My thoughts on Emiliano Sala

My thoughts on Emiliano Sala

In England, right now, it’s transfer deadline day. That’s the same across Europe, in fact. At any other deadline day, I’m sure that’s where the football world’s attention would be almost exclusively directed. Who’s going where? What deals are going to shock us? How long can Spurs go without signing anyone?

But I’ll be honest, I almost completely forgot about the transfer window’s impending closure, and I think a lot of football fans have done the same. That’s not because this year’s January has been any more dull – ok, maybe it has – but because of the disappearance of Emiliano Sala, Cardiff City’s record signing whose plane went missing on the way from Nantes over to south Wales. It was January 21st when the plane left France and the day after that it was confirmed Sala was on board the aircraft. It’s now the 31st of January, ten days after Sala was due to arrive at his new club. In that week-and-a-half, I believe we’ve seen the best of the footballing community.

Image result for emiliano sala

After days of searching, efforts were called off on the 24th of January because Channel Islands Air Search just didn’t think it was possible to find Sala or pilot Dave Ibbotson. In the space of two days – that’s 48 hours – after the search was called off, donors had raised £260,000. That’s close to $500k in NZD. And that was in two days.

Just look at the way Nantes fans acted yesterday in their match against Saint-Etienne. The match was stopped in the ninth minute to allow the fans to have a tribute, with tifos and chanting all around. And it’s not like the Nantes fans stopped there – they kept chanting Sala’s name for goodness knows how long. There were even Cardiff City fans at the game that had flown over from Wales just for that.

Image result for nantes sala

Football – like any other sport, really – can be pretty divisive at times. Our tribalistic instincts really do come to the forefront when we’re in support mode. I could look at this in a more negative sense and argue that it’s sad that we need an event like this to bring people together. But instead, I think it says a lot about it that we come together in the first place. There are other walks of life where it seems anything that harms opposition is a benefit for yourself. Politics, especially, is an example of an environment where this seems to ring true.

Football fans around the world have put our differences aside for this. It’s the same way Dortmund fans put their allegiances aside and welcomed Monaco fans into their homes after the BVB bus bombing. It’s the same way the Premier League collectively mourned Leicester City owner Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha after his unfortunate death in a helicopter accident. And there are other, perhaps more humorous examples that could be given.

When you’re 1-0 down in a football match at halftime, rolling over and not bothering to contest the second half is probably the worst possible thing you could do. Anyone who knows anything about football knows that you’re best off fighting onwards together, as a unit, as a team. You won’t get anywhere if the centre-backs disagree on who should take throw-ins and the wingers won’t cross the ball in cause they don’t think the forwards are any good. You do best together, and it seems with the events of the past two weeks, the football world’s realised that, and done it.

Image credit: http://ichef.bbci.co.uk/onesport/cps/480/cpsprodpb/34A8/production/_105408431_hi052008761.jpg

and  http://sf2.sport365.fr/wp-content/uploads/se/2017/08/sala-750×410.jpg

Premier League: Our Round 24 predictions

Another week, another round of premier league football. And another few hours of me scrambling to get everyone’s tips. Folks, say hello to this week’s tips.

Alf really has overtaken Oliver recently, and retains that lead heading into round 24. He’s on 115, Oliver is on 109, and I’m on 85. *mournful sigh*

On with the tipping!

Arsenal vs Cardiff

Dan

It’s been a real tough week for Cardiff fans after the disappearance of Emiliano Sala. As much as I want them to bounce back in the right way, it’s still Arsenal. And they’re still Cardiff. It hurts to predict this. 2-0 Arsenal

Oliver

Cardiff City are going through a difficult time at the moment both on the field and off it. They’re sitting in eighteenth and club-record signing Emiliano Sala has gone missing off Alderney. It’s not looking good for them against Arsenal but I think they’ll make it closer than expected. 2-1 Arsenal

Alf

Sure, Arsenal lost their last game against Manchester United. But it’s a United side rejuvenated under Solksjær, so I’m fine with it. On the other hand, Cardiff are really bad these days. It’s a good time for Aubameyang to grab a hat-trick in the Premier League. 3-0 Arsenal

Fuham vs Brighton

Dan

Fulham were desperately unlucky to lose to Tottenham the other week, and now, they’re rested coming up against a good at times, yet inconsistent Brighton who will be frustrated after West Brom forced them into a replay in the FA Cup. I’ll pick Fulham for this one, though not confidently. 2-1 Fulham

