EASTER MONDAY RUINED FOR AFC LEOPARDS

The Kenyan Premier League continues to heat up with two round 8 matches being played on Easter Monday. Wazito FC was playing against Zoo FC, while Tusker FC vs AFC Leopards. The latter one was the main event, and the result was a shock for me. Watching the game, I could not believe this was Ingwe losing to Tusker (you can catch my comments about the game on youtube)

I went into the game believing that the Leopards had this game in the bag! Boy, was I wrong! However, it was still entertaining to watch Tusker try to redeem themselves from their dismal form this season. Going into the match, Tusker was at No 14, and I swear, I have never watched a season where the Breweries team has performed so poorly. Luckily, they won this game and were able to go up the table a few spots.

So, what exactly went wrong for the Leopards on this beautiful Easter Monday?

For starters, I would say Andika (their goalkeeper) was not in his best form, and that had catastrophic effects for the rest of the game. The last time we saw Andika play was during the second leg of the CAF Confederations Cup where Ingwe was unable to beat the Fosa Juniors. Consequently, they missed their opportunity to proceed in the continental tournament, and Andika (as well as other teammates) received a lot of criticism (you can catch my views on this game here).

Fast forward to this current game, and he is making rookie mistakes that cost his team the match. He misjudged a backpass from one of his cohorts (Kibwage), only for Timothy Otieno to come lurching forward, block that attempt, and see the ball going into the net. There was nothing Andika could do to stop it. AFC went down 1 goal thanks to Otieno’s initiative and Andika’s lackluster attempt at clearing the ball. This was in the opening minutes of the first half.

When the clock hit the 30-minute mark, Andika makes another blunder that sees his team going down another goal. He intentionally sweeps Otieno off his feet, without even attempting to make contact with the ball. Result: Andika is shown a red card and a penalty is awarded to Tusker. Now, AFC is down two goals to Tusker within the first thirty minutes of the game!

Other than that, AFC’s defensive prowess was literally unheard of the entire match. Their ineptitude to deal with the likes of Otieno and Wahome is what put their goalkeeper in trouble in the first place, as well as enable both of these players to score a brace each for their team. For instance, they were unable to mark the dangerous Wahome effectively when he was near the goal, which resulted in his two goals. In the case of the Otieno goals, an improperly timed and weak backpass from the defender (Kibwage for the first instance; Kamura for the second) was to blame.

There were also several missed chances from both sides but most notably from the AFC camp. All their frantic attempts were for naught until Isuza caught a lucky break and was able to whizz one past David Okello. Clinical finishes from the other Ingwe strikers would have ensured that they won the game or at least managed a draw, but alas, they ended up throwing those chances away.

Final result: Tusker 4 Leopards 2.

 

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NO TOP-FOUR SPOT FOR THE BLUES!!

The one game you would expect Chelsea to win. They have done so for the last 28 years. I’m not even 28, which means that all my life plus a year, Chelsea have been beating Tottenham in every game they have played against one another at Stamford Bridge. That is a spectacular record, people! But this Sunday, it all went up in smoke, boys, and girls, and Chelsea’s defense was to blame for the entire messy debacle.

But the Chelsea defenders are not the only ones to blame for their remarkable loss of form during that game. Chelsea’s main man, Morata, played horribly in the match. He’s not been having a very good season despite being considered the Blue’s biggest star signing. He gave his team hope by scoring the opening goal for Chelsea, but after that, the fireworks were extinguished. You could see him clearly struggling throughout the match, getting frustrated, missing chances, not connecting well with others, it was just a sad state of affairs for Morata this past Sunday. He has demonstrated a staggering lack of confidence in his own abilities throughout the season, which is surprising for a player of his stature. I also have the sense that Conte ringing in Giroud as a potential replacement for the No 9 exacerbated his esteem issues. If he had put up more of a fight in this game, the result would not have been so disastrous for Chelsea.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, a young man has gotten his confidence and goal-scoring streak back. This must have been one of the most successful games for Dele Alli who scored a brace for Tottenham (in the space of four minutes), and before that, he had played a huge part in building up Eriksen’s goal. This was Alli’s 100th appearance in the Premier League, and what a way to celebrate it! And what’s even more incredible is the fact that he was still reeling from the announcement earlier in the week that his start in the World Cup for England was doubtful. I know his haters were absolutely taken by surprise owing to his brilliant performance. I hope he keeps it up because Tottenham is definitely stronger when he has the right attitude and he’s playing to win legitimately (i.e. when he’s not diving :))

On a side note, Antonio Conte, you need to go, dude, this ship is sinking and you need to save yourself quick. I swear I feel like if he stays one more day in the Chelsea camp, he’ll succumb to stress or end up depressed. It is that serious people, he needs to go for his own peace of mind! He’s expected to depart at the end of the season, but there is the little stumbling block of 9.5 million pounds that Chelsea would have to pay him if he leaves before his contract is complete. And I know you’re probably thinking that this is Chelsea, it’s always rich because its owner is Abramovich, a BILLIONAIRE!

