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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Chelsea FA Cup disapointment in 11 Pictures

Chelsea after they defeated Manchester City in the Semi-finals

God will shame you this year

Chelsea seeing Leicester are their opponents in the final

People wey never win FA Cup before

Nigerians coming out to support Leicester because of Iheanacho and Ndidi

Naija Leicester for life

Nigerian Chelsea fans

We be Chelsea, we no be Nigerians

Chelsea going into the match in their new attire

We are up for the occasion

Leicester waiting for Chelsea in the match

Dem think say na play

Chelsea fans when Chelsea were yet to score

What’s going on here?

Chelsea fans when Leicester went ahead

This is not the script nah

When Chelsea thought they had equalized

God don put enemies to shame

When VAR chalked off Chelsea’s goal

Tears loading

Chelsea fans at full-time

We are in sifia pains

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal Like and Share, don’t leave us heartbroken like Chelsea fans.

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

Three Things To Watch In The Super Eagles Match Against Benin

The Super Eagles of Nigeria are set to do battle against the Squirrels of Benin in their penultimate AFCON 2022 qualifying match. Even though the Eagles went to Benin by water, they are expected to soar in the sky and prey on the squirrels.

The Eagles have been positive in training

It is the Super Eagles first match of 2022 and the first since the abomination that happened against Sierra Leone. The team has a lot of points to prove as qualifying is seen as assured. One point needed in two fixtures against Benin and Lesotho should not require carrying a bowl of sacrifice to the Eagles Square.

As we saw at the last AFCON and even in the first leg, where the Eagles had to dig deep to win, the Squirrels are no easy prey. But they should still be prey to the Eagles, no matter how hard. We look at three things to look out for in the match.

The battle for the right-back slot

Since Ambrose Efe lost his spot in the team, there has hardly been any consistent right-back, despite the plethora of options Gernot Rohr has at his disposal.

Ola Aina has been in good form for Fulham, though sometimes he has played at left-back and other times part of a back three in a 3-at-the-back system. His best performances for the Super Eagles have also come at left-back. Tyrone Ebuehi is in good form at Twente Enschede but has never enjoyed a consistent run in the Super Eagles. Abdullahi Shehu used to be Rohr’s man in this position but seems to have lost his place to more natural right-backs. Chidozie Awaziem excelled in the role at the last AFCON but he his naturally not a right-back. Luckily Kevin Akpoguma is unavailable to add to Rohr’s headache. He was Rohr’s choice in the position in the last two matches but he struggled and it was clear to see, it isn’t his preferred position.

Akpoguma’s unavailability might be a blessing

It will be interesting to see who starts in the position against the Squirrels. Defending well and supporting the attack from the fullback positions will be key to how the Eagles play. Rohr seems to have settled for the in-form Zaidu Sanusi as his first choice left-back, it will be nice to start having some clarity on the opposite flank as well.

Ndidi, Etebo and Aribo in midfield

Rohr’s formation is most times a 4-2-3-1, with two holding midfielders. Wilfred Ndidi and Oghenekaro Etebo are Rohr’s men in this position. The two are always constant when they are fit and available. However, since Joe Aribo burst into the scene with a different style of approach to the aforementioned two, Rohr has never had the three together in the team before.

Aribo may drop out of the Starting XI

With all three available, it will be interesting to see who drops out or if they all start together. Without Ndidi in the last home match against Sierra Leone, the midfield was badly exposed in the second half, leading to the team’s collapse. It seems certain Ndidi will start, to shield the defence. However, Rohr may have to choose between Etebo and Aribo. Etebo will give the team a better defensive balance but Aribo carries more goals threat and contributes more to the attacking forays. It will be interesting to see what Rohr goes for.

Iwobi and Iheanacho combination

Kelechi ‘Senior man’ Iheanacho is in very good form and should be allowed to carry the momentum into this match as it should be beneficial. With Victor Osimhen expected as the lone center-forward, it is likely Rohr decides between Iheanacho and Alex Iwobi to play in the hole behind the striker. Iwobi has been Rohr’s man in this position but hasn’t been consistent at club level.

Iheanacho scored for the Eagles in his last start

However, Rohr can and should consider playing the two of them together. One of the Super Eagles best away matches under Rohr was away at Zambia during the qualifiers for the 2018 World Cup. The Eagles won 2-1 to get that qualifying campaign to a good start. Iheanacho and Iwobi scored on the day. Their combination that day was the bedrock of the Eagles victory. Their movement and passing accuracy was too much for the Zambians to handle. It was Iheanacho in the hole and Iwobi on one of the flanks. With Samuel Kalu out, Rohr can shift Iwobi to the left to accommodate Iheanacho in the middle of a 4-2-3-1 formation. Their movements and passing will be key to unlocking a Benin defence that is expected to sit deep. As we have also seen in recent weeks at Leicester, Iheanacho thrives when he has a striker ahead of him.

Nigerians expect the Super Eagles to secure the AFCON ticket in Benin, anything short of that will raise further questions.

Our projected Starting XI: Okoye: Aina, Troost-Ekong, Balogun, Sanusi – Ndidi, Etebo – Chukwueze, Iheanacho, Iwobi – Osimhen