Man Utd have been rinsed like Liverpool were over Carroll…

Date published: Wednesday 7th August 2019 9:52

Send your thoughts to theeditor@football365.com…

 

Maguire is United’s Carroll
A struggling former giant, off the back of a miserable season.

Desperate to become relevant again in the English landscape, and decides to make a statement in the transfer market.

Goes all out and spends a record sum on a not-so-young anymore English player, who impressed at a team with lower expectations and demands, but is clearly flawed and questionable whether he is suited to life at the top end of the table.

Ahhhh, this was the situation for Liverpool back in 2011, I still remember it. I had a feeling in my gut at that time that we had wasted a large portion of our Torres money on Carroll, and so it proved to be. At least we had a 20million pound steal for Luis Suarez to soften the blow.

I see the same thing happening at ManU now. There is a smell of desperation around the signing of Maguire. They seem to have been rinsed thoroughly by Leicester on this deal, and I actually suspect that Leicester may finish above ManU this season, which would be hilarious.

My compliments to Leicester though. As a Liverpool fan, Ive seen us do some spanking good business in the transfer market over the last 3-4 years. From the giant sum received for Coutinho, to the 8million pound deal for Andy Robertson, its been some impressive business. This Maguire sale feels like a masterstroke by Leicester.

The only thing that would make this funnier? If Leicester went and spent their Maguire money on Koulibaly.
johnnyWicky, Toronto, Liverpool Fan

 

Thriving without Phil
I generally agree with most of Harry De Cosemo’s piece except the idea that we’ve “never really replaced Coutinho”.

Upon the arrival of Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, it appeared very much like Phil was the player who was going to have the most work to do adapting his style to suit the new manager. To his eternal credit, he clearly put the team first and matured into the type of player who could shake off 18 months of negativity to lead his country to its continental championship.

At times, he slowed our counter attack down and spent too much time on the ball for our new system, but he produced some wonderful goals and incisive passes in the final third, while also winning the ball back in dangerous positions, as was his role in the team. There are others who do it better for us now, but he put in the work. Part of the reason we got better after he left was because his departure left us with a squad that, while depleted, better suited the manager’s style of play.

As for Arsenal, I actually quite fancy them as the squad to leap in and make an unexpected challenge to the expected top two, or make a long run in the Champions League this year. And if they can swallow the loan fee/wages, I don’t know if even their defensive frailties will conspire to derail a side that will score goals that freely. Knockout tournaments can produce crazy results and that attack would be tough to slow down. His time at PSG took some of the shine off Unai Emery, but if I were an Arsenal fan, I’d feel really good about the future with him there, even without Phil Coutinho.
Ian, LFC Hartford, CT USA

 

Let Laurent rot
Guess what? If I don’t turn up for work and my boss calls me and I say “Yeah I’m not interested anymore and I’m just not going to come in” I’ll get sacked INSTANTLY.

Just because you’re a football player doesn’t change the fact that contractual obligations that have been mutually agreed upon, and of which you are being paid ridiculous sums of money for, are binding. Lionel Hutz states that the Webster definition of a contract is ‘An agreement under law which is unbreakable. Unbreakable!”.

The club should have swallowed the 4.6M fee and have Koscielny rot in the U23’s for the remaining year of his contract and make an example of him. Footballers need a wake up call and reintroduction of the concept of professionalism.

The fact of the matter is, as good a servant as he was, he got more from Arsenal than he gave (Both in career opportunity and salary!) and he has disgraced himself. Pathetic.
David, Sydney (I’m not bitter…)

 

…Now Koscielny has left, Arsenal’s longest serving player is Carl Daniel Jenkinson.

That’s truly amazing.
Graham Simons, Gooner, Norf London

 

Liverpool and Wenger’s Arsenal
I’ve bitten again.. sad face ☹️. John p from Chester comparing Liverpool to arsenal in last days of arsenal.

