No manager is a dead-cert, so let Solskjaer crack on…

Date published: Monday 9th December 2019 9:53

Send your mails to theeditor@football365.com…

 

United don’t need another CV
I apologise if I keep banging this drum but as a Utd fan I feel if I don’t say anything I would be adding to the problem so to Storey and Eamon Dublin and all the other nay sayers i’d like to bring up the following points

There are 2 managers with better CV’s waiting to take the job and Utd would be mugs to not take them now – I know another manager with a great CV ,Won back to back trophies , Even has a domestic treble his english is not that hot …………….. and he just said Good Ebening to the premiership two weeks ago (Yes I mean Enery) , using a CV as a simple short cut and only criteria is part of what got us into the mess we have experienced for most of the past 5 years Van Gaal/Jose made our eyes bleed . Style of play and results are going to have to go hand in hand

. They are just going to walk in snap there fingers and instant success _No No and No , When you look at each of the people whose CV is being touted also consider the circumstances

Allegri has not had to really improve a teams since his breakthrough in 2010(Cagliari) ,When he won the title with Milan which is considered a particular career highlight Juve were still gathering there feet after the betting scandal and Benitez was destroying the Inter .His biggest feat when it came to the transfer market , was to help start Juve’s dominance by agreeing to sell them Pirlo for free .

At Juve he was basically in charge of a well oiled machine for 5 years used to winning trophies and basically cherry picking talent of their nearest challengers at a time were there nearest challengers did not include the two Milans that is not the situation United .

Poch is really only in the conversation for those two years were he challenged for the title there is hardly anything about that period when he averaged 70 points per season, that tells me he is suddenly, going to end our premiership drought indeed in terms of winning against the big guns his record over 5 years was simply atrocious,His teams tended to run out of gas when getting close to the finish line . For me it is easier to learn how to be a flat track bully than win the big games so If we miss out tough tit.

Squad actually needs work – Eamonn actually thinks this team is the finished article ,Does he think either of the leagues resident geniuses (Klopp ,Pep or Brendan) would win the premiership or challenge with this lot.You do realise that the position Fred is playing right now is the only position he can actually play on a field, were he looks remotely like a premiership player,.did the last guy with a great CV discover this (err no he actually tried to deny he tried to sign him) or did Ole, after several months of nurturing his talent Private tutoring building his confidence etc .

This team is rife with players who Ole has improved Mctominay ,Rashford to name a few .The team that won the two games is the only 11 we could have put on the field that would have gotten the points against City,The bad record against teams which park the bus is partly due to not having a midfield magician the guy who should do that job is too busy playing basketball .

This team isn’t even as talented as the one Poch stopped getting anything out of by the final season, Allegri by the time he got to Juve was not letting the likes of Coman or Costa fully develop

Ole is a yes man Allegri let Ronaldo do whatever he wanted last season to Dybala’s detriment ,Poch allowed levy to not buy players for a year this helped create problems at both clubs that manifested later.Squad in need of an overhaul at Spurs , Dybala almost leaving Juve when Ronaldo is on the wane at Juve.

Ole won’t get you superstars
Poch never brought superstars to spurs , Allegri was not the architect behind Juve’s recruitment drive,besides Utd if you haven’t noticed is no longer employing that strategy of buying every big name not nailed down.

They won’t be available when you need them

Allegri left Milan for Juve he is hardly going to care about cross carpeting even if he becomes Man city manager , (which I think is why he is really learning English) and Poch if he ever comes back to England will still see the United post as the one he wants and they are both unlikely to take the job or any other mid season anyway so why rush.

There will be no convincing you of course and you will hold onto Ole’s record in games against small teams conveniently forgetting he started his appointment by handling smaller teams their butts and look .This team right now needs the right fit and to follow the strategy it has chosen a young and dynamic group of winners

Personally there are no guarantees that either of the managers you think is more qualified is a better fit. So leave we’ve got alone and let’s see what he does.
Timi, MUFC

 

Rivals’ view on Ole
I’m finding the raft of Man United mails claiming Solskjaer is a ‘brilliant manager really, honest’ quite interesting, considering they limped to a draw against promoted opposition at Old Trafford 9 days ago with most onlookers fairly convinced Solskjaer should be on borrowed time if he isn’t already.

