Shoots of the James vs TAA debate have emerged again, Harvey Elliott for England, and same car, new driver at Manchester United.
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Elliott for England?
Someone mentioned, within their predictions , that Harry Kane would not apply himself 100% in the last games before the World Cup due to the fear of injury. Whether this is psychologically unavoidable I have no clue but I then deduce that other England players will possibly do the same .
After a serious knee injury, and with Cucurella as big bucks back up , Ben Chillwell must be hoping to play his way into England’s starting 11, if / when we make the knock-out rounds .
Another gleaming hope with a recent horrific injury at the back of his mind is Harvey Elliot , perhaps a long shot for the squad but looks like he is going to get the minutes to make a late Gazza-esque bid – Go On son ! As well as Kane and Chillwell. I see lots of exciting players that would make England a team that no one really wants to play against.
From Pep’s coaching we’ll have a fast right sided defender a central defender, a DM , if we go with our double pivot again , an impact sub now with a year of his flair coached out of him and Phil Foden , hoping none of them get crocked.
From Tuchel the excellent Reece James and Raheem plus possibly important squad players . Then I’d love to see young Bellingham starting but I guess it’s a long shot . Saka too , for me is exciting and fearless. I’d love to have the comedy of Dier, of the Eric variety, trying to foul slabhead so as to cheekily take his place but that’s sliding over into the realms of fantasy ( as is hoping Southgate drops him ).
Finally , is Rice droppable ? If he were to be injured could that force Philips as a single pivot? All these names will be seen pulling out of 50-50’s here and there and as it’s a World Cup you can hardly blame them. Players like Gabriel Jesus and Bruno Fernandez will doubtless be letting that psychological edge into their heads too. All in all it’s a tricky path to pick your way through and some players will face heart break whether last minute or early doors . A weird weird season to be sure . Only around a dozen weeks to go!
Peter. ( clutching at England straws since Italia ‘80 ) Andalucia.
Liverpool better with James
Hey Adam (Leeds),
I’ve got a way you can work it out.
Work out how many assists/goals of Trent’s directly affected the result – as in made the goal that won the game. Then work out how many bollocks Trent has made that has directly influenced the result the other way.
The delta is your answer.
Personally I think that Liverpool would’ve won more with a right-back that can defend as well. Like Reece James for example. But the stats could prove me wrong.
Cheers, Fat Man
Not enough eggs at United
A long time ago a football visionary said you had to break some eggs to make an omelette. If you want an answer as to why United are in so much trouble, I think it’s really about eggs. And not breaking enough.
Every journalist wanting a stick to hit United with uses absolute currency spend: makes sense right? But I think that ignores an important point: United haven’t tried a lot of eggs. If you consider where United’s squad is, realistically Spurs and Arsenal are the main competitors. In the last 5 seasons, if we exclude backup keepers (side note, those guys get around!) United have signed about 18 players in 5 seasons. Arsenal in that time, 33. Spurs, 27. Some of these have of course come and gone and you’ve likely never heard of a couple. But still.
United’s major failing for is simply derisking transfers. We pay too much upfront, buy too few players so if the few we buy don’t work they’re still around (Fred, AWB, Martial in his SEVENTH season) and can’t sell anyone to save our lives. There’s a stat floating about that 19 players have left United this summer, and the only one to get a fee is 10m on Perreira.
In the end, the managers don’t get to put GBP or USD on the pitch – actual footballers have to play football. Between injuries, age and natural attrition, this United squad is threadbare not in terms of dollars, but in terms of footballers. We have 0 number 6s in the entire squad. 2 forwards, one of which is almost 40 and the other is a player that couldn’t score in Seville. 2 RBs, both of whom are worse than any other in the league.
When EtH was announced in April, and 7 first teamers were confirmed leaving, fans were optimistic – finally we’re going to bring in a good NUMBER of players to fill some gaps. Instead we’ve signed a freebie, a backup LB and another CB. And that’s it.
Long story short, it’s not the manager. It’s the board and transfer team. We need some eggs to break.
