Lunatic things happening in football lately, like some ‘whooligans’ preventing a match from going on to Juventus failing to win the Serie A.
Idiotism is not synonymous to drinking a bottle of Elliot alone, drinking a cup of zobo is enough to make some Desmond, Garuba and Dino think they own a multi million dollars project, even when their landlord must not know their whereabouts. Bringing us to some of the matters the Lunatic wants to talk about today.
Till now, I don’t really know why some people disrupted the Manchester United vs Liverpool match from going on. I have heard all sorts. From, Adidas making a zebra design jersey, to too much red pigment in the home jersey, to David Beckham joining Real Madrid bla bla bla. Maybe I do not really have a head for the economic side of football but who dictates to a business owner how to run his business? Who really owns most of these clubs? The highest share owner who invested his money in the business or the man who loves the club and buys some Aba-made merchandises?
I really do not get the protest against the Glazers. Manchester United have the most expensive defender and midfielder in the Premier League. They spend money to buy players and manage the club resources, which is what fans (including Arsenal fans) expect of their owners. The protest by the whooligans appears more like an attempt to postpone Manchester City’s league-title party. Manchester City will win the league, Manchester United are simply accompanying them to the title like they did in 2018. City are in the final of the Champions League while United are on the brink of the Europa League final. United are wishing they are City right now. The noise is coming from the red side these days.
Manchester City are in the final of the Champions League because Neymar is still alive. Neymar was so bent on being the star of the day while his teammates tried to overturn the first leg deficit against City that he ran about like an headless chicken. The Citizens won because they were the better team (emphasis on team), not because the referee told Paredes and Herrera to f*ck off. In truth, the referee could have called some of the PSG players pussy (as in, pussy cat) because they behaved like one. I can’t totally blame them, I am also a proponent of ‘when you lose the match, don’t lose the fight’. However, I hope the referee was able to get Fernandinho’s shirt and autograph after the match, the only thing Fernandinho had to do to get a yellow card was to headbutt Neymar for being an annoying compatriot but he didn’t.
Congratulations to City, billions of dollars after, they are in the Champions League final. One must also salute the genius of Guardiola for taking an expensive assemblage of players to the final. Afterall, it is not necessarily the richest kid that has all the books and facilities that comes first in class. Chelsea or Real Madrid awaits them in the final. We dey here.
Beat Granada at home and go top of the table, Barcelona did not draw, they lost. Bottling is becoming very synonymous with Barcelona. Remember Rome, remember Anfield, I mean they allowed Divock Origi have the best night of his life. If he will ever have such a night again, it will never be on a football pitch, it will be on the bed.
The title race in La Liga is still a three-horse or a two-horse and a Chihuahua race. Barcelona must prove they are not the Chihuahua by winning what looks like a play-off against Atletico Madrid next weekend. They seems to have mastered the art of bottling better than a certain club in North London.
Juve and Pirlo
Juve and Pirlo sounds like Duvet and Pillow. A perfect match on a cold morning but this Juve and Pirlo do not look like a perfect match.
Apart from being a lookalike of the pictorial representation of Jesus, the only reason Juventus must have hired Pirlo as coach is because he is Andrea Pirlo. I mean, it is not like he did apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola, like someone else we know. Juventus must have felt being a good passer of the ball is synonymous to passing tactical information.
Well, when you have done something consecutively for nine years, there is everything tendency to get bored and want to do something else. I mean from winning the title to contesting for top four trophy, variety is the spice of life. Anyway, congratulations to Inter Milan.
Jose Mourinho finds himself in Rome. When you are in Rome, act like a Roman but trust Mourinho won’t. The same way he acted like a Mancunian while he was in North London, expect no difference.
I always said Sam Allardyce’s jazz was going to fail this time. It is looking like I am a prophet? No. It is simple, everyday no be Christmas. Every lunatic knows that. It is high time clubs stop that sh*t of going into the season with flamboyant coaches only to sack them for Allardyce to try escape relegation. Appoint Allardyce from the beginning if you trust him to do the job.
I am tired of writing, I have to go face other hustles. If you see a guy talking to himself on your street, that’s me, holler, I won’t bite you.
It was a weekend where it was difficult to select from a number of forwards that had stellar performances. It was also a week were some teams upset the odds in impressive fashions in their bids to beat the drop. From the best of the best from the top five leagues, here is our selected XI and the substitutes.
