Favourite Players Of The Season Please...

We don't want your own club's players but those you have loved from elsewhere. One bloke goes Mannone, Willian, Lallana. And of course there's more...

Last Updated: 28/04/14 at 15:44

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It's All Brendan's Fault
Ignore Steven Gerrard, Sunday's result was totally Brendan Rodgers' fault.

Every man and his dog could have told you that Chelsea would show up and play a very defensive, counter-attacking game, not least because of a fundamental lack of pace at the back (Azpilicueta excepted) that would be totally unable to handle Suarez, Sterling and Sturridge.

That said, Chelsea also needed a win - a draw would more or less hand Liverpool the title and add the risk of us getting dragged into the battle for fourth.

All of this information was clear at least a week before kick-off, but did not affect Liverpool's game plan one jot. Rodgers sent out the team at full pelt, as always, and expected them to score early.

No cautious waiting for Chelsea to come out of their shell and fight for the win, just the same game plan that was applied against every other team.

Liverpool are good enough up front for that to work against most, but Chelsea have the best defence in the league, and even with the injuries have a coach who you can bet will get them set up right.

So Brendan can tootle all he wants about the 'style' that Liverpool want to play, but if City overhaul them at the end of the season, he's really only got himself to blame.

And certainly not Steven Gerrard (hilarious though that may be).
Mark, Carefree, London


...For all the talk of Jose masterclass and negative tactics, Liverpool only needed a draw in that game. Why didn't Brendan go negative and hit Chelsea on the break? Quite simple. The wrong team played the right tactics. Brendan gawked it. For all the praise he gets for his tactical ability he got this completely wrong and showed his inexperience .
Doherty (Jose is a genius) Deshope
PS. If Chelsea win the league no one will remember the negative tactics in one game.


...Right, I am angry and fxxxed off we lost to Mourinho.

Whilst it is admirable that we didn't want to deviate from our football, the stakes were such that Brendan would have been forgiven, had he employed the same tactics, and our counter is better than theirs. They needed to win, we didn't and as such we should have played on the counter making them come out to play as they needed the win. If they didn't then so be it, a draw would have sufficed. 24 years hinged on this, and naivety is what may have cost us.

Neville all game was saying we need to go around the midfield, down the flanks and play the little passes into the box from there, we didn't do that till 20 minutes to go. However a simple defend and counter would have worked just fine. We didn't need to force it, we didn't on this occasion, given the points gap and the games left need to force the issue.

Also why are we playing passes across the back line with no cover and opposition player a few yards away. Sakho has to take some responsibility for making that pass in the first place, that was schoolboy decision making.

Disappointed that we played into the hands of the k***jockey that is Mourinho.
Ash, LFC (Let's hope Everton can do us a favour)


In Defence Of Brendan

I wouldn't agree with those pundits who are claiming that he played into Jose's hands: he started with Gerrard, Allen and Lucas in midfield and with Sturridge on the bench - hardly his most attacking starting XI of the season - and Ba's decisive goal wasn't the archetypal 'defend deep and hit 'em on the break' goal (like Willian's was) that would suggest a naïve approach to the game; Liverpool weren't throwing players forward at the time (they were patiently playing out from the back like most teams do) and were unfortunate to see Gerrard slip at the crucial moment (and I didn't see Jose dropping banana-skins in the centre-circle, so even he cannot take credit for that). That said, Ba took the chance brilliantly.

I'm also inclined to disagree with those criticizing Rodgers' lack of a 'Plan B': I suppose you could say that his decision to buy Aspas and sell/loan Borini and Carrol left him short of 'difference-makers' on the bench but his failed bids for the likes of Mkhitaryan, Salah and Konoplyanka suggest that he has been trying to increase his attacking options of late. But he missed out on these guys, and was left with a pretty thin squad (especially with Henderson suspended). And if he'd played for the draw and lost (which I believe they would have done) he'd have been crucified even more for his tactics.

But most of all, I'd have to say that Liverpool looked knackered more than anything else yesterday and that they've appeared to be getting-by on pure adrenalin over the last 3 or 4 games. Suarez and Sturridge haven't played well for a while now and it has only been Sterling's brilliance that got them past Man City and Norwich. It seemed clear to me that they were due to come unstruck at some point.

Yes, I know that Chelsea have playing midweek games and Liverpool haven't, but Liverpool's performances since the New Year have been blistering enough to get them this far but not really sustainable. If they hadn't lost yesterday, I could have seen them losing to Crystal Palace next week.

