The major European football leagues have come to an end except for Serie A which will end on August 2nd .Attention has now shifted to the European Cup tournaments: UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League. This competitions were suspended after the COVID-19 pandemic escalated and are now set to return with the footballs project restart.
The UCL is set to return on 7th August as the fixtures of the matches continue from where they left off. The games were at the knockout round of 16 and the next two knock out rounds (quarters and semifinals) were already set. It is going to be a marathon from 7th August to 23rd August with a match almost every day. On 7thand 8th there will be the remaining round of 16 matches. On 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th will be the quarter finals and the semis on 18th & 19th .The Final will be held on 23rd August at Estadio De Luz, Portugal.
On the return date 7th, 2 second leg matches are set to be played. Juventus Vs Lyon and Manchester City Vs Real Madrid. Juventus will be hosting Lyon at Turin with a 0-1 aggregate. The French club took the lead at home and hope to defend to avoid being knocked out.Mancity will also be hosting Real Madrid, with a 2-1 aggregate. The English club are leading with two away goals and hope to secure a win against Madridistas who will obviously be seeking a comeback at Etihad.
On the second day of the UCL, 8th August, will be the second set of matches. The most anticipated match will be Bayern Munichs, who will be hosting Chelsea at Allianz Arena for their second match with a 3-0 aggregate. The Germans with 3 away goals are popular favorites for winning this trophy based on their form after the restart. Chelsea on the other hand, have a mountain to climb to avoid being knocked out. Bayern has a tendency of scoring lots of goals against London clubs in the UCL, Chelsea will have a chance to change this narrative. Whoever wins this clash will meet either Barcelona or Napoli who will be playing on the same day at Camp Nou. The two are at a 1-1 aggregate with Barcelona with an away goal. On 12th Atalanta will host PSG for the Quarter finals and on 13th, RB Leipzig will host Atletico Madrid for the quarters knockout. The next two games will depend on how the 4 round of 16 matches will end.
In the Europa league, the matches are set to return for the second leg of the round of 16 knockout stage. The competition will resume on 5th august with FC Kobenhavn hosting Instanbul BasakSehir with a 0-1 aggregate, Shaktar Donetsk Vs Wolsfburg 2-1 aggregate, Inter vs Getafe 0-0 aggregate and Manchester United vs Lask Linz 5-0 aggregate. On the second day, 6th August, Bayer Leverkusen will be hosting Rangers 3-1 aggregate, Sevilla Vs Roma aggregate 0-0, Basel vs Eintacht Frankfurt 3-0 aggregate and Wolves vs Olympiacos 1-1 aggregate. On August 10th and 11th ,the winners of the round of 16 will meet at the quarters then on 16th and 17th will be the semifinals and the final will be on 21st on the RheinEnergie Stadion, Cologne Germany.
It was a “hello darkness my old friend “moment yesternight for Manchester United as they got knocked out of the Europa League by Sevilla. In 2018, Sevilla knocked out Manchester United from the UEFA Champions League. A 78th minute winner from Wissam Ben Yedder did it for Sevilla. History repeated itself yesterday in the Europa League following a 2-1 victory for the Spaniards .
Sevilla has proved a hard nut to crack for Manchester United. For instance, in a 2013 friendly match at Old Trafford, they lost 1-3 to the Spanish side. Sevilla have a 75% win rate vs Manchester United. 3 out of their 4 games against Manchester United. Los Palanganas are now headed to the finals of the Europa League to contest for their 6th title. The Spanish side is the most decorated club in the Europa League having won this trophy three times consecutively from 2014 to 2016, under Unai Emery.
The game started off with an early penalty to United. Bruno Fernandes scored the penalty, his 8th goal in the competition. The Red devils have now been awarded 22 penalties in all competitions. The most that any team from Europe’s top five leagues has had in a single campaign since Barcelona in 2015-16(24). However, this penalty was not enough for the night since Sevilla equalised at the 26th minute, a Suso goal assisted by Sergio Reguilon.
Luke De jong later scored at the 78th minute, assisted by Jesus Navas, to wrap it up for the day. This goal was clearly a mistake by Victor Lindelof. It’s arguable that Lindelof should have marked Luke De Jong. After the full time whistle was blown, Lindelof seemed to be in an angry exchange of words with Bruno Fernandes over the goal.
For the first time in 31 years, Manchester United have gone three consecutive years without a trophy: trophyless. They are the first ever English top flight team to fall at the semi-final stage of three different competitions within the same campaign. Ole’s boys got knocked out of the EFL Carabao League cup by Manchester City, got knocked out of the Emirates FA cup by Chelsea and now Sevilla all at the Semi-final stage.
