EFL Cup: Gunners to Face Saints in the Quarter Final


The EFL Cup draw for the quarter finals were released last night and Arsenal will host Southampton at the Emirates. The last time Southampton played Arsenal in the League Cup, they were 2-1 winners in 2014 at the Emirates. The Gunners are yet to concede a goal in the League Cup. Will Wenger bring the seniors on?

Full quarter final fixture:

  • Liverpool vs Leeds
  • Manchester United vs West Ham
  • Hull City vs Newcastle
  • Arsenal vs Southampton

Last night Pep Guardiola failed to win his 6th consecutive game, his worst in ages as Mata gave Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United a 1-0 victory at Old Trafford. It was a much needed victory for Mourinho and a sad one for Manchester City who even failed to get a shot on target. Kelechi Iheanacho started for the Citizens. No shot on target?

In other results, Chelsea, conquerors of Mourinho and the Red Devils over the weekend were beaten 2-1 by West Ham in the London derby at the Olympic Stadium. David Moyes’ Sunderland dug further into trouble as they lost 1-0 to Southampton. That should keep them worried till the weekend.

Work calls.


EFL Cup: Reading Ox-ed off by The Gunners

Arsenal sailed to the English Football League Cup quarter final with a 2-0 victory over Reading at the Emirates with a brace from Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.


It was a return to active football for Carl Jenkinson who put a good shift with so much vigour. Where was Debuchy? The right back will be a good position to watch this season. I loved what I saw last night and Sir Jenks could have grabbed the opener in the early part of the game.

Wenger expected had a mix of the senior,  juniors and other players who had featured sparingly this season. Martinez was in goal, Gabriel and Holding were central with Gibbs and Jenks by the sides. El Neny was the senior man in the middle with young Niles and the Jeff. Lucas was the top 9 flanked bu the Ox and Nigeria’s Iwobi.

It was a blend with more youthful display than experienced ones. The Jeff danced around, so did Iwobi. Niles had tries at goal but they were miles away from opening the scoring for the night. Lucas was surprisingly selfless and opted for passes instead taking a shot. Does he enjoy playing on the flanks and making assists like his assists for Mesut Ozil against Ludogorets.

In the 33rd minutes, the Ox opened the gates from the right side with his 4th goal of the season. Al Habsi kept the scoreline 1-0 at half time with Martinez also troubled at the other end. The Royals didn’t sit back. They may have watched the 5-7 defeat in 2012 the last time they met in the League Cup. It may driven them to try a miracle but the Gunners held sway. Gabriel and Holding kept their cool.

Giroud came in the Jeff for his first game since his toe injury a month ago. His header from an El Neny free-kick was saved by Al Habsi. The rebound was also saved on the line. Lucas hobbed off with Chris Willock his replacement and. The Gunners needed a second. The second goal came in the 77th minute thanks to a shot from outside the box by Oxlade- Chamberlain. Minutes later he was subbed off for Zelalem.

The Royals tried to get a consolation goal but the match ended 2-0 with Gunners matching on to the Quarter Final. The draws will be held tonight. Who will love to face the Gunners?


Stalemate at The Emirates, Massacre at The Bridge 

One moment you are sad about a goalless draw by the team you support. The world turns their arsenal against you highlighting your errors what should have been done. The next moment, you are ecstatic about a massacre across the city. That was my weekend.


Wenger’s 67th birthday party didn’t go as planned at the Emirates. Middlesbrough say back and contained the Gunners who forgot their scoring boots with Ludogorets. Petr Cech and Koscielny made sure the party didn’t turn sour with saves and tackles. The game somewhat emphasized the importance of Cazorla to the Arsenal team. El Neny may not have replicated the Spaniard’s artistic footwork but his partnership with Coquelin was not as exceptional.

Looking at results from across the Premier League, the Gunners can tow the excuse of “fixture clog”. Leicester City were the only team with mid week European action that managed a win over the weekend. It was one that Ahmed Musa would remember in ages as he grabbed his first goal for the Foxes. The Foxes went on to defeat Crystal Palace 3-1.

Tottenham played out a goalless draw with Bournemouth, Manchester City needed a late equalizer from Kelechi Iheanacho to salvage a 1-1 draw against Southampton at the Etihad, and Manchester United…. well… er…. they were hammered by Chelsea. What a reunion for Jose Mourinho. It looks like recent reunions turn out in 4-0 defeats. You can ask Pep on the other side of Manchester.


