Premier League: Our round 10 predictions

Premier League: Our round 10 predictions

How time flies! It feels like just yesterday that I was sitting down to see United beat Leicester in the first game of the season, but here we are, 10 rounds in already. Phew.

Blake, who’s real name is Oliver, and will now be refereed too as such, put some distance between himself and Alf last round. He’s on 54 points, Alf is on 49, and I’m well back on 39.

Ugh. No more optimism left in me, watch me continue to fail in this comp.

Brighton vs Wolves

Image result for Brighton FC


Brighton are a decent enough side, and they are also fairly solid defensively. With the Wolves somewhat struggling for goals, expect a shutout from the Seagulls, but not three points. 0-0 draw.


Wolves don’t score many, but they don’t concede many either. Brighton have got home advantage, so I can’t see Wolves winning, but I doubt they’ll go down to the Seagulls. 1-1 draw.


The Wolves would want to roar back after losing to Watford at home. They have the mentality to do so against a decent Seagulls lineup. 3-1 Wolves

Southampton vs Newcastle


Last round was my final straw for the magpies, who I have consistently tipped to bounce back from their poor start and have consistently let me down. I can see a draw here for Newcastle, but out of sheer spite I’m tipping them to lose. Go Saints. 2-0 Southampton


It would be fair to look at the table and say this is an easy win for Southampton. They’re higher up the table and they’ve got a win. But both sides have six goals, fourteen conceded. This will be a draw, and a dull one at that. 0-0 draw


Poor Magpies. 0-0 draw.

Liverpool vs Cardiff


Cardiff may have gotten their first win last weekend, but that was against a Fulham side who are a defensive shambles. Expect a slaughter at Anfield. 4-0 Liverpool


Liverpool haven’t scored many goals this season compared to some of the top sides – they’ve got as many as Bournemouth – but it’s Cardiff City we’re talking about. They’ll take an easy win. 3-0 Liverpool


Liverpool defeated Huddersfield but it wasn’t convincing. Cardiff won against Fulham but Neil Warnock may need to find a new apartment soon. 2-1 Liverpool

Fulham vs Bournemouth


Two sides in good goal scoring form but with shoddy defenses? This has all the marks of a high scoring draw. 3-3 draw.


Somehow, Bournemouth are sixth in the table after nine games. Fulham are conceding goals like there’s no tomorrow. Cherries have got this. 2-1 Bournemouth


The Cottagers may have lost last week but they scored twice. With the quality of the attack, it shouldn’t be hard for the home side to get the points. 1-0 Fulham

Watford vs Huddersfield

Image result for Watford


Both sides came away with results they can be proud of last weekend, with the Hornets beating the Wolves and Huddersfield keeping Liverpool to just a 1-0 victory. Watford will eek this out, but the Terriers will put a decent fight. 2-1 Watford


It’s the same story here. Watford are seventh, Huddersfield are nineteenth. Watford are starting to slip, but it’s Huddersf1-0 Bield they’re playing. Easy win, but they’ll only score two. 2-0 Watford


People expected a rout by Liverpool but the Terriers proved otherwise. Yet, I don’t see Huddersfield winning it because their attack is weak. 2-0 Watford

Leicester vs West Ham


Two similar sides here, both who should be challenging for mid table mediocrity  – the coveted 8-12 places. Given their similarities and with injuries ruling out both Vardy and Yarlomenko, I can see a draw here. 1-1 draw


Leicester have scored fifteen, conceded fifteen. They’ve not had a draw yet, and the slowly improving West Ham have only had one, but I can see this game being one. 2-2 draw


Vardy da man will do amazing things. 1-0 Leicester Editors note: And this my friends, is why you don’t send tips in too early. Vardy is out injured this game.

