Premier League: Our round 16 predictions

In 8 days, this is the third(!) time I’ve written this post. The fixtures just keep on coming, and we here at FootyFans will be (badly) predicting it the whole way. Well, not all of us – Oliver couldn’t get his predictions in this week.

Oliver is knocking on the door as he leads the pack on 94 points, Alf continues to narrow the gap as he’s on 86, and I’m also starting to pick up more points as I sit on 71.

On with the tipping!

Bournemouth vs Liverpool

Dan

Liverpool’s unbeaten streak has to end. It has too. And what better team to end it than one of the most criminally underrated in the league? I’m backing Bournemouth to win here. 2-1 Bournemouth

Alf

Bournemouth may have lost the last few games but they all hit the back of the net successfully as a consolation. Liverpool just won against the Clarets, although Salah’s not scoring, Firmino and Shaqiri will be there to take the points back home. 3-1 Liverpool

Image result for liverpool

Burnley vs Brighton

Dan

Brighton struggle on the road, while Burnley aren’t too bad at home. Sean Dyche & Co should be able to eek out a 1-0 here. 1-0 Burnley

Alf

Yes, Burnley may have lost against a quality Liverpool travelling party but finally, they’ve scored a goal. Hopefully, this will help to gain the confidence of the forwards. Brighton, though, would not want to leave Turf Moor with nothing. It’s going to be a draw. 2-2 draw

Manchester United vs Fulham

Dan

United continue to just draw with sides, both good and bad. I can see that sort of mediocrity continuing, when you look Mourinho’s struggles and Ranieri’s quality. 1-1 draw

Alf

The Fulham players must be jotting notes when they were watching Arsenal playing against their opponents next game. Honestly, Mourinho should go when if the home side get nothing after the 90 minutes. It should be an easy win, on paper. 4-1 United

Image result for jose mourinho

Arsenal vs Huddersfield

Dan

Undefeated in 20 games in all competitions now, Arsenal continue to show just how much they have improved under Emery, and Huddersfield should be brushed aside fairly easily. 3-0 Arsenal

Alf

I’m a bit disappointed that my team slipped the lead twice when they faced Manchester United to force a draw. To be honest, in the “Herbert Chapman derby”, Arsenal should be able to get the points, but they won’t win big like last season, where they humiliated the visitors 5-0. 2-0 Arsenal

Cardiff vs Southampton

Dan

Southampton have a new manager, so this could potentially go anyway. However, Cardiff have won 3 out of their last home games and are proving a tough challenge, and a challenge that Southampton will not be able to overcome. 2-1 Cardiff

Alf

It’s Ralph Hasenhüttl’s first game in charge as the Saints manager. It’s also his first 90 minutes in England and is not going to be a smooth sailing for the former RB Leipzig boss. Cardiff will be working hard to get the win and force the Saints to make mistakes. But that’s okay, who doesn’t? 1-1 draw

West Ham vs Crystal Palace

Dan

With six goals and two wins in their last two matches, I think we are finally seeing the West Ham we thought we’d see at the start of the season. If they can keep that sort of form up against Palace, then it’ll be another easy win. 2-0 West Ham

Alf

Palace lost the M23 derby away against Brighton. West Ham won against Cardiff. The scores for both fixtures were 3-1. Is history going to repeat itself? I think so. 3-1 West Ham

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Chelsea vs Manchester City

Dan

God damn it Chelsea. Two weeks ago, I was confident that this match was going to be City’s first defeat. But, then you had to go and fall out of form. I hate myself for doing so, but I’ll tip City to win here. 2-1 City

Alf

Chelsea were beaten 2-1 away by the Wolves while City won 1-2 away against Watford. Sarri will demand his men to put up a good fight to against the table toppers. Not going to lie but I really like the away kit of the visitors this season (you won’t see me later, I guess). 3-1 City

