Opinion: Arsenal Owe Their Fans Something To Celebrate This Season

The Gunners put away Norwich City in their latest victory on Wednesday night but the fans at the Emirates Stadium wouldn’t be smug if they asked for more from the club.

It’s been three years since Arsenal had anything worthwhile to celebrate with their fans in London and across the world. They have been far away from qualifying for the Champions League since the 10-2 demolition by Bayern Munich in the 2016/2017 season and also last lifted a major trophy, the English FA cup in that season.

Gone are the days of exciting Champions League nights are at the Emirates. The days of stunning solo runs from Theo Walcott and clinical finishing from Robin Van Persie is now a distant memory and not many people remember how Arsenal made the Champions League final in 2006.
More recently, the game against Olympiakos was an all time low and it was difficult to watch Arsenal being sent packing from the Europa League even for neutral fans. Such is how Arsenal has degenerated over the years and it remains to be seen how or when they will return to Europe in the near future. Nothing is settled as of yet as it is still possible for them to make the European places mathematically. The win against Norwich takes them up to seventh on the log but a win for either of Sheffield or their arch rivals, Totenham later today would see them return to eight on the table.

Their weak financial muscles only makes things more complicated for them going into the summer and they will struggle to attract any player in the next transfer window without a trophy to show for or at least a place in Europe’s second division tournament.

Keeping Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang beyond this season also seems like mission impossible as he continues to be linked with the likes of Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan. The Gabonese striker may finally make a move if he ends the season without a meaningful achievement to look back on this season despite being the club captain all season. The former Dortmund striker has become the fastest player to hit 50 goals in an Arsenal shirt, in 83 appearances.


For all that it is worth, the club must try hard to keep their starman to get close to winning anything and Arteta should sure know better than let him leave. Arsenal are still in competition for a place for the Europa League and could still win the FA cup if they manage to get the better of Man City who on the strength of their lofty standards will want to forget this season despite most likely finishing second behind Liverpool and have already won the Carabao cup.

There are too many question marks than answers on what the future portends for the Gunners but they can be certain of a bleaker future if they fail to record any serious achievement come the end of July.

Chelsea And Leceister Drop Points As Top Four Race Heats Up

The battle for the champions league places in the English top flight looks very exciting at the moment after Chelsea and Leceister City dropped all three points against West Ham and Everton respectively.

Chelsea had opened the scoring at the London stadium from a penalty well taken by Willian after Christian Pulisic was brought down by Issa Diop in the Hammers penalty area. West Ham got back into the game not too long after and just before half time when Bowen’s cross found Slavia Prague loanee Soucek who powered a towering header into the net.

Bowen also supplied another assist to Michail Antonio who tapped in from close range to give the Hammers the lead six minutes into the second half.

Prior to this game, Willian had not scored against West Ham but he doubled his tally on the night with a sweetly struck free kick from 20 yards out to bring Chelsea back into the game.

Unlike the game at Aston Villa, there was no comeback for Chelsea as Andry Yarmalenko’s finished from a late counter attack condemned Chelsea to their first defeat since the return of football.

The last time Chelsea were defeated by a three goal margin was at home to Bayern Munich in the Champions League before the suspension of football and they could not win the much needed points against the Hammers who would be very happy to win all three points in their bid to avoid relegation.

For all that their season is worth, Leicester City will be licking their wounds after they have blown open the race for the top three finish. Jamie Vardy failed to get onto the scores sheet for the fourth match since the Foxes resumed their Premier League campaign.

Once looking destined for the Champions League next season, successive dropping of points have seen their position being open up to a challenge from teams outside the top four at the moment.

Their latest defeat also came on the same night Chelsea lost. Early goals from Richarlisson and Sigurdsson just before the twenty minutes condemned them to defeat despite Kelechi Ihenacho’s 51’st minute strike offered a glimmer of hope for the Foxes.

Manchester United and Wolverhampton will be delighted with the results considering that they picked up all three points against Brighton and Bournemouth while still keeping clean sheets. It all makes for an interesting end to the season with both teams two points away from fourth spot and three from the third spot.

Very few can bet against the Red Devils have they have looked comfortable in victories against Sheffield and Brighton, teams they would struggle to beat some few months ago. Their fixture list does not look bad either and the confidence in the team looks really high at the moment.

