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Marcelo Bielsa has England and the world tuned to his channel and it’s a joy to watch
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Football in 2020, and thus now 2021, has been relentless. There has been football nearly every week since Project Restart began with the exception of the ten days between the end of last season and the start of the European games.Yes, and that one month break that teams not playing European football got while the others had three weeks, or thereabouts. Which means that for Manchester United, for example, their season, after a foray into the Europa League, ended on August 16th and restarted September 19th. Crystal Palace, on the other hand, saw their season end on July 26th and restart on the 12th of September.It’s the difference of a few weeks and change but the point of the matter is that football has been relentless. And it has only become worse as the season has worn on with there a Premier League, League Cup or an FA Cup game live on at least 27 of the 30 days. Don’t get it wrong, this is not to criticize or hate on the product but just a showcase on how nuts it has been so far. That has had some adverse effect on a few people with football watchers reducing by the minute.Naturally, people still pay attention to what might be, arguably, the greatest title race in the history of the Premier League but the number of people watching every single match has reduced. Few can blame them because COVID-19 has forced fed football to people every single day and while that isn’t a bad thing, for most of them the game was a distraction.A weekend distraction from their daily lives, because no matter how bad or good it had been during the week, a terrible game of football always proved to be a cathartic release. But when games are played back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back-to-back, it becomes hard to differentiate what day of the week it is. Everything merges into one, all-mighty mush of memories with very little to knock about the difference between a 1-0 win for Burnley against Liverpool and that 1-0 win for West Ham over Burnley.Because as far as many are concerned, it’s all the same when the reality is a far cry from exactly that. It’s why the FA Cup and watching the joy of the cup brought about a genuine change for many people. Especially when you watch non-league side Chorley beat Derby County in what was a breath of fresh air of attacking football. Because there were two teams, who had nothing to lose which meant that they were simply going at it for 90 minutes.Tim Stillman put it brilliantly in a Twitter thread, that has now been lost on the interweb, but the basis of it was how a lot of football is average and forgettable. Now while that is an opinion many fans won’t agree with, it is true and especially applies to the Premier League over the last few years. And you can’t really blame the teams especially when they’ve got 120 million, for the teams that finish 17th with that figure rising, on the line. That is just for surviving in the Premier League and that is a helluva lot of money.So you can’t really blame teams like Crystal Palace, Newcastle United, or even a Burnley when they replace an identity for stability and something that will help them survive. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that but it doesn’t really make for great viewing or a great spectacle which is possibly, ever so slightly, why so many Newcastle United fans hate Steve Bruce with such venom. Because here is a manager who is doing nothing more than helping the Magpies survive a Premier League season.Nothing more, nothing less and sure while some of them are still peeved at the fact that the takeover didn’t take place, the rest are more angry at the football on show. Why? Because of Marcelo Bielsa, Leeds United, and their absolutely insane, very very entertaining brand of football. So much so, that there is a saying now that floats across the Twitter-web, across podcasts, across the interweb, across articles and it says “always watch Leeds United”. Leeds United aka the Entertainers © @ Twitter Because within two and a half years, Marcelo Bielsa has transformed this team from a mid-table under-achieving side to a team that is now going head-to-head with England’s best. And they’re having fun, playing a brand of football that is a breath of fresh air to what had become a stagnant league despite it boasting the Klopps and Guardiolas.Not since Norwich City and Daniel Farke stuck to their principles, since Pep Guardiola brought his magic to England, since Jose Mourinho and his glittering disdain for everything done by Arsene Wenger has the league seen something this transformative. It has changed the way many view football, Marcelo Bielsa, and even the way a few measure success. Because here is a side that have scored 30 goals and conceded 34 with them on par to concede a record number of goals, (81 according to statistics experts which decimates most records).But yet Bielsa won’t change. Here is a side that beat Newcastle United 5-1, lost to Manchester United 6-2 then beat Burnley and West Bromwich Albion by a combined 6-0 scoreline. Then they lost to League Two side Crawley Town 3-0 in the FA Cup and the emotional roller coaster goes on. 23 league games played and yet every single Leeds United game is like watching a brand new one. But even now after consecutive losses across the league and cup, Bielsa will never change and that is just a part of the