Who should stay and who should go – A look at United’s contract situations

Who should stay and who should go – A look at United’s contract situations

Manchester United have been in constant turmoil this season, on the pitch, with poor performances, and off the pitch, with the hate against the Glazers, United’s owners being ramped up a notch this season. But one potentially problematic area is the contract situation for multiple players – so here’s a case by case look at that.

David de Gea 

United’s star keeper has been bearing the burden of a shaky defense for so long and has also rendered a lot of other problems with the side obsolete. To me, there is no doubt that DDG is by far the best goalkeeper in the world. However, since winning the title in 2012-13, there really haven’t been any proper title challenges to speak of, and DDG has reportedly become increasingly frustrated at the lack of trophies United have been able to gather. It’s a fair enough complain fora player of his caliber, but, United must, must, re-sign him, no matter the cost. God help us if we don’t. Should talks fail, however, United can trigger a 12-month extension in his contract, so we’ll at least be able to cash in on him.TLDR: Keep. 

Matteto Darmian 

Since arriving in 2015-16, the Italian has seen the number of minutes he has played each season steadily drop, and he has only played a single match this season so far, the 2-1 win over Leicester. He isn’t good enough, and is the fourth choice right back behind Young, Valencia, and Dalot, so get rid, no matter whether it’s by simply letting his contract run out, or triggering the extension and selling in the winter or summer. TLDR: Get rid. 

Ashley Young 

Previously a winger that wasn’t good enough, Young has re-invented himself over the past few years, becoming a very useful utility player. The man can play at either left-back or right back, and last season made 38 appearances in the United shirt, the most he ever has which is amazing considering he is now 33 and has been at the club since 2009. He’s a useful player to have around and deserves a contract renewal. Also worth noting that he does not have an option to extend his contract for a further year. TLDR: Keep

Antonio Valencia 

Much like Young, Valencia is a former winger turned fullback, and has even become captain, but, unlike Young, he has struggled in recent weeks, can only play on one side, and is in hot water with Mourinho after liking a post on Instagram calling for him to face the sack. As much as this one might hurt, I think it’s time to lose Valencia. United have the option to trigger a one year exstension should they want to. TLDR: Get rid 

Phil Jones 

The inconsistent defender, who has been made famous thanks to his beautiful faces, has really been on the downward spiral lately. Since his penalty miss against Derby County he has not featured in the team, and his struggles, both defensively and on the injury front, mean that he’s not worth keeping. United do have the option to trigger a one-year extension to his contract should they want to cash in. TLDR: Get Rid

Chris Smalling 

Like Jones, Smalling has his inconsistencies and errors, however, he has become the center back the club has got in its shaky defense, making the most appearances out of any central defender so far. While he really shouldn’t be a first team player for the club, he’s good enough to keep around. United have an option to trigger a one-year extension to his contract, should they want to. TLDR: Keep 

Ander Herrera 

United’s player of the year for 2016-17, since Nemanja Matic’s arrival at the club Herrera has struggled for game time. Add to that the fact Pogba, Fred, and McTominay are all younger and probably better (save maybe McTominay for the better part), and I think it might just be time to let Herrera go. It’s a hard choice to make, however, and Mourinho has stated his intention to keep him, so, you never know. United do not have an option to extend his contract by a year. TLDR: Maybe get rid

Andreas Pereira

Labeled the next big thing for so long, Pereria finally got his chance to impress when he was handed starts for United’s first two matches of the season. H0wever, in the second game against Brighton, he was hauled off at halftime and has been barely seen since. If he isn’t going to play, then there’s no use keeping him, but there’s plenty of potential left in him so make sure he gets sold and add a buy-back clause. United have the option to keep him around for another year if they so chose. TLDR: Get rid, but add a buy-back clause

Juan Mata 

Mata is an interesting case. He’s quite possibly my favorite ever footballer, one of the nicest guys around, and a darn good player. The problem is, he has never quite been a first-team player under Mourinho, and a player of his caliber deserves to be playing regular first-team football. Still, he’s worth keeping around. United don’t have the option to trigger an extension. TLDR: Keep

Anthony Martial 

Despite his rocky relationship with Mourinho over the years, along with DDG, Martial has probably saved his job, as the French man leads the clubs scoring charts with 7 goals so far. At just 23 he is a star of the future and utterly deserves a new contract. In fact, re-signing him should be Ed Woodward’s top priority. United have the option to extend his contract by twelve months. TLDR: Keep




For Barça, losing Messi isn’t a problem because there’s a bigger one happening now…

For Barça, losing Messi isn’t a problem because there’s a bigger one happening now…

Without a doubt, the recent 4-3 win at Camp Nou will be a memorable night for Real Betis to savour for years. The home defeat, for Barcelona, will certainly give a lot for the team to think about during the international break.

