Tag Archives: Camp Nou

Champions League Group Stage Ultimate XI

Group Stage Ultimate XI

The Champions League group stages are done and dusted with Chelsea becoming the first holders in the history to be knocked out in the group stages, Manchester City completely out of Europe, Real Madrid finishing second and Lionel Messi in fine form.

Here, IntoTheTopCorner picks its Group Stage Ultimate XI, containing the very best performers over the six matchdays in a 4-5-1 formation. There’s an alternative to each selection, so have a look at the team below…

GK – FRASER FORSTER (CELTIC)

Forster

Celtic are through to the knockout stages for the first time since the 2007/08 season and they had some individual performances to thank for. The former Newcastle United shot-stopper is one of them, as he had two brilliant games against Barcelona that actually secured their qualification. A last-gasp defeat at the Camp Nou and a historical win at Celtic Park did their confidence a world of good, and their final matchday win over Spartak Moscow was more than deserved.

Alternative – Joe Hart (Manchester City)

RB – PHILIPP LAHM (BAYERN MUNICH)

Lahm

Bayern’s skipper and Mr. Consistent, Philipp Lahm, has proved dependable yet again as the Bundesliga leaders secured the top spot in Group F ahead of Valencia. Though, the German international captain did his best work on the left flank he comes in our side as a right-back. He managed three assists and won one penalty in the five matches he played and looked very solid at the back.

Alternative – Lukasz Piszczek (Borussia Dortmund)

CB – THIAGO SILVA (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN)

Thiago Silva

The Brazilian is known as one of the best defenders in the world of football at the moment and he didn’t let anyone down. The former AC Milan centre-back was very consistent throughout the group stages as he helped the French side to first place in Group A in their long-awaited return to Europe’s elite. He scored two goals including the opener in PSG’s important win over Porto on Matchday six.

Alternative – Martin Demichelis (Malaga)

CB – MATS HUMMELS (BORUSSIA DORTMUND)

Hummels

Dortmund – surprisingly – topped the Group of Death and they had their solid defence to thank for it. Hummels, the integral part of the reigning Bundesliga champions’ back four, was at his very best as Die Schwarzgelben remained unbeaten in all of their six group games and also managed to keep three clean sheets in the process.  All the defence played their part, but the German international was perhaps the standout performer in Jurgen Klopp’s back four.

Alternative – Nicolas Otamendi (Porto)

LB – GIORGIO CHIELLINI (JUVENTUS)

Chiellini

Juventus secured their passage through to the knockout stages as Group E winners thanks to an unbeaten run of six games. Their last three were impressive wins and also clean sheets, while the Old Lady came out victorious in Donetsk – a feat achieved by very few teams in the past 12 months or so. The Italian international was perhaps the most impressive player in Antonio Conte’s back three.

Alternative – Christian Fuchs (Schalke)

CDM – ARTURO VIDAL (JUVENTUS)

Vidal

The Chilean international has to be one of the players of the group stages. The former Leverkusen man is a typical box-to-box midfielder combining defensive steel with goal-scoring prowess at the highest level. His partnership with Claudio Marschisio is the engine of Conte’s team. In the group stages, he averaged 4.8 tackles per game and scored three goals with one assist—an absolutely remarkable feat for a defensive midfield.

Alternative – Victor Wanyama (Celtic)

CM – WILLIAN (SHAKHTAR DONETSK)

Willian

The Brazilian alongside the Chilean gives our side some South American feel in the midfield. Willian, who has attracted a lot of interest from the Premier League clubs like Chelsea and Tottenham in the past, was one of the top performers for Shakhtar scoring four goals and creating two as they made it through to the last-16 and dumped the holders out of the competition in the process.

Alternative – Fernandinho (Shakhtar Donetsk)

CM – ISCO (MALAGA)

Isco

The 20-year-old Spaniard scored twice and assisted two in six games to announce himself on the European stage and walk straight into our line-up. While he has failed to to translate this form into his La Liga games, Isco has been in super form in the Champions League. It’s his form in the in Europe’s elite competition that has clubs scrambling to meet his €18.5 million buyout clause before Malaga extend his contract, and it’s clear this kid has something slightly special.

Alternative – Toni Kroos (Bayern Munich)

RW – CRISTIANO RONALDO (REAL MADRID)

Ronaldo

Love him or hate him, but the Portuguese is surely one of the best players in the world and he proved it with his performances for the Spanish champions in the group stages. The former Manchester United star managed to scored six goals in the group of death and will be hoping to score many more in the later stages as he hopes to guide the Los Blancos to their first ever Champions League title in over a decade.

