Monthly Archives: November 2017
- November 29, 2017
29th November 2017.
There has been four months of domestic football already played this season, which is a good barometer to understand and analyse Europe's standout players.
Of course, there will always be Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi on the list, but there have also been some superb players the average fan might not know in detail.
Here are five of Europe's best players, one picked from each of Europe's top five leagues:
- England Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City, midfielder
- England Kevin De Bruyne Manchester City, midfielder
Under Pep Guardiola, the former Chelsea starlet has enjoyed unprecedented success in his career so far. While he has not won the title with the Citizens yet, De Bruyne has played the best football in his career and is consistently placing himself in the world-class bracket each
- November 23, 2017
23rd November 2017.
Paris Saint-Germain's summer of spending sent shockwaves around the European game, as the world transfer record was obliterated to sign Neymar from Barcelona for €222 million, while teenager sensation Kylian Mbappe joined on loan from champions Monaco with a view to a permanent €180 million switch at the end of the season.
So far, though, it has to be said that it was money well spent for PSG: the Parc des Princes club are storming toward recapturing the Ligue 1 title they lost to Monaco last term, and look like genuine contenders in the Champions League.
There will, however, have to come a balancing of the books, with player sales almost certainly required if the Parisians are to have any hope of avoiding Financial Fair Play (FFP) sanctions.
The incomings at PSG this season have pushed several top-quality players out of the side, forcing some who would be sure-fire stars at other clubs to settle for a bit-part role. And it is these
- November 21, 2017
21st November 2017.
After just 211 days out of action due to a ruptured Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) against Anderlecht, Zlatan Ibrahimovi? graced the field with his presence once again when coming off the bench against Newcastle United to a jubilant Old Trafford crowd.
When the now-retired Sweden international went to visit surgeon Dr Freddie H Fu in Pittsburgh, America, for tests to assess the damage, he came out and said Ibrahimovi? was one of the most remarkable athletes he has ever laid eyes on. To say he was impressed in what good shape he is in for a then-35 year old was an understatement. He might well be a professional athlete, but the dedication to his craft and to better himself has allowed Ibrahimovi? to play on for so long at the elite end of football.
Ibrahimovi?: The Stats
Before his injury, in 46 appearances for the Red Devils, Ibrahimovi? scored 28 and recorded 10 assists. He was pivotal to United's attack and played a pivotal
- November 17, 2017
17th November 2017.
With the World Cup just around the corner, there is a lot of excitement and hype bubbling on the surface of fans. It is not in full swing yet, given we are in November, but it is noticeable.
Like with any tournament England are enrolled in, there are expectations of the Three Lions to perform, and each time they seem to fail worse than the previous. The England fans are certainly at ends with England's senior team, especially under Roy Hodgson when England crashed out of the European Championships to Iceland, but Gareth Southgate might well start to change the reputation - slowly, but surely.
For England football, nothing appears to be a quick fix. England fans thought they hit the jackpot when a truly passionate manager in Sam Allardyce came along - only to find out the former Crystal Palace manager was sacked over a video which portrays Big Sam giving advice on how to circumvent the rules of third
- November 15, 2017
15th November 2017.
Italy's 1-0 aggregate loss to Sweden in their World Cup qualification play-off has sparked a maelstrom of emotion within the Italian football community, with an outpouring of sadness, disappointment and anger greeting the final whistle at the end of the goalless second leg at the San Siro.
The defeat means the Azzurri fail to qualify for a World Cup finals for the first time in 60 years, denying legendary goalkeeper and 2006 World Cup winner Gianluigi Buffon the dream career bookend of bowing out at next summer's tournament in Russia, while fellow veterans Daniele De Rossi, Andrea Barzagli and Giorgio Chiellini have also confirmed their subsequent international retirements.
Many observers are calling for a root-and-branch review of the Italian football system, feeling that systemic issues are at the heart of Italy's recent failures, and deeming the current pool of Azzurri players inferior to past generations.
But, in truth,
- November 10, 2017
10th November 2017.
Over the course of the last six years, Serie A's title race has been something of a formality. Juventus, under Antonio Conte and now Massimiliano Allegri, have cruised to the Scudetto year after year without any serious competition. However, in the famous words of Bob Dylan, for the times, they are a-changin'.
Competition in 2017/18 Serie A
We are finally immersed in the wonderful spectacle that is a competitive Italian league. After 12 games - AS Roma and Lazio have only played 11 - Napoli sit at the summit, one point ahead of reigning champions Juventus and two in front of Luciano Spalletti's Inter.
Just behind the top three is Lazio, 28, and Roma, 27, with a game-in-hand to catch up the three teams ahead of them on 30, 31 and 32 points.
Milan were supposed to be in the mix, but problems with Vincenzo Montella's selection policy and the overhaul of the squad has prohibited them kicking on and competing for a Champions League
- November 08, 2017
8th November 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
Barcelona's transfer dealings over the last couple of years have left a lot to be desired, with overspending on under-qualified new arrivals, the unfortunate and unexpected enforced sale of superstar Neymar, and an apparent lack of joined-up thinking within the club's hierarchy regarding player acquisitions.
But, despite a series of transfer market missteps, there is one recent Barcelona signing that can only be regarded as a stellar piece of business.
He didn't arrive to any great fanfare and, aside from Ligue 1 aficionados, many would have had to resort to a Google search to find out exactly what BarÃ§a were getting for their €25 million outlay, but, since his arrival in the summer of 2016, French centre-back Samuel Umtiti has become the bedrock of the Camp Nou backline.
"He passed all the filters," Barcelona
- November 01, 2017
1st November 2017. By Ryan Baldi.
The loss of Alexandre Lacazette, Corentin Tolisso and Maxim Gonalons stripped Lyon of three of their most important players this summer. The former left for Arsenal after the Gunners broke their club transfer record to temp OL into parting with their prized asset, and it was a similar story with Tolisso's move to German champions Bayern Munich, while Gonalons, who had captained the French side, joined Roma for just €5 million.
In a matter of weeks, Lyon had lost their most prolific and reliable marksman, their energetic and technically gifted young midfield dynamo, and their leader and lynchpin in the middle of the park.
They reinvested much of the roughly €100 million recouped from the sales, with, among others, Dominican international striker Mariano Diaz coming in from Real Madrid and versatile forward Bertrand arriving