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Author Topic: Peterborough Utd. - 2012 & beyond - Quad Quest  (Read 8249 times)

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Butter

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Peterborough Utd. - 2012 & beyond - Quad Quest
« on: July 12, 2005, 11:03:21 AM »

This thread will mark the end of Peterborough United's quest for the Quadruple.  But when will it end?  Will I get fired?  Will we actually do it?  If so, when?  I don't know.  But I'm going to contain the action to one thread from now on.... even if it takes me to 2025, as long as I don't get fired, this team will win the Quadruple.  Once we win it, I may or may not attempt a repeat, but then I will either retire or begin again with a new lower league team.

We're about to gear up my 9th season at the helm of Peterborough United, the tiny League One underdog who has gone from also-ran to English Premier League champions 2 years running.  

Visit here to re-visit our repeat as league champions, and our first ever FA Cup win.  

Or stick around to find out once and for all if it's possible for the Posh to become a team for the ages... and conquer Europe!
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Butter

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Peterborough Utd. - 2012 & beyond - Quad Quest
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2005, 02:37:30 PM »

I've decided to give the write-ups a bit more detail with what's going on with the club, and a bit less detail on the game action.  To that end, I'm going to stop detailing the in-game action so much, and write it up more like a short summary.  I know if I were you, I'd probably be well tired of reading the actual in-game events minute by minute and be more interested in how things turned out the way they did and who was in control... who has been playing well and who hasn't.  It'll be an ongoing process, so please bear with me as I try to make it a bit more fun to read.

As May ends, I send everyone home on vacation until the end of June.  I also make a ton of offers to players who have unprotected contracts, and still more offers to teams with high quality players who I think can help us on our Quad Quest.

Brighton win promotion to the English Premier League, beating Sunderland in the "richest game in football"... the Championship playoff final.  It was 32 year old striker Marlon Harewood netting the game winner for Brighton early in the second half, giving Brighton their first trip back to the Premiership since they were relegated at the close of the 1982/83 season, ending an unremarkable 4 year stay.

International competition

Jesus picks up the only goal in the Spanish U-21 team's 1-0 win over Greece in a friendly during the Euro U-21 Championship.

The Euro 2012 is about to get underway, and unfortunately for 5 of our players, that means no rest for the weary.  
Callups from the Posh are as follows:
England: Carlton Cole
Holland: Wesley Sneijder, John Heitinga
Croatia: Niko Kranjcar, Bosko Balaban

Jan Karsnak rates a pedestrian 7 during the Czech Republic U-21's 2-1 win over Portugal.  Jesus takes a 6 as Spain loses to England's U-21's 4-0.

2 days later, Karsnak picks up a 7 and an assist, but the Czechs still fall to Sweden, 3-2.

On June 1, Karsnak picks up another mediocre 7, as the Czechs fall to England in the Euro U-21 semi's, 2-0.  England beat Germany for the U-21 title 3 days later.

Euro 2012 - Posh players summary

Croatia:
*June 9th - Niko Kranjcar captains the Croatians to a 1-0 opening day win over Russia.  Ivica Olic scored the only goal for Croatia, as Kranjcar rates a 7.  
*June 13th - Bosko Balaban starts and scores as Croatia draw 2-2 with Portugal.  Kranjcar picks up a 7, as does Balaban.
*June 18th - Niko Kranjcar picks up an 8, as he captains the Croatians to another 1-0 win, this time over hosts Serbia and Montenegro, putting Croatia through to the second round.... da Silva scored Croatia's only goal here.  Balaban did not play.
*June 22nd - Niko Kranjcar picks up the only 6 of the match for Croatia, but they manage to squeak past Greece in the quarters, winning 1-0.
*June 27th - Kranjcar assists on the only goal of the match, as Croatia beat Holland 1-0 to advance to the finals.  Kranjcar gets a 9 for his performance.
*July 1st - Kranjcar picks up an 8 in the final, as Darijo Srna picks up the only goal of the match... Croatia win Euro 2012, beating Italy 1-0.  Croatia win 5 of their 6 matches 1-0, drawing the other one.


Holland:
*June 12th - Heitinga and Sneijder both only played the first half of a 1-1 draw with England, both rating a 7.
*June 17th - Heitinga and Sneijder both play the entire match, earning 8's in a 3-1 win over the Czech Republic.  Heitinga was captain.
*June 20th - Sneijder and Heitinga again play the entire match v. Norway, both earning 7's as Holland moves to the quarterfinals with a 3-1 win.
*June 23rd - Sneijder and Heitinga play all 120 minutes in the quarterfinal against Germany which ends 1-1.  They then help Holland to the semis by burying both of their PK's, beating Germany 4-2 on kicks.
*June 27th - Sneijder and Heitinga pick up 7's in the team's semifinal loss to Croatia.

England:
*June 12th - Carlton Cole did not get off the bench in a 1-1 draw v. Holland.
*June 17th - Carlton Cole again fails to enter the game, as England draw with Norway, 1-1.
*June 20th - Carlton Cole comes on as a substitute in the 41st minute of England's 3-1 win over the Czech Republic... he rates a 7, and gets 2 shots on target, but fails to score.
*June 24th - Carlton Cole came on in the 60th minute, after England were already up 4-0 on Wales, and pretty much just played out the clock, earning a 7.
*June 27th - Carlton Cole starts for England in the semifinal against Italy, but is subbed out after 60 minutes having taken just one shot on goal.  He picks up a 7 rating, and England lose on PK's, 3-2.
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Butter

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Peterborough Utd. - 2012 & beyond - Quad Quest
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2005, 03:13:29 PM »

We make our first signing of the summer, picking up 29 year old Colombian left back Jose Julian de la Cuesta for cheap.  He will be a backup on the left and in the middle.  Not flashy numbers, but serviceable... and he's willing to work cheap.  His heading and his speed are his strong suits, but his marking skill is not at all bad.  de la Cuesta has been playing for Besiktas in Turkey for the last 3 years, and averaging above a 7.3 as a starter for them.  We beat out several Spanish clubs who were looking into bidding for his services.

Also on June 1, 19 year old GK Ricardo Galo joins the Posh from the Porto reserves.  Galo is a decent keeper prospect, and will play for $32k per year through 2015.

Former Posh striker Dejan Robnik turns up in the news, he is quoted in the media as saying he wants to leave Championship side Ipswich for greener pastures.  Robnik has been a horse for them, scoring 33 goals over 95 starts during the past 2 seasons.  

