The NBA is a league of stars, but the NFL has been dominated by a few franchises. Why? In this article, we will discuss how some teams have managed to stay at the top while others struggle. We will also look at what it takes for a team to win it all and why some never get there.
New York Giants football is a sport that has been struggling for the past few seasons. The new york giants record is one of the best to never win it.
The group round of the Champions League is begun, with Chelsea defending their championship and 31 other teams hoping to follow in their footsteps in Saint Petersburg, Russia, in May. Following an entertaining opening round of games, we posed some tough questions to James Olley, Julien Laurens, and Tom Hamilton.
On Matchday 1, what drew your attention?
Olley: The top forwards are off to a fast start. Cristiano Ronaldo maintained his goal-scoring streak in Manchester United’s 2-1 loss to Young Boys on Tuesday, before Romelu Lukaku and Robert Lewandowski followed suit later that night. Chelsea required a 69th-minute header from Lukaku to beat a feisty Zenit St Petersburg team, while Bayern Munich beat Barcelona with ease thanks to Lewandowski’s brace. Mohamed Salah scored for Liverpool, Erling Haaland scored for Borussia Dortmund, and Manchester City’s £100 million summer acquisition, Jack Grealish, marked his debut in the tournament with a superb goal against RB Leipzig on Wednesday. Jules may have to wait for Paris Saint-“MNM” Germain’s strike squad to join the party, but otherwise it seemed like business as usual, leaving me with the impression that people forget things fast.
Twelve clubs attempted to form a European Super League five months ago, putting the Champions League’s future in jeopardy. However, when that initiative fell apart, many of them just launched a new drive to win the Champions League, which their previous activities had attempted to devalue. In fact, Barcelona president Joan Laporta recently said that the Super League “is not dead yet,” while Real Madrid and Juventus have also shown interest in seeing the concept resurrected in some form. Of course, the players were unfazed, as we’ve seen with many of the game’s biggest names delivering in a thrilling week of action, but there’s something off about many clubs competing in a tournament they’re still actively planning to ruin.
Laurens: It had to be the “MNM” making their long-awaited debut for PSG versus Club Brugge in Belgium. On paper, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe form a magnificent combination that has all the ingredients to become one of the greatest ever. They’ll need some time, and we saw on Wednesday night that they’re not quite ready: Messi and Neymar aren’t fully match-fit, and Mbappe was forced off with a minor injury early in the second half. They attempted to unite, and we could tell that it wouldn’t take long for them to click. However, we witnessed a PSG squad that was imbalanced at times, with the front three unable to defend and leaving the middle and defense exposed.
This PSG team is still developing, and they were arguably fortunate to get a point in Belgium since Brugge put them under a lot of pressure. Mauricio Pochettino must figure out how to turn the “MNM” three and the rest of the squad into a formidable force. At the very least, they have two weeks to prepare for Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City at the Parc des Princes.
Hamilton: In a spectacular first round, there were numerous box-office moments, but there were two that stood out for me. To begin with, it’s great to have fans back. This is a term that has been used a lot this season, but in the Champions League, you truly felt the effect. The Young Boys’ fans produced an electrifying atmosphere at the Wankdorf Stadium for their victory against Manchester United, while Liverpool benefited from their raucous home support to start at 100 mph against AC Milan. They also gave PSG a fantastic claustrophobic welcome to the Jan Breydel Stadium in Brugge.
However, some of the goalkeeping on display stood out as well. Experienced Champions League goalkeepers like Barcelona’s Marc-Andre ter Stegen made several outstanding saves, including two great first-half saves to deny Bayern’s Leroy Sane, and Milan’s Mike Maignan’s double save off Salah’s penalty and Andy Robertson’s follow-up. Ismael Diawara of Malmo did a fantastic job in the second half to keep Juventus at bay, but if you’re looking for the best of the bunch, Gregor Kobel of Borussia Dortmund pulled off an incredible reflex save to keep Besiktas’ Michy Batshuayi from scoring in the first half of the German side’s 2-1 win in Turkey. While some of the defense on the first day was questionable, the goalkeeping was of the highest order.
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Which major clubs have their work cut out for them in order to get to the knockout stages?
