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Where’s the pressure on Pep?
All this talk about Jose and how he must win the league this season or die trying is really riling me up…has everybody forgotten about the so-called ‘best manager in the world’ who spent the most last season and went trophyless and somehow managed to avoid any real stick (even if he did the criticisms died down pretty quick)…it’s Jose this and Jose that but what about the fraudster on the other side of town?
With the amount of players he brought in last season (plus those he loaned out 20+ players I think) and the amount and quality of players they brought in this window already and those still to come why is there not at least as much pressure on him?
I find it utterly ridiculous at times when I read all the b.s about Jose while Pep has largely escaped criticism. I find it utterly unfair on Jose at times (not that he doesn’t deserve some of the stick he gets) but I just feel he is always being targeted.
Kayode Ajaja MUFC (They brought in two goalies last season, but it’s all good cos it’s Pep) Nigeria
Why aren’t Man City buying defenders?
I know it’s probably been said before (most likely on this very site), but where are all of Man City’s defenders? A quick scan of their Wikipedia page shows that they are now down to Kompany (who has injury concerns), Stones (who hasn’t been great since signing for them), Kolarov and Otamendi as bona fide ‘first team’ defenders. Denayer was on loan to a relegated Sunderland last season, so I doubt he’d inspire much confidence.
It struck me as quite odd that Pep hasn’t noticed a gaping hole in his squad and not gone all out to remedy it. And considering how many excellent attacking midfielders they already had, signing yet another in Bernardo Silva seems a tad strange, especially when there’s clearly a more pressing issue to fix.
As a United fan, I’d be more than happy to have it stay this way. City have been linked to the likes of Mendy recently though, so no doubt it’ll change soon. Unless a revolutionary 2-6-2 formation is being worked on, to completely bamboozle the rest of the league.
DJ, MUFC (Good defenders matter. Just ask Fergie) India
Maybe Alexis is happy to stay?
An awful lot of people have an awful lot to say on Alexis Sanchez this summer. Will he go here? Will he go there? How much money does he want? What should Arsenal do? And so on…
Thing is, despite all the speculation and all the people claiming to know what someone is thinking, or what a buying club is going to do, we’ve got virtually nothing concrete out of the words of any of the main parties on Sanchez. Wenger wants him to stay, Mertersacker says he will stay, Ozil hopes he’ll stay, and Sanchez himself says he knows what he wants but refuses to say anything more.
People have interpreted this in a multitude of ways, but I’m going to add mine:
Alexis Sanchez is actually quite happy at Arsenal. He likes it there, he likes his teammates, and by and large they like him. I just think he’s coming in to the last year of his contract and, as what many of us would do in his situation, he’s just sitting tight, quite happy with his contract (payrise aside), and is just seeing what offers he might get, as is his right.
If you’re a fringe or squad player, then the last year of your contract can probably be quite daunting, as you might or might not be offered a new one, and if you’re not offered a new one then you don’t know what you’re doing next year. For many players – for most players probably – the uncertainty can’t be pleasant.
If you’re one of the 2% though, one of the top talents in the game, then you probably look forward to the final year of your contract, as you know you’re going to be swamped with offers from other clubs.
Like with regular jobs like I have, your boss isn’t just going to give you a payrise because he likes you, or you work extra hard compared to your workmates. No; you’ve got to be approached from a rival company and show your boss that bigger wage you’re going to get if you go elsewhere. Only then if your boss wants to keep you would you get that payrise.
So far at least, it just seems to me that no one’s made a serious approach for him, if at all, and Sanchez himself is just sitting tight, keeping schtum, and seeing what he can get this summer. If a move doesn’t materialise and he plays his final year for Arsenal before leaving on a free, then blimey, he’s going to be playing for his next, final, mega-bucks payday next summer, and with any luck Arsenal benefit from that.
I for one wouldn’t be annoyed with him at all if he leaves for free next year, for the record. He’d have seen out his contract, and in all fairness to the bloke, been bloody immense for us in all that time.
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Arsenal pre-season scouting report
Theo Walcott is not very good at football.