Wild Conte Jubilation….Humiliation for Mourinho

The table is very tight. The top 3 teams with 20 points are separated by goal difference. The next two teams are just a point off. This is an entertaining season. Are you looking for 89 million pounds?

In Africa, the 2016 CAF Champions League came to an end with Mamelodi Sundowns winning their first ever title. Zamalek won 1-0 but were defeated 3-1 on aggregrate. Congratulations to Mamelodi Sundowns. Enyimba’s Mfon Udoh emerged the highest goal scorer with 9 goals.

I leave you with two quotes from the weekend:

“You do it at 1-0, not 4-0”. – Mourinho’s comment to Conte’s jubilation during the humiliation at Stamford Bridge.

“At least you can have a drink on your birthday. When you win you deserve it, when you don’t you need it” – Wenger on the 0-0 draw on his birthday.

That’s the lot for Monday morning. EFL Cup is next tomorrow.



Arsenal: Six Past Ludogorets

Mesut Ozil got a 2nd half hat-trick as Arsenal ran riot over Bulgarian champions, PFC Ludogorets. It was his first ever professional hat-trick and all came within 30 minutes. He joins Theirry Henry, Lord Nicklas Bendtner, Danny Welbeck and Olivier Giroud as Gunners with Champions League hat-tricks.

It was match-day 3 of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League group stage. Ludog0rets put up a good fight in the first half but were pegged back by a beautiful Alexis Sanchez goal in the 13th minute – a lovely extended chip. Ospina was called to action with about three saves before Theo Walcott rounded the half with a wonderful goal – outside the box.

The second half began with the Ox on fire, springing on to a loose ball in the box to make it 3-0 to the Arsenal. Gibbs cross was not taken care of and the Ox smiled with a goal. Ozil latched unto a wonderful pass from Santi Cazorla to slot home Arsenal’s 4th and his 1st for the night.

The fans had the luxury of watching Lucas Perez for 30 minutes as he came on for Theo Walcott. El Neny also replaced Santi Cazorla who was seen wrapped up on the bench. Injured? Iwobi also came in for Alexis Sanchez.

Lucas Perez was put through on the left and his cross was sent in by Mesut Ozil for his 2nd and Arsenal’s 5th. The duo combined again, from the right this time, to give Arsenal a 6-0 victory at the Emirates. The pace of Lucas Perez must be acknowledged. It is great to see him involved in the last too goals.

The Gunners could have added more misery to the Bulgarians but 6-0 was enough. Ozil got his ball, Koscielny and Mustafi got a clean sheet and the Gunners are top of the group – thanks to a higher goal difference. PSG were 3-0 winners over Basel. They travel to Bulgaria next in the Champions League.

In other Champions League matches, Messi scored thrice as Barcelona defeated Pep’s Manchester City 4-0. It was a game of red cards and defensive errors. Lesson to Pep? Leicester City have 3 wins in 3, Celtic lost at home, Napoli were stunned 2-3 by Besiktas in Naples, Real Madrid had it easy over Legia Warsaw.

Other results can be found at the UEFA official website.

Time to enjoy the 6-0 win.


Let’s Play Catch Up

The files on my table increased exponentially over the weekend. It stole my regular Monday post but it didn’t take away the results and happenings.


Emirates: Arsenal 3-2 Swansea.

The Swans were always going to be a banana skin at the Emirates but two goals from Theo Walcott set the Gunners on a ride to whitewash the visitors. Xhaka’s mistake at the edge of the box gave Swansea a lifeline before the break with Sigurdsson converting.

It was Ozil’s birthday and Alexis provided a beautiful assist for a beautiful volley. There is no better birthday present than scoring. The Gunners let their 2 goal cushion halved later on and Xhaka saw red for his troubles – his 1st for Arsenal.

The Gunners held on for a nervy finish with Walcott failing to grab his hat-trick after Chamberlain came on with his pace. The win took Arsenal to 2nd on table behind Manchester City only on goal difference. The Citizens missed 2 spot kicks and were held 1-1 at home by Everton. Spurs also played out a 1-1 draw at the Hawthorns.

Ibadan: Enyimba 0-1 Nasarawa United.

Enyimba’s hope for a silverware in 2016 ended at the Lekan Salami Stadium in Ibadan. A first half penalty gave Nasarawa United a 1-0 victory and passage to the Federation Cup final. The Solid Miners would meet either Crown FC or FC IfeanyiUbah in the final. Although the latter will most likely be in the final.

