The almost household name in the homegrown football commentary and analysis is – Yash Arora also known as YJReviews or YJR. He started his career as a football analyst and video maker on Facebook. Now he has a YouTube channel with 21K subscribers and a Facebook page with 65K Subscribers. He is our very own and very familiar face. In a Champions League, he is our halftime entertainment. His analysis videos are funny but without a shred of doubt very detailed and technically accurate. He is just 20 years old but his knowledge and understanding of the game are very sound. We are pleased to have him on our website. Here is the transcript and polished version of our talk with Yash. This is the 3rd Episode of our Interview series – OffPitch Talks with Facebook Admins. Check out our other interviews
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Q. Hello, Yash. Big Fans here. We are some of your religious followers of videos and podcasts. Very happy to have you here.
Yash: Thanks, guys. Happy to be here. Am I looking smart?
Q: Oh yes Sir. Let’s begin. So, Yash tell us where are from and what do you do?
Yash: I am Yash. I am from the capital of India New Delhi. East Delhi to be precise. I am in the 2nd year of my college. I am doing English Honours here. From where I am doing my college, is not that important. I am 20-years-old and I watch football. That’s me - Yash.
Q. When did you start your YouTube and Facebook journey?
Yash: I started uploading on YouTube in January 2019. Facebook's journey started just before that. It’s on 18th December 2018.
Q. You have your major fanbase on Facebook. Tell us about your journey on Facebook. Why did you start making videos?
Yash: I love football. I watch an awful lot of football. Probably you all know about Angry Rantman. I used to watch his videos. First, I wanted to do something like his videos because that’s what sells. But as I was more interested in the tactical side of football, I thought I would do some tactical analysis too. So, I began watching games more closely. I started to read more about the game. It was back in August or September of 2018 as I was preparing to open my YouTube channel in December. I recorded my first video near a stadium in my locality. I did the video just like Angry Rantman. It was without any filter or editing. I made a YouTube account there only and tried to post. But it was talking time. But then I tried to upload it on Facebook. It was uploaded successfully on Facebook. That’s why Facebook actually to answers your question. Since then I am doing it on Facebook. Next year I opened Twitter. You can follow me there also.
Q: When I stumbled upon your podcast poster “Tamez Se”, I thought it was not real. But I searched for it immediately on Spotify. It was there. It was so unfiltered and so raw that I felt like I was part of the conversation only. How did your podcast journey start?
Yash: The main idea behind the podcast was to talk football. I would love to have you on that podcast and talk about football. Because I want to know more about other clubs though their fans. Because the supporter of that club will be more informed and involved emotionally. The idea was to build a community where everyone feels included. I haven’t done my podcast with many big names. But I am trying to bring people from the football industry to my podcast. Especially from Indian Football Industry. Some people have a unique journey. I want to know and let people know about that journey.
Q: Any plan to bring in Indian Players on your Podcast?
Yash: Yes. Someone is coming. I will have to ask you to wait before telling anything.
Q: You make your videos at night. How’d your parents react to that? How’s their support?
Yash: My parents got to know about it only 2 months ago. One of my videos went viral. It was that reaction video after the 2-8 loss of Barcelona. I was live on Facebook that night. My sister saw that video.
Everyone in my family works. My father, mother, and two sisters are busy in their respective jobs. So, at first, I kept it as it was. Everything I do, I do it on my own. They are happy that I am studying and doing something about football. They are chill that way. Well, that’s what I believe.
Q: I am sure they are proud. Tell me about how long does it take to analyze a game? These tactical observations came naturally to you or did you learn?
Yash: Of course I had to learn. You need lots of free time actually to just watch the games and learn. Nothing much, just free time. It is a one-and-a-half-hour game. You watch it, pause it and analyze it.
Q: How long does it take to analyze one game?
Yash: It easily takes 5 to 6 hours to watch the game and analyze. It takes 15 minutes to even the start the game and notes the first-hand info only. Because you have to watch the game, pause it, screenshot it, take notes, record the important clips, and finally jot down to edit it.
Q. You are very regular on Facebook. How difficult it is to sustain on Facebook? But kudos to your unique content you are growing very well. Any plans to expand your venture?
Yash: I won’t lie but I got insecure as Facebook was not the mainstream media for videos. People say Instagram and YouTube are better suited for videos. But my YouTube followers increased during UCL in August. Now it is almost 16K subscribers on YouTube. But I just don’t overthink anymore. I just enjoy the process of video making. I come to live after important matches. I just enjoy it with the boys.
