Hello once again! and welcome along to another Friday with the blog squad, as they lock horns to determine which of their classic champions league-winning sides really is the best. We open with a mouthwatering top of the table clash. Will Ross close the gap? or will Philip pull further away? Read on to find out…
Philip draws first blood through who else but Stoichkov, and leads 2-0 at half time. The Bulgarian gets his hat trick on the hour, and although Solskjaer and Sheringham get United back in it, it’s too little too late, and there’s no “and Solskjaer has won it!” On this occasion, as Philip extends his lead to seven points.
Andrew’s Bayern had been on great form of late following a change of formation, he’s on a good cup run, and beat both Philip and Ross last week, but when two sides in a relegation battle meet, form goes out the window, and Rob and his Red Star side brought the frauds’ impressive run to a stuttering halt.
Matt and Nathan were up next, both sides’ form had been a bit up and down recently, but it was Matt who walked away with the points. Although it looks like all the action happened in the first ten minutes, there were actually 19 shots on goal, 14 corners and 16 free kicks!
After missing the last two weeks and reading about his side dropping like a stone every Friday, Zak was back, but unfortunately his presence in the dugout didn’t change his sides’ fortunes, as Dave’s Milan put on a dominant display despite a rare quiet game for Jean-Pierre Papin.
With Zak losing, I had the chance to go level with him, but Deano had beaten me in both our previous meetings, so I wasn’t confident. That said, my side surprised me, and although Bogarde delivered another man of the match performance in the Ajax goal, It wasn’t enough to stop Karembeu and Raul.
Philip might be leaving us all trailing in the league, but how would he fair against the real Barcelona in Europe? Not too great it would seem. He made a few changes, so as not to hinder his title charge, but his side were no match for Sonny Anderson. Salinas did get a potentially valuable away goal though.
Zak faired slightly better at Highbury against Arsenal in the UEFA Cup, with Boksic and Dobrovolski getting the goals for the second game running in an action-packed Desmond.
Nathan faced Italian opposition for the second time this week, as he hosted Dave. Lentini, once the world’s most-expensive player, got Milan off and running, and Laudrup added the second. Möller got a late consolation to make the score look respectable, but if not for Klos, it could have been a lot more, with Milan having no fewer than 21 shots at goal.
Like Nathan, Zak also faced his second Italian opponents as he took on Matt. Boksic has been on a roll this week, and he opened the scoring with goal three in as many games. Del Boy got Matt back in it, and that was it in terms of goals. Matt had a nervy end to the match after Di Livio’s dismissal, but a draw was fair.
FA Cup quarter-final time now, and Philip faced arguably the toughest opponents outside of the premiership in Rangers. Gazza’s injury didn’t help the Gers, but it was a comfortable win for Philip nonetheless.
Andrew’s league campaign may be faltering, but the same can’t be said for his cup run. The Frauds fell behind to an early penalty, but fought back to make it through to the semis after a rare goal for Sforza, Bugera’s second in two games, and an obscene Elber strike.
Nathan is in a similar boat to Andrew in terms of the league, but is also enjoying a good run in the cup, and his Dortmund side booked their place in the semis with an effortless win over Raith Rovers.
There was one all-premier clash, as Ross took on Deano at Old Trafford. It was never going to be a quiet game, and this was backed up with 34 shots, 14 corners, 17 free kicks, and goals from Solskjaer, Beckham, Beetlejuice and Crapvert. Oh, and yet another man of the match award for that man, Winston Bogarde.
After losing your last two matches, the last thing you need is to play the league leaders, but that was the case for Deano, and it didn’t end well. I’m not sure what was rarer, Stoichkov not scoring, or Salinas scoring four. One thing that didn’t come as a surprise, was the man of the match, Bogarde! That’s three in a row for him!
The third Der Klassiker of the season was next, this fixture has produced twelve goals so far, and Nathan and Andrew have won one each. It remained tight for an hour, and in the end all that separated the sides was a goal from Mr. Obscene himself, which closed the gap between them to four points.
Another derby of sorts followed, with Matt and Dave battling out an all-Italian affair, and it was another one of those matches that was full of action but it didn’t show in the score line. Out of the thirteen shots on target, just one found the back of the net, Demetrio Albertini the man who separated the two teams.
I like to think I’m a generous chap, so if anyone was going to hand Zak his first win in nine Games, it was me. I’d like to blame it all on Bodo Illgner, but he had 9/10, and the rest had 5’s and 6’s. Zak would have been happy with Voller’s first goal in a while, and yet another for Dobrovolski, maybe he should have played from the start!
Finishing off the league action were Rob and Ross. Rob hasn’t officially been relegated, and has an outside chance of climbing out of the drop zone, while this was a must-win for Ross to keep the pressure on Philip. It was close, but United had the lion’s share of all the stats, and indeed the goals, all from different scorers.
Zak’s second leg with Arsenal was played off-air, and after a tight first leg, you could have been forgiven for thinking that this game was going to be similar, but it turned out to be anything but, and Zak was safely through to face Atletico Madrid in the semis.
So the gap at the top is now back to seven points, and Dave’s three wins this week has seen him overtake Dean. The rest of the table is unchanged, but with the champion and relegated team yet to be confirmed, it’s still all to play for, with each team besides Matt and Zak, still having to play each other once more.
Join us next week, for three more rounds of league matches, as we edge towards the end of the season. There’s also European games for Philip and Zak in between, see you then!