Monthly Archives: May 2017

  1. Miralem Pjani?: A Key Player for Juventus in the Champions League Final

    31st May 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    When Manchester United prised Paul Pogba away from Juventus for a world-record £89 million fee last summer, many feared that the Old Lady would struggle to recover from the blow of losing one of their best players.

    But the Bianconeri already have a pretty viable contingency plan in place. Not only did they replace the star power and name-recognition lost by the flamboyant midfielder's return to Old Trafford after four years in Turin by signing Gonzalo Higuaín from Napoli, they had also picked up Bosnian playmaker Miralem Pjani? from rivals Roma.

    Juventus met Pjani?'s €32 million release clause a fee which, when compared to Pogba's, looks a bargain meaning that the Giallorossi were powerless to prevent the gifted dead-ball specialist from leaving the Stadio Olimpico.

    In one fell swoop Juve

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  2. Bayer Leverkusen's Kai Havertz - 17 and Destined for Success

    29th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Although it's been an utterly disappointing season for Bayer Leverkusen, the emergence of 17-year-old sensation, Kai Havertz, has been a massive positive.

    In a season littered with terrible results that ultimately cost Roger Scmhidt his job and one that saw the club flirting with relegation before scraping home to finish 12th, Havertz has undoubtedly offered a rare bright spot of excitement for the fans.

    Since debuting on October 15, 2016 in Leverkusen's loss to Werder Bremen, which saw him become the club's youngest ever player, he's steadily gone about adapting to life in the Bundesliga and showing what a remarkable talent he is.

    Thereafter, on top of becoming Die Werkself's youngster goalscorer, he's gone onto make an impressive 23 league appearances and cement himself as a crucial component within the Leverkusen squad. And to round out his extraordinary breakthrough campaign, the German youth international put in a superb,

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  3. Will Jorginho Leave Napoli this Summer?

    26th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    When the news filtered through that AS Roma had overcome Chievo Verona 5-3 ahead of Napoli's clash with Fiorentina, the Partenopei knew nothing less than a win would do to keep their slim hopes alive of finishing second and getting an automatic passage into the group stage of next season's Champions League.

    They emphatically responded by swiping aside Paulo Sousa's talented outfit 4-1, in a match where they exhibited their customarily fluent and exciting offensive style of football. While Dries Mertens, Marek Hamsik and Lorenzo Insigne deservedly took the lion's share of the plaudits, the performance of holding midfielder, Jorginho, merited just as much praise.

    The elegant Italian-Brazilian regista, who's endured a battle with Amadou Diawara in his chosen position this season, which has seen him spend his fair share of time on the bench, but is now coexisting well with the Guinean, hardly put a foot wrong throughout the win.

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  4. 19 Year Old Kasper Dolberg Looks to Upset Man Utd in the Europa League Final

    24th May 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Manchester United's season was powered by the goals of Zlatan Ibrahimovic up until the point the Swedish striker suffered a torn cruciate knee ligament against Anderlecht in April. Now, the Red Devils face the prospect of having their 2016-17 campaign shattered by a 19-year-old prodigy labelled "the new Ibrahimovic".

    Kasper Dolberg, widely regarded as one of the best young players on the Continent, will line up for Ajax when the Dutch side take on Jose Mourinho's men in the Europa League final in Stockholm tonight. The Danish striker has bagged 23 goals in all competitions this season, earning him rave reviews and attracting interest from Barcelona, Manchester City and Liverpool among others.

    What makes the young forward's rise to prominence this season all the more remarkable is the fact that he is way ahead of schedule. Dolberg's immense talent was no secret within the

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  5. Calum Chambers Enjoys a Fine Campaign on Loan at Middlesbrough

    22nd May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    With Laurent Koscielny, Rob Holding, Gabriel Paulista and the soon to be arriving Shkodran Mustafi all ahead of him in the central defensive pecking order going into the season at Arsenal, it made perfect sense for Calum Chambers to head out on loan.

    Joining Middlesbrough presented him with a fantastic opportunity to prove himself at the highest level and obtain the vital game time he craved. And although he's had his troubles with injury, most notably when he missed a crucial two month stretch between February and April, the Englishman's time on Teesside has unquestionably been littered with upside.

    While Boro's campaign will end in relegation, Chambers is one of the few players that can hold his head high, as he's consistently shone brightly in their season of darkness. Incredibly, Chambers has already started more matches (23) this term in the league than he'd done thoroughout his entire time with Arsenal (20).