But as you said, the contents must be unique. I am known for watching the games properly. I take my time to watch and analyze the games. But if I divert my mind to marketing or anything like that, I won’t be able to concentrate on my content. As of now, I haven’t even spent a single penny on ad or marketing. My one video got viral, which gave me that much-needed boost. It was that Barcelona vs Liverpool review video. That famous 4-0 defeat of Barcelona at Anfield. Before that, for 3 months I used to upload videos every single day without thinking much about the external factors. I remember one day I watched 8 games and uploaded 6 videos, in a single day. You just need lots of vellapan (free time). But after two-three days of uploading the videos, when I checked it was nothing. Not many views. At that time, I didn’t think I would grow this much. But I knew I could do something. The hustle is still going on. I just stick to my forte which is watching games and analysing. I work on that. Initially, I was focused on watching more matches, but now I give more time to watching a single game and focus on the quality of analysis. I am focusing on quality over quantity. It may give you an impression that I work so much but I procrastinate a lot.
Q. I will give you a timeframe from 2010-2020. Out of those 10 UCL finals played out you have to select your favorite 5. Top 5 UCL Finals of the last decade.
Well, we could all agree last two UCL Finals were not great. Liverpool vs Tottenham was boring and PSG vs Bayern didn’t live up to their expectations. So that left me with 8 finals. Here is my top 5 –
5th- Manchester United – Barcelona (2010-11) Score: Barcelona 3:1 Manchester United
4th- Chelsea vs Bayern Munich (2011-12) Score: Chelsea 1:1 Bayern (4:3 in penalties)
3rd- Juventus vs Barcelona (2014-15) Score: Barcelona 3:1 Juventus
2nd- Dortmund vs Bayern Munich (2012-13) Score: Dortmund 1:2 Bayern Munich
1st- Real Madrid vs Juventus (2016-17) Score: Real Madrid 4:1 Juventus
Q. I watched your videos on United vs Barcelona match. You rate that match very highly. Why it’s on the 5th position?
Yash: I know it’s a great match. The build-up and follow up was very interesting. But for me, the best UCL final ever will be Miracle of Istanbul (2004-05) – Liverpool 3:3 AC Milan. Liverpool won by 3:2 in penalty. It was the best match ever. None better than that.
Q. Let’s talk about Indian Football. ISL and I-league is merging. Now it’s everything under one roof. What’s your take on this merger? What impact it would have on the grass-root level?
YJR: Definitely it’ll have a good effect man. It’s about the money ISL will bring. you need the money. You must do smart work. The money and strategy that FSDL (Football Sports Development Limited) brings is very important. The merged road map looks promising.
In one of my podcasts with Arjun Pandit, he talked about the residential academy. Which will be very pivotal in growth. You must also know about Ranjit Bajaj. He talked about the residential academy. Why would a parent send their kid from the farthest corner of India to an academy without the guarantee of the academy to focus on their education? Residential academies guarantee that if the kid doesn’t become a footballer, he will be at least do good in academics. This promise is very important. This type of residential institute is not very common in India. Sudeva Academy in Delhi, Minerva Academy in Punjab are some of the academies. This is what happens in foreign actually. If kids don’t start their game at the age of 5 or 6, then they won’t be able to develop a passion for the game. At the age of 12, it’s already too late. So, I would say it’s going in a positive direction and it looks promising. But I guess ISL must follow a road map for these residential academies also.
Q. What’s the expectation from Kolkata Derby and the merger of ATK and Mohun Bagan? It’s a hotly debated topic now.
YJR: Mohun Bagan is one of the richest clubs in the world historically. But it’s actually harsh that they had to use the name of the sponsor in front of their club name. it’s a harsh truth you have to accept it. As a fan, you will definitely feel bad but it’s just the way it is. There are clauses in the agreements you can’t ignore. You have to think it’s just a way forward.
Q. Let’s go for some relevant topics to discuss. Can there be any comparison between the Real Madrid side of 2010-13 and Tottenham side this season. Any similarity between these two sides? Can they win Any trophy this season?
YJR: If you look at the history of that Barcelona vs Real Madrid classicos, you will see there were so many brawls and bursts. In Tottenham’s recent documentary “All or Nothing” Mourinho said he wants a bunch of c**ts in his team. This shows he wants that fighting spirit in his team. He is trying to develop that in Tottenham. Now Mourinho has Hjobjerg, Doherty, Eric Dier, Reguilon; guys who have that fighting spirit. He will want them to play like fighters.
But in terms of technique also I think they are similar to that Madrid side. Spurs are playing 4-2-3-1 formation. Ndombele plays as a number 10 or in behind the front two of Kane and Son. With Son and Moura they have the pace. Madrid also played with a similar formation. With Kaka, Ozil, Xavi Alonso in that similar position.
Mourinho’s Madrid was defensive and played on counter-attack. Tottenham does that too. Then they had Ronaldo and Ozil. Now here they have Kane and Son.
Benzema and Kane play a similar role. They drop very deep and make things happen.
