Roberto Firmino Deserves Just As Much Praise as Mo Salah.

Roberto Firmino Deserves Just As Much Praise as Mo Salah.

Mohammed Salah is the talk of the town right now. Arguably the player of the season so far alongside Harry Kane and Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne. A former outcast at Stamford Bridge in his Chelsea hay days, deemed not good enough by Jose Mourinho, the Egyptian was farmed out to Italy. A few years on, Mourinho might be thinking how on earth did Salah become this good, 25 Premier League goals this season so far with 10 games is some feat.

Salah has had a magnificent season, and must go down as one of the greatest signings in the Premier League in recent years. Even if he is ultimately unable to overhaul Tottenham’s Harry Kane for the BPL top scorer gong, he is a shoe-in candidate to claim the Premier League player of the season – though City’s majestic playmaker Kevin De Bruyne will have a lot to say about that.

Sure, Salah’s been excellent for Liverpool this season, but there’s one man who’s been just as good – even if he isn’t scoring as much – that man is the Brazilian samba star Roberto Firmino.

Roberto Firmino has been just as important as Mo Salah this season for Jurgen Klopp.

Firmino has not been able to match Salah for goals this season, but the Brazilian has been equally important as Mo Salah for Jurgen Klopp throughout the current campaign. Indeed, the Brazilian is perhaps the only Liverpool player who can realistically challenge Mo Salah for the Liverpool player of the season gong, particularly if he carries on with this sort of form. The striker has scored 13 league goals this season, seven in the Europe’s most prestigious the Champions League, as well as assisting a further three goals and six in the Premier League – no other striker has more than the Brazilian.

Not only are his personal stats impressive – his contributions to both the conversion and creation of chances – but its his ability and willingness to press from the front is essential to the way Liverpool play their football. Hunting down lost causes, hustling and harrying defenders when he’s lost possession is one of the reasons why Jurgen Klopp has handed the Brazilian so much praise in recent months.

“Mo Salah: world class, but not every day,” Jurgen Klopp stated in a Newspaper interview. “Sadio Mane: world class, but not every day. Roberto Firmino: world class, pretty much every day.”

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Klopp holds Roberto Firmino in such high regard.

You can tell by that comment on the Brazilian that Klopp rates Firmino even more than Mo Salah despite the Egyptian’s formidable form in front of goal. And rightly so, to be frank, Salah won’t be scoring as much if it weren’t for Firmino, his false-9 role as Liverpool’s main frontman gives him a number of responsibilities which involves adding certain aspects to his game – not only his creative and scoring abilities – most importantly, the ability to create space, to roam about the pitch with freedom and to press high as soon as Liverpool lose possession.

On the evidence of the last couple of seasons, Firmino has adhered to those responsibilities with consummate ease. No wonder Daniel Sturridge has been on the periphery in the Liverpool squad, being farmed out to relegation threatened West Brom in January. That is down to the form and brilliance of Firmino. The Brazilian is also capable of the unthinkable and outrageous at times. The 5-0 drubbing of FC Porto in the first leg of their Champions League tie, he was at the centre of everything good about Liverpool on the night, scoring his 21st goal of the season and making another with a sumptuous back-heel pass. An even more astonishing flick to set up Mo Salah again in the game against Southampton. What about his no-look goal against West Ham at Anfield? Is there anything this guy cannot do?

Klopp even further praised Firmino after Liverpool’s victory over Huddersfield in January, stating: “Roberto delivers, delivers and delivers. He doesn’t score all the time, he is not always brilliant, but if he is not brilliant then he works like a horse. It’s very important you have this kind of stability there.”

This is the effect the Brazillian has on his people. He is absolutely adored by the Liverpool faithful. His celebrations are surely a sight to behold, he can no longer be placed in the ‘under-rated’ or ‘unsung hero’ brackets. Though, Liverpool fans have known about Firmino’s ability for some time – but only within the last two seasons has his talent really become mainstream.

Roberto Firmino has fully endeared himself to the Anfield faithful.