“ a slightly ropey defence you are not confident would get into any other defence “

1. Becker would be goal keeper for every european defence bar maybe city, Bayern
2. Robertson is first choice left back for every top European club
3. Taa would be right back for every European club bar barca and Juve
4. Vvd best centre back in Europe
5, Gomez would be first choice for every European club bar city, Barca, juve

So that’s that statement covered m’lurd

A subs bench covered with players you have to google … hmm, some one really is fishing , Shaw, Gigi, Origi , lallana, lovren (World Cup semi finalist according to google) keita

Oh and finally, no succession plan, the lad at ibrox may be an okay idea ?
Ade (I believe coutinho is coming home and with that 30 years of hurt is over )

 

Spurs optimism
Hi Dale. I can’t speak for Chelsea, as far as I’m concerned they are truly an unknown entity this season.

But from a Spurs point of view, there are several reasons why we feel optimistic, but to give context you also need to look at why we suffered that run of form at the end (which has very much be overshadowed by our Champions League run and the failure of those around us to capitalise!)

* Our main RB in Trippier was playing with an injury and was woeful. Easily culpable for at least 10 goals. Our midfield was also drastically injury ridden. At one point our midfield choices was just Winks, and then Sissoko. Not to mention Kane’s injury and also Eriksen’s lack of form. It has been said before, when Erisken fails to turn up, Spurs fail to turn up, we are so overly reliant on him.
* On top of that, 11 of our players played in the last weekend of the World Cup. There was definitely and element of fatigue there.

Whereas going into this new season, our team has had a full pre-season to prepare and they look sharp. Moura and Lamela in particular have had excellent pre-seasons and most likely will be starting on Saturday. Kane is well rested for once and we’ve managed to keep Toby and add NDombele to our ranks. Despite Levy’s insistence on making the transfer window as infuriating as possible, I believe we will also get one of Lo Celso or Fernandes over the line to add more depth and a new dynamic to our midfield.

Which brings me to my last point, Poch’s tactical evolution. When he first started at Spurs our game was very much based on the blistering pace of our full backs, with our midfield playing narrowly. The full backs would stretch the defence giving our midfielders the space to do damage if/when the cross comes in.

This hasn’t worked since Walker left. Poch is trying to adjust the team to be more incisive and penatrative from midfield, without Eriksen too, and it is refreshing to see.

Whereas Utd, I’m sorry to say, still look from the outside like not much has changed. Yes the first 4 of the defence has improved, but you are one injury away from Smalling or Jones stepping in and you still have the slow Matic, young McTominay and an unreliable forward line, not forgetting an inconsistent Pogba.

Hope that has clarified the confusing logic.
Northern Spur (Believe there are 2 of us who use this name, might change it to NW Spur!)

 

United optimism
I for one am extremely excited for this season. As a contrarian view to what I have read on this site and others, OGS has had an excellent pre season and work in the transfer market has been super, if expensive.

The defense is now in much better shape. DDG in goal, 2 excellent centre backs and 2 super full backs.

We didn’t sign any players who just wanted to come for the money, and I’m very happy Dybala didn’t sign, that would have just been another Di Maria or Sanchez situation.

Paul Pogba does seem happier, and I am very excited about the young crop coming through the system. Chong, Gomes, Garner, and obviously Greenwood will play a lot. They all look excellent prospects.

I have read today that we are looking at getting Eriksen and if we did, what an unbelievable signing. Him and Pogba in the same midfield would be a mouth watering prospect.

Then there is the style of play. OGS is not naive, neither is Mike Phelan or Carrick. We will look a lot different. Fitter, quicker, more high energy and better in the transition phases, which is the current style that wins games. He was absolutely right to work on fitness, a higher press and just as importantly building a united group who buy in to his style of play, which is just much more fun to play for players than Mourinho and Van Gaal chess type tactics. This looks like a group of much happier campers to me, and that spirit is crucial.

So all in all, I expect a much more solid defence and a team who play much more quickly and consicely up the pitch.

I could be wrong but I’m very excited!
Rohit, London

 

Newcastle excitement
While I don’t think any Newcastle fans are going into the season with any optimism, I feel it’s worth adding some balanced views on how the team could fare this season.

The Manager
Bruce is quite clearly a downgrade from Rafa in terms of coaching, tactics and almost everything else, but he’d be wise to not change too much. In the second half of last season we were excellent, thanks to a back three, bursting runs from the midfield and the excellent play from Rondon and Perez. These two have now gone and Bruce’s fix is to play Joelinton with Almiron next to him (in the Perez role) and the ball progression to come from Shelvey rather than Almiron. I don’t mind that, and seems sensible to change as little as possible.

