Brazil Victorious at 2019 Copa America

Brazil claiming a Copa America victory at home shouldn’t come as a surprise. The country has hosted the competition a total of 5 times, and after defeating Peru 3-1 during Sunday’s final, they have been victorious five times.

Not only did the tournament show that Brazil was able to handle being the favourites, proving that they did not choke on the anticipation as they did five years ago in the World Cup, but that they claimed victory thanks to a progressive, modern playing style. Brazil achieved this glorious win without Neymar who was injured throughout the competition. This is one victory that Tite will remember forever, a win that occurred without an imbalanced Neymar.

The Brazilian Manager

When Brazil was defeated by Peru three years ago in Foxborough, eliminating them from the Copa America group stage, it marked the beginning of a modernity shift for Brazil. Dunga was out while he was replaced by Tite, who didn’t have the narrow-mindedness of his predecessor. He decided to go to Europe and learn from others, study other players, and adopt a unique football style by pressing.

However, even though he incorporated this new and improved technique in the World Cup, he was always going to be hampered by the galactic ego-minded Neymar. Someone who no one can rely on when it comes to pressing as he slowed down the game. During the World Cup, there were several moments where Brazil showed that they had what it takes to be winners, but the imbalance of Neymar quickly ruled this out.

Without Neymar playing in the team, the squad transformed into something spectacular. It took a few attempts with a roster of players, but once everything merged, it turned into a phenomenal team, especially when you consider Gabriel Jesus and Everton as flanks, while Firmino dropped deep from a central role.

Peru vs Brazil

Gabriel Jesus managed to set up a beautiful opener for Everton during Brazil’s match against Peru. Everton was also the man who created the late penalty for the third goal, while Gabriel Jesus scored the second goal after Firmino won the ball, while Arthur surged forward. The midfielder from Barcelona played a vital role in midfield while Coutinho was considered the playmaker. Arthur was undoubtedly a player that Brazil missed during the last World Cup.

The only sad part about the match between Brazil and Peru was the fact that the ticket prices were far above average. This meant that only idle classes made up the bulk of the crowd at the stadium and plenty of seats were left open during the duration of the Copa America. This is something that needs to be looked at during the next Copa America as more ticket sales lead to more benefits for both team and football association.

Brazil deserved the win after their incredible performance, and we hope that the referees hear Lionel Messi and his concerns regarding corruption in Copa America.

Argentina Advance to the Copa America Quarterfinals

There’s a trap that every head coach needs to avoid: Don’t let your game strategy be more critical that the players in your team. In other words, make do with what you have and avoid working around it.

This trap essentially explains the disaster that Argentina experienced during their last World Cup campaign in 2018. Jorge Sampaoli is undoubtedly one of the most intriguing coaches on earth, but his high-pressure tactics require a goalkeeper that is fantastic on his feet and quick defenders. Argentina doesn’t have either of these qualities, and therefore, chaos was the result.

Argentina Receives a New Manager

Sampaoli was on a long-term contract and to get rid of him, the football association in Argentina had to fork out a fat check to pay him off. Lionel Scaloni, the inexperienced coach, replaced Sampaoli permanently as he had a glowing record in qualification. Scaloni was also quite cheap compared to the previous coach.

Unfortunately, Scaloni fell into the same trap as the previous head coach. He created a bold strategy for the Argentina football team: be quick on transitions and use two wingers that will play the ball swiftly into open spaces. However, there was one massive problem that surfaced when the best player in Argentina returned for international duty. Scaloni’s plan did not fit around Lionel Messi.

One of the team’s wingers needed to be sacrificed, and therefore, the entire plan fell apart. Scaloni was well aware of this fact. So, when Messi made his return to the team for a friendly match against Venezuela, the head coach had the opportunity to tweak his overall strategy. He decided to have three centre-back players, which allowed him to have two attacking wing-backs that could provide the width. The only problem with the three centre-backs was the fact that they were unable to defend successfully against the pace of the wingers in Venezuela.

