6th November – NEWZ as it happens

Sascha Riether has been given a three match ban for a stamp on Adnan Januzaj

Riether Stamp

Microsoft are in the running for the naming rights to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium

Good Morning, and welcome to another day of football NEWZ.

BREAKING NEWZ – Robert Lewandowski has revealed that he has decided what club he is to join next summer. “I will reveal my future next year. No one needs to contact me anymore”. So speculation will be rife, for the next month or so, who do you think he has signed for? Leave us your thoughts in the comments at the bottom.

Robert Lewandowski

We will start with the fallout from last night’s Champions League games, and we will begin in the San Sebastian Anoeta. Manchester United and Real Sociedad fought out a 0-0 draw in the Basque country. Marouane Felliani saw red, whilst Robin Van Persie missed a penalty, following a foul on Ashley Young, (I’ll touch on that lightly, much the same as the amount of contact for Young to go down).

The other game in that group, between Shakhtar and Leverkusen also finished 0-0, so nothing has really changed in Group A.

Juventus drew their third game of the group, meaning that they are yet to win in this years Champions League. Goals from Ronaldo and Bale, prevented a win for the Old Lady, as the game finished 2-2. Arturo Vidal has put Juventus ahead, before it was left to Fernando Llorente to equalise. PSG could only manage a draw against Anderlecht, while Bayern Munich did just enough to see of Viktoria Plzen. Manchester City’s 5-2 win over CSKA has put them within touching distant of the knock-out phase for the first time.

Ray Wilkins has blasted Ashley Young’s dive and says he really needs to cut it out of his game.

It is certainly not the first time Ashley Young has been accused of diving

It is certainly not the first time Ashley Young has been accused of diving

Arsene Wenger has called for a ‘positive approach’ when Arsenal face Borussia Dortmund this evening

 

Bring back the Cup Winners Cup

European club football could do with a major overhaul.

Over inflated and uninteresting to watch, the Europa League needs a change. The Champions League as good as it is, can at times been relatively predictable and is full of “non-champions” battling it out to be Europe’s best. It has also help the bigger clubs get better, and the smaller nations and smaller clubs become far detached for the super heavyweights of the European game.

The Cup Winners Cup trophy

The Cup Winners Cup trophy

What UEFA need to do, is have a complete re-shuffle when it comes to continental club football. The need to make the Europa League ‘relevant’ again should be top of UEFA’s agenda. Using the final season of the Cup Winners Cup as an example, the weeks football was set out in the following way. the UEFA Cup was a Tuesday night, Champions League on a Wednesday and Cup Winners Cup on a Thursday. So not majorly different to the set up of current.

The Champions League consisted of 24 teams back then, (teams finishing in second in England, Spain, Italy and Germany were allowed entry to the qualification stages), as they had just expanded from the previous season. Each group winner qualified whilst, the two best runners up also went through to the quarter finals. It did not warrant two game days a week.

European Cup trophy

European Cup trophy

 

So just imagine if it were to revert to a format of old, reducing the amount of qualifiers from each nation to just one, and then all teams finishing in second play would enter the UEFA Cup. The Cup winners of each country would enter the re-formed Cup Winners Cup.

 

Now, the UEFA Cup and CWC would both be straight knockout, as they were before. The Champions League would still consist of a group stage and would then enter knockout rounds. Had this format been in play this year, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Marseille, Napoli and Benfica, (Borussia Dortmund, would be granted entry, due to Bayern winning both the Bundesliga and as holders of the Champions League, get automatic qualification), all of whom, finished second in their respective leagues would have been playing in the UEFA Cup on a Tuesday night. Already, the UEFA Cup looks a better proposition than it currently is. The reformation of the CWC would give much more meaning to tournaments like the FA Cup and the Copa Del Rey. As has been seen in England, finishing in 4th place is now a bigger achievement that winning the FA Cup.

UEFA Cup trophy

UEFA Cup trophy

Talk of a 64 team Champions League, where up to seven teams could qualify from the Premier League is utter ludicrous. How then could they possibly call it a “Champions League”?

The change could also have a positive effect on the UEFA Super Cup. When the CWC was around, the winners of that would face the Champions League winners. Well, why not have the CWC play the UEFA Cup winners in a playoff to see who would progress to the Super Cup Final to face the winners of the Champions League?

UEFA Super Cup trophy

UEFA Super Cup trophy

Whilst the likeliness of the Cup Winners Cup returning is extremely bleak, it would re-invigorate European football and would bring back meaning to qualifying for the Champions League by actually being “Champions”.

The Champions League nears final stages tonight…. The AFC Champions League that is.

Whilst the majority of the World will most likely be engrossed in UEFA Champions League action, it would be amiss of us not to mention that today is actually the second leg of the AFC Champions League semi finals.

With all four clubs of different nationality, it is in stark contrast to the UCL semi’s off last season. Guangzhou Evergrande of China and  FC Seoul of South Korea enter their ties with leads of 4-1 and 2-0 respectively. Kasiwha Reysol of Japan have a daunting task of overhauling a three goal deficit, whilst Esteghlal will need to score at least twice to get back into the game.

Three out of the previous four winners have been South Korean and FC Seoul will be hoping to make it four in five. The last Japanese side to win the tournament was a Yasuhito Endo inspired Gamba Osaka in 2008, and Reysol will be hoping to emulate that side, being 4-1 down though, it looks increasingly unlikely.

Marcello Lippi’s Guangzhou Evergrande are bidding to be the first Chinese winners since Liaoning in 1989/90, when it was in its old format, the Asian Club Championship. Tehran were the last of the Iranian sides to win the continental competition, again in the old format. Esteghlal last won the competition in 1990/91.

The 2nd leg’s should be enthralling matches and we shall report on who makes it to the finals.

The AFC Champions League also takes place today

The AFC Champions League also takes place today

 

1st October 2013

1:00pm – Napoli chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis, has today claimed that Manchester City made a bid of £29 million for Edinson Cavani. He eventually moved to PSG

9:45am – Roberto Mancini confirmed as new Galatasaray boss

9:15am – Jose Mourinho walked out on the pre-match press conference for the Champions League tie against Steau Bucharest, following a question about a his Belgian midfielder Kevin De Bruyne. The Sun had reported that De Bruyne had been dropped to the under 21 squad, as Mourinho was unhappy with his performances for the team. De Bruyne had a successful spell at Werder Bremen last season scoring 10 League goals. He has however struggled to this season to adapt to the rigors of the Premier League.