Oliver

Brighton’s last two PL games have been against superior opponents in Liverpool and Manchester United, and so Fulham will be a match they’ll be looking forward. Fulham are Fulham, so that’s all I need to say there. 3-1 Brighton

Alf

Being knocked out of the FA Cup has its perks since they have more time to rest. Brighton just forced West Brom to a replay. With tired players, I believe that Fulham can seize the chance to look for a win. 1-0 Fulham

Wolves vs West Ham

Dan

Losses to Brighton and being shockingly dumped out of the FA Cup by Wimbledon ended West Ham’s purple patch of form. Sure, Wolves got held to a replay by Shrewsbury, but unlike their opponents they’ll have the home advantage and confidence to boot. 1-0 Wolves

Oliver

We’ve got two sides with very, very similar records going up against each other. Wolves are eighth, WHU are tenth, both with a goal difference of -4 and nine wins from 23. How could this not be a draw? 1-1 draw

Alf

The Wolves are on fire at home and they’re not a team to be looked down on. On the other hand, West Ham were humiliated by AFC Wimbledon in the FA Cup. I see the home side at least drawing this one, well, if not winning. 1-1 draw

Huddersfield vs Everton

Dan

If Huddersfield’s managerial change is going to make a difference, then this is a golden opportunity for Siewert to install some confidence and belief in his side ahead of tough clashes against Arsenal and Chelsea. And against an inconsistent Everton, I think they’ll just scrape a result. 1-0 Huddersfield

Oliver

So Everton may have just lost a cup match to a team divisions below them… but it’s Huddersfield. They’re the weakest team in the league, and everyone knows it. Even Everton will have no problem overrunning them. 2-0 Everton

Alf

Yet another home game against a strong side after the Manchester City defeat for Huddersfield. This will be Jan Siewert’s maiden game in England after Wagner’s resignation. Everton will want to continue their scoring streak, if not a winning one. 2-0 Everton

Newcastle vs Manchester City

Dan

You know, if it wasn’t for Mike Ashley Newcastle might actually have a chance of being at least competitive in this game. 3-0 Manchester City

Oliver

City know that they can’t be dropping points any more. Liverpool are ahead, and any points dropped is a gain for their opponents. With that in mind, I can see City scoring a few here to try to make a statement. 4-1 Everton

Alf

The magpies are really inconsistent these days. Against Manchester City, I don’t believe that they’ll win. At all. For City, I believe that they’ll score at least 3 goals without reply. This is Guardiola! 3-0 Manchester City

Manchester United vs Burnley

Dan

The Red Devils just keep on winning, don’t they! Burnley might go full defensive mode, but given how United are playing? Nothing is stopping the Solskjaer train. 2-0 Manchester United

Oliver

Burnley have got home advantage in this tie and they’ve not lost a league match since Round 19. Solskjaer’s got United flying, though, and I can’t see the Clarets stopping that momentum. They could, however, slightly slow it down. 2-1 Manchester United

Alf

This should be no contest at all since Burnley are really shit these days. Enough said. {Editors note: When Alf swears you know you’re really bad} 4-0 Manchester United

Southampton vs Crystal Palace

Dan

Despite their contrasting form in the FA Cup in the league, this is a very difficult match to call, with two quite even teams. So I’ll go with the option that won’t please either team. 1-1 draw

Oliver

So’ton are coming into this in better form than their opposition and frankly I can see why. The Saints are a place below Palace at the moment but I can see that changing after this match. 2-0 Southampton

Alf

I still can’t believe that Palace beat Tottenham and knocked them out of the FA Cup. This should be enough to build a momentum for them to win more games and a visit to St Mary’s shouldn’t be hard for them. 1-2 Crystal Palace

AFC Bournemouth vs Chelsea

Dan

Remember when Bournemouth were good? No, me neither. Chelsea have beaten Sheffield Wednesday and Tottenham since their loss to Arsenal and should have built up enough confidence to comfortably dispatch the cherries. 3-1 Chelsea

Oliver

This is much the same situation as Burnley against United – Bournemouth’s home advantage won’t be enough for them to take a point, especially given their downward spiral, but they should still dampen Chelsea’s play somewhat. 1-0 Chelsea

