EuroBasketball 2011 Live on MacedonianTV.blogspot.com
31.08.2011 14:20h CET Macedonia - Montenegro
Tuesday, February 14, 2012
Zafirovski is player of the Duke university and he has huge potential to be the best Macedonian player ever.
Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Friday, February 6, 2009
Kick Off: Sunday February 8, Stadio Massimino.
Catania Sliding Down
After a fairly decent start to the season Catania began their roller-coaster ride. It really has been up and down for Walter Zenga's men; floating with the European places then back down towards the rougher end of the table. The coach has it all to do if his side are to survive this term. Any further slips ups could see him come under further scrutiny from unforgiving president Pietro Lo Monaco.
No fixture this season is likely to be tougher than the visit of Juventus and it's not the game the Rossoazzurri would have wanted having lost their last five on the bounce. Catania's last success came against Roma back in week 17, albeit in suspicious circumstances as the Etnei ran out 3-2 winners. The Sicilian outfit are just eight points above the relegation zone.
Zenga can take comfort from the fact that he was through all this last season, but he would prefer to avoid the same route if possible. Zenga's side have a good record against the Bianconeri. The reverse back in week four ended in a 1-1 draw.
Amauri had given Juve the lead in that match, but like on so many occasions this season, the Bianconeri allowed themselves to be pegged back as Giavinto Plasmati pounced to get the equalizer. The Massimino-based side will be hoping for a similar outcome this weekend, but Plasmati will not be there though; he joined Atalanta on loan during the January transfer window.
However, Zenga will be relying on Giuseppe Mascara and Michele Paolucci to do the business, both men have scored 12 goals between them this season. Nevertheless in their last three fixtures against the Old Lady, Catania have held Claudio Ranieri's men to a 1-1 draw in each, all those games have come within the last year.
Home form has been impressive. Seven wins, three losses and one draw at the Massimino this term, the defeats were against Inter, Udinese and Bologna. Zenga can take comfort that Juve head to Sicily with abject form on their shoulders in Serie A. The Turin-based side are winless in their last two Serie A games and the Sicilians will be confident of piling further woes on Juve.
Old Lady Looking Frail
It's not looking good for in the black and white half of Turin. Juve have failed to win maximum points in three of their last four Serie A games, such form has had the critics fire at Claudio Ranieri and the bookmakers have raised the odds over Scudetto chances at Vinovo.
The midweek win over Napoli in the Coppa Italia did nothing to change the recent views. Ranieri's side were lucky to win on penalties, and they escaped embarrassment thanks to the Partenopei's lack of confidence from twelve yards.
Catania away from home is not the game Juve would have liked, just ask Roma. However, with the Scudetto heading towards Inter, there is only won result which will matter to both coach and players, a win. A draw will not be good enough for the Bianconeri. They have already lost second place to Milan and high-flying Genoa are hot on their heels. Anything less than a win could even see the Old Lady's Champions League hopes in jeopardy.
A dark cloud is hanging over Ranieri, but the coach will be relieved to know he has the backing of the board, despite the recent drop in form. Juve's record away from home is nothing special and neither does it suggest championship winning form.
Five wins, three draws and a hat trick of losses have seen points being dropped on the road, many believe the team's Scudetto chances have evaporated, but the players and coach will be eager to silence the critics and get the hunt for the league back on the right track. The return from injury of David Trezeguet has boosted the team and the Frenchman could be the key against Catania.
The frailties will only turn into strength by reinforcing them with points and the Old Lady are desperate for them as the bag has been looking empty rather than full.
Feb 1: Atalanta 1-0 Catania
Jan 28: Catania 0-2 Inter
Jan 25: Genoa 1-1 Catania
Jan 18: Catania 1-2 Bologna
Jan 11: Napoli 1-0 Catania
Dec 21: Catania 3-2 Roma
Jan 31: Juventus 2-3 Cagliari
Jan 28: Udinese 2-1 Juventus
Jan 24: Juventus 1-0 Fiorentina
Jan 18: Lazio 1-1 Juventus
Jan 11: Juventus 1-0 Siena
Dec 21: Atalanta 1-3 Juventus
Midfielder Pablo Ledesma is still in the treatment room. He has been training away from the rest of the squad as he is not ready for a full return to action. Zenga has no further injury or suspension concerns ahead of the Juve date and he is likely to stick with the same team which lost to Atalanta last week.
Probable Starting XI 4-3-3: Bizzarri, Silvestre, Terlizzi, Stovini, Capuano, Izco, Carboni, Baiocco, Morimoto, Paolucci, Mascara.
The big blow this week was news that Paolo De Ceglie has been ruled out for six weeks after suffering from two fractured ribs. Gianluigi Buffon has recovered from flu and he should start. Claudio Marchisio is on his way back from a recent knock, but remains doubtful for Sunday. Jorge Andrade, Jonathan Zebina, Mauro Camoranesi, Hasan Salihamidzic, Giorgio Chiellini and Cristiano Zanetti are all injured. David Trezeguet could get the nod from the start.
Probable Starting XI 4-4-2: Buffon, Grygera, Legrottaglie, Mellberg, Molinaro, Marchionni, Sissoko, Poulsen, Nedved, Amauri, Del Piero.
Players To Watch
Catania: Keep an eye on Mascara. The hitman has been in hot form in training this week and will be looking to get on the score sheet against Juventus. Zdenek Grygera will need to be in top form on the right as he will come up against the quick wide man who will prowling and ready to scrap. His shooting is also deadly anywhere in and around the box.
Juventus: Amauri has scored 11 goals this term but he seems to have lost his touch in recent weeks. Ranieri put the Brazilian hitman through his paces this week with extra training sessions focussing on heading and shooting. The former Palermo man should, therefore, be ready for action and all fired up to bang some goals in.
