....Inspired beyond boundaries

Tag: EPL

Manchester City

Manchester City poised to make History

Never in the history of Manchester City has the club ever played in the UEFA Champions League Finals. Only once has Manchester City reached the semi-final stage of the UEFA Champions League. That was in the 2015/2016 season under coach Manuel Pellegrini. Manchester City was eliminated by Real Madrid 1-0, after a barren draw in the first Leg.

Today, the 4th of April, 2021, the current EPL Leaders, and one of the only two English clubs remaining in the competition, play host to Paris Saint Germaine of France in a crunch 2nd Leg UCL encounter. The first Leg ended 2-1 in City’s favour, with goals coming from Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez.

What Manchester City needs to progress to the final for the very first time is a win, a draw or a 1-0 loss. On current form, Manchester City is the overwhelming favourite to progress ahead of the Parisian club, with Kylian Mbappe, the danger man of PSG rumoured to be nursing an injury.

Pep Guardiola is expected to keep the same starting eleven that achieved a huge result in Paris, except for one or two changes at left-back, where Oleksander Zinchenko is expected to start in place of Joao Cancelo.

The expectation is high, and all eyes would be on the home side to perform at their very best. Gundogan, Rodri and Bernardo Silva are expected to orchestrate the midfield, while Ruben Dias who has been a Trojan in defence is expected to start alongside John Stone or Aymeric Laporte. Kyle Walker is a sure berth at right-back.

In between the sticks, Ederson Moraes is assured of his place after a splendid performance in the first leg. Upfront, Riyad Mahrez, Foden and Debruyne are expected to start. Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling, Fernandinho, Nathan Ake, Ferran Torres and Benjamin Mendy are options on the bench.

One notable absentee from the PSG side would be Senegalese defensive midfielder Idrissa Gueye who was red-carded in the first leg after a reckless challenge on IILkay Gundogan. Danilo Periera is expected to take his place.

History beckons on Manchester City and the beauty about today’s clash are the motivation and spirit within the camp. It would be the last chance for Sergio Kun Aguero to have a feel of the coveted trophy, and the boys would want to give him a perfect parting gift.

Both sides are desperate to reach the finals, and Brazilian international Neymar speaking ahead of the encounter says “I am ready to die on the pitch to ensure my team progress ahead of Manchester City”. That is surely a rallying call.

The match is billed to be an exciting encounter as both sides are noted for an attractive brand of football. The Etihad stadium beckons on the Manchester City warriors to make a push for history. Heroes are bound to be made and tears of sorrow and disappointment will surely flow. The end of 90 minutes will determine the course of history.

hope

Hope keeps the heart alive

On November 4, 2008, Senator Barack Obama defeated John McCain to become the 44th President of the United States of America. By that victory, he also became the first African elected to the White House.

Before the election, the young senator wrote the best selling book titled: “The audacity of Hope”. It was an intriguing book that showcased the American dream and the possibility of achieving these lofty dreams.

That same sentiment has always kept some individuals strong, even in the face of daunting challenges. A few days ago, I shared my sentiment concerning the tenacity of Arsenal FC fans.

I tweeted: “Sometimes you got to praise the courage and resilience of Arsenal fans. Season after season, that constant heartbreaking experience never weigh them down. I draw inspiration from them and this week I’ll be writing an article dedicated to all Arsenal fans. You deserve all the Love”

Funny enough, the football season started on a very beautiful note for the London side, as they clinched both the FA Cup and the Community shield. An ecstatic Mikel Arteta was over the moon as he savored two trophies in his new managerial career at Arsenal.

The mood among Arsenal fans was even made merrier with the litany of signings in the summer transfer window. In came the likes of Thomas Partey, Gabriel Magalhaes, Willian, Runar Alex Runarsson, Pablo Mari, Cedric Soares, and Dani Ceballos.

The hope of a good run in the new season was high. Defense, midfield, and attack had been fortified. Unai Emery had been shown the exit door and Mikel Arteta was given a warm reception.

Everything was put in motion to ensure Arsenal brings back the glory years, and the FA Cup and Community shield triumph was an appetizer to the ever-loyal Arsenal faithful.

Fast forward to week 12 of the 2020/2021 English Premier League season, and Arsenal are rooted in the 15th position in the EPL Log after an embarrassing 1-0 loss at home to Burnley. It was not the first time they were losing at home this season.

Sundays’ loss to Burnley was Arsenal’s 4th consecutive home defeat at home this season. The initial hope that came with Mikel Arteta’s coming and the new signings have fizzled out. The alarm bell has started ringing, as rumors have started going around about the possibility of looking for a new manager.

It has indeed been a turbulent time for Arsenal supporters, as they have endured years of pain. The pain of going from season to season without a major trophy can be so devastating, but the ever-resilient gunner fans have always stood behind the club and players.