fun.Watching a stubborn old man stick to his principles, his ideals perched on a stool while the new world order battles and tries to belittle him makes it even better. Stick this in a courtroom and no lawyer would ever cross-examine and hit out at the man the way many pundits and football experts across the interweb have and yet Bielsa doesn’t seem to care. And why would he? The job of a manager is to opt for a style, then ensure that style allows his team to overcome their opponents and achieve the results they need. Marcelo Bielsa His side sit 10th in the Premier League, the drop zone is SEVENTEEN points away, they have the joint (level with Chelsea) fifth-best attacking record (according to goals-scored) and that is despite all the injuries they’ve had. It’s a joy to watch Bielsa’s murder-ball, even if his side does look tired now, and it’s why Magpies hate Steve Bruce so much. Because once upon a time Kevin Keegan’s Magpies used to be called the “entertainers of the Premier League” but now, that title has been bestowed upon Leeds United and they’re doing a lot more than justice to it.They’ve somehow managed to elevate it to a new level while playing football amongst the super-elite and the billionaire-funded clubs. That’s something Keegan’s Magpies never had to deal with and yet, Marcelo Bielsa continues on with not a care in the world and that makes it even better. Because despite a few billionaire-funded thrashings, with a few more set to arrive around the corner, and a few weird results, Leeds United are not going to change.Sure, they do look tired right about now but that has always been the case with the Peacocks especially under Bielsa. But don’t worry, they tend to recover towards late-February before finding a brand-new level. And yet, even that is under a cloud of doubt. Because for those who know their Bielsa history, this is a man who couldn’t give a damn and could just leave/disappear into thin air at a moment’s notice.Think back to a two-day spell at Lazio, his threat to leave the Chilean national team. and then him following through on that despite the fact that the election to appoint Jorge Segovia as President of the Chilean Football Board was annulled. Then go to the chaos with Olympique Marseille where he resigned after the opening game of the 2015/16 season with a simple "I have finished my work here, I will return to my country." Many never liked that but it has only added to El Loco's charm and the mystique around the 65-year-old.So, enjoy it, revel in this because in this relentless age of football, in this 24-hour news cycle that demands instant gratification, in a world filled with revolving doors for managers, we just don’t know how long this will last. Either way, one thing is clear. Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa are a credit to the league, so strap in for the wildest ride of your lives because even if you try to outlive him, you will end up being swallowed by the shark.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Manchester City offers Lionel Messi perfect conditions to do well, claims Pablo Zabaleta
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Former Manchester City Pablo Zabaleta believes that the Cityzens would offer Lionel Messi the best possible environment for him to thrive outside Barcelona. The Premier League giants are considered to be one of the top suitors for Messi’s signature, especially with Pep Guardiola still at the club.When Lionel Messi submitted a transfer request over the summer window, Manchester City were amongst the top clubs in the running for the 33-year-old’s signature. However, while the Barcelona legend opted to stay at the club for the current season, he has yet to sign a new contract at the Camp Nou and is thus in the final six months of his current deal. That has seen Messi linked to some of Europe’s biggest clubs despite reports indicating that no move has been made for him.However, with Barcelona struggling, financially, the Argentine could still leave the Camp Nou within the next few months and Pablo Zabaleta believes that Manchester City is the best place for him. The former Cityzens full-back revealed, in an interview, that while there is little doubt the Premier League will interest him, City offer Messi “perfect conditions” to thrive. He further added that leaving Barcelona will be a “big decision” and moving to a club with people he knows, will help.“If Lionel Messi ­decides to leave Barcelona and he wants to play in the best league then he has to experience the Premier League for himself," Zabaleta told the Mirror. It is something that will ­interest him because every player I know always asks me what the Premier League is like. Leo has been in La Liga for so many years and I think it would be a huge ­attraction for him to experience English football,” Zabaleta said, reported Goal.“And Manchester City offer the ­perfect conditions. He knows Pep very well, he knows [sporting director] Txiki Begiristain and [chief executive] Ferran Soriano and also [Sergio] Aguero. It would be a big ­decision if Leo leaves ­Barcelona. But if that’s what he wants then it would be a good thing for him to go to a club that has people already there who can help him to settle”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Arsenal need to dramatically improve our position in league, asserts Mikel Arteta
