WEEKEND TAKEAWAY: Look in the Mirror Jose, Man United is Crumbling

Jose Mourinho’s teams are usually renowned for their defensive solidity but not this one. This Manchester United side concede goals faster than a magnet attracts an iron.

In the last campaign, Manchester United conceded 28 goals. This season, however, with barely 17 games played, United have conceded more: 29. How much of this is down to poor goalkeeping, horrifying defending, individual errors or could it be the team strategy?

Blame Ed Woodward for not heeding the advice of Jose Mourinho, but the gaffer has four international centre-backs in his team, and it is not any other person’s fault that the players Jose requested for have failed neither is it the fault of Ed Woodward that, for the third league game in a row Paul Pogba, who cost Manchester United a record fee is seen as good enough for the bench; and for the second consecutive game, he sat there for the entire duration of the game.

After losing at Anfield, Manchester United is 19 points behind Liverpool, which is as big as has existed at this stage of the season for 46 years, and 11 points adrift of the top four. If anything has to be done, it should be Jose fixing his team before they crumble like a pack of cards.

Jurgen Klopp, on the other hand, has Salah, Mane, Firmino…and the fourth Beatle: Xerdan Shaqiri.

The Swiss joined the action on the 70th minute, and by the 80th minute he had scored two goals that handed Liverpool a 3-1 win over rivals Manchester United.

Since his summer switch from relegated side Stoke City, Shaqiri has proven time and again to be an absolute steal for Jurgen Klopp.

His versatility is opening up room for him in a congested Midfield and an untouchable front three. Yet, whether you play him as a forward or a midfielder, Shaqiri has delivered.

It’s unlikely that performances like this will earn him a starting berth going forward because it isn’t probable that Klopp will consider Shaqiri as the third piece in midfield.

For now, Naby Keita and Jordan Henderson are still above the Swiss in the pecking order.

Complacent Arsenal lose unbeaten run

For the 17th time this season, Arsenal failed to lead at half-time.

For the first time in his fairytale Arsenal career, Unai Emery is faced with a real problem and the timing couldn’t have been worse than this.

With Mustafi, Holding, Sokratis, and Kolasinac confirmed absentees before the game, Arsenal’s biggest challenge was bound to be their defence and not the threat of Southampton’s attack. And it proved to be.

Losing a 22-game unbeaten run to a team that had not won a game at home all season must have been infuriating, but not the sight of Hector Bellerin and Stephen Lichtsteiner – who had begun the day in central defence alongside Xhaka and Koscielny – leave the pitch after picking up their own injuries.

Make that five key members of Arsenal’s backline; and with a Carabao Cup semi-final clash coming up against Spurs in midweek, Unai Emery is facing his toughest spell yet at Arsenal’s dugout.

Canelo Alvarez; a 3-division titlist.

Canelo Alvarez began his post-pay-per-view career since signing on with streaming network DAZN in October following the expiration of his contract with HBO – who quit the boxing business after 45 years – and he put up quick a show.

Four knockdowns and a technical knockout scored Canelo his third world title in different weight classes.

See, this is why Canelo Alvarez is special. He just wants to box, the weight class doesn’t matter, as long as he can bulk up or tone down for each weight category, he’s going to fight.

And this win over Rocky Fielding was as one-sided as it goes, stripping the Brit of his prized possession in only three rounds of boxing.

As predicted, Canelo Alvarez got an absolute gift of a fight to begin his five-year, 11-fight, $365 million contract with DAZN.

Larry Ekundayo defends European title, gets World title shot

Larry’s ultimate goal has been to be in a position to get world title shots and his unanimous victory over Louis Greene on Friday puts him right where he wants to be.

In his first defence since claiming the European IBF welterweight title in July, Larry Ekundayo outscored Greene – he isn’t much of a knockout specialist- and now he is closer to actualising the dream of bringing a World Title bout to Nigeria. But first, he needs to become a world champion.

Guti’s Managerial stint is mired in controversy

Guti didn’t sign up for this; he didn’t leave Real Madrid youth team only to find that a team that reached the knockout phase of last season’s Champions League by topping the group is now facing financial challenges.

First, the exit of Alvaro Negredo, who joined Al-Nasr in the United Arab Emirates, then Fabri, and Matej Mitrovic, and then Dusko Tosic to Guangzhou R&F; yet Besiktas couldn’t pay up their debts neither could they post their player’s wages. Hence, players fake injuries so as not to partake in games.

While Ricardo Quaresma, Adriano Correia and other players look set to leave as the club can no longer pay their wages; it’s being reported also that Besiktas have been looking to cancel the loan of Liverpool goalkeeper Loris Karius; all of this just before Pepe paid the salaries of the cooks and gardeners at the club before mutually terminating his contract. Sad tale for a young manager who is trying to builda name for himself with the best set of talent available.

Yet in all these, Besiktas are third on the log, forcing Trabzonspor to a 2-2 draw over the weekend; a remarkable feat.

Supersand Eagles lose

The Supersand Eagles lose another final: and so what?

Getting to that final was extraordinary in the first place, no one should have expected such a feat yet they delivered. Losing to the continent’s best beach soccer team is not shameful. However, this defeat is painful: it is the third final defeat to Senegal in 6 years and it hurts.

Senegal is the continent’s most successful nation in beach Soccer, five titles in the cabinet, three of that could have been to Nigeria and those two will immediately swap honours.

But with zero preparation, the lads went to Egypt and secured a world cup ticket and a silver medal. These are not men, they are gods.

National Sports Festival

This Olympic-styled event is not the most successful one ever hosted, but it had to be done.

The wait was getting too long, athletes we’re finding it harder and harder to keep up with their rivals on the continent due to their inactivity back home.

The sports ministry couldn’t put up a show, but who cares, the festival had been in a coma for six years and the last thing in anyone’s mind is a proper showing.

Let the festival return, and then build on current success and learn from failures experienced this year.