Despite Having A Team Of Superstars – PSG Still Have To Be Admired

If PSG are level or losing at the 80th-minute mark in any Ligue 1 game, prepare yourself for a crash course in the not-so-subtle dark arts from the opposition team. Indeed, the next ten minutes and whatever is added on as injury time will probably see PSG’s rivals make no attempt to play football but rather disrupt the rhythm of the game in any way possible. 

It truly is a sight to behold and if you’re witnessing these unsporting antics from across the Channel in the UK for the first time, chances are you’ll quickly change your mind about what PSG are up against in Ligue 1. Yes, they have an embarrassment of riches and a squad (Via ESPN) that one thought only really possible to build on the video game FIFA, but nothing is handed to them in the French top-flight.  

Far from it when you consider that they still have to earn the right to be crowned league champions against the most cynical of opposition. 

Perhaps the best recent example of this came in late September when Mauricio Pochettino’s men had to travel to northeast France to play against bottom of the table Metz (ESPN Match Report).

It was a fixture that most had PSG down to win given that it was first against last in the league table, and with PSG the overwhelming favourites for the title in the latest Ligue 1 football betting markets, the chances of an upset were slim to none. As mentioned, on paper, it was a straightforward assignment which is why no one was surprised when right-back Achraf Hakimi put PSG ahead after just five minutes. 

But as so often happens with PSG when they score early, they go into a lethargic lull and tread water until the inevitable happens, they only had to wait until the thirty-ninth minute for that to take place in this instance.

Indeed, Boubakar Kouyaté was the man to rise highest and head home from a corner to draw Metz level.

The score would stay like that until the eightieth minute when Metz began kicking lumps out of the PSG players as they threatened to get closer to goal. The time-wasting would have driven the most patient amongst us to pull their hair out. Astonishingly, it was so cynical that the referee sent the Metz captain off and then sent the Metz manager off.

Now, you may be getting a better sense of what PSG are up against on a weekly basis. 

Still, a bruised and battered PSG did their best to try and win and in injury time, a turning Neymar with a fraction of space got away from his man, he played in Achraf Hakimi who slotted home to give the resilient Parisians the win. It was a victory for football as much as anything else. 

Now, you may be tempted to scoff at that given that PSG have a reputation for not being the poster boys of fair play themselves, especially in a financial sense.

That is certainly a discussion to be had on another day, however, should those same cynical tactics ever make their way across the Channel to the Premier League, there would be an outcry from supporters.

Indeed, PSG have to win games when the ball is in play for no longer than 120 seconds from the 80th minute onwards. In reality, a lot of the time they get fifteen minutes fewer than other teams do to win games. 

One probably has to watch a PSG game to come to this conclusion but with this in mind, you have to admire the way PSG still find a way to win despite coming up against these distasteful tactics time and time again.

Romelu Lukaku Already Proving To Be Difference Maker At Chelsea

Credit –

When Chelsea splashed out £97.5m to bring back Romelu Lukaku (Source Sky Sports), it was done with a purpose.

That purpose was to score goals and make a difference.

After just three games back in the Premier League, the Belgian hitman has already proven himself as being that difference maker.

Chelsea are unbeaten in those three outings, beating Arsenal and Aston Villa and getting an away draw at Liverpool. They’ve scored six goals in those fixtures, with Lukaku banging in half of those strikes.

He struck in his second debut against the Gunners and then grabbed a brace in his return to Stamford Bridge.

The twenty-eight year old was always a fine finisher in England’s top flight but his two seasons in Serie A with Inter Milan have focused Romelu and now he is truly a world class striker.

Defences just don’t know how to deal with him. If they get touch tight, he can bully them and turn them. If they stand off him then he will just go on and run at them.

If you give him a split second in and around the penalty area then he will kill you. That lethal instinct is the greatest difference between the Lukaku at Manchester United and that one that is currently leading the line at the Bridge. Playing in Italy he has learned that chances don’t come along very often, so when they do then you have to put them away.

Against Villa tonight (BBC Match Report), Lukaku only had two attempts at goal and he put them both into the back of the net.