So fair play to Chelsea and commiserations to Liverpool: the real work on strengthening their squad starts now.
Bob Stokes


What Plan B?

I've been as guilty as the next man for criticising the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich in recent years for not having a Plan B without giving a great deal of thought to what that plan should be. Today Liverpool are receiving the same criticism as those recent Champions League winners - they really have come a long way this season - and I wondered if the mailbox could come up with some suggestions for what exactly that plan should be.

It seems that this situation arises when the opposition - let's call them Inter Milan or Chelsea - play a 6-4-0 formation stationed about 10 yards from the penalty area against a team that likes to keep the ball on the deck and attack through the centre.

All I can think of right now are:

a. Play it out to the wing and cross it. (Think United v Fulham from earlier this season.)

b. Not bother with the wingers and just pump it forward from the centre-backs to a big man. (West Ham v anyone this season.)

c. Adopt the same 6-4-0 formation until the other team gets so bored they decide to attack. (This might take too long.)

Can anyone do better because it seems to be a very easy criticism to make but possibly one that doesn't have an answer if the players you're attacking are all international footballers who cost over £100m to put together?
Josh, LFC


...Ah, the tactical genius that is the creation of a plan B. Barca have been accused of lacking one several times. Spain lacked one when they lost 1-0 to Switzerland. And now the lack of one may have ended Liverpool's journey towards the Premier League trophy. At least they're in good company in having this problem. When, however, are people going to realise that it's not about having a Plan B, it's about luck?

There are essentially three things you can do when a team sits deep and organises their defence. You can hit balls into the box and see what happens, you can take shots from distance, and you can attempt to play your way through. In all of these tactics relative quality of the players and luck are the deciding factor. Mourinho has essentially made a career speciality of being willing to use what is generally a massive underdog tactic with multimillion pound teams, which means he never comes undone due to a vast lack of player quality. Luck then would largely determine the outcome, and Chelsea got it yesterday.

There is one other aspect however, gamesmanship and downright dirty tactics. This is what Mourinho so special, he has no shame whatsoever. The way for the attacking game to prevail against the ultra defensive is momentum and consistency, hence the double cramp suffered by Chelsea near the end of the game yesterday when Liverpool seemed like they might be able to force that equaliser. Interestingly, Barca were often criticised in their Mourinho battles for fighting fire with water and using exaggeration which sometimes spilled into pure simulation to counter the tactics of spoiler play that sometimes spilled into violent dangerous tackles.

If then there is a plan B for an attacking team against Mourinho's go-to move when faced with quality football, it is one of two things. Sacrifice your attacking philosophy and troll Mourinho by leaving the ball in the cente- circle at kick-off and running back to form a defensive formation within your own box, or dive and referee pressure your way into sufficient free kick/penalty/cards for the opposition. Since Liverpool did not need to win yesterday I would have liked to see the former. Perhaps with Rodgers prowling the touchline in a Mourinho mask for good measure. Next time maybe.
Indie, London


Three Points From The Weekend

Just three observations from the weekend (ignoring my own personal Groundhog Day that Ipswich will once again be wearing Championship slippers next year if I may).

Firstly, Chelseas defensive set-up left no space for Liverpool to play behind them as they controlled from six yards to about 25 yards. Whilst this is true why the hell did Liverpool constantly try and find that space? Liverpool did not need the win, a draw would more than sufficed, and Chelsea were clearly set up to counter and their minds were predominantly focussed on the Champions League semi-final. Every time Liverpool got to the stage where they were just passing around Chelseas area with Chelsea playing 10 men behind the ball, Liverpool should have turned and played keep ball back to their own half, make Ba chase shadows, draw Chelsea out. If Liverpool had needed the win then ok, but they didn't. Liverpool played attacking football, when they perhaps should have played kabaddi football.

Secondly, not sure if anyone else saw this, the seeds of this defeat were sown by Alan Hansen on Football Focus the day before. Over a bacon and egg toastie I was being mildly entertained by the to and fro between him and Martin Keown throughout the programme, even Chappers was struggling to get a word in, but the passage of conversational play near the end that led to him inexplicably starting a point with 'When Steven Gerrard lifts the trophy in May...' was absolutely shocking. What was he thinking? Keown, Chappers and me all subsequently told him not to count his chickens, but he didn't retract his comment. He'll be disappointed with that.

Finally, and I cannot emphasise enough how much this is needed, every team should have a player on the bench who will never get on the pitch but is there for one specific reason, to give Jose a slap if he is acting an arse like not giving the ball back. Big chap, £1000 a week wage, all FA fines paid.

