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.

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.

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 destroyed Real Madrid in 11 Pictures

When Real Madrid saw Chelsea as their next opponents

These ones are a walkway to the final

Madrid, when Chelsea said they could pull off an upset

No be your type, one Champions League winner

Tuchel preparing Chelsea for the tie like

Na die there, I will show them no be only bald people sabi

How Madrid saw Chelsea at the beginning of the tie

We should enjoy these nights, where should we start from?

When Chelsea scored first

What’s going on?

Madrid when they equalised

Una go hear am today

Madrid to Chelsea at the end of the first leg

Una don die for una house, we just played with you here

Madrid going into the second leg

Hazard, Ramos, Mendy are back, we are here to destroy Stamford bridge

Hazard, when Zidane told him he is looking to forward to see him help knock Chelsea out

You don’t mean it

Hazard in the match

It is a win-win

Real Madrid at the end of the tie

Thoughts of a Lunatic: ‘Whooligans’ United, El Cashico and Other Talking Points

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.

Whooligans United

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?

Glazers out?

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.

El Cashico

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.

Neymar was in his own circus, joking

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.

Bottlelona FC

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.

Having Ronaldo is not enough

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.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

A Nigerian Forward, Hattrick Heroes, A Former Man. United Player And Others In Our Team Of The Week

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)

Goaldball full team of the week

What is your opinion on our selections? Let us hear from you. Follow us on Twitter @goaldball

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Good Father Mourinho, Captain Musa and Other Talking Points

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.

Grey hair, same old Mourinho

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.

It has been turpsy-turvy for Mourinho at Spurs

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.

Captain Musa

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.

That’s the way to CHAN

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.

Will Allardyce laugh last?

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

Manchester United, Leeds Players Star In Our Team of the Week, Including An African Hattrick Hero

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.

Center-forward – Edinson Cavani (Manchester United)

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

Thought of a Lunatic: Arsenal in their Tent, Farmer’s League Revolt and Other Talking Points

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.

The most consisTENTH team in the Premier League

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.

PSG have been better in the Champions League

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.

Atletico Bottlers

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.

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Thoughts of a Lunatic: The Ex One, Blood on Lampard’s Hands and Other Talking Points

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.

Once a special one

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.

Chelsea could barely defend under Lampard

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.

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