We spend $8.8 million of our transfer budget bringing in 27 year old left fullback Andrea Lazzari from Atalanta in the Serie A.  Lazzari can play in defense or in attack, and will give us a lot of flexibility on the left side.  He is a superb passer and crosser of the ball, and a more than competent defender.  His speed is average, but he makes up for it with a steely determination and naked aggression which has helped him to become a star over the last 3 years with the Italian club.  We outbid Porto for his services, signing him to a 3 year deal.  

Aging midfielder Frank Lampard has agreed to join the Posh on a one year contract.  Lampard will make over $5 million in salary and bonus for the Posh this season.  Lampard is going to be 34 at the start of the season, and fell off a bit for Chelsea last year... but we won't work him too hard, and he should be quite comfortable as the feature attacking midfielder when he's in the lineup.  He still has absolutely masterful skill on the ball, and should be a great addition to the Posh.

We sign another 27 year old Italian, this time on a free transfer as left winger Riccardo Montolivo agrees to a 3 year deal with the Posh.  Montolivo has been playing for Villarreal in Spain the last 3 seasons, and has gradually increased his output each season.  He is another highly determined player who should fit right in with our never say die attitude we're trying to cultivate.  We outbid Real Betis and Real Sociedad for Montolivo's services.  He has a great first touch and an exceedingly sharp mental game, but his passing can occasionally let Montolivo down.  I'm looking forward to getting Riccardo into camp.  He will join us on August 1st.

My assistant manager has decided to go flakey on me, demanding nearly $1 million in salary... a 300% raise.  I respond by placing an ad for a new assistant manager.  We sign Manchester United assistant manager Carlos Queiroz to a $3.5 million deal over 3 seasons to replace our current assistant manager who got a bit too big for his britches.  Queiroz is a superb coach and should help us immensely in training and on the pitch.  I also hire another coach, and 2 more physios to possibly help cut our injuries a bit.

Liverpool hires Manchester City manager David Platt to be the new boss at New Anfield.  Platt has also headed Portsmouth and Aston Villa over the past several years.  Crystal Palace and Portsmouth both sack their managers on the same day.  Manchester City later hire fired Portsmouth manager Micky Adams to be their new manager.  

Our top reserve keeper, Michel Boumann agrees to a 3 month loan at Championship club Leicester.

European club rankings
-The Posh move up 32 spots in this year's UEFA Club rankings.

1. Chelsea
2. Arsenal
3. Liverpool
4. Roma
5. Newcastle
6. Man Utd.
7. Barcelona
8. Tottenham
9. At. Madrid
10. Juventus
11. AC Milan
12. Inter
15. Leeds
25. Aston Villa
26. Middlesbrough
30. Peterborough Utd.
31. Real Madrid

Kenny Lunt, Fabrice Fernandes, and Bosko Balaban announce their intention to retire at season's end.  I offer Lunt a one year contract to keep him around for old time's sake, but he turns it down flat.  Fernandes is under contract through the end of this year, and Balaban wants $5.6 million to re-sign with us.  Not bloody likely.  

As mid-June rolls around, it's time for the board to come back from their vacation and hassle me some more.... and time for the flurry of activity that marks a new season just around the bend.  

-Carlton Cole is named Fans' Player of the Year for the 4th straight year.
-We are given $24.5 million for TV rights for the upcoming season.
-We will play Arsenal in the Community Shield on August 5th.
-The board announces plans to expand the stadium by 1,650 seats, which should be complete prior to the new season.
-All of the TV rights' money is going straight to shareholders, as a $25 million dividend is announced to be paid out within weeks.
-Our transfer budget for this season will be $47 million, a $7 million increase over last season.
-Our wage budget has been increased from $60 million for last year (of which we only used about $43M) to $106 million.

Thierry Henry announces his retirement after the season, followed the next day by James Beattie, Edu, and Gabriel Ivan Heinze.

July 1st hits.  The club rolls back into town, and joins our pre-season training program.  Including some new faces:

Arrivals (age, contract, value, transfer fee):
-D/DM-RC Anthony Vanden Borre (24, $3.6M/yr., $22M, free)
-D-LC Jose Julian de la Cuesta (29, $600k/yr., $3.4M, free)
-AM-C Keith Kelly (18, $28k/yr., $100k fee to Shelbourne, Irish Premier League)
-D/AM-L Andrea Lazzari (27, $2M/yr., $9.4M, $8.8M fee to Atalanta, Italian Serie A)
-AM-C Frank Lampard (34, $3.8M/yr., $1.7M, free)
-GK Paul Gallacher (32, $400k/yr., $2.8M, free)

The arrival of Vanden Borre causes an increase in shirt sales for the popular midfielder.  The arrival of Lampard causes groans by people who believe he is past his best.  That may well be true, but even one more season of magic may well be worth the risk.

Departures:
-AM-RLC Kenny Lunt.  Lunt had perhaps the biggest impact of any departing player.  He played 5 seasons with the Posh, including our final season in the Championship.  He started 110 games over 5 years, and came on as a substitute in 49 more.  He scored 18 goals, with a high of 8 in 2007/08.  He also had 48 assists, with a high of 15 in 2008/09, our first Premiership season.  His average ratings were (starting in 2007/08 through 2011/12): 7.59, 7.18, 7.09, 7.17, 7.00.

-F-RC Bosko Balaban.  Bosko played mostly at striker for us during his 3 years.  He started in 57 games and subbed in 20 more, scoring 25 goals and netting 11 assists.  His average ratings for his 3 seasons were: 7.16, 7.17, 7.21.  Bosko was a very streaky player, but was typically productive.  His age and our depth at striker precludes another season with us, as his salary demands are too high for us.

-GK Lee Grant.  Grant came over in 2007/08 in a part exchange deal for left back Alessandro Potenza.  Grant turned out to be the steal of the deal, as he was our main starter for the better part of 3 seasons.  In 5 total years with the Posh, he played in 77 games, allowing 79 goals and keeping 34 clean sheets.  His average ratings were: 7.41, 7.40, 7.11, 7.40, 7.00.  Grant was not particularly happy to play backup, and didn't want to re-sign with us, so he is gone with still some football left in him at age 29.

-D/DM-C Cesar Arzo.  Arzo had an unremarkable 4 year stay with us, spending most of that time in the reserves.  We actually milk $550k out of Mallorca for him before he departs.

The signings and departures get our wage budget to around $50 million, still less than half of our budget allowance.