Barcelona were completely outplayed by Bayern Munich, according to Hamilton. Losing to the defending Bundesliga champions is no laughing matter, but despite their summer turmoil, Barcelona’s first effort in Group E was dreadful. They spent a whole match without recording a single shot on target for the first time in their Champions League history, and the humiliating 3-0 loss might have been much more one-sided if not for Ter Stegen’s heroics in goal. There were doubts about this Barcelona team everywhere, from their lack of firepower and inventiveness up forward to their weak defense, where Eric Garcia’s choice to ignore Thomas Muller’s audacious first-half attempt proved costly.
The Barcelona fans are becoming more agitated, and Sergi Roberto has even been booed. After the game, Gerard Pique defended his colleague, saying, “I would want to remind everyone that he is a midfielder, not a winger.” “To adjust to that position on the field, he has made a sacrifice. People are allowed to express themselves, but I dislike the whistles because they are ineffective. I know the individual; he is a magnificent human being who wants nothing more than for this club to succeed. This has caused me a great deal of pain.”
Olley: No one will panic after one game, but the style of Barca’s loss highlights the enormity of the challenge facing the Catalans in being competitive at this level after all of their recent turmoil. Tom has already covered it, so I’ll focus on Manchester United instead. It would still be surprising if they didn’t advance, but defeat to Young Boys puts them on the back foot in Group F, despite Villarreal and Atalanta’s 2-2 tie in Spain limiting the damage.
However, after Aaron Wan-35th-minute Bissaka’s red card, concerns about Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s tactical ability were undoubtedly raised. Despite the numerical deficit, United were completely overwhelmed in midfield, an issue Solskjaer should have addressed sooner rather than later. At the very least, the fixture schedule offers an opportunity for redemption. Villarreal will return to Old Trafford four months after defeating United on penalties in the Europa League final last season. Unai Emery is a master of the competition, but United could not capitalize on their opportunities that night when they were in command. They can’t afford to make the same mistake again.
Laurens: Despite their tie in Belgium, I believe PSG will advance, but it will not be easy. Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, has me concerned. They were disappointed once again in this tournament, drawing 0-0 at home against Porto on Wednesday, just as they had done last season against Lokomotiv Moscow. They were also unable to defeat the Russian team in the rematch (1-1). They’ll now have to face AC Milan and Liverpool twice, putting them in a precarious situation before playing Porto again in Portugal in December on Matchday 6.
Despite having such a strong offensive lineup (Luis Suarez, Antoine Griezmann, Angel Correa, Joao Felix, Yannick Carrasco, and Thomas Lemar), they are still unable to generate opportunities and score goals. They’ve only scored four goals in their previous seven Champions League games, including none in the last three. We’re never far from Diego Simeone’s back six from the round-of-16 first leg against Chelsea last season, and I don’t believe that’s good enough for such a great team. Simeone must find a way to make this work, otherwise the Spanish champions may find themselves in difficulty in this tough and dangerous group.
In their 3-0 defeat to Bayern Munich, Jurgen Klinsmann believes Barcelona lacked leadership.
In this season’s tournament, the most interesting player under the age of 21 is:
Laurens: We have a record number of 18-year-old prodigies, more than we’ve ever had. Pedri, Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga, Giovanni Reyna, Jamal Musiala, Harvey Elliott, Benjamin Sesko, and Ilaix Moriba are all still in their early twenties, as are Rayan Cherki and Florian Wirtz, who are now playing in the Europa League. Ryan Gravenberch, like Ilya Zabarnyi, Karim Adeyemi, and Nuno Mendes, has turned 19, while Ansu Fati (18) is still recovering from his horrific injuries.
So there are a lot of options, but there can only be one winner for me, and that is Bellingham. On Wednesday, he was spectacular against Besiktas. Week each week, he becomes better and better. Marco Rose will assist him in his development, and for the England international who is as mature as he is talented, the sky is the limit.
Hamilton: Juls has done an excellent job of identifying some of the finest young talent, but three players in particular stood out to me from the first round of games. For Bayern Munich, Musiala was a force to be reckoned with, and he had Barcelona’s defense on a string. And I’d go with Bellingham here after his amazing performance against Besiktas, in which he dominated almost every aspect of the game and even scored the game’s first goal.