However, Bruce is going to have few options off the bench to change things and I don’t trust him to do so. He’s not a tactician (look at how many media types have talked about him being a good man manager, not about being a good coach or tactician) and we may end up being a little blunt or stale at times. With Almiron, Joelinton and Saint-Maximin, he’s been given flair, let’s hope he uses some of it.

The team
The squad is a mixture of top draw talent, hugely underrated players and a lot of deadwood. The fact that Jack Colback, Dwight Gayle, Henri Saivet and a few more are still at the club is a concern as they should have been long gone. Gayle as a back up striker is also a big worry if Joelinton gets injured. He can score but he can’t lead a line and when you’re a defensive team, those two don’t go together.

But, we have one of the best keepers in the league in Dubravka. Hugely underrated because of how many crosses he claims and chances he snuffs out as a result. He’s a good shot stopper too and no wonder a few big clubs have been linked this summer.

In defence, we have two of the best ball playing centre backs in the league. How nobody has come in seriously for Fabian Schar, I’ll never know – walks out from the back with it better than anyone in the league, while Florian Lejeune (although injured a lot) is class. Those two flanking the solid Lascelles makes for one of the best defences in the league. Fernandez and Dummett are able deputies but if we get down to Ciaran Clark playing we might as well give up.

In midfield, we have £50m’s Sean Longstaff with the hugely underrated Isaac Hayden. Both were superb against the big teams last season and it’s a real boost that Hayden is staying despite family down south. Jonjo Shelvey will slot into a three which will give him more time on the ball for his unreal balls forwards. Back up in here is super light though, with Ki and Longstaff Junior (Matty) filling in.

On the wings, it’s going to be Matt Ritchie or Jetro Willems on the left and Manquillo or Yedlin on the right. All fine, none of them amazing.

Up top it’s a combo of Joelinton, Saint-Maximin and Almiron with the likes of Atsu, Murphy and Gayle as back up. How Almiron does is key – he looks a real spark but whether he’s physical enough for the league is still up for debate. A couple early goals would do him the world of good, but he’s a game changer. Joelinton looks like a Rondon esque striker and Saint-Maximin brings some pace and trickery, but how many minutes he gets early on is unknown.

Where will we finish?
Anywhere between 12th and 20th. It all comes down to how big a negative Bruce is. Our first 11 is probably 10-12th quality, but we have the worst manager in the league by a mile. Let’s see, but off the field issues could dominate things.

Reasons for optimism?
We might get taken over? We can still dream.

Reasons for pessimism?
Bruce. Off field toxicity feeds onto the pitch and players do badly at home. Could easily happen which is where these relegation forecasts come from.

Either way, I’m excited for the new season. And good luck to Ayoze Perez at Leicester, they’ve built a great squad and could break the top 6 without European distractions!
James, NUFC.

 

Looking up from League One
Firstly, what a cracking couple of mailboxes. Whilst I am a full time mailbox reader, even in the summer months, being a supporter of a no-longer premier league team it tends to take more to get me motivated to write in and I am afraid the world cup/transfer sagas struggle to do that. It seems however that the mailbox’s pre-season has got off to a flyer, lets hope we can keep it up when the season starts…..

Having seen my team maintain an unbeaten start to the season last weekend I don’t have much to complain about so have put together a collection of random thoughts on some of the Premier league teams;