Alf

What’s wrong with Bournemouth these days? They used to be quite good but no, they started to have a shaky form. Despite of that, Chelsea’s dressing room started to be a little bit unstable after the Arsenal game. Can they nick a draw from the Blues? 1-1 draw

Liverpool vs Leicester City

Dan

Leicester are tough to predict in games like this, as they’ve been giant killers a few times already this season. Still, at home, Liverpool should win. Should. 1-0 Liverpool

Oliver

We’ve got the victors of a 4-3 match against the losers of one in this tie. Liverpool are absolutely flying and I can’t see their momentum harmed here, especially given Leicester’s poor play as of late and the pressure on Claude Puel to turn things around. 4-0 Liverpool

Alf

Both Liverpool and Leicester City, who are out of the FA Cup, shouldn’t have any excuses in this game. They have had enough rest and I believe that Liverpool will win, with all their players all guns blazing. 3-0 Liverpool

Tottenham vs Watford

Dan

This is the question that will continue to bug Tottenham until their injury crisis is over: Does their squad have the depth to win this match? For the Watford game, I think no. But they’ll still get a point. 2-2 draw.

Oliver

Here’s my upset. Watford haven’t lost in the league yet this year while Tottenham have been doing the kinds of things you’d expect of Tottenham. With all of the injuries Spurs have had, it’s hard to believe that they’d win this, and I think they’ll lose. 3-2 Watford

Alf

Out of the League Cup and the FA Cup in a row with both of them were London derbies. It’s the third for Tottenham in a week. Both losses and the injury crisis in the team will certainly hit the team morale in the dressing room. A draw would be a fair prediction. 0-0 draw

Premier League: Our round 23 predictions

After a bit of a hiatus, the FootyFans team is back and writing! And you know what we’re doing; It’s premier league predictions time.

Alf has taken the lead and is on 110 points, Oliver follows on 104, and then there is me on 80. That’s depressing.

On with the tipping!

Wolves vs Leicester

Dan

Two teams that are really fighting to be best of the rest and take that coveted seventh spot meet at the Molineux. Neither team is really setting the world alight with their form, and given that both teams are fairly defensive, this has 0-0 written on it. 0-0 draw

Oliver

Both sides lost their last matches, Leicester to Southampton and Wolves to Manchester City. Wolves, however, had centre-back Willy Boly sent off, and for a side with such a strong starting 11 and a lack of reserves, that’s concerning. 2-1 Leicester

Alf

The Wolves were being beaten by a strong Manchester City side away. Leicester lost to strugglers Southampton at home, despite gaining an advantage in numbers. Both sides met each other in the Carabao Cup with a 0-0 draw. I’ll expect goals on this one, though. 1-1 draw

Liverpool vs Crystal Palace

Dan

Ah, Crystal Palace. Liverpool’s banana skin. With some recently impressive away form, and their good record against Liverpool, I can see Palace getting a point out of this. 1-1 draw

Oliver

Palace have always been a bit of a stumbling block for Liverpool. They’ve also got a good record against top-six sides. While I don’t think they’ll manage to pull a win out, I do think they’ll take a point. 1-1 draw

Alf

Palace’s form in the previous games were like a roller coaster. Liverpool, on the other hand, are stable enough to win their games. An away defeat should be expected for the Eagles fans but the team will learn their lessons from Arsenal. 3-0 Liverpool

Watford vs Burnley

Dan

Both teams have started 2019 strongly, and this one will be tight. In the end, it will go down to which team has the stronger side – and that’s Watford. 2-1 Watford

Oliver

Burnley are actually in pretty good nick. They haven’t lost a league match this year and they’re starting to bump their way up the table. Too bad a very good Watford will stop them in their tracks. 2-0 Watford

Alf

The Clarets are currently being dragged out of the relegation zone but no, everything can change if they’re not careful enough. Watford are safe and sound to stay in the Premier League. Burnley may be able to pull a surprise on Watford but highly unlikely. 3-0 Watford

Newcastle vs Cardiff City

Dan

It took Newcastle a replay to beat Blackburn while Cardiff lost to Gillingham and couldn’t beat Huddersfield. This one is gonna come down to whoever is worse on the day, and I’m gonna say that team is going to be Cardiff. 1-0 Newcastle

