BUNDESLIGA MID SEASON REVIEW
Another cliche season in the German league, with Bayern Munchen towering over all other clubs. The start of the season promised some change, with Dortmund outplaying every other club, but the return of the prodigal manager, Jupp Heyneckes, has the Bundesliga back to normalcy. With the table as expected, Bayern at the top, the Bundesliga is experiencing the rise of quite a few young stars. First and foremost is Kingsley Coman, who belongs to the table-toppers themselves. His pace and agility have given nightmares to defenders. His opportunity to make a name arose when Ribery was ruled out, and he did rise up to the challenge. Coman’s flamboyancy and speed makes him one of the most deadliest wingers in the Bundesliga. The other star who is starring for his club is Leon Bailey, another deadly winger ripping defences apart from head to tail. His excessive playmaking skills have guided Bayer Leverkusen to their current position in the table. Also in the spotlight is Corentin Tolisso, another Bayern Munich player who came under the gaze of managers worldwide with his brace against Paris Saint Germain in the champions league. Apart from these three youngsters, Dortmund’s Pulisic and Phillip are also making a name for themselves, with Forsberg, Goretzka and Werner too in the spotlight.
THE UEFA CHAMPIONS LEAGUE ROUND OF 16 DRAW REVIEW
JUVENTUS VS TOTTENHAM
A tight one, Juventus, famous for its defence has let in 5 goals this season, a number which is almost never associated with Juventus. Despite that, Andrea Barzagli has helped Juventus to 3 clean sheets in the group stage. On the other hand, Spurs topped a group consisting of Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Harry Kane starred throughout the group stage, and maybe Europe’s best striker at the moment.
BASEL VS MANCHESTER CITY
It may seem a bit obvious, Manchester City is going to win comfortably, but don’t forget that Basel defeated Manchester United at home, an underdog victory. However, United are nowhere in comparison to Manchester City. With their attacking threats through Aguero, Jesus, Silva, Sterling, Sane and De Bruyne, City are playing the most attractive football in Europe currently, and they’re bringing all other clubs in the premier league down to their knees.
PORTO VS LIVERPOOL
On paper, the tie may seem inclined towards Liverpool but it may not be so. The last time Porto faced English opposition, they thrashed them 5 – 0, this happened last year against Leicester City. However, Liverpool has never lost or even drawn against Porto, winning 4 out of 4 matches. There will be a lot of weight on Mohammed Salah to carry Liverpool into the quarterfinals.
SEVILLA VS MANCHESTER UNITED
Again, on paper, this tie may seem one-sided but don’t forget Sevilla’s run of three consecutive Europa League titles, not to mention their comeback against Liverpool in group stage from 3-0 down and the fact that they managed it to the round of 16 last year too.
REAL MADRID VS PARIS
By far the biggest clash of the round of 16, Ramos will clash with Cavani, Bale will meet Mbappe and Ronaldo and Neymar will come head to head. People are saying that the winner of this tie will go on to win the Champion’s League, this might be true. This season’s best-attacking team and best defending team squares against the title’s holders. The fact that one of the title contenders will be knocked out this early is surely a huge loss.
CHELSEA VS BARCELONA
Messi has never scored against Chelsea, and will surely open his account this year. In Europe, Barcelona has easily been more dominant than Chelsea in the last decade, and they are more probably to go into the quarterfinals. Chelsea will surely not go down without a fight.
Dortmund, down down down
What has happened to Borussia Dortmund, they were leading the Bundesliga table and then came Jupp Heyneckes. Dortmund has given points to Hannover, Stuttgart and Leipzig. Aubameyang is under heavy inspection after his slump in form. On the other hand, Bayern continues its unrivalled dominance in the Bundesliga, it looks like they will bag yet another German title.
