Tuesday 8 October 2019

Max Aarons

When Norwich City managed to win hearts and minds in 2018-19, a large part of it came from their rambunctious style. They don’t hold back, and are rather cavalier to the point where they would win plenty of high-scoring games by a single goal. A big part of their exciting nature is their aggressive full-backs, and young Max Aarons is a fine example of that ambitious style.

What makes him so special?

There isn’t much that could be said about Aarons that stands out – and that is part of his magic. At just 19, he plays like a senior professional. You wouldn’t say that his passing was any better than his defensive prowess, for example. Nor would you say that his dribbling is any worse than his ability to constantly win tackles – tackles won often without going to ground.

The strongest part of his game is his dribbling, but his main specialty is his well-rounded nature. For a 19-year-old full-back, he shows immense variety in his game. For Aarons, the main thing that stands out is the fact he can do so much for one so young; his versatility in playing style makes him an excellent player to watch.

Strong and with plenty of energy but without the propensity to lose the ball, Aarons is a rare talent.

Any concerns or doubts?

The main thing he suffers from is being bullied at the posts when defending aerial passes. However, what can be done about that? At 19, he could still take a growth spurt. Given many full-backs are aerially weak, too, this should not be something that limits his career progress.

Should he become a bit more consistent with his cross selection and timing, Aarons will become a better defender by proxy of being able to better judge balls. Given the issue is more down to height and experience, though, there’s relatively little to be worried about with Aarons. The potential is easily there to go to the peak of the Premier League.

Thursday 15 August 2019

Reiss Nelson

Having spent a year on loan with Julien Nagelsmann at TSG Hoffenheim, Arsenal youth starlet Reiss Nelson arrives back in London with a point to prove. At just 19, he has the world at his feet: the main question for Nelson is can he keep out the cadre of attacking stars that Arsenal have lining the bench for long enough to make an impact?

What makes him so special?

For us, Nelson impresses due to his coolness in front of goal. For a 19-year-old wide forward, he shows a lot of composure when the ball drops to him. Despite having less than a shot per game for the German outfit last year, Nelson managed to pick up an impressive 7 goals in just 630 minutes – not bad for a youngster who only made 5 starts in the season.

He’s composed and he has a good idea of shot selection, too, which is quite rare. Often, players of his experience and position are exciting, creative dribblers with poor decision making. Nelson shows good decision making and consistency, completing around 86% of his passes last year for Hoffenheim – that’s a solid return for a young player in a creative position.

Any concerns or doubts?

Nelson stands out due to his decision making, but one thing that he has to improve upon is how often he gets involved in a game. When he’s part of the game he is effective, but he’s suffered from an ability to drift out of games without much fanfare. As he ages, this will have to improve – he’s not yet decisive enough to get away with failure to participate in big matches.

The main concern is also going to be making the most of the gametime he gets. Despite starting the opening day of the season, chances could be somewhat limited for Nelson; he needs to take every chance he is given which, given his propensity to vanish from games, could be tough.

Thursday 18 July 2019

Player Profile - Thibaut Courtois

At just 25, Thibaut Courtois – alongside David de Gea – has claim to be the best keeper of his generation. The Bree-born Belgian is among the finest goalkeepers in the Premier League and European football in general. With over 50 caps for his country, too, he’s a stalwart at the back and has helped to play a key role in title successes at Genk, Atletico Madrid and Chelsea. 
In July 2011, he left Belgium after helping his youth club Genk win the Belgian Pro League title. At Genk, he made a name for himself as an uncompromising stopper; when he signed for Chelsea for just £8m, he was immediately loaned to Atletico Madrid. In Madrid, he ensured that his future as Petr Cech’ successor was secure.

His key performances across a three-year stint seen him win the Europa League, Copa del Rey and La Liga title from 2012-2014. He also was a major part of the team which reached the UEFA Champions League final; even helping to put out parent club Chelsea in the semi-finals.
Since returning to London, he’s been a major part of their growth across a trophy-laden four-year spell. He’s won the League Cup and two Premier League titles, securing his position as a keeper who plays a key role in winning tiles.

While his passing may not be as good as other modern keepers, his outstanding reflexes more than makes up for that. Often making saves that he simply would not be expected to as well as staying concentrated for that one key moment when he is called into action, Courtois is the personification of a top-club keeper.

Never flustered from moments of pressure and rarely, if ever, caught dreaming, he’s a key part of Chelsea’ continued, lasting success.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Reading vs Arsenal -  Best Comeback in Football History

What a classic!

Tuesday 16 April 2019

Champions League - FC Porto vs Liverpool (0-2 Agg)

When the draw for the quarter finals of the UEFA Champions League was made, many seen FC Porto and Ajax Amsterdam as the ‘easy’ ties. Liverpool, though, found out that, despite winning 2-0, Porto are no mugs. Can the Reds go to Portugal and produce a similar performance to the masterful display that they offered here in 2018?