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Mikel Arteta believes that Arsenal have little room for error as the move towards the end of the season and can’t afford any mistakes especially as they try to move up the league table. The Gunners currently sit in eleventh place on the Premier League table with them nine points off fourth place.After winning the FA Cup at the end of last season, few expected the Gunners to struggle this season but that has been the case for Arsenal. The North London side currently sit 11th on the Premier league table with them 22 points behind leaders Manchester City and nine points off the top four places. Not only that, going into their Sunday game against Leeds, Arsenal sit only one point above Marcelo Bielsa’s side and are in trouble of not playing European football next season.They’ll need to either finish amongst the top six sides or somehow manage to win the Europa League, where they face Benfica in their next game. It has seen Mikel Arteta admit that the club has absolutely no room for error going forward especially if they want to play European football. He further added that the next few games are going to be beyond crucial for the club and the performance levels have to be as high as it has been all season.“Yes, it’s going to be crucial. We don’t have any margin now in the league and in the Europa League, they are knockout games. So, the moment you don’t do what you have to, you are out. The level of attention and the level of performances are going to be really high and demanding - and we have to face the challenge and go through them. First of all, we have to improve our position in the league – dramatically,” Arteta said, reported Goal.“In order to do that we have to win a lot of football matches. How many will depend on what the opponents do because at the moment it’s not in our hands. We need to get into Europe - and into a situation where we can compete for those places - because that’s going to decide which competition we are in next season.“Things could change really quickly. If you’d asked me this question after we’d won the last two games, I’d say we had options in both of them. It will now depend on how consistent we are week in, week out,” he added.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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All about David De Gea’s performances and what he gives to team, admits Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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In light of David De Gea’s struggles, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has confessed that past glories will not guarantee the Spaniard a place in the starting 11 at Manchester United. The 30-year-old has struggled for form over the last few weeks and reports indicate that the club are looking to rotate him.Despite an uptick of form this season, David De Gea has still been more than prone to the occasional blunder as his performance against Everton showcased. It allowed the Toffees to claw their way back into the game via a late equaliser by Dominic Calvert-Lewin. However, the game has since been remembered for the errors made by De Gea especially with that tally rising game by game.That has seen many fans and critics alike call for the 30-year-old to be dropped in favour of Dean Henderson especially given the lack of game-time the young goalkeeper has received. But Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has admitted that while De Gea’s place in the starting eleven is far from a guaranteed one, Henderson himself also has to perform to earn his place. The Manchester United boss further added that everyone in the squad has to do the same if they want to earn a place on the team.“It’s not about who has got the most trophies. I’m in a very fortunate position to have the ­goalkeeper department that I have – and it was a conscious decision to bring Dean [Henderson] back to have real competition. Dean has made it harder and harder for me, of course, to leave him out because whenever he plays he does really well. It’s about what you give to the team, here and now – whether you’re a left-back, right-back, on the left wing or right wing,” Solskjaer said, reported Goal.“I think the whole squad knows they have to perform to be in the team. We have, I would say, at least two players in every position who would feel ‘I am a first choice’. The keeper position is no different to the right-back, left-back or centre-forward position. It’s about your performances and what you give to the team.”Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Chelsea are back in shape but we need to keep putting pressure on top-four contenders, admits Timo Werner
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Timo Werner has confessed that there was a point where Chelsea’s squad didn’t believe they would make the top four but things have changed and the Blues need to keep their pressure going. Thomas Tuchel’s arrival has turned things around the Stamford Bridge with them winning consecutive league games.With just three wins in their last ten Premier League games under Frank Lampard, many at Chelsea were very concerned about the way the Blues were performing. That saw Lampard lose his job and Thomas Tuchel take over with the changes very obvious despite the German boss being only four games into his latest managerial job. The former Paris Saint-Germain boss has, however, won consecutive games for the first time in months.Not only that, it has seen Chelsea climb back up the table with them now only one point behind reigning champions Liverpool in fourth place. It has seen Timo Werner admit that the squad were concerned with how the Blues were moving through the gears under Lampard, especially with a top four place looking unlikely. Werner also added that things have changed now and that Chelsea are “back in shape” and need to keep putting pressure on the other sides.“If we go back three or four matches, when the manager was not yet here, we were nine or ten points behind the top four. We watched the table and were like, ‘oh, it might not be so good at the end of the season’. Now we are really good, back in shape, and I think if we keep going like this we can put more pressure on the other teams,” Werner told Chelsea's 5th Stand app.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Marcus Rashford is not going to be clinical center-forward like Edinson Cavani, asserts Andy Cole
