Hits of the season so far!

The English football season is in its business end and now, we can fairly draw conclusions on the impact certain players and teams have had in the footballing scene. Some players burst into the scene whereas some didn’t. As we take a breather for a week from Premier League action, here are some of the hits this season.
 1.Diego Costa 


 Antonio conte changed Chelsea’s fortune from last season’s debacle, one man on the forefront was Diego Costa. Scoring at will,the Spanish striker has notched up 17 goals so far for the season and has often chipped in during crucial times. Tailing behind Arsenl’s Alexis Sanchez,The striker is also in the race for the Golden Boot and is currently fourth. One major reason for Chelsea’s run this season is his return to form from last year’s slump.

2.Zlatan Ibrahimovic


The talismanic striker from Sweden has definitely made his presence felt in England notching  15 goals for Manchester United. He also played a major hand in the EFL cup triumph contributing two goals in the 3-2 victory against the saints. He is another player who has stood up when his team needed him the most. At 35 years of age, Zlatan shows no sign of stopping.

3.Ngolo Kante

One of the main players behind Liecester City’s title triumph was this man in the middle of the park. From crucial interceptions to having vital physical presence he has replicated the same after his move to Stanford bridge. He might as well be on his way to the podium as Chelsea look to seal the deal and win the title. Two leagues in two seasons sounds good!  He is tipped to be one of the best Midfielders in the world right now.

4.Eden Hazard

The Belgian has regained his tough under Antonio and has changed fortunes for the blues.His incredible goal against Arsenal is reminiscent of his sublime form. He is creating chances and also taking a few of  them himself, making vital contributions towards his team’s efforts. He has consistently fed the players in front of him with goal scoring opportunities.He is Antonio Conte’s main man in the blues lineup.

 5.Manolo Gabbiadini

He arrived from Napoli to the Saints for a fee of £17 million. He has had an instant impact in the premier league scoring in four consecutive games for the side. He has brought back Southampton into the reckoning and also played a major hand against Manchester United.He deserved to hold the cup in his debut season with the club but failed to do so courtesy of a shocking refree decision that disallowed his goal. He surely looks to be a huge prospect if Southampton are able to hold on to him.He has scored 5 goals in 6 games so far in all competitions.

6.Sadio Mane

Snapped up from Southampton,Sadio Mané has proved his credentials in the big games for Liverpool . 2017 has been a inconsistent year for the reds so far but amidst all that,Mane has managed to net in crucial goals. Major ones being against Tottenham and Arsenal.He looks to be an amazing acquisition.

7.Henrikh Mkhitariyan

Bundesliga player of the year 2015-16 Henrikh Mkhitariyan moved to Manchester United in the summer. A lot was expected of the midfielder who initially misfired under José. But as time passes he has turned into a very important player in the line up. He has been awarded the “goal of the month” for his incredible scorpion kick enroute to a 3-1 win over Sunderland.If not for injuries,the Armenian has immense potential in England.

8.Marcos Alonso

 A new player in the blue outfit Marcos Alonso has impressed a lot of critics as he gains ground in England.He has been regularly included in the Lineup and has been playing really well.One of the emerging players in the league,Alonso has managed 4 goals so far in the 22 games,he has started.His stats are really impressive for a defender.He also has 2 assists behind his name.

9.Harry Kane


The English striker has struck gold in the premier league. He has managed to be in the recoking for three seasons in a row in the goal charts. He has been a prominent figure for spurs as they chase down rivals Chelsea. He is a player with an eye for goals ,An instinctive striker. His impact on the international stage is vital for the success of the English football team. He has scored 19 goals so far and is in prime spot to chase down Romelu Lukaku.

10.Dele Alli

Young,fast and talented, this young midfielder from England took the premier league by storm as he burst into the scene. He has amassed amazing stats for the season scoring 14 goals for spurs. He is one player with the capability to score absolutely stunners. His presence on and off the ball is fluid and is a testimony to Tottenham’s success in recent years.