We get potential departure Gerard, the 33 year old AMC, to sign a $750k contract for one more season in Posh blue, solidfying our midfield depth.

Our pre-season fixtures are set, a road trip of Germany then the Community Shield... it looks like this:
@ Aindling (7/15)
@ Karlsruhe (7/17)
@ Darmstadt (7/20)
@ Burghausen (7/23)
@ Freiburg (7/27)
v. Arsenal (8/5 - Community Shield)

Arsenal inquire about obtaining the services of Wesley Sneijder... I tell them it will be $25 million plus Vincent Kompany, the 24 year old D/DM-C.  Arsenal quickly dismiss the possibility of signing him.  Sneijder has a $37.5 million minimum release clause, but no one has been quite willing to pay that much for him.

Before the pre-season games commence, it must be time to give the squad the once over yet again....
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Butter

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Peterborough Utd. - 2012 & beyond - Quad Quest
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2005, 03:46:03 PM »

Squad preview

(Bold denotes projected opening match starters.  ** - denotes new signing.  (R) - denotes reservist.  Italics denote new starter.)

Goalkeepers[/u]
Depth chart:
1. Libis Andres Arenas
2. Paul Gallacher**
3. Michel Boumann (R)
4. Ricardo Galo (R)

Arenas was named the first choice keeper on the Premiership Team of the Year last season... I flirted with the idea of bringing in a big name player... but keepers are such head cases, I figured why mess with success?  Gallacher should more than be able to cover for Arenas when he's unavailable, and Boumann and Galo are good young prospects who could use a time or two in goal to sharpen their growing skills.

Defense
Depth charts:
DL: Carlos Bocanegra, Jose Julian de la Cuesta**, Andrea Lazzari**, Fredrik Stenman (R)
DC: Alex, John Heitinga, Marcos, Ibrahim Kargbo, Sarr, de la Cuesta**, Karl Svensson, Anthony Vanden Borre**
DR: Cristian Zaccardo, Heitinga, Diego Gavilan, Sarr, Kargbo, Vanden Borre**

This chart is by all means NOT all-inclusive, but gives a general idea of who can play where on the senior club.  Bocanegra will continue to be our first choice at left back, but de la Cuesta and Lazzari will be given plenty of opportunities to show us what they can do, as Bocanegra finishes what is likely his final season with the Posh at age 33.  

At center-back, Heitinga needs to avoid the injury bug that plagued him last season if we want to return to the defensive dominance we showed during a 9 game unscored upon streak that we had during September-November 2011.  Marcos is growing into a potential star, but still has speed questions that could haunt his development.  Kargbo and Sarr are all-over fill-ins who will play in the center when needed, but Alex is our rock here... but again is aging, at 29 years old, this may be his last big time dominant season (if I'm lucky).  Svensson looked progressively worse last season as time wore on, but if we have to play him here, we will.

Cristian Zaccardo was really outplayed by Heitinga on the right wing last year, but lucky for Cristian that Heitinga was often unavailable, or needed in the center.  Zaccardo needs to pick up his game to prove to us that he is our starter here.  He is also advancing in age, at 30 now.  Gavilan is a great passer from fullback, but his defensive shortcomings are often on display, which makes us hesitant to play him in this spot.  

Midfield
DMC: Anthony Vanden Borre**[/i], Jesus Castro, Ibrahim Kargbo, Javier Mascherano
ML: Thando Mngomeni, Riccardo Montolivo**, Lazzari**, Fabrice Fernandes
MR: Wesley Sneijder, Diego Gavilan, Milciades Omar Bellomo, Jan Karsnak, Fernandes
AMC: Niko Kranjcar[/b], Frank Lampard**, Gerard, Karsnak, Bellomo, Montolivo**

At defensive midfield, we take another stab at using a big name, expensive star, as Anthony Vanden Borre becomes our 3rd such attempt at this position, following such busts as Fabio Rochemback and Javier Mascherano.  Mascherano is still on the waiver wire... after we nearly got over $33 million for him last season, our asking price is now down to a mere $15 million and falling.  Jesus was our main starter last year, and performed well beyond his 19 (now 20) years in leading us to several wins with great defensive play and excellent passing.  Kargbo has the ability to score from the DMC spot, and has shown the ability to create goals from there as well... so if Vanden Borre is not the answer, look for Jesus and Kargbo to pick up the slack for the big name.... once again.

Thando Mngomeni is complaining about his contract AGAIN.  But he was masterful throughout much of last season, and at age 29 still has a lot to give us.  Montolivo is a player of similar caliber, so hopefully left wing will be our star position this season.  Lazzari will play forward when needed and not already playing fullback, and Fernandes is counting the days until his retirement.

Wesley Sneijder seemed to increase his long shot attempts last year, and with good result... he scored 2 of the top 3 goals of the year in the Premiership last season.  Sneijder's quality is undeniable, but he has a tendency to disappear for long stretches of games.  Gavilan continues to keep the backup position warm for 2 youngsters, Bellomo and Karsnak.  Bellomo struggles with beating defenders one on one, while Karsnak struggles with finishing.  All the while, Fernandes will be polishing his coaching resume.

Niko Kranjcar starred in the Euro 2012 tournament, captaining the eventual champion, Croatia.  He becomes the new starter here, as last year's starter drops to 3rd on the depth chart with the acquisition of old timer (at 34) Frank Lampard.  Lampard, the former English national team star, struggled to keep his average rating above 7 last year.  But with his slower feet, our formation that allows him to stay forward mostly should suit his decreased range of motion well.  I'm interested to see if 20 year old Karsnak can continue to develop into a featured player here, but most of his chances will likely come as a substitute this year.

Striker
1. Carlton Cole
2. Lebohang Mokoena
3. Roman Wallner
4. Vagner
5. Michal Jablonski
6. Jim Johansen (R)

Carlton Cole's production has yet to flag as he enters his 5th year as our featured striker.  Last year would have been his most productive yet, but was cut short by injuries in April as he approached the 30 goal mark.  Lebohang Mokoena missed most of last year with a broken leg, but should be all set to help Cole and be the most productive set of strikers, possibly, in Premiership history.  Roman Wallner will be ready to step in if injuries occur, as he scored 15 goals last year.  Then 2 youngsters feature, as both Vagner and Jablonski are still developing, but have shown flashes of brilliance... Vagner early last year, Jablonski late.  Johansen will be on the reserve team, ready to appear as needed due to injuries.  He showed he is capable, with 2 goals in one league match last season... his only 2 senior goals of the year.
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Butter

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« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2005, 03:53:19 PM »

And for those of you who have been unable to envision it, here is our standard formation and team tactics.



