty and then, did not see Mark Van Bommel trying to remove Messi's head from his shoulders ! I doubt that Webb will be getting a Christmas card from the Argentine genius.

Bayern were simply dire and were lucky to avoid an eight goal defeat, their body language, even at two down, was terrible and although I cannot condone MVB's action, he was the only player on his side to showing any level of commitment . I bet that was a happy plane journey home !

Basic notes about three of today's games....




I am looking to oppose the three teams that have other, bigger and "better" targets. Hamburg are joint leaders of the Bundesliga and are seeking their first domestic championship in 26 years, they face a key match away to resurgent Stuttgart at the weekend and with a number of defensive problems here, will surely have one eye on the game ahead. As I have said before, I believe that City are ideally suited to playing in Europe, they already have a win in Germany this campaign to their name and will give this match their full and undivided attention.

OM and PSG are involved in the closest Ligue 1 battle for many years, equally as important, they are battling with four other teams for the three Champions League spots. PSG have gone off the boil recently, but scrapped a 2-1 win over Nice at the weekend, despite being without three of their back four. That win got them back in the title hunt and given their injury concerns plus the fact that they travel to face a direct CL rival on Sunday, it is very difficult to see them giving this, their full attention.

Marseille are only a point behind Lyon at the top of the table and will be without the cup-tied Brandao and Wiltord, they at least have the option of turning this tie around in the home leg, if they really want to, but I feel this is very much further down on their agenda at present. Shakhtar have already beaten Tottenham and CSKA here and also completely outplayed Barcelona until the final few minutes, it is very tough venue to visit.

Kiev have a long and proud European history, have a 15 point lead in their domestic league and both Ukrainian teams are very motivated to do well, not just for themselves, but to raise the profile of their country, which has come in for a lot of criticism, relating to being co-host for Euro 2012. Desire to do well in the tournament is key and I am happy to take the three teams desperate to progress in the competition.

5.5 points Manchester City +1/2 ball 1.88 asian line.

5 points Dynamo Kiev +1/4 ball 2.09 asian line.

5.5 points Shakhtar Donetsk -1/2 ball 2.00 + ....... still some 2.05 in places.

Good Luck.

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