Aston Villa vs AFC, time to win away and convincingly too

February 18, 2023

So we go and face Aston Villa in a few hours – a team that is certainly improving under Emery and is full of good players with Martinez – Mings – Luiz, Buendia – Watkins to name a few only. They are scoring more regularly and are conceding a bit less than before but they can still be unpicked. We know how the team will play: fast attacking transitions once the ball has been recovered but also keen to absorb some pressure but against talented wingers, it may back fire…

I can see a tight game for us but we have to WIN, no choice. We need to show a signal that we can bounce back quickly and are ready to fight for the EPL crown till the end…

We missed Partey and we are starting to miss G. Jesus too now…We know that the team we will play against will be nicely set-up so we need to be good on the ball and also NOT make any mistakes…This is a game to be tight and effective, rather than flamboyant. We need three players to really step up their games: our full-backs and Xhaka.

Here is the predicted line up:

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabs, Zinchenko – Jorginho, Xhaka – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – Nketiah

Here is the line up I would have liked:

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabs, TIERNEY – Xhaka, Jorginho, ZINCHENKO – Saka, TROSSARD, Martinelli

I know this requires a team formation change but I think that Odegaard needs a bit of rest and so does Nketiah. We need that extra impetus going forward, solidity in the middle and high-press against Villa…

I can see us grab a disappointing draw at 1-1 or 2-2 with Martinez haunting us with some world class saves and D. Luiz showing us why he would be a great addition to our squad.

COYG! Prove me wrong and go unpick A.Villa to win the game!


A Manchester team will win the EPL and we will finish in the top 3. Fair prediction?

February 16, 2023

Following some unsavory refereeing decisions going against us and some individual mistakes giving some goals and games away, it seems to be fair to say that we have lost our edge in the EPL race and that we are back to being a chasing team rather than a chased team when it comes to the EPL crown…

Yesterday’s display for a large part of the game was sensational but it was undone by 3 gifted goals against arguably the best team in the EPL…Of course, we have a game in hand but the way we are playing (and the refs are sanctioning us) with a bit less intensity and luck than in the first 19 games of the same make me clearly think that we may not have reached “EPL Champion” level yet…

Besides Man City, I am extremely worried about Man Utd. They are playing really well and may even pip finish in the top 2…

However, I am feeling confident for a Top 3 finish, which we would have all welcome at the beginning of the season…

I am a bit worried about our full backs and clearly, we can’t afford not to play Partey although Jorginho was not bad yesterday…

I can’t wait to see him back in our team and I am sure that ESR and G. Jesus will also add to our ability to win games. We really need them. We also need a more decisive F.Vieira – when Ode is struggling, we need more from him when he comes in.

Anyways, let us fight for a top 3 finish and if somehow, we are still within reach of the EPL crown with 5 games to go, then we can dream again. Until then, let us focus on winning games by hook, crook or luck…

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabs, Zinchenko – Partey, Xhaka – Saka, Ode, Martinelli – Nketiah

Tuerney – Tomy, Holding, Kiwior, Tierney – Jorginho, Vieira – Trossard, ESR, R. Nelsson – Jesus

What if ESR was the key to our title chances?

February 6, 2023

I watched the game against Everton with intent and all of our starters started and our subs came in –

A) Trossard played with poise but no end product

B) Jorginho slowed the game rather than injected pace to it… no surprise here

C) Vitinha tried but he is still finding his feet in the league

D) Tomy hardly had any time so can’t really judge his appearance

and then I thought…what if a fit ESR came onto the pitch instead of Vitinha…He would have been making more runs than Vitinha and Trossard could have been moved further up even given us a chance of playing 2 CFs…

So for all the buzz around Trossard and Jorginho, I think that our most important “squad” player until the end of the season will be ESR and I can’t wait to have him back to the squad. I would even go further as to say that it is more important to have him fit than G. Jesus because of the different qualities he brings in…

What do you think?

