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English Premier League returns

The English Premier League finally restarts on June 17th

Long wait Finally over

The English Premier League after much foot-dragging has eventually fixed June 17th for its restarts. It was always going to happen, but the question was when? Pressure on the League restart had been coming from stakeholders who are too willing to ignore the danger posed by Coronavirus pandemic with its high death rate, especially here in the UK. 

Last weekend, marked the return of the German Bundesliga, and as I mentioned in an earlier article, all other Leagues across the globe will be itching to jump on the restart project. 

Liverpool currently lies in the first position and would be the happiest team on board the restart train. This is obvious because they’ve waited for 30 years to have a shot at the English Premier League title. A title they allowed to slip from their hands after a Steven Gerrard unfortunate slip against Chelsea in 2014, allowed Demba Ba to hand all 3 points to Chelsea and blew Liverpool title hope away.

coronavirus still raging

Just five days ago, test results carried on English Premier League teams showed two players and staff returned positive results from coronavirus screening. This is not the first time though. Six unnamed English premier league players from Watford and Brighton have both tested positive to Coronavirus before now. Bournemouth confirmed one of the two new cases is among their playing squad. The player remains unnamed.

Uncertainties and mixed reactions

How the remaining matches will be played out is left to be seen, even as fans will be barred from all match venues as the case in the German Bundesliga. 

The restart project is all about the money. It has nothing to do with the lives of the players or those involved in the game. TV right companies have been anxious to get the restart project going. It’s obvious why they want to get this done by all means. Premier League clubs would refund a chunk of TV right money already disbursed if the season is voided for any reason. 

In a coded message to all clubs, the restart comes with a condition attached: “Premier League Shareholders today agreed to a new provisional restart date for the 2019/20 season of Wednesday 17 June, provided all safety requirements are in place”.

It is left to be seen how the whole drama will unfold even as players have returned to training. Preparations are already in top gear for the provisional restart of the league that has already generated a whole lot of debate. As expected, the news about the restart of the English Premier League has generated lots of mixed reactions from football fans.

On one hand, some football fans believe that restarting the league without football fans may not be the best. Others are worried about the intention of the League Stakeholders. On the flip side of the argument, some are happy with the restart date as they have missed football due to the coronavirus pandemic.

It is left to be seen if there would be a further postponement of the restart or the stakeholders will stick to their June 17th date. Whatever happens, football will never be the same again without the usual excitement from the stand. The date has been announced and the plans to ensure a safe return will be in full gear. Clubs whose players have already tested positive may not have any choice, but to join the restart project. It seems the lives of players don’t mean much in these dire circumstances.

Kevin De Bruyne

Kevin De Bruyne is the best midfielder in the EPL

He doesn’t need much introduction

Kevin De Bruyne is undoubtedly the best-attacking midfielder in the English Premier League and there are facts to prove my assertion. The 28-Year-old Belgian international who was shipped out by Jose Mourinho while playing for Chelsea in the 2011/12 football season has blossomed into a complete midfielder ever since. 

Signed by Manchester City from German Bundesliga side Wolfsburg on the 30th of August 2015 at a then club-record fee of £55 million, the multilingual player stock has risen in the past four seasons under manager Manuel Pellegrini and Pep Guardiola. Simply unplayable when he is in full flight, the midfield general his renown for killer passes and can thread a pass through the eye of a needle.

Assist Record 

Kevin De Bruyne played 25 games in his first season with Manchester City. He finished the 2015/16 season with 7 goals and 9 assists. He continued his red hot form in the 2016/17 football season, where he played 55 games and scored 7 goals. In that season, he provided 23 assists.

The Belgian who can score with his right and left foot, and is also good with set-pieces, was not yet done with goals and assist. In the 2017/2018 football season, Kevin De Bruyne played 62 matches (the highest in a single season since he joined City), and he scored an impressive 14 goals and provided 25 assists.

That was the season where Manchester City won all four domestic trophies available and created quite some records. It was indeed a good season for the man nicknamed “The assist Master”. In the 2018/2019 football season, he experienced an injury-ravaged season but still managed to feature in 24 games while scoring 6 goals and providing 11 assists. The young Belgian has also replicated his goal-scoring and assist record for his Belgium national team- The Red Devils.

