Atalanta 4-1 Valencia: 5 talking points as Atalanta hammer Valencia at the San Siro

Atalanta 4-1 Valencia: 5 talking points as Atalanta hammer Valencia at the San Siro

Dark-horses Atalanta put one foot into the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League with a 4-1 victory over Valencia at home in the round-of-16 first-leg. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points.

1. Atalanta mark big occasion with a stunning win 

For a club like Atalanta, this was an occasion of massive significance. The Serie A side were making their first-ever appearance in the Champions League last-16 and they completed it in some style. The Lombardy-based team have been the principal entertainers in their league as well and the manner in which they celebrated the occasion was only fitting. 63 league goals put them above the likes of Juventus and Inter – something they emphasized further with a thumping 4-1 win over Valencia to announce themselves on the big stage.

2. Hateboer strikes blow Valencia away

Hans Hateboer scored his first-ever Champions League goals against Valencia and he sure won’t forget them in a hurry. The right-back’s first goal came after he stormed in to meet Alejandro Gomez’s cross, putting his side ahead in the 16th minute. Exactly 46 minutes later, the full-back had the ball in the net once again. Expertly beating the offside trap to latch on to Mario Pasalic’s pass, Hateboer made no mistake to make it 4-0 and extinguish any hopes Valencia had of a comeback.

3. Sorry – Valencia need a miracle 

After making it out of one of the toughest groups in the competition, Valencia’s shambolic performance against an evenly matched side has left them with no excuses. Expected to be an even game, Valencia’s shabby display now means they are almost certainly going out of the competition. Hateboer’s 16th-minute strike opened the floodgates and from then on the visitors never really looked like getting into the match. Poor, poor performance.

4. Cheryshev scores Valencia’s consolation goal

Remember Denis Cheryshev? One of the stars of the 2018 World Cup, he is now plying his trade in La Liga with Valencia. The Russian winger served viewers with a dose of nostalgia soon after Valencia’s fourth goal when his low-strike from distance went in to make it 4-1. While it has given them some semblance of hope, more likely than not Cheryshev’s goal is nothing more than a consolation.

5. Can Atalanta go the distance? 

Some of the most famous of triumphs in the UEFA Champions League have been those of dark-horses defying all odds to make it to the podium. Atalanta defied naysayers to qualify for the Champions League via the Serie A last season and this year they are back at it. After making it to the round-of-16 for the first time in their history, it was thought that a game against European regulars Valencia would ground the Italians but far from it, they are instead thriving in the high-pressure atmosphere of the competition. Fans are drawing parallels to past successes like Porto in 2004 and even Leicester City’s run to the quarter-finals after winning the league, but Atalanta’s journey is theirs and theirs alone. Who’s to say the dark horses can’t make it all the way to Istanbul come May?

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 RB Leipzig: Timo Werner penalty earns visitors a vital away win

Tottenham Hotspur 0-1 RB Leipzig: Timo Werner penalty earns visitors a vital away win

As Timo Werner’s penalty strike earned the visitors RB Leipzig a well-deserved Champions League away victory against Tottenham Hotspur in London, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points. 

1. Tottenham fortunate to be level at halftime 

RB Leipzig made a kamikaze start to the game and Jose Mourinho’s men were very, very lucky to be level at half-time. Leipzig’s first chance came as early as the first minute and by the second, they had already struck the post. It was telling that that the first booking of the game was Giovani Lo Celso – in the 10th minute, highlighting how Spurs weren’t able to deal with the game’s pace. By the 30th minute, Tottenham had had only a single shot on goal in comparison to Leipzig’s 11, illustrating the extent of the one-way traffic in the first half.

2. Timo Werner ends goal drought

Timo Werner has had something of a mini-drought in front of goal, going five games without a goal. The German has the highest goal involvement of any player in the Bundesliga this season and in that context, five games seem almost like an eternity. What better way to end your drought then, than in the last-16 of the UEFA Champions League? Konrad Laimer earned the penalty after being clattered by Ben Davies and Werner subsequently stepped up to send the ball past Hugo Lloris with a low strike. 1-0.

3. Late Spurs surge 

After more than 60 minutes of mediocrity, a double change by Jose Mourinho finally forced his side into action. Dele Alli and Gedson Fernandes came off for Erik Lamela and Tanguy Ndombele as Mourinho attempted to freshen things up. Tottenham finally began to look brighter and nearly equalized when Lo Celso’s whipped shot was pushed onto the post by the Leipzig goalkeeper. Erik Lamela and Ndombele too tried to make things happen and even though Spurs might have had something on another day, it was a feeling of too little too late from the home side.