Scott, AFC, Sydney
Jose has brought Man United back…
Jose Mourinho is awesome. My initial dislike of him when he started at Chelsea slowly began to soften, and eventually grew to admiration. He’s deadpan hilarious, and a wonderful character – the game is richer for having him. People confuse speaking your mind arrogance, and few people are more qualified to speak their mind when it comes to football than a serial winner. Of course he’s gold for the press too. It’s all just a fun game at the end of the day.
On a more serious note, he done what he was brought into Man Utd to do…he’s given them the kiss of life. The hopeless floundering of the two previous top men has been reversed. Confidence is back. Things were decidedly better last season. But he’s brought even more to the party – with his close contacts, he has made it possible to Utd to seal the signings of big guns – proper players. Almost no-one is out of reach.
It’s a new chapter in the club’s history, and it has only just started. One season, a couple of trophies, and mission accomplished by hook or by crook. We’re back. I for one am looking forward to seeing what happens next, but without doubt, Utd will be stronger, better, and will more than likely be up there going for the league with a few of the other big teams. What more can you ask for from the man?
PS. There are plenty of young players in the squad breaking through, and they’ll all have a chance to play as Jose will be going for EVERYTHING this time around. Happy days.
Still think Januzaj > Sterling?
Now that Januzaj has stopped ambling around Carrington looking disinterested I wondered if now was a good time to ask if those United fans who stated categorically that he was better than Heemio would like to impart their wisdom upon us once more!? Don’t get me wrong, I was gutted when Heemio made it clear he felt that (broadly speaking) he would stand more chance of winning things and would play with better players if he moved to Manchester’s only top-flight club (#EpicBantz!). Yes, the truth hurts. And if they were going to give us £50M back when that was a lot of money then grand. But I couldn’t and still cannot shake the feeling he would have been perfect in KloppMeisters occasionally breathtaking team and would have flourished. Anyway, is Januzaj Pacheco MKII!?
Still at least The Moyesiah will get the best out of Adnan…
And when Demi Mitchell gets bounced out of OT by Mourinho will he get in a Big Yellow Taxi to the airport?
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
Which club does use their kids?
An excellent morning mailbox – the Webster rule (never heard of it) and Ben’s wonderful rant on lordships. Then there was WBA’s defensive plight – no silent concern from me when it comes to Pulis. Just mirth. Then there was the continued fuss about Mourinho and youth.
Now give me a birch laced with nettles and thorns and I’ll be the first to give the little runt a damn good thrashing (sounds a bit perverted I know) but I reckon few, if any top clubs give youth a real chance. I will talk about LFC as that’s what I know. We’ve had two managers (Rodgers and Klopp) who supposedly are keen to give youth a chance. In the last few years the following have come through the ranks and made at least one appearance (have probably forgotten a few) – Ward, Flanagan, Kelly, Ben Smith, Randall, Alexander-Arnold, Spearing, Stewart, Texeira, Rossiter, Jordan Williams, Chirivella, Brannagan, Kent, Ejaria, Ibe, Ojo, Pacheco, Yesil, Sinclair, Canos, Woodburn, Brewster. A lot of these were bought in from other clubs. It sounds a long list but how many have made the grade? My answer is zero. OK, Sterling has been a success but he cost about £10m once add-ons were paid following his departure to Man City. Alexander-Arnold, Ejaria, Woodburn and Brewster may yet make the grade but I’m not counting on it. So for all Rodgers’ and Klopp’s reputation, it does not align with the truth. For all that they might be keen to give youth a chance, it seldom works at elite level.
So it makes me wonder whether the Mourinho model isn’t correct. What’s the point in giving these youngsters a chance (and few of Liverpool’s have had much of a run in the first team) aside from the (perfectly correct) point that a football club, however large is more than just the first team. It should have a community focus and therefore provide ladies, youth and other teams.
Chelsea and Man U are known for being hopeless with youth. But are they any worse than Liverpool, Arsenal, Man City and Spurs? I can’t speak for the last three but would be curious to hear from other fans.
Garth Litmus (hopefully someone is looking into the Webster rule)
PL clubs do not have the patience…
The big teams are known to hoard the most promising young players in their academies. They also poach the best prospects from the academies of the smaller teams, sometimes from other countries. These boys are lured with the promise of better career opportunities that comes with learning under the best coaches in world-class training facilities.
