This Week’s Definition of the Premier League’s Big Five (Gameweek 2)

It’s a late post that describes how the big guys fared in the second MatchDay of the 2017/2018 Premier League season. Scoring 8 goals and conceding 3 among them, I continue from where I stopped last week by reviewing the performances of Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester City and Manchester United.

Premier League (Gameweek 2)

 

Arsenal: Sloppy and Standing Still

I have chosen to use the words of Steven Gerrard and some other pundit whose name I either missed out on or I’m forgetting to remember. Sounds harsh? Considering the way Xhaka gave the ball away in the build up to the Stoke City goal and how the Gooners failed to convert those chances, maybe not.

The inclusion of Welbeck by Wenger is still a mystery. Playing three at the back (most of which were full backs) is another mystery too. Selling Gabriel to Valencia? I’ll rather not talk about it. Since a defeat in the first game of the season was avoided, I thought it’d probably come later. Now that one L is on the books, hopefully Liverpool won’t rub salt on their injury this coming weekend.

Chelsea: Still a Team to be Feared

In his post-match analysis, Thierry Henry said, “There was something about Chelsea today. We asked them questions, and they answered.” He said this while he was talking about the way David Luiz took the ball off of Wanyama and started off the move that saw Marcos Alonso grab his second of the day.

Yes, there may be some arguments about Tottenham playing on “unfamiliar grounds.” But after losing to Burnley, Antonio Conte seemed to find a way to revamp his side psychologically. While most thought the Burnley loss was the beginning of the end, Conte found his way around and surprised all, me inclusive.

Yes, I expected Spurs to put the final nail in the blue coffin but the champ has refused to die that easily. I’ll pretend I didn’t see that Batshuayi own goal.

Liverpool: Well MANEd

Just like in their game against Hoffenheim where Mane was at the centre of everything that the Reds had going for them, Mane was the centre of attraction in the game against Crystal Palace.

The difference between the two sides was crystal clear as chance after chance fell to names like Firmino, Salah and Sturridge. Maybe they should have been more clinical than they were but they weren’t wasteful.

Yes, before I forget, there’s the argument that they’re missing Coutinho. Maybe in the game against Watford but not against Benteke and co. Mane proved Liverpool are more than just Coutinho.

 

Manchester City: Great but can be Better

Right after the game against Everton, I mentioned something about how Pep Guardiola’s side and Manchester United were the most deadly sides in the Premier League. And one reason why City appears on the list is this: the number of chances they create in games is mind blowing.

See the number of shots? The last time I saw Manchester City this rampant was they played FC Barcelona and Luis Enrique quipped, “City pressed us to the stands.

For the most part of the game, City dominated but were wasteful – a problem that just won’t go away. The Kyle Walker red seemed to wake the sleeping giant as they played like a side on fire. Sterling, Bernardo Silva and De Bruyne were all amazing.

Yes, they survived the first home game of the 2017/2018 Premier League season with a draw. But some other teams won’t balk like Everton did when they come visiting. They will make Pep pay for making that wrong selection.

Manchester United: On the Rampage

Eight goals in the first two games is not a number to overlook. When you consider the fact that Mourinho’s side have not conceded any goals this season, those numbers carry even more weight.

While the Swans were able to keep the Red Devils at bay for the most part of the first half, they weren’t able to complete the job. One way or the other, Man. Utd managed to score 4 goals on the day – 3 inside the final 10 minutes of the game.

Leicester City must be wondering how to stop them from scoring because this Red Devil is one on a rampage!

 

About Author

Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav

 

There is Something Mysterious About the 2016/2017 Premier League Season

Enigma!

Enigma!

The Premier League, on any good day, is an interesting league, one of the most exciting (if not the most exciting one). One moment, you know what’s coming. The next, you’re left in awe of what just happened.

The Premier League is majorly a standout league for one reason: any club in the league, size and league table position regardless, can come visiting and steal 3 points from right under your nose, sometimes effortlessly, sometimes with the last kick of the game.

This, and not the famous English Fourth Estate (they play their part too) is what makes the league notoriously exciting. But the 2016/2017 season has been different.

No, I’m not talking about that 5000/1 kind of different. I’m talking about the 6th-position-for-months, Conte-nious-table-topping-performances, Pep-ppered-on-all-sides-by-Everton-and-Bravo kind of different.

Chelsea’s rise, Pep’s choice of Bravo despite those dangerously negative statiatics, Arsenal’s ‘upandan‘ season, Spurs, the Leicester blow-up, to mention but a few, have been mysterious and unexplainable!

There’s “almost” been more than enough excitement this season (enigma too!). Every week and matchday seems to have it’s own special surprise for all and sundry.

And in this article, I’ll be focusing on this week’s episode of mysteries served up by a mysterious season.

1. KARMA

It is believed that the world is run by a set of people, that keep the world in balance to prevent her from shutting down. For every good, there must be a bad, For every bad? A good. Its what keeps the world okay. It may seem a farce but, it is a reality which Jose Mourinho must come to terms with.

