North London Derby tomorrow

We have the first North London Derby of the season when Spurs go to the Emirates to visit the Gunners. Tottenham was on a high before the international break, having back to back wins at home including easily handling the defending European champions Real Madrid. On the other hand, Arsenal is coming off being drummed by Manchester city and are sitting outside the Champions League spots.

The game proves a must-win for Arsenal, their road form has been horrible this year having only four points away from the Emirates. This gives, even more, meaning to the game if Arsenal can’t win the big games on the road, then they must pick up all three points at home. Right now Arsenal is in sixth, four points off the fourth-place spot. A loss on Saturday and that gap will only grow.

The last time Tottenham played to a 1-1 draw at the Emirates, dominating possession without having Dele Ali in the game. They created chance after chance and Arsenal’s goal came from an own goal off a set piece. This can’t happen on Saturday if Arsenal wants to get a result. The defense this year seems more shaky than usual. They have allowed 16 goals so far this year which is more than double what Spurs let in. If Arsenal wants to get all three points on Saturday they have to go back to their classic style of passing them around the park. Arsenal has to be ones that direct the pace of the game because they can’t seem to play well at any other. Here are highlights from last season’s matchup at the Emirates.

They don’t have the defensive structure to change their style of play against big teams. They have yet to win the possession battle in any of the big games and this is unheard of by Wenger teams in England. On Saturday at home, the Gunners should play their classic style if they want to get anything from the game.

Tottenham will like their chances. They have picked up points in their last two visits to the Emirates and they will look for the same on Saturday. While Spurs are in one of the Champions League places, but this is the type of game they have to win comfortably if they want to become Premier League champions. They have proven already that they are at the Champions League level, but can they show that consistently? After having a good string of results: Can they pick up right where they left off before the International break?

Arsenal is trending down as a team failing big to Manchester city and they are dealing the uncertain future of many of their players and Wenger’s future. Meanwhile Spurs are trending up, beating Real Madrid looking like legit Champions League contenders. Last year it was the first time in 22 years that Tottenham finished above Arsenal in the table, and the matchup on Saturday well clearly show us if the Spurs are here to stay or if Arsenal will stop their downfall.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

 

 

Week 11: Chelsea gets big home win, while Man City creates separation

Chelsea 1- Manchester United 0

Chelsea gets a big win over Manchester United with a bullet header from Morata ten minutes into the second half. Many were expecting another performance where Mourinho would park the bus in a big road game, but the bus was nowhere in sight. The game was a classic intense game where both teams could have ended up with the result.

The game saw the return of Ngolo Kante and we saw the return of form for the team. After getting beaten 3-0 in the midweek versus Roma, the Frenchman brought in a big motivation into the midfield. It freed up Fabregas and Bayako in the midfield who were struggling dealing with the brunt of the defensive issues. Both look freed up and better on Sunday. Fabregas, in particular, had struggled to come into the game but he led the blues in touches, having 94 of the teams 668 in the game, he was the team heartbeat. He set the pace for Chelsea in possession and Kante was again amazing in ball recovery.

The Blues also saw huge improvement upfront with Morata and Hazard finally looking well together and getting interlocking play by reading each others’ runs. In the game, their combinations didn’t end up in goal but it seems to be coming along very quickly. Morata finished a header off a lob pass by Azpilicueta, it was his seventh goal in 10 games so far playing for the Blues. He is on pace to score more than 20 this season. Hazard is looking like he is in top form and was creating chances left and right. Chelsea is now back and sits a point of second place.

From the United point of view, they came into the game confident they could outplay Chelsea, but got humbled. Besides Rashford no one in the front line was really able to find space and create opportunities. Mourinho went back to the back three he used last week and Phil Jones was found as the clear weakness in the back line, losing mark of Marrtial on multiple locations and losing a lot in the air. Many criticize Mourinho’s pragmatism in recent weeks. Yet, when he went away from that mentality is when United dropped points. United with the loss stay in second place but now have a huge gap from first place and have the field right behind them.

Manchester City 3 – Arsenal 1

Manchester City now has an eight point gap at the top when they handled Arsenal 3-1 at home. The Gunners might feel the referees were against them. There was a harsh penalty that was given against them and an offside call missed in the third goal leaves the north London club a little upset by the result. Yet, Manchester city was by far the dominant side in the game as they had 58 % decent of possession in the match and had 807 touches compared to Arsenal’s 618. They outshot the Gunners and always seemed in control of the match.

The first goal came from Kevin de Bruyne who had a classic give and go with Fabian Delph, tacking a low shot between four Arsenal defenders and finding the bottom corner. The second goal came when Nacho Monreal bumped into Sterling and he hit the ground. There was contact but to many pundits, the call seemed harsh. Too that point we saw the Manchester City that we have seen all year creating chances after chances with ease, passing the ball around the box and pressing when they lose it. They still look very shaky at the back, and this game gave no indication that the defensive issue is getting any better.

Arsenal got into the game when Lacazette was brought in, he brought movement in the front line that pushed the Man City center backs. He was the only real threat the gunners had. Which brings up the question about Weger’s starting lineup for the game. Alex Iwobi was chosen over the Frenchman in the big road game. You would expect Wenger to start his big money signing but he went with the youngster. This is the second big game he has decided to keep Lacazette on the bench, after not starting him at Anfield.

