The first week of the UEFA Champions League unfolded on Tuesday and Wednesday this week. There were some critical match-ups in Groups A,B,D. Some results may determine how they settle into the later group stage and eventual knock out rounds.
- Liverpool shouldn’t feel concerned about Tuesdays’ loss vs. Napoli
Liverpool faced a tough Napoli team from Serie A in Italy on Tuesday. The English side lost the match 2-0 with a shot advantage of 13-10. They also held possession of the ball 53% of the time. Yes, Liverpool are defending UEFA champions league champions and would’ve liked to have won their first group stage game. However, I do still see Liverpool coming up on top in Group E. I see them winning over Napoli, FC Red Bull Salzburg, and Genk.
2. PSG is a major threat
Paris St. Germaine played Real Madrid on Wednesday in a much anticipated match. PSG scored three goals over the span of 90 minutes to beat the Spanish monster of Real Madrid. Accordingly, PSG was outshot 10-9 and held possession for 53% of the game. However, PSG was a lot more efficient than Real Madrid as they converted three goals throughout the match. Angel Di Maria scored once in the 14th minute, and then again in the 33rd minute.
The game was at 2-0 for almost 60 minutes until PSG hammered the nail into the coffin. Concluding the match, Thomas Meunier scored in extra time to secure the win for PSG. Real Madrid is a serious contender to win the Champions League and PSG proved to be the better side.
PSG gained respect from myself and soccer fans around the world as a serious monster in Europe. The rest of Group A is Club Brugge and Galatasaray. I see PSG beating both of those times home and away. PSG will qualify for the knockout stage and make a deep run into the knockout rounds.
3. Dortmund may be this year’s dark horse
Dortmund played an unbelievable match against FC Barcelona on Tuesday this week. Although, Messi didn’t enter the game until late into the 2nd half, FC Barcelona is a legitimate European powerhouse. Dortmund proved to be the better side this game as they outshot Barcelona 13-7.
I would say they should’ve won the game. Marco Reus missed several opportunities, including missing a penalty in the 57th minute. With Inter Milan and Slavia Praha rounding out the rest of Group F, I see Dortmund and Barcelona as leaders.
4. Chelsea may not make it out of Group H
With a key loss to Valencia on Wednesday night in Spain, I don’t see Chelsea advancing to the knockout stage. Although, it was their first UCL game of the year, it was a critical one. It’s key for teams to rack up points in the 6 match days. Along with Chelsea and Valencia is Ajax from the Netherlands and Lille OSC from France. For my outcome of this group, I would say Ajax at the top, then Valencia, then Chelsea, then Lille OSC.
Chelsea’s home game vs. Valencia and both of their games against Ajax will be crucial for the club. I’d be shocked to see if Chelsea will keep their manager Frank Lampard. Lampard and Chelsea has had a shaky start to both the English Premier League and Champions League. Chelsea is a club with millions of fans and is worth billions of dollars. It would be surprising to see Frank Lampard as manager heading into the 2020 season.
5. Manchester City looks sharp as ever
Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City carries some of the best soccer in the world right now. Their key players of Kevin de Bruyne, David Silva, Sergio Aguero, and Raheem Sterling provide goals. Manchester City is Europe’s most elite. At 2nd place in the English Premier League behind Liverpool, many experts would agree that City is the EPL favorite. Manchester City had an impressive 3-0 results against Shakhtar.
Riyad Mahrez scored in the 24th minute to give City the only goal it needed. Iilkay Gundogan scored in the 38th to double their lead. Gabriel Jesus scored in the 78th minute to lock in the W. Manchester City outshot Shakhtar 17-6. Possession was 54-46 in Manchester City’s favor.