Why Julian Nagelsmann is perfect for Bayern Munich


The 30-year-old is capturing interest from top clubs around Europe, but its time for Bayern Munich to make a move, writes Sam May.

After it emerged Carlo Ancelotti was to be sacked on Thursday, Naglesman has became the bookies favourite to check-in at the Allianz Arena. The thought of him taking the job has got a lot of tongues wagging.

It seems German football expert Raphael Honigstein was right about Ancelotti not seeing out his three-year contract with the Bavarian giants. This was evident when the Italian boss was outcoached and outclassed by Nagelsman purley based on tatics, when Hoffenheim defeated Bayern 2-0 on September 9.

The current Hoffenheim boss has shown glimpses of his proactive coaching and that he is not afraid to make changes and take chances depending on the situation. If Naglesman was to take the Bayern reigns, then the first job on his agenda would be to keep Thomas Müller happy. The 28-year-old Müller has been linked with a move to the Premier League, with both Liverpool and Manchester United interested in his services. Robert Lewandowski has also aired his displeasure at some of his teammates in recent weeks.

It Naglesman’s man-management and flexibility that is most attracted to Bayern Munich. He is a Guardiola disciple and would bring a breath of fresh air to the club. The German Eddie Howe would not be afraid to shake things up and make huge changes if necessary.

He ticks all the boxes what the Bayern hierarchy are looking for. It times the moved fact to secure his services. In 2008, Bayern missed out the chance of Jürgen Klopp and therefore opted for Jürgen Klinsmann.

Bayern can’t afford to lose out on one the most talented coaches, who became the youngest manager in the Bundesliga when joining Hoffenheim in February 2016, aged 28. Since then he has done what has been asked of him, with a limited budget.

The tactical nous of Nagelsmann is already making other clubs across Europe take notice of this young German. Bayern have always accumulated the best domestic talent in the player’s pool, whether they go one step further and see Nagelsmann in the same bracket is a point to ponder for fans and neutrals alike.


Why Kyle Walker is the best right back in the Premier League


As the Premier League continues one of its most exciting seasons, and the competition to secure the best in every position increases, one of the most underrated positions in the game is right back. But Manchester City’s Walker has made the position his own and made a huge impact on his teams performance thus far, but is he the best full back in the league?

There are a number of factors to take into account when analysing, as the playing styles of teams differ, some play with defence full backs where as others allow their players to play a more adventurous role in a wing back position. He has adapted to both so far, and seemed to have found that middle ground, getting two assists in his teams first five games with Manchester City as well as maintaining a successful tackle rate of 79% in the Premier League (152).

He is a constant attacking threat and produces an average of 1.2 chances per game, more than any other right back in the game. He is home grown, a factor in Pep Guardiola’s decision to make a move for the former Spurs defender.

Walker’s senior career started at Sheffield United in 2008 in which he was loaned out to Northampton Town making only 11 appearances before signing for Tottenham Hotspur the following year for £9 million as part of a deal that included fellow defender Kyle Naughton. Walkers Tottenham career got off to a poor start as he was loaned back to Sheffield United before making his debut in 2010 in a 2-0 victory over Portsmouth. He was however loaned out again the next season to Queens Park Rangers and after to Aston Villa in which he scored two goals in 18 appearances proving to be a vital part of the team.

The England international returned to the North London club in the 2011/12 season, starting the very first game. The highlight of the full back career would come in 2012 when he beat his teammate Gareth Bale for the PFA young player of the season.

Walker certainly lacks no experience and at only 27 he has only begun to peak, after becoming the most expensive defender in history, he has so far proved himself worth of his £50 million price tag.

Do PSG have the best front three in Europe?



Having signed Neymar and Kylian Mbappé in the summer transfer window Paris Saint-Germain, the French side now has one of the best threes, writes Sam May.

The addition of two of the most expensive players in history has suddenly turned PSG’s attacking trident into one of the Champions League’s most terrifying. They surely have the most tantilising-attacking trio on the planet.