11.Romelu Lukaku

Another Belgian in the list is Romelu Lukaku.He has definitely found his scoring touch again as he seeks to secure a Europa League spot for the toffees. He is the leading goal scorer  in the premier league with 21  goals. His consistent form has helped everton to be in close pursuit of the top 6.Astonishingly each of his 21 goals have come from open play.

12.Eric Bailey

 The strong defender joined Manchester United from Villareal. People knew very less on what to expect from the African. Bailey has proved his point .From making crucial interceptions and well timed tackles,he has been all over the scene. He has been Manchester United player of the month twice.He was sorely missed when he was unavailable for United during the African Cup of Nations and was struck by a nagging knee problem which confined him to the sidelines,but for now he is back and raring to go.

 13.Alexis Sanchez

Alexis Sanchez has been the one man team for Arsenal this season scoring 18 goals. He has been the only positive in another mediocre season for the Gunners. He has been quite vocal about his discontent with the team’s performances. Speculations surrounding his exit is quite imminent. He surely needs a better stage to show his talent and superb work ethic.

14.Victor Moses

The young midfielder has burst into the scene after some failed loan spells in various clubs. He has been an everlasting figure in the Chelsea lineup. He has recently been awarded with a new contract by Conte for his endeavors. He is an amazing prospect for Chelsea. He has been an everlasting presence in the wings. From a player who was loaned oftem,Moses has turned into an almost permanent candidate for Conte.

15.Jermaine Defoe

Another one man team,Sunderland. Jermaine Defoe has managed to shine. Scoring 14 goals for the team lying bottom of the Premier League table. He has rightfully won a call up for the England national team under new manager Gareth Southgate. Linked to other clubs, Jermaine may not be a part of a championship club next season. The drop looks quite evident.
There have been many such players who have impressed in the premier league.Not all can be included in a limited list.

Chelsea’s title thrust is on as they go 10 points up in the league.Nothing can stop the at the moment.The top 4 race is heating up .With potentially 5 teams looking for the remaining 3 spots on offer.It promised to be an exciting post -International break period in the Premier League.


 


Have Barcelona Lost Their Way?

Last season the same time round Barcelona were vying for the treble playing three major competitons,Two domestic and one for the big prize,The Champions League. They eventually went on to win the La Liga and Copa Del Rey completing a domestic double and ending a pretty good season. The only disappointment was not being able to defend their Champions League title.Being knocked out by rivals Atletico Madrid over two legs. Eventhough European ambitions weren’t fulfilled they managed to have a pretty good season.

This season though,the situation has not been the same. They are one point adrift of Real Madrid in the league with two games more played. Real Madrid have two games to spare in case they slip up in the course of the seasom. Altough the Catalans have breezed past certain league opponents,scoring at will they haven’t been able to catch up. With Atletico Madrid in close pursuit and a huge setback against PSG ,Barcelona may be in for a rocky few months ahead.

No more slip ups.

Matters are now for the worse as Barca stare at an early Champions League exit against Paris.4-0 down in the first leg,PSG would need to concede 5 and score none if Barcelona have to go through. One away goal from the French outfit should seal the deal. If any team can turn this around from the jaws of defeat it’s Barcelona.Nonetheless if they are able to do so it would be absolutely remarkable.

Barcelona will remember him.

The only positive over arch rivals Real Madrid has been their progress in the League cup. Real got knocked out by Celta (4-3 agg).Whereas Barcelona knocked out Atletico Madrid to go through over a controversial disallowed goal from Antoine  griezmann in the second leg draw. Kevin Gameiro also missed a penalty in the game.
What has been going wrong?

At this point of the season Barcelona can take nothing for granted. On one hand the League is still not bagged up and European dreams crashing on the other.The next few games are absolutely crucial and slipping in those would mean a huge mountain to climb.Barcelona have lost games against Celta ,Alaves,Manchester City(UCL) , Athletic Club and drawn against Atletico Madrid(league and CDR),Malaga,Real Sociedad,Hercules(CDR),Real Madrid,Villareal and Real Betis.This shows the vital points they have dropped in the league’s just to the advantage of their rivals.
Barcelona have always been a team with high expectations and more often than not they have met those soaring expectations with the help of their deadly trio up front in Messi,Suarez and Neymar.But against PSG even they looked powerless. A combination of effective pressing and energetic closing down helped PSG to avoid any of them to get away. The defence looked lathergic and completely out of shape against a  quick PSG side.Maybe a case of undestimating their opponents.

