Send your thoughts to email@example.com
My statement was that if Gerrard had not slipped, we would have won the league. Consequently, Brendan would have been given the keys to the city.
No matter what then came post-Suarez and Sterling (an inevitable downturn in fortune), he would never have been let go, and Klopp would have taken another job (probably Arsenal), whilst we slipped back into mid-table obscurity.
Therefore, in hindsight, Gerrard slipping (in my opinion) worked out to be a very good thing for Liverpool in the long term.
Does that make more sense to people in the light of current events?
Solskjaer’s three-year plan
With the latest rumour today that even if Ole doesn’t qualify for Europe he will keep his job, it got me thinking about his 3-year plan he spoke of with the Glazers. Now I don’t believe it’s a plan to get to the top, I think it’s a plan to give the Glazers a few more years of milking their cash cow.
For United to return to competing, that would require a family who aren’t interested in football to oversee; appointing a DoF, replacing most of the coaching staff, the entire medical team, the scouting network, fixing the stadium, replacing Ole and funding for 3 players a window for 2 seasons. That’s just off the top of my head.
Our recent financial report mentioned that our debt had increased year on year. This is because despite having a relatively small net spend the Glazers had put all our transfer expenditure onto the club’s debt. I predict that there will be no January signings and in the summer we will sell Pogba and use that money to pay for a few signings, keeping the net spend low again.
This is because their exit plan is under way. There will be no more investment, Ole will stay for protection, and they will stay as long as the sponsorship deals are ok. This won’t be long. The Adidas deal was only ever 75m a season if we were in the Champions League regularly (we’re not), Chevrolet are on the way out and as you can see with Liverpool and City on-field performance is important to revenue.
The Glazers wanted $4bn for the club, no one will pay that. But if you can crank up draining the resources for a few more years and then sell for $3bn then it makes perfect business sense. That’s why we hired a spin doctor from Sunday Supplement and not a DoF.
So buckle up Ole isn’t going, Poch isn’t joining, Fernandes won’t sign. There’ll be the bare minimum investment to keep stock prices at a good enough level before they move out.
Allen (It’s all a bit boring now)
A hell of a lot of criticism of OGS by fans and media alike but lets be realistic about what he’s actually done. He’s in effect had one real transfer window, two january windows with Woodward negotiating on your behalf really don’t count. The 3 signings he made have all proved a success whatever way you look at it. 5th best defence is a marked improvement from 11th last season. His net spend so far has been about £60m and a massive cut on the wage bill. The great Pep spent £200m 2016 and 294m in 2017, to a team that won the league more recently than United but they got the deals in he wanted.
The 7 years of deadwood he’s shifted that no one else felt obliged to do has been commendable – Fellaini (not mobile), Lukaku (not mobile), Sanchez (awful), Darmian (awful), Valencia (past it), Young (past it), Herrera (wouldn’t sign contract), Smalling (was not good on the ball). Nobody upon nobody was crying out for these players to stay. As G.Neville said – short term some of these players would be useful, Fellaini alone would be worth an extra 5-10 points coming on for set pieces with 20 mins to go. But United fans don’t want that, so actually well done clearing the decks.
And Carragher moaning no one improves? Rashford – best season ever. Martial – best season ever. Williams – quality left back. McTominay – decent midfielder. Fred – actually playing well. Lindelof – he’s not commanding enough but fewer mistakes than before.
The real United problem is 7yrs bad recruitment and now Woodward not doing nearly enough to make amends. Fernandes as a number 10 adds 15 goals/assists that we’re not currently getting. Jadon Sancho the same. Get another midfielder and commanding centre back and I’m quite happy with that for now. Its a a fair bit to do but its on Woodward not OGS.
Winning the league is easy, retaining hard, winning it 3 times in a row even Pep can’t do that so United are getting ready to strike for when the Liverpool cycle starts coming to an end – we’ve had 7yrs of sh1te, so another 2 of improvement I can live with.
