The international break is always a time of great anxiety for managers. Their best players go on to represent their countries at the risk of returning with great fatigue or even season-ending injury. Seamus Coleman comes to mind immediately due to his horrific double leg break while playing for the Republic of Ireland.
Thankfully for Arsenal fans, Mesut Ozil was able to escape unscathed from a rather routine victory for Germany over Azerbaijan. The playmaker confirmed his return to England with a Snapchat post and supporters who were concerned about injury rumours would be pleased with Ozil’s involvement in the World Cup Qualifying game.
While his player seems to be pleased with returning, there is still great unease over his future at the Emirates. With contract extension talks now slated for the summer, the Gunners’ faithful would be hoping that Ozil continues to return to London post-international duty and not elsewhere.
Roberto Firmino seems to be Jurgen Klopp’s blue-eyed boy as the Liverpool manager persists with playing him as a sort of ‘False 9’ despite the fact that he has the likes of Daniel Sturridge and Divock Origi on the bench as out and out strikers.
The German has always been a fan of Firmino, and it seems that the player also has the full belief of his national team coach.
Brazil coach Tite confirmed that Firmino would be starting in the game against Paraguay, despite the fact that the Reds forward missed out on training with a throat inflammation.
Despite missing training with a throat inflammation today Brazil coach Tite has just confirmed Roberto Firmino will START against Paraguay. pic.twitter.com/py8wmuZWqJ
That is some commitment on the part of Tite, who is not exactly short of options himself.
Firmino was largely central to Liverpool’s incredible form early on in the season but has struggled to match those performances which has coincided with a terrible start to 2017 for the Anfield side.
The ex-Hoffenheim player however seems a firm favourite with his managers. Footballers tend to respond to that confidence, so it remains to be seen whether the Brazilian can return the love that he’s been feeling.
Check out the stunning stats which shows why both he Liverpool & Brazil bosses love him so much:
Roberto Firmino with some amazing stats. No wonder why Klopp & Tite appreciate him as much.
Seeing “Karim Benzema” and “Arsenal” in the same sentence is nothing new; the French striker has been linked with a move to the Gunners for a number of years, mainly due to his nationality. However, this recent bit of Instagram activity links the Madrid man to Arsenal in a different manner.
Benzema hasn’t gotten a call up for the national side in a long time, mainly due to a legal case still pending against him. However, an argument could be made that his on field exploits at club level should be the reason for his call-ups, not anything off the field. It’s a sentiment Benzema seems to share.
This is because Benzema recently liked a picture that seemed to insinuate that he is a winner of trophies whilst Olivier Giroud, the current preferred option for the national side, is more concerned with haircuts. Either that or Benzema is really jealous of what a looker Giroud is, and who could blame him if that was the case?
The discussion now centres on whether or not there should be stricter punishment for the kind of reckless challenge that left the right-back with a horribly broken leg.
And whilst support has poured in from all quarters for the Everton man, this might just be the sweetest form of support yet expressed.
A young Evertonian took the effort of writing out a letter to Coleman, talking about how the defender is his favourite player. There is also a somewhat hilarious line regarding the timing of his injury, which rather than make the letter seem offensive, almost adds to the charm of the youngster’s wishes.
Celtic have always been a powerhouse as far as Scottish football goes, and that is something that hasn’t changed much under the management of Brendan Rodgers. The former Liverpool manager has overseen a pretty successful first season at the club and the sky currently seems like the limit for the side.
He’s also been pretty successful at integrating talented young players into the side. Mousa Dembele has been the biggest success story at the club, but another young talent who’s been quietly making a name for himself is Stuart Armstrong, who recently made his full international debut against Slovenia.
The young midfielder did quite well on his first outing for his country. In fact, his debut performance was so impressive that Twitter couldn’t stop gushing over how good he looked, with both fans and pundits alike sending positive tweets about the young midfielder’s ability.
As England managed a comfortable 2-0 win over Lithuania in World Cup Qualifying, there were plenty of players who deserved the plaudits. Jermain Defoe got on the scoresheet 4 years after his last England goal and Adam Lallana ran the game with effortless audacity. Kyle Walker, however, had a moment which would proudly feature in any highlights package built around the Tottenham Hotspur full-back.
