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

How Chelsea destroyed Real Madrid in 11 Pictures

When Real Madrid saw Chelsea as their next opponents

These ones are a walkway to the final

Madrid, when Chelsea said they could pull off an upset

No be your type, one Champions League winner

Tuchel preparing Chelsea for the tie like

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

How Madrid saw Chelsea at the beginning of the tie

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

When Chelsea scored first

What’s going on?

Madrid when they equalised

Una go hear am today

Madrid to Chelsea at the end of the first leg

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

Madrid going into the second leg

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

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

You don’t mean it

Hazard in the match

It is a win-win

Real Madrid at the end of the tie

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

Lunatic things happening in football lately, like some ‘whooligans’ preventing a match from going on to Juventus failing to win the Serie A.

Idiotism is not synonymous to drinking a bottle of Elliot alone, drinking a cup of zobo is enough to make some Desmond, Garuba and Dino think they own a multi million dollars project, even when their landlord must not know their whereabouts. Bringing us to some of the matters the Lunatic wants to talk about today.

Whooligans United

Till now, I don’t really know why some people disrupted the Manchester United vs Liverpool match from going on. I have heard all sorts. From, Adidas making a zebra design jersey, to too much red pigment in the home jersey, to David Beckham joining Real Madrid bla bla bla. Maybe I do not really have a head for the economic side of football but who dictates to a business owner how to run his business? Who really owns most of these clubs? The highest share owner who invested his money in the business or the man who loves the club and buys some Aba-made merchandises?

Glazers out?

I really do not get the protest against the Glazers. Manchester United have the most expensive defender and midfielder in the Premier League. They spend money to buy players and manage the club resources, which is what fans (including Arsenal fans) expect of their owners. The protest by the whooligans appears more like an attempt to postpone Manchester City’s league-title party. Manchester City will win the league, Manchester United are simply accompanying them to the title like they did in 2018. City are in the final of the Champions League while United are on the brink of the Europa League final. United are wishing they are City right now. The noise is coming from the red side these days.

El Cashico

Manchester City are in the final of the Champions League because Neymar is still alive. Neymar was so bent on being the star of the day while his teammates tried to overturn the first leg deficit against City that he ran about like an headless chicken. The Citizens won because they were the better team (emphasis on team), not because the referee told Paredes and Herrera to f*ck off. In truth, the referee could have called some of the PSG players pussy (as in, pussy cat) because they behaved like one. I can’t totally blame them, I am also a proponent of ‘when you lose the match, don’t lose the fight’. However, I hope the referee was able to get Fernandinho’s shirt and autograph after the match, the only thing Fernandinho had to do to get a yellow card was to headbutt Neymar for being an annoying compatriot but he didn’t.

Neymar was in his own circus, joking

Congratulations to City, billions of dollars after, they are in the Champions League final. One must also salute the genius of Guardiola for taking an expensive assemblage of players to the final. Afterall, it is not necessarily the richest kid that has all the books and facilities that comes first in class. Chelsea or Real Madrid awaits them in the final. We dey here.

Bottlelona FC

Beat Granada at home and go top of the table, Barcelona did not draw, they lost. Bottling is becoming very synonymous with Barcelona. Remember Rome, remember Anfield, I mean they allowed Divock Origi have the best night of his life. If he will ever have such a night again, it will never be on a football pitch, it will be on the bed.

The title race in La Liga is still a three-horse or a two-horse and a Chihuahua race. Barcelona must prove they are not the Chihuahua by winning what looks like a play-off against Atletico Madrid next weekend. They seems to have mastered the art of bottling better than a certain club in North London.

Juve and Pirlo

Juve and Pirlo sounds like Duvet and Pillow. A perfect match on a cold morning but this Juve and Pirlo do not look like a perfect match.

Apart from being a lookalike of the pictorial representation of Jesus, the only reason Juventus must have hired Pirlo as coach is because he is Andrea Pirlo. I mean, it is not like he did apprenticeship under Pep Guardiola, like someone else we know. Juventus must have felt being a good passer of the ball is synonymous to passing tactical information.

