Football: What Have We Learned So Far?

The season is only a couple of weeks old and there’s already plenty to talk about from around the European leagues.

Aim for 25

The first couple of weeks of the Premier League season has not gone as expected for some teams. Arsenal lost against newly promoted Brentford and then Chelsea, while Tottenham showed signs of quality without Harry Kane by beating Man City, and then Wolves. Now, with Kane staying, they will be looking to push on.

Any team can beat any other has never been truer than in this year’s Premier League. The record for the lowest winning points total held by Manchester United – 1996/97 – 75 Points is unlikely to be at risk, though. Any team that wins 25 of the 38 games will be very competitive, as long they grab a decent number of draws to go with it.

Man City need a striker

Gabriel Jesus is the only striker at Man City following the departure of Sergio Aguero, which is a problem for the reigning champions. He is very overrated, and despite having no competition for his spot, the Brazilian still can’t get into the starting line-up.

Once a striker arrives, whoever that may be, Man City players have to get the new forward scoring early. Last season, Aguero had missed a large chunk of the season with injury, and when he returned, he complained about the lack of passes he was receiving from his teammates, and rightfully so.

Although plenty of players chipped in with goals last year – Ilkay Gundogan top scoring (13 goals) – the stiffer competition facing the champions this year is going to require a guaranteed 20+ goals from a striker.

We now know that striker will not be Harry Kane, who will stay at Spurs until the summer, at which point Erling Haaland will become available for £65m, making him the number one target for Man City. Until then, they need either Jesus to actually play well, or find someone who can.

That someone will not be Cristiano Ronaldo, who is returning to rivals Manchester United. Next step; what number will he be (Edinson Cavani has 7, and Anthony Martial is wearing 9)? My guess is 28.

No longer a big club

No surprise that Arsenal fans are once again unhappy. They want to be fighting for titles, and playing in European finals, which doesn’t look like it is going to happen any time soon.

Then again, even that wouldn’t make them happy, because, well let’s face it, they seem to have some inflated opinion of Arsenal.

The Gunners haven’t won the Premier League since the 03/04 season, and haven’t finished in the top four since 2016. Those successes were all under the legendary coach Arsene Wenger.

The way the French coach had taken the club to new heights, yet was treated poorly by Arsenal fans. Wenger was booed and criticised at every occasion despite everything he had done for the club.

Wenger made Arsenal a profitable club that was competing at the top level, yet the fans complained he wasn’t spending any money.

Now, they are a spending club that no one takes seriously, and their fans are to blame!

They wanted Unai Emery sacked, and he beat them with Villarreal in the Europa League on the way to lifting the trophy.

Now they want Arteta out, but who do they think wants to lead the club out in front of a bunch of ungrateful fans that will boo the first opportunity they get.

Worst “fans” in the league. Period!

Not a training ground move

Teams go on long tours and camps to help create a winning mentality around the club. 

However, there are some teams who have taken their team chemistry to an epic level. During a night out, twelve players from the Norweigan side Brann SK went out for dinner, and then to a nightclub. It was at that nightclub they met seven women and the group went back to the club’s stadium to have a very raunchy party all over the pitch and stadium. An incident that was caught on camera.

Since the incident, two players have quit, one has been sacked and the rest have been given written warnings.

Kristoffer Barmen, 28, who had played for the club since he was 10, was the player fired because of his “key role” in the night’s events, the team said.

Barmen’s lawyer Eirik Monsen said in a statement that his client was surprised by the club’s decision and felt he was being “treated unfairly”.

The incident was a club record as never before had 12 Brann SK players scored in one evening.

Roads to UEFA finals…

The qualifying for UEFA’s three top club competitions are finally over and the draws for the tournaments have been made.

Champions League group stage in full:

Group A: Manchester City, Paris St-Germain, RB Leipzig, Club Bruges

Group B: Atletico Madrid, Liverpool, Porto, AC Milan

Group C: Sporting Lisbon, Borussia Dortmund, Ajax, Besiktas

Group D: Inter Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Sheriff Tiraspol

Group E: Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Benfica, Dynamo Kyiv

Group F: Villarreal, Manchester United, Atalanta, Young Boys

Group G: Lille, Sevilla, FC Salzburg, Wolfsburg

Group H: Chelsea, Juventus, Zenit St Petersburg, Malmo

Some mouth-watering ties ahead for football fans all over the world.

Man City vs PSG could be the one game every fan tunes into, especially if Ronaldo moves to the Etihad. However, it is Group B that wins the title of the “Group of Death”.

Europa League draw in full:

Group A: Lyon, Rangers, Sparta Prague, Brondby

Group B: Monaco, PSV Eindhoven, Real Sociedad, Sturm Graz

Group C: Napoli, Leicester, Spartak Moscow, Legia Warsaw

Group D: Olympiakos, Eintracht Frankfurt, Fenerbahce, Royal Antwerp

Group E: Lazio, Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille, Galatasaray.

Group F: Braga, Red Star Belgrade, Ludogorets, Midtjylland

Group G: Bayer Leverkusen, Celtic, Real Betis, Ferencvaros

Group H: Dinamo Zagreb, Genk, West Ham, Rapid Vienna

The quality of teams in Europe’s second competition has been on the rise in recent years, which is clear to see this year. Many of the clubs involved have been Champions League regulars in the past.

Here’s a look at the Europa League Conference for anyone interested…

Marseille involved again

Last season, Marseille were involved in a mass brawl against PSG after a fiery encounter. The game had got out of hand already, which was made worse when the Marseille defener Alvaro Gonzalez was pictured saying something to Neymar, which the Brazilian acrobat claimed to be a racist remark.

We are only into the second week of the new season and Marseille are involved in another mass brawl, albeit not completely their own fault. In the game against Nice, Marseille’s temperamental forward Dimitri Payet launched a water bottle into the stands after being hit by the object. This action angered the hypocritical Nice fans, who then marched onto the pitch to seek vengeance.

The game was eventually abandoned after the Marseille players refused to go back out for safety reasons.

French FA will award Nice a 3-0 victory, which Marseille will appeal.

So much for the beauty of having fans back in stadiums.

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