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UEFA Champions League 05/06 Thread


2 August 2004
As usual my thoughts/opinions/comments for another CL tie put in spoiler of course for those who want to watch later at half-time.

Worst player on the field so far for Villarreal in first half has been G. Franco (The naturalized Argentinian)!

He's always been disappointing everytime I've seen him since his move to Villarreal in January whether it was coming on as sub or starting few matches and this one has been no different.

I don't ever blame players for getting "involved" and in fact I love if somebody makes mistakes but at least gets "Involved and isn't scared to take parts and participate like many players do because they're afraid to committ mistakes, in fact I hate that way more!". But today although he's been involved, it's been very disappoting thus far.

Almost everytime apart from a couple of good things he's done, he's got the ball it meant the "End of posesssion for Villarreal" as he makes an inaccurate pass or bad touch of the ball or too sloppy to react so somebody steals it from him.

He's also had 2 shots which I don't blame him for taking but they were way high into the stands and not something you expect twice in a row at this level of play.

In the first leg Guayre I believe was injured which is why he wasn't even on bench but now that he's available (I assume since he's on bench) he would've definitely been my first choice to start alongside Forlan and it's still not too late. He's a tricky player, with speed and their best forward when it comes to technical and dribbling ability which right now Villarreal could use even more than ever since G. Franco is playing a bit deeper than the normal CF position anyway, kinda like a SS/CF and that is the perfect role for Guayre.

If it was me I'd bring him on at half-time right now and let him show his stuff and bother the Arsenal defence with some trickery/pace (If he's fit) and let Forlan stay up front so he doesn't have to drop so deep to get balls since Franco which was assigned to do that I assume before match (since that's how he started) isn't doing his job properly.

Other than that good match so far and will be an exciting 2nd half.

p.s. The commentators are talking shit again! The guy said both in first leg and now in 2nd leg that Javi Venta is one of the best right backs in La Liga! :shock: (Maybe that's cuz he only watches the top 4-5 teams play) but that's not true at all. He's had a decent day so far today and been one of the most effective/involved players but that is definitely over-rating him!

I've watched the former Teneriffe man for a good few years and he's a very mediocre player. One who attacks and defends (so is rather balanced although he does prefer attacking) but not quite good enough in either task unlike someone like J. Zanetti for example who does both with great ability!

HE's a pretty avg player overall but has got good stamina and runs a lot and works hard. That's all that can be said about him but nothing about him whether is defending or getting forward, supplying crosses or technical side of things is SPECIAL about him or anything to put him among best RB's in La Liga. He's far from it in my opinion. But a decent and avg player nonetheless who on some days can do a pretty decent job (and has done so far soemwhat in first half). (Had a very bad first leg though).

So my plan if I were Pellegrini would be to tell the team to keep doing same thing Villarreal has been doing thus far cuz they've been clearly the better team in first half but by bringing on Guayre (Not too lte) they can possible create more chances and get something out of this game and show something for their possession they've had.

Having said all that and I stick by it but if G. Franco does stay in, he's the type to possibly get in a good position and score a goal as he came close with that cross from right late in first half. But still I'd sacrifice him for Guayre to make more chances and then have Forlan be on the end of the real opportunities.
We'll see what happens though :)


Allez les Lionceaux !!!
12 September 2002
Lucky Arsenal, ver, very lucky Arsenal...
Villareal deserved to win this game...

Nevertheless good luck for Arsenal in Paris.


21 November 2004
Villareal was unlucky, yes. But you're not lucky when you have a great defence with a geat keeper.

Congrats Villareal for their 1st CL and Arsenal for the qualification.


Did you Say BOOTS - Pk
9 January 2004
in the boots thread
Lille, de oranje!
gutted totally

villareal controlled both legs but arsenal scored the goal!

arsenal have had the easiest champs league run in ever a weak group and under performing knockout opponents!

nevrtheless who cares! march on to paris young wenglings "HE" will be waiting!


