Weekend Football Thoughts And Others

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With no ceremony attached nor paparazzi, the weekend wizzled away with great news for pure football fans and football clubs. Some Blue clubs one-two cry, some philosophies were Gomis-ed, others are searching for a win after 3 trials and many more.

Arsenal Top Striker – Own Goal
Arsenal signed Cech to save about 15 points but little did we know that two players were signed from Krypton – Own Goal and Cohesion. The former has been Arsenal’s top striker this season accounting for 67% of the goals so far. While Cohesion has failed to make an impact, Own Goal has been reliable after 4 games in the Premier League – grabbing the winner at Selhurst Park and at Newcastle.

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Wenger opted for Walcott to utilise the openings in the toons backline but the 16th minute red card locked up those openings and reduced Walcott to a youngling running around near aimlessly. He had one of the fewest touches – most of which were vital but his profligacy in front the goal was topnotch. His replacement Giroud had more presence in the box but he ended up giving the world another opportunity to scream for a new striker before the window shuts down.

Red Red Red.
It was a weekend of early baths in the Premier League and even in Nigeria. Stoke got 2 quick baths – Ibrahim Afellay and Charlie Adam. Liverpool’s Coutinho was also sent off. Others included Mitrovic of Newcastle,Whittacker of Norwich City and Mark Noble of Westham.

Kwara United’s Mohammed Abdullahi saw red in Lafia as Nasarawa United pummelled the Harmony Warriors with a 3-0 victory.

FFP – Financial False Play
After reading about Wenger’s comment on the FFP on Arseblog, i shook my head and felt pity for the Frenchman. It is like reading for an exam only to be told after the exam that results will be graded by how much money you have paid for bribery, foggery and corruption. The Financial Fair Play has not been fair, Wenger was dubbed – he fell the coy. Manchester have splashed over £150m a season after being sanctioned by the FFP. The bigger clubs will continue to be bigger, Platini will continue to play holier-than-thou as he clamours to head world football calling Blatter’s kettle black with his soot covered face. FFP was/is a scam.

An Arsenal and City Weekend
An early Saturday kick off versus Newcastle didn’t go as plan but the gunners scraped a 1-0 victory. The feeling was not good. The mood was made lighter after Alan Pardew spoilt the 100th home cuntury for Jose Mourinho at the Bridge. Falcao got his 1st goal in the Yokohoma Tyres jersey but his effort was useless – proclaimed by his gaffer – as Crystal Palace went home winners. The special one finally broke David Moyes record of poor start in the Premier League.

The spirit was further lifted seeing Bilic hammer Liverpool at Anfield with Coutinho getting an early shower. Gomis and Ayew will increase the ecstasy level in the Blue half of Manchester and red half of North London as they taught LVG a new type of Philosophy. That Gomis celebration though – shivers

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12 More Rounds in the NPFL
It was matchday 26 at the weekend in the GloNPFL with 8 home victories and 2 draws. 6 times champions, Enyimba extended their lead at the top to 3 points thanks to a 0-0 draw against Sharks in Port Harcourt. Sunshine Stars and Kano Pillars continued their poor away form. Taraba FC took one step in their fight for relegation as they changed places at the bottom. With 12 games to go, every point will count to determine who wins the League and who returns to the NNL.

#‎GloNPFL‬ Match Day 26 Results
Sharks FC 0-0 Enyimba FC
FC Ifeanyiubah 1-0 Bayelsa United
Giwa FC 2-0 Lobi Stars
Dolphins 2-0 Akwa United
El-Kanemi Warriors 2-2 Rangers
Wikki Tourists 2-1 Sunshine Stars
Heartland 1-0 Warri Wolves
Shooting Stars 2-0 Abia Warriors
Nasarawa United 3-0 Kwara United
FC Taraba 1-0 Kano Pillars
Kano Pillars are yet to get themselves since losing their long home record.

