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…

Premier League: Our round 15 predictions

Midweek fixtures are here, everybody! And with it is your favourite post – how we think they’ll all end up. Last round actually saw Oliver’s lead at top shrink a bit, with Oliver leading on 88 points, Alf following on 79, and myself in last on 64.

On with the tipping!

AFC Bournemouth vs Huddersfield 


Last week, I thought we might be seeing a revival from the terriers, but the loss to Brighton has re-established the idea in my mind that Huddersfield is doomed. Bournemouth may have lost to City, but they gave a good fight, and it is Manchester City. 2-0 Bournemouth 


Huddersfield have just come off a home loss to Brighton and are without forward Steve Mounie. Bournemouth may have also lost but they were playing against league leaders Manchester City and should still win this. 2-1 Bournemouth


Both sides haven’t been great in the last few games. But in this fixture, let’s expect goals to fly in. Not for David Wagner’s men because they have yet to find the way to hit the back of the net consistently. 2-2 draw

West Ham United vs Cardiff City


While Cardiff has been improving, they are away against a West Ham side that stopped Newcastle’s winning streak pretty darn convincingly, with a 3-0 win. In fact, I can see them picking up a win by the same scoreline over the bluebirds. 3-0 West Ham 


West Ham took a convincing 3-0 win against Newcastle and I’m picking them to do the exact same thing again today. Cardiff won, sure, but they’re still Cardiff. 3-0 West Ham


The Bluebirds just won against the Wolves at home. Bear in mind, though, that it’s an away game for them. West Ham are improving under Pellegrini, the thing is, they dropped points against opponents like Huddersfield and Leicester. It’ll be a close call. 1-1 draw

Brighton vs Crystal Palace


Both teams come into the game having the exact same results from their last two matches; a win and a draw. Very difficult to predict, and I can see this going either way, but with the home advantage, I think the seagulls will just edge it. 1-0 Brighton 


We’ve got two fairly evenly matched sides who both won their last matches. Brighton sit slightly above in the table and have home advantage but Crystal Palace will get a point here, given they took one against United. 1-1 draw


Ah, the M23 derby is here this week. Palace won against Burnley while Brighton beat Huddersfield. It’s far from the trickiest PL fixture to predict this week but don’t forget that it’s a derby and anything can happen. 2-2 draw

Watford vs Manchester City


I want to predict Watford to win so, so, much. But I can’t. City just has too much quality. But hey, maybe me not predicting them to slip up will cause them to. 2-1 City


This is gonna be a beatdown. Watford lost 2-0 to Leicester City last time out, and they’re missing Etienne Capoue. Manchester City, meanwhile, are… well… Manchester City. 4-1 Manchester City


City is on fire and have yet to lose a match to date. Watford are struggling these days. The home side just need one goal to stop the leaders from winning but a thrashing can be on the cards, if not a high-scoring result. 3-0 City

Fulham vs Leicester City


Leicester is on a five-game unbeaten streak in the prem, but I think Raineri and Fulham, with the home advantage, will have the fire in their bellies to beat the team that Ranieri was sacked by. Still, a tough game to call. 2-1 Fulham 


Despite the home advantage that Fulham have, I don’t think they’ll take a point from this match. Leicester City are a class side sitting up in eighth and could use this match as a springboard. Fulham have been unexpectedly bad and I don’t see Ranieri getting them a point. 2-0 Leicester


There will be emotional scenes when Ranieri meet his former employers this Wednesday. The sad thing is that there will be no mercy in the 90 minutes of football. With the Italian’s knowledge and Puel’s strategies, I can foresee a draw. 1-1 draw

Wolves vs Chelsea 


Wolves’ winless run stretched to six with the loss against Cardiff the other day, and they are up against Sarri’s Chelsea who has time and time again proved that they are a true force to be reckoned with. Expect Wolves’ winless run to stretch to seven. 2-0 Chelsea


One would think that Chelsea would win this big. After all, they’ve just won a derby and they’re playing a side that lost to Cardiff. But this is a Chelsea side playing away against a Wolves side who are pretty good defensively. It’ll be tight. 1-0 Chelsea