Burnley vs Chelsea


Look, if you are being held to a draw by Manchester United, there are some problems in your team if you’re challenging for the title. Let’s predict an upset here. 1-0 Burnley


Chelsea will win, we know that much. It’s a question of by how much. They’ll score two, but no more – they’re away from home, after all, but Burnley are terrible defensively. 2-0 Chelsea


Meh. 3-0 Chelsea

Crystal Palace vs Arsenal 


I’ve been disappointed with Crystal Palace this season – I expected them to be challenging for top ten, but they are in danger of being pulled into the relegation battle. Unfortunately for them, they are up against an Arsenal side in red hot form. 4-1 Arsenal


Arsenal’s winning streak isn’t ending against Crystal Palace of all teams. Palace just aren’t great and Arsenal will score a few. Not without conceding, however. 3-1 Arsenal


I don’t think Leno will keep a clean sheet in an away PL game. Cri. 2-1 Arsenal

Manchester United vs Everton


I support United. Oliver supports Everton. Oliver is thrashing me in the tipping. Oliver is a better writer than me. I really, really, need United to win this. Please. 2-1 United


Everton have a positive goal differential, for one. United just seem like a mess, especially after the home loss to Juventus, and I just can’t see them taking a point 2-1 Everton


Mourinho failed to stabilize the ship against Chelsea but it’s Everton, so he can (for once), I guess. 2-0 United

Tottenham vs Manchester City


For the gazillionth time this season, I’m gonna let emotion cloud my judgement here. I hate Manchester City, and surely, Tottenham have the quality edge them in this game. This emotional form of tipping is why I’m last, folks. 2-1 Tottenham


Spurs are on four league wins in a row. Manchester City are on one only, but they haven’t lost a league game this season. They’ll win, and they’ll win well. 3-1 City


Burnley are no Tottenham, CIty fans. 1-1 draw

Usain Bolt: What’s going on there?

Usain Bolt: What’s going on there?

The big story over the A-League offseason has been Usain Bolt’s trial at the Central Coast Mariners. Last season’s bottom club have managed to somehow lure the Jamaican sprinter to Gosford, and are allegedly offering a contract. It’s a pretty hefty fee they’re paying, too, for someone who’s never played professional football. And at 32, it’s not like they’ll get much use out of him. To be fair, however, he has got huge marketing appeal. Really, the whole situation’s a mess.

Image result for usain bolt central coast mariners

The first thing that needs to be established is that Bolt is a competent footballer. He’s trained with Borussia Dortmund, he’s trialled with Stromsgodset in Norway and there was an offer from Valletta FC, based in European footballing hotbed Malta. He scored two goals in a friendly match in preseason. To write him off as a poor footballer isn’t needed.

But what is he going to bring to the Mariners? Bolt’s played as a forward or winger in the friendly matches so far. Imagine if he’s given a contract and starts playing A-League football. How’s Connor Pain going to feel about that? What about Matt Simon? Or Tommy Oar? The three of them have a combined 31 years of professional footballing experience. Bolt has none.

Image result for tommy oar

And just look at the contract offer. It’s enough for the A-League to need FFA to step in and fund it. It’s been rumoured at $3 million a year. That’s not a bad contract for the Premier League, and we’re meant to expect that giving this kind of money to a fairly unproven non-footballer makes sense? It doesn’t. Not at all. That’s a huge amount of their salary cap, gone.

Yes, Bolt will bring in crowds. And yes, people will buy merchandise. They’ll make some money out of it. But if we’re at a point where the finances are more important than on-field action, then I’m worried for the future of the A-League. The Mariners might be overlooking what gets people to go to the football. When I go to a Phoenix game, I’m not going because I wanna see this player or that player. I go to see the team, my team, play a game of football.

There have been successful crossovers in sport before, I’m not going to deny that. There are players that excel at two similar sports – think Brad Thorn in both rugby union and rugby league, or Jarryd Hayne in just about everything. And there are players who play two very different sports – rugby and cricket have nothing to do with each other but Jeff Wilson still did well in both. Bolt’s effectively doing the second one of those two, and pretending it’s the first. Barack Obama’s apparently a pretty handy basketball player, but the Phoenix Suns aren’t trying to sign him up, no matter how desperate they may be.

