Mesut Ozil – The Curious Case of The German at Arsenal

Mesut Ozil - The Curious Case of The German at Arsenal

Arsenal star, Mesut Ozil, is considered to be one of the most creative minds in football. Yet, he can’t seem to find a way to break into Unai Emery’s first-choice XI. 


Mesut Ozil has now started only one of the Gunners’ last 10 outings and wasn’t even on the bench for Thursday night’s embarrassing 1-0 defeat at BATE Borisov in the first leg of their UEFA Europa League last-32 tie.

Mesut Ozil, 30, has had a roller coaster of a career at Arsenal. Moving from Real Madrid in 2013, the German slid right into Arsene Wenger’s first team, and deservedly so. His quick decision making, vision, and passing range opened up new avenues at Arsenal, and the fans just couldn’t get enough.

Under Arsene Wenger, Ozil got the freedom to express himself, his lazy brilliance. He glided between the defensive lines, placing inch-perfect passes, and reminded time and again why he deserved to be the most expensive German player in history. However, even during the Frenchman’s reign, he struggled from time to time. But his creativity and brilliance eventually came out on top, always.

Wenger’s keen eye and love towards Ozil’s intricacy, helped the former Werder Bremen man flourish. Between 2013 and 2018, Ozil played 196 games across all competitions, registering 37 goals and 71 assists.

Wenger’s successor, Unai Emery, has brought in a new philosophy. He wants his players to run tirelessly and effortlessly for the entire 90 minutes, suffocating the opposition, forcing them to make a bad call or two. Ozil, as we all know, is not the player that Emery wants. The former Real Madrid playmaker runs only when he desperately needs, not just to put pressure on the opposition. He also doesn’t track back as his coach wants him to and often loses his marker.

So, technically, Arsenal should be well off without such a player. But in reality, they need him more than they care to admit. Lucas Torreira, Granit Xhaka, Matteo Guendouzi all are exceptionally capable players but aren’t even half as creative as the German. They can run, defend, hassle players out of possession, but they can’t unlock stubborn defences, not even if their life depended on it.

Also Read: Mou explained how to find balance with Ozil

BATE Borisov aren’t the most decorated team, but even the Belarusians knew how to get the better of the Londoners. They just sat back, surrendered the ball to the Gunners, and invited them to come at them. Emery’s side tried their best to play between the lines but didn’t have an architect amongst them. So, instead of penetrating through the middle, they tried crossing from all angles, hoping to get lucky. BATE, the physically superior of the two, dealt with the balls rather effortlessly and eventually cruised to a famous win against the Premier League giants.

Yes, Ozil has his flaws. He isn’t the most attentive, not the most driven. But the player has something that none of Emery’s hard-working midfielders does — the ability to bring even the most stubborn of defenses to its knees. Integrating a dedicated number 10 will be a challenge for Unai Emery, but if Arsenal are to qualify for the Champions League next season, the former Paris Saint-German boss must solve this puzzle as soon as possible.

Coutinho: The Brazilian is running out of steam and time

Philippe Coutinho: The Brazilian is running out of steam and time

There is no better showcase for a player than an El Clasico. A Barcelona – Real Madrid match can give air (like Malcom and Vinicius), confirm a continuous growth (like Semedo) or clear a few doubts that could be about a signing (Arthur). 


But an El Clasico can also be a double-edged sword, especially for those players who do not meet expectations.

This is now the case of Philippe Coutinho

In the first leg of the Copa del Rey semi-finals, the Brazilian had the last great opportunity as a starter to prove his worth, and once again he disappointed. The context was the ideal to take a step forward, but the suspense around him that was involved for months was confirmed. Without Messi or Dembele in the field, Coutinho failed to take the responsibilities and went back into hiding. Shy in each of his attempts, he failed to tickle Real right-back Dani Carvajal and was disconnected all the time. It was a worrying situation for Valverde, who was running out of ideas to find the best version of the player, unknown even in the Catalan capital.

On a path of shrinkage

Image Source – TEAMtalk

The process of Coutinho’s shrinkage is very much evident. Little remains of the promising start he delivered for few weeks after landing from Liverpool. In short, Coutinho has run out of resources – he almost does not even test his characteristic dribble inwards with a coiled shot. He also does not offer solutions to the team and his body language on the pitch to invite optimism. The two goals in the previous round against Sevilla momentarily covered his shortcomings. But it is far from reality, or what Barca actually requires.

