When major football leagues (EPL, La Liga, Seria A, and Bundesliga) resumed; fans got their tint of hope of possible Champions league resumption. Although the date of resumption was announced by UEFA 3 months ago, the feeling of ‘it’s finally here!’ can’t be really shaken off.
After a five-months hiatus due to the global pandemic, the UEFA Champions League and Europa League resume August 7th, 2020 in order to play out the pending matches of this troubled season.
However, things would take a different shape. UEFA set out two mini competitions to solved the puzzle of travelling amidst the pandemic. Uncompleted round of 16 matches would be played out in host stadiums on 7th and 8th of August. Then from 12th August, all roads lead to Lisbon, Portugal where quarter-final matches would be played in knockout form. Oops, no home and away.
Here’s a timeline of UEFA Champions League activities:
7-8 August: Round of 16-second legs (host home stadiums)
12-15 August: Quarter-finals (Lisbon)
18-19 August: Semi-finals (Lisbon)
23 August: Final (Estádio do Sport Lisboa e Benfica, Lisbon)
So put on your soccer shoes, yank out the popcorn and enjoy. Major round of 16 ties includes:
Barcelona vs Napoli: It was honors when this two first met in a 1-1 draw at Naples. The Spanish giants would be at home advantage when they host Napoli at the Camp Nau
Manchester City vs Real Madrid: Current Spanish champions fell at home to City in the firs encounter. They face an uphill task coming back against Gurdiola’s men at the Etihad.
Juventus vs Lyon: Lyon leads 1-0 in this encounter. The men from Turin would be better prepared to host their opponent who play away this time around.
Bayern vs Chelsea: This is perhaps the center of attention. With Chelsea trailing 3-0 from the first leg; it’s looking bleak for the Blues when they finally face Bayern in Germany.
It’s really juicy as it sounds, we can’t wait! You can latch unto the action by subscribing yourGOtv, DStv, or Startimes now. Don’t be told of what’s going down. And when you’re not watching football, relax into the drama of the on-going Big Brother Naija Season 5!
The past three months have been horrible for the world of football due to the global pandemic. The king of sports was suspended in many leagues globally, pending the die down of Coronavirus, and fans just can’t wait for its resumption.
Our fight over Covid-19 took a winning edge two months back, enough to allow the resumption of minor economic activities as well as sports world over. Since then, football fans have been looking over their shoulders expectantly.
Major leagues are officially scheduled to resume at several dates in the month of June! German Bundesliga officially resumed on May 16 and gave everyone a headstart of what to expect from post-pandemic football:
How Football might be different post-pandemic
No fans in the stands. Football resumption would see matches been played behind closed doors. Only players, team staffs, technical people, news crews, police, stadium workers, and a few others would be allowed into stadiums on match days.
Sanitization before substitution. It’s weird but players coming into an on-going game might have to sanitize themselves before stepping on the pitch. The usual hand-claps or embraces between the out-going and incoming players would stop for now.
Wearing face marks. The opening derby between Borussia Dortmund and Schalke had players on the bench putting on face masks and sitting two feet away from each other. This protective measure can equally apply to other leagues upon resumption.
Solo goal celebration. Goals make football and celebrating them adds to the fun. However, players may be advised to keep from touch/contact styles of celebration as seen from Haaland’s goal against Schalke.
Official Resumption dates of Major Leagues
Now to the main gist, here are dates of football resumption for the top 3 European leagues:
Known as the king of European football, the EPL is set to return on June 17 with a heavyweight match in the offing: Manchester City Vs Arsenal! Eyebrows are raised as to how the first EPL match after over 90 days would look like.
Liverpool FC is top of the table and with just 3 wins away from the trophy, the famous league action is set to focus more on the adrenaline run among clubs for top four Championship League qualification!
Spanish La Liga Santander
Favorite among lovers of technical gameplay, La Liga would make an earlier return than the EPL. The famous, hotly contested derby match between Real Betis and Sevilla would restart the league on June 11.
Defending champions Barcelona are two points ahead of Real Madrid at the top of the table with 11 matches remaining.
The top-4 quest is tighter than ever this season with Real Sociedad, Sevilla, Getafe, and Athletico de Madrid all punching hard for a place in 2021 Champions League!
Italian Seria A
Everyone would understand if Seria A authorities decide to terminate the unfinished 2019/20 season, but that’s not the case. Lovers of tactical defensive football can smile with relief as Seria A action would return on 20th June.
