Brighton add to Spurs Woes

Not so Hot Spur

This is probably an understatement but it’s a bad bad bad week for Tottenham. After the 7-2 humiliating defeat at the hands of Bayern Munich in the champions league, Spurs fans and supporters alike hoped the premier league game against Brighton would be the perfect springboard for a positive reaction.

Oh boy Oh boy how wrong we were (trust me we were a mile off). Brighton hosted Spurs in the lunch time kickoff on Saturday and were gifted their first goal after another howler from Spurs keeper Hugo Lloris. The France international was taken off injured after practically giving Maupay the easiest goal he’s ever going to score in the 3rd minute of play. I sincerely hope Lloris recovers from his injuries and is back in the mix for Spurs. However, the inadvertent injury caused to Lloris may be a blessing in disguise for Pochettino as his number one keeper has been absolutely awful in recent weeks (then again the backup keeper isn’t much to write home about).

Brighton knew Tottenham were on the ropes and theirs for the taking, and Brighton did just that. They were exceptional and looked full of confidence and adventure (a far cry from how they’ve performed in the past two games). Brighton striker Connolly capped off a man of the match display with two quality goals. Ok, the first was a tap in but credit to the young striker for being alert in the box while the Spurs defence was on snooze. He gave the Tottenham back four a torrid time as he embraced his first premier league start of the campaign adding his second goal on the 65th minute (what a delightful finish it was!!).

The game ended 3-0 to Brighton and the delight and joy could be felt all around the south coast at the  Falmer (Amex) stadium. The question now remains, what the hell is actually happening down at the Lane? I don’t have the answers, do you? I’ve heard some pretty crazy rumours concerning the Spurs dressing room but that’s just speculation and none of my business. Here’s hoping they get it together and get back to winning ways (the last thing we want is for Spurs to return to the dark ages of the 90s…..not good!!).

Liverpool make it 8 wins in a row in the league after a last minute winner against Leicester. Mane put the home side ahead in the 40th minute just before half time. The Reds defended well and looked good for the 3 points before Maddison leveled for Leicester in the 80th minute to silence the KOP. One could be forgiven for thinking Leicester had stopped Liverpool in their tracks but there seems to be a belief within Klopps team that just motivates them beyond believe.

Liverpool endeavoured and kept on pushing for an opportunity. Their efforts paid off when Mane was brought down in the box and awarded a penalty ( for me it definitely was a penalty although it looked soft) late in the last minute of injury time. The penalty was converted by James Milner which gave the home side all 3 points and leaving them 8 points ahead of their nearest rivals. Leicester gave a good account of themselves and could possibly finish in the top four this term. One thing is for sure, Liverpool are in pole position and should win the league.

Manchester City seemed to struggle this weekend having lost 2-0 against Wolves. Traore gave the visitors the win with two late goals in the 80 minute and 94th minute respectively. City are still second in the league after 8 games and will no doubt want a reaction in the next match. However, they have a lot of work to do if they are to stop Liverpool this season.

Aston Villa totally smashed Norwich City 5-1 whilst Chelsea beat Southampton 4-1. Chelsea have put in some noteworthy performances and their starlets Abraham and Mount seem to be delivering week in week out (that’s 8 goals in 8 games for Abraham, I’m impressed). There were also victories for Newcastle who beat Manchester United 1-0 and Arsenal who beat Bournemouth 1-0 at the emirates (David Luiz with the only goal of the game).

connolly

Bright future for Connolly!!!

FALL OF THE GIANTS

Theatre of no dreams

Many moons ago (and am talking a while back) the fixture between Manchester United and Arsenal was once considered the flagship game of the premier league. Fergie and Wenger sat in the dugouts delegating instructions with hand gestures whilst captains Vieira and Keane with their sleeves rolled up were ready to go to war. The abundance of talent that followed behind them was just incredible.

The fans and neutrals were always guaranteed a high level game of football full of passion, commitment and great value. The motivation for both teams to win the match was out of the world (I’m not sure I can draw any contrast these days to be fair). Everyone remembers the battles at Old Trafford and Highbury which unfortunately are vastly becoming (quite literally) a thing of the past.

Today, I think it’s safe to say that both teams very much represent the epitome of a fallen giant. The fall from grace of two of the most decorated teams in English Footballing history have fallen short of their former glory. Therefore is it any surprise that the game between the two sides on Monday night produced possibly the worst (and I mean the WORST!!!) 45 minutes of football in the last 10 years. Okay, I might have exaggerated a little but the point is they were terrible.