But, for variety’s sake, I’ll go with Salzburg’s Karim Adeyemi. Against Sevilla, the youthful attacker was excellent, causing them many difficulties. He’s a deceptive, elusive striker who can also play on the sides, and his high-octane style of play saw him earn three penalties in the first half against the LaLiga club. Since initially qualifying three years ago, Salzburg has had a strong track record of their best young players making an impression in the Champions League and subsequently earning big-money transfers. Haaland burst into the forefront in the 2019-20 season, while Dominik Szoboszlai shone last season, and Adeyemi seems to be having a breakout season this time around.
Olley: There are no awards for creativity here, but given the larger background, it has to be Haaland. The 21-year-old has a €75 million release clause that will come into effect next summer, sparking the mother of all transfer scrambles for his signature. With a remarkable goal record for Dortmund — he scored his 66th goal in 66 appearances on Wednesday, his 21st in 17 Champions League matches — there is little question about his ability, but another logic-defying season in Germany will further solidify his reputation as the greatest young player in the world.
Chelsea were interested before Lukaku was signed, but Manchester United, Manchester City, Real Madrid, and Paris Saint-Germain are only four of the teams interested in Haaland next season. Agent Mino Raiola is the ace of the deck. The expensive price Raiola may want is likely to be the most unpleasant part of any deal, but a continuation of Haaland’s own amazing statistics will undoubtedly persuade at least one team that he’s worth every cent.
Derek Rae joins Gab and Juls to discuss if Jamal Musiala should be a Bayern Munich starter.
Which club was the greatest not to win the Champions League throughout the era?
The Arsenal, according to Laurens. “Invincibles.” There will be no discussion. This is one of the best clubs in the history of the sport, with one of the finest rosters ever built, and 2003-04 should/must have been their year in the Champions League, just as it was in the Premier League, when they won the championship by staying undefeated for the whole season. It was the ideal moment since none of the historically significant European clubs were doing well. Chelsea faced Monaco in the semifinals, while Porto faced Deportivo La Coruna in the final, with Jose Mourinho’s Porto winning.
Chelsea eliminated Arsenal in a thrilling quarterfinal second leg at Highbury. They blew a 1-0 lead at home to lose 2-1 and exit the competition after drawing 1-1 at Stamford Bridge. Perhaps they were too confident in their chances, and perhaps Arsene Wenger might have handled the game better. At the end of the day, a squad led by Patrick Vieira, Sol Campbell, Thierry Henry, Robert Pires, and Dennis Bergkamp should have won the Champions League.
Hamilton: There have been a few tales of Spanish teams that should have won the Champions League, such as Real Madrid’s Galacticos (2000-2006), Atletico Madrid’s 2013-14 side, and possibly the latter stages of Johan Cruyff’s Barcelona tenure (1993-96), but Valencia’s glorious 1999-2001 side had two chances to do so and squandered both.
The squad that lost the 2000 final against Real Madrid included Santiago Canizares in goal, Manuel Pellegrino, Jocelyn Angloma, and Gerardo at the defense, with Gaizka Mendieta, Kily Gonzalez, and Gerard in midfield. Then it was Claudio Lopez and Miguel Angulo on the front row. They’d previously done it in the knockout stages for Barcelona and then Serie A winners Lazio, only to lose 3-0 to Los Blancos in the final. The next season, Pablo Aimar, Robert Ayala, Diego Alonso, and John Carew were all added to the mix, and the team embarked on another run to the final, knocking out Arsenal and Leeds along the way before losing on penalties to Bayern Munich. That period under Hector Cuper was a lost chance, and although Rafa Benitez would go on to win the UEFA Cup and LaLiga in 2003-04, the Champions League remained elusive.
Olley: All of the choices above are excellent, but Pep Guardiola’s tenure in England would be completed if Manchester City does not win the Champions League. Guardiola’s City have already cemented their position among the Premier League’s all-time greats, having won three championships in four seasons while playing some of the greatest football England has ever seen. Despite this, he has yet to win the Champions League. Three consecutive quarterfinal defeats preceded a run to last season’s final, where they were unable to produce their best against a Chelsea team riding the crest of a wave following Thomas Tuchel’s arrival, often featuring odd tactical tweaks where Guardiola has almost over-complicated their approach.
City’s failure to sign Tottenham Hotspur striker Harry Kane this summer has left an obvious hole in their front line, but they still have a slew of long-serving players, including Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling, and Fernandinho, who deserve a Champions League medal for their efforts in recent years. Even without Kane, they are among the favorites once again, as COVID-19’s financial effect has moved the scales even more in favor of those with the most money.
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