Chelsea 4 vs. 1 Arsenal Europa League Final Review

A different way to win a final!

What a game! Sarri and the players proved the media and the critics wrong by thrashing Arsenal in Baku to lift the Europa league. Going into the game the favourites were Arsenal especially how they had reached the final and the fact that Chelsea had so many injuries. Kepa started in goal, Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, and Emerson started in defence. The boost in midfield came with an hour to go as Kante was miraculously passed fit to start alongside Jorginho, and Kovacic. Hazard, Giroud, and Pedro started upfront. 

Arsenal started the better of the two teams even though the atmosphere was nowhere near one of a final and both teams seemed lethargic. Arsenal still created chances and Kepa was forced into some good saves. Chelsea began to grow into the game and for the final 15 minutes of the first half Cech was forced to make some good saves in goal for Arsenal. The second half was a different story as Chelsea came out with another gear to their game while Arsenal came out with no response. Giroud scored a brilliant header after an Emerson cross to give Chelsea the lead int he 49th minute. Pedro then doubled the lead in the 60th minute after a brilliant pass from Hazard. Giroud was then brought down in the box in the 65th minute and Hazard made it 3-0 in what could be his final game for Chelsea. Iwobi then came of the bench to score a worldie for Arsenal in the 69th minute to make it 3-1. Hazard wasn’t having it though and he combined well with Giroud to make it 4-1 and Chelsea then cruised through the final minutes to seal the Europa league.

The first person who in my opinion deserves credit is Sarri. A great start to the season and then a slump which divided the fanbase on whether they want him to stay or not. Sarri stuck to what he knew he did not panic and went into this final with injuries and negativity once more to beat a 3 time Europa League winning manager. The photo of him looking at his medal warms the heart because it shows how much his first trophy means to him. Hazard is the next person who deserves credit for being Chelsea’s best player for the last 7 seasons and probably the Premier League’s best player, he scored two goals in his final appearance for Chelsea and goes out a legend. The rest of the team were brilliant as well, Kepa made some brilliant saves, the defence was solid, Jorginho, Kante, and Kovacic played well in the middle and the front three caused havoc. Giroud was great as well, a goal and an assist against the club that didn’t play him and sold him and it was a great way to silence his critics. 

For Arsenal the seasons comes to an end as a flop. Arsenal bottled the top four after having an easier run than Chelsea, United, and Spurs. Arsenal then had luck with them as Chelsea’s players got injured and their forwards began to fire. Arsenal needed the win and they didn’t they underestimated Chelsea and I think they let the media paint a picture of Chelsea in their minds that went against them. Emery also made a tactical mistake with a 3-5-2 formation and so needs to come into question as well.

More to come in the season review, but Chelsea, Sarri, the players, the fans go into the summer in brilliant fashion and for now thats the most important thing much more will happen in the coming days but for now, COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!

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Chelsea vs. Arsenal Europa League Final Preview

It all ends with this game!

The final of the Europa League will be a London derby played in Baku as Chelsea take on Arsenal. Arsenal finished 5th in the Premier League, their last game was a 3-1 win away at Burnley. Wenger left in the summer and was replaced by Emery and Emery’s trajectory has been quite similar to Sarri’s although while the media has shown pretty of sympathy for Emery and given him time to build a future, Sarri has not received any such favours. Finishing 5th means that Arsenal won’t be playing Champions League football next season but that is where the stakes are higher as the winner of the Europa League gets an automatic place in the Champions League. 

Arsenal began their Europa League journey in Group E with Sporting Lisbon, Vorskla, and Qarabag making up the rest. Arsenal topped the group with 5 wins and 1 draw as they faced Bate Borisov in the Round of 32. Arsenal lost 1-0 in the first leg but won the 2nd leg 3-0 and so progressed. Arsenal then faced Rennes in the Round of 16 and lost the first leg 3-1, but came back to win the 2nd leg 3-0. In the Quarters Arsenal faced Napoli and beat them 2-0 at home and then 0-1 away to progress to the semis. Valencia were next and Arsenal beat them 3-1 at home and then 2-4 away to reach the final. Arsenal’s defence and midfield have been poor this season but their attack is where the Gunners have thrived with Lacazette and Aubameyang causing havoc up front. Emery is an expert at the Europa League having won it three times with Sevilla, and so Arsenal are the favourites especially after recent events at Chelsea. 