Having Ronaldo is not enough

Well, when you have done something consecutively for nine years, there is everything tendency to get bored and want to do something else. I mean from winning the title to contesting for top four trophy, variety is the spice of life. Anyway, congratulations to Inter Milan.

Jose Mourinho finds himself in Rome. When you are in Rome, act like a Roman but trust Mourinho won’t. The same way he acted like a Mancunian while he was in North London, expect no difference.

I always said Sam Allardyce’s jazz was going to fail this time. It is looking like I am a prophet? No. It is simple, everyday no be Christmas. Every lunatic knows that. It is high time clubs stop that sh*t of going into the season with flamboyant coaches only to sack them for Allardyce to try escape relegation. Appoint Allardyce from the beginning if you trust him to do the job.

I am tired of writing, I have to go face other hustles. If you see a guy talking to himself on your street, that’s me, holler, I won’t bite you.

Follow Goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

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

PSG knocking Bayern Munich out of this year’s UEFA Champions League butreses the point that what Zinedine Zidane achieved with Real Madrid in the competition between 2016 and 2018 is unreal. I can’t associate managerial wizardry to a particular type of hairline. However, It is funny that for all of Zidane’s achievement, he is not considered as a tactical genius while the other guy with his type of hairline is regarded as one. After another win in El Clasico, Zidane could be on his way to back-to-back La Liga titles with a ‘Ronaldo-less’ and ‘crocked- Hazard’ team. Talking about managers and hair, maybe grey hair does not necessarily translate to wisdom (especially those tinted ones), as posited in this clime. We saw two managers with grey hairs drag each other at the weekend, taking me to the Mourinho Derby.

Good Father Mourinho

You know, especially as a kid, when you have bottled anger and someone mistakenly touches you, you explode. For Jose Mourinho, there will always be something to talk about when things are not going his way. He starts reminding everyone of how he invented football, won all the trophies at a swoop while controlling the players with a pad from the comfort of his sitting room. He reminds us of what he has won in the past. How does that change the fact that they have increased the price of a bottle of beer at my favorite joint, it’s paining me sha. Hello Mr Mourinho, that does not take away the fact that you are not meeting expectations at your present club, like in your last two jobs.

Grey hair, same old Mourinho

In response to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s jibe at Son Heung Min acting to get a Manchester United goal chalked off, Mourinho insinuated that Solskjaer is a bad father, which we don’t know. Many fathers won’t be good fathers in Mourinho’s books then, especially father’s from this clime. Apart from going to bed hungry for some misdemeanor, you also get some lashes. Many people from my climes will have telling tales but dare not tag their fathers bad.

It has been turpsy-turvy for Mourinho at Spurs

Anyways, the issue is not about fatherhood. That’s what Mourinho does, he takes attention from the matter. The matter is that Tottenham have lost ten league matches this season, the highest in Mourinho’s career. He can’t start saying this players are not good, he once said they had better players than Manchester United. Make Mourinho no turn am to family matter, man should fix his rot.

A man that disrespected his elders does not even have the moral rights of talking about respect.

Good father Mourinho, face the job.

Captain Musa

So Ahmed Musa is returning to play for Kano Pillars ten years after initially leaving for Europe, while Musa and I hope this will only be a temporary arrangement, at least for now. I can’t help but try to analyze the stage of Musa’s career.

Musa is 28. At 28, a player should be at the peak of his career. A decline is expected at the other side of 30, then the twilight. We have seen players return to play for their boyhood clubs at the twilight of their careers or return to their local leagues, it is nothing new. But it is not when they supposed to be at their peak, especially when they have not been blighted by injuries. Is Musa at the twilight of his career? Elder Arjen Robben recently returned to play for Groningen at 36. Even the likes of Lionel Messi, Luka Modric, Cristiano Ronaldo, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and some others are playing well in their thirties like they are still ‘peaking’. Maybe those ones are exceptions but a player should not be at twilight at 28. I am not insinuating anything. Decipher what you want.

That’s the way to CHAN

It is of more concern because Musa is the captain of the Super Eagles and expected to still be part of the team. Should a 28-year-old at his twilight be captaining the Super Eagles when there are many young players doing well?

So, since Gernot Rohr suggested that home based players should concentrate on doing well at the Championship of African Nations (CHAN) – specifically for home-based players, Musa should also play for the CHAN team.

