Halftimeng European Team of the week

Finally the Transfer window is closed till the madness returns at the start of  the new year in January, I must confess it is a major headache and i truly envy the managers and members of staff of various clubs always involved in the mad frenzy associated with it. Thankfully, none of the members of our esteemed team of the week was involved in any last minute moves.

Europe’s elite leagues entered into week three (although Serie A is in its second week) with clubs like Liverpool getting bragging rights in England’s version of El Classico (this game still means a lot, did you see Gerrard and RVP almost go at it?); Arsenal ensuring they remain the top dogs in North London despite all the money spent by City rivals Tottenham Hotspurs. In Spain, Messi returns like he had never left, Valencia showing they may have a say  in the title equation despite their loss and the Madrid teams put up a show of sheer brilliance. In Italy, the San Paolo is the place to be and the Viola are having a feel for the romance of the game once again with their new strike force.

In a 4-2-3-1 formation, my team of the week is as follows:

Halftimeng team of the week

Despite conceding three first half goals to the irrepressible Lionel Messi; Diego Alves kept his Valencia Side in the tie and ensured no further goals were conceded. If you ever need a lesson on how to cross a ball (Phil Jones may have to do this), Pablo Zabaleta‘s cross for Manchester City’s opening goal epitomized precision especially with the fact that it was done without the Argentine defender controlling the ball; along with his assist he had a very assured performance in the right back position for the noisy neighbours. Walter Mazzarri has started his Internationale reign quite comfortably, this is helped by matured performances from the likes of Yuto Nagatomo at left back; ensuring a solid balance in Inter’s transition from attack to defense capped by a goal against Catania this weekend. Martin Skrtel has come under a lot of criticisms, but like a true professional, he has handled it well even though competition for places have been intensified by the arrivals and potential arrivals of the likes of Kolo Toure, Mahmo Sakho and Thiago Ilori to merseyside; he still put up a man of the match performance against Manchester United. He is partnered by the man solely responsible for ensuring that AC Milan are in the Champions League this season; Phillipe Mexes put up a good show and scored a goal as well against Cagliari as Milan got their campaign back on track with a victory

My deep lying Midfielder and Midfield pivot are Arturo Vidal and Francisco Román Alarcón Suárez aka Isco respectively; both players put up goal scoring performances; influencing the game from start to finish especially Isco against Bilbao (now I see why Real were confident to let Ozil go) and Vidal’s late runs into the box remained a constant problem for Lazio’s defence.

In the attacking midfield position; the greatest player of his generation, Lionel Messi occupies the right side of my attacking midfield three after a spell binding hat trick performance against Valencia, joined by Daniel Sturridge on the left side of the attacking three after a commanding start to the season; 3 goals in 3 games and being responsible for all the goals Liverpool have scored thus far in the league gets him a place in the team. Rafa Bentiez has the makings of a great team, a team that has awakened the sentiments of the Maradona and Careca scudetto winning era; for this to be a reality, Marek Hamsik must carry this team on its shoulder and he has shown his desire to do just that. After being handed the Captain’s band and missing out on being in our team of the week last week (I got a lot of criticisms for that); he showed the class that has made him one of Serie A’s best performers for the last couple of years especially with the fact that he is having to adapt to new team mates.

My Arrow head, the leader of the line, the goal getter, the fox in the box is none other Mario Gomez; Fiorentina may have just got a huge bargain and should be counting their stars especially with the understanding he has already built with the returning Giuseppe Rossi; a brace in the Viola’s 5-2 victory over Genoa has earned him a place in Europe’s elite 11.

Manager of the week is Brendan Rogers, negotiated successfully the North west derby against United, despite the distraction of the Post Humus celebration of the centenary year of the birth of Reds’ legend Bill Shankly. Rogers team looks quite solid and with the

kind of business he concluded this window; Liverpool should be taken serious and the win against Champions Manchester United goes a long way in ensuring that.

Adeyemi Adesanya
Sports Business Consultant and Football Intermediary; Risk Management & Due Diligence Consultant; Freelance Football writer & Pundit on Radio & TV and Man.Utd Fan
http://www.halftimeng.com

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