However, it might prove difficult for Chelsea to dish out the 9.5m just like that. The Blues were unable to ring in some of their favored pursuits during the January transfer market because these pursuits were unaffordable for Chelsea. And now, some of their biggest stars such as Hazard and Courtois are aching for a move to Real Madrid where the money will be better. Chelsea management knows this and they are looking to save some cash so that they can attract the right names. Hence, they are not going to be dishing close to ten million pounds out just to let Conte go. However, this is a developing story so let us see how it goes.

What isn’t a developing story is Chelsea’s title hopes or clinching a top-four spot. Welcome to the club of despair, Chelsea, have your fans come and sit next to us Arsenal fans, hihihi!

WE WON BUT WE STILL FEEL LET-DOWN

We won, yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay!!!!!!!! But, we still suck! You know I’m talking about Arsenal. You know that warm amazing feeling that comes over you when your team wins? That feeling of ‘we’ve got this, we can scale to the top’? No sane Arsenal fan has that feeling right now. We’ve left those feelings for Burnley, Liverpool, and Tottenham fans (sadly Chelsea fans do not fall in this category anymore). There is so much apathy in the Arsenal world right now, and it was clear from the half-empty seats in the stadium yesterday. And it’s all because of one man (I won’t write his name here because my heart hurts every time that I think about him; does this nigga know that broken heart syndrome is real? Argggh!!)

So, we won, but we should not have going by how we were playing in the first half. That first half was so horrendous to watch, and I feel like my face contorted in ways that it has never done before. OMG! The way Chambers was playing in that first half, it was like he intentionally wanted to rip our hearts out and stomp on them barefoot. Passes were not being completed, and people like Chambers were busy giving away the ball. The same thing with Elneny. This was his chance to prove that he should be in the starting line-up in every game, and he almost blew. Gaaaaaaaaad! Simply put, it was mind-numbing to watch that first half for me, and for every Arsenal supporter out there.

It is just pure luck that Shaqiri did not find the back of the net in this game. I mean the man was a nightmare for our defenders. But, true to his form he lost his gusto during the second half and our boys could at least breathe easier.

The second half was more entertaining to watch. It was such a relief seeing our players completing passes, mounting credible attacks, creating chances from the midfield (Wilshere, I see you), and you know, basically playing football the way it should be played. It feels like the match opened up significantly with Lacazette’s entry into the game in the 61st minute. This man has moves, charisma, and most importantly, the grit to keep us afloat during our match with CSKA Moscow as well as for the rest of the premier league season. What I am trying to say (if you haven’t read between the lines yet) is that this man is highly impressive and has a huge impact on how our boys play.

And so does another dude, our star signing, Aubemayang. Sadly, he will not be playing against CSKA Moscow (because of some dumb rules) but watching him play on Sunday made me feel like our chances are much slimmer without him. A brace against Stoke is significant for Aubemayang, although not so for our top four hopes. I hope he will be able to capitalize on this groundwork as the premier league draws to a close.

We also saw a glimpse of how beautiful our attack would be if we played Lacazette and Aubameyang up front together. I mean, this could be the next dynamic duo that helps us save face this season. And they seem to really like playing together, and creating chances for one another. There’s absolutely no selfishness between these two as was noted when Aubameyang gave Lacazette the opportunity to take the second penalty rather than him going for his first hat-trick in an Arsenal shirt.

Wenger seems to believe there will be hardly any empty seats during our Europa match with the Russians. I am not sure about this because people are tired of wasting their money and getting their hearts broken. But I’ll watch the game just to see how Lacazette performs because now he is watch-worthy. (Please don’t flush my heart down the toilet, Gunners, please)!

PALACE HAD IT IN THE BAG…THEN BENTEKE BLEW IT!!!

It’s always a glorious day when Liverpool plays. There is usually no shortage of drama when the Reds are on the pitch, and that kind of excitement is what I crave for whenever I watch a football match. I was not really sure how exciting Liverpool vs Crystal Palace would be considering the fact that both teams are on opposite ends of the EPL table. Liverpool was in the top four while Palace was in the bottom four. You would expect that Liverpool would quash Crystal Palace, and have the Glaziers running around the pitch like some inexperienced, headless chicken from the get-go.