– Since when did the Wolves become Siberian huskies in the PL, where they didn’t win their last 6 games? I don’t know, but Sarri and his men will take the advantage of the home side’s poor run to solidify their position in the table. 4-0 Chelsea

Burnley vs Liverpool 


2nd bottom plays second top, and I can’t see the upset here. With Burnley’s form, it’s possible to see Liverpool really running riot in this game, but, a more conservative score is likely. 2-0 Liverpool 


Burnley just lost to Palace meanwhile Liverpool are cruising after their win over Everton. As there are in so many matches this weekend, Burnley have home advantage but that’s not gonna be enough to get a point. 3-1 Liverpool


Last season, Burnley were one of the best teams in defense with Sean Dyche being the mastermind. This year, Burnley are in the drop zone, also under Sean Dyche. With an improved offense and defense, Liverpool should be able to grab 3 points on the road. 3-0 Liverpool

Everton vs Newcastle 


Had Newcastle’s winning run not ended in ugly fashion with that 3-0 loss to West Ham, I could have seen them getting something from this game. But it didn’t, so they won’t. 2-1 Everton 


Finally, a game where the favourite is at home! Newcastle just got beaten 3-0 at home by West Ham, and despite Everton’s loss in the derby, I think that’ll help them push on to a big win in this match. 3-0 Everton


I don’t really have much to say about it, except the fact that both sides lost their games before meeting each other. Period. 1-1 draw

Manchester United vs Arsenal


Emery’s side keeps reminding us just how far they’ve advanced in such little time, while Jose Mourinho’s side reminds just how little they’ve advanced in so much time. Seriously, if United can’t beat both Crystal Palace and Southampton, there’s no way they’ll get anything against the Gunners. 3-2 Arsenal 


The pressure is growing on Jose Mourinho. Subsequent draws to Crystal Palace and Southampton will be followed by a loss against an Arsenal side who just beat Spurs fairly convincingly. 4-1 Arsenal


Good riddance, Alexis Sánchez won’t be facing his former teammates. Arsenal may have won against Tottenham but away comebacks are always harder. Realistically, the visitors’ record at Old Trafford has been awful in the past years. Dan’s going to laugh at my club after full-time. 3-2 United

Tottenham vs Southampton


Despite their loss in the North London Derby, this is Tottenham we are talking about. A managerless Southampton shouldn’t prove difficult. 2-0 Tottenham


Yep, I’m picking nil-all. Southampton just drew with United but they don’t have a manager any more. Spurs lost to Arsenal, they’re doing pretty well but won’t win here. 0-0 draw


Mark Hughes is gone. Pochettino lost a three-pointer in the North London derby. The Saints will get nothing in return when they walk out of Wembley for the team bus. Perhaps a goal as a consolation? 3-0 Tottenham

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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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


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.

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).

Premier League: Our round 13 predictions

Hooray! That was the last international break for 2018, and now the football that people are actually interested in is back on! As teams gear up for their busy mid-season schedule, we here at FootyFans are gearing up for a busy mid-season tipping schedule.

Last round was a truly terrible round of tipping for all of us – Alf and I only gained three points while Oliver got a whole four. That result means that the table sees Oliver retain his lead on 76 points, Alf follows on 64, and I remain in last on 57.

On with the tipping!

West Ham United vs Manchester City

Image result for West Ham vs Manchester City


On paper this should be an easy match for the citizens, as they lead the pack on 32 points, while the Hammers are in 13th place and just four points off the relegation zone. However, I think West Ham have the capacity to surprise and give City a match, even if it does all ends up for nothing. 2-1 Manchester City


City have fifteen goals in their last four league games, while West Ham have five points in the same amount of time. It’s a clear MCFC win, and I think it’ll be big but not huge. 3-0 Manchester City


It’s Manchester City and they’ll play well. Kevin De Bruyne may not be back now but with David Silva, Leroy Sané and the other players in-form, I’m sure that they’ll win this one. 3-0 Manchester City