Man United did come alive just before the end of the first half and were able to break the deadlock after McTominay put them ahead with a brilliant effort from outside the box. Arsenal came out stronger in the 2nd half and produced some really good chances. Pepe could have done better with his finishing and Saka was very impressive for the Gunners. However it was their talismanic striker Aubameyang who equalised on the 58th minute to earn Arsenal a draw. I would be really distressed if I supported either club but it’s down to the respective Managers to find a solution to enable success and the glory days return (personally I can see this happening for a good 50 years!!!).

Liverpool still maintain a 100 percent record but had to overcome a very stubborn Sheffield United side. As we’ve seen in the past, great champions will win games even when playing badly and that’s exactly what Liverpool did in this match. Wijnaldum got the only goal of the game on the 70th minute ensuring the reds leave with 3 valuable away points which keeps them at the top of the summit.

Credit to Sheffield United, they certainly deserved a lot from the game and if they carry on playing like they did against Liverpool, then they should have no fears about staying up this season. Just to add, Mane and Salah missed some sitters and I am pretty sure normal order of service will be resumed in their next outing.

Tottenham were able to secure a home victory against Southampton having played the majority of the game with just 10 men. Aurier was sent off in the 31st minute after his second bookable offence. However, goals from NDombele and Kane were enough to give Spurs a 2-1 win over the Saints. Crystal Palace beat Norwich 2-0, whilst Chelsea also defeated Brighton by the same scoreline. Aston Villa against Burnley ended as a 2-2 draw as did Bournemouth against West Ham. Manchester City cruised to victory 3-1 away to Everton and Wolves won 2-0 at home to Watford.

vieira

Alas, the good old days!!!! 

10 Man Arsenal Punish Villa

Gunners fight hard

Arsenal showed and proved their worth by overcoming Aston Villa in a thrilling encounter at the emirates. Villa had taken the lead through McGinn in the 20th minute and it seemed as though luck was on their side when Arsenal defender Maitland-Niles was sent off after receiving his second yellow card of the game in the 41th minute.

Arsenal defended and held strong until the 2nd half. Emery must have given his team great encouragement at the break (or an ear full). The Gunners came out on the other side full of determination and a will to win every challenge and every ball. Their endeavour was rewarded after Pepe equalised for the home side via a spot kick which excited the gunners faithful.

Aston Villa showed little respect for Arsenal by the way they moved the ball and attacked the gunners defence and there were no surprises or complaints when Da Silva put them ahead. It looked like Villa would have it their own way but the 10 men of Arsenal showed great resilience (very impressed by banter FC) and fought back to equalise again through Chambers on the 81st minute before Aubameyang slotted home the winner on the 84th minute. Does this victory mean Arsenal are back to their hay day? NO, no no.

Manchester City bounced back after their defeat against Norwich last week by totally demolishing Watford at the etihad. The result was crazy and City were absolutely relentless in this game (gave us a reminder that they are champions). The final score ended 8-0 and to be honest they could have got a lot more goals. Perhaps the Norwich game was a wake up call and City could now go on a winning streak.

Current leaders Liverpool, maintained their 100% start to the season with another win against top four hopefuls Chelsea. Alexander-Arnold put the visitors ahead in the 14th minute before Firmino added another in the 30th minute. Chelsea pulled a goal back in the 71st minute through Ngolo Kante but it was not enough as Liverpool earned an important 3 points away from home.

Meanwhile Tottenham gave up another lead after going ahead as they were beating 2-1 by Leicester. Spurs looked like they couldn’t be bothered in stages of the game and really should have done better. Take nothing away from Maddison’s finish which proved to be the winner (a future England international) but Spurs need to get their act together as quickly as possible. VAR played a part also having ruled out goals for both teams although Tottenham will feel hard done by.

There were wins for Burnley who beat Norwich City 2-0, Sheffield United who beat Everton 2-0 also and West Ham United who beat Manchester United 2-0 at home. Crystal Palace and Wolves drew 1-1 whilst Newcastle and Brighton ended goalless. There were some heavy criticism this weak aimed at Manchester United from past players (one Roy Keane) concerning United’s lack of fire power having sold Lukaku and not finding an adequate replacement. They need to find a solution to their woes as soon as possible otherwise Solskjaer could be picking up his P45 in the coming weeks.

aubby

Aubameyang flying high!!!!!

Norwich win battle of two Cities

City Shocker

Correct me if I’m wrong but Norwich City winning against the reigning Premier League champions has raised so many questions over the past week. Some fans believe the league is definitely going to Liverpool (after 5 games….reallyyy!!!) and many say Manchester City have finally run out of steam. To be fair, there are two factors that will affect City this season, firstly the loss of Kompany through retirement and the Laporte injury.

