Fierce_LiNk

Football Season 2019-20

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Posted (edited)

Interesting first half in City vs Lyon, Pep definitely needs to change the formation and some personnel. They're just swarmed every single time they get into Lyon's box, they need more bodies in there. Lyon deservedly leading 1-0 in my opinion, been much more direct in going for goal. 

Need to take a moment to mention how much I've hated Steve McManaman's commentary since the UCL restarted, he says some of the daftest things for a football commentator. Tonight's pick of the bunch (paraphrasing):

"Do you think City might be at a disadvantage playing 3-5-2 to match Lyon here, considering it's Lyon's typical formation?"

"No, not at all. They have better players, so it doesn't matter if they're playing a formation they're not used to and that the opposition are."

Are you kidding me? Of course City's team is almost objectively better on paper, but suggesting that any team can just match an opposition's formation and win, purely based on the fact that they have better players on paper, is one of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard. Familiarity with a formation is just as, if not more, important than the formation itself, forgetting all of the other nonsense and the fact that making the tactics and spacial awareness become second nature is the whole point in training on such things. 

Drives me up the wall. 

Edited by Julius

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Bayern will win Champions League at a canter.

 

Amazing run of results from Lyon. Looks like it's going to be two French and two German sides in the last 16 with the potential of an all French final (unlikely) or an all German final (more likely).

 

Then again, Lyon knocked out Juventus, they are looking like they're going to knock out Man City, they could spring a surprise against Bayern maybe? Likely not, Bayern are too German to allow for any randomness to crop up...

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Posted (edited)

If anyone needs a smile :laughing:

Can't help but feel sorry for City fans, who will surely feel like everything has gone against them once again.

Second goal for Lyon shouldn't have stood, in my opinion. Not even the "offside" part of it, which I think can be debated at length - by the letter of the law I guess "interfere" is interpreted as touching the ball or influencing it's direction, but it's tough because a City player wouldn't have been able to touch the ball as it passed through that player's legs -but the fact that the goalscorer took out a defending player and went on to score. Poor refereeing throughout, in my opinion, such as that Lyon dive which was given as a foul but not carded? And then of course Sterling was just unlucky with how he kicked that ball, missing a gaping goal, and Ederson spilling it seemed so unlike him. 

Listening to Lineker talk about that mistake Sterling made, putting too much power into the ball, is some great insight. It's one of those things which when in the act of playing football seems obvious, but is something easy to overlook. Thing is, I can think of plenty of times in my head that Sterling has done this before, so I think it's something he needs to continue to work on. 

Lyon deservedly through, though, and don't want to take anything anyway from that. Like I said before, their direct style of play is great to watch, and coupled with their determination and execution of game plans, I think they're the dark horse out of the team's left.

Pep respected them too much in the end, and didn't make enough changes when the time came. He knows all to well that you have to make your own luck in football. It's the entire principle that his manager style of play is founded on!  

45 minutes ago, GenericAperson said:

Bayern will win Champions League at a canter.

 

Amazing run of results from Lyon. Looks like it's going to be two French and two German sides in the last 16 with the potential of an all French final (unlikely) or an all German final (more likely).

 

Then again, Lyon knocked out Juventus, they are looking like they're going to knock out Man City, they could spring a surprise against Bayern maybe? Likely not, Bayern are too German to allow for any randomness to crop up...

I think they win on paper and on their day (which will be most days), and are absolutely favourites. They play some wonderful, aggressive football. And from what we've seen since they've returned, I honestly think they'll win it. 

But, I wouldn't go so far as to say they would do so at a canter, because while they could, I look at the managers and teams left, and see ways in which each team are best positioned to challenge Bayern: Nagelsmann and Leipzig are plenty familiar with Bayern and I'm sure will have plans already with how to try to counter them; if Neymar and Mbappé turn up, they can read apart any team on that day; and, more immediately, Lyon's counter-attack and pace up front could definitely pose some questions to Bayern's defence, at least going off their high line and just how narrow they were when tracking back.