The King of Manchester is back
United fans will not only be happy, they will be ecstatic and joyous, their team won 4-1 in a comeback victory against Newcastle United, Lukaku scored and Martial and Rashford synced together into the starting line-up, and Pogba scored too. Pogba, Zlatan and Rojo are back from injury and now, as many people would like to say, the real title race begins. In North London, Arsenal shrugged off spurs, a team who had emerged victorious against Real Madrid. Although Spurs had more shots on target, Sanchez, Lacazette and Ozil proved too much for Pochetino. Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool strived to routine victories.
Luis Suarez is back, with a brace against Leganes, just in time for their clash against second-place Valencia next week. In Madrid, Real and Atletico fought to a draw, Ronaldo still enjoying a slump in form. FC Barcelona now holds a ten point lead over both Marid clubs, and Messi has 11 more goals than Ronaldo in the La-Liga, even Paulinho as more goals than Benzema, Bale and Ronaldo combined.
Just another day for Neymar in the French capital, wonderful free kicks, penalties and assists. PSG’s dominance in the Ligue 1 is without rivalry, they have the best-attacking options in the world currently: Neymar, Di Maria, Cavani, Mbappe, Draxler, Verrati, Alves and Rabiot, what more do you want? PSG are currently 3 points above Monaco, a gap which will surely widen in the coming weeks if PSG continue their dominance.
Bayern lost 3-0, you don’t see that every day and this, in turn, led to the sacking of Carlo Ancelotti who is now hopefully heading towards AC Milan. Bayern fans will have many questions, why didn’t Robben and Ribery start? No Tolisso? No Hummels? Chelsea’s inspiring comeback victory against Atletico will also serve to be one of the best champions league games ever.
The Premier League
Manchester United and Manchester City in the lead, and a goal difference of only 1 between them, this is the best possible start to a premier league season ever. Most people will agree on the fact that the cup will return to Manchester this time, but the question is, in red or in blue? Chelsea have to do better at home, as they’ve lost to Burnley and City and have drawn with rivals Arsenal. Despite Arsenal’s victory against Brighton, they still remain the worst of the all-powerful six. Liverpool fans, at the start of this year believed that their year has arrived along with Salah and the promise of Keita, but now they will return to “Next year is going to be our year,” in other words, the sky is still blue.
FC Barcelona are defying expectation and have steamrolled over every opposition they have faced, along with the fact that they have a 7 point lead over Real Madrid with just 7 games played.
REVIEW: MATCHES ROUND#1
BBC: Burnley beat Chelsea
Only one question, how? Antonio Conte was pretty clear on pointing out that he is going to do everything to avoid a Jose Mourinho season and he also stated that this is going to be the most difficult season of his life, maybe the most difficult season of his life has started, with red cards for Gary Cahill and Fabregas
Super Cups: Manchester United, Barca and Madrid
What has happened to FC Barcelona? No Neymar, Best signing is Paulinho, No star signings, and no magic against Real Madrid at the camp. This transfer window and start of the season has been extremely disappointing for Barca, not for Manchester United who have been heavily involved in the transfer window, releasing Zlatan and buying Lukaku, Lindelof and Matic but the former European giants have trampled both teams in the UEFA Super Cup and Spanish SupperCoppa in perhaps another season of dominance?
Premier League Opening weekend
Liverpool and Chelsea had shock outcomes, while Arsenal nearly avoided one. Manchester City and United were at their level best along with Spurs who gave a good performance. Also, Lukaku, Morata, Rooney and Lacazette scored in their debut games!
- James Rodriguez: Real Madrid » Bayern Munchen (loan)
- Douglas Costa: Bayern Munchen » Juventus (loan)
- Bakuyoko: Monaco » Chelsea
- Romelu Lukaku: Everton » Manchester United
- Kyle Walker: Spurs » Manchester City
- Wayne Rooney: Manchester United » Everton
- Bernardo Silva: Monaco » Manchester City
- Dani Alves: Juventus » Paris Saint Germain
Transfer Talk: How the rumours have escalated!!!