Chelsea travelled to Boston after the season ended to play New England Revolution and we beat them 0-3 but returned back to London with an injured Loftus-Cheek who will be out for 4-6 months. As Juventus’s season came to an end news broke that Allegri will be leaving and so Sarri has becomet the favourite to take over in Turin. Chelsea’s opinion the matter is that they won’t sack Sarri but if Juventus want him they will have to pay for him. Following that Kante then suffered a knee injury in training and now is 50-50 to start the final. To finish off Florentino Perez held a press conference and made it clear that their aim was to get Hazard to Madrid this summer. All in all its not been great even though we finished 3rd the pressure is on Sarri and the players. Arsenal are the favourites but Sarri would love to win his first trophy and if he does leave Chelsea then he leaves having silenced the critics. 

Chelsea Team Preview

CHO, Rudiger, Kante, and RLC are all out of the game. Kepa should start in goal, Azpi, Christensen, Luiz, and Emerson should start in defence. Jorginho, Kovacic, and Barkley are literally our only options in midfield and so they should start with Kovacic taking Kante’s position. Hazard, Giroud, and Willian should start up front. It is not our best lineup especially with RLC and Kante missing but it will have to do. The bench should feature some youngsters. 

Arsenal Team Preview

Expect Lacazette, Ozil, and Aubameyang to start up front. Leno should start in goal after news has come out that Cech will be rejoining Chelsea as a director of sorts in the summer. Torreira, and Xhaka should start in the midfield with the defence pretty much being a mystery. 

Starting XI Prediction

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Weekend Football Review

The leagues come to a close.

Serie MW 38

A great end to the season in Italy as Napoli lost to Bologna 3-2, Juventus lost to Sampdoria 2-0, Roma beat Parma 2-1, Inter beat Empoli 2-1, Milan beat SPAL 2-3, and Atalanta beat Sassuolo 3-1. For a moment it looked like Milan would be heading for the Champions League but Inter, and Atalanta completed comebacks to seal 4th and 3rd in the table. Milan will be heading to Europa League, Allegri lost his last game as Juventus manager, and De Rossi leaves Roma his childhood club on a win.

Ligue MW 38

Marseille beat Montpellier 1-0, Rennes beat Lille 3-1, Lyon beat Nimes 2-3, PSG lost to Stade Reims 3-1, and Nice beat Monaco 2-0. PSG and Lille had already sealed 1st and 2nd but end their seasons with defeats. Lyon and St.Etienne will head to the Europa League with 3rd and 4th placed finishes. Monaco just about survived relegation even though they lost their last game as they finish 17th. 

DFB Pokal Final

Bayern took on RB Leipzig in the DFB Pokal final and Bayern added another trophy to their cabinet as Lewandowski scored a double and Coman added the other goal. Bayern end their season with two trophies as they continue their dominance of Germany.

Copa Del Rey Final

Barcelona took on Valencia in the Copa Del Rey final as many expected that Barcelona would add another trophy to their cabinet. Valencia though had other plans in mind and Gameiro and Rodrigo scored in the 1st half to make it 2-0 for Valencia. Messi replied back with a goal in the 73rd minute but Valencia held on for their first silverware since 2008 and a great 2nd half of the season. Barcelona and Valverde now face further questions about their future.

Weekend Football Review

Winners and losers!

FA Cup Final 

Man City 6 vs. 0 Watford

City ended the season with a domestic treble something that has never been accomplished before as they thrashed Watford at Wembley. David Silva, and Jesus scored in the first half while, De Bruyne and Jesus added two more in the 2nd before Sterling added another two in the final 10 minutes. To say that Watford have finished poorly in the final stage of the season is an understatement but City were not even at their best. City might be the best English team in history at the moment but the fact that everyone’s reaction is merely a shoulder shrug seems to have frustrated Pep and the players. 