His first strike saw him make a magnificent run which was well matched by a sublime pass from Mateo Kovacic. The smart run actually made the Croatian’s mind up for that pass by the way. Once he had the ball Romelu then attacked Villa’s goal with pace and then he used his knowledge of Axel Tuanzebe to step back inside and then hit his shot past the Villa keeper.

For his second, he receives the ball just outside of the Aston Villa penalty area. He takes a touch to set himself before viciously smashing it home with his left foot!

Overall Lukaku was extremely efficient today. He made ten passes and they were all accurate passes to teammates. No Chelsea player could beat his tally of winning three aerial battles. The forward didn’t see a lot of the ball but when he did, he made sure it all counted!

That is why he was brought back to London.

Times last season, Chelsea struggled in such encounters. The likes of Timo Werner and his teammates would struggle to find the net and that meant points were dropped. I just don’t see that happening as much this term with this reenergised and determined Lukaku leading the line.

He now has a winning mentality and is desperate to show Chelsea fans just what he can do. Something club legend Petr Cech recently picked up on:

‘He knows what he’s coming in to and probably has a little bit of unfinished business here which he can nicely complete if everything goes the way we all wish.’


The Blues support are already thankful to see Romelu Lukaku back within their ranks and will be looking forward to more glory days this year!

World Cup Every Two Years Would Kill The Competition

Fifa’s chief of football Arsene Wenger has a proposal to make the World Cup an event that is held every two years instead of it’s four year cycle.

Wenger’s idea has been met with plenty of criticism from associations all over the world (Source: BBC Sport).

But the legendary French manager has stated:

“The World Cup every four years was decided in the 1930s and it should not just carry on because of tradition. The Champions League is played every year and retains its prestige. This would be the same.”

Via The Mirror

I don’t think the Champions League has the same prestige it did when it was first founded and certainly doesn’t have the same as the European Cup had.

When it just had champions in the competition, in my opinion, it was better. The Champions League is now weighted towards the bigger leagues/sides and there are far too many games.

The best thing about a World Cup, for me, is the anticipation and the tradition you get with it.

Even though I’m Scottish and having more teams would help us out, I think having thirty-two nations is the right number and it shouldn’t be enlarged further.

The advent of the internet and the growth of club football as a super global enterprise has already diluted the impact of the World Cup.

I look back with a lot of fondness to the World Cups of the nineties. A big factor in that was the surprise talent and teams you’d see in those tournaments.

You don’t get that now because the internet gives you instant access and European clubs snap up the world’s best talent at young ages, so we now see the best young South Americans and Africans in Europe very early now.

I do agree with Wenger that the international calendar could be altered and less travelling time for players would be a good thing but not with a biannual World Cup.

I’ve liked the introduction of the Nations League by Uefa. For me, I’d just dump friendlies.

My international calendar would be World Cup qualifiers, Nations League, Euro qualifiers or confederation equivalent plus the two major tournaments. Instead of friendlies I’d go with B teams playing the day before one or two qualifiers a year as a way to get less experienced players used to the international stage.

I also don’t buy Wenger’s ‘it will generate more money for grassroots football’. Fifa always has a very hefty bank balance and they’ve never spent enough on youth football and I don’t believe that will change.

Here’s hoping that the clubs, associations and confederations have the strength to kick this proposal back into the long grass!

Man United’s Summer Signings Should See Them Challenging For Silverware

Manchester United brought in three major transfers this summer and those deals should see Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s men challenging for the Premier League title this season!

All three new signings will definitely add a significant amount to the Man United squad.

The fairytale story is obviously the return of Cristiano Ronaldo to Old Trafford.

The Portuguese international rose to stardom at United before reaching superstardom at Real Madrid. He’s now, alongside Lionel Messi, the greatest footballer on the planet.

As a player Ronaldo returns as a different footballing animal. He’s no longer a pacey, creative and devastating winger. He has evolved into an extremely prolific number nine.

Looking at the figures from last term, United could be doing with a free scoring forward. Attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes ended up as The Red Devils top scorer in the league with eighteen goals. The top scoring forward was Marcus Rashford with only eleven strikes. In total, United scored ten less than last term’s Premier League champions Manchester City.