Not to mention that Atlético Madrid will be their opponents after the players return from their international duties. If they can’t beat Real Betis, chances are Barcelona will be dropping points against their title rivals at Wanda Metropolitano.

So let’s be honest, Barcelona, despite being the first in La Liga, will need to do something in order to become greater in Europe.

There’s one thing that Barcelona supporters will all agree on: losing Leo Messi as their star player to retirement from football is a big deal for the Catalan club – unless they can sign a decent replacement for the Argentine.

However, as a Culé myself, I have an unpopular opinion on this. I believe that there is a huge assignment that Ernesto Valverde must finish before it’s too late to mend the damage caused. That is, fixing the defence of the squad.

If you know Barcelona well, you’ll know that the guy inside the featured image is Carles Puyol. Having played as a defender in his career, he’s the former captain of Barcelona before passing the armband to Andrés Iniesta.

In the meantime, Valverde loves to stick to his trustworthy four-man defence: Sergi Roberto (or Nélson Semedo), Gerard Piqué (or Thomas Vermaelen), Clément Lenglet (or Samuel Umtiti) and Jordi Alba.

The thing is, while Piqué is clearly the most experienced player in the back half, he himself is regressing.

At 31, Piqué is ageing and started to make mistakes which cost the squad the precious points. I could still remember how awful he was when his wrong pass gifted Leganès the winning goal.

The rest are, certainly, better but it’s still horrifying to contemplate.

Meanwhile, where are the La Masia defenders who only got chances in the Copa del Rey? Why aren’t the best performers given a chance to play in La Liga?

Also, Valverde tends to ask his players (defenders included) to push forward to create chances to score.

While it’s nice to feed the ball to the forwards (somehow accustomed to Messi’s needs), the midfield and defence become vulnerable at the back.

Without a doubt, when the opposition decided to launch a counter-attack, say, after a failed corner attempt, chances are the whole Barcelona defence will be caught off-guard and they’ll be able to find the back of the net.

Now you may ask, “what does it do with Puyol?”

I’d say, Barcelona must be in search for a leader who’ll be doing the stuff Puyol did in the past. The current XI tends to lose concentration when they take the lead, so there should be someone who’ll tell his teammates not to be too confident in winning.

This is also the reason Barcelona were eliminated from the Champions League last season.

The squad did win 4-1 at Camp Nou, but we know that the travelling squad lost 3-0 away with Manolas netting the decisive goal to knock the Catalan club out, owing to the away goal rule by the UEFA.

I’m not sure if it’ll help to turn the tide for Barcelona to advance to the semi-final but I certainly believe that if Puyol was in the team, they wouldn’t have lost badly and got beaten by the Italians.

“Attack wins you games, defence wins you titles” – Sir Alex Ferguson

It is one of my favourite quotes in football. Trophies may not matter but the performance of the team does. Unfortunately, Piqué may be the only current player who can do the job. Perhaps a new name in the dressing room needed at Camp Nou?

Be it a foreign player or a homegrown talent, Barcelona should be conscious about the development of the whole future lineup instead of just focusing on replacing Messi. If Bartomeu’s men in the transfer section don’t look into this issue, it’s going to be costly.

And I’m pretty glad that Barcelona lost to Betis. Why? It forces Valverde to rotate his squad to replace the suspended Rakitić so that either Denis Suárez or Carles Aleñá can get a berth in the starting eleven, even for just a few games.

Premier League: Our Round 12 predictions

Premier League: Our Round 12 predictions

Another week is gone, and now we come to our weekly premier league predictions. The time where I learn just how bad I am at predicting football, and worse, just how good Oliver is at it.

The gap between first, second, and third, continues to widen, with Oliver leading on 72, Alf following on 61, and myself in last on 53. Remember when it looked as if Alf would over take Oliver? Yeah, me neither.

