Monthly Archives: September 2019

Norwich City Defeats Manchester City

What happened on Saturday at Carrow Road is one of the primary reasons why we love football, even if Manchester City fans feel somewhat differently towards this statement. By contrast, disbelieving fans of Norwich City must be pinching themselves to believed what they witnessed, as their club’s 3-2 victory marks the biggest sensation in the Premier League season thus far.

The newly-promoted team were supposed to be no-hopers, with bookmakers in Britain quoting them at a staggering 20 to 1 in a two-horse race. This team filled with injuries offered the worst defensive record in the league, and no one expected them to perform well against the lethal attack of Manchester City who has been unbeaten since late January against Newcastle. Norwich City has only managed to spend £1.4 million during the summer transfer window, while Manchester City cost nearly £1 billion when you accumulate the cost of each player in the squad.

Norwich City’s Incredible Achievement

The impossible mission that Norwich City had to face on Saturday quickly transformed into a victorious day which we consider to be one of the most dramatic matches in recent years. So, how exactly did this happen? Was Manchester City that bad or Norwich City that good? The answer probably involves a bit of both, even though most of the explanation can be found in the exhilarating performance portrayed by the home side, who managed to pull off a unique tactical trick that no one knew was part of the team’s repertoire.
Norwich is usually a front-foot, bold team, moving the ball exceptionally quickly to create more chances for Teemu Pukki who is their ace scorer. The defence has always been seen as an optional extra. However, this time around the manager requested that his squad close down every avenue and defend deep while facing Manchester City. This required three players, who made their very first league start, to play critical roles in this victory, including Alex Tettey, Ibrahim Amadou, and Sam Bryan.

Norwich City’s Clever Tactics

The covering and concentration by Norwich were so exemplary that Manchester City looked wholly flat and complacent. Kenny McLean managed to put Norwich City in front after only 18 minutes, allowing supporters of the team to start believing. The front four of Todd Cantwell, Marco Stiepermann, Emiliano Buendia, and Pukki ensured that all breaks were made with menace and craft, allowing Pukki to provide the second goal for Norwich City, sending the crowd into a frenzy.

When Aguero managed to pull one back, it seemed like everything would return to normal. However, an error made by Nicolas Otamendi allowed Pukki to score once again, taking place only 5 minutes after the start of the second half. The final score of 3-2 remained on the scoreboard, allowing Norwich City to defeat one of the most reliable team’s in the Premier League while claiming 3 points for their remarkable efforts. Let’s hope their performance continues to surprise people this year!

The Biggest Questions in the Premier League

The Premier League is back in action this weekend, making it the perfect time to answer some of the biggest questions that face some of the most elite teams in Europe. With that in mind, let’s take a look at issues that need some serious answers.

Newcastle United is undoubtedly one of the most active clubs in the Premier League this year. There’s no denying that they are pretty uninspiring, but the team has managed to defeat Tottenham Hotspur a couple of weeks ago and is also the last team to beat Manchester City in 2019. Both victories during the 2019/20 Premier League season were achieved by stubborn, reliable, and perhaps dull defensive work that somehow provided incredible results, allowing them to frustrate their opponents and claiming the vital points ultimately.
So this begs the question, can they do the same to a side like Liverpool? One will never even think of this question when it comes to players like Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane. However, given the fact that they destroyed two other elite teams in the Premier League, it’s possible. Liverpool has quite the challenge ahead of them, but everyone is sure that they will be victorious at the end.

Tottenham Hotspur

When you look at the fixture list, you can assume that the Crystal Palace vs Tottenham Hotspur game is the perfect opportunity for Tottenham to get back on their feet. However, when you take into account that only Manchester City and Liverpool have managed to accumulate more points than Crystal Palace since the start of the season, you will quickly understand that nothing is as black and white as it was before.

Mauricio Pochettino recently stated that his team needs to focus again for the season ahead and that he had an hour-long discussion with them after they returned from their much-needed break. A win against Palace will give the team the needed boost. However, if they lose, it will create even more problems for the team going forward.

Quique Sanchez Flores

When Watford decided to dismiss Javi Gracia, no one was shocked. What was far more of a shock to the Premier League world was the reappointment of the football player Quique Sanchez Flores. However, there is a bit of logic to the reappointment that you might have missed. The strength of Flores in his previous position was to keep the defence tight, and Watford hasn’t been able to keep a clean sheet since the start of the season.

We can’t expect too much from the player this weekend as he has only been back for a week. However, if he wants to test himself immediately to resolve things from the back, he can do so this weekend with Arsenal along with the front three as a backup.

England’s Dominance Against Bulgaria

There’s no denying the importance of Harry Kane in the England soccer team. After he managed to score a hattrick in the 4-0 win against Bulgaria in the Euro 2020 qualifier at Wembley, the forward for Tottenham Hotspur impresses with 25 goals in a total of 40 appearances for England. However, is Kane too central or too critical when it comes to the plans set forth by Gareth Southgate? England, despite all the goals scored by Kane, need a Plan B if the squad is keen on winning an international tournament. However, the consistency portrayed by Harry Kane is making it impossible for the England manager to come up with an alternative plan.

Harry Kane’s Record

For the statisticians and historians, Kane is currently ranked in 14th when it comes to the all-time list of goal scorers for England. He is one ahead of Geoff Hurst, who is the World Cup-winning hero of 1996, and one behind Bryan Robson, who is the former captain for Manchester United.

Alan Shearer (30 goals) and Frank Lampard (29 goals) are now within reach for Harry Kane and he could easily surpass both football legends by the end of the Group A campaign for England thanks to two matches against Kosovo, a game against Montenegro, a game against the Czech Republic, and a clash against Bulgaria still on the horizon. Seeing as Kane is currently in his peak, he firmly believes that he can eclipse Wayne Rooney as the leading scorer for England with 53 goals.

