Thursday, November 4, 2010

Live text - Europa League


To get involved use Twitter, 606 or SMS via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide) with FOOTBALL before your message. (Not all contributions can be used. Messages will be charged at your standard operator rate.)

By Sam Lyon

Anon via text: "We love you really Sam .. (awkward...)"

Mr_MEJ on Twitter: "I think both Liverpool and Man City will find it tough going tonight, score draw for both."

1743: So how do we call tonight? With the aid of Infostrada Sports' Euro Club Index of course! You know you love it. Lech Poznan (ranked 171 in the world - about the same as Wigan Athletic) have a 16% chance of beating Man City (59%), who are ranked 23rd on the list. Liverpool, meanwhile, are ranked 12th and have a 65% chance of beating Napoli (13%), who are 63rd alongside the likes of Fulham.

Daniel Punt, Worlingham via text: "Re: MohamudWarsame - Touching, yet completely disturbing!"

Chris in Basingstoke via text: "Re: MohamudWarsame - I thought Sam Lyon was a girl."

1738: Now then, let me me hit you with some stats. Man City are on a six-match unbeaten run in European competition, have won both their European away games this season without conceding a goal, and are a goal away from their 100th in Uefa club competition. All road point to a City win then... right? Liverpool, meanwhile, might have had a few early-season struggles in the league but they are unbeaten in eight European games and have won their last seven at Anfield. Still, Napoli themselves have not lost in five European games this season - and Rommy, below, has underlined their threat away from home. Tougher to call that one.

insomnijac on Twitter: "I love Thursday football! Bring it on."

Rommy, London via text: "Napoli's away record this season: W4 D3 L0."

MohamudWarsame on 606: "I wish Sam Lyon was actually a girl."

David Ornstein reports:
"Not for the first time in this season's Europa League, Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini rings the changes. There are eight in all from Saturday's defeat at Wolves, the most notable seeing Mario Balotelli drop to the bench when he was tipped for a first European start. Elsewhere, Joleon Lescott, Dedryck Boyata and Wayne Bridge come into defence, Patrick Vieira and Pablo Zabaleta will hold in central midfield and Adam Johnson and Shaun Wright-Phillips get a run out on the wings. Leading the line for hosts Lech is top scorer Artjoms Rudnevs, while Bartosz Bosiacki takes the captain's armband in Jose Maria Bakero's first game in charge."

g33kNchips on Twitter: "Got an hour left of work...nothing is getting finished now the footy is on the way! Hail the early kick-off!"

RKW - White Eagle on 606: "Lech Poznan looked decent at Eastlands in the last Europa League game, with fantastic support (don't expect anything less tonight). The atmosphere will be electric tonight but I think Man City's class will see them through 2-1."

1728: So of course Manchester City boss Roberto Mancini has spent at least part of his build-up towards this match defending his team's unity, following reports of rifts within the ranks at Eastlands. "If there is someone who wants to write these lies, they can do. I'm happy for them, but it is not true," he said. Strong words. James Milner added his weight to the defence, claiming "the nonsense written in the papers just brings you closer together", while Gareth Barry said: "We are all pulling in the right direction and hopefully we can get there as a soon as we can." Sounds like we can look forward to a strong team performance tonight - which can only be bad news for Lech Poznan.

redandblackT 606: "(Bad pun alert)Lech get ready to rumble."

ryanvenndunn on Twitter: "Is every match from now potentially kickstarting Liverpool's season?!?"

Lech Poznan:
Buric, Kikut, Bosacki, Arboleda, Henriquez, Peszko, Injac, Djurdjevic, Krivets, Stilic, Rudnevs. Subs: Kotorowski, Gancarczyk, Bandrowski, Wilk, Kielb, Zapotoka, Mozdzen.
Man City: Given, Zabaleta, Richards, Boyata, Lescott, Adam Johnson, Vieira, Bridge, Wright-Phillips, Milner, Adebayor. Subs: Hart, Kompany, Kolarov, Barry, Silva, Jo, Balotelli.
Referee: Pieter Vink (Holland)

DanSalvage on Twitter: "As a Man Utd fan, tonight I will become Polish between 6-8pm and Italian between 8-10pm!"

Robbie, Sedgefield via text: "RE: 1705 - if you were a real fan you wouldn't leave for toilet breaks. Just sit it out."

As many as nine teams can confirm their progress into the last 32 tonight, led by Manchester City who would guarantee a top-two finish in Group A with a win over Lech Poznan courtesy of their better head-to-head record against the Polish outfit (Lech, in theory, could still finish on the same points). Sporting, CSKA Moscow, Zenit St Petersburg, VfB Stuttgart, FC Porto and Paris St Germain can also guarantee qualification with victory. It's a little less cut-and-dried for Liverpool, but a win over Napoli tonight would leave them needing just a draw against Steaua Bucharest on 2 Dec to go through. Nice.

bryantjuniour on Twitter: "If Liverpool win today then they could really kickstart their season, fingers crossed."

Scott, Morecambe via text: "The early kick-off isn't good for me - I'm stuck in work till 1945! Ah well there's always record, just gotta last these last hours without workmates telling me the score! BLUE MOON!"

Mario Balotelli starts on the bench in Poland, with Emmanuel Adebayor preferred up front.

David Ornstein reports:
"Stung by two straight league defeats and reports of unrest in the camp, City travel to Poland keen to silence their critics. Win and they're through to the last 32, but in Lech they face a side aiming to boost their own hopes of qualification and exact revenge for defeat at Eastlands a fortnight ago. Wednesday's sacking of coach Jacek Zielinski did not make for ideal preparation, but his replacement Jose Maria Bakero was part of the Barcelona "Dream Team" that won the 1992 European Cup - so he knows what it feels like to win on the big stage."

LivingForFootball on 606: "Good day Sam, how about lots of goals and tight matches for the day?"

1709: And while you're keeping your head down trying to avoid the chores/your boss' glares, why not drop me a line and lend me your thoughts on tonight's action? Tweet me @sampatricklyon, get on 606, or text me via 81111 (UK) or +44 7786200666 (worldwide). Let's just try to get on a bit better than the Man City team yeah?

1705: It's quite simple tonight, really. Lech Poznan v Man City kicks off a round of a dozen group matches at 1800 GMT, with Liverpool v Napoli leading off another dozen at 2005 GMT. Plenty hanging on both those matches involving the Premier League teams too, so don't even think about leaving your desk/couch/recliner. Except maybe to get refreshments and/or snacks. Oh, and toilet breaks. Obviously.

1700: You've got to love an early Europa League kick-off haven't you? What better way to kill the last few dull moments of your day in the office than with a spot of footy? Exactly. Welcome slackers.

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