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Who could provide a shock in the Champions League group stages?

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Champions League

The 2019-20 Champions League group stage is well underway, with the third round of games being played this week. As we reach the halfway stage, it’s looking great for some of the early favourites, with Manchester City and Bayern Munich topping their respective groups. But with gaps starting to show between teams in each group, who looks as though they can cause a shock and progress to the knockout stages? Let’s take a look at some of the possible contenders and if you think one of the teams is worth an outside punt, check out the latest Champions League odds: https://www.paddypower.com/football/uefa-champions-league.

Club Brugge

When the draw was made, Group A looked like it would be a formality with 13-time winners Real Madrid and Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain the favourites to progress. The group has been anything but easy thus far and Belgian outfit Club Brugge sit in second place with two points from two games. 

After a 0-0 draw in their opening fixture with Galatasaray, Brugge travelled to the Bernabéu and found themselves two goals in front at half time. Unfortunately for the Blue-Blacks, Real pegged them back and a sending off for Ruud Vormer allowed Casemiro to equalise from the resulting free kick. Had they held on, daylight would have separated Brugge from the chasing pack but instead, it’s a solitary point.

Brugge are on a six-game unbeaten streak in the Champions League and while next opponents PSG are a formidable force, with Los Blancos struggling to pick up points and Galatasaray failing to score goals, the Belgians must fancy their chances of progression.

Valencia

As things stand in Group H, Valencia and Chelsea find themselves in a battle for the coveted runners-up place. Chelsea may be the favourites with the bookies to progress, but having already beaten Frank Lampard’s men, we believe Valencia have what it takes.

Los Ches didn’t have the best start to the season and sacked manager Marcelino after just three league games. They currently sit eighth in La Liga with three wins from their opening eight games. Despite the 3-0 hammering to Ajax in their last Champions League match, Albert Celades has turned around their domestic fortunes and this new-found confidence should transfer to the European stage too. 

Valencia host Lille in matchday three and with the Ligue 1 club sitting bottom of the group with no points, it’s a chance for Celades’ side to strengthen their grip on progression to the knockout stages.

Red Bull Salzburg

Group E is something of an unknown entity, and looks to be anybody’s game. Red Bull Salzburg are currently unbeaten in the Austrian Bundesliga and sit third in their Champions League group. Level on points with Liverpool and just one point behind leaders Napoli, Salzburg host the Italians next and the result could well turn the tide of the group going into the second half of the stage.

Although Salzburg lost 4-3 to Liverpool in their last game, they’re scoring goals, having hammered Genk 6-2 in matchday one. While it’s a massive ask to overhaul the current holders, the Austrian side could well spring a surprise in the group – but don’t be surprised if it ends up being decided by head-to-head record. Fans probably wouldn’t like to be reminded of their Europa League round of 16 exit last season – after being 3-1 up from the first leg, they were knocked out by Napoli 4-3 on aggregate.

I am a freelance writer and a software engineer with years of experience including many in-person and online contracts. I write quality, clear and eloquent articles, blog posts and other contents for websites.

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Ajax Amsterdam

Donny Van Der Beek Stance On Manchester United Revealed

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Donny Van Der Beek

Ajax Amsterdam star Donny Van Der Beek won’t be joining Manchester United after he agreed on a deal to join Spanish La Liga club Real Madrid according to the Daily Star.

The Dutch international is expected to join Real Madrid in a £47m deal later this year as he’s seen as the long-term replacement for Luka Modric at the Estadio Santiago Bernebeu.

Donny Van Der Beek has been a long-term transfer target for Manchester United dating back to last season when the young Dutchman was painting European football with goals.

He was part of the Ajax Amsterdam team that won the Dutch league title in the first division last season plus the Dutch Cup after the final win over Willem II.

Manchester United want to strengthen their midfield and Donny Van Der Beek won’t be the man as he’s Real Madrid-bound this summer.

The Red Devils are having serious difficulties in signing players in this January transfer window and that has infuriated the Manchester United Faithfuls.

Manchester United were thought to be close to signing Sporting Lisbon midfielder Bruno Fernandes but that is likely far from the current position with the two clubs deadlocked in talks over the goals coring Portuguese international player.