The improvement and evolution of his game has been clearly evident after a slow start to life in England following his move from German outfit Hoffenheim in 2015. Signed by Brendan Rodgers who didn’t even know how best to deploy the player, marooning him on the right wing as Liverpool were defeated 3-1 by Manchester United at Old Trafford in an anonymous display. Soon after though, Rodgers was replaced by Jurgen Klopp with the German already having an idea of Firmino’s ability after facing him on numerous occasions during his days of coaching Dortmund. For Firmino, this was a manna from heaven – the perfect relationship, the kind to truly allow his ability and potential to manifest. Soon after Klopp’s appointment, the German fully utilised him centrally, though the goals did not flow, Firmino quickly won over the fans with his workhorse like mentality.

Also, it is not until this current campaign that Firmino has added goals and assists to his – less tangible – but similarly valuable – qualities of harassing defenders and working relentlessly for the team. Even so this season, Firmino’s brilliance has been overshadowed by Salah’s sensational form and also the uncertainty surrounding his now departed fellow countryman Philippe Coutinho. Firmino’s improved output since the start of the season has been stark, hitting the 20-goal mark mid February. More broadly, only Cristiano Ronaldo has notched more Champions League goals than the Brazilian this term (7), while the Brazilian’s combined output of 34 goals and assists is one of the highest amongst the Barclays Premier League based players. Quite outstanding.

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Roberto Firmino has formed a formidable trio with Sadio Mane and Mo Salah.


Firmino has gradually won over the Kop by his charming attacking sprite and glow-in-the-dark teeth. No doubt it, Firmino had the ‘va va voom’ about his game, or the ‘joie de vivre’, truly reflected and translated by a tattoo on his left arm stating “love life”.

However, the absence of goals in his first few seasons led to much clamour erupting around the issue of Klopp signing an out-an-out striker to further Liverpool’s ambitions for the season. Klopp dismissed such talk, keeping faith with the Brazillian and Firmino has duly repaid the faith shown in him. Back in July, Klopp stated that Firmino is “the best player without scoring with how well he reads the game for the benefit of others. Outstanding!” Of the Premier League’s forwards, Firmino has made the most sprints and made the second most number of tackles reflecting his value to Klopp’s gengenpressing style. Don’t be surprised to see him start at the tip of Brazil’s attack this summer at the World Cup in Russia, many will feel he has deserved his starting spot for arguably the World’s most affluent footballing nation. A massive pressure on his shoulders.

Firmino is a shoe-in contender for Liverpool’s player of the season.

Nevertheless, Roberto Firmino is not quite at the level of former star strikers who have graced the colours of Anfield such as Luis Suarez, Fernando Torres, Michael Owen etc. but having made the transition from cult hero to pop idol, the leap to superstardom is certainly not far away for the Brazillian. As the season draws to a close, Klopp will need every inch of energy left in Firmino in order to finish the season on a high. Mo Salah isn’t the only one making his mark at Anfield this season.

Roberto Firmino…Remember the name.


Super Sunday Preview and Predictions

Super Sunday Preview and Predictions

Another massive weekend of Premier League football is upon us, but that is not the only thing tantalising our appetites for this weekend as Arsene Wenger’s Arsenal come up against Pep Guardiola’s high-flyers Manchester City at Wembley Stadium in the Carabao Cup Final. This Sunday’s fixtures proves to be an exciting and thrilling encounter as Manchester United entertain last seasons Premier League champions Chelsea at Old Trafford before the final at Wembley – a battle which could prove vital come the end of the season regarding the race for the Top 4 and to decide who will finish as runners up to potential champions Manchester City.

Here are my prediction for Sundays enthralling encounters:

Manchester United vs Chelsea, 2pm

Jose Mourinho and Manchester United face a Paul Pogba conundrum ahead of Sunday’s clash with Chelsea.

Both teams come into this game not in the best form and neither club can afford to lose this spectacle, so don’t be surprised if the game ends becoming a very tight encounter which eventually ends in a draw. You wouldn’t put it past both managers renowned for their tactical efficiency and ability to execute a rigid game plan in order to avoid defeat.

Nonetheless, if United win this, they can almost certainly gain the ascendency to finish runners up behind Manchester City which will represent a massive improvement on last seasons finish outside the Champions League places. Sure, Mourinho wouldn’t be happy finishing second best to rivals City but the Portuguese coach will be happy with the way his team has progressed since he joined. Right now, United find themselves in a dilemma ahead of Sunday’s clash with regards to the future of Paul Pogba, will Mourinho start the midfielder against Chelsea after praising him for his conduct midweek? The Frenchman has not been himself in recent matches, can he regain his form when it matters on Sunday?