During Cristiano’s last twelve months at Juventus, he struck twenty-nine times in thirty-one Serie A appearances. He may be thirty-six years of age but Ronaldo has shown no slowing down in terms of finding the net.

Even this week he once again proved he just can’t be stopped from getting those vital goals:

I honestly can’t think of a forward that is as intelligent, focused and as fit as Ronaldo. That’s why his career hasn’t dipped away like so any others even in his mid-thirties. He knows to stick to certain positions and he knows when to get away from his markers.

The veteran is very keen to hit the ground running and rekindle his special relationship with Man United’s fans:

“I know they still sing my music which has made me feel even more happy and my commitment is to give everything on the pitch, like I did before, like I do it all the time, and try to do my best, help the team score goals, make assists, win games, and I hope to see them very, very soon.”

Source –

Obviously a goalscorer can only be as good as those around him that are creating his chances.

That’s where fellow summer signing Jadon Sancho comes in.

The England international should come in and add a new threat on United’s righthand side, a problem position Man Utd have had in recent seasons.

In the last two terms for Borussia Dortmund, Jadon has recorded twenty-seven assists in 58 Bundesliga fixtures.

Sancho loves attacking defences. Last season; he completed around 3 dribbles per game and made 2.6 key passes too. He has the pace, the nifty foot work and skills to beat opposition defenders (Stats from Whoscored). As his goals and assist stats show, he’s very effective in the final third.

Once Jadon Sancho settles into the Man United way; then the likes of Ronaldo, Mason Greenwood and Edinson Cavani will relish playing alongside a man with the supply qualities that the twenty-one year old possesses.

Now another big issue United have had has been in the centre of their defence.

Harry Maguire and Victor Lindelof have always been an adequate partnership but that’s not good enough to secure titles and trophies.

By bringing in Raphael Varane, The Red Devils have brought in on the world’s best centre-backs.

His pace, his high concentration levels and his consistency should make those in the backline better by just playing alongside him.

The World Cup winner should in particular form a fine partnership beside Maguire in the heart of defence. United have missed having a top class central defensive pairing since the days of Rio Ferdinand and Nemanja Vidic.

Again United were behind City in goals conceded last year, Varian’s signing could change that particular stat.

Another key element that both Ronaldo and Varane will bring to this Manchester United team is a massive winning mentality. These two players are born winners and they have the medals to prove it. That should see Solskjaer seeing his other players raise their standards to meet those that have just arrived.

Now while these are three super signings, Man United still have issues that need to be looked at.

In goal, David De Gea has looked good again but he has been shaky for a few seasons now and he has Dean Henderson breathing down his neck. It will be interesting to see who will be the number one keeper throughout this term.

In midfield, United also need to find out who will be able to help protect the defence. Questions surround Nemanja Matic’s legs and whether he can last a full campaign. Fred for me isn’t the answer. The Brazilian is decent but he doesn’t do enough to be as impactful as what you’d like from an elite team.

For me, I’d say Scott McTominay is the best option as he is mobile and hard working. Although I’d like to see if Lindelof could be deployed in that role. The Swede is good on the ball and he has a nose for cutting out danger.

But no matter what, Manchester United and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer now have a much stronger squad and one that really should be challenging for major honours come next summer.

Takehiro Tomiyasu Could Become A Star At Arsenal!

According to Sky Sports News, Arsenal are on the verge of signing Takehiro Tomiyasu from Bologna is a deal worth £19.8m.

With the same report suggesting Hector Bellerin is heading back to Spain to join Real Betis, it seems extremely likely that the Japanese international will arrive at the Emirates to challenge for the right-back spot.

That being said Takehiro is a versatile defender and he can also play as a centre-back and as a left sided fullback if needed. Last term he played in all three positions for I Rossoblu.

I think Tomiyasu has all the attributes needed to succeed in the Premier League.

At twenty-two years of age, he represents a good age to develop under Gunners coach Mikel Arteta. Even though he is still a youngster, the Japanese star is already pretty experienced for his age. He’s already played in over sixty Serie A games and represented his national team twenty-three times.

