Arsenal will probably have to play 35 year old Sol Campbell from the start against Barcelona tonight as Alex Song has joined a worrying list of injuries for the London side. Also missing tonight will be captain Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin and William Gallas.
Barcelona themselves are not without concerns though as striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic who hit both their goals in the 1st leg is Injured and their defensive pair Captain Carles Puyol and Gerard Pique are both banned.
Sol Campbell scored the opening goal for Arsenal against Barcelona in the 2006 Champions League Final but they were already down to 10 men and Barcelona won with 2 late goals.
As well as holding a 2-1 lead over Manchester United in the Champions League quarter final Bayern also have another chance of Silverware this season in the German Cup where they will play Werder Bremen in the Final on 15th May in Berlin. They advanced to the final beating Shalke 04 1-0 and will how be hoping for the treble as they are top of the Bundesliga. The way they are playing right now it wouldn’t be a massive surprise to see them advance to the Champions League semi final given that Manchester United will be without Wayne Rooney.
German representatives Hamburg had to come from a goal down to take a slender lead into their Europa League quarter-final second leg with Standard Liège.
The Belgian club opened the scoring on 31 minutes via Dieudonne Mbokani nodded home off a corner kick for a 1-0 visitors’ lead before Mladen Petric equalised for Hamburg from the penalty spot on 42 minutes. Ex Manchester United Striker Ruud van Nistelrooy then grabbed the winner to set up a very interesting second leg in Liege on 22nd April.
In the other quarter Final not involving a British club Valencia were surprisingly held to a 2-2 draw at home to Atletico Madrid and had David Villa to thank for going into the second leg level as he grabbed their second equaliser late in the second half.
Fulham had to showall the heart and battling qualities which took them past Juventus against a well organised Wolfsburg team in the Europa League Quarter Final 1st leg at Craven Cottage.
The reigning German champions Wolfsburg came to contain and this contributed to a largely sterile first half which is probably best forgotten. However in the second half Fulhams potent strike force finally made an impact with first Bobby Zamora and then Damien Duff grabbing goals which looked like giving Fulham a comfortable cushion for the second leg. everything was looking good until the last few moments when Wolfsburg grabbed what might prove to be a crucial away goal, which their superior possession just about warranted.
The game is now nicely poised and it is diffucult to predict who will advance to the semi finals.
Two second half penalties sent Liverpool home with a 2-1 defeat amidst some slightly controversy thanks to the sending off of Babel for a somewhat innocuous push to the face on Luisao who in my opinion should have been dismissed for chopping Torres down from behind second earlier. Babel was justifyably incensed by the challenge and the referee could be accused of over reaction.
Now Liverpool will be hoping for a bit of better luck in the 2nd leg at Anfield and with the away goal they will be favourites to advance to the semi finals.
Liverpool were leading 1-0 at this stage, but Benfica were looking the better team and it was no surprise when they equalised in the second half through a Cardozo penalty. Then 10 minutes from time a second controversial moment finally sunk a defiant Liverpool when the assistant referee gave a second penalty for hand ball which Cardozo again duly dispatched.
In a thrilling game at the Emirates stadium Arsenal battled back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2- with Barcelona in the Champions League quarter final, thanks in no small part to Theo Walcott who grabbed their first soon after comming on as a second half substitute.
In a game for the neutral fan to savour Barcelona dominated the first half with a great display of passing football and only some great goal keeping allowed Arsenal to go in level at half time. However Barcelona scored just after the start of the second half through Ibrahimovic and he added a second just before the hour mark.
Things looked bleak for Arsenal but in the 69th Minute Walcott pulled a goal back whicg gave the team a lift and when Puyol fouled Fabregas 5 minutes from time Arsenal scored the equaliser giving them a chance of progressing to the semi finals. Unfortunately both Fabregas and Puyol will miss the second leg as they are suspended after picking up cards.
In the all French Champions League Quarter Final 1st leg Lyon beat Bordeaux 3-1 to take a big step towards a semi final place. Although the score looks comprehensive Bordeaux had plenty of chances but lacked experience at this level and will struggle to overcome this deficit. This will be Lyon’s 1st Champions League Semi Final should they prevail.
Bayern Munich grabbed an injury time winner last night against Manchester United to set up a thrilling game in the second leg at Old Trafford on 7th April. In a game which saw a repeat of the 1999 Champions League Final in which Manchester United went a goal down before winning with two late goals, things looked like going United’s way again as Wayne Rooney struck in the 2nd minute scoring. This was his 34th goal of the season in all competitions. However they failed to capitalise on their good start and it was not a major surprise when French International Franck Ribery struck the equaliser mid way through the second half. Then in a dramatic twist of fate Ivica Olic took advantage of a defensive lapse by Evra to coolly score the winner two minutes into injury time. This time it was Bayern’s turn to stage a late comeback win and they now go into the second leg knowing a draw will take them through.
A major worry for United will be the ankle injury Wayne Rooney suffered late in the game, which could rule him out of the crucial title clash with Chelsea and possibly the return leg against Bayern, who themselves will be stronger if as expected Arjen Robben returns.
A major worry for United will be the ankle injury Wayne Rooney suffered late in the game,which could rule him out of the crucial title clash with Chelsea and possibly the return leg against Bayren, who themselves will be stronger if as expected Arjen Robben returns.
Just over a year ago Southampton Football Club and its fans were in varying states of despair as they plunged into administration leaving it with an uncertain future. Having started the 2009-10 season in League 1 with a 10 point deduction I would imagine they would have no real expectations for the season bar avoiding relegation and it was a humbling decline for a club who were in Premier league in 2005.
Sunday gave the whole of Southampton something to shout about as they gained their 1st Silverware since winning the FA Cup way back in 1976 with a display fitting of the occasion.
The 4-1 scoreline in no way flattered them and in Adam Lallanathey have a star of the future. Carlisle were no match for Southampton on the day and looked a little overawed by the occasion and suffered their fourth defeat in this final in five visits.
Southampton still have an outside chance of making the playoffs and if they are still in League 1 next season they will be a short priced favourite for the title.
Carlisle will make their 5th appearance in the Johnstone Paint Trophy final today at Wembley where they will face an in form Southampton side who will start as favourites. For those not familiar with the competition it is the Football League Trophy which was introduced to allow League 1 and 2 sides a chance to play at Wembley and has had various sponsors over the years.