Chelsea, on the other hand also have problems of their own. Tuesday’s impressive draw with La Liga leaders Barcelona surely would have lifted the spirits in the camp despite Lionel Messi’s equaliser which absolutely Conte’s game plan out of the window. However, there were instances in that match where Chelsea could have really hurt Messi and co. So can Conte’s men repeat that performance at Old Trafford? Will Hazard be targeted by Mourinho once again like last seasons fixture?


Man Utd vs Chelsea, February 25, 2018, 2:00pm, Live on 4010-Logo

These questions will surely be answered as these two Premier League giants lock horns once again, although I am going for a score draw in this one. A fair result?

Score Prediction: Manchester United 1-1 Chelsea


Arsenal vs Manchester City, 4:30pm

Mesut Ozil and Kevin De Bruyne lock horns once again in Sundays Wembley final.

The first piece of silverware is up for grabs on Sunday, but who will come out on top?

To put it simply, both managers Arsene Wenger and Pep Guardiola are in need of a victory in this one. Just like the above fixture, neither coaches can ill-afford to lose. Pep on one hand is desperate to have his hands on his first trophy at City, and what better way to topple Arsene Wenger before topping his other rivals to the Premier League title come May. Will Sunday be the day Manchester City’s domination in English football under Pep Guardiola truly begin?

Bar some miraculous miracle, City are certain to lift the Premier League title, and potentially add to that the Carabao Cup, claiming it from Manchester rivals United – a feat that will be very sweet to the lips of the great Spanish coach. Lets be honest, City have been a class apart all season and Guardiola has spent this second season at the Etihad setting the bar for fellow managers to replicate with the kind of beautiful, eye-catching football that has been on show throughout this season.

City have been a cut above the rest this season as they embark on a potential trophy-laden campaign.

Last week’s shock defeat to Wigan will be one Guardiola will hope his team will learn from. They are heavy favourites to capture the Carabao trophy this Sunday although Wenger will have a lot to say about that as he embarks on a tough journey to right Arsenal’s wrongs this season and victory over City will almost set Wenger and his side on a path to redemption – capturing a trophy that has eluded him in his illustrious coaching career. You could argue Wenger needs this victory more than Guardiola as Arsenal’s season is in danger of fading away, but with a difficult tie against AC Milan confirmed midweek for the next round of the Europa League, this may be Arsenal’s only chance of silverware this season.


Arsenal vs Man City, February 25, 2018, 3:30pm, Live on  3939-Logo

You can’t back against Wenger delivering for the club in this one, considering he does have a fantastic record at Wembley in cup finals. However, you just don’t know who will come up trumps in this one.

I am going for Wenger to upset the odds here, correct me if I’m wrong…

Score Prediction: Arsenal 2-1 Manchester City


Crystal Palace vs Tottenham, 12:00pm

Just because this one is last on the list does not take away the importance of the fixture, though it is first on the schedule at midday.


C Palace vs Tottenham, February 25, 2018, 11:30am, Live on 4010-Logo

Both teams could really do with the victory, though it may be very difficult for Crystal Palace with their star man Wilfried Zaha out of action and a lack of quality on the sidelines to call up on. Hodgson’s progression with the club has been marred with key injuries in key areas, but you wouldn’t back against Palace in front of their own fans putting in a solid performance.

Tottenham on the other hand, are pushing for a strong finish to the campaign with the top 4 to fight for along with Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. The Champions League still to contend with – a Wembley second leg against the mighty Juventus coming up on the horizon, Pochettino will want his side to maintain their strong focus for the rest of the season.

Can Tottenham end another progressive season on a high?


I always tell fellow football fans, when you got a certain Harry Kane in your team, you are always in with a chance. The Premier League’s top scorer once again has been a revelation for the third season in a row, in front of goal. There is no sign of the England frontman slowing down or losing form. Throw in Christian Eriksen, Dele Alli, Song Heung-Min, the addition of speedster Lucas Moura from Paris Saint-Germain and the steady rise of Moussa Dembele again, Tottenham are sure to finish the season very soundly.

Palace are my local side, but I can’t see past Tottenham capturing the three points in this one.