However, much to my surprise and thrill, that was not the case. Crystal Palace held it down on Saturday, and throughout the first half and several minutes into the second half, the Glaziers were running the show! In the first half, they pushed hard, they ran hard, covered most of their bases, and capitalized on Liverpool’s sluggish start. This pulsating energy, and being able to rattle the Reds’ defense to a point of forcing the goalkeeper to make a dangerous mistake, resulted in the first goal for Crystal Palace. Zaha had managed to permeate Liverpool’s line of defense, and it was up to the latter’s goalkeeper to try and stop the Palace talisman. Karius went in too heavy at Zaha within the box resulting in two things: a yellow card for the goalkeeper, and a surprise penalty for the home team.

The penalty was taken by the one and only, Milivojevic, who is now regarded as the official penalty maestro for Crystal Palace (he’s scored seven penalties thus far). Dismayed by this first goal, the Reds began playing with their usual lightning speed (the kind that we are used to), and much to Klopp’s chagrin, Palace were able to keep up.

The second half was packed with the kind of drama I live for. From Mane’s handball theatrics, Benteke’s wastefulness, to Salah’s undoubted ability to find the back of the net in the dying moments of the game.

The end result was 2-1 in favor of Liverpool, but for me, Crystal Palace was the better team. Zaha was my favorite player in the match. He is unbelievable! I did not even expect him to play this match (two hours to the match, and he still hadn’t been cleared for duty). And then he shows up, and he plays his heart out for 90 minutes with a not-so-healed injury. My friend! That is what it means to love what you do.

He’s going for goal in the first half and the subsequent foul on him by the Liverpool goalkeeper helped set the stage for Palace’s first goal. In addition, he was so instrumental in easing the pressure that Liverpool was mounting on Palace’s goal especially in the second half. If a defender managed to get the ball away from a Liverpool attacker in Palace’s half, that ball would most definitely land on Zaha’s path. He would then run at blistering speed down the left wing as far as he could go to give his side some time to recover from the attack. In so many instances, he led Crystal Palace’s counter-attack as a solo effort. Color me impressed!

My worst performer for the Glaziers was Benteke. He had two amazing chances in front of goal and he threw them away. If he had scored at least one of those direct chances, Liverpool would have been done for, and at the very worst, the game would have ended as a draw. I’m starting to feel that Benteke’s best days are behind him, and he should probably start considering another career…maybe beekeeping. He looks like he would be a great bee farmer.

I was not super impressed with Liverpool’s performance on Saturday, and now it has me worried about their impending Champion League’s game against Man City this week. I mean Firmino was literally unheard of much of the game, and what exactly was Mane playing at? How can you be playing at such a top flight level and act so unprofessionally? Trying to force the referee’s hand by fake falling and grabbing the ball mid-play is not only an insult to your quality as a player, it’s just plain childish! YOU CAN DO BETTER, MANE!! (FYI I strongly believe that he should

Salah added to his tally of premier league goals having scored Liverpool’s second goal late in the match (he is at the top with 29 goals, five goals ahead of his closest competition, Harry Kane). He was quite unimpressive throughout the match, and I think this is probably because he wasn’t connecting with his usual feeders as well. However, that goal was brilliant, and I cannot wait to watch what he brings to the table against Man-City (this will be like the battle of the Titans or something, can’t wait!!).

Crystal Palace players definitely need to be able to maintain their focus and attention until the game ends. If they had, Salah would not have scored, and they would be celebrating a draw right now. It’s become almost habitual for the Glaziers to let their opponents score in the last minutes of the game, and that is why they are losing most of the games. Something needs to be done about this ASAP (although at this point, it does not really matter).

Anyway, that was a wonderful match. Kudos to Liverpool for winning, albeit unconvincingly, and for making the race for the top four even more exciting!

 

IS 1-0 REALLY VENGEANCE?

I have seen numerous headlines this morning regarding yesterday’s international friendly match between Germany and Brazil and they all seem to suggest that the Selecao has reclaimed their honor by beating Germany 1-0 in the latter’s home turf. The overwhelming sentiment is that the Brazilians have managed to avenge their World Cup defeat to Germany nearly four years ago. People have already seen Brazil win this year’s cup because of that SOLITARY Jesus’ goal! They have already predicted how Germany will flop this year, the same way that Brazil sunk in the last World Cup. NKT!!!!!