4. Nagelsmann beats inspiration Mourinho 

RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann became the youngest person to take charge of a Champions League encounter at 32 years and 211 days and he couldn’t have asked for a better manager to play against. Nagelsmann revealed the impact Jose Mourinho has had on his career in the pre-match presser, drawing parallels between the Portuguese’s stint at Porto and his own rise as a manager. Both are people with relatively insipid careers who subsequently made their name as coaches and for the Leipzig manager to play and earn a result against one of his inspirations will have been a huge moment.

5. Tottenham missing a presence upfront 

One thing made clear by Tottenham’s performance against Leipzig was how badly the Londoners are missing a presence up front. Harry Kane’s injury has had a massive impact and just when they thought they could get by, news of Heung-Min Son being sidelined for the rest of the season came in. The South Korean has shouldered the goal-scoring burden in Kane’s absence and Spurs were often reduced to playing aimless long balls with no movement off the ball without these two. Big miss for Jose Mourinho.

Premier League weekly round-up: Liverpool inch closer to title, Champions League race wide open

As another big matchweek in the Premier League comes to a close, FOX Sports Asia looks at all the major talking points from the action.

#1 Maguire leads United’s Champions League qualification bid

Harry Maguire was lucky to stay on the pitch during Manchester United’s clash with Chelsea and made the best of it, sealing the game with a bullet header to move United within three points of the Blues, who are fourth on the Premier League table.

The defender was rock-solid throughout and his goal might well turn out to be worth millions. All of United, Tottenham Hotspur, Sheffield United, Wolves and Everton are well within reach of the coveted fourth place, and that is without even counting Arsenal and Burnley, who are also in the mix.

Moreover, Manchester City’s European ban means –  as it stands – the fifth place will be enough to qualify for Europe’s premier competition. Big two-and-a-half months coming up for each of these sides.

#2 Spurs suffer Son blow

There is a shortage of strikers amongst the Premier League’s big teams right now and Son Heung-Min is the latest player who has be ruled out with a long-term injury(broken arm). This, after the Korea Republic international played the entire 90 minutes of Tottenham Hotspur’s 3-2 win over Aston Villa with the injury and even scored two goals in the process.

It’s not very difficult to imagine how much Jose Mourinho and co. will miss a player of Son’s quality. A hammer blow to Tottenham’s Champions League aspirations.

#3 Anfield smelling the title

A relentless Liverpool side took another step towards the title with a narrow 1-0 win against Norwich. It’s been 30 years since they last won the title and it is safe to say that Liverpool fans can smell the trophy right now.

At current rate, it will take them 15 more points to win the title. There is also a strong possibility of claiming the title against Everton, which would be another dream come true for the red half of Merseyside!

#4 The Carlo Ancelotti show at Everton 

Such has been Carlo Ancelotti’s impact at Everton that their 3-1 win over Crystal Palace seems routine. They have claimed the second-most points in the league after Liverpool since Ancelotti took over and people are starting to consider that this might not be a fluke after all.

Languishing closer to relegation than Europe when he took over, Ancelotti’s subtle tweaks and changes have made a big impact and his team are now only five points behind Chelsea in fourth place.

#5 Arsenal back in business 

Having won only a single game in the Premier League since Arteta took over, a win was due for this Arsenal side. The first half of their game against Newcastle didn’t go as planned but in the second half, they suddenly burst into life.

After Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang opened the scoring, it was all Arsenal. They finished four goals to the good to cap off a good day for the Gunners.

#6 Manchester City respond to ban by cruising past West Ham 

If there’s one thing Manchester City are good at, it’s winning football games, and Pep Guardiola’s side did exactly that in the week where UEFA imposed a two-year ban from European competitions.

After the 2-0 win, however, both Pep Guardiola and man-of-the-match Kevin De Bruyne remained tightlipped about the situation.

Other results: 

Wolves 0-0 Leicester

Sheffield United 2-1 Bournemouth

Brighton 1-1 Watford

Southampton 1-2 Burnley

Borussia Dortmund 2-1 PSG: 5 talking points from BVB’s victory over Ligue 1 giants

Erling Haaland’s devastating double gave Borussia Dortmund a crucial home win over PSG in the UEFA Champions League. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points.

1. Erling Haaland – take a bow!

The Norwegian teenager has been named Bundesliga’s player of the month for January and was at it again in the Champions League. Erling Haaland showed glimpses of his skill in the first half and early in the second, before finally opening the deadlock with a poacher’s finish. Neymar equalized for the Parisians with a tap-in but Haaland was on hand minutes later, unleashing a rocket into the top corner that eventually turned out to be the winner. He now has 10 Champions League goals in only seven appearances this season, reaching the mark 4 games faster than any other player. Simply ridiculous.

