Mails: Is the Premier League title race even going to be close?

Date published: Thursday 26th July 2018 8:33

Send your mails to…

Pride before a fall?
I’m not sure if anyone is really grasping how good City are. All I’m hearing is how Liverpool have bought the league… They are miles behind us, seriously. We battered them at home (albeit with an extra man) and were inches away from a 4-4 draw in the league despite missing our most important player (Silva) due to family issues. In the CL we would have won the tie against Liverpool if there was VAR (in my opinion).

Liverpool fans are pleading with other teams fans to attack us, I sincerely hope they do because we’ll be smashing a new goals record. We have the POTY a few years back to come in and replace the wasteful Sterling (not a fan), I think Mahrez is a cracking signing and hope he plays on the right.

We essentially have a new left back, who if he plays like I’ve seen, has the potential to be the best in world football to go along with the best right back in the league. Not only do we have a young team, they are mainly unchanged and are a year stronger, wiser and more accustomed to how the manager wants us to play.

How do people think it’s going to be close?
Nick, exiled in Leeds for 2 more months, MCFC


Have players always skipped preseason post-World Cup?
Manchester United are set to begin their premier league campaign without lukaku, Pogba, Rashford and Lingard due to them being at the World Cup until the final weekend, and a lot more teams have players in the same position. So here’s my question…

Why aren’t these players sacrificing their extra 2/3 weeks of holiday to get themselves ready to play in the first rounds of matches. Surely these players want to be winning silverware with their clubs, if Utd lose out on winning the premier league by three points come the end of the season are those two weeks hanging by a pool in LA really going to be worth it?

I’m sure there’s some flaws in this argument so feel free to get stuck in but personally I want to see these players making sacrifices!
Dan, Shropshire (Allegri when Mourinho leaves perlease)

No easy solution to Manchester United’s problem
What a pickle my United are in. One the one hand we have Woodward, who has admittedly improved his success rate in closing transfer deals, albeit from a very low starting point, but who still hankers after Galacticos ​(Ronaldo until this year, Bale, Kroos and Varane to name but four). Facing him is Mourinho who has been indulged to the tune of around £350m to date, with close to £100m of this summer’s budget yet to be spent.

One the one hand, Mourinho did inherit an unbalanced squad with some serious holes and a lack of quality in depth. And it is true that United are more formidable than they were 2 years ago; 2 trophies in 2017 and a very respectable 80 points in 2018. On the other hand the football is undeniably dire and lacking in pace and confidence, Mourinho’s demeanour is ever more sour, he has failed miserably at developing the young players under his charge (Rashford, Martial, Shaw, Pogba, Lindelof), and is increasingly and publicly critical of them all.

Respected F365 contributor Harry Boulton says that it’s a binary situation; United should either sack Mourinho or back him. But life is rarely that simple. There is a palpable (Michael Emenalo, anyone?) sense of imminent implosion around Mourinho at the moment, stemming in part from his 3rd year syndrome, and in part from the probability that United won’t seriously challenge for the Premier or Champions League titles, and the football will still be utterly indigestible for anyone who doesn’t remember Dave Sexton.

If Woodward has reason to believe that this might be Mourinho’s last season (and he surely has that reason) then why would he sell Martial, Shaw and Pogba, the jewels in the United crown that would attract an attractive replacement for Mourinho?

So what to do? Most importantly, haul the club into the 21st century by recruiting an outstanding Director of Football. This would give the club a continued policy and identity even if the managers come and go, and resolve the ridiculous conflicts between the manager and Woodward. Meanwhile, use the last 2 weeks of the window wisely: buy Maguire (because he’s achievable, provides a physical presence at both ends, and is quite good on the ball).

Sell Jones and Smalling (Tuanzebe is a good backup) and Darmian, and play a back four of Shaw, two of Maguire/Bailly/Lindelof, and Valencia/Dalot. Now you have the makings of a competent defence that can play the ball quickly and reliably to the midfield, rather than hoofing it to Fellaini.

With Fred and Matic behind him, Pogba can have the freer role on which he thrives, and Rashford, Martial, Lukaku, Sanchez and Lingard should all get much quicker service than they have become used to, and with much more space too. What’s missing? Well, still quite a few bits and pieces, but the most obvious one is a consistent passer to replace Michael Carrick. Verratti is obviously not going to happen, but if there’s any possibility of prising Thiago Alcantara from Bayern then give them want it takes.

That would be a great summer, it fits the budget, it backs Mourinho, and it isn’t selling United’s future.
Martin (still waiting for the Glazers to call) Levi, Ramat Gan.


It’s brilliant being a wolf
Lifelong Wolves fan, season ticket holder and all that…

Ambition, intrigue, a plan, ruthlessness and a dashing of uncertainty- it’s not dull at Molineux anymore.

