Likened to Luis Suarez & inspired by Radamel Falcao: Why Chelsea should fear Luka Jovic

first_img In October, meanwhile, he broke a 48-year record by becoming the youngest ever player to score five goals in a Bundesliga game during the 7-1 thrashing of Fortuna Dusseldorf, joining (you guessed it) Lewandowski in a list of only three non-Germans to achieve the feat.The sheer volume of goals that Jovic has scored and the records he has broken are impressive yet the variety of his strikes also point towards an exceptionally well-rounded finisher. Of his 17 in the Bundesliga this season, eight have come via his right foot, six from his left and three courtesy of his head.Furthermore, a demonstration of Jovic’s predatory instincts in front of goal can be shown by the fact that every single one of his 34 goals – in the Bundesliga and cup competitions – in a Frankfurt shirt have come from inside the penalty area.AdvertisementAdvertisementGiven that Jovic is a threat with either foot and in the air, it is interesting that his footballing inspiration is Radamel Falcao, a player who at his Porto and Atletico Madrid pomp scored virtually every type of goal imaginable, from acrobatic volleys to bullet headers to predatory tap-ins.Speaking about his idol in 2013 before his breakthrough at Red Star, Jovic reportedly said: ‘I like Radamel Falcao the most. Playing with the left, right, head. Every chance he takes, he’s fantastic. I’d love to be at least like him.’ Jovic failed to make the grade at Benfica but has flourished since leaving in 2017 (Picture: Getty)Considering his struggles with Benfica, Frankfurt and in particular their Sporting Director, Bobic, deserve great credit for identifying his potential and taking a punt on him. Although Jovic struggled to settle in Portugal, he has seemingly had no such issues in Germany.AdvertisementAt Frankfurt, there is a strong Serbian influence with Filip Kostic and Mijat Gacinovic both important squad players, while one of the breakout stars of the last World Cup, Croatian forward Ante Rebic, has also proved an invaluable foil.In contrast to his time with Benfica, Jovic is clearly valued by Frankfurt’s management and teammates as much of their tactical play is geared towards getting the best out of him. Frankfurt’s manager Adi Hütter has predominantly used a 3-4-1-2 system which incorporates attack-minded wing-backs and versatile forwards as part of Jovic’s support network.All five of left wing-back Kostic’s Bundesliga assists this season have been for his compatriot Jovic – the highest combination in the Bundesliga – while Danny Da Costa on the opposite flank has also delivered quality into the box with four assists overall. Only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (with 21) has scored more Bundesliga goals than Jovic (17) this season which, added to his five assists, means he has been directly involved in 37% of Frankfurt’s total goals. In Europe, his eight goals and one assist account for just under a third of Frankfurt’s 28 goals.Factoring in the eight goals he struck during the 2017-18 season and Jovic has 25 in 50 games, coming at an average of one every 118.32 minutes. That strike-rate is currently the fourth-best in Bundesliga history only behind Lewandowski, the legendary Gerd Muller and Arsenal’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.Europa League top goalscorersOlivier Giroud (Chelsea)10Wissam Ben Yedder (Sevilla)8Munas Dabbur (Salzburg)8Luka Jovic (Frankfurt)8 Share Olivier Giroud is the only player to score more Europa League goals than Luka Jovic this season (Getty Images)The Italian is far from the first high-profile person in football to lavish praise on Jovic this season. His national team coach Mladen Krstaljic likened him to Barcelona’s Luis Suarez in March, while Frankfurt’s Sporting Director Fredi Bobic said he is a player of ‘exceptional ability’ after signing him permanently earlier this month. A former coach of Jovic’s at Benfica Helder Cristavao, meanwhile, said of him: ‘[he] reminds me of Sergio Aguero with his technique and instinct.’Jovic’s record both in the Bundesliga and Europa League this season demonstrates why he has emerged from relative obscurity to becoming one of the most feared and talked about players in world football over the course of the campaign. Mladen Krstaljic on Luka Jovic ‘He’s a classic goal-getter with great control of the ball and a good understanding of the game. I’d probably compare him to Luis Suarez. He’s courageous and dangerous at any moment because he’s always lying in wait for his chance or any inattention from the opponent.’ Filip Kostic (L), Luka Jovic (C) and Ante Rebic (R) have all been key components of Frankfurt’s side (Getty Images)Both Rebic and towering Frenchman Sebastian Haller also deserve credit for their selfless work up front that has created space for Jovic to inflict damage on opposition defences. Rebic has been a roving menace from a No.10 position, while Haller’s link-play – three of his nine Bundesliga assists have been for Jovic – has also been excellent.The problem that Frankfurt have is keeping Jovic beyond the end of the season, despite activating their purchase option to buy him this month. Should Frankfurt qualify for next season’s Champions League either through winning the Europa League or finishing in the top four, there is an outside chance he could stay.AdvertisementBut with Europe’s biggest clubs, including Chelsea, sniffing around him, that prospect appears unlikely. Bobic has admitted as much, saying recently: ‘There’s a real possibility that Jovic signs for Real Madrid. I hope and want him to stay here at Eintracht, but I’m also realistic and know that if a big club like Real Madrid want him then we haven’t got a chance of keeping him.’He’s staying! ☺Eintracht have exercised their option to make Luka #Jovic’s deal a permanent one, the forward signing a contract until June 2️⃣0️⃣2️⃣3️⃣!