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I’m confused so help me out here. Am I the only person out there who thinks David Luiz is a terrific defender and always has been? I can’t think of a more maligned player in the Premier league. I think this idea of an error-prone defender has always been unfair to him. He was great last season and the seasons before that and he’s always been one of my favourite defenders to watch. Of course he makes mistakes, but I very much disagree with the idea that he is more error-prone than other top defenders (excluding the very best like Van Dijk).
The idea that a player of his calibre could move for a mere 8 Million Pounds is by some distance the most mind boggling development of the transfer window. Seriously- am I the only one who is finding this insane?
And I’m not even a Chelsea fan!
North London rules
What an amazing transfer window (so far). Very exciting that Spurs are doing similar business. There is a real response from North London to the Man Citeh/Pool dominance and will be very interesting to see how the season pans out.
Luiz coming to us is an interesting one. He is clearly a secondary target but could be useful for a bit. Next to Socrates he could be alright.
I’ve high hopes for Tierney, he sounds solid.
The one everyone is ignoring is Ceballos. He looks an incredible bit of business. No he isn’t permanent (yet) but he is a pretty exciting player, if he can translate effectively to the Prem.
Pepe is an unknown but exciting prospect. He is clearly the sort of player Emery wants and so we should get the best out of him (whatever that will be). He is no Gervinho, however I was always a fan of his anyway. I always felt he’d be good if everyone cuddled him a bit more.
The last minute bid for Iwobi is interesting as it could open the door for Zaha still? I mean, that would be proper mental. Especially if we shed Ozil (and please God Mustafi).
Who really needs a big mega centre back anyway? We’ll be fiiiiine.
JazGooner (may need to track down a season ticket)
We’ll always have Paris, Big Rom
So it looks like Lukaka is finally off, then. I may be in a minority here, but I must confess to feeling a little sad about this move. He started so well, and his record at the club to start with was excellent. Things looked so promising. But the goals to games has definitely slowed down in the last 9 months or so, and I can’t help feeling that he was a little hamstrung by the way the team played. Playing #9 for United has been a fairly thankless task for the last few years or more, but Lukaku made a better fist of it than most. When a team plays to his strengths he’s pretty much unplayable, but this move never quite reached the promised land for either party. But we’ll always have that brace in Paris. I think he’ll absolutely tear Serie A to pieces, at Inter. A 30 goals season is a definite possibility over there.
Glass half-full or half-empty?
As a Leicester fan I keep flip-flopping between rampant optimism and niggling doubt over the season ahead. So I decided to do a glass half-full and glass half empty outlook.
Glass half full
– We have one of the most exciting young teams in Europe.
– We have a settled side and ended the season in great form
– We were unbeaten in pre-season
– We coped well without Maguire last season, we can do it again
– Ihaenacho looked sharp in pre-season and will finally get amongst the goals
– We’ve got goals threats all over the pitch and could feasibly boast 5 players on 10 plus goals
– Our midfield is top four material
– We have a bright, optimistic manager who looks a perfect fit for the club
– Despite losing Maguire the fanbase is unified and optimistic.
Glass half empty
– We’re too young and inexperienced, particularly in the centre of the park. We’ll need nouse and strong in-game management to beat more canny opponents
– We’re not balanced and will concede way too many
– Vardy’s form is bound to drop off at some point. Is this the year?
– We were undone last season by the low block/counter. We’ve been figured out.
– Our goalkeeper is average
– We’ve lost an irreplaceable leader and talisman and will replace him with either an inconsistent, or injury prone, young defender. Or an overpriced Lewis Dunk?
– In Barnes and Gray we have two very talented players who lack end product. Chances are this will continue.
How about your club?
Koscielny was the embodiment of Arsenal FC over his entire tenure at our club. No one will give a toss he has gone.
He was so Arsenal circa 2010-2019. Decent but not good enough for the big titles; a great loser; ripped to bits by Drobga/Costa; no big clubs came for him (unlike even Vermaelen); about as inspirational as losing your job; never likely to tear the head off anyone for not pulling their weight.
All whilst maintaining an element of popularity and faux success.
Lile I said, all very Arsenal.
This feels not even a bit like losing Adams, Sol or Vieira. Not a bit.
Says it all really.
… Oh christ, my last mail on Arsenal fans getting to caught up on Koscielny’s video puts me in agreement with Adrian Durham’s column this morning in Talksport.
I take it all baaaaaaack…..
What’s the point of the Premier League
As the title says seriously what is the point now?
Every prediction says city will canter to the title with little real challenge
Then we get some differing opinions, Liverpool may challenge them a bit or suffer from their players being overplayed.