This is all forgetting that these are one-off games, too, and I think back to when Bayern got through to the final 7-0 on aggregate against Barça and were expected to absolutely tear Dortmund apart...and needed a last minute strike in regular time from Robben. Or when they didn't score until very late on against us in 2012 (but our win that year is another story that I throw in as a footballing miracle). But point is, all it's going to take is a couple of mistakes, and any team will capitalise. It was the same for this game between City and Lyon tonight. 

Either way, these semi-finals should be exciting in their own right, and seem like an excellent chance for each team to prepare for the final should they manage to get through. Can't wait until Tuesday, hoping Neymar's got his shooting boots on this time :p

Edited by Julius

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What on Earth was Guardiola doing tonight? He properly dicked the players around by changing too much. Such a silly formation to play and he clearly over-thought this one. I have to say though, they badly need a centre forward because they look so much weaker without Aguero. Take De Bruyne and Sterling out, and it's not a special team at all.

Credit to Lyon because I thought they played the game with tons of heart. They did well to get in front and didn't let their heads drop when they got the second. The Sterling miss was horrific and the passage of play that went from that to the third Lyon goal via an Ederson mistake is one of the highlights of this season. Sterling will get loads of stick for the miss but, for me, the blame is mostly at Guardiola's door. He wanted to be seen as a tactical genius and it was the height of arrogance. 

I will say that this new Champions League format is fantastic. Sooooo much more exciting than a cagey first leg followed by a second leg where one team is petrified of going out on away goals. You can draw two games and go out...meh. This format will totally not stay because UEFA will want the extra revenue from a second leg. But, the competition is so much better this way. 

I want Lyon to win it. Bayern Munich will though. Probably rightfully so.

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Why would Guardiola have set up to counter Lyon? City have the better players so you would have thought they would have let Lyon figure out how to beat them. They didn't look comfortable at all in the game, like FierceLink said, he dicked the players around by changing too much and it showed. The luck went against them too with the second goal because while minimal there was contact from Dembele that tripped Laporte up meaning he could arrive in the box unopposed to score the goal. 

Like PSG there seems to be a mental block that causes them to not play to their full potential and lose the match when they get this far into the competition, it may take a bit of luck next year but like PSG they may have to have a lucky break to get over this hurdle. 

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15 minutes ago, Emerald Emblem said:

Why would Guardiola have set up to counter Lyon? City have the better players so you would have thought they would have let Lyon figure out how to beat them. They didn't look comfortable at all in the game, like FierceLink said, he dicked the players around by changing too much and it showed. The luck went against them too with the second goal because while minimal there was contact from Dembele that tripped Laporte up meaning he could arrive in the box unopposed to score the goal. 

Like PSG there seems to be a mental block that causes them to not play to their full potential and lose the match when they get this far into the competition, it may take a bit of luck next year but like PSG they may have to have a lucky break to get over this hurdle. 

It's really odd. Lyon should be the ones reacting to City's setup, not the other way around. If City play their regular game, they most likely win tonight. It's just such a stupid and needless thing to do. The first goal was a perfect illustration of it, when they played the really high line, which is much harder to do with 5 defenders than it is with 4. It was a total mess. Similar for the second goal and the third is just down to Ederson making a daft mistake.

So many errors. City have turned into a weird team where they have a fantastic midfield, but suddenly look bad up front and bad at the back. Without Aguero, they look hopeless and Jesus is too hit and miss. They've never really replaced Kompany and Laporte has had his injury issues. They'll no doubt spend loads of money in the transfer market, because they like doing that. 

I enjoyed the game and the fallout is hilarious. Really didn't need to be this way, however. I still can't get over it. If we saw United or Arsenal or Liverpool doing this in the cup against a Championship side, we'd be livid. Obviously Lyon are not a Championship level side, but they were huge underdogs for this game.

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What a match.

Lyon won that one with heart and quite a bit of luck. City couldn't bring their potential to the pitch.

Gonna be very interesting semi-finals.

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I lafted myself into a coma last night. Lyon my new second team.

  • Haha 1

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Alrighty, getting nervous again :D 

It's going to be quite the semi final tonight. Hopefully we won't defend as high up as we did against Barca. Lyon has a very strong defense and their counterattacks are dangerous.