This season similarities with Leicester title
Just an observation on the “big 6” in the league and how similar it is to the Leicester City title winning season. Liverpool are deservedly romping away, and this thought is in no way intended to undervalue this seasons achievements.
My comparison stems from the widely held view that Leicester won the league in part due to their consistency, quality and nerve, while the traditional big 6 were in various points of disarray, meaning no serious attack on the title. It seems somewhat similar this season, albeit with Liverpool being one of the big six and being a better version of the Leicester title winners.
I guess what I’m trying to say is either the league this year doesn’t have its normal compliment of quality (which would be a slight diss to Liverpool, although I think they would still win it) or the league is tougher and Liverpool are just THAT good.
Not sure how others feel, personally, I think it’s a combination of 5 of the big 6 being a bit naff this year and Liverpool being very good – would have been nice to have at least 1 serious contender though. This is in no way an attempt to undervalue Liverpool’s or Leicesters success.
Michael, Dublin (p.s. VAR has the consistency of the other, onfield, inconsistent ref)
A little more than a decent manager away…
I have found myself rereading Rich Jennings’ mail from this morning a few times and still have no idea how he as arrived at the conclusion that United are only a decent manager away from challenging Liverpool for the title.
Rich’s method involves going through the United team one by one and generally arriving at the conclusion that the players are average (some a bit better, some a bit worse).
Not to open up the tedious debate around whether player a is world class or not again but going through Liverpools first eleven there are at least 4 or 5 that are contenders for best in the world in their position and nobody you could call out as not being at the very least dependable. Couple that with them having one of the best two coaches in world football at the minute and you have a pretty formiddable outfit (as evidenced by their ridiculous form over the last year and more).
While a top manager would undoubtedly give some of the UTD players a lift (hasnt really happened with any of their managers since fergie other than one season under Jose), its an absolutely massive leap to say they would get anywhere near the level of Liverpool at the moment.
More likely is that they are a world class manager, a raft of world class players, a world class scouting system, ownership and heirarchy away from challenging liverpool. At the moment there is no evidence to suggest that is going to happen. OGS seems to enjoy the backing of the heirarchy. No sign of any movement on the DoF. Struggling in the transfer market to get the players they want and similarly to shift those that they dont.
In summary: next year will not be their year.
Kirky D, Belfast
I stopped reading Rich Jennings’ assessment of how close Manchester United are to ‘challenging for the title’ when he claimed Harry Maguire “has a premier league medal”
Patrick Smyth (You’re 30 points back, pipe down)
Dear Rich Jennings, sorry to be the bearer of bad news but Harry Maguire has the same number of league medals as Steve G – zero. He signed from Hull in 2017 which makes that £80m fee even more hilarious.
It’s not his fault United overpaid for a £40m defender at best, but getting nut-megged after rushing a midfielder in the opposition’s half doesn’t help his cause much..
Dazza, Dublin LFC (It’s really happening this year!!!!!!)
View from the Upper Main Stand
Something changed for Liverpool fans on Sunday.
They sang, for the first time this season, “and now you’re gonna believe us, we’re gonna win the league!”, (which is somewhat ironic in a sweet way, as everyone else has been telling them that for about 2 months now, and it’s Liverpool fans who have been denying it). I, being more superstitious than most and suffering too many disappointments recently, did not join in.
I’ve heard them sing it before, in other seasons, but never this loud, never this many people joining in. It wasn’t defiant, it wasn’t hopeful, it wasn’t cheeky, it was just a statement of fact as far as they were concerned. The way Liverpool are going about it, there will likely not be a single moment or goal or Istanbul or “Agüero!” moment to define it. If there is, it will actually be a 3 months of absolute hell for Liverpool fans, as we see this lead crumble away. Much like number 7, it will feel a bit anti-climatic, a bit routine, a bit inevitable. Hopefully Mo’s goal yesterday will be the moment we remember. Right player, right time, right opposition, right net.