Under some pressure!

This has been the case in a few occasions this season. Barcelona haven’t been a complete team as they were last season.They have showed amazing football bad have got in their natural flow but in patches against certain opponents.Eventhough they stand second in the league winning it doesn’t look as easy as it should be by their standards.Luis Enrique has been criticised of playing with a rotated eleven game after game and he has been criticised nonetheless.Partly due to injuries and also the sheer number of matches these palyers play.The fixture list isn’t easy.Enrique has been a decently successful manager with European achievements with Barcelona in his CV.But now he has to get the resurgence done as soon as possible.

Neymar was the only effective player of the trio against PSG.Untill he did this outrageous dive to win a foul.

What next?

Barcelona face Leganes and Atletico Madrid in the next couple of games.These games would be absolutely vital for their league ambitions. They would also hope that the leaders,Real Madrid would slip up against the likes of Espanyol and Villarreal. Real’s immediate attention will be for the game against Napoli.Enrique has to back his side and hope for the best in Europe.They would need a monumental effort to go past PSG after the recent debacle.

You can never write off Barcelona can you? One of the best teams in Europe would never want to be second best.Barcelona also play Alaves in the cup final which would be a major chance of some silverware. All is not lost,definitely.But to salvage things Barcelona will have to make amends and hope some major results in the league go in their favor.

Time To Fear The Foxes

Since the early 1990s, the same five teams—Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City, and to a lesser extent, Liverpool—have dominated the End push for the Premier League. It’s been over 20 years  since a team other than one of those five took home the trophy.

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But look at the table now and you’ll see Leicester City—who weren’t even in the Premier League two seasons ago—riding high at the top of the table,one win away from the title.The Foxes started the season with terrible odds—their chances of winning the Premier League were 5,000-1.Now, one fan who placed a £5 pre-season wager could win £25,000  ($36,000) if Leicester they win the league with looks almost a job done.

So how exactly have they pulled off this remarkable feat? Is it all luck ?A magic formula? or just sheer hardwork and passion?There are a number of lessons we can take away from Leicester’s success.

• Leadership

There was a significant backlash when Leicester announced it would be managed by Claudio Ranieri this season. Gary Lineker, one of the club’s most famous former player, openly denounced the move. Some fans wondered whether the Italian coach would even make it to Christmas.Having being sacked from various clubs ,his previous stint in English soccer ended when he was let go by billionaire Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich a year after he bought the club.The backlash seemed quite obvious.The 64-year-old Italian has worked for some of the biggest teams over the past 30 years, but has yet to  clinch a major title.

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This is what Gary Linekar had to say

Against almost all odds, Ranieri has built on and sustained Leicester’s success in the lower leagues. While Premier League managers are known for is their massive egos, Ranieri is radically different—he’s actually a person more concerned to get the job done rather than fulfilling his ego

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Ranieri was able to build a strong relationship with his team, because he listened to them.He believes in the potential of his players to play the game in the most natural way rather than believing in jotting down tactics for every single game.The Manager moved away from his squad rotation policy that he used at Chelsea,at Leicester, he has used the same players, in the same formation, more than any other team in the Premier League.Seven of his starting 11 are essentially guaranteed places each week.Ranieri has focused on nurturing the talent he already had at his disposal, and taking calculated risks on players that others may have passed on.

The power of teamwork

While Leicester has talented soccer players, none are superstars.The guys in Leicester City, on their own, probably aren’t going to achieve this kind of success individually as they would together.Leicester currently has the prolific  goalscorer in Jamie Vardy, who has found renewed life under Ranieri, but the team he has created is not just about a single player.

Besides the fact that Algerian midfielder, the newly crowned PFA player of the year, Riyad Mahrez has racked up almost just as many goals as Vardy, he’s also assisted in quite some goals this season, and the team has been quite disciplined all season.

