Porto On Tap
Matchday 4 of the Champions League will take place at the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa later today, when Porto visits Maccabi Tel Aviv in group stage action. Despite their inspiring run through qualifying, the Israeli champions remain goal-less and point-less after their first three games. With three games to play, Tel Aviv will be hoping to avoid duplicating the dubious achievement of Maccabi Haifa from 2009-10, who were the only team in the history of the competition to lose all six group stage matches while failing to score a single goal (while conceding 8). Maccabi will be looking for Eran Zahavi to bring his domestic league golden boot (8 goals in 9 games already) back into European play, as thus far he has been frustrated in his elusive quest for the back of the net.
Glimmers Of Hope
In news from another team who plays at the Sammy Ofer, Maccabi Haifa has climbed out of the Ligat Ha’al basement with a 2-2-1 record in their last five games. Playing two men down last weekend following a pair of red cards, Haifa drew a penalty call in second-half stoppage and Eliran Atar buried the spot kick, cool as a cucumber. Maccabi has moved up to 11th place in the 14-team league, just out of the relegation zone, with 9 points from their 9 games so far. Next up for the Greens is a Sunday night showdown at home against rival Beitar Yerushalyaim, who are in third place, four points behind HaPoel Be’er Sheva and Maccabi Tel Aviv.
The Benefits Of Gengenpressing
The hype around Jurgen Klopp was validated, at least for a day, as Liverpool went to Stamford Bridge and beat Chelsea 3:1, sending The Special One for the tunnel and the tabloids into frantic speculation as to whether Mourinho has met his end. Chelsea owner and Member Of The Tribe Roman Abramovich is faced with the decision of keeping him on, or bidding adeus to the man who won the title last year but has lost 6 games out of the first 11 in the new season. But the news yesterday that Chelsea rejected a 35 million Euro offer for the manager might indicate that he’s not going anywhere.
Back To The Drawing Board
Brighton and Hove Albion are still undefeated in the League Championship, but with their recent spate of draws have actually fallen out of the top spot and into third place, tied on points but trailing on goal difference with their +8 compared to Hull City’s +15 and Burnley’s +9. The Seagulls now sit at 8-7-0, but with three consecutive draws against Sheffield Wednesday (0:0), Reading (1:1), and Preston North End (0:0) have left 6 points on the table. Pun intended. Albion takes the pitch at the AmEx against 20th-place MK Dons on Saturday morning.
Tottenham Hotspur and their Yid Army dispatched Aston Villa 3:1 on Monday to climb into 5th place in the Premier League, just 5 points out of first, and in the Eredivisie, Ajax is off to a 9-1-1 start and a stooooopid +25 goal differential (30-5) after the opening 11 games. Keep up the good work, philo-semites.