The fall-out to yet another Chelsea draw continues. Now we have to see whether the chasers can take advantage. Send views to firstname.lastname@example.org
Chelsea HAVE been screwed by fixtures
You can write all the snarky headlines you want regarding Chelsea and Thomas Tuchel being hard done by but the facts of the matter are borne out in the data.
Since 1st December 2021 Chelsea have played 15 games, games where we’ve had world-renowned wing backs Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic in place of Chilwell and James – everything Chelsea do is generated from those two positions.
To put this into context for the hard of thinking who think Tuchel is just moaning because he’s been “found out” (found out winning the Champions League).
Manchester City have played 11 games
West Ham and Liverpool have played 12 games
Arsenal and Spurs have played 10 games
Manchester United have played 9 games.
Quite often we have played these sides after they’ve had the previous fixture cancelled and essentially had a week’s rest before playing us.
When you compound this with players who are being rushed back from injury to cover for injuries in positions they are unfamiliar with is it any wonder the side are suffering?
Add a sulking man mountain who can’t run without tripping over his size fourteen clown shoes and simply isn’t trying and that’s why we’re battling to stay in contention for the top four.
How will the Covid backlog play out?
Watching Brighton physically dominate Chelsea for long periods, it looked like Chelsea were playing an end-of-season game, they look f**ked. Schedule and Covid has affected all teams but more so Chelsea. No cancelled games and the intensity of games every three days has broken them.
Long term injuries to their two wing-backs leaves two 30+ year olds playing the majority of matches. Centre backs Silva and Christensen take turns on the injury table. Kante and Jorginho are being nursed through long term injuries as Havertz and Werner try and recover from injury and covid. While Lukaku, Pulisic and Ziyech look disinterested.
Think it’s advantage Spurs, United and Arsenal. Squads nicely rested from their cancellations, but will be interesting to see if the back log impacts them.
Sorry to those who expect post-Pep demise
I’ll preface this with I’m a Liverpool supporter and I hope all the folks in the mailbag are right that City come crashing down post Pep a la Manchester United.
But lets face facts. Those United teams near the end of his time were dragged across the line by the mythos of Fergie. I mean, has Macheda even scored another goal anywhere?
Love them or hate them, Manchester City are an extremely well run club that put their money to very good use. They are 2 sometimes 3 world class players deep in most positions and have a solid academy producing good players.
When Guardiola leaves, I don’t see them making the same mistakes the Glazers did by letting Fergie appoint his successor and linger in the background, rather they’ll identify the right candidate and keep on rolling.
At the end of the day, it’s easy enough to pay a crap ton of money for players (Hello Everton!) but to buy well is still an artform and City have managed.
Nope, sadly, I don’t see the City Juggernaut slowing down when Pep leaves. Sure they may lose a few titles here and there but at the end of the day, they know what they’re doing.
Mark – LFC
…Pep leaving will not result in the Fergie effect as quite simply Pep is not as good as Fergie.
Yes, Pep is good. However, Pep is winning the league most years with the best first XI in the division and a second XI that would also secure top four. Most other teams’ second XI would be relegated. Pep has also managed somehow to not win the league with this massive advantage.
On paper, Fergie rarely had the best squad or the best first XI and some years (notably his last title) he had no right to get anywhere close – just look at that squad from his last title winning year, it is laughable apart from RVPs goals.
For that reason City will be fine. While another manager may well be a drop off, any manager could win the title with the squad, finances and infrastructure City have built (maybe they wouldn’t win as often as Pep or as many cups).
City have raised the bar as Fergie did, Wenger did and Mourinho did. Utd, Chelsea, Liverpool and whoever else want to challenge them will need to up their game too.
Jon, Cape Town
Howe out, Benitez in?
With Benitez having been Staveley’s and PIF’s first choice for a long time before the takeover was completed, I wonder now if PIF and the board are tempted to make a move? I will admit to being pleased with Howe’s appointment and wanted it to happen over the others who were in the running. I could see his brand of football working well with the fans and also with some of the players in the squad. I also believed him to be a better coach than Bruce and able to get more out of players who were never deemed as bad as they are now. Lascelles and Clark were once considered solid pros for a mid-table side, now they demonstrate Bramble/Boumsong levels of ineptitude week after week.
Who got the best out of those players? Benitez. Lascelles was considered a (very) outside bet for an England call up under him. He got a strikeforce of Rondon and Perez to overperform, who says he won’t be able to do the same with Almiron, ASM and Wood?
Howe hasn’t gotten any more out of this bunch than Bruce, and even their best player in ASM (goal at the weekend aside) seems to have gone backwards. Howe’s positivity is starting to collide with the reality that this squad is physically and mentally spent. Maybe they don’t need a motivator, they need a cold, calculating tactician like Benitez to drill them in a structured and rote way of playing which will keep them from screwing up too royally.
I wonder if all sides could come up with an arrangement whereby Benitez parachutes in to help Howe until the end of the season before being moved upstairs. Eddie doesn’t come across as a super charged ego sort of guy and if he’s reassured that he’s still the boss and Rafa will go upstairs at the end of the season maybe he could accept that. Rafa’s best days as a manager seem to be behind him so a DoF role might suit him. He may even lend some weight to transfers and although his transfer record at Liverpool was far from 100%, he knew Joelinton was not a £40m player and had the balls to call it out, and most of his moves while at Newcastle were the right(ish) ones.
Definitely won’t happen but Newcastle’s problem won’t be solved by 3-4 new players while the ones around them are completely done. Howe’s reassurances that they (the current squad) are not all going to be replaced rings hollow when you can put together maybe three different XIs of players Newcastle have been linked with. Unless they find a way to get this squad as a whole moving in the right way even signing Hazard, Dembele et al won’t help.
