Tomorrow is the last day of the international break. Well done all. Keep those mails coming to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Mourinho is missing a Lampard and a Robben
Daniel Storey is absolutely correct in essentially labeling any Mourinho team as a flat-track bully. To me United look pretty much like his first Chelsea team without the wingers. Centre forward ( Drogba / Lukaku), young English centre half (Terry / Jones), world-class goalkeeper (Cech/ De Gea), Best young all round CM (Essien/Pogba)
What he doesn’t have is a Duff/Robben and perhaps more importantly a Lampard. That Chelsea team was exceptional, this Utd team is over reliant on Lukaku’s goals (hence the poor run recently) and a strong defence, the attacking CM or number 8 (Lampard) is a problem along with wingers who don’t cross as they are actually centre forwards. Therefore the squad, even after spending a gazillion quid, is unbalanced for how Jose likes to play hence his moaning about Persic etc.
The other usual suspect is his approach to the big games against other title rivals, essentially first and foremost don’t lose. Hence the disparity between top and bottom half results.
Unless he’s bluffing us all and has turned into Keyser Soze overnight this will remain the case, as Chelsea’s record under him in Europe proved it’s not enough against a Barcelona like team. They might well finish 2nd but that’s the maximum given their own limitations and therefore the flirting with PSG, new contract, digging at Arsenal etc.
DL ,LFC , Geneva
Has Barkley cocked it?
If it is true, as widely reported, that Ross Barkley turned down an agreed deal to join Chelsea in the summer in favour of negotiating with Chelsea and Tottenham in January, I wonder if he now regrets that choice?
– For Chelsea, this looks a much less attractive deal the more Ruben Loftus-Cheek develops. Given that they play in the same position, and RLC has the advantage of being an academy boy, if he does play well for Crystal Palace now then I don’t see Chelsea retaining a big interest in January in a player who’s always been a bit hot and cold and will not have any chance to demonstrate his quality
– For Tottenham, with Winks emerging they look extremely strong in the midfield area – again, why would they want Ross?
– If not one of those two, it’s hard to see where else he could go. Liverpool is surely off-limits, I don’t see him as a Mourinho-type player, or having a cat’s chance in hell of getting into Pep’s City side…
Actually, what am I talking about – flaky, occasionally excellent but often anonymous, plays as a playmaker/ number 10, frequently injured? Welcome to Arsenal, Ross.
Tim Colyer, Chelsea fan (thinking we may dodged two English bullets in the transfer window), Singapore
Actually thank you Pep
Improving already good players like Kyle Walker and unlocking the potential in the raw material of John Stones both highlights that Pep is an incredible manager – because if it was easy everyone would have their very expensive players make football look like art instead of some sludgy hard to watch wall of boredom – and definitely benefits the national team. This will benefit us all come Russia 2018, so thanks Pep.
Also, surely other clubs will attempt to rise to the challenge posed by his current team and even in failure they will improve. Although most of us (as non-City fans) are only getting the fringe benefits rather than full package of joy, we should still be properly grateful, because it’s good manners. Thanks Pep!
Matt (Jealousy is an ugly colour) LFC
A Welshman cheering for England. Nice
All of the qualification games and playoffs have ended, and my Welsh team are left as bystanders. Who shall I cheer for now?
Easy answer for me personally. England. Not because I have any true rooting interest in the country in general, but their entire lineup is filled with players that make my weekend brighter and help get me through some down times.
Kane, Alli, Stones, not Henderson really, but almost down to the player I am setting aside nationality and cheering for these guys because they represent the league I love and it will be easy for me to be happy for them as a Welshman without feeling perturbed they are English.
On that note, good luck boys. Don’t settle for anything less than the trophy. This is your time.