2. Verratti ruled out of second-leg

As PSG aim to reverse the tie at home in Paris, Marco Verratti will be the big miss for them in terms of influence. A good portion of what they managed to carve out on the night went through Verratti, with the midfielder also influential in breaking up Dortmund’s play time and again. The blot on his copy came late in the 89th minute when he was booked for dissent by the referee, meaning a suspension for the second-leg due to accumulated cards.

3. Thomas Tuchel’s job on the line 

Thomas Tuchel’s reaction after his team made it 1-1 was that of a man on the edge, even more so when they fell behind once again minutes later. It’s an open secret that the Champions League is PSG’s holy grail and failure to win the trophy usually means the end of the road for managers in Paris. Tuchel was very lucky to keep his job after the Manchester United debacle last season, but there will be no such mercy this time around – it’s win or bust for the PSG manager in the second-leg.

4. Neymar – Mbappe outclassed by Sancho – Haaland 

The game was supposed to be a party lead by two of the two most expensive players on the planet but instead turned into a celebration of young talent. Safe to say, Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland thoroughly outclassed Kylian Mbappe and Neymar. While Neymar and Mbappe were by no means a disaster – they combined to lethal effect for PSG’s equalizer, it was nowhere near the kind of impact one would expect from the two. Instead, two teenagers put up a show that the Dortmund faithful will remember for a long, long time.

5. Can PSG really win the Champions League?

On the evidence of PSG’s performance at the Signal Iduna Park, the answer is clearly a no. For a team built on a fraction of PSG’s budget, Borussia Dortmund matched them every step of the way, even doing better at times. Dortmund themselves are a young team not yet ready to win the Champions League and if Thomas Tuchel’s side cannot beat the likes of them, defeating legacy teams like Liverpool and Real Madrid is a far cry. Lots to learn for the Parisians.

Atletico Madrid 1-0 Liverpool: 5 talking points as Los Rojiblancos claim slender victory over defending champions

Atletico Madrid put in a stubborn display to claim a 1-0 win over Liverpool at home. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points from the encounter.

1. Saul strike the difference 

Very little separated the two teams at the end of the 90 minutes, except a fortuitous strike by Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez in the 4th minute. Fabinho inadvertently led a corner into Saul’s path and the midfielder swept in from two yards out to shock the champions. While the nature of the strike itself was very lucky, it proved to be the big difference between the two at the end of the game. Atletico’s classic smash-and-grab style worked wonders and has now put Liverpool on the brink.

2. Klopp’s curious substitution 

Trailing 1-0 at halftime, Jurgen Klopp made his most curious substitution till date. Although he might have been hailed a genius had it worked, he will be labelled an eccentric because it clearly didn’t. Sadio Mane, back from injury and fit to play again was hooked for Divock Origi, who was himself lacking sharpness due to a lack of minutes. Liverpool are often heavily reliant on Mane’s guile to unlock teams and as to why someone would hook him off at half-time is beyond reasoning.

3. Profligacy costs Liverpool

Not deterred by their early setback, Liverpool came back strong with a number of opportunities being spurned by their forwards. A combination of Atletico Madrid’s application and Liverpool’s slack meant the Reds couldn’t find the net despite some decent chances. Roberto Firminho was flagged offside after scoring, while Mohamaed Salah’s missed multiple big opportunities. Captain Jordan Henderson was hauled off with a hamstring injury late on but made sure he poked wide of goal as well. Had any of those gone in, who knows what might have happened?

4. Classic Diego Simeone 

Atletico Madrid’s performance had all the hallmarks of a typical Diego Simeone performance. The Atletico coach was a fighter on the pitch and has transmitted these qualities to his side over the years too. Scoring an early goal was the best thing that happened to them and they were as resilient as possible after the goal. Waiting for opportunities, counter-attacking, a deep low block – Simeone will feel his plan has been executed to near perfection, but repeating the feat at Anfield will be a big, big ask considering how Liverpool have blown teams like Barcelona away at home even after losing 3-0 away.

5. Treble hopefuls Liverpool on the brink 

A goal and a clean-sheet for Atletico Madrid means champions Liverpool are now on the brink in the Champions League, something that could destroy their hopes of an unprecedented Treble. Jurgen Klopp does not have the luxury of the away goal either, meaning Liverpool will have to defeat Atletico come what may when the second leg comes around. The Manchester United treble team had luck at some key moments and if Liverpool are indeed destined to win, now is the time for lady luck to smile and sparkle on them.

