Premier League Match week 38- Final Week

Home (Position in Table) vs Away (Position in Table) ~ Score

Burnley (7th) vs Bournemouth (12th) ~ 1-2

            A match with little effect as both clubs had already clinched safety for the following English Premier League season. Bournemouth though had a period in the season where many people doubted if they’d be able to stay above the relegation zone, but they did. The hosts would take the early lead in the 39thminute when a cross fell to the foot of Chris Wood who’d one touch the goal in. In the second half the hosts would start to put pressure on the back line of Burnley and after a sloppy pass, Joshua King ended up with the ball in the box before smashing into the far top corner for an equalizer in the 74thminute. Burnley’s defensive errors would cost them the game when Defoe picked off an easy error from the defense, then squaring it to Callum Wilson in the 93rdminute for the winner.

Crystal Palace (11th) vs West Bromwich Albion (20th) ~ 2-0

            Crystal Palace early in the season and half way through the season found themselves in a relegation battle. But after a couple solid run of victories for the club they managed to finish in 11thplace with 38 points. West Bromwich on the other hand were very poor throughout the season and found themselves at the bottom of the table with only 31 points. With Wilfred Zaha scoring in the 70thminute and Patrick Van Aanholt scoring in the 78thminute, the defeat made West Brom’s eight-year stunt in the Premier League end. 

Huddersfield Town (16th) vs Arsenal (6th) ~ 0-1

            Huddersfield Town will get to enjoy another season in the Premier League after managing to stay above the bottom three with a crucial win coming against Watford and two draws with Chelsea and Manchester City in the final weeks. Arsenal will now go two seasons in a row without Champion’s League Football after finishing 6thplace in very common fashion. In the final match day, the Gunners got the victory after Aubameyang scored in the 38thminute. 

Liverpool (4th) vs Bright & Hove Albion (15th) ~ 4-0

            Liverpool’s EPL campaign wasn’t the most promising at times throughout the season, but their Champion’s League status is one to note. Finishing in fourth place in the Premier League they will already qualify for the Premier League, but now they are in position to win the Champion’s League when they face Real Madrid in the finals on May 26th. Brighton cannot have much to be disappointed about after finishing above relegation in their first season back to league after being promoted to the top league in England. The Mohamed Salah show may never stop and in the 26thminute he opened up the scoring, with the next goal for the Reds coming in the 40thminute when Dejan Lovern headed home a cross from Robertson. The scoring didn’t stop there either, Solanke and Robertson would both score in the second half to give the Reds an impressive 4-0 victory. 

Manchester United (2nd) vs Watford (14th) ~ 1-0

            Manchester United didn’t have much to play for as they’ve already qualified for the Champion’s League next season, but now will have a busy summer window. Manchester United would get all three points after a long ball fell to Juan Mata who scored it sideways to Marcus Rashford for an easy tap in. 

Newcastle United (10th) vs Chelsea (5th) ~ 3-0

            Newcastle United have made their comeback into the Premier League with style finishing in the top third and get an impressive victory for the final match of the season. Chelsea will now be without Champion’s League football after falling into fifth place meaning Europa League will have to be their European football. Newcastle would start the scoring in the 23rdminute when a deflected shot fell to Dwight Gayle for an easy tap in goal. In the second half Ayoze Perez would take over the scoring for the home side, netting his first goal in the 59thminute and his second in the 63rdminute. The match would end 3-0 as Newcastle United showed their dominance and putting more odds that Conte will be sacked as Chelsea’s manager. 

Southampton (17th) vs Manchester City (1st) ~ 0-1

            Southampton can consider themselves lucky to stay above the bottom three after a very important victory against Swansea City saved their season. Manchester City showed the importance of spending millions every window as they powered through the season netting 100 points. The 3 points wouldn’t come to City till the 94thminute when Gabriel Jesus would score the all-important goal to get them to the 100-point mark. 

Swansea City (18th) vs Stoke City (19th) ~ 1-2

            Swansea City and Stoke City are paying the price for continuous poor after poor seasons. Stoke City have managed to stay in the Premier League in the past by playing ugly football and stay in the middle bottom half of the table. This season their tactics haven’t worked and their spending on big name players proved to be disastrous too. In a match that didn’t have much meaning more than pride for the players Swansea opened up the scoring in the 14thminute when Andy King scored. Stoke City would knock back two goals with the first coming in the 31stminute from Badou Ndiaye and the second in the 41stfrom Peter Crouch. 

Tottenham Hotspurs (3rd) vs Leicester City (9th) ~ 5-4

            Tottenham’s impressive building of a club continues as they managed to finish in the top four and secure European football. Leicester City will probably never be able to repeat their fate of winning the Premier League and now will have to be a club who fights for a Europa League spot. In the final match of the season it would come down to Harry Kane in the 76thminute when he picked the ball up at the top of the eighteen and curled the ball into the side netting. 

West Ham United (13th) vs Everton (8th) ~ 3-1

            David Moyes completed his task when being hired as the manager of West Ham part way through the season, keep the club up and he did. Everton’s squad has a lot of potential for next season but will be losing Wayne Rooney. West Ham took the lead in the first half with a goal coming from Manuel Lanzini then Arnautovic struck a goal in the 63rdminute. Everton would get a goal back in the 74thminute from Oumar Niasse in the 74thminute but the home club would seal the victory in the 82ndminute when Lanzini scored in the 82ndminute. 

Champions League Semi-Finals Results 

Tuesday, May 1

Real Madrid vs Bayern Munich~ Aggregate 4-3 (2-2)

In the first round of the two-legged match up Bayern Munich hosted the two-time defending champions Real Madrid. Only eight minutes into the first leg, Munich would lose Arjen Robben to an injury forcing Thiago Alcantara to come on to replace him. Then in the 28thminute the hosts would take the lead with Joshua Kimmich cutting into the box from the wing and firing home the opening goal, putting Bayern up 1-0. Just as it looked like Bayern would go into the half with the lead, Daniel Carvajal headed the ball across the box finding Marcelo at the top of the 18-yard box for a first-time finish. In the second half things would continue to go in favor of Real Madrid, Asensio would intercept a pass then played it off to Lucas Vazquez who would then return the ball back to Asensio who would strike the ball pass the keeper. The two goals for Real Madrid would put them up in the first leg 2-1 with the second leg being played in Madrid. 

Bayern Munich had a lot to do in only ninety minutes if they hoped to advance to the finals. The dream start came true for Bayern when a cross found its way into the box aiming for Lewandowski but falling into a mix of players with Kimmich finishing from close range. It wouldn’t take long for Real Madrid to answer with a goal of their own. In the 46thminute Kovacic spread the ball out wide to Marcelo who would then cross it back post to Benzema for an easy header. Munich will be hitting themselves after giving up their second goal of the match, Thiago tried to play a blind back pass to his keeper which resulted in gifting Benzema with an even easier second goal. With Bayern trailing 2-4 in aggregate score, Sule would cross to the ball to former Madrid player, James Rodriquez, with the initial shot taking a deflection but being able to clean up deflection and tie the game. The match would finish 2-2 but Real Madrid would advance with the aggregate score being 4-3.

Wednesday, May 2

AS Roma vs Liverpool~ Aggregate 6-7 (4-2)

            Liverpool’s new front three has become one of the strongest in the game and can compete with almost any defense. AS Roma had to travel to Anfeild for the first leg of the tie and tried to play with a high defensive line. They would soon realize these tactics weren’t the right decision and would be made to pay for the error. In the 37thminute the hosts, Liverpool, would take the lead when Salah picked up the ball on the right side of the pitch and would cut inside to curl the ball into the back post. Again, Liverpool’s prize player would double the lead right before the half time whistle when Firmino slipped a through ball to Salah who finished off the run. 2-0 up the Reds wanted to finish off the fixture in the first round, with Salah squaring a pass to Mane in the 56thminute for an easy third goal. In the 61stminute the man who cannot be stopped right now, Salah, found himself with lots of room on the right side allowing him to find Firmino at the back post for an easy tap in goal. In the 68thminute it looked all but sealed when Liverpool’s corner found Firmino for his second goal and the teams fifth of the match. Roma would get back two late vital goals in the 81stand 85thminute to end the first leg 5-2.

            Only nine minutes into the second leg, Firmino would intercept a sloppy pass feeding the ball to Mane who would finish off the run. In the 15thminute Liverpool would give up a comical own goal when a cross landed at the feet of Lovern who tried to clear the ball but only ended up hitting it off of Milner’s head for an own goal. Liverpool again would take the lead in the 25thminute when a corner kick had the initial header redirected up in the air to Georginio Wijnaldum for an easy head in goal. The match would go into the half with Roma trailing 1-2, 3-6 on aggregate, seeming as the final was already set. Roma’s late push started in the 52ndminute when El Shaarawy’s shot was blocked resulting in a deflected goal by Dzeko. Roma would continue to try to tie up the score with two more goals coming in the 86thand 94thminute from Radja Nainggolan. The 4-2 victory at home wasn’t enough to change the first leg resulting in Liverpool advancing to the Champion’s League Final. 

Champion League Quarter-Finals- Second Leg

Tuesday, April 10

Roma vs Barcelona ~ 3-0 (1-4)

            Coming into the second leg of the fixture between these two clubs, Barcelona looked to have secured their advancement into the semifinals of this tournament. Roma started the first leg in great fashion, high pressing and tackles allowing Barca to do nothing. But in the 38thminute the scoring started going for the Spanish club. An own goal in the 38thminute, then another own goal in the 55thminute put Barcelona up 2-0 and they weren’t done scoring. In the 59thminute Gerard Pique was able to get the third goal of the match, but in the 80thminute Edin Dzeko scored the all-important goal for Roma, with the match finishing 4-1 with Suarez scoring in the 87thminute. In the second leg things took a quick change for Roma with them netting in the 6thminute from another Dzeko goal. Needing two more goals to win through away goals the first one came in the 58thminute from Daniele De Rossi followed by the winner in the 82ndminute off of Kostas Manolas. The shocking 3-0 victory at home, gave the Italian side enough to upset the Spanish giants. 

Manchester City vs Liverpool~ 1-2 (0-3)

            Liverpool were the first club to defeat Manchester City in their incredible run at the beginning of the season and this match gave a perfect chance for a repeat win. The first half would be all in favor of the Reds with them playing at home. Only 12 minutes into the game a deflection ended up at the feet of Mohamed Salah who was able to put away the shot. Liverpool’s second goal would come from Oxlade-Chamberlain in the 20thminute when his strike from 25 yards went in. Then to seal the deal all in the first round, Sadio Mane gave the Reds a three-goal lead with the match ending 3-0. In the second leg, Liverpool had a lot to do to hold back City and all of their attacking threats. Only two minutes in Manchester City were able to strike first with Gabriel Jesus getting a pass inside the box for an easy finish. The match would go into the half being 1-0 City, with the club needing a minimum two goals if they hoped to advance. But things would go in favor of the visitors in the second half, in the 56thminute Mohamed Salah would strike again followed by a Roberto Firmino goal to seal the deal. Liverpool’s impressive first leg gave them the all needed cushion to go play at City and still be able to get the victory. With Salah being healthy, the Reds run in the Champion’s League could go to the final. 

Wednesday, April 11

Bayern Munich vs Sevilla~0-0 (2-1)

            When Sevilla drew Bayern Munich for the quarterfinals many people thought Bayern would win with ease. In the first leg when Sevilla hosted the German club, Pablo Sarabia was able to score in the 32ndminute when the ball fell to his feet off a cross. Luck would then change when a cross deflected off Jesus Navas’s leg causing an own goal, tying up the match. Then in the 68thminute a diving header from Thiago Alcantara was enough to give Bayern Munich the away victory. In the return fixture both sides had their chance to take the lead, but neither could get the ball to the back of the net. 

Real Madrid vs Juventus~3-1 (3-0)

            Cristiano Ronaldo was the man of the show in the first leg of this match up. Ronaldo was able to tap in a goal only three minutes into the match, followed by one of the most specular goals of the season. A cross was sent into the box toward Ronaldo and in the 64thminute his bicycle kick stunned everyone going in. To seal the victory Marcelo was able to play a couple one-twos before getting his shot to hit the back of the net. The first leg was huge for Real Madrid as they scored three away goals and conceded none. But just like how Real Madrid controlled Juventus away, the Italian club did the same in the second leg. Scoring in the second minute was Mario Mandzukic off a header and scored another one in the 37thminute. To make the score line even more intense Blaise Matuidi was able to knock in a goal from close range to tie up the aggregate at 3-3. Just as the match looked to be going into overtime, Juventus conceded a penalty kick leading to a red card for Buffon. In the 90+7thminute Ronaldo showed why he’s the man to count on scoring the winner. 

The Weekend Wrap~ Match Day 27

Saturday, February 10

Tottenham Hotspurs vs Arsenal~ 1-0

            Tottenham hosted the Gunners in the North London Derby. Both clubs needed three points as the other top six have started to drop them down the table. Tottenham have won two of their last four and drew the other two matches. Arsenal as well have won the last two but lost the other two fixtures. The match would go into the half scoreless, but only four minutes into the second half Ben Davies found Harry Kane for the winner.

West Ham United vs Watford~ 2-0

            David Moye’s has proved must wrong by getting West Ham a small amount of breather room, but with a loss to Brighton last time out, three points here is a must. Watford managed to shock Chelsea last time out with an impressive 4-1 victory. In the 38th minute Antonio would assist Chirchartio and to seal the game Arnautovic scored in the 78th minute.

Swansea City vs Burnley~ 1-0

            Swansea City’s form has thrived in recent weeks, taking 8 out of a possible twelve points they are one point above relegation. Burnley’s impressive start to the season may have slowed down and so has their form but they still sit in 7th place. In the 81st minute Ki Sung-Yeung would be the difference maker, giving the Swans an important home win.

Stoke City vs Brighton & Hove Albion~ 1-1

            Stoke City’s time as a lower middle table club could finally becoming to an end.  Sitting in 19th place with only one victory in their last four, they’ve started to fall apart. Brighton managed to get a win against West Ham after two defeats and a draw. The host would take an early lead with Stephens assisting Izquierdo in the 32nd minute, but in the second half Pieter’s would find Shaqiri to end the match in a draw.

Everton vs Crystal Palace~ 3-1

            Everton needed an extremely good showing here after an embarrassing 5-1 defeat to Arsenal last time out. Palace’s fine form has started to dip again and now they’ve only managed 5 points from a possible 12 of late. In the 46th minute Niasse would find Sigurdsson for the opening goal, and only five minutes later Everton would double their lead with a Niasse goal. To seal the victory Davies would score in the 75th minute, but Palace would get one goal back in the 83rd minute when Milivojevic managed to score.

Manchester City vs Leicester City~ 5-1

            Manchester City’s hiccups have started to occur this season, drawing one of late and losing another their lead still stands at 16 points. Leicester City were never favorites in this match and with a defeat then draw their form wouldn’t be able to stop City. Only three minutes in Sterling would put City ahead, but the Foxes would level the score in the 24th minute with a Jamie Vardy goal. The second half was all Manchester City, Aguero would score four goals in the second half to make the final score 5-1.

Sunday, February 11

Southampton vs Liverpool~ 0-2

            Southampton seem to have fallen apart and have dropped into 18th place, with only one win in their last four matches. Liverpool’s hiccup to Swansea has been their only major mistake otherwise they’ve manage to dominant in recent games. Only six minutes into the game the visitors would take the lead, Salah would find Firmino for the opening goal. Then minutes before the half the pair would switch roles, leading to Salah scoring.

Huddersfield Town vs Bournemouth~ 4-1

            Huddersfield Town would strike quickly with Mounie assisting Pritchard in the 7th minute. Bournemouth would get a goal back in the 13th minute when Stanislas scored off a Fraser assist. The first half scoring wouldn’t stop there either, Mooy would find Mounie in the 27th minute to take the lead again. In the second half Cook scored an own goal to make the score 3-1, then Van La Parra sealed the victory.

Newcastle United vs Manchester United~ 1-0

            Newcastle United’s form has been very poor in recent weeks, taking only three points out of a possible 12. Manchester United’s only loss in their last four games by Tottenham when they lost 2-0. Newcastle would seal all three points when Ritchie scored off a Gayle assist.

Monday, February 12

Chelsea vs West Brom~ 3-0

            Two straight defeats for Chelsea and a draw has seen them drop down to fourth place in the table. West Bromwich have found themselves in dead last after two defeats in a row. Chelsea would open up the scoring in the 25th minute when Giroud’s flick found Eden Hazard for the opening goal. In the second half Chelsea would seal the victory with Moses scoring in the 63rd minute followed by an Eden Hazard goal in the 71st minute. 

English Premier League- Match Day 26

Saturday, February 3rd

Burnley vs Manchester City~ 1-1

            Burnley were experiencing a poor run of games losing three straight before tying Newcastle United 1-1. Manchester City managed to recover from their defeat to Liverpool with two straight victories and with Burnley they thought they’d be in for an easy victory. Only 22 minutes into the first half Bernardo Silva would find Danilo to put City up 0-1. As the game was winding down to the final ten minutes Lowton found Gudmundsson for an equalizer. Tying 1-1 City dropped more points cutting their lead to 13 points above Untied.

AFC Bournemouth vs Stoke City~ 2-1

            Bournemouth came into this match with a lot of positive momentum after defeating Chelsea 3-1. Stoke City have only managed one win in their last four dropping into the relegation zone. Only five minutes into the fixture Badou Ndiaye found Shaqiri to give the hosts an early lead. But in the second half the Berries would come out firing for a comeback. King started the scoring in the 70th minute and to seal all three points Ibe found Mousset to win the game.

Brighton & Hove Albion vs West Ham United~ 3-1

            Brighton drew 1-1 with Southampton in their last match making it two out of a possible twelve points in their last four fixtures. West Ham United have managed to climb the table after falling apart thanks to the arrival of David Moyes. Early into the match Grob would find Murray in the 8th minute to put the hosts up. The lead wouldn’t go into the half as Mario found Chicharito to even up the score. In the second half though it all went in favor of Brighton, in the 59th minute Izquierdo scored followed by another goal in the 75th minute from Grob.

Leicester City vs Swansea City~ 1-1

            Leicester City managed to go on a good run of wins before losing to Everton last time out. Swansea City managed to pull of two impressive victories beating Arsenal and Liverpool in a row. Jamie Vardy was able to put the hosts up in the 17th minute when Iheanacho assisted him. Only 8 minutes into the second half Fernandez would even up the score with an assist from Ki Sung-Yeung.

Manchester United vs. Huddersfield Town~ 2-0

            Manchester United’s three game winning streak came to an end with a defeat to Tottenham Hotspurs. Huddersfield Town are in a terrible shape with four straight defeats. The match would go into the half at zero a piece but in the second half United showed why they are one of the best clubs. In the 55th minute Juan Mata would find Romelu Lukaku for the opening goal. Then it was Alexis Sanchez’s turn to get his first United goal, in the 68th minute he’d take a penalty kick that was blocked but he’d tap in the deflection.

West Bromwich Albion vs Southampton~ 2-3

            A goal feast with a lot of poor defending would result in five goals being scored. Only four minutes in Brunt would find Hegazi to put West Brom up 1-0. Then Southampton would take their turn to score scoring three straight goals. In the 40th minute Lemina would score off a Boufal assist, 3 minutes later Prowse would assist Stephens and in the 55th minute Prowse would get a goal for himself. West Bromwich almost saw a comeback with Brunt assisting Rondon in the 72nd minute but the match would end 2-3.

Arsenal vs Everton~ 5-1

            Arsenal finally had all their new signings ready to use and they proved to be an instant hit when all playing together. Only six minutes in the former Manchester United player, Mkhitaryan would assist Ramsey. Then in the 8th minute Mustafi would find Koscielny to put the Gunners up by two goals and then five minutes later Iwobi would assist Ramsey for his second goal of the match. The scoring wouldn’t stop there, in the 37th minute Mkhitaryan found Aubameyang for his first goal for the Gunners. Everton would get one goal back in the 64th minute when Martina assisted Dominic but the Gunner’s would get one more too in the 75th minute with Ramsey getting his hat-trick for the night.

Sunday, February 4th

Crystal Palace vs Newcastle United~ 1-1

            In a fixture that both clubs so badly needed to get a victory as they’ve managed to get out of the relegation zone, it wouldn’t go for either club. The visitors opened up the scoring in the 22nd minute with Perez assisting Diame bringing the score to 0-1 at the half. Then in the 55th minute the hosts would get an equalizer off of a Milivojevic goal.

Liverpool vs Tottenham Hotspurs~ 2-2

            A very important fixture for the race for the top four, Liverpool would host the Spurs. Only three minutes into the match the Reds would take the lead off a Salah goal. It wouldn’t be until the 80th minute for the Spurs to get a goal back, as Wanyama would tie up the score. Then again Salah scored in the 90th minute, making everyone believe that Liverpool would take all three points. But in the 95th minute Harry Kane would score to tie the game and get his 100th Premier League goal.

Monday, February 5th

Watford vs Chelsea~ 4-1

            Chelsea came into the match with only one win in their last four fixtures with their latest match being a 0-3 defeat. Watford have also been winless in their past four matches making it seem that Chelsea could finally get back into winning form. But things would change quickly as in the 30th minute Bakayoko would get his second yellow card being sent off brining Chelsea to 10 men. Watford would capitalize before the halftime break with Deeney scoring in the 42nd minute. In the 82nd minute Eden Hazard would tie up the score but two minutes later Janmaat would put Watford back up. Then from there Deulofeu would give the hosts a two-goal lead when Doucouré assisted him in the 88th minute. To add to the misery of Chelsea Watford would score again in the 90th minute with Pereyra scoring. 

The Weekend Wrap- United Advance

Yeovil Town vs Manchester United~ 0-4

            In the fourth round of the of the FA Cup Yeovil Town were matched up against Manchester United, a match they were never going to win. To make matters worse for the club that plays in League Two, which is the fourth level of English Football, Alexis Sanchez was cleared to make his debut. Early in the first half the hosts were able to compete with United, but soon realized they couldn’t hang on for long. In the 41st minute Marcus Rashford capitalized off a defensive error in the penalty box to score with ease. Going into the break at 0-1, United would turn up the pressure in the second half securing an easy victory. In the 61st minute Alexis Sanchez was able to find Herrera who smashed the ball into the far corner from other side of the box making it 0-2. To seal it off in the 89th minute Lingard scored followed by a 93rd minute Lukaku goal. Once the match finished Alexis Sanchez was awarded with the man of the match award. It wasn’t the Chileans best performance, but he did have an assist in the second half of the match. This match also marker the 100th match Jose Mourinho has managed Manchester United, through his first 100 games he’s won 62, drawn 23 and loss 15. For Alexis Sanchez, his next real test will occur on Wednesday when Manchester United face off with Tottenham Hotspurs.

Liverpool vs West Brom- 2-3

            Liverpool have potential to be one of the best clubs in England, but they can never keep a winning form for long. After beating Manchester City, they were beaten by a club nowhere near the same level as the City. In the Fourth Round of the FA Cup, Liverpool drew West Bromwich to face at home. Facing a 19th place West Brom should have been an easy task but the Reds would soon get embarrassed. Liverpool would take the early lead in the game in the fifth minute through a Roberto Firmino finish. But only two minutes later the visitors would get an equalizer with Jay Rodriquez smashing home a goal from 18 yards out. Then only two minutes later in the 7th minute Gibbs centered a cross into the box with Jay Rodriquez netting his second goal of the match. Then just before the halftime break Joel Matip inadvertently scored an own goal of a deflected Dawson shot in the 45th + 2nd minute. The visitors went into the break up 1-3 and would be keen on finishing with a victory. Salah was able to make the score 2-3 after a low finish from Firmino allowed for an easy finish. The match ended 2-3 with West Brom getting a big upset and advance into the next round. This loss ended Liverpool’s 19 game unbeaten run that lasted since their last defeat at home vs Crystal Palace back in April of 2017. After the match Liverpool boss Jürgen Klopp told the press, “In the decisive parts of the game around the goals it was poor. Bad defending, that's how it is. Bad defending most of the time means the wrong decision. It's a difficult game, experienced opponent. They deserved it to be honest, I don't like to say that, but it's the truth, they deserve it, so compliments to their side.”

Chelsea vs Newcastle United~ 3-0

            Chelsea put out a surprisingly strong starting 11 following their exit from the Carabao Cup after losing to Arsenal. Even with the strong side, Newcastle United were the club with the best first chances in the game. Jonjo Shelvey had his opening shot saved by Willy Caballero to keep the match scoreless. Chelsea looked to be in trouble with Newcastle’s high press on them, but in the 31st minute, Pedro found Hazard on a long ball which he then passed to Alonso before being finished by Batshuayi for the opening goal. Then again in the 44th minute Batshuayi was able to score again after Hazard tee him up for an easy goal. Alonso would secure the victory in the 71st minute with his 25 yards curlier finding the back of the net. After the win manager Antonio Conte said, “I think it was a good performance. It wasn't easy because Newcastle prepared a very defensive game with a lot of players on the edge of the box and the three midfielders deep. It was very important to score the first goal. Pedro and Hazard created a fantastic chance with their ability and Michy scored. After the goal, the situation was simpler, we controlled the game.”

Transfer Tuesday~ Alexis Sanchez to Manchester United?

Alexis Sanchez~ Arsenal to Manchester United- DONE

            Manchester United in recent transfer windows have managed to pull of some of the greatest transfer deals in recent times. Bringing Paul Pogba in for a record transfer fee that soon proved to be a bargain and signing Zlatan Ibrahimović for free. This time around they’ve managed to get one of the best forwards in the game for a straight swap deal. Arsenal will be hitting themselves after the transfer, last summer they could have received £60 million from Manchester City to sign the Chilean player, but after their £29 million deal for Thomas Lemar the club held onto the player. Alexis Sanchez comes after playing three and a half seasons with Arsenal where he managed to score 80 goals in 165 appearances and winning two FA Cups along the way. Reports have come out saying Sanchez has signed a four-and-a-half-year deal with Manchester and has been given the prestigious number 7 jersey. Once the official announcement was confirmed he told the press, “I am thrilled to be joining the biggest club in the world. I have spent three-and-a-half wonderful years at Arsenal and I bring with me very positive memories of that great club and its fans. The chance to play in this historic stadium and to work with Jose Mourinho was something I could not turn down. I am very proud to be the first Chilean player ever to play for United's first team and I hope I can show our fans all around the world why the club wanted to bring me here.” Only time will tell if the deal will prove to be a hit or not, this could be the key into firing the club deep into the Champion’s League this season.

Henrikh Mkhitaryan- Manchester United to Arsenal- DONE

            Mkhitaryan arrived too Old Trafford in 2016 from Borussia Dortmund, his spell in Manchester was a mix bag. At times the forward could dominate the game but like the beginning of his start at United it ended with the player not being able to play constantly at a high level. His time at Manchester United will not be forgotten as he scored in the Europa League Final last season, helping the club win it and be able to qualify for the Champion’s League, this campaign he also had a firing start with multiple assists before falling out of favor due to poor form. At first it was understood the player didn’t want to leave Manchester United but after he realized he’d be frozen at the club if he stayed he opted to make the switch to London. In a press conference done with Arsenal’s official media crew he told the supporters, “I'm very happy that we could finish this deal and I'm very happy to be here. It's a dream come true because I've always dreamed of playing for Arsenal. Now that I'm here, I'll do my best for this club to create history.” Both clubs will argue they got the better end of the stick, but Gunner’s fans will now be worrying about other players whose contracts run up soon. Mesut Ozil is their biggest worry at the moment as this summer he could walk away for free with Manchester United and Bayern Munich the clubs said to be interested in signing the player.

            Even with both players claiming to be exited for their transfer to their new clubs, Jose Mourinho was also excited saying, “Alexis is one of the best attacking players in the world and he will complete our very young and talented group of attacking players. He will bring his ambition, drive and personality, qualities that make a Manchester United player and a player that makes the team stronger and the supporters proud of their club dimension and prestige.” Mourinho thinks he was one of the missing players that could fulfill the much-needed right wing position. Arsene Wenger was also pleased with the deal saying, “Henrikh is a very complete player. He creates chances, he defends well, he can absorb distances and he's very committed as well. I must say he's a player who has all the attributes.” The deal took a little longer to be completed than most people expected but now that the deals are done the players will be making their debuts soon. 

English Premier League- Match Day 24

Saturday, January 20

Brighton & Hove Albion (5-8-11) vs Chelsea (15-5-4) ~ 0-4

            Brighton have been struggling recently and are becoming closer to the relegation zone by the week. A two defeat to West Brom after losing, then tying two fixtures in a row sees them sit at 23 points. Chelsea came into the match needing a win after drawing Arsenal and Leicester City. Only three minutes into the match Eden Hazard was able to put the Blues up, then three minutes later in the 6th minute Batshuayi assisted Hazard for his second goal of the match. Going in with a 0-2 lead, Hazard would get his hat trick in the 77th minute. To seal an easy victory Musonda was able to assist Willian for a goal in the 89th minute.

Arsenal (12-6-6) vs Crystal Palace (6-7-11) ~ 4-1

            Arsenal would have their first real test after the news broke that Alexis Sanches would most likely be leaving the club. Palace came in with a good winning streak defeating Southampton and Bournemouth, they finally are climbing to safety. The Gunners were having none of it though, only six minutes into the game Monreal scored off a Xhaka goal then four minutes later Monreal assisted Iwobi. Their scoring in the first half didn’t stop there, in the 13th minute Koscielny scored from an Monreal assist. Already 3-0 up, Arsenal would make it 4-0 in the 22nd minute with Ozil finding Lacazette for the goal. Crystal Palace were completely outplayed but did manage to get one goal back in the 78th minute from Milivojevic.

Burnley (9-7-8) vs Manchester United (16-5-3) ~ 0-1

            Much of the speculation before the match was the possible Alexis Sanches deal that could happen at any time. Burnley were in 7th before the match but have struggled greatly for their past four matches being winless. Manchester United were finally back on their winning ways after three consecutive draws. The first half of this match would go scoreless, but in the 54th minute Romelu Lukaku found Martial for the goal. The single goal would be enough to earn them all three points away from home.

Everton (7-7-10) vs West Bromwich Albion (3-11-10) ~ 1-1

            Everton are going through a rough period being beaten by Bournemouth, Manchester United and Tottenham all in a row. West Brom had been dropping down the table but did manage to pick up a 2-0 victory vs Brighton. Only 7 minutes into the half the visitors would strike first, Krychowiak would find Rodriquez for the opening goal. Going into the second half Everton’s new signing Theo Walcott would prove his worth, finding Niasse for an equalizer in the 70th minute. The fixture would end 1-1 giving Everton a much-needed point after going three matches without one.

Leicester City (9-7-8) vs Watford (7-5-12) ~ 2-0

            Leicester City came into the match with a lot of confidence, beating Huddersfield Town then drawing Chelsea. Watford drew Southampton out they were in 10th place, but only four points from the relegation zone. 39 minutes into the fixture Jamie Vardy would find the back of the net. As the game was winding down to the end, new signing Adrien Silva would find Mahrez for the game winning goal.

Stoke City (6-5-13) vs Huddersfield Town (6-6-12) ~ 2-0

            Stoke City got a much-needed victory here in round 24, the three points were enough to get them out of the bottom three. Joe Allen would open up the scoring in the 53rd minute off a Choupo-Moting assist. Then for the second goal and the nail in the coffin Shaqiri found Diouf.

West Ham United (6-8-10) vs AFC Bournemouth (6-7-11) ~ 1-1

            Both clubs came into the match with victories in their last outing. Bournemouth had an impressive victory against Arsenal while West Ham defeated Huddersfield Town. In the 71st minute Stanislas would find Fraser to put the Berries up 0-1. But only two minutes later Chicharito would score to equalize the game.

Manchester City (21-2-1) vs Newcastle United (6-5-13) ~ 3-1

            Manchester City were finally beaten in a 3-4 loss, perhaps the greatest fixture of the season. Newcastle United are struggling and haven’t managed to win since January 1st. 34 minutes into the match De Bruyne would find Aguero for the opening goal. Then in the second half Aguero would strike again in the 63rd. Newcastle thought they could get back into the match as in the 67th minute Clark found Murphy to cut the lead to one. But in the 83rd minute Aguero would score his hat trick off an Sane assist.

Sunday, January 21

Southampton (4-10-10) vs Tottenham Hotspur (13-6-5) ~ 1-1

            The Saints are in a lot of trouble as they’re now in the bottom three and winless in their last five matches. Tottenham are coming off a strong 4-0 victory against Everton, which saw Harry Kane control the game. 15 minutes into the match Sanchez would score an own goal to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. Only three minutes later Harry Kane would equalize the score off a Davies assist.

Monday, January 22

Swansea City (4-5-14) vs Liverpool (13-8-2)

            Swansea City have managed to pull off a huge upset and possibly the needed kick start to their poor season. Liverpool came into the fixture just fresh off of beating Manchester City and giving them their first defeat of the season. In the 40th minute Fernandez found Mawson for the goal and the winner. 

The Weekend Wrap- Manchester City Lose

Liverpool vs Manchester City~ 4-3

            Liverpool vs Manchester City was the game of the weekend, two clubs in high fashion taking 13 out of 15 possible points from there last five games each. Liverpool came into the match on a 17-match unbeaten run while Manchester City were unbeaten in the league thus far. The fixture this time took place at Anfeild, with the other fixture taking place at the Etihad Stadium back in September which saw City win 5-0. Early into the first half with nine minutes have gone by, Oxlade-Chamberlin picked up the ball 40 yards out from City’s goal. He beat two players opening enough space to put a driven shot into the bottom left hand corner to give the Red’s an early lead. Kyle Walker set up the next goal for Manchester, in the 40th minute his cross-field ball found Sane who was able to fire a shot past the near post beating Karius to even up the score. With Manchester City putting the most amount of pressure on the final third, they got set up for a counter attack in the 60th minute. Oxlade-Chamberlin’s long through ball managed to beat the backline with Firmino nudging Stones to be one on one with the keeper. With little time to decide the Brazilian forward chipped outrushing Ederson to put Liverpool back up 2-1. Right after that goal in the 62nd minute, Salah’s high pressuring caused City to cough the ball up to Mane who smashed it into the top left corner from 20 yards out. Already up 3-1, Ederson tried to clear a through ball but ended up shanking it to Liverpool’s Salah. From 35 yards, out he easily chipped the Brazilian goal keeper to put the home side up 4-1. Up by three goals Manchester City needed to make a change if they wanted any chance to win the fixture and their first switch was bringing on Silva. In the 84th minute a deflected shot rolled into the path of Silva who was able to tap in a goal to cut their deficit to two goals. Just as a comeback seemed very unlikely, Sergio Augero almost started the comeback.

            In the 91st minute Sergio Augero chipped up the ball to Gundogan who controlled the ball and finished easily to bring the score to 4-3. Manchester City’s late efforts proved to be too late to pull off one of the greatest comebacks in Premier League history we would have seen. The victory here saw them jump into third place being tied with Chelsea in points, but leading by goal differential. With Man City losing their first fixture of the season, Manchester United are now within twelve points of catching City. While that seems very unlikely, a couple bad weeks for City could change everything that could occur this season. Following their 4-3 defeat to Liverpool at Anfeild, Pep Guardiola told the press, “Congratulations Liverpool for the victory. I have to give credit to the opponent. We know how difficult Anfeild is and how aggressive Jürgen Klopp's side are. We tried to make good build-up and found the spaces sometimes, but credit to Liverpool. You have to live this kind of situation during the season.”

            With Pep Guardiola knowing they were out played for the first time this season, Manchester City are in complete control of their season. Liverpool are in thumping form and will get an easy opponent to continue their firing form. Travelling to last place Swansea City, this should be an easy victory for Liverpool after their last showing. Manchester City will host Newcastle United, where they should be able to win comfortably but if they don’t it could soon be a short downward spiral. 

English Premier League- Match day 23

Saturday, January 11th

Chelsea (14-4-4) vs Leicester City (8-6-8)

            Chelsea were able to jump Manchester United in the table last week after United went on a drawing period, but after Chelsea drew with Arsenal they’ve went back into third place in the table. Leicester City managed to get a comfortable 3-0 victory over Huddersfield Town after losing three and drawing one of their previous for fixtures. With Chelsea at home and Marhez possibly being benched due to a likely transfer about to occur. The hosts will have the odds in winning this fixture. I see the Blues winning 2-1 as the Foxes will not go down easy.

Crystal Palace (5-7-10) vs Burnley (9-7-6)

            Crystal Palace are going through a pretty good chunk of matches, only losing one of their previous five matches, a 2-3 loss to Arsenal on December 28th, they were able to pull off a comeback to Southampton to win. Burnley were on a hot run for a while getting into the top six but after no wins in their last five matches they sit in 7th place. This match could really go either way as neither side has a great advantage over the other. I see Crystal Palace getting a 1-0 victory taking all three points at home.

Huddersfield Town (6-6-10) vs West Ham United (5-7-10)

            Huddersfield Town were dominated by Leicester City on New Year Day, being beaten 3-0 away. West Ham United managed to get a hard-fought point by drawing Tottenham to end their three-game winning streak. I see West Ham having the edge here, with David Moyes having extra time to prep his side, I think it’ll be what gives his side the upper hand.

Newcastle United (6-4-12) vs Swansea City (4-4-14)

            Newcastle United are starting to get in better rhythm, only losing two out of their last five matches they’ve came against Arsenal and Manchester City. A 0-1 victory away at Stoke City will be good momentum for them to work with as well. Swansea City have found themselves sitting at the bottom of the table in 20th place. Taking four out of a possible 15 points from their last five games, this has to change otherwise they’ll be dropping down a division. Newcastle need to capitalize off this fixture and try to climb a few spots.

Watford (7-4-11) vs Southampton (4-8-10)

            Watford had to be glad for the extended break after having a terrible run of games, losing to Swansea then Manchester City a win would be crucial to keep up for European football. Southampton are winless in their last five matches and lost to Crystal Palace last time out. I see Watford taking all three points here, the Saints are struggling to much and need to find a fix quickly.

West Bromwich Albion (2-10-10) vs Brighton & Hove Albion (5-8-9)

            West Brom have the least number of wins in the Premier League and the most draws thus far. Losing to West Ham United 2-1, if it wasn’t for their goal difference they’d be in last place instead of nineteenth place. Brighton have drawn two fixtures in a row and need to try to secure all three points here. I see neither side being able to control the game long enough to win and this match ending in a draw.

Tottenham Hotspur (12-5-5) vs Everton (7-6-9)

            Tottenham will feel hard done to have drawn West Ham United after winning their three previous matches. Everton are back on track but have hit a stumble in recent times, this fixture will be a very tough challenge for them but a testing point. If Everton can manage to shut down Harry Kane a possible upset is on the table, but doing that takes perfect defense for 90 minutes straight.

Sunday, January 14th

AFC Bournemouth (5-6-11) vs Arsenal (11-6-5)

            Bournemouth are slowing dropping down the table after not being able to play at a constant high level of soccer. Arsenal haven’t lost any of their last five but have drawn three of those matches. The Gunners should be able to take all three points here, but the question is whether Alexis Sanchez will play and will it be his last match for the club?

Liverpool (12-8-2) vs Manchester City (20-2-0)

            The match of the weekend and perhaps the match that finally sees Manchester City lose a fixture this season. Liverpool are in the form they’ll need to be in to win this match, wining four out of five and drawing the other match. Manchester City have the same current form but still haven’t lost a match. As City’s lead continues to extend over the other top six clubs, someone needs to stop them to allow others to catch up. A victory here could be one of the first big steps in securing the title, as they’re on to the second leg of all matches.

Sunday, January 15th

Manchester United (14-5-3) vs Stoke City (5-5-12)

            Manchester United’s slip of three straight draws may have handed City the title, but they need to keep winning to secure their Champion’s League spot. In a 2-0 victory over Everton they showed they can compete with anyone and Jesse Lingard has started to shine for the club. Stoke City have lost their last two fixtures and have now fallen into the relegation zone from the poor form. United should be able to secure all three points here, it’ll be breaking the Stoke defense down first. 

The Weekend Wrap- Arsenal get Upset

Arsenal Upset by Nottingham Forest        

The Gunner’s haven’t been able to keep a steady form this season and after their defeat to Manchester United back on December 2nd, they have struggled greatly. From that point Arsenal have went on to play another nine matches and have managed to only win three of them. This slump of form has found them in sixth place with only 34 points through 22 games. In the Third Round of the FA Cup, the Gunner’s had a great opportunity to turn around their season with a match up against Nottingham Forest at the City Ground. In the 20th minute the hosts took the lead, Dowell put in a free-kick finding Lichaj’s head for an early 1-0 lead. The lead would only last for three minutes until Mertesacker poked home a goal to equal up the score. In the 44th minute a bit of talent would put Nottingham up again, Eric Lichaj chested a ball before volleying it into the back post for a wonder goal. In the second half Rob Holding would bring down a player in the box giving Forest a chance to add to their lead and in the 64th minute Ben Brereton placed his penalty kick in the side netting. With a shock 3-1 deficit for Arsenal they’d be able to get a goal back off Danny Welbeck after sloppy defending from their keeper set up an easy tap in for the player. In the final moments of the match with the score 3-2, Forest would be awarded a penalty kick again and this time Kieran Dowell would make his too to give them a 4-2 victory. This shock defeat for Arsenal means the club who won the cup last season are already out and went out in poor style. It is important to note Arsenal did make nine changes to their starting 11 who faced Chelsea last time out. After the humiliation Arsenal’s manager Arsene Wenger said, “We were not good enough anywhere, not at the front, not in the middle, not at the back, and we paid for it. They looked sharper, had more chances, and that's all I can say. They had an outstanding performance and I couldn't fault any of their individual performances.” With another poor showing the club are going to have a very difficult job holding onto Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil who are free to leave this summer.

Mark Hughes Sacked

            Stoke City have gone until a terrible period and have found themselves in a huge hole they’ll have to dig themselves out of. Drawing Huddersfield Town 1-1 back on December 26th, then a 5-0 defeat to Chelsea and another loss to Newcastle United, the club have found themselves in 18th place with only 20 points through 22 games. In the third round of the FA Cup, Mark Hughes managed his club vs Coventry, a fourth-tier club in England, which should have been an easy victory for the Premier League club. But after an early goal for Coventry, it gave them the momentum they needed for the surprising upset to occur. Jack Grimmer scored in the 68th minute to stun football fans and end Hughes’s career as the Stoke City manager. Only three hours after the defeat to Coventry Stok City released a statement saying, “We would like to thank Mark for all he has achieved for the club over the last four and a half years, notably in guiding us to three successive ninth places finish in the Premier League, and we wish him every success for the future. The club will look to appoint a new manager as soon as possible and will be making no further comment at this time.” The timing will be cruel for the manager, as this was his 200th match in charge of Stoke and officially his last one as well. Stoke’s next Premier League fixture will be against Manchester United on Monday, January 15th where they’ll have to play at Old Trafford. With no clear indication on who Stoke will try to obtain to replace Hughes, the assistant coach will step in for the time being. 

Boxing Day- English Premier League

Tuesday, December 26th

Tottenham Hotspurs vs Southampton~ 5-2

            Tottenham Hotspurs came into the match with a lot of confidence after beating Burnley 0-3 away from home. Southampton on the other hand have struggled lately and drew with Huddersfield Town before this match. Just as many people thought it’d go in favor of the Spurs it indeed did. Harry Kane started off the scoring in the 22nd minute followed by another goal in the 39th minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead at the halftime break. Dele Alli would then give the club another goal in the 39th minute followed by a Son Heung-Min goal only two minutes later to put the hosts up 4-0. With the score, so one-sided Southampton were able to get a goal back in the 64th minute from Sofiane Boufal but Harry Kane three minutes later would get his hat trick for the night. Just as the game was coming down to the final couple of minutes the Saints would score again from a Tadic shot in the 82nd minute to finish the game 5-2.

Bournemouth vs West Ham United ~  3-3

            After a shock defeat to Newcastle United at home, the Hammers dropped into the relegation zone making matters only worse for David Moyes. Bournemouth were matched up against Manchester City and they were never favored to win and were beaten 0-4. James Collin opened up the scoring for the away team in the 7th minute but in the 29th minute Dan Gosling was able to get a tying goal. Going 1-1 at half Nathan Ake was able to give the Berries the lead in the 57th minute but then Marko Arnautovic scored two goals in the 81st and 89th minute to put West Ham up 2-3. But in the 90 + 3rd minute of the match Callum Wilson would score an equalizer.

Chelsea vs Brighton & Hove Albion~ 2-0

            After a slow start to the first half of the fixture the match went in 0-0 at the half time whistle, but only one minute into the second half Chelsea would take the lead. Azpilicueta would set up Alvaro Morata in the 46th minute to give the hosts the lead. In the 60th minute Fabregas would seal all three points for Chelsea when he set up Marco Alonso for the second goal of the match.

 

Huddersfield Town vs Stoke City~ 1-1

            Huddersfield Town need to start winning again after drawing Southampton after starting to drop toward the middle of the table. Stoke City continue to perform in their low table form but did get a victory vs West Brom last time out. Only ten minutes into the match the hosts to the lead when Quaner set up Ince for the opener. In the second half Stoke would equalize with Joe Allen setting up Sobhi to give both clubs a point.

Manchester United vs Burnley~ 2-2

            Romelu Lukaku again had a poor clearance off a set piece in the third minute setting up Barnes to get an easy tap in. Manchester United would then control the game having multiple near missed chances but Burnley would double their lead in the 36th minute when Defour struck a near perfect free kick. Jose Mourinho would prove to make important substitutions at the half brining Lingard and Mkhitaryan on for Ibrahimović and Rojo. Only eight from being subbed on Lingard would knock a goal back from an Ashley Young assist. In the 90th minute United would get their needed equalizer when Lingard one touched a volley into the side netting.

Watford vs Leicester City~ 2-1

            Watford and Leicester City have both been doing better in recent weeks climbing into the top half of the table. In the 37th minute Mahrez would put the Foxes ahead when Albrighton set up the play. The hosts would put together a last-minute goal with Wague scoring in the 45th minute. In the second half Kasper Schmeichel would score an own goal to give away the lead and all three points.

West Bromwich Alboin vs Everton~ 0-0

            Everton were on a good run wining their last two matches in a row before facing Chelsea and leaving with a point against them, the club is going through a great spell. West Brom are in a lot of trouble in the relegation zone and losing to Stoke 3-1. After a scoreless match, both clubs ended with a point.

Liverpool vs Swansea City~ 5-0     

            Stopping Liverpool’s front line has become increasingly difficult and when you’re sitting at the bottom of the table you won’t have much going for you.  Only six minutes into the fixture Coutinho would score off a Salah assist for an early lead with the half ending 1-0. In the second half, the Reds would turn up the heat with the goal scorer becoming the assister and setting up Firmino for the goal. In the 65th minute Arnold would score followed by another Firmino goal off a Salah assist. Then to seal the fixture even more Chamberlain would score in the 82nd minute to put Liverpool up 5-0.

Wednesday, December 27th

Newcastle United vs Manchester City~ 0-1

            Stopping Manchester City is now the weekly challenge for every club who comes up against them. Newcastle put a great display against the club but in the 31st minute De Bruyne would set up Sterling for the only goal of the match.

Thursday, December 28th

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal~ 2-3

            Arsenal come into the match after a crazy fixture with Liverpool which saw six goals go in ending in a draw. Crystal Palace dropped vital points to Swansea City in a 1-1 draw as well. Mustafi would give the Gunners a 0-1 lead after his 25th minute goal. In the second half Wilfred Zaha would set up Townsend in the 49th minute to equalize the game. Alexis Sanchez would then score two quick goals in the 62nd and 66th minute to put the Gunner’s up 1-3. Crystal Palace would have a late push to get back in the game but it was too late as Tomkins scored in the 89th minute. 

English Premier League- Match Day 19

Friday, December 22

Arsenal (10-4-5) vs Liverpool (9-8-2) ~ 3-3

            Arsenal came into this fixture with a lot to prove, with shaking form through the opening 18 games of the season this could be a turning point for the club. Only winning one of their last four matches and losing two of them, a victory here would be crucial in their fight for Champion’s League next season. Liverpool as well have drawn quite a few matches this season and it’s starting to play huge dividends for the club. The Reds started off in specular form away from home and opened up the scoring in the 26th minute off a Coutinho goal and would score in the 52nd minute off a Salah shot. Their two-goal lead would be quick to fade though, in a matter of 5 minutes, Arsenal would be able to score three goals to take the lead. Starting with Alexis Sanches in the 53rd minute, then Xhaka in the 56th minute, Ozil gave them the lead in the 58th minute. As it looked that the hosts would take all three points, Liverpool would score in an equalizer in the 71st minute to give each club a point.

Saturday, December 23rd

Everton (7-5-7) vs Chelsea (12-3-4) ~ 0-0

            This fixture was a big match for Everton, after beating Huddersfield Town, Newcastle United and Swansea City in a matter of four matches while tying Liverpool, it was a time to see how they can compete with a top six club. Chelsea have been on a good run of matches as of late and have only lost to West Ham in their previous four games. This fixture provided multiple chances for both clubs to take the lead but ultimately ended in a goalless draw.

Brighton & Hove Albion (5-6-8) vs Watford (6-4-9) ~ 1-0

            Brighton were the club who controlled a majority of the great chances through the first half, missing a couple open chances to take the lead. In the 64th minute though, Pascal Gross struck a powerful shot that was able to beat Watford’s keeper to give the hosts a 1-0 lead. The single goal would be enough to earn Brighton their first win in seven matches.

Manchester City (18-1-0) vs AFC Bournemouth (4-4-11) ~ 4-0

            Stopping Manchester City isn’t an easy job as they continue to add more victories to their current winning streak. Bournemouth weren’t in good shape coming into the match either with two losses in a row from Manchester United and Liverpool. It only took the hosts 27 minutes to take the lead with Augero scoring the first goal. Bournemouth would hold City for a second goal until the 53rd minute when Sterling doubled the lead and in the 79th Augero got his brace for the match and to seal the easy victory for the club Danilo scored in the 85th minute.

Southampton (4-7-8) vs Huddersfield Town (6-4-9) ~ 1-1

            The Saints have endured a rough spell in the season, drawing two matches then losing back to back games to Leicester City and Chelsea, Huddersfield Town would be their first chance at an easier opponent before playing the Spurs on Boxing Day. Huddersfield Town came into the match with their impressive 4-1 victory over Watford. Charlie Austin gave the Saints an early lead by scoring in the 24th minute, but after a powerful Laurent Depoitre header in the 64th minute the game ended in a draw.

Stoke City (5-4-10) vs West Bromwich Albion (2-8-9) ~ 3-1

            Stoke and West Brom have both went through a very poor four game periods, Stoke have only taken three out of a possible twelve points while West Brom have only managed to get two points. Stoke City would get the crucial three points they needed in this matchup, Joe Allen scored in the 19th minute and in the injury period at the end of the first half Choupo-Moting scored in the 45 + 2nd minute to give the hosts a 2-0 lead. West Brom would knock a goal back in the 51st minute off a Rondon goal but in the 95th minute Sobhi sealed all three points for Stoke with his goal.

Swansea City (3-4-12) vs Crystal Palace (4-6-9) ~ 1-1

            Swansea City have found themselves at the bottom of the table with a mere 13 points and only one victory in their past four times out. Crystal Palace have started to play much better football since the return of Wilfred Zaha, climbing out of the relegation zone along the way. This was an important match for the visitors to try to get all three points off a weak Swansea side and in the 59th minute Milivojevic scored a penalty for Palace. But as it seemed the Swans would continue to drop all three points Ayew scored the equalizer in the 77th minute to give both clubs a point.

West Ham United (4-5-10) vs Newcastle United (5-3-11) ~ 2-3

            A five-goal thriller would be enough to give Newcastle a much need victory to snap their losing streak. But first West Ham would score first in the 6th minute when Marko Arnautovic was able to place his shot into the far post beating the keeper. Only four minutes later Henri Saivet would tie the match with a fantastic free kick to bring the match to 1-1 at half. In the 53rd minute Newcastle would take the lead when a squared pass ended up at the feet of Diame for an easy tap in goal. Then in the 61st minute Newcastle would counter West Ham with the ball ending up at the feet of Atsu to give them a 3-1 lead with only thirty minutes to go. West Ham would start a comeback in the 69th minute when their corner kick ended up having the ball fall into the 18-yard box with Andrew Ayew poking home the goal. Their late charge wouldn’t be enough to beat Newcastle as they’d win 2-3.

Burnley (9-5-5) vs Tottenham Hotspurs (10-4-5) ~ 0-3

            Burnley were surprising many staying in decent distance with the top six clubs, but this match showed they aren’t ready to compete with the bigger clubs. It’d be a Harry Kane show as he’d score in the 7th minute, 69th minute and in the 79th minute to have a hat trick on the night.

Leicester City (7-6-6) vs Manchester United (13-3-3) ~ 2-2

            This match was extremely important for Manchester United to win, they cannot afford to drop any points with the insane form Manchester City are on at the moment. Away from home they didn’t start out on the right foot, with Jamie Vardy opening the scoring in the 27th minute. Juan Mata would equalize the score in the 40th and give the club the lead only 20 minutes later in the 60th minute. But in the 94th minute Maguire would even up the score to give both clubs a point on the night. 

EFL Cup Quarter-Final Results

Arsenal vs West Ham United~ 1-0

            The EFL Cup, or known as the Carabao Cup, is a great time for managers to rotate their squad giving players with less playing time a chance to prove themselves. This is what both managers decided to do in this fixture, after naming almost entirely different starting lineups from their last time out. The first half was a relatively boring half with Arsenal having a majority of the possession and the shots on target. In the 42nd minute though, Debuchy headed a cross into the center of the box and former Manchester United Striker Danny Welbeck’s original header was poor but fell to his feet for an easy tap in goal. The match would go into the half with the Gunner’s leading 1-0 after a rather boring forty-five minutes. In the second half, the Hammers would have their only chance to equalize in the 64th minute, but their free kick went wide of the post. Welbeck’s goal was enough to see Arsenal advance into the next round of the cup, after the match David Moye’s, West Ham’s manager, told the press, “We are making steady progress. We need to add quality, you could see that tonight, but you wouldn't question our honesty and determination. We were organized and made it difficult for Arsenal. We gave away a really poor goal. It wasn't an Arsenal-type goal and we should have defended it well. Up until the goal Walcott had a chance with a header but I can't think of any chances before that or in the second half.”

Leicester City vs Manchester City~ 1-1 (3-4)

            Manchester City were the dominating side of this fixture, having a vast majority of the possession and multiple chances early on. It’d be in the 26th minute for them to have their first goal, Gundogan was able to pick of the ball in his own half before dribbling down to pitch finding Bernardo Silva, who was able to finish the pass to the back post. Silva’s goal was enough to put the visitors up 0-1 at the half time whistle, but in the 51st minute the Foxes would have a header go just over the cross bar. Then in the dying minutes of injury time in the 95th minute, Gray was tripped from behind by Kyle Walker to give the hosts a penalty kick and Jamie Vardy made sure to finish his chance. After two scoreless overtimes halves the match went into a penalty shootout with Manchester City winning after Marhez and Vardy missed their penalty kicks.

Chelsea vs AFC Bournemouth~ 2-1

            Chelsea looked to be in complete control of this matchup after Kennedy found Fabregas with a back heel before finding Willian for an easy finish in the 13th minute. In the 29th minute Bournemouth almost conceded again after a poor back pass set up Batshuayi for a one on one with the keeper but had his shot blocked. As the game started to whine down in the second half, Bournemouth started to gain momentum of the game and their efforts paid off in the 90th minute, a long throw in ended up being headed down to a Cherries player who squared it to Dan Gosling for a curling equalizer. But just a minute later Chelsea’s counter attack in the 91st minute would be enough to see them through, Morata played a flick pass to Hazard who then returned the ball back to Morata for a toe poke winner.

Bristol City vs Manchester United~ 2-1

            Manchester United were unlucky not to take an early lead in the match, in the 11th minute Martials cross to Ibrahimović ended up hitting the post. Then again in the 21st minute, Marcus Rashford’s shot hit the post before bouncing wide of the goal. In the 51st minute Bristol City’s Brian would be played through who put a near perfect far post shot in. In the 58th minute Zlatan Ibrahimović would equalize for United from a direct free kick. In the 93rd minute and the final minute of injury time, Luke Shaw would keep on Corey Smith, who received a chipped pass, scoring the game winner for Bristol City. After the loss Jose Mourinho wasn’t happy and felt hard done by the defeat saying, “They were a bit lucky. But they fought a lot to be lucky. They won the game in our best moment, where we can't react, when everyone was waiting for our goal. So, I have to say they were a bit lucky. Also in the first half, we hit the post twice. But they played brilliantly, fought like this was the game of their lives, which it probably was, and I think a beautiful day for football, because a team from a lower division one. To get into a semi-final, a big day for them, their supporters.”

 

            

The Weekend Wrap- Everton back on Track

Everton beat the Swans

            In a time, Swansea City needed a victory so badly after dropping into 20th place with only twelve points, this could have been a turning point for the club. Only 35 minutes into the game the Swans looked to have the luck they needed, Leroy Fer was left unmarked on a corner kick allowing for an easy tap in and for the guests to go up 0-1. Just minutes left in the first half, Aaron Lennon played a give and go with Wayne Rooney, before being tripped giving the host a penalty kick. Rooney’s initial shot was blocked and hit the post, bouncing out to Dominic Calvert-Lewin for a 45 + 2 minute goal. The Iceland International, Gylfi Sigurdsson, who left Swansea over the summer for £45 million, made his former club regret selling him. In the 64th minute Wayne Rooney found Sigurdsson out wide, where he then cut it in and curled the ball perfectly into the back post, giving Everton a 2-1 lead. In the 73rd minute Kenny was tripped in the box again by Swansea, again Rooney decided to take the kick. This time his shot went in, with a lot of power giving Everton a 3-1 victory and all three points. That goal was Rooney’s 10th goal in the Premier League this season, more than his previous two when he was still at Manchester United.

            The three points brings Everton back into the top half after dropping near the relegation zone for a while, with 25 points they sit in 9th place behind Leicester City with 26 points. Their winning momentum has started after a 4-1 trashing from Southampton a few weeks back. Since then they beat West Ham United 4-0, Huddersfield Town 2-0, drew with Liverpool 1-1 and won this fixture here. They’ll have a huge test coming up on December 23rd when they Chelsea at home, if they can win here European football is not out of the picture for the club. For Swansea City, they don’t have much to be looking forward too, they play a red-hot Crystal Palace team coming up on the 23rd followed by a very strong Liverpool club. The January transfer window may be the only thing they can look forward too, otherwise the Championship will be their likely destination.

Atletico Madrid report Barcelona to FIFA

            The incident occurred with Antoine Griezmann probability of leaving Atletico within the next two windows. His transfer from Spain looked all but done over the summer with a switch to Manchester United, but in the final minutes decided to stay. Much of his reasoning for the stay was not wanting to leave Atletico Madrid in a lot of problems after they were handed a one year transfer ban by FIFA. With Griezmann being allowed to leave if the offer is right, Barcelona’s Guillermo Amor said it’s “possible” that they’ve might have talked to the player’s family already over the weekend. This could turn to be a huge mistake for the club, if they’re found guilty of holding talks with the player they could face another transfer ban. On Tuesday Atletico released a statement about their filing to FIFA stating, “Atletico Madrid have reported Barcelona for repeated contact with Griezmann and his people, contact which we are aware of. He is a player with a contract with Atletico Madrid and a long contract at that.” If permission wasn’t granted to Barcelona and they held talks with the striker, this could become a very dicey situation to evolve. It’s clear the Frenchman will leave in his near future, to Barcelona it seems unlikely as they’re a direct rival and never to Real Madrid as they’re each-others must hated clubs. Following the statement from Madrid, Barcelona made sure to be quick to comment on it, to try to get the spotlight off them as quickly as possible. The club’s statement read, “There have been no negotiations with Griezmann and, therefore, no irregularities have been committed.” This could be a good thing for potential suitors such as Manchester United, Chelsea, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain, as if Barcelona infringed on the player’s contract their hope to sign the promising forward could be out the window. 

English Premier League Match Week 18

Saturday, December 16th

Leicester City (7-5-6) vs Crystal Palace (4-5-9) ~ 0-3

            Leicester City came into this fixture with fourth straight victories including beating Southampton 1-4. Palace as well have gone 2-3-0 in their last five fixtures, beating Watford 2-1 on Tuesday. Only 19 minutes into the game the away side were able to get ahead, Andros Townsend found Christian Benteke for the opening goal of the match. Then Benteke became the assister, finding Wilfred Zaha to but the away club up 0-2 at half. To add the Foxes problems in the 61st minute Ndidi received his second yellow of the game and was sent off, followed by a 90th minute Bakary Sako goal to seal all three points for Palace.

Watford (6-4-8) vs Huddersfield Town (6-3-9) ~ 1-4

            Watford came into the match wanting to turn around their four previous performances. Losing three and drawing one, they’re slowly starting to drop down the table. Huddersfield Town were beaten 1-3 by Chelsea in their previous match. Huddersfield though netted three times before Watford could get a goal back with Doucoure scoring in the 68th minute. But Huddersfield were able to strike again in the 89th minute off an Aaron Moy goal.

Chelsea (12-2-4) vs Southampton (4-6-8) ~ 1-0

            Chelsea have only lost one of their past four matches, with the shock defeat coming from West Ham United. On Tuesday, they had a conformable victory away beating Huddersfield Town 1-3. Southampton are another club who’ve started to struggle as of recent matches, losing two and drawing two of their last four. Chelsea got lucky in the dying minutes of the first half, when Marcos Alonso scored from free kick in the 45th minute. It was enough to seal all three points for Chelsea and drop the Saints to 12th in the table.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-6-8) vs Burnley (9-5-4) ~ 0-0

            Brighton had lost the previous three fixtures in a row with the most recent coming from a 2-0 defeat to Tottenham. Burnley had won three of their previous four matches, while beating Stoke City 1-0 on Tuesday. This match had multiple chances for both clubs to score, but neither were able to capitalize as the match ended in a draw.

Arsenal (10-3-5) vs Newcastle United (4-3-11) ~ 1-0

            Arsenal’s form in their last three matches hasn’t been great, losing to Manchester United and tying their other two fixtures. Newcastle United are in a lot of trouble now, not purchasing players this summer they are having to pay for their actions. Losing three and drawing one as of their recent fixtures they were in 18th place with only 15 points. A 23rd minute goal from Mesut Ozil proved to be enough for the Gunners to seal the victory here.

Stoke City (4-4-10) vs West Ham United (4-5-9) ~ 0-3

            Stoke continue to drop down the table, with only one win in their last four with it coming against a very weak Swansea City. West Ham United fans were against the appointment of David Moyes, but after multiple good performances their attitudes may be changing soon. Only 19 minutes into the game Mark Noble was able to score to put West Ham up 0-1 at the half. In the 75th minute Arnautovic was able to score followed by an 86th minute Sakho goal to allow West Ham the 0-3 away win.

Manchester City (17-1-0) vs Tottenham Hotspurs (9-4-5) ~ 4-1

            This would be one of the big tests for Manchester City to see if they could beat all the top clubs in England. After winning 15 straight games, it was Tottenham’s job to finally put an end to their incredible run of wins. Tottenham came into the match with the confidence needed winning their previous two games by over two goals each. City were quick to put themselves ahead as in the 14th minute Leroy Sane found Ilkay Gundogan for the first goal. In the second half Gundogan found Kevin De Bruyne in the 70th minute to double their lead. Raheem Sterling would then score in the 80th minute and the 90th minute to put them up by four goals. In the 90th minute though Christian Eriksen would put one in for Tottenham to make the final score 4-1.

Sunday, December 17th

West Bromwich Albion (2-8-8) vs Manchester United (13-2-3) ~ 1-2

            West Bromwich as of late seem to be only able to draw matches with three of their last four matches ending in a draw. Manchester United will feel hard done being beaten by Manchester City 2-1 after gifting two easy goals to them. In the 27th minute though Marcus Rashford found Romelu Lukaku for the opening goal. Then 8 minutes later Jesse Lingard was able to score off a Juan Mata assist. In the 77th minute, former Manchester United defender, Jonny Evans found Gareth Barry for a West Brom goal. The fixture ended with United winning 1-2.

Bournemouth (4-4-10) vs Liverpool (10-3-5) ~ 0-4

            Bournemouth were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United on Wednesday and continued to show their poor form. Liverpool drew two matches in a row from Everton and West Brom. Bournemouth were made to pay for their poor performances in this match, Coutinho, Lovren and Salah all scored in the first half score be 0-3. In the second half Firmino scored in the 66th to make the final score 0-4.

