The 2023-24 UEFA Champions League is just around the corner with teams eagerly waiting to find out their opponents for this year’s group stage.
Manchester City the defending champions will be looking to retain their title after their victory against Inter Milan in Istanbul back in June
Qualification for the group stage is already well underway with the play offs set to conclude on Wednesday August 30.
Among the teams securing their place in the group stage are Union Berlin who will be making their debut appearance in the competition and Newcastle United returning for the first time since the 2002 03 season Dutch side Feyenoord the winners of Eredivisie last season will also feature in this edition.
The highly anticipated group stage draw for the 2023 24 Champions League will take place on Thursday August 31 in Monaco a day after the play off second leg.
The draw is scheduled to start at 5pm. The draw will consist of four pots with Pot One featuring powerhouses like Manchester City Barcelona Napoli and Paris Saint Germain, Sevilla the winners of the Europa League last season will also be in Pot One. Meanwhile Manchester United and Arsenal are set to be in Pot Two while Newcastle’s pot placement is still undecided. The Magpies could potentially find themselves in a challenging group upon their return to the competition.
Six teams are yet to secure their spot in the group stage as they navigate through the qualifiers.
The first matchday of the 2023-24 Champions League group stage is scheduled to take place on September 19. The group stage will conclude on December 13. The final of the 2024 Champions League will be held at Wembley Stadium on Saturday June 1.
Ramsdale’s Time At Arsenal Coming To An End —Premier League Legend
Premier League legendary American goalkeeper Brad Friedel has said he is certain that Aaron Ramsdale’s time at Arsenal is coming to an end.
Ramsdale has been overlooked for selection in past two games, with summer signing David Raya getting the nod.
The Spanish goalkeeper joined Arsenal from Brentford on a £3million loan deal with a purchase option of £27m.
Gunners boss Mikel Arteta has insisted to the media that he will pick his goalkeeper based on tactical reasons.
But the fact that Raya has started in both the Premier League and now Champions League has many questioning his statements.
One of those is Friedel, who has the third-most appearances of any goalkeeper in Premier League history.
When asked if it’s over for Ramsdale if Raya starts this weekend’s north London derby against Tottenham, the American replied on talkSPORT: “Absolutely.”
“I thought from the second they signed him they signed him to be the new no.1, I don’t think you pay that much money for someone with one year left on their contract, I know he signed an extra contract and went on loan, but that was for other reasons.
“I think they really liked Raya so when he became available they pushed for him.”
“It’s very harsh on Ramsdale but it’s the coach’s decision,” the former Liverpool and Tottenham keeper said.
“I’m assuming Ramsdale at the end of this season will end up having to do what Matt Turner did at the end of the previous season and find another place to play.
“I know it’s early and people will say you have to see what he does, but I think Raya was brought in as the no.1, you thought maybe they could be swapping if they’d played Ramsdale in the Champions League, but that didn’t happen.
“I think we’ll see Raya in goal and he’ll be the incumbent no.1 this season.”
Ramsdale joined Arsenal in the summer of 2021, leaving Sheffield United in a £30m deal.
Last season the 25-year-old almost helped the Gunners to a first league title in almost two decades, which Friedel thinks will see him join another top club where he can play every match
Nigerian United fans blame Ten Hag, Glazers for horrible run
The once mighty Manchester United find themselves 13th in the league ahead of tomorrow’s fixture against Burnley and have lost four of their opening six games of a season in all competitions for the first time since 1986/87 which was the same season that Sir Alex Ferguson was called in to take charge of the club which should send a worrying message to Erik Ten Hag.
Wednesday night’s 4-3 heartbreak at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League etched a grim record in history – the first time they’ve conceded three or more goals in three consecutive games since the bleak days of 1978. It’s no disgrace to fall to the might of Bayern Munich, the fact that this came on the heels of 3-1 losses to Brighton and Arsenal in the Premier League reveals an issue at United
In total, the record 20-time league champions have conceded a staggering 14 goals in all competitions, and the heat on Ten Hag is rising like the temperature in the Sahara.
United goalkeeper Andre Onana and the defence have come under fire for the chaotic way they conceded two goals in the first half against Bayern. Onana admitted that his performance against Bayern was responsible for the defeat. “In the beginning we start really good. After my mistake we lose the control of the game,” he admitted.
“It’s a difficult situation for us, for me, especially because I’m the one who let the team down. But the team was very good, I think it was because of me that we didn’t win this game.”
Speaking on TNT Sports, former Man United star Scholes claimed his former side were guilty of collapsing in adversity.
Scholes conceded United had done well to score three times against the German champions on their home turf but believes Bayern could have inflicted even more damage on Ten Hag’s under-pressure team.
“There is a weakness to them,’ Scholes said. “There is a soft underbelly and they do seem to collapse a bit when things are going wrong.
“They scored three goals and that is good, but I felt Bayern could then turn it on and score another. I thought there was a big distance between the teams, in that second half especially.
“First half I thought they did well but still conceded two goals through a lack of concentration. There is experience in the team but I don’t think it is being used. Concentration in Europe is so important, once you concede one goal, it can turn into two and three.”
Some United fans have expressed their displeasure over the poor start of their team to the season with some blaming Ten Hag while majority blamed the ownership under the Glazers.