La Liga MW 38

Atletico drew 2-2 with Levante, Valencia beat Valladolid 0-2, Sevilla beat Bilbao 2-0, Real Madrid lost to Betis 0-2, and Barcelona drew with Eibar 2-2. The La Liga season came to an end with Barcelona having sealed it a couple weeks back. Atletico went winless in their last three games but sealed 2nd, Real lost their last two but came 3rd, and Valencia edged out the rest to finish 4th. Getafe, and Sevilla will feature in the Europa League. 

Serie MW 37

Roma drew with Sassuolo 0-0, Empoli beat Torino 4-1, Milan beat Frosinone 2-0, Juventus drew with Atalanta 1-1, Napoli beat Inter 4-1, and Lazio drew 3-3 with Bologna. The race for the top four is still on a knifes edge with Atalanta, and Inter, 3rd and 4th respectively. The teams are both on 66 points while Milan are a point behind in 5th. Roma are 6th and 3 points behind. Roma’s goal difference might see them out of the race with the realistic options being Atalanta, Inter, and Milan. 

Bundesliga MW 34

Leverkusen thrashed Berlin 1-5, Dortmund beat Monchengladbach 0-2, Mainz beat Hoffenheim 4-2, Werder Bremen beat Leipzig 2-1, Stuttgart drew with Schalke, and Bayern beat Frankfurt 5-1. Bayern had to lose for Dortmund to win but they did not and Bayern’s great 2nd half season and Dortmund’s poor one resulted in Bayern clinching a 7th straight Bundesliga title. Dortmund, Leipzig, and Leverkusen finished in the top four and so qualify for next seasons Champions League. Monchengladbach, and Wolfsburg will feature in the Europa League.

Ligue MW 37

Marseille beat Toulouse 2-5, Monaco beat Amiens 2-0, Lille beat Angers 5-0, PSG beat Dijon 4-0, and Lyon beat Caen 4-0. With the top four settled, Monaco now just need a point to survive relegation. 

 

Weekend Football Preview

European leagues continue to close and the FA Cup Final!

FA Cup Final

Man City vs. Watford

The FA Cup final takes place on Saturday as City play Watford. City are looking to complete the domestic treble as they look to add the FA Cup along with their League Cup and Premier League trophies. Watford have lost their last 3 games going into this final as they look to add a rare peace of silverware to cap off a decent season. Watford were looking for a top 10 finish but poor form saw them finish 11th in the table. On paper this should be a straightforward City win but anything can happen in a final and so Watford stand every chance.

La Liga MW 38

Atletico travel to Levante, Valencia play Valladolid, Sevilla play Athletic Bilbao, Real Madrid welcome Real Betis, and Barcelona travel to Eibar. Barcelona, Atletico, and Real will finish where they are but the race for 4th is still on as Valencia, Getafe, and Sevilla are still fighting for a Champions League finish. 

Serie MW 37

Penultimate weekend in Italy as much is still to play for in regards to the race for the top four. Roma travel to Sassuolo, Torino travel to Empoli, Milan welcome Frosinone, Juventus welcome Atalanta, Napoli play Inter Milan, and Lazio play Bologna. Juventus and Napoli are through to the Champions League but Inter, Atalanta, Milan and Roma are all fighting it out for 4th. A massive weekend. 

Bundesliga MW 34

Bundesliga comes to a close with Leverkusen travelling to Hertha Berlin, Dortmund play Monchengladbach, Hoffenheim travel to Mainz, Leipzig travel to Werder Bremen, Stuttgart play Schalke, and Bayern welcome Frankfurt. Bayern have a 2 point lead over Dortmund as the title race goes down to the wire, Leipzig are assured 3rd, Monchengladbach, Leverkusen, and Frankfurt fight it out for 4th. 

