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Kane to Man City a perfect fit
I am a big fan of Harry Kane. He is a player of supreme professionalism and discipline who has elevated himself to a point where he sits comfortably at the same table as Suarez, Lewandowski and Aguero when it comes to the best no.9’s in the world. I’d throw in Benzema and Firmino into their own bracket of no.9/10 hybrid.
The rumour on Harry Kane to Newcastle seems more like a putting of the dots together, with the whole Pochettino link, however I will still entertain the rumour. If Kane were to move this summer to Newcastle with Pochettino, it would be a massive indicator of confidence for other top players to follow. Similar to the effect that signing Tevez had for Man City. They signed Tevez at the start of the 09/10 season, came within 1 game of finishing in the top 4 that season, then brought in huge names like David Silva and Yaya Toure the following summer. Then they proceeded to finish 3rd the following season with an FA Cup victory, including a famous FA cup victory against Manyoo in the semis, with Balotelli wonderfully goading Ferdinand and getting under his skin after the final whistle. We all know what happened the season after that.
Bottom line, if Kane joined this summer, imo Newcastle could potentially challenge for the League in 2-3 years, maybe sooner depending on how aggressively the owners attack the transfer market. The moneys these Saudi’s have is no joke. They make the City owners look like paupers in comparison and Abramovich barely registers on their radar. Although Newcastle are not as strong at this time as City were at the time of their own take over, you can bet that these owners have the resources to bridge that gap much quicker.
However I think Kane at this time would prefer to move to a club that is ready to challenge for the title in this moment, and just require a spearhead upfront before entering battle. Although he does not exactly fit the model of a Guardiola striker (though he is a similar profile to Lewandowski, who Guardiola used at Bayern to great effect), I believe he would be a fantastic signing for Man City. He would be a top tier replacement for the soon to be 32 y/o Sergio Aguero. Gabriel Jesus, while extremely talented, has yet to show that he has the goal scoring prowess to lead the line for a club of City’s ambitions. Kane’s resume is as good as they get when it comes to elite goal scorers, and he has the added bonus of “Premier League Experience”. I also believe that Pep will hang around at City for one more season max, after which he will head back to Barcelona to try and restore them to their previous Europe conquering best.
In that sense, Kane could be a brilliant signing to usher in a new era under a new manager. He also has a strong understanding and on pitch chemistry with Raheem Sterling, as seen from their England performances. With the type of service he would get from out wide and midfield at City, I’d bet on Kane to produce no less than 25 goals a season in the premier league provided he can stay fit. While Aguero is overall a superior striker, Kane is the one I would pick to finish a 1 on 1 chance out of the two, as I believe he is a better pure finisher.
Driven to distraction
John Nicholson is wrong to tarnish the enjoyment many of us will gain from the return of football by tying it into the awfulness of the Government. I agree with him that the Government’s incompetence, dishonesty and downright nastiness in the face of this crisis has been appalling. I’ve written to my MP, joined a political party I think would do a better job in government, sent angry tweets from time to time and taken various other ineffectual steps to make my feelings known.
Perhaps I’m forgetting the immense mind-bending power of a last-minute shinned equaliser upheld after a half-hour VAR review, but I find it extremely unlikely that allowing myself to escape from all this misery for a couple of hours to watch a football game on TV will make me forget my deeply held concerns. I find it odd, to say the least, that John Nicholson seems to believe it might. I know that not everyone is like me, but who are these people who John Nicholson thinks are angry enough to make a difference now but who will be pacified immediately when something decent returns to Sky Sports?
So, assuming that it can all be made safe enough, I’m very much in favour of football returning. But if, the first time Andy Robertson puts a winger into the advertising hoardings before aiming a cheeky wink at the camera, I find myself thinking that perhaps this Boris chap isn’t so bad after all, I guess I owe John Nicholson a post-lockdown pint.
Tom at home
The rant about Ryan Giggs from Curtis Woodhouse pricked up my attention and I thought it was worth looking at Giggs’s stats to see if there is any merit in it. I have compared them to other legends from the same era as well as Bale and TAA. Data is from transfermarket.com and based on total competitive games across all competitions.
Apps 927 Goals 161 Assists 247
That means that Giggs scored every 5.75 games and made a goal every 3.75 games. Its also worth remembering that he played in 11 league seasons while 30 or over and towards the end of his career he was playing mainly in a deep lying midfield role rather than as a flying winger.