On with the tipping!

Cardiff City vs Brighton


It’s Cardiff. Let’s be real here, Brighton aren’t exactly great, but there’s no way they’ll fall to the woeful Bluebirds. 2-1 Brighton


Cardiff City went down narrowly last week to Leicester City, but they’ve now got a perhaps weaker opponent in Brighton. The Seagulls went down to Everton last time out, and I think these sides are fairly evenly-matched. This is looking like a draw. 1-1 draw


It’s getting too predictable that the Bluebirds are going to lose. Hopefully not a big one. 2-0 Brighton

Southampton vs Watford

Image result for Southampton FC vs Watford


Southampton are terrible, but Watford somehow managed to lose to Newcastle. Newcastle. Ugh, I don’t know, let’s go for a draw here. 0-0 draw


I’d hate to be a Southampton fan right now. In sixteenth, with one win and just two points off last place. Watford lost last time out to bottom-placed Newcastle, however, and the Saints might just be good enough. Will Southampton finally get that second win? Nah. 1-0 Watford


Meh. 1-0 Southampton

Leicester vs Burnley


Burnley struggle away, and despite the helicopter crash, Leicester beat Cardiff. They’ll get another three points here. 2-1 Leicester


Leicester won their last match. Burnley have just a point from their last four games. With home advantage, the Foxes should capitalise on a weak Clarets side, but I think they’ll struggle their way over the line. 2-1 Leicester


The Foxes are back to the King Power Stadium and will be hoping to seal a victory for Vichai. 2-1 Leicester

Huddersfield vs West Ham


Like Newcastle, Huddersfield finally got their first win against Fulham last week. Though West Ham are a much better side, my gut is telling me that this is a match that Huddersfield can just, just, edge out. 1-0 Huddersfield


Neither of these teams are great, it’s fair to say. Both of them are coming off wins, and West Ham are up in thirteenth in the table. Should be enough for them to overpower a weak Huddersfield. 1-0 West Ham


Provided the form of the home side, it’ll be of no surprise if the visitors get the three points. 3-1 West Ham

Newcastle vs Bournemouth

Image result for Newcastle FC


As much as Newcastle loves doing exactly what I don’t tip, Bournemouth are a very dangerous side that were unlucky to lose to Manchester United last week. But, it’s Newcastle I’m tipping, so naturally they’ll prove me wrong. 2-1 Bournemouth


Eddie Howe’s just very deservedly won Premier League Manager of the Month, and Bournemouth have been playing good football. Newcastle have one win – no prizes for calling this one. 2-1 Bournemouth


Sour cherries for the magpies. (Editors note: Jesus Christ, Alf, that is awful) 2-1 Bournemouth

Crystal Palace vs Tottenham


Palace continue to underwhelm, and Tottenham are a side that will punish them for it. 2-0 Tottenham


Palace are one of the most boring teams in the Premier League. I’m not just saying that – there’s been just twenty-four goals in their PL games this season, less than any other team apart from Wolves. Spurs have got enough to win this one, but their opponents will keep the score low. 1-0 Tottenham


Tottenham may not be impressive against PSV but it’s Palace, so it should be okay for them. 3-1 Tottenham

Liverpool vs Fulham


Ok, so Liverpool may have lost to Red Star Belgrade, but that was their back ups. I’d be very surprised if Fulham shocked them again at Anfield, but I won’t be complaining if that happens either. Still, Liverpool are gonna win. 3-1 Liverpool


Fulham can’t stop giving away goals and points, as the last-placed team and having conceded 29 so far. Liverpool aren’t scoring as many as Chelsea or City but they’re still netting enough to win this big. 4-0 Liverpool


Well done, Red Star Belgrade, for achieving the impossible and giving the Fulham team false hope. 1-0 Liverpool

Chelsea vs Everton


Maruzio Sarri’s side is now the only team unbeaten in all five of Europe’s top leagues in all competitions, and while Everton can beat anyone on their day, they can’t beat Chelsea. 2-1 Chelsea


I don’t like picking my own team to lose, but that’s unfortunately what I see coming. Sarri-ball is 1) the most overused phrase in English football and 2) working wonders. Don’t see that stopping. 2-1 Chelsea


I’m sorry, Oliver. 3-0 Chelsea

Manchester City vs Manchester United

We have a full scale preview for this match!

