What has Gareth Southgate done to the Three Lions?

Whether the Euro tournament trophy ends up at home or in Rome, one thing that is sure is, Gareth Southgate has done a great job with the Three Lions of England. They are 90 minutes or at most 130/140 minutes away from what could be their first ever European title. Coming off the back of a fourth place finish at the last World Cup, they seem to have banished the ghost of faltering at major tournaments. At the heart of this achievement is probably their most low-profile manager of the last two decades. After falling short with the likes of Sven Goran Erikson, Fabio Capello and Roy Hodgson, uncelebrated Southgate is about to send English football fans into delirium, how has he gotten the Three Lions this far?

Southgate has got his tactics right.

Merit in players selection

Southgate has departed from the previous norm of inviting and playing players based on their stature and that of their clubs. Gone are the days when playing for the big clubs guarantee places in the Three Lions. Southgate has selected the best and most in-form players without bias. A good example is Kalvin Phillips, who got an invitation to the team while still playing in the second division with Leeds and is a super regular in the team now. In time past, a player playing in the Championship wouldn’t have gotten an invite. The likes of Ben White of Brighton Hove and Albion, Connor Coady of Wolves are in the team, just to mention a few.

Phillips made his debut while still in the Championship.

Players playing outside England like Kieran Trippier, Jude Bellingham and Jadon Sancho have not been ignored. Just as young and budding talents like Phil Foden, Bukayo Saka and others have been allowed to strut their stuff.

The selection is near perfect and the result is there for all to see.

Staying true to type

Just like his not so flamboyant persona, he has kept the team more efficient than flamboyant. Just two goals scored in the group stage with none conceded says it all. In all, they have conceded one goal in all, from set play. In spite of having some of England’s most stylish footballers of modern era in his ranks, he has kept the style largely ‘English’. Defensively strong and relying on pace and directness at the other end.

A double-pivot of Declan Rice and Kalvin Phillips at the base of the midfield is more of a defensive and cautious choice. He could have played only one of the aforementioned duo and deploy more of his exciting midfielders but he has resisted the urge. After what seemed like a struggle at the group stage, there were calls for changes but he has stayed true to his style and it is paying dividends.

Trusting his players

Based on form, coming into the tournament, the likes of Jordan Pickford and Raheem Sterling should not have been starters but they have proved doubters wrong. They were two of England’s best players at the last World Cup and Southgate trusted them to continue in that light and they have not let him down.

Southgate has found consistency.

Captain Harry Kane struggled at the beginning of the tournament and he seemed out of place in the team. Southgate stuck with a player who won the Golden Boots at the last World Cup and last Premier League season and he has repaid the trust, he has four goals now, one shy of the leading topscorer.

As said earlier, even if football refuses to go home, there is enough for English fans to be excited about. Southgate has done a fantastic job with this team and luckily does not court controversies. With the World Cup less than two years away, the English can dream once again.

Written by Babatomiwa Ojo

Is There Really A Process To Trust At Arsenal?

The mantra at Arsenal now is ‘trust the process’. On the back of 17 years of not winning the league title, 4 years of not playing in the UEFA Champions League and finally failing to make European places entirely last season, there should genuinely be a process to be trusted. The Gunners are only still tagged a top-six side based on reputation. The post-Wenger era is particularly not going well. In the little time that Wenger left, Arsenal have had three people at the helms and are on their second substantive manager. A section of the fans are already regretting that they called for Wenger to leave. While things are not going well under the present Manager – Mikel Arteta, there have been calls by the Manager and the club management for fans to trust a certain process. Should they really trust the process?

The post-Wenger years are not going to plan

The first question is, what is the process? In truth, there are no clear evidences of a process.