Tomiyasu isn’t a defender who’ll just rush in for the sake of it. He will judge a situation intelligently before stepping in and taking charge of a situation. He has often proved that he possesses high concentration levels and in-game intelligence.

Last season; Takehiro made 1.5 tackles per game, 1.7 interceptions and a whopping 3.3 clearances. He’s a player that sticks to his task, who will cover for a teammates mistake and try and get himself in between shots and his goal (Stats from Whoscored).

That sort of commitment will endear the defender to the Arsenal crowd, much like fellow fullback Kieran Tierney has.

The defensive star only picked up three yellow cards last year, again showing he’s smart when timing his challenges. He’s also terrific in the air, last season on average he was winning around 3 headers per league game in Italy. Against Manchester City, Arsenal were vulnerable in the air and having a taller right-back will give them a better chance to deal with crosses into their own penalty area.

The Japanese international has previously stated that he has learned a lot on how to defend under Bologna boss Siniša Mihajlović:

“He has given me a lot of advice on how to move my arms, but above all, Mihailovic insists on defending the area,” 


Takehiro is also very accomplished with the ball at his feet. Again he’s a defender that doesn’t seem to get easily flustered, in or out of possession, which is a plus given some of the poor defending we’ve seen from the Gunners this term. His passing success rate of above 80% will be another plus point for Arteta.

He can read the game well with his interceptions and then take it out of a dangerous position with his unique dribbling technique. He’s pretty nifty and an awkward player of his size and that can see him beat opponents too. He’s got quite the engine on him and he will always show a willingness to push forward and get back.

Tomiyasu is a player that has shown in Italy that he can perform consistently throughout a campaign. Again something the Gunners defence has lacked in recent seasons.

I think that Takehiro Tomiyasu will fit the Premier League style and should flourish at Arsenal given half a chance. He’d be a player that I’d expect to see improve rapidly in London if they can secure his signature. But he won’t fix all their problems, the Gunners defence will still have to improve as a unit or they will still crumble in pressured situations.

Tottenham Will Be Getting A Great Signing If They Can Take Barca’s Emerson Royal

The Daily Mail are reporting that Tottenham Hotspur have agreed a £25.7m deal to bring Emerson Royal from FC Barcelona.

Emerson has been a standout performer for Real Betis in La Liga in recent seasons. Barca then exercised an option to bring the player to the Nou Camp earlier in the summer.

If it weren’t for financial troubles that currently surround the Catalan giants, then I believe Emerson wouldn’t be heading anywhere and he’d remain at Barcelona for the long-term.

But as the release of Lionel Messi has shown us, Barca are in major trouble and need to bring in funds. I’m sure there are others in the squad they’d prefer to offload first but those players aren’t creating sufficient interest in this transfer window.

Back on the Sixteenth of this month, Barca President Joan Laporta laid bare the club’s dire financial position:

“To the initial €617m debt you have to add €389m on players, €90m in litigation, €79m in advance television rights and €56m from the [new stadium] project. In total, €1.35bn.” 

Via The Guardian

Spurs have clearly waited to pounce and now look set to bring in the exciting right-back!

The defender has already picked up four caps for the Brazilian national team.

He’s a direct runner, who doesn’t miss a chance to attack the opposition down the right flank. Emerson also possesses the tricks to get beyond opponents and he can also deliver a wicked ball from wide positions too. 

The twenty-two year old has all the attributes that makes us hark back to Dani Alves.

Defensively Emerson stands up well to those running at him, he makes smart interceptions and tracks back vigorously. 

In La Liga last term – the right-sided defender contributed with a goal and four assists. More importantly he averaged 2.7 tackles per game, made almost 2 clearances, had a passing success percentage that’s above 80% and makes around 2.5 clearances per league out too (Stats – Whoscored). 

He has also featured in each of Barca’s three league games this term and again has an impressive passing success rate of 86.5%.

I am betting Spurs boss Nuno Espirito Santo would relish bringing Emerson to the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Tottenham might be the only club that still possess a 100% winning start to the current campaign but that right side of their defence could still be improved upon.

