Tuesday’s soccer news starts in the Premier League. When Chelsea takes the field later today against Brighton (3pm ET – USA), they’ll be playing to keep pace with Liverpool even if they pass them on points to retake 2nd-place. Courtesy of the pandemic postponements, Chelsea will be two games ahead of Liverpool after Tuesday, 23 to 21. 3rd-place Chelsea trails Liverpool by two points after losing at Manchester City and Liverpool’s home win over Burnley.
With most now going ahead and assuming that Manchester City is good for the title with an 11 point lead over Liverpool and 13 points ahead of Chelsea, 2nd-place has become the reasonable target for the Reds and Blues. Well, that and once again showing that a different English club can win the Champions League after City lifts the Premier League trophy.
“We would have never accepted it before, never, but this is the reality now,” Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel said. “Just because it’s like this, not everything is bad. At the moment we are 13 points behind, but we are in a race of a top three. So this is the situation, and from there we go. But I would not have accepted it one year ago, I would not have accepted it four weeks ago, and I did not accept it when we arrived in this situation at City. That is who we are and that is what makes us and I am absolutely comfortable to not accept it, because I work for Chelsea and we play for Chelsea so when we play, we play to win.”
In this era of Premier League dominance, trading the Premier League title for the Champions League has become a trend. It’s the only way to one-up the top team domestically in England, and it’s now happened twice in the last three seasons. In both instances, it was Manchester City winning the league but not Europe. Not at all coincidentally, it was Liverpool lifting the Champions League trophy in 2018-19 and Chelsea doing the same last season.
Liverpool did the old First Division and European Cup double twice, with Manchester United the only team to match that in the Premier League and Champions League era. Manchester City winning five of the last ten Premier League titles hasn’t brought with it the same level of success in Europe. City’s Champions League final loss to Chelsea last season highlighted the incongruity of winning the English title but losing Europe to a club that finished behind them.
As it stands, City knows that they’re 13 points ahead of Chelsea. Should City win at Southampton on Saturday, they would be 14 points ahead of Liverpool but with two extra games played. If Liverpool picks those points up, it’s a far more manageable eight points separating them. That still favors City, but it’s more pressure on the league leaders in pursuit of the Premier and Champions Leagues double.
Moving to the scores, Cameron Carter-Vickers’s Celtic beat Hibernian 2-0 at home in the Scottish Premiership. Daizen Maeda put Celtic up in the 4th and Josip Juranovic converted a 25th minute penalty. Chris Mueller was on the bench for Hibs. Celtic trails 1st-place rangers by three points at the top of the SPL table. Hibernian is in 5th-place.
“We started really well and we were really bright with a good tempo and created a lot of chances,” Celtic manager Ange Postecoglou said. “We were a bit wasteful in front of goal and in the second half we were dominant in terms of creating opportunities but we still had most of the control in the game. There’s a fine balance with the boys not playing in three weeks and being fresh but then looking a bit rusty in some of our passing as well, but hopefully that will improve.”
Also in the soccer news, Everton parted ways with manager Rafa Benitez on Sunday and announced the departure of his coaching staff on Monday. Everton is 16th-place in the table, losing their last two games with three postponements.
FIFA announced that Robert Lewandowski is the winner of this year’s The Best Men’s Player award. FIFA also named its Men’s World 11:
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan/Paris Saint-Germain)
DEF: David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus), Ruben Dias (Manchester City)
MID: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Jorginho (Chelsea), N’Golo Kante (Chelsea)
FOR: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Manchester United), Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain)
Football365’s Ian King asks about Manchester City and entertainment value. The Guardian’s Ben Fisher works through the problems at Reading. MLSsoccer’s Dylan Butler looks at Inter Miami’s roster changes. The Athletic’s Felipe Cardenas interviews Mexico Federation president Yon De Luisa.
WEDNESDAY’S SOCCER TV
Super Lig on beIN Sport: Fenerbahce vs Altay at 12pm. La Liga on ESPN Deportes: Celta Vigo vs Osasuna at 1pm. Cup of Nations on beIN Sport: Guinea-Bissau vs Nigeria at 2pm. Premier League on USA: Leicester City vs Spurs at 2:30pm ET.
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