Its advantage Manchester United at the half way stage in what looks like being the only competitive Quarter Final in the 2011 Champions League as the other 3 ties look as good as over after the nfirst games.
In an entertaining and closely contested match at Stamford Bridge Manchester United scored the games only goal following a move fit to grace any game of this standard. The impressive Michael Carrick who passed the ball well all night started the move with a sweeping cross which veretan Ryan Giggs collected with a sublime 1st touch before pulling the ball back for Wayne Rooney who calmly side footed the ball into the net with the help of the goal post. United were good value for their lead going into the half, although Torres was a tad unlucky not to level things when hist deftly placed shot came back off the post.
The second half saw a bit more fight from Chelsea, and they will count themselves unlucky to to have had at least one penalty with the one in the final minute where Patrice Evra’s foul Ramires was so blatant that the ref was probably the only person in the stadium who missed it.
A 1-0 lead is nice, however this game is far from over and if Chelsea play like they did in the second half then it would be no surprise to see them overturn this deficit.
Manchester United dominated play in their Champions League 1st leg match in France, however they may yet rue the fact they couldn’t turn their possession into goals. Now United will have to be wary of conceding an away goal at Old Trafford in the decisive return leg on 15 March.
Clear cut chances were few and far between but both sides could and probably should have had a goal with Darren Fletcher being quite unlucky with his crisp 18 yard drive which Mandanda gathered at the second attempt, while at the other end Brandao was unlucky not to get on the end of a cross come shot by Ayew.
Still 0-0 will brobably suit both sides and the return leg looks likely to be just as tight.
Match Attendance: 58,000
A tremendous performance by Gareth Bale inspired Spurs to a monumental 3-1 win over defending champions Inter Milan last night and moved them to within touching distance of a place in the last 16. Now a win at home to Werder Bremen on 24th November will secure them a place as they are ahead of FC Twente on group results. Gareth Bale was outstanding again and a repeat of last nights display will be sufficient to secure the dream.
In the other games involving British clubs Manchester United had an easy win in Turkey against Bursapour while Rangers were well beaten in Valencia. Now Rangers will need a miracle to qualify although a place in the Europa league looks probable thanks to United’s win.
Manchester United travel to Turkey tonight to face Bursaspor knowing a win will practically guarantee them a place in the last 16, however despite the Turks poor showing this is not a given and expect Alex Ferguson to put out a strong side. Man Utd should scrape this one.
Rangers will probably play for a draw in Valencia and this is a tactic which has backfired on Scottish clubs a lot this year. A win for Man Utd tonight coupled with a draw for Rangers would just about guarantee Rangers a Europa League place at least but they will do well to get a draw here.
Tottenham were totally outclassed for 45 minutes against Inter but showed a lot of spirit to come away with a credible 4-3 defeat. Now with the backing of their home fans they can take a massive step towards the last 16 with a win against the reigning champions. Spurs are playing quite well and they can win this one.
So overall despite the ties looking hard we expect a win for Spurs & United and a disapointing narrow loss for Rangers.
A repeat of last years final is still on the cards as Manchester United and Aston Villa avoided each other in the quarter final draw. Manchester United have a winnable tie away to West Ham, while Aston Villa have a local derby at neighbours Birmingham which should guarantee a huge crowd.
Arsenal will be happy enough with Wigan at home and if Wenger decides to put out a few 1st teamers they should be in the Semis.
The most intriguing tie is Ipswich v West Brom and given both will be going all out to win this one it will give an indication of how great the gap is becoming between the Championship and the money bags Premier League.
The draw is below with our predicted last 4 marked *
*Arsenal v Wigan
Birmingham v Aston Villa*
West Ham v Manchester United*
Ipswich v West Brom*
League Cup Holders Manchester United took another step towards retaining the trophy with a hard fought win over fellow Premier Leage side Wolves last night. United fielded a largely second string team and the Manchester contingent in the 46,083 must have had a few nervous moments as a plucky Wolves side twice pegged them back and looked like snatching the game before late substitute Javier Hernandez popped up with a 90th minute winner to send the majority of the crowd home happy.
In the other games Giant Killers Brentford & Northampton finally succumbed losing at Birmingham and Ipswitch respectively. However Brentford did give their premiler league opponents a bit of a fright leading right up until the 92nd minute before conceeding an equlaizer and hen eventually losing 4-3 on penalties.
Leicester and Swansea both lost leaving Ipswich as the only non premier league side currently through to the weekend draw. The only other team who can break the premier league stranglehold, Burnley play away at Aston Villa tonight in a battle of the Claret & Blues.