The 54-year old stormed out of his post-match TV interview apparently disgusted at the result, but it was one which had his own blueprint. Hull sat deep, refused to be bullied and had answers to all the questions United asked of them.

It was a classic Mourinho print, one reminiscent of his Inter days. He shouldn’t have been angry. He was simply being paid with his own kind of coin. His team had done the same earlier this season at Anfield.

Often times, snatching a win could be the sweetest thing in football but you being the victim? Leaves scars. However, it wasn’t the case here. Maybe Mourinho should applaud Hull’s resilience and be proud of them than putting up hypocritical behavior.

Mysterious Record: Welcome to a weird Premier League season

Mysterious Record: Welcome to a weird Premier League season

Have I mentioned the 6th place mystery? It’s been so enigmatic that I’ll just let this infographic emphasize how deep this mystery is.

 

Pep's Strongest Manchester City side yet?

Pep’s Strongest Manchester City side yet?

2. SANE, WILLY & JESUS, Guardiola’s Saviour

It doesn’t come everyday, the chance to say how much a goalkeeper saved Pep Guardiola on a Matchday. It’s usually the Spaniard’s frontment wrecking all the havoc and breaking down barriers.

But in recent times, just like a wardrobe malfunction, a “goalkeeping malfunction” has not saved Pep. It has made him look surprisingly terrible. Don’t get me wrong. The tacts have been fine.

Jesus comes from Brazil, gets a goal, an assist, runs away with the Man of The Match award and comfortably fills in the shoes left by Kun Aguero’s absence – all on his first Premier League start.

Sane’s trickery, run-ins, innovation and youth makes Man. City look alive again! I mean, Sterling is being greatly helped by the young German.

So, It’s obvious the Pep Tacts are intact. But no team can hide, for long, the pain of a bad (actually, terrible’s the word) goalkeeper.
And the Philosopher had been suffering this pain for some time. So, he decides to take a pill to alleviate his pain by replacing Claudio Bravo with Willy Caballero. The result?

Manchester City beat West Ham 0-4! No goals were conceded. Mysterious treatment of that “goalkeeping headache.”


3. THEIR OWN WORST ENEMY

Man is often said to be his own worst enemy. The architect of his downfall. And Arsenal are edging towards that spectrum.

Disastrous decision making in the stands courtesy Arsene Wenger, moments of naivety courtesy the Arsenal defence and a twirl of fate all combined to perfection against Watford. They lost the game

Being Arsenal, a loss to Watford may not entirely be a mystery. But, isn’t the mystery of CONSISTENTLY losing the “title ambitions” steam around this time of the year mysterious enough?

Season after season, the story has been the same: September to November, an Arsenal side that’ll kill all in sight. From Santa’s arrival, to his departure and the first month of the new year inclusive, you have an Arsenal side that just can’t help themselves from caving in.

They often play as if they are scared to win and while they have scored the most late goals this season, they must realize fortune will only favour the brave. It won’t hurt if they grow more cajones and played like champions. They already have the core!


4. ThE OTHER MYSTERIES

Chelsea fans have to forgive me for adding your beloved club to this list, instead of making it a point on it’s own.

Well, it seems no one else is interested in catching up. Since that unbeaten run, the only thing that can be a mystery is Chelsea losing. I’ve adjusted to this “type” of Chelsea. Nothing new to see – erm, can I mention that mysterious David Luiz goal?

Mysteriously, Liverpool were able to slow down that Chelsea train whose next stop sems to be the Premier League title. Mane is back. As such, the poor run of form should stop now.

Peter Crouch is still a prolific scorer. Scoring 100 Premier League goals is a mystery because not many made it that far. But Crouch did and celebrated the feat with his famous Robot Celebration.

Leicester’s season has been so confusing. It’s like the force of overcoming a 5000/1 odds is still with them, but this time, in a negative form.

The relegation cloud is hovering dangerously and that, my friends, is a mystery for a club that is the reigning champ.
Did I omit any other “mysteries”? Do you have some of yours? Please let me know by leaving a comment below. I’d love to talk football with you. 😉
About Author

Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav

2016/17 Premier League Season: 5 New Signings To Watch Out For

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1. Henrikh Mikhtaryan (Manchester United)
For a good number of clubs currently in the English Premier League, a signing like the Armenian winger, Henrikh Mikhtaryan, would likely be their biggest signing of the transfer window. For Manchester United however, world record signing Paul Pogba pips ‘Micki’ to this title.

However, considering the fact that Henrikh is the more experienced player of the two, and also the fact that he came about 60m cheaper, it is safe to assume that come the end of the season, he will be considered the more shrewd signing of the two.

Comparisons aside though, Henrikh’s last season at immediate former club, Borrusia Dortmund was definitely the best season of his career so far. Racking up over 20 goals and 20 assists and at the age of 27, he is now settling into what should be his best footballing years.