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Former Manchester United star Andy Cole believes that Marcus Rashford will never be as clinical as Edinson Cavani and won’t be able to hit that 20 to 25 goals mark every season. The 23-year-old has had a good season for the Red Devils this year with sixteen goals in thirty-five appearances so far.After both Anthony Martial and Marcus Rashford thrived last season, many expected the Red Devils’ front-men to continue that run of form but that hasn’t been the case. While Martial has struggled, Rashford has done relatively well, although not as well as many have expected him to do. The 23-year-old has still managed to net 16 goals in 35 appearances across all competitions with six in the Champions League and eight in the Premier League.But the forward is nowhere close to the likes of Mohamed Salah or Harry Kane which has seen many admit that he could never hit the 25 goals per season mark despite the hype that surrounds him. That was reiterated by Andy Cole as he admitted that Rashford “is not going to be a clinical center-forward like a Cavani”. The former Manchester United star further added that he doesn’t believe Rashford has that clinical side to him.“Marcus is not going to be a clinical centre-forward like a Cavani. Marcus will nick himself a certain amount of goals season in, season out, but he won’t be that individual you’re looking for to score 20 to 25 goals. I don’t think Marcus has got that clinical side in him. If you look at what Man Utd have now with Cavani; you know what you’re going to get [with him], it’s as simple as that,” Cole told talkSPORT.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Reports | Sergio Aguero yet to decide on his Manchester City future amid Barcelona links
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According to the Athletic, Sergio Aguero remains undecided on his Manchester City future despite the fact that he has less than six months left on his contract with the club. The 32-year-old is the Cityzens’ record all-time goal-scorer but has struggled for game-time this term amidst injury issues.Despite a terrible injury history, few players have thrived in the Premier League as much as Sergio Aguero has, with the Argentine netting 180 goals in the English top flight. Not only that, the 32-year-old has won numerous Premier League titles along the way and helped make the Pep Guardiola era even bigger but the forward’s time is coming to an end. With six months left on his current contract with the Manchester giants, Aguero is reportedly considering his options.The Athletic have reported that the Argentine has yet to come to an agreement over a contract-extension and wants to know the club’s plans before he makes a decision. Not only that, the report has further added that the 32-year-old wants to see if either Barcelona or Paris Saint-Germain act on their interest in his signature. The former Atletico Madrid striker has been linked with a move away with both the La Liga and Ligue 1 giants looking into a move.However, the Athletic has further revealed that Aguero is in no hurry to make a decision but is waiting for Manchester City to make the first move. The Cityzens are also, reportedly, looking at potential replacements with Inter Milan’s Romelu Lukaku and Southampton’s Danny Ings on their shortlist.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Not right moment for Tottenham to discuss new deal with Son Heung-Min, reveals Jose Mourinho
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Jose Mourinho has admitted that in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, it is not the right time for Tottenham to discuss a new contract for Son Heung-Min but revealed that it will happen. The South Korean has two and a half-years left on his contract with the club but has been linked with a move away. Only Mohamed Salah has scored more goals that Son Heung-Min season with the South Korean tied in second place alongside Harry Kane, Bruno Fernandes and Dominic Calvert-Lewin. Not only that, the 28-year-old has assisted six league goals with his tally across all competitions hitting 17 goals and 10 assists. That is on par to beat the former Bayer Leverkusen forward’s best tally for Tottenham, with him one short of a personal Premier League best for goals.It has seen Son heavily linked with a move away from North London despite the fact that the forward is tied to Tottenham until 2023. But amidst rumours of a move away, Spurs are looking to hand their superstar a new deal with a wage increase. But in a recent interview, Jose Mourinho admitted that he doesn’t believe it is the “right moment for players and clubs to discuss contracts” especially in light of the pandemic. However, the Spurs boss added that there is no problem with Son and believes the two parties will reach an agreement.