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Solskjaer’s Tactical Judgement Overcomes Tottenham Hotspur

With 2 minutes remaining on the clock and United leading Tottenham 1-0, Solskjaer was on the edge of the technical area and advised Diogo Dalot to move back from the touchline to congest space in the middle which restricted Tottenham from going through the centre of the football pitch.


Seconds later, the final whistle managed to ensure that Solskjaer successfully passed his first huge test as the caretaker manager for United in incredible fashion, while that small instruction managed to serve as a small-scale version of his day. By screaming instructions to Diogo Dalot, he showcased that he won’t allow his players to turn off and avoid the game plan until the very end.


Manchester United’s Visit to Tottenham


There are several reasons for The Red Devils’ victory at Wembley – the rejuvenated confidence of the fans is certainly a key factor – but this was a match where Solskjaer proved that he could take on a top-tier team and reign supreme in a tactical battle.


Until now, the feel-good factor and momentum managed to propel Manchester United to glorious victories against 5 opponents who, in all honesty, they should be able to defeat on each and every occasion. However, a visit to Tottenham was a completely different beast, especially due to the fact that their coach is the man that is most wanted at Old Trafford to become the permanent replacement for Jose Mourinho.


If would be quite naïve to believe that will change after this result. However, if Solskjaer wants a genuine opportunity to land this job, he will need to prove himself worthy against the best in the league, so this result against Tottenham is a huge tick on that box.


Obviously, there will be tougher and bigger challenges ahead. The Champions League next month against PSG is certainly one of them as well as United’s encounters with Chelsea, Manchester City, and Liverpool before the end of the season.


However, after his team managed to brush aside Reading, Newcastle, Bournemouth, Huddersfield, and Cardiff, Solskjaer was required to make an important statement against a big-six rival, and he achieved it by outfoxing Tottenham’s manager with a plan to deny Tottenham any chance of attacking through the middle.


Solskjaer’s Influence On Manchester United


While the tactical plan from Solskjaer was the foundation to the team’s victory, which allowed the team to move within 6 points of Chelsea in the fourth position, the personality of the 45-year-old has been just as vital in transforming the team for the better. Players were less motivated and down under Mourinho.


However, De Gea made it crystal clear that the gloom has finally lifted, stating that the new manager managed to bring some happiness with him at Old Trafford the moment he walked through the doors. Injecting players with belief and making them feel happy is the simple side of the football. However, when Solskjaer managed to beat Tottenham, he instantly became a serious contender for a permanent position at Old Trafford.

Can Firmino Compete with Kane or Salah in the Fantasy Premier League?


Last week, Roberto Firmino managed to become the highest-scoring Brazilian football player in the Premier League with a total of 44 goals which earned him the Samba Gold award in 2018 which is awarded to the best Brazilian player when it comes to European leagues. However, despite these recent awards, it’s still relatively easy for Firmino to get completely lost when it comes to fantasy soccer.

He is currently listed in the same tier as Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang, Harry Kane, and Mohamed Salah, but has fewer points than them at the same time. However, the hat-trick he scored in last weekend’s match was a clear reminder of how good this player actually is and will continue to be going forward.

Roberto Firmino’s Performance

Firmino’s performance while playing against Arsenal not only assisted Liverpool to secure a huge victory but also allowed him to score a staggering 45.9 points when it comes to fantasy soccer which is considered the highest single-match total this season. Although Firmino usually drifts behind other huge players in his tier when it comes to total points, it’s worth mentioning that fantasy soccer is a weekly game and Firmino just provided that he can be the best football player in any given week.

The most noticeable reason why Firmino is currently behind other football stars at his tier is due to the fact that he hasn’t managed to keep up in scoring goals. Although he scored 4 goals in the last two games, the player from Liverpool is still underperforming when it comes to expected goals. There isn’t a player in fantasy soccer with more goals that has been more unfortunate than Firmino in this statistic so far.

Another area where Firmino is struggling at the moment is assists. Firmino has never provided fewer assist than the 3 he is carrying into 2019. To give you some perspective, over the last 5 seasons Firmino has managed to average around 5 by this time. Although he is creating more opportunities when compared to the last 3 seasons, he is posting the lowest number of assists. Furthermore, his actual assists total is far behind his expected assists which simply means that Firmino has been exceptionally unlucky this year.

It’s not just assist and goal statistics where Firmino is lacking at the moment. He is also posting three-year lows when it comes to fouls drawn, accurate crosses, and shots for every 90 minutes played. While this could be seen as someone that is underperforming as oppose to being unlucky, these factors usually balance over when it comes to a 38-game season.

