Was Graeme Souness right all along about Paul Pogba at Man Utd? Plus there are more mails on Chelsea, the state of punditry, Fabio Vieira and more…
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What to expect from Chelsea?
Simon from London asked “What Are Chelsea?”, well the true answer is now than we are under new ownership we truly do not know, will we be like the American owned Liverpool and make smart purchases and fight for the title each season or be like American owned Manchester United and buy big but fail to do much with the talent brought in, we truly do not know but if we judge how Todd Boehly has run the LA Dodgers then the proof in the Baseball pudding would suggest more like Liverpool.
With up to four defenders leaving this summer we are in clear need of a rebuild when it comes to the defence, so big investment is required right there and with Romelu Lukaku leaving his childhood club last summer to join his childhood club, only to then leave said childhood club to return back to his former club on loan we will need yet another forward, will this be all accomplished in one window? No, this is not FIFA or Football Manager and even if it was players need to gel and build that chemistry up, when i look at what the team who are challenging for the top four are doing in terms of deals then Manchester City, Liverpool and Spurs are all making smart and strong purchases that should on paper improve their team, we are only a few days into the transfer window but it is crucial Chelsea bring in the right players as i could see even this early on those three sides finishing clear of 4th spot, resulting in ourselves fighting it out with Arsenal, Manchester United maybe and whoever else makes a push for Europe.
Big season ahead, cannot wait for the season to get underway!
The Admin @ At The Bridge Pod
England midfield key as always
Barney Ronay’s excellent article in the Guardian the other day had a comment buried deep within it that, as always, holds the key to England’s and, indeed, any other nation’s chances of success in one off competitive games and major tournaments.
He talked about how England are, essentially, light in central midfield. With only Jordan Henderson representing a ‘top 6’ side in that position.
England have a fantastic set of players to call upon. Not better or worse than other nations – just fantastic in their own right. But, just like in 2018 and 2020, were a bit too light in the centre of the pitch. The cauldron where the battle is won and lost.
2018 we lost to a midfield of Modric, Brozovic and Rakitic. What a line up!
Italy in 2020 fielded midfielders from Chelsea, Inter Milan and PSG. Ours came from Leeds and West Ham.
Until that fundamental issue is addressed, we will struggle to truly play like yer Germans and yer Brazilians in terms of taking the game to the opponents in heavyweight knockout tournament battles. We just cannot control the centre.
Ironically enough, we may well do in a few years as certain players develop. Bellingham, Foden, Rice, Mount (if he continues to develop and plays at tip of a midfield 3), Jones, Gallagher and possibly even Philips, already do or most likely will be playing for an ‘elite’ club side in the centre of the pitch in seasons to come. (Incidentally the loss of Musiala makes me weep for what could have been).
Qatar is far too soon for this scenario to come to pass. So our usual method of losing to the ‘first good team’ we face may well come to pass. But that is not necessarily Gareth’s fault. Just the consequence of that midfield battle been lost to a superior force.
It explains a lot for the conservatism that we see from Gareth’s England and until several of those players develop to the level we ‘hope’ they can, then we may well continue to experience that similar feeling (and all the subsequent unwarranted sh*t and abuse that follows)
And there it is… it’s come to an end and we have all finally come to the obvious conclusion that Paul Pogba is a greedy lazy money grabber. It’s been clear from the start but everyone’s flirted around it. Everyone mocked Graeme Souness as a dinosaur for pointing out exactly what we all were seeing with our own eyes’ week in week out.
It’s taken Paul to literally tell us with his own words, in his own documentary that he’s a lazy money grabber. The modern progressive sports media refused to accept this. Apparently, it was an attack on an entire generation, it was xenophobia, it was old farts screaming at a bunch of young handsome whipper snappers that they don’t understand. Sorry lads. He was just a lazy money grabber.
Him being lazy on the pitch wasn’t enough evidence. Him demanding excessive pay for his talent/efforts (or lack thereof) wasn’t enough. But we’ve finally gotten there. Paul has told us. Paul who had a ruthless agent who was notorious for bleeding football clubs for as much money as possible has put it on camera. Do you understand it now? HES A LAZY MONEY GRABBER.
So next time we see an overpaid professional footballer sulking around the pitch, clearly not getting stuck in, clearly not putting in enough graft, clearly not caring enough, we can just assume he/she doesn’t care. If he/she gets paid an extortionate amount of money each week, then we are ok to criticize this. Lets get back to basics.
We don’t need articles on the pressures of being a professional footballer. We don’t need think pieces on multi-millionaires’ mental health. We don’t need to mock pundits who are pointing out the obvious. We just need to be adults and acknowledge what we can clearly see with our own eyes and ears.
Cheers folks. Have a good weekend.
So Paul Pogba thinks utd offering him a 3.5% payrise is nothing?
Ok Paul, firstly, you played 154 games in 6 years. That’s 26 games a season, less than half the games. So maybe Utd should have offered you half of your current pay?
Then again, of those 26 games a season you played, you were actually decent in about half of them so maybe utd should have offered you a quarter of your current pay?
Utd should not have offered anything other than the door and I find it quite shocking that they did at all.
