The Argentine wants to get his hands on Europe’s top-tier club trophy once again, but on this evidence he will have to wait…
Messi, widely considered the best player of all time, has lifted the trophy four times, but only once in the last eight years.
After horrendous collapses against Liverpool and Roma in the previous two seasons, Barca are showing little evidence they will be capable of satisfying Messi’s deepening hunger this season.
Tuesday’s 0-0 home draw with Slavia Prague means the Catalans are unbeaten and lead Group F with eight points from four games, but they have not produced a single convincing display in the competition this season.
They still lead La Liga too, despite a humiliating 3-1 defeat by Levante on Saturday, but these performances aren’t fooling anybody.
Nelson Semedo and Ernesto Valverde said Barcelona needed to react against Slavia Prague, but the backlash never came.
The nerves started early for the hosts, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Clement Lenglet scrambling to keep the ball out at the near post.
Slavia Prague, like in their narrow 2-1 defeat by Barcelona in the Czech capital, didn’t come here to be the whipping boys many still expected.
Instead Jindrich Trpisovsky’s side got forward in numbers, unafraid of the cavernous Camp Nou and their opponents’ illustrious history and star-studded line-up.
Gerard Pique was in the book early for taking down the troublesome Peter Olayinka, the Spanish defender’s ninth yellow card in 14 games this campaign. He had seven in 52 appearances last year.
Pique’s malaise now seems worse than his usually slow starts to the season and questions over his frequent extra-curricular activity and business trips are looking increasingly justified.
Nelson Semedo soon joined Pique in referee Michael Oliver’s notebook and Slavia became more daring as Barcelona struggled.
Antoine Griezmann struggled to make relevant contributions from the left, Ousmane Dembele lost the ball time and again on the right, Arturo Vidal ran around like a headless chicken and only Messi threatened.
The Argentine maestro produced one heart-stopping dribble and strike, cannoning the ball against the crossbar in Barcelona’s best opportunity of the first half.
On another occasion he broke in down the left but was denied by a fine Ondrej Kolar save.
Slavia then put the ball in Ter Stegen’s net through Jan Boril but the goal was ruled out for offside; a chastening warning for the Catalans, but apparently not enough to shake them from their slumber.
Barcelona left to whistles at half-time, while a striker for their women’s side, Asisat Oshoala, even tweeted: “Take care of the damn ball.”
The hosts did not take heed and barely turned the screw on the visiting minnows, who held on comfortably to their point after the interval.
Vidal had a goal ruled out for offside – Messi’s left foot was fractionally off before he set up the Chilean – and the No.10 missed a good chance himself when Ansu Fati crossed for him.
Barcelona can blame Kolar’s fine performance, or marginal refereeing calls, if they like, but the truth is they aren’t doing enough to support the jewel in their crown, Messi.
The club’s top scorer and five-time Ballon d’Or winner can do it all himself a lot of the time, but not always, and to win the Champions League he needs help.
Barring a shift in form similar to that in January 2015 when Luis Suarez, Messi and Neymar finally clicked to explosive effect, or other deeper changes – axing Valverde, although that is another conversation – it is hard to imagine Messi getting his hands on the Champions League trophy in Istanbul next year.
EPL: Liverpool Fc defeated Manchester City Fc 3-1.
Liverpool FC on Sunday extended their lead at the English Premiership League to nine points with a 3-1 victory over arch-rivals Manchester City.
Two first half goals from Fabinho and Mo Sallah as well as a fine header from Sadio Mane in the early minutes of second half gave Liverpool a comfortable lead.
EPL: Liverpool Vs Manchester City Preview And Predictions.
Liverpool Vs Manchester City finally comes later today, What are the expectations, predictions?
The Super Sunday is finally upon us. The match that everyone has been talking about for weeks unending, a fixture that is keenly anticipated by all. It is indeed a clash of titans.
Liverpool have had a great start this season, continuing from where they left off last season. They have gone eleven games unbeaten in the league! their attacking powerhouse have been relentless this season. Their fullbacks are also not left out in this goal scoring spree.
However, we have noticed a decline in the effectiveness of their defense as Liverpool have only managed two clean sheets in eleven matches played so far. This is an area Jurgen Klopp must pay close attention to. But in all, Liverpool are a fantastic side.