After several years of learning under the best coaches in world-class facilities, how are they still not good enough for first-team football?
But Sporting Lisbon with inferior scouts and facilities can produce Cristiano Ronaldo. Lille can produce Eden Hazard. Shakhtar Donetsk can discover and take a chance on Willian and Henrikh Mkhitaryan. Even Leicester discovered Ngolo Kante! (not their academy product I know) Why?
Monchi, former Sevilla director of football, helps us out when he said in a 2016 interview: “I know English clubs that are very professional, scouts everywhere, but the information they gather isn’t always applied. Why? Because they have money. That enables them to take fewer risks: ‘I’m not going to discover Keita at Lens; let Sevilla do that and then buy Keita from Sevilla.'”
So it’s not that players in the big teams’ academies are not good enough. The clubs are too rich and impatient to wait for their development.
Franklin, CFC, Lagos
Not getting the Sigurdsson fee
We live in a world where hyper-inflated transfer fees are the norm for British clubs, but I still cannot quite believe what I’m reading when it comes to Gylfi Sigurdsson.
Sarah Winterburn rightly points out that he’s an excellent set-piece taker. Everton have Leighton Baines who’s not half bad at that. They have just signed some bloke called Wayne Rooney who fancies himself as a decent striker of a dead ball. Who do you think would win the argument when those three are stood over the ball? So what exactly would Everton be paying £50 million for?
71 players created more chances from open play than Sigurdsson did last year. Despite him playing almost every game. He’s not particularly quick, he doesn’t defend well and he doesn’t create a great deal. Bayern’s deal for James Rodriquez adds up to less than what Swansea are asking for. Hakan Calhanoglu, possibly the best free-kick taker in the world and four years younger than Sigurdsson just signed for Milan for less than £20 million. Whatever ridiculous amount money is sloshing about the Premier League there is no way on earth this deal makes sense.
Tom, an utterly baffled AFC fan
…Reading Winty’s piece on Gylfi and his set-piece ability, I feel like her logic is a bit off.
It’s undoubtedly true that Gylfi is great at set-pieces and this would be an asset to a team. But if Everton are already good at set-pieces, why is bringing in someone who replicates that skill useful? Surely he comes in, takes over from Baines/Barkley and they stay around second in chances created.
Gylfi may do a little better at set-pieces but there is a limit to how much success you can have with set-pieces. Are an extra few chances created worth 40m?
I think he is worth it for open play situations personally. But his set-piece skill is nullified by Everton already being good in that area, no?
It’s a bit like 90s Southampton buying someone who is good at penos when you already have Le Tissier in the team. The benefit is always going to be marginal.
Dave P, Dublin MUFC
A happy Burnley fan writes…
Whisper it quietly but I’m pretty happy with the transfers Burnley have done completed far. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a few areas where we need strengthening and could be improved upon, but the players signed so far fit the bill of what we do.
Jack Cork used to play for us and we love him. Sure, it’s been a while since 2010 but he it feels like he’s come home to us. He was excellent for us in his previous two spells and I’m sure he’d have signed for us ages ago had it not been for our money troubles. Like with Joey Barton, sometimes a player and a club fit.
Jon Walters is definitely a Burnley player. Hard work and honest. He’ll fit perfectly. A slight upgrade on our other strikers and brings excellent Premier League experience too. Don’t get me wrong, if Gray goes he’ll need replacing properly, but if the press is to be believed it won’t be Assambolonga – 15 million and £60,000 p/w wages?! That’s mental. Middlesbrough, what the hell are you thinking? He’s a real sick note.
Charlie Taylor is a good option for the squad. We only have Stephen Ward to play LB so if he’s injured it means moving Ben Mee into LB and a gap is exposed at CB. From all accounts he was excellent at Leeds and should provide decent competition for Wardy and eventually might make the spot his own.
