Monthly Archives: March 2017

  1. Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas: Scoring Whizz in 2016/17 La Liga

    31st March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Not many would've predicted at this stage of the season that Iago Aspas would be in the top five in the La Liga goalscoring charts, ahead of some of the league's biggest stars in Antoine Griezmann, Karim Benzema and Neymar.

    Aspas' sensational 15 strikes see him currently sitting in fourth place in the Pichichi race behind only Cristiano Ronaldo, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi, in what's arguably been his finest season at the professional level. His form's been so impressive that Julen Lopetegui even handed him his debut for the Spanish national team back in November of last year. Indeed, his La Roja bow went onto to be a real fairytale occasion for the 29-year-old, as he scored after coming off the bench to instigate Spain's comeback 2-2 draw with England at Wembley.

    In Celta Vigo's hotly contested Galician derby clash with Deportivo La Coruna, the Moana born star achieved another notable landmark by bagging the all-important winner,

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  2. The Unsung Stars at AS Monaco

    29th March 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    If there was any football fan left who had not yet been convinced about the merits of Leonardo Jardim's thrilling Monaco side this season, the 6-6, away goals Champions League triumph over Manchester City earlier this month will surely have won them over.

    Averaging just shy of three goals a game in Ligue 1 this term, the Principality club have left jaws agape in their quest for a first league title since 2000, espousing a stunningly entertaining brand of attacking football, built on some of the finest young talent in Europe.

    By this point, 18-year-old Kylian Mbappé's prodigious gifts are the talk of the continent, with rumours of potentially world record-breaking summer bids from Manchester United and Real Madrid for the youngster already circulating in the press.

    The likes of Portuguese playmaker Bernardo Silva, Brazilian full-back-cum-midfielder Fabinho and 23-year-old anchor man Tiemoué Bakayoko are reportedly the subject of

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  3. Leonel Vangioni Has Earned His Place at AC Milan

    27th March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    It's certainly been quite an eventful first year in European football for Leonel Vangioni. Having joined AC Milan in the summer on a free transfer from River Plate, where he enjoyed huge success that included him winning one league title, one Copa Libertadores crown and one Copa Sudamericana, things didn't entirely go to plan to begin with.

    Upon speaking on his arrival in Milan, he mentioned how delighted he was to be joining the giants of Italian football. "I'm extremely excited," he gleamed.

    "This club has an incredible history and I am very satisfied to be a part of it. This is something I have always wanted and I am very happy. There have been so many great players. [Paolo] Maldini is the one that comes to mind, a great player who inspired me a lot. I hope everything goes well and I want to do my best for Milan."

    "I know Serie A very well as I always watch Italian league games on TV. I think I can play here and

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  4. Atletico Madrid's Kevin Gameiro: One of the Most Explosive Attackers in Europe

    24th March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Despite only managing one goal and one assist in December and January, Kevin Gameiro's really began to hit his stride with Atletico Madrid in the months thereafter.

    Since the start of February, the €30 million summer acquisition from Sevilla has embarked on a wonderful run of form, scoring six goals and supplying two assists in his previous eight matches. On top of scoring against Barcelona in Atleti's 1-1 La Liga draw, he's also bagged an impressive brace in the Champions League vs Bayer Leverkusen and blasted home a rapid hat-trick against Sporting Gijon to clinch a vital victory for Diego Simeone's men.

    Simeone's recent comments on his pupil illustrate how happy he now is with the Frenchman. "For me it is what I imagined from him, he has 14 goals and I expect even more," Simeone told AS.

    "I think he has been better in games than just his goals, because he has provided many assists. He gives us speed, keeps the ball, g

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  5. Central Midfield is Suiting Fabinho Perfectly at Monaco

    22nd March 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    After marking himself out as one of the best right-backs in Europe, a summer of speculation over Fabinho's future ended with him singing a new contract with Monaco.

    The Brazilian, who moved to the Principality from Rio Ave in 2013, initially on loan, has so impressed in his time at the Stade Louis II that Manchester United and Manchester City were reportedly hot on his tail at the end of last season, with £25million bids mooted.

    However, since shunning interest from the Premier League in favour of remaining part of Leonardo Jardim's exciting Monaco project, Fabinho's career has taken an unexpected turn, with the player re-inventing himself as a central midfielder and excelling in his new role as much as he had at right-back.