Thankfully, Klopp managed to experiment with Firmino’s position where he moved him back in his formation to play the role of an attacking midfielder. Firmino has only played 8 games in total in that position but has managed to score half of his goals since the experiment took place. He also managed to increase his passing rate since he was pushed back in Klopp’s formation.

Why Manchester City Is Showing Signs of Strain


Less than 30 days ago, Manchester City was enjoying a 2-point lead in the Premier League table over Liverpool and impressed with a phenomenal difference of 15 goals. However, they are now 7 points behind Liverpool who are also level when it comes to goal difference, and Manchester City has also dropped to third position on the table behind Tottenham Hotspur by a point after Boxing Day.

Manchester City suffered a devastating couple of weeks where they managed to lose 3 out of 4 games where they previously remained undefeated. However, what could be the cause in their sudden dip?

Full-back Problems

The two defeats that Manchester City endured over the festive period, including a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Leicester City and a 3-2 defeat against Crystal Palace, have both been characterized by awful full-back performances. The Crystal Palace match managed to expose the defence limitations of Kyle Walker at right-back, who enjoyed a spectacular 2017/18 season but suffered a bit after his World Cup participation. He made a handful of mistakes during their victory against Everton but was partially to blame for the Crystal Palace game where they managed to score three goals.

Against Leicester City, Fabian Delph was to blame as he completely lost the equaliser from Marc Albrighton and Hamza Choudhury’s similar run thereafter which indicates that it might have been a tactic deployed by Leicester City to target the inability of Delph at the far post. Delph is actually considered a midfielder who was converted to play as a left-back. Although he is quite comfortable with the position, his body shape is frequently awkward once the ball is located on the opposite flank.

With Benjamin Mendy out of the team, it leaves Oleksandr Zinchenko or Danilo to face Mohamed Salah when Manchester City clashes against Liverpool in a week’s time. Salah usually plays up front during the 2018/19 season, but Klopp tends to go for a 4-3-3 formation where Salah plays wide on the right during important matches. Klopp will definitely utilize his dangerous attacker due to the fact that Manchester City is having problems at the back.

Lack of Pressing

Manchester City has never been able to adept when it comes to defending in deep positions. However, they managed to compensate with defensive work proactively in higher zones. The forward three managed to press aggressively, while the midfielders pressed up onto their opposing numbers, and the defence maintained a high line to ensure the game is played in the opposition’s half.

However, in recent weeks, prior to the sudden dip from Manchester City, it was quite noticeable that the team weren’t engaging their opposition in this manner. This has been highlighted by Mark Thompson in an article when Manchester City was still accumulating wins.

The article highlighted how the opposition was allowed to control the ball forward which made things increasingly more difficult for Fernandinho, the only defensive midfielder for the team.

Alisson Becker Becomes No. 1 Goalkeeper in Premier League


There’s never been a goalkeeper in the Premier League that has been as dominant as David De Gea from Manchester United. Obviously, there’s been more successful ones, as David De Gea only has one title in the Premier League and only one award for the Golden Glove thanks to the highest number in terms of clean sheets.

However, these figures are greatly dependent on the quality of team members in De Gea’s team. Include another aspect, the number of times De Gea has been voted for the PFA team of the Year, and he is in a league of his own. De Gea has been named the best in the league by his team members, including the last 4 campaigns. In the Premier League, no other goalkeeper has managed to earn this honour more than 3 times.

David De Gea Is Struggling in the 2018/19 Campaign

However, De Gea’s reign seems like its coming to an end. Although we are less than halfway through the current season, it’s rather impossible to make a case for David De Gea following his poor performance since last season. During the 2017/18 season, De Gea performed the best statistically and held the highest number when it came to clean sheets throughout the division. He managed to concede 14 less goals that anyone expected when you base it off the shots he faced which is undoubtedly the most impressive record in the Premier League. However, something has changed. De Gea suffered an awful World Cup tournament, allowing a Ronaldo shot to go beneath him during a 3-3 draw against Portugal.

In addition, this season’s statistics make for a grim read with the world-class goalkeeper only having two clean sheets in a total of 16 games. What’s even more alarming is that he isn’t saving enough shots this season with a 67% save rate which places him at the bottom half when you look at the goalkeepers in the Premier League.

The Rise of Alisson Becker

This weekend, De Gea will be facing the top goalkeeper in the Premier League this season. Alisson, who is currently ranked fourth in the world by several experts, managed to produce his unforgettable moment while wearing the Liverpool shirt as he saved a point-blank shot from Milik, effectively earning his team members a spot in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Was this considered an excellent save, or did Milik strike the ball directly at Becker? Perhaps somewhere in the middle as the overall finish wasn’t especially impressive. However, Becker advanced for a few yards forward to minimize the angle, forcing Milik to rush.

