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Goals Galore in UCL Match day 3

There were a total of 54 Goals scored over 2 nights in the Champions League this week as three teams found the net 5 times.

The first of which was Tottenham Hotspur as they defied the form book and won 5-0 against Red Star Belgrade. The result demonstrates that Spurs do have undoubted quality and what they are capable of. Red Star gave them far too much space to play and Spurs took full advantage. Harry Kane got them off to the perfect start after 9 minutes with a well-timed header at the near post. Kane and his strike partner Heung-Min Son both netted twice whilst Erik Lamela scored the other.

The other result in Group B saw Bayern Munich overcome Olympiakos by the odd goal in 5. Robert Lewandowski scored on 34 and 62 minutes whilst Corentin Tolisso got there 3rd after 75. The Greeks gave a good account of themselves and Youssef El-Arabi had put them ahead after 23 minutes, Guilherme gave them a chance on 79 minutes but Bayern held on. The results mean Spurs move up to second in the Group.

  1. Bay Munich – 9 Points
  2. Tottenham – 4 Points
  3. C Zvezda -3 Points
  4. Olympiakos – 1 Point

Manchester City also scored 5 on Tuesday night but this was after Atlanta took a surprise lead when Ruslan Malinovskiy scored from the penalty spot after 24 minutes. Raheem Sterling then took over with an 11-minute hat-trick to make it a comfortable win for City, Sergio Aguero got the other 2 goals. There was bad news for City as Phil Foden was harshly sent off for two yellow cards and an injury to makeshift center-back Rodri. Six minutes after being cautioned for tugging back Malinovskiy, the 19-year-old did likewise to Marten de Roon to receive a second booking. Rodri was substituted with what appeared to be a hamstring injury in the first half.

The other result in the Group was a 2-2 draw between Shakhtar Donetsk and Dinamo Zagreb.

  1. 1 Man City – 9 Points
  2. 2 Din Zagreb – 4 Points (+2 Goal Difference)
  3. 3 Shak Donetsk – 4 Points (-2 Goal Difference)
  4. 4 Atalanta Atalanta – 0 Points

The third team to score 5 were Paris Saint Germain. It wasn’t until the second-half introduction of Kylian Mbappé however until they took command. They were leading somewhat fortunately at halftime thanks to Mauro Icardi’s opener but needed something extra. Mbappé undoubtedly provided it with a superb hat trick and assisted Icardi for his second.

Also in the same group, Real Madrid got their first win of the campaign thanks to a Toni Kross goal in the first half. Real were once again largely uninspiring however and look a long way behind where they should be.

  1. 1 PSG 9 Points
  2. 2 R Madrid 4 Points
  3. 3 Club Brugge 2 Points
  4. 4 Galatasaray 1 Point

Atletico Madrid were kept quiet for large periods by Bayer Leverkusen who were on a terrible run of conceding goals prior to the match. However, it took Madrid until the 79th Minute when substitute Alvaro Morata broke the deadlock to get Atletico over the line. It took the introduction of Morata and Thomas Lemar to make the difference as they took a gamble and went two upfront. Lemar did well in the build-up to create the winner for fellow substitute Morata.

Juventus were another big name who struggled for large periods and went behind at home to Lokomotiv Moscow through Aleksey Miranchuk. Paulo Dybala was their heroic rescuer as he scored twice in two minutes to turn the match on its head in the last 15 minutes.

  1. Juventus 7 Points (Goal Difference +4)
  2. A Madrid 7 Points (Goal Difference +3)
  3. Lokomotiv 3 Points
  4. Leverkusen 0 Points

Moving to Wednesday night which started with Chelsea getting a very good result and performance with a 1-0 win away at Ajax. They restricted the usually free-scoring Dutch champions to limited opportunities and were a threat on the counter arrack. They could’ve fallen behind however in the first half when Ajax had a goal ruled out by VAR for offside when the decision was minimal. Chelsea did deservedly take the lead through substitute Michy Batshuayi. The other result in this group saw Lille and Valencia daw one apiece.

