CLUBS RETURN TO TRAINING

STEP CLOSER

With the Premier League now allowing teams to be able to carry out training sessions at respective training grounds, I think it’s safe to say that the league will return sooner rather than later. It was announced that Premier League clubs have unanimously voted to resume training in small groups from Tuesday. The aim is for teams to be able to train but also follow guidelines by maintaining social distancing whilst a review to full contact training has yet to be decided.

Currently there are ongoing COVID-19 tests scheduled to take place at clubs around the country and hopefully this will aid the Premier League in administering a safe return to action. June 12 has been penned in as the likely date for the league to resume and see off the rest of the season (Liverpool fans will be happy with that one). I am sure they’ll be minor concerns related to player fitness but I guess everyone is on the same boat so no advantages for anyone.

Meanwhile, as the Premier League make preparations in England, further afield in Scotland the Scottish FA have decided to end the Scottish Premier League siting coronavirus as the reason for this decision. As a result of this announcement Celtic have been awarded and crowned champions for the ninth consecutive season, whilst Hearts were relegated to the Scottish championship. To be fair I think they can’t really argue with the decision because at the end of the day, you have the whole entire season to accumulate points and if you don’t then the inevitability of relegation is clear (I’m just saying).

However, there were football matches over the weekend with the return to action of the German Bundesliga. The German FA decided to take a different approach by resuming the league and have taken measures to ensure the safety of the players. The games were played behind closed doors, meaning no supporters and crowds of people at the stadium. From a safety element it looked like a successful  process without any cases being reported in relation to covid-19.

bayern

In my total desperation to watch a game of football having felt deprived of the beautiful game, I attempted to watch the Bayern Munich’s match against 1.FC Union Berlin but after ten minutes I had to turn the telly off (I just couldn’t deal with the lack of atmosphere!!). Here’s my suggestion going forward, mute the players or inject some pre-recorded supporter cheers and jeers just to add a little spice to the audiovisuals.

train

Edging nearer and nearer!!!!

PREMIER LEAGUE RETURN?

Patiently Waiting

We are all anticipating the return of the premier league and I am sure there are Liverpool supporters out there who are nervously anxious. Just like the fans, the UK government have announced that they too want the league back as soon as possible. However, with all that is going on in the world at present, only time will tell when that’s likely to be.

June has allegedly been penciled in as a possible start date but nothing definitive. Would it make sense for the league to conclude in the right and normal fashion? Absolutely! The powers that be would need to decide how they will carry this out whilst also trying to implement government guidelines of social distancing. Yes this could mean games being played behind closed doors. Whilst the atmosphere may be dire it would at least allow an appropriate conclusion to the league (Reds fans would love that).

Supporters would still be able to follow and watch their respective teams albeit from the comfort of their homes (something I know a lot about) and I am sure we are all in agreement that we could do with some entertainment. I wonder how fit the players are at the moment and what condition they’re in physically given the fact that everyone is on lockdown. Mourinho got caught a few weeks back training some members of the Spurs first team in a local park (who else could it be but the special one hahaha!!). However clubs have now started to reopen their training facilities again.

As of today UEFA have officially given the Premier League and other European Leagues a deadline of May 25 to provide plans to restart their respective season. I guess we will see what happens come May 25th. Well, I can confirm that the French League will definitely not resume after all sporting events holding more than 5,000 people have been banned at least until September. Effectively, this news led to the end of Ligue 1.

The Dutch Football Association had also earlier announced that the Eredivisie season had been ended. They ruled the 2019/20 season as null and void, meaning no winner no relegated teams and the whole season being scrapped. Now if the Premier League took the same approach I don’t think that will go down well in some parts of the Country (stating the obvious yes, I AM!!!!).

 

kane return

Spurs can benefit from Kane’s return!!

THE SEASON MUST END

When is the question

I hope you’re all keeping well and safe in light of the coronavirus. In these unprecedented times we all have to look after ourselves and follow all guidelines and measures. Another round of applause for the¬† magnificent NHS.