Wolves also have a very easy fixture list and will also be challenging quietly as they have been doing for a couple of matches now. All in all, the top four battle is wide open to all four of the teams but only the best teams will rise in the end.

La Liga Title Race: Five Things We Have Learnt So Far

The title race continues to heat up in Spanish top flight as Barcelona narrowly defeated Athletic Club 1-0 and Real Madrid claiming all three points at home against Mallorca.

1) Barcelona needs to overhaul their midfield and defence ahead of next season
It has been a long time coming but it is more than obvious at the moment that Barcelona are in dire need of a squad overhaul if they are to sustain their domestic dominance, talk more of rising to the pinnacle of football once again.
The midfield which has been the heartbeat of the club in the past cannot even be compared to a shadow of its former self.

Before his injury woes, we have seen enough of De Jong to be convinced that he is not Iniesta and Arthur is no Xavi.

In defence, Gerard Pique is not the same player and Lenglet is not Carles Puyol despite keeping four consecutive clean sheets since the return of the La Liga.

Barcelona need genuine quality again and must spend in the summer to avoid a catastrophe from happening soon.

2) The Barcelona attack is not any better

Barcelona also have a lot to think about in attack. On paper, they have a very solid attack that should dominate the Spanish top flight but football barely thrives on paper these days.
Messi continues to carry the weight of the team on his shoulders and he is showing signs that age is getting the better of him.
Suarez has also been on the wane for a while and Barcelona needs serious competition for places in his position if they are to take the bulk of the goalscoring responsibilities off Messi’s shoulders. The presence of a firing centre foward would have made a profound difference in the fortunes of the Catalans.

The Blaugrana’s reliance on Ansu Fati is also a testament to the the growing need for reinforcements in attack even if the teenager has performed incredibly anytime he has been called upon. Griezmann is not the same player. These days it’s difficult to understand if he fitting into Barcelona is the problem or the inability of the team to conform to his style of player on the pitch. Many would argue that it should ideally be the former but then Barcelona may have to make a decision over his future soon. Dembele has spent more time on the treatment table than he has on the pitch in his Barcelona career and it’s highly unlikely that he will have any impact on the title race.

3) Vinicius is on fire.
When big hitters like Bale and Hazard are expected to lead the title charge for the Los Blancos, it is Vinicius Jr that has been making the headlines for the Capital City side. For the second game in a row, he has got the man of the match award and got on the scorers sheet twice. He probably wouldn’t have picked his form at a better time. Seeing Hazard brought off while he remained on the pitch for 90 minutes was the highlight of it all.

4) Vamos Ramos
Ramos always makes the headlines for the right and wrong reasons and this season has proven to be his most productive career yet. His delightful free kick on the night is evidence that he’s not just a gritty defender but also a fine footballer. He is one of the best defenders in the world if not the best at the moment.

5) Title Race may drag into the final day.

This season looks like one of those seasons in which the contenders have to wait until the final day to decide who claims the crown. Like Athleti and Barcelona in 2014 and Real Madrid versus Barcelona in 2016, the battle is primed to drag until the last minute of the season. You cannot look away from the possibility of this happening because both teams are level on point with only head to head statistics being the difference between both teams.

The title race is a very interesting one this season and it promises to get better in the coming fixtures. Barcelona have to be on their toes and must win games in their next matches against Celta Vigo, Athletico Madrid, Villarreal and Espanyol. Madrid on the other hand have to ensure they do not slip up against Espanyol, Getafe, Athletic Club and Alaves.

Let us know your thoughts and comments below.

La Liga Title Race Blown Open As Barcelona Play Goalless Draw At Sevilla

It was difficult to watch as both teams could not get a goal to liven things up. The La Liga crown is now Barcelona’s to lose when they could have extended their league at the top by five points.

While Barcelona dominated the opening exchanges, Sevilla struggled to bring the ball out of their half in the first 30 minutes of the game.

The Catalan’s best chances came from Lionel Messi’s freekicks and one of them was diverted over the bar brilliantly by the backtracking Joules Koundes.

Messi later escaped a yellow card for a bookable offence after Sergio Busquests and Fernando were booked for a feisty face-off between the pair just before the end of the first half.

Sevilla stepped up the intensity of their game after the break and Argentine Stalwart, Ever Banega.

A fierce drive in the Barcelona penalty area from Lucas Ocampos forced a great save off Marc Andre Ter Stegen and former Barcelona prospect Munir El-Haddadi also forced another save from the German shot stopper.