In a Euro 2020 qualifier between Belgium and host Scotland played at the Hampden Park in September last year, Kevin De Bruyne was in devastating form. In the space of 30 minutes, he provided 3 assists to ensure Belgium inflict a 4-0 defeat on their host.

Stats don’t Lie

Paul Pogba of Manchester United and Mesut Ozil of Arsenal have often been compared and even rated ahead of Kevin De Bruyne, but stats indeed don’t lie. A close look at the stats from the official English Premier League website will show who the best midfielder of the Premier League is.

Kevin De Bruyne has made 146 appearances for City, with 31 goals and 62 assists. He has made 54 passes per match and created 87 big chances from those passes.

Paul Pogba of Manchester United has made 63 passes per match and created 19 big chances from those passes.

Mesut Ozil of Arsenal has made 184 appearances, scoring 33 goals and making 54 assists. He has made 60 passes per match and created just 65 big chances from those passes.

Breaking Thierry Henry’s record

The Belgian is just shy of 4 more assists to equal Thierry Henry’s assist record in the current season that has been disrupted by the coronavirus pandemic. He still has the chance to equal and even surpass the French legend’s record with just 10 games more to go. The possibility is there and Kevin De Bruyne is capable of doing the impossible, just like he did when providing the assist to Gabriel Jesus to help Manchester City reach the Centurion points in the 2018/2019 football season with the last kick of the game.

Odion Ighalo

Odion Ighalo: Set to be the Highest paid African Footballer in History

Odion Ighalo is in the news today for the right reasons. His steady rise to stardom can only be likened to a fairy tale. He has always believed in the saying: “Favor over labor”. Popularly called the favored man, the 30-year-old former Julius Berger FC of Nigeria striker have seen his stock rise in the international market in the last few months.

News coming in say the Lagos born striker is set to become the highest-paid African footballer in history. Presently on a 6 months loan from his Chinese Super League club- Shanghai Greenland Shenhua, his plan loan extension by Manchester United has apparently been rejected.

He is been offered a whooping £400,000 per week contract by his Chinese club. This is coming on the heels of his amazing performance for Manchester United before the break caused by coronavirus pandemic. He made a total of 8  appearances and scored  4 goals.

He currently earns £130,000 at Manchester United and would no doubt be the cynosure of all eyes when he goes back to his parent club when the Chinese Super League restarts. An amazing player who has blossomed in the twilight of his career. Odion Ighalo shared his sentiment while joining Manchester United on the 1st of February this year: “I never thought this was going to happen but dreams do come through”.

Indeed, the man who was the highest goal scorer at the last African Nations Cup (AFCON) 2019 held in Egypt with 5 goals, has always believed in his dreams. He has had a stint with Lyn Oslo of Norway, Udinese of Italy and Granada of Spain. In the 2014/2015 football season Watford FC then plying their trade in the English Championship signed Odion Ighalo and he led them in their Promotion to the English Premier League. It was at Watford he flourished and carved a name for himself as he emerged the clubs one of the highest goal scorers for the club. He made 82 appearances and scored an amazing 33 goals.

His performance attracted a whole lot of interest in the transfer market and Chinese Super League club- Changchun Yatai coughed out a massive £20 million for the striker in 2017. He spent a season and then moved over to Shangai Greenland Shenhua, from where he made a loan move to Manchester United in February this year after the injury to Manchester United’s main striker Marcus Rashford.

Odion Ighalo called it quit with international footballer last year, soon after the AFCON. He exited the tournament as the highest goal scorer, not without an injury though, as he got injured in Nigeria’s 2-1 loss to eventual tournament winners Algeria. If figures been peddled is true Odion Ighalo will surpass the likes of Samuel Eto Fils, Didier Drogba, John Obi Mikel, Yaya Toure, Emmanuel Seyi Adebayor, Mohammed Salah, Pierre Emerick Aubameyang and Sadio Mane as the highest-paid African footballer of all time.

These are indeed good times for the man who was never given any chance of returning to the English Premier League. He has had some amazing dreams come through. In the coming days, he may continue his fairy tale rise to stardom.

