Scholes likens Rashford to Manchester United Great

Paul Scholes has lauded the finishing ability of Marcus Rashford on Wednesday night after the English striker came off the bench to score a brilliant hat-trick against RB Leipzig.

Scholes likened Rashford to his former Manchester United teammate Ruud Van Nistelrooy.

Rashford came on for opening goalscorer Mason Greenwood in the 63rd minute, Rashford netted twice in four minutes with two composed finishes before sealing his hattrick in stoppage-time at Old Trafford.

Rashford also scored the match-winner in last week’s victory against Paris Saint-Germain and after his first United hat-trick, ex-United midfielder Scholes was full of praise for the 22-year-old.

‘His finishing has been questioned in the past, but tonight you’re looking at 25 goals from him if he keeps that attitude.

‘That was like [Ruud] van Nistelrooy, you see him going through and you know he’s going to smash the ball into the corner.’

Antonio Martial scored the other goal as Ole Gunnar Solskjaer men made it two wins in two in the Champions League.

Liverpool Gets Fabinho Boost After Injury Fears

Liverpool makeshift centre-half Luis Fabinho was forced off the pitch after half-an-hour in the Reds’ win against Midtjylland, worsening an already serious defensive injury crisis after Virgil van Dijk’s long-term ACL injury. But manager Jurgen Klopp has revealed it is not as bad as first feared.

Concerns amongst the Liverpool staff that the Brazilian had suffered a grade-three tear, which could keep him out for up to six months, were eased after a scan on Wednesday showed a grade-one or grade-two tear.

As a result of further diagnosis, there is optimism that Fabinho could be back after the November international break, meaning he would miss just three games.

Until then, Klopp will have to cope with a shortage of options at centre-half, with Joe Gomez the only fully fit senior player currently available who naturally plays in that position.

Zidane Not Worried About Madrid’s Form

Real Madrid gaffer Zinedine Zidane insists he has no doubts that Real Madrid will reach the last-16 of the Champions League if they match the performance that rescued them a last-gasp draw at Borussia Monchengladbach.

Madrid fell behind to a Marcus Thuram brace either side of half-time in Germany before Karim Benzema and Casemiro scored late goals to rescue a point in their second Champions League group game.

However the result leaves them bottom of their group following a shock 3-2 opening day home defeat to Shakhtar Donetsk, with their next two matches coming in what is now a crucial double header against Inter Milan.

‘The result shows the character in this team,’ Zidane said. ‘We deserved to draw and I think get even more. I like the reaction and it’s an important point.

‘We played well throughout the match, but it’s true that we lacked something because we didn’t win. We believe in the plan and we deserved the draw’

The result comes after an impressive win against Barcelona in the El Clasico.

Ronaldo Test Positive for Coronavirus for Third Time

Cristiano Ronaldo has been ruled out of Wednesday’s Champions League match against Barcelona after testing positive for coronavirus once again. Meaning the Messi-Ronaldo reunion in the Champions League will not happen, at least not in the first leg.

The Portuguese had been self-isolating at home since he tested positive for Covid-19 on October 13 and had hoped to return to action against his rival Lionel Messi in their Champions League clash in Turin.

Ronaldo had to take a new test just 48 hours before the game – due to his very low viral load – but the striker recorded another positive result.

The Portugal superstar has already missed three matches for Andrea Pirlo’s side when they beat Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League last week but were held to two draws in Serie A.

The five-time Ballon d’Or winner has, however, been accused of breaking coronavirus rules when he flew home from Portugal to Italy after testing positive for the illness.

Cech Better Than Chelsea Goalkeepers – Says Ex-Goalkeeper

Former Chelsea goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has claimed that Petr Cech was the best goalkeeper training at Chelsea this season before Edouard Mendy arrived at the club.

Schwarzer has heard that Cech, who was named in the Blues 25-man Premier League squad despite retiring in 2019, was performing better in training sessions than Kepa Ariba…whatever and ‘Willing’ Caballero. The Blues have had to sign Edouard Mendy before Frank Lampard becomes forced to play Cech.

‘From my understanding, he was better than the Chelsea keepers. But this was before Mendy arrived at the club.

‘He was performing and training better than the Chelsea keepers. He just was saying he felt so good.’ The Australian said.

