Seasons and match-days now running in full swing. We’re bringing you up to speed with all the drama and net-blasting goals and maybe a little bit of gossip as well. Stay in touch with the latest on football with TF Kicks: Weekly Football Update.
UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE
As we stare into another (annoying) international break in the next couple of weeks, there is some great football to catch up with and that includes four match days of some engrossing UEFA Champions League fixtures.
From the four matchdays, we witnessed 2 this week and like every Champions League football exhibition, it didn’t disappoint. It started with Manchester City’s 5-1 drubbing of Club Brugge and ended with City’s fierce rivals Manchester United making a dramatic comeback against crafty Italian outfit Atalanta.
5-STAR MANCHESTER CITY
Manchester City started proceedings with an early kick-off away from home against Belgian club Brugge KV and while Riyad Mahrez picked up the headlines for his brace, it was City’s star-boy Phil Foden who ran the show all over the park with his exquisite passing. Then came the big ones with Atletico Madrid locking horns with Liverpool FC, PSG playing German club RB Leipzig, FC Porto’s game against AC Milan and Ajax’s home fixture against Borussia Dortmund.
REDS TRIUMPH IN THE SPANISH CAPITAL
Liverpool’s record in Spain has been woeful and Atletico Madrid particularly have been a thorn in the English club’s rich Champions League history. The Reds were had won just two of their last 7 outings against the Madrid club with the most recent defeats coming last year when Liverpool were sent packing by Diego Simeone’s men in the last-16 stage.
Liverpool stepped into the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium looking to change their record and with their 2-3 win against the Spanish league champions, they broke some records along the way. Atletico Madrid’s 4-year home record without a defeat was broken by Liverpool and this was also the first time they conceded 3 goals at the Wanda Metropolitano across all competitions since 2019.
PSG GET OVER THE LINE
Next up is PSG’s game against German club RB Leipzig. PSG’s manager Mauricio Pochettino has the most star-studded squad in the world but he has found it increasingly difficult to accommodate Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Messi in his line-ups. With Brazilian maestro being ruled out of the game, Mauricio Pochettino brought Julian Draxler to complete PSG’s front three.
The struggles were evident once again but despite RB Leipzig taking an unlikely lead in the game, moments of individual brilliance coupled with Leipzig giving away a cheap penalty ensured that PSG came on top with a 3-2 win, which also keeps them on top of a difficult group.
REAL MADRID WIN BIG
After 3 winless games in all competitions which included a shock home defeat to Moldovan newcomers FC Sheriff in their previous Champions League game, Real Madrid were due a big performance and they delivered one in style against Ukrainian giants Shakhtar Donetsk.
Shakhtar went toe-to-toe against Read Madrid until the 37th minute until Shakhtar’s captain Sergey Krivtsov found himself on the wrong side of a freak own-goal. The floodgates then opened in the second half and Real Madrid stormed Shakhtar with 4 goals in last 40 minutes of the game which included a wonder goal by Madrid’s Brazilian starlet Vinícius Junior. The win keeps Real Madrid level on points with FC Sheriff in another tricky Champions League group.
MANCHESTER UNITED MAKE A SENSATIONAL COMEBACK – AGAIN
After re-securing the signature of Cristiano Ronaldo, who is famously dubbed as Mr. Champions League, Manchester United made an uncomfortable start to their Champions League campaign with a defeat on the first matchday against Swiss club Young Boys. The Red Devils made up for the defeat with a last-gasp winner at home against Spanish club Villareal and their third group game followed a similar script.
This time against Italian opposition Atalanta, Manchester United found themselves 2-0 down in the first half, but the second half saw Ole Gunnar Solskjær’s men launch a roaring comeback. Marcus Rashford reduced the two-goal deficit with a neat finish which was followed by Harry Maguire’s goal to level proceedings.
The Theatre of Dreams erupted when their prodigal son, Cristiano Ronaldo rose to the occasion and headed home a thumping header to complete a thrilling comeback.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE MATCHDAY 9 PREVIEW
Going into matchday 9, one can say that at this stage of the EPL, the top and bottom halves of the table look quite uncharacteristic as per what we’ve come to expect in the last couple of seasons. But, we’re well aware of the uncertain nature fuelled by the attacking intensity of English football that will always keep you hanging on the edge of your seat!