Arsenal vs Wolves


Since their draw against Palace, Arsenal have fallen out of form, drawing twice, with a solitary win coming against against Blackpool in the League Cup. Wolves are very, very, solid team, despite their own poor run of form, and I think they’ll give Emery and he Gooners a shock.  2-1 Wolves


Wolves keep scores low. 11 scored, 12 conceded. That won’t stop Arsenal from winning, it’ll just reduce the scoreline by a little. But the Gunners should wrap this up easily. 2-0 Arsenal


Arsenal just played Sporting Lisbon and finished in a goalless draw. Things aren’t looking good for them. 0-0 draw





Colours doesn’t matter, bragging rights does – An in-depth look to Manchester derby

Colours doesn’t matter, bragging rights does – An in-depth look to Manchester derby

I still could vividly remember last season, Manchester City needed just a win in the Manchester derby to clinch their title. The Cityzens could have the chance to celebrate in front of United supporters. However, Chris Smalling’s 69th-minute winner delayed the title celebrations of the home side for a bit.

Fast forward to November 2018. Manchester City are 2nd of the Premier League table while United are 7th. While City are on an unbeaten run like table-toppers Liverpool, United lost three matches against Brighton, Tottenham and West Ham with the fans chanting “Mourinho Out” outside Old Trafford.

Red versus blue. Mourinho versus Guardiola. Manchester United versus Manchester City. It is no longer just a matter of points and glory. It’s all about the bragging right of the winner of the Premier League fixture.

You’re in the right place for our analysis of the match of the century, with the details of the match itself, records last year and most importantly, score predictions by our team.

Details of the match

Teams: Manchester City vs Manchester United

Kick-off time: 11 November 2018, 1730 BST

Ground: Etihad Stadium, Manchester, UK

Kits: Home (blue by Nike) vs Home (red and black by Adidas)

Referee: Anthony Taylor (Manchester)

Injury list: De Bruyne, Bravo, Mangala (Manchester City); Dalot (Manchester United)

Form of both clubs

Manchester City:

  1. 3-0 away win against Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League (D. Silva, B. Silva, Laporte)
  2. 1-0 away win against Tottenham in Premier League (Mahrez)
  3. 2-0 home win against Fulham in the Carabao Cup (Díaz x2)
  4. 6-1 home win against Southampton in the Premier League (Hoedt OG, Agüero, D. Silva, Sterling x2, Sané; Ings PEN)
  5. 6-0 home win against Shakthar Donetsk in the Champions League (D. Silva, G. Jesus x3, Sterling, Mahrez)

Manchester United:

  1. 2-2 away draw against Chelsea in the Premier League (Rüdiger, Barkley; Martial x2)
  2. 1-0 home loss against Juventus in the Champions League (Dybala)
  3. 2-1 home win against Everton in the Premier League (Pogba, Martial; Sigurðsson PEN)
  4. 2-1 away win against Bournemouth (Wilson; Martial, Rashford)
  5. 2-1 away win against Juventus in the Champions League (C. Ronaldo; Mata, Sandro OG)

Score predictions and analysis: 

  1. “Manchester City just can’t stop scoring. However, Manchester United displayed an awesome mentality to fight back. While it’ll be a possible call for a draw (or a high-scoring game), Manchester should be red if they United can keep it up. 2-1 United.” (Alfred)
  2. “Both sides have the potential to score goals, we know that. City are top of the division, in good form and with 33 goals in 11 games – it’s hard to see them losing. United haven’t been great this season and I don’t see them preventing another derby loss. City to win it, but not by much. 3-2 City” (Oliver)
  3. “City are on a roll with six goals in two games. Nothing, not even a rejuvenated United side is gonna stop them. 2-0 City” (Dan)

As always, “no score should be treated as certain before the final whistle is blown”. Also, here’s a friendly reminder for all of you: gamble wisely if you really want to place bets on football matches, or you’ll be in deep regret later.

Der Klassiker – an underrated derby with loads of quality

Der Klassiker – an underrated derby with loads of quality

If you watch the Bundesliga, you’ll know that Dortmund are enjoying an unbeaten run in both Germany and Europe. On the other hand, Bayern Munich hasn’t been great these days in which they dropped points against Augsburg, Hertha, Gladbach and most recently, Freiburg at home with Niko Kovač rumoured to be out.

