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Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal vs Southampton - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 8, 2018 Southampton's Cedric Soares applauds fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien/Files
Premier League - Arsenal vs Southampton
Soccer Football - Premier League - Arsenal vs Southampton - Emirates Stadium, London, Britain - April 8, 2018 Southampton's Cedric Soares applauds fans after the match Action Images via Reuters/Tony O'Brien/Files
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
Crystal Palace Interested in Signing Belgium Midfielder Leander Dendoncker
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
Crystal Palace Interested in Signing Belgium Midfielder Leander Dendoncker
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
Crystal Palace Interested in Signing Belgium Midfielder Leander Dendoncker
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
Crystal Palace Interested in Signing Belgium Midfielder Leander Dendoncker
​Crystal Palace are reported to be interested in Belgium international, Leander Dendoncker, according to the Daily Mail. The 23-year-old midfielder wants to leave his current side Anderlecht, and is said to be keen on a move to the Premier League. West Ham have watched the box to box midfielder this season, but Hammers boss David Moyes was hesitant, predominantly as Anderlecht wanted around £20 million in the January transfer window. Roy Hodgson’s side will undoubtedly be looking to improve...
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Infos mercato et rumeurs de transfert en direct : Luis Enrique sur le banc d'Arsenal ?
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Infos mercato et rumeurs de transfert en direct : Luis Enrique sur le banc d'Arsenal ?
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Infos mercato et rumeurs de transfert en direct : Luis Enrique sur le banc d'Arsenal ?
Goal fait le tour des dernières infos transferts et rumeurs de mercato en Ligue 1, Serie A, Premier League, Liga et Bundesliga.
Arsene Wenger was compared Thursday to Che Guevara for his revolutionary impact at Arsenal by former player Luis Boa Morte.
Premier League: 'Revolutionary' Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is like Che Guevara, says former player Luis Boa Morte
Arsene Wenger was compared Thursday to Che Guevara for his revolutionary impact at Arsenal by former player Luis Boa Morte.
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Gerrard in talks with Rangers
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
Transfer news & rumours LIVE: Gerrard in talks with Rangers
Goal takes a look at the biggest transfer news and rumours from the Premier League, La Liga, Serie A and beyond
during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on December 2, 2017 in London, England.
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during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on December 2, 2017 in London, England.
during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on December 2, 2017 in London, England.
98683122
during the Premier League match between Arsenal and Manchester United at Emirates Stadium on December 2, 2017 in London, England.
Premier League clubs scramble for £45m Nainggolan
Premier League clubs scramble for £45m Nainggolan
Premier League clubs scramble for £45m Nainggolan
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Five reasons Arsenal should be confident facing Atletico Madrid... and five to strike fear into their hearts
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Five reasons Arsenal should be confident facing Atletico Madrid... and five to strike fear into their hearts
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Five reasons Arsenal should be confident facing Atletico Madrid... and five to strike fear into their hearts
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Five reasons Arsenal should be confident facing Atletico Madrid... and five to strike fear into their hearts
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Five reasons Arsenal should be confident facing Atletico Madrid... and five to strike fear into their hearts
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Five reasons Arsenal should be confident facing Atletico Madrid... and five to strike fear into their hearts
As cup runs go, Arsenal's path to the Europa League semi-finals has been more than a little favourable. AC Milan and CSKA Moscow each posed a threat of their own but Arsenal saw off both without needing to be at their best. In the competition's final four, however, Atletico Madrid provide Arsene Wenger with one of the toughest tests European football has to offer. Atletico are the bookies' favourites and have bags of European pedigree, but there are also plenty of reasons for Arsenal to be optimistic they can upset the odds. Reasons to be cheerful The home leg It has been a mixed season for Arsenal, split fairly evenly between home and away matches. On home soil, few have been able to match them. They have won 22 of 28 games at the Emirates, including each of the last six, and there is reason to believe they can take a lead back to Madrid. Arsenal have won their last six home games Credit: Getty images Arsenal score in bursts at home, spurred by a single goal into at least one more. The late flurry of goals in Sunday's 4-1 victory over West Ham was the 13th home game this season in which Arsenal have scored at least twice in the space of 10 minutes. It was also the eighth time they have scored three times in the space