I’ll try to be as objective as a Liverpool supporter can be regards this new found claim that Solskjaer might actually be a top quality manager after all as we all ponder whether two games in the last few days can tell us more than the previous fifty matches of Solskjaer’s reign; a reign in which he has won exactly as many matches as David Moyes (27) after taking charge of one more match than the Scotsman, meaning Solskjaer’s win percentage (51.92%) is the lowest of the four ‘permanent’ managers United have turned to since Ferguson’s retirement.

No doubt they were very good at City (thanks for beating City and Leicester on our behalf by the way) and thoroughly decent against Spurs. It is also true that Solskjaer’s United have pulled off some spectacular results (PSG away has been mentioned numerous times) but surely none of that undoes the fact United have lost to Everton, Cardiff, Bournemouth (right after United last strung a couple of decent wins together), West Ham, Newcastle and Crystal Palace in Ole’s short reign and I’m being kind not mentioning the draw at relegated Huddersfield, being taken to penalties by Rochdale or losing to whichever team I’d never heard of in the Europa League.

If United fans are going to claim the last few days proves anything, first thing to remember is every time I’ve heard claims about Man United being ‘back’ they’ve managed to comically walk into a glass door immediately after – we were told United were ‘back’ after a flattering 4-0 against Chelsea on the opening day; only to then record just two wins in their following TEN league games. It’s not a trait developed exclusively under Solskjaer; Mourinho won plenty of ‘big games’ too, including the Manchester derby at the Etihad (from two goals down) in City’s 100 point season – only to follow it up with a home defeat to West Brom who ultimately finished bottom of the league.

Law of averages says most Man United fans must be reasonably fair minded and not have forgotten the period between Ferguson retiring and the start of last week. I’m also sure most realise the few facts we can conclude from all of this; the first fact is whatever happens from now, Solskjaer would’ve never got the United job if he didn’t play for them. Norwegian football and being sacked by Cardiff City is not the CV Manchester United should or ever will target.

On the pitch we can conclude the following; they obviously have some great players, but not enough. They have players capable of winning games, but not consistently enough and they have a relatively mismatched ‘group’ with a worringly variable workrate – can anyone honestly tell me they won’t be an unmotivated pedestrian outfit next week? I take the point that Solskjaer is attempting to overhaul this workshy, money collecting average squad and three players in one summer won’t fix it overnight but surely the fact this job even needs doing by an ex-Cardiff City manager after the clubs spent £800million in six years is proof enough that the club is run by clowns?

In many ways I’d prefer if Liverpool were battling United at the top – I’ve even stopped laughing at United losing games these days – as that’d feel ‘right’ in many ways, but for as long as you’ve got whoever the hell you’ve got running your football club behind the scenes, don’t think 30 years without a title can’t possibly happen to you. You’re at 7 already….
Martin, LFC

 

…So I read the mailbox about Ole

Checked the table

Checked the table again

Read the mailbox again

Yep. They’re actually chestbeating about the guy who has them in fifth.

wtf is wrong with these people?

Moyes was doing a better job, in a tougher league, with a worse squad and was sacked for seventh.

Everyone else is delighted that you think Ole is great, suits us fine.

But jesus, pipe down. He wouldn’t get the youth team gig at any other epl club and hasn’t delivered anything yet bar inconsistency. The collective tone of triumphalism is bizarre.
Darragh, Spurs, Ireland

 

Ten more derby conclusions
1. It’s such a shame that after a really entertaining game of football my first point is about racism. I can scarcely believe that in 2019 we STILL have disgusting wastes of oxygen that think abusing a human being because of the colour of their skin is an acceptable form of behaviour. Then, the absolute gall of the creature to claim that it was putting his hands in its pockets, and not making the blatantly, painfully obvious monkey gestures, takes the absolute piss. It goes without saying that my reaction would be just as disgusted if it had been a United fan doing the same, and this is in no way a reflection of City fans in general, just the brainless actions of one individual. The club and the police absolutely have to take swift, decisive and disproportionately severe action against these kinds of acts – they have to be entirely eradicated from society immediately.

2. Anyway, to football. I would never have predicted that result in a month of Sundays. I said before the game that I would be satisfied as long as we at least gave them a game, while a draw would be a good result but what do I know, eh? Two wins from those last two fixtures is excellent and, to add a cherry to the top, we played pretty well in both (if not for the entirety of both games then at least long enough to take the points). It’s a shame that we have stuttered so frequently against the teams that we would be expected to beat, but it’s easily tempered by such positive results against our rivals.