In a slightly perverse way I missed LFC fans fervent defence of the club and belief that the Kop is actually the centre of the universe. Bizarrely it was refreshing to have them jump to their teams defence and counter John P’s mail in a way only Liverpool fans can do. Two highlights for me were…
“Best full back combination in Europe” – when almost everyone points to Liverpool’s fullbacks being a weak spot that has been exploited in pre-season and one of the few chances for teams to find a weakness in their defence.
“a subs bench full of unknowns apparently? Our subs bench for the first game could possibly be Adrian, Matip, Milner, Oxlade-Chamberlain, Keita, Shaquiri, Mane?” I would say that outside of Liverpool fans Adrian, Matip and Keita are unknowns, Milner is exactly as John P’s mail suggested, a workhorse under every other manager and over performing at Liverpool, almost everyone outside of Liverpool still sees Ox as a perennial failure/under-acheiver/injury concern (Walcott mark 2)
One of the reasons Rob from Brighton gives for why Liverpool won’t have the same downfall as arsenal did “went nearly unbeaten”. Just FYI, Arsenal went unbeaten in 2003-4, actually won the league and have not done so again. in fact the season they went unbeaten was probably the beginning of the end for them…..
With lots of people claiming Maguire is over priced I decided to ignore the VVD comparisons from when he was purchased last year, at the time he was a good defender at Southamption and for Holland but nothing like the behemoth he was last season, and tried to think about what he would be valued at today if Liverpool were to sell. In my opinion Liverpool could easily demand 160 million plus and I don’t think Juventus, Barcelona, Madrid would think twice about paying that for him. In that context I suppose the question is whether Maguire was over priced or actually MU did a great deal because he is probably worth more than half a VVD?
I may be mistaken but it seems that Mike Ashley been spending some decent money for Newcastle. I was therefore surprised we have not heard from more Newcastle fans, surely they are happy/excited? Who knows, Bruce out in November and mourinho as their manager by Christmas. Would any Toon fans be excited by this?
It seems to be accepted wisdom that Man City will win the league this season. Again I may have missed something but having lost Company through retirement, John Stones seemingly losing it last season (surely his transfer at 50million in the market 3 years ago was worse business than Maguire?) are Man City not in serious danger of ending up in a top four struggle? Any Man City fans have thoughts on this?
Tom, Tractor Boy in Switzerland.

 

Where’s this all going?
This mail plays into a larger discussion being had around player value and how that can possibly be quantified – made salient recently by the Harry Maguire transfer. It’s a topic that’s been discussed to death, and continues to be so as transfer fees continue to inflate like a rubber balloon attached to a high-pressure hose. The common argument seems to be if a player improves a team, the transfer fee is of little consequence. A single transfer can only really be viewed in isolation and there’s no real comparative value in the market.

But there’s a very obvious comparative element to football – indeed the whole purpose of the game – which is competition. Winning cups, league position come the end of a season and the rewards reaped thereof. It’s here that we become tempted to make comparisons in terms of money spent. Teams that spend more money should be more competitive, and history has told us that’s usually the case. Man City have spent enormous sums in the past decade and have become almost beyond competitive as a result, Liverpool invested heavily in key areas last summer and now have one of the best teams in Europe.

Where it becomes difficult, is assuming that one presumes the other. Because heavy spending teams have been successful in the past, heavy spending teams must be successful in the future. I’ve heard it said in various forums this year that any or all of Spurs, Man Utd, Arsenal, Wolves, Everton, Leicester, West Ham, Aston Villa – even Newcastle ‘must be either winning trophies or qualifying for the Champions League to justify their spending’. Last time I checked, there are still just two domestic cups and four Champions League places. Even with Europa League places, that’s just six available European spots. Each of these teams could be as competitive as possible with the money they’ve spent, and still fail. Again. And again. And again.

Fifteen Premier League clubs have already spent more than €40m (TransferMarkt uses Euros so just go with it) on improving their squads this summer including all last season’s top ten, with the exception of Liverpool who we know spent heavily last year. Are all of these teams expected to achieve success due to the money they’ve spent? Now this is reflective of a hyper inflated market that most of our minds haven’t really caught up with – spending €40-50m in a summer is basically the same as spending €10-20m in a summer five years ago – but it’s also reflective of a seeming obsession with quantifying success. “This team is worth this much so they should be more successful” syndrome. A bias that transfer fees are somehow causal in improving a team rather than a barely relevant by-product. We can’t seem to incorporate the way we feel about isolated individual transfers that I mentioned at the start of this into a holistic understanding of the value of a team.

As I said, this is part of a wider discussion and so none of this is particularly new. Not really sure where I’m going with it, but I think it raises a few interesting questions. One, does one actually presume the other and, with the money being spent, are we going to start seeing a more competitive league over time? Big Four has become Big Six and could become Big Eight or Big Ten. Which raises the next question, will the Director of Football role become more important than the Manager role? If half the teams are able to spend similar amounts on players over the course of a summer, spending wisely becomes more important than spending big (hello Man Utd), and having a long term strategic transfer policy will be what reaps rewards, regardless of the cost. Number three, if things get more competitive, are global fan-bases going to be able to handle not winning things or playing in Europe every year and will clubs continue to make expensive high-profile signings to pander to an increasingly player-focused fan culture?