Now, are there any Liverpool fans who have anything nice to say about Everton?
Chris ITFC, Liverpool


Chelsea Weren't Playing For 0-0

I find it odd that people can watch a game of football with so little understanding of what they are seeing.

Chelsea had to win at Anfield: a draw was no good to them. Time-wasting is when a team really IS playing for a 0-0 draw, or have pinched a lead. Chelsea were playing to a totally different and, as we saw, successful plan. They started from the kick-off, not only after they had taken the lead.

Chelsea were taking so long to restart the match not to waste time - they were going to have precious few attacks in 90 minutes, to cutting game-time down further would have been silly. Their delaying tactic was obviously meant to keep Liverpool stuttering, get them [players and watchers] tense, wound-up, and to stop any momentum.

Game on.
Alex Stokoe, Newcastle upon Tyne


The Jose Formula

Jose Mourinho's formula for success as told by Diego Torres, a Spanish journalist turned author.

"(1) The game is won by the team who makes fewer errors; (2) Football favours whoever provokes more errors in the opposition; (3) Away from home, instead of trying to be superior to the opposition, it's better to encourage their mistakes; (4) Whoever has the ball is more likely to make a mistake; (5) Whoever renounces possession reduces the possibility of making a mistake; (6) Whoever has the ball has fear; (7) Whoever does not have it is thereby stronger."

This is almost exactly what we saw yesterday, even down to the key mistake, a mistake that Demba Ba pounced upon masterfully, considering he was feeding off scraps. Jose Mourinho knows big games. He deserves all the credit he gets/got. Even down to the gamesmanship, he got it right. Liverpool win their games in the first half of matches. By slowing the tempo and frustrating them it clearly affected their confidence.

To all the fans asking if Chelsea fans are happy with a performance like this. Would you be happy if your home nation got to a World Cup final playing the same way? The answer is a resounding yes.
JD (Nice of Tomas Kalas to let Suarez out of his pocket to collect his PFA award), CFC, Ireland


Chelsea Fan Unhappy With That Formula

The story of Van Gaal dropping trou to show that he has balls is genius. I can imagine Mourinho doing the same only to reveal his bottom half resembles Action Man. He is the footballing equivalent of a eunuch, the gunfighter that shoots a man in the back, a coward with a big brain and a bigger mouth.

When Allardyce did the same thing we did to Liverpool, the reaction was akin to him being mates with Jack the Ripper and employing six year olds to run the coal fires that keep Upton Park warm.

Parking the bus and waiting for an error from the opposition is not tactics. I doubt we'd have gotten the three points without Gerrard's slip. It isn't very hard to stifle an expressive, attacking side by never leaving the safety of your own half.

The main thing that worries me is that if we do win something this season, it validates everything Mourinho has done. The hypocrisy, the sarcasm, the moaning, all the negativity is justified if we slump our way to a trophy.

So fellow Chelsea fans, if we are down Eel Brook Common with our celery come the end of May, will you be happy if Mourinho does the same again next season? How about in five years' time? Or will have we grown tired of Moanrinho's mind games and dour performances for £60 a pop for medals we never hold?
Have a go if you want, but I prefer to enjoy my football than watching ludicrously overpaid athletes lift trophies for Russian Oligarchs.
Luke Sheppey (imagine a league of 20 Mourinhos) North London


Depressed But Proud

I've watched my team lose League Cup finals, FA Cup finals, Champions League finals. I've watched us take spankings off the Mancs and the bluesh*te. I've watched us lose to Burnley in the FA Cup to Traore's disco legs and ship five to Coventry at Highfield Road (I could go on, but you get the picture). But none of those results left me feeling so down in the dumps as that one did yesterday. It's not the defeat that hurts its the manner of it. Chelsea's tactics were like the bloke who hides in the bushes, waits til your back is turned and then jumps out and punches you in the back of the head, rather than front you up like a man. And the sad, pathetic media love-in with this guy hails him a tactical genius, when if a European team came and did this to an English team in the CL the media would be crying outrage at those 'cheating foreigners' (well the Daily Mail would anyway!).

Anyway, I just wanted to say that I am proud of the boys for their efforts this season. In August we could only but dream that we would be in a position where we could still nab fourth on the last day, so to be guaranteed top three is a monumental effort. The title was always a pipedream which is why I never once allowed myself to believe it would happen. I just hope it is City now who go on and win it rather than Chelsea. Yeah, they may have spent a gazillion pounds, but at least they are actually trying to play football!