of 15 minutes. If they get the chance to take the tie away from Atletico by scoring more than once, they have to take it. Atletico's form If there was ever a good time to play Atletico, it's now. After the winter break, they went on a run of 15 wins from 19. In recent weeks, however, Diego Simeone's side have won just one of their last five. At the weekend, a slightly weakened side fired a blank in drawing 0-0 at home to Real Betis, while just three days earlier, they were thoroughly outplayed in losing 3-0 to a mid-table Real Sociedad team that included Adnan Januzaj and former Southampton forward Juanmi. Atletico lost 3-0 to Real Sociedad last week Credit: AFP They have only won once away from home since February, and were only spared elimination at Sporting Lisbon in the previous round by some wayward finishing from the Portuguese side. Atleti have looked vulnerable and eminently beatable of late. Set-pieces You might suspect that this is in the wrong section: shouldn't dead ball situations be precisely what a team like Arsenal are afraid of when facing a team like Atletico Madrid? Well, Atletico are not the set-piece threat they once were, ranking as the fourth-worst team in La Liga when it comes to goals scored, with just six set-piece goals. They have scored only two headed goals in their 34 league games and Diego Godin, scorer of the goal that won them the title at Barcelona 2014 and their goal in the Champions League final in the month, has not scored all season. How Arsene Wenger's potential replacements would change Arsenal Meanwhile, you may not believe it, but Arsenal are the Premier League's most effective team at dead balls, with 15 goals scored. Set-pieces could be crucial in this tie, but not for the reason many might have expected. Lacazette's form Just in the nick of time, Alexandre Lacazette has hit some form. He is back to fitness and he is brimming with confidence for the first time in an Arsenal shirt. Six goals in four starts and two substitute appearances in April make for promising reading. No Costa Diego Costa scored three goals in six matches against Arsenal for Chelsea, including the winner in a 1-0 win at the Emirates in January 2016, so Wenger will be pleased to have heard the Spain striker is expected to miss out this week with a hamstring injury. Diego Costa has a habit of causing trouble against Arsenal Credit: Reuters He hasn't hit his best form since returning to Spain, scoring six goals in 18 appearances, but we all know he would raise his game for Arsenal if he were available. He should be back in time to cause some trouble in the second leg. Reasons to be fearful The away leg Arsenal's away form has been, for want of a better phrase, absolutely rubbish. They are the Premier League's only team yet to pick up a single point on the road since the turn of the year, and have also lost at Stoke, Watford and Nottingham Forest this season. Arsenal's win percentage What chance do they stand against an Atletico Madrid team that has not conceded a single goal at home in nearly 17 hours of football? The only hope, one would imagine, is if Arsenal can move out of sight before they go to Spain for the return leg. Counter-attacking threat Only one side has scored more counter-attacking goals in La Liga this season than Atletico, while only a handful have conceded more times on the break in the Premier League than Arsenal. It wouldn't be at all surprising to see Arsenal allowed to dominate possession in both legs, playing perfectly into Atletico's hands. The wall that is Jan Oblak The latest find on conveyor belt of world class goalkeepers at Atletico Madrid is current number one Jan Oblak, who has been linked with a move to just about every big team on the planet, with prices upwards of £100m mentioned in some of the gossip columns. It helps playing behind a defence as resolute and organised as one pieced together by El Cholo, and that has certainly aided the development of those that have come before Oblak, such as David de Gea and Thibaut Courtois. Jan Oblak has saved a higher proportion of the shots he has faced than any other first choice goalkeeper in Europe's big five league Credit: Getty images But both the quality and quantity of Oblak's saves make him undeniably one of the world's best goalkeepers. He has kept out 84.2 per cent of the shots on target he has faced this season, giving him the best save percentage of all first-choice goalkeepers in Europe's big five leagues. Finding a way past him will provide a stern challenge. Simeone's nous There aren't many teams that try to intimidate Arsenal these days with a physical approach, but you'd expect Simeone to instruct his players to break up Arsenal's passing by whatever means necessary. Simeone is yet to lose an away European match in England as a manager, and he'll have a game plan tailored specifically to frustrate Arsenal this week. Missing men Just about everyone agrees the 'cup-tied' rule is nonsensical, but it remains in play and there will therefore be no Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang available in either semi-final tie. Mohamed Elneny and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang miss out for Arsenal Credit: Reuters Arsenal have made it this far without their record signing, but he and Lacazette have they have combined well in recent weeks, and his absence will further limit options on the bench. They will also be without Mohamed Elneny, so there will be no defensive midfielder for either leg, and we have seen before what can happen to Arsenal when they play without a holding player in big games. It isn't pretty.
