Thursday, 21 February 2013

Old Trafford players were split with Evans and Cleverley choosing their former player and Wazza going for the Argentine
Chasing shadows: Ronaldo struggles to catch Messi
Chasing shadows: Ronaldo struggles to catch Messi

Manchester United's players cannot decide whether Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi is the best player on the planet.

The Red Devils came face-to-face with their former star Ronaldo during last week's 1-1 Champions League draw away to Real Madrid.

But Wayne Rooney, Jonny Evans and Tom Cleverley are split when it comes to deciding who deserves to be labelled the world's best.

Ronaldo has scored 183 goals in 181 appearances for Real, while Messi has an equally astonishing record of 301 goals in 366 games for Barcelona.

But asked to choose between Ronaldo and Messi, the United trio, speaking in a webchat organised by Google+ and DHL, were split.

Midfielder Cleverley said: "I never played with Ronaldo. They're two different players, but at the minute I'd probably take Ronaldo."
Wayne Rooney
Team spirit: Rooney wouldn't choose his former teammate

Rooney, who played alongside Ronaldo for five years at United, said: "As Tom said, they're two different players. But I think Messi's incredible. I think he's the best ever, so I'd have to say Messi.

"But Ronaldo has been a bit unlucky because, in any other time, he'd be winning all the awards Messi has. But they're two of the best players of all-time."

Evans said: "It's hard to compare them because we haven't had the chance to see Messi up close every day, but we've had that with Ronaldo.

"I was in the first-team for one season when Ronaldo was here and you sort of take it for granted, the quality he had, but I really don't think I could choose between them.

"But just for the fact I've seen Ronaldo day-in, day-out, and the dedication he has, I'd probably have to say Ronaldo."

abidal okAfter the dreadful result last night it is great to receive the fantastic news today that Eric Abidal has been given the green light to return to action. The French defender last played for the first team in the 1-2 away win at Atlético Madrid on February 26, 2012. He underwent a liver transplant on April 10, 2012 and since then he has had a long hard road to get back to full fitness. His recovery is a marvellous feat both of medical science and of the player’s will. Welcome back Abi!

Thinking to cheat AdSense?
Stop that. It will never bring you anywhere. You might pull it off with smaller ads network, but definitely not with Google. Here are some detection methods they might use. At the very least, they have the resources to do so.

IP Address
If the AdSense click is originated from the same IP Address as the one used for accessing your AdSense account, your account is flagged.
Most home users do not use static IP Address for Internet connection. In most cases just disconnect and reconnect will give you a new IP Address. But don’t forget, Google has set cookies on your computer.

Other Google Services
Thinking that you are safe just because you do not access your AdSense account? Think again. This time, consider these: GMail, Google Earth, Google Calendar, Google Search, Google Toolbar, Google Talk, Google Sitemap, Google Desktop, Blogger, and so on, and so on. With the wide range of services they provide, Google can trace the originator of most (or probably almost all) clicks.

Click Pattern 1
Oh, why this computer / IP address / person is so trigger-click-happy on this particular website but never click on the ads on other sites?

Click Pattern 2
And why is it that people accessing these sites direct (type-in URL or from bookmark) tend to be very active ad-clickers compared with those referred from search engine or other sites?

Click Pattern 3
And why the ad-clickers like to hit and run, compared with non ad-clickers that surf a few pages before leaving?

Click-Through-Rate (CTR)
Your CTR may range from 0.5% to 10%, but if it exceeds a certain point (probably around 10%), you are flagged.

Used Urchin (Google Analytics) before? Then you should know that Google can trace traffics origin down to the small town. Different IP doesn’t mean much. Unless you site is really targeted to one small geo-point, a high number of clicks from nearby location will get you banned quickly.

Hardware address
MAC address of the LAN card, modem, and router works almost like a fingerprint. I’m not sure if Google can track this, but probably they do. They have rocket scientist, remember?