As for Jose? Well, if he is ever wondering just why he never got the United job he only needs to watch this game back on DVD. Rivalries aside, United are a classy, dignified club (the handling of Moyes sacking notwithstanding!), who wouldn't stand for this kind of 'anti-football' stuff that Jose is happy to peddle at Chelsea. That's why he isn't, and never will be, the United manager like he so desperately craves to be.
PG, Liverpool


Stop The Jose Love-In

In lieu of the impending Jose love-in, I'd like to bring some grounding into the argument that he is a tactical genius. Mourinho fielded a weakened team, with his starting 11 costing a mere £110 million in transfer fees, with a host of international caps between them. The bench, amounted to just £97 million in transfer fees, so the notion that he was down to the bare bones is a myth that too many journalists, and fans have swallowed. It is frankly embarrassing to have £200 million pound worth of talent, and not have the ability, verve or nous to extract a decent performance in a must win game for Chelsea, and relying on a Steven Gerrard error for the win.

Mourinho is the enemy of football, negative tactics, boring football, and a frankly a despicable human being. A man that has left no long last legacy at his previous clubs. Detested by the Italian media, and managers, abhorred by the Spanish press and some Madrid players, and there's a catalogue of incidents revealing his sinister, cowardly nature. Despite this, he is loved by the English media, and is often beyond reproach for his hypocrisy. There is more to being a true great, than being an ugly trophy winning, bus parking, cheque-book manager.
Adrian Hazzard


Points From A Villa Fan

My 2p from the weekend: there is indeed more than one way to skin a cat, most of which aren't much fun to watch. But to be frank (pun intended), Chelsea were exceptional yesterday; what it brought to mind - people won't like this - was Ali v Foreman. One a huge, fun, exciting, popular attacking powerhouse; the other a mouthy, annoying, anti-establishment git with an excruciatingly frustrating habit of winning. As annoyed as Liverpool will be at the minute, they - Rodgers in particular - will have learnt more in that one game than in any of the other 60-70-odd they've played since he took over.

What the hell is Souness' problem? Having a crack at Citeh because they didn't win 10-0 away from home? Ridiculous analysis. 2-0 up at half time away to a good side, with a tough schedule of fixtures coming up; what would you do? Tell everyone to chill out and keep things ticking over or pedal to the metal? There's an obvious reason why that fool is sat in a Sky studio rather than a dug-out.

And lastly - as a Villa fan, I feel like I could kiss Steve Bruce. I bet nobody has said that in the mailbox before.
Neil Raines


Bitten Off?

* If Liverpool draw at Palace and win the last game, City draw at Everton and win their other two and Chelsea win their last two then all three end up on 84 points and separated by goal difference. That would be ridiculous!

* Although United turned it on in the second half, it was against a very poor and out-of-sorts Norwich team. If it hadn't been some help from the ref (even as a United fan, that penalty was soft and Welbeck went down easily) then it would've been 0-0 at half-time. This coupled with the fact that Giggs started Cleverley whilst Mata was on the bench says that he shouldn't be the next manager.

* Sticking with United, this is the first time since the 89-90 season that they haven't had any players in the PFA team of the year. Very much deserved too, only De Gea was in with a reasonable shout of making it.

* It seemed the relegation battle was going to be interesting but I'm certain that the current bottom three will now be the bottom three.

* As a United fan the choice between City, Pool and Chelsea to win the league is like being asked if I want my penis cut off, bitten off or yanked off. Whatever choice is horrible but to see Gerrard lose it after being this close will be quite priceless.

* Finally I've always been a big fan of Luis Suarez back from when I first saw him play for Ajax in the 2009-2010 season. When he signed for Pool I told a friend who's a Pool fan that one day he would win the PFA player of the year award. He suggested I put a bet on it (it was about 30-1 at the time) but I'm not a betting man. Bugger!!
Bradley Kirrage


...That lasted long, didn't it? For weeks Liverpool and their fans were enjoying the title race as a 'bit of a laugh' and they were just 'along for the ride'. Their main priority was Champions League football. Anything else was a bonus. They were full of bonhomie and revelling in their role of 'neutrals' favourites' (yeah right - everyone I know loves Liverpool or absolutely detests them).

Then as soon as their first defeat comes to end their amazing run of wins, out comes the vat of sour grapes, bitterness and excuses. The sheer sense of arrogance and entitlement is a timely reminder to younger fans of what Liverpool were like in their pomp and what we can expect if they win the league and go on and re-establish their Empire.