Coutinho is not Andres Iniesta

Image Source – Metro

At the beginning of the season Coutinho’s timid role was overshadowed by the intensity of Dembele, but when the Frenchman took off, there was no way to make up. With his signing, the most expensive in the history of the Catalan club (about 135 million euros), the Brazilian was asked to become the heir of Andres Iniesta. However, right now it’s hard to see him to fill in the mighty shoes. Not only for his limited contribution to the development of the game, but also for his little defensive commitment that happens every time he gives away the ball.

Dembele, more reliable for Barca

Image Source – Barca Blaugranes

Insipid and shabby in the field, against Real Madrid, Coutinho ended up being replaced by Lionel Messi in the 63rd minute. The Blaugrana coach valued Malcolm’s effort and kept him on the field for long when his early change was pre-determined. Coutinho has had three weeks to show that he is ready for competing Dembele’s position, but the return of the Frenchman after his injury is eagerly awaited now as the season goes up in temperature with the return of the Champions League. Dembele has conquered the Barca fans, and Coutinho has run out of time. Now he will have to reverse the situation from the bench. If he fails to do so, the departure next summer will be closer, although Barca will have to see to what extent the investment is recoverable.

Also Read: 5 talking points of the El Clasico

Tendulkar Launches Video Game & Headset With JetSynthesys

Tendulkar Launches Video Game & Headset With JetSyntheys

The Master Blaster and one of the most renowned names in the history of Indian sports Sachin Tendulkar, has gone into a partnership with JetSyntheys. Jet has launched the Sachin Saga VR limited Edition Headset and Sachin Saga Virtual Reality Cricket game during the CII India Gaming Show (IGS).


On Monday JetSynthesys launched a multiplayer Virtual Reality Cricket game called the Sachin Saga at the IGS. Sachin Saga has been named after Sachin Tendulkar, the former Indian cricketer. The newly launched game is claimed to be India’s first multiplayer Virtual Reality Cricket Game. Sachin himself unveiled the game along with the Sachin Saga VR limited edition headset at an IGS event in Delhi.

The Sachin Saga VR multiplayer game is priced at 1499. The main purpose is to provide an immersive on-field experience to the players. It is claimed to be equipped with the best in class technology. In the game, the players face bowlers at over 150 Kilometres per hour delivering balls in the game with high-end VR graphics. The experience of real-time shadows, motion captures by Tendulkar and access to over 100 cricket matches in the legend mode are the USP of this game. The game also provides 28 unique cricketing shots and enables players to compete with multiple players. 

Also Read: The Indian Hero – Rahul Dravid

The headset comes with the VR multiplayer game along with over 3000 games, videos, education, and exploration apps. It supports a 100-degree field view, resin lenses and a customized Bluetooth controller for pro-gaming action. The Sachin Saga VR headset is a limited edition accessory and designed with specific actions.
Sachin Tendulkar, during the launch in Delhi, said,

“With VR, for the first time, the lines between gaming and real blur to give gamers an accurately simulated experience of the stadium, real-time action right on their mobile screens. I thoroughly enjoyed reliving my matches with Sachin Saga VR, and I am sure it will resonate with cricket fans and gamers all over the world.”

Ways in which Cristiano Ronaldo is helping Juventus generate revenue off the pitch

Cristiano Ronaldo Juventus

Cristiano Ronaldo is probably the most marketable commodity in World Football at the moment and Juventus are reaping in the benefits.


Juventus were questioned by a few when they signed Cristiano Ronaldo from Real Madrid for a 100 Million euros and would go on to pay an additional 130 Million euros in wages across 4 years. Skeptics suggested that investing such large sums of money on a 33-year-old was not an economically feasible idea.

We are five months into the Season and it’s safe to say that all the skeptics have been proven wrong and Ronaldo has reinstated his position as a revenue gold mine. So here’s how Ronaldo has helped Juventus climb up the Financial ladder.

1. Jersey Sales


Picture Credits: Nairobi News

It’s no surprise, but Ronaldo jerseys sell like hotcakes. According to the Guardian Juventus sold 520,000 Ronaldo jersey replicas, which helped them recuperate 55 Million euros before Ronaldo even kicked a ball. Another report from Tuttosport reported that by July 2018 the Club had sold out its entire inventory of Ronaldo home and away jerseys. Adidas predicted revenue of 75 Million to flow into the Club by the end of the Season

The more recent numbers with respect to the shirt sale revenue haven’t been released but judging from these numbers Ronaldo is going to bring consistent Revenue to Juventus.