The silver lining
Hoping this isn’t a curse, Manchester United will bounce back .They had a good run in this campaign but nothing to show for it except for the 3rd position EPL and a qualification for the UEFA Champions League. The club will focus on signing new players and training in preparation for the next season, 12th September.
Manchester United have been on the wingerâ€™s radar for quite some time this season and are ready to do everything possible to sign the young star in this coming transfer window.
Jadon Sancho has attracted interests from other big clubs like Chelsea, Liverpool. The advantage Man Utd have over other clubs is that he is willing to join them.
Manchester Utd are not only willing to sacrifice some players but also take a huge loan to fund Sanchoâ€™s move to Old Trafford.
With the Coronavirus pandemic, transfer fees for players are expected to reduce worldwide.
Borussia Dortmund are currently under no pressure to sell their valued winger, and if his transfer fee is to reduce, they will not lower it below Â£100 million. Their current value for the player is Â£115 million.
Man Utd are ready to sell Alexis Sanchez, Phil Jones, Andreas Parreira and Chris Smalling in order reach the amount required to sign Sancho. Sanchez and Smalling are on loan in Inter Milan and Roma respectively, and Inter is ready to sign Sanchez permanently.
Sancho still has two years left on his deal with Dortmund and the club is ready to make the most out of his transfer to whichever club is willing to sign him.
Utdâ€™s vice chief executive Ed Woodward is known for making last-minute deals in securing bargains when signing new players. Garry Neville believes it will not be an easy task luring Dortmund into selling Sancho cheaply.
According to the former United defender, Ole Gunnar will have to pay more if he plans on landing Sancho at Old Trafford this summer.
Premier League Champions, Liverpool are leading on the league table with 86 points followed by Manchester City who are at 63 points. Below them are 4 clubs who are battling it out for the third and fourth position. Fighting to win a spot at the UEFA Champions League are Leicester City, Chelsea, Manchester United and Wolverhampton respectively. These clubs had a good run in the league and are separated by not more than 3 points. The foxes at 55 points and a goal difference of 29 had a chance of extending the one point gap between them and Chelsea yesterday but lost 2-1 to Everton at Goodison Park. Chelsea on the other hand also lost 3-2 to West Ham and gave up their chance of being third on the league table. Leicester will be hoping to redeem themselves as they host Crystal Palace on Saturday. Chelsea will also be playing against Watford on Saturday hoping make up for lost points.
With only two points behind the South West London club, Manchester United hopes to catch up to them by winning their game against Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Saturday. This is not a tough fixture for the club based on their current form and their winning streak plus their home advantage. It would not be very costly for them to loose this game. Wolves who are only behind Manchester United because of a lower goal difference are also putting effort to secure a spot at the top four. The West midlands club havenâ€™t lost a game after the restart and have been pretty impressive in the way the gain points. They will be hosting a rejuvenated Arsenal on Saturday hoping to get points to fit for the UCL qualification. It is a pretty tough fixture for them, but taming the wolves has been easy this season.
For the Red devils and Wolves, there is another alternative for qualifying to the Champions League, which is by winning the UEFA Europa League, a competition set to return on 5th August.
Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang scored his 50th Premier League goal against Norwich to become Arsenal’s fastest player to reach that mark in 79 premier league appearances.
The Gabon international opened the scoring in the 33rd minute after Norwich goalkeeper Tim Krul made an error. Aubameyang nicked the ball off the Krul’s foot when he tried to dribble to make a long kick.
Four minutes later, the Gunners got a second goal, scored by Granit Shaka with a brilliant assist from Aubameyang.
In the 67th minute, Aubameyang scored his second goal getting him into Arsenal’s book of history. He reached the mark quicker than former Arsenal star Thierry Henry who hit the mark in 87 games.
After the FA Cup quarter finals clash over the weekend, four clubs; Arsenal, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City proceeded to the Semifinals of the tournament. Arsenal were drawn to face the title holders, City and Chelsea were drawn to face Manchester United and it doesnâ€™t get bigger than this. This is definitely going to be a London vs Manchester affair as the four clubs who have had a history of rivalry face each other for domestic cup glory.
