Month Archives: September 2018

Champions League Group Stage predictions

Champions League Group Stage Predictions (Part 1)

We are two games-weeks into the Champions League group stage, and some interesting permutations and combinations are shaping up.

While there are some straightforward groups, but most of the eight groups have shaped up quite interestingly after two rounds of games.

We take a look at the first four groups, from A to D, in this feature, and predict the outcomes.

Group A

This group looks quite straightforward regarding qualification to the next round. Both Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have picked up maximum points from their first two games. Club Brugge and Monaco remain pointless, and they will have to battle it out against each other for the Europa League spot.

Atletico and Dortmund face each other in back-to-back games in the tournament to decide the winner of the group.

Predictions: Atletico Madrid to win the group and the Dortmund to finish in the second spot.

Group B

Barcelona and Inter Milan have picked up maximum points in their first two games. However, Tottenham can’t be ruled out just yet. Spurs have lost to Inter and Barca, but they should pick up six points from their next two games, against PSV Eindhoven. Meanwhile, Inter and Barcelona are set to face each other, and we don’t see the Italians picking up a single point against the Catalans.

We expect a very tight finish for the second spot, and it’s very likely to come down to Inter’s visit to Wembley Stadium in the last week of November.

Predictions: Barcelona and Tottenham to qualify.

Group C

This could be called as the Group of Death in Champions League this season. Napoli, Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain are vying for top-two spots, and it looks quite close at the top of the table.

The Italian side currently tops the group with four points. Their 1-0 home win over the Reds was a considerable surprise and also a massive statement from the Naples sides. PSG and Liverpool are close behind with three points each.

It’s very open in Group C, but PSG and Liverpool have too much talent not to make it to the next round.

Predictions: Liverpool and PSG to qualify.

Group D

Porto and Schalke 04 share the top spot in Group D with four points. Turkish side Galatasaray is close behind them with three points. Lokomotiv Moscow sits bottom with zero points.

It would be quite tricky for the Russia side to make a comeback, but you can’t rule them out. Porto has a consistent record in qualifying, and we expect them to progress. It would be a close fight for the second spot, and we hope Schalke to finish ahead of Galatasaray.

Predictions: Porto and Schalke to make it to last-16.

Read the part 2 of the Champions League group prediction.

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Soccer News, Soccer players
Match Previews

4 Biggest Surprises From Opening Weeks of Premier League 2018/19

There is no shortage of action in the Premier League, and it has been the same in the first few weeks of the 2018/19 season.

The opening four rounds of the league have thrown a number of surprises, which could have serious repercussions for parties involved. We take a look at major surprises from the ongoing season of the Premier League.

United’s terrible start to the season

Many expected Jose Mourinho to struggle this season, but no one saw the wheels coming off this early. The Portuguese manager finds himself under tremendous pressure after his side managed only six points from the first four games. Following a win over Burnley, they have climbed up to the tenth spot, but they are already six points behind Liverpool.

Watford’s perfect start

Watford is one of three sides to pick up maximum points from the first four games. The other two sides are – Liverpool and Chelsea. Last weekend, they achieved their an incredible 2-1 home win over Tottenham. It’s a huge improvement for Watford who looked lackluster under Javi Garcia last season. The Hornets have been uncharacteristically solid at the back and have conceded only three goals thus far.

Burnley candidates for relegation

Burley was arguably the biggest surprise in the Premier League last season as they registered an unprecedented seventh spot in the season-ending league table. However, they have endured a terrible start to the 18/19 season and have managed only one point in the first four games. Burnley’s success last season was built on a solid defense, but they have conceded nine goals in four games this season.

Burnley’s struggles can be attributed to their participation in Europa League qualifiers. Now, Dyche is faced with a huge challenge in the coming weeks.

The emergence of Matteo Guendouzi at Arsenal

Most of us hadn’t heard of Matteo Guendouzi before his £7m summer move from Lorient to Arsenal. The 19-year-old made such a huge impression in pre-season, that he was granted a starting spot against Manchester City on an opening day.

He was arguably Arsenal’s best player in the 2-0 defeat. Since then, he has started Arsenal’s all three games – Chelsea, West Ham, and Cardiff City His performance against the Hammers suggested that he still needs to learn a lot. However, one thing is clear – Arsenal has found a future star for quite cheap, by current standards.

Other Premier League related article 5 expensive flops from the history of Premier League football.

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Chelsea, Soccer news
Football Coach

Is Maurizio Sarri Already Working As Manager At Chelsea?

Chelsea took a huge risk by appointing Maurizio Sarri in place of Antonio Conte in the hot-seat during the summer.

Maurizio Sarri had a reputation during his time at Napoli, but he earned a lot of plaudits for implementing his own brand of football in the Napoli side. It became famous as Sarri-ball in Italy.

Under his tutelage, Napoli was magnificent last season as they totaled 91 points during the league season. However, it was not enough to beat Juventus to the Serie A trophy, and Sarri eventually departed from Naples without a league trophy.

On the eve of the Premier League season, not many pundits predicted Sarri to make an immediate impact in West London, and some even claimed that Chelsea would struggle to make the top-four.

However, against all expectations, Chelsea has made a spectacular start to the season. The Blues are one of three teams to pick up maximum points from the first four games in the season. As things stand, they sit joint-top of the table with Liverpool and Watford.

Jorginho has been a key arrival at Stamford Bridge. The Italian mid-fielder has followed Sarri from Napoli, and he has been an integral part of the transition to the Sarri-ball.

Sarri has deployed Jorginho in the defensive midfield role, and N’Golo Kante has been transitioned into a box-to-box midfielder. From the base of the midfield, Jorginho has been able to dictate the tempo of the play, and he has picked up some amazing stats in the opening four weeks.

He set a record for Chelsea for most passes in the game with his 158 passes in the win over Newcastle United. Jorginho is very much familiar with Sarri’s style of play and that has been very evident with his performances in first four rounds.

Chelsea has also signed Mateo Kovacic on a loan deal from Real Madrid, and he could also be a key player in Sarri-ball this season.

Chelsea has looked efficient going forward, and they are scoring goals for fun. However, there are obvious problems at the back as was made evident by their performance against Arsenal.

It might take Sarri some more time to fully implement his philosophy in his squad, but early signs suggest that it would be risky to count Chelsea out of the title race.

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