PSG might have wished for anyone but Barcelona especially over two legs as the Spaniards appeared to have found their misplaced mojo.
In Carlo Ancelotti, the French club do possess one of the best tactical minds in world football and a man who has intimate experience in this competition. PSG also posses the one ingredient that Barca fear most and that is pace. Ezequiel Lavezzi has settled well into Parisian life and is a deadly finisher and then there is the revenge factor.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic believes that he was run out of the Camp Nou during his brief stay in the Catalan capital while Thiago Motta is probably still smarting after falling victim to Sergio Busquets oscar winning performance in 2010 that saw him see red in their epic semi-final in Spain.
If there is a doubt about PSG it could be a lack of strong leaders when the going gets tough and trust me, it will.
All eyes will be on Lionel Messi as the Argentine continues to add superlatives after his name. One truly wonders what he’s going to do next however the worry must be what the team will do if he has one of his rare off days.
Barca do not look secure at the back and against a counter-attacking PSG, they’ll be more than a few nervous moments. Victor Valdes could be the key and overlooked man in this entire equation. The Barca keeper is capable of the exceptional and he’ll need to maintain absolute concentration throughout the 180 minutes.
Royalty or the pretenders…?
Pellegrini says announcing departure was mistake; Won’t jump into job
“After Guardiola said he was coming to England it was my decision [to go public] because all the media was talking about Guardiola here, Guardiola in Arsenal, Guardiola in Manchester United,” he told The Guardian.
“It was not fair for all managers – when everyone knew he was coming here. If I ask if I would do that again… I have some doubts.”
Pellegrini said the announcement didn’t make it difficult for him, but for his players.
The Argentine also said he’ll wait for an interesting job to come calling, and that he could be done managing forever if such an opportunity doesn’t present itself. That said, we think he’ll find a job that’s to his liking given this comment:
“Of course, I would miss it. The challenge keeps me alive.”
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup hits the third round on Wednesday, with NASL teams entering the fray and at least one fourth-tier or lower side guaranteed to advance to face MLS competition.
The USASA had three teams win second round matches, and two will face each other on Wednesday. The L.A. Wolves knocked off the USL’s Orange County Blues, while L Maquina FC handed the NPSL’s Sacramento Gold an ouster. They will tangle for the right to a high-profile match-up with the L.A. Galaxy.
We’ll also see NASL vs. USL geographical rivalries when Carolina faces Charlotte and Rayo OKC meets Oklahoma City.
Wednesday’s third round matches Chattanooga FC (NPSL) vs. Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)
Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) vs. Richmond Kickers (USL)
Jacksonville Armada (NASL) vs. Charleston Battery (USL)
New York Cosmos (NASL) vs. Jersey Express (PDL)
Carolina RailHawks (NASL) vs. Charlotte Independence (USL)
Miami FC (NASL) vs. Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)
Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) vs FC Cincinnati (USL)
Rochester Rhinos (USL) vs. Lansdowne Bhoys FC (USASA)
Indy Eleven (NASL) vs. Louisville City FC (USL)
Saint Louis FC (USL) vs. Minnesota United (NASL)
Rayo OKC (NASL) vs Oklahoma City Energy (USL)
Des Moines Menace (PD) vs. San Antonio FC (USL)
Arizona United (USL) vs. Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)
La Maquina (USASA) vs. L.A. Wolves (USASA)
Kitsap Pumas (PDL) vs. Sacramento Republic (USL)
Mata, 28, has been a consistent performer for United, but will his reunion with Mourinho be short-lived? It’s easy to imagine both as ready to move on and Barcelona could be an option if that happens.
Mundo Deportivo says Barcelona could make a bid of close to $40 million in order to help the midfield continue to tick. Mata was a key part of United’s possession-based approach under Louis Van Gaal, and as a player really does fit the bill of a Mourinho-minded mid.
We’re just hoping that if Mata moves, he doesn’t switch anywhere that would change his English language blog posts.