The North London Derby – An old affair of a new fashion

The North London Derby – An old affair of a new fashion

Arsène Wenger may not have noticed that at Wembley, he played the last North London derby with his beloved Arsenal this February. And the score wasn’t in his favour as Harry Kane scored the winning goal.

Now, in place of Wenger, an energetic, young Spaniard called Unai Emery will be standing on the touchline of the Emirates to gesture to his players and scream at them like a kid when they don’t play well.

Admit it, Arsenal are still the same old club but with a brand-new look. On the other hand, there isn’t much change in the squad (and stadium) for Tottenham. Not to mention that Pochettino is still here.

This is why the North London derby is a rejuvenated duel between both Spanish speaking coaches and their men. Whoever wins doesn’t matter because when they meet each other again, it’ll be a more tense affair than ever.

It’s the dress rehearsal for the Carabao Cup semi-final for both sides.

If the Gunners win the match, not only they can declare that “London is red” but also, laugh at their fierce rivals of “not being able to in a cup final”. On the other hand, Tottenham will want to make history at Holloway. Not just a derby for both sides.

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: Arsenal FC vs Tottenham Hotspur FC

Kick-off time: 2 December 2018, 1730 BST

Ground: Emirates Stadium, London, UK

Kits: Home (red and white by Puma) vs Home (white and blue by Nike)

Referee: Mike Dean

Injury list: Koscielny, Lacazette, Lichtsteiner, Mavropanos, Monreal, Welbeck (Arsenal), Janssen, M. Dembélé (Tottenham)

Form of both clubs

Arsenal (DDDWW)

  1. 1-1 home draw against Liverpool in the Premier League (Lacazette; Milner)
  2. 0-0 home draw against Sporting Lisbon in the Europa League
  3. 1-1 home draw against Wolves in the Premier League (Mkhitaryan; Cavaleiro)
  4. 2-1 away win against Bournemouth in the Premier League (King; Lerma OG, Aubameyang)
  5. 3-0 away win against Vorskla in the Europa League (Smith-Rowe, Ramsey PEN, J. Willock)

Tottenham (WWWWW)

  1. 3-2 away win against Wovles in the Premier League (Neves PEN, Jiménez PEN; Lamela, Moura, Kane)
  2. 2-1 home win against PSV Eindhoven in the Champions Legue (Kane x2; de Jong)
  3. 1-0 away win against Crystal Palace in the Premier League (Foyth)
  4. 3-1 home win against Chelsea in the Premier League (Alli, Kane, Son; Giroud)
  5. 1-0 home win against Inter Milan in the Champions League (Eriksen)

Score predictions and analysis: 

  1. “Despite Arsenal have the home advantage, it’s Tottenham they’re playing and the Gunners haven’t been playing well against the Top 6 sides this season. It’ll be of no surprise for me if it ends in a draw or a win for the travelling party. Plus, Leno won’t keep a clean sheet. Let’s not talk about the referee, who’s a supporter of the visitors. 2-1 Tottenham” (Alf)
  2. “This is going to be a hell of a match. Both sides are coming off a win, with Spurs three points and two places higher. Arsenal have begun to falter, but I still see this being an entertaining, and high-scoring, draw. 2-2 draw” (Oliver)
  3. “I just can’t choose. Both teams are looking very fine right now, and I can only see them both getting frustrated when the points are shared. 1-1 draw” (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.

Three reasons why Real Madrid won’t win the Champions League this year

Three reasons why Real Madrid won’t win the Champions League this year

2018 hasn’t been a great year for Madridistas. After selling Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus this summer, Real Madrid are now 6th in La Liga and as the defending champions, qualified for the round 16 of the Champions League.

Despite being experienced, I believe that Real Madrid winning the UCL at their arch-rivals’ stadium next year. Here are the reasons why – in the first year of “post-Cristiano era” – Madrid will struggle in their favourite competition.

Reason 1 – The defence is inconsistent.  

