VAR-City Blues: Twitter Reacts as VAR Denies Man City Against Tottenham…Again

​In one of the most highly-anticipated games in the footballing calendar, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur went toe-to-toe at the Etihad stadium, but VAR stole the show in the dying minutes. 

The two sides played out a dramatic 2-2 draw, but City thought they’d snatched the win in the final minutes, only to be denied by a controversial handball decision. 

Let’s take a look at Twitter’s reaction to this epic clash. 


It took​ City only 20 minutes to find their way through the Spurs defence, and it was that man ​Raheem Sterling who broke the deadlock, and continued his sensational scoring record for the Citizens. 

But it was all about ​Kevin de Bruyne’s insane assist which Twitter was raving about. 

​​There had initially been concerns over the Belgian’s fitness, but fortunately this tweet turned out to be a hoax…


​​Erik Lamela levelled the match almost immediately after, with a lovely curling finish, but his apparent foul on Rodri in the penalty area was the major talking point involving the Argentine. 




The controversy was quickly forgotten as City restored their lead thanks to another whipped cross from De Bruyne and a typically clinical finish from Sergio Aguero. ​​


Ten minutes into the second half, Spurs equalised again, this time a header from substitute Lucas Moura. His immediate impact sent you lot crazy.




In amongst all of the great football and stunning goals, we all had a giggle at Nicolas Otamendi trying to win a penalty with a terrible dive and equally appalling play-acting. 

Stamp simulation out with hilarious tweets! 


Off-field drama! 

Aguero is fuming as he’s substituted, and appears to have a word with his boss Guardiola. The Spaniard reacted exactly as you’d imagine, lecturing City’s leading goalscorer intensely, but tempers seemed pretty heated. 


​​

The game reached its peak mental-ness in stoppage time however, as VAR judged Aymeric Laporte to have handled the ball in the area and disallowed the subsequent goal. 

Safe to say, not everyone agreed with this one. 

Obviously, a certain section of football fans enjoyed Var’s divine intervention…

And breathe…the Premier League is well and truly back!

Let’

Man City 2-2 Spurs: Report, Ratings & Reaction as VAR Rules Out Late City Winner

Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur played out a dramatic draw at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday night, as VAR took centre stage in the final minutes of the game…again.

Gabriel Jesus thought he’d netted the winner – with the match tied at 2-2 – in injury time, wheeling away in celebration for a couple of minutes before seeing the goal ruled out for a handball by Aymeric Laporte. City had no time to chase a winner and instead had to settle for a point.

Earlier in the day, Raheem Sterling nodded home a wonderful Kevin de Bruyne cross from the right-hand side to open the scoring, but less than three minutes later, Erik Lamela levelled – finding space and curling a superb finish beyond Ederson. 

City regained their lead when Aguero got across his man and latched onto another superb De Bruyne cross. Substitute Lucas Moura equalised once again for Spurs with his first touch, but the drama took over at the end and ensured a share of the spoils.

Here’s the story of the game.


Manchester City 

Key Talking Point 

Once again, VAR had a huge say in the dying minutes of a match between Man City and Spurs. 

As in the Champions League last season, Guardiola’s men had a winning goal disallowed in the final seconds of the match, this time for handball against Laporte in the buildup to the goal. 

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-TOTTENHAM

Guardiola was left with a painful sensation of deja vu, as his celebrations were cut short thanks to an extremely harsh call against his team. 

VAR’s introduction into the Premier League is bound to cause controversies, but it will take time before it is truly implemented correctly. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ederson (6); Walker (6), Laporte (7), Otamendi (6), Zinchenko (7); Gundogan (6), Rodri (7), De Bruyne (9); B.Silva (7), Aguero (7), Sterling (8)

Substitutes: Jesus (6), D.Silva (6), Mahrez (6)


STAR MAN – It’s almost unthinkable that ​Kevin D​e Bruyne was missing for almost all of last season, yet Guardiola’s side still posted 98 points and won their second successive title. 

It’s frightening to think how good they could have been, had they have benefitted from the joyous talent of their Belgian international in the heart of the midfield. 

FBL-ENG-PR-MAN CITY-TOTTENHAM

The City captain ran the show during the first half, laying on two wonderful assists for his teammates – who must worship his passing ability. 