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Ajax Amsterdam

Manchester United Target To Consider England Transfer

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Donny Van Der Beek

Manchester United have received heartwarming news on the transfer front following the news that one of their midfield transfer targets will consider a summer transfer.

Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Donny Van Der Beek has emerged as a top target for Manchester United in recent days turned weeks.

According to Sky Sports, Donny Van Der Beek wants to stay at Ajax Amsterdam for the remainder of this season amidst the interest from both European giants Real Madrid and Manchester United.

It was revealed that the Dutch international will consider a move away from Dutch Eredivisie champions Ajax Amsterdam this summer.

By this summer, the player will have two years left on his present Ajax Amsterdam deal which expires in two years’ time.

Donny Van Der Beek was linked with the duo of Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid last year on the back of a stellar campaign for Ajax Amsterdam.

He scored 17 goals plus 13 assists for Ajax Amsterdam who ended the season with two trophies.

Van Der Beek and Ajax Amsterdam won the league and cup double last season and the player was a big part of the triumph.

He also helped Ajax reach the Champions League semifinals against all expectations from home and abroad.

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Ajax Amsterdam

Man United Fans React To Transfer Of This Midfielder To Old Trafford

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Donny Van Der Beek

Manchester United fans have reacted positively to the news that the club is interested in signing goalscoring midfielder Donny Van Der Beek who plays for Dutch Eredivise giants Ajax Amsterdam.

According to ESPN, Manchester United want to sign Donny Van Der Beek who has scored eight goals and also provided six assists for Ajax Amsterdam in all competitions.

Donny Van Der Beek was a key member of the Ajax Amsterdam team that shocked the whole of European football last season as they reached the semifinals of the Champions League before they were eliminated by Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur.

He was strongly linked with Spanish giants Real Madrid last summer but nothing came out of the numerous transfer links.

Real Madrid are unlikely to pursue a move for him this month especially with the form of Federico Valverde who has been an important player for the Los Merengues this season.

The Uruguayan international has formed a potent midfield partnership with the duo of Casemiro and German international Toni Kroos in the Real Madrid midfield this season and that has led the immediate past European champions to joint top in the Spanish La Liga this term in addition to facing Manchester City in the last 16 of the Champions League.

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Ajax Stance On Selling Hakim Ziyech To Arsenal Revealed

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Hakim Ziyech

Dutch Eredivisie giants Ajax Amsterdam are willing to let one of their best players leave this month as long as their asking price for him is fulfilled.

Hakim Ziyech is a Moroccan international and also one of the best Ajax Amsterdam players attracting the interest of clubs in the Premier League including Arsenal.

According to CalcioMercato, Ajax Amsterdam are demanding €50m (£43m) for Hakim Ziyech who is also a person of transfer interest for North London side Tottenham Hotspur.

Hakim Ziyech joined Ajax Amsterdam from fellow Dutch top flight side FC Utrecht in a £10m deal in 2016 and has become an important player for the ex-European champions.

He was a top performer for the Ajax Amsterdam side that reached the Champions League semifinals last season and scored three goals plus three assists in eleven games in the competition.

Ziyech scored 16 goals and 17 assists in 29 league matches for Ajax who emerged as champions plus winning the Dutch Cup.

He has already scored six goals in 17 league games.

Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has talked about the possibility of strengthening his team in the current transfer market and his focus is likely to be defensive minded especially after the long-term injury to Calum Chambers.

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Key Reasons Why Manchester United Should Sign This Superstar Revealed

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Hakim Ziyech

Ajax Amsterdam star Hakim Ziyech has been a consistent performer for the Dutch champions since joining them three years ago and he could be a very good option for Manchester United who have been inconsistent in the Premier League this season.

According to the publication from madaboutepl, there are three major reasons for Manchester United to take the gamble on Moroccan international Hakim Ziyech by splashing the cash on him.

The first one is that the player is an assist king as demonstrated by him during his time in Dutch football with Ajax Amsterdam.

He has scored 48 goals and provided a whopping 82 assists in 158 games for Ajax Amsterdam in all competitions since joining them in 2016.