Score Prediction: Crystal Palace 1-3 Tottenham

Riyad Mahrez’ Actions Damaging His Lofty Ambitions.

Riyad Mahrez’ Actions Damaging His Lofty Ambitions.

Leicester City’s Riyad Mahrez currently is a broken man, and who could blame him? When a dream move away to a bigger club has been halted, not once but twice, you would argue the Algerian international has a right to feel aggrieved at Leicester’s decision to block his request at a once in a lifetime opportunity.

Mahrez’ grievance at the club has led him to deliberately miss two days of training, which leads us to question whether Mahrez is going about this the right way. The 26-year-old handed in another transfer request once he learned of Manchester City’s interest during the end of January’s window, with the Premier League leaders placing two Deadline Day bids – the last of those understood to be a player-plus-cash offer worth an estimated £60million.

Riyad Mahrez has reportedly missed two days of training.

It has been reported by Sky Sports News, that the player has been left depressed by Leicester’s decision not to accept the incoming bids from Manchester City, the club valuing Mahrez at a figure of around £80m. According to various sources, Leicester were keen to pursue Patrick Roberts – on loan at Celtic – as part of the deal to allow Mahrez to leave the King Power but when that failed to materialise, negotiations became a sticking point with City not willing to improve on their £60million bid.

Mahrez’ dream of top-level has been put on hold. The player won the Premier League title two years ago, and wants more success. He thinks he has gone as far as he can with his current club and desperately wants to seek pastures new, and a move to City certainly would have won him his second Premier league winners medal with the Etihad outfit running away with the league. At an age where he is coming towards his prime years, his chance at more glory on the grand stage is one cannot miss out on, especially considering his unerring ability on the pitch.

Will Mahrez’ refusal to play come back to bite him?

The immediate addition of Mahrez would have added more salt to the wounds of their rivals, especially after United’s capture of Alexis Sanchez from Arsenal. Even their efforts in the Transfer market may not be enough to catch City with just over 10 games of the season still to play.

But with the injury to Leroy Sane and Gabriel Jesus, Pep Guardiola thought a move for Mahrez will more than make up for their absence – with both players representing key factors in the clubs strong pursuit of the Premier League title. Two injuries he thinks may not grant City the Premier League title sooner than he would like.

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Manchester City held strong interest in Leicester City’s Mahrez on Deadline Day.

Though Leicester’s resistance to sell their star man has not only hampered the ambitions of Guardiola to strengthen his squad but also the ambitions of a player who feels he has given everything to Leicester City, especially in that amazing fairy tale season capturing the Premier League title – a feat that may never be repeated again. Along with the scoring feats of Jamie Vardy, it was Mahrez’ contributions, moments of brilliance that allowed Leicester the opportunity to make history. It must have been a huge surprise to the club that they were able to keep Mahrez after such a fantastic season two years ago.

Mahrez has contributed eight goals and eight assists so far in what may be his last season at the King Power.

Nonetheless, Leicester can have no complaints with the way Mahrez has conducted himself until now after his efforts in the summer – going the extreme lengths finding himself in Paris – to secure that dream move away. But with eight goals and eight assists in 24 appearances this season, he has been working towards securing himself a much better future, something he does not see at the King Power. Who can blame him? He famously aided the club in their Premier League title win shortly before placing them on the big stage in the Champions League the next season.

Mahrez has achieved all he can at the club, you can almost forgive him for aggressively pursuing a much bigger opportunity. Though, missing training and sulking may not get you that dream move after all. Managers from those “giant” clubs may change their stance about pursuing a player who could potentially cause damage to their dressing room atmosphere. Who would blame Guardiola for pulling out of a potential deal in the summer after Mahrez’ recent actions?

As seen in the video above, Mahrez on his day is arguably one of the best forwards in the Premier League, it makes you wonder why he is expressing his frustrations at the club in this manner. Why can’t Mahrez just make up with the Leicester hierarchy and get back to playing at his best? Not for the benefit of Leicester but for himself, the Algerian winger can’t secure a move away if he is not playing. Which top manager will tout his services in the summer when he’s in this strop?

The least Mahrez can do for himself is play for personal pride, get back to your best for the rest of the season and then, just maybe, he may get his long awaited dream move. However, Leicester now have a job on their hands getting back on good terms with their main man.

