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.

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

Boald Codes: FA Cup, Copa Del Rey and Other Betting Tips

If you banked on our bankers last week you must have smiled to the bank. We were on point like decimal. That’s how stars do. We go again today, threading with caution as usual.

We have selected our bankers we believe will definitely happen, going by permutations. We have the Banana Peels – the matches you should try to avoid and the Boald Call for the bold to stake on.

BANKERS

In La Liga, Atletico Madrid are due a win, there is no better place to start than a home win against Eibar. Atletico are valued at around 1.5 for a win. Eibar are bottom of the table and have not won any of their last nine matches.

In the Copa Del Rey, Athletic Bilbao take on Barcelona. Bilbao are always tricky opponents. They defeated Barcelona in the Super Cup and lost out narrowly in last year’s final played recently. However, Barcelona should be up for this. They were in good form before losing the El Clasico last week. Barcelona should win this, it comes at around 1.6.

Messi and his teammates should be up for this

Crotone will play Udinese in Serie A. A common feature of Crotone’s matches is goals. They score in abundance and concede in abundance. Over 1.5 comes at around 1.2. You could go for more and do an over 2.5.

Still in Serie A, Lazio are in good form and have won their last four. They take on Benevento, who have just one win in nine – interestingly against Juventus. At around 1.4, Lazio should get a win. They also have a good record against Benevento.

PSG knows a win can take them to the top of Ligue 1, they should win at home against St Etienne, it comes at around 1.3.

Atalanta vs Juventus should produce goals. You can go for over 1.5 or over 2.5, or a BTS, which we are recommending. It comes at around 1.4.

Marseille vs Lorient in Ligue 1 should produce a home side double-chance. Marseille have a better home record, just as Lorient do not have a good away record. Marseille double chance is around 1.2.

BANANA PEELS

Like last week, still avoid Bayern Munich for now. They go away to Wolfsburg with lots of their top players out injured. Wolfsburg are in good form. They have lost just two of their last nine. It will be a tricky one.

Chelsea against Manchester City in the FA Cup is tricky. Chelsea are more solid defensively under Thomas Tuchel and it could be a bedrock for a cup success. A safe bet might be a Manchester City double chance as this match might not produce goals. Stay away, if you can.

Expect a keenly contested tie

BOALD CALL

Norwich are on the verge of gaining promotion back to the Premier League. They have tough opponents in fellow promotion contenders Bournemouth this weekend. Norwich are unbeaten in nine, seven wins in those. In that time, Bournemouth have lost just once, seven wins. With promotion very close, Norwich should be poised for a win. It comes at over 2.0. If you are Boald, go for it.

That’s all for today. We have supplied the assists, the finishing skills is yours.

We will always advise you to bet responsibly. Don’t stake a money that will affect you. We wish you the luck of the green.

Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Pressure Mounts on Lampard, Record Breaker Messi and other Talking Points

This is football! Anything can happen. This is where heroes turn to villains and villains turn to heroes before you say Mesut Ozil. Arsenal finally got the back of Ozil. Frank Lampard is running out of legendary bias at Chelsea, just as Lionel Messi is bent on leaving Barcelona with no records left. On this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic, we take a look at some of these talking points in the ever crazy world of football.

Goner Ozil

Mesut Ozil arrived at Arsenal in 2013 to fan fair but has left like a villain. Arsenal fans are divided, some are happy he is finally gone while some chastise the club for treating him badly. While the Lunatic is not taking sides, who gets badly treated by getting paid £350,000 every week for doing nothing? Who gets paid £350,000 for sitting in the stands with an umbrella protecting his delicate skin from the sunlight? Ozil should swap position with an average Nigerian graduate working in a factory in Nigeria owned by a Lebanese and know what ill treatment is.

Arsenal’s g-boy has gone.

There were some moments of brilliance, some assists and some impressive stats but Ozil at Arsenal did not turn out as expected. While he cannot be said to have been an outright flop, he did not have the desired effect either. Luckily for Arsenal, it is at a point when a certain Emile Smith-Rowe has started doing well in the number ten role, it helped the club take attention away from a ‘chasm’ Ozil’s departure might have created.

