Champions League Round Up: 5 Things We Learned from Today's Fixtures
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These victories are huge, as Manchester City now only trail second place SSC Napoli by a point after they earned a 1-1 draw with group leader Bayern Munich. Wayne Rooney once again came to United's rescue as he converted from the penalty spot twice to help the team claim a 2-0 victory over Otelul Galati.
Scores from all the other fixtures:
CSKA Moscow hosted Trabzonspor in the early game and proved to be too much for the Turkish side as they triumphed with a 3-0 victory.
Self-imploding Inter Milan were able to keep their cool and hang on to a crucial 1-0 away victory over French champions Lille.
Portuguese side Benfica were able to go into Switzerland and upset FC Basel with a 2-0 win.
Real Madrid continued to show its superiority with a 4-0 drubbing of Lyon.
Ajax were able to claim their first win with a 2-0 victory against Dinamo Zagreb. Miralem Sulejmani gave the Amsterdam club the advantage and recently criticized Christian Eriksen was able to secure the three points for Ajax.
Now, let's take a look at what we learned from today's fixtures in Champions League.
5. The Only Team That Can Score Against Bayern Munich Is Bayern Munich
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Bayern Munich's defense has proven to be a brick wall this season. Entering this game, they had only conceded one goal, which was way back in August.
Bayern have proven to be one of Europe's best defensive teams this year. However, they conceded in today's game with Napoli, which ended their 100 percent record in Champions League. To put salt in the wound, that goal happened to be an own goal headed in by Holger Badstuber.
Other than that own goal, Bayern Munich's defense continues to look very impressive with every game they play. They are well-organized and cause the opposition difficulty to create chances.
Clearly, the most likely way to score against Bayern Munich nowadays is by having them score it themselves.
4. Manchester City's Title Hopes Depend on Sergio Aguero
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Coming off the bench as a substitute, Sergio Aguero rescued Manchester City with the game-winning goal in their 2-1 win vs Villareal. The other goal that Manchester City scored happened to be an own goal by Carlos Marchena. Tonight's game showed that Sergio Aguero's health is vital for City's title hopes this season.
With Carlos Tevez nearing a departure from the club, Sergio Aguero will now have to take the load that Tevez carried from the previous season. Aguero is clearly Mancini's best striker in the squad and in order for him to keep his job and win silverware, Sergio Aguero must avoid any long-term injuries this season.
Don't get me wrong, Edin Dzeko and Mario Balotelli are great strikers in their own respect, but in my opinion Sergio Aguero is on a higher level. If Manchester City want to beat teams like Manchester United and Chelsea, Aguero must be a regular in the starting XI for the rest of the season.
3. Eden Hazard Is Even Closer to an Exit from Lille
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Lille's loss to Inter Milan today might be the final nail in the coffin in Eden Hazard's time with the club.
Already three games in, Lille have failed to win and are at the bottom of the group. With their remaining three fixtures, Lille have a small outside chance of making it into the knockout stages of Champions League.
If Lille fail to qualify for Champions League, they may have no choice but to sell their star player in the January transfer window. With clubs like Real Madrid and Arsenal preparing to bid top dollar for the Belgium international, Lille will have to consider parting ways with Eden Hazard.
2. Real Madrid Are the Clear Favorites to Dethrone Barcelona
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Real Madrid once again prove that they are one of the two best clubs in the world, along with FC Barcelona. Real Madrid pounded Lyon today 4-0 with ease and with Barcelona looking to repeat as champions in Champions League, Real Madrid is now the bookmaker's clear favorite club to dethrone Barcelona.
Real Madrid have all the tools to beat Barcelona. They have the strongest squad depth in the Europe, they have world class players in all positions, they have the best manager and tactician in the world and their style of play is a good matchup to beat Barcelona.
If Mourinho and his players stop their dirty tackling and dirty tactics, they can easily dethrone Barcelona and once again claim another European Championship.
1. Manchester City Still Have a Difficult Path to Advance
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Manchester City supporters were finally able to exhale as Sergio Aguero was able to rescue their side with a 2-1 victory. Rather than facing an unlikely chance of qualifying, Manchester City are now one point behind Napoli for second place in the group. However, it does not get any easier from here.
Manchester City have the most of difficult road ahead out of all the other teams in Group A. They now have to travel to Villareal and Napoli before hosting unstoppable Bayern Munich. This is hard to say, but Manchester City are probably the underdog to win any of these games because of their lack of experience in this competition. If they are unable to surpass Napoli, chances are Manchester City will be forced to play in the Europa League for the remainder of the year.
Manchester City may have won today, but they are not out of the woods just yet.