Apps 497 Goals 166 Assists 137
Given that bale played most of his career on the right side of a 433 where being left footed his main job was to cut inside and shoot, it is unsurprising that he scored more than Giggs but assisted less often (Goals every 3 games and assists 3.63). Given that Bale is 30 and still playing its fair to assume his goal scoring and assisting etc will tail off as it did for the other players in this list.
Apps 645 Goals 112 Assists 173
Figo scored a goal every 5.76 games fractionally more than Giggs and assisted a goal every 3.73 games fractionally less than Giggs. Figo is probably the fairest comparison as he spent much of his career playing on the right side of the pitch while being right footed similarly to Giggs playing on the left and being left footed and playing his club football as a winger in a 442 and playing in the same era with a similar level of defensive responsibility.
Apps 717 Goals 127 assists 202
Also positionally similar to Giggs and Figo. Goal scored every 5.64 games and an assist every 3.55 games. As you probably would have predicted Beckham got more assists but less goals than Giggs and Figo.
144 Apps 10 Goals and 38 assists
Probably the most exiting and creative fullback in the world. Goal every 14 games and an assist every 3.8 games.
1) Giggs was phenomenal to have played on until 40 and still have career stats comparable with other legends such as Beckham and Figo.
2) Hard to compare against Bale as he plays in a different position, is still playing but already past his best, will probably score a good few more goals than Giggs but substantial less assists by the time he hangs up his boots.
3) Comparisons with Trent Alexander-Armstrong are not meaningful as there isn’t enough data yet as it is so early in his career and no-one knows if he will maintain this level of creativity, which he would have to do consistently for the best part of 20 years to be on the same level as Giggs in terms of assists and seems unlikely to score anywhere near as he plays in a deeper position.
4) Stats alone don’t tell the whole story. Watch this
Main conclusion: Curtis Woodhouse is talking utter bollocks. I would wager that he is simply being controversial to get attention for a bit of fun.
Matt, United fan, Wigan
Void next season
Without bringing up some old arguments that have continuously been repeated on here, I’d like to suggest a better way to deal with the pandemic in football. Please forgive me if someone has already suggested this but in any case I didn’t see anyone mention it.
I think we should void next season, it would alleviate the pressure to get this season done before the end of July, which didn’t seem feasible to me anyway. If the season restarts on the 27th of June then the earliest it can finish would be roughly around the 15th of August.
After that there would have to be a break for the players (3 weeks) which would bring us to the first week of September and then another 3 weeks of pre-season. This would mean next season starts in October, which is almost 2 months later than a regular post pandemic season.
If they were to void next season then, all the teams who qualify for the CL this season which are as it stands at the moment Liverpool, Manchester City, Leicester and Chelsea will qualify for the 21/22 CL. With Manchester United, Wolves and Sheffield United all qualifying for the 21/22 EL. Same with relegation and promotion right the way through the divisions.
Then when we hit January 21 we could possibly see some international football because AFCON is on in Cameroon.
They could do the euros we were supposed to have this summer at the same time as afcon or else in the spring when the weather in France picks up.
They can’t realistically do the multi nation euros now.
Which brings us nicely into the summer for some confederations cup action followed by the full return of club football in July/August with fans.
I think this solution suits everyone as I cant see the positions changing to much next season, especially the top 4 as they are way ahead of the rest of the league.
Thank me later
Jerome Valeska, GC
Just dawned on me that is 15 years since Liverpool won the champions league in Istanbul. How time flies ….
I was a 24 yr old with no money renting a little house in Guildford. I remember watching it as it was my the girlfriend now wifes 24th birthday. I remember we went to London in the day and all I could think about was the game later that evening.
We watched the first half on a tiny tv and I’ve never felt so miserable, I was literally crying like a little boy. Her lovely parents came round at half time, I sat on the sofa watching said little tv but with no sound. I was certain worse was to come but like a car crash I couldn’t take my eyes off it. I remember trying to be pleasant to my in laws meanwhile seething inside.
And then… Gerrard scores, I ruefully smile, it’s a relief as I swore we would get tanked 6-0! I remember getting up to get a glass of wine , I glimpse over to see Hamann pass it to Smicer and bang ! It’s 2-3, still I’m 24 I stopped believing in miracles long ago. I smile wider, now filled with pride as I’m sure Milan will put us out our misery.