Like he said, he is happy to be at Fenerbahçe, maybe there is a little left to see or it is just another payday while engaging fans on Twitter, time will tell.

Messi’s Passion

In the past few months, we are beginning to see the side of Lionel Messi we didn’t see in the past. The Argentine showcased the Keane in him with a punch to the face of an opponent – the first time he gets sent off for Barcelona. It is no news Messi wanted to leave at the summer, Barcelona held on, so Messi can help win matches like the Super Cup final. Lo and behold Barcelona lost to Athletico Bilbao and also lost Messi to a two-match ban.

Messi is still breaking records

It is becoming clear that Messi may not belong to the Nou Camp anymore. At a time it seemed the goals scoring numbers has started getting better and we are not only limited to a Penalnel Messi, the man showed his other side. However, it seems Messi is bent on breaking all records before he leaves.

Pressure Mounts on Lampard

Not even Mason Mount will save Frank Lampard when the hammer falls on him. Mount seems to be Lampard’s greatest achievement as a football manager but if results don’t get better, Mount might be following Lampard back to the Championship soon.

Pressure continues to mount on Lampard.

The results and the performances are getting worse. Supposed title challengers are getting sucked into mid-table after splashing the cash on summer arrivals. Many Chelsea fans have brought out their daggers and are calling for Lampard’s head, they don’t even want to remember that he is a club legend. However, Chelsea fans should look at the positives, they longer concede 3 regularly like they used to do. It has been a while since they were bantered with their jersey. On a more serious note, Manchester United fans used to shout #oleout too before but they are top of the table now (not to say things can’t change again) but it is prove that stories can change very quickly in football.

Chelsea fans are not used to this, they don’t make agitations before their managers get fired, things seemed to have changed. They may be stuck to Lampard as Ugandans are stuck with their president, even invading the Stamford Bridge like the Capitol may not change anything.

That is all I wrote on this edition of Thoughts of a Lunatic, till next time, stay blessed.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Elder Pele, Penalty War and other Talking Points

Happy New Year to all lunatics and everyone else. This is the first Thoughts of a Lunatic for the year, it should be much more civil or maybe.

COVID-19 is threatening to truncate football calendars once again, football is battling hard to stay alive. We should not be having pandemic champions and or tainted achievements back-to-back. In the wake of Leeds United vs Pundit – Karen Carney, another induced break will take something away from achievements. For those that don’t know about Carney vs Leeds gist, you have to read it up somewhere, I don’t tell stories here but I will judge by saying Leeds were completely classless. Away from that I have some other matters to talk about.

Elder Pele

Edson Arantes do Nascimento, also known as Pele is a name that will forever remain indelible in the history of football. Pele is unarguably one of the greatest to ever play the game. But as expected, the throne of the greatest ever has not been surrendered to him. He was in a kind of battle for the GOAT with Diego Maradona till Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo came and started disgracing all known numbers.

Pele is in a battle to keep his records

Pele’s recorded official goals were so much that one thought it will take some robots to break it. There were even arguments that he scored more than the recorded numbers.

Just recently Messi broke his record for goals scored for one club. Santos, the club Pele achieved the feat with, came out to say Pele scored more than they recorded. Recently, Ronaldo also overtook Pele on the number of official goals, Pele’s social media bio was edited to say ‘leading goalscorer of all-time’ with over 1,000 goals.

As it stands, no one is allowed to surpass Elder Pele, his numbers will be adjusted as appropriate when needed. All the goals he scored when playing ‘monkey post’ in Brazil has to be included. Make Baba rest jare. At least his World Cup record is safe.

Kicking the flag

There is an idiom known as ‘kicking the bucket’. Another idiom has just been invented – kicking the flag.

So, let me tell you the meaning of kicking the flag, how it should be used and its origin.

You can your breath after kicking the flag

When a striker is bought for big money and he fails to score goals, he can be said to have kicked the flag. E.g Timo Werner is kicking the flag at Chelsea. The idiom is in honor of Werner who has had more embarrassing misses than goals at Chelsea. Werner has missed when it was easier to score than to miss.