Leicester vs Tottenham

Dan

Leicester are another criminally underrated side, and beating them is no easy task. They’ll be able to frustrate Tottenham a lot in this game, and come out with a point. 1-1 draw

Alf

Well, it’s Tottenham and they’re visiting Leicester. Unless the Foxes are planning to stage a comeback like what Arsenal did in the North London derby, I can see the Lillywhites to grab all 3 points back to north London. 3-0 Tottenham

Newcastle vs Wolves

Dan

I have to pinch myself to remind myself that yes, Wolves did actually Chelsea. Considering the inconsistent form, and goal scoring issues of both teams, I can see this being a goalless draw, although I don’t think it’ll be boring. 0-0 draw

Alf

Did anyone really expect the Wolves to win against Chelsea? Even I myself was surprised! Newcastle will be an uphill climb for the wolves but they’re hungry enough to catch the magpies off guard for a tasty “chicken dinner”. 3-1 Wolves

Image result for wolves fc

Everton vs Watford

Dan

When you compare the two teams, Everton have proven that slow and steady wins the race, as they sit in the top six while Watford, despite their electric start are in 11th. With their superior quality, Everton will show Watford who’s boss. 2-0 Everton

Alf

The “Marco Silva derby” is finally here. But the Premier League is no place for sentiment. Everton do have an advantage in getting the points but Silva, as the former Toffees coach, knows how they’ll do it. If it’s not a draw, I don’t know what it is.2-2 draw

 

 

Football’s golden oldies – the oldest football players around the world

Earlier this week, the Wellington Phoenix announced their signing of Australian goalkeeper Ante Covic as an injury cover for Filip Kurto. Covic isn’t a bad goalkeeper – he’s represented his country and he’s played in three European countries as well as Australia. However, he’s also forty-three years old, two months older than his own manager Mark Rudan. That puts him at the older end of active players, but he’s not the oldest. Let’s look at who is.

Across Europe

Before we can go up, we have to go down. The Premier League doesn’t currently have any players as old as Covic, but it does have 16 players over the age of 35. Twelve of these players are goalkeepers, with the exceptions being Glenn Murray, Jermain Defoe, Phil Jagielka and Bruno Saltor, the oldest outfield Premier League player at the age of 38. Only one player crosses the line into 39 – Crystal Palace keeper Julian Speroni.

Image result for julian speroni

La Liga’s oldest is 38-year-old Juanjo Camacho at Huesca, while Serie A has Stefano Sorrentino, 39. The Bundesliga goes up to 40 with Claudio Pizarro of Werder Bremen. Ligue 1 has two more 40+ players, Gianluigi Buffon, 40, and Montpellier captain Hilton, 41.

But we can go higher.

Across the World

Let’s look at international players. It’s increasingly common for footballers to retire early from international service, for a number of reasons – for young players to come through, to focus on club commitments, etc. And this isn’t so bad if you play for, say, Germany, where there’s a talent pool big enough to bring someone into your shoes.

That’s not really applicable, however, for a smaller country, somewhere without the population or facilities to excel in football – or much else, for that matter – but still loves the game. Somewhere like Andorra, the nation of one of the three active international players over the age of 40.

Juli Sanchez was born in 1978. He’s had a decent career by Andorran standards, playing in his home country as well as Spain and Portugal. He made his debut in Andorra’s first FIFA-recognised match, and he managed to get on the scoresheet in their win over Belarus in 2000, their first-ever. He’s played 70 games now for the tiny Pyrenees nation. In many ways, his career is the story of football in Andorra. And he’s still kicking – he played in Andorra’s most recent match, against Latvia, as a substitute.

Image result for andorra

For our other two international players over 40, we’re going to leave Europe in favour of the Caribbean.

I can’t find much information on Benny Labadie – perhaps it’s a side effect of playing for the U.S. Virgin Islands. In any case, he was born in 1977 and is forty-one years of age. He spent seven years at Skills F.C. in the Saint Croix Soccer League – there are two separate leagues in the Virgin Islands for mainly geographic reasons. He now plays for Rovers in the same league, he’s a goalkeeper, and that’s about all there is to know. Oh, and he started the Virgin Islands’ most recent match, a 3-0 loss to Barbados in November.