Morata and Ronaldo for an 180 million plus one of the world’s best goalkeepers in David De Gea, and even after this spending, United will have to arrange world-class fees for these world class players. Will Ronaldo move, or will Perez conjure up money and keep him at Real Madrid. As they say, whatever Messi can do, Ronaldo can do it better(tax fraurd)
Transfer Talk: United close to complete Lindelof, Morata signing
Manchester United have reportedly agreed on fees for Benfica centre-back Victor Lindelof and Real Madrid striker Alvaro Morata. Further reports say that Morata has urged Gareth Bale to return to the premier league at Manchester United. Real Madrid wants a return on their sales with the signing of David De Gea. Zlatan Ibrahimovic has officially been released by United and is now heading for LA Galaxy. James Rodriguez’s signature is being sought after by English clubs Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool and now even Arsenal. Following Liverpool’s embarrassment over Virjl Van Dijk, Jurgen Klopp is looking for another young centre-back with world-class potential( John Stones?).
The evolution of the champions trophy
A week ago and every cricket lover in the whole world would not have imagined how group B would be thrown open with underdog victories from Pakistan and Sri Lanka over heavyweights South Africa and India respectively. For Sri Lanka, Mendis and Gunathilaka starred in a magnificent run chase, a run chase even India or England would have been proud of. Pakistan’s bowlers forced the South African batsmen into a slump and then won the match with a calm and calculative batting performance. In group A, chaos unfolded as well with Bangladesh beating New Zealand in another brilliant run chase and England cruising past Australia. This meant that India will now play Bangladesh in the semi-final and England will play the winner between Sri Lanka and Pakistan. Just over a few days ago, everyone was talking about the gap that had opened up between the top five and all teams below them but now that is past. At the start of the tournament, no one would have backed Bangladesh to make it to the semi-finals, let alone even finish third in their group, not even their fans but the Tigers have made history by qualifying via the supposed ‘group of death.’
Transfer Talk: Liverpool set to break club record
If all the reports are true and Liverpool do sign Mohammed Salah, Naby Keita and Vijil Van Dijk, they will break the previous record Liverpool signing of $35 million thrice. Van Dijk and Naby Keita both will cost more than $50 million whereas Salah’s price would be around $40 million. Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola has been very active till now in the transfer market with the signing of Bernardo Silva and possibly Benjamin Mendy, Kyle Walker and goalkeeper Edersen. United and Real are supposedly making an exchange deal for David De Gea and Raphael Varane. Chelsea are looking for a new forward in the likes of Romelu Lukaku who may serve as a replacement for Diego Costa who is being heavily linked with Atletico Madrid. Tottenham Hotspurs are currently struggling to keep their star players in the team. Dele Alli, Harry Kane, Christian Eriksen, Eric Dier, Kyle Walker, Toby Alderweireld and Victor Wanyama are being linked to other, bigger clubs.
Champions Trophy preview
Once again, Australia head into this tournament as the favourites, they have the perfect combination with every type of bowler, batsmen and all rounder moulded into their team. Also, they have the 2015 world cup victory behind their backs. India too are heavily rated going into this tournament, despite the fact that most of the Indian players were out of form during the IPL(Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, Jadeja etc.), India is still one of the contenders for the title. India are the defending champions this year and also have the highest number of victories in the champions trophy by any team. Bangladesh head into this tournament labelled underdogs and that too with New Zealand, Australia and England in their group. In the other group, India and South Africa are expected to qualify over a now weak Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Transfer Talk: Bernardo Silva best City signing this season?
City fans will surely be waiting for next season with Pep Guardiola already signing Bernardo Silva and all set to sign more superstars such as Kyle Walker, Benjamin Mendy and Edersen. This spells serious change for Manchester City, Guardiola promised trophies to the board of directors and now he is serious about it. Gael Clichy, Bacary Sagna, Yaya Toure and Willy Callaberro are reportedly departing the club this summer too. With a new refined Manchester City next season, Pep might even win the Premier League if not the FA Cup! City will look to improve their standings as an European team and will look to reach at least the quarter finals.