Goalkeeper – Martin Dubravka (Newcastle)
The goalie kept Newcastle in the game with eight saves. The bedrock of the Geordies eventually leaving Anfield with a point.
Rightback – Benno Shmitz (Cologne)
Cologne gave their survival bid a boost with a 3-2 win at Augsburg. Shmitz was instrumental to the win, with an assist for one of the goals.
Leftback – Matto Darmian (Inter Milan)
The former Manchester United fullback scored the only goal in Inter’s win against Hellas Verona. The win takes Inter closer to their first Serie A title since 2010.
Centreback – Gerzino Nyamsi (Rennes)
The Frenchman scored one of the goals in Rennes commanding 5-1 win against Dijon.
Center-back – Aymeric Laporte (Manchester City)
Another Frenchman partners Nyamsi in defence. Laporte scored the only goal as Pep Guardiola’s men won their fourth consecutive League Cup. Sturdy in defence, he was able to head in the only goal at the other end.
Center-midfield – Kavin Phillips (Leeds United)
The English midfielder was massive in midfield, sniffing out the danger posed by Bruno Fernandes as Leeds held Manchester United to a goalless match at Old Trafford. Manchester United had to go recover Fernandes from his pocket after the match.
Center-midfield – Ashley Westwood (Burnley)
Westwood pulled the strings in midfield and also contributed a goal as Burnley annihilated Wolves like they were chickens at the Molineaux. Westwood combined with Wood to do the damage. Luckily for Wolves, Burnley don’t have Eastwood, Southwood and Northwood.
Attacking-midfield – Ruslan Malinovskyi (Atalanta)
Atalanta put five past Bologna at the weekend. Malinovskyi was at the heart of the brilliant attacking play. The Ukrainian had a goal and an assist.
Forward – Terem Moffi (Lorient)
Moffi continues to show Gernot Rohr he deserves a place in the Super Eagles with a hattrick in Lorient’s 4-1 win against Bordeaux. He has now scored 14 goals in Ligue 1 this season.
Forward – Chris Wood (Burnley)
Wood smashed Wolves into smithereens, they thought they were hit by an iron. The New Zealand forward scored a hattrick in Burnley’s 4-0 win away at Wolves.
Forward – Joel Pohjanpola (Union Berlin)
Pohjanpalo scored a hattrick as Union Berlin smashed Werder Bremen 3-1 at the weekend. The Finnish forward, on loan from Bayer Leverkusen scored all his goals in the second half.
Manager – Bo Svensson (Mainz)
A performance that restricted Bayern Munich with Robert Lewandowski to just one goal in the dying minutes of the match. Mainz’s Bo Svensson is our manager of the week.
Substitutes: A.Lafont (Nantes), I.Martinez (Athletic Bilbao), R.Bensebaini (B Mochengladbach), R.De Paul (Udinese), F.De Jong (Barcelona), J.Correa (Lazio), B.Yilmaz(Lille)
What is your opinion on our selections? Let us hear from you. Follow us on Twitter @goaldball
PSG knocking Bayern Munich out of this year’s UEFA Champions League butreses the point that what Zinedine Zidane achieved with Real Madrid in the competition between 2016 and 2018 is unreal. I can’t associate managerial wizardry to a particular type of hairline. However, It is funny that for all of Zidane’s achievement, he is not considered as a tactical genius while the other guy with his type of hairline is regarded as one. After another win in El Clasico, Zidane could be on his way to back-to-back La Liga titles with a ‘Ronaldo-less’ and ‘crocked- Hazard’ team. Talking about managers and hair, maybe grey hair does not necessarily translate to wisdom (especially those tinted ones), as posited in this clime. We saw two managers with grey hairs drag each other at the weekend, taking me to the Mourinho Derby.
Good Father Mourinho
You know, especially as a kid, when you have bottled anger and someone mistakenly touches you, you explode. For Jose Mourinho, there will always be something to talk about when things are not going his way. He starts reminding everyone of how he invented football, won all the trophies at a swoop while controlling the players with a pad from the comfort of his sitting room. He reminds us of what he has won in the past. How does that change the fact that they have increased the price of a bottle of beer at my favorite joint, it’s paining me sha. Hello Mr Mourinho, that does not take away the fact that you are not meeting expectations at your present club, like in your last two jobs.