If it looks possible, drop points on purpose
I’ve had a look at Liverpool’s remaining league games. Wolves away on Thursday could be tricky. Everton away should be, but probably won’t given recent history in these games. City away is just before the Champions league Quarter finals which could feature both teams. Arsenal away and Chelsea at home when the when they may have the league won and may be still in the champions league and Fa Cup.
These are the most plausible games for Liverpool to drop points or suffer a loss this season. There are a lot of maybes in there because I am building up to the big, unspeakable what if. What if Liverpool do win all their remaining games? Its a ridiculous thought but we live in a ridiculous world these days. So what if they do it and get to the end of the season, that was near perfect except for 2 points dropped against Man United in the game they largely had the better of. Can you imagine the absolute shitshow from the obnoxious vocal section of fans of each side? You know, the ones who revel in the failing of rivals over their own teams successes.
United fans clinging to this one meagre achievement to give their season meaning. Seeing that point gained as greater than a title win. Liverpool fans saying they don’t care but, in reality, it is killing them and overshadowing the title win. Perfection, so close and undone by THEM at their lowest point in decades. Most of fans of each team will be sensible but this lot, they’ll be there and they’ll be loud. For everyone else’s sake, if the frankly ridiculous is happening and Liverpool look like they are going to win all their remaining games, please lads, pick one game and take a draw in it.
Kev (If Newcastle need the point on the last day, be generous)
Step back and get perspective
I get that the bulk of the discussion in the past 2 days has been about Liverpool v United. But honestly, I think every real fan knows that this season and the next, Liverpool will be far ahead and we shouldn’t be fretting about that every day. What does interest me is the searing focus on how bad United are, in a season which is littered with disappointment for many of the top teams.
Consider the form guide – usually the last 5 games, or 15 points. Based on this, Man City (10) would be disappointed, Leicester (6) would be worried. Chelsea (7) should be looking over their shoulders. Man United (9) should be where they probably expected to be. But what about Spurs (5) and Arsenal (4)? No new manager bounce for either? And what about nice guy, club faithful returning to take charge? Yup, Arteta ticks that box too. But everybody has their knives out for Ole? I’m sure nobody thinks the United first team is significantly better than Spurs or Arsenal? (The comparison with Chelsea has been made in the last mailbox).
In this weekend alone, Chelsea lost to Newcastle, Leicester lost to Burnley, City dropped points to Palace, Arsenal did the same against Sheffield United, and Spurs couldn’t get past Watford. Wolves are the only top 10 team that moved up the table.
As for United, against a Liverpool team that is currently on a different level, I was happy that we were in the game till the 90th minute. I was expecting 3-0 and cruising for Liverpool at the 60 minute mark. Let’s get some perspective. Liverpool are currently fantastic. United are average. But we’re not the under performers of the season. We’re actually one place above where we were last year after significant jettisoning of experience, and key injuries. I’d rather be in this position rather than most of the others of the top 6 barring Liverpool, who all seem to be on their way down.
And lastly since when has it been okay to jog a goalkeepers arm or put an arm across his face when he’s catching the ball? Whether intentionally or unintentionally? Or whether said goalkeeper is being aggressive or meek? Oh yes, I remember, since the Everton game! Thanks for clearing that up.
Ved Sen, MUFC
Sorry, did Paul really just categorise Harry “26 year old, captain, £80m England starter” Maguire as showing promise but not yet good enough?!! Alongside the likes of Greenwood, James and Wan Bissaka…
I know some of those three were expensive too but they were bought for potential and with growth in mind (surely?). Harry Maguire is a peak age, proven PL performer. The fact he was either flattered at Leicester or has regressed at United (suspect former given he takes about three days to turn around) doesn’t mean you can say he’s showing promise!
