THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Peerless Paul Pogba, hapless PSG and sloppy City

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Paul Pogba was in imperious form against the Swiss side. (AFP)
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Updated 20 September 2018
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THINGS WE LEARNED FROM THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE: Peerless Paul Pogba, hapless PSG and sloppy City

After the first round of Champions League matches we look at the main talking points from club football’s biggest competition.

PSG WILL NOT WIN THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE THIS SEASON

This is the one tournament the French club want to win, they are virtually assured of winning 
Ligue 1 year after year and in the glamor stakes the French top-flight does not quite cut it. Qatar has thrown a lot of cash at the capital club and in return PSG have some great players to thrill the fans — Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe make one heck of a front three. But while they have great individuals they do not have much of a team. The side’s 3-2 defeat at Liverpool highlighted everything that is wrong about the moneybags side, the attackers allowed to drift wherever they want, without much purpose and end result. The scoreline flattered the French side, make no mistake about it, Liverpool won at a canter. PSG get away with it in French football, but come the tough examinations in Europe they will get found out time and again.


POGBA SENDS A MESSAGE TO MOURINHO

If reports are to be believed it would seem Jose Mourinho has a fairly frosty relationship with Paul Pogba. It has been rumored that the Frenchman is keen to leave Manchester United and that the Portuguese boss would not do much to persuade him to stay. But on the evidence of Pogba’s performance in United’s 3-0 win at Young Boys in Switzerland Mourinho would be well advised to do everything in his power to keep the midfield maestro. The 25-year-old dominated the clash and showed exactly why he is, on his day, the best midfielder on the planet. He scored twice, to now give him four goals in six matches, having managed six last season for the club and nine in the previous campaign. His opener at Young Boys saw him make a run from midfield to near the area before a brilliant left-foot finish soared into the back of the net. Mourinho praised his captain after the match and will doubtless set about trying to prise that sort of performance from his main man week in, week out.


CITY ARE LESS THAN SLICK

Having coasted to the Premier League title last season, breaking numerous records along the way, City were favorites to win the Champions League this year. But one game in, a shock defeat at home to Lyon, and there appear to be cracks in the side. The 2-1 loss was a huge shock and for once the slick passing and ability to create chances galore were noticeable by their absence. Once they fell behind, Pep Guardiola’s men looked as if they could not think on their feet, unable to work out why they were not brushing aside a team that have failed to challenge for the French title for several years. It is only one match, but as starts to a campaign go, it could not have gone much worse.

 


‘Media coverage fuels racism’: Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling

Updated 56 min 56 sec ago
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‘Media coverage fuels racism’: Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling

  • Two screenshots were posted on Sterling’s Instagram account highlighting contrasting coverage of young City teammates buying properties
  • On Instagram, Sterling only briefly touched on Saturday’s incident at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium when a man appeared to aggressively hurl abuse at him

MANCHESTER: British newspapers are helping to “fuel racism” with their portrayal of black footballers, Manchester City winger Raheem Sterling said on Sunday as police investigate whether he was racially abused during a Premier League match at Chelsea.
Two screenshots were posted on Sterling’s Instagram account highlighting contrasting coverage of young City teammates buying properties.
When Tosin Adarabioyo bought a house the headline in January called it a “mansion” and highlighted that the purchase was made despite the player “having never started a Premier League match.” There was more positive coverage of Phil Foden, who is white, buying a house for his mother also for around £2 million ($2.5 million).
“This young black kid is looked at in a bad light. Which helps fuel racism an(d) aggressive behavior,” Sterling wrote on Instagram. “So for all the newspapers that don’t understand why people are racist in this day and age all I have to say is have a second thought about fair publicity and give all players an equal chance.”
Sterling called the coverage “unacceptable.”
“You have two young players starting out their careers both play for the same team, both have done the right thing,” Sterling wrote, “which is buy a new house for their mothers who have put in a lot of time and love into helping them get where they are, but look at how the newspapers get their message across for the young black player and then for the young white player.”
The 24-year-old Sterling has had an uneasy relationship with the media, with critical coverage before the World Cup in Russia of his decision to get a tattoo of an assault rifle on his right leg. He said it was a tribute to his late father, who was shot dead when Sterling was 2.
On Instagram, Sterling only briefly touched on Saturday’s incident at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge stadium when a man appeared to aggressively hurl abuse at him as the ball was being retrieved on the byline. Police are reviewing footage that circulated widely online during City’s 2-0 loss.
“I just want to say, I am not normally the person to talk a lot but when I think I need my point heard I will speak up,” Sterling wrote. “Regarding what was said at the Chelsea game, as you can see by my reaction I just had to laugh because I don’t expect no better.”
The previous weekend in the Premier League, a banana skin was thrown at Arsenal striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang as he celebrated scoring against Tottenham in the Premier League’s north London derby.
English soccer’s anti-racism organization, Kick It Out, complained Sunday that the chairmen of the Premier League, Football Association and Chelsea had not spoken out about the alleged abuse faced by Sterling.
“It has to be dealt with at the top,” Kick It Out chairman Herman Ouseley said. “We do not have any leadership at the top of the game to speak out, they rely on Kick It Out.”
A Chelsea spokesman said: “We’re aware of reports and video footage. We will investigate the matter and take the strongest possible action where necessary.”
The Metropolitan Police said no arrests had been made but they were also looking at the incident.
“We are aware of a video circulating online in which it is claimed racial abuse was allegedly directed at a player at a Chelsea v Manchester City game at Stamford Bridge on Saturday, December 8,” the police said in a statement.
“We will review the footage to determine whether any offenses have been committed.”