Now Arsenal sits in fifth place tied on points with Liverpool. With Chelsea’s win, Arsenal sits four points from Champions League spots and look like they have to improve if they want to challenge getting into the top four. They only have four points on the road this season. Manchester City, on the other hand, continues their amazing start and are in prime position to get the title. They have only dropped two points so far this year and are playing an amazing brand of football.

Liverpool and Tottenham maintain pace

Liverpool played West Ham out of the park in a 4-1 win at London stadium, a result that got Slan Bilic sacked. Liverpool looked dominating and scary in counter-attacking they continue the form they have had this year against opponents they should beat. They are right now in sixth place, but are still in the middle of things to get in the champions league spot next year. Liverpool will have to continue this form and prove that they can perform this way against the top of the league.

Tottenham held on to a 1-0 win versus Crystal Palace, it wasn’t the best performance but it was one that showed maturity for the squad. The goal came from a rebound that Son put in the corner, Spurs were in control but looked shaky at times and were saved by a fine performance by their keeper. Gazzaniga had three fine saves that help Spurs maintain their lead. Palace was able to create clear chances but no one was able to be decisive up front.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

 

Zidane finally showing weaknesses

Zidane finally showing weaknesses as Real Madrid are in the middle of a crisis

Zidane has been in a honeymoon since he took the job at Madrid, winning back to back Champions Leagues and bringing the La Liga title back to the Spanish Capital. Yet, on Thursday if you saw this team it would have been hard to believe they were the two-time defending champions. The Spanish side got completely outplayed and looked unorganized and undisciplined in the 3-1 drumming they suffered at the hands of Tottenham.

Tottenham came into the game fighting the Wembley curse and the best team in Europe, and they left looking like the best that can actually challenge for the whole thing. They were able to outplay a process the ball in long stretches of time, create football but at the same time attack Madrid in their counter attacks

Now Madrid sits second in the group and will probably face a tough opponent to start the knockout round. Plus they currently sit an eight point hole in La Liga. It still early in the year but Madrid will have to make drastic changes or their season will be done by Christmas.

What we learned from the game

They Miss Pepe

Nacho was picked out all game (Image: Getty Images)

Madrid actually misses Pepe. They are a loose team at the back and while Ramos is good he can be very undisciplined going forward and that was evident on Thursday. Nacho is not good or quick enough to be the last man in the defense, but with Madrid having so many defenders adding to the attack they leave massive holes. They are missing a stable guy at the back that is willing to foul and play dirty to defend Ramos and Marcelo’s constant push forward.

Part of what makes Madrid amazing is the factor that they can attack you from all parts of the field, but there is the defensive aspect of the game. This has been really the first time we have seen Madrid really look undisnipled when coming out, no immediate marking when someone loses the ball. This made the Tottenham wing backs look like world beaters. Madrid made Trippier look like the best in the world, as he would get into the Madrid third any time he wanted.

These defensive issues weren’t a thing last year, but Varane is injured and Nacho is simply not a Champions League elite-level player. They let Pepe go for nothing in the offseason and got no one to replace him.

They are not as deep as we thought

Benzema has turned old fast, failing to create chances and scoring only once this year. ( Image: Getty Images)

This team is not a deep as people were claiming it to be at the beginning of the year. They got youngsters in the summer, but not really anybody to push the starting 11. Now Benzema turned old fast creating only two shots on Thursday and has only scored a goal this year. That, compiled with Bale’s injury and Morata being sold, they lack a true option to replace him. Zidane had to put in Mayoral to try to make a difference.

Madrid should have a team that is deep in every position and that is what many people thought coming into the season. Yet, we are three months into the season and we have found out that narrative was completely wrong.

The midfield can be outplayed

Casemiro was the only one trying to win the ball back in the midfield (Image; Getty Images)

Yet the most surprising factors on Thursday and honestly bigger than the result is Moussa Sissoko, Harry Winks, Christian Ericksen and Dele Ali outplayed the great Madrid midfield. The one that Mourinho said after the European league was the best in the world and had no one near their level in the premier league. They stop every dribble Madrid mad from the midfield, They had Isco in their back pocket. The Spaniard could never find the space to create any plays and felt lost in the game just running around. He played right in front of the other midfielders which is a formation made to allow him the liberty to dribble with no fear. Yet he only had a single dribble in the game.

Then comes the factor that they left Casemiro alone to clean up all the work from the team losing possession. In the game, he had ten tackles, while Nordic had one and Kross had none. If Madrid wants to be back to their elite level then Madrid and Kross need to help with ball recovery and defensively especially when Marcelo and Ramos are so involved in the build-up so high up the field.

Zidane will have his first opportunity to show he is an elite coach, if he can get Isco and Benzema going again and this defense back in line. The next stretch of games will show what Zidane is really made off. It’s the first time he has to dig himself out of results instead of being in the lead for most of the year.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

Week 10 EPL wrap up: Mourinho gets win in another big game, City’s streak continues

Manchester United 1 – Tottenham 0

Manchester United beat the Spurs 1-0 playing the perfect Mourinho game. Martial scored the winner in the 81st minute. The Frenchman got behind a long ball headed forward by Romelu Lukaku. The Red Devils got the lead and it felt it was all over, setting up defensively after the goal. The win lets them keep pace with Manchester City. Tottenham’s heavy creative style was not existent at Old Trafford as they weren’t passing the ball quickly around the box like you are used to and failed to create a real significant chance.

