F365's Top Ten Knee-Jerk Reactions

We've been trying so hard to keep those sweeping generalisations locked up, but to no avail. We've already said they are knee-jerk, so you can't shout at us...

Last Updated: 20/08/14 at 08:49 Post Comment

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10) Sigurdsson will enjoy his return to South Wales
As Matthew Stanger wrote in his Winners and Losers, against Manchester United 'Sigurdsson excelled in finding space to exploit on the counter-attack as he began his second spell at the Swans with an assist and the winning goal'.

It's a role that he appreciates, given the freedom to venture forward and the responsibility of being his side's most important creative force. Both seemed to be sadly lacking from his time at White Hart Lane, when he was restricted to just 26 league starts in two seasons.

Sometimes players are far better suited to being the big fish in a smaller pond. Back at the Liberty Stadium, expect lovely things indeed.

9) Talk of Stoke's regeneration may be hasty

All aboard the new era at Stoke, they said, with the signing of Bojan Krkic supposedly evidence for a club close to a complete re-brand.

Such optimism wilfully ignored two key points:

1) Bojan started just 50% of Ajax's games in the Eredivisie last season. He contributed four goals and three assists. There has been a rose-tinted image of Bojan in a Barcelona kit to indicate just how far Stoke have come, but he last started a league game for them in May 2011, alongside leading lights such as Fontas (now at Celta Vigo) and Jeffren (Valldolid).

2) Stoke's ambition has seen them spend money on only one other player this summer - Dionatan Teixeira.

Let's not write them into eighth place just yet.

8) Spurs' squad still has striking issues

There is no doubt that the next two weeks will be busy at White Hart Lane. Following the victory over West Ham, Mauricio Pochettino spoke of aiming for a squad of 25 players, but he still has 30 and has sanctioned another bid for Morgan Schneiderlin.

Despite such quantity, Pochettino's striking options look bleak. Roberto Soldado remained on the bench at Upton Park, with it appearing increasingly likely that the £26m signing will leave after just one tortuous season. That leaves Emmanuel Adebayor and Harry Kane. The Togolese forward leaves for the African Cup of Nations in January and failed to have a single shot on Saturday, touching the ball just 28 times in 83 minutes.

It is not Spurs' only concern, of course, but this appears a side in desperate need of a finisher to complement the creative riches at Pochettino's disposal.

7) Remy Cabella looks a class act

I have a cat called Remi, so named after a strange infatuation with Remi Garde, who joined Arsenal on the same say as Patrick Vieira. I am prepared to officially alter that name should Remy Cabella continue in the same style in which he began his Newcastle career.

Part David Ginola, part Laurent Robert, his debut against Manchester City saw him generally attempt at least two different skills before releasing the ball. Oliver Kay of The Times remained unimpressed ('Great talent, but delivered little'), but that rather misses the point. Give us excitement and wonder over delivery every day of the season. Even with such a d**kish haircut.

6) My way or the highway for Allardyce

West Ham's apparent loyalty to Sam Allardyce is bizarre given his extraordinarily high wage (13th most handsomely paid club manager in the world, remember), but it becomes even more surreal given the demand for him to play a brand of sexy football somehow deemed to be the 'West Ham way'.

Surely Davids Gold and Sullivan must appreciate that managers have an identity? Asking Allardyce to suddenly play a style of football that he openly mocked last season with his self-labelled 'Allardici' moniker is akin to pulling a fish from a stream and expecting it to wear a bow tie and have dinner with you.

West Ham's owners have two choices. They can either a) accept that Allardyce will prove little of aesthetic worth but ultimately keep them in the comfort of Premier League mid-tableish and all the broadcasting revenue that provides or b) get rid and attempt to recruit a manager with a genuine aptitude for flair and panache.

Only a sorry smashing together of those two antithetical options can cause West Ham relegation headaches. Right now, it's the route they appear to be taking.

5) Southampton will be just fine, thanks

Here at F365 Towers we consider ourselves to be a fairly level-headed bunch, so it was with raised eyebrows that we saw a number of pundits predicting the relegation of Southampton after they sold Dejan Lovren, Luke Shaw, Calum Chambers and Adam Lallana for pretty lofty fees.

A large degree of our calmness centred around the fact that Southampton have quite a wonderful academy system in place and have bought just as many players as they have sold. Good ones, too.