#Jovic2023 #SGE pic.twitter.com/3BAAcbgxCT— Eintracht Frankfurt (@eintracht_eng) April 17, 2019 Advertisement Likened to Luis Suarez & inspired by Radamel Falcao: Why Chelsea should fear Luka Jovic Luka Jovic idolised Radamel Falcao as a young player (Getty Images)Jovic’s similarity in style to Falcao and desire to emulate him perhaps played a part in Benfica’s decision to sign him from Frankfurt in January 2016, considering the Colombian returned 72 goals in 87 games during a whirlwind spell in Portugal with Porto.Benfica have also enjoyed great success with Serbian players over the past decade with the likes of Nemanja Matic, Ljubomir Fejsa and Andrija Zivkovic all excelling in recent years while they have a strong track record with strikers recently too, Rodrigo Moreno, Oscar Cardozo and Raul Jimenez, all passing through.With Benfica’s strong Serbian contingent and excellent track record at developing strikers into elite talents, all the signs should have pointed to Jovic becoming a roaring success in Lisbon. Instead, homesickness and a lack of opportunities – he made four first-team appearances in 18-months – culminated in a loan move to Frankfurt in 2017.Both Benfica and Porto are renowned for their success in the transfer market when it comes to selling on players at a profit but a testament to how underwhelming his spell at the club was is that they were willing to send him to Frankfurt on a two-season loan worth €200,000 with an optional purchase clause of just €7 million. CommentShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitter431Shares By Oliver Young-MylesWednesday 1 May 2019 7:01 amShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link431Shares The silver lining from Frankfurt’s perspective should Jovic join Real, Barcelona or any other of Europe’s superclubs, is that they will be heavily compensated for their loss with reports stating that he will cost any interested party upwards of £50m – or in other words, almost ten times what Frankfurt have just paid for him.A couple more goals for the Falcao fanboy and Suarez heir against Chelsea might even see that valuation soar higher.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing ArsenalEx-Arsenal scout claims Mikel Arteta will give Thomas Partey a new role Advertisement Chelsea might be the bookies’ favourites to win the Europa League this season but their place in the final in Baku is far from guaranteed with semi-final opponents Eintracht Frankfurt certain to cause them some problems over two legs.Frankfurt are the second-highest goalscorers in the Europa League this season having struck 28 times in their 12 games in the competition, while, in Luka Jovic, they have the second-most prolific player with eight goals. Incidentally, Chelsea and Olivier Giroud are top of those particular charts with 30 and ten goals respectively.While the 32-year-old Giroud is entering the twilight years of his career, 21-year-old Jovic is only just getting started and the spotlight will be firmly fixed on him over the course of both games to see whether he can replicate his exploits across his breakout season on the big stage of a European semi-final.AdvertisementAdvertisementMaurizio Sarri, who has endured a few difficulties with his strikers this season, acknowledged that Jovic will be the principal threat to Chelsea’s chances of progression, remarking after the quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague: ‘Eintracht are a great team with a wonderful striker, Jovic.’ADVERTISEMENTlast_img read more

The Humble One? Don’t fall for that — everything is still about Jose at Spurs

first_imgHE tried hard to convince us that it wasn’t all about him.Jose Mourinho’s entrance had been self-consciously coy, in-keeping with his affected humility since taking this job.4 Jose Mourinho went from panic to manic on the touchline as Tottenham completed a comeback from a two-goal deficitBut as Tottenham rescued a two-goal deficit and qualified for the Champions League knock-out stages, their new manager couldn’t help himself.First came the trademark brutal early substitution — the sort of thing a young Joe Cole used to have nightmares about at Chelsea — when Eric Dier was hauled off in the 29th minute with Spurs 2-0 down.Then came a wonderful example of Mourinho’s strange professional fixation with the ballboy community — as he high-fived and hugged the lad who swiftly fed Serge Aurier for the throw-in which led to Harry Kane’s equaliser.Mourinho, with his obsessions over fine margins, has an awful lot of history with the ballboys.He once told one of Crystal Palace’s retrievers he risked being punched by a player over his tardiness at returning the ball during a Chelsea defeat at Selhurst Park.And Leicester’s ballboys were once described as a ‘disgrace to the Premier League’ after another defeat.But while at Manchester United, the Special One felt the Old Trafford