Mourinho went to a back three with Tottenham missing their main striker Harry Kane and it worked to perfection. It kept all of Spurs play in front on them. Mourinho found a winner from the bench as the back and worth fight from Rashford and martial continues. When the Frenchmen came in found the back of the net.

The game also saw a return for Chris Smalling, the English center back had only three appearances coming into the game but he shined. Mou put him in the middle of the back three and it was a success, he was the player of the game. Successful in the air and clearing the ball right in overtime, he was the leading the defensive performance on Saturday.

Spurs on the other side looked completely different without Kane. While its understandable to underperform while missing your leading goal scorer you expected a least a couple of chances from the north London side. Tottenham had the majority of the ball but did nothing with it. The Spurs best chance was a very difficult half volley. This game adds another name to the long list of big games that Pochettino side keeps missing out on. When Tottenham start performing better in these kind of matches, then they can be actual tittle contenders.

Now both teams have midweek Champions League games with United playing today versus Benfica and Tottenham face Real Madrid in Wembley.

Manchester City 3- West Brom 2

Manchester City continues to look unstoppable on offense and very shaky at the back. They have beautiful offense but still, show moments of weakness at the back. The encouraging part is the offense and creative playing style seems to travel. they have scored in every game this season and have failed to have a dull performance to date.

Though conceding two goals to a limited west Brom side is something that must be fixed soon before it starts affecting the team results. Both goals came from lack of communication, one with Ederson coming out of turn not reading his back line. The second came when Otamendi tried to chest the ball back to his keeper and Matt Phillips intercepted it and put it in.

Manchester City is still a top of the table and in prime position to continue this fine form. Everyone being rotated in the squad seems to perform well, which makes this team scary. they have yet to be held scoreless and if they resolved the issues at the back they might be the team in Europe.

Liverpool, Arsenal, Chelsea keep pace

Liverpool gets a much needed 3-0 nothing win versus Huddersfield where they finally looked like the free flowing, high pressing team we are use to seeing. They had over 75% of passion int he game and gets Jurgen Klopp’s hot seat got a little colder. They now sit in sixth place in the table and three points out of the Champions League spot.

Arsenal also had a much-needed home win although theirs was less impressive. They came back in the second half against Swansea. The win is great for the gunner’s confidence and  they came back in the game they were getting physically bullied playing the classic Arsenal way. The Lacazette, Sanchez and Ozil front line look as good as any in the premier league. Arsenal may not be the title contenders they always are but by no means are they a mid-table club this season.

The last result of the big dogs was a Chelsea 1-0 win on the road at Bournemouth. The blues still seem like a team trying to find its identity this year, which is weird to say about the former champions. They got lucky in their goal but created many chances but nothing gets finished. The team is blending well at the back and they maintain possession but they can’t seem to find the goals like they did last year. The Blues are still true title contenders and performance like this one shows it. Even when the chances aren’t going in they get the result. Last year Chelsea had a horrible start and went on a record run, it is still early in the season they can still get it together.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

Tottenham, not Manchester United looks like the team primed to push Manchester City

Manchester City 3 – Burnley 0

Manchester City has clearly been the best team in the English Premier League and they showed it again over the weekend. They had the easy 3-0 win versus Burnley and created a five-point gap at the top. Aguero scored a penalty to open the scoring in the 30th minute. The goal makes him tied for the all-time leading scorer at the club.

Manchester City dominated the game in every aspect like they have done the last couple of weeks. Add the factor of Burnley being a team that likes to play without the ball, which made the encounter especially one-sided. Manchester city had 77% of possession created 18 shots and had 90% passing success and even beat Burnley in most Aerial duels (which is what Burnley is known for).

Smaller teams in England are having difficulty playing this City side because they pay so well with the ball. We saw another masterful performance from Kevin de Bruyne who got so much time to pick the passes throughout the game. This included the perfect through ball to Sane when he scored the third goal. Speaking of Sane, his running of the left-hand side was crucial in the game and was probably the best player on the field. The young German is finally looking elite like he did when he broke into the scene at Schalke 04. In the game, he scored and assisted continuing his pace to be the best young player of the year.

Before the Year Manchester city wasn’t considered title favorites but now mid-October they are the clear front-runners.

Huddersfield 2 – Manchester United 1

But the real question now is: Who is their main opponent in the title race? In the first couple of weeks, it seemed destined that the title push would be only the two Manchester clubs. Yet, things are changing. United has turned back to a more pragmatic style that is bringing the level of play of the Red Devils down by a lot. This weekend saw a loss to recently promoted Huddersfield, a game they should have dominated from the start.

The performance goes hand in hand with the Red Devils’ last three performances. Versus Liverpool, they surrendered possession in the game and only created three shots with the goal in mind of dirtying up the game and just gaining the point. Then the team heads to Portugal in the midweek and play a crude game in Lisbon to beat Benfica due to a goalkeeping error, failing to look in control at any moment.