The only reason pogba wanted an improved utd offer is to help his pay negotiations at other clubs he’s whoring himself out to. We are glad to be rid of you again, if it wasn’t for covid we might have been rid of you a couple of years ago.
Overpaid players not doing it on the pitch should not get renewed contracts unless it is at a reduced pay reflecting their importance to the squad. Utd already pay over the odds compared to other big six clubs. Utd pay bigger wages for players like Mata, Phil Jones and Lindgard who rarely get on the pitch as other top six teams pay for regular starters. Why? There is no logic to it whatsoever other than incompetent management of the club, nothing surprising there…
Jon, Cape Town (going to be another tough season as a utd fan)
State of punditry
It’s come to something that I just have to say this but the state of football punditry in England is just appalling.
Week after week I find myself trying to avoid the newspapers and websites describing in such serious and sober details on an opinion that some ignorant, loudmouthed, pundit has offered. Why are the opinions of this pinheads reported and with such deference, as if they actually matter? Honestly, who gives a chuff what the likes of Paul Merson, Paul Scholes, Stan Collymore, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Craig Burley, Rio Ferdinand, Michael Owen and the utterly odious, professional gobshite, Simon Jordan, think? These base opinions, that are no more informed than the average opinion than that of the man on the street has, just make these (supposedly clever) people look ridiculous and they are lavishly paid for it! WHAT? How can this be? How have we landed at such a situation with such ludicrous people? Who thinks it is a good idea to initially employ these people and then CONTINUE to do so when these dull, uninformed, crass opinions are spewed forth?
John Aldridge is another. He doesn’t articulate an opinion, he just rants on with insults and unhinged, biased, statements that are often so far wide of the mark that nobody is quite sure where the mark actually is.
Does anyone ever give Mark Lawrenson any credence?
Garth Crooks, anyone?
Chris Kamara? Andy Gray? Danny Mills? Robbie ‘Arse’ Savage?
I’m losing the will to live here.
Personally, I think there ARE pundits that do do a good job. I’m happy to listen to Jermaine Jenas, Danny Murphy, Gary Neville (spit), Jamie Carragher (when he’s serious) and I think Gary Lineker is approaching National Treasure status especially after his heart warming spats with The Sun and the Daily Heil. I also think that Alex Scott has great potential and I like the style of Micah Richards and Dion Dublin.
But, please, can we not have some sort of minimum standard agreed and bin off the idiots who bring needless bilge and, often, toxicity, off, please?
I’d love to know what Mailbox readers, in other countries, think of our Clowns, too.
Just trying to help
Levenshulme Blue, Manchester 19
It’s taken me a few days to write this as I’ve been busy at work but it’s Friday and it’s too sunny to look at spreadsheets so here we go. Apologies I am talking about old news here but there’s not much else going on is there.
I have a simple question – what the hell is wrong with people in Wolverhampton?
Regardless of what you think about Gareth Southgate as a tactician , the simple fact is he has been really successful at the last two major tournaments, and has a superb record in qualifying. The squad seems to be almost totally harmonious and their relationship with the public has never been better (as least until 2 mins before the end of the Euro 2020).
To be chanting “you don’t know what you’re doing” and “sacked in the morning” after those achievements, because of a couple of crap glorified-friendly games is just downright rude and so ungrateful, what on earth were they thinking? And you can be sure the players noted how quickly these mouth-breathers turned from adulation to anger, how many of them are now dreading Qatar?
Oh and good luck getting another England game staged there.
It’s ok to criticise Southgate, and I agree there might be some truth in the argument that Qatar should be his last tournament, but I’d love to hear someone try to justify the chanting and booing.
For the record, I had a few big nights out in Wolves back in the 1990’s as my best mate was at Uni there and I always found the locals to be totally charming and friendly, I’ve always talked it up as a really nice place …. I just doubt many of them were at the game on Tuesday.
Oh Oh Oh Vieira
With a nod to Graham Simons email.
He comes from PortugalHe plays for Arsenal.
It’s back. I hope he lives up to it! Vieira, not Graham.
Stu (unless Graham can play No.9 of course?) France
There’s always one…
Enjoyed KA’s observations on City starting and sometimes finishing away. There’s always one, isn’t there?
Appreciate it must be frustrating to not see the title being presented at your own ground (I think 2/4 have been away for them)
But really, come on. Each team plays each other twice. Once home and once away. Sometimes it’s a tough run, sometimes easy. Get on with it.
As an aside of course – City fans complaining about fairness. Hahahahahahaha. And, may I add, Ha.
To A, Dublin
To answer your question, Kane’s (and anyone else for England) diving and cheating does embarrass me. Sterling’s dive/jelly legs v Denmark was debatable.
Kane dived, grabbed his ankle and then got up when he didn’t get the decision. Not a mention from the commentators.
Lots of players dive, but Kane does it quite regularly. For a relatively tall and well-built man he seems to be weak when challenged fairly. Plus he’s England captain so makes it worse for me. Seems to be a requirement for the modern game, sadly.
Unfortunately, “feeling contact” is enough for players to go down – whether there was contact or not can usually be verified quickly and in this case I’d have been pissed off if my team had conceded that penalty.