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GeorgeAK

Champions League - Literally

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HUGE SHAKE-UPS ANNOUNCED

The 2018-19 season was astonishing. Especially in Europe. Many sides made amazing comebacks, making an extremely competitive Champions League. With teams like Ajax and Spurs making runs late into the competition, and such amazing comebacks as Liverpool against Barcelona and Manchester United against PSG. However, this may be the last season that the competition is formatted this way, as UEFA have announced that they wish to shake up the way that the Champions League works. In the new system, Champions League matches will be played all year round, in a genuine league format. Each team will face each other once, with the side gaining the most points in that time winning the Champions League. UEFA have also granted instant qualification to the 16 sides that reached the knockout stages in the 18-19 campaign. The remaining 4 spots are rumoured to be determined in an 8 team qualification tournament, between the winners of the Europa League (Chelsea) and the seven sides that finished in 3rd in the Champions League (The side that finished with the least points in third place will not be granted entry).
Listed below are the qualified teams for the tournament, in alphabetical order:

Atletico Madrid
Ajax
Barcelona
Bayern Munich
Borussia Dortmund
Juventus
Liverpool
Lyon
Manchester City
Manchester United
Porto
PSG
Real Madrid
Roma
Schalke
Tottenham

The last four spots will be granted to the teams who win their qualification game, this qualification game will be a two legged match, with away goals coming into effect if need be. Here are the matches that have been drawn randomly.

Inter Milan Vs Viktoria Plzen
Club Brugge Vs Napoli
Chelsea Vs Shakhtar Donesk
Benfica Vs Valencia

Ensure to return to find out which sides qualified and which sides went crashing out at this early stage.

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QUALIFICATION RESULTS

Inter Milan Vs Viktoria Plzen

1st Leg -

6’ CHANCE - Politiano gavers the ball out wide, quickly turns inside and tries to curve one in from at least 30 yards out. Somehow he manages to hit the post!

22’ CHANCE - Politiano again, breaks past the defense inside the penalty area this time, but he has a tight angle to shoot from and the shot is beaten behind for a corner kick.

31’ CHANCE - Vecino turns away from his man and quickly makes a one two with Nainggolan, he then plays it outwide to Politiano whos cross in is headed inches wide my Brozovic!

Half Time 0-0

60’ CHANCE - Corner whipped in by Politiano, and the header by De Vrij is inches wide of the far post, surely Inter have to take a chance soon.

66’ CHANCE - First chance for Plzen, they play the ball right through the middle of the park into Beauguel, but his strike is always rising and goes over.

90’ CHANCE - The last chance of the game fell for Plzen, as they play the ball around the edge of the Inter Milan penalty area. Finally it is Horava who takes the shot but he drags it wide.

Full Time 0-0

2nd Leg

6’ CHANCE - Ball is switched across the penalty area, and touched down to Hrosovsky being volleyed towards goal. But the volley is turned behind by Handanovic for a corner.

11’ CHANCE - Inter create their first chance in the game. A few one-twoes in the middle of the park opens up a gap in the defense of Viktoria Plzen, Politiano runs through this gap and is played one on one with the keeper, but his shot strikes the post and is headed behind for a corner.

27’ CHANCE - Kopic is played through, one on one with Handanovic, who makes a fantastic save to deny the winger from scoring.

44’ GOAL - Inter take the lead! The ball is spread outwide to Politiano, who crosses it in towards the back post and headed home by Perisic to give the Italian side the lead.

Half Time 0-1 (Agg 0-1)

52’ GOAL - And quickly the goal is doubled, the ball is thrown into Perisic from the throw. He then lays it into space which is occupied by Nianggolan who smashes the ball past the keeper into the top corner to double the lead.

61’ CHANCE - Inter came forward once again, Nianggolan played a one-two around the corner before laying it off to Perisic, but his shot was tipped behind.

64’ CHANCE - Inter once more came forward searching a third, the ball was played just inside the penalty area to Vecino, who took a touch out and struck it just past the near post and out for a goal kick.

89’ CHANCE - Almost a consolation goal for Plzen. Balde Diao is intercepted on the edge of the Inter box, but the following shot is tame and rolls limply past the post for a goal kick.

Full Time 0-2 (Agg 0-2)

INTER MILAN QUALIFY

Club Brugge Vs Napoli

4’ GOAL - Napoli score instantly! Milik runs onto a loose ball in the D, and smashes it with the outside of his foot right into the top corner, the ball bounces down off the bar and the referee has to use goal line technology to check that the ball crosses the line.

11’ GOAL - Two in quick succession for Napoli! They double their lead away from home here, and it is thanks to another long range strike. Insigne this time, he picks the ball up and is allowed space to drive at the Club Brugge defence, before striking it through a pair of legs and into the back of the net.

24’ CHANCE - Vanaken comes close to getting one back for Brugge. His shot is tipped behind by Meret to keep the lead for the Italian side.

29’ CHANCE - Now the momentum is in favour of the Belgian side, as the ball is switched and taken into the box by Diatta before his shot flashes across the face of goal.

33’ GOAL - The momentum is killed by a third! Callejon receives the ball outwide, leaves two defenders for dead and puts a low ball into the box which is converted by Insigne with a diving header.

Half Time 0-3

63’ CHANCE - Almost four, Ounas is played in behind. But he has to run a large distance and by the time he gets in shooting range he is clearly tiring and drags the shot wide.

67’ CHANCE - Brugge need a goal desperately to give themselves a glimmer of hope of getting through this tie, as Vanaken drive forward. After a couple of stepovers he plays it into the path of Wesley who screws the shot over the bar.

76’ GOAL - Four now. Surely the tie is all over. The away side make it four through Dries Mertens. A collection of one-twos in the corner is finally whipped into the box and met on the volley by Mertens who adds salt to the wounds of the Club Brugge team.