First of all, hogwash! My understanding of the term ‘vengeance’ does not seem to fit this narrative being spread around. Yesterday, Brazil won 1-0 in Berlin in an international friendly. Four years ago, Germany thrashed Brazil SEVEN goals to ONE on the Selecao’s home soil in the World Cup Semi-Finals! Brazil has not managed to avenge their most humiliating game in world history. That one goal defeat cannot even be considered a sting to Germany’s brilliant World Cup record. They have only managed to anger the bull as far as I’m concerned.

As you might have noticed by now, I am an ardent Die Nationalmannschaft supporter, and I have been for several years. To me, the German national team is like a well-oiled fighting machine that destroys everything in its path (clearly, I’m into violence; blame it on my obsession with video games). I love their tenacity, their strength, and their ability to wear their opponents down minute by minute. And, they do it so mechanically, so methodically, that you often find yourself pitying their opponents. It’s usually a ‘bringing the sheep to the slaughter’ kind of scenario everytime a team is set to face the Germans

Hence, my complete astonishment at these frenzied reports that have surfaced regarding my favorite national team’s performance last night. Let me let you in on a little secret, people, that game was purely experimental! Did you see Muller play? Did you see Ozil on that pitch last night or Can? No! Because this was not a must-win game, and what better opportunity to try out your other guns than a friendly against the world’s number two. Several major changes were made to the usual German line-up, and there were many young players on that pitch because, as Low put it ‘ ..that is why you have such games, to try things out.’ And try things out they did!

Granted, their performance was not as stellar as it usually is, and Brazil capitalized on the clear lack of cohesion in the German side by absolutely covering themselves with that 6-3-1 formation. But, we saw a lot of young, untapped talent as well as some flashes of glory from the German side that I hope we’ll get to see more of in the World Cup. Wagner, as usual, was impressive, although he missed the mark a couple of times. Boateng brought nearly his all to that match, and I liked his energy and persistence throughout the game, all hallmarks of a great captain (let us just be honest, this boy can do no wrong in my eyes, he is as perfect as they come! Seeing him play always excites my little heart! I almost cried when he went down after Jesus stepped on his back quad, it was really devastating to see him in pain!). Moving on swiftly…

Least impressive for me was Mario Gomez, and so it was a sigh of relief when he went out for Wagner. Needless to say, we are in this mess because of Trapp’s error, but there is no point kicking a man when he is down is there?

Brazil had everything at stake going into this game, and they played their hearts out to secure that lead. Dani Alves, Marcello, Willian and Jesus (goal-scorer) played really good football yesterday, and they had me gasping for air at certain moments. (Especially Willian, I cannot get enough of this boy! He puts everything he has in every match he plays, I don’t know how he does it). I just hope they have something left for the actual World Cup matches. The only let-down for me from the Brazilian side was Coutinho. His head was never in that game and it was clear to see. He better pull his socks up or he’s going to end up costing his side big time on the big stage.

Despite the win, and Brazil managing to stop Germany’s 22-game unbeaten run, Brazil is far from ever redeeming themselves or avenging their catastrophic World Cup semi-final loss to Germany four Decembers ago.

Anyway, I hope both teams are prepared for Spain. After the thrashing the Spaniards gave Argentina yesterday, you best believe that Spain is a formidable opponent in this year’s World Cup!

THAT LIVERPOOL PERFORMANCE WILL LEAVE YOU SECOND-GUESSING YOUR ALLEGIANCE

That Liverpool game was everything!! At first, I was not going to watch it. PSG vs Real Madrid was on at the same time, and this is the game that everyone was talking about. Ronaldo vs Neymar/Mbappe/Cavani, people, what could be more exciting than this tantalizing clash of the titans? Turns out, Liverpool vs FC Porto, baby!!

I watched the RealvsPSG match for the first 10-12 minutes, and I kid you not I was getting bored. Plus, I was not really feeling Cavani on that Wednesday night, I just did not like seeing him on the screen for no apparent reason. Then, a small voice inside me told me to switch to the Liverpool game for just a few minutes then come back to this ‘main event’, hopefully, more refreshed. That small voice was like a calling! People, I never went back to that PSG game, and I do not regret it for a second! Liverpool was on fire, and if I wasn’t such a staunch Arsenal supporter, they would have converted me.

I’m talking about moves that could give a girl straight orgasms; goals that could give a healthy 26-year-old, heart palpitations, a game that moved so fast, there was hardly any time to breathe or blink, an intense coach who hardly sat for the entire match (I love Klopp’s theatrics on the sideline, they are always entertaining), a defensive wonderkid who is delicious to watch (and he gets better every game), and a midfielder who, for the life of me, has not let age define him. Yes, that was what the Reds brought to Porto on Valentine’s day. That and much more!