I don’t think the new Lilywhites gaffer fancies Serge Aurier, who has proved himself a bit of a liability a various points of his career. Japhet Tanganga has come in and looked decent but I am not sure he or Matt Doherty are the type of player to help get Spurs back into the top four reckoning.

In Emerson Royal, Tottenham Hotspur would probably be getting a player that can make that position his own and ha step potential to become the best right-back in the Premier League.

If they want to keep the momentum going, then adding one or two new quality faces to the squad will bolster Spurs’ chances. Emerson would represent that in my opinion!

Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott Could To Hit Stardom This Season

Neither Liverpool nor Chelsea could find a winner in this evening’s exciting Premier League encounter (BBC Match Report).

Reds boss Jurgen Klopp went with experience in the main as his side faced up to the well fancied Chelsea. Andy Robertson, Fabinho and Roberto Firmino all found their way back into the German’s starting line-up.

Yet Klopp also decided to allow youngster Harvey Elliott to retain his place within the first eleven.

It was a big call to keep the teenager in the side but Elliott didn’t let his gaffer down.

The recently called up England under-21 man (Source – The Guardian) certainly wasn’t overawed by the occasion as he continually searched out the ball and he hardly put a foot wrong during the fierce battle.

Playing against the likes of N’Golo Kante, Jorginho and Mateo Kovacic can really intimidate some players but Harvey seemed to relish the chance to shine against such opposition.

The eighteen year old has played in each of Liverpool’s three Premier League games thus far, starting the last two. He’s currently keeping the likes of Thiago, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Naby Keita out of the team and deservedly so too!

No player from either side made more passes than Harvey did against Chelsea (86). Of those passes, the young midfielder also made the most accurate passes (75) and boasted a passing success rate of 87%. The midfielder also has over 100 touches of the ball and only Trent Alexander-Arnold would beat that stat (Stats from Whoscored).

Harvey plays with that awkwardness and roughness that only seems to come from a young prodigious talent. He is direct, runs all day and doesn’t let a mistake or two bother him.

His emergence this term, after a very fruitful loan spell at Blackburn Rovers last season, could really soften the blow of losing Dutch midfield star Georginio Wijnaldum to PSG this summer.

Klopp has already suggested that Harvey will see more first team football this year due to Gini’s recent departure:

“Last weekend it is not that Harvey was the saviour of our midfield problem because obviously we don’t have one. But if Gini was still here then Harvey might not have played against Burnley. I knew before that there was a good chance he would play well and he did.”

Klopp Via iNews

If his start to this campaign is anything to go by, then Harvey Elliott could really be set for superstardom at Anfield. I believe he’ll only get better and better under a great coach like Jurgen Klopp.

His maturity on the ball and eagerness to impress may help The Reds to out gun most midfields and see him even catch Gareth Southgate’s eye!

Arsenal Cannot Depend On Reckless Liability Granit Xhaka

Arsenal have endured a dismal start to the season. The Gunners have lost all three of their opening Premier League fixtures and sit bottom of the table!

In all of those defeats, Mikel Arteta’s men have looked pretty weak and pathetic. They haven’t even scored in the league this term but have conceded nine.

All of Arsenal’s issues could probably be summed up in Granit Xhaka’s performance against Manchester City earlier today, a game in which the North London side slummed to a 5-0 defeat (BBC Match Report).

The twenty-eight year old was playing alongside three young midfielders who were either twenty-two or younger. The Swiss international should’ve been a calming influence, yet he was the one who lost his head after his conceded two early goals.

The midfielder launched into a challenge with João Cancelo, in a non dangerous position, with both his feet off the ground and showing studs. It was a reckless tackle and I don’t think Xhaka was in control. The referee clearly agreed and showed Granit a straight red card on the thirty-fifth minute.

That was the international’s fourth red card in the Premier League, he has also collected 42 yellows in 163 league appearances. That is a crazy amount of cautions and means he’s serving various suspensions per campaign.

Martin Keown is an Arsenal legend known for his tough tackling and his hard-man persona but he helped give the club a competitive edge and some passion. The TV pundit has come out and slaughtered Granit:

‘It’s crazy! It’s crazy why he goes off his feet at that point.