Full Time 0-4

2nd Leg

15’ CHANCE - Brugge start on the front foot, Dennis recieves the ball out wide, and twists and turns into the box before finding the side netting with his shot.

32’ CHANCE - All Brugge so far, the ball gets played across to Diatta who stries with the outside of his foot and forces a save out of Meret.

37’ CHANCE - Free kick for Napoli is crossed in, the ball gets knocked down, Rui slashes at the ball but is falling backwards and the ball is ever rising over the bar.
Half Time 0-0 (Agg 4-0)

48’ CHANCE - Right from kick off Napoli look energised, they spread the ball outwide before delivering a pinpoint cross right into a scissor kick attempt from Milik which is inches wide..

53’ CHANCE - Napoli are right back in control, Insigne gets himself on the ball before opening up his body and curving a shot against the outside of the post. Almost 1-0 Napoli.

58’ GOAL - Brugge take the lead! A loose ball on the edge of the box falls to Vanaken who strikes it across Meret and into the back of the net giving Brugge the lead.

62’ YELLOW CARD - Vanaken is lucky not to be sent off here! He goes in for the challenge on Rui, but goes over the ball and tries to pull out but still makes substantial contact with the fullback. Brugge lucky to not have 10!

67’ GOAL - Equalizer on the night for Napoli, Callejon finds space outwide and lofts a ball into the box. It bounces off the wrong side of a Brugge head and falls into the path of Fabian who sticks it in at the near post.

72’ CHANCE - And Napoli almost take the lead! A cross is cleared, but only as far as Kevin Malcuit, who dribbles up before smacking the ball from 30 yards, only for it to be slightly over the top of the crossbar.

Full Time 1-1 (Agg 5-1)

NAPOLI QUALIFY

Chelsea Vs Shakhtar Donesk

 

1st Leg


22’ CHANCE - Chelsea spread the ball around, playing neat passes outside the penalty area. They notice a slight gap for Pedro, give him the ball but his shot goes wide.

30’ GOAL - Higuain receives the ball in a crossing position, he whips a beautiful ball into the box, the keeper comes for it but Hazard manages to flick it past the arm of the keeper and in to give Chelsea the lead.

Half Time 1-0

48’ GOAL - Shakhtar equalize! Straight from kick-off they get the ball outwide, a cross is deflected by Luiz into the path of Marlos who volleys it into the bottom corner.

51’ GOAL - Chelsea instantly regain the lead. They play the ball forward to Higuain, he feeds Kante who realises the run being made by Hazard. Who gathers the ball at the penalty spot and curves it past the keeper to make it 2-1!


60’ CHANCE - And it is almost three. Shakhtar start locking down on Hazard, which gives Barkley a lot of space outside the box, he decides to attack, but his eventual shot hits the side netting.

79’ CHANCE - Chelsea come forward again! Jorginho plays a ball across to Hazard, who quickly finds Higuain, but his snapshot is saved by the keeper.

90’ CHANCE - Late corner for Shakhtar is whipped to the penalty spot, but the header is tipped over the bar by Kepa. The header from the resulting corner is caught by the goalkeeper.

Full Time 2-1

 

2nd Leg

13’ GOAL - Who else to extend Chelseas’ advantage but Hazard. He collects the ball 40 yards from goal, gets past one, balls rolls past the second and smashes the ball into the top corner! 1-0 Chelsea.

35’ CHANCE - Hazard collects the ball outside the box and chips it towards Higuain who sends a dangerous volley towards goal which is turnt aside.

Half Time 0-1 (Agg 1-3)

51’ CHANCE - Chelsea’s midfield move the ball around on the edge of the box before a powerful shot from Ruben Lofts-Cheek is sent on goal, it is pushed behind though.

65’ GOAL - Equalizer on the night for Shakhtar! A few neat one-twos starting from the halfway line completely carve open the Chelsea backline, and Moraes is there to finish to make it 1-1 and open the tie back up!

78’ GOAL - Eden Hazard ends all hope for Shakhtar! Pedro has a shot which is pushed aside, Willian keeps it in and cuts it back to Hazard who lashes it in form close range to make it 2-1 on the night and 4-2 to Chelsea on aggregate!

83’ GOAL - From bad to worse for Shakhtar! Kante drives through the middle and plays in Higuain, who spins his man and finishes neatly. Great goal from Chelsea.

90’ CHANCE - Almost another for Chelsea, player of the round Hazard involved again with a cross deep behind the back post, meet by a volley from Alonso which is beaten behind.

Full Time 1-3 (Agg 2-5)

CHELSEA QUALIFY


Benfica Vs Valencia

5’ CHANCE - Valencia start on the front foot, Rodrigo runs down the wing slowly cutting in on goal, eventually his shot is saved, sent behind for a corner.

6’ GOAL - A corner from which Valencia score. It is whipped in towards the front post and flicked past the keeper and into the middle of the six yard box. Leaving Soler alone to tap the ball into the wide open net to give Valencia the lead.

23’ GOAL - Benfica hit right back, after a long spell of possession, Benfica finally create a small gap in the defence of Valencia. Pizzi gets the ball opens up his body and sends an absolute rocket into the back of the net to equalize for the Portuguese side.

29’ CHANCE - Benfica come right back looking for the lead, the ball is played into Joao Felix with his back to goal and two defenders on him, he flicks the ball in the air and hits it on the swivel. But the side netting denies him.

Half Time 1-1

60’ CHANCE - Valencia start the second half the brighter side, a cross is cleared but flicked back into the box towards Santi Mina. But his looping effort bounces off of the top of the crossbar and behind for a goal kick

66’ CHANCE - A free kick is pumped forward from the halfway line, Mina wins the header but can’t direct it into the back of the net.

74’ GOAL - Guedes scores against his former club! A cross to the backpost catches out Benfica’s back line and Guedes is there to tap in, 2-1 Valencia!