Let me begin with James Milner, this midfielder who seemingly re-invents himself every season, nay, every match! Every time I see him play, I make fun of him for being too old to be on this particular team. I know that is kind of mean, but in football years, Milner is ancient! I first heard about him in 2010 when he was moving to Manchester City from Aston Villa where he had spent two years. Before that, I came to find out, he had been in Newcastle, preceded by a loan transfer to Aston Villa, which was after his first stay in Newcastle who had bought the then 18-year-old from Leeds United. In short, he’s been playing professional football since I was a pre-teen, and my head just cannot get around that!

But, here is the funny thing about Milner that leaves me in awe. He is doing what normal 32-year-old professional footballers cannot do. He’s changing roles on the field on a regular basis making him one of the most versatile footballers some of us have ever come across. Last season, he was playing in the left-back position; this season, he’s playing as a midfielder! How absolutely amazing is that?

Another fun fact, he currently holds the record for the most assists in this Champions League season. He set up two of the five goals scored by Liverpool on Wednesday taking him to the top of the assist table. Imagine, he’s ahead of players like Kevin De Bruyne! Wow.

That’s not all! Milner (alongside Henderson) clearly dominated that midfield and controlled that game. He showed so much tenacity and maturity that promulgated throughout the Liverpool team. Milner was not allowing any of his teammates to make mistakes, not on this day!

Milner was not the only one showing maturity on such a big stage on Wednesday. Mo Salah, the King of Egypt, demonstrated that exact sentiment throughout his game, and he was so impressive to watch. I find the way this man moves with the ball, dribbling across defenders, and linking the ball up with teammates, at times who are in his blind spots, so enticing. Like, I cannot resist him when he is on the field.

And did you see his goal? This was one of those orgasmic, heart palpitation causing moments I was talking about earlier. That goal wasn’t just magical, it was pure art! How can he have such composure to score a goal like that? To me, it’s just mind-blowing! Can Salah do anything wrong at this point? I doubt it!

Firmino was also on point in this game, and what a spectacular goal that was. I loved his celebration after he scored, it was so boyish (I also like his teeth, but this is a story for another place). And, I have to be honest. I fell in love with the Firmino-Salah combination in their match against Southampton last Sunday. They played off each other so well at the front during this game, and it was exciting to see them doing that again in the Porto game.

The duo seems to have so much chemistry, and so much fun playing together and scoring amazing goals. That is why it was so surprising to learn that they are not best friends. Guess who is Salah’s closest friend at Liverpool?

I’ll tell you. It’s the man who completely destroyed Porto on Wednesday. Sadio Mane, baby!! What a performance! What a way to seal the destiny for your team in the Champions League. Mane’s three goals against Porto is another testament of how mature, and composed these boys have become under Klopp, and how precise their game is. It also shows the breadth of talent within Liverpool, wow!

Of course, Mane’s performance on Valentine’s day was also testament to the player’s self-belief and self-awareness. Just a couple of weeks ago people were talking about how he sucked because his form had nose-dived a little. But, now look at him, scoring hat-tricks in one of the biggest competitions in the world! That is truly inspirational, and Liverpool is a wonderful team for giving him the space and the encouragement he needed to recover and reach these new heights.

So, yeah! I am basically in love with everything about Liverpool including their coach and their orange kits. It was the perfect match to watch on Valentine’s, and I hope performances such as those keep coming from Liverpool. (Don’t worry, I have not converted yet. Once a Gunner, always a Gunner, but a little flirting with a rival never hurt nobody).

Subscribe, and leave your comments about the game below. You can also follow me here, here, here, and here.

Have amazing, safe, and love-filled weekends, people!!

WILL TOTTENHAM EVER STOP SHOCKING ME?

Oh, my! Oh, my! Oh, my! Who saw Tottenham’s performance on Tuesday night coming? Who? Certainly not me! I spent an entire blog post belittling Spurs before their match against Arsenal last weekend, AND their Champions League match against Juventus this week (you can catch that post here). Little did I know how truly resilient Spurs can be.

I had to eat my own words after they completely outclassed Arsenal on Saturday, and now, I have to do the same thing again after their breathtaking performance on Tuesday night. Before this game, even before the week began, I was so sure that Spurs had no chance against the Italian side. On such a big stage? Pshhhh! There was no way they were going to hack it (I have to admit that some of the negativity stemmed from them beating us on Saturday). Boy, was I wrong! And, boy, was I glad to be so wrong.