On Rooney, Mediawatch and more…
Just wanted to say THANK YOU to whomever wrote your Mediawatch article on Wayne Rooney as the next Everton manager.
It’s bad enough that the club has gaslit the fans for significant periods in recent years but when the media is at it as well, you start to question your own sanity. Wayne Rooney may very well turn out to be capable of managing a club as big as ours but he hasn’t achieved nearly enough yet to justify being given that opportunity and neither the fact that he is a scouser nor the fact that, as a kid, he revealed a “once a blue, always a blue” t-shirt after scoring makes up for that. As your writer noted, he f*cked off at the first opportunity and I’d add that he only came back once his legs were gone and proceeded to phone it in until we could find someone who’d pay him enough that he’d f*ck off a second time. There was also that episode where he was arrested for drunk driving in the middle of the night while club captain which kinda detracts further from the “club legend” idea.
That said, there’s still a real chance that he’ll get the job. Aside from the fact that our board is batshit mental, the power struggle currently underway is between one man who is obsessed with big names and another who is overly sentimental (just look at the insane number of former players – some of whom achieved absolutely nothing with us – we have on our staff) as was pointed out by Jim Keoghan, an Evertonian author, on twitter. Unfortunately, Wayne Rooney as manager is an idea which could appeal to both of them which is a thought so terrifying that I’m actually reappraising everything I said/thought about Big Sam. Do you think he’d come back, perhaps?
…I don’t agree with Shz in his accusation and it’s something we’ve seen in the mailbox a few times. Shz mate you’re wrong, with regards managerial appointments this site has nearly always expressed a logical and pragmatic view of ‘hire the best person for the job’, it just transpires that the best person is rarely British. I believe your umbrage actually lies with the FA and their ability to train and promote decent coaches. Also your point on banter is ridiculous, just stick site:football365.com “neil warnock” into google and start reading.
Anyway, the Rooney situation is interesting. He’s not the right man for the job, and Everton aren’t a good club to manage right now but for Wayne that emotional connection might override sanity. I’d say most fans at least think they know how to fix their clubs, what tactics are better and which players should be in the first team. Rooney has an opportunity as a fan to take over management of his club and fix all those issues. He’d have been watching that team deteriorate for years and that little voice that lives at the back of all our minds will have been whispering to him “you can do it Wayne, you can fix them, you can take them to glory, they will sing your name again, just imagine”. As a fan I think that voice would be very hard to ignore, in fact the only thing I can see stopping him would be the connection he’s made at Derby and a commitment to those fans and players to help pull them out of a hole
A word of caution on Eriksen
A note on Ian King’s article about Christian Eriksen. Like your esteemed writer, I am a Spurs fan (although with slightly shorter longevity; my affection for the club only dates back 32 years) and, like Ian, Christian Eriksen holds an extremely special place in my heart as one of the most gifted and most committed players I have seen in a lillywhite shirt in that time period. I had similar feelings of dread when I watched his collapse during the Euros and I can honestly say that I celebrated the positive news from his hospital bed in the aftermath of the incident with as much joy as I cheered England’s progress through the tournament.
Now for a bit of additional, personal context. The best man at my wedding; an individual who I have considered a close friend for very nearly as long as my association with Spurs; an otherwise relatively fit and healthy 38-year old, was hospitalised in Jan 2020 with a life-threatening virus (shortly before that became all the rage). The resultant auto-immune condition ravaged his internal organs and left his heart – to use a technical, medical term – f****d. He survived and had an ICD fitted later that year. As a little reminder of the precariousness of his situation, the ICD triggered, twice last week, a day after his 40th birthday, on the back of 10 minutes on a 5-a-side pitch. Again, dear reader, I can confirm that my chum survived that incident and remains a sarcastic pain in my arse.
So please bear that in mind when I say that, as sad as I am that he had to retire, I am extremely troubled by the announcement that Christian Eriksen is looking to make a comeback. An ICD is not a cure. It is (from my limited medical knowledge) a safety net to literally reboot the heart and is only fitted to those individuals where there is a material risk that their heart may, at some point, need a substantial electric shock to avoid cardiac arrest. It doesn’t always work and, when it does, the patient would usually wake up in A&E, having been rendered unconscious by the impact. There is a reason that Italian sport bans players with this kind of condition and, knowing the general disregard that Premier League football clubs have for player welfare and wellbeing as they chase the sweet, sweet dollars available for top flight survival / European qualification, I have grave reservations about whether any club would be making decisions with any thought or consideration for what is in Eriksen’s best interest.
If Christian Eriksen’s condition has a cure, then there would be no one happier than I, to see him back fighting fit on the Premier League stage. If he does insist on a return, then I wish him all the luck in the world, hope the doctors have got it right, hope he has a wonderful few years, recaptures some of his finest form, and retires safely to grow old with his family. But I don’t think I’ll be able to watch matches in which he is participating. I hate to be the doom-monger, but I have absolutely no desire to watch football matches from behind the sofa, fearing for an unfolding health disaster.
I guess it’s his decision, at the end of the day. And if he doesn’t line up for Brentford, Newcastle, Spurs, or any of the English clubs he has been linked with, there will be a club somewhere on the planet prepared to take a risk (though perhaps not their own) on re-employing Christian Eriksen as a professional footballer. I’m just not sure I will be able find a definitive reason to “embrace” that decision until the day he finally retires.
Chris Bridgeman, Kington upon Thames