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Alderweireld to Arsenal
I can’t believe we’ve been ignoring the one and only centre back we should be bidding on. He’d add experience and would provide a perfect foil for Holding/Chambers. He isn’t terribly expensive for what he brings. He would bring back the emotive response the last time we brought a player from there who went on to win big for us (and even score against Barca in the champions league final no less). We could even sweeten the deal by sending our suddenly mental centre back, Koscielny the other way.
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Arsenal’s newest member, Tobias (not Judas) Alderweireld.
JazGooner (runs for the nearest cover)
Is Gareth Bale just a fancy Winston Bogarde?
Apparently happy to sit on the bench and pocket a massive paycheck instead of taking a pay-cut and play football every week.
Where is the outrage?
AFCON… what a stink…
Let’s get this out of the way straight off the bat, shall we? I have no time for International Football for the most part. I find it anachronistic and sub-standard. If a Liverpool player is involved I mainly hope for them not to get injured. But I did watch a good deal of the FIFA WWC and like many in the mailbox found the games refreshing for their lack of gamesmanship and high level of skill on show. The usual misogynists showed their hands though claiming they couldn’t wait for the ‘real football’ to start so they can get back to talking about their beloved Chelsea (how many ists and isms are that mob riddled with?).
And now even the SPL is taking a hiding. Honestly, for anyone to suggest that the WWC (or SPL) is substandard clearly didn’t watch one minute of the AFCON. I did. That’s time I’m not getting back. Did Pele not proudly claim an African nation would win the WC before the end of the last Century. Perhaps he meant this one we’re in and even then I don’t think there’s a cat in hells chance! The nadir being the final itself with the winning goal befitting of the tournament that went before.
Still at least that tackle from the Algerian on Mane in the final didn’t break him in half and both Mane and Salah will be returning unscathed, I believe. That’s about as much as I can hope for from the AFCON even if I’ll not be bothering to tune in next time around. And the crowds. Did you see the empty stadiums?
That’s the real pub teams, right there. BTW I like the SPL, always have done and there are some real gems to be found up there. Look at some of the better players in some of the better teams down the years in the PL – they’ve all hailed from Scotchland.
Gregory Whitehead, LFC
More Premier League predictions
Here’s my effort:
1) Top 6: City, Spurs, Liverpool, United, Wolves & Leicester. Arsenal will concede too many, Chelsea score too few, and Wolves & Leicester are best placed to take advantage of that. United will (hopefully) improve on last year but not significantly enough to worry the top 3. I think Klopp’s style will take it’s toll on what I reckon will be an exhausted Liverpool side, especially with a lot of their key players having played in international tournaments this summer.
2) Relegated: Newcastle, Norwich, Sheffield United. I know Norwich were barnstorming last year but I can’t see it translating to the PL – where are their goals going to come from? It’ll be the same story with Sheffield United I fear. Newcastle were doomed as soon as Rafa left.
3) Player of the season: I agree with Micki about Virgil van Dijk being probably the best player in general but defenders rarely win it, and only Ronaldo has ever won it in consecutive years, so I’m going to plump for Son Heung-min, who I think will be key for Spurs this year.
4) Young player of the season: really tough competition this year with so many brilliant young players emerging but I’m going to go for Dioga Jota, who was brilliant last year and will continue to improve in a very good Wolves side.
5) Manager of the season: I don’t see how Guardiola can outdo his own achievements domestically, short of going unbeaten all season, so I’m going to go for Pochettino for guiding Spurs to a second-place finish and an FA Cup win.
6) Surprise team of the year: Good surprise will be Villa, who I think will comfortably avoid relegation. Bad surprise, I’ll say Watford, who I think will fall short of their expectations this time round; their managers don’t last too long these days and he’s already been there for about 18 months, so presumably a change isn’t going to be far away if results go against them.
7) Surprise player of the year: I think it’s much harder for players to surprise fans these days, with the wall-to-wall coverage we now get, so this is a tough one. I think Pablo Fornals will be a good surprise and will hit the ground running for West Ham. I’m struggling for another surprise here, so I’m going to take a wild guess and say Fabian Delph. He’s been talked up as exactly the sort of signing Everton need but I think he’ll probably struggle to make much of an impact on the pitch, even if he has more been bought for his leadership qualities.
8) Biggest letdown of the season: I’m going to go a bit left-field here and say the inevitable overreaction to VAR. Dyche will be one of the chief moaners about it, but mountains will definitely be made out of molehills while this (completely necessary) innovation is finally brought in. You can’t really include Sanchez/Ozil here because the expecations for those two are currently ridiculously low that they’ll struggle to do any worse than people assume they will.
9) Biggest waste of money: I’m going to go for Danny Ings here – nearly £20m is a lot of money for a player with such a sketchy injury record, so I’m betting he won’t be available for big chunks of the season. My second shout is Lys Mousset – £10m isn’t a huge fee in Premier League terms but is a record for Sheffield United, and a gamble I don’t see paying off. I don’t see him scoring the goals they will need to keep them in the Premier League.
10) Champions League finalists: Barcelona for sure, maybe joined by City who might finally start to click in Europe.
11) First manager sacked: hard to see past Steve Bruce really but I think Javi Gracia could be in contention if Watford don’t start well.
12) Bargain of the season: I think Tanguy Ndombele is going to look very good value at £54m by the end of the season.
1. Top 6:
Liverpool (Keita/Fabinho/Trent to be even better and Gomez and Ox to add new dynamism)
Man City (light at CB and LB surely has to catch up sometime, plus need to focus on Europe this year as may be ban imminent)
Spurs (some new blood will revitalise, will win FA Cup)
Arsenal (keeping Mustafi out would’ve meant 3rd last season, Emery won’t make that mistake again)
Chelsea (Lampard to have a year experimenting as he did at Derby, won’t settle until after Xmas)
Leicester (Lovely options across the forward line, no distractions like Wolves)
Sheff Utd (weak squad), Brighton (just their time), Newcastle (Ashley + Bruce)
3. Player of the season:
KdB (looked awesome when he comes on last year and oddly seems to think he has something to prove which makes him even more dangerous)
4. Young player of the season:
TAA (could win it for the next 4 years right? Really need to change this award)
5. Manager of the season:
Klopp will win it for winning the league, but Brenda putting Leicester in the top 6 and Farke keeping Norwich up will be honourable mentions
6. Surprise teams (x2):
Wolves (will be in Europa semis at least)
Newcastle (will “earn” only a single point before November)
7. Surprise players (x2)
Fornals (will do some lovely things at West Ham on their way to a top half finish)
Perez (will score 10-15 goals for Leicester and ease the burden on Vardy)
8. Biggest let-down (x2)
Sheff Utd’s “split” centre-backs (will be attempted and exploited horrendously by a top 6 team early and disappear sharpish)
Andy Carroll (will end up at Newcastle, will not score a goal)
9. Biggest waste of money (x2)
Kovacic (Aware they felt this was necessary, but it was FOURTY MILLION when they already are plenty stocked in CM)
Sanchez’s wages (obviously)
10. Champions League finalists
Real vs City (City to win it)
11. 1st manager sacked
Bruce will get time to go back to his novels quickly
12. Bargain of the season
Dendocker (boring 12m answer but he’ll still be good), Dan James (will show enough flickers of promise)
To much fanfare, I see Newport County have joined Motherwell and Hudderfield in becoming unsponsored by a prominent betting firm.
This all reminds me of celebrities who dont like to talk about their charity work.