Advertiser’s conversion rate
Ad click is one thing. But does it bring value to the advertisers? If none of the clicks on your site translate to conversion to the advertiser, you are in trouble. First the Smart-Pricing hits, then your AdSense account disabled.
Search Engine Ranking
Your website is not indexed on any search engine, not linked by any prominent website, but get consistently high traffic? That sounds like something is in play. Regardless of whether it is an adware-embedded software, spam, trojan clickbot, or intentionally installed click-exchange network, it doesn’t sound right.

Each of these detection methods might seem rather weak. But combine them together, and not many click-frauds can pass-through these filters. Even the smartest clickbot will have a hard time. In short, it is almost impossible to cheat AdSense in the long term. Instead of spending time, money, and effort trying to outsmart Google, try these tips to improve your AdSense earning.

Disclaimer: I’m not working for Google nor in anyway know anyone inside Google. Google might or might not use these methods to detect click-fraud. I’d believe that they have much better detection mechanism.
AC Milan recorded a memorable 2 – 0 win over Barcelona at the San Siro in the first leg of the round-of-16 fixture between the two sides. It was a tactical masterpiece by Massimiliano Allegri which was perfectly executed on the pitch by a bunch of young, energetic and talented players which led to Barcelona’s demise, particularly with forgettable games for all their stars including Messi. Here are five things that were noticeable in the game, and had a major influence on its proceedings.

The counter attack from Milan

 AC Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
AC Milan took what Chelsea did against Barcelona in this tournament last season, and took it a step further with some well taken goals to boot. Where Chelsea were content to park the bus and lob the ball up the field whenever possible, Milan played actual football with the ball at their feet, after soaking up pressure from Barca. They were set up perfectly with pace down the wings, and took full advantage when provided the chance by releasing the ball down the wing, and creating all sorts of trouble for the Catalans’ full backs, who are the only source of width to Barca’s attack. Thus, a stroke of genius from Allegri, perfectly tailored to the squad at his disposal, and the main cause for their win yesterday night.

The offside trap by Barcelona

 AC Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Barcelona’s plan, at least over the first half, seemed to be to try and catch Milan out by playing a high line and springing the offside trap to good effect. It was a bad idea overall, especially with the pace of Boateng and Shaarawy taken into consideration, and was proven to be so when the latter beat the trap and nearly created something for his side in the first half. Additionally, with the full backs joining in attack often to provide width to their play, Barca’s dependency on the offside trap was always meant for doom against a club with the quality of Milan.

A mature role for El Shaarawy

 AC Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Stephan El Shaarawy, in spite of all the praise that Boateng will garner for his performance, was the key to Milan’s victory. Running tirelessly all game, the young starlet made excellent forward runs, and kept track of Alves’ runs at the same time, only being beaten once or twice by the full back. Some vital interceptions of balls which were meant for Alves allowed Shaarawy to not only help out his defenders, but also set Milan on their way for counter attacks, making him deserving of plenty of credit for sticking to the plan put in place by Allegri.

Lack of width for Barcelona

 AC Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
As already mentioned twice above, the only width that was provided to Barcelona’s play was when Dani Alves and Jordi Alba surged forward from the back, making it nigh impossible to find them with the excellent tracking back from Milan. In addition, the risk of letting Milan into the gap left behind shackled the full backs, and reduced their forays to a great extent. This was quite obvious when comparing the number of times Alba got forward in the first twenty minutes or so to the number of times in the rest of the game. The introduction of Sanchez did little to change this either, with the Chilean also trying to work a more central role, and looking slightly lost overall.

A one-dimensional approach

AC Milan v Barcelona - UEFA Champions League Round of 16
Barcelona, as one person put it, were very much like a battering ram, trying to repeatedly attack through the middle, and failed miserably with every attempt. In fact, a shot from Iniesta which was from about 30 yards out and curled just wide of the far post was as close as Barca got to scoring all game. There were no other efforts from range either, and the lack of width to their play has already been highlighted above. In spite of the fact that many of their players were performing much below expected standards, the fact that Barca lacked an alternative approach either from the players on the pitch or off the bench is something that other big clubs all across Europe would have taken note of.