Q. Do you think Jose Mourinho’s Madrid was successful?
Our panelist answers -> Yes. Because before Mourinho they had won the league but they lost consecutive 6 UCL Ro16 tie. Domestically they were doing okay. But with Mourinho -it changed.
YJR: I remember Madrid lost to Bayern and Dortmund in two semi-finals. But that season was best. If Ramos and Ronaldo hadn’t missed those penalties who know they could have won the UCL.
Q: Is Barcelona 2009-12 side is the greatest side ever. If it’s the greatest team which team comes close to it?
Our Panellist Answers -> it would be an insult for every great team if we declare a particular side as the greatest. There are many dominant and great teams throughout history. But considering that Barcelona as the Greatest Side Ever would be an insult to the other great teams.
YJR: I agree. Because I remember Arrigo Sacchi’s Milan side from 1991 was also considered as one of the best. They had players like Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini, Carlo Ancelloti, Van Basten; at their peak. They played possession-based football. It’s all about the era. That era resonated with some possession-based, defensive football. In 2009-2010 Barcelona had the dominance of La Masia, one of the great football academies. When you play a new, innovative brand of football, the legend follows. La Masia at that time produced some of the great short players. They played possession-based football. Why wouldn’t they if they have players like Messi, Xavi, Iniesta?
Teams do great in every era. Like if you consider the three-peat of Real Madrid it is also an era. People acknowledged their dominance. Kross-Casemiro-Modric will be talked about for a very long time. It’s an era only. Other great teams will follow that era.
That Barcelona side was one of the greatest without a doubt. Pep Guardiola is one of the greatest.
Q: Is the obsession of playing Total Football crushed Barcelona in recent times?
YJR: After Pep Guardiola, Tito Villanova came as the manager of Barcelona. He followed Pep Guardiola’s philosophy. Then came Tata Martino, another Argentine who wanted high pressing football from Barcelona. He didn’t win any major trophies. After Luis Enrique, came to the pragmatic coach Ernesto Valverde. But he didn’t have the players like Xavi or Iniesta in their prime to play that old possession-based football. There must be a change of philosophy with the change of players. If you ask Guardiola, he will say that “I am who I am because of my players”. If you have Xavi, Messi, Iniesta, why won’t you play possessional football? They are the best with balls on their feet.
But now I don’t think that kind of football will be favored in such a physical era. That’s why people are demanding to remove players like Busquets from the system. It’s more important now how your team shape is without the ball.
It's about era man. Nothing is constant in any field. Be it music, movies, or sports. That’s why the world is so interesting. Now the game is more pace oriented. You need players who can run like anything. Now recovery runs are the most important aspect of the game. That’s why players like Fede Valverde is so important to Madrid.
Q: When Klopp and Guardiola will leave their respective teams, which club do you think will sustain more? For me, it would be Klopp. Without Klopp Liverpool will still be successful.
YJR: When a manager leaves the club, you want him to leave a football philosophy or a strong mentality in the club. Liverpool had a very rich football heritage. They have many inspiring memories like Miracle of Istanbul. Klopp complemented that rich culture. That would stay forever. If Klopp leaves maybe Steven Gerrard will come to replace him. Gerrard’s pedigree is also rich.
With Manchester City, it’s not that similar. They were dominating under Pellegrini and Manchini. They didn’t win the Champions League but won the league. Guardiola also hasn’t won a UCL. So, you can’t say there will be a greater legacy of Guardiola than them.
But now their academy is stronger. They have so many good and talented young players. You can take the example of Phill Foden.
But to answer your question, City has the money to easily bring in Allegri or Nagelsmann. They will be able to compete and win again. They won’t have the philosophy of Guardiola but they will be able to compete.
So, I think Liverpool will struggle the most after Jurgen Klopp.
Our Panellist: I think Guardiola brings instant success. Klopp took 4 years to build a great team and win thereafter. So, I believe after Klopp Liverpool can win again provided, they have a good system in place.
YJR: Instant success? I won’t say so. They had to buy players and build a system.
Q: Do you think Hazard and Neymar are well past their prime? Can they get to their prime form back again?
YJR: if Neymar is not injured, I think he is in his prime. Hazard is strange. Had Neymar won that Champions League final with PSG, we all would have said Neymar-Mbappe are the best. But I believe this is the prime PSG team and prime Neymar we are witnessing. They were just one step away from the greatest glory. It was a 60-40% chance in the final against Bayern. Off course, Bayern deserved it more. But the match could have gone either way. But the prime form of a player would depend a lot on Champions League performance these days. Because Neymar wins the League-1 every year. That can’t be the base to judge them. Even if they win the Champions League, they don’t have that same level of pressure domestically as other teams.