The audacity of hope can be seen in the play, as they keep dreaming about some positive moment. Unfortunately, someone jokingly tweeted about Arsenal’s trophyless run after Diego Maradona died recently. “Did you know that Diego Maradona died without seeing arsenal winning the champions league, he lived for 60 years

It was a rather embarrassing fact, that highlight the long wait for Joy among the Arsenal fans. Indeed, things have not gone according to plan this season, and confidence is at an all-time low among players.

Mesut Ozil

There have been fingers pointing at the ill-treatment meted out to Mesut Özil as been responsible for Arsenals dismal display so far. Indeed, the creative midfielder has been frozen from Arsenals first team since March 2020.

He remains Arsenal’s most creative midfielder and there is already a clamor for his recall to the team. The possibility of Mesut linking up with the squad in January is high, even as pressure keeps mounting on Mikel Arteta.

Lack of goals

Alexandre Lacazette, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, and Eddie Nketiah have been used as Arsenal’s main striking options this season, but their goal return has been dismal. Aubameyang has played 12 premier league matches this season and has scored just 2 goals.

Alexandre Lacazette has played 8 matches and made 2 substitute appearances this season with 3 goals to show. Eddie Nketiah has started 1 premier league match and made 9 substitute appearances and has just 1 goal to his name. Unfortunately, goals can only come when chances are created. Sadly, creativity is absent in the middle of the pack.

The manager

Questions have been raised about the ability of Arteta to steer Arsenal from the murky water of despondency into a top 4 team that they are used to. As an assistant to Pep Guardiola, he was never faced with these sorts of challenges.

Experience at the top level may be lacking. How to rightly utilize players at his disposal is another challenge. How he handles the Mesut Ozil situation will further show his capacity as a manager. Technically, he still has few things to learn in the game, but helping Arsenal to a respectful finish seems to be the agenda for now.

The agony of hope

Watching Mikel Arteta’s post-match interview after the Burnley defeat was heart-rendering. He was pensive and almost in tears. I could imagine the pain and turmoil inside of him. He didn’t look too hopeful, just like millions of Arsenal fans who have already resigned themselves to whatever comes their way.

Arsenal’s next four games will be crucial

The next four games for Arsenal have assumed a more significant dimension considering the situation of the club. They play Southampton at home, Everton away and Manchester City in the EFL Cup Quarterfinal. They then welcome Chelsea at home on boxing day in a must-win game. If they drop points in three EPL games, they may be swimming in the murky waters of relegation.

The audacity of hope may eventually give way to the pain of resignation. It’s a lonely world out there and even in this festive season, let’s keep sending love and light to all Arsenal fans. They are the real heroes in this unique chapter of the club’s unenviable transition.

passion

Passion is key to success in Life

Passion defined

Passion is a strong emotion or enthusiasm for something. Passion is stronger than love and can sometimes be so overwhelming. It is what keeps you going when all things around you seem to be falling apart.

At a concert held in 2008, a young professional singer came on stage and sang a popular song to the admiration of everyone. The entire audience stood up and clapped after her rendition. She had an amazing voice and her rendition was wow!

As she walked off the podium, an old man walked up to the stage and asked the concert organizers for a special favor. He wanted to sing a song. There was a brief hesitation, and finally, he was allowed to sing.

The old man climbed the podium and sang the same song the lady sang. There was pin-drop silence in the 5,000 capacity concert hall. The song resonated with the packed audience. In the end, there were tears in the eyes of everyone in the hall.

The difference between both performances was passion. The lady came to deliver professional performance. She was paid to sing. The old man sang from the heart. He had a deep desire, that transcended beyond just money. Music was a way of life for him.

Passion kept him going when things were tough

Vincent Kompany was an extraordinary footballer. The former captain of Manchester City and the red devils of Belgium had some beautiful moments. He also had some bad moments in his career, as he battled constantly with injuries.

Kompany’s amazing career at City was disrupted by more than 30 injury setbacks. Calf, Shin damage, muscle, groin, hamstring, and abductors injuries were always plaguing the big center-back. He never gave in to these injury setbacks, but always worked his way back to the team after each setback.

The desire for the game made him stronger each time he fell to injury setback. His raw passion to see City succeed made him endure pain in matches where he wasn’t expected to feature. He played through the pain barrier.

In his last season at City, Kompany scored an amazing goal against Leicester. It was a crucial goal that helped City win the EPL title and inked his name in City’s history books. His passion when he scored that long-range effort was lovely to behold. It was almost overwhelming seeing the happiness in his face as he ran the entire field to celebrate with City fans.