ac milan 2-0 barcelona goal muntariBarça face an uphill struggle to stay in the 2012/13 Champions League after going down 2-0 to AC Milan at the San Siro tonight. Second half goals from Kevin-Prince Boateng and Sulley Muntari earned the Italians a deserved victory which leaves Barça needing to win by three goals in the second leg at Camp Nou on March 12.
As expected Barça fielded the strongest possible XI of Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Puyol, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Fabregas, Pedro, Messi and Iniesta, while Milan’s coach Massimiliano Allegri opted for Abbiati, Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant, Muntari, Ambrosini, Montolivo, Boateng, Pazzini and El Shaarawy, but instead of playing Boateng behind the front two as he had in last season’s meetings between the clubs, Boateng was used on the right of a front three with Pazzini in the middle and El-Shaarawy on the left.
However, from the beginning there was little attacking from the Milan forwards who during the first half spent more time in their own half defending than threatening Valdes’s goal. Milan sat deep and compact, working very hard to close down space, but also looking to surprise Barça on the break. At times the first half was reminiscent of the first 45 minutes in the Champions League semi two seasons ago at the Bernabeu when Mourinho set out for a 0-0 from the start.
It made the game frustrating to watch with few chances at either end. Muntari had the games first effort, sending a hopeful 30-yard volley over the bar, and Barça responded with Messi brilliantly slipping one challenge before his shot was deflected out for a corner. Piqué then had a double effort at another corner but his header hit Pazzini and then as Piqué went in for the rebound Pazzini managed to clear the danger. The game might have turned out differently when Alves’s cross clearly caught Mexes on the hand, but unfortunately, instead of a penalty, the linesman had already flagged as Pedro had strayed offside.
Milan’s first decent counter attack came in the 15th minute with Boateng flicking the ball on for El-Shaarawy to speed away from Alves. Puyol had to be quick to get across and put the ball out for a corner. Barça’s zonal defence at the corner was shown up as Boateng stood completely free in a near post zone and when El-Shaarawy’s corner found him he hooked a shot just wide of the far post.
ac milan 2-0 barcelona messi mexesBarça were still finding little progress going forward. Milan’s discipline was demonstrated by El-Shaarawy chasing back to block Alves’s forward run. Xavi was back after injury but he was offering few ideas from midfield, a hopeful 25-yard shot gave Abbiati a first save but without worrying the Milan keeper. Messi was coming deeper and also going to the right touchline in order to find the ball, in the 25th minute he robbed Ambrosini but before he could go anywhere Mexes had clattered him and the game’s first yellow card was shown, soon after Messi brilliantly slipped Constant by the touchline but his run at goal was blocked on the edge of the area by Mexes standing firm.
The game was becoming more and more like a chess game with Barça showing enormous patience in possession with very little penetration, and Milan showing great discipline to maintain position and close space. Milan, however, were growing in confidence as Barça looked more and more frustrated. Milan’s hard work almost pàid off in the 36th minute when Muntari caught Busquets in possession, the ball came to Boateng who sent in a dangerous cross that just evaded El-Shaarawy at the far post.
In the second half Milan came out with the intention of playing higher than in the first 45 minutes. Barça continued to seem more concerned with keeping possession than in penetrating the Milan area though Milan were quickly all back again whenever we got into the last third of the field. Messi attempts to wriggle through the middle were all coming to nothing and in the 54th minute after the Argentinian lost the ball Busquets went for the loose ball and was unfairly booked after making contact with the ball and receiving Pazzini’s late follow-through.
ac milan 2-0 barcelona goal boateng piqué appealTwo minutes later another decision went against us that had a much bigger impact. First, a free kick was awarded 30 yards out on the left after Alves brought down El-Shaarawy. Constant played the free kick square inside to Montolivo who fired in a long shot that hit Alba on the edge of the area before flying up against Zapata’s raised arm and dropping nicely for Boateng who smashed in a low shot from 16 yards that gave Valdés no chance. Zapata’s handball was clearly unintentional as the ball was moving so quickly, but his arm was raised and the change of direction of the ball gave a perfect assist for Boateng. Piqué was booked for protesting the referee Craig Thompson’s decision.
