European Football’s Biggest Stories #1541

Liverpool and United: Cross Roads of Highs and Lows

Manchester United and Liverpool clashed horns in one of the biggest rivalries in English football this past weekend. Neither of the two teams is off to a good start. In fact, it has been problematic for both, even though the expectations are very different. Eric Ten hag has had to deal with Cristiano Ronaldo trying to force and move out and has displayed a terrible attitude that potentially could have been a negative influence on the rest of the squad and why they started so poorly. He’s not the only problem, but to a certain extent, he is part of the problem. Manchester United lost to Brighton at home to start the Premier League season, following it up by being washed by Brentford inside 33 minutes. A disastrous start to the season, sitting at the bottom of the Premier League after two games. It has been a toxic environment at the moment, and the transfer business that they have done hasn’t been good enough. They haven’t added nearly enough and comparison to their premier League counterparts. They did manage to bring in Casimiro, which in itself is insane considering he is one of the best defensive midfielders in the world and has one everything. He has more Champions League trophies, the Manchester United. Then you look at the other side of things. Liverpool has pushed Manchester City to the brink on a regular basis. Yet in the last 5 years, Manchester City has won the Premier League four of them. Liverpool has managed to win the Champions League, FA cup League cup, and premier League. But has found it difficult to win the Premier League with pep Guardiola in Manchester City. As such a threat. They started the season poorly after losing sadio Mane to Bayern Munich, a 2–2 draw to Fulham, and a draw to Crystal Palace. Their record signing, Darwin Nunez, got sent off for head-butting Joakim Anderson. They have missed the impact of sadio Mane, that probably was Liverpool’s best player. In addition to that, they don’t have the midfield required to really contend with the very best. Manchester United presented Casimiro at Old Trafford prior to kickoff. Jaden Sancho and Marcus rashford scores for Manchester United as Liverpool lose to United for the first time in ages. Eric Ten Hag deserves a lot of credit for dropping Harry Maguire and giving the armband to Bruno Fernandes. He absolutely got it right as the Dutch tactician gets his first win of the season against their bitter rivals. There’s still much to be done, and even with a couple of new additions will still be up against it to finish in the Europa League. However, there seems to be a sensitive belief back into the team that whether this is a step in the right direction is unclear, but the partnership of Rafael Varane and Lisandro Martinez look potent together, while Virgil Van Dijk doesn’t look the same. Trent Alexander Arnold looks like a defensive liability, and they don’t have anything in the midfield that could eventually drown them. Liverpool has what it takes to get it back together and to start climbing the table and seeing the version of Liverpool that we all expected to see. However, this is beginning to look narrowly similar to Dortmund 2014. Jurgen Klopp, after winning back-to-back Bundesliga titles, and making a Champions League final, left Dortmund in his seventh season. Despite the qualities possessed in the squad, they didn’t have it anymore. Dortmund that season lost 10 of the first 15 games of the season. They were at the bottom of the table and scrapping for survival for at least part of that season. They eventually go on this big surge to finish in seventh place. Go to the German cup final in the final game of the Jurgen Klopp era and is outclassed by Kevin De bruyne and Wolfsburg, a player that would be taking trophies out of his hands repeatedly when they both went to the premier League. Jurgen Klopp has done a tremendous job building this Liverpool team into a winner, but he seems to flame out in his seventh season. In his seven seasons at FSV Mainz, he faced relegation, underachieved with Dortmund, and now in his seventh season with Liverpool. It’s looking like it’s going back in that direction. There are certainly possibilities for them to avoid this, but a lack of a midfield seems to be a big issue. There are portions of the squad that are aging and need to be reloaded for the next campaign. Liverpool has what it takes to turn this thing around. They have the qualities, but unfortunately, it seems like Liverpool could struggle this season. It’s only been three games, but they only have two points from it. It is certainly not ideal. They will hit their stride and go on a run. But I am starting to think of the days of them pushing Manchester City. Maybe over. They still probably will finish in the top three, but I’m not sure Liverpool still has it in them to test Manchester City in the same way. There’s time to make it up, but in the Premier League, to win it, you need 100 points, and I’m not sure. Looking at the team, there are 100 points. Manchester United is optimistic about what is to come, while Liverpool needs to get in gear. I don’t know from this where these teams will end up heading, but both squads are approaching a very critical moment in this early season.

