By Tim Stannard
Mourinho facing flack after Champions League fiasco
Thankfully, Tuesday’s dystopian view of the future where Jose Mourinho will reign over the simpering mortals of the world after winning the Champions League will not come to pass. At least not yet.
Sevilla someone pulled off a minor miracle in Old Trafford by inflicting a defeat on Manchester United through cunning tactics such as using the midfield and shooting accurately on goal to see the Red Devils ‘pulling an Arsenal’ and dropping out limply at the last 16 stages.
Unsurprisingly, the world of Wednesday has been less than kind on both United’s performance and also the post-match mood of the Special One, where he pointed out that he was not the first coach to fail on the Old Trafford bench in the Champions League in recent years. “I don't think it's something new for the club,” was the unhelpful comment from Mourinho.
Twitter, normally a place of reasoned debate and supportive comments did not hold back with former player, Rio Ferdinand noting that “if you don’t turn up with the right attitude and don’t apply yourself then you will get beat.” Indeed.
Tune into the XTRA on Wednesday at 7PM ET /4PM PT to see what Christian Vieiri makes of the Old Trafford shenanigans.
Conte looking for a Wednesday wonder in the Camp Nou
So, the question for Wednesday’s big clash between Barcelona and Chelsea is whether this particular round of the Champions League has yet another big shock left in the tank with a Manchester United-style early exit for the Camp Nou club.
The argument for this particular scenario is that Chelsea certainly gave Barca a game in Stamford Bridge in the first leg which ended 1-1. And never, ever, ever bet against an Italian coach in a big game, which is what the English outfit have in the shape of Antonio Conte. But that’s about it.
Todos preparados para mañana!! Força Barça 💪🏻💪🏻💪🏻🔵🔴⚽ pic.twitter.com/grFhryttsl— Andrés Iniesta (@andresiniesta8) March 13, 2018
Barcelona are built not to lose these days, have some more than decent players and Chelsea are quite the unstable ship rocking around on the high seas of football fate. The big tactical question for the game is whether Chelsea will field a proper striker and if Andre Gomes will start for Barcelona ahead of the recovering Andres Iniesta, after the Portuguese revealed that he had been struggling with the psychological pressure of playing at Barca. "It is an act of courage to acknowledge everything that he has acknowledged,” were the encouraging words from Ernesto Valverde.
Wednesday’s second Champions League clash – and final contestt in the last of 16 round – is considerably less tense with Bayern Munich travelling to Turkey to take on Besiktas with a 5-0 lead.
Catch the best of the action with Christian Vieri on the XTRA at 7PM ET / 4PM PT.
League-leading PSG and Juve tackle catch-up games
You there at the back. Yes, you.
It’s not all about Champions League on Wednesday as beIN SPORTS just so happens to be offering up two of the biggest teams in the world on its network today. Both PSG are Juventus are in action in catch-up league games. The Parisians are now a week down the line from losing out in the Champions League to Real Madrid and it’s all about focusing on Ligue Un with a home clash to Angers live at 11:55AM ET / 8:55AM PT on beIN SPORTS and beIN SPORTS CONNECT.
Well. That’s what PSG would like to think. But it’s all about Neymar, really. And the latest is that despite stories that the Brazilian would be returning to La Liga next summer to either Real Madrid for $9 billion or even Barcelona, the man known as Neymar’s Dad has declared that his son is happy to stay with PSG - "Neymar already has a future at PSG. He has a present at PSG." Neymar is in Brazil recovering from foot surgery and has been joined by club president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, to make sure that the Brazilian is not planning another crazy summer scheme.
Away from all things PSG, Juventus are also in action with a Serie A clash against the hipsters’ paradise of Atalanta. A victory for the Old Lady at home would put Juve four points ahead of Napoli in second, a lead that might finally break the spirit of the previous leaders of the standings. However, there was a warning from Juve boss Max Allegri that “we’ve still won nothing.” Juventus against Atalanta is live on beIN SPORTS CONNECT 4 from 12:45PM ET / 9:45AM PT.
Wozniacki out at Indian Wells
There was a bit of a shock at Indian Wells with World number two, Caroline Wozniacki, being bundled out of the tournament in the fourth round after a defeat to Russia's Daria Kasatkina. The defeater of the Dane will now face Angelique Kerber in the quarterfinals.
And yay for Venus Williams who also made the final eight of the women’s bracket with a victory over Latvia's Anastasija Sevastova. The quarterfinals are set to get underway on Wednesday with Simona Halep in action. The men’s round of 16 continues with Roger Federer taking on with Jeremy Chardy
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