Middlesbrough are suing their former manager Garry Monk and his new club Birmingham City after they employed the same backroom staff at St Andrew’s as he had during his time on Teesside. In what appears to be a legal first in football, Middlesbrough are claiming that Birmingham have been given a competitive advantage because of the inside knowledge they have gained about their own football operation by employing Monk and his coaching staff. They are seeking damages and the removal of the entire Birmingham backroom team until the end of the year. Monk was sacked by Boro in December after less than six months in charge as the club had failed to mount the sort of challenge for automatic promotion owner Steve Gibson had envisaged after relegation from the Premier League. The former Swansea City and Leeds United boss returned to management with Birmingham in March and is on course to lead the Midlands club away from relegation to League One. Monk was joined at St Andrew’s by former England international James Beattie, Sean Rush, Ryan Needs and Darryl Flahavan. Beattie was employed by Boro as first-team coach, Flahavan as goalkeeping coach, Rush as head of physical performance and Needs as head of physical performance analysis. Monk was sacked by Boro last December Credit: Andrew Fox They were placed on gardening leave when Monk was sacked but quit in March in order to link up with him again at Birmingham. According to lawyers representing Middlesbrough, there was a clause in the backroom team members’ contracts preventing them from working together, and alongside Monk, for their Championship rival until December 28 this year. The two teams could still be playing in different divisions next season as Middlesbrough, under new manager Tony Pulis, are in the play-off places in the Championship, but that has not prevented legal action being taken as they believe the quartet’s insider knowledge may give Birmingham a ‘competitive advantage’ over them. Their knowledge of ‘confidential information’ includes transfer targets and strategy, player wages and weaknesses, Boro’s lawyers argued. Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs Representing Middlesbrough, Ian Mill QC, told London’s High Court restrictions were included in their contracts to protect Boro’s players, staff and the club itself. “There is a real risk that Middlesbrough will lose players to BCFC if it continues to employ each member of the backroom team at the same time as each other and/or Mr Monk,” he said. “A number of Middlesbrough’s current players, including some of its young players, who are on comparatively low salaries, were recruited or favoured by different members of the backroom team and remain loyal to them.” The quartet also have knowledge of the weaknesses of Boro players, which could make it ‘more difficult for Middlesbrough to sell players during the transfer window’ and are aware of the players that Boro intend to sign and the type of players they are looking for if they do not win promotion. “BCFC’s employment of the backroom team is therefore likely to give it ongoing competitive advantage over Middlesbrough,” Mr Mill added. Boro are seeking an injunction that would stop the quartet working for Birmingham until December 28, as well as damages.
Middlesbrough launch legal action against Garry Monk and Birmingham
Middlesbrough are suing their former manager Garry Monk and his new club Birmingham City after they employed the same backroom staff at St Andrew’s as he had during his time on Teesside. In what appears to be a legal first in football, Middlesbrough are claiming that Birmingham have been given a competitive advantage because of the inside knowledge they have gained about their own football operation by employing Monk and his coaching staff. They are seeking damages and the removal of the entire Birmingham backroom team until the end of the year. Monk was sacked by Boro in December after less than six months in charge as the club had failed to mount the sort of challenge for automatic promotion owner Steve Gibson had envisaged after relegation from the Premier League. The former Swansea City and Leeds United boss returned to management with Birmingham in March and is on course to lead the Midlands club away from relegation to League One. Monk was joined at St Andrew’s by former England international James Beattie, Sean Rush, Ryan Needs and Darryl Flahavan. Beattie was employed by Boro as first-team coach, Flahavan as goalkeeping coach, Rush as head of physical performance and Needs as head of physical performance analysis. Monk was sacked by Boro last December Credit: Andrew Fox They were placed on gardening leave when Monk was sacked but quit in March in order to link up with him again at Birmingham. According to lawyers representing Middlesbrough, there was a clause in the backroom team members’ contracts preventing them from working together, and alongside Monk, for their Championship rival until December 28 this year. The two teams could still be playing in different divisions next season as Middlesbrough, under new manager Tony Pulis, are in the play-off places in the Championship, but that has not prevented legal action being taken as they believe the quartet’s insider knowledge may give Birmingham a ‘competitive advantage’ over them. Their knowledge of ‘confidential information’ includes transfer targets and strategy, player wages and weaknesses, Boro’s lawyers argued. Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs Representing Middlesbrough, Ian Mill QC, told London’s High Court restrictions were included in their contracts to protect Boro’s players, staff and the club itself. “There is a real risk that Middlesbrough will lose players to BCFC if it continues to employ each member of the backroom team at the same time as each other and/or Mr Monk,” he said. “A number of Middlesbrough’s current players, including some of its young players, who are on comparatively low salaries, were recruited or favoured by different members of the backroom team and remain loyal to them.” The quartet also have knowledge of the weaknesses of Boro players, which could make it ‘more difficult for Middlesbrough to sell players during the transfer window’ and are aware of the players that Boro intend to sign and the type of players they are looking for if they do not win promotion. “BCFC’s employment of the backroom team is therefore likely to give it ongoing competitive advantage over Middlesbrough,” Mr Mill added. Boro are seeking an injunction that would stop the quartet working for Birmingham until December 28, as well as damages.