‘You just expect so much better from your most experienced player.

‘He’s been given one or two opportunities when people thought his career was over at Arsenal.

‘He’s done it so many times.’

Via The Metro

Xhaka hasn’t grown as a player since his arrival in 2016. He still makes far too many fouls, he becomes too emotional and his team can’t rely on him when the chips are down!

AS Roma were linked with the player all summer and the Gunners should’ve paid for a first class ticket to get the player across to Italy. Instead of that, Arsenal bafflingly signed Granit to a new deal keeping him at the Emirates until at least 2024 (Source – Eurosport).

Arsenal supporters have been very vocal in their disappointment of Xhaka in the past, this incident will just see those voices get louder.

Even when he’s available to play the midfielder simply doesn’t offer enough. The Swiss man doesn’t provide enough assists or goals, if he is a holding midfielder then he doesn’t make enough successful tackles either.

Arsenal are in free fall at the moment. They don’t have an identity, they don’t have a hunger to prove themselves and they are making a lot of strange decisions that make little to no sense.

Granit Xhaka is simply the biggest example of this!

Cristiano Ronaldo Moving To Manchester City Would Make No Sense

With the end of the transfer window nearing, more and more rumours are popping up. Some make sense and others seem like their the work of fiction writers.

But as we know football can often be stranger than fiction.

One story doing the rounds at the moment is linking Manchester City with a move for legendary attacker Cristiano Ronaldo (Via Sport Bible).

Ronaldo was benched by current employers Juventus for a recent Serie A fixture against Udinese. That was quickly followed up with Cristiano’s agent Jorge Mendes flying into Turin this week (Source

People are now trying to do the maths, with the conclusion a transfer deal is in the offing.

You then have the news yesterday that long-term City target Harry Kane will be staying at Tottenham Hotspur this summer:

Now having missed out on Kane’s signature and having let Sergio Aguero leave on a free earlier in the window, Man City clearly need another striker to come in to the Etihad. They’re also one of the few clubs that could afford Ronaldo’s wage demands.

Again punters and pundits alike have their calculators out and are doing the math believing that the Portuguese superstar is about to head back to Manchester but this time jump into the arms of Pep Guardiola at City.

For me, I just don’t think it makes much sense at all.

I don’t think Ronaldo is the type of player (especially at the age of thirty-six) that would suit Pep’s style. Guardiola is all about team players and those that will work as part of the team. Cristiano is supremely gifted and intelligent but a lot of what a team does has to go through him. It happened significantly at Real Madrid and at Juve. As he has got older he tends to run less and stick to dangerous scoring positions. As a coach Guardiola isn’t even one that likes prolific scorers unless they can evolve into Pep type players just look at what happened to Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Barcelona. Both Samuel Eto’o and Aguero had to adapt their game to fit into Guardiola plans.

Guardiola has discussed in the past that he’d love a prolific marksman but that they’d need to show the same endeavour as those players that work their socks off:

“We don’t have these types of players who can win games by themselves. I told the players many times, you have to play as a team. 

“I will be honest. I’d like to have a player to score, every single game, four goals and run like these players can run. I would love it.”

Via Manchester Evening News

Pep simply isn’t a manager that panics either, he’d just play with a false nine rather than just pick up a forward that won’t fit in with his philosophy.

I’d imagine the Manchester City boss would prefer bringing in Bayern Munich hitman Robert Lewandowski.

I also don’t think Cristiano Ronaldo would want to go to Man City and in any way impact his Manchester United legacy. That move in 2003 really was the making of him and he will always credit Sir Alex Ferguson as be one of the biggest influences in his career. Would he really risk spoiling that? I don’t think so.

Then there’s the Kylian Mbappe talk.

The French World Cup winner is once again being linked heavily with a move to Real Madrid. The BBC reported yesterday that the La Liga giants had lodged a £137m bid for the striker.

Now I think they’ll need to bid a bit more to secure his signature but let’s say that they finally get their man this summer, that would leave PSG again looking for a forward.