Ronald Koeman may have lost his first game in charge, but Southampton dominated for large periods at Anfield, deserving at least a point. Turns out potentially having £90m to spend allows for improvements to be made.

4) City probably 'should' win the league

Yes, I picked Chelsea to win the title in the F365 Predictions and I stand by that, but there is a sense that Manuel Pellegrini's quiet efficiency really has managed to take the league champions under the radar.

Against Newcastle, Fernando looked instantly at home in City's central midfield, whilst Yaya Toure appears to have collected his toys and put them back into the pram. Considering that they went away to a side that may well finish eighth, won with ease and didn't start Sergio Aguero, Bacary Sagna, Fernandinho, James Milner, Pablo Zabaleta or Jesus Navas, you begin to realise that this will be a far stiffer defence of their title than two years ago.

3) Ramsey could be become the best in show

Another right man, right place, right time moment for a midfielder that is beginning to gain an unshakable reputation for exactly that. Since the beginning of last season, Ramsey has scored a goal for every 161 minutes he has played for Arsenal. To provide some context to that, Yaya Toure's record is a goal every 185 minutes, and Ramsey has also contributed assists at a quicker rate than the Ivorian. Had he stayed fit, Arsenal would surely have come close to winning the title.

'Aaron Ramsey can be Arsenal's new Cesc Fabregas, says captain Mikel Arteta' - August 17

'Aaron Ramsey can be Arsenal's Frank Lampard, says Jamie Redknapp' - August 15

'Aaron Ramsey can be 'the next Steven Gerrard', says former Arsenal midfielder Ray Parlour' - March 19

At some point, poor Ramsey will have earned the right to be considered in his own right. He's fast turning into one of Europe's best, and he's still only 23.

2) Sterling the winner in Suarez departure

Whilst Brendan Rodgers continues to persuade himself that Luis Suarez is still his bestest friend ("He's promised to be my pen pal in Spain and send me all the sweets you can't get here"), the rest of us can assess how Liverpool's style will undoubtedly change in the absence of the focal point of their attack.

Initially, it appears that Raheem Sterling will enjoy the increased space. With Glen Johnson playing as a wing-back on the left flank, Sterling drifted in-field against Southampton, his average position actually fairly central. The effect this can have was made evident by his run through the middle for Liverpool's opening goal, and is a logical progression - given Sterling's obvious dribbling prowess, why would you limit him to one wing?

Another direct result of Suarez leaving is that the players left behind see far more of the ball, given the Uruguayan's continuous pleadings to receive the ball whenever he desired, quick to censure when he felt ignored. As evidence of this, Sterling had 71 touches on Sunday, a total he bettered just three times last season.

With a potential new contract already being discussed and an increased importance in the team already guaranteed, you'd forgive Sterling for whistling as he walked into Melwood. He's nearly a decade younger than me. B*stard.

1) It's now or never for United to regroup

The self-preservation started early. In the Mailbox on Sunday, United supporters reasoned that the loss to Swansea might actually be a good thing, because now the urgency of the situation would be made obvious to Ed Woodward and the club. Presumably Woody hasn't been watching the last 12 months unfold?

Things have now reached an alarming head in terms of United's lack of depth. Manchester United's second-choice defence consists of a back three comprising Tyler Blackett, Michael Keane and Marnick Vermijl, whilst for the next three months (through Michael Carrick's injury) the two replacements in midfield are Marouane Fellaini and Tom Cleverley - one critically unwanted and another critically unloved.

Effectively, United have 14 days to get it right. Make the most of it and a period of improvement can be ignited, assisted by an alleviating injury list and an experienced and excellent coach. Fail to do so, and another season of struggle will await. It's beginning to feel like the flast days of Rome for Ed Woodward.

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Readers' Comments


really enjoyed this. Thanks F365 for another year of work avoidance - happy Christmas.

megabrow (cufc)
Our Person Of The Year: Alan Pardew


m no Sam Fan and this article sums him up beautifully. I always like to imagine that when he watches anything on TV and hears clapping, he stands up and aknowledges the applause, thinking its for him!

Football Managers On TV: Sam Allardyce


ah, Fergie is just having another pop at Rooney. He just wants to put him down whenever he gets a chance. Rooney is by far the best English player. Carrick is not far behind, mind. However, by elevating Carrick like that, Sir is having a dig at Wayne. Fergie is well-known for mind games like that. Good to see he's still feisty.

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