Middlesbrough are suing their former manager Garry Monk and his new club Birmingham City after they employed the same backroom staff at St Andrew’s as he had during his time on Teesside. In what appears to be a legal first in football, Middlesbrough are claiming that Birmingham have been given a competitive advantage because of the inside knowledge they have gained about their own football operation by employing Monk and his coaching staff. They are seeking damages and the removal of the entire Birmingham backroom team until the end of the year. Monk was sacked by Boro in December after less than six months in charge as the club had failed to mount the sort of challenge for automatic promotion owner Steve Gibson had envisaged after relegation from the Premier League. The former Swansea City and Leeds United boss returned to management with Birmingham in March and is on course to lead the Midlands club away from relegation to League One. Monk was joined at St Andrew’s by former England international James Beattie, Sean Rush, Ryan Needs and Darryl Flahavan. Beattie was employed by Boro as first-team coach, Flahavan as goalkeeping coach, Rush as head of physical performance and Needs as head of physical performance analysis. Monk was sacked by Boro last December Credit: Andrew Fox They were placed on gardening leave when Monk was sacked but quit in March in order to link up with him again at Birmingham. According to lawyers representing Middlesbrough, there was a clause in the backroom team members’ contracts preventing them from working together, and alongside Monk, for their Championship rival until December 28 this year. The two teams could still be playing in different divisions next season as Middlesbrough, under new manager Tony Pulis, are in the play-off places in the Championship, but that has not prevented legal action being taken as they believe the quartet’s insider knowledge may give Birmingham a ‘competitive advantage’ over them. Their knowledge of ‘confidential information’ includes transfer targets and strategy, player wages and weaknesses, Boro’s lawyers argued. Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs Representing Middlesbrough, Ian Mill QC, told London’s High Court restrictions were included in their contracts to protect Boro’s players, staff and the club itself. “There is a real risk that Middlesbrough will lose players to BCFC if it continues to employ each member of the backroom team at the same time as each other and/or Mr Monk,” he said. “A number of Middlesbrough’s current players, including some of its young players, who are on comparatively low salaries, were recruited or favoured by different members of the backroom team and remain loyal to them.” The quartet also have knowledge of the weaknesses of Boro players, which could make it ‘more difficult for Middlesbrough to sell players during the transfer window’ and are aware of the players that Boro intend to sign and the type of players they are looking for if they do not win promotion. “BCFC’s employment of the backroom team is therefore likely to give it ongoing competitive advantage over Middlesbrough,” Mr Mill added. Boro are seeking an injunction that would stop the quartet working for Birmingham until December 28, as well as damages.
