Send all your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org. Every single one of them.
My Derby predictions are as follows: –
1. Given the much love thrown Eric Bailly‘s way (deservedly so) I foresee that now will be the time for him to develop a case of the Brainsquirts and wave in at least 2 City goals whilst also getting sent off in the first half.
2. Not only that, given John Stones’ much vaunted “ball playing” abilities I foresee that now will be the time for him to make several last ditch goal saving tackles with his face/groin – the kind that Phil Jones could only fantasise about.
You heard it here first
Willy Fuller-Chisolm, MUFC – Manchester
Why are United fans afraid of Man City?
In response to Sudarsan Ravi’s email in this morning’s mailbox. As well as another few Man United fans looking forward to their team sitting back to invite Citehs’s forwards at them 427 times in 90mins and hoping to catch them from a set piece or on the counter.
Am I not mistake but does this Man United team not have, the ‘world best midfielder’ and most expensive midfielder ever, Wayne Rooney one of the Premier Leagues highest all time scorers, the most exciting young talent in England (Rashford), ‘England’s best player’ (Shaw), Arguably the best young talent France has to offer (Martial), Bundislegia player of the year (Mickey Ryan), and who could forget that tall fella with the pony tail that plays up front? No to mention Jose on the touchline.
Under VG, the whole world listened to united fans moan about not playing the united way ‘ATTACK, ATTACK, ATTACK’ his head was wanted on a platter, for retaining possession and recycling the ball whenever possible (ala Pep)
So now United have added in some very expensive, experienced and exciting players to their squad and in their first real test, the fans are afraid of Citeh and want their team of Gilaticos worth 100’s of millions to sit back and ‘Have Blind launch long ball after long ball for these two to team up and chase. If nothing, have them win corners. The height advantage would be key for us to win.’
Is this the united way? Why should a team like this fear anyone? Go out and take them on!
Dave (Will Liverpool, Spurs and Arsenal sit back against Citeh? NO) Dublin
Plenty on Pulisic
I couldn’t help but notice Christian Pulisic‘s (Poo-lis-sic) name pop up more than a few times throughout this wonderful site. As a US Men’s National Team (USMNT) fan and Liverpool supporter, I’m tremendously pleased that Dortmund decided to keep him. Too many times have USMNT fans seen a young talented player try to make the step up, but that step being too far.
The first thing that comes to mind when I think of the next rising star in US soccer is Freddy Adu. Still only 27 and plying his trade at a lower division NASL team, Tampa Bay Rowdies, Freddy had so much skill as young teenager. He was easily one of the best young players in the world between ages 13 and 16. All you have to do is watch this video when he was between ages 14 and 18 to see that. However, he needed time to continue his development. I believe from the time he made his professional debut with DC United at the age of 14, his development mentally and technically stopped. I understand there are many other factors that cannot be understated, including Nike’s $1 million endorsement and US Soccer’s relentless pursuit for a star in order to feed their hype machine at the time. However, I believe the best thing for Freddy at the time would have been to sign with a European club and enter their academy. He would’ve been training with similarly skilled young players and the best coaches. It should be noted that Freddy wanted to play professionally at the age of 14, but European Federation rules at the time stated that any player transferring from outside the European Union is limited to playing in youth leagues until he or she turn 18. A mistake I think Freddy now acknowledges.
How this relates to Christian is that I feel he is in the perfect environment to continue his development. We all know Germany has some of the best, if not the best, training methods as well as Dortmund’s track record with young players. I believe Dortmund value Christian highly and this is why they have decided not to sell him (feeding my own hype machine with that sentence). Had Christian gone to Liverpool, the burden of expectation would have been greater than at Dortmund. At Dortmund, he is seen as a young player with time to develop. He is out of the spotlight both domestically and in the US. Only the hardcore fans in the US follow German football. At Liverpool, I think the fans’ expectations and the media hype both in England and at home would’ve been too much. Especially back home in the US. It would’ve been blasted everywhere as the arrival of the next US star, as if there was one before. Once ESPN hypes you up, there is nothing that will stop it.
