Connect with us


Monday Night Football hits and misses: Lisandro Martinez silences doubters as Trent Alexander-Arnold is exposed




Little more than a week ago the £57m Argentine centre-back had been hauled off at half-time after being dominated by Ben Mee and Brentford, with questions over whether his height, or lack of, would be able to cope in the Premier League.

Darwin Nunez’s Liverpool absence undoubtedly helped, but the 24-year-old showed his quality on the left side of United’s defence up against Mohamed Salah. It was a different challenge – one of positioning and patience, knowing when to step in and be aggressive.

“Being 5ft 9in is a problem,” said Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher. “But if I think of the best centre-back I’ve ever seen it is Franco Baresi. He was 5ft 9in, 5ft10. If you are that height, you have to be outstanding in everything else. He was 10/10 in everything else, 6/10 in the air. Martinez did that tonight. He has to win the game on the floor, he has to read the game. That will compensate for his height.”

Ten Hag’s decision to drop Harry Maguire for Raphael Varane was vindicated too – the ex-Real Madrid defender looked the ideal partner for Martinez, calm and collected.


It’s been a woefully slow start to the season for Liverpool – quite literally.

Jurgen Klopp’s side have now conceded the first goal in nine out of their last 10 competitive matches in all competitions – and in all of their last seven Premier League matches. The first time that last statistic has happened in their top-flight history.

Some may point to fatigue picked up by Liverpool during their 64 matches last season as to why they are not so sharp. But the fact it has happened in the first three games of this fresh, new season shows Klopp – who dismissed the idea of one sole reason for starting slow before last week – has an endemic in his team.

“We’ve conceded an early goal. Again. We’ve started slow. Again,” Andy Robertson told Sky Sports. “We can’t keep on going behind. In the warm-up, it was the quietest I’ve heard this stadium and they [the United fans] wanted something to lift them and we gave them that.

ALSO READ  Kevin Hart gives Chris Rock a live goat named Will Smith during comedy show

“We need to come together and address it as a team. We have to be a team that starts the game well and puts the pressure on the other team. Fulham started better than us, they started better than us today. The back end of last season, it already kicked in. We can’t keep giving them a goal start.”


Manchester United found their intensity.

After running 13.8 fewer kilometres than Brentford in their previous game, United looked a completely different team. Erik ten Hag’s side ran 18 more kilometres this week, bettering Liverpool’s distance covered statistic of 109.96km by racking up a total of 113.06km.

United also went from 92 sprints at Brentford to 167 against Liverpool. And despite having just 30 per cent possession against Jurgen Klopp’s side, they put on 200 pressures compared to Liverpool’s 88.

Ten Hag praised his front three for the pressure they put on Liverpool without the ball – and also may have made a subtle dig at Ronaldo, who started at Brentford but played just five minutes off the bench against Liverpool.

“Sometimes strikers think they cannot do it because they have to save their energy for offensive actions,” the United manager told Sky Sports after the game. “Nowadays it’s a demand and that is what you saw. It makes me happy Rashford and Sancho scored the goals.”
Miss: What was Van Dijk doing?
Had Virgil van Dijk forgotten his glasses and needed to know when the next train out of Manchester was departing on the timetable? Or, was it just mind-boggling bad defending?


“I didn’t realise how much time I had,” said goalscorer Jadon Sancho, who was given the freedom of Old Trafford to slide home Manchester United’s opening goal. Even Bruno Fernandes was pointing to his team-mate about where to place the ball. This was all because Van Dijk was standing in a central area, like a statue, with both hands behind his back which allowed Sancho the time to side-foot a cool finish home. Put someone like John Terry, Jamie Carragher or Nemanja Vidic in that situation and no way would Sancho had been given such time.

ALSO READ  My players struggling to cope with Lagos weather – Enyimba boss, Finidi laments

Carragher said: “It’s the one thing I’d question him on. In most departments, he’s 10 out of 10. But he does lack intensity at certain times. Can he just hang his leg out? You’ve got to throw yourself at it.”

“If you analyse Van Dijk there, he’s been sloppy all season,’ former United captain Roy Keane said.

“He’s got to get out. He’s not moved his feet.”

While United’s players celebrated, James Milner could be seen raging at Van Dijk, making the obvious point about why the defender didn’t press Sancho. “Go out to him,” Milner screamed at the defender, who didn’t look too impressed about being dug out by his team-mate.


As Keane referenced, this wasn’t a one-off from Van Dijk either. You only have to go back seven days to find more arrogant defending from the Liverpool centre-back when allowing Wilfried Zaha to fire a finish past Alisson in the 1-1 draw with Crystal Palace. There was also the foul on Aleksandar Mitrovic that led to Fulham’s penalty on the opening weekend.