Ligue MW 37

Penultimate weekend in Ligue 1 with nothing much to play for, Marseille travel to Toulouse, Monaco welcome Amiens, Lille play Angers, PSG play Dijon, and Lyon welcome Caen. PSG have sealed the title while Lille have sealed 2nd and a Champions League place, Lyon are currently fighting it out for 3rd with St.Etienne for the final Champions League qualifier place. Monaco fight it out for Ligue 1 survival. 

 

 

Weekend Football Review

The race continues!

Premier League MW 36

Liverpool 5 vs. 0 Huddersfield

Keita opened the scoring in the 1st minute while Mane scored a double and Salah scored the other two to give Liverpool a comfortable victory against Huddersfield. Liverpool remain 2nd two points behind City while Huddersfield just can’t wait for the season to end. 

Tottenham 0 vs. 1 West Ham

Antonio scored in the 67th minute to hand Tottenham their first defeat at their new stadium as well concede their first goal. Tottenham have a massive game against Ajax in the Champions League and perhaps their mind was elsewhere but West Ham took advantage. Spurs remain 3rd though as the rest of the teams fighting for the top four are also as poor as them. West Ham remain 11th.

Crystal Palace 0 vs. 0 Everton

Palace remained 12th and Everton remain 9th after a nil nil draw in London. 

Fulham 1 vs. 0 Cardiff City

It is a case of too little too late for Fulham as they got their 3rd straight win in the league. Cardiff’s loss also means that they are now 4 points behind Brighton and are staring at relegation for now. 

Southampton 3 vs. 3 Bournemouth

Long gave Southampton the lead in the 12th minute while Gosling and Wilson scored to bring Bournemouth back into the game at half time. Ward-Prowse and Targett then gave Southampton the lead in the second half before Wilson scored in the 86th minute to ensure that both teams ended the game with a point. The teams remain 16th and 14th. 

Watford 1 vs. 2 Wolverhampton

Wolves got some revenge on Watford as they beat them away from home. Jimenez gave Wolves the lead right before half time but Gray equalised in the 49th minute. Jota then scored in the 77th minute to seal three points for Wolves. Watford drop into 10th with the defeat while Wolves remain 7th.

Brighton 1 vs. 1 Newcastle

Perez gave Newcastle the lead in the 18th minute while Brighton equalised in the 75th minute via Gross. Brighton get a massive point in their fight for Premier League survival while Newcastle remain 13th. 

Leicester 3 vs. 0 Arsenal

Maitland-Niles was sent off in the 36th minute for Arsenal but the Gunners held on and kept Leicester at bay in the first half. Leicester went into 2nd gear for the 2nd half and Tielemans opened the scoring in the 59th minute. Vardy then added a double in the final 5 minutes to seal the win. Leicester are now 8th in the table while Arsenal remain 5th two points behind Chelsea and one point ahead of United as they suffer their 3rd straight defeat. 

Burnley 0 vs. 1 Man City

Aguero scored in the 63rd minute as the ball just managed to cross the line as they continue their lead at the top with two games remaining. Burnley remain 15th. 

La Liga MW 34

Altetico beat Valladolid 1-0, Barcelona beat Levante 1-0, and Real lost to Vallecano 1-0. Barcelona are 9 points clear and with 3 games remaining they are crowned the La Liga champions for the 18/19 season retaining the title from last year. Atletico, Real, and Getafe make up the top four.

Serie MW 34

Roma beat Cagliari 3-0, Inter drew with Juventus 1-1, Napoli beat Frosinone 0-2, and Milan lost to Torino 2-0. Juventus, Napoli, and Inter make up the top 3 while Roma move into 4th. Milan, Atalanta, Torino, and Lazio still have a chance at top four though. 

Bundesliga MW 31

Leipzig beat Freiburg 2-1, Frankfurt drew with Hertha Berlin 0-0, Dortmund collapsed against Schalke 2-4, Monchengladbach lost to Stuttgart 1-0, Wolfsburg beat Hoffenheim 1-4, and Bayern drew with Nurnberg 1-1. Bayern could have gone clear of Dortmund with a win but Dortmund can count themselves lucky as the gap is still only 2 points. Leipzig and Frankfurt make up the top four. 