This game happens when you show up practicing defensive shape and being secure at the back. You can’t then expect the team to flourish when they go down in the game. Manchester fell 2-0 in the game and then started getting huge numbers in possession but they couldn’t do anything with it. They were stuck passing the ball around and created nothing. No one really tryed to take the ball and create.

With Manchester City’s level of play right now United looks miles behind, bigger even than the five-point margin in the table and unless something changes soon it’ll be very difficult for United to actually fight for the title. They can still be in contention for all the titles but playing like that they won’t win anything.

Tottenham 4 – Liverpool 1

This is why the team that will end up fighting Manchester City is Tottenham, The Spurs had an easy win versus Liverpool at home. This game was huge for the team’s mentality. Liverpool has their high pressing style that makes everyone fear playing an open game against them. Add to the fact that Tottenham doesn’t play well at Wembley (their temporary one until the new stadium is built). The game showed that when Spurs are playing their best they can play with any team in the world.

This week the team went to Real Madrid and got a point then went on and beat Liverpool with ease, a feat only a few teams could do. Young players like Harry Kane and Dele Ali stepping their game up and the team has new discipline of handling two competitions at once.

Kane had two goals and an assist. His resurgence has made people forget the early struggles the team had to open the season.

When Harry Kane is going and the team can create chances around him, Spurs are clearly the best team after Manchester City so far. They seem like the only other team that can push Manchester city in the title race.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

Cincinnati Handled By Tampa Bay To End Season

FC Cincinnati bowed out of the USL Playoffs in the first round for a second straight year. This time courtesy of the Tampa Bay Rowdies after being manhandled in a 3-0 defeat. Marcel Schafer scored two goals in the first half and Georgi Hristov added one in the second to continue the rout of Cincinnati.

It was a first half to forget for Cincinnati in another win or go home match in the 2017 season. Two goals from Marcel Schafer in the eighth and 25’ minutes gave Tampa Bay the lead. His first off a weak shot right at Mitch Hildebrandt but somehow got through him. The second was from 25 yards out with a good strike but a late reaction from Hildebrandt again made any save difficult.

A lot of passes from the midfield of Cincinnati didn’t hit their desired target. Cincinnati had 4 shots and all of them off target. Their best chance was a good run from Jimmy McLaughlin on the left side of the box. He chose to pass it off to Djiby instead of taking a shot where the keeper was shielded. Not a sure goal but definitely the best chance.

The second half didn’t go much better. The passing wasn’t crisp and Tampa Bay seemed to outrun Cincinnati all half. A wonder goal from Georgi Hristov in the 67’ that hit the bottom of the crossbar and into the net was the dagger for Cincinnati. After the goal Cincinnati had pressure and a few crosses but only one was dangerous with a header from Kadeem Dacres that was incredibly saved by the Tampa Bay keeper.

Disappointing end to what was a fun year to be a soccer fan in Cincinnati. A great run in the US Open Cup beating USL rival Louisville City, local MLS rival Columbus Crew, beating the Chicago Fire on penalties on ESPN, and leading the New York Red Bulls 2-0 going into the 75’ minute before eventually losing in extra time 3-2. Also the US Women’s National Team played at Nippert due to the excitement generated in Cincinnati.

On the league side of things it was more of a season to forget. Finishing in 6th place in the Eastern Conference was below the expectation of 4th and hosting a playoff match. A very poor road record of (4-8-4) with 16 points didn’t help things. Not exactly what Head Coach Alan Koch would have had in mind when he took over.

Moment By Moment

8’ Marcel Schafer scores to put Tampa Bay up early. Schafer got behind the defense and beat the keeper Mitch Hildebrandt. It was bad from Cincinnati all around, Harrison Delbridge was beat by Georgi Hristov who passed to a cutting Schafer with a weak shot that was able to find its way past Hildebrandt for the goal.

11’ Jimmy McLaughlin got behind the defense and put a shot past the far post, unable to equalize.

25’ Schafer doubles the lead with a shot from 25 yards out. He was unmarked 25 yards out and Austin Berry was too slow to close down and the reaction from Hildebrandt was very slow.

34’ Jimmy McLaughlin had a very good look coming down the left and drove into the box before trying to pass to Djiby, but the pass was intercepted. McLaughlin probably should have shot the ball instead of passing off.

52’ McLaughlin booked for a late challenge on Joe Cole.

54’ Austin Berry gave the ball away to Cole of Tampa Bay and made a very good tackle to stop the shot and make up for his mistake.

63′ Kenny Walker booked for dissent.

67’ Hristov with a shot from 30 yards out hit the bottom of the crossbar and dropped into the bottom of the net.

79′ Kadeem Dacres with a header that was just tipped away by the Tampa Bay keeper Matt Pickens. Was a sure goal off the corner and Pickens comes from far away to tip it over the bar.

84′ Joe Cole booked for time wasting after kicking the ball away after the whistle.

Final Thoughts

Tough loss for Cincinnati tonight even though they were expected to lose due to their seeding and poor road record. It was a good start for the first few minutes, looking like Cincinnati was going to set the tone for the game. Then a horrible defensive breakdown let the ball go over the top and Hildebrandt somehow let the ball through his legs. The second goal Hildebrandt could have been shielded but it looked like a bad reaction. I have just come to expect more from Hildebrandt and both of those I think he wishes he could have back. It was a bad night all around with bad passing and the defense getting beat a few times.