For me, the match was not only entertaining, dramatic, and full-blown intellectual (the way Spurs was passing that ball was just incredible), it showed a different class to Tottenham. These boys are poised, organized, confident, mature even, and all this is evident in that amazing comeback from 2 goals down to a draw. This has not happened at the Juve Stadium since 2011, and for Tottenham (of all the teams) to be able to do that was just mind-blowing!

When Higuain scored the first goal (in the 2nd minute, mind you), I was like ‘Here comes the bloodbath!’, and then he scored the second goal, and for me, that game was over before Spurs could even blink. Two goals in less than 10 minutes of the first half of the first leg of the knockout stage of the Champions League, Tottenham was clearly way out of its depth here! To make it worse, they are the underdogs, they have less experience compared to Juventus across all competitions, Juventus have Buffon who is a matchmaker on his own, and Juve’s defense (BBC) was until most recently considered unbeatable, absolutely impenetrable! Talk about having all the odds stacked against Tottenham.

And yet, Spurs continued to play their hearts out. They kept attacking and they kept coming, and Juventus kept making mistakes. Higuain had two amazing opportunities to widen the score in the first half, one of them being a penalty that he missed right before halftime. Can you believe that? He and Mandzukic also missed seemingly straightforward goals in the early minutes of the second half. What were they thinking?

A special shout out to Kane for being so unafraid in front of goal. Did you see his goal? Did you see how he drew Buffon in, then darted from him, leaving the veteran goalkeeper completely floored, and then striking the ball into the net with his left foot? He did it so unassumingly, you wouldn’t believe that he had just done that to THE Gianluigi Buffon! I mean the cheek of it all!

That goal was special; that goal was the first goal that Juventus have conceded in 2018! That goal, along with the Eriksen one, could shove Buffon into retirement, people! There are already calls for the legendary goalkeeper to pack up his gloves and leave after his ‘not so good’ performance against Tottenham on Tuesday.

Personally, I do not think Buffon was solely to blame for the calamity that befell Juve this Tuesday. Tottenham ARE that good, and it was wrong for so many of us (I’m pointing at myself here) to under-estimate them!

And the beauty of this match was how every Tottenham player contributed immensely to that successful comeback. I’m talking about the likes of Dembele, who hands down, controlled that mid-field and single-handedly set the tempo for that entire game. He made incredible passes forward, he stole the ball, he dribbled, he tackled, he created chances, restarting lost ones, and he linked well with the others. He..was..UNSTOPPABLE!

Dele Alli was also quite impressive, mainly because he was absolutely instrumental in both goals. His possession was not as clear-cut as fans would have hoped, but, for me, he showed a bit more maturity than usual (in other words, I’m glad I’m not spending my post-Valentine’s day calling him out on his diving antics again).

The Spurs’ defense was a bit shaky from the start, but I liked how Sanchez continued to remain calm even with all the pressure. I feel like Tottenham fans are making too much unnecessary noise about Sanchez here. He’s been good so far, give the boy a chance (as I secretly hope he is your weak link and causes you to tumble out of the running for the top four spot in the EPL #COYG)!

One Tottenham player who will not be happy with his performance on Tuesday night is Serge Aurier. It was just a bad night for him, although, it is turning out to be a series of bad nights for him. Free loan transfer, anyone?

But that was a beautiful game, a wonderful show of sportsmanship, and I CANNOT WAIT for the return leg. It is going to be absolutely awesome, and I cannot believe that I am saying this, but I really hope Tottenham go through. Chances are they will, but this is football, and I know Juve will put up a strong fight! Good luck to both teams!!

What did you love about the TottenhamVsJuventus game? Leave your comments below and you can also follow me here, here, here, and here!

INGWE LET IT SLIP- WHO’S TO BLAME FOR DROPPING THE BALL THIS TIME?

The CAF Confederation Cup campaign began on a slow note for Kenya with Fosa Juniors managing a draw with AFC Leopards last Sunday. It was imperative for the Kenyan team to win the game in order for Kenya to have a good chance at advancing in the competition, and fan support was essential in boosting the players’ morale on the D-day.

There was so much hype about the game with Ingwe’s head coach pleading with fans to throng the Bukhungu stadium earlier last week. Calls for fans to attend the game were also made by former AFC Leopards’ players such as Joseph Masiga and Ingwe chairman, Dan Mule.

The emotional appeal worked with an impressive turnout of fans at the legendary Bukhungu stadium. In addition, the County Governor of Kakamega, Wycliffe Oparanya, vowed to foot all of the bills of the Leopards during their stay in Kakamega as they prepared for the first leg of the preliminary round of the CAF Confederation Cup.