It is however surprising that Lampard prefers a misfiring Werner upfront to an Olivier Giroud. The last time Werner scored was in the first week of November. It appears Chelsea have a German Alvaro Morata on their hands. Even Chelsea have kicked the flag.

Penalty War

A penalty war is brewing in the Premier League. Who gets awarded more penalties? So when a team struggles in a match, could hardly muster shots on target, the coach can come out to talk about the number penalties they get compared to other teams.

Kudos to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, he has gotten Manchester United into title conversations. Jurgen Klopp and his Liverpool side lose at Southampton and Klopp’s excuse was to compare Manchester United penalty numbers, really? Agreed some of the penalty calls may be questionable but hey Mr Klopp, that was not why you lost to Southampton.

Penalty shouts coming out loud

For Manchester United fans, they should be happy they have gotten into title conversations but we all know that they are semi-final champions under Solskjaer. Just yesterday, they lost another semi-final match to Manchester City in the Carabao Cup and will now play the third place match against Brentford. We won’t be surprised when they start battling for third again in the Premier League.

That’s all for today, once again welcome to the new year. Follow Goaldball across social media – goaldball on Facebook and Instagram, and @goaldbal on Twitter. Don’t follow the Lunatic anywhere, who follows a Lunatic by the way?

Thoughts of a Lunatic: Football’s Tom and Jerry and other talking points

The English Premier League has made sure we still have lots of football to watch during the Yuletide. The Nigeria Professional Football League also joined, and La Liga too. Most of the talking points have been from the Premier League, just as COVID-19 is threatening to disturb the season once again, and turn us to Telemundo viewers.

The Lunatic believes you have had a nice Christmas celebration. Even Mohammed Salah and other Muslim footballers were not left out in enjoying the season. The beauty of football, the game that unites all. I am making too much sense today, to my own surprise, I am probably still in holiday mood. Anyways, I saw plenty recently in the world of football, I will share some.

Second season syndrome getting wild

The record for the worst Premier League return stands at 11 points, set by Derby county in a year I can’t remember. Yes, a team played 38 matches and had just 11 points, they didn’t pull out (that didn’t come out right) halfway as is possible in a certain league. Sheffield United are threatening to break that record, they have just two points from 16 matches and have not won a match. At this rate, they will finish with around five points.

For a team that was wilding last season after just gaining promotion, no one would have thought the second season syndrome will hit them this bad. They were on the verge of qualifying for Europe last season and were one of the most organized teams in the league.

Luckily for them, they play in the Premier League. If they were a team in one Plateau in the Nigerian league, they will have no salaries by now. They would have gone from being placed on half salaries, to quarter salaries to no salaries.

As we start our farewell to Sheffield United, we enjoyed their wilding while it lasted.

Football’s Tom and Jerry

An idea for a football comic will be Tom and Jerry, Ronaldo and Messi edition. I can’t say who will be Tom and who will be Jerry. One of football’s greatest rivalry has created lots of funny plots.

Messi and Ronaldo rivalry remains legendary

While they were the main contenders for the major awards, they didn’t use to vote for each other. Messi will rather vote for Ahmed Musa to win the Balon D’Or than vote for Ronaldo. Ronaldo will rather vote for Paul Onuachu than vote for Messi.

Their cat and mouse game has been interesting recently. Messi voted for Ronaldo as second best to win the Balon D’Or in 2019 while Ronaldo didn’t vote for Messi, he voted for the likes of De Jong and De Ligt but Messi won.

In the votes for the 2020 FIFA The Best, Ronaldo decided to reciprocate Messi’s gesture by voting for him in the awards, this time, Messi didn’t vote for Ronaldo. Even though none of them won.

Just recently, Messi hailed Ronaldo as one of the top athletes in the world, just after not voting for him in an awards. The Tom and Jerry game is looking interesting and we are watching.

