Champion’s League: All The English Clubs Are Looking Good Except For Liverpool, (And Even They Still Have A Decent Chance)

Posted: September 28, 2017 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Tottenham Hotspur
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Tuesday night saw Manchester City face Shakhtar Donetsk, Liverpool played Spartak Moscow and Tottenham Hotspur were in Cyprus playing Apoel Nicosia.

At The Etihad City made relatively hard work of beating Shakhtar who were always threatening on the break. However, a second half goal from Kevin De Bruyne settled the nerves eventually and Raheem Sterling followed this up with a second which he tried his hardest to put over the bar, just failing as it went in off the underside.

That is now two games and two wins with six goals scored and none conceded and is the first time that the club has ever won it’s first two games in the competition.

Guardiola will be confident of progressing to the group stages now.

Tottenham Hotspur had Harry Kane to thank, (again!), as he scored all three of their goals in Cyprus. It was a reasonably easy night’s work for Pochettino’s men and some members of the press were even comparing Kane to Ronaldo because of his exploits, which just goes to show how stupid the press can be!

Kane is good but we will judge him against Ronaldo and Messi when he is the same age as they are and when he has scored regularly in big, big games and finals of major competitions, not when he has just scored a hat-trick, (impressive though it was), against poor opposition.

Spurs also have two wins from two games and are sitting pretty ahead of the double header against Real Madrid, after which things may have changed slightly.

Liverpool were their usual predictably unpredictable selves.

Jürgen Klopp doesn’t seem to have quite got the hang of this rotation lark. He changed his dodgy regular goalkeeper for an even dodgier irregular one and the result was no real surprise to the travelling scousers. A direct free kick was hit slightly to his left and he managed to dive over it, or round it, or under it. Whatever, he should have saved it and didn’t, meaning that Liverpool had a small mountain to climb. They managed the feat quite well and, thanks to Philippe Coutinho, escaped with a point which, had they won their first home game, would have looked a lot better than it does.

After only two games Liverpool still have a reasonable chance of qualifying for the next stage but they will have to improve defensively and start taking some of their chances offensively.

So after the Tuesday games only Liverpool appear to be in any real danger of exiting the competition early although Tottenham Hotspur will need to be on their toes in the two games against Real. In actual fact, two draws would probably suit both teams as they would expect to beat the others in the group and, by the time Borussia Dortmund have beaten Apoel Nicosia twice, it should all be done and dusted.

Wednesday night’s games featured Manchester United against the other Moscow team, CSKA and Chelsea’s visit to the Wanda Metroplitano to face Atlético Madrid.

United, having wisely resisted the temptation to play in their invisibility-inducing  grey strip against Southampton, decided to give it an airing in Moscow. It is actually quite smart and had no bearing whatsoever on the final result which, as expected by many, was a win for United.

What wasn’t expected was that the Reds would be 3-0 up at half-time following goals from Lukaku (2), and a penalty from Martial. It had been a walk in the park with the Russians seemingly clueless as to what to do.

The second half was no different except that United, understandably but disappointingly to an extent, took their collective feet off the gas. They still managed to add another goal when Henrikh Mkhitaryan reacted first to a good save from Akinfeev and, despite a very late consolation for CSKA, the match ended in a resounding victory for United who now top the group by three points.

In a much tighter game at the Wanda Metropolitano, Chelsea trailed Atlético at half-time thanks to a goal from supposed Manchester United target Antoine Griezmann, who scored from the penalty spot after a moment of madness from Davd Luiz.

The lead didn’t last too long into the second half as Álvaro Morata kept up his recent fine run by scoring an equaliser.

The game seemed to be heading for a draw when, four minutes into added time, Michy Batshuayi scored the winner for Chelsea which ensured that they topped the table by two points from Roma.

So, as we have said, everything is looking rosy for the English teams who don’t come from Liverpool and even they have a decent chance to progress providing they can start picking up some more points.

Meanwhile, over at The Emirates, stubborn old man is doing OK in Big Vase and looks as though he may actually be enjoying participating in a European competition which, for the first time in twenty years, he may even have a chance of winning. Arsenal fans beware! Imagine how many years he will want to stay if he wins a European trophy!


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