Premier League clubs are struggling abroad
All but one English club lost in the first round of the Champions League. Chelsea managed to get out of Istanbul with a draw. Besides Chelsea surviving, Arsenal, Manchester United, and Manchester City all lost 2-0 to their opponents. This raises the question of whether the English Premier League is as competitive abroad as it used to be. Sure Chelsea won the Champions League final in 2012, but folks cannot remember the last time an English club simply outplayed an elite squad in the Champions League. There is still a second leg to the first round. Maybe all the English clubs can come back from their deficits and get through. But only one team in recent history has come back from a 2-0 deficit to win in the second leg, and that was Barcelona behind Messi’s brilliance.
Real Madrid may not be the team to beat, but they are getting there
Bayern Munich sits atop the football world right now. The Bavarians are currently undefeated in the Bundesliga. They have advanced in the DFB-Pokal tournament, and have a two goal advantage on Arsenal going into the second leg at the Allianz Arena. Bayern is in a comfortable and promising position to win many things again this season, but Munich may want to take notice of a red hot Real Madrid squad. Guardiola’s men should keep an eye out for Real Madrid since there is a chance these two giants will meet in the next round of Europe’s most prestigious competition. Madrid is undefeated since 2014 started. Their suspect defense that kept conceding sloppy goals earlier this year is poised, confident, and playing at a high level. Madrid has arguably the most potent attack in the world of football. Their three forwards have scored a total of 70 goals. Their latest victim, Schalke 04 suffered a 6-1 defeat at home in the Champions League as Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema scored two goals apiece. Real Madrid has big fixtures coming to them next month. In the month of March, Carlo Ancelotti’s men will play crosstown title contenders Atletico Madrid, and the final league El Clasico in late March. If Real Madrid wins these two matches, it is safe to say that they will be Spanish league champions. Can they dethrone Barcelona domestically, and Bayern Munich abroad? Who knows? But keep tabs on this team as it is finally starting to catch its stride.
Manchester United’s season has hit a new low
Sir Alex Ferguson said that the transition to a new manager would be difficult, and that the supporters should support the new manager taking over for him. So far, this season has been full of setbacks for United, and they lost to a heavy underdog Olympiakos squad which puts United’s season at a new low. United has been struggling domestically all season long. The only light left for them to turn this season around was in the Champions League against arguably the smallest club left in the tournament. United stumbled in Greece, and heads to the 2nd leg of the Champions League with a two goal deficit. Many factors are to blame for this poor form by the once dominate Manchester United. But the biggest problem is the lack of motivation by the players. The players seem unmotivated during the match, and after the Greeks scored the first goal, the United players looked lost. David Moyes has admitted that his players lack the intensity that they have had in the past, and they need to recover that hunger if they want a chance to push for a top four finish in the Premier League.