ball- retrieval team was too fast when his team were trying to run down the clock, and had them all replaced as a result.4 Jose Mourinho high-fived a ball boy after he tossed the ball back to the players before they scored a quick goalCredit: BT SportTottenham’s troupe, however, were like a rapid-response unit — and proved an instant hit for the new manager.When Spurs won a throw close to Mourinho’s dug-out, the nearest ballboy swiftly supplied Aurier for a quick throw to Lucas Moura, which wrong-footed the Olympiakos defence.The cross came in for Kane to steer home and make it 2-2 five minutes into the second half.Mourinho instantly high-fived the lad, embraced him and offered words of thanks.It was just the sort of endearing photo opportunity he’d have dreamt off as he attempted to win over a sceptical Spurs support during his first home match in charge.Jose Mourinho says he wanted to invite the heroic Spurs ballboy to the dressing room after the match but couldn’t find himBefore kick-off, there was no fanfare of any kind.There was no announcement of the Portuguese’s name over the PA system, no waving to the crowd, the new Tottenham manager simply slipped past a mob of photographers and sheepishly took his seat in the dug-out.The Spurs supporters did not sing his name, as they had done after the final whistle at West Ham.There was an Argentinian flag flying high behind him, in recognition of his predecessor Mauricio Pochettino and the odd placard thanking the sacked boss for the memories.Chairman Daniel Levy had timed the managerial change perfectly for Mourinho, with two fixtures he might have hand-picked.West Ham for a first Premier League away win, followed by Olmpiakos to secure qualification for the Champions League knock-out stage.4Yet this one didn’t turn out anything like as straightforward as we had imagined.Perhaps Mourinho and Spurs would have been better off making more of an occasion of his arrival, because the team started as if this was a friendly rather than a crunch European fixture.As a result, they were 2-0 down inside 19 minutes against the Group B whipping boys.First an attempted interception from Danny Rose — who is struggling for  confidence right now — fell to Youssef  El-Arabi, who went past a flailing Harry Winks and curled home powerfully from just outside area.Son Heung-min’s header from a Winks free-kick forced a fine save from Jose Sa.But then Spurs suffered a collective brain-fade as they attempted to defend a low corner and Ruben Semedo snuck in front of Toby Alderweireld to bundle it over the line.Mourinho, with a face like a slapped backside, immediately sent two of his subs to warm up.And before the half-hour, Dier was ruthlessly hooked to make way for Christian Eriksen.Jose Mourinho celebrates with Spurs ball boy after his quick thinking leads to Champions League equaliser4 Harry Kane put in a fine performance for Tottenham as Spurs qualified for the Champions League knock-out stagesCredit: ReutersSpurs had not looked like getting a foothold before they were gifted a goal in first-half injury-time.Aurier’s low centre was unthreatening but Yassine Meriah took an air-shot at it, leaving Dele Alli a simple task to score.Then came the Kane effort, with the assist from our heroic ballboy, before a thumping finish from Aurier and Kane’s glancing header from an Eriksen free-kick made sure of Tottenham’s progress.By the final whistle the place was buzzing. This is a theatre which feels perfect for the big European nights and Spurs may have a few more to look forward to this season now.Yet while Mourinho will mention his two Champions League triumphs approximately every 2½ minutes during the course of any conversation, it has been a decade since he last reached the final of this competition, with Inter Milan.He failed to do so with either Real Madrid, Manchester United or in his second spell at Chelsea.Like his old rival, Pep Guardiola, his Champions League record has become extremely modest in recent years.Jose Mourinho jokes about seeing his Olympiakos half-time team talk on the Amazon documentaryMOST READ IN SPORTTHROUGH ITRobbie Keane reveals Claudine’s father was ’50-50′ in coronavirus battle’I ACCEPT’McGregor accepts Silva fight at UFC catchweight of 176lbs in huge super-fightTOP SELLERGavin Whelan has gone from League of Ireland to David Beckham’s InstagramPicturedA CUT ABOVEMike Tyson shows two-inch cut ‘picked up in training’ ahead of boxing returnExclusiveRIYAD RAIDMan City’s Riyad Mahrez has three luxury watches stolen in £500,000 raidPicturedAN EYEFULMeet Playboy model and football agent Anamaria Prodan bidding to buy her own clubI SAW ROORodallega saw Rooney ‘drinking like madman’ & Gerrard ‘on bar dancing shirtless’NEXT STEPJonny Hayes set to move to English Championship having been let go by CelticIT’S…NOT TOMMY BOWETommy Bowe discovers someone has been impersonating him on TinderMAC DADDYTriple H wants McGregor v McMahon with winner getting rights to billionaire strutHe knows that winning this thing is probably Tottenham’s best chance of qualifying for next season, with Spurs so far adrift of the Premier League’s top four — nine points as it stands.Spurs reached last season’s final, of course, and anything can happen in knock-out football.It certainly helps when the manager ensures that everybody at their club is right on their toes — even the ballboys.Tweet @davekidd_last_img read more