  1. Chelsea 6 Points (Ahead on head to head)
  2. Ajax 6 Points
  3. Valencia 4 Points
  4. Lille 1 Point

Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain scored two wonderful goals on his first return to Champions League action in 18 months as Liverpool beat Genk 4-1 on Wednesday. However the scoreline didn’t fully reflect the game, Liverpool were far too open, particularly in the first half as Genk had numerous openings which they failed to capitalise on. Ultimately Liverpool were clinical and Oxlade-Chamberlain had a great night he won’t forget in a hurry. He reminded us that he has a lot of talent – he is a great option if more creativity is required. Napoli avoided a scare as Red Star Belgrade twice pegged them back but eventually came out as 3-2 winners with two goals from Dries Mertens.

  1. Napoli 7 Points
  2. Liverpool 6 Points
  3. Salzburg 3 Points
  4. Genk 1 Point

To roundup the other results were

  • RB Leipzig 2 – 1 Zenit St. Petersburg
  • Benfica 2 – 1 Lyon
  • Inter Milan 2 – 0 Borussia Dortmund
  • Slavia Prague 1 – 2 Barcelona

Which leaves the remaining Groups looking like this

  1. Barcelona 7 Points
  2. Inter 4 Points
  3. B Dortmund 4 Points
  4. Slavia Prague 1 Point
  1. RB Leipzig 6 Points
  2. Zenit 4 Points
  3. Lyon 4 Points
  4. Benfica 3 Points

(Photo – The Week)

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Premier League teams go undefeated on Matchday 3 of Champions League

All four Premier League teams participating in Europe’s biggest club tournament were victorious during their Matchday 3 games on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Manchester City were able to cruise by Atalanta with a 5-1 victory to claim their third win in Group C. After Ruslan Malinovskyi converted a penalty in the 28th minute to silence the crowd at Etihad Stadium, Sergio Agüero scored two goals in a four-minute span to help City have a one goal lead heading into halftime against the Serie A candidate. City were able to steamroll Atalanta after Raheem Sterling continued his excellent form for the reigning-Premier League Champions, scoring a hat-trick in a span of 11 minutes. However, young talent Phil Foden will miss their rematch at Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia on November 6 as he received a red card.

Tottenham, after only accumulating one point in their first two matches of the Champions League a year after making it in the tournament’s final, was able to handle Crvena zvezda at home with a 5-0 victory. Spurs, who were embarrassed at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium last time after suffering a brutal 7-2 loss at the feet of Bayern Munich, were able to bounce back thanks to braces from Harry Kane and Heung-Min Son and a goal from Erik Lamela. The reigning-Champions League Runners-up will host Olympiacos on November 26, where they hope to avenge a 2-2 draw during Matchday 1 at Karaiskakis Stadium.

Chelsea, who won the Europa League last season, were able to have their second straight shutout in all competitions as they defeated surprise semi-finalists from last year’s edition of the tournament – Ajax. The fans in Johan Cruijff ArenA were stunned after a late goal from Michy Batshuayi, thanks to an assist from fellow substitute Christian Pulisic. The stadium was rocking as they thought Quincy Promes scored in the 35th-minute before VAR overturned the goal. The Blues will face off against Ajax during Matchday 4 at Stamford Bridge on November 5, hoping to seal another three points and hold sole possession of first place in Group H.

Liverpool, the reigning champions of the event, defeated Genk 4-1 at Luminus Arena. The team got off to a hot start after a goal in the 2nd-minute by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, who ended up with a two-goal performance. Sadio Mané and Mohamed Salah also scored in the game as they end the first set of matches in second behind Group E leader’s Napoli. Liverpool will face Genk in their next match of the Champions League on November 5 at Anfield.

The Premier League was fortunate to have two of its teams to be in the final of the Champions League last season, and Matchday 3 proved to be another step in the league’s success at the world’s biggest stage for the world’s most popular sport. But which Premier League team will go the furthest?