And then the D-day came! To our dismay, the Leopards could not get the job done with the highly anticipated game ending in a 1-1 draw. The game had started brightly enough with Ingwe‘s goal coming early in the game as Yusuf Mainge scored in the 3rd minute for the home team. But, even before the 20th minute of the game, Fosa Juniors had already equalized. The rest of the game must have been difficult for the fans in attendance to watch as Ingwe players struggled to keep up with the visitors throughout the game.

Please remember that before the game, the Fosa Juniors’ coach had described AFC Leopards as highly disorganized, and to our surprise, Ingwe seemed determined to prove him right throughout the match. Now fans are furious, and understandably so, owing to the fact that this game was a must-win if we had any hopes of bagging the continental championship.

There have been several apologies issued by the team including sentimental messages issued by both the team’s keeper trainer and Ingwe’s coach. And true to Kenyan form, the blame game has begun. Who is to blame for the woeful display of Ingwe at Bukhungu?

Well, many die-hard Ingwe fans believe that the blame for Sunday’s off the mark performance lies squarely on the feet of Robert Matano, the current coach of AFC Leopards. Matano has maintained that he is in charge of recruiting players, but his choices so far have not worked so well according to several fans across social media. Some have even gone so far as calling some of the pre-season signings as utterly bogus!

Also on the players, many fans have voiced their frustration at having different starting lineups at every game. The lack of an almost regular Starting XI reduces the chemistry and familiarity amongst the players. This makes it extremely difficult for the players to gel well with each other, and lack of coordination in the team is the only expected result here.

There are also some people who firmly believe that the problem is not with the choice of players recruited, fielding, or the gelling of the members of the first team. This camp of AFC fans opines that there is lack of a tactical approach when designing game strategies. Going by the disorganization demonstrated by our players on Sunday, this theory holds a lot of water for me.

The National Executive Committee, the management of AFC Leopards, also came under fire for the poor results and the disorganization that seems rampant across the entire team.

Whoever is to blame, the fact remains that that away goal that Fosa Juniors managed to secure will cost Ingwe greatly in the second leg. Unfortunately, that is the least of our worries for the Leopards. The team has demonstrated fielding issues, problems with players connecting with each other, performance problems, lack of technical strategies, and lack of coordination across all levels of the team. If Ingwe has any hope of clinching this title then these issues have to be addressed pronto before the return leg in Madagascar.

What did you think about Ingwe’s performance against the Juniors? With all these recurrent problems in the team, do you think the Leopards have a chance to beat Fosa Juniors in the return leg?

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PETR CECH-ARSENAL’S SAVING GRACE ONCE MORE-BUT FOR HOW MUCH LONGER?

Well, clearly Tottenham and its fans were more ready for their clash with Arsenal than I had earlier anticipated and I would gladly want to be in the shoes of a Tottenham fan right now. This means I have to eat crow, and actually applaud the team for a job well done. (I would also like to send a special thank you to Arsenal for breaking a piece of my heart yet again this season; kudos, you guys! You’re totally on fire and I hope you are really proud of yourselves)

What can I say, Tottenham outplayed us everywhere it counted, and we did not help our case when we made blunder after blunder throughout the game. At least in the first half, we tried to make the game work, but in the second half, we lost all composure. It was downhill all through the final half, and it was one of the most gut-wrenching performances I had seen all weekend.

I do feel that Spurs could have scored more goals, especially Harry Kane. Majority of the Arsenal players had obviously checked out of the game by the start of the second half, and Tottenham should have worked harder to take advantage of this. That being said, another important reason there wasn’t a bloodbath at Wembley on Saturday, and I still have the strength to write today, my main man Petr Cech.

I did not even expect to see him play in this North London derby, but, boy, are we glaaaaaaad he did! Otherwise, we would have been looking at 4-0 or more in favor of Tottenham. I mean the Lilywhites had 18 shots at goal with six of them on target while the Gunners had six shots at goal with only one…ONE shot on target!

And I know what you are thinking right now. Cech is currently in bad form and making him my man of the match is a classic case of a deluded girl desperately trying to clutch at straws. This is Cech’s worst run across all competitions having conceded a goal or more in each of the last nine consecutive matches. But, whichever way you look at it, he was our saving grace on Saturday, even after conceding against Kane. I mean he saved us from that powerful, goal-bound Eriksen free-kick amongst several other attempts! For me, he kept eyes his eyes peeled the entire game, unlike some other people (names withheld, but you know who I’m talking about)

I firmly believe that our defense has contributed significantly to the veteran goalkeeper’s poor form lately. The state of affairs in our defense department is appalling, to say the least, and I’m sure this was not what Cech was expecting when he came over from Chelsea. He is working overtime in every game just to cover their asses, and it’s just sad!

