Solskjaer’s in-form Manchester United hosted a similarly buoyant Southampton side at Old Trafford on Monday evening. With the hosts locked in a battle with Chelsea and Leicester for the final Champions league positions, a win was vital. Whilst their opponents had no such clear targets, their recent performances and results show they do not lack motivation.
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Liverpool hosted Salzburg in their gameweek 2 fixture on Wednesday evening. After their 2-0 defeat in Naples, this became a must win. Marsch’s side on the other hand, came into the game on the back of a 6-2 win against Genk. With both sides renowned for their ferocious intensity in all phases of the game, a high-octane game was expected.
Germany faced Sweden in the World Cup quarter final on Saturday evening. Coming into the game, the two-time champions had won every game without conceding despite their underlying numbers telling a different story.Sweden’s results were similarly impressive, failing to win just once, in a match against favourites USA.
Solskjaer’s United side hosted the perennial Spanish champions in the first leg of the Champions league quarter final on Wednesday. For United, the incredible run of results which culminated in a remarkable comeback in the previous round against PSG had been replaced by, 3 defeats in the last 4 games. Their opponents meanwhile, came into the clash on the back of 9 wins in their last 10.
Arsenal and Tottenham have entered the last few seasons with the same objective of claiming a top four position to ensure Champions League football. Along with the geographical rivalry, competing for similar positions has put increased importance on the direct clashes, and this piece will examine the details of both league clashes.
Borussia Dortmund hosted Hoffenheim in an exciting Bundesliga clash on Saturday afternoon. Favre’s men were the league leaders with a 7 point lead over title rivals Bayern, and victory in this game would be another crucial step towards a first Bundesliga title since 2012. For the visitors, one win in their last 9 league games had seen them fall behind in the race for Champions league qualification.
Two of the pre-tournament favourites met in Kazan for the first knockout game of the 2018 World Cup on Saturday afternoon. Lionel Messi’s Argentina had scraped through the group stages, whilst France strolled through their group in solid, but unspectacular fashion.
Fresh from their last-gasp win in their first group game, Gareth Southgate’s England side took on Panama in Nizhny Novgorod on Sunday afternoon. England blitzed their way to a 6-1 win in a fairly one-sided and unspectacular game. There were however, a few interesting details during the game.
Back to back holders, Real Madrid met Liverpool in the 2018 Champions league final in Kiev. Without a league title to fight for, or any other trophies this clash had dominated the thoughts and preparations of both sides since they progressed from their respective semi-finals.
For much of the early stages of this season I have been unable to write for various reasons. During that time there were a number of interesting games and impressive performances. In this series I will analyse aspects of some of these matches.