I’ve said it since the start of the season that Kompany will be sorely missed and no direspect to Stones and Otamendi but they’re not made of the same cloth. Kompany is a different calibre. However, don’t think for a second that City will just give up after a loss or a 5 point deficit….if you believe this then you’re greatly mistaken. Let’s not forget Liverpool were 9 points clear at a stage last season and still ended the season as runners up (it’s far from over, but I’m still backing the REDS though hehe!!).

I like how Klopp came out and still declared Manchester City the best team in the country. Is he right or just playing mind games?  I’ll leave that to the masses to consider. What’s definitely factual is the surprises and entertainment value the premiership brings on a weekly basis. You cannot deny the drama, if it was a show it would win the best soap opera year in year out (I’d award VAR best supporting actor).

Right, so on Saturday Norwich did the unimaginable and gave City a spanking. Rather than being negative, I believe Norwich actually played well and deserve every credit for their achievements. The game itself was absolutely thrilling and packed with end to end action with both teams gun-ho on attack.

Norwich went ahead through Mclean on the 18th minute before Cantwell added a second on the 28th minute after great work from Pukki. Man City didn’t seem affected by the score and carried on attacking until finally rewarded through Club all time top scorer, Aguero on the 45th minute.

One thing you cannot do is rule out Man City and after the break you felt they would bounce back. Unfortunately for Guardiola, Norwich striker Pukki had other ideas and the Finland international (who has made a great start to the campaign by the way) made it 3-1 in the 50th minute sending the home supporters and perhaps some Scousers around the country into jubilation. City pulled one back in the 88th minute through Rodri and by the time De Bruyne and Mahrez got on the pitch it was all too late.

Meanwhile, Liverpool carried on impressing with another fine display after easily breaking Newcastle with 3 goals to 1. Red hot Mane was in fine form and grabbed a brace whilst golden boy Mo Salah scored the third in the 72nd minute. Firmino deserves a special mention because some of his touches during the game was unbelievable (took me back to the Barca days of Ronaldinho…..ok am reaching, just a tad peeps just a tad).

The mighty Spurs were also victorious in their London derby game against Crystal Palace with a 4-0 demolition of the South London Outfit. Benteke made an appearance for Palace but looks like a shadow of his former self (I’ve seen toothless PUB strikers hit the ball harder).  Chelsea with all their transfer embargo are relying heavily on their youngsters and Tammy Abraham and co are living up to the expectation. They comfortably dispatched Wolves away, winning the game 5-2 and Abraham grabbing a hat trick.

pukki

You’ve been PUKKIED!!!!!

VAR rescues Spurs as City boys left fuming

To VAR or not to VAR?

Well I’ll tell you one thing irrespective of punditry opinions and players alike, I am still a fan of VAR and I am loving every minute and every moment of it (call me weird, it’s my prerogative). Saturday’s game at the Etihad between Tottenham and Manchester City was arguably the game of the weekend. It had it all, goals attacking prowess great saves, solid defending, near misses oh and VAR.

City went into the game full of confidence and aiming to add another 3 points on the board. And to be fair the team absolutely played brilliantly. I’m not sure if you’ve ever watched them play but it really is poetry in motion. The first half was solely dominated by the home side as Sterling struck with a beautiful header in the 20th minute. However Lamela equalised for Spurs after coolly slotting the ball home from range in the 23rd minute (you could hear the away supporters chanting away).

Kevin De Bruyne ran the midfield comfortably as he literally tormented the Tottenham back line. De Bruyne was in no mood for messing around. Having set Sterling up for the first goal, the Belgium international drove a pass low and had into the box which was dispatched by Aguero to put the home side 2-1 up on the 35th minute. City continued to dominate but the Spur defenders did their best to keep the scores at a goal deficit going into the second half.

Yes De Bruyne was the stand out player on saturday, however, Tottenham’s new boy NDombele wasn’t too far behind as he impressed again in midfield. He was able to drive his team forward and was the impetus they needed. Moura was brought on and he immediately scored a header in the 56th minute to level the game 2-2 which delighted Pochettino.

There is a great debate in certain footballing circles that suggest that Moura should be an automatic starter in the Tottenham team (I like Moura as a player but currently I don’t think he’s consistent enough to warrant a starting spot in the team….I see him more as an impact player).  I have every faith that the Tottenham manager will make the right decisions pertaining the the starting eleven.

