The group stages of the Champions League and the Europa League started last week without too much of a fuss. Perhaps the most controversial element was the use of five on-field officials in the Europa League. This experiment is said to be the brainchild of UEFA President Michel Platini, favouring the extra officials over the use of video replays, which, in his opinion, create lengthy delays in the game. The first night of the experiment must have been a success because I haven't heard much fuss afterwards.
Most of the negativity I've heard came from England, who are used to video replays assisting officials in rugby and cricket matches. The arguments centred mainly on the fact that technology is available, touchline cameras have been in use at the Wimbledon tennis competition for a number of years and are rarely questioned. No doubt goal line incidents could be decided with cameras quite quickly, but would it resolve the problems of the Eduardo incident in the Arsenal-Celtic match recently? Only the eyes of an extra official could have detected that incident without the delay a video replay would have involved? That the Eduardo incident was resolved in a way I don't agree with is another story!
Big spenders Manchester City had their 100% record ruined by a late late goal against big brothers and local rivals United. It must have been a big disappointment after their convincing win last week against Arsenal. One thing's for certain though, these last two weeks have convinced a number of doubters as to their credentials. Big spenders Real Madrid are going strong still, although they haven't been tested as have Manchester City. A big midweek win against Zurich in the Champions League, they continued their goal feast against bottom team Xerez and kept their 100% record with a goal difference of 11-2!
All the best.