After Arsenal suffered a big 4-0 loss to AC Milan last week, the other remaining English club Chelsea looked abysmal in their 3-1 loss to Napoli yesterday. Chelsea coach Andres Villas-Boas has come under fire as the team has suddenly hit a few snags in the road, staying winless in their last five appearances (0-2-3). With John Terry now facing knee surgery, missing up to six weeks, the Blues are in a tough spot to make a comeback and salvage the Champions League and Premier League.
Interestingly, the start-studded lineup for Chelsea continues to under-perform yet it’s pressure on AVB that continues to grow. The market for superstar players today has changed the way owners and managers handle coaching changes. More often than not, the biggest team’s biggest stars are paid more than their coaching counterparts. When one or more players get into disagreement with their coach, managers are typically forced to replace the coach, as finding the same chemistry among new top-dollar footballers is much more difficult.
Real Madrid is one such case: Portuguese coach Jose Mourhino often rumored to be in opposition with the teams key Spanish captains. With their 1-1 tie at CSKA Moscow, Real Madrid will host the second leg March 14th. Mourhino reports that no matter what the UCL outcome for Madrid, his focus will remain on the La Liga title. Currently 10 points in the lead, the former Porto and Inter Milan coach says that winning La Liga is the best indicator of a good coaching performance.
Enjoy Bayern Munich v. FC Basel today along with Inter Milan at Marseille to close out the first half of the round of 16 in the UEFA Champions League. Bayern will be without star midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger, leaving the door open to Swiss Basel, who knocked out Manchester United in the group stage.
Meanwhile, Inter Milan has had a season of ups and downs and Marseille though starting strong, have fallen off the lead in French Ligue 1, not unlike Inter has fallen to AC Milan in Serie A. Some could say the Champions League has attracted less attention this year, overshadowed by the drama of the English Premier League and absent the bitter rivalries we have come to crave from years past. But at this point, nearly halfway through the first round, the UCL continues to deliver an elite field of teams and fixtures for fans around the world to enjoy.