Either way, the save was considered phenomenal and spoke volumes about the reputation of Alisson. He’s already regarded as the best in the Premier League. It’s hard to remember another side in the Premier League that upgraded so incredibly between two posts. Although Alisson wasn’t cheap, at £67 million, it was something that Liverpool certainly needed.

Tottenham Hopes Christian Eriksen Signs New Contract

Mauricio Pochettino has recently stated that he is in high hopes that Christian Eriksen will ink a brand-new contract as the famous midfielder enjoys his last 18 months with Tottenham Hotspur. Dele Alli and Henry Kane already signed their long-term extensions with Tottenham Hotspur, and Mauricio Pochettino wants Christian Eriksen as he managed to score 10 goals, along with 10 assists, during the Premier League in the previous season. The famous midfielder has also been linked to both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Mauricio Pochettino commented  on the potential contract with Christian Eriksen stating,  “Eriksen knowns exactly what we are doing, and we know that we are working extremely hard this year,” Pochettino stated. “The squad is working extremely hard to ensure we make the best decisions. Eriksen will undoubtedly take some time to ensure he is making the best decision for him.

Pochettino added that they are not worried about it and added,

“However, we are certainly not worried about it. In the world of football, I am never worried. However, I would prefer that Eriksen signs the brand-new contract, allowing him to spend loads of time with the Hotspurs. There’s no denying that it would be absolutely remarkable for both him and the squad. Christian Eriksen is a phenomenal player. When he was initially signed, everyone could see he had potential, an extremely diverse player at Ajax but still relatively young at the time. Tottenham managed to provide an incredible platform for him to further develop his skills. No one can deny that Tottenham and Eriksen was a fantastic mix. It’s for this reason that I sincerely hope he continues to play for Tottenham to fine tune his skills and quality even further.”

The EUFA National League and the Champions League
Christian Eriksen, who was unfortunately sidelined for almost a month due to abdominal problems earlier in the year, was primarily used for sparingly at Tottenham before the international break occurred, and Mauricio Pochettino wasn’t pleased at all that the famous midfielder started on both matches for Denmark during the EUFA Nations League.

“I believe looking after him prior to going to the national team was one of the best decisions I could make as he managed to start in the last ten days in two matches,” Mauricio Pochettino stated. “Playing 90 minutes against a difficult Crystal Palace squad, followed by 2 matches with the national team, it really too much for Eriksen.”

Mauricio Pochettino is going to be without 3 defenders against Chelsea on Saturday, with Danny Rose, Kieran Trippier, and Davinson Sanchez out of action as well as Mousa Dembele as a midfielder. Thankfully, Jan Vertonghen will be back in action after a hamstring injury that saw him miss a total of nine matches.

“There’s still one more day of training, but its fantastic news that he is back in the fold, Mauricio Pochettino stated.” During the last two weeks, Vertonghen trained well, and now we merely need to see if we can include him in the squad when we face Chelsea this weekend.

England’s Revenge on Croatia in UEFA Nations League

Four months after an unbelievable semi-final defeat during the 2018 World Cup in Russia, England’s optimism once again looked like it was going to be punctured by the experience and resilience of Croatia. However, the England squad, as we quickly found out, doesn’t use the same tactics and managed to engineer a mind-blowing comeback to reinstate the team’s reputation.

England Claims Victory Against Croatia

The two teams played for a place in the UEFA Nations League final and provided a dramatic match from start to finish. Croatia managed to take the lead thanks to Andrej Kramaric. However, the home side managed to score during the 78th minute and the 85th minute thanks to Jesse Lingard as well as Harry Kane, sending Wembley into a complete frenzy.

Although it took some time to be confirmed, it was a well-deserved victory from the England squad. Croatia pressed hard during the early stages of the match, but England was fully prepared as they played around with the opposition as they looked for the early ball to release Marcus Rashford and Raheem Sterling, moving at a completely different pace to the severely panicked defenders who were assigned to defend them.

Sterling could have done better instead of firing a straight shot to the Croatian goalkeeper when received by Kane, and minutes later the captain of the England squad managed to fluff his lines when Barkley’s corner was sent straight to him by Stones. On multiple occasions, England’s sensational work was denied merely by last-ditch defending. The England captain witnessed a goal-bound shot which was unfortunately blocked by Tin Jedvaj along with a follow-up save from Kalinic. The Croatian team managed to make it to halftime on level grounds, failing to create a shot on target.