2. Juventus stock has risen considerably since his arrival


Picture credits: Troll Football

Juve was among the biggest Clubs in Italy and the World even before Cristiano Ronaldo arrived in Turin. But ever since his arrival, Juventus has seen its share value increase by approximately 120 Percent. Ronaldo is a commodity that has put them on the World map and has increased the faith of the investors and the fans considerably. Most markets rate Juventus’ value as a Club to be in and around the €1.5 Billion region.

3. Ronaldo’s uncanny ability as a crowd puller


Picture Credits: Juventus.com

Economically Ronaldo’s move cost Juventus a lot of Money, a lot more than they are used to spending anyway. To cope with the increased financial pressures the Club’s administration decided to increase the price of tickets and Season tickets by approximately 25-30%. Though the move was a bold one, the crowd continued to come in large numbers. Ronaldo has been attracting crowds irrespective of the situation whether it was during his first friendly when the anticipation to see him play jammed an entire freeway or a tax evasion scam that could potentially destroy his reputation, the crowd always comes in. 

Tottenham injury concerns and why they need to enter the Transfer Market to ensure Top 4

Tottenham-HotSpur-Spurs-Kane-Alli-Son

Tottenham Hotspur are struggling with Injuries to key star players and the setback have affected their results greatly.


Tottenham are not having the best run of form with key men, Harry Kane and Dele Alli out injured while South Korean Forward, Son Heung-Min has been on International duty with the South Korean National team competing in the ongoing AFC Asian Cup. Mauricio Pochettino’s side isn’t renowned to dig deep in the Transfer Market and have often been criticized for not having able backups. The absence of their key players along with ineffective performances against Chelsea in the League Cup Semi-Final along with a disappointing loss to Crystal Palace in the FA Cup last night has put Spurs in a spot of bother.

Spurs do have a sigh of relief though, South Korea were beaten by Qatar in the AFC Asian Cup Quarter-Final three days ago and Son Heung-min has already arrived in London. Mauricio Pochettino revealed that the player is fatigued but could be available for selection on Wednesday when Tottenham take on Watford.

“Yes, yes. Today we were with him on the training ground in the morning. He’s so tired, he played three games. Very tough games. Of course not too much energy today, but we hope he’ll be available and ready on Wednesday to help the team.”

Even with Son’s return Spurs are expected to struggle with the Champions League knockout games fast approaching, the Premier League Top 4 race getting tighter with every passing week and Harry Kane along with Dele Alli ruled out, thing are looking bleak for the North Londoners.

Kane and Alli are sidelined with ankle ligament injuries till the first weekend of March. By then Spurs would’ve played six games in the Premier League including games against Top 4 rivals Chelsea and Arsenal. The English duo is also likely to miss both legs of their Champions League Round of 16 clashes against an in-form Borussia Dortmund.

Spurs will be in desperate need of quality backups or the next round of fixtures could derail their Season. Tottenham have always been perennial overachievers, with limited resources and a tight wage bill they always go on to achieve extraordinary results. This time around, in my opinion, they will need to stretch their wage bill out a little bit and at least try to get someone in on a short term Loan. With Llorente, Son and Eriksen as their primary players up front, I’m afraid Tottenham Hotspur may not make the cut.

Maurizio Sarri’s criticism brings the best out of Eden Hazard…or does it?

maurizio-sarri-eden-hazard-chelsea

Maurizio Sarri has publicly criticized Chelsea talisman Eden Hazard stating that he does not have any Leadership qualities.


Constructive criticism from Maurizio Sarri seems to have ignited something in Eden Hazard as the Belgian seems to be back at his best. Sarri questioned Hazard’s qualities as a leader on the pitch and called him a player with more individualistic qualities on the pitch. Hazard’s response was first with his feet on the pitch as he put in one of his better performances this Season.

Hazard scored a scintillating Goal and spoke in the post-match interview about his Manager’s comments, 

“To be fair I don’t care – I just play my football and it doesn’t matter what the manager says, I’m always focused on this team and I just want to do my best for this team.” 

If Hazard plays this kind of Football week in week out they wouldn’t mind Sarri criticizing Hazard more often. 

It’s hard to believe that till almost a decade ago Sarri was a Banker with no connection to professional Football whatsoever and now not only is he a masterful tactician but is also a very good manager of his players. Here’s what Sarri had to say about the Situation.

“I prefer him when he speaks with his feet. The potential is higher than the performances, I think. Hazard was very good, especially for 60-65 minutes – wonderful,”   

Sarri would be especially proud of the way his players reacted on the pitch and came together as a team especially considering he had lashed out at all of them after the Arsenal game. He questioned their mentality and stated that the team will not be known for their battling and fighting qualities, the players would be keen to put in another good performance against Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup.