Cech is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Chelsea’s history, having won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and both the Champions League and the Europa League competitions during his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

Schwarzer added: ‘He said had he known that after having time off he would have felt so good, he would have only had six months off and wouldn’t have retired.

‘He actually believes he’s fit enough and strong enough and good enough still to play in the Premier League. I know he’s kicking the ball further than he did towards the end of his career.

‘The injuries he had, the problems he had with his ankle, his calf, they were hindering his kicking game. So apparently he has no problems with that at all any more. He’s kicking the ball as far as he [ever] did.’

Cech is one of the most successful goalkeepers in Chelsea’s history, having won four Premier League titles, four FA Cups and both the Champions League and the Europa League competitions during his 11-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Auba Envying Ozil, Barca Plan C and other talking points.

This football season could well be a pandemic season with some pandemic results here and there. After just six matches in the Premier League, all the teams have tasted defeat, with Everton top of the pile. Real Sociedad are top in La Liga, both Real Madrid and Barcelona have produced some pinkish performances.

A team lost to Ajax 13-0 in the Eredivisie, such team does not deserve the honour of having them mentioned here. There were lots of lessons the lunatic took from football actions this weekend, should be read with a lunatic mind.

Auba envying Ozil

Arsenal have a £350,000-a-week star in their team. He is however a non-playing staff. He is part of photoshoots and promotional items but does not play – you all know Mesut Ozil.

Arsenal may soon have two G-Boys in their team.

Recently, while his teammates were playing, he was running commentaries on Twitter, what a way to be useful. It seems Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is envying Ozil. Since he signed a mega deal believed to be worth up to £300,000 a week, he has become a ghost on the football pitch. He has failed to have a shot on target in three of his last four Premier League appearances, any league goal he scored in that period was on Play Station.

Very soon, Arsenal fans will turn to him if things don’t change. The manager will drop him for tactical reasons and he will join Ozil to do Twitter commentaries.

Young Progressive Boring Managers

The new generation of young managers are said to be progressive. They play exciting brands of attacking football, but we didn’t see that when Manchester United played Chelsea last weekend.

The young managers Frank Lampard and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer served us a bore fest.

With a lot of attacking talents at their disposal, the highlight of the match was Harry Maguire practising his wrestling skills on Ceasar Azpilicueta. Which reminds us why we must not keep quiet in our quest to END VAR.

Barca Plan C

While we can not say Messi has downed tools at Barcelona, no goal from open play in five league matches is not Messi.

Barca’s plan A and B is failing

Barcelona’s plan A tactics used to be ‘get the ball to Messi’. Lots of times he bailed them out. Since Barcelona refused to let him go at the summer, the plan A is no longer working. Unfortunately, Messi was also the plan B. Ronald Koeman reportedly told Messi he wasn’t central to his plans, it is high time we start seeing that plan in play. The plan should be plan C. Then plan D and plan E. If those don’t work, it is plan F, which he won’t be able to execute because it will come in form of a sack letter.

Real Madrid have found lots of joy in the El Clasico in recent times and they did it again, the Nou Camp is beginning to feel like Santiago Bernebeau to them.

Where is Pirlo headed?

Juventus straight win used to be a banker on punters tickets. The story is not the same anymore. Another draw against Hellas Verona leaves more questions than answers..

Zinedine Zidane stepped up from failing at Real Madrid B to winning back-to-back Champions League with Real Madrid. Juve have taken Andrea Pirlo from yet to manage a game with the Reserves team to becoming first team manager. Pep Guardiola also went from Barca B team to success with the first team. Juventus will be hoping Pirlo is their own Guardiola or Zidane, but what Zidane and Guardiola have in common, Pirlo does not have. If you don’t understand where I am heading to, leave it.

We will give him time, also considering Ronaldo has been out injured. Managers have been sacked even after winning the league. His resemblance with the pictorial representations of Jesus won’t be enough if results don’t get better. Fans will forget he was once the brilliant midfielder, crucify him, they will say.

That’s all on this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic. Till next time, no dey disguise, Soro Soke like a lunatic.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Club Announces Super Eagles Player Departure

Super Eagles Captain Ahmed Musa has left his Saudi Arabian club Al Nassr.

