RONALDO, EMERY, AND OTHER WEEKEND FOOTBALL THOUGHTS
The football season is truly back. Over the weekend, I met a dude who staked his entire salary on the game between Man United and Brighton. It’s not even the end of the month (which means he staked a salary that he hasn’t even received) but he was super confident that the Red Devils would win by a landslide. Now I heard he’s in the hospital…I don’t think he’ll make it through the next month…Will be keeping an eye on his number on my phone (because I don’t have any loan to give…lol).
Anyway, this last weekend should have been about the awesome CR7. His Serie A debut almost made me forget the London Derby taking place later on Saturday. It was a dramatic game which saw Ronaldo score NO goal (he had some good chances…not many but good nonetheless) on the day and I found that very disappointing…not because he didn’t score…but then Messi took the headlines away from him by scoring Barcelona’s 6,000th league goal. What made it worse was that it was reported that Messi scored the 5,000th! I’m like ‘What is all this?’ This rivalry is not dead yet.
About the London Derby though, and it still feels like the season hasn’t started for Arsenal. They’re already 6 points behind and the transfer window doesn’t close for another week (it’s that early). After the hammering against Man City, I was stunned to see Mkhitarian and Guendozi in the lineup again. I know many believe the young French kid played well but I wouldn’t have started in him against City or Chelsea. It’s too big a gamble. I actually think the team would have worked better as a unit if Elneny played instead. I think if you can start 11 players who understand what it’s like to play in such big fixtures, it helps the team overall. Hopefully, Emery will be vindicated in the end. I’m not counting him out though. It’s taking a while but I know he’s working hard to get this group to blend with his methods. I believe in him…and them.
Still in England, Man United were surprisingly toothless against a team that battled relegation last season. Brighton started with just one of their new signings (Montoya) and they played just like normally do: organized football with small flair in it. It shouldn’t even be enough to win against United. United have to play badly to draw against that kind of football…which says a lot about how badly they played to get beaten. How can you fine Martial over 140,000 pounds just weeks ago…then ask him to start this game? You’re asking for your sack letter. Jose Mourinho is a funny funny man.
Over in Madrid, Madrid got along really fine after CR7’s departure by turning on the style against their less-glamorous neighbours, Getafe. A 2-nil scoreline was due credit for what was an efficient display from Julen Lopetegui’s men. Bale and Benzema look like they can make the step up in CR7’s place. I expect both of them to make an impact this year. For too long, they’ve been the support staff, especially Benzema (who has been Ronaldo’s faithful sidekick for too long…I hope he still has the stones to be a main man). Bale looks like he can finally remind us of his (now mundane) price tag. He’s back to being quick, sharp and ready to score in games (assuming he stays fit for long enough). Both guys have to come to the fore and prove, not just to us but even themselves, that they are still Galacticos (if that means anything nowadays).
Finally, the small matter of Nigeria facing a ban from FIFA over the battle within the NFF is becoming concerning. I don’t like how this is looking. Why mix politics with football in 2018? Is the NFF not learning anything from previous cases that were similar…in Nigeria? No wonder Moses retired. He saw this mess a mile away.