Retired Footballer
15 March 2003
ThomasGOAL said:
I want to know what Thierry Henry says to Lehmann just before the penalty !!!
henry says to lehmann, riquelme in hot time shot in the middle
and of course for make a trouble for Riquelme


2 August 2004
total said:
Jose Mari is apparently a great actor. Like Reyes, Robben & co. That was a f*cking dive.
He's a diver but I'm not so sure this was a dive and not a penalty. If you're waiting for ball to come down and for you to shoot it in the box and then somebody comes and shoulders you hard so you lose your balance and the opportunity, many refs will call that a foul, many won't but I don't think it's an absolute wrong decision either way and this time it was given.

Regarding the stuff I said in spoiler above at HT, well Pellegrini didn't do it and now Villarreal are out without having made the best possible moves they could've in my opinion to turn this tie around and turn that possession to real "Danger"!

His team dominated the first half and were in full control but early in 2nd half by subbing off Josico for a 3rd striker, an unfit Jose Mari instead of Guayre, his team wouldn't be able to have full control or possession of match anymore with Arsenal being more in it than in 1st half.

This led to them having to worry a bit more about Arsenal counter-attacks which they didn't have to really think about much in first half since from that min they were playing inbalanced and with one forward too many.

That meant less possession/less dominance and less chances as well for Villarreal.

Franco should've been taken off for Guayre like I said at halftime or at least if he wanted to risk things he should've waited and do it around 70th min mark if they were still behind (which if they had kept the balanced 4-4-2 formation till 70th minute, there's a good chance they could've been more in control like in first half and therefore done more than they did now in 2nd half till 70th min mark) bringing a 3rd striker in and again Guayre >>> Unfit - almost injured himself again Jose Mari!

Having said all I did about Franco at half time, he did have a better 2nd half where he created one opportunity by an awesome control of ball that fooled defender and also gave away less balls and possession. But still he didn't do his job that well (especially in first half) and this resulted in Forlan few times coming really really deep in 2nd half and trying to "dictate play himself" which led to him trying to play passes and throughballs which all went to nothing as that's not exactly his skill!

Still though I don't particularly like the way Pellegrini did things today and had he tried some other stuff (perhaps things I suggested) maybe just maybe things would've been different. Of course there is possibility that they could've been worst as well after my advice! We'll never know but Guayre ---> IN Franco ---> Out especially the way Franco was playing a SS/CF role could've been very effective today but he never tried it. Even when subs came he brought on an unfit Jose Mari and Roger and made team even more inbalanced and not with right attacking potential.

The Riquelme PK and general performance is a separate discussion so I won't get into that now but these are general less obvious to see/remember and analyze observations I made after watching carefully two 90+ mins of these two teams fighting it!
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10 December 2005
Arsenal/OGC Nice
PLF said:
He's a diver but I'm not so sure this was a dive and not a penalty. If you're waiting for ball to come down and for you to shoot it in the box and then somebody comes and shoulders you hard so you lose your balance and the opportunity, many refs will call that a foul, many won't but I don't think it's an absolute wrong decision either way and this time it was given.
He fell down pretty fast. We'll sure see some more replays. But from what I've seen that was a dive.

Biased or not, for me that was a dive... :)


Allez les Lionceaux !!!
12 September 2002
Jose Mari may be a diver but Clichy clearly pushed him in the back: penalty...not a blatant one but a penalty...


19 December 2002
London & Milan
AC Milan
Franco was pretty awful all game. He was clumsy and slow. I expected him to be taken off at half time like PLF said. I think Forlan was very generous and supportive tonight as he was all over the pitch supporting the midfield and running at 100 miles an hour for every ball, a bit like Sorin.

I think it was a PK, even though Jose Mari was looking for it.... Clichy still pushed him.


2 August 2004
Well I already saw the replay a few times from different angles Total. Like I say for me that can easily be a given PK and he actually fell down because of the shoulder touch that made him lose balance but like Stan says it's not a blatant or obvious one which is why I said whether ref gave this one or didn't, I don't think he could be "DEF wrong!". Could've gone either way and different refs or even same ones on different day might have made same or different decision.

