Analysis: Arsenal, Manchester City handed tough Champions League draw

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Following the draw for the 2014-15 UEFA Champions League group stage on Thursday, fans of Arsenal and Manchester City will be feeling particularly hard done by.

For the second straight season both sides were handed tough draws and will face German giants to make it through to the knockout stages.

[FULL DRAW: Champions League group stage]

Manchester City were perhaps dealt the worst hand as they face Bayern Munich (again), CSKA Moscow (again) and then travel to Italy to face AS Roma. Ouch.

As for Arsenal, the Gunners will face Borussia Dortmund for the third time in the last four seasons at the group stage, while Turkish giants Galatasaray and tricky Belgian outfit Anderlecht stand in their way. Not disastrous, but not too great. The other two English clubs got off pretty lightly as Chelsea will face Schalke, Sporting Lisbon and Maribor. As for Liverpool, back in the UCL for the first time since 2009-10, they get reigning Champions Real Madrid, plus fairly negotiable ties against FC Basel and Ludogorets.

[RELATED: Latest Champions League news]

Let’s break down Arsenal and Man City’s groups below, and try to lift the optimism levels surrounding those clubs.

Arsenal

As we mentioned, the Gunners will face Dortmund for the third time in the last four UCL group stages and they have enjoyed a mixed bag of results against Jurgen Klopp’s side. Last season they lost to Dortmund 2-1 at home but then went to the Westfalenstadion and won 1-0. In 2011-12, Arsenal drew away 1-1 at Dortmund and beat them 2-1 at the Emirates in another narrow series. Expect these two to be battling it out for the top spot but heading to Turkey to play Galatasaray is no easy task. The Istanbul club have Cesare Prandelli in charge and have Wesley Sneijder as the playmaker in a hugely talented side.

Anderlecht should be the whipping boys, but who knows. A tough, tough group for the Gunners to negotiate. They would have expected an easier go at things after being a top seed and given the fact that Olivier Giroud is out injured until January at least, will Arsene Wenger go and spend big money on a striker to make sure they get through the UCL group stages? He probably should.

Group D: Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, Galatasaray, Anderlecht

source: Reuters
Bayern and Man City collide for the second-straight season in the UCL.

Manchester City

The Citizens have only ever been in the UEFA Champions League for the last three seasons. Every time they have been handed a tough draw. In 2011-12 they got Bayern Munich, Napoli and Villarreal and missed out on the knockout stage by one point, then it was Borussia Dortmund, Real Madrid and Ajax in 2012-13 when they were humiliated and finished bottom of the group. Last season they made it out of the group, finally, but had to overcome Bayern Munich, CSKA Moscow and Viktoria Plzen. Bayern beat City 3-1 at the Etihad but the Citizens won 3-2 at the Allianz. Not too shabby. So, for the second-straight season City have Bayern and CSKA. Munich are one of Europe’s powerhouses and have the extra incentive that the final is being played in their home country in Berlin. Pep Guardiola’s side will be the favorites to win this group, while Man City and AS Roma will be expected to push them all the way.

Roma were the real kickers here, as the Italian giants were in the fourth pot and were the team everyone wanted to avoid. One of Europe’s most powerful teams, Italian giants Roma and a tricky trip to Russia awaits City. Not ideal at all for Manuel Pellegrini’s men as they continue their battle against UEFA, both with the Financial Fair Play sanctions and the ridiculously tough groups they keep getting drawn in.

Group E: Bayern Munich, Manchester City, CSKA Moscow, Roma

Leicester City’s Rodgers: Gruesome Ndidi injury could cost him 12 weeks

Ndidi injury
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For every team, there’s an indispensible player and it’s difficult to argue against Leicester City’s player being Wilfred Ndidi.

The groin injury that kept the Nigerian out of Leicester’s 2-0 home loss to Arsenal in the League Cup could require surgery, said Foxes boss Brendan Rodgers after the game.

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One of the game’s top destroyers, Ndidi had played two matches at center back as Leicester opened the season 2-0.

