THE BOXING-DAY REVIEW.
A very Merry Christmas to everyone. Santa did not neglect us and he still brought us football- and goals- from England and Italy on Boxing Day. Here is a brief round-up of some of the games.
Manchester City lose again..
Manchester City lost again, for the second time in four days. Again they led, again they let the opposition in and lost the game. The loss of Fernandinho in midfield over the last two games is not a mere coincidence as the midfield has been shockingly porous. For a team that has spent a lot in the last couple of years, it is rather disappointing that there is practically no direct replacement for Fernandinho in Manchester City.
For Leicester City, ever since word got out that Claude Puel was under fire, he has won at Chelsea and has defeated the Premier League Champions. Talk about the ability to work under pressure. Now their next game is against Cardiff, a stark contrast to the teams that they just played against (sorry Cardiff) but tough all the same. Another win and Puel’s job is secured?
Juventus remain unbeaten..
Atalanta gave Juventus a run for their money on Boxing Day as they almost came away with three points. Juventus were really up for it on the day until that Bentacur red card and were thankful to substitute Ronaldo (surprised yeah?) for salvaging a draw. That is basically the stuff of Champions- even with a man behind, on a cold night in Stadio Atleti Azzurri d’Italia, you ensure that you do not go home empty-handed. They were even close to stealing all three points.Stuff of Champions.
Manchester United make it eight goals in two games..
It seems like a new wind is sweeping across Manchester United. Everything seems to be in place for Manchester United: new management, kind run of fixtures, Paul Pogba starting games (and scoring or assisting), their noisy neighbours dropping points quite frequently. The list is endless. At home to Huddersfield Town, they were in control from start to finish-something that could not be said in the previous era- and the only blip is that with all the positivity and attacking flair in these last two games, they have not been able to keep any clean sheet, even against slightly tame opposition. All is well at Manchester United now. The truer tests lie ahead.
Inter Milan steal all three points at the death…
This was supposed to be the game to look out for of all the Boxing Day fixtures- second versus third in the Serie A. Sadly, it was marred by racist chants and some slightly (maybe) controversial officiating. Racist chants directed at Kalidou Koulibaly permeated the atmosphere and this is so disappointing considering the grounds that Inter Milan was founded on. Ultimately, Lautaro Martinez won it for Inter Milan at the death in a game that would be remembered more for the racist chants more than anything. Sad stuff.
Liverpool keep yet another clean sheet.
The fact that Liverpool is getting results is not the surprising part. The fact that they are keeping clean sheets like they do not like dirty laundry is what is shocking. To put into context, Liverpool has played six games this December so far and have conceded twice. In nineteen games, they have conceded seven times. That averages to about a goal conceded every three games. Ironically, Liverpool do not press high up the pitch as they used to. The addition of Alisson Becker and Van Dijk has improved the team defensively in astronomical ways. Andy Robertson has also been a platform of consistency. Against Newcastle, they were relatively unperturbed throughout the game. Considering the fact that their closest counterparts in Manchester City is underperforming (and Tottenham taking second spot), the Premier League is theirs for the taking
Posted by: Abiodun Motunrayo
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