Some media outlets have started linking Eden Hazard to Real Madrid once again and given that Hazard will have just one year left on his Chelsea contract at the end of the Season, the criticism may just backfire. There is a very fine line that Sarri is treading with this kind of criticism, if it goes well he could get a response out of his team and really inspire them but if he overdoes it he could, for lack of a better word, Jose Mourinho the Situation. To go with all these complications Hazard has still no clear stance on his contract situations with just ambiguity surrounding the whole situation. Chelsea will need clarity on the Situation and maybe be a little more careful in the Future. 

Liverpool vs Manchester United: The Eternal Rivalry

Liverpool vs Manchester United: The Eternal Rivalry

Sparks fly every time they face on the field. Both star in the so-called Northwest Derby, but in reality it is the classic of English football par excellence. Not in vain, we are talking about the two most successful clubs in England.


Manchester United – founded in 1878 under the name of Newton Heath LYR Football Club – and Liverpool – created in 1892 by a businessman named John Houlding. Two historical rivals, two heavyweights not only of English football but also of the world, with five European Cups for the club of Anfield and three for the Red Devils.

For many it is the biggest rivalry that exists in the British island and the fans of both clubs consider it more emblematic than the local derby they dispute, Liverpool does against Everton and Manchester United has to see the faces with the uncomfortable neighbor, Manchester City.

The Eternal Hatred

One of the main reasons why there is so much hatred among fans is the proximity between the two cities, as they are only separated by 56 kilometers. The arrival of the industrial revolution began to originate a tension both economic and industrial. Liverpool became the economic capital of the north and was one of the main ports around the world during that time, thanks to the production of cotton, however, in Manchester were located the large fabric factories in England.

Image Credit: Visit Manchester

Also read: 5 players who have won UCL, PL and World Cup

The Manchester Ship Canal

The citizens of Manchester decided to build the Manchester Ship Canal. In this way they could prevent the merchandise from going through Liverpool first, to later arrive in their city. This did not please the Liverpool businessmen, who immediately opposed the construction, but they could not do anything and in 1894 the canal was finished, which gave rise to a historical rivalry between these two cities.

Image Credit: Color Sport

 

The Early Rivalry

Months after the completion of the construction of this channel, there was the first match between these two teams, on April 28 and 1894. Liverpool won 2-0 against Newton Heath, the name in which Manchester United was founded. Although at the beginning there was a lot of hatred between both the set of fans, it was still not called a classic, it was at the end of the 20s, that it began to be considered as such.

With the arrival of Matt Busby to the bench of the Red Devils, in 1945, the rivalry reached another level. Busby had been an iconic player for Liverpool from 1935 to 1939 and was coach of Manchester United was not something that pleased the Reds fans. Manchester won 2 leagues during the 50, time that the fans of the port want to forget since from 1954 to 1962 they were in the second division.

Image Credit: Liverpool

 

Liverpool’s Golden Age

Bill Shankly was the person responsible for taking Liverpool to its former glory, once the returned to England’s first division, it took him two years to win the championship. From the 1963 season to 1967, these two clubs shared the English football titles, with which the hatred between the supporters began to grow more.

For the next two decades, Liverpool had their best time in history, and they won 11 league titles, 3 FA Cups, 4 league cups and four European Cups. While Manchester United did not have good results and their best achievement was to beat the Reds in the final of the FA Cup of 1977.

Image Credit: Getty Images

 

Alex Ferguson Knocking Liverpool Off Their Plinth

In the 80s, these games were stained by the shadow of the Hooligans that hurt English football so much. Although it was during this decade that Sir Alex Ferguson became the coach of the Red Devils which changed the history of the team forever. With the creation of the Premier League, in 1992, it was the turn of Manchester United to have its golden age. They won 13 titles of English football and 3 Champions League. Although Liverpool did have a joy that could rub his rival, by defeating Milan in the final of the Champions League in 2005, for many experts, some of the most dramatic finals in history.

Image Credit: Getty Images

 

2018-19 Season

This classic promises a lot, Jurgen Klopp has Liverpool playing at a high level and fans are starting to get excited about the possibility of lifting the first Premier League title. For their part, Manchester United has suffered at the beginning of this campaign, but the presence of Jose Mourinho always generates expectation, so next Monday in Anfield we expect a match that nobody can miss.