Talking about Hazard. He is exceptionally good. But I don’t know now. I remember his two-game vividly. One was against Huesca last year and one was against PSG in the Champions League, the one where he got injured. He was extremely good in those matches. But sadly, he is injured all the time. If Mbappe joins Madrid, Hazard will shine like anything.
Q: Can Neymar win the BDR?
YJR: I think not. This is the time for new players like Mbappe or Haaland.
Our Panellist: There was this thought that when Messi and Ronaldo won’t win a Ballon d’Or, Neymar would be the next in line. Now he is nowhere near that.
YJR: Yeah man.
Q: If Mbappe comes to Madrid next season and let’s assume Hazard-Karim Benzema and Mbappe- are the front trio, how do you think they would fit together?
YJR: Zidane is a versatile manager. He even tried 3-4-3 against Roma in a friendly. He can try anything. I think Mbappe will fit in the system as he is versatile up front. For France, he plays the no 10 role and plays as a second striker. In PSG he plays as a winger or a striker. I think these three will fit like butter. It’s important that Madrid signs Mbappe. Karim won’t be here forever, Madrid needs Mbappe.
Q: Madrid won the league last year. But I think they won because Barca slipped. Had Madrid not won the league last season, they would have gone for Mbappe this season.
YJR: It wouldn’t have been possible with COVID-19. But I would expect that they would have bought him if not for the league win.
But Madrid is just so different now. We have to understand they are not the 2016-17 team. Their identity is different. They press so high and so intensely. But sadly, I don’t know why in some matches Madrid’s creativity is equal to Madrid’s pressing. It’s tough. Also, Zidane doesn’t have the player he wants. His style of play demands specific players. He wants players like Mbappe or Haaland. Any coach in the world would want a proper lethal striker alongside Benzema.
Q. Let’s play some prediction game Yash. You are famous among your fans as “Jyotishi ka Ladka” (Son of Astrologer). Let’s Do it.
YJR: Let’s go guys.
Q. Who will be the Ballon d’Or contenders on the podium in the year 2025? Name your Top 3?
YJR: Mbappe and Haaland, I believe. I want to put Joao Felix but I don’t know now. Sometimes he is so good but sometimes he is so quiet. But do you know my thoughts are going with strikers, goal scorers? But Modric won the BDR. So yeah, maybe Sancho for BDR? I mean why not. But he got injured in between. Hopefully, he will come back stronger this year. You know I feel Jadon Sancho will join a la Liga club in the future.
Our Panellist: Real Madrid or Barcelona?
YJR: Real Madrid. Hah hah just kidding. Don’t see him joining Chelsea. Because Chelsea is packed and full. Liverpool – I don’t think he fits the profile of football there. United I don’t know man.
Q. Do you think De Bruyne could have won the BDR if City won the Champions League?
YJR: If City had won the PL also then only he would have BDR. In 2025 may be Sadio Mane will finish on the BDR Podium. He is damn good. May be Harry Kane.
Our Panellist: Harry has to win something.
YJR: Maybe, he will win something this year. The team looks good. But for now, my prediction would be – Felix, Haaland and, Mbappe.
Q. Let’s do a Rapid-fire prediction.
Q. 2021 UCL winner – Liverpool, Bayern, Manchester City, Barcelona, Real Madrid? Or any other?
Q. Who will win Ballon d’Or winner this season- Lewandowski, Ramos, Messi, Salah, Kane or any other?
YJR: I would love to see Lewa to win it. But I think Messi will win it again. It’s Messi you know. He can do anything.
Q. Who will be the Nations League winner- Portugal, Spain, Germany , Belgium France, England?
YJR: I don’t know about Germany. They are looking grim. But I would go with Portugal. They have all the good players in the world.
[P.S This interview was taken during the group stages of Nations League]
Q. Predict the Winners of the top 5 leagues of Europe.
· La Liga- Barcelona.
· Premier League – Liverpool or Spurs (smiles)
· Serie A: Napoli. Napoli is good. You know who had the highest attempted shots on goal in Europe? – Napoli. I don’t think Juventus will win it this time.
· Bundesliga- Bayern
· Ligue 1- Paris Saint Germain
Q. Who will win the Europa league in 2021?
YJR: Tottenham Hotspurs
Q. Who will be the top 4 Premier League?
YJR: Liverpool, Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspurs and, Chelsea
YJR: I suggest you a book – “The Mixer”- it’s a book on Premier League history. There is a chapter on Brandon rogers. I think he doing great with Leicester City this season. He was so good at Swansea. He follows Guardiola.
Our Panellist: We would definitely check it out. It was a pleasure to have you on our podcast today. We appreciate it.
YJR: Thanks guys. It was really nice. I like your zoom backgrounds. That Ronaldo’s celebratory cohones picture is my favorite. That is my most favorite game of football. All the best for your work guys.
Our Panellist: pleasure is ours Yash.