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The battle of legs

Holistic Corner with Opeyemi Daniels


It has been a while on Holistic Corner yet the fizzes has not clutched. During the short time that I was away, so many rains have fallen and  water have passed under the bridge, sport aficionados have witnessed series of happenings in the world of sports, majorly, soccer across the globe.

The intrigues in English Premiership have begun and the drama in Spanish La-Liga is gaining
momentum, French Ligue 1 is red-hot, the showdown in Italia Serie A is sweltering likewise other
domestic leagues in Europe.
Africa also, is not exempted judging by the level of density of the game in the part of the world and every
bit of it has so far been tense.

These make it so good to be back on this column, talking sport, analysing football and giving to our
readers updates on sport, generally from home and abroad in a holistic manner.

After all said and done the match day 11 of the EPL was action packed as usual with the big match of the
week involving arch rivals, Arsenal and Liverpool Football Club which ended in a stalemate. It was a
game I could referred to as the battle of legs.

Based on the reds current sparkling form and their dreaded attack, one may agree that they would go all
out and pounce on the gunners but the outcome of the match was a surprise to everyone. It was even
Liverpool that were lucky not to have been beaten as the Unai Emery boys showed to the world that they
can also deliver against big teams.

It was a result that put smiles on the faces of Manchester City and Chelsea’s fans because it enables the
citizens to be leading with 27 points while the Blues and the Anfield giants are keenly following with 25
points, though Chelsea is ahead on goal difference.

It is this I ponder upon and I was spurred to make a penetrating analysis on those club sides that have
what it takes to feast on their opponents and stand the chance of wearing the crown at the end of the
season, especially in the battle where it is only the leg that can decide.

Though Liverpool has never been walking alone, their approach to all teams they have face this season
shows that Jurgen Klopp has really settled down to life in England and he is ready to end the season with
at least a trophy this time around rather than just playing whimsical football without a silver ware at the
end.
He has worked on the areas that were not at per last season, bringing in an experienced goalkeeper,
Allison Becker to replace the fumbling ‘Judas Iscariot’ and strengthening the midfield with the likes of
Naby Keita and Shaqiri are also examples of the club’s determination to bag a trophy.

I see Liverpool as a favourite in the league title but their trend of losing at the verge of winning is always
the concern, which is why Klopp must work on his winning edges and write his name in the Football
Hall of Fame.
On the part of Manchester City, the defending champions remain at the top of the summit after a five
star performance over the weekend, the citizens have thus sent signals to all contenders that the English
Premiership can still go in their favour again and with the quality of players paraded by manager, Pep
Guardiola, beating them to the prestigious trophy by any side will be a top order.

This is a side that does not believe in inevitability of any players because no matter how spectacular you
may think you are, someone is always there on the bench to replace and eventually displace you when
you are injured or when you stop giving your best. The club is full of talents and depth.

Talking of ‘Sarri Ball’ Chelsea have been enjoying the game has never before under the new manager,
Maurizio Sarri since the beginning of the season. The players were thought would be under a
rejuvenation process as they have just shifted from the three-man defence formation of former coach,
Antonio Conte into the new pattern of Sarri which is attacking and beautiful play that enthuse not only
the fans but football enthusiasts and pundits generally.

Surprisingly, the team adapted to the style easily and has not lost a single match in as many games played
in England and Europe this season, making them stand a good chance of winning the EPL title despite
ending at 5th position last season.
One can posit with this that the attacking pattern of play is natural in almost all the footballers because
it gives them the free hand to showcase their skills and play their real game rather than the antiquated
defensive pattern of play.

But for Chelsea to actually succeed in this new style of theirs, they need a striker that would stand on his
feet, face the net with confidence and deliver the goals as against a wasteful Alvaro Morata and sluggish
Oliver Giroud who has turned himself into a goal assistant instead of a goal scorer. It is true that Morata
is banging the goals recently, but only time will tell if he is for real or a fluke.

At the Emirate Stadium, Unai Emery has become a silent revolution and seems to be bringing-in what
was lacking under Arsene Wenger to Arsenal, which is experienced and matured players, confidence,
stability and strength on the pitch, after losing their first two matches in the league, their unbeaten
streak has been a great boost for the boys, but being the coach’s first season, I think he still has a lot to
put in place before thinking of winning a trophy, so, a place in Europe could be their best for now.

In Manchester United, ‘their crisis lingers on and whether Coach Jose Mourinho will still be in charge till
the end of the season is the big question, but the emphatic come back and victory against Newcastle
coupled with the draw at the Bridge have given them some hope and rescued the situation because those
results may help kick-start a successful season for them.

With the qualities of players in the team, Mourinho should be more comfortable with an attacking play
and make the lads happy because at the moment, the rhythm in the team is absolutely low and require
an urgent resuscitation for them to return to be the ‘Man U’ of old.

Mourihno should have learnt his lesson from the previous matches that attack is the best form of
defence, in those matches against Newcastle and Chelsea a couple of weeks ago, I saw players with
freedom and the coach must replicate that over time because he has the talents to stick to that.

Jose use to be the best but now, I see him out of his depth, the earlier he changes his philosophy and
manage his players well the better for him else, the management of the club must think now and think
right on what to do. If players like Paul Pogba with his great influence on the team could be thinking of
leaving due to the philosophy of the manager, then I fear for the future of the team.
As regards Tottenham FC, they are rather spoiler than contenders, always there as threats both in the
league and Europe with nothing to show for it at the end, serious minded teams that are ready to win the
league must be wary of them because they cannot win it but ready to spoil it for those who can.

They have started again, lurking from behind, but no matter how near they may come, they may not get
it because they lack the pedigree. It is high time, coach Pchettino think outside the box, build the team
towards aiming at success and save the club from just being a toothless bulldog.

Despite all the analysis on these top club sides in England, it is wise to note that football is not what any
man can predict or what the pen can judge, it is a game of the battle of legs and it is only the legs that
can give the judgement.

Holistic Corner with Opeyemi Daniels 08163492222


The battle of legs Reviewed by Unknown on November 09, 2018 Rating: 5

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