Both teams are desperate to bounce back albeit for very different reasons. Juve's Scudetto hopes could be dashed with a loss, while Serie B football will be looming for the Sicilians if they fail to bring home the points. The Massimino will be sold out and Juve will not like the passionate Sicilian crowd being the twelfth man for the opposition. However, the Old Lady have enough to come away from Catania with maximum points.
Catania 1-2 Juventus
Kick-Off: Sunday 1 February, 15:00 CET. Stadio Olimpico, Rome.
Roman Sights Set On Fourth Place
The chances of Roma winning this season’s Scudetto have been non-existent for the large part of the season, mainly as a result of their dreadful form early on that saw them languish in the bottom four during the opening ten rounds.
In recent times, the Giallorossi have enjoyed an amazing resurgence in the league and, incredibly, victory this weekend will see them go level on points with their opponents, Genoa, who that currently occupy the fourth and final UEFA Champions League qualifying position.
Despite the fact that there is almost one half of the season to be played, the Romans can ill afford to lose this weekend. Defeat will see them slip six points behind their opponents, with 23 rounds of 38 played.
The capital outfit have made some important acquisitions in the past week, with Marco Motta and Souleymane Diamoutene joining the club from Udinese and Lecce respectively. With the number of injuries Roma are currently coping with in defence, these two men may be called upon immediately to make their mark at the club.
As always, the Stadio Olimpico has proven to be a difficult venue for the visiting clubs to attain points from this term; the Giallorossi have managed to win seven out of their ten home fixtures. Their only slip-up thus far has come against Inter, when they were hammered 4-0 midway through October.
The Giallorossi certainly have it all to play for in this match. They will be desperate to bounce back from their disappointing draw against the cellar dwellers of Reggina last weekend.
With this in mind, expect an inspired Roma outfit to take to the field this weekend, searching for a win that could take them within touching distance of Champions League football once again...
Genoa Keen To Extend Unbeaten Run
The surprise package of Serie A have gone from strength-to-strength this season. Genoa currently find themselves sitting pretty in fourth place, boasting 40 points to their name - just eight less than they recorded for the whole of last season.
Whilst the likes of Fiorentina, Napoli and Lazio have slipped down the table in recent times, the Rossoblu have been the one side that have maintained their incredible run of results over the course of the season.
In fact, Genoa are unbeaten in their past 12 league fixtures, whilst they have lost just once in their past 17, which was against Juventus at the Stadio Olimpico in Turin in mid-November.
They are undoubtedly one of the most in-form sides in the competition at present, and so they will certainly be a tough test for the Giallorossi this weekend.
The Grifoni easily defeated the Romans the last time these two sides met earlier in the season. They triumphed 3-1 at the Luigi Ferraris Stadium, and so the visiting team can also be confident of overcoming their opponents.
If they are to play as they did earlier in the season this weekend, then there is no reason why they won’t be able to register a shock victory at the Stadio Olimpico. If they were to upset Roma, it would be a result that would make their quest for Champions League football a genuine possibility.
February 1 v Reggina (A) DREW 2-2
January 28 v Palermo (H) WON 2-1
January 25 v Napoli (A) WON 3-0
January 21 v Inter (A) LOST 1-2 (Coppa Italia)
January 18 v Torino (A) WON 1-0
February 1 v Palermo (H) WON 1-0
January 28 v Milan (A) DREW 1-1
January 25 v Catania (H) DREW 1-1
January 18 v Lecce (A) WON 2-0
January 13 v Inter (A) LOST 1-3 (Coppa Italia)
The latest news on the injury front for Roma concerns the injuries to Cicinho and John Arne Riise, who have both picked up knocks in the past week. Riise is set to miss the next month with an ankle injury, whilst the Brazilian has suffered from a slight contusion to his knee in training.
In addition to this, Marco Cassetti is one week through his three month lay off, which has been cause by a severe muscular strain. Vincenzo Montella is still out injured. Christian Panucci is unlikely to take part in this contest, despite making a public apology to the club for his recent outburst.
The club’s new signings Marco Motta and Souleymane Diamoutene may be required at some stage this weekend, and so it will be interesting to see how they fair on debut with the club.
Probable Starting XI – (4-3-1-2): Doni; Cicinho, Juan, Mexes, Tonetto; Brighi, De Rossi, Aquilani; Pizarro; Vucinic, Totti.
There has been no change whatsoever on the injury front for Genoa so coach Gian Piero Gasperini will have an unchanged squad at his disposal for this all important fixture. Matteo Paro and Alessio Scarpi both remain on the sidelines, as does Brazilian midfielder Thiago Motta, who will miss one more week with the minor muscular strain he picked up against Milan.
The side’s star man Diego Milito failed to train on Thursday due to a fever, however, the club remain optimistic that he will take part in this crucial fixture this weekend.
Possible Starting XI – (3-4-3): Rubinho; Biava, Ferrari, Bocchetti; Mesto, Milanetto, Juric, Criscito; Jankovic, Milito, Sculli.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Roma – Mirko Vucinic: The Montenegrin hitman will be aware of the significance of this clash this weekend, and so expect a match winning performance from the man who has scored seven goals to date this season. He is undoubtedly a big game player, and he has proven this on more than one occasion over the past few years. With this in mind, the Genoa defensive unit will need to closely monitor this player’s every move.
Genoa – Matteo Ferrari: The former Roma player will return to the Stadio Olimpico to face the Giallorossi for the first time since his departure in the summer. The 29-year-old defender spent three seasons with the capital club, and his knowledge and experience will be critical to the final result. He has already declared that he will do his utmost to overcome his former club this weekend.
This match promises to be a thrilling battle between two of the form sides of the competition. Roma have everything to play for as they can ill afford to drop points at home. Genoa will be confident of doing the double over the Giallorossi following their impressive performance when these two sides last met earlier in the season. Having said this, the home ground advantage should be enough for Spalletti and his men to attain all three points.