However, we need to be real here. Cech is not growing any younger, and it seems his best goalkeeping years are well behind him. To be honest, when he was brought in, I was just expecting that he would be a short-term fix until we could get someone more suitable (age-wise) for the position. The minute Szczesny was through with his loan spell at Roma, we should have made him our first choice, first-team goalkeeper. Then Cech would have just been in reserve, until his retirement, only being called upon when it was absolutely necessary. But, as you know with Arsenal, we are in the business of selling our best talents and not providing the ones who stay with the kind of support they need to be at their best.

I really hate saying this, but I think it is time to let go of the aging goalkeeper and purchase someone younger who is able to cover the asses of our disparaging defense, get those boys in check while on the field, and make crucial saves regardless of the opponent. Someone who is just aching to make a mark in the EPL and beyond, and someone who is not afraid to take charge when things are going south.

Problem is even if we do find the perfect replacement for Cech, it’s going to take a miracle for Arsene Wenger to actually spend the kind of money required for such talent. Luckily, that is a problem for another day, I just hope Petr Cech can hold on a little while longer without us completely tanking!

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Have amazing weeks people!!!!

PS: If you are an Arsenal fan, and are religiously inclined, say a word of prayer for Lacazette. I do not know if he will ever be able to redeem himself after his ghastly performance this weekend, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!!

 

TOTTENHAM FANS-ARE YOU READY? ARE YOU REALLY READY?

I wouldn’t want to be in the shoes of a Tottenham fan right now, especially after last night. So many problems in such a short span of time! Woi! First, Tottenham is playing against Arsenal this afternoon, and not just any Arsenal, or the Arsenal of old. This is a renewed, re-energized, allow me to say, RE-BIRTHED Arsenal, and after the Gunners’ exhilarating performance against Everton(5-1 baby!!) last weekend, Spurs need to bring their A-game this afternoon.

But, this is Arsenal, and a great performance is not always forthcoming (I swear I die a little every time Arsenal loses, but this is what love is, together through pain and joy). That coupled with the fact that Petr Cech will be missing in action today (Ospina just does not do it for me), and Kane is in amazing form and still, the season’s lead top scorer could give Tottenham the exact ammunition they need to obliterate our chances of a top-four finish. I do not expect to see much diving from the likes of Alli and Kane, owing to the magnitude of this game, but if there is, I hope they are both red-carded (fat chance!!).

Anyway, moving on to the second point on why Spurs fans should be cowering in their boots at this very moment, Juventus!! It is going to take a miracle for the Tottenham boys to beat Juventus in the first leg of their Champions League match. I mean going by what I saw yesterday, that defense is crazy and Gianluigi Buffon is even crazier. Fiorentina brought their all to that match and dominated almost the entire first half, yet nothing came of it!

It also seemed like luck was not with La Viola yesterday with their penalty appeal being denied after it was accepted five minutes before. The penalty was initially awarded because Dias’ cross made contact with Chiellini’s outstretched arm. However, the penalty was revoked five minutes later, when the ref came to the conclusion that Gil Dias was offside when he crossed the ball. The messed up thing is that replays clearly indicate that Dias was not offside at all!

To make matters worse, guess who scored the first goal for Juventus? One man, Bernadeschi, touted as the most hated former Fiorentina player ever! From the moment he signed to Juventus from Fiorentina, he was regarded as a traitor and a backstabber. This was his first match against his former side since his signing, and his former fans let him have it from the minute he stepped on that pitch yesterday. So when Juventus was awarded a freekick after he was felled by a Fiorentina defender, he had no reservations about taking that free kick and netting it in. (Italians have drama for days….)Yaani, this was not the night for Fiorentina. And did you see that solo Higuain run that led to Juventus second goal? Talk about a counter attack beautifully executed! Wow…

So, let me put this into perspective for you loyal Spurs fans. Congratulations for making it to the last 16 in the Champions League, but from here on out, it’s going to be a bloodbath! Your first game in the last 16 will be against a team that is the top team in Serie A, who have only conceded one goal in their last 16 matches, and that one goal was in December! Furthermore, you are going against a team whose goalkeeper has just capped 500 appearances for his team and is considered to be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Do not forget that their charismatic striker has just re-discovered his spark, and he’s going all in for his team! Plus, the drama that will ensue in that game, woi!!

I am rooting for you guys, I really am. But, the way things are turning out, it’s going to be a long weekend for you guys, and an extra long week.

I wish you the very best of luck in both games, and take heart!!!

Making Sense of My World, One Post At A Time

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