Ligue MW 34

Lyon beat Bordeaux 2-3, Lille beat Nimes 5-0, Marseille lost Nantes 1-2. PSG and Rennes are not involved until tonight as they played in the Coupe De France final while Monaco will play against Rennes. PSG, Lille, Lyon, and St.Etienne make up the top four. 

Coupe De France Final

PSG played Rennes in the final as it looked like they would win one more trophy for this season. Alves and Neymar scored early on to give PSG a 2-0 lead but Kimpembe scored an own goal right before half time. Sitoe then equalised for Rennes in the 66th minute as the game went to extra time. Mbappe was sent off in extra time in the 118th minute and Rennes won the penalty shootout 6-5. A historic day for Rennes as they win only their 3rd trophy in history while several questions are raised about PSG and how they are run as a club. 

 

Chelsea 0 (3) vs. (4) 0 Man City Carabao Cup Final Review

A brilliant performance overshadowed by a moment of stupidity.

Chelsea perhaps put in their best tactical performance of the season as they lost in penalties to City in the final of the League Cup. This game came with lots of pressure as Chelsea had only lost to City 6-0 2 weeks ago, and the added cloud of Sarri’s future. Sarri chose a false 9 formation similar to the one that saw us beat City in December. Kepa returned in goal with Azpi, Rudiger, Luiz, and Emerson starting in defence. Emerson’s inclusion was particularly inspiring as Alonso was no where to be seen. Jorginho, Kante and Barkley start in the midfield while Willian, Hazard, and Pedro started up front. From the get go Chelsea were inspired as they were happy for City to keep the ball and we blocked every possible channel that the players tried to find. Our pressing forced the City players wide and their crosses into the box were easily dealt by Rudiger and Luiz.

The 2nd half saw more of the same although this time Chelsea started to add the pressure as we created chances on the counter. Sarri made his first substitution in the 79th minute as Hudson-Odoi came on for Pedro. CHO added more energy to the right hand side as he ran at Zinchenko and drew several fouls. Sarri then brought on Loftus-Cheek for Barkley and the affect was again positive as RLC added physicality and pace to the midfield which was capped off by a brilliant flick and turn which then saw Hazard through on goal. Unlike Kane’s similar chance the referee called offside prematurely and VAR was not brought into play. The game then went into extra time and Higuain came on for Willian. Higuain linked up well the CHO and Hazard as the momentum was clearly in Chelsea’s favour. Though the final moments of extra time saw the weirdest moment in football I have seen. Kepa had been playing well but seemed to be suffering from cramps and so Sarri chose to bring Caballero on because of that. Kepa was saying he was fine but Sarri and Zola had made the decision and his name was up on the board, Kepa though refused to go off the pitch. Sarri and Zola lost it as Kepa continued to refuse and that saw Sarri almost leave the pitch in rage. Caballero had to be consoled and as he probably felt disrespected. Kepa stayed on and Chelsea took the first penalty. Jorginho stepped up but Ederson had done his homework and did not fall for the Italians skipping trick. Gundogan converted, followed by Azpi, who was followed by Aguero, who was followed by Emerson. Sane stepped up and Kepa saved his penalty as Chelsea were level again. Luiz though hit the post and Bernardo Silva converted his penalty. Hazard gave Chelsea a chance after converting his penalty but Sterling scored and so City won. 

Post match the questions were all about the Kepa incident and Sarri stated that it was a misunderstanding and that he thought that Kepa was not fit. Sarri did say that the manner in which Kepa conducted himself was wrong and he would talk to him. In my opinion I get that Kepa is young and passionate but if your number is up you leave the pitch you do not disrespect the manager or your other goalkeeper. Caballero was the City goalkeeper in 2016 and for all we know he could have saved his ex teammates penalties especially the Aguero one. Kepa should be talked to and maybe dropped for a game even though it is Spurs next it is a lesson he has to learn. All that is ifs and buts and it was a highly annoying moment in what was an amazing performance by the squad. Sarri was tactically flexible, he made all the right substitutions and if anything this game showed why he should stay and be given a chance to build at this club. 

