The English sit very strongly in the competition with four teams still represented and they will be happy with the draw.
In the first abandoned draw Man U drew PSG, in the second draw they got Atletico Madrid, so slightly better but still a tough test.
The other three will be much happier, Chelsea drew Lille, City drew Sporting Lisbon and Liverpool drew Inter Milan. There are no 'gimmes' in the UCL but all three will expect to pass to the quarter-finals. I would go a step or two further and say that I would not be surprised to see another all-English final this season, just like last season when Chelsea beat Man City in the final.
As mentioned before, these are superb times for the English sides as the EPL flourishes and the other European leagues seem to be in decline. Sure, Real Madrid could still win this tournament, but with Barca failing to qualify and Atletico sitting 4th and Villarreal 13th in La Liga, I don't see the Spanish as a threat, especially as Real face PSG in this round.
Similarly with the Germans, you can never right off Bayern Munich, the winners 2 years ago, but Dortmund, Leipzig and Wolfsburg failed to progress to the knock-out phase. The French may cause the English sides the biggest headache. If PSG knock out Real Madrid, they will think that they have the momentum to go all the way this time. They are a club set up to win the UCL and have so far failed to do it. This time they have Messi in the ranks and that may just give them the belief that they need.
Lille won their group and will give Chelsea a stern test. The Italians and Portuguese are also-rans in this competition in my opinion, I can't see any of them ripping up any trees. Of Sporting, Benfica, Inter and Juve I only see Juve possibly making the next round.
Of the four English sides City must stand as favourites. Klopp and Tuchel have already won the competition with their English teams and Man U have no chance. Pep knows that to seal his legacy he must win a UCL trophy with City before his departure at the end of next season. The way the team is performing in the EPL at the moment, and the way they won their UCL group raises the hopes of this City supporter!
I would sacrifice the league title for the UCL in a heart beat. But before the UCL reconvenes in February the English clubs have the hectic Christmas schedule to get through and a transfer window, only then will we have a better idea of how this season will pan out.
The past 3 matches we've played I felt like the entire team had one foot in a wellington boot. Can't see us doing much in any comp to be honest.ReplyDelete
City's evisceration of us tonight sets down the standards that Liverpool and Chelsea have to match. Have to say that I found our last minute loss at the Bridge on Saturday more painful than our record League loss (in my lifetime) at the Eithiad tonight.ReplyDelete
that was a very bad defeat Barry - only Villa put 7 past Liverpool last season, I would be tempted to say the curtain is close to coming down on their act. It might serve as a wake up call. A team with so much potential and a good manager should not be flailing as they are.ReplyDelete
Anthony, there is no mitigation for last night and Bielsa did not attempt to offer any. There needs to be a reaction against Arsenal at home on Saturday.ReplyDelete
Injuries (and now a suspension) have exposed the relative lack of depth in the squad. But I retain hope that things can be turned round. It is only our second season in the Premiership.
Barry - they need to avoid the drop. I had expected Leeds by this stage to be playing at the level of West Ham. There have been a lot of problems but if the slide is not reversed, their fans cannot relish the slog all over again. They came so close so often only to underachieve and underwhelm.Delete
Anthony - as it stands we are in a relegation battle but I hope the fans do not turn against Bielsa en masse but this is his last season in charge. The atmosphere of pessimism around us in inescapable.ReplyDelete
Barry - like Peter, I hope Leeds get that bounce. I like to see teams like Leeds and those further North like Newcastle, Middleborough and Sunderland do well rather than the big London Clubs.Delete
I hope you get a bounce after that mauling. When City play like that they are unstoppable.
Man Utds initial draw against PSG was a jaw dropper. You are correct, Peter, Atletico is slightly easier, at least on paper, but will still be tough. The experiment against Young Boys we got away with, but be in no hurry to try it again.ReplyDelete
80 fucking % possession and fuck all to show for it against an Everton B team. Fair enough we didn't have a striker and plenty out injured too but for fuck sake!ReplyDelete
Those dropped points at the Bridge will cost you, Steve I fear.ReplyDelete
I personally would welcome the postponement of the Christmas Premiership schedule to aid our crocks' recovery!
Barry - watching them against Arsenal - heading into watch the second half now with a large brandy. They are piss poor unfortunately. Defensively woefulReplyDelete
My pain at seeing Leeds getting ripped apart was tempered a touch by the fact that I have Martinelli and Smith-Rowe in my dreamteam LOLDelete
I am dying for a Covid circuit breaker! Otherwise records will be broken at Anfield on Boxing Day.Delete
For the first time since they came up I am considering them relegation materialDelete