By Isrel Igiri
It was a great weekend for football fans as club action resumed with exciting and decisive games across various centres in Europe. It was a weekend that saw various teams and players fight for different missions. We however learnt some things over the weekend, and here are they:
Chelsea looking good for Thursday night football
Going into the game against Tottenham Hotspur, the Blues were playing for their Champions League lives. It was a must-win game as they needed to win close the gap between them and Spurs to two points and then keep their Champions League quest on track. But after going a goal up, Antonio Conte’s men lost their rhythm and surrendered to Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who showed determination and scored three goals to win at Chelsea’s home ground for the first time in Premier League History, and opening up an eight-point gap over the West London side.
Having extended their point-cushion with a historic win against the Blues, Pochettiono’s side have now moved a step closer to clinching Champions League qualification, thereby condemning Chelsea to another appearance in the UEFA Europa League.
Barcelona are nothing without Messi
Barcelona went into the game against Sevilla at the day at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan with a 15-point lead in La Liga and unbeaten in the competition. However, Lionel Messi was not fit to start the game and in his absence, the Catalans were chasing shadows for almost an hour. Earlier goals from Franco Vazque and Luis Muriel had put the Los Rojiblancos two goals up, and the unbeaten run of Ernesto Valverde’s side looked set to be broken.
But as soon as the Argentine steeped off the bench in the 57th minute, Barcelona started to create chances. They were still 2-0 down but hope had returned. But just as it looked as if Sevilla would see out a superb victory on the night, Luiz Suarez pulled a goal back after 88 minutes. And in less than a minute again, Messi fired home from the edge of the box to level the score and seal a 2-2 draw.
An extraordinary Messi had once again saved an ordinary team. He is a man of difference as he has shown over the last decade. It is just so hard to imagine where the Blaugrana would be without the little magician.
Napoli are still pretenders
When the season started and down to January, Napoli were looking pretty good to end Juventus dominance in Serie A as they led with over seven points. Pundits believed that the side from Naples would prevent the Old Lady from winning a seventh consecutive Scudetto. But today, the story has changed as they now trail Massimiliano Allegri’s side by four points. On Saturday, while Juventus did what they have to do against Milan, Napoli faltered as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Sassuolo, further losing grounds on the title.
At this point of the season where the Bianconeri have gained momentum, it will only take a miracle for Napoli to usurp the title from them. They certainly look good to win an unprecedented seventh Serie A title. As such, Napoli can only continue to dream of winning the title for the first time since 1987 because they are not yet fit for the title.
Alves becomes most successful player in football history
It was another great moment for Dani Alves as he added to his collection of trophies the Coupe de la Ligue on Sunday following Paris Saint Germain’s win over Monaco.
The evergreen Brazilian has now won 36 trophies, overtaking compatriot Maxwell, who he had gone level with after winning the French Super Cup in August 2017.
Alves himself recalled this feat on Instagram and thanked the support received throughout his career. Can anyone surpass his record? Only time will tell.