(Photo – MEN)

4 signings that could turn the fortune for Manchester United next season

Since Solskjaer took over as caretaker Manager at Old Trafford, United have looked a totally different side in contrast to what they were under Jose Mourinho , playing the brand of football that was always associated with Manchester United. Even though they have had a slump off late against Arsenal and against Wolves in the FA Cup, it is still believed that Solsjkaer is the front runner to take over the permanent job in the summer. The heroics against PSG in the Champions League adding more positives to his claim to take over the Job.
However, the recent loses against Arsenal and Wolves have indicated there are certain departments that need reinforcements and here we look at Four players who could change the fortune next season for the club if Ole was to sign them:

  1. Adrien Rabiot :

United need a Central defensive midfielder as Matic is already in his 30’s and in Rabiot , they can have someone having quite similar traits and who plays in a quite similar position for PSG which Ole has been opting regularly for United. He can even act like a deep lying playmaker, allowing the likes of Herrera and Pogba to play higher up the field.
Rabiot is a top class talent and very young, however the only problem with him could be his attitude, shown by his rejection to play for France and also a fractured relationship with PSG. But, knowing how Solsjkaer nurses young talent, this could be a fresh start for the young Frenchmen, and with his contract running out his summer, it could be a bargain for United.

2. Alex Grimaldo :

     The la Masia graduate, currently playing for Benfica , may have struggled to get into Barcelona first team, but he has now developed into one of the best young left backs in the continent. He is a versatile, technically gifted full back who can be deployed in midfield as well like David Alaba or Joshua Kimmich. Manchester United need a left back to cover up Luke Shaw , because in Ashley Young they don’t really have a specialist to compete with Shaw in the position and Grimaldo could be another astute signing for the Red Devils.

3.    Jadon Sancho :

    United have failed to have a natural right winger for many years now , with both Mata and Lingard  having tendencies to play more off the middle and drift inside. In Jadon Sancho they could have a long term solution for this problem. He has been absolutely brilliant for Borussia Dortmund this year and United could utilize the width he provides on the right side for their attacking play.
He might not come cheap, but with his immense talent and age, United could be ready to pull the trigger in the transfer market for this young English sensation. 

4. Kalidou Koulibaly :

One of the primary problems that United have failed to rectify is a world class player in defense and koulibaly could prove to be just the player they need to sort out all defensive fragilities. Considered as one of the best ball-playing center-backs in Europe, his raw pace and power make him a daunting player to go up against. He is a natural leader, always vocal on the field and can contribute in improving other players playing around him in the defensive line. At 27, he will be entering his peak years and with his experience and leadership qualities, he could prove to be an inspired United signing.

League 2 Promotion Race: a preview of the final 9 games

The League 2 promotion race heats up as with less than 10 games left to secure promotion to League One we here at 24/7 Football decided to take a look at the final 9 games for every team fighting for promotion.

1. Lincoln City

Lincoln City currently sit top of the table going into the final 9 games of the season. The Imps have  lead the way for the majority of the season and will be looking for a strong finish to secure their promotion to League One. The Imps last played in England’s third tier in 1999 and under the astute guidance of the Cowley brothers will be looking to play in League One for the first time this Century.

Lincoln’s recent form  – WDWWW

The Imps head into the final 9 games in impressive form with the Lincolnshire based side unbeaten in there last 14 League games. Lincoln have also won three consecutive games in a row keeping a clean sheet in the last two. Lincoln also boast an impressive Home record with the Imps unbeaten in there last 15 games making Sincil Bank a fortress.

Lincoln’s final 9 games

Mansfield Town (A) 18/03/2019

Crawley Town (A) 23/03/2019

Macclesfield Town  (H) 30/03/2019

MK Dons (A) 06/04/2019

Cheltenham (H) 13/04/2019

Carlisle United (A) 19/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (H) 22/04/2019

Newport County (A) 27/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 04/05/2019

Lincoln’s final 9 games of the League campaign are a mixed bag of opponents with Lincoln having to face 5 of the top 8 teams in the division, 3 of which are away from Home. A long trip to Carlisle thrown in over the Easter weekend should be a deciding factor in Lincoln’s title hopes. The Imps also have to face bottom of the pile Macclesfield who could prove to be a challenging test depending on their predicament.

