From the NPFL, to the Premier League, the weekend served up too much to describe in one line or sentence. So, maybe I’d be justified if this post were without a title.
But that would mean that you the reader will be going in blind if you eventually choose to read a title-less (or vaguely-titled) post. So, I dug deep within and came up with that title.
The international break is upon us. The highly dreaded break that rids a football fan of all the excitement that club football offers. But the different clubs in Europe put on fabulous displays to leave us wondering what April will look like when club football returns.
So, while you’re preparing to miss action from club football, how about a review of what went down over the past weekend?
1. The NPFL is on Fire!
Things are heating up in Nigeria’s Premier football league. While the reigning champs are desperate to repeat the surprise by a certain Leicester, some other clubs have taken the bull by its horns, and they’re trying to create space between themselves and whatever club that may want to join the chasing pack.
One such club turning heads in the country with their amazing performances week in week out is MFM FC. I tell you first hand: The league has not seen so much talent inside one football club… in a very long time!
I may sound like I’ve just sugar-coated how exciting the Olukoya boys have been. But, dis one no be seresere o, this ones fear no foe!
And this was evident in their beautiful performance against league leaders, Plateau United. Before the game, it was the table-topping Jos-based side up against the third-placed Lasgidi side. By the time the ref – who is a clergyman – called time on the game, MFM FC had beaten their opponents… and moved up to second on the log.
Names like Onuwa, Sikiru Olatunbosun, Odey were repeatedly on the commentators’ lips. And, why not?
Onuwa mesmerized, Sikiru dragged his opposing player – sometimes players – mercilessly and continuously. Odey? The league’s top goalscorer took his tally to 10 goals in 10 games.
Now you understand why the NPFL is on fire. Olukoya’s boys are too busy setting new standards for the league. If you can take a quick peek at the table above, you’ll see them topping the away table. There aren’t far from the summit of the Home table too!
If they continue like this, maybe they’ll be travelling to see the Pyramids of Egypt next year no thanks to finishing top or second on the table this season.
2. Super Sunday
Or should I say Super Weekend? Lukaku, Arsene Wenger, Jose Mourinho and others all made it another Premier League weekend to not to forget in a long while.
You would have thought that Man. Utd would find life difficult without their star man, Zlatan Ibrahomovic. But players like Rashford and Mata and co stepped up to the plate and helped Manchester United out of their conSIXtent spot.
United also got some help from West Brom and Everton who both connived to cause a mild earthquake at the top of the table which sent Arsenal tumbling down the table.
Chelsea seem to have won the Premier League title. That’s the word on the street. Another win at Stoke put them in full control of their destiny. Spurs kept up the chase with a win over the Saints – who painfully lost Gabbiadini (somebody check that spelling) to groin injury.
What of City and Liverpool? While analysing the game on the Premier League show on The Beat 97.9 FM, I anticipated the clash and spoke of City’s danger trio: Sterling, Aguero and Sane.
While all three were guilty of profligacy, – Lallana, Milner and Firmino too – the game did not fail to live up to expectations. End-to-end stuff, shots on target and expectably, controversies.
3. The Leaders and the Chasing Pack
From Juventus to Bayern Munich to Celtic, some things just don’t change. I heard Celtic are on a 36-game unbeaten run and may be crowned champs in the first week of April. SMH?
The La Liga is still wide open – between just two teams – but things seem as good as done and dusted with in Italy’s Serie A and the German Bundesliga. I’m not sure if this is good for football or maybe it isn’t. You decide.
Time to stop here and see if I can scribble something about the connection between the recent schedule reshuffling in the Premier League and the ‘Early Pull Out‘ of some players.
I’ve never been a fan of international friendlies and the likes. But then again, it is what it is and we have to live with it. So, enjoy watching your favourite players strut their stuff in their national colours. Or better still, go for the Formula 1 which kicks off this weekend in Australia.
Rotimi Daramola is a freelance football writer, football analyst on The Beat FM and football content creator that is in love with the beautiful game. You can keep up with all of his writing and also engage with him on Twitter @rotdav