I’ve seen a lot of Barcelona-related fan accounts on Instagram who mocks and trolls Thibaut Courtois for his performance. It doesn’t matter if he’s with his club or country, 5 is the number the Culés always talk about when it comes to the Belgian keeper.

While I have sympathy towards Courtois as a rival fan, it shows that Real Madrid are no longer the strong team they used to be. It’s not just goalkeeping but also, the vulnerable backline. You know that it’s a big problem when they can’t beat Eibar away.

Introducing new, younger defenders from the academy can be a good option. They certainly can recall Archaf Hakimi from Dortmund as a reward of his stellar performance with the Germans. But Pérez and the Board members may have other ideas in their heads.

By the way, Navas should be given more chances to play in goal. Courtois may not like the feeling of sitting on the bench but “preferred keepers” shouldn’t be a thing in Real Madrid as rotations have to be made in their busy schedules, be it Copa del Rey, La Liga and the Champions League. Just saying.

Reason 2 – The fighting mentality is gone.

One of the reasons why I have huge respect for Real Madrid is that I really admire their spirit. Juanito, who was a legend playing for the club before his death, once said a famous quote regarding his club:

“Noventa minuti en el Bernabéu son molto longos.” 

It means “90 minutes at the Bernabéu is a long time” in Spanish. In these days, however, it seems that Estadio Santiago Bernabéu is becoming the playground of the big and middle clubs, with the home side occasionally lose to the visitors and drop points.

Aside from the form at the Bernabéu, it’ll be better for the Madridistas to forget their conditions when they’re playing an away fixture. The lack of will to fight back after conceding goals is what stops Real Madrid from winning games.

Of course, you may argue that it’s all about luck because you can’t score every time when you shoot. But the truth is, it’s what the current Madrid squad lack. And Solari should remind the players about the “ethos of Juanito”.

All the time when they train and play.

This is essential to Real Madrid’s defence of their title, especially when they’re in the knockout stages of the UCL, where it’ll be a long journey to the final. After all, winning the Champions League isn’t just about the physical form but about mental endurance.

Reason 3 – The decision on their biggest star.

With Bale, Benzema, Asensio and Mariano misfiring these days, it is rumoured that they’ll be splashing clash for a proven attacker like Eden Hazard, Harry Kane and Neymar, who played for their eternal enemy Barcelona before transferring to PSG.

The adverse effects of the departure of the Portugal captain are now being displayed on the scoreboards of the stadiums the Spaniards play at. It’s not just the Bernabéu but Camp Nou, Luzhniki Stadium and most recently, the Ipurúa.

Yes, Real Madrid weren’t just Cristiano Ronaldo. But the truth is, he made everything easier for the team and was more than just a goalscorer. He also gave assists and was a leader in the dressing room who cheered everyone up when they were down.

Real Madrid shouldn’t have sold Cristiano Ronaldo to Juventus. They may not miss their former leading man and the glory days with him. Alas, the damage is already done. Now they’ll have to do their best to keep moving forward and play as a team.

I wish that Los Blancos can prove me wrong and claim their 14th Champions League title in Madrid next year to make history.

Yet, realistically, it won’t be easy for the title holders to get ahold of the Ol’ Big Ears for the fourth consecutive time with the shabby defence, inconsistent form and ineffective attacking options.

Let’s see how far they’ll go this season. They may be able to be in the semis if they’re fortunate but chances are they’ll go out in the quarter-finals, if not a humiliation in the Round 16 (like the “pre-Cristiano era” of Madrid).

Yay or Ney? Barcelona should strive to become more than just MSN

Yay or Ney? Barcelona should strive to become more than just MSN

As a Barcelona fan who heard the recent rumours about Neymar’s possible return to La Liga, let me make this very clear: I don’t want Neymar to be back. It’s not about his attitude but a product of the realistic situation.

I’ll never deny that MSN, or the Messi-Suárez-Neymar trio amassed goals before the deal of the Brazilian to PSG materialised. I also recognise Neymar is the third-best player in the world, behind Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi.