In what was a great night for the British teams involved in the Champions League Tottenham, Manchester United and Glasgow Rangers all recorded good wins.
Tottenham in particular stood out winning 4-1 over fellow Champions League debutantes FC Twente despite going down to 10 men in the second half when Van der Vaart was sent off for a second Yellow card. It was an eventful night for Van der Vaart who missed a penalty and then opened the scoring before getting his marching orders. Overall the refereeing decisions were kind to Spurs and they had another two penalty decisions go their way, the second of which practically killed off any hopes FC Twente had of staging a comeback.FC Twente actually created 22 attempts at goal and will feel the scoreline flatters Tottenham, however when things go your way you have to take advantage, and Spurs certainly did. This result coupled with Werder Bremen’s drubbing against Inter Milan has put Spurs in a strong position even at this early stage of the group.
Manchester United weathered the storm in Valencia and came away with a famous victory thanks to an 85th minute goal from substitute Javier Hernandez. This is only the second time they have won away in Spain and with winnable games against Bursaspor coming up they should go into the Rangers game in late November with qualification all but sewn up.
Rangers finally managed a Champions League group game win last night against Turkish champions and group stage new boys Bursaspor thanks to an early Steven Naismith goal. It was a close encounter and with Rangers playing the same 5-4-1 formation which grabbed a 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in their previous game goals were always going to be at a premium. Still it finally looks like they have found a way to compete at this level and with their comparatively limited resources picking up 4 points in their opening two games is very credible indeed. They face Valencia in their next two group games and if they can scrape draws in those they could yet qualify from this group.
All five British representatives are unbeaten at this stage of the competition with Chelsea & Arsenal both winning last night.
This much vaunted battle between the Scottish Champions Rangers and Premier League runners up Manchester United failed to live up to its billing ending in a rather forgettable 0-0 draw.
Rangers rarely looked threatening, however they did defend resolutely, restricting Man Utd to a few long range shots and half chances. This was arguably Rangers toughest game and although it will take a lot of luck for them to advance from this group, they have at least managed a point more than they did in last seasons campaign. If they can recapture the form and good fortune they had in 2008 they could yet have a say in this group.
Manchester United are not firing on all cylinders this year and although this was a somewhat understrength squad they would have expected better. The injury to Antonio Valencia will come as a blow, and this draw could end up costing them the group. Their next game is in Spain against Valencia, while Rangers will hope to build on this result against Group Stages New Boys Bursaspor.
Although there are no easy games at this level of the Champions League some of the seeded teams will be decidedly happier than others with the way the draw panned out. Of the five remaining British representatives Manchester United and Chelsea will be quietly confident of progressing as group winners, while Arsenal barring a major form collapse should at least qualify. Sadly the same cant be said for both Spurs and Glasgow Rangers, both of whom would have been hoping for a kinder draw.
Who says lightening cant strike twice? After scraping past Fiorentina on away goals after a 4-4 aggregate result in the previous round Bayern Munich repeated the feat again last night coming back from 3-0 down at Old Trafford to advance to the Champions League semi final in identical fashion. Even more ironic was that once again Arron Robben popped up with what would prove to be the decisive goal, just as he did in the previous round.
In the first half Manchester United looked by far the better team as they swept into a 3-0 lead thanks to an early goal by up and coming Northern Irish midfielder Darron Gibson and two goals from defender Patrice Evra. The only blemish on what was a quite stunning early performance was the booking of Rafael Da Silva and up until the 43rd minute only an eternal optimist would have given Bayern any chance of progressing.
However in the space of 15 minutes things changed dramatically. First Ivica Olic took advantage of some sloppy defending by Michael Carrick and somehow managed to slot the ball home from an acute angle just before halftime to give Bayern some faint hope, and then in a some what controversial moment just after half time Rafael Da Silva hauled back Ribery and the referee, surrounded by protesting Bayern players decided to send him off for a second bookable offence.
Down to 10 men was bad enough but when Wayne Rooney left the pitch 5 minutes latter things looked bleak. From there is was largely wave after wave of Bayren attacks and it was no surprise when Arron Robben scored the decisive goal with a beautifully struck volley.
After the match Alex Ferguson was highly critical of the Bayern players actions, which he thinks contributed to the sending off which did change the course of the game. However given the similar conduct of his own players in many past matches he really has no real grounds to complain as haranguing the referee is now unfortunately part of the game. Bayern will now be aiming to emulate Manchester United’s 1999 achievement and win their version of the Treble; they are currently top of the Bundesliga and through to the German Cup Final.