and the Ajax that played Bayern in group shows up I expect Madrid to be out in 16s. Not that it matters much...they aren't winning it this year. They are so lost right now it would take a miracle for them to turn it around and bring any significant silverware home.
P.S. I hope every EPL team gets bounced this round. Doubt it happens as Man City continues to have a horseshoe up their butt but I can dream.
They haven’t had their best player (Kevin De Bruyne) the whole season. Their only left back (Benjamin Mendy) has also been out for months and will probably not be fit anytime soon. David Silva and Sergio Aguero are also injured and have missed significant games. Yes, they have had a decent draw so far (which perhaps makes up for the absolutely brutal run of several consecutive years in the group of death). But I don’t think any fair minded person can say they’ve been lucky this season.
I would hardly call their last two years of placement in the Champions the groups of death. In 2017/2018 they drew Basel in the 16s and got absolutely destroyed by Liverpool in 8s including a 2-1 loss at the Etihad.
I would hardly call their 2016 draw group of death. Sure, they had Barca in group but they also Gladbach and Celta...hardly world beaters. They then got Monaco in 16s and lost. Again, hardly world beaters.
Sure, they have had injuries this year but their Champions performance has been seriously lacking and it hasn't been the draw.
2011-12: Bayern, Napoli, Villarreal
2012-13: Dortmund, Real Madrid, Ajax
2013-14: Bayern, CSKA, Plzen
2014-15: Bayern, Roma, CSKA
2015-16: Juventus, Sevilla, Mönchengladbach
City hasn’t exactly been lucky in its draws.
in those earlier years. However, on the original point, I agree. They had a brutal run of groups over that time.
still much easier groups they could have been drawn in each season. On the whole, even considering City’s favorable draws the past two seasons, they’ve had terrible luck in the Champions League.
But a lot can change in 2 months.
Madrid has zero confidence. Bale is always hurt. Isco in the doghouse. Asencio has lost all confidence and plays like a corpse. Mariano is hurt and doesn't play anyway because of every Real coaches love affair with Benzema.
Unless Madrid can somehow get Icardi (they wont) or get some firepower up front they have zero chance. It has hurt but I never thought I would see Real's midfield be average but average they are and the defense is below average with significant stars. Kroos and Modric either have World Cup hangovers or age and the significant amount of kilometers on the field have caught up with them. I am depressed but no complaints. This generation of Madrid produced. They were bound to have a down period after Cristiano.
He'll be quite fresh for the CL.
I actually wondered at one point if they'd even be in the top-4 of the Championship.
It's certainly a team filled with talented players but they're just lifeless on the field. They don't believe in what they're doing, they don't believe in the coach, they don't believe in each other.
Reason (and money) says that at some point the club will figure it out but it sure does seem like they've been irrelevant for a long time.
I'd also argue that they aren't very talented at all.
I'm an outlier though. I like Mou. I don't care much for discussion on formations
In the 30+ years I've supported United I can't think of a less likable group. There's no one to root for. They're all full of themselves, soft or crap.
That's ok though, they just locked up Mike Smalling with a 3 year extension. lol
He had to know that Liverpool would control the ball and the center of the park and that his only chance would be to counter on long balls. His best long passer and maybe one of the best in the world in Pogba is firmly planted on the bench. I get he has been horrible for United but in a game of this class you play the best option strategy dictates.
Soccer is strange and anything can happen but I can't see how Mou survives getting blasted in Champions and finishing out of the top 4 given how much the board has spent for him.
They are...bereft of anything interesting whatsoever.
Mou's tactics are predictable, his subs are predictable (my 14 year old kid called them, AND in the order they were made) and his best performers are named Fellaini and Lingaard. On a squad with Rashford, Martial, Pogba, etc. Yeesh.
I was nervous for a bit, as I have watched many matches where a team looks like it is playing lights out better than the other yet only manages a draw (or even rarely worse), and score-wise the Devils stuck around for a while due to Allison's misstep. (Although, United could have gone up 1-0 with a tiny bit of luck on their first non-goal). I just kept watching thinking, come on Reds! You're fuckin KILLING these guys! Maybe it's the rain, but you have GOT to net something! But their score caught up with their effort, thankfully.
I kept thinking I wonder if anyone sat Pogba and started Shaq in their fantasy leagues.
Prediction sure to wrong
ManCys (You of all people...)
I’m having a really hard time with the last one...Liverpool
VVD is out for the first leg at Anfield.
I'd much rather play without him at Anfield than at Allianz.
I still think they'll be strong enough at home to make up for any damage. I think it's possible things could get out of hand away. Then again, a lot can happen in 2 months. My mind may change.
The game is on Feb. 19th so both Gomez and Matip should be back. It will be interesting to see how those guys play without VVD. He's been a rock.
Also, it wouldn't shock me if LFC bring in a CB in the Jan. window.
Mane/Salah/Firmino running at Boateng...my goodness.
i.e. without Boateng.
And I am not going to miss Thomas.