Style of play

For a process, there should be a style of play or signs of a style of play. At Arsenal presently, it is not the case. One of the reasons Arsenal hired Arteta is probably due to an expected style of play. Being a former player at Arsenal and having spent time under the tutelage of Pep Guardiola, Arsenal fans expected to see an exciting style of play, that has not been the case. The style of play has not been defined, at times they have been defensive and counter-attacking, at other times they labour to be expansive. The excuse has been that the team does not have the players to play an expansive style but even majority of the players they are linked to in the transfer market does point in the direction of a style.

Arsenal management and fans are expecting an expansive attacking style with Arteta in charge

Recruitments

The recruitments in the past few years does not point to any process. There seems to be lots of trial and error and merry-go-round in player’s recruitments. Some of the so-called promising players they have signed in the past few years have become surplus to requirements and there are already plans to replace them with new promising players. Reports linking the Gunners to Brighton and Hove Albion defender – Ben White has refused to go away and it appears there is a genuine interest in the English defender. This is the same club that has spent big money on the likes of Calum Chambers and William Saliba as promising defenders, with no logical results yet.

The Gunners are heavily linked to Ben White

There are also reports of a bid for Abderlecht promising midfielder Albert Lokonga, few years after investing in promising midfielders – Lucas Torreira and Matteo Guendouzi, who have both become surplus to requirements. The aforementioned are just some of the merry-go-rounds Arsenal have been doing in the transfer market. For a process, there has to be deliberate investments in quality footballers.

Coach

When trusting a process, there should be a manager that has the track record of a process. At Liverpool, they trusted a process and came good but it was with Jurgen Klopp, a manager that has the track record of a process. Arteta has shown signs that he could end up becoming a top manager, especially in leading Arsenal to FA Cup glory in his first season, but getting Arsenal back to the top may be asking for too much. It looks like the club’s management wants to trust Arteta to do the job but the problem is they may have gotten deeper into the abyss before they realize they need a more experienced manager.

The FA Cup success bought Arteta some time

Arsenal’s drop has been gradual and consistent and can’t be said to be a co-incidence. From contesting for the title, to becoming a top-four side, to becoming an Europa League team, to completely dropping out of European places. Arsenal’s management must realize they are in a dire situation and should take dire actions, but their approach in the transfer market so far betrays that. Arsenal fans can’t trust the process because there are no signs of a process.

Ronaldo Should Be Punished For Disrespecting UEFA Sponsors

Cristiano Ronaldo can’t stop getting into the record books and he does that more than he gets into trouble. The recent record is appearing at most Euro Championship tournament than any player by making his fifth appearance at the ongoing Euro 2020. In the same vein, he has scored his 10th and 11th goal at the Euros to become the all-time topscorer ahead of Michel Platini. At 36 years, 130 days, he also became the oldest player to score for Portugal at a major tournament, breaking the record set by Pepe at the 2018 World Cup at 35 years and 124 days. The Juve forward also became the oldest player to score at least two goals in a European Championship match, breaking the record set by Andriy Schevchenko when he was 35 years, 256 days.

While the world is buzzing about the records, the event that happened at the press conference before Portugal won against Hungary should be a major talking point that shouldn’t be swept under the carpet.

The Portugal captain removed two Coca-Cola bottles from the table in front of him at his pre-match press conference before holding up a bottle of water to the room and declaring people should drink water instead.

Then, he rolled his eyes and said with borderline disgust, “Coca-Cola”.

Before some Ronaldo fan boys draw their daggers, they should know that they can watch football and be fans of Ronaldo because some people (sponsors) are investing their money. No athlete should be allowed to disrespect sponsors for whatever reason. Ronaldo has simply disrespected the sponsors and devalued them, it should not go without consequences. Ronaldo’s action reeks of arrogance and insensitivity than for another flimsy reason.

The case in support of Ronaldo is that, he is an advocate of healthy living and is not a fan of fizzy drinks like Coca-cola. No one made Ronaldo an advocate for health or a judge of products. While health practitioners have advised that the consumption of fizzy drinks should be reduced, no one have said they are unhealthy. A lot of people drink Coca-cola in healthy proportions. If Coca-cola were one of his sponsors, would he have done what he did?