Same car, new driver
As a club, United today is the same old car, only the driver has changed. A new Manager has been installed but the players are as bad as ever and no amount of coaching and/or tactics will change that. Only an injection of three or more high quality Tier one players will ameliorate the situation. The practice of not signing quality players continues unabated at United, as the club has, in recent times, shown an unwillingness to spend on good players, especially since Sir Alex left. Why will any club in United’s situation even consider signing Rabiot and Arnautovic when Arsenal have signed Jesus and others, Chelsea have signed Sterling and Koulibaly and Spurs continue to add quality to their squad? Needless to mention the high quality Tier one players Liverpool and Man City have signed. The situation at United is a complete disgrace and fans are hurting so badly.
Professor (Dr) David Achanfuo Yeboah
Now the dust has settled on a first Premier League weekend, I’m amazed at how little fanfare Newcastle’s win at home to Forest has gotten. I understand, it wasn’t on TV, at home to an unknown quantity, but watching in the stadium, Newcastle were awesome.
They pressed very high, shut Forest down and were relentless in attack. If Almiron was slightly better and we’d had a bit more luck, we’d have won that game 5-0, and it wouldn’t have flattered us. The most dominant home display I’ve seen from us in a long, long time. It was like watching what the top 6 used to do to us under our previous manager.
Now, this is a continuation from the tailend of last season, where the team is 20yds higher up the pitch, we press teams hard and effectively and create a lot of chances, and the signs are extremely positive. The job Eddie Howe has done in transforming this team has been incredible – an excellent coaching achievement after 3 years of low blocks and hoping for the best.
That bodes well for the likes of Man U, now they have a coaching coach – but it may take time – it took a few months for Howe to finesse our play – and it means that the game against their conquerors, Brighton, should be a good one at the weekend. Two hugely progressive, front foot teams who will bloody a lot of noses this season.
We’re still 1-2 players short of taking on the big boys, but no-one will want to play Newcastle this season. Joelinton and Bruno are as good a pair of midfielders you’ll see in the league (and I’m not even joking, they’re both sensational) and with a solid defence we’re going to be competitive in most games. A step to a higher line means we’ll be ripped apart by a few teams, but if we play like we did on Saturday, we’ve got to be looking up.
Can’t say I saw a more dominant display on the opening weekend, and so more reasons for hope for the toon.
Brighton squad assessment
In response to Shehzad in this mornings mailbox, here’s my slightly giddy and in no way over the top Brighton starting XI assessment…..
Sanchez (Youth) – genuinely capable of the utterly ridiculous on both sides of the coin. That save from Rashford at point blank, the deflected shot parried from Eriksen (I think it was?) but then marry that up in the same half (not even the same game, the same 45 mins) with the general corner / shot flappiness which very nearly cost us the win. Jury is out, but still a huge upgrade on Maty Ryan
Veltman (£900k) – utterly brilliant. Hes forgettable in a good way in that you don’t really notice him unless he gets a booking in a ‘take one for the team’ way when we get a bit confident and leave it open at the back, gets through entire games with minimal fuss at RB or CB otherwise
Dunk (Youth) – ‘Puts his body on the line’ is an understatement. Probably misses his best mate Duffy. But that block in the final stages with his arm/arse/back was incredible. But we wouldn’t expect anything less.
Webster (£20m) – If he can stay fit for a whole season, he would make the England squad (yes ahead of Dunk, yes obviously ahead of Maguire). If you want an English ball playing CB in this England World Cup squad, I don’t think you’d find any Brighton fan arguing against that.
March (Youth) – He’s reinvented himself as some sort of weird hybrid LB / LWB / RWB / RWF player and when he is told to switch sides / roles mid game he just slots in perfectly. Credit to Hughton here on this one, maybe stifled his attacking instincts a little after his massive injury a few years ago, but improved him massively defensively. Probably one of the ultimate Potter players, along with…
Gross (£3m) – ‘Too slow for the premier league’ according to many BHAFC fans but he has one hell of an engine, can pretty much play anywhere apart from CB and to watch him for 90 minutes is sublime. Also youtube ‘Gross turns’ it’s a joy to watch. Game after game. Behind Vicente back in the few Championship games he was fit for us, he has probably the best technique I’ve ever seen in a Brighton player.
