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UEFA Champions League Group Stage Surprises [hristina Tisheva], Soccer | BallHyped Sports Blogs
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UEFA Champions League Group Stage Surprises  [hristina Tisheva]

UEFA Champions League Group Stage Surprises [hristina Tisheva]

Hyped by on November 23, 2012 Website: thepremierleagueinsider.com

With only one game left for each team until all group matches have been played, the standings are pretty much set in terms of who advances to the Round of 16. There are a few, but big, surprises.
The champions of Europe Chelsea did not make it. That was more shocking than Manchester United failing to do so last season. This is the first time the defending title holder did not advance from the group stages. It was so shocking; it cost the manager Roberto Di Matteo’s job. No one saw that one coming. The Blues were doing well in the Premier League with the exception of the last few games after which they slipped to 3rd place with four points behind leader Manchester City, who are coming to Stamford Bridge on Sunday. Chelsea still is a title contender. Otherwise Rafael Benitez would not have taken the job, would he?
Chelsea were doing well in the Champions League until they lost to Shakhtar Donetsk 2-1 in Ukraine. They beat them 3-2 in London but unexpectedly lost badly in Turin to Juventus. In fact, Chelsea can still make it, but they need a favor from the Ukrainian team who will have to beat Juventus. Even if the Blues get lucky and advance, they would still be the surprise so far; either for being eliminated or for advancing thanks to another club.
Shakhtar Donetsk are a surprise as well. They have been a regular guest at the most prestigious club competition but were not favored to win the group so decisively with grands like Chelsea and Juventus in it leaving them fighting for 2nd place.
The standings in Group D, the group of death this season, also don’t look as predicted. Mathematically, it was impossible for three teams to advance. All clubs knew that they could be the disappointment. It was Manchester City who picked the shortest straw only their elimination does not have to do with luck. The Citizens are doing well in the Premier League currently at the top with just a point clear of their city rivals. Their performance in the Champions League has been a sad surprise compared to their domestic form. They are undefeated in the Premier League. Whereas AFC Ajax was pretty much rules out soon after the draw, Manchester City, especially as the defending champions in England, was not thought of going down so easily.
The rest of the group stage has gone somewhat according to plan. Although struggling, AC Milan advanced. Malaga CF also made the Round of 16 but that was expected after all the spending for better players. Arsenal, although unconvincing in England, did not have serious troubles qualifying as 2nd in their group after the German FC Schalke 04.
As any sport, soccer is not a predictable game. Fans have not seen too many surprises thus far, and they may not in the later stages of the competition, but they will certainly be entertained.

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Voted by AlvarezGalloso