In response to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s jibe at Son Heung Min acting to get a Manchester United goal chalked off, Mourinho insinuated that Solskjaer is a bad father, which we don’t know. Many fathers won’t be good fathers in Mourinho’s books then, especially father’s from this clime. Apart from going to bed hungry for some misdemeanor, you also get some lashes. Many people from my climes will have telling tales but dare not tag their fathers bad.
Anyways, the issue is not about fatherhood. That’s what Mourinho does, he takes attention from the matter. The matter is that Tottenham have lost ten league matches this season, the highest in Mourinho’s career. He can’t start saying this players are not good, he once said they had better players than Manchester United. Make Mourinho no turn am to family matter, man should fix his rot.
A man that disrespected his elders does not even have the moral rights of talking about respect.
Good father Mourinho, face the job.
So Ahmed Musa is returning to play for Kano Pillars ten years after initially leaving for Europe, while Musa and I hope this will only be a temporary arrangement, at least for now. I can’t help but try to analyze the stage of Musa’s career.
Musa is 28. At 28, a player should be at the peak of his career. A decline is expected at the other side of 30, then the twilight. We have seen players return to play for their boyhood clubs at the twilight of their careers or return to their local leagues, it is nothing new. But it is not when they supposed to be at their peak, especially when they have not been blighted by injuries. Is Musa at the twilight of his career? Elder Arjen Robben recently returned to play for Groningen at 36. Even the likes of Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and some others are playing well in their thirties like they are still ‘peaking’. Maybe those ones are exceptions but a player should not be at twilight at 28. I am not insinuating anything. Decipher what you want.
It is of more concern because Musa is the captain of the Super Eagles and expected to still be part of the team. Should a 28-year-old at his twilight be captaining the Super Eagles when there are many young players doing well?
So, since Gernot Rohr suggested that home based players should concentrate on doing well at the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – specifically for home-based players, Musa should also play for the CHAN team.
I have not forgotten that I said Sam Allardyce’s ‘jazz’ will fail this time at West Brom. After back-to-back wins, 8 goals scored in two matches and moving to within eight points from safety, could the big Sam perform another miracle? I still believe he won’t do it. It is easier for one Dollar to exchange for a hundred Naira than for West Brom to beat the drop this season.
I am tired of writing. There are many other hustles to do. Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal
Many of the top matches lived up to their pre-match analysis at the weekend. The ‘Mourinho Derby’ and the ‘El Clasico were not devoid of drama. Some teams did their push for survival a whole world of good. Some of the players came to the party, we have made a selection of the best players across the top leagues, plus seven substitutes and a manager.
Goalkeeper- Ilian Meslier (Leeds United)
The young French goalkeeper was one of the heroes as 10-man Leeds United defeated leaders Manchester City 2-1. He made six saves to help the cause.
Rightback – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)
Despite questions about his defensive abilities, Trent served the attribute that has endeared him to football fans once again – impact in the attacking phase. Trent scored the winner as Liverpool saw off stubborn Aston Villa 2-1. Thankfully, he was not playing against Vinicius ‘Akpororo’.
Leftback – Quini (Granada)
Quinni did not play left-out, the leftback helped Granada come from behind to win at Valladolid with a goal in the 2-1 win.
Center-back – Kurt Zouma (Chelsea)
The French defender was a rock in defence like Zuma rock as Chelsea won comfortably at Selhurst Park against Crystal Palace. Zouma contributed a goal in the 4-1 win.
Center-back – Martin Erlic (Spezia)
Not always will you see a center-back with a goal and an assist that helps his side turn defeat to victory. That was what Martin Erlic did in Spezia’s 3-2 win against Crotone.
Midfielder – Paul Pogba (Manchester United)
Salon D’Or star Paul Pogba turned up with a performance, this time on a football pitch. He was instrumental as Manchester United came from behind to earn a win that has brought out the ramblings from Jose Mourinho.
Midfielder – Toni Kroos (Real Madrid)
The German midfielder set Madrid on their way to an El Clasico win with a free kick goal that took Zidane’s men two up. He gave another composed midfield performance young midfielders will be envious of.
Attacking Midfielder – Stuart Dallas (Leeds United)
The Northern Irishman was the hero for Marcelo Bielsa’s men with two goals that downed Pep’s men at the Etihad.
