Savage Balls: Manchester City Should Breaks The Rules, Chelsea Buy Success And Liverpool Didn’t Win
TALKING Balls: The BBC’s football expert Robbie Savage is talking about Manchester City in the Daily Mirror.
Robbie Savage column: Arsenal, Liverpool and Man City can forget Champions League Final win already
One game into the Champions’ League and Savage delivers a rousing speech that only Chelsea should bother turning up for the tournament’s remaining games.
Best league in the world or not, the opening statements from England’s clubs in the Champions League this week were an embarrassment.
Arsenal were poor in Dortmund. The Germans were last season’s semi-finalists, losing unluckily to eventual winners Real Madrid. Liverpool won at home. Manchester City were undone by a cruel and very late deflection at the mighty Bayern Munich. And Chelsea drew at home.
Already I can say, with some conviction, that Chelsea are the only English club equipped to win the European Cup this season.
Before getting to his point (creating a to-deadline opinion), Savage showcases his encyclopaedic knowledge of European football:
Liverpool? They scraped past Ludogorets, a Bulgarian club nobody had ever heard of before last month and which was only founded 13 years ago.
Well, you’re the expert.
But to City, whom, we suppose the Bulgarian equivalent of Savage hadn’t heard of until a couple of years ago:
Manchester City are my biggest worry. Bayern Munich were missing several key players on Wednesday night, but only Joe Hart stopped it being a cricket score in the Allianz Arena.
But why didn’t City prevail?
In my opinion, they are not going to win the Champions League because they rested on their laurels while rivals have strengthened their squads.
They should have spent more money?
On Sunday, City and Chelsea meet in the Premier League at the Etihad. It’s too early in the season to call it a title six-pointer, but it may highlight the difference in transfer market activity over the summer.
Well, yes. Chelsea spent big, as usual. And Ciiy were stymied by Financial Fairplay Rules.
Chelsea invested heavily in the spine of their team, bringing in Costa and Cesc Fabregas and reclaiming Thibaut Courtois from his loan spell at Atletico Madrid.
City? They offloaded Alvaro Negredo without replacing him, which was very surprising.
Yes. Very surprising, Robbie.
What does City’s manager Manuel Pellegrini have to say for himself? This (which he said days before City lost in Munich and Savage dictated his column):
Pellegrini said the biggest factor was the sanction UEFA placed on City, who were fined £49m, limited to a £49m net spend this summer and saw their Champions League squad cut from 25 to 21 players.
They are allowed to name 17 non-homegrown players in their Premier League squad but just 16 in their European side and Pellegrini suggested Negredo would have been the foreigner to miss out.
“The decision for Alvaro Negredo to go was [made for] two very important reasons,” Pellegrini said. “The first was that we have the restriction for the number of the players we can use in the Champions League.
“We have one player more that we cannot use: in this case Alvaro, who was injured, so that was the player who was not going to be on the [squad] list. For him, it was very important because he wanted to go back to Spain so I thought it was the best decision for the club but it all starts from the restriction about the number of players. We have restrictions about the amount of players and the money we can spend.”
Oh. So it wasn’t City being stupid. It was rules. You know, rules that make sport what it is…