We need to stick together during international breaks. Send your emails to email@example.com…
Every top-six team has a structural issue
It’s interesting to note going into the international break that all of the “Big 6” in the Premier League have some fairly obvious structural issues with their teams:
– Man City have one central midfielder and five attackers which at some point must surely be exploited by a team with three central midfielders and some form of attack.
– Man Utd have Matic and Fellaini in their midfield which, in the absence of Pogba, surely can’t be aiding free-flowing football.
– Chelsea have a left-sided asymmetric 3-5-2 with severe transitional issues that gave Fabian Delph (and the rest of the Man City defence) a day off on Saturday.
– Spurs have added an unnecessary 3rd centre back to the best defence in the league at the expense of their midfield and attack (Huddersfield notwithstanding).
– Liverpool seem to be playing the wrong sport. With a profligate forward line and a defence that resembles a sieve, it looks more like basketball.
– Finally, Arsenal resemble some sort of Frankenstein creation. They lack midfield protection and needed a stronger defence so went to three at the back. But they haven’t got three decent centre-backs so use whatever spare parts they can get their hands on. With the defence in place they then play with the most unstructured midfielders available, whilst shoehorning whoever is left, and whoever’s turn it is next into the attacking slots.
Scaling back on the Kane love
Firstly let me get this out of the way – I am an admirer of Harry Kane and his progression over the last four years has been amazing to watch.
But the recent hysteria over him being repeatedly compared to Messi and Ronaldo and being heralded as the best striker on the planet is so over the top.
Kane’s PL golden boots don’t really stand out if analysed closely. Last season he was trailing Lukaku by quite some way till the end, but he scored seven goals in the last two meaningless games AFTER Chelsea had won the title. The year before, Spurs somehow managed to finish third in a two horse race despite having a much better squad than Leicester.
His Euro 2016 performance was abject. While people say that the whole team was bad, but if you are such a great striker then you should be able to raise your team to beat Iceland at the least.
Since the start of 2013 season, Kane has 109 goals in all comps while Lukaku has 98. Kane played with Eriksen and Alli, while Lukaku had Leon Osman and Ross Barkley as providers at Everton. All I read is how Lukaku is a strong beast who scores goals by standing near the post the whole game.
Kane isn’t even the top goalscorer in the league at the moment, if somebody has bothered to check. Lukaku, Morata, Aguero are all above him and Kane didn’t have his legs tied to each other in August. He just didn’t score and should get as much blame as Lukaku and company do when they miss a chance.
Greatness is measured not just by goals, but by what those goals mean to the team. Why can’t we just wait till Spurs actually achieve something before declaring Kane as Pele-reincarnate ?
Akshay Oka, Pittsburgh, USA
Emre Can is Liverpool’s Sanchez: Overrated by others
I’m sure we all wish that Sanchez was Liverpool’s Sanchez but here we are. The player who stands out to me for Liverpool is Emre Can. He’s come up big in some matches, goes on long meandering runs to the box, scores excellent goals, appears to have a dominant and commanding presence in the midfield but reality shows otherwise.
He’s loses focus during games, doesn’t track runners, will fire inexplicable passes right to the other team apparently hoping something happens, and many times dribbles to nowhere and loses the ball. I’d go as far to argue if he were replaced with a proper DM and Henderson could move further up field we’d be in much better shape defensively.
And who is Tottenham’s Sanchez?
In response to Idris, Arsenal’s mail about Sanchez being overrated by opposition fans/neutrals – myself and fellow Spurs mates have often had this conversation down the years.
We’ve heard people big up our players who have been average and/or flattered to deceive and put it down to the MOTD highlights and also the fact that they don’t watch them close up with a vested interest week in week out for the whole 90 mins,
Cases in point:
Jermain Defoe – often described as a the most natural finisher England have had in recent years. Always touted for an England recall and people went so far as to defend his awful goal scoring record in his last few seasons at Tottenham by saying “Spurs have been benching him”. He only got benched because his goals dried up and when he wasn’t scoring, he was contributing absolutely NOTHING to the team or doing anything of note outside the box.
If you actually look it up, his career record is no better than 1 in 3, yet many people seem to believe he is better than a goal every other game. He also failed to form a decent partnership with Keane and Berbatov, as he isn’t a very good link up man. Yet neither can he lead the line.
I’m sure he holds the record for the most shots against a defenders shins and also being caught offside. None of these moments ever make it to MOTD! We didn’t get in very good replacements for him (Pavlyuchenko, Adebayor, Soldado), so many non-Spurs fans seem to think he was hard done by and far better than what he was.
To a much lesser extent, there was Berbatov – Now I loved the guy, and still do. His first touch was sublime and some of his tekkers/goals took your breath away. He could score the type of impossible goals that even Harry Kane couldn’t manage.
