Scramble for the Paris Crown
“I have told them to sort it out between themselves,” the Spaniard declared during his postmatch news conference. “I think that they are capable of doing that and that they will both be our kickers.
The response of Paris Saint Germain head coach Unai Emery to journalists after a hard earned victory against Lyon that was masked by the open brawl between Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani and the world’s most expensive player Neymar.
It did not help issues that fellow Brazilian Dani Alves openly got involved in the scuffle as he sought to back his former Barcelona teammate.
The arrival of Neymar the global icon was always going to rob a number of other alpha egos in that PSG dressing room of their star spotlight and arrive at that point we have.
Cavani who was among the pioneers of the era of big spending for PSG will be seething and is highly unlikely to sit down with Neymar over coffee and croissants to decide how goal opportunities and spot kicks will be split.
This is the sole responsibility of the coach. Unai Emery, and he should clearly have spelt out these duties the moment the Brazilian was acquired.
A break down in leadership fueled by the manager’s lack of clarity and pragmatism.
Such ineptness at dealing with special players is probably the reason why Emery will not be the one to steer this ship long-term.
In the head of Neymar he is the unanimous leader and arrow head of this PSG side and must be allowed to take charge of all the deciding moments in matches.
On a skill and performance level he is not wrong and I firmly believe that he will eventually have his way.
Cavani does not stand a chance in this feud as he is surrounded on all sides by Brazilians who will go to war for their man.
Insisting on butting heads with Neymar will eventually result in Cavani being transfer listed and that will truly signify the second phase of the PSG global conquest journey.
We are witnessing the construction of a super team,led by a super star with a super ego who will stop at nothing to exert himself as the best in the sport with the help of his loyal henchmen.
Five games into the new Premier League season, a modest goal and two assists to his name might not scream take-over for Newcastle’s Christian Atsu but it is the beginning of better things to come.
Along with captain Jamal Lascelles he has put himself in the position to become one of the leaders and go-to-guys on a Newcastle team that will require inspiration from some quarters through out the season if they are to exceed expectations with their current squad.
The injuries during his spell at Everton left him in a dark place and so did the lack of trust shown in his fitness and ability by Bournemouth and Eddie Howe.
The lifeline for Ghana’s most talented player currently to fulfill his full potential reside at Tyneside and in the hands of Spaniard Rafael Benitez.
On his watch Atsu has braved the harsh and physical conditions of the Championship and has survived long enough to score his first ever Premier League goal to give an unfancied Newcastle team nine points in five games en-route to a temporary fourth place spot on the log.
At their current level of quality in each position, Newcastle have no business winning matches but have managed to navigate tricky assignments due to some shrewd coaching and the availability of players with the desire to prove their worth like Atsu to execute.
Playing Atsu on the left wing as an inverted winger has always made the most sense for me,but over the years he has been unable to perfect that art in the manner that has crystallized guys like Arjen Robben as legends of the role in the eyes of many.
Thus,I accept the decision of Benitez to play Atsu on his natural left side where both his goal and assists this season have come from.
He looks in rhythm with the pace of the league and will have to battle through the physical nature of the play everytime he takes to the court.
Barring any unforeseen injury setbacks and managerial instability,this could be the season that defines the career of the former Feyernoord academy product.
Princesses slip under the radar
I have made a conscious effort to keep tabs on Ghana’s Black Princesses as they seek to qualify for the World Cup but even I was blown away by the manner in which the qualifying campaign got under way and even more by how a 5-0 win in far away Algiers escaped the high praise of all Ghanaians.
Perhaps it is essential to see through the two legged fixture before showering coach Yusif Basigi and his girls with champagne.
What is evident is that the head coach Basigi despite the various impediments that exist during such preparation campaigns has managed to conduct a wide range of scouting to give Ghana the best chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in France.
In the face of meagre resources and national neglect,his man management skills will be tested but as things stand they remain on the right path.