Tag Archives: Man City

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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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!