Tag Archives: Manchester City

Ligue des Champions/Champions’ League – Huitième de finale aller

D’excellents matchs attendent les partisans de football au cours des prochaines semaines. Du Real Madrid contre le Paris Saint-Germain, de la Juventus FC face à Tottenham Hotspurs et sans parler du FC Barcelone contre Chelsea FC.

De belles parties en perspectives, et celui qui retient le plus l’attention est évidemment le duel entre les deux capitales nationales de l’Espagne et de la France. Deux clubs richissimes en euros comptant des joueurs vedettes à la tonne tels que Cristiano Ronaldo et Neymar Jr.

Le Real Madrid, double champion d’Europe en titre, connait une saison difficile à tous les points de vue alors que le Paris Saint-Germain est dominant aussi bien au niveau national qu’européen. De plus, avec l’ajout de Neymar Jr. et Kylian Mbappé Lottin, il y a un sentiment comme quoi le club de la capitale française peut (enfin) passer le cap des quarts de finale de la compétition et même remporter le trophée. Nous sommes encore loin de ce scénario, mais une chose semble certaine, les Parisiens voudront éviter à tout prix ce qui est arrivée il y a un an contre le FC Barcelone et la fameuse « remuntada » du 6-1 au Camp Nou. Prédiction?

Le Paris Saint-Germain passe au prochain tour.

Le FC Barcelone, encore invaincu cette saison en Liga, devra se méfier de Chelsea qui généralement lui donner du fil à retordre en Ligue des Champions (2000, 2005, 2006, 2009, 2012). Je ne parlerai pas de bête noire, mais c’est toujours difficile pour les Blaugranas de s’imposer contre cette équipe. Cependant, vu la forme actuelle inquiétante des hommes d’Antonio Conte, je ne vois pas le club londonien battre la machine catalane.

Victoire du Barça.

Pour le reste, ce seront des matchs intéressants, mais avec peu de surprises. Manchester United FC, Liverpool FC, Manchester City FC du côté anglais devraient passer. Le Bayern de Munich également chez les Allemands. Je verrai bien Tottenham Hotspurs causer la surprise contre une Juventus expérimentée, mais qui commence à se faire « vieux ». Finalement, dans un match difficile à prédire, je prévois une victoire de l’AS Roma contre le FC Shakhtar Donetsk.

À suivre!

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Pep Guardiola vs. José Mourinho II – Barclays Premier League chapter

Oh, that rivalry smells good. After being head-to-head in Spain, one for Real Madrid CF and the other for FC Barcelona, the two master tacticians will do battle again, in the same league, this time in the Barclays Premier League, and this could mean fireworks all over the place.

Let’s be clear, even if these two were disciples of Louis van Gaal at FC Barcelona, knew each other very well and seemed to get along just fine, they have learned not to love one another over the years. Worse, they hate probably learnt to even despise each other over time, matches, altercations, etc. And this is what will make this derby even more exciting, even crazier.

Two giant clubs that have also issues in their level of performance on the pitch. Manchester United FC, since the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson at the end of the 2012-13 season, is no longer a shadow of it former self, despite winning the FA Cup last season. Whereas Manchester City FC, constant Champions League qualifier, has not won the league since the 2013-2014 season despite several expensive transfer deals and huge transfer funds.

Throughout the season, we will have a weekly head-to-head matchup between José Mourinho and Pep Guardiola as both men will try to become not only the king of Manchester but also of Great Britain, football-wise. We shall see, as Mr. van Gaal used to say.

One thing seems set in stone: the city of Manchester will have a champion in the near future. The only thing that we are not sure of yet is which colour will reign supreme.

(Definitely stay tuned…)

2016-17 Managers – Barclays Premier League

It is packed, to say the least. Pretty much all the big name managers will feature in the Barclays Premier League this upcoming season. Let’s take a look at the current situation:

Leicester City FC – Claudio Ranieri (Italy)
The defending champions.

Arsenal FC – Arsène Wenger (France)
3-time Barclays Premier League winner.

Tottenham Hotspur FC– Mauricio Pocchettino (Argentina)
Finished third last season and went toe-to-toe versus the champions until the last two games of the season.

Manchester City FC – Pep Guardiola (Spain)…does he need any introduction?

Manchester United FC – José Mourinho (Portugal)…Him as well?

Southampton FC – Ronald Koeman (The Netherlands) was the manager but is on the verge of signing for Everton FC, this summer.

Liverpool FC – Jurgen Klopp (Germany)
Two lost finals last year (the Capital One League Cup and the UEFA Europa League) along with an impressive resume with Borussia Dortmund.

West Ham United FC – Slaven Bilić (Croatia)
The Hammers will move into the London Olympic Stadium and with Dimitri Payet and more players, they can become an even bigger threat.

Chelsea FC – Antonio Conte (Italy)
We assume that the Blues will come back and challenge for the title and they will try to do with a new manager and he is from Italy.

The only observation is the lack of British managers currently working, especially with the top clubs. We have to go down to Stoke City FC and Mark Hughes, a Welshman, to find the first British manager in the Premier League in last season’s table (9th). A trend that is worrying for British managers.

On a more positive side, it clearly shows that the Barclays Premier League can attract the best managers in the world. On the other hand, it can handicap the local and national managers. It was a phenomenon felt with the players for about 20 years (even since the Bosman ruling and the freedom of movement for workers, mainly). For a few years now, it is at the managerial level that a shift is occurring and we will have to wait and see where this will bring British managers into.

José Mourinho & Manchester United FC – A match made in Heaven or Hell?