In total they cost the Ligue 1 club €467 million and already they seem to be gelling, having scored eight goals between them, the last coming in the 5-0 thrashing over Celtic in the UEFA Champions League.

Spending that kind of money and the fact they thrashed Metz in their first game playing together and slaughtered Celtic in their second, doesn’t mean they have the best front three, does it?

Some would say that Real Madrid’s front three of BBC, Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Cristiano Ronaldo have been the best, having helped Los Blancos to three Champions Leagues title in the past four years, so they must be considered the best around?

Having signed Ousmane Dembélé from Borussia Dortmund, Barcelona have a deadly front three of the Frenchman, Lionel Messi and Luis Suárez, a glittering array of stars, teams will fear.

There is also, Juventus’ trio of Paulo Dybala, Gonzalo Higuain and Mario Mandžukić

Gonzalo Higuaín, Chelsea’s Alvaro Morata, Eden Hazard and Pedro, Manchester City’s Gabriel Jesus, Sergio Agüero and Kevin De Bruyne and then Manchester United’s Romelu Lukaku, Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Marcus Rashford.

Messi, Suárez and Dembélé combined for 101 goals in the 2016/17 season, which is the highest tally of any attacking trio in Europe, just ahead of the 95 goals which Mbappé, Neymar and Cavani managed at Monaco, Barcelona and PSG respectively.

Some distance behind were Tottenham’s Harry Kane, Dele Alli and Son Heung-min with 78 strikes, Napoli’s Dries Mertens, Jose Callejón and Lorenzo Insigne with 71 goals between them and the 70 of Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski, James and Arjen Robben. Real Madrid’s BBC also netted 70 times in 2016/17 on their way to lifting the European Cup in Cardiff, the prize which all of these front threes will truly be targeting.

Analysis: Liverpool 2-2 Sevilla – Reds defence a laughing stock yet again


A beautiful sunset created the scene for what would be a tantalising fixture, Champions League football returning to Anfield. Liverpool got off to an electrifying start last night however, the home team’s greatest weakness had unveiled itself, as a low driven cross misjudged by Dejan Lovren lead to Sevilla’s opener.

Liverpool’s defence had looked nervous all night especially Lovren and the young Joe Gomez, the latter would go on to get sent off for a second yellow. Redemption for Alberto Moreno whose attacking play lead to the equaliser, his performance showing great improvement – but still not up to the required standard.

The Reds attacking was fluid as usual, and beautiful bit of pressing play led to Liverpool’s from Mohammed Salah, the Egyptian with his fourth goal in his 7th appearance. Sadio Mané, who is ineligible for the weekend’s Premier league game against Burnley, did well to win a penalty which was easily Liverpool’s best chance to make it 3-1 and perhaps secure the victory. But unfortunately, it rattled the woodwork as Roberto Firmino missed out on his second of the game, meaning Liverpool went into the break leading 2-1.

After the interval, it was rather disappointing from a Liverpool perspective. A drop-in energy was clear to see, the home side still lacking clear cut chances. The Merseyside club would go on to regret missing that spot kick as Sevilla equalised with exquisite attacking play from their young Argentine forward Joaquín Correa.

Enter Phillippe Coutinho, a man who has come under much question after attempting to force a move to Barcelona. The Brazilian seemed lazy, he had no desire to track back and the pace at which Liverpool played seemed to have decreased further. Liverpool’s defence came into further scrutiny yet again, conceding two goals from three attempts on target.

Jürgen Klopp’s side were lucky to have taken the point after the sending off of Joe Gomez and a near miss from Luis Muriel. His side may attack with fabulous style but there’s always a doubt around Liverpool’s backline and attempting to constantly out score teams, which will continue to haunt them if not changed.

Calm heads and good leadership are clearly absent costing the Reds once again.

Who are Qarabağ FK?


Chelsea the current Premier League Champions face the almost never heard of Qarabağ FK in the first round of this year’s UEFA Champions League competition tomorrow night. But who are they? Sam May gives you the rundown of all you need to know…

Known as the “Ghost City” or ”Hiroshima of Caucasus”, they are an Azerbaijani club which originates from the city of Agdam, but have been based in the capital Baku, since 1993 due to the Nagorno-Karabakh war. Azerbaijan has borders with Turkey, Russia, Iran, Armenia and Georgia, and its capital Baku where Qarabağ play, sits on the Caspian Sea.

The football club was formed in 1951, so using the date of independence it was once in the Russian Premier League. Known as The Horsemen, they are used to travelling in Europe and have experience playing against the likes of FC Twente, Borussia Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt.

How do they play and who to look out for?

They have two Brazilian’s for instance, Richard Almedia and midfielder Pedro Henrique, as well as two Spaniards in Míchel who joined the club in 2015 from Maccabi Haifa as previously played in England with Birmingham City in 2010. As well as winger Dani Quintana, all ensuring its attractive pass and move football.

Captain, Rashad Sadygov is comfortable on the ball and assured. They are known as the “Barcelona of the Caucasus” so expect lots of short passing and players changing positions. They won’t be as strong as their London opponents, but expect them to surprise.

Nobody is in any doubt that Chelsea will gain the win and comfortably, but what about the return leg? Again, the actual result should not be in doubt, a Chelsea win, however, comfortable? Probably not. In playing terms yes, but in comfortable terms maybe not so. Why you might ask? Firstly, the flight. Five and a half hours and three hours ahead of London, to the Caspian winter is not ideal. The game is being played towards the end of November where temperatures usually hover just above freezing, but it has been known to also sit about -8C.

The wind of the Caspian will be cutting. The Tofic Bahramov Stadium holds 31,000 and not too many Chelsea fans, so again it will be hostile. Baku is a capital of just over 1,000,000 so everyone will know where Chelsea are staying, so expect a good old “knees up” right outside the Chelsea hotel the night before the game.

A win is inevitable, and should be the case in the return fixture, but at what cost to the upmarket high flyers!

Five Premier League debutants – Will they fit in?


With the transfer window well and truly shut until January, and all the hype around Philippe Coutinho, Alexis Sanchez, Riyad Mahrez and Diego Costa now subsided – and none moved clubs, Sam May takes a look at the ones who got into the Premier League under the radar and assesses how they might fair.

Managers are under pressure after three games now – just ask Slavan Bilić and Frank De Boer, so with the trap door only opening 18 league games away, or almost half of the season, the new recruits will have to make a mark quickly.

Serge Aurier as replacement for Kyle Walker may be great business at half of Walkers fee, but the man from the Ivory Coast is not without crossing the line – not on the pitch, but off it. Outbursts against former players and coaches will not be tolerated by Spurs or the FA. He looks a good prospect, but the Premier League is not the easy street Paris St Germain enjoy in France – so expect fireworks.

Renato Sanchez’s move to Swansea, has raised many an eyebrow. But Paul Clement knows him from old and has opened the door for the midfielder to showcase his abilities in the toughest league in the world, with an average outfit. Expect flashes of brilliance, but will he track back at Turf Moor on a wet Wednesday in winter, I doubt it. Welcome to the real-world Renato.

Davide Zappacosta joined fellow countryman Antonio Conte as a second choice behind Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain who chose Liverpool, and the last-minute move might work out if the Champions get into full gear. One things for sure is when Conte bellows orders at least Davide will understand him.

Aleksandar Dragović, yes, I here you say, who’s he? Well he was the player sent off in Austria’s first game in the 2016 Euros and then missed a penalty against Iceland, England’s slayers. He helped his country to bottom of the group. The Premier League and Leicester are waiting.

Brighton’s new boy Ezequiel Schelotto has been to more clubs than Wayne Rooney, so expect the Seagulls to be just another one on the list. At 2.8 Million though he may prove to be the best buy of the five on the list.

All are professionals, but they are all in for a fiery baptism.