Southgate’s Substitution

Sterling and Rashford’s fearless running and speed continue to be the best route for a breakthrough during the early stages of the second half, but it was the Croatian team who went ahead. Ante Rebic created a phenomenal counter-attack, feeding Kramaric, who clipped a shot off the outstretched leg of Eric Dier and past Jordan Pickford.

Déjà vu quickly grew as the attack of England crumbled against the Croatian squad, but the substitutions made by Southgate managed to turn the tide. New ideas and fresh legs were injected thanks to Jadon Sancho, Lingard, and Dele Alli. Lingard provided the equaliser after Kane managed to scramble the ball past Kalinic, setting the stage for a beautiful goal with only 6 minutes left on the clock.

If it wasn’t for Kane’s decisiveness and Southgate’s substitutions, the game would have been regarded as another monument for the Croatian squad that continues to defy both logic and belief in the months following their incredible final in the Russian World Cup. While the energy reserves of Croatia seemed limitless in 2018, it looked like physical exertion was the main reason England had the opportunity to add more pressure during the final minutes of the game, allowing them to win by one goal in order to get their revenge.

D.C United Closes Playoff Gap After Defeating Montreal Impact

It was the biggest game of the 2018 season, and in the second half, the Montreal Impact dropped the proverbial ball. It cost them any chance of recovery in what saw United winning 5-0 and leaving the Impact with a devastating and embarrassing loss.

Paul Arriola, and Wayne Rooney each scored two goal for D.C United. Luciano Acosta scored one and also earned three assists on Saturday. The win helped put D.C United to within two points of the Impact for the final playoff spot in the MLS Eastern Conference.

Head coach of the Impact, Remi Garde stated, in post-game interviews with reporters that,

“In the first half, I wasn’t under the impression that we would play such a horrible second. There are certain behaviours we need to correct. These are important games in which we need all 11 players on the field to be at their best physically, mentally, and in their aggressiveness. Today, we were outclassed by our opponent in these categories.”

Luciano Acosta sent a shot to an open net at the 17th minute mark to start the scoring for D.C. Rooney made it 2-0 after he found an opening at the 48th minute mark. Rooney earned his second goal with 8 minutes left in regulation time to increase their lead to 5-0 and at the 78th and 82ond minute mark. D.C’s Bill Hamid had five saves and earned his second shutout this season.

Commenting on the devastating loss, Montreal Impact striker, Quincy Amarikwa stated.

“”When we look back on the season, this will be the moment that we decided if we stepped up or we crumbled. I’m confident of the quality we have in the locker room, and we’re going to use this as motivation to move forward into the playoffs.”

About D.C United

D.C. United plays in the Major League Soccer, a North American professional soccer league. They compete in the Eastern division and began as an organisation in 1996. D.C United has won eight titles and shares the record for the most “Supporters’ Shields”. The franchise also has won hour MLS Cups, and won three U.S. Open Cup championships.

World Cup 2018: Germany boss Joachim Low admits side deserved to go out

After Germany lost in the group stage, Germany’s Coach, Joachim Low said he felt that they deserved to lose after the historic crash during the group stage. Germany were the defending champions going into this year’s World Cup and finished last in Group F after suffering a defeat to South Korea, a team many expected would not be much of a challenge for the Germans. It was the first time since 1938 that the country failed to advance.

For Coach Low, he said, “This is something for us to reckon with. This is historic. I am sure this will create some public uproar in Germany.”

The winners of Group F was Sweden, who beat Mexico 3-0. With Mexico advancing due to Germany’s loss, Mexican fans were on the edge as they watched, many in disbelieve as South Korea defeated the Germans.

When asked to expand on his comments, Low, who in 12 years of coaching had not made it to the semi-finals, explained,

“We saw Sweden had taken the lead, so we needed to keep the pressure up but our team was missing the ease of play and the classiness we usually have. So, we deserve to be eliminated, yes. At this tournament, we didn’t deserve to win again or move to the round of 16. We were eliminated not because we didn’t want to win but we never had the chance to take a lead at any point – we were always lagging behind, trying to keep up.”

While the match came down to the wire, both of the goals scored by South Korea came during injury time. The first of those was by Kim Young-gwon who scored with a close range goal that was initially disallowed after an offside call, then later overturned and allowed. The second came minutes later after Ju Se-jong tapped another past German goaltender Manuel Neuer to give the Koreans a 2-0 win.

Germany’s Epic Exit

For Germany, the end was anything expected. It was only the second time in history that Germany failed to advance beyond the group stage. They have advanced to the semi-finals in their last four World Cup tournaments and have made the final four in the World Cup with the exception of three times. They have made the final two twice and before the loss to South Korea, had yet to lose in a match against an Asian country.