Serie A weekly roundup: Lazio, Milan the winners as Inter lose ground in title race

After another set of eventful results in the Italian league, FOX Sports Asia gives you a roundup of the weekend’s action. 

No Ronaldo, no problem for Juventus

The Champions returned to winning ways with a professional 2-0 victory over Brescia. Paulo Dybala’s sublime free-kick and Juan Cuadrado’s neat finish gave them all three points but Cristiano Ronaldo dominated the headlines once again, even in his absence. The Portuguese captain was rested by Maurizio Sarri ahead of their Champions League encounter against Lyon next week, ending the record run of consecutive league games in which he had scored. The result will give Juventus a lot of boost going into the business end of the campaign as players will believe that they can get a big result without their star player as well.

Truly a three-horse title race as Lazio outclass Inter 

Having taken over at the top of the table recently, a clash against the Rome-based Lazio was where Inter could have cemented their credentials as the real title contenders. Instead, a Sergej Milinkovic-Savic inspired Lazio side ran out winners despite falling a goal behind. New-signing Ashley Young scored his first goal in Inter colours before a Ciro Immobile’s penalty and Savic goal led Lazio to a 2-1 win and pushed them ahead of Inter in the second-spot on the league table, just a single point behind leaders Juventus.

Bad night for AS Roma and Paulo Fonseca

Another big result in the race for Champions League qualification at the Gewiss Stadium on Sunday. Just three points separated Atalanta and AS Roma before the game – a perfect example of a proverbial six-pointer. Star striker Edin Dzeko opened the scoring at the stroke of half-time for the visitors to make it 1-0 but Atalanta sealed the game within nine big second-half minutes as José Luis Palomino and Mario Pasalic scored in quick succession to increase the gap between the two teams to a big six points.

Milan’s European hopes still alive

AC Milan have had a slight boost recently with the return of star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic but are still languishing 10 points behind the fourth-placed Atalanta. Since every game is a must-win for Milan now if they are to have any hopes of playing in the UEFA Champions League next season, the Rossoneri started the game against Torino with Ibrahimovic leading the line, hoping to inspire them to another victory. In the end, it was Croatia international Ante Rebic whose 10th-minute strike earned all three points and kept them in with a slight chance of Champions League football, however small that may be.

Another impressive win for Napoli

The Naples side kept themselves level with AC Milan at 35 points courtesy of a slender 1-0 victory against Cagliari. Rino Gattuso’s decision to drop midfielder Allan for ‘walking around in training’ dominated the headlines pre-match but fortunately for the manager, Dries Mertens’s 65th-minute strike ensured a victory for his team – failing which there might have been eyebrows raised about his decision.

Other results: 

Lecce 2-1 SPAL

Bologna 0-3 Genoa

Udinese 0-0 Verona

Sampdoria 1-5 Fiorentina

Sassulo 0-1 Parma

 

Manchester United 2-0 Chelsea: 5 talking points as United outclass Chelsea at Stamford Bridge

Manchester United completed the double over Chelsea for the first time in 32 years with a 2-0 victory at Stamford Bridge in the English Premier League. FOX Sports Asia presents the key talking points from the encounter. 

1. Match winner Maguire lucky to be on the pitch 

If Manchester United had any doubt about Harry Maguire’s ability, the center-half erased them all with another big performance against another big side. The United captain put in block after block and then popped up with the crucial second goal to seal the game for his side, but should he have been on the pitch at all?

A clear kick-out on Michy Batshuayi, similar to Son’s red card against Chelsea earlier in the season was controversially not deemed as violent conduct and Maguire subsequently remained on the pitch to make a big difference.

2. Martial answers critics with big goal 

Having been criticized heavily in January for United’s lack of goals, Anthony Martial hit back at his critics in some style with a header that may prove to be worth millions. Wan-Bissaka twisted and turned Willian inside-out before putting in a delivery that the Frenchman bit at with his head to score a typical number 9 goal – the type Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has been crying out for since the start of the season! Big performance.

3. Lampard’s team selection suspect?

While Manchester United’s injuries have forced them into unconventional selection decisions this season, Chelsea’s strange selection came in spite of their so-called regulars being available. Frank Lampard’s decision to go with Christensen, Pedro and Caballero all raised big eyebrows. A loss makes it look even worse and the manager will no doubt have to hold his hands up and take responsibility.

4. Batshuayi out of touch 

Unfortunately for Chelsea, the scoreline might have been far different had they taken their chances. A host of opportunities were spurned by the Blues and Michy Batshuayi, in particular, looked like he had left his scoring boots at home.