However, when Man U moved heaven and earth to bring him in for all that money, I knew that eventually they would end up somewhat disillusioned and disappointed, given his propensity for going missing for huge chunks of games or even the whole 90 mins.
Something you don’t really get with Kane, who is always up for it and causing problems even when he’s not scoring. He would often go several games without scoring and miss a lot of straightforward poachers type chances. Yet score some worldies out of nothing. It was usually feast or famine with Berbie. Then he would get 3, 4, or even 5 in one game to make his stats look better than what they really were.
Similarly with Robbie Keane. Another Spurs legend, but boy he would really have the ability to frustrate you! When he wasn’t on his game, he was so annoying. Trying too hard. Running down blind allies. Being selfish and taking too many touches. Another guy who would score great goals but never seem to get tap-ins in the big games against the Top 4.
When LFC came in with all that cash, I thought – yeah, let’s take the money. They don’t know what they are getting, because I really did think Spurs was his level. And so it proved. And typical Spurs to buy him back, once he had proven he couldn’t quite cut it at a Top 4 club. A good second striker, but not someone who could lead the line.
Finally, I also cringe when I hear Dele Alli getting mentioned in the same breath as Barca, Real Madrid and Bayern. He has been awful this season and has a knack of going missing for games on end. Far too often, moves slow down or even break down altogether when he gets it. He has got a very long way to go before he can join a European heavyweight and think he will start every game.
Benitez a better manager now than he was at Liverpool
Rafa has been Liverpool’s best Manager in the last 20 years, he’s won the biggest trophy and had the highest win percentage. He has always been known for his attention to detail and his obsession for tactics and defensive positioning but was sometimes criticised by players (including Gerrard) for his lack of man management skills.
I think that this is something that has changed with him, and after his experience with Real and that the fact that he’s older and maybe wiser he sees that this side of the game is as important as the tactical intelligence.
Newcastle’s players have mentioned several times that he goes out of his way to discuss any and every problems they might have. The Swansea game earlier in the season that he couldn’t make due to illness he phoned every player in the match day squad to talk over their role and responsibilities in the game.
Benitez personally speaks to all potential players to let them know what he would expect from them and what he sees them doing in his team. And I think most importantly he openly praises players after a good performance, something that Gerrard himself said that he never got from Rafa.
Klopp obviously has man management down to a tee and I don’t think Rafa’s personality and style will ever let him get near Klopp’s skill in this, but now that he has added it to his bow I think Rafa is a better manager than he was during his time with Liverpool and I think this Rafa is a manager that if in charge of this current Liverpool team would have them challenging for the title.
Another dreadful goal
Enjoyed the feature on worst goals in premier league history. However I feel that this monstrosity from David Silva in the 2011 Manchester derby has been massively overlooked. Skip to 5:10 on the below.
Dzeko scuffs an awful shot towards De Gea left hand post, it hits a completely unaware David Silva on his classy back and ricochets in slow motion into the opposite corner.
What I like most about this goal is the way Dzeko (true striker that he is) wheels away like he’s smashed a 30 yarder into the top bin. Desperate to claim the goal as his own after a sticky start to his City career. It’s barely an assist Edin.
To this day I still don’t think Silva realises he actually scored that day. Or he’s to embarrassed to claim it.
This goal was later overshadowed by Rooney’s (shinned?) overhead winner. Dangerous foot if you ask me, should never have been allowed!
Jumbo the blue
Interesting stats from Jacko, but I feel he missed a trick. Klopp is actually even better than you think.
If you remove all his draws and losses then, get this, he has a ONE HUNDRED PERCENT win ratio. Can any other manager match that? I don’t think so.
Mike, LFC, Dubai
A cabinet reshuffle
A fine effort from Ben the Baggie, but as always in politics it’s never too soon for a cabinet reshuffle, nor for pat on the back for a job well done so far.
Pats on the back:
Leader of the Opposition – A fine job so far by Jose. He’s learned from the journalistic horde about savaging the interviewee. Prime Minister’s Question Time has been must-watch TV, just waiting for him to pick up the Mace and wave it around, or poke the PM in the eye.Graham Le Saux – A cultural beacon in the PFM wasteland. A T.S. Eliot of the commentary box. Thank you, NBC Sports.
Shadow Chancellor: Nev – out; Sam Allardyce – In. He knows more about nefarious financial shenanigans than anyone .
Defence: – Sam moves to the Treasury, replaced by Tony Adams. It grieves me as a Chelsea fan, but he’s rock-solid in defence. He’s done his homework with the foreigns too
Health: “Sicknote” out. He never turned up for meetings. In – Dr. Eva Carneiro. Always nice to have a little internal tension in an executive team plus she’s got the qualifications.
Press Relations: Adding Louis Van Gaal should PowerPoint statistics-befuddlement be required at any point.
Steve (my spellcheck doesn’t like a lot of this mail), Los Angeles