For Lucien Favre, he’ll be eager to continue his unbeaten, if not winning, run in his Bundesliga career with the youthful yet trustworthy Black and Yellow team. For Die Roten and those who support Kovač to remain as the coach of Bayern, though, it’ll be a crunching challenge to expect (no pun intended).

You’re at the right place for our analysis of the match of the century, with the investigation of both teams in the last few games, records last year and most importantly, the analysis of the only Bundesliga correspondent of FootyFans (i.e. me).

Details of the match

Teams: Borussia Dortmund vs Bayern Munich

Kick-off time: 10 November 2018, 1930 CEST

Ground: Westfalenstadion (Signal Iduna Park), Dortmund, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Kits: Home (black and yellow by Puma) vs Home (red, white and blue by Adidas)

Injury list: Schmelzer (Dortmund); Tolisso, Thiago Alcântara, Coman, Robben (Bayern Munich)

Form of both clubs

Borussia Dortmund (WDWWL):

  1. 4-0 home win against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League (Witsel, Gurreiro x2, Sancho)
  2. 2-2 home draw against Hertha Berlin in the Bundesliga (Sancho x2; Kalou x2)
  3. 3-2 home win against Union Berlin in the German Cup (Pulisic, Philipp, Reus; Potler x2)
  4. 1-0 away win against Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga (Reus)
  5. 2-0 away defeat against Atlético Madrid in the Champions League (Saúl, Griezmann)

Bayern Munich (WWWDW):

  1. 2-0 away win against AEK Athens in the Champions League (Martínez, Lewandowski)
  2. 2-1 away win against Mainz in the Bundesliga (Böetius; Goretzka, T. Alcântara)
  3. 2-1 away win against SV Rödinghausen (L. Meyer; Wagner, Müller PEN)
  4. 1-1 home draw against Freiburg (Gnabry; Höler)
  5. 2-0 home win against AEK Athens in the Champions League (Lewandowski x2)


Dortmund may have been beaten by a quality Atlético Madrid side away, but they won at home 4-0. The loss is a good call for Favre’s men, which reminds them not to be caught off guard by the small mistakes while playing in front of the Yellow Wall.

On the other hand, the visitors, Bayern were truly disappointing against AEK Athens. Provided the quality of the squad, they should have scored more than 3 goals, but they didn’t. Lewandowski may have shined, but the rest weren’t impressive enough.

The Dortmund attack this season can be solid enough to penetrate Bayern’s defence with Neuer in goal. However, the Reds understand the importance of the fixture, so they’ll do everything in their power to stop the BVB from scoring.

This is, mostly, likely a close call for both teams (i.e. draw). Nevertheless, bear in mind it’s the national derby and everything could happen. Would the Black and Yellows get a huge win like Barcelona did or the Reds scoring the winning goal at Westfalenstadion? We’ll see it later.

Possible scores: 

Dortmund 3-2 Bayern

Dortmund 3-1 Bayern

Dortmund 2-1 Bayern

Dortmund 2-0 Bayern

Dortmund 1-1 Bayern

Dortmund 1-0 Bayern

Dortmund 0-1 Bayern

Dortmund 0-2 Bayern

As always, “no score should be treated as certain before the final whistle is blown”. Also, here’s a friendly reminder for all of you: gamble wisely if you really want to place bets on football matches, or you’ll be in deep regret later.

Saint-Étienne – A forgotten name probably in France, perhaps rightfully so?

Saint-Étienne – A forgotten name probably in France, perhaps rightfully so?

As someone who isn’t a huge fan of Ligue 1, I first heard the name “Saint-Étienne” when one of my lecturers in my community college is a huge fan of them.

You’ll probably recognise the guy inside the featured image, though. He’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, current Arsenal player who was the top goalscorer of the club during his stay with Les Verts (“the Greens” in French).

It may be a surprising fact to you, but Saint-Étienne used to be one of the best clubs in the country and has 10 Ligue 1 titles with them, more than anyone else. The current holders, Paris Saint-Germain? 7 only.

If you don’t recognise Saint-Étienne as a club, it’s not your fault to blame. In fact, this is why I, honestly, named them “a forgotten name probably in France”. Seriously, things have changed since they last won a big trophy.

