Blog! Featuring Arsenal, Spurs, Man Utd, Liverpool, combined 11s and more

Good morning and welcome to Friday. It’s good that Friday is here and we’re at the end of the week. I think this week was a quick one to be honest, and there’s no complaints there from me at all. It feels like it’s been forever since I wrote a blog post in the morning. The last one I wrote was last Friday, and I don’t think I’ve gone that long without writing one since I started this site at the start of the season.

I decided to focus on the match previews this week you see, with there being so much football on. In an ideal world, I would write the blog every morning and then still go and do previews for every game, but that’s not possible since I have a full-time job as well. There’s just no way I could fit it all in, but maybe one day I will! On with the football now, and we’ll start in Italy, where Arsenal beat AC Milan 2-0 at the San Siro last night.

The Gunners gave themselves a healthy lead to take back to the Emirates, with Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Aaron Ramsey to thank for the win. Mkhitaryan opened the scoring 15 minutes in. Mesut Ozil gave the ball to him out wide, and Mkhitaryan cut inside and had a shot. His shot took a deflection which wrong-footed Gianluigi Donnarumma, and the ball went in past the young Italian ‘keeper. Arsenal were ahead, and you could see how much that goal meant to them as they celebrated.

Just before half-time, Arsenal were two ahead. Mesut Ozil was the provider again, as his lovely pass split the Milan defence open and put Aaron Ramsey through on goal. The Welshman rounded Donnarumma and tapped in. It was a good goal in truth, and again you could see the goal meant a lot to them as they celebrated. Arsenal held onto their two goal lead in the second half, and are now in a great position to advance to the quarter finals of the Europa League.

I didn’t actually get to see the game, but I have seen the highlights. Arsenal had plenty of chances in truth, and probably could have led by more than two goals. Just before Ramsey scored the second, Mkhitaryan almost got his second goal, but his shot hit the bar. He really should have scored to be honest.

There were also chances in the second half, and Danny Welbeck almost scored the most Danny Welbeck goal ever. He went through on goal, but Donnarumma came out to meet him. The keeper got contact on the ball, but it ricocheted back off Welbeck and almost went in. It went just wide though. It looked like AC Milan came back into the game a bit towards the end, and had a few chances. Arsenal defended well though, and David Ospina made a couple of stops.

The win was absolutely huge for Arsenal, who have kept their season alive. The Europa League is all they have left to play for in truth, as they’re not going to finish in the top four in the Premier League. They need to win this competition, and they’ll be hoping last night’s win will be the end of their awful run of form. They need to keep it up and beat Watford on Sunday now, before they host AC Milan next Thursday in the second leg.

Staying in north London, Spurs were left utterly disappointed on Wednesday night. They were beaten 2-1 by Italian champions Juventus at Wembley, with second half goals from Gonzalo Higuain and Paulo Dybala meaning their European run for the season is over. Spurs took the lead through a first half Son Heung-min goal, but it wasn’t enough for them.

In truth, they were quite good over the two legs, but Juventus really showed their quality in the end. Spurs will be so disappointed that they were beaten, especially after being in the driving seat of the tie, but that disappointment shows just how far they have come.

They have really improved over the last three or four years, and this is shown by them being disappointed to lose to a side that have reached two of the last three Champions League finals. It isn’t really any consolation for them at the moment, but they can be proud that they have come so far.

The draw really didn’t do them any favours either, to be honest. They did brilliantly to win their group which contained Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund. Many people didn’t even give them a chance of getting out of the group, but they proved the doubters wrong.

After all their hard work in the group, they drew Juventus. It’s terribly unlucky, especially when you look at who the other sides got. Man Utd drew Sevilla, Liverpool drew Porto and Man City drew Basel. Spurs would have fancied their chances against any of those sides, but I suppose that’s just how it goes.

They can’t dwell on this defeat for too long though, as they have a trip to Bournemouth to worry about on Sunday. They lead Chelsea by five points in the race for the top four, and they need to finish there so they can have another crack at the Champions League next season. It’s going to be important for them to have Champions League football as they move into their new stadium, and they definitely have what it takes to secure it.

Liverpool and Man City also progressed to the quarter final, but both of their ties were already over. Liverpool led Porto 5-0 from the first leg, and drew 0-0 at Anfield to secure progression. Man City were beaten 2-1 by Basel at the Etihad, but their 4-0 win in the first leg meant they were never in trouble. I think it’ll be interesting to see who these two sides draw in the quarter final. I don’t think anybody would want to play either of them to be honest.

Man City in particular look like they have a real chance of going on to win this competition, but you can’t write Liverpool off either. On their day, Liverpool can beat anybody, and nobody will fancy a trip to Anfield on a European night. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens, but I’m hoping Liverpool and Man City don’t draw each other. It would be nice to see how they get on against some of the other big European sides.

The build-up to Man Utd vs Liverpool tomorrow is starting now, with pundits’ views and other bits and pieces being written now. Those shit combined 11s are starting to go up at the moment. What exactly is the point of those? I don’t really understand, but they must generate clicks for whoever is doing it and that’s why they keep going up. It’s done because people want to see how many players from their teams are put in by whoever did the article. These people can then get outraged over the writer’s selection and start saying ‘how in the hell can you put Lukaku up front ahead of Firmino, you obviously haven’t got a clue’. There isn’t really any reason to be angry over it, but people still do get annoyed. Let’s try it now.

PREMPLACE.COM MAN UTD/LIVERPOOL COMBINED 11: Romero, Darmian, Klavan, Smalling, Shaw; Oxlade-Chamberlain, Herrera, Fellaini, Milner; Ings (C), Solanke.

Subs: De Gea, Bailly, van Dijk, Pogba, Salah, Mane, Firmino, Sanchez, Lukaku.

Now, that’s my team. Let’s wait and hear the outrage. “I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU PUT ROMERO IN GOAL AHEAD OF MIGNOLET YOU CLUELESS FUCK!” It’s a realistic enough side to be honest, and it’s the best I can do. Obviously, not everything is realistic about it though. It’s a 4-4-2, which nobody plays anymore. There’s also nine players on the bench, but there was a special FA ruling which allowed me to have extra subs because I couldn’t choose between them.

Seriously though, the combined 11s are a bit ridiculous, aren’t they? I obviously can’t go and do them in the future now because I have made my feelings clear on them, but there you go. I’ll have a preview up of Man Utd vs Liverpool in the morning, which will be a real preview and not full of combined 11s which are made up of players that don’t even start.

That’s about it for this morning, but I’ll be back tomorrow with previews of the Premier League games. You can keep up with all the news throughout the day on Twitter. Have a good Friday.

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