It is time for Manuel Pellegrini to go. After what was another dismal performance from his club, Manchester City are now in a race for fourth place. Looking at his squad and the talent that he has, City should be contending for the title. After Round 20, on January 1st, Manchester City was in first place. Since the turn of the New Year, the club has won just 5 games with 4 of those in the EPL. Been knocked out of the Champions League by Barcelona and the FA Cup by Middlesbrough. To say this year has been going poorly for Pellegrini is an understatement. Now I am not sure there is someone better out there but a new voice is needed in the dressing room. If Liverpool wins their game tonight, they will sit just 4 points behind City for fourth and Southampton sits just 5 points back. City is in danger of getting dragged into a race for a spot that should never be in doubt for a club with their players. Reports are that Patrick Vieira will take over in the summer so I guess we will have to wait and see.
In Spain, the lead is now 2 points as Sevilla came back from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 with Barcelona. The rojiblancos played tough and got a well deserved point. Real Madrid easily took care of Eibar with a 3-0 win. Valencia is now level on points with Sevilla in what will be a great race for the fourth Champions League spot however, Valencia does play today with the chance to move 3 points clear.
In Germany, the biggest result might be Stuttgart winning 3-2 over Werder. This is a much needed 3 points for them. Monchengladbach beat Dortmund 3-1. Bayer beat Mainz 3-2. Wolfsburg and Bayern Munich both kept clean sheets on their way to victory. Not much will change the rest of the season as Bayer has now opened a 10 point lead on Schalke in fourth.
In France, the top two teams had the weekend off from Ligue 1 play as PSGG went on to win their first trophy of the season in the Coupe de la Ligue. They beat Bastia 4-0 in the finale. Marseille did not take advantage as they lost 1-0 to Bordeaux. Monaco beat Caen 3-0. These results mean that Monaco is now in third place, one point above Marseille.
In Italy, the result of the round has to be Parma winning 1-0 at home against Juventus. The club that is in finical turmoil somehow found a way to win the game. Napoli jumped ahead of Fiorentina since they beat them 3-0. Napoli are now 7 points behind Roma for the third and final Champions League spot. Lazio won big with a 4-0 win over Empoli. Roma and Torino shared the points with a 1-1 draw.
In England, Manchester United got the result of the weekend as they dominated their nearest rivals Manchester City 4-2. This means United are now firmly in third place and almost assured Champions League football next year. Chelsea left it to late before they beat QPR 1-0. Arsenal also could only score 1 goal but it was all they needed against Burnely. Southampton beat Hull 2-0. Lastly, Tim Sherwood got some revenge on his former employer as his Aston Villa side beat Tottenham 1-0 at White Hart Lane.
CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PREVIEW
The Champions League returns this week. The first legs of the quarterfinals will take place on Tuesday and Wednesday. The week starts with Juventus v. Monaco and the Madrid Derby. The eyes of the world will be on the Vicente Calderon as Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid square off. These two teams have played 6 times this year and Real has not won a game yet. Will Tuesday be the first? Juventus host Monaco in the other game and this should be an easy win for the Old Lady. Juventus are clear favorites to advance. On Wednesday, Porto hosts Bayern Munich and PSG hosts Barcelona. PSG will be without some key players for this match and that could cost them. Both home teams will need a good result if they are going to advance. I for one cannot wait to see who is able to grab the lead before the second legs next week.
EUROPA LEAGUE PREVIEW
The quarterfinals of the Europa League will also take place on Thursday. The holders Sevilla will host Zenit Saint Petersburg. Club Brugge will host Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk. Dynamo Kyiv will host Fiorentina. The heavyweight clash of the round has to be Wolfsburg host Napoli. Both teams will feel they can win the title. This is the first year that the winner of the Europa League will qualify for next year’s Champions League so many of the teams that are still playing will be looking to win this competition in case they cannot qualify via their league place. Maybe some teams from a certain county, England I am talking about you should pay more attention to this competition.