It will be an interesting offseason for Cincinnati with some players who started tonight who will not be back next season. But those moves will happen in the coming weeks and everything will fall into place for season.

EPL has a good week in the Champions League

Manchester City 2 – Napoli 1

Manchester City now has proven that their style doesn’t just work against lower competition. Napoli, the best team in Italy, came into Manchester and have not dropped a single point in the season so far. They started their normal lineup and for many instances in the game City looked overwhelmingly in control. Having the ball and not letting Napoli create a single chance. At one point Manchester City had 10 shots to none by the Italian side.

This still poses big problems clearing issues up when they lose the ball as seen on Tuesday when they conceded two penalties and Ederson bailed them out in one. The defense needs work but what we learn is this team can play and score versus anyone. Without Aguero, they still created 17 chances and in many instances looked like the team in command.This is the best stretch Manchester city has had under Pep and possibly since the money has flooded the club.

The question now is not if Manchester City can get to an elite level? It is if they can maintain it. They look like the best team in Europe to start the year but it’s extremely hard to keep playing this way all the way up until May. Kevin de Bruyne has looked like the best player in the world and the continued on Tuesday when he hit post and provided yet another assist. Raheem Sterling continued his fine form and scored the first one of the night only to be joined in the scoreboard minutes later by Gabriel Jesus. The squad is clicking and right now it feels like it doesn’t matter the opponent they are going to score.

Watching this match confirms that this Manchester city squad are sure contenders

Chelsea 3 – Roma 3

Chelsea battled it out at Stamford bridge to get a 3-3 draw. Dealing with many injuries, Chelsea got a bit of good news when Morata came back to start, whose performance brought back the free flowing Chelsea we saw earlier in this season. The Blues started David luiz in the midfield because of an injury and it proved to be a blessing in disguise. The Brazilian put in a heavy effort performance where he scored a true golazo to open the scoring. Then Hazard took over, the Belgian is back and better than ever, clearly showing on the day he was the best player on the field. He created almost every play getting the rest of the Chelsea players involved.

Then Chelsea lost the two-goal lead and the Roma side people were expecting started showing up gaining the ball and creating chances themselves. They scored three truly lovely goals and showed the lack of experience Christensen and Rudiger have at the back in a Conte system.

While the result isn’t the best things for the Blues it still puts them in prime position to get out the difficult group and avoided going to a losing streak of three straight games. They showed guts to come back after letting the game slip completely away against Roma and that will be needed if Chelsea wants to make a deep run.

Chelsea has already proven they are one of the contenders this year when they went to Madrid and played masterfully versus Athletico earlier this season. What this game showed is the injuries are really affecting this squad. The loss of Matic and now injuries in the midfield and showed a hole in the team. It has made Conte depend on defenders who are completely new to Chelsea and the team’s style of play. The problems are happening now but when the squad gets back to full strength they should go away.

Manchester United 1- Benfica 0

United’s dull play continues after getting a 1-0 win after a goalkeeper mistake versus Benfica yesterday. The team started the season so well scoring 4-0 wins on multiple occasions, but now the team is getting in the mindset of Mourinho which is: Just results matters. Over the weekend they went to Anfield and played an ugly 0-0 game, now he went to Portugal and got all three points. Playing dull can be a problem,, but if the fans just want results he is getting them.

Getting a point at Anfield is one of the most difficult things to do in England and if you were to ask all the managers in the Prem would they just take the point and not play, they would all probably be yes. It might be frustrating form a neutral point of view. United got a least a point which keeps them in second place of the EPL and the only team currently close to Man City and their fantastic start.

Now we see that same mentality in Europe, and while it may be dull it found success again. When you look at the table Manchester is practically a game away from qualifying for the knockout stage of the Champions League. That is where the club fans want the team.

Ultimately even though Mourinho’s style is boring or anti-football he is giving the Red Devils the success they so deeply have missed since Alex Fergurson left.

Spurs 1 – Real Madrid 1

Spurs went to the Kings of Europe, Real Madrid and got a 1-1 draw. The result now puts Spurs is a great position of getting out of the group of death with two home games still remaining. While Madrid still clearly shows they were the better side of the night they couldn’t prove it and find the winning break through.

The result was even more surprising when you add the factor that Dele Ali wasn’t available in the game. The young Englishmen is one of the most important in the north London but it gave way for Harry Winks to make a name for himself. The other youngster in the squad came in and played a full 90 minutes and held in versus the defending champions. Madrid is known for having the best midfield in Europe and none of them were able to overshadow Winks. The 21-year-old has just 26 appearances with the club but expect a lot more performances from him.

Moves, like playing Winks and moving Kane and Llorente up top together, shows how much Pochetino believes in his whole squad and he is the perfect manager for the post. He knows how to move the squad around through big matches and shows belief in the academy. While they have lost pace with leaders Manchester City they and still within distance and finally showing the maturity to compete on multiple fronts. While I still see no way they win both competitions they are setting themselves up to have a choice later in the year.