His vision and pinpoint precision makes him almost impossible to predict or defend against, and if he remains fully fit this year, it’s hard to see any side other than City from lifting the Premier League trophy in May. 







Tottenham Hotspur

Key Talking Point

With talisman ​Christian Eriksen returning to the Spurs starting lineup, it may be a sign that his immediate future remains at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. 

The Dane has been heavily linked with a move away from Tottenham, and expressed his desire for a new challenge at the end of last season. However, he is evidently vital for the system which Pochettino has instilled at Spurs. 

Kyle Walker,Christian Eriksen

His entrance against ​Aston Villa completely swung the game in Pochettino’s side’s favour, and his influence over Spurs’ performances cannot be underestimated. His ability to unlock defences and directly affect the outcome of matches will be vital for the north London side this season, provided he stays.


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Lloris (6); Walker-Peters (6), Sanchez (6), Alderweireld (7), Rose (6); Ndombele (8), Winks (6), Sissoko (6), Lamela (7), Eriksen (7); Kane (6) 

Substitutes: Lucas Moura (7), Lo Celso (6) Skipp (N/A)


STAR MAN – Tanguy Ndombele was a rock in the centre of the pitch for Spurs, as he made vital tackles and interceptions time and time again. The Frenchman’s awareness on and off the ball is very impressive, and he shielded his backline expertly against City. 

Bernardo Silva,Tanguy Ndombele,Sergio Aguero

His ability to break up play, and set off counter attacks is a priceless skill for Pochettino, and in the final half an hour he was the stand-out man in the Spurs side, who held their own excellently against the Citizens. 




Looking Ahead 

After today’s disappointing result, Pep Guardiola will be determined to see a positive reaction from his players, as they travel to the south coast to take on ​Bournemouth.

Mauricio Pochettino will be delighted with his team’s performance against the Premier League champions, and his players will be confident mood when they take on ​Newcastle United at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

Let’

Jurgen Klopp Reacts to Adrian’s Error as Liverpool Win 2-1 at Southampton

Jurgen Klopp joked that Adrian’s mistake during Liverpool win over Southampton was a “rite of passage” – in typically jovial fashion as the Reds ran out 2-1 winners at St. Mary’s on Saturday.

The Spanish goalkeeper overcame an ankle injury suffered when a pitch invader slid into him during the celebrations of their Super Cup win against Chelsea in Istanbul on Wednesday, to take his place in the side.

Adrian

But after ​Sadio Mane and ​Roberto Firmino goals had put Liverpool in control, he handed Southampton a lifeline as he dallied on a backpass which was charged down by Danny Ings and ended up in the back of the net. 

The Reds had to hang on in the end, recording a club-record 11th successive Premier League victory and making light of their midweek jaunt to Turkey, where they played 120 minutes and did not arrive back home until 4am on Thursday.

Adrian has been thrust into Klopp’s side after an injury to first choice Allison, who made a similar mistake in his first few months at the club last season. And the German said it was only right that Adrian made an error.

“Minute 83, Adrian thought, ‘I’ve played really well so I have to make a mistake like Ali did’ and kept the game a little bit open,” he said. “I said to him, ‘Finally, it arrived, welcome’. Ali did the same, obviously it is a goalie thing at ​Liverpool. I have no problem with that as long as we win the game.

“Adrian had a swollen ankle, we played too many balls back to him in that period. I was happy with everything he did today, all the saves he made, all the other stuff.

“The other players need to feel the responsibility for the build-up for the balls back for him. He is good with his feet and if you would have seen his ankle on Thursday when we left the plane then you would say that pass for the goal was better than you would have expected. It is all fine.

Jurgen Klopp

“He had a clearing session at 10am and I got the message that he was fine. If I got the message that he wasn’t fine then I would have had a decision to make. He said at breakfast that he was fine and we had to test it.”

Liverpool’s hectic schedule looked like catching up with them in the first half as Southampton were the better side and had two fine chances to lead through Maya Yoshida and Che Adams. But Mane’s clinical strike in first-half stoppage time put them in front and then Firmino doubled the lead in the 71st minute after a host of other chances went begging.

Adrian’s error allowed the hosts back into it and then Ings should have delivered the ultimate penalty to his former club, but he somehow missed from four yards.