In addition, he has five goals and eight assists in 17 Champions League games.

Hakim Ziyech has 21 assists in just 28 games this season.

The Moroccan international is also very effective against teams that defend deep which is the second reason why Manchester United need to sign him as he can provided the creativity needed to outwit the smaller Premier League teams.

Manchester United have been very good against the big teams this season but the same thing can’t be said against the smaller teams.

The third and final reason is that Hakim Ziyech can play in a lot of attacking positions.

 

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Ajax Amsterdam

Lukaku Replacement? Man Utd Swoop In To Sign 26-yr-old Attacker In January

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Hakim Ziyech

Former European champions Manchester United have been tipped to sign Ajax Amsterdam attacker Hakim Ziyech in the January transfer window as the Red Devils try to sign a creative player to boost their squad for the second half of the season.

According to the Manchester Evening News (MEN), Hakim Ziyech can provide the creative spark evidently missing from the Manchester United team on Sunday afternoon as they fell to bottom Premier League club Watford.

Manchester United suffered their worst result this season after they were beaten 2-0 by a Watford team that has only won once in the league this season before the game.

First choice goalkeeper David De Gea made a howler for the first goal scored by record signing Ismaila Sarr for Watford before he was brought down in the penalty box by Manchester United right-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka who was signed by the Red Devils in the summer.

From the resulting penalty, Watford skipper Troy Deeney didn’t make any mistake as he doubled the lead for his team three minutes after the opening goal from  Ismaila Sarr.

Watford were able to secure their first win under new manager Nigel Pearson in just his second game.

For Hakim Ziyech, he has scored 31 goals outside the box for Ajax in the Dutch Eredivisie which is a record in this decade and also has 85 assists which is also a record for this decade.

He can add the necessary creative spark to Manchester United.

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The Real Reason Donny Van Der Beek Snubbed Jose Mourinho Revealed

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Donny Van Der Beek

Ajax Amsterdam midfielder Donny Van Der Beek has reportedly turned down a move to Premier League outfit Tottenham Hotspur.

This is according to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf which said that new Spurs manager Jose Mourinho has tried and failed to lure Dutch international Donny Van Der Beek away from Ajax Amsterdam ahead of the resumption of the January transfer window next month.

Spurs were interested in signing Donny Van Der Beek from Ajax Amsterdam in the summer but nothing came out of their quest to sign him.

Ex-Chelsea and Manchester United boss Mourinho has also tried to change his stance on a transfer to Tottenham Hotspur with the player holding out for a dream move to Real Madrid.

Ajax Amsterdam star Donny Van Der Beek is rated at around £60m and he could move to Real Madrid next summer though that is dependent on their pursuit of Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba.

Real Madrid have made Paul Pogba their first-choice midfield target ahead of next summer and will only turn their attention to Donny Van Der Beek if they are unable to sign the Frenchman.

Donny Van Der Beek was part of the Ajax Amsterdam squad that won two trophies last season namely the league title and the cup title.

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Club Legend Ends Man United Speculation With New Contract

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Ajax Amsterdam CEO (Chief Executive Officer) Edwin Van Der Sar has signed a new contract at the club.

The former Manchester United goalkeeper took to his official Twitter account to announce the news of his new Ajax Amsterdam deal.

The Ajax Amsterdam and Manchester United legend spent six years at Old Trafford.

He won four Premier League titles and the 2008 Champions League title while the Dutchman was at Manchester United.

Edwin Van Der Sar became the Ajax Amsterdam CEO three years ago and he has signed a new four-year deal until 2023 thus ending speculation about a possible return to Manchester United.

The Red Devils are on the search for a technical director and Edwin Van Der Sar has been linked with the role.

Edwin Van Der Sar has previously talked about the possibility of going back to Old Trafford though the former Dutch international shot stopper said that he would only go back to Manchester United for the Chief Executive role rather than the Sporting Director role on offer at the moment.

Apart from Edwin Van Der Sar, other Manchester United players like Rio Ferdinand and Darren Fletcher have been linked with the technical director position as the Red Devils try to bridge the gap between them and the leading teams in European football.

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