Monday, December 18th

Everton (6-4-7) vs Swansea City (3-3-11)

            Everton are coming into this fixture with positive results, winning three out of their last four matches. Swansea City are now in last place with only twelve points and lost 0-4 to Manchester City last time out. I see Everton winning 2-0 here as the Swans are struggling greatly.

Champions League~ Round of 16 Draw

            Thirty-Two of the world’s best clubs from across Europe started in this year’s Champion's League Group Stage and now were down to sixteen teams left. The top two clubs from each group advanced, while third place moved to the Europa League and the fourth-place clubs are out. For the draw, the team that placed first in their group are seeded and the second-place teams are unseeded being put into different containers for selection. The only rule for the draw was teams from the same group couldn’t be matched up or from the same association.

Results of the Draw

2nd Seed Club (Country) vs 1st Seed Club (Country)

Juventus (ITA) vs Tottenham Hotspur FC (ENG)

            Tottenham Hotspurs have received no luck of drawing a weaker opponent in the draw for this stage. Finishing first place in their group, topping Real Madrid, it’s proved not to have paid any dividends at this point. In their first ever meeting between the two clubs, they’ll face Juventus, who were finalist last season. While Juve are currently third in Series A, they still have one of the strongest overall squads in Europe and the Spurs aren’t doing any better. Currently Tottenham sit in 4th place with much of their reliance being put on Harry Kane. This matchup will really come down to who’s the better club through both legs, I don’t see one club dominating it, making it hard to pick who will advance on.

FC Basel 1893 (SUI) vs Manchester City (ENG)

            FC Basel advanced onto this round finishing second place behind Manchester United. For Manchester City though, this is a draw they would have dreamed of receiving this far along in the cup. With Manchester United already beating Basel, it’ll give them even more belief and positivity going into the two legs. If Basel hope to shock everyone they’ll need to be very good defensively and try to hit City on the counter attack. I see Manchester City winning their two-legged tie here.

FC Porto (POR) vs Liverpool FC (ENG)

            FC Porto managed to advance but the Portuguese will be facing a very tough opposition. With that being said Liverpool have periods where they’ve struggled to play well and have drawn to many times. If they can manage to stop Salah, the Premier League’s highest goal scorer, it’ll give them a lot bigger of a chance to advance. I still see Liverpool being victorious through the two legs though.

Sevilla FC (ESP) vs Manchester United (ENG)

            Another Premier League club has received the benefits of finishing first in their group. Facing Sevilla for the club’s first time, it’s in Manchester United’s hands to mess up this draw. I cannot see that happening though, with Eric Baily being the only player actually injured for the club, United will have plenty of options to deploy. The most important thing for United would be to get an away goal or two in the first leg to help seal it early.

Real Madrid CF (ESP) vs Paris Saint-Germain (ESP)

            Easily the matchup of the tournament and what most people could have seen as the Champion’s League Final. If Real Madrid are to lose this matchup they will be furious with themselves for not beating Tottenham to win their group. Their poor group stage form is the reason they’ve had to face such a difficult opposition so soon. Much of the spotlight will be on Kylian Mbappe, who turned down an offer from Real Madrid to go to Paris Saint-Germain. Many people believe it was a wise decision as he’ll get much more playing time this way, but looks bad for Madrid to be turned away for another club. I see PSG beating the defending champions here, Madrid haven’t been playing to their best potential and will be proved to pay for it.

FC Shakhtar Donetsk (UKR) vs AS Roma (ITA)

            Roma are loving the difference in winning the group compared to finishing second, facing a much easier opponent then Chelsea much face now. Shakhtar will need to be solid at home if they hope to have a chance here, their first leg will be what wins or loses them the matchup. Conceding any goal I see them losing from the away goal rule.

Chelsea FC (ENG) vs FC Barcelona (ESP)

            Another one of the most exciting matchups drawn for this round. Chelsea will be looking back at the group stage in agony, as if they would have beaten Roma their opponent would have been Shakhtar Donetsk. Chelsea’s hope in the matchup comes from an @OptaJoe fact, Messi hasn’t scored in his previous eight matchups against Chelsea, having 29 shots on goal none have gone in making it his worst goal scoring record vs any club. Both clubs will have the chance to score and are capable of winning this. For Chelsea, the most important thing is not to let Barca score in the first-round brining everything down to their match in Spain.

FC Bayern Munich (GER) vs Besiktas JK (Tur)

            Bayern Munich continue to dominate in Germany and Europe year in and out. Besiktas have reached their further point in this competition in the club’s history. The Turkish side will feel hard done to draw Bayern after winning their group, as Bayern should win it. 

English Premier League Match Day 17

Tuesday, December 12th

Burnley vs Stoke City~ 1-0

            Burnley continue to impress everyone through the first 16 matches of the season, also winning last time out vs Watford 1-0. Stoke City were humiliated when they travelled to Tottenham last weekend, losing 5-1 they’re starting to get close to the relegation zone. The fixture between these two clubs looked to be ending in a draw, but in the 89th minute Barnes scored to give the host the only goal, winning his club three points. This brings Burnley into in impressive fourth place in the league with 31 points.

Crystal Palace vs Watford~ 2-1

            Crystal Palace had one of the worse starts to a Premier League season campaign ever witnessed, but in recent weeks they’ve turned around their fortune. Drawing two matches in a row vs Bournemouth and West Brom, they needed to keep winning to have high hopes going into the winter time frame. While Watford, like Burnley, had a great start they’ve now had a dip in recent weeks, losing 1-0 to Burnley last time out. Only three minutes into the match, Watford’s Janmaat was able to put his side ahead. But after an 87th minute red card by Cleverley his team fell apart. In the 89th minute Sako scored for Palace to get a brace, followed by a 92nd minute winner from McArthur.

Huddersfield Town vs Chelsea~ 1-3

            Huddersfield Town had little hope in defeating Chelsea at home, but with their 2-0 victory against Brighton on the 9th it sparked some belief. Chelsea weren’t having any of it though and dominated the fixture. The first half ended 0-2 in favor of the Blues with Bakayoko scoring in the 23rd minute followed by a 43rd minute Willian goal. The second half went the same way as the first and in the 50th minute Pedro knocked home the clubs third goal of the game. Huddersfield were able to get a goal back in the 92nd minute from Depoitre but it was already too late for it to make a difference.

Wednesday, December 13th

Newcastle United (4-3-9) vs Everton (5-4-7)

            Newcastle United will feel hard done not to have taken any points from Leicester City while they were at home, giving up an 86th minute goal they lost 2-3. Everton managed to get a draw against Liverpool after a controversial penalty kick by Wayne Rooney. With Everton starting to click and with the amount of quality they have within their squad, I see them winning 0-2 here.

Southampton (4-6-6) vs Leicester City (6-5-5)

            Southampton were very unlucky to tie Arsenal at home, giving up an 88th minute goal to Giroud, they easily could of went away with all three points. Leicester City on the other hand had to come back twice vs Newcastle United to get the victory. I see Leicester City winning the match after being able to put in 3 goals last time.

Swansea City (3-3-10) vs Manchester City (15-1-0)

            The Swans are deeply struggling, but they did manage to beat West Brom 1-0. Manchester City had their biggest game of the season vs Manchester United and they were able to win 2-1. United’s sloppy defense gave City two easy tap in goals otherwise this could have been their first loss of the season. I cannot see Manchester City loosing or getting tested here, with the final score being 0-4.

Tottenham Hotspur (8-4-4) vs Brighton & Hove Albion (4-5-7)

            The Spurs put on a show at home vs Stoke City, beating them 5-1 it’s a much-needed victory after dropping crucial points in the past couple weeks. Brighton’s bright start to their first EPL campaign seems to be darkening quickly, a 2-0 defeat on Saturday to Huddersfield Town only makes matters worse. I see the Spurs winning 2-0 in the match.

Liverpool (8-6-2) vs West Bromwich Albion (2-7-7)

            Liverpool seem to be having the issue Manchester United did last season, they aren’t losing many matches but they’re drawing way too many. After giving up a pk in their derby match with Everton, they dropped another two points. West Brom are now in the relegation zone with Palace winning and they didn’t help themselves losing to Swansea on the 9th. Liverpool should be able to win this match as Salah is in fantastic form at the moment.

Manchester United (11-2-3) vs AFC Bournemouth (4-4-8)

            United will feel hard done losing to Manchester City over the weekend, after two poor clearances from crosses, City had two easy taps in goals. Bournemouth haven’t done much to prove they’re mid-table team this season yet, tying Crystal Palace 2-2. Manchester United are heavy favorites to win and I see them winning 2-0.

West Ham United (3-4-9) vs Arsenal (9-2-5)

            West Ham United managed to pull off a shock victory at home over Chelsea last time they played. Arsenal drew away at Southampton 1-1, with a late goal grabbing them a point. West Ham may have belief they can win after beating Chelsea, but I still see Arsenal winning 1-2. 

The Weekend Wrap- Manchester Derby

Manchester United vs Manchester City~ 1-2

            Both Manchester clubs came in with multiple records they wanted to expand and objectives to achieve. Manchester United have managed to go 40 matches at Old Trafford without a defeat and they hoped to continue with their record in the Derby. Manchester City continue to fly in the Premier League and a win here would be 14 consecutive victories in the Premier League, setting a new record in top flight play. The Red Devils too were hoping to be able to cut down on the points behind City in the league table, a loss here would sit them back 11 points so early in the season. Manchester City though were the first to strike in the Derby, in the 43rd minute City’s corner feel in the box and David Silva was able to tap it in from six yards out. Just before half though United would be able to get a goal back, after a defensive error from Otamendi and Delph, Marcus Rashford was able to score in the 45th + 2nd minute. The second half didn’t start well for Manchester United either, after City were awarded a free kick Romelu Lukaku made a terrible clearance. His failed clearance hit off another playing falling at the feet of Otamendi in the 54th minute for their second goal. In the 66th minute the Red Devils had their final chance to get their equalizer, but Lukaku’s shot hit Ederson then their follow up attempt was blocked too. In the 79th minute Zlatan Ibrahimović came into the match, but it was too late with City winning 1-2.

            United didn’t have the best performance, but at the same time they weren’t dominated or completely outplayed. It was their worst possession at Old Trafford since 2003/2004 as they only managed to have 35% possession of the ball. After the match Jose Mourinho was asked his opinion on the fixture and he said, “The referee made a mistake - it can happen. I feel sorry for Michael Oliver. Clear penalty. I am sorry for us, sorry for Michael, I think he had a good performance, but it's a clear penalty. I think they are a very good team, I think they are lucky, I think they have all the decisions in their favor, probably yes.” After the Red Devil’s defeat at home they’ll return to Old Trafford again this Wednesday when they play Bournemouth. Manchester City will hope to continue their winning streak when they travel to Swansea City on Wednesday as well.

Rooney Saves the Day

            The Merseyside Derby is one that brings so much history between the two clubs of Everton and Liverpool. Liverpool were at home at Anfeild where they’ve had a 14-game unbeaten streak with Everton, dominating the rivalry in recent years. Just as many expected in the 42nd minute, Salah was stronger than Cuco Martina freeing himself up for a shot from 15 yards out, his curling shot was able to bear Jordan Pickford for the goal. Everton’s luck came after the Reds had the chance to seal all three points, as Rooney played a cross to Calvert-Lewin who was fouled for a penalty kick. The player with legendary experience, Wayne Rooney, stepped up and scored from the spot. After the Toffees tied up the game, Liverpool continued to mount on pressure, but Everton were able to hold off the attack for a point. After the match Jürgen Klopp was not happy and said, “I cannot, cannot believe that in a game like this, where only one team is trying over 95 minutes to do everything to win it, and the other team… was not even in our box, I'm not sure if they even had a shot on target, except from the penalty. And you open the door for them like this, it's in my understanding not ok.” Furious as he should be, as the Toffees only managed 21 percent possession, their lowest in a Premier League fixture since 2003/2004 season. After Wayne Rooney netted the equalizer, it’s his fifth goal in his last six Premier League starts against Liverpool, continuing to give them major issues. 

Champion's League Group Stage Results~ Dec. 5th

Tuesday December 5th

Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain~ 3-1

            Bayern Munich had a lot to play for when they came into this fixture, being humiliated by PSG last time out another loss could destroy their dominance status. Losing 3-0 to them last time they played in Paris, Bayern were ready to give them payback. Munich wasted no time in the fixture to take the lead, only eight minutes in Robert Lewandowski finished a head pass from Kingsley Coman. Then again in the 37th minute Bayern were able to double their lead, James Rodriquez picked a near perfect cross to Corentin Tolisso who headed home the cross. This is where it started to get interesting in the group, if Bayern could now win the match 4-0, they would top the group with goal differential. Unfortunately, the French team couldn’t be held for all ninety minutes and only five minutes in, Edison Cavani played a perfect scoop pass to Kylian Mbappe who finished off the play. In the 70th minute Bayern were able to seal the victory at home, Tolisso bagged his second goal of the game from a Coman assist. The match finished 3-1 with both clubs going through to the Round of 16, and PSG ended as group leaders.

Manchester United vs CSKA Moscow~ 2-1

            Manchester United all put booked their spot into the next round before the kickoff of this match, having a 99.9% chance of going through wasn’t their main concern but topping the group was more important. Throughout the first half United were dominating the match, but right before half a questionable offside flag was never risen and CSKA went up 1-0 from a Vitnho goal. In the second half, the Red Devils wouldn’t allow for the one goal deficit stop them from pulling off a comeback. In the 64th minute Paul Pogba was able to pick out Romelu Lukaku to tie up the score. Then only two minutes later United were back on the score sheet, as Marcus Rashford was having a field day and scored the second and winning goal. The victory sealed first place in the group for Manchester United and it marks the first time since 2013-14 that they’ve progressed to the Round of 16. Also, it’s important to note that Luke Shaw had a great display, this comes after 219 days of not starting, giving him hope of having a future in Manchester.

Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid~ 1-1

            Chelsea needed a victory here in order to top Group C, while Atletico continue to struggle this season. In the first half alone Alvaro Morata had three huge opportunities to score, but one went wide and the other two were stopped by Oblak. The fixture would go into half as a draw and just like the first half, Chelsea came into the second with the momentum. Early in the second half Andreas Christensen’s header was caught by Oblak then Alvaro Morata’s header went wide of the post. Madrid would nearly capitalize in the 53rd minute when Filipe Luis shot hit the post bouncing to Koke but was saved by Courtois. In the 56th minute though Koke sent in a perfect corner that was headed on from Fernando Torres allowing Saul to have an easy finish. A huge blow for Chelsea as they needed a victory here in order to top the group, they would get some hope back in the 75th minute though. Hazard’s shot took a deflection off of Savic before finding the back of the net, resulting in the goal being considered an own goal. The match ended 1-1 with neither side being able to make the most of their opportunities. Will Chelsea be made to pay for all the missed chances? Will find out soon as the next round drawing will take place on Monday the 11th.

Barcelona vs Sporting CP~ 2-0

            Many people have questioned whether the team could handle playing in top form with the loss to Neymar this summer. Thus far though Barca seem to be doing perfectly fine and with a victory in this game they’d top Group D. A slow first half ended with the game being a draw through the first forty-five minutes, but the second half would bring more excitement. In wouldn’t be till the 59th minute for a goal to be scored, but Denis Suarez’s lofted corner found Alcacer at the near post, where he glanced the header over the keeper to put them up by 1. A moment to forget for former Barca defender Mathieu, in the 91st minute he slid trying to block a cross from Denis Suarez. But in return he diverted the ball into his own net for an own goal, finishing the score 2-0. Even with Barcelona managing to compete without Neymar, they’ll really start to be tested now in the next round. With a bunch of super power clubs left, it’ll take every player playing at their best including Messi if they hope to advance to the quarterfinals. 

Champion’s League Group Stage Results~

Tuesday December 5th

Bayern Munich vs Paris Saint-Germain~ 3-1

            Bayern Munich had a lot to play for when they came into this fixture, being humiliated by PSG last time out another loss could destroy their dominance status. Losing 3-0 to them last time they played in Paris, Bayern were ready to give them payback. Munich wasted no time in the fixture to take the lead, only eight minutes in Robert Lewandowski finished a head pass from Kingsley Coman. Then again in the 37th minute Bayern were able to double their lead, James Rodriquez picked a near perfect cross to Corentin Tolisso who headed home the cross. This is where it started to get interesting in the group, if Bayern could now win the match 4-0, they would top the group with goal differential. Unfortunately, the French team couldn’t be held for all ninety minutes and only five minutes in, Edison Cavani played a perfect scoop pass to Kylian Mbappe who finished off the play. In the 70th minute Bayern were able to seal the victory at home, Tolisso bagged his second goal of the game from a Coman assist. The match finished 3-1 with both clubs going through to the Round of 16, and PSG ended as group leaders.

Manchester United vs CSKA Moscow~ 2-1

            Manchester United all put booked their spot into the next round before the kickoff of this match, having a 99.9% chance of going through wasn’t their main concern but topping the group was more important. Throughout the first half United were dominating the match, but right before half a questionable offside flag was never risen and CSKA went up 1-0 from a Vitnho goal. In the second half, the Red Devils wouldn’t allow for the one goal deficit stop them from pulling off a comeback. In the 64th minute Paul Pogba was able to pick out Romelu Lukaku to tie up the score. Then only two minutes later United were back on the score sheet, as Marcus Rashford was having a field day and scored the second and winning goal. The victory sealed first place in the group for Manchester United and it marks the first time since 2013-14 that they’ve progressed to the Round of 16. Also, it’s important to note that Luke Shaw had a great display, this comes after 219 days of not starting, giving him hope of having a future in Manchester.

Chelsea vs Atletico Madrid~ 1-1

            Chelsea needed a victory here in order to top Group C, while Atletico continue to struggle this season. In the first half alone Alvaro Morata had three huge opportunities to score, but one went wide and the other two were stopped by Oblak. The fixture would go into half as a draw and just like the first half, Chelsea came into the second with the momentum. Early in the second half Andreas Christensen’s header was caught by Oblak then Alvaro Morata’s header went wide of the post. Madrid would nearly capitalize in the 53rd minute when Filipe Luis shot hit the post bouncing to Koke but was saved by Courtois. In the 56th minute though Koke sent in a perfect corner that was headed on from Fernando Torres allowing Saul to have an easy finish. A huge blow for Chelsea as they needed a victory here in order to top the group, they would get some hope back in the 75th minute though. Hazard’s shot took a deflection off of Savic before finding the back of the net, resulting in the goal being considered an own goal. The match ended 1-1 with neither side being able to make the most of their opportunities. Will Chelsea be made to pay for all the missed chances? Will find out soon as the next round drawing will take place on Monday the 11th.

Barcelona vs Sporting CP~ 2-0

            Many people have questioned whether the team could handle playing in top form with the loss to Neymar this summer. Thus far though Barca seem to be doing perfectly fine and with a victory in this game they’d top Group D. A slow first half ended with the game being a draw through the first forty-five minutes, but the second half would bring more excitement. In wouldn’t be till the 59th minute for a goal to be scored, but Denis Suarez’s lofted corner found Alcacer at the near post, where he glanced the header over the keeper to put them up by 1. A moment to forget for former Barca defender Mathieu, in the 91st minute he slid trying to block a cross from Denis Suarez. But in return he diverted the ball into his own net for an own goal, finishing the score 2-0. Even with Barcelona managing to compete without Neymar, they’ll really start to be tested now in the next round. With a bunch of super power clubs left, it’ll take every player playing at their best including Messi if they hope to advance to the quarterfinals. 

English Premier League Match Day 15

Saturday, December 2nd

Chelsea (10-2-3) vs Newcastle United (4-3-8) ~ 3-1

            Newcastle United are in need of a comeback after losing three out of their last four fixtures and tying the other one. Chelsea on the other hand managed to get all three points vs Swansea City with a 55th minute goal. The match didn’t start in favor of the home side as Gayle was able to put Newcastle up 1-0 in the 12th minute. The Blues were able to respond as in the 21st minute Eden Hazard tied up the score line. Taking the momentum from Newcastle’s early goal, Alvaro Morata scored in the 33rd minute followed by a Hazard brace in the 74th.

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-5-6) vs Liverpool (8-5-2) ~ 1-5

            Brighton were not ready for the level of Liverpool in their fixture, after playing Crystal Palace last time ending in a tie. Liverpool’s goal scoring problem is no longer their and last time out they beat Stoke City 0-3. The fixture was all in favor of the away team, in the 30th minute Can scored and a minute later Roberto Firmino netted again. It wouldn’t be till after the half that someone would score again and Firmino did in the 48th minute. In the dying moments of the game Liverpool were able to add two more goals with Coutinho’s in the 87th followed by an own goal in the 89th minute.

Everton (5-3-7) vs Huddersfield Town (4-3-8) ~ 2-0

            Everton are finally getting back in rhythm after a disastrous start the season leading in the sacking of Koeman. On Wednesday, they were able to destroy West Ham United 4-0 at home, while Huddersfield were beaten 5-0 by Arsenal. The first half was a slow start with neither club scoring, but only two minutes into the second half Sigurdsson scored followed by a Calvert-Lewin goal to double their lead.

Leicester City (5-5-5) vs Burnley (7-4-4) ~ 1-0

            Leicester City shocked many people when they managed to beat Tottenham 2-1 at home, Burnley were also on the winning end last time out beating Bournemouth 1-2. An early goal in the 6th minute form Gray would be enough to get the Foxes all three points.

Stoke City (4-4-7) vs Swansea City (4-4-7) ~ 2-1

            Stoke City had a match to forget when they were beaten 1-3 at home by Liverpool, while Swansea were close to taking a point from Chelsea but ended up losing by a goal. Wilfred Bony gave the Swans an early lead with his goal in the 3rd minute. But after putting a lot of pressure on the away side, Stoke scored in the 36th minute from Shaqiri followed by a 40th minute Diouf goal.

Watford (6-4-5) vs Tottenham Hotspur (7-4-4) ~ 1-1

            Watford weren’t able to handle the constant attack from Manchester United, resulting in them being beat 2-4. The Spurs were shocked by Leicester City, losing 1-2 with Kane scoring very late on. Much of the action came early in the match, Kabasele was able to put Watford up 1-0 in 13th minute, but Heung-Min was able to answer back with a goal in the 25th. The day went from bad to worse for Tottenham when Sanchez was red carded in the 52nd minute. After Watford controlled the remainder of the match, they couldn’t score again resulting in a 1-1 tie.

West Bromwich Alboin (2-7-6) vs Crystal Palace (2-4-9) ~ 0-0

            West Bromwich were unlucky to drop point vs Newcastle United, but an 83rd minute own goal resulted in a 2-2 draw. Palace also finished their fixture in a 0-0 draw with Brighton. The match here had decent chances but neither club could capitalize off their shots, resulting in a 0-0 draw.

Arsenal (9-1-5) vs Manchester United (11-2-2) ~ 1-3

            Manchester United came into the fixture with a lot to prove after struggling vs other top six clubs in the past. Winning 2-4 on Tuesday, Arsenal were also on the winning side beating Huddersfield Town 5-0. United started off on the upper hand scoring in the 4th minute from a Valencia goal, then only 7 minutes later Lingard was able to double the lead. The Gunners would come out in the second half ready to play and four minutes in Lacazette was able to cut the lead down to one. But in the 63rd minute Paul Pogba had a great run down the side of the field and found Lingard free in the middle of the box for an easy tap in goal. In the 74th minute sparked a very controversial call when Paul Pogba received a red card after his cleat hit landed on Bellerin’s leg. The match finished 1-3 with Manchester United taking all three points and continuing to challenge Manchester City for the title.

Sunday, December 3rd

AFC Bournemouth (4-2-8) vs Southampton (4-4-6)

            Bournemouth were beaten 1-2 by Burnley on Wednesday, following their draw to Swansea. Southampton have only won 1 out of their last five matches, with the fixture before being a defeat to Manchester City. While both clubs haven’t had a steady form of play yet, I see Southampton pulling off the victory here.

Manchester City (13-1-0) vs West Ham United (2-4-8)

            Manchester City cannot be stopped from winning right now, with five straight victories for the club. West Ham United are the complete opposite, with no wins in their last five. I cannot see Manchester City losing here and West Ham are too weak to make a fight. I think City will win 4-0 here, and could put more goals in if West Ham aren’t careful.

English Premier League Match Day 14- Fixtures

Tuesday, November 28th

Home Team (W-D-L) vs Away Team (W-D-L)

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-5) vs Crystal Palace (2-2-9)

            Brighton will feel unlucky to not have taken any points from their fixture with Manchester United, which saw them get defeated 1-0 at Old Trafford. Crystal Palace though were lucky to get their second victory of this campaign, in the 92nd minute Mamadou Sakho was able to win them all three points. As both clubs will have great chances in the match, it’ll come down to who can strike first. If Palace are to win this fixture, I believe Wilfred Zaha will be the difference maker in the game.

Leicester City (3-5-5) vs Tottenham Hotspur (7-3-3)

            Leicester City will have a day to forget after drawing West Ham United 1-1 at the London Stadium. The Spurs also will be looking to get back on the winning side after dropping two points in a tie with West Brom. Both clubs didn’t impress in their fixtures and it could carry over into the match here. I see Harry Kane being the difference maker here and with them winning this match 1-2.

West Bromwich Albion (2-5-6) vs Newcastle United (4-2-7)

            West Bromwich will have tons of momentum going into their fixture vs Newcastle United, after managing to tie the Spurs. Tying Tottenham 1-1 on Saturday at the Wembley Stadium in front of 65 thousand fans should be a huge boost to the players attitudes. Newcastle continue to have a lot of ups and downs in their campaign thus far, losing 0-3 at their home pitch St. James’ Park this game will be a most win for them. I see Newcastle beating West Brom here 0-1, with a late goal sealing the three points.

Watford (6-3-4) vs Manchester United (9-2-2)

            Watford were able to get a demanding win in front of 52 thousand fan last weekend vs Newcastle United, beating them 0-3. Manchester United didn’t impress to much in their 1-0 victory over Brighton at Old Trafford. Even with Watford starting to impress and climbing into the top half of the table, United will be too much for them. I see Martial continuing to impress again, after a forgettable 2016-17 season he’s been scoring and assisting like a top-class player. With the return of Ibrahimović and Pogba back in the squad, I see the Red Devils winning here 0-3.

Wednesday, November 29th

Chelsea (8-2-3) vs Swansea City (2-3-8)

            Chelsea will be looking to bounce back from their 1-1 draw with Liverpool, where the game could of went for either club. Swansea City cannot seem to have anything go their way this campaign as they’ve only managed to take two victories thus far. Chelsea are still title contenders but need to start winning soon if they hope to challenge for it. I cannot see the Blues losing at home to the Swans and I see the score going 2-0.

AFC Bournemouth (4-2-7) vs Burnley (6-4-3)

            Bournemouth will be down on themselves after dropping points to a very poor Swansea City side. Burnley were very unlucky to lose 0-1 to Arsenal at home, giving up a penalty in extra time Alexis Sanchez’s 92nd minute goal took all the points away from the club. Still though the club is in 7th place with the defeat and a victory tomorrow would see them jump Tottenham in the table. Bournemouth’s home fixture will help them some, but at the end of the day Burnley is to good compared to the Cherries to take anything from them. I see the away side winning the match 1-2 and continuing to get back to their winning form.

Arsenal (8-1-4) vs Huddersfield Town (4-3-6)

            Arsenal can be thanking the ref after being awarded a penalty kick in the 90th minute, to allow Alexis Sanchez to put them up 1-0 in the 92nd to take home all three points. Huddersfield Town were so close were extremely close to tying Manchester City, but Raheem Sterling scored in the 84th minute to beat them 1-2. The Gunners will be favorites in the match up and I see them winning here 1-0.

Stoke City (3-4-6) vs Liverpool (6-5-2)

            Stoke City lost 1-2 vs Crystal Palace after giving up a goal in the final moments of the match. Not being able to impress this season or finish out a game, they’ll now face a very difficult change with Liverpool. The Reds were able to take a point off of Chelsea in a hard-fought fixture at Anfeild on Saturday. Liverpool’s attacking threat being led by Salah seems too much for Stoke City to handle for 90 minutes, as I see them winning 0-3 here.

Manchester City (12-1-0) vs Southampton (4-4-5)

            Manchester City were down 1-0 at the half vs Huddersfield Town, but after a pk and a goal in the 84th minute they continue to go without a defeat. Southampton were up against Everton, who seem to be falling apart even more by the day. Beating them 4-1, they have the hope they’d like going into the match. I still cannot see that being enough to test City, and the home team winning here 4-1.

Everton (3-3-7) vs West Ham United (2-4-7)

            Everton are in shambles right now, nothing can go their way and were humiliated 4-1 by Southampton last time out. West Ham United too aren’t doing much better, but they did manage to take a point in a draw with the Foxes. The two clubs are both in the bottom five of the league and don’t look to be winning many games any time soon. I see David Moyes getting his first victory with West Ham tomorrow, beating Everton 0-1. 

English Premier League Match Day 13~ Fixtures

Saturday November 25

Crystal Palace (1-2-9) vs Stoke City (3-4-5)

            Crystal Palace will feel hard done not to have taken any points away from home when they played Tottenham last Sunday. After both clubs have multiple chances in front of goal to take the lead, Son Heung-Min for the Spurs was able to put the home side up 1-0 in the 64th minute taking all three points away from Palace. Stoke did manage to pull a point in their fixture with Leicester City at home but only due to a late Peter Crouch goal to save the day. Even with Crystal Palace not winning last time out, each week they seem to be getting stronger and stronger with another win in their near future. I see Wilfred Zaha being the difference maker here and allowing them to seal all three points.

Manchester United (8-2-2) vs Brighton & Hove Albion (4-4-4)  

            Manchester United will look to bounce back after their midweek defeat to Basel in the Champions League. Last weekend will give them hope though as they beat Newcastle United 4-1 with Ibrahimović returning to the squad. Brighton were lucky to salvage any points vs Stoke City as they managed to score in the 60th minute with a Jose Izquierdo goal. With United being at home and almost everyone being healthy, the Red Devils will be heavy favorites to win this match. I cannot see them losing with their hopes of fighting City for the league title, I see the game going 3-1.

Newcastle United (4-2-6) vs Watford (5-3-4)

            Newcastle United were able unable to handle the constant pressure of Manchester United as they were punished for the performance, allowing four goals and only netting once the game it ended 4-1. Watford continue to perform and were able to beat West Ham United 2-0, to put them in 8th place. Even with Watford winning at home and Newcastle unable to cause United any problems, I see Newcastle as the favorites to win this fixture. Their manager Benitez they can win any match with the right tactics, as I see it going 2-1.

Swansea City (2-2-8) vs AFC Bournemouth (4-1-7)

            Swansea have found themselves in 19th place after continuing to perform like a Championship club week in and out. Losing 2-0 to Burnley they need to fix the players attitudes before it gets too late and they have nothing to fight for. Bournemouth had a very impressive victory over Huddersfield Town beating them 4-0 bringing them to 13th in the league table. The Swans haven’t looked impressive for almost a year now and I see them losing here again, the Cherries look ready to win 0-2.

Tottenham Hotspur (7-2-3) vs West Bromwich Albion (2-4-6)

            Tottenham faced Arsenal on Saturday in the North London Derby, a rivalry that use to only go in the Gunners favor but now has started to swing in the Spurs favor. The rise of Harry Kane has played the greatest role in this job, as when he starts scoring it’s near impossible to stop the club. But after played they were soon punished to put too much faith into one player as it caused them to lose. Arsenal were able to net twice in the match and the Spurs couldn’t counter with their own, resulting in their second loss of the year.  West Bromwich were up against a very challenging opposition facing Chelsea, where they were beaten 4-0. Tottenham are well rounded compared to West Brom causing me to think the Spurs will win 3-1, in an easy victory.

Liverpool (6-4-2) vs Chelsea (8-1-3)

            Liverpool have started to impress a lot and even more as their new signing Salah, whose leading them up front. Chelsea aren’t at the same level as they were last season when they were able to claim the league title, but they did win 4-0 last time out. The game will come down to Liverpool being able to beat down the Blues back five and stopping Chelsea from scoring on the counter attack. A match this big could go either way and it takes a lot from the players to keep a level head so they do not put their team down by a goal. I see Chelsea managing a hard-fought victory here 1-0, with a late second half goal enough to seal all three points.

Sunday November 26

Southampton (3-4-5) vs Everton (3-3-6)

            Southampton cannot seem to get the kick start their season and a win here could be the switch they’ve needed so badly to turn it around. Being beaten 3-0 by Liverpool they had very little chance to upset the club with the form they’re in. Everton continue to get worse by the week it seems, losing has started to seem second nature for the club and last week they tied Crystal Palace 2-2. With both clubs struggling, Everton seem to be far worse right now making me give Southampton the victory at home.

Burnley (6-4-2) vs Arsenal (7-1-4)

            Burnley have impressed a lot so far being in 7th place, tied with Arsenal in 6th with 22 points. This will be a big test for the club to see where they stand with the remainder of the big clubs at the moment, last time out they were able to win 2-0 vs Swansea City which doesn’t say much for the team. Arsenal did get a very shocking victory when they defeated Tottenham by two goals and conceded none. This match should bring plenty of excitement but im going with a 1-1 draw here.

Huddersfield Town (4-3-5) vs Manchester City (11-1-0)

            Huddersfield Town were beaten 4-0 by AFC Bournemouth last time out and City won 2-0 against Leicester City. I cannot see Manchester City losing here as they’ll be favorited to win. City should be able to win by at least two goals and probably will not concede any. 

Champion's League Group Stage- Tuesday 21st November

Dortmund vs Tottenham Hotspurs~ Group H

            Borussia Dortmund have started their season off in a shocking form, where many believed they would have been fighting with Bayern Munich for the title. Over the weekend they had to play without star forward Aubameyang, due to being suspended, which resulted the club into losing 2-1 and dropping to fifth place in the Bundesliga. Their Champion’s League form is even worse than their domestic play, managing to not win a single match a lose here would eliminate them from the tournament. Tottenham on the other hand have shocked many football fans with their spectacular group stage performance, which sees them in first place after taking four points from Real Madrid. In the first-round meeting between these two clubs the Spurs were on the upper hand winning 3-1 at Wembley. Even with Tottenham losing to Manchester United and Arsenal in recent weeks I still see them winning this fixture 2-1.

Sevilla vs Liverpool~ Group E

            Group E has become one of the tightest races to finish in the top three, with three clubs all being able to go through if they get the right victories. As of now Liverpool sit in first place with 8 points, followed by Sevilla with 7 and in third place is Spartak Moscow with 6 points. This makes this round two meeting between the clubs even more important, as Spartak Moscow are heavily favorited to beat Maribor which would drop one of these clubs into third place. The good news for Sevilla is the fine form they are currently in, losing one of their last five matches and being undefeated at home they have the hope they need to win this vital match. This issue the Reds may run into in the match is their terrible away forum thus far, only winning four out of ten away matches this won’t be a statistic fans will hope to hear. Liverpool’s attacking threat has been to good lately making me choice Liverpool to win 1-3.

AS Monaco vs RB Leipzig~ Group G

            AS Monaco will try to repeat their fate last season, managing their deep run in the Champion’s League followed by winning Ligue 1 but this season they’re without the heart of their squad. Losing teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe to PSG, Benjamin Mendy, Tiemoue Bakayoko and Silva all over the summer, they’ve lost a lot of their attacking threat which got them so far. To make this match even more important Monaco are currently in fourth place in the group and Besiktas have already managed to seal a place into the Round of 16, which leaves only one more spot left. This leaves the fate of the clubs in the hands of the players, a win here for both clubs are a most as a tie wouldn’t do much for either side. RB Leipzig even if they don’t go through have a lot to build off of, managing to get into the cup for the first time in the club’s short history. With Monaco playing so poorly this season I see RB Leipzig winning here 0-1 with a late goal.

APOEL vs Real Madrid~ Group H

            APOEL came into the group stage drawing with very little likely hood that they’d move through, but after drawing Real Madrid, Tottenham Hotspurs and Borussia Dortmund their chances were severed to go through. They have managed to sit even with Dortmund on points at the bottom of the table with two points, after tying Dortmund in both legs of the cup they diminished their chances of going through. Real Madrid on the other hand currently sit in 2nd place with a five-point cushion of Dortmund. After losing to Tottenham at Wembley 3-1, they are very unlikely to win the group which will cause for a huge Round of 16 fixture to take place. With a victory here tonight they will all but seal their place into the next round of the cup and try to retain the Champion’s League trophy after last’s years victory. Even with Madrid’s poor domestic forum thus far in the season, it seems very unlikely they’d be upset in this match. I’m going with Real Madrid to win 0-3.

The Weekend Wrap- Tottenham Slip

Tottenham Slip

            In the North London Derby, Arsenal were hosted Tottenham Hotspurs at the Emirates Stadium. Much of the recent discussion before the fixture was the potential switch in power in the area of London, after Tottenham managed to finish above the Gunners last season. The spurs had good news coming into the match with Harry Kane being declared fit, and with them welcoming back Hugo Lloris, Kieran Tripper, Ben Davies, Dele Alli and Moussa Dembele after not starting vs Crystal Palace. After the Spurs started off on the upper hand in the first half hitting the post and rocking a shot into the keeper, Arsenal were the first to score. In the 36th minute they had a free kick which found Shkodran Mustafi to put them up 1-0. Only five minutes later Lacazette was played through finding Alexis Sanches to put one in from a couple yards out. The fixture would go into the half with the home club leading 2-0, with the match also ending 2-0 at the full ninety-minute whistle. Once the match was over Arsene Wenger told the press, “The quality of our concentration was very high. We never had a minute where we could feel we dropped a little bit our focus. Overall it was a very intense game. When you look at the performance of the two teams, it is absolutely through the roof. The players produced an immense performance on both sides. We have 22 points today. We are a few points shorts, but if you analyze our game, I can show you why.”

Zlatan Ibrahimović Returns to United

            Zlatan Ibrahimović was named in the subs for their home fixture vs. Newcastle United, after a remarkable 7-month knee recovery. The other noticeable player to return back to Manchester’s squad was Paul Pogba, who spent two months on the sidelines due to his hamstring injury. Only fourteen minutes into the match, DeAndre Yedlin was able to find space down the right-hand side of the pitch finding Dwight Gayle for an easy tap in. But in the 37th minute the Red Devils were able to equalize the score, Paul Pogba was able to beat his man crossing the ball into the box and finding Anthony Martial for the header. Just as the match looked likely to go into the half tied at 1 a piece, Ashley Young was able to play a long ball to find Chris Smalling for another heading goal. Again, in the 54th minute Juan Mata picked up the ball on the half mark, passing the ball down to the right flank to Romelu Lukaku who crossed the ball to Rashford, who headed the ball down to Paul Pogba for an easy tap in goal. In the 70th minute Manchester United were able to put the nail in the coffin. Romelu Lukaku played a one two with Juan Mata before firing his finish into the top of the net, making the final score line 4-1. With United in such control of the game, with 13 minutes remaining the Old Trafford crowd erupted and gave a standing ovation to the return of Zlatan Ibrahimović. His remarkable comeback was almost sealed with a scissor kick that was blocked by Newcastle’s keeper. Much of the postgame talk was about the influence Pogba had on his return from injury, Jose Mourinho agreed with this saying, “Pogba was top. It looked like he had not been out. He came back with a really great performance. He was a great influence in the game. He affects our football. We all know, myself and the fellow players, that certain players influence the levels of the team. With him we have much more creation. I am so happy.”

            After such a great performance for the club, United now sit 8 points behind Manchester City who continue to dominate every week. The return of Ibrahimović, Pogba and Rojo is a huge boost for the club and will also allow for players to be rotated for rest now. Later this week on Wednesday, Manchester United will travel to Basel in their Champion League group stage crash, where I expect many new faces to start with the Red Devils already sealing their place. While Newcastle United will now have to wait till Saturday to host Watford in the Premier League.  

English Premier League Week 12

Saturday November 18

Arsenal (6-1-4) vs. Tottenham Hotspurs (7-2-2)

            Now that that International Football break is over and players have returned to their clubs, Arsenal will have their hands full in the North London Derby. Being destroyed 3-1 last time out by Manchester City, the Gunner’s need to find a solution to their mediocre season. Tottenham were on the winning side vs Crystal Palace, where they were able to win 1-0 at home. Now with rivals set to meet, it’ll come down to the performance of Harry Kane for Tottenham and Alexis Sanchez for Arsenal. I see Tottenham winning this match 0-2 as they’re on a good form of wins at the moment.

AFC Bournemouth (3-1-7) vs Huddersfield Town (4-3-4)

            Bournemouth managed to escape out of the relegation zone with a victory over Newcastle United. Huddersfield Town to, also were on the winning side defeating West Brom 1-0 at home. I see the Cherries continuing on their winning form at home and pulling off a 1-0 victory. Huddersfield Town have surprised many with the way they started the season and I continue to see that here with a victory.

Burnley (5-4-2) vs Swansea City (2-2-7)

            Burnley continue to surprise many people and after their 1-0 victory against Southampton, its brought them into 7th place. The Swans however haven’t had much luck this season, and last time out they were beaten by Brighton & Hove Albion. With Burnley in sorrowing form and Swansea in the relegation zone, I see the home side taking home all three points here.

Crystal Palace (1-1-9) vs Everton (3-2-6)

            Two middle table clubs who’ve struggled very much through the first 11 games of the 2017-18 campaign. Crystal Palace have started to improve since Wilfred Zaha returned from his injury, but facing a great Tottenham side they were beaten by a goal. Everton have gone through a lot this season too already, spending a club record on new transfer and firing the coach who just ordered for them to be bought. They were on the winning side last time out, beating Watford 3-2 in a five-goal thriller that should have ended as a draw.

Leicester City (3-4-4) vs Manchester City (10-1-0)

            Leicester City have now established themselves as a mid-table club after pulling of their heroic league title win a couple seasons back. Tying Stoke City 2-2 after giving up a late goal to Peter Crouch, they will need to turn it up all the way if they hope to take anything from Manchester City. City continued to show why they’re the best club in the Premier League, defeating Arsenal 3-1 at home, it seems unlikely they’ll be beaten any time soon. I cannot see the Foxes managing to pull off an upset here, so I see City winning 0-3.

Liverpool (5-4-2) vs Southampton (3-4-4)

            Liverpool’s victory last time out was an impressive showing where they humiliated West Ham United 4-1 away from home. Southampton were on the losing end of their fixture being beaten 1-0 by Burnley at home. The Reds have to many great players for Southampton to match them for all ninety minutes, as I see Liverpool winning 2-1.

West Bromwich Albion (2-4-5) vs Chelsea (7-1-3)

            West Bromwich will be needing to pull every string if they hope to defeat Chelsea, with their only advantage of playing at home. Being beaten 1-0 by Huddersfield Town, they now sit only a point ahead of the relegation zone. Chelsea continue to play catch up after having a sluggish start to their campaign. Defeating Manchester United last time out, they will have a lot of momentum on their side from the victory. West Brom haven’t showed enough passion this season and I see Chelsea winning here 3-0 taking all three points back on an easy victory.

Manchester United (7-2-2) vs Newcastle United (4-2-5)

            Manchester United dip in form will finally get the boost they’ve needed so badly. Paul Pogba and Zlatan Ibrahimović are both back and able to play this Saturday. Ibrahimović managed to return in only 7 months, when most people expected a minimum of 9 to 10 months of recovery. Newcastle United like Man U were beaten 1-0 in Week 11, but this time they’ll face a lot tougher of an opposition. I see Manchester United winning 2-0 here, with the players back in the squad they’ll be ready to catch City.

Sunday November 19

Watford (4-3-4) vs West Ham United (2-3-6)

            Watford can feel hard done not to have taken a point from Everton after missing a pk in extra time. West Ham United were destroyed 4-1 by Liverpool causing Bilic to be fired after the match. David Moyes has been appointed the manager on a six-month deal, but it’s hard to say if he’ll be able to handle the job. I do see him managing to pull off a victory during his first match in charge of West Ham winning 0-1.

Monday November 20

Brighton & Hove Albion (4-3-4) vs Stoke City (3-3-5)

            Brighton were able to pull off the victory, while Stoke City had to settle for a draw. With Brighton being at home and winning last time out, I see them managing to get the victory again on Monday. 

International Break Wrap- Republic of Ireland vs. Denmark

Republic of Ireland vs. Denmark

            The World Cup Qualifying playoff match between Ireland and Denmark had a first leg score of 0-0 a piece. It brought the two nations to an enormous matchup on Tuesday November 14th, as only one nation could go to Russia. For the Republic of Ireland, they’ve had great success in their previous playoff fixtures for large tournaments in the summer, advancing to qualify for the 2002 World Cup as well as the Euro 2016. The nation had a bright start at home, scoring only six minutes into the game off Shane Duffy header. Misfortune was soon to arrive for Irish and their luck was about to go downhill, a shot by Pione Sisto deflected off of Cyrus Christie for an own goal to tie up the score. With the own goal occurring in the 29th minute, it was only minutes later till Denmark were able to counter with Christian Eriksen finishing the attack in the 32nd minute. It brought the halftime score 1-2 with the hosts, Ireland, down by a goal after suffering the own goal. The second half continued with the Eriksen show, again in the 63rd minute he was able to pick up the ball outside the 18-yard-box and scored off a perfect curling effort. His goal scoring wasn’t complete yet, in the 73rd minute a poor clearance allowed Eriksen to rocket home his third goal from six yards out. Denmark continued to add goals to their list, in the 88th minute Nicklas Bendtner was able to score from the spot to seal the advancement into the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

            This was a huge victory for the nation, with much of the credit needing to go to their leader Christian Eriksen. After the three goals in the matchup Tuesday, it brought his goal tally to 11 goals in the qualify tournament and 15 goals in his last 15 caps with the nation. This was a huge victory for the nation, as Denmark last qualified for a World Cup back in 2010 only to be knocked out in the group stages. After being named the man of the match and asked by reporters what it meant to him to qualify he said, “It's not often I score any hat trick, so of course it's incredible and taking your country to the World Cup with three goals away and winning the playoff, it's going to mean a lot for my whole career, for my whole life really. It's a big thing and I'm very, very happy about it.”

England vs Brazil

            The match may have only been an international friendly but it was still a big test for the England National Team. Playing at Wembley Stadium more than 84,000 fans made it out to watch one of the best nations, Brazil. It was an important fixture for the Three Lions as this was a good chance to see at the true level the national could compete on. After many disastrous national displays in major tournaments, England had started to take a turn for the worse. Brazil and England both fielded strong starting XI’s and it resulted in Brazil controlling much of the possession. The fixture would end 0-0 with neither nation being able to capitalize off their chances in front of goal. Following the full-time whistle, England had bright spots with the youth they fielded during the match, but Brazil being ranked 2nd in the nation had 66% possession of the ball. After the match England manager Southgate said, “We've come up with a really credible result. We can look at areas we need to improve, but we have found so many positives in terms of players who have performed at this level for the first time, or nearly the first time, in the likes of Maguire." With the next major international event taking place on December 1st for the World Cup draw, the Three Lions will not play again until March 22nd vs Netherlands, followed by another fixture on March 27th when they host Italy. Brazil too will face a tough opponent during the next break, as they’ve scheduled a match with Germany as the visitors. Even though it was just a friendly both nations got the crucial time to allow individuals to show if they’re ready to play in next summer’s tournament. 

Zlatan to play in World Cup?

Zlatan Ibrahimović to play in World Cup?

            Zlatan Ibrahimović may be 36 years old, but his time with the Sweden National Soccer Team may have one more go before the legend retires. After missing the World Cup 2014 in Brazil due to losing to Portugal in the qualifying play-offs, Zlatan told the press, “One thing is for sure, a World Cup without me is nothing to watch.” As always, the 6ft 5in forward is believing he’s the best in the world and no one can touch his abilities. Many fans believed his time was done with the Swedish National team when they finished in last place in the Euro 2016, following their elimination he announced he would retire from international soccer immediately on 21 June 2016. The headlines may be on the change soon with Sweden having the opportunity to play Italy in the World Cup Qualifier Playoff match.

            The match was all set, Italy vs Sweden with Sweden coming into the second leg with a 1-0 in the first leg of the fixture. For Italy, they were heavy favorites to move on and at home, but already behind a goal in aggregate they needed to score a goal at the minimum. If Italy were to lose here it’d be their first time since 1958 the nation hasn’t qualified for the World Cup. While Sweden were having the opposite problem, the last time the nation managed to qualify for the World Cup was back in 2006, making this game even more important than usual. But after the ninety minutes were up, the Italians weren’t able to score the all-important goal they needed for any hope of qualifying. It marked a truly sad day for the football career of a true legend of the game, including Gianluigi Buffon who after 175 caps for the nation announced he’d be retiring at the end of the season. Once the match ended a reporter asked him on what his future will hold and he said, “I'm 99.9 percent certain of retirement, I'm going to have one final, intense season, rich in big moments, and then it will be time to say enough is enough. We've just left one small possibility open with the president. That is if we manage to win the Champions League I will carry on playing one more year to try to win the Club World Cup and other trophies.” After Sweden were official into the 2018 World Cup in Russia, Sweden Manager Janne Andersson was asked about the return of Ibrahimović to the squad with him replying, “This is incredible! This player has just stopped to play with Sweden one year and a half ago and we are still here talking about him. Gosh, we need to talk about the great players we have in this team I believe. We have many heroes tonight. I am a bit moved but obviously very happy with the result. When Ibrahimović was here with us we played a different style of football. Considering that he has decided to leave international football, he is a great champion, but we had to adapt and found another style.” While the comments from the manager make it seem that he isn’t looking into the idea of bringing the forward back into the team, it’s hard not to bring back one of the greatest forwards of all time. Much of the decision will likely come down to the level Zlatan plays once he returns from his knee injury with Manchester United. If he can prove to still be in top shape then it’s hard not to think that he’d be brought back to the nation he’s supported so much. It could be a legendary end to his career by signing off on the biggest stage in the world. The striker is yet to comment apron the possibility of playing in Russia, but did post a picture of the squad that won captioning it, “Zweden.” It only added to the speculation that the player wants to return for he sees the team as something he worked too hard for, not to get his final chance to bring home the cup. 

David Moyes to save the Day?

David Moyes to save West Ham?

            It’s no question West Ham United are going through a very hard time in the club’s history, sitting in 18th place. Through the first 11 games of the 2017-18 English Premier League Campaign they’ve only managed to take 9 points with 2 victories and 3 draws. Their last victory is from all the way back in September 30th where they managed to beat Swansea City 1-0 and before that it wasn’t until September 11th they got their first victory against Huddersfield Town. This left former manager Slaven Bilic with only one more game to give him more time as their manager, but he was up against a strong Liverpool side. Losing the fixture 4-1 it’d be his last time managing there and the club needed a fast replacement. Could the Hammer’s move to their new London Stadium be at fault for their downfall? Since they moved to the new stadium back in August of 2016, the club has lot more games at home than they’ve won. Winning 9, drawing 4 and losing 11, this a terrible feat as your home games are the most crucial to be winning. After the humiliating defeat to Liverpool Bilic gave one of his last press conferences and said, “Of course I believe in myself, in my staff and in my team and their character and everything. I came so far from a small country first as a player then as a manager, so it's not about that. I am a big fighter. I definitely don't feel a broken man. I am very, very strong. On the other hand, the situation for West Ham is not good and as I said two years ago, one year ago, and now, the club is about every individual and that includes me.” When news broke that Bilic had been sacked and David Moyes would be the new manager, a majority of the fans immediately called for the sacking of Moyes before he even was officially confirmed.

            The reasoning for David Moyes immediate dislike from so many of his previous managers goes back to his recent track record. Taking over Manchester United in 2013 after Sir Alex Ferguson retired from the club, he was Ferguson’s chosen successor, signing a six-year deal with the club. Even though his one season at United was his highest winning percentage of his career at a near 53%-win rate (W27, D9, L15) it wasn’t good enough for him to continue as the Red Devil’s manager. Finishing in 7th place in the league table, that alone was enough to get him sacked after just a season in charge. He then headed over to Spain to manage Real Sociedad where he started out brightly only losing 1 out of his first 8 matches. It soon turned in the opposite direction as he managed to win 12 out of 42 matches causing him to resign from their as well. He then hit his all-time low as a manager, taking over Sunderland a club that has always been near the relegation zone he managed to let them drop. Winning only 8 matches, drawing 7 and losing 28, he had a terrible 18.6%-win rate. This is proof that Everton fans have a reason to be unhappy with the appointment of David Moyes, but at this point they don’t have any other highly qualified managers to let take charge. His appoint should be noted though, it’s only a six-month contract so he really has a point to prove in a short span. After his official announcement he had a press conference with the club and named one of the largest issues the amount of goals they’ve conceded so far saying, “All the best teams have the best defenses. We have to start from there, try and get a few clean sheets, find out whether three or four at the back is best for us with the players available, and get ourselves bedded down. I think we have enough good attacking players to cause teams problems and score goals. Let's see if we can find a way to stop conceding goals.” When he takes charge of West Ham in his first match as a manager there it’ll be his 500th fixture managed in the Premier League, so he has the experience needed to save the club. His first match will be against Watford on November 19th, where he’ll be hoping to have a kick start to his time with the club. 

The Weekend Wrap- Chelsea defeat United

Chelsea Prevail

            Chelsea came into this match with a lot on the table, needing a huge victory in order to cut the distance in the title race and to prove their previous manager wrong. Since Antonio Conte has taken over Chelsea, the off the field talking between him and Jose Mourinho has gained a lot of attention. Both managers like to take digs at each other, with Mourinho claiming the team is only good due to his coaching beforehand. Starting the game, the Reds were in control of the match, with a lot of high pressure and getting the full backs down the wings, it seemed United would be the first to score. Eventually though the Blues were able to handle the high pressure and get into the game themselves, but still neither team would be able to capitalize off their chances. Then only ten minutes into the second half, Alvaro Morata a transfer target United passed on this summer to purchase Lukaku instead showed why they should have purchased him instead. A perfect long pass from Azpilicueta found Morata in the box to put away a sensational header. In the dying minutes of the game Maroune Fellaini had an opportunity to take a shot from a chested down long ball but wasn’t able to get enough on the ball to challenge the keeper. After the match a lot of controversy arose again when both managers wouldn’t shake hands, but after Conte told the press, “I was very happy because we beat a strong team like Manchester United. To have this type of performance and to see this spirit, for sure I'm pleased. We have to continue and to understand if there is this spirit, this enthusiasm, this passion, we can fight for something important.”

No Stopping City

            Manchester City came into Week 11 with a five-point gap on Manchester United and with a victory here it’d climb them to a 11-point gap in the table. Facing Arsenal, it was a great test to see how good City can play week in and out. The Gunners on the other hand have a lot of work to do, sitting in sixth place with only 19 points. But only 19 minutes into the game Kevin De Bruyne played a nice give and go to Fernandinho, before the Belgium found the bottom right corner to put City up 1-0. The hosts continued to pile on the pressure through the remainder of the half, but the Blue side of Manchester went in with a 1-0 lead. Minutes into the second half Raheem Sterling was brought down by Monreal in the box resulting in a City pk. Augero stepped up from the spot and put them up 2-0 in the 50th minute. In the 65th minute the Gunners had a slight sign of hope, when Lacazette was set up by an Aaron Ramsey through ball to notch one goal back. But nine minutes later, Gabriel Jesus was able to give Manchester City breathing space and put the nail in the coffin. The Brazilian forward was able to finish a low cross from Silva from six yards out, this was the final goal of the game and the match ended 3-2. This victory for Manchester City put them 8 points ahead of Manchester United who were beaten by Chelsea 1-0. With Manchester City having 31 points and a +11 goal difference through the first 11 games, this is the best start to a Premier League season at this point. After the match the Gunners manager was furious and told the press, “But we are used to it when coming here, last year they had two offside goals, and once again, I feel they don't work enough, because the level drops every season at the moment. Overall it's unacceptable what happens. The physical level is very good, the decisions. At 2-1 we are in the game, and he gives a clear offside goal, and of course that kills the game for us.” Even with the third goal possibly being offside, it’s not excuse for the Gunners on why they were beaten. It’s hard to say if anyone will be able to catch Manchester City in the title race, as after the International Break they will face Leicester City on November 18th, in a fixture they should easily be able to win. 

English Premier League- Week 11

Saturday, November 4th

Stoke City (3-2-5) vs Leicester City (3-3-4)

            Stoke vs Leicester City should bring a good match up with both teams needing three points badly. With both teams winning last time out and holding clean sheets this will come down to whoever can score first. Even with Stoke City at home I think Jamie Vardy can lead the Foxes to a victory.

Huddersfield Town (3-3-4) vs West Bromwich Albion (2-4-4)

            Huddersfield Town were coming off a huge high when they defeated Manchester United off defensive errors, but were beaten 3-0 by Liverpool. West Brom held Manchester City to a close score of 2-3 in a time when Manchester City have been beating teams by over 4 goals. With Huddersfield losing by so much to the Reds and West Brom being able to hold a close score with City, I think the away team can take home a 0-1 victory.

Newcastle United (4-2-4) vs AFC Bournemouth (2-1-7)

            Newcastle United were on a good run of form and with play Burnley on Monday, it was a good time they could continue the winning ways. Unfortunately, they gave up a late goal away from home to drop all three points. Bournemouth too held a close match but lost to Chelsea by a goal margin after giving Eden Hazard a chance in the 51st minute. Newcastle were unlucky to drop all three points last time out, but I see them bringing home all three points here.

Southampton (3-4-3) vs Burnley (4-4-2)

            The Saints were able to grab an early goal vs Brighton, but had an equalizer scored on them in the 52nd minute. Burnley were able take home all three points from Castle in a home fixture and now have momentum on their side. Southampton can be a very good side, if they come out to play though. I see this fixture going 1-1 draw as neither team has the upper hand in the matchup.

Swansea City (2-2-6) vs Bright & Hove Albion (3-3-4)

            The Swans managed to get themselves out a relegation battle last season and now they’re right back to the exact same issue. Losing to Arsenal 2-1, a win is a must if they hope to kick start their poor season. Brighton have made the most of their new season after just being promoted and if they can increase their form by a little they’ll be playing in the EPL again next campaign. I see Swansea City being able to take the victory here, with a goal coming from Wilfred Bony for the win.

West Ham United (2-3-5) vs Liverpool (4-4-2)

            West Ham’s form has taken a huge hit in recent months and cannot repeat their ways that got them into the Europa League two season ago. Liverpool too haven’t impressed like they should, tying to many matches from not being able to kill the game. The Reds are a much better side than the Hammers so I see them capitalizing off this fixture here.

Sunday, November 5th

Tottenham Hotspurs (6-2-2) vs Crystal Palace (1-1-8)

            Tottenham have impressed a lot this season but when they were without Harry Kane, they got defeated by Manchester United 0-1. Crystal Palace might be the biggest surprise of the campaign doing so bad through the first ten games. Takin only four points thus far they are destined to be relegated for next season. Palace had a great chance to get all three points at home vs West Ham United and they weren’t able to capitalize. I cannot see Tottenham Hotspurs dropping any points to Crystal Palace as they’re just weak. After they also beat Real Madrid 3-1 over the week, all is going in favor of the Spurs right now.

Manchester City (9-1-0) vs Arsenal (6-1-3)

            Manchester City were able to keep up their winning streak by beating West Bromwich 3-2, which wasn’t that close but Brom scored a late one. Arsenal continue to be unconsent so far this season but managed to win 2-1 vs Swansea City. I see City winning this game 3-0 as the Gunners are just too weak of a team to defeat City.

Chelsea (6-1-3) vs Manchester United (7-2-1)

            The game of the weekend with Conte vs Mourinho in a match that could easily go either way. Chelsea are coming off a 0-1 victory vs Bournemouth while United beat a strong Tottenham 1-0 at home. Coming down to whoever can finish the crucial chances, United will have the upper hand with the form they’re in. I see them winning the match 2-1 with a late goal sealing all three points.

Everton (2-2-6) vs Watford (4-3-3)

            Everton’s season is going down in shambles and they continued the terrible form vs Leicester City where they lost 2-0. Watford were also on the losing end being beaten by a 16th minute Darren Fletcher goal by Stoke City. Watford are in good form this season other than their defeat to Stoke, I see them winning this match 0-2 as Everton are lost with tactics. 

The Weekend Wrap-

Wojciech Szczesny- Arsenal to Juventus?

                        The Italian champions Juventus are said to be interested in finding a replacement keeper for club legend Gianluigi Buffon, 39. After spending two years on loan at Roma, he’s impressed Juve enough to want him to replace Buffon. Having already played over 181 times for Arsenal’s first team he will come with great experience between the posts. Being only 27 years old his future still holds a lot, and his contract will be running up in 2018 meaning Arsenal could lose him for free. This has the Series A champions bidding around £14 million for the Polish keeper, as they need to find a replacement soon. With a reported £3.5 million a year salary said to be agreed upon the deal looks very likely to happen. The Gunners could lose the player for free if they aren’t careful, and being sent out for two seasons in a row seems like they will have replacements in place already. The deal looks about an 8/10 to happen, as it could be a good deal for both parties involved.

Hazard Breaks Ankle

            Eden Hazard is known for fugitively breaking defender’s ankles, but now he’s had it happen to him. During a training session on Sunday, Hazard broke his right ankle and has already underwent surgery. After winning the Chelsea player of the year award, and wanting a possible transfer to Real Madrid this could put a dent into his chances this summer. It’s understood Hazard will be out for 8 to 12 weeks, and after his surgery he said, “Everything went well with my ankle operation, now I start the road to recovery! I will be stronger. Thank you for your support!!”

Christian Eriksen- Tottenham Hotspurs to Barcelona?

            Christian Eriksen’s time at White Hart Lane has been an impressive spell for the London club. After the midfielder was one of the only brilliant signings from the sale of Gareth Bale, he could be on his way out to Spain too. Barcelona are now reportedly interested in signing the Danish player, and he could be keen on it too. Saying, “I've been there [on trial as a teenager] at one point, and it didn't work out too well, but Barcelona is a fantastic club. I don't think there a lot of players who would say no to Barcelona. But there is 'interest' and then there is concrete interest. Until there is some concrete interest, I don't have an opinion about it. In the future I see myself at the highest level. That's what I dream about. That could be in two to three years. It could be at a different club or it could be at Tottenham, if we have got all the way to that level.”

Arda Turan- FC Barcelona to?

            Arda Turan’s stint at Barcelona hasn’t been a great time. Struggling to rarely start and becoming a regular sub, many feel his time at Camp Nou should be coming to an end. At 30 years old, the Turkish player should be preparing for life outside of Barca. His agent though believes his relationship, and role at the club is good stating, “Arda is not going anywhere. Barcelona's directors are happy with him. We haven't spoken to any club about a transfer. 

"The stories that have come out in the media that he will be leaving have annoyed Arda. And nor has it gone down well with board members at the club; Arda Turan will see out his contract.” Barcelona could be wise to unload the player while he’s still at his prime to get a decent amount back from his original purchase.

Virgil van Dijk- Southampton to Liverpool?

            Virgil Van Dijk’s time at Southampton has been a great spell since his arrival from Celtic. Becoming a key player for the club, and a regular starter at center back. Liverpool this summer are keen on strengthen their center back positions, and Klopp has made Dijk a main target. Arsenal, Chelsea, and Liverpool are said to be the main clubs interested in signing him. With the Reds already making a £60 million offer for him, the deal looks very likely to happen. A reported offer of £200,000 a week he will most likely be making the switch this summer. 

Champions League Final- 3 June 2017

Juventus vs. Real Madrid

            Saturday’s Champion League Final in Cardiff, Wales was all set. Juventus, from Series A, will be representing Italy, and Real Madrid, from La Liga, will be representing Spain. Two of footballs oldest clubs facing off to win the ultimate prize, the Champions League Trophy. If Juventus can win, they’ll get their goalie Buffon his prize trophy he’s missing from his trophy case. Having won the trophy in 1984-85 and the 1995-96 their international cups have been short, but their domestic campaign has been great. Real Madrid are no strangers to this stage, being in the Champions League Final last season, which they were able to beat Atletico Madrid for the cup. If they were able to win this fixture they’d be the first club in the Champion’s League era to win back to back trophies. The kickoff was all set with over 56,800 people packed into the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.

Kickoff

            As team news were announced Juventus came out with their 5-3-2 formation, having Dybala and Higuaín starting up top together. The Argentinian pair has been a deadly duo together causing problems for almost every team. The biggest news surrounding Real Madrid before match kickoff was how would the team’s formation come out. Playing in there 4-3-3 or in their 4-4-2 formation, was the news surrounding everyone. In the 4-3-3 Gareth Bale would be able to start but in the 4-4-2 he’d be left on the bench for Isco. That was the scenario, Gareth Bale was left on the bench for his home town fairy tale game.