Full Time 1-2

2nd Leg

8’ GOAL - Dream start for a Benfica team who need 2 goals to have any chance of going through! Pizzi holds the ball on the edge of the box, and at the last moment lays it off to Joao Felix who lashes the ball into the back of the net.

41’ CHANCE - A quiet first half with a huge chance at the end. Benfica, trailing on away goals with a huge opportunity to make it advantage to themselves. A well timed tackle from Rafa in the Valencia penalty area put the ball right in front of Jonas in the 6 yard box, but an amazing save from Neto denied him.

Half Time 0-1 (Agg 2-2)

50’ GOAL - A good move on the far side from Valencia ends up with Parejo in a goalscoring opportunity in the 6 yard box, and he slams it into the top corner! Valencia equalize on the night and take the lead on aggregate.

57’ CHANCE - The most clear-cut chance you could ask for if you are a Benfica fan or player. A huge gap created in the Valencia defence, and Fesja is played through one on one. But Neto pulls out yet another great save to deny the possibility of extra time.

58’ CHANCE - From the resulting corner, Jonas sends a header towards the bottom corner, but the outstretched arm of Neto is able to scoop the ball off of the line. Making a third amazing save!

81’ CHANCE - Benfica are throwing everything at it. A ball is looped forward, and headed down by Felix into the path of Gabriel. He touches the ball down and his strike is agonisingly wide.

89’ GOAL - Surely the goal of the tournament so far! Wrapping up the tie for Valencia! Daniel Wass! Valencia win a corner after some timewasting, it is punched away and struck beautifully on the volley, curving past everyone right into the top corner. Surely sealing the deal for Valencia!

90+2’ CHANCE - Benfica still try, once more to get the goal they have been after since the 8th minute. The ball breaks for Fejsa, but his shot is turned behind by Neto.

Full Time 2-1 (Agg 4-2)

VALENCIA QUALIFY  

 

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WEEK ONE & TWO

The first two weeks of the Champions League is over. The league is underway, some good games and some shocking results. But here is what happened:

WEEK ONE

Lyon 0-0 Ajax


A nil nil draw to open the tournament. In a game dominated by Ajax. Neres, Schone and De Jong all had chances, but the best for them fell to substitute Dolberg. Who rose and met a ball from Tadic but headed slightly wide. The best chance in the game though fell for Lyon, as after De Ligt came off with a slight injury, their defence crumbled. A scramble in the box lead to a loose ball that fell to Fekir, who struck the post!

PSG 1-1 Tottenham

And the first goal of the Champions League goes to… PSG. Cavani to be exact, scoring a first time finish off the back of a through ball from Dani Alves. Tottenham quickly equalised through a neat finish from Son. And in a half dominated by Tottenham, the teams went into half time 1-1. PSG dominated the second, but the score never changed.

Valencia 0-0 Chelsea

A third straight draw to open the season. Chelsea dominated with both Willian and Higuain hitting the crossbar. The first half was dull but the second was much better.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Dortmund

The first win for a team in the tournament in a one goal game. And it was Griezmann who got the one goal as well, as he scored the rebound from a shot of his own that hit the crossbar. Dortmund tried to get back into it in the second half, but Atletico defended well, preventing any major attacks.

Roma 1-2 Juventus

It was a tight game between two of the four qualified Italian sides, with Roma taking the lead early on due to a nice finish from Edin Dzeko. However, the early goal only seemed to wake up Juventus, who got 2 in 10 minutes from Matuidi and Dybala to give themselves the lead. A third from Ronaldo was disallowed for offside just before the half time break. After half time, Juventus defended well, their only attack being a run from Bentancur through the entire Roma team, he looked as if he was brought down at the end but no penalty was given. Roma were stuck to longshots, apart from one late chance, a Cengiz Under cross was flicked on by Dzeko at the front post. El Sharawaay came sliding in but just couldn’t get to the ball. Full time, Juventus win.

Napoli 0-3 Bayern Munich

It was actually the Italian side that went through qualifying prior to this game that dominated to begin with. The first half being almost completely theirs. Insigne hit the crossbar with a tough tap in from a tight angle, just before Mertens forced a great save out of Neuer. In the second half it was all Bayern though, James forced 2 amazing saves from Meret. And Coman gave Bayern the lead with a tough finish after a good pass from Muller. Late on there was controversy surrounding the second, Koulibaly was seemingly tripped by James. The referee gave nothing, as the defender fell he inadvertently knocked the ball away from Meret who had dived to collect the ball. Lewandowski was in the right place to make it 2-0. The third was also from the Polish striker, but this one was nicer. He won the ball from kick off, took a touch and smashed one from the edge of the box straight past Meret and into the back of the net. Bayern win.

Schalke 1-0 Real Madrid

The first shock of the Champions League, Real Madrid dominated with chance after chance. But it was Schalke who scored the only goal. A cross headed into the back of the net by Steven Skrzybski. What a win for Schalke.

Inter Milan 1-2 Manchester City

City opened the scoring early on, a scramble in the box was eventually converted by Bernardo Silva. But Icardi soon equalised with a near post header. Handanovic kept Inter Milan in the game making great save after great save. But in the 81st minute he was beaten for the second time thanks to Ilkay Gundogan. City take a 2-1 win against Inter.

Porto 2-1 Manchester United

And another shock, this time in favour of the only Portuguese side left in the competition. They started on the front foot, as an attack on the near side lead to a pinpoint cross being headed in by Aboubakar. Then Hector Herrera made it two in added time before half time. After half time, Luke Shaw got one back for Manchester United and they started to be on the front foot in the last twenty minutes. But it would prove to be too late, and they pick up their first loss in their first game.