The good news is Christian will continue his magnificent progress. Over the past year, he went from playing with his youth team PA Classics as late as 2015 to the Dortmund first team. That rise cannot be understated. It’s like playing for Malpas FC’s U-15 team near Chester, UK and the next year playing for Arsenal (insert team similar to Dortmund). In your article ‘Six European clubs who has best transfer windows,’ you said, “While 17-year-old Pulisic remains with the German club despite worries he might be pushed to the back of the queue for a starting berth this term… Midfielder Pulisic could have good reason to be worried, as Tuchel brought in four new midfielders to help replace Mkhitaryan.” Whether his first team opportunities are limited or not doesn’t matter. What is most important is that he will continue his development. I can assure you, that every US fan has taken a sigh of relief and thanked the heavens Christian stayed put.
Liverpool 5-4 Leicester…
This morning’s mailbox has made me very excited for the football on Saturday. I might have to hit the boozer for the early kick off and stumble home after Liverpool v Leicester.
I think the Manchester derby this weekend will show us and Jose if Fellaini has the minerals for a CM position against the big boys.
Fellaini has his pros and cons like all of us and a major con in my opinion is his speed in the centre. Players can walk past Fellaini by dropping a shoulder whereas most in this position have some recovery speed the big man doesn’t have it over the first couple of yards. Sitting deep does not hide this inadequacy either. Players like KDB, Silva and Sterling can all beat you like this with limited space either side. Jose will have a plan for this I’ve no doubt. This email was sparked by the email from Sudarsan Ravi and his bold line up. I felt it would be so easy for City to play through the middle of a Manchester United team that lined up like that. City won’t want to go wide and Jose knows that so force them wide. I think the best way to do that is to give Fellaini and Pogba the support in the middle that they will need.
Liverpool v Leicester promises to be the game of the weekend. 5-4 anyone?
Gough, LFC, Dublin (Bought a dodgey box this year so I can watch any football match I want)
In the interest of having something different to predictions for the weekend, I’d like to spend a moment on a growing problem for the whole football league.
Since the Brexit vote, the pound has dropped significantly against the euro, as has been mentioned before. So too has its effect on transfer fees. It’s a major factor in the new world of crazy fees.
Naturally, you’d assume that the clubs, despite the new tv deal, will start to feel the effects in the coming years.
But many, if not all, premier league clubs have hedged money against the dollar, much of it at rates now more favourable to the euro as well as the pound.
Chelsea have hedged at just over 1.5 dollars to pounds, according to Jake Cohen.
That means Luiz, who cost around £34m, was actually closer to £30m thanks to the higher purchasing power of the dollar.
Fees are being further inflated in our own market thanks to owners with foreign holdings and hedges.
I know that foreign owners are nothing new, but I’m worried the pound depreciation will help them stretch even further away from the rest of the pack. And this will be felt beyond the premier league.
Harry CFC (PS F365 eds, it’s Sporting Club Portugal, Sporting CP, not Sporting Lisbon. I know it’s the accepted term but so was Holland instead of the Netherlands for decades)
Football on TV
Bit late to the party but wanted to add my thoughts to the 3pm blackout debate.
Simon Beer was pretty much spot on about clearing the PL from the 3pm slot. The TV blackout is clearly outdated but there is a way forward that would work in the UK – the German TV model. In short the Bundesliga is king and the rest of football works around that and not really to its detriment as far as attendances go lower down.
