Seasons and match-days are 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 – MATCHDAY 4
A Champions League week is never short of action and as expected, we witnessed some enthralling games just before entering the godforsaken international break. In Matchday 4, clubs like AFC Ajax, Bayern Munich, Liverpool FC, and Juventus booked their places while AC Milan, Sevilla, and PSG struggled for their lives once again.
ERIK TEN HAG’s ELEVEN BOOK THEIR LAST 16 SPOT
There is no stopping Ajax at the moment. the Amsterdam club look like they are hitting the levels of their 2018/19 season when they beat giants like Real Madrid and Juventus before collapsing in the last minute against Tottenham Hotspur in the semi-final. Ajax have scored 14 goals (2nd highest in the competition so far) in their 4 games so far while conceding just 2 in the process.
After hammering German club Dortmund in their home fixture, followed by disciplined performances against Besiktas and Portuguese club Sporting Lisbon, Ajax beat Dortmund once again at the Signal Iduna Park to secure their spot in the Last 16 of the Champions League with 2 games to spare.
BAYERN ROMP THEIR WAY TO THE TOP
Bayern Munich’s second name could well be ruthless considering the way they are beating teams for fun this season. It is a season of transition for the German club with Julian Nagelsmann taking over the reigns from treble winner Hansi Flick who took up the Germany job, but Bayern don’t seem like they have changed anything in their game.
They are they highest scorers in the Champions League so far with 17 goals after toiling with defences of clubs in the group which includes Benfica and Barcelona. Their latest rollover was against Benfica when they beat them 5-2 with a hattrick from Robert Lewandowski to seal their spot in the last 16 without breaking a sweat.
PSG’S STRUGGLES UNDER MAURICIO POCHETTINO CONTINUE
What is a supposed to be a season of invincibility for Paris Saint-Germain, is slowly turning into a slow and painful run so far. After securing the signatures of Sergio Ramos, Lionel Messi, Gini Wijnaldum, Gianluigi Donnarumma, and Achraf Hakimi, PSG were destined to finally make a mark in this season’s Champions League.
In reality, and barring the win against Man City, they find themselves a point below the Manchester club in a tough group having merely scraped a win against RB Leipzig before drawing their game against Club Brugge. Their away fixture against RB Leipzig wrote a similar story where they first found themselves a goal behind, made a comeback, took the lead only to give it up in the final seconds of the game. A big showdown between PSG and Man City at the Etihad awaits.
RONALDO SAVES UNITED FOR THE THIRD GAME RUNNING
Cristiano Ronaldo’s return to Manchester United hasn’t been particularly kind to him. Along with match saving and winning performances the in league, Ronaldo has been responsible for keeping Manchester United in contention for the Last 16 of the Champions League.
After scoring the last-minute winner against Villareal, and securing a dramatic win against Atalanta, Ronaldo saved the day for United once again with two stoppage time goals on either sides of the halves in their return game against Atalanta in Bergamo. Manchester United currently sit on top of the table level on points with Villareal with 7 apiece.
LIVERPOOL MAKE LIGHT WORK OF ATLETICO MADRID
The group of death has lived up to its expectations so far. We have seen some feisty encounters between AC Milan, Atletico Madrid, Porto and Liverpool. From the 4 games played until now, Liverpool and Atletico Madrid who have somehow managed to brew up a fierce rivalry gave us maximum entertainment at The Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Matchday 3.
They met once again at Anfield for Matchday 4 but Liverpool with their Heavy metal football effectively killed the game in the first 25 minutes through goals from Diogo Jota and Sadio Mane who was a constant target of Atletico’s murky tactics. The move didn’t pay off for the visitors who were reduced to 10 men for the second game running after Felipe fouled Sadio Mane with a high-foot challenge. Since the red card, Liverpool managed the game well with a 2-0 win to book their spot in the last 16.
ENGLISH PREMIER LEAGUE – MATCHDAY 11
Matchday 11 of the Premier League saw some upsets, comebacks and further drama for some of the bigger teams at the top of the table. Some strong redefining performances versus some unexpected and underwhelming play, read ahead to find out more about what conspired on the last weekend of PL football.