U.K.’s Amazon Prime Service to Show Twenty Games A Season

On the 7th of June, Amazon significantly increased its bet on live sports programming by buying the broadcasting rights to a package of soccer games in the English Premier League. These broadcasting rights are exclusive to Britain, enabling fans to watch a selection of twenty games this season on the Amazon Prime service. The rights to broadcast a small selection of games represents a significant boost to the modest foray by Amazon into live sporting events.

With handfuls of industries disrupted in the past by Amazon, which include from grocery businesses to health care. What comes next is the power to broadcast top sport events. The package does not include the league’s marquee offering and covers two rounds of play. These include mid-week events and one on Boxing Day, a day on which only the major league schedule games.

While thousands of Brittan’s look forward to more broadcasted games, their immediate optimism is all based on the game just before the World Cup commences. Marcus Rashford put England in the lead and reports indicate that players are high on confidence while Gareth Southgate is indeed capable of putting together exciting football.

Southgate Has Reason to Optimism

Another satisfying win gives Southgate reason to optimism and Rashford announced that he is pressing for a starting place as England arrives in Russia. He also reminded England’s manager that he can produce moments of outstanding quality. Even though he can be unpredictable at times, he can score goals even against the most accomplished defences.

What is most encouraging is that none of the Southgate players are off-form. Costa Rica placed twenty-third on the FIFA World Rankings, simply overwhelmed by the team’s energy in the first half. It was a relatively stress-free evening for Butland in the first round, replaced in the second half by Pope, while Dele Alli cleared the way in the 2nd half to the second goal for England. It was Jordon Henderson that captained the team in the absence of Harry Kane, and he did so with considerable authority.

The only negative if one is pressurised to find one, it would be that Jamie Vardy had a difficult time to impress. Alexandra-Arnold impressed many during his first international appearance, while it was also the debut of England’s goalkeeper Burnley Nick Pope replacing Jack Butland in the second half.

Now Southgate has some serious decisions to make regarding England’s starting line-up in the World Cup. He agrees that he would have to leave out 11 or 12 players that are genuinely good. Normally managers find it difficult to find players for each position, Southgate’s problem is which of the great players are best for the position, which might be even more challenging.

Real Madrid Expectations Succeeded During the Champions League

As the Real Madrid team is preparing for their fourth Champions League Final, players such as Gareth Bale are reflecting on how their progress as a team blew any expectations they had straight out of the water.

Gareth Bale is a forward for the Real Madrid team, though his name may sound familiar as he holds the title of being one of the world’s most expensive players when we made the switch between Tottenham for Real Madrid in 2013 for a whopping £ 83 million. The player stated proudly during an interview that the team is making history. He reflected no his reason for even joining this club as he aspired to win titles before beaming and ending his statement by stating it’s going to be a special day for him and the team.

The Real Madrid team has had a history of winning the prestigious competition three times in the past four seasons – while Liverpool’s last success happened thirteen years ago in 2005. Throughout all of those wins, the Welsh player Bale has been on the team. This is not Bale’s first impressive win as he won La Liga and the Copa del Rey when he was playing on the Spanish side earlier in his career.

The manager, Zinedine Zidane must hurry and make the decision regarding if Bale is going to be a starter after the Welsh scored five goals in his previous four times as a starter. Zidane stated that he is playing extremely well and has been racking up the goals as of late. The Frenchman beamed as he complimented the Welsh player’s consistency when he has been playing for the previous three games. Following this, Bale added in that he personally feels great and is looking forward to the final as the team already won their second Champions League and they want more under their belt.

In the wake of the game, Bale cannot seem to keep his excitement to himself. He reflects as he thinks about a time where he couldn’t imagine participating in so many finals. His performance on the team is easily superseding the expectations he had for himself.

Liverpool Reaction

While the spotlight may currently be on Madrid and Bale, the manager of Liverpool, Jurgen Klopp has mentioned previously about the team’s desire to overcome and beat the 12-time record holding winners, The Real Madrid. Other than Madrid, the only other team that was able to win the competition in three repetitive successful seasons happened between 1974 – 1976 and the winning team happened to be Bayern Munich.

Despite the team’s row of successful games, Zidane stated that saying teams such as Liverpool was hungrier than Madrid simply is not true. The manager spoke highly before simply stating that no team can take away the hunger to win and succeed from Real Madrid as the team will give it their all to win again. Zidane finished by stating that either way – Liverpool deserves respect during the match as they have worked and to get where they are.