Monthly Archives: October 2019

Premier League Action with Manchester City and Liverpool

Another crazy weekend in the Premier League witnessed Manchester City closing the point gap on Liverpool, who are currently at the top of the log, along with loads of movement in the middle of the table. We also witnessed how Manchester United made Klopp and The Reds very unsettled with their promising performance. Let’s take a closer look at these games.

Manchester City managed to dodge a massive bullet against Crystal Palace over the weekend. Will this be able to change their Premier League season going forward? After defeats against Wolves and Norwich, it’s wasn’t far-fetched to believe that Crystal Palace could provide a fatal blow to their hopes of the Premier League title, especially when Rodri and Fernandinho were bundled together as a centre-half duo.

However, Pep Guardiola’s squad managed to find a way to destroy the competition on Saturday afternoon, scoring a phenomenal second goal with David Silva, and providing a stellar performance that gives the impression that the crisis is now a thing of the past. Manchester City will soon enjoy home games against Southampton and Aston Villa before they make their way to Anfield to face their formidable foes. Last year, Man City took advantage as soon as Liverpool provided signs of faltering. Will the same thing

Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp will likely think back to his conversation minutes after the 1-1 draw against Manchester United on Sunday afternoon where he said to his team to defend against Man Utd. This is definitely not a fair comment by any means, and deep down, we are sure Klopp knows it too.

While Manchester United wasn’t exactly on fire, they provided loads of ambition during the first half of the match, so much so that their leader was well-deserved. Aaron Wan-Bissaka was virtually playing as a winger, while Marcus Rashford and Daniel James provided loads of spectacular runs that gave Joel Matip and Virgil van Dijk plenty of problems that they wished didn’t happen.

Liverpool, on the other hand, seemed rather passive until the second half got underway. Their full-backs were unable to showcase their usual initiative, and the midfielders were outperformed thanks to Andreas Pereira, Fred, and Scott McTominay. After Adam Lallana managed to score an equaliser, it looked like Liverpool would win the match as Manchester United seemed to get more and more tired towards the end of the game.

However, Jurgen Klopp was more frustrated with the two VAR calls that managed to go against his squad, and he knew he missed a golden opportunity to extend his lead in the Premier League, primarily by defeating Manchester United at Old Trafford. Fortunately, it provided the Manchester United manager with a bit of hope, as the overall result was good, and it took some heat of the head coach who has been doubtful in his position up until now.

Senegal Claims WAFU Cup

Senegal managed to become the new champions of the prestigious WAFU Cup of Nations in 2019 after a 3-1 victory against Ghana in a penalty shootout after 120 minutes of intense football with a score of 1-1 on Sunday at the Stade Lat Dior in Thies.

Ghana nearly claimed the lead during the 10th minute after Habib Mohammed received a left-sided free-kick delivered by Augustine Okrah. However, his header from 8 yards away, unfortunately, struck the post. Senegal provided the next threat from a beautiful right-sided free-kick during the 13th minute after the cross from Ousseynou Niang met Philippe Paulin Keny. However, his header missed the post by mere inches without any pressure from Ghana’s defence.

Two minutes later, Senegal managed to cause more damage during a set-piece when Moustapha got onto a corner-kick delivered by Ibrahima Drama. However, the header went just full of the posts from 12 years away. After the corner-kick, both teams decided to tighten up their defences and seemed quite timid when it came to attacking. This reduced scoring chances for both sides just before half time rolled around.

Second Half Drama

Senegal performed well during the second half of the match, and in all honesty, should have taken the lead during the 57th minute after Assane Mboji received a corner-kick which was placed at the back of the posts. However, his header went wide by a few yards. Within a minute, Mboji was back at it again thanks to a marvellous turn on the edge of the penalty box to defeat his marker. However, his glorious shot managed to skim the top of the crossbar.

During the 68th minute, Ghana finally managed to create their very first shot on goal during the second half when a terrific run from Okrah witnessed him sail through the middle of the field. However, the goalkeeper for Senegal was quick off his line to deny the goal. Ghana almost took the lead during the 82nd minute thanks to a corner-kick that saw Shafiu Mumuni get into position a mere 6 yards from the posts. However, his incredible header was beautifully recovered by Pepe Ndiaye. This was mainly the last chance for both teams to score as the regulation time came to an end.

Extra Time

Senegal came extremely close to scoring a goal during the 105th minute when Youssouph Badji received a cross from Niang. However, his 8-yard strike hit the post. Fortunately, the second half of extra time saw Badji finally score a goal with another fantastic cross from Niang. Ghana managed to equalize during the 110th minute thanks to a free-kick opportunity where Joseph Esso scored the equalizer. Neither side was able to find another goal which caused the game to go into a penalty shootout. During the shooting, Ndiaye made two incredible saves that allowed Senegal to become victorious and claim the WAFU Cup of Nations eventually.