Scaloni decided to return to his original plan, one that he knew couldn’t work with Lionel Messi in the mix. The outcome of his decision was a defeat during the opening match against Columbia. Since this defeat, along with the immense pressure from the tournament, Scaloni has been trying to dig himself out of this trap.

Argentina’s Path to Victory

Everything started to come together when Sergio Aguero took over for Roberto Pereyra at half-time during the match against Paraguay, the second game for Argentina in the Copa America. Argentina finally started inching forward towards something more coherent. The same strategy was utilized when Argentina managed to defeat Qatar 2-0 to secure a place in the Copa America quarterfinals where the team will face Venezuela on 28 June 2019.

Argentina is making progress as the tournament unfolds but will it be enough to advance past the quarterfinals of the Copa America tournament? And if they defeat Venezuela, are they experienced enough to take on a side like Brazil that has been dominant since the first game?

Manchester City Players – Dump or Keep

We were under the impression that completing this exercise for Man City would be pretty straight forward. You claim a domestic treble, win a second league title, everything is perfect, right? Not precisely, and that’s not due to the UEFA investigations either.

There’s loads of work that needs to be done with this club if they wish to stay in front in the 2019/20 season. Between players that are leaving, like Vincent Kompany, players that might want to go, including Nicolas Otamendi and Ilkay Gundogan, and players that are coming to an end on their contracts, such as David Silva and Fernandinho, there are urgent calls to make.

So, here is our assessment of the Manchester City squad and what might happen during the summer transfer window.

Goalkeepers

  • Ederson: Contract expires in 2025, and he is still only 25 years old, so it’s worth keeping him on.
  • Claudio Bravo: He’s been injured throughout the year and, due to his age, might want to return to regular football. He will never be number 1 again, and therefore it’s wise to sell him.
  • Arijanet Muric: The club loves him, but require a veteran backup for the team. Therefore, it’s advisable to send him on loan.
  • Daniel Grimshaw: Keep him on.

Defenders

  • John Stones, Aymeric Laporte, Oleksandr Zinchenko, and Kyle Walker: Keep
  • Nicolas Otamendi: Pep doesn’t trust this player and won’t play much once you get an elite central defender on the team to replace Kompany. So sell him while you can.
  • Vincent Kompany: Free transfer to Anderlecht.
  • Eliaqium Mangala: Man City have been trying to get rid of this player for years. Sell him while the opportunity is still there or give him away.
  • Benjamin Mendy: Concerns are growing over his commitment, and he is unable to stay fit. Sell him and upgrade his position.
  • Danilo: He’s dependable and reliable in various positions, so it’s wise to keep him.
  • Tosin Adarabioyo: Homegrown player with loads of value. Keep and extend.

Midfielders

  • Bernardo Silva, Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne, Phil Foden: Keep
  • Douglas Luiz: Still a young player that can mature elsewhere, so loan him
  • Fernandinho: Vital player for the team that cannot be replaced at the moment, so keep him.
  • Ilkay Gundogan: He stated that he wouldn’t sign a new contract, so its best to sell him now.
  • Fabian Delph: Sell
  • David Silva: Keep player unless he decides to leave.
  • Leroy Sane: Still young and packed with skills. Keep and extend.
  • Riyad Mahrez: Give player time to adapt at Manchester City.

Forwards

  • Sergio Aguero: Keep player until he wants to leave.
  • Gabriel Jesus: Keep
  • Patrick Roberts: Another club should take him off Man City’s hands. Alternatively, you can also loan this player to gain experience as he is still very young.
  • Jack Harrison: You can extend his contract to preserve his value. Alternatively, Pep can send him to another club with a similar manager to allow the player to grow.

How Solskjaer Can Fix Manchester United

The Manchester United manager ripped into each of his players following a horrible 2-0 defeat at home against Cardiff City on the last day of the Premier League, informing them that they were an embarrassment to both themselves and the club. Solskjaer is spot on, but it will necessarily be him that will lose his job if things don’t turn around after an awful 2018/19 season.

Finishing in sixth place, with 32 points behind Manchester City is a complete disgrace for Manchester United. However, the Norwegian has a clear picture of which players are a problem and which players need to stay. He had a total of 6 months to evaluate the team and allowed each of them to prove themselves on the pitch.