Alex, (it’s the “young players like Lingaard” debate all over again”), Ayr
Around Christmas time someone wrote into the mailbox to state that is Liverpool do end their 30 (thirty) year wait for the title, it would immediately eclipse the 13 (thirteen) titles that United have won in the interim. Mike from Chester is doing exactly that in this morning’s mailbox, step by brilliant step (pass the bucket, please). Liverpool fans should absolutely celebrate the title this year but you can only write off United’s past (emphasis on the past) glories if you’re willing to ignore your own. So, no more ‘we’ve won it six times’ or ‘who has won the most trophies’ talk (both on 42, by the way, not counting Charity/Community Shield) unless you’re willing to be reminded, during your end of season party, that United fans have had 13 such parties since your last one.
Also, should you fail to win it next year, you would have to congratulate the team that do win it, turn and turn about. As Rudyard Kipling brilliantly said ‘If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster, And treat those two imposters just the same’ …… ‘Which is more, you’ll be a Man, my son!’
Paul, Man Utd (big Red Liver Bird? Bleurgghh)
VVD vs DDG
The goalkeeper’s Union force is strong in Paul (spurs) T.Wells. His rebuttal to people claiming it wasn’t a foul is “the opponent touches it first and I make no contact with anything other than the man I’m tackling, causing him to fall to the floor – is that not always judged a foul?” Eh… no, Paul, it most certainly isn’t.
I’m assuming Paul has never seen a team with Shane Long, Giroud or [insert any big target-man here] in the team play. How many times have we seen long balls pumped up between them and a defender, where a player ends up on his arse? Or how many times has a player being out-muscled in midfield for a loose ball and is put on the deck? By Paul’s logic it’s a foul if the player on the ground is the first to touch the ball. Put that rule in place for a season and our VAR complaints will seem quaint.
I agree that keepers should be afforded extra protection, but to a point. If VVD’s challenge is a foul, then the rule may as well be “players can challenge for any ball that a keeper is going for in his penalty area as long as there is zero contact”. VVD didn’t throw his arm across De Gea, didn’t lead with his legs, could not have made more of a genuine attempt to head the ball and crucially didn’t in actually jump *into* De Gea. He jumped towards the ball. De Gea also jumped towards the ball and their paths intersected causing a collision. If VVD jumped towards the ball and it happened to be also directly towards De Gea, then I’d agree it was a foul. But he didn’t. And that’s the most important factor in my view.
To highlight what I’m saying, let’s say Allison still hadn’t exorcised the hybrid-ghost of David James and Simon Mignelot in Anfield and it decided to possess De Gea. Say VVD gets his head to the ball before De Gea but ends up on the deck because of a mid-air torso-to-torso bump. Would it be a penalty because VVD touched it first? Of course not. That would be ludicrous. Which is why I can’t understand why it was given as a foul on Sunday.
On a tangibly related note, can anyone clarify how far back VAR can go? Would possession being gained by United (and only lost because of their own ineptitude) not result in a new phase of play? Funnily enough in this case I don’t disagree with the VAR check (only the findings) as it was only a matter of seconds in turnaround, but from my understanding the time-frame isn’t a factor. Happy to be corrected in this.
Big D, Luxembourg
The FA must act…
Now the Liverpool v United (over)reactions have died down a bit, I’d like to talk about something that raises it’s ugly head every time the two teams meet.
For as long as I can remember, songs about Heysel, Munich and Hillsborough have been sung at every match and every time treated as a necessary evil between the two sets of fans and forgotten until the next time they meet. For me, this isn’t good enough, and the F.A., Respect and both clubs should stop tutting and actually do something about it. To hear these songs as someone who wasn’t directly affected by these tragedies is bad enough, but to have to listen to such senseless, unnecessary and disrespectful songs about a loved ones death is shameful and has no place anywhere.