It's hard to decide but at end of the day if I had to lean one way or another, I probably would've given it too and not just punish Jose Mari for his "Reputation" especially as he was looking at ball, waiting for it to come down and lining up a shot until he was pushed and lost balance therefore.


22 February 2005
chelsea fc,psg
Yeah PLF you're right about Franco!!saw him several time in La Liga the guy is awfull!!for riquelme he is that kind of player who shine only against "small teams" i never see him play well in the "big games"
for me he 's totally overrated!!


Allez les Lionceaux !!!
12 September 2002
I think most Brittish people on this forum would never give a penalty for that foul...most continental certainly would...


11 November 2001
First reaction to the penalty, before I saw a single replay, was that it was an absolute blatant dive by Jose Mari. But replays clearly show Clichy jumped into him, it doesn't matter if Jose Mari throws his arms up and doesn't use all his power to remain standing up, it's a foul and thus, a penalty.

Riquelme bottled it big-time, you could see so clearly on his face beforehand he must have filled his pants before he took a single step of his run up. He didn't go for the rebound either, and there was still 5 mins to play including injury time and he just stood there as if he'd missed the last PK in a penalty shoot-out.

Arsenal played defensively, but if they play anything like that in the final they will get ripped to shreds. Gilberto should have been sent off, which Clive Tyldsley (ITV commentator) took 79 minutes to acknowledge despite acknowledging the foul at the time, that guy is a grade A ******. I wonder if Gilberto will get done by UEFA video evidence tribunal, it's happened before and although I wouldn't like to see anyone miss such a big game it was a blatant red-card offence.
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20 September 2004
Almada, Portugal
SL Benfica
Lol @ you English people talking about diving like it's as bad as walking to the field with a machine gun shooting everyone...

You make such a big deal out of it :/

I thought Guillermo Franco played well actually, he won a lot of high balls in the area, dunno why he's so bad PLF...


Guille, no te olvidare!!!
1 July 2005
New York, NY
Boca Juniors, Legia
I really don't think Jose Mari dove, Noted. Thing is that he was hit but keep in mind he was hit in the back, so in addition to getting knocked off balance which I don't think he dove for, a foul must be called anyway because it was a foul from behind

P.S. Gilberto should be called back for that foul by the UEFA, blatant and disgusting play which needs to stop. He's ok but too aggressive. Also Seeing Henry dive as well as get the free kick made me very very sad as it's the first time I've seen him do that. Reyes was all over the floor as usual though.
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Looking for a Manager
25 July 2005
Arsenal Thread
The Arsenal FC
watch what you say about Henry diving,he cleary got whack in the shin and his heel.no ones talks about the handball in the box by joseci again 1st at highbury


Guille, no te olvidare!!!
1 July 2005
New York, NY
Boca Juniors, Legia
Yep I should have phrased better and so should you, dont tell me to "watch" not to be aggressive but just saying it sounded kinda like a threat. I respect Henry highly and only saw one angle of the replay once which is what they showed. I love him as a player and I don't know but from what I saw, the ball was away and afteward he fell, but you probably are right as I can't really see Henry playing dirty like that.


2 August 2004
Doping said:
I thought Guillermo Franco played well actually, he won a lot of high balls in the area, dunno why he's so bad PLF...
Of course we're allowed to have different opinions Doping and that's cool. :) 8)

But if you really want to know what I'm talking about, if you've taped the match or there is a reply, go watch it a 2nd time and this time "analyze" his play. Every move and every pass! Not just the main moments or goal-scoring chances I really do mean EVERY move/pass. :)

I haven't watched it more than once either obviously, never do that and def no time for it with exams now either but I don't really need to, because when I do watch a match, I watch every single move and remember it whether it's a chance on goal or a pass inside own half to a team-mate for every player. You have to remember it "all" to be able to judge how a player did at the end of the match and how productive to team he was.