            Just 20 minutes into the game Cristiano Ronaldo was ready to make history, being set up with a perfect cross he was able to one time it to the back post beating Buffon and giving Madrid the 1-0 lead. But only 7 minutes later Mario Mandzuckic was set up perfect by Higuaín, and the rest was history. Chested the ball then doing a behind the head, almost bicycle kick, and putting it in the back of the net to tie the score. After that the game went on with few chances for both sides but ending 1-1 at the half time whistle. The second half was another story though, and made Real Madrid seem to be the greatest team to ever play. In the 61st minute Madrid midfielder Casemiro saw the ball roll out of the box, and was able to rip a onetime shot and give Real the lead.

            Then three minutes later Real Madrid continued to show who was the better side, and Cristiano Ronaldo was able to score again. Luka Modric sent a low cross into the box, and Ronaldo was able to redirect it making the score 3-1. To put the nail in the coffin in the 90th minute substitute, Marco Asensio, was able to finish a Marcelo cross to make the final score 4-1. This saw Real Madrid be the first club in history to win back to back Champions League trophy’s. After the game Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri told the press, “At that moment, we should've taken out the extra energy to push hard and keep the game open, as we know Real Madrid leave you the chances to score at all times, but we conceded the third goal and that was really damaging. We begin next season determined to have another great Champions League campaign, win the Scudetto and the Coppa Italia. We need to gather our thoughts, fire up our energy and fight back, because we can learn from this and improve.” If both clubs can keep their main stars and sign a few more dynamic players, they could easily return to the Champions League Final next season too. 

Transfer Talk-

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- Borussia Dortmund to PSG

            Aubameyang made his decision clear after helping Borussia Dortmund defeat Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in the German Cup final. His decision is to leave Dortmund and continue his career at one of the elite clubs. The 27-year-old Gabon forward finished as the Bundesliga’s leading goal scorer with 31 goals in 32 appearances. His tremendous pace he has upfront causes every opponent lots of problems, as if you mark him to closely he can sprint right by, and to far he’ll have room to shoot. After gaining a lot of interest from elite clubs the biggest, and most official offers are said to be from Paris Saint Germain, AC Milan, and a club from the Chinese Super League. Reports have now started to surface that he will be joining PSG in a £61 million move this summer. Receiving a £5.2 million signing bonus, and receiving £168,000 a week doesn’t seem like a bad move on his part. The question now is how will he fit into the Paris squad? When Zlatan Ibrahimović was still there, Edison Cavani almost left as he couldn’t work with Zlatan at the same time. A similar problem could arise here, as neither forward will wasn’t to be second to the other.

Nemanja Matic- Chelsea to Manchester United?
           
Chelsea holding midfielder, Nemanja Matic, wants to quit the Blues this summer in hope of joining up with his former manager Jose Mourinho. Mourinho originally purchased Matic for £21 million in January of 2014 from Benfica. Since his arrival to the Stamford Bridge he’s had a successful one, and this season he started 30 out of 38 games for his club. Both with his contract ending in 2019, and his contract renewal taking over a year to be completed the midfielder seems frustrated with where he’s at. Manager Jose Mourinho at a press conference said, “Here, everyone is powerful now. The scenery has changed. If I want to buy a player from Tottenham, I can’t, nor can I buy a player from Manchester City or Arsenal. That was not the case before. At Chelsea, I brought in Shaun Wright-Phillips, who was the best player at Manchester City or Ashley Cole from Arsenal. Sir Alex, when he wanted the best player from Tottenham, he bought Michael Carrick and then Berbatov.” He does fail to mention Chelsea, which could give a little hope in this deal actually happening.

Riyad Mahrez- Leicester City to?

            Riyad Mahrez has told the Leicester City board he wants to leave this summer, as he wants to play in Champions League play next fall. In effort to get out of Leicester he’s asked the board to cut their evaluation on him so more clubs are willing to sign him. At an evaluation believed to be around £40-50 million for the Algerian international, that’s a hefty price tag for a lot of clubs to pay. Another problem the player will run into is Riyad signed a three-year contract extension with the Foxes for £100,000 a week last summer. This leaves a few main clubs left in the hunt for the player, Arsenal, Tottenham, Liverpool, and Monaco. Either way the Foxes will have made a great investment on the player as he arrived in 2014 from Le Havre for only £400,000. I see it as about an 8/10 that the player leaves this summer, he’s too good to be wasting his prime years at Leicester City.

Zlatan Ibrahimović- Manchester United stay?

            Zlatan Ibrahimović arrived in Manchester United on a free transfer, and came to prove to the doubters he could thrive in England. Proving just that he scored 28 times in 46 appearances across all completions being United’s main man. Another reason for Manchester signing the forward was to bring the Champion’s League back to Old Trafford, and he did that. Getting injured right before the Europa League Semifinals he had to miss the final in which United won to get back into Champions League play. With Ibrahimović technically a free agent as of now, the Red Devils have the option to sign a one-year extension if Zlatan agrees to the terms. One major concern for United is he is 35 years old, and it’s hard to say how good he’ll be after coming back from his knee surgery. In a recent interview done by his agent he told the press, “We have a lot of offers and ideas and we have to evaluate them, he has had a fantastic time at Manchester United and it is up to the club and myself to see what the future brings. For now, it is important he recovers well and then we will see.” If United don’t sign a new deal with the player and he stays in England it could prove to be instant karma. 

The Weekend Wrap- Arsene Wenger’s Future?

Arsene Wenger to Sign New Deal

            Arsene Wenger’s future has been up in the air lately. Seeming like a dead split between supporters wanting the Frenchmen to leave the club, and half wanting him to sign a contract extension. But after finishing in fifth place, the first time he’d finished outside the top four since 1996 in the Premier League. Many felt this could be enough for a new manager to take over the Gunners. Another problem they’ve faced throughout the past is there just a top four team, rarely winning the league or fighting for European silverware. In the 2016-17 English Premier League season, the Gunners ended up 18 points behind the league leaders Chelsea, and now must play in the Europa League this coming fall. To make matters even worse while in the Champion’s League knock out stage they were beaten 10-2 on aggregate, and at one point it looked as if Alexis Sanchez was even laughing at his own team. Club owner Stan Kroenke and Wenger meet recently to determine the future of the club. No official news has been released yet, but it’s understood he will get a new two-year contract extension with his running out this summer. Will it pay off or not is the real question, with the top six teams in the league looking to spend big this summer, keeping Wenger could be an error costing them the top four again.

English FA Cup Final- Arsenal vs. Chelsea

            Wembley was packed for the FA Cup Final taking place between Arsenal, and league winners Chelsea. With over 89,400 fans in the stadium to watch the two teams compete for the biggest domestic cup, the stage was all set. The Gunners started off in the front foot, scoring in the fourth minute from an Alexis Sanchez goa, and continued to dominate throughout the half. Chelsea’s defense looked poor, and Gary Cahill had to clear a Danny Welbeck, and Mesut Ozil chances off the goal line to keep the score from going higher. To make matters worse for Chelsea, in the second half Victor Moses picked up a second yellow card for stimulation in the 68th minute. After the game Oxlade-Chamberlain told the press, “I think obviously when he went inside there was a moment when I sort of went to go for the ball, and then I thought he might just be a little bit ahead of me so I decided to pull out and not go for it. So as soon as Moses went down I was fully confident that I was nowhere near him and that the referee should have seen that so my heart didn't really go in my mouth.” But it almost seemed to help Chelsea as in the 76th minute Diego Costa was able to put a volley past the Gunners. But the Blues short lived lead was there for only 3 minutes until the 79th minute when Aaron Ramsey was able to put in a powerful header to seal the cup. The only bright part of the Gunners season, and with little else going their way they’ll have to try to build off this. This also seems them compete in the Community Shield, which is a fixture between the FA Cup winners, and the English Premier League Champions.

English Championship Playoff Finals

            The English Championship Playoff Finals is the biggest game most of these players will ever play in. To reach this point your club must finish from third place to sixth place to have the opportunity to play in the Premier League the follow season. Third place, Reading, are matched up against sixth place, Fulham, in a two legged tie. While fourth place, Sheffield Wednesday, are matched up against fifth place, Huddersfield Town, in a two legged tie too. From there whoever wins the aggregate score from the matchup moves on to the Playoff Finals. This game is one that can change a club’s history forever, as if you win you’re in the Premier League, but lose and you most play in the second division again. So the stage was all set Huddersfield Town vs. Reading, both clubs dreaming of the Premier League money deal. Through the first forty-five minutes both clubs had shots, but none of them were on target. The same continued through the second half with the score ending 0-0 after the full ninety-minute whistle. This called for two 15 minute periods of overtime, or it’d go to penalty kicks if the game ended tied. That is just what happened after over 120 minutes of soccer the game ended zero to zero with the two club’s stats looking very similar. The possession was 51% in Reading’s favor, and they also had 11 shots, one more than Huddersfield Town’s 10 shots. But when it came down to the penalties, Huddersfield Town moved on 4-3 to upset the third place Reading. After the match Huddersfield manager David Wagner told the press, “I'm one of the happiest men on the planet today. I'm so proud of this group of players, what they've done over the whole season. There was no doubt about whether we were able to handle the atmosphere. After what they did in the semi-final, I thought the circumstances wouldn't be a problem. This competition is really hard. If you win it you like it, but my thoughts are as well with the other three teams which had unbelievable seasons, especially Reading.” This is Huddersfield Town’s first time in the English Premier League, which is a great feat for the club. 

Transfer Saturday-

Wilfred Zaha- Crystal Place to Tottenham

            Wilfred Zaha has certainly had a great season, lighting up the flanks of the field and making it near impossible to stop the winger. But just like his time at Manchester United, the club was too big for his abilities and later returned back to Palace. The same thing happened this year with his international career, and leaving England. Having never played an actually international game with the England National team, he was still available to switch nations that he was eligible for and he did just that. Joining the Ivory Coast National Men’s side, and becoming an instant star for the nation. Scoring 7 goals, and having 11 assists in the 2016-17 English Premier League season it made many clubs excited to hopefully sign the 24-year-old winger. Already making over 250 appearances for the Eagles, his stay there will not be ending this summer as he has signed a new five-year contract with the club. After doing so the Crystal Palace chairman said, “Wilf has been with the club since he was eight years old and in the first team from the day I arrived. He is our talisman and someone that week in week out gives everything.”

Bernardo Silva- AS Monaco to Manchester City

            Manchester City have done it again, starting out the summer transfer window spending a large sum on a player that they already have a surplus in his position. Bernardo Silva is a 22-year-old Portuguese winger, who played for Monaco this campaign. After scoring 11 goals and having 12 assists it was enough for the Manchester club to drop a reported £43 million on the young player. The question now is where will he fit in, and whose position will he be taking? Spending that amount on a player means he will be playing, but already having Sterling, and Sane on the wings, with Gabriel Jesus also being able to play outside, where does he fall within the ranking of players? Once the player arrived at the Etihad to sign his contract he told the Manchester press, “It feels great. To be honest I'm now at one of the best teams in the world. To be part of this club and to have this opportunity is great. I'm very happy to be part of Manchester City's team and I look forward to trying to do my best to help the team reach their goals.” The signing will turn out to most likely be a good one if he can reach his full potential, sometimes though it seems they buy on impulse rather than needing the player.

Alvaro Morata- Real Madrid to AC Milan

            Alvaro Morata may be seeing his time at Real Madrid coming to an end. After going out on loan at Juventus, Madrid decided to use their buy back clause after he impressed in front of goal. Being second choice to Karim Benzema has caused the player to want to leave Madrid, and find time elsewhere. Real will be hesitate about allowing the Spanish forward to leave their club after he netted 20 times and having six assists along the way. Being only 24 years old the forward still has a lot of time to grow, and become the deadly forward every team fears attacking against them. The main clubs who are said to be targeting him are Chelsea, Manchester United, and AC Milan who all can afford to spend a healthy amount of cash on the player. With him being second choice in Madrid I see Morata’s departure to be eminent as he doesn’t want to be the second choice player.

Alexis Sanchez- Arsenal to Bayern Munich

            Alexis Sanchez’s final game with Arsenal could have occurred this weekend in the FA Cup Final which he scored in helping the Gunners win the title. The Chilean is without a doubt the main driving force for Arsenal and without the winger they’d be lifeless. Now that they finished in fifth place, and Champions League is no longer an opposition it seems Sanchez could be heading out of West London too. The Gunners are reportedly willing to offer the 28 year old a £270,000 week deal, but that still won’t be enough to tie down the prized player. Bayern Munich are said to be interested in signing him, with Vidal, his Chilean teammate, helping Bayern pull Alexis away from the Gunners. After the FA Cup Final Alexis Sanchez finally opened up on his future with the Premier League side saying, “I don’t know my friend, finished now, so happy for the win and the FA Cup, happy for the players, now I don’t know. My agent speaking after… I don’t know. Now, it’s the Confederations [Cup], now it’s focusing on the national team.” The odds of him staying seem slim to me, as Arsenal have nothing to offer Alexis other than money, but the Champions League is more important to the player. 

Europa League Final

            The 2016-17 Europa League Finals took place on Wednesday May 24th at Friends Arena in Stockholm, Sweden. With English giants, Manchester United, facing Dutch opposition Ajax to win the second largest club tournament. Manchester United came into this match having never won this trophy, but Ajax already have. Jose Mourinho has previously won this cup with FC Porto which started his glory days at coaching. The following season he went on to take FC Porto to the Champions League Final and win that too. Before we take a closer look at the match results let’s see how both clubs made it to this point.

Manchester United vs. Celta Vigo

            Manchester United were faced up against Celta Vigo in the Semi Finals in a match they were favorites from the draw. Managing to get a 1-0 victory away from Old Trafford in the first leg after a Marcus Rashford free kick it gave United all the advantage they needed. In the second leg at Old Trafford, United took an early 1-0 lead but in the second half Vigo were able to tie up the score line 1-1, and make the aggregate score 2-1.

Ajax vs. Lyon

            Ajax hosted Lyon in the first leg of the semifinals, and they certainly weren’t there to mess around with the French club. Netting four goals in the first leg, they went on to win the match 4-1 making it there first semifinal appearance since 1997. In the second leg Lyon made a comeback but the deficit proved to be too great for them to handle. After giving up an early goal to Ajax, Lyon answered by scoring three consecutive goals but soon ran out of time. The final aggregate score ended 5-4 in favor of the Dutch side, in a final game that could of went either way for the two teams.

Match Day

            Building up to the kick off on Wednesday evening Manchester United had to deal with a whole new situation that no one would have ever guessed. A bombing in Manchester caused mixed emotions to occur with the squad worrying many that it could affect the outcome of the game. Others thought it could be a way Manchester could give little light to the city after such a terrible incident occurred, and bring some good to the community. That proved to be the case in this fixture, as United were the better team.

            From the kickoff Manchester United pressed Ajax to the point where they couldn’t get any continuous flow of passing to happen. With the Red Devils high pressing showing to work very well, Ajax had a poor throw in which lead to Paul Pogba picking up the ball at the top of the 18. With the amount of money United spent on him this summer many have questioned if he proved to be worth it, and he may have just silenced all the doubters. In the 18th minute Pogba ripped a shot to put United up 1-0, giving them all the advantage they needed. After continuous attacking coming from both flanks, and a strong Valencia shot being blocked, Manchester United went into half time with a 1-0 lead. In the second half it was going to fall all on Ajax, if they’d be able to change their tactics and create new chances that they weren’t able to do in the first half. Man United showed discipline for the full ninety minutes and kept an amazing shape throughout the game. Making sure to tract back and give no one anytime to pick their head up, Ajax’s youth seemed to show and make them look like an average side. Only three minutes into the second half the Red Devils won a corner, and it sealed the victory for them too. From the corner Chris Smalling was able to head down the ball, falling perfectly to Mkhitaryan to put the ball in the back of the net. From that moment on Manchester stood strong throughout the squad, and allowed Ajax very little hope of having a chance to come back. When the final whistle blew United went crazy as this could be a huge turning point for the English club. After the game manager Jose Mourinho told the press, “It is the end of a very difficult season. But a very good season. We preferred to reach the Champions League this way than finish fourth, third or second. We got the objective, we are back in the Champions League by winning a title, an important title. The club now has every title in world football. We fought hard for this since the beginning. We always thought that we could win the Europa League and we are very happy. 

We played intelligently, we did it in a comfortable way. We were much stronger than them.” This is the wrap to a very up and down season for Manchester United, but their back at where they wanted to be, in the Champions League next year. 

The Weekend Wrap- EPL Finished

David Moyes Resigns

            David Moyes coaching career has seemed to have taken a turn for the very worse since leaving Everton back in 2013. Being hand-picked by Sir Alex Ferguson to take over his managerial reign at Manchester United, he was soon faced with the fact that a club in that size demanded too much for his abilities. Then moving on to Real Sociedad in Spain he soon followed his fate at Manchester United by being sacked from there too. His appointment to Sunderland seemed like a great move for both parties, as both had a great match it seemed. David Moyes in being able to control a smaller club, and Sunderland getting a manager with lots of experience. But after a hard fought season the Black Cats ended in dead last place with 24 points from 38 fixtures. An embarrassment to add to his CV, and possibly ruining his chances of another high profile club. After resigning from Sunderland Moyes released a statement saying, “I would like to thank Ellis Short and the Board for giving me the opportunity to manage Sunderland and the fans for always being so passionately supportive of their club. I wish the players and my successor well in their efforts towards promotion.” Much of the problems are said to be with the board of Sunderland not giving David Moyes enough money to improve the squad he had. This lead to a fallout between players and coaches as both sides of the party were very unhappy with the season.

Angel Gomes Breaks Record

            Angel Gomes may only be 16 years old, but that hasn’t stopped the youth player to be reaching new heights. When Manchester United faced Crystal Palace on the last day of the season, Jose Mourinho promised to play a bunch of youth players as they had nothing to gain nor loose from the outcome of the fixture. This lead to English Forward Angel Gomes making his first senior debut for Manchester United, and he set a new record too. He’s the first player born in the 21st century to make an appearance in the English Premier League, and the youngest this season too. He also became the youngest player to debut for Manchester United since the 1950s when Duncan Edwards did for the club. Many people rate the player as the next big thing, comparing him to David Silva and other players with his abilities. Former United youth coach Paul McGuiness told the press, “He's a real talent, if he was Brazilian, people would be raving about him and, if he was six inches taller, people would be going mad. I suppose that's our country. People doubt players if they're short in stature but no-one is doubting Andres Iniesta or David Silva. He's got the potential to be that type of player and, in England, you just don't get many players like that.”

EPL Golden Boot Award

            English and Tottenham forward Harry Kane won the Golden Boot race by scoring the most goals within the 2016-17 English Premier League season. Scoring 29 goals in 30 appearances the next closest person was 4 goals behind. That was Romelu Lukaku who scored 25 goals in 37 appearances, which wasn’t even close compared to Kane’s goal to game ratio. This isn’t the first time the young English forward has won this award, last season too he won the award by netting 25 times, and the season before that he had 21 goals. If he continues as this rate next season he’d break the 100 goal tallied by the age of 25. This had led to speculation that Harry Kane could be making a huge summer transfer, and possibly breaking the Paul Pogba transfer fee. With no other than Real Madrid being the number one club looking to bring the forward to Spain. It’s easy to say Kane has become one of England’s best young talents this generation so getting him from Tottenham would take a serious bit of cash. So will he follow in the footsteps of Gareth Bale, and head to Real Madrid or will he be in the Premier for another season to come? It’s hard to say, but if he replaces Karim Benzema in Spain, Real Madrid’s dominance could go one step even higher.

Real Madrid Champions of Spain

            Real Madrid were crowned champions of Spain after defeating Malaga 2-0 away from home. Goals coming from Cristiano Ronaldo, and Karim Benzema secured the final win, making it six straight for Madrid. This was the first time in five seasons that Real Madrid were able to bring the title back home, and their manager was very happy about that. When talking about winning the league he said, “There are no words to define this. I would like to come up here and dance, but I will not do it. I'm very happy inside. Being a Madrid coach you know the expectations. They are tall and we know that. I like that. I have lived as a player and for me today is the happiest day, professionally. The coach totally changes things. I won everything with this shirt, but winning the league today is the maximum.” Zinedine Zidane has certainly proved the doubters wrong with his tremendous season again proving his worth as a coach. His real test will come on Saturday when Real Madrid face Juventus in the Champion’s League final, a game that could see Madrid win the cup back to back seasons. 

English Premier League- Match Day 38

Sunday, May 21

Arsenal (72 Points) vs. Everton (61 Points)

            Arsenal were able to keep their top four hopes alive by beating Sunderland 2-0, but their late push could prove to be too late. The Gunners certainly have the hardest opponent versus the 3rd and 4th place teams making their odds even slimmer. Everton too won their previous fixture, and have plenty of time to rest for their season finale. After having nine days to rest this could play a role in helping Everton win this fixture. It could prove to be a turning point in the club’s future as well, if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champions League then Arsene Wenger, and Alexis Sanchez could both be gone in the summer. I see Everton pulling off a 2-1 win to end their good season.

Burnley (40 Points) vs. West Ham United (42 Points)

            Burnley and West Ham United are both safe of relegation but it didn’t prove to help the fact that neither club had a good season. West Ham in particular had a very mediocre season including losing Payet back to his former club. Last time out Burnley were beaten 2-1, and allowed other clubs to jump them in the league table. West Ham United too were embarrassed 4-0 by Liverpool which pretty much summed up their season. I see Burnley winning this fixture as West Ham just want to get out of the season.

Chelsea (90 Points) vs. Sunderland (24 Points)

            The winners of the league will be up against the worst team in the Premier League to most likely give them a final huge victory. Sunderland’s season was terrible to say the least, and the Championship could be there home for the next couple of seasons. After being beaten by Swansea City 2-0 it showed the club had zero interest in fighting to show their club an effort. Chelsea beat Watford in a crazy 4-3 victory helping seal their title for good. I see Chelsea winning this fixture 3-0 as Sunderland are done, gone and out.

Hull City (34 Points) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (83 Points)

            Hull City had the all-important possible lifeline to be able to pull off a comeback and stay in the Premier League for another season, but competently blew their huge chance. Facing Crystal Palace, they could have stayed within touching distance of the teams near the relegation zone, but ended up getting beaten 4-0 by Crystal Palace. Tottenham’s late push to win the league was ended early after coughing up a few points here and there, and with the Blues dominant. I see Tottenham winning this game 3-1 as Hull were to poor this season.

Leicester City (43 Points) vs. AFC Bournemouth (45 Points)

            Both clubs didn’t have the season they hoped to have, and both are ready for their new season in a few month’s time. Leicester City were unable to beat Man City in a game that could of lead to a great final stretch of the season, and Bournemouth were able to bring home all three points in their game vs. Burnley. I see Leicester City winning this match, as their the much better side in this matchup.

Liverpool (73 Points) vs. Middlesbrough (28 Points)

            Liverpool can’t afford to slip up here and they luckily have one of the easiest clubs to play this Sunday. After humiliating West Ham United 4-0, any hope Middlesbrough had to upset the Reds just got a tad bit slimmer. Middlesbrough continue to just play out the final games with zero fighting spirit left within the team, and it showed vs. Southampton. I see Liverpool beating Middlesbrough 4-0 as well to end the season in the top four.

Manchester United (66 Points) vs. Crystal Palace (41 Points)

            Manchester United are just riding out the final Premier League fixtures as all their focus is now on the Europa League Final which happens to be on Wednesday of this coming week. After putting zero effort into the Premier League United were beaten by Tottenham on Wednesday, and will be playing a ton of youth players tomorrow. Crystal Palace also managed to secure safety after beating Hull City 4-0 in a club deciding match. The score up this game is really up in the air depending on how the clubs send out their lineups.

Southampton (46 Points) vs. Stoke City (41 Points)

            Southampton and Stoke City are both safe and looking forward to a fresh start in August. After a poor display from both clubs neither club will be too excited about playing the final game. Southampton did manage to win 2-1 vs. Middlesbrough, and Stoke City were beaten 4-1 by Arsenal on Saturday. I see this game ending in a 2-2 draw with both teams wanting to plan on the year ahead.

Swansea City (38 Points) vs. West Bromwich Albion (45 Points)

            Swansea City are very lucky to be able to stay in the Premier League next season as they easily could have been relegated this season. I’d give the Swans a 1 star rating this season, and the only reason they even get a star is they didn’t get relegated. West Bromwich had a decent campaign but it turned out to lead to nothing in the end either. After hoping to push for Europa League the only hope they had fatly slipped away with the top 7 gap being huge. I see Swansea City winning this game 1-0 with a late goal.

Watford (40 Points) vs. Manchester City (75 Points)

            Watford are in 16th place and are lucky to stay in the league for another year. After being beaten 4-3 in a thriller by Chelsea if Hull would of won Watford could be in a due or die match here. Manchester City also haven’t secure Champion’s League football yet so they most win, or tie if they hope to do so. I can’t see Manchester City being beaten, and I see them winning 2-1.

Transfer Talk-

Michael Keane~ Burnley to Manchester United?

            Michael Keane left Manchester United like Paul Pogba did, wanting to join a club that could offer him the potential to play a lot more minutes that he could at Manchester. In both instances, Manchester United were worse off letting the pair go, and now they may be having to pay a large sum to recoup the player. Since the player left Manchester and joined Burnley he’s flourished in his central back role, making him one of England’s top center back prospects out there. Being sold to Burnley in 2015 for only £2 million, United will now have to pay in the range of £25 million for the 24-year-old center back. The only issue that’s be raised is he good enough to bring United to the next level, or is to for the domestic player role. It’s certain that Manchester United will spend big this summer, but signing an average player will not be enough for the club if they want to get back to their historical strength. For me this move seems sort of up in the air, as other center backs could provide more safety in his spot.

Kelechi Iheanacho~ Manchester City to West Ham?

            Kelechi Iheanacho only two seasons ago was said to be the next big star, starting for Manchester City, and being tipped to surpass Sergio Augero in the front line. But since Pep Guardiola’s appoint to managing the club, the forward has found himself to only one start in 2017 and with it being all the way back in January. Even with his starting role being limited with the new manager, he’s managed to make 28 appearances while only being able to find the back of the net seven times so far. The Nigerian forward certainly has a lot of potential in him, but with the lacking time he’s been receiving a transfer could do the forward a great deal of help in progressing to the next stage. This has West Ham United interested in signing the forward to help with the continuously injured Andy Carroll. His asking price is said to be around £20 million which seems to be a little low in my opinion. With his contract running up in 2021, I don’t see City’s logic in selling the player when he could easily go out on loan to get more minutes if that’s what he actually needs. The odds of him leaving City to the go to the Hammers seems about a 4/10 chance as West Ham can’t expect to get him for so cheap.

Adan Januzaj~ Manchester United to?

            Adan Januzaj came onto the stage in his famous two goal appearance vs. Sunderland back in 2014 when David Moyes took over the Red Devils. But since he was given Ryan Giggs number 11 jersey his career almost fell apart. After emerging as a possibly top player, his attitude got the better of him, and he soon saw his future outside of Manchester. His first stint away from his parent club was at Borussia Dortmund which proved to be an unsuccessful stay for the Belgium, before his former manager came back for him. This time David Moyes signed him on loan at Sunderland, which at first seemed like a match made in heaven. But soon the fans came quick to boo to winger as his performances were always average or below par. With less than a year remaining on his contract once he arrives back from Sunderland, Jose Mourinho has reportedly decided his fate on the Belgium. It is he’ll allow him to leave for a fee believed to be in the £7-8 million range, or United will try to use him as a partial deal for another player. If Adan becomes reluctant to sign a new deal or tries to force through his contract, it could leave United in a very tricky situation. Do they let him see out the final 12 months or sell him for a bargain price of £3-5 million to at least cope some money back? The club I see him heading to this summer is either a newly promoted Championship club, or a club like QPR who want to get back into the Premier League so badly.

Pablo Zabaleta will leave Man City

            The Argentina full back will be leaving Manchester City this summer when his contract expires, confirms on the club. Joining City in 2008 he’s managed to make over 300 club appearances for the club, making him one of the top three longest serving players at the club. After Manchester City beat Leicester City, the club took to the internet to say, “Pablo has informed the club he will move to pastures new, but leave behind many happy memories.” His age being 32 makes him still a very capable player of handling another 2-3 solid seasons in the Premier League, but who he goes to is still uncertain. A club in the manner of Newcastle United, Stoke City, or Swansea could all use the experience of such a highly sought after leader. Manchester City’s players leaving for free could be a huge issue this season as six players contracts will end at the beginning of June and some are pretty big names. With fans starting to worry about the mass exodus of players they released another statement telling everyone, “Though there are a number of first-team player contracts currently under consideration, Pablo's situation is the only one that has been fully finalized.”

The Weekend Wrap- Chelsea Win League

Chelsea Seal English Premier League Title

Chelsea have successfully wrapped up the 2016-17 English Premier League, bringing the trophy back to West London for the second time in three seasons. Along the way Victor Moses saved his Chelsea career, Kante won the Player of the Year again, and the Blues showed how great the 3-5-2 formation can be. Sealing the title Friday by beating West Bromwich 1-0 with a Michy Batshuayi goal, the Blues could have stepped off the gas. Instead on their Monday fixture vs. Watford they netted four goals while conceding three along the way. With just one game reaming in the campaign Chelsea could experiment with the squad this final weekend.

Midweek Matchups

Tuesday, May 16th

Arsenal (21-6-9) vs. Sunderland (6-6-24)

            Arsenal will host a relegated Sunderland in a match they most win if they hope to stand any chance of playing in the Champions League next fall. After a rough string of games in March through May, the Gunners now look likely to miss out of the tournament. Sunderland won’t have much more to play for then self-pride, and players proving they shouldn’t be sold off by the club in the summer. Arsenal over the weekend ran rapped on Stoke City defeating them 4-1 away from home proving their still in contention. Sunderland continue their downward spiral after another defeat to Swansea City, allowing the Swans to stay safe in the Premier League next season. This match looks like an easy win for the Gunners, and they should be able to put pressure on the third and fourth position teams making them even more careful. I see Arsenal winning the game 3-0 as Sunderland are down and out.

Manchester City (21-9-6) vs. West Bromwich Albion (12-9-15)

            Manchester City are in pole position to finish within the top four, as they only need one point from their final two games to finish in the top four. After beating Leicester City 2-1 at home, they’ll be facing a weaker side by playing West Brom. West Bromwich don’t have much to play for in this fixture, as a win or lose will not affect any outcome for them anymore. Depending on how they club wants to play they could go out with their starting 11, or allow new faces to come through the club. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a few new faces appear on the subs at least, but Manchester City will start their best 11. A win here and they could finish in third place, but losing would bring it all down to the final game. This fixture will also most likely be Yaya Toure’s final game at the Etihad Stadium with his contract set to expire in the summer. For me this looks like an easy victory for Manchester City, as West Brom aren’t doing too good and looks to continue the remainder of the season.

Wednesday, May 17th

Southampton (12-9-15) vs. Manchester United (17-14-5)

            Southampton managed to barely escape with three points against a relegated Middlesbrough in a 2-1 victory, and it pretty much sums of their poor season. After much promise at the beginning of the summer, the club never lived up to their full potential, and the clubs hope to play European football next season. This game for Manchester United means nothing at this point as they can only finish in fifth place at this point. Their main focus will go to the Europa League final which will take place the following week on Wednesday too. For the Red Devils I expect many players who haven’t featured to be involved and all the big guns to be put far away from the pitch. Taking chances this close to the final, and their way in to the Champion’s League is way too dangerous for Jose Mourinho to chance any main player. This could also be one of the final games we see Wayne Rooney play for Manchester United as his future at the club is very up in the air, many feel he should could but Wayne is fine stay in Manchester. I don’t Rooney having a future at the club so I hope the English forward moves on to another club, he still is a top class player but not what Manchester need in their squad anymore to continue to progress. I see Manchester United winning this match 1-0 with a late goal coming after lots of pressure.

Thursday, May 18th

Leicester City (12-7-17) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (24-8-4)

            Leicester City will be happy to finish their final few matches of this campaign after a very disappointing season to say the least. Being beaten by Manchester City 2-1 their luck hasn’t changed, but they did make a late push to stay in the Premier League for more seasons to come. Tottenham are mathematically going to finish in second place, with the only bright part is them finishing above Arsenal. The Spurs main issue this summer could be keeping as many main players as possible, names such as Harry Kane, and Dele Alli have already been rumored to have large sum offers heading their way. If they accept them, or the player wants the transfer is a whole another question that is unclear too. Tottenham also continued on their winning ways defeating a weakened Manchester United side who started an almost brand new starting 11 side. For me I see Tottenham winning as their form is too good for the Foxes, who seem ready to finish this season. Could they have a great season next year around is hard to say, but at least they won’t have as much pressure as they did this year to perform. 

English Premier League- Match Day 37

Friday, May 12th

Everton (16-10-10) vs. Watford (11-7-17)

            Everton will host Watford after performing terribly away from home, and losing to Swansea City 1-0. The Coffees mess doesn’t end there, as Ronald Koeman wants Barkley to decide his future at the club by next week or he will be sold this summer. Watford too also came out with a poor display, and were beaten 3-0 by Leicester City. Neither team is in great form, but I see Everton edging out Watford for a 2-1 victory.

West Bromwich Albion (12-9-14) vs. Chelsea (27-3-5)

            West Bromwich’s remaining of the season now just seems to be a recovery, and time for youngsters to get some playing time. Being currently in 8th place their gap into European football is to great where the remaining games won’t make a difference. Chelsea on the other hand now have a seven-point gap between them and Tottenham, so a win here would seal the title. I can’t see West Brom beating Chelsea, especially after tying Burnley 2-2. The 2016-17 English Premier League title all but looks set to be ending up in West London with the Blues.

Saturday, May 13th

Manchester City (20-9-6) vs. Leicester City (12-7-16)

            Manchester City ran riot on Crystal Palace which say them net 5 goals on a progressing Palace side. With goals coming from five different players this will be a great sign for the club showing their threat to attack from all sorts of positions. Leicester City continue their great winning form, and destroyed Watford 3-0 making things even more difficult for the club. If the Foxes would have performed this well throughout the season, they could’ve been in European football next season. I see Manchester City losing this matchup, as the Foxes are on such a strong winning streak they’ll be hard to stop. The final score will be 0-1 with Jamie Vardy getting a second half goal.

AFC Bournemouth (11-9-16) vs. Burnley (11-7-18)

            Both AFC Bournemouth and Burnley will most likely be staying in the Premier League for another season. Burnley could still end up in the bottom three but due to the goal difference the odds of that happening are zero to none. Bournemouth will have to show the home crowd they are ready for next season after tying Stoke City Saturday at home. Burnley too ended in a 2-2 draw giving neither club the upper hand in this matchup. I see the Berries winning 3-1 with them finally being able to net some goals.

Middlesbrough (5-13-18) vs. Southampton (11-9-15)

            Middlesbrough’s time in the Premier League was short, and now they’ll be back in the second division next fall. Even with the great effort they put in later on in the season, it was too little and late to make a difference. Southampton are looking to get of the season with no further injuries and recoup for next season too. Southampton are a strong side and I see them winning this matchup 0-2.

Sunderland (6-6-23) vs. Swansea City (10-5-21)

            Sunderland are done and out, but they were able to beat Hull City 0-2 last weekend away from home. Swansea City also managed to top Everton 1-0 allowing them to get out of the relegation zone. This is the game Swansea players would all dream for, a win and their safe for next season. But a lose here could see them drop back into the bottom three, and end up being relegated. The Swans are walking on thin needles but I see them getting the victory and staying in the Premier League for another season.

Stoke City (10-11-15) vs. Arsenal (20-6-9)

            Arsenal are surprisingly back in the hunt for Champion’s League football after multiple teams dropping crucial points and being able to beat Manchester United 2-0. Their victory over United shouldn’t be seen as a great feat as Manchester United put out a second team to rest players for the Europa League. Stoke City again drew away from home, and will end up in the middle of the pack again. It’s starting to become the same old, same old Stoke City who now need to look to change how they play. I see Stoke managing to give Arsenal a scare and top them 1-0 with a late effort.

Sunday, May 14th

Crystal Palace (11-5-20) vs. Hull City (9-7-20)

            A match that could be a defining moment for both clubs and their existence in the English Premier League. If Crystal Palace can even manage a draw in this fixture they’ll be safe and can look forward to a summer transfer window to strength the club. Hull City are now in a due or die situation, after losing to Sunderland they dropped back into the relegation zone and the odds aren’t going their way. With only one game remaining for them after this matchup, the time is running out, so can the Tigers manage to pull off a crazy last two weekends is still unsure. I can’t see Palace losing at home, but I see a 2-2 draw happening.

West Ham United (11-9-16) vs. Liverpool (20-10-6)

            West Ham United managed to top Tottenham 1-0 in a defining moment for the season. With the huge advantage on their side now, Liverpool will be shaking their heads with this game being a very important matchup. Losing here isn’t an option as if they do or drop any points they could end up in the Europa League next season. Both clubs will get plenty of chances but I see the Reds capitalizing and winning the match.

Tottenham Hotspur (23-8-4) vs. Manchester United (17-14-4)

            Tottenham’s lose to West Ham pretty much gives Chelsea the title, but Champion’s League football is a guarantee. Manchester United could also end up in the Champions League if they can win their fixture vs. Ajax in the Europa League final. This will bring about a crucial decision for Jose Mourinho, and see if he’ll roll all his dice on the one game. It’s a huge decision but chancing a player to get hurt could prove to be too costly for the Red Devils. Depending on how both clubs line up could change who’s got the upper hand, and with it being so unpredictable I see a draw occurring here. 

Transfer Report-

Real Madrid sign next World Star?

            Real Madrid are supposedly keen on signing 16-year-old Vinicius Junior from Flamengo, for £38 million. If the transfer deal is completed he won’t formally make his move to Madrid until the summer of 2018, when he turns 18 to be safe in the FIFA youth transfer regulations. Many may wonder how a 16-year-old could go for so much without making a senior debut for his parent club, but it’s from being top scorer and player of the tournament as Brazil won the 2017 South American Under-17 Championship earlier this season. When Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane was asked about the possible completed transfer he said, “As you know well, there is talk about this player, but I do not know him personally, I am just thinking about tomorrow's game. So I will not answer your question.” If I was Real Madrid I would be careful when spending so much money on a young player again, Martin Odegaard proved to be a signing that hasn’t paid off yet.

Kevin Mirallas to leave Everton?

            Kevin Mirallas received Everton’s player of the season award this week, and there’s good news for the Toffees fans. After making 33 appearances this season, and scoring four goals he’s been awarded with a new long term contract offer. Kenwright confirmed the news on twitter saying Mirallas would be signing a new long term deal in the days to come. Good news for the Everton club, and for the 29-year-old Belgium international.

Jordan Pickford to Everton?

            Jordan Pickford continues to climb the goal keeping rank in England, and after Sunderland have been confirmed relegated, he will be heading to another club. The 23-year-old English international has impressed this season while the remaining players on the club let him down. A £10-million-pound offer will be submitted once the season is officially wrapped up, but it’s understood that offer will be rejected immediately. With the Black Cats having the player at a relatively low salary they’ll be in no rush to unload the keeper, and will hold out for an offer in the £17-25 million range to get his services. I see Pickford leaving Sunderland to stay in the Premier League, but for which club he ultimately goes too is still uncertain.

Yaya Toure to Where?

            Yaya Toure a fan favorite for the Manchester City fan base is set to say his goodbyes with the club after having a seven-year stint at the club. The 33-year-old, Ivory Coast midfielder, will see his contract come to an end in June. Becoming a free agent will change the direction on where the star will go. Already having rejected offers from Chinese Super clubs, and huge Italian clubs making offers this is all good news for Premier League clubs. West Ham United, Newcastle United, and Brighton have become front runners for the once prized possession. His finally game at the Etihad could be on Tuesday vs. West Bromwich Albion if now new contract renewal is signed. After a great stint with the club his time looks done, but still have plenty to offer at a smaller club. Turning 34 on Sunday, he may need to look for a long term contract if he hopes to stay in the EPL for much longer.

Victor Valdes to Manchester City?

            Victor Valdes will now be on the hunt for a new club after his current club Middlesbrough United are mathematically being relegated into the Championship next season. Having already played for giant clubs Barcelona, and Manchester United his next club could be back to another giant of the game. ESPN are understood to think Manchester City will come calling for the Spanish goalie. After joining Manchester United in the summer of 2014 as Van Gaal allowed the player a place to recover from his major knee injury, his stint was short and soon was placed for sale. His time in England hasn’t always been the best but Manchester City are in need of an experienced keeper after Joe Hart will be sold, and with Bravo not impressing in goal.

BREAKING NEWS~ Paul Pogba Deal to be looked at by FIFA

            News broke on Monday that FIFA will conduct an investigation in the World Record transfer deal that saw Paul Pogba go from Juventus to Manchester United. The whole reason for the investigation is still unclear, but it’s believed to be on the agent, and Juventus dealing with the money.

The Weekend Wrap- Champions League Second Leg

Juventus vs. AS Monaco~ 2-0~ Tuesday, May 9th

            Juventus are heading into the second round of the Champion’s League Semi-finals with a two goal lead with the second leg being played at home. Gonzalo Higuaín stole the show in the first leg at the Stade Louis II, by having a brace to give Juve the 2 away goal advantage. Much of the talk for the first game was centered around Falcao, and the rising superstar Mbappe but neither player for Monaco were able to make a difference. The home shutout for Monaco makes it the first time since November of 2015 that they haven’t scored at home. Now heading to Italy to try to make up a two goal difference will be a huge challenge for the French club. Even with the great attacking threat they bring to the table, I don’t think it’ll be enough to top Juventus at home, and a single goal for Juventus would cause the game to become even harder to play upon. Now Juve have the chance to be able to finally win the Champion’s League title after being beaten by Barcelona in their last appearance.

Atletico Madrid vs. Real Madrid~ 0-3~ Wednesday, May 10th

            Atletico Madrid will host cross town rivals Real Madrid in a match that doesn’t look favorable for the hosts. In the past three Champion League Final’s Real Madrid have beaten Atletico twice, and this season they look to be sending them out again. In the first leg it was the Cristiano Ronaldo with the Portuguese winger having a hat trick. Being three goals down, and only 90 minutes to make up the difference the odds seem very slim for Atletico to pull off this comeback. If it’s capable of happening they’ll need Antonio Griezmann to have the game of his life, and for the defenders to not give Ronaldo a single decent chance on goal. In the last 7 meetings between the Madrid clubs Real has won 3, tied 3, and only managed a single defeat to them. It makes it seem the Champion’s League Final will be between Real Madrid and Juventus.

Chelsea Inch closer to Premier League Title

            Chelsea hosted Middlesbrough in a due or die match for the away team, and for the Blues a match to get even closer to the Premier League title. Only moments into the match Chelsea were on the front foot, with Alonso hitting the crossbar only a minute into the game. Then in the 22nd minute Cesc Fabregas was able to find Diego Costa open inside the box to put them 1-0 ahead. To add to the situation of possibly being relegated with a loss in this match they conceded again in the 33rd minute off an Alonso goal. Being 2-0 down at half, Middlesbrough needed to come all the way back if they hoped to even stand a fighting chance within the league. But only seconds into the second half Chelsea were able to counter of a fast break with Matic finishing off the attack. With the score ending 3-0 in favor of Chelsea it resulted in two major changes to the league. First if Chelsea can win on Friday at West Bromwich Albion the 2016-17 English Premier League title will be heading to back to West London for the second time in three seasons. The defeat for Middlesbrough also confirms their relegation into the Championship along with Sunderland.

Manchester United’s Unbeaten Run Ends

            Manchester United were on the clubs longest unbeaten run with 25 matches unbeaten with their domestic league. Facing Arsenal at the Gunners on Sunday this could of been a pivotal point for either club at this point. Manchester United could close the gap in the top four as Manchester City, and Liverpool have both had their struggles as of late. But manager Jose Mourinho elected to go with a secondary squad to rest players as he prefers to charge for the Champion’s League by winning the Europa League. With their Thursday match in his mind he decided to switch 7 players from the previous match so he could rest key players such as Paul Pogba, and Marcus Rashford. In the first half the decision didn’t seem to be such a ball call by the Red Devils manager, but they certainly lacked the attacking surge they normally are capable of. Unfortunately for United their luck ran out when in the 54th minute Granit Xhaka took a thirty yard shot deflecting off Ander Herrera before passing David De Gea. The Gunners from that point had the momentum on their side, and former Red Devil Danny Welbeck was able to find the back of the net in the 57th minute from an Oxlade-Chamberlin cross. After the final whistle Jose Mourinho took a dig at Arsenal saying, “This is the first time I have seen the Arsenal fans happy,” he said. “I left High bury, and they were crying; I left the Emirates, and they were crying. Today they had their scarves out, and they were singing. Arsenal fans are happy, and I'm happy for them.”

 

English Premier League- Match Day 35

Friday, May 5th

West Ham United (10-9-16) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (23-8-3)

            West Ham United will have their hands full when they host second in the table Tottenham Hotspurs. After an impressive 2016-17 campaign, their squad has fallen apart and sit only 7 points above the relegation zone. To make matters worse, they tied Stoke City last weekend, and now are likely to drop all 3 points here. Tottenham on the other hand are trying to play catch up with league leaders Chelsea. After beating Arsenal 2-0 last time out the club is in a strong winning mentality. I see their winning ways to continue away from home, with a 3-0 win this weekend.

Saturday, May 6th

Manchester City (19-9-6) vs. Crystal Palace (11-5-19)

            Manchester City are lucky to still be in fourth place after dropping two vital points to Middlesbrough. A fixture for them to forget but also showing signs of trouble within the back line of the team. Crystal Palace are now in the situation where they just want to get any point possible to make them ideally safe from relegation. Unfortunately, after losing two to zero to Burnley on Saturday, their safety has been postponed for another week. If Crystal Palace can get the first goal in this matchup I see them winning, otherwise City will have the upper hand.

AFC Bournemouth (11-8-16) vs. Stoke City (10-10-15)

            Bournemouth were able to take home all three points to keep them in safety, and the EPL next season. Beating Sunderland 1-0 with an 88th minute Joshua King goal, they’ll need to be in better form here our they’ll lose. Stoke City too are most likely safe, but the doesn’t change the problem with how often they end mid table. It’s not a bad thing for the club, but at some point they need to invest, and push for European football. I see Stoke City winning this game 2-1.

Burnley (11-6-18) vs. West Bromwich Albion (12-8-14)

            Can Burnley reach the forty-point mark this season is unclear, but it could happen after this weekend. Winning last time out, and going up against West Brom who were just beaten 1-0 by Leicester City, they can look for 6 points in two weeks. Not much more than a mid-table matchup here, I still see Burnley taking home all three points.

Hull City (9-7-19) vs. Sunderland (5-6-23)

            This could be the most defining game for the direction of Hull City, and where they end up next season. A win here could be enough to make the bottom three a clear path to relegation, and at the same time a lost here, and Swansea victory would also put them in the bottom three. Sunderland are down and out so now all they have to fight for is pride, this can cause a huge swing in momentum with new faces being brought in to show their ready for next season. Hull will have the upper hand, and I don’t think they’ll capitalize on it.

Leicester City (11-7-16) vs. Watford (11-7-16)

            Leicester City at last are back to how they should have been all season, but now it’s too late and more for showing hope next campaign. Watford too sit at an identical 40-point mark, with safety pretty much certain. Watford were beaten 1-0 by Liverpool in which if things turned at all could have easily managed to take all three points. But now they most face previous champions away from home, in a matchup they’ll dread. I see a tie occurring though as neither side will be able to get the upper hand on the other.

Swansea City (9-5-21) vs. Everton (16-10-9)

            Swansea City’s season all comes down to the final three fixtures, losing any of this could mean relegation for a club with so much promise. When the fingers start getting pointed at whose fault it was, it will lead to a nasty club fall out. To make matter worse they barely managed to escape Manchester United with a point, and Everton were on done by Chelsea in a 3-0 demolishing. To say the least, I’d rather Swansea stay in the league vs. Hull so I hope they can manage to pull off a win here, but it seems unlikely. I’m going against the odds and say that Swansea get the first goal, and will manage to win 1-0.

Sunday, May 7th

Liverpool (20-9-6) vs. Southampton (11-8-14)

            Liverpool still sit in third place but could fall to fourth when Manchester City finally place their makeup games. Their season started off extremely strong, but soon turned to a disastrous January, with the effects still showing today. Notching out Watford 1-0 for all three points it gives them a slight lead in the race for Champions League play. Southampton also blundered last weekend drawing Hull City in a game they should have easily won. At this point for them its more about pride as they aren’t going anywhere no matter what happens the remaining campaign. I see a tie here with Southampton getting late goals.

Arsenal (18-6-9) vs. Manchester United (17-14-3)

            Arsenal vs. Manchester United is the game of the week, and a defining moment for both clubs. A win here for Arsenal could allow them to jump United with a game in hand, but a win for United will have them fighting for the remaining six points to come. Manchester United messed up drawing Swansea City in a reoccurring draw from not being able to finish chances. Arsenal were humiliated by Tottenham, and this season will have them finish above the Gunners too adding into the wounds. Manchester United are a completely different side this season, and I see them winning 1-0 with Mourinho being a tactical genius.

Monday, May 8th

Chelsea (26-3-5) vs. Middlesbrough (5-13-17)

            Chelsea can hope to keep their league title dreams in check with a win here. This could also pretty much make Middlesbrough be relegated as their time to bounce back has run out. Chelsea were able to get an easy win off a strong Everton team, and Middlesbrough managed to tie Manchester City. I see Chelsea winning 2-0 with little fight coming from Middlesbrough. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 25

London Derby~ Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Arsenal

            Tottenham Hotspurs hosted Arsenal at the White Hart Lane that was a vital game for both clubs. The Spurs needed to win to stay in the race for the Premier League title being only four points behind Chelsea, and Arsenal have now dropped into sixth place which could result in them missing the Champions League too. In the 55th minute Dele Alli was able to put back a rebounded shot to give the Spurs a 1-0 lead in the second half, but only minutes later in the 58th Harry Kane was able to double the lead from the spot. This puts Tottenham 14 points above the Gunners in league with only four games left to play. With only twelve possible points the Gunners could pick up Tottenham will finish above the Gunners for the first time since 1995. After the game keeper Peter Cech told the press, “We have five games to play and we are out of the title race. It was not the objective [to finish below Tottenham], so we are disappointed with that. But Tottenham finishing above us or doing better is one thing, but I think the most important thing for the club, for the players, for everybody is to reach your own targets, not to worry about what the others are doing." Summing up a disappointing season for Arsene Wenger, and his players where he will end up now is unknown.

Theatre of Draws?

            Manchester United have set a new club record with 25 games unbeaten in their domestic top flight play. This may sound very special, and yes it is, but United don’t have much to show for all their great efforts. Out of the 25 games they’ve been unbeaten 12 of the games haven resulted in a draw, which means Manchester only get 1 point towards their league standing. All these draws are playing huge dividends for the club, as they sit in fifth place which means they wouldn’t qualify for the Champions League at this rate. The other issue is the amount of draws that have occurred at the Theatre of Dreams this season. After drawing Swansea at home 1-1 over the weekend, Manchester United have now had 10 draws at home this season making them close to another record. It’s only the second time in the club’s history to record a double digit draw amount at home, and the last time it occurred was 1980/81 when they tied 11 games at home. With only four domestic league matches left this campaign, United will need to win them all if they want to play in the Champion’s League next fall.

Marcelo Saves the Day

            After the defeat to Barcelona in the el Clasico, Real Madrid’s lead at the top of the table is three if they win their next game. Facing Valencia FC who are on a dismal season, it was going to be a hard game to win at home. In the 27th minute Cristiano Ronaldo was able to head home a cross giving the Los Blanco’s a 1-0 lead going into the half. With multiple major chances blown by Real Madrid in the 57th minute Cristiano Ronaldo missed from the spot to secure all three points. It seemed to prove costly when in the 82nd minute Parejo put a perfect free kick in to tie up the score. Luckily only four minutes later Marcelo was able to cut in and strike home the winning goal to give Madrid the 1-2 victory. A loss here would of gave Barcelona the lead in the league, with Real Madrid having a game in hand.

PSG back to reality

            When Zlatan Ibrahimović was still in League 1 with PSG, Paris seemed almost unbeatable and very few teams ever came close to upsetting the club. Now with the Swedish legend gone, and Nice and AS Monaco both doing very well in the league PSG’s dominance may have come to an end. Nice may have handed PSG the ultimate blow of their domestic season, now with only 3 games left for them to play Monaco could go in with a 6-point advantage to end the campaign. It now looks very likely that the Ligue 1 title will leave Paris for the first time since 2012, and could be gone for a few more years to come. The four time defending champions of France went to Nice in a due or die situation in retaining the league. In the 26th minute though Mario Balotelli was able to curl home an amazing strike to give the home side the lead. (Mario Balotelli has tied his highest goal scoring in a league, 14 goals, with his time at AC Milan in 2013/14). Again Pereira was able to double the lead in the 48th minute which seemed to be too much for PSG to handle. The away side were able to get a goal closer in the 64th minute when Marquinhos scored but it proved to be too late. With the final few minutes left in the game tempers began to boil over, and in the 90th minute both Thiago Motta, and Angel Di Maria saw red. To add to their misery Nice scored again in injury time to wrap up the score line 3-1.

Transfer Tuesday-

Transfer Tuesday-

Wayne Rooney to Everton?

            Wayne Rooney’s Manchester United career has steadily declined in the past couple of seasons, and they now seem ready to unload the forward. At 31 years old he isn’t too old for top flight football anymore, but when has competing with some of the best younger players his level isn’t there. With a contact worth over £250,000 a week, the Red Devils would be happy to have this space free up to sign the next generation stars. One of the skippers’ main transfer destinations could be Everton, making a return switch to where it all started for him. After taking the Red Devils all time goal scoring record into this name, very little more can be broken in his time left with the club.

Renato Sanches to?

            Renato Sanches arrived over the summer to Bayern Munich in a £30 million deal with the possibility of add ons. But since his arrival the midfielder can’t seem to be finding his strides, and has fallen down Carlos Ancelotti’s pecking order with the club. Making only 5 starts thus far in the Bundesliga in now doubt someone with his talent would want to be playing more, or transfer to make it possible. The Portuguese player hasn’t been used much lately and one thing the media speculated was due to a clause, stating Bayern would have to pay an additional £3.5 million if he made an appearance. The club released a statement saying, “On the media reports that FC Bayern Munich will have to pay an additional payment of €5million to his former club, Benfica, upon the next appearance of Renato Sanches, FC Bayern makes clear: this story is false, nor is there a payment due upon the next performance of Renato Sanches in any subsequent games.”

Dele Alli to Real Madrid or Barcelona?

            It’s no question that Dele Alli, the English midfielder, has taken the English Premier League by surprise this season. Only being 21 years old his value continues to sky rocket by the match, and his abilities continue to shine. Now days finding an attacking forward who can both score and assist is hard to get but Alli provides both. Having 17 goals within his domestic league already makes him a prize target for both Real Madrid and Barcelona. Famous football legend, and Real Madrid legend Roberto Carlos had his own thoughts on the possible deal stating, “He’s a brilliant player. I love him, I’ve seen him play some great games in England. Of course, it’s not up to me — transfers will, of course, be decided by the president. But, we definitely could sign him. He is undoubtedly good enough for Real Madrid.” The two major issues with the possible transfer are Alli in 2016 signed a new 6-year deal with the club, which would make his price rise even more. If he is to leave this summer I expect him to be right around the record transfer fee paid for Paul Pogba over the summer, as he is good but not to the level of Pogba.

Marco Verratti ready to move on?

            Marco Verratti, the small Italian midfielder, has sprung the PSG midfield to life when he’s in the game. As PSG have most likely failed to win the Ligue 1 title for a fifth consecutive season, and being knocked out of the Champions League. Verratti’s time in Paris me be coming to an end, with rumors saying he’d like to be back in his home country. With Juventus the most likely place for him to head too, Thiago Motta’s agent told the press, “Juventus? What I can say is that the French club don’t want to sell him, they don’t need the money and for that reason there’s no need for him to leave Paris. Knowing PSG’s mentality, I’d say that the leadership don’t have any intention of selling Verratti, but I don’t want to talk about players who aren’t my clients. I’ll just say that I’d love him to stay in Paris for a long time.” The only issue is both parties have to be wanting the same outcome for this to happen, and Verratti may be ready for a new challenge in his career.

TAP INS

Wednesday May, 3rd

Juventus vs. AS Monaco, will take place in an encounter that could see a clubs first appearance in a final, or one wanting to get back to where they were a couple years back. I’m backing Monaco on this one as their youth talent, and senior players hold the key to win it all.

 

Transfer News-

David De Gea to Madrid?   

            Any soccer fan who falls Manchester United or Real Madrid will remember the deadline day saga that took place between the two clubs for the Spanish goal keeper. After it was ruled the papers didn’t go through in time in the summer of 2015, De Gea remained a Manchester United player and signed a new contract. Now after proving to be one of United’s most crucial players in the defining moments Madrid are said to be wanting the player again. Many reports in the Spanish Papers claim that David has put his mansion in Manchester up for sale, and has asked Manchester United to leave this summer but according to his agent that’s not the case. His agent Guillem Balague, who’s also the agent for many top players including Pogba had to say, “Just why would he want to leave a club that is one of the world's biggest, a club on the up, and where he is unquestionably the number one to move to Madrid where he will be on less money and the pressure will be higher? Not for the first time in situations like this, the Spanish press have announced that not only does De Gea want to leave but have gone as far as to say that he has even requested a move. I have been told that he has not said anything of the kind to United. Why do the Spanish press keeps insisting he wants to go then?” For Manchester it doesn’t seem like the right move to let him leave at any cost, so I see him staying.

Jermaine Defoe to where?

            Jermaine Defoe returned the Premier League in the Winter of 2016 to help Sunderland remain in the Premier League, but now his times with Sunderland there are over. Leaving Toronto FC in the MLS many believed the English forward was too old to continue to perform on a weekly basis and that proved to be entirely wrong. Defoe has scored 33 goals for the club since his arrival, and at 34 he could prove to be a bargain for others. But the question remains who will sign a 34-year-old player if their looking to the future for the club. Clubs such as Newcastle United, and West Ham have already been rumored to have spoken to the English forward. If either club could get him in a very low cost, he could be a great player to keep the squad rotated and bring on for the crucial moments.

John Terry to leave Chelsea

            The 36-year-old English center back has official announced he will be leaving Chelsea this summer after 22 years to continue his playing career. After appearing over 700 times for the Blues winning four Premier League titles, and Champions League trophy who will be likely to sign him? At 36 it seems unlikely he will make any big jump from Chelsea to another Premier League side, but already Bournemouth, Stoke City, Crystal Palace, and West Bromwich Albion have said to have inquired about the full back. The more likely destination in my opinion is the MLS or the Chinese Super League where he could still be a vital player in the squad. At such an old age for soccer already it doesn’t make since for any Premier League side to sign him, and he already turned down a large sum of cash from a Chinese Super League side. This makes it even more likely that he will come to America to play his final season or two before retiring.

Where will Joe Hart go?

            Joe Hart who has been England’s number one goal keeper for the past few seasons will now be facing a difficult summer on deciding where to go. After Manchester City’s new manager Pep Guardiola exiled the player in made him join Roma on loan, he’s impressed and has many clubs interested in him. The odds of the player staying at Manchester City seem very slim, and Roma have already said they cannot afford to keep him. Hart now could join almost any Premier League side, but will City let him is the real question. It’s always very controversial to let one big name player join another in the same league, but this time it’s a goalie and not an attacking player. This could allow him to join a club such as Liverpool, Arsenal, or even Tottenham if Lloris was to leave this summer. It’s no doubt that many clubs will want the keeper, and at only 30 he still has a lot to offer.

Ibrahimović hurt, now what?

            Zlatan Ibrahimović came to England and did what others said he couldn’t achieve even at his later stages in his career. But after picking up such a terrible injury that will keep him out for over nine months, his time at Manchester United seems almost done. Sad for both parties, but Zlatan has now lost almost all control in negotiating a contract extension with United after picking up the injury. It’s hard to say what sort of form he will come back in, but at the same level seems very slim. The move to the MLS looks very likely now, and it’s sad to see it happen. 

The Weekend Wrap- Zlatan Out

Zlatan Ibrahimović Out for Season

            Zlatan Ibrahimović has been ruled out for the remainder of the season with a likely ACL tear, but still not confirmed on the exact injury. The Swedish striker had already scored 27 goals for Manchester United this season in all competition, but now they most live life without the forward. At 35 years old it could be very hard for the forward to ever get back to his legendary status but after finally releasing a statement he said, “First of all, thank you for all the support and love. It’s no news I got injured so I will be out of football for a while, I will go through this like everything’s else and come back even stronger. So far I played with one leg so it shouldn't be any problem. One thing is for sure, I decide when it’s time to stop and nothing else. Giving up is not an option. See you soon." So it seems his career isn’t over but will he be able to return to 100% is another question no one is positive about. Reports say his recovery time will make him ready by January, so will Manchester United sign the player to a year contract extension is another question too.

El Clasico

            The El Clasico is hands down one of the greatest sports rivalries to exist, and the largest one in Spain. Real Madrid, and Barcelona two of the greatest clubs in the world battling it out for the bragging rights in La Liga. On Sunday the match took place again, but this time Barca were without key man Neymar who was suspended for the fixture. Real Madrid believed they had a huge boost with the return of Gareth Bale from injury but soon realized they messed up when Bale to be taken off injured. Casemiro Real’s Brazilian midfielder was able to give them the lead in the 28th minute, after finishing off a cross from Marcelo. But Barcelona were quick to answer when no one other than Lionel Messi finished off a solo goal. Problems quickly worsened for the home side when Rakitic scored for the away side in the 73rd minute, then 4 minutes later Sergio Ramos saw straight red for a tackle on Messi. Manager Zinedine Zidane had no choice playing a man down, he decided to bring on James Rodriquez to try to save a point and his tactics almost paid off. In the 85th minute Rodriquez was able to find the back of the net, equaling up the score line. Trying to get the final goal to secure all three points, Madrid pushed too many players forward and Lionel Messi was able to counter and get the game winner in the 92nd minute.

PFA Player of the Year Announced

            This week the Professional Football Association announced the winner of the PFA Player of the Year Award. The shortlist included Eden Hazard, Harry Kane, Zlatan Ibrahimović, N’Golo Kante, and Romelu Lukaku, who all could have easily won the award. But after taking second place last season for this award, French midfielder N’Golo Kante was awarded the trophy. The 26-year-old holding midfielder who plays for Chelsea, has been the staple for the Blues this season in the march for the league trophy. After taking the award he told the press, “It's a huge honor to be chosen by the other players. It's the biggest honor to get this award.” Also to note the PFA also gives out the award for the Young Player Award, which was given to Tottenham’s Dele Alli. The center mid has been a huge hit this season at Tottenham, making himself one of the best in the league. Along the way he’s also been scoring a lot of goals from the midfield, in which has already scored 16 thus far.

Sakho and Benteke get the last laugh

            Christian Benteke, and Mamadou Sakho had the last laugh when Crystal Place played Liverpool this weekend. Benteke joining the Eagles last summer, Sakho joined Place on loan until the end of the season this January. Liverpool were able to take the lead at home in the 24th minute from a curling effort by Phillipe Coutinho, but were soon about to be put into place. Crystal Palace have been on a great run of wins beating Arsenal, Chelsea, and other smaller clubs in recent weeks giving them a lot of momentum in this game. Then in the 42nd minute Yohan Cabaye was able to beat an offside cross finding Benteke to even up the score line. Then again in the second half Christian Benteke was able to find the back of the net off a header. This gave Crystal Palace a 2-1 win away from home, and setting them up with 38 points in the table. 

English Premier League- Match Day 34

Saturday, April 22nd

West Ham United (10-7-16) vs. Everton (16-9-8)

West Ham United’s season continues to be mediocre and now it’s no wonder why Dimitri Payet left the club. Facing Sunderland last weekend away from home, it should have been an easy three points for the Hammers. Instead they gave up a 90th minute goal to bring the score line to 2-2 and drop two crucial points. Everton continue to impress, and are making a great run to be playing in Europe next season. The top four seems out of reach, but with a 3-1 victory to Burnley their momentum will be flying high. West Ham sit in 13th place while Everton are in 7th with 57 points, to me their strength up to Romelu Lukaku is keeping them in full swing. Without the Belgium forward they will be hurting, and could very well be the case next season. I see Everton winning 2-0 away from home, as West Ham just aren’t consent enough to beat them.