Alternative – Juan Mata (Chelsea)

LW – LIONEL MESSI (BARCELONA)

Messi

A Champions League team without the best player in the world? Not possible at all. The Barca striker is at his very peak and was again at his very best in the group stages scoring five goals and creating two as he helped the Catalans top their group. The Argentine has had the best year having scored 90 goals and will be hoping more of the same in 2013 as he looks to guide his team to yet another European success.

Alternative – Burak Yilmaz (Galatasaray)

ST – ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC (PARIS SAINT-GERMIAN)

Ibrahimovic

Out strike force is a nightmare to any team and Ibrahimovic leads it. The Swede has played for the many elite club during his career but his contributions for the French capital side in this season’s campaign can’t be ignored. He has managed to score just two goals in the six games but it’s the five assists that are the most impressive. Ezequiel Lavezzi, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez must really enjoy playing alongside the Swede as he continues to impress.

Alternative – Jackson Martinez (Porto)

Group Stage Ultimate XI

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PES 2013 – Spanish Stadium Tour (Video)

KONAMI have released a video showcasing all the Spanish stadiums in the game. And yess!! Unlike FIFA 13, PES 2013 has got lisences for Camp Nou and Barcelona’s home stadium is in the game.

Have a look at the video below…

FIFA 13 – No Camp Nou In The Game

EA Sports FIFA’s Romily Broad has confirmed that Barcelona’s home stadium Camp Nou won’t be featuring in the most eagerly awaited football video game FIFA 13.

Spotted in an Airjapes video from the YouTube event, someone posted this image (below) on facebook, prompting Romily Broad to reply on his twitter account.

So why was it in the stadium list? Because it was in the preview build from where the list was taken. We can only assume that when the list was done, the license issue was ongoing and EA were hoping to retain it. As is stands out, they weren’t able to get the license and now it’s removed from the game.

Barcelona v Chelsea – Champions League Semi Final 2nd Leg Preview

A wounded Catalan giant will welcome a weary adversary from the north into their den at the Camp Nou on Tuesday night with nothing less than a place in the final of the Champions League at stake.

Chelsea stunned the defending Champions by winning the 1st leg of the semi-final at Stamford Bridge 1-0. But defeating Barcelona on their home turf is a completely different ball-game and Chelsea will be wary of the thrashing Pep Guardiola’s men are capable of handing out. On the flipside, the Blues will also take comfort from the fact that Barca all but handed the La Liga title to Real Madrid after succumbing to a 2-1 loss at home in El Clasico on Saturday. Barca haven’t tasted defeat at home in 15 European games and anything but a victory on Tuesday night will end their hopes of becoming the first club to successfully defend the Champions League. Chelsea on the other hand will be hoping for a positive result after losing four of their previous five semi-finals.

Team News

Barcelona

Barcelona’s three-time Ballon d’Or winner, Messi, is expected to feature against Chelsea after returning to training on Monday following a ‘gastric problem’. Alexis Sanchez went off with a thigh knock in the first leg, but came on as a second-half substitute against Real. Guardiola has played down rumours of a rift with Gerard Pique, who has not featured since straining his left thigh against AC Milan on 3rd April, but the defender has been an unused substitute for Barcelona’s last three games. David Villa was ruled out for the season after breaking his left leg at the Club World Cup on 15th December.

Chelsea

Chelsea will assess Didier Drogba before deciding on their starting XI after the striker missed Saturday’s Premier League game at Arsenal with a knee injury. The Ivory Coast star traveled with the squad to Spain on Monday and trained at Camp Nou that evening. Defender David Luiz also made the trip, despite appearing to have been ruled out for at least another week with a hamstring injury.

Head to Head

18 Apr 2012 – Champions League Semi Final, 1st Leg – Chelsea 1-0 Barcelona

06 May 2009 – Champions League Semi Final, 2nd Leg – Chelsea 1-1 Barcelona

28 Apr 2009 – Champions League Semi Final, 1st Leg – Barcelona 0-0 Chelsea

Form Guide

Barcelona – LLWWW

Chelsea – DWWDW

Probable Starting XI

Barcelona (3-4-3): Valdes; Puyol, Pique, Mascherano; Dani Alves, Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas; Alexis, Messi, Iniesta.

Chelsea (4-2-3-1): Cech; Ivanovic, Cahill, Terry, Cole; Mikel, Essien; Ramires, Lampard, Mata; Drogba.

Prediction

Barcelona 3-1 Chelsea