Van Dijk is a supreme footballer but at the moment he needs to go back to basics.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen Marcus Rashford play like he did when he first came on the scene where he was running through on goal regularly. It was a big moment,” said Sky Sports’ Gary Neville.

Much like Manchester United’s performance, it is much of a mystery how or why Rashford suddenly rediscovered his confidence here, but what a time to do it.

ALSO READ  Adekunle Gold mocks his wife Simi for singing with H-Factor in the studio, she reacts (video)

The 24-year-old had five shots at goal – the most he’s had in a match since October 2020 – and scored his first Premier League goal since January. He sparkled with the ball at his feet, showing his raw pace over five dribbles.

He played through the middle in the first half before moving to the left with orders to further scare Trent Alexander-Arnold, eventually scoring with a perfect finish past one v one master Alisson.
For all Trent Alexander-Arnold brings going forward, he is completely let down by an indefensible inability to defend against big players.


Once again, the Liverpool right-back was taken advantage of in brutal fashion by Marcus Rashford and Anthony Elanga. That came very early on when Rashford barged his England team-mate out the way to charge through on goal.

Then, Alexander-Arnold was played around by Christian Eriksen and Elanga for United’s first – then was nowhere to be seen when his man, Rashford again, burst through for the second.
Alexander-Arnold’s defending has been questioned regularly. Bullied by Brentford in Liverpool’s 3-3 draw last season, the defender also lost track of Vinicius Junior in the Champions League final and was beaten at the back post by Aleksandr Mitrovic on the opening weekend of this campaign at Fulham.

His repeated defensive frailties could suggest why England manager Gareth Southgate has never really rated Alexander-Arnold in major tournaments.

“He lacked intensity,” said Jamie Carragher about the full-back for United’s first goal. “The right side of the defence was a problem for Liverpool,” said Gary Neville when asked about the second.

And when Alexander-Arnold has an off-day going forward, like he did at Old Trafford where he regularly overhit passes, then Liverpool have a real problem down that flank.


Continue Reading
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


UCL: Bayern compounds Man U’s woes in 7goals thriller, as Arsenal return with a bang



Bayern Munich on Wednesday night compounded Erik Ten Hag’s Manchester United’s woes in a seven-goal thriller at the Allianz Arena.

The German champion beat Manchester United 4-3, leaving manager Ten Hag with more questions than answers about his defensive options following the team’s humiliating 3-1 home defeat to Brighton over the weekend.

Goals from Leroy Sane, and Serge Gnabri gave the German side a two-goal advantage in the first half before United fought their way back into the game.

Harry Kane and Mathys Tel completed Bayern’s lead over Man United in a game that was more of a contest than many expected.


After the break United again started well, pulling a goal back on 49 minutes with Rasmus Hojlund recording his first goal for the club with the aid of two deflections.

Within minutes, Bayern won a penalty which made the game safe, and Eriksen was adjudged – first by VAR, who advised the ref to watch a replay – to have handled Dayot Upamecano’s header.

From the penalty spot, Kane made no mistake, and though Casemiro bagged two late goals to make things interesting, Tel’s goal saw the German champions take control of the group while United desperately needed a break.

Arsenal on the other hand enjoyed a fine return to the Champions League as they thrshed PSV Eindhoven 4-0 at the Emirates Stadium.

The Gunners made a return to the Champions League after six years of absence from Europe’s elite competition. Arsenal last played in the Champions League in 2017.

ALSO READ  My players struggling to cope with Lagos weather – Enyimba boss, Finidi laments

Bukayo Saka, Leandro Trossard, Gabriel Jesus, and Martin Odegaard all scored as Arsenal sent the right warning across.

Arsenal started a goal rush with Saka getting Gunner’s first inside eight minutes before Trossard doubled the lead, Jesus added a third before the break and Odegaard capped off a fine evening.

David Raya retained his place in the Arsenal goal having replaced Aaron Ramsdale for Sunday’s Premier League win at Everton.

Continue Reading


Amusan relishes historic Diamond League win



World women’s 100m hurdles record holder, Tobi Amusan, says the track in Eugene, Oregon holds a special place in her heart and her list of conquests.

The Nigerian wrapped up her season on an outstanding and record-breaking note by clinching the Wanda Diamond League title for the third consecutive year on Sunday night on the track she has come to affectionately call her own.

