Tag Archives: Germany

USHERING IN THE 2018/19 PREMIER LEAGUE SEASON

By Lennox Kimtai

The 2018/19 Premier League season is here. How time flies! Just the other day we were enjoying the World Cup in Russia. Talking of the World Cup, I must say it was one of the best, if not THE best world cup tournament I have ever watched.

The drama started early in the group stages, where the 2014 winners Germany were eliminated. Coming into the tournament, Germany was one of the favorites to lift the trophy. They had just won the Confederations Cup with a squad that was mainly made up of under-23s. There was no doubt about their quality. The only explanation for their early exit is that they underrated their opponents.

Looking at the overall performance of teams, I must say I was impressed by the smaller teams such as Switzerland, Sweden, Russia and Serbia which had hitherto been expected to pose little threat. It is a clear indication that any well-organized team can outshine a traditional football heavyweight.

The Croatia Vs France final was an amazing one. After a 3-0 drabbing of Lionel Messi’s Argentina, we knew that the Croats were up to something great. Personally, I was rooting for Croatia in the final but they just couldn’t replicate their form against other teams in the final. Although they dominated the midfield and controlled the tempo of the game, they were too shy in front of goal.

Anyway, congrats to Les Bleus!

Now back to the Premier League. Clubs have been busy reinforcing their squads since the season ended in May. The summer transfer window has been a busy one, with almost every club making a major signing. Let’s have a look at some of the transfers.

Chelsea

Former Chelsea coach Antonia Conte was replaced by Maurizio Sarri. Antonio Conte apparently failed to meet the expectations of Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich, who has a habit of changing managers almost every season. His lowest point was selling Diego Costa, perhaps the best striker in the premier league when he was at Chelsea.

Sarri has brought in a couple of players. The first is Kepa Arrizabalaga (goal keeper), Mateo Kovacic (defender), Jorginho (midfielder) and Robert Green (Goal keeper). Looks like decent signings. Having lost Thibaut Courtois to Real Madrid, Kepa is a great replacement.

Manchester United

Manchester United didn’t really do much in the transfer Window. Only three players have signed for the Manchester club: Diogo Dalot (defender), Fred (midfielder), and Lee Grant (goalkeeper). Mourinho was unable to land most of his targets so it could be a difficult season for the Red Devils. I can picture Mourinho employing his infamous defense tactics when playing against tougher opponents.

Arsenal

The Gunners go into the new season without their former manager Arséne Wenger who has been with the North London outfit for 22 years. It looks like we are going to see a new arsenal under Unai Emery. The former PSG head brought in a number of players: Stephan Lichtsteiner (defender), Bernd Leno (keeper), Lucas Torreira (midfielder), Sokratis Papastathopolous (defender), and Matteo Guendouzi (midfielder).

It will be exciting to see what type of squad Unai Emery will develop, having had tremendous success with PSG and Sevilla. Arsenal looks ready to make a return to Champions League football.

Liverpool

If you look at the current Liverpool, you can’t help but admire Klopp’s genius. He has brought in Naby Keita (midfielder), Allison (keeper), Xherdan Xhaqiri (midfielder) and Fabinho (defender/midfielder).

Having reached the Champions League final last season, it looks like Klopp is hungry for more. With the dangerous trio of Firmino, Mane, and Salah, it looks like Liverpool will contend for every trophy this season.

Manchester City

The Premier League Champions made a few additions to their excellent squad: Philippe Sandler (defender), Riyad Mahrez (midfielder), Daniel Arzani (midfielder). With so many options for nearly every position, Pep Guardiola will easily terrorize opponents with his B team. It looks like the former Barcelona manager might retain the Premier League trophy.

Everton

Everton might look like the underdogs in this list but going by their activities in the transfer window, we can conclude that they are serious about winning the premier league. On deadline day, the Merseyside club completed a deal for Yeri Mina (permanent deal) and Andre Gomes (loan) from Barcelona. The club also signed Brazilian midfielder Bernard. With great players like Tosun and Sigurdsson already in the team, the new additions will enable Everton to fight for a top-four spot.

Tottenham has made history as the only club not to have made a signing in the summer transfer window. This means that Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino will open the club’s new stadium with the same squad that finished third in the 2017/18 season. Despite the fact that they have a strong squad, the absence of a new signing may come to haunt them.

As the new season begins, I hope the league remains competitive to the end. I wouldn’t want Man City to retain the title.

WRITER BIO: Lennox Kimtai is a content writer who is passionate about football. Apart from football, he writes on a wide range of topics such as self-improvement and productivity. Check out his blog here and here.

 

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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.

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!