The winger is blessed with good dribbling skills, excellent ball control, a good eye for a pass and an excellent eye for a cross. Put all that in a mix with considerable pace and you have a world class winger in Henrikh Mikhtaryan. United have not had a dominant winger since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Henrikh might be the closest they have gotten to a world class winger since that time.

He cost ‘just’ over £26m but looking at the current setup of the transfer market in England(City have just signed an unproven Brazilian teenager, Gabriel Jesus for roughly the same amount) Henrikh Mikhtaryan has all it takes to be the signing of the season.

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2. Sadio Mane (Liverpool)
Yet another signing from Southampton for Liverpool then. It looks like Brendan Rodgers is not the only one that fancies The Saints’ players as manager Jurgen Klopp made the decision to splash £36m on the Senegalese winger. However, we believe that when the season is over, the signing of Sadio Mane will be considered one of the best signing, if not the best, of the season.

Two seasons in England and Sadio has proven himself to be one of the most exciting attacking players in the league. Blessed with an electric pace, good dribbling skills and a sharp eye for goal, Sadio Mane is exactly the type of attacking player that Liverpool have been missing. He joins a team spoiled with attacking talent such as Phillipe Coutinho, Roberto  Firmino and Adam Lallana, even James Milner who racked up over 20assists for Liverpool last season.

However, Sadio Mane offers something different to all these players and the major difference that sticks out is his pace. When asked about his opinion of the new signing, Phillipe Coutinho said “He’s too fast” and this pace, when used to its full effect, can be the catalyst for that extra nudge of quality that Liverpool have been lacking in the final third since the departure of Englishman Raheem Sterling.

Too often last season, the Reds have threatened defences, but without a player who can stretch defences with his pace, their attacks faltered once they got to the 18-yard box. Jurgen Klopp seems  to have addressed the issue with this signing and still only 24years old, Sadio Mane could prove to be a revelation in Liverpool’s top four push this season.

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3. Nathan Redmond (Southampton)
This might seem a surprise inclusion in this list, especially considering the stature of the remaining players but, Southampton have gotten a very good player in Nathan Redmond. Signed as replacement for Sadio Mane, there has been a long standing argument about the fact that Redmond deserves a chance at a bigger club than Norwich and following the relegation of his old club to the championship and the sale of Sadio Mane to Liverpool, it seemed like the natural thing for Southampton to do; to sign the tricky winger.

Signed for a fee of about £12m, the deal already looks too good considering the fact that English players are usually sold at a premium within the league. Too often last season, Nathan Redmond seemed to be the only Norwich player making an effort as he tried to do everything on his own when his teammates failed to turn up laat season.

Another fast, skillful player, he is almost a like-for-like replacement for Sadio Mane. And given the fact that he’s been so consistently good for Norwich, a team low on quality, it should be expected that his performance level only increase now that he has better players to work with. He already has experience in the Premier League too and at the age of 23, he could be a star for Southampton in the years to come (or, till Liverpool come knocking).

4. Nampalys Mendy (Leicester)
Who? You’ll be forgiven if you say you’ve never heard the name before but Leicester have signed this 24 year-old defensive midfielder from Nice. And, as some people already believe, he’ll be PFA Player of the Year nominee, N’golo Kante’s replacement. However, though there are similarities in their game, and also their looks (they weirdly have similar statures and skin colour: deep black), Mendy and Kante are not exactly the same type of players.

Kate’s strength is in his defensive abilities (tackling, interceptions), placed in an internal engine that German car companies would be proud of. Mendy’s strength is in a similar engine, also decent defensive abilities but with a more technical combination of a good passing range and the occasional dribble. It seems manager Claudio Ranieri decided that an inexhaustible stamina is the most important attribute in that position and so he’s gone and gotten himself a player with top notch stamina that can also play the attackers in from deep.

Mendy is on this list mainly because of the burden on his shoulders to perform well and ensure Leicester do not miss Kante too much. And it should be interesting to see if and how he rises up to this challenge.

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5. John Stones (Manchester City)
The most expensive player on this list (and a good example to support the fact made earlier about English players coming in at a premium), John Stones, City’s £47.5m signing from Everton, is the league’s most expensive defender ever. Safe to say, he has a lot of pressure on to fulfil the potential that manager Pep Guardiola obviously sees in him.

John Stones is the perfect Pep-type defender. Composure on the ball and the ability to carry the ball out of defence is exactly what Pep wants from his centre backs and these are the areas where John Stones, on his day, excels. He lost his head in some matches last season, causing people to doubt if he is worth all the hype but mistakes are to be expected from any young player at this level. Now 22 years old, and in a City side that lacks genuine quality in central defence, this season is the perfect time for John Stones to come into his own and establish himself as one of the best young defenders in the game.