Solskjaer as Head Coach

Some are under the impression that it was a huge mistake to make Solskjaer a full-time head coach in March. However, no one said anything when he defeated Paris-Saint Germain during the Champions League two months ago. Unfortunately, Manchester United has been rotten ever since then, and Solskjaer must take some blame. However, there’s loads of credit still left for the head coach, and most of the fans remain on his side.


One huge advantage when he was appointed in March was that he was allowed to plan carefully for next season. He understood that recruitment was a major priority and requested that Mike Phelan become a permanent staff member on his team. Solskjaer’s request came to life after his employers drew up a contract for Mike Phelan last week.

Manchester United’s Plan for 2019/20 Season

Manchester United are well aware of which areas need to be strengthened in the team and the type of footballers the club needs. Solskjaer is planning to get players in early to lift the spirit and hopes in fans around the world. Avoiding the unnecessary mess that was created last year will help too. Manchester United was also taken by surprise when they were informed late that another central midfielder was required on the pitch.

These types of players are complicated to find, especially from now-wealthy clubs, such as Leicester City. If the head coach doesn’t get it right, the club will slip behind the likes of Wolves, Everton, and Leicester.

Manchester United’s recruitment is being monitored very carefully because it previously fell short and turned out to be a disaster. Solskjaer also wants each of his players to be much fitter as well, which is why there have been loads of changes when it comes to his fitness staff too.

Solskjaer is not a puppet or an idiot when it comes to the club and dismissing the necessary team members. He understands that the job will eat him alive if he doesn’t get his players to perform, and he knows he needs to make a few bold moves to get rid of the problematic players in the dressing room. He can make these decisions without hesitating once.

How Man United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham Can Finish in the Top 4

The title race for the Premier League between Liverpool and Manchester City is alive and well. However, when you look at the clubs behind them, things are equally compelling in the fight for the top-four places. With just 3 points between Manchester United, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham, it’s finally possible to make a case as to where each team might end up.

Tottenham Hotspur

The wait is finally over for Tottenham to make their return to White Hart Lane. The stadium has offered a crucial morale boost for the club that is currently struggling after they only made 1 point in the last five games. The 2-0 win against Crystal Palace doesn’t solve the question entirely of how well each player adjusted, but fans are much happier in the great new arena, following two years of travelling from London to Wembley. A place that never honestly felt like home. Tottenham Hotspur also has a relatively easy run going forward. Apart from Manchester City, they can enjoy a few simple home games against Everton, West Ham, Brighton, and Huddersfield along with an away trip to face Bournemouth.

Arsenal

The 2-0 win against Manchester United in March represented the last fixture against a Big 6 club, which means their remaining run is much easier on paper. Arsenal has also managed to collect 16 points in their previous 6 matches. Unai Emery has also managed to get the perfect balance with his team after spending the first half of the season changing and chopping. If things continue down this glorious path, Arsenal will be in the top 4 of the Premier League.

Chelsea

The 3-0 win against Brighton might prove crucial, especially when you consider that Maurizio Sarri’s brand-new changes made a significant impact on the field. Fans of Chelsea remain anti-Sarri. However, the use of Loftus-Cheek and Hudson-Oddi proved very popular on the pitch, giving Chelsea a breath of fresh air going forward. If the club can create a winning streak going forward with new players on the field successfully doing what they need to do, Chelsea can make a significant impact on the top 4 teams in the Premier League.

Manchester United

Manchester United has four matches at home out of 6, with the away games being played against Huddersfield and Everton. There’s also a feel-good atmosphere at Old Trafford, and while the likes of Marcus Rashford and Paul Pogba haven’t been in the same form, they showcased during the first few months under Solskjaer, the overall improvement on the tenure of Jose Mourinho is very clear. Manchester United are the least favourite team to make it to the Champions League semi-final this year because they are playing against La Liga giants, Barcelona. However, this gives them the perfect opportunity to place all their focus on the remaining Premier League games to ensure they reach the top four.