To my mind, there is no scenario where Liverpool will ever be the lesser of two (or in this case, three) evils.
Matthew, Belfast


Well Played Johnny

I'd just like to thank him, and point out how bang on the money John Nicholson has been on everything that has happened at United since Sir Alex announced his retirement last May, he called it before Moyes even got appointed (I don't have the link handy).

Today's article on Giggs, was especially inspired - I found myself repeatedly nodding and grinning like a fool as I read it.

So thanks for the good reads Johnny and long may it continue.
Shane, confused Gunner in Cork


Giggsy? Isn't It?

In response to Johnny's Nic's lovely piece on our Ryan I'd like to rebuttle with a paraphrasing of Ron Manager;

Cor, Ryan Giggs, you know? Giggsy, isn't it? Mmm? Giggsy-wiggsy? Mmm? Oh! Ryan-y Giggsy-wiggsy. Isn't it? You know, marvellous.

Is he the new Sir Alex Ferguson?

Is Sir Alex Ferguson the old Ryan Giggs? But Giggsy-wiggsy. Precocious talent, isn't he? Mmm? Ooh, got it all, you know? Inspirational, positivity, sweet halftime team talks, all the tricks - the class of 92, the pre match press conference, the tactics, suit, jiggery-pokery, hocus pocus, abracadabra, I wanna reach out and grab ya. Steve Miller Band? Spin Doctors? Ooh, very similar.
Wayne (Beans on toast? Possibly, don't quote me on that), Manchester


Praise For The Van Gaals

I just Wikipediad Louis Van Gaal, to see what United were potentially getting themselves in to.

And what struck me was not his 3 Eredivisie Titles, 1 La Liga Title, 1 Bundesliga Title, 1 Champions League Title, 1 UEFA Cup Title, and numerous other domestic cups and baubles.

No, it's this.

His full name is a wonderful Aloysius Paulus Maria van Gaal.

Tremendous work Mr and Mrs Van Gaal.
Dave, Dublin


Success For Spurs?

To my fellow Spurs fans, its interesting to note that if we win our last two games we equal our record Premier League points total. We sacked our most successful manager ever in terms of win % and replaced him with another manager who is now our most successful manager ever in terms of win %. We lost our best player in Bale and brought in seven players with no Premier League experience. Vertonghen, Kaboul, Sandro, Walker, Eriksen, Paulinho and Chiriches have all been out for long periods with injury.

Successful season given the circumstances? I would say so.
Jonathan (I'd still get rid of Sherwood, he's an idiot) Barton-Harvey. Gold Coast, Australia


Have You Ever Wanted Your Club To Go Down?

I have not had any interest in football this year, which is a nice way of saying I support West Ham.

I was quote happy with Sam at the start, We were getting results and the football was passable, now however watching a match is like running in tar.

Sam always labels his 'style' as something made up in the media and harks on about the fact he gets results but has he seen the form table? We are playing dire football and not getting results at all but my biggest gripe is the following: PLEASE STOP WHORING ANDY CARROLL EVERY MINUTE FOR THE WORLD CUP SQUAD! It's the oddest form of deflection I have ever seen or heard. Sam and Andy should worry about the day to day and lose the delusions of grandeur.

You make your bed you lie in it and on this alone we should be lying in the Championship.
Barry (Two goals...give him a plane ticket) Walsh


Go Chorley

Amid all the excitement with, what promises to be, yet another gripping end to the Premier League, I'd just like to make mention of a more modest success.

My hometown, Chorley, this weekend returned to the Football Conference after a 24-year absence, clinching the EvoStik Northern Premier League title on the final day by a single point, ahead of FC United of Manchester. In an incredible season, they conceded just 39 goals and scored 107 in 46 games.

Now managed by Garry Flitcroft, Chorley have won one league, one cup and have been promoted twice in just four years. Further to the success, the football has been really impressive; not just scrappy 1-0 wins here and there, but a real effort to play exciting, possession-based football every week, whatever level the opponents.

So congratulations to the mighty Chorley, we'll be back in the Football League in no time! Watch out for Garry Flitcroft as a potential appointee to a Football League club before too long, Chorley will be lucky to keep hold of him.
Ted, Manchester


Favourite Players Of The Year Please

Even worse than having to give Mourinho grudging respect for yesterday's result - made all the harder by the gillet and chest-thumping, by the way - is the promise of Liverpool and Chelsea fans arguing about it in the mailbox this week. So, as a distraction, I thought I'd put a question to the site's esteemed readership.