Luckily, there’s few better options for this sort of development than under Pep Guardiola, who has been responsible for the growth of a good number of young stars throughout his own glittering career as a manager. John Stones is expected to be a regular in City’s defence this season, even when captain Vincent Kompany comes back.

And it will be interesting to watch how he progresses throughout the course of the season. He could prove to be a solution in defence for City, both short and long term, but he could also turn out to be an expensive flop. Watch this space.

About Author
Olayiwola Ola is an avid football follower. A Liverpool fan since the first day he watched Steven Gerrard play, he loves talking about football and shares the occasional banter with rival fans.

“For The Goals is my first attempt at writing about football. Definitely something I see myself doing on a steady though.”

2016/2017 English Premier League Season: 51 Questions To Be Answered (The Ultimate Question)

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New Logo, New Rules, New Theme Song. Will this new English Premier League season produce a new champion?

The 2016/2017 English Premier League season is upon us. And after discussing 50 questions that will be asked this English Premier League season, we’re down to the last one; the big one!

Q1: Who Will Win the Title?
This one’s got to be the BIGGEST question this season. I mean: with nine teams possibly in contention, the size of this question cannot be overemphasized. And we’re not even talking about who tops the league in December or spends the most time at the top. Who will lift the trophy come May? Which team will be crowned champions and make their supporters merry at the end of it all? Will it be Arsenal or Chelsea or one of the two teams from Manchester? Will it be a back-to-back hit for Leicester? Will Tottenham spur themselves on to the title? What of Klopp’s Liverpool?

Honestly, it’s hard to tell. It’s never been harder than this. And we at ForTheGoals will keep our fingers crossed, and wait patiently as the biggest league in the world unfolds, game by game. We’ll be here throughout the season, talking about all (okay, maybe not all) the events as they happen. (One of us is secretly hoping that this season is more dramatic than the last, for the fans’ sake.)

From all of us here: Cheers to a fantastic 2016/2017 Premier League football season! 

Let the games begin!

About Author
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn

2016/2017 English Premier League Season: 51 Questions To Be Answered (11-2)

Our countdown continues. So far, we’ve had three posts in this series. If you’ve missed any of them, you can catch up on the questions you’ve missed here, here and here.

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Q11: How Will the English Teams Fare in the Champions League?
Leicester, Tottenham, Arsenal and Manchester City aren’t exactly the strongest of names in Europe’s premier competition these days. Of all the teams, City is the only club with a coach that has won it. Will England get a beatinghis time around or will the teams show why the English Premier League is said to be the best in the world?

Q10: Is This Really the Hardest Season To Win the Premier League?
Arsene Wenger has been quoted as saying this year’s Premier League title can be won by at least nine clubs. Tough eh? With names like Mourinho, Pep, Conte, added to the mix, the reasons for Wenger’s prediction is not far-fetched. Will it be one of the regulars to lift the title or will it be hard for every team, making the fans wait until the final day?

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Q9: Who Will Be King of the Touchline Drama?
Last season’s champ in this category was of course Jurgen Klopp. His fiery-looking face and his demeanour was always a beauty to behold each time the Reds stepped out. But with names like Conte now in the mix, it’s hard to tell who will be this Premier League season’s best actor cum coach. Will there be a poking of the eyes? Coaches pushing each other? Or will the other British Klopp in the Palace win this category? (Hello Alan!).

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Q8: Is This Pep’s Toughest Challenge Yet?
This one has a general answer alreasy among the fans of the league: a resounding Yes! Strong teams, high spending power, world class coaches, ahem… no Messi, Iniesta or even Xavi. No Dortmund to buy from and systematically make weaker. Three competitions to play in. But is this really the toughest challenge of a coach who has been quoted as saying, “The big coaches help me reach another level… they’ve made me better.”? Will Pep fare well or will he be forced into another sabbatical, forced to say, “Farewell” early?

epa05011455 Arsenal's manager Arsene Wenger before the UEFA Champions League group F soccer match between Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, 04 November 2015.  EPA/PETER KNEFFEL

epa05011455 Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger before the UEFA Champions League group F soccer match between Bayern Munich and FC Arsenal at Allianz Arena in Munich, Germany, 04 November 2015. EPA/PETER KNEFFEL

Q7: What If…?
What if Arsenal do not have injuries? What if Sturridge is fit? What if Conte’s 3-5-2 does not work? What if Leicester do the double? What if Pogba fails to shine? What if Pep finishes outside of the Top 4? What if…?

Q6: Can We Get Another Leicester?
The Foxes turned a foolish dream into reality. People said it was impossible. Ranieri proved them wrong. Now, can we find another team that can pull it off? That can stun the world? Burnley? Middlesborough? Stoke? I think the answer is no but you can never tell this things can we?