Middlesbrough launch legal action against Garry Monk and Birmingham
Middlesbrough are suing their former manager Garry Monk and his new club Birmingham City after they employed the same backroom staff at St Andrew’s as he had during his time on Teesside. In what appears to be a legal first in football, Middlesbrough are claiming that Birmingham have been given a competitive advantage because of the inside knowledge they have gained about their own football operation by employing Monk and his coaching staff. They are seeking damages and the removal of the entire Birmingham backroom team until the end of the year. Monk was sacked by Boro in December after less than six months in charge as the club had failed to mount the sort of challenge for automatic promotion owner Steve Gibson had envisaged after relegation from the Premier League. The former Swansea City and Leeds United boss returned to management with Birmingham in March and is on course to lead the Midlands club away from relegation to League One. Monk was joined at St Andrew’s by former England international James Beattie, Sean Rush, Ryan Needs and Darryl Flahavan. Beattie was employed by Boro as first-team coach, Flahavan as goalkeeping coach, Rush as head of physical performance and Needs as head of physical performance analysis. Monk was sacked by Boro last December Credit: Andrew Fox They were placed on gardening leave when Monk was sacked but quit in March in order to link up with him again at Birmingham. According to lawyers representing Middlesbrough, there was a clause in the backroom team members’ contracts preventing them from working together, and alongside Monk, for their Championship rival until December 28 this year. The two teams could still be playing in different divisions next season as Middlesbrough, under new manager Tony Pulis, are in the play-off places in the Championship, but that has not prevented legal action being taken as they believe the quartet’s insider knowledge may give Birmingham a ‘competitive advantage’ over them. Their knowledge of ‘confidential information’ includes transfer targets and strategy, player wages and weaknesses, Boro’s lawyers argued. Premier League and Football League relegation, promotion and play-offs Representing Middlesbrough, Ian Mill QC, told London’s High Court restrictions were included in their contracts to protect Boro’s players, staff and the club itself. “There is a real risk that Middlesbrough will lose players to BCFC if it continues to employ each member of the backroom team at the same time as each other and/or Mr Monk,” he said. “A number of Middlesbrough’s current players, including some of its young players, who are on comparatively low salaries, were recruited or favoured by different members of the backroom team and remain loyal to them.” The quartet also have knowledge of the weaknesses of Boro players, which could make it ‘more difficult for Middlesbrough to sell players during the transfer window’ and are aware of the players that Boro intend to sign and the type of players they are looking for if they do not win promotion. “BCFC’s employment of the backroom team is therefore likely to give it ongoing competitive advantage over Middlesbrough,” Mr Mill added. Boro are seeking an injunction that would stop the quartet working for Birmingham until December 28, as well as damages.
Jose Mourinho is satisfied with what he has achieved as the manager of Manchester United and said the Premier League club was not prepared for success when he took over in 2016.
Jose Mourinho Content With Progress Made at Man United
Jose Mourinho is satisfied with what he has achieved as the manager of Manchester United and said the Premier League club was not prepared for success when he took over in 2016.
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
FIFA 18: The best FUT Premier League squad you can assemble for under £200k
Player prices are expected to drop tremendously in the build-up toFIFAs Team of the Season event which begins on April 27 so get those bargains in now
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
How Mo Salah became the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history
Mohamed Salah has scored 43 goals for Liverpool this season, taking the club to the brink of the Champions League final and giving himself a genuine chance of winning the Ballon d'Or. But aside from the sheer quantity of his goals, what sets Salah apart? Here is everything you need to know about the exploits of the man dominating the end of the season. He has a ravenous appetite Mohamed Salah - Top goal scorers in Europe If it seems like Salah scores in every game he plays that is because he generally does. If one thing has set the Egyptian apart this season it is his sheer consistency and appetite for goals - since December 30 Salah has started 18 games and scored in 16 of them. His longest run of games without a goal this season is three, in September and October, while only once in the last six months has he failed to score in two successive games. For context, Lionel Messi has twice gone five games without scoring, which shows the rate Salah is going at. He is the top scorer in Europe's top five leagues, ahead of Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and Robert Lewandowski. It is astonishing stuff. He’s speeding up In comparison to his current form, Salah started relatively slowly. He scored three goals in each of August, September and October - a more than respectable tally - but