Related image

Ultimately, Bolt’s move to the Central Coast Mariners is a farce. It’s not going to be any good for the club, it makes the rest of the league look like a joke, it’s a kick in the teeth to all of the players who have worked for this – and, as Andy Keogh said, he’s got a first touch like a trampoline.

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

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

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

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

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

You’re at the right place for our analysis of the match of the century, with the investigation of both teams in the last few games, records last year and most importantly, score predictions by our fans.

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

5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak

5 things noticed in Arsenal’s 10 game winning streak

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

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

Why playing music at A-league games is a terrible idea

Why playing music at A-league games is a terrible idea

After a far too long offseason, the A-league season is finally, finally back.

With it came good news for me; the Wellington Phoenix won our first game of the season for just the second time in our history!

But, it wouldn’t be the A-league without controversy.

I wasn’t able to go to the Phoenix game myself, unfortunately, but I was watching it on TV, and there was a rather annoying feature of the game. At most stoppages and set pieces, music was played.

And, scrolling through Twitter while watching the game, everyone was just as annoyed as me. And this wasn’t just Phoenix fans that were pissed, it was fans from all across the A-league.

Why is the music so bad?

First off, whether you are sitting in the stands or staring at you TV, watching football is an immersive experience. The thud of the ball, the roar of the crowd, the shouts of the players, it’s a good feeling. A nice focus. Quality immersion.

Music ruins all of that. That immersion is brilliant, but music completely ruins it. Quite frankly, it’s a turn off to watching games and will put off the casuals that clubs and the league are trying so hard to get to come to games.

But aside from being just plain annoying, it takes away the greatest asset of playing at home.

The music is played at set pieces when there’s a break in play. However, for the fans, the die-hards, the yellow fever, that’s the perfect opportunity to get some chants going. However, from what I could discern from twitter, the yellow fever, the Phoenix’s die-hards, had around 3 or 4 chants drowned out by the music.

That isn’t ok. Chants add to the atmosphere of the game. It adds to the immersion. And if you’re trying to get the stadium behind your team but you are being drowned out by some audio pretending to be music, then people will want to come to games less.

And here’s the thing. With my scrolling through twitter and seeing what the fans think, from all across the A-league, I’m yet to see a single person in favor of the music.

The football community is very diverse, and our opinions are just as diverse. But our opposition to music at games is universal.

Getting the football community to agree on something is just as unlikely as getting both sides of the political spectrum to agree on anything.

But it has happened.

Surely, with so much opposition, the A-league must listen to the fans. Because, in the end, us fans are the reason the A-league exists.

Premier League: Our round nine predictions

Premier League: Our round nine predictions

The international break is over, hurrah, which means that club football is back, and so is our predictions.

I’d like to give a big shout out to Alf for writing the tipping post last week, as I was in Samoa and I couldn’t, so cheers for that Alf. Zac is also (finally) back from Europe, but has allowed Alf to keep his spot in the comp for the rest of the season. So good man, Zac.

Anyway, my dismal run of form in this comp continues, as I’m on 34 points, as this really is a two horse race between Alf and Blake. Alf is on 43, while Blake sits in the lead on 46.

Time for another depressing round from myself. On with the tipping!

Chelsea vs Manchester United


Manchester United have been simply sub-par this season, and, to make matters worse, we have faced just a single top six team during that time. While the comeback win over Newcastle did show signs of improvement, they’re up against a Chelsea side that hasn’t yet lost and are proper title contenders. This shouldn’t be too difficult for the blues. 2-1 Chelsea


Chelsea are a team on fire at the moment. Sarriball’s working wonders, they haven’t lost a game yet, and I imagine they’ll easily deal with a weak-looking Manchester United. 2-1 Chelsea


Another chance to Mourinho and his men to prove himself. Chelsea may have beaten Southampton but not quite convincing. 2-1 Chelsea

West Ham vs Tottenham


Just when we thought West Ham were finally delivering on the promise that this squad had, they go and lose to Brighton. Well, there goes any chance of them getting anything out of the match against Tottenham. 3-1 Tottenham


West Ham were looking a shambles after four games but they’ve picked up seven points from their next four and they should take another point against a decent Spurs. 1-1 draw.