Barcelona 1-1 Liverpool


In the final game of the gameweek the prior seasons champions made the perfect start. As Mo Salah broke in-behind the barca backline and began bearing down on Ter Stegen before passing to Mane for the simple tap in. But the lead wouldn’t last long as messi would get the wrong side of robertson, cut in past Van Dijk and send a rocket into the top corner. The rest of the game was back and forth action with little penetration. One one.

 

WEEK TWO

Manchester United 0-0 Barcelona

Week two started off with probably the best nil nil draw ever. A really end to end game, both sides had 8 shots on target and possession was even. For either side to win the game would have been unfair on the losers. Sergi Roberto will get praise from Barcelona fans after his goal line clearance in the 90th, as will Chris Smalling from United fans for his man of the match performance.

Liverpool 1-2 Lyon

A huge shock at Anfield, as Liverpool are outplayed by Lyon. Traore scored for Lyon early on. Van Dijk equalised with a header from a corner, but then 3 minutes later Fekir restored the lead for Lyon. Lyon play well defensively, scoring from 2 of their 3 shots in the game. Although the stats were in favour of Liverpool, the result wasn’t.

Manchester City 1-1 Porto

A surprising even game between these two sides. Man City looked on top for most of the game after a first half goal from David Silva, but they were pegged back after a late equalizer from Francisco Soares meant the points are shared.

 

Real Madrid 2-2 Inter Milan
 

A somewhat surprising result in this one. Icardi was immense though, scoring two in the first half to give the Italian side a 2 goal lead going into the break. They were dominating the start of the second half too, however they were unable to add any more goals to the scoreline. Then the unthinkable occurred, Gareth Bale scored one for Real Madrid, the comeback was on. And completed in the 89th as Casemiro scored after the ball broke free from a corner. Great game.
 

Bayern 2-1 Schalke

Quite an even game between these two German sides. James gave Bayern the lead with a fantastic volley early on, but Nabil Bentaleb equalised in added time. The entire second half was full of end to end action, although not many chances were created. In the end it took an 88th minute goal from Arjen Robben to split the two sides.

Juventus 1-0 Napoli

Juventus, coming off of a win in their first game needed to build up momentum. But their first half wasn’t amazing. They struggled against Napoli, with the first half being quite even. The goal eventually came in the second half, in the 65th minute. With Mandzukic scoring a header from a corner.

Dortmund 2-0 Roma

Complete dominance in this one. Roma failed to even have a shot on goal because of how well Dortmund performed. Their opening goal came 10 minutes before half time, as Gotze accelerated into the box and finished well to break the deadline. In the second Jadon Sancho made it two with a shot across the keeper. Good win for Dortmund and an amazing performance.

 

Chelsea 0-1 Atletico Madrid

Tough one to swallow for Chelsea, they dominated the game, kept Atletico to only 2 chances. But despite this, Sauls sole goal gave Atletico the win. Chelsea had chance after chance, but just weren’t able to get the goal. Much like in their game against Valencia, as Jan Oblak ends up with 8 saves in the game.

Tottenham 2-1 Valencia

Good result for Tottenham, good performance as well. The side representing north london dominated this match. Completely controlling the tempo in the first half, and getting their reward in a tap in by Son. However, the second half saw the resurgence of Valencia. As they had a great period of control for the first 20 minutes of the second half. And they got their reward through an equaliser by Santi Mina. However, there was still one more twist left in the tale. As a header from a Trippier cross by Harry Kane, which Neto got a hand to struck the post and snuck across the line and in to make it advantage Tottenham with 10 minutes remaining. A lead that they held onto for the lead.

 

Ajax 0-2 PSG

PSG bounce back from dropping 2 points against Tottenham. And they really did start strong. Di Maria netted inside 20 minutes and they continued to press right up until minutes before half time where Neymar made it two. However, after the break it was a completely different story. The tide had turned completely as it was now Ajax in full control. But, despite all their pressure they were not able to even get one goal back, losing 2-0.

LEAGUE TABLE

1. Bayern Munich
2. Juventus
3. Atletico Madrid
4. PSG
5. Porto
6. Manchester City
7. Tottenham
8. Lyon
9. Dortmund
10. Schalke
11. Barcelona
12. Inter
13. Liverpool
14. Real Madrid
15. Valencia
16. Manchester United
17. Chelsea
18. Ajax
19. Roma
20. Napoli

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WEEK THREE & FOUR

After an interesting first two weeks, we now see the table begin to take shape. Gameweeks 3 and four have concluded and we now start to move towards the halfway mark of the tournament. Will there be anymore shocks? Will anyone overtake Bayern? Find out.

 

WEEK THREE

 

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Tottenham

A very entertaining game here, amazing right the way through. Within 5 minutes Tottenham had hit the post through Son. As did Atletico through Costa, but his volley that hit the post was tapped in by Koke. Then Tottenham ramped up the pressure, a pass deflected off the referee and fell to Alli but Oblak saved. Minutes later Alli equalized, with a header at the front post. From there on in there was end-to-end action, with Tottenham slightly outdoing the spanish side but the score staying level. Meaning Atletico lose their 100% win record.

Valencia 3-0 Ajax

An amazing performance from the Spanish side. Showing the world how to defend and attack. An early spell of pressure saw Valencia get 3 in the first 20 minutes. The first coming after a miscommunication which lead to Onana parrying a cross into the path of Kondogbia, with an open goal and nobody around he slotted home. Ten minutes later Rodrigo won a header over Blind, perfectly placing the effort out of reach of Onana and in for 2. Before in the 20th Parejo scored a shot from a tight angle. From this point in Ajax were dominant, with Valencia sitting back and inviting pressure that they managed to deal with. Although De Ligt had a header cleared off the line and Neres hit the post, Valencia defended well and managed to keep Ajax scoreless in order to secure a 3-0 win and their first win of the season.

