Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Live - Champions League


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By Chris Bevan

1948: Spartak have made a decent start too, passing the ball around nicely. Very early days though.

1947: An early effort by Shakhtar, with Darijo Srna bending in a free-kick from the edge of the box. Lukasz Fabianski was across to make a comfortable save.

1945: We are under way in Donetsk, Milan and in west London too.

From Goonasaurus, via text: "Re 1915. I wonder what excuses Mircea Lucescu will come up with when Arsenal beat Shakhtar Donetsk tonight?"

AC Milan v Real Madrid line-ups
AC Milan: Abbiati, Abate, Nesta, Thiago Silva, Zambrotta, Boateng, Pirlo, Gattuso, Alexandre Pato, Ibrahimovic, Ronaldinho. Subs: Amelia, Inzaghi, Seedorf, Ambrosini, Robinho, Yepes, Antonini.
Real Madrid: Casillas, Sergio Ramos, Pepe, Carvalho, Marcelo, Alonso, Khedira, Ronaldo, Ozil, Di Maria, Higuain. Subs: Dudek, Mahamadou Diarra, Benzema, Granero, Arbeloa, Albiol, Pedro Leon.
Referee: Howard Webb (England)

Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti on his decision to leave John Terry on the bench tonight: "John is intelligent and understands the reason - he's played a lot of games, and we have a lot of big matches coming up that we want him to be fit for."

1941: The players emerge from the tunnel at Stamford Bridge, after some last-minute stretches. You know what that means... yes, it's almost anthem time.

mdriver11 on Twitter: "Arsenal's youngsters have proved they can do it before, why can't they do it again?"

hypetr on Twitter: "Clearly the Emirates result has gone to Wenger's head somewhat. That team he's picked stands no chance tonight."

1936: By the way, the Craig Eastmond that BacktoHighburyplease refers to below is a 19-year-old Wandsworth-born midfielder/defender who is about to make his first Champions League appearance for Arsenal, and only his second first-team appearance of the season for the Gunners.

1931: The news that John Terry is only on the bench means that the Chelsea skipper is not certain of surpassing Frank Lampard's club record of playing 72 Champions League games tonight. I doff my cap to Infostrada Sports for that particular stat.

Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger on his team selection in Donetsk: "I have picked the best possible team to win the game tonight. It will be a very competitive game and we are up for it. We want to do well and I'm confident we will."

From BacktoHighburyplease on 606: "Not going to lie but a little nervous about Craig Eastmond playing for Arsenal tonight, hope he can step it up."

Chelsea v Spartak Moscow team news
Sam Lyon reports:
"Even with John Terry dropped to the bench and Michael Essien rested completely for the visit Spartak, it's still a first-rate Chelsea team on show at Stamford Bridge, with Ramires back after an ankle injury, Salomon Kalou the replacement for the injured Florent Malouda and Didier Drogba captain on his first European outing of the season. Spartak make two changes from the game in Moscow, Andrei Ivanov and fit-again skipper Alex drafted in."

DanielJamWalker on Twitter: "Spartak Moscow are in good form in the Russian league. They could just sneak a draw you know. Aiden McGeady will trouble Ferreira."

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti on striker Didier Drogba, making his first Champions League appearance of the season after suspension: "He's a big player. It will be fantastic if he is able to repeat the sort of performances he has made in the Premier League in Europe."

1918: Here's a bit more news from the San Siro, where Real are looking for their fourth straight win in the Champions League as well as a place in the last 16 of course. The match marks Jose Mourinho's first return to Italy since he led Inter Milan to the Champions League title in May. "Going back to the San Siro is the same as going home," the Real boss said. "It's a shame it is Milan against Real Madrid instead of against Inter... It would have given me the chance to thank everyone at the stadium for those great two years I had there."

Shakhtar Donetsk coach Mircea Lucescu on the chance to avenge his side's drubbing by Arsenal at the Emirates: "I hope that in this game we will have valid and neutral refereeing. The mistakes of the referee in favour of Arsenal were clearly visible. The third goal was not a penalty, the players pulled shirts together - and it should have been a red card for a hard Jack Wilshere tackle. We have been waiting impatiently to play Arsenal at home. That final score in London was not fair."

1915: We have only got about half-an-hour to wait until tonight's games kick-off around Europe. I've got some more good news too: give this page a manual refresh and you will be able to listen to live BBC Radio 5 live commentary of Chelsea versus Spartak Moscow.