3. But what has happened to City? I admit that my pre-season predictions were off – I thought Liverpool would be the ones to burn out but it appears that City have done so instead. It doesn’t help that their defence is so threadbare but, like United, they are reaping what was sewn in a summer of incomplete transfer business. They’ll bounce back but it looks like it’ll be too late for a title tilt this year.

4. I mentioned it last week but it bears repeating: I genuinely don’t think Pogba gets back into this team. Not because the guys who have been playing are better than him; I just I think he’ll be gone by the time he has an opportunity to. The Real Madrid noises are getting louder again, and I think with only a maximum of 18 months left on his deal, it makes sense to get rid of him while his stock is still high enough to make a tidy profit on him. We look like a more rounded team without him and, as good as he can be, if his heart isn’t really in it then would it be that big a loss?

5. And I know that we’re still short of quality in midfield when McTominay is not available – Pereira showed once again in his cameo that he just doesn’t have the guile to be that combative, defensive presence we need – but we absolutely have to bring in someone, whether Pogba stays or goes. I suspect Matic will also be leaving next month, so for my money we need a minimum of two central midfielders to come in. I’m not sure who the club are actually looking at (hopefully these Arturo Vidal rumours are just agent talk) but I would definitely be looking at James Ward-Prowse for one – he’s not the finished article but I think he would fit the bill and, as an added bonus, takes an excellent set piece – something that nobody in our squad can currently say.

6. Say it quietly, but that defence is starting to look a bit better too. I thought Lindelof was excellent and absolutely loved his reaction to a great block he made in the 54th minute, celebrating like he’d just scored. I’m still remain sceptical about Shaw but I am happy for Williams to be blooded more slowly and, given the nature of the game, accept that he
possibly wouldn’t have suited it just yet.

7. That said the defending for the City goal was poor. I expect better from Maguire, given his supposed aerial prowess, but he got absolutely bullied by Otamendi. I’m not overly concerned about the lack of clean sheets while we’re scoring more than a goal a game, but we do need to start to keep them sooner rather than later, for when (not if) we go through another dry spell at the other end.

8. Rashford again continued his run of good form, with him, Martial and James looking electric in the first half. Rashford and Martial faded a little bit as the game went on, the latter more so (but that’s understandable, given he’s not long since returned from injury) but James never stopped running the entire game. Those three, when in full flight, are frightening and but for a bit more ruthlessness from Martial, we could have had a couple more goals.

9. The F635 writers keep banging on about Wan-Bissaka being a 90s fullback but I really don’t see how that’s anything but a compliment. For me, fullbacks were at their absolute peak in the 90s (Cafu, Carlos, Zanetti, Lizarazu, Maldini…) and if he keeps playing like that then I really don’t care if he gets any assists. He’s still young enough to improve that aspect of his game but if he “only” offers good defensive performances for the rest of this season then I’ll be chuffed with that.

10. I’m still not convinced that Lingard is having a renaissance yet – he’s still not breaking 7s on whoscored.com – and he’s so very clearly the weakest link in our forward line; we absolutely have to be doing better than him. Only 7 players of the 22 who started (an De Gea is not one of those 7) made fewer passes than his 23, he made no tackles, interceptions, clearances, blocks or key passes and attempted no crosses. He did have three shots, which is something, but that is just not enough of a contribution. Maybe Ole thinks he can coax some quality out of him but I really don’t see where the basis for that theory lies.

I was going to try and eke out 16 but I fear that would involve more waffling than is necessary. I’ll end this rambling email to just say that things are looking up but they will only continue to do so if we can continue this run and get good results against our next opponents – it’s absolutely vital that we beat Everton, Watford, Newcastle and Burnley to maintain this pressure on the top four. That’s still looking like a tough ask though at this point it’s looking like one we should be able to at least realistically challenge for. For now, it’s lovely to have beaten both Mourinho and City in the space of a week, so it’s nice to be a United fan today.
Ted, Manchester

 

McTominay = Keane
All the currently spoilt soup named Arsenal need is a Mc Sauce recipe. When you see how abysmal Fred played in his absence and how transformed he looks with him in the side, you get all the answer you need. Arsenal need a player of such personality, the way he goes into opposition players faces and set the tone for his teammates reminds me of a certain Roy fu**ing Keane.
Teejay, Lagos (We have our new Roy Keane in McSauce, and Arsenal have a Viera in ???)