Top Flight Football Returns To Lagos
For ever a decade, the city of Lagos have failed to present a team to compete in the NPFL. Lagos is the most populous city in Nigeria, the centre of excellence and economic hub of the country. The City have produced great teams in the past – Stationery Stores, Railway, Police Bombers etc. Julius Berger was the last team from Lagos to play topflight football before shifting base to Abeokuta and relegation there after. Union Bank have tried to no avail.

Over the weekend, 4 teams gained promotion to the NPFL – MFM FC, Ikorodu United, Plateau United and Niger Tornadoes. MFM FC and Ikorodu United are Lagos based teams and Lagosians will be happy to have Premier league action from next season. We have waited so long for a team but fate have given us two. It will be a debut season for the Lagos duo but a return for Niger Tornadoes and Plateau United.

Others.
Roma beat Juventus in the Serie A with Szczesny making a last minute save to deny Juventus a point. This loan is going well for the Pole. You need to see Van Gaal’s face as he was living the Liberty Stadium – Ayew Angry?

Ivanovic is a shadow of himself and Courtois facial expression was top notch. Rooney was woeful and Kane is trying so hard not to be a one season wonder. Arsenal’s finishing is questionable but Manchester City is flying away. The international break will give everyone a breather.

Oliseh was in Ibadan but i doubt he was pleased with what he saw because he watched about 30mins of the first half and was no where to be found in the second half. His assignment and judgement starts in the AFCON qualifier against Tanzania. Will any of the 6 home based stars make the starting eleven?

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Enough of my musings but all eyes will be on the transfer window and the international break.

Enjoy.

By @AmosCP
Posted from WordPress for Android

UEFA Champions League Draw – Arsenal and Bayern; Musa, The Lord and The Red Devils.

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Arsenal have been drawn to face Bayern Munich in the group stage of the 2015/16 UEFA Champions League.  The gunners were seeded in pot 2 following new UEFA rules as against the previous years where they enjoyed the luxury of pot1 and avoided the big guns in the group stages.

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Things are different now. Olympiakos and Dynamo Zagreb make up group – group F. It is expected that the gunners and the Bavarians will qualify from this group but who finishes top? Most likely Bayern – I hope I am wrong.

In other #UCLdraw matters, The Lord will have his Wolfsburg army on the Red Devils in group B, Ahmed Musa, my current best Nigerian in Europe, will also the Red Devils just as Depay will return to PSV. If only CSKA Moscow and Wolfsburg will see off Manchester United in this group with the help of Bendtner and Musa. I am still baskingin the euphoria of Musa’s winner for CSKA Moscow over Sporting CP.

Zlatan will face his boyhood club Malmo while Mourinho will return to Porto.

Hostilities start on the 15th of September.

Enjoy.

By @AmosCP
Posted from WordPress for Android

Liverpool Draw, Spurs Draw and Other Draws

Monday night was not as planned for the Cazorla led gunners as they fired blanks in a goalless stalemate with visiting Liverpool.

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If the woodwork was the goal, then Liverpool could have gone home 2-1 winners. It was a game of 2 halves – Liverpool huffed in the 1st, Arsenal puffed in the 2nd. Cech and Coq saved Chambers’ blushes as Coutinho and Benteke looked to exploit the inexperienced center back.

Metersacker got a flu – why always him, Koscielny hurt his back and will even miss the Newcastle game. Into the fray, Chambers and Gabriel were meshed up for their 1st competitive pairing. The 1st half was poor with Chambers clearly uneasy but the 2nd half was much better. Ironically, this is Arsenal’s first clean sheet on the season.

A draw was the result of the 90mins near-misses with Ramsey calling for video technology – his goal was wrongfully chalked off for offside. Arsenal is on same points with Champions Chelsea although with less amount of red cards – 4 points away from the Citizens.

Away from the pitch, looking through the window as the dry transfer season draws closer to the end, it seems Benzema is not coming after all. There seem to be a Russian on the lonely roads to Ashburton Grove, riding on a gossiping horse. Rumours say he is Kokorin but i have to close the blinds and wait for Arsenal.com.