 

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That was a lot of work...but in the end a deserved win.

Gotta step it up again for Sunday night. But I'm sure the team will learn from today and get the confidence back up again.

And now I'm going to be nervous until the final :laughing:

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PSG vs Bayern in the final, then. Could be a tiring stalemate, but hopefully - like the rest of the games since the return - it'll be a cracker. 

Bayern were solid as they come tonight, not quite firing on all cylinders, but they didn't need to be. Gnabry's first strike was wonderful, and Bayern and Thiago specifically did a great job of managing the pace of the game in the second half. I think Lyon gave a great fight and a lot of heart in this game, sucks they won't be in Europe next season, but this is the price to pay for not taking their chances - you just can't miss those at this level.

I do think that they further highlighted a couple of Bayern's defensive weaknesses - mainly what I mentioned before about their pace and how narrow they become when chasing back - which I do think PSG are well positioned to make something of with Neymar, Mbappé, and Di María. 

Roll on Sunday! But before then, Sevilla vs Inter also looks like it could be a great end to the Europa League on final. A great European summer of football so far, hope the finals live up to their promise! 

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You get the feeling that, if they wanted to, Bayern could have done more tonight. Could easily have scored more. Lyon played well but Bayern are just unstoppable at the moment.

Lewandowski...fucking hell. Insane scoring tally.

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Looking forward to both finals. Interesting that is was a Premier League lockout last year, now La Liga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga all have one team represented this season.

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Shame their fans weren't there to sing "They're by far the best team the UEFA Europa League has ever seen"

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Can't keep my heart rate down :D

I'm excited but sooooooo nervous.

Really hope we don't change our philosophy, but we should definitely not defend as high as in the last two games. Keeping the pressure up will be crucial, though.

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A former PSG youth academy graduate that was sold at an early age... scores in a Champions League final against PSG.

 

That one really came back to haunt them...

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Not the best of finals, Bayern were definitely the better team though. Glad there were no red cards, it got really heated at one point.

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Now that I've woken up every sleeping neighbour with my screams and cheers and calmed down a bit...

Very interesting final. Entertaining 'til the very last minute.

Both teams had chances, Coman used his and considering everything...we deserved that win. Neuer has been a class above the rest this season. Unbelievable performance today.
Very happy for Lewy. He may not have scored today but he has been absolutely incredible the entire season.

And Flick...what a guy :D He turned this team around.

Not sure if I can go to sleep now.

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Well done to Bayern Munich. Can't fault them, they've done everything right and just always seem to create crucial chances and then take them. They know how to win the big games. Definitely deserved.

They'll win it next year, as well. I can't really see why not. They'll walk their league again because they will continue to strengthen and nobody else can come close, meaning that they'll be suitably rested to defend the cup next year. They have a lot of things in their favour. Can't fault their recruitment either, because they consistently get in great players who do the business. Can't argue with how they're run.

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Posted (edited)

Was a good end-to-end game, but definitely cagey, both teams seemed very nervous (mostly I felt with the fullbacks on the same side, Kehrer and Davies). Bayern deserved to win it based on their form going into this game, pretty much everyone was brilliant, but feel sorry for Neymar and Mbappé, they just haven't had their shooting boots on since the UCL started back up. I'm sure Mbappé will get another crack at it at some point, but I have to imagine it raises questions for Neymar.

Felt like Cavani could've made a huge difference here and stretch out Bayern's centre backs, but instead he's been made a free agent. This PSG starting XI needs a major overhaul: a new 9, right back, a replacement CB for Thiago Silva (who has been solid, seems like he might be coming to us at Chelsea which I would love), a new CDM (if Marquinhos is moved back to play alongside Kimpembe), and a new CM. That's not to mention the depth they need to add on the bench, their lack of options outside of the starting XI here really cost them. A lot of work to be done in the next few weeks during the transfer window. 

Bayern's transfer business is unquestionably the best in the world and has been for some time in my opinion, a star-studded XI with a lot of depth built intelligently and without needing to spend nearly as much as necessary. Swooping in for Thiago for just €25 million in 2013 because he didn't play enough games that season for Barça and had a reduced release clause, Lewa on a free, etc. And no audacious signing bonuses and ridiculous wages for their free transfers (looking at you, Juve). 