Lyon 2-7 PSG

PSG tear fellow French side Lyon to shreds. PSG dominant, Lyon abismal. Two for Mbappe, Cavani and Neymar and one for Diaby. All 7 shots on target for PSG ending up in goals. A real statement game, PSG showing they have the capability to win the entire competition. Lyon however, showed signs of good play. With Memphis Depay and Fekir both getting on the scoresheet. Overall though, an amazing display from PSG, completely wiping the floor with their fellow French opponents.

Roma 1-1 Chelsea

Very interesting game in Rome. It started with pressure from Chelsea, Roma couldn’t seem to get the ball out of their own half for the first half an hour. But despite all the possession Chelsea couldn’t manage to create any key chances, and they were punished for this going into half time. As Roma hit them on the counter attack, with a low ball from Kolarov being finished by Dzeko. There was some controversy behind the goal, as only 3 minutes were added on and the goal was in the 50th. But Chelsea didn’t get hurt by the goal. They knew they hadn’t scored yet in any of their 3 games, they knew they were struggling, and they took the game to Roma. Constant pressure throughout the second half for Chelsea. But it looked like they wouldn’t get anything in return, as time was dwindling. But Ross Barkley stood up in the 92nd minute, with a neat finish to get Chelsea a point in Rome.

Napoli 0-0 Dortmund

A bore draw in Naples. Neither side looked threatening apart from the occasional longshot that would come close. Dortmund hit the bar, Napoli had a shot go inches wide. But despite that, neither side deserved a win and neither side even deserved a point. Good thing they were both as bad as each other. Nil-nil draw.

Schalke 0-0 Juventus

Another goalless draw in Germany. But this one was due to Schalkes tactics. They sat back and allowed Juventus to attack them, soaking up the pressure well and trying to hit them on the counter attack. Juventus tried this tactic in the second half themselves, but Schalke were happy to just settle for a point. The same couldn’t be said for Juventus, the last 15 minutes was when panic mode set in and they threw everything at Schalke but they still couldn’t break the deadline.

Inter 0-2 Bayern

Bayern continue their dominance, with a two goal win away against Inter. The first half was goalless, both sides had their chances but neither were able to score. The second was different. Just before the hour mark Bayern took the lead, as a cross into the box met the head of unmarked Frank Ribery who converted to give Bayern the lead. And in the 90th the lead was doubled. As Robben picked the ball up outside the Inter penalty area, turned away from his man made a quick one-two with Thiago before belting the ball into the top corner to seal the win for Bayern. Confirming that the only remaining 100% record in the league stays in tact.

Porto 0-0 Real Madrid

Real came out strong, they dominated the first half with chance after chance against a Porto team that looked shaky. But they just couldn’t score, striking the post through Raphael Varane. Brahimi was lucky to not be sent off after an extremely dangerous challenge saw him pick up a yellow card. In the second half it was more even, Real looked like they had used all of their energy in the first half, but they still somehow managed to stay in the game and have a few more chances. As did Porto for once, with their late chances not getting them anything, and the game ended as a goalless draw.

Barcelona 1-1 Manchester City

First half amazing, second half dull. A great start to the game with Barcelona pressing from the start, Umtiti coming close from a corner and Messi having a chance as well. Goal line technology denied David Silva the opener for City. The opener came for Barca, a cross into the box headed home by Rakitic to give the Spanish side the lead. But it only lasted 10 minutes, as in added on time Kevin De Bruyne found himself in a pocket of space and finished calmly to equalize. The dull second half cancelled out the entertaining first and the game ended in a draw.

Liverpool 0-3 Manchester United

Great game, action throughout and a plethora of chances in this one. Manchester United the more clinical of the two sides though, despite missing a penalty. They took the lead within 5 minutes through Rashford who got two in the first half. Pogba made it 3 in the second and Lukaku also hit the bar. But who allowed all of these chances, probably David De Gea. De Gea made 3 great saves at the end of the first half ton deny Liverpool and opportunity to get back into the match. Manchester United run rampant and get their first win of the Champions League.

 

WEEK FOUR

Bayern 1-0 Porto

Bayern extend their 100% record, a surprisingly tight game against a Porto side who constantly seemed to overplay. Instead of taking the easy chances they were presented, Porto tried to score a hard chance, or make chances harder than they are. Bayern though, took the main chance they were presented. On the verge of halftime Muller received the ball in the box, spun and fired the ball into the back of the net. That ended up being the only goal in the game as Bayern won their 4th game.

Manchester City 1-4 Liverpool

Amazing bouncebackability from Liverpool. Showing great determination to bounce back from their 3 goal loss. The goals seemed to come thick and fast in the game, with neither side getting a strong foot into the game until the 30 minute mark where Liverpool started a period of pressure which lasted for the rest of the half. In that time they got 2. The first being a neat finish from Firmino after some tight passing. The second being a header from Wijnaldum. After half time Salah made it three with a goal from a tight angle. City got one back through De Bruyne who netted a one on one. But all hope for a comeback was ended quickly through a low longshot from Firmino. Liverpool win 4-1.

Real Madrid 0-1 Barcelona

A tight and entertaining el clasico. Separated by a single goal. And what a man to get the goal. Lionel Messi collects the ball out wide takes it in and finishes despite the tight angle. Both sides tried to engineer more chances but they just couldn’t and a scrappy game is won by Barcelona.

Manchester United 2-2 Lyon

An intriguing game with a lot of action. Lyon somehow managed to dominate Manchester United, despite the sides coming off completely different performances. Lyon opened the scored through Ndombele who drove into the box and took his shot across De Gea and in. But the lead only lasted two minutes as Lukaku instantly equalized for United finishing a cross from Rashford on the half volley. And after half time it was Rashford who gave United the lead beating Lopes at his near post. But much like the Lyon lead, it didn’t last long. As Fekir drew the teams level once more with a tap in, inside the six yard box. For the rest of the game Lyon had chance after chance, with De Gea making some brilliant saves to deny Lyon. And United almost stole it at the end but Freds’ header was cleared of the line and the game ended 2-2.