Q5: Is This Our Year?
This is one question that every fan will be asking. Arsenal, Chelsea, Liverpool, Manchester United and Manchester City fans will be asking this in connection with the Premier League title. Fans of Burnley will be wondering whether they can stay up this year? Everton and West Ham fans will be wonderinf if this is the Champions League year

Q4: Formations At the Ready?!
Tiki-taka? Le Professor’s way or Pep’s way? All-out attack or Park the Bus? Who will be the masters of passes this season? 4-4-2? 4-5-1? 3-5-2? 4-3-3? Or maybe an outrageous 2-3-5?

Q3: Who Will Be Relegated?
Predictions are rife already! Many pundits and analysts have churned out predicted standings. So who will stay up and who will be down and out? Names like Hull City, Burnley and Middlesborough are being touted to return to the Championship. But names like Watford and West Brom could go down too, right?

Q2: What Will Be Leicester’s Fate?
Blame us not for concentrating excessively on the Foxes. But the spotlight’s always on the champ. Will Ranieri get another Champions League qualification? Maybe it will be the Europa this time? Will he be able to master-mind another league title win? Or, will they finish in the bottom half? How will they cope without Kante? How will Ranieri’s men thrive?

2016/2017 English Premier League Season: 51 Questions To Be Answered (51-42)

New Season, New Questions: The new English Premier League kicks off on the 13th of August

New Season, New Questions: The new English Premier League kicks off on the 13th of August

With every new football season comes questions begging for answers. And these questions don’t come in bigger sizes anywhere else than in the English Premier League.

The clubs have been heavily involved (regardless of whatever that French Economist does) in the transfer markets. Players have switched allegiances. Some clubs now have new managers.

With all the above, questions arise. Different kinds. That’s why we’ve put together a team of three writers who are already asking questions. Let’s bring them to the front shall we?

Q51: Will Asano and Olivier be Enough To Win the Title?
Forgive me if I seem to have overlooked whichever name maybe coming out of the academy ranks of the Gunners. But, it took Giroud a long time to wake up in the second half of last season, which has consistently been Arsenal’s Achilles’ Heel. Wenger noticed the need for a new striker and brought in the Japanese. Will these two be enough or, in the voice of the Arsenal fans, “Should we expect another?”

Q50: Can Bournemouth Stay Up Again?
With new signings like Nathan Ake (Chelsea), Lys Mousset (Le Havre) and Jordon Ibe (Liverpool), Eddie Howe doesn’t seem interested in relegation battles this time. He will depend heavily on Ibe and Lewis Cook who won the Football League Young Player of the Year to keep his side in the top flight. But can they achieve this?

Q49: “Dear Burnley, Business or Pleasure?”
Sean Dyche, during the 2014/2015 EPL season, pulled off some major surprises (still can’t forget that win over Man. City). But it wasn’t enough to keep them alive. They carried their energy to the EFL and finished the season top of the league. Now they’re back in the PL. Are they here to stay or is this just another “top-flight visit?”

Q48: CONTEnders?
Will Conte perform his Italian magic in the EPL too? He went on a roll in the Serie A and he’d be willing to get straight into the mix in the EPL especially with the signings he’s made. Moreover with Roman reigning, there’s no excuse.

Q47: Who Will Pardew Upset This Season?
Alan Pardew may not have the biggest names in his squad. Unbeaten runs may not be his specialty. But one thing Alan know very well is how to beat the big names when it is necessary. And this season, the question remains: Who will be his victim?

Q46: The New Noisy Neighbours: Loud Enough?
Everton, since their acquisition, have silently been punching above their traditional weight in the transfer market. And with a Koeman at the fore, should Liverpool be prepared to have sleepless nights yet?

Q45: Who Will Replace Bruce?
It’s still unfathomable, how Steve Bruce made a U-turn and quit his Hull City position. It shocked all. Helping promote a team from the Championship AND HELPING THEM REMAIN in the top-flight is every coach’s dream. But Steve has left Hull hanging. With barely a few days to the srart of the new season, who will lead the Hull calvary?

Q44: Leicester Again?
Everybody involved and watching the EPL is certain to be curious about where Leicester will finish after they turned a foolish dream to reality. With new tasks of being involved in more competitions, can theynretain their title? Maybe a Top 4 finish? Or Top 10?

Q43: Is This Our Year?
Klopp has been quoted as saying, “this is now my team.” Most of the players around were brought in by him. The questions the fans will be asking now will be, “Is this our year?” “Will Klopp win us a trophy this time?”

Q42: What Will The Philosopher Win For the Citizens?
Pep Guardiola is finally in England. The one who tinkers with all kinds of formation will be out to show he can cope with the pressure and perform in England. But will the Spaniard be able to win the EPL in his first season? Is he even that good?

Jose Mourinho the Serious One, £100m Pogba, the NPFL and 7 More Talking Points From #FootballThisPastWeek

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Portugal: European Campeons!

I’ve got a confession to make.

Well, let’s just say it’s more of a theory I’d like to prove than a confession.

Want to know what it is? Okay, here we go!

Football is a whole lot about “could haves,” “would haves,” and “should haves.” (you agree with me right?)