Two gilt-edged chances inside the area were passed up after which the striker never looked like getting his confidence back. With Tammy Abraham’s injury, it’s now a big dilemma for Frank Lampard at center-forward going into the final months of the season.

5. Top-4 race wide open 

A loss would have put United 9 points off 4th but the Red Devils’ win over Chelsea has opened the gates not only for them, but for the entire lot of teams right up till 11th. Eleventh-placed Burnley are only 7 points off Chelsea and the congestion in this area of the table means the race for Europe will go down right to the wire – with Chelsea, Spurs, Everton, Arsenal, United, Burnley, Wolves and Sheffield all in the mix.

 

Lazio 1 – 2 Inter Milan: 5 talking points as Conte’s Inter drop to third in the league

Lazio 1 - 2 Inter Milan: 5 talking points as Conte's Inter drop to third in the league

As Simone Inzaghi’s rallied his Lazio side to inspire a come-from-behind win against title hopefuls Inter Milan and move to second, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points. 

Highlights – Lazio vs Inter Milan

1. Milinkovic-Savic the key for Lazio

Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic proved exactly why he is so crucial to his side with a scintillating performance from midfield. The midfielder nearly broke the crossbar with a thunderous striker early on and followed that up by scoring the winner for his side in the second half. Often dancing his way beautifully through the midfield, he showed exactly why Manchester United have been so keen on his services for the past 2 years with a huge performance.

2. Young rolls back the years 

Antonio Conte always seems to know how to fit his signings in with ease and Ashley Young has been no different. The former United full-back often trolled mercilessly in England, has slotted in seamlessly in Italy. It was no surprise then when he rolled back the years with a vintage performance for Inter Milan against Lazio. Playing at wing-back, Young opened the scoring with a good finish and even managed to set-up another, but for the flag. Vintage stuff.

3. Inter Milan flounder in the title race 

Inter Milan have a superior goal difference to Juventus and could have reclaimed top spot with a win, but for their profligacy. Conte’s role in taking this Inter team from zeroes to heroes this season has been immense but they have often faltered exactly when he needed them to perform the most. It’s still early days in his reign but if Inter Milan continue to drop big points, it might very well be a case of what might have been for his side at the end of the season.

4. Dark-horses Lazio move to second

The term dark-horses seems a bit derogatory for a Lazio side who have entertained thoroughly this season. The team from Rome boast of the second-best attack and the best defence in the league, having scored more goals than both Juventus and Inter Milan this season. While outsiders may find it a surprise, Serie A faithful know Lazio’s run is no fluke – Simone Inzaghi’s boys moving to within one point of leaders Juventus with a well-deserved win over Inter.

5. “Why not go for the Scudetto?”

Milinkovic-Savic’s man-of-the-match performance drew praise from all quarters and his words at full-time have got the Rome-faithful dreaming. The midfielder reiterated his side had been the better team on the day and vowed to deliver Champions League football next season but then went one step further. They won their last league title way back in 1999-2000, but Savic’s words indicated it was time to dream again. “Why not go for the Scudetto?”. Why not indeed!

Marseille 2-1 Lille: 5 talking points as Marseille win to cut PSG’s lead in Ligue 1

Marseille 2-1 Lille: 5 talking points as Marseille win to cut PSG's lead in Ligue 1

Two goals in three minutes gave Marseille a deserved victory as they moved 11 clear of third place and cut PSG’s lead down to 10 in Ligue 1. Here we take a look at the key talking points from the encounter.

1. Lille rue missed opportunity

With the score at 1-0, it looked like a big opportunity for Lille to move up to third. Instead, it turned into a missed chance. A goal up thanks to their Nigerian striker Osimhen in the 51st minute, it looked like the stars were with them when Maignan saved a penalty in the 59th minute to keep them a goal to the good, but 3 minutes turned the game on its head as Lille were left ruing what might have been.

2. 3 minutes of madness

At the end of the day, it was 3 minutes of madness that cost Lille the game. Germain’s fantastic near-post header in the 66th minute was put into his own net by Reinildo as Marseille made it 1-1. To add to their misery, Benedetto made it two just 3 minutes later, firing in a low shot to extinguish Lille’s hopes of a win.

3. Maignan penalty save goes in vain 

Tiago’s foul on Sarr drew a penalty for Marseille in the 60th minute and plunged Lille into uncertainty, but for a heroic intervention from their keeper. Rongier’s low shot to the right was kept out by Maignan to keep his side 1-up, but he had his head in his hands 10 minutes later in disbelief as his side went from 1-0 to 2-1 within a span of just 3 minutes!