Everton vs Cardiff City


As much as I like to hate on Cardiff, they’re doing better than I expected – they’re only in the relegation zone thanks to a single point of goal difference. Still, Everton, despite not knowing consistency, will triumph at Goodison, but this could be a harder match than it looks. 1-0 Everton


Everton are starting decently well, currently sitting in ninth place in the table. A win at home against eighteenth-placed Cardiff could take them up to sixth and I’m backing them to do it. 2-0 Everton


Cardiff City isn’t a surprising team to predict as they’re still in the relegation zone. Everton will struggle to grab points but chances will be created owing to the faulty defence of the Bluebirds. A thrashing on the cards but it’s better to be conservative. 2-0 Everton

Brighton vs Leicester City


Both teams are doing fairly well, with the Foxes in 10th and the Seagulls in 12th, and a win for Brighton will see them go equal with Leicester on points. Another close game is on the cards here, but I’ll back Brighton. 2-1 Brighton


Two fairly solid midtable sides in Brighton and Leicester shouldn’t be expected to play out much more than a draw. A goal each way sounds about right to me. It’s just gonna be one of those games. 1-1 draw


Both sides are eager to grab points and this is why I believe that it’ll be an equal contest between both sides. 1-1 draw.

Manchester United vs Crystal Palace

Image result for Manchester United vs Crystal Palace


In the end, I think what this game will boil down to is just what is more sub-par on the day; United’s defense or Palace’s attack. I’ll go with Palace’s attack, with a dab of mediocrity from United’s defense as well. 2-1 Manchester United


I know this is going against the grain a little. But United really haven’t impressed me so far this season and I reckon they’l take only a draw against this Palace side. 1-1 draw


The Eagles faced Tottenham in the previous match day and lost 1-0 with youngster Juan Foyth on the scoresheet. I don’t think that Crystal Palace will make history at Old Trafford and Mourinho’s men will win this one, eventually. 1-0 Manchester United

Watford vs Liverpool


Watford are either brilliant or disappointing, and with Liverpool in town, they’ll have to be better than brilliant. But, this is Waford we are talking about, and I think they’ve got it in them. In fact, I think they’ve got in them to hand Klopp’s side their first leauge defeat. 3-2 Watford


Watford are a good side, don’t get me wrong. And they’ve really impressed so far this season. But it’s Liverpool they’re playing, and even with home advantage I think they’ll lose. 1-2 Liverpool


The Reds’ last visit to Vicarage Road was a thrilling 3-3 draw. With an improved defence and goalkeeping, Liverpool should be able to win without conceding (or will they?) 3-0 Liverpool

Fulham vs Southampton


Ranieri’s first game as Fulham manager! It’s a very winnable fixture for him as well, with Southampton only being outside the relegation zone thanks to goal difference. I’ll tip Raineri to start off his Fulham career on a high note. 2-1 Fulham


If Fulham lose this, I think they can kiss the Premier League goodbye, to be honest. But new manager Claudio Ranieri is a quality boss with the ability to do a lot with a little, and I expect they’ll take the three points in a topsy-turvy match. 3-2 Fulham


In case you missed it, it’s Ranieri’s first game at Craven Cottage as the manager of the Cottagers. Both teams are struggling to be back to winning ways but I think that Ranieri will beat Hughes in the mind games using his experience. 1-0 Fulham

Tottenham vs Chelsea

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Sarri’s Chelsea are the only unbeaten team left in all competitions in Europe, but the 0-0 draw against Everton could be the start of a stall, and with players exhausted from international duty,  and with Tottenham’s home advantage, they might finally fall to Tottenham. 1-0 Tottenham


Spurs, like I’ve said a few times before, have been quietly brilliant this system, and are sitting up in fourth. All the attention’s been on the top three, but I expect the hugely hyped Chelsea to only take a draw against Tottenham. 2-2 draw


Pass the popcorn please! This is a tricky fixture to predict. Most likely a draw owing the international commitments of the players of both clubs (fatigue?), if I were to predict a side to prevail, I hope that it’ll be Sarri’s men. 1-0 Chelsea

AFC Bournemouth vs Arsenal


It’s sixth vs fifth, and with two fairly attacking sides, we should be seeing a good game. Hard to choose, but I’ll pick the Cherries. A man can dream, after all. 3-2 Bournemouth


Arsenal’s form is starting to slip, with their insanely long winning run coming to an abrupt halt against Crystal Palace, and then picking up draws against Liverpool and Wolves. They’ll scramble for a draw. 1-1 draw.