AFC Bournemouth (9-8-16) vs. Middlesbrough (4-12-16)

            Bournemouth will be wanting to forget their previous fixture where they had to travel to Tottenham. From the get go the Spurs dominated Bournemouth and ended up scoring four goals which was low compared to what it could have been. Middlesbrough is now starting to run out of time, as each week passes more points keep getting dropped and less are available for taking. Facing Arsenal at home they were able to level the scoring in the 50th minute, but after a set of poor clearances the Gunners capitalized on them. The same thing seems to be happening for them consent, a good performance but lacking when it matters most. With this being said I see Middlesbrough finally get a win.

Swansea City (8-4-21) vs. Stoke City (10-9-14)

            Swansea City’s slump in winning is finally starting to pay great dividends on the side. Being in 18th place they are still in reach of a couple clubs to get out of the relegation zone but they’ll need to start winning fast. Stoke City continue to be a solid mid table side, if they ever hope to make a run for the top seven for European football then they’ll need to get new faces inside the squad. After beating Hull City 3-1 last weekend, they will be likely to be Swansea City in a match I see going Stokes way 2-0.

Hull City (8-6-19) vs. Watford (11-7-14)

            Watford received a great boost in their safety of being in the league next season with a 1-0 victory over Swansea to hand them a decent advantage. Hull City have managed to escape the bottom three but with a defeat at Stoke last weekend their point advantage is very minimal. I can’t see Hull winning this match as they haven’t been playing great lately, and Watford are on a winning streak.

Sunday, April 23rd

Burnley (10-6-17) vs. Manchester United (16-12-3)

            Burnley are up against a very strong Manchester United side that haven’t lost in over 22 domestic league matches. After being beaten 3-1 to Everton over last weekend, a score line for the clubs seems likely here. Manchester United were able to prove their dominance when beating Chelsea 2-0 at home on Sunday. Showing their full squad strength and resting key players could prove to work wonders for the squad. Manchester United have one of the strongest sides but they just need to stop tying so many fixtures to get back into the top four. I see the Red Devils winning 3-1 away from home.

Liverpool (19-9-5) vs. Crystal Palace (10-5-17)

            Liverpool can consider themselves lucky to escape with any points vs. West Bromwich for they weren’t the better squad the whole fixture. If it weren’t for Roberto Firmino’s 45th minute injury time goal, the Reds most likely would of went on to tie the game. Crystal Palace though have lucked very strong since relegation seemed like a possible occurrence. Beating Chelsea, and Arsenal along the way, no team is wanting to be paired with them at the moment. After so much positive vibes going through the side with continuously winning games week in and out. I see Crystal Palace winning away from home 1-0 as Benteke and Zaha have finally started to form a very dynamic duo up top.

Tuesday, April 25th

Chelsea (24-3-5) vs. Southampton (11-7-13)

            Chelsea’s lost to Manchester United in a match they will worry many Chelsea fans in the race for the Premier League trophy, also showed up in their defeat to Crystal Palace that happened only weeks before. Southampton too haven’t been impressive since the injury to forward Gabbiadini. With Chelsea now only having a four-point lead over Tottenham with 6 games remaining for both sides, any dropping of points could prove to lose the trophy. After Southampton were embarrassed 3-0 by Manchester City, I expect a similar occurrence to happen here. The Blues will need to start winning again and I think they’ll get a 2-1 victory at Stamford Bridge.

Wednesday, April 26th

Arsenal (17-6-8) vs. Leicester City (10-7-15)

            Arsenal are very lucky to walk away with three points vs. their matchup with Middlesbrough in a game they looked poor in. The Gunners are in no doubt a very low part of the season, and with no answer from the manager on whether he’ll be at the Gunners next season doesn’t seem to be helping either. Leicester City managed to give up their lead at Crystal Palace, and ended up tying them 2-2 after a fantastic run showing everyone what they can do next season. After tying Atletico Madrid too in the Champion’s League they’ll have plenty of forward thinking in this game. I see Leicester beating Arsenal as they aren’t a strong side they once use to be, and the Foxes are back for real now.

Middlesbrough (4-12-16) vs. Sunderland (5-6-21)

            Sad to say to it but it’s the toilet bowl in the English Premier League, number 19 and 20 fighting it out for the three points. Starting to look like the last straw for both sides a tie here or a loss for either club could be the nail in the coffin. Both Sunderland and Middlesbrough have showed great signs of improvements but both have lacked to stay mentally in the game for the full ninety minutes. This leaves them both at the bottom of the table, and looking lifeless in staying in the Premier League. I see Middlesbrough getting the victory as they showed signs of fight vs. Arsenal over the week.

Crystal Palace (10-5-17) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (21-8-3)

            Crystal Palace has undoubted faced the hardest schedule in recent weeks compared to any other club. The thing is they aren’t losing the fixtures though and have surprised many in winning vs. Chelsea and Arsenal. A weekend tie vs. Leicester City showed areas where they need to fix, but being able come back from a two goal deficit is a great sign. Tottenham will be watching Chelsea like hawks for the remainder of the season. With only four points separating the sides every win is key here. I see Crystal Palace again upsetting the favorites and getting a 2-0 victory at home. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 24

Manchester United continue unbeaten run

            Manchester United vs. Chelsea is a fan favorite for all soccer fans to watch, two of England’s biggest soccer clubs trying to prove to the other club the number one. Going into the match Chelsea has a seven-point lead over Tottenham, which allowed the London team to sit comfortable in first place. Manchester United on the other hand were in fifth place, and on a 21 game unbeaten run in their domestic league. When the club’s lineups were announced Chelsea FC came out in full strength, with their consent 3-4-3 formation which has been proving to be a success. While Man United’s lineup made a lot of people question what was Jose Mourinho doing by messing with the squad sheet so much. First Zlatan Ibrahimović wasn’t starting, Ashley Young was named in the starting 11, and he had Jesse Lingard and Marcus Rashford starting up to together. From the first whistle the Red Devils were the better team, winning every second ball and controlling the momentum of the game. To Mourinho’s credit he was very tactical smart, and had Ander Herrera follow Eden Hazard the entire game which didn’t allow him to make a difference in this fixture. Only 7 minutes into the first half Herrera was able to slot Marcus Rashford through Chelsea’s backline allowing United to go up 1-0. Throughout the remainder of the half United continued to bully the Blues and went in with a one goal lead. Only four minutes into the second half, Ander Herrera who already had an assist to his name, found the back of the net off a volley putting United up 2-0. The game finished two to zero, and gave Manchester United hope in getting back into the top four. Chelsea now only have a four-point lead over Tottenham, and any more slip ups could cost them the EPL title.

Eden Hazard to Move Aboard?

            Eden Hazard could be this year’s English Premier League Player of the Year by how impressive has been throughout the season. Already netting fourteen goals this season, the Belgium international has always gained the spot light but now even more with the possibility of a transfer this summer. It’s no doubt a lot of players don’t like it in England due to the rainy, cold conditions that hover over the country most of the year, so other leagues around Europe seem more appropriate for them. In a recent interview he said, “When it's not PSG, it's Real Madrid, then maybe it's Bayern Munich. Strangely last year there wasn't anybody. I may also have personal ambitions to play in other clubs. But I'm trying to focus on the present, end up in Chelsea this year. I have a contract until 2020. For now, I'm here and good here.” It only seems a matter of time before he leaves Chelsea to a super power, and if I had to take a guess Real Madrid seem the most likely to bring him in.

Bastia vs. Lyon match abandoned

            Bastia fans may not be watching their team at home any time soon after causing a very sad display to happen at the Stade Armand-Cesari Arena. Before the match even started fans got into it with Lyon players causing the match to be delayed by over an hour from the get go. But when halftime arrived and even more chaos occurred with the Bastia fans by them entering the pitch, the game was decided to be cancelled. The LFP, League 1 management, said they’d meet Thursday to discuss the penalty for the home squad.

Americans Abroad

            It’s hard to say what Bruce Arena will do with the American soccer players playing abroad, as he may choose to pick MLS players which he knows more personally. One of the players whose been impressive while overseas though is Christian Pulisic, at Borussia Dortmund. The teenager has become one of the breakthrough players of the season, and since the winter break he’s been unplayable. After going through a rough period in Germany, he was able to regain his form after Marco Reus picked up an injury which allowed Pulisic to see more game time. Since Reus’s recovery both players have started together, and its proving to pay dividends. Only 2 minutes into their weekend fixture vs. Eintracht Frankfurt Pulisic was able to find Reus on a cross to put the home side ahead.

            More good news for the American squad is DeAndre Yedlin has finally returned from injury since his injury in March. He picked up the injury March 3rd, but in Newcastle’s fixtures vs. Leeds he came on as a substitute. This is a huge relief for the USA as Yedlin is certainly the wingback that the United States will love to use. Bobby Wood on the other hand has found himself picking up an injury. The American forward is one of the main reasons Hamburg will stay in the Bundesliga next season, and losing his could prove to cause a last few tricky months in the league. 

UEFA Champions League- Second Leg

Tuesday April 18th

Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich- 2-1

            Real Madrid went to the Allianz Arena being underdogs to the German giants who’ve been dominating the Bundesliga, and Champions League thus far. But Arturo Vidal opened up the scoring for Bayern in the 25th minute, which gave the Germans the lead going into the halftime break. But thanks to a second half brace by Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid were able to leave the Allianz with an aggregate lead going back to Spain. Now Madrid will be hosting Bayern at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium trying to hold the lead with the two goal advantage. Some key notes to be mentioned is Madrid will be without Gareth Bale, Varane, and Pepe while Bayern will be without Matt Hummel’s and Jerome Boateng. Robert Lewandowski will also be returning to the squad who scored 15 goals in 11 before being sidelined with his injury. Munich have the odds against them, and with only one win out of their last four it will not be helping their case. The deciding factor in this matchup will be Bayern’s ability to defend Cristiano Ronaldo, as has now scored 40 goals for club and country this season. I see Real Madrid winning this game 2-0 as being at home, and with Benzema to help back him up to see them through.

Leicester City vs. Atletico Madrid- 0-1

            Leicester City will host Atletico Madrid after a backs to the wall match that ended 1-0 in favor of Atletico Madrid. The goal by Madrid came from a controversial penalty kick that Antoine Griezmann scored to give the Spanish side the win. Luckily for the Foxes they are familiar with coming back from a 1-0 goal difference when they managed to do this last round vs. Sevilla to reach this stage. Now that they’re going through a slow streak Leicester have only managed to win one of their last four games, and gave up a 2 goal lead to Crystal Palace this weekend. Atletico Madrid are going to be a super hard opponent to beat being on a 10 game unbeaten run, and beating Osasuna 3-0 this weekend. The deciding factor in this matchup will come down to Antoine Griezmann, and Jamie Vardy for both clubs. When either of them have their shooting boots on its near impossible for the opposing defense to stop them for an entire 90 minutes. With Madrid having a 1-0 lead in this match up I see them going through to the Semi Finals as a single away goal, will make it near impossible for the Foxes to overturn.

Wednesday April 19th

AS Monaco vs. Borussia Dortmund- 3-2

            Borussia Dortmund may be feeling hard done by UEFA after a set of bombs went off targeting the teams bus on their way to their fixture. Marc Bartra sustained an injury from the bombs, and will be missing the fixture. After lots of emotions going through their head, the game was rescheduled for less than 24 hours which could have played part into the defeat. AS Monaco opened up the scoring in the 19th minute with Kylian Mbappe goal before he scored again in the 79th minute. The teenage sensation just keeps getting better by the game, and could be on his way to a big money move this summer. After the game ended 3-2 in favor of the away team, Monaco, they will be at home with a great away goal advantage. Monaco are going into this game winning 5 of their last six games, while Dortmund are going through a bad spell having won only 3 of the last six. For Dortmund to go to France and upset the French side seems very unlikely and Monaco could be the dark horses of the tournament. Between Falcao and Mbappe their attack can compete with almost any club and should be too much for the Germans. I see Monaco winning 2-0 and going through in comfortable fashion.

Barcelona vs. Juventus- 0-3

            Barcelona have put themselves into another huge problem allowing Juventus to beat them 3-0 in Italy. Even being able to come back to PSG in such fashion Juventus are on another level to Paris Saint Germain. Their super strong in the back, and have an amazing attacking duo. Both Higuaín and Dybala proved to be too much for the Spanish defense to handle for an entire 90 minutes. This could be a good wake up call for Barca to show they need to reinvest in their squad as they aren’t the superpower they once were. The one positive Barcelona will have going into the fixture is their unbeaten at Camp Nou since October winning 15 games and only tying three along the way. Neither club will be missing a main player in their starting 11 allowing both clubs to be at full strength. MSN will have to pull of an unbelievable comeback if they hope to win on aggregate. I see Barcelona winning this matchup but not getting enough goals to go through on aggregate. 

English Premier League- Match day 33

Saturday April 15th

Tottenham (20-8-3) vs. AFC Bournemouth (9-8-15)

            Tottenham continue to keep close tracks on Chelsea, hoping for a slip in the Blues. Last time out Tottenham were able to net four more goals, while keeping a clean sheet turning their goal difference to +42 goals. Bournemouth were on the other side of the points last weekend, being beaten 3-1 by Chelsea. The Cherries have now found themselves into the bottom five, so a win here could be vital. I see the Spurs getting an easy victory at home as Bournemouth are no match for Tottenham’s attack.

Crystal Palace (10-4-17) vs. Leicester City (10-6-15)

            Crystal Palace are coming off a strong victory for Arsenal, and continue to climb back up the table. Leicester City too are also going through a great winning period but suffered a 4-2 defeat to Everton on Sunday. The Foxes will also have to play a game on Wednesday in the Champion’s League vs. Atletico Madrid which will give Palace an advantage going into this game. With both clubs starting to win a lot more games now this could be a pivotal point for both sides, a win will allow that club to continue gaining three points but losing can slow you down. I see Crystal Palace winning this game with Wilfred Zaha, and Christian Benteke finally starting to show their true worth.

Everton (15-9-8) vs. Burnley (10-6-16)

            Everton seem to be settling into their final position in the league table which is 7th place. As Burnley tied Middlesbrough in their last match up, it will give Everton the upper hand after beating Leicester City 4-2. Romelu Lukaku continues to lead the Golden Boot race, most goals in the English Premier League season, helping lead them into the Europa League. Everton look likely to win this fixture as their Belgium forward is hard to stop.

Stoke City (9-9-14) vs. Hull City (8-6-18)

            Stoke City suffered a rough lose to Liverpool after giving up a late goal to lose all three points. Hull City have managed to get into 17th point but dropped points in a 3-1 defeat to Manchester City. The bottom four are all very close to each as none of the clubs can manage to win in a consent form. Stoke City have many veteran and experienced players in their squad, which I see helping them win 2-0 at home.

Sunderland (5-5-21) vs. West Ham United (10-6-16)

            The last few weeks for Sunderland seem to be like a goodbye tour for them, as they currently sit at the bottom of the table with only 5 points. West Ham United have also endured into a very rough season, and will hope to make it out in the top 17 clubs. Sunderland were humiliated 3-0 by Manchester United, and had to play down a man after a nasty tackle leading to a straight red card. West Ham United did manage to beat Swansea City 1-0, and I see them beating Sunderland 2-0.

Watford (10-7-14) vs. Swansea City (8-4-20)

            Just as Swansea started to turn around their season it all fell apart, falling back into the relegation zone. This could be a game which the Swans could win, but they need to make sure it’s just not a single victory. Watford did concede 4 goals to Tottenham giving hope to Swansea City in winning this match. I still see Watford winning 1-0.

Southampton (11-7-12) vs. Manchester City (18-7-6)

            Southampton are a team very little clubs liked to be matched up against, as they can play like they’re in the top four but then they’ll also play like a very poor team. Manchester City’s squad has been given a boost with a 3-1 win vs. Hull City and with Gabriel Jesus finally starting to train with the squad again. City currently sit in fourth place, but United are only four points behind so dropping points here could be huge for the Manchester team. I see Southampton winning this fixture 2-1 getting all three points with a late goal.

Sunday April 16th

West Bromwich Albion (12-8-12) vs. Liverpool (18-9-5)

            West Bromwich continue on a specular year, and will want to finish the season on a strong note. With the gap seeming to wide for them to get into Europa League this season, a strong finish to their season could be a bonus in recruiting new, stronger players to get them into that mark. Liverpool managed to escape with all three points after a late goal vs. Stoke City, but West Brom will be a much better team. I can see West Bromwich winning 1-0, as they’ll park the bus but get them on the counter attack.

Manchester United (15-12-3) vs. Chelsea (24-3-4)

            This game is easily the matchup of the weekend, as both teams will go for the win. Manchester United are now on a 21 game unbeaten streak, winning 11 games and tying 10 of them. Chelsea were upset by Crystal Palace two weeks ago but bounced back to a 3-1 victory vs. Bournemouth. The fixture could easily go either way, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimović can be a deciding factor and change the score line within seconds. Chelsea will look for their star Eden Hazard, to lead the flank whose been one of the best in the league thus far. The game will likely come down to whose center of the park can control it better than the others, as both clubs like to use their center park players to thread the scoring passes. As United are at home and with Mourinho being Chelsea’s past manager I see Manchester United winning 1-0.

Monday April 17th

Middlesbrough (4-12-15) vs. Arsenal (16-6-8)

            Middlesbrough’s time in the Premier League could be coming to an end, being in 19th place with only 24 points, every game is super important. Arsenal now have a lot of questions to answer after falling into 6th place, with very little going for the London based team. Losing to Crystal Palace, the Gunners looked lifeless and with little desire to fight till the last minute. Boro could upset Arsenal here but will need to be careful for the counter attack that Alexis Sanchez brings to the field. I see both clubs scoring but the game ending in a draw, and sadly for Middlesbrough I see them dropping into the Championship. 

Champions League Quarterfinals- Fixtures & Predictions

Tuesday April 11th

Borussia Dortmund vs. AS Monaco

            Borussia Dortmund will be wanting to put pass their weekend trip to Allianz Arena, Bayern Munich, after being defeated 4-1. Giving up two goals within the first ten minutes, Dortmund were able to pull one back but ultimately ended up conceding another two goals putting them in 4th place in the Bundesliga. Monica continue to dominant weekly winning the last 8 of their 9 previous games, but have only managed to keep two cleans sheets thus far. This matchup will be a high scoring fixture as both teams have their selves a deadly forward leading the attack with Radamel Falcao, for AS Monaco, and Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang for Dortmund. Falcao has returned to form since departing England where he’s now netted 23 goals in 31 appearances, and Aubameyang has netted 33 goals in 36 appearances calling for at least one to score in the two legged tie. This will be the clubs first meeting between each other, and I see it going in favor of Dortmund. Borussia Dortmund are a lot stronger in the back then Monaco are, so even if it becomes a goal scoring frenzy I see Dortmund holding out the longest. With the Germans hosting the first leg, I see them winning 2-0 going to France with a decent advantage.

Juventus vs. Barcelona

            Two of the world’s most famous clubs will take the field against each other seeing one of Italy’s most prestigious clubs take on one of Spain’s most famous clubs to ever play. These two teams are familiar with each other as they played each other in the 2015 Champions League Final, which saw Barca win the match 3-1. Juventus got to this point in a rather comfortable fashion, winning both sides of the fixture and moving on with a 3-0 aggregate over Porto. Barcelona on the other hand made it to this stage with one of the greatest comebacks ever to take place in modern soccer. Needing three goals in the remaining few minutes, Neymar started it off by scoring in the 88th minute followed by another goal, and one from Sergio Roberto. One worry for the Spanish side is they’ve conceded 10 goals in their last five games, and are up against two of Argentina’s most critical finishers Dybala and Higuaín. This match up seems it will come down to away goals, and which club can capitalize off it the most. I see Juventus winning the first leg of the matchup 2-1, as keeping MSN out of the goal in near impossible for an entire 90 minutes.

Wednesday April 12th

Atletico Madrid vs. Leicester City

            Atletico Madrid in the past three seasons have become regulars for reaching the Champions League final making 2 of the last three, but losing both of them to Real Madrid. Leicester City are completely new to the Champions League, and European football after a crazy 2015-16 campaign seeing them win the English Premier League. After going down 2-1 to Sevilla in the first leg, the Foxes looked all but done with their domestic performances being very poor too. But in recent weeks Leicester City have turned the table winning five of their last six matches, and could be dark horse of the century. One major concern for Leicester City is their defense has looked very vulnerable so far, and facing a team like Atletico one mess up will lead to a goal. Madrid’s attacking threat seems too great for Leicester’s fair tail Champions League adventure to continue on, as I see Madrid winning this game 3-0. Either way for the Foxes they should be delighted with the distance they’ve made it so far as many better teams have already fallen.

Bayern Munich vs. Real Madrid

            Bayern Munich have further cemented their first place in the Bundesliga after defeating Borussia Dortmund 4-1 in an easy victory. The most impressive feature of Bayern in recent weeks is in the last 9 games they’ve won 8 of them, scoring 33 goals and only conceding three along the way. Real Madrid did have a hiccup in their domestic campaign tying Atletico Madrid 1-1 over the weekend, which could prove to actually help them. Facing a strong opposition before Bayern Munich may be enough to give Real Madrid the upper hand and be better prepared than Bayern Munich. Both clubs have a very strong squad depth, and attacking threats that compare hand in hand. Real Madrid though have one of the world’s greatest Cristiano Ronaldo, who could be the deciding factor in this matchup. I see a 2-2 draw in the first leg, with all the deciding factors happening in the final leg at Madrid.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 23

Neymar Sees Red

            Neymar received an early yellow card in Barcelona’s weekend fixture vs. Malaga this Saturday. For supposedly time wasting, it would soon prove to be a huge mistake by the Brazilian forward. Later in the second half a late challenge by Neymar on Diego Llorente saw him receive a second yellow card, turning into a light red. That means he’d would normally serve a one match ban, since it was only two yellows and not a straight red. But being frustrated by already loosing Neymar applaud the referees as he was being sent off. The post match report had, “The player Neymar Da Silva Santos J, after being sent off, when he was entering the tunnel, and [sarcastically] applauded the fourth official.” This could lead to a further prolonged ban meaning Neymar would miss the El Clasico later this month. This would be a huge blow for Barca, as they are already 3 points behind Real Madrid with Madrid having a game on hand.

Gabriel Jesus Fitness Battle

            You may remember the name Gabriel Jesus being the name in all soccer headlines in January and February of this year. The 20-year-old Brazilian was lighting up the pitch at Manchester City, scoring assisting and looking at on the next stars of the game. Fracturing his metatarsal bone in a 2-0 victory vs. Bournemouth on February 13th, Jesus has finally started to get back to training. With Manchester City facing Arsenal on April 23rd for the English FA Cup Semi-Final, manager Pep Guardiola was asked whether he thinks Jesus could be fit in time and said, “When is the semifinal? Two weeks? I think he's short, we thought the semifinal of the Champions League, but unfortunately it's gone.” The good news for City fans is he does believe if they make it to the final of the FA Cup he would be ready, “Hopefully the [FA Cup] final if we arrive there. I don't know. He's getting better. The last two sunny days he was on the pitch. Normally when you see the weather in Manchester, you stay off the pitch!”

Antoine Griezmann Transfer Speculation

            Antoine Griezmann’s future continues to get further and further unclear by the week, and the player continues to add to the solution. Currently contracted to Atletico Madrid until 2021, that hasn’t stopped the French forward to talking about leaving, and starting a new road. After Atletico Madrid’s game Saturday Diego Simeone, manager, told the press, “I don't know where he will go, sometimes words are not enough to describe the happiness Antoine has. It is not just his qualities which are huge.” Then to add fire to the whole situation the forward said he wouldn’t rule out a move to Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid’s biggest rivals in football. Stating, “I cannot say yes or no, otherwise I will be in the s---, you never know what will happen in football but jumping from Atletico to Real, I do not think it is very feasible. As I often say, I am here. When we speak about Real and Atletico, it is not good for the fans or the club. I continue to work hard, to enjoy my football and I am happy on the pitch as you saw today.” If the player does make this jump it will cause the Atletico fans to turn on the player, and hate him forever. It’d only add to the madness of the Madrid Derby, which could turn into a tremendous display.

Zlatan Breaks More Records

            On Sunday Manchester United faced off with Sunderland at the Stadium of Lights but United were there to steal the show. Zlatan Ibrahimović opened up the scoring with a curled shot into the far corner beating the keeper, and setting a personal landmark. That goal brought Ibrahimović to 250 goals since turning 30 years old. Turning 30 in July of 2011, it makes him 35 but it only to the Swedish forward 308 games to accomplish this landmark. After the match when Ibra was asked about his age becoming a factor he said, “I believe in what I do, I believe in myself and I know what I am able to do and I'm not worried I just play my game and try to enjoy. It seems the older I get the more intelligent I get, of course I can't move the same as 10 years ago or 5 years ago. My game is improving, I'm getting better and better, I feel like Benjamin Button, I was born old and I will die young.” Continuing to get better with age Zlatan could prove to be the greatest number 9 to ever play the game. 

English Premier League Week 32- Fixtures and Predictions

Saturday April 8th

Tottenham Hotspurs (19-8-3) vs. Watford (10-7-13)

            Tottenham Hotspurs continue to impress week in and out with start man Harry Kane. With the number of games counting down Tottenham need Chelsea to slip up, or getting anything better than second place is impossible. After coming back from Swansea scoring, the Spurs were able to net 3 goals to give themselves a comfortable win. Watford also were able to get all three points which was much needed for them. I see Tottenham winning this game as the only team standing between them and winning out is the top 6 clubs.

Middlesbrough (4-11-15) vs. Burnley (10-5-16)

            Middlesbrough battle to get out of relegation continues to worsen by the time. Losing 4-2 to Hull City, who were also in the bottom three, now they must do an extra amount of work to make up for their dismal season. Burnley managed to get a hard fought 1-0 victory with a 58th minute goal coming from George Boyd. As Middlesbrough seem to be heading towards the second tier, if they want to stay in the Premier League it must start this weekend. Sadly, I can’t see this happening and I see Burnley winning 2-0 away from home.

Manchester City (17-7-6) vs. Hull City (8-6-17)

            Manchester City continue to stay in the battle for the top four after being beaten 2-1 by Chelsea. Hull City have finally made the jump into 17th place getting out of the relegation zone. Beating Middlesbrough 4-2 after conceding an early goal will show the fight the Tigers are still willing to do. Away from home this season they’ve been terrible, and I can’t see that changing in this fixture here. Manchester City’s attack is to decisive on the attack, and Hull aren’t complete enough in the back to hold off City. I see City winning 3-1 as Sergio Augero continues his race for the golden boot award.

Stoke City (9-9-13) vs. Liverpool (17-9-5)

            Stoke City will feel hard done after losing to Burnley City 1-0, while Liverpool too also dropped points. Stoke City continuously year in and out end up in the same position in the table, and it could be time for them to invest in new players. Names such as Shaqiri, and Bony are players who could be on their way out for younger members to revive the club. Liverpool are now on thin needles with their supporters after tying Bournemouth. Allowing for multiple teams to now have a chance to get back into the top four, when they had the chance to add more separation between them. I see Stoke City pulling off an upset here and beating Liverpool 2-0 with both goals coming in the second half.

West Bromwich Albion (12-8-11) vs. Southampton (10-7-12)

            West Bromwich’s progression has seemed to dip again, after managing to steal a point from Manchester United they had lots of momentum playing Watford. After conceding a goal within the first fifteen minutes of the game, West Brom fell apart allowing for another goal to come later. Southampton were on the opposite side of the winning, in which they were able to rally vs. Crystal Palace and secure all three points. Southampton’s win vs Crystal Palace team that has been playing great should boost their confidence against West Brom. I see Southampton winning this match as West Brom’s defensive tactics won’t be enough to keep the Saint Mary’s from scoring.

West Ham United (9-6-16) vs. Swansea City (8-4-19)

            West Ham have found themselves in a very low portion of their season being only 5 point above Swansea City, who would currently be relegated. For Swansea City a match like this is very important on gaining ground if they hope to somehow get out of the bottom three. After losing 3-1 to Tottenham their manager needs to start calling on the senior players to put forth the extra work to keep their club up. Both clubs conceded three goals last time out, and I expect the same to happen again with a 2-2 draw. Neither club is playing great soccer, and could be relegated if they aren’t careful.

AFC Bournemouth (9-8-14) vs. Chelsea (23-3-4)

            Bournemouth struck late in their fixture vs. Liverpool with an 87th minute goal coming from Joshua King, allowing a 2-2 draw between the clubs. Chelsea on the other hand continue to push for the title after defeating Manchester City. The 3-4-3 is paying off for the Blues, and others have taken note trying to do the same with their teams.  Bournemouth will be in for a game here with little chance against Chelsea other than just defending and hoping to catch them on the counter attack. I can’t see Chelsea losing this match as their just too good this season, 3-0 is my prediction for the match up.

Sunday April 9th

Sunderland (5-5-20) vs. Manchester United (14-12-3)

            Sunderland’s time in the English Premier League looks all but done, not in fault of the manager David Moye’s but due to the club themselves. As owners start to get greedy, and not want to keep up with other clubs spending money they will fall behind in skill and its happened here. Relying on a thirty plus year old to lead the front line is a very hard task, even harder with no real help from anyone else. Manchester United are now on a 20 game unbeaten run, but way too many of the games are ending in draws. With 10 draws from the 20 games, even winning five of those would have gotten United an extra 10 points and they’d be in third place. The frustration is trying to find the back of the net, but with Zlatan returning United can now fight for a top four position. Winning here should be a task they can handle and I see them doing so in a 2-0 victory.

Everton (14-9-3) vs. Leicester City (10-6-14)

            Everton have only taken 1 point from their last two games after losing to Liverpool and tying Manchester United. Leicester City have hit the ground running, and are on an incredible run. Now on a 6 game unbeaten run in all competitions the Foxes are red hot, and look hard to stop. Everton may be toward the top of the table, but Leicester’s form should be enough to beat them. I see Leicester City winning 3-1 as Jamie Vardy is back scoring and as they said last season Jamie Vardy is having a party!

Monday April 10th

Crystal Palace (9-4-17) vs. Arsenal (16-6-7)

            Crystal Palace’s unbeaten run ended vs. Southampton in a match Palace lead in. Arsenal showed their potential vs. West Ham United netting three goals and conceding zero to get a clean sheet for the record book. The goals could become crucial at the end of the season with many clubs all within a few points of each other, the goal differently could play a big part into being in the top four. Palace have had great success vs. Arsenal in the past, and could manage to win this fixture. The Gunners first goal last time out should have been offside, but Ozil’s goal still counted and could be huge for the player. I see Palace and Arsenal tying this fixture, as Crystal Palace have Zaha and Benteke in great form. 

The ­­­Weekend Wrap- Bastin Goal

Bastin Schweinsteiger Debut

            Bastin Schweinsteiger’s stint at Manchester United will surely go does as flop, after having a bad experience with Jose Mourinho. At 32 years old the German World Cup winner will still have a few years under his belt, but most importantly bring exposure to the MLS. Since his arrival to Chicago Fire in a deal from Manchester United, things have seemed to going great for the player. Starting his first match with his new club vs. Montreal Impact, Schweinsteiger was the first one to make an impact scoring. Opening up his MLS career with a goal in the 17th minute from a David Accam cross. Jose Mourinho acknowledged his treatment with Bastin wasn’t the best saying, “So I feel sorry for the first period with him, he knows that. I am happy that he knows because I told him. I will miss a good guy, a good professional, a good influence in training -- a very good influence. I could not stop him to go even knowing that until the end of the season we have so many matches and we would probably need him for a few matches or a few periods. I had to let him go and now publicly wish him and his wife a very happy life in Chicago.”

Neymar Reaches another Landmark

            Neymar has already put his self in the record books at FC Barcelona, and now puts his name in a club. The 100 Goal Club, which he was able to achieve while scoring in Barca’s 4-1 victory vs. Granada. Reaching the 100 goal mark in only 177 games is a very impressive statics and even better news for Barcelona fans. For everyone wondering how many games it took Lionel Messi to reach this mark it was, 188 games to score 100 goals for the club. Already being a fan favorite at the Camp Nou, he’s still in contract to Barcelona until 2021 and is only 25 years old. “He has numbers [which show he is] a beast of a footballer. He's one of the most unbalancing players in the world and his signing by this club was a great decision,” said Luis Enrique in his post-game news conference. “I hope he scores another 900 goals, so we can keep seeing him at Barcelona for many more years.” Only receiving praise for reaching such a landmark, and he will continue to become one of the best in the game.

Crystal Palace Return to Form

            Only a matter of a month ago Crystal Place looked to be in a never ending downward spiral and landing in the English Championship next season. Like in their 2015-16 EPL campaign, they could never get any good momentum going after the Winter Break which almost saw them get relegated last season too. Winning their last four matches in a row, a 1-0 victory vs. Middlesbrough, 2-0 win vs. West Bromwich Albion, 1-0 victory vs. Watford, and 2-1 win vs. Chelsea FC. All of this has come since the departure of Alan Pardew who said the reason for the team’s bad form was due to transfers. Stating after holding a meeting with the Crystal Palace board, “Looking back, I sat down with [Palace chairman] Steve [Parish] in the summer and we decided we wanted to take the club forward. We made changes but I definitely have the view we didn't change the squad enough. We brought players in but I think we should have done more.” A sorry excuse or legitimate one is hard to say, but Sam Allardyce has revived the club since he was signed as the new manager. Much of the credit can be thanks to inform winger Wilfred Zaha, whose name is all but familiar with transfers. Making a move to Manchester United when David Moyes first took over at the Red Devil’s Zaha couldn’t reach his potential with the limited playing time he got there and decided to head back to Palace. After getting 12 out of 12 points from their last four games, the next five they will encounter will be a very difficult time in their schedule. Being matched up with Southampton, Arsenal, Leicester, Liverpool, and Tottenham who’ve all been doing great recently.

Romelu Lukaku Premier League Player of the Month

            The Belgium international, Romelu Lukaku, has been named the English Premier League Player of the month for March. In the month of March Lukaku wasn’t only scoring goals he was also assisting Everton along the way. In the three matches he was a part of he scored 4 goals and had 2 assists helping extend his golden boot race with 21 goals thus far. After receiving the award Lukaku was full of positivity, “I'm really happy, [winning the award] gives me another boost. At the end of the day you want to win, you need to keep your focus and make sure that you get the three points at the end.”

English Premier League Midweek Encounters

Tuesday April 4

Burnley (9-5-16) vs. Stoke City (9-9-12)

            Burnley and Stoke City both faced the same fate in their last fixture being beaten 2-0 for both clubs. Burnley are now in 15th place but after other clubs play their missing games could be in 16th place, two away from being relegated. Stoke on the other hand seem to be sitting in the top half of the table in comfortable fashion, and are unlikely to jump into the top 8 this season. I see Stoke City managing to win the game, as Burnley aren’t good enough defensively.

Leicester City (9-6-14) vs. Sunderland (5-5-19)

            Leicester City continue to thrive since the departure of Claudio Ranieri and look set to stay in the Premier League for another season. The main problem with the Foxes is their star players weren’t stepping up for their clubs like they did last season, but they have started too now. Jamie Vardy is back to his scoring ways, and Riyad Marhez is starting to control the flank causing problems for the opposition. Sunderland look very depleted with little hope looming their way. As clubs in the relegation zone, or near it, start to pick up their slack Sunderland seem to be only digging deeper holes. I see Leicester winning this match 3-0 as Sunderland aren’t Premier League quality.

Watford (9-7-13) vs. West Bromwich Albion (12-8-10)

            Watford were held scoreless in the first half with their match against Sunderland which would be horrible to drop points to a club like them. While West Brom went ultra-defensive, and parking the bus behind Manchester United. West Brom may not be as good of team as Watford’s compared to in the attacking third, but defensively they are great defending as a team.

Manchester United (14-11-3) vs. Everton (14-8-8)

            Manchester United’s biggest problem this season is the one that seemed very hard to imagine at the start of the campaign. The Red Devils can’t seem to stop drawing so many matches with 8 out of the 11 draws thus far coming at Old Trafford. Is this a sign of worry in the attack or just pure bad luck? Everton though will come into this game with a red hot striker Romelu Lukaku, who won the player of the month for March. United were held scoreless in a 0-0 draw vs. West Brom in a game Manchester could have easily won, while Everton were beaten 3-1 by Liverpool. I see Manchester United getting a hard fought 2-0 win with a late goal sealing all three points.

Wednesday April 5

Southampton (9-7-12) vs. Crystal Palace (9-4-16)

            Crystal Palace’s last four game form has been amazing, but now are going to need to grind out the rest of the season to remain above the bottom three. Southampton seemed to finally find the missing spark in the club with the signing of Gabbiadini from Napoli. But the Italian forward has picked up an injury also stunting Southampton from making much gains in the league. Crystal Palace will be full of momentum after recent weeks of winning, and I see them winning this away fixture too.

Hull City (7-6-17) vs. Middlesbrough (4-11-14)

            Can Hull City build off their 2-1 victory vs. West Ham United is the question everyone will be wondering? Both clubs currently sit in the relegation zone, and others are starting to make the gap between them widen. Middlesbrough look pretty lifeless too, after drawing with Swansea City in a match that could have turned around their season. This is a fixture that will start defensively but suddenly become wide open when managers realize its due or die to win. I see both clubs scoring and the game ending in a 1-1 draw.

Swansea City (8-4-18) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (18-8-3)

            Swansea City find themselves in a tricky situation and it could get much worse after their Wednesday encounter with the Spurs. If they lose here and Hull City beat Middlesbrough, it will see the Swans drop into the relegation zone again. Tottenham are still likely to be without Harry Kane, but players continue to step up for the injured forward. I can’t see Swansea City winning this game, and I see Tottenham winning 3-1.

Arsenal (15-6-7) vs. West Ham United (9-6-15)

            Arsenal’s form has dipped yet again, and after almost losing to Manchester City at home they need someone to step up. The issue is Alexis Sanchez already is stepping up for the club, but no one else can match his talent. The Chilean forward is likely to leave this summer, and it shouldn’t surprise many. West Ham will be frustrated with their self after managing to lose to Hull City were unimpressive much of the game. I see West Ham upsetting the Gunners 1-0 with a first half goal, and defending the lead.

Liverpool (17-8-5) vs. AFC Bournemouth (9-7-14)

            Liverpool did manage to pull of an impressive 3-1 victory vs. Everton with key players scoring. Bournemouth were held goalless vs. Southampton and could start dropping down the table if they don’t start winning. The Reds seem to be a weird team in the sense they will get a great victory then follow it up with a sloppy defeat. I can see this happening here as Bournemouth manage to get two late goals.

Chelsea (22-3-4) vs. Manchester City (17-7-5)

            Will Chelsea’s defeat to Crystal Palace last weekend be a wakeup call or will they allow Tottenham to possibly close the gap between them. Manchester City saw all three points between them and Arsenal slip away with poor defense through the whole 90 minutes. Manchester City now have their neighbors Manchester United closing down the gap, and could jump them with multiple poor weeks. Chelsea’s lose vs. Crystal Palace didn’t seem like a fluke but more of an out tactic by Palace. I see Chelsea winning this fixture 2-1 as their 3-4-3 will cause City to many problems to handle. 

English Premier League Week 30- Scored and Predictions

Saturday, April 1st

Liverpool (16-8-5) vs. Everton (14-8-7)

            Liverpool have found themselves in a pretty bad situation after continuous poor displays leaving them in a risky last few months. Currently sitting in fourth place with 56 points from 29 games, Manchester United and Arsenal could both jump them if they win their two games they haven’t played yet. To make matters worse Everton are a strong side with 50 points already this season and could make a push for European football next season. Everton are coming off a strong 4-0 beating of Hull City, while Liverpool had to stick with one point after a hard draw with Manchester City. The Reds will be without star center midfielder Adam Lallana who impressed very much for England during this weeks’ international break. A match with so much history turning into the Merseyside Derby can lead to either team winning, and I see Everton winning 3-1 away from home.

Chelsea (22-3-3) vs. Crystal Palace (8-4-16)

            Chelsea continue to dominate the Premier League this season, looking very likely to bring home the title. But Crystal Palace have all of suddenly rebounded off a very poor season and made a comeback. Winning their last three matches in a row against Middlesbrough, West Brom, and Watford has allowed them to get out of the relegation zone and try to fight for safety. Since the arrival to Conte at Stamford Bridge he’s turned Chelsea into an impressive team and switched the team into a 3 back system that’s flourishing. I can’t see the Blues losing to Palace with them getting a 1-0 win.

Leicester City (8-6-14) vs. Stoke City (9-9-11)

            Leicester City out of nowhere have turned back into their last campaigns form and are starting to rally back. The only issue is at this point it’s too late for the Foxes, but they can secure safety in being in the Premier League next fall with a few more wins. Stoke have also been a good side thus far, barely getting beaten by Chelsea in a 2-1 fixture. I see Leicester continuing their good run of winning with a hard fought 2-1 win.

Watford (8-7-13) vs. Sunderland (5-5-18)

            Watford will need to start winning soon after dropping lots of points in recent weeks. They can kick start their season again vs a poor side Sunderland who seemed to be doomed. Sunderland have only taken 20 points all season, and look very likely to be playing in the English Championship League next season. I see Watford winning the game as Sunderland at this point just seem to poor in all areas of the pitch.

Burnley (9-5-15) vs. Tottenham Hotspur (17-8-3)

            Burnley will be releasing dropping points to Sunderland in a goalless draw. Tottenham are still without Harry Kane, after picking up an injury to nonleague side Millwall. Recent news has come out to saying Tottenham will be without Erik Lamella for the remainder of the season after picking up a hip injury that he won’t be able to recover from in time. Last time out for the Spurs they were able to get a decisive 2-1 victory for Southampton who were on a great winning streak of their own. I see Burnley getting a point out of this fixture with a 1-1 draw.

Manchester United (14-10-3) vs. West Bromwich Albion (12-7-10)

            Manchester United are on track to finish in the top four if they can continue to win a great majority of their games. If they can win their next two games they’d be ahead of Liverpool in points by two for the fourth place spot. Last time out on March 19th United were able to get a 3-1 win vs. Middlesbrough while using a very different squad. West Brom too will be coming in with a lot of confidence after defeating Arsenal 3-1 in a match many believed would be the other way around. With United on great form, I see them winning this game 2-0 as their big name players will need to step up.

Hull City (6-6-17) vs. West Ham United (9-6-14)

            Momentum was looking good for Hull City until they went up against Everton, getting beaten 4-0 and putting more doubt into the players. West Ham United were also beaten 3-2 by Leicester City in a match they could have easily won. West Ham will be favorites in this match, and I see them beating the Tigers 1-0.

Southampton (9-6-12) vs. AFC Bournemouth (9-6-14)

            Southampton are thriving off January signing Manolo Gabbiadini who arrived from Napoli for £14 million deal. This seems to be a bargain right now with the 25-year-old scoring six goals in his first five matches with the club. After hobbling off injured in their last match vs. Tottenham it’s still unsure whether he will be ready for Bournemouth on Saturday. Bournemouth too are ready for this game after picking up three points in a 2-0 victory vs. Swansea City. If Gabbiadini is back for the Mary’s by game time I see them winning, otherwise Bournemouth could take all three points home.

Sunday, April 2nd

Swansea City (8-3-18) vs. Middlesbrough (4-10-14)

            Games like this will decide where the bottom clubs will finish at the end of the season, including if they will be relegated or stay for another campaign. Middlesbrough are in 19th place and five points behind Swansea with a game in hand. So a win for Middlesbrough would be huge in trying to catch teams out of the relegation zone. While if Swansea City can win this will help a time bit with cushioning their distance from the bottom three clubs. I see Swansea City winning this game at home, after new management and tactics being employed.

Arsenal (15-5-7) vs. Manchester City (17-6-5)

            Arsenal and Manchester City always calls for a classic heated fixture for any soccer fan to observe. Manchester City already dropped two points last EPL game with a 1-1 draw to Liverpool in a game both clubs missed vital chances. Arsenal though are in a very downward spiral and this could be the tipping stone to even further damages. For Manchester City it will be Augero and Sane who will need to be the dominating factor if they hope to get all three points, and for Arsenal it’ll be down to Alexis Sanchez to lead the line. Either club could take home the three points and I think whoever scores first will win. I see Manchester City taking the victory with a late goal 1-0.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 22

United States get Promising Win

            The United States were matched up with Honduras in their third game of the CONCACAF World Cup qualify. After poor displays in their first two matches versus Mexico, who defeated the U.S. 2-1, and Costa Rica, who humiliated our squad 4-0, a win was much needed. For the game on Friday, Clint Dempsey was finally recovered from an irregular heartbeat and new manager Bruce Arena was finally in charge. With all the pressure starting to amount with losing their games in the Hex, and Jürgen Klinsmann being fired it was time for the Americans to step. From the get go the USA were on their firing boots netting in the first five minutes from the Bay Area player, Sebastian Lletget. Again in the 27th minute Michael Bradley was able to score from a left footed shot outside the box. Already having a 2-0 lead early into the game, 18-year-old Christian Pulisic was able to combine with Clint Dempsey for the 34-year-old to mark his return in the 32nd minute. The wonder kid put on a promising display and continued to show his maturity scoring in the 46th minute. Later in the second half Clint Dempsey was able to score again in the 49th and 54th minute getting a hat trick on the night, and becoming the old player in USA history to score a hat trick. The United States will continue to their Hexagonal play facing Panama on Tuesday, and if their able to keep their momentum they’ll be hard to stop.

England shake off worries

            England’s fall from International dominance has been obvious in the recent decade with multiple firings of managers, and poor displays on the international level. Facing Lithuania in the 5th game of Group F, wasn’t the only problem the Three Lions were facing. England were without recent star, Harry Kane and Southgate also preferred to leave out their all-time goal scorer Wayne Rooney. The match also saw the return of Jermain Defoe, who has been left out of the international side for over three years and was brought in for his consistent in front of goal. Only 21 minutes into the game Adam Lallana was able to give Defoe a perfect cross for an easy tap in to put them ahead 1-0. 16 minutes into the second half Adam Lallana again was able to slip in no one other than Leicester’s Jamie Vardy for a goal. This sealed the game for England, and allowed them to top Group F with 13 points from 5 games.

Ronaldo leads Portugal to easy win

            Portugal’s recent dominance across the international level has come from one of the greatest players of all time, Cristiano Ronaldo. 32 minutes into the game, clever positioning by Ronaldo, allowed for Andre Silva to create space in the box to slot home an easy finish from a Raphael Guerrerio cross. Then only four minutes later the rest of the game became the CR7 show with the next two goals coming from him. In the 36th minute an intelligent back heal from Silva set Ronaldo up for a 20 yard shot that, Hungry keeper had no chance of saving. Next to put Ronaldo closer to reaching even higher international standards, he was able to score one of his famous free kicks. Five minutes past the hour mark, he was able to curl in a perfect shot to put the nail in the coffin. The two goals vs. Hungary saw Cristiano Ronaldo pass the 70 goal, international mark, with 71 goals in 137 appearances for Portugal. The two goals saw Ronaldo go into fourth place in the all-time UEFA goal scoring record, being just 13 goals behind leader Ferenc Puskas.

Mexico Win Again and Break History

            Mexico faced a tough opposition in their third match facing Costa Rica, who recently beat the United States 4-0. Only seven minutes into the game Javier Hernandez, or better known as Chirchartio, was able to put El Tri ahead by chipping keeper Keylor Navas. This goal saw former Manchester United, and Real Madrid striker Hernandez reach a domestic record for his country. Tying Jared Borgetti’s record for Mexico with 46 goals in 89 appearances which Chirchartio tied on Friday. Borgetti only had praise for the 28-year-old saying, “I think he could reach between 60 and 70 goals, without any problem. He's 28, he's young and if he continues, not at the same rate, because at the end the rate can do down, but I think he can reach between 60 and 70 goals. It'd be perfect.” Then to seal the win for El Tri, Nestor Araujo was able to score in the 45 minute putting Mexico at the top of the Hexagonal standings. 

Soccer Sunday-

Griezmann to leave or stay?

            Antoine Griezmann rumors just won’t go away, about a possible departure from Atletico Madrid. At only 26 years old the Frenchmen is one of the best strikers in the game, so it’s no shocker that clubs are willing to spend a large sum for him. With clubs in the level of Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, and Paris Saint-Germain all reportedly interested Griezmann had some words to say, “My future? I only care about what happens on the pitch, I am happy in Madrid. Nothing changes” Griezmann said. This statement comes only a week after Atletico’s manager Diego Simeone said, “Griezmann would never allow me to demand of him to stay," Simeone said. "I didn't do it with [Diego] Costa and with [Radamel] Falcao. The players that have given me their lives, I obviously accompany them in the decisions that they take. What is clear is that as long as [Griezmann] stays, the team and the club will continue to grow.” With much uncertainty of where the forward will end up next season, clubs will be ready to sign him if he decides to leave.

Gerard Deulofeu opens up about past

            Gerard Deulofeu started his career coming up the ranks at the youth academy of FC Barcelona. From an early age the player received much praise for the potential many coaches, and players thought he held but it soon caused more problems than he’d want. Being compared to Lionel Messi, it caused Deulofeu to much pressure to perform, and had Barcelona fans wanting to much in return. After not being able to live up to expectations he was eventually sold to Everton FC in 2015, and is now currently on loan at AC Milan. Telling the press, “In the end, were more detrimental than beneficial," Deulofeu told Forza Milan. "Normally I don't read newspapers, but that headline I remember well. It created too much expectation among Barcelona fans. There's only one Messi.” He isn’t the first player to have struggled due to the high demand of Barca fans including Bojan who left Spain for more playing time too.

Kylian Mbappe the new teenage sensation

            In recent seasons French side AS Monaco have been notorious for brining through some of the best youth players in the game. Again they have seemed to hit the jackpot with 18-year-old Kylian Mbappe, who received his debut senior call up for France this weekend. His transfer value continues to rise by the game it seems, helping Monaco sit in first place in Ligue 1 and firing them into the quarterfinals of the Champions League. Teammate Fabinho told Chuteira FC, “We know that sooner or later he will end up at Real Madrid, Barcelona or a club of that caliber. But so long as he is still with us, we are going to profit from that!” Monaco will be smart to cash in on the youngster this summer if possible, reports have also come out that Manchester United had multiple offers in the hundred million range rejected already. His value is currently said to be around £132 million which is a very large fee, but at 18 he could become a legend of the club and game.

Defoe returns to England National Team

            Jermain Defoe finally received the call every professional footballer wants to receive, letting him know he’s part of the national team. Receiving his first call up in over four years, most England fans believed his international days are about up. But with a recent injury to Harry Kane, and Jamie Vardy having a less impressive season Gareth Southgate wanted to bring in a player with lots of respect. Defoe is 34 years old and wether he will remain in the England squad for the 2018 World Cup in Russia seems unlikely he can still be counted on to score. Receiving the starting role for England in their fixture vs. Lithuania was a big call for Southgate, but it seemed to pay off. Scoring for the Three Lions in the a 2-0 victory inches them closer to securing a spot next summer in Russia. After the game an emotional Defoe said, “It's hard to put into words really, I had to keep my emotions [under control], obviously little Brad was with me. You can imagine how I felt doing that, it was special. Just to be back playing with the lads was a great feeling.''

Soccer Tuesday-

Germany Beat England

            With players being dismissed from their club’s teams for the international break, nations set up friendlies before their World Cup qualify matches. With England and Germany both preparing for their Sunday UEFA fixtures, they scheduled a friendly to help both nations prepare. This was Gareth Southgate’s first match in charge of the Three Lions, and he decided to shape up the squad. Switching to a three back system, oddly enough has been started to become very feculent since Chelsea started capitalizing off it. For Germany it was more about getting players time with the squad, and giving Lukas Podolski his farewell German retirement game. From the start England looked like the better team having many opportunities through the first thirty minutes of the game, before coming into the half at zero a piece. But it was the home side who broke the deadlock, when 30-year-old Podolski put a perfect shot in the top corner. After the goal, Germany continued to dominate the rest of the game missing multiple chances to add to their score. England Manager Southgate told the press after the game, “Normally fairytales don't happen in football, but it did for him [Podolski]. It was an outstanding achievement by him to win so many caps and score so many goals [for Germany]. The goal was a wonderful strike and I'm sure we will look back at how we could have closed it down, but it was unstoppable for Joe Hart.”

Referee of Barcelona vs. PSG Cleared

            The decision for the referee of the Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain Champions League match which saw Barca win 5-1, was a disappointing one to many. After online petitions called for a rematch, and Deniz Aytekin, match official, to be acquitted of his job made such a fuss UEFA decided to respond. UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin released a statement stating, “We will not suspend the referee from that match, referees are not suspended.” Leaving many fans and Paris Saint-Germain followers feeling cheated into advancing into the quarterfinals. This could be a stepping stone in brining technology or instant replay into the availability of match officials during the game. In my opinion though this could ruin the game, and dramatically change the flow of matches. For Paris Saint-Germain they should just take this as a lesson, and learn to fight until the last minute.

Manchester Derby Confirmed!

            The Manchester Derby, one of the World’s greatest rivalries, has finally gotten a set rescheduled date. Originally postponed due to Manchester United’s victory in the EFL Cup, which resulted in a conflicting schedule. Now being confirmed on Thursday April 27th, this could be one of the most defying moments for both clubs this season. Being so late into the campaign, and with both clubs needing to win to get into the top four, it could turn out to be a due or die situation for both sides. The Red Devils route to getting into the Champion’s League isn’t limited to the Premier League, such as Manchester City’s after being knocked out of the Champions League by Monaco. If Man United are able to win the Europa League, they will automatically qualify to be in the 2017-18 Champion’s League. One problem for the Reds though, if they are to make it to the Europa finals that’s 15 games they will have to compete in. Manager Jose Mourinho wasn’t happy with this saying, “I can understand if you don’t have any help in relation to the Premier League, but I don’t understand not having any help in relation to European football. I am saying this for many, many years. I’ve said this even from my first spell between 2004 and 2008. I don’t ask for me, I ask for everyone. I think they don’t give an ‘S’.

Bad News for Arsenal

            As manager Arsene Wenger is supposed to announce in the near future if he will stay with the Gunners so are two main stars. Alexis Sanchez, and Mesut Ozil both only have 15 months remaining on their contracts but are reluctant to sign contract extensions. Originally the hold up to extend the deal was due to wages the players demanded, reports saying they were wanting new deals worth £250,000 a week wasn’t going to happen with the Gunners board of directors. But with possible meltdowns between the players and the board at Arsenal, it’s now possibly both players could be leaving this summer. Wenger has confirmed that no deal has been struck to keep the star duo in England, and talks won’t be happening during the season. They will be waiting till this summer to hold new talks about possible extensions but if Arsenal don’t qualify for the Champion’s League the pair could be gone. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt 21

Hector Bellerin to Barcelona?

            Since Hector Bellerin’s arrival to the Emirates, he’s seemed to be an instant hit and securing his right full back position. At only 22 years old, he recently signed a new 6-year deal with Arsenal keeping him 2023. But with his tremendous pace and ability to be able to get up the flanks has caught the eye of his former club Barcelona. It’s usual for Barca to come snap up young players or the world’s best talent but not for them to sell them. That’s what’s happened but now the Spanish club want to sign their former player again. As rumors have started to swirl about his possible departure Bellerin has publically stated, “"Yes, any player would have interest in Barcelona. They are the best club in the world and that is something really special," he said. "The fact that I grew up in Barcelona's academy also gives the idea even more a bit of being special. Now, though, I am focused on the matches remaining this season, not on what might come later. I am very flattered." Being tied down to the Gunners for at least a couple more seasons he didn’t totally rule out a transfer in the future saying “one day” it could happen. If Arsenal loose the young Spaniard, they will not be able to replace him with anyone that has more potential than he does.

Arsene Wenger to Stay and Reshuffle Squad

            Perhaps one of the most talked about managers possibly being sacked is Arsene Wenger. With his contract running out this summer, he’s yet to sign a contract extension or have received one yet. The Gunners fans are all but split on this matter with many believing his time is past due, and Arsenal are ready to move on. Recent reports though are stating he will sign a one-year deal very soon, and be handed a hefty transfer sum to spend. With big name stars such as Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil set to leave, that’d only add to the amount he could spend on refreshing the squad. Players such as Marco Reus, and Jack Butland have been named as top transfer targets to get the club firing again.

Bastian Schweinsteiger to Join Chicago Fire

            Bastin Schweinsteiger’s transfer to Old Trafford original seemed like a dream come true for the Red Devil fans. Signing the current World Cup Champion’s captain, and one of the finest midfielders of all time. But an injury plagued career and multiple changes in management say his stay in Manchester a sorry one. Bastin will be signing a one-year deal with Chicago Fire being a designated player receiving a salary of $4.5 million this season. Once the news became confirmed by Manchester United he released a statement saying, “Throughout my career, I’ve always sought opportunities where I hoped to make a positive impact and to help make something great. My move to Chicago Fire is no different,” Schweinsteiger said in a club statement. “Through my conversations with Nelson and Pauno, I'm convinced by the club’s vision and philosophy and I want to help them with this project." This is a great move for both parties but also raises the question of the MLS going back to old ways.

USA Men’s National Team

            Many questions with the United States Men’s National team continue to occur and lots of them aren’t being answered. With new manager Bruce Arena in charge of the USA, many question what he will bring differently to the table. Clint Dempsey was named in the roster for their upcoming games, and now it’s time for the manager to choice his best position. As Bobby Wood was ruled out of the upcoming games, and Jordan Morris is a doubt for Friday’s fixture should Dempsey start up top? The US’s forward list has been depleted with many injuries to players who were counted on, and has resulted in Chris Wondolowski being called upon again. Dempsey has missed a lot of match fitness after being out for four months with an irregular heart beat but told the press, “I'm not at 100 percent I would say but I'm getting close," said Dempsey. "Every 90 minutes I get under my belt here I'm feeling more comfortable." One thing that is for sure about the team is they need to start winning or next summer they’ll be watching the World Cup at home. 

English Premier League Week 29- Fixtures and Predictions

Saturday March 18

West Bromwich Albion (11-7-10) vs. Arsenal (15-5-6)

            West Brom were beaten 3-0 by a strong Everton side which saw Everton gain a seven-point gap on them. Arsenal on the other hand have dropped out of the top four making the pressure amount on Arsene Wenger even more. This match could come down to the Chilean forward Alexis Sanchez and whether he’s finally restarted to the starting 11. If Arsenal are without star man Sanchez and Mesut Ozil this game could go in advantage of the home team. I see the Gunners winning the game 1-2 with a late goal.

Crystal Palace (7-4-16) vs. Watford (8-7-12)                      

            Crystal Palace have started their great revival, finally getting out of the relegation zone. After starting to perform and getting in a winning momentum, Watford will be facing a tough task. Their last match was also postponed allowing them to have time to go over tactics and playing style. I see Crystal Palace winning this match 2-0 as their fighting to stay in the English Premier League.

Everton (13-8-7) vs. Hull City (6-6-16)

            Everton and Hull City both come into this match with a win in their last EPL match. The Tigers are also fighting on getting out of the Premier League with a win last weekend at Swansea City. Everton though are pulling together a strong campaign being in seventh trying to get into European play.

Stoke City (9-9-10) vs. Chelsea (21-3-3)

            Stoke City will have themselves a handful hosting league leaders Chelsea. After the Blues beat Manchester United to advance into the semifinals of the FA Cup. Stoke will be coming into this game with confidence after tying Manchester City in their last match out giving them hope in repeating their fate. I still see the Blues winning this game 3-1 as them to strong up front.

Sunderland (5-4-18) vs. Burnley (9-4-15)

            Sunderland’s path to the Championship keeps getting clearer and clearer by the week, after continuous poor performances. Burnley were beaten by Liverpool last time out 2-1, in a game that could of went in their favor. Even with Sunderland being at home the odds of them winning seems very slim. Burnley are likely to win this match and I see them winning 3-0.

West Ham United (9-6-13) vs. Leicester City (7-6-14)

            West Ham United were on a great winning streak since the departure of the Payet, who left for his previous club. Leicester too are on a great winning streak since the departure of their former manager. After advancing into the quarterfinals of the Champions League and winning their last two games out they are in great stride. The Foxes are starting to look like the champions that got themselves there, but it’s almost too late. I see Leicester still winning this game with Vardy and Marhez back to winning.

AFC Bournemouth (8-6-14) vs. Swansea City (8-3-17)

            As Bournemouth start to fall down the pecking order in the league table, Swansea City continue to climb out of safety and up the ranks. Both clubs will go into this match winning their last games out but Swansea are in great form right now. The Berries are at home but I see the Swan’s winning again.

Sunday March 19

Middlesbrough (4-10-13) vs. Manchester United (13-10-3)

            Middlesbrough have just recently fired their manager, but Manchester United are starting to show fatigue within the squad. Manchester United need all three points for the rest of this campaign out if they hope to get into the top four position. Being currently in sixth place they can jump into forth with two consecutive wins and Arsenal and Liverpool dropping points. I see Manchester United winning this match 2-0 as their still a strong side without Ibrahimović and Pogba.

Tottenham Hotspur (16-8-3) vs. Southampton (9-6-11)

            Tottenham Hotspurs are now without star forward Harry Kane who suffered an injury last time out. The Saint’s have had a great time to recover and get back into full strength. With the Spurs going to be without Kane they will need people to show up in his absence. If someone is to upset the Hotspurs I see Southampton doing it this weekend. I see the Saints winning this game 2-1 with two early goals.

Manchester City (17-5-5) vs. Liverpool (16-7-5)

            Manchester City continue to go through a rough patch in their season after tying Stoke City and being knocked out of the Champions League. Liverpool managed to get three points in their last fixture vs. Burnley after getting a late goal to seal the win. Since Gabriel Jesus, Manchester City’s new signing, got injured they’ve dipped in form. The Reds are also in a slump with manager Klopp saying they will need multiple signings this summer. I see this game ending in a 2-2 tie with neither team being able to take advantage of a lead. 

The Champions League- Round of 16 Results

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich- 2-10 Aggregate

            In both legs of this Round of 16 match up the Gunners took the lead in both occasions but were soon embarrassed. After Bayern let in one goal at home they soon answered with five of their own throughout the match. After Arsenal were humiliated 5-1 away from home, their fans continued to call for the sacking of Arsene Wenger who seems to be having a dramatic last year. With lots of pressure mounting on the manager Arsenal started off the second leg at the Emirates scoring first again, but soon to repeat their fate. After conceding another five goals Arsenal star, Alexis Sanchez, could be seen laughing on the bench. As Bayern will learn their fate on Friday who they will face in the quarterfinals they are looking strong contenders to win.

Napoli vs. Real Madrid- 2-6 Aggregate

            Napoli started strong in the first leg away from home at Madrid with a stunning curling striking beating keeper Navas. But Madrid weren’t ready to back down and after a quick counter attack evened the score. With the pure talent across Real’s team they are hard to beat and let alone in two legs. This caused Madrid to win 6-2 on aggregate, helping their case in trying to win the Champion’s League. With Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, and Benzema all healthy whoever they face in the next round will surely be wishing they weren’t paired.

Dortmund vs. Benfica- 4-1 Aggregate

            Dortmund were stunned in their first leg at Benfica being beaten 1-0 in a match they could have easily won. After missing many easy chances in front of goal, and giving up a poor chance they had all the work to do at home. With Borussia Dortmund being the better team of the pair, they came out to play and showed whose boss. Scoring 4 goals at home they easily went through to the quarterfinals of the cup.

Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain- 6-5 Aggregate

            Paris Saint-Germain came out scoring bagging four goals in the first leg, while Barcelona were only able to net one. This caused for Barca to start being questioned on whether they were on a downward spiral and containing an unbalanced squad. But with Barcelona playing the second leg at home, and having MSN (Messi, Suarez, and Neymar) all in the team they were ready to stun the world. Scoring 3 goals in the final 10 minutes of the fixture Barcelona were able to upset PSG and go through to the next round. This match is said to be one of the greatest comebacks in history, but has also caused much controversy.

Juventus vs. Porto- 3-0 Aggregate

            Juventus continue to be a very dominant club performing well in Italy and wanting to achieve Champion’s League glory. After winning both legs of the fixture 3-0 in total they will be looking like a strong contender for this year’s title.

Leicester vs. Sevilla- 3-2 Aggregate

            Since the dismal of Claudio Ranieri, Leicester manager, the Foxes have turned their season around. With Leicester players possibly feeling too comfortable with the manger causing them to have too much trust and not enough work effort they looked doomed. But winning 2-0 at home they are the only team in England to go through to the next round. How they will do against some of the best in the world is hard to say, but they are unlikely to win.

