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2013/14 UEFA Champions Legue : Round of 16 draws

The match-ups for the 2013/14 UEFA Champions League round of 16.

 

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The group stage draws for the UEFA Champions League 2013/14 commencing on September 16, came out on Thursday at the draw event held in Monaco. Not disappointing  the Football world the draw presented few tough groups.

Group F can easily be tagged as ‘Group of death’ comprising of Borussia Dortmund (last year’s finalist) Arsenal, Marseille and Napoli. Group H is another tough group in the form of  Barcelona, Ajax, AC Milan and Celtics FC comprising the group.

Chelsea FC have been drawn with Schalke, FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest in Group E. Familiar names FC Basel and Steaua Bucharest were both beaten en route to Amsterdam in last season’s Europa League. Manchester United faces a competitive group whereas the last English team Manchester City face tough competition from European champions Bayerm Munich and CSKA Moscow.

Complete Fixture list:

Group A                                                                       Group B
Manchester United                                                      Real Madrid
Shakhtar Donetsk                                                        Juventus
Bayer Leverkusen                                                       Galatasaray
Real Sociedad                                                             FC Copenhagen



Group C                                                                            Group D
Benfica                                                                            Bayern Munich
Paris St-Germain                                                         CSKA Moscow
Olympiacos                                                                  Manchester City
Anderlecht                                                                   Viktoria Plzen

Group E                                                                           Group F
CHELSEA                                                                        Arsenal
Schalke                                                                         Marseille
FC Basel                                                                       Borussia Dortmund
Steaua Bucharest                                                         Napoli



Group G                                                                          Group H
Porto                                                                                Barcelona
Atletico Madrid                                                              AC Milan
Zenit St Petersburg                                                       Ajax
Austria Vienna                                                                Celtic

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Chelsea are the first club ever to simultaneously hold UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League.

SUPER FRANKIE LAMPARD

Lampard becomes Chelsea’s all-time top goalscorer in win at Villa and all important secures Chelsea Champions League spot.

In a bid to reduce dubiousness for referees Football rule makers have agreed to mend the offside rule. Law which was adjudicated by the International Football Association Board  will take effect from July 1,2013.

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The change made to Law 11 is as follows:

The following definitions apply concerning “interfering with an opponent/gaining an advantage”:

— “interfering with play” means playing or touching the ball passed or touched by a teammate

— “interfering with an opponent” means preventing an opponent from playing or being able to play the ball by clearly obstructing the opponent’s line of vision or challenging an opponent for the ball (DELETES movements or making a gesture or movement which, in the opinion of the referee, deceives or distracts an opponent).

— “gaining an advantage by being in that position” means playing a ball

–(ADDS reference to deflected) that rebounds or is deflected to him off the goalpost, crossbar or an opponent having been in an offside position.

–(NEW subsection) that rebounds, deflected or is played to him from a deliberate save by an opponent having been in an offside position.

Source:The International Football Association Board-FIFA

 

Demba Ba arrived for Chelsea!

Demba Ba saluting the fans. Wonderful debut for him today!

John Terry - Captain:Leader:Legend !

Chelsea’s captain John Terry walks off the pitch to give his boots to a fan after Chelsea defeated Arsenal at Emirates.

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Just to Put things in perspective –Not been contravened this time, Chelsea are in the final of the UEFA Champions League 2012. Blues survived John Terry’s red card and many such heart breaking moments to seal a truly remarkable victory over Barcelona.

At the final blow of the whistle at Camp Nou , 95000 football crazy fans in the stadium and billions around the globe witnessed Chelsea eliminating Barcelona and making their way into Final on May 19th after almost 4 years. Last time Chelsea marched to the Champions League final under the guidance of caretaker manager Avram Grant in 2008. Last night, it was a combination of guts, determination and spirit which aided Chelsea overcome the maze comprising the brilliance of Barcelona, referee, ghost goal, penalty shoot and woodwork. This time, there were no complaints, no conspiracy theories.

The Blues were in serious trouble after goals from Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta put Barcelona ahead either side of Terry’s red card for violent conduct and Cahill lost to injury .It was a one way traffic similar to the 1st leg (78%-22%), but Ramires chipped one over valdes to get away side back in the game. There were heroes in white Imageeverywhere, with Frank Lampard and Branislav Ivanovic throwing their bodies in the way of everything. Ashley Cole eclipsed Daniel Alves while Ramires, Raul Merieles and Lampard stifled Barcelona in midfield.