Antoine Griezmann failed to make the starting line up as Martin Braithwaite was preferred to the Frenchman. Braithwaite was however replaced for the final 13 minutes as Arturo Vidal was introduced in his place.
Sergio Regullion failed to convert the best chance of the game as the left back mishit a shot from close range with his weaker right foot, allowing Ter Stegen to collect the ball easily.

Luis Suarez played the full 90 minutes despite Quique Setien expressing uncertainty the Uruguayan’s match fitness. He blazed a left footed effort over in the closing stages when a chance was presented before him. Arthur was also introduced in the second half while Ruqui Puig also made a late entry into the game.

Barcelona now have to work hard to retain the title as the Los Blancos will be looking to close the gap against the Blaugrana in their next game against Real Sociedad tomorrow night. Barcelona will lock horns with Athletic Bilbao in their next match on Tuesday while Sevilla will clash with Villarreal on Monday.

Totenham vs Manchester United Match Ratings

The much anticipated game ended in a 1-1 draw. United had chances to kill the game but lacked a cutting edge and was also deterred by an inspired performance from Hugo Lloris.

It was Pogba’s first game since his return from an ankle injury and he was instrumental to his side taking a point off after Spurs had taken the lead in the first half. Many would question the tactical decisions of both managers in the dugout.

Jose Mourinho, much like himself played to hit the opposition on the counter and should have killed the game off after they took a first half lead.

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer’s team selections could also be probed as Mason Greenwood and Paul Pogba changed the complexion of the game once they entered it.

Here is our rating for the match.

Manchester United

David De Gea

While many would argue that he should have saved the shot from Bergwjin, it is very clear that his defence let him down. Apart from that, he dealt with other threats really well. 6/10

Aaron Wan-Bissaka

Much like his usual self. Spurs struggled to create anything on his flank throughout the game. A solid performance. 6.5/10

Victor Lindelof

Appeared shaky at times in the first half and didn’t really have a great deal to deal with. Came off with a knock in the second half. 6/10

Harry Maguire

He should have done a lot better against Bergwjin for the first goal and he let his team down in the end. A poor performance from the United skipper. 4/10

Luke Shaw

He should also take part of the blame for Spurs goal and most of their successful attacks came from his flank. He also joined up with the defence but could have done a lot better. 5/10

Scot Mctominay

A solid and combative performance from the Scottish International. 6.5/10

Fred

He didn’t not have a bad game either. Did he not appear pleased when he was brought off in the second half. 6.5/10

Daniel James

These days, Dan James looks like a proper championship player. Had no impact on the game whatsoever. 4.5/10

Bruno Fernandes

He worked his socks off and tried to create several goalscoring chances for his team. He was rewarded with a goal from the spot. On second thoughts, he could have been better with his decision making. 7/10

Marcus Rashford

Had a wonderful chance to put United in front early in second half but was denied by a good reaction save from Lloris. 6/10

Anthony Martial

The Frenchman also forced a good save from his compatriot in the first half. Was more of a passerby from there on. 6/10

Subs

Paul Pogba

Our man of the match. His presence on the pitch changed the entire complexion of the game. We hope he would deliver on the promise of his inspiring cameo for the rest of the season. 8/10

Mason Greenwood

Brought United to life on the right flank and could have given United a late victory if he had scored with the last kick of the game. A good performance off the bench. 7/10

Nemanja Matic.

The midfielder made a strong case to be in the starting lineup for the next game with a tidy performance of the bench. 6.5/10

Odion Ighalo

The Nigerian striker didn’t have an imprint on the game. 5/10

Eric Bailly

Played for barely seven minutes. Nil

Totenham

Hugo Lloris

An inspired performance by the experienced shot stopper. Arguably Spurs best player in the game. 7.5/10

Serge Aurier

A very positive performance from the Ivorian fullback. Should have got himself on the scores sheet. 6.5/10

Davinson Sanchez

A solid defensive performance. 6/10

Eric Dier

He would have had a higher rating if he didn’t concede the penalty in disgraceful fashion. 6/10

Ben Davies

Did not have much to deal with until Greenwood came on and he coped with threat posed by the teenager. 6/10

Moussa Sissoko

Helped his team by providing defensive support. 6/10

Harry Winks

Worked his socks off to neutralize United’s threat in midfield. 6/10

Son

Worked hard on the counter and was unlucky not score as his goal bound header was saved by De Gea. 7/10

Erik Lamela

Worked hard to support attacks from midfield and was very lucky to escape a booking from the referee. 6.5/10

Stephen Bergwjin

Showed drive to give Spurs the lead. An excellent performance from the Dutchman. 8/10

Harry Kane.