Atletico vs. Leverkusen- 4-2 Aggregate

            After Atletico Madrid were able to win 4-2 away from home, they went out in the second leg with a defensive squad. With Bayer Leverkusen having to be the team to throw numbers forward to have a chance of scoring enough. With Atletico Madrid through again they now want to get revenge after losing twice in the final in recent years.

Monaco vs. Manchester City- 6-6 Aggregate

AS Monaco looked all but doomed going down 5-3 in their first leg at Manchester City. To make matters worse for Monaco, they were without star forward Falcao who picked up an injury. Going ahead 2-0 in the match, Manchester City were able to take the lead after an easy Sane goal giving them the advantage. Then with a late goal, Monaco tied Manchester City and go through with away goal advantage. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt 20

Manchester United Without a Forward

            Manchester United will face Chelsea on Monday March 13th in the English FA Cup, but the Red Devils will be facing a different challenge. Lately news has come out with Marcus Rashford, and Wayne Rooney unhappy with the amount of playing time they have received this season, but now United are without any forwards. United will play Chelsea at the Stamford Bridge in the FA Cup, and are without any forward. Zlatan Ibrahimović, Anthony Martial, Wayne Rooney, and Marcus Rashford will all be missing the match due to multiple reasons. This will leave Jose Mourinho for a difficult question, who does he start up top? Many are saying Maroune Fellaini will be deployed as an emergency striker. The Red Devils are going to be in for a heck of a game without a single forward, but this will also cause Chelsea lots of problems. A continuous threat on goal from heading and his pure size could be a decisive tactic in beating the Blues.

Harry Kane Injured

            Tottenham’s and England’s star forward Harry Kane is set to miss an uncertain number of games after picking up an injury in their FA Cup fixture vs. Millwall. In a 6-0 thrashing by Tottenham, Kane picked up the injury when Jake Cooper slide into the forward in a challenge. At first the injury didn’t seem serious but now it’s understood he will have to undergo scans to make sure his ankle isn’t fractured. Manager, Mauricio Pochettino, said, “He twisted his ankle in the same way as before, it was the same ankle he injured in the game against Sunderland," Pochettino said. Now we have to wait, we will assess it tomorrow.” After netting 24 goals in 28 appearances for the Spurs this season, this could test their limits. Being currently in second place in the English Premier League and only having a 7-point gap between them and sixth place will be challenging.

Memphis Depay Back to Old Form

            Since Memphis Depay left Manchester United this winter in a £15 million move to French side Lyon he seems to be back to his old self. At PSV where Manchester United secured the younger Netherlands international for seeing his crazy potential couldn’t live it up at United. The jump may have been too big to go from the Dutch league, to one of Europe’s power leagues with some of the best players in the world. But since his arrival to his new club his form has returned and he’s just scored a shocking goal. With 8 minutes remaining in a game vs. Toulouse Memphis Depay received the ball at the halfway mark and what he did next was world class. Noticing the goalie was a little far off his line he shot, and scored helping Lyon win 4-0. After the game the player had to say, “It was the goal of my life," Depay, who joined during the January transfer window, said. I think it's amazing for me to have scored a goal like that. I had tried it a couple of years ago. I hit the crossbar then, and now I'm lucky it went in."

Thousands Sign for a Barcelona Replay

            Thousands of soccer fans around the world have taken action in hopes of a replay between Barcelona and PSG in their Champion’s League Round of 16 match. Many feel referee, Deniz Aytekin, had many questionable calls and was trying to help sway the game in Barcelona’s favor. After an amazing comeback which saw Barca score 3 times in the last 10 minutes of the game to beat PSG on aggregate, fraud. With over 100,000 people taking to the online petition for a match replay, FIFA have recognized the concern but seem not willing to change anything. Having a match at this caliber replayed seems too difficult to be possible and both sides wouldn’t be willing for this to happen. The German ref of the match though, Aytekin, is said to be sidelined by UEFA for the remainder of the Champions League tournament. Either way Barcelona’s 4-0 come back has to be one of the greatest ever in modern football. Scoring so many goals in late fashion to top Paris Saint Germain in a 6-5 victory was truly special and one to remember.

English Premier League Fixtures and Predictions

            This weekend’s English Premier League schedule lead to many conflicts with the English FA Cup, meaning teams will have off weekends or postponed matches. Widening the gap with the number of games each club played can cause dilemma when it comes down to the final games.

Saturday March 11

AFC Bournemouth vs. West Ham United

            In Bournemouth’s last game out vs. Manchester United away from home they managed to take away a crucial point. They are without Tyrone Mings for the next five home games after being charged with violent conduct by the English FA. West Ham United are coming off a hard lost to Chelsea FC which they were the better team till giving away a cheap counter attack. With both clubs not playing to their full potential it could come down to who scores first, and is willing to work all ninety minutes. I see West Ham United winning this match if they can perform their same form they did against Chelsea which they were unlucky to be beat against.

Everton vs. West Bromwich Albion

            Everton and West Brom both faced defeat in their last matches out with Everton being beaten by Tottenham and West Brom losing to Crystal Palace. While Everton have been very impressive thus far they still can’t seem to be able to make the jump from a mid-table team to a top six, European fighting club. West Brom too are in the top half of the table and are only four points behind Everton in the table. Both clubs will want to get back to winning ways after dropping all three points in Week 27, but Everton will surely have the upper hand in this fixture. I see Everton winning 3-1 at home with Lukaku being the star of the show.

Hull City vs. Swansea City

            For Hull City these are the most important games for them to win if they hope to compete in the English Premier League next season. After Swansea won their last game out, Hull were defeated again by Leicester City. The Swans have started to look like a whole different club since the departure of Bradley as manager, and have made it out of the relegation zone. The Tigers only have 5 wins the entire season so far, and winning vs. Swansea doesn’t seem likely to me. I see the Swans winning this game 2-0 as Hull just aren’t good enough for this league.

            English FA Cup

Middlesbrough vs. Manchester City

            With Middlesbrough form in the EPL turning to nothing since the winter break, the FA Cup is something the club shouldn’t worry about. Manchester City though can use this match to rotate players, and allow to give stars the much needed time to rest. Sergio Augero could be a different maker in a match like this but will also need to be rested. City did tie Stoke City 0-0 in their last EPL game, but Stoke is a better squad then Middlesbrough. I see Manchester winning this game 4-1 as Middlesbrough just aren’t good enough.

Arsenal vs. Lincoln City

            Arsenal have been handed themselves a gift facing Lincoln City in a major domestic cup this late on. After being humiliated multiple times in recent games including losing to Arsenal 10-2 on aggregate, a lost here could send the club into turmoil. Many big name players such as Alexis Sanchez, and Mesut Ozil will both leave the club in the summer hoping to return to a top club. Lincoln City’s fairy tail run in the cup will most likely come to an end this weekend, the odds of them beating a poor Premier League side is slim. I see Arsenal winning this match 2-1.

Sunday March 12

Liverpool vs. Burnley

            This could prove to be a tricky match for Liverpool as they must decide how important this trophy is to them. Dropping out of the top four in the Premier League, continuing to play main players such as Mane and Coutinho could be risky. Burnley were beaten last time out which won’t help them in getting motivation to pull off an upset. I see the Reds winning this match 3-2 as Burnley aren’t good enough.

            English FA Cup

Tottenham Hotspur vs. Millwall

            Tottenham Hotspurs and main man Harry Kane are red hot, making Millwall’s time away from home an unpleasant trip. Millwall are from the third division in England, making them the second lowest club still in the cup at this point. I can’t see Tottenham getting beaten by a club this unskilled, allowing the Spurs to rotate players.

Monday March 13

            English FA Cup

Chelsea vs. Manchester United

            Chelsea vs. Manchester United will surely bring out a great match, and the two unluckily were paired together. Being matched up in the quarter finals of the English FA Cup they could have ended up with a team from English’s third division if it wasn’t for the draw. But since the match is here, the question is who will have the upper hand in the game? Manchester United will be without start man Zlatan Ibrahimović as he faces his three match ban from domestic play. While Chelsea continue to improve by each week, they have showed signs of worrisome that the Red Devils will need to capitalize on. Another question is how will the home crowd react to Jose Mourinho returning to Stamford Bridge, a welcoming return or more of a booing hatred non sense. For Chelsea the game will come down to Diego Costa, and Hazard being able to disrupt Manchester United’s back line. In their last game you can see how fast they can counter a team, and United need to take note on this. For Man United it will be down to Paul Pogba, and Henrik Mkhitaryan as he’s been able to make United be at another level when has in. I can see Manchester United upsetting Chelsea with a 1-0 win if Mourinho goes with pace down the squad. This would mean Marcus Rashford, and Anthony Martial would both need to be starting for the Red Devils. 

Champions League Leg 2- Round of 16 Predictions

Tuesday March 7

Napoli vs. Real Madrid~ Aggregate 1-3

            In the first leg Napoli looked in total control of the game opening up the scoring within ten minutes, but soon slipped up when Karim Benzema tied up the score. Later on in the first leg Toni Kroos and Casemiro both scored giving Madrid a two goal lead heading into this fixture. To add to the problems for Napoli, Gareth Bale was injured in their first encounter and is now fit to add to Madrid’s attacking threat. With Real Madrid having scored in all of their away matches this season I feel it will be too much for Napoli to handle. The Los Blanco’s will be without Raphael Varane in the back line as has still injured, and possibly Cristiano Ronaldo. Ronaldo didn’t feature in their weekend encounter vs. Eibar which Madrid won 4-1, but he’s said to be fit enough to play now. With Madrid in a pretty healthy state I see them winning this game 2-1, with goals coming from Benzema and Bale.

Arsenal vs. Bayern Munich~ Aggregate 1-5

            Arsenal are going to have themselves a handful in this fixture after conceding five goals away from home. With problems starting to worsen for the Gunners including a reported fall out with Alexis Sanchez and the hierarchy up the club, and only winning two of their possible six previous matches. Bayern Munich on the other hand are in total control of their season, having a seven-point lead in the Bundesliga and being on a 17 game win streak. Arsenal’s odds of winning this match are slim, and odds of winning on aggregate are even worse for the London club. In a match like this should the Gunners start to worry about match fitness and rotate players or chance getting someone injured in a game that will likely lead to nothing. As the two clubs are about to face off, I expect Bayern to change up their starting 11 a little giving different players a time to gain match fitness. I see Bayern winning this game 2-0 as Arsenal are too little of a threat.

Wednesday March 8

Barcelona vs. PSG~ Aggregate 0-4

            Perhaps the most shocking score line from the first leg of the Round of 16, was the PSG demolishing the Spanish giants four to zero at home. The game was expected to be a close affair but goals from Di Maria, Edison Cavani, and Julian Draxler set Barca into reality. Barcelona have responded to critics though winning their next four matches in a row including two victories in which they scored five goals. PSG have also endured a great run of football in recent weeks winning four out of 5 matches, and the match they didn’t win they drew 0-0. The problem for Barca is if they give away a goal in this fixture, they most in return score 6 goals due to the away goal rule. Even with Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez scoring six goals in a match is a very hard task, with many doubting it’d be possible. For Paris due they come out playing in a more defensive formation and try to hold onto the four goal lead, or use the same tactics from their last match? I just can’t see Barcelona winning this match, if they get to desperate a quick counter attack is very possible for PSG with their attacking threat of their own. I do see Barcelona winning this leg but not being able to turn around their first leg humiliation.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Benfica~ Aggregate 0-1

            Borussia Dortmund are relishing over their first leg opportunities in which they missed many chances in front of goal. Both clubs are on a winning streak of their own with Benfica having own their last seven matches in a row, while Dortmund have won 3 straight games now. In their weekend encounter with Bayer Leverkusen they were able to win 6-2 with promising signs for this matchup. They will be without star man Marco Reus who came off injured vs Bayer, but will look for Aubameyang to lead the line. Their fast attacking counter ability will surely cause Benfica problems and lead to goals. I see Dortmund winning this game 3-1 as they were very dominant and the better team in the first leg. If they could have put away key, chances in front of goal we’d have a different story to talk about right now.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt 19

The Revival of Leicester City

            Just two weeks ago Leicester City looked like a squad of players who could care less about the outcome of the match. Players such as Jamie Vardy, and Marhez went from leading the Foxes to the champions of England to a one-year fluke. But now the table seems to have turned again with the firing of manager Claudio Ranieri. Winning their last two matches in a row after being in the relegation zone, the question now is what changed with the team? Could there have been a problem with the players and management that the public wasn’t aware of, or did the players start to take responsibility putting in more effort. Leicester’s next home game won’t be till Saturday March 19th, as their game this coming weekend vs. Arsenal has been postponed due to domestic cups.

Ibrahimović and Mings charged for violent conduct

            Zlatan Ibrahimović of Manchester United, and Tyrone Mings of Bournemouth have both been charged with violent conduct by the Football Association. Both of the encounters that will most likely lead to three match bans of both players occurred in a fixture between Manchester United vs. Bournemouth at Old Trafford on Saturday March 4th. The pair had multiple occurrences of alleged conduct throughout the game, and neither were spotted by the referee at the time. The duo is likely to face 3 or more game bans each which could be terrible for Manchester United. With the Reds looking to reach the top four this would hurt their odds on making it into the Champions League.

Christian Pulisic seizes his chance

            Christian Pulisic the American wonder kid from Borussia Dortmund has seen his playing time dip in the past month. This could be worry for the US National team, and more for Pulisic himself with many national team games coming up. The next game that he will want to be part of is on June 8th vs Trinidad & Tobago so he needs to start playing again. This happened for him when Marco Reus had to be subbed off for a hamstring injury in their crucial fixture vs. Bayer Leverkusen. When getting subbed on he was able to score helping Dortmund to a victory helping his odds in featuring in upcoming matches.

Liverpool humiliate Arsenal

            Liverpool came into this fixture with a chip on their shoulder after a humiliating defeat to Leicester City. The match atmosphere was great with both teams fighting for a top four spot while dropping points would allow Manchester United to get back into the hunt. Arsenal’s starting 11 surprised many with star forward Alexis Sanchez being dropped to the bench, only adding the speculation that he will be leaving this summer. Only nine minutes into the game though Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was able to thread a pass to an open Roberto Firmino who put the Reds up 1-0 at home. With time running out and the half about to end James Milner was able to set up Mane for an easy goal. Giving Mane too much time inside the box to set up an easy shot and putting them up 2-0 at the half. At the start of the second half Arsene Wenger brought on the Chilean international Alexis Sanchez who shacked up the game completely. Within minutes of his presence on the field the Gunners started to threat Liverpool and the substitution paid off. In the 56th minute Sanchez was able to thread a pass to Danny Welbeck who was able to find the back of the net. With minutes left in the game the Gunners were throwing numbers forward which set Liverpool up for a quick counter attack. In the 91st minute Georginio Wijnaldum was able to finish the fast counter attacking giving the Reds a 3-1 win.

Chelsea Go 10 Points Clear

            Chelsea’s odds of winning the 2016-17 English Premier League continues to greater by the week and West Ham United weren’t able to shorten the gap. West Ham started the game off great showing great posture and attempts on goal, but when a failed set piece happened their game was over. In the 25th minute West Ham had a free kick near Chelsea’s box but after a terrible set piece Chelsea countered with Pedro setting up Eden Hazard for the opening goal. In the 50th minute Cesc Fabregas was able to take a corner setting up Diego Costa for a thigh in goal. With the Blues in charge of this game, they gave up a late goal to Manuel Lanzini in the 92nd minute which didn’t affect the outcome. With Chelsea continuing to show no signs of weakness they look very likely to win this year’s league. 

English Premier League Week 27- Fixtures and Predictions

Saturday March 4

Manchester United (13-9-3) vs. AFC Bournemouth (7-5-14)

            Manchester United will open up week 27 with a home fixture at Old Trafford vs. Bournemouth. United are in pull position to jump Liverpool and Arsenal if either of the clubs loose or tie their matches. The Cherries, Bournemouth, continue to struggle since the second half of the season has started and are getting closer to the bottom three as each week comes. This is frightening for a club, and playing at Old Trafford surely won’t help. United’s squad is starting to finally come together getting a fluent shape, and form that’s leading to their top four push. I see Manchester United winning this fixture 3-1.

Leicester City (6-6-14) vs. Hull City (5-6-15)

            Leicester City looked all but doomed in their Monday encounter with Liverpool after sacking manager Claudio Ranieri and being in loose form. But the sacking almost made something tick within the club having them play as if they were in last season’s form. They wound up beating Liverpool 3-1, and Hull are now in trouble. Hull City can’t keep losing and Leicester looked like an opponent to capitalize on, but their last match form will cause them worries. I see the Foxes continuing to win, and beating Hull 2-1.

Stoke City (8-8-10) vs. Middlesbrough (4-10-12)

            Stoke City will be looking to bounce back from their 4-0 defeat to Tottenham, while Middlesbrough are only out of the relegation zone by goal difference. Middlesbrough were also defeated last time out by a shaky Crystal Palace team, who were in a slump too. I see Stoke City winning this match 1-0 as Middlesbrough continue to struggle greatly.

Swansea City (7-3-16) vs. Burnley (9-4-13)

            Burnley will have worrying signs after losing vital points to Hull City in a 1-1 draw, and need to get 3 points vs. Swansea. The Swans have started to win again, since they dismissed their American manager Bradley. I see Swansea City winning a 1-0 game.

Watford (8-7-11) vs. Southampton (8-6-11)

            Watford tied West Ham United in their last match, while Southampton lost to Manchester United in the EFL Cup with a late minute goal. The Saints looked like a very strong side in their last match for Manchester United which should be a sign of worrisome for Watford. I see Southampton winning this fixture 1-2 coming back with two goals.

West Bromwich Albion (11-7-8) vs. Crystal Palace (6-4-16)

            West Bromwich and Crystal Palace both won their last played games giving both sides confidence going into this match. West Brom are currently having an impressive season being in 8th place, trying to reach the top six but very unlikely. While Crystal Palace are now in a fight to get back in the middle of the table after being in the relegation zone. Crystal Palace’s squad is very dynamic and if they can listen to their manager’s philosophy will get out of the bottom three. I see Palace building off last weekend’s encounter and winning this match too.

Liverpool (14-7-5) vs. Arsenal (15-5-5)

            Liverpool’s form continues to dip after being beaten 3-1 by a sorry Leicester City side, and Arsenal also can’t afford to drop any points. Only a point separates Liverpool and Arsenal with the Gunners having a game in hand. Arsenal’s extended break could be crucial in this fixture as they have time to rest key members of the starting 11. Liverpool will be fired up for this occasion after being humiliated by the Foxes which could lead to a crazy affair. I see this game ending in a draw with both clubs controlling the game at different points.

Sunday March 5

Tottenham Hotspur (15-8-3) vs. Everton (12-8-6)

            Tottenham were able to net four goals in their last match out, meaning Everton will need to be solid in the back or get trashed. Everton’s pulled together a pretty impressive campaign thus far being in 7th place, with 44 points. If anyone is going to provide an upset this weekend I see it being this fixture with Everton giving a strong display. I see the final being 1-2 in favor of the away team.

Sunderland (5-4-17) vs. Manchester City (16-4-5)

            Sunderland’s positioning at the bottom of the table seems to keep getting worse and worse with this weekend adding to the misery. Manchester City haven’t played their best football in recent weeks but a fixture vs. Sunderland should prove to be an easy three points for the Manchester club. I can’t see Sunderland causing City much of a threat, and see City winning this match 3-0.

Monday March 6

West Ham United (9-6-11) vs. Chelsea (20-3-3)

            West Ham United will be up against a very strong Chelsea side, but they have pulled off some great displays this season. If their able to get Andy Carroll in shooting fashion against the Blue West Ham could manage to possibly win or steal a point from Chelsea. The problem with Chelsea is they have a lot of great attacking options and Kante holding down the middle of the park. I see Chelsea winning a tough 3-2 win, away from home. 

2017 MLS Season Kickoff

            The 2017 Major League Soccer season is less than a week away, and many new faces are here to light up the field. Along with new faces have also brought in two brand new franchises into the MLS. Atlanta United FC, and Minnesota United FC are the first of two teams to join in the first few fazes of the MLS Expansion.

Friday March 3rd

Portland Timbers vs. Minnesota United FC

            The Portland Timbers will host the newly formed Minnesota United, in the opening match of the 2017 MLS season and first official game for the club. With no previous record being held for Minnesota theirs many questions on how their season will go, but a win in the opening match could be a huge stepping stone for the club. I still see Portland Timbers winning their opening home fixture, as Minnesota players will be to full of emotion to handle the occasion.

Saturday March 4th

Columbus Crew SC vs. Chicago Fire

            The Columbus Crew will begin their 2017 season hosting the Chicago Fire, after having a dismal 2016 season. The year before in 2015 they were in the MLS Final to be beaten by the Portland Timbers. With Kamara fully fit for the Columbus Crew I see them winning this game 2-0 at their home field in Columbus, Ohio.

La Galaxy vs. FC Dallas

            La Galaxy are the dynasty that’s started to fall down the pecking order like some of the great European giants. Recent reports have come out the Ashley Cole former English International will not be fit for their home opener, as their injury problems continue to mount. FC Dallas had a great campaign last time out and I see them winning this match 1-0.

Real Salt Lake vs. Toronto FC

            Real Salt Lake are going to have themselves a very tough challenge in defeating last season’s MLS runner-ups. Toronto FC are likely favorites to win this season’s MLS Cup with the strength of their overall squad, from Michael Bradley to Giovinco. I can’t see Real Salt Lake winning this match, and I see Toronto winning 3-0.

Colorado Rapids vs. New England Revolution

            The Colorado Rapid’s may not have the greatest depth to depend on when the season is fully underway, but the one position they do have is goalie. Tim Howard has become a designated player for the club, and will be the crucial player for the Rapids. I see Colorado winning this match 2-1, with Howard being a key player in the win.

DC United vs. Sporting Kanas City

            DC United are a mid-table team, and I don’t expect much to change from last season. Sporting Kanas keep growing in strength by the year, and are set to be a strong force this season. I see Kanas winning this match, 2-1 as DC aren’t a complete team.

Houston Dynamo vs. Seattle Sounders FC

            Seattle Sounders start their defending run away from home at the Houston Dynamo, but they may be without their main man. Clint Dempsey is still questionable on whether he will be fit for their first game, after discovering a problem with an irregular heartbeat. I see Seattle winning this match at ease, and unless a lot of problems arise they could win the league again.

San Jose Earthquakes vs. Montreal Impact

            San Jose continue to show their lacking quality throughout the squad, with many seasons going down poorly. It’s tough to say if they can turn this season around but it looks very unlikely. Montreal are also going to have problems with Drogba not returning to the Impact, will certainly lower the squad strength. I see Montreal still winning the game though 1-0, with a second half goal.

Sunday Match 5th

Orlando City SC vs. New York City FC

            Kaka will be Orland City’s main man and Orlando are going to rely on the Brazilian heavily. With little help elsewhere Kaka and OCS aren’t going to be a title challenging squad, and will face a difficult opening match. New York City FC are without Frank Lampard who’s decided to retire, but will still have David Villa, an amazing attacking forward to work with. I see NYC winning this match 2-1 as their team is just better than Orlando City.

Atlanta United FC vs. New York Red Bulls

            Atlanta United FC will open their inaugural season with a home fixture vs. the New York Red Bulls in a game they’ll want to win. New York Red Bulls have a pretty solid team and could cause the newly formed club to struggle with the new pressure. I see Atlanta getting a win though in their home opening match.

Vancouver Whitecaps vs. Philadelphia Union

            Vancouver Whitecaps should be able to get an easy 2-0 win vs. a dismal Philadelphia Union. The Union won’t cause much of a threat this MLS season, and Vancouver can capitalize with an early 3 points.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt 18

Manchester United win EFL Cup-

            Manchester United faced Southampton on Sunday for the EFL Cup in the famous English ground of Wembley. Southampton reached the final by beating Liverpool 2-0 in aggregate score line while United faced Hull City which was an easier task for the club. With the stage set for the big occasion Southampton were the first team to strike with Gabbiadini striking first but the goal was overturned by an offside decision that was later seen to be the wrong call. With luck against them, Manchester United’s Zlatan Ibrahimović took a free kick 26 yards out finding the back of the goal in the 19th minute. Jesse Lingard’s magical record at Wembley Stadium continued in the 38th minute when Marcos Rojo set up Lingard for an easy inside the foot goal to put the Red Devil’s up 2-0 with only a few minutes left in the half. The Saints were a much better side then Manchester for the most part of the game, and in the dying minutes of the first half Gabbiadini was able to put Southampton on the score board bringing the game to 2-1 at the halftime interval. From the second half kickoff the Saints continued with their same high pressing approach and tied up the score in the 48th minute with another Gabbiadini goal. But when the Red Devil’s brought in Ibrahimović they wanted him to be their when I mattered most, and he did just that. In the 87th minute Ibrahimović headed home a cross to win Manchester United the EFL Cup, and Jose Mourinho is his first trophy as manager of United. After the game ended the Man of the Match, Ibrahimović, told the press, “You appreciate it more the older you get. Wherever I have gone I have won. I think this is trophy number 32 for me. This is what I predicted. My friend, I keep doing it. I'm enjoying it in England.”

Claudio Ranieri Sacked

            On Thursday February 23rd, Claudio Ranieri was official sacked as the manager of Leicester City after the Foxes dream came to an end. In the 2015-16 English Premier League campaign Leicester were 5000-1 in winning the league, but week after week their odds kept getting better until they shocked the soccer nations. Winning the Premier League in an odd defying static that most likely will never be repeated again. This season though has been a turn of the table with Leicester City dropping into the relegation zone after Crystal Palace beat Middlesbrough. Many fans and managers around the world have questions the Foxes decision in firing the Italian manager after such a triumph season. Leicester City are still in the Champions League, in the Round of 16 vs. Sevilla but are 1-2 down in aggregate. After the club announced his dismal from the club Ranieri released a statement saying, “Yesterday my dream died,” he said. “After the euphoria of last season and being crowned Premier League champions all I dreamed of was staying with Leicester City, the club I love, for always. Sadly, this was not to be. I wish to thank my wife Rosanna and all my family for their never ending support during my time at Leicester.”

Aguero to leave Manchester City?

            Rumors have started to surface that Sergio Aguero’s time at Manchester City could be coming to an end this summer. With the arrival of the Brazilian wonder kid Gabriel Jesus coming from Palmeiras, he took the starting role from Aguero until he was injured. With Aguero not willing to be second choice he will want to leave, with many top names clubs wanting to sign the Argentina forward badly. The main club attached to his name is Real Madrid, which could be a great fit for both parties. The odds of this happening seem very slim to me, but football has also changed greatly in the last decade.

Aston Villa lose Millions

            Aston Villa’s fortune has been getting worse and worse since the relegation into the English Championship last season. This campaign they currently are in 17th place with only 39 points from 33 games played. Villa’s financial records have just been made public and in 2015-16 they lost a total of £81.3 million pounds. This is a huge number for a club to lose in a season, and could turn into even greater problems for the club.

 

English Premier League Week 26- Fixtures and Predictions

Saturday February 25

Chelsea vs. Swansea City-

            Chelsea will look to continue their road to winning the English Premier League by hosting Swansea City this weekend. Swansea City have in the past four weeks made a huge jump in their positioning in the table though, getting out of the relegation zone but nowhere near safety. Taking 9 of their last 12 possible points, and beating Liverpool along the way. I can’t see Swansea upsetting Chelsea, with Chelsea winning 2-0.

Crystal Palace vs. Middlesbrough-

            Crystal Palace’s fate in the Premier League seems to be coming to an end possibly. Currently being in 19th place, with only 19 points every game will be very crucial to win. This fixture is a great opportunity for Palace to flip their season, and stay in the EPL. Middlesbrough is also struggling in late with only a 3-point lead advantage over Crystal Palace in the table. This could be a turning point for either club, but I see Crystal Palace taking all three points in this match.

Everton vs. Sunderland-

            Everton will be hosting a very dismal Sunderland side who may be out of the league next year. Last weekend Everton were only able to get a draw vs. Middlesbrough but I expect them to bounce back after that performance. David Moye’s Sunderland side were destroyed 4-0 by an inconsistent Southampton team. With all the problems continuing to mount for the Black Cats where do they head or change to have a fighting chance in the EPL? I see Everton winning this fixture 3-1 dominating the game.

Hull City vs. Burnley-

            Hull City will look to overturn their luck after being beaten by Arsenal 2-0 in a match that could of went in favor of Hull. Burnley managed to get a point off the league leaders in a great overall performance by the squad. If Burnley can display the same form from last weekend they’ll be able to win this match, and could go on a winning streak. A win for Burnley could get them into the top half of the table, while a win for Hull would be enough to get them out of the relegation zone.

West Bromwich Albion vs. AFC Bournemouth-

            West Bromwich are on an impressive run this season being currently in 8th place. Bournemouth haven’t been able to prove their strength which now will lead to multiple problems for the club. The Cherries only have a six-point safety net keeping them out of the bottom three, but a lost today could have that cut in half. The question that remains for both clubs in this fixture is who will step up in the crucial moment? With neither team having the very dynamic big named player it will come down to who can capitalize off their chances. I see a 1-1 draw between these two teams.

Watford vs. West Ham United-

            Watford and West Ham both in Week 24 managed only to get a point out of their games. Watford played a strong Manchester United team, who continued to their great running beating the Hornets along the way. West Ham United went through a rough spell of football during the winter period which say their star player Payet leave in a shocking move. Since his sell though West Ham have seemed to wrap around as a squad turning their play around. I see West Ham winning this match with Andy Carroll being the main player to make a difference.

Southampton vs. Arsenal- POSTPONED

Sunday February 26

Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Stoke City-

            Tottenham Hotspurs will be looking to get a win after two consecutive defeats in a row, being beaten 2-0 by Liverpool. Stoke City managed to a 1-0 win off a poor Crystal Palace squad, which could be enough mental boost for the Stoke side. If Stoke City can keep a strong back line, and an organized central midfield they could cause lots of problems for Tottenham. The Spurs though have a very dynamic squad with Harry Kane leading the front line. I see Tottenham winning this match 1-0 with a Kane goal.

Manchester City vs. Manchester United- POSTPONED

Monday February 27

Leicester City vs. Liverpool-

            Last season this would have been a fixture any football fan would have died to watch, with fluid play throughout 90 minutes. But it comes to show theirs a difference between history and form. Unfortunately for Leicester their form has ended, and has led to the dismal of their manager. Liverpool pulled off a crucial 2-0 win vs a strong Tottenham in their last match out, with Mane being the difference. I see Liverpool winning this game 2-1 with Coutinho and Mane being the key player in making a difference. 

Champions League- Fixtures & Predictions

Tuesday, February 21

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid

         Bayer Leverkusen enter the Round of 16 in the first leg hosting Atletico Madrid, with Bayer hoping to change their fortune. Since 2005 Bayer Leverkusen has reached this stage of the tournament but has failed to move on in four previous chances. Losing to Liverpool, Barcelona, Paris Saint Germain and Atletico Madrid, this campaign they’ll need some top players to step up. Luckily for the German side, Chicharito has started scoring again giving them hope to a very strong Atletico Madrid side. Atletico Madrid will be without star goalie, Oblak, whose recently underwent a shoulder surgery and isn’t back into full fitness yet. Both sides will have key players that the match will come down to, and Griezmann will surely be the star of this fixture. The fast French forward has become one of the most prized players in the game in the past few seasons, and Madrid will want him to lead their club. The main worry for Atletico Madrid will be their poor away from they’ve encountered this season. Drawing four of their last five away games, could end up causing a tricky reverse fixture for the Spanish side. At the end of the first leg I see Atletico and Bayer going to Spain in a 1-1 score line.

Manchester City vs. AS Monaco

         Two of Europe’s biggest spending clubs are about to face off in a crucial first leg meeting that Manchester City will have early odds in their favor. Manchester City though have lost their most recently arrived player Gabriel Jesus to an ankle injury that will sideline the player for most likely the remainder of the season. This will give Argentinean forward Sergio Augero his needed opportunity up front to prove his worth, and show Pep that he can be City’s main man. AS Monaco also have a few key players of their own including Falcao, whose had an amazing season since returning to France, and Bernardo Silva. Monaco’s main focus of this round will be to get at least one away goal, and luckily for them Manchester City has only kept 1 clean sheet at home in their past 11 games. The Champion’s League is very unpredictable with the talent available across each club, but I see Monaco getting a 2-1 upset victory away from home.

Wednesday, February 22

Sevilla FC vs. Leicester City

         If I was asked at the beginning of the season who’d be favorites in a fixture between these two, I’d hands down would have said Leicester City. But Leicester City have gone from a fairy tale season to reality in a matter that’s shocked the football world. Sevilla FC are title contenders this season in La Liga, managing five wins in their last 8 matches with their only lost in those eight coming from Real Madrid. With Leicester’s horrible season they will most likely stand little to no chance in being able to compete with a strong Spanish opposition. Sevilla playing at home in the Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan should have themselves the chance to get an easy victory and possibly a nice aggregate score line. To make matters worse for the Foxes, in a midweek encounter with Millwall a League One side, they were defeated 1-0 summing up their season in a game. This will be the first meeting between the two clubs, and in my opinion probably the last too. I see Sevilla winning this game 3-0, going to England to wrap up the second leg and move on to the quarter finals.

FC Porto vs. Juventus

         FC Porto and Juventus go into this game both winning their last five out of five games across all competitions. Porto’s winning form continued last Friday with a 4-0 win in the Portuguese Primeira Liga, allowing them to top the league. Juventus have a comfortable lead in the Series A, looking to make it a sixth consecutive title for the club. This will allow Juventus to be able to put out a full strength squad without having to worry much about domestic play. For Porto though, they only have a two-point lead which will leave their manager with many questions on do players need rest. The odds for this fixture are pretty close with neither team having a lot better chance than the other. I will see FC Porto will win this game 2-0, with a few counter attacking chances. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 17

Barcelona get a narrow victory

            Many people have started to question the dominance of Barcelona in Spain, and across European competitions. In their midweek first leg match of the Champions League Round of 16, they were defeated 4-0 by a lacking PSG. Much of these problems have aroused due to the lacking of a solid midfield for the Spanish side, and none of their recent signings are making a major impact. Manager Luis Enrique knows of the amounting pressure to hold his current job, and made four changes to their squad from their previous match. Resting players, and giving others time almost paid great dividends in their Sunday fixture vs. Leganes. In the fourth minute of the match, Lionel Messi was able to tap home an easy goal after Luis Suarez put the ball on a plate for Messi to score. But after that moment Barca showed signs of a weakening squad going into the halftime break with a one goal advantage. In the 71st minute Leganes’s Unai Lopez was able to find the back of the net, equaling the score line. Luckily for Barcelona they were awarded a penalty kick in the dying minutes of the game, that Lionel Messi was able to score from.

Mario Balotelli sees Red

            Just as things seemed to be turning around for the Italians football career, scoring goals week in and out for Nice. His old behaviors have started to reoccur giving the player little hope of ever changing for the good. This red card vs. Lorient makes this his third red card of the season already, but it does have Nice being in third place in Ligue 1. At 26 year’s old Balotelli should be reaching his prime years, lighting up the goal but instead he keeps destroying his career. His teammate Valentin Eysseric said, “It’s a shame he lets his head drop, you see him in training every day. He's such a great player. I think he looks like he wants nothing to do with us. It's really disappointing… We know the coach demands enormous effort from his squad. He won't accept anyone taking their foot off the gas.” With problems starting again for Mario, Nice may prefer to go without the forward next campaign leaving many to wonder where Balotelli will go next.

FC Cincinnati part ways with John Harkes

            John Harkes, a former U.S. National team captain and first head coach of FCC, has been released of his duties. This news is shocking to almost every FC Cincinnati supporter and causing many people to question the board of FCC. Leading the club on their first season to third place, and setting attendance records at almost every FCC game makes people wonder why fire Harkes? As the ultimate reason for the decision to relieve the manager of his position will probably always remain unclear, Cincinnati will now have former assist coach filling the role. Alan Koch, has been named the new manager of FCC as they look to start their preseason tour with their first home game being April 15th. Departing manager John Harkes released a statement but in it never mentioned the club president saying, “Although my time here was cut short prematurely, I am extremely proud of this team, the work I put in and all the accomplishments of the players and coaching staff of the inaugural season in the USL. To build something from scratch was special. From the time I signed my contract, a full eight months prior to the first match, the process of building a team, creating a relationship with the fans and the city, drawing on the passion of the city and its soccer community, and creating a major league soccer environment in a major league city was completely gratifying.” With the clubs preseason underway we can now look forward to another successful year in Cincinnati, OH, and also hope they make the jump into the MLS.

Sutton United vs. Arsenal- FA Cup

            Sutton United are a non-league football club who currently play in the National League. If there to upset Arsenal they will need to be the luckiest club in England, with the odds heavily against Sutton United. Arsenal can use this match to rotate squad players, and experiment with the squad but need to be careful in not creating an unbalanced team. I see Arsenal winning this match with ease. 

English FA Cup- Fifth Round Results

Saturday February 18th

Burnley vs. Lincoln City~ 0-1

            Lincoln City FC, is a club that currently plays in the National League which in England is the fifth highest league in the country. For people that aren’t familiar with Burnley they are in the English Premier League, meaning this should have been an easy win. But Lincoln City were ready to defy all odds, and may have pulled off the greatest upset in the FA Cup history. In the 89th minute Sean Raggett, headed home the winning goal brining Lincoln City into the quarter final of the cup. They’re now the first non-league club to reach this stage of the cup since the new format was adopted in 1925.

Huddersfield Town vs. Manchester City~ 0-0

            Manchester City were paired up against Championship side Huddersfield Town while making eight changes to their starting lineup. Still fielding a solid starting 11, and have Sergio Augero leading the line would make most believe City would go through with ease. This match turned into a keeper show with both goalies making great saves to save their clubs. In the first half Huddersfield did have a disallowed goal, that would have been enough to send the second division club through to the next round. Manchester City will now have to face them again in a rematch being played at Manchester City this time around.

Middlesbrough vs. Oxford United~ 3-2

            Middlesbrough started off the game strong with a 26th goal from Grant Leadbitter from the penalty spot. Then again in the first half by Rudy Gestede in the 34th minute giving Middlesbrough a comfortable 2-0 lead at the 45th minute. Two quick goals by Oxford in the second half changed the attitude of the game. In the 64th minute Christopher Maguire scored, then one minute later Antonio Martinez scored to even up the score line. Luckily for Middlesbrough they were able to get the winning goal in the 86th minute when Cristhian Stuani scored.

Millwall vs. Leicester City~ 1-0

            Millwall currently play in the English League One, the third division in England while Leicester were crowned champions of England last season. Leicester’s problems continued to show in this match against a team that normally wouldn’t be a great threat. Going scoreless into the halftime break, Millwall were left with 10 men when Jake Cooper received a red card in the 52nd minute. The tie seemed to be heading into a replay until the 90th minute when Lee Gregory set up Shaun Cummings for the winning goal. After Leicester have been knocked up of this cup, and maybe being relegated what does the club need to do?

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs. Chelsea~ 0-2

            Chelsea continue to dominate their games week in and out, and this second division team weren’t going to stop them. Going into the half, Wolves were tied with Chelsea but the second half went in favor of the Blues. In the 65th minute Pedro found the back of the net, and Diego Costa finished off the game in the 89th minute with another goal.

Sunday February 19th

Fulham vs. Tottenham Hotspurs~ 0-3

            Just a few seasons ago Fulham vs. Tottenham was a common fixture in the Premier League, until Fulham were relegated into the Championship. This game though became the Harry Kane show with the English forward having his shooting boots on. In the 16th minute Kane finished off a cross from Christian Eriksen who managed to get off an impressive cross. Again in the 51st minute Kane and Eriksen combined again for another Harry Kane goal making it his second for the match. To seal the win and advance into the quarter final of the competition, Harry Kane slotted home another goal in the 73rd minute giving him his hat trick.

Blackburn Rovers vs. Manchester United~ 1-2

            Blackburn Rovers hosted Manchester United in a fixture that was tricky for the Rover’s manager. Currently in the Championship League, the Rovers are struggling to stay out of the relegation zone, and are missing players to injury. This caused many supporters to question if they should field a solid starting 11 or play conservatively for the league sake. Fielding a strong starting 11 they were able to take the lead in the 17th minute for a Danny Graham goal after a nice set up with his fellow forward. But Manchester United weren’t going to sit back and be humiliated answering in the 27th minute when Marcus Rashford rounded the keeper. Going into half time at one a piece, United were forced to bring on Zlatan Ibrahimović and Paul Pogba to reinforce their squad strength. Thanks to excellent managerial calling by Jose Mourinho, Ibrahimović scored in the 75th minute advancing United into the next round. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 16

            With all but one English Premier League game played this weekend, the top tiers football is wrapped up for the weekend but now everyone’s favorite event is back on. The Champions League returns this week with the first rounds of play being held Tuesday and Wednesday.

Tottenham’s Title Contention Fading Away

            Tottenham arrived at Anfeild Saturday to face off vs Liverpool, who have been in terrible form in their past few matches. The Spurs have also faced a sluggish run in the Premier League allowing Chelsea to widen the gap, and making their title hopes fade away. But only 16 minutes into the first half Liverpool’s Sadio Mane was able to find the back of the net from a cross from Wijnaldum beating Lloris. Tottenham again were playing on the back of their heels and went 2-0 down after another Mane goal. The second half saw both teams with vital chances and neither able to capitalize leaving the Reds with a 2-0 win. This lose now gives Chelsea a 10-point lead with only 14 matches to play.

Champions Leagues Fixtures

Tuesday February 14

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona

            Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona are the reasons people love to watch the Champions League, and especially when it starts to get past the group stage. The French giants vs. the Spanish super club with world known players across the board. PSG will have home field advantage for the first leg and will need to make sure of a few things. First they can’t give up more than one goal to Barcelona, as an away goal is very crucial when determining who goes through to the next round. Barcelona are in full strength with MSN, Messi, Suarez and Neymar, all healthy and scoring goals. But PSG have turned around their playing since the arrival of Julian Draxler. Since his arrival PSG seem to be almost back to their form when Zlatan Ibrahimović was lighting up the back of the net. I see Barca winning this fixture 2-0 with their constant threat going forward.

Benfica vs. Borussia Dortmund

            Benfica will have themselves a handful after being paired with Borussia Dortmund in the Round of 16. Benfica have a very solid team with many exciting prospects within the squad, but they don’t compete on a regular basis against teams that Dortmund do. If Benfica hope to be able to get through to the quarter final they can’t loose this match, as Dortmund at home are almost unbeatable, and their fans make it a twelfth man. Dortmund did lose this weekend in a 2-1, but will be ready to bounce back and turn the odds in their favor. When Aubameyang, and Reus get room to work in they will score a handful of goals which can cause Benfica a lot of problems. I see Dortmund winning this match 2-1, going back with the home field advantage.

Wednesday February 15

Real Madrid vs. Napoli

            Real Madrid have been without Gareth Bale for the past three months, but continue to top La Liga, and dominate in domestic cups. Napoli currently in third place in Series A, but Madrid should be ready for a heck of a game. With Ronaldo healthy and at his best Real will be very difficult to beat, and can counter in a moment’s notice. Napoli do have Hasmik in great form, and will look for him to lead the team. Bale most likely won’t be ready for this fixture but could be ready for the second leg, meaning Napoli need to take their chances now and hope to get a draw. If they can’t at least get a goal in this fixture Madrid will most likely move on to the next round.

Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal

            Bayern Munich are in their typical German form dominating the Bundesliga, but have another club fighting to top them. Arsenal have been very poor in the past few weeks, but did manage to beat Hull City 2-0 this weekend. Alexis Sanches will be the deciding factor for Arsenal if they hope to stand any chance in winning the game. Bayern are one of the most complete teams in the world, giving the Gunners very little hope of winning. I see Bayern Munich winning this game 3-1, and moving onto the next round of the cup. 

English Premier League- Week 25

Saturday February 11th

Home Team (W-D-L) vs. Away Team (W-D-L)

Arsenal (14-5-5) vs. Hull City (5-5-14)

            Arsenal are up against a different challenge this weekend with the revival of Hull City. After drawing Manchester United, and beating Liverpool in the last two weeks, they have a lot of positive momentum on their side. Arsenal are also on a poor run of games losing to Chelsea 3-1 last weekend. I see Hull City upsetting Arsenal in this fixture, as Hull are fighting to stay in the Premier League while the Gunners are playing to relaxed.

Stoke City (7-8-9) vs. Crystal Palace (5-4-15)

            Stoke City and Crystal Palace were both defeated last weekend with frustration starting to grow in both clubs. Crystal Palace are now in the relegation zone, and it’s up to Big Sam to get them out of the downfall. Stoke are also in the bottom half of the table now with them lose to West Bromwich. I see Crystal Palace winning this fixture as their too good of a club to be relegated.

Middlesbrough (4-9-11) vs. Everton (11-7-6)

            Everton are now back in the race to finish in the top 6 clubs, meaning they’d qualify for Europa League play. Putting in 6 goals over the weekend vs. Bournemouth goal scoring isn’t an issue but more about their consistency. With Middlesbrough lurking towards relegation Everton should have themselves an easy three points.

Sunderland (5-4-15) vs. Southampton (7-6-11)

            Sunderland have finally started to put a few good performances together creating a mix at the bottom of the table. Between them, in 20th place, and 15th is only 2 points. This season all games are very important and I see them beating Southampton.

Manchester United (12-9-3) vs. Watford (8-6-10)

            Manchester United have found themselves in the perfect situation and can finally get out of the 6th place position with a win Saturday. After beating Leicester City 3-0 they have plenty of momentum and desire to be back in Champions League football. Watford also won 2-1 vs. Burnley getting them into the top half of the league. The main concern for United will be not giving up their lead, or being able to finish easy chances. I see Manchester United winning this fixture 2-0.

West Ham United (9-4-11) vs. West Bromwich Albion (10-6-8)

            West Ham United and West Brom both sit next to each other in the league table with both clubs getting a win last time out. Since Payet’s departure West Ham seem to be clicking again, and will get over there lose quickly. West Brom can win this match but will be easily countered if they aren’t careful. I see this game ending in a 1-1 draw.

Liverpool (13-7-4) vs. Tottenham Hotspurs (14-8-2)

            Liverpool vs. Tottenham will surely be a great matchup to watch, as neither can handle dropping any points. Both are within four points of each other and have 5 other teams within 5 points of them too. Liverpool do have Coutinho back but their form lately has been very dismay and need to find new areas to work off of. Tottenham have also allowed Chelsea’s gap to widen with inconsentent games in the past month. I see Tottenham winning this game with a late goal, as Liverpool’s goalie situation is very shaky.

Sunday February 12th

Burnley (9-2-13) vs. Chelsea (19-2-3)

            Burnley are about to be in for a heck of a ninety-minute game, as any slip up will surely cost them the game. Chelsea continue to widen their gap in first place with a nine-point lead and will look to extend it here. After beating Arsenal 3-1 in comfortable fashion Chelsea should be able to win this year’s title. Burnley will have few chances but if they can sneak one in they may pull off an upset. I see Chelsea winning three to zero though as their too good to loose.

Swansea City (6-3-15) vs. Leicester City (5-6-13)

            Both clubs have found themselves in the worst possible scenario and that’s being in the relegation battle. Neither clubs could image this after last season, but reality is kicking in. Swansea were unlucky last time out not to tie Manchester City after giving up a very late goal, while Leicester City looked lifeless vs Manchester United giving up three goals. I see Swansea City winning this match as Leicester have no one willing to put in the work. 

La Liga Current Standings

            The Spanish Primera Division, La Liga, 21 weeks into action and the league is starting to take shape. With many of the worlds greatest players playing in this league, it always is known for being very competitive to win. In this year’s FIFA Best Starting 11, the team was dominated by a majority of La Liga players such as Messi and Ronaldo. To back the leagues success, they have won the past three Champion League’s finals and won last season’s Europa League.

1.     Real Madrid

Zinedine Zidane continues to impress through his second season of managing Real Madrid, after taking over previous manager Carlos Ancelotti. With many at first questioning giving Zidane the head coach role of one of the biggest clubs in the world, after he’s never been a first team manager before the job. It’s paid off though, where Real Madrid won the Champion’s League that year, and are still on stride to repeat their winning. With Gareth Bale have been hurt for a good amount this campaign, Real Madrid have had to count on Ronaldo even more than normal. Cristiano Ronaldo has won his fifth Ballon d’Or award, after having a near impossible campaign, winning multiple tournaments along the way. Benzema has also been a key player in the form Madrid have endure thus far, where they current sit in first place with a one-point lead. They still have two games in hand and are 14-4-1. With Gareth Bale getting in better shape by the week, Madrid look likely to win the league as their point gap widens.

2.     Barcelona

It’s no surprise that Barcelona are in second place, as either Barcelona or Real Madrid have won the La Liga in basically every year (in the past decade) expect once. Barcelona’s play has been specular but they continue to have slip ups here and there that are causing them to drop precious points. Lionel Messi continues to do things unimaginable which has helped coped for the poor form of Neymar. Neymar has been on a goalless streak, which may frighten some as he will be the man leading Barca for the decade to come. Luis Suarez should also be receiving much of the credit as he’s been a hit since arriving from Liverpool.

3.     Sevilla

Sevilla is one of the most complete squads in the league, having a great array of talent throughout the team. While they don’t have the special player like Ronaldo or Messi, they do have amazing team chemistry, and smaller name stars. Nasri, French international, who arrived over the summer from Manchester City has been lighting up the field for Sevilla. In a fixture vs. Villarreal on Sunday, Nasri missed a penalty causing the game to end scoreless. This could pay to be a crucial two points lost in their potential title push. A more realistic ending position for the club would be in Champions League play, as Sevilla are known for dominating the Europa League but would prefer to go for the ultimate glory.

4.     Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid have encountered a dreadful start to the campaign and next season could turn out much worse. With reports of both Griezmann and Diego Simeone possibly leaving Madrid in the summer, the club that managed to shock the Spanish League and win could fail. Currently in fourth place with 39 points after 21 games they’ve went 11-6-4. The reason for Madrid’s lacking campaign is still unclear as Atletico are with many great stars, but without the right mentality. As more and more players get linked away from the club it seems their focus goes to the news and should worry many people. Still currently in the Champions League, Atletico will face off vs German opposition Bayer which they are very capable of winning. With their next match being on February 12th vs. Celta Vigo they will need to come out in full strength as Celta sit in the middle of the table.

5.     Real Sociedad 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 1

Manchester City’s new youngster lighting up the show

            Manchester City may have just bought themselves a deal of the century when signing their newest Brazilian player. Manchester were able to sign the 19-year old’s signature for a fee of £26 million, which is already proving to be a great value. Since his January arrival from Palmeiras, Gabriel Jesus has three goals in two games. Over the summer when the initial deal between the two clubs was going through Jesus told the press, "My future is almost decided," he said. "My family, my representatives and Palmeiras know where I want to go but now I'm totally focused on winning gold for my country. The agreement is almost done but I'm completely concentrated here. Before I came here I was in negotiations but now that I'm here I'm leaving it to my parents and my agents. Before long my decision will be known." His main position is central forward, and could combine with Sergio Augero to make a deadly attacking duo. His skills aren’t developed enough to have Augero packing his bags, but getting playing time out wide may be more ideal for the youngster. Already comparing likes to Marcus Rashford of Manchester United, these two could be facing off for the next decade to come.

Liverpool continue in their downward spiral

            Jürgen Klopp’s relief time at Anfeild is coming to an end, and the fans are wanting Liverpool to starting playing better ball again. In week 22 the Reds were matched up against the Hull city Tigers, a club struggling to make it out of relegation, and hoping to get any points possible. Indeed, Hull managed to tie Manchester United in a goalless draw, but if it wasn’t for the keeper the game could have gotten out of hand. With the slightest of hope and momentum going through the squad’s heads, they were ready to take on Liverpool who’ve been poor lately. Hull City’s Alfred Ndiaye was able to find the back of the net right before the halftime whistle, giving the home crowd enough to hoot and hollower about for another half. Coming out in the second half with all the momentum, the Tigers were able to put the nail in the coffin with an 84th minute goal by Oumar Niasse. Hull City are now one point out of the relegation zone, and Liverpool are out of the top four. Both clubs seem to be heading in different directions with Liverpool hoping to fix theirs.

Chelsea vs. Arsenal

            Chelsea vs. Arsenal could be a turning point in the League, and how it now ends. Chelsea continue to win, widening their gap between them and second place. Arsenal’s hopes of catching the leagues leaders seem to be fading by the week, with no consentient form. Arsenal had the chance to shorten their gap to six points with a win at Stamford Bridge, but failed to make an impact. From the get the Blues dominated the game, with much of the credit going to Eden Hazard who received a 10/10 player rating for the game. In the 13th minute the hosts managed to break the deadlock with Marcos Alonso beating Bellerin to a loose ball finding the back of the net. Going into the half the score was 1-0 for Chelsea, but they came out wanting to win more than the Gunners in the second. Only 8 minutes into the second half of play, Eden Hazard was able to guide his way through poor defending before slotting home the goal on Peter Cech. Cech’s day continued to worsen when in the 83rd minute he cleared the ball directly to former teammate Fabregas who was able to chip in the third goal. Arsenal were able to get a constellation goal in the 91st minute from Olivier Giroud but at that point, it was far to late for the Gunners to make a last minute push. At the stage of the campaign Chelsea look like they’re starting to wrap up the league with their winning form. If any club hope to catch them, they better act fast as their points and games remaining continue to get shorter. 

Top 5 January Transfer Deals

            The January transfer window has slammed shut, all but for the Chinese Super League, and a couple of clubs have done great deals.

1.     Leon Bailey- K.R.C. Genk to Bayer Leverkusen

Leon Bailey may be only 19 years’ old but he still has received this window’s number one transfer spot. The Jamaican international has made his name stand out after continuously impressing in the European spotlight. This season while at Genk in the Europa League, he’s gained attention from clubs such as Manchester United, and Borussia Dortmund. Bayer have secured the winger for a fee believed to be around £12 million plus possible additional add on fees. Leverkusen executive Michael Schade said, “This lad was high up on the wish list of many other European clubs. It makes us even more happy to have beaten such strong competition to his signature.” A deal that should work out well for both parties, and allows Bailey to leave in the future if needed to advance his career.

2.     Dimitri Payet- West Ham United to Marseille

The French international went from West Ham United’s most beloved player to their most hated in a matter of months. With no reason one hundred percent on what happened with Payet and the West Ham board, all we knew was Payet said he’d never play for West Ham again. With Marseille as the only real possible suitors for the 29-year-old French midfielder, he transfers fee went down quite a lot. Marseille were able to get him for a fee of around £25 million when many believed he could have been sold for £40-50 million if it was in the summer. A West Ham lifelong supporter said, “We had to make that decision, we didn't want him to leave and was desperate to keep him. The manager wanted to build the team around Dimitri but, sadly, sometimes it because impossible.”  A move that is great for Ligue 1 side, but leaving West Ham with a bitter taste in their mouth.

3.     Memphis Depay- Manchester United to Lyon

Memphis Depay arrived at Manchester United full of confidence, and tremendous backing from fellow Netherland, Louis Van Gaal. But United were fond of LvG who’d be later sacked for Jose Mourinho, which say Depay fall down the pecking order. After only appearing in four substitutes appearances for United this summer, Lyon came in and signed the highly talented youngster from United. Signing for a fee of £14 million that could rise to £21 million, Lyon may have gotten themselves a bargain. While many believed Mourinho and Depay had a sour relationship at Manchester, Depay only had praise for him saying, “His words were nice. In Manchester, I always worked as I had to. For me personally, it wasn't all that easy, I needed to play. But we didn't have a bad relationship. He's a great coach and a great person. Now we'll see here how I play. In any case, I think he has said good things about me.”

4.     Jose Fonte- Southampton to West Ham United

Jose Fonte, in January swapped the south coast for the east London that saw him sign for the Hammers. Fonte publically stated multiple times he wasn’t sure where he’d end up at the end of the season, and that he was open to a transfer from Southampton. At 33 years’ old though many questions would have to be raised about how long he can continue to play until his age catches up to him. That didn’t stop West Ham United from signing the defender from Southampton in a £8 million deal, hoping to help with their poor defending.  Fonte, and West Ham will now face Southampton in the Premier League this weekend, which could prove to be an interesting fixture. Will the Saints show any gratitude for the former defender or believe that he betrayed them, and is now an enemy?

5.     Morgan Schneiderlin- Manchester United to Everton

Another Manchester United player who was purchased pre Jose Mourinho era that has proved to be an excess player who can’t live up to his height. Everton’s manager Koeman worked original with the defensive midfielder at Southampton before he was sold to Manchester United. Being one of the main reasons the clubs signed him is Koeman knows what Morgan is capable of and wanted to bring the player back into his squad. Featuring for the full 90 minutes in a match vs. Stoke City during the week, many fans were very pleased with how the midfielder played. At a fee of £20 million it is a little high for someone of Schneiderlin’s age but if can continue to make a difference in the final third, Everton will surely appreciate the extra cost for him. 

Transfer Tuesday- Deadline Day

Moussa Dembele- Celtic to Chelsea

            Moussa Dembele could be on his way to a Chelsea FC from Celtic. The highly rated 20-year-old Frenchmen only arrived at Celtic last summer for £500,000 from Cottagers. Celtic currently hold a 22-point lead in the Scottish Premiership giving Chelsea a little hope of signing the player. Today though people have snapped pictures of Dembele boarding a flight to London, only building on the possible transfer deal. The odds of the transfer happening seem slim, but a bid in the range of £40 million could be enough to tempt Celtic to sell.

Nani- Valencia to Hull City

            Nani only made his move over the summer to Valencia from Fenerbahce after having a specular season with the Turkish side. This could be a good move for Hull City if they’re able to sign the Portuguese international as he was once bought by Manchester United to fulfill Ronaldo’s role.

Mamadou Sakho- Liverpool to Crystal Palace

            Crystal Palace are now front runners to sign former France team captain Sakho, after he fell out with Liverpool’s hierarchy and manager. At only 26 Sakho could prove to be a key player in turning Crystal Palace’s very poor form into winning times again. It’s understood Liverpool will demand a minimum of £20 million if Crystal Palace want to sign the defender. Pictures have started to swirl of Sakho being at the London airport meaning the deal seems very likely.

Jese Rodriquez- PSG to Las Palmas~ LOAN DEAL DONE

            Jese Rodriquez’s career is going in the worst possible way since departing Real Madrid for more playing time. Leaving over the summer in a permeant deal to PSG, Jese arrived in France believing he’d get the playing time he wanted by transfer to them. But since his arrival his form has dipped and he isn’t living up to his prodigy status. Now with the loan deal to Las Palmas, in La Liga, he will be able to compete against former side Real Madrid.

Andros Townsend- Crystal Palace to Newcastle United

            Only last January Andros Townsend was still a Newcastle United player but opted to switch to Crystal Palace. The 25-year-old English player has endured a rough time at Palace and could be on his way back to United already. Reports are understood that Newcastle are willing to spend £13 million on him, or £2 million for a loan with the option to buy if they’re promoted into the Premier League. If I was Townsend, I would be set on joining on an initial loan with the option to buy incase Newcastle don’t receive promotion.

Odion Ighalo- Watford to Chongchun Yatai

            Watford City are about to cash in on 27-year-old forward Odion Ighalo. The deal seems all but finalized after Watford City received a £20 million bid, for the Nigerian player. With Watford offered such a crazy sum for a player not worth that much, it’s a no brainer for the club. Watford manager confirms the news by saying, “Every morning I ask the club what the situation is, and negotiations are now at an advanced stage, so it should only be a matter of a couple of days.” With the Chinese Super League starting to play a large toll in players leaving the league for money, I believe UEFA needs to step in to make sure the prestigious leagues aren’t ruined by the Chinese Super League.

Manchester United and Manchester City-

            Both clubs have been linked with starlet’s players including big names leaving the club, but both clubs have confirmed their transfer activity is finished until the summer. Manchester United have also said that Ashley Young, and Wayne Rooney will not be leaving the club this window. Rooney is linked with a huge transfer deal to Chinese Super League in the summer with reports claiming they’d be willing to pay Rooney £32 million a year in wages.

 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 15

Manchester United show no Mercy

            In the fourth round of the FA Cup, Manchester United were up against EFL Championship side Wigan Athletic. A time for Jose Mourinho to mess with his squad rotation, and give new faces a chance to shine. Starting the match with a very strong lineup including Wayne Rooney, Martial, Mata, and Mkhitaryan, Wigan couldn’t compete. Mourinho’s favored midfielder, whose disliked by man fans started United off on the right step. In the 44th minute Fellaini headed home a cross from Bastin Schweinsteiger. Yes, that’s correct Bastin made his first start for the club in nearly a year, and it proved to be a good move. In the second half Manchester United ran ram pit scoring three goals coming from Christ Small, Henrikh Mkhitaryan, and Bastin Schweinsteiger. After a solid performance from the German international Mourinho confirmed he’d take part in the European fixtures ahead.

Liverpool slip again

            Liverpool matched up with second tier Wolverhampton Wanderers and weren’t prepared for the outcome. The Wolves started off the match fast, with Richard Stearman heading home a very early free kick. From then on the Reds seemed lost with little momentum to help their case. In a matter of a month Liverpool have been knocked out of two English cups, and from title contenders to barely staying in the top four. Again in the 41st minute Andreas Weimann was able to score giving the away team a 2-0 at Anfeild. In the second half Liverpool started to put a few passes together, and Divock Origi scored in the 86th minute. This goal was deemed to be too late for a comeback, and the Wolves move on to Round Five.

Bruce Arena fails on return

            Bruce Arena fielded his team for the second term this past Sunday against Serbia. The starting 11 was made up entirely of MLS American’s as most from Europe weren’t released for this fixture. With new tactics, players filling in for others the United States were held scoreless in a 0-0 draw. After the match captain Michael Bradley said, “In a lot of ways, it was a typical friendly for this time of year," U.S. captain Michael Bradley said afterward. "The afternoon kickoff and the field certainly play into things, as well, just in terms of being a little bit slower game. But you could see some of the things we've been working on. We continue to feel good about the progress we've made in these few weeks. Ultimately, the result today wasn't going to change that.” A stepping stone for the United States National team as they will look to build from here.

Dimitri Payet leaves West Ham United

            Only a season ago Payet was the most beloved West Ham United player with meaning considering him a club legend. But something has changed for the French international with the club’s higher ups and made Payet want to leave. Publically saying he’d never play for the club again, he got his wish to transfer back to his former club. Marseille agreeing a fee of £25 million for the thirty-year-old. At a press release he said, “I don't have to justify my behavior. Slaven Bilic and I had a lot of talks between us, en tete-a-tete, we know what was said. I have no other comment," Payet at his unveiling. "I'd rather savour the moment. I'll speak about what happened at another time, but not now.” With his wish coming true both sides can finally move on, and try to get back on winning form. 

English FA Cup- Fourth Round

            The English FA Cup, is official known as The Football Association Challenge Cup, being the annual knockout competition in men’s domestic English play. Dating back all the way to 1871, it is the oldest competition in the world that’s still going on today. Winning this trophy shows dominance in your country, and will get you in the FA Community Shield. The FA Community Shield is a match held between the winners of the FA Cup, and the winners of the English Premier League.

Biggest Fixtures- Friday Jan 27

Derby County vs. Leicester City-

            This fixture could play to be a very interesting result, as for Leicester resting players will be a necessity with their poor performances in the EPL. Derby County on the other hand, are a strong English Championship squad who could bounce on this weak side. Derby playing the fixture at iPro Stadium, will need the crowd on their side. I can see Derby shocking Leicester and moving on to the next round of the Cup.

Saturday Jan 28 (Major Fixtures)

Liverpool vs. Wolverhampton Wanderers

            A match in this caliber brings great stress to Jürgen Klopp, as he has to decide whether or not to rest key players. If he rests key players he could potential cause Liverpool to get knocked out of the Cup in an early stage, and continue their second half of the season in shambles. The Wanderers in the other hand will have the mental advantage of knowing it’s their time to shine, which is normally a good thing to have. If Liverpool allow the Wanderers to get into the game, they could be in a run for their money.

Chelsea vs. Brentford

            Chelsea being at home and having their great winning strides under their belts will look to hand Brentford a loose. Brentford are having their struggles this season in the EFL Championship and currently sit in 15th place. This game will give Conte a time to rotate players, and allow new faces to emerge off the bench. I see Chelsea winning this game early, and moving onto the next round.

Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City

            A fixture that will show who can configure the better squad rotated players, and I think Manchester City will have the upper hand. With Kompany, and Jesus who’s newly signed with the club fit to play. I expect City to field a very strong starting 11, that is certainly going to cause Palace a great deal of problems. Crystal Palace can’t seem to get their team going even with a new coaching staff, and players. A win for Palace could give them the mentality to flip their losing season around.

Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Wycombe Wanderers

            Wycombe Wanderers are currently playing in the EFL League 2, the fourth highest league in England. Tottenham can give youngsters a time to shine, get some momentum, and receive their senior debuts. The Spurs should have no problem winning this match, and I can’t see the Wanderers doing much damage. For them their going to have to park the bus, and hope to catch them on the counter.

Southampton vs. Arsenal

            Two Premier League clubs facing each other so early in a cup always brings excitement but also a lot of after problems. If you get knocked out so early your club will start asking questions causing the dressing room to stir. A match like this is more the unlock of the draw than anything. Southampton have the advantage though, playing at home with their home support is a huge positive. Arsenal haven’t tinkered with their squad much and this could prove to pay dividends in this fixture. 

Transfer Tuesday- Money Isn’t Everything

Yaya Toure- Manchester City to Chinese Super League?

            Yaya Toure has publically came out about the offer he’s received to move to Chine, and play for money. Receiving an offer of £520,000 a week, that’d put the 33-year-old as one of the highest paid footballers but he’s rejected the chance. Believing theirs more to football than just money, and got his inspiration from Zlatan Ibrahimović. In a recent interview Toure said, “I always say that if I went to China I would end up feeling angry there,” the 33-year-old said. “Do you play football because you love football - or do you play because you want to make money? What's the purpose? Me, I just want to play football because I enjoy it, I love playing. I enjoy helping my team-mates, I enjoy playing against the big players and teams.” Hopefully this becomes a trend among the elite, as the Chinse League could ruin European play.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang to leave BVB?

            Since Aubameyang’s arrival to Borussia Dortmund he’s caught the eye of almost every elite club in Europe. Aubameyang has publically stated before that he’d one day like to play at Real Madrid, as he promised a family member he would. With his exceptional pace, and scoring ability it’s no wonder many clubs such as Real Madrid, and Barcelona want to sign him. Things may have changed with where he will end up in the summer with club president saying, “Auba was our alternative to 'the world ending' after Lewandowski's departure. With an €80 million offer, I would be thinking about Reinhard Rauball and Michael Zorc - if we had one, we would have to get together with Pierre-Emerick.” This could be a sign for clubs to start bidding on the Gabon international as Dortmund may be planning their future without him. The next question would be who’d be the most likely suitors for the pacey forward and I’d have to say Real Madrid are the team.

Asmir Begovic- Chelsea to Bournemouth

            Begovic could be seeing his finally days at Chelsea, with a new bid surely coming from Bournemouth. The 29-year-old goalkeeper is way too good to be a bench player, and starting at Chelsea doesn’t seem likely for him. With Courtois in front of the him, the Bosnia international won’t be between the sticks anytime soon. The only hiccup in the deal for the Cherries is Chelsea are reluctant to sell the goalie without a backup coming in first. An offer of £15 million should be enough to seal the deal, and will be a bargain for the Cherries.

William Carvalho- Sporting Lisbon to Liverpool

            Sporting Lisbon midfielder William Carvalho could finally be seeing the big transfer deal he’s been waiting for. After many transfer windows have come, and go with big named clubs like Manchester United, Arsenal, and Manchester City all reportedly interested in the Portuguese international his time may have finally arrived. It’s reported Liverpool are in talks to sign the 24-year-old for a fee believed to be around £26 million and would take place in January. At only 24, he has a lot to offer and great potential in his future. Already being known for his immense strength on the ball with his physicality great, lots of Premier League sides have been scouting him. As Jürgen Klopp looks to fill in some missing pieces within the squad, the highly rated Portuguese International could be the key. The question arises though, if many top clubs haven’t signed him yet then what qualities is he lacking?

Philippe Coutinho- Liverpool to Barcelona?

            Lots of news has come out about Barcelona trying to pry away Liverpool’s key player Coutinho. Claims have come out that Neymar was playing a part in this as their both Brazil international players, and seem to be good friends. At 24-years-old Liverpool are reluctant to loose such a key player, after losing both Luis Suarez and Sterling. It’s now understood Liverpool will offer Coutinho a five-and-a-half-year deal at £200,000 a week to make sure he doesn’t leave. The catch for the player is theirs no release clause in his contract meaning he’d be stuck there for a while. It seems unlikely he will be leaving Anfeild and will tie Luis Suarez as the highest paid Red player in history. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 14

Wayne Rooney Breaks Another Record

            Wayne Rooney in recent seasons has faced heavy criticism but he continues to prove to the doubters he’s one of the greatest to ever play soccer. Rooney’s goal scoring for Manchester United started in 2004 when he signed from Everton FC, and has since became a United hero. Since his arrival to Old Trafford Rooney has been known for his special goals, and has now marked his name as the clubs leading goal scorer. Passing Sir Bobby Charlton’s record of 249 goals, Rooney now has 250 goals. Scoring from a direct free kick it was enough this weekend for United to tie Stoke City, and take back a point back to Old Trafford. Former England International Stan Collymore claims that only former United player, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Lionel Messi are the only better players. Collymore was quoted saying, “If you take out the big two, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, he has had as good a career as anybody in the world over the last decade. You don’t break Sir Bobby Charlton’s England or Manchester United’s goal records without being something very special. So huge congratulations to Wayne Rooney for achieving both, for a fantastic career that has seen him win virtually every trophy.”

Liverpool Face Reality

            Liverpool started the season in great form, and proving to be real title contenders this campaign. But like last season since the December period they’ve faced major problems, and aren’t winning enough. Last season Liverpool only managed to win five of their first 13 games after December and their almost matching the same form again in 2017. With key players within the squad gone for the African Cup of Nations, Klopp has had to change the lineup causing an imbalance within the team. In Week 22 they faced Swansea City, who are already in the relegation zone, and could be heading to the Championship League if they don’t start winning. A game which would have looked like an easy three points ended up turning into a nightmare for the Reds. Playing at Anfeild, the Reds saw themselves 2-0 down after a 48th and 52nd goal from Fernando Llorente. Roberto Firmino was Liverpool’s only bright spot within the squad and was able to equal the score with a 55th and 69th minute goals. Unfortunate for Liverpool they weren’t able to hold of Swansea City, and Sigurdsson wrapped up the win with a 74th minute goal.

Wenger to Face Ban?

            Arsenal’s manager, Arsene Wenger, could be seeing a lengthy ban coming forth in the near future. With Arsenal up 2-0 over Burnley over the weekend, Wenger went into rage after Arsenal gave up a penalty in extra time. After Arsenal were scored on by an Andre Gray pk, Wenger’s frustration boiled over and saw him use physical contact vs. the fourth official. Pushing Anthony Taylor twice while heading down the tunnel, the FA have confirmed he will be charged for abusive language and physical conduct. An FA statement read, “Arsene Wenger has been charged for misconduct following Arsenal's game against Burnley on Sunday. It is alleged that in or around the 92nd minute, he used abusive and/or insulting words towards the fourth official. It is further alleged that following his dismissal from the technical area, his behavior in remaining in the tunnel area and making physical contact with the fourth official amounted to improper conduct.” With a touchline ban likely the length of it is the real question, it could be anywhere from two to six games which he will have to coach from the stands.

Granit Xhaka the Red Card Machine

            For many perfessional players they will go almost their entire career with getting zero or maybe a red card throughout their time. But for Xhaka it almost seems to normal for him, as this is now his second red card already this season. To make matters worse he’s had 5 red cards in the last two seasons, and if you count the previous three its’ up to 9 red cards. An astonishing amount for a midfielder, but the question remains will he ever change his careless behavior?

EPL Schedule & Predictions- Week 22

Saturday Jan 21

Liverpool (13-6-2) vs. Swansea City (4-3-14)-

            Last week Liverpool came out with one point after a hard fought fixture with Manchester United at Old Trafford. Showing signs of promise in the attacking third, they also have star man Coutinho back from his injury. Now with Mane gone at the African Cup of Nations, their attacking threat has been hampered. Swansea City’s struggle continues to mount with a 4-0 trashing vs. Arsenal. With no team flow or momentum, they are likely to be relegated, and Liverpool will be heavy favorites in this game.

AFC Bournemouth (7-4-10) vs. Watford (6-5-10)-

            Bournemouth dropped all three points last weekend to Hull City which should have been an easy win. Watford also tied and got one point after tying Middlesbrough at home. This game will come down to who can hit the back of the net first, as neither team is in good form. I see Watford winning 2-0 away from home.

Crystal Palace (4-4-13) vs. Everton (9-6-6)-

            What has happened to Crystal Palace? A team with so much promise is almost in a relegation battle, which they should be nowhere near. Everton are enjoying a great run of football, and won last week’s fixture. Beating Manchester City, 4-0 at home and proving their squad strength. I see Everton winning this match, 2-1 as Everton is in great winning fashion.

Middlesbrough (4-8-9) vs. West Ham United (7-4-10)-

            Middlesbrough need to start winning or could end up in a relegation scare. West Ham United have finally start performing again after winning 3-0 vs. Crystal Palace. With players departing the teams, and coming both will look for key players to fill the empty spots. West Ham’s Payet looks set to depart after publically stating he wants to leave. I see West Ham winning 1-0.

Stoke City (7-6-8) vs. Manchester United (11-7-3)-

            Stoke City have signed Saido Berahino from West Brom, who could prove to be the future of the club. Manchester United were on a 9 game winning streak until tying Liverpool but are still in great form. Schneiderlin, and Depay have both departed the Red Devils this winter, but Mourinho is unlikely to add new faces into the club. I see Manchester United winning 3-1 away from Old Trafford.

West Bromwich Albion (8-5-8) vs. Sunderland (4-3-13)-

            West Brom endured an embarrassing defeat at Tottenham, and will look to bounce back. Sunderland too also lost with zero things going their way in recent weeks. Sunderland need to start winning if they want to be in the Premier League next season, and West Brom would like to fight for Europa play. I see Sunderland stunning West Brom and winning this match 1-0 putting everyone behind the ball.

Manchester City (13-3-5) vs. Tottenham (13-6-2)-

            Manchester City vs. Tottenham is the fixture of the week, and is a huge match for both clubs. A lose for either could see them fall into 5th place, and lose momentum in the fight for Champions League football. City were destroyed 4-0 at Everton last week, and haven’t been able to do well in recent weeks. Tottenham continue to flourish as a club, and one that wants to be an elite club in the near future. I see this game tying 2-2, both with late goals.

Sunday Jan 22

Southampton (6-6-9) vs. Leicester City (5-6-10)-

            Southampton need to start winning to get back into the top half of the table, with Leicester preparing for the Champions League. Both clubs suffered a defeat in Week 21, which continues to show their struggles. I see Leicester winning 2-1 with a Jamie Vardy goal.

Arsenal (13-5-3) vs. Burnley (8-2-11)-

            Arsenal humiliated Swansea City 4-0 in Week 21, and Burnley could face the same fate if they aren’t careful. With little room for error for Burnley they can still pull off a victory. I do see Burnley upsetting Arsenal 1-0 after multiple winning weeks in a row.

Chelsea (17-1-3) vs. Hull City (4-4-13)-

            Chelsea are in tremendous form of late, and continue to sit in first place. Hull City though are still struggling back have managed to win a game in almost 20 weeks. Chelsea should be able to easily win this match, but need to be careful in not being over confident. 

Transfer Tuesday- Payet Want’s Out

Memphis Depay- Manchester United to Lyon

            Memphis Depay arrived at Manchester just over 18 months ago, but could be on his way out for a fraction of the cost. Arriving from Dutch side PSV, and having a spectacular 2014 World Cup showing, many believed he would light up the Premier League. It has almost come in complete opposite with Depay falling down the pecking order of Jose Mourinho’s list, and rarely being named on the bench. After Mourinho confirmed the reason Memphis hasn’t been playing due to asking to leave the Red Devils it seems only a matter of time. The suitors for the Dutch international is reportedly Lyon, in France’s Ligue 1, who will get the player at a bargain. This deal seems likely to happen, but sad for the player as he could have made a statement in Manchester.

What the Yaya?

            Yaya Toure, 33-year-old Ivory Coast international only has six months left on his contract at Manchester City and has declined the chance for a pay day galore. Chinese League club, Jiangsu Suning offered Toure an incredible sum of cash, but would prefer to play football at the highest league. If Toure would have switched from the Premier League to the Chinese League, he would have been racking in £525,000 a week! For being past his prime, and surely having less than three years at the top this is a bold move by the midfielder. His agent released a statement for Toure saying, “Yaya wants to play at the highest level. He's happy at Manchester City. Yaya likes football more than money.” To me this is a crazy move on him, as only two months ago he was exiled by City Manager Pep Guardiola, due to being too old.

Adrian Ramos- Borussia Dortmund to Chinese Super League

            Adrian Ramos being thirty years old, and Aubameyang taking his playing time is all but set to move from BVB. Again another Chinese Super League club is willing to take a prolific player from a top team to try to expand their league’s talent. Club Chongquin Lifan are front runners for the striker after giving the go ahead with a £9 million bid likely to be accepted. This seems a good move for both clubs, and I see it happening.

Alvaro Morata- Real Madrid to Chelsea?

            This deal would seem as the perfect solution for the Real Madrid player and the English club. Chelsea are interested in signing a new striker with problems continuing to mount with current Spanish forward Diego Costa, whose lately been training lonesome. Alvaro Morata returned to Real Madrid after they activated his buy back clause from Juventus which angered the young Spanish forward. At Juve he endured a great spell of playing time, and goal scoring making him believe he should stay in Italy. Madrid though say the opportunity to try him out in Spain, and possibly make a greater deal of cash by selling him their selves. Since he arrival back to Madrid his playing time has lacked and is looking for a way out. Chelsea seem to be the likely suitors, but a summer transfer seems much more likely.

Bojan Krkic- Stoke City to?

            Bojan arrived at Stoke City from FC Barcelona for a fee in the £4 million range, which at the time was a questionable price. His first season and a half turned out to show that Stoke made a great deal by purchasing the former Barca player. Stoke’s manager Hughes said, “I know Bojan, because he was in the national team. He is a good player, he has played in AC Milan, Barcelona, Ajax, Rome, Stoke, so he is a good player." After a knee injury his role at the club has changed significantly and now is squad rotation player. West Brom, Las Palmas, and Valencia have all inquired for the 26-year-old Spanish native, and are told he’s valued at £12 million proving to be a good profit for the Premier League team.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 13

Neymar Most Expensive player?

            Yes, you’ve read that correctly, Neymar is the most expensive player in the world according to a CIES Football Observatory study. CIES explanation for how they calculated the prices is, “the statistical model through which prices are calculated includes multiple variables on player performance (minutes, goals, etc.) and characteristics (age, contract, etc.), as well as data on employer clubs and potential recruiting ones." Neymar being only 24 years old, and his current contract running into 2021 got a value of 246.8 million Euros with the next closet player coming in near 80 million less. In second no surprise is Lionel Messi, who if he was the same age as Neymar I believe he’d jump him in money value by quiet a lot. Valued at 170.5 million Euros, Paul Pogba, 23 at Manchester United, is value at 155.3 million Euros. (The top 10 list will be featured below.)

Manchester City get Embarrassed

            It’s accepted that sometimes great clubs will be beaten in matches by a goal, or by an unlucky clearance. But when you get beat by 3 or more goals, that’s a sign of team chemistry, form, players and coaching errors. This weekend saw Manchester City travel to Goodison Park to face off vs Everton FC. Coming into the match having lost 3 of their last seven fixtures, their neighbors Manchester United have closed the gap to just 2 points. 34 minutes into the game Everton’s Romelu Lukaku found the back of the net followed by a 47th minute Kevin Mirallas goal. To make matters worse for the Man City club Everton continued their scoring spree in the 79th and 94th minute of the game putting the nail into the coffin. With the team being handed a 4-0 defeat away from Manchester, a lot of the issues seem to be coming from the goalie. This summer Pep Guardiola brought in Barcelona goalkeeper, Claudio Bravo as Pepe couldn’t trust current keeper Joe Hart between the sticks. The decision has turned out to be a disaster for Manchester City, and are looking at potential replacements to get rid of the goalie.

Manchester United vs. Liverpool Recap

            Manchester United before this fixtures meeting had won their nine previous fixtures and were looking to make it 10 straight games. Liverpool though were trying to close the gap between them and league leaders Chelsea, who’ve also endured a great run of winning. The game started off with Manchester United having the best chances throughout the first half, but were unable to score with many great chances. In the 25th minute Manchester United’s Paul Pogba accidently shouldered the ball from a cross giving away a penalty kick to Liverpool. James Milner scored from the spot, giving the Reds a 1-0 lead in the 27th minute. Mourinho made half time substitution which continued to pay off again with Zlatan Ibrahimović being able to find the back of the net in the 84th minute. Bringing the game to a 1-1 drawing leaving both clubs a needed point, and giving both hope in ending up in the top four.

Louis Van Gaal Retires

            The famous Dutch coach, Louis Van Gaal, has announced his retirement from professional football. Through his coaching career LVG has managed many great clubs and countries including Barcelona, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Ajax, Dutch club AZ, and the Netherlands national team. His last major stint as a coach at Manchester United ended sadly for the renowned manager, but had many great times at his prime. In a recent interview which he announced his retirement he said, "Last year I said I was going to quit, but later I changed it and I said I would take a sabbatical, Now I believe I will not return any more. So many things have happened in my family recently, so that really was a wake up call and it put everything into perspective." As his coaching career comes to an end many new managers are coming up the rank, and I’m sure many will be inspired by the Dutch manager.

 

English Premier League Week 21

Saturday January 14th

Tottenham Hotspurs vs. West Bromwich Albion

            Tottenham have managed to get themselves back into the top four this season, and now are currently in 3rd place with 42 points. West Brom have also endured a great start to their season being in the top half of the table, and fighting for Europa football next season. With Harry Kane, Eriksen, and Son all in full health stopping the Spurs will prove to be difficult for West Brom. I see Tottenham winning this game 2-0, and Harry Kane having both goals.

Burnley vs. Southampton

            Burnley and Southampton both sit one point apart from each other after 20 games, and both teams need these three points. Southampton have been underperforming this season since the departure of Ronald Koeman. Burnley have tried to revive their midfield by signing veteran midfielder Joey Barton coming on a one-year deal. But in recent game’s Southampton have been turning up their results and I see Southampton getting all three points.

Hull City vs. AFC Bournemouth

            Hull City continue to struggle, and now sit in 20th place with only 13 points. This season could be their last in the Premier League for a while with problems arising with owner, players, and fans. Bournemouth have surprised many this campaign and now are in 9th with 25 points. I see Bournemouth winning this match, 3-0.

Sunderland vs. Stoke City

            Sunderland each week continue to build off the week before, and are now starting to make a run to get out of the relegation zone. Stoke continue their casual positioning within the table sitting safe on relegation but not pushing for European football. I see Sunderland winning this match.

Swansea City vs. Arsenal

            Swansea City are in a downward spiral with nothing going well for the club. After already firing two managers this season, nothing is going in their favor. Arsenal have dropped out of the top four in many weeks, which will cause many problems in the locker room. Alexis Sanches, and Ozil both only have 18 months left on their contract and could leave if they don’t get into the Champions League. I see Swansea City tying Arsenal with the home support.

Watford vs. Middlesbrough

            Watford and Middlesbrough continue to have point droughts, and have fallen into the bottom half of the table. Watford currently sit in 14th with 22 points and Middlesbrough are in 16th with 19 points. This game will come down to who scores first with both teams struggling to score goals.

West Ham United vs. Crystal Palace

            West Ham United and Crystal Palace have both suffered greatly this season with West Ham getting terrible news. Club favorite Payet has told their manager that he wants to be sold, and leave the club. This will be a huge loose for the club as he’s one of the best in the world. Crystal Palace will be without key man Wilfred Zaha, as he’s gone for the African Cup of Nations for the next few games. I see Crystal Palace winning this fixture 2-0 adding more problems to West Ham.

Leicester City vs. Chelsea

            Leicester City will need to pull all their strings if they hope to manage to get anything from Chelsea. Chelsea on the other hand are on winning streak, and sit at the top of the table with a 5-point lead. Leicester are without a few keys players, and will likely pay the price for this. I see Chelsea winning this match 3-1 and winning the league.

Sunday January 15th

Everton vs. Manchester City

            Everton sit in 7th place, and their gap between them and Manchester United continues to grow with now a 9-point gap. Manchester City are in fourth place and need to get in better form if they hope to stay in the top four. Both teams need the points to close gaps between them and other clubs. I see Everton and Manchester City tying this match.

Manchester United vs. Liverpool

            Manchester United are on a 10 game winning streak, and all the momentum need to get this crucial win. Liverpool sit in second place but will have all the odds against them in this fixture. Manchester United are in full strength and should be able to manage the three points. The first fifteen minutes will be the most important as Liverpool normally start off fast. I see United winning 2-0.

Transfer Tuesday- 1/10

Joe Hart- Goalkeeper, currently on loan at Torino

            Joe Hart left Manchester City in the summer when former Barcelona, and Bayern Munich manager took over. Once the arrival of the new boss, he brought in Barcelona’s Claudio Bravo for £17 million, making Hart surplus in the position. Since his arrival in Series A, he’s returned to form and kept his number 1 spot as England’s main goalie. With Manchester City looking to sell Joe Hart, and Torino cannot afford to keep paying his weekly wages Hart will be heading back to England. Club’s that are said to be interested in him are Liverpool, and West Ham United. I see Joe Hart staying in England once he comes back from his loan, but West Ham as his most likely destination.

Kyle Walker and Danny Rose- Double Package leaving Tottenham?

            The Tottenham and English duo have played a great part in Tottenham’s impressive run for Champion’s League football. Both players contain great speed, and their versatility makes them some of the most wanted full backs in the game. Danny Rose is currently only 26 years old, and would have plenty of time to flourish at his future club. Kyle Walker like Danny Rose is the same age, meaning they could easily but in another 7 years at the highest level of football. With both players signing new 5 year deals in the summer, to be able to get them away from Tottenham would mean a big money move drawing many clubs back. It has brought Manchester City, and United as front runners for the pair. Reports have risen that a fee of £60 million would be needed to get the pair. I don’t see the duo leaving Tottenham as they play to important of a role within the club.

Alexis Sanchez- Arsenal to PSG

            Alexis Sanchez continues to grow frustrated at Arsenal with each game his frustration is starting to show. With the Chilean international only having 18 months on his contract losing Sanchez would be devastating for the club. Just turning 28 in December his career at the Emirates is start to be up in the air? No one is quiet sure where he will be next season but PSG are ready to test the waters by bidding £62 million for the winger.

Martin Odegaard- Real Madrid to SC Heerenveen- 18 Month Loan Deal

            Norwegian International and Wonder Kid, Martin Odegaard has official joined Dutch side Heerenveen until the summer of 2018 on loan. Still only 18 years old, Odegaard needs time to develop as a player, and Real Madrid isn’t the right club for him right now. With likes of Luka Modric, Toni Kroos, and James Rodriquez all in the senior squad at Madrid, he needs to leave to get first team football. The Dutch opposition he recently signed for on loan should give Martin plenty of time to develop into a better footballer, and come back to Real at the potential that was once expected of him. After signing for his new club he released a statement saying, "I just want to say that I'm very happy and that this is an opportunity for me to show can I do. I'm very excited. I heard great things about this club and what they expected from me," he said. "The most important thing is my development and that is why I'm here. Real Madrid is the best club in the world but the best play there and that is why I decided to come here."

Ivan Rakitic- FC Barcelona to Manchester City

            Ivan Rakitic could be finding himself a new home this winter with Manchester City interested in the Croatian midfielder. News has started to surface that Rakitic isn’t happy at Barca anymore with the arrival of Andre Gomes, and Denis Suarez taking away his playing time. Since their arrival his form has also dropped with the importance of his role diminishing, and not living up to his standards from his 2014 arrival. This deal could definitely happen if the player pushes for the move, and would settle in Manchester nicely. 

The FIFA Football Awards for 2016

FIFA FIFPro World 11

            The FIFA FIFPro World11 2016, is the best 11 players in the world in their certain position. Each year this award is voted on by thousands of other professional football players casting their vote to their desired player.

Forwards~

Cristiano Ronaldo- Club, Real Madrid. Nationality, Portugal. Age, 31.

Luis Suarez- Club, FC Barcelona. Nationality, Uruguay. Age, 29.

Lionel Messi- Club, FC Barcelona. Nationality, Argentina. Age, 29.

Midfielders~

Luka Modric- Club, Real Madrid. Nationality, Croatia. Age, 31.

Toni Kroos- Club, Real Madrid. Nationality, German. Age, 27.

Andres Iniesta- Club, FC Barcelona. Nationality, Spain. Age, 32.

Defenders~

Marcelo- Club, Real Madrid. Nationality, Brazil. Age, 28.

Sergio Ramos- Club, Real Madrid. Nationality, Spain. Age, 30.

Gerard Pique- Club, FC Barcelona. Nationality, Spain. Age, 29.

Daniel Alves- Club, Juventus. Nationality, Brazil. Age, 33.

Goalkeeper~

Manuel Neuer- Club, Bayern Munich. Nationality, German. Age, 30.

            The La Liga, the highest division soccer in Spain, dominated the FIFA Best 11 according to the other players. Taking home 9 out of 11 possible positions, no other league was able to compete for the award. One Series A, and one Bundesliga player took home an award, but zero English Premier League players were able to bring home a trophy.

FIFA Men’s Player of the year 2016~

            Cristiano Ronaldo, brings home the best FIFA player of the Year award after an amazing season. Winning the EUROS, Champion’s League, and La Liga it was one of the best seasons so far.

FIFA Men’s Coach-

            Claudio Ranieri, pulled off one of the greatest odd defying seasons making this award the correct choice. Brining Leicester City to the top of the 2015-16 Table for the EPL, and winning it with 5000-1 odds against them it surely was a crazy season.

FIFA Women’s Player of the Year-

            Carli Lloyd, USA Women’s National team. After the 34-year-old received the award she was quoted saying, “I honestly was not expecting this," Lloyd, who captained the U.S. team that exited in the Olympics quarterfinals, said in her acceptance. “I know Melanie did fantastic in the Olympics. (She and Marta are) both so deserving of this award," the Houston Dash forward said.

FIFA Puskas Award-

            Mohd Faiz Subri, 29-year-old from a Malaysian club won after an outstand free kick Almost looking fake the ball bent from one post to the far post before going in.

FIFA Fan Award-

            Borussia Dortmund and Liverpool supporters, won the award for the best fans across the globe. With tremendous support throughout the season, they’ve now brought home the award. 

Soccer Saturday-

Wayne Rooney Ties Record

Wayne Rooney has official tied Sir Bobby Charlton’s Manchester United goal scoring record, and could have many more years to break it. It took Sir Bobby Charlton 758 games to score the record he set at Old Trafford of 249 goals. Being at Manchester United from 1956 to 1973 he’s one of the legends of the club, and playing as an attacking midfielder. The 31 year-old English Striker, Wayne Rooney, managed to tie his record in 543 games, which is over 200 games less than Sir Bobby. Manager Jose Mourinho after the game gave praise to Rooney saying, “Manager Jose Mourinho added: "A more special day will arrive. It was great but I want one more goal! He is an amazing guy in the group and we all want him to do it. To have Wayne as the top scorer in a club like this is magnificent for him.” Now the question remains how long will it take Rooney to claim the clubs record to himself only, and will he break 300 goals?

FA Cup Third Round Results

Everton vs. Leicester City

Ronald Koeman’s managerial start for Everton has all but been underperforming thus far. Leaving Southampton last season to take over Everton from Robert Martinez hasn’t gone as planned, and was doing better at his former club. Coming here to be able to buy more quality players, try to achieve Champions League, their gap continues to widen in failure. In the third round of the FA Cup, Everton played at home in Goodison Park vs. a struggling Leicester City team. Romelu Lukaku took the lead in the 63rd minute for the home team, from a close range finish. But soon after the goal, Ahmed Musa was able to strike his first goal in the 66th minute, then scoring the winner in the 71st minute.

Norwich City vs. Southampton

            Norwich City should be a familiar name to any person who’s followed the Premier League, knowing them as a club who’s bounced back and forth between the Premier League, and Championship. Now currently playing in the Championship (Second Division in England) after being relegated last campaign, they were a tough opposition for Southampton. In the 38th minute captain Virgil Van Dijk scored taking the lead at Carrow Road, just returning from a suspension. Norwich were able to level the score line just six minutes later in the 44th minute after a terrible back pass from Van Dijk, which caused a Southampton defender to foul Jerome in the box, allowing for Whittaker to score from 11 yards out. Again Norwich were poor in their aerial battles allowing another defender, Maya Yoshida, to head home the cross giving the Saint Mary’s a 2-1 lead away. But with the dying minutes left in the fixture Norwich’s Steven Naismith scored in the 92nd minute bring the game to a replay in a few weeks’ time.

Millwall vs. AFC Bournemouth

            The Premier League team's manager Eddie Howe gambled in making 11 changes to his team, which caused an embarrassing defeat for Bournemouth. Millwall currently play in the EFL League One (3rd division in England), and made the Premier League side look foolish from their decision. In the 26th minute Steve Morison was able to find the back of the net at The Den, giving the home team all the momentum they needed to shock the visitors. Again in the 49th minute Shaun Cummings was able to get an easy shot on goal from only five yards out smashing the ball into the back of the net. Bournemouth throughout the game looked outperformed, unprepared, and not wanting to be on the pitch. To make matters worse for the EPL side in the 93rd minute substitute Shane Ferguson was able to score off a counter attack wrapping up a successful day for The Den.

Manchester United vs. Reading

            Jose Mourinho made a few subs into his starting 11 for the fixture against the Championship side Reading. Taking Ibrahimović, Pogba, Herrera, De Gea, and Valencia all off to get rest it gave others time to relish. Marcus Rashford started up top for United who’d been on a goal drought since taking a substitute role, but made a huge difference today up top. Only 7 minutes into the game Anthony Martial was able to set up a goal for forward Wayne Rooney. Then again in the 15th minute Martial was able to dribble past a few defenders before slotting home another goal. After getting the two goal cushion Manchester continued to dominate play, having many chances to score again before Marcus Rashford was able to score twice in 4 minutes (75th and 79th minute). This victory brings Manchester United to 9 straight victories which hasn’t been done with United since 2009, and could become 10 on Tuesday when they play Hull City. 

Transfer Window Open-

Patrice Evra- Juventus to Manchester United?

            Patrice Evra, the former great left back who played for Manchester United in a spell from 2006 to 2014. Signing an initial three-and-a-half-year deal for a fee of £5.5 million from AS Monaco, it seems like a bargain in today’s inflated market. Then in July of 2014, Juventus announced they signed Evra on a two-year deal for a fee around £1.2 million, and becoming a regular at the club. His original reason for leaving was partial due to playing time, and rumors of being unhappy with the club, now rumors and former player Rio Ferdinand is adding fire to the fuel. In an Instagram pic Rio said, “Patrice Evra, I'm hearing through social media you are coming home.” Will the 35-year-old make a sensational return to his former club or is this just nonsense started from reporters?

James Rodriquez- Real Madrid to Chelsea?

            It’s been obvious that James Rodriquez is unhappy at Real Madrid since the appointment of Zidane, whose made Rodriquez a bench player. The manager is reluctant to let him leave and said to the press, "James is a Madrid player, an important player," Zidane said. "It was a difficult moment, when you do not play in a final you are angry. I understand that. But that is all past now. We have spoken. He is a Madrid player and wants to be here at the best club in the world. Nothing else. We will keep working hard, which is important." From this statement it seems a transfer will be very unlikely in the winter, but once the 2017 Summer window opens he could be gone.

Dele Alli- Tottenham to Real Madrid?

            Real Madrid were beaten to one of the world’s best midfielders Paul Pogba in the summer, and now will look elsewhere to find a similar player. The Madrid scouts have selected Dele Alli, 20-year-old English Midfielder, a Tottenham player who just signed a new five year deal this summer. With Real Madrid serving a one match transfer ban a January transfer will be impossible but in the summer they will come calling for him. Already breaking the world record once by buying Gareth Bale from Tottenham they are familiar with spending large cash sums to the club. A reported fee of around £50 million or more could be enough to tempt the club to sell him, but a lot could come down to if the Hotspurs qualify for the Champion’s League next season.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang- Borussia Dortmund to Shanghai SIPG

            Another Chinese club has come calling for a football star, and this time is the Gabon international Aubameyang. Borussia Dortmund have reportedly received a bid of £127.5 million for the 27-year-old forward. In recent seasons he’s became one of the game’s most devastating number 9’s, forward, with the tremendous pace he has. If he makes the switch from the German club to the Chinse club, he would get a reported £35 million a year salary. When numbers in this range are being thrown around it really becomes a question for the player are they ready to give up topflight football for money?

Mamadou Sakho- Liverpool to Galatasaray~ Loan

            The French defender was once very highly rated, and Liverpool acquired him from Paris Saint-Germain. But after a doping ban that was later dismissed due to not actually failing it. His Liverpool career has fallen to shambles, and Jürgen Klopp is wanting him to leave. Still only being 26 years’ old he has a lot to offer, but needs a club where he’ll receive playing time. With most believing he’d leave over the summer no acceptable bid came in, and he stayed to fight for his place within the squad. Reports have come out saying Galatasaray are willing to bring Sakho on loan for the reminder of the season for a fee, and cover his £80,000 weakly fee. This could be a good move for both as if Liverpool want to sale him, then he will need to get playing time under his belt to show his worth. I see this deal going through, seeming looking a good deal for both parties.

Premier League Week 20- Schedule & Predictions

Monday January 2

Middlesbrough (16th, 4-6-9) vs. Leicester City (15th, 5-5-9)

            Middlesbrough thought they were taking back all three points from Old Trafford last weekend, taking a 1-0 lead in the 85th minute. But after giving up two goals within a minute and a half apart they lost and continue to give away vital points. Leicester City were luckily able to pull three points from their fixture vs. West Ham from a Slimani goal. For me I personal see Leicester getting back to back wins as Middlesbrough don’t show a great enough constant attack up front. The game I see going 1-2 for Leicester City.

Everton (7th, 7-6-6) vs. Southampton (9th, 6-6-7)

            If Everton aren’t careful their gap for a Europa League spot could get out of reach, as they tied one of the weakest squads on Friday. Southampton too also struggled not being able to beat West Brom at home giving away their lead. Everton though have been playing pretty good but being able to finish the full ninety minutes of the game. I see Southampton taking all three points in a hard fought 1-0 win.

Manchester City (5th, 12-3-4) vs. Burnley (11th, 7-2-10)

            Manchester City are now out of the top four meaning they’d miss Champion’s League football if the season was to end today. With a defeat to Liverpool after giving up an early goal, City weren’t able to rally back and get an equalizer. Burnley on the other hand came out with their scoring boots thumping Sunderland, and putting four goals in the back of the net. I see this game going 0-0 with Burnley putting all players behind the ball.

Sunderland (18th, 4-2-13) vs. Liverpool (2nd, 13-4-2)

            Sunderland’s season can’t seem to have a good run in wins or even draws, and David Moyes was given a headache after allowing four goals vs. Burnley. Liverpool have managed to get back into 2nd place after beating Manchester City 1-0 last week out and will have lots of momentum in their favor. If Sunderland aren’t careful this could be a repeat of last weekend, and could lose Defoe in the January window. I see Liverpool winning 3-0 with Sunderland failing to make much threat.

West Bromwich Albion (8th, 7-5-7) vs. Hull City (19th, 3-4-12)

            West Brom can continue in their winning fashion if they come out mentally focused again. Beating Southampton 2-1 away from home, they now play Hull City who’ve done little to oppositions thus far. Hull City have managed to get a point again after tying Everton which they could of won. I see West Brom winning this match 2-0, and Hull looking lousy.

West Ham United (12th, 6-4-9) vs. Manchester United (6th, 10-6-3)

            West Ham were beaten last week out to Leicester City after giving up an early goal, and aren’t able to replicate last season’s performances. Manchester United on the other hand have won five games straight, and are in fine form. After giving up a late goal, United were able to score two in the dying minutes to take home all three points. Man U are finally starting to click, with the Chosen One’s tactics showing to the fans. I see United coming out scoring and winning this match 3-1 away from home.

Tuesday January 3

AFC Bournemouth (10th, 7-3-9) vs. Arsenal (3rd, 12-4-3)

            Bournemouth were able to thump pitiful Swansea City in a 3-0 win away. Arsenal were able to also win, 2-0 at home vs. Crystal Palace showing little defense error. This game I believe will be one of the shocks of the week, and I see Bournemouth winning this fixture 2-0.

Crystal Palace (17th, 4-4-11) vs. Swansea City (20th, 3-3-13)

            How have Crystal Palace managed to allow themselves to get into this position is behind me. Finally sacking Alan Pardew, and now getting fresh tactics, training sessions, and new players coming through Palace need to start winning, and this is a perfect fixture. Swansea City are looking lifeless, and haven’t managed to get points in a while. I see Crystal Palace getting a 1-0 win at home.

Stoke City (14th, 5-6-8) vs. Watford (13th, 6-4-9)

            Stoke City and Watford both faced humiliating defeats in Week 19 to clubs Chelsea, and Tottenham. Stoke being a mid-table team year in and out, these are the matches they need to be winning. Watford must feel unlucky in late fixtures; as many games they’ve lost due to mental errors. I see Watford winning 2-1.

Wednesday January 4

Tottenham Hotspur (4th, 11-6-2) vs. Chelsea (1st, 16-1-2)

            Easily the game of the week, and could end up being a deciding factor on who wins the league. When two clubs play for vital points, one will drop points allowing for other clubs to close the gap on them. Tottenham, and Chelsea both managed comfortable wins last time out both netting four goals each. I see Chelsea winning this match though, as Tottenham don’t have players to match Chelsea’s squad player for player.

Transfer Tuesday- 12/27

Swansea’s New Manager?

            Swansea City have official announced on Tuesday, December 27 that they have parted ways with American manager Bob Bradley. After being in charge for only 11 league games, and managing the club for 85 days his time in the Wales was very short. Following his sacking Bradley told the public, “I knew exactly what I was getting into when I came to Swansea and realized the hardest part was always going to be getting points in the short run, But I believe in myself and I believe in going for it. That's what I've always told my players. Football can be cruel and to have a chance, you have to be strong. I wish Swansea the best and look forward to my next challenge." With the halfway mark through the season almost here the question is who will become the next manager? Many people believe it could go to Ryan Giggs, only 43 years old, has become the early favorite to take over the failing club. At this time there isn’t much other options but could go for another manager who was just sacked. Alan Pardew has been sacked less than a week ago, but could be making his return to English football quicker than any excepted.

Morgan Schneiderlin- Manchester United to?

            On July 13th, 2015 Manchester United signed French midfielder, Morgan Schneiderlin, in a £27 million deal believing to hit the jackpot. At the time of the signing he had been controlling, and dominating the center midfield for Southampton. But since his arrival to Old Trafford the only place he’s dominated has been the bench. Being only 27 Schneiderlin still has lots to bring to the table with Premier League, and Series A interest. With Jose Mourinho all but conforming he will leave, his next destination could depend on how important Champions League soccer is to him. Premier League side’s Everton, and West Brom are reported to be interested, with Series A clubs Juventus, and Inter Milan wanting the French holding mid. My guess is he will stay in the Premier League hoping to get back to his once superior self.

Wilfried Zaha- Crystal Palace to Tottenham Hotspurs?

            Wilfried Zaha has blasted into the spot lights again, being only 24 with loads of pace down the wings. A true English talent who once signed for Manchester United, but failed to make an impact leaving back to Crystal Palace. New manager Sam Allardyce will want to keep ahold of the winger, as someone with his pace and trickery on the ball is hard to come by. Tottenham Hotspur’s do offer Zaha a great opportunity to play at the next level, giving him European football. Last summer Tottenham had a £15 million bid turned down, but are coming back with £25 million bid this winter.

Philippe Coutinho- Liverpool to PSG

            The younger Brazilian has shined at Anfeild since arriving from Interazionale for a small fee of £8.5 million. Still only 24 years old, time to grow, and continuing to get better by the game it makes since big name clubs are calling for his signature. Reports are out that PSG are bidding £40 once the January transfer window opens, but to me that doesn’t seem enough money for him. Liverpool realized the mistake of selling Luis Suarez to Barcelona, after trying to spend it on multiple players that didn’t turn out to provide for the team. For me if PSG are really interested in the Brazilian play maker they will need to bid in the £45-55 million range to even stand a chance or get a counteroffer.

West Ham United- Club being sold?

            Energy drink company, Red Bull has been reported to be interested in buying West Ham United from their current owners. If you aren’t familiar with the German Bundesliga, Red Bull purchased RB Leipzig bringing them from the fifth division to Germany’s top flight of football. Red Bull believe they can do the same with West Ham United, and have launched a £650 million bid to take over the club.

 

Boxing Day Premier League Schedule-

Monday December 26th

Watford (6-3-8) vs. Crystal Palace (4-3-10)

            Crystal Palace announced on Friday, they have decided to part ways with current manager Alan Pardew. While managing Palace in 2016 he only managed to pick up 26 points in 36 matches, where he could have won 108 possible points. Being in 17th place and near relegation zone half way through the season it was enough for both parties to part ways. Pardew released a statement saying, “I would just like to take the opportunity to thank everybody at Crystal Palace for their fantastic support. In particular, a big thanks to the players who gave me absolutely everything and Steve Parish and his board." Sam Allardyce has now been appointed as their new manager, and his first task in charge will be facing off vs. Watford who’ve endured an average start to the season. I see Crystal Palace winning this match though, as they have too much talent and player will be wanting to prove their skills to the new manager. I see the game finishing 2-0 for the away team.

Arsenal (10-4-3) vs. West Bromwich Albion (6-5-6)

            Arsenal entered Christmas in their typical position fourth place, and now are losing pace to Chelsea. West Bromwich and Arsenal both lost their Premier League matches last weekend giving both the desire to win even more. Being at home Arsenal will have the upper hand, but I wouldn’t count West Brom out as a team fights hard to the closing minutes. I see Arsenal winning this match 2-1 but with a late goal.

Burnley (5-2-10) vs. Middlesbrough (4-6-7)

            Burnley and Middlesbrough sit exactly one point off each other, and are in 14th and 16th place. Neither team this season has been able to pull off any stunning soccer, but Middlesbrough did get a crucial win last time out. Beating Swansea City at home 3-0 it should give them confidence going into this fixture. Boxing day brings out a lot of great football, and I see this match being intense with Middlesbrough pulling out with a 1-0 winner.

Chelsea (14-1-2) vs. AFC Bournemouth (6-3-8)

            Chelsea’s incredible form this season has continued, and now have a six-point gap between them and Liverpool. At the top of the table contenders are in dire need of the Blues to slip to allow them to close the gap. Bournemouth are exactly in the middle of the table being in 10th place, but will face their hardest test of the season tomorrow. I see Chelsea winning this match 3-0 as they continue to control every aspect of their game.

Leicester City (4-5-8) vs. Everton (6-5-6)

            The question of the season has to be, why hasn’t Leicester City been able to perform in the Premier League this season? In Europe they are now in the Round of 16 for the Champions League, and are favorites in their pair. Everton have been a strong side thus far, and lost a tough 1-0 match in their Merseyside Derby last weekend. I see Everton winning this fixture 2-1 with their overall team playing better than Leicester.

Manchester United (8-6-3) vs. Sunderland (4-2-11)

            Manchester United are finally coming to life after completing multiple wins in a row, and can continue their winning form vs a weak squad. Finally competing for a top four spot in the table this match can be huge in gaining group on others. Sunderland have started to play better football as of late, but still aren’t in great position to win. United being at home and on a streak I see them winning this match 3-0.

Swansea City (3-3-11) vs. West Ham United (5-4-8)

            Clubs that both normally do great in the league are suffering, and especially Swansea City. Swansea City are currently in 19th place with 12 points and Bob Bradley doesn’t look like the manger to turn things around. The problem is who would be a suitable replacement and as of now them isn’t one. West Ham haven’t look like their last season squad, and now lack in all positons. I see this game ending in a scoreless draw.

Hull City (3-3-11) vs. Manchester City (11-3-3)

            Manchester City’s attack is back to full strength with the return of Sergio Augero up top. Hull City are very depleted with nothing going for them lately. The question for this game isn’t who’s going to win, but how bad will the scoring get? Manchester City should have an easy game to win, and could put in four to five goals easily.

Tuesday December 27th

Liverpool (11-4-2) vs. Stoke City (5-6-6)

            Liverpool pulled off a late winner last weekend at Everton thanks to the forgotten man, Daniel Sturridge. Stoke City managed a point vs. lifeless Leicester and continue to be a mid-table team. Stoke are known for heckling top teams, and I see them getting another tie here.

Wednesday December 28th

Southampton (6-6-5) vs. Tottenham Hotspurs (9-6-2)

            Both clubs won their games last weekend, with both needing all three points for different reasons. Tottenham are in fifth place, needing to be in fourth or above to be in next seasons Champion’s League play. With Southampton needing to be in sixth or fifth place to compete in the Europa League. Southampton being at home, and coming in great form as of late, I see them pulling off a 2-0 stunner. 

The Holiday Wrap-

Bob Bradley’s Swansea continue to fail

            Bob Bradley when named manager of Swansea City this season, became the first American to be named manager of a Premier League side. Since his arrival at the Liberty Stadium, they have lost seven out of eleven games, and are in 19th place with 12 points. Most online sites for betting have Bradley as the next manager to be sacked from his managerial position. After being defeated 4-1 to a sluggish West Ham United he had to say, “It's been something we've seen lately, we start okay, first goal comes, takes a little bit of confidence away, we speak at half-time about how in a smart way we can get back into the game, then the corner [for the Reid goal] at the beginning of the second half. These are killers.” If Bradley does get sacked in the following weeks what does this mean for American managers in the possibility of a future coach coming through?

The Pressure mounts for Liverpool and Tottenham

            The pressure for these two clubs has risen even more with Chelsea, Manchester City, Arsenal, and Manchester United all winning on Monday. Tottenham Hotspurs now are equal on points with the Red Devils, but do have a game in hand. Arsenal too have only a four-point gap between them Tottenham and Man United. Liverpool will host Stoke City tomorrow, and will be in need of players to step up with the absence of Coutinho. Midfielder Firmino has recently been charged with drunk driving which could leave to a ban, and cause even more midfield problems for the Reds. Arsenal have their own struggles with Wenger having only months left on his contract, Ozil and Alexis Sanches not willing to sign new contracts yet. With all these big names possibly leaving where will Arsenal be in six month’s time?

Manchester United in Amazing Form             

            Jose Mourinho has to be happy with the recent results of Manchester United in the Premier League, and the flawless football their playing. Winning their last four league fixtures in a row they are in the form they need to get back into the top four. The last time Manchester United have dropped points is on December 4th, when they tied Everton away 1-1. To make Man United’s Boxing Day game even more exciting two of United’s last three managers were coaching in the match. David Moyes the former manager who was handpicked by Sir Alex Ferguson to succeed him of Manchester, was back at Old Trafford with Sunderland. But like his time at Manchester it didn’t go well ending in a 3-1 defeat. Henrikh Mkhitaryan had a special gift for the home support with his amazing goal brining the score to 3-0. When asked about the goal he said, “I was expecting the ball to be in front of me and then I realized I was in front of it. As the ball was behind me, the only thing I could do was a back heel so I did that and I succeeded.” United’s play has been truly impressive as of late, and next week’s fixture should bring them another three points.

Leicester City in relegation fight?

            How does a football club who was 5000-1 to win the English Premier League in 2015-16, and win it go to almost being in the relegation zone? After 18 matches for the Foxes they have only managed to take away 17 points, and only have three points of safety. Part of this could be to the tremendous amount of spending done by clubs over the summer window but it really comes down to the main men. Jamie Vardy and Riyad Mahrez who were the main goal threats, and assisting the team. Now in Week 18 Vardy had to start his 3 match ban, which the club tried to show their displeasure by passing out 30,000 masks of the English forward. To make matters worse Mahrez has been playing so bad lately his manager dropped him saying, “He's not in good form now and I wanted to stimulate him, I didn't see him do well during the training sessions and he must give more for the team. I want more.” Will Leicester be able to fix the problem or will their fairytale story end in disaster?

Transfer Tuesday- January Window

James Rodriquez- Real Madrid to Chelsea?

            James Rodriquez was the biggest hype of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, sealing himself a huge transfer to Real Madrid. Reports have come out suggesting Chelsea are willing to drop huge amounts of cash for the 25-year-old Colombian. If James is to leave the fee is reported to be near the £60 million, allowing Madrid not to lose much from their original fee. With 16 games being played in La Liga, he has only featured in 8 matches starting only four of the eight fixtures. This displeasure of little playing time has led to Rodriquez publically saying, “I can’t assure I will stay at Real Madrid, I have offers and seven days left to think about my future.I am happy in Madrid, but I want to play more. I have a bitter feeling as I wanted to play the final, but I am happy for the title. It’s my 15th title in my career.” Other possible suitors for the midfielder are said to be PSG, Juventus, and Manchester United. The likelihood Madrid allow the once prized midfielder to leave seems slim, and unlikely to happen.

Julian Draxler- Wolfsburg to PSG

            Julian Draxler was once all but certain to end up in England with Arsenal keen on the German midfielder. But PSG have come in faster, and are willing to meet the asking price of Wolfsburg. The fee once it’s all finalized will be close to £34 million, with the 23-year-old to sign a four-and-a-half-year contract. All of this has happened in quick build up since Draxler asked the Bundesliga club, causing the fans and hierarchy to turn on him. This deal seems all but done, and will likely take place at the beginning of the window.

Victor Lindelof- Benfica to Manchester United

            Lindelof, 22, looks all but set to join Manchester United from Benfica and people are already comparing him to Rio Ferdinand. A Swedish international, United now look set to have two Sweden’s in their squad. Lindelof joined Portuguese club Benfica in 2012 from Swedish outfit Vasteras SK at the age of just 17, and has shined since. Former Manchester United player Blomqvist said, “He's quick, confident with the ball, likes to play and is very strong. For United fans, I think the best comparisons would be with Rio Ferdinand and Ronny Johnsen. I'm not saying he is at their level yet, but he is very capable of getting there." The fee is said to be around £34 million, and many reports claim the deal is all but done.

Mario Fellaini- Manchester United to AC Milan

            Mario Fellaini marks the David Moyes era, and soon could lead to the closure of the disappointing time. The Belgium midfielder being 29 is towards the peak of his career which doesn’t seem good enough to continue his stunt at Old Trafford. Jose Mourinho had to back Fellaini after he was booed being subbed into the West Brom game, after losing the match for United vs. Everton. Journalist have spotted Fellaini in Milan with his brother, making reports of his departure more credible. AC Milan and Inter Milan are the two clubs likely to sign the Belgium, and many more from Manchester could follow. Names including Memphis Depay, Morgan Schneiderlin, Bastin Schweinsteiger, and Darmin are all names being said to get booted out of Manchester.

Money hungry players

            Two more major players have been named to follow the direction of the money hungry soccer players. Hulk, already became one of first biggest name players to leave for crazy amounts of money. Now Carlos Tevez is said to have completed his transfer into the Chinese League making himself the highest paid player in the world. Chelsea’s Oscar has also been linked with the move, but I see him waiting a few years before he takes the money and runs.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 12

Cristiano Ronald Wins Ballon d’Or

            The three finalist for the 2016 Ballon d’Or award came down to Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Antoine Griezmann. In the past seven years the trophy handed to the world’s best player has been very much dominated by the Portuguese and Argentinian players. Their run started in 2008 with Ronaldo winning the award at Manchester United, followed by 4 consecutive wins for Messi from 2009-12. Then in 2013 & 2014 Ronaldo won the award again, and Messi taking it back in 2015 making him the most decorated player to the award. In 2016 though, Cristiano Ronaldo became the first player to ever win the Champions League, Euros, Club World Cup, and now the Ballon d’Or. Making it 8 consecutive times since the pair has not taken the award, who will be the player to end the streak? My guess would come down Neymar, Griezmann or Pogba.

Arsenal’s bad week

            Arsenal started the week with the worst possible draw for the Round of 16 in the Champions League getting paired with Bayern Munich. Then on the following day Everton beat Arsenal at Goodison Park coming back from a 1-0 deficient. Being in the title race, and possibility of not being in the top four of the table, all rivals won three points of Wednesday. Again Sunday the main teams to be competing for a top four spot all took 3 three points, and Arsenal had to play Manchester City on Sunday. Again Arsenal were beat 2-1 away from home, ending a sorrow week of soccer.

Ibrahimović getting better by age

            When Zlatan Ibrahimović arrived at Manchester United, being 35 years old, many people wrote him off saying the Premier League is to demanding compared to Ligue 1. Like Zlatan does best he’s been proving to the doubters that he can handle the pressure, already bagging over 10 goals. In the Premier League alone he now has 11 goals in 16 appearances, and 16 in 25 for all games in total. He was recently quoted saying, “He is like red wine, the older he gets, the better.”

Memphis Depay what’s next for him?

            Memphis Depay arrived at Manchester United looking as one of the brightest future players in the world. But his form has seemed to diminish since he left PSV, and hasn’t been able to hold down a regular starting position. Netherlands teammate Arjen Robben said, “He is a very talented player,” he told Goal. “It's a pity it didn't work at Manchester until now. He's playing very few matches. I'm expecting something to happen next time, maybe he will make a move in the winter break.” For me though with Depay still only 22, United would be crazy to sell him, and should look to loan Memphis first. This could be a reoccurrence of Paul Pogba if they don’t play their cards correctly.

Liverpool pull off late derby win

            The Merseyside Derby, the oldest derby in England going all the way back from 1962-63 between two teams in the city of Liverpool. Part of what makes this rivalry so great is how close the two stadiums are from each other, being able to see them from eyelevel. Their first meeting dates back all the way to October 13th, 1894 which Everton beat Liverpool 3-0 in the first division. All these matches have brought this to one of the most intense, and physical fixtures to be played, and today it took place at Goodison Park. The game went scoreless into the first half, with neither team showing much quality, as it became sloppy with dirty challenges. Everton’s keeper left the match, after colluding with Leighton Baines, which took a large amount of time for the medical staff to get him off the pitch. Still scoreless into the 90th minute, the match officials added 8 minutes of extra time to the game leaving Everton fans furious. Liverpool’s forgotten man came into the game, and instantly made a difference. Daniel Sturridge was able to get a shot off hitting the post, but allowing Sadio Mane to get an easy tap in winning the game.

Week 17 English Premier League Schedule-

Saturday, December 17th

Crystal Palace (4-3-9) vs. Chelsea (12-1-3)

             Crystal Palace come off a hard loss to Manchester United on Wednesday after conceding an 88th minute goal. Manager Pardew for Crystal Palace is in dire need of points in the league or else he could face being sacked. Chelsea have now brought their lead to six points at the top of the table, and continue to pull away with other clubs dropping points. This game should go easily 0-3 in favor of the away team, with Chelsea dominating to much of the game.

West Ham United (4-4-8) vs. Hull City (3-3-10)

            West Ham United come into week 17 finally getting a much needed win at home vs. Burnley. Being at home again vs a sluggish team, Hull City, taking all three points should be their objective. Hull were beaten 3-0 away at Tottenham during their midweek encounter and seem destined to be regulated at the end of the campaign. I see this fixture going 2-0 in favor of West Ham.

Stoke City (5-5-6) vs. Leicester City (4-4-8)

            Stoke vs. Leicester City could prove to be a great fixture this weekend, with one team failing to look like they did last season and the other in their typical form. While Leicester cannot win a game in England some reason, they were beaten 1-0 by Bournemouth brining this seasons point tally to 16. I see this game going 1-1 with neither team having an upper hand.

Middlesbrough (3-6-7) vs. Swansea City (3-3-10)

            Middlesbrough and Swansea City both let in three goals each on them this week, and all came away with zero points. These fixtures here can be the make or break for clubs when determining if they will be in the EPL or Championship division next year. With both clubs only with three wins all campaign a win here could be huge. I see Middlesbrough taking all three points at home 2-1.

Sunderland (3-2-11) vs. Watford (6-3-7)

West Bromwich Albion (6-5-5) vs. Manchester United (7-6-3)

            Manchester United’s tying streak has now ended with them winning their last two EPL fixtures. In their midweek encounter with Crystal Palace they almost saw another tie happening before them, but thanks to an 88th minute goal by Ibrahimović they were able to take all three points. West Brom also came out on top this week with a 3-1 win vs. Swansea City who’ve struggled all campaign. For me Manchester United are heavy favorites in this match, and I see them winning 3-1.

Sunday, December 18th

AFC Bournemouth (6-3-7) vs. Southampton (5-6-5)

            Bournemouth and Southampton are only separated by goal difference in the table, with Southampton in 9th, and Bournemouth in 10th. After taking home a 1-0 win at home vs. Leicester City, they now want to get 2 wins out of 3. Southampton though are struggling to get back into their superior form from two seasons ago, and lack a burning desire to win. I see this game going in a 2-2 draw.

Manchester City (10-3-3) vs. Arsenal (10-4-2)

            Manchester City vs. Arsenal fixture will bring the entire Premier League table into a new look after this match. Whoever drops points in this game will now be holding a 3-4-point lead without other teams having played. Man City’s Augero is finally back from suspension which couldn’t have been at a better time, and Arsenal’s Alexis Sanches is scoring lots of goals. I see this game going 2-1 in favor of Manchester as their attacking threat is great.

Tottenham Hotspur (8-6-2) vs. Burnley (5-2-9)

            After demolishing Hull City in their midweek matchup, Burnley will be a lot better of an opposition for them to face. First Burnley is a decent overall squad, and can show signs of attack in a moment’s notice. Tottenham are in a weird faze right now after being beaten by Man United, then destroying Hull as those teams are on opposite sides of the table. I still see this game going 1-0 in favor of Tottenham with their home support.

Monday, December 19th

Everton (6-5-5) vs. Liverpool (10-4-2)

            Everton vs. Liverpool will bring a great feisty affair with both clubs believing they have the upper hand. Everton are known for the over whelming amount of wins over clubs who are known as super clubs. Liverpool haven’t been in their best form as of late with Coutinho being out hurting the balance of the midfield. I see Everton upsetting Liverpool 2-1, and winning with a late goal.

Champion’s League Round of 16 Draw

Bayern Munich vs. Arsenal

            Arsenal may have won their group for the first time in five campaigns, but have drawn Bayern Munich against their disliking. Bad luck for Arsenal as this is now the 4th of 5th time for these two clubs to be drawn together. Bayern Munich have showed signs of weakness this season, but Arsenal too haven’t played their best football in late. I see Bayern Munich winning this two legged tie 3-0 as the English opposition shouldn’t pose a great threat on the Germans.

Paris Saint-Germain vs. Barcelona

            PSG have struggled to get to their form since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimović, and have not performed well in Ligue 1 this campaign. PSG director has vowed to sign more elite players in the January (winter) transfer window, but they aren’t able to compete in this season’s Champions League. Barcelona have also endured struggles of their own in La Liga, and are currently six points behind Real Madrid. Last season this could of went in PSG’s favor, but this time around it seems Barcelona will have the upper hand. Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Luis Suarez are one of the greatest dynamic trio ever to play together, which will surely go in favor of the Spanish club.

Real Madrid vs. Napoli

            Real Madrid are winning in almost every situation, and star Cristiano Ronaldo just won his fifth Ballon d’Or award. For Madrid they can’t be happier getting paired with Napoli after finishing second in their group, which will give them the first leg at home. Napoli certainly have the possibility of upsetting Madrid, if they’re able to play defensively and counter they can pull it off. The return of Gareth Bale could play to be the determining factor in this match, as the Wale’s player is a great threat down the flank causing many clubs serious problems. I see this two legged tie go to 4-2 in favor of Real Madrid as knocking them out of this cup seems to early.

Manchester City vs. AS Monaco

            Manchester City are in great form with taking the lead in the English Premier League, but now face a tricky opposition. Monaco have had the return of Falcao in the best possible time with his goal scoring ratio being back to his prime.

Benfica vs. Borussia Dortmund

            Borussia Dortmund are goal scoring machines breaking the Group Stage goal record, and finishing atop of Real Madrid. Dortmund scored 21 goals in 6 games to break the previous record of 20 goals in the group stage. Benfica though are playing great football being in first place in Liga Portuguese. I still see Dortmund as having the upper hand in this matchup with too much attacking pacey threat including Marco Reus, and Aubameyang.

Porto vs. Juventus

            Porto are one of two remaining Portuguese teams in the Champion’s League, and will look to upset Italian giants to continue their great run. Juventus though have one of the most balanced squads playing in their 5-3-2 formation. This causes oppositions problems as Juventus always have numbers behind the ball, and can counter with their pacey wingbacks. Shutting down Dybala, and Higuaín will most likely be too difficult for FC Porto to do. I see Juventus winning this two legged tie, allowing them to advance.

Bayer Leverkusen vs. Atletico Madrid

            Atletico Madrid continue to have problems in the Spanish league, plus problems continuing to happen with the new stadium but in Europe they continue to shine. Beating Bayern Munich in the group stage, also only having one loss in 6 games. Bayer Leverkusen have continued to be a dominating team, but haven’t shown much threat in recent games. Chirchartio continues to outperform but could be on the way out of Germany with English clubs coming for him. I see Atletico Madrid being too much of a team squad to be outplayed two games in a row, and pose a great attacking threat with Antione Griezmann.

Sevilla vs. Leicester City

            Leicester City’s odd defying winning of the Premier League certainly won’t be repeating this year, but their shocking European form has continued. Leicester City are in 14th place with 16 points, averaging only about a point a game. Sevilla have to be happy finally ending their curse in the Europa League even though they’ve won it twice in a row now. I see Sevilla taking the English club out of the tournament with Leicester not having a good run in form.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 11

Seattle Sounders win the MLS CUP

            The 2016 MLS CUP Final proved to be a boring, but crazy ending to the MLS season. Seattle Sounders managed to go through the entire game without a shot on goal, while Toronto had 7 shots on goal. The 21st MLS Cup almost went to Toronto when Jozy Altidore had a headed chance on goal in extra time, and Seattle keeper Frei had the save of his life. Toronto coach Greg Vanney after the game said, “I thought the ball had eyes for that corner it was heading toward, and I thought [Frei] was maybe caught a little bit in the middle of the goal and wasn’t going to get there.” With all 120 minutes of the game wrapped up the game was heading into a penalty shootout, which the Sounders won 5-4.

Leicester City humiliate Manchester City

            Manchester City have lost two games in a row for the first time this season, after a 3-1 defeat to Chelsea. Their match against the Blues revealed a key strategy against City, and its they struggle to athletic, forceful play. Jamie Vardy opened up the scoring in the 3rd minute of the game, then Andy King added a second goal only two minutes later in the 5th minute of the goal. To make matters worse of for City only 20 minutes into the first half another long ball was played forward to Marhez, who laid it off to Vardy to slot home another goal. When a game isn’t going your way it normal continues in the same fashion, and in the second half John Stones played a poor back pass that was intercepted by Jamie Vardy who scored again to have a hat trick at home. Manchester City did have two late consolation goals coming from Aleksander Kolarov in the 82nd minute, and Nolito in the 90th minute. Being this Pep Guardiola’s 15th league game with Manchester City and only taking away 30 points, this is his worst career start with in 2011-12 with Barcelona getting 34 points.

The Rebirth of Falcao

            The Colombian forward who once struggled so greatly at Manchester United, and Chelsea has since returned to his one great scoring form. His last hat trick came all the way back in 2012 before tearing his ACL, and leaving to England. This weekend when AS Monaco played away at Bordeaux in Ligue 1 he netted a hat trick bringing his goal threat back on. The previous game before that vs Bastia he netted two goals in a 5-0 win. This brings his goal tally to 12 goals this campaign.

Liverpool’s frustration continues

            Liverpool topped the table less than three weeks ago but in their last two fixtures have struggled greatly. The weekend before in Week 14 vs Bournemouth they gave up a 3-1 lead to lose the game 4-3 in the dying minutes of the game, and have now dropped points again. Playing West Ham United at Anfeild they should have been able to take an easy three points after last week’s mess up. The Reds started the game off promising with Sadio Mane setting up Adam Lallana to strike home a goal in the fifth minute of the game. Unfortunate for Liverpool they gave up a free kick 25 yards out, and free kick specialist, Dimitri Payet smashed home a stunning equalizer. West Ham finished off the second half strong getting another goal in the 38th minute from Michail Antonio. With the start of the second half Liverpool came out looking to seek their second goal, and were able to get it only three minutes into the half. Sadio Mane’s cross was able to find Divock Origi in the 48th minute equaling the score to 2-2. Since the injury to Coutinho the Reds have struggled with their key midfielder being out.

