Showing posts with label Champions League. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Champions League. Show all posts

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Arsenal vs Barcelona: 12 match facts - Champions League Crunch Match

Match facts

  1. Arsenal, who finished second in Group F behind Bayern Munich, are the only team alongside Real Madrid to have reached the knockout stages of the Champions League every season since the new format in 2003/04. They have however been knocked out in the last 16 in each of the last five seasons.
  2. Barcelona, who finished top of Group E ahead of Roma, have made it to the knockout stages of the Champions League for the 12th consecutive campaign. They have reached the semi-finals in seven of the last eight campaigns. The only exception was in 2013/14 season, when they were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Atletico Madrid.
  3. Barcelona have won the Champions League in four of the last 10 seasons. No other team has won it more than once in the same period. They could become the first team since AC Milan to win back-to-back European Cup/Champions League titles. The Rossoneri did it in 1989 & 1990.
  4. Barcelona have come out on top in each of their three previous Champions League home & away knockout encounters with Arsenal: 2006 final (2-1), 2009/10 quarter-final (6-3 on agg.) and 2010/11 Last 16 (4-3 on agg.).
  5. Arsenal and Barcelona’s seven previous Champions League encounters have produced 27 goals, an average of 3.86 per game.
  6. Arsenal have lost their Last 16 home tie in each of the previous three seasons, every time by a two goal margin (v Bayern Munich in 2012/13 and 2013/14, v Monaco in 2014/15).
  7. Arsenal have scored in their last 13 Champions League games, their best run since their 21 games in a row from October 2003 to November 2005.
  8. Barcelona have won 15 of their 19 Champions League games since last season (D2 L2). They’ve also never failed to score in those 19 games.
  9. Barcelona are one of two clubs still unbeaten in the Champions League this season, the other being Real Madrid.
  10. Alexis Sanchez has been directly involved in 58.3% of Arsenal’s Champions League goals this season, scoring three times and delivering four assists.
  11. Neymar has scored seven goals in his last five Champions League knockout games.
  12. Lionel Messi has scored six goals in four Champions League games against Arsenal. However, he has yet to score at the Emirates with Barcelona.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Messi and Ronaldo close in on Raul's record

Messi and Ronaldo close in on Raul's record

Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo are closing in on Raul's UEFA Champions League goalscoring record of 71.

Raul's record of 71 UEFA Champions League goals is unlikely to stand for too much longer as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo close in on that tally. Featuring videos of their finest European moments, we look at the careers of two of the game's greats and wonder who'll get there first...

With Barcelona and Real Madrid once again among the favourites for Champions League glory and El Clasico coming up this weekend, the rivalry between Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo shows no signs of abating. There's even a game between Argentina and Portugal in London next month.

That honour is currently held by Raul, the former Real Madrid hero, who scored 71 goals in the competition between 1995 and 2011. But with Ronaldo and Messi now both on 69 after the latter's goal against Ajax on Tuesday the deadly duo are closing in on the record…

Where it began – The first goal

Messi's first Champions League goal
Messi got off the mark in the Champions League in November 2005 with Barcelona’s third goal in a 5-0 win over Panathinaikos. While the Greek side’s defending was less than impressive, the goal had many of the hallmarks of Messi’s game – a mazy dribble, real resilience to win the ball back and then a deliciously delicate touch to lift the ball over the goalkeeper. It was the start of a special campaign for player and club as Barcelona won the Champions League that season.

Ronaldo's first Champions League goal
Despite being two years older than his great rival, Ronaldo had to wait until late in the following season before scoring his first Champions League goal. It was a night to remember for Manchester United as they crushed Roma 7-1 in the second leg of their April 2007 quarter final. Ronaldo’s moment came when Ryan Giggs found him on the right and he drove at the defender before unleashing a now-trademark shot low into the corner of the net.

The best bits – The top five goals

Messi: Five of the very best
When Messi started out at Barcelona his speciality was cutting in from the right, dancing past challenges and stroking the ball into the far corner – a thing of beauty. But he’s been adding to his repertoire ever since. There are those deft chips lobbed over the goalkeeper, using all the dimensions available. There’s that deceptively powerful shot for a man of his size. And there’s always the dribbling. Messi can inject pace into a game at will, suddenly driving at a defence such as the way he did to see off Real Madrid in the Bernabeu in their 2011 semi-final.

Ronaldo: Five of the very best
Once Ronaldo got going, Champions League opponents found stopping him near impossible. In part that is due to his ability to score all kinds of goals – towering headers such as the one that did for Patrice Evra when playing against his old club United, left-footed strikes like the fierce finish against Galatasaray and wonderful team goals that highlight his one-touch link-up play with his colleagues. But it’s his ball-striking that really hits home in the highlights packages - the free-kick that made Arsenal’s Manuel Almunia look foolish and that rocket against Porto from all of 40 yards.

The glory – The Champions League wins

Messi: Champions League wins
For all the goals, the career of a true great is about winning trophies and Messi has plenty of them to his name. The Argentine missed the 2006 triumph over Arsenal through injury but made up for that three years later when he headed the ball past Edwin van der Sar to score in a 2-0 win over Manchester United in Rome. As the star of Pep Guardiola’s wonderful team, Messi was on target in another victory against the same opponents in 2011, firing home what turned out to be the crucial second goal in a 3-1 win at Wembley.

Ronaldo: Champions League wins
While Messi has two final appearances and three medals, Ronaldo has three final appearances and two medals. It’s been a mixed bag for the Portuguese star in club football’s biggest game. He scored the opening goal for Manchester United in their 2008 triumph over Chelsea, although there was the trauma of seeing his penalty saved in the shootout. Ronaldo was denied by Messi’s Barcelona the following year, but had his glory moment as part of Real Madrid’s tenth European Cup win in 2014 – stroking home a penalty to cap a dramatic turnaround win over rivals Atletico.

Given that one of the two men has been the Champions League top scorer in each of the past seven campaigns, it seems inevitable that Raul’s record will be broken this season. All that’s up for debate is who will get there first. Ronaldo will have two opportunities against Liverpool to take the record but should he not manage it, Messi will have his chance in Amsterdam in the return game against Ajax… For these two great rivals, the race goes on…

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