4. Lille miss chance to go 3rd 

It was a familiar theme for Lille. An inconsistent season has seen them fail to take big opportunities and it was no different against Marseille. A saved penalty was more luck than they could have hoped for but not even that could make them capitalize and hold-on for a win. Three straight wins coming into the game had given them hope and another one would have put them 3rd after Rennes slipped up once again – but it just wasn’t to be.

5. Marseille cement 2nd spot 

After slip-ups from both PSG and Rennes, Marseille managed to cut down the gap on either side. Villas-Boas’s boys moved to within 10 points of PSG while also going 11 clear of Rennes in 3rd. In theory, they have little to play for as the gap on both sides looks untouchable – but Villas-Boas will secretly be hoping for more. With a lot of games still to go, could PSG drop more points? A big ask.

Manchester United vs Chelsea: 5 classic encounters

Manchester United vs Chelsea: 5 classic encounters

With less than 24 hours to go before Manchester United’s clash against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at 5 classic encounters between the two sides over the years. 

1. Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea (6-5 on penalties – 2007/08)

Undoubtedly the most memorable clash between these two giants of English football, the Champions League final of 2008 lives long in the memories of both sets of fans, albeit for differing reasons. Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener was cancelled out by Frank Lampard, who then pointed to the heavens in memory of his recently deceased mother. Didier Drogba’s sending off in extra time added some spice before Ronaldo’s miss in the shootout gave John Terry the chance to win it. The Chelsea captained slipped, then Nicholas Anelka missed and Manchester United did the rest to claim their third ever European Cup, a fitting tribute to mark 100 years of the Munich air disaster.

2. Chelsea 5-4 Manchester United (2012/13)

Fresh off the back of a 3-2 victory against Chelsea in the Premier League, a much-changed United side faced the Blues in what would turn out to be Sir Alex Ferguson’s final League Cup encounter. The Red Devils led thrice in the game, right up until injury time, when Nani gave the ball away and Eden Hazard scored a penalty that resulting from the ensuing counter to make it 3-3 – sending the game into extra time. There was no coming back for United from then on as Hazard and co made it 5-3 before a late Giggs penalty made things nervy for Chelsea in the final minutes. Classic.

3. Chelsea 4-0 Manchester United (2016/17)

Jose Mourinho’s first season at Old Trafford had United fans purring but this was definitely not what they had signed up for. Antonio Conte’s Chelsea thrashed the travellers, scoring from the kick-off itself after a defensive mix up by their opponents. The goals kept coming and there was drama to add, with Mourinho accusing Conte of deliberately humiliating him at full time. A big, dramatic and heated encounter.

4. Manchester United 3-3 Chelsea (2011/12)

A classic Manchester United comeback makes it to number four on our list. United went into half-time a goal down after a Jonny Evans own goal. The second-half brought little relief as Juan Mata made it 2-0 shortly after the restart and Rio Ferdinand joined the party for 3-0 with another own goal. 2 penalties in 10 minutes turned the game on its head, however, as Rooney scored both to make it 3-2. Chicharito’s late equalizer off a Ryan Giggs delivery then sent the away stand into raptures – United showing exactly what made them champions.

5. Manchester United 4-0 Chelsea(2019/20)

The first game of United’s latest season brought a big win and big optimism, if only temporary. Tammy Abraham struck the bar early but it was all United from thereon. Kurt Zouma’s foul inside the area meant Rashford putting United 1-0 up from the spot. Further goals from Martial, Rashford and Dan James put United 4-0 up, finally putting the demons of 2016(when they lost by the same scoreline in London) to bed.

Following UEFA’s verdict: 5 teams Pep Guardiola can join after leaving Manchester City

In the wake of Manchester City’s 2-year ban from all European competitions, Pep Guardiola’s future has suddenly been shrouded into uncertainty. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at 5 teams the City manager could potentially depart to.

1. Juventus 

Currently, under Maurizio Sarri, Juventus right now looks the most likely destination for Guardiola, should he decide to part ways with City. He has been consistently linked with a move to Turin since the past year, and Italy remains the only big European league he has yet to conquer. Moreover, Juventus are in a serious league-battle for the first time after 7 straight title wins, meaning Sarri’s future hinges firmly on winning either the Champions League or the Serie A. Watch this space!

2. FC Barcelona

 

Truth be told, Barcelona are a mess right now, and a shabby one at that. Lionel Messi’s public falling out with the director of football Eric Abidal has brought the club’s troubles out in the open and new coach Setien looks more suited to the cows he was apparently walking before being appointed manager. Pulling the club out of shambles would require a genius and they don’t come much better than Guardiola. The Barcelona faithful have long prayed for his return and they are very, very desperate at the minute. Could Pep really refuse a call from back home?