Manchester City are the defending Champions seeking for their third consecutive Premier league title. And as they make a trip to Anfield today, their intention will be to close in on the gap between both sides in the table.
We have seen Pep Guardiola’s side struggle a bit this season. They have lost games, dropped points in fixtures everyone would’ve expected them to win.
Both sides have great squad depth, fantastic style of play, and great managerial skills. So the only difference and perhaps an edge Liverpool have over Manchester City, is City’s inconsistency. And a defeat tonight would see Leicester City maintain the 2nd place they are temporarily occupying and Liverpool will be nine points clear City
Liverpool will be without long-term absentee Nathaniel Clyne. Joel Matip and Xherden Shaqiri are still absent. Jorden Henderson has recovered from the illness that kept him out of midweek champions league action. So he is available for selection.
Manchester City’s goalkeeper Ederson was substituted at halftime in midweek. So he joins David Silva, Aleks Zinchenko, Leroy Sane and Aymeric Laporte in the treatment room.
Liverpool: Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Lovren, van Dijk, Robertson; Henderson, Fabinho, Wijnaldum; Salah, Firmino, Mane
Manchester City: Bravo; Walker, Stones, Fernandinho, Mendy; De Bruyne, Gundogan, Bernardo Silva; Mahrez, Aguero, Sterling
Liverpool are unbeaten in their last 5 home matches against Manchester City
Manchester City have lost one of their last 5 away matches
Cs: Liverpool 2 vs Manchester City 1
One step forward, 2 steps backwards..Unai Emery has lost ideas.
Unai Emery joined Arsenal in 2018 from Paris Saint-Germain. Succeeding Arsene Wenger who spent 22 years at Arsenal was definitely going to be a huge challenge for any coach. Coming into the English league for the first time, I would say Unai Emery had a decent first season.
In his first season at Arsenal, he signed Lucas Torreira, Bernd Leno, Stephan Lichtsteiner, Denis Suarez, Sokratis, and Matteo Guendouzi. The Spaniard signed Kieran Tierney, Nicolas Pepe, and David Luiz in his second season at Arsenal.
Although he failed to win any trophy in his first season, Arsenal’s presence was well felt in the Europa league where they made their way into the Europa League finals but lost 4-1 to Chelsea.
One of the biggest challenges the team faced last season was their defense. The introduction of David Luiz didn’t change much apparently and the team is currently lacking a true leader.
Arsenal have only managed two clean sheets in the league this season, and we have seen them lose their lead in games to settle for a point. Against Watford in September, Arsenal failed to maintain their 2-0 lead, giving Watford room to score two goals in second half of the game in a match that eventually ended 2-2. Against Crystal Palace last weekend, Arsenal were two goals up, Crystal palace came from behind to level it up.
Arsenal faced Liverpool in the Carabao Cup fourth-round tie on Wednesday at Anfield and in 36 minutes, Arsenal were leading 3-1 courtesy of a goal from Torreira and a brace from Martinelli.
Photo Getty: Gabriel martinelli scores for arsenal against Liverpool in Carabao cup on Tuesday night at anfield.
With a score line like that, everyone expected Arsenal to break Liverpool’s 42 unbeaten record at home but their carelessness at the back, gave Liverpool an opportunity to come back into the game. Liverpool levelled up in stoppage time, and the game ended 5-5 in full-time. Both teams were forced into penalties, and the rest they say is history.
Statistics show that Unai Emery has the better record after 50 games (32W, 7D, 11L) compared to Arsene Wenger (23W, 17D, 10L). But Wenger had a better record in his final 47 Premier league games than Emery has in his first 47 games.
“I said it before, I don’t see anything different to when Arsene Wenger was there at the end. “I don’t see it. In fact, at times, it looks worse” said Jamie Carragher after Arsenal’s defeat to Sheffield United.
Winning Europa league with Sevilla for three consecutive seasons, everyone expected Unai Emery to take Arsenal to an enviable height. But unfortunately, most Arsenal faithful feel Emery have not lived up to expectations, and they are even worse under Unai Emery than they were under Arsene Wenger.
How do you explain why a club with so many talented individual players cannot get it right as a team? Is Emery not tactically fit enough for Arsenal or is he already out of ideas?
Source: Opera News/Football
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