Then it gets truly sad, Spurs and Arsenal will probably fight for the top 4 with Utd and Chelsea having to worry about managers and how the team reacts in total to it but likely finishing 5th and 6th
So the only excitement is really the battle for relegation.
The premier league is now sadder than the Scottish premier league and is getting worse season on season so honestly what’s the point in watching it.
The football generally isn’t amazing though there are flashes of brilliance but it’s generally a team defending fully against a team like city and just waiting to see if they break them down
The premier league is awful now and looks like it will be for 10 years or so, city will have a stranglehold until Pep leaves but even then they seem to have had good plans so far so will likely have somebody to come in
It’s all in all a pretty tragic state of affairs I just hope the money drops out of it so that countries stop buying clubs.
Go with, Gomes
Spot on piece from Ian Watson on Angel Gomes this afternoon. He looked great on tour, and scored a lovely goal to beat Spurs. This current crop of Greenwood, Gomes, Chong and Garner should be given plenty of chances this season, and not just in the League Cup or Uefa Cup 😊. Granted they are not world class players yet, but it looks like they have serious potential, and as SAF showed us 23 years ago, and more recently Gareth Southgate, early experience at the top level and a guiding hand is a wonderful catalyst and teacher. Plus it would be a wonderful story if we won things with kids again.
Moreover whilst you need very, very good players to win the League and cups and an astute manager, it’s just as important that the group you have is united in one purpose and mission, and plays for each other. And that is more easily achieved in an organic fashion than buying in expensive players who may not be fully committed to the cause and be more interested in financial gain.
Who knows, maybe OGS actually understands this better than his predecessors, and has all the ingredients for the perfect storm here…
Winners and losers
Transfer window ‘Winners and Losers’
Got rid of Romelu “first touch” Lukaku and barely made a loss.
Bought Romelu “technique” Lukaku, the absolute mugs.
Lewis, Busby Way
One Aston Martin> Two Priuses
Mr Paul Murphy, I can feel your anger all the way from Manchester here in Toronto, let me help you cool off. First off, any trophies your team has won over the last six years pales in comparison to our Champions League win, which btw is one FA cup and one Europa League if I am not mistaken. I’d rather have one Aston Martin parked in my driveway than a couple of Priuses. Secondly, you didn’t just overpay for Maguire, you made him the most expensive defender of all time. That means, that he is under some insane pressure to make a massive impact, similar to the one Van Dijk made at Liverpool. My honest opinion is that I don’t see him achieving that, and this could end in disaster.
Ashley Metcalfe, I like your more measured response. However, you have to look at things in perspective. Liverpool did not have a good team in 2011, similar to Manu now, this is true. The major difference is the amount of money that Manu have spent to attain this mediocre level. Manu are 3rd highest net spenders in Europe since 2010. The rest of the teams in that top 5 are PSG, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Man City. Guess which team in that top 5 has the honor of being the only team playing Europa League football this season? Liverpool are 10th in that table over the same time, below the likes of Juventus, who in their desperation for the Champions League turned to the Champions League master Ronaldo. Below the likes of AC Milan, who have fallen off a position of relevance even farther than ManU. Below the like of Bayern Munich, who are another team desperate to wi the Champions League again. Liverpool’s champions league victory and 97 point season are a truly incredible achievement by all measures, and when you look a little deeper in the statistics, it makes it even more admirable.
johnnyWicky, Toronto, Liverpool fan
Breaking it down
People seem to be trashing United left right and center and how they will not even finish top 6. Give me a break. Lets do a piece by piece analysis of the top 6, based purely on player/team quality and what can be reasonable expected out of them:
1) De Gea: Ranks number 1 in terms of consistency and incredible match saving saves
2) Alisson: Had a great season with some good saves. Cocked it up a few times but is a close close second
3) Ederson: Find him excellent again, number 3 purely because he is behind Alisson in the Brazil team
4)Kepa: Can become much better, depends on how this season goes (I know he is above De Gea in the national team, but he is not even close to his level)
5) Lloris: Cannot get rid of the mistakes in his game
6) Leno: Bang average
1) Liverpool: TAA, Robertson & VVD are world class (If last season wasn’t a fluke). Gomez shows good maturity in situations. Good back up in Matip.