Bold Moves From Germany Pay Off in Euro 2020 Qualifier Against Netherlands

Fifteen years performing at the highest level provides a coach of a national team loads of sporting capital. For instance, enough to survive a World Cup first-round exit and relegation from the Nations League. It also provided Joachim Low to make bold moves which he did when Germany made their way to the Netherlands during the 2020 Euro qualifiers.

Joachim Low’s System

Having already dropped Thomas Muller, Mats Hummels, and Jerome Boateng, Low decided to draw a 3-4-1-2 system that featured two wingers, including Serge Gnabry and Leroy Sane, masquerading as forwards, while the forward runs of Leon Goretzka offered the heft from the number 10 position along with the creativity from Toni Kroos and Joshua Kimmich in midfield. It’s a system that seemed reasonable in theory but required field-testing that doesn’t exist when it comes to international matches.

Having already been defeated 3-0 by the Netherlands in October 2018, it was a massive call from Low. Fortunately, it paid off. Gnabry and Sane provided the Dutch with no reference points, and they assisted with a 2-0 lead for Germany, before the Dutch managed to tie the game at 2-2. Thankfully, Nico Schulz eventually obtained a winner during the final moments for Germany whose forward runs were devastating down the left for most of the game.

You are left to wonder whether we will see this scheme again frequently from Germany. The Gnabry-Sane partnership matched up well while playing against the back four of the Dutch because the defenders of Koeman’s team lacked the athleticism to successfully counter the pair as the midfield were more focused on creating as opposed to destroying. However, if they face an opponent with more defence, the lack of a central striker can be problematic.

It’s also worth mentioning that although Germany seemed reasonable during the first half of the match, Ryan Babel produced two phenomenal chances that needed some Manuel Neuer excellence to stop them. Therefore, Germany is still considered a work in progress at the moment, but it’s quite encouraging to witness how Low is making bold moves to win games.

Great Effort from the Netherlands

As for the Netherlands, kudos for the effort. Matthijs De Light might be two years removed from his debut for the national team, but he is only 19 years old. To see this young talent stumble and then recover with a brilliant goal along with some impressive defensive work during the second half of the game is evidence that processes the right stuff. The young footballer has the stigmata of a not too distant future captain.

Praise can also be given to Memphis Depay. Even though he isn’t as prolific as he was last season, he showcased yet again that he can produce game-changing results. If De Jong and De Light are considered the future of the back and midfield, Depay is then indeed the future up front.

Liverpool’s 5-0 Victory Against Watford

Liverpool’s outstanding performance in the 5-0 whipping of Watford was an example of how football should be played. The Reds produced their most significant victory of the season and managed to maintain their one-point lead against Manchester City in the title race for the Premier League trophy.

After two consecutive goalless draws, Virgil van Dijk and Sadio Mane managed to score at Anfield. While Divock Origi also found the back of the net in only his third start of the Premier League season.

Comments from Jurgen Klopp

“This is exactly what I wanted from my team,” Klopp stated during the post-match press conference. “Even though tomorrow will bring new challenges for Liverpool, today we managed to deliver some outstanding football.

“I’m extremely happy for my players because they deserve it so much. We, unfortunately, drew against Manchester United and Bayern Munich and everyone starts talking. I’m not 100% sure what they talk about, but it all comes down to showing reactions.

“We would love to play like this in every single match, and that’s perhaps possible at times. You need to be stable, and the players on the field were constantly stable and truly fluent offensively. It was fantastic and a great example of how football should be played. We now need to do it again and again.”

Liverpool vs Watford Match Analysis

Since Roberto Firmino was injured, the Liverpool manager had to decide to let Mane lead the front line of the team against Watford, while Origi lined-up on the left0hand side. Mane managed to score two goals within 20 minutes, the first with a leaping header and the second with a creative backheel kick past Ben Forster.

“I didn’t see the backheel goal,” Klopp stated. “However, I loved the first goal, especially when he jumped so high. “Mane was placed in a new position, and he played it exceptionally well. He managed to assist in the build-up situation because he is that kind of football. However, we also needed him in the box.