FC Porto News

If the Dragons are to do something special here, they’ll be doing so without Vincent Aboubakar. The Cameroon international misses out here, but Porto will be buoyed by the return of Yacine Brahimi, Pepe and Hector Herrera. As three of the most important players for the Portuguese, it will be interesting to see how Liverpool handle a more in-form FC Porto side.

Expect Moussa Marega to offer ample threat in the wide areas and up front. Meanwhile, the onus will be on Herrera and Danilo Perreira to control what will be a hotly contested midfield.

Liverpool News

The only doubt here for Liverpool will be that of Jordan Henderson. The Reds captain, rejuvenated as an 8 in recent weeks, has been integral to some excellent form for the Reds. The return of Andy Robertson, though, will help to make up for his loss. Expect Naby Keita or Georginio Winaldum to get a game in the middle alongside Fabinho.

Dejan Lovren might come in for this one, having impressed in the Anfield match after a long injury lay-off. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joe Gomez are nearing a return to fitness, but will likely miss out here: the lead is not large enough to risk either.


Score draw. Liverpool to open the scoring and render the tie almost impossible to win for Porto. Porto, though, are no fools: they are European giants in their own right and have improved massively from last year. An exciting & intense score draw.

Wednesday 3 April 2019

Newcastle vs Palace

With both sides fighting out for the ‘glory’ of mid-table comfort, Newcastle United welcome Crystal Palace. This has been a rather dull affair in recent years, with only one thriller – the 5-1 shellacking that Palace handed out in November 2015 – standing out. Most games are single goal affairs, and the first encounter this year produced a meek 0-0. With both sides in total comfort and probably not much to play for, expect both sides to perhaps play with a bit of freedom. Often, though, this can also breed conservatism.

Newcastle News

The Toon will be looking to recover from a rather listless loss against Arsenal on Monday. They produced little and came forward without much gusto, and were soundly beaten by the better team. Knowing that a win would give them more or less total safety and put them ahead of Palace does offer incentive for the home side.

They’ll be looking for Salomon Rondon to continue his good firm, backed up by his companion in Ayoze Perez. The pair have struck up a good partnership this year, and could be important for any three points gathered in this one.

Crystal Palace News

The Eagles have nothing to really play for, except for places in the team next year. Some significant change is expected to come in the summer, with likes of Wilfried Zaha and Aaron Wan-Bissaka expected to move on to bigger clubs. Until then, though, more signature wins – like one at St. James Park – could help get some of their better players even more impressive moves.

With security more or less assured, too, Palace can afford to play without the usual conservatism that a Roy Hogdson side sticks to.


Score draw. Newcastle are flagging a little, and without the feelgood factor of a Rafael Benitez extension (though being discussed) means there is not much on this match. Both sides will go for it, but we can’t see it being enough to create anything other than a solid score draw.

Saturday 2 March 2019

Premier League: Tottenham vs Arsenal

As one of the biggest derbies in the Premier League, meetings between Tottenham and Arsenal are often frenetic, exciting affairs. This one, though, has a hell of a lot riding on it: Spurs need a win, and a result, to help get their season on track. Arsenal need to win to make sure they can continue their push for the top four: with Manchester United and Chelsea having winnable fixtures, they could fall dangerously behind. Spurs, though, could get dragged out of the title race entirely and into the battle for the top four themselves – there’s a lot riding on this derby.

Tottenham Hotspur News

Despite the very impressive form of Harry Winks, rumors persist that he’ll miss out in favor of Victor Wanyama. The Kenyan brings steel and strength to the middle of the park, and could be the perfect choice for a game like this. Expect Harry Kane and Son Heung-Min to start up top for Spurs, perhaps in a 3-5-2 formation with Christian Eriksen running the show from the middle of the mark.

The performance of Danny Rose and Serge Aurier, though, will be very interesting indeed.

Arsenal News

The Gunners are expected to line up in the much the same way they have recently – a 3-5-2 themselves. With Lucas Torreira, Aaron Ramsey and Granit Xhaka playing together, there’s plenty of energy and steel in the middle of the pitch for the Gunners.

Wing-back, though, could be an issue; Saed Kolasinac and Ainsley Maitland-Niles have struggled throughout the season, and we could see them continue to do the same here against the pace of Spurs.


Spurs win. Arsenal dispatched Spurs with relative ease in the return fixture, but we can see Spurs picking up their game again ahead of a challenging tie against Borussia Dortmund. This is, though, likely to be a tight and tense game – with so much riding on it, it’s easy to see why.

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Punters Win Big with 8-Fold Acca

Two happy chats dicussing their winning football accumulator bet. From beer money to £100k. The stuff of dreams!