Barça were shaken and the San Siro roared Milan on. Alves had to make an important clearance to prevent Boateng’s cross from reaching El-Shaarawy as the Italians now pushed for a second. Alexis was brought on for the ineffective Fabregas but there was little change to Barça’s lack of penetration as the Italians chased and harried. Barça’s only response was a poor free kick that Messi fired way over, and things got worse soon after when Puyol had to go off for treatment after a nasty clash of heads with Pazzini. The Italian forward recovered more quickly and for a short period Barça were a man down. Pazzini almost took advantage to turn and hook a volley but Valdés was well positioned.
With Puyol back on with what looked like a kleenex tissue stuck to his forehead Barça pushed for an equalizer. Iniesta now in midfield managed to find shooting space after combining with Alba and Alexis but he was still 25 yards out and the shot went narrowly wide of the far post. Xavi then sent a free kick which went about a foot over though Abbiati had it well covered. The lack of ideas was worrying.
ac milan 2-0 barcelona puyol head injuryThen things went from bad to worse in the 81st minute after Alba sent a poor ball to Iniesta who lost possession, the ball came to Montolivo who lobbed a ball into space over Puyol’s head, the 18-year-old substitute M’Baye Niang and Puyol chased after the ball with Puyol getting in a twist, Niang squared for El-Shaarawy who lobbed the ball on to the left where Muntari was totally free, having lost Xavi, to fire in the Italians’ second.
Xavi nearly made amends a couple of minutes later with one of our few decent vertical passes of the game, sending the hard-working Pedro scurrying towards the area but Constant stayed with him all the way to block his path. Time was running out quickly and the importance of an away goal was plainly evident, but Milan were still defending courageously. Alba got forward and won a corner but from Xavi’s cross Puyol at the near post headed well wide.
The header from Puyol led to his ‘kleenex’ slipping off and with a large bloody gash on his forehead he was forced to come off with Mascherano coming on quickly as there was not the time to treat Puyol. Five minutes injury time were signalled and Piqué moved into attack in a final push for a late goal. He got his head to one cross, sending the ball towards Pedro but Mexes jumped all over the Canarian to head the ball clear and there was no way the ref was going to blow a penalty at that point.
There may have been a couple of decisions against us but that in no way takes away the fact that Milan played their game superbly and thoroughly deserved the victory. Despite having a big chunk of the possession we rarely did anything very imaginative, preferring not to take risks when the score was 0-0. We moved the ball from side to side but without the necessary speed to stretch Milan’s supposed suspect defence, and there were few forward runs from Fabregas and Xavi to try and surprise. Even on the few occasions that Alves or Alba managed to get forward there never looked like being anybody in a good position to get on the end of a cross. When we finally decided to shoot our aim was rarely good: in fact I can only recall the one soft first half effort from Xavi that needed a save. To top it all we had the same individual errors that keep costing us goals at the back. The first goal was pretty unlucky but Boateng shouldn’t have had the freedom to shoot, but the second goal started with a throw in from Alba on the left and we should never lose the ball from these situations. After that I’m not sure whether Puyol was still groggy after his painful whack on the head but he should never have lost that ball to Niang.
There’s nothing for it now. It’s back to winning the league with the visit of Sevilla on Saturday and then we will want two good results in the games with Real Madrid to get the mood right again. The week after we visit the Bernabeu we play Deportivo at home when we should be able to rest everybody to be fully prepared for a classic “remuntada” on March 12. With our defence Milan will no doubt score an away goal so I’m going for a thrilling 4-1 second leg win to take us through to the quarter-finals.
Milan: Abbiati; Abate, Zapata, Mexes, Constant; Montolivo, Ambrosini, Muntari; Boateng, Pazzini (Niang m75), El Shaarawy (Traoré m88).
Barça; Valdés 6; Alves 6, Piqué 6.5, Puyol 5.5 (Mascherano m88, –), Alba 5.5; Xavi 5.5, Busquets 6, Fabregas 5 (Alexis m62, 5.5); Pedro 7, Messi 6, Iniesta 6.
Goals: m56 Boateng 1-0, m81 Muntari 2-0.
Yellow cards: m25 Mexes, m54 Busquets, m57 Piqué, m91 Traoré.
Attendance: 80,000