New look Everton takes on league leader AFC :-)

February 4, 2023

Everton: 7 managers in 7 years…a new stadium being built…quite some investment…and yet 19th in the league…

Lampard tried, Lampard failed to deliver…Dyche is a solid coach known for his defensive mindset and uncomplicated direct attacking styles…

Everton has quality players in:

  • Pickford and Begovic are decent goalkeepers
  • Mina, Coady and Tarkowsky are also decent defenders, no non-sense
  • Coleman and Mykolenko have their up and downs but they have outstanding crossing ability
  • Doucoure, Onana, Gueye are solid in midfield
  • Iwobi, Gordon, Grey and Davies can drive and dribble the ball nicely
  • Calvert-Lewin, Maupay are good forwards as well

Ultimately, Dyche’s job and despite his defensive mindset is to find a formula for Everton to be more solid and yet score more as well…I can see him go for a 4231 with the following set up:

Pickford – Mina, Coady, Tarkowsky, Mykolenko – Gueye, Onana – Iwobi, Maupay, Grey – Calvert-Lewin with Iwobi playing closer to Gueye, Maupay closer to CL and Grey drifting on and off his wing.

For our coach, it will be a return to the team that welcomed him to the EPL and I think that he is preparing for a nice welcome by the club but a tough encounter on the pitch. New coach at Everton means everyone is going to be on their best behaviour and performance, especially against league leaders. Pickford, Iwobi, Gray, Maupay and CL like to play against us so we better be wary of them…

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko – Jorginho, Xhaka – Odegaard – Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

I am not feeling the game today at all so I will go for the unlikely Everton win against us…like a 2-1 with two defensive errors from our side (White and then one of our CBs) and a goal by Nketiah. I hope to be wrong again…


Here is our squad for the second half of the season…and a little update on Balogun :-)

February 3, 2023

GK: RAMSDALE, Turner, Hein (sent Okonkwo on loan during the latest transfer period)

RB: WHITE, Tomyasu (sent Cedric on loan during the latest transfer period)

CB: SALIBA, Holding, GABRIEL, Kiwior ((arrived during the latest transfer period)


Double-Pivot: PARTEY, Jorginho (arrived during the latest transfer period), XHAKA, El Neny (injured, sadly) (sent Lokonga on loan during the latest transfer period)


RFW: SAKA, Trossard (arrived during the latest transfer period), (sent Marquinhos on loan during the latest transfer priod)

LFW: MARTINELLI, Smith-Rowe, R.Nelsson (injured, sadly)

CF: JESUS (injured, sadly), Nketiah,

Starting line up given current injuries:

Ramsdale – White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko – Jorginho (or Partey, hopefully), Xhaka – Odegaard – Saka, Nketiah, Martinelli

It seems the team is well covered in almost all positions. With Lokonga gone on loan, it would have been good to get another DM/CM in case Xhaka also gets injured…Also, it would not have hurt to get a CF in case Jesus takes longer to recover…BUT overall, the Edu-Arteta combo has managed to trim and bolster the squad quite nicely with the arrival of a promising player (Kiwior) and 2 established PL players in Jorginho and Trossard. Marquinhos and Lokonga need playing time to grow to see if they can eventually become solid squad members at AFC so the loans are great for them and then Cedric really needed to move forward with his career so a good option for him to also go out on loan.

As you know, I follow the EPL but also other leagues, especially the Ligue 1 and truth be told, Balogun is on fire at the moment. He is showing great spirit for the press and defensive duties and he is becoming more and more clinical in front of goal. He is definitely improving as a player and by the end of the season, we will need to make a call on him because he will feel like he deserves regular playing time…Let us see what we do with him but our CF options next season could be JESUS, Nketiah and Balogun – not bad but also they all have similar qualities so might be worth also getting someone like Giroud in the team but then we would have 4 CFs…so another loan may on the card for Balogun next year or maybe the club may decide to sell Nketiah or Balogun with a buy-back clause…In any case, the summer will be interesting in terms of our forwards…


Ins: Kiwior, Jorginho, Trossard

Outs: Cedric, Lokonga, Marquinhos