Liverpool 7 – Maribor 0

Liverpool essentially had a road-friendly on Tuesday when they went to Maribor and beat them 7-0. All the goals the team couldn’t finish over the weekend we’re going in. This game showed the great high pace offense Klopp has and can implement. The back line wasn’t really pushed a single time in the game. It was really one of those games where a team is just practicing versus the other. This game is not the test for Liverpool, but with Sevilla dropping points, Liverpool now looks in prime position to win the group and get a good pairing next round.

England is known for failing in Europe in recent years but this year feels different. The English teams look like they are playing with a purpose to perform well and by the first three match days they have yet to lose. They have conceded the least amount of goals of the top four leagues even though they have the most teams out of anyone. While an English team hasn’t won in a while, if you compare the table amount of all the top four leagues the British teams have had by far the best start.

                      P  W  D L GF GA Pts
ENGLAND     15  11 4 0 44 11 37
SPAIN          12  6   4 2 21 12 22
ITALY             9  4   2 3 14 13 14
GERMANY       9  3  2 4 13 15 11

England: 2.466 pts/game
Spain: 1.833 pts/game
Italy: 1.55 pts/game
Germany: 1.22 pts/game

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

Man City Finally looking like Pep’s team

Man City Dominate Stoke City 7-2

Manchester finally looking like a Pep Guardiola team in the 7-2 drumming over Stoke City on Saturday. The team gained first place in the league when Manchester United drew at Anfield. In the eight games to start the year, they have seven wins and a single draw, scoring 29 goals and allowing 4 goals in that stretch.

Last year a lot of people were critical of Pep Guardiola and his managing skills after spending so much money and not winning a single trophy. Many claimed that he can’t actually build a playing style he likes because he doesn’t have the players and that his success has always come from managing two of the top five teams in Europe. The Spanish man is known for coaching teams playing beautiful football during his time in Barcelona and Bayern Munich, but many feel that level has not been seen in Manchester.

Yet this weekend Manchester city performances look right on par with the other great teams he has managed. If Manchester city had worn the old Barca kit you might not have noticed it was another team. They were playing on all cylinders creating chance after chance creating interlocking play and holding possession with ease. Real progress to the elite level is being shown.

Defensively they still have work to do they allowed two goals, but that didn’t stop them. They took a Stoke City to the clinic a team that had beaten Arsenal and got to a draw against Manchester United. Still, they looked in a different league having no solution to the constant pressure City was creating. Against Europe elite, they cant allow cheap goals like they did Saturday. Still, the best solution to allowing two goals is scoring seven goals.

Kevin De Bruyne has been the heartbeat of the team leading Man City in assists to start the year (Image: Getty Images )

The heart of the team is clearly Kevin de Bruyne. In this impressive start of the season, he has looked like the clear centerpiece of the team, The player that drives the ball and isn’t afraid to go in for a tackle. Guardiola this year has played him deeper in the midfield that we have seen in his career and what it has done is highlight the great vision the Belgian has to change the point of attack. He got two assists on Saturday getting his tally up to 6 assists on the year.

Another aspect that is surprising of this Guardiola team is he has a very young and expensive front line of Man city playing like seasoned veterans. They all the challenges they have had this year. Gabriel Jesus scored the first goal of the day finishing a great pass from Kyle Walker. The Brazilian is just 20 years old and in 17 premier league appearances, he has scored 13 goals, with six goals coming this season and two on Saturday. His movement upfront is special and puts back-lines under constant pressure. He is proving to be the perfect front-man in a Guardiola system, This why Aguero Starting spot has been put in doubt.

Yet, Jesus is not the only expensive young talent that has started the season in fine form. Raheem Sterling has had in the best form in a Manchester city shirt to start this year on the right-hand side. He has six goals to start the year one shy of his record with the club and it is only October. On the left-hand side, Leroy Sane seems to be finally be setting in, scoring four goals already this year and proving a big problem for left backs going forward.

Sterling and Jesus both form part of a young front line that is playing lights out (Image: Getty Images)

Guardiola started all three on Saturday. They are all under the age of 22 making this a setup that could last many years to come. When news came out on Aguero injury in the car crash there were some doubts if the team would miss his goals. The answer has been no, between Sterling, Sane and Jesus they have scored 16 goals in 8 games to start the year.

This team is currently without the most expensive defender in the world in Mendy and their club legend Sergio Aguero, and you wouldn’t have noticed. Two starters are out and the team still holds a world-class level creating seven goals. This is finally starting to look like money well spent, like a project finally starting to take foot.

The core of the Squad is very young and with Guardiola guiding it maybe they do really have a chance to build from starch (or money) a generational team that plays beautiful free-flowing football. If they use their financial resources to make sure many of these players see their career out in the sky blue shirt., then they are set up for something special.

While the defensive issues still loomed over the team and are something that has to be worked on if they want to win the Champions League, one thing is for sure: This team can score on anyone.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

Top People affected by USA missing the World Cup

Christian Pulisic

The young American forward is just 19 years of age and is currently starting with Borrusia Dortmund. This World Cup was the big opportunity for him to showcase himself to the world and the American audience, now he won’t have that chance. Many of the all-time greats had their teenage world cup where they showcased their talent and got the attention of the world. Pele made the World Cup at 17, Messi 18 and Ronaldo 18. These are the names Pulisic wants to be with and missing the World Cup is a huge hit to get that level.