 

City sussed
It was interesting to read Ged Biglin’s email observing that a successful United tactic was to release the ball early to avoid City’s tactical fouls. Coincidentally I commented to friends that Liverpool appeared to do the same last month, and other teams should follow suit.

Maybe City‘a Kryptonite has been found. If they can’t foul they can’t defend.
Rob

 

City sanction?
Didn’t Raheem Sterling call for a 9 point deduction for teams who had fans caught chanting racist abuse?

Just a thought.
Jay Turner

 

More fearful of Foxes
Manchester City play Leicester in two weeks time. I did not think I’d be cheering on Man City in that game but this Leicester team are starting to make me nervous.
Mike, LFC, London

 

Pep out?
@rubym83 – you’re entitled and spoilt.

But by all means hound out the legendary manager that is Pep and send him Arsenal’s way so he sort out the absolute shit show we’re currently dealing with.
Andy

 

Best Leicester ever
I’ll keep it brief – I reckon this is the best Leicester team I’ve ever witnessed. Strength in depth, goals coming from all over the pitch, tactically flexible, capable of breaking teams down or hitting them on the break – it’s incredible.

I wouldn’t swap our midfield for any in the league, I think Ricardo is the best right back in the league right now (yes, even better than Trent), and Soyuncu has played as well as any other CB I’ve watched this season. Add in a new contract for Rodgers and these are exciting times.

Frankly, Liverpool are a different beast, and as much as I’m enjoying our run, theirs is even more impressive so I’m under no illusions we will catch them. But a 6 point gap down to City is more than enough to keep me smiling. The aspiration this year was top 6, if we can finish in the top 4 then you won’t find a Leicester fan who isn’t buzzing. Long way to go though.
Ben (2 points from safety), LCFC

 

Lads, it’s Arsenal
That’s where we are – bit of a head spin this has happened so fast. Why is freddy doing the same thing Emery was doing – refusing to play people in their actual position. Now Ljungberg is blaming the fans – F*ck right off freddy you tart!

Why can’t it be the players, we get rid of one problem and replace him with the same problem. If you play Xhaka, Mustafi or Kolasinac over actual players I reckon I am going to tear my eye’s out and cut my ears off!

Do this – and keep doing it – don’t change just rotate – 4-2-3-1
Defence 4: RB – Maitland-Niles or Bellerin, RCB – Chambers, LCB – Holding, LB – Tierney
Midfield 2: CDM – Torreira, CM – Guendouzi,
Midfield 3: RA – Pepe, CA – Ozil, LA – Nelson or Martinelli
Attack: F – Aubameyang
Joe (stop talking about DNA – it’s all bollocks)

 

Targeting Traore
After watching yet another Wolves game where the opposition players have clearly been instructed to take it turns to foul Adama Traore, I’m wondering whether something could be done for such obvious targeting of a single player. With players effectively taking it in turns to foul the same player, take the booking and then move on, the player is still at risk with existing rules. I don’t have a solution and I’m mainly venting (I’d do it on Twitter but am banned for excessive trolling of right wing journalists) but it should be something the governing bodies should look at
John Collins, Wolves, London

 

Worst game of the season
Spent most of my weekend watching football with someone getting increasingly exasperated about teams “not marking anyone” (teams were trying to hold their shape), or ignoring the glaringly obvious solution to “just do what Liverpool do”. Still, it’s my own fault really, I married his daughter.

*If there’s a worse game in the Premier League season than Watford v Crystal Palace, let’s at least hope it’s on a Super Sunday for the full comedic effect. Watford were always going to be a tougher proposition than their position in the table suggested, as their players were going to be trying to impress a new manager; Palace would have no reason to deviate from the gameplan that has served them well in the last couple of games; in combination, this did not make a recipe for a free-flowing, high-scoring classic.

*The positive spin for the Eagles is that they have taken seven points from their last three games, while also keeping three clean sheets, with a team – and a backline in particular – that feels increasingly cobbled together, as players are pressed into action out of their natural best position or below full fitness. Jeffrey Schlupp, starting at left-back for the first time this season, went off at half-time as a precaution for his injury. Luckily, when the Selhurst Park facilities staff went into the loft to get the Christmas decorations, they also brought Jairo Riedewald down, so he was able to replace Schlupp.