However, if England is interested in stepping up their overall performance and make it onto the world stage, the manager needs to find a way to avoid making Harry Kane the primary man. Think about it, when England required goals in the group stages of the World Cup in 2018, Harry Kane was unable to deliver against Croatia and Sweden as he did against Tunisia and Panama. He also fired blanks in the finals of the Nations League where he failed to score against Switzerland and the Netherlands. However, the England manager faces a massive dilemma with the striker from Spurs. He needs to select Kane because he is currently ranked as the number one forward.

England’s Other Attacking Players

England comes with an arsenal of attacking players in the squad thanks to Mason Mount, Raheem Sterling, Jadon Sancho, and Marcus Rashford. There’s no doubt that Gareth Southgate has looked at these players to see if he could replicate the movement and pace of the attacking trio of Liverpool or perhaps the trio that Tottenham Hotspur has used when Harry Kane is unavailable. Kane becomes less and less important the more profound the England side goes into a tournament, and that is just a fact. So, how exactly will Gareth Southgate deal with this issue once England advances to the quarterfinals or even semi-finals in the Euro 2020 tournament? Something to keep in mind once the tournament rolls around.

Neymar Fails To Go Back to Barcelona

It was considered a modern transfer saga with an extraordinary football tale that will never be forgotten, making headlines across the globe for almost three months. Everything was set to go for the most massive transfer during the summer. Two years after arriving in France from Spain for a whopping £222 million, the 27-year-old Neymar decided its time to move back to Spain. His trusty agent Pini Zahavi, his father, and Neymar himself was convinced that the transfer would take place sooner rather than later.
However, despite being desperate to depart PSG, the superstar from Brazil is still a player for the French football club. Both PSG and Barcelona are frustrated, fans are heartbroken, and the football star is still stuck in France. So how exactly did we manage to get here?

The End of Neymar and the Transfer Saga

There were mainly two incidents that complicated everything for Neymar. On 15 August, Bartomeu had the opportunity to meet with Al-Khelaifi in Liverpool but eventually decided against it at the last minute. Two days after this occurred, Barcelona agreed to load Philippe Coutinho to Bayern Munich, who is a player that PSG was very interested in when it came to the Neymar deal. This created a significant step back in terms of negotiations. On 17 August, Barcelona lost both Dembele and Suarez to injuries and was defeated by Athletic Bilbao.

After the loan offer fell through, Barcelona had to return to the drawing board to come up with a new plan to obtain Neymar. Eric Abidal, the sporting advisor for Barcelona, attempted to convince Dembele to be part of the deal. However, both his agent and the player refused to be part of the negotiations as he wanted to remain at Camp Nou. On 27 August, there was a glimmer of hope as one of the directors informed the media that talks were close to reaching a final verdict. However, on 29 August, a final discussion occurred between the two clubs and at the end, the Catalans wasted loads of energy and time on someone that they could never actually afford.

Will the Neymar Saga Continue in 2020?

As of now, Neymar will be brought back to the PSG first-team squad. He is required to rebuild his relationship with the French football club. Thankfully, he is considered a significant asset for PSG when he plays at his best. It’s mostly down to the player to recover from this drama and to prove that he is still worthy of playing for an elite team like PSG. For the French club, this is a significant plus even to have such a remarkable football star on their side. No one knows if this transfer saga will continue next year. However, with players getting older with each passing year, it makes sense to move this drama over to next year’s transfer window and to wait and see what happens patiently.

Barcelona’s Deal to Retrieve Neymar

Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have finally set a price for Neymar at around £170 million. However, details surrounding the payments are currently holding up the deal. The Ligue 1 side would like to receive the full refund upfront, while Barcelona would like to explore different ways to cover the payment due to their busy summer transfer window where they bought Junior Firpo, Neto, Frenkie De Jong, and Antoine Griezmann for £239 million in total.

Meeting Between Barcelona and PSG

During the meeting between PSG and Barcelona earlier this week, an offer was made by Barcelona to pay the Ligue 1 side £40 million during 2019, while an additional £65 million will be paid in 2020 as well as 2021. However, PSG rejected this proposal and wants to have the entire fee paid in full during 2019. Barcelona is attempting to include Ousmane Dembele as a way to sweeten the deal. However, this could lead to another bump in the road as the agent for the French international would like the former Borussia Dortmund player to stay with Barcelona.

Several reporters have stated that the desire from Neymar to return to Camp Nou will play a vital role when it comes to negotiations, and that the forward for Brazil is genuinely involved with everything and has managed to take the first step to make his return to Camp Nou after he was transferred to PSG in 2017 when the club paid the full £222 million release clause. Both clubs will continue discussing the situation in the next few days. However, with the summer transfer window closing on 2 September 2019, these talks will need to conclude before it’s too late.

Current Situation for Both Clubs

Javier Bordas, the technical secretary for Barcelona, has recently stated that the meetings occurring between the two clubs are finally looking like a deal when compared to the last few days. Reporters have also said that PSG is more open to offers at the moment from Barcelona as opposed to the first couple of meetings where PSG rejected all proposals thrown on the table. PSG quickly rejected the initial offer that included Ivan Rakitic, Philippe Coutinho, and £80 million. The club also dismissed to take Coutinho on loan this year ahead of a permanent position next year. PSG was quite interested in taking Coutinho, but the footballer has recently joined Bayern Munich on investment, so that offer is off the table.

PSG are interested in ending the saga as soon as possible because Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe are both on the sideline for at least a month. The club needs to know whether they will have Neymar as a player this season or if they should look for new forwards before it’s too late. PSG is currently showing an interest in Mauro Icardi, Paulo Dybala, and Christian Eriksen. It simply boils down to when this deal will be done and dusted.