Iheanacho and Diego Simeone and Enyimba and 7 Talking Points From Football This Week

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Better than them all!

Whoever gets compared to Leo Messi and C. Ronaldo automatically makes the news. You must be a big deal to be compared to the gods of football right?

What if, as a player, you’re described as better than these gods? I guessed right. That’s how Iheanacho made the news this week.

A whole lot of other things happened in the football world this week. Incomplete games, surprising results (toothless Real Madrid?), fireworks in Sweden and more.

I’ve tried to single out a handful of them – some that you know and some that you probably missed – and try to have a conversation with you about them. That’s okay right?

Good.

Let’s talk football then.

First on the list,

1. Tottenham Couldn’t Keep Up. Now, They Can’t Win the League Again.
For a while now, only two teams were in contention for the English Premier League title. But after Monday, two got reduced to one – technically speaking of course. Tottenham drew in the game – at home for that matter – against West Brom. One would have expected Spurs to run the Tony Pulis’ men over but they settled for a draw instead. With Leicester leading with 7 points and 3 games to go, Spurs blew their EPL title chances away on Monday. This might just be the closest they’ll ever get to winning the EPL title… or maybe not?

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Nigerian Football: From Amodu to Redknapp?

2. Harry Redknapp and the Super Eagles?
You know how people’ll tell you they weren’t expecting a thing to happen? Well, I wasn’t expecting this kind of “thing” to happen. It wasn’t even on the list. But like football, anything can happen in Nigerian Football. The former Portsmouth coach has been contacted as regards becoming the coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria. As much as this is supposed to be good news (no more Yusuf and especially Amodu), a question comes to mind:
– But of all people, why Harry? Is he the cheapest available option or what? Or was it because he coached Jordan for two games?
Whatever it is, my fingers are crossed.

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3. Continental Action Is Affecting Enyimba Badly!
When Enyimba won that match against Etoile du Sahel, it was a relief for Nigerians to see a Nigerian club finally qualify for the group stages of the African Champions League. Their fans must have been happy too. Happy that their team was performing in Africa. But back home, the story is totally different. Enyimba, current champions of the Nigerian Professional Football League, are currently 19th on the table after 13 rounds of games in the league. The Elephants have only been able to play 9 out of those 13, winning just 4. With more continental action, they may have to postpone more of their league games. With more games postponed, they may lose more ground in the league and will find it hard to retain their league title. So much for qualifying for Africa!

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4. UEFA & Europa Leagues: So far, so good…
UEFA has not disappointed by putting the very best against each other. Villarreal beat Liverpool by a goal and Sevilla played a 2 – 2 draw in Donestsk. Interesting results for the second legs. At this stage, only the best could have made it thus far. But Real Madrid (without their best) failed to score in England against Man. City. This makes the return leg one to anticipate. Will Real run riot at the Bernabeu? Will Man. City shock the world and qualify for the final? Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, have continued to keep a clean sheet at home in this season’s European competition. They kept Bayern Munich out on Wednesday when they won by a lone goal. With the return leg in Germany and with Pep desperate to win the Champions League for Bayern before leaving, will the Bavarians be able to break down Simeone’s tough defense system and win? Speaking of Simeone…

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5. Diego Simeone and his Iron Men.
After knocking Suarez and co. out of Europe (keeping a clean sheet in that second leg in the process), some stats began to surface about Atletico Madrid. And when they shut out a certain Bayern side, the stats went viral. Check some of them out:

5 – Last five CL home games of @atletienglish:
4-0 vs FC Astana
2-0 vs Galatasaray
0-0 vs PSV
2-0 vs Barcelona
1-0 vs FC Bayern.
Fortress.  – via Twitter

Atletico Madrid’s defensive record under Diego Simeone: 256 games 135
clean sheets Absolutely bonkers!  – via Twitter

Obviously, it’s safe to say some very dogged defending has brought A. Madrid thus far. They seem to be redefining football. Simeone seems to be onto something totally different from what Pep Guardiola discovered. It’s like Diego created the kryptonite for “Total Football’s” Superman. And it is a system working perfectly well. Just maybe attack is no longer the best form of defense. Just maybe.

6. Iheanacho Has the Best Strike Rate in Europe.
I totally disbelieved this at first (sure you did too). But surprisingly, I found stats good enough to prove this point. With 5 goals from just 7 shots on target, Kelechi is the most prolific striker in Europe. He averages a goal every 81.3 minutes he has played. Of all players that have scored 10 or more goals in Europe’s top 5 leagues this season, this is the best rate you will ever find. For a player that starts most games on the bench, this is remarkable. Well done son!

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7. Why Can’t Man. City Shift Their Game?
The English FA during the week declined Man. City their request to shift their game against Southampton scheduled for Sunday. This was because the game was already listed to be shown live on TV. Man. City coach complained about how this would affect his team’s preparations for the second leg of the UEFA Champions League clash with Real Madrid. He said, “I don’t understand why we cannot play one day before. Why can’t we at least be in the same situation as Real Madrid? We are representing Manchester City but we are also representing England in the Champions League. You don’t want to give advantage to the other team.” In other leagues, they’d even allow the team play on a Friday! But I guess things work differently in England. Little wonder they haven’t been able to do well in Europe in recent times.

Before I forget, feels good to know that Enyeama is showing them in France what Nigerians are capable of.

The legend has scored yet another accolade as the best goalkeeper in France. He also ranked amongst the best 10 goalkeepers in the world! Great stuff.

Please feel free to share your own talking points with me in the comments section. Would be happy to hear from you.

Cheers to a great weekend ahead!

Follow me on twitter @rotdav and let’s talk even more football.

Rotimi "Papi" Daramola
Rotimi Daramola aka Papi is the owner of ForTheGoal. A freelance sports writer who focuses on football, Rotimi is also a freelance writer, a copywriter and a football analyst who regularly appears on radio to talk football. You can follow him on twitter @rotdav to keep up with his writings and also find out about how you can secure his writing services.

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