City pressed for a winner (albeit either team could have snatched it) and thought they had done it when Jesus smashed the ball in the back of the net. Anyone remember the Champions league quarter final game last see….hahahah! Well DEJA VU all over again. City in jubilation mode, players and supporters alike jumping up and down as they believed to have scored a later winner only for the ref to disallow the goal.

City defender Laporte was adjudged to have hand balled the ball accidentally but the rules states if it leads to a goal then the goal must be disallowed. City players especially Jesus were fuming and to quote Jesus, “VAR is S**t” (I’m sure you can fill in the blanks and I certainly don’t agree).

In the other matches, Manchester United missed the opportunity to make two wins in two after being held to a 1-1 draw against Wolves. Pogba missed a penalty that would certainly have given United all 3 points. However the Wolves keeper guessed right and made a solid save (YEP!! Gary Neville ripped into Pogba as per usual!!!!).

Norwich beat Newcastle 3-1 after Pukki grabbed a Hat trick. I haven’t done a prediction for the drop but if Newcastle don’t get their act together sharpish I can see them getting relegated this season. Liverpool beat Southampton away 2-1 with Firmino and Mane grabbing, Ings scored the Southampton goal against his former club.

There were also wins for Bournemouth, Arsenal, Everton and Sheffield United respectively. After 2 games Liverpool sit at the summit with Arsenal sat in the number 2 spot. Both teams have 100% record and will have the opportunity to extend their early season run this coming weekend.

VARRRRRR

Final word belongs to VAR!!!!

 

2019/20 kicks off with a flurry

Are you not entertained?

Finally the wait is over and my weekends are back to being how they should be, sat indoors eating a nice doner kebab (with all the trimmings of course)and watching footy. The premier league finally kicked off on Friday night after the anticipation from fans alike. We’ve all waited long and hard for the new season to commence and the opening weekend did not disappoint.

The good thing about the first week is that you never quite know what will happen in relation to the results. The new boys will always fancy their chances against some of the more established teams whilst the mediocre sides tend to be a bit hit and miss  at times. However, there’s one thing that is becoming clear and that’s Manchester City’s dominance in this new era under Manager Pep Guardiola.

The defending champions raised the bar last term and have hit the ground running again. Now lets not beat around the George W. City have two teams, there’s the A team and there’s the B team. Both of which are supremely talented and the plethora of ability is undeniable. Therefore the expectations will always be high for Manchester City. With that being said, what we didn’t expect was the total destruction of West Ham United.

City ran rings around the hammers for 90 minutes (I really felt sorry for West Ham and their fans, hahaha!!) and the humbling 5-0 score line could have been a lot worse. With Aguero relegated to the bench, Jesus was entrusted with leading the line for City’s attack and the brazilian striker delivered with the first goal of the match in the 25th minute. Raheem Sterling walked away with the match ball after netting a hat trick whilst Aguero came on as a substitute to net a penalty.

Liverpool also made a good start to the campaign and will need to be consistent through out if they are to mount a title challenge against the formidable Manchester City. The Reds played hosts to Norwich City at Anfield and won the game 4-1. Liverpool were gifted the first goal through a Hanley own goal before goals from Salah (19), Van Dijk (28) and Origi (42) ensured all 3 points for Klopps men.

The game was very entertaining and you always felt Liverpool were going to score and score they did. I’ve predicted Liverpool as my favourites to win the league but many do not agree and on City’s first outing who can blame them (just saying). Spurs on the other hand were home to Aston Villa and went a goal down in the 9th minute after a brilliantly taken effort from McGinn.

Villa are one of the new boys and almost looked set to cause an opening day upset against an established and potential title challenging team. However, Tottenham new boy NDombele had other ideas. The Spurs midfielder put in a man of the match display and leveled the scores after striking a goal from long range which sent the home fans into a frenzy. The chants got even louder as Kane grabbed two late winners in the 86th and 90th minute respectively.

In fairness Villa played well and Kane should have scored at least  4 goals but the most important aspect is that the Tottenham fans got a chance to see NDombele put in a midfield masterclass (I mean the boy was everywhere-what an engine) and Eriksen coming on in the second half made a difference too so lets hope he stays (hands off Madrid….you’ve been warned).

The other half of Manchester also mad a decent start after Man Utd easily over came a Chelsea side looking like a shadow of their former glory. The red devils won the game by 4 goals to nil with Rashford, Martial and James grabbing the goals respectively. Maguire’s acquisition in defence is already reaping rewards as the most expensive defender in football led his team with a man of the match performance whilst Chelsea are finished without Hazard (sorry Frank, you could be out of a job come Christmas).