I know it’s been hella quiet in recent weeks and I never thought the day would come when I could no longer watch my beloved sport. I’ve been pulling my hair out (whats left of it) being stuck indoors, watching re-runs of only fools and horses, eating cheap sausages and beans thanks to the stock-pilers and food hoarders out there. Class act!

Moving on swiftly, as we know, the entire sporting world has undergone suspension due to Covid-19 and football was impacted by this. A decision was made earlier in March by the PFA to suspend the premier league until 30th April 2020. Given the current circumstance this was a wise decision to make and many clubs and players alike have shown their support.

The question that loomed mostly was whether or not the league should be completed or voided. Some people felt Liverpool should be awarded the league tittle by default, others felt Manchester City had a mathematical (slightly unrealistic) chance of winning the league therefore should be afforded the opportunity to compete out-rightly. There were also questions raised about the top four places and who would benefit depending on what action was taken.

If the season was voided, Tottenham would be in next years champions league and others like Leicester would miss out. This would be unfair but these questions were raised. Also, relegation would be an issue as well as promotion from the championship. So I am definitely glad that the season will reach a conclusion. Liverpool for the way they’ve handled business this year deserve to be crowned champions in the right manner, and with two wins needed to reach the summit; it would be absolutely criminal to not let them do so (nobody wants to lift a trophy up by default).

With UEFA confirming that all European Club competitions will also be concluded this season and the EUROs being postponed means Manchester City have a great opportunity to win the champions league. With their ban taking effect from next season, I’m sure they are delighted at the announcement from UEFA. Leicester potentially have an increased if not inevitable chance of returning to the champions league again (what a fantastic achievement by Brendan Rogers and without any tinkering….hehehe!!).

Here’s hoping that the season can resume from the scheduled date even if it means playing behind closed doors. For now though keep safe and stay healthy.

NHS

THANK YOU!!!!

WOEFUL TOTTENHAM CRUSHED IN CHAMPIONS LEAGUE

Spurs dumped yet again

The one thing I will acknowledge are the travelling Tottenham fans who sang their heart out for the club they love amidst the poor performance from the players. So credit to them for showing fan loyalty even though the players didn’t deserve any of it. Credit also to Redbull Leipzig for their dominance over the two legs as they progressed to the quarter finals of the champions league.

What has gone wrong for Spurs in the past weeks? Their loss of Son and Kane and other senior players has certainly hampered their season, no doubt about it. New signing Bergwijn has also been added to the injury list hence his omission from the game against Leipzig. You have to feel for Mourinho, not even the “self special one” had the answer as Tottenham were outclassed and out performed by the lesser known side.

The performance over the two legs has to be one of the worst I have seen from a Spurs side. There was no leadership, the players had no heart or believe and it showed in their display. One could argue that their lack of attacking option may have added to their woes. However, the midfield was awful and the defence has been a shambles for months, leaking goals at will. Spurs have only kept a clean sheet in 3 games all season and that is just unacceptable for a club that has ambitions of one day being at the submit of football (at this rate they’ll be playing Sunday league football down at Hackney Marshes).

Tottenham were well beaten by Leipzig, after Sabitzer put in a captain’s performance by leading his team to glory. The Austrian international gave the home side the lead in the 10th minute after striking the ball into the bottom corner from just outside the box. The Spurs goalkeeper Lloris could have and should have done better to keep the ball out. There was only ever going to be one outcome in this match and I’m sure there were many Spurs fans hoping that the team would show some of the courage they displayed in last year’s campaign but it wasn’t to be.

Sabitzer was at it again and struck to put Leipzig 2 goals up in the 20th minute of the first half before Forsberg wrapped things up with a tap in, in the 87th minute of match. The home supporters were full of joy as cheers echoed throughout the stadium, and you cannot blame them. Their team have just totally dominated and knocked out last year’s finalists so massive respect and congratulations to them. Are they good enough to go all the way? I don’t think so, but they can be proud of their achievements.