What We Learned From Liverpool vs Manchester City.

What We Learned From Liverpool vs Manchester City.

Manchester City’s 22-game unbeaten run in the Premier League came to an emphatic end as Liverpool edged Pep Guardiola’s side in a 7 goal thriller at Anfield. In what was one of the great games of the season so far, Liverpool boosted their hopes of a top 4 finish showing the rest of the Premier League how to come up trumps against Manchester City. A great spectacle and another great advert of what the Premier League has been about this season.

Here are my takes on what was an enthralling and entertaining spectacle:

Coutinho who? Oxlade-Chamberlain impresses when it matters.

Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates giving Liverpool a ninth minute lead.


Not only were Liverpool impressive against Premier League leaders Manchester City, but it was all started by Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who impressed on Klopp’s first game without the departed Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona. A fantastic drilled finish into the bottom corner after a mazy run kicked off what was an amazing game followed by a wonderful splitting through ball for Roberto Firmino to run onto and chip the onrushing Ederson.

If this performance from Oxlade-Chamberlain is anything to go by, Jurgen Klopp will have no worries replacing Coutinho’s brilliance. With some fine tuning and regular game time under his belt, the Ox will be an ideal replacement for Brazillian playmaker.

His finest game in a Liverpool shirt so far.

Andrew Robertson’s classy and gutsy performance.

One of the finest full-back performances we’ve experienced this season. Andrew Robertson was a class above the rest, not only is he well known for his wonderful deliveries but this evidence against City, he was at his brilliant all round best. The pressing, interceptions, tackling most impressively having the in-form Raheem Sterling in his pocket represents a heroic performance when Liverpool needed it most. There was one instance in which the left-back ran the length of the pitch from his own position to press Nicholas Otamendi in City’s penalty area.

If this performance doesn’t adhere him to the Anfield faithful, I don’t know what will.

Simply Fantastic.

Manchester City unable to withstand the press.

Much was made of Manchester City’s unbeaten run and whether they can match Arsenal’s Invincibles but today, they were outplayed, out thought and outclassed as Liverpool ran them rugged from the first minute. The pressing was too much for Pep Guardiola’s side to handle. I lost of count of how many times City lost possession in their own half due to Liverpool’s aggression. If this is the way to match City then Liverpool have given the perfect example. They may win the title in the end, but if any of Manchester United, Chelsea and Tottenham want to hamper their stride towards the Premier League crown, try take a leaf out of Jurgen Klopp’s blueprint.

Despite City’s late flurry, you would have thought once Klopp’s men raced into a two goal lead within 5 minutes that Liverpool always had this game in control. City were vulnerable throughout, has the unstoppable bully got blood on his nose?

City to push for Alexis Sanchez?

No doubt about it, Manchester City’s attack is one of the finest in Europe if not the world but their current pursuit of Arsenal’s wantaway superstar Alexis Sanchez just shows that Pep Guardiola believes his fantastic attack needs another dimension, and what a way to add to it if City do get their man.


However, according to reports, cross-city rivals Manchester United are confident of hijacking the deal to take Sanchez to Old Trafford. City are unwilling to pay the amount Arsenal want and would rather get him on the free in the summer once his contract expires. The threat of the Chilean instead heading to the red-half of Manchester may just get under Pep’s skin a little.

Why not pay over the odds for a world-class player wanting a fresh start elsewhere, and secure the Premier League title quicker than expected?

The Anfield Curse

City have now failed to win at Anfield in fourteen attempts dating back to 2003, a whole fifteen years ago. They may have been high and mighty all season so far but once they stepped in front of the Anfield crowd, it seemed as though they froze into their shells as Liverpool pressed and dominated from the first minute.

The Anfield curse has halted Manchester City once again.

Jesse Lingard Defying All The Odds Under Mourinho This Season.

Jesse Lingard Defying All The Odds Under Mourinho This Season.

“Jesse Lingard is going to be some player.”

“He is 19, came through our youth system and is built like Jean Tigana was for France. But he never got into the limelight there until about 24, and I think that will be the same as Lingard.”

“He will become a player like 22, or so. As an attacking midfielder he has got a really good talent. I think he will be a player we have high hopes for, definitely.”

(Sir Alex Ferguson, 2012).