Juventus 2-0 Inter Milan

Juventus keep the pressure on Bayern with a win. They had all the possession in the first half but weren’t able to craft and chances due to the compact midfield of Inter. The best chance of the first half was actually from Inter midfielder Nianggolan who produced a good save from Szczesny. The second half was when Juventus turned on the gas, they found the formula to beat Inter and used it wisely. With a cross being headed in by Dybala in the 65th minute to give Juventus the lead. This lead was then doubled from another cross, this time headed in by Ronaldo to confirm the victory for Juventus.

Dortmund 0-0 Schalke

Absolute snooze-fest. Only one chance created in the entire 90, that being a one on one saved by Burki. Possession was in favour of Dortmund, but they did nothing with it. 0-0.

Chelsea 2-1 Napoli

Chelsea build from the momentum they gained with their late winner to get their first win of the season. They started strong, with Kovacic squaring to Hazard to tap in for 1-0. Only for the goal to be disallowed as Kovacic was offside. Kovacic made up for this error though in a display that saw him win man of the match, as 10 minutes later the roles were reversed and it was him tapping in a ball from Hazard for 1-0. Another ten minutes passed and he came close to scoring a stunning second. The ball was fed into him by Higuain and he touched it into the air and scissor kicked a volley against the post! But despite all this pressure Chelsea were pegged back going into half time, as Insigne beat Kepa at his near post to make it 1-1. Chelsea were not deterred, as they continued their pressure into the second half and got their reward for doing so. As Higuain found himself being closed down by 3 men, he quickly shifted it to Kante who found a wide open Willian to score Chelsea’s second goal and give them the win.

Tottenham 1-2 Roma

Roma get their first win of the season in dramatic style. Things started off well for the Italian side as they won an early corner which was converted by N’Zonzi. Minutes later Roma came forward again but a shot from Deko hit the bar. Tottenham really struggled to get into the game, with Roma leading for the majority of the match. But Tottenham did strike back with 10 minutes to go as Son found space in the box and converted. But they couldn’t hold on as Perotti was sent one on one with Lloris but his shot went wide! Tottenham just needed a good goal kick to secure a point, but it was intercepted by De Rossi and given to El Sharawaay. Roma broke into the box and the ball was fed into Schick who gave Roma the win.


Ajax 0-0 Atletico Madrid

Nil nil draws have been a frequent outcome this Champions League campaign. And another one here, as barely any chances were created in this match. Possession even as well. The main chanced being a shot from Griezmann that was saved by Onana. Boring game, draw.

PSG 1-0 Valencia

Lots of chances in this game, PSG and Valencia both playing well but ultimately it was the French side who go the victory. In the first half Mbappe was on fire forcing multiple saves out of Neto. In the second it was time for Di Maria as he did the same. But it was Raboit who scored for PSG with a longshot. It was almost two as well as Mbappes fancy volley struck the underside of the bar, PSG thought they had made it two but no goal was given. Valencia’s chances mainly came through Kondogbia, but he couldn’t save them. PSG win.

1. Bayern
2. PSG
3. Juventus
4. Atletico Madrid
5. Barcelona

6. Manchester United
7. Dortmund
8. Tottenham
9. Porto
10. Chelsea
11. Schalke
12. Manchester City
13. Lyon
14. Valencia

15. Liverpool
16. Roma
17. Real Madrid
18. Ajax
19. Inter
20. Napoli

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Four Week Performance Review

It has been an interesting start to the Champions League so far. Many upsets leave some teams exceeding expectations and some disappointing their fans. Here is a team by team review of the first four gameweeks of the Champions League.

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Pretty good start for Atletico Madrid who are yet to pick up a loss. Currently they sit on 2 wins and 2 draws on 8 points. They have also only conceded a single goal so far. However, one cause of concern amongst Atletico fans is that both of their wins occurred in the first two weeks. Meaning they have now gone 2 weeks without a win. Will they be able to turn it around?
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Quite a poor start for Ajax so far. After reaching the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, the Danish side are yet to even score a goal this season. They do have two 0-0 draws under their belt but the 2 points they have picked up leaves them in 18th in the table. Ajax really need to pick up their performances soon, as there are only 15 games left and Ajax need all the points they can get.
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Interesting start for Barcelona, although they sit in 5th position they haven’t been amazing. With 3 of their 6 points being from draws. Yes, they are unbeaten but they have already picked up draws against some of the big english sides (Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City). Their only win was in the el clasico and they already sit 6 points behind Bayern who lead the league. Barcelona need to start turning these draws into wins, and soon.

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Dominant is the only adjective you can use to describe the start Bayern Munich have had. They have picked up 4 wins from a possible 4 and currently look like they are cruising through the competition. They sit in first place on 12 points and there is no way you can criticise them right now, they have been amazing.
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Dortmund have had an alright start. Having lost their first match they have managed to bounce back quite well, winning one and drawing two of their other 3 matches. They currently sit in 7th place on 5 points. Defensively they have been solid as well, with their main problems coming on the offensive side of the pitch as they have only managed to score in one game.

