Category Archives: Champions league

City in Ruins

Manchester City, the Premier League leaders, have had a massive change in fortune over the past two week. After a dismaying run of losses they are out of the Champions League, and have not yet been able to officially claim Premier League trophy.

Last week, Manchester City loss 3-0 to Liverpool in the first leg of their quarter finals Champions League match. It was a fantastic display by the Reds, who had already defeated Manchester City in an earlier Premier League match this season. Many were undoubtedly left wondering what the secret was to beating the mighty Manchester team which only Liverpool seemed to know.

It was during the weekend in which many realised there was no secret. The secret was out! Manchester United defeated City too! In a spectacularly derby match, Manchester City had the opportunity to officially claim the PL title by beating their local rivals United. They went 2-0 up in the first half and had many more opportunities to extend their lead.

However, in the second half, the game changed entirely. Two goals from Pogba within the space of two minutes put the teams level! Then a final goal from Smalling in the 69th minute gave United their unexpected and uproar-worthy win! City will most likely still go on to win the Premier League as they are 13 points clear at the top of the table. However, Mourinho was simply not going to let them claim it by beating his team!

The distress at City was worsening, and matters were not made any better by Liverpool in the second leg of the CL match. City began scoring early, with a goal from Jesus in the second minute of the game. They needed to score two more goals to have a chance to progress in the competition. They actually managed to score a second goal before the end of the first half, but it was wrongly disallowed.

Guardiola was so outraged at the officials that he had to be sent to the stands for the second half of the match. This was when things took a turn for the worst. Two goals from Liverpool’s Salah and Firmino meant City has lost yet another match and were out of the Champions League. There was no mercy.

Manchester City must fight on. They will be facing another big team this weekend- Tottenham. If they win, they can put to bed their run of disastrous results and bring themselves closer to claiming the PL trophy. If not… well, let us not even speak of it.

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The Blues face the Best

Chelsea faced off against the world-renowned Barcelona for the first leg of the Champions League last 16. They were the underdogs in this match, and they delivered!

The performance of the Blues, quite frankly, put Barcelona to shame. The Blues had the only shot on target in the first half, despite the likes of Messi and Suarez being on the pitch. The only thing Barcelona actually did dominate in was possession, and that does not mean much without a goal.

Willian gave Chelsea their well-deserved lead in the 62nd minute of the match. The joy was immense! However, one slight hiccup in the Chelsea defense enabled Messi to later equalise for the visitors. It was a great shame considering how tight Chelsea’s defense had been throughout the game. It was Chelsea that gave a goal away.

The attitude, spirit and momentum of Conte’s Chelsea gives many fans great hope that they might just be able to overcome the greatest football team and go on to thoroughly pursue the Champions League trophy!

Hope

Liverpool finished fourth place on the Premier League table last season. This meant that they were entered into the qualifying play-offs for the Champions League this season. In order to reach the group stages they must get past Hoffenheim.

Liverpool defeated Hoffenheim 2-1 to increase their chance of competing in Europe. As the Reds played away from home, they have now bagged two away goals which could help them in the second leg.

The win was especially spectacular as they won with less possession. Plus, one of the goals Liverpool claimed was actually an own goal netted by a Hoffenheim player.

Liverpool will play Hoffenheim again, but at Anfield, on the 23rd of August. Let’s hope that their luck is just as good as it was the first time around.

ARSENAL UPDATE

2017 has been an uphill battle for Arsenal, who began well but soon started to stumble. As we reach the end of the Premier League season, it’s hard to see how much they can make of their last few games whilst in their current form.

Since February the Gunners have been struggling to maintain any sort of winning streak, and haven’t really been managing to draw matches either. They faced a heaving 3-1 defeat against Chelsea and a hefty 5-1 defeat from Bayern Munich in the Champions League.

Then in March, both Liverpool and West Brom defeated the Gunners 3-1; and the Reds also suffered another 5-1 against Bayern Munich in the second leg of their Champions League Match. Quite understandably, they are no longer competing in Europe.

Quite frankly, they have enough troubles at home to be worrying about. Some fans have lost confidence in the team, with the uncertainty surrounding the future of Wenger and key players, such as Sanchez, at the club. After suffering a 3-0 defeat against Crystal Palace, many, unshockingly, felt huge disappointment.

However, there is still hope. Arsenal might be currently 6th on the Premier League table, and risk finishing outside of the top four for the first time in 21 years, however, their recent win against Middlesbrough suggests that there is still hope.

The Gunners are set to play Manchester City for the FA Cup Semi final this weekend. Perhaps after a great start to the week they might just have enough motivation to gear themselves towards a trophy this year!