Those were the words from former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson back in 2012, on a 19 year-old Jesse Lingard before his loan move at Leicester City. 5 years on, and under Jose Mourinho, Sir Alex’s comments on Lingard looks to have been right on the money.

Jesse Lingard was at it again on New Years Day. The in-form midfielder notched his seventh goal in nine Premier League games with a fantastic jinking run and composed finish as United saw off the threat of Everton at Goodison Park to return back to winning ways after a dip in form during the Christmas break – it was the latest in a long line of impressive performances this season for Jesse Lingard.

Jesse Lingard is a man on fire with seven Premier League goals in his last nine.

Lingard’s continued improvement under Mourinho is proving a big boost for United at just the right time. Sir Alex Ferguson comments in 2012 has not only highlighted his huge faith in home grown talent but whether we can call him prophetic remains to be seen depending on whether Lingard carries on his rich vein of form.

“These boys, they jump or they don’t jump”

Said Manchester United coach Jose Mourinho.

“One thing is to be a young talent, another is to be a very good player. Some players are not capable . From great potential young players, they go to normal players . I think Jesse is giving that jump. He is being more consistent. He is being more adaptable.  He understands better the game, the different spaces, the different positions. He is going in a good direction.”

Much has been made of Pep Guardiola’s ability to young players with massive potential to the next level – and rightly so which is reflected in the stunning form of fellow England international Raheem Sterling who is setting the league alight as City take giant steps towards another Premier League crown. Nobody would have thought we would be placing Jesse Lingard under the same bracket as Manchester City’s £50million signing from Liverpool. Lets face it, Lingard has been mightily impressive this season for United and much credit must be given to Jose Mourinho and his coaching staff for their faith and belief in United’s very own.

Lingard has defied plenty of critics by becoming a vital player under the tutelage of Mourinho popping with key goals in key moments over the last couple of years. Many had written off the career of a player who has been at the club since his tender years. With loan spells at Leicester City, Birmingham, Brighton and Derby in his early United years, Lingard has finally found his feet, paying back the faith that has not only been invested in him by Mourinho but by Sir Alex Ferguson who was the one person who saw just what he could do and the talent he held.

Lingard celebrates scoring United’s second against Everton.

Mourinho stated in his praise for the player that a lot young potential players do fail to make that jump to the next stage, but on the evidence of this season, not Jesse Lingard. The statistics highlight just how impressive Lingard’s contribution has been.

The 25-year-old United midfielder ranks amongst the very best in the Premier League for minutes per goal or assist. No surprise to see Mohamed Salah, Harry Kane and Sergio Aguero on that list. But there alongside Raheem Sterling and Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho, stands United’s Jesse Lingard. Seven goals and four assists is no flash in the pan for a player who was considered to be a benchwarmer earlier in the season when Henrikh Mkhitaryan was high flying notching five assists in four games but a few months on, it is Jesse Lingard stealing the show as the Armenian playmaker underperforms.

Lingard’s goals and assists have come at a rate of one every 84 minutes and he has now netted seven of United’s last 14 Premier League goals. As well as his beautiful strike against Everton, there was the clinical double against Arsenal at the Emirates, the double against Burnley on Boxing day – goals that allowed United to draw back from two goals down at Old Trafford continued the impressive trend of Lingard coming up with important goals at important moments. Throw in the goal against Watford, an impressive mazy run jinking past 3 or 4 defenders before subtly and coolly slotting past Heurelho Gomes in the Watford goal. A gorgeous sight to behold.

Lingard’s ability in an around the penalty box has seen him improve his goal return.

That evening in Watford turned out to be seismic with regards to United’s midfield pecking order. The man brought in to replace Henrikh Mkhitaryan took full advantage of the space afforded to him by the hosts’ tactical setup. One assist, one goal of the season contender followed by an impressive brace against rivals Arsenal four days later sparking a scintillating run of form.

Lingard has had to fight tooth an nail to finally cement his position amongst the United’s warm embrace and has only recently become a universally accepted figure in the dressing room. Despite developing an exceptionally useful trait of popping up with key contributions in big games, its taken his recent run of form to permanently endear himself to the Old Trafford supporters.

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Jesse Lingard has become a huge fan favourite this season.