Was he even in the game at all? We don’t think so. 4.5/10

Subs

Gedson Fernandes

Did not do more than make up the numbers. Left much to be desired. 4/10

Giovanni Lo Celso.

The Argentinian did not really have an impact in the game. 5/10

Ole Gunnar Solksjaer

He could have picked a stronger starting line up but he made amends by bringing on Pogba and Greenwood. 6/10

Jose Mourinho

Will Mourinho ever evolve his tactics? He could have easily killed off the game but chose to play safe. I am not sure many Spurs fans will be happy with the result against his former employees. 5.5/10

Heavy rain disrupts commercial activities in Lagos

Business activities have been disrupted as flood hits Nigeria’s Commercial city after heavy rain on Thursday, 18th of June, 2020.

The heavy downpour has led to floods taking over most streets, and many residents were forced to stay indoors while those who attempted to step out were held in serious traffic.

According to reports, cars, buses, and trucks have been held in gridlock as all the major road connections in the state have been affected due to the continuous downpour.

In a bid to beat traffic and find a way out, some motorists were seen driving against traffic, while some commuters resulted to using motorcycles, thereby defying safety precautions and the state ban order.

Some commuters who could not afford the hike in fare however resulted to trekking so as to get to their desired destination.

Channels Television reporters on the road, cars and trucks have been held up in gridlock as a result of the gridlock.

Some of the places where traffic has built up due to the floods include Agege, Iju Road, Victoria Island, Lekki, Ikeja, Oshodi, Ogudu, and Ketu among other parts of the state.

On the Long Bridge axis of the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway, the traffic was heavy inbound Lagos, but it was smooth out of the state.

However, some motorists were seen driving against traffic while some commuters took the option of using motorcycles, defying the safety implications, the state ban order, and the drizzle.

For some of the commuters, it was preferable to trek in order to get to their various desired destination.

Record Breaking Mertens Goal Seals Coppa Italia Final spot

Dries Mertens scored a crucial and historic equalizer against Inter Milan to ensure Napoli made it into the Copa Italia final against Juventus.
Napoli won the first leg away at San Siro and Mertens 122nd goal for Napoli was just enough to ensure they qualified for the final showdown.
The goal also makes Mertens become Napoli’s all time leadin scorer.

Fabian Ruiz’s goal at the San Siro had put Napoli in control from the first leg only for Inter to cancel the lead through Christian Eriksen inside two minutes into the game.

Ospina made a couple of saves to deny Belgian hitman Romelu Lukaku and Andrea Candreva before setting up the equaliser late in the second half.

Christian Eriksen got on the scoresheet inside two minutes with a spectacular effort, scoring directly from a corner kick to bring Inter on level terms with Napoli.

His clearance started a fast counter-attacking move that took Inter off balance. His clearance found Lorenzo Insigne passed the ball across to the on rushing Mertens to enter the Napoli history books four minutes before half time.

Ospina was also instrumental in the second half as he made a string of saves that ensured Napoli qualified for a trip to Rome for the final.

Napoli will face Juventus in Rome and Wednesday. Inter will then resume their Serie A season as they take on Sampdoria on Sunday, June 21. Napoli will lock horns with Hellas Verona two days later

Haaland is The Difference As Dortmund Win Against Dusseldorf

It was a dramatic end at to the contest as Erling Braut Haaland’s late goal was the difference against Fortuna Dussseldorf.

The match was primed to end as a stalemate after Raphael Gurreiro’s second half strike was ruled out for handball but Haaland reverted to super sub mode to ensure Bayern cannot establish a nine point lead at the top on Saturday.

Despite several chances created by Jadon Sancho in the first half, Dortmund could not put the ball at the back of the net as they lacked a clinical edge until Haaland made a cameo return from a knee injury. Archaf Hakimi should have taken the lead Dortmund when he had only the keeper to beat in the 17th minute after a rapid break following a Dusseldorf corner.