“Mo Salah also played phenomenally. He wasn’t playable tonight. However, in a match where he didn’t score, he still produced an exceptional performance for his team.

“Divock is not a natural defender as a wing. However, he managed to perform quite well offensively and was a constant threat on the field. He also scored an incredible goal. Both my full-backs were flying down the wing, while the midfield produced good passes and was very flexible and aggressive. “Overall, it was just an outstanding performance. I’m delighted with my players. It was exceptional, and it helped a great deal.”

The victory witnessed Trent Alexander-Arnold become the youngest footballer to assist with three goals in a match. He managed to produce inviting delivers to both Van Dijk and Mane which allowed them to score. He was absent during the game against Manchester United, but he quickly made up for it when he played against Watford.

Arsenal Can’t Afford To Let Ramsey Go

These are confusing and strange times for Aaron Ramsey. The midfielder for Arsenal is playing for a manager that decided to sanction the withdrawal of a brand-new contract agreement earlier this season. However, despite being undesirable by Unai Emery, Ramsey is well aware that he has admirers at Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Juventus, all of which are willing to sign Ramsey as a free agent during the summer.

Judging by the extended chanting of the footballer’s name by over 5,000 Arsenal fans during their 3-0 win against Blackpool in the FA Cup third-round on Saturday, Ramsey certainly has the vocal backing of the supporters in the stands as he starts his final six months with Arsenal.

Ramsey’s Current Situation at Arsenal

The fact that Aaron Ramsey started the game against Blackpool highlights his standing under Emery when it comes to the pecking order. Although Ramsey was involved on a frequent basis this season, he started less than half of the Premier League games for Arsenal which means he is not one of Emery’s top-tier players at the moment.
When asked after the match whether he wants Ramsey to stay onboard, Emery merely danced around the question with an evasive answer. “I’m not sure about the situation,” Emery stated. “But I’m extremely proud of his achievements and how he assisted the squad today.”

Several sources have informed us that the decision to withdraw the contract offer last September, which spanned across eight months, was solely down to Emery who believed that Ramsey couldn’t fit the requirements of an Arsenal midfielder. Meanwhile, Ramsey was ready to ink a brand-new contract worth £180,000 until the club decided to withdraw the contract.

Arsenal is well aware that the footballer can cover more miles and run longer than most players at the club. However, his strengths are more based on endurance as opposed to the high-energy needs that Emery wants which caused the contract to be withdrawn. As of 1 January 2019, Ramsey is welcome to talk freely with any non-English clubs regarding a summer move.

Where Will Ramsey Go?

Juventus are currently the front-runners when it comes to Aaron Ramsey, making it clear to him that they require another midfielder that already contains an arsenal of top-tier players. Bayern Munich are also quite interested in Ramsey and are prepared to swap Allianz Arena for the Emirates, while Liverpool also sees a highly diverse player that will cost them nothing when it comes to a transfer fee if they decide to sign Ramsey towards the end of the summer.

However, if Liverpool, Bayern Munich, and Juventus are so keen on obtaining Ramsey, who has been a fantastic player at Arsenal since he arrived in 2008 from Cardiff City as a young teenager, why has Emery already decided to write him off due to not fulfilling the necessary requirements? This is one question most Arsenal fans are wondering about, and they definitely made their concerns loud and clear when they chanted his name during the match against Blackpool.

Virgil van Dijk Disappointed at Liverpool Football Club

Virgil van Dijk states that he hasn’t achieved anything as a Liverpool player as of yet, telling reporters that he “expected a great deal” from his world-renowned transfer to Anfield at the start of the year, while also adding that there’s something special brewing at the club at the moment.;World’s Most Expensive Defender.

The captain for the Netherlands national team became the most expensive defender in the world when he decided to leave Southampton in a £75 million deal to play at Liverpool in January 2018 where he quickly emerged as an important figure in Klopp’s squad.

Van Dijk played a crucial role in last season’s Champions League final for Liverpool, ending in a defeat in Kiev against Real Madrid, and he has played a key role of Liverpool’s defense that has only conceded 5 Premier League goals this year as Liverpool has mounted a constant challenge to Manchester City in the Premier League title race. However, although there are several signs of progress at the Liverpool club during the 2018/19 season, Van Dijk believes that there should be more in order for him to see the move to Anfield as a successful one.