Ronaldo should have thought of the negative impact his actions will have on the brand. Coca-cola are leveraging on the Euros and investing to improve their sales. Ronaldo’s action is like a direct attempt to sabotage a business concern that has existed for years.

The company’s shares dropped from 56.10 dollars to 55.22 dollars almost immediately after Ronaldo’s actions, meaning the company’s value fell from 242bn dollars to 238bn dollars. One can imagine the long term effect of this event.

In carrying out his delinquency, he raised a bottle of water with the message that people should drink water instead. It is of note that the water is not a branded one. Would he have ‘advertised’ the water if it was branded? Bringing to the fore the selfishness of these athletes. While they are trying to make all the money from their endorsements, they are ensuring no product is ambushing them. As athletes can sue companies that makes use of their images without authorization, Coca-cola should be able to take legal actions against Ronaldo for sabotaging them.

For UEFA, they must make Ronaldo a scapegoat and protect their sponsors from attacks such as this. Player power must be curtailed before it gets out of hand. No player should be seen as bigger than the game and the institutions. Ronaldo should not get away with this.

10 Footballers of African Descent to Watch at The Euros

The next African Cup of Nations does not come up till next year but Africans will regardless enjoy the European version this month. Even as many Africans have their ‘alegiances’ to some of these European countries due to their affinity to European club football. Don’t be surprised that even many Africans are more conversant with the European players than African players.

Another subplot is the emergence of many European footballers of African decent. Majority of the teams have at least one in their ranks. One of the pre-tournament favorites, France could even lineup with a starting eleven of Africa-born footballers.

Of the many, we have selected 10 of them you should keep an eye on.

Bukayo Ayoyinka Saka (England)

Bukayo Saka is one Nigerians will watch with envy cum delight. The young man has come a long way in a very short time. He was Arsenal’s player of the season in the just concluded season, at just 19. He has five caps and has scored once for the Three Lions.

He was born in London to Nigerian parents.

Saka has had a fantastic year

Adama Traore (Spain)

Muscular Adama Traore was close to representing Mali, even declaring for Mali in 2019 before a Spain call-up came.

The Wolves winger was born in Spain to Malian (not to be confused with Marlians) parents. He has made five appearances for Spain.

Jeremy Doku (Belgium)

With Eden Hazard struggling with fitness, the weight of Belgium’s attacking play might fall on the young shoulders of Jeremy Doku.

The Rennes forward is of Ghanaian descent. He has represented Belgium eight times and is seen as a bright prospect.

Yussuf Poulsen (Denmark)

Yussuf Yurary Poulsen is one of the danger men of 1992 winners – Denmark. The RB Leipzig forward has 8 goals in 54 appearances for the Danes.

Poulsen’s father is from Tanzania.

Karim Onisiwo (Austria)

Alongside more popular David Alaba, the Austrians have two Nigerians in their ranks. The Mainz forward was born in Vienna, Austria to a Nigerian father.

He has 29 caps for the Austrian national team.

Ben Cabango (Wales)

Swansea were close to returning to the Premier League last season. One man was at the heart of it, Ben Cabango.

The center-back was born in Cardiff to to an Angolan father and Welsh mother. He has three caps for the Wales national team.

Wissam Ben Yedder (France)

Ben Yedder is one of numerous Africans in France’s ‘united nations’ team. The Monaco forward is of Tunisian descent, he rejected the Tunisia FA’s advances on five different occasions before finally getting a call-up from France.

Expected to play majorly as a backup, he has scored twice in 14 appearances.

Wissam’s parents are from Tunisia

Danilo Pereira (Portugal)

The defensive midfielder was in the squad when Portugal won the last Euros and is back as they try to defend it.

The PSG player was born in Bissau, Guinea Bissau before he left for Portugal. He has made 47 appearances for the Portugal national team.