Pulisic will lose his chance to make a name for himself on the world stage  (Image: Getty Images )

Pulisic was the best player on the field in the disaster versus Trinidad and Tobago and had been for the US throughout the qualifying phase. This was part of the problem, At many times during this qualifying phase, he seemed the only player trying to create and dribble to spaces. So while Pulisic is a once in a lifetime talent, he is still 19 and needs the team to help. He is still not at the level where he can carry a team by himself. Messi scored a hat trick to get his team in, Pulisic isn’t there yet.

It’s hard to remember this kid should still be in college if he was playing a more traditional American sport. Borrusia Dortmund is right now in pole position in the Bundesliga and the mix for the champions league and he is starting for them. It’s like a nineteen-year-old being a starter for the Cavs or Warriors. While all that is extremely impressive if he was part of probably any other country he would be a break out star you would see in every type of media on your daily basis.

The summer in Russia was a chance for that, to get his name in every American living room, get the big money sponsorship contract and become the face of American soccer. Put in mind he has already done what Landon Donovan never could. Get established in a top German side. Yet too many people believe Landon Donovan is far better and thatthere shouldn’t be a discussion. But at 19 he did what Donovan couldn’t in his whole career. It was Pulisic’s chance to be up there with the greats but now he will have to wait and continue being the unloved prodigy that he is.

FOX

The second person probably most affected by the USA missing the World Cup is Fox, the network TV channel, that paid $400 million to get the rights to show the World Cup in America. While the World Cup will get its viewers from the devoted soccer fans, it is a loss when a lot of the bandwagon USA fans don’t show up.

Every World Cup thousands and thousands of people become USA soccer fans that have not watch a single qualifying game. They love rooting for their country no matter the sport or occasion. Those people won’t be pumped to watch a Germany vs Argentina. They are asking for the USA and this world cup they won’t get it.

The nation will be in a grim state while the rest of the world takes part in the celebration. This world cup will have earlier kick-off times, than in 2014, and the USA won’t be in it. This presents a real challenge for Fox who will have to get people hyped to wake up early and watch Soccer to a base of people who don’t really like it.

Rooting for America has always brought in the viewers that don’t care about the sport and just want the Raw-Raw aspect of it. It will be a real surprised if Fox gets numbers anywhere near what ESPN got in 2014.

MLS and the USA development system

Third and the one that might be the most condemned by this disaster is the MLS and the development of their players. With the money that has been thrown into the system, which the numbers are in the billions, how have they failed to produce a decent crop of players that can survive the CONCACAF. The USA even without the rich traditions of soccer has the athletes and the money to easily qualify for every World Cup like they have the last thirty years. So the push that all these developmental programs were supposed to make turn out to be a regression. Now a team like Panama which the USA has always dominated is going to the World Cup.

Micheal Bradley quit Roma to go play in the MLS, which is a huge drop in Level (Image: Getty Images)

The other fact is the league many of the stars of recent years have left big teams in Europe to come play in the MLS for high paying contracts. So While those decisions did help Micheal Bradley and Dempsey be happy they have clearly affected the team. The level in the MLS is much lower than top leagues in Europe and even when you bring players that were succeeding overseas their form will drop if they are not playing the best.

It’s impossible to unlock a level they haven’t been practicing or playing at. As of right now, on the roster there are only five players are in Europe and the rest are in the MLS. This, in turn, made the USA team an MLS team which is nowhere good enough when it comes to the world stage.

Expect now most American players to not buy in the American system and do what Pulisic did and leave at a young age to continue your development. USA should be pushing these guys to get on the best teams possible in Europe and not on the focus on growing the MLS.

If the MLS truly had a good and organized development system than it should be producing enough players to support the local league but also have the best leave to the best league. The best example of this is Argentina and Brazil. They have thriving leagues locally and their National teams are full of players playing aboard in Europe. To be the best you have to have your players playing with the best, its that simple, and the USA has gotten away from that.

The sad, frustrating part is the USA has the money and the resources to so much better. This should be a wake-up sign for the whole league that they are not producing players. As of right now close to 50% of the league are foreigners. This to me shows clubs have to go out and get players to play at the level they want, meaning they aren’t producing it.

So while most people will criticize the coaches who have been there or the players simply not providing a fight when things weren’t going their way. I think this failure in qualification shows how far the USA is at development compared with countries with way less to work with. People keep saying America doesn’t have the players to compete, well maybe it is because we are not developing them. Teams like Germany and Spain developed their talent they are

Ultimately the saddest thing of all this is that the USA won’t have a chance to redeem themselves until another four years. So hopefully when that time comes the USA national team has made drastic changes and we see a competitive team again.

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from other great TGH writers along with Jose!

U.S. Soccer missing the World Cup: How, why and the future

The United States Men’s National Team lost 2-1 to Trinidad and Tobago, which resulted in them not being able to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. This is the first time that the United States has missed the World Cup since 1986.

How it happened

US misses World Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann (Photo by ussoccer.com)

After the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, most American soccer fans were projecting the USMNT to take a step forward and compete on a higher level for the next World Cup cycle. Jurgen Klinsmann had promised to make the USMNT better by incorporating youth into the team, while also convincing players with dual citizenship to play for the United States.