UNITED FEEL THE BLUES IN THE THEATRE OF NIGHTMARES
Arguably the biggest game of the weekend, or whenever it happens, especially in recent times – the Manchester derby – Manchester United vs. Manchester City. The hosts, clad in their signature red, had hoped for a better start, as manager Olé Gunnar Solskjaer has been stressing in his press interactions, but his hopes were not translated into reality, as Man City dominated the game from the word go, and were 2-0 up at half time itself, the second goal, a rare awkward mistake from otherwise heroic goalkeeper David De Gea.
The absence of the now key Raphaël Varane in the centRE of the Reds’ defence, after his resurfacing injury vs. Atalanta in the UCL midweek game, is something United can’t seem to cope with. The combination of Lindelof, McGuire and Bailly were not sufficient to thwart the continuous onslaught of attacking play from the City frontline. The lack of stability in the defence and central midfield areas is proving frustrating for United’s prolific front line.
Rumors are that the United dressing room is slowly starting to lose their faith in the boss’ abilities to guide and harness the best out of the set of available players. Dripping in controversy, Solskjaer is trying to maintain a positive front, but he is competing with other managers with major top-flight credentials like Pep Guardiola, Jürgen Klopp, Thomas Tuchel, who have conquered the top leagues in Germany, Spain, France and fared brilliantly in the UEFA Champions League as well. Will Olé be able to hold the fort? We can only wait and watch…
HAMMERED: WEST HAM END LIVERPOOL’S UNBEATEN RUN
David Moyes’ West Ham United team climb up to 3rd place in the table, defeating Liverpool and ending their massive unbeaten run of 25 games in all competitions, also emphatically going a point above them, leaving them in 4th place. A rare dismal performance from their No.1 – Alisson, and the superhuman work rate from West Ham were both something Liverpool are not used to, and became their undoing.
Divock Origi got Liverpool back in the game, albeit a little too late in the 83rd minute, but the saving chance was missed by Sadio Mané in stoppage time, when he failed to head in a beautiful free kick from Trent Alexander-Arnold, leaving Liverpool defeated for the first time in a long time.
PATRICK’S PATIENT PALACE
Crystal Palace have been working hard under the leadership of aggressive ex-Arsenal legend Patrick Vieira, and have climbed up to 10th in the table, after their 2-0 victory against Wolves, now in 8th place, just 1 point ahead. The eagles are really flying high with back-to-back 2-0 wins which include their victory at Man City on the previous weekend.
Arsenal maintain consistency and win 1-0 against 17th Watford to go up to 5th place in the table this weekend at 20 points, 3 points above Man United in 6th, and just 2 below Liverpool in 4th. Is this the season Arsenal fans have been waiting for?
Antonio Conte’s Tottenham were held by hosts Everton at 0-0, letting go of a lot of chances that were created by some really fluid attacking play, just lacking that end product. Rafa Benitez’s side was resilient and did have their own attacking spells, and were arguably the better team on the night.
Top of the table Chelsea were held by 18th place Burnley at 1-1, with a scrappy equalizing goal from Matëj Vidra in the 79th minute, in a game dominated with incessant chances by the London blues. Down at the bottom but not out yet, Norwich City registered their first win of the season, scoring 2-1, away against 14th place Brentford.
Southampton, now in 13th place, just barely won their home clash versus Aston Villa 1-0, who’ve dropped to 16th place, leading to the sacking of their manager Dean Smith. Leeds United are now in 15th place after their 1-1 draw at home against Leicester City, who are now in 12th position. And lastly, 7th place Brighton were held at home in a 1-1 draw by the visiting 19th place Newcastle United.
We look forward to Premier League Matchday 12 where action resumes on the 20th of November, ’21 post the international break for FIFA World Cup 2022 qualifiers.
Watch this space next week for our weekly football update. Until then, keep kicking!
FI Collage image credits –
Ajax Twitter | Bayern Twitter | Liverpool Twitter | RB Leipzig Twitter | Manchester United Twitter | Manchester United Instagram | West Ham United Instagram | Crystal Palace Instagram | Chelsea Instagram | Tottenham Hotspur Instagram