Oliver

Both of these sides are just really bad, there’s not much else to say. I can’t see either of them even scoring a goal – wait, what’s that? Oumar Niasse is at Cardiff? They’ve got this one then. 2-0 Cardiff

Alf

If you love to see how relegation favourites play against each other, you shouldn’t miss this one. Cardiff are really poor these days while against Blackburn in the FA Cup replay, they displayed their quality to stay in the PL while Cardiff will, well, play like their usual self. 2-0 Newcastle

Manchester United vs Brighton

Dan

At this rate, Ole will get the United job full time at the end of the season as the red devils rampage up the table. A team will hold them eventually, but that team ain’t Brighton. 3-1 United

Oliver

I won’t even try to justify this. Ole’s flying. Brighton are… well… Brighton. They can put up their little paper defence and United are gonna put their shredder right through it. This could be bigger, mind. 4-0 United

Alf

Under Solskjær, United are improving while Brighton under Hughton are stagnating. Arsenal fans must hope that United will lose this one as their club will drop to 6th if Arsenal lose the London derby later. 3-0 United

Bournemouth vs West Ham

Dan

Bournemouth have been struggling while West Ham have been winning. It’ll be confidence that wins this. 3-2 West Ham

Oliver

Bournemouth are really on a decline. They were sitting up pretty nicely for quite a while, just south of the top six, and now they’re down to twelfth. West Ham are a team on the up and should take a win here. 3-1 West Ham

Alf

I believe that it’ll be an equal contest between Howe and Pelligrini’s men. West Ham, though, will have a bigger chance to win as they beat Arsenal last week, which will, supposedly, give them a mentality boost. 1-1 draw

Southampton vs Everton

Dan

This should be a game that ends up with an Everton win, but the toffees just have no consistency. With Southampton continually improving in the prem at least under Hassenhuttl, Southampton should nick three points. 2-1 Southampton

Oliver

Oh, Everton, the ever-inconsistent mid-table team everyone loves to feel indifferent about. I’m of course hoping that this match swings in their favour, especially since Southampton are missing the suspended Valery. And I think they’ll take a win. 2-0 Everton

Alf

Southampton are winning games while Everton are pretty stale at the moment. I’m sorry, Oliver, but Southampton really can cause problems to your club and yeah, they’re capable of pulling an upset to the away fans. 1-0 Southampton

Arsenal vs Chelsea

Dan

There’s just no consistency from ethier side here. This can really go anyway, and both sides can really be world class on their day. As this can go any way, I’ll bet on the points being shared. 2-2 draw

Oliver

This will be a tight match. Not long ago, I would have picked Arsenal to win, but they’ve been a little off recently. Chelsea just keep Chelseaing along, and I think they’ve got just enough to get the win despite being away from home. 2-1 Chelsea

Alf

If Arsenal want to be back to Top 4, they mustn’t lose this one. While they have had a pretty decent record against Chelsea at home, the away side will want to extend their lead in the table. The home team? If they can’t win this one, at least salvage a point! 1-1 Draw

Huddersfield Town vs Manchester City

Dan

Solskjaer’s appointment at United showed just how much a managerial change can effect players. While I doubt Wagner’s will spark a similar run of form for the Terriers, I think they might just be able to give City a game. 1-0 Manchester City

Oliver

We’ve got the last-placed team against the side that should be top. It’ll get big. City might be away from home but I’d still pick them to score a lot of goals, the way they do. Three? Not enough. Four? Maybe a couple more. 6-0 Manchester City

Alf

Huddersfield may be hitting the rock bottom of the PL table but they’re not leaking goals like they did in the past. They started to know how to hit the back of the net too, so as the home side, while very unlikely, they may be able to pull a surprise upset on the champions. 2-0 Manchester City

Fulham vs Tottenham

Dan

Son out, Kane out, Dembele sold, Spurs are a little down on luck right now. And you know what? Despite how trash Fulham have been, I think Caludio Raineri will do a Claudio Raineri and upset Poch & Co. 2-1 Fulham

Oliver

It’s much the same with Fulham and Spurs. Despite their large injury numbers, Spurs should still take a confident win here, especially given Fulham’s dismal defensive record. 4-0 Tottenham

Alf

Kane’s injured. Son’s playing for South Korea. Let’s be honest, this will hurt Tottenham’s chances to score loads of goals. But I still believe that they’ll win the London derby because in reality, they’ll need just one. 1-0 Tottenham