The Capital One cup draw was made last night and the gunners will visit the shit-hole down the lane. Will it be Reine-Adelaide show? Sips lipton.

The Champions League draw will come up tomorrow. Spain have 5 teams – shivers – while Celtic were knocked out. Maccabi Tel Aviv will be in the group stage. My first ever jersey was from Tel-Aviv. My dad got one for me when i didn’t know what a club was. Hopefully Arsenal is drawn in a group that will be fair.

Unfortunately for Taraba FC in the city of Aba, they couldn’t hold on to a draw despite saving a spot kick from Enyimba FC. Musa Najare shot Enyimba back to the top of the Nigerian League. Hopefully they remain there till the end of the season.

While the Nigerian atmosphere is awashed with Oliseh’s official car, the NFF will do good to check Ofoegbu Gloria out.

For now, no more draws at the Emirates, in Aba and Jalingo.

Enjoy.

By @AmosCP
Posted from WordPress for Android

Random Yarns Before Liverpool’s Visit – Transfers, Loans and Nigeria

Tonight, Arsenal will welcome Liverpool to the Emirates for their 3rd game of the season with Reds already with 6 points from 2 games. Benteke has opened his account for them but there is high hopes that he will be in Koscielny’s pocket till tomorrow just like the FA cup final.

It is a must win game for Arsenal. Manchester City are firing on all cylinders, determined to dethrone Chelsea as champions. They have scored 8 goals and conceded none. Pellegrini surely doesn’t want to be sacked. Mourinho enjoyed his first victory of the season but not without another red card – this time given to John Terry. The Portuguese hypocritical coach will thank his stars that Morrison failed to convert a 1st half penalty to give Westbrom the lead but Pedro – shivers.

Off the pitch and on transfer matters, everyone keeps expecting Benzema to arrive at Arsenal before the window closes. I hate this windows because there are so many rumours that you can’t validate until they become official. Last night, Real Madrid couldn’t start their season with a win and Benzema was not on the bench. You can think about that.

A couple of our youngsters have been sent on loan to gain further experience just like an internship. Akpom, Hayden, Martinez are bossing the championship. Wellington Silva – yet to debut for Arsenal, despite being 22 – has been sent to Bolton on loan and the gods of football knows his fate. Can he do a Coq? The probability is closer to zero than ever. Is he the most loaned player ever in Arsenal?  Zelalem on the other hand has joined Rangers on loan in Scotland. Hopefully, all these youngsters return better, challenging for first team shirts.

Jenkinson had a horrible game against AFC Bournemouth where Wilson got his hattrick – good for me FPL. Hope he forgets that game quickly. I love the lad but Bellerin has taken his spot at the Emirates. Szczesny was a hero in Rome as he kept Roma from defeat pulling out great saves over the weekend.

Away from Arsenal, Sunday Oliseh have invited a bunch of Nigerians to feature in the upcoming AFCON qualifier. Notable absentees include Chelsea benching duo of Mikel and Moses. The former refused to answer his calls or reply his messages which brings us to a familiar topic of his commitment to the Super Eagles. His spokesman has defended him by saying he receives so many calls and messages that he doesn’t read most and that he doesn’t have Oliseh’s number – like seriously?

This has been same issue with every new coach in the Super Eagles. Irrespective of the call/SMS melodrama,  he has been comfortable sitting on Chelsea’s bench with a nice seat belt. I don’t see Oliseh calling up bench warmers. Mikel will need to be more than a bit-part player in Chelsea. He needs to look at Messi who he shared a podium with in 2005. 10yrs later their parts have been opposites.

Odion Ighalo was also omitted but Oliseh has assured everyone that he is in his plans. As expected, Ahmed Musa and Vincent Enyeama were on the list – the most active Nigerians in Europe. Hopefully the players in the domestic league make a good percentage of the starting 11 in the qualifier.

On the pitch, Rangers were knocked out of the Federation Cup by Lobi Stars. They have been trophyless since 1970. Akwa United defeated Nasarawa United to set up a final with Lobi Stars in Lagos.