Dave in Chicago (I’ll take a Woodburn and Lawrence, with a side of Ampadu please)
Another team for the Never World Cup
Here is my team for the Never World Cup XI. It is a lot less anglo-centric than Adam Jones’ (Weah doesn’t start! No Cantona nor Di Stefano?) and I reckon would easily win the world cup today. Solid defence and I mean, that forward line-up screams class! Plus I managed to get some current players in here (granted, pulisic is like 18 and will most likely play in at least a few world cups)
Subs – Jaaskelainen, Martini, Bellerin, Mike England, Bowen, Momo Sissoko, Speed, Pulisic, Ginola, Giggs, Litmanen, Rush
Guillaume (Nivet is our Phil Neville) Ottawa
It’s a bloody good name
I read Arsenal are interested in young Bobby Duncan, currently at Man City. Purely on the basis of him having a good old-fashioned British centre forward’s name, can we please, please sign him. Aside from it being a name that comes auto-loaded with 30 goals a season, maybe it will start a trend that finally puts to rest these ridiculous double barreled surnames (actually the real reason we sold The Lummox.).
And on the subject of names, can Gabriel Jesus please find an Irish girl with whom to reproduce and call their first son Brian or Ben or Barney…..
Youngsters will get the chance, if good enough
Steven Chicken makes a point I have been bashing on about for many a long year without, it has to be said, ever receiving much sympathy from my listeners. Actually, listeners might be stretching it. Mostly, people get a strange a look in their eye after a couple of sentences and start fidgeting with their phones. But I know I’m right, even if I don’t have the eloquence of Mr Chicken.
Two further points underline this. Firstly, there are leagues all over the world that are chock-full of domestic talent. Belgium, the Netherlands, Scotland, Nigeria . . . but I don’t recall any of them winning any World Cups.
Secondly, I’m old enough to remember when the top league in England consisted of about 400 English players, a hundred or so Scots, Welsh and Irish and, er, Avi Cohen. And you know what, England were still shite.
The Czech Phil Neville
If we’re defining a Phil Neville as someone not outstanding but always seemed to be inexplicably around the squad and picking up a large number of caps despite there being other, better options, for my adopted homeland it’d have to be
50. Vratislav Lokvenc
International for 11 years between ’95 and 2006 with the stellar record of 14 goals in 74 games. He’s a striker.
All of this when the Czechs were in their golden period, ripping teams apart with their magnificent Nedved – Plasil – Rosicky midfield feeding big Jan Koller and better-than-you-thought Milan Baros. Happy times.
And there, standing tree-like and immobile for squad after squad was Lokvenc. We have very few decent strikers these days. Time for a recall?
David (already wrapping up warm for Zbrojovka vs. Teplice) Szmidt, Brno, Czech Rep.
Dislike for James McClean isn’t just poppy-related
I have to respond to Darragh Martin WBA (Stand up for what you believe in even if it means standing alone) and his thoughts on James McClean and why people may boo him. B*llocks
There may be a small (very small >1%) of fans that boo him for not wearing a poppy. As a member of the Armed Forces I really don’t care, people wear it to remember those that gave their lives for freedom. If McClean chooses to not remember those circa. 49,000 Irish soldiers who died in WW1 fighting for the freedom of others then so be it. You can’t force people to respect the freedom others have laid down life and limb for – that’s why it’s a freedom.
I don’t like James McClean the footballer – not because of the poppy issue (which is a non-issue, I don’t go around tesco booing people I don’t see wearing a poppy) – but because he is a nasty piece of work, as a footballer. 59 yellow cards and 3 reds in only 197 starts (across all clubs) is a record of a dirty player – a yellow or a red every 3 games as an alleged winger or AMC. To put that into perspective Ryan Shawcross has 79 yellows and 5 reds in 381 starts – a yellow or a red every 4.5 games as a central defender (a position where more tackles are made and more scope for fouls).
In short; your reasoning for the booing of McClean – poppycock.
JS TROTT (WHU)
An interesting theory
Steve (ex-Flixton Red), Guelph, Canada, interesting fact, Phil Neville should actually be no 50 on every countries list.
It’s well known that he was always there or there about the England squad because of his famed mastery of any position you asked him to play but less well known is the fact his utility man tag extended to him being eligible for every FIFA registered country. True story.