Wing-forward – Jesse Lingard (West Ham)
‘J Lingz’ is discovering his inner CR7 at West Ham. The goals, the performances and dances are back. He scored another two at the weekend to help West Ham to a 3-2 win against Leicester City.
Wing-forward – Wahbi Khazri (St. Etienne)
Former Sunderland forward Wahbi Khazri went home with the match ball as St Etienne defeated Bordeaux 4-1. The Tunisian helped St Etienne go nine points above the relegation zone.
The Uruguayan was a menace as Manchester United ran riot at the New White Hart Lane. He scored a goal and saw another controversially chalked off as he turned back the years with a class center-forward performance.
Manager – Marcelo Bielsa (Leeds)
El Loco delivered a managerial masterclass as Leeds recorded a 2-1 win against Manchester City, despite playing with ten men for a long spell away from home. Pep must have taken lots of notes from this one.
Drop your comments and contributions. Which of our choices do you disagree with? Follow us on Twitter: @goaldbal
The final bend of the season is here. No more international breaks this season. It is sprint to finish from now. The race is most likely for the swiftest. While some are staying permanently in their new found ‘tent’, some are grasping with trying to return to the top or Continental positions. Some are trying to swim out of the murky waters of relegation.
The Lunatic took some lessons from the world of football last weekend and here are his thoughts.
Arsenal’s Permanent Tent
Arsenal and their Youth Corper coach seems to have found home in tenth. They used to complain about going ‘forth’, so they have found a permanent ‘tent’. At a point under Arsene Wenger, finishing fourth was the standard till they started falling below. With Arsenal in it, it used to be a top-four in the Premier League. When Arsenal and Liverpool fell off, it was expanded to top six. If Arsenal are thinking it will be further expanded to top ten, they better wake up.
They have consistently held on to tenth this season. When it seems they have started to crawl up the table, they always find a way back to their tent. Against Liverpool last weekend, it was men against toddlers. With their Travis Scott captain, they were completely played out of the park.
The bad news for the Gunners with their empty riffles is they may miss out on Europe entirely next season except they win the Europa League. Let’s start welcoming Arsenal to the midtable club.
Pochettino in the farmer’s league
PSG winning the Ligue One is a giving or supposed to be. The ‘havesters’ have always been head and shoulders above the others in the farmer’s league. But it seems the farmers have revolted against the havesters this season. PSG also have a manager that is not used to harvesting and it seems the farmers have noticed it.
While PSG have made some headway in the Champions League, their poor performance in the Ligue One was highlighted by another home defeat against a top side. They had a chance of going top but blew it at home defeat against Lille. They have now lost five times at home this season. As usual, the returning Neymar gets so competitive in this sort of matches that he gets sent off. Just like he got sent off against Marseille earlier in the season, he got another red card against Lille. Anything to show he is committed to the cause.
At the other place where Pochettino left in England, chaos is brewing. Jose Mourinho as usual throws his players under the bus in public. Questioned about his team conceding a late goal, something not always attributed to a Mourinho team in the past. ‘Same coach, different players’ he said. Maybe a coach is as good as his players after all. No coach be genius.
Talking about ‘monkey no get skills, na tree near tree’. Atletico Madrid are close to completing a bottling, even Arsenal will be envious of. At the beginning of the year, Atletico Madrid were 10 points away, with a game in hand. With both Barcelona and Real Madrid struggling, it looked like Atletico Madrid winning their second league title under Diego Simeone was a giving.
Barcelona and Real Madrid are back in form and are breathing down Atletico’s neck. They are both one and three points away from Atletico respectively.
In addition to their tepid display against Chelsea in the Champions League. Someone’s sit should start becoming hot. Passion is not enough for the world’s most expensive manager anymore. He must earn his money by ensuring Atletico see this through.
The Lunatic will rest his pen here. Enjoy the midweek Champions League and Europa League matches. Someone said Chelsea were in good form till a President went to London and they got hit for five at home against West Brom. Porto are waiting.
In the world of football these days, be careful of what you say or do because what you say or do shall be used to drag you in the court of banter.
The UEFA Champions League and Europa League quarterfinal draws must have been made while you are reading this. We already know those that were booted out. Some GOATs were pulled out with their horns, no one confused their bleatings for the roaring of lions. One of the GOATs even promised to deliver a Champions League trophy, just as a Nigerian musician promised to deliver the Grammy. To be nice to him, he was one of those that inspired those that have finally delivered it. Back to the GOAT, the matter is about even keeping him in his barn right now before there can be talks of delivering another Champions League trophy.
