Friday, October 22News That Matters

Tag: Chelsea (Soccer Team)

Marcos Alonso, Chelsea and the Genius of Thomas Tuchel

Marcos Alonso, Chelsea and the Genius of Thomas Tuchel

Sports
There was, as there was always going to be, just a little mirth at the end of Manchester City’s goal-less draw with Southampton last week. Only a few days earlier, Pep Guardiola had been busy scolding the club’s fans for not coming in sufficient numbers to City’s Champions League game with RB Leipzig; this was not, as the scoffing went, the best way to persuade them to heed his call.There is not a vast amount to be gained from lingering on the details of that curious little spat — Guardiola seemed to complain that the stadium wasn’t full; a representative of City’s fans suggested that maybe not everyone can afford to pay eye-watering ticket prices to watch soccer once a week; Guardiola said he had not complained, so did not have to apologize — but there is a lesson at the heart of it that ...
Chelsea Proves a Point While Collecting One at Liverpool

Chelsea Proves a Point While Collecting One at Liverpool

Sports
LIVERPOOL, England — Romelu Lukaku’s second half was not an especially glamorous one. There was a lot of running, darting into the slivers of space on either side of Liverpool’s central defenders, hoping for a ball that rarely came. There was a substantial amount of tussling and wrestling with Joel Matip, in particular, the two scrabbling for every inch of ground.There were not, conversely, many touches: only 20 in all after halftime, not quite one every two minutes. There was only, in the entire span of that 45 minutes, one scoring chance, a single moment that Lukaku spent his entire night trying to conjure, a snapshot from just inside the penalty area. He caught it well. No sooner had it left his foot than Virgil van Dijk blocked it.Such is the lot of the striker, of course: all of those...
How to Watch the Champions League Final: Time, Streaming and Location

How to Watch the Champions League Final: Time, Streaming and Location

Sports
Chelsea and Manchester City, two deep-pocketed titans of England’s Premier League, will play for the biggest prize in European soccer on Saturday when they meet in the Champions League final in Porto, Portugal.Chelsea, a serial collector of titles and trophies since 2003, has won the competition once before, in 2012. Manchester City, a club that only in the last decade emerged from the long shadow of its more famous (and much more decorated) neighbor, Manchester United, is playing in the final for the first time.That unfamiliarity may bring some nerves, and some intrigue. But new faces or old, everyone will head into the final with eyes wide open about the stakes.“If you win, you’re a hero,” Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne said this week. “If you lose, you’re almost a failure.”W...
Pep Guardiola and the Ones That Got Away

Pep Guardiola and the Ones That Got Away

Sports
Alex Ferguson could, when the mood took him, be gracious in defeat. Often, that was when he was at his most ruminative, his most considered, his most obliging in his praise of an opponent. In all his years at Manchester United, though, he was never quite so effusive as he was deep inside Wembley Stadium exactly a decade ago.The Barcelona team that had just beaten his United side in the Champions League final — for the second time in three years — was the best he had ever faced, Ferguson said. He had been “mesmerized” by the patterns painted by Andres Iniesta, Xavi Hernández, Lionel Messi and the rest. Barcelona ranked, without question, as the best team in Europe. “No one,” Ferguson said, “has given us a hiding like that.”His paean was interrupted only by one brief note of warning. Pep Gua...
Champions League Final: The Rich Get Richer

Champions League Final: The Rich Get Richer

Sports
The shadows are drawing in across Europe.Inter Milan must shed millions of dollars from its salary bill. One or more of its brightest lights will have to be sold. Antonio Conte, the coach who only a few weeks ago ended the club’s decade-long wait for an Italian championship, does not intend to stick around to see his title-winning team broken up.Barcelona, a billion dollars in debt, must build a squad to meet its princely ambitions on a pauper’s budget. The club’s wish list does not extend much beyond the giveaway aisle: Sergio Agüero, Georginio Wijnaldum, Eric García and Memphis Depay are all out of contract, all available for nothing, a cut-price cavalry.Juventus must strip back in order to retool. Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, knows his fans crave a Galáctico but also that ...
Juventus Finds Its Fall Guy in Andrea Pirlo

