Memphis Depay reflects on recent success and looks ahead to the new season, as he unveils the Speedform FG Boot in London on Wednesday (13th May).
Bafetimbi Gomis scored a late, technology- assisted winner as Swansea City compromised Arsenal’s quest for automatic Champions League qualification with a smash-andgrab 1-0 away victory.
Arsenal had won nine of their previous 10 games, only dropping points in a goalless draw with champions Chelsea, but after being kept at bay by their former goalkeeper Lukasz Fabianski, they were undone in the 85th minute.
Gomis, a 74th-minute replacement for Ki Sung-yueng, sent a header towards goal and although Arsenal goalkeeper David Ospina appeared to have clawed it away, the Goal Decision System showed that the ball had crossed the line.
— MailOnline Sport (@MailSport) May 11, 2015
It was Arsenal’s first home defeat in the league since November, when they lost 2-1 to Manchester United, two weeks after going down by the same scoreline at Swansea.
United can take possession of third place by Arsenal at Old Trafford on Sunday, although Arsene Wenger’s side retain a game in hand at home to Sunderland.
Fabianksi was in inspired form for the visitors, although it was a largely substandard contest.
The Pole came alive in the second- half, first saving fron Santi Cazorla before gathering a prodded effort from substitute Theo Walcott and then spreading himself at his near post to thwart Nacho Monreal, who had motored onto an incisive pass from Alexis Sanchez.
— Arsenal FC (@Arsenal) May 11, 2015
Fabianski then repelled efforts from Aaron Ramsey and Cazorla either side of a razor-sharp double save that left Sanchez and Walcott with their heads in their hands.
Frustration turned to disbelief minutes later when Montero clipped a cross into the box from the Swansea left and Ospina was unable to prevent Gomis’ downward header from crossing the line.
For any foreigner plying their trade on a far flung continent, the biggest battle at hand is largely one of homesickness.
From familiar surroundings to your favourite cuisine, hundreds and thousands of miles over land and sea can dissipate or increase in equally swift strokes of the brush.
A taste of home can be found in a local eatery of a cosmopolitan country long since encountered by your fellow countrymen. While it may serve as a reminder, it will be hard pressed to replicate the taste of your family kitchen.
Equally, the memories of an old street where you played with friends can seem remarkably distant, blurred by new ones played out to less familiar backdrops.
For players at Liverpool, this is something manager Brendan Rodgers is trying to keep from being forgotten by his young charges and used as a motivational tool.
Rodgers has been reading out messages of support from his team’s mothers before games this season and Brazil midfielder Philippe Coutinho is one of those players to have benefitted from Rodgers’ experiment.
“I was so anxious for it to be my turn, for the manager to read the letter from my Mum,” Coutinho told CNN.
AWW COUTINHO SO NICE.. HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY.. pic.twitter.com/77kL0MPGSs
— Thesh LFC Kumar(@Thesh92) May 10, 2015
“I waited and waited for it. The manager had spoken to the mothers of every player in the team, he’d been reading a message before every game for months and finally my turn had come.
“At first, I didn’t know that the manager would be reading a letter from her, then he mentioned her name and I was really overwhelmed.
As for the message’s content?
“It said she loved me, is proud of me, is always with me and missing me.
“There was more, but those are just the words I needed to hear. It filled me up. The other players were also really moved because every week, regardless of whose mother it was with the message, we were all inspired and emotional.
“We were getting really strong, powerful words and it pushed us so much.”
On that day last season Coutninho netted the winner in a 3-2 win over Manchester City in a pivotal match that, at the time, looked set to hand the Anfield side the Premier League title.
Having moved to Italy and Inter Milan from his native Brazil at the age of 18, Coutinho knows all too well the challenges associated with a continental drift.
The mini magician has, however, had a huge advantage in combating this change.
His childhood sweetheart, Aine, followed Coutinho to Inter at 17 and has been his support system ever since.
It is little wonder that Rodgers’ method struck a chord with the man who has an arm full of ink to serve as constant reminder to the most important people in his life.
“[My parents and wife] moved with me to help make the settling easier,” Coutinho explained to CNN.
— Philipe Coutinho (@Phil_Coutinho) May 19, 2013
“But it was hard for them. As they were old, it was difficult for them to learn the language or adapt to a new culture and ways of doing things like I could.
“Aine had to change her entire routine, my dad had to quit his job which was painful because he loves to be busy. My parents eventually moved back to Brazil, so since then it has been me and my wife, although they are always involved.
“If there is something that needs to be done on my behalf back home for example, my brothers take care of it for me. I share everything with my family; all my happiness and success is theirs.”
This ability to share is reflected in Coutinho’s ability on the pitch, where his unselfishness is matched by his understanding of those around him.
Having lost out on the title last year and being way off the pace at the top of the table this time around, Rodgers may have missed a trick by not having Coutinho’s mother deliver the team-talk every week.