Chelsea v Spartak Moscow line-ups
Chelsea: Cech, Ferreira, Ivanov, Alex, Cole, Mikel, Ramires, Zhirkov, Kalou, Drogba, Anelka. Subs: Turnbull, Sturridge, Terry, Van Aanholt, Bruma, Kakuta, McEachran.
Spartak Moscow: Dikan, Ivanov, Pareja, Suchy, Makeev, Ibson, Shyeshukov, McGeady, Alex, Dmitri Kombarov, Welliton. Subs: Belenov, Sabitov, Drincic, Bazhenov, Khodyrev, Ananidze, Kozlov.
Referee: Cuneyt Cakir (Turkey)

Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal team news
Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger makes seven changes from the side which beat West Ham last Saturday. Winger Theo Walcott, midfielder Jack Wilshere and striker Nicklas Bendtner each start with young midfielder Craig Eastmond also coming into a side missing Cesc Fabregas, Andrey Arshavin, Alex Song and Denilson through injury. Shakhtar Donetsk make two changes from the side which won 1-0 at the weekend with defender Tomas Hubschman and midfielder Jadson replacing Taras Stepanenko and Alex Teixeira."

1908: As well as the two English clubs in action, there's plenty else going on too, including a clash between two giants of the game, AC Milan and Real Madrid at the San Siro, where Robinho has been left on the bench by the Rossoneri - he won't like that much. A win for Real would mean they definitely qualify out of Group G while, over in Group E, Bayern Munich will progress if they beat CFR Cluj. James (below) doesn't think that will happen, though... we will soon find out if his predictions rival those of (former Spurs winger) Rohan Ricketts or Paul (the dead octopus).

Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal line-ups
Shakhtar Donetsk: Pyatov, Srna, Chygrynskiy, Rakitskiy, Rat, Gai, Hubschman, Jadson, Eduardo, Willian, Luiz Adriano. Subs: Khudzamov, Kucher, Kobin, Stepanenko, Douglas Costa, Alex Teixeira, Moreno.
Arsenal: Fabianski, Eboue, Squillaci, Djourou, Clichy, Eastmond, Wilshere, Walcott, Rosicky, Nasri, Bendtner. Subs: Szczesny, Sagna, Koscielny, Vela, Chamakh, Emmanuel-Thomas, Lansbury.
Referee: Massimo Busacca (Switzerland)

james_flynn on Twitter: "Chelsea to win, Arsenal will draw though. Shock of the night to come from Cluj beating Bayern. Heard it here first. on Twitter"

Chelsea v Spartak Moscow (Group F 1945 GMT)
Sam Lyon reports:
"Having laid the ghost of the Luzhniki Stadium - the venue for their 2008 Champions League final defeat - to rest a fortnight ago, Chelsea return to fortress Stamford Bridge for a match that could confirm their progress into the knockout stages with two Group F games still left to play. Even a draw could be enough to send the Blues through, but on the back of a run of 21 group stage matches unbeaten at home - and with Didier Drogba available to make his 2010-11 European bow - anything less than victory will be a disappointing return for arguably Europe's form team."

1858: Unlike a certain Mr Bale at White Hart Lane yesterday evening, I can't do this all on my own tonight. Basically, I need your help. How? Easy. Tweet me at chrisbevan_bbc on Twitter, join the regulars on 606 or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide).

Shakhtar Donetsk v Arsenal (Group H 1945 GMT)
Mandeep Sanghera reports: "Arsenal thrashed Shakhtar Donetsk 5-1 a couple of weeks ago but Gunners boss Arsene Wenger is expecting a tougher game this time around. Shakhtar have nine clean sheets from their 10 home games at the Donbass Arena this season and, after three wins without conceding a goal since the defeat by Arsenal, the Miners are five points clear at the top of the Ukrainian league. Shakhtar will be out for revenge as Wenger's side face a test of their squad strength with Cesc Fabregas, Alex Song, Andrey Arshavin and Denilson all out. The Gunners have never won in Ukraine but know victory would secure their progress into the last 16 with two games to spare."

1852: And I've got some breaking team news from the Donbass Arena too, just in case any Arsenal fans were feeling left out. Theo Walcott, compared to Thierry Henry this week by Arsene Wenger, starts along with Jack Wilshere. Marouane Chamakh is on the bench.

From normanstanley on 606: "Can't see all the English teams winning this week. Got a feeling of an upset at Stamford Bridge. Hope not, but just a feeling."

1848: Here's a bit of breaking team news for you from Stamford Bridge: Didier Drogba starts, John Terry is on the bench and Michael Essien is not in the Chelsea squad. Full details to follow.

1847: Yep, there is a good reason why Carlo Ancelotti and Arsene Wenger are sitting pretty with their teams on the cusp of a place in the knockout stages. Three wins out of three games for both London clubs sort of tells its own story - as does the record 14 goals the Gunners have smashed in so far. Tonight, with a few injuries to contend with, Wenger's men are in Ukraine, against a Shakhtar Donetsk side they dished out an absolute pasting to last month, while the Blues host Spartak Moscow, who they brushed aside in Russia.

1845 GMT: Evening all. I expect you've all noticed that it's already been a very good week indeed for English sides (not to mention Welsh wingers) in the Champions League, but it might be about to get even better. Wins for Arsenal and Chelsea tonight will see them secure top slot in their group and safely through to the last 16 (and even a draw might be enough to do the trick). Confident? Erm, they probably should be.

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