With some stars absent, West Ham will give Tottenham a hard time in finding a goal with Fabiański between the sticks. 1-0 Tottenham

Newcastle vs Brighton


It’s coming for the toon. I can feel it. They showed promise against Manchester United, and against Brighton, I think they’ll manage to see it out. 1-0 Newcastle.


Newcastle are awful. That’s all there really is to say about them. Brighton have been better than expected so far and they can carry that momentum into this fixture and take three points. 1-0 Brighton


Newcastle may have lost to an inspired Red Devils side, but their goals will inspire them to get the motivation to win the games. 1-1 draw

Bournemouth vs Southampton

Image result for Bournemouth players


With their 4-0 thrashing of Watford last round, Bournemouth will surely be able to easily overcome any threat that Mark Hughes’ Southampton pose as Eddie Howe’s team continues to show just how good they really are. 3-1 Bournemouth


Both teams haven’t been stellar defensively so far this season. Bournemouth however have scored sixteen goals, more than Liverpool, and will add a few against their South Coast rivals. 4-2 Bournemouth


Southampton showed that they have a weak attack against Chelsea. Bournemouth proved otherwise. 2-0 Bouremouth

Cardiff vs Fulham


Cardiff are all round terrible, but Fulham will still be low on confidence after their humiliation at the hands of Arsenal. One bore draw coming right up. 0-0 draw.


It says something about Fulham’s poor defending that I’m giving Cardiff a goal here, but it also says something about Cardiff’s quality that I’m still not giving them a point. Don’t expect entertainment. 2-1 Fulham


Time for Neil Warnock to go? The answer is “yes” if his team failed to win this one. 2-1 Fulham

Wolverhampton Wanderers vs Watford


It’s one of these games – two very good teams in reasonably good form play each other in a match that could easily go any way. The home advantage and the sting of Watford’s defeat to Bournemouth will make me go with the Wolves, but, as I said, this can really go any way. 2-1 Wolves.


Watford are really starting to slip down the table. Wolves have made it to seventh without being brilliant, although their defense has been solid. They’ll eke out a narrow win here. 1-0 Wolves


Both teams are in good form and no one would want to lose – so it’ll be an equal contest. 1-1 draw.

Manchester City vs Burnley


Burnley remain a solid side with the potential to cause any team problems – and while they might cause a few against the citizens, it’ll be nowhere near enough to keep Guardiola’s side from strolling to victory. 2-0 Manchester City


The Citizens are sitting pretty at the top of the league whilst Burnley are slowly moving up the table. City should still win this one comfortably, at home. 3-0 Manchester City


Sean Dyche’s Burnley career may end at the Etihad as his philosophy doesn’t work effectively anymore. 3-0 Manchester City

Huddersfield Town vs Liverpool


Press F to pay respect to Huddersfield, folks. This game will be nothing short of a slaughter. 5-0 Liverpool


There are two types of Liverpool. There’s the Liverpool that plays poorly and the Liverpool that plays brilliantly, and there’s no way of telling which one you’re gonna get. This game could be 6-0, but let’s go a little lower. 1-0 Liverpool


I feel sorry for the Terriers but I’ll be more surprised they can stun Liverpool for the three points. 4-0 Liverpool

Everton vs Crystal Palace

Image result for Everton players


Much like Burnley, Palace are a side that can give anyone problems – on their day. But it won’t be their day, and Everton will put them to the sword. 2-1 Everton.