Lallana (Free) – An inspired signing, yes he’s lost his legs a little bit, another one where fitness is an issue, but he keeps things ticking over nicely, definitely hasn’t lost his touch, and you can’t help but like him. Also likes to get stuck in in a bit of a nighty way in some games – but that helps to bring the crowd back onside a little when games are fading a bit.
Caicedo (£4.5m) – Biss-who-ma? A little bit in jest, and still a fledgling in terms of PL experience (9 games in a new country, a South American, and able to adapt to the pace of the PL!) but we’ve found another one. When he came in at the back end of last season (probably when we realised Biss wasn’t going to re-sign) he instantly showed he’s the next one off the production line, I’m amazed he wasn’t given the MOTM on Sunday in all honesty. He was at the heart of everything we did well, and played a massive part in both goals. Just to point out, Manchester United pulled out of signing him before we nabbed him, because the deal was too complicated due to Third Parties or some other weird sh… reason.
MacAllister (£7m, If I’m being honest we also paid about £2m to get him back early from a loan deal a while ago) – Seems to be another one re-invented under Potter. Came in as an Argentine attacking midfielder number 10 type with a very Scottish name due to his heritage, but has looked insanely more comfortable in the role I like to call ‘The Metronome’. Engine like Gross, and keeps things ticking over nicely. I just long for the day he finds his shooting boots because he looks like once he gets going he could be a real goal scorer for us driving from deep.
Trossard (£15m) – Flirts between LWB and LWF or Number 10, sometimes RWB, wonderfully feisty but sublimely talented footballer. Considering the size difference vs Maguire, I am still sure that in a fight, there is only one winner here. Does need to score a couple more goals like the rest of our squad but he is proof you can play top level international football without being part of the so called Big Six.
Welbeck (Free) – What can I say. Led the line exactly how a veteran with a point to prove should do. In the third season of ‘one year’ deals and hasn’t seemed to moan or complain when there are plenty of other clubs who could probably offer him more money on longer terms, he seems to like it here and when you see us when we score or after games, he seems to be revelling in the ‘father figure’ role in this team. Not as injury prone as one might lead you to believe – has played 50 of our last 77 league games. Doesn’t score as many as he probably should, but creates so many chances for others with his willingness to work hard and drag defenders everywhere.
Overall, after a quick count, £52.4m for a team that more than comfortably outplayed Manchester United at Old Trafford in their brave new era. Our entire starting line up cost less than Maguire….
I like Graham Potter and this entire squad. Obviously the Potter era won’t last forever, but whilst it’s here, I shall enjoy every second of it. Even the 10 game winless run that’s due at some point between January and March that puts the fear into us all!
Drink it in.
Johnny Nic and Groundhog Day
I used to love the film Groundhog Day.
I now, however, feel I’m in a Groundhog Day of my own. It seems I re-live the same article on F365 over and over again.
Sure, each piece has its slight differences, much like Bill Murray’s day, but every time we get back to 6am and Sonny and Cher are singing ‘I got you babe’.
I refer, of course, to John Nicholson and his weekly(?) wish to bring football back to 1978.
‘The weekly classifieds are going, it’s a travesty’ – So? As John eluded to in his article we get scores differently now.
Indeed, on the rare occasion I listen to match build ups on my way home, the classified football results are mildly annoying.
Unfortunately, as mentioned, this is part of a pattern with Johnny, a nostalgia tinted pining for ‘the good old days’.
In my opinion these are ‘the good old days’.
There are massive problems in the game today, but there always has been, they’re just different now.
Despite this criticism, I have conversed with John a couple of times on social media and must stress I find him a very nice person and this isn’t personal.
You could say ‘Just don’t read his articles then’, but, where would we be if we only ever listened to people we agree with, those who reinforce our own ideas?
My advice to John is to embrace the game as it is today, its not perfect, but if you look close enough, it really is rather good.