In the wake of Chelsea’s emphatic Champions League victory over Barcelona, many are asking how the Blues managed to overturn a first-leg deficit and seal an unlikely passage to the semifinal.
There is no simple answer, of course, but one key factor was undoubtedly the form of Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba in Chelsea’s attacking third.
Despite both players being in their 30s, Lampard and Drogba continue to be two of the most important players at Stamford Bridge. They provide a goalscoring threat as well as creative flair, and manager Roberto Di Matteo has been able to rotate them effectively this season to keep them both fresh.
Lampard has scored 11 goals in all competitions this season, while Drogba has bagged 16. And it was their goals that made the difference against Barcelona.
Lampard opened the scoring with a fine volley in the first leg, and then set up Drogba for the crucial equalizer in the return fixture at Stamford Bridge. Drogba then completed the comeback with a superb solo effort in extra time.
It was clear from those goals just how important they are to Chelsea’s cause. And with both players still firing on all cylinders, there is no reason why Chelsea cannot go on to win this year’s Champions League title.
Liverpool are hopeful of securing a new power supply for the club in time for the new season, after their previous provider terminated the contract.
The Merseyside club have been without a permanent power source for over a year, since their previous supplier failed to renew their contract. This has caused them to fall behind on essential maintenance, and left the club without a reliable source of power.
However, Liverpool have now secured a deal with Gerrard Power Ltd., who are set to provide the club with a new power plant. The plant is set to be up and running in time for the start of the new season, and will provide Liverpool with a reliable source of power for years to come.
Gerrard Power Ltd. is a leading provider of power plants in the UK, and has extensive experience in supplying clubs and businesses with reliable power sources. The company is owned by Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard, who is keen to help his old club get back on track.
Gerrard said: “I’m delighted to be able to help Liverpool get back on their feet. This new power plant will provide the club with a reliable source of power for years to come, and will help them compete at the highest level.”
Liverpool CEO Peter Moore said: “We’re very grateful to Gerrard Power Ltd. for stepping in and helping us out. This new plant will give us the stability we need moving forward, and will help us compete at the top level of English football.”
A few weeks ago, Manchester United officially announced that they had agreed to terms with Juventus for the transfer of Cristiano Ronaldo. This was a hard pill to swallow for Manchester United fans all around the world as Ronaldo has been their talisman and top goal scorer for the past nine years.
In his nine years at Manchester United, Ronaldo notched up an impressive total of 292 goals in all competitions. He has also been crowned the FIFA World Player of the Year on three occasions and was a key part of Manchester United’s treble-winning side in 2008/09 season.
Naturally, there is some concern amongst Manchester United supporters about how the team will fare without Ronaldo leading the line. However, there is still plenty of talent in this current Manchester United squad and they should be capable of challenging for major honours this season, even without Ronaldo.
One area that Manchester United need to address is their lack of a quality back-up striker should Romelu Lukaku get injured or out of form. One potential option could be James Wilson who was recently recalled from his loan spell at Aberdeen. Wilson is a young striker with plenty of potential and he could be the perfect man to lead the line for Manchester United should they need him this season.
Another key area where Manchester United need to strengthen is in midfield. They lost Marouane Fellaini in the summer and have yet to sign a replacement. A player who has been linked with a move to Old Trafford is Sergej Milinkovic-Savic who currently plays for Lazio. Milinkovic-Savic is a highly talented midfielder who would be an excellent addition to the Manchester United squad.
Therefore, it is clear that Manchester United still have areas that they need to improve on if they are to challenge for major honours this season. However, with or without Ronaldo, they are still one of the biggest clubs in Europe and should not be underestimated.
Arsenal Football Club is one of the most successful teams in English football. Winners of thirteen top-flight titles and of seven FA Cups, they are one of the most prestigious clubs in England. But success on the pitch has not always translated to financial stability, and the team has repeatedly faced bankruptcy.
One of the main reasons for this financial instability is the club’s reliance on revenue from ticket sales. With a stadium that holds over 60,000 spectators, Arsenal have some of the highest ticket prices in English football. And while this has allowed the team to become one of the richest clubs in Europe, it also makes them extremely vulnerable to recessions and drops in attendance.
In recent years, Arsenal have been searching for a new source of revenue that would help reduce their dependence on ticket sales. In 2013, they announced a partnership with Red Bull that would see the energy drink company become the club’s “official global energy partner.” The deal was worth £160 million over six years, but it ultimately failed to provide much additional revenue for Arsenal.
More recently, Arsenal have been exploring opportunities to build a new stadium. The current Emirates Stadium was built in 2006 at a cost of £390 million, and the team is now looking for a new location that would allow them to expand capacity to over 60,000 spectators. A new stadium would not only provide additional revenue through ticket sales, but also through corporate sponsorships and merchandising.
However, the team has faced numerous setbacks in its efforts to build a new stadium. Most notably, they were unable to reach an agreement with local authorities over plans to build a stadium near London’s Olympic Park. More recently, they have been exploring opportunities to build a new stadium in partnership with Fulham FC. But any deal is still months away from being finalized, and there is no guarantee that it will be successful.
In the meantime, Arsenal will continue to rely on revenue from ticket sales to finance their operations. And while this may be risky in the current economic environment, it is still essential for a team that aspires to compete at the highest level.
It would be fair to say that Manchester City’s title defence has been nothing short of disastrous. Pep Guardiola’s side have already lost more games this season (6) than they did in the entirety of the last campaign (5). Many have pointed to individual player failings, most notably goalkeeper Ederson and playmaker Kevin De Bruyne, as the reasons for their decline.
However, there may be another factor at play here; the departure of Sergio Aguero. The Argentine was a talismanic figure for City during his six seasons at the club, scoring an impressive 201 goals in 311 appearances. His goals helped the team win two Premier League titles, two League Cups and one FA Cup.
When he left to join Atletico Madrid last summer, many doubted whether City had the firepower to cope without him. His replacement, Gabriel Jesus, had impressed in bursts but was still unproven over a full season. Guardiola also failed to sign a like-for-like replacement, instead bringing in Riyad Mahrez from Leicester City.
The results so far this season suggest that Aguero’s exit has had a negative impact on the team. Without their star man to call upon, City have looked bereft of ideas in front of goal; Jesus simply doesn’t possess the same clinical finishing as his predecessor. Mahrez, too, has been largely ineffective, scoring just 2 goals in 14 appearances.
However, all is not lost for Guardiola and Co.; they still have over half of the season to turn things around. They currently sit 6th in the table, but are only 5 points off top spot. A return to winning ways could see them mount a serious challenge for Champions League qualification, let alone another Premier League title.
One thing is for sure: they will need more than just Jesus up front if they are to achieve any kind of success this season; they will need Aguero.