That was the total number of goals scored in eight matches on a weekend which seemed to see nearly every club go goal insane. Slaven Bilic returned to the club he once represented for a season as their manager in the summer and upon his arrival he was blessed with a host of signings at the peak of their powers, with many perfectly capable of playing in the Champions League.
City are away to Borussia Monchengladbach in the Champions League on Wednesday, but Pellegrini maintains that his side will not lose focus on their domestic ambitions as they bid to achieve European success.
“The competition in the Premier League is like no other“, said Rodgers.
Manchester City also lost their first match to Italian champions Juventus before Arsenal were surprisingly beaten 2-1 by Dinamo Zagreb, with Chelsea being the only English side to triumph following their 4-0 home win over Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“The physicality of this league is like no other”. Players are not machines.
England’s lead in the coefficient table – UEFA’s complex points system, collated over five previous seasons – is down to a little more than four points, 65.659 against 61.605. Furthermore, the last eleven winners of the Champions League have all come from either, Spain, England, Germany or Italy. You only have to read a report about the television money being pumped into the league and do the maths – the substantial, mind-boggling, financial maths – to realise that the Premier League is by a few distance the richest football league in the world.
“Here you play the team that is 17th and it is a tough game“.
“I do feel we are improving”, United midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin said.
A known goal for most Premier League teams is to finish in the top four to be able to qualify for the Champions League. We can solve the problem with other players but not a specialist like Shaw.
The lack of the fourth spot means a huge amount in terms of financial loss (ask Manchester United who lost somewhere between £30m and £60m due to their non-qualification last time), and of course, because of the system, re-gaining that place will naturally prove hard.
Alfred Finnbogason, the Icelandic striker who struck the victor in the Greeks’ 3-2 win believes the European opposition no longer fear the Premier League elite and Arsenal in particular.
“I would not want to be in the Europa League in the current format, that’s for sure”, stated Pardew, in an interview with ESPN.
“We’ve had a good performance now but we know we can be better“.
“We struggled with it at Newcastle and we were not alone in that”.
So who makes it to the team of the week this time around?
As far as Premier League debuts go, I don’t think Kevin Mbabu could have done any better.
Considering the visitors have won just one of their last 18 league games and McClaren himself has secured just two victories in 20 fixtures coming into this clash, everything points to a simple home win.
The Champions League is a great tournament, when it reaches the knockout phases.
So, the stakes are about to get very big for the English clubs in Europe. “They don’t have a rat race in their competition and that is the difference”.