We still need to replace Michael Keane, but from where I have no idea. Hopefully not Kone from Sunderland…he looks crap. Am I wrong, Sunderland fans? Please educate me. Also, letting George Boyd go seems daft. I’m not sure if it was money or contract length, but he was a decent player to have in the squad, he’ll always give 100% and every so often he’d pull off some magic. He seemed like a genuinely happy and popular guy too. Sheff Wed’s gain is very much our loss. He now needs replacing too.
On a side-note someone from Burnley needs a word about contract lengths. Keane, Ings, Barton and Boyd have all been allowed to run down their contracts and leave for free or less than they’re worth. It’s ridiculous. Gray might be heading in the same direction too.
Nick P. Burnley FC
Offside is offside
I hate the offside law. First of all it’s called a law, how can there be any ambiguity. That’s just not right.
Secondly, surely Clough was right and every player on the pitch in involved in every play. Especially when you consider one of the first things you are taught about playing football is “play to the whistle”.
If you are a defender you have to be mentally switched on. If an attacker is in an offside position you have to assume that the referee is still going to say he is onside and that there is a chance he could receive the ball. This then means the player is in your thoughts and affecting your judgement and therefore ‘involved’ in the play. Also, again thinking as a defender, why do the laws of the game favour the attacking team. As a rule, attackers tend to be quicker than defenders so they already have a physical advantage, why do they need this extra leg up.
One of the reasons why football is so popular is its simplicity, in comparison to other team sports like basketball, cricket, rugby etc. Why not make the offside rule this simple. If, when the ball is played, a player is in the oppositions defensive half, with one or less opposing players between said player and the goal, this player will be deemed to be offside. Luis Figo’s FIFA presidential campaign promised to make this change and if I had been entitled to a vote, I would have voted for him because of this one thing.
Saying that though I am confused by even the most simple of things so that could be the reason I’m not a fan of the current interpretation of offside.
Sir John Terry? FFS
Andy Murray is a knight because he has twice achieved what no other British male has in eight decades in winning Wimbledon.
John Terry hasn’t achieved anything on the football field that numerous other British footballers have managed in their illustrious careers – he didn’t even manage to win the European Cup as he was suspended in the final despite the picture evidence.
On the criteria that footballers should be recognised for remarkable achievements, I actually think an honorary knighthood for Kolo Toure is in order as he’s an invincible in both England AND Scotland.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London
…Bradley Wiggins: 5 Olympic Golds, first Brit to win the toughest race on earth and 12 other major race wins. Track record of good sportsmanship and charity work before and after he was awarded his OBE and CBE.
Andy Murray: 45 career titles including 9 Grand Slam singles titles, first Brit to win Wimbledon in a long time. Long track record of charitable work particularly since receiving his OBE.
John Terry: Career s***house in team sport. Some notable acts of charity but career dotted with incidents of being a dickhead.
Seems pretty obvious to me.
…Regarding the rather bizarre rant from Sir A Murray’s fellow countryman. I guess you could say that Murray is a class act in every way you look at it.
Off the top of my head Murray is: a multiple Grand Slam winner, multiple gold medallist, Davis Cup winner (practically on his own), World Number 1 during the time of the greatest ever set of men’s tennis players to play the game (Rafa, Roger, Novak), 1st British mens champ of Wimbledon in 70 odd years. Oh and he isn’t a racist bigot that displays a complete lack of regard for those around him.
Terry hasn’t won international honours (he has tried to get his international boss dismissed because he was not being chosen), he wasn’t the reason for the Chelsea team winning the Champions League, he wasn’t the world’s best defender. He has proven beyond doubt what a tool he is.
And yes, Hamilton should be knighted, sooner rather than later.
In other news, I just want more crazy money sloshed around like it’s going out of fashion as it makes the lull in competitive football easier to cope with.
Mark (I got published a few years back, don’t you know), Sheffield
The luck of the Irish
There are now three things that the Irish punch well above there weight at…
1 International Rugby – With our population size and considering that GAA and soccer are major sports, we really do excel at rugby on the world stage.
2 Euromillions winners – Seriously, we seem to have a winner every second week despite making up about 1% of Europe’s population.
and now, most importantly
3 Published authors in the mailbox.
Morgan ‘If you think Drogheda is hard to pronounce, wait til someone from Dun Laoghaire writes in’ Emmett – Galway