Can anyone stop Bayern Munchen?
Bayern Munchen won a record breaking 10th game with ease and it does not look anybody can stop them from reclaiming their title. Real Madrid seen by most pundits as the Bavarians closest challengers still look very susceptible at the back and certainly would not fancy playing a team from Germany no thanks to the “German curse”, Barcelona’s woes at the back have been well documented and need no further introduction and most players will still have the scars of the humbling 0-7 aggregate defeat inflicted by their German rivals. With due respect to the teams from England and Italy, none of them are on the wavelength of the Die Roten .Paris St Germain still looks very much like a team in progress; trying to find its feet on European soil. They have strength in depth in all positions and Pep has done well to instill his ideas into his players after a fairly difficult start. The fact that Pep plays with a single holding midfielder might excite some opposition coaches but the use of Javi Martinez as a Forward Destroyer against Borussia Dortmund shows that the opposition coaches will be in for a surprise unless of course there is a leak in the BLID. Munich have an excellent chance of becoming the first side in the UEFA Champions League and that the moment it would take some beating to stop them from achieving that feat.
Barcelona Still Lacks That Cutting Edge without Messi
Barcelona slumped to a 2-1 loss against a 10 man Ajax and even the single goal came from a Xavi penalty. Although they won Granada 4-0 the previous weekend without the services of a certain Argentinian, there is no doubt that the Catalan side missed his services against the Dutch side .His ability to drop back and force defenders to play a highline which in turns creates pocket of spaces which he or his teammates can exploit is something which is missed when he’s absent. Fabregas the player who replaces him is no doubt capable of playing there but does not have the pace to run at defenders and is easier to mark out and Neymar, his anointed heir is one who prefers to run at defenders or run behind them and not drop back the way the extraterrestrial Leo does with little fuss. Against Ajax, despite being a man up for more than 40 minutes, they never really looked like getting back into the game .They would survive the smaller sides without him but against the bigger sides. phew!
Manchester City will have a tough second round
Barring any miracle of Dammam or any capitulation on the part of the Bavarians at the Allianz Arena, Man City will finish second In Group D .Statistics show that, of the last 32 semifinalists in the Champions League, only seven did not top their groups. Should the other English teams top their respective groups as expected, then City would be in danger of facing the following teams in the last 16: Paris Saint Germain, Atletico Madrid, Real Madrid and Barcelona. City would do well to reach the Quarters let alone the Semis.
KAKA is not a finished article
Prior to the clash at Parkhead between Celtic and AC Milan, the Diavolo had embarked on a terrible run and found themselves 13th in the Serie A which got to the necks of the ultra-fans who turned against the players after a 1-1 against Genoa. The tension ahead of the game was high and the nerves were certainly showing. They needed someone to step up to the plate and guess who rose up to the occasion, the forgotten man, the man everyone thinks has passed his peak, a model professional, former world best player, the man from Brazil, Ricardo Kaka. He’s no doubt being one of the few bright spots of a very sorry looking Milan team. He might no longer possess the devastating change of pace but he’s still got the football brains. His early goal (header) helped calm the nerves of his teammates. He is a beacon of hope, an icon of happier days. He might not have the form of 2007 when he won the world’s best player but his class is permanent. If his team is to see off Ajax next week at the San Siro and move up the ladder in the Serie A, more of such performances will be needed. If he can keep delivering, who knows we could get to see one of football greats wow us at the FIFA World Cup next year.
TIME TO DROP RVP?
Against a bruised Tottenham, Moyes simply cannot afford to drop points and lose more ground on the league leaders. Unlike Leverkusen, Spurs do boast of some powerful midfield players who could easily overrun United’s weak midfield. Playing with one upfront and three in the middle is the solution. Rooney is currently the in-form striker and Kagawa the in-form number ten which leaves Robin Van Persie on the bench unless of course David Moyes decides to play the Japanese out wide and tell Rooney to drop back when not in possession of the ball which I feel is what he would do.
OZIL NEEDS REST
The euphoria surrounding Ozil’s arrival is long gone and reality has set in. After a great start to his Arsenal’s career, his performances over the last few games have tailed off. It reached an all-time low against Marseille where he looked out of sorts and to compound his woes missed a penalty (which was poorly taken) though he still assisted Wilshere’s goal. This is no doubt due to fatigue as he’s barely had a rest since he joined. It’s only against Chelsea in the Capital One Cup that he didn’t emerge out of the tunnel as a starter. Thankfully, his teammates are still in good form and the injured ones back but it would be good if Wenger rests him for a couple of games to get him back to his sharpness as they approach the festive period with lots of games, something the bug-eyed player has never experienced.
Written by Chike Umeike
Follow the writer on twitter @chyk11