Will Allardyce laugh last?

I have not forgotten that I said Sam Allardyce’s ‘jazz’ will fail this time at West Brom. After back-to-back wins, 8 goals scored in two matches and moving to within eight points from safety, could the big Sam perform another miracle? I still believe he won’t do it. It is easier for one Dollar to exchange for a hundred Naira than for West Brom to beat the drop this season.

I am tired of writing. There are many other hustles to do. Follow goaldball on Twitter @goaldbal

Champions League Draws: Who Are The Favorites For The Quarterfinals? 1

The Champions League round of 16 draws have been made, the teams now know their next opponents in their quest to win the trophy with the big ears. The likes of Manchester United also await their next opponents, in the quest to win the trophy with no ears. The matches will be played next year February and a lot will still happen between now and then. Forms will change, for good or for bad, teams will get depleted and teams will add more quality. Regardless, with what we know of the teams so far, let’s do a quick preview and predict the quarter-finalists.

Moechengladbach vs Man. City

Manchester City wouldn’t have prayed for a better draw. Not that Gladbach are not a good side, but they are not on the same level as City.

Gladbach ruffled feathers in a group that had Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Shaktar Donetsk. Trashing Shakhtar home and away was their highlight.

City has an easy ride to the round 16. They won five and drew just one of their group matches. In time past City have been knocked out by ‘inferior’ opponents, they have also not been convincing in the domestic league this season.

Players to watch: Marcus Thuram (Gladbach), Alassane Plea (Gladbach), Kevin De Bruyne (Man City), Raheem Sterling (Man City)

Prediction: Manchester City to qualify.

Lazio vs Bayern

The draws Lazio must have prayed against, they come up against the defending champions.

It was quite straight forward for Lazio in a group that had Borussia Dortmund, Zenit and Club Brugge. They won two and drew four to stay unbeaten, though they finished second to Dortmund.

Bayern are defending champions

Bayern had it easy in their group, dropping points just once, away at Atletico Madrid. They did the double against Salzburg and Lokomotiv Moscow. The tournament is just about to start for Lazio and they will do well to avoid a hammering.

Players to watch: Ciro Immobile (Lazio), Luis Alberto (Lazio), Robert Lewandowski (Bayern), Serge Gnabry (Bayern)

Prediction: Bayern to go through.

Atletico vs Chelsea

One of the most balanced ties of the round. Chelsea made light work of a group that had Sevilla, Krasnodar and Rennes. Winning four and drawing two of their matches, including a resounding 4-0 win away at Sevilla, Atletico’s fellow La Liga team.

Atletico were always going to be second in a group that had Bayern, leaving it late till their last group game away at Salzburg to confirm qualification.
Chelsea and Atletico Madrid had a memorable semi-final clash in 2014, with Atletico winning 3-1 on aggregate.

This term Atletico look good in La Liga, top of the standings. Chelsea also look good in the league, establishing themselves as title contenders. Expect a tactical battle between Frank Lampard and Diego Simeone, it is the type of tie that is likely to be won from the bench, Simeone should have the upper hand in that regard.

Players to watch: Joao Felix (Atletico), Luis Suarez (Atletico), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Hakim Ziyech (Chelsea)

Prediction: Atletico Madrid to scale through narrowly.

Leipzig vs Liverpool

Fresh from knocking out one English side, Leipzig face another in the Round of 16. Leipzig recovered from a 5-0 thumping against Man. United to finish second behind PSG in a tough group. They will hope to build on their semi-final finish last season. However, they did not come up against a team like Liverpool enroute the semi-final the last time out.

Liverpool won in 2019

Liverpool won the UCL two seasons back and boast of a formidable team. Bar a home defeat against Atalanta, Liverpool found their group easy, finishing first with four wins. Manager Jurgen Klopp will hope most of his injured players are back and firing by February.

It will be a tactical battle against two German managers, Klopp against the young Julian Nagelsmann

Players to Watch: Emile Forsberg (Leipzig), Dayot Upamecano (Leipzig), Mo Salah (Liverpool), Sadio Mane (Liverpool)

Prediction: Liverpool to go through