Thoughts of a Lunatic: Musa Still At The Gate, Anfield Poultry and Other Talking Points

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.

Anfield Poultry

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.

Thumbs up Xavi

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 is at the gate.

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.

Ronaldo in black and white

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.

Thoughts of a Lunatic: China Product, Ole’s Zero-Class and Other Talking Points

Been long you read from this table. My pen ran out of ink and I had to queue at the ‘filling station’ to refill it. What are my even saying? Am I making any sense? Anyway, that is why I am the Lunatic. On these edition, I will make a quick trip to China, though that won’t be a small journey. Also some matters around England, Nigeria and the likes.

China Product

As we know, Chinese products no dey last. Or better still, as we assume, Chinese products no dey last. However, Chinese products can be very shiny, aesthetically perfect and loud. You remember those Chinese phones that year? They can be very loud.

At a point, the Chinese Football League became a thing. Players were turning down the prestige and money of clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Barcelona and the likes in favor of playing in China. Compared to the Chinese league, their money was tithe. You can’t blame the players sha – the money plenty, e be like blood money. Hundreds of thousands of dollars, I wish I could be signed to play for just one week instead of writing this nonsense.

Apparently, COVID 19 happened amidst other things and it means the reigning champions has to fold up. Jiangsu Suning dey fold up, as in, dem close shop. Where does that happen? Well, only in China.

At a point, players were earning lots of money in China. Even the likes of Obafemi Martins, Odion Ighalo, Mikel Obi and others chop for there. But it seems, Chinese football money is drying up.

Obafemi Martins in the CSL

Ole’s Zero-Class

At a point, Manchester United were trashed 6-1 by Tottenham, since then they have taken the matter personal against the big sides. They won’t score, they won’t concede.

Manchester United against topsides is now a default goalless affair, they have done it against Manchester City, Liverpool, Arsenal and now Chelsea. Once upon a time, performances and results like this used to be termed as Mourinho masterclass. What do we call this now? Ole’s zero-class?

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Ole knows something about playing goalless

Harvester’s League

It is common for lovers of English football to term the French League as the farmer’s league and other leagues as less competitive. Looking at how teams breeze to the Premier League title these days, the Premier League should be termed the Harvester’s League – where teams harvest points anyhow.

Liverpool breezed to the title last season

Last season, Liverpool were beating everybody like they were mistakenly put in an under-15 boys league. At a point this season, it seemed there was going to be a title race. Even Manchester United celebrated a rare feat of occupying the top of the table but that lasted just as long as the vanishing spray. Manchester City have taken over and they are beating everybody like drum. Manchester United comes next, you know what to expect – Ole Zero-class.

Football money

As mentioned earlier, some Nigerians made blood money in China. So, there was a recent conversation on social media where there was the debate – who is richer, the footballer or the entertainer? My reply to that is, when you look at it critically from the angle of the economic effects and values to the GDP in relation to the per head capital, I really don ‘t have anything to say. It is not my f*cking business. Some people will be balling spending money, I will be analyzing it, nonsense! Someone should come and pay me blood money for writing this nonsense, I can have an opinion then.

Anyway, it is not that I am angry now, I just have to stop writing here. Let me go and face my other hustles so I can make money. Don’t follow the Lunatic anywhere on social media, follow Goaldball, @goaldball on facebook and Instagram, @goaldbal on Twitter.

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?

How Manchester United Were Sent To The Europa League in 11 Pictures

Manchester United fans when they qualified for the Champions League

The big boys are back, Champions League will take

When Arsenal fans want to talk to them

We are not mates, go and talk to ya fellow Thursdaylites

When Manchester United won their first two matches in the Champions League

See as Champions League easy for us like picking babe for Allen

When you tell them they may still not qualify for the Round-of-16

Enemy of progress, hater

When they lost against some pensioners in Turkey

What’s happening? Whick kain play be this?

When they got back to winning ways

Shame to bad people

When they lost to PSG and their qualification became dicey

Hope our enemies will not end up mocking us laidis

When they discovered their last group opponents were RB Leipzig

No shaking, people that we trashed 5-0 before

After RB Leipzig scored two in just 13 minutes

Premium dragging loading

Manchester United fans at the end of the match

I’m in sifia pains, hold Ole responsible

Manchester United making their way into the Europa league like

Europa straight

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.

Cavani Could Be In Trouble

After saving Manchester United the trouble of another defeat in the Premier League, Edinson Cavan could have gotten into trouble himself. Cavani made sure the #OleOut people were silenced.

The Uruguayan may be the subject of an investigation from the Football Association after allegedly using a racially offensive term in a social media post.