Sky show every game and they are spread out over the weekend. They don’t just show every Bundesliga game live but every 2.Bundesliga game as well. It means the weekend pan out something like this:
Friday 18.30 – 2. Bundesliga games ( 3 games)
Friday 20.30 – Bundesliga ( 1 game)
Saturday 13.00 – 2.Bundesliga (2 games)
Saturday 15.30 – Bundesliga (6 games)
Saturday 18.30 – Bundesliga (1 game)
Sunday 13.30 – 2. Bundesliga (3 games)
Sunday 15.30 – Bundesliga (1 game)
Sunday 17.30 – Bundesliga (1 game)
Monday 20.15 – 2.Bundesliga (1 game)
Everyone can pick and choose which game they want to see, Monday night’s game is free to air as are any number of 3rd Division games and Regional league games for those interested. But what German TV realised very early on is that fans of teams in the lower leagues want to watch the top teams as well, so simply no other games in the lower divisions are scheduled against the Bundesliga – gives the best of both worlds, people go and support their local team then catch the game(s) of their choice on TV afterwards. The bars are packed each Saturday along with the stadium.
Add to that the sporting version of Netflix has just launched here and watching football on TV has never been better.
Paul (feeling a tad smug, sorry) Germany
Leave Nicky B alone
Always felt the media was a bit harsh on Bendtner.
He’s a big man up front, not a prolific goalscorer, but someone who had high ambitions – worth re-iterating and clarifying that he was 21 when he made such statements.
When England declared they want to get to a world cup semi, the British media derides them for not wanting to win it, yet Bendtner wants to be the world’s best and he is ridiculed for ambition.
He shouldn’t be ridiculed for wanting to be the best and declaring it for all to hear, maybe you should be ridiculed for believing it would happen.
At Arsenal, fans always took him at face value as a good third choice striker who came through from a young age.
So, the papers are finally admitting that Martial cost United £36mil instead of £58mil then?
James F, BCFC KRO
A portrait request
I must applaud you on the amazing Icon series. I will definitely purchase the book when it comes out.
As your latest Icon dealt with the flawed genius of Juan Roman Riquelme I implore you to write a piece about Finland’s all time greatest footballer Jari “The King” Litmanen.
In the mid 90’s Litmanen won great fame with Ajax culminating in their victory in the Champions League final season against AC Milan in the 94-95 season. This ultimately earned him transfers first to Barcelona and then Liverpool, where he struggled with injuries and lack of playing time. His injury list includes also the tragicomical eye injury, caused by Malmö FF sporting director opening a bottle of lemonade, the metal cork flew in to The Kings eye causing him to miss several games in an already injury ravaged season.
Jussi (whufc & hjk)
PS: loved the bantz from Paul Dublin and Finland possibly topping their WC qualifier group….
Don’t forget Wayne
Guillaume in Ottawa makes a great point in his mail this morning against all of those moaning about Riquelme’s inclusion.
“An Icon isn’t just a who’s who of previous Ballon D’or. And it is full of players who never fully reached their real potential for a consistent period of time. It can easily be argued that Cantona, Best, Hagi, Stoickov and Ronaldo should have had better careers and failed to reach their full potential for various reasons.”
I look forward to “Wayne Rooney: Portrait of an Icon” dropping in 2025.
My wife >
Quote unquote is quickly becoming my favourite feature on your site. Always interesting and nostalgic. Today’s article is superb. Everything about the Arsene v Fergie battle in the ‘00’s was fantastic. Two powerhouse managers with huge clubs at their disposal going head to head year after year trying to outwit each other. It was a magical time.
It was the same period as WWF(E?) had their attitude era, The Rock v Stone Cold Steve Austin. Two powerhouse Wrestlers with huge stables behind them going head to head trying to beat each other. It was a magical time.
Weekend Premiership games lead into Monday Night Raw. Titanic battles to feed my teenage brain. All that adrenaline mixed into a mess of hormones.
The drama of each game, passions running high, friendships put aside for 90 min each weekend and jibes thrown midweek about who had won and who had lost. I was Manyoo and The Rock. A mate of mine was Arsenal and Stone Cold.
Mark (I did it all for the Nookie) Williamson