Rodgers could hardly have made the injury sound more painful.

From The Leicester Mercury:

“We’re just waiting to hear more on that but it could be anything between six and 12 weeks,” Rodgers said. “It’s a groin abductor which may have come off the bone, which is quite a nasty one. We’re waiting to see if he needs an operation or not. If he does, it will be at least 12 weeks.”

Leicester missed Ndidi for five-of-six games in early 2020 and went 2D-3L, starting a skid that ended up costing them Champions League football.

The 23-year-old already has 34 caps for Nigeria.

The Foxes have Nampalys Mendy, Hamza Choudhury, and Daniel Amartey amongst their defensive midfield options.

They next face Man City, West Ham, Aston Villa, and Arsenal in Premier League play. Leicester will learn its Europa League group on Oct. 2 before beginning its UEL run the week of Oct. 22.

Champions League: Six-goal thriller in Norway; Marsch’s Salzburg lead

Champions League qualifying
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The UEFA Champions League qualifying playoff round is delivering entertainment, with six first legs dotting the European landscape over the past 27 hours.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]

American coach Jesse Marsch saw his Red Bull Salzburg take a first leg advantage home from Israel, while U.S. right back Henry Wingo and Molde played the game of the round so far against Hungary’s Ferencvaros.


Maccabi Tel-Aviv 1-2 Red Bull Salzburg

The Austrian visitors were heavy favorites, especially with the hosts dealing with positive COVID-19 tests, but Maccabi took a ninth-minute lead through Dan Biton.

But young Dominik Szoboszlai’s Man of the Match showing began with a goal in the 49th minute and Masaya Okugawan gave Salzburg the lead eight minutes later ahead of next week’s second leg in Austria.

Molde 3-3 Ferencvaros

A thriller in Norway saw the hosts erase a 2-0 deficit only to hand a big away goals advantage to the Hungarian visitors with minutes to play.

Ferencvaros scored early in each half through Franck Boli and Myrto Uzuni. Both goals were set up by Endre Botka and Ferencvaros looked set to cruise through the first leg.

Molde snapped awake through former Manchester United, Cardiff City, and Seattle Sounders man Magnus Wolff Eikrem, who set up Leke James in the 55th minute before scoring a classy goal that was started on the right flank by fellow ex-Sounder and American export Henry Wingo.

Martin Ellingsen gave Molde its first lead in the 83rd, but Ihor Kharatin made it 3-3 four minutes later to send Ferencvaros back to Hungary with three away goals. A draw any less insane would be enough for them to head to the group stage.

Elsewhere

Gent 1-2 Dynamo Kiev
Olympiakos 2-0 Omonia Nicosia
Krasnodar 2-1 PAOK
Slavia Prague 0-0 Midtjylland

Second legs

Sept. 29
Ferencvaros v Molde
Dynamo Kiev v Gent
Omonia v Olympiakos

Sept. 30 
Midtjylland v Slavia Prague
PAOK v Krasnodar
Red Bull Salzburg v Maccabi Tel-Aviv

League Cup: Havertz hat trick as Chelsea scores 6, Newcastle hits 7

League Cup scores
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There were few surprises to be found in the League Cup, one day after several eyebrow-raising results in the tournament’s third round.

[ MORE: ProSoccerTalk unfiltered, Week 2 ]


Morecambe 0-7 Newcastle United

The League Two side was absolutely hammered by a Newcastle team who must’ve been read the riot act after a sleepy home loss to Brighton in weekend Premier League action.

It was already 4-0 when Morecambe’s Toumani Diagouraga was sent off. Joelinton scored twice and three players had a goal and an assist (Jamaal Lascelles, Jacob Murphy, and Miguel Almiron).

USMNT defender DeAndre Yedlin started at left back and set up an Isaac Hayden goal, with Matt Ritchie picking up an assist on Newcastle’s sixth of the game. An own goal rounded out the scoring.

A visit to League Two’s Newport County is next, and Steve Bruce’s men would be expected to win and find a spot in December’s quarterfinals. Halcyon days, or something.

