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!!!

Debutant Bergwijn delivers for Spurs

Spurs go marching in

So the January transfer window concluded a couple of days ago and in fairness there were a few surprises. Everton turned down £85 million from Barcelona for their forward player Richarlison. They clearly rate and value him highly but rest assured no one is going to be making that type of bid for Richarlison ever again, so yeah Everton could have and should have cashed in.

Manchester United and Solksjaer looked hella desperate in the market as they sought to explore various options. They managed to secure the services of Fernandes, a player I know little to nothing about but apparently he’s supposed to be the bees knees. I was duly reminded by an optimistic United supporter that their one time great Christiano Ronaldo also came from the Portuguese league….Do me a favour (rolls eyes), I am not entertaining that talk for a second.

With Rashford being out injured, United searched far and wide for an interim solution. No offence but some of the players they were linked with are not really what I’d consider to be of Manchester United pedigree. Names like Danny Ings and Joshua King were brought to the table. The Red Devils decided to sign Odion Ighalo on a six month loan from Chinese side Shanghai Greenland Shenhua with the option to buy at the end of the loan spell. Many pundits have criticised United’s choice, but Ighalo has proved to be a premier league goal scorer during his spell with Watford. Is he the player to bring United back to the glory days? I think not, however he’ll definitely offer Ole another option in style.

Tottenham defender Danny Rose joined  Newcastle on loan to help boost his chances of making the England Euro Championship squad. In all honesty Rose had been wanting to leave Spurs for a while and I cannot see him returning back to London for the foreseeable future. I’m not sure why he chose to go to Newcastle given the calibre  of the player. Something tells me the player has dropped in value in recent times hence why none of the bigger clubs took him on. Let’s face it, the premier league is now rich with left backs that are churning in great performances week in week out so it’s no surprise to me.

Another player to leave Tottenham this window was Christian Eriksen who ended his 7 year tenure at Spurs. After 226 appearances for Spurs and 51 goals Eriksen finally left the North London club and joined Italian outfit Inter Millan on a 4 year deal. He had no intention of signing a new deal at Spurs and probably made the right choice for his career. Spurs were in the market for talent also and have done some decent business by making a few signings of their own. Lo Celso signed a permanent contract from Real Betis for an undisclosed fee and Gedson Fernandes on loan from Benfica.

However, it was Steven Bergwijn who was signed from PSV Eindhoven who made an immediate impact on his debut for Spurs. The dutch international made his debut in the game against Manchester City and contributed to the win. Spurs took on City in the league game and were under pressure from the start of the game. Aguero had some great opportunities to put City forward but failed to take his chances.

City were by far the dominant side as the statistics will support this, but Spurs defended well and managed to keep them at bay. Lloris saved a penalty from Gundogan after a VAR ruling and always looked to counter City at every opportunity.  In the second half Zinchenko was sent off for a second bookable offense which gave Tottenham a slight advantage (and boy did they make it count). Bergwijn was picked out delightfully by Moura before the dutch forward coolly controlled the ball with his chest and hammered the ball in the back of the net to give Spurs the lead in the 63rd minute.  Son added the second for Spurs in the 71st minute to give the home side a much needed 3 points as they chase the top four.

Liverpool carried on with their dominance in the league with another outstanding performance against Southampton by winning 4-0. The Reds have now won 24 games out of 25 which is simply out of this world. Everton came from behind to win 3-2 against Watford albeit with ten men whilst Manchester United drew 0-0 with Wolves as did Arsenal away to Burnley.

KOBE

Rest in peace Kobe & Gianna, football remembers you!!!

Keane and Carragher verbal spat dominates back page

Legends Heated Debate 

The weekend’s footballing action was overshadowed by the excitements in the Sky Sports studios as ex professionals Roy Keane and Jamie Carragher went head to head in their post match analysis at Anfield on Sunday. The ex Manchester United captain (Keane) and Liverpool legend (Carragher) had a heated debate regarding the current United team and Manager Solskjaer after the match between Liverpool and Manchester United.

The after match analysis debate between the two ex legends has been regarded by many footballing fans as the highlight of the weekend. The ex legends were at logger heads after Liverpool’s victory against United. Keane who was passionately trying to defend ex team mate Solskjaer, suggested that the United Boss should be given more time at the helm. Carragher then interjected and accused Keane of not having the same energy towards Mourinho when he was manager at United which triggered Keane.

I have watched the clips on YouTube multiple times and it’s nothing short of entertaining (it will crack you up….trust me). Patrice Evra who was also part of the punditry panel took a swipe at Carragher by stating that Man United had not won the league for 7 years since the departure of Alex Ferguson whereas it’s taken Liverpool the best part of 30 years to come close to winning the premier league (remember the season is not done yet). To be honest Roy Keane was clearly being biased in his defence of Solskjaer as he has slated a lot of managers in the past with better records and performances than his buddy.