    When the Ligue 1 side signed Djibril Sidibé in a £12.75 million deal from Lille in the summer, many obs

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  6. Clement Grenier Breaking into the AS Roma Midfield

    20th March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Obtaining playing time was never going to be a straightforward task for Clement Grenier when he arrived at AS Roma on loan in January from Lyon. With the likes of Daniele De Rossi, Kevin Strootman, Radja Nainggolan and Leandro Paredes ahead of him in the pecking order for a spot within the Giallorossi's ultra competitive midfield, Grenier knew he'd have to be patient and wait for his opportunity.

    Having waited over two months, last Sunday night, the 26-year-old midfielder was finally handed his Serie A starting debut, and he unquestionably made the most of his chance. While the man whose only other minutes came in a two minute cameo vs Fiorentina showed signs of tiredness in the second half, which led to his early substitution on 64 minutes, during his time afield, he was quite possibly Roma's most influential player.

    Deployed on

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  7. Dimitri Payet is Showing Sublime Form at Olympique Marseille

    17th March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    When speaking in an interview with L'Equipe, Dimitri Payet made it abundantly clear how happy he was to leave West Ham in January to rejoin his former club, Marseille.

    Following a sensational debut season in the Premier League, where he notched an impressive nine goals and 12 assists, a disgruntled Payet bemoaned the Hammers' lack of ambition this term, though, even claiming he was bored by Slaven Bilic's style of play. "I didn't want to play the role of also-rans in the Premier League any more," he divulged.

    "I didn't like the way we approached matches, the defensive system put in place. With a 5-4-1 in front of our penalty area, I could have all the freedom in the world, but it made it difficult to express myself. You could say I was bored, yes. I went through matches without enjoying it.

    "The choice was quickly

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  8. 5 Reasons Paul Pogba Should be Cut Some Slack

    15th March 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Since making his record-breaking £89 million return to Manchester United last summer, Paul Pogba has come in for more than his fair share of criticism.

    A high degree of scrutiny was inevitable given his price tag and the fact that he was joining one of the most polarising clubs in world football. There are swathes of people watching his every move in hope that he slips up so they can write him off as a flop or a fraud.

    It's fair to say that over the last few weeks Pogba's performances for United have flattered to deceive, but there was a sustained period of around five months, after he settled into his new surroundings, in which the Frenchman was consistently the Red Devils' best player.

    Following United's FA Cup quarter-final defeat to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge this week, the criticism of Pogba was at an all-time high.

    Jose Mourinho came out in defence of his star player after the game. "We have to be positive, the

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  9. Ciro Immobile: A Key Player in Lazio's Solid Season

    13th March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Ciro Immobile followed on beautifully from what he described as one of the best nights in his career in Lazio's sensational Coppa Italia semi final victory over AS Roma last week by putting in another exceptional performance against Bologna in the league.

    Immobile's brilliant brace vs Bologna saw him continue his stunning rejuvenation at Lazio, after tough loan spells at Borussia Dortmund and Sevilla over the last couple of seasons, with the 27-year-old now back to his best, propelling his Serie A goal tally to 16.

    The former Capocannoniere winner with Torino in 2013/2014 used his explosive set of attributes, in tandem with his intuitive movement, to put the Rossoblu to the sword in fine style.

    From his centre forward slot, his targeting of the left half space was a key theme of his showing, regularly using this area of the pitch effectively. Whenever Lazio

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  10. Atletico Madrid's midfield lynchpin, Gabi

    10th March 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    With Atletico Madrid's midfield lynchpin, Gabi, set to miss his side's next two matches against Granada in La Liga and then their Champions League encounter with Bayer Leverkusen, he certainly made his last game for a couple of weeks count against Valencia.

    Diego Simeone's midfield warrior, who'll miss the Granada game courtesy of requiring surgery for two broken fingers, that allegedly occurred in a domestic incident, and the Leverkusen one through suspension, was unquestionably at his relentless best in Atleti's 3-0 mauling of the Bats.

    From his customary central midfield station, the 33-year-old's energy, aggression and tenacity saw the club's captain set the tone beautifully for his teammates to follow. The sheer force, speed and physicality in which he executed his defensive work saw him emphatically impose himself on Valencia.

    Los Che's talented midfielder, Daniel Parejo, was his direct opponent and bore the brunt

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