Although it’s something associated with sports in general, football (or soccer for the U.S fans) gets more than its own fair share of the “what-could-have-been” tales of the sports industry.

Maybe it’s because of the worldwide reach of the game, which means there’s a massive amount of people to talk about what happened, with plenty of regard to what could have happened.

“What if the German national team was not hit by injuries? They would have beaten France.”

“Manchester United want to buy Pogba for £100m? They shouldn’t have sold him in the first place.”

“Portugal are champions of Europe? They shouldn’t have even qualified out of their group. They were that poor.”

You get the gist?

It is these kind of questions and the assumptions (and presumtions) that come along with them that makes football deep; so deep, it’s hard to cover all about football in one article.

Different opinions from different people watching from different angles. But this is what makes football fun to talk about: the endless possibilities. An ever-growing list of stuff to talk about.

And in the past week, there’s been more than enough to talk about.

From the Euro 2016, to England’s search for a coach, the players leaving and joining football clubs with weird price tags (and weird locations too!), football has been quite eventful.

Let’s review some of the talking points from football this past week shall we?

– The Euro 2016: So Far, So Good…French Hosts, Portugese Champs, French Runners-up
The European championship has come and gone. It brought drama, amazing goals, upsets and surprises.

One of the surprise, and the ultimate one,  was Portugal winning the tournament. Judging by the way they played in the group stages, they were the least-expected country to even qualify for the final.

But, they pulled a Leicester on all and, against all odds (the C. Ronaldo injury included), won the trophy.

Their opponents, the Frenchmen, couldn’t capitalise on their mistakes like they did against the Germans. The host-nation had to settle for second place.

This Euro was the one European tournament that had long-standing records tumbling over themselves. In Euro 2016,

▶ FRA which had NEVER lost an European Championship Final, after winning both the 1984 and the 2000 finals which were their only final appearances, came in second place behind Portugal.

▶ France beat Germany in the semi-final of the competition. That was the first time in 58 years that the French beat their German counterparts in competitive football.

▶ Ronaldo: With 9 Euro goals, Cristiano Ronaldo tied Platini’s 1984 record for most goals, in an European competition.

How about the weird ones?

▶ Portugal didn’t win any game in normal time until they got to the semi-final stage of the competition.

▶ Who would have thought that Griezmann would turn out to be the highest goalscorer of the tournament? Dunno bout you but, I didn’t see him scoring six before the tournament started.

▶ OFFICIAL: Renato Sanches has won the #EURO2016 Young Player of the Tournament award. A star is born. https://t.co/jwo3xnvKyy
Even Sanches could not have seen this one coming.

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Jose 'The Serious One' Mourinho

– The Jose Mourinho Press Conference
The Special One has officially become the HNIC at Manchester United (just in case you’re wondering what HNIC means, search for it a href=”www.urbandictionary.com”>here ). I’ll be waiting for you when you come back.

But after his press conference, the media changed their minds and gave Jose a new name: The Serious One. Why?

Let’s just say some tough statements, aggressive statements and some excerpts from his first press conference as a Manchester United coach:

José Mourinho:

“I was never very good at hiding behind words or hiding behind philosophies.”

José Mourinho:

Man. Utd is a Champions League club. We have to make sure in July 2017 that this club is where it belongs.

José Mourinho:

“I prefer to be more aggressive, to say that we want to win. We want to win everything.”

https://t.co/aLoZB8mmIi

José Mourinho:

“I know the responsibility, the legacy, the history. I know what the fans expect from me.”

https://t.co/zRa8RVZYw5

José Mourinho:

“This is a job that everyone wants and I have it! This challenge does not make me nervous.”

https://t.co/bJvqPYHDSc

José Mourinho:

“I feel a bit frustrated we’re not in the Champions League. Man Utd is a Champions League club.”

https://t.co/TgXDE2fTtY

José Mourinho:

“49 is a lot. One lie repeated many times. Always a lie. If you want names, I give you the names.”

https://t.co/19DD3lGrzO

José Mourinho on why Ryan Giggs left Man Utd:

“The job Ryan wanted is the one I got. He wants to be a manager.”

https://t.co/OUNK1Koh4W

José Mourinho on Ryan Giggs:

“I will never stop him coming back. The club tried to offer him any important job they could. He’s been brave.”

José Mourinho on the advice Sir Alex Ferguson gave him:

“Bring the umbrella! And bring the good bottle of wine.”

https://t.co/MAZRLaOwBA

After using the word ‘I’ 91 times during his introductory press conference, according to DailyMail, you can understand why the media quickly gave Jose a new name.

But with all the huffing and puffing, will Mourinho turn Man. Utd’s fortunes around? Can he actually win all?

I think he can’t win all. What do you think?

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New Citizen in town: Pep Guardiola poses for his first official photos as Man. City coach

– The Pep Guardiola Press Conference
During the week, in the other half of Manchester, Pep “The Philosopher” Guardiola also gave his introductory press conference.

