The Sweeper: Rafa on the Rack

Champions League

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Yesterday’s stunning day of UEFA Champions League action is of course the focus of discussion today, with every game providing talking juicy points for the press.

The British press naturally focused on Liverpool after their home defeat to Lyon. Paul Hayward considers the future of  Rafa Benitez (“Everything that can go wrong is going wrong at the moment”, Rafa said after), and Kevin Gardside says fans are losing faith in the Spaniard, though Henry Winter reminds us how many players Rafa was missing in their defeat to Lyon and Gabrielle Marcotti gives sensible reasons for why Liverpool would be “mad to sack Benitez now”.

An even longer-term crisis is focused on up north in Scotland, as Rangers crushing defeat at home 4-1 to Romania’s FC Unirea has Ewan Murray saying that “The most comprehensive thesaurus in the world would barely contain the words to describe this Rangers performance. The latest evidence that Scottish football may be in terminal decline rather than just suffering a rough spell arrived on another harrowing night in Glasgow.” Rangers boss Walter Smith faced calls for his immediate resignation.

Still, probably the most surprising result of the night came in Spain – Barcelona’s coach Pep Guardiola tried unconvincingly to sound unperturbed by their defeat to Rubin Kazan at Camp Nou. And the last minute goal conceded by Arsenal to AZ Alkmar is picked over by Rob Kelly in the Telegraph, who had seemingly been waiting for a chance to make the obvious conclusion that the current team is not a patch on Wenger’s old “invincibles”.

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