*Congratulations to Wilfried Zaha on being fouled for the 500th time in a Premier League game. It’s a tremendous milestone to reach, and something that wouldn’t have been possible without the help of so many others.

*Though Palace’s official rivals are Brighton & Hove Albion, Charlton Athletic and Millwall, games against the Hornets in recent seasons have had the most needle. The Eagles haven’t won against the boys from near Bushey for two years, and more recently Watford have had the edge in league fixtures – playoff finals and FA Cup semi-finals have been a different proposition of course.

A lot of the animosity centres on the perception of foul play going unpunished. Early in last season, Etienne Capoue got away with a yellow card for a “tackle” that was little more than raking his studs down Zaha’s achilles long after the ball had gone. This time, there was a suggestion he had stamped on Zaha, something that went unpunished entirely. After that game last season, there were two comments in the media: Zaha suggesting that someone would have to break his leg before it was considered bad enough for a red card, and Troy Deeney saying that there was a deliberate plan of rotational fouling on Zaha so he gets wound up with the referee, who is then less likely to give anything his way. To this end, being so brazen about his team’s shithousery, it was amusing to see Deeney screaming to the referee that he should have had a penalty.

There is nothing especially wrong with Watford’s reliance on shithousery, especially when sides such as Manchester City are also fond of tactical fouls. What annoys Palace fans about Watford though is how effective a strategy it seems to be, which is just as well, because they don’t seem to have a lot else to depend on.

*Given their injury list, it’s probably a good thing Palace don’t play again until next Monday. Unfortunately, the next game is the “why is this a derby” derby against Brighton.
Ed Quoththeraven

 

Son’s sh*t goal
Damo, Dublin is right but he didn’t go far enough. Son’s goal was sh*t. What did he even do? Quickly gain possession in a defensively exposed position and make a snap and potentially risky decision to dribble. Bah! Then what? Went on a bit of an amble for 70m dodging the odd claret and blue witches hat here and there. Boo! One defender on the half way line was doing an excellent Wile E Coyote impression as his arms and legs were going 100mph but his body wasn’t as Son kinda just changed pace and glided by. So he can run, big deal, boring! A couple barely controlled knocks here and there and he was suddenly in the open. Fluke! As for the finish, easy, he was slowing down because he was tired anyway so that basically guaranteed he would composed. An U10 could have done it. Dull!

Honestly, how bleak must some peoples lives be if you can’t see that Son’s goal was a different kind of incredible to the one scored by Suarez. Why the obsession with lists and bests and then, for anything not at the absolute summit to declare is crap. Unless Dion, Dublin is Dion (no comma needed) Dublin I doubt he’s played the game.
Dr Oyvind, Earth.

 

Bruce deserves more credit
I like winners and losers. It helps me get through Mondays and reminds me of a time when my favourite football writer- unless you include Squires cartoons – wrote an article on a daily basis.

I dont mind that football365, including Mr Storey have narratives and favourites. Generally when it comes down to it they arent blind and will change a view when it blatantly becomes wrong.

With this in mind surely – SURELY – its time to dedicate more than 2 begrudging sentences of praise to Steve Bruce.

Now I know the general policy is that British managers who have managed at a few top flight clubs should be cast aside to history. A sentiment I find a bit sweeping and agist but it certainly has some merit. Nobody should want Pardew or Allardyce at their club now.

Now all season Daniel Storey writes a novel when Newcastle lose and Steve Bruce gets barely a mention when they win. The opposite to when Rafa was there. Even last week it had to be qualified to Newcastle against the big teams with very little of substance acknowledging his achievements. If anything it seemed a back handed criticism.

Now you are backing Rafa for the biggest clubs using Newcastle as evidence of his prowess. However Steve Bruce is doing notably better (admittedly based on a smaller sample but the deal was always to keep Newcastle up right with the team we were repeatedly told last year was championship standard). Bruce’s recent hero is a player Benitez cast aside. His major signing was one Rafa didnt want. As far as I can see he is owed some serious praise and it is at the point now where it is reaching princely levels of disputing facts just to save face.
Howard.