Roma 2-1 Genoa
Kick-Off: Saturday, February 7, 15:00 (local time). JJB Stadium, Wigan.
These are positive times for Wigan Athletic. Under Steve Bruce, who has done a superb job since taking charge after leaving Birmingham City last season, the club sit in the lofty heights of seventh in the Premier League.
If they can continue their current level of performance for the remaining 14 games of the league season, they will be in the running for a spot in next season’s Europa League, which would represent tremendous progress.
Key players Wilson Palacios and Emile Heskey left the club in the January transfer window, but Bruce was able to hold on to the likes of Antonio Valencia, who reportedly rejected Real Madrid, and was able to replace the departed duo with players such as Mido, Hugo Rodallega, Charles N’Zogbia and Ben Watson.
The Latics will be confident of winning this game in front of their home fans after a spell of four Premier League games without a win, against difficult opposition.
They have only lost three times in twelve home games in this campaign and have the firepower and organisation to ensure that any visitors receive a tough day at the office.
Fulham have never won at the JJB Stadium, and if Bruce’s men can keep that record going on Saturday, it will be another step towards the completion of a very positive season.
Last week’s victory over Portsmouth consolidated Fulham’s place in the Premier League’s top ten, and with Roy Hodgson’s men currently holding two games in hand on most of their immediate rivals, optimism of a good league finish will be high, with European qualification not out of the question.
Two new signings have been made, experienced midfielder Olivier Dacourt arriving at Craven Cottage along with Giles Barnes, who is on-loan from Derby Country, with a view to making the move permanent at the end of the season.
Traditionally, Fulham are very strong at home, and have big problems on their travels. The club have upheld that reputation this year, having lost only one out of eleven matches at home, and failing to win in their eleven fixtures away from Craven Cottage.
This year, though, they have made themselves harder to beat on the road, securing five draws, mostly goalless, including against the likes of Liverpool and Aston Villa. But the fact just three goals have been scored in those eleven encounters will surely concern Hodgson.
Fulham have games at home to West Bromwich Albion, Hull City and Blackburn Rovers in their upcoming fixtures, all games they will be confident of winning. Therefore, even if they continue to struggle away from home, their overall progress should not be hampered too heavily.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Wigan - Mido
Mido has made a bright start for Wigan since joining the club from Middlesbrough in January. After scoring in his debut against Liverpool, the striker will be looking forward to developing a goal-scoring partnership with his Egypt international team-mate, Amr Zaki.
Fulham – Mark Schwarzer
Fulham don’t tend to score many goals away from home, so if they are to return to west London with anything from their trip to Wigan, ever-present goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer will have to be on top of his game. The Cottagers have conceded an average of less than a goal a game this season, and will be keen to keep that record going.
Jan 31 Aston Villa 0-0 Wigan (Premier League)
Jan 28 Wigan 1-1 Liverpool (Premier League)
Jan 17 Manchester City 1-0 Wigan (Premier League)
Jan 14 Manchester United 1-0 Wigan (Premier League)
Jan 11 Wigan 1-0 Tottenham Hotspur (Premier League)
Jan 31 Fulham 3-1 Portsmouth (Premier League)
Jan 27 Sunderland 1-0 Fulham (Premier League)
Jan 24 Kettering 2-4 Fulham (FA Cup)
Jan 18 West Ham 3-1 Fulham (Premier League)
Jan 03 Sheffield Wednesday 1-2 Fulham (FA Cup)
Wigan are set to receive a double boost with Amr Zaki and Antonio Valencia, two key players, expected to shake off injuries to start the match.
Charles N'Zogbia is set to make his debut on the left wing after signing from Newcastle United in a £6 million deal last week.
Previous XI (0-0 Away V Aston Villa): Kirkland, Melchiot, Bramble, Boyce, Figueroa, De Ridder, Cattermole, Scharner, Brown, Koumas, Mido.
New Fulham signings Olivier Dacourt and Giles Barnes have both been included in the match-day squad ahead of the game at the JJB Stadium, although it remains to be seen whether they will start the match on the substitutes' bench.
Diomansy Kamara is nearing a return, although this game will come too soon, while Chris Baird has tonsillitis and is definitely out.
Previous XI (3-1 Home V Portsmouth): Schwarzer, Pantsil, Hughes, Hangeland, Konchesky, Dempsey, Etuhu, Murphy, Davies, Zamora, Johnson.
At the start of the season you would have got long odds on these two clubs battling it out for a European spot, with both expected to be fighting relegation, so a lot of credit must go to both managers.
The two teams have performed superbly overall, but both will be looking to kick on now after some inconsistent results of late, albeit against difficult opposition.
Fulham’s away record leaves a lot to be desired, and, for me, Wigan are an impressive outfit capable of picking up the three points here.
Wigan 1-0 Fulham
Ewood Park, Blackburn.
Despite being held to a goalless draw last time out, Aston Villa remain in fourth place in the Premier League, five points ahead of Arsenal and looking increasingly like securing Champions League football next season.
Martin O’Neill’s men also confirmed their place in the fifth round of the FA Cup in midweek, comfortably beating Championship side Doncaster Rovers, albeit in a replay at Villa Park.
Next up for the Villans is the chance to secure a club record seventh successive away win, against a team in the relegation zone and on a ground when they triumphed 4-0 last season.
Whilst O’Neill was thrilled to see his side overcome Doncaster on Wednesday night and book themselves an FA Cup last 16 tie with Everton, he has this week admitted that the Premier League remains Villa’s ‘Holy Grail’.
With that in mind, the Irishman managed to rest several key players against Doncaster, including Gabriel Agbonlahor, Gareth Barry, James Milner and Brad Friedel ahead of Saturday’s fixture.