With Lukaku now long gone, Utd will need to find goals if they are to mount a challenge for a top four finish. A friend of my stated that “Man Utd will give Rashford, Martial and Greenwood one season to prove themselves in the premier league and if they don’t deliver then Utd will purpose non other that Tottenham’s Harry Kane”. Well the irony is that both Martial and Rashford got onto the score sheet at the weekend and could actually deliver this season (well they’ll need to!!).

You can tell it’s the opener cause there’s so much to cover. Arsenal also have ambitions of returning to the top four (champions league is becoming a distant memory right?? Hahahaha….) and got off to a winning start thanks to a goal from Aubameyang giving them a 1-0 victory against Newcastle. Burnley won 3-0 against Southampton as did Brighton against Watford whilst Leicester and Wolves ended in a goalless draw as did Crystal Palace against Everton. Bournemouth drew 1-1 against new boys Sheffield United.

All in all a great weekend of footballing action and I’m sure we are all looking forward to the next round of matches with the highlight being Manchester City VS Spurs. The question remains who will be crowned champions in May…..a little to early for an answer but nevertheless this league will most certainly entertain. So I ask you once more are you not entertained? (I already know the answer!).

VAR

For those that aren’t aware the acronym for VAR is Video Assisted Referee (hey don’t look at me like that, some people may not be aware). The tech has now been introduced to the premier league and has already made an impact in the opening weekend.

There were a few incidents that raised eyebrows. Firstly Raheem Sterling was adjudged to have been offside by an inch of shoulders which ment Jesus’s goal was disallowed (in real-time that would have stood). Aguero was afforded an opportunity to dispatch his second attempt of a penalty kick after a West Ham player was penalised for encroachment.

Wolves were denied a late winner  after Dendoncker’s goal was disallowed for handball which definitely displeased the Wolves Manager Nuno Santo and with good reason. As far as I could tell it was ball to hand and therefore the goal should have stood. However, I’m still a massive fan of VAR as I believe it adds to the drama and welcome it with open arms (YES I said it!!!!).

sterl moss

First Hat-trick of the season!!!!

Manchester City bag first honours

City win first silverware

Manchester City began the new campaign with a win against closest rival Liverpool as the two favourites entertained in the Community Shield. Both teams finished the season off in impressive fashion so fans were eagerly anticipating the match and get a glimpse of what’s to come when the League officially starts on Friday.

The community shield game gave a micro insight into how the teams would set up for the season ahead and whether or not they were off the pace (summer break being a factor). To my surprise both teams looked very sharp and didn’t look at all affected by the short pre season given the fact that the season will commence a lot earlier than normal (I’m guessing that is to accommodate a Christmas break in the winter of which would benefit a lot of teams).

City are without influential ex club captain Vincent Kompany who has moved onto pastures new and will rely heavily on John Stones. However, it was arguably the best player of last season Raheem Sterling who opened the scoring for City just after 12 minutes. The England man was at the right place at the right time to stick the ball in the back of the net (the Liverpool keeper could have done a lot better than that……I know fellas that look like the old Johnny Vegas that could have done better).

City did what City do and attacked Liverpool from the start of the game and had the better half. Liverpool had it all to do in the second half and they didn’t disappoint their traveling fans. Mo Salah was a bag of tricks upfront and trouble the City defenders and keeper after twice hitting the post. Liverpool played with more attacking vigour and their efforts paid off when Matip leaped to head the ball in the back of the net from a Van Dyke cross to level the match 1-1.

City created fewer changes as Liverpool mounted pressure but unfortunately could not find the winner. The game went into penalties of which City won by 5 penalties to 4. This guaranteed Guardiola’s boys their first trophy heading into the new season and by the looks of things (if this match is anything to go by) we could be in for another block buster of a season.

 

PREDICTIONS

Right, so I hate predictions cause I always, always get it wrong. Why? Because I’ve predicted that SPURS would win the premier league title in the past 4 campaigns……..haha!!! And yes to say I’m wrong is an understatement.

This season though is looking like another two horse race but you have to take it with a pinch of salt as there is still a day left in the transfer market for plenty movers and shakers. So, Manchester City and Liverpool are the obvious candidates but I have a sneaky feeling a team from North London could be the surprise package (and no not Arsenal) this term especially if Coutinho and Dybala are confirmed by transfer deadline day.

But on the contrary, I predict that Liverpool will be crowned champions at the end of the season in May. They amassed enough points last term that would have seen them win the premier league at least 10 times (that ain’t easy). They look like the finished article and I believe City may not have enough this year to perform the heroics of the last campaign (not to mention no Kompany).

city boys

City Boys!!!