With the first round of Champions League group stage matches finishing up yesterday, we move on to the Europa League group stage, which has a few teams that make match-ups intriguing. AC Milan take on Austria Wien in their return to Europe, while Arsenal play FC Koln, in their first year without Champions League football in decades. Everton also take on Atalanta, and Athletic Bilbao face Hertha Berlin. While the Europa League is not on the level of the Champions League, it does have some sneaky good matches with some quality teams, so it’s worth checking out.
It was a big night in the Champions League on Wednesday: Manchester City dominated Feyenoord 4-0, Liverpool drew with Sevilla 2-2, and Tottenham beat Dortmund 3-1 behind a Harry Kane brace. On the other side of that matchup was American sensation Christian Pulisic, who got the start for the Germans in the first group stage match of the campaign. While Pulisic and Dortmund had their chances in the game, and even had a Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang goal incorrectly ruled offside, it was not enough against the strength of Spurs. Pulisic did not have a bad match for himself, as he created some chances and was a threat on the left side, but did lament that some calls did not go their way. He also had a response to Alexi Lalas’ USMNT comments, saying he would not lose sleep over them.
Isco has burst on the scene for Real Madrid in a big way, turning in quality performance after another. The 25-year-old midfielder stepped up when Gareth Bale got injured, and now has been rewarded with a contract extension with the Spanish giants, now set until 2022. He also has a €700m release clause (cc: Paris Saint-Germain) and will make an annual salary of €6 million. It’s now time for all of us to cross Isco off our dream signing list, as it appears he is set with the back-to-back European Champions for the next five years, at least.
Something you don’t hear every day: Argentinian Striker Carlos Tevez has been benched indefinitely at Shanghai Shenhua, the top club in the Chinese Super League, because he is “overweight.“ The club’s caretaker manager Wu Jingui has said Tevez will sit until he regains his fitness. Tevez has only scored twice in China in 11 appearances, since moving from Boca Juniors. Tevez is also the world's highest-paid player on £650,000 a week, which is shocking in itself, and has been recovering from a muscle injury in Argentina. Wu also said that Fredy Guarin is overweight and not fit to play.
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