Are Man Utd and Arsenal about to capitalise if Man City and Liverpool slip? Get your views in to firstname.lastname@example.org…
Whose future looks rosiest…
Just thought I’d pose the question which teams medium to long term future looks the healthiest. Over the next 2-3 seasons.
City – dream squad and finances, all a good age but will Pep hang around?
Liverpool – Mane, Salah, Van Dijk, Henderson, all approaching 30. They’re not going to get better past 30. Very hard to replace players like that.
Chelsea – Rudiger, Silva, Christensen all potentially leaving for nothing end of season. Thats heart of their defence. Kante ageing and more injury prone.
United – where to start, Lingard, Matic, Cavani all leaving for free. Greenwood – who knows. Ronaldo a spent force. New direction with another manager.
Spurs – Kane and Son both hitting 30, rest of the squad is bang average so cant see them improving, no sign of any young players coming through.
Arsenal – no fwds by the summer and if no european football, you’re not going to attract real quality to a thin young squad as it is.
Obviously this is a broad overview. Being 30 doesn’t spell instant decline, clubs will make signings and a youngster or two will come through. But some big players potentially on the decline or leaving clubs that’s hard to follow. It looks like the city conveyor belt will keep churning out stars but the Pep effect is huge, when he leaves then the team declines by a minimum 10%. Liverpool have some good youth players and the klopp effect but replacing those ageing players is near impossible.
I actually think United and Arsenal are doing the right thing with their young squad and could in theory capitalise when the door opens slightly from liverpool and city. Althodugh I cant work out if Uniteds youngsters are absolute sh!te or decent, which probably means they’re shite – diallo, Pelestri, rashford, Sancho, Garner, Elanga, Shortire, Garner, hannibal etc
Anyway, some monday morning musings into the future.
Who really is an upgrade/elite manager
I was hoping someone in the morning mailbox would respond to the article about the most important upgrade being the manager…
Who really are the upgrades … The much maligned “”PE teacher”” somehow got this bunch to a Europa Final and a 2nd and 3rd . I expect an elite manager to do better within 2 years max.
Is it going to be Rodgers who while decent in Scotland,has a bad habit of floundering at the final hurdle in the premiership.
Is it F365 favourite for the job, Poch who didn’t do it with a decent spurs sides and is on course to win less trophies , than the average PSG manager.
Ten Haag nd Nagelsmann sound good but they are basically driving the best cars in their respective championships
Galtier and Amorim are interesting having used underdogs but those are hardly sustainable outcomes.
Even Klopp, Conte and Pep would still be unlikely to win everything with the squad in its current state.
Klopp needed 5 years to build this group taking out dodgy fullbacks (Moreno0, sub par keepers (karius) and upgrading the defence( Van Dijk) .
Pep hasn’t gotten his hands dirty moulding a squad since la masia.Much like Nagelsmann and Ten Haag he’s in charge of the best squad. He hasn’t won anything Pellegrin or Mancini couldn’t win. i A city fan wrote in saying Ole wouldn’t have won with Pep’s side I disagree , if anything maybe he would have missed out on that title tussle with liverpool ,but he wouldn’t have overthought all the champions league efforts .
Conte, Ancelotti and Allegri are also showing that you still need the right personnel to achieve your goals . There recent league ppositions have depended on the group they have been in charge of
That’s because the most important upgrade is still breaking up the MCfred axis not because they are bad footballers but because they are built for those roles for an entire season.
Crystal Palace & Hartlepool United
*Upsets were in the air this weekend, from the moment on Friday night when the entire country came together as one to enjoy the schadenfreude of Cristiano Ronaldo missing a penalty. I expect Middlesbrough fans thought that was worth every penny.
*Football and good karma do not often go hand in hand. That’s why it sometimes seems like the more contempt you have for a competition or your rival clubs, the more likely you are to win. Nice guys don’t necessarily finish last, but do find people blaming their niceness when they don’t win. With all this in mind, I would not have been surprised if Hartlepool United had beaten Crystal Palace. The build-up to this game has featured Palace doing decent and generous things, and football has a nasty habit of punishing, rather than rewarding them. They subsidised travel and tickets for a huge away following, and donated to and publicised efforts by Gemma Lee (wife of United boss Graeme) to raise funds that will help with treating her cancer. If anyone would like to donate, the link is here.