Serge Gnabry (Ivory Coast)

The Bayern Munich winger is one of the key men for the Germans.

Born in Stuttgart to an Ivorian father and German mother 25 years ago, Gnabry has an impressive record of 16 goals in 22 appearances for the German national team.

Gnabry has grown in leaps and bounds in the last few years

Ken Sema (Sweden)

Angolan-born Sema will be representing Sweden at the Euros.

The Watford midfielder goes to his first major tournament on the back of gaining promotion with Watford to the Premier League. He has made 12 appearances for the Swedes.

The above listed are just ten of a massive pool of Africa-born footballers at the Euros. It is expected to be an interesting tournament and the Africans are expected to play a major part.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Congrats TuChelsea, Pep Tears and Other Talking Points

Top tier club football in Europe has gone on break but not without leaving us with talking points. There are also the matters of players and managers merry-go-round, that has started already and should continue well into the summer.

Congratulations tuCHELsea fans. This is the first time I am writing after the Champions League final. Now that I have congratulated you guys, I shouldn’t be tagged an hater. I was only disappointed that you guys did not declare free public vehicle rides in Lagos, Nigeria. It is interesting to know that Chelsea have gone from no Champions League title in conjunction with Arsenal, to one final appearance in conjunction with Arsenal, to winning one title, to winning two titles, same as Manchester United. In all of this time, Arsenal have gone from staying in the top four to trying to get back in it.

Pep Tears

When Pep Guardiola was shedding tears like Majid Michel during Sergio Aguero’s farewell, it was difficult to understand why. Some people tagged him an hypocrite. Apparently he was crying in advance or rehearsing his tears. He already knew he was going to tactically hand Chelsea the Champions League, hmmm… tactical genius.

The same Aguero he barely played. The same Aguero he once played down his achievement by bringing Messi into an Aguero conversation. After Aguero fired a hat-trick in City’s 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa to replace Thierry Henry as the most prolific overseas player in Premier League history.

Pep disappointed

Afterwards Guardiola was asked whether Aguero was the best he has worked with, he felt compelled to highlight his alliance with six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi at Barcelona.

“The best is Messi,” he smiled, before a follow-up enquiry pondered whether Aguero was the finest out-and-out striker he had handled in his career.

Guardiola added: “Messi is [the best] number nine, number 10, number 11, number seven, number six, number five, number four… Simply using an Aguero moment to eulogies Messi. Little wonder he has not won the Champions League without Messi.

He looked at his team, saw no Messi to play as no. 9, saw no Messi to play as no. 4. He decided to leave the positions empty. He played false 4 and false 9 and got a false result. Very soon he will contemplate playing a false goalkeeper. At a point, City’s management will have to analyze the achievement viz-a-viz the investment.

In three months, without buying any new player, Tuchel has defeated Guardiola thrice and has beaten him to the biggest price.

Managers breaking bottles

It is interesting to see managers leaving their clubs and some breaking bottles on their way out. It is looking like a summer where managers movements may overshadow players transfers. First, it was Conte leaving Inter Milan just days after winning the title following a fallout with the club’s management. Then followed Zinedine Zidane, who seems to have Florentino Perez’s numbers, at Real Madrid. Zidane didn’t just leave, he blasted Perez. Keeping his record as the manager that sacks Madrid, not the other way round.

Conte left Inter Milan after leading them to their first title in 11 years

Madrid have replaced Zidane with Carlo Ancelotti for a second spell just as Juventus have also gone back for Massimiliano Allegri after Andrea Pirlo completed his IT. Bringing to the table, the issue of burning bridges. Like breaking up with that girlfriend amicably so you could always come back for a bite of the cherry. But there’s also that part of always getting a chance if you hit it right the first time. It will be interesting to see where Zidane goes from here, seeing he has never done it somewhere else, maybe he will wait till there is an opening at Real Madrid again.