I can summarise the situation in one sentence, though.

Saint-Étienne is now more like a lineup striving for a mid-table finish in the domestic league with a rare chance to participate in European football.

It all happened after Les Verts won the Coupe de la Ligue in 2013.

The club from Saint-Étienne sold a number of their young prospects with three of them being household names of the present days. Aubameyang aside, you may be shocked to hear that Payet and Matuidi used to play for them.

This is partially the main reason why they regressed. The other? The board have no ambition to formulate a plan for the team to become great again as PSG started to dominate the league following the influx of Qatari money to the Parisian club.

Staying in Ligue 1 is probably easier than that of pursuing a place in the Champions League, after all, from the perspective of the management, players and fans. 

They did get ahold of quality veterans like current club captain Loïc Perrin, Kévin Monnet-Paquet, Stéphane Ruffier and Romain Hamouma (and loyal supporters).

Yet, it’s never enough for them to aim for a better position of the Ligue 1 table.

In Europe, the Greens did manage to advance to the knockout stages of the Europa League in the 2016/17 season. However, a 4-0 aggregated loss to eventual winners Manchester United proved that they’re not fully prepared for the challenge.

New additions last season, Debuchy and Subotić helped to bolster their defence. Under Jean-Louis Gasset, the Greens are now 5th of the table, but only if they play consistently they’ll get their reward – a place in, at least, the Europa League.

Provided that PSG are now the most powerful side of the Ligue 1 with Lyon and Marseille catching up, it is, without a doubt, that Saint-Étienne will be one of the fading sides of French football if they decide to remain stagnant.

After all, the foundation set by the founders of the club may fall apart if they aren’t careful enough. And I won’t be surprised to hear the news of Les Verts relegating to Ligue 2, provided that “failing to plan is planning to fail”.

Believe or not, football lovers will love the Japanese league

Believe or not, football lovers will love the Japanese league

Many of us may not be familiar with Japanese football, but will definitely remember Gaku Shibasaki, who scored a brace against Real Madrid in the Club World Cup final in 2016 and now, is playing for Getafe in La Liga.

Some may think of Andrés Iniesta (former Barcelona captain), Lukas Podolski (former Arsenal striker) and Fernando Torres (former Atlético Madrid forward), who are currently the stars in the J. League.

I’ll probably continue to talk about Iniesta, Podolski and Torres in a separated article. Yet in my opinion, I believe that Japanese football deserves more attention and support since it’s a display of the reason why football is called “the beautiful game”.

We know that Japanese people are known as “hard-working folks” but they’re also dedicated to what they do.

Having the “samurai spirit” inside them, they’ll do whatever they must in order to win in sports. The players are those people who’ll fight for the glory, the badge on their jerseys and their fans.

It’s not just the J1 League clubs but football in the country in general. One of the Emperor Cup matches (similar to the FA Cup in England) this season displayed this kind of mentality.

The football section of Kwansei Gakuin University beaten J1 League giants, Gamba Osaka, away in the dying minutes of extra time and fell short of Tokyo Verdy of just one goal in the third round.

Not to mention that Shonan Bellmare defeated favourites Yokohama FM in the Japanese League Cup final to lift the trophy for the first time in their history, with Daiki Sugioka’s goal proving the difference.

(Did I mention that the relegation battles are also compelling to watch? No? Never mind.) 

Sounds nothing new to you, right?

However, the Japanese have an amazing attitude and believe that everything can happen. They fear no one and won’t give up until the end, which makes the fixtures intense, unpredictable and entertaining to watch.

The supporters are also a reason why we should follow the J. League. Why? Because they’re loyal, passionate, polite, creative and supportive of their clubs, which reminds me of the fanbase of the German Bundesliga in Europe.

I could still remember that when Eastern, the very first team from Hong Kong to participate in the AFC Champions League, visited Kawasaki Frontale, the home side thanked the visitors for their help when they were playing away.

A clip by the official J. League channel should help you to understand the matter more:

I know, this doesn’t give you the big picture of how the Japanese people behave. However, it’s always something worthwhile for us to understand the culture of a country through their sports.

This is why by watching the J League, you don’t just watch football and it’s not just 90 minutes (for fans only, I guess). You also get to know more about Japanese people and their culture in the process.