The announcement was made by the country’s sports minister, Vincenzo Spadafora. With leaders Juventus just one point clear second-placed Lazio, there are still a lot of title-claiming actions to see.
UEFA Champions League
We decided to save the best for the last. While fans of different leagues are excited at the return of their favorite football, all eyes are itching to see the completion of the top-flight competition.
When Athletico de Madrid performed a stunt against Liverpool at Anfield in a match that saw them win 3-2, fans simply knew the 2019/2020 Champions League was set to provide top entertainment in the final rounds.
We would have to wait longer as UEFA announced that the Champions League would likely resume on August 7-8.
The French Ligue Un was ended with PSG announced winners while the Dutch Eredivisie was named null: no winners, no relegations.
To catch all of the footballing actions returning, subscribe your GOtv, DStv, or StarTimes decoder. Don’t wait to be told of the showdowns.
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Chelsea receives thrashing at home
For their very first match, Chelsea receives a brutal 3-2 defeat at the hands of Burnley FC. Sean Dyche, the manager of the winning club, proves that last year’s failure does not limit this year’s success. But more than this, many have hinged on this defeat saying it is more of a sign that Antonio Conte has lost his victory formula, and he is gone from being the fierce Teflon Don manager to being an unrecognisable complacent coach. Thibaut Courtois justifies this defeat, though, as a consequence of freak absences. By freak absences, he meant the shocking red cards flagged up for captain Gary Cahill and Cesc Fabregas. Diego Costa’s so-called exile can also be included as a resultant factor. This sped up the victory of Burnley, getting Chelsea off to a humiliating start.
All credit, however, goes to Marcus Alonso, the daring defender who brought the double to fruition. He is indeed the man of the moment. And his win is even more endearing against his unpleasant background. He was considered a mere glitch in Real Madrid. And most thought he didn’t have the guts of a Chelsea player.
This perception of him, however, is about to fizzle out. If it already has not faded away by now. While he only created goals in the past, taking little credits here and there, he has come upfront to being an indispensable scorer. The twist to this is that talks of his being replaced by other high profile players, specifically Juventus’ Alex Sandro and Tottenham’s Danny Rose had pervaded the air. But with the stunt he pulled against the Spurs, Conte will have to rethink the decision of dispensing with him. Or even forget he ever thought about it.
The new ‘unstoppable’ for this Premier League
Stunning 4-0 victories in two consecutive games! Call it chance games, call it sheer luck, however way you decide to see it, this is definitely worth calling remarkable. If you have been in tune with the Super Sports channels on your DStv, GOtv and Startimes decoders, you would relate to the fact that Manchester United are digging deep for the title this season in more dynamic ways than expected. Not only have they demonstrated athletic acumen in their games against West Ham United and Swansea FC, they have also discovered new premier league goalscorers.
THOSE WHO MADE IT HAPPEN
Paul Pogba has been described the man of these matches, even joining the exclusive list of Manchester United’s exceptional scorers who ended one season with a goal, and the very next with a goal too (as seen in his stunning goal in the match against West Ham). Another is Anthony Martial, who has started out on an excellent note this season by scoring two goals in two games. New upstart he may be, but he seems to be blending well on the field with the likes of Romelu Lakaku and Paul Pogba. It was their rueful synergy that offset the three goals produced in just four minutes at the Swansea’s Liberty Stadium.
Another is Anthony Martial, who has started out on an excellent note this season by scoring two goals in two games. He seems to be blending well on the field with the likes of Romelu Lakaku and Paul Pogba. It was their awesome synergy that offset the three goals produced in just four minutes at the Swansea’s Liberty Stadium. While Jose Mourinho insists that Marcus Rashford still has to learn how to adapt to difficult situations and hostile treatments from rival fans, it is evident that the young chap has gotten off to an impressive start this season.
Jose Mourinho has a lot to boast about his shrewd choices and bargains in the pre-season market. The inclusion of new players like Nemanja Matic, Romelu Lakaku and Victor Lindelof has proven to be quite tactical moves. Romelu Lakaku, on his part, is a perfect example of how a faithful never strays far from his master. During Mourinho’s stay at Chelsea, he was an abiding presence before he was transferred to Everton. Now back with Mourinho in Manchester United, he is proving to be just the striker that Manchester United needs. It would indeed appear that Manchester United is the new unstoppable for this English Premier League.
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