Newcastle Building Something Special: Alexander Isak

Newcastle United is building something special. It is something that may take a little bit of time, but you can already see where this is all heading. The Geordies had to undergo decades of misery under Mike Ashley. It’s seen them hit relegation twice and never really achieve the minimal expectations that Newcastle United fans expect from the club. They never had hugely ambitious expectations. Just expect the club to finish in the top half of the table. Under Rafa Benitez, the club showed promise that They could potentially have. However, under Mike Ashley’s ownership, it was a toxic environment, and that relationship between the manager and the owner was severed as he left on his own accord. This is a man that stayed with Newcastle United when they got relegated, brought them back up, and managed to get them a top 11 finish with a championship-level squad. He was working miracles. The fans have been screaming for a solution for so long. Everybody wanted him to sell the club as he did things from my management perspective that rubbed them the wrong way and distance the club from its history and tradition. However, the Saudi Arabian Prince himself purchased Newcastle United last year. Making them the richest club in the world. They were in a relegation battle at the time with no sense of hope under Steve Bruce. We have seen the impact of Rich ownership regarding Chelsea and Manchester City climbing the ranks and becoming elite clubs in domestic and European football. Newcastle United, with this new change, finally lived in a world where they could win trophies. They brought in some class signings that ended up working out and helping them not only survive but nearly finished in the top 10. Bruno Guimarães from Olympic Lyon, Kieran trippier from Athletico Madrid, Callum Wilson from the Rebirth of Joelinton, and a few signings here and there. They end up surviving the season under Eddie Howe, who has been the exact right person to build this club to where it needs to go. This summer, they brought in Nick Pope, Sven Botman, and a few others. They have started the season well with two victories. They also managed to grab a point against Manchester City. At one point in the game, they held a 3–1 lead. Even though they only take a point from it, it is very telling what they could accomplish under this regime. They are a very different team. They are a dangerous team. Finishing in the top 10 is the next step, and it would go a long way toward what they can potentially do in the years to come. In addition to what they have in Callum Wilson, they picked up the phone this weekend calling real Sociedad as they agreed on a huge fee for Sweed Alexander Isak, one of the most productive young strikers in La Liga over the last couple of years, recently scoring this weekend against Barcelona. What turned out to be his last game. The pieces are truly starting to come together with Alexander Isak and Callum Wilson; Newcastle United is building an incredible attack. There’s still more to be done, and they have the money to do it. They’re not going to blink, and being the champions league, It’s going to take time, but these types of signings are going to go a long way in securing the long-term ambitions of the club. Creating a winning culture under Eddie Howe has already been done. Now it’s about results and finishing in a high position this season. The depression of West Ham United and Manchester United so far this season provides them with an opportunity to finish in the top seven, which would be a huge accomplishment for the club. This is only the first step, but they are building a team that has what it takes to compete in the Premier League against the very best. The fact that they Go get a hard-fought point against Manchester City and then spend $70 million on Alexander Isak the next day shows exactly what they are building for the future. The Swedish international has 33 La Liga goals giving them a depth of options in attacking positions. There’s more to be done. They’re still very interested in James Madison if they’re able to put together one big signing before the window ends. Newcastle United could be on a trajectory to be competing in big European games before we know it. The pieces that they’re putting together are creating quite a team in Newcastle. Give it time to simmer before not too long; they will be challenging for trophies in English football. It is only begun.

Neymar Displaying Ballon D’or Form Already

Neymar is one of the most misunderstood players of this generation. He can’t escape the false lies being plastered about his reputation and what he has done since being in Paris. We completely ignore the fact that he dragged PSG to the Champions League final in 2020 and was the best player on the pitch even in defeat. His selflessness got in the way of potentially taking the trophy, giving multiple opportunities to Mbappe, but he didn’t take it. Yet we have the audacity to try to build up. Neymar at PSG as a failure. It is utter nonsense. When Neymar is healthy, he is the king of the throne. He is the best player in the world. When he is cooking and available. PSG might be in a situation where they have been the annual choke artists of this competition. However, this slander Neymar receives is outlandish. Last week there was a dispute between Neymar and mbappé, and while plenty criticized Mbappe for being a spoiled child that has been given too much power. There are those that began speaking as if Neymar was the one to blame in that situation. Both of them should have handled it better. But as I say, almost every time I talk about Neymar, people have a blurred vision when it comes to his quality. He is, without a doubt, the 25 greatest players of all time, and he is in his prime. The only thing that’s gotten him cut off from reaching the numbers. Perhaps he could have his injuries. Neymar is an injury-prone player when he has been available and healthy. He has been the thing that makes PSG go. It’s not Mbappe. He had the Ballon D’or warming up for him during his first season in Paris. 28 Goals and 13 assists get injured against real Madrid and is out for the season. He’s an injury-prone player. There’s no getting away from that, but when he’s at his best, he is spectacular. Here’s another thing people don’t want to hear while it’s unarguable that Karim Benzema has been the best player in the world since the start of last season. The best player in this campaign has been Neymar, and it’s not even close. Neymar has 14 goal contributions in four games. Neymar stands at seven goals and six assists. Five goal contributions in his last game alone, with two goals and three assists all coming from open. Play. The dispute between himself and Mbappe has been settled as they have made peace. However, I fear of things don’t continue to go his way. They will clash again. It was foolishness, and hopefully, this is not something we need to deal with the rest of the season. This PSG has what it takes to win the Champions League. It’s going to come down to whether they come together and galvanize as a group. But there’s no question about it. This is Neymar’s team. This has been proven over and over again. He has been at the club for longer than his residing stars, and even though Leo Messi is the greatest of all time and even though mbappe is a super talent when Neymar is in his element and playing this well, he is the one PSG will look to. No one on the planet is operating at this level. Kareem Benzema is going to win the Ballon d’Or this season as he was recently given the UEFA player of the year but make no mistake if he can operate on this level and keep this pace and play like this in Champions League games. Maybe Neymar will finally get the recognition he deserves. Neymar is not the most likable player, which makes it difficult for him to win awards like these. But if he has a clean bill of health the entire season, there’s no one that’s going to stop him from getting that. Neymar, at full health, is the best player in the world. Full stop. It very well could be Neymar’s year.


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