Player Review

  • Kepa – Was really good throughout the game but his antics at the end might have dented his image momentarily. A great young goalkeeper but he needs to learn from this. 
  • Azpilicueta – Much better at marking Sterling in this game and a great performance over all. I do bring into question his role in the Kepa situation because he was the captain and he did not react in anyway, post match he said it was nothing and that is not how a captain should behave. Terry would have dragged Kepa off. 
  • Rudiger – A solid performance at the back as he defended extremely well. Took risks in defence and made fouls when it was necessary. 
  • Luiz – A great performance as he was solid at the back and made some brilliant passes especially one to Kante in the first half. Much more of a leader figure than Azpi. 
  • Emerson – His best performance in a Chelsea shirt and Sarri seems to be seeing the light as he started such an important game. It seems to be curtains on Alonso’s starting spot in the team. 
  • Jorginho – Jorginho replied extremely well to the boos he faced against Malmo as he was physical and dominant in midfield alongside Kante. Jorginho did miss the penalty but it is a lucky draw at the end of the day. 
  • Kante – In a game where any player could have been man of the match he was above the rest as he literally covered every blade of grass. Defended at the back added attacking threat upfront and seriously if anyone says he is a DM they should be banned from football. Kante can play anywhere. 
  • Barkley – Barkley did the simple stuff well and showed a lot of determination but he broke down play too often. 
  • Pedro – Covered the flanks well and pressed the City players. 
  • Hazard – Brilliant, Hazard was given no easy task playing as false 9 and it was a frustrating position for him but he showed great professionalism and even helped out at the back. 
  • Willian – Did Pedro’s job on the other side and played well but was seen smiling and laughing with Pep right after the final whistle and thats not something I want to see right after a final. 
  • Hudson-Odoi – Great when he came on he provided a direct threat to City which was proved as they marked him very tightly. 
  • Loftus-Cheek – RLC showed that when fit he should start first a great cameo and that flick was filthy. Should start against Spurs. 
  • Higuain – Linked up well with CHO and Hazard and should br crucial in the coming games. 

Kepagate as reporters are calling it might have overshadowed a great performance by Chelsea but the players, fans and reporters have not time to dwell on it as Spurs travel to the Bridge in the Premier League on Wednesday. We still need to finish in the top four and we are still in the Europa League. If we play with the same determination that we played with yesterday we could reach all our goals for the season and keep Sarri. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!

Chelsea vs. Man City Carabao Cup Final Preview

A chance at the first trophy of the season!

Chelsea play Manchester City in what for the teams is their first chance at silverware for the season. The Carabao Cup or the League Cup as it used to be known is not really one that garners much importance but it is a trophy and any trophy is worth winning. Chelsea beat Liverpool 1-2 in the 3rd round, Chelsea then beat Derby County 3-2 in the 4th round, and Chelsea beat Bournemouth in the quarter-final 1-0. The semi-final was a two legged affair against Tottenham, the first leg was lost 1-0, and Chelsea won the 2nd leg 2-1. With the aggregate score tied, Chelsea qualified for the final on penalties. City had a fairly standard run to the final, they beat Oxford United in the 3rd round 0-3, they then beat Fulham 2-0, the drew with Leicester 1-1 in the quarter final but progressed on penalties, and finally they beat Burton Albion 10-0 on aggregate in the semi-final. 

Pre match Pep stated that his squad is fit and when asked about the future of Sarri he said that he was confused as to why there was so much pressure put on Sarri in his first season in English football. Pep stated that he never even looked at Chelsea in regards to managing us because of how the board treated the managers. It is sad that it requires opponent managers to knock some sense into the fanbase. Sarri was also asked about his future and he said that Chelsea were doing slightly better then Arsenal but Emery was facing no such scrutiny by the press. If Chelsea had not just lost to City 6-0 I would have been more optimistic about this final but considering current form it would be a miracle if we managed to win the League Cup. In my opinion Sarri will not get sacked if we lose this game although if it is another heavy defeat that could change. If Chelsea win this game it should bring some much needed confidence to the fanbase along with the team and also end the argument about what has Sarri won. Sarri needs to play the youth in this game because then if their is a loss at least team selection won’t be a bullet the media and fans can use against him.