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•Finding undervalued talent

What’s even more remarkable about Leicester’s rise to fame is the fact they did it at a fraction of the price of their competitors. Its tremendous run has shone light on an idea- value for money.

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Leicester City’s wage bill speaks for itself—it gets the most points per pound spent of any team in the league. Back when they were in the league below the Premier League  Leicester bought Jamie Vardy for only £1 million ($1.45 million)—or 1/49th of the cost of streaky striker Raheem Sterling. Had Vardy moved in the winter transfer window, it was reported that he would cost his new club £30 million. Mahrez was bought for just £400,000; N’Golo Kanté for about £5.6 million.

Leicester brought in a host of players in the summer, but the vast majority of them were seasoned veterans, rather than rising stars. Leicester’s squad happens to be the oldest of the teams currently in the top five in the Premier League, with an average age of over 26. The club paid a total of about £27 million for the players it brought in a little bit more than Chelsea spent just on one player,Pedro in the same window.

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Other teams have noticed, and they’re trying to imitate Leicester’s methods in the transfer market. And the very fact that  the world’s biggest clubs are trying, awkwardly, to imitate the inner workings of a modest club like Leicester speaks volumes.

Hardwork+Passion

Ranieri’s men have shown a huge deal of cohesiveness and teamwork on the pitch they have never given up.From closing down players quickly ,pressing high up the pitch and swiftly changing to counterattacks,the team has never been lagging. They have given teams like Manchester City,Arsenal and Liverpool a run for their money.Ranieri has established a stringent but necessarily laid back system under his reign which gives players a chance of self reflection after each game and trying to improve it in the upcoming games .The policy of taking one game at a time has helped the team to a huge extent.The team has never looked back from the word go.Leicester City ,the team which just survived last time round,haven’t fallen below the top half of the table even once since.

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The foxes have been a treat to watch.From astonishing goals to rattling records.They have done everything to deserve this season’s title.The have played good football all round.

They play Manchester United next up .A win against them would mean they win the title with a couple of games to spare.As a Manchester United fan myself I would prefer a United win but no less than Leicester winning the title.They deserve it.

Will they continue the stint next season  or was it just a one season wonder goes to be seen but for the players it’s time to relish to moment as they make history .

Meanwhile check this video

out here.

Why did I choose football?

Well,it’s been long since I have posted on this blog.It has been precisely ten months since I last posted a piece .So rather than getting right into posting new content I’ll talk about something personal

Why did I choose Football…?

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So,I started following the game not too long ago.It was about seven or eight  years back I started getting glued to the Television set watching International football(I didn’t know about club football much).interestingly during that time a played cricked for a club but honestly I wasn’t a great player at all.As a grew up I started watching football games and found a liking for a club known as  Manchester United,names like Wayne Rooney,Cristiano Ronaldo ,Louis Saha excited me a lot.I also started playing the all time classic FIFA 07 on my computer which killed my time in a flash.It was this way how I was introduced to the game.Honesty I wasn’t a great football player but I could at least pass and score occasionally.The thing that kept me captivated was the sheer pleasure that watching football gave me. I would never miss a game and would literally yell at my parents for not allowing me to watch one.I did not think much about writing then.

Years passed football slowly became a part of my life,I couldn’t wait to get on the concrete corridors of my building and play a game with my friends and celebrating every goal and victory as if we were gonna make something great out of it.This was one of the happiest phase of my life courtesy of football.My first thoughts were that being an  football fan in a cricket dominated country isn’t fun and people won’t play football here but as I continued following the game I realized there are actually a huge number of people playing and following football. We would discuss,fight over players ,get hurt and much more we enjoyed out leisure .

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Continue reading “Why did I choose football?”

Therealfootballmaniac

So its been a really long time that I have been thinking of starting my very own blog and just writing up about the thing I like -Football.
So finally I have decided just to give it a try ..
You’ll find all you wanna know about all the big happenings in the world of football .
Hope you guys cling on and support me .
New posts coming soon !

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