Louis van Gaal has been sacked as the manager of Manchester United FC.

David Moyes, “The Chosen One”, didn’t last one entire season with the Red Devils.

Now, the club has agreed to hire the self-proclaimed “Special One”, José Mourinho, as their new man in charge. The decorated manager, who was eyeing this position for a long time, gets his wish. What to think about this move, this career choice?

First, United fans will have to come to terms with a reality. Managers do not or very rarely stay 26 years with the same club anymore and with the success that Mr. Alex Ferguson has enjoyed, despite a difficult start to his career.

Second, he competition will be as fierce as ever before. Manchester City FC with Pep Guardiola, probably the best and most successful manager in football currently (along with “El Cholo” Diego Pablo Simeone, in my opinion). Chelsea FC with Italian manager Antonio Conte will come back and would want to regain the title as soon as possible and put the Mourinho’s era behind them. Arsenal FC have just added Swiss international, Granit Xhaka, to their lineup and would want to improve on their second place finish from last season.

And clubs such as Tottenham Hotspur FC under Mauricio Pocchetino, Liverpool FC with Jurgen Klopp, West Ham FC led by Slaven Bilic and a new stadium, the Olympic Stadium, and why not, Leicester City FC guided by Claudio Ranieri, the defending champions, will be a difficult opponent to play against, although few believe that they can actually repeat.

Manchester United FC will not feature in the UEFA Champions League this season. Instead, they will have to settle for the UEFA Europa League. It will be interesting to see how Mr. Mourinho manages his squad for this competition.

And finally, will the “Special One” finally settle in a club for more than three years and half or less? Will the native of Setúbal display more calm, cool and collected behavior as he has promised to do during his second press conference unveiling him as the Chelsea FC manager? Or will it be the same old song, played especially in London and Madrid, repeated all over again?

We shall see, as Mr. van Gaal, used to stay.

Say tuned…

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball/Ballon d’Or) – Week 19

This week was the penultimate game of the season in La Liga BBVA and the title is still up for grab. One team, Atlético Madrid, has been eliminated of the race because of a 2-1 last-minute loss to relegated team Levante.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid CF held on to a 3-2 win at home against a tedious Valencia CF side and kept their hopes of being champions alive.

FC Barcelona trashed their local rivals, Espanyol, 5-0 and avoided the same fate that occurred during the 2006-07 season when, at the same period of the season, Los Blaugranas settled for a tie against the same opponent and handed the title to their arch-rival.

Champions League football was also on the agenda, earlier last week, with Real Madrid winning 1-0 at home against a lacklustre Manchester City FC in the 2nd leg of the semifinal. Cristiano Ronaldo was not involved on the scoresheet.

In La Liga BBVA, Lionel Messi scored 1 goal and 1 assist. Ronaldo added 2 goals to his tally.

For this week, the statistics are the following between the Argentine and the Portuguese international for 2016:

L. Messi 31 games 29 goals 16 assists 2 trophies available
C. Ronaldo 25 games 25 goals 8 assists 2 trophies available
Total Messi 6 games Messi 4 goals Messi 8 assists Tie

Stay tuned…

Messi vs. Ronaldo (Golden Ball / Ballon d’Or 2016) – Week 17

Another week and two games in La Liga BBVA except for the Portuguese international who is currently on the sideline with a thigh injury and is a doubt for this week’s match vs. Manchester City FC, at the Etihad Stadium, in their first leg of the Champions League semifinal.

Lionel Messi took advantage. The table below will tell us where each of them currently stands:

From January 1st to April 24th, 2016 (in all competitions, friendlies included):

L. Messi 28 games 28 goals 13 assists 2 trophies available
C. Ronaldo 23 games 23 goals 8 assists 2 trophies available
Total Messi 5 games Messi 5 goals Messi 5 assists Tie

Barca wins; Bayern wins; Real Madrid loses…

Very interesting beginning of the quarterfinals in the Champions League. FC Barcelona faced Spanish rivals Atlético Madrid, at home, for the first leg and as it was expected, it was not easy. Diego Simeone’s club even scored the first goal of the game and by the same token, a precious away goal. Only to see its scorer, a certain Fernando Torres, being booked twice and sent off at the 35th minute of the match. This action gave a sight of relief to the home fans and more space to maneuver.

Bayern Munich FC scored quickly in the first half and was able to contain S. L. Benfica until the final whistle. Still a 1-0 result heading into Estadio da Luz will not be easy for the German giants and defending champions. At the same stage, last year, they lost 3-1 at Porto before beating them easily 6-1 in the return leg.

Real Madrid CF, coming off a surprising and positive El Clásico win against FC Barcelona, faces off a difficult battle. Losing 2-0 at VfL Wolfsburg will not do them any good. Playing at home will be a plus for Los Blancos, but as we have seen this season, even under Zinedine Zidane’s leadership, the team can be challenged and lose matches.It will be interesting to see what tactics will be used for the return leg at home for Real Madrid. Julian Draxler was a key player in this historic win. His pace, going after defenders and his knack for passing the ball well have been a nightmare for Real Madrid’s defenders to cope with, and nobody believes that it will stop there. After all, Wolfsburg have experience and most importantly, nothing to lose. Tricky tie.

As for Paris Saint-Germain FC vs Manchester City FC, the English club has scored two vital away goals despite some sloppy defending on their side and on Paris-SG’s part as well. This tie is wide open. The French club and Ligue 1 champions can win matches pretty much anywhere in Europe (expect at FC Barcelona and Real Madrid CF, for now).

Sayed tuned…