The past few weeks of the international soccer season have been filled with excitement and, if you’re like me, filled with woe at the same time. Massive upsets, “what were they thinking” moments and incredible goals have provided us with a fantastic start to the soccer season. Here’s a look at what has been going on.
Champions League finally got underway, and I already have the feeling that it will be a very interesting tournament this year. Much to the delight of everyone (sorry, Manchester City fans), Juventus beat the top English team 2-1. Rather unsurprisingly given English teams’ lack of Champions League success in the past, Chelsea was the only English team to earn a successful result, beating Tel-Aviv 4-0. Arsenal and Manchester United both lost 2-1 each. The other notable result to come out of the first game of the group stages was FC Barcelona’s tie against Roma. This week, keep an eye out for the Porto-Chelsea and Manchester United-Wolfsburg games. As always, Champions League games are on at 2:45 p.m. at our very own Epicurean and Company restaurant.
Robert Lewandowski of Bayern Munich put on a phenomenal display against VFL Wolfsburg to lead his team to a 5-1 win. He scored an incredible five goals in nine minutes, something that is almost unheard of.
Lionel Messi fans, beware: The Argentine striker tore a ligament in his knee and will be out for at least seven weeks. How will this affect Barcelona? I’m sure they’ll be just fine, as always.
In other injury-related news, defender Luke Shaw of Manchester United suffered a horrific collision with PSV Eindhoven defender Hector Moreno in a Champions League game and broke his tibia and fibula. He is expected to be out for at least six months.
Polarizing striker Diego Costa was handed a three-match suspension for violent conduct that took place in the Arsenal match. Costa appeared to incite Arsenal defender Gabriel into lashing out at him, which resulted in Gabriel receiving a red card. To make matters worse for the Gunners, Santi Cazorla also picked up a red card after his second yellow, leaving them with only nine players on the field. Not surprisingly, Chelsea beat Arsenal in what could be a sign of changing fortune for the struggling Blues. Jose Mourinho’s only comment was that Costa’s suspension paved the way for retaliation.
The best thing to happen was Tottenham’s absolute destruction of current league leader Manchester City. I know fans everywhere were giving thanks for Harry Kane’s return to glory. Prior to the 4-1 victory, Kane had yet to score for the Spurs, although he was doing well for the English national team. Tottenham has now climbed into fifth place in a decided turnaround from their previous woes. It appears that my bad luck continues because Kane of course decided to score after I had already dropped him from my fantasy team.
These past few weeks have been a struggle for Liverpool fans such as myself. Prior to the victory over Aston Villa this past Saturday, the only consolation I had was that at least we were higher up the table than Chelsea. It has been a dismal start to the season, with the Reds having only won two of their last seven games. Rumors have been swirling about manager Brendan Rodgers’ job, with many saying that he might be fired and replaced with either Carlo Ancelotti or Jurgen Klopp. Personally, I am of the unpopular opinion that Rodgers should stay for now, but I would not be surprised to see him go if things continue on as they have. Hopefully, the return of striker Daniel Sturridge will boost confidence and Liverpool will turn the tide around.
We are in for an exciting week, with Oct. 4 being a day of huge matches. Here are a few of the games you should catch, as well as my predictions.
The Merseyside Derby between Everton and Liverpool is always highly entertaining, due to the fierce rivalry between the two Liverpool clubs. Liverpool leads the all-time totals, with 88 wins compared to Everton’s 66. Much like Liverpool, Everton is off to a sluggish start this year. Seeing as the last few games have ended in ties, I would expect this derby to end in a 2-2 tie.
Also in the Premier League, Manchester United takes on fellow powerhouse Arsenal. United has a slight edge historically, with 93 wins compared to 79. Furthermore, United is currently on top of the table and I expect it to beat Arsenal 2-1.
One of the Bundesliga’s biggest matchups also takes place on this glorious day, with Borussia Dortmund facing off against Bayern Munich. Expect a highly energetic game in which Munich will prevail 3-2.
As midterm week looms ahead, remember to take care of yourself and catch a game if you can!
Vanessa Craige is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. The Beautiful Game appears every other Tuesday.