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The Good, The Bad & Ronaldo Interview

The-Good,-The-Bad-&-The-Ugly3-min

This week in The Good, The Bad, The Ugly, we discuss a lot of goods before talking about Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan. But first, some of the biggest bets you may have missed out on this weekend by not following our tips.  


THE GOOD

Ivan Toney Sends A Message To Southgate

Ivan Toney responds to World Cup snub by stunning Man City with two goals in Brentford to ensure Arsenal are top of the Premier League at Christmas

Less than 24hrs after Ivan Toney was left out of England’s squad for the FIFA World Cup, he responded by scoring a brace to earn Brentford their first away win over Manchester City since 1939. Toney opened the scoring early in the first half with a header before Phil Foden’s ferocious volley before half-time drew things level.  

Toney then finished off a perfectly executed counter-attack deep into stoppage time to grab a win for the visitors leaving Erling Haaland and his teammates speechless.  


Xabi Alonso Makes It 3 wins in 3 for Leverkusen

Alonso's Leverkusen loses 3-0 to Porto in Champions League- The New Indian Express

After a shaky start to his life as a Head Coach, Xabi Alonso seems to have steadied the ship over at Leverkusen. Three consecutive wins in the space of 8 days (against Union Berlin, Koln and on Saturday, Stuttgart) have seen them rise from 17th position in the Bundesliga to 12th and just 7pts from a European spot.  

To put that in perspective, the gap between Leverkusen and 7th place Dortmund is closer than the gap between Dortmund and the top of the Bundesliga. An impressive turnaround and a good place to leave things heading into the Qatar World Cup break.  


Darwin Núñez Signs Off In Style

Darwin Núñez - Player Profile - Football - Eurosport UK

Liverpool’s Darwin Núñez is starting to look like the player Liverpool paid €80m for with a string of consistent performances. After a rocky start to life at Anfield which saw him suspended for 3 games for a straight red card against Crystal Palace, the Uruguayan forward has slowly adjusted to his new teammates and seems to be a good fit right now.  

He scored in each of his last 3 UEFA Champions League appearances and, on Saturday, grabbed a brace against Southampton in a 3-1 win. His tally for Liverpool is now 9 goals and 2 assists in 18 games. Not bad at all considering he’s missed 4 games and only completed 90 mins on just two occasions since his move.  


Arsenal Move 5pt Clear In the EPL

Arteta nominated for PL Manager of the Month | News | Arsenal.com

The Gunners wasted no time in capitalizing on Manchester City’s slip up with a 2-0 win against bottom of the table, Wolves. With new manager, Julen Lopetegui, yet to fully take over and made to watch from the stands, Wolves remained the same team they have been all season – a lot of bark but no bite. Arsenal’s skipper, Martin Ødegaard, was the star of the game as his brace delivered all 3 points to his team, leaving them top of the table and 5pts clear of 2nd-placed City who lost to Brentford earlier. Wolves, meanwhile, will be bottom of the Premier League table heading into Christmas for the first time since 2003/04 – a season in which they finished bottom and got relegated. Julen Lopetegui has his work cut out for him.  


Record Setting Win For Luciano Spalletti

We're all Luciano Spalletti, his Fiat Panda and his pet duck in the Serie A race

Napoli extended their lead at the top of the Serie A to 8 pts with a 3-2 win over Udinese and in doing so, Luciano Spalletti became the first manager in the history of the club to win 11 consecutive Serie A games. The club has won every league game since the start of September and are heavy favorites to grab the Scudetto for the first time since the 1989/90 season when they had a certain Diego Maradona. Also, Victor Osimhen deserves a special mention. The Nigerian striker missed a month of action due to an injury but has been in fine form since his return and now leads the league in goals (9).  


Man Utd’s Wonderkid Saves The Day

Alejandro Garnacho: Arrogance, ego and passion - Gary Neville raves over new Man Utd superstar after late Fulham winner

Alejandro Garnacho was the saviour of the day – again – as his 93rd min winner sealed all 3 pts for the team. Earlier in the week, he had come on as a sub to create 2 assists in Man Utd’s 4-2 comeback win over Aston Villa in the League Cup and before that, he scored the lone goal in the victory over Real Sociedad in the Europa League.  

With Man Utd 1-1 at Fulham and looking likely to drop points for the second EPL game in a row, Erik ten Hag once again turned to Garnacho to provide the spark needed for the team, and he did just that in his 18-min cameo.  


