Can José Mourinho Rely On The “Ferguson Effect” After Christmas? + More On The Top Six And Big Sam

Posted: December 4, 2017 in Arsenal, Chelsea, European Football, Football, Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Opinion, Premier League, Tottenham Hotspur
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Manchester United usually start to make their mark on the Premier League from January onwards. At least, that was always the case when Sir Alex Ferguson was in charge.

This season they haven’t done too badly when considering that they have only lost two games and one of those, based on form, should have been won.

Had they managed to beat Huddersfield Town, however, they would still be five points behind Manchester City who have reached this stage of the season unbeaten.

So, in order for the “Fergie effect” to actually have any effect, City need to lose at least three games and the derby next week would be a good start!

If United could go into the new year only five points behind City they would still consider that they have a chance of catching them. There would still be another derby match to play, at The Etihad, and City still have to go to Arsenal and Liverpool, two games where United have already collected four points.

José Mourinho will also have Paul Pogba back from suspension, Phil Jones and Eric Bailly back from injury and, hopefully, a new signing, possibly Antoine Griezmann or Leon Goretzka, in the January window. So hope springs eternal.

All of this may appear to be clutching at straws but doubters should remember what happened to Kevin Keegan and his Newcastle team back in the 1995/96 season, when they blew a twelve points lead and United went on to win the title.

This probably won’t happen with City as Pep Guardiola is a much better manager than Keegan ever was but, if United can beat City at Old Trafford and the lead is cut to five points, then anything is possible.

Meanwhile, over in scouseland, Jürgen Klopp is celebrating his Liverpool team’s new found ability to concede only one goal in a game away from home. Now, if only they can work out how to do it against teams in the top half of the table then they will have a chance of finishing in the top four.

Whilst in this area of the world it would be remiss if we failed to mention the winning start made by Sam “The Messiah” Allardyce.

For his first miracle, he turned a wretched Everton team into world beaters, (well, West Ham beaters anyway), by doing nothing more than sitting in the stand. This meant that he was, almost instantaneously, accepted by Evertonians who, forgetting that their opponents were under the stewardship of a serial loser, immediately started to look forward to another European campaign next season.

Then, when he officially took over, he continued the unbelievable by beating Huddersfield Town and not conceding a goal!

Big Sam now manages a team in the top ten which, for him, is quite an unusual situation and may very well cause arguments in the Goodison Park boardroom at the end of the season as one co-owner will want to continue as they are and the other will want Mourinho or Guardiola!

Down in The Smoke, Stubborn Old Man is actually admitting that his Arsenal team didn’t defend very well in their loss against United on Saturday.

Rather than look for his usual excuses, like the penalties his team were denied, or the offside goals scored by the opposition he was really quite honest for once in his life.

Now if he will only admit that the five strikers he had on the pitch by the end of the game should have done much better against a defence comprised of old men being played out of position, crocks returning from injury and a donkey, then we will forgive him his every sin!

Tottenham have given up on the Premier League title according to the “experts” in the press.

This suggests that Mauricio Pochettino is deliberately sending out weakened teams to lose or draw games they may have otherwise won.

Why would he do that? To rest players for the Champion’s League? They don’t play any more meaningful games in that competition until February, so that doesn’t make much sense.

Is he going to have a serious tilt at the FA Cup? Possibly, but would that be at the expense of the league? Again, doubtful.

We find it hard to believe that a competitive man like Pochettino is giving up on anything and prefer to think that he just had a couple of bad results.

The Spurs squad isn’t the biggest and so will be affected by injuries more than the rest of the top six and this is why they will struggle, not because he will prioritise competitions. This would be very dangerous as a tough draw in the next round of the Champion’s League could see them beaten and then what?

Chelsea are back on track as long as they can keep Eden Hazard fit. When Pep Guardiola called Tottenham the “Harry Kane team”, he was being complimentary to both the player and the club. Spurs have proven however, that they can win without Kane, especially and specifically in August, but also in other games.

What Chelsea need to prove is that they can still mount a title challenge and win games without Hazard. At present they are more deserving of being called the “Eden Hazard team” than Spurs ever were with Harry Kane.

It would seem that these are two clubs who are over-reliant on one of their players and it is this which will prevent them from winning anything this season if either of the two are injured for any length of time.

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