Manchester United get much needed win

            With the English Premier League almost half way through the season, Manchester United needed to get three points after drawing to many games they should of won. United hosted Tottenham at Old Trafford, and were looking to snap a four game home tie streak. One of the Red Devil’s greatest overall developed players thus far this season Ander Herrera, was key to the opening goal of the fixture. In the 29th minute Herrera was able to pick a perfect through ball to Armenian winger, Henrikh Mkhitaryan who blasted it past Hugo Lloris. The game ended 1-0 to the home team, which gave them a much needed three points with over oppositions dropping key points. Liverpool dropped two points in a draw to West Ham, Manchester City lost bringing back 0 points, and Tottenham whose one spot ahead of United lost breathing room between the two clubs.

Week 15 EPL Fixtures & Predictions-

Saturday, December 10th

Watford vs. Everton-

            Watford will host Everton this weekend after Everton managed to take away a late draw at Manchester last weekend. Watford, and Everton have both won five matches this season already with only 2 points separating the clubs. I see this match going 2-0 in favor of Watford, and jumping Everton in the table.

Arsenal vs. Stoke City-

            Arsenal are in great form this season, and have only suffered one defeat in 14 league matches thus far. While Stoke continue in their same yearly fashion sitting comfortably in the middle of the table. Stoke could pull of an upset, and tie Arsenal 1-1 away from the Stadium of Lights.

Hull City vs. Crystal Palace-

            Crystal Palace have suffered one of their worst point take a ways in the 2016 year, and can’t wait for the new year to come. Getting a win last week, they will look to use their momentum and beat Hull City who’ve struggled lately. Hull are still winless after their 3 straight wins at the beginning of the campaign.

Burnley vs. Bournemouth-

            Burnley sit in 14th place, and only 3 points above the regulation zone. While Bournemouth pulled off one of the greatest upsets of the season. After being 3-1 down to Liverpool, they were able to tie up the score at 3 a piece before Aké got the game winner. I see this game going 2-1 in favor of the Cherries.

Swansea City vs. Sunderland-

            With both clubs struggling to get out of the relegation battle, Sunderland have made the necessary steps to get out of the battle. Beating Leicester City 2-1 at home, and Swansea got destroyed 5-0 by Tottenham. For me I see Sunderland taking home all three points, and Swansea going even further into relegation problems.

Leicester City vs. Manchester City-

            If Sunderland, and West Ham both win their games this weekend Leicester City loose again they will be in the relegation zone. A crazy thought thinking last season they won the league with the odds being 5000-1, and now could go down to the Championship. Manchester City continue to dominant, and are currently in 4th place with thirty points. Sergio Augero will be out for Man City, after picking up a four match ban, giving Leicester little hope. I see Manchester City winning this match 3-1.

Sunday, December 11th

Chelsea vs. West Bromwich Albion-

            Antonio Conte has turned Chelsea into monsters and are now leading the league. West Brom are also having a great season sitting in 7th place with 20 points, and could be looking to upset Chelsea. Victor Moses for Chelsea has come the surprise of the season, after being left out by previous manager Jose Mourinho. I see West Brom shocking Chelsea beating them 1-0, sitting back and taking the pressure.

Southampton vs. Middlesbrough-

            Southampton’s problems continue to mount being in the bottom half of the table, and getting knocked out of the Europa League. Middlesbrough last week were able to pull off a 1-0 win vs. Hull City and showed attacking promise in the final third. If they can keep the attacking threat up this week away at Southampton, I can see Boro winning 2-0.

Manchester United vs. Tottenham Hotspurs-

            This is a very important game for Manchester United after they continue to finish in front of goal. After continuing to tie week after week, they now are in 6th place but could easily be in the top 4. Tottenham have struggled in their last few fixtures, and have dropped into the Europa League after not finishing high enough in the Champions League. For me this game will come down to the forwards of United, as they need to start scoring when they get the chance. If Zlatan comes out firing I can see United winning 2-0 at home, and brining hope to the Old Trafford faithful’s.

Liverpool vs. West Ham United-

            Liverpool dropped a vital three points last week to Bournemouth, and in result dropped into third place. With play maker Coutinho still out for the Reds, they will need Firmino to step up in his absence. West Ham last week were thrown around by Arsenal in a 5-1 humiliation at home. With nothing going in West Ham’s favor this campaign they could fall into the regulation zone without winning this weekend. But I see Liverpool beating West Ham 3-1, and securing all three points. 

Champion’s League Group Stage Finished

            The 2016 Champion’s League Group Stage games have come to a closure. After all, 32 teams were drawn into 8 groups of four teams, they then played in a round robin format. Playing six games each, and a possible 18 points they could take away no team took more than 15 points. The next round of the UCL is the Round of 16, which the two teams that placed the highest in their groups moved on. But who moved on, when is the next draw, and what are the rules for the Round of 16?

Round of 16 Draw~

·      When Monday December 12th, 2016

·      The two pots which teams are drawn from are Pot 1, the group winners, and Pot 2, the runner ups.

·      No two teams from the same nation can be drawn at this stage of the tournament.

·      Group winners will play away from home the first leg, with the second leg being at home.

·      When are the two legs?

o   First Leg- February 14/15 and Feb. 21/22 2017

o   Second Leg- March 7/8 and 14/15

Who is moving on?

Group A~

Winners- Arsenal, finishing the group stage 4-2-0, they toped their group but now statics show they are favored to play Real Madrid. Much of this success should be given to key forward, Alexis Sanchez.

Runner Ups~ PSG, life after Zlatan has proved to be tough for the Paris club, but Cavani has tried his best to step up for the missing legend.

Group B~

Winners~ Napoli, only one of two Series A clubs to make it into the Round of 16.

Runner Ups~ Benfica, after making a strong run in last year’s cup, this season they’ve continue to impress and showed their strengths.

Group C~

Winners~ Barcelona, powered through their group with their only defeat coming from Manchester City. Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Suarez continue to look like an unstoppable threat, and should worry the team that draws them.

Runner Ups~ Manchester City, couldn’t top Barcelona at the top of the group, and now could face an elite club.

Group D~

Winner~ Atletico Madrid, after upsetting Bayern in the group stage it proved to be enough to have them top their group.

Runner Ups~ Bayern Munich, an elite club, and one of the heavy favorites to win the tournament.

Group E~

Winners~ AS Monaco, with Falcao back and scoring they’ve won their group.

Runner Ups~ Bayer Leverkusen, much thanks can be to the Mexican international, Chirchartio, who’s helped the club in recent years return to the top.

Group F~

Winners~ Borussia Dortmund, after pulling off a draw from 2-0 down to Madrid, they’ve taken the first place spot.

Runner Ups~ Real Madrid, had the chance to win their group, but blew away a 2-0 lead with multiple missed chances.

Group G~

Winners~ Leicester City, they may be winning in Europe, but back in the EPL they’ve struggled massively and are almost in the regulation zone.

Runner Ups~ FC Porto, destroyed Leicester City 5-0 on their final match securing their way into the Round of 16.

Group H~

Winners~ Juventus, life after Pogba has seemed to be okay for the Italian club, whose topped group H.

Runner Ups~ Sevilla FC, after winning the Europa league last season, they automatically qualified for the UCL.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 10

Chapecoense Awarded Title

            On Monday CONMEBOL announced they will award Chapecoense, with the 2016 Copa Sudamericana after Atletico Nacional called for the confederation to do so. At a time of healing for the club, this will go down as an honor in which the players will be remember for the club’s history. Chapecoense’s interim President said, "CONMEBOL have testified that they will crown Chapecoense as champions of the Copa Sudamericana.”

Chelsea humiliate Manchester City

            Chelsea have now made it eight consecutive wins in a row, and top the table after beating Manchester City 3-1. City started the game, and first half in control going into the half with a 1-0 lead from a Gary Cahill own goal. But the second half proved to be too much for the Manchester men, which saw them allow three goals. Costa, Willian, and Hazard all struck in the second half, taking the game out of City’s hands but also causing the game to boil over. In the 96th minute, Manchester City forward, Sergio Augero went into a two footed tackle on defender David Luiz, which saw him receive a straight red. The FA has recently announced he will be banned for four games, allowing him to return on Dec. 31st when they play Liverpool.

El Clasico

            Barcelona hosted Real Madrid, in one of soccer’s greatest rivalries in the world. Between two of the best Spanish team’s, and perhaps the two greatest clubs in soccer calls for an intense rivalry. Each season they meet twice a year within the league, and sometimes us spectators get lucky enough to watch them compete in the Champions League. Home team, Barcelona, took the lead in the 53rd minute from heading goal by Luis Suarez, that was played in from a set piece by Neymar. After controlling much of the game, and with it winding down, Real Madrid used their last minute tactic. Which is pushing center back Sergio Ramos, into the attacking third that’s payed great success in the past. Again it paid off, with a 90th minute goal coming from a Sergio Ramos header, silencing the home fans. The last minute draw see’s Real Madrid take a six-point lead in La Liga, and Barcelona staying in second place with 28.

Bournemouth Pull of Stunning Comeback

            Bournemouth may have pulled of the greatest comeback of the EPL season after being 2-0 down, then going back down 3-1. It all started with a 76th minute Ryan Fraser goal cutting the lead to 3-2, giving the Cherries hope. Then in the 78th minute Bournemouth hit the back of the net again with a Steve Cook goal, bringing the stadium to a near impossible comeback. When the game became 3-3, you could tell Liverpool were shaken and it was only time till another goal came. Luckily for the Cherries, it came in the 93rd minute from Nathan Aké bring them to a 4-3 lead, and winning the match. This was Liverpool’s first lost in over 3 and a half months, and giving hope to Bournemouth who’ve struggled this campaign.

Fergie Time now coming back to Haunt

            At one time “Fergie Time”, when Sir Alex Ferguson managed Manchester United, used to be when United made their late comebacks to win the game. Now since his replacements have come, and gone it seems to be haunting the Manchester club. So far this season United have already dropped seven points in the league after giving up the lead in the 83rd or later minute. Playing Everton away this weekend, Manchester had the lead and controlled the game till the dying minutes of the fixture. Brining on midfielder, Maroune Fellaini turned out to be the wrong decision, being known for his clumsiness, and giving up pointless fouls it happened again. Within the 87th minute Fellaini, fouled an Everton man in the box giving Baines a pk. With Leighton Baines performing his specialty he smashed the ball into the back of the net, causing the game to end in a 1-1 draw. People have started to draw criticism to manger Jose Mourinho, and his former player Samuel Eto had to say, "Jose has changed a lot. When I arrived at Inter, I found someone exceptional. At Chelsea, it was already a little bit difficult for him.

“He wants to relaunch Manchester United in the next three seasons, but the first thing he has to do is make the team play football. I don’t have anything against Mourinho. He’s capable of reviving United or any team, and making them play football, but it’s still evolving.”

EPL Week 14 Schedule & Predictions-

Saturday December 3rd

Manchester City vs. Chelsea~

            The most anticipated game of the weekend, with Manchester City hosting league leaders, Chelsea. Being a home fixture it will give City they will hope to keep their unbeaten home record going. Winning three and drawing three, their still without a home defeat in the league this season. Chelsea will come in with the upper hand and momentum, and have surprise rising star Victor Moses on a scoring streak. Both teams are starting to play in their new manager’s format, but still show times of confusion. Yaya Toure has also been restored to Manchester City’s lineup after being frozen out at the beginning of the season. For me this game will go in favor of Chelsea, as their new 3-4-3 formation should be able to open up City’s defense. The score line will be 1-0 in favor of the away team.

Crystal Palace vs. Southampton~

            Crystal Palace are ready for the 2016 year to be gone, and over fast. They’ve suffered one of their worst point take a way this season, and manager Alan Pardew can feel the pressure. Palace currently sit in 17th place, and could fall all the way into 19th with a lost to Southampton. Their opposition though comes in sitting in 10th place, and have been on a good run of form lately. I see Pardew’s men taking away all three points, and getting Crystal Palace back into winning form.

Tottenham Hotspurs vs. Swansea City~

            Tottenham being at home, the form them in, and with Harry Kane fully fit will be looking to take home all three points. Swansea City have struggled this season, and are currently in 19th place with only 9 points after 13 games. Both clubs need the win for different situations, one for European football and the other to stay in the league.

Stoke City vs. Burnley~

           

Sunderland vs. Leicester City~

            Sunderland have been on a good run of wins in recent weeks, and will try to capitalize off Leicester’s poor domestic play this season. After defying the odds to win the league, their campaign this season is going down in shambles, but in the Champions League they’ve already qualified for the Round of 16. Sunderland need points badly, and will come out attacking to try to upset Leicester. I see this game going 2-1 in favor of Sunderland.

West Bromwich Albion vs. Watford~

            West Brom and Watford sit only a point apart from each other, making this a tight affair. I see this game going in favor of the away team Watford, bringing their total points to 21.

West Ham United vs. Arsenal~

            Arsenal are in the tight race to win the league being in fourth place and only three points behind the league leaders. Playing West Ham at home could prove to be trouble, after they held United to a draw in their last weekend fixture. West Ham have struggled this season, and will likely continue in the same fashion. I see Arsenal winning this match 2-0, taking all three points away from home.

Sunday December 4th

Bournemouth vs. Liverpool~

            Liverpool have been on an amazing streak, with their new manager making them look like a whole new team. Without star playing Coutinho, getting hurt last week it could upset the balance in the midfield for Liverpool and turn out to be a turning point for the club. Bournemouth will have to capitalize on any mistakes if they hope to beat Liverpool, and climb into the top half of the table.

Everton vs. Manchester United~

            Manchester United’s tying streak continued last week, and they will need to start picking up three points before the gap widens too much. After defeating West Ham 4-1 in the midweek cup match, they have the goal scoring momentum they need. Part of the problem has been on the lack of finishing golden opportunities and not putting the back in the back of the net. I see this game going 2-0 in favor of Manchester United.

Middlesbrough vs. Hull City~

            Middlesbrough, and Hull City both continue to struggle with Hull winless in their last 10 matches. These games are extremely important to the clubs as taking points from lower end teams can be crucial in staying in the Premier League. I see Middlesbrough winning this match 3-1, as Hull don’t have enough attacking threat.

Tragedy Strikes in Brazil-

            The rise for Brazilian team, Chapecoense came to a tragic end on November 28th, 2016. On November 28th, the club set out for the biggest game in the club’s history, and ended up making history for the saddest reason. Taking a flight Monday night front Bolivia to Colombia, their plan carrying 77 players, and staff crashed in Rionegro, near Medellin. On route to the Copa Sudamericana, the second-biggest intercontinental club competition in South America, which is comparable to Europe's Europa League. The club formed in the 1970s, and as recently as 2007 played in the fourth tier of foorball in Brazil.

            Once news of the tragic incident surfaced, prayers, and words of wisdom were spread throughout the world. Many of soccer’s biggest names paid their respect to the Brazilian club, by posting their respect to the club. The tragedy also struck some players personal such as David De Gea, who once played with one of the Chapecoense defenders, while at Atletico Madrid. Atletico Nacional, the Colombian team who was supposed to play Chapecoense in the finals later this week said, “Atlético Nacional calls on Conmebol to award the title of the Copa Sudamericana to Chapecoense for its huge loss, and in posthumous homage to the victims killed in the accident,” the team said in a statement. An incredible act, but it will mean very little for the club in this time of mourning. Three players have been reported to have survived the crash, with one passing away at the hospital. More news has come out saying Chapecoense cannot be relegated from their league for a minimum of three years, and all the clubs in their league will loan them players for free. As the club, nation, and game of football continue to mourn fans descended on their stadium as they looked to pay tribute to their fallen heroes, with many lighting candles in memory of those who have sadly passed away. Others prayed for those who are believed to have survived the tragic crash.  

Other Tragic Air Disasters

-       In 1948, 18 Torino players were killed in a plane crash on their way back from Lisbon, Portugal.

-       In 1958, 8 Manchester United player passed away, after their plane’s third attempt to take off in Munich, Germany.

-       1993, 18 national team players from Zambia passed away while on their way to a World Cup Qualifier in Senegal.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 9

Philippe Coutinho Injury Status?

            Coutinho has played a major role for Liverpool this season, and the Reds could now be without one of their key mid fielders. Picking up an injury this weekend in a 2-0 vs. Sunderland, he was subbed in the first half, and rushed to the hospital. The tackle he endured seemed terrible, and could’ve easily put him out for the season. Luckily for the Brazilian, and Liverpool man he will only be out for up to six weeks, but won’t need surgery which is a huge plus.

Unlucky or Underperforming?

            Manchester United after an unlucky tie to Arsenal in Week 12, came out in midweek vs. Feyenoord ready to play. Trashing them 4-0, their obscure amount of ties was looking to end. Being matched up with West Ham United, in Week 13 of EPL play, United were in poll position to capitalize, and win at home. West Ham came out swinging, and took the lead in under two minutes, leaving Manchester in shock. Luckily for Manchester a creative pass from Pogba to Zlatan tied the game up at one a piece. Dominating almost every state including 68% possession, wasn’t enough for them to take all three points. Now tying for 4 straight home games at Old Trafford, and setting a record. "We're going to start to think we're cursed," Pogba told SFR Sport. "It doesn't matter which team comes here, we dominate them, be it Arsenal or West Ham. I'm still confident because we create chances. It'll come. I'm confident in my team. We just have to pay attention to the small details.”

Seattle advance into the MLS Cup

            Seattle Sounders are now on their way to the clubs first ever MLS Cup final appearance, and tomorrow will find out their opposition. After securing a 1-0 win in the second leg vs. the Colorado Rapids, they won 3-1 in aggregate. Much of this can be created to forward, Jordan Morris, who scored two out of the three goals for the Seattle Sounders. On Wednesday November 30th, Toronto FC will play the Montreal Impact who are winning 3-2 on aggregate.

Big Day in Cincinnati

            On November 29th, 2016 it could be one of Cincinnati’s most important dates as MLS Commissioner, Don Garber. FC Cincinnati has been the hottest name on the market for a potential MLS Expansion team, and the city of Cincinnati wants it. Crushing record crowds throughout the season, and having over 30 thousand fans at their final home game, Garber is coming for a reason. FC GM had to say, “Cincinnati is a city on the rise and so is soccer,” FC Cincinnati general manager Jeff Berding told The Cincinnati Enquirer. “We’ve created an environment for a professional soccer team to be successful.” The idea of having a state MLS rivalry between the Columbus Crew, and FC Cincinnati could be an amazing derby and have Ohio split.

EFL Cup Fixtures- Tuesday 11/29 & Wednesday 11/30

Newcastle United vs. Hull City

            Prediction~ 2-0 in favor of Newcastle

Liverpool vs. Leeds United

            Prediction~ Liverpool winning 3-0

Arsenal vs. Southampton

            Prediction~ Southampton 1-0

Manchester United vs. West Ham

            Prediction~ Manchester United 2-0

2017 FIFA Confederation Cup Draw-

            The 2017 Confederation Cup in Russia draw took place this Saturday, November 26th. While the Cup only contains eight nations it acts as a test for host nation Russia, as they will be holding the World Cup the following year. Being contested by the winner of six of FIFA’s confederations including, UEFA, CONMEBOL, CONCACAF, CAF, AFC, and OFC. Making up only six teams, the other two nations come from the winner of the FIFA World Cup, and the host country. Now with knowledge of how the teams are compiled let’s take a look at whose qualified for it.

Australia-

            Australia qualified for Russia 2017 by winning the 2015 AFC Asian Cup. The Socceroos lifted the trophy on home soil, edging out Korea Republic 2-1 in a dramatic final on 31 January 2015.

Germany-

            By winning the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil, Germany guaranteed themselves a slot at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.

Portugal-

            Portugal beat France 1-0 in extra-time of the UEFA EURO 2016 final on 10 July 2016 to earn the right to represent Europe at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.

Russia-

            As tournament hosts, Russia qualify automatically for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Mexico-

            2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup winners Mexico won a one-match head-to-head play-off against 2013 Gold Cup champions USA to seal their place at Russia 2017.

New Zealand-

            New Zealand won the OFC Nations Cup, which was played in Papua New Guinea May-June 2016, and they will represent Oceania at the FIFA Confederations Cup Russia 2017.

Chile-

            Chile will compete in the FIFA Confederations Cup for the first time after winning the 2015 Copa America. The hosts of the South American showpiece triumphed, beating Argentina 4-1 on penalties.

Champion of Africa-

            The 2017 CAF Africa Cup of Nations, which will be held in Gabon between 14 January and 5 February 2017, will determine which team flies the flag for Africa at the FIFA Confederations Cup.

            With only the winner of the Africa Cup of Nations, to still be decided for the 8th team. We can now take a look at what teams ended up in their two respective groups.

Group A-

·      Russia

·      New Zealand

·      Portugal

·      Mexico

Group B-

·      Chile

·      Australia

·      Germany

·      Champion of Africa

Predictions-

            I see Portugal winning Group A, and Mexico being runner ups. With Germany topping Group A, and Chile coming in second place.

            Tournament winner’s Chile

Transfer Tuesday- USA

Bruce Arena to United States

            After the United States Men’s National team announced they’d relieved Jürgen Klinsmann of his managerial duties, their new boss has been announced. With formed USMNT manager, Bruce Arena, being named manager of a club in a downward spiral. Being his second spell for the national team he will be familiar with the facility and how to run the program. Some notable records from his first spell include:

·      Eight-year tenure from 1998-2006. With a record of 71-30-29, the Brooklyn-born manager is by far the winningest coach in U.S. MNT history as well as the only head coach to lead the USA at two FIFA World Cups.

·      Arena also led the U.S. to its second and third regional titles with championships at the 2002 and 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cups, as well as a third-place finish at the 1999 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Manchester stays Zlatan for Another Season

            Manchester United have confirmed they have activated a clause in Ibrahimović’s contract to extend his current deal. Currently 35 years old, his new contract will run him into 36 which seems pretty old for an elite club. But players like Zlatan only come once in a lifetime and losing him would be devastating. After signing his new contract Zlatan told the press, “I've been in the game for 20 years, and while I'm getting older, I feel I am getting better as I get older," Ibrahimović continued. "I am shining in one way or another, but if you want me to shine even more then I will try and do it for you!”

Frank Lampard to?

            Since Frank Lampard announced he’d be leaving New York FC, the media has been flocking with reported information. But at 38 years old could he still offer enough support to get a major European club to sign him? Reports have emerged that Newcastle, and Crystal Palace are both front runners to get his signature. With the January transferring windowing opening quick, what major club will come calling for him is the question.

Joe Hart to Torino

            Joe Hart has experienced a great start to his loan deal at Torino FC, but now Torino would like him to stay. The problem that occurs is Hart is contracted at City until 2019, and they cannot afford to purchase him. Now Torino will ask Manchester City to extend his loan deal by another year, and pay a larger portion of his salary.

Daniel Sturridge to Southampton?

            The Saints are reported to be offering Liverpool a £25 million pound bid, that’d first see a loan deal with the possibility to purchase. Daniel Sturridge has endowed a rough spell at Anfeild, and the Saints are looking to give him a way out. With the 2018 World Cup, Sturridge needs to be starting regularly and getting more first team minutes if he wants to make the English squad. But Southampton could be too small of a route if he does decide to leave. Which then leaves it to where would he go? Possible logistic suitors could include Tottenham, Chelsea and other larger European clubs coming for him.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 8

United States Men’s Soccer part ways with Klinsmann

            The United States have just announced they have parted ways with manager, Jürgen Klinsmann. After starting his reign as manager on July 29th, 2011 he’s lead the US to a 55-27-16 record. U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati released a statement and said, “We want to thank Jürgen for his hard work and commitment during these last five years. He took pride in having the responsibility of steering the program, and there were considerable achievements along the way.” His achievements while manager include a 12 game winning streak in 2013, and in 2014 getting out of the “Group of Death”, and reaching the round of 16 in the World Cup. For me personally I still uneasy with the sudden departure of their manager. Though he’s lost the opening two fixtures vs. Mexico, and Costa Rica, it will now leave the squad in a time of panic.

The Return of Yaya Toure

            When Pep Guardiola arrived at Manchester City, he let Yaya Toure know he wasn’t part of his plans, and should seek to transfer elsewhere. This caused a huge stir with media and his agent who had some very harsh words to say. But this weekend vs. Crystal Palace, saw the 33-year-old start for the first time since August. Not only did Toure score but he netted twice in their victory this weekend.

Dante opens up on Balotelli

            Former Bayern Munich and Brazilian center back, Dante opened up on how he feels about Balotelli. When Nice first announced the arrival of Mario Balotelli, from Liverpool. He felt that Mario would be a lot crazier, like the media makes him out to be. But in a recent interview he said, "As I often tell him, he impresses me when he's focused, and doesn't get distracted with referees and defenders who try to provoke him. In training, he makes me suffer a lot, but I can't be nasty with him: the whole club and all the supporters would come down on me hard if I damaged him." The pair seem to be flourishing at Nice and could win Ligue 1 if they continue to fight to get better.

Ronaldo embarrasses Atletico

            In recent seasons the Madrid Derby, between Atletico and Real, has been some of the most intense fixtures in the game. Two of them in recent years being in the Champions League Final, and many in La Liga. But one Real Madrid perhaps has the best player in the world, you can expect to win. Real lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation vs. Atletico this weekend, which allowed for Cristiano Ronaldo to flourish. He scored a hat trick, allowing Real to win 3-0, with Ronaldo now scoring eight goals in nine league appearances.

Wayne Rooney to Slow?

            After Wayne Rooney has started to appear on the bench more than being on the pitch many believed it was due to poor form. Partly yes that could be the reason but another is said to be he’s just not fast enough anymore. Being 31, his age is catching up with him and slowing down is a big problem. Mourinho told the press after the match, “I believed ones like Juan Mata, Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford were faster than Wayne, better attacking opponents one-to-one in the last line. I thought it was the best option.” Though United did tie the game, could this be another reason Rooney should look elsewhere to continue playing football? With Manchester United’s midfield trio, Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, and Michael Carrick have all clicked nicely meaning Rooney won’t break in there either.

MLS Cup Final Almost Here!

Montreal vs. Toronto FC- 21 November 2016

Seattle vs. Colorado- 21 November 2016

Week 12 Fixtures and Predictions-

            With the international break coming to an end, Premier League football is starting back up. Many players have come back as injured or doubtful which could play big roles in how teams do.

Saturday November 19th

Manchester United vs. Arsenal

            An early morning kickoff, with two of the biggest English clubs playing in a classic Manchester United vs. Arsenal fixture. The main headline for both clubs is their main starters being injured for this game. Likes of Zlatan Ibrahimović, Eric Bailly, Carzola are all doubtful to play. Being played at Old Trafford, Man United will need their home fans as a twelfth player. This came will most likely come down to whoever can finish the limited amount of opportunities, and which team will fight till the finish. I see this game going 1-0 in favor of the Red Devils.

Sunderland vs. Hull City

            You know your squad is doing bad when twelve weeks in your already taking about Premier League survival. Both Sunderland and Hull City are in the relegation zone with the gap to escape widening by the week. Sunderland did secure a win in their last fixture, where Hull on the overhand haven’t won a game since Week 3. I see this game going 2-0 in favor of Sunderland.

Watford vs. Leicester City

            If you predicted both clubs position at this time before the campaign started, you would have guessed their places would be switched around. Watford sit in 8th place while Leicester City are currently in 14th place, and continuing to struggle. I see this game going in a 2-2 tie, with Watford using the home field in their advantage.

Crystal Palace vs. Manchester City

            Crystal Palace continue to play how they did last season, where they couldn’t keep a consistent form. Now facing Manchester City at home, their misery could continue to mount as their currently in 16th place with 11 points. Man City, have fallen in recent weeks with multiple diminishing displays and are in 3rd now. For me this game will go 0-3, with Manchester City taking home an easy three points.

Everton vs. Swansea City

            Everton have started their campaign on an excellent spell, and Swansea could be ready to shock them. Swansea are in 19th place with only 5 points, but American manager Bob Bradley will look to change their form. A win in this match for Everton could see them jump up to high as 5th place. I see Swansea pulling off a win away from home in a 1-2 ordeal.

Stoke City vs. AFC Bournemouth

            A clash of two mid table teams should bring a great fixture, as both teams need points. Stoke being at home will have the upper hand and I see them winning 2-0.

Southampton vs. Liverpool

            Liverpool FC, currently sit in first place with 26 points with two seasons ago this would be imaginable. Southampton though will be looking to end their form and get a win for themselves. If Southampton can strike first, and shout down Coutinho, they could pull off the shock of the weekend.

Tottenham Hotspur vs. West Ham United

            Tottenham playing in front of their home fans, and being on a winning streak could spell disaster for West Ham. West Ham are currently in 17th place don’t look to be going anywhere soon. With Harry Kane back and healthy this game could easily get out of hand, and I see the final score being 4-0 Spurs.

Sunday November 20th

Middlesbrough vs. Chelsea

            Middlesbrough should stand no chance competing with Chelsea, and could end up getting embarrassed if they aren’t firm in the back. For Chelsea they are title contenders right now and a win in a most being in second place. For me I see Chelsea winning this match 3-0, with Middlesbrough biggest threat being the crowd.

Monday November 21st

West Brom vs. Burnley

            Burnley have been on a good run of football in the past month, and I see them beating West Brom at home. The game should be tight but I believe they can edge out West Brom, with a late goal winning 1-0.

International Break Wrap-

Time for Klinsmann to go?

            Jürgen Klinsmann, has always been a coach on the hot seat due to his inability to keep the United States in a winning form. After being beat 2-1 by Mexico, in a famous fixture matters continue to mount on the manager. Tuesday night, Costa Rica hosted the US which in the last meeting the United States won 4-0 in this summer’s Copa America. This time Costa Rica had the last laugh, humiliating them 4-0 in front of their home crowd. Los Ticos scored a goal in the first half, and pilled on three more in the second half. With tactics starting to look questionable and players looking uncomfortable who should the Americans turn to?

Memphis Depay who?

            Less than two seasons ago Memphis Depay was lighting up the spotlight and scoring spectacular goals making a name for himself. But sense his arrival to Manchester United in the summer of 2015, all his magic has seemed to disappear. Hopefully this international break has changed his state of mind and get him going again. Netherlands faced Luxembourg on Sunday, and Memphis was there to light up the goal. Scoring two goals, which one was from a direct free kick has got him going again. The question remains are will Memphis stay at United or opt for the easy way out? Everton have said to be interested in signing the former PSV winger, but a loan deal could be more ideal. At only 22, he needs more time to develop and you can see what he’s capable of when has playing. For Mourinho could he start Depay Saturday vs. Arsenal?

Should Gareth Southgate be England’s next manager?

            Since Sam Allardyce was fired by the FA for illegal handling of the England National team, Gareth Southgate has been the interim manager. Southgate was handed his first managerial role at Middlesbrough in June 2006 after Steve McClaren had left to manage England. His record at Middlesbrough was 47-41-62, which saw his career there last only about 3 years. But after managing England in his first four games, they’ve went 2-2-0 and haven’t lost yet. His record should be 3-1-0, but England gave Spain two late minute goals to tie up the game. Now it’s down to the English FA if they hand him the prestigious job.

Argentina boycott the media

            After Argentina beat Colombia 3-0 on Tuesday night, Messi announced Argentina would be boycotting the media. The reason being, the media claims forward Ezequiel Lavezzi, used marijuana at the Argentina practice facility. Messi told the press, “"We have made the decision not to talk to the press anymore, obviously you know why," the Argentina captain said.

"There were a lot of accusations, a lot of disrespect, and the accusations they made against 'Pocho' [Lavezzi] are very serious." Since the news came out Lavezzi, has publically said he will be taking legal action vs. the person who started the claim. For Argentina though they should be happy Messi returned to their squad.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 7

Messi to leave Barcelona?

            Lionel Messi leaving Barcelona seems far-fetched to many people, but has gained attention recently. In May of 2014 Messi signed a contract extension running into the summer of 2018. According to Spanish media Marca, Messi won’t consider a new contract until June of 2018 when his contract runs out. At only 29 right now he’d be 31 in 2 years and still be at the prime of his career. This could be a huge worry for the Catalan club as their prize possession could leave for nothing. Barca are reportedly wanting to seal new deals/extensions to all current players that have a long term future with the club. So by January we could see Messi with a new bumper deal or more news on what’s happening behind closed doors.

Usain Bolt to Dortmund?

         Usain Bolt will be allowed to train with Borussia Dortmund with CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke confirming the news. Bolt is 30 years old and has never played professional football but thinks he’s up for the challenge. Watzke said when being asking about will Bolt actually join the squad, “We do not have to talk about us offering him a contract," he added. "But we feel flattered that he wants to train with us. It is an honor." The deal seems more of a sponsorship advertisement with both parties being sponsored by Puma. The likelihood that Bolt actually signs a contract with Dortmund seems slim to none, but who wouldn’t love to see the fastest man on the earth chasing down a long ball?

Schweinsteiger ready to Play?

            Bastin Schweinsteiger was given the cold shoulder by newly appointed manager, Jose Mourinho this summer. After a poor slip in form and multiple injuries to the squad, Bastin was granted permission to train with the first team again, and is now looking to get his chance to prove he’s ready. While giving an interview with EuroSport he said, "Hopefully I will be given a chance. I look forward to training every day and being able to train with the team. I do not know if I will get a chance but I hope so. If I am needed, I will give everything - I am ready. I still feel fit at 32 and certainly want to play more years at the top level and, of course, I want to win things. We won the FA Cup last year and that was also one of my aims. Of course it would be great to play for United in the Premier League and perhaps win it.” The question remains though if Mourinho will trust him or if this is being done on purpose. Many feel this could be happening to get Schweinsteiger in shape, and give him time so a club will come calling for his signature. Either way, this hasn’t been the best scenario and many fans have voiced their displeasure for the treatment he received.

Christian Pulisic runs the show

            At only 18 years old, Pulisic is showing Klinsmann he deserves to be in the starting 11. When the US started in their 3-5-2 it was actually a 3-4-3 according to the manager. With Pulisic given free rein to move as he pleases. It turned out Friday vs. Mexico, that the US weren’t ready to switch formations yet and they had to go back to their traditional formation. The United States have themselves a huge talent, and a man to lead their nation. I expect Pulisic to start Tuesday vs. Costa Rica.

USA vs. Mexico- The end of Dos A Cero

            Dos A Cero, the United States famous winning score ends. Being born in 2001 when the United States defeated Mexico 2-0 in a World Cup Qualifying match, the trend continued until 2016. When the lineup first was released many were skeptic of the lineup and pondered why Klinsmann would change formations. Depending on who you ask it was a 3-5-2 or a 3-4-3, where Christian Pulisic had complete freedom. When Klinsmann was asked why he’d start three in the back he said, “We trained that. It went really well in training,” Klinsmann said afterward. “The key in that system is that your central midfielders need to get into these one-on-one battles. That’s something that was not happening in the first 25 to 30 minutes. No Michael Bradley, no Jermaine [Jones] got into these battles. Their players could roam, and that puts you in difficulties. It gave them their chances. So we changed it back.”

            The game was a classic, being played in Columbus and in the cool fall Ohio temperature. An evening kickoff allowed the crowd to be even more engaged and atmosphere to build up the game. For the opening ceremony U.S. put on a show spelling “One Team, One Nation” the game was ready. All momentum started in Mexico’s favor, with the United States defense looking shaky. The game continued to be dominated by Mexico, where they hit the post twice within the first two minutes. But in the 20th minute Miguel Layun put Mexico up 1-0, giving them the lead. In the 26th minute, Andres Guardado went down injured, allowing the U.S. to have time to change tactics. With the United States back into their routine formation, it allowed for the crowd to get back behind them. The game went into the half 1-0, in favor of Mexico.

            With the United States back into their normal formation it seemed like a different game for them. Dominating the midfield and getting a lot of crosses into the box, the momentum was going in favor of the home team. In the 49th minute Bobby Wood, of the USA, was played through scoring to tie the game. The second half turned into an open affair with both teams having multiple changes throughout the second half. Unfortunately, Mexico legend Marquez had the final say, as his headed goal gave the visitors the perfect start to qualifying. Scoring in the 89th minute, the home nation had barely anytime to try to even up the score line. Making the game finish 1-2, with the Dos A Cero curse ending. Now the United States will play Costa Rica on November 15th, where the United States need an important three points.

Transfer Tuesday- Winter Specia

            It may be early in the start of the 2016-17 campaign but the January Transfer Window will be here before you know. So far we’ve seen great successes with Summer Transfer including Zlatan Ibrahimović, but have also seen major failures. Now with only two months till the next transfer timeframe begins, news is already coming out who will leave.

Dimitri Payet- West Ham United to PSG

            Last season Payet lit up the midfield and caught lots of attention across the football world. Earlier this year he did sign a contract extension, but with West Ham’s form he could leave. Turing 30 soon, West Ham could cash in on the Frenchmen before he gets past his peak and reinvest in their squad. The chances seem slim with West Ham needing to keep all their main players.

Bastin Schweinsteiger- Manchester United to MLS?

            Schweinsteiger, who recently turned 32 in August, may be on his way out this January. When Jose Mourinho was handed manager of the Red Devils, he exiled Bastin from the start. Reports have come out that United have offered him the “Golden Handshake” which would give him a £11 million buyout. From their it could get interesting in who’d be interested in the once great German midfielder, with the MLS and Everton said to be interested.

Cesc Fabregas- Chelsea to West Ham (Loan)

            Fabregas arrived at Chelsea from a transfer from Spanish superpowers, FC Barcelona. When he arrived he was regarded as one of Europe’s greatest midfielders and was called a trader since he once played for Arsenal. Once the arrival of Antonio Conte, new Chelsea Manager, started messing with the Chelsea squad, Cesc wasn’t part of his plans. At 29 years old, he needs to leave to still have time to flourish at a top tier club and West Ham want him. Reporters say he will only leave for a top club and West Ham isn’t one of them.

Antione Griezmann- Atletico Madrid to Manchester United?

            Manchester United recently broke the transfer record bringing Paul Pogba back to Manchester United this summer, and don’t seem to be slowing down on spending. Pogba being French, plays with one of Europe’s top and rising talents Griezmann. Their friendship seems to be very close and they keep close contact. When asked about Pogba and playing with him he stated:

"I always ask Paul Pogba about Manchester United," Griezmann was quoted as saying in the Daily Star. I think they are a huge club with a really good infrastructure. I ask Paul about some of the players, and if they're really that good, or if Jose Mourinho is really that good. You hear a lot of things (speculation) about Manchester United and Paris St Germain but right now I don't see me moving to a new club. But it would be awesome to play alongside Paul one day."

This should be alarming news for United officials, who will need to keep close tabs on him. The deal doesn’t look likely this winter but within the next two years could very likely happen. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 6

Sunderland Finally Win

            After 11 Weeks of Premier League soccer, Sunderland have finally secured their first win of the season. Now with only 5 points out of a possible 33, they have a long way to go if they hope to make it into next season. Their next game will be November 19th at The Stadium of Lights vs. Hull City, who haven’t won in 8 weeks. This could turn out to be a great turning point in their season with David Moyes needing to win.

Ronaldo Signs New 5 Year Deal

            Yes, that’s correct. Cristiano Ronaldo has signed a new 5-year contract extension bringing him into 2021. That means if he’s to finish all five years at Madrid, Ronaldo would be 36 when his contract expires. When asked about how he feels on the new contract he said, “I want to keep making history and I'm sure that in the next five years I will keep scoring goals and winning trophies with the best club in the world. I want to finish my career at this club but I want this to be my penultimate contract.” His reported contract will stay at the same salary of £365,000 a week, keeping him even with Messi as the highest paid players. Believing he can play until he’s 41 could turn out to be a lot of money for Real to keep paying for someone that age.

Falcao Back to Scoring?

            Radamel Falcao, used to be one of Europeans most prolific forwards in the game. After suffering an ACL Tear, his career dramatically changed. He first arrived in Manchester in 2014 in a transfer deadline loan. After only scoring 4 goals in all competition for Manchester United in their 2014-15 campaign, Falcao was unloaded to Chelsea. For Chelsea the following season they believed they could get Falcao back to his threating ways, but like United he never seemed to click. Scoring only 3 goals for Chelsea, he then returned back to AS Monaco. Now being 30 years old his scoring has seemed to clicked again. Netting 5 goals in his last four matches, he received the call he’s been waiting for. The chance to return and play for Colombia in the international stage again.

Zlatan Finally Scores and Sets Record Doing So

            Zlatan Ibrahimović finally scores after going on his longest goal drought of his career. After going 6 consecutive games without a goal, Zlatan netted two goals vs. Swansea City. But along the way he picked up a yellow card, making him unavailable for the next fixture against Arsenal. When asked about the card he said, “It is what it is. In England, the football is hard, it's physical. I just have to accept it. I've got to be professional. I'm sorry I am suspended for the next game. I wish I wasn't as it's a game I really wanted to play in.”

EPL Week 11 Fixtures and Predictions

Saturday November 5th

Manchester City vs. Middlesbrough

            Manchester City played FC Barcelona in a midweek Champions League match, in which they’ve never won against the Spanish opposition. Manager Pep Guardiola set them up with the right momentum and they came out with a 3-1 commanding victory. This win should help them in league play which they’ve been struggling in, and need to turn around. Middlesbrough should stand no chance against City and the game could go 3-0 in favor of Man City.

Bournemouth vs. Sunderland

            Sunderland have officially had the worst start to a Premier League campaign in the history of the league. After 10 games they’ve only managed to take 2 points making them probable to be regulated. Bournemouth sit in the middle of the table with 12 points and are going in the right direction. I see Bournemouth winning this match with Sunderland having no attacking flair.

Burnley vs. Crystal Palace

            Burnley and Crystal Palace both sit in the bottom half of the table with 11 points apiece. With Palace spending a large sum of money this summer they should be doing better and need to demand more from their main players. With the likes of Zaha, Townsend and Benteke I see Crystal Palace winning this fixture.

West Ham United vs. Stoke City

            West Ham after having an impressive season last year were looking to make it into European football this season. But now they are struggling to keep out of the regulation zone being in 17th place. Stoke too in recent seasons have seemed to be a middle table team not looking to push too far into the table. This game I see going 2-2 with neither side being able to control the game.

Chelsea vs. Everton

            Chelsea have returned to their winning ways with the appointment of their new manager, but will face a tough opposition. Everton are in 6th place with 18 points and staying in the title race means they most win. I see Everton upsetting Chelsea 2-1 and winning the match.

Sunday November 6th

Arsenal vs. Tottenham Hotspur

            The London derby will be Week 11’s biggest match up and bring out some great soccer. Harry Kane has been declared fit to play which will be a huge help for Tottenham, at the same time worrying Arsenal. I see this match ending in a 1-1 draw.

Hull City vs. Southampton

            Hull City continue to struggle and I don’t see their luck changing Sunday. Therefore, I see Southampton winning 2-0.

Liverpool vs. Watford

            Liverpool have started their campaign in great fashion but so have Watford. I can see Watford stealing a point in this match with them currently sitting in 7th place.

Swansea City vs. Manchester United

            Manchester United’s struggles continue to mount for them, with losing to Fenerbache Thursday. Paul Pogba also picked up an injury during the match which will worry many with the poor form of United. I see the Red Devils picking up a 2-0 win but a whole new looking lineup. United need to refresh their squad and use new tactics and ideas to start winning again.

Leicester City vs. West Bromwich Albion

            Leicester City continue to struggle in the league but in European play flourish. They still are favorites in this match and I see them winning 2-0.

Champions League Results and Fixtures-

Manchester City vs. Barcelona

            Barcelona arrived in Manchester, England believing they’d continue their winning streak vs Manchester City which was 5 consecutive wins. Messi opened up the scoring in the 21st minute and the game seemed to be going all in favor of the Spanish team. But Gundogan answered for Manchester City in the 39th tying the game up, giving the Manchester players belief. After the half time talk City came out to play and ran riot on Barcelona. The game ended 3-1 in favor of Manchester City, giving them their first win over the Spanish team.

Arsenal barely hold off to win

            Ludogorets Razgrad hosted Arsenal in game 4 of Group A play. For Ludogorets they started off the game strong two goals inside the opening 15 minutes as Jonathan Cafu and Claudiu Keseru struck. Arsenal were able to tie up the score by netting two goals of their own before half from Granit Xhaka and Olivier Giroud. Luckily for the London team Mesut Ozil scored a crucial goal in the 87th minute to give them a 3-2 win.

PSV Eindhoven vs. Bayern Munich

            PSV hosted Bayern Munich, who in their last meeting got beat 4-1 in Munich. After Bayern lost to Atletico Madrid winning this match was a necessity to try to win their respective group. Santiago Arias have PSV hope in the 14th minute when he scored from the run of play but Lewandowski answered with a goal of his own. In the 34th and 73rd minute Robert Lewandowski was able to score to finish the game 2-1. Group D is all but finish now with Atletico and Bayern fighting for first place within the group. After four games PSV and Rostov sit at the bottom with only 1 point, and making it mathematically impossible to advance.

FC Basel vs Paris Saint-Germain

            Blaise Matuidi opened up the scoring for PSG in the 43rd and gave them a half time lead of one to zero. Luca Zuffi equalized the score in the 76th minute with a 25-yard wonder goal, looking to seal a point for the hosts. But luckily for Paris Thomas Meunier scored in the 90th minute to give PSG three points and guarantee their place in the Round of 16.

Griezmann the Hero

            In recent years French National Antoine Griezmann has developed himself to be one of the world’s best forwards. For Atletico he’s been their savior multiple times this season and was their again to save the day. He started off his scoring in the 28th minute vs Rostov playing at home. Rostov were able to equal the score in the 30th minute with a goal from Sardar Azmoun bring the game level at half. With the game in the dying minutes it seemed both teams would come away with a draw, but Griezmann scored again in the 93rd minute sealing the victory. Then win gives them a three-point advantage over Bayern Munich in their group.

 

 

 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 5

Gareth Bale Extends Contract

Gareth Bale has signed a contract extension with Real Madrid making his new contract run until 2022. When asked about what he had to say about Madrid and what his future holds he said, "There have been a lot of great moments, in football there are always ups and downs," Bale said. "Winning the Champions League, for this club, is the pinnacle. There have been bad moments too, that always happens wherever you are, but the important thing is how you react.” Since arriving from Tottenham in 2013 he’s scored 62 goals and raked in 34 assists in 135 games. Now being tied down for another 6 years its showed Premier League clubs that he’s not moving and to stay away from him.

Balotelli is on Fire

            Mario Balotelli has scored again since his arrival to Nice and almost matched a record. Scoring 6 goals in five games he only sits behind Zlatan Ibrahimović who scored 7 in his first five games. While receiving praise from manager Lucien Favre he also said, “"He made a great run for his goal. He's very good in those sorts of situations," Favre, who has used the Italy international sparingly, said on the club's official website. "He had had a week of complete rest and then a normal week.”

Manchester United’s Struggles Continue

            After weeks of inconstant play from the Red Devils, many believed they could turn their season around after a midweek win against Manchester City. Facing Burnley in Week 10, United were up against the perfect opposition to get vital points. But their luck didn’t continue after dominating the game and the possession of the ball. Having 37 shots with 11 on goal, 19 corner and 72% possession it still wasn’t enough to win. It seemed almost as the game wasn’t meant to be won with those crazy statics in their favor. To make matters even worse for Manchester Jose Mourinho was sent to the stands for disagreement with the refs and Ander Herrera received a red card. The game ended 1-1 with Old Trafford in massive disappointment for not winning the fixture that should have been easy. Luckily for Bastian Schweinsteiger he’s been granted permission to train with the Manchester United first team again and could be a big mental boost.

Newcastle Keep Winning

            Newcastle United are in the form of their life and seem unlikely to be beaten. With their 2-1 win this weekend vs Preston North End they’ve won six consecutive fixtures and are currently in first place. After 15 matches for Newcastle they sit in first place with 34 points and a +20 goal differential. For United getting back into the Premier League is massive so every win is just as important as the first.

Manchester City vs Barcelona

            Tomorrow will bring you two of Europe’s finest football teams in the world, with Manchester City hosting FC Barcelona. After City faced Barca earlier in the Champions League they were embarrassed 4-0 by the Spanish giants. The last five meetings have gone in favor of Barcelona and I don’t see the sixth game ending the trend either. 

EFL CUP- Quarterfinals Set

            The EFL Cup’s quarterfinal are all set with the final 8 teams being matched with their opponent. First to be understand the tournament let’s see how you make it to this stage of the cup. Being an annual knockout football competition in England, its open to any club in the top four divisions of English Football. Theses leagues include the English Premier League, Championship (2nd highest league in England), League One, and League two, accounting for 92 possible competitors. Founded in 1960 The tournament is played over seven rounds, with single leg ties throughout, except the semi-finals. The final is held at Wembley Stadium which is the only tie in the competition played on a weekend. Winners receive the EFL Cup, and an automatic place into European Football, Europa League. Currently Liverpool FC are the most dominant in this cup with 8 wins and 12 final appearances.

Hull City vs. Newcastle United

            Hull City, a Premier League Club, will face Newcastle United, a Championship Club, in the quarterfinals of the cup. Normally a Premier League squad would be heavy favorites in winning this tie but Newcastle are favorites to many. After just being relegated last season, manager Rafael Benitez has come in and transformed the club back into a Premier League playing squad. Many believe Newcastle will bounce right back up into the EPL, and currently sit in first place with 31 points from 14 games. After a commanding 6-0 win vs. Preston in the Round of 16 it saw them advance. For Hull City on the other hand they barely edged out Bristol City in a 2-1 victory. For me I see Newcastle United advancing into the finals and depending on who they draw could go all the way. Just because they’re in the 2nd division doesn’t mean they aren’t capable of playing with the best.

Manchester United vs. West Ham United

            After a humiliating 4-0 defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge over the weekend, United faced Manchester City in the Round of 16. The Manchester Derby is one of the greatest soccer rivalries in the sport and tonight Manchester lit up red. A cross from Zlatan to Mata was enough to give United a 1-0 victory and possibly kick start their season. For West Ham they have been struggling this EPL campaign which could turn out to hurt them severely. With their main focus on doing better in league play they could be left to play a weak starting 11 vs. United. I see this match going in favor of the Red Devils as their squad depth is much larger then West Ham’s.

Liverpool vs. Leeds United

            Both clubs faced a challenging Round of 16 to make it into the quart finals of the cup. Leeds United were lucky enough to defeat Norwich City 3-2 in a penalty shootout. For Liverpool they faced a much tougher opposition by playing Tottenham. Luckily for Liverpool Daniel Sturridge struck two goals to put them through. Leeds United being a Championship Club will face a very tough challenge with Liverpool. The likely hood of an upset is slim, for I see Liverpool reaching the semifinals.

Arsenal vs. Southampton

            Southampton were lucky to beat Sunderland in the Round of 16, which could be a scary fate for them. Sunderland who currently sit in 20th place of the Premier League is struggling massively and can’t find players to step up. For Southampton though they advanced with an easy 2-0-win vs Reading and will now look to beat Arsenal. If there will be a major upset this will be the game, as Arsenal may have to choice between resting players or facing injury. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 4

Chelsea Flourish, United Blunder

            Chelsea vs. Manchester United was thought to be a close match up that would cause great excitement, but ended up be a thrashing. 30 seconds into the game a long ball from Marcos Alonso caused United’s defense to flounder setting Pedro up for an easy tap in. From that moment on the game was all in favor of the home team Chelsea and only continued to get worse for the Red Devils. Chelsea with overwhelming control on the game had a corner in the 21st minute that say Gary Cahill smash in a goal to put the Blues up 2-0. To make matters even worse Eden Hazard added to the misery of the United squad putting in another goal in the 62nd minute, turning the game into a horror show. Wrapping up the game was N’Golo Kante who put a low finessed shot into the back of the net in the 70th minute. A match that was supposed to be special with Jose Mourinho returning to his pervious managerial ground, but ended with the United team looking demoralized. Manchester United will play Manchester City on Wednesday for the Capital One Cup which could be a tipping point for them.

The Struggling City

            After Manchester United endured a humiliating 4-0 defeat by Chelsea, the other team in Manchester is also lacking. Winless in their last four matches Pep Guardiola’s squad was desperate to take three points vs. Southampton. City defender John Stones had a poor pass seized by Southampton player Nathan Redmond in the 27th minute which lead to a Southampton goal. Luckily for Manchester City youngster Iheanacho, who came on at halftime, was able to equal the score in the 55th minute. After the game ended in a 1-1 draw Iheanacho told reporters, “Everyone expects high for our team but we are human beings as well. We are footballers, we can make mistakes and we can lose games. We just keep moving, keep our heads straight and focus on the next games.” This tied Guardiola’s longest winless streak as a manager and could go even further playing their rivalries this Wednesday.

Renato Sanches 2016 Golden Boy Award

            The Portugal and Bayern Munich midfielder has been awarded the 2016’s European Golden Boy Award. An annual award given to the most impressive under 21-year-old in Europe, has been won by many great footballers. A list including Paul Pogba, Wayne Rooney and Mario Balotelli have all previously won the award. Sanches at only 19 arrived this summer from Benfica on a £23-million-pound transfer and has been lighting up the midfield since. After helping Portugal win the Euro’s 2016, it saw him top Manchester United’s Marcus Rashford for the award. This also seems him being the first Portuguese player to win this award after Cristiano Ronaldo came in second place to Wayne Rooney. Last season saw Manchester United’s Anthony Martial win the prestigious award after having an amazing debut season for the club. For Sanches his future looks bright and for the other 39 players who were named contenders for the trophy. 

Soccer Saturday

Jose Mourinho is going Home

            The Chosen One is going home but how you think. After becoming manager of Manchester United this summer he will be managing at Stamford Bridge this Sunday. For both clubs neither have started their campaign how they’ve wished but could flip around their momentum here. United are coming to this fixture after a hard fought tie vs Liverpool last weekend, giving them the need for 3 points. Where Chelsea on the other hand are coming off a demanding three zero-win vs league winners Leicester City. Will this match see Jose Mourinho use his tactics of parking the bus or will he go out fighting to win? When Marcus Rashford gave an interview with MUFC TV he said, “They have a very strong squad. They've been a bit up and down but the manager has got them in a good shape and structure, and I think they've got a good plan of where they want to be. I think they're in a similar situation as us." I see this game ending in 1-0 in favor of Manchester United, with a counter attack going in their favor.

Arsenal Drop Points

            In Week 9 of EPL play Arsenal stat on top of the table with Manchester City with 19 points and no loses. This match would prove to be frustrating for the Arsenal fans, player and manager with the commentator saying, “Whistles around the Emirates for Victor Valdes as the Arsenal fans deem him to be timewasting. There’s a lot of frustration here and Arsene Wenger has seen the need to make changes.” With the fixture ending 0-0 it sees Arsenal sitting at the top of the league before Manchester City play tomorrow.

Liverpool vs. West Bromwich Albion

            Liverpool will host West Brom at Anfeild this Saturday afternoon. Liverpool will be in a mood to score after being held scoreless by Manchester United last weekend. The big news coming from the start lineup is Daniel Sturridge has been dropped from the starting 11. After failing to score in the Premier League this season while starting four games, Firmino has been given the forward role. Many people have questioned the form of Sturridge who hasn’t netted a goal since April. Twitter account @KickOff tweeted the fact “Liverpool have won 45%, drawn 45% and lost 10% of their last 20 home games.” Liverpool should be able to win the match with ease and continue their fight for European football.

Barcelona win a last minute thriller

            The top flight of Spanish Football this season has been a closely contested campaign with the top six teams all within 3 points of each other. Going into this match Barcelona were in fourth place, only two points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid, and Valencia were struggling in 15th. Valencia started their scoring with a 52nd minute goal from Munir El Haddadi, then taking the lead to 2-1 with a goal from Rodrigo in the 56th minute. But for Barca they always fight till the last minute scoring a 94th minute pk sending the Valencia team into uproar. The goals were scored by Messi in the 22nd, 94th minute and Suarez in the 62nd

UEFA Champions League- October 18-19

Barcelona vs. Manchester City-

            A match of great magnitude with the best teams from Spain and England just wrapped up and shocked many. A fixture that should of been a tight close game end up all the other way. The game started off with a 17th minute goal from Lionel Messi, and this wouldn’t be his last either. After taking much possession of the game the score also went the way of Barca. In the 53rd minute Manchester City keeper, Bravo, received a red card bringing the game to a blowout. In the 61st and 69th minute Messi scored two more goals making it a hat trick for the night. To add to the misery of Man City, Neymar struck again in the 89th minute sending England powerhouses back home in shame. Manchester City will have a lot to look at now after getting beat in every aspect of the game.

Arsenal vs. Ludogorets Razgrad-

            Arsenal vs. Ludogorets from the beginning was in heavy favorites for the London team. Starting in the 12th minute with an Alexis Sanchez goal, the goals kept coming for Arsenal. Arsenal continued to run rapid with goals from Theo Walcott (42'), Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain (46'), and Mesut Özil (56', 83', 87').

Lyon vs. Juventus-

            Juventus keep on winning and Lyon weren’t ready to stop their stride. After a goalless first half the match finally got interested in the second half. Juan Cuadrado in the 76th minute put Juventus up 1-0 with the game finishing 1-0. They now sit on top of their group with 7 points out of the first 3 games.

Real Madrid vs. Legia Warsaw-

            There was no let up on Tuesday night as the Warsaw were diminished, with Gareth Bale opening the scoring after 16 minutes. To make matters even worse Legia’s keeper had an own goal from Tomasz Jodlowiec doubling Real's lead.

Goals coming from: Gareth Bale (16'), Marco Asensio (37'), Tomasz Jodlowiec (19' OG), Lucas Vázquez (68'), and Álvaro Morata (84').

Leicester City vs. FC Copenhagen-

            Leicester City so far have started their EPL campaign in poor form but for their European play is a whole new story. Winning their first two matches of the CL campaign they started off with 6th points. Now facing FC Copenhagen, they wanted to keep their winning form going. Riyad Mahrez opened the scoring in the 40th minute and was enough to secure the three points. 

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 3

Leicester City’s Dream is Over

            After winning the 2015-16 English Premier League with odds of 5000-1, their odds were better this season. Leicester City’s dreams of playing in the Champions League again seems very unlikely. In Week 8 they were matched up against Chelsea, a team which they beat last season but not again. Getting thrashed 3-0, their problems now only seem to be mounting on the squad. After 8 games Leicester City sit in 13th place with a mire 8 points and no squad hope. Their only hope to stay in European Football could be winning the Champions League which they will play FC Copenhagen. The question now is did Vardy and Marhez make the right decision to stay?

Nice are the Real Deal

            It may only be Ligue 1, the highest league in France, but Nice are making a broad statement. With recent powerhouse PSG losing forward Zlatan Ibrahimović, the league seems like a whole new competition. At first when Nice signed Mario Balotelli many questioned if this was a good idea but look now. Scoring 5 goals in his first 5 games, he has Nice sitting at the top of the table. After 9 games they have 23 points and PSG are 4 points behind with 19. Their winning doesn’t end yet after beating Lyon, 2-0 in Week 9.

Manchester City held to a draw

            With the odds in their favor to win the match vs. Everton, Pep Guardiola’s starting 11 raised questions from the beginning. Not starting star forward Sergio Aguero and playing a 3 back system seemed very odd to must supporters. Both Kevin De Bruyne and Sergio Aguero missed penalty kicks that could have sealed the three points. But in the 64th minute Lukaku took the lead for Everton, that only last for 8 minutes. In the 72nd minute Nolito stroke for Manchester City evening the game to 1-1.

Neymar set to sign new deal

            After reporters came out and said Neymar was in talk with multiple European clubs this summer Barcelona are looking to tie him down. This Friday Neymar is reported to sign a 5-year deal that would go into June of 2021 and increase his current wages. This would see Neymar be 29 years old if he stayed for the length of the contract.

Liverpool vs. Manchester United end in a stalemate

            Liverpool vs. Manchester United is one of England’s greatest rivalries that many can’t wait to watch. Compared to most fixtures between these two clubs, which provides some of the most exciting soccer. This match could be seen as rather boring and hard to watch. From the beginning United used Jose Mourinho’s tactics of parking the bus. The method paid off with the match ending in a goal less draw. Liverpool dominated the possession but weren’t able to do anything with the ball.

EPL Week 8 Fixtures & Predictions

Saturday October 15th, 2016

Chelsea vs. Leicester City

            Week 8 of the English Premier League holds a great couple of top tier fixtures and this is one of them. Starting the weekend off with Leicester City playing at Stamford Bridge. After a rough couple of weeks for Chelsea, manager Conte has been feeling the pressure of being sacked. Recent betting giants have suspended betting on his future rising many questions whether it could be true. Both clubs haven’t started the season off as well they’d like too but could turn their season around with a big win. For Chelsea it will come down to Willian and Hazard being able to score and lead their team. Hazard has said he’d like to play in a number 10 role under Diego Costa but if his manager will listen could be another story. While Leicester City will be looking for help from their duo Vardy and Marhez, who both could have left for big money moves this summer. I see this match going in favor of Chelsea with a 2-0 win coming back strong from the International break.

AFC Bournemouth vs. Hull City

            Both clubs are lower table clubs who take every point seriously. Hull City started their campaign of strong winning the first three games in a row but aren’t looking good now. Takin only 1 point from the last 9 they will need to start winning again. For Bournemouth this will use their home field advantage as an 12th man and try to take three points. I see this match going 1-0 in favor of Bournemouth.

Arsenal vs. Swansea City

            Clubs Arsenal and Swansea City sit almost on the opposite side of the table, with Arsenal in 3rd and Swansea in 17th. Arsenal look like they’ll be too big of a threat on the attack for Swansea to be able to hold them off. This game could easily go 3-0 in favor of Arsenal.

Manchester City vs. Everton

            John Stones will come up against former side Everton when they come to the Etihad Stadium this Saturday. Everton will be in full strength and will be able to use new signing Bolasie in their attack. Man City will also need to be weary of Belgium forward Romelu Lukaku who can be a deciding factor. Even with Everton boasting their squad this summer City should win 2-1.

Stoke City vs. Sunderland

            With current standings this game is the toilet bowl of the EPL, with 19th ranked team hosting 20th ranked. Sunderland have only taken two points out of the possible 21 and are heavily favored to be regulated. Stoke on the other hand have only taken 1 more point then Sunderland to this point. For both clubs this year has been a disaster which seems to be to repetitive for these once great clubs. I see Sunderland winning this match with David Moyes being able to review his tactics.

West Bromwich vs. Tottenham Hotspurs

            Tottenham may still be without England star, Harry Kane, but West Brom should stand no chance. Son has stepped up in the absence of the forward and created a whole new level of threat. Help from Erik Lamela and Christian Eriksen, the Hotspurs should be able to win at ease. The game could go 3-0 in favor of Tottenham.

Crystal Palace vs. West Ham United

            Crystal Palace will want to continue on their recent match form and should get a boast with striker Christian Benteke coming back on a goal streak. West Ham United have struggled this season and are in 18th place. I see Crystal Palace winning the fixture 1-0 with a Benteke goal.

Sunday October 16th, 2016

Middlesbrough vs. Watford

            A match between two mid table teams could end up with an exciting match. Both clubs will want to get the vital three points and will through numbers forward in the attack. For me I see the game ending in a 1-1 draw with neither team being able to get the better of the other.

Southampton vs. Burnley

            Southampton are in dire need to get their season going and Burnley could be the perfect opponent. Sitting in 10th place with only 9 points they are well below where they’d normally be. I see Southampton playing a well-balanced game and winning the game 2-0 in comfortable style.

Monday October 17th, 2016

Liverpool vs. Manchester United

            One of the great rivalries in English Football will take place on Monday. With both teams believing they have the upper hand this match will surely be one of the best this season. Manchester United will have the upper hand with likes of Paul Pogba, Zlatan Ibrahimović and David De Gea in goal. But Liverpool will try to play as a unit like always. I see this match going 2-1 in favor of Manchester United.

 

Soccer Sunday-

MLS Playoffs Near

            The 2016 MLS Audi Cup is coming soon bringing the 2016 campaign to a close. The tournament starts with the top six teams from both conferences, Eastern and Western. The first round of each conference has two one-off matches between the fourth vs. fifth-place teams and the third vs. sixth, with the two higher seeds hosting. The lowest-seeded winner advances to play the conference's top seed, and the next-lowest playing the second in the Conference Semifinals. Then a home and away aggregate matchup is held with the winner advancing to the MLS Cup Final.