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Butter

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« Reply #5 on: July 20, 2005, 04:54:20 PM »

July 15, Friendly #1
@ Aindling (German 2nd division)


Lineup:
GK: Galo
D: De la Cuesta, Fabio (R), Marcos, Sarr
M: Vanden Borre, Lazzari, Bellomo, Lampard
S: Jablonski, Mokoena

We get on the board early, as Bellomo flicks a Marcos pass on... to himself... down the right, then crosses into the six for Mokoena who heads it home in the 7th minute.  3 minutes later it's 2-0, as Lazzari's corner kick is headed clear... but not so clear, right to Marcos, who sends a deadly accurate 15 yard volley into the back of the net.  Aindling nearly cut the lead in half in minute 19, but Ricardo Galo charges out on a long through ball, and nicely stops the one on one chance against the Aindling attacker.  In the 28th minute, Frank Lampard's diving header from a Mokoena centering ball is stopped... but the tireless Mokoena attacks the rebound and scorches it home to make it 3-0.  Andrea Lazzari makes it 4-0 3 minutes later, putting a rebound of a Michal Jablonski shot into the net.  Jablonski limps off 6 minutes before halftime, being replaced by Jim Johansen.  2 minutes before the break, Frank Lampard catches a break, as his 20 yard half volley deflects off an Aindling player and into the net to make it 5-0, Posh at halftime.

5 substitutes enter for attacking Posh players at the break, and the Posh add one goal in the 2nd half.  Vagner scores on a Keith Kelly cross in the 61st minute to finish the scoring in a dominating performance.

Win, 0-6
Man of the Match (MoM): Lebohang Mokoena, 2 goals, 9 rating
A: 3,966


Luckily for us, Jablonski's injury is not serious.  We have precious little time to rest, though, as we have another friendly just 2 nights later.

July 17, Friendly #2 (Televised)
@ Karlsruhe (German 2nd division)


Lineup:
GK: Gallacher
D: Stenman, Alex, Heitinga, Zaccardo
M: Jesus, Karsnak, Aaron Lennon (R), Jan-Helge Hansen (R)
S: Wallner, Cole

Wallner with a beautiful pass onto a flashing run by Cole in the 9th minute, and Cole has an easy 10 yard finish to make it 1-0, Posh.  Karlsruhe's defense stiffens after that, and that's all we get.  Vagner has to leave injured in the 77th minute after he had replaced Cole in the 59th minute.  

Win, 0-1
MoM: Jens Hartmann (Karlsruhe GK)
A: 17,306


Vagner fractured his jaw in that 2nd half collision at Karlsruhe, and will likely miss the Community Shield match.

July 20, Friendly #3
@ Darmstadt (German 2nd division)


Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: Lazzari, Marcos, Svensson, Kargbo
M: Vanden Borre, Mngomeni, Sneijder, Kranjcar
S: Johansen, Mokoena

The game is fairly even early, as our backline allows 2 chances to sweep past, but Arenas handles them both.  Mokoena converts a penalty in the 29th minute that he earned by being tugged down on a breakaway created by Arenas' long ball.  The Posh score again moments after the break, as Niko Kranjcar's corner kick is headed into Darmstadt's own goal by their defender.  Mokoena scores his 2nd, and 4th of the preseason, with a great individual move and curling shot in the 65th minute.  3-0 is the final.

Win, 0-3
MoM: Lebohang Mokoena, 2 goals, 9 rating
A: 19,025


It's hard to tell who's playing well when we're running people over with such determination.  Mokoena has come back from his broken leg with a vengeance.

We have 5 matches picked for television coverage, all road games... @ Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, and Aston Villa.... and also the Community Shield match v. Arsenal.

Our stadium expansion is complete, giving us just over 21,000 capacity with nearly 16,000 seats at London Road now.

July 23, Friendly #4
@ Burghausen (German 2nd division)


Lineup:
GK: Gallacher
D: De la Cuesta, Heitinga, Fabio (R), Sarr
M: Jesus, Eriksson (R), Lennon (R), Kelly (R)
S: Jablonski, Cole

We allow our first goal of the tour in, as a cross to near the penalty spot is played past Sarr and nailed into the back of the net in the 8th minute for Burghausen.  Carlton Cole is in poor form, missing 2 wide open shots that he would normally bury, and losing the ball a couple of times as well.  Jim Johansen picks us up 4 minutes after coming onto the pitch... Javier Mascherano passes to him in the center, and Johansen does the rest, beating 2 defenders on his way to placing a 15 yarder inside the left post in the 68th minute.  6 minutes later, it's Johansen nearly scoring again... he beats a defender into the box on the left side, but his shot is deflected... right to Roman Wallner, who taps in for a 2-1 Posh lead.  90 seconds later, Jan-Helge Hansen sends a long ball to Roman Wallner who is wide open and onside... the Burghausen keeper stays frozen to his line, and Wallner scores easily inside the right post.  

We looked bad in the first half, but dominate the second to win the game.

Win, 1-3
MoM: Jose Julian de la Cuesta, 8 rating, 11/14 headers won, 3 key headers, 44/55 passing
A: 8,772


Our last game is the big one, of the tour, as we'll face Bundesliga opponent Freiburg.

Tottenham sign aging striker Michael Owen to a one year contract.

July 27, Friendly #5
@ SC Freiburg (German Bundesliga)


Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: Bocanegra, Heitinga, Alex, Zaccardo
M: Vanden Borre, Mngomeni, Sneijder, Kranjcar
S: Mokoena, Cole

Freiburg get on the board first, working a nice counter attack, and the left side shot is tipped by Arenas, but it still trickles into the net for a 1-0 Freiburg lead in the 6th minute.  In the 15th minute, Mokoena gets a nice pass from Mngomeni, then leaves his man in the dust and strikes it low to the near post... and squeezes it in past the keeper.  1-1.  The game is fairly even through the next 40 minutes or so... then in the 58th, Freiburg get a break as a centering pass comes off Heitinga, right to a striker 6 yards from goal... Arenas stops one shot, but can't get to the rebound before it's buried into the net.  2-1, Freiburg.  7 minutes from time, Bellomo sends a nice pass into the middle for Wallner... he gets through the arc, then beats the keeper with a shot into the top right corner.  2-2.  And that's how it ends, as we go unbeaten through 5 games in a tour of Germany.