Diego Costa

Atletico Madrid have released Diego Costa via an official statement. Diego Simeone did not send a text message to Costa that he is no longer needed. That must have made Costa felt better.

The next destination of the fiery Brazilian-Spaniard will be interesting to see. He has had a very interesting career. His first spell at Atletico Madrid was highly successful and he went on to also do exploits at Chelsea till he ‘broke bottle’ at Stamford Bridge and returned Madrid. Now he has been released by Atletico Madrid, his next destination will be interesting to see.

Diego Costa bids farewell to Atletico Madrid

Thanks for staying with Thoughts of a Lunatic in 2020, this is the last edition of the year. Let’s do it bigger and better in 2021, tell someone to tell someone about Goaldball.

Follow us on Twitter @goaldbal

Thoughts of a Lunatic: The Best Joke, Arsenal Relegation Materials and Other Talking Points

Christmas on my mind. Not just Christmas, money for some detty December. Lunatic sef need money, no be only you. As everywhere dey red, Christmas red and the other red, Arsenal players are also making it red. Red everywhere, as bet tickets dey red, na so eye dey red.

In the world of football, so many talking points, especially the ones inspired by lunacy.

Arsenal Relegation Materials

When I spoke about new London derbies involving Arsenal, QPR, Brentford and the likes, some people thought I was taking it too far. But it is becoming clearer that Arsenal’s relegation materials are almost complete.

After losing a relegation six-pointer against Burnley at the weekend, they got even closer to the relegation zone. They have a young manager learning the ropes – relegation material. Their football is cross, cross and cross – relegation materials. Lots of substandard players – relegation materials.

Arsenal players are up for the relegation fight

One has to wonder if the players are mistaking the call to attack more for a call to attack their opponents. First, Nicholas Pepe, who can’t nod a ball, nods an opponent. Granit Xhaka, sees that they were playing well, boom, he grabs a neck. Minutes later Mohammed Elneny carries out his own attack. Wahala for Arsenal.

The Best Joke

Cristiano Ronaldo plus Lionel Messi plus anyone else is The Best Joke. No matter what any player does, FIFA must have Messi and Ronaldo on their podium. There is already a default list that includes Ronaldo and Messi, it is only edited to include a third person. At this rate, FIFA will still mistakenly include Messi and Ronaldo after they have retired.

As we have seen, there is a penchant of one of the duo (Ronaldo and Messi) that won’t win the award not turning up for the gala. If it goes as expected this year, none of them should show up. Though it will be held virtually this year, they can also stay away virtually. If Lewandowski don’t win this year, we should forget about FIFA The Best and turn to Davido The Best.

Bielsa is up for The Best manger of the year

When Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa made the list of the Manager of the Year, eyebrows were raised but to make matters worse he is in the final three. Bielsa is a celebrated manager for his knowledge and approach to the game, that is where it ends. When did winning the Championship become a big deal? Ladan Bosso should be making the list too, since we want to joke.

Neymar’s Prophecy

On the matter of the Champions League and Europa league draws, there is a lot to look forward to in February. Some interesting ties, one of which is Barcelona taking on PSG. Neymar spoke about playing together with Messi, little did we know he was prophesying the tie. We know Neymar’s other talent apart from playing football, acting. Little did we know he also has the gift of prophecy.

Nagelsmann suit will be an highlight

After sending Manchester United packing, RB Leipzig and their young manager come up against another English side – Liverpool. One thing to look forward to will be Julian Nagelsmann’s suit.

Champions League Draws: Who Are The Favorites For The Quarter-finals? 2

In continuation of our Champions League Round of 16 quick preview, we bring you the concluding part.

Porto vs Juventus

Porto were impressive in their group, finishing second to Man. City. They won four, drew one and lost just one against City. There’s Nigerian interest with Zaidu Sanusi playing for FC Porto.

Juventus edged Barcelona to top spot in their group but are yet to hit top gear. Cristiano Ronaldo is yet to set the stage on fire but has a knack of getting into the grove in the knockout rounds. In terms of quality, Juventus looks more equipped but Porto are more recent winners of the tournament, following their 2004 triumph.