Clear Divisions

It appears as if distinctions are being made between the top teams that have the potential to go on to win the Premier League title and the top teams that will just finish somewhere near the top of the table. Here’s why…

After Chelsea’s brilliant 3-1 victory against Manchester City, they continued their winning streak. Diego Costa netted the winning goal for Chelsea in their game against West Brom to secure their ninth successive league win. Chelsea are 3 points ahead of second-place Arsenal, and it seems like no team can stop them (especially with Diego Costa running around)!

After defeating West Ham 5-1, Arsenal went on to destabilise FC Basel in the Champions League. They defeated the opposition 4-1, with a rewarding hat-trick from Pérez! Arsenal continued their celebrations into the weekend, as they defeated Stoke 3-1. This secured their second place position on the Premier League table, keeping them in touching distance of the leaders, Chelsea.

After losing to Bournemouth 4-3 and then drawing 2-2 with West Ham, Liverpool have fallen to third place, six points behind the leaders Chelsea. With the way the Blues are playing, it might prove too difficult to close the gap again.

Manchester City have also had their fair share of disappointments. During their match against Chelsea, the Man City players lashed out at the blue players out of frustration, causing Aguero and Fernandinho to be suspended for a few matches. 

This perhaps gives reason as to why City drew 1-1 with Celtic in the Champions League, and lost 4-2 against Leicester City. They are currently sitting fourth on the Premier League table, but with the same 30 points as Liverpool. Their title hopes aren’t over yet, but only if they find a way to recover from their distress.

Now, moving down to sixth place, we find Manchester United. It’s been a tough season for them so far, but they seem to be trying to turn things around. After drawing 1-1 with Everton, they defeated  Zorya Luhansk in the Europa league and Tottenham 1-0 in the Premier League. That’s more like it.

However, we must still be aware of the fact that they’ve still got a lot to make up for. United are six points away from top four and a whopping 13 points behind Chelsea. The Premier League is a long road, and they must continue to prove themselves constantly.

The Premier League top teams are breaking up point by point. They all seem to have progressed in Europe, despite a few recent poor results. However, the Premier League is proving to be a whole different ball game!

GOOD TO BAD AND VICE VERSA

Manchester City began the week on a high after defeating Barcelona 3-1! However, by this weekend they had been brought down a notch. Luckily, the opposite was true for Manchester United.

Messi gave Barcelona the lead against Manchester City in the 21st minute. However, three goals from Gundogan (39′, 74′) and De Bruyne (51) silenced the team known as the best in the world!

Perhaps it was the energy needed to secure this win that caused City to underperform in their match against Middlesbrough. Although Aguero managed to net a goal for his team in the 43rd minute, de Roon scored the equaliser for the opposition in extra time. By this point, it was too late to make amends.

Manchester United did the reverse of what Manchester City did. The Reds lost their Europa League match against Fenerbahce 2-1. They began losing from the second minute of the match, and Rooney’s late goal in the 89th minute couldn’t save them from defeat.

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Fortunately, United had a better fate this weekend. They defeated Swansea City by only conceding one goal and by netting three. That’s more like it!

Manchester City are one win away from securing their entry into the next round of the Champions League. However, they are down to third place on the Premier League table.

Manchester United still have a chance to reach the next stage of the Europa League, however, they are going to have to perform a lot better in order to do so. Despite this, they seem to be on the up as they are now sixth place on the Premier League table.

Nothing is ever clear cut in football. As more games are played, the clearer things will become. Soon it will be evident which teams are strong and which ones are not.

 

 

 

WE’VE GONE INTERNATIONAL INSTEAD

Arsenal were successful in their Champions League match on Wednesday. Their victories abroad make it hard to believe that they aren’t the masters of their home ground.

Ludogorets Razgrad scored two goals within the first 15 minutes of the game. Although this was worrying, Arsenal shocked us all with their response to this. Xhaka netted a goal in the 20th minute and Giroud scored the equaliser just before half time. They weren’t going to let the game end the way it started!

As the two teams were level again, all was to play for in the second half. The Gunners made sure that were the team to take advantage of the remaining time, for Giroud netted the winning goal in the 87th minute. Hurrah!

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The Gunners have qualified for the last-16 round of the Champions League with two games left to go. Perhaps now they can give a bit more attention to the Premier League.

The Gunners had to face their old rival, Tottenham, for their weekend Premier League match. Although they took the lead when Wimmer netted an own goal in the 42nd minute, they conceded a penalty which put them level with Spurs when it was converted into a goal by Kane. This was irrecoverable.

