Wednesday, April 05, 2006

The taking of scores

With the first leg in Lisbon finishing 0-0, it really is all to play for tonight at the Camp Nou. In squad news Edmilson and Sylvinho are back. While Gio will probably keep his place on the left the return of Edmilson is huge, he's been outstanding this season and will need to be on point this evening against Simao and Geovanni. Carles Puyol is back from suspension and speaking of which, Van Bommel, Deco and Oleguer are all one yellow from sitting out he first leg of the semi-final against Milan should Barcelona progress this evening.

I didn't see the Milan-Lyon game last night but from what I've read the rossineri were incredibly lucky with Inzaghi scoring in the 88th minute and Sheva finishing off Houllier's side in the 93rd.

I'm reasonably confident of FCB beating Benfica this evening. They're still without Nuno Gomes, their top scorer and after looking like they couldn't hit a donkeys arse with a banjo in their past three games surely Eto'o and Larsson will get back in the groove. Puyol and Edmilson back in defence should mean that Valdes lapses in concentration aside, that Barça can keep a clean sheet.

Before I go, a quick word about the yellow submarines. Manuel Pellegrini and his Villarreal side have been nothing short of superb in the past two seasons. Ex-blaugrana Juan Roman Riquelme has matured into one of the best midfielders in Europe, defensively they're very tight with Quique Alvarez, Arruabarrena and Marcos Senna particularly impressive. And of course there's Diego Forlan, laughed out of it at United, he went on to become top scorer in Europe last season and while he's seen his form dip this time around, (mostly due to Riquelme's being injured) he's still managed a respectable eleven thus far. Beating Inter last night was just reward. Roll on the semis and the Gunners sink Submarines headlines...

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