Giving Up

Giving up is not an option

These are really difficult moments. The mood globally has been that of despondence and fear due to the onslaught of the coronavirus. The print and electronic media have not helped matters with their daily reportage. Sensational headlines have created panic rather than hope in the heart of people. It looks so gloomy that so many individuals have already given up hope.

Unfortunately, giving up is never the solution to any challenge we face in life. Life is full of ups and downs, but we must be relentless. We must keep striving and never look back at the defeat of yesterday. it may be tough and difficult, but never impossible.

Life itself is tough, but we are here today, because we kept hold of the strand of hope that was thrown to us. More than 300,000 people have died globally and looking at the number can be a little bit scary. Looking at the number of families displaced and torn apart can be heart rendering. It is even more difficult when one tends to think about children that have been forced to stay at home and away from friends for over two months.

If there is any time we need to stand up and fight together, that time is now. Sitting down and weeping will only make it worse. Stars don’t shine without darkness, and as stars, these dark moments will surely bring out the best in us. We will surely emerge stronger on the other side. There is always calm after the storm and this storm currently raging is no different. It will soon be over if we don’t give up hope. Looking back at where we’ve come from and how far we are to go can make even the bravest to get scared, but we can never know how far we can go unless we try.

Strength is abundant on our inside than we can ever imagine. Just don’t give up yet. Hold on a little and rally round those who are depending on you. Lift the hands that are beginning to get weak and keep your head up. Like Queen Elizabeth II shared in her address to the nation on the 5th of April, “We will succeed and that success will belong to every one of us. We will meet again”.

As individuals, we are warriors and we mustn’t forget who we are. Our hearts may be broken, but our spirits are not. We refuse to give up even amid the raging battle that has consumed continents and regions. When we go through adversity, we ultimately discover our true selves. At the lowest moments in our lives, we discover our strength and capacity to absorb pains. Slowly and steady, we’ll get there as long as we refuse to give up!

immune boosting fruits

Fighting Coronavirus with immunity-boosting fruits

The Coronavirus pandemic has taken a huge toll on the global population. An estimated 300,000 deaths have been recorded so far worldwide, and some new cases are still been recorded in several countries across the globe.

One of the ways to combat the virus as suggested by medical experts is to build up the body’s immune system. This can be done by the consumption of fruits that are natural immune boosters.

What specific vitamins can help the body immune system? 

4 major vitamins can help boost the body’s immune system. They are Vitamins A, C, D, and E. These vitamins have different roles they play within the human body.

Vitamin A, for example, helps the body’s natural defenses against illness and infections. Some common fruits that contain Vitamins A include Papaya, Spinach, Carrots, Mango, and apricots.

Vitamin C, on the other hand, helps to protect the body cells and keeps them healthy. They also help with wounds, healing, and maintaining the body’s blood vessels. Fruits like Pineapples, papaya, tomatoes, apples, grapefruits, broccoli, orange, and watermelon all contain a huge amount of Vitamin C.

Another popular Vitamin that helps build the body’s immune system is Vitamin D. A natural source of Vitamin D is sunlight. Fortunately, there is abundant sunlight in most countries during this summer period. Unfortunately, the lockdown been caused by the Coronavirus pandemic has forced people indoors. There is, therefore, a need to get fruits that contain this Vitamin. Vitamin D helps to regulate the amount of Calcium and phosphate which are needed by the body in keeping a healthy bone, teeth, and muscle.

There is even a special recommendation to take at least 10mcg of Vitamin D daily, as one may not be getting sufficient Vitamin D from sunlight during this lockdown period. Natural juice extracts from orange and Mushrooms are veritable sources of Vitamin D.

The last in the list of Vitamins is Vitamin E, which is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight off infections in the human body. It aids the proper functioning of the body’s organ by ensuring that body cells are protected from damage. Avocado, mango, blackberries, almonds, and dried cranberries are some of the fruits that contain Vitamin E.

As the Coronavirus pandemic ravages countries across the globe, the right diets must be strictly adhered to, to protect the body from possible infection. Most of these fruits mentioned above are available in major supermarkets and local shops. They are not expensive and can be easily preserved.

 

 

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