Sancho and Julian Brandt also combined twice but Brandt was denied by a last ditch tackle from Andre Hoffman and the goal keeper Florian Kastenmeier on another occasion.

Haaland’s introduction soon after the restart almost paid dividends as his shot took a deflection and dropped nicely to Raphael Gurreiro whose drilled attempt was ruled out after a VAR check.

Dusseldorf also had two opportunities to take the lead as Steven Skrzybski’s effort from distance hit the left hand post in the 82nd minute before being denied by the other upright in stoppage time.

Dortmund then took the lead immediately after as Haaland guided a header past Kastenmeier from a cross provided by Manuel Akanji.

This ensures that the title race is still open, at least for now.

Dortmund host Mainz at the Signal Iduna Park on Wednesday while Dusseldorf will face RB Leipzig on the same day.

Messi Leads Barcelona To Winning Return Against Marlloca

Lionel Messi scored one and assisted two as Barcelona made a winning return to the La Liga campaign.

Arturo Vidal, Martin Braithwaite and Jordi Alba were also on target as Barcelona ran out 4-0 against Real Mallorca.

Having not played football for three months due to the forced coronavirus break, Barcelona needed a little less than two minutes to take the lead through Vidal’s header.

Lionel Messi then assisted Braithwaite as he scored his first goal for the club just eight minutes to the end of the first half.

Luis Suarez also featured in the game as Barcelona looked sharp all through the game.

Real Madrid loanee Takefusa Kubo was cleverly dispossessed by Frenkie de Jong in midfied who lay the ball of off to Alba to create Vidal’s header.

Kubo looked like he would atone for his mistakes as he forced a save off Marc-Andre Ter Stegen from the edge of the box before being denied again from behind a dead ball.

Prior to this, Messi and Braithwaite had combined to put pressure on the Marlloca defence and their efforts finally yielded results just before the interval in a combative build-up which involved flick ons from De Jong and Messi.

Suarez was brought on in the second half after being out since January due to a knee injury. He proved to be a menace to the Marlloca defence as he created chances that were begging to be converted for Braithwaite and Ronald Araujo.

Messi then set up Jordi Alba with an ingenious flick that ended with an emphatic finish at the near post.

There was enough time for Messi to join the scoring spree for the seventh straight game against Marlloca. He kept his balance and composure to put a right-footed finish at the back of the net.

Antoine Griezmann was almost anonymous all through the game but Barcelona will be happy to stay top of the log.

Barcelona host Leganes at the Camp Nou on Tuesday before travelling to the Ramon Sanchez Pijuan to face Sevilla three days later. Mallorca will clash with Leganes next Friday and face Villarreal next.

Match Report: Juventus Secure Coppa Italia Final Sport despite Stalemate Versus Ac Milan

Cristiano Ronaldo’s penalty miss did not prove costly for Juventus as they played out a 0-0 draw against Ac Milan as football returned to Italy on Friday evening.
Despite playing close to 75 minutes with a man down, The resolve of the Milan defence proved to be a tough nut to crack for the Italian Champions but the draw was just enough to ensure that Juventus qualified for the final.
The two teams played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg of the semi-final at San Siro in February but had to wait four months for the return match at the Allianz Stadium due to the suspension of the competition on the back of the Coronavirus Pandemic since March.

Before kickoff, a minute silence was observed for those who died from Covid-19 and this was immediately followed up by a round of applause for the nation’s health workers.

Ronaldo failed to score from the spot kick after a VAR review which confirmed that Andrea Conti handled the ball in the area in the 16th minute. 17 seconds later, Ante Rebic was sent off for a lounge on Danilo but Juventus fail to take advantage of their strength in number.

Donnarumma was also tested by an effort from Blaise Matuidi in the 31st minute and he was also equal to Ronaldo’s attempt. Milan failed to test. Buffon had a quiet evening for the most part of the match despite Milan’s several forays forward. Milan threw caution to the wind despite their numerical disadvantage but had nothing to show for it in the end.

Hakan Calhanoglu could only divert his header wide three minutes after the restart before Rafael Leao came on for Giamoco Bonaventura to fill the void that Ante Rebic had left.

Fatigue in both teams was obvious despite being allowed to make five substitutions and the much anticipated contest ended in a full draw.

Juventus will lock horns with Napoli or Inter in the final while Milan will turn their attentions to Lecce on Monday night as they resume their Serie A campaign.