The 33-year-old shared some of the positive messages he received from fans in the wake of the victory and responded to one post with the message “Gracias n*****”.

The term Cavani used is the same former Liverpool forward Luis Suarez is said to have used during his altercation with Patrice Evra in October 2011, which resulted in the former Liverpool star being fined £40,000 and banned for eight matches. Cavani has since deleted the post.

The Manchester United striker came off the bench help his side to a 3-2 win against Southampton on Sunday.

The Red Devils were 2-0 down when the Uruguay international came off the bench for the second half and set up Bruno Fernandes to pull one back before heading in two of his own to seal the three points deep in stoppage time.

I Take Responsibilities for United’s Defending – Solskjaer

Manchester United produced a black and white performance as ugly as their jersey as they lost 2-1 to Istanbul Basaksehir in the Champions League. The Red Devils were very poor in defence with a terrible error gifting the Turkish team their first goal. Manchester United gaffer Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has taken responsibility for the team’s defending .

‘We forgot about the man up top, that is unforgivable,’ admitted Solskjaer.

‘Obviously it’s not a goal you normally concede. We’ve not done our duties there, that’s my responsibility.

‘Playing a short corner and everyone forgets to get back with the players they’re playing against, and Demba Ba snuck in behind us.

‘It’s a lack of communication and good decisions. You don’t really see those goals at this level.’

United suffered a second defeat in four days following Arsenal’s win at Old Trafford last weekend, and Solskjaer is under mounting pressure going into the clash with Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday lunchtime.

Three Things Manchester United are Lacking with Solksjaer in Charge

The times seems very strange for Manchester United fans. Not just about the pandemic and the empty stands. One time they are very proud of their team and the results, screaming “Ole at wheels’. The next they are seeing their team play like part-time footballers and they find themselves singing the tune of ‘Ole out’. Today Marcus Rashford is better than Kylian Mbappe, tomorrow, he is the English version of Marouane Chamakh. Paul Pogba is a world class midfielder today, tomorrow, he is an over-hyped Abou Diaby. What are the problems with Manchester United and what must they do to fix them? One sentence answers it all -sack Ole! It will be further explained in this article.

The club must take a decision on Ole

Lack of Style

Manchester United have become like that liquid that takes the shape of its container, it is otherwise shapeless. The team has mastered the art of reacting to opponents in matches. This style will bring occasional results but nothing consistent. It is a style that helps teams to avoid relegation or force a top four finish, it is not one for champions. For champions, it is the other way round. Opponents are aware of their style but will set-up to counter them and also hope they (champions) have a off day. We have seen it with every proper team in the World. Liverpool and Manchester City – the two best teams in the Premier League presently are examples. One can not say this is Ole’s style after over a year in charge, all we know is the team plays well on the counter against superior oppositions.

Even the Captain is a bag of errors.

Lack of Leaders

Leadership cuts across from the bench to the players. Solksjaer does not seem to have that character that a team like Manchester United needs. Someone that can handle the biggest of egos and cut them to size. Such managers will not cease to occasionally have clashes with some of their players because the demands they make of them will cause occasional clashes. However, how managers handle it differs. But Ole has this peaceful mien with everybody and there are clear signs most of the players do not give 100 percent or near-100 percent every matchday.

On to the pitch, the captain is a bag of errors and inconsistency. The fact that Harry Maguire became captain in his first season says a lot about a lack of leaders in the team. There is no one driving the others and standing out even when others are not doing well. Most times, when it is bad, it is bad all round.

Lack of Consistency

From the opening paragraph, this point has been made. However, consistency still bores down to the manager. It is evident many of the players have something to offer but the style and push to offer it consistently is lacking, which still comes down to a lack of style.

The selection most times is in response to the opponents, so some of the players do not have fixed roles. Sometimes Pogba is playing at the base of the midfield, behind the striker or on the right of a midfield diamond. Sometimes Rashford is a striker, sometimes he is a winger.

Ole many times cuts a confused figure.

“Sometimes you say ‘there’s no reason to panic’. But the results and performances suggest you should be panicking. He says they are good boys and want to win but I judge a player by actions. My eyes don’t lie to me. The last disappointment was just a few weeks ago against Spurs – this teams reacts for a few weeks and get carried away with themselves.” Club legend, Roy Keane said after the defeat against Arsenal.

Holistically it does not look like Manchester United have a working team or a project they can be optimistic about. Their transfer business does not suggest they are working at anything and Ole does not seem to have the know-how to return Manchester United to the top. The earlier they cut ties with him, the better.

Solksjaer Blames Lack of Fans for Man United’s Defeat

According to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, Old Trafford did not feel like home without the fans in the Red Devils defeat against Arsenal. Little wonder Manchester United have lost three of their four home matches in the league this season. And that may explain why Son Heung Min of Tottenham and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang have turned the stadium to a dance floor. The Norwegian gaffer believes there is no home and away without fans in the stadiums.

Solskjaer had no answers to Arteta’s tactics

‘Today we were too sloppy, too many passes went astray, too many things that can go wrong went wrong for us.

‘There is a reason behind big squads in football, you want to perform time and again but that’s not possible. We need that consistency.

‘Home and away form is out the window really with no fans in the stadium. You cant really look at that, just look at the stats. It doesn’t mean too much, we need to get points on the board. We need to focus on Everton next week.’

It was a disappointing result for the Red Devils, after it seemed they had turned the corner after their 6-1 thrashing by Tottenham before the last international break. Since then they have won three of their last four games, including two highly impressive results in the Champions League against PSG and RB Leipzig.

However their form at home in the league will remain a big concern for Solskjaer. Their point against Chelsea was their only one in four home games so far, after defeats to three London-based sides in Crystal Palace, Tottenham and Arsenal.

Pundits Roundtable: Ivan Dougan and Tope Adepoju join us to Preview Man. United vs Tottenham

On this edition of Pundits Roundtable, Tomiwa Ojo is joined by seasoned pundits Ivan Dougan and Tope Adepoju to preview Sunday’s Premier League clash between Manchester United and Tottenham.

Tope and Ivan join us to preview the Super Sunday clash

Jose Mourinho will be looking to get one over his former side at Old Trafford. Our pundits sank their teeth into it.

GB: It has not been a convincing start to the season for both sides. How do you expect both coaches to approach this tactically?

Ivan: I expect Ole to continue with the trend of ceding possession against the big teams and relying on the pace of his forwards and passing range, creativity of his midfielders. However, Jose Mourinho as well wouldn’t mind doing same so, tactically, both managers could have the same game plan.

Tomiwa: I expect both sides to deploy a defence first approach. They will both want to play on the counter. I expect it to be decided by fine margins – like set pieces. I hope we won’t be treated to a bore fest. I expect the first half to be cagey, we may see a more expansive second half.

Tope: I think United will probably edge the midfield battle which means they will probably control the game a little bit more.However, it will be interesting to see how they can break Spurs’ defence.

Jose Mourinho on the other hand usually set up his team to keep his opponents at bay especially in the away fixtures while banking on the likes of Kane and Son to do the damage on the break.

GB: How do you see the absence of Son Heung Min affecting Spurs? Considering he is their topscorer in the PL this season.

Ivan: He’s going to be a huge miss. He creates, scores, puts in a good shift defensively and has the ability to determine the outcome of a game. They will lack some bite going forward and his early season partnership with Kane has been good. His absence could set Spurs back.

Tomiwa: He will be a big miss. Very important for Mourinho’s men, especially when they set up to play on the counter. Kane could cut a lonely figure without him. However with the likes of maybe Bergwijn or Moura expected to replace him, they could have their days as we have seen in the past.

Tope: 4 goals against Southampton, formed a decent partnership with Harry Kane. Of course Son’s absence is a huge miss for Tottenham.

He would have been licking his lips at the prospect of facing Wan Bissaka who has been poor this season. In Son’s absence, Steven Bergwijn might be deputising.

The Dutchman has had sparks here and there but hasn’t been consistent. Hopefully he seizes his opportunity on Sunday.

GB: Solskjaer replaced Mourinho at United. Do you think United have really improved under Solskjaer?

Ivan: United haven’t really improved under Ole.

Tomiwa: I don’t think much has changed, apart from the’Manchester United family’ liking Ole more. The difference is like that between half of a dozen and six.

Tope: Finishing 33 points behind Liverpool and losing out in the semi finals of the FA Cup, League Cup and the Europa League is no improvement.

GB: Key battles.

Ivan: Kane vs Maguire and Lindelof, Doherty vs Rashford, Bruno vs Dier.

Tomiwa: Kane vs Lindelof/Bailly, Kane will fancy playing off the shoulder of whoever Ole chooses to partner Harry Maguire at the heart of the defence. I expect him to come in from the left to his right foot often. Greenwood vs Reguillon will also be interesting to watch.

Tope: Horgberg v Bruno Fernandes.

Signing Horgberg was a smart buy for Spurs. The Lilywhites have been screaming for a player who can protect the back line, win the 50/ 50 balls and give the team some sort of balance and he has been good but seeing him up against United most creative player in Bruno Fernandes will be very keen to see.

The Portuguese can also score goals. Should be an interesting battle.

GB: Call it

Ivan: A draw.

Tomiwa: A bore draw.

Tope: Man United 1 – 1 Spurs