Football

Published on April 9th, 2018 | by Vieri Capretta

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Winners and Losers: Imperious Pogba and Chelsea’s sorry end of season

Keeping title races alive was the theme of the weekend as Paul Pogba kept the champagne on ice for Man City and Napoli put the pressure on Juve

Winners

Napoli

If Napoli are still in the title race with Juventus in Italy, then they need to thank Arek Milik and Amadou Diawara, who both kept their cool in the final minutes of the home game against Chievo to fire home twice and turn things around for the victory and three crucial points. Football is like this: Maurizio Sarri hardly ever changes things in his starting eleven, and doesn’t trust his fringe players that much. Yet, the two subs came on for the win. This could be a sign, as Juventus v Napoli, the direct clash between the title-chasing pair who are four points apart, is getting closer and closer.

Paul Pogba

At half time the Frenchman was probably the worst player on the pitch, the symbol of a Manchester United side that was handing the title over to Manchester City without even trying to ruin their rivals’ party. It took the Frenchman three minutes to put two past Ederson and put United level, lighting up one of the best ever Manchester derbies. The icing on the cake was Chris Smalling’s winner. What a day for United.

Bayern Munich

It was always going to be a matter of when, not if, but finally Jupp Heynckes’ men put their hands officially on the Meisterschale, winning the Bundesliga with five games left to play. It’s their sixth in a row, their 28th German title. When Heynckes sat on the Bavarian bench replacing Carlo Ancelotti, Bayern were five points behind the then leaders Borussia Dortmund. What a season it’s been since then.

Losers

Manchester City

The “best ever Premier League side”? Maybe some people spoke too soon. Aesthetically, City have a claim to that label, but the past week has been an absolute disaster for the Citizens, smashed 3-0 at Anfield in the Champions League, and forced to bow down to Jose Mourinho’s United in the Etihad on the day that should have set a new record: nobody had won the league as early as the 7th of April. And it will continue to be this way. The title will be theirs eventually, but nobody expected this debacle.

Chelsea

If it wasn’t for a place in the FA Cup final, the Blues could already go on holiday. A top-four finish is pure utopia, and every week Tottenham climb further and further away. This time around, Antonio Conte’s champions were unable to beat West Ham United, and with Arsenal’s win, the Blues could risk missing out even on a Europa League spot. Not the best way for Conte to end his spell at Stamford Bridge. Incredible to think how quickly things have changed.

Sevilla

Another massive defeat, this time conceding four against Celta Vigo. Vincenzo Montella will always be remembered as the coach who brought Sevilla to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, with an unbelievable victory at Old Trafford, but now that the Spaniards have lost the first leg to Bayern, and are essentially out of Europe, the problems are still there. Currently out of European football for next season, the overall experience of Montella on the Sevilla bench doesn’t seem like an amazing one.

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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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