Arsenal have announced former player Mikel Arteta as their new head coach. Arteta has been the assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Photo: @Arsenal via Twitter
Arsenal have announced former player Mikel Arteta as their new head coach. Arteta has been the assistant to Pep Guardiola at Manchester City. Photo: @Arsenal via Twitter

A festival of football

By sanele Tshabalala Time of article published Dec 21, 2019

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It’'s football (or soccer to some locals plebs) all round for this weekend, with the lesser sporting codes taking a break around this festive time of year.

Arsenal meet Everton to kick off the weekend games. The Gunners are all over the show, waiting on ex-skipper and still management green Mikel Arteta to agree to the terms set out by the bosses at Emirates Stadium.

He’s swopping Etihad voyager miles for Emirates nice life problems in business class!

This confusion may work either way for my fellow Gooners. I suspect Everton may add to the misery, so I’m staying well clear of this match.

In the other run of the mill games vandag, entertaining Aston Villa plays Southampton, Bournemouth host Burnley, Brighton play Sheffield United, Newcastle against Crystal Palace, and Norwich hosts Wolves. In a short and sharp prediction, I’m swaying towards all the home teams to win, barring Sheffield. Look at a draw in the first or the last games mentioned above.

Last up today in the EPL would have been Londoners West Ham, playing log leaders Liverpool. This game was suspended, however, due to the latter’s commitment to play in the Club World Cup final.

Tomorrow, the game of the day and possibly the week’s biggest match-up, features the champions Manchester City hosting the ever impressive Leicester City.

The visiting Foxes are in an unusual and enviable position of being four points ahead of the defending champions. The big question is: are ‘The Fantastic Foxes’ able to stretch this lead, maintain their points difference, or will the best ginger midfielder in the world, Kevin de Bruyne, rip them a new one, as he did Arsenal a week ago?

To wrap up the EPL, it’s truly a super Sunday, with cheeky Watford hosting the load-shedding Manchester United. They don’t know whether they are on or off from week to week.

The final attraction is a London derby between Tottenham and Chelsea.

Franky Lampard’s team is quite erratic and Ole isn’t sure whether he’s got coal or candy in his Reds stocking.

I’m leaning towards a result of sorts out of Watford and Jose and his Spuds to come out roasting into Christmas week.

Halfway across the world, Liverpool are essentially 90 minutes away from ruling the club football world.

Many believe it means nothing, but trophies in the cabinet most definitely inspire confidence amongst players and fans alike.

If you know a Liverpool fan, you’ll know what I mean.

Qatar as a footballing country and as a host will be tested in the above mentioned game out of Doha - the city and country that will be hosting the Fifa World Cup in just under three years. Flamengo of Brazil will look to mug Jurgen Klopp’s football Beatles, in what is sure to be a high octane game with goals on both ends.

Let it be.

In the PSL, there is also a full roster of matches, which will be our entertainment leading into the festive season.

Baroka host Stellenbosch to get us loose, and the vibe out in Limpopo around festive is a waar, bafethu. Smart money backs Baroka.

Then Highlands Park meet Golden Arrows, in what is a golden opportunity for Abafana Bes'thende to get one over the poor cuzzie in the Jozi conglomerate - especially with many a supporter having headed to the sea for amaholide (holidays).

We’ve got more GPs on the KZN roads than an episode of Scrubs! It’s a mess.

The remaining games namhlanje feature Orlando Pirates versus Black Leopards, the new Telkom Cup winners Mamelodi Sundowns host Polokwane City, and Chippa United welcome SuperSport.

The last church service before Christmas will be followed by Bloem Celtic and AmaZulu out in the Free State, while Maritzburg United play our local version of Liverpool, Kaizer Chiefs.

Look out for Usuthu in the first game, mara a stalemate is most likely - which is a good result for AboSokhela. In the Burra of Maritz, the visiting Amakhosi side will fancy finishing 2019 on a strong note. If you ask their fans, the league trophy is already in the Motaung household.

Carry on, bafethu.

A win by the golden zebras would add more misery to the ‘Team of Choice’ - who were unlucky in defeat in the Telkom Cup final.

Merry Christmas to all those near and far. Keep safe, enjoy family time and the love shared.

Now go and have a lakkas drink, you biscuits. It’s as much as you deserve.

Sangoma out like a festive impeachment!

@shabsgunner


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