In light of Suarez's shock POTY award last night, who is people's shout for 'favourite' player of the season? I've come up with some selection criteria:

1) They can't play for your team. Half the mailbox seems to support Liverpool, Arsenal and United and no one wants to see an avalanche of Suarez, Ramsey and Cleverley nominations.

2) Try and come up with better reasons than 'he scored lots of goals'. Ideally, they'd be players that exceeded expectations and performed consistently over the season.

My third place goes to Vito Mannone, who was derided by Arsenal fans but has shown just how good he is at Sunderland. Conor Wickham would get the plaudits but the man who'd have done most to keep them is Vito. Bonus points for being the subject of my favourite terrace chant.

My runner up is Willian, who I decided I was going to hate because 1) that N at the end of his name gets on my tits, 2) he was about to play for Spurs and 3) ended up joining the only team worse. If I'm honest I thought they were signing a flair player but he's so much better than that. He's got the skills, but the energy and discipline he displays must make him a fan favourite. I'd rather have him than any of the other, undoubtedly talented, Brazilians at the Bridge.

The winner, however, has to be Adam Lallana, who has established himself as a leading midfielder in the league and probable starter for England this summer. He has the kind of game - technique, poise, creativity and a goal threat - that makes you optimistic about English players.Unless he joins Arsenal to strike up a tent-pitching combination with Aaron Ramsey - or there's any truth to that Dortmund rumour - it would be great to see him stay at Southampton along with their other undoubted talents.

On the flip side, my worst player of the season is Ramires. He's a dirty c**t and he's not even good at football anymore.
Will O'Doherty


Awards Of The Season

Just wanted to say a few quick words about Robbie Savage's end of season awards (found here: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/0/football/27171297), as Mediawatch appears to have missed it. If even Robbie Savage is allowed to dish out awards now, I figured I might as well give it a go.

Player of the Season: Jay Rodriguez. Such a disappointing way to end a phenomenal season for a young man just learning to be great at football. If Pochettino leaves Southampton, I hope the next man keeps his development going at the same rate, because he'd be a force to be reckoned with up front for club and country.

Biggest Flop: Savage goes for Fellaini, and frankly I'd be hard pressed to disagree if it weren't for Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Andy Carroll. Record signing strikers who have contributed a massive three goals between them all season. Truly awe-inspiring stuff. (Somehow Savage still managed to get Fernando Torres into his list. They signed him three-and-a-half years ago, Robbie. Time to move on.)

Best Buy: Matic. Turned Chelsea around mid-season. They needed him, and he fit perfectly. When you have Wenger and Moyes harping on about needing the right players for the club and hesitating about every signing, Mourinho just quietly signed the man they both needed.

Best Manager: Tony Pulis. Savage gives him an honourable mention but that really does him a disservice. Palace were a joke when he came in, now look at them. Beat Chelsea, might nick a top-half finish, actually played some decent football. Pulis has taken all his disappointment at being 'not pretty enough' for Stoke and channelled it into a righteous desire to beat everyone and everything. It's got to the point where I wouldn't even be that surprised if Palace were up and around the European places next season, which I can't believe I'm saying. The man's a wizard.

Villain of the Season: Savage says Pardew, I say Mourinho. Pantomime villain, ultimate hypocrite, limitless wealth, competing right at the top. Mourinho is a Bond villain to Pardew's bumbling cartoon nemesis act.

Game of the Season: Hull 6-0 Fulham. May not have been the closest contest, but how often do you see one of the newly promoted teams stick six past an established Premier League side? Had some great attacking, some hilariously inept defending, and even a first goal for Tom Huddlestone. A fitting send-off for the mighty Huddlefro.

Hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed looking back at a cracking season that isn't even over yet!
Harry, THFC. (tl;dr some stuff was good, other stuff was bad)

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C

lassic management. Build them up and then knock them back. Raise expectations and then dampen them. Create a dynamic where by you demand the most from your team, but where the team are given room to manoeuvre unexpected or unwanted results. Classy work by Van Gaal, he really reminds me a lot of me. A smart cookie, make no doubt.

hump3.
Van Gaal: 'I struggle for first three months'

H

e will be the England left back for ten years or more, and then you will have to thank MUFC for that. *smiles*

london saint
Shaw: Criticism spot on

P

urely because of that little diva moment he had last night, I don't want him coming to my club. DESTROYED ? Grow up and give something back to the club that helped put you up there on the world stage.

bale doubt
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