As for Tottenham and Mourinho, the whole season is an absolute right-off. I guess there will be questions asked back in North London and new strategies will be implemented in the summer. But for now Spurs’s season is over. Are they good enough to secure a top four finish? Definitely not, if their current form is anything to go by. They clearly have the players and squad to do great things and and sure come next season the mighty mighty Spurs will go marching in. It won’t surprise me if Mourinho leads them to winning the league and a cup next year (I’m not saying it will happen, but I won’t be surprised if it does).

spurs dump

Spurs go marching home!!!!

LIVERPOOL UNBEATEN RUN ENDED AT WATFORD

Watford do the unexpected

Woww!!! Of all the teams to end the run, Watford were the last team on my mind. It’s absolutely incredible, I am actually gobsmacked at the result. So you mean to tell me that after an impressive unbeaten run of 44 premier league games, this is how it ends. Credit to Watford for doing what they did. I’m sure they’ll be many Arsenal fans out there full of gratitude as their team still remain the only side in premier league history to go the whole season unbeaten.

Liverpool supporters don’t need to despair because your team can still lose another 5 games and be crowned champions come May. Just take it as a small blemish on what has been an incredible season for the Reds as they edge closer to ending the 30 year wait for a league trophy (I think you’ll agree that this is a lot more important).

Personally I think Liverpool could have lost league games ages ago but have been quite fortuitous in some matches by having results go their way. I guess it was only a of matter of time before they registered their first lost. I really believed they would go the whole season unbeaten but nevertheless their achievements and records set along the journey is plenty for the team to be proud about.

Watford opened the scoring through Sarr after tapping the ball into the net from close range on the 54th minute. He made it a double when captain Deeney played him through on goal before Sarr neatly lifted the ball above the Liverpool keeper in the 60th minute. Lallana almost pulled one back for the visitors but was unlucky to see his effort hit the upright of the post. Deeney wrapped things up for Watford when Sarr broke free on goal and cut the ball back for Deeney to coolly finish in the 72nd minute (not a bad day in the office for the captain and Sarr).

There were a couple of games postponed due to match clashes, however, Tottenham’s game against Wolves definitely caught the eye. I have mentioned before that Spurs will struggle to win games and find goals without the injured Son and Kane (their biggest attacking threats). Today though, it was their defence that let them down. Spurs went ahead through Bergwijn in the 13th minute before Doherty equalised for Wolves in the 27th minute.

The game between these two sides will always provide a lot of entertainment for fans due to their attacking nature. The action was non stop and both attacked end to end. Spurs were granted a goal in the 45th minute when Aurier struck the ball beautifully past the Wolves goal keeper. All Tottenham had to do in the second half was defend well and not concede. As we know with Spurs, things don’t always go according to plan and this game was no different. Jota leveled for Wolves in the 57th minute before Jimenez scored the winner in the 73rd minute. Spurs are now 7th in the league with 10 games remaining (hopes of that champions league spot may start to evaporate).

West Ham beat Southampton 3-1 in their quest for survival as the result now puts them in 16th position in the league. Their only concern now is that there are three other clubs with the same points tally and any one of those clubs could easily overtake West Ham. I’m pretty sure that when West Ham moved into their new home at the London Stadium, playing championship football wasn’t part of the imagination or something that was envisaged by stakeholders…..I’m just saying, football is a funny old sport.

city slickers

Manchester City win first silverware of 2020 after beating Aston Villa 2-1 in the Carabao Cup final!!!!

HAVE ARSENAL FOUND THEIR MOJO

Gunning in the right direction

Well, well, well….looks like a certain London club have finally found the right balls for their cannon (It’s obviously not Tottenham). The Gunners are now unbeaten in their last 9 games. I know its very hard to believe considering just a few months ago they were almost in the relegation zone and now seem to have turned things around.

Not only are they unbeaten in their last 9 competitive games but they’ve also won their last 3 games in all competitions. They beat Newcastle 4-0 in the league, beat Olympiacos 1-0 in Thursday night football, sorry Europa League and beat Everton at home on Sunday winning 3-2. Arsenal supporters all over the globe must be loving this at the minute (small victories hehehe!!).