I don’t know. I can’t even remember why I started writing this. I need to go lie down. But I’m interested in hearing what people think about all this.

Cheers,
Will Wymant

 

The Athletic
As a follower of most American sports I’m already pretty familiar with The Athletic and their operating procedures.

Unfortunately Bob’s feeling that it is “Silicon Valley doing some blue sky thinking and trying to throw money around to destroy the UK’s paper market” is a pretty accurate description of what happened in the US. The site hired up a lot of beat writers from local papers in an attempt to corner the market on writers with significant access to the teams.
In addition to this they made a big fuss about signing a load of freelancer writers covering the same teams, however within a year many of these freelancers were either let go or just stopped being commisioned without any notification or acknowledgement from the site.
People were paying the monthly fee for coverage of a club that was listed as having 4-5 writers when in reality only 1 writer per team was still employed. This was only corrected after one of the previously hired freelancers noticed and started repeatedly mentioning it on twitter.

I’m not saying it’s a scam but they made a big deal out of using freelancers to get people to sign up for 12 month subscriptions and didn’t even keep them on that long, I’m worried enough about this repeatin in the UK that I won’t be signing up for it.
Anon

 

…Well Bob, I took a quick look at The Athletic because it was mentioned on a podcast that it was hoovering up all the football writer talent – and they did throw in the names of Rafael Honigstein and Michael. However, when I took a closer look, there was no one else whose name I recognised except James Pearce, formerly of the Liverpool Echo.

Many seemed to have come from the Daily Mail, hardly bastions of good writing – on any topic and James Pearce never wrote anything intelligent on the Echo but is probably going to be the ‘Liverpool’ guy, while they have someone for each PL team on the books.

Once I checked I realized I had heard about these guys before from a business podcast that talked about it as the wave of the future. As to your point Bob, the model may work based on economies of scale that are available in the US. If you are keen on US based sports you might like it for access to news on NFL, NBA, etc, as well as the PL. But the Premier League stuff looks pretty weak, trite and the usual click-baitey tripe that many of the newspapers cough up – only these guys don’t need to get clicks. (Except the two I mentioned above.)

Suspect there will be a realization at some point that the writers aren’t going to be seen outside of the subscribers (unless they also author books or are good enough to get invites like the above) so that may impact their decision to flock over. Plus, I am sure there will be some culling of staff once they see who and what gets read.

For now, sticking to my usual goto websites and podcasts for my PL needs – including the always excellent F365.
Paul McDevitt

 

…In the immortal words of Unai Emery, Good Ebening!

Just reading the piece in the Guardian about Dario Gradi’s shameful abdication of responsibility in his time at Chelsea, and I thought it was a good time to offer a thought on how big a loss Danny Taylor is for them, and how brilliant he’s been for the sports generally.

His tireless work around the child sex abuse scandal, as well as his work relating to Eni Aluko and Mark Sampson, have been absolutely magnificent, and it has been a pleasure to be able to read his work on a paywall-free platform for so long. He has been raising the bar for years, and (for me anyway) has been one of those writers whose pieces you click into without hesitation upon seeing that he’s had an article published. His presence alone is making me consider a subscription for The Athletic UK.

All the best
Jamie

 

Some predictions
Citeh to be 12 points clear at Christmas only to be forced to sell all their players due to a combination of Human Rights abuse case finally upheld due to the universal horror at their third kit and Trump accidentally nukeing Abu Dhabi. Just escape relegation.

Liverpool. Lose home opener and then go unbeaten for the rest of the season. FINALLY, it’s their year…But finish second after a 10 point deduction after WADA uncover charisma enhancing drugs being given to James Milner.

Spurs. CAMPIONES . Harry Kane breaks Dixie Dean’s scoring record despite having a Bryan Robson-esque season; finishing the season with a flourish by scoring a perfect hat trick with his left crutch, his bionic forehead and his right prosthetic leg. Son is appointed Korean ambassador to Wessex following UK breakup.

Chelsea. Finish 4th thereby negating the clause in Lampard’s contract sentencing him to spend a year in the Gulag Archipeligo if he missed the target.