The Ex One
Jose Mourinho has had many monikers in his managerial career. The first and the most popular one being The Special One. He was indeed special, he delivered trophies wherever he went to. The name Mourinho became synonymous with success. He called fellow managers names and dragged many of them in the mud.
On joining Tottenham, he gave himself a new moniker – the Experienced One. According to him, he had seen it all. The highs and the lows, getting fired and getting hired. After the disapointment of Manchester United, he appears to have seen it all, there is barely any top club that will want to take the risk on Mourinho any longer. He however made a mistake, the moniker should start with ‘Ex’ but should be the Expired One. Taking over at Tottenham was seen as a sign of his fallen stocks and it wouldn’t have gotten worse than losing a 2-0 first leg lead against Dynamo Zagreb. By the way, Dynamo Zagreb’s manager left his post on the eve of the second leg as he is set to go to jail. This is win should have been his get out of jail card but his imprisonment has nothing to do with football.
Blood on Lampard’s Hands
Since Thomas Tuchel took over at Chelsea, there has been a complete turn around from the Frank Lampard years. Chelsea seems to be enjoying more than a new managers bounce under Tuchel. They have not lost in 13 and have kept 11 clean sheets in that time. Chelsea and clean sheets were hardly in the same sentence during Lampard’s reign. They drank goals like 33 Lager beer. Though Kepa ‘Aribisagba’ had his own shortcomings, he was largely a scapegoat of a poor system. The team looks very solid under Tuchel, with the same set of players.
Many of the players looked bad bar Lampard’s beloved son – Mason Mount. Lampard has blood on his hands for how bad he made Chelsea look.
It is not absolute fun saying positives about Chelsea or anyone as far as the Lunatic is concerned. I hope Roman Abramovich feels bored very soon, sacks Tuchel and brings in maybe Didier Drogba, so we have more fun things to say.
In other matters. So Arsenal does a clear out that involves Sokratis Papastho… whatever. He plays against Arsenal with Olympiakos Piraeus at the Emirates stadium and he leaves with a clean sheet. Luckily for Arsenal, they had done the job in the first leg. And also luckily for them, they won’t be playing against Schalke 04 anytime soon.
That’s all that came to the mind of the Lunatic today. See you some other time.
The various top European Leagues are gradually reaching the business end. Some titles already won and some relegation cards already signed, ready to be delivered. Some European places dreams are also becoming mirages. In England, Harry and Meghan can not take the shine from VAR.
There is also the matter of national teams gathering at the end of the month for various qualifiers. In Nigeria, Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles list has come with its usual controversies and talking points.
How Liverpool’s home ground – Anfield went from being a fortress to a forest has to be studied in the university. After going for three years without a defeat at home, a record 64 matches. They have started another record with six straight defeats and still counting at home afterwards. In that time, they have scored just one goal at Anfield, albeit from the penalty spot. Anfield has gone from a Lion’s den to becoming a poultry where teams just go to slaughter chickens for dinner. Rather than opponents failing to come out alive, they come out alive with goodies. Sadio Mane and Mohammed Salah have gone from destroyers to destroyed. Thiago Alcantara was supposed to improve the team in midfield but the only positive stats he has are his number of thumbs up. In his short time in England, he has given more thumbs up than any player in the Premier League history, something in the region of hundred thousand or thereabout. Liverpool are blessed with the presence of ‘thumbs-up Xavi’. More bookings than goals and assists.
Jurgen Klopp should find a solution as Liverpool have gone from title contenders to European places contenders, before they slip into relegation contenders.
After all said, Klopp and his Liverpool team have delivered the once elusive Premier League title, the first in 30 years. Maybe Liverpudians will have to wait another thirty years for another triumph.
Musa still at gate
Wetin Musa no dey see for gate? Ahmed Musa has been in the Super Eagles for so long that he has seen it all. But even Musa has hardly seen a clubless player invited to the Super Eagles. The last time Musa kicked a ball in anger was in October 2020 but he still gets an invitation to the Super Eagles, ahead of active players.
Rohr could as well invite the likes of Daniel Amokachi, Kanu Nwankwo and the others since it is for experience, as some have posited. What if Musa is injured? He will still be in the team on crutches, since Musa must be at the gate to see it all.