United win the Europa League for the first time
This victory not only lifted pressure off Jose Mourinho but also gave Manchester United Champions League football for the 2017/18 season. Paul Pogba finally showed his class with a wonderful first half goal, he played in the final twelve days after his father’s death, which is quite an emotional task. Henrikh Mkhitaryan’s wonderful goal brought him into the thick of things for Jose Mourinho. The Armenian is set to be the main playmaker for Jose Mourinho next season, along with Paul Pogba, Herrera and Ibrahimovic(if he stays at United and recovers from his ACL injury). Although Mkhitaryan’s promised playmaker role may be compromised with the possible arrival of stars like Antoine Griezmann, Andrew Belotti, Bernardo Silva and Romelu Lukaku although why would a team buy three strikers? Ander Herrera’s brilliant performance against AFC Ajax also brought him into the spotlight, with him being declared as United’s next captain! He may also get even more game time with Wayne Rooney possibly leaving the club this summer.
Transfer Talk: Alexis Sanchez in talks with multiple teams?
After Alexis Sanchez’s ‘laughter fit’ in the round of 16 match against Bayern Munich, transfer rumours between him and multiple other teams have come up. Arsenal failed to qualify for the Champions League for the first time in 20 years when Liverpool won 3 – 0 against Middlesborough, this has put Arsene Wenger under pressure, if Sanchez departs this summer, Arsenal will be weakened. Reports claim that Sanchez was in talks with Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain. Even Chelsea’s left-winger, Eden Hazard is being linked with Real Madrid, Sanchez might be a good replacement for him, although his solo playing style does not suit Conte who likes build-up and brilliant passing moves. Arturo Vidal claimed that Bayern Munchen was in talks with Sanchez too. Buying Sanchez this summer would not be a clever move by Bayern, he would be the third left-winger for Bayern with Kingsley Coman and Franck Ribery fighting for that spot too. Also, youngster Mbappe is capturing headlines from around the world. Reports say that Monaco rejected a $103 million dollar deal for the youngster by Real Madrid. If the deal becomes reality, Mbappe would become the most expensive player by surpassing Paul Pogba’s signing of $89 million. According to sources, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, Lyon, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and even Juventus are interested in the French forward.
Juventus and Bayern continue their dominance
Juventus won the Serie a for the 6th time in a row and Bayern won the Bundesliga for the 5th time in a row. Both teams were invincible this season, outplaying other teams by humongous margins. It is safe to say that currently, Bayern and Juve are dominating their respective football leagues. Juventus are in sight of a treble, they won the Coppa Italia last week and now are Italian champions. If Juventus defeat the defending champions Real Madrid in the Champions League final in Cardiff, they will achieve a treble of their dreams. One of the main forces behind Juventus’s success this year has been Dani Alves, he guided Juventus into the final of the UEFA Champions league with three assists and one goal in the semi-final against AS Monaco. For Bayern, the 2016/17 season was another success. Although they were knocked out by Dortmund in the German Cup semi-final and by Real Madrid in the Champions league quarter-final, they are still regarded as German giants. Bayern will lose two key players in Philip Lahm and Xabi Alonso as they retired at the end of Bayern’s last match against SC Freiburg in a 4-1 victory. Both players had an illustrious career, one as a wing back and the other as a defensive midfielder.
Chelsea crowned English champions
Chelsea continued their dominance in the English Premier league by winning yet another title. Chelsea has been the most dominant team in the English top division in the past fifteen years, they have finished inside the top three twelve times in the past fifteen seasons. Last year, Chelsea failed to pick up any form as they slumped to a tenth position, nothing clicked under Jose Mourinho. This year, Antonio Conte brought Chelsea back, a feat considered impossible after a disastrous 2015/16 season. Players such as N’Golo Kante and Eden Hazard were a decisive factor for Chelsea’s victory. Chelsea amassed a grand total of 93 points, with 30 wins this season. 93 points are rarely seen in a highly competitive league such as the English Premier league.