Mikel Arteta seems to now be getting the best out of his players. Yes, it’s early days yet but you have to give everyone at Arsenal credit. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed seeing them sweat in the past months (yes I did), however credit has to be given when due. So what’s changed? Are the players buying into Arteta’s philosophy? Well, the performances and results would suggest this to be the case.

There seems to be a lot more smiles at the Emirates these days and that can only be down to the players embracing the Managers style and implementing his new ideas. Players people thought couldn’t care less about the club now seem to be working hard and putting in a shift. The identity of the Arsenal style may have been reinvigorated by Arteta.

Going back to the game on Sunday, Everton are no slouches and have also enjoyed some good fortune thanks to the stewardship of manager Carlo Ancelotti. I would have bet money that Everton would get a result at the Emirates but what I didn’t expect was that Arsenal performance. Everton went ahead through Calvert-Lewin in the first minute of the game before Nketiah equalised for Arsenal in the 27th minute. Aubameyang then put Arsenal ahead with an excellent finish in the 33rd minute. Richarlison pulled one back for Everton in the closing stages of the first half.

It’s fair to say the first half was jam packed full of action and the second half carried on where the first half left off. Aubameyang scored the 3rd goal for Arsenal at the start of the second half and the goal resulted in Arsenal earning a well deserved win over Everton. Arsenal will do well to hang on to Aubameyang and hope that he’s not tempted away by the bigger and more glamorous European clubs (money talks baby).

Meanwhile…..Manchester United enjoyed a 3-0 win over Watford pushing them closer to the top four. If Ole can get United into the champions league next season, then the thought of him getting sacked would surely evaporate. No?….welllll, only time will tell. Liverpool made it 26 wins in 27 matches by defeating West Ham 3-2 (can we just give them the title already).

In the London derby game between Chelsea and Spurs, Chelsea won the game 2-1. Spurs are in desperate need of a striker and it really shows. Some say they should have beaten Chelsea but it’s tough when your two best players are out on long term injuries. I’m sure the special one will work some magic or Spurs can kiss the top four spot goodbye.

aubamagic

Aubamagic on point!!!!!!

WINTER BREAK STORM BLOWS MAN CITY AWAY

STORMY TIMES AT CITY

Winter break? What winter break I hear you ask. Exactly! I have absolutely no idea what this abrupt winter break is about. So apparently the FA decided to award premier league teams a winter break for a couple of weeks hence why the games have been few over the past weekends. Personally I feel the whole idea of this winter break is pointless.

The big European Leagues all have a break over Christmas but I am pretty certain that the break is to allow players to spend quality time with their respective families. However, the FA will never consider doing the same for the premier league as there is just to much revenue to sacrifice over the festive period. So why have this break then? Well, yes it does give players a chance to rest and recuperate where necessary but that’s as far an excuse I’m willing to allow.

The notion that giving players a rest in the winter will somehow benefit them during the Euros this summer is absolutely bogus. For me it all comes down to talent and belief. Do you have the ability and determination to deliver a major trophy at an international tournament, now that’s the question we should be asking our players. If the FA really would like to help the players out, the best solution and possible prep would be to finish the season early. If the league could end in April that would give the English players a good couple of months to prepare for the Euros.

MAN CITY SAGA

Manchester City have been banned from all European competitions for the next couple of years after being found guilty of breaching the financial fair play policy by UEFA. The story unfolded when a hacker hacked into City’s emails allegedly before the case was further investigated by UEFA.

So Man City haven’t been playing fair and have been handed a stiff sanction but I’m sure they’ll get over it in time. Some City fans are worried this ruling may see them lose some of their most prized assets including Manager Guardiola. However, reports in the media suggests that Guardiola is happy to remain at the club for the duration along with key players also. If we are being honest, City have enough financial clout to be able to retain these players.

The implication are that City will now be able to solely concentrate on the league and could possibly dominate it for the next two years. But, this is football and anything can happen (I’m also not a mind reader-just saying!!).

city banned

Doom and gloom…….see you in two years amigo!!!