In the League, Enyimba defeated Kano Pillars on Wednesday to go top of the table but over the weekend Sunshine Stars scorched Elkanemi Warriors 5-0 to return to the summit of the table.

The biggest news was in Kano where Nasarawa United broke the 12 year old jinx of Kano Pillars by defeating their host 2-1. Pillars have been unbeaten in previous 202 league home games. Julius Berger were the last team to achieve such victory – where is Julius Berger? Pillars couldn’t match Real Madrid’s 221 record.

The Nigerian Premier League has improved in recent years and this broken record is another measure of this growth.

What a long post. Before i drop my pen/keyboard, you have to know that Bendtner scored a late goal to salvage a point for Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga.

Pheew. Time for breakfast. Eagerly waiting for Enyimba’s 10am game today before Arsenal’s in the evening.

Enjoy.

By Chibuzor Amos (@AmosCP)
Posted from WordPress for Android

Selhurst Victory and One Fake Result

Football is turning to a kind of religion. Away from the shores of the continent, 25 minutes off the shelf on a Chopper, the spirit still lives on miles away from the away and even further away from the match venues.

Over the weekend Arsenal took all three points from Selhurst Park against a spirited Crystal Palace side fuelled by Alan Pardew’s gasoline. Giroud opening scoring in the 16th minute after a beauty of a cross from Ozil with his great owl-y eyes. The Eagles equalized 12 minutes later before Sanchez forced Delaney to an own goal in the 2nd half. The victory will serve as a springboard to the season.

The result was a kind of revival after the surprise 2-0 defeat on the opening day. Ozil was my man of the match as he coordinated the attack with so much beauty and grace spiced up with intelligent runs and passes that many eyes can not see until it is achieved.

He’s a great player to watch, isn’t he? Like a dye, seeping into the cracks, filling the gaps, making them his own. Picking out the pass you didn’t even spot on Sky Plus. Drifting, moving, teasing, toying: always present but never there. This was a wonderful showing from Özil, and had we not become somewhat accustomed to his peculiarly tangential genius by now, he would surely have been the man of the match. – The Telegraph

The equalizer calls for a lot of questions. Yes Koscienly shrinked away but Cech seem to just lie down in green pastures. I had the belief that Cech will give us 10 points but it seems it may be negative points. His handling of some balls lacked confidence and i must say i am worried that He is not what we think he is. Ospina may be rubbing his palms hopping to be called upon. Szczesny will be grinning seeing that such “higher” profile goalie have been as vulnerable – if not more – than he is/was.

That don’t tell me that crap of saying he is an Agent from Mourinho to destroy. But Cech must live up to his 10 million pounds billing. Does he need a new hat to get him better?

Coquelin was lucky to finish the game. A red card was looming. I was beginning to wonder how Arsenal will cope without him. Yes there is Arteta but Coquelin is of another dimension and calling. His philosophy is different – not Van Gaal’s fake philosophy.

Talking of fake things, Mourinho added another excuse to his guinness book of excusses after Manchester City whipped Chelsea at the Etihad. Hidden Hazard recently compared to Ronaldo was no where to be found as Aguero and City ran away winners. Last week he blamed Eva and the Medical crew, this time he says the result is fake. Next week he may blame the cooking staff, the grounds man, the wind, the sun, his wristwatch or even his gardener. The moaning one is sure being choked up by something he is too shy and proud to say.

Back to Arsenal and other real things, the victory against Crystal Palace should serve as a springboard to other victories to come. A longing for clean sheet is growing and Cech has to achieve that.

Reality Cech as Westham Hammer Arsenal

Petr Cech's Arsenal debut was one to forget.

Buoyed by the 2015 form, 2nd half of the season sprint, pre-season wins and the capture of Cech from Chelsea, the feeling was good about Arsenal putting up a more decent challenge this season compared to the lat 7 or more years.

Chelsea were stunned yesterday with a 2-2 draw under the Bridge with the man who made Cech leave getting his marching orders after conceding a penalty. The season looked scripted for Arsenal to go tops today especially seeing a scrappy win from the Philosophical one on his birthday.