If you really want to follow a football league which anticipates interesting football, an excellent matchday atmosphere with the experience of seeing some celebs play in person, J. League may be the one for you.

Yeah, the Premier League, Serie A, Bundesliga and La Liga are also entertaining. But watching the J. League may bring you a brand new experience to know football better as a sport. Who knows?

Premier League: Our round 11 predictions

Premier League: Our round 11 predictions

Another week gone, and here we are again. Match day 11 is upon us folks, and here is your premier league tipping post.

As for scores, we all know the drill by now. I’m last on 45, Alf is second on 55, and Oliver continues to lead on 67. Ten bucks say that there will be no change to these positions as the season continues.

On with the tipping!

AFC Bournemouth vs Manchester United

Image result for AFC BOurnemouth vs United


Tricky one to predict. United seem to finally be finding their groove, but Bournemouth are very, very, solid side. I’ll go with Bournemouth to win, but really, there isn’t a result that can be counted as a shock here. 2-1 Bournemouth


Bournemouth have started well this season, and one would think they’d be good enough for a draw, but I can see Unitd overcoming their poor start to the season, and with it, the boys from the South Coast. 2-1 United


Against a decent Cherries side, #JoseOut if United doesn’t win this one. 2-1 United

Newcastle United vs Watford


God dammit Newcastle. I finally give up on you last round and start tipping you to lose, and you manage a draw. The Toon shouldn’t be able to beat the Hornets, but if they do, I swear it will only be to frustrate me. 3-1 Watford


Newcastle picked up a draw last time out but I don’t think they’ll get anything against a very good Watford team. The Hornets should easily overpower the Toon, who have been awful this season. 3-1 Watford


Again, a poor Magpies side will stand no chance against the Hornets. 2-1 Watford

Everton vs Brighton


Brighton are on a three match winning streak, and they haven’t conceded since September. Everton meanwhile, have no idea what consistency is and I can see Brighton frustrating them into sharing the points. 0-0 draw.


– Everton went down to Manchester United last week but I’m picking them to rebound with a win against Brighton. 9th against 11th seems like it should be a close game but I can’t see it going that way. 2-0 Everton


Home advantage for the Toffees means nothing to Brighton. 2-1 Everton

West Ham vs Burnley

Image result for West Ham united


Two sides that are win less since the start of October? Naturally a draw. 1-1 draw.


One might not be able to see West Ham score three goals in a match, but Burnley haven’t defended well this year. That said, West Ham should still concede a couple. 3-2 West Ham


Both sides are hungry for points but they’ll come up with nothing. 0-0 draw.

Cardiff vs Leicester


For all the wrong reasons, Leicester will be distracted during this game, but it’s Cardiff so they’ll win. RIP Vichai. 1-0 Leicester


is will be a shaken Leicester team, we know that. But if the Foxes epitomize any value, it is resilience and overcoming challenges. Not only will they beat their Welsh opponents, they’ll thrash them. 5-0 Leicester


– RIP Vichai, may your Foxes side will never quit fighting in the PL. 3-0 Leicester

Arsenal vs Liverpool


Arsenal may have been held by Crystal Palace, but they have shown time and again they have masses of quality at their disposal. Two solid attacks will see a high scoring draw. 2-2 draw


Arsenal’s winning streak was broken last week against Crystal Palace, but they were really only delaying the inevitable. Liverpool are a good side but I’m not sure they have enough to get past the Gunners. 1-1 draw


The Gunners are lucky enough not to concede more than two goals these days. While Unai Emery may have won against Jürgen Klopp in the Europa League final, I don’t think he’ll repeat this at the Emirates. 3-1 Liverpool

Wolves vs Tottenham


Another game that could go any way. Both sides will be itching for wins to put recent league losses behind them, but with superior quality, it should be Tottenham that clinch it. 2-1 Tottenham


Wolves don’t score many, and they don’t concede many. Spurs don’t do much either. This will be goalless, and potentially very dull. 0-0 draw


The Lilywhites won’t be able to tear the Wolves apart but we should expect to see a few goals from them. 2-0 Tottenham

Manchester City vs Southampton


I really hate Man City, but despite my hatred, I still can’t see any way of Southampton getting anything from this. Welp. 4-1 City


