Europa League hits and misses: Nicolas Pepe impresses, Spurs show depth and what now for Neil Lennon? | Football news

Arteta’s Pepe talk works wonders

Nicolas Pepe scored Arsenal's first goal
Nicolas Pepe scored Arsenal’s first goal in Molde

All eyes were on the club’s record signing, Nicolas Pepe, after his name appeared in the starting XI for the trip to Molde. What would his reaction be after his moment of madness on Elland Road on Sunday? Would he sulk in the spotlight of negativity or grab the game by the neck? Luckily for Arsenal, it was the latter as he was positive from the right flank and hit the crossbar with breathtaking effort before putting away the all-important opener in typical style with his left foot.

It’s a shame the Ivorian can’t build on that feat as he won’t be able to play in the Premier League for the next three games due to a suspension. At least he has entered the Premier League’s hibernation positively. He still has a lot to offer the club.

Arsenal games

Sun November 29th: Wolves (h)

Thursday 3rd December: Fast Vienna (h)

Sun December 5th: Tottenham (a)

Thursday December 10th: Dundalk (a)

December 13th: Burnley (h)

Super Spurs give Mourinho the perfect problem

Carlos Vinicius scored his first Tottenham goal
Carlos Vinicius scored his first Tottenham goal

It would have been more shocking, and certainly more worrying, if Tottenham hadn’t taken victory over a Ludogorets side that had already bottomed their Europa League group and decimated by Covid-19.

But you can only beat what lies in front of you and Spurs’ intensity from the first to the 90th minute didn’t let up, which will please Jose Mourinho, not least because of the lead role exiled midfielder Dele Alli had to play .

Alli’s performance and more encouraging moments for Gareth Bale, a slip for Japhet Tanganga after a long injury, and another full 90 for Matt Doherty give Mourinho the strength he lamented less than 12 months ago about Spurs’ paper-thin bunch that is like an undersized blanket . After five straight wins, he’s on his way to a king-size duvet and even his squad players are getting in shape.

Less than a month ago, Mourinho resisted his fringe players and made it clear why they did not start any league games after their gloomy defeat in Antwerp. Even against limited resistance, where Carlos Vinicius is now wrong, Alli and Bale impress and Doherty and Tanganga have minutes behind them and Spurs is already at the top of their national and European tables, things are looking rather positive in North London.
Ron Walker

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T.ottenham fixtures

Sun November 29th: Chelsea (a)

Thursday 3rd December: LASKE (a)

Sun December 6th: Arsenal (h)

Thursday December 10th: Antwerp (h)

December 13th: Crystal palace (a)

Maddison brings Leicester to life

Maddison celebrates at the final whistle after the late drama
Maddison celebrates at the final whistle after the late drama

Leicester came from behind three times to secure their spot in the last 32 of the Europa League with a dramatic 3-3 draw with Braga and Brendan Rodgers can now afford the luxury of resting key players in his side’s remaining two group games.

James Maddison was named on the bench prior to that encounter in Portugal, but it was his introduction that shifted the momentum in Leicester’s favor.

Braga might have scored two or three goals for good before the break, with the foxes grateful to Kasper Schmeichel during a flat opening, but Maddison’s arrival irritated the hosts.

Jamie Vardy celebrates after his last compensation for Leicester City
Jamie Vardy celebrates after his last compensation for Leicester City

The midfielder was a classmate and looked back on his best as the two teams met in the second leg, scored a goal and assisted in the 4-0 win. Now he seems to have his stuttering start to the season fully behind him.

Rodgers admitted that Maddison’s introduction – alongside Jamie Vardy – was a defining moment.

“If we had to chase the game we could change our form, these players brought a different dynamic. They made a big difference.”
Ben Grounds

Leicester Games

Monday, November 30th: Fulham (h)

Thursday 3rd December: Zorya Luhansk (a)

Sun December 6th: Sheff Utd (a)

Thursday December 10th: AEK Athens (a)

December 13th: Brighton (h)

Gerrards Rangers can do both

Rangers manager Steven Gerrard faces Alfredo Morelos after the Benfica draw
Rangers manager Steven Gerrard faces Alfredo Morelos after the Benfica draw

Rangers possession in their last four national games: 71 percent, 77 percent, 56 percent, 70 percent.

So the question in a major European clash against a team that is able to hold the ball for long periods of time is: can Steven Gerrard’s team be disciplined enough to work without the ball? The answer to this evidence: a resounding yes.

It’s something they’re not used to, but despite the 2-0 lead over Benfica, Gerrard’s side looked incredibly regulated, tireless and even intelligent. For 78 minutes, Benfica did little to nothing, and the shabbiest own goals put them back into a game they should have lost.

Most of the Rangers’ work actually came from their front lines. The long ball stayed with Kemar Roofe, Ryan Kent was excellent without it and Alfredo Morelos ran the channels constantly.

This bodes well for the Europa League knockout stage that the Rangers should reach. Gerrard won’t be shy to admit that his team will face Champions League quality opponents in the Europa League. he said so much about Benfica.

It bodes well for Gerrard, who has agile rangers who play horses for soccer courses.
Gerard Brand

Rangers fixtures

Sun November 29th: Falkirk (a)

Thursday 3rd December: Standard bed (h)

Sun December 6th: Ross county (a)

Thursday December 10th: Lech Poznan (a)

Where now for Lennon and Celtic?

Neil Lennon
A downcast Neil Lennon after the full-time whistle in Prague

Celtic’s bouts in the Czech capital continued as the guests threw away a lead to land at the end of a 4-1 drubbing to end their hopes of playing in Europe in the second half of the season – all of which only add to the success Pressure on their under-attack boss, Neil Lennon.

Despite their 4-1 defeat against the same opponents last time, the Scottish Premiership champions still had the chance to reach the knockout round of the European second division side, but had to return to winning ways on matchday four.

Despite the impressive start and deserved lead thanks to a wonderful solo goal by returning Odsonne Edouard, the wheels fell off for Celtic and it was their defense that was again to blame.

And with just two wins in the last nine games in all competitions – during that time Lennon’s team only conceded one goal – questions are really being asked about Lennon’s future at the club.

Celtic bodies

Sun November 29th: Ross County (h)

Thursday 3rd December: AC Milan (a)

Sun December 6th: St. Johnstone (h)

Thursday December 10th: Sparta Prague (a)

December 13th: Kilmarnock (h)


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