United fan and journalist, Adekunle Salami believes that the club have not recruited well enough saying, “It is a tough time because the transfer was not well handled, Ten Hag was looking for a striker, we were expecting Osimhen or Harry Kane. Eventually, they said there was no money and they went for Rasmus (Hojlund), someone untested in England, he is just promising, and with such a striker, your chances of fighting for the title are limited.
“It is a slow start, I mean last season, we started equally slow and somehow came up to still finish as third but that is now where Man United should be. We are supposed to be winning titles, not only in England but in Europe so I think this coach is still tinkering with the team which should not be at this time.”
Salami told PUNCH Sports Extra that he believes the Glazers only care about money and not the fans.
“If they sell the club, there will be fresh breath in that team, there will be something new because they (Glazers) are focused on the business end but the fans are not happy, they must have that bragging right, but the Glazers win or lose just want to make their money but fans want to boast of titles and cannot, and that is not good enough,” he said.
Nigerian filmmaker and lawyer, Ayo Shonaiya has criticised Ten Hag’s decision to continue starting Onana in goal.
“I hope I’m not being too alarmist, but I’m beginning to think Andre Onana is not a natural goalkeeper. He’s a midfielder who can play in goal if the keeper gets a red card after all subs are used. Erik Ten Hag, please take note. Don’t let this become another Maguire situation.
“De Gea had a rough start at United then became one of our greatest keepers, but this Onana ball playing keeper I don’t know. How can you collect 14 goals in five games as a United keeper? Sir Alex would drop him for the Burnley game if he was still manager, but I’m sure Ten Hag would still keep his Ajax ‘son’ in goal on Saturday. I really wish he comes good because I kinda like the guy, but if he keeps conceding goals like he has been doing, Onana out,” Shonaiya wrote.
Another United fan, Nurudeen Obalola blamed Ten Hag’s stubborn decisions alongside the inuries they have suffered this season saying, “It is not much of a surprise because we are dealing with injuries, but that is not an excuse, they should be doing better, but the injuries have been a big part.
“As for the coach, he makes some bad selection decisions, and he has been a bit stubborn by sticking to decisions that are not working.”
Tope Fasuyi, a Nigerian in diaspora who used to work as a security personnel at Anfield and witnessed Man United get beaten 7-0 back in March said, “I am tired of supporting Man United because of the Glazers, they don’t seem to care about the protests from fans, the club is big enough and always makes them money so they aren’t chasing results like other owners.
“Then Ten Hag is too stubborn as a manager and rigid. It is almost like he doesn’t adapt to the games as they are going on. Anyone with eyes can see that Eriksen can’t play against a pacy team anymore and his obsession with players trained in Holland has not yielded results on the pitch. If I was Ten Hag I’d resign after this because he even seems to have lost the trust of the dressing room.”
A fan who asked to remain anonymous fan says United have been woeful and queries the passion of the owners.
“For me, it is a horrible start, we can make excuses for the coach and say injuries, a couple of off-field issues, but that said, there hasn’t been one match this season that United have looked like deserving winners.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have owners who care about the club or who are even concerned about the fans, they are just happy to make their dividends each year since the club still makes a lot of money,” she said.
United will look to bounce back against Burnley on Saturday, but the pressure is already on and they need to get three points to lift the doom and gloom surrounding Old Trafford
Joao Felix took serious pay cut to make Barcelona transfer possible
Joao Felix has revealed that he took a serious pay cut in order to join Barcelona from Atletico Madrid and is open to completing a permanent transfer.
The Portugal international forward made his way to Camp Nou on an initial season-long loan agreement towards the end of the summer window.
He never shied away from the fact that Barca were his “dream” club – much to the annoyance of some of those in the Spanish capital.
Felix, who spent time on loan at Chelsea last season, has told Mundo Deportivo of making personal sacrifices in order to link up with the reigning La Liga champions
“It’s true I gave up a significant part of my salary, but I needed a change. I needed to come to a place where I can play my style of football and I have always said I think this is the ideal place. Things are going well – I didn’t expect to start so well – and it was an effort I needed to make to be able to find joy playing football again.”
Felix has registered three goals and an assist through three appearances for Barca in La Liga and Champions League competition and would welcome the opportunity to stay on in Catalunya if Atletico play ball in future negotiations.
He added: “Well, for me it depends on how the season ends. Afterwards, Barcelona is the one who has to negotiate with Atleti and that depends after Atleti, if they want to make things easier or not. But those are business things, values, which I don’t get involved in. I do my job on the field, I try to do my best so that they want to sign me in the end and that thing about values, whether I go or not go or for how much, doesn’t interest me.”
There is no purchase option within Felix’s deal at Barcelona, meaning that the 23-year-old – who joined Atletico for €126 million (£109m/$134m) back in 2019 – is going to have to play his way into contention for another big-money move
Education3 weeks ago
Comprehensive List of Courses at University of Ilesa
Economy1 week ago
Abuja MOU: Oyetola rounds off council of ministers’ meeting in Abidjan
General6 days ago
Governor Adeleke Declares Curfew in Orolu & Irepodun LGs
General4 weeks ago
BREAKING: President Tinubu Approves Fresh Appointments [SEE DETAILS]
General2 weeks ago
Atiku to Saraki: Account for 2023 campaign funds”
General3 weeks ago
FULL LIST: Osun APC Expels 84 Members For Anti-party Activities
General4 weeks ago
TikTok star, The Buba Girl reacts after her video trends on social media
General1 week ago
Oluwo tackles Obasanjo for ordering Oyo monarchs to stand