My guess is if you watch it a 2nd time now with your sole focus on Franco very carefully and notice everything from first time the ball touches Franco's foot till 90th minute, you'll then see what I was talking about. ;)

Yes it's true that in 2nd half he picked up his game like I said before. He did much better than 1st half, had a very nice control at one point and also did that nice "header move" which fooled the defender from that "high ball" that gave the chance to "Forlan" to score but he missed! So I know what you're talking about regarding that high ball and couple others he won ;) , I remember them. But overall if you look over again you'll see TOO many times it meant End of Possession for Villarreal when Franco got the ball!! Especially in first half!

He tried to go past Clichy, Eboue and other players a few times which he failed at because he didn't have the acceleration or speed to get around them. He made about 7-8 inaccurate passes to give the ball away to Arsenal as well. Twice we know in first half he got the ball and even if he didn't want to use other options he had, his shot should've been way better than blazing it over the bar way high into stands!

That off-side goal he scored as well wasn't too smart. He was clearly a yard offside so when he came back "On-side" he should've already known that if he takes shot, it won't count so rather he should've passed it ahead of Sorin who wasn't offside and could've done something! (Again I've only watched match once but I think I remember this instance quite clearly as well).

So all in all Doping, like any match with any player, you can if you want remember the "Good things" he did or just the "bad things" only but if you truly watch every minute of the match carefully and look at every move/pass/contribution to match he made, you'll see he did more bad than good and therefore had a poor game especially in first half much more. In 2nd half he wasn't bad but just avg.

ALAIN said:
Yeah PLF you're right about Franco!! saw him several time in La Liga the guy is awfull!!
Well one problem of Villarreal since January in my opinion has been this LOVE-affair between Pellegrini and Franco!!

First of all by losing Lucho Figueroa and bringing in Franco, you already lost some quality as I much prefer Lucho even though he's not a good player but a good poacher/goal-getter. So that wasn't a good move for the team BUT one they had to take since Lucho wanted regular playing time and he wasn't getting enough so he thought by a loan/transfer (it's some perectange transfer and rest is still for Villarreal some percentage i forgot), he could get into River Plate's first team and have chance of making Argentinian National Team.

So that wasn't their fault and I don't blame them.

BUT like you, everytime I've seen Franco play since January, he's been ineffective, poor or just avg and the problem is he's been playing many many games despite not impressing!!!!!! :shock:

Most of them have been off the bench and not in starting line up but still I don't understand why he got all those sub apps and some starts like today when there is also Guayre. On a day when everyone's fit, Franco for me is clearly #4 striker in the team with Forlan being the automatic choice and Guayre/Jose Mari capable of challenging each other for 2nd place and Franco is worst one especially when it comes to playing the SS/CF role which usually Villarreal like to play with their 2nd striker!

So today with Jose Mari unfit, it was perfect time to throw in Guayre if he is fit from the start who could've with the speed / trickery / dribbling and technique Franco does NOT have, trouble the defence of Arsenal somewhat but he didn't in fact he never got the chance even at HT when I said best way for them to turn it around would be for Pellegrini to tell team "Just do what you've been doing and also make that sub to make more things happen!" But he didn't and managed to keep a disappointing Franco till end of match and made his team inbalanced in 56th or so minute by bringing still an UNFIT Jose Mari instead of Guayre in for their DMF Josico where it made Arsenal get back more into the match and have more possession and more counter-attacks from then on compared to first half.
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League 2
15 June 2005
Lehmann has been superb this season he doesn't to make that save.
I think Jose Mari took full advantage of that challenge for the penalty, it was certainly a dive.
About this Gilberto should of been sent off nonsense I don't think so maybe a yellow but I don't really care about the incident he had another good game nullifying Riquelme's threat and doing what he does best and that's protecting the defence whether it's putting in crucial tackles, winning headers or blocking shots.
It's so easy not to notice his work when there's big names like Makelele heaping the praise for his own defensive work and with him doing such a unexciting job.

Did we deserve to go through? Perhaps not but we have anyway, it wasn't the best performance compared to our two previous rounds but we ARE in the final of the Champions League for the first time ever.
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villareal missed about 4 open goals and riquelme's miss was a shame ..
how can villareal deserve it ? they cant even score easy goals
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