*Luckily for my sake, this wasn’t the case. Patrick Vieira fielded a relatively strong team. Martin Kelly was the only player from down the back of the sofa, appearing for the first time since the final day of last season (and with his contract nearly up); if we’re being picky, the strongest available team would probably feature Will Hughes in midfield ahead of either Luka Milivojevic or Jeffrey Schlupp, but both players have been involved regularly.
The United lineup had a few names I recognised from Non-League Paper Teams of the Week, such as Luke Molyneux, and Omar Bogle making his Pools debut up front. He’s someone who was signed out of non-league and impressed enough in League Two for Championship clubs to get interested. That might have been a bridge too far for him, but if he can settle in at Victoria Park, he should get back among the goals in no time.
*As the favourite in a cup tie, it’s especially important to get an early goal, to take the wind out of your opponents’ sails. The free kick that led to the Palace opener was a bit soft – a tangle of legs as players run rather than a malicious foul – but the silver lining to the offending team is that you can set up your defence better than you could in open play. That’s the theory, at least, but in this instance it was impossible to defend. Michael Olise’s cross was incredibly precise and Marc Guehi’s timing was perfect, so all he had to do was make good contact with the ball, and in it went. The Eagles have often used Guehi as the primary target from set pieces and he’s missed some good chances, so it’s good to see him put one in.
*The second goal was a bit more 2021-22 Palace. The ball was won back in the attacking half by Conor Gallagher and moved wide. Olise produced an incredibly skilful flick to deceive the defender and moved into the penalty area. His body shape suggested to defenders and goalkeeper that he was aiming at the far post, but he slotted home at the near post. A great moment from a player rapidly becoming one of the most exciting young players in the Premier League.
*That provided enough comfort to put the result beyond doubt, though United, to their credit, did not let their heads drop and created a few late chances. Jack Butland has had quieter afternoons against teams further up the football pyramid. While their fans did not have a goal to cheer, they should be pleased with how their team played. The fans brought a great atmosphere, and it seems like a new football friendship has been forged.
Weird mail – Zambrotta moved to Milan at age 30, and had an excellent career, with 9 years at Juve and Barca. Ashley Cole was 33 when he declined. Many, many players have had a steep decline in their 30s (surely most). From Andy Cole to Rio Ferdinand, Nemanja Vidic, Roy Keane and Gary Neville, Man United alone have had plenty of them. Strange.
Dave brought up the curious case of Gianluca Zambrotta in regards to a footballer who was on top of the world then suddenly declined, a few did come to my own mind.
Andriy Shevchenko – Consistently prolific in the Serie A and the Ukrainian Premier League before that a Ballon Dor winner in 2004, made the move to Stamford Bridge and was nothing like the Andriy we all knew and loved sadly never returned back to the top of the mountain.
Adriano – The Emperor, wow what a player linked with every super club back in the 00’s you could think of and then we all know the tragic tale of his personal life which explains his decline but still a truly sad decline to witness.
Kaka – Arguably my favourite player of all time, another Milan legend who was a Ballon Dor winner on top of the world and then one transfer plus recovery from left knee surgery of course took him from that peak and he never returned to it
Eden Hazard – When he left Chelsea i was gutted as all our fanbase was, we never expected a player to be rarely injured to hit such a consistent wave of injury after injury at Real Madrid, a £100m player he left London, now you hear that Madrid will happily loan him out of sell for below £30m truly crazy how that move turned out.
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod
In response to Dave Dublin’s nostalgia-filled mail about Zambrotta, I can only imagine there’s going to be loads of these, many with varying levels of Zambrotta… but off the top of my head, and I’ll keep it Arsenal-centric:
Some stellar careers in there, and some sublime talent, but yeah, they all seemed to just… fall off… with little fanfare
Dale May, Swindon Wengerite
Quick message to Ade I don’t think ITV apologising for swearing in the crowd is a ‘woke culture’ thing. The term ‘woke’ is more about the things which in your email you raise as more concerning i.e. attitudes and words related to racism and homophobia.
Not swearing on TV is about maintaining some old rules about attitudes to swearing whereas ‘woke culture’ is more about creating new ones about the various ‘-isms’.
Also, sorry for the “quote marks” I am not trying to patronise I just don’t really like the term ‘woke’ much either even though I broadly agree with the sentiments.
Also, also, in a vaguely related topic Stewart Lee has an excellent bit about how there is a whole generation who have mixed up political correctness and health and safety advice… “you can’t even use a toaster in the bath any more, its political correctness gone mad”. Very good.
There is a special kind of irony when people cry ‘woke’ when they themselves are offended by the very notion.