The 26-year-old posted an impressive performance in the 100m hurdles event at the Oregon Diamond League despite facing tough competition from Olympic champion Jasmine Camacho-Quinn, Kendra Harrison, Danielle Williams, Nia Ali, Tia Jones and Megan Tapper.

Amusan started off strong and maintained her lead, clearing the final hurdle and finishing with an impressive season best time of 12.33secs. Camacho-Quinn from Puerto Rico gave a strong chase, coming in second in 12.38secs, while USA’s Harrison took third place in a time of 12.44secs.


The world champion, Jamaica’s Williams, finished fourth in 12.47secs.

This remarkable victory marked Amusan’s third consecutive Diamond League title, making her only the second woman in Diamond League history to achieve a hat-trick of 100m hurdles titles.

The Nigerian athlete accomplished this feat on the same track in Oregon, where she had won the World Championship the previous year and set the current world record of 12.12secs.

After the race, an elated Amusan said, “I came out here and said it’s my race to lose, and I will give my all. I said it’s 200 or nothing because, 100 per cent, I am not winning today (Sunday). So, I came out here, and I told God to give me the strength.

ALSO READ  EPL: Why I turned down Gerrard’s shirt number at Liverpool – Mac Allister

“I said this (racing in Eugene) is God’s track. I came here, I’m like ‘This is my track; I’m going to dominate’ and God did just that.”


Amusan expressed gratitude to God, dedicating her win to her coach, her family, her fans and everyone who had supported her throughout the challenging year.

“Right now, I just want to rest. I’m just grateful to God; that’s all I can say this season. This win is not about me; it’s for my coach, my family, and everyone who supported me throughout this year. It’s been a rough one, and I’m just thankful,” she said.

The record-setting victory provided a glorious end to the season for Amusan, who had experienced disappointment after failing to defend her world title at the World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary, in August.

Continue Reading


I want to use my global network to help Nigerian soccer academies, says UK-born football agent, Nathaniel



Chris Nathaniel has, for several years run one of the world’s leading sports talent and entertainment management agencies – his dream is to lead a Nigerian consortium to success with a Premier League team.

Based in London, United Kingdom, and operating throughout Europe and the world for some of the top names in sport, Chris reveals how it all started for him and his team and the interesting things they do for their clients.

Chris, proud of his Nigerian roots, said: “I’ve been in the sports and entertainment business for a long time. I first started with Chelsea legend, John Terry, then Manchester United legend, Rio Ferdinand, when they were both at their peak, so two top England stars.

“I also spent time looking after Wilfred Bonny (ex-Swansea who became the highest ever paid African player with his transfer to Manchester City), Steven Nzonzi (ex-Stoke City and World Cup winner with France in 2018), Brazilian midfielder, Robinho and now Luis Diaz (Liverpool), and quite a few other players.


“I also looked after other talents like Usain Bolt and former WBC Heavyweight Boxing champion, Deontay Wilder, so sports and entertainment are in my blood. On the music front, I have worked with hip-hop icons like Jay Z, P Diddy, 50 Cent, and other talents, like models and actors, so quite experienced across the whole sports and entertainment industry.”

Nathaniel led the first ever African consortium to bid for a Premier League club Newcastle in 2008, unfortunately the bid was not accepted by then owner Mike Ashley, who eventually sold out to the Arabs.

ALSO READ  Bernardo Silva: Pep Guardiola says Manchester City midfielder 'likes Barcelona a lot' amid transfer speculation

However, Nathaniel reveals he has unfinished business and has reached out to wealthy Nigerians, including Dangote, to launch another bid for a Premier league club. Nathaniel points to the recent valuation of clubs like Manchester United and Tottenham to highlight how Premier League clubs are great takeover targets – his knowledge of club values, structures and accessibility as takeover targets is second to none.

They are all profitable businesses and give tremendous global presence and Nathaniel believes having a Nigerian owner of a top club will not only be profitable, but it will give Nigeria a greater global profile, enhancing the economy and encouraging tourism. The potential for booming business in Nigeria will then help with the general development of Nigerian football.

Chris believes football in Nigeria needs an overhaul from top to bottom very similar to what the English FA did after continued failures at major tournaments. In England this resulted in a change of fortune for the English national team, which is now challenging for trophies for the first time since winning the World Cup in 1966.


Nathaniel said: “We look after football players, we give them full support in coaching, mental health, support their passions and everything you can imagine.

“We take care of every angle for them, our job is to make sure they have long sustainable careers, make sure the right politics are played at their different football clubs, and make sure they get the best out of themselves to become the best they can be.

ALSO READ  Shooters survive Tojemarine scare at Prudent handball league

Continue Reading


Copyright © 2022 TheHeute.