The second round of the UEFA Champions league has just gone down and a number of teams are still scratching their heads searching for that first win. For some sides making new appearances at the grand competition, it has been a complete opposite of the results they post in their respective domestic leagues.
In the 2010/2011 season, England had Tottenham Hotspur gracing the occasion for the first time under Harry Redknapp and they actually seemed like a team that had existed in that competition for a decade as they caused havoc to heavy weights like Inter Milan who were the then defending champions. They eventually knocked both Milan heavy weights and made it to the quarter finals, where it took a Real Madrid- Jose Mourinho combination for them to– with heads high- bow out.
This time round, we have Scottish champions Celtic posting marvelous results having drawn with Benfica at home then beaten Spartak Moscow away. Neil Lennon's side is now second, two points behind Barcelona and in my opinion, they can actually get a good result in their remaining four games to make it to the knock outs, though there is a big stumbling block ahead in form of Barcelona.
Barca though are not the same team like they were under Pep Guardiola. They are struggling defensively, a thing that has made them very beatable.
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New coach Tito Vilanova has a different approach as far as handling the game is concerned, which seems to be something the Catalan faithful will not entertain come the end of the season.
Still on new coaches, Roberto Di Matteo is yet to taste Champions league defeat with Chelsea, though he has not had a real test so far. He made a good result against Nordsjaelland putting them ahead of the park on 4 points while Juventus, gracing the occasion after time out, got a single point from Shakhtar Donetsk at home. We are yet to see them post a win in the competition and that puts a huge task on their shoulders should they want to progress.
The rich boys; Manchester City and Paris Saint Germain have also not started too well. For them, it is not the same world Malaga are living in, despite being new comers. Malaga have 6 points and 6 goals, perfect start.
Manchester City are actually not supposed to be in this category, as they have now had a chance to play in two European competitions – Champions League and Europa league - last season .Though they were shamefully knocked out while still preparing, they should have had that required experience at the competition. They have Roberto Mancini incharge, a manager who has been in the competition before with Inter Milan.
They also have able players in their ranks that have Champions League experience in depth, like Samir Nasri, Sergio Aguero, Javi Garcia, Yaya and Kolo Toure, some of who have already won the trophy.
Mancini recently claimed that he had no much interest in the capital one cup of which they were eliminated from the word go. They have to improve in their last four matches or get to their old way into the Europa League which does not guarantee them any ray of light.
The same has been witnessed in PSG’s camp, a team expensively assembled to deliver. They missed out on Ligue 1 last season to Montpellier, but should post better results at least before Financial Fair Play catches up with them.
It will be a long road for such teams to adhere to what Madrid, Arsenal, Man United, Barcelona and Chelsea have achieved in the past to make it through every knock out stage.