But there is one current international player that is older, and we don’t have to go far to find him.

400km southeast of Saint-Croix, we find the nation of Dominica. There’s only seventy thousand people on the island, and as such, quality footballers are had to come by. This explains the case of Euclid Bertrand, who was born in 1974 and is 44 years of age. Bertrand isn’t a bad footballer, having played in sixteen matches for Dominica, including just a month ago against Sint-Maarten. He’s also got five years’ experience up in Canada – not bad for a Dominican given the rest of their squad either play at home or elsewhere in the Caribbean.

Image result for dominica

But we can go higher.

At Club Level

Remember Essam El-Hadary? Of course you do. The Egyptian shot-stopper became the oldest ever player at a FIFA World Cup earlier this year when he played against Saudi Arabia – and saved a penalty – at the age of 45. He’s been left off the internationals part of this article simply because he retired from international football after the World Cup. However, he’s still playing club football, having left Saudi club Al-Taawoun in favour of former club Ismaily back in Egypt. His 46th birthday is in January, and he’s showing no signs of slowing down.

He’s by no means the only one still kicking at 45 – there’s also Oscar Perez, currently at Pachuca. Also a goalkeeper, Perez has 57 Mexico caps and went to two World Cups – 2002 and 2010. He’s not still playing international football, unfortunately, but he’ll be 46 in March and one can assume he won’t stop playing club football.

Image result for oscar perez

We can go older than both El-Hadary and Perez, though, and we’re going back to Andorra to do it.

Leonel Gancedo’s a pretty experienced footballer. He’s played for River Plate and Osasuna among other clubs. He’s got a Copa Libertadores in his trophy cabinet, along with six other competition wins. He retired at the start of 2009, at the age of 37, and one would assume that that was the end of Leonel Gancedo.

It was not. Encamp in Andorra hired him as player-manager in September this year, and Gancedo’s played fifty-one minutes over the course of three matches. He’s not done well at all, as Encamp are sitting in last place with one point and five goals scored in ten games, but he does get the distinction of being the world’s oldest footballer.

Well, no he actually doesn’t. We’re going across Europe, and across Asia, all the way to Japan.

The story of Kazuyoshi Miura

File:Kazu Miura, Roberto Baggio and Tsuyoshi Kitazawa.jpg

We’ve all heard of Stanley Matthews, haven’t we? The Englishman was one of the greats of the first half of the 20th century in footballing terms. He played a very long career, 1932 to 1965, and played for England for twenty-four years. He spent nineteen years at Stoke City and fourteen at Blackpool. He’s a true legend of the early game.

Kazuyoshi Miura’s not had that same loyalty – he’s played for thirteen clubs in his career, only two of which he’s been at for more than five years – but he has broken Matthews’ record as the oldest-ever professional footballer, which he achieved in March 2017. He’s played in a few countries – Brazil, Japan, Italy, Croatia and Australia – and he picked up almost ninety Japan caps in his ten years of international football before he retired in 2000 aged 33.

Since 2005 he’s been playing for Yokohama FC (no, not F. Marinos) in the Japanese second-tier. He’s seen twelve managers in that time, and even though his role has been somewhat diminished under new boss Edson Tavares, he’s still going at it at the age of 51. And I, for one, don’t see him stopping.

Why fan pages of football clubs on Instagram are overrated

Why fan pages of football clubs on Instagram are overrated

I follow a lot of football clubs as a lover of “the beautiful game”. And as a social media addict, I also happen to use Instagram to take a look at the latest football news and chat with my fellow football fans.

However, if you follow my personal account, you’ll know that I follow no fan pages of my favourite clubs with one exception – a BVB fan page which provides English translations for their posts (I do so to help me to learn German).

