UCL Gamethread: Group Phase Matchday 4 (05 and 06 November)

Zososoxfan

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Bump! Home teams listed first.

Tuesday 05 November
Barca vs. Prague (early match)
Zenit vs. Leipzig (early match)
Dortmund vs. Inter

Chelsea vs. Ajax
Liverpool vs. Gentk
Lyon vs. Benfica
Napoli vs. Salzburg
Valencia vs. Lille

Group G is totally up in the air still and the result of Dortmund-Inter may determine which one progresses/goes out. Dortmund and Inter are also evenly matched high quality sides with contrasting styles. This has potential to be a very entertaining match.

Wednesday 06 November
Bayern vs. Olympiakos (early)
Lokomotiv vs. Juve (early)
Atalanta vs. Citeh
Leverkusen vs. Atleti
Zagreb vs. Donetsk
PSG vs. Brugge
Real vs. Galatasaray
Belgrade vs. Spurs

Zagreb vs. Donetsk has big implications for qualification as Citeh are cruising and Atalanta doesn't have a point yet. Belgrade vs. Spurs also shaping up to be a huge match as Bayern has dominated this group and Olympiakos has struggled. Belgrade at home likely has to come after Spurs and go for the win.
 

DJnVa

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Barca with the 0-0 draw.

Chelsea's Abraham with an early goal. In the wrong net. Ajax up 1-0 in 3rd minute.
 

allstonite

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Chelsea goes down 1-0 under 2 minutes in and Pulisic draws a penalty on the other end about a minute later. They convert and its 1-1 under 5 minutes in
 

SoxFanInCali

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AOC turns and puts one in with his left foot after a nice Salah pass to restore Liverpool's lead.
 

thehitcat

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Why are all the seats to the left of the Chelsea goal (as Ajax attacks) right down on the pitch empty? Please don't tell me Chelsea can't sell out a Champions League home fixture?
 

thehitcat

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Ajax to 10 men as Blind gets sent off just minutes after Chelsea score to make it Chelsea 2 - Ajax 4

And now 9 as Veltman is called for a second yellow on a handball in the box VAR call on the same play after advantage played...and so Jorghino steps up for a penalty to try to cut the lead to 1.
 

thehitcat

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5-4 Chelsea Azpilicueta (again) off a scramble in front.

This might end 8-4 the way it's going currently.

Whoops wipe that away VAR called handball in the buildup. Definitely a new rule call as Abraham had his hand at his side and it hit it before bouncing the Azpilicueta.
 

Zososoxfan

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This is mayhem. As much I hate Chelsea, I think the ref got the double red correct, pending a review of the handball that I haven't seen.
 

thehitcat

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Great save by the Ajax keeper at the start of stoppage time. Only 4 minutes added on and Lampard just laughs in the 4th officials face.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Have to give Ajax credit. 4-4 and down to 9, and they are still attacking with overlapping fullbacks.
 

SoxFanInCali

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Not a vintage Liverpool performance, but got the 3 points while letting Firmino, Mane, and Robbo rest for a large part of the game.

With the draw in Napoli, Liverpool top the group, but Salzburg is hanging around.
 

Zososoxfan

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@Zososoxfan: Alvaro Romeo on the totally football podcast seemed to imply that Valverde is on the hot seat these days. Could today be the final straw?
I don't buy it yet. The time to replace EV was this summer. I was stunned he didn't get canned after he showed a jarring lack of creativity and tactical acumen down the stretch last season. In any event, Barca will need to wait until next summer before making a big move (my guess is that it's Koeman after the Euros). EV will be given until the end of the calendar year before any move is made. The schedule breaks nicely for him too, with two relegation candidates coming up in La Liga (Celta and Leganes) before their next UCL match vs. Dortmund. But December is a bear with Atleti, Real, AND Sociedad on the calendar, not to mention the final UCL group phase match against Inter, which could be sphincter-clenching if Barca don't get a win against Dortmund. I can easily see a Barca company man stepping in to play faux manager for The Legends (TM) as they finish their final season together as the main fixtures for this side. Change is likely coming in a big way next summer.