I have been a life long United fan and Liverpool have always been the team to beat and the first fixture I look for every season. They ruled football for so long when I was a kid and they are the benchmark when it comes to what you want for your club. To want to beat Liverpool is to want to be the best and thankfully we caught them up considerably in the 90’s and 2000’s to make the rivalry even more intense. The need to beat Liverpool is, and will always be, in a United fan’s DNA. But for this to manifest itself in the singing of songs that reflect terrible tragedies in which people actually lost loved ones is completely unacceptable and should be treated with the same abhorrence and verve as racism and bigotry is. It needs stamping out and good people need to make a stand, as well as the authorities.
Liverpool have played some of the best football I have seen for the past two seasons and thoroughly deserve the title. Their fans have waited a long time and are constantly being told they shouldn’t enjoy it. B*llocks to that, shout it from the rooftops and enjoy every second. I would. That’s what football’s about, and that’s what every fan wants. To say we are the best. As a United fan, I say this through gritted teeth, especially as we’re so sh*t at the moment, but respect where respect is due and I doff my cap.
It just makes the need to beat you even more intense, but it really is time to stop the songs. It shames us all if nothing is done and reflects very badly on two great clubs.
Aidan has helpfully (and happily) instructed us to google laws of the game and also referenced Liverpool getting lucky VAR decisions in games against City and Palace.
Lets take those incidents then, first up City. Presumably he’s talking about the failure to overturn the referees decision not to award a penalty to City after the ball struck TAA’s arm:
It is usually an offence if a player:
- touches the ball with their hand/arm when:
- the hand/arm has made their body unnaturally bigger
So the question has to be whether his hand/arm made the body unnaturally bigger. Considering the fact that Aguero was next to him and had his arms in exactly the same position as TAA I’d suggest that his arm was in a natural position of trying to slow himself down/change direction to follow the course of the ball. Just as Aguero was.
People don’t run/turn with their arms stuck to the side of their bodies.
The Palace game is presumably referring to the decision to rule out a Palace goal scored after Lovren was shoved in the back at a corner, impeding his ability to perform a headed clearance.
What was that line from the Laws you used again Aidan?
A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences: …impedes an opponent with contact.
But whatever…. narrative narrative, LiVARpool etc etc.
James Outram, Wirral
Ahhhhh I love reading comments like the one from Aidan, MUFC yesterday bleating on about VAR and how it’s helping Liverpool. That kind of salt is exactly what I need on my eggs every morning.
The fact is, that as a Liverpool fan, when I hear rival fans resorting to conspiracy theories, it’s when I know they have reached peak ‘trembling in anger’ mode. It’s when they have absolutely nothing to banter Liverpool about, so in their desperation they cling to absurd conspiracy theories, because they cannot just sit quietly and watch Liverpool win game after game, and ESPECIALLY not after their own team has been humiliated by them.
I totally get it, it happens to every dominant team. There was UEFAlona before, and claims of referees cheating to help Real Madrid win their glut of champions leagues. It is a natural reaction from rival fans, because again, like I said, they cannot just take it in silence. There has to be some paranormal explanation for what is happening. What these seething individuals don’t realize is that a team at the top will have every decision scrutinized because of how many people are following them. The same ‘conspiracy detectives’ , who by the way are mostly Manyoo fans, fail to acknowledge how many decisions go against Liverpool too, but I’m not going to get into it because I have no desire to justify, the manyoo conspiracy detectives can go search on the internet themselves. They won’t though, because the truth is not important in this case.
I’d like to sign off with actual facts instead of conspiracy. It’s hilarious to note that in a list of teams with highest net spend in the last decade, manyoo are 3rd. Higher than Liverpool (12th), Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Juventus, and many other European teams who have not gotten rinsed the way manyoo have in the transfer market and doing much better. In fact, manyoo are the only team in that top 5 playing Europa League football, money well spent?
Football fans are so fickle.
I loved Aidan’s (MUFC) wonderfully patronising explanation that Firmino’s goal was correctly disallowed by VAR as ‘A direct free kick is awarded if a player commits any of the following offences:…. Impedes an opponent with contact’ and backs this up with ‘To me it is very simple, if you jump for a header with the keeper, make no contact with the ball but impede the keeper who would otherwise catch the ball, it’s a free kick’.