Arsenal. Score a world record 326 goals in the season! Finish with a goal difference of -123. Fifth. (Also lose Europa League Final)

United.. Cement another 6th place finish. Greenpeace declare Old Trafford a Permafrost area. Ole remains at the wheel as David Blaine hypnotizes the crowd into believing it’s still 1999. (Also win Europa League Final)

Everton. FINISH THIRD!! Madcap celebrations on Merseyside as open bus parade goes until June when the Stanley Park pubs finally run out of beer, spirits and cough syrup. Statue of Marco Silva erected.

Leicester. Slabheadless!! Johnny Evans steps into the brink and he , Kasper Schmeichel and Brendan Rodgers reach the final of University Challenge only to lose the final because Vardy was the 4th member on the team.

Wolves. Beat Leicester in the University Challenge Final due to the excellence of the Portuguese education system. Also maintain high mid table status by introducing imaginary numbers into their tactical team talks.

Watford. Brilliantly adopt tactic of the Batman movie in which Twoface is the villain bamboozles opposition teams. Use of half yellow and half black shirts enables the Watford players the ability to send opposition players off when standing sideways. Troy Deeney credits Dartmoor upbringing.

West ‘Am. Gold and Sullivan leave to be joint ministers of Boris’s newly formed Brexit Distraction Ministry (implement new policy of Page 3 girls mandated in all newspapers). Karen Brady immediately returns WHU to the Boleyn ground and they qualify for Europa League.

Palace. Woy signs new 10 year contract after miraculously coaching Benteke to score 25 goals in the season despite the season long sulk strike by Zaha who couldn’t go to Arsenal.

Bournemouth. Second highest scorers in the division next to Arsenal. Second worst goal difference next to Arsenal.

Burnley. Good start to the season but things get a bit dodgy when Sean Dyche suffers from season long laryngitis. In the nick of time Roy Keane is brought in to shout from the sidelines and relegation is avoided.

Southampton. Win the ‘South Coast Championship’. Celebrate by going on a weekend trip to Guernsey.

Brighton. Despite Glenn Murray scoring 15 goals in his motorized wheelchair Brighton are relegated partly because of Chris Hughton sticking pins into Voodoo Dolls of the Brighton defense (not that they were actually needed!)

Newcastle. Despite fervently praying to new signing, Saint Maximin, they cannot thwart fallen angel Ashley’s plan of hiring Championship specialist Bruce to resurrect the good old days of Rafa returning relegated Toon back to the Promised Land in 2021.

Norwich. After opening day win at Anfield the Canaries finish bottom of the table. However, they are not relegated as St. Delia’s prawn sandwiches are too good to go down.

Sheffield United. The Blades stay (Billy) sharp enough to end in 17th place. But other club’s chairmen ‘steel’ their place because of said Delia’s cuisine. Neil Warnock called to testify in ‘Conspiracy to keep Yorkshire Clubs out of Premier League’

Villa. Start badly because all the new signings speak different languages. Rally after Christmas after everyone completes Universal sign language course eventually qualifying for Europa League. John Terry…well you know the rest!
Cheers, Gary (ex Pat United fan in Pennsylvania) B

 

…1. Liverpool . There you go I’ve said it , the impetus of a champions league victory , a settled squad and importantly a much improved second season from Keita sees the 30 stone monkey off the back.

2. Man City . Kompany’s departure sees Stones and La Porte entrenched as a CB partnership but the formers propensity for a “Lovren” once a game proves critical in big games. De Bruynes’ return doesn’t compensate for Agueros absence through injury for large parts of the season as Jesus is found out not to be the second coming and the focus turns elsewhere …see below

3.Arsenal . Should have finished 4th last season , even 3rd as they threw away points in the last 5 games. Mainly here as a result of signing Pepe who keeps the gunners purring from an attacking point of view. Not strong enough defensively to contend but here basis Emery and his experience which could prove vital.

4.Man Utd. I’ve written before about how Utd I believe are on the right track. Defense is vastly improved with Maquire having a VVD minus like impact on the team. How high they can finish depends on two things . Ole not stating in every interview “ they need to understand what it means to play for UTD” and more importantly Rashford. With Lukaku out of favor / sold / benched young Marcus needs to deliver on his promise by scoring at a far better rate than he currently does.