United against Chelsea has been quite a one sided fixture since the Reds havenâ€™t lost a game in their last 6 meetings. This season alone, the two clubs have met thrice, twice in the Premier League and once in the EFL Carabao Cup and United have emerged victorious in all the games. Itâ€™s a pretty embarrassing domination for the blues considering theyâ€™re both currently in the clash for the top 4 spot in the League Table. Frank Lampard is obviously working on a plan to beat Manchester United because being beaten in 4 out of 4 games would not look good for them. United on the other hand are currently on fire with a 14games unbeaten streak and a squad in top form. Both clubs seem optimistic about proceeding to the finals and hope to add this silverware in their trophy collection. The two will meet at Wembley on Saturday July 18th behind closed doors.
Arsenal on the other end will seek to beat a club they havenâ€™t won a game against since April 2017.Manchester City has beaten the Gunners in all their last 7 meetings and this seems to be a very tight fixture for the red Londoners. Arsenal has never lost in a FA Cup semifinal against Mancity and has defeated City in their last 5 meetings in their FA Cup. They are currently not in their best form with a number of their key players injured. Pep Guardiola, who will meet his former assistant coach, Mikel Arteta for the second time this season, isnâ€™t intending on loosing this crucial game. He is clearly seeking his second domestic trophy this season. The two will meet in the weekend of July 18/19 at Wembley stadium. The Finals of the tournament will be on 1st August on the same venue.
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Valencia has sacked head coach Celades following a woeful run of results in Laliga. The club has won only 1 out of 5 matches since the return of the league after Coronavirus enforced stoppage.
Voro, the assistant coach, will take charge of the club on an interim basis until the end of this season.
â€œValencia have communicated to Albert Celades his removal from his position as the first-team coach, with immediate effect.â€ A Valencia statement read.
Celades took over from Marcelino and now leaves the club at position eight in the league, few points adrift to the top 4.
Celades was lauded for his work and dedication during his time and work at the club. He will also be remembered for the period which Valencia achieved qualification for the knockout stages of the champions league and major victories which the club had previously not won.
â€œThe club also values his help and contribution since he took over as coach of the first team in a moment of difficulty, and wish him every success in his future endeavours,â€ the statement read.
Valencia will face Athletic Bilbao in their next match at Mestalia. The management hopes to see an improvement under their new interim boss.
Real Madrid is now the League leaders after Barcelona drew in their last match against Celta Vigo, Atletico Madrid and Sevilla are in the 3rd and 4th position respectively.
Timo Werner is now RB Leipzigâ€™s all-time top goalscorer after he scored a brace against Augsburg yesterday in his last match for the club.
He scored an opening goal in the first half which put him on 94 goals for the club breaking a new record.
The German international added his second and last goal for the club in the 2nd half, bringing his total goals to 95 ahead of his transfer to Chelsea. Wernerâ€™s transfer to the blues was confirmed this month.
Leipzigâ€™s win against Augsburg secured them third place in the Bundesliga with Werner taking his goals tally to 28 in 34 matches this season.
Timo Werner, who joined Leipzig from Stuttgart in the year 2016, has gone beyond 20 league goals in a campaign with his first coming in 2016/2017 where he scored 21 goals for Leipzig.
Werner will move to Chelsea next week on a fee of â‚¬53million. However, he will not be able to play for his new club until next season.
The Emirates FA Cup is back today with Norwich City hosting Manchester United for the Quarter finals stage tonight at 7:30pm. Manchester United has been on a winning streak and are hoping to extend it today against Norwich. United havenâ€™t lost a game in their last 12 matches and are likely to get the away win today and proceed to the semifinals. United are the second most successful club in this tournament with 12 titles.
Also in the tournament are two clubs fighting for position 3 in the league, Leicester City and Chelsea. This is the biggest clash in the tournament since both teams are in good form currently and we are hoping for an interesting game as the foxes hosts the London blues tomorrow at 6pm.
Sheffield United will be hosting Arsenal tomorrow at 3pm.Arsenal are the most successful club in this tournament with 13 titles and are hoping to add another title in their cabinet. This tournament means a lot to them since it will be a good platform to redeem themselves after the poor performance in the league and in the UEFA Europa League where they got knocked out. Sheffield on the other hand has not lost a game to Arsenal in their last 2 games and are hoping to proceed to the semis.
The title holders, Manchester City are hoping to defend the trophy as they travel to St. James Park stadium to meet Newcastle tomorrow at 8:30pm.The Cityzens have been quite successful in their pursuit for domestic trophies and are the current winners of the EFL Carabao Cup which they recently won in a final against Aston Villa. Now that the premiere league is gone, I believe their main focus would be in this title. Last Season they clinched a domestic treble and adding another trophy to their collection would be a good thing.
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