With Emile Heskey now on the books and the likes of Ashley Young and John Carew back in the squad, Villa possess real strength in depth and their current position may well have added strength to Arsenal’s desire to recruit Andrey Arshavin.
Whilst Ewood Park is not the easiest away ground to visit, the Midlanders' away form is lethal, and with the chance to, temporarily at least, move level on points with Liverpool, who play later in the day, a fit and relatively fresh Villa squad will surely be relishing their trip north.
Stopping The Rot
However, whilst Blackburn remain mired in trouble, sitting in the drop zone and indeed only one point off the bottom, Sam Allardyce’s men are on a decent run of form.
Rovers are unbeaten in their last nine games, since ‘Big Sam’ took over, and haven’t suffered defeat since the beginning of December when Wigan Athletic triumphed 3-0.
Furthermore, the Ewood Park outfit tasted FA Cup success in midweek, with a 2-1 victory over Sunderland,
The win means they will now play Championship side Coventry City at home in the fifth round and they will fancy their chances of reaching the quarter-finals of the competition.
Santa Cruz Stays
Whilst the cup will prove a welcome distraction to Rovers’ season, Premier League survival remains the priority.
Allardyce received a welcome boost this week after managing to keep hold of star striker Roque Santa Cruz, despite strong interest from Manchester City.
Although it looks unlikely the Paraguayan will remain at Ewood Park beyond this season, with the transfer window closed and his immediate future now confirmed, Blackburn will be hoping to he can reproduce last season’s form.
Santa Cruz hit 19 goals in the league last term, and whilst he has managed only a paltry three in this campaign, the Ewood Park faithful will now be hoping he can add to this tally and provide the goals that will see them to safety.
Feb 4: Blackburn 2-1 Sunderland
Jan 31: Middlesbrough 0-0 Blackburn
Jan 28: Blackburn 2-2 Bolton
Jan 24: Sunderland 0-0 Blackburn
Jan 17: Blackburn 3-0 Newcastle
Feb 4: Aston Villa 3-1 Doncaster Rovers
Jan 31: Aston Villa 0-0 Wigan Athletic
Jan 27: Portsmouth 0-1 Aston Villa
Jan 24: Doncaster 0-0 Aston Villa
Jan 17: Sunderland 1-2 Aston Villa
Brett Emerton is out for the season but Allardyce could hand new signing El Hadji Diouf a first Rovers start.
Possible Starting XI: Robinson, Ooijer, Nelsen, Samba, Warnock, Dunn, Diouf, Grella, Pedersen, McCarthy, Roque Santa Cruz.
After resting a number of key players in midweek, O’Neill will welcome back the likes of Gareth Barry, Gabriel Agbonlahor and James Milner to his starting lineup.
Emile Heskey is also likely to return meaning fit again John Carew may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Possible Starting XI: Friedel, Cuellar, Knight, Davies, Luke Young, Ashley Young, Petrov, Barry, Milner, Heskey, Agbonlahor.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Blackburn Rovers – Roque Santa Cruz
Blackburn managed to resist the advances of Manchester City and hold on to striker Roque Santa Cruz in the transfer window, which may prove to be a vital bit of non-business.
Whilst the former Bayern Munich man appeared to be keen on linking up with former boss Mark Hughes, he remains at Ewood Park and in the midst of a relegation battle.
Although he has managed only three goals in the Premier League so far this season, Sam Allardyce must now be hoping the Paraguayan can score the goals that will keep relegation at bay
Aston Villa – Ashley Young
Ashley Young returns to Premier League action for the first time since he picked up a red card, and a three match ban, at the Stadium of Light.
Whilst Villa have maintained their place in the top four without their talisman, he was missed last week against Wigan Athletic, who ground out a goalless draw at Villa Park.
Young returned, and was surprisingly named as captain, in midweek in the FA Cup win against Doncaster, and his invention will surely be required to break down what promises to be a stubborn Rovers defence.
Recent form and home advantage suggest Blackburn will be a tough challenge for Villa, but if they are intent on finishing in the top four, this is surely a must-win game for O’Neill’s men.
Both sides were in action in midweek, albeit with much changed squads, although Rovers were required to play extra-time which could prove a factor.
Villa, meanwhile, have the opportunity of claiming a club record and the chance to move level with Liverpool on Saturday, which suggests they may just hand ‘Big Sam’ his first defeat as Blackburn boss.
Blackburn Rovers 1-3 Aston Villa
Kick-Off: Saturday February 7, 12:45 GMT, City of Manchester Stadium
One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
The Manchester City squad cannot seem to get on the same page as each other following a busy and turbulent January transfer window. After signing some £40 million worth of new talent, Mark Hughes has been busy as ever in his managerial duties. City's 2-1 win over Newcastle was marred by concerns surrounding Robinho’s sexual assault accusation, and the bad behaviour continued as Micah Richards was arrested and questioned on suspicion of assault shortly after the 1-0 loss to Stoke for an incident that occurred on Christmas Eve. City face a number of on-and-off the field problems, which Hughes will be hoping the squad can put behind them by putting away a struggling Middlesbrough side. However, Sparky will be well aware that Boro have undone City by a score-line of 10-1 in their last two successive league meetings.
Shay Given should make his debut for the Citizens as Joe Hart begins the unfamiliar role of an understudy for the first time in well over a year. Hughes spoke out about his concern at the team’s lack of an experienced keeper, with Hart still quite young in goalkeeping terms. Hughes will be depending on Given to marshal his back line that has conceded just three less goals than the relegation-zoned Teeside visitors. Shaun Wright-Phillips should feature after escaping a possible retroactive ban by the FA for violent conduct against Rory Delap last week, which could begin a league uproar with the winger’s marginal “violent” reaction in contrast with the likes of Steven Gerrard and Jose Bosingwa’s unpunished antics last weekend.