is regularly doubling that total now. The only month in which he dipped was January, and that was due to injury. Mohamed Salah - Goals by month The 25-year-old is getting more prolific as the season has gone on, which is partly why he pipped Kevin de Bruyne - a player whose best form was at the beginning of the season - to the PFA Player of the Year Award. He scores at vital moments In addition to the vast quantity of goals Salah scores, he also scores at important times - the key periods before half-time and full-time that change the complexion of games. Mohamed Salah - when he scored Of his 44 goals, 21 have been scored in the last 15 minutes of each half, suggesting that while teams might be able to keep him out for a while Salah will get you in the end. He scores decisive goals There are certain goalscorers who tend to add a little gloss to a scoreline, contributing the fourth to a 5-0 win. Salah is not one of those players. Of his 44 goals, 15 have come when the scores are level (10 of those being the first of the game), and another 15 when there was just one goal between the teams. Based on the idea that scoring the single goal in a 1-0 win contributes two points to your team (by changing one point to three), Salah has been responsible for 20 points this season. By way of comparison, Sadio Mane has contributed 10 points to the Liverpool cause and Roberto Firmino eight. Salah - as was the case against Roma on Tuesday night - is very much the main man. Roma v Liverpool He scores brilliant goals, simple goals, long-range goals - with a few signature strikes thrown in to the bargain It goes without saying that having scored 43 goals this season Salah is a brilliant, instinctive finisher, but he actually scores four main types of goals, some of which are becoming trademarks. The poacher’s effort Liverpool may not have realised they were signing a poacher, but that is exactly what Salah has turned out to be. His first goal for the club was a tap-in from a yard against Watford and 14 of his goals have been first-time finishes, many after rebounds from the goalkeeper or the woodwork. They keep the goal tally ticking over. Watford 2 - 3 Liverpool (Mohamed Salah, 57 min) Salah celebrates scoring his first goal for Liverpool against Watford back in August Credit: Getty Images The curler When Salah has the ball on the right-hand side of the area he tends to have one thought in mind - curl the ball with his left foot towards the far corner of the goal. It is a strike he has perfected this season, particularly at the Anfield Road end where he has scored that exact type of goal against Southampton, Everton and now Roma. OHHH MO SALAH! �� What a goal! What a moment! Liverpool and their Egyptian King go marching on! ������ pic.twitter.com/30UvuOdnTJ— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 When Salah picked up the ball in just that position after 35 minutes on Tuesday night it was obvious Juan Jesus should have shepherded him onto his right foot. Instead he allowed Salah to shoot and Roma paid the price as Salah unerringly found the top corner. An undervalued by-product of this goal is the reaction of the goalkeeper, who in each occasion dives but with arms withdrawn, an acceptance it is a futile effort. If given space on the edge of the box, Salah is deadly. The dink Salah’s second against Roma was another trademark strike - the beautifully-judged dink. His goal on Tuesday night was perhaps the hardest of all those he has scored this season, coming as it did from outside the area with Alisson closing him down, but there was also a sense that - once he was played through by Firmino - it was inevitable. Salah! Again! Wow! This time the coolest of dinks over the keeper! �� Goal number 43 of the season �� pic.twitter.com/pkQWlhS26l— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 24, 2018 In the last fortnight Salah has scored three separate chips, against Manchester City, West Brom and now Roma. It is the type of finish that takes real courage, with the acknowledgement you could look silly if it doesn’t work. If executed correctly it is almost impossible to stop - and Salah knows exactly how to pull it off. The ‘now you see him, now you don’t’ dribble There have been times this season when Salah’s finishing has been reminiscent of Lionel Messi’s, no more so than when he is seemingly surrounded in the penalty area before somehow finding a gap to score. As with Messi, Salah does not strike you as a devastating physical specimen. At just 5ft 9in and 71 kgs it seems he should be knocked off the ball more often than he is. But as with Messi, Salah has a low centre of gravity, is stronger than he looks and has a wand of a left foot. He also has ice in his veins and is not scared to take his time to get a shot away. Of his 43 goals, nine have been scored after taking at least four touches of the ball - a huge amount, particularly in the penalty area. For context, Salah had just 44 touches against Roma on Tuesday, which shows how unusual having four touches in one move is. Mohamed Salah - Number of touches Salah takes to score But when he gets going it is difficult to stop him. Three of Salah’s most memorable goals this season have been jaw-dropping dribbles, against Tottenham in February and twice against Watford last month. They were Messi-esque, and they have a dual advantage. With opponents scared of his dribbling ability they back off, allowing him to unleash the curler. Either way, Salah tends to come out on