Posts Tagged ‘Riyad Mahrez’

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Well that was quite a day! Belgium can now look forward to trying to be the third best team at this World Cup when, in actual fact, they were probably the best albeit with a manager who didn’t know it.

They created very little in their semi-final defeat to France and, apart from a couple of shots from distance, the French defence coped very well and relatively easily with anything the Belgians threw at them, which wasn’t very much. (more…)

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Win one more game and England are there! They will be participating in their first World Cup final since 1966.

Why is that? Do they suddenly have a team better than the one which included Gary Lineker and Paul Gascoigne? Are they a notch up from the Alan Shearer generation which included the likes of Paul Scholes and David Beckham? How about the team of Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard? (more…)

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The early game this time out was the one between Sweden and Switzerland and was always going to be a close run thing due to the two sides being of similar quality.

Sweden, post-Zlatan, look more of a team now than when the big striker was insisting on being the star man but, on the other hand, they don’t appear to have anybody with a magical touch who can turn a game for them.

That necessity didn’t arise during their match with Switzerland, who were over-reliant on Xherdan Shaqiri who, in turn, didn’t have one of his better days. (more…)

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Manchester United…..

José Mourinho has to go all out to win either the Premier League title or the Champion’s League or, best case scenario, both! The impression is that another trophy-less season might very well be the end of him and even a Carabao or FA Cup win, in isolation, wouldn’t be enough to save him.

One of his well documented problems is that, if he is not winning trophies, then his style of football alone is not enough to keep him in a job. As everybody is aware, he was sacked by Chelsea when five months into his third season back with them.

His demons begin to surface when he starts losing football matches and he tends to blame the players, physios, scouts and anybody else who isn’t him! (more…)

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According to The Guardian Manchester United manager José Mourinho is interested in signing Diogo Dalot of Porto. He has a release clause of €20 million but, reportedly, this has not yet been triggered.

That is, unless you read the Daily Express, who say that United have triggered his release clause which means that he will be signing in the not too distant future.

He is a 19-year old right back who can also play on the left and in midfield. This would be a signing designed to give some competition to Antonio Valencia which, in fairness, shouldn’t be too difficult for anybody half competent in the art of defending! (more…)

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That’s it! The January sales are over for another year! Clubs have ‘invested’ a few million again and will discover, over the remainder of the season, whether it has been money well spent or not.

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Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang – Arsenal’s new party-loving signing

Arsenal would seem to have slightly improved their lot having signed Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund respectively.

The two ex-team mates will now renew acquaintances with each other at The Emirates.

Hopefully the Gabonese international will still be happy with his move when he finds out that Arsenal aren’t really in the Champion’s League, are out of the FA Cup and won’t finish in the top four of the Premier League this season. Whoever tells him may need to leave the room quite quickly shortly afterwards! (more…)

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(The players may wear the shirts but the owners and chairmen are proving, for the moment at least, that THEY wear the trousers!)

Riyad Mahrez, Alexis Sánchez, Virgil van Dijk and Philippe Coutinho. All players who, in order to try and force a move away from their clubs, handed in a transfer request.

Also all world class players who would be welcome in most teams so why is it that, as the transfer window slid shut on Thursday night, they all remained at their clubs.

There are a few reasons but the overriding feeling is one that player power has been defeated, on this occasion at least. (more…)

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(Bald man looks at big screen, aided by big writing and big pictures as well as a tablet, for instructions on what to do next and still doesn’t know!)

So that’s it then! It’s over for another year. Football’s version of Christmas Day came and went with/without a bang depending upon which is your team of choice.

There is, of course, another minor present-giving period in January at which time delusional club owners and chairmen will get another opportunity to buy lavish gifts for their spoiled brat managers, but that is more akin to a birthday rather than the main event.

Sky Sports News had excited reporters at every Premier League ground from 6.00 am just in case anything happened. They were not looking quite so excited when the clock struck 11.00 pm. You do, however, have to admire their optimism if not the ridiculous amounts of taxpayers subscription fees that this exercise must have wasted! (more…)

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Having qualified for the knockout stage of the Champions League as group winners and having lost their last Premier League game at home to Bournemouth, Jose Mourinho could be forgiven for wondering if he had passed through a looking glass into a strange new world where the unexpected is the norm.

On current form there is no way that Chelsea should have qualified as winners of the group in the Champions League. At one stage it seemed they would struggle to qualify at all! There is also, even on current form, no excuse for losing at home to Bournemouth, so the world of Chelsea appears to be a little upside down and inside out at present.

Tonight they had the chance to redeem themselves in the league against top four side Leicester City, managed by ex-Chelsea man Claudio Ranieri.

Jose has now decided that Claudio is actually a good egg and swears he didn’t mean all those nasty things he said about him when they were both in Italy. Claudio, as usual, has been the more gentlemanly of the two by not speaking at all, a tactic which would never occur to Mourinho. (more…)