In Some Trouble
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate’s side is in some trouble, with an astounding 12 game’s played without a win as they sit second from the bottom. No team has gone longer without victory in the Premier League this season, but Southgate will feel good when he looks at Boro’s recent results against the Citizens and knows there are other sides who are struggling for points at the bottom of the table. Middlesbrough are the kryptonite that has plagued Manchester City’s super-rich side recently, but with Boro unable to score in their last three, they will have to come up with goals somehow in this affair.
Last weekend Brad Jones took over for Ross Turnbull in nets and impressed in the 0-0 draw with Blackburn. Jones should retain his place in the starting XI as Southgate searches for a long-term servant for the number one jersey. The departure of Mido paved the way for Marlon King to be brought in on loan by Southgate, in hopes that the English-born Jamaican can bring some goal-scoring prowess to his underachieving side.
Blackburn 2-2 Man City (EPL)
Man City 0-3 Forest (FA)
Man City 1-0 Wigan (EPL)
Man City 2-1 Newcastle (EPL)
Stoke 1-0 Man City (EPL)
Boro 1-1 Sunderland (EPL)
West Brom 3-0 Boro (EPL)
Wolves 1-2 Boro (FA)
Chelsea 2-0 Boro (EPL)
Boro 0-0 Blackburn (EPL)
Hughes will be able to select Shaun Wright-Phillips ahead of his possible ban and Shay Given for his debut in this tie, and is only without long-term absentees Martin Petrov, Valeri Bojinov and Michael Johnson. Bojinov should return to full training next week after an extended stay on the sidelines with a torn Achilles.
Daniel Sturridge and Benjani have recovered from their respective knocks and could return to the side who will look to improve on their goalless loss last weekend.
Richard Dunne will miss out as he serves the last game of his three-match suspension.
Squad: Given, Hart, Zabaleta, Onuoha, Richards, Bridge, Ball, Garrido, Ben Haim, Wright-Phillips, Kompany, Fernandes, De Jong, Elano, Ireland, Robinho, Sturridge, Bellamy, Vassell, Caicedo.
Probable XI: Given, Richards, Onuoha, Kompany, Bridge, Zabaleta, De Jong, Wright-Phillips, Ireland, Robinho, Bellamy.
Southgate will be relieved at the return of Didier Digard and Gary O'Neil from their suspensions as the gaffer looks to seal his first win of the new year.
Brad Jones should get the nod ahead of Ross Turnbull, while Afonso Alves will want to add to his two goals he has already scored against Manchester City this season. Marlon King could also feature as an extra goal scoring threat.
Andrew Taylor and Jeremie Aliadiere are out with ankle injuries but the French striker should return sooner rather than later.
Squad: Jones, Turnbull, McMahon, Hoyte, Huth, Pogatetz, Riggott, Wheater, Bennett, Digard, O'Neil, Bates, Shawky, Tuncay, Downing, Arca, A Johnson, Porritt, King, Alves, Emnes.
Probable XI: Jones, McMahon, Pogatetz, Riggott, Wheater, Johnson, Downing, Digard, O’Neil, Tuncay, Alves.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
After a scoreless loss last week, the focus will fall on the Manchester City’s offence this week and their creative maestro Stephen Ireland. The Citizens' player of the season has been on fire this campaign, and the rest of the team seem to depend on the young Irishman.
With goals being the main problem on Teeside, Afonso Alves will look to find the back of the net against a side he’s already put two past this season. The Brazilian was brought to Boro with a host of goal-scoring expectations after prolific displays in for Heerenveen, but has failed to hit full stride in England.
Gareth Southgate needs a win if he is to potentially avoid a relegation battle, and after coming out of the January transfer window with most of his squad intact, he will be expected by the Middlesbrough board to bring the boys out of trouble. Mark Hughes is under pressure after spending large sums in January to better the Citizens mid-table position, but with a host of off-field problems the Sky Blues could have a lot on their plate.
Shay Given should bring the experience Hughes was looking for to the side as the goalkeeper has been in shining form this season. Perhaps with a 12-year Premier League veteran in their side, City could improve in their goals conceded tally that has been a large stumbling block for the relatively high-scoring side. Middlesbrough have the last few results against City in their favour, but with their inability to score matched with City’s solid home form and revamped side, the Citizens should begin their ascent up the table instead of down towards Boro’s lowly spot.
Man City 2-1 Middlesbrough
Kick-Off: Saturday February 7, 18:00 CET, Stadio Del Mare, Lecce
Inter Still Not Convincing
Jose Mourinho’s Inter haven’t looked like the same since the new year started. Although they have won twice in Serie A and twice in the Coppa Italia in 2009, their only truly convincing performance came in the away match against Catania, and they ruined the momentum built up by that game with a dire 1-1 home draw against lowly Torino.
In that match against the Granata, Inter had a chance to move eight points clear on top of the table after Juventus fell to a 3-2 home defeat to Cagliari. Instead, they played a bland first half, displaying none of the aggression and desire that they showed in the match at Catania just a few days before, and only improving after Torino opened the scoring early in the second half. Although they ended up missing a hatful of chances and hitting the woodwork twice, it was only right that Inter did not pick up three points as they once again failed to put in a convincing performance.
It seems clear that when the Nerazzurri don’t play with maximum concentration and motivation, or when they are not completely fit, they can struggle and lose points against just about any team. The team relies too heavily on the individual performances of players such as Maicon, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Esteban Cambiasso, and Walter Samuel for their success, without having a well-oiled, recognisable style of play.
