Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Manchester City and Chelsea Qualify: Liverpool Made To Wait

Champions League football resumed after the international break. All four English teams were in action over the past two evenings. Manchester United beat İstanbul Başakşehir 4-1 and Chelsea beat Rennes 2-1 on Tuesday night. Manchester City won 1-0 away at Olympiacos and Liverpool suffered a shock 2-0 home defeat to Atalanta last night.

Below Par Liverpool

Manchester City and Chelsea have now qualified towards the knockout stage with their wins. Liverpool could have also qualified with a win, but were poor in their loss. The much changed side could not get out of second gear at Anfield, which means they now have to win one of their last two games to guarantee progression into the knockout phase.

Andy Robertson and James Milner during Liverpool’s Champions League loss to Atalanta. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

Chelsea And Manchester City Get The Job Done

Substitute Olivier Giroud won the game for Chelsea in injury time. Chelsea had 49% possession and Rennes had 51%. Both sides had five shots on target each but crucially Chelsea had a better shooting accuracy (55.6%) than Rennes (38.5%). This was evident when Giroud got the winner.

Chelsea last reached the final in 2012, when won the Champions League against Bayern Munich in the German side’s own backyard. They have started both their domestic and European seasons well and despite this being only a 2-1 win, the more they win games the more the fans can dream.

Manchester City also progressed, with a 1-0 in Greece against Olympiacos thanks to a Phil Foden goal. Manchester City have not been at their best so far this season but a win is a win and this is all that Man City and manager Pep Guardiola will care about.

Raheem Sterling celebrates with Foden after the only goal in Manchester City’s Champions League win over Olympiacos.

The Champions League is the ultimate goal for Manchester City, being the one trophy that has eluded them. They will want to just get themselves over the line and this is what they did last night.

Manchester United Get Important Win

Manchester United lost to İstanbul Başakşehir in the reverse fixture but got the job done on Tuesday. Bruno Fernandes scored two, including one excellent finish. Daniel James and Marcus Rashford also got the goals against a İstanbul side featuring former United full back Rafael da Silva.

Manchester United could secure knockout stage qualification in their next Champions League game.

This was a team with an array of former Premier League players. Former Liverpool centre back Martin Skrtel played on Tuesday night along with former Spurs player Nacer Chadli and former Chelsea and Newcastle striker Demba Ba.

Manchester United now sit three points clear of RB Leipzig and Paris Saint-Germain, who both reached the semi final last season. The latter lost to Bayern Munich in the final and were expected to win this group. However, Manchester United managed to get a 2-1 win in Paris and also got a 5-0 win over RB Leipzig. They were not expected to win either.

Despite the loss for Liverpool, you would expect them to progress. It is more of a challenge for Manchester United, who face PSG and Leipzig in their final two games.

Bruno Fernandes surrounded by his Manchester United teammates after scoring his penalty in the PSG win.

Manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has got history of winning against top teams during his time as Man United manager, getting wins against Tottenham Hotspur and Man City last season as well as those two away wins against PSG in the 2018/2019 season and the win last month. This will give Ole, along with the earlier results this season, that he can win these games and get Manchester United over the line.

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