Looking ahead at the Champions League


Rhea Noumair

Freshman and Manchester United fan Zoey Walters checks the upcoming United game versus Atletico Madrid. She has high hopes for her team but expects Manchester City to win the title. “City are a really good team with a really good manager and it helps that they’re 9 points clear at the top of the Premier League,” Walter said.

Over the years, the Champions League has found its way to being one of the most viewed sporting events by students. Top European league teams compete with each other beginning with knockout rounds. The round of 16 has surprised students thus far.
One of the teams to surprise viewers this season was Sporting FC from Portugal who managed to advance from the group stage instead of Germany’s Borussia Dortmund.
“I’m a little disappointed. I thought Dortmund had good potential, a good, really young team. It was sad to see them go,” senior and Chelsea fan Katala Lupunga-Phillips said.
Sporting is set to play England’s Manchester City for a chance to advance to the quarter finals on Feb. 15 and again on Mar. 9. Head to head, Sporting has won more matches against City with a tight 2-1. While Sporting is second, behind Porto in the Portuguese league, City is first in the Premier League.
Manchester City is a favorite for the finals with much credit going to Pep Guardiola, City’s manager.
“Manchester City looks really good, but they always seem to fall a little flat in the end,” sophomore and A.C Milan fan Anna Zucconi said.
While the team has an impressive lineup, much speculation is circling about recent transfer Jack Grealish. Fans are wondering if the high profile transfer was worth it. He has been unable to capitalize on his low amount of playing time, unlike Romelu Lukaku who is already a fan favorite on Chelsea. Both transferred in August of last year and have shown very different results.
“Havertz has been playing well but I’d rather have Lukaku up top,” Lupunga-Phillips said.
Manchester United has also made some last minute deadline transfers before their match against Atlético Madrid, Donny van de Beek transferred to Everton on loan and will not play in the round of 16.
More pressing matters have also come to shore, one of which are the charges brought up against Manchester United’s Mason Greenwood. The right winger had been accused of sexual assult with incriminating evidence and had been released on bail pending further investigation. Greenwood has been relieved of his contract with Nike, been taken off FIFA 22 and is suspended from United’s lineups until further notice. While this would damage the team’s performance as Greenwood was United’s primary right winger, Jadon Sancho is rumored to replace him.
“It’s really sad what he did, that type of behavior is never justified at all. I hope the law takes care of him and he shouldn’t be allowed back on any team,” Lupunga-Phillips said.
In the last match of the group stages, City’s Kyle Walker was issued a red card as well as a three-match UEFA ban. Making him unavailable for the City vs Sporting double games. City’s alternative is João Cancelo who has been playing in place of Walker in the last month.
Paris Saint-Germain have also been facing a dilemma, Sergio Ramos has been suffering ongoing injuries and is currently out due to a calf injury. It’s unsure whether Ramos will be available to play against Real Madrid in the round of 16