Unlike one of my friends, who is a Barcelona fan and follows the fan accounts of all kinds, I’ll never pay attention to the fan pages like what I used to do. Or I’d say, I have a critical view towards them.

The cause of this mindset? The fan pages can be biased and the news they share to us can be wrong. 


I’ll use Barcelona as an example for your easier understanding. We know that Barcelona is one of the most decorated clubs in the world and have a long-standing rivalry with Real Madrid. For those who follow football, this shouldn’t be hard to explain, right?

I’m not going to generalise the whole situation on Instagram and not going to lie, a few fan pages did really a good job of being neutral in the middle of the friction. But at the same time, I have observed that a number of them are one-sided. It doesn’t matter if they’re Culés or Madridistas, bragging right is what they’re fighting for.

What some of the Culés do is that they troll Cristiano Ronaldo and Real Madrid (with a “once in a blue moon” chance, Juventus) all day long. Even if Real are playing well, they always happen to get a reason to do it. In return, some Madridistas do the reverse to Messi and Barcelona, calling them “Uefalona” (which isn’t true nowadays).

The lack of respect towards their eternal rivals disgusts me.

I’m not saying that they should love their enemies as they love their own club, like what the Bible said (with reference to Matthew 5:44). I also respect their right to speak out on Instagram. However, when I see this kind of stuff, I tend to ignore them or laugh them off. Occasionally, I’ll leave them a “like”. Then I continue to read the other posts.

As football fans, we’re entitled to our own beliefs. In this case, you don’t have to be impartial or neutral. Yet, it’ll be better if we read more from different kinds of sources to know about the whole picture of the sport.

To be fair, somehow Mourinho is right about the “respect” issue in football. In reality, it is hard for supporters of one club not to be subjective towards their eternal rivals. Despite that, football should forever be a playing field with elements of fair-play, whether it’s on or off the pitch.

Only if we know it the footballing community can be a better place. Just like what we wrote on Instagram:


Speaking of which, as you’ve noticed, we do have our own Instagram account. So why don’t you drop by, take a look at our contents and give them a “like”? A “follow” will be much appreciated!

I swear that this isn’t a post to advertise our presence on Instagram, but oh well…

Why I started to watch the women’s team of Arsenal play

Why I started to watch the women’s team of Arsenal play

We all love watching men’s football and without a doubt, most of our posts are about 20 men running and fighting for the possession of the ball.

However, in recent days, women’s football started to grab my attention and eventually, I became a fan of the women’s team of Arsenal, just like what I did to their men’s counterpart.

Of course, I’m not supporting Arsenal just because of Vivianne Miedema (and her smile), my favourite player of the squad. The reasons why I’m a fan of the female Gunners? Here you go!

  1. The connection with the men’s team. I love Arsenal as a club. Despite women’s football doesn’t get much attention compared to the men’s counterpart, the Gooners family is quite supportive of their young ladies.
  2. The history. As the most-decorated club in English women’s football, they also won the Women’s Champions League in 2006/07 as the first English club to do so. Ironically, the men’s team failed to do the same – sad!
  3. The quality of the squad. Of course, Arsenal Women aren’t just about Vivianne Miedema, but also other good international players like Jordan Nobbs, Daniëlle van de Donk, Sari van Veenendaal and Lia Wältl.
  4. The fighting mentality. The female Gunners aren’t just models off the pitch. They’re warriors when they don their jerseys, doesn’t matter which colour it is. Just like the boys these days who’ll do everything for the points.
  5. The style of the football they deliver. Joe Montemurro does a great job in managing the team, who reminded me of Emery of the men’s team – ruthless in making changes and a proven motivator in the dressing room.

If you really want to watch regular women’s football, the FA Women’s Super League (FAWSL) can be a good start.

Yet, Arsenal aren’t the only side with a decent team. Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool are also eager to become the table toppers despite the fact that luck wasn’t on their side. And this is what makes the FAWSL interesting.

