Beer Parlour Talk: How the Lord of banter delivered Arsenal to us


China Acheru
Every weekend, European football lovers cry on Facebook, “Dear Lord of Banter, deliver, so and so club to us, a living sacrifice” and it seemed like last weekend that glorious prayer was answered.
It would have been a disaster of cataclysmic proportions if Arsenal had won again on Sunday. Now it is not like Arsenal will win the EPL or anything like that. Even Arteta and the players, maybe don’t think that they will win the league. They just to gather enough points in their reservoir so when their free fall starts, they would have amassed enough to finish in top 4. I believe Top 4 is that target, but the noise, if Arsenal had won the game, would have been too much for the rest of us to bear. So, yes, the whole world watched with bated breath. The same way the whole world watched in May, hoping that Liverpool do not win the Champions League. The negative energy alone following Arsenal was enough to make the players lose concentration in the game.
If Arsenal had won, their fans would have desecrated Social Media. They would have been so loud, and unbearable, Liverpool fans after winning the Champions League, EPL, Europe Super Cup, and World Club Cup would have been child’s play. Arsenal fans would have bantered the rest of us. They would have told us how Arteta is the best ever coach (The same man they wanted gone last season), they would have reminded us of the unbeaten season and maybe given us stats as to how, the last time the league was won unbeaten, there was extreme heat in the UK and it is the same this time, so they will win the league. They would have also told us how the last time they won the league unbeaten, it used to rain just three times a month in one village in Vanuatu Island and the same had happened this year. We would have been finished. Thank God for VAR, thank God for the 10 witches, thank God for Rashford, who naturally should be playing in the Ogbakiri League, but wears the number 10 for Manchester United and most of all, Thank God for the Lord of Banter for delivering Arsenal to us, as we offered them as a living sacrifice for the peace and good of the world. It was quiet out there on Sunday, and Monday. It is still quiet today. However, we know Everton and Frank Lampard will fall on Arteta’s swords this weekend, so the noise will continue.
Is Manchester City all that?
The consensus argument in the past three seasons has been that the clubs were not even trying to stop Manchester City from winning the league. They just lay down on their backs and got laid by Pep and his glory hunters. Only Liverpool even tried to challenge them for the title. If only others were trying hard, as hard as Liverpool or even a bit less, then maybe they would not have dominated as much as they did. Don’t get me wrong, Pep Guardiola had always had great teams and deserved to win all the titles under his belt, but why won’t other clubs just try? It seemed the other so called big clubs were just content with finishing 3rd and 4th. They gave little or no fight.
This season, though just six Match Days gone, Manchester City have shown that they are very vulnerable. It seems like only Haaland’s goals have kept them alive. Against Newcastle United, they were actually 3-1 down, but came back to draw 3-3. Against Crystal Palace, they were 2-0 down at home, yet they won 4-2 and last weekend, Aston Villa had them by the jugular, but like other small minded clubs had no balls to finish the job and it ended 1-1. For me, these results have shown that Manchester City are there for the taking, if only these clubs can overcome the fear factor. It will be an interesting season ahead and we can only watch in excitement and anticipation.
Liverpool in the mud
What is happening to our dear Liverpool? By Match Day 3, it was their worst start since the dark days of the club under Roy Hodgson. The fans have gone mental and even though the 9-0 win against Bournemouth was a ray of hope, the 0-0 against Everton was a wakeup call to show that there was a problem.
Is it the injuries? Liverpool started the season without Joel Matip, Konate, Thiago, Keita, Oxlade Chamberlain, Curtis Jones, Diogo Jota, Firmino. After Match Day 2, Darwin Nunez got a three match suspension, compounding the woes of the club.
So, if injuries was really the issue, then maybe the dark days are over as Matip, Jone, Jota, Firminho and Nunez are back. Then the club signed Arthur Melo on deadline day to fill in, at least for now, the vacuum created by Thiago. So, if the problem was the injuries, they should be behind the team, right? We won’t know this until the next league game against Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Unless, maybe, it is the tactics that is the problem? Huh! Tactics? Maybe, the team have been found out. Maybe, the decision of the coaches to play Sallah more wide than cutting in has reduced his goal scoring? Maybe, other clubs are getting used to the seven hundred crosses per game from Trent Alexander Arnold and Robertson, that it no longer hurts them? Or is it possible, the team should try to create more from midfield? Oops! Creators in chief, Thiago and Keita are injured. Maybe, Klopp is a useless coach (all of a sudden?) as even some Liverpool fans are saying these days? Maybe it is John Henry and the FSG group who are useless, or possibly, Mohammed Sallah has lost his desire, as he is now feeding fat on his new wages?
The truth is that, I do not think there is any fan in Nigeria, Ghana, USA or England that wants their club to win, more than the players on the pitch, the coaches or the owners. We are just fans, but these are the actual stakeholders. The joy in all of these is that the ticket paying fans in the UK have not resorted to insulting the club yet. Yes, they are disappointed at the results, but watch the games and they support them till the end. I hope those on Social Media can change their mentality. Support your club, criticize them, if you will, but turning against them should be discouraged.
From the statistics available, Liverpool did not have a bad game against Manchester United, maybe even a better game. Liverpool also played better than Everton too in the game they drew, but it is all about results and these results will come eventually.
EPL refereeing decisions
Last weekend was a tough one for referees and the Video Assistant Referee (VAR) in England because the controversies still occur.
At this point one would not really blame the machine operators, whose job is to point out what they think is wrong, but the referee himself, who first saw the action, is told by the VAR operators, then gets a chance to watch the video over and over again.
The one I want to focus on is the Chelsea v West Ham game and the equaliser by the Hammers that was struck out, wrongly.
There has been an apology, but what about the points lost? In the game between Aston Villa and Manchester City, Coutinho was flagged offside, but was he really? He got the ball in the net but the flag had gone up before the kick. What happened to not flagging until after the move has ended? There were loads of them, but we all agree that there comes a time when an apology is not enough. What happened last weekend was criminal. And again, they say at the end of the season
, all these wrong refereeing decisions for all the clubs even up, but it does not change the fact that Chelsea got three points last weekend, when it should have been just one point.
AC Milan have an interesting side
Is anyone watching the Italian League? I think you should. Life is not all about the English Premier League.
I saw the Milan derby last weekend and saw a very interesting AC Milan side with loads of exciting players. It was not just about the fact that they beat city rivals, Inter Milan 3-2, but it was about the players, how they worked together and their fluid style.
I’d known Rafael Leao from his days at Sporting Lisbon, before he joined Lille and then AC Milan (yes I play, Football Manager). I never thought he could quite fit into what AC Milan needed, but last season his fourteen goals in forty two appearances for Milan showed he was ready for the big time. His previous season highest was eight goals for Lille, the season before he joined Milan. But the AC Milan team is not all about Rafeal as Olivier Giroud still has goals in him. Don’t forget Liverpool legend, King Divock Origi who came on as a substitute on the day, running rings round the Inter players and showboating too.
Milan played well on the day. Maybe, it was just one off because of the opponents, but we will not know. Needless to say, I will be watching their UEFA Champions League game against FC Salzburg on Tuesday. Join me.
Midweek betting tips
Dinamo Zagreb v Chelsea- Chelsea win
FC Salzburg v Milan- Milan wind
Celtic v Madrid- 2.5
Dortmond v Copenhagen 1.5
Sevilla v Manchester City 2.5
PSG v Juventus 1.5
Ajax v Rangers 2.5
Napoli v Liverpool 1.5
Barcelona v Plzen 1.5
Inter v Bayern 1.5
Tottenham v Marsielles 1.5
Please, bet responsibly.

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