While reading through the excerpts, you will notice a sharp contrast between the words he chose to use and those used by Mourinho. A norm for two coaches known to never have been on the same side of a coin.

Pep on Mourinho:

“I think Jose said pretty well in his press conference that it’s not about me and him.”

Pep:

“The top coaches, and Jose is one, help me reach the next level. They made me better. Like Jurgen Klopp at Dortmund too.”

Pep Guardiola on Yaya Toure:

“I’m counting on them all including Yaya.”

PEP:

“I love to work with young players. Now I realise in a short time working with players from the second team, I’m really impressed.”

Pep Guardiola:

“Antonio Conte is a master tactician. It’s going to be very interesting competing against him.”

https://t.co/QZciP6BeQU

Pep Guardiola:

Manchester City can play ‘beautiful football’ in Premier League

: https://t.co/9ZSj0V9Urq

PEP:

“I will always be grateful to this club for giving me this opportunity to come to the Premier League. I’ll do my best to the last day.”

Pep:

“I think it’s great top managers are here in England. Big managers take me to another level — they push me to achieve things.”

Pep:

“My responsibility here is for the players. The other business is huge so I just focus on my players.”

What is Guardiola up to? I wish I knew. Of course I’d love to hear from you if you know what the Philosopher will do next.

-The Crazy Football Transfer Market’s Getting Crazier!
With the way most football clubs are going about their deals: signing players, selling some, and releasing others for free, there might not be too much to do on that dreaded dealine day.

Clubs like Newcastle made their fourth signing in the past week (English Championship clubs beware!); a signing from Atletico Madrid. Unless they’re aiming to beat Quique Flores’ record at Watford last season, they’ll be very well done with their purchases before August 31 (or is it September 1?)

Players like Pelle of Southampton discovered that the grass is greener on the “Chinese” side. Victor Valdes intends to “pick it up from ground level” again at Middlesborough and Ahmed Musa joined “a family” at Leicester.

But the major transfer news was about a player whose only movement was the movements he was making on the pitch for his country at the Euro 2016.

Paul Pogba is his name. And wherever that name appears now, a price-tag of £100m follows. And Manchester United is the football club making the offer.

And a whole lot has been said by a whole lot of people about this, one of them being Robbie Fowler…

“The former England striker has launched a scathing attack on the Manchester United target, claiming the £100m price-tag is way too much for the 23-year-old France’s Paul Pogba is ‘massively overrated’ and has been average at the European Championships.”

“He’s done OK against pretty limited opposition for France, but what does he bring? Energy and athleticism to midfield, but so does N’Golo Kante.”

– Fowler

Ouch!

But, the question remains: Whose fault is it that an amount that huge is being offered for a player of, erm, let’s just say, that calibre?

Manchester United? Mourinho? Pogba? Who’s to blame?

– Coaching Drama
Guardiola and Mourinho weren’t the only coaches in the news over the week.

England has put a number of coaches in the spotlight with their recent search for a new coach. Roy stepped down after the dismal Euro 2016 showing and now the Three Lions are in search of a new coach.

Jurgen Klinsmann has become one of the front-runners for the job. Can’t blame the FA. Seeing the job that was done by the German with the USMNT, Jurgen presents a fantastic opportunity English football has been waiting for since 1966: a coach that knows how to win. Or at least, a coach that knows how to turn a losing side into a side that will be feared.

An impressive C.V and the opportunity to help develop a predecesor who will take over when he’s gone means Klinsmann is an offer the FA can’t refuse. Seems England may not be needing a ‘Roll of the Allardyce’ afterall. Sorry SkySports.

Still on irresistible offers, Marcelo Bielsa resigned just two days after taking the coaching role at Lazio! This one will go down in coaching folklore.

Bielsa threw all the blame on Lazio but we both know who’s to blame right?

Moving on…

Worthy Mentions
During the past week, a certain Real Madrid player, Lucas Silva, aged 23, was forced to retire from football due to a serious heart problem. https://t.co/HRxK8zPvbL

It’s certainly a sad one for the lad who, going by his age, still had a couple of playing years ahead of him. Hopefully Real Madrid will be able to get him a player-scouting role at the club because… of course a coaching role would be bad for his heart!

This stat appeared somewhere online last week: Hugo Lloris had 33 passes v #GER, only Paul Pogba (35) had more on the French side. Playmaker.

I really dunno where to categorize that.

Kano Pillars, missed out on cash from the Musa-to-Leicester move. Why? No sell-on clauses were inserted in his contract when he moved to Europe.  Maybe our Nigerian clubs need more business orientation. Maybe that alone can make the NPFL a better league generally.

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Tight Battle For the Title: Wikki Tourists, Rangers and Rivers set to make this one a "photo-finish." Photo credit: LMCNPFL

Speaking of the NPFL, Rangers International are obviously giving Wikki Tourists a run for their money. Or should I say… a run for their title. And with both teams on 43 points, Rivers United is lurking around the corner like an hyena, with 41 points, waiting to take advantage of any slip ups.