As for yesterday, it was a display of everything wrong with Barca currently. EV trotted out a disastrous MF 3 of Busi, FDJ, and Vidal, with Messi, Grizi, and Dembele up top. The MF was really where the problems were as none of the 3 players were able to combine well with the front 3. Busi didn't look confident and on defense he was all over the field in a bad way. FDJ had an amazing match but it was overshadowed by everyone else's poor play. Arthur had a bad match this weekend against Levante, but he should still be considered an auto start alongside FDJ. Vidal proved that he can be useful for this squad a couple of weeks ago, but he was out of place in this match. More to the point, EV had him setup as a goddamn False 9 (!!) for most of the second half. This had the fantastic double effect of screwing up the attack and forcing FDJ to run 5x as much as he should've. Rakitic came on for Busi after an hour and even though I've been clamoring for more of this, Raki didn't look good at all this match. He wasn't nearly as aggressive as his prior appearance, but still had all of the mistakes. I'll continue to beat this drum though, until he gets 2-3 matches in a row with consistent playing time before writing him off. If Raki doesn't improve by then, it's probably time to try the FDJ-Arthur-Alena setup.

Dembele was his wasteful self and he was subbed off for a much more effective Fati in the second half. Grizi was moved all over the place and EV has no idea how he wants to use him. Grizi played all 3 forward positions and was also tracking back on the wings and dropping deep to pickup the ball. Quintessential chicken with its head cutoff, although attributable to EV not the player.

Oh, and Alba appears to be injured.
 

Kliq

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Spurs playing a 3-3-2-2 with Sissoko as a left winger and a back three of Rose-Sanchez-Foyth. That is pretty batty.
 

SocrManiac

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A few comments...

Sarri's Juventus is killing me. How can a team with this much attacking talent be so inept in front of goal? The same talent that can't connect in this system is making a habit of the spectacular, thankfully.

I didn't like Son. I felt he was destructive to Spurs (and, maybe when I formed my opinion, he was). He behaved like a center forward, putting his head down and going for goal when he was on the wing and had teammates in better positions. He's matured incredibly over the past two years. His gesture to Gomes as part of his goal celebration sealed my turn of heart.

Kyle Walker - goalkeeper is the funniest thing this season.
 

thehitcat

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Wait so Bravo had to replace Ederson at half and then got the red card? Who went between the sticks for Man City? Also what happened to Ederson?
 

Kliq

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Obviously didn't see the game; but that Donetsk vs Zagreb game looked insane. Two red cards in the span of five minutes, Zagreb going up 3-1 only for Donetsk to tie it with two goals in stoppage time.

Also good to see Spurs the only team in the world they can beat now.
 

bosox4283

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Atletico sucked today. I have no idea why Simeone thinks he only needs to play one half of football. The style is maddening, and even more frustrating considering the talent on the team. Vitolo needs more time on the pitch, likely displacing Koke. Herrera also needs to play more, perhaps in detriment of Diego Costa.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Ndombele, Lo Celso in the lienup, Foyth at RB and Spurs are turning the ship in the right direction. Dier looked good at CB with Davo.
 

Zososoxfan

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A few comments...

Sarri's Juventus is killing me. How can a team with this much attacking talent be so inept in front of goal? The same talent that can't connect in this system is making a habit of the spectacular, thankfully.

I didn't like Son. I felt he was destructive to Spurs (and, maybe when I formed my opinion, he was). He behaved like a center forward, putting his head down and going for goal when he was on the wing and had teammates in better positions. He's matured incredibly over the past two years. His gesture to Gomes as part of his goal celebration sealed my turn of heart.

Kyle Walker - goalkeeper is the funniest thing this season.
Son is one of the best attackers in the Prem. His versatility allows him to be a speedy winger, but with enough skill to finish off attacks. He's skilled enough to play in the middle (although ideally not as the primary focal point), he's a very smart player and can run behind defenses, and he's strong enough to do hold up play. He's a willing defender as well. He's not the best at any single one of those roles, but since he can do all of them well he's a matchup nightmare. Borderline top 10 forward in the world IMO.
 

Seven Costanza

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A few comments...

Sarri's Juventus is killing me. How can a team with this much attacking talent be so inept in front of goal? The same talent that can't connect in this system is making a habit of the spectacular, thankfully.
Wow, this sounds familiar....
 

Vinho Tinto

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Son is one of the best attackers in the Prem. His versatility allows him to be a speedy winger, but with enough skill to finish off attacks. He's skilled enough to play in the middle (although ideally not as the primary focal point), he's a very smart player and can run behind defenses, and he's strong enough to do hold up play. He's a willing defender as well. He's not the best at any single one of those roles, but since he can do all of them well he's a matchup nightmare. Borderline top 10 forward in the world IMO.
He's been "Sonaldo" at my house since he was at Leverkusen.
 

thehitcat

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Lillian Thuram's kid (god am I old) scores 5 minutes into stoppage time to send Monchengladbach past Roma in the Ruhr. Wish we had better access to Europa League games as well over here that one sounds fun.