The Gunners won only 1 in 3 games against the Cherries with the last outing resulted in an embarrassing defeat. This is going to be tough for the visitors but with a mentality boost under Emery, they’ll fight back whatever the circumstances are. 2-1 Arsenal

Wolves vs Huddersfield


Wolves have struggled slightly in recent weeks, but, it is Huddersfield. Surely they’ll turn around their rut against the Terriers. 1-0 Wolves


Wolves have done basically what I expected of them, but not in the manner I thought they would. Eleventh place seems about right, although I thought they’d be a big scoring side, not this somewhat weak attacking side we’ve seen. They’ll still beat Hudds, tho. 2-1 Wolves


The Wolves showed that they’re capable of salvaging points when facing bigger clubs away. They’re back home this time and against a Huddersfield side who are leaking goals, this shouldn’t be a surprising scoreline for Wagner to see. 3-0 Wolves

Burnley vs Newcastle


Two pretty equal sides go up against each other in a match where they both will really want the points to put space between them and the relegation zone. Given that both want points, it’ll naturally be a draw. 1-1 draw.


This is the oddball prediction. Newcastle to win away? Their form’s improving, they’re starting to play more cohesively, and Burnley haven’t been good defensively. It’s happening. 3-1 Newcastle


Both sides have been virtually dragged out of the relegation zone. Aside from praying that Palace and Cardiff to drop points (so that they won’t be leapfrogging them), they’ll need to perform well. Burnley, ironically, conceded more goals than ever under Sean Dyche. Time for him to go? 1-0 Newcastle


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?

The MLS conference finals are just around the corner

The MLS conference finals are just around the corner

In just three days’ time, the MLS Conference Finals will kick off. We’ve had a long season of football, with 34 regular season matches and now two rounds of finals action. The Conference Finals are effectively, well, just that – the match to determine the best team in the Western and Eastern conferences, and the match to qualify two teams to the MLS Cup Final on December 8th. Here’s what you need to know.

Which teams have qualified?

From the Eastern Conference this year, we’ve got Atlanta United and New York Red Bulls. The Western Conference is contributing Sporting Kansas City and the Portland Timbers. That’s not much to go off, so here’s a quick rundown of each side.

Atlanta United

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This is just the Five Stripes’ second season in Major League Soccer, but they’ve made one heck of an impression so far. Last season, they finished fourth in the Eastern Conference, which qualified them for finals football. However, they went out in the Knockout Round (the first round) on penalty kicks to the Columbus Crew.

This season, Atlanta have upped their game even more, finishing second in the Eastern and qualifying for the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League. Venezuelan national team regular Josef Martinez has led that push with a huge 31 goals, the most ever scored in an MLS season, overtaking the 27 scored by Roy Lassiter, Chris Wondolowski and Bradley Wright-Phillips in 1996, 2012 and 2014 respectively. Once you see those numbers, it’s obvious why United are the top scorers this season, with 70 goals.

Miguel Almiron and Julian Gressel have been immense with their 14 assists each this season, and both of them – plus Martinez – are 24 or 25 years of age, meaning they’re coming into their prime. In addition, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, formerly of Aston Villa, has eight clean sheets (shutouts) this season, and Martinez, Almiron, Guzan, defender Michael Parkhurst and midfielder Ezequiel Barco were selected for the 2018 All-Star Game, held in Atlanta.

New York Red Bulls

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The Red Bulls have been going a little longer than Atlanta United – they were a founding member of the MLS, known at the time as the New York/New Jersey MetroStars. In 2006, the Austrian trash-makers and football-destroyers over at Red Bull swept in and purchased the club, rebranding it. That said, they’re still nicknamed the Metros. Last season, they finished sixth in the Eastern, qualifying for finals but going out in the Conference Semis to eventual champions Toronto.

