Category Archives: Champions League

Why is Philippe Coutinho Struggling at Barcelona?

There is a joke among the locals of Castelldefels, a tiny town situated between the mountains and sea outside of Barcelona, that the home of Philippe Coutinho is jinxed. Cesc Fabregas managed to buy it months before he was transferred to Chelsea and Thomas Vermaelen, who used to stay there, endured lengthy curses on the sidelines due to injuries. Then, Andre Gomes decided to move there after he was transferred from Valencia to Barcelona but never managed to find his feet at the club.

Philippe Coutinho

Philippe Coutinho was mostly seen as the €160 million man who has destined to finally life the curse. His former Liverpool teammate, Luis Suarez, assisted him in finding a house and it was supposed to mark the start of a brand-new attacking trident. Not only would Coutinho be alongside Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez on the pitch, but he would also be their neighbours.

Fifteen months have come and gone since Philippe Coutinho joined Barcelona with a record-signing deal. However, it looks like the curse is still apparent with the Barcelona forward to this day. The Brazilian, who was transferred to Barcelona to replace Neymar over the short-term and to replace Andres Iniesta over the long-term, is still unable to meet the expectations that come with his jaw-dropping price tag.

Coutinho had an incredible start at Barcelona where he managed to score ten goals in only 22 matches during the 2017/18 season. However, things have deteriorated since then, and he is not playing as he should during the 2018/19 season at Camp Nou. In the current campaign, he has only scored a total of 9 goals in more than 40 different appearances, and several sources suggest that Barcelona will be open to selling the Brazilian if they can receive a bid that is more than €100 million during the summer.

“It’s quite remarkable that a Brazilian soccer player like Coutinho is struggling to find his feet at a club like Barcelona. Especially when you consider that they have more than 300 days of sunshine every year. He was superb when he played at Liverpool who has 300 days of rain every year,” a source that is close to the player informed us recently.

A Football Star Without a Proper Position

The biggest issue for Coutinho since he arrived at Barcelona in January 2018 was a simplistic one: Where exactly should he play?

When you look at the versatility of Coutinho, he managed to play at the tip of the three midfielders for Liverpool. However, he was often found on the left. When you look at his position in the Brazilian national team, he either played on the right, accommodating Neymar, or played in the centre. Ernesto Valverde, the head coach for Barcelona, allowed Coutinho to play in several positions. However, none of them genuinely fit his skills and abilities as a footballer at Barcelona. This is the biggest problem for him at the moment, and that needs to change before he gets back to playing like a pro.

Big clubs set for a nervy time in the Champions League

Some of Europe’s biggest clubs are in for a nervy night as they bid to qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Manchester City are the 5/2 favourites to win the tournament in the Champions League betting odds and predictions from most pundits say they will progress to the last eight.

Raheem Sterling’s last-minute goal gave City the advantage with a stunning 3-2 comeback win in the reverse fixture and they should comfortably make it through.

Juventus face a huge task as they try and overturn a two-goal deficit against Atletico Madrid at the Allianz Stadium in Turin.

Late goals from Jose Maria Gimenez and Diego Godin secured a 2-0 victory for Atletico in the first leg and Juve will have their work cut out to reach the last eight.

The result saw Atletico’s Champions League odds slashed to 9/1 and they are sure to be cut further if they can see off the current Serie A leaders.

Barcelona will fancy their chances of progressing when they go head-to-head with Lyon at the Nou Camp.

The two sides drew 0-0 in the first fixture, but Barca should prove far too strong back on home soil. The Spanish side are unbeaten in their last 10 matches in all competitions and look good value at 9/2 to win the Champions League.

The most intriguing tie of the round is the heavyweight clash between Bayern Munich and Liverpool at the Allianz Arena.

The two sides drew 0-0 at Anfield and Bayern’s recent home record against English clubs makes them favourites to reach the last eight.

The Bundesliga side have won their last four matches at home to English clubs, while Liverpool have suffered four successive away Champions League defeats.

Liverpool were beaten by Real Madrid in last year’s final, while Bayern have lost in the semi-finals in four of the last five campaigns, including last season’s defeat by Madrid.

The Reds have pulled off remarkable results in this competition before, but Bayern look great value at 10/11 to progress to the next stage.