I am the most excited about a new football season that I ever have been. We’re making marquee signings and showing real intent to thrive and not survive. Last season was full of ‘is this really Wolves?!’ moments with some of the best players ever to wear a Wolves shirt on display – Ruben Neves really will be talked about as world class within three years. Coupled with a manager with passion, drive and who really bought the whole place together for the first time in a while.

And despite all the lazy journalism and opinions that we’d bought the league – there were players like Coady, Douglas and Ruddy who Nuno got the best out of and cost next to nothing. He is a top manager have no doubt about it.

So we move in to the Premier League season and it looks as though our ambition and refusal to merely just make up the numbers has started to rile others – and that feels good. We’re no more or less entitled than any other club to our current moment in the sun but we sure as hell have had some tough times over the years so we will embrace these moments warmly.

Leeds and Villa had a moan last season, the FA investigated and no wrongdoing was found regarding Uncle Jorge and his dealings with the club and owners Fosun. We may have found a loophole and I’d be lying if I said the perma-tanned agent doesn’t make me feel a bit uneasy but, as I see it, we’re utilising an agent to get in top quality players.

We’re simply using our contacts – one of whom happens to be a pretty well connected super agent. If him and Nuno are able to attract the best in Portuguese talent then I don’t see anything wrong in that and I’d defy any other football fan outside of the top six who wouldn’t welcome the same at their club.

Our owners appear to have a solid plan, cash to burn and a winning ruthless streak many of us in Wolverhampton have never experienced – £5m for Moutinho or £40m for Richarlison – that’s good business to me.

It would be arrogant to suggest others are jealous but they may just be annoyed they’ve not used the same contacts to unearth some gems. If Nuno can keep the togetherness, keep adding the quality and maintain his bloody-minded focus on the detail then we can absolutely get a top ten finish.

This may be the start of a great period for my club or it may be the ultimate disaster tale of the modern game – one thing is for sure – it won’t be dull and I intend on enjoying every second.
Andy (Glad my best man has just moved to Portugal) Wolverhampton


And some Brighton optimism too
The transfer window has been a happy time so far for Seagulls fans. It’s been the summer that keeps on giving. The club’s eighth and record signing on Wednesday made me equally as excited about the increased strength in depth and imaging some pundits trying to pronounce Alireza Jahanbakhsh.

Two new keepers replace Krul and Maenpaa whose contracts expired. Ryan will still be number one. Steele and Button will have to battle it out in training to show who should step in come the Asian Cup in January and the occasional cup tie. A bonus is they both contribute to the home grown quota.

Balogun and Bernardo add to our already relatively stable defence. Bissouma in midfield could be interesting. Stephens to step aside it seems. The club tried to buy Andone this time last year as an alternative to Murray and had obviously been monitoring him since. South African player of the year Percy Tau will be loaned out on the continent due to work permit issues. A possible switch to Union Saint Gilloise, where Tony Bloom is now the majority shareholder, could be a way around that.

One more home grown player is needed to fill the eighth slot given Baldock’s likely departure. Hunemeier and Goldson leaving should mean a British centre back is still on the shopping list. Jiri Skalak hasn’t played a league game for 15 months so isn’t likely to be hanging around. He will be remembered for his goal against QPR. One of the best scored at the Amex.

This year definitely won’t be our year. Finishing 17th is still the aim but it’s encouraging to see the steps taken to try and achieve at least that. Not long ago in the Withdean days, fans were trying to get excited about Dean Cox and Jake Robinson’s attacking prowess, Adam El-Abd’s stern approach to defending and having Frankie Fraser’s grandson playing in midfield.

Four of the current squad featured in the World Cup. I may be biased but whether they stay up or not, the Seagulls have come so far already over the last decade.
Danny, Brighton


The World Cup isn’t a secret
Poch and Mourinho constantly moaning about their unavailable players.

If only Fifa had informed them that there is a World Cup every four years.
Jimmy (15 days to go) Spain


Not Ibrahimovic’s fault that Sweden are better now
Much has been made of Sweden’s improved performance without Ibrahimovic. I agree they played better, but not that it was because he was a selfish player with a massive ego.

Sweden’s problem wasn’t that Ibrahimovic was their best player and knew it (which he was and did); it was that his teammates searched for him every time they had possession.
Aidan, Lfc (reminds me of everyone trying to get the ball to Coutinho)


Why always him?
After reading your article regarding free agents this summer, I’ve this uneasy feeling that Levy is going to sign Balotelli on the deadline day as the elusive backup to Harry Kane.

Gives me shivers down the spine.
The Pessimistic One


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