Van Dijk stated in a recent interview,

“I expected quite a bit from my transfer.I expected a great deal from myself to further improve as a player as well as a human being.Obviously, things have been going extremely well, but we currently don’t have anything apart from loads of improvement and ensuring we’re on the right track. However, I get the feeling that something is taking place at the club. We’ve got incredible momentum at the moment. All of us are feeling great although we can all still improve when it comes to the game, but as I stated before, we’re definitely on the right track.”

The £75 million Transfer Fee

Although van Dijk made headlines due to the massive transfer fee from Southampton to Liverpool, the 27-year-old’s performance for the squad has ensured that the huge figure is barely mentioned at the moment. However, while Van Dijk admits that he has improved as a player in Liverpool, he agrees that the transfer fee can still be used against him if he can’t maintain his consistency.
Van Dijk believes things can turnaround stating,

“In the off chance that things go wrong, people will obviously start bringing up the huge transfer fee. This is something that I cannot control and therefore I merely need to accept it.I’m extremely honoured that Liverpool decided to pay that much for me to join the club this year. The only thing that is required of me is to work extremely hard and play well at the club. Thankfully, I am progressing as a player with a lot of pressure, a different environment, and different tactics in each and every game where it’s crucial to win. It’s something I love doing which is also the main reason why I started playing football.”

The Ultimate Attacking Trios in Football


Three can definitely be considered a magic number, especially when it comes to football. It’s for this very reason that we decided to take a look at the most potent and important trios in the game of football and what makes them so amazing.

Liverpool – The Lords of Open Space

This sensational threesome flourishes on open space and peaks when there’s room for running and attacking behind a rushed retreating defense. They perfectly fit the high-pressure ideals of Jurgen Klopp and are fully equipped to completely exploit the most innocuous change in possession. The blistering conviction and pace of Sadio Mane, Roberto Firmino, and Mohamed Salah is what makes them so deadly when they have the ball in their possession. The Liverpool trio requires open space to operate sufficiently and once they receive it, the front three is unmatched.

Manchester City – Assassins in the Penalty Area

It almost seems unfair to showcase the trio of Sergio Aguero, Leroy Sane, and Raheem Sterling given how remarkable Pep Guardiola’s entire team is at destroying opponents. However, the truth of the matter is that these three football stars are the most proficient at applying the final touch to claim victories. Their overall strength doesn’t lie in the creation of chances, but more in the conversion.

Paris Saint-Germain – The Creative All-Stars

If you believe it’s completely unfair that Ligue 1 squads need to deal with Mbappe, Kylian, and Neymar, you’d be right. To be honest, its an embarrassingly creative trio within the French league. However, what’s even more impressive is how three world-class football stars at their previous clubs have jelled and worked as a functioning unit without their egos getting in the way. Unfortunately, the squad has struggled a bit in the Champions League this season, but their incredible combination of style and skill makes them rather impossible to stop, regardless of who they are facing every week.

Barcelona – The Potent Champions

What this miniscule threesome lacks in stature, they quickly make up for in pound-for-pound brilliance and potency. Whether they are playing away or at home in Camp Nou, in the Champions League or La Liga, the three-headed monster of Luis Suarez, Philippe Coutinho, and Lionel Messi has a nearly telepathic connection on the field, allowing them to easily extract the most from their penalty areas, even if it’s over crowded. The Barcelona threesome haven’t hit their absolute best too often but 2018 was the perfect indication of how well these three perform together, accumulating 67 goals along with 29 assists during the La Liga alone.

Tottenham Hotspur – The Superior Group

There’s no denying that this can’t be considered the conventional attacking force when you compare it to the teams mentioned above. However, where would Tottenham Hotspur be without Happy Kane, Christian Eriksen, and Dele Alli? To be completely honest, only Harry Kane can be considered a reasonably top-tier football player, but the magnificent beauty of the triple threat in Tottenham is that they each compliment each other on the field, creating perfection each and every time.