Sunday, December 17, 2017

A positive first European week for Premier League clubs

Seven Premier League club took on the European stage over the week in both Champions League and Europa League competitions with overall positive results. 

Manchester City and Chelsea dismantled their opponent with a combined 10 goals scored and none allowed. The Citizens disposed of Rotterdam 4-0 in the Netherlands spoiling the night for the Dutch who were returning to the Champions league after more than a decade. The Blues left no chance to an inexperienced Qarabag side 6-0 from Azerbaijan. With the second match coming up soon, free betting provides the best odds to place your bet on the next winner.

Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur produced a quality match against better opponents. Man Utd did the job against the Swiss from Basel 3-0. Lukaku found his soccer shoe by scoring constantly for United. His elevated price tag highly criticized when he was transferred from Everton has overwhelmingly been justified so far in the campaign. The Spurs and Kane impressed at Wembley against Borussia Dortmund 3-1. Finally they were able to win an important match at Wembley while the new stadium is being built. 

Coach Pochettino expressed his joy: 

“It means more than three points, to build our confidence, trust and to feel at home at Wembley is so important. It’s a massive victory and to start well in the Champions League is so important for us.

We fought really well and we were so strong. The players made a massive effort against a very good team. Dortmund are a great team and they played really well. I’m so happy with the performance.”

Liverpool dropped two points at home against Sevilla 2-2. The Reds came from behind down 1-0 after less than 5 minutes into the game with two goals but missed the 3-1 penalty at the end of the first half which would have completely changed the dynamic in the second half.

Coach Klopp had mixed feelings:

“That’s how it is – it’s a results game, they scored twice, we scored twice, so then it’s a draw. Frustrated? I’m not sure about this word but I’m not happy of course about this, but I am happy about a big part of the game. We tried to ignore the result of last weekend, but as we all know, we are human beings and that takes away confidence, and I saw we were really spot on from the first second, we played a good game.”

Arsenal came back to win first Europa League match in years 3-1. Indeed, the Gunners were not good enough last season to make to the best European competition and started very slow against Cologne. The game started with one hour delay because of some problems caused by the visitors side.  Thousands of German ticket-less fans showed up and troubled the start of the match. UEFA might look into the issue for sanctions. 

Wenger on the win and the special night:

“We waited patiently in our dressing room but what was difficult was for me was I had all kind of plans to think about at some stage. I had to think if we play tomorrow at what time do we want to play, do we play next week… but they have the Bundesliga again in midweek, and we had a League Cup game midweek as well.
 
Do we move it to Tuesday and play Thursday? It was all kind of speculations you know that we had to analyse and see how we can deal with the situation. But in the end at some stage I thought they would not play the game, because I can’t see the police taking any risk. We live in a society of 100 per cent security and I thought they would never take a gamble to play this game when I saw the images around the stadium. But, It’s a new competition for us and we knew we needed to set the tone. We think we’re one of the best teams in the competition, so we have to show that on the pitch. 
 
Finally Everton is the only English club that lost in Europe this week. They exploded in Italy 3-0 in Bergame. Atalanta took the best of a pale Everton squad in the first half conceding three goals and that never showed any intention to fight back. 

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