Players to watch: Jesus Corona (Porto), Felipe Anderson (Porto), Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus), Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Prediction: This is where we expect our first shocker to come from, Porto to scale through.

Barcelona vs PSG

Another titanic battle in the group. Probably the biggest tie of the round. As stated earlier, Barcelona finished second to Juventus in their group, losing top spot on the last day following their only defeat, at home against the Old Lady. The reward of letting go of top spot is a tie against PSG.

The last time both teams met in the second round of the Champions League, they served us a classic, with Barcelona overturning a 4-0 defeat with a 6-1 win at home. PSG recovered from a defeat against Man. United on the opening day, to finish top of their group.

Barcelona will be looking up to Messi

If he is fit, Neymar will be relishing facing his former team. The Brazilian was pivotal in helping Barcelona turn the tides in 2017, now he is on the other side. Barcelona have not been so convincing this season, with Lionel Messi largely a shadow of his old self. PSG have also not been able to find consistency.

Players to watch: Lionel Messi (Barcelona), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Neymar Jr (PSG), Kylian Mbappe (PSG)

Prediction: PSG to go through

Sevilla vs Dortmund

Another almost balanced tie. If it were the Europa League, we would have easily gone for a Sevilla win.

The Europa League champions qualified quite easily behind Chelsea. They look like a compact side but have struggled for goals.

Dortmund qualified quite easily in a group that had Lazio but have been largely inconsistent, especially in the Bundesliga. They have severed ties with their coach Lucien Favre, they should be a different team by February with Erling Haaland also expected back.

Players to watch: Jesus Navas (Sevilla), Ivan Rakitic (Sevilla), Marco Reus (Dortmund), Erling Haaland (Dortmund)

Prediction: Difficult to call, Dortmund to edge it.

Atalanta vs Real Madrid

This should be a mouth watering tie. Atalanta were impressive as they finished second behind Liverpool, winning all their away matches without conceeding a goal. Gian Gasperini’s men have not been at their attacking best but they seem more pragmatic this term.

Zidane has won the Champions League thrice as a manager

Real Madrid left it late to qualify. They picked just a point from their first two matches and stood the risk of an embarrassing group stage exit. They eventually made it, top of their group. They have not been really impressive but they have the knack of getting the job done when it matters.

Players to watch: Alenjandro Gomes (Atalanta), Mario Pasalic (Atalanta), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Sergio Ramos (Real Madrid)

Prediction: We expect a shocker from here, Atalanta to go through.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: New London Derby, Ole In and Out and other Talking Points

What is the world without football? I wonder how people who don’t like football cope. It has been a week of gbas gbos both on the pitch and off the pitch. I am sure you are enjoying the various drama as I have. There is also a lot to look forward to in midweek football. There may be some premium tears. There is also the little matter of a Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo clash in the Champions League. Some years back, it would have been one to look forward to, but now, it looks more like that Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones choreography dance drama.

New London Derby

Change is the only constant thing in life and variety is the spice of life. Arsenal fans have been used to seeing their team play London derbies against the likes of Chelsea, West Ham, Tottenham etc. in the Premier League. There will be nothing bad if they start playing league Derbies against the likes of QPR, Brentford, Millwall and the likes. Not because these clubs are on the verge of gaining promotion to the Premier League but because Arsenal are closer to going to join them.

Areta his doing his IT at Arsenal

Arsenal’s record this season is there for every Arsene, Pier and Mesut to see. They have lost more than they have won. They have conceded more than they have scored. They have celebrated Ozil Twitter jibed than they have celebrated goals.

In the wake of Jose Mourinho giving Arsenal and Mikel Arteta plaudits after his Tottenham side defeated them, Arsenal fans should be worried. Mourinho does not give you plaudits, except when he doesn’t see you as a rival. Mourinho does not see Arsenal as rivals. New rivals on the horizon for Arsenal while their coach completes his IT.

Ole In and Out

Depending on what RB Leipzig does or doesn’t do against Manchester United this week, Manchester United could join Arsenal on the Thursday train. A qualification that looked all but wrapped after a good start in a group that has PSG could end up with a round-of-32 Thursday night tie in Cyprus or Azerbaijan.