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One of the four sides that entered the competition through qualification. Chelsea have managed to pick up 5 points thus far. They did have problems scoring early on but now they look fine. Chelsea will be happy with their performances so far as they currently sit in 10th on 5 points. But, they are in an intense mid-table battle so they cannot afford to drop points.
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Another qualified team, however Inters’ season hasn’t gone to plan so far. They have only managed to pick up one point and they are currently second bottom. Inter really need to make a change and fast. Chances of them winning the Champions League seem extremely slim. They need to turn things around.
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A good start for Juventus sees them sitting in third just 2 points off of top spot. The only points they have dropped so far were in a 0-0 draw against Schalke. Juve have looked good all over the park and if they keep these kind of performances up they will be challenging at the top of the league by the end of the season with a major chance of winning the Champions League.
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Disappointing start for the reigning champs. Just 4 points from 4 games having picked up 2 losses so far. Liverpool have either looked amazing or awful. With their losses against Lyon and Manchester United showing us how poor they can be. If Liverpool want any chance of winning they need to cut out the losses against teams like Lyon and start putting in more blockbuster performances.
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Decent first few weeks for Lyon. Only picking up one loss in their first 4 games, although that loss was a 7-2 thumping by the hands of PSG. Lyon have managed to pull of a major upset beating Liverpool and have got points against Ajax and Manchester United. Currently they sit in 13th because of their inferior goal difference, but they have proved they are not here just to make up the numbers.
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After winning their first game of the league. Man Citys results have deteriorated. With a draw against Porto and a 4-1 loss against Liverpool putting them in a poor position after the first 4 games. Currently they sit in 12th, but surely they want to be challenging to win the Champions League. And for that to happen, they need to turn their form around.
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A weird start for Manchester United, they seem to make hard games easy and easy games hard. Their loss against Porto and win against Liverpool typifying this. Currently they sit in 6th on 5 points. It has been a decent start for them as they have positioned themselves high up in the table. But for them to really challenge they cannot afford to drop as many points as they are through draws and losses.
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After blowing away Club Brugge in qualifying, everyone thought that Napoli would be a dark horse in the Champions League. However, they currently are rock-bottom of the league having only picked up a single point from their first 4 games, that being in a 0-0 draw against Dortmund. Surely they should be doing better than this, but they need to play better.
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A pretty good start for Porto so far. Their only loss coming against Bayern who have been fantastic. Porto seem to be upsetting nearly every team they face, winning against Manchester United and drawing against Manchester City. Porto are proving that they are not here to make up the numbers, as they are currently in strong contention for a top table finish as their league position suggests: 9th.
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Strong start for PSG as they sit in second having only dropped two points so far. When attacking they have been great, as they managed to bag 7 in one game. Surely if they continue their high calibre performances they will challenge to potentially win the entire competition. But, they have to keep up the intensity of their play.
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Very poor so far from Real Madrid. Last season saw them drop off from their consecutive Champions League winning seasons, but currently it looks like they will get further away from regaining their trophy. They sit in 17th and haven’t even won a game yet, only having 2 points from 2 draws. Poor.
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A slightly below average start for Roma, they currently sit on 4 points with a win, draw and two losses. Their 16th position could have been 14th if it wasn’t for their poor goal difference. However, the upside for the Italian side is that all of their 4 points has come in their past 2 games, could they be about to hit a good run of form?
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When considering the size of Schalke FC compared to most other teams in this competition, the fact that Schalke sit in 11th is astounding. They are on 5 points and have managed to put in great performances against sides such as Real Madrid and Juventus. If they continue like this then a mid-table finish looks good for them.
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Tottenham have had an alright start, currently sitting in 8th on 5 points. They have managed to perform well against big teams such as PSG, but they have also managed to lose against Roma. This slight inconsistency may be why Tottenham aren’t challenging for a higher finish, but they will be happy with where they are right now.
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A side that nobody even expected to qualify, Valencia have came into the Champions League and shown some promise in their 3-0 dismantlement of Ajax. It is games like that against other teams that will finish lower down that Valencia need to win in order for them to have a satisfactory finish.

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WEEK FIVE & SIX

More games have been played as the league table has now taken shape. The gap between 1st and 20th has been established. Here is what happened in gameweeks five and six.

WEEK FIVE

Schalke 0-3 Chelsea
Chelsea, much the better side. A first half barrage of goals separating the two sides. The first inside 5 minutes from Kovacic as Willians pinpoint cross found his head and nestled in the back of the net. Willian would later add a second goal, an amazing longshot, before Higuain would make it three. The second half was quite dull, Chelsea did what they had to in the first half so they just made sure they didn’t concede.

Atletico Madrid 0-0 PSG
Two big sides at the top of the table meeting. PSG would be the better side, constantly throughout the first half they would press Atletico. But PSG’s amazing attack couldn’t beat the stubborn backline of Atletico. The second half was much the same, as PSG dominated but Atletico defended well and tried to hit PSG on the counter attack. Eventually the game would end a 0-0 draw.

Roma 2-1 Ajax
Despite a great performance from Ajax. Their poor finishing seemed to be what cost them this match, as Ajax had more possession, shots and shots on target than their opponents but lost the game. As Edin Dzeko was on top form, both of his shots going in. Ajax scored through van de Beek but with only 5 minutes left, it was too little to late for Ajax as Roma came out victorious.

Napoli 0-2 Tottenham
A game where chances were few and far between. An abysmal first half saw Tottenham take the lead through an own goal by Raul Albiol, when Meret failed to clear a cross, Albiol panicked and his attempted clearance ended up in the back of his own net. Tottenham doubled their lead in the second half thanks to the head of Harry Kane. 2-0 win for Tottenham.

Lyon 1-1 Valencia
A back and forth game with entertainment throughout. Although Lyon had more chances and more possession, their inability to finish what they had created ultimately caused them to drop 2 points. Things did start well though for the French side, as Memphis Depay gave Lyon the lead inside 15 minutes. However, it was Santi Mina who equalized for Valencia on the half hour mark. The game ended, 1-1.

Inter 1-0 Dortmund
Inter Milan get their first win of the Champions League. As a late flurry of pressure gets them a goal. The first half was boring, with only 1 shot going on target which was easily saved by Handanovic. The last 10 minutes was where the action took place. A corner fell to Icardi, who found the side netting! It looked for certain that the game would end 0-0. Until a cross found the head of Gagliardini and flew into the top corner. 1-0 Inter!

