WHAT WE LEARNED THIS WEEKEND: ASHGOLD DOING ‘THE CHELSEA’, GRANT FINALLY OUT OF JAIL

It was a weekend filled with lots of weird stuff and WWLTW takes a weird look at the weirdest of them all

By: Sammie Frimpong

Home and abroad, football was on the menu this weekend, being served in all flavours. Here at WWLTW, though, we like it best in one particular shade, namely, the ‘weird’ — and, thankfully, we did have plenty of that. Join us feast, then!

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THE TINKERMAN ALMOST SUPERMAN NOW

Watching Leicester City boss Claudio Ranieri fight an outburst of emotion after his team, courtesy two Jamie Vardy goals, stole a win at Sunderland and inch ever closer — statistically just three wins away, in fact — to a shock Premier League title win while simultaneously clinching a spot in next season’s Uefa Champions League was a sight that would make even the legendarily stoic Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo smile a little beyond his customary 15-second limit.

You see, the poor guy has handled some of the world’s top clubs: Valencia, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea, Juventus, Napoli, AS Roma, Inter Milan and, most recently, nouveau-riche AS Monaco. Yet, through it all, he rarely ever won anything of note (his last major trophy came in 2004) and, of the meagre lot, not a single league triumph. But now good old Ranieri has arrived, after some 30 years of fire-fighting and underwhelming at the helm of the sport’s elite.

Morale: some people need not all the Gucci- or Armani-branded suits at the Accra Mall to look their best; just take them on few minutes’ visit to Kantamanto and they’d outdo Boris Kodjoe on the runway anyday.

CHASING THE ELEPHANT INTO THE BUSH MINES

Mr. Roman Abramovich would find relief in knowing that his team hasn’t been the only champions from last season making a mess of their title defence this term. In Ghana, if nowhere else, they have company in one big elephant: Ashantigold. The ‘Aboakese’ are having a year to forget, really. First, they were edged by Medeama in February’s Super Cup challenge, then their Caf Champions League campaign got shattered at the first hurdle, and now their bid to hold on to the rare league crown they claimed has already fallen flat, especially after being upset at home by high-flying debutants Dreams FC on Sunday.

Having claimed only one-third of all points on offer thus far, and with a single win in seven games, the Obuasi outfit is in dire straits. And, just as happened at Stamford Bridge, if things don’t improve quickly, an admittedly brilliant but notoriously outspoken gaffer would pay for it.

GOOD WEEKEND

Oh, boy, Arsenal!

If there’s anything the Gunners specialise in — besides winning the FA Cup and being rubbish at everything else — it’s making a straightforward contest look suddenly difficult, and then summoning their inner Michael Power to salvage ‘something’ in the end. Taking a two-goal lead at West Ham on Saturday in a quest to catch up with those catching up with Leicester at the top, Arsene Wenger’s men contrived to make Liverpool reject Andy Carroll look, for approximately 10 minutes, better than, er, Andy Carroll, before striking later through Laurent Koscielny to nick a point in the end. By Arsenal’s standards, of course, that’s more one gained than two dropped — nothing unusual here.

BAD WEEKEND

On a weekend when Dreams FC trekked to Ashanti to slay Ashgold, Techiman rocked with Hearts of Oak coming to town, and Asante Kotoko reminding everyone they can actually win games, the Ghana Premier League was still poorer without the presence of its No.1 fan, Avram Grant. Since being hauled back to base some weeks ago by the Ghana Football Association, the Black Stars head coach had become a major magnet for attendance at league games, with fans turning up in their numbers at all venues each matchday, expecting to see Grant show up at one of the eight. Such ‘Grant-busters’ would have been disappointed this week, though, as the GFA, having had enough of seeing an unamused, uninterested Grant at the various stadia, has relieved the Israeli of his misery, granting him an amnesty that would enable him tour Europe to monitor talents. The GPL, needless to say, would never be the same in the conspicuous absence of its patron saint, such has been Grant’s influence.
So long, dear friend…

PICTURE OF THE WEEK

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Leaving me behind for the Liberty trip eh? Fine case..

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