Tag Archives: Bayern Munich

ARSENAL VS LIVERPOOL: KEY PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR

24/08/2019.

The 24th of August 2019.

This is the day that Arsenal will play its third Premier League match of the 2019/2020 season.

Our first two matches were against formidable teams, but somehow we managed to pull through, and win both.

Our next match will be the toughest one yet as we will be playing against Liverpool.

The same Liverpool that just recently won the Super Cup by beating Chelsea on penalties.

The same Liverpool that managed to win the Champions League last season by beating Tottenham 2 goals to nil. The Liverpool that completely THRASHED the one and only Barcelona 4 goals to zero in the second leg of their semi-final Champions League match.

Remember, this is the Liverpool that also beat Porto 6-1 on aggregate in the quarter-finals of the CL, and before that, they had done away with Bayern Munich by putting three in the net against Bayern’s solitary goal.

This is also the Liverpool that hammered us 5 goals to 1 last December.

Yes, 29th December 2018, a date that I as an Arsenal fan will never forget. It took me months to get over that humiliation.

So, yeah, Arsenal is going up against that Liverpool.

Is there any hope? Will this be our first loss this season?

We’ll just have to wait for this Saturday to see what happens. (Best case scenario, the game ends in a draw; most likely scenario- we lose; most unlikely scenario, Liverpool lose).

But, before that, there is absolutely no harm in looking at the key players from both sides who can have a major effect on how that game turns out.

We’ll start from the back.

  • Bernd Leno- Arsenal

Here’s a little stat for all of us Arsenal fans to sweat over- we’ve conceded at least three goals in our last four trips to Anfield.

Can Leno change the tide?

Will he be able to stop the Salah, Mane, Firmino, etc goals from coming in despite the blunders our defense might make?

Can he communicate effectively enough with our defense to ensure that none of those blunders occur?

  • Sokratis Papastothoupoulous- Arsenal

He’s mainly on this list because he let the world know that he thinks our upcoming match against Liverpool will be easier than our match with Burnley, defensively speaking.

That’s a shocking statement when you consider that Burnley ended up at position 15 last season, while Liverpool was second.

Let us not forget Liverpool’s dangerous attacking trio of Salah, Mane, and Firmino. Will his new-found partnership with David Luiz be able to contend with the pace, creativity, skill, and goal-scoring prowess of these three Liverpool greats?

Another constant threat he will have to contend with, Trent Alexander Arnold. This Liverpool right-back is a formidable ball crosser, and he can run a riot on our defense if Sokratis and Luiz don’t keep a lid on him.

And then, this is Sokratis. He’s bound to make a mistake, but at least not as unforgivable as Mustafi’s. Will his mistake today cost us this crucial game?

I have my doubts, but, we’ll just have to wait and see…

  • David Luiz

As I mentioned in my earlier post, we really need this man, ESPECIALLY today!

He’ll be the one to offer some leadership at the back, and possibly clean up Sokratis mistakes, plus offer support to Niles, Monreal, and Chambers.

Good luck!

  • Virgil van Dijk-Liverpool

I’ll admit it; this guy is hot! But, his team is playing against mine today, so my gonads will have to take a back seat this team.

He is a potent defensive threat with the ability to create and score goals as well.

He was a Ballon D’or nominee in the last Champions League season, so yes, he is definitely someone we should be wary of going into the game.

Let us see if Ceballos, Aubamayeng, and Lacazette can manage to pull the wool over this guy at least once during the game.

  • Trent Alexander Arnold- Liverpool

What more can be written about this young right back’s impeccable crossing ability, speed, agility, and work rate?

His ability to cause trouble along the right flank regardless of the defense muscle he meets means the likes of Niles, and our entire backline is going to have their work truly cut out for them.

He had 13 assists last season, and I’m sure he is fully intending to replicate and surpass that record this season as well.

  • Fabinho and Georginio – Liverpool

The more I write about this topic, the more I realize how difficult it is going to be.

Fabinho and Georginio are a wonder pair in central midfield, and it’s going to be an uphill task launching a counter-attack for Arsenal when these two are on the pitch.

Somebody, please #prayforarsenal

Oh yeah, and our former player, Oxlade-Chamberlain could be playing today as well in midfield. That’s another reason to be worried, especially if he plans on playing his heart out just to prove a point…

  • Granit Xhaka- Arsenal

Another reason why somebody has to please #prayforarsenal!

Torreria is still not match-ready, so we are stuck with Xhaka. He’s really useful when it comes to aerial defending of set pieces.

BUT…

…he has this uncanny ability to get dispossessed in midfield, and causing fouls when he’s trying to win back the ball.

One mistake from Xhaka today, and our midfield collapses, our defense scrambles, and before you know it, a goal!

Pray for us, people, pray for us!

  • Matteo Guendouzi- Arsenal

I love his hair! And, he’s definitely a bright spot in our midfield.

I hope his pace can help create chances for the strikers, and cause problems for Liverpool’s backline.

He’s going to come a lot in handy when it comes to our quick counter-attacks.