Draw, 2-2
MoM: Thomas Gross (Freiburg keeper), 9 rating, 11 saves
A: 10,613


We have one more pre-season game... but it's more like NOT a preseason game.  The Community Shield looms, as we make our 2nd straight appearance in it thanks to our league win.

Preseason title odds
Arsenal - 7:4
Peterborough - 2:1
Manchester Utd. - 8:1
Liverpool, Chelsea - 10:1
Tottenham H. - 33:1

The bookmakers believe that you definitely have the quality to mount a serious title challenge and that no matter what happens you will be there or thereabouts come the end of the season.
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Butter

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Peterborough Utd. - 2012 & beyond - Quad Quest
« Reply #6 on: July 20, 2005, 04:55:16 PM »

Left winger Riccardo Montolivo finally joins the Posh... just in time for the season!  He is a well-known player that should help our kit sales, as well as helping us out immensely on the pitch.  We'll thrust him into the lineup for the Community Shield and see what he can do against our top competition.

Anthony Vanden Borre suffers fractured ribs in training leading up to the Community Shield, and he'll likely miss most of August.

The training injuries are coming early and often this year, as Cristian Zaccardo and J.J. De la Cuesta both pick up knocks the following day.  Zaccardo's injury is quite serious... he is slated to miss 2 months with a hip problem.  De la Cuesta should only miss a couple of weeks with a turned ankle.

Unfortunately for us, our medical staff suggest Zaccardo go to surgery for his hip problem, which would cause him to miss an additional 2-4 months.  I agree to this, and they believe that Zaccardo can be back toward the end of November.  He'll miss a lot of matches, but he'll be a big lift right in the middle of the season when he comes back.

Jan Karsnak is called up to the Czech Republic Olympic team, so he'll miss a few weeks of action on international duty.

August 5, FA Community Shield (TV)
v. Arsenal at Wembley Stadium
Fav: Gunners, 5:4


Arsenal start with an odd 4-4-1-1 that I've not seen out of them before... It features Hatem Ben Arfa supporting Fernando Cavenaghi up front.  I show them nothing, playing mostly 2nd teamers in this one.  Why come out with guns blazing?

We have 7 players unavailable for this one due to injury and international duty.  Arsenal are missing just 2 players.

Patrick Vieira, starting in defense, becomes the oldest player to play in the Community Shield at age 36+.  The TV commentators suggest that Arsenal will win 1-0.  

He hasn't been paying attention very closely, as we've NEVER played a 1-0 game against Arsenal... in fact, most matches have featured at least 4 goals split between the two clubs.

Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: Lazzari, Sarr, Marcos, Gavilan
M: Kargbo, Montolivo, Bellomo, Lampard
S: Jablonski, Wallner

We come out charging at Arsenal, but pay for it in the 11th minute as Patrick Vieira fires a 20 yard half volley that deflects off of Sarr and goes in.  1-0, Gunners early on against the run of play.  Arsenal continue to dominate play after the goal, and score a 2nd in the 36th minute, as Francesc Fabregas heads in a nice low cross from Jose Antonio Reyes.  

Much like last year's Community Shield, we fall behind early with our 2nd team on the field, and look fairly punchless after facing a deficit.  Riccardo Montolivo looks absolutely awful, and comes out after playing just 40 minutes in favor of Thando Mngomeni.  Ibrahim Kargbo also leaves for Jesus at the same time, as Kargbo is gimping about with a minor injury.

After 20 minutes of boring football after halftime, we bring on Carlton Cole and Lebohang Mokoena to replace our 2 starting strikers, trying to inject some speed and energy into the club.  5 minutes after appearing, Cole gets spiked by Vieira and limps around a bit... we leave him in.

Finally, in the 86th minute, a long Sarr free kick comes into the box... as Arsenal stand around appealing for offside, Mokoena finishes with power inside the far post to make it 2-1 with only about 5 minutes to play.  Sadly, we are unable to get any more chances and lose 2-1.

Arsenal just dominated this game, and we were lucky to only lose by a single goal.

Loss, 2-1, Arsenal win Community Shield
Shots/on target: Gunners 16/6, Posh 6/2
Poss: 62-38, Arsenal
MoM: Jose Antonio Reyes, Arsenal - 8 rating, 2 assists
Notable Posh ratings: Sarr (8), Montolivo (5)
A: 86,773


Jan Karsnak picks up a 6 in the Czech Republic's opening round win in the Olympics over Holland, 2-1.
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« Reply #7 on: July 20, 2005, 04:56:00 PM »

Aug. 11, Match 1
v. Middlesbrough
Series: Boro lead 4-4-3
Fav: Posh, Evens


Sarr will make his 200th career league appearance in this match.

Injured: Zaccardo, de la Cuesta, Vanden Borre, Alex
Unfit: Bellomo
Int'l duty: Karsnak
Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: Bocanegra, Sarr, Marcos, Heitinga
M: Jesus, Mngomeni, Sneijder, Kranjcar
S: Mokoena, Cole

Middlesbrough attack quickly, and strike early, as Tiberiu Ghioane slips Matteo Brighi free in the box, and Brighi slips it past Arenas into the far post, putting Boro up 1-0 after just 3 minutes.

The Posh pull back 8 minutes later, as Niko Kranjcar's free kick on the edge of the box hits the wall and deflects in past the Boro keeper.

We continue to look sluggish, and in the 38th minute, Lee McKenzie scores past Arenas to the far post to put Boro up 2-1.  

Arenas is rating a 5... and looks just dreadful.  Cole is down to 70% stamina at halftime, and Mngomeni is sporting a minor injury around... we make no subs yet.

Just when things are looking bleak, here comes Wesley Sneijder and his left foot again... he scores a marvelous 35 yarder that catches everyone by surprise, and pulls us level at 2.  Also in the 67th minute, we bring on Wallner and Montolivo for Cole and Mngomeni.

Immediately, the Montolivo substitution pays dividends.  He steals the ball and passes forward to Mokoena... Mokoena with space outruns his marker, and powers it through the keeper and into goal for our 2nd score in less than 3 minutes!  3-2 Posh with 20 minutes to play.

We actually hold the ball and get more of the chances late, and take the big opening win at home!  It looked bleak for a while, but we pick up the 3 points.

