Barcelona Shatter Guardiola’s Hope Of Victory With Man City

Pep Guardiola, Barcelona, Manchester City, Bayern Munich, ArsenalIn the face of three games without victory, Barcelona have yet again truncated Pep Guardiola’s hope of victory, as Manchester City lost to the Spaniards on Wednesday night.

Five-time Ballon d’Or winner, Lionel Messi netted the opener for the Spanish giants in a much expected tough UEFA Champions League showdown at the Camp Nou.

Efforts by the English side to balance the scoreboard in the first half proved abortive, but led to David Silva and Fernandinho getting a yellow card apiece.

As City’s Claudio Bravo bagged a straight red card, Messi showed his former coach that he was ready for the face-off, as he netted a brace in the second half (making it a hat-trick for the football legend).

Despite Guardiola’s familiarity with the hosts, Barcelona took their stand to maintain their home unbeaten record in the Champions League since 2013, as the match ended 4 – 0 with Neymar’s late goal.

The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.

Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique had expected a completely different Manchester City, now that the British side was being managed by Guardiola.

Pique believed his former coach had tried to make Manchester play in a similar way to the Spanish side.

Arsenal Shine

In England, Arsenal recorded huge success as they humbled Bulgaria’s Ludogorets Razgrad 6 – 0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners took the lead right from the first half with a brilliant goal each from Alexis Sanchez, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.

It was an all Arsenal affair, as the English side had another reason to celebrate with Mesut Ozil netting a hat-trick in the second half.

Meanwhile, Bayern Munich have finally broken the jinx of ‘no victory’ since their last three games in all competitions.

The German side recorded a 4 – 1 win while playing host to PSV Eindhoven on Wednesday night.

League One champions, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) also displayed a brilliant performance, defeating Basel 3 – 0 on the French soil.

Elsewhere, FC Rostov lost 0 – 1 to Atletico Madrid, Celtic lost 0 – 2 to Borussia Moenchengladbach, Dynamo Kyiv lost 0 – 2 to Benfica while Napoli lost 2 – 3 to Besiktas.

Teams Ready For UEFA Champions League Face-offs Tonight

UEFA Champions League
Barcelona, Manchester City

As football fans all over the world look forward to viewing Wednesday night’s UEFA Champions League showdowns, various European clubs have been talking about their preparedness for the clashes.

Pep Guardiola’s formidable managerial skills will be put to the test again when his stuttering Manchester City side visit his former club, Barcelona in a much anticipated game.

Guardiola’s brilliant start in England, which saw him oversee 10 consecutive wins in all competitions, has given way to a run of three games without victory.

The former Barcelona player and coach took the helm of the Sky Blues last summer.

Pep Guardiola
Pep Guardiola

The Catalans, however, are unbeaten at their home in the Champions League since 2013.

Barcelona defender, Gerard Pique expects a completely different City, now that the British side is under Guardiola.

Pique believes his former coach has managed to make Manchester play in a similar way to the Spanish side.

Elsewhere, Ludogorets Razgrad manager, Georgi Dermendzhiev, says his side have learnt from their mistakes, as they prepare to take on Arsenal at the Emirates.

Ludogorets have been impressive so far in the campaign; drawing with Basel and leading French champions, Paris Saint Germain (PSG) last time out, before eventually succumbing to a 3-1 loss.

The Bulgarian side have won the domestic title five years in a row and have slowly built up experience of European soccer.

Coach Arsene Wenger, however, earlier warned the Gunners against their visitors’ experience and hopes his team would reflect the caution in the match.

Meanwhile, French midfielder, Francis Coquelin, is ready to fight for a place in the Arsenal squad ahead of the clash, after he was out with injury since September 24.

Arsenal midfielder, Francis Coquelin

For the Frenchman to get back in the team, he will have to beat competition from Granit Xhaka and Mohamed Elneny in a packed midfield.

On the flip side, Bayern Munich are hoping to return to winning ways in their match against PSV Eindhoven.

Bayern, who started the season well, have not had a win in their last three matches in all competitions.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti, however, says it is too early to talk of a ‘crisis’ in the team.

Carlo Ancelotti, Phillip Lahm
Manager Carlo Ancelotti

Bayern are second in Group D with three points while PSV are in fourth place with one point.

Other fixtures to look out for tonight are: PSG against Basel, Dynamo Kyiv versus Benfica, Napoli against Besiktas, Celtic versus Borussia Moenchengladbach and FC Rostov hosting Atletico Madrid.

Champions League: Walcott Steals Show As Arsenal Beat Basel 2-0

ArsenalTheo Walcott stole the show on Wednesday, as Arsenal got their first Champions League win of the season, beating Basel 2-0.

Picking up where he left off against Chelsea, Walcott put Basel to the sword with two first-half goals amid one of his finest Arsenal displays.

The 27-year-old raced into the box to head home Alexis’ cross, and he added a second with a low drive after a slick one-two with Alexis.