Southampton – City are a great attacking side, better than any other in the division by a long, long way. Southampton don’t concede often, but they’ve underwhelmed this season. Easy win City. 2-0 City


No words needed. 5-0 City

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace


Despite holding to a draw last week, this is still Crystal Palace vs Chelsea. Can’t see the Eagles getting any points here 2-0 Chelsea


It’s hard to write anything about Chelsea without talking about the effects of Sarriball, but I’m gonna try: nope, can’t do it. Palace are a pretty dull but stable side and Chelsea will just about eke out a win. 1-0 Chelsea


The Eagles showed that they can cause problems against a Top 6 team but the Blues will continue to score with an effective Sarriball strategy. 3-1 Chelsea

Huddersfield vs Fulham

Image result for Huddersfield Town


Two awful, awful sides go at it in a relegation six pointer. Given how terrible both sides are, this could go any way, but Huddersfield’s home advantage will lead me to tip them to get their first win of the season. 1-0 Huddersfield


The ultimate disgrace is getting beaten by a team with no wins at this stage of the season, but that’s what I see happening to Fulham. Their defense is incredibly leaky, conceding 2.8 goals a game in the league this season. That’s half of what two relegated teams conceded in all of last season. They’re on track to have the worst Premier League defense ever. They’ll lose this one. 2-0 Huddersfield
Usually, if the relegation stragglers are to play against each other, it’s very likely that it’ll be a draw. Mark my words. 2-2 draw.


Where we were wrong about Mourinho

Where we were wrong about Mourinho

It’s just impossible for Manchester United to get out of the spotlight, am I right? Mourinho is under constant criticism, and every loss seems to edge him nearer to the sack.

Lucky for Red Devil fans like me, this morning we had a good result, managing a 2-1 win over Everton (S0 suck it, Oliver). Pogba scored from a penalty rebound and Martial continued his run of good form by scoring his fourth goal in three premier league games.

And it’s Martial who I want to focus on. Because boy has he made a comeback. Before his goal against Young Boys in the Champions League a while back, he had gone eight months without scoring a goal. During the transfer window, he and his agent made it very clear that he wanted a move away from Old Trafford and had it not been for Ed Woodward, he probably would be plying his trade somewhere else right now.

Martial’s relationship with Mourinho has constantly been in the spotlight, and it’s been a rocky ride. Earlier in the year, he was fined for making it to pre-season training late due to the birth of his child, and he has been under constant criticism from his gaffer, and reports had said that Mourinho was the reason Martial wanted to leave the club.

But here we are, and Martial is flourishing. Mourinho, despite their struggles, is getting the best out of him.

And this isn’t just something we are seeing with Martial. Luke Shaw, another player who Mourinho who has constantly, criticized as not being good enough has been the sole mainstay of United’s defense this season, and was named United’s player of the month for August.

One of the big criticisms of Mourinho has been his handling of Martial and Shaw.

But this is one area we all have to step back from and admit the way Mourinho has handled these two players was the right way.

Admittedly, it is annoying to have these two players only now getting into form in his third year in charge, but better late than never.

I do remain dubious about whether Mourinho is the right man to take United forward, but, at the very least, he has gotten the best out Martial and Shaw. Credit given where credit is due.


Essence of the Nix #1- The Fans

Yes, I’m finally back! And I know that I took a while to get back into writing but got to get back into it somehow, eh?

Anyway, in this new series of articles, I will be talking about the Wellington Phoenix. The Nix, as they are affectionately known by the fans, have just started the season and are on a high after beating last season’s playoff finalists the Newcastle Jets. There’s also the plus of all the people that write here support them. But you might be thinking: who are these plucky bunch from the capital and why are they playing in the A-League? Well read on and find out.

I think that first, we should take a look at the fans. The main supporters group are the Yellow Fever, a nice bunch of maniacs who take their shirts off at the 80th minute when they’re winning even if it’s 4 degrees. They like to have a pint or two before and after the match and also have quite a diverse range of chants, of which the most famous is Oh Wellington!

As for the rest of the fans, they’re a pretty solid bunch, even though they don’t know the chants. and there are usually a decent amount of them, with tickets starting at around $23 NZD (By a decent amount of people I mean about 5 or 6 thousand but considering the standard of football on show is pretty good.