United’s performances with and without Jesse Lingard are like night and day, if you need any examples, just check out United’s Boxing day game against Burnley and you will see the stark contrast when Lingard isn’t on the field of play. 2-0 down at half-time, lacking fluency and that killer edge. Mourinho needed some inspiration, and the fact that he called on Lingard for that spark just goes to show how far the 25-year-old has come over the years. He came on and responded with two goals. Two goals that you will regularly accustom to your modern number 9, the first a sublime flick into the far corner from Ashley Young’s cross, the second a snap shot into the bottom corner, a finish that required such finesse and technical skills.

Like Raheem Sterling at Manchester City, Jesse Lingard has vastly improved his finishing and has already surpassed his highest tally in a season with 10 already so far this year. Whether utilised in a number 10 role behind two strikers or in your modern day 4-2-3-1 set up, Lingard or Mkhitaryan has been tasked with countering into space, using his directness and speed to push United up the pitch, and he has done that to devastating effect so far this season. The former has excelled, the latter has flattered to deceive. No wonder why Mourinho holds Lingard in such high regard right now. If Lingard carries on this sort of form throughout the season, you can’t bank against him becoming a certainty for the plane to Russia at the World Cup this summer.

Against Everton, Lingard made 83 high-intensity sprints – 29 more than any of his Manchester United team-mates and 21 more than anyone on the pitch. Mourinho requires his players to make that jump in progress, and in Lingard he has found a player ready and willing to respond in the right way. With Romelu Lukaku and Zlatan Ibrahimovic out injured, other players would need to step up, and Lingard is doing just that. It may not change Mourinho’s stance on the fact that he needs more money but it is a reminder that getting the best from players that are already there is just as significant if the team can progress.

Jesse Lingard is the perfect example.





Top Five Moments In The Premier League of 2017

Top Five Moments In The Premier League of 2017

2017 has been a crazy year in the Premier League and below are a few of my top moments from the year.

5. Arsene Wenger securing a new two year deal

The man is a type of wizard or sorcerer, it defies all logic that in this day and age Arsene still seems to pull it out of the bag and extend his contract. Although he was one of the few managers to win silverware, real success has been long overdue at the Emirates. Having said that, I believe he won’t leave his beloved Arsenal till they secure a title win. So Gunners fans have probably got another ten years disillusionment.

Arsene the ‘Wizard’ Wenger


4. Harry Kane Scores Again

As much as I hate to admit we are looking at a world-class striker who is amongst the elite at the top the game. His numbers are ridiculous, equaling Shearer’s record of 36 goals in this  calender year which has stood for over 20 years is no mean feat. If I was a Tottenham fan I would be worried because if they are not securing trophies and reluctant to pay him that £300,000 a week his goals command I see him leaving for pastures new in the next couple of years.


3. Manchester City Unstoppable

I do not want to get too carried away but if we look at the statistics, City have not lost a game since April, have won seventeen games in a row this season and beaten all their title rivals convincingly. Is going through the Premier League season unbeaten so unrealistic for City? I think Pep Guardiola is more than happy with the squad he has now and will be gunning for a clean sweep of all trophies in 2018 and in the form they are in at the moment who would bet against them.


‘You Can’t See Me’, Manchester City miles ahead of the chasing pack

2.Burnley competing for a Top Four place

Could we soon be hearing the Champions League anthem ringing around Turf Moor in 2018? I guess dreamers can dream, but in reality Sean Dyche has done an amazing job at Burnley with the resources available to him, if he was Italian and called Sean Dycheini he would probably be managing England right now. Yet they find themselves jousting with Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham for those coveted Top Four positions and are only three points off it so congratulations to Burnley.

1.  Managerial Merry- Go-Round

Sam Allardyce, David Moyes and Alan Pardew to name a few are all managers that seem to always find themselves in a big job somewhere. If this was a reality show they would be accused of ‘sleeping around’ with many different partners. What you can say about these managers however are that they are all reliable managers that know what it takes to stay in Premier League with their wealth of experience and with the riches from staying in the Premier League, these managers will always be in high demand. I gurantee that Tony Pulis will be managing a side to get them out of relegation come the end of the season.

Sam Allardyce is the new manager of Crystal Palace
In the last four years ‘Big Sam’ has managed five different teams

Written By Adrian Addai

5 Things We Learned From Arsenal vs Liverpool.

5 Things We Learned From Arsenal vs Liverpool.

Roberto Firmino’s powerful finish earned Liverpool a point at the Emirates in what was a pulsating and frantic fixture which saw Arsenal score three goals in just five second half minutes after Liverpool had raced into a two goal lead. Here I pick out five key topics from a sensational spectacle.

