Champions League roundup: Arsenal stunned, Dortmund, Real Madrid qualify

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On a goal-crazy Tuesday in the UEFA Champions League there was plenty of drama.

Arsenal gave up a 3-0 lead to draw with Belgian minnows Anderlecht, while Basel and Borussia Dortmund recorded resounding wins, the latter to seal a spot in the knockout rounds.

There were tense clashes in Turin as Madrid with the home teams both victorious as reigning champions Real are through to the last 16. 

Below is a roundup of what happened in all eight games, as we are now entering the nitty-gritty of the UCL group stage.

[RELATED: UCL news | standings |  schedule]


Malmo 0-2 Atletico Madrid

Last years runners up ground out a win in Sweden as Koke put Diego Simeone’s men ahead, then Garcia added a second. Atletico are giving themselves a good chance to advance from Group A after a tough start.

Juventus 3-2 Olympiacos

Andrea Pirlo scored a stunner to put Juve ahead but Botia equalized for the Greeks in a tense first half. After the break Delivin Ndinga put Olympiacos 2-1 up but a crazy two-minute spell saw an own goal from Roberto which made it 2-2 then Paul Pogba scored to put the hosts ahead. Crucial win for the Old Lady.


Real Madrid 1-0 LiverpoolRECAP

Karim Benzema scored the only goal but Real could have had plenty of others as Brendan Rodgers rested several starters for Liverpool. The Reds showed plenty of guile but are now three points behind Basel and have it all to do to advance to the last 16.

Basel 4-0 Ludogorets

Goals from Embolo, Gonzalez, Gashi and Suchy handed the Swiss side a comfortable win at home as they  take command of second place in Group B ahead of Liverpool. Basel welcome Real Madrid to St Jakob Park next.


Benfica 1-0 Monaco

A first win for Portuguese giants Benfica as Talisca scored in the 82nd minute to keep their hopes of advancing well and truly alive. Tight game. Huge win.

Zenit 1-2 Bayer LeverkusenRECAP

Son scored twice to put Leverkusen in a commanding position in Russia, and the German outfit held on despite Rondon’s late goal to go top of Group C. Massive win.


Arsenal 3-3 AnderlechtRECAP

If Arsenal would have beat Anderlecht on Tuesday, the Gunners would have been through to the last 16. Mikel Arteta scored a penalty kick, then Alexis Sanchez added another in the first half before Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain made it 3-0. But then the Belgians pulled two goals back through Anthony Vanden Borre and Mitrovic stunned the Emirates with a late equalizer. Arsene Wenger was not a happy man.

Borussia Dortmund 4-1 Galatasaray

Marco Reus scored five minutes before half time and Sokratis Papastathopoulos added a second for Dortmund before Solta made it 2-1. Late goals from Ciro Immobile and an own goal gave Dortmund the easy win and put them in the last 16.

Rumored Neymar for Bale swap: Who wins?

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Who would gain more of an advantage from the rumored, sensational Gareth Bale for Neymar swap: Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid?

Both players are currently problems for their clubs, though neither is known as a true rabble-rouser; Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane wants to be done with the newly-minted 30-year-old Bale, while PSG knows Neymar wants to leave and would love to satiate Kylian Mbappe’s appetite to be the man at their club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

Presumably some money would be headed PSG’s way in addition to Bale, and both clubs would be getting a motivated megawatt star.

Neymar doesn’t turn 28 until February, but the difference in age may be offset by the Brazilian’s track record of injuries.

In fact, his injury status last season combines with an off-field accusation of sexual assault and a red card for confronting a fan to overshadow his production: Neymar’s 23 goals and 13 assists in just over 2300 minutes last season, including five and two in the Champions League (and a goal and an assist against defensively-stout Liverpool).

Bale presents very few personality challenges, and PSG won’t have a problem with his massive wages (especially with Neymar off the books). His numbers have dipped in two of three seasons since his otherworldly 2015-16, but La Liga is a more difficult scoring league than Ligue 1.

Neymar has twice been a Ballon d’Or finalist and, presuming his legal troubles don’t persist, could be a title fight changer in La Liga. Imagine the Neymar, Eden Hazard, and Luka Jovic trying to outgun Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann, and Luis Suarez? Insane.

We’d say Real would be winning the straight-up swap, and that it’s pretty unlikely to go down that way. So it depends what PSG does with the relative Financial Fair Play freedom that would come with the money that also arrives from Spain. Is it Idrissa Gana Gueye? Someone else who helps take PSG’s Champions League hopes to the next level?

Manchester United in ‘concrete talks’ with Lille over Pepe

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Manchester United are reportedly in “concrete talks” to agree a fee with Lille for much-tracked playmaker Nicolas Pepe.

The 24-year-old attacking midfielder has been linked with Liverpool and Arsenal amongst others, and Lille has admitted he’ll be leaving the club.

[ REPORT: Man Utd, Leicester agree Maguire fee ]

United’s reported salvo was around $87.5 million. He’d give them a star who could play across from Anthony Martial or as an attacking midfielder under Romelu Lukaku.

Only Kylian Mbappe and Teji Savanier garnered better season-long ratings than Pepe in the 2018-19 Ligue 1 campaign, and Pepe’s 22 goals and 11 assists stand out from the pack. Only Mbappe had more goals and only Savanier more assists.

Pepe has four goals in 11 caps for the Ivory Coast, and made three starts in Les Elephants’ five-match run at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations. He’s a fit for the Premier League, and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer‘s system. And if the Red Devils can keep him from Liverpool, well, all the better we’re sure.

Report: Manchester United, Leicester agree to monster Maguire fee

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Manchester United and Leicester City have agreed a fee for Harry Maguire, clearing the way for the English center back to join the Old Trafford set.

That fee is a whopping $100 million, according to Bleacher Report’s Dean Jones. That’s about $4 million more than the world record for a defender, set when Liverpool purchased Virgil Van Dijk from Southampton.

[ MORE: USMNT CB to West Ham? ]

Maguire has been a statistical monster for Leicester City, and he passes the eye test, too.

Manchester United has needed to upgrade its stable of center backs for some time, and now the biggest question is who will work best alongside the 6-foot-4 26-year-old.

The former Sheffield United, Wigan Athletic, and Hull City defender is now 20-times capped by England.

The move could have a ripple effect on the Premier League, as the Foxes have been expected to bid for Burnley star James Tarkowski should Maguire leave the King Power Stadium.

Transfer rumor roundup: USMNT’s Long to London, Newcastle linked with pair

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Could USMNT center back Aaron Long be headed to the Premier League?

The 26-year-old could join West Ham United’s stable of center backs, which includes Issa Diop, Fabian Balbuena, and Angelo Ogbonna.

Sky Sports says that the Red Bulls defender has drawn the interest of Lyon and Fiorentina, but been offered to the Irons should they match his $5 million release clause.

Unable to find a place with Portland and Seattle, Long spent a few seasons in the USL before earning a place with RBNY.

Now 11-times capped by the USMNT with two goals, Long could be bringing his talents to London’s Olympic Stadium.

Elsewhere in the Premier League, Newcastle United has the chance to sign oft-injured Danny Welbeck on a free transfer.

The longtime Arsenal striker, weaned at Manchester United, scored five times in 12 matches last season in a return to injury woes following a 43-match season the prior year.

Newcastle is also being linked with a former defender. James Tavernier has gone on to captain Glasgow Rangers, and the 27-year-old would cost around $10 million.

Surely Steven Gerrard would want more for the defender, but prices haven’t met quality for Scottish Premiership players as we’ve seen with Kieran Tierney at Celtic.