The most boring team in the Premier League meets Everton away. Typically I just say 0-0 for Palace games, but I’ve got a different feeling about this one. Everton should take a win. 2-0 Everton


Richarlison starts scoring again. End of. 1-0 Everton

Arsenal vs Leicester


Leicester are a decent, if unremarkable side, but as they’ll be up against the red hot Lacazette-Aubameyang partnership, backed up by an Arsenal side that’s working well under Emery, it’ll be Leicester who will be dropping points. 2-1 Arsenal


Arsenal’s lengthy winning streak isn’t going to be ended by Leicester City of all teams. Lacazette and Aubameyang should manage to combine for a couple of goals. 2-0 Arsenal


There will be goals from both sides (Leno isn’t going to keep a clean sheet again cri), but things seems to go well for the Gunners. 2-1 Arsenal
Image credit:


Top 3 reasons why this season can be Dortmund’s year (and 3 it won’t)

Top 3 reasons why this season can be Dortmund’s year (and 3 it won’t)

With Bundesliga veteran Lucien Favre as the manager of the team, Borussia Dortmund are currently unbeaten in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League, which is the music to the ears of the fans of the club (and sad Minecraft music to Bayern Munich supporters).

This may be the best chance for the North Rhine-Westphalia club to recapture the Bundesliga trophy from Bayern. While it is far from being an amazing run for the Borussens, if the players continue to do well, they are capable of creating a miracle this season under the Swiss.

Reason 1 – Outstanding mentality. 

Against RB Leipzig, Hoffenheim, Leverkusen and Augsburg, they have shown that they can stage comebacks, whether at home or away and however impossible the scoreline was.

This is excellent since Favre has, successfully, instilled the winning mentality to the whole squad, which propel them to do better and keep moving forward, until the last kick of the game.

Without a doubt, this is one of the factors which turns title contenders into champions.

If Dortmund can keep their amazing mindset from the Klopp era, even if they can’t lift the Meisterschale at the end of the season, Favre should be applauded for his effort for inspiring the squad to fight against the odds.

Reason 2 – Quality attacking options. 

Aside from Reus, Kagawa, Mario Götze and Maximilian Philip, loanee Paco Alcácer is currently in superb form with 7 goals in 4 appearances for the Black and Yellows.

With future talents like Pulisic, Bruun Larsen and Sancho started to be on the scoresheet, I’m quite assured that the offence of the team should not be a problem for tearing the opposition defence open.

Reason 3 – Bayern’s poor run. 

After the 1-1 home draw against Augsburg, they lost against Hertha away and Mönchengladbach at home. They also dropped 2 home points against Ajax in the Champions League.

With Dortmund gaining points in these matchdays, this gives the Black and Yellows the numerical advantage on Bundesliga the table. The rest should be self-explanatory.

Despite the fact that Dortmund under Favre looks promising, there are still problems to be prevented and fixed.

Reason 1 – Injuries are a thing. 

It doesn’t matter which club you support, you hate it when injuries hit some of the key members of your team. Dortmund may have a young, talented squad, but sadly, they’re always hit by sufferings and discomfort of the players.

Marco Reus could be seen as a classic case in which he missed out the successful World Cup campaign with Germany in 2014. He did, finally, join the 2018 edition but we know how poorly the squad performed in Russia.

To win the Bundesliga, playing well isn’t enough. A healthy, fit crew is one of the keys to the road of obtaining the trophy. It seems that the medical team of the club is doing well these days but let’s wish that the injury list won’t be piled up.

Reason 2 – Bayern will bounce back. 

Last season, Peter Bosz led Dortmund to a good start in the Bundesliga, yet they suffered a few consecutive defeats and not surprisingly, Bayern won the title, benefitting from the poor condition of their fierce rivals.

Just because they’re halfway there doesn’t mean that they won’t slip up afterwards. Bayern may be 5th on the Bundesliga table but when you take a look at the differences of the points against Dortmund, they still have the chance to turn the tide.