As a long diagonal was launched from defence towards the right flank, Walker seemingly ascended to Michael Jordan levels of altitude with fantastic body adjustment to bring down the high ball with a first touch to leave you misty-eyed.
Not only that, the right-back the proceeded to regain his balance which he had lost for a split-second before half-volleying a cross which nearly evaded two markers and had every chance to reach his team-mate in the box.
It may not have been match-winning but it was certainly a thing of beauty. What a take.
Check out the balletic Walker, and reactions to his work, below:
You know you’ve made it in football when you beat the opposition on their turf by a clear three goals and the home fans still want your jersey.
That’s exactly the situation faced by Germany’s Mesut Ozil after his side had beaten a valiant Azerbaijan team 4-1 in World Cup Qualifying. The home side had made it all square at a point before the quality of the World Cup Holders proved too much for them.
That didn’t stop a young fan – face painted in a full Azerbaijan flag no less – from showing his appreciation for the Arsenal star at the end of the game. As players from both teams exchanged handshakes, our pint-sized “hooligan” managed to join the gathering and plead Ozil to hand him his shirt.
We’re not sure if Ozil accepted the request, but we have a feeling the lad would have no hesitation in following him all the way down to the tunnel in hope. Football fans – you have got to love their passion.
Kylian Mbappe is the name on everyone’s lips at the moment – the Monaco starlet became the first player to be born after France’s 1998 World Cup triumph to be called up for the national team.
His performances for swashbuckling Monaco has attracted plenty of transfer rumours, and it seems that one of England’s top teams has emerged as a front-runner for his signature.
And according to Italian transfer guru, Gianluca Di Marzio has conveyed that English giants Manchester United are right up there in race to sign him. For those in the know, Di Marzio is perhaps the most reliable source on transfer news in football media, with an uncanny ability to predict or gain access to news about deals before they happen.
The mention of his name was enough to send United supporters into delirium as they assumed that this telegraphs a serious move for the teenager from the Red Devils.
It may all be speculation at the moment, but based on Di Marzio’s track record you wouldn’t bet against a huge transfer to Old Trafford in the coming months.
Check out the post below:
Mourinho is ‘bewitched’ by Kylian Mbappe (Monaco) and wants to sign him. #mufc love the player [di marzio]
According to Kante facts, N’Golo Kante can get a Retweet on Facebook. If the majestic midfielder can allegedly do that, could he also tempt Kylian Mbappe into joining Chelsea?
The 18 year old Mbappe has risen to become perhaps the hottest future prospect in all of European football. The Monaco starlet has been amongst the goals with praise being lavished on him for his ability to deliver in the big games – his pace and finishing has everybody reminiscing of a young Thierry Henry.
Mbappe has naturally attracted attention from all the top clubs and he may very well follow in the Arsenal legend’s path to London, though rumours abound that Stamford Bridge would be the destination in this case.
Chelsea’s Instagram account shared a picture of Kante and Mbappe together at training for the French National team which had many on social media speculating if this was telegraphing a potential transfer.
Chelsea are already in pole position to capture the Premier League this season, and capturing the youngest French debutant in almost 60 years would certainly set them up to establish a dynasty in England.
Check out the post from Chelsea’s official Instagram account below:
Liverpool’s season hasn’t quite ended as well they would have hoped. Despite looking like legitimate title contenders towards the end of 2016, a slump in form has left them battling it out for the top 4 spots currently. Their title race might be over, but they will need to pull out all the stops to even make the top 4 at this point.
But whilst this season might not yet be over, planning for its final stages has already begun. Jurgen Klopp is known as a meticulous person who always wants what is best for his players, both on and off the field. His need for the best apparently extends to hotel rooms as well.
The club have made their way to Tenerife, Spain for a mini-camp of sorts before the Premier League action resumes next week. Whilst over there, the Reds will be staying in the 5-star Bahia Del Duque, a stunning resort located near the beach with rooms costing up to a thousand euros per night.