  • Dani Ceballos- Arsenal

He has been all the rage since his full debut for Arsenal against Burnley. He has all of the qualities we have been missing in our midfield since Cazorla left.

Let’s just hope that he brings his A-game today, otherwise we are truly doomed.

He has the potential of giving our forwards all the crucial passes that can lead to goals. He also can help with the defensive duties that might prove overwhelming to our still struggling backline.

He is one of our main hopes for avoiding a major embarrassment against Liverpool, and I hope he can truly rise to the occasion.

  • Lacazette and Aubamayeng- Arsenal

So far, our strikers have been an incredible duo.

However, they are going to have to dig really deep in order to penetrate Liverpool’s defense.

If they can get a goal each in this game, then this season will be much more rewarding for Arsenal.

  • Firmino – Liverpool

You’ll remember this Brazilian forward from our 5-1 near-death experience last December. He scored a bloody hat-trick on that day, and since then, I have been unable to get the image of his pearly white teeth from my mind. He has scored at least 11 goals against us, which is more than his tally against any other club in the English Premier League.

Trouble!

  • Salah- Liverpool

Salah is a force to reckon with all on his own, and our defenders are going to have a hard time stopping him from hammering at least one against us.

He is yet to rediscover his magical scoring touch, let’s just pray his re-awakening does not happen tomorrow.

  • Mane – Liverpool

Another huge threat who does not seem to ever have an off-switch! He has scored the most goals for Liverpool since the year began, and I don’t think he’s planning to take a break from his goal-scoring racket.

Fingers crossed, he has a cold tomorrow or something that stops him from seeing the goal.

And, there you have it. 15 players that I will be keeping a close eye on today because they have the potential of taking this game either way.

This is a big game for us, and it’s going to take each player to give their best in order to contain Liverpool.

Good luck, and God speed, Boys!!!

BAYERN’S DECISIVE LEFT-WING SAVES THE DAY!

Easter Monday football was awesome, but Tuesday was even better with Champions League action where we had Sevilla FC going head to head with Bayern Munich. Sevilla put up a spirited fight against Bayern Munich in their first leg of their quarter-final Champions League draw. I am a Bayern Munich fan, and I take every opportunity I get to watch them play (Germany is my favorite footballing nation as you might have gathered from this article that I wrote). However, we (glorious Bayern fans) did not expect the kind of zeal the underdogs were bringing into this match. Sevilla did not give Bayern much space to control the ball, which is usually the latter team’s modus operandi.

From the get-go, Sevilla were in control of the game much to my surprise. They had some really impressive counters, and their speed was incredible. Their performance in that first half was why they deserved to score the first goal. I almost bit my tongue when Sarabia struck a powerful ball with his left to open the scoreline for the visitors. He had had an obvious opportunity a few minutes earlier but he missed. Luckily, he redeemed himself with his second attempt at goal.

It felt like Sevilla wouldn’t stop coming against Bayern, and I was beginning to think Sevilla might take the match (much to my dismay). Those feelings quickly evaporated once James Rodriguez got into the mix. Vidal had to come out of the game due to an injury, and Rodriguez was his replacement. Minutes into James’ entry into the game, and Bayern’s attitude changed, I could feel it. And, clearly, they could feel it too, because immediately after he came in there was a Bayern goal. A long pass from Bayern’s left wing (Ribery?) deflected off Navas, and went into the net, and we (glorious Bayern fans) all breathed a sigh of relief.

That left wing for Bayern Munchen is the epicenter of their attack. It was quite clear that much of their shots towards goal came from here, especially when Rafinha came in for Bernat. Rafinha showed more confidence in feeding Ribery on the left-wing from the mid-field than his predecessor, Bernat.

Thiago’s goal, Bayern’s second for the night, was also as a result of a decisive long ball towards goal from the home team’s left wing. Thiago caught on to Ribery’s long ball and headed it in into the back of the net. There were suggestions (mainly from one of the commentators) that the goal was as a result of Thiago’s header deflecting from the visitors’ captain, and thus, it should be considered an own-goal (Sevilla’s second of the match). It seemed that everyone ignored this sentiment and Thiago was credited with the goal.

It almost became automatic that the left-wing was where the ball towards goal would come from for the home side. If only Sevilla had taken notice of this and covered Ribery more fiercely especially in the second half. If they could just intersect the passes from Rafinha towards Ribery, they would be able to build up stronger counter attacks that emanated deep within their own half. If only! (Luckily, they did not, otherwise, I would be a sorely disappointed but still glorious Bayern fan).

And Heynckes as well as his men need to know this kind of predictability can harm their attack in the upcoming games in the CL, especially if they beat Sevilla next week and progress in the tournament (be careful, guys!!!!).

Bayern won the match, but credit to Sevilla for putting their best foot forward, and performing much better than people (glorious Bayern fans) would have expected. There is really not much hope for Sevilla after this in the Champions League, but the tide could turn next week.

Let’s wait and see.

PS: If you missed my comments after the match, you can catch them on youtube here.