Ronaldo hat-trick guides Madrid into semi-finals
Cristiano Ronaldo netted three goals against German champions Bayern Munchen at the Santiago Bernabeu to guide Real Madrid into the semi-finals. Bayern edged in front just after half-time when Lewandoski converted a penalty. Ronaldo equalised and put Madrid ahead on aggregate with a brilliant header to beat Neuer. After that, Ramos, usually the architect of last minute victories netted an own goal to level the tie on aggregate. The match went into extra time with both teams in fine form. In the second half of extra time, Madrid netted three goals to emerge victorious over Munchen.
Transfer Talk: United aiming at a European superstar?
Manchester United have been making transfer headlines recently, goal.com claims that United are in talks with Napoli over left footed Dries Mertens. The goal also claims that English rivals Manchester United and Manchester City both are eyeing Bayern Munchen’s, Joshua Kimmich. United also are reportedly making a bid for French International Antoine Griezmann. Griezmann has developed into one of the best forwards in Europe now, he was even a contender for the prestigious Ballon d’Or last year. Furthermore, there are rumours about Neymar making a move to Manchester United. Neymar is currently the best left winger in the whole world, he is set to take up the reins of Barcelona alongside Suarez and Messi. Neymar has a release clause starting at $181 million which would his transfer to United virtually impossible.
Argentina on the edge of elimination
After what was a disastrous 2-0 loss at La Paz 4,601 metres above sea level, Argentina has slumped back to the fifth position in the South American World Cup qualifiers. Their current position will result in them advancing to the inter-continental play-off. Argentina suffered another hit six hours before the match against Bolivia when Lionel Messi was banned for his next four international games for abusing the linesman in the match against Chile. Argentina has won only one out of eight matches this season when Messi has not played. They will have to now advance to the world cup without their star player. However, Sergio Aguero, Gonzalo Higuain, Paulo Dybala, Angel Di Maria, Javier Mascherano and Thiago Silva are more than capable of ensuring qualification. Also, Brazil became the first team to qualify for the world cup alongside Russia, the hosts with a 3-0 win over Paraguay. Neymar found the back of the net twice in his role as captain alongside Coutinho who netted one goal. Brazil has won their last eight games under Tite, the new head coach.
India reclaim the Border-Gavaskar trophy in Dharamshala
Not many expected an Indian victory in Dharamshala in India final and deciding test in the 2017 Border-Gavaskar Trophy between India and Australia. The match was in favour of the Aussies when India was at 248 for 6 at the end of day two but Sir Ravindra Jadeja turned the tide of the match around with his splendid knock of 63. Jadeja showed his prowess not only as a clever and tricky bowler but as a formidable lower order batsman too. Day 3 depicted a turn around as India salvaged a 32 run lead with the help of Saha and Jadeja. The match might have been close but the Indian bowlers pulled off the best performance of this season and restricted Australia to a paltry 137. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav bullied the openers and middle order early on with sharp bounce and swing. Smith was bowled over by Bhuvi. Maxwell and Wade showed some resistance but in the end succumbed too. On day 4, the Indians had to score 87 more runs in order to gain victory. Rahul brought up another half century and Rahane supported him with a glorious knock of 38 not out. As a result, this home season witnessed the evolution and maturing of Ravindra Jadeja who is now arm in arm with Ashwin as the head of the spin attack. Kuldeep Yadav’s formidable spell in the first innings of the fourth match put him in a tight spot with Jayant Yadav for the third spinner of the Indian team. KL Rahul finally emerged into the setup of scoring runs consistently but he still needs to convert those half-centuries into hundred or even double-centuries. Ultimately, India showed their dominance at home and their ability to come back after being defeated in the first Test against the Aussies.