Thus, Favre and his men would need to work very hard to extend their unbeaten run. They’ll certainly make mistakes when they play in their jerseys, but it’ll be best if they don’t afford a margin of error in their training ground, which is what Favre is good at.

Reason 3 – Poor defence yet to be fixed.  

Like Arsenal, Dortmund are facing a problem that they don’t have a good defence.

Diallo may be a good CB but sometimes his rash challenges can get him sent off. Hakimi performs well but Real Madrid may be desperate to get him back. Piszczek is too old while Schmelzer is too injury-prone. Toljan and Toprak aren’t good enough.

Aside from the defence system, goalkeeping is a problem. I’m not discrediting Roman Bürki’s effort between the sticks but he is quite inconsistent, to say the least. 3 clean sheets in 9 games showed that it’s almost time for the Swiss to look for a new club.

Thus, Favre must take a look at the problems of the defence and in goal to see what kind of players they need. But it’s not enough as the integration of new members into the XI is as hard as acquiring them, in reality.

Borussia Dortmund this season can be both exciting and worrying to watch.

On one hand, they’re making significant process and are improving during the last few games. On the other hand, Bayern Munich will be doing everything in the power to put the game beyond reach.

This is why Dortmund will require both hard work and a bit of luck if they want to snatch the deserved Meisterschale from the Bavarians at the end of the season. Come on BVB!

Paco Alcácer – a clear solution and the dilemma in disguise

Paco Alcácer – a clear solution and the dilemma in disguise

Barcelona supporters may have trouble in believing this: Paco Alcácer, the fourth forward in their squad, can’t stop scoring after leaving Camp Nou on loan to Borussia Dortmund, a German Bundesliga giant.

Under Lucien Favre’s guidance, the Spaniard started to find his sense of scoring. And currently, with 10 goals from 10 shots on target, no one would have expected him to be in such a good form.

The 25-year-old used to be a player who lived under the shadows of the players, in the likes of the mighty Leo Messi, Luis Suárez, Neymar and later, Ousmane Dembélé.

But at Dortmund, he’s the star himself. Against Frankfurt, he scored. Against Leverkusen, he wrapped up the comeback all by himself. Against Augsburg, he scored a hat-trick to get all 3 points for his club.

Alcácer’s current situation is a blessing to the Dortmund squad. At the same time, Barcelona would be having a headache for the rest of the season in attracting him to be back to the Catalonian capital.

With an urge for Dortmund to activate the release clause of the loan contract, this is where it gets complicated for both clubs to handle.

To be honest, Alcácer is the solution to one of the problems of the Dortmund squad.

Dortmund may have quality players like Marco Reus, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Maximilian Philipp and Marius Wolf, but the lack of an in-form, traditional No. 9 player is what the BVB are yearning for.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang did a great job when he donned the Borussen jersey. However, he decided to leave for Arsenal with the German club getting a whopping €63.75M fund in the process.

Michy Batshuayi joined the party on loan from Chelsea as a side-effect of Aubameyang’s transfer.

He did well in the Bundesliga by scoring goals in the last minute to save Peter Stöger’s job, only to have his career there marred by a sudden injury against old rivals Schalke 04 in the Revierderby.

Now, with Alcácer who’s on fire, it is almost certain to say that the whole BVB attack is complete. It’ll be the best if the Spaniard keeps up his form and call Westfalenstadion his “home” after the season.

For Barcelona, the primary objective for them is to take place of, if not replace, the currently misfiring Suárez, who has yet to score a goal after the away win against Real Sociedad.

Munir El Haddadi is, at present, Valverde’s first choice backup to the Uruguayan. Despite assisting the team in salvaging a point from Bilbao at home, the striker spends most of his time on the bench.

The 23-year-old may be the player for the future of Barcelona as Suárez is ageing. However, despite the loan experiences with Valencia and Alavés, he’s still not experienced enough to be a “super sub”.