Win, 3-2, begin in 7th place
Shots/on target: Posh 23/7, Boro 8/6
Poss: 51-49, Posh
MoM: Tiberiu Ghioane, Middlesbrough midfielder - 1 assist, 4 key passes, 7/8 tackles won
Posh ratings: Arenas (5), Heitinga (8), Sneijder (8), Cole (8), Kranjcar (8), Montolivo (9)
A: 21,086 (new London Road record)


EPL standings after round 1
1. Chelsea - 3 pts.
2. Arsenal - 3
3. Liverpool - 3
...
6. Posh - 3
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« Reply #8 on: July 20, 2005, 04:56:41 PM »

Jan Karsnak with an assist and a 7 rating in the Czech Republic's 2-1 loss to Colombia in the Olympics.

Roma offer us $10 million and 20% of the next sale for Milciades Omar Bellomo, the 23 year old Ethiopian right winger.  I up the request to $15.5 million and 15% of next sale... $15.5 million just so happens to be the exact amount Blackburn is asking for impressive 26 year old right winger Christopher Eagles, who is faster and more impressive than Bellomo right now.  

Karsnak picks up a 6, and the Czech Republic get bounced from the first round of the Olympic tourney with a 2-1 loss to Japan.

Aug. 15, Match 2
1-0-0, 7th pl., 3 pts.
@ Newcastle United (1-0-0, 9th pl., 3 pts. - Leading scorer: Martin Rongen, 2)
Series: Posh lead 5-0-3
Fav: Posh, 6:4


We try Javier Mascherano at right wing today... he's just got too much talent to sit the bench and we're thin at right wing anyway.  Lampard makes his first league appearance in Posh blue today.

Injured: Vanden Borre, Zaccardo
Unfit: Alex, de la Cuesta
Int'l duty: Bocanegra, Karsnak
Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: Lazzari, Marcos, Sarr, Heitinga
M: Kargbo, Montolivo, Mascherano, Lampard
S: Jablonski, Wallner

We control play from the 10th minute through the 30th, but in the 35th Harry Kewell's cross is headed in by Jermaine Jenas to give the Magpies a 1-0 lead.  Then, just prior to halftime, Martin Rongen nets his 3rd off a nice through ball by Akin Serhat... Rongen catches Arenas sleeping a bit and just places it inside the right post to give Newcastle a big 2-0 lead.

In the 69th minute, we get a breakthrough... Roman Wallner is played onside by Javier Mascherano... his shot is stopped, but substitute Thando Mngomeni is there to poach his first goal of the season at the far post.  2-1 with 20 minutes to go.  We get the equalizer in the 81st, as Frank Lampard passes to substitute Gerard, who beats 2 men, and then the keeper with a series of brilliant ball control... 2-2 with under 10 to play.

Newcastle with the best chance to pull out all 3 points, but Arenas stops an 8 yard shot by Serhat, and we take the road point.  Another game where we looked pretty bad early, but pull out the goals late.

Draw, 2-2, up to 5th place
Shots/on target: Magpies 21/10, Posh 13/9
Poss: 54-46, Magpies
MoM: Arenas - 8 saves, 9 rating
Posh ratings: Arenas (9), Heitinga (8), Marcos (8), Kargbo (6), Lampard (8), Gerard (8)
Posh subs: Mngomeni (for Jablonski, 63'), Cole (for Wallner, 75'), Gerard (for Mascherano, 75')
A: 45,363


EPL standings after Round 2
1. Man U. - 6
2. Chelsea - 6
3. Arsenal - 6
4. Liverpool - 4
5. Posh - 4
6. Newcastle - 4
7. West Ham - 3
...
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« Reply #9 on: July 20, 2005, 04:57:16 PM »

West Ham make a bid for Bellomo, offering $10.5 million, a winger, and 20% of next sale.  Roma withdraw their bid, and I ask for $13 million from the Hammers.

Manchester United and Tottenham both give me $11 million bids for John Heitinga.  I decline them both.

One day later, Newcastle offers me $15.5 million for Heitinga.  He has a minimum fee release clause of $20 million.  I request $17.5 million.  I don't want Heitinga to leave... but if he's going anyway, I might as well get as much as I can for him.

We've not put our best foot forward here early, but hopefully our defense can pick us up pretty soon.

Aug. 18, Match 3
1-1-0, 5th pl., 4 pts.
v. Southampton (0-0-2, 20th pl., 0 pts. - Leading scorer: Dexter Blackstock, 1)
Series: Posh lead 6-3-0
Fav: Posh, 4:6


I don't like the new write up format, so I'm going back to the old way, more or less.

Injured: Bocanegra, Zaccardo, Vanden Borre
Unfit: Mascherano
Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: De la Cuesta, Sarr, Svensson, Gavilan
M: Jesus, Mngomeni, Sneijder, Kranjcar
S: Mokoena, Cole

2'- Mngomeni passes forward to Mokoena down the left... he cuts it back to Kranjcar, who shoots from 35 yards... Cole charges at the keeper after the shot goes... and he looks frozen, and watches Kranjcar's 35 yard strike nestle into the back of the net!  A long strike by Niko puts us ahead 1-0.

8'- A nightmare start for the Saint keeper continues, as Mngomeni sends a long ball to Mokoena... he outruns his man and tracks down the pass... he turns and heads at the keeper from the left... a tough angle shot by Lebohang, but the Saints' keeper is too far off his line to stop it.  2-0, Posh!

We could've been up as much as 4-0 at the half, but Sneijder got a bit too fancy at close range allowing the keeper to regain his footing on one chance, and on the other, Cole just mishit a volley wide from 10 yards.

Southampton are just dog tired... obviously, the first stretch of 3 games in 7 days has taken its toll on them, whereas our depth has allowed us to put almost entirely fresh legs on the pitch.

The second half is pretty boring... we get a couple of subs on and just run out the clock.

Win, 2-0, up to 1st place
Shots/on target: Posh 18/8, Saints 4/1
Poss: 57-43, Posh
MoM: Lebohang Mokoena - 1 assist, 4 forward runs, 25/30 passes completed
Posh ratings: De la Cuesta (8), Mokoena (8)
Posh subs: Gallacher (for Arenas, 72'), Vagner (for Cole, 72')
A: 21,100


We extend our unbeaten streak to 10 games over the Saints.  

Manchester United draw with Liverpool in the only Sunday match, and they pass us into first place on goal difference.
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Butter

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« Reply #10 on: July 20, 2005, 04:58:10 PM »

Both Spurs and Man U come in with a $17.5 million offer for Heitinga.

Heitinga, De la Cuesta, and Gerard are picked to the Team of the Week.

Middlesbrough make a $6.4 million offer for Jesus, along with 30% of his next sale.  I can't sell the 20 year old.  He's far too talented.