3. Bayern Munich

Guardiola’s agent refused to rule out a move to Bayern in 2019 and in theory, it is very much a possibility. The Spaniard improved Bayern by leaps and bounds during his time but failed to win a Champions League title despite 3 semi-final appearances on the trot. Bayern President Herbert Hainer added to the flames by praising their former coach last year and it’s true he has a bit of unfinished business in Bavaria. Certainly wouldn’t be a stretch to imagine him going back.

4. Spain

The former Barcelona player has previously confirmed his desire to manage his national side one day, the only question is when? As a coach, Guardiola has won everything there is and now might be the ideal time to switch. Of course, much depends on Luis Enrique and how his Spanish side fares at the Euros this summer. An early exit would certainly set tongues wagging.

5. Paris Saint-Germain 

Could he really? It would be a big ask for a manager of his stature to step-down to one of the so-called lower leagues, but we also know Pep loves a challenge more than anything else. The Champions League has always been PSG’s holy-grail, with Thomas Tuchel the latest manager under pressure to deliver European glory. Anything other than a winner’s medal will mean disaster, in which case Guardiola will definitely be under consideration.

Manchester United 0-0 Wolverhampton Wanderers: 5 talking points from United’s draw against Wolves at Old Trafford

Manchester United missed the chance to move within 4 points of Chelsea, as they played out a frustrating 0-0 draw against Wolverhampton Wanderers at home. FOX Sports Asia takes a look at the key talking points from the match, right here.

1. Bruno goes straight into the mix

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer would probably have hoped for a more relaxed introduction to English football for Bruno Fernandes, but for Nemanja Matic’s red card against Manchester City. For a squad already running thin, there was no option but to throw him into the mix right away. Despite having the most touches of any United player in the first half and their only shot on target, Fernandes’s first 45 minutes were relatively quiet. The second-half was more of the same as he drew two saves from Patricio off long-range strikes but little more – earning himself a yellow card and giving away the ball cheaply on occasions. Clearly needs time to adjust.

2. Traore troubles United once again 

Manchester United have played Wolves numerous times since their FA Cup encounter last season and perhaps the only constant in their encounters has been how United struggle to get to grips with Adama Traore. The winger has improved his decision making and delivery dramatically this year and ran the show from the right, delivering delicious balls time after time in the first half. He was much quieter in the second though and had to go off injured midway through, much to United’s relief.

3. Martial missing  

Anthony Martial’s tendency to drift in and out of the season is a worrying trend and continued against Wolves. The Frenchman has been a shadow of himself since Rashford’s injury and his lack of movement meant Manchester United had to be content with playing right in front of Wolves’ low block. Got bullied off the ball easily on countless occasions and on the evidence of this game, could learn a thing or two from a certain Romelu Lukaku.

4. Wolves – United’s bogey team?

Out of all their encounters since last year, Manchester United have managed just a single win against Wolverhampton and there is definitely a pattern forming. Both teams like to sit back and hit on the break, meaning it turns into a boxing match between these two sides more often than not. Wolves usually create the better of the chances out of the two – with United rarely breaking them down and supporters are frustrated, for the Red Devils just can’t seem to beat Nuno’s Espirito’s team.

5. Welcome winter break for Ole 

January has been a punishing month for Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Only a single league win in 30 days has seen them tail off in the top-4 race, with only Chelsea’s equally bad form responsible for still keeping them within arm’s length. Injuries to big players meant they have had to field a half-strength team for games and the noise around the club isn’t very positive either. In the circumstances, a 14-day break is probably the best thing for Solskjaer and his troops, who will be hoping to have their big players back come the end of the break.

Deadline day: 5 deals that could be completed before the transfer window shuts

Deadline day: 5 deals that could be completed before the transfer window shuts

With the January transfer window’s notorious deadline day almost upon us, FOX Sports Asia takes a look at some of the deals that could go through on the final day of the transfer window. 

1. Dries Mertens (Napoli to Chelsea)

Napoli forward Dries Mertens is in a conundrum. Frank Lampard’s Chelsea are wooing him, but the striker is just 3 goals away from becoming Napoli’s all-time top-scorer. He will be out of contract in the summer and it’s difficult to see a big club like Chelsea coming back for him in 6 months time, but the chance to etch his name into club folklore won’t come back either. One to keep an eye one.