Musa must be at the gate to also make sure COVID-19 protocols will be observed when the Super Eagles play in Lagos. There is a lot Musa does in the team than can be explained.
In a team, just as you have playing footballers, you also have non-playing footballers. People should understand these things.
Ole Stealing The Show and The Points
Manchester United dilemma continues. They don’t look like they will really challenge for the title anytime soon but there is a new knack for stealing the show.
With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in charge, the Red Devils have produced some very impressive results that ends up leading nowhere. Solskjaer has a good record against Pep Guardiola and he continued that at the weekend. Manchester City were on a winning run of 20 matches but Ole struck again. Dem no reach 21. That is an achievement.
Well, it is part of keeping the tradition of the Red Devils as ‘kill-joys’. Arsenal were on a 49-match unbeaten run back in 2005, Manchester United stopped them from reaching 50 by returning them to factory settings. Even if Ole has not delivered titles, he is bringing back the tradition.
It seems Manchester United fans must get used to celebrating these wins as they seems like the one thing Ole will always deliver.
Ronaldo in Black and White
Cristiano Ronaldo’s time in Juventus so far has been black and white. Of what use is Ronaldo at Juventus if they won’t win the Champions League?
Ronaldo is still delivering the goals and has an impressive goals record in Turin but Juventus have failed to make it beyond the Quarter-finals of the Champions League since he joined. Of what use are the goals? They are on the verge of losing the league title, which was like their birth right.
It is looking like, when he is done in Juventus, he will have an impressive goals record to show but little in terms of silverware, meaning Juventus will have nothing to show for signing Ronaldo. While you can not blame Ronaldo, the recent defeat against Porto was the type he used to ‘single-handedly’ decide. Anyways, he is in good company with the likes of Gianluggi Buffon, Giorgio Chiellini in a group of pensioners enjoying their benefits.
The UEFA Champions League returned during the week and it is safe and cliche to say, it returned with a bang. Goals were scored, there were interesting results as there were shockers. However, the biggest talking point was the emergence of a new order or a change of guard as the case may be. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the biggest individual awards in football for over a decade and it is not unconnected to their heroics in the Champions League. Nights of saving their teams from the brink of defeats, nights of scoring jaw-dropping goals and doing insane numbers. However, during the week Ronaldo’s Juventus and Messi’s Barcelona suffered defeats, none of them could save their teams from the jaw of defeats. Instead, young Kylian Mbappe put Barcelona to the sword with a magnificent hattrick. The following day, Erling Haaland scored two and provided one as Borussia Dortmund won away at Sevilla. It has led to questions, are Mbappe and Haaland the next big things in football?
Presently, Mbappe and Haaland are doing insane numbers in the Champions League and in football generally. Both seems to be direct, effective and devastating just like prime Ronaldo and Messi. Haaland has eight goals in just five Champions League matches this season and 25 goals in 24 matches in all. Mbappe has scored five in six Champions League matches and 21 in 29 in all.
It is interesting to note that there is already some form of challenge. After Mbappe’s heroics on Tuesday, Haaland said he was inspired by the performance to also come up good the next day – Wednesday.
“I saw Mbappe yesterday and he scored some nice goals and I got a free boost from him! So yeah, it was nice.” Haaland said.
It is reminiscent of how Messi did something today and Ronaldo is expected to respond the next day or vice versa and most times, they don’t fail to disappoint.
Comparing the two, Mbappe has been around for longer and achieved more than his Norwegian rival. Mbappe is already a World Cup winner. At 20, he was the best young player at the 2018 World Cup as Les Bleus won their second world title. Apart from winning numerous Ligue 1 titles with PSG, as expected, he was pivotal as a young Monaco side upset the odds to win the Ligue 1 in 2017. All Haaland has to show are league titles with RB Salzburg in Austria. In terms of honours, Mbappe is still way ahead of Haaland.
The Messi vs Ronaldo narrative took an interesting turn when Ronaldo moved to Real Madrid. It meant they both played for arguably the biggest clubs in the world – Barcelona and Real Madrid. The competition became more fierce and the comparisons more direct. With Mbappe and Haaland right now, it appears they have to make the big moves to really bring the competition to the fore and to also better their lots in terms of team accolades. Mbappe is with arguably one of the biggest clubs in the world presently but winning Ligue 1 titles won’t put him in the big league, he has to make a move to the bigger clubs in the biggest leagues. For Haaland, making a move is a no-brainer, Dortmund is at best a stepping stone to greater things. Their next moves will determine how big their competition will be and how big they will be as footballers.