RED ON RED: SUNDAY BLOODY SUNDAY!
The Anfield reds travel to Old Trafford for one of the biggest rivalries in the EPL – Manchester United vs. Liverpool. The visiting side has been in scintillating form in Europe and in the EPL as well, on an unbeaten run for the first 8 matches this season, now only 1 point behind current league leaders Chelsea. Their talismanic front-man Mo Salah has been providing the electricity, standing as the league’s joint top scorer alongside Jamie Vardy of Leicester City.
There’s always a certain suspense factor that Manchester United’s fans will associate with, their team coming out on top in their recent midweek game hosting and just about beating Italian toilers Atalanta in their Champions League encounter. Raphaël Varane’s commanding presence in the United defence was obviously missed and we’re sure Mo Salah will be relishing the opportunity to let himself in behind the United defence. Liverpool’s last EPL match saw them score 5 goals at Watford through Sadio Mané, Mo Salah and a hattrick from Roberto Firmino. Jürgen Klopp’s men are ready shake things up at Old Trafford.
But, one can never write off the Red Devils till the very last second of stoppage time (a.k.a. Fergie Time!), and with the likes of great attacking talents like Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes, Jadon Sancho, Edinson Cavani, the returning Marcus Rashford, Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba, Sunday’s encounter looks like it’ll be either a complete goal-fest or a hard-fought battle of defences. Either way, a potentially action-packed match-up for the mutual observer.
A bluesy battle sees 4th place Brighton & Hove Albion, who’ve not produced a victory in their last 3 matches, hosting current EPL Champions Manchester City, currently in 3rd place, ahead by 2 points. The visitors are slowly gaining momentum and would have certainly gained confidence from their thumping UEFA Champions League 5-0 win over Club Brugge in midweek.
Brighton will have to pull a rabbit out of a hat to get anything out of this game, given the current form Man City are riding on. They barely survived their goalless draw at Norwich City FC on the last matchday, credit going to the lack of finesse from the canaries, who failed to capitalize on Brighton’s defensive errors.
10th place Wolves, coming in fresh of a 3-2 away victory against Aston Villa, visit Leeds United, ominously hanging in 17th place on the table, just above the relegation zone with 2 points ahead of Burnley, who travel to Southampton. The Saints won their last match hosting Leeds by a slender 1-0. Last-place Norwich travel to 1st place Chelsea, showing some major attacking intent in their previous game against Brighton & Hove Albion, but weren’t able to get the goals to support it. Thomas Tuchel’s team are developing into a robust unit, helped heavily now with the physical presence of Romelu Lukaku always testing opposition defences. The visitors really have their work cut out for them.
Leicester City, now in 11th place, travel to 9th place Brentford with their chests out after they dished out a 4-2 schooling to Manchester United last weekend. The hosts couldn’t contain Chelsea in their last match, losing 1-0, and will have paid close attention to Leicester’s display against United, in preparation for Sunday’s clash. David Moyes’ 7th place West Ham United host fellow Londoners Tottenham Hotspur who are currently 2 places above them in 5th position. Speaking of London, Aston Villa, coming off a defeat to Wolves last weekend, travel to Arsenal, who drew with another fellow London club Crystal Palace, who will be hosting the club in the eye of a lot of media attention at the moment – 19th place Newcastle United.
…AND SOME MORE NEWS
In our first edition of TF Kicks we talked about Newcastle United’s consortium takeover and it was obvious that a deal of that magnitude was not going to leave headlines any time soon.
Following the takeover, Newcastle’s manager Steve Bruce who managed the club for three years was sacked by the new owners and while Assistant manager Graeme Jones has taken over the reigns as a caretaker, Newcastle’s quest for a manager has well and truly begun with names like Brendan Rodgers, Steven Gerrard being thrown in the mix. However Portuguese coach Paulo Fonseca’s name is gaining speed to occupy the seat at St. James’ Park.
FIFA’s plans to make their World Cup biennial has been attracting widespread criticism and top managers have spoken openly against the move. FIFA’s plans have now been hit with another setback as the Nordic Football Association which consists of Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Faroe Islands have made a joint statement stating that they will consider leaving FIFA if the biennial World Cup plan goes through.
Another weekend approaches with some exciting matches to look forward to! Watch this space next week for our weekly football update. Until then, keep kicking!
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