THE BAD

Chelsea Now Winless In 5

Chelsea player ratings vs Newcastle: Jorginho, Kovacic poor as Joe Willock goal separates sides - football.london

Graham Potter’s honeymoon phase at Chelsea is over and the Englishman must navigate his first “crisis” at the club after his 3rd successive defeat in the Premier League. Newcastle were slight favorites heading into this game and went ahead through Joe Willock’s ferocious shot in the 67th min – the Blues had no response to it. The defeat leaves Graham Potter winless in his last 5 Premier League games, and Chelsea have now dropped to 8th. To put that in perspective, Chelsea are twice as close to the relegation zone (8 pts) than they are to the top of the Premier League (16 pts).  


Iwobi’s Unwanted Shirt

Ex-Arsenal winger Alex Iwobi reveals the reason he quit the Gunners for Everton – hinting he was too 'comfortable' at the Emirates – The Sun | The Sun

Everton’s 3-0 defeat at Bournemouth was their 3rd loss in 5 games in the Premier League and their second loss to the Cherries by a 3-goal margin in just 4 days, following a 4-1 defeat in the EFL Cup on Tuesday. The result left them 17th on the table, just a point above the relegation zone. The travelling fans (most of whom are presumed to have stayed back after Tuesday defeat) were understandably angry. They let this anger and disgust known to the players when Alex Iwobi – in what was a kind and innocent gesture – threw his game jersey to the fans, only to have it thrown back at him.  


Fumbling Dutch Giants

Erik ten Hag to rectify transfer miss as Tyrell Malacia emerges as target to fix Manchester United concern

Feyenoord were left thanking their luck over the weekend as they capitalized on the dropped points by Ajax and PSV. Ajax (2nd place heading into the weekend) had blown a 3-1 first half lead to 16th place Emmen to draw 3-3, while PSV (top of the table heading into the weekend) suffered a 1-0 home defeat to AZ Alkmaar – their 4th in the Eredivisie this season. Feyenoord’s 5-1 win over Excelsior meant they moved to 1st place, three points ahead of the Dutch giants while Ajax remained 2nd with PSV dropping to 3rd.  


THE UGLY: Cristiano Ronaldo’s Interview

There is the burning of bridges, there is the walking to both sides of the metaphorical bridge and tearing it down from either ends before heading down to burn the remains and then, there is Cristiano Ronaldo’s interview with Piers Morgan.  

In a 90-min interview yet to be fully released, the 37-year-old forward appeared to go against every single person associated with Manchester United for how he felt disrespected by the club.  

He blamed 2-unnamed top executives for not wanting him to return to the club last year, he blamed the club’s training facilities, the jacuzzi, the current manager, Erik ten Hag, the owners, last season’s interim Head Coach, Ralf Rangnick, whom he claimed he had never heard of prior to his appointment, his old teammate, Wayne Rooney, even the club’s chef was not spared for having the audacity to be on the job since his first spell at the club.  

In all of this, the only two people that were spared Cristiano Ronaldo’s wrath were the fans and, of course, Cristiano Ronaldo himself.  

Disrespectful Man United have betrayed me & made me a black sheep, says Ronaldo in explosive Piers Morgan interview | The Sun

This season was always destined to be a tough one for the 5-time Ballon d’Or winner. His absence from Man Utd’s pre-season tour in Asia and Australia meant he would need more time adapting to his new manager’s style of play and when he was substituted at half-time in the game against Rayo Vallecano in a pre-season game, he left the stadium in anger – not the first time he would do that in the space of 3 months. As the stats show, the club has done better with Cristiano Ronaldo off the pitch than with him on it and this was always going to be a huge blow to his ego.  

While Man Utd had not always won with him off the pitch, there was significant improvement in the way the team played without him, and Erik ten Hag understandably opted to have him come in as a sub in more league games.  

There were some truths to Cristiano Ronaldo’s 90-min long temper tantrum to Piers Morgan. His concerns about the state of the club’s facilities and their failure to “move with the times” is a sentiment shared by a lot of match day going fans, former and current players as well as the new executives. The club’s lack of competence in the transfer market has also been echoed by the footballing world – although, and this is a funny irony, a straight line can be drawn between that and his return to the club.  

Cristiano Ronaldo: Sad footage of Man Utd star v Soton emergesAs Cristiano Ronaldo struggled to accept that father time catches up with everyone even him – arguably the greatest footballer of all time – things were always going to get ugly and this 90 mins interview might be the first in what is now an inevitable and messy breakup between him and the 20-time Premier League Champions. 

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