I doubt if any club would fantasise quite as much as Les Parisiens in bringing Lionel Messi and Ronaldo together. They already have Messi and now they might just have the chance to bring in Cristiano too. PSG aren’t a club that are built on a footballing philosophy, they want to be seen as the biggest and want to be the most luxurious sporting brands within world sport. The Qatari’s could possibly see this as the best move to show off their wealth!

Maybe PSG instead go after Lewandowski, that could free up a position at Munich. Would Ronaldo fit that gap for a season or two?

Or possibly PSG stick to their guns and keep Mbappe, that could see Ronaldo returning to the Bernabeu as a returning hero!

Now while I see it as a nonstarter and a bit nonsensical, I still wouldn’t be totally surprised to see Cristiano Ronaldo moving to Manchester City.

Football isn’t a story or a film, it’s ultimately a business – The Messi PSG proved that.

If City see him as a player that can take them to Champions League glory and Ronaldo is willing to forget his Man United links for another huge payday, then who knows maybe we’re in for another shocking transfer deal this summer!

Celtic Have A Fast Rising Star In Kyogo Furuhashi

Credit –

Celtic may have had a bit of a poor start to their campaign but they’ve started to really gain some momentum under new boss Ange Postecoglou.

A big reason for their upturn in form has been the introduction of summer signing Kyogo Furuhashi.

The Japanese internationalist has hit the ground running since arriving in Glasgow.

He has notched up six goals in his opening six games for the Parkhead side.

Furuhashi is fast becoming a Celtic icon much like compatriot Shunsuke Nakamura did in the four years he was at Celtic Park between 2005 and 2009.

For any football fan it is easy to see why Kyogo is already loved in Glasgow’s East End.

The twenty-six year old forward always seems to play with a smile on his face. His endeavour is admirable as he runs his socks off for his team and even defends from the front. The fact he has come in during the Japanese season means he’s probably fitter than most in The Premiership but it is his footballing brains that will keep him ahead of the completion!

Kyogo is clearly an extremely intelligent footballer. His runs off the ball are often exquisite. He times them to perfection and often evades opposition defences. The attacker always seems to be switched on to possible breaks in attacking positions. That’s why you constantly see him finding space in tight areas and reacting first to crosses that are played across the penalty area.

The former Vissel Kobe frontman clearly learned a lot from playing with Andres Iniesta. The Spaniard would have threaded through balls into all sorts of wonderful positions and Furuhashi would’ve had to be switched on to them at all times. The more and more you do that, the easier it becomes until it becomes instinct.

Furuhashi is also very good at coming deep, receiving the ball and feeding it out to fellow forwards.

Look at Odsonne Edouard’s goal against Hearts last weekend. Celtic’s number eight receives the ball deep on Celtic’s lefthand side in the Jambos half. Kyogo spots James Forrest rampaging forward in the opposite wing. Then the Japanese star plays an inch perfect pass with the outside of his right boot. That pass basically kills the Hearts defence and Forrest pulls it back for an unmarked Edouard. Be in no doubt, that Furuhashi pass makes the goal and is world class in my opinion:

The fact Kyogo has followed Ange Postecoglou from Japan to Scotland, should show everyone that the Aussie boss thinks the forward is a star player. He has obviously pinpointed Kyogo as being a player to build his attack around.

After Celtic’s impressive Europa League win over AZ Alkmaar (BBC Match Report), Postecoglou was quick to praise his scoring striker:

“He’s always a threat, he’s constantly looking to get in goalscoring areas, he’s constantly on the shoulder of defenders.

“Defensively he was outstanding tonight as well, but there were a lot of good efforts out there tonight.

Via Daily Record

In many ways this current Celtic set-up is very reminiscent of those from their recent glory days.

They play a nice, fast attacking game that excites the home support. They are also entering a different transfer market and seeing instant benefits both on and off the park.

The mood around Celtic Park has been a lot brighter in recent weeks and a big part of that is because they’ve got a smart, smiling assassin in Kyogo Furuhashi.

The Japanese star is producing performances that should be cherished and I’m sure the Hoops fans will be eager to see if he can build on these early achievements and lead them to silverware this term.