The horns are sounding. The drums are beating. The boats are mooring. Our boys are back in town for the international break, ready for the fight of their lives. Here’s how they’ve been preparing, with some key smiters in much better shape than others.
Unstoppable Al Arabi continue title march
Aron Gunnarson is marauding towards his first championship title in six years with new side Al Arabi, who sit second in the Qatar Stars League with a game in hand. The Red Devils’ 1-3 drubbing of Al Khoor on October 4th, which included 95th and 98th minute goals from Hamdi Harbaoui and former Leeds United striker Pierre-Michel Lasogga, made it four wins from five this season. Heimir Hallgrímsson’s side have already secured an away draw at table toppers, Al Duhail courtesy of a vital Aron equaliser, and take on fifth-placed Al-Gharafa at home after the international break.
No-Deal Brexit galvanises JB’s Clarets
Tottenham and Everton are the latest Premier League sides to fall victim to Britain’s ongoing identity crisis, but one side is thriving in the eye of the storm. Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson’s Burnley, coached by John Smith’s lager and Sunday roast fanatic Sean Dyche, are enjoying something of a renaissance after their faltering campaign last year.
A 1-0 slaying of Gylfi Sigurðsson’s Toffees on October 5th put the Clarets dangerously close the European spots, although Dyche will have something to say about that if the situation is the same come May. After all, being out of Europe has made Burnley great again.
Gylfi down in the dumps
A Séamus Coleman red card and a morale-sapping Jeff Hendrick winner could prove to be the final nails in Everton manager Marco Silva’s coffin. The Portuguese withdrew star man Gylfi just 59-minutes into the civil war to account for Coleman’s absence, but that didn’t stop his side from slumping to their fifth loss of the season, leaving them in 18th place. Another summer of heavy investment from Everton’s owners has heightened the spotlight on Silva, who’s flattered to deceive for large periods at the helm. And with the vultures circling, Gylfi has already made offerings to the Gods in the hope that they’ll steer the club’s hierarchy away from rehiring Sam Allardyce.
Warlords descend for survival fight
Iceland will be looking to Aron and JB to bring the feelgood factor back into the national camp ahead of crunch matches against France (October 11th) and Andorra (October 14th). The shock defeat against Albania left our boys in a precarious position in Group H, three points off the automatic qualification spots. But Erik Hamrén is emboldened by the return of Alfreð Finnbogason, who’ll be crucial to Iceland’s snatch and grab tactics, particularly against the world champions. Nothing less than two positive home results will do.
Hannes back behind the camera
Iceland’s multi-talented ‘Auteur of Pain’, Hannes Þór Halldórsson, dusted off his camera in early November to film a gym-based techno odyssey, starring Game of Thrones’ Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, AKA “The Mountain”. The music video, shot for DJ Muscleboy’s new single, MUSCLE CLUB, includes an ensemble of scantily clad ravers, dumbbells, glistening physiques and much more. October 11th, when the single is released, will be a quiet night at the library for sure.
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