If you have anything to add on any subject, you know what to do: Mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Can England afford to carry Dele in Russia?
After another dreadful performance from Alli yesterday at Southampton I wonder could his England place be under threat for the World Cup?!
With Lingard and Sterling in good form, Lallana and Barkley back from injury, Wilshere and Oxlade-Chamberlain starting to show what they are capable of – there is now real competition for the two positions behind Kane (in a 3-4-2-1). Add Loftus-Cheek into that if he can regain fitness.
Alli brings goals but, when not playing well, very little else – can England afford to have a passenger in Russia?
Craig ‘Cole’ Russell
The tell-tale sign
Any team that allows Moussa Sissoko to be one of eight players to complete a full 90 minutes will not finish in the top four.
This is a panic buy from Man United
If we were to take all the reports about Sanchez’s purported deal from Utd out of the equation, this is a very good move for Utd. Micki hasn’t lived up to expectations and Sanchez’s rotten attitude should improve once he’s out of the Emirates stadium. But if the reports are true and he is being paid close to China money (400,000 a week), and the fact that Utd supposedly have to buy out the rest of Micki’s contract, to placate Mino Raiola, who now in Lukaku and Pogba has two big assets at Utd, who are not among the elite earners at the club anymore, this feels more and more like a panic buy.
With Raiola’s reputation, it is highly unlikely this is the last we’ll hear of Sanchez’s pay-packet this season, or next season if Pogba’s and to some extent Lukaku’s wages are not raised to the same level. And Jorge Mendes repping De Gea means he’s gonna have a few words with Ed too. This is almost like the second part to PSG’s pursuit of Neymar. If the 400k is close to the true number, this move just makes the new financial realities of football concrete. This will be the going wages for big players from now on, wouldn’t it? No matter how much Utd argues Sanchez came for free, at the end of the day we paid China money for a 29-year old player who is not among the top 10 players in the world.
Aditya, MUFC, India
Sanchez move IS about money
Seems like Alexis will be joining Manchester United today and it’s RvP all over again. Or is it?
Wenger said yesterday that City’s inability to give Sanchez what he wanted in regards to wages shows that it would have been impossible for Arsenal to meet the demands. This shows us two things: 1. It is true that Sanchez’s wage demands must be insane if City turned him down and 2. Unlike RvP, he’s joining United for the cash.
Now I know that phrase gets thrown around a lot but, let’s be honest, it’s true in this case. Manchester United are nowhere close to winning the league or the Champions League, so why go there over Bayern Munich last year or Manchester City this season? Both teams would guarantee silverware within the first six months…
Oh, right. It’s because both teams told him to p*** off when they saw his wage demands and he only settled for the team willing to give him what he really, really wanted.
Oh, well. Hope he gets what he wants at the end of the day and if that allows Arsenal to sign Mkhitaryan and Aubameyang I would be thrilled.
…With the Sanchez to Man United transfer saga – complete with a salary package to dwarf that of his Arsenal earnings – now all but a Don Dealio, do we now officially refer to him as $anchez? Al£xi$ Sanch£z?
L£$ B. Yen
Time for the Rich Buggers League?
Feeling a little smug, as it looks increasingly likely Arsenal will be selling Man United their best player (again). Would like Mikhi to go well too, but given recent transfers to Arsenal (Welbeck, Silvestre) not so sure he will. The only glass half empty thought I have is, what the hell happened that the biggest clubs are able to buy directly from their nearest rivals. Sterling being another example. No way would these deals have happened 20 years ago.
What is a bit of a worry too, is that football in its current format is approaching a tipping point. In the top five ranked European Leagues, the teams at the top lead by 9, 12, 4, 16 and 8 points respectively. Apart from Italy you could award the trophy now.
As has always been the case, the richest teams in each country win the trophies the majority of the time. So if each year the competitions are effectively over by Christmas, as the finances get more and more loaded in favour of the biggest teams, it will only be a matter of time before the biggest European clubs establish their own league. Very much against this happening, but I cannot see how it won’t. So if it is going to happen how to do it. Fair few assumptions below and, some may say, leaps of logic, but hey, better to have a debate than just have something foisted onto you. So as not to write a huge email, only England is considered.
For a Rich Buggers League (RBL) to work, they would need 14 teams, else it is not really worth the effort, nor would it have the kudos required. So 26 matches.
Drop the Tooty Fruity Trophy (or whatever the League Cup is called) saves on average, say four matches.
Reduce the Premier League to 18 teams, saves another four matches. How you persuade some turkeys to vote for Christmas is another matter.
No point having the Champions League any more, another on average 10 matches saved.
So for those teams in the RBL, that is an extra eight matches per season. The extra workload would make them more tired, and as they rested players in their domestic leagues would make them weaker at home, thus making the domestic league more competitive again.
As for promotion/relegation/qualification? No idea to be honest. Barcelona, Madrid, Bayern etc won’t sign up if they have a high chance of not competing every year. Maybe this last point is the only thing saving it from actually happening sooner rather than later, and as for how the big six in England would work this out could take years to negotiate.
Valverde is signing of the season
Remember when the season started many predicted Barcelona’s banter era was here with us (How times fly). Neymar gone, lost to rivals Real Madrid in the Super Cup, signings who were termed as not being on Barca’s level, a former presidential candidate looking for signatures to remove Bartomeu and to make matters worse ‘Neymar’s replacement’ got injured for four months.