Musa leaves Al Nassr

Al Nassr announced Musa’s departure on their verified Twitter handle.

“Thank you Nigerian falcon,
wishing you all the best in the future! @Ahmedmusa718,” the club wrote.

Musa joined Al Nassr in 2018 from Premier League club Leicester City.

During his two seasons with the club Musa made 48 appearances and scored 10 goals.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: END VAR, Pink Boys, Chelsea Premium 33 and other talking points.

The lunatic could not wait for league matches to return after the international break, and it was really worth it. Derby drama, goals, VAR controversies, were able to drag attention with END SARS agitation in Nigeria. Maybe it is high time we start an END VAR campaign as well. Lots to get into in this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic.

END VAR
Apologies to END SARS agitators, the lunatic will have to borrow your slogan. It is high time FIFA ends VAR and let us return to dealing with referee mistakes alone. After Jordan Pickford’s attempt to assassinate Virgil Van Dijk went unpunished, it seems anything can happen even with VAR.

And what is it with drawing offside margins like Technical Drawing? The oversabi is not necesstri. It is not that serious. How can a player be offside by the tip of his nose or eyelashes? Haba!
End VAR, reform the referees, retrain the referees, punish all referees that have been kill-joys, change FIFA… We don’t even know what we want, just END VAR.

Pickford dived into Van Dijk with cutlass, knife, hammer,…

Chelsea 33 Premium
Chelsea are really confirming there’s so much to a name. First, we know what the brand Chelsea is associated with. Now, they have taken it to a new level with 3 on their jerseys. Who does a mixture of Chelsea and 33 Lager? You can only get drunken performances.

Second time this season they have served us chilled bottles of 33. At this stage, we are confused. Who are the shirt sponsors of Chelsea? 3 network or 33 Lager beer?
Liverpool also tried to woo Seven-Up just before the international break.
Back to Chelsea, Kepa Ariba…whatever cannot just stop drinking goals like it is 33, best £72m Athletic Bilbao will ever receive in their life. 600 years for the person that recommended him to Chelsea.

Better together

Pink Boys
Thank goodness, the Pink Boys will not be wearing their costumes of shame for the El Clasico next weekend. Or are not expected to wear it. Both Real Madrid and Barcelona were clad in their pink jerseys at the weekend, and they both produced pink performances.

Who ever suggested that men’s team should wear pink? So creepy. They chose to wear their ‘anko‘ on the same day and it was a party for both of them.

Pinky pinky

Super Maguire
Manchester Sixers captain Harry Maguire has become a favourite of the lunatic. For good reasons this weekend, he was commanding for Manchester United against Newcastle United. He scored a goal, he did not mark his own teammate, he did not get sent off and he did not try to beat a police officer.
We must however commend his smartness, knowing PSG are the next opponent, his muscles found a way to tear. He has escaped from Kylian Mbappe and Neymar dragging him from the Parc de Princes to the Greek prisons.

I Conte understand
A 39-year-old that just returned from isolation sank Antonio Conte and his Inter Milan team. After signing all the Young pensioners from the Premier League, Conte should be doing better at Inter Milan.
Who else does he need? Danny Drinkwater?
AC Milan are in good form but don’t have as much quality as Inter, and definitely not with a 39-year-old striker.

So, the UEFA Champions League group stages begin today, more football for the lunatic. For the London Thursdays, we will also help them to watch the Europa League, one of them decided to share in Chelsea’s 33 Lager beer at the weekend.

Don’t follow the Lunatic anywhere, but follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Boald Codes: Betting Tips For The Weekend

League football is back after a week of international break. Experienced punters will know a weekend like this is not the best time to stake your house rent, except you want to make the END SARS protest grounds your permanent home. Even we are scared, hence no wheel of codes this weekend. Nevertheless, we will be making some projections for this weekend.

Lots of interesting matches to look forward to – not least the Merseyside and ilan derbies.

The Merseyside derby is on the front burner

The Bankers

In the Premier League Sheffield United and Fulham have struggled so far. Sheffield host Fulham in what looks like a must win for both sides. An over 1.5 comes at around 1.30 across platforms. Both sides will look to score goals, thereby opening up the game.

Go for goals as well in Leeds United vs Wolves. Leeds won’t and have no reason to hold back, Wolves will want to go for it. Thereby opening up the game. An over 1.5 should be a safe option.