Klinsmann had five years to implement his plan and although it looked promising, he failed after the 2014 World Cup. The USMNT finished fourth in the 2015 Gold Cup, losing to Jamaica and Panama in back to back games. Although the USMNT got out of their initial group for World Cup Qualifying, they lost their first two games in the Hexagonal, the last stage of qualifying in CONCACAF. Klinsmann was fired because of the team’s terrible showing in 2015 and 2016.

Bruce Arena was brought in for a second stint as the USMNT manager. They were well behind in qualifying, but there was new hope and an easier schedule going forward. Arena chose another strategy than Klinsmann, by relying on mostly MLS players. The culture change and difference in strategy in the middle of the World Cup cycle didn’t do any favors.

Despite the change, things were looking better for the USMNT. They had a chance to qualify for the World Cup heading into their last two World Cup Qualifiers. They beat Panama in the first match and only needed to get a draw against Trinidad and Tobago to reach the World Cup. Everything went wrong, as the U.S. lost, while Honduras and Panama beat the two best teams in the group, Mexico and Costa Rica, to finish ahead of the USMNT.

What went wrong

The conflicting strategies of Arena and Klinsmann in one World Cup Qualifying cycle was too much. Klinsmann as thinking to the future, and at times did so too much. Arena went back to using more seasoned players overall, sometimes picking players way past their prime, but they failed as it was too little too late.

US misses world Cup

Demarcus Beasley (Photo by skysports.com)

In this whole fiasco, what was lost by both men, was that the best players should be playing in important matches. Should Demarcus Beasley have been selected by Bruce Arena? No. Should Klinsmann have started Ventura Alvorado in a Gold Cup match against Jamaica in 2015? No. The USMNT does not have the depth necessary to get too cute when selecting squads and starters and both managers failed at that in different ways.

The big problem on the field was the defense. In the Hexagonal, the Americans had 17 goals scored, which was the most of any team, but they still didn’t qualify. Rarely did anyone know who was starting in goal or on the back line.

Tim Howard was and still is the best goalie that the USMNT has, but both managers switched between him and Brad Guzan. Even if Guzan was as good as Howard, changing the goalie so often can break down the communication and in general breaks up consistency at a position where it is most needed.

The center backs were especially awful and have been pretty much since the 2010 World Cup in South Africa. John Anthony Brooks and Geoff Cameron are both solid starters, with Brooks being one of the most promising young defenders in the world. The problem is that both are often injured and again it has broken down the consistency where it is needed.

With their injuries players like Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler and others have gotten way more playing time than they should have. This is a weak point on the USMNT heading to the future and one that needs to be addressed, especially if Brooks can’t stay healthy.

Finally some of the young players that Klinsmann had started to build up for the country did not progress as much as they were expected to. Aaron Johansson, Julian Green, Mix Diskerud are just a few to name. Even Deandre Yedlin has had his ups and downs, although Yedlin should’ve been starting in every important game the USMNT had due to his blinding speed. Had these young players, as well as others, the Americans would’ve been in a much better position to make the World Cup.

Looking Ahead

Now the USMNT will need a new manager and the search will likely start immediately, even if it isn’t announced until after the World Cup. The new head man needs to urge players to go play in the best leagues in the world as well as convince the MLS to continually improve to help support the national team.

Tim Howard and Nick Rimando are likely done with international soccer which leaves a huge gap at goalie. There are some young promising players like Ethan Horvath, but it is best to not expect much out of them as we’ve seen in this World Cup Cycle.

Clint Dempsey, one of the best players in USMNT history, is also likely done with international play. He was still good enough to be on the 2018 World Cup roster had it happened, but that was about it. Dempsey was the soul of the USMNT and often came up with ridiculous goals when the team needed them the most. He will be missed.

US misses World Cup

Christian Pulisic: The future (Photo by ussoccer.com)

Other notable players that are likely done by the time the next World Cup comes around (for better or for worse) are: Fabian Johnson, Matt Besler, Chris Wondolowski, Graham Zusi, Tim Ream, Geoff Cameron, Dax McCarty, Benny Feilhaber, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Michael Orozco, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman, Demarcus Beasley, Lee Nguyen and Sacha Klestan. All of these players were on the roster at some point in the last four years. Love them or hate them, that is a lot to replace especially when the USMNT is thin on talent.

The squad still has a lot of young promising players like Christian Pulisic, Bobby Wood, Cameron Carter-Vickers, Deandre Yedlin, Matt Miazga, John Anthony Brooks and more. These players will be in their primes when the next World Cup comes around, but will need better support around them.

Now the focus needs to shift to prepare the younger players for the next World Cup Qualifying cycle which will start in 2019. On a bigger scale in American soccer, more needs to be done to fix the problems they have. That will include a huge effort by people involved in American soccer to get players developing better at the grassroots level, to make the MLS a better league competitively in the world to support the national team and getting better people in charge to help lead the team to glory.

 

You can like The Game Haus on Facebook and follow us on Twitter for more sports and esports articles from great TGH writers!

To continue enjoying great content from your favorite writers, please contribute to our Patreon account! Every little bit counts. We greatly appreciate all of your amazing support! #TGHPatreon

Page 1 of 1312345...10...Last »