2. Edinson Cavani (PSG to Atletico Madrid/Manchester United/Chelsea)

Edinson Cavani’s time at PSG is set to come to a bitter end – he just doesn’t know where his next destination will be. PSG have revealed Atletico’s offer was not considered at par with the player’s valuation and he could yet choose to run down his contract and sign with Diego Simeone’s side on a free in June. On the other hand, however, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and Frank Lampard have openly admitted to being on the lookout for a striker – Lampard going even as far as to say he likes Cavani. It’s impossible to think no approach has been made from either club but a move on deadline day would be outlandish, to say the least.

3. Olivier Giroud (Chelsea to Inter Milan) 

It’s hard to imagine France’s first-choice striker rotting away on Chelsea’s bench but this is exactly what Olivier Giroud’s career has come to. The Frenchman is still firmly in Didier Deschamps’s plans but just can’t seem to get a game at club level. Antonio Conte’s Inter were thought to be keen on getting the striker in but having made several signings already, it remains to be seen whether they can get a deal for Giroud over the line – or whether a deal for the Frenchman is even on at all.

4. Cedric Soares (Southampton to Arsenal)

Cedric Soares’s Southampton contract runs out this summer and Arsenal’s late interest in the defender looks to be serious. So much so that the Saints have already brought in Kyle Walker-Peters on loan from Spurs to cover for Soares’s potential departure. Manager Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed the Portuguese could leave for the Gunners before the window shuts and this is one deal that fans can expect will be wrapped up before the window shuts.

5. Danny Rose (Tottenham Hotspur to Newcastle)

Danny Rose’s Tottenham future was cast into doubt earlier this month when Jose Mourinho left the defender out of his Premier League travelling squad after an apparent bust-up. Spurs have been trying to shuttle the left-back out since last summer when they left him out of their match-day squad, but no move materialized back then. Newcastle’s interest is legitimate and Rose is reportedly already at Newcastle’s training ground to finalize the details. Like Soares, more likely to go through than not.

Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City: 5 talking points as City make Carabao Cup finals on aggregate

Manchester United 1-0 Manchester City: 5 talking points as City make Carabao Cup finals on aggregate

Manchester United salvaged pride with a 1-0 win over Manchester City but the Cityzens moved to the Carabao Cup finals 3-2 on aggregate. Here’s FOX Sports Asia taking a look at the key talking points of the match. 

1. Dave saves 

Manchester City started the first half at breakneck speed, putting pressure on Manchester United with their relentless attacking. Sergio Aguero was picked out for the first chance of the night with a delicious delivery but De Gea was on hand to make a brilliant reaction save from his header. Riyad Mahrez danced his way into the box and managed a deflected strike but the United keeper was at it again with another good save as United bypassed this early pressure from City to gain a foothold into the game.

2. Sterling continues United duck 

Raheem Sterling hasn’t scored a goal against Manchester United – ever. The winger looked like he had finally ended that run when he diverted a cross into the net in the first half but was denied by the flag before Wan-Bissaka began reminding him of his first leg nightmare with a barrage of tackles. The worst was yet to come, however, and Sterling somehow conspired to miss when one on one with David De Gea in the second half – delaying his shot before shooting over the goal to continue his duck against United. 19 games, no goals.

3. Solskjaer the man for the job 

Say what you may, it’s clear that Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is getting the maximum out of the cards he has been dealt. This was Manchester United’s second win over City in just over a month and Solskjaer once against proved his tactical mettle with a well-drilled performance against Guardiola’s side. A United team without three of it’s best players somehow managed to grind out a 1-0 victory against a more than full strength City. Detractors will say De Gea kept them in the game but then again, wouldn’t United have won by five at the Etihad in December were it not for Ederson? For now – Ole’s firmly at the wheels.

4. Nemanja Matic – the good and the ugly 

Running out of contract this summer, Nemanja Matic showed all the reasons why Manchester United should keep him, and all the reasons they shouldn’t. United needed a presence in midfield to counter the City juggernaut and Matic was majestic at times. The Serb helped his team keep the ball countless times and then gave them hope with a peach of a strike to make it 1-0. On a yellow card, he then proceeded to essentially hand the game to City with a nudge to haul down Gundogan – just seconds before he was to come off for Juan Mata. United showed resolve but City ran down the clock – leaving them to wonder just what might have been.

5. Issues for Pep 

Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City have been beaten twice by Manchester United at home in two months and this is clearly not the machine that dominated the league for the past two years. City were frequently careless, even though they knew exactly what United came in to do and their manager was clearly unhappy. Poor finishing and reckless defending are only two of the issues plaguing his side at the moment and despite progressing to the finals, Guardiola will privately be furious with his troops for the manner in which they edged their way to the showpiece at Wembley.