And Then There Were Two. Chelsea Exit With A Fight, Manchester United With A Whimper, Leaving Liverpool And Manchester City To Seek Champion’s League Glory!

Posted: March 16, 2018 in Arsenal, Champions League, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Tottenham Hotspur
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As is often the case when a team comes up against Lionel Messi, he wins. On Wednesday night it was a case of Lionel Messi, (with a little help from Ousmane Dembele who, in turn, received a little help from Lionel Messi), 3 Chelsea 0.

The scoreline was a little harsh on Conte’s team as they played quite well, just as they had at Stamford Bridge in the first leg. The problem is that, at this level, if chances are not taken by one side then they usually are by the other and, when Messi gets chances, he usually gets goals.

This may even have been a case of Barcelona finally avenging their defeat to Chelsea when, with a very large slice of luck, they knocked them out of the Champion’s League in 2012 before going on to beat Bayern Münich in the final, also with a very large slice of luck. That year was a classic example of what is meant when it is said that “their name is on the trophy!

So Chelsea, as well as being the last English team to complete the round, also became the third to exit the tournament.

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Lionel Messi – Added another two goals to his tally in the game against Chelsea

After promising signs in the group stages both Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester United were beaten at home having done the hard work away from home in securing draws. Spurs even managed to score two away goals and still get knocked out!

Juventus will be considered to have a better chance of reaching the final of the competition than Seville. The conquerors of Manchester United, although superior in both legs of the tie, were up against a United team devoid of any creativity, attacking flair and ideas. It was a team set up, at home with a win needed, to defend a 0-0 scoreline and try and snatch a late goal to win it. Seville will not meet a worse team in the quarter finals!

Juventus, on the other hand, having reached last year’s final, will be confident they can do so again. Their 2-2 home draw with Tottenham came as a shock to most people but their spirited performance at Wembley was more in keeping with what is expected of them.

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Juventus – Cannot be written off but will not be among the favourites to win it

So, after a start which promised so much, we are now down to two English clubs remaining in the competition.

Is it just coincidence that those two teams happen to be the best two teams to watch in England. They are the most attack minded sides in the Premier League and both had won their ties by recording large victories in the away legs.

Manchester City are, arguably, the best team in Europe at present and this widely held theory will be put to the test whoever they meet in the quarter finals. They will be hoping to avoid Barcelona, as will many fans around Europe, as this would make for the best final.

Liverpool, who sit 18 points behind them in the Premier League, are probably the second best equipped English team when it comes to winning games in knockout tournaments. What they haven’t been able to prove this season is that they can do it over the long haul. In that respect they are still a work-in-progress.

With the usual suspects still around and looking good in the Champion’s League it is still going to take some very good performances for either City or Liverpool to reach the final. They will have to meet one of Sevilla, Juventus, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Münich, Roma or, in a worse case scenario, each other, to progress.

The hopes of the City and Liverpool fans will be that they can draw either Roma or Sevilla as they would be seen as the “weakest” teams left in the competition and then the others can get on with the job of knocking each other out.

Manchester City – Have as good a chance to win the competition as anyone this season

Whatever happens there are three English teams who weren’t good enough to progress to this stage and that has to be worrying, particularly for Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur, who both threw away excellent opportunities to still be in the draw.

Maybe next season, if Mauricio Pochettino is allowed to buy a couple of players and José Mourinho can be bothered, the two will fare better.

With the possibilities of new managers at both Chelsea and Arsenal the future could be bright for both clubs. However, if Arsenal fail to win the Europa League and Chelsea, as looks likely, remain in 5th position in the Premier League then the immediate future for both clubs will be a little dimmer.

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