As another exciting matchday of the UEFA Champions League wraps up, here are the key talking points for the upcoming Champions League week.
The year of English Clubs-
With Manchester United’s victory in the Europa League, five premier league clubs entered the Champions league this season. It is no secret that over the last few years, English club football has been mediocre in Europe. For the cash-rich league, it has been nothing short of an embarrassment. This season, by early indications things seem different. None of the 5 English clubs have lost a match so far. All of them are top of their respective groups with the group stages halfway done.
Beware of Manchester City-
Manchester City has taken the premier league by storm this season. They have been blowing teams apart as the football world has watched in admiration. If there has been one team that has shown the same form and ability in Europe this season as them, it has been Napoli. The team Manchester City faced in the Champions League this week. In the first half minutes, Pep Guardiola’s side produced an attacking masterclass. Though Napoli gave them problems the match at times, the Citizens were never in trouble and always looked in trouble. This result exemplifies the strong force Manchester City are this season and that stopping them isn’t going to be an easy task.
Tottenham are no longer there to just make the numbers-
Despite all of Pochettino’s great work at Spurs, his record in Europe remains a big area of concern. Last season Tottenham became a laughing stoke because of their performance in continental football. Firstly, they were eliminated in the group stages in the champions league of what can only describe as a relatively easy group. Later, things got even more embarrassing for Spurs as they crashed out in the round of 32 of Europa League against Belgian Side Genk. This year, they are a different team. They seem to have learned from their mistakes. If their impressive 3-1 victory against Dortmund wasn’t enough evidence, the 1-1 draw at the Bernabeu is. It’s not the result but the performance that spoke volumes. Tottenham went toe to toe with Real Madrid. It is a remarkable achievement for any side to produce such a display at the home of the European Champions.
Crisis at Stamford Bridge-
Having taken 2-0 lead against A.S ROMA before halftime, Chelsea would have felt things are back to normal at least in the Champions League. Those moments did not last long for the English Champions. Astonishingly, Chelsea not only lost their lead but also went a goal down. Though they did manage to get an equalizer through Eden Hazard, as Antonio Conte’s comments suggest they know they got out of jail. Coming on the back of 2 consecutive losses in the Premier League, there is a real feeling of unease at Stamford Bridge. Chelsea has been putting in mediocre performances and face an injury crisis with a paper thin squad. Day by day, their seasons seems to be going downhill.
Bestiktas, the surprise package
Group G, involving Leipzig, Porto and Monaco and Besiktas was always going to be a close and unpredictable group. The general expectation was for Leipzig, Porto, and Monaco to fight a close battle to get into the next round. Even this group has managed to surprise. Besiktas have won all 3 games so far and are front-runners to win the group.