Five months later, Valverde is 11 points ahead on top of the league, lost just once and topped the UCL group.
Those who have watched his side lately in comparison to Enrique’s squad, can confirm the transformation. Furthermore, the guy is an old fashioned manager, no banter sh*t, no touchline fuss, always calm despite the pressure, this goes on and on.
Just imagine when Coutinho gets into the team.
Ian (Sergi Roberto is the player version of his manager) Nairobi
Marco Silva: The modern-day Icarus
Oh Marco, flirt not so much with Everton lest thy squad lose motivation and plummet down the league table.
Joe, Midlands (There could be comparisons to Michael Gove too)
Having no truck with that theory
Matt Stead’s conclusion in F365 Says: early losers is rather is rather unfounded. I think Everton is not a loser. How have they lost in the sucking of another manager and Watford being stale. I don’t get it. Everton’s problems are Everton’s problems and are isolated in Goodison Park. If they are performing poorly it is not Watford’s fault or Silva’s fault is it?
Silva is the one who got what he deserved. His mental strength is weak. Is he the first manager to be approached by another club? There are rumours that Mourinho may be moving to PSG has he thrown Man United to the dogs? No Alexis Sanchez is moving to United and Ozil may be moving away too Courtinho also went to Barca did they throw their teams under the bus? No.
Silva should learn to grow some thick skin and wait until a deal goes through. Wenger put it in the best possible terms, deals can fail a the last minute. And that goes for Watford as well. Blaming another team for your misfortune is childish, unwelcoming and uncharacteristic of an EPL team.
And truth be told Watford, evidence suggests that Watford would most likely have flopped anyway. Huddersfield United was in top four too. And leaning of previous seasons, Watford is where it deserves.
Elvince Ager, Nairobi (Sanchez + Pogba + Martial – Lukaku = a sweet unbeaten run)
Has anyone considered if a sin bin would be useful in football? Similar to rugby, a yellow card leading to the offending player having to sit out temporarily while their team plays on shorthanded for that period. This could result in the number of fouls being substantially reduced, especially more clever and petty forms of cheating like diving and tactical fouls.
I know the traditionalists will come out in force saying “no we like football being extremely flawed as it is so we can have arguments in the pub as there’s absolutely nothing else in football to argue about” but surely this is a change worth considering. Imagine if time wasting got you a sin bin penalty like in the NHL? Not only would that give time wasters a nice punishment, it could also cost their team and it could also deter future time wasting.
Vish (you don’t need to go to the pub, just go on Twitter), AFC, Melbourne
Ed’s Palace thoughts
This result may have been karma for being mean about a the Arsenal blog last weekend. In my defence, their reaction to Liverpool beating Manchester City was to post ‘Happy Invincibles Day’, the worst of all possible takes.
* Quite often when a team goes into a game as a massive underdog they start on the front foot and try to get an early goal from a set-piece. Sure enough, on Saturday, the Arsenal did exactly this, and scored four times.
* After the game, the Alexis Sanchez-Henrikh Mkhitaryan swap deal was agreed, with the Armenian believed to be reluctant to move to London to play for a side going nowhere. However, thanks to Crystal Palace, the Arsenal looked like a side capable of challenging for Champions League qualification.
* Every year Crystal Palace have one game where they completely sh!t the bed and concede four goals in the first half. Last year it was the game against Sunderland, when angry fans nearly turned on Sam Allardyce at half time. There was less chance of it happening to Roy Hodgson, whose results and demeanour have endeared him to fans, but I don’t doubt he tore strips off everyone at half time. As was pointed out to me ahead of the game, Palace had only conceded one goal in their previous three games and nine in their past ten, which strikes me as an admirable record. However, when you’ve got your fan blinkers on, you’re all too acutely aware of how many mistakes your players make and get away with.
* It’s almost hypocritical to claim such things against the Gunners, but in the tiniest of moral victories came in the form of “winning” the second half 1-0. I know that isn’t a real thing, but the Eagles deserve credit for sticking at it and consigning their awful play to a 45-minute aberration, rather than a full 90. While we’re making a meal out of petty things, getting a goal was even more important because it meant we lost 1-4, whereas Brighton & Hove Albion lost 0-4.
*Despite Hodgson’s squad being incredibly thinned out, there is still no place for Jordon Mutch, as F365 pointed out last week. It’s almost getting like that episode of Parks & Recreation when Leslie is off work, and Ron calls a crisis meeting. I’m imagining Hodgson telling the assembled squad (or remains thereof) that it was all hands to the pump, if they’ve got a body or a brain then they can pitch in and help out. Mutch then sticks his head round the door, apologises for being late and asks what he needs to do, to which Hodgson replies that actually he could take the rest of the day off as they’ve got it covered.
Just waiting to discover his real first name is Gordon.
* The latest rumours are that Hodgson is close to agreeing deals for a defender and a midfielder, neither of whom I’ve heard of previously. It appears these will be depth players, but that’s not an issue. One of them appears to be a sweetener for an agent, who has a higher-profile client the club are more desperate to sign. We’re now in the midst of a ten-day break between games, so the sooner the reinforcements arrive the more time they’ll have to bed in, while giving the existing players time to recover.