“Son is not a problem. He has a contract still for a couple of years if I am not wrong, maybe even three. I believe, just to wait for the right moment to do it. Probably this situation with the world where we are, the Covid situation, I do not think it is the right moment for players and clubs to discuss contracts with so many people losing jobs and not working and difficulties. I believe that when the sun shines again for the world, I believe the club and Sonny they are going to arrive quite easily to a conclusion," Mourinho said, reported Goal.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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Manchester United should not be considered as title chasers, asserts Ole Gunnar Solskjaer
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On the back of a 3-3 draw against Everton, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer believes that while Manchester United have improved, they aren’t and should not be considered as title challengers. The Red Devils currently sit in second place, two points behind leaders Manchester City on the Premier League table.With just one loss in their last fifteen Premier League outings, a run that has seen the club win all but four games, many expected Manchester United to sweep Everton aside. While the Red Devils did exactly that in the first half, things did not exactly go according to plan in the second half. Instead, the club were forced to watch as the Toffees somehow managed to sneak a late equaliser to prevent Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s side from going top of the table.But the Red Devils are still six two points behind Manchester City although they have played two more league games than their cross city rivals. However, it was seen Ole Gunnar Solskjaer admit that his side “should not even be considered as title chasers” because they’re still a team that’s improving. The United boss further added that while they “have come a long way”, there is still a lot to do. “We are not talking about winning titles. We have come a long way, this team. We should not even be considered as title chasers. That is more talk that you (the media) are saying We need to be better as a team and see where we end up. Going forward, we need to stop conceding easy goals,” Solskjaer said, reported Goal.Manchester United swept to a 2-0 lead in the first half against Carlo Ancelotti’s men thanks to some superb football but struggled in the second half. Instead, they were forced to watch as Everton scored twice in the space of five minutes to level the scores. But a Scott McTominay goal seemed to have won it for the Red Devils until Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s late winner sealed the draw. Solskjaer further added that while his side played some “good football” they can’t concede “three goals from three shots on target” and need to improve defensively. "We played some good football in the second half but conceded three goals from three shots on target. When you do that it is disappointing. I wouldn't blame anyone on the goals but we know we could have done better as a team on all of them.  Results create the mood, the last kick of the ball makes us go home really disappointed. We have lost two points on a long thump upfield which we should have defended,” he added.Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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RB Leipzig v Liverpool to be held in Budapest over Germany’s COVID-19 regulations
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Liverpool will travel to Budapest, in Hungary, in order to play their round of 16 tie against RB Leipzig due to Germany’s coronavirus protocols preventing the game from taking place in Leipzig. The German side revealed that the choices had dropped to either Tottenham’s stadium or Budapest.Earlier this week, it emerged that Liverpool would be unable to play their Champions League round of 16 first-leg tie against RB Leipzig in Germany due to the country’s COVID-19 protocols. That saw reports indicate that the fixture could be postponed beyond the February 17 UK travel ban imposed in Germany but that was refuted. However, RB Leipzig’s CEO, Oliver Mintzlaff, confirmed that Tottenham’s stadium and Budapest were in the running to be the replacement arena.Liverpool have now confirmed and revealed that their first-leg tie against RB Leipzig will take place in Budapest at the Puskas Arena on the same date. Nothing else will change, the statement confirmed, with only the location of the game as the Hungarian coronavirus protocols aren’t as strict as Germany’s. The statement also revealed that the return leg will be played, as per usual, at Anfield in March.“Liverpool's Champions League last-16, first-leg tie with RB Leipzig will be played in Budapest. The Hungarian capital will host the meeting between the sides at Puskas Arena on Tuesday February 16 as COVID-19 regulations in Germany prevent the Reds from being able to contest the fixture at the Red Bull Arena. The return leg will be played at Anfield on Wednesday March 10,” reads the statement released by the club’s official website. Our first-leg tie with @RBLeipzig_EN will be played at the Puskas Arena. #LFC | #UCL — Liverpool FC (@LFC) February 7, 2021Follow us on Facebook hereStay connected with us on Twitter hereLike and share our Instagram page here .
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