In the Serie A, Napoli vs Atalanta should be a sure goals game. Both to score or over 2.5 should come through.

Juventus to win away at newly promoted Crotone, who are bottom of the table, come at good odds. Cristiano Ronaldo is unavailable but Juve should do enough to pick a win.

In the Bundesliga, Hoffenheimvs Borussia Dortmund should give us goals. Both to score or over 2.5 should suffice.

Generally, it is a weekend were goals is a safe bet.

Banana pills

Manchester City have a good record against Arsenal in recent seasons but this could be different. City have not had a good start and are expected to be without Kevin De Bruyne. Mikel Arteta penchant to set Arsenal up defensively against top sides also means a goals bet may not be safe.

Bayern Munich should win away at newly promoted Arminia Bielefeld, but it is a game you might want to avoid or go for a goals bet. Arminia have a good home record and international football exertions might take its toll on Bayern.

In the same vein, Real Madrid hosting newly promoted Cadiz could be a tricky game. Cadiz have made a decent start and could get something at Madrid.

Boald Call

This is for the bravest and the boldest. Newcastle home win against Manchester United is worth the risk. It comes at around 4.5 odds. If you want to be cautious, a Newcastle double chance comes at around 1.9. Manchester United looks suspect and Newcastle have the players that can trouble them.

Remember, terms and conditions apply. If you win, don’t forget to pay your tithe so that your ministry and ours can boom.

Super Eagles Players That Passed and Those That Failed Their Test in Friendlies

While most Nigerians are not particularly pleased by the Super Eagles performances in their double-header friendlies, it has been a good opportunity to test the players. A defeat against Algeria and a draw against Tunisia were not really pleasing. For some players they showed they are not good enough for the Super Eagles, at least not yet. We start with those that passed their test – the good.

The Good

Goalkeeper Maduka Okoye got eyebrows raised when he got an invitation when he was not even first choice at Fortuna Dusseldorf reserves. He has since left to join Sparta Rotterdam in Holland but has still not played regularly. Prior to these friendlies, he had only a substitute appearance against Brazil to show. However, after keeping goal in the two friendlies, he showed composure and pulled some impressive saves to seal a spot in the team.

Zaidu Sanusi showed some flashes at left-back, particularly keeping Riyadh Mahrez quiet against Algeria. His decision making and general play could however be better, but he showed enough to deserve a place in the team.

It was also redemption for Leon Balogun after a poor Africa Cup of Nations in 2019. He was commanding in the two matches and was the best Super Eagles center-back in the friendlies.

Despite showing his good and bad side, Kelechi Iheanacho showed he still has a role to play in the team. He got the only goal the team scored over two matches and was particularly bright in the first half against Tunisia.

Some players made good impressions.

The Bad

A lot was expected from Frank Onyeka after some briliant performances with his Danish Club – Midtylland. He was to be the main midfielder in the absence of Wilfred Ndidi, Oghenekaro Etebo and Joe Aribo but after just 45 minutes in the first match, he was removed like SARS. It will be difficult for him to get back anytime soon.

Mikel Agu replaced Onyeka at halftime against Algeria but he proved to be SWAT – no difference. Questions were already asked about his invitation as he has never impressed in the Super Eagles in the past. He was so bad he was not used in the second match.

It is high time we try Paul Onuachu in the D’Tigers (Nigeria’s male national basketball team) if he must be invited to any national team. He showed again that his 6ft 7 frame is a waste in the Super Eagles. He huffed and puffed in the first match against Algeria until he was hauled off in the second half. He does not look like his style is suited to the team.

Some failed their auditions.

There are some still hanging in there. The jury is still out of them, especially those that did not get any or enough playing time. Kevin Akpoguma should get another look-in based on his reputation but based on what we saw in the two friendlies, he was not convincing enough. Cyriel Dessers and Ejuke Chidera were not tested enough but showed little flashes in their cameo appearances and deserve another test. Goalkeepers Matthew Yakubu and Dele Alampasu were also not tested enough.

By the time the team regroup again for AFCON qualifiers in November, some of the players are not expected back while some of the regulars that missed these friendlies will also return. Hopefully, the results and performances get better.