Image Credit [AFP]
Another week of Champions League action has passed, with there being drama right across the continent.
In Europe’s premier competition, it was a mixed week for the four English clubs. Liverpool and Manchester City both recorded resounding wins, further strengthening their bids to win the competition. On the other hand, it was another poor week for Manchester United and Tottenham, losing and drawing to Juventus and PSV Eindhoven respectively.
The problems Spurs and United have been facing domestically haunted them in the week, with poor defensive displays all but ending their Champions League hopes. Spurs, especially, almost require a miracle for them to get out of their group. Barcelona and Inter Milan have nine and six points respectively, while Spurs and PSV have one-a-piece. Considering Spurs still have to go to the Nou Camp – where Barcelona are so far unbeaten this year – it seems unlikely they will be able to amass the points required to get out of the group for only the third time in their history.
Manchester United were unable to show the same kind of urgency that had secured them a decent result away at Chelsea only four days prior. Juventus, particularly the excellent Paulo Dybala, found it too easy to get in behind United and were it not for unusually wasteful finishing from the Italian champions it would have been more than one. While Manchester United sit in second in the group, they still have trips to Valencia and Turin to negotiate. It would not be a surprise to see them drop into the Europa League.
Elsewhere around Europe, Borussia Dortmund continued their stellar start to the season with a resounding 4-0 win at home to Atletico Madrid. England’s Jadon Sancho scored his first Champions League goal. Lucien Favre’s side are fast becoming one of the teams to watch after a few years of struggles, in Europe particularly. They could be right in the mix come April time; sitting top of their group ahead of Atletico in second and Monaco in third.
While Manchester United sit in second in the group, they still have trips to Valencia and Turin to negotiate. It would not be a surprise to see them drop into the Europa League.
Napoli and PSG played out one of the games of the season in group C as they drew 2-2 in Paris. The very embarrassing possibility of the French club dropping into the Europa League is a now a very real possibility, with them sitting in third.
Julen Lopetegui’s tough start to his Real Madrid career did not get any easier, with an extremely unconvincing win 2-1 against Victoria Plzen. However, this victory was not enough to save his job, with a crushing 5-1 El Clasico defeat at Barcelona five days later sealing his fate. This reigning champions now look a shadow of the side that spent the last three years dominating almost everyone in Europe.