Friday, December 10, 2021

Premier League in Europe

Champions League

Chelsea stumbled in Champions League play, allowing a stoppage time goal to Zenit which tied the match 3-3 and dropped Chelsea to second in their qualifying group. As a second-place finisher, Chelsea will face one of the top seeded group winners. Chelsea cannot be selected to face any Premier League teams or Juventus which won Chelsea’s group. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Ajax, and Lille thus constitute the knockout round possibilities for the Blues. Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United had all clinched their top spots before the week’s action and took the opportunity to rest key starters in their final group matches. Liverpool still finished the group stage in style by winning a sixth group match, the first English club ever to do so. Manchester City lost 2-1 to an RB Leipzig side which qualified for Europa League with the win. Manchester United drew 1-1 with Young Boys, a club which had embarrassingly defeated the Red Devils in their first matchup. The draw to determine pairings for the next stage of Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League will be Monday, December 13.

Europa and Conference League

West Ham were 1-0 losers to Dinamo Zagreb in a Europa League contest which had no implications for the Hammers and one in which David Moyes took opportunity to rest his key front-line players. West Ham advances to the next round as group winner. Leicester will not be advancing. The Foxes dropped a 3-2 decision to Napoli and accordingly will drop down to the Europa Conference League playoffs. Following the embarrassing early exit from the Europa League, Brendan Rodgers was frank in post-match comments where he admitted his unfamiliarity with the third-tier competition the Foxes will now find themselves in. Tottenham Hotspur’s Europa Conference League group match with Rennes, meanwhile, was postponed due to a coronavirus outbreak impacting the north Londoners. 


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