2.Bury

The Shakers currently sit second in the League 2 table 5 points behind leaders Lincoln. Bury have been one of League 2 most entertaining teams to watch this season with the Manchester-based side scoring 71 goals so far this season the third highest in all four divisions. The Shakers will be looking to maintain strong form into the final 9 games of the season to try and snatch the title away from Lincoln.

Bury’s recent form – WWWDW

Just like Lincoln, Bury come into the final 9 games in stupendous form with the Shakers unbeaten in there last 13 games with there last loss coming on Boxing day where Bury fell to a (2-1) defeat away at third-placed Mansfield Town. Bury haven’t failed to score in there last 12 league games with the Shakers last unable to find the back of the net away at Notts County.

Bury’s final 9 games

Cambridge United (H) 16/03/2019

Grimsby Town (A) 23/03/2019

Swindon Town (H) 30/03/2019

Carlisle United (A) 06/04/2019

Colchester United (H) 13/04/2019

Newport County (A) 19/04/2019

Northampton (H) 22/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 27/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 04/05/2019

Bury arguably have a much easier run in on paper than Lincoln, with the Shakers only having to play 3 of the top 7 clubs compared to Lincoln’s 5. However with 2 out of the three being away from home plus one of those being a long trip to Carlisle it could be an interesting final 9 games for Bury.

3.Mansfield Town

Mansfield Town currently occupies the third and final automatic promotion place. The Stags who have one of the biggest budgets in League Two haven’t played League One football since 2003. Mansfield currently have the best defence in League Two and the third best in the Football League.

Mansfield Town’s recent form – LWWLD

The Stags head into the final 9 games in a dip of form with the Nottinghamshire based side only winning 2 out of there last 6 games. Mansfield have also failed to pick up three points on the road in there last 5 away games. However, on the country, the Stags are unbeaten in there last 5 home games.

Mansfield’s final 9 games

Lincoln City (H) 16/03/2019

Crewe Alexandra (H) 23/03/2019

Exeter City (A) 30/03/2019

Northampton Town (H) 13/04/2019

Morecambe (H) 19/04/2019

Oldham Athletic (A) 22/04/2019

Stevenage (H) 27/04/2019

MK Dons (A) 04/05/2019

Mansfield just like Bury have to play 3 of the top 8 teams however the Stags have to play both Lincoln and Exeter in the next three games. After these games, the Stags have an easy run in playing multiple mid-table teams till a final day clash with fourth-placed MK Dons.

4.MK Dons

MK Dons currently sit just outside the League 2 automatic spots on goal difference as the Dons look for an immediate return to League One football. MK find themselves in League 2 for the first time since 2008 and are hoping that the suave and sophisticated Paul Tisdale can guide the club to promotion.

MK Dons recent form – WWWWL

The Dons head into the final 9 games in an upturn of form with MK winning 5 out of there last 6 games. However, MK have picked up strange results since the turn of the year with the Buckinghamshire based side losing (4-2) to 19th place Morecambe and a (1-0) defeat to Crewe at home.

MK Dons final 9 games

Stevenage (H) 16/03/2019

Yeovil Town (H) 23/03/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 30/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 13/04/2019

Notts County (A) 19/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 22/04/2019

Colchester United (A) 27/04/2019

Mansfield Town (H) 04/05/2019

The Dons have possibly one of the hardest runs of games to play out of the promotion-chasing teams facing 4 out of the top 7 and facing 3 teams who will be fighting for the survival in the Football League. After the Stevenage game this weekend every team MK play will be fighting for something arguably increasing the stakes in each of these games.