13 hours ago, Fierce_LiNk said:

They'll win it next year, as well. I can't really see why not. They'll walk their league again because they will continue to strengthen and nobody else can come close, meaning that they'll be suitably rested to defend the cup next year. They have a lot of things in their favour. Can't fault their recruitment either, because they consistently get in great players who do the business. Can't argue with how they're run.

I'm not sure about this, because the same was said about the 2013 Bayern squad. They might have been aging, sure, but their German core won the World Cup the next year, and they got handily torn to shreds by Real Madrid in the semi-finals that year, and if I recall correctly that's the year that they won the Bundesliga the earliest it's ever been done. Only think you could really say is they had a different manager (Pep), but honestly that's just football, in knockout matches there are so many wrinkles which could turn it against the favourites. Bayern could just as easily meltdown in the quarter finals for five minutes which knocks them out next season, it happens. 

I think people forget how long it had been since someone retained the European Cup before Real Madrid managed to do it three times in a row: it had never been won consecutive years since the change in format from the European Cup to the Champions League, and the last team to retain it was AC Milan when they won it back-to-back in the 88/89 and 89/90 seasons under Sacchi.

Looking back at the 2010s, I honestly think there are only three teams that weren't expected to retain it: Inter in 2011 after winning it in 2010, because Mourinho left; Chelsea in 2013 after winning it in 2012, because it was a miracle (and we were the first team to crash out at the group stages the season after winning it...); and Real Madrid in 2019, after Ronaldo left in 2018. 

The rest were all expected to retain it from my point of view: Barça in 2011 is one of the greatest teams of all time; Bayern in 2013 got revenge after their embarrassment at losing it at in their own backyard in 2012, and crushed Barça 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals (the same Barça that equalled Real's record of 100 points in La Liga the year prior, though their shakiness was perhaps warranted with what was going on with Tito Vilanova at the time); Real Madrid in 2014 won La Decima and strengthened with numerous signings after the World Cup; Barça in 2015 had Messi, Neymar, and Suarez, and Messi making a fool out of Bayern in the semis before completely choking in 2016; Real then won three in a row; and lastly, looking at this Liverpool team that won in 2019, they only strengthened and were expected to retain it before Atlético knocked them out. 

Are Bayern going to be favourites next season? Definitely. Will they retain it? We'll have to wait and see. 

Edited by Julius

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29 minutes ago, Julius said:

Was a good end-to-end game, but definitely cagey, both teams seemed very nervous (mostly I felt with the fullbacks on the same side, Kehrer and Davies). Bayern deserved to win it based on their form going into this game, pretty much everyone was brilliant, but feel sorry for Neymar and Mbappé, they just haven't had their shooting boots on since the UCL started back up. I'm sure Mbappé will get another crack at it at some point, but I have to imagine it raises questions for Neymar.

Felt like Cavani could've made a huge difference here and stretch out Bayern's centre backs, but instead he's been made a free agent. This PSG starting XI needs a major overhaul: a new 9, right back, a replacement CB for Thiago Silva (who has been solid, seems like he might be coming to us at Chelsea which I would love), a new CDM (if Marquinhos is moved back to play alongside Kimpembe), and a new CM. That's not to mention the depth they need to add on the bench, their lack of options outside of the starting XI here really cost them. A lot of work to be done in the next few weeks during the transfer window. 

Bayern's transfer business is unquestionably the best in the world and has been for some time in my opinion, a star-studded XI with a lot of depth built intelligently and without needing to spend nearly as much as necessary. Swooping in for Thiago for just €25 million in 2013 because he didn't play enough games that season for Barça and had a reduced release clause, Lewa on a free, etc. And no audacious signing bonuses and ridiculous wages for their free transfers (looking at you, Juve). 

I'm not sure about this, because the same was said about the 2013 Bayern squad. They might have been aging, sure, but their German core won the World Cup the next year, and they got handily torn to shreds by Real Madrid in the semi-finals that year, and if I recall correctly that's the year that they won the Bundesliga the earliest it's ever been done. Only think you could really say is they had a different manager (Pep), but honestly that's just football, in knockout matches there are so many wrinkles which could turn it against the favourites. Bayern could just as easily meltdown in the quarter finals for five minutes which knocks them out next season, it happens. 