Georginio Wijnaldum,Stuart Armstrong

Klopp insisted his side’s midweek exertions had nothing to do with their afternoon on the south coast: “​Southampton is a good team. They defend well, they had good counter attacks, good organisation. This afternoon it was difficult again, nothing to do with the game midweek. I said before the game if we had come here with two weeks’ preparation it would have been difficult.

“I liked the game a lot. It is not allowed to think too much about Wednesday but I know it, so I was really impressed with how fresh we looked, at the start especially, just how good we were. “We deserved to win.”

Let’

Celta Vigo 1-3 Real Madrid: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Bale Stars in Convincing Los Blancos Win

​Real Madrid began their 2019/20 La Liga campaign with an impressive 3-1 win away to Celta Vigo, with goals from Karim Benzema, Toni Kroos and Lucas Vazquez earning them the points.

The game started scrappy, and it took Sergio Ramos just a matter of minutes to commit his first foul of the new season. However, Real Madrid made their early dominance count in the 11th minute – a tap-in from Karim Benzema. Gareth Bale was the man to create the goal, with a stunning weaving run ending in him picking out his teammate in the six yard box. 

Celta came close to the equaliser on the half hour mark, but Raphael Varane made a crucial last ditch interception. On the stroke of half time, Celta had a goal controversially ruled out by VAR, as Iago Aspas was marginally offside – much to the relief of Alvaro Odriozola, who dwelled on the ball and had it taken off him. 


Los Blancos started the second 45 slowly, and matters got a whole lot worse when Luka Modric was shown a red card ten minutes in for a late challenge. Zidane’s men quickly put this behind them however, as Kroos unleashed a rocket that flew in, clipping the underside of the crossbar on its way.  

Vazquez put the icing on the cake late on, finishing off a nice move involving Marcelo and Benzema. Thibaut Courtois was unable to keep a clean sheet though, as Iker Losada drilled home in added time. 


CELTA VIGO

Player Ratings

Starting XI: Rubén (6); Kevin (5), Costas (5), Araujo (5), Olaza (4); Beltrán (5), Lobotka (5), Brais Méndez (4), Denis Suárez (6); Iago Aspas (7), Fernandez (5)

Substitutes: Sisto (5), Cheikh (N/A), Losada (7)


REAL MADRID

Key Talking Point

Following a disappointing pre-season, ​Real Madrid fans were hoping their big-money signing Eden Hazard could give them reason to be optimistic against Celta. However, this was not to be the case as he was unable to play due to injury. Enter ​Gareth Bale.

Not so long ago, Zinedine Zidane had made it abundantly clear that the Welshman’s services were no longer required. Yet somehow, he miraculously made it into the starting XI. And he wasted no time in getting into his stride, assisting the opening goal. His link up play with the rest of the attacking line will be very pleasing for Real Madrid fans. 

Elsewhere, a key decision for the manager to make was whether to opt for the 3-5-2 formation which has been used on occasion in pre-season, or to return to a four man defence. In the end, Zidane opted for the latter, and there were definite frailties. The hosts were unlucky to have the goal at the end of the first half ruled out, but it all stemmed from a defensive mistake. 

Denis Suarez,Alvaro Odriozola

The defence was continuously carved open with just one pass. Early in the second half, Casemiro cleared the ball off the line, as Celta swept forward and got in behind. The hosts continued to create, but were unable to take their chances until the final minute. 

Zidane will now be without Modric following his dismissal. But, it does give an opportunity to either Isco or James to step in and take their chance. 


Player Ratings

Starting XI: Courtois (6); Odriozola (4), Varane (6), Ramos (6), Marcelo (7); Casemiro (6), Kroos (7), Modric (4); Vinicius Jr (6), Benzema (7), Bale (8*)

Substitutes: Lucas V. (7)., Isco (6), Jovic (N/A)


STAR MAN – Gareth Bale

FBL-ESP-LIGA-CELTA VIGO-REAL MADRID

Zidane made the tactical decision to leave Isco, Lucas Vazquez, Luka Jovic and James Rodriguez on the bench. Instead, he went for Bale, who spent the summer in a war of words with his manager. The Frenchman made it perfectly clear that he would no longer require his services. But, as Real commenced their 2019/20 La Liga campaign, Bale was in the starting lineup. 