This lack of real quality football has always come back to haunt Inter on the European stage, while in Serie A their pragmatic, physical, aggressive style of play has been enough to see them triumph over the last few years. Of course, it’s no secret Mourinho was brought in to make the team succeed in the Champions League, but so far the team have struggled badly in Europe, losing twice in probably the easiest group in the competition, and in Serie A they have six points less than this time last season. They will need to step it up considerably if they are to have any chance against Manchester United next month.
That they are still six points clear at the top of the table indicates that this is a season without a truly dominant and convincing side. Juve have been showing all of their limitations in their most recent matches, losing successive games against Udinese and Cagliari, while Milan have been playing perhaps the best football, but have yet to show the consistency to get more than two or three victories in a row and play as well against the small teams as against the big guns.
Getting a win in this match against an in-form Lecce side would be absolutely vital for Inter to put pressure on second-placed Milan, who have an easy-looking match at home against Reggina, while third-placed Juventus travel to Catania.
Lecce In Confident Mood Following Siena Victory
After failing to record a single away victory before the Christmas break, Lecce broke their duck in the first match of the new year with a memorable 2-1 victory away to Fiorentina. Last weekend, in another match played in Tuscany, they repeated the feat, beating Siena 2-1.
Those somewhat unexpected triumphs have allowed Lecce to steer four points clear of the relegation zone, but their home form is starting to get worrying. Their last win at the Stadio Via Del Mare came back on 28 September, when they beat Cagliari 2-0. They also recently allowed Torino to come away with a 3-3 draw after leading for most of the match.
Aside from that victory against Fiorentina, Lecce have managed to trouble the big teams regularly this season, losing only to late goals against Inter at San Siro, against Juventus at home, and holding Milan to a 1-1 draw in Lecce. That said, they also lost 3-0 to both Roma and Napoli, but considering Inter’s unconvincing current form, there’s little chance they will win as comfortably as those teams did.
The Nerazzurri’s recent history at the Via Del Mare stadium also doesn’t give them much reason to be overly optimistic, as they have frequently stumbled to draws or even defeats, such as in the 2003/2004 and 1999/2000 seasons.
Due to the Giallorossi’s period in Serie B, their most recent home match against Inter was in January 2006, when they were beaten 2-0 thanks to goals by Luis Figo and Dejan Stankovic in the last 15 minutes of the match.
01/02 (Serie A): Siena-Lecce 1-2
28/01 (Serie A): Chievo-Lecce 1-1
25/01 (Serie A): Lecce-Torino 3-3
18/01 (Serie A): Lecce-Genoa 0-2
11/01 (Serie A): Fiorentina-Lecce 1-2
01/02 (Serie A): Inter-Torino 1-1
28/01 (Serie A): Catania-Inter 0-2
25/01 (Serie A): Inter-Sampdoria 1-0
21/01 (Coppa Italia): Inter-Roma 2-1
18/01 (Serie A): Atalanta-Inter 3-1
Gianni Munari and Giuseppe Vives are injured, while Guillermo Giacomazzi is suspended.
Possible formation (4-3-3): Benussi; Polenghi, Stendardo, Fabiano, Esposito; Ardito, Edinho, Ariatti; Papa Waigo, Castillo, Tiribocchi.
Adriano will complete his three-match suspension after this one, but him aside Mourinho has a full squad available. At the time of writing it’s unknown whether Mario Balotelli will be called back into the squad for this one.
Possible formation (4-3-1-2): Julio Cesar; Maicon, Cordoba, Samuel, Maxwell; Zanetti, Cambiasso, Muntari; Stankovic; Ibrahimovic, Cruz.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Jose Castillo (Lecce)
The 33-year-old striker Lecce signed last summer from Serie B side Pisa is the team’s top scorer so far, with six goals. This is his first season in Serie A, after a long career in lower league South American and Italian clubs. Since his arrival in the peninsula, however, the Argentinean has scored 126 goals in 230 matches, so perhaps his success in the top flight is not entirely surprising.
Dejan Stankovic (Inter)
After nearly sealing a shock transfer to Juventus last summer, the Serbian midfielder has been playing one of his best seasons ever for Inter. His 2007/2008 season was particularly disappointing, so his return to form will no doubt please the fans, as with his skill, intelligence, and terrific shooting, he is essential to Inter’s attacking moves.
It could be a tricky evening for Inter, but they should still be able to win this one as they have been at their best playing away from home so far this season, with the exception of the match at Atalanta.
Kick-Off: Saturday, February 7, 20:30 CET. San Siro, Milan
Movin’ On Up
Milan are in second place in the Serie A, having overtaken Juventus following last Sunday night’s 3-0 pasting of Lazio, in Rome no less. That win keeps Milan six points behind Serie A leaders Inter.
The victory was achieved with a performance that was more simplistic than it should have been. Lazio tried to attack and win the match, but Christian Abbiati was superb when called upon between the posts for Milan. Also, Milan were able to limit the involvement of Mauro Zarate, who had given the Rossoneri plenty of trouble the first time around earlier in the season.
Most surprising of all, however, is the way that David Beckham played, assisting on the first two goals. Beckham has sparkled since arriving in Italy for resumption of play after the winter break. And he was again decisive in this match. He beat the offside trap and put in a perfect pass to Alexandre Pato for the first goal just before half-time.
On the second goal, which occurred shortly after play restarted following the break, Beckham floated in a free kick to the back post that Massimo Ambrosini headed in with authority.
The third goal was scored by Kaka, who has three goals in the three matches played since he rejected the mammoth offer to join Manchester City.
The embarrassment of riches in attack for Milan at the moment could be set to decrease in the near future, however. David Beckham is slated to return to America in early March unless his lawyers can find a loophole in his contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy of MLS.
Now in their seventh consecutive season in Serie A, it appears as though Reggina could be on their way back to the Serie B for the first time since the 2001-02 season. They are bottom of the table currently, with seven points separating them from safety.