Basel keeper, Tomas Vaclik, kept the score down with fine saves from Hector Bellerin, Alexis and Nacho Monreal, while Mesut Ozil could have had a couple himself.

The score could have been anything at half-time and, although the tempo dropped after the break, this was still an emphatic Arsenal victory.

The Gunners go joint-top of Group A with Paris Saint-Germain with four points from two games.

In other Champion League games Ludogorets Razgrad lost 1 – 3 to Paris Saint Germain. Both teams are in Group A with Arsenal and Basel.

In Group B, Basiktas and Dynamo Kyiv game ended 1-1 while SSC Napoli and Benfica game ended 4-2 in favour of SSC Napoli.

Borussia Moenchengladbach and Barcelona game in Group C ended 1-2 in favour of the Spanish club while Celtic and Man City game ended 3-3.

In Group D, Atletico Madrid defeated Bayern Munich 1 – 0 in a Champion’s league cracker while the game between FC Rostov and PSV Eindhoven ended 2 – 2.

In Group E CSKA Moscow was beaten at home by Tottenham Hotspur 0 – 1 while Monaco drew 1-1 with Bayer Leverkusen.

UCL Draw: Barcelona To Face Arsenal In Round of 16

UCL drawUEFA Champions League holders, Barcelona will face Arsenal in the last 16 following the draw in Nyon, with Chelsea meeting Paris Saint-Germain for the third year running and Juventus up against Bayern München.

Barcelona beat Arsenal in the 2009/10 quarter-finals – when Lionel Messi scored four in the second leg – the 2010/11 round of 16 and in the 2006 final in Paris.

Chelsea and PSG have played in each of the last two seasons, with both ties decided on away goals.

The Blues won their 2013/14 quarter-final, while Paris gained revenge in dramatic fashion in last term’s round of 16.

Bayern overcame Juventus 2-0 home and away in the 2012/13 quarter-finals en route to lifting the trophy and 2015/16 UCL draw has provided the Italians a chance for revenge.

Roma and Real Madrid have played eight times, all in the UEFA Champions League and all since 2001/02. Roma knocked Madrid out in the 2007/08 round of 16.

Atlético recorded two victories against PSV in the 2008/09 group stage, 3-0 in Eindhoven and 2-1 in Madrid.

Benfica defeated Zenit 4-3 on aggregate in the 2011/12 round of 16, although the Russian club won both their fixtures in last season’s group stage.

Dynamo ousted Manchester City 2-1 on aggregate in the 2010/11 UEFA Europa League round of 16, prevailing 2-0 at home before a 1-0 away loss.

Gent and Wolfsburg are the only two teams never to have met before.

Full Draw

16 February & 9 March

Paris Saint-Germain (FRA) v Chelsea (ENG)

Benfica (POR) v Zenit (RUS)

17 February & 8 March

Gent (BEL) v Wolfsburg (GER)

Roma (ITA) v Real Madrid (ESP)

23 February & 16 March

Arsenal (ENG) v Barcelona (ESP)

Juventus (ITA) v Bayern München (GER)

24 February & 15 March

PSV Eindhoven (NED) v Atlético Madrid (ESP)

Dynamo Kyiv (UKR) v Manchester City (ENG)

Chelsea’s Confidence Returning For Maccabi Trip – Mourinho

ChelseaJosé Mourinho says Chelsea players’ confidence is returning ahead of the trip to Maccabi.

To qualify, Chelsea will be hoping Dynamo Kyiv drop points at Group G leaders Porto while they beat Maccabi.

Chelsea have won only three of last 11 games in all competitions but Maccabi have not been in a good form in Champions League also as they are yet to earn their first point.

Chelsea manager, José Mourinho, told the media, “We are in a good position even though we haven’t qualified yet. If we play like we have been recently we have a good chance. I think the players are getting their confidence back.

“Tomorrow is simple – if we lose, we are in trouble and we rely on other results; if we draw, we can qualify on the final matchday; if we win, we have a great chance of qualifying first.

“I said this season that one team would not qualify for the Champions League, but I hoped it wouldn’t be us. We are just taking it game by game. There are plenty of matches still to come and the Premier League is still a good avenue for us to qualify.”

The coach of Maccabi, Slaviša Jokanović, has also expressed cautious optimism about his team’s chances.

“I don’t expect Chelsea to be complacent, this will be a very important match for them. We have continued to improve throughout but at this moment we are still not at the level to win games and we cannot be satisfied yet. I expect we will be more competitive in this match, however, and the aim is to win. We need to be more solid in defence and more dangerous in attack.

“It is important we don’t think about Chelsea’s problems. We have a good chance to show who we are. We will try to take every chance they give us and the game starts at 0-0. Nobody bet on us to qualify for the group stage and nobody will bet on us tomorrow, so it is another moment to fight very hard,” he said.