A couple of European old-timers showed why they are Immortals this week as PSG proved that money can’t buy you love…or success
Tottenham were demolishing Juventus with more intensity and better passing. Juve boss, Massimo Allegri had already played all his attacking options from the start, with Federico Bernardeschi, Mario Mandzukic and Juan Cuadrado not even on the bench against Tottenham. The solution? A tactical masterclass.
In come two full-backs – Kwadwo Asamoah and Stephan Lichtsteiner – and in two minutes Juventus score two, as well as locking up the back line with Andrea Barzagli moving from right back to centre back. Gonzalo Higuain did his job up front and Juventus are through. Simple.
Now is no time to rest on our laurels with three @SerieA_TIM matches coming up says @chiellini. ➡️ https://t.co/uZkbDY3Lnz#FinoAllaFine #ForzaJuve pic.twitter.com/eh1odUj5Ak
— JuventusFC (@juventusfcen) March 9, 2018
The La Liga title has long gone, but Real Madrid are the biggest club in the world for a reason. Give them the Champions League music and they automatically switch on. Cristiano Ronaldo was on target once again, as Zinedine Zidane’s men demonstrated the difference between a well-built and experienced side and the fragility of a money-loaded Paris Saint-Germain team. They are back-to-back Champions League winners for a reason, after all.
? High fives all round in our dressing room after tonight's win! See how the team celebrated at the Parc des Princes!#APorLa13 | #HalaMadrid pic.twitter.com/U0EuRn6FIU
— Real Madrid C.F. ???? (@realmadriden) March 6, 2018
Have the Gunners become just a cup team? Too soon to tell, but the 0-2 win at the San Siro is a match that could change the momentum for Arsenal for the rest of the season. The Premier League club maintained their structural issues at the back and in midfield, but when Mesut Ozil is switched on and if the more technical midfielders like Aaron Ramsey or Henrikh Mkhitaryan can score goals, then the Gunners become favourites to lift the Europa League (with Atletico Madrid perhaps) and find some domestic glory in climbing up the Premier League table.
The face of the Paris Saint-Germain president after Real Madrid’s second goal at the Parc des Princes is a banner for the beautiful game. Put simply: you cannot buy glory, experience, and Champions League trophies. If you spend over 400 million dollars on two players – namely Neymar and Kylian Mbappe – and start the most important games of the season with Giovanni Lo Celso or Thiago Motta in midfield, then something has gone wrong. Paris Saint-Germain are out of the Champions League once again.
Chelsea's Antonio Conte is exactly what PSG need (apparently) – https://t.co/CPFmaSEgdP – Via @ESPNFC.
— Jonathan Johnson (@Jon_LeGossip) March 9, 2018
Spurs dominated, no one can say otherwise. Yet they are out of the Champions League. A harsh reminder that football is not mathematics, that football is a different sport to boxing. You need to get the ball in the back of the net, and some sloppy finishing early in the second half at Wembley will haunt Spurs for a while. The defending was atrocious, the inexperience crept in, and in three minutes Mauricio Pochettino’s men crashed out of the competition. Not good enough.
“When I was 21, I also made more mistakes then when I was 28: this is the learning curve we have to go through”. True, AC Milan are a really young side, and coach Gennaro Gattuso’s words after the 0-2 home defeat to Arsenal are understandable. But the Rossoneri had gone into the first leg of the Europa League round of 16 having yet to lose in 2018, and with the push of 75.000 fans at the San Siro. It did not matter: a struggling Arsenal side dominated and put two past Gianluigi Donnarumma to bring the Rossoneri back to planet Earth.