After four straight seasons of forty or more points, Reggina only have a paltry fifteen from twenty-two matches played this season. Predictably, their away form is much worse than at home. From 11 encounters on the road, they have been victorious just once and have lost on eight occasions. However, the most shocking statistic of all is that they have scored only three goals in those 11 away matches.
In this current match, they will be hard fought to get any points at all. Milan will surely try to put the shackles on Bernardo Corradi, who has scored nearly half of Reggina’s goals this term― he has nine to his credit.
Add to that the fact that Reggina favor a three-man defence, and things could be quite difficult for the southern Italian side.
11/01 (Serie A): Roma 2-2 Milan
17/01 (Serie A): Milan 1-0 Fiorentina
25/01 (Serie A): Bologna 1-4 Milan
28/01 (Serie A): Milan 1-1 Genoa
01/02 (Serie A): Lazio 0-3 Milan
11/01 (Serie A): Reggina 2-3 Lazio
17/01 (Serie A): Siena 1-0 Reggina
24/01 (Serie A): Reggina 0-1 Chievo
28/01 (Serie A): Torino 0-0 Reggina
01/02 (Serie A): Reggina 2-2 Roma
Alessandro Nesta, Gennaro Gattuso, Marco Borriello and Kakhaber Kaladze are injured. Having not yet made an appearance this season, Nesta is training hard to get fit and could be back on the pitch soon.
Mathieu Flamini and Paolo Maldini both return from suspension, while Andrea Pirlo is suspended for receiving a yellow card against Lazio last weekend. Daniele Bonera is facing suspension should he be cautioned.
Possible Formation (4-3-2-1): Abbiati; Zambrotta, Bonera, Maldini, Jankulovski; Beckham, Flamini, Ambrosini; Kaka, Seedorf; Pato
The visitors will have to do without the services of Luca Vigiani, Emmanuel Cascione, Franco Brienza and Antonio Giosa, who are all injured.
They have no suspended players, but Andrea Costa, Francesco Cozza and Maurizio Lanzaro are facing suspension if they get cautioned.
Possible Formation (3-5-2): Campagnolo; Lanzaro, Valdez, Santos; Krajcik, Barilla, Cozza, Carmona, Costa; Di Gennaro, Corradi
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Despite scoring against Lazio last Sunday, Kaka was ineffective in that match and the previous one versus Genoa. However, that goal against Lazio was well taken, and could be the push he needed to get out of whatever lull in his play he was experiencing.
Amazingly, David Beckham continues to turn back the years and put in fantastic performances on the right wing. His two assists in Rome in the last match were both pinpoint passes for his teammates to easily score from close range.
Bernardo Corradi is the main target in attack, but don’t discount Davide Di Gennaro. He was seen as ‘one for the future’ while coming up in the Milan youth system before being included in the deal that brought Marco Borriello back to Milan last summer. Still co-owned by Milan― along with Genoa, and on-loan with Reggina― he will definitely be eager to show Milan what they are missing.
The goals have been flying in for Milan this year, as they have scored eleven times in five matches this year. The three-man backline of Reggina will struggle against the Milan attack, and it will show in the final score.
Milan 3-0 Reggina
20:30 Arminia Bielefeld – Hertha Berlin
Saturday 7th February
15:30 Schalke 04 – Werder Bremen
15:30 Karlsruher SC – Hamburger SV
15:30 Bayer Leverkusen – VfB Stuttgart
15:30 VfL Wolfsburg – VfL Bochum
15:30 Borussia Moenchengladbach – 1899 Hoffenheim
15:30 Eintracht Frankfurt – 1.FC Koeln
Sunday 8th February
17:00 Energie Cottbus - Hannover
17:00 Bayern Munich – Borussia Dortmund
Arminia though will go into the match with an extra spring in their step and added confidence following their rather surprising away win last weekend over Werder Bremen. Markus Schuler should return from suspension so Radim Kucera may switch to the centre of defence with Markus Bollman dropping to the bench.
Hertha began 2009 with a home win over Eintracht Frankfurt with Marko Pantelic grabbing both goals. The prolific Serbian however will be missing with a knee injury meaning Raffael will play up front with Andriy Voronin.
Arne Friedrich is also a doubt with a back injury, so Kaka is on standby. Marko Babic could be set for his debut.
This clash of the so-called titans sees both clubs further down the table than they would like, and with the pressure to get three points mounting on both trainers. Schalke are currently 9th whereas Werder are right behind them in 10th.
The Koenigsblauen came away from the AWD Arena last Saturday wondering how on earth they hadn’t won the game after creating numerous chances. They didn’t convert any though and lost to a solitary goal from Sergio Pinto.
Orlando Engelaar looks set to come into the midfield to replace Fabian Ernst, who signed for Besiktas in the transfer window.
Werder got 2009 off to a poor start losing 2-1 at home to Arminia Bielefeld last Sunday. How times have changed. The corresponding fixture last season saw Werder win 8-1.
Diego and Claudio Pizarro are both still serving bans following their red cards against Karlsruhe at the end of last year. Naldo will however return to the defence, with Daniel Jensen also possibly coming in for Jurica Vranjes.
Hamburg announced themselves as serious title contenders last week with their 1-0 win over Bayern Munich. A defensively sound performance against the Bavarians saw the Rothosen top of the table for a few hours and they will want to return to the summit as soon as possible.
Martin Jol added four players in the transfer window so expect to see a few of them on the bench this weekend. Ivica Olic remains suspended, while Bastian Reinhardt is also missing with the foot injury suffered last week.
Karlsruhe trainer Edmund Becker is refusing to hit the panic button after watching his side lose to Bochum last weekend, but it doesn’t look good for the Baden club at the moment, sitting as they do down in 16th, just two points above bottom side Moenchengladbach.
