Archive for the ‘European Football’ Category

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Well, in the main, pretty darn good. Unless, of course, you happen to hail from the European capital of football.

On Tuesday there were two “English” sides in action. The one with the Norwegian manager came to a predictably sticky end by losing to Lionel Messi, (and maybe a few team mates although they were somewhat irrelevant and almost unnecessary).

They also managed to fail to score in both legs meaning that the £££millions spent on a Belgian and a couple of French “superstars” is yet to provide much in the way of value for money. (more…)

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Following the recent Champion’s League draw the English clubs, with the possible exception of Tottenham Hotspur, can be reasonably optimistic about progressing.

Manchester United have already eliminated the so-called “favourites” by beating PSG so Barcelona, over two legs, shouldn’t hold any fears.

Liverpool have the “easiest” draw and should be able to find their way past Porto whilst, as we said, Spurs have the most difficult draw and could even see themselves exiting the competition from their new stadium! Now wouldn’t that be poetic justice? (more…)

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Manchester currently likes London. London has become, temporarily at least, Manchester’s favourite place after Manchester.

Having already visited Wembley this season, where the next permanent Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær began to silence the doubters by boarding the return train complete with three points taken from his meeting with Mauricio Pochettino, he followed this up by calling in at The Emirates and dumping Arsenal out of the FA Cup. Unperturbed by yet another return to the capital he then proceeded to despatch Chelsea from the same competition. (more…)

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So the bubble has finally burst! Poor little Ole Gunnar Solskjær has lost a game of football for the first time since joining the club as caretaker manager. In fairness, he managed to do it in some style choosing, as he did, a Champion’s League night at Old Trafford against PSG who won quite comfortably by two goals to nil.

The mitigating circumstances would be that he lost Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial to injury and had to play entire second half with two of his elder statesman in Juan Mata and Alexis Sánchez. This, of course, meant sacrificing any pace whatsoever and completely nullifed United’s attacking prowess. (more…)

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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…)