5. Spurs. The one most will disagree with. Poch continues to flirt with other big teams whilst dissing Levy indirectly. The latter proves fallible in the transfer market with a cut price last minute sale of Eriksen to Utd for 50m ( never sell to your rivals) and his direct replacement Coutinho goes missing after suffering from that well known 3rd big club syndrome. More seriously they lost too many games last year to contend , have sold a RB without replacing him and are getting older particularly in central defense. Kane needs to stay fit for them to challenge.

6. Chelsea. Sold their best player , no proven CF , essentially rookie manager . Could be pushed by West Ham , Wolves , Leicester ….

18. Norwich . Home form doesn’t quite save them and with basically no money spent squad doesn’t prove good enough or deep enough to keep them up

19. Sheff Utd. Fantastic achievement in getting promoted but see above

20. Brighton . Dunk goes to Leicester , defense crumbles and Glenn Murray’s goals cant save them this time.

Champions League: Man City , they have to win it one day don’t they ?
DL , LFC , Geneva

 

…I don’t know about the rest of you but I am beginning to get that tingle of excitement due to the start of the season (hopefully it’s not just pins and needles)…

Anyhow, as the season is about to start I wanted to share the ten things I am most excited about:

Chelsea (Disclaimer – I am a lifelong Chelsea fan) – as the strangely excitable mails from the other Chelsea fans have shown, we are all absolutely giddy at the start of the season. I honestly cannot remember a start to the season where I was so excited since probably the 1998 season (god bless you Gianluca). It is partly the jeopardy of not knowing whether the we finish 3rd or 13th, but for once the goodwill towards Lampard and the players (no want away players this summer as far as I can see) outweighs any negativity at his inexperience. After the turgid but effective Sarriball we are all looking forward to some actual dynamism, and freed from the shackles of Hazard (through all our attacks have been funnelled for the last 3 years) we may actually turn into a proper team (instead of Hazard FC)… or we may be crap. Who knows! I can’t wait to find out
Man Utd – seriously, WTF. £1 billion spent in since 2013 or some nonsense. I have no idea if they will be brilliant or awful, but what I can tell is that paying £40M for Matic and still playing him 3 years later is bringing a smile to every Chelsea fan. While Spurs are going for Le Celso, Arsenal buy Pepe, Utd are going for the Spurs player they no longer want. Somehow that is Utd encapsulated
Wolves / Leicester – some seriously good buys to improve already good teams… definite challengers and will steal points from every one of the top 6. Slabhead has gone but really do not see that slowing City down too much
Villa. Solely because Villa, Leeds, and Forest belong in the top division. I am a child of the early nineties but these are all great clubs. Welcome back Villa – see you other two sometime (although in truth we all hate Leeds. But come back soon)
West Ham – Because they are West Ham and who knows anything more. Pitch invasions or challenging for CL? Your guess is as good as mine
Arsenal – God, I hate Arsenal. I went to school in Finchley in the mid-nineties when Arsenal would beat Chelsea with their eyes closed and two legs tied behind their backs. So the last 10 years have been supremely enjoyable to me (not forgetting the pinnacle – Wayne Bridge at Highbury 2004 – Glorious). However, now – Pepe, Cellabos… and yet no centre-back. Just bonkers. I fully expect at least 3 4-4s at the Emirates this season. But fingers crossed they still finish below Chelsea!
Champs League – we’re back in the big time! Wahoo! Bring on hangovers on Wednesdays! Bring on hangovers on Thursdays! Bring on the PSG meltdown! Bring on the Barca cheats (never forget or forgive the battle of the bridge)! Bring Man City capitulating! Bring on Liverpool channeling the late 70s / early 80s again – no, wait, hang on… I just can’t wait.
Newcastle. Because who doesn’t want to see detective novel writing Steve Bruce cry?
Spurs – because I think they will implode. Can’t say why, but surely the duct tape holding that squad together will fall off this year… I mean, Lamela feels like he has been there for 17 years! The end of the road I think (OK, I hope)
VAR. Because it’s going to be a shit show. Enjoy.
Can’t wait for Sunday (especially now that England have reverted to normal in the cricket)
JC (the bad times make the good times so much sweeter)

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