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Outclassed, Outsmarted and Outplayed
This week will be one to forget for Barcelona Football Club and fans alike. Last week’s first leg win at the Camp Nou was anything but convincing, a defeat this weekend to Real Sociedad and Atletico smelt blood. On Wednesday night Diego Simeone’s men matched Barca on every level.
This defeat, as has been the case over the last two weeks has come at a serious cost. Luis Enrique has failed to rotate his squad adequately enough especially his “MSN” forward line that have been lackluster to say the least. Issues such as conceding goals in the air, such as Antoine Griezmann first goal have proved once again to be their Achilles heel. Their hopes of a Champions league double have gone up in smoke.
The REAL DEAL
A ‘magical night’ is what Cristiano Ronaldo described the clash between Real Madrid and Wolfsburg prior to kick off. And special it was indeed. Real Madrid were faced with a task of overturning a 2-0 first league deficit in the first leg and boy was it a memorable match.
A Ronaldo Hat trick sent the Germans packing and kept Madrid’s Champions League hopes alive. Zidane organized his team well and managed to get the job done. This victory brought about two main issues, of which is the importance of a well-organized backline.
The Real defense in the first leg were anything but stable, their composure and the reintroduction of Carvajal at right back steadied the ship from leaking any goals. Secondly and one issue that is a blessing and a slight problem is that of Cristiano Ronaldo. The mercurial number 7 single handily took Madrid to the next round. Some say this over reliance on the number 7 may cause problems.
However Ronaldo is not in unfamiliar territory, he has been doing this majority of his time at Madrid. What is something of concern for Zidane is how he can keep their talisman on form because when he is on form Madrid team is unstoppable.
Manchester City created history and a lot to be seen from Bayern.
Manchester City’s project took a move in the right direction as they overcame Paris Saint Germain. The match was one that brought two of the biggest footballing projects together with the ultimate goal of claiming their hands on the Champions league.
Tactically PSG got it wrong, Laurent Blanc’s experiment in the first half with a 3-5-2 formation did not go according to plan. Missed chances were the order of the day. Manchester City will be proud, going this far in the competition and defeating potential favorites of the round.
On the other hand Bayern were firm favorites in their clash with Benfica. However they complicated issues and managed to get across the line. Not taking anything from Benfica who put in a good performance, there is a lot to be seen from Bayern and Pep Guardiola.