Juventus Finds Its Fall Guy in Andrea Pirlo

Sports
It is the memories passed down between the generations that slowly, steadily accrete into something that becomes a tradition, and so it is with the greatest tradition in English soccer: worrying about the diminishing majesty of the F.A. Cup.Those who were there speak in hushed tones of the year that Manchester United was forced to pull out because the authorities wanted the team to play in a tournament in Brazil instead, or of the time that Liverpool sent out a squad of under-7s because the club had a more important game in Qatar the next day.But every club has its own story: a set of reserves sent out to play so as to save the first team for the league; a manager admitting that the cup is a distraction from the much more important business of securing 14th place, rather than 15th, in the ...
Champions League Final Is Moving to Porto, Portugal

Champions League Final Is Moving to Porto, Portugal

Sports
This month’s all-English Champions League final between Manchester City and Chelsea will be played in Porto, Portugal, a shift of one of soccer’s showcase events to one of the few countries where Britons can travel without restrictions related to the coronavirus pandemic.European soccer’s governing body, UEFA, cleared the last hurdles to shifting the game from its scheduled site in Turkey on Wednesday. An announcement of the move is set for Thursday.The decision to move the final from Istanbul, which recently re-entered a virus-related lockdown, came after discussions between European soccer leaders and British government officials, who had been seeking to bring the game to London. When the sides failed to reach an agreement that would have allowed the teams and their domestic fans to avoi...
As Women’s Soccer Grows, So Does Its Competitive Divide

As Women’s Soccer Grows, So Does Its Competitive Divide

Sports
It is the same across much of Europe. Later this month, Chelsea will face Barcelona in the Champions League final. Barcelona’s domestic record this season is simple: 25 played, 25 won. It has scored 127 goals and surrendered only 5. In one 17-day stretch in April, it won consecutive games by scores of 7-1, 9-0 and 6-1.Juventus has won all 19 of its games in Italy, scoring six against Florentia and nine against Bari. In France, Lyon has lost once all year — to Paris St.-Germain, the team that is on the cusp of denying Lyon a 15th title in a row. Even that is relatively unusual: Until that defeat, Lyon had not lost a domestic game since 2017.None of that is to blame the clubs who have invested in their women’s teams. It is strange, in fact, that more teams cut off from success by the economi...
Champions League: Deep Pockets, Deep Benches, English Winners

Champions League: Deep Pockets, Deep Benches, English Winners

Sports
That is possible, of course. Make no mistake: Chelsea and Manchester City most definitely are better teams than Real Madrid and Paris St.-Germain. They are more complete, more coherent, smarter, fitter, better drilled. But at this level, among the handful of the greatest teams in world soccer, there is no such thing as a vast difference. There are only fine margins.That is what Pep Guardiola, the Manchester City coach, meant on Tuesday night when he said that there can be “something in the stars” in the Champions League. Strange things happen. The best team does not win. The dice roll. Games and destinies hinge on the merest details: a stroke of luck, a narrow offside, a player slipping as he takes a penalty.It is Guardiola’s job, of course, to do all he can to make sure his team is not su...
At Real Madrid, the Champions League Can Still Slip Away

At Real Madrid, the Champions League Can Still Slip Away

Sports
Why he was prepared to do that can, in part, be gleaned from Real Madrid’s balance sheet. The club is drowning in debt, behind on its salary bill — another six-monthly installment of player salaries is due on June 30 — and hamstrung by the costs of renovations to its stadium, the Bernabéu. There is a loan from Providence, a global private equity fund, to pay back. There are transfer fees outstanding. Real Madrid, put simply, needed the money.But Pérez’s rationale can be seen, too, in the identity of those teams hoping to beat Real Madrid to the Champions League trophy in Istanbul next month: Chelsea, underwritten by the private wealth of a Russian billionaire, Roman Abramovich; Manchester City, turned into a contender by its state backers in Abu Dhabi; Paris St.-Germain, the team that boug...