For Enyimba, it sums up a disappointing season for the Elephants. They failed to progress from their group in the CAF Champions League, finished 10th in the NPFL and failed to reach the final of the Federation Cup.

South Africa: Mamelodi Sundowns 3-0 Zamalek.

The CAF Champions league is all but over unless Sundowns capitulate in the return leg. A 1st leg 3-0 win is almost impossible to overturn.

There was a drab game yester night in the Premier League involving Liverpool and Manchester United. Quite unfortunate in a week of Champions League fixtures.

Sadly, Nigerian footbal lost a defender to the cold hands of death. Izu Joseph, a defender with Shooting Stars, was shot dead by members of the JTF as reported. Despite revealing his Identity card, he was shot again. The shooters even recorded his gasp for live with his phone. Tragedic.



Dust Off the Break

Khama Billiat (R) of Sundowns vies with Ibrahim Sayed of Zamalek

(via fifa.com)

The international break, to some, is a nuisance but to others it is a necessity. Ask Messi and C. Ronaldo. They would love to swap a Champions League medal for that of the World Cup.

It was all about the 2018 World Cup qualification in the just concluded break. Some teams were whitewashed, others scrapped out wins. There were disappointing goalless draws, goals galore and the joy of late late goals. In all of these breaks, every club is bothered about one thing – Injuries. No club would love to have their internationals back with injuries.

Koscielny, Ozil, Mustafi, Ospina, Alexis, Iwobi, Gibbs, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Monreal, El neny, Bellerin and Holding were on international duty and you can catch a round up of their activity with their national sides on Arsenal.com. Hopefully they are rested enough for the weekend.

The weekend is few hours away and Swansea is next. Arsenal have won 5 straight matches in a row – the current longest in the top European leagues. How far can they go? Swansea lost just once in their last 4 visits to the Emirates. Will Alexis be fit enough to start ahead of rested Perez? So many things puzzle me but it is Wenger’s call.

Chelsea vs Leicester City should light up the afternoon of the Premier League on Saturday before the tie at the Emirates, Everton’s visit to Etihad and Tottenham’s visit to the Hawthorns.

In Nigeria, we have little matter of the Federation Cup. Enyimba will play Nasarawa United in Ibadan for a place in the final. It is a last chance for the two teams to win a silverware this season after Rangers went away with the league title. They should face FC IfeanyiUbah – although the NFF is yet to clarify the other semifinal clash between Crown FC and the FC IfeanyiUbah.

The 1st leg of the CAF Champions league kicks off in South Africa this weekend with Mamelodi Sundowns hosting Zamalek of Egypt. Let the better team win.

Club football is back, dust the break off.


Different Strokes for Different Nigerian Teams

It is late post today.


Two Nigerian teams were in action over the weekend and they produced contrasting results. The Flamingoes were knocked out of the FIFA U-17 Women World Cup while the Super Eagles grabbed three points from Zambia in Ndola.


The Flamingoes needed to defeat North Korea by a 2 goal margin but were thrashed 3-0 thus dashing their hopes of qualifying for a 4th consecutive quarter final in the U-17 Women World Cup. With no goals scored and 4 conceded, the ladies ended their worst World Cup campaign ever. It is worrisome that a team that scored 16 goals in the qualifiers could not register one in Jordan. It is time to start preparing for Uruguay 2018.

For us, it’s not about feeling bad. We have taken part in the World Cup and that is a wonderful experience. For most of the players, this was a new experience for them. A new and great experience. Next time, they can be better. – Bala Nkiyu (Flamingoes Coach)

Next month, the Falconets will be in the 2016  FIFA U20 Women’s World Cup next month in Papua New Guinea. Hopefully they redeem the country’s image.

Super Eagles

Nigeria began their 2018 World Cup qualifiers campaign with a 2-1 victory over Zambia in Ndola. Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi opened scoring in the 33rd minute before Kelechi Iheanacho added a second in the 42nd minute, thanks to a well laid pass by Brown Ideye who celebrates his birthday today.

It was joyful watching the team put up by Rohr – a youthful side. The Zambians got one back towards the end to put up a nervy finish for the Super Eagles. It was a first win for Nigeria in Zambia and 3 points to begin the campaign. Algeria and Cameroon played out a 1-1 draw in Algiers.

The feeling is good and the Eagles are back to the country with November 9 on their mind. The Algerian Foxes have to fall in Uyo. Enjoy the feeling while it lasts.

What about the Falcons? I hear the recent invitation was limited to only 8 foreign based ladies. Not good. Financial issues?


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