Mahir Saglik could be set to make his debut for KSC up front.
Leverkusen play their first match in their new temporary 'home' at the LTU Arena in Dusseldorf, with Stuttgart the visitors. The Werkself were held to a point last week against Dortmund so will want to take all three and keep pace at the top of the table.
Bruno Labbadia has Brazilian defender Henrique fit again after he was a late withdrawal last weekend. He should take the place of Lukas Sinkiewicz.
Stuttgart recovered well from their 5-1 hammering in the Cup at the hands of Bayern with a hard-fought 2-0 home win over Moenchengladbach last Saturday.
The question trainer Markus Babbel has to answer is how to line up his attacking midfielders. He either keeps faith with Jan Simak and Martin Lanig, or he could bring in Roberto Hilbert, Yildiray Basturk, or Elson.
It was Wolfsburg’s form in the second half of last season which saw them make it into the UEFA Cup places and trainer Felix Magath will be hoping for more of the same at the start of 2009.
Last week however the Wolves were held by Koeln, so he will be demanding three points this week at home to Bochum. Grafite is a slight worry with a knee problem, so Japanese attacker Okubo could fill in.
Bochum climbed out of the drop-zone last weekend with their win over fellow strugglers Karlsruhe and will be keen to put some more distance between themselves and the bottom three.
Marcel Koller will in all likelihood keep faith with the same XI that beat Karlsruhe last weekend with Joel Epalle playing behind the strikers and Mimoun Azaouagh on the right.
It is top versus bottom at the Borussia Park this weekend with 27 points separating Hoffenheim and Moenchengladbach. The two promoted sides have enjoyed wholly differing seasons with the Hoff at the summit and the Fohlen in the basement.
Gladbach got off to a losing start last weekend, eventually going down to a 2-0 defeat at the Mercedes-Benz Arena to Stuttgart. Hans Meyer will be without Brazilian defender Dante as he recovers from injury so Steve Gohouri and Roel Brouwers will form the central defensive partnership.
Hoffenheim began life in their new stadium with a win over Energie Cottbus with debutant striker Boubacar Sanogo on target. Ralf Rangnick will be demanding another three points against a struggling Fohlen side as the Hoffenheim fairy tale continues.
Chinedu Obasi returned to training on Wednesday but it seems unlikely that he will be rushed back into action and may have to settle for a place on the bench.
Eintracht Frankfurt host Koeln at the Commerzbank Arena with both sides looking for their first wins of 2009. The Adler went down to a 2-1 defeat last week to Hertha Berlin, whereas Koeln held Wolfsburg to a point at the Rhein-Energie Stadion.
The promoted side are currently above Frankfurt in the table and it will be interesting to see whether that remains the case for much longer. Friedhelm Funkel may opt to bring Markus Proell back into goal, while Aleksandar Vasoski could make an appearance on the bench after a long injury lay-off.
Christoph Daum will welcome back top scorer Milivoje Novakovic after he missed last week's game through suspension, so the question just remains as to who partners him. Sergiu Radu scored last week and is better defensively than Manasseh Ishiaku, so he could get the nod.
Cottbus, as expected, are in a relegation fight, and losing to Hoffenheim last week came hot on the heels of their DFB Pokal exit. With a home game this weekend, trainer Bojan Prasnikar will be demanding three points to give the lausitzer something to build on in the coming weeks.
Cvitanovic and Timo Rost have slight knocks so Savo Pavicevic and Ivica Iliev are ready to fill in.
Hannover rather fortunately came away with all three points from their encounter with Schalke last week. Dieter Hecking still has a long injury list and now Hanno Balitsch is ill so he may have to reshuffle once more.
The final match of the round sees Bayern Munich hosting Borussia Dortmund at the Allianz Arena on Sunday.
The Bavarians dearly wanted to get 2009 off to a winning start in the league after their trouncing of Stuttgart in the Cup, but came unstuck against Hamburg last Friday, losing 1-0. At home this weekend, nothing less than a win will do for Juergen Klinsmann’s side.
The Dortmunder held them to a 1-1 draw in the return fixture this season, although Bayern did thrash Dortmund 5-0 last season at the Allianz Arena shortly before the DFB Pokal final.
Klinsmann has both Hamit Altintop and Tim Borowski chomping at the bit to start and if Miroslav Klose doesn’t recover from his injury knock, then Landon Donovan will make his Bundesliga debut alongside Luca Toni.
Dortmund for their part performed well last week in holding Bayer Leverkusen to a 1-1 draw and face a tough task getting anything from their trip south.
Juergen Klopp welcomes Tamas Hajnal back following suspension, while Blaszczykowski could make an appearance following injury alongside Alexander Frei in attack.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
The schedule for today is:
Australia vs Romania
Algeria vs Russia
Cuba vs Korea
Hungary vs Argentina
Macedonia vs Germany
Sweden vs Kuwait
Slovakia vs France
Poland vs Tunisia
Spain vs Croatia
You can watch the games live and free from Croatia 2009 at Macedonian TV Channels.
Thursday, January 15, 2009
The first game is Croatia and South Korea. You will be able to watch the game here and live.
So 20:30 CET at Macedonian TV Channels.
Thursday, January 8, 2009
The tournament starts at 16 january 2008 with the game Croatia - South Korea.
You can see live and free whole matches in which Macedonia will play, therefor here is the schedule for the groups.
Saturday 17. January 2009
Group C Macedonia : Tunisia
Sunday 18. January 2009
Group C Algeria : Macedonia
Monday 19. January 2009
Group C Poland : Macedonia
Wednesday 21. January 2009
Group C Macedonia : Germany
Thursday 22. January 2009
Group C Macedonia : Russia
There will be other games from the tournament, just stay tuned with Macedonian TV Channels.