Thank you all. Are we ready for the derby? Send your predictions to firstname.lastname@example.org
The ideal Premier League
Steven Chicken’s missive on the general consensus that fans would rather City beat United also touched on an issue that I had been thinking about recently. Namely the general feeling of ‘meh’ that surrounds many of the fixtures in the Premier League and because of that, what the ‘ideal’ make up of the top division would be that would get the most interest from the most fixtures.
A caveat, I am not an internet-lolz-fanboy type who cannot see football beyond Jesse Lingard’s latest goal celebration. It is great to see some of the less privileged clubs experience the joy of promotion to the top division (Huddersfield, Bournemouth), and I would include my own club, Leicester, in that list and it warms the cockles of my heart to see a ‘big club’ brought down a peg or two (Sunderland, Villa). But recently it just seems there is a proliferation of clubs who really don’t do it for me. I am not Peter G and cannot get excited about Burnley v Stoke no matter how much Sky bill it as the Second Coming.
So, what would be the perfect 20 teams? My list is heavily skewered based on being a child of the 90s so some of these probably seem crazy choices to some of the yout’. Plus I have tried, where possible, to completely disregard bias and irrational hatred (Leeds are known as ‘Dirty’ for a reason but who wouldn’t want to see them play Man Utd in the league again?).
Arsenal, Chelsea, Man Utd, Man City, Liverpool, Spurs (gotta have the big six)
West Ham, Everton, Newcastle (other ‘big’ names)
Aston Villa, Wolves, WBA (nice West Mids niggle)
Leicester City, Nottingham Forest (would love a Prem East Mids derby)
Sheffield Utd, Sheffield Weds, Leeds Utd (old skool Yorkshire names, would be great to have them all back)
Sunderland (for the Tyne Wear derby but only if they sort themselves out off the pitch)
Southampton and Brighton (south coast representatives, plus Brighton are the token ‘smaller’ club cos they are lovely).
There is my 20. Yeah there would still be some games that don’t excite (Brighton v WBA, Sheff Utd v Forest, etc, etc) but there would be plenty of derbies and evocative names with big passionate crowds. Got to be better than Swansea v Huddersfield (sorry Winty).
Rob (I’ve clearly got nothing better to do with my time), Leicester
Who would be a footballer?
So the media machine is going in on Jack Wilshere because he went ice skating with his family. Apparently he might have gotten injured and ruined his Arsenal/England/Ice Skating career.
Who would be a footballer? Seriously? Have a nice day with his family? How dare he! Doesn’t he know we have a game tonight.
It makes me so angry that the media push this agenda that footballs are here to entertain us and thus should do everything in their daily life to satisfy our need for football. Even worse, Jack didn’t get injured but can you imagine the witch hunt if he had?
Jack hasn’t had a lot to make him smile in the last five years. Can’t we just let him have a day with his family without all the bullsh*t?
Rob A (just because we’re all rubbish at it…) AFC
Remember when Hendo was good…?
In Daniel Storey’s Champions League Winners and Losers he wrote about Jordan Henderson and said: ‘There a plenty amongst us (*raises hand*) who have never considered him good enough for club or country’.
I’m in the camp that Henderson’s position in the first team and captaincy is an issue that needs resolved but I feel the need to offer a slight defence.
First of all ‘never’ good enough? That does his contribution to the incredible 2013/14 season a massive disservice. In that year he had an ideal role in the team, a team that was overachieving rather than at criticism for potentially under achieving. I think his absence in the final few games was also one of a number of issues that resulted in the title being lost.
I do think he should be more of a reliable utility squad player currently but let’s not rewrite his contribution previously.
Secondly, I do sympathise with both Henderson and Klopp’s current predicament. He had the captaincy thrust upon him by Rodgers and Klopp has had little choice but to go with that. Stripping him of the captaincy would ruin his confidence and he is a confidence player. And in fairness to Henderson, whilst he has his leadership flaws, there is a noticeable lack of leadership coming from anywhere else in the squad.
So, yes, I hold my hand up, he has his limitations. But let’s keep the criticism grounded in reality.