When others had given up hope on the big Belgian, he held on tenaciously to the game he loved. It was an excited and passionate Vincent Kompany that lifted the EPL trophy on the 12th of May 2019 after trumping Brighton 4-1 at the Amex Stadium to clinch the title for the fourth time.

The journey is not always smooth, but passion will always lift your heart

In the journey of life, there would be moments of pain and heartache. There would be betrayals from those you love when they don’t support your dreams in life. The temptation to abandon that which you love may appear so strong, but passion will always lift your spirit.

When you are passionate about what you do, nothing else matters. Discouragement from those who you hold so dear cant stop you. Negative comments from haters can’t stop an individual who is passionate about succeeding in life. You alone, hold the key.

The journey may be rough. The road may appear bumpy. The beautiful moments may not be visible, but when you are passionate about what you’re doing, that’s all that matters.

EPL Top 10 African stars

The English Premier League Top 10 African Stars

The English Premier League is the most-watched league in the entire world, with an estimated global audience of 3.2 billion viewers and an annual turnover exceeding £4.8 billion. The English Premier League which officially kicked off on the 15th of August 1992 has remained the pace-setters in terms of players’ transfer fees, players’ monthly wages, and bonuses.

In Africa, Super sports have signed a TV rights agreement that gives them the sole privilege to broadcast Live EPL matches until the 2021/22 football season. There has been a steady influx of African and non-British footballers into the Premier League over the past 20 years. The present figure of non-British footballers stands at over 240. Africa presently has over 40 players in the top flight Premier League and a significant number in the lower division of the English League.

Riyard Mahrez (Manchester City/Algeria)

The 29 years old Algerian winger has been in scintillating form for Manchester city in the 2019/20 football season. Twice Premier League champion with Leicester City in 2015/16 season, and Manchester City in the 2018/19 football season. Has a knack for scoring from outside the box with the left foot and brilliant on free kicks. He helped Algeria to lift the 2019 African Cup of Nations held in Egypt. Has appeared 189 times in the English Premier League, with 53 goals and 39 assists.

Mohammed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)

The Liverpool star striker who is often deployed in the right-wing has enjoyed a good spell with the reigning UEFA Champions League holder. Blessed with a quick pace and dribbling skills, Salah has twice been a recipient of the Premier League Golden Boot award in the 2017/18 season and the 2018/19 football season. He was named player of the season in the 2017/18 football season. The former Chelsea player who had a horrid time while with the Blues, has appeared a total of 113 times in the Premier League, with 72 goals and 25 assists to his name.

Wilfred Ndidi (Leicester/Nigeria)

Wilfred Ndidi has flourished as a defensive midfielder after the departure of Ngolo Kante to Chelsea. Ranked among the top 5 best defensive midfielders in the English Premier League, the 23 years old Nigerian is solid defensively and has had his fair share of goals (6) and assists (5) in 111 appearances for Leicester City.

Ismaila Sarr(Watford/Senegal)

The 6-foot tall Senegalese winger is a joy to behold when he is in full flight. Good in the air and very rapid when going forward, Sarr was instrumental in the 3-0 defeat of Liverpool that ended their 18 games unbeaten run. Sarr scored a brace to silence the traveling red supporters at the Vicarage road. He has made 19 appearances for Watford and scored 5 goals with 3 assists.

Sadio Mane (Liverpool/Senegal)

The Liverpool winger who is an ever-present in most of Liverpool’s games has formed a potent attack with Salah and Firmino. He has scored some crucial goals for the Reds in their quest to win the English Premier League. He’s brilliant with both the left and right foot and is also dangerous in the air. The 28 years former Southampton winger has appeared a total of 185 times in the Premiership, with 80 goals and 29 assists to his name.

Wilfried Zaha (Crystal Palace/Ivory Coast)

Wilfried Zaha is a Crystal Palace star player. Dangerous in the box and full of running, The 27 years old winger who is never afraid to take on players, has been the subject of transfer speculations in the past two seasons has had stints with Manchester United and Cardiff City, but it is at Crystal Palace that he has blossomed into a game-changer. Has an amazing 206 appearances in the English Premier League with 35 goals and 24 assists.  

Romain Saiss (Wolverhampton Wanderers/ Morocco)

The tall and powerful Moroccan midfielder who currently plies his trade with Wolverhampton Wanderers has been a key player within the Wolves squad. He has made 44 appearances and scored 4 goals with 1 assist for Nuno Espirito Santo side.

Jordan Ayew (Crystal Palace/Ghana)

The son of former Black Stars of Ghana legend Abedi Ayew Pele. Jordan Ayew who wears the No 9 Jersey for Crystal Palace, has had a very decent season with the Palace side. He has had stints with Swansea and Aston Villa. The 28 years old left-footer has made 128 appearances in the English Premier League, with 24 goals and 8 assists to his name.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (Arsenal/Gabon)

Auba as he is fondly called is Arsenal talismanic striker. A defender nightmare and blessed with blistering pace. He has been ranked among the fastest EPL Players at a speed of 35.5 km/h. He has used his pace to good effect, scoring 49 goals for the gunners with 10 assists while making 75 appearances. Last season, he scored 22 goals to emerge joint top scorer with Salah and Mane. He has also been twice named player of the month and is the current Arsenal captain.