2) United: I may be jumping the gun a little bit. But with the 2nd best RB in the league (If not the world), a fixed CB partnership with the excellent Maguire and Lindelof, and Shaw improving at LB, United have a defense to hold atleast 15-20 cleansheets this season
3) City: With a defense more expensive than the price of one Newcastle, City have a decent defense with Laporte the obvious star. Walker, Stones & Zinchenko the weak links, but Cancelo will only help the team
4) 5) 6) Tie between the other three clubs as they have defences that will not work and have a lot of weak links. Luiz to Arsenal will be a joke that most people will enjoy in the season to come with some absolutely horrific performances. Chelsea have a below par LB, decent RB, Zouma and Rudiger in the middle. Spurs have no one other than Vertonghan who is decent.
Midfield (Not accounting wingers and attacking mids)
1) City: Miles ahead with Silva, Silva, KDB. I expect Rodri to have a tough first half of the season. Add to that Gundogan, Fernandhino etc. City have the best midfield in the league
2) United: (Dont shoot me): Yes United. If the goddamn players can play at their zenith, Pogba, Matic, McT/Pereira/Lingard can form a deadly midfield that can run over any team
3) Spurs: If Alli & Eriksen perform to their best and Ndombele settles in quick, they will have a formidable midfield force.
4) Liverpool: Lets be honest, they are rubbish players who did brilliantly as a unit. No one wants Henderson, Fabinho, Wij or Keita really. Again, they have been made to look excellent by Klopp and the players around them, and deserve all the plaudits. But none of them are world class or even great (Which makes their win last season even better). They are like when United had a midfield of Fletcher, Carrick and Cleverly/Gibson/Anderson/whoever. It worked, but doesn’t mean they were the best.
5) Chelsea: Barkley, Mount etc need to show up and be counted for this season. Can do really well
6) Arsenal: What midfield? a loan player and red card magnets? NOOOOPE.
1) City: Raheem, Aguero, Jesus, Sane, Mahrez. There is no comparison
2) Liverpool: Deadliest with Salah, Firmino & Mane.
3) Arsenal: a good trio of Laca , Auba & Pepe. But i dont know if we will see them playing much together.
4) United & Spurs tie: James, Rashford, Martial are lightning quick and will score for fun this season. Kane Son & Moura are superb on their day.
6. Chelsea: What attack?
I am sure many may not agree with me. But we have easily the top 3 keeper, defense and midfield in the league. And if the attacking return are in accordance with the talent of the team, United should be able to make the top 3.
City: 87 points
United: 76 points
Arsenal: 71 points
Chelsea: 71 points.
Replying to TJ, if kickalgor says MLS is ranked higher than the Championship, then its rankings aren’t to be trusted.
Also, what a bloody useless metric anyway. I can’t think of a manager appointed with no previous top level management experience who won three back-to-back champions leagues!
Hell, in 2008 mighty Barcelona appointed a former player who had only ever managed a B side in the Segunda División (currently 37 on Kickalgor) and that worked out fine.
Funny you should ask
Are you guys gonna do your annual tips for the unknown potential hotshots who are arriving into the premier league for the new season?
You have previously highlighted such gems as Payet going to West Ham, Gross to Brighton and many, many more.
I don’t mean to rush you but the clock is ticking until the fantasy football deadline so it would be great if you could get a list together of who’s flown in under the radar but is fully expected to bang in the goals this season…
Haller at West Ham? Kean at Everton? Che Adams at Southampton? Cutrone at Wolves? Pukki at Norwich? Wesley at villa?
Who’s it gonna be?
Tim (CFC) Ireland
I loved your predictions so thought I’d bang out a few of my own…maybe in January you can republish this and laugh at my stupidity.
1. The “race” for the top 4 will be a limp
Frankly, Man Utd and Arsenal haven’t improved enough and Chelsea will be worse. I think all of them will be dropping points this season, maybe in more unexpected places than usual. 64 points will be enough for 4th.
2. Man City will finish the season with fewer than 98 points.
100 down to 98 isn’t a big drama, but I suspect this season they will finish with fewer than 92. Kompany will be a big miss in the dressing room and their spine is either injury prone or ageing. Laporte is their only consistent centre back.
3. Lampard will be sacked first
He took Derby in 6th place, packed them full of young talent and then only managed to finish sixth. Managing a bunch of young hungry kids is much easier than managing the big egos at Chelsea. Managing against some of the best managers in the world is going to see him take a few beatings early and Roman will react as Roman tends to.
4. Steve Bruce to enjoy no new manager bounce
Their first 10 games look horrible for pretty much any team. The stadium will get poisonous if they’re on 0 points after 5 games. Think they might be in 20th place after Arsenal on the first weekend and will struggle to find any momentum from then on.
5. Everton to be in the top 3 after 6 games
They’ve got some friendly-ish fixtures and all the big teams play each other early this season. They could be on 15-16 points after 6 games which I suspect will be good enough to be in the top 2 or 3.