top. He can score from anywhere The plot map of Salah’s goals illustrates quite how dangerous he is. Mohamed Salah - Where he scored from A short backlift means chances close to goal are easily put away, while he is deadly from the edge of the area or just outside. Then there are the real long range efforts - particularly if Ederson decides to clear the ball straight to him. He does it in the big games Salah is no flat-track bully, an accusation often levelled at so many strikers over the years. His scoring rate is remarkably consistent no matter who he is playing against. This season the Egyptian has played 14 games against the top six or in the Champions League knockout stages, scoring 12 goals - 0.86 per game. Mohamed Salah - Flat-track bullies In the other 33 games he has scored 31 goals - 0.94 goals per game. It is a tiny difference in relative terms and underlines his consistency against any calibre of opposition. It also bears contrast with his peers. The top five goalscorers in the Premier League are Salah, Harry Kane, Sergio Aguero, Raheem Sterling and Jamie Vardy. Of those five three of them - Kane, Aguero and Sterling - have a far inferior record against the big sides, while Salah is extremely consistent and Vardy (who is having an astonishing season) actually has far more success against the big teams than the also-rans. It is another big tick for Salah. He is a creator as well as a goalscorer Salah brings more than just goals. It may have been because his first two goals were scored in front of the Roma supporters, but the Egyptian only truly celebrated after setting up Sadio Mane for Liverpool’s third on Tuesday night. Roberto Firmino celebrates with Salah after scoring Liverpool's fourth goal against Roma Credit: Getty Images That was his 12th assist of the season and a 13th soon followed for Roberto Firmino, the second most of any player for the club this season. That means he either scores or assists a goal every 67 minutes - a frankly astonishing record. With Firmino averaging a goal or assist every 89 minutes and Mane one every 116 minutes, it demonstrated why this is a strike-force to be feared. He has a signature celebration but seemingly no ego Any self-respecting modern footballer looking to build their personal brand needs a stock celebration. Salah's now familiar pose - stock still, in front of the celebrating Liverpool fans - is a great image and is being copied in school playgrounds up and down the land. Salah in trademark pose after scoring for Liverpool against Manchester City in their Champions League quarter-final tie Credit: Getty Images He also seems extremely likeable, coming across in interviews as genuinely down-to-earth. Easier said than done when you consider that in the recent Egyptian elections Salah is reported to have received over a million votes, despite the fact he was not a candidate. Instead, Egyptians who wanted to register a protest vote crossed out the names of the two formal candidates and wrote Salah’s instead. Salah is said to be a unifying force in Egypt, particularly as he played for neither Al Ahly or Zamalek - Cairo’s two bitter city rivals - instead making his professional debut for Arab Contractors before moving to Basel. A mural in downtown Cairo that depicts Salah Credit: AFP/Getty Images The Liverpool fans have unsurprisingly taken him to their hearts, finding a use for the James song Sit Down in the process: No-one saw this coming When Liverpool played Roma £34m for Salah last summer they clearly thought they were getting a serious talent, but they surely never expected this level of sustained brilliance. The Egyptian scored 34 goals in two seasons at Roma - a more than reasonable return but hardly indicative of a talent that would start to challenge Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo for World Player of the Year honours. His forgettable stint at Chelsea coloured many perceptions of him, particularly in England. Salah had shone at Basel, got his big move and then ended up having to take a step backwards after it failed to work out. He calmly rebuilt his career in Italy before returning to the Premier League for another shot, becoming one of the division’s most dominant figures within 10 months. Salah struggled during his time at Chelsea Credit: Action Images He is the slowest-burning overnight sensation in English football history, a man whose career at Stamford Bridge was finished by disappointing performances against Shrewsbury and Bradford City just over three years ago. Now he is shining in a Champions League semi-final or, as Paul Hayward wrote: “In classic world-class-player style, Salah pretty much decided to score”. It is a genuinely brilliant story with seemingly no downside. At this stage all there is to do is enjoy a man who doesn’t look like he should be one of the world’s best footballers becoming exactly that. So is he fit to be put in the same bracket as Messi and Ronaldo? Absolutely. Salah has outscored both at club level this season - his 43 goals being one more than Ronaldo and three more than Messi - and talk of the Ballon d’Or is far from fanciful. "Without a shadow of a doubt he's the best player on the planet right now." �� Mo Salah is being fast-tracked to legendary status down at Anfield ������ pic.twitter.com/UzGqotwpdM— Football on BT Sport (@btsportfootball) April 25, 2018 If he wins the Champions League with Liverpool and performs well at the World Cup he could well be crowned the best player on the planet.