With 10 goals in 10 appearances for club and country in the ongoing season, the Spanish club may regret in letting Alcácer go, especially if the player decides to make the move permanent.

At the same time, though, they understand that Dembélé was a transfer for the future. Alcácer may be a good player but for Barcelona, they may want to develop the young, French striker more.

So for Bartomeu and his men, here’s the question, “if you can keep only one player, would you rather keep Dembélé or Alcácer?” And the answer is, frankly, obvious.

In short, this deal of Paco Alcácer is complicated, provided that both clubs have contrasting interest in the deal. Dortmund would want to secure the player’s ownership rights while Barcelona are seeking for a “super sub” in hot form.

Dortmund would be more than happy to pay the cash if Alcácer continues to score, yet Barcelona won’t afford to lose him. Anyway, it may be too early to say, but only time will tell if the agreement is worth the transfer fee stated or not.

Olympique de Marseille – the other side of Le Classique

Olympique de Marseille – the other side of Le Classique

Olympique Marseille may not be a household name since Paris Saint-Germain is the focal point for Ligue 1 fans and football lovers. However, for those who know French football well, Marseille used to be the best and now, will they become the sleeping giants against the dominance against PSG?

The biggest feat of the club from southern France is that they’re the first (and currently, the only) French club to win the Champions League after Basile Boli’s goal secured the title for them.

This is why the unofficial motto of the club is “à jamais les premiers”, which means “forever the first” in French. Despite the historical achievement, Marseille regressed after lifting the “Ol’ Big Ears”.

Marseille were involved in one of the biggest bribery scandals in France and as a punishment, they were forced to relegate themselves to Ligue 2 and got promoted after two years.

Marseille continued to perform well in Ligue 1 and were heavily involved in European competitions, but were, eventually, denied by Valencia 2-0 in the UEFA Cup (now Europa League) final in 2004.

Last season, Marseille became the finalists of the Europa League final again, after beating Red Bull Salzburg in extra time with defender Rolando scoring the winning goal. Sadly, they were beaten 3-0 against Atlético Madrid in Lyon.

Outside Ligue 1 and Europa League, there were some good news for Marseille fans.

In recent days, there are a few players of the club who were called up by club legend, Didier Deschamps, to his France national team.

They’re winger Florian Thauvin, defender Adil Rami and goalkeeper Steve Mandanda. While they may not have contributed a lot and caused a lot of impact in the World Cup, the rest is history.

Though Marseille are currently a bit weakened this season, under Rudi García’s guidance, it seems that the team are back on track. With an impressive 3-2 away win against Monaco and a comeback of the same scoreline, OM are currently sitting at the 3rd of the table.

Despite being quite satisfactory in the domestic league, Marseille, as the finalist of the Europa League last season, dropped 5 points.

Following the defeat at against Frankfurt and draw against Apollon Limassol, it seems that their UEL journey may come to an end sooner than we’ve expected.

The reason why I follow Marseille is that OM is a club of history, unity and passion. For those who don’t know what the feature image wrote, here’s the English translation from French:

“To arms, to arms. We’re the Marseille boys, We’re the Marseille boys. We’ll be winning together, we’ll be winning together. Come on OM. Come on OM.”

Marseille is a city with a rich atmosphere of football. And attached is the link of an official documentary made by the media team of the club. For those who would like to know Marseille as a club more, it’s worth the time to watch:

Marseille also has a rivalry with Paris Saint-Germain. It’s not just about the locations and the social statuses of the cities. Simply speaking, the competition started from the 1970s upon PSG’s inception, with Marseille being the dominant force.

Thus, for loyal supporters of both clubs, it is more than just a rivalry. Although Marseille has yet to get a taste of victory against the Parisians in the past few years, Marseille ultras are known to be very loyal to their club.

It somehow reminds me of the “Yellow Wall” of Borussia Dortmund, but let’s not forget that OM supporters can be a bit mad sometimes…

Aside from that, a few quality players are (and some were) actually Marseillais. Like Robert Pirès, Didier Drogba, Michy Batshuayi, Laurent Blanc, Hiroki Sakai, Kevin Strootman, André-Pierre Gignac and current captain Dimitri Payet, of course.