I loved it mainly because just a few lines later he argues that Liverpool have had the benefit of VAR citing Crystal Palace’s disallowed goal where Ayew pushed Lovren in the back as he jumped to head the ball clear while not even challenging for the ball or as some might put it ‘impeded an opponent with contact’. I mean to me it’s very simple If you don’t even jump for a header with the defender, make no contact with the ball but impede the defender who would otherwise head the ball, it’s a free kick’.
But maybe I think they were both fouls because I stupidly watch the game for the football and not just for the narrative.
More Pep hate…
For all the talk that Pep isn’t just a chequebook manager, and that he improves the players that he manages, yesterday’s Winners & Losers got me thinking…..
It is suggested one of the biggest reasons for City’s defensive incompetence this season is the loss of Laporte, but caveated by the fact that a club of this stature should not be so reliant on one defender. Which begs the question, why are they?
If I was Chairman, would I trust Pep with any more money for defensive reinforcements?
Laporte is a success, and Kyle Walker has been over his City career but that’s where it ends. Stones has regressed. Mendy has never shown and glimpses. Danilo offered little / no upgrade and moved on. Cancelo has barely been trusted. Angelino has been torn apart on a fair few of his appearances. All Pep signings. Walker was ready made and in his prime, as was Laporte. Otherwise, all his defensive signings and those he was already blessed with upon arrival have regressed – Clichy, Sagna, Kompany (somewhat age related), Otamendi. Everyone has been fawning over Fernandinho, but in reality I suspect he’d struggle in any team that didn’t enjoy City’s level of possession and really Pep has recruited poorly and not improved any of his defensive players and hence the situation they now face.
I think Guardiola faces a big challenge were he to stay another year……Liverpool aren’t going anywhere and I’d expect at least 2 of Chelsea, Spurs, United, Arsenal to sort themselves out a little bit next year as well as continued pushes from Wolves and Leicester. Surely a second season like this one and serious questions would have to be asked of our beloved Pep?
Tom (Klopp is a different gravy)
Frank and Ole… really?
OK, DL, LFC , Geneva, the reason why Lampard should be given an easier ride is that Ole spent £143m in the summer – he was able to highlight the players he wanted to improve the team and spent a lot of money on them.
Yes, Chelsea bought Pulisic but that was prior to Frank’s arrival, and Abraham was unproven at Premier League level (fairly torrid loan spell at Swansea) and Mount completely untested. Just as Ole deserves credit for bringing Brandon Williams through (and Greenwood to an extent) and identifying their potential, Lampard does as well for bring Abraham, Mount, Tomori, and potentially the best of the lot, James through.
Lampard was given a squad to work with – Ole has been given money and time to shape a squad. And Man Utd didn’t lose Sanchez and Lukaku – they chose to sell them both and not replace them (when they very well could have).
In addition, after the turgidness of Sarriball last year, Lampard has at least tried to create a team on the front foot, whereas Ole wedded to the counter-attacking style which makes for much more turgid viewing.
I am not judging Ole but I do think comparing their work when Ole has had 6 months longer in the job and been allowed to spend approx. £150M more is a tad kind to him – Solskjaer should be judged by a higher standard.
Saying this, Chelsea really do need to buck up their ideas. Against the low block they are becoming more and more stationary, expecting a player (Willian or Hudson-Odoi) to beat a player or two instead of creating space by moving on and off the ball. The sooner we bring back Kovacic and either drop Mount or push him forward, the sooner I think we will be able to get back to our early season form.
West Brom concerns
Replying to Mikey, CFC – West Brom have been fantastic at times this season, the best I’ve seen us play for years. We shipped out a few of the older players from the end of the prem era and signed some talented young players keen to secure promotion to the Prem, and Bilic’s man management and in-game management has been brilliant to see. However, our big issue all season has been that, simply, we don’t have a striker that’s fit for purpose.