Hyderabad: A charged-up Sunrisers Hyderabad will have revenge on their minds when they face an in-form Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Thursday. Sunrisers defended a modest 118 against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday to bring their campaign back on track after suffering back-to-back defeats. File image of Sunrisers Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: SportsPicz Despite missing the services of injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sunrisers showed their bowling prowess. Pacer Siddarth Kaul and leg-spinner Rashid Khan helped the home team dismiss the two-time champions for 87 on a slow wicket at the Wankhede Stadium to record a 31-run victory. Sunrisers have looked a balanced side with skipper Kane Williamson leading the from the front with 259 runs and Kaul standing out with nine wickets in the tournament so far. It was KXIP who had handed out a 15-run loss to the Sunrisers earlier at Mohali. They were, in fact, blown away by Chris Gayle, who had cracked a 63-ball 104. The West Indian T20 exponent has looked in ominous form this season with a hundred and two fifties. However, Gayle had missed the last match against Delhi Daredevils as he was a bit sore and Punjab would hope the opener makes it to the playing XI on Friday. His opening partner KL Rahul too has looked in good touch scoring 236 runs including two half-centuries. Sunrisers will be again banking on the dangerous duo to give them another flying start while Hyderabad will be focused on dismissing them cheaply. In Bhuvneshwar's absence, Siddarth and Basil Thampi will have to take the responsibility early on and the spin trio of Rashid, Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Nabi will hold the key in the middle overs. Among the batsmen, Sunrisers would hope Shikhar Dhawan, who had suffered a hit in the elbow during the match against KXIP and missed a match, finds his touch after getting out cheaply in the last game. After the batsmen scored a lowly 118, skipper Williamson said he expected more from them. "Without a doubt, we were expecting a lot more from our batsmen. Perhaps we could have gotten to 140 mark. A fantastic second half for us, but we are still to put a collective performance together," he said despite the team winning by 31 runs. The Teams (from): Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Billy Stanlake, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hale. Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), AJ Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Chris Gayle.
IPL 2018: With revenge on mind, Sunrisers Hyderabad look to halt in-form Kings XI Punjab
Hyderabad: A charged-up Sunrisers Hyderabad will have revenge on their minds when they face an in-form Kings XI Punjab in the Indian Premier League on Thursday. Sunrisers defended a modest 118 against Mumbai Indians on Tuesday to bring their campaign back on track after suffering back-to-back defeats. File image of Sunrisers Hyderabad. Image Courtesy: SportsPicz Despite missing the services of injured Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Sunrisers showed their bowling prowess. Pacer Siddarth Kaul and leg-spinner Rashid Khan helped the home team dismiss the two-time champions for 87 on a slow wicket at the Wankhede Stadium to record a 31-run victory. Sunrisers have looked a balanced side with skipper Kane Williamson leading the from the front with 259 runs and Kaul standing out with nine wickets in the tournament so far. It was KXIP who had handed out a 15-run loss to the Sunrisers earlier at Mohali. They were, in fact, blown away by Chris Gayle, who had cracked a 63-ball 104. The West Indian T20 exponent has looked in ominous form this season with a hundred and two fifties. However, Gayle had missed the last match against Delhi Daredevils as he was a bit sore and Punjab would hope the opener makes it to the playing XI on Friday. His opening partner KL Rahul too has looked in good touch scoring 236 runs including two half-centuries. Sunrisers will be again banking on the dangerous duo to give them another flying start while Hyderabad will be focused on dismissing them cheaply. In Bhuvneshwar's absence, Siddarth and Basil Thampi will have to take the responsibility early on and the spin trio of Rashid, Shakib Al Hasan and Mohammad Nabi will hold the key in the middle overs. Among the batsmen, Sunrisers would hope Shikhar Dhawan, who had suffered a hit in the elbow during the match against KXIP and missed a match, finds his touch after getting out cheaply in the last game. After the batsmen scored a lowly 118, skipper Williamson said he expected more from them. "Without a doubt, we were expecting a lot more from our batsmen. Perhaps we could have gotten to 140 mark. A fantastic second half for us, but we are still to put a collective performance together," he said despite the team winning by 31 runs. The Teams (from): Sunrisers Hyderabad: Kane Williamson (captain), Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Shikhar Dhawan, Shakib Al Hasan, Manish Pandey, Carlos Brathwaite, Yusuf Pathan, Wriddhiman Saha, Rashid Khan, Ricky Bhui, Deepak Hooda, Siddarth Kaul, T Natarajan, Mohammad Nabi, Basil Thampi, K Khaleel Ahmed, Sandeep Sharma, Sachin Baby, Chris Jordan, Billy Stanlake, Tanmay Agarwal, Shreevats Goswami, Bipul Sharma, Mehdi Hasan, Alex Hale. Kings XI Punjab: KL Rahul, Mayank Agarwal, Aaron Finch, Yuvraj Singh, Karun Nair, David Miller, Marcus Stoinis, Axar Patel, Ravichandran Ashwin (captain), AJ Tye, Mohit Sharma, Mujeeb ur Rahman, Chris Gayle.

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