Here’s the problem, though. A big one. If Barcelona decides to agree on a deal for Neymar, then it’s very likely that two young players will be affected. Ousmane Dembélé and Malcom Oliveria.

Without a doubt, Dembélé is a player with the pace to tear up the opposition defence. He also gives assists to his fellow teammates. Sadly, he doesn’t defend but the best thing ever?

He’s just 21, a month and eleven days younger than me.

However, there are transfer talks concerning the French player, stating that he has a problem with his attitude and isn’t happy under Ernesto Valverde.

While Arsenal can be one of the future destinations in his journey, I believe that he should stay. The reason? Neymar needs a backup and I see Dembélé as Barcelona’s “plan B”.

I get it, Neymar is a quality player who deserves to be in the starting lineup, but there’s no guarantee that he doesn’t get injured. Also, Valverde may want to rotate the squad for the Copa del Rey and give the youngsters playing time.

In this case, I’ll be more than happy if Dembélé stays.

Of course, no one wants to become a benchwarmer at Camp Nou if they have the quality to contribute as a regular. Yet, it’ll be foolish for Barcelona to sell Dembélé in the middle of Neymar’s deal.

The Barcelona board should remember themselves that “failing to plan is planning to fail”, as Benjamin Franklin said. Thus, provided that Neymar is back and Dembélé stays, the impact would be inflicted on the poor newbie.

And yes, I’m talking about Malcom Oliveria.

Malcom joined Barcelona this summer after a controversial move from Bordeaux, with the contract being snatched from Roma’s hands (something I, as a football fan, despise).

The miserable fact is that he’s not getting a lot of playing time. This is why it is also rumoured that he’s looking for a new club in the Janurary transfer window, having fed up with Valverde.

His performance was okay and scored the vital goal against Inter Milan in the Champions League, but it is yet to be seen if he can make an impact to the Barcelona first team.

In my opinion, loaning the Brazilian out would be the better option than selling – as you’ll never know what will happen to those “benchwarmers” when they’re playing for a new club.

Just look at Alcácer. If he can do it, why can’t Malcom do the same?

Yet, this is where it gets complicated. Considering Neymar, Dembélé and Malcom as a trio of attack. It’ll be best if they can play together, but if only two of them can stay, who should pack his luggage and find a new club?

Neymar’s possible return to Barcelona complicates matters to the team as it will relegate either Dembélé and Malcom to the bench. The worse case? Pushing one of them out of the club, which may result in a bad decision.

With the ample funds inside their bank account, I believe that Barça should sort out their priorities.

Signing a nice defender, whether from the other teams or have him promoted from La Masia, is always the better thing to do than getting Neymar back.

Neymar is an excellent player but the good old days will never be back. Deal with it, Culés. We’ll need to move on from the past. Just leave MSN behind in the history books at Camp Nou. We’re “more than a club”, aren’t we?

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.

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?

El Clásico – the blockbuster is still a good show without the stars

El Clásico – the blockbuster is still a good show without the stars

The first El Clásico of the 18/19 season in the Spanish La Liga is no ordinary fixture for both Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The main man for the home side, Leo Messi, will be absent owing to the injury he contracted while playing against Sevilla while Real Madrid has sold their main man, Cristiano Ronaldo, to Juventus in the summer transfer window.

For those who would like to see Cristiano Ronaldo playing against Messi, they may want to wish for a “Barcelona vs Juventus” clash in the Champions League. Nevertheless, it’s still a tie for football fans to anticipate and a good excuse to grab popcorns.

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, score predictions by our fans.

Continue reading “El Clásico – the blockbuster is still a good show without the stars”

5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak

5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak

As an Arsenal fan myself, I expected my favourite club to struggle under the first year with Unai Emery, who became Arsène Wenger’s successor.

In spite of the first two defeats in the Premier League, they’re in, currently, a 10 game winning streak, which is impressive. Here are some points I’d like to take note of during these games. Continue reading “5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak”