Thoughts of a Lunatic: Congrats TuChelsea, Pep Tears and Other Talking Points

Top tier club football in Europe has gone on break but not without leaving us with talking points. There are also the matters of players and managers merry-go-round, that has started already and should continue well into the summer.

Congratulations tuCHELsea fans. This is the first time I am writing after the Champions League final. Now that I have congratulated you guys, I shouldn’t be tagged an hater. I was only disappointed that you guys did not declare free public vehicle rides in Lagos, Nigeria. It is interesting to know that Chelsea have gone from no Champions League title in conjunction with Arsenal, to one final appearance in conjunction with Arsenal, to winning one title, to winning two titles, same as Manchester United. In all of this time, Arsenal have gone from staying in the top four to trying to get back in it.

Pep Tears

When Pep Guardiola was shedding tears like Majid Michel during Sergio Aguero’s farewell, it was difficult to understand why. Some people tagged him an hypocrite. Apparently he was crying in advance or rehearsing his tears. He already knew he was going to tactically hand Chelsea the Champions League, hmmm… tactical genius.

The same Aguero he barely played. The same Aguero he once played down his achievement by bringing Messi into an Aguero conversation. After Aguero fired a hat-trick in City’s 6-1 demolition of Aston Villa to replace Thierry Henry as the most prolific overseas player in Premier League history.

Pep disappointed

Afterwards Guardiola was asked whether Aguero was the best he has worked with, he felt compelled to highlight his alliance with six-time Ballon d’Or winner Messi at Barcelona.

“The best is Messi,” he smiled, before a follow-up enquiry pondered whether Aguero was the finest out-and-out striker he had handled in his career.

Guardiola added: “Messi is [the best] number nine, number 10, number 11, number seven, number six, number five, number four… Simply using an Aguero moment to eulogies Messi. Little wonder he has not won the Champions League without Messi.

He looked at his team, saw no Messi to play as no. 9, saw no Messi to play as no. 4. He decided to leave the positions empty. He played false 4 and false 9 and got a false result. Very soon he will contemplate playing a false goalkeeper. At a point, City’s management will have to analyze the achievement viz-a-viz the investment.

In three months, without buying any new player, Tuchel has defeated Guardiola thrice and has beaten him to the biggest price.

Managers breaking bottles

It is interesting to see managers leaving their clubs and some breaking bottles on their way out. It is looking like a summer where managers movements may overshadow players transfers. First, it was Conte leaving Inter Milan just days after winning the title following a fallout with the club’s management. Then followed Zinedine Zidane, who seems to have Florentino Perez’s numbers, at Real Madrid. Zidane didn’t just leave, he blasted Perez. Keeping his record as the manager that sacks Madrid, not the other way round.

Conte left Inter Milan after leading them to their first title in 11 years

Madrid have replaced Zidane with Carlo Ancelotti for a second spell just as Juventus have also gone back for Massimiliano Allegri after Andrea Pirlo completed his IT. Bringing to the table, the issue of burning bridges. Like breaking up with that girlfriend amicably so you could always come back for a bite of the cherry. But there’s also that part of always getting a chance if you hit it right the first time. It will be interesting to see where Zidane goes from here, seeing he has never done it somewhere else, maybe he will wait till there is an opening at Real Madrid again.

The Euros and the Copa America are on the horizon, hopefully they help us deal with this dry period. Most of the nations have released their squad list for the tourney. Trust England to always make theirs dramatic. From announcing an unnecessary 33-man squad to ending up including four right-backs in the final squad. Unfortunately for Tammy Abraham, he was not even in the initial squad of 33, Gabriel Agbonlahor says hi.

That’s all for today, time to go face my other hustles.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

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 dismantled Manchester City in 11 pictures

How Manchester City were dealing with opponents in the Champions League this season

Just take your favorite position for your beating

Manchester City awarding themselves the title after they got to the final

No Jupiter can stop us

When Manchester City saw Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel were their opponents

We go kill them, Coach wey lose last year against coach wey no dey lose Champions League final

Anti-Chelsea people when Chelsea defeated City in the FA Cup and League

What’s happening here?

Pep Guardiola planning his tactics for the final like

I will prove I am the tactical genius

Guardiola when his team could not even hold the ball in the match

With all the tactics I did?

Ngolo Kante in the match

I full ground for here

Anti-Chelsea, when Kai Havertz scored

World peace is in danger

Manchester City trying to get back into the match

Anti-Chelsea aka Arsenal and Manchester United fans when Kevin De Bruyne got injured

Kuku kill us

Manchester City fans and their Arsenal – Manchester United supporters after the final whistle

We are entangled

Chelsea to their haters

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.

Team of the Week: Two hattrick heroes, a Chelsea Loanee and Others

Many were called, few were chosen. In a week of impressive attacking and defensive performances, it was no easy task selecting just eighteen players.

In a 4-4-2 formation, here is the first eleven:

Goalkeeper: Marc Andre Ter Steven (Barcelona)

The performances of the goalkeepers – Ter Stegen for Barcelona and Jan Oblak for Atletico Madrid was a major reason the high profile clash ended goalless. Ter Stegen shades it with some brilliant saves, especially in the first half, to keep Barcelona in the game.

Right-back: Hamani Traore (Rennes)

The Malian hardly put a foot wrong in helping Rennes curtail PSG attackers. The 1-1 draw has thrown spanner in the works of PSG, in their bid to win Ligue 1.

Left-back: Marcos Alonso (Chelsea)

The Spaniard scored the winner and put in a solid display in helping Chelsea win 2-1 away at Manchester City.

Center-back: Ben Godfrey (Everton)

The young center-back had an assist for the only goal of the game with a brilliant pass to Dominic Calvert-Lewin. In addition to helping Everton stop West Ham from having a shot on target.

Center-back: Fikayo Tomori (AC Milan)

The Chelsea loanee is enjoying himself at AC Milan. He added the gloss to the scoreline for AC Milan in their impressive away win at Juventus. He was also sturdy in defence throughout.

Midfielder: Bruno Guimaraes (Lyon)

The young midfielder scored two goals in Lyon’s 4-1 win against Lorient. The Brazilian has had 31 appearances in Ligue 1. His brace were were his second and third for the season.

Midfielder: Ricardo Gagliardini (Inter Milan)

The Italian was at the heart of Inter Milan’s trashing of Sampdoria. He also weighed in with a goal and an assist.

Wing-forward: Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund)

The young Englishman is getting back in form for Dortmund at the right time. He scored twice as Dortmund put an end to RB Leipzig’s title dreams.

Wing-forward: Alexis Claude (Nice)

Claude weighed in with a hattrick of assists as Nice were not nice in coming from behind to deflate Brest.

Forward: Josip Brekalo (Wolfsburg)

The young Croat scored a hattrick for Wolfsburg in their 3-0 win against Union Berlin. The win keeps Wolfsburg in pole position in their hunt to finish in Champions League places.

Forward: Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich)

It was goals number 37, 38 and 39 for the Polish forward as Bayern Munich celebrated their ninth straight Bundesliga title.

Manager: Thomas Tuchel (Chelsea)

Thomas Tuchel followed defeating Pep Guardiola’s Manchester City in the FA Cup with another win in the league to delay the Citizens expected Premier League win.

Substitutes: F. Bredlow (Stuttgart), Cesar Azpilicueta (Chelsea), E. Elustondo (Real Sociedad), Thiago Alcantara (Liverpool), H. Mkhitaryan (Roma), V. Osimhen (Napoli), B. Yilmaz (Lille)

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

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