The Euros and the Copa America are on the horizon, hopefully they help us deal with this dry period. Most of the nations have released their squad list for the tourney. Trust England to always make theirs dramatic. From announcing an unnecessary 33-man squad to ending up including four right-backs in the final squad. Unfortunately for Tammy Abraham, he was not even in the initial squad of 33, Gabriel Agbonlahor says hi.

That’s all for today, time to go face my other hustles.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

UCL Team Of The Season: Chelsea Dominates

Chelsea fans are still celebrating their Champions League success. Thomas Tuchel got Chelsea fans all over the world into hysteria and you can bet the party will last for a long time, to the chagrin of fans of rival clubs.

We take a look at the best performers in the UEFA Champions League this season, with majority of them coming from Chelsea as expected.

Goalkeeper – Ferland Mendy (Chelsea)

The Senegalese shot-stopper capped a fairytale season with a Champions League medal. He had little to do in the final but his assuredness and brilliant saves were crucial in the run-in.

The highlight of his season was keeping Chelsea in the semi-final tie against Real Madrid with brilliant saves in the first leg.

Rightback – Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea)

Chelsea’s captain remained Mr. Reliable. Playing majorly as part of the back 3 in Tuchel’s system. Azpilicueta rarely put a foot wrong throughout his 11 appearances in the competition.

Azpilicueta became the second Chelsea captain to lift the Champions League trophy

Leftback – Ferland Mendy (Real Madrid)

The French leftback was one of the reasons Madrid made it to the semi-final. His highlight was a brilliant performance in the first leg of the quarter-final against Liverpool.

He made 11 appearances and scored one goal.

Center-back – Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Dias marshalled a watertight Manchester City defence, which was the bedrock of the Citizens getting to the final.

Even though Dias couldn’t end an impressive debut season with Manchester City with the Champions League title, he did enough to make our team.

Center-back – Marquinhos (PSG)

The Brazilian must have been disappointed with the Parisiens ouster at the semi-final stage but can keep his head high for his own performance.

He was rock solid in defence as well as contributing goals at the other end. He scored 3 goals in 11 appearances.

Midfielder – Ngolo Kante (Chelsea)

The pint sized Frenchman performance in the final alone is enough to win him a place in this team. He was at his hassling and tackling best throughout his 13 appearances in the competition.

He is already in the conversation for a Balon D’Or.

Midfielder – Mason Mount (Chelsea)

The becoming of Mount was complete with a brilliant performance in the Champions League final, providing the assist for the winning goal.

The highlight of his season was the goal that put Real Madrid to the sword in the semi-final.

Midfielder – Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City)

Up until a frustrating final was ended with a ruptured face, the Belgian was arguably the player of the competition.

Playing many times as a false nine, De Bruyne was at his best helping City to their first final.

Right Wing-forward – Riyad Mahrez (Manchester City)

The Algerian fully got into his own in the knockout stages of the competition.

He scored 3 of the 4 goals the Citizens scored against PSG in the semi-final.

Right Wing-forward – Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Though he looked helplessly from the stands as PSG got knocked out in the semi-final, he was one of the best players of the tournament.

The highlight of his season was a hattrick at the Nou Camp against Barcelona. He ended with 8 goals in 10 appearances.

Center-forward – Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund)

The Norwegian did his growing reputation no harm with another stellar goals scoring season in the Champions League.

He ended the season as topscorer with 10 goals in 8 appearances, failing to score only in the quarter-final clashes against Manchester City.

Manager – Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

Unarguably the manager of the season, he masterminded Chelsea’s second Champions League title in just three months in charge.

His solid team barely broke a sweat in seeing off the likes of Atletico Madrid, Porto, Real Madrid and Manchester City in the final, conceding just two goals in the run.