 

16 weekend conclusions
1) And then there were two. There can be no denying that Leicester have been overlooked so far this season. All eyes have been on Liverpool and Man City in anticipation of a 38 game heavyweight slog, but surely that was a knockout punch dealt by Man Utd. It leaves Leicester standing with their fists in the air, a few deep breaths in and an all or nothing chance at the big prize. The punches will be relentless. This is not 2015/16. Liverpool are no fly weight opposition. There’s no Spurs glass chin this year.

2) As a Liverpool fan, once it was clear City were going through an unusually poor spell, I’ve been thinking a 12 point gap would be difficult to bridge, a 14 point gap should be enough. The fact Liverpool have pulled out a 14 point gap this early in the season gives City enough time to go on an extended and exceptional run, hoping Liverpool’s schedule trips them up. But you’d have to think even winning all their games now might still not be enough. Liverpool can afford to lose 3 and draw 2 games. Not exactly a collapse and surely a possibility but add that to the unlikely prospect of City turning their form around so spectacularly and it seems a stretch. Surely Leicester are the biggest threat now.

3) Not to disrespect Leicester but no one saw them being between City and Liverpool at this stage in the season. They have two massive games coming up over the festive period, against a wounded City and a determined Liverpool. You get the sense it may be make or break for them. Not to assume results in such a competitive league but you’d think if they win both games the gap to Liverpool would be 5. Plus Liverpool miss a festive game so that could see a 2 point gap at some point, putting pressure on a fatigued Liverpool. With no European football, in that scenario, Leicester would be right in there for a massive upset.

4) Speaking of European football, Liverpool have a make or break game on Tuesday. Away from home against a good side who play attacking football and score goals. Lose that game and it really doesn’t take much to turn a record breaking run into a loss of form and a crisis. It’s a funny old game. Having said that, it’s hard to look past what this Liverpool team have been achieving. They went away from home and won against Bayern. They were two points off a historic double last year and a few flat final performances away from being one of the all time great sides. Get a result on Tuesday and they’re ready to push on through and test the limits of what they are capable of.

5) Speaking of which. Liverpool have the chance to progress in the league cup and win a club world cup in the coming weeks. I couldn’t care less about either. Play a youth squad in the cup and take the lads on holiday for the club world cup but play the squad players. I couldn’t care about either and if it risks putting any stress on our chances of the league then don’t get sidetracked. Failure to win the league now would surely be too much to come back from. That might sound hyperbolic and it may put pressure on but that’s the reality of where we are now. Time to end this voodoo.

6) Liverpool tend to do well through the festive games these days then have a slump after. I say slump but that must be taken with a pinch of salt, given the exceptional levels on display. Get through Tuesday’s game, minimise any post new year slump and this team could be in a fantastic position to manage a run in the Champions League as well as a run at the league. Exciting times. I know I’m getting carried away and should be towing the line but Klopp did say he wanted to turn us from doubters into believers. I’ll admit I doubted after Barcelona at the Nou Camp but I’ll never doubt again.

7) I’m not sure where City go from here. Without that drive to keep up the relentless pace with Liverpool, they may well continue to misfire. You’d think it’s all or nothing with the Champions League now but they don’t look like a team capable of seeing out tight big games.

8) In the mauling City got at Anfield the other week, they looked so vulnerable when being attacked, I thought it could’ve been a 4 or 5 goal defeat after half an hour. Then again, against Utd, I was shocked every time Utd had the ball in the City half at just how open they looked. Guardiola used the stats to defend their performances this season but when watching them against teams with any sort of attack, they look incredibly vulnerable. You don’t need stats to know that. Teams are finding it far too easy to break through their midfield line and after that, the defence looks exposed and chaotic. It’s a dangerous combination and it means when City do offer up chances, they are very likely to concede.

9) Regardless of City’s vulnerabilities, it was still a good performance by Utd. They were dangerous in attack and solid in defence. The big games seem to suit their style of play. Although, I do admit I’m not entirely sure what that style is. Utd fans will probably not care a jot for this weekend but rising to the challenge in both their last games will take it’s toll ahead of a busy fixture list. They’ll need to keep those energy levels going against the smaller teams too if they want to break down tougher, more stubborn, defensive set ups.

10) Talking about energy levels. Everton really did respond, didn’t they? Again, I suspect they’ll need to find energy reserves they didn’t know they had if they want to play like that week in week out, without the conditioning to do so. But I’ll admit to enjoying watching the game and their interim manager bouncing up and down the sidelines with his lucky sweat band. It looked like a real outpouring of emotion. Derby day drubbings can do that to a team.

11) Spurs too look like they’re enjoying themselves again. It’s strange seeing Mourinho as the manager who has brought cheer to a club. I don’t know if that’s as result of Mourinho’s own period of self-reflection or if it’s more a sign of just how miserable Pochettino had become. When Mourinho’s mood compares favourably, you can be sure things were dire.

13) Having said that, Mourinho has obviously brought some tactical discipline and direction to them too. I’m not looking forward to Liverpool travelling to Spurs in the new year now and I wouldn’t put it past them going on a Champions League run. They already had a great team and they instantly look refreshed. If Mourinho can make them more solid then they have one hell of an attack that could make them a truly difficult team to play. Especially in knockout competitions. Add an in form Son and you wouldn’t put it past them bagging a trophy before the inevitable Mourinho meltdown.

14) I don’t mean to sound like a kill joy but as good as that Son goal was, you’ve really got to wonder what the Burnley defence / team wee thinking. They were like lemmings to the ball but didn’t seem to realise Son can run a bit fast. Terrible. Having said that, it does take a phenomenal player to capitalise, back themselves to break through and expose the weaknesses all on their own. Son reminds me of Christiano Ronaldo with his speed, directness and physicality. He is a brilliant talent.

15) We are almost through the first half of the season now and it’s hard to see the second half being in any way similar to the first. There is always the odd bit of reorganising after Christmas but there are so many teams out of form or in transition that it should be very unpredictable. It’s hard to tell what the top four could look like. Man Utd & Spurs look like they could go on a run now, with Chelsea stumbling and even City heading the wrong direction (they’re closer to Burnley in 13th than they are Liverpool in 1st). And Wolves continue to knock on the door. It feels like it could be the beginning of a small little epoch. Whoever succeeds this year could make up the top four for the next few years.

16) All this way and I haven’t even mentioned the relegation battle. Not even in my Everton point. There are some big teams down there and only 9 points separate 5th and 18th. While Liverpool seem to be making a mockery of the top of the table, it shouldn’t detract from the fact this is an incredibly competitive league. Getting points is hard. Putting a run together even more difficult. It makes Liverpool’s efforts even more impressive and will make for a fascinating fight at the bottom.
Sam(inho)
Ps. No place for racism in my conclusions, just like there should be no place for racism in football (or anywhere else for that matter)

 

Life north of the border
Hey F365 towers… Now you know i love the site.
Been an avid follower for over 15 years now, I vote for you guys at the awards and tell my mates down south and indeed up here about your wonderful site….albeit a fairly recent writer to the mailbox. Kept me going earlier in the year especially whilst in hospital in the summer after getting the damn C at 46
But enough of blowing smoke up your arses! I know you guys focus on English football i get it yes i do.
But aside of Johnny and his occasional musings a wee bit of coverage of Scottish football would be appreciated and would it be such a bad thing?
Your European game to watch this weekend to watch was an Italian match!
There was an Old Firm final played today….c’mon its a massive match. Check the Sky ratings for games, its the 2nd most viewed match they show! (Alas final was shown by BT)
But i see nada tonight when i come on the site. Not even a mention.
Im a Rangers fan and gutted we lost.
We should of been 4 up by half time. Celtics goal was offside and we missed a penalty 2nd half when Forster was blatantly well off his line.
You moan about VAR but up here it may of cost us out first trophy in 8 years.
Credit to Celtic….they won their 10th straight trophy but it stings…it hurts because we were so superior but as we know football is about scoring goals.
But be nice if you could of given it a mention guys…..it was a cup final and jeez way bigger than a Brighton v Wolves or Leicester v Villa clash.
Just saying.
Neil, Glasgow  (Gers will win the league though!)

 

Savage Guardian
I was at work all day so didn’t get to watch the Scottish league cup final between old firm rivals Celtic and Rangers. Instead I kept an eye on The Guardian’s live text commentary, mainly because it was the first page that popped up on google.

Can I just say well done to Simon Burnton of The Guardian for one of the most scathing comments I’ve ever seen in an online commentary:

“20 mins: Celtic do look like they can’t really be arsed with a cup final this afternoon. It’s as if they feel a bit put out having to play football on a day when Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa is on the TV, and haven’t really been able to get over it”

Had to mute the customer I was on the phone with until I could stop laughing.
Fiachra Delea, Cork

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