All of a sudden, the bids for our players are coming faster than I can count them.  Arsenal offer us big bucks for 2 players: Anthony Vanden Borre ($24.5 million) and Andrea Lazzari ($15 million).  I reject both bids.

I would love nothing more than to rake in some bucks for some of these players... but the problem is, who do I get to replace them?  These are players of the highest caliber, and their replacements would cost just as much as letting them go would bring in.  So, I decide to just reject all offers for now, and go with my squad.  One thing I have going for me is that despite the fact that many of my players' contracts are up after this season, I have over $50 million in wage budget to use on them... so I should have no problems re-signing whoever I like.

Arsenal draw with Chelsea on Monday night, and pass us and ManU into 1st.

Aug. 22, Match 4
2-1-0, 3rd pl., 7 pts.
@ West Ham United (1-1-1, 9th pl., 4 pts. - Leading scorer: Shola Ameobi, 1 (tied with 2 others))
Series: Posh lead 7-5-2
Fav: Posh, Evens


The Hammers' only wins against us have come in 2 meaningless late season outings... the first in 2008/09 in April, when we were both well out of European competition and safe from the drop... and the 2nd in the final game of last year after we had clinched our second straight title.

Carlton Cole has yet to score this year, despite appearing in all 3 games.  Meanwhile, Mokoena leads the squad with 3 tallies.

Injured: Gerard, Zaccardo, Bocanegra
Unfit: Mascherano, Vanden Borre
Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: Lazzari, Alex, Marcos, Heitinga
M: Kargbo, Montolivo, Sneijder, Lampard
S: Jablonski, Cole

American Bobby Convey is the captain for West Ham today.

West Ham dominate the first half of play, but it remains scoreless at halftime.  Carlton Cole rates an 8, but despite that he's looked slow and tentative out there.  Is this the beginning of the end for 28 year old Cole?

51'- Cole answers my doubts in the 2nd half... Montolivo's pass to Jablonski is deflected, but the Polish striker still grabs the ball and swings in a fast, low cross... Cole dives onto it at 8 yards, and bounces it past the West Ham keeper.  1-0, Posh on Cole's first of the season.

We turn the tables on West Ham and put the play to them for a while... and our defense absolutely controls the West Ham attack.  Until...

90+'- ...the 1st minute of stoppage time.  A long ball falls perfectly for Kristoffer Haestad, a forward, but Arenas with a great one on one save to finish off the Hammers.

A great performance by Arenas and Heitinga hands us 3 points.

Win, 0-1, up to 2nd place
Shots/on target: Hammers 16/11, Posh 11/3
Poss: 50-50
MoM: Libis Andres Arenas - 11 saves
Posh ratings: Arenas (10), Cole (10), Heitinga (9), Lazzari (8)
Posh subs: Karsnak (for Lampard, 74')
A: 31,671


Now we should get to play our second string over the weekend against Sheffield Wednesday, before fielding the first team again on our end of the month trip to Stamford Bridge.

Manchester United beat Brighton 3-0 to regain 1st place over idle Arsenal.
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Butter

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« Reply #11 on: July 20, 2005, 04:58:44 PM »

European Super Cup - From Stade Louis II, Monaco
Arsenal 3:0 Chelsea
-Arsenal cruise to an easy win over the Blues.  Barely worth a mention, really.  A total domination.

Aug. 25, Match 4
3-1-0, 2nd pl., 10 pts.
v. Sheffield Wednesday (0-1-3, 19th pl., 1 pt. - Leading scorer: Marlon King, 1)
Series: Posh lead 3-3-2
Fav: Posh, 4:6


Injured: Gerard, Zaccardo
Unfit: Bocanegra, Mascherano, Vanden Borre
Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: De la Cuesta, Svensson, Kargbo, Sarr
M: Jesus, Lazzari, Bellomo, Kranjcar
S: Mngomeni, Wallner

A tight and even first half... very few chances either way, but each team had one good quality shot turned aside by the keepers.

Not much going through 70 minutes... but an Owls defender gets a straight red for crashing into Wallner, and we pick up a man advantage for the final 20 minutes.

We switch to an aggressive 3-4-3, but it doesn't seem to help, as the only decent shot we get is a long distance effort by Sarr, and it's not really all that close.

A disappointing scoreless draw.

Draw, 0-0, remain in 2nd place
Shots/on target: Posh 11/5, Owls 6/2
Poss: 51-49, Posh
MoM: Owl GK Jelle ten Rouwelaar - 8 rating, 5 saves
Posh ratings: Arenas (8)
Posh subs: Mokoena (for Wallner, 71'), Sneijder (for Bellomo, 71'), Karsnak (for de la Cuesta, 71')
A: 21,088


Man U pick up a win, and get a 2 point lead over us now.  We lead 3rd place Portsmouth and 4th place Blackburn Rovers by 1 point... they both have 10 points.
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« Reply #12 on: July 22, 2005, 03:58:35 PM »

We get a bit of a break after our nice start to the season thanks to World Cup Qualifying on the first weekend of September.  5 straight without a loss... but no really dangerous opponents yet besides Newcastle, who we always struggle with.

Heitinga and Cole are picked to the Team of the Week.

Reserve attacker Jan-Helge Hansen complains to the press that he is tired of being a reserve... too bad for you, but you just don't have the skill to be on the senior squad, Jan-Helge.

Arsenal pull out a late goal to beat Celtic in the Qualifying Rounds of the Champions League... winning 4-3 on aggregate.  Arsenal nearly went home on away goals, with a 2-2 draw at Emirates Stadium, but they pull out a goal in the final 5 minutes to give them a 3-2 home win and a narrow escape.

Champions League Draw
We get a fairly nice draw into the Champions League... we will be in Group E, along with Barcelona, Dinamo Kiev, and Turkish side Trabzonspor... none are typical teams who have made it very far in the competition in previous seasons.  We open play at Trabzonspor on Sept. 12th, and will finish group play on Dec. 5th at Barcelona.

We pick up $4.8 million just for making the Group Stage, which we do without having to play through the Qualifying Rounds, as a top seed in the tourney for being English champions.

Our match with Chelsea gets moved due to the Champions League.  Unfortunately, this will make for a tough mid-month stretch of games, @ Chelsea, @ Arsenal, then hosting Barcelona.

Middlesbrough offer us $11.5 million + 20% of next sale for Milciades Omar Bellomo... I'm tempted to take it, but decide against it.  Bellomo should factor heavily into our future plans.  He's mostly a backup now, but his skill is developing such that he could be a top flight starter in the near future.