Who said the NPFL isn’t fun?

Did I mention that Portugal, before the Euro 2016, were 20/1 to win the tournament? I guess it’s safe to say again, THEY PULLED A LEICESTER ON ME! I’m sure they did on you too right?

Don’t forget to share this beautiful read with your friends. I’m sure they’ll love it and will thank you.

About Author
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav and on LinkedIn

This Week’s Definition of the EPL’s Big Five

In a Premier League Matchday that had a lot of 90+ mins goals, with some teams getting ripped apart by the Foxes and more, here’s a review of the performances of the league’s Big Five:

Oliver Giroud: A Gunner that can't stop blazing

Oliver Giroud: A Gunner that can’t stop blazing


– Arsenal: Taking Advantage Sticking Around the Top
Before the game, it was sure who was going to win this tie. But after scoring 2 first half goals against Aston Villa, it was even clearer where the three points were headed. Arsenal, made sure ‘this kind of three points’ did not slip through their fingers as you never know the grain of rice that’ll tip the scale come May 2016. Their win sent them to the top – for a while – which is some sort of morale booster for their title ambitions – to be sitting atop the pile, smiling down on the remaining 19, even if it is for only a couple of hours.

Ironically unironic: These days you need to 'scroll down' to see Chelsea on the log table.

Ironically unironic: These days you need to ‘scroll down’ to see Chelsea on the log table.


– Chelsea: Drowning in the Deep Blue
The irony seems to have lost its effect on football fans. The irony that last season’s champs can be competing for a ‘parking space in the relegation zone’ is no longer an irony. It’s like the troublesome cousin that has unavoidably come to stay. It has become a Premier League 2015/2016 season fact. So when they played against the best team of the league, Leicester City, I expected them to lose. I mean, this days, everybody expects Chelsea to lose right? The only argument is: By how much?

And so Leicester City, and Mahrez and Vardy and Ranieri condemned Mourinho to his 9th defeat of the season; a season that’s not even 18-games old. It seems all out of José’s hands. There’s already a blending-in of colours with the Blues drowning in the league’s Deep Blue Sea.

Never say die: The Normal One is making Liverpool contend again.

Never say die: The Normal One is making Liverpool contend again.


-Liverpool: Point Snatchers, Party Spoilers!
I think Liverpool fans should get used to this kind of descriptions now that Klopp is the Head-Ni**a-in-Charge. Liverpool scored the first of the game but conceded two via corner-kicks (a weak spot maybe?). The second goal was conceded in the 73rd minute. It took a while but a certain Origi heeded the clarion call of his master and blasted the ball into West Brom’s onion bag. This was in the 96th minute! You wonder how “pained” – like my Nigerian folks would say – Tony Pulis must have been. They must have wanted all three points against the Reds but instead got only one and Liverpool got the other. The third? To the ref maybe?

Back to winning ways: The Citizens left it late at the Etihad stadium

Back to winning ways: The Citizens left it late at the Etihad stadium


-Manchester City: Back to Winning Ways
Man. City needed to at least garner 3 points against the in-trouble Swans after their “usual” catastrophic away display against Stoke City. Who better to pick 3 points off than a manager-less club?

So they got off to a flying start with a 26th-minute goal and put their noses in front. But for Joe Hart, they’d have suffered another loss. Then, at last, another “usual” happened (Note: No Man. City game this season is complete without them conceding at least a goal. The ones in which they’ve kept clean sheets are incomplete games and will be replayed in the nearest future with them finally conceding). Gomis finally scored against Hart in the 90th minute. 1 – 1. But the Citizens being the team that they are, especially when they’re playing at the Etihad Stadium, had other ideas and they scored again… in the 92nd minute! Drama! Yet again, Man. City have made the most of a “simple” Premier League game. Well, the Premier League in that sentence makes “simple” very hard.

Well well well...: Uncle Louis and the Old Trafford hardknock life

Well well well…: Uncle Louis and the Old Trafford hardknock life


-Manchester United: Louis van Gaal
No definition could be better fitting than this! Take it to the bank. The Dutch gaffer is making Man. Utd seem worse than the Moyes days (no offense Moyes). Meet any Man. Utd fan – a real one – and they’ll kick Uncle Louis’ ass and send him packing the moment they get a chance. Just like Zlatan said, van Gaal is driving this Red Ferrari like a Fiat!

Again, the Red Devils lost, to Bournemouth this time. They’re now winless in 5 games and the only one to blame is the man at the helm of affaira. Not Rooney, not Martial but Louis Van Gaal. He’s doing a terrible job. The interesting part of the story is: He knows that his team is poor but he’s TOO RIGID to become FLEXIBLE enough to adopt other ideas than can move the team forward and make it better than the kind of team it is now: a team that is scared of scoring goals.

Follow me on twitter @rotdav