Chelsea Team Preview

Sarri stated that most players are fit although the press conference was conducted after the Malmo game on Thursday and so by Sunday things could have changed. If Kepa has recovered he should start in goal although Caballero is an able deputy. Azpi should start at right back while Luiz should also start although Christensen should start alongside him. Emerson should start as left back. Loftus-Cheek if fit should accompany Kante, and Jorginho in the midfield because he adds something going forward and their is nothing to lose. Finally Hudson-Odoi has to start alongside Hazard, and Higuain in the attack, the odds are that Willian starts but if Sarri cares for his future then CHO has to start. 

Man City Team Preview

Man City have a full squad to select from and it should be similar to the one that we faced at the Etihad just a few weeks ago. 

Starting XI Prediction

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The odds are against us, but Chelsea and Sarri have the opportunity to win a trophy and we should give it our best and then what happens will happen. COME ON YOU BLUES!!!!!

France 4 vs. 2 Croatia World Cup Final Review

What a final to end a great World Cup!

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France 4 vs. 2 Croatia

WHAT A FINAL! This World Cup has been amazing and this final had everything a football fan could want. France opened the scoring in the 18th minute after Mandzukić deflected the ball into his own net via a Griezmann cross. The goal came against the run of play as Croatia had created the better chances. Perisić soon equalised for Croatia with a brilliant goal in the 28th minute. Perisić was again involved in the 38th minute after handling the ball in his penalty box. The decision was referred to VAR and the referee decided that it was a penalty, whether it was a penalty is up for discussion but in my personal opinion it was because it came directly of the cross. France went into half time 2-1 up but Croatia played the better game. Croatia continued to attack as the game carried on and France having the lead decided to play on the counter as spaces opened up. Pogba added France’s third goal in the 59th minute after his initial shot rebounded of the defender and he curled the next shot in. Croatia poured more men forward and France added their fourth on the counter via Mbappé whose brilliant shot found the net in the 65th minute. Mandzukić got one back for Croatia in the 69th minute after Lloris was found napping on the ball, but what can you can expect from a Spurs player. The rest of the game continued in similar fashion as Croatia gave it their all and France defended well to lift the 2018 FIFA World Cup!. 

Mbappé was named Young Player of the Tournament, Modrić was given the golden ball for his amazing performances throughout the tournament, Harry Kane got the golden shoe after scoring 6 goals and thereby continuing his trend of outscoring players but never winning anything, and Courtois was awarded the golden glove. 

The World Cup came to an end and with that the countdown to 2022 began, four years from now new players would have emerged, several players would have retired and new technologies will be in use, but this World Cup was something else. The atmosphere was amazing, the football was epic, VAR was used properly and gave a good account of itself to the fans, and Russia did a fantastic job of hosting the competition.

Now as the players who reached the latter stages of the competition take rest, we as football fans will pivot to club football and if this summer’s transfer window is anything to go by then this season could be the best yet!

France vs. Croatia World Cup Final Preview

Feel the magic in the air!

France vs. Croatia

France play Croatia in the final of the World Cup. At the beginning of the tournament I felt that France could be one of the teams to reach the final, but I never expected Croatia to reach it. France have beaten top teams to reach the final and in all honesty are favourites to lift the trophy on Sunday. Croatia have been dark horses throughout and have shown two sides to their gameplay, being able to pulverise teams while also being able to grind out results through penalties. France and Croatia had a counter attacking approach to their semi-finals and I expect the same for the final as well. If a goal is scored early then expect the game to be an open affair while if the game drags out without a goal then expect it to be a cagier game. After the disappointment at the Euros 2 years ago France will be taking this final very seriously and in all honesty even though Croatia have done extremely well to reach this far I can only see France lifting the trophy. France to win but it should be a physical and tough match for both teams.