Serge Aurier (Tottenham Hotspur/Ivory Coast)

The hot-headed Ivorian defender who has made more headlines off the pitch than in the pitch has had a good season with Tottenham Hotspur. Playing at Right back, Aurier is fond of making overlapping runs into the opponent half of the field. The former 27 years old defender who has played for Parisian giants PSG, has appeared 49 times for Tottenham, with 3 goals and 8 assists to his name.

top 10 football websites

Top 10 Football Websites across the world

Football is the most popular sport on planet earth with an estimated 3.5 billion fans worldwide, followed closely by cricket. Football is also lucrative and much loved by both the young, old, male, and females. A sport that unites and brings peace to war-torn countries and regions.

Thousands of football websites that are solely dedicated to covering football and football-related news abound on the internet. They are usually updated daily, as people keep tracking live news and analysis of their favourite teams. I shall be looking at the top 20 football websites based on SEO metrics and popularity among football fans globally.

https://www.espn.com

Top on the list of football websites is the American based football website that offers a wide range of news, live football scores and analysis to more than 2 billion viewers globally. They have a Google page rank of 8/10 and a cPR score of 8.8/10. To confirm their popularity, they have a Global rank of 141.

https://www.goal.com

According to https://www.wikipedia.com Goal is the largest online football publication in the world, and the 2nd largest online sports publication in the world. Their popularity is shown by their Google Page Rank of 8/10 and an impressive cPR score of 8.6/10 with a Global ranking of 1,306. They have won several international sports award for their in-depth football reportage and precise analysis of major football Leagues, including the UEFA Champions League.  

https://www.livescore.com

This particular website is one of the most popular sites most football fans often visit for live football scores. They also display football league tables of major leagues like the EPL, La Liga, Italia Serie A, and the German Bundesliga. Google Page rank- 6/10, cPR score- 6.9/10, Global rank- 1,137.

https://www.premierleague.com

There is no doubt about the best league in the world, which is the English Premier League. This website showcases all the latest news from the League including fantasy football. An updated league table and score are available in real-time for those who need to see what their team is playing. Google Page rank- 7/10, cPR score- 7.7/10, Global rank- 1,985.

https://www.skysports.com

Sky Sports is a British based sports channel that together with BT Sports and Amazon, hold exclusive rights to air the English Premier League matches for the 2019/20 football season. They are owned by Sky Group UK and have the reputation of live coverage of not just matches, but football transfer and news globally. Google Page rank- 8/10, cPR score- 8.3/10, Global rank- 2,188.

https://www.uefa.com

This is the official website that covers all European Football Association competitions like the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, UEFA Super Cup, and the UEFA Youth for all 55 association members. The website has details of each affiliate association and gives live scores of all UEFA Competitions with videos of matches. Google Page rank- 8/10, cPR score- 8.5/10, Global rank- 5,346.

https://www.transfermarkt.com

This website is one of the most visited during the transfer window period. They carry live news feeds about potential transfers globally and gives the estimated transfer market value for each player based on a certain algorithm. The website also displays live statistics of the most valuable players. A list of the most valuable clubs globally can also be found on the website. Google Page rank- 6/10, cPR score- 6.6/10, Global rank- 6,705.

https://www.fifa.com

This is the official website of The Federation of International Football Association. They carry loads of information on FIFA competitions like the FIFA Men’s World Cup, FIFA U-20 World Cup, FIFA U-17 World Cup, FIFA Women’s World Cup, FIFA Beach soccer World Cup and the FIFA Futsal World Cup. Live score of FIFA Matches and videos can be seen on the website. The latest FIFA World ranking for all countries affiliated to FIFA is also displayed on the site. Google Page rank- 8/10, cPR score- 8.6/10, Global rank- 13,983.

https://www.talksport.com

Talk Sport is the licensee of an exclusive package of international audio broadcasting rights. They pride themselves as ‘The world biggest sports radio station’. Visitors to the website can listen to live football matches and view the real-time score. They also have a section for football transfer news around the globe. Google Page rank- 7/10, cPR score- 7.9/10, Global rank- 14,510.

https://www.squawka.com

Every website is unique in its contents. This website is the best when it comes to stats of players and teams in major leagues globally. Live football news, quizzes, and match analysis can be easily accessed via the website. Google Page rank- 6/10, cPR score- 6.9/10, Global rank- 47,185.

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén