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Thoughts on Premier League Teams Performance in Europe

Why Karim Benzema goal vs Liverpool in Champions League Final was ruled  offside | Evening Standard

Liverpool were humiliated last night by Real Madrid

The 2021/22 Premier League campaign ended in rather dramatic fashion with Manchester City and Liverpool leaving it to the final day of the season to decide the fate of the league. The Cityzens retained the Premier League title with 93 points, while Liverpool suffered heartache, as their 92 points wasn’t good enough to finish the campaign triumphant. Chelsea had some poor form in the tail end of the campaign and still finished in third place, while Tottenham Hotspurs pipped past Arsenal at the business end of the season to nick the last Champions League spot. There was a little battle between Manchester United and West Ham United to determine who would get the newly formed Conference League slot, but the Hammers had the honors.

This essentially meant that England had sent seven teams to conquer Europe in three different competitions. The early parts of the campaign saw all the teams feature in Group Stage action but at this point, we are in the business end of the competition, and I intend to see how all seven teams have fared so far in their respective competitions.

I will start with the team in the Conference League, then check out the ones in Europa and of course, the big one, the Champions League.

West Ham United

David Moyes and his West Ham side have been in the trenches all season long with just five wins from a possible 23, languishing in the relegation zone. Arsenal is also interested in one of their prized assets, Declan Rice, and with the club’s form still diminishing, I will not be surprised if the English midfielder jumps ship at the end of the season.

West Ham’s form in the UEFA Conference League though, is in stark contrast to their form in the Premier League, and I’d guess it has to do with the quality of the opposition they have faced thus far. In August, they had to go through a qualification phase, smashing six goals past Danish outfit, Viborg, to qualify for the competition proper. They were paired in the same group with Anderlecht, Silkeborg and Steaua Bucharest, amassing 18 points from their six games in the group. I guess the players are loving life in the Conference League, while their struggles continue in the Premier League.

West Ham United 2-1 Anderlecht: Jarrod Bowen and Said Benrahma score as  Hammers progress - BBC Sport

Bowen scoring Anderlecht

For winning their group, West Ham awaits the outcome of the Playoff encounters, which are currently ongoing, and the draws for the Conference League Round of 16 takes place in a couple of days. There are not much teams that can strike fear in the heart of West Ham fans at this point in the competition, but going from the Playoff results so far, the only teams worth mentioning are Fiorentina, Lazio, Villarreal and OGC Nice.

Best of luck to West Ham as they progress further in the competition.


The Gunners used to be consistent qualifiers for the UEFA Champions League with regular top four finishes in the Premier League, but shockingly, Arsenal has not featured in Europe’s elite competition for close to seven seasons, with consecutive outings in the Europa League as well as a campaign where there was no European competition at all.

Following a painful fifth placed finish last season, after losing out of Champions League qualification to their bitter rivals, Spurs, Arsenal began this season in the Europa League with a win against FC Zurich and followed it up with three consecutive wins over Bodo/Glimt and PSV Eindhoven. A shock loss against PSV occurred in the fifth Matchday, but a win over Zurich on the last Matchday was enough to win the Group.

Allow Marquinhos to introduce himself: Arsenal winners, losers and ratings  as youngster dazzles in Zurich win |

Marquinhos got his first goal for the club in the Europa League

As a result of winning their group, Arsenal has qualified for the Europa League Round of 16, and will await the outcome of the Playoff games that are still ongoing. There are still some tough sides to face in the competition, especially those third placed Champions League teams like Barcelona, Sevilla and Juventus that have come to bully those teams that started from the onset. 

Manchester United

Manchester United lost their opening match of the Europa League to Real Sociedad, and it turned out to be a decision that haunted the team for the rest of the competition. Despite winning their next five games against Sheriff Tiraspol, Omonoia and Real Sociedad in their own turf, Manchester United finished the group in second place, and got a Playoff tie against Barcelona in the knockout phase.

Barcelona 2-2 Manchester United: Marcus Rashford 'on fire' to equal most  prolific season - BBC Sport

Marcus Rashford: A Man on Fire

The first leg at Nou Camp was a pulsating encounter with both sides playing excellent football, and the 2-2 draw was a fair reflection of the proceedings. With UEFA no longer favoring the away goals rule, a winner must be decided at Old Trafford this Thursday, making it a must watch clash.


Graham Potter’s reign at the helm of affairs in Chelsea has been very shaky, with the Blues a far cry from the dominant team they used to be in years past. Even in the games they managed to win this season, the Premier League club has had to rely on Kepa Arrizabalaga to make outstanding saves to keep them in the tie.

Chelsea’s Champions League campaign started with a narrow defeat against Dinamo Zagreb, which was the final straw for Thomas Tuchel, as he was relieved of his job shortly afterwards. Potter started his Champions League adventure with a draw against Red Bull Salzburg, but four wins on the trot against AC Milan, Zagreb and Salzburg, saw Chelsea finish the group in pole position, setting up for a two-legged encounter with Borussia Dortmund.

Se impone el Dortmund 1 a 0 ante el Chelsea en la Champions

Adeyemi skipping past Kepa

The first leg loss to Dortmund doesn’t inspire any confidence but Chelsea have it all to do in the second leg in front of their home fans. Everyone associated with the club will be hoping that the moneybags have what it takes to progress to the next round of the competition.


For every Tottenham fan, it was quite the roller coaster ride against Arsenal for the final coveted Champions League spot and they must have been very elated to get it. Antonio Conte’s team was in quite the group, alongside Eintracht Frankfurt, Olympique Marseille and Sporting Lisbon. Even on the final matchday, all teams could have qualified and gotten eliminated. 

Son shines with double as Spurs sink Frankfurt - SportsDesk

Son scoring in the Champions League

In the Tottenham scaled through with 11 points, and set themselves up for a visit to the great San Siro to play AC Milan. The first leg didn’t go as planned with the Premier League side losing with a solitary goal, but they will have another chance at redemption when Olivier Giroud and his teammates visit London to take on the Lily Whites. 


Liverpool is another team that has shockingly struggled this season. For a team that finished with 92 points in the last campaign, what was expected from them was another title charge, but the sale of Sadio Mane proved pivotal as his replacement, Darwin Nunez, has been doing his best, but consistency has been an issue for the Uruguayan maverick.

Liverpool began their Champions League campaign with a 4-1 drubbing in the hands of Napoli. Jurgen Klopp’s men won the next five, which included a 1-7 annihilation of Rangers, but their head to head record with the Serie A hotshots, saw Liverpool lock horns with Real Madrid, the same side that defeated them in the Champions League final of the previous campaign.

What we witnessed last night was an utter disgrace, as the visitors ran riot against Liverpool at Anfield, scoring five goals. Liverpool needs to visit the Santiago Bernabeu and score three unanswered goals for the game to go into extra time. Hey, I’ve seen miracles, so I’d get my popcorn ready for that one. 

Manchester City

Manchester City suffered a surprising defeat to Real Madrid last season, with young striker, Rodrygo, scoring two goals in the dying minutes to send the game to extra time. This season, Manchester City coasted to the knockout stages with consummate ease, dispatching the likes of Sevilla, FC Copenhagen and Dortmund. 

Pep Guardiola’s side visit RB Leipzig tonight, reeling from dropping points against Nottingham Forest in the Premier League, just after winning the all-important clash against Arsenal a couple of days earlier.

In conclusion, the English teams in Europe still have a very good chance of qualifying to the next rounds of their respective competitions in Europe, but their opponents are certainly no pushovers. 


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North London Remains Red as Gunners Extend Lead at the Top

WATCH: Arsenal's captain fantastic Odegaard fires in 20-yard stunner to  pile misery on Tottenham |

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Tottenham 0-2 Arsenal (Lloris OG 14′, Odegaard 36′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White, Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tomiyasu 86′); Partey, Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (Vieira 93′), Martinelli (Tierney 79′); Nketiah (Smith-Rowe 93′)

Following the amazing result in the Manchester Derby that was marred with the offside controversy, Arsenal knew that a victory over Tottenham would give them an unassailable eight points lead at the top of the table, but they had to do it on a ground that they had not won since 2014. These records tend to play a part in the mentality of the players but head coach, Mikel Arteta, has instilled some belief in the lads and we play each game with some panache, determination, technical astuteness and of course, class.

Despite being on enemy territory, the Gunners stuck to their slick gameplay and ran Tottenham ragged, so it was no surprise when the away team took the lead, thanks to some good attacking impetus from Bukayo Saka and of course, the generosity of Hugo Lloris. Saka, as expected, was a thorn in the flesh of Ryan Sessegnon, who got the nod over Ivan Perisic, and after some good interplay with Ben White, the winger got to the byline and attempted a shot that had a slight deflection off Sessegnon, and was heading straight to Lloris, but for some strange reason, the French goalie gaffed in the most hilarious way to put the Gunners ahead.

He’s a good keeper on his day, but when he wants to make an error, he goes all out.

Arsenal doubled their money with some swift counter attacking play that saw Saka feed Odegaard that drilled the ball home from quite some distance and it beat the Tottenham goalie. That was Odegaard’s eight goal of the campaign, which was also his highest goal tally in his career in a single campaign. The captain has really been leading by example this season, scoring vital goals that help get his team over the line, as the Gunners surge for their first league title since 2004.

However, this victory over Tottenham would also be owed to the heroics of Aaron Ramsdale in the Arsenal goal. Early on, Sessegnon made a rare foray into the Arsenal box and cushioned a carefully-threaded ball to Heung-Min Son, who wasted no time in blasting the ball goalwards but Ramsdale was on hand to make a vital stops. There were also the Harry Kane attempts that he dealt with comfortably but the save of the game was undoubtedly the one he made with his left foot when Sessegnon was clean through on goal. 

His awesome performances earned him some stick with the Tottenham fans, and when he gave them a piece of their own medicine, they went bonkers, and lost all modicum of sense, as a fan made his way to the pitch and attacked Rammy before he was hauled off by security. This caused an expected fracas with both sets of players arriving at the scene of the crime, but some order was restored and the most important thing was that Arsenal left the Tottenham Stadium with three vital points in the bag.

Up next is Manchester United in what will prove to be a pulsating encounter but we will have a lot of other Arsenal stuff to cover between now and next week Sunday. 


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Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham: North London is Red, so is the Premier League

Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham: Player ratings as Gunners cruise to north London derby victory

Partey celebrating his goal

Match Report – Match Highlights – Post-Match Press Conference

Final Result: Arsenal 3-1 Tottenham (Partey 20′, G. Jesus 49′, Xhaka 67′) | (Kane (PK) 31′)

Arsenal XI (4-2-3-1): Ramsdale; White (Tomiyasu 89′), Saliba, Gabriel, Zinchenko (Tierney 73′); Partey (Lokonga 73′), Xhaka; Saka, Odegaard (F. Vieira 80′), Martinelli; Jesus (Nketiah 80′)

I had previewed the North London Derby yesterday and touched on Gabriel Jesus’ comments regarding what was labelled as a very important match for everyone connected with Arsenal. The old enemy had arrived in town, basking in the confidence of still being unbeaten in the Premier League, and also hoping to latch unto their counter attacking style, which proved to be Arsenal’s undoing in their recent defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford. 

Tottenham lined up in the same way you’d expect from Antonio Conte’s teams with three at the back, two wing backs, two dogged central midfielders and a three-pronged attack led by the North London Derby’s top scorer, and pretty much the scourge of Arsenal, Harry Kane. However, it was the home side that began on the ascendancy, with Gabriel Martinelli drilling a goal-bound shot that clipped the post before missing the mark. Despite being on the back foot, Tottenham almost took the lead when Richarlison was clean on goal and didn’t really connect well with his shot but Aaron Ramsdale was on hand to make a great save.

The Gunners took the lead and sent the fans to delirium following some brilliant play on the right. Bukayo Saka connected well with Ben White whose cushioned ball to Thomas Partey was curled first time, leaving Hugo Lloris with no chance in Hell to execute a save.

VIDEO: Thomas Partey scores a stunning goal for Arsenal against Tottenham in London derby - Ghana Latest Football News, Live Scores, Results - GHANAsoccernet

Arsenal’s captain, Martin Odegaard, confirmed after the game that Partey’s strike was planned,

“It was a great goal. We knew before the game he was going to be free in those areas and we practised that a lot, to find him in those areas, and he made a great shot. 

“I think he played a great game as well so a lot of credit to him, and of course the team.”

What makes that goal more exciting was the fact that there were 21 passes in the build-up to Partey’s strike, which is the joint-most leading to a goal in the Premier League this season after Fabio Vieira’s strike against Brentford.

The home side’s joy was short lived as Tottenham grabbed an equalizer following yet another error from Gabriel Magalhaes. A through ball in behind the defense putting the Gunners backline in sixes and sevens, and it seemed like they had handled the threat, but a poor clearance brought the ball to Richarlison’s path who guided the ball well in the box before he was scythed down by Gabriel. The ref didn’t need to consult VAR as he pointed to the spot and up stepped Harry Kane.

Harry Kane becomes first Premier League player to score 100 away goals - Sportstar

Kane becomes the first Premier League player to score 100 away goals

There are some certainties in this life – death, taxes, and Harry Kane scoring in the North London Derby, and he didn’t disappoint, firing down the middle as Ramsdale moved to his right hand side.

Tottenham’s equalizer certainly rocked their hosts and both teams went into the break on a stalemate, with the hopes of controlling the game in the second half. Prior to the ref’s whistle, Kane nodded the ball straight at Ramsdale, while Gabriel Jesus went on a slalom run in the box, leaving some defenders for dead with his silky dribbling skills before firing a shot that was smothered by Lloris.

Arsenal began the second 45 minutes like a house on fire and grabbed a well deserved lead when Saka found a sweet spot in the box and fired a shot that was parried by Lloris to his defender, Cristian Romero’s path. The Argentine unleashed his inner Skhodran Mustafi, dallying on the ball, and in a comical moment, the ball squirmed under Lloris, with the predatory Jesus on hand to smash in his fifth goal of the season to an unguarded net. They all can’t be curlers or headers, and from the rapturous celebrations of the crowd, they certainly didn’t care.

Arsenal 3 - 1 Tottenham Hotspur - Match Report |

Fans celebrating the Jesus’ goal (via

Jesus had the chance to put the game beyond doubt when he connected with an Oleksandr Zinchenko cross, but his header was far off the mark. He also suffered an injury as he landed awkwardly, but thankfully he shrugged it off. Arsenal’s chances of winning the game received a timely boost when Tottenham’s Emerson Royal received his marching orders for a nasty tackle on Gabriel Martinelli. It didn’t look malicious on first viewing but the VAR replays showed how high the Brazilian defender’s boot was, so the sending off was well deserved.

It was quite ironic, as Martinelli, free off the shackles of Emerson Royal, played a part in the goal that put the game beyond doubt.

Arsenal vs Tottenham: Premier League result and report as Gunners dominate Spurs in north London derby at the Emriates stadium | The Independent

The left winger drifted into the opposition area and was robbed off the ball by Granit Xhaka that wasted no time in smashing in a surface-to-goal piledriver past Lloris to make it 3-1. That goal was the final nail in the Tottenham coffin, tearing up their unbeaten run and solidifying Arsenal’s status as the top team in the land this week, irrespective of what happens in the Manchester Derby today.

Arteta waxed lyrical for his players following the game and touched on the atmosphere the fans have created this season. There is a very special connection between the fans and the players this campaign, and it has spurred the lads on to put amazing performances week in, week out. 

This win puts Arsenal on 21 points, four clear of Manchester City, and we the “neutrals” are hoping that the Manager of the Month for September, Erik Ten Hag, will show up with his boys and do the business at the Etihad. Any result beyond a Manchester City win will be good for world peace.

Next up is Bodo/Glimt in the Europa League on Thursday and these hardworking lads can get a breather before the visit of Liverpool next week Sunday. More on that as the week progresses but at this point in time, it is safe to say that…

North London is Red, so is the Premier League.


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