Cheaper than Maguire
In response to Ashley Metcalfe: Players you could have bought this window for less than Harry Maguire:
Mathias de Ligt
Jose Maria Gimenez
Maybe not available now but cheaper when bought recently (while United lacked centre backs): Laporte, Van Dijk, Antonio Rudiger, Joe Gomez, Benjamin Pavard, Mats Hummels
And for a short-term fix, Toby Alderweireld for 25m (too late) or Diego Godin.
You can debate the merits of any one player on this list… by all means. But don’t say there’s no cheaper and better options out there.
Maguire and Carroll comparison
Okay I didn’t want to do this but Johnny Wicky’s (more like Johnny Wacky!!) mail was actually hilarious. Johnny I’m concerned for your wellbeing. You had to stretch so much to make your Carrol/Maguire comparison I hope you didn’t cause yourself injury doing it. I honestly don’t see how you can draw any comparison between the two. Let’s look at your points:
“Goes all out and spends a record sum on a not-so-young anymore English player”
Harry Maguire is 26 which I’d contest (especially for a centre back) is pre prime therefor can still be considered “young”. But Andy Carroll had just turned 22 when he moved to Liverpool. Are we saying strikers are now not so young at 22 or are we just changing goalposts to make a weak point? Or…..did we just not know how old Carroll was. Don’t worry I was just as shocked when I realised he was 22!
“who impressed at a team with lower expectations and demands” “and questionable whether he is suited to life at the top end of the table”
Newcastle had just been promoted meanwhile Leicester very recently won the League but are fairly established as an upper mid table team which makes the jump to a 4th place contender not that much of a leap. You also completely disregard the fact that Maguire has been a starter for England the last two years which means he’s had to deal with ridiculous expectations and demands. Surely Van Dijk (the more obvious comparison maybe?) was at a similar level in Southampton which was arguably the bigger jump to League title contender. I’m purposely not giving Celtic and the Scottish league due respect FYI.
Carroll’s transfer came on the back of a hot streak that lasted less than half of a season in the Premier League. It was a massive risk. However Maguire has consistently performed in the league over the last two years even with the pressure and rumours surrounding where he would be after the world cup. There’s a reason why Pep and Man City were keen on him……maybe because he’s actually good??
“but is clearly flawed”
This one really tickled me. Anyone with half an eye could see Carroll’s flaws which should have immediately put Liverpool off. Incredibly one dimensional, slow and not to mention severe off field concerns (drinking and general lack of professionalism) was clear for all to see. On the other hand, Harry Maguire isn’t the second coming of Beckenbauer but I struggle to see what the clear flaws are to be comparable to Carroll. He’s also shown himself to be a model professional and again, there’s a reason why City were interested.
“Ahhhh, this was the situation for Liverpool back in 2011, I still remember it”
You clearly don’t. This was a strange and unique situation where Liverpool needed a replacement for Torres on deadline day and decided to go for the hottest name at the time. They also left it entirely between Newcastle and Chelsea to negotiate the Carroll fee which was ludicrous then and even more so now. By all accounts it looks like Manchester United very much negotiated this deal directly with Leicester very much not on deadline day. Fairly textbook stuff.
“I see the same thing happening at ManU now.“
“There is a smell of desperation around the signing of Maguire. They seem to have been rinsed thoroughly by Leicester on this deal”
Possibly but then Utd tried to sign him last summer and maintained interest this year and got their guy. The going rate for top level centre backs (which Maguire arguably is) coupled with the English premium now seems to be around the £70-£80m mark which. Whether you choose to accept that is on you. It’s all ifs and buts but I’m sure that if Van Dijk was English his price would have been way higher. I personally think it’s a decent piece of business for Utd. They had an area of need, identified a player that has proven over a 2 year period that he can perform consistently at the top level (in the Premier League and in a World Cup!!) but they had to pay a premium for it and were happy to do it. Much like Liverpool with Van Dijk.
“The only thing that would make this funnier? If Leicester went and spent their Maguire money on Koulibaly.”
From Napoli who are in the Champions League…..to Leicester. Okay
Ultimately, we can say fairly definitively that the Carroll transfer was an unmitigated disaster because we’ve seen it pan out. We have no evidence to suggest that Maguire IS A MAN UTD FLOP (TM) yet because he hasn’t even kicked a ball for United. Maybe wait till the end of the season before passing judgement on Maguire because you’re making yourself look stupid with your ludicrous comparisons.
Jay (Is revisionism the new Scouse Maths?) Selva