Finally, Marseille plays entertaining football with some of their matches were classical comebacks:

Thought that they would have lost 0-4 at home against Montpellier? They scored 5 in reply.

Not to mention that the 2009 version of the Choc des Olympiques where Marseille forced a 5-5 draw against Lyon in the hopes of keeping their dream in the Champions League alive.

As football fans, how can we not love that?

Marseille may have collapsed for a bit in the past decade, but from what I’ve observed, it seems that the Olympians are finding the winning feeling.

It will be a tall order if they are to challenge PSG of their title in this stage, but for Rudi García and his men, improving themselves would be the more realistic thing to do.

Allez l’OM!

It’s the best time for Barcelona to start “Project Messi” now

It’s the best time for Barcelona to start “Project Messi” now

We all know how crucial Messi can be when he’s on the pitch with his fellow teammates, no matter which jersey he dons. He’s the kind of player who masters everything and works hard to perfect his skills, which makes him special.

For football fans, it is unarguably to say that Leo Messi is one of the players who deserve to be called the “greatest of all time”, or the G.O.A.T. as we call them. But the cruel truth is, Barcelona will experience a downfall if they don’t plan for life without him.

We all know what Real Madrid is experiencing after Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure to Juventus. With Los Blancos headed to the international break without winning any of the four games they’ve played, this could serve as a warning to their fierce rivals.

For Barcelona, Messi is more than just a legendary player. He’s the icon of the club and to be honest, as a player, it’ll certainly affect Barcelona if the Argentine decided to call it a day in his professional football career.

Without Messi, Barcelona won’t be a bigger club than we’ve possibly imagined. Without Barcelona, he wouldn’t be the superstar he is now. Barcelona gives Messi the resources for him to thrive while Messi returns goals and points for the team.

Now, here’s the question, “what may Barcelona experience when Messi retires?” I believe that there won’t be an absolute answer for it since the future is unpredictable in the football world.

However, there’s one thing for sure – without a suitable reinforcement to play in Messi’s position, Barcelona will struggle in finding the back of the net, just like what happened to Real Madrid these days without their Portuguese leading man.

Messi is irreplaceable and the only thing Barcelona can do is to find a player with identical, technical skills like him. It doesn’t matter if he’s from La Masia, other big clubs or somewhere else. The aim of the project is that they must find someone like Messi.

It doesn’t mean that Messi’s successor must shoot with his left foot and has a short height, though. For Barcelona, the most important quality of the “chosen one” is that he’ll need to consistently score a lot of goals to help the team to clinch the 3 points and secure the trophies they can get.

From the board’s perspective, they may want to seek help from the transfer market in order to get the proven talents outside. What matters to them is money. Hence, I won’t be surprised if one of the “big names” will be posing with the Blaugrana jersey soon.

However, let’s not forget that Barcelona has a lot of youngsters at their disposal, like Malcom, Munir, Ousmane Dembélé, Aleñá and Abel Ruiz. They may consider recalling Alcácer, who is currently on fire and started to score loads of goals in the Bundesliga. Still, he’s nowhere close to Messi.

As a Barcelona follower myself, other than buying players, I would want to see the local boys to take place of our Argentine hero. I wish the board can make good use of our very own “talent-based” La Masia to expand our brand of “més que un club” for a little bit.

Therefore, “Project Messi” may not be a problem in the long-term if it pays off eventually. But it all depends on the board (especially Josep Bartomeu himself) on the attitude of the matter and eventually, how they decide to execute the strategies.

The current Barcelona squad is good but they’ll need to stop relying heavily on Messi to become better. Barcelona aren’t a one-man team, after all. Thankfully, the future of Barça is in safe hands, so let’s see how Bartomeu will formulate a plan for them.