The game itself was a one sided affair with the home side in full control from start to finish. Liverpool outclassed United in every sense of the word and the gulf between the two clubs couldn’t be any clearer. Man United were without Rashford (injury) but even if he did play the outcome would have been the same to be honest. This is testament to the great work Klopp has done with this group of players. The dominant champions had too much quality for a very weak and tame United side.

Van Dijk who provides Liverpool with that immovable stability in defence opened the scoring through a header in the 14th minute before Salah finished off the game with virtually the last kick of the match in the 93rd minute. The Egyptian magician broke free on the counter and calmly slotted the ball past the on rushing De Gea. The Liverpool players celebrated Salah’s goal like they’d won the league. The players mobbed Salah after he scored and the stadium was filled with euphoria (they need to hand them that trophy now and write-off the rest of the games this season cause it’s a done deal).

No wonder Roy Keane was angry, he can’t bare to see such dominance from the old United rival. I’m certain all United supporters would have been annoyed by the result against Liverpool but I think it’s fair to say Manchester United’s days and years of being the front runners are well and truly over. Liverpools closest challengers all dropped points this weekend after Manchester City drew 2-2 with Crystal Palace and Leicester lost 2-1 away to Burnley.

hand bags

Steady on Lads……it’s only FOOTBALL!!!

KLOPP’S REDS HIT ANOTHER MILESTONE

Weekend of records

Liverpool have now become the first team in Europe’s top 5 leagues to have the best start in history after 21 games. The Reds now have 20 wins and 1 draw this season giving them a total points haul of 61 thus far. They top the charts above giants Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Barcenola and Juventus to name a few. What’s even more impressive is that three of the teams in the top five of the list were managed by Pep Guardiola (the genius of the man shines through).

However, the day belonged to Klopp and his merry men as they ambush the premier league. Their latest victims were Tottenham who definitely gave a great account of themselves especially in the second have but struggled to cancel out Roberto Firmino’s 37th minute goal. Spurs pressed hard for the equaliser but just couldn’t find the back of the net.

The match itself was highly entertaining and full of energy. I can’t remember the last time I saw end to end action like that. Sometimes, being champions may require an element of luck and in fairness to Liverpool, they deserve every bit of it. 21 games unbeaten, 36 goals scored, 61 points to the good and head and shoulders above their nearest rivals.

They now remain on course to beat the record for the earliest premier league win but I’m sure Klopp’s agenda will be solely focused on making sure they are crowned champions come May. Liverpool face Manchester United in their next outing and will be hoping for yet another victory and further enhancement of their records. However, in their last encounter which ended in a 1-1 draw, United had every opportunity to have won that game and will be desperately seeking to end Liverpool’s long running winning streak.

Manchester United will go into that game on the back of a good result after beating Norwich City 4-0 at Old Trafford. Marcus Rashford grabbed two goals for the Red Devils alongside Martial and Greenwood respectively. The win leaves United in 5th place in the league and keeps Solskjaer in a job for now at least. I have a very strong feeling that United may just end Liverpool’s run (don’t ask me why, I just have a feeling).

Meanwhile, neighbours Manchester City seem to have found their groove back again having totally demolished Aston Villa 6-1. Aguero was back again in record breaking form having contributed a hat trick for City in the away win at Villa Park. The prolific Argentina forward has now broken Premier League legend Alan Shearer’s long standing hat trick record. Aguero now has 12 hat tricks for City and I’m sure will look to increase that number before the season ends.

Elsewhere, Leicester were beaten at home by a resilient and rejuvenated Southampton having lost 2-1 at home. Danny Ings grabbing the winner for the away team late in the 81st minute. Crystal Palace drew 1-1 with Arsenal, Wolves drew with Newcastle by the same result also. Chelsea beat Burnley 3-0 at home and Everton beat Brighton 1-0 , Richarlison on the score sheet for the Toffees.

aug rec

Match Ball winning record breaker

PEPE TOO HOT FOR UNITED

SEASONS GREETINGS

Firstly happy new year to one and all. It’s been a minute. Hope you had a great one and enjoyed the festivities. I’m still trying to get through the left overs (trust me there’s plenty to eat). Not sure how much more turkey sandwiches I can stomach but I’ll give it a good go.

It certainly feels like a lot has transpired over the past few weeks. Ancelotti’s now the Manager of Eveton and his presence has begun to influence the players judging by recent results to lift the spirit of Evertonians (it’s been a while since they had a grade A manager, if ever). Moyes is back at West Ham after the club sacked Pellegrini due to a poor run of results. I can’t help but wonder whether David Moyes will survive till the end of the season. His track record in recent memory is nothing to write home about.