Sensational Start to The Festive BPL Fixtures

What a game. Frantic, Pulsating, Exciting and Edge-of-seat-stuff. A fantastic advert for the Premier League, and a sensational start to the festive Premier League fixtures this weekend. Two teams who will look to battle it out for a place in the Premier League’s top four. This game provided fans with the kind of football and attacking display that has been so evident throughout this season. As Salah had put Liverpool 2-0 up, we would have thought Liverpool could race away with the victory. But a stunning Arsenal comeback turned the game around inside five minutes with goals from Sanchez, Xhaka and Ozil. The Gunners pushed for a fourth but back came Liverpool as Firmino’s strike provide another twist in this fascinating fixture. And that is how it ended as both sides settled for a point both will feel they could have won.

Arsenal v Liverpool - Premier League
Alexis Sanchez and Emre Can battle it out in a pulsating game which ended 3-3.

Lets hope the rest of the Festive weekend is like this game. More of the same please.

Maitland-Niles Impresses

At the start of the game, Jurgen Klopp was asked by Sky Sports pundit Gary Neville whether he thought Maitland-Niles inclusion in the side could be exploited by his side. But on this evidence, the Arsenal youngster shone in an unfamiliar role once again despite his inexperience as he matched Liverpool’s on form star Mohamed Salah on numerous occasions during the game. Maitland-Niles was also assured in his tackles and in possession as Arsenal fought back from 2 goals down. Kolasinac may be nearing a return to the line-up but Maitland-Niles may have given Wenger much food for thought.

An impressive display from the Arsenal youngster.

Lacazette Once Again Highlights His Importance to Arsenal

Whatever people might think of Alexandre Lacazette, his overall game is quite impressive. He may not have been on the scoresheet for his side but his hold-up play and understanding with Mesut Ozil is a joy to behold.

His stats as shown above are quite impressive at the Emirates this season with 6 goals and 2 assists in 10 appearances. The link-up play for Ozil’s goals was quite sumptuous, holding off the Liverpool defenders before slipping in Mesut Ozil who expertly chipped the ball beyond the on-rushing Simon Mignolet to give Arsenal the lead.

All the French striker needs to work on now is his record away from home. Aside from that, Lacazette should be a shoe-in starter for this Arsenal side. Giroud is a nice option, but Lacazette’s all round play is an underrated component.

Liverpool Devastating on the Counter, Shoddy at the Back.

When Mo Salah broke away at speed when the score was at 1-0 after half-time, you just knew that the counter would result in a goal for Liverpool. Jurgen Klopp’s side have been electric on the counter at times this season, and most of that is all down to the off the ball movement from Salah, Sane and Firmino. A devastating trio, and add Coutinho to the mix and these four can match it with any of the best teams in World football right now.

However, if Liverpool wanna be winning titles as Klopp talked about this week in his press conferences, his defence is in dire need of a revamp. Liverpool’s fab four up front cannot continue to make the difference if the defence is not on the same wavelength. The January window will be difficult to find top targets but if Liverpool have aspirations for a trophy this season, that defence will need major work.

How many times have we said that about Liverpool this season?

Arsenal in dire need of defensive reshuffle themselves, not just Liverpool…

Much has been said about Liverpool’s defence on numerous occasions, but Arsenal’s defending at times this season has indeed been woeful. Just look at Liverpool’s second and third goals, and that will tell you the reason for their lack of quality in that department. Why on earth did Koscielny allow Mo Salah so much time to roam into the box which allowed Coutinho to grab the opening goal. A man of his experience and quality should allow the Egyptian that much freedom. Also the third goals was a poor one to concede as Emre Can was given so much space 10 yards from the 18 yard area to slot in a incisive eye of the needle pass for Firmino to equalise.

Roberto Firmino celebrates his equaliser after shoddy defending from Arsenal.


Mustafi, Koscielny, Mertesacker and Monreal as your centre-back options just isn’t good enough. If Arsenal wanna be winning championships, it is based on the art of defending and Arsenal are a few defenders short of that winning formula.