But the much awaited 4-0 hammering of the hammers was never to be as I predicted in some platform. Everything seemed to have gone wrong. It was as if the team failed to train or as Wenger said, they lacked the basics. Passes were misplaced and there was a degree of selfishness exhibited by a couple of players.

Simple passes were made complicated and little things became difficult. When Westham scored, I only though of Szczesny and how he would have been smoked or buried alive. He may be smiling now in Rome. Well, Cech didn’t grab any water bottle, but it seems there was a bit of overconfidence in the air and the hammers had to wake the Gunners up from their preseason slumber. Two cheap goals conceded and you will want to look at Cech and Chamberlain.

The team was so poor that Wenger had to introduce Alexis Sanchez for a bit of luck to see if a draw could be salvaged. The Chilean, who is believed to be resting for the next 10 days had to chill on the bench. The team shortened the rest and the result now is history. It was not to be. Arsenal finished the game with just 3 defensive players after Debuchy and Coquelin had been subbed off to allow for all of Arsenal’s Expendables to save the day.

It was an unusual loud Emirates stadium but the fans will surely feel disappointed that their support had not yielded a goal nor at least a point. 21 shots with just 5 on goal, Westham looked safe. Bilic gave away the Europa League and he got the result he wanted. He even had a 16 yar old in midfield and Arsenal could not just score. Arsenal used all available joker but the good jolly form against the Hammers faded into thin air.

It hurts because it is a game less to finish the league better. The end of the league starts from the beginning and if Arsenal must mount a challenge this season, they must respond in the next game which looks even more trickier – away to Crystal Palace and Alan Pardew.

There is no excuse to today’s defeat. For now, there will be more internal selfies today to re-examine the determination and ambition this season. A 2-0 home defeat is not the best way to start a season.

 

A Shield From Wembley and The Eve of Another Season

It is the eve to a new Premier League season – the best packaged soap opera in the universe. This time last week, Yokohoma Tyres FC were priming their bus to face the Arsenal for the Community Shield.

As expected, Moaningho distracted the media from the game and took on his moanings and hoeings. 13 games unbeaten versus Wenger, and the confidence of doing nothing but getting results blinded the Portuguese. Arsenal finally got a victory over the hypo one thanks to Chamberlain’s Bellerin-esqe goal. The gunners may have finished the game with 3 goals but Cazorla and Gibbs fluffed their chances.

Community Shield

The hypocritical one made excuses by accusing Arsenal of forgoing their philosophy and opting to park the bus. He effortlessly guided the media away from Remy’s poor play, Falcao’s hair, Fabregas’ confusion and Hazard’s disappearance. Ozil may have found Hazard but the Belgian is blue blooded and Bellerin was having none of that nonsense.

The victory came with selfies to spite Roy Keane, Mourinho’s desperation to look unmoved by the defeat and hussle to mend a fence he had barbed up, champagnes popped and the growth of the belief of greater things.

Things went sour in the dressing room as up-and-fired Jack Wilshere got injured in training. He will be out for 6-8 weeks. Sad for the lad that wanted to fight for a place in the starting line up. He will now watch from the sidelines as Arsenal look to take the Premier League by storm this season. Hopefully, he doesn’t take the injury batton from Abou Diaby.

Alexis Sanchez is back, so is Ospina. But Wenger has revealed that Alexis will not be available till about 10 days time. The lad needs to rest. Workaholic. I doubt Ospiina will be available for Sunday’s game against the Hammers.

It looks like a new day again and hopefully the Gunners will start on a good note on Sunday. Westham are out of the Europa League though. Will Jenkinson feature? Arsene Wenger will expect him to have a good season with the Hammers and maybe come back to battle Bellerin and Debuchy for the right back spot.

A clean sheet – unless Jenkinson decides to score, a goal feast and a good game is all i need on Sunday. See you at the Emirates. You can go through Wenger’s pre-match conference here.

Let me tweak my fantasy team.

Enjoy.

 

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