We lost Rodriguez to Burnley in the summer (22 goals last season) and Gayle back to Newcastle as he didn’t want to sign another loan deal (23 goals) – that’s 45 goals from last season gone, and this was replaced with Zahore (only scored 10+ goals once in his career) and Charlie Austin (hasn’t been prolific for about 5-6 years). Hal Robson-Kanu peaked at turning that Belgium defence inside out. We create so many chances this season, as highlighted again by the Stoke game last night (69% possession / 16 shots) but only 2 on target, it’s just appalling finishing, and both Robson-Kanu and Zohore were terrible last night (to his credit though, Robson-Kanu has scored some vital goals this season).
We tried signing Maupay in the summer but he opted for the prem understandably, Gayle wasn’t interested in returning and we didn’t really seem to have another backup plan. There’s been no murmuring’s of us going back in for anybody in January, and Diangana went off injured again last night which is concerning considering his clear talent, but maybe we’re just running him into the ground.
Bringing Leko back from Charlton might be an option in attack, but a clinical forward is going to be vital to our return to the prem, and sadly, I just don’t see where we’re going to find one. Answers on a postcard please.
Joe (WBA), London
League Cup musings
Having just read Pep’s comments on the League Cup and injuries I thought I’d throw in my 2 cents in on the future of the League Cup.
Personally I don’t think that the league cup should be scrapped, but I think it should be a competition for clubs that don’t qualify for European competition. To me this makes sense as it reduces the fixtures for the top clubs, thus reducing fixture congestion and likelihood of fatigue related injuries, which the FA should now realise is important if we want to win anything at international level! Clubs outside of Europe don’t have the fixture congestion issues that the top clubs do so it shouldn’t be a strain on them, and vitally, it would mean that every single team in the League Cup knows that they have a realistic chance of winning it, which can only be good for the competition! I know that sponsors would hardly flock to it without the big boys in it, but the fact that anyone could win it would hopefully lead to some excellent cup ties and we might start talking about the magic of the League Cup rather than debating if the magic of the FA Cup has gone.
I would also move the fixtures for the League Cup to midweek to overlap with European competition. From a scheduling perspective this makes a lot of sense as it would reduce the need for messing around with fixtures when a replay has to be played as there are more European fixtures than round in the League Cup. Essentially the replays could be provisionally scheduled for every round before the start of the season. Doing this would also allow for a later start to the season as per Pep’s suggestion, or would allow for a more substantial winter break without the threat of a replay been thrown in the middle of it. Either way, more rest for players should reduce the levels of fatigue, therefore reduce the number of in juries and hopefully allow England to enter tournaments with fresher legs.
Of course the major issue here would be that sponsors may not be interested in the competition without the big names involved, but if the whole thing was free to air on BBC/ITV then I suspect the viewing figures would be pretty good which may just convince potential sponsors to invest.
Other than the potential sponsorship issue I can’t see what’s not to love. Big teams happy with reduced fixtures, other teams getting a genuine chance of a trophy, easy fixture scheduling, longer winter break or shorter season, less injuries and England might bloody win something!
It looks like F365’s prediction on the future of the Carabao Cup is starting to take shape, I don’t think it’s needed in its current format anymore. I think you would be hard pressed to find a fan of a team who regularly finish in the top 4/6 who don’t think something needs to be done about the number of games (nevermind the players, how can a fan find the time and money to go to all the games? Especially if you had children – Wolves have already played 39 games!)
But I think you might struggle for fans outside of those 4/6 clubs would would agree that the Carabao Cup needs to go and I would agree with them too. I doubt Villa fans are upset they have to play a semi-final second leg in a week.
It should be reformed to exclude any clubs who have qualified for European football. I also think the winner of the FA Cup should take the 4th champions league spot but I’m aware that’s more controversial.