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  6. Why Roma Should Aim to Keep Leandro Paredes This Summer

    19th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Despite being stuck behind AS Roma's exceptional midfielder duo of Daniele De Rossi and Kevin Strootman for chunks of the season, Leandro Paredes has proved himself to be a brilliant replacement whenever afforded an opportunity.

    The former Boca Juniors product, who Roma signed as a trequartista in 2014 and was transformed into a deep lying playmaker under Marco Giampaolo on loan at Empoli last season, has continued his adaption to his new role beautifully. Indeed, as the campaign's progressed and he's further honed his skillset at the base of midfield, Paredes' importance to the Giallorossi has grown rapidly, with his form seeing him emerge as a creative, reliable and durable option.

    "I was always a trequartista until I joined Roma. When I went to Empoli, [Marco] Giampaolo put me in front of the defence. I really like the position. I had my doubts in the beginning because I'd never played there before, but I enjoy it now. I get

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  7. Alex Oxlade Chamberlain Reborn at Right Wing-Back for Arsenal

    17th May 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
    Since moving to Arsenal from Southampton a week before his 18th birthday in 2011, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain has thrilled and frustrated fans inside the Emirates Stadium in equal measure.

    His immense talent has never been in question and explains the £12million fee the Gunners initially forked out for the teenager, who had never played first-team football above the third tier of the English game at the time.

    But, in a situational that for Arsenal fans will alarmingly draw parallels with another former Saints wonderkid, Theo Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain's slow progress raises concerns over whether his true potential will ever be realised.

    A major part of the issue has been that, at 23, the England international has failed to settle into a defined position, flitting between both flanks, centrally as a No.10 and, earlier this season,

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  8. Will Lucas Perez Head Back to La Liga?

    15th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    At this stage of the season, Lucas Perez, who joined Arsenal for a hefty £17 million in the summer from Deportivo La Coruna, would've been hoping he'd have more than a paltry nine starts, of which only two have come in the league, to his name for the Gunners.

    It was never going to be easy for him to nail down a starting spot within Arsene Wenger's talented squad. But the fact he's never really been given enough opportunities to prove himself has been difficult for him to swallow.

    The man who's impressively scored seven goals at an excellent rate of one every 135 minutes, including a statement hat-trick vs Basel in the Champions League, duly made his feelings felt in a recent interview with La Voz de Galicia, explaining: "This season has been difficult because I think I've deserved to play more. I may not have done as well as others, but if they'd have given me more minutes I'd have produced better numbers: more goals and more

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  9. Joel Matip will be a key player at Liverpool for years to come

    12th May 2017. By Edward Stratmann.
    Although Liverpool couldn't overcome Claude Puel's disciplined and well organised Southampton outfit on the weekend, drawing 0-0, the performance of centre-back, Joel Matip, was one of the most positive aspects of the afternoon from the Reds' perspective.

    Continuing his strong debut season, that's seen him grow into an integral component of Jurgen Klopp's plans, the languid stopper hardly put a foot wrong throughout. Dealing with Southampton's silky skilled centre forward, Manolo Gabbiadini, is never an easy task, but Matip made short work of the Italian, using his athleticism, physicality and intelligence to limit his impact.

    Whenever the former Napoli and Sampdoria whizz dropped deep, Matip followed him vigorously, never giving him a chance to turn, while showing his fine judgement to chime in with vital interceptions to nip in before the ball had even arrived at Gabbiadini's feet. Executing these actions with such force and

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  10. Edin Deko is Rejuvenated at Roma

    10th May 2017.
    Any Manchester City fans stumbling upon coverage of a Roma game this season could be forgiven for not recognizing the tall, powerful forward banging in goal after goal for the Giallorossi. But the imposing figure in the No.9 shirt, the man who tops the Serie A scoring charts this season with 27 goals in 35 games, in none other than former City striker Edin Džeko.

    In five season at the Etihad Stadium, Džeko, though a regular goal scorer, was never taken into the hearts of the City faithful in quite the same way as the more prolific Sergio Agüero or diminutive genius David Silva.

    When the towering, 6ft 4ins Bosnian was shipped out to Roma on loan in the summer of 2015, before then making the move permanent last year, there were few on the blue side of Manchester sad to see him go.

    However, since settling in the Italian capital, Džeko has marked himself out once again as one of the deadliest forwards in Europe, netting a phenomenal 37 goal

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