The Welshman was outstanding, making direct runs and was an all-round threat. In the 11th minute, he weaved through Celta’s defence, before cooly picking out Karim Benzema in the middle to slot home. At one point in the summer, there were rumours that he wasn’t even training. But, he was fit and sharp throughout the game. 

Towards the end of the first half, he made an intelligent diagonal run and was fed through, but his shot was well kept out. Los Blancos had to soak up pressure in the second half, meaning opportunities were limited. However, it was a show of faith from Zidane to substitute Vinicius Jr. before Bale eventually came off in the 75th minute. 





Looking Ahead

Celta play host to Valencia next on Saturday, before travelling to face Sevilla in a tough run of fixtures. 

Real Madrid next host Real Valladolid on Saturday – their first home game of the 2019/20 La Liga season. Los Blancos will then travel to face Villarreal. 

Let’

​Aston Villa 1-2 Bournemouth: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Cherries Edge Victory

Aston Villa’s first Premier League home game in three years ended in defeat on Saturday, as Bournemouth came to Villa Park and edged a 2-1 victory.

A penalty from Josh King and long range strike from Harry Wilson put the visitors in control, and while Douglas Luiz scored to give the hosts hope 20 minutes from time, Eddie Howe’s Cherries escaped with maximum points.

Check out our breakdown of the game below.


Aston Villa

Key Talking Point 

For the first time in 1197 days of exile, Villa Park would host to a Premier League fixture and the Villa fans were anticipating a suitable result to mark their return to the big time.

However the party atmosphere was well and truly dampened early on as Villa were dealt another sobering top flight lesson. Dean Smith’s men were chasing shadows for the opening 25 minutes, and were limited to speculative efforts on goal.

The Villa fans were buoyed as the players responded to their sluggish start. The home side dominated in the second half. Douglas’s Luiz’s screamer on 71 minutes got the party started again as the home side redoubled their efforts in search of their first Premier League points.


Aston Villa Player Ratings

Starting XI: Heaton (4); Elmohamady (5), Engles (5); Mings (6); Taylor (6);  McGinn; (6) Douglas (7); Grealish (8); Hassan (5); Moraes (5); El Ghazi (6)

Substitutes; Jota (5) Davies (N/A)


Aston Villa Star Man

Jack Grealish was as the heart of everything positive by Villa on Saturday. In a combative midfield, Grealish carried the ball out so well for his boyhood club. He dictated wave after wave of Villa attacks in the second half.

Aaron Ramsdale,Jack Grealish

The only blemish for Grealish was an almighty miss at the Holte End. The midfielder is not known for his heading ability, but he allowed a huge chance to pass him by with the goal at his mercy. It would have been a perfect moment to cap off a lively display for the local lad. 


Bournemouth

Key Talking Point 

It’s never too early in a season for an injury crisis is it? Eddie Howe was without six first team players going in to this match, including last season’s young player of year David Brooks who is expected to be sidelined until October at the earliest.

New summer signing Arnaut Danjuma missed out for a second successive week but at least Howe was able to pick on-loan Liverpool winger Wilson in his starting XI for the first time.

Despite their depleted numbers, the Cherries took the game to Villa. Their athleticism and snappy one-touch play had Villa reeling and on the ropes. The visitors got their rewards with two early goals that stunned their hosts.


Bournemouth Player Ratings

Starting XI: Ramsdale; (6) Smith; (7) Cook (8); Ake; (7) Daniels; (6) Wilson;(6) Lerma(7) Billing (7), Fraser (6); King (7); Wilson; (6)

Substitutes; Surman (6) Solanke (5)


Bournemouth Star Man

Steve Cook was outstanding in the Bournemouth rear guard all day long. The experienced defender was a strong head on every direct ball swung in to the Cherries box.

Steve Cook,Callum Wilson

Howe would have delighted to see his defender leading by example particularly during a busy second-half for the away side. Bournemouth shipped 45 goals on their travels last season and while they left Villa Park without a clean sheet, their travelling supporters will be delighted by a more determined and dogged defensive display.


Looking Ahead

Villa will hope to bounce back with another home game against Marco Silva’s Everton next week. Dean Smith’s men will need to keep focusing on the positives as they look for their first points of the season.

For Bournemouth, next up it’s only the Champions at home. Eddie Howe will hope to be able to call on more of his first team regulars as they look to continue their bright start to the new season against ​Manchester City, which should be an easy one for them…

Let’