In terms of their styles, Mbappe looks like the all-rounder. Most times playing on the flanks, off a center-forward. His pace is probably his biggest weapon but he also packs a bag of tricks and a devastating goalscoring ability. He looks like he will end up as a center-forward – a poacher in the mould of Ronaldo de Lima. Haaland is a fast center-forward with good aerial prowess and surprisingly quick feet, he is also a devastating finisher. Both guys look like they still have so much off their sleeves in terms of scoring goals, the numbers – goals will be very pivotal to the comparison or rivalry going forward.
There are also some youngsters showing signs they could become very big. It may not be limited to this two. The likes of Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, Frenkie De Jong etc. could also be or part of the next big things.
Regardless of how the competition goes, one or both of them is expected to win the Ballon D’Or and FIFA the Best titles. With both Ronaldo and Messi aging and gradually approaching the swansong of their careers, it is good for the game of football and the narratives that a new rivalry seems to be building – Mbappe vs Haaland.
Champions League and Europa League returned in midweek and it was goals galore. Lots of punters were able to make some money with the goals games, bar those that a team like Leicester did strong thing.
We have a weekend of derbies and some interesting plots ahead of us.
Going into the weekend, an experienced punter will know that the midweek continental matches, the ones played and the ones on the horizon, most times have impacts on the outcomes of league matches. So, before you fly your collars to go and stake your money again this weekend, watch carefully and follow some of our tips to avoid another heartbreak, some people are yet to recover from Valentine’s day heartbreak. We have made our picks of matches we believe will be Bankers, the Banana peels you should avoid and the Boald Code you should attempt only if you are bold.
Liverpool host Everton in the Merseyside Derby. Liverpool have been in poor form in the league, losing their last three. Everton have also not enjoyed some good form of late, following up a home defeat against Fulham with a defeat against Manchester City in midweek. However, we believe Liverpool will win this, they have enough in their arsenal to trouble Everton. Around 1.5 odd for a Liverpool win is a good one. With both sides leaky defence, over 2.5 might also not be bad.
West Ham vs Tottenham should produce goals. Both teams should want to attack. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.3.
Manchester United host Newcastle. Off the back of trashing Real Sociedad in the Europa league, Manchester United should do enough to win against a Newcastle side that are without topscorer Callum Wilson. It comes at around 1.4.
In the Championship, table toppers Norwich should consolidate their position with a home win against Rotherham. It comes at around 1.5. Norwich have won their last two matches, Rotherham have lost their last two.
Atletico Madrid dropped points in their rescheduled match against Levante in midweek. They have a chance for quick amends on Saturday against the same opponents. An Atletico win comes at around 1.6.
PSG host Monaco at the Parc De Princes on Sunday, basking in the euphoria of their win away at Barcelona. They should get a win against Monaco, it comes at around 1.6. An over 2.5 may also be a safe bet.
Sporting Lisbon are the form team in the Portuguese league, they have won their last five and are top of the table. They host 12th placed Portimonense on Saturday, a Sporting Lisbon win is valued at around 1.4.
If you are bold and you know you are, go for an Inter Milan win away at AC Milan. Firstly, they play on the same ground, there is technically no home and away side. AC Milan won the first leg as the away team but things have changed since then. Inter Milan are now top, one point ahead of AC Milan. Inter Milan have won their last three, AC Milan lost their last match. Inter Milan have no Continental matches to worry about. With these few points, I hope I have been able to convince you that Inter Milan win at around 2.5 is a Boald call worth risking.
Avoid Atalanta vs Napoli. In the not too distant past, this would have been a classic goals game but both teams have found a way to confuse these days. Napoli won last week, 1-0 against Juventus and followed that with a defeat in the Europa League against Granada. Atalanta ground out a 1-0 win away at Cagliari last week and they have been largely inconsistent. It is a game that could go either ways and fail to produce goals.
You can as well avoid a Manchester City win against Arsenal. When a team has gone on a 16-match winning run, they are due a bad result. With Manchester City 10 points clear and a Champions League match at hand, City may not be at their best.
Those are our picks for the weekend. If you win, don’t forget to pay your tithes here. If you don’t win, hold the players and the club’s responsible.