On the newly re-launched Third Half podcast (a roundup show for all the Talk web sites), I had a great discussions with host Jonathan Starling about the goings-on of Match-day 2.
It was a Match-day that saw debutants BATE Borisov and CFR Cluj pull off draws (and one might say they were unlucky to not win outright) against their more experienced opponents.
Were Real Madrid, Juventus and Chelsea guilty of not coming prepared for their opponents? Real Madrid seemed to feel they could sit on their 2-1 lead after bossing the early going. Zenit had other ideas and attacked relentlessly in the 2nd half and were unlucky not to get something from the match.
Juventus came out flat against BATE and quickly found themselves two goals down. They struck back and leveled things before the end of the first half but seemed content to play for the draw in the 2nd.
Chelsea were fortunate in many ways to escape with a draw. Cluj played a very disciplined, organized game and did not let themselves get played off the park. Chelsea had a slight advantage in ball possession but not too the point where I felt they dominated the bulk of the match. The matches are only going to get tougher for the new teams and I don’t think anyone is going to be underestimating them anymore.
Match-day 3 should be fascinating as some of the ‘second-tier’ clubs face off against one another and we should start to see some patterns emerge from the groups.
Enjoy the podcast and I’ll be back next week with more news and analysis.