Football

Published on March 5th, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta

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Winners and Losers: Wenger takes Arsenal to new low as Barca seal La Liga

‘Wenger Out’ is becoming a ‘when’ not an ‘if’ at Arsenal while Barcelona all but sealed the deal on the La Liga after Atletico’s capitulation 

LOSERS

Napoli

The fans were already celebrating the result coming from the Stadio Olimpico, were Juventus were being held to a 0-0 draw by Lazio into the final seconds. The game hadn’t finished just yet, though, as Paulo Dybala’s 93rd minute magical winner not only gave Juventus the three points, but also sent Napoli into the game against Roma with an extra mental block.

And that became clear immediately: Maurizio Sarri’s men took the lead, only to concede a minute later and then go on to lose 4-2 in a damaging defeat. Not just for the three points, but also for the potential psychological side effect on the remainder of the campaign. Sarri had already said that Juve have always been favourites for the title, but as it stands Napoli still have a point advantage, albeit having played one more game. They need to stay focused.

Arsene Wenger

Some started saying that the “L” had finally been added back to “Arsena…”, the famous motto that came out after the Invincibles season, in which the Gunners hadn’t received a single “L”, a single defeat. For the first time in his Arsenal career, Wenger has lost six of his last eight games, including a home defeat in the Europa League, a League Cup final followed by another 0-3 loss (with a special lesson to be learnt…) from Manchester City, and the defeat to Brighton at the weekend. Same old story: the Gunners have lacked leadership, solid defenders and a holding midfielder for over a decade. Nothing has changed. To say #WengerOut is even superficial at this stage. A revolution is needed.

Diego Simeone

Barcelona could have now been only two points away, with the Liga title up for grabs. It did not happen. Simeone’s Atletico Madrid struggled to impose themselves against the Blaugrana, and the 1-0 defeat is way too kind in terms of a result, compared to what could have been. The Colchoneros were never brave enough to cause any issues to the hosts, who controlled the game with ease. It is not simple to win at the Nou Camp, but Diego Simeone was expected to at least try.

WINNERS

Paulo Dybala

Injured for over a month, many had forgotten how important great players are, even for great teams like Juventus. Lionel Messi is decisive for Barcelona, Cristiano Ronaldo is so for Real Madrid, Paolo Dybala is for Juve. His last minute winner against Lazio is a combination of skill, power and agility, as well as an ice cold finish. He has missed a last gasp penalty against Lazio in the Turin game earlier this season, but had his revenge in the best possible way. Many were saying that Juve were missing Blaise Matuidi more than Dybala during their injuries: he proved to everyone once again that he is the Bianconeri’s best player.

Edin Dzeko

Yes, this probably won’t go down in history as Dzeko’s best season ever, unlike last year, but Roma would be doomed without the Bosnian’s strikes. A brace in Napoli, a powerful header and a lovely curler from the edge of the box gave Roma the edge over the Partenopei, in what was probably the toughest game of the season. Dzeko can still make a difference when his team need him most.

Barcelona

Recent results had reopened the La Liga title race, and many thought Atletico could give the Blaugrana a hard time. Not if you’ve got Messi, though. Simeone said Messi was the difference in the game, and he did score a lovely free kick that ended up being the winning goal, but Barcelona annihilated Atletico, created many more chances and should have won by at least a two goal margin. The title is theirs to take.

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About the Author

mm

A freelance journalist and broadcaster focusing on European soccer and currently featuring on Uefa.com, La Gazzetta dello Sport, Marca in English and more.



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