In 2018, they’ve gone better – they topped the Eastern and won the Supporters’ Shield (top of the regular season) to boot. That’s despite a coaching change midseason which saw old manager Jesse Marsch become assistant at Leipzig in Germany. In terms of players, they’ve got ex-Premier League player Bradley Wright-Phillips, and with 20 goals to his name for the season, he’s not doing badly either. He’s supported by Alejandro Romero Gamarra, with the Red Bulls’ new signing making fourteen assists.

The Metros also boast having the best goalkeeper in the division by clean sheets – Luis Robles has fourteen – and he’s a big part of the reason they’ve conceded just 33 goals this regular season, the least in the league. In terms of All-Star quality players, Wright-Phillips is in there, alongside midfielder Tyler Adams and a defensive partnership of Michael Murillo and Aaron Long.

Sporting Kansas CityImage result for sporting kansas city

In the Western Conference, we’ve got Sporting Kansas City, the only Big 5 team based in Kansas (yep, the Big 5 is totally a thing). The Wizards are the only team left in the MLS Cup this season with more than one championship – they’ve got two, whilst the Timbers have one and neither Atlanta nor the Red Bulls have won one yet. Also founded in 1996, Sporting KC finished last season fifth in the Western and lost in the knockout round to Houston Dynamo.

They’ve jumped up the table this season, with a first-place finish in their conference, although they still sit behind both Eastern finalists on points. And it’s not like they’ve done this with a star-studded side – with all due respect to SKC, their squad isn’t full of the big names. One big name is goalkeeper Tim Melia, with thirteen clean sheets for the regular season. Former Betis midfielder Felipe Gutierrez and Andreu Fontas, once at Barcelona, are also in the squad.

Kansas City’s top scorer for the season is the Scot Johnny Russell, with just 10 MLS goals. Looking at their squad, it’s hard to see exactly where the goals have come from, but they have, with Sporting KC being the fourth-highest scorers of the season. And yes, of course they got a few in the All-Stars, with defender Graham Zusi and midfielder Ilie Sanchez finding their way into the squad.

Portland Timbers

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The Timbers, like Atlanta, are an expansion side. Founded in 2011, they’ve managed to lift the MLS Cup once, in 2015. Portland perhaps stand out among this crop of sides in that depending on what metric you use, 2018 may be considered worse for them than 2017. They’ve gone from first in the Western Conference down to fifth, but they’ve gained one point in the regular season and made it (at least) a round further than last season, where they lost to Houston in the Conference Semifinals.

In terms of top players, there’s not much to talk about from this season. Their one All-Star representative is brilliant midfielder Diego Valeri, who’s been running the show in Oregon for what feels like forever, but is actually since 2013. In goal, Jeff Attinella has been a decent replacement for Kiwi Jake Gleeson, and there’s another Kiwi in the squad in Bill Tuiloma.

Apart from that, there isn’t much to say about the Timbers. They’ve been OK at best for most of the season, with a +6 goal difference, the eleventh-best attack and the eighth-best defence. They qualified for the playoffs by six points only, compared to 14, 23 and 25 for the other sides in the Conference Finals. And, because of their fifth-place finish, they had to play one more round of football than the other Finalists.

What happens now?

The Conference Finals start on Sunday US time, Monday NZ time. Atlanta meet the Red Bulls in Georgia at 5pm Eastern Time (11am Monday in New Zealand) before Sporting KC visit Portland, with that match kicking off two and a half hours later. These matches are double-legged, however, and the second matches will be on Thursday US time, Friday NZ time. New York host Atlanta first, at 7:30pm Eastern (1:30pm NZ) and two hours later, Kansas City welcomes the Timbers. Only then will we find out who will meet in the MLS Cup final on December 8th.


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

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

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

David de Gea 

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

Matteto Darmian 

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

Ashley Young 

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

Antonio Valencia 

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

Phil Jones 

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

Chris Smalling 

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

Ander Herrera 

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

Andreas Pereira

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

Juan Mata 

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

Anthony Martial 

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