Leicester City 0-2 Arsenal

A Christian Fuchs own goal finally helped Arsenal onto the scoreboard, though the Gunners were good money for the win.

The Foxes had an excellent goal mouth clearance from Wes Morgan with about 20 minutes to play, but could not find the equalizer.

Eddie Nketiah grimaced that he didn’t get to tap in the pass that Fuchs directed into his own goal, but got his marker in the 90th.

If Liverpool handles its business against Lincoln City this weekend, the Reds and Gunners will square off twice in four days (or less)

Chelsea 6-0 Barnsley

Kai Havertz scored his first Chelsea goal and hat trick, all assisted by Tammy Abraham, as the Blues made short work of their Championship visitors.

Havertz’s first Chelsea goal was one of two first-half markers and his second iced the contest.

Abraham scored in the 19th minute. Eight minutes later, he let Mount’s pass set Havertz up for a classy snap finish.

Ross Barkley scored in the 49th and Abraham got his second assist of Havertz six minutes later. His third came in the 65th minute and was followed by Havertz leaving the pitch to hand Ben Chilwell a Blues debut.

Chilwell didn’t disappoint, setting up Olivier Giroud for the match’s final goal.

Preston North End 0-2 Brighton

Graham Potter’s rotation allowed some talented players to showcase themselves away to a Championship side.

Alireza Jahanbakhsh and Alexis Mac Allister were the goal scorers as the Seagulls outshot PNE 11-4 to set up a match next week with Manchester United, who they meet this weekend in the PL.

Millwall 0-2 Burnley

As cagey as you’d expect from these two, with the Premier League visitors’ class a bit too much for the Championship’s Lions.

Josh Brownhill and Matej Vydra scored for Sean Dyche’s men with Matthew Lowton and Chris Wood collecting assists.

Burnley will face Man City or Bournemouth in the fourth round.

Fulham 2-0 Sheffield Wednesday

It was as tight as you’d expect from two sides who shared Championship scraps last season.

Aboubakar Kamara and Bobby Reid scored in the first 32 minutes to supply the Cottagers a fourth-round date at West London rivals Brentford in a rematch of the promotion playoff final.

Americans Tim Ream and Antonee Robinson both went the distance in the win.

Stoke City 1-0 Gillingham

The Championship side had all of the ball and the only goal, as Tyrese Campbell’s 37th-minute marker was enough to clinch a visit to either Bristol City or Aston Villa.

Fleetwood Town 2-5 Everton

Carlo Ancelotti’s dominant Toffees suffered a brief scare after building a 2-0 lead through a Richalrison double.

Mark Duffy scored in the 48th before Alex Iwobi restored the two-goal lead.

That’s when Jordan Pickford, well, he messed up.

Fortunately for the Toffees, who out-attempted Joey Barton’s Fisherman by a healthy margin, Bernard scored with 17 minutes left to ease any frayed nerves. Moise Kean finished the scoring off a Niels Nkounkou feed.

Everton faces West Ham at Goodison Park in the fourth round.


Next League Cup third round fixtures

All times ET

Thursday
Bristol City v Aston Villa — 2 pm
Lincoln City v Liverpool — 2:45 pm
Manchester City v Bournemouth — 2:45 pm


Previous third round results

Luton Town 0-3 Manchester United
West Ham United 5-1 Hull City
Newport County 3-1 Watford
West Bromwich Albion 2-2 (4-5 pens) Brentford
Leyton Orient v Tottenham Hotspur — postponed


League Cup fourth round draw

Lincoln City/Liverpool v Arsenal
Burnley v Manchester City/Bournemouth
Brentford v Fulham
EvertonWest Ham United
Bristol City/Aston Villa v Stoke City
Leyton Orient/Tottenham v Chelsea
Newport County v Newcastle United
Brighton and Hove Albion v Manchester United

VIDEO: ProSoccerTalk team unfiltered – Review, preview, Power Rankings and more

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