At the start of the season, it seemed like the bad times were over and Barca would be claiming their place among the greats as they usually were, but after failing to get a win in 8 days against Inter Milan, Barca is out looking for miracles to stay in the Champions League. Manchester City was denied a delicious Rodri goal for a handball rule that even Pep doesn’t understand as they and Real couldn’t get wins. Juventus fell off so bad and fast as a lively Maccabi side completely outplayed them. Graham Potter has slowly taken all the heat away from Chelsea he’s getting the right results. Liverpool and Mo Salah may just have found the right pickup. The Kick-Off came in late due to technical difficulty, but the delay is not denial and HERE WE GO…..
EUROPA SAYS HI!
Crashing out in the group stages and heading back to the Europa League for the 2nd consecutive year seems very much on the cards for Barcelona as they played their way into Inazghi’s Inter side. As usual, they came gun blazing and were bombarding waves of attack on the Italians and just like most Italian teams, they were totally fine with it. They give you the ball, they let you play, they counter at you, get a goal and go back to their shell. Inter didn’t even need to do so much as ageing Pique, Busquets and slow-paced Marcos Alonso couldn’t cope. Inter would feel like they should have gotten the 3 points but they didn’t deserve it so much as they didn’t defend that well either.
Xavi came out to say Barca didn’t deserve to play in the Champions League, excuse us! Considering their recruitments this season, the least you could do was to improve on last season’s performance and he failed. Robert Lewandowski for one who said playing for Barca would be a shortcut to the Balon D’or would be looking down as he welcomes his old team to his new home in shame. The jokes are on him.
Their finances are also on the line in this case as they were required at least to get to the quarter-finals of the competition and the Europa League just wouldn’t cut it. So much was given and so much was expected, top of the league in Spain and with their greatest rivals up next. We’ll see if they can activate their secret level before the weekend; DEFENDING.
BIG BOYS HELD
Manchester City started their game against Copenhagen without their robot (Erling Halaand) and for much of the game, we felt they didn’t need him or maybe he was serving his punishment from Pep for scoring just one goal against Southampton. As the game went on, we felt Karma hitting Pep benching the man that has arguably been the Mr Man City for them this season. They should have gotten a goal though after a delightful Rodri hit, the slightest of handball in position and manner that many felt could have been ignored saw the goal ruled out. Man City didn’t have so much of a good evening as Riyad Mahrez missed a penalty and Sergio Gomez got sent off minutes later. They face a different Liverpool side come the weekend.
Real on the hand, had a Shakthar Donestk team that always seems to put on a fight against their opposition and very nearly did they get their reward. Denied by Rudiger at the end who ended up with an eye patch, they seem poised for the win and played with solidarity. Real always has their way of taking something out from a game and as we know, it’s a characteristic of a BIG team and they’ve always flexed their muscle even in games when they have been second best.
They played badly, were beaten by Arsenal at the start of the week, they looked mediocre in the first half but the second half of the game saw six goals go the way of Liverpool. Salah found his shooting boots or maybe Tomiyasu finally let him out of his pocket, but he shruged all that off to produce a record-breaking six minutes hattrick to finish off this Rangers side. Klopp has got it wrong for most of the season and this can’t be the proper test to reckon their return back to top gear, but a mood lifter no doubt as they take on a very in-form Manchester City side next and that is no easy feat and they’ll need all they can get to especially stop the City storm.
THE FALL OF THE KINGS OF TURIN
How far the mighty have fallen. We used to look at this Juventus side that makes the Champions League finals once in a while and were always among the best side going to the knock out stages. Well, that all seems like ages ago, age might just have caught up with the Old Lady now as they now struggle to get a win in any competition they play in. Beaten by the Champions of Italy just days ago, they had a must win game in getting through the knock out of Champions League, they just like Barcelona require a miracle Juve need a bit more to get things to go their way, a bit more unlikely for them at this point as Benfica has been a very inspiring team in the competition so far.
Juventus seems like a pair that doesn’t have a zeal to play football anymore, they have struggled since Federico Chiesa absence through injury. Di Maria has been a light that shines but fitness has put the darkness on him. Vlahovic needs service and he isn’t getting any from such an uncreative midfield and not showing any signs of improvements anytime soon, Juventus are doomed! Somehow after the game, they came to Allegri’s defence. It may just be a long time before we hear shouts of joy from the Bianconeri. Another Europa League candidate? Yes, we think so.
Chelsea were never far from the headlines before he came into his new role as Tuchel struggled to find the balance in his squad and fast forward a couple games and the ships looks steady on new manager Graham Potter. A lot of players are slowly finding their form back and most importantly the results. Chelsea spent big this summer and even though they lost many first choice signings to Barca, they got very creative and Todd Boehly has undoubtedly done a great job to make sure his vision are pacing in the right direction. Keeping the form going and some massive results is all that’s needed to regard them as a force once again. Don’t sleep on the magical Potter.
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