5.Tranmere Rovers

Newly promoted Tranmere Rovers are this year’s League Two surprise package with the Super White Army pushing for back to back promotions for the first time in there History. Under the guidance of experienced manager Micky Mellon, the Birkenhead based side have eased back into Football League life after a three year absence and are looking to make a return to League One football for the first time since 2014.

Tranmere Rovers recent form – WWWWW

Tranmere currently sits top of the charts for form with the Rovers picking up 19 points from there last 8 games. Tranmere also have a watertight defence with the Rovers only conceding 2 goals in there last 6 games.

Tranmere Rovers last 9 games

Oldham Athletic (A) 16/03/2019

Colchester United (A) 23/03/2019

Carlisle United (H) 30/03/2019

Newport County (A) 06/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 13/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (H) 19/04/2019

Lincoln City (A) 22/04/2019

Bury (H) 27/04/2019

Crawley Town (A) 04/05/2019

Talk about tough luck. Tranmere have to face 6 out of the top 7 teams in the division at the time of writing and face 4 out them in a row however with three of these being at home it could be a blessing in disguise to take points off the teams around them rather than rely on other results.

6.Forest Green Rovers

6th placed Forest Green Rovers are battling for a playoff spot and promotion to League One for the first time in their history. The Greenest team in the World currently are having their best season ever in the Football League and will hope it can continue.

Forest Green Rovers recent form – WLLLW

The Green Devils are currently in a sticky patch of form with Forest Green currently sat 22nd in the form table with the Gloucestershire based side picking up 7 points in there last 8 games. Forest Green have had indifferent results over the past few weeks with the Green Devils losing (3-0) to lowly placed Morecambe before beating playoff-chasing Colchester (3-0).

Forest Green Rovers last 9 games

Carlisle United (H) 16/03/2019

Port Vale (A) 23/03/2019

MK Dons (H) 30/03/2019

Crawley Town (A) 06/04/2019

Macclesfield (H) 13/04/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 19/04/2019

Cambridge United (H) 22/04/2019

Crewe Alexandra (A) 27/04/2019

Exeter City (H) 04/05/2019

Forest Green have a mixed run of games concluding the season with 4 games against teams in the top 10 with the other 5 games against teams in the mid to lower echelons of the table. If Forest Green can find there earlier season form that propelled them to their current position then the Green Devils could be playing League One football next season.

7.Colchester United

Occupying the final playoff spot at the time of writing are Colchester United. The U’s will be hoping that the third time’s the charm with the Essex based side narrowly missing out of the playoffs in the past two seasons.

Colchester United’s recent form – DDLWL

Colchester just like Forest Green Rovers have suffered in a did in form as the Essex based side have only managed 3 wins in there last 8 games. In Colchester’s last three games the U’s have scored 3 and conceded 6 goals with too heavy (3-0) defeats to playoff rivals Forest Green and mid tabled Swindon. Colchester’s home form has also seen a dip with the U’s only picking up 9 points in there last 8 home games at the JobServe Community Stadium.

Colchester United’s last 9 games

Exeter City (A) 16/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (H) 23/03/2019

Cambridge United (A) 30/03/2019

Oldham Athletic (H) 06/04/2019

Bury (A) 12/04/2019

Grimsby Town (H) 19/04/2019

Yeovil Town (A) 22/04/2019

MK Dons (H) 27/04/2019

Lincoln City (A) 04/05/2019

Colchester have a mixed run in however face top 10 teams in spells of two bar the away match Vs Bury of the 12th of April. With a tough final three games, it could be another year that the U’s miss out of the playoffs.

8. Carlisle United

The first team on this list sat out of the Playoffs Carlisle are hoping they can sneak a playoff place and make it back to League One for the first time since 2014. Carlisle will also be looking to make it one step further than 2016/17 season where the Cumbria based side lost in the Playoff semi-final.

Carlisle United recent form – LDLWL

Carlisle have suffered a recent dip in form that has seen the side slip out of the playoffs with the Cumbrians only picking up 8 points in there last game ranking them 21st in the League 2 form table. However, Carlisle Home form over the past 8 games has been stupendous with the Cumbrians picking up 16 points in there last 8 home games.