In fact, women’s football is underrated these days. A number of international clubs like Bayern Munich, Juventus and most recently, Manchester United have their own women’s team, nonetheless, they’re in the shadows of their men’s counterpart.

Football should be a sport for everyone, regardless of their gender. Let’s promote women’s football and have them gain the recognition it deserves! Come on you Gunners!

Premier League: Our round 14 predictions

Premier League: Our round 14 predictions

Hoo boy, we are at that time of year. The games are coming thick and fast for the premier league sides now, and that means that this post is gonna be everywhere on FootyFans now.

Shockingly, the positions still haven’t changed from last round. I’m last on 61, Alf is on 73, and Oliver is on 85.

On with the tipping!

Cardiff City vs Wolverhampton Wanderers

Image result for Cardiff vs Wolves

Dan

Tricky one to predict. Wolves haven’t won since early October, while Cardiff are on a run of winning a game then losing a game. Given how out of form Wolves are, and given that they lost to Everton last time out, I’ll go with Cardiff to edge this one. 2-1 Cardiff

Oliver

This game is screaming boring at me. Wolves somehow lost to Huddersfield at home, while Cardiff are just Cardiff. It’s not possible for both teams to lose, but it is possible for neither team to score and that’s what will happen. 0-0 draw

Alf

The Wolves may have lost against Huddersfield and Cardiff may have dropped points against Everton. Both sides will be eager to win but history will prove otherwise – a draw will be the most desirable results for them. 1-1 draw

AFC Bournemouth vs Manchester City

Dan

Bournemouth are no pushovers – rather, they’re quite a good team. This is a tip, but it’s also a prayer, for as a United fan who hates City, please, please let City drop points here. 2-2 draw

Oliver

Bournemouth are starting to drop off a little from their brilliant early-season form, and Manchester City managed a 4-0 win away last week. I wouldn’t expect them to go that high but it’s an easy win for the Citizens. 3-1 City

Alf

The Cherries battled till the end but eventually, missed the chance to edge Arsenal at home. As they arrive at the Etihad, it’ll be no surprise if they leave the stadium without a single point. It’ll be a miracle for Begović if he keeps a clean sheet, if not making multiple saves in a thrashing. 4-0 City

Leicester City vs Watford

Dan

Leicester are undefeated in four, while Watford haven’t won in three. With the home advantage, I can see Leicester taking the points, going above Watford, and making Watford’s win less run extend to four games. 2-1 Leicester

Oliver

A James Maddison-less Leicester City will be considerably less effective against a Watford side one place above them in the table, but despite that, I expect a fairly even match. Both sides are about as good as each other, even if the Foxes are missing their talented youngster. 1-1 draw

Alf

Both sides are looking to solidify their Top 10 spots. Naturally, it’ll be a draw but it’s Leicester’s home hame, so the advantage should help the Foxes to grab all three points. Sorry, Watford supporters! 2-1 Leicester

Crystal Palace vs Burnley

Image result for Crystal Palace vs Burnley

Dan

Two defensive teams in the lower echelons of the table face off, and honestly, this has a 0-0 draw written all over it. 0-0 draw.

Oliver

What’s happened to Burnley? They were so good last season and it’s just fallen to pieces for them. Losing to Crystal Palace would be a cruel blow, but one I feel is likely to happen as Sean Dyche moves ever-closer to the sack. 1-0 Palace

Alf

Palace managed to grab a point against a rather weak Manchester United lineup. Burnley lost to an improving Newcastle side at home. Again, Burnley will have difficulties in containing Zaha and won’t last long in the PL if they continue to play like this. 2-0 Palace

Newcastle vs West Ham

Dan

Fucking Newcastle. No matter what I tip for them, they will always do the opposite. Anyway, with the run of form that they are on, they should beat the Hammers at home. But hey, it’s Newcastle, so they naturally won’t. 2-1 Newcastle

Oliver

You know things are bleak when Newcastle’s being tipped to win against you, and that’s how I feel about West Ham. A 4-0 loss at home is embarrassing even if it’s against Manchester City and nothing’s gonna get better after this match. 2-0 Newcastle

Alf

The Hammers lost to a quality Manchester City traveling party. The Magpies are soaring high under Benítez. A tricky fixture to predict, nonetheless, and it’s perfectly normal to have it ending in a draw. 1-1 draw.