Substitutes: T. Courtois (Real Madrid), A. Rudiger (Chelsea), B. Chilwell (Chelsea), L. Modric (Real Madrid), P. Foden (Man. City), Neymar Jr (PSG), K. Benzema (Real Madrid)

Who do you think we missed out on? Join the conversation. Follow us on Twitter @goaldbal and we are Goaldball on Facebook.

How Chelsea dismantled Manchester City in 11 pictures

How Manchester City were dealing with opponents in the Champions League this season

Just take your favorite position for your beating

Manchester City awarding themselves the title after they got to the final

No Jupiter can stop us

When Manchester City saw Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel were their opponents

We go kill them, Coach wey lose last year against coach wey no dey lose Champions League final

Anti-Chelsea people when Chelsea defeated City in the FA Cup and League

What’s happening here?

Pep Guardiola planning his tactics for the final like

I will prove I am the tactical genius

Guardiola when his team could not even hold the ball in the match

With all the tactics I did?

Ngolo Kante in the match

I full ground for here

Anti-Chelsea, when Kai Havertz scored

World peace is in danger

Manchester City trying to get back into the match

Anti-Chelsea aka Arsenal and Manchester United fans when Kevin De Bruyne got injured

Kuku kill us

Manchester City fans and their Arsenal – Manchester United supporters after the final whistle

We are entangled

Chelsea to their haters

Premier League Team Of The Season: Manchester Clubs Dominate, A Super Eagles Player and Others

The Premier League season 2021/22 is over but the fallouts continue to linger. The title has been won and lost, places have been retained and lost. Through 38 weeks of football action, some players distinguished themselves. At Goaldball, we have made our Team Of The Season, including the bench.

Goalkeeper – Emiliano Martinez (Aston Villa)

The Argentine divided Arsenal fans with his brilliant performances for Aston Villa. A large section of Arsenal fans thought he should not have been let go due to his brilliant performances. He was at the heart of a strong Villa defence that stayed clear of the relegation zone.

He kept 15 clean sheets, behind only Ederson Moraes and Edouard Mendy.

Rightback – Joao Cancelo (Manchester City)

Though the Portuguese was deployed at leftback occasionally by Pep Guardiola, he makes our team at right-back.

He finally proved why Guardiola went all out to get him two seasons back with some brilliant attacking plays on the flanks.

Leftback – Luke Shaw (Manchester United)

The Englishman enjoyed a season of revival. He ran the entire left-hand side of Manchester United with apparent ease. He reduced new signing Alex Telles, who was supposed to be his replacement, to a peripheral role.

Centerback – Ruben Dias (Manchester City)

Arguably the signing of the season. The defender has already gotten some recognition for his impressive first season in the Premier League.

He has won the Football Writers Association Player of the Season. Ever present and reliable, his solid defensive work was the bedrock of City’s success.

Ruben Dias and Joao Cancelo played huge parts in City’s success

Center-back – Harry Maguire (Manchester United)

Maguire was ever solid and ever present for the Red Devils till he got injured at the tail end of the season. Manchester United impressive away record was down to some defensive solidity.

Maguire finally showed glimpses of why Manchester United got him for record fee.

Central Midfielder – Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester)

Mr consistency – Wilfred Ndidi was ever present as Leicester pushed for a Champions League spot again.

He ranks high on the list of most tackles and interceptions.

Central Midfielder – Ilkay Gundogan (Manchester City)

The German had his best goalscoring season yet at Manchester City. He scored 13 goals to help City’s cause.

In addition to the goals, he was most times City’s brain box in the middle and his performances made Kelvin De Bruyne absences manageable.

Attacking Midfielder – Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United)

The Portuguese ranks high on both the goals and assists chats. He has had a positive influence since joining the Red Devils in January.

With 18 goals and 12 assists to his name, he is a contender for the Premier League Player of the Season.

Right Wing-Forward – Mohammed Salah (Liverpool)

Despite Liverpool’s struggles, Mohammed Salah was still able to rake in the goals. He scored 22 goals and only lost the Golden Boot to Harry Kane on the last day.