Carlisle United last 9 games

Forest Green Rovers (A) 16/03/2019

Cambridge United (H) 23/03/2019

Tranmere Rovers (A) 30/03/2019

Bury (H) 06/04/2019

Stevenage (A) 13/04/2019

Lincoln City (H) 19/04/2019

Grimsby Town (A) 22/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 27/04/2019

Yeovil Town (A) 04/05/2019

Carlisle have to play 4 out of the top 7 clubs including first and second placed Lincoln and Bury however with both at home the Cumbrians will be hoping to gain positive results from both. Carlisle also appear to have an easy three final games to finish the season. However, a long away trip to Yeovil could be a tough trip especially depending on Yeovil’s predicament.

9. Exeter City

The team currently occupying 9th is Exeter City. Exeter still have a great chance of making the playoffs with the Grecians currently sitting 2 points of the playoffs and unlike the 8 teams above them, Exeter have 10 games left to play rather than 9. Exeter will be hoping to go one better than last year as the Grecians lost in the Playoff final to Coventry City.

Exeter City recent form – LWDLL

Exeter city have had a recent dip in form with the Grecians failing to pick up a win in there last three games. Furthermore, Exeter have only picked up 5 points out of there last 6 league games. The Grecians have also failed to keep a clean sheet in there last 6 games.

Exeter City’s last 10 games

Colchester (H) 16/03/2019

Notts County (A) 23/03/2019

Mansfield Town (H) 30/03/2019

Cheltenham Town (A) 06/04/2019

Port Vale (H) 13/04/2019

Crawley Town (H) 19/04/2019

Stevenage (A) 22/04/2019

Oldham Athletic (H) 27/04/2019

Forest Green Rovers (A) 04/05/2019

*Macclesfield (A) The game has yet to be rearranged.

Arguably Exeter City have one of the easiest final run-ins on paper out of the Playoff chasing teams with the Grecians only facing 3 top 7 teams and have a 5 game run in of playing mid-table sides so could easily pick up points and close the two-point gap.

Who Do you think will get promoted from League 2?

Written By Tom Langford

Twitter @tom_langford27

Who is Man City’s most important player?

Manchester City are arguably one of the best teams in Europe at the moment, if not the best. With Pep Guardiola at the club, the Spaniard has managed to create one of the greatest squads ever assembled and Fabian Delph still get’s the nod when fit. A squad filled an army of world-class talent that isn’t afraid to get down and got to war when needed to.

With players such as David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and so many more it’s incredibly hard to single out one player as Manchester City’s most important player but for me, it can only be one man.

I nearly went for Fernandinho and I wouldn’t be wrong if I did as he is the anchor for The Cityzens and when he doesn’t play the club do suffer as his role is so hard to fill. When Fernandinho has been injured this season it has been very noticeable that he hasn’t played.

However, the player that I have opted for in terms of Manchester City’s most important player is Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva. Signed last season from Monaco for 42 million pounds not many knew what Pep was getting from the man nicknamed ‘Bubblegum’. Silva didn’t take to life instantly at the Etihad initially struggling to get into the team ahead of Kevin De Bruyne and David Silva. Towards the end of last season, we got glimpses of just how special he was but the 18/19 campaign was destined for Bernardo to officially announce himself.

Knee injuries for De Bruyne allowed Silva to establish himself in the starting XI in his preferred central position and it was evident he offered something different for City in terms of his work rate. This is highlighted perfectly is his performance against Liverpool in a 2-1 win at The Etihad. Bernardo covered a staggering 13.7 kilometres in the game which was the highest from any player so far this season and he probably still could’ve carried on.

Silva has eight goals and eight assists so far this season and his first touch is absolutely outstanding. Should Man City continue to fight on all fronts then Bernardo Silva will be at the centre of it all as he is for Man City’s most important player.

Who do you think Man City’s most important player is? Let us know below.