Huddersfield vs Brighton

Dan

Huddersfield won? Last week? Against Wolves? Trust me, I can’t understand it either, but if they can do it away against Wolves, they’ll do it against Brighton too. Are we seeing a revival from the terriers? 2-0 Huddersfield

Oliver

Huddersfield are finally starting to pick up some steam. It’s taken a while, but the Yorkshire club are now in fifteenth and haven’t lost in three. I don’t think they’ll win this, but I can’t see them losing either. 1-1 draw

Alf

Aaron Mooy’s brace means, in reality, nothing to Huddersfield as they have yet to find their confidence to find the back of the net. Against Brighton, who scores almost every time they play, they’ll struggle to defend against them. 1-0 Brighton

Southampton vs Manchester United

Dan

Much like last week, two goal-shy sides go up against each other. This could be another frustrating 0-0, but like against Young Boys, I expect United will somehow salvage three points. 1-0 United

Oliver

I’m going completely against the grain here and giving the win to eighteenth-placed Southampton. Manchester United are not in a good way and they’re coming off a Champions League match, I can see the Saints picking up the three. 1-0 Southampton

Alf

The statistics are favouring and hence, encouraging to Manchester United. Southampton, on the other hand, fell short of one goal against Fulham away. With de Gea having a MOTM performance against Young Boys in the UCL, United fans can wish for an awaited clean sheet. 2-0 United

Chelsea vs Fulham

Dan

While Chelsea’s form may be in a bit of a slide, and Fulham might have won in Raineri’s first match, it’s really hard to see anything but a Chelsea win here. Expect goals from two attacking sides. 3-2 Chelsea

Oliver

One would think Chelsea would run riot in this match, but after the loss to Tottenham, I’m not so sure. That said, Fulham are really, really bad, and whilst Chelsea might not win by as much as they’d hoped to, they’ll still win. Surely. 2-1 Chelsea

Alf

Last time when Chelsea played Fulham, it was behind close doors with Chelsea beat an inexperienced Cottagers side 8-2 in 2017. This time, in the Premier League, I’ll be surprised if the Blues won’t get the home points to keep them alive in the PL title race, against the now-relegation favorites. 3-1 Chelsea

Arsenal vs Tottenham

We have a full length preview for this!

Liverpool vs Everton

Dan

Everton have been criminally underrated all season, and you know what? I think they’ve got it in them to pull off an upset in the Merseyside derby. Go Toffees! 2-1 Everton

Oliver

So I know it’s my job to be “impartial” and “fair”, and this looks ludicrous, but I think it can be justified. Liverpool have just lost to PSG and they’ll be lower on manpower and fitness than usual. Everton on the other hand haven’t played midweek football and their captain wasn’t sent off this week. Merseyside is going blue. 4-0 Everton

Alf

It’s a great PL matchweek with great derbies. Everton didn’t perform well against the Big 6 clubs to date. They’ve faced Arsenal, Manchester United and Chelsea away, getting 1 point only. It’s the Merseyside derby and with the LFC frontline on fire, it’ll be hard for the visitors not to concede. 3-0 Liverpool

 

 

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.

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)

Analysis: 

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

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Newcastle United vs Watford

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Everton vs Brighton

Dan

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.

Oliver

– 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

Alf

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

West Ham vs Burnley

Image result for West Ham united

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Cardiff vs Leicester

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Arsenal vs Liverpool

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

No words needed. 5-0 City

Chelsea vs Crystal Palace

Dan

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

Oliver

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

Alf

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

Dan

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

Oliver

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
Alf
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.