Nigel Pearson is back in the Premier League having taken over the reigns at Watford. The ex Leicester Manager was given the top job at Watford with a clear objective of keeping the Hornets in the league come May. Pearson (if my memory serves me well) was sacked as Leicester’s manager before Claudio Ranieri took over and the rest is history as they say. Of all the managerial appointments, Arsenal’s acquisition of former player Mikel Arteta came as the biggest surprise in my opinion.

It is well documented that Arteta had ambitions of one day becoming a manager/head coach having been Pep Guardiola’s understudy at Manchester City. However, his appointment at Arsenal can be viewed as being a little to early in his managerial career. One thing is certain and that is the Arsenal have taken in the hope of getting their season back on track and to future glory.

Is Arteta the man to lead Arsenal forward? A question that can only be answered by results. His first game in charge didn’t quite go according to plan in the London derby game against Chelsea. The Gunners threw away a possible and well needed 3 points in the last ten minutes of the match and lost 2-1 at the Emirates. Some say Arsenal fans can be very delusional and at times that statement does ring truth. Clearly Arteta has some work to do provided he is given sufficient time to do so.

Fast forward 3 days and into the new year. Arteta’s second game in charge is against old foes Manchester United (who by the way seem to have found their rhythm). The home side had one thing in mind, attack the United back line at all cost and they did just that. Mesut Ozil seems to have been re-instated into the first team and his influence when on song is second to none. However it was Arsenal’s record signing Pepe who stole the show. The midfielder was a constant threat all game long and full of creative imagination.

He found the net in the first 8 minutes of the match after Kolasonic pulled the ball back for Pepe to neatly finish sending the United keeper the wrong way. Arsenal looked very impressive in the opening stages of the match and continued to mount assault on Manchester United. Pepe could have added a second in the 37th minute after striking the ball from 25 yards only to be denied by the post. Sokratis made it 2 nil to the Arsenal slotting in a loose ball from a Pepe corner.

All in all this was a much better performance from Arsenal and the atmosphere at the Emirates was electric. The supporters and fans alike were full of singing and cheers not seen at the Emirates for almost a decade hahaha!! If anything, Arteta’s appointment may have breathed new energy into the Gunners and he will need all the tools he has acquired from Guardiola to steer Arsenal in the right direction. Personally, I was enjoying seeing and looking forward to the gunners in a relegation dog fight but Arteta may have yet scarpered those plans for now at least.

The Premier League is back in full effect (not that it went anywhere) and the January window is also open so you know there’ll be plenty of action taking place. Liverpool are formidable and are certain to be crowned champions. Spurs seem to be faltering under Mourinho but I’m sure will bounce back in the new year and Leicester will probably be in the champions league next season. Lets see what the new year brings, happy new year once again.

PEPE

Hot Pepe!!!! 

ARSENAL OUTGUNNED BY CITY

Relegation Form

I don’t care what anyone says but as far as performances go, that’s got to be one of the worst Arsenal displays I’ve witnessed for a while (that was relegation form). If this group of players don’t get their act together then they will find themselves in what could be a relegation dog fight and may lose the illustrious Premier League holding.

I know it seems like a wild statement to make but I call a spade a spade and the gunners were absolutely dreadful. I thought they’d turned a corner after finally getting a win but it turns out the corner was a very long corner (if Sunday’s game is anything to go by). Arsenal hosted City at the Emirates and were hoping to put in the same level of commitment as they did in their last outing but that’s not what awaited their supporters.

They seemed to have taken a step back as they were outgunned and outclassed by the more dominant and assured Manchester City team (who, might I remind you have had their own issues in recent weeks). Arsenal had a great chance in the first 33 seconds of the game and didn’t have another shot on goal (I turned the TV off in the 66 minute and they hadn’t shot at the City goal then either).

Kevin De Bruyne opened the scoring in the 2nd minute before Sterling added a second in the 15th minute. City controlled the game from the beginning right to the end and Arsenal had no answer for them. De Bruyne got his second goal of the game in the 40th minute to make the game 3-0 to the away side. The gunners can also forget about hiring Ancelotti as their next manager as it is rumoured that the Italian has signed with Everton in principle.

In the other Premier League games, Tottenham are now within 3 points off the top 4 spot having defeated Wolves with a 2-1 victory. Lucas Moura opened the scoring in the 8th minute before the impressive Traore leveled for Wolves in the 67th minute. Wolves definitely deserved more out of the game but the day belonged to Tottenham who snatched a late winner through a Vertonghen header in injury time. The win moves Spurs to 5th in the league and Mourinho’s impact is starting to show through.

Leicester dropped points at home having drawn 1-1 against Norwich, whilst Liverpool extend their lead at the top of the summit with a comfortable 2-0 win against Watford (Mo Salah grabbing both goals for the Reds). Chelsea were beaten 1-0 at home to Bournemouth and will face Spurs in their next outing. Lampard will need to pray his players can get out of their current slump or their ambition for finishing in the top four will quickly evaporate.

salah mag

Salah Magic!!!!!!!