I think people forget how long it had been since someone retained the European Cup before Real Madrid managed to do it three times in a row: it had never been won consecutive years since the change in format from the European Cup to the Champions League, and the last team to retain it was AC Milan when they won it back-to-back in the 88/89 and 89/90 seasons under Sacchi.

Looking back at the 2010s, I honestly think there are only three teams that weren't expected to retain it: Inter in 2011 after winning it in 2010, because Mourinho left; Chelsea in 2013 after winning it in 2012, because it was a miracle (and we were the first team to crash out at the group stages the season after winning it...); and Real Madrid in 2019, after Ronaldo left in 2018. 

The rest were all expected to retain it from my point of view: Barça in 2011 is one of the greatest teams of all time; Bayern in 2013 got revenge after their embarrassment at losing it at in their own backyard in 2012, and crushed Barça 7-0 on aggregate in the semi-finals (the same Barça that equalled Real's record of 100 points in La Liga the year prior, though their shakiness was perhaps warranted with what was going on with Tito Vilanova at the time); Real Madrid in 2014 won La Decima and strengthened with numerous signings after the World Cup; Barça in 2015 had Messi, Neymar, and Suarez, and Messi making a fool out of Bayern in the semis before completely choking in 2016; Real then won three in a row; and lastly, looking at this Liverpool team that won in 2019, they only strengthened and were expected to retain it before Atlético knocked them out. 

Are Bayern going to be favourites next season? Definitely. Will they retain it? We'll have to wait and see. 

It may initially seem like an outlandish prediction, but the more you look into it, the more sense it makes.

Let's compare some of the leagues. Bayern Munich in the Bundesliga only play 34 games, compared to 38 in La Liga, the Premier League and Ligue 1. So, from the start, they've got an advantage there by playing less games over the course of the season. On top of that, they finished 13 points clear of Dortmund, who were two points off them the season prior to that. So, they improved that gap and they've just added Sane to that attacking line-up whilst Dortmund (amongst other football clubs) have reportedly lost around £40-50million due to Covid. They're more likely to sell off players rather than adding serious quality to the squad, and there is the talk of Sancho going this season. I don't think he will, but I fully expect him to leave next season and Dortmund will cash in because they need the money. Bayern will retain their Bundesliga title and I think they'll do it by a greater margin of 13 points, probably closer to 20 or even more than that. 

The Covid factor is a huge one and the biggest factor in determining who will win it next year, imo. Fixture congestion is going to make things very, very difficult for clubs who are trying to compete on more than one front and in the more competitive leagues. Liverpool won the league by miles, but their post-lockdown form has been patchy, although that could also be down to them sewing their title up quickly and then just taking the foot off the gas. The Premier League will be a more competitive league next season with Chelsea adding to their squad, City already adding to it and United looking to do so. It's going to be harder for a club like Liverpool to compete on those multiple fronts. The La Liga teams look in a mess, with Barcelona's sketchy transfers coming back to bite them with sub-par performances from players like Griezmann and Dembele being injured. Real Madrid also look very messy and in need of a re-think.

Bayern have all of the pieces in the right places for them to not only seriously challenge in the Champions League again, but I think they'll win it. They've got a shorter league, meaning more rest for the Champions League games, that winning mentality, squad depth, goals all over the team, a rock-solid defence, and (crucially) their opponents are all over the place and will potentially suffer from burnout when the fixture congestion kicks in.

I don't think it's really as simple as comparing it to past seasons because the Covid factor is too big a differentiator. It is going to make it very difficult for an English team to win the Champions League and I would be surprised if we even get an English team in the semi-final next year. I'm willing to revisit this post in a year's time to see how close it is to the reality. I'm not usually one to make big predictions like this, but it just seems that the pieces are there ready for Bayern Munich and they have the squad, mentality and the setup to do it again. 

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Maguire must be giving Man Utd management some headaches. I wonder what the implications will be of his conviction.

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