The result will also determine the ole in – ole out music. We are used to hearing Ole in one minute and then Ole out the next. In their last two Premier League matches, it was Ole out at halftime but became Ole in by full-time. It could be ole ole ole… the song of the fans or ole! ole! ole!… the song of the market for a thief.

Pogba is said to be unhappy at Manchester United

Still on Manchester United, it seems Paul Pogba has finished his holiday at the club, according to his agent Mino Raiola. A return that was so celebrated like that of a princely prodigal son is about to end with both parties largely disappointed. Pogback is turning to ‘Pogpark and go’.

Barcelona casted

Barcelona are also going down like Arsenal, they may be missing their local rivals too – Espanyol. Another defeat, against Cadiz this time has taken them down to ninth, 12 points away from the top.

In the days when Messi was Messi, this was the type of match he used to win singlehandedly when his teammates don’t turn up. Now that the real Messi has been replaced with Jubril Messi, Barcelona don cast.

In Andre Ter Stegen, Barcelona may be having their own ‘Kepa’. Donating points to opponents with some comedic goalkeeping.

The lunatic is done for today. Tell somebody to tell somebody to keep it a date with the Lunatic and other contents on goaldball.com. Follow us across social media platform @goalball except twitter which is @goalbal (someone took the L). The Lunatic will be back in a jiffy.

Boald Codes: Chelsea, Bayern and other Betting Tips for the Weekend

Christmas is coming, everybody dey find money. Just as you are picking those games and believing that you will win some money for detty December, the betting companies are also waiting to receive your money for their Christmas bonus. If you have been careful before, you have to be extra careful now. Especially with how some expected sure teams have been falling short. Last weekend was red, o bad gan. We have tried selecting some games but most especially give you tips, which you should consider following.

The North London derby is the biggest match of the weekend

Bankers

Many things being equal, these results should come through. They are the ones we can bank our money on. Also because the odds are good.

In form Chelsea host Leeds United at the Stamford Bridge. Leeds, usually involved in high scoring matches have had better defensive records in their last two matches, keeping two clean sheets and scoring one in their last two. However, things should be different against Chelsea. Trust a goals game, over 2.5 comes at about over 1.5.

In La Liga, second-placed Atletico Madrid will host 17th placed Real Valladolid. You can trust Atletico to win, it comes at around 1.4.

Big game in Germany, Bayern Munich host RB Leipzig. It is first vs second. Bayern always win this sort of games. You can go for a Bayern win at around 1.4. If you are scared of that, you can also go for goals, over 2.5.

In Italy, there is the Turin Derby. It is a derby Juventus always win. Juve have struggled without Ronaldo. Ronaldo should play and Juve should win. It comes at around 1.4.

Banana Peels

AC Milan are due a bad result. They go away to Sampdoria, it is a tricky match. AC Milan are top in Serie A, Sampdoria are 11th on the table. If you can, avoid staking an AC Milan win.

Montpellier vs PSG. You can avoid a PSG win. PSG will have their sight on the Champions League match in mid-week. They may not be putting their best foot forward.

Tottenham host Arsenal in the North London derby. The Lillywhites are in good form but it is the type of derby you will want to stay away from. Expect Arteta to set up Arsenal to be compact. Also with some sketchy news on the available players, it is better to stay off this match.

Boald Call

Parma vs Benevento is 16th vs 15th in the Serie A. Parma have a nack of providing shock results. A win against Benvento should not be much of a shocker, the odd is around 2.0, go for it if you are bold.

In the CAF Champions League qualifiers, Stade Malien host Ashanti GB. They won the first leg away from home. You can trust them to finish the job.

Generally, look at the CAF Champions League and Confederations Cup qualifiers. A lot of strong teams are at home and they come at good odds.

May the gods of betting favour you this weekend. As we say, bet responsibly and hold the teams and players responsible if it goes south. If you win, send your tithes to us, make we sef do Christmas.