Now I can see my late father in law has taken an interest. The sound is still off and I’m sure we won’t win this…. what !? Is that carragher steaming forward? He nudges it to Hamann, into Baros, Gerrard running through, hacked by Gattuso ….. pen …….. heart in mouth ! Alonso , saved , s*** , my heart sinks. Alonso !
I’m off and running muted as I don’t want to embarrass my girlfriend in front of her parents, outside onto the grass and I let out the biggest scream that I will ever do!
The rest his history. Happy 39th birthday to my Wonderful wife Helen …god knows how she puts up with a mad football fan..
Teams that deserve a better legacy
Blimey, does anyone else remember when the mailbox used to enjoyable? Now it’s just long form Twitter and that’s not a compliment.
I suppose I should make a football point, which is what we’re here for. Football teams which deserve a better legacy. How about Brazil 1986? Everyone remembers the great 1982 team but their successors in Mexico were better balanced. The 82 team had a great midfield but was lacking elsewhere. In 86, they had a pair of classy centre-backs (Edinho and Julio Cesar), the full-backs (Josimar and Branco) were in the great Brazil tradition and Careca was a world-class striker. They only conceded once (Platini’s equaliser in the epic quarter-final) and they scored some excellent goals. Josimar’s strikes against Poland and Northern Ireland were the pick of the bunch but Edinho scored a brilliant goal against Poland. He cleared the ball upfield, then ran up to take a reverse pass from Careca, took out a defender and keeper with one turn and then scored. If a Brazilian had done that, no hang on a Brazilian DID do that.
A word of thanks
Dear Liverpool fans,
Thank you for reminding me of the value of football rivalry as well as providing a fascinating insight into the human mind. I don’t know if it’s a getting older thing or my slow realisation that we’re living in feudalism again or the fact United have been crap for seven years but I’ve found myself caring about the success of rival clubs less and less as the road to middle age has shortened.
One day I wrote a letter to F365 after an alarmingly listless defence of the European Cup from Liverpool at their home. In it, I said that Liverpool looked like they gave up in the second half of extra time. I stated that if you consider that surprisingly spiritless performance along with the results they had just before that match, and the games they had immediately following it, their league title did not look as nailed on as it did earlier that night and as such, they shouldn’t just be awarded the title if the league was voided.
France drew at home against Luxembourg during the qualifying campaign for the world cup they won in 2018. Man City got smashed by Norwich only this season. They got well beaten by Palace in their own home last season. Sheffield United were top 6 in March. Leicester won the bleedin’ league 2 or 3 years ago! I really didn’t think the idea of Liverpool going on a terrible run of games was far fetched after they were knocked out of two cups in a week (including, again, a worrying performance that looked like they’d given up trying to defend their European trophy) got smashed by Watford a couple of games before that and had to face Manchester City and Everton away just after it. I didn’t say any of it would happen or even that it was likely to happen but just like you can’t just award Man City 3 points when they face Palace or Norwich, you can’t just assume Liverpool would get the job done and then give them the title of champions.
Two months later I referenced my position in a letter that referenced other, albeit related, matters and the reaction of Liverpool fans has been quite a thing. I even used disarming language like ‘personally’ and ‘I think’ but that wasn’t good enough for Liverpool fans. Someone was not bending their knees at an acute enough angle as they genuflected before the Alter of Scouse. “Dunce” “thick” “bad at maths” “desperate” “sly” “terrible person” and that’s just the mailbox! Never mind the comment section. The lads who weren’t abusive were so angry, they were responding to things I never said or even implied!
One line this morning’s mailbox gave the game away though; “I truly hope your posture as the last sane man left who just won’t concede the title to Liverpool….” Johnny Nic is right to compare football to religion but I think tribalism is the common thread between them. Consciousness is about survival and identity. If you’re not doing what you need to do to survive, like eating and running away from wasps, you’re trying to subconsciously assert an identity or live up to one, whether that identity is ‘hard working accountant that provides for his family’ or ‘full time mad bastard that loves the Pool’. For a lot of people, their football team is a big part of who they are and so will take any criticism of their team personally. What has happened in the mailbox the last few days is a load of fragile egos going through their usual process.
