As The Icelandic team rests before going once more into the fray against Switzerland on October 15th in the UEFA Nations League, the horde dispersed to pillage and plunder at club level. Here’s an update on how Iceland’s footballing heroes have been performing on foreign soil.
Jói eats Cherries, blasts Bluebirds
Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson is pulling his Burnley side out of their Premier League mire, inspiring a 4-0 besmirching of Bournemouth on September 22nd and a 2-1 crushing of Cardiff the week later. Eddie Howe’s lily-livered Bournemouth had previously been going at full-tilt into the season, but “The Berginator” saw to it that their good fortune ended abruptly. After Matej Vydra’s opener, it was the Icelander who clipped a sumptuous ball to the back post, which Aaron Lennon neatly tucked away to double the Clarets’ lead before the break. Lennon returned the favour at the end of the second-half, lofting a ball to JB’s wand-like left peg, only for him to slam his effort against the post, with goal-stealing Ashley Barnes tapping in. Against Cardiff, Jói was man of the match, scoring one and balletically setting up the second. The Premier League is on high alert: THE ICEBERG COMETH. GR
Gylfi gobbles goals
In other Premier League news, Gylfi “Golden Boots” Sigurðsson notched up his first three goals of the season for Everton this month, getting off the mark via the unconventional method of nutting it into the net against West Ham. Famed for his sweeping, poetic, laser-sighted, thing-of-beauty-is-a-joy-forever shots and free kicks, it was only the third header he has scored in his stint in UK football, from a total tally of 47. He continued to be a bright light in his Everton side against Fulham with two Gylfi classics—a cultured left foot curler, and an immaculate right-footed rocket. Only the woodwork denied him a hat-trick from the penalty spot. Gylfi has arrived—be afraid. JR
Aron hexed by Hodgson
Captain Aron’s fortunes have gone from bad to worse this season at newly-promoted Cardiff. Just as he was finally named for the squad after recovering from a knee injury that’s kept him in the treatment tent so far, it was announced that “The Annihilator” has had another fitness setback when his dodgy knee flared up again in training. We at Grapevine would like to advocate for an exorcism of the afflicted joint, which may have been cursed by a mercenary völva hired by an opposing team. Who would stoop to such a thing? Crystal Palace manager Roy Hodgson, obviously, who still suffers nightmares of Aron’s screaming bearded face powering across the battlefield at Euro 2016. Not cool, Woy. JR
No Brucey bonus for Birkir
Down in the Championship division, vicious galloping warlord and wonder-winger Birkir Bjarnason’s woes continue. “Horror Hooves” Birkir was left out of the squad entirely against Blackburn by deluded, drunken bag o’ spanners Steve Bruce, but was recalled to the bench against Rotherham as an unused sub. With Birkir’s attacking prowess wasting away at Villa, Italian Serie B club Empoli reportedly sent him overtures of gold and mead this summer, leading Villa fans to an outpouring of social media outrage; Birkir then met with Steve “The” Bruce to seek assurances of playing time. We at Grapevine suggest that someone confiscate the crack pipe from Big Steve’s desk drawer ASAP so he can clear his head and get Birkir back on the pitch. JR
Heimir anaesthetises Salah woes
Former smiter-in-chief and dentist-sorcerer Heimir Hallgrímsson soothed Mohamed Salah’s international-level toothache by voting for the Egyptian in FIFA’s ‘The Best’ awards. Liverpool’s number 11 may have finished behind Cristiano Ronaldo and winner Luka Modrić in the final standings, adding insult to the physical and mental injuries inflicted by professional bastard Sergio Ramos in this year’s Champions League Final, but he will surely take some comfort in the praise of one of international football’s great visionaries. Stricken horde leader Aron Gunnarsson, however, cast his vote for former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Modrić, taking the gloss off any potential Icelandic-Egyptian love-in. GR
Read more about Icelandic football here.