Arsenal are third on the Premier League table, with a point less than the leaders, Chelsea. Even if they don’t end up winning the title race, maybe they’ll have a Champions League trophy in their hands instead!

 

 

All or Nothing

Both Arsenal and Manchester City played Champions League matches which had bulging scorelines. However, only one of them was able to claim victory; whilst the other suffered a merciless defeat.

The best team is worth mentioning first. Arsenal were tremendously successful in their match against Ludogorets Razgrad. A total of six goals were scored by the Gunners (six!), and they could have even scored twice that amount as they had 12 shots on target! Yes, 12!

The first goals came from Sanchez (12′) and Walcott (42′) in the first half; followed by a goal from Oxlade-Chamberlain (46′) and a hat-trick from Ozil (56′, 83′, 87′) in the second half. Every kick of the ball was a step closer to triumph!

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It’s a shame that Manchester City were not subject to the same gleeful fate as the Gunners. City was embarrassingly thrashed 4-0 by Barcelona, with Messi scoring a hat-trick and Neymar netting a late goal.

 

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It could be said that City was put at a disadvantage, as Bravo was sent off in the 53rd minute. However, this drawback was not held for too long, for Barcelona were also reduced to ten men when Mathieu was shown a red card 20 minutes later.

Aguero was left on the bench for most of the game, and was only sent onto the field in the 79th minute. Bad move. By then, it was all too late for him to rescue his team. Pity.

Arsenal are now topping group A with 7 points (the same as Paris St Germain) and, luckily, Manchester City is second in their group despite them having 5 less points than Barcelona. Well, they did only lose to the best.

For now, it looks as if all the English teams will progress to the next stage of the Champions League. Even Leicester has been thriving, as they are topping group G with 9 points, and Tottenham is second in group E. Perhaps the time has come for an English team to dominate Europe!

 

 

 

All In This Together

Even now the Champions League continues to pose a challenge to even the biggest giants in English football. However, not all the teams shied away from their opponents.

Manchester City just managed to grab a draw against Celtic. Dembele was quick to give Celtic the lead with a goal in the third minute. Fernandinho soon equalised for the City but it wasn’t long before Celtic took the lead again.

In the 20th minute, Sterling netted an own goal to put his team back at a disadvantage. City weren’t making things any easier for themselves.

Luckily Sterling rectified his mistake with another goal eight minutes later! All was forgiven. Even though Dembele managed to score another goal in the second half, it wasn’t long before Nolito netted the third equalising goal for City.

All City were doing was playing catch-up! This was nothing compared to the way Arsenal were playing. 

The Gunners defeated Basel 2-0 with both goals being netted by Theo Walcott. He has scored four goals in his last three games! Walcott is proving to be quite the striker this football season.

If there’s anything that can best represent the way Arsenal played tonight it’s the ball that burst during the match! They had passed the ball just one too many times it seemed!

Tottenham and Leicester City also won their Champions League matches, so it looks as if no English team is being left behind this year.

Manchester City was the only team who showed a real struggle in their Champions League match. Perhaps now they will be a little more humbled in their approach to seemingly easy matches.

Red Rage

Arsenal had a shocking blow in the Champions League match this week, similarly to Manchester United in their Europa League game. The only different between the two teams was that Arsenal managed to recover. It’s sad that the same can’t be said about Mourinho’s team.

Paris St Germain wasted only but a few seconds before taking the lead against Arsenal. Cavani gave PSG an extremely early lead when he netted a goal just after 42 seconds! Well, there’s no time like the present!

The Gunners did eventually manage to equalise in the 77th minute (thanks to Sanchez), however, this wasn’t even the most exciting part of the game. 

In extra time, when the result had pretty much been confirmed, both Verratti (from PSG) and Giroud were sent off the pitch. All they had to do was hang in there a little longer. Pity.

Nevertheless, the great news is that all the teams in Arsenal’s group drew and, so, every team in group A has one point. Therefore, the Gunners still have a clean slate and an equal chance of progressing to the next stage!

Tottenham, sadly, were the only England team to lose as they conceded two goals to Monaco which they failed to cancel out.

But honestly, Spurs weren’t the only English club in dismay. In Europa League, the great Manchester United fell under the petite power of Feyenoord. It only took one goal, from Vilhena in the 79th minute, to punish Mourinho’s team. The Reds are going to have to work a lot harder if they want to succeed in Europe.

Arsenal still have a stable chance of being successful in the Champions League; however, Europa League might just prove too difficult for Mourinho’s United. Manchester United just haven’t been the same since Ferguson left. Maybe it is wise to keep the same manager for a lengthy period of time…