I said in the first paragraph that football rivalry doesn’t really matter to me much anymore. This Liverpool team has even grown on me! I’ve written in before praising Salah as a human being. I can’t remember if I’ve ever said it in the mailbox but I was a big fan of Klopp at Dortmund and I think Robertson is the business. There are no Gerrard’s or John Terry’s in the team. The last few days of Liverpool temper tantrums has made me reconsider my attitude though. I *do* understand the reaction I’ve gotten as I explained in the previous paragraph. It’s hard to feel angry or upset about someone’s thought process if you can understand why it happens. Everyone has blind spots. Everyone is prone to irrational anger. That said, indulging the dark side can be a bit of craic so, even though I never wrote in to criticise Liverpool in the 12 years that I’ve been getting published here, you unhinged lunatics can expect lots of mails from me that will be absolutely dripping in smug once Klopp goes back to Germany, Mane and Salah go to Spain and Liverpool are put back in their box as the small provincial club they really are. 🙂
Eamonn, Dublin (I even said I’d put money on Liverpool to get the 6 points they need against Villa and Brighton, you illiterate donkeys)
Krazy Ken’s predictions
I’m not sure what time it was in Wisconsin when Ken wrote his predictions for next season, but I’ll assume he’d just gotten back from the pub.
Firstly regarding Chelsea, to go from strength to strength you have had been strong in the first place, which they are not. Chelsea’s form has been middling at best, barely clinging on to a champions league place despite one of the worst Manchester United teams in history being their closest rivals for it.
On United you say they’ll challenge for the title next season? They are 37 points behind Liverpool as we speak and despite Fernandes “lighting up the place” he’s played in 5 games of which they’ve drawn 2. More smouldering than lighting I’d say.
Now we move onto your laughable Liverpool comments. Liverpool had not been “found out”. The Watford loss was a genuine surprise, Athletico are a good team, and as for the loss to Chelsea in the FA Cup, Liverpool on played 5 first team regulars, hardly cause for concern.
In summary next season will be much the same as this, Liverpool and City to challenge for the title, Chelsea and United to scrap over 4th place because they appointed managers based on sentiment and not credentials.
Eddie M, Dublin.
…Alright Ken … I’ll bite. So Liverpool have been found out by losing 2 of their last 67 PL league games??. Utd lost 3 league games(& a league cup tie)in January alone yet all is rosy in their camp.
Yes,Liverpool lost to Chelsea in the FA cup but they had no interest in winning that cup,they got to the 5th round despite wanting to go out in the 3rd round. That’s actually fairly impressive.
The Atletico defeat at home was just one of those days.They scored twice yet the Atletico keeper was given man of the match..that’ll tell you how well the team played.
Robertson hit the bar with a header from 2 yards out with 5 minutes to go..that goes in Liverpool go through.And they still actually won the game in 90 minutes.It was 1-0 at full time.
The “midfield hasn’t a creative bone in their body.” Not sure what games you have been watching but I assume you only started watching since the lockdown came into effect.Utterly clichéd drivel that the midfield has no creativity at all.Second highest scorers in the league and the best gd in the league by a mile.
No mention by you of course that Alisson has missed 10/29 league games,that Fabinho missed a chunk of the season,that they had to go to Brazil mid season and return to play Leicester away(which they won 4-0.) Not to mention 6 goals disallowed by VAR and the only drawn game was at Old Trafford was due to a goal by Rashford being wrongfully disallowed(as well as 3 goals disallowed in 2 games v Utd).
The last league game Bmouth scored a goal that everyone admitted should have been disallowed(blatant push on Gomez) & they still won. They wont be going to Brazil mid season and you’d hope they’ll have better luck with injuries.
At least mention the adversities they went through and overcame to be so far ahead. Remember Klopp has also bought just 1 player in the last 3 transfer windows so hopefully he’ll be allowed to spend and improve even if the players “are a year older” (aren’t we all??).
Also: can I ask Ken where he got his £500m+ investment when referencing Liverpool.
Since Klopp arrived his gross spent isn’t even £450m and his net spend is £80m which is < £20m per season and is the 29th highest in European Football. He is way, way behind City and Utd(in spending but not in the table).
Utd mathematically could not win the league in February and have lost 3 league games in 2020 (should have been 4 but for a crazy offside) yet they are in flying form?? Drew 0-0 at home with Wolves, poxed a win v Chelsea who had 2 goals disallowed (& Maguire should have been sent off) & beat City by parking the bus at home and playing like a non league team playing a big team in the FA cup.
Klopp has spent £7.5m in the last 3 windows. I think they have the funds necessary for a him if he wants them.