Right Wing-forward – Phil Foden (Manchester City)

Playing slightly as a wing forward and as an attacking midfielder, the young Englishman was a menace to opposing defences.

He stepped into David Silva’s shoes impressively and was at the heart of City’s attacking forays.

Center-forward – Harry Kane (Tottenham)

Harry Kane won his third Golden Boot award, reiterating his quality and importance to this Spurs side.

He added another dimension to his game this season by also creating goals for others. He topped the assist chat in the Premier League with 14 assists.

Following reports that he is set to move on from Spurs, he is the hottest property in the transfer market.

Manager – Pep Guardiola ( Manchester City)

Guardiola has not done anything new. He has probably done the expected by reclaiming the title but the manner of achieving it deserves recognition.

At a point in November/December, the Citizens were in midtable and it appeared Guardiola had reached his limits but an impressive turnaround led to his third Premier League title.

Substitutes: Ederson Moraes (Manchester City), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), Tyrone Ming’s (Aston Villa), Tomas Soucek (West Ham), Mason Mount (Chelsea), Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Son Heung Min (Tottenham)

What do you think about our selections? Let us know. Follow us on Twitter @goaldbal.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: FA Cup Heartbreak, Harry Kane Team and Other Talking Points

The Lunatic don come again. This time, I want to be different. I have been accused of only yabbing and seeing negatives. What else do Lunatics do? Like Jubril, I belong to everyone, I belong to no one. The yabs are straight from the heart. Will be touching on some few talking points as usual. You might pull off your thinking caps and put on your Lunatic cap at this stage.

Seniorman and Ndidi did it

Let me start by celebrating fellow Nigerians Kelechi Seniorman Iheanacho and Wilfred Ndidi on their success in the FA Cup. As a Nigerian I celebrate with them but I hope the Alcoholic Drink club people won’t get angry. Before they put me in the same bracket as Daniel Amartey who tossed their pennant to the floor. On another day, I would have tagged Amartey as dumb but for the sake of the two Nigerians and the sweetness of Leicester’s victory, I will say kudos to Amartey.

Sometimes things like these have to happen to spice up the game. We will do with some bit of drama. As we saw in their subsequent Premier League tie, it may be the beginning of some rivalry and bad blood. The Lunatic is here for the violence.

Iheanacho and Ndidi celebrated cup success

Iheanacho has picked up form and Ndidi has been good since he joined Leicester. The trophy is good reward for their hard work. Kelechi should now think of cutting the soap for the likes of Isaac Success, Alex Iwobi and others.

Bottlelona 2

So is the magnitude of Barcelona’s collapse that it has to have a second part. From being in a position where winning their matches will take them top of the table to picking just two points out of a possible 15. In a title run-in, they lost at home against Granada and Celta Vigo. Who does that? Well, Bottlelona.

They shift attention to begging Messi next

They go into a summer where they start going on their knees to beg Messi to stay, as usual. At this rate, there is no time Nou Camp won’t turn to Redemption Camp, where they will have to gather to intercede on behalf of the club.

Funny enough, they gave Luis Suarez to Atletico Madrid. The rejected stone is on the verge of winning La Liga. He has added bite to the Atletico Madrid attack. Both in the boardroom and other pitch, Barcelona are in the mud. Remember they also sacked a manager that was winning and employed one that is trying to learn how to win

We should have seen the signs when Barcelona were were well beaten by Pirlo’s Juventus, who have literally been Old Ladies this season.

Mane’s Klopp snub

So some days back, images of Sadio Mane refusing a handshake from his manager Jurgen Klopp surfaced after a match. My take on it is, Mane was definitely not angry for starting the match on the bench. I don’t want to believe so. First, the manager can decide to put any player on the bench. Secondly, Mane has been poor enough this season to be left out of the squad some times. His once energetic performances seems to be rescinding like his hairline.