PS. I think three leaders would complete this Liverpool team – Keeper, defender, holding midfielder.
Shush about Eriksen
Only a Liverpool fan could witness a 7-0 demolition and immediately write a mail explaining how this shows Liverpool are better than Spurs in some way. It’s genuinely a shame that Shane can’t just enjoy players and performances without having to immediately compare them to things he doesn’t like. I, for one, thoroughly enjoyed Spurs’ dead rubber but undoubtedly beneficial 3-0 win last night, with Llorente and G-K finally looking like they might be able to make a mark at Spurs, and didn’t once need to compare it favourably to other things to feel better about life.
Alex G, THFC (all those years of having to put up with Liverpool being inferior must have really taken their toll)
…Shane (the same brigade that will cry ‘it was only Spartak’ are the same ones that were ready to knight Eriksen after playing well against Stephen Ward and Ciaran Clark) Ireland, LFC,
It was only Spartak Moscow.
And Eriksen and Coutinho barely playing the same sport? Behave yourself. If you can’t appreciate the genius of Eriksen, blinded by your red-tinted glasses, then there is no way you can appreciate Coutinho’s.
Monty (Football fans are incapable of appreciating shades of grey. Everyone is either sh*t or galactic. Pfff.), MUFC
…You aren’t the only one to do this but please stop comparing Coutinho with Eriksen. They do not perform the same role.
Anyone with half a brain can see that Eriksen plays slightly deeper (and gets through a lot of work) while Coutinho has the freedom of the park. Eriksen is currently having a poor spell, likely due to fatigue, but he remains a super player. His stats over the past few years speak for themselves.
In terms of Barça, Eriksen would most likely be bought in to compete with Rakitic – not as a replacement for Neymar which is what they had planned for Coutinho.
That is all.
Dave, London (Spurs)
Making plans for Nigel
Now, I quite like Nigel Adkins.
He made his career by starting of as a part-time physio in the semi professional Welsh leagues and steadily, with hard graft, worked his way up to being a professional manager in the English leagues.
It was easy to look at him at Scunthorpe, barnstorming League Two and say, “nice, that fellas done really well for himself, what a nice thing!”
His time at Sheffield Utd didn’t go fully to plan, but even leaving that aside – our new manager at Hull City?
Get out of here. To go from Marco Silva and Premier League football to Nigel (no disrespect to him, I like him) feels like we’re kind of admitting the last decade, with its dalliances in the Best League In The World ™ were a bit of a fluke and middle Championship is going to be our new home.
Still, Pulis was available, so no full-scale rebellion about Nige – go and prove me wrong, I’d love it if he makes me look like an idiot!
Dan (Tiger – we once had Jay-Jay Okocha)
Some RTE background
Regarding the mail this morning criticising RTE’s Liverpool narrative, it is worth pointing out that RTE’s chief analysts – John Giles and Eamonn Dunphy – had a dispute with Ken Early (of Second Captains) earlier this season for an article he wrote in which he claimed that Liverpool’s defense wasn’t that bad (they were just unlucky) and in which he criticised some commentators (among them John Giles) for continually harping on about how terrible Liverpool’s defense were. Eamonn Dunphy then came to John Giles defense.
Now, I like the RTE panel (full disclosure – I didn’t watch the coverage on RTE yesterday), but I imagine that they focused their discussion so much on those issues out of stubbornness because they don’t want to concede anything on that dispute.
I aren’t saying that they are justified or anything, I am just adding some backstory.
The end of Atletico?
Surprised at no mention of Atletico Madrid in the Losers section today.
Picking up only two points against group Azerbaijani powerhouses Qarabag was disastrous.
The once miserly defence isn’t what it was, but the complete absence of goals is the major worry.
With Griezemann’s total absence of form, goals will not come from a 33 year old Fernando Torres .
Could this be the first wobble under Simone? With Valencia’s resurgence in La Liga, Sevillas consistency, the battle for the Top 4 is stronger than ever. Luckily their near neighbours are suffering from a similar wobble.