Big Questions Surrounding the Euro Qualifiers this Weekend

Club matches might be on a break for the next couple of days, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t any football matches to look forward to until then. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest questions surrounding the Euro Qualifiers.

Will the Netherlands Deliver on their Promise?

The last 12 months have witnessed an emerging revival within the Netherlands’ fortunes when it comes to football. After not qualifying for two major competitions, the Dutch national team ripped made a name for themselves in the Nations League and ended up second behind Portugal. Are they back, well they are still getting there thanks to an improved selection of talent., This includes Matthijs de Ligt and Virgil van Dijk, both of whom are considered to be the best defensive duo in international football.

However, the team is still not back in full force because they are still not automatic qualifiers for the tournament. They are currently 3 points behind Northern Ireland but have a game in hand at least. They definitely need to win the match to make their journey more comfortable. If they can, we might just see a spectacular comeback from the Dutch national team.

Can Iceland Provide an Exciting Upset?

A huge potential upset can occur in Reykjavik, where a somewhat depleted France squad will travel to face Iceland in a ticklish tie. Due to the fact that France is suffering with injuries in Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappe, and Hugo Lloris, along with a range of ailments, the French aren’t exactly in excellent health for this game.

France managed to defeat Iceland 4-0 earlier this year, but since then Didier Deschamps’ side has been very unconvincing. Add in the unexpected defeat against Turkey they will enter this match in third place on the leaderboard, 3 points ahead of their opponents on Friday. France will also have the opportunity to get revenge against Turkey on Monday. But they will first need to survive a match against Iceland on Friday. This could be a massive upset if Iceland can pull it off.

Will England Deal with More Racism?

Even though its quite disheartened to deal with such a problem in 2019, there are still loads of fears that the black players on the England side will once again be the primary subject of racism once they make their way to Sofia to face Bulgaria on Monday. It’s been a massive problem prior to this match before, and we expect that the same issue will arise once the match gets underway in Bulgaria again.

It’s unnecessary that Tammy Abraham should be placed in this position. However, the forward for Chelsea confirmed earlier this week that should the racist card be played, that the entire England team will ignore the three steps policy prescribed by UEFA and simply appeal over the PA. Thereafter, they will suspend the game and then abandon it by simply walking off the field. Let’s hope it doesn’t come to this.

Liverpool Survives Against Salzburg

Liverpool managed to survive an unexpected scare and claim their very first Champions League points of the year with a nail-biting 4-3 victory against Red Bull Salzburg in an epic encounter that took place at Anfield. Liverpool obtained a comfortable lead early on in the game after a marvellous exchange between Roberto Firmino, and Sadio Mane produced a goal before Andy Robertson transforming the cross from Trent Alexander-Arnold into a second goal before Mohamed Salah made it a 3-0 lead from close range. However, the powerful striking ability from Hwang Hee-Chan managed to get Salzburg back into the match, and the visitors were able to level the scoreboard only 15 minutes into the second half, leaving Liverpool shell-shocked. Thankfully, the hosts managed to retake the lead during the 68th minute after talisman Mohamed Salah netter his second goal of the match to eventually secure 3 points for the Reds.

Positives & Negatives

The Reds can be forgiven for being a little nervous before kickoff took place. However, the attacking force of Liverpool witnessed them taking an incredible 3-0 lead. Even though there was nearly a massive slip-up during the second half of the game, The Reds managed to display major character to retake the edge which allowed them to take 3 points in the Champions League. Liverpool didn’t have Joel Matip on their side due to injury which meant that Joe Gomez had to replace him for this match at centre-back. Liverpool completely fell apart once the second half got underway and were almost brutally punished for their mistakes as Salzburg nearly took a point home. On any other evening, this match could have ended in a very different way when the final whistle went off.

Notable Players

Jurgen Klopp – Nobody anticipated that The Reds would throw away a comfortable 3-0 lead. However, when the unthinking occurred on the pitch, Klopp quickly reacted with the introductions of Divock Origi and James Milner. Their mixture of energy and experience allowed Liverpool to regain the lead in the match when things almost turned into a disaster.

Goalkeeper Adrian – He was given no chance against a powerful Hee-Chan strike and will be very thankful that a tame clearance didn’t allow for another goal to be scored. Even though three goals were conceded, it’s primarily due to his centre-backs that didn’t perform as they should have.

Trent Alexander Arnold – Provided another energetic performance during the match but unfortunately left Joe Gomez exposed at times which allowed the visitors more space when they attacked. Thankfully, provided a low cross that helped Liverpool score once again with Robertson on the receiving end of that cross.

Virgil Van Dijk – This will undoubtedly be the weakest performance from the player this season as he was turned upside down by Hee-Chan who managed to unleash an incredible strike against Adrian who was utterly helpless. After he went an entire season without being beaten when it comes to the dribble, it’s going to be a very long time before that retakes place, especially at Anfield.