Klopp has tried clearing the air

The only reason I can think of for Mane’s behavior is that, he must have spotted Klopp at some point doing the Joachim Low. In case you don’t know the Joachim Low, the best I can do to help is you is ‘ball-sniffing’.

The Harry Kane team

After years of scoring goals and winning 0 golden and silver trophy, Harry Kane has told Tottenham he wants to leave. The question now is, to where? For a player that signed a six-year deal some years back, he must have believed in the Spurs project. With reports suggesting he wants to stay in England, Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City might be the realistic options. Looking at the options, maybe Kane should have just said he wants to join Manchester City. Definitely more money and a better chance to win trophies.

Where does that leave Spurs? When Harry Kane leaves the Harry Kane team.

On that note, I return my golden pen to wherever I took it from. Let me go and continue wandering the streets. Don’t follow me, I am not on social media but you can follow Goaldball @goaldbal on Twitter. Till next time, keep you lunacy intact.

Team Of The Week: Hat-trick Heroes, Leicester Heroes and Others

After another weekend of interesting football, we present our latest edition of the Team Of The Week. Leicester City are well represented after winning their first FA Cup.

Goalkeeper: Alisson Becker (Liverpool)

The Liverpool goalie edges other top performing goalkeepers for his goal scoring performance. Alisson made impact at the other end of his goal by scoring the winning goal against West Brom.

Right-back: Juan Cuadrado (Juventus)

The Colombian scored two goals to help Juventus in their bid to escape showcasing their black and white jersey in the Europa League next season.

Left-back: Raphael Guerrero (Borussia Dortmund)

The Portuguese leftback has been very important for Borussia Dortmund. He scored one of the goals as Borussia Dortmund won away at Mainz to bolster their push for a Champions League place.

Center-back: Nacho (Real Madrid)

Real Madrid’s Mr Reliable scored the goal that has kept Les Merengues in the title race, going into the last matchday in La Liga.

Center-back: Caglar Soyuncu (Leicester)

The Turk helped Leicester City win the FA Cup with a man of the match performance. Soyuncu helped Leicester stop Chelsea from scoring, the bedrock of their win against the Blues.

Central-midfield: Lucas Paqueta (Lyon)

Paqueta barely put a foot wrong in a man of the match performance against Nimes. He scored two goals and had an assist in the 5-2 win.

Central-midfield: Youri Tielemans (Leicester)

The Belgian grabbed the headlines by scoring the all-important goal that gave Leicester their FA Cup win. In addition to the goal, Tielemans put in a battling display in midfield.

Tielemans got his name into Leicester folklores

Central-midfield: Carlos Soler (Valencia)

The midfielder scored two goals and an assist in Valencia’s impressive 4-1 win against Eibar. The win took the Los Murcielagos clear of relegation worries.

Forward: Ferran Torres (Manchester City)

The Spaniard scored an impressive hattrick as Manchester City celebrated their title win with a 4-3 win against Newcastle on Friday night.

Forward: Carlos Bacca (Villarreal)

The Colombian forward rolled back the years with a hattrick in Villareal’s impressive 4-0 win against Sevilla. The win bolstered the Yellow Submarines chances to finish in Europa League places.

Foreward: Arkadiusz Milik (Marseille)

A Polish striker that is not Robert Lewandowski leads the line for our team this week. Former Napoli striker Milik scored a hattrick as Marseille saw off Angers at the Stade Velodrome. The win ensures Marseille are close to getting an Europa League spot.

Manager: Brendan Rodgers (Leicester)

After leading Leicester to their first FA Cup success and also winning his first silverware as manager in England, the Northern Irishman is our manager of the week.

Substitutes: K. Schmeichel (Leicester), K. Trippier (Atl Madrid), Marquinhos (PSG), P. Hoejbjerg (Tottenham), G. Guedes (Valencia), R. Kolo Muani (Nantes), S. Mina (Celta Vigo)

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