Early in the second half Barcelona were given the chance to take hold of the tie again when Didier Drogba tripped Cesc Fabregas in the box. Spot kick to be taken by the one who has scored 14 goals in the Champions League this season – one more would have given him the record for a single campaign – but he beamed his spot-kick against the bar. A let-off for Blues which they didn’t failed to capitalize upon. Chelsea’s rearguard action in the remainder of the second half was stupefying. They were compact, disciplined. They sat on the edge of their box, restraining themselves from chasing the ball.

Barcelona had their chances, with Cuenca’s effort saved by Cech and Messi striking the post from 22 yards, but the Blues held on to their luck and defense. Somehow they rose to find hope, and with it, power and effectiveness to turn a lost match around. In the dying minutes of the classic encounter Torres provided the perfect finish for his team scoring a one on one proving his 50 million pound worth at a critical stage of the league.

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For the final showdown in Munich on 19th May, Chelsea must work out how to win a Champions League final against either the team of Chelsea’s former boss Jose Mourinho or the side whose home ground hosts the final, without suspended quartet Terry, Ramires, Meireles and Ivanovic. Chelsea would be hoping of Cahill and David Luiz overcoming hamstring injuries to have some sort of recognized centre back pairing.

Bottom-line is, nothing can be taken away from English club who beat Barcelona on their own home ground, with 10 men and without their centre backs on the field. They might have played ugly but they won. The final on 19th may in Munich will surely transpire into a BoomBox , expect nothing less than a perfect showdown sparkle.

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Year 2012 FA cup final in may will see two teams that had quite miserable Premier League campaigns this season. Both teams (Liverpool and Chelsea) will both look to end their seasons on highs with the FA Cup final being a trophy that both clubs can fall back on and depict the season as ‘worthwhile’. Both clubs overcame city rivals. Liverpool edged Everton on a late header from Andy Carroll, while Chelsea ruined Tottenham’s hopes of getting to the final, by a scoreline of 1-5

For Liverpool it will be their 2nd visit to Wembley for a Cup final after their Carling Cup success in February this year. The bright side for them is Andy Carroll who has now scored 2 goals in as many games which have both earned Liverpool wins over Blackburn Rovers and Everton. A final against Chelsea will be a memorable one for Liverpool and gives them a great opportunity to win their 8th ever FA Cup.

For Chelsea it was a ghost goal which helped them to set up a final FA Cup clash with Liverpool.For blues it is likely to be their best opportunity at silverware this season as Barcelona await in the champions league semi-finals and it’s hard to see them progressing any further.The records do read very well for Chelsea, having appeared in 3 of the last 5 FA Cup finals and winning all 3 of them. They’ve recovered extremely well under their new coach and the FA Cup would be fitting send off for di Matteo’s work at the club in his short stay as he looks unlikely to be handed the job full time unless he can bring home the desperately craved Champions League trophy.

Yes its true,Barcelona are playing in their fifth consecutive Champions League semi-final, the longest run in the history of the competition.Barcelona travel to London to face Chelsea this Wednesday evening in the first leg of their Champions League semi-final matchup on the same hallowed ground which played host to what has become a defining moment for both clubs.

Barcelona and Chelsea have each reached the semi-final stage of the Champions League six times in the last nine seasons (since 2003/04), the best tallies over that period.Chelsea have earned a much deserved semi final spot in a hard way whereas it has been a nothing less than a cake walk for catalan giants.

It’s been three years since Barca has last met Chelsea in the Champions League.Chelsea usually keeps it narrow at the back in Stamford Bridge and the attacking startegy mostly involve a big centre forward, in this case Drogba winning aerial balls and releasing wide players.the biggest advantage for Barca is the fact that the second leg is going to be held at Camp Nou, a very wide pitch compared to Stamford Bridge.

Prediction for this nothing less than a classic would be a shot in the dark.Barcelona enter the match with the tide of past accomplishment rushing out before them, blustering the services of arguably the best player in the history of the game, and motivated by recent memories. Chelsea also find themselves motivated by these same memories, albeit in quite a different light with a 1-5 win over Tottenhum Hotspur in FA cup semis.As a true Chelsea fan supported by some previous facts ,I won’t be surprised by blues winning by a 2-0 margin.

FC Barcelona Lineup (Predicted): Valdés, Dani Alves, Puyol, Piqué, Adriano, Busquets, Xavi, Fàbregas, Iniesta, Messi, Alexis Sánchez

Chelsea FC Lineup (Predicted): Peter Cech, Ashley Cole, John Terry, Branislav Ivanovic, Jose Bosingwa, Frank Lampard, Raul Meireles, Ramires, Juan Mata, Salomon Kalou, Dider Drogba