Netherlands vs. France- UEFA WCQ- October 10th

            Netherland vs. France will a tightly contest affair with both nations sitting in first place in Group A with four point. Netherland’s are said to be on the decline after many Netherland players have retired from the International level, while France is on the rise. France have Paul Pogba, Anthony Martial, Antoine Griezmann and Kingsley Coman all dominating football in their domestic leagues. The match should end in favor of France with a team that continues to grow by the game and only look brighter.

Wayne Rooney Flops Again

            Wayne Rooney’s career at Manchester United has already been put in jeopardy by being benched two matches in a row. Now with another poor display in the holding midfield spot against Malta, he could find the bench too. With Dele Alli, and Eric Dier on a rise they will be likely contenders to take the spotlight from Rooney.

USA vs. New Zealand- International Friendly on Tuesday October 11th

            USA will host New Zealand on Tuesday, October 11th with USA preparing for their match vs. Mexico. Jürgen Klinsmann has done an overhaul with the squad sending home nine players to keep them in rhythm for their domestic games. Every game is vital for the Americans with getting team chemistry in order. After playing Cuba in a recent friendly the US will want to grow on the win. The match being played in Cuba, was on a pitch that was barely playable but could help them in the long run. Being able to play in all weather conditions and pitch qualities is a major deal.

Sergio Ramos injured

            Sergio Ramos will now miss a month of soccer after picking up a knock in his match against Albania. In the 80th minute he hurt his knee and later test show a tear in his knee ligament. Missing as many of six fixtures for Real Madrid it will see him miss two Champion League’s fixtures too. For the Spanish captain he will need to recover quickly to be back in time for the next World Cup Qualifying fixtures. 

FC Cincinnati’s Season Comes to an End

            FC Cincinnati a team that just played their first inaugural match less than a year ago, have ended their season with a play-off defeat. Playing Charleston Battery in the first round of the USL Playoff’s and breaking a record along the way. On Sunday October 2, 2016 FC Cincy hosted the Battery’s in front of 30,187 people breaking the record for a USL play-off match. Losing the fixture 2-1, with the lone goal coming from Eric Stevenson. The goal ended up in ESPN’s Top 10 after firing a goal upper 90 from outside the box. For FC Cincy they had nothing to be embarrassed about with their first season coming to an end.

FC Cincinnati Facts-

·      With over 30,000 in attendance, FCC rewrote the USL record books once again, erasing the previous mark of 20,886, set by Orlando City in the 2013 USL Cup Final.

·      They averaged over 17,000 people a home fixture.

·      MLS Commissioner Don Garber is paying a visit to the Queen City on Nov 29 where FC Cincinnati will try to show their worth the final spots in the MLS Expansion.

·      They finished their season 16-6-8

·      Sean Okoli won the USL 2016 Golden Boot Award for scoring 16 goals in the United Soccer League

Next Season and Beyond

            Next season FC Cincinnati will still be in the USL, but will hope to not be staying for long. With 5 remaining spots for the MLS Expansion, Cincinnati are continuing to push for one of the places. News of a soccer training facility being built for FCC and that it could be made into MLS quality if they do join the league. FCC GM Jeff Berding was quoted saying in an interview when talking about the future of Cincinnati, “We’re going to grow more season ticket holders. We're renewing at a 99% per cent renewal rate. We're looking at 8,000 tickets and the off-season is only three days old. I think 10,000 season tickets will be attainable and that will show a sustainability about what we're trying to get done. We averaged a 17,000 attendance this year - let's average 20,000 next year. We're going to do better with sponsorships, we're going to do better with broadcasts - this year we put all our home games on TV, next year we're going to look at putting all our games on TV, including road games.”

For FCC the future looks great and the city of Cincinnati is pushing for them too. Who wouldn’t want to see a great Ohio Rivalry between the Columbus Crew and FC Cincinnati?

World Cup Qualifying Games to Watch- On October 6th, 2016

Italy vs. Spain- UEFA Group D

            Italy vs. Spain, an instant classic rivalry between two great football nations. In recent years both nations have seemed their respected nations decline on the international football level. For Spain in particular their recent tournaments have ended very shortly. Being knocked out of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, they were embarrassed after winning the pervious 2010 World Cup. Italy have turned their winning times around after a strong showing in the 2016 European Cup, making it to the Quarter-finals. For me I see Spain winning the match after dropping players and brining in new Spanish players across their country. The final score should be 2-0 in favor of Spain taking in vital three points on their way to Russia.

Brazil vs. Bolivia- CONMEBOL

            Brazil, after struggling in the 2016 Copa America will now need to bounce back to win gold in Russia. After a successful Olympics in Rio, Neymar lead the country to a gold medal. The problem with Brazil continues to be too many players with non-team work ethics. For the Brazilians this should be an easy three points and I wouldn’t except anything less. The game could easily go 3-0 in favor of Brazil and wouldn’t be surprised to see Neymar on the score sheet.

Argentina vs. Peru- CONMEBOL

            Argentina have successful had the world’s best player Messi, come out of retirement. After losing in pks to Chile in the finals of the Copa America, Lionel Messi retired from international football. But like before Argentina will be without Messi as he’s still injured from Barcelona. This match should be all three points going in Argentina’s favor with the depth they have within their squad. It’s a great opportunity for other players to show they’re ready for the national level with the absence of Messi.

Friday October 7th, 2016-

USA vs. Cuba- Internationally Friendly

            This match may only be an international friendly but for the United States it’s all very important to be ready for their World Cup Qualifiers. The news coming from the USA is the excitement of the youth coming through their national team. In particular, is Christian Pulisic, an 18 year-old from Hershey, Pennsylvania. Currently playing for Borussia Dortmund in Germany, he’s become the youth prodigy of the year. This game will also be key in figuring out how they will line up without senior player Clint Dempsey, whom was diagnosed with an irregular heartbeat. Most importantly though this match will be getting them ready for the USA vs. Mexico fixture in early November.

France vs. Bulgaria- UEFA Group A

            France will be looking to bounce back from their 1-0 defeat in the European Championships to Portugal. Losing the match meant even more than normal as it took place within France. With their main squad strength coming from the youth, France are already one of the favorites for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This game should be an easy 3-0 win for France, with key players Pogba, Griezmann, and Martial all included in the squad.

The Weekend Wrap- Pt. 2

1)    Manchester City loose

After Manchester City started their 2016-17 Premier League campaign with a perfect 6 out of 6 wins they were matched up with Tottenham. Tottenham vs. Manchester City the headline game of Week 7 was surely one to watch. Without Harry Kane the Hotspurs looked like they could be in trouble. But luckily playing at White Hart Lane their luck was great and City defender Aleksandar Kolarov scored a 9th minute own goal. The spurs scoring didn’t stop there with Dele Alli scoring a 37th minute goal to make the final score 2-0. After 7 weeks of the season finished Manchester City sit in first with 18 points and Tottenham in second with 17.

2)    The return of Balotelli

Mario Balotelli’s football career at Nice has been taking the right turn but his luck always ends badly. After scoring his fifth goal in four games for Nice, he scored in the final minutes to win vs. Lorient. After scoring in the 86th minute from an amazing solo upper 90 goal, he was booked for taking his shirt off. Minutes later he received another yellow after a heated conversation with Lorient player Steven Moreira. Now serving a match ban for obtaining two yellows could this ban hurt his improvement he’s had?

3)    United slip again

Manchester United’s last six games where basically like going down a hill losing 3 straight then walking up another winning 3 straight. Trying to get their fourth win in a row they faced Stoke City in Week 7 at Old Trafford. Starting the first half dominating possession and many goal line saves by Stoke’s keeper United had all the momentum they needed. After Mourinho made two subs bringing Rooney and Martial into the game they were instant impacts. In the 69th minute Martial scored bringing the score to 1-0. But after poor keeper error by David De Gea, Stoke tied the game up from an 82nd minute Joe Allen goal. 24 shots on goal compared to Stoke’s 9 shots on goal the game ended in a 1-1 draw. With the one point United are now in 6th and Stoke are in 19th.

4)    Barcelona continue to struggle

With key forward Lionel Messi injured and still out for a few weeks Barcelona could be in trouble. Facing Celta Vigo in Week 7 it should have been a game for Barcelona to get an easy three points and rotate squad players. Going down 3-0 in the first half, the game couldn’t have been worse for Barca. Scoring three in the second to tie it up 3-3, Iniesta was also brought in for his 600 cap for the team. The night wasn’t meant for Barca and they gave up a 77th minute goal to Pablo Hernandez, ending the game 4-3. Many have said it was Luis Suarez’s worst performance he’s had and Neymar didn’t do much to help either.

5)    Real Madrid drop points

Madrid at home and in full strength opposition Eibar didn’t seem to stand a chance. Eibar stroke first scoring in the 6th minute giving them the slight hope they needed. Luckily for Madrid Gareth Bale was able to match the score in the 17th minute, which was also his 50th goal for Real Madrid. Even with 65% possession and dominating all the stats, Real Madrid weren’t able to get the second goal to get all three points. The game ended 1-1 and now Madrid sit in 2nd with 15, if they would of won they would have been in first with 17 points. 

Soccer Talk

1)Sam Allardyce loses dream job already

Just 67 days into Sam Allardyce’s takeover of the England FA he has already been sacked. All went wrong for the former Sunderland Manger after being caught up in an undercover job by a Daily Telegraph Investigation. After agreeing a £400,000 contract to get the person around FA Third Party rules, the person released the footage. On September 27th Sam Allardyce left England on mutual consent.

2)Bayern Munich vs. FC Cologne

Bayern Munich were held to a tie after giving up a late goal in the second half. Joshua Kimmich scored in the 40th minute for Bayern Munich but Anthony Modeste evened up the game in the 63rd minute. Munich now hold a 3-point lead in the Bundesliga but Hertha Berlin are only 3 points behind.

3)Sunderland continue to struggle

Sunderland’s winless campaign continues and only adds pressure to David Moyes. Now taking only 2 points out of the possible 21, manager David Moyes could be seeing the exit soon. With a season that means so much due to the new TV deals getting regulated isn’t an option.

4)Chelsea finally win

Chelsea have finally got their first win in four Premier League fixtures after losing two and drawing one. Beating Hull City comfortably 2-0 it gives much needed relief to the squad’s criticism. Goals coming from Willian in the 61st minute and Diego Costa in the 67th minute.

5)Tottenham vs. Manchester City

1st vs. 3rd in the Premier League will bring out a great fixture this Sunday. Manchester City are still undefeated in the Premier League but Tottenham will be looking to change their fate. For Tottenham they can give much thanks to Son for scoring after the injury to Harry Kane. With so much attacking threat in this match it will come down to defenses and not making a mistake.

6)Valencia vs. Atletico Madrid

For Valencia this is a much needed win after having a poor start to their 2016 campaign. Still sitting in 15th with only six points, and Madrid are in fourth with 12. Atletico Madrid will need to win to continue their fight to win La Liga. One point is what it can come down to and for Madrid these are three vital points. 

Champions League Results- Tuesday, September 27th

CSKA Moscow vs. Tottenham Hotspur- 0-1- Group E

            Tottenham Hotspur are without their English forward Harry Kane and luckily someone has stepped up for them. Son Heung-Min the player who recently arrived to Tottenham from the Bundesliga, and was wanting to get sold back has been on a scoring streak. Luckily for the Hotspur’s its continued into their Champions League play where he scored in the 71st minute vs. CSKA. For Tottenham this is a vital three points away from home with them being in the Group of Death.

AS Monaco vs. Bayer Leverkusen- 1-1- Group E

            Bayer Leverkusen have gotten themselves a deal of the century signing the Manchester United forgotten man. Javier Hernandez, the Mexican International, had a personal high scoring season last season and is already back on form. Scoring in the 73rd minute Bayer believed to have gotten themselves the important three points. But AS Monaco continued to push for the equalizer until the last minute with Gamil Glik scoring in the 94th minute.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Real Madrid- 2-2~ Group F

            Who other than Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo opening up the scoring in the 17th minute. Dortmund would equalize the game in the 43rd minute when Aubameyang scored a tap in goal. The game was an end to end match with Madrid defender Raphael Varane scoring in the 68th minute. But thanks to the American Christian Puslic, they were able to score with a late goal assisted by him. In the 87th minute Andre Schurrle brought down the cross from Puslic and smashed the ball into the top of the net to equalize the score.

Leicester City vs. FC Porto- 1-0~ Group G

            Leicester City’s fairy tale in the English Premier League may be over but their European Dreams are only starting. Winning their first Champions League match they needed another win here to put themselves in first in Group G. New signing, Islam Slimani, was able to get on the score sheet again netting another goal in the 25th minute.

Dinamo Zagreb vs. Juventus- 0-4~ Group H

            Dinamo Zagreb were not up for the challenge against Series A winner’s Juventus. Juve ran riot on Dinamo scoring 4 goals on the weak defense. Goals coming from Miralem Pjanic (24'), Gonzalo Higuaín (31'), Paulo Dybala (57') and Dani Alves (85'). Juventus were thought to struggle with midfielder Paul Pogba departing this summer but they seem to be doing just fine.

Sporting CP vs. Legia Warsaw- 2-0~ Group F

            Sporting CP won the match 2-0 with goals coming from Bryan Ruiz (28') and Bas Dost (37').

FC Copenhagen vs. Club Brugge- 4-0~ Group G

            Club Brugge stood no chance to Copenhagen and let in four goals, with them coming from Stefano Denswil (53' OG), Thomas Delaney (64'), Federico Santander (69') and Zanka (90'+2').

Sevilla FC vs. Lyon- 1-0~ Group H

            Sevilla FC win the match by scoring a second half goal from Wissam Ben Yedder in the 52nd minute. 

The Weekend Wrap-

1)    Manchester United flourish without Rooney

The main discussion point for the past few seasons has been on club star, Wayne Rooney. Many fans believed he should be dropped from the starting 11 but recent managers weren’t able to axe him until now. Against reigning champions Leicester City, United dropped Rooney and it turned out to be the best tactical decision. Put Juan Mata in the no. 10 spot he was able to provide much more then Rooney has been able to do. Getting a goal and two assists Mata has taken that spot from Rooney for now and might of pushed Untied into the future of the club. It also allowed Paul Pogba to have a break out game with the freedom of not having to worry about Wayne getting in his space. With the tactical decision paying off it now seems to be life without Wayne Rooney.

2)    No Messi No Problem

With Lionel Messi being injured for the next three weeks’ people worried about the form Barcelona would take in their upcoming matches. Possibly missing two major Champion League matches against Mönchengladbach and Manchester City it caused a sense of worry. Playing their first match since the injury to Messi Barcelona took on Sporting Gijon and dominated the game. They won 5-0 with Neymar scoring two and Suarez scoring another. For Barcelona they seem to be fine in their league but Champions League play could be closer then needed without one of the world’s best.

3)    West Ham continue to lack form

West Ham’s problems continue to mount with yet another defeat. Last season finishing in an impressive 7th place one place away from Europa Football. Now currently sitting in 18th points with only 1 win in 6 games. In Week 6 they faced Southampton but yet again were beat 3-0 adding to the misery of the players and fans. For West Ham the problem now could be holding on to star players such as Dimitri Payet who could look to head to a bigger club.

4)Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund- Champions League

Real Madrid vs. Borussia Dortmund sounds like a Champions League Final match but luckily for us will get to see it in action Tuesday August 29th. Borussia Dortmund will have home field advantage playing at Signal-Iduna-Park where the crowd turns into the twelfth man. With both teams in fine form and scoring goals at crazy rates this game will bring some of the best football to life. Dortmund has a team with youth prodigies taking over the game and making names for themselves already. While Real Madrid have some of the world’s best such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Gareth Bale.

5)Arsenal humiliate Chelsea

Chelsea started the season with a perfect 4 wins out of 4 but Week’s 5 & 6 have been too much for them to handle. Playing Liverpool and Arsenal in those games Chelsea weren’t able to hold off the oppositions attack and lost both matches. Against Arsenal this weekend they were beaten 3-0 causing their manager to say they could end up mid table again. Much of their problems are coming from the back line with Cahill having one of his worst performances this weekend. Reportedly Chelsea could be looking to reshape and clear out defenders with David Luiz already being mentioned. The likely hood is very small but in football transfers are unpredictable now days. 

EPL Week 6- Matchups and Predictions

Saturday, September 24

Manchester United v Leicester City- 2-1

            Manchester United will look to recover after a poor drop to their standard play and look to win vs. Leicester City. It could come down to if Jose Mourinho is willing to drop Wayne Rooney allowing the team to have a fresh look.

Bournemouth v Everton- 0-2

            Starting the season with 4 wins and a defeat sitting in second place Everton will look to continue their winning form. Bournemouth are currently struggling only managing a win and tie in their first five matches.

Liverpool v Hull City- 4-0

            After Liverpool defeated Chelsea earlier in the week, their squad mentality is higher than ever. Hull City have fallen from the peaking order after a strong start to the campaign. Making Liverpool the easy favorites of this match.

Middlesbrough v Tottenham Hotspur- 1-2

            The question will be can Tottenham continue to dominate without their star forward Harry Kane? A lot of pressure will now fall on Erik Lamella who was brought in to replace Gareth Bale.

Stoke City v West Bromwich Albion- 0-2

            Stoke City are in their typical position right now fighting regulation but after only 5 weeks in. Only managing one draw they have problems continuing to mount and aren’t able to recover from them.

Sunderland v Crystal Palace- 0-3

            Crystal Palace have finally started to gain their winning form and Sunderland don’t look like they can compete against them. Bringing in Townsend, Benteke and Mandanda they have strengthened their squad and their depth.

Swansea City v Manchester City- 1-4

            Manchester City have started the campaign with a perfect 5 out of 5 and having an impressive plus 11 goal differently. Now with all their momentum Swansea City will struggle for the game not to get out of hand.

Arsenal v Chelsea- 1-1

            The biggest game of week 6 will surely be a great contest bringing out some of Europe’s best players. Neither squad will likely be pushing heavy numbers making the game most likely ending in a tie.

Sunday, September 25

West Ham United v Southampton- 1-0

            West Ham have started out slow in 18th place and just a single win but can now revive their season. Southampton are also in a slump making it a must win for both clubs.

Monday, September 26

Burnley v Watford- 0-2

            With star forward Andre Gray serving a four match ban from a tweet that was posted in 2012, Burnley will struggle to net goals. Luckily for Watford they will be able to capitalize off this and push more numbers forward.

Weekly Soccer News & Updates

1)Barcelona loose star player & vital points

Barcelona have lost their key man Lionel Messi after suffering a groin strain in a match vs. Atletico Madrid. Being ruled out for a minimum of three weeks, Barca also lost vital points in their race to win La Liga. To make matters worse Messi will now miss at least 3 La Liga games and 1-2 possible games in the Champions League. With Messi each season he seems to pick up an injury that he doesn’t fully recover from then reinjures it again. On October 19th, 2016 Barcelona will play Manchester City which will be close to Messi’s return from recovery. The question could be do you risk Messi or allow him to rest and be 100% in a longer period.

2)Yaya Toure update

Since the arrival of manager Pep Guardiola, Yaya Toure has received the same treatment that Bastin Schweinsteiger has had at United. Toure is seen to Guardiola as a surplus to the midfield at Manchester and doesn’t plan on fitting him into his plans. This has caused an uproar with the agent of Yaya Toure which he said, "Guardiola wins a few games and he thinks he is king. I live in Europe so I can say whatever I like and Guardiola can't stop me." With this it has passed the line with Manchester City and Pep wanting Toure to leave in January.

3)Wayne Rooney hits all time low

For Wayne Rooney his time starting has seemed to be coming to an end. At 30 years old he still has a few more years of football left in him but not at the level United need. Being captain of Manchester United makes it difficult for Jose Mourinho to bench such a player but his chances seem to be running out. Being played in the No. 6, No. 9 and No. 10 role he still hasn’t been able to make a difference while on the pitch. Luckily for Manchester United they have their academy youngster Marcus Rashford developing at impressive rate. The question though where should Rooney play and should he be dropped?

4)Mario Balotelli Back?

Mario Balotelli could finally be back on the rise after completing his free transfer to Nice, in France. After scoring two goals in his debut for the club he’s impressed in his second match vs. Monaco. Scoring two more goals vs. AS Monaco he wrapped up the game 4-0. For both Balotelli and Nice this is a big deal as Nice are in first place in Ligue 1. Also Mario now has 4 goals in two games and doesn’t look to be slowing down soon. For Balotelli it will come down to his desire and drive to push him back to his old prodigy ways, and Nice could certainly be the place it happens.

5)    Jack Grealish can’t stop getting in trouble

Jack Grealish was once said to be one of England’s next big and future soccer stars. After just turning 21 in September he career is going in the wrong path. After previous season being fined and suspended for being involved in partying and off the field distractions its occurring again. Again being caught up in another party incident he’s been reportedly fined £50,000 pounds which is about two weeks’ wages. Many people have lost hope in the youngster and believe hes wasted his talent, but luckily the owner believes in him. Owner Tony Xia has advised Jack to stay focused, change his partying habits and that he believes in him. 

Champion’s League Group Stage Results- Round 1 day 2

Real Madrid vs. Sporting CP~ 2-1~ Group F

            After a slow start to the game and a slow first half of play the half ended in a zero to zero draw. For a while Real Madrid looked as if they were about to be upset after Sporting CP took the lead in the 47th minute from a Bruno Cesar goal. Luckily for Madrid Cristiano Ronaldo was able to hit one of his famous knuckleballs to tie the score in the 89th minute. To continue to add to the suffering of Sporting CP, Alvaro Morata scored in the 94th minute to seal the three points. This match meant a lot to Ronaldo as his professional career all started at Sporting before being sold to Manchester United.

Tottenham Hotspurs vs. AS Monaco~ 1-2~ Group E

            Tottenham’s first European game in Wembley Stadium ended in bitter defeat. After conceding in the 15th minute from a Bernardo Silva goal, Monaco looked to be in control of the game. Again in the 31st minute Tottenham were shaky in the back and gave another goal up to Thomas Lemar. The Spurs did have hope when in the 45th minute Toby Alderweireld scored right before halftime. For Tottenham it was too late and Monaco were able to keep a clean sheet in the second half.

Manchester City vs. Borussia Monchengladbach~ 4-0~ Group C

            Sergio Aguero cannot stop scoring this season and has his second hat trick of the season already. Scoring in the 8th, 28th and 77th minute, Borussia Monchengladbach stood no chance to be able to get a point. To add to the defensive errors and poor performance Kelechi Iheanacho scored in the 91st minute.

Borussia Dortmund vs. Legia Warsaw~ 6-0~ Group F

            Borussia Dortmund continue to show their growth and development under their new manager and are looking very impressive. Warsaw’s defense stood no match with the game ending 6-0 and goals coming from Mario Götze (7'), Sokratis Papastathopoulos (15'), Marc Bartra (17'), Raphael Guerreiro (51'), Gonzalo Castro (76') and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (87').

Club Brugge vs. Leicester City~ 0-3~ Group G

            Leicester City defied all odds by winning the league at 5000-1 stakes but this season reality is setting in. After four weeks they sit in 9th place with only taking 7 points out of 12. Marc Albrighton (5') and Riyad Mahrez (29', 61' PEN) both got on the scoring sheet and with Leicester winning their first European game.

Juventus vs. Sevilla FC~ 0-0~ Group H

            After Juventus’s impressive two Champion League’s campaigns they’ll want to win it all. Selling Pogba could be the difference between winning it all and going out early.

Champion’s League Group Stage- Day 1 Results

PSG vs. Arsenal~ 1-1 Draw~ Group A

            PSG looked to have secured themselves three points in their opening fixture at home vs. Arsenal but poor defending caused them to draw. Edison Canvani opened up the scoring in the 1st minute and could have scored multiple other times but missed golden opportunities. Then in the 77th minute Alexis Sanchez came to the rescue for Arsenal scoring the equalizer and getting a vital point. Both teams finished the game with ten men after a 90th minute altercation between Giroud and Verratti. The real question for PSG is can they make up for the missing Zlatan Ibrahimović, who was their leading scorer?

Barcelona vs. Celtic~ 7-0~ Group C

            Celtic were looking to upset Barcelona in the group stage as they once managed to do with only 11% possession winning the game 2-1. But this season they stood no match for Barca getting humiliated 7-0 which saw Messi become the all-time leader in hat tricks in the Champions League. For Barcelona they will look to win it all again like their 2014-15 Champions League tournament.

Bayern Munich vs. Rostov~ 5-0~ Group D

            Bayern Munich, the German soccer giants, were matched up against Rostov, a team that placed second in the 2015-16 Russian League. For Rostov this saw them reach their first group stage of a major European Competition in the clubs 86-year-old history. But Bayern weren’t here to mess around and saw Robert Lewandowski (28' PEN), Thomas Müller (45'+2'), Joshua Kimmich (53', 60') and Juan Bernat (90') score.

PSV Eindhoven vs. Atletico Madrid~ 0-1~ Group D

            Atletico Madrid have started off their group stage pulling in all three points against PSV. After a 43rd minute goal by Saul Niguez Madrid were able to keep a clean sheet and winning a very important game. PSV needed the win or a point very dearly as Bayern Munich is also in Group D who’s heavily favored to win the group. For Atletico they must get back into the finals which they lost in a 5-3 pk shootout to cross town rivals Real Madrid.

FC Basil vs Ludogorets Razgrad~ 1-1~ Group A

            Ludogorets Razgrad qualified for the Champions League through winning the Bulgarian Frist League and may have one of the smallest stadiums in the tournament. With a stadium capacity of 8,808 people that can compare to teams in the English League 1 and 2 clubs. For FC Basil the Champions League isn’t anything new but losing star Breel Embolo it could end up hurting them massively. The match ended in a 1-1 draw with goals coming from Renato Steffen and Jonathan Cafu.

Benfica vs. Besiktas~ 1-1~ Group B

            Benfica thought they had the three points but extra time came to haunt the team severely. Giving up an extra time goal saw Besiktas take a point away from home and give them hope in progressing through this round. Franco Cervi scored in the 12th minute for Benfica, but Talisca scored in the 93rd to ruin the day.

Dynamo Kiev vs. Napoli~ 1-2~ Group B

            Dynamo Kiev started off the game strong scoring in the 26th minute with home field advantage. But Napoli then answered twice before the end of the first half scoring in the 36th and 45th minute. To add to the problems for Dynamo Kiev, Serhiy Sydorchuk received a straight red card in the 68th minute.

Mario Balotelli- “Why Always Me?”

            Mario Balotelli’s famous saying, “Why Always Me?” pretty much sums up his career so far in a few words. At only 26 years old Mario feels like he should be in his late thirties with the amount of attention he’s received throughout his career. With his first professional start at only 17 years old for Inter Milan and scoring a double in his first appearance. His career at this time seemed to be taking off and nothing was going to stop him from becoming one of soccer’s world’s best players. In August 2007 Mario had the opportunity to play for Ghana’s senior team at the age of 17 but declined as he wanted to play for Italy. His much await senior call up for Italy came in the summer of 2010 for an international friendly. With all possible things going right for the Italian international where did his career go wrong?

            Much of Balotelli’s bad luck and sharp decline in his soccer career can be linked to racism. Throughout Mario’s career he’s faced heavy fan abuse and taunting due to his skin pigment. After a great start at Inter Milan and making a name for himself across the soccer world. His first encounter with racism at Inter occurred in 2009 with a match vs. Juventus that resulted in Juve serving a one match no fan ban. With problem after problem occurring after the racism incident Mario Balotelli released this statement, “"I am sorry for the situation that has been created recently. I am the first person who has suffered because I adore football and I want to play, and now I am waiting in silence so I can return to being useful to my team. I want to put the past behind me, look to the future and concentrate on the upcoming commitments and make myself ready." After falling out with Inter Milan and manager Jose Mourinho, Manchester City signed Balotelli on August 12, 2010 for £18 million pounds.

            While at Manchester City his disciplinary actions and poor work effort continued to push his decline even further. The two seasons at which he remained at Man City he scored 20 goals in 54 appearances but that wasn’t good enough for the manager. At the time manager Roberto Mancini told reporters, "The problem is because of his age, he can make some mistakes. He's Mario. He's crazy – but I love him because he's a good guy." The reoccurring problems with Balotelli saw him once again be sold and this time to AC Milan. At AC Milan he has a successful season with Liverpool coming in purchasing him to replace Luis Suarez. This turned out to be a disaster with Balotelli being loaned back to AC Milan. With both the player and Liverpool unhappy with the situation Mario Balotelli signed for Nice in Ligue 1.

Liverpool to Nice- Free Transfer

            On August 31th, 2016 Mario Balotelli signed for OGC Nice on a free transfer on the transfer deadline day. On his debut for the club he scored 2 goals and could be ready to restart his career. After a post-match interview, he told reporters, "worst mistake of his life" in joining Liverpool. For now, Balotelli has 2 goals in one appearance for Nice which will give the striker lots of confidence to get back to his younger days. At only 26 he has plenty of time to kick start his career and go back to a European giant club. His famous saying “Why Always Me?” could end up being something good instead of negative.

The Manchester Derby

            The Manchester Derby is one of soccer’s greatest and most heated soccer matches in the world. Manchester United and Manchester City cause the city to be split, half red and other half blue. In recent times Manchester City have dominated the derby after Sir Alex Ferguson retired from Manchester United. But this season the playing ground has been leveled and should bring back the greatest play. With new managers coming to both clubs their managerial strength is as good as any other manager. The recent TV deal has set Manchester into a spending spree, with both clubs breaking their previous club records. With an early Saturday morning kick off it will create a tremendous crowd creating the best soccer environment. Kickoff is 7:30am EST on Saturday September 10th with the game being played Old Trafford. With all the new additions to the clubs let’s take a closer look at what each team will need to do to win.

Manchester United

            With perhaps the greatest transfer window of all time Manchester United have shown their dominance again. When Sir Alex Ferguson managed United other teams feared playing them and Old Trafford was a for sure win for the Red Devils. Now with Jose Mourinho managing United they are feared again and can compete with any team. Key signings this summer include Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly. Zlatan with two goals in his first three Premier League appearances makes him running for the golden boot award already. Age doesn’t seem to be slowing him down, so City probably won’t be able to either. Brining Paul Pogba back to Manchester United has made a statement to all European clubs. That the Red Devils are back and they are will to splash the cash like Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and PSG. The key player could end up being youngster Marcus Rashford, who is to quick and fast on the ball for defenders. With Henrikh being cleared and fit to play he may make his first start for united too. The debate is does United bench Wayne Rooney or Juan Mata for the Armenia winger.

Manchester City

            Summer after summer City continue to bring in some of the world’s best talent but seem to always overpay. With new manager Pep Guardiola City have also changed how they deal with buying players. Already investing in the youth and buying some of the most talked about younger players in the game. Problems have mounted for midfielder Yaya Toure as he’s seen as being to hold and a surplus to City’s needs. His agent has come out against Manchester and said they’ve lost millions of fans in Africa due to this. City also face the problem with star forward Sergio Augero out to a three match ban. Which in return gives players the chance to prove they should be starting or get more time on the pitch.

 

Prediction- 2-0 in favor of Manchester United

            With all the experience within United’s new improved squad they should be capable of winning it all this season. City without star forward Augero could struggle due to his impact he has while playing. This match will be one of the greatest Manchester Derby’s ever and will surely be talked about for a lifetime. 

CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying

            Last night brought the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying group stages to an end. At the beginning of the group stages 12 teams competed in 3 different groups with the top two teams from each group advancing into the next round. For the United States and Mexico, it was a must to reach the next round otherwise it’d be an embarrassment to their countries. After a round-robin set up all matches have been played and now the hexagonal 10 match system.

 

Group 1

G

W

D

L

W

D

L

W

D

L

Gf

Ga

+/-

Pts

1

Mexico

6

2

1

0

3

0

0

5

1

0

13

1

12

16

2

Honduras

6

2

0

1

0

2

1

2

2

2

6

6

0

8

3

Canada

6

2

0

1

0

1

2

2

1

3

5

8

-3

7

4

El Salvador

6

0

2

1

0

0

3

0

2

4

4

13

-9

2

 

 

 

 

Home Team

Away Team

Total

 

 

Group 2

G

W

D

L

W

D

L

W

D

L

Gf

Ga

+/-

Pts

1

Costa Rica

6

3

0

0

2

1

0

5

1

0

11

3

8

16

2

Panama

6

2

0

1

1

1

1

3

1

2

7

5

2

10

3

Haiti

6

0

1

2

1

0

2

1

1

4

2

4

-2

4

4

Jamaica

6

0

1

2

1

0

2

1

1

4

2

10

-8

4

 

 

 

 

Home Team

Away Team

Total

 

 

Group 3

G

W

D

L

W

D

L

W

D

L

Gf

Ga

+/-

Pts

1

United States

6

3

0

0

1

1

1

4

1

1

20

3

17

13

2

Trinidad

6

1

2

0

2

0

1

3

2

1

13

9

4

11

3

Guatemala

6

2

0

1

1

1

1

3

1

2

18

11

7

10

4

Saint Vincent

6

0

0

3

0

0

3

0

0

6

6

34

-28

0

 

Mexico, Costa Rica and the United States have all progressed into the next round of the CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying stages. It may be a time of celebration but now it’s back to business for all the teams who advanced. The USA will face Mexico on November 11th in Columbus, Ohio. A match that holds a historic rivalry, with all players using National pride within the game.

How does the Hexagonal Stage Work?

            The Hexagonal stage consists of six teams the winners from all three groups, USA, Costa Rica and Mexico, and the runner ups Honduras, Panama and Trinidad. All six teams will play each other home and away starting in November 2016 and finishing in November 2017 with the top three teams advancing to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. For the fourth place team they will play in an intercontinental home and away play-off match vs. a team from the Asia Football Confederation, with the winner also qualifying for the World Cup.

Matchday 1: Friday, Nov. 11, 2016

United States vs. Mexico, Honduras vs. Panama, Trinidad and Tobago vs. Costa Rica

Matchday 2: Tuesday, Nov. 15, 2016

Costa Rica vs. United States, Panama vs. Mexico, Honduras vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Matchday 3: Friday, March 24, 2017

United States vs. Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago vs. Panama, Mexico vs. Costa Rica

Matchday 4: Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Panama vs. United States, Honduras vs. Costa Rica, Trinidad and Tobago vs. Mexico

Matchday 5: Wednesday, June 7 or Thursday, June 8, 2017 TBD*

United States vs. Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica vs. Panama, Mexico vs. Honduras

Matchday 6: Sunday, June 11 or Monday, June 12, 2017, TBD*

Mexico vs. United States, Panama vs. Honduras, Costa Rica vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Matchday 7: Friday, Sept. 1, 2017

United States vs. Costa Rica, Mexico vs. Panama, Trinidad and Tobago vs. Honduras

Matchday 8: Tuesday, Sept. 5, 2017

Honduras vs. United States, Panama vs. Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica vs. Mexico

Matchday 9: Friday, Oct. 6, 2017

United States vs. Panama, Costa Rica vs. Honduras, Mexico vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Matchday 10:  Friday, Oct. 10, 2017

Trinidad and Tobago vs. United States, Panama vs. Costa Rica, Honduras vs.

World Cup Qualifying – UEFA

            Just as one tournament ends another starts but this time for the world’s most prized trophy the FIFA World Cup. 54 nations from the UEFA confederation were put into nine groups of six teams, with each to play home-and-away round robin games. All the winners from the nine groups with get an automatic qualification to the 2018 FIFA World Cup while Russia already have qualified since their hosts. The second round or play-offs will consist of the eight best runner-ups from the first stages of play. After a two leg competition the four winners will also qualify into the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

 

Group Winner Prediction-

Group A- France, after an impressive Euros they will build off their play.

Group B- Portugal, since winning the Euros they will be full of confidence.

Group C- Germany, one of the most complete squads in soccer.

Group D- Wales, Gareth Bale will continue to work his magic and push them into the WC.

Group E- Poland, will need Lewandowski to continue his scoring rate to push them through.

Group F- England, some say overrated but hopefully can finally get back to their best with their new manager.

Group G- Spain, after many disappointing tournaments they will want to change their luck and go for gold.

Group H- Belgium, the dark horse who has many younger raw talents.

Group I- Croatia, will need to work as a whole unit to make the first round of qualifications.

Runner Ups-

1)    Netherlands, Group A, still one of the strongest nations they will want to get back to their glory days.

2)    Switzerland, Group B, after reaching the previous World Cup and EUROs making it the 2018 World Cup is a most.

3)    Norway, Group C, Martin Odegaard could be the man to pull off the stunning WC advancement.

4)    Serbia, Group D.

5)    Denmark, Group E.

6)    Italy, Group F, after an impressive run in the Euros Italy can build off many team performances.

7)    Greece, Group H.

8)    Turkey, Group I.

With the UEFA World Cup Qualifying’s already kicked off, make sure to stay tuned for group updates and major news. 

Biggest Summer Transfers across the Globe

            This summer has brought the transfer window to a whole new level on spending, due to all the new tv rights. The English Premier League alone spent over a billion dollars on players smashing all kinds of records along the way. Previous summers it used to be Real Madrid and Barcelona known to splash the cash and bring in the worlds most talented players. But now the Premier League seems to be leaving them behind. Manchester City and Manchester United both spent the most money this summer, with United breaking the all-time transfer fee. The Premier League also saw thirteen teams break their own transfer records which you can see below.

The clubs who broke their transfer records

Manchester United: Paul Pogba (£89m)

Bournemouth: Jordon Ibe (£15m)

 

Liverpool: Sadio Mane (£34m potentially rising to £36m)

Sunderland: Didier N'Dong (£13.6m)

 

Crystal Palace: Christian Benteke (£32m)

Hull: Ryan Mason (£13m)

 

West Ham: Andre Ayew (£20.5m)

West Brom: Nacer Chadli (£13m)

 

Leicester: Islam Slimani (£29m)

Watford: Roberto Pereyra (£13m)

 

Southampton: Sofiane Boufal (£16m)

Burnley: Jeff Hendrick (£10.5m)

 

Swansea: Borja Baston (£15.5m)

 

 

 

            With all the net spending in the Premier League lets rank the top six transfers after the crazy £1.165-billion-pound spree.

1)    Paul Pogba- Juventus to Manchester United- £89 million pounds

Without a doubt Paul Pogba’s transfer is ranked number 1 for smashing the fee Real Madrid paid for Bale. Manchester United have boosted their squad and will look to win the league.

2)    Zlatan Ibrahimović- PSG to Manchester United- FREE

This perhaps has to be one of the best deals a club has ever gotten out of a free transfer. Even with Ibrahimović in his thirties he still can’t stop scoring and now its Zlatan Time in Manchester.

3)    John Stones- Everton to Manchester City- £47.5 million pounds

John Stones may only be 22 but his defending abilities makes him one of the world’s best. His age and raw talent make this purchase one of the best of the summer with almost a decade of football still to play.

4)    Islam Slimani- Sporting Lisbon to Leicester City- £29 million pounds

If Slimani can replicate his 2015-16 campaign with Sport Lisbon which he scored an impressive 27 goals, then Leicester might have found Vardy’s striking partner. But at 2 8 and coming from the Portuguese League he could struggle to adapt which has been a known issue for foreign players.

5)    David Luiz- PSG to Chelsea- £34 million pounds

David Luiz once was the most expensive defender when he was sold to PSG in a £50-million-pound transfer in 2014. For Chelsea it’s a great deal making a £16-million-pound profit on a player they once had.

6)    Henrikh Mkhitaryan- Borussia Dortmund to Manchester United- £30 million

Henrikh Mkhitaryan has been just part of Manchester United’s revival as a football club. His pace, skills and desire to be on the ball makes him one of the most dangerous players in the EPL. 

Transfer Tuesday- Deadline Day

            Tomorrow, August 31st, is the Summer’s Transfer Deadline Day! A day that sees clubs all doing last minute business to snap up their needed spots. It can also see clubs run out of time, making the transfers not go through. For some clubs it’s a necessity they sign at least one or two more players and the other way for the players. If a player wants to leave and no clubs comes calling for him in time, then he will have to wait out 6 months for the winter window to open. Tomorrow can also see players price skyrocket as the club wants the player and has to pay the crazy high fee to make the deal go through in time. For now, it’s not reported of any last day world transfer records but a few major names are out there.

Jack Wilshere- Arsenal to Crystal Palace

            At age of 24 Jack Wilshere already knows the affects an injury can do to your career. After picking up multiple injuries and not being able to stay healthy, his time at Arsenal may be up for good or on loan. In recent times the England International has found himself on the bench or left out of the match day squad completely. Many great players of the game including Bastian Schweinsteiger have mentioned Jack as a complete midfielder and one of the best. But season after season his fitness lets him down and ends up being injured. Now with clubs Crystal Palace, Watford and Bournemouth all calling for signature Arsenal have a big decision to make. They can either sell him or loan him out but have to consider the chance he gets hurt again.

Wilfried Bony- Manchester City to?

            Wilfried Bony is a prime example of what can happen to a player when they become money hungry. At Swansea before his big money move to Man City, he was a regular scorer racking in 20 goals in the 2014-15 EPL campaign. After securing a £25 million pound move to Manchester City and becoming the most expensive African soccer player. His career never took off and lacked playing time. At Manchester City he had to compete against one of the best forwards in the world, Sergio Augero, and the immense squad depth within the club. Now after just 2 seasons in Manchester he’s on the move again. It’s been rumored that Stoke and West Ham lead the race for the deadline day transfer.

Eliaquim Mangala- Manchester City to Valencia

            Manchester City are most well-known for the club’s extreme spending that occurs in about every transfer window. Mangala is one of the players who’s felt the full effect of this since his arrive from FC Porto. Arriving for a fee of £42 million pounds in the summer of 2014, he signed a five-year contract as Manchester City believed he’d be the right man to replace Kompany. Struggling to adapt to the English playing style of soccer, he’s struggled at the back and City have purchased new defenders. Since his arrival Manchester City have purchased both John Stones and Nicolas Otamendi making Mangala a fourth choice. With only a day to go in this summer window, Valencia FC and FC Porto have both appeared in the running for his signature. The fee could end of being the problem if no deal goes through tomorrow, due to the amount Manchester City paid for him. At 6ft 1.5inches and only 25, Mangala could still be one of the greatest defenders but just not in England. 

The Premier League Superpowers Are Back

            3 weeks into the Premier League season and the play already looks a lot better than last season. This season whoever wins the league will need to get almost every point possible with the tough competition. Last season was about the underdog teams out performing the superpowers and the elite clubs underperforming. Now after week 3, the 3 elite clubs look back in business. Clubs Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City all have won their opening 3 fixtures and have a new manager.

Chelsea

            Last season Chelsea finished in one of their worst spots in the club’s history. Finishing the 2015-16 campaign in 10th place and only getting 58 points through the season. To add to the problems, the club were facing, they also sacked Jose Mourinho and Eden Hazard wasn’t performing. Now with new manager Antonio Conte being appointed from Juventus their style and attitudes have changed. Bringing in Kante, one of Europe’s best holding midfielders last season, and forward Michy Batshuayi, a highly rated Belgium Striker. With their new signings and main players staying at the club they are looking as strong contenders to win the league. Reporters are claiming Chelsea are looking to sign James Rodriquez from Real Madrid, who’s looking to get more playing time. For now, Chelsea are on the right path to get back into European Cups with missing out on the Champions League and Europa League.

Manchester United

            Manchester United are back to their glory days having some of the best players from around the world and winning continuously. People claim without Champions League you can’t sign the best players in the game. But when your United everyone wants to be a Red Devil. Brining in Zlatan Ibrahimović, Paul Pogba, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Eric Bailly. United are putting full faith in their new manager Jose Mourinho. Starting their campaign off strong and Zlatan scoring continuously United are looking to win it all. Next game will the Manchester Derby, one of soccer’s biggest rivalry, which could turn out to be the game of the year.

Manchester City

            Manchester City may not have too much of a club history but they do have a lot of finical backing. Bringing in one of Europe’s most highly rated managers Pep Guardiola, they now have a more attacking minded coach. With new additions Bravo, Stones, Sane and Nolito, City have strengthened their squad even more. A perfect 3 out of 3 wins Pep could not of asked for a better start. Man City also are in the Champions League this season drawing Barcelona, Monchengladbach and Celtic in their group stage. They should be able to progress out of the group stages and make a run for the trophy. Anything short of finishing top 3 for City will be a letdown season and will have all the attention turned to Guardiola. 

Champion’s League Group Stage Set

            It’s the time of year again where the most competitive teams from the planet compete for one title, The UEFA Champion’s League trophy. With the play-off rounds all finished up, the group stage drawings were held on August 25th, 2016 in Monaco. This season the tournament seeded all teams differently, making league winners all in Pot 1. UEFA did this to make sure no teams ended up in a group of death and that all groups would be split up evenly with talent. The next few months of group stage play can be some of the most exciting games with underdogs defeating European giants advancing to the knockout round. Now let’s take a closer look at how all 8 groups panned out.

Group A

1. Paris Saint-Germain

2. Arsenal

3. FC Basel

4. Ludogorets

            Group A Finishing Prediction- PSG and Arsenal look the two teams to finish top of the group and to move onto the next round. I see PSG topping the group which can play a large role in who they’d face in the next round.

 

Group B

1. Benfica

2. Napoli

3. Dynamo Kiev

4. Besiktas

            Group B finishing Prediction- Napoli and Benfica are favored to make the push to the round of 16. Napoli could face problems after selling Higuaín and should be careful of Dynamo Kiev fighting for the second spot.

 

Group C

1. Barcelona

2. Manchester City

3. Borussia Mönchengladbach

4. Celtic

            Barcelona and Manchester City are heavy favorites to come out first and second in the group. Celtic won’t cause much competition for the rest, allowing both teams to get an easy 6 points off them.

 

Group D

1. Bayern Munich

2. Atlético Madrid

3. PSV Eindhoven

4. FC Rostov

            Bayern Munich year after year seem to be top four contenders to win it all and this season it’s the same way. I see Atletico Madrid coming in second, but could top Bayern with a win against them in the group stages.

 

Group E

1. CSKA Moscow

2. Bayer Leverkusen

3. Tottenham Hotspur

4. AS Monaco

            Group E, is the most balanced group in the tournament. All four teams are capable of advancing making every game as important as the last one. I see Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen coming out in first in second, having the upper hand in players.

 

Group F

1. Real Madrid

2. Borussia Dortmund

3. Sporting Lisbon

4. Legia Warsaw

            Real Madrid and Dortmund should be able to have an easy group stage like most seasons. If they can win their early games in the group, then they can start planning on resting players for the next stage.

 

Group G

1. Leicester City

2. FC Porto

3. Club Brugge

4. FC Copenhagen

            Group G could be the group with the most surprises, with Leicester City having a poor start to their campaign. I can see FC Porto topping Group C and Leicester in second but with a shaky finish to the stage.

 

Group H

1. Juventus

2. Sevilla

3. Olympique Lyonnais

4. Dinamo Zagreb

            Juventus and Sevilla should have no problem advancing into the Round of 16. Juventus this year will be looking to win it all with all their latest transfers, strengthening the team in all positions. 

Transfer Tuesday-

Christian Benteke- Liverpool to Crystal Palace- DONE

            Crystal Palace have confirmed the signing of the Belgium forward. He has arrived from Liverpool in a £27-million-pound deal, signing a four-year contract. For both parties this seems like a great deal as both needed each other. Benteke needed a club he could have a fresh start and play regularly. While Crystal Palace are in need of a strong goal scoring forward. At 6ft 3inches Benteke should be able to get back to his goal scoring ways, and winning aerial battles.

Phil Jones- Manchester United to Arsenal/Everton

            Phil Jones has had an injury filled career since his arrival at Manchester United. This has hampered some development and has made it so he can’t hold down a start spot. Since the arrival of Eric Bailly, Jones playing time has decreased even more to the point that reports think he’s leaving. Now fourth in the pecking order he could be seen as surpass and decide to leave. At only 24 he still has many years to grow, but needs playing time to do so. Arsenal, Everton and Stoke City have all been monitoring the situation to see if Jones request to leave. With years still left on his contract and Mourinho being a fan of Jones it seems unlikely he’d leave. The probability seems about a 4/10 he will leave as Phil and Mourinho both want to work together.

Joe Hart- Manchester City to?

            At a certain point in all professional’s career they will struggle and need time to regain form. But after many disappointing campaigns with City and poor displays for England, his time seems all but up. Since the arrive of Pep Guardiola he’s not kept faith in the veteran keeper, believing he’s not good enough. With the impending transfer of Bravo from Barcelona it all but seals Joe Harts transfer away from Manchester. A possible destination for Joe could be Everton, where he’d be able to hold down a regular starting spot. The possibility of Hart leaving seems to be around an 8/10 as Joe will not want to be a backup keeper.

DeAndre Yedlin- Tottenham Hotspur to Newcastle United

            DeAndre Yedlin has struggled to make the adaption of Premier League Football since his arrival from the MLS. After joining Tottenham in August of 2014, many saw Yedlin as the next US prodigy of soccer. Unfortunately, his luck with the Hotspur’s ran short making only one appearance before being loaned out. While at Sunderland in the 2015-16 Campaign he made 23 appearances for the club but still was showing weaknesses. With Tottenham looking to sell the American, Newcastle United are set to sign him in a $6.6-million-dollar deal. For Newcastle they could be getting a steal for a player such as Yedlin. His pace, and desire to get down the flanks makes him a dangerous outside back. After being named the MLS All Start Match as a rookie in 2014, he set a record for being the first rookie ever part of the squad. At Newcastle he’ll be able to continue to develop as a player and help them push for promotion. 

4 Things we learned from EPL Week 2

1)    Hull City are defying the odds

Hull City from the beginning of the campaign have been heavy favorites to be regulated in the 2016-17 campaign. But after shocking the EPL and upsetting Leicester City people were shocked.  For most people thought it was just a poor display on Leicester’s part and wouldn’t happen again. Week 2 saw Hull City be paired against Swansea City, a game which could go either way. The first half at Liberty Stadium both teams go into half with no goals, but the Tigers luck would help again. In the 79th minute Shaun Maloney scored a vital goal giving them the lead with eleven minutes to go. In the 92nd Abel Hernandez secured all three points with a late extra time goal. As the table stands Hull City are tied in first with points at 6 and have momentum on their side. On Saturday August 27th, they will play Manchester United which will show if they can compete.

2)    Liverpool still can’t keep a winning form

After a 7 goal thriller vs Arsenal in their first match, Liverpool were looking to build off their current form.  Playing Burnley at Turf Moor Stadium, this should have been an easy win for Liverpool. But after giving up an early goal in the second minute, they had to play with Burnley sitting behind the ball. Again conceding another goal in the 37th minute now it was looking at a poor display by Liverpool. The match finished 2-0 in favor of Burnley and a repeated theme seemed to be reoccurring. Like last season Liverpool couldn’t keep a steady winning form and lacked in the final third.

3)    Manchester United are back in business

Manchester United are finally back to their glory days, as it seems. After winning their opening match 3-1 vs Bournemouth, which was done in ease. They faced Southampton who are a top flight club within the Premier League. But now with United having Zlatan and Pogba they seem unbeatable. Zlatan had a double scoring in the 36th and 52nd minute giving United a comfortable win. Now facing Hull City in week three they should be able to pull off another win.

4)    Arsene Wenger isn’t the right man for Arsenal

For years’ manager Wenger has received criticism for his coaching and playing style he’s used for Arsenal. After another summer of low spending and not signing any big name player, the pressure has continued to mount for him. Losing their opening game 4-3 to Liverpool and now tying Leicester City, his summer revise looks to have gone wrong. With only one year left on his contract, it seems he won’t be getting an extension anymore. Arsenal need to finish top 2 if he hopes to be staying next season.5 Things we’ve learned from Week 2 of Premier League

Transfer Tuesday

Joe Hart- Goalkeeper- Manchester City to?

            Joe Hart was once said to be England’s next greatest goalkeeper and make Manchester City unbeatable. After a poor 2015-16 campaign and a poor display in the Euros 2016 for England his time in Manchester may be come to an end. On August 16th Sky Sports News also said that Joe Hart will Manchester City by the end of the month. Possible destinations are told to be Everton and Liverpool. To make the matter even worse manager Pep Guardiola dropped Joe on their opening fixture and to show his time is all but done. The odds of this happening seem to be around an 8/10 and City have already lined up a backup. It’s said Manchester have contacted Barcelona for their goalie Bravo.

Jose Fonte- Center Back- Southampton to Manchester United

            Jose Fonte in recent times has put on impressive displays and is now looking to relish the opportunity to play for a mega club. After winning the 2016 Euros with Portugal he caught the eye of Jose Mourinho and Arsenal. It’s said he’d prefer a move to Manchester United and was flattered by their interest. Mourinho is looking to strength his back line and believes Fonte’s skills meet the criteria. At 32 Southampton are trying to hold on to their prized center defender and have offered him a new contract. The odds seem about a 6/10 due to if United offer enough they could be forced into taking the fee.

Martin Odegaard- Real Madrid to Rennes- LOAN

            Martin Odegaard has suffered a tough time since his arrival to Real Madrid. At only 17 Odegaard needs to leave Madrid on loan to be able to develop into the player he’s said to become. After only featuring in 32 minutes of the 2015-16 La Liga season it seems this season would be similar and hamper his development. Ligue 1 club Rennes believe they are the right team for a season long loan and it would help both parties. The odds of this happening seems to be a 9/10 with Martin needing to develop.

Hull City- Will the sign anyone?

            Hull City started the 2016=17 EPL campaign favored to be relegated with the amount of problems within the club. The club is currently in negotiations to sell the ownership of the club which has caused all the main problems. Highly rated manager Steve Bruce resigned from his position with the lack of transfer activity within the club. To make matters worse Hull City were paired against league winners Leicester City for their opening game, which many believed would be a blow out. Against all odds Hull City were able to beat Leicester 2-1 and possibly turn their odds too. Once the club’s ownership is transferred to the new owners the club will look to sign many players, if it’s not too late. 

6 Things We Learned From the EPL Week 1

1-    Manchester United mean business this season

After suffering from the departure of Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United couldn’t reach the point they were under him. Now with Jose Mourinho as the manager and bringing in 4 players this could be their season. Winning 3-1 on opening weekend and Pogba will be included in week two’s game. They will be even stronger, making them contenders to win the league.

2-    Leicester City’s fairy tale is over

Playing Hull City in their opening campaign game, they were heavy favorites to win with Hull likely to be relegated. But after putting out a slow and careless display it saw Leicester City have the odds play against them being defeated. The 2-1 loss to Hull City showed they may endure a rough season and the Champions League could be too much.

3-    David Moyes is the right man for Sunderland

Sunderland had one of the toughest fixtures and got matched up with Manchester City. In the beginning of the game they gave up an early pk, which seemed the game would turn out to be a blow out. But Sunderland were able to regroup gain focus and maintain their place on the field. Defoe equaled the scoring in the 71st minute looking like Moye’s would have dream start to his career but sadly ended with another error. Only 5 minutes into his debut, Paddy McNair scored an own goal giving Man City the 2-1 win.

4-    Arsenal need to sign better players

Each season it seems an occurring theme that Arsene Wenger promises he will bring in big name players to help with their title drought. This only leads to anger and mistrust from the Arsenal supporters who don’t get what their promised. After being defeated 4-3 by Liverpool on week 1, Wegner needs to sign more players and quick. It turns into the repeated angry fans calling for Wenger out and the ownership doing nothing.

5-    It’s Zlatan time in the Premier League

Many people have written and talked about the difficulty Zlatan has endured while facing English teams in the Champions League. But this doesn’t seem to be the case with Ibrahimović already making his mark on the league. From his passing to scoring he has already added a new dimension to the EPL that has been missing a player at his skill. Scoring from over 20 yards out on opening week, and setting up many spectular chances. It is now #ZlatanTime making all teams who face United worried.

6- Game 1 of 38

If you watched the Premier League’s games this weekend you will have got an idea at where each team stands right now. At the end of the day that was only game 1 of 38 so the news will surely change. Week 2 will contain a great matchup with Arsenal playing Leicester City on Saturday. For both teams they will need to the vital win to not start their campaigns with two loses. 

KAdidas Dark Space Pack

            Adidas has officially released the brand new Dark Space Pack, being available early August. The cleats haven’t been seen on contracted Adidas players but don’t be surprised if some do. Being only released in the Adidas X and ACE line of boots in the collection. The Messi and Gloro will not be featured in Adidas’s newest pack.

Adidas X 16+

            With a limited set of these boots to be released the Adidas X 16+ will be some of the hardest cleats to get ahold of. Coming in all black and featuring a shine on the sole, it could easily be the best X released by Adidas. It will feature the same technology as the previous series including the techfit collar.

Rating- 10/10- All black cleats are some of the nicest cleats to be released by any brand. With Adidas adding a chrome like look to the sole of the X it only adds to quality of the boot.

 

Adidas ACE 16+

           

            The laceless boot by Adidas comes in almost all Black with a few Solar Yellow features throughout the cleat. The tongue on the cleat will be the main portion in Solar Yellow with the ACE symbol in black. This boot will surely bring no distraction while on the field with its main color being black.

Rating- 9/10- Adidas were so close to making it all black but couldn’t resist the temptation of adding the Solar Yellow in the boot. 

Transfer Tuesday- #Pogback

Paul Pogba- Juventus to Manchester United- Done Deal

            Paul Pogba has officially signed for his former club Manchester United, breaking the transfer record on the way. The actually figure hasn’t been releases but is said to be £89 million pounds surpassing Gareth Bale’s transfer fee to Real Madrid. After leaving Man United at only 18 years old for free he has returned at age 23 and has a good decade plus under him. Both Manchester United and Paul Pogba seem to be thrilled with the business that’s been done. Jose Mourinho in an interview has said, “He’s a very young player, an unbelievable midfield player with such physicality but, at the same time, such agility, coordination, skill. He has everything,” he said. In Pogba’s first interview with MUTV Pogba told the reporters it feels like it was destined he returned.

John Stones- Everton to Manchester City- Done Deal

            Stone’s may be only 22 years old but he recently broke the record for the most expensive defender ever. For a fee of £47.5 million pounds he now joins a list of center defenders Manchester City already have, and could end up being fourth choice. Manchester City already have Kompany, Mangala and Otamendi so Stone could be struggling for playing time. After signing his six-year deal with the club John said, "It's an ambitious club with a great manager so I can't wait to get stuck in, I know it will be tough getting a place in this team, but I'm determined to become the best player I can be and help us to success."

Christian Benteke- Liverpool to Crystal Palace?

            After having a rough 2015-16 campaign while at Liverpool he may be out the door after a year. On July 22nd, 2015 Liverpool announced they signed Benteke from Aston Villa for £32.5 million pounds. During his first campaign with Liverpool he scored 10 goals in 42 appearances which didn’t compare to his days with Villa. At only 25 years old Crystal Palace could offer Benteke a good way to get back to his regular scoring. The odds of this deal happening seem pretty high as both parties have what the other needs.

Yannick Bolasie- Crystal Palace to Everton?

            Yannick Bolasie could soon be doing his famous Bolasie flick at Everton’s grounds if the deal goes through. The reported fee for Bolasie is said to be in the £30-million-pound range and a player could be part of the deal too. Bolasie at 27 is at the prime of his career and surely could end up being a great move by Everton. While at Crystal Palace he’s had a tough time scoring regularly and has only netted 13 times in 143 appearances. A fee of 30 million pounds this window seems very small with the huge figures that have been already paid. Everton would be getting a flashy, quick and good crosser if they can get Crystal Palace to sell. 

FA Community Shield over and the Premier League about to start

            The FA Community Shield ended in a dramatic late goal but that also means the Premier League season is about to kick off. The Community Shield is a match played at Wembley Stadium with the winner of the EPL playing the winner of the FA Cup. This saw league winners Leicester City face off against FA Cup winner’s Manchester United. Both teams had very new faces on the pitch compared to when they faced each other in the 2015-16 campaign which saw both matches end in a 1-1 draw. Leicester City this summer has been trying to hold on to their key players with one already leave. Midfielder, Kante, left earlier in the summer for Chelsea while Marhez could still end up at Arsenal. On the other hand, Manchester United have signed many key players and look stronger than ever. Before the match Manchester also commented on recent reports of Paul Pogba coming back to Manchester saying he will have a medical this week. While this match is still not in their official season it still isn’t played at a friendly match tempo with both teams wanting to bring home the trophy.

            For both clubs winning this trophy meant completely different things to them and their fans. If Leicester City won, it means their fairytale season has just started again and they could compete for back to back titles. While for Manchester United it would be the first trophy to the start of a new era and prove Mourinho is the right manager. The first thirty minutes of the game were slow and neither team could gain tempo of the match. After an outstanding solo run by winger, Lingard of United, he opened up the scoring after dribbling multiple people. It saw the first half end 1-0 in favor of the Red Devils with a 32nd minute goal assisted by Wayne Rooney. With the second half underway Leicester decided to go straight for the double switch bringing on Musa and Gray. Ahmed Musa recently signed for the Foxes in a club transfer record and scored two goals in a friendly against Barcelona. From the beginning of the second half United controlled a majority of the possession of the ball until Fellaini messed up. Fellaini missed judged the speed needed on a back pass to David De Gea setting up Jamie Vardy for an easy goal. With less than ten minutes left in the match it seemed penalty kicks would be needed to find a winner but Zlatan didn’t want that to happen. After Valencia beat his man to cross the ball Zlatan Ibrahimovic was able to connect for a wonderful back post header to win the game. For Manchester United this was huge! Zlatan may be 34 years old but he’s scoring isn’t slowing down.

            Now with the FA Community Shield over and United winning the first trophy in England this campaign the new Premier League season is all set to kick off. On Saturday August 13th, Leicester City will open up the new campaign against newly promoted Hull City. With Manchester United playing the first match on Sunday vs. AFC Bournemouth. The first week of BPL will bring new faces from across the globe to the league and many new talents out. With so many changes of managers and players the Premier League looks stronger than ever and will be a difficult season to win. 

Rio 2016 Olympics- Soccer

            The 2016 Summer Olympics has official kicked off in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. After much controversial the games were given the go ahead to continue as scheduled causing uproar. In 2009 Brazil won the rights to hold the 2016 Olympics being the first host in South Africa. During the time of the awarding, their economy was booming and growing at a fast pace. But in 2011, it all changed for Brazil with massive scandals hitting the government. With all the protests from local citizens and alarming problems occurring the games have still progressed. On Friday August 5th, the Opening Ceremony will occur with swimmer, Michael Phelps, carrying our national flag. Many of the sports have already kicked off including soccer, and surprises have already occurred. With both Men’s and Women’s Olympic Soccer taking place, lets take a closer look at each event.

Olympics 2016 Men’s Soccer-

            The men’s soccer event can be a very exciting time to watch the best and youngest soccer prospects from across the globe. FIFA placed a rule on the Olympics tournament to make sure the World Cup remains the sports main competition. Under current rules, players 23 and under are to play with a maximum of three “over age” players may take the field. This makes nations showcase their youngest and best players to the millions watching abroad. At the same time though many don’t like the rule as it lessens the competition.

            Brazil as they were in the 2012 World Cup in Rio is favorites to win the tournament. In 2012 World Cup, Brazil fell apart after captain Neymar suffered a tournament long injury. With Neymar now healthy and looking as good as ever he’s going to be Brazils main driving force. With the problems that continue to mount within the country, this could be a little bit of help for the citizens of Brazil. After playing their first game against South Africa and tying this could cause for panic within the squad. But their remainder of opponents in Group A should allow for them to progress with it being Denmark and Iraq.

            For a country that has demolished almost all civilization that’s once habituated the current area of Rio, not bringing home gold would be a burden on the country. There are other strong nations within the Olympics including Germany and Colombia. When August 20th occurs and if Brazil isn’t in the finals all diasters may occur within the Naitonal team and the country.  

Olympics 2016 Women’s Soccer

            The USA Women’s National Team are heavy favorites to win this years Olympics games. From game one they have came out sharp and won 2-0 against New Zealand. Since the United State’s won the 2015 World Cup every nation that plays them will have a target to beat them. Within their group they have third ranked France, Colombia and New Zealand. In Group F Germany stands in first in their group and will look to prove their dominance. A game between the USA and Germany could be one of the greatest Olympic games to take place and will surely have lots of scoring. 

Transfer Tuesday

Marouane Fellaini- Manchester United To Sunderland

            Since Sunderland has appointed David Moyes as manager of the club, he’s already had Fellaini in mind. The 6ft 4” center midfielder has been a key man in previous managerial jobs for Moyes. Since Fellaini arrived at Old Trafford he’s never seemed to be a regular and at times has struggled for minutes. Now with Mourinho looking to do an overhaul of the club and free up space the deal could happen. At a reported fee of £13 million pou