Tag Archives: #English Football

Arsenal: Wenger Was The Past, Emery a distraction but Arteta Is the Future

 season that promised so much, delivered almost nothing but finally delivered something. The season started for Arsenal on a promising note after the Gunners splashed the cash in the transfer market on talented left back from the Scottish League, Kieran Tierney and smashed their transfer record to bring in exciting Ivorian winger, Nicholas Pepe from Lille. It looked like the Gunners were finally not just ready to finish in the top 4 but to also engage in a tussle for the title.

There was little or no excuse for their Spanish manager, Unai Emery, he was expected to do better after his first season where he “narrowly” missed a top 4 finish and got to the Europa league final. It was believed that with adequate signings, he could do better. Arsenal are not known to be heavy spenders in the market but the hierarchy did their best to bolster the squad with the additions of Pepe, Tierney and Luiz.

The first half of the season was a disaster, strings of draws and expected losses in the Premier League and Capital One Cup brought Emery’s reign to an abrupt end and Ljungberg did not fare any better in interim capacity. In came Arteta to face a monstrous challenge of redeeming things; bring Arsenal up the table, take the goal difference from negative to positive and make Europe.

Definitely, winning a title was not part of the script handed to Arteta. Who would have thought that the Gunners that were low on confidence on and off the pitch could go all the way in the oldest trophy in England? Arteta hit the ground running, got the players thinking straight again, desire restored and competition for places returned. Arsenal’s league form was far from convincing and the jury was out for Arteta after Arsenal were bundled out of the Europa League  by little fancied Olympiakos. Arteta kept his focus and it seems it has paid off.

Arsenal might have finished 8th in the league, the lowest position since like forever but a record 14th FA Cup win has put a wool on that wound and breathe some life into a campaign that was considered dead, buried and never to be exhumed.

With the FA Cup win, Arsenal are back in Europe and have access to some more funds which would help Arteta in his rebuilding process. The Arsenal project is far from perfect but knowing what to do is key in completing the project. The win would go a long way in not only positively impacting the finances of the club but also convincing the biggest name in the team, the FA Cup hero, Pierre Emeric Aubamenyang to stay.

Besides financial expectations which is touted to be 250,000 pounds weekly wage demands, the Gabonese lethal forward wants to see ambition on the pitch. Arsenal have shown that by winning the FA Cup trophy. They not only have a cup in the bag, they also have a ticket to the dine at the table of top clubs. Europe is a big deal whether Champions League or Europa League.

Arsenal are champions of a major trophy and deserve to celebrate but they must not gloss over the fact that the team still needs strengthening. This is the time to delve into the market and get the needed signings. The signs are good but the right things must be done. Wenger was the past, Emery was a distraction but Arteta looks the future and with the right players, it might just be a bright one.

Source: OJB Sports.

Play-offs And Promotion To English Premier League 2019/2020

The Championship play-offs in England are a series of knock-out games which take place at the end of the Championship season in order to determine which team earns the final promotion to the Premier League.

While the top two teams in the division earn automatic promotion, the teams which finish third, fourth, fifth and sixth qualify for the play-offs.

The Play-offs as a merit-based system is in place to pair the Semi-final opponents, with third place team playing sixth place team in one semi-final and fourth place team playing fifth place team in the other semi-final.

The Championship semi-finals are two-legged affairs, but the away goals rule is not applicable. The two winners of the semi-final progress to the Play-off Final and the winner gain promotion and join the two automatic qualified teams from the championship into the Premiership League.

Leeds United became the first side to win automatic promotion when West Brom lost to Huddersfield on July 17, with Marcelo Bielsa’s side crowned champions a day later following Brentford‘s loss to Stoke City.

West Brom join them in the Premier League after securing promotion on the final day of the season with a 2-2 draw against QPR.

Brentford and Fulham have to settle for places in the play-offs having challenged the top two for most of the campaign.

They are joined by Welsh rivals Cardiff City and Swansea City, with Nottingham Forest narrowly missing out on a top-six finish.

The result of the Play-offs 1st leg Semi Final played yesterday (26/07/2020) is Swansea City 1 vs. Brentford 0, while the 2nd match between Cardiff City vs. Fulham will be played today (27/07/2020). While the 2nd legs will be played on 29/07/2020 and 30/07/2020 respectively.

With the Championship returning at the end of June, the play-off semi-finals will now be played at the end of July. First legs will be played on July 26 and 27 with the second legs taking place on July 29 and 30.

This year Championship Play-off Final is scheduled for Tuesday 4th August, 2020. It had originally been booked for Monday, 25th May, 2020.

Since the game is being played in mid-week, it will kick off at 7:45pm rather than the usual afternoon kick-off time associated with weekend play-off finals.

Wembley Stadium in London is the traditional venue for the match. Wembley is used for all EFL play-off finals with those for League One and League Two also taking place at the venue.

Affectionately known as ‘The Home of Football’ in England, Wembley is one of the biggest stadiums in the world and Championship play-off finals regularly attract bumper crowds.

The 2019 Championship play-off final between Aston Villa and Derby County, for example, drew an audience of 85,826, but this year edition will be played in an empty stadium due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Aston Villa won the 2019 Championship Play-offs after a 2-1 victory  over Derby County.

Goals from Anwar El Ghazi and John McGinn either side of half-time were enough to see Villa to victory over the Rams, who threatened a comeback late in the second half when Jack Marriott found the net.

Villa overcame West Brom in the semi-final to book their place in the final of the play-offs, while Derby defeated Marcelo Bielsa’s Leeds United – a team that had been fancied to win the division.

It was the Birmingham club’s second successive appearance in the play-off final, having lost the 2018 edition 1-0 to Fulham