Porto 0-1 Juventus
Juventus keep the pressure on Bayern up, temporarily going top of the league. In a game which they dominated in its entirety. A plethora of chances went the way of Juventus although only one was converted. Perhaps being an area for concern for the Italian Champions. As their only goal was a header from Ronaldo from a Costa cross.

Barcelona 0-2 Bayern
Despite facing an extremely hard to beat side in Barcelona. Bayern managed to grab two and leave Catalonia with all three points. The first goal was a scissor kick volley from Lewandowski that went perfectly past Ter Stegen and in. Lewandowski almost made it two before half time, but his snapshot trickled inches past the post. Despite the high tempo that Bayern played with in the first half, they didn’t seem to tire at all during the game. Even grabbing a second in the second half through Muller. Bayern regain top spot.

Liverpool 0-0 Real Madrid
An absolute bore draw here, neither side looked good enough to score and there were little to no chances at all in the game. Bore draw.

Manchester United 2-2 Manchester City
Probably the best Manchester derby we have seen in a long time. Action started in the 22nd minute as Pogba converted from a Fred corner to give Manchester United the early lead. Ten minutes later City would equalize though through De Bruyne who converted from a corner himself. City thought they had took the lead going into half time but Agueros shot was in fact kept out by David De Gea. The second half though was worse, with the action coming in the last 10 minutes, as Jesse Lingard gave United a 2-1 lead as a Martial shot hit the post and the rebound was tucked away. But Aguero didn’t let Manchester United get away with all three points, as in the 87th minute he tied things up again. As his superb positioning meant he found himself in a pocket of space inside the box. And he scored a tap in. 2-2.

WEEK SIX

Chelsea 2-0 Inter
Chelsea continue their good form with another win. The game started feistily but as time passed Chelsea grew into the game and Higuain made it 1-0 after half an hour. Pedro doubled the home sides lead just before half time as well. Chelsea’s pressure was continued into the second half as Hazard found the post. Inter tried to come back but an amazing save from Kepa with 5 minutes left killed all momentum Inter had and Chelsea ended up 2-0 winners.

Real Madrid 2-2 Manchester United
And the goal of the season award goes to Toni Kroos. After a corner was cleared, Kroos found the sweet spot on the volley from 30+ yards out to give Real Madrid a 1-0 lead. Ramos doubled the lead from the penalty area. Before a late resurgence from Manchester united and goals from Pogba and Martial mean points are shared evenly.

Bayern 2-3 Liverpool
A huge shock as not only does the 100% record of Bayern fall but their unbeaten record does too. Things even started off well for Bayern as they scored within two minutes, a front post shot from Lewandowski beating Allison. Liverpool though bounced back through an inspired performance from captain Jordan Henderson. As he got two goals in the first half to give Liverpool a 2-1 lead going into halftime. Just after the half things went from bad to worse for Bayern as a Kimmich own goal made it 3-1. And the damage was beyond repair as despite a late goal from Lewandowski, Liverpool won. Ending the 100% and unbeaten record.

Juventus 1-3 Barcelona
Juventus had the perfect opportunity to top the table, but they weren’t able to take it. With Barcelona coming out on top. The lead was taken by Barca in the first half through Rakitic. However, from kickoff Juventus won attacked and equalized. The second half saw Barca run rampant despite Juventus having more possession and chances, as Coutinho and Dembele both scored to give Barcelona the win.

Dortmund 1-1 Porto
Quite an even match between these two. Both teams played averagely. Porto were the side who opened the scoring though, as Marega converted a one on one. The equalising goal came late on for Dortmund as Reus leveled the scoring in the 83rd minute.

Manchester City 0-0 Lyon
A somewhat surprising result here as Lyon hold Manchester City to a 0-0 draw. There were chances in the game for both sides though. Neither side were able to take their chances though. Meaning the game ended as a 0-0 draw.

Tottenham 0-0 Schalke
From an interesting 0-0 draw to a boring one. No chances created for Schalke, and the game consisted of Tottenham attacking but not being able to create a clear-cut chance.

Ajax 3-1 Napoli
The Ajax we saw in last seasons Champions League finally shows up, in a 3-1 win over Napoli. Ajax were dominant throughout despite Insigne opening the scoring in favour of Napoli. Frankie de Jong equalised for Ajax going into half time. And the Danish champions completely took over the second half. With Tadic scoring 10 minutes into the second half before Neres sealed the deal with 15 minutes left to play.

PSG 1-2 Roma
PSG had a great opportunity to go one point behind leaders Bayern. And things started well for them as Di Maria scored in the 4th minute. However, after a long spell of pressure where they had a shot cleared off the line and a shot that hit the post, Roma managed to equalise going into half time through Dzeko. For a moment it looked like PSG were going to crumble under the pressure from Roma. But they stayed strong and managed to have some chances of their own from Mbappe and Neymar. Before finally they couldn’t hold on for any longer, and with 10 minutes left in the match Dzeko spun his man and fired into the bottom corner to end PSG’s unbeaten run.

Valencia 1-1 Atletico Madrid
Atletico saw all of the other unbeaten teams lose before playing their game. They had the perfect opportunity to put themselves right into the race to win the Champions League. And things started off the way they would have wanted them to go as Saul opened the scoring for Atletico in the 23rd minute. However, super sub Kevin Gamiero spoilt the day for Atletico getting a 73rd minute equaliser to mean that points are shared.

League Table -

1. Bayern
2. Juventus
3. PSG
4. Chelsea
5. Atletico Madrid
6. Roma
7. Tottenham
8. Barcelona
9. Liverpool
10. Manchester United
11. Manchester City
12. Lyon
13. Valencia
14. Dortmund
15. Porto
16. Schalke
17. Ajax
18. Real Madrid
19. Inter
20. Napoli

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