Lebohang Mokoena picks up a wrist sprain, but he should be fit before our next match at Trabzonspor.

John Heitinga is awarded Player of the Month of August honors, as he finishes the month with 3 appearances, averaging an 8.33 rating, and netting an assist with his stellar fullback play.

I finish second in Manager of the Month voting.

Wesley Sneijder nabs third in Goal of the Month voting for his strike against Middlesbrough on Aug. 11.

Ibrahim Kargbo asks to be placed on the transfer list.... the 30 year old Sierra Leonean D/DM-RC has been complaining for nearly 2 years that I'm not playing him in his strongest position... he thinks of himself as a center-back.  He's played nearly everywhere for me.  He is aging, so I doubt anyone will buy him.

Southampton lose in mid-week to Liverpool... the Reds pass us into 2nd, now having played an extra game... but Southampton sit in last, having lost all of their first 6.

Ibrahim Kargbo fails to show for training on Sept. 10th, 2 days after playing for Sierra Leone in a 2-0 loss to Ghana.  I issue him a formal warning.... being a bit more gentle than my normal reacting of fining him a week's wages.  He accepts his warning without comment.

UEFA Champions League odds
AC Milan, Arsenal - 3:1
Real Madrid - 5:1
Barcelona - 7:1
Valencia - 8:1
Inter - 10:1
Peterborough - 11:1


Basically, we're priced in as likely to make the Quarterfinals again, but crap out against one of the giants.  Little do the bookies know that we're planning to win the Quad this year... a fair mistake to make.
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« Reply #13 on: July 22, 2005, 04:03:09 PM »

Sept. 12, Champions League Match Day 1 (TV)
@ Trabzonspor (beat APOEL Nicosia (Cyprus) 6-1 in Qual. Rd. 2, and Deportivo La Coruna (ESP) 2-1 in Qual. Rd. 3)
Fav: Posh, 4:6


Trabzonspor also beat Manchester United 2-1 here at Avni Aker Stadium in Trabzon in a preseason friendly.
We had to make some tough decisions about who to leave off our 25 man European squad... you'll see who's not in uniform below.
In big injury news, Anthony Vanden Borre is finally set to make his competitive Posh debut.

Injured: Bocanegra, Zaccardo, Vagner
Ineligible: Gerard, Svensson, Sarr, Fernandes, Montolivo
Lineup:
GK: Arenas
D: de la Cuesta, Alex, Marcos, Heitinga
M: Vanden Borre, Mngomeni, Sneijder, Kranjcar
S: Wallner, Cole

2'- Niko Kranjcar tees up from 30 yards... his shot is deflected wide.  Wesley Sneijder charges onto it though, and fires a half-volley toward the far post from 15 yards... it's in!!!  Another magical goal by Wesley Sneijder, and we take a 1-0 lead!

16'- Trabzonspor are keeping the ball, but our counter-attacking is just murdering them.  On our 4th quality chance of the day, Cole passes inside to Kranjcar... then gets the return pass on the right edge of the box.  He cuts the ball around his defender, then shoots for the far post with his left foot... and tucks it inside the post and in!  Carlton Cole has awakened, and Europe will be much the worse for it!  2-0, Posh.

30'- Carlton Cole leaves briefly for treatment... the ensuing free kick is struck 50 yards by Alex to the top edge of the area... Wallner heads down, and Sneijder pounces on the ball, firing in another half volley... past the helpless keeper and in!  Wesley Sneijder is showing he may well be the finest midfielder in Europe today, scoring his 2nd of the match!  3-0, Posh.

We decide to bring Cole and Vanden Borre off after taking a 3 goal lead, to protect them against further injury.

Marcos and Wallner both pick up minor knocks in an uneventful second half.

Win, 3-0, start in 1st place
Shots/on target: Trabzonspor 3/1, Posh 13/7
Poss: 54-46, Trabzonspor
MoM: Wesley Sneijder - 2 goals, 3 key passes, 21/24 passing
Posh ratings: Heitinga (8), Cole (8), Sneijder (9), Wallner (8), Kranjcar (8)
Posh subs: Karsnak (for Cole, 31'), Jesus (for Vanden Borre, 31')
A: 3,954


Barcelona match us with a 3-0 win at home v. Dinamo Kiev.

Jim Johansen continues to make his case for a call-up, as he has 2 goals and 5 assists in 6 reserve appearances.
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« Reply #14 on: July 22, 2005, 04:04:45 PM »

Fabrice Fernandes, obviously unhappy with his utter lack of playing time, requests a transfer listing.  I grant the request.  I also move Fabrice to the reserves.

Anthony Vanden Borre tells The Guardian that he's having trouble adjusting to life in Peterborough.  From Belgium?  I let it go... hopefully this won't turn into a big deal once he gets into the flow of the team.

Sept. 15, Match 6
3-2-0, 4th pl., 11 pts.
v. Birmingham City (2-2-2, 11th pl., 8 pts. - Leading scorer: Darren Bent & 3 others, 1)
Series: Posh lead 5-1-2
Fav: Posh, Evens


Injured: Vagner, Bocanegra, Zaccardo
Lineup:
GK: Gallacher
D: de la Cuesta, Sarr, Svensson, Gavilan
M: Mascherano, Montolivo, Bellomo, Lampard
S: Jablonski, Mokoena

35'- Jablonski with a couple of near misses early on... but here, Frank Lampard with a splendid ball down the middle, Jablonski runs into it and touches it around the charging keeper for his 1st goal of the season!  1-0, Posh.  Lampard looked pretty bad up to that point, but it's those little flashes of magic in the 34 year old that's the reason we signed him.

39'- Mascherano's free kick into the box for Jablonski is poked away... back to Mascherano, who passes left for Riccardo Montolivo... the Italian lines up a 25 yard shot, and fires it... into the top corner!  Montolivo's first goal in Posh blue, and we lead 2-0!

Birmingham do much better in the second half, increasing the offensive pressure, but they fail to put Gallacher under any significant pressure, as he watches shot after shot pelt the spectators.  

Win, 2-0, up to 1st place
Shots/on target: Posh 13/6, Blues 9/1
Poss: 52-48, Blues
MoM: Frank Lampard - 1 assist, 5 key passes, 40/43 passing, 5 pass interceptions
Posh ratings: Lampard (8), de la Cuesta (8)
Posh subs: Karsnak (for Mokoena, 70'), Lazzari (for Mascherano, 70')
A: 21,070
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