13 December, 2013 - 09:25

Top 5 Champions League revelations

Top 5 Champions League revelations

It was an entertaining and spectacular Champions League group stage with many surprises. Juventus failed to pass Copenhagen and Galatasaray, Napoli missed qualification with twelve points, Arsene Wenger reached play-off for 14th consecutive year, Diego Simeone built a highly competitive squad and a lot more. Here is a list of things that caught our attention to the point that we could not speak it out.

1. Ryan Giggs

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And it’s not his age that got him to our top revelations list. We are wondering whether David Moyes took notice of the fact that on all four occasions when United kept clean sheets in current campaign an incredible Welshman was starting! He was not on the team list when United conceded twice from Bayer on the opening day and was only introduced in the second half in Donetsk before the hosts equalized. In the last four games when opponents failed to beat David De Gea, Giggs played in central midfield from the very first minute. With Michael Carrick missing and Marouane Fellaini struggling to find his form the veteran became a key to keeping it calm at the back. Kudos, Ryan!

2. Zenit St.Petersburg

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The Russian powerhouse sponsored by Gazprom and boasting such talents as Hulk, Alex Witsel and the core of the Russian national team that finished ahead of Portugal in qualification group to the World Cup in Brazil, set the most ludicrous record of qualifying to the Round of 16 with the lowest ever number of points, which is.. six! Well, technically it is possible to finish second with just four points in the bag but the chances are as small as Zenit winning the Champions League after all. Luciano Spalletti’s men won a single match against 10-man Porto and got three draws that saw them finish second behind Atletico Madrid. Moreover, they were thrashed 1-4 by Champions League debutants Austria last night when they needed to win but were lucky enough to see unmotivated Atletico beat Porto. Remember Napoli on the other side of the rainbow who are out of the tournament with twice as many points in a far more competitive group! God’s inscrutable ways..

3. Cristiano Ronaldo

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Why on Earth is there a dilemma who to give Ballon D’Or to? There is only one man who shines, who glitters, who leaves defenders in tatters and who scores nine goals in five matches of the Champions League. And yes, his name is Cristiano Ronaldo. He might have had more had he played against Galatasaray in Madrid and scored from the spot in Copenhagen. Nevertheless, he broke the group stage record and will seek to continue his goal-scoring flair in play-off matches.

4. Bayern Munich are beatable and City actually can make it to the last 16!

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No matter which team you support it’s good to know Guardiola’s Bayern are eventually beatable. They suffered their first defeat of the season at home to Manchester City (let’s not count German Super Cup loss to Dortmund, which was actually pre-season) and the British team was only short of one goal to leapfrog them in the table to escape rough play-off draw. The Germans slipped a two-goal lead gained twelve minutes into the match and were on the brink of a setback. After last spring loss to Arsenal it feels like Bayern have some sort of problem with English teams at Allianz Arena. Yet, good job from Pellegrini and City, who qualified for Champions League play-off for the first time.

5. Replays should finally be introduced!

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It’s been years since UEFA and FIFA governing bodies started discussing the possible launch of video replays to the game. But the issue is becoming more and more vivid. Speed of the game increases, players’ tactics and tricks are becoming more elaborate, diving is becoming a plague of the game, thus referees have a huge burden of pressure to bear. And yet it is still inconceivable how on Earth do referees and linesmen take some ridiculously bad decisions. Let’s not talk about corruption and stuff, let’s believe they are simply human beings prone to making mistakes. But that offside goal in Gelsenkirchen.. It should have been in the books explaining rules of the game. Yet the goal stood with the linesman failing to spot 4 (four!) players in offside position. Even Schalke player Joël Matip admitted he was aware of scoring an illegitimate goal that knocked Basel out of the Champions League.

Surely awarding such countries as Russia and Qatar with World Cups is more important than restoring justice and honest sportsmanship.

Let’s look for new revelations come spring play-off matches!

Read also:
Top 5 defences in European football
Top 5 Premier League young players

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Author: Leon Smolski

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13 December 2013, 09:45

Zenit is probably the worst ever team to reach last 16. And their fans are stupid dummies, they don't care about football at all, all they need is "having fun" in burning flairs, fighting against other supporters and showing off bald brainless heads..

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