Archive for the ‘European Football’ Category

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Well that was a mixed night for the city of Manchester. It turned out very well for the “United” of Manchester but the real “City” of Manchester fluffed their lines spectacularly.

In a game away from home, on a plastic pitch against a team who top the Swiss League having won all of their first six games, this was a potential banana skin for United.

They coped with it very well and, after a reasonable start by the Swiss, opened the scoring through a rejuvenated Paul Pogba. Now given more of a roaming role with Nemanja Matic and Fred as the two holding midfielders, the Frenchman is beginning to look the part. (more…)

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Two of England’s finest stepped into Champion’s League action for the first time this season. Tottenham Hotspur travelled to Milan where they met Inter and Liverpool travelled to Anfield where they were playing PSG.

The former seemed to be in control of their game and led 0-1 for most of it, thanks to a goal from Christian Eriksen.

Inter were decidedly average so quite how they managed to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat will be a source of disappointment for Mauricio Pochettino, particularly if Spurs fail to qualify from this group. (more…)

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So Wednesday night sees the first Champion’s League football for Manchester City and United. City at home to Lyon and United away in Switzerland playing Young Boys.

With their usual consideration for supporters UEFA have scheduled these games to kick off at the same time meaning anybody wanting to watch both, can’t.

This is a variation on the previous night’s games which saw Inter Milan and Tottenham Hotspur kick off at 7:00pm whilst Liverpool and PSG started at 9:00pm. No doubt there will have been football fans around Europe who wanted to see both matches and this timing will have made that possible. (more…)

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Europe’s “top” coaches who, apparently, don’t include Pep Guardiola who is probably the toppest, but do include Arséne Wenger who is neither a coach nor was he, latterly anyway, one of the top ones, have requested that UEFA take another look at the away goals rule. You know the one, it’s when a cup tie finishes level and the win is awarded to the team who scored the most goals in the away leg.

We were always under the misapprehension that the rule was introduced to stop teams boring supporters to death by defending for ninety minutes in the away leg of a tie, usually having won the home leg 1-0. It was to replace the coin toss and encourage the away side to play attacking football, or so we thought. (more…)

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The first thing we must do before looking at the draw itself is congratulate the northwest clubs for almost monopolising the Champion’s League places.

This year we will be looking for improvement from Everton and West Ham and, if we are going to have another London club this time, we would quite like West Ham to be it. So goodbye again to Arsenal and Chelsea and, with a little luck, Tottenham Hotspur. Welcome to the Europa League AGAIN!

Anyway, the draw has been kind to Manchester City, reasonable with Manchester United and Liverpool and quite tough on Tottenham. Here are the groups which contain the English teams. (more…)

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Liverpool played reasonably well despite losing the Champion’s League final 3-1 to Real Madrid. They were unlucky to lose Mo Salah to injury in the first half and also had a shot from Sadio Mané come back off a post when, had it gone in, they would have taken a 2-1 lead.

These are the finer details which can sometimes be the difference between winning and losing but, the general feeling is, that Madrid would have won the game even if Salah had not been injured and Mané’s shot had gone in.

Liverpool were undone by two goalkeeping howlers which would have looked out of place in a schoolboy game between under-13s. (more…)

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So the Champion’s League final was contested between two teams who, between them, had won almost a third of the total Champion’s Leagues ever held!

For Real Madrid it was another chance to make history. Last season they became the first team to successfully defend the title since the competition was rebranded from the old European Cup. This season they have become the first team to reach three consecutive finals on two occasions.

Between 1956 and 1960 they reached the final of the European Cup for five consecutive years, winning it every time, so it is no wonder that this trophy is considered to be their favourite! (more…)

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With Liverpool favourites to progress to the Champion’s League final how likely is it that they will win the trophy in May? One thing is for sure, they will have to defend better against Real Madrid than they did against Roma in the semi-final.

Two seasons ago Manchester City reached the same stage and were defeated by Real Madrid although only by a scoreline of 1-0 over the two legs. What must have been more annoying to Manuel Pellegrini at the time was that City should have won both legs of that tie.

Real Madrid got through to the final without ever having to do anything out of the ordinary and without even playing well. The fault all lay with City who just didn’t appear to turn up either in Madrid or in Manchester. (more…)

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In a hard-to-believe draw for the quarter finals of the Champion’s League the two remaining English teams have been drawn to play each other.

This despite there also being two Italian teams and THREE Spanish who have